4th Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Cindy's famous cookie cakes.

Cindy’s famous cookie cakes.

This year we decided to switch it to a new venue, Welles Park. We are all getting older, which for the kids means less diapers, and for the parents it means weaker bladders, plus a pregnant lady – we needed a place with a bathroom this year!

The park was great, two playgrounds and large open spaces to play with the soccer ball, stomp rocket and kites we brought.

Also, a huge space for the easter egg hunt. Not sure about all squirrels, but the squirrels in this city park were super aggressive. The minute we put the eggs out they were grabbing them and eating them! I just hope the plastic doesn’t do any permanent damage. Luckily, even though we had close to 300 eggs, with 14 kids the hunt was over within a few minutes.

We let the younger kids go a few minutes early. I wasn’t sure which group Ben belonged to but I let him go with the younger kids. Good thing I did, because he decided to sit down and open each egg he got on the spot instead of grabbing as many as he could and opening them later. No amount of explaining could persuade him to change his method.

The Egg Hunters

The Egg Hunters

Compared to last year, when I only had 2 kids, I would have to say this year was much more stressful and less relaxing than in the past. I felt like I spent the entire day counting 1, 2, 3, 4 kids then swiveling my head and doing it over and over again. I don’t think I had a conversation with anyone, and I know when a few of my girlfriends tried to start one with me I walked away mid-sentence because a baby was crying, someone needed something or Ben was puking in the corner.

The twin's own play space.

The twin’s own play space.

Adam feeding Aaron.

Adam feeding Aaron.

Picnic (actually they just had Easter candy for lunch.)

Picnic (actually they just had Easter candy for lunch.)

Even with all the toys, the best game is always 'boys chase girls.'

Even with all the toys, the best game is always ‘boys chase girls.’

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Personal Style

Every baby has their own way of crawling or walking. It is thrilling to watch each kid find their own way when it comes to these important skills.

I remember having quite a giggle when my friend Pam’s second child started walking. His walk was unfortunately labelled, “Project Runway”, for it’s swagger and one hand outstretched to the side with a dangling hand.

These past few weeks I’ve been watching Sam walk. He is the first one of my kids not to go from one piece of furniture to the next, propelling himself in the hopes that he’ll make it there without falling first. Instead he stands up with the help of random furniture, then steadies himself and starts walking slowly, carefully. He keeps his elbows out to steady himself.

I have given his walk the title, “Circus Bear Walking.”



I can’t wait to see what style Aaron will bring us!

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Thursday’s Play Date

Today I watched all the kids by myself all day long.

Watching four kids on my own made me realize something. When there is no one else to count on, I am a lot more watchful and hard working.

As a result of my vigilance, you’ll be pleased to know that there will be no gross poop pictures. All of the poop today landed in the potty or in a diaper.

Luckily my friend Kim was here with her two boys for most of it or we wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Between naps we headed to the park closest to my house, nicknamed “the little park” by the locals. It was a short enough distance that I could carry two babies, and small enough so I could watch four kids at once.

It was patches of extreme busyness followed by times when Kim and I could sit and chat. And there was a time span after Kim left, before Adam came home, around 4-6 where I really, really missed Angelica. But I still managed the dinner for all, baths for all (except me, so far I can count the number of showers I’ve had since Spring Break has started on one finger!), bottles and kitchen clean up.

Picture highlights from today. Because no matter how busy I am, I’m never too busy to take pictures!!!

We made a mess in the basement.

We made a mess in the basement.

Sam showing off his walking skills in the park.

Sam showing off his walking skills in the park.

We played soccer for a bit.

We played soccer for a bit.

Snack and TV time.

Snack and TV time.

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Hump Day

We are over the hump as of today. Only two more days of spring break.

It’s not that I’m not enjoying the time spent with the older kids. I really am. It’s just that we have so many kids, I am spread so thin that I feel like I never do a good enough job for any of them.

Juggling four kids, even with help, is kind of like a nonstop lesson in time management, learning to work under pressure while you are sleep deprived, and an in depth study on cleaning all rolled in one.

Angelica stayed with the twins so they could nap in the morning in their own cribs while I took the older boys to the park to meet the Cameron’s (and Oscar!).

Catching Oscar's Bubbles.

Catching Oscar’s Bubbles.

It was a weird day weather wise that started warmer then slowly got colder and colder. It was still nice to be outside. But by the end we called the play date a little early. Pam had lost feeling in her toes and my fingers were next. The boys didn’t seem to notice, but there was a lot of running so maybe they weren’t as cold.

