My Benefactor

I have a secret hook up. A sponsor. A benefactor, if you may.

Like a little elf, she brings me super cute twin clothing and leaves it on my door step.

New outfits for the twins.

New outfits for the twins.

She has twins two years older than our twins. And she has very nice taste in clothing. We are very appreciative indeed! Thanks Tami!

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Memorial Day Conclusion

Well, I made it through the day. But by the time Adam arrived home I could barely talk to him.

That night as we lay in bed, I told him why.

I was disappointed. With myself. I spent the entire day keeping the kids clean and fed. I broke up their fights. I reprimanded bad behavior. I cleaned up toