Mommy Fail

Everyone knows that being a Mommy is quite possibly one of the hardest jobs.  The rules change, there is no manual, unexpected things happen. We all try our hardest, but sometimes come up short.

One area which I have come up terribly short this year is Little Guy’s Birthday. It’s in the middle of February.  Every year I feel like Little Guy is gipped in some way.  It’s too close after Christmas, I have 3 January Birthdays to deal with first,  the ho-hum cold dreary days of February aren’t very motivating, and then I”m usually focused on planning a short little ski get-away for February break.  Very low on my priority list is Little Guys’ Birthday.  And this year, because of M-Man’s broken arm…..we don’t even have a present for Little Guy!  (but he is SO hard to buy for as he only plays with what his brothers have or sports….and we really don’t need any more balls in this house!)

HOW TERRIBLE OF ME!!!  He is such a ray of sunshine, such a happy guy, and his Bday takes a back seat!!

Luckily for me, he is also very low key. He has *never* asked for a huge party at an (expensive) venue with his whole class.  He’s very content and pleased-as-punch to just invite 3 or 4 of his closest mates for a little get-together.  This year’s fete was a sleep-over, where I invited his friends 2 days before. And can I tell you? They had the BEST time building Lego, playing video games, and playing football in the front yard.

And…..the Birthday cake….I was inspired by fellow blogger who tried to make a LEGO cake for her son’s Birthday.  I’m not a great baker.  (if you have a good memory, you’ll remember I really don’t like to bake.) But because I strive to be a good mommy, and I know good mommy’s make beautiful cakes for their children’s Birthday, I have on occassion tried to create for my own kids.

For T&M’s 7th Birthday, we were living in England, and the boys wanted a Knight-themed party, so I built a castle.

And for Little Guy’s 3rd Birthday, when he was going NUTS over tractors, I ordered a Tractor cake pan from the US and  spent HOURS decorating the Famous Tractor Cake:

This year’s attempt at the LEGO brick cake…..well…..take a look and feel free to comment (NOT)

But the beauty of it is, the kids don’t care. Little Guy loved it…..and he had a great 7th Birthday!!  His smile takes away this Mommy Fail.

And on a side note, I’ve already got NEXT year’s party all planned….and I will call the Baker!  Cheers, all!


A conversation with Little Guy

Recently, Hubby and I had some alone time with Little Guy. And the conversations just put a big smile on my face. We were talking about all sorts of stuff–LEGO Wii games, Basketball, skiing, and other popular little boy topics. Little Guy asked if we could do something special on Monday since there wasn’t any school due to a holiday.  Hubby responded that he would be leaving for a business trip on Monday.

Little Guy: Oh, I didn’t know you were taking a trip, Daddy.  Where are you going?

Daddy: England

Little Guy: Can I go with you, Daddy?

Daddy:  Why do you want to go with me?

Little Guy: I want to go back to England so I can practice my football (soccer).  When are you coming back?

Daddy: I’ll be back on Thursday night.

Little Guy: That’s great. I won’t miss any basketball.  (Obviously, school wasn’t an issue)

Daddy: (chuckling)  I think that’s great that you want to go to England to practice your football.  But I’m not going to that part of England where we have friends (where we used to live). I’ll be in London this trip.

Little Guy:  (in a very soft voice) If we have no plans to go to England any time, how can I become a great football player?

Daddy: But I’ll be going to England again soon, and this time I’ll be staying where we have friends.

Little Guy:  Can I go with you on that trip??

The Mature Puker

Yeah… just never know what topic the VP is going to throw at you,huh?

Fortunately, at Casa de Thomas, we have been blessed by having very few….very very few…..incidents of any type of stomach ailments….by any of our kids.  As a matter of fact, up until a week ago, Little Guy had never thrown up. Can you believe that? Six years and not a single puke.  Not even as a baby…no baby spit up.  Nothing. What went down, stayed down.  (Last week’s incident was situational rather than “sick”…..He had 2 tacos for dinner, ran around a  soccer field for an hour, drank an entire bottle of very tart lemonade…..ran around for another hour playing soccer…and then up it all came. Just a bad combination all around).