Yesterday and this morning were so great that I was falsely starting to feeling very confident. So confident that I told Angelica to take the day off tomorrow. We have someone coming over for a play date so I won’t be alone and she has been trying to buy a new car for weeks now, but can never find the time.

Of course, the minute she leaves, bad things happen. I left Ben alone in the bathroom to poop so I could download some pictures and blog a bit. Bad idea. How many of you have asked me when I find time to blog? Well, sometimes I do it when I shouldn’t.

If you think this is gross, be glad I spared you the photo of his backside.

Poop Art.

If you think this is gross, be glad I spared you the photo of his backside.

Adam came home a little early to take us to dinner. I always love to be taken to dinner. Not cooking is such a treat. And sometimes the left overs give me a twofer.

Still going to dinner with four small children is no easy feat. There is always some point in the meal (normally before the wine kicks in) where Adam and I look at each other with tired eyes and wonder what the hell we were thinking taking four yelling, screaming, spilling, puking kids out in public and asking them to sit quietly.

Adam realized tonight he has to check every bill for gratuity because we are now considered a party of ‘six or more’ and sometimes people add it on without bothering to mention it. That’s us, baby. One big, non-stop party.

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Second Day of the Spring Break Marathon

Or that is how I feel. When I think back to what I ate for breakfast today, it seems impossible that it was just this morning.

That is was fifteen hours straight of childcare will do for you.

Today was much more pleasant than yesterday. For a lot of reasons. Today did not involve as much poop as yesterday. And today included a play date with one of Jack’s classmate. Which meant a play date for me as well.

We decided to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. It is 350,000 sq ft, so I figured even with Spring Breakers everywhere, there is no way it would fill up. I was wrong. It was packed. I couldn’t even find parking in the lot.

Angelica watched the twins while I brought Jack and Ben.

My friend Rebecca brought two of her three kids. Jack’s classmate, Luke, and his older brother Nathan. It was really cool to walk around with Nathan. He is 9 and can actually read the exhibits and talk to you about stuff. I hopefully got a glimpse of what it would be like to have older kids. If this is what it’s like, I’m sooo looking forward to it. My sister said from age 6 to 12 is the sweet spot. They are old enough that you can reason with them, but young enough that they still like to hang out with you.

Here are some of the highlights from the day…

Watching the JollyBall.

Watching the JollyBall.

I accidentally corrupt Luke by giving him his first soda.

I accidentally corrupt Luke by giving him his first soda.

Sometime I forget Jack is just a little boy, until he does something like this - holding hands.

Sometime I forget Jack is just a little boy, until he does something like this – holding hands.


Jack and Luke in an airplane engine.

Jack and Luke in an airplane engine.

Look how much we are learning at the science museum!

Look how much we are learning at the science museum!

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First Day of Spring Break

I’ll be honest with you. The thought of spring break scared me. And after today, I feel justified in my fears.

Unlike my normal weekday schedule, where I try not to be with all four kids at once, alone, I knew there were going to be many hours every day where I would be by myself.

Sometimes even with two adults here, bad stuff still happens. No one is sure who is covering who and next thing you know you here screaming from the next room and realize that kid was inadvertently neglected.

I will not go into every detail of this day, but just to give you an idea of how crazy, how absurd, how farcical our lives are, here are the highlights.

It started at 4:50am when Ben woke up.

The morning got going well enough. Ben and Jack were playing so nicely together. I took them to Pump it Up while Angelica stayed with the twins for their first nap.


But that didn’t last long. Within 30 minutes, Ben managed to scrape a sheath of skin off his thumb while sliding on it down one of the slides.

Ice for the Ouchy.

Ice for the Ouchy.

Since Ben woke up so early, I knew he was due for a nap. He fell asleep in the stroller. I bumped him, still in the stroller, up our front stairs and wheeled him into his room.

Angelica, my sitter, left for the day.

Ben woke up 45 minutes later. I put him in his bed and gave him a 30 minute tummy rub. This put him back to sleep.

I ran downstairs and grabbed the twins. The tummy rub made me late for their nap. I quickly put them to bed. Then I help Jack with a computer game.

Next thing I know, Ben wakes up.

The twins only nap 30 minutes. One starts crying, which wakes the other one up. That is definitely not long enough. Especially since the first nap they had with Angelica was short too.

Quickly I run up the stairs, closing both the childproof gates on the bottom and top of the stairs to ensure the older kids don’t disturb me.

