Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 Netherton Relay Race

We've been to the Netherton Relay's for the past 4 years. It started with Alyssa in 4th grade and since the relays have been extended to the lower grades, this is now Manuel's second year. Every year it has more excitement than the last (or maybe I'm just a proud, overexcited mom). Every year, the Netherton Relay's get more organized which has made it progress faster. That my friends, is a great thing, when you have 5 kids in tow. However, we still had to wait 2 hours before Manuel's race began.

These kids start training weeks in advance. They have to try out, wait to get selected based on their running times, and if they don't make it, each grade has at least two alternates. It's a lot of fun to see them train and get so amped up. In our neighborhood, 3 kids were in the relays so they were always training after school.

Manuel and his friend/fellow runner/neighboor Daniel.

He is such a great young man.

That's right baby! Waiting for the Race to start.

However, in the interim, I had 3 boys and 1 girl to entertain. Alyssa found some cousins and friends and off she went. Isaiah found a friend...

Wasn't too convinced...

Then played hard to get.

Aiden and Michael decided to play in the dirt. Freshly bathed and all 'cause you know, it's better to play in the dirt squeaky clean.

Finally, the 3rd grade boys are brought out.

Making sure the shorts won't fall off.

Last second prayers. He even said so.

Isn't he awesome? His school placed 4th. They did an amazing job and received so much love from school staff and parents. This is the last picture of the race I took because I was too busy cheering him on from the sidelines. Sorry.

I am so proud of you. You made your school proud. And did I mention how proud of you I am?

See you at next year's race baby.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Easter Business, Tithing, and Nut Wedgies

Easter was fun this year. A little sad that I had to kind of force the two older ones to participate. Manuel was hell bent on whispering to anyone that would bend over and listen that he knew the Easter Bunny was not real and that he has known this since first grade. I told him to shut his trap if he wanted to participate in the festivities. Worked like a charm. Alyssa was more the "I'm too old to be hunting for eggs" type. She changed her mind real quick once she saw me stuff the eggs with money and chocolate.

Easter festivities started Saturday with a nacho lunch outside while I prepared the egg coloring supplies inside.

G-ma Bell, your love of books has been passed on.

Aiden tried the new Minute Maid Orangeade juice drink. That's his 'I love it' face.

Manuel, the non-believer, had the most fun and painted the most eggs. Isaiah was a little upset when he couldn't get the paint off of his fingers.

Michael and Alyssa had a great time too. She didn't want to do this but I made her.  Just because I can. And she ended up fighting for more eggs at the end.

155 eggs. Compliments of Grandpa the Easter Bunny. Stuffed by momma. At 2 am. Because these kids would not go to sleep.

The Easter Bunny did not do baskets this year. I was worried they would flip out. They didn't even notice.

While I was getting them dressed and ready, I apparently pulled Michael's pants to far up. He promptly responded by pulling them down and telling me I gave him a nut wedgie. Yeah. He said it. Nut wedgie. It took me a moment to process that one before I proceeded to roll on the floor. Laughing hysterically.



Isaiah wasn't sure what was going on. However, once an egg was opened for him and he ate the chocolate, he actually pushed his brothers out of the way to get to an egg. 

Funny story. I found this new set of gold colored utensils at a thrift shop. My kids loved them. It was all they talked about and currently all they will eat with. From the oldest to the youngest. Silly kids.

Checking out the loot.

Oh, I love this boy.

Out of 11 pictures, this was the only decent one. Just saying.

Easter egg hunting was followed by a Nerf war. Isaiah won.

Then nap time.

Followed by a water ballon fight.

And then dinner time. BBQ chicken, rice, beans, and potato salad. Their favorites.

My non-believer now believes.

This boy and his hair. Love them both.

The evening church service was so beautiful. With the incense, and water blessing and the simple routine of mass. And also apparently not filled to capacity which the Priest made sure to point out. Comical I tell you. Also comical was the fact that my son, Michael, decided to whisper very loudly to his sister that he was keeping the $5 dollar bill and only tithing his $1 bill. Yeah. That was my son who chose to proclaim this while the entire congregation was feeling a moment of silence. Super.

