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I HAVE A TUMMY ACHE

photo-124Every year we test our children’s stomachs.  We watch them eat multiple chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, starbursts, chocolate kisses…..basically anything under the sun that has sugar in it.  Then we wait.  Are they going to meltdown, throw up, break into a rash or spontaneously combust.  It’s really a gamble and a test of the strength of their stomach…and their will to eat SUGAR!

Yep it’s a crap shoot.  But are we going to give up finding baskets, searching for tons of eggs in our yard all while shoving chocolate bunnies in our face while doing it?  Hell no!  You’re only a child once!  We like to enjoy our Easter to its fullest!  A little sugar never hurts anyone!  Stuff your face!

I am happy to report that my children had several highs and several lows but eventually all of the children were able to fall asleep without too much trouble.  To me that is a successful Easter.  Hope yours was equally as successful :)

MY OBSESSION

IMG_0358I have a serious problem with snotty noses.  I always have.  If I see a kid with a snotty nose it makes me crazy. I think to myself, “Why isn’t that parent digging deep in there and pulling that booger out?”  It is your job as a parent to keep your kids nostrils clean.  If you don’t they get crusty and gross or the kid ends up picking it and playing with it or just plain eating it.  Not sure which is worse…..

My kids have been conditioned.  When they see me looking at their nostrils they run as fast and as far as they can.  They know I am ready to go in for the big dig.  Seamus has the biggest boogers I have ever seen in my life.  I think part of it is due to the fact that he NEVER breathes out of his nose.  I’ve asked the doctor and everything is fine in his nose he just breathes out of his mouth.  By closing off his nostrils he collects a ton of stuff in there to create enormous booger patties.  The booger patties get so big that you can see them and that’s when they start to drive me crazy.

Usually I have to involve some type of bribery involved because he has come to hate me digging in his nose.  BUT….once I pull out the large booger, he can breathe in and breath out without any obstruction and I think he kind of likes it (as does his brother Liam because Seamus doesn’t snore for a day or 2)…..until 4 days later when the next booger patty emerges from his nose.  Ahhh…..the joys of motherhood.

THIS WILL GET YOUR HEART POUNDING

photo-118One of my favorite things about Albuquerque is the fact that you can take a tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains and it takes a mere 15 minutes to get there.  We’ve gone up several times to ski and /or hike.   We all love it and there’s nothing like the views…..or the cliffs that can take you in less than 8 seconds to your death.

photo-120While we were hiking along my entire family decided to lay on their bellies at the edge of the cliff and give their mother a heart attack.  Nice, huh?  All the while my 11 year old Liam kept saying it’s fine mom, don’t worry.  It was a breathtaking sight…seeing all of them inches from falling off the edge.  I decided to take a before and after shot.  The heart attack shot and then the “Oh great no one went over the edge shot” shot.   Enjoy the pics!

LIAM’S FIRST VISITOR

photo-117Bonding is a cool thing.  It can be kids, adults, animals….whatever.  I know one thing Liam has missed since moving is the ties he had with all of his buddies.  In our family the boys are a tad different than the girls in the sense that they can keep coming up with things to do together without conflict.  Girls tend to be a wee bit more high maintenance.

This week Liam’s cousin Sean came in for a 5 days from Chicago.  He was on spring break and wanted to come visit us.  First off, he is one of the nicest, easiest going kids to have around.  A total pleasure to have as a guest.  Liam was beside himself with excitement as this was the first visitor he had ever had in New Mexico.  These boys had a serious agenda that included going to the movies, rock climbing (complete with a visit from a mountain lion), hiking and paintballing.  It was so cool to see them do their boy bonding thing and enjoy each other’s company immensely.  I’m sure they would agree that it was a super fun visit.

So if you have a boy between the ages of 10 and 14 I’ll take them for a few days.  Just make sure they’re polite, courteous and nice to the other kids in the house.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FIONA!

IMG_0321Girls are fun.  Girl parties are even more fun.  It really doesn’t matter what girls do when they get together.  Whatever it is it ends up being fun.

Fiona turned 10 this year.  Double digits.  We went round and round as to what we were going to do.  She just wanted to have all the girls over to hang out.  Hmmmm……hang out for 4 hours with tacos and cake……it sounded like it could get boring fast.  I like to have an agenda or project of some sort to keep everyone engaged.

Finally I came of with the idea of making music videos.  Even though it was an awesome idea I was pretty sure it was going to get shut down as anything I suggest to my now 10 year old is a bad idea, mostly because I suggested it.  Low and behold she loved it!

Once we knew it was a go she picked 4 pop songs and we were ready to rock out.  When the girls arrived Fiona presented all the rules to the music video game in a power point presentation.  Apparently she wanted to be very clear about what was going on.  We had 4 songs, props, and everyone’s creativity.  We picked names out of hat and the girls started creating their original videos.  Their ideas were off the charts and the girls had a blast.  We set up a huge stage on the deck complete with spot lights and a disco ball. Good times!

I think the parents may have thought I was a little off when they arrived but the girls loved it.  Another successful girls party!  Woo-hoo.  I have a feeling this could be the last year they let me participate.

BOXVILLE – ALBUQUERQUE, NM – USA

photo-112So from all of the research I have done prior to moving to Albuquerque I have learned that their schools rank 48th in the country.  Apparently they’re not so good.  BUT, you have to keep in mind that the statewide scores are based on an average and every school is different and comes from different economic bases.  I have decided that instead of having a bake sale and trying to raise $15,000 a year per child until they all go to college (approximately $580,000) for the local private schools, we have decided to keep our kids in the Albuquerque Public School System.

I won’t bore you with the details of our research of finding the best school for us but what I will say is that the schools we ended up choosing, Double Eagle Elementary and Desert Ridge Middle School have really surprised me.  From the day I walked into register I have been nothing but impressed by the staff, the facilities and the overall commitment that these schools have to making the educational experience a fun and positive.  The projects, after school and morning programs (cooking class, tai chai, community service club, spanish lessons, homework club, etc. etc.) and overall daily fitness routines are fantastic.

With all that being said there is a really neat project that the 2nd graders do this year which is called Boxville.  For an entire week the the kids set up and work in Boxville, USA where they all play different business owners, politicians and key players in the community. They are all given play money and they pay taxes, patronize each other businesses and hopefully head out to the bakery for a treat every once in a while.  The idea is they learn how to work together as a community.  What a cool idea!

The idea is super great BUT trying to find my “fridge box” for Boxville was another story.  For two weeks now my friend Kathleen and I have called every appliance store between here and Santa Fe.  I have spent a good portion of that time harassing Nancy from Lowes.  I’ve called her so many times that I think I finally broke her down.   When I called last Thursday she said “Ok, I have an idea….I have 2 range boxes.”  I thought 2 range boxes is better than no box at all.  We picked them up, stacked them and now we have a home for Kiley’s Bakery.  Not only have I made Kiley happy but I have also stopped calling Nancy…..or at least until Seamus goes into 2nd grade.

DRAMA FREE NEIGHBORS…..

photo-111I feel as though I have hit the neighbor jackpot.  Yes, I am talking about my actual neighbors that live in MY new neighborhood!  Go figure!  Most people say, “Fences make good neighbors” or “I can’t stand my neighbors”….and yes,  this is true in many neighborhoods but not mine.

The second day I was in my house I met Colleen, Jason and their adorable 3 year old Joleen.  They were moving in at the exact same time.  What are the chances???  They have proven to be fun, cool and super quality people.  They like hiking, biking, climbing, chilling, shopping, eating and drinking….not to mention there’s no neighbor drama.   Isn’t that what you look for in a neighbor?  Well I got it all.

Then the 5th day I was in my house a girl came walking by with a stroller.  We had passed each other while driving but this was the first time we got to meet each other face to face.  We were both bubbling with excitement as we had both been dying to meet each other.  I was excited about having yet another cool chiclet in the neighborhood and she was excited because she noticed our Maryland plates which is where she was from.  Once again, a random coincidence.  We started chatting in the driveway and hour later my alarm went off which meant it was time to get the kids.  An hour went by in what seemed like 5 minutes.  Yes, another fabulous neighbor and her name is Mel.

photo-110Mel, her husband Tom and their 6 month old daughter Ema have also proven to be exceptionally awesome neighbors.  They also like to hike, walk, bike, eat and drink or just hang.  They live 2 houses to the right of us and they’re big fun!  Once again, how did I get so darn lucky.  Most people ride or walk through their neighborhoods without making eye contact, much less waving, or they never venture out in the hood for fear they might have to interact with other people.  Or they just keep their shades pulled down and they never look beyond.  Just for the record, I would interact with my neighbors in a heartbeat.

Not only is the adult interaction great but so are the kids!  My girls now have two young girls that they will essentially become little sisters to them.  They’ll have girls to dress up, read to and play school with.  As their mother I will have a constant baby fix so any possible urge to have another child will go away instantly!

So the moral of the day…..Not all neighbors suck (kid friendly version – smell like poo)  :)


THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS….

photo-108I love to shop.  Alone. By myself. Uninterrupted. I love my children….but not while I shop.

Shopping with kids is one of those things I only do when I’m in a really really really good mood (that changes quickly), I’ve made a promise or I am desperate.  No matter how you slice it, it always proves to be a painful experience on all fronts.  There are too many variables that make for an unpleasant shopping trip.  First, there’s the constant begging of “Can I get this?”, ” What about this?”, ” I REALLY want this!” and “You never buy us anything”.   Then there’s the losing a child which inevitably happens on every shopping trip and then of course the multiple trips to the bathroom which is always clear across the store.

Two days ago while having dinner all the kids started talking about how they need new gym shoes.  This is true, Seamus’ are a size too small and take 10 minutes to get into, Liam’s are ripped and dirty, Fiona doesn’t have “running” shoes and Kiley is on her 4th pair of gym shoe hand me downs.  The conversation ended with Kiley crying and saying, “I just want a pair of my own shoes that I pick out”.  Damn middle child….but she has a point.  So I broke down and said I would take them all to Kohl’s so they could get shoes and it would be an early birthday present.

They couldn’t help but talk about it all night until they fell asleep and then from the minute they got home from school until the minute we got to the store.  The trip was very successful with just a couple of glitches but luckily I was able to work them out.  I lost Kiley but found her, got a ton of “Are you crazy” stares from other moms shopping with their one perfectly behaved child, had to split the group twice for bathroom breaks, forgot my 20% off coupon, got 6 pair of shoes instead of 4, purchased a pack of 50 bracelets, 2 T-shirts, 2 watches and then ran like hell out of the store.  At some point they just break you down and all you can do is say yes if you want to get out without having a meltdown.

Bottom line everyone was happy and they all ran around all night in their new shoes.  Mission accomplished.  But just for the record, I would rather stick forks in my eyes than take four children to the store….any store.

A SINGLE VOMIT

IMG_0300If you’re sick of moms writing or talking about poop, vomit and snot…well then maybe my blog isn’t for you. As a mother, at least 10% plus of my life involves poop, vomit and snot.  I can’t help it.  Maybe if I had no children and was a cloister nun my life would be different but the chances of me ever being a nun are 1 in a million.

Seamus is now 5 but will be 6 in 2 months. It’s hard to believe.  I can see that he is maturing on some levels and on others he just doesn’t get it.  For example, he showed his butt while at the reading circle at school a few weeks ago.  I had to do a little Q and A as to where it is and isn’t appropriate to show your butt.  I think he gets it now and I’m pretty sure he won’t be doing anymore mooning until he gets to college….ok, maybe sooner.

On the other hand he now gets certain things.  Last night when I put him to bed he told me that his stomach hurt.  He was able to tell me where exactly the pain was and what he thought it was.  He was sure he had to throw up and knew to go into the bathroom and puke in the toilet.  About 6 months ago he would have said his stomach hurt and then would have proceeded to throw up all over the bed, carpet, wall and himself.  It would have been an hour long disgusting clean up which would have ended in me hurling afterward at the sight of all of the vomit.

Luckily, he vomited once which for a kid is basically a get out of school day pass.  The golden vomit rule is if your kid pukes you keep them home for 24 hours just to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  He never vomited again which was nice for both of us and he had the extra added luxury of having a one on one day with mom.  See all the goodness that can come out of one single vomit from the cutest boy in the world?


WHY I LOVE ALBUQUERQUE

IMG_0250I’ve been living in Albuquerque for exactly four months.  We’ve moved 3 times and have finally landed in the home that we will be living in for quite some time.  There is such a relief in knowing that I am here to stay and have no intentions of going anywhere anytime soon.  I have cooked, baked, unclogged toilets, made friends, had parties, happy hours, playdates and I have even cleaned vomit up from the bathroom floor.  My new home now feels like a home.  It is one of the greatest feeling in the world.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

One of the most common things people said to me when I was moving was “I wish I could do that”.  That phrase really stuck with me.  It made me think about how I made it all happen.  I set an intention, put my mind to it and moved full speed ahead with out turning back.  Yes, I had moments of doubt but I trusted myself and my husband and together we embraced the change.  We were open to it….I think that may be the key.  With that being said I’d like to give the top ten reasons why living in Albuquerque in super cool.

  1. The people are really really nice…even my children notice it everywhere they go.
  2. You can walk around a museum during spring break and it’s not even crowded.
  3. I got front row tickets to see Bill Maher.  I could have touched him.
  4. Rock climbing camp is as common as basketball camp for kids.
  5. 310 days of sunshine a year….enough said.
  6. I can walk out my back door to a plethora of hiking and mountain bike trails.
  7. There’s a tram a block from my house that take you can take up the mountain straight to the chair lift.
  8. I can get green chili on whatever I want, anytime I want.
  9. No matter where I am or where look I have the most incredible views.
  10. I can get tickets to see Eddid Vedder in a 2,000 seat venue even after they’ve been on sale for 2 days. Awesome.

So there you have it.  So far so good…. But remember it’s all in your outlook.  Is your glass half full or half empty?  Mine is always half full, unless I am super dehydrated from living at at an altitude of 6,500 feet…then I drink it.