I grab both babies, tuck one under each arm and rock them to sleep in the rocking chair. Aaron falls asleep first so I dump him in the crib awkwardly. From downstairs I hear Jack yelling something about Ben not wiping. I ignore it. I need the babies to have good naps, because I know we will be up late for Passover. Finally I settle Sam.

By the time I get downstairs I find excrement smeared in at least 7 different places on the basement rug. Ben is naked from the waste down, patches of brown all over his legs, and dotted on his face and hands. He’s playing with my iPad.

Before I start cleaning, I check out the basement bathroom. Here is what I find….

IMG_4360Oh my, what will the rest of my week look like if this is only the first day of Spring Break? I’m very scared.

In the end I get all four kids dressed and even managed to grill some veggies to bring to the Seder dinner before Adam comes home from work. I did not do it alone. I had some help…

DSC_0258Although we may have looked very put together by the time we showed up at Bubbie’s, I was glad no one had a behind the scenes look of how we got that way. My “shower” consisted of me rubbing some baby wipes over some key areas of my body before changed out of the clothes I had been wearing for two days.

Passover Seder at Bubbie's.

Passover Seder at Bubbie’s.


Passover Seder at Bubbie's.

Passover Seder at Bubbie’s.

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Technology is not that dissimilar to your spouse. Most days they completely enrich your life and you can’t imagine how you ever lived without them. But occasionally, just occasionally, you want to strangle them.

Feedblitz did that to me last week. As I mentioned in my last blog, I signed up for a trial with feedblitz, then cancelled it.

They sent me and email confirming that I cancelled then informed me they would send my subscriptions out for another 30 days free WITH ADS.

After reading over the terms and conditions with my attorney. (Okay, my husband!) I was vindicated that no where does it state that they will do this.

Now my subscribers are getting double emails for who knows how long.

Does anyone else finding it ironic that my rant about Feedblitz today is being sent to my subscribers free of charge by Feedblitz itself?

The last time we had a problem with something on the internet was when we registered for our wedding on Amazon.com. They took our guest’s money, then never sent us the products, twice. Thank goodness we found out! Otherwise our guest might have thought I didn’t send them a thank you note. And as many of you know, I NEVER do that.

Okay, I never USED TO do that. And I still try my hardest NOT TO DO THAT. It does get hard with all these kids birthday parties to keep it straight. At Jack’s birthday, I could not figure out who gave him a beautiful Melissa and Doug wooden puzzle of America. Technically I did send a thank you note for it, but it was to the wrong person. If you are reading this and you sent me that gift, please let me know, I want to thank you.

Anyway, back to Amazon. I spent many frustrating hours writing back and forth to amazon and the third parties they worked with trying to get my stuff. Everyone blamed everyone else. It was always someone else’s problem.

Luckily Adam is an attorney and knew exactly who to rile up to get it fixed. I wrote a few letters with documentation, as he suggested. The next thing I knew, Lisa Madigan’s office AKA the Illinois Attorney General was calling me personally. It was fixed very quickly after that.

This time Adam sent me over to the Federal Trade Commission website. He told me to complain to them under the CAN-SPAM act. You can complain too, you know, if you have a similar problem. Do you have something you want to report? Here is the link Adam found for me: Report Spam. Free legal advice, people!

Now we sit and wait. Hopefully I’ll be updating you soon with positive news.

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The Master Cleanse Again

Before I start this post, I want to apologize to my subscribers for the double emails. I thought I had a problem with feedburner, my original subscription company, because I went online and it said I have ZERO people subscribed. Turns out it was a glitch, it’s all working fine. In the mean time I freaked out, signed up for a trial with feedblitz, then cancelled it. They let me cancel then informed me they would send my subscriptions out for another 30 days free WITH ADS. Thanks. I never agreed to that. Adam asked me if I read the terms and conditions. No, I didn’t. Does anyone read those? Anyway I went back and read them, and I’m still not sure they have a leg to stand on. I’ll have to show it a good attorney. Luckily I know one. I sent them a note asking them to stop, but subscribers might get double emails for the next 30 days. Sorry.

Okay, onto important things. Like my constant struggle with weight. Ha ha ha.

Now that the babies are weaned I have no excuse for this left over baby fat. It’s getting pathetic for people to ask me how far along I am and for me to tell them that I “just had a baby”. (Just a short 10 months ago!)

