Friday, February 22, 2019

Quick Witted Kids

A few nights ago I walked into the dinning room to hear Ben trying to convince the kids it wasn't appropriate to talk about pooping in someone's (Donald Trump's) face. Their fits of giggles, and Nell's insistence that he deserves it because he's mean, told me they weren't really buying Ben's argument.

Knowing Nell was the primary instigator, I tried to appeal to her sense of logic and reason. "Do you think he'd say, 'Oh, now that Nell Szilagyi pooped on me I'm going to be nice!'?" 

She answered "No," while trying to stiffle her giggle. 

"So would it solve any of your problems?" I pressed.

"Well, it'd solve one." She took a deep breath, "I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom anymore," and then she burst in to laughter. I fought it pretty hard, but it wasn't long before I joined her. 

Honestly, I had to leave the room and call my mom so I could tell her just how funny it was. I'm still laughing out loud over this four days later! That Nell is too smart and too funny for her own good. 

Two nights ago Reid and Ben returned home from scouts. Reid's smile spread across his rosy cheeks -- they'd spent the bulk of their time building a snow shelter -- I could feel his joy.

"Isn't your dad the best scout leader ever?" I asked.

"Yes!" Reid replied enthusiastically, quickly followed by "but he's the only one I've ever had." Ben and I both got a chuckle out of that. He isn't wrong. 


Just now Coraline was telling me her plot to get the snack I kept denying her. She was going to pull a chair up to the counter and then climb on the counter to reach the snack bin. I told her I didn't want her to do that because I thought she might pull the cupboard shelves down.

"I won't," she said as she walked out of the bathroom and closed the door behind her.

"If you do, I'll sell you to the zoo!" I threatened.

There was a small pause before I heard her reply from the other side of the door, "Send me to the penguins." 

Bwahh! They just crack me up! 


And while Mara might not have a quick wit just yet, she still gives us all a regular laugh. A couple weeks ago she started countering every nap and bedtime routine with an "I'm happy Mama! I'm happy."

Her argument never worked and I'd often remind her that you can be happy and sleepy at the same time.

One Sunday after church the kids and I were all finishing up our lunch at the kitchen table when Ben took Mara away to prepare her for her nap. She was crying and crying, per her usual response. 

Reid, trying to beat her to her trope, asked if she was happy. Through tears she responded "No, I crying." We all laughed at her expense as she continued to sob until she was fast asleep three minutes later.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

To Keep You Forever

I love watching my kids grow up, and it doesn't surprise anyone who intimately knows me that I enjoy an 8-year-old more than an infant. I mean, I love holding *my* babies, but not really anyone else's. While I never wish to go back in time, I do -- very often -- wish to freeze time. 

I remember holding Nell and Coraline at various stages and just feeling it so deeply in my heart. I held them and I missed them simultaneously. I whispered things like "I'm going to miss you when you grow up." And I didn't mean grow up and move out of the house. I simply meant, "I'm going to miss two-year-old you when four-year-old you is in full swing (I'll never miss a three-year-old). It was strange to long so deeply for something so present, but I truly felt myself missing the very moment I held them while I anticipated the joy of future months and years.

A couple years ago I frequently begged Coraline and Mara to stay little forever. I often lamented how unfair it was that after four babies, I didn't get to keep at least one of them forever. I repeatedly joked with Coraline that she wasn't allowed to turn 3. I remember one such moment when all four kids were in the room with me. I had Mara in my lap, and I pulled Coraline into my arms. "You two aren't allowed to grow up, okay?" I said as I gently squeezed them. Coraline beamed back at me, as she loved the thought of this. "I want to keep a baby and a toddler forever. Reid and Nell can keep growing up though, because I want to see what comes after four and six." Nell looked at me strangely from across the room and quickly replied "Five and Seven!" and then returned right back to her play. Her response still makes me laugh out loud to this day.

I find myself in that longing to freeze time once again. Mara is an adorable toddler. Coraline (finally out of the 3s) is a budding preschooler. Nell is as wise and kind as ever. Reid is old enough to stay up late and play adult board games with me on Saturday nights. They are each at such enjoyable ages and I'd just like to keep them forever right where they are at.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Siblings are our best friends

Last Tuesday the kids had an absolute ball playing with Ben. Hopefully 100 years from now this video still appears with the story, but incase it doesn't, I'll try to give you the visual.

