our pad

our pad

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Catch-Up

How is it August already? Summer is just flying by, and I alternate between wishing I could hold  onto the beautiful weather, the endless afternoons, the freedom from schedules, the lazy mornings, the relaxed bedtimes and all the extra time with all five of my kiddos, to wondering how I will possibly survive the next month until school starts with all five of those kiddos! We have been spending almost all of the summer by the beach.  The kids love the change of scenery and the respite that Cape Cod provides.  They have been taking swim lessons and Avery and Ella are close to swimming on their own.  Jameson has been working on his endurance during his Junior Lifesaving class, swimming between jetty's further than I would attempt, and Cam has been perfecting his strokes, while Addie just loves to bop around in the waves or float with her life jacket on.  The kids were so excited to reunite with their summer friends and were able to pick up right were they left off last Labor Day.  The beach is somewhat more manageable this year, although we do have to almost pack up a small Uhaul to get all the toys, towels, umbrellas and chairs down onto the sand, and of course two coolers full of food and drinks.  They all love the water and digging in the sand and are all taken with the sea-life as well. The boys can usually be found swimming out to one of the docks or playing wiffle-ball or pickle on the beach with their buddies or cousins.  The girls are usually busy making castles (or wrecking eachother's), snacking or splashing in the waves. The boys have also been playing baseball for the club and both are enjoying that and I think it is good to have something scheduled to start off each day.  They also love being surrounded by family during the summer months with both sets of grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, and cousins, all doting on them!

Some things I would like to remember from our July at the beach:

Avery and Ella learning to dive underwater
A fun family night at the County Fair
Me establishing a solid running schedule and making it to Bootcamp a couple days a week
Nightly trips to get ice cream and five messy faces and clothes from biting off the bottom of their cones
The boys fishing excursions with Ampa and each enjoying tasting the fish they caught
The girls first motorboat ride with Nanny and Ampa
Biking the picturesque bike path with all the kids in tow
Cam earning enough points to get himself a new bike
Paddle boating and turtle catching out back
Addie speaking so clearly, saying just about everything.  Favorites include "Oh my Gosh" and "Buddamatos" for bananas- the one word she still can't pronounce.
Watching the kids bounce and have the time of their life on the water trampoline.
Nightly bunny-hunts
First trip of the summer to the penny candy store
A rapidly growing sea glass collection now that Avery and Ella have joined their brothers in this favorite past time
Jogs with my Jameson as he trains for his first roadrace
Trips to the aquarium
The four oldest catching crabs while Addie so proudly catches periwinkles
Fourth of July Parade where all the kids loved decorating their bikes and the party after where Jim and I almost won a 3-legged race
Hearing fireworks and the foghorn
A lobster bake with Nanny and Papa.
Jameson taking on the kitchen clean-ups after dinner
Runs along the beach with my hubby
Opening a bottle of wine at the beach at sunset.
Making it to a few outdoor concerts and baseball games in the evenings
Cookouts with friends and family and the kids each eating at least 2 ears of corn at every meal.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Life in Status Updates

Life at the LilyPad through a collection of my recent Facebook status updates...

  • The summer activity and fun on the beach is proving too much for my kiddos. All five are now NAPPING (at the same time)! A swim almost to the vineyard and back for Jameson in his junior life guarding class and a baseball game followed by swim lessons for Cam, did them in!

Followed by this a day later, which explains the napping...

  • What's up with a summer virus? Four children and 1 husband have fallen victim to this latest plague. Shouldn't the summer heat kill those germs and July at least be a sick-free month?

  • Friday night is family pizza night in our house! Glad I don't have to cook in this heat...

  •  Cute? Yes! Terror? Absolutely

Photo: Cute? Yes. Terror? Absolutely!

  • Too much fun in the sun ....

Photo: Too much fun in the sun...

  • Another perfect beach day...I don't think they'll ever get tired of this!

  • Cameron earned himself a new set of wheels...

Photo: Cameron earned himself a new set of wheels!

  • Some work at their desk, some work better under it...