This morning at 4:15am, Little Guy came into our room and asked for Daddy.  “My tummy hurts. I feel like I need to puke.  Where is it better to do it? In the sink, in a barrel, or the toilet?”

You have to admit……at 4:15 in the morning that is a very lucid, mature, intelligent question to ask.  At any age. But very much so for a 6 year old.

And while he and Daddy were in the bathroom, waiting for Round 2 to make its appearance, I could hear Little Guy going over everything he ate on Sunday.  Again, very impressive at 4:30am.  And then he asked Daddy, “Were any of those a bad combination?”

Luckily, we were able to get him back to sleep shortly after 5am. And he’s still sleeping at 7:45am. No school for him today.

Living with a couple of Kiwis

Not this….

And not this…..

And not this….

There’s an odd sound in my house.  It goes something like “Ki…Wi”….”Ki….Wi”…..”Ki….Wi”  It has the tendency to repeat itself over and over again, very fast, in a very excited tone.

For example:

Ca….we……go to Toys R Us? Ca…we?   Ca…we?   Ki…wi?  Ki…wi?  Ki…wi???

Ca..we…have some ice cream? Ca we? Ca we?  Ki..wi?  Ki…wi? Ki…wi???????

Ca..we…get our DS’s back? Ca we? Ca we? Ki…wi? Ki..wi?  Ki…wi?????????????

At first it was just M-Man who sounded like a little Kiwi….but then all 3 boys start doing.  I can’t help but laugh.

You all right, Mate? Doing Great, thanks!

Keeping busy….keeping busy.

A little over a week ago, the boys and I tagged along with Hubby to England. It was the boys’ first trip back since we moved home in 2008.  I was really surprised how little T&M remembered. During the short ride from Manchester Airport to our town, T&M would say over and over “I never saw this!”  I turned around and said “BUT YOU HAVE!! Instead, please say, ‘I don’t remember’.”

It was a short trip–about 5 days. During those days, Hubby was working, so the boys and I were “on our own.” We stayed with a lovely family who we didn’t know very well. But that has now changed. During our short stay, our host family has become one of our closest friends.  T’s best friend’s mom (or should I say “mum”?) was kind enough to host a party with our closest friends. EVERYBODY showed up–all my friends, their husbands, and all the children. I think there were about 40 people total.  It was an amazing, amazing party.  I bought 8 bottles of champagne to celebrate our friendships.

On Monday, T&M attended class in their former school. I was overcome by the warm welcome we received.  Although at the start T&M didn’t remember some of their classmates, they had a fabulous time.  We have a few more addresses, and will be sending more letters!

When we arrived in the UK, I sent a FB message “Hellooooooo UK Friends!!”  One responded “Welcome Home!”  It really amazed me how much like “home” it felt, and how seamless our transition back was.  It was hard to believe it had been 3 years. When seeing all those wonderful people again, it felt like it was 3 weeks.


I am now the proud mum (yes, the Britishness hasn’t left) of a pair of 5th graders and a 1st grader.  The boys are done with school, and I am so proud of how well they did this past year!

The other morning, I watched from my bed as Little Guy was brushing his teeth, and had already dressed himself. All without me asking or reminding him. 

“Little Guy—come here and give your mommy a hug!” 

“Why, mommy?”

“Because I’m so proud of you for getting dressed and brushing your teeth all by yourself today!”

“MOMMMMMMM……I’m a FIRST GRADER now. Of course you don’t have to tell me.  But those 5th graders, you still have to tell them!”

I love that Little Guy!


I’m baby-sitting 4 goldfish this week.  I haven’t done the best job remembering to feed them. Their feeding schedule is slightly off–both in time and quantity. One day I fed them WAY TOO MUCH. The next feeding, barely anything. I’m also not sure how much time I should be spending with them.  Do they prefer human companionship? Should I sing to them? Toss a ball into the tank? DO they care?