Some friends gave us a little toddler tent that has plastic balls in them. It's kind of a common toy, individualizing the ball pit fun of my own childhood days (nod to chuckee cheese). Somehow, Coraline discovered the balls fit perfectly in Ben's mouth if you shoved them in just right. Hilarity ensued as the kids spent the next three solid minutes shoving the toy balls into Ben's mouth only to have him shoot them back out at them.

Mara's giggles in this video are just priceless. This was three minutes of pure heaven for these kids. It came on the heels of an afternoon where they'd already all been playing really well together. When we finally got things settled for bedtime I followed Reid and Nell downstairs to read books and tuck them up. They were still giggling about the whole ordeal and Nell asked Reid "Reid, who are your favorite people to spend your time with? I mean, who do you really love to play with the most?" There was a brief pause as Reid tried to figure out the question, and then Nell said "Like, would you rather play with your friends or you family, because I think my family is my BEST FRIENDS in the whole world."

Reid jumped for joy and said "that ball thing was the best 12 seconds of my life." And in that moment right there, my bucket was overflowing. I've remembered that feeling a lot this past week, as it has carried me through some parenting difficulties. My heart is full to realize my kids think the most fun and the greatest happiness they can experience takes place right here in our home. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Kalahari 1 and 2

Early last week we took the kids to Kalahari. This is a little tradition the Brian Szilagyi family has been doing for years. We finally decided to join them in 2017 and couldn't wait to go back this year, in 2018. I'm going to do a quick cap of both trips here.

Coraline had actually thrown up on Friday, but she didn't seem sick at all and no one else caught it by Monday. However, Coraline threw up again Monday morning just a couple hours before we were suppose to leave. Again, she seemed totally fine, so I sort of insisted we just go anyway. Ben was more hesitant, but we'll return to this story a little later.

We arrived around 1 and were at the waterpark by 1:30. Mara was hilarious. We kept saying we were going to go to the pool. When we opened our hotel room she let out the biggest moan of disappointment and threw herself on the floor crying for the pool. Probably doesn't sound as funny as it was, but it cracked me up that she thought a pool was going to be behind our hotel door.

We were only in the pool about 10 minutes before Ben shouted at me that Coraline had pooped her pants. Luckily it was super solid and she was standing out of the water. But it took about 40 minutes to get her all cleaned up and changed and back in the pool. It was only about another 10 minutes before Mara had a poop. Her's was not so solid and -- despite having a swim diaper on -- it was much worse to clean up than Coraline's. Finally, after about 90 minutes of being "at the waterpark" I finally got to swim and have some fun with the kids. We only stayed another 60 minutes or so, and I wasted 20 of that waiting with Nell, Jackson, and Reid for the wave pool to come on, only to find out it wasn't running for the day. It was seriously one mishap after another.

But wait for it.

I took the kids up to the hotel room to get changed for dinner. Just as we were about to go in the room, Mara spotted Ben and ran down the hall to him. She was so excited and full of life. He picked her up and held her just above his face, and she puked all over him. I mean all over him. It was stuck in his beard for a good ten minutes after the initial vomit. Oh my gosh, the look he gave me! He was the one that did not want to deal with kid puke in a hotel.

So Coraline, Mara, and I spent the rest of the night in the hotel room trying to catch Mara's pukes in a trash can. Lou loved watching cartoons in bed with us though. She didn't care at all that she was missing out on Reid, Nell, and Daddy's fun with the cousins. They went out to Famous Dave's for dinner and then hit the amusement park for an hour or two. Brian treated Ben to a fun virtual reality game. Nell went on an upside down ride with Allie. She screamed so loud the attendant turned it off and let her out, ha! Reid had fun on the go cart track and in the laser tag arena with Jackson.

After the first clean up, Mara climbed on the bed and jumped up and down and up and down. I really thought she'd just drank too much salt water. And I was still certain Coraline's pukes were the result of her eating a craft leaf (which I only discovered as she was throwing it up Friday afternoon). But about 8:00 pm Mara started heaving every 12 minutes and it lasted an hour and a half. I was starting to doubt that it was all just a fluke, so we kept her out of the pool the next morning. Ben took the kids to the hotel restaurant for breakfast and then I took them to the pool for an hour before check out.