Even after that interesting church service, Easter rocked. Loved my boys and my girl. Enjoyed my boys and my girl. And loved them some more. 

Happy Belated Easter.

I know, I know, mom...better late than never.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One Huge Warm Pacifier

There is nothing better in this world for me than nursing my kids.

Ask any momma, and she will tell you that it is a very time consuming, self-less but beautiful thing to do. Isaiah will be two in July. I don't see us parting ways anytime soon. And that is ok with me.

I use to think about all of the things that I had to get done while I was nursing. I could be using this time to wash that ever growing pile of laundry, or scrub the bathroom from top to bottom because let's face it, with four boys, I really should be scrubbing it three times a day, and I'm lucky to get to it once or twice a week. The to-do list is never ending and the constraints on my time are more noticeable now with a wide range of ages present. 

With these last two kiddos, I learned to enjoy and appreciate nursing. Those eyes that have no other recourse but to stare directly into mine is something that I will never take for granted. The way their little hands caress or grab onto my shirt like they never want to let go packs such a powerful punch it brings tears to my eyes. Of course it's probably just a reflex on their part if they feel me moving away, but still, it never fails to move me.

Now, I think of all the things that are happening right now. Like the eyelashes that slowly move up and down. An obvious indicator that sleep is just around the corner. To me it signifies the end of a morning that was spent playing and eating and laughing. Or the evening rituals of bathtime, lotioning little bodies, and tucking ourselves into the corner of the couch for some time together.  And those smiles. The crease in the corners of the mouth, smiling, but never allowing for his lips to break latch. That makes me smile just thinking about it.

As I was commenting to the pediatrician on how Isaiah still wakes at night to nurse, he kindly suggested that if I wanted to get a good night's rest, then I should stop nursing. His exact words were, "You are just one huge, warm pacifier to him."

So true.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Best Flour Tortillas Ever

My momma is one of the best cooks I know the best cook i know. How's that for butt kissing? Seriously, she gets down in the kitchen. So, when I had a hankering for homemade flour tortillas, the woman of the hour came through. Again. Let's just say the kitchen and I have a healthy respect for each other. She, the kitchen, promises not to burn me and the casa down and I promise to stay away as much as possible after cooking 3 simple meals a day.

My helper extraordinaire:

Do you see Aiden's little hands in the dough? For such a camera hog, he refused to take pictures that day. He told me he had 'crazy hair'. He wasn't kidding.

Just dawned on me that Isaiah has the same 'crazy hair'.

G-ma Bell, are you proud?

They were both so concentrated on making their tortillas, they amused themselves, as in alone and not calling for me, for 1/2 an hour, which made me: Winning! (Let's channel Charlie Sheen here.)

I ended up the loser though. Since I made these decadent 33 grams each of carbohydrate induced saucers, the spawn have since decided to boycott prepackaged flour tortillas for homemade flour tortillas. Major loser. 

Mom, if you're reading this - don't. Wait until Mother's Day.

I took pictures of these fabulous kids of mine. Just a little something for Mother's Day that is looming ahead. Do you know how hard it is to make sure 5 kids look at the camera at the same time? Without losing my sanity? Just saying.

As you can see, some of us did lose our sanity.

Oh my, how in love with these people am I. Makes it almost worth my loss of brain cells.

This boy has me wrapped around those grubby, chubby, little hands of his. I wouldn't have it any other way. At this very moment in time I write with him in my arms...nursing, drifting off to sleep.

We are fortunate to live a block away from some gorgeous vineyards. This old red barn was just asking to have its picture taken with my brood. Unfortunately you won't really get to see the vineyard as these kids refused to take pictures with the 'grapes'.

And just for the record, I brushed and tamed Aiden's hair. However I firmly believe it has a mind and life of its own.

My lovely girl.

Can I just take a moment to say how thankful I am to have this child as my daughter?  I am. She is the greatest.

There you have it. My best try. Mom, if you saw these pictures act surprised on Mother's Day, mmmkay?