A Day with the Kids

Since I woke up this morning, I have been surrounded by kids.  Ok, you’re wondering “isn’t this normal for you?”.  Well, yes, as a matter of fact it is. However, today I was surrounded by more than just my own 3 kids.  And up until the last 5 minutes, it’s been a pretty fun day.

I was parent-helper in Little Guy’s Kindergarten class today.  It was the last time for the year.  Normally, K-teacher doesn’t have volunteers on Monday, but she forgot to X-out today on the volunteer calendar, and I filled in the spot, so there I was.  It was really fun because I got a chance to talk to the teachers a bit more than usual, as on Mondays the kids go to art and gym in the morning. I got to listen on K-teachers explanation of sea animals–the fish, the whales, sharks, rays, etc.  And I got to help 2 kids finish last week’s and today’s paperwork.

Straight from Kindergarten, I drove over to T&M’s school because I had volunteered to help out on Field Day.  I got there just as they were finishing up the morning portion, so I got to have “lunch” with T’s class and M’s class.  Fourth grade lunch is definitely an experience. One that, perhaps, I wouldn’t want to experience again.

After lunch, T’s class was scheduled to play Kickball. I was very excited when the class decided to play boys vs. girls. As the class was mostly boys, Miss L and I got to play on the girls’ team.  Miss L kicked first, and then the other girls took their turn, and I was the last one.  As I was waiting, I told Miss L how I hadn’t played kickball since 7th grade, and that I was always last one picked for team’s because I was a liability since my parents frowned upon girl’s athleticism.  I was SO excited when it was my turn.  I pictured myself bombing one into right field, having that feeling of vindication from being picked last all those years ago. 

The pitcher rolled the ball. It slowly approached home base. My adrenalin started pumping.  Here it comes, foot ready……kicked foul.  Well, OK.  First kickball kick in 25 years.  It’s ok if it went foul.  Here comes the 2nd ball.  Ready….ready…..kick….foul.

And I’m out.


Clearly, I missed the parent-volunteer’s rules that 2 fouls constituted an out.  Shit.  There goes my glorious moment.

I stayed at field day for 2 more activities , “Cars” which was nothing more than a game of tag, and “Boulder Dam” where the “it” person has to avoid being hit by a giant boulder (bouncy ball) being pushed by all the other players in the direction of the “it” person.

I came home……exhausted.  Wiped out.  I wonder if I’ll be this tired when/if I get a “real” job?

And what has become the norm around here, all the neighborhood boys have convened at our house for after-school basketball, trampolining, rugby, soccer….whatever.  I’ve actually been enjoying the camaraderie that has developed amongst the kids. For the most part, there has been little or no trouble (pretty amazing, considering there are usually 6 boys here). Until today, when I heard my 6 year old shouting very improper language at one of the kids.  Because Little Guy didn’t know I was on the deck. I’m not a happy momma at the moment.  He knew they were bad words. He knew that when he said them. He just thought he could get away with it. And I knew this would be a problem with him hanging out (every day) with 10 and 11 year olds.  I just thought he knew better.

A New Chapter……Bouncing and Balls

This past weekend held a range of emotions–from super-excited to nostalgic and sad.  We’re entering a new chapter in our lives.

With the twins turning 10, and with the help of an overly generous grandmother, we purchased a trampoline for the boys.  To make room for it, we had to take down the swing set that we bought for their 2nd Birthday.  I remember how adorable the boys were when they played “Super Baby” swinging on the swing while on their stomach(you have to wait until I master photo-scanning to insert this pix!). The numerous picnics they had in the “tower.” Or using the tower as a battle station. Or the first time they were strong enough to attempt the monkey bars.  Or sliding down a snowy slide.

The swing-set was very well used over the last 8 years!


But then, the trampoline was up. And the neighborhood kids started pouring in.  The mom’s said “Wow, I’ve always thought trampoline was a good idea, but we had no room (or whatever their excuse).”

Bounce, Bounce, Bounce, Bounce.

We couldn’t get the kids off of it!!!

Even the Big Guy had a go. He was pretty good. But then again, he’s good at just about everything. 