She did have to come with us to the amusement park for a couple hours before heading home. And that part of our trip is the only time I took any pictures. I'm always nervous about having my phone at the pool, but next year I've got to take it because I want pictures of all the fun they have in there! Nell and Allie just go go go. They aren't afraid of tackling any of the two rider water slides. Reid and Jackson are a little more cautious, but always have fun on the obstacle course and lazy river. Reid and Nell love the outdoor hot tub. And the kid areas are a blast for Mara and Coraline. It's such a fun place to spend a cold winter day.

Anyway, here's some photos from our both this year and last year's trips.

The kids and I were the first ones to reach the amusement park, so I took them all on a ferris wheel ride. Coraline and Nell had a blast, but Reid cried and screamed and had to be held like a baby. Poor boy. Mara liked it so long as Reid calmed down.

Next, we tried some miniature golf, but the kids quickly became frustrated with that. And the moment Jackson and Allie showed up they ran off to play. This gave me the chance to take Coraline and Mara on the merry go round and a little train roller coaster. Lou was loving all of it and could have gone on repeat a hundred times. 

Ben showed up and the whole crew did a big go cart race game where Reid and Jackson were the proud winners. They also did the dark room and some laser tag, but soon the cousins were headed back to Illinois and we were cashing in our tickets for some prizes. We let each kid choose one last thing to do before we left and Nell wanted me to go on a big kid ride with her. We talked Coraline (who was tall enough by .25 inches) and Reid in to trying it as well, but Reid darted away just before they were to buckle us in. I have to admit, I did shout "Why does this scare me just a little bit?" While we were flying through the air. Ben got a good chuckle out of that! 

Despite the pukeys, it was still a fun trip, but maybe not quite as magical as last year. It felt a lot more magical when it was an exotic place we'd never been to before. Plus, we didn't tell the kids about it until the night before. They were so thrilled! When I look back at these 2017 pictures, I can't believe how much they've changed in just one year. 

Two things worth noting about last year's waterpark trip. The morning of checkout was a blast. We got there right when it opened and Reid, Nell, and I each tried the surf ride. Nell actually did really well and rode the waves for a bit. Reid didn't enjoy it as much, as he basically just rode down and then shot back up super hard and fast. I was a big chicken and took way too long to just jump on the board and do it, but it was pretty fun in the end. The other thing I remember enjoying so much was the 20 or so minutes Ben and I got to spend together. We must have just left Mara and Coraline with Brian and Jamie (actually, now that I think about it, I think we left Mara back in the hotel room with Julee and Gwen). We went on the coaster slide together and he challenged me to do the toilet bowl slide (that's not the actual name, but it is the more accurate name). It was fun to run off together and act like kids in the park for just a few minutes. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

My First Decade of Ornaments

Years and years ago I wrote about my family's tradition of gifting ornaments each year. I have the details of a few sporadic ornaments hanging about in the archives of this blog somewhere. But this is the year I'm just going to get them all up on here and call it good! Don't believe me (I mean, I've made a million promises to start blogging again and again)? Well, today I give you 1982 - 1991.

I'm fairly confident my mom and dad would say this ornament, bought just a handful of weeks after I was born, has turned out to be oh so true! Matthew, Jonathan and I each had ball ornaments for our baby's first Christmas, and I always thought they were just the fanciest of fancy ornaments! 

"An angel because you are our little angel!" Now that I've had four of my own 1-year-olds, I'm not so sure about this ;) ha! I always thought she was such a pretty angel. The stars fell out of her bucket somehow, and that glue isn't holding them together (just altering their color), darn it! I may just have to toss her soon, which is part of my motivation for snapping a photo of all of these! 

This has to be one of my favorite write ups: "Tole Painted Gingerbread boy made especially for you by mom, and given to you because we were too poor to purchase anything this year (you actually got it a couple years later when we realized we hadn't purchased anything for you that year)." It's that parenthetical part that really cracks me up. I'm so curious, did she paint them this same year? Did my older brothers receive them this same year? I know we all have one, and I definitely remember them hanging on our own Christmas tree each year.

Also, I still can't believe my mother painted these, as I have no memories of her crafting when I was a child (I do remember her coloring about the time I hit double digits and I know she crochets and cross-stitches now, but ...). Even as a child, I could not wrap my head around my mom hand making so many of the Christmas decorations in our home, with the exception of our stockings. For some reason, I always trusted and believed she had made those. 