  • I thought sunscreen in the eyes was bad, but nothing is worse than orange juice in the eyes! Poor Addie!
  • My kids are pathetic at Hide n'seek. I mean hiding under a glass table? Really?

Photo: My kids are pathetic at Hide n' Seek.  I mean hiding under a glass table? Really?

  • While it was thoughtful of my 3-year-olds to attempt to help me with the laundry, I'm not sure the clothes were dirty enough to require a full bottle of detergent AND a full tub of Oxi-clean. I also might have been a tad more appreciative of their help had they not stood on the dryer door to reach the knobs, completely breaking it off its hinges. Time to call Maytag...
  • Sign of the times- 
Cameron: "Payphone" has got to be one of my favorite songs out there right now. What's a payphone?
Jameson: Its an iphone that lets you buy minutes as you go along rather than having a set data plan.

  • At Coldplay! Glad I no longer have to say that my last concert was Rod Stewart with my mom or Bob Seigar with my dad (don't get me wrong they were both great shows)!! 

Photo: Coldplay! Glad I no longer have to say that the last concert I went to was Rod Stewart with my mom or Bob Siegar with my dad ( don't get me wrong, both were great shows )!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Worm Girl

She may be wearing a tiara and a pink polka dot bikini, but Ella is no girly-girl.  In fact today she pronounced herself "Worm Girl!" Her favorite activity in the backyard is digging holes in damp shady spots and hunting for worms, which she picks up and plays with in her hands before placing in a little "habitat" she makes just for them. At the beach she is always on the hunt for fish or crabs which she also loves to pick up with her bare hands while the other beach-goers run squeamishly away.  Glad she is a girl who appreciates nature and has fun getting dirty!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Egg-cellent Imaginations!

Silly me for thinking I could actually get something done around the house,while the three girls were awake! We had just gotten home from gym, and rain was moving in, so I thought I better use the time to quickly plant a bunch of hostas which we are relocating from one area of the yard in order to make room for a brand  new deck.  The girls had a picnic lunch outside while I got to work digging.  I worked fast as the three of them played nicely in the fenced in backyard.  Soon the play moved into our playhouse where they were just out of view but I could still hear them carrying on.  They then began making quick trips inside, telling me they had to run and grab their baby dolls.  Soon they were all back in the playhouse, and they informed me that it was their dolls birthday and they were baking her a cake. I thought how nice, what great imaginations they have.  All three were playing so nicely together- I should have known they were up to no good! Soon they called me over to join in the celebration and sing happy birthday, before cake time.  Boy was I surprised to learn that their imaginations were not working overtime- they were in fact attempting to make an actual cake.  In their trips inside they had managed to smuggle out eggs, oil, chocolate syrup and grated cheese (which I guess they thought looked like flour)!  I'm glad I discovered it when I did, before they ate their fill but unfortunately the damage of a dozen broken egg shells was already done!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Backyard Beach Party

Yesterday's beach cupcake post had me reminiscing about a backyard beach party I threw for Cameron about five years ago, before the days of Pintrest!

We hosted a beach party in our inland backyard when his preschool let out for summer vacation. It got everyone excited for the summer and made them feel like they were already at the beach without the traffic or the commute! I used bright colored beach balls as the central scheme for the party then found tableware and made decorations to match.I hung beach balls from a canopy and play structures then made fish and sailboats out of the same bright colors. I filled beach buckets with snacks to anchor balloons and used beach toys as centerpieces.Kiddie pools filled with  play sand concealed seashells and plastic sea animals for a treasure hunt. The children had a blast digging to find the buried treasures.A third inflatable kiddie pool was filled with water for the kids to splash around in and I made a water slide by placing a small step slide into the pool. I floated lots of rubber duckies and plastic bath toys in the water and before the children went swimming they lined up and went "fishing" with a plastic net for a floating toy with their name written on the bottom.I also had a beach ball sprinkler going for the kids to run through and cool off and a specially requested beach themed moon bounce set up in the corner of the yard.While these activities alone would have sufficed at keeping the kids happily entertained for the afternoon, I also set up a craft in the shade for a quieter alternative. For this I had the children decorate sun visors with puffy paint and foam stickers. They took these home along with a pair of sunglasses and package Swedish Fish candies in a bucket as a souvenir.
Since the party fell at lunch time I made a variety of different sandwiches on a wide selection of breads and used cookie cutters to shape them into fish, sailboats and ducks.I served these with Goldfish crackers and fruit salad topped with a tropical umbrella toothpick. For dessert I made a blue jello mold served in a clear plastic fishbowl to look like an aquarium. I used blue raspberry flavored gelatin and made it in layers with gummy fish floating around at varying depths. I covered the top with whipped cream to look like waves, and the kids thought this was so fun to look at and even more fun to eat. I also made a cake decorated with colored goldfish and Teddy Grahams to look like a beach scene.I made bathing suits for the teddy graham cookies using colored icing, blue frosting for the water, crushed graham crackers for the sand, round candies and gumballs for beach balls, Fruit-by-the-Foot for towels and life savers to look like inflatable inner-tube rafts. It rounded-out our beach ball party very nicely! For a fun start to summer try hosting this cool party on a hot summer day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Cupcakes

I made up these yummy beach cupcakes to kick off summer vacation.  I frosted vanilla cupcakes with white frosting, then using blue food gel, turned one half into the ocean.  I stuck in a couple of Swedish fish to make the water come alive.  For the beach half, I crushed graham crackers to serve as sand by placing several crackers in a zip-lock bag, then flattened with a rolling pin.  I finished by placing either a cocktail umbrella or toothpick windmill in the sand.  Just one bite had the kids asking how soon we can head to Cape Cod!


My first baby turned eleven last weekend. I have been a mom for eleven years, and each day is still a new adventure.  I am so lucky to have started this journey of parenthood with my sweet Jameson showing me the way.  He has been a blessing from the start, and most days my saving grace.  With an often stubborn and sometimes defiant toddler, two strong willed preschoolers and a very spirited eight year old, it is so refreshing to have an oldest who does what he is told, is respectful, hardworking, even-kealed, optimistic, patient, and happy.  He is a pleasure to be around and I so enjoy his company and his conversations.  Those conversations have taken on new meaning now that he is interested in discussing wordily events, all things sports or music related and can now chit chat with me as he rides beside me in the front seat! This eleventh year brought him changing classes for the first time, the role of a reggae band member in the play Dear Edwina, a baseball championship for his AAA team, a Yellow Submarine piano piece, an encounter with his favorite professional football coach, trips to New Hampshire, Florida and Myrtle Beach, finishing an Eight chapter Autobiography, taking the face-off on center ice at the Boston Garden with his hockey team, winning the English award for writing in school, serving as an alternate in the district wide spelling Bee, taking in a couple of Red Sox games, and a stellar report card.

  Jameson is so responsible, and I'm not sure if it comes with the territory as being the oldest of five or if he was born this way, but I thank my lucky stars for him every day.  That responsibility means I can trust him to watch his sisters while I attempt to get something done, means he will sit down to do his homework as soon as he gets off the bus from school and means he will set an example for the rest of his siblings. 