Then it was my turn.  Hmmm….I don’t think I have ever been on a trampoline before.  Definitely a new sensation. Sadly, it makes me feel somewhat light-headed. Maybe it’s my brain slamming into my skull. I definitely can’t do it for very long.  However, there was some soreness in the abs and butt this morning….perhaps this might be a good exercise tool for when the kiddies are at school?!?

The other task for the weekend was to clean out the garage. While Hubby swept and tidied up, I focused my energy on cleaning out the “Ball Bin.” Several years ago, we purchased a sports equipment organizer.

It has come in very handy in keeping all the boys’ STUFF in one corner of our garage. However, it was over-floweth.

I filled 2 trash bags full of “toddler items”–such as the plastic driveway bowling set, 3 sets of plastic “junior” golf sets, plastic wiffle ball and giant oversized baseball bats,  toddler size footballs and soccer balls (some chewed by the dog), some misc. Home Depot kiddie tools, broken frisbees, a pair of toddler roller blades. 

Once I was done, the bin was still full…but now it held only “real size” footballs, basketballs, and soccer balls.

My little boys are growing up. Time for the next chapter.

Happy Campers

It’s that time of year again, folks.  Finding camps and activities for the young ‘uns during the summer months.

It’s CRAZY, man!

I remember when we lived in England, this very well-trained American starting researching summer options in APRIL. I came up with nothing, nada, zilch.  Why? you ask.  School doesn’t get out until mid-July, so the summer camp/activity people in the UK don’t start printing and sending out material until the end of June. That means you only have 4 weeks or less to get a spot for your child in the activity you/he/she wishes to participate in.

BUT NOT HERE!!!  It’s May 9th, and I feel like I’m behind. Do we go with the very low priced Recreation Department programs (the ones that my kids have done year after year…..), the High School sponsored sports camps, or the “semi-professional” sports camps? Should they go all day or half-day? Do any of them conflict with our trips or other summer plans? Am I going to be dropping one kid on this side of town, and the other on the opposite side of town? What will I do with Little Guy while the twins are at Basketball camp? Oh no, I forgot about tennis lessons. T-Man wants to do Football camp, but M-Man doesn’t, and Little Guy is too young.


It’s enough to pull my hair out. I printed out blank calendars for June, July and August. I used colored pencils to come up with different scenarios.   I spent the afternoon filling out registration forms and photocopying immunization and physical records.

I just want everyone to have fun.  I’ll let you know when I get there!

The Kid has IT

Warning: This is a Mommy-Bragging Blog today.

I’m not even sure how to define “IT.” But we’re pretty sure Little Guy has IT.  He’s always been a pretty smart fellow, picking things up, the “how to’s” fairly quickly and easily. A lot of people attribute that to the fact that he has 2 older brothers. Yeeeesssss, I’ll agree, but only to a certain point. 

And although he is brain smart (I loved it when he was 2, 3, and 4 yrs old, and he’d say something amazing and I would ask “How did you know that?” and his response was “My big brain told me.” ), I’m writing today about his athletic IT.

Over the last few years, I have observed Little Guy play sports–usually on the sidelines– while his brothers were practicing/playing with their teams.  And he would do amazing things.  At age 6, he can throw a baseball farther than his bros (or other 9/10 year olds).  He can throw a perfect football spiral. He can hit a golf ball farther and straighter than me (Ok, that’s not saying a lot).  And then there’s soccer….

While we were in England, and T&M were in school, Little Guy and I would kick a soccer ball around the driveway. We did it just about every day (when it wasn’t too soggy in Jolly Ol’ England) from age 18 mths to 3 years of age. His kicks back then were powerful and precise. He just *knew* how to kick the ball around me to score a goal.