I chose this creche all on my own as a newly minted 3-year-old. That's kind of hard for me to believe, but that's always been my favorite part of this simple and gorgeous nativity ornament. I thought I'd lost it at some point and my mom scoured Ebay for one, but sure enough mine turned up just as the backup she purchased arrived. Now it's returned to her full circle! My own memory always told me this was the year my dad had written they were too poor to purchase ornaments, thus letting us each choose our own from their tree. 

Earlier that summer my position as the only daughter was solidified. I can tell my childhood is back in style, because this little stocking girl is adorable to me right now. 

However, as a kid I know it was the details on this little crayola box and those (once thought adorable) mice that I was fascinated by (once thought adorable is in parenthesis because I cannot stand mice anymore -- even fake ones like these -- UCK!) Anyway, my dad wrote "Crayola because you love to color."

"School house because you LOVE school!" I still remember so carefully taking this one out of it's box each year so I could hold it in my hands, just for a bit, before we had to put them all away again. I remember how well that flag fit into the box, shaped just for the school house. And now it's barely hanging on by a string (of glue). 

I broke this one before I ever even got to put it on my own tree (honestly, I probably broke it just a year or two after I got it). It was such an adorable little toy to me! But let's take a minute and discuss the fact that I was given this telephone ornament because "You and Haley love to talk on the phone." Seriously?!?!? I know we did, but that habit started in first grade, after we'd just turned 7! That's crazy to me. 

The details from this year read: "Lights and motion with the banister because you needed a light in motion one and we liked this one best." It was always so fun to see that little brother and sister pair sliding down the banister when I plugged it in each year. The lights Ben and I have on our tree now aren't compatible with this, darn it. 

"Bear on Chest" is Pa wrote for this one. I suppose the writing on the ornament itself "Merry Christmas to a Fine Daughter" speaks for itself. This is another one that struck me as super adorable when I pulled it out this year. 

There's my first 10 Christmases. Come back tomorrow for the next 10!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Leaves and Snow

We enjoyed one beautiful Saturday where we were all able to work outside together, raking up the leaves. It felt kind of defeating though, because as I looked up at our trees, I saw even more leaves still clinging to the branches. But the weather was going to change and it was our best chance to be outside without freezing.

Leaves, leaves everywhere.

My crew of helpers

The big kids raked this nest up by the ditch all by themseles

The little girls enjoyed the pile I raked between the two big maples up front

Well, the weather did change. A wind (and rain) came in that night and knocked all the leaves off our three red maple trees and started shaking things off our two huge silver maples. That whole week was pretty chilly and by my birthday morning we had our first snow.

They were out playing by 6:40am

See what I mean by still clinging to its leaves?

Yup, all our leaves were still sitting in huge piles, waiting for the rest of their family and friends to finally fall and join them. Tomorrow is the last day for leaf pickup, and I can tell you that our silver maples still have a good amount of leaves on them.

If finally reached above freezing on Thursday, so I mowed everything up and bagged it. Well, almost everything. I still have the two big piles up front to mow and bag. I know we've lived here 7 Falls, but the amount of leaves that fall, and the lateness with which they fall, still just always amazes me. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Little Creator

Reid is such a creator! I took the kids to the local kids museum yesterday and he was making something every chance he could: paintings, spiders, balloon people, and legos. 

Spider and painting not photoed

We found his friend Millie while we were there!
 Even for the car ride up, he packed a clipboard, construction paper, a pencil, tape and scissors. He created some snowflakes for his sisters and then made a scorpion out of the scraps. Seriously, it's a 20 minute drive ... but he needed to keep busy by creating!

He's been creating masterpieces in art class as well. For weeks he kept telling me about his paper mache scorpion. He also started talking about shrinki-dinks. I could tell he really loved both projects. And a couple weeks ago we learned his shrinki-dink butterfly was going to be spotlighted in a district wide art show at the masonic temple. Our whole family was so excited to go support him in this honor. Well, Nell's excitement wore off pretty quick when she saw a couple of her friends (Elsie and Addy) and her brother getting all the spotlight. Man, life is hard when you're six. Hopefully she works hard enough to be spotlighted soon as well!

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