My first born is really growing up and which means I have to learn to let go.  I must now give him the independence he has earned.  I let him walk uptown with a friend for the first time the other day; he took a $10 bill with him, bought a small Gatorade and returned nine dollars to his piggy bank.  He wanted a phone for his birthday and now texts with his friends and neighbors.  It is a funny age where he is trying to distinguish himself as the self-reliant middle-schooler, but still needs and wants his mom and Dad.  He can stay home by himself while I run to drop a letter at the post office, is finally able to watch all of his dad's favorite movies with him, texts his friends to say "what's up?" but also hugs me when he walks in the door, falls asleep in our bed and has to be carried into his room, and texts me to say, "I love you mom." Well Jameson, I love you my sweet eleven year old and am so proud of your accomplishments and the young man you are shaping up to be.  You are my star and not only bring a smile to my face each time you walk in the door but inspire me to try harder, laugh more, see the best in people and be the best mom I can be! Hope your twelfth year is filled with nothing but joy and laughter, XOXO Mommy 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful Dads out there, especially my Dad, Grandfather, Father-in- law and husband. My kids are so blessed to have such amazing role models in these men. Their Dad and granddads have sacrificed for them, worked hard for them, shown them the importance of family and loyalty and faith and most importantly love them unconditionally with all their heart.  These grandfathers not only take them fishing, play baseball with them, sit through their ballet shows in the living room, buy them ice-cream or take them to the toy store, but also can install a car-seat in a matter of seconds, change diapers and clean up throw-up, do pre-school drop-off or pick-up, and read bedtime stories. How fortunate are my children to have such a close relationship with their grandfathers!
At thirty-three Jim is celebrating his eleventh years as a Father; Jameson was born on Father's Day.  He has worked so hard for our family but always manages to keep time with his children a priority. Even now with a demanding career, requiring long hours and travel he somehow manages to make it home for dinner most nights, coach both Jameson and Cameron's baseball teams, and Cameron, Avery and Ella's soccer teams. What's more remarkable than the fact that he is willing to take on so much, is the fact that he is willing to come home from these activities, help me get the kids to bed (read them more stories than I do) and only after tucking them in, then sits down in front of his computer to work into the wee hours of the night, to meet his deadlines.  He never goes to bed with out checking on each of the sleeping children and never goes off to work with out giving them a kiss good bye.  What lucky kids to have such an amazing man to emulate. Happy Father's Day- We love You!   

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Funny Little Things...

Oh my! Where do these kids come from?

This is how I found Addie eating her dinner, unbuckled from her high chair and sitting side saddle on the tray.

The girls have been helping me with some planting in the garden. They each got a new watering can which have rarely left their side. In fact they slept with the watering cans the first few nights.  After finishing planting and watering all the impatients out front, I said, "Now girls, we have to remember to feed the flowers everyday, so they grow big all summer long." A few minutes later this is what I find:
They had been generously feeding the plants (that would be goldfish)!!

I said to my littlest helper, Addison, my little wrecking machine,"Remember Addie, we don't pick the flowers, there just for looking at." To which Avery chimed in, "Yeah Addie, you never pick flowers. Its GROSS! And you don't pick your nose either!"

The other day, Addie came into the kitchen with an unmistakable odor. "Addie did you get into Mommy's nail polish?" I realized right away, I had carelessly left in the junk drawer instead of putting away. My girls love to riffle through that drawer as everything in there is a treasure. Holding out her glittery pink hands she smiled, "Yeah Mumma, I paint my nails and I paint the floor's nails too!" Walking into the family room I found all of the nails in the floorboards covered with polish! Can I tell you that nail polish is not easy to get off of hardwood floors. Two-year-olds are just too literal!

Playing outside in the sun last weekend Avery and Ella took it upon themselves to lotion up their baby dolls. The caring little mommies were apparently concerned about the UV index and their dolls fair skin!
I've been trying to be very firm with Addie in the hopes of getting the tantrums and screeeching under control and I think it is just so funny, every time I carry her to a timeout she calls for her brothers to save her,"JJ I need you, I need my JJ."  or "Dubby come get me, I want Dubby." Of course the brothers come running to their baby sister's aid, undermining my timeouts, but it really is sweet!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memorable Memorial Day

We had a great long weekend at the Lily Pad for Memorial Day.  The weather was beautiful and we made a first beach trip of the summer.  Although the water was freezing and I wouldn't stick my big toe in, the kids were happy as clams (no pun intended) to be swimming!  We had a impromptu neighborhood cookout which turned into a full out dance party. Cameron complained his neck was sore the next day and I attributed it to his headbanging along with other questionable dance moves. We got a lot accomplished in the yard, planted some more vegetables, did some landscaping and lined the front garden with pink and white impatients.   It was so nice to have a break from back to back sports games, and it is amazing how much we are able to check off our to do list when not running all over kingdom come, driving to a marathon of activities.
 It was great to have Jim home one extra day, and I took the girls to a dance recital, at the studio where I taught until I had them.  They sat quietly entertained through the full production mesmerized by the costumes, music and moves.  I am so excited to think of them dancing up on that stage in the coming years. As a ballet instructor myself, I so long to have daughters that share my passion for the art.  We finished off the weekend with another cookout and an early bedtime for the kids. Now I'm just hoping that that summer weather returns real soon!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mother's Day

It was a magical Mother's day here at the Lily Pad. I wish it were Mother'sDay every day of the year. I slept in, did no laundry, and put not one dish in the dishwasher.  The sleeping in was huge as we had been at a wedding until one in the morning the night before- my poor hubby! That alone might have sufficed, but there was also a wonderful breakfast of eggs benedict, fruit and yogurt parfait and sparkling orange juice which they had made, waiting for me when I came downstairs. It was all served on a homemade placemat which Jim and the kids artfully decorated with handprints, a colored family portrait and best of all, their reasons why they think I'm special. It was just so sweet. I got flowers and plenty of homemade pictures and presents to keep my smiling all week long. We then went into Aunt Tammy's for a wonderful lunch in the city to celebrate with my mom and the kids were more than happy to play with their cousins. In the afternoon I got to both relax and play some tennis with Jameson- both rare treats! We all had take-out for dinner to conclude my day of rest and appreciation.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

My grandmother had it right when she would say, "Two's company, Three's a crowd." This holds very true with my crowd. I have found that when it comes to my girls- two is the magic number. As soon as the third joins in- the claws come out! When all three are playing together it is not long until I hear, "Addie took something" or "Addie just hit me" because clearly, she is the one being left out or bossed around and we she has had enough, she lets her big sisters know it. When the three are together, the twin bond usually take precedents.  When Addie is not involved in the play, Avery and Ella can play uninterrupted for long durations, using their imaginations to conjer up fantastical palaces, beautiful wardrobes, and are always nurturing mothers to the magnitude of baby dolls all named Gemma.  Addie's is also interested in all things involving baby dolls, and when one of the twins plays with with her and the other is occupied with another activity, the play continues seamlessly forever. They laugh together, talk together, share in imaginative play and it is so refreshing to see. This morning it was Avery and Addie who played together so nicely taking their babies for a walk, having a tea party, changing outfits, pretending to be puppies, while Ella rested on the couch and colored quietly by herself. I could actually get tasks done around the house with out referring all morning long. If only this trio could discover that three is more fun than two, what a happy mom I would be!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Driving Destination

After a busy few weeks complete with Cameron's First Communion, My High School Reunion, a Baptism, Hosting a Baby Shower, helping out with a Wedding Shower, spring sports and activities kicking in to high gear, and a rehearsal dinner and wedding to come this weekend, I am longing for a vacation and thinking back to our wonderful trip to Myrtle Beach in April. In the hectic weeks since our travels, I realized I had yet to post about our trip. We pulled it together last minute yet it truly felt like a vacation in every sense of the word. After looking at the prices of last minute airfares for seven tickets we decided to head somewhere we could drive to. We had heard how family friendly Myrtle Beach is, seen pictures of its beautiful beaches and after consulting weather.com for average temperatures, decided to make this our destination.  We broke up the drive on the way down into three days. We spent one night with Aunt Dar, then an educational and fun day in Washington DC, and a night in Richmond Va, before reaching Myrtle Beach. The kids did great in the car although they didn't sleep as much as I would have liked them to.  They stayed busy with movies, books and new little activities I brought out from time to time. I think I actually liked driving better than flying- the kids were strapped in, weren't bugging strangers, could stop and run when they got restless and I didn't have to navigate an airport.  The hotel was perfect for this gang; nine pools and lazy rivers and beautiful views and access to a long flat beach was just awesome. The sleeping arrangements worked out great- we had a kitchen and living room area, Addie slept in with us and the big kids were in an attached room with bunk beds and a queen. I think they would have slept regardless after such busy, fun filled days in the sun. It was such great family time filled with hours digging on the beach, swimming all together in the pool, floating side by side down the lazy river, trying new restaurants, icecream everynight, an amusement park, mini golf, aquarium and just having fun together with out worries of cooking, cleaning, homework and schedules. I think we all made memories to last a lifetime!