Last year, we were fortunate to enroll Little Guy in a soccer league in a neighboring town, because in our town a kid can’t play until spring of Kindergarten year.  The teams were 5-on-5 (or 4-on-4, depending on number of kids who showed up).  There wasn’t a goalie position–all the kids were “on the field.”  My Little Guy would kick the ball, pass the ball, sometimes kick so hard to “pass to himself” and score. And when he was on defense, he would run towards the goal to play goalie and stop the other team from scoring.  He just KNEW. He wasn’t told or taught to do any of it. (and he surely didn’t get this from watching his non-soccer playing brothers)

Last spring, just after he turned 5 yrs old, we were at the driving range while T&M participated in School Vacation Week golf lessons.  At this particular school, you have to be 7 yrs old to participate in the kids’ group lessons.  I had brought Hubby’s clubs with me, and we went to the storage shed to “borrow” a small driver for Little Guy.  Mind you, I’m pretty sure that Little Guy hadn’t golfed any before this day.  We shared a bucket of balls.  Thwack. Thwack, Thwack went his driver against the ball.  Each ball was hit on the first time….and flew…about 25-50 yards.  The Golf School Manager, Mr. B,  happened to be walking by, stopped, and watched.  He was clearly amazed at Little Guy’s consistency.  He came over to me, and asked how old Little Guy was.  I told him 5 yrs old.  Mr. B. told me that if I wanted to sign him up for summer golf lessons, it would be no problem.  (Yes, he was signed up the next day….didn’t want Mr. B to forget his kind offer).

T&M have played Little League baseball for 3 years now.  Last year’s coach had a 5 yr old son as well.  Little Guy and Coach’s son would play catch and hit the ball on the sidelines (Hubby played with them).  There was one practice where only half the team showed up, so Coach allowed his son and Little Guy to participate in practice. They got to play outfield and take batting practice.  When it was Little Guy’s turn to bat, he hit 7 out of 10 balls. And I can say, most of the kids on the team didn’t do as well. 

At yesterday’s baseball practice, Little Guy was full of energy, and he wanted to play too.  Hubby played some catch with him, but it clearly wasn’t enough (I wasn’t feeling too well, otherwise I would have played with him).  He wanted to go out on the field. I wasn’t sure it would be OK, since this was only the 2nd practice of this season, and we didn’t know the coaches.  Well, the team only had enough kids to play the infield. One asst. coach was in the outfield, behind 2nd base.  Little Guy grabbed his glove and stood in the right outfield.  Yes, he fielded some balls and threw them straight-as-an-arrow to the first baseman (twice) and once to the asst coach (Little Guy had to run further into the outfield to chase one particular ball).  Asst coach was amazed at his throwing ability.  Then…batting…..Yup, he was allowed to bat, and both times at bat, he hit a ball towards 3rd base, and he ran to 1st base safely. Each subsequent hitter also made base-hits. When Little Guy ran from 3rd to Home Plate—everyone cheered.

One more trip to the outfield…..this time, he wanted to play 3rd base. Hubby didn’t think this was a good idea, so Hubby grabbed his glove and went to stand behind Little Guy “Just in Case.”  Hubby told me later that Little Guy sensed when/where the ball was going to go before he did and moved in the right direction to catch the ball.

It is so much FUN to watch this kid play ANYTHING.  He’s just a natural. He has great instinct. Great body control. Great hand-eye coordination.  He’s short/small for his age, but clearly it doesn’t seem to matter.  Hubby is trying go make me stop gushing over him–so he doesn’t get a big head and so his brother’s don’t feel bad. I get his point, but it is so hard not too, because I am so excited and proud of Little Guy (and YES, I do praise T&M very much when they play sports).  As long as he keeps his grades up, I will let him play 2 sports/season if he wants to.  Can’t let IT slip away.

Word Up!

I wanted to share a wonderful experience I had with Little Guy today after school.  When we returned home, he asked if we could play Scrabble. I thought he meant Boggle Jr—a game where there are pictures of 3 or 4 letter words, and then he picks blocks with letters to spell the word.  NO–he wanted SCRABBLE.  I suggested that I buy Scrabble Jr for him, which was OK with him, but he wanted to play Scrabble. He said he could spell words now, like A-P-L (he was sounding out the letters).

He came up w/ the first word- COB.  Most words he spelled correctly, and he was allowed to spell words phonetically too.  His words included:  WEB, THE, SET, LIT, TET, TOS (for TOSS), BET, and TAM (short for Aunt Tami). 
I am very proud of him!