I knew my diet had to change. But how? The thought of restricting myself to 1200 calories a day for a year to get these last 10 pounds off sounded like a very long, hungry journey. Instead every day I kept putting off the calorie counter, and every day I ate too much. And every day I was unhappy.

I did some research on the internet. Seems like since the last time I dieted, things had changed. Atkins was out. Paleo and IF (intermittent fasting) was in. Neither looked that appealing.

I decided the best way for me to actually feel good was to shed the weight quickly, then watch my diet carefully after that. I know, I know, people say quick fixes never work. But what I wanted was a reset button.

Reluctantly I turned to The Master Cleanse again. You know the diet. The Beyonce diet. The Lemonade diet. You basically drink lemonade for 10 days.

Last Time I did this diet was 2 years ago for 3 days. I lost 7 pounds immediately. I gained some of it back, but overall I was pretty happy with the way I looked for the next few months, and I was much more careful about my eating habits until we started vacation, then I got pregnant.

I don’t think it’s the healthiest way to lose weight, but carrying extra weight, especially in your stomach area, it’s healthy either.

The Master Cleanse does not promote itself as a weight loss tool, rather a way to clean the body and be healthy. So I did feel a bit guilty that my reasons for doing this fast were dubious.

I started the cleanse exactly as you shouldn’t. They suggest easing into it by eating clean beforehand. The day before the cleanse, I cleaned all the cupboards of chocolate instead then went out for dinner with Adam for lobster tails, wine and a chocolate mousse dessert.

The first day of the cleanse I noticed how much mindless eating I do. Jack left a waffle? I’ll just eat it instead of letting it go to waste. Babies didn’t finish this muffin? I’ll just eat the other half. I would graze all that stuff then eat my normal breakfast too. I silently promised myself to be more conscious of stuff I put in my mouth after this fast.

The second day a huge caffeine withdrawal set in, despite that fact that I cheated and had a cup of green tea mid day. Both days, by the end of the day I was exhausted and couldn’t think clearly.

The third day I found myself weak in the knees, trying to play catch with Jack and Ben in the park in the afternoon. I realized that Spring Break was next week and there was NO WAY I could watch 4 kids (even with Angelica’s help) and fast. So, that evening I broke the fast.

I was disappointed I didn’t lose all the weight, but I felt sooooo much better instantly after eating. I don’t think I’ll do this cleanse again. I’d be surprised if I ever enjoy a glass of lemonade again either.

At least I pressed my reset button. So far these past few days I’ve been eating less and, mindful that I don’t want to fast again, I’ve been staying away from naughty snacks.

If I forget how hard it was, I’ll just refer to this blog post. Easier to calorie restrict, I think. Let’s hope it keeps up. Bathing suit weather is 3 months away…

Before, 127 pounds.

Before, 127 pounds.

3 Days later. 123 Pounds.

3 Days later. 123 Pounds. (and less pregnant looking)



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Fresh Picks (Mar 13)

DSC_0160This week I received Black Beans, Onions, Chard, Zucchini, Broccoli, Watercress, Red Pepper & Dill.

The very next day I churned out a black bean soup in my slow cooker, using my slow cooker bible, Slow Cooker Revolution. It called for a ton of onions, so I used the one pictured above.

I was overwhelmed with the amount of dill I was suppose to consume this week.

First I made crab cakes  and threw the red pepper in. I was planning to use dill in the dipping sauce but ran out of time…

Next I used up more dill in a bean salad I saw online. Canned beans of your choice, celery, garlic, and a dill vinaigrette. And the shallots from two weeks ago! I’m still working through those.

I happen to have some pomegranate seeds in the fridge that went great with the watercress. Added crumbled goat cheese and some slivered almonds in a rice wine vinaigrette. And the shallots from two weeks ago!

Zucchini fries for all, dipped in a little store bought marinara.

Steamed Broccoli for the babies.

Finally we sauteed the Swiss Chard in garlic for a side on night.

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More Dinners

Even though my last 25 dinner post didn’t get a lot of comments on my blog, it did get me a lot of comments in person.

People are fascinated with what is for dinner. In fact, when I lived in China, instead of saying “Good morning, how are you?” They say, “Chi Fan La?” (Have you eaten yet?)

I know I’m always looking online and in cookbooks for new ideas. I am always trying to find something the kids will eat! Something with ingredients they like, something that sneaks more veggies in, or makes them palatable in plain site. Something healthy, but still yummy.

So you ready for 25 more dinner ideas? Here are some dinners we have eaten in the last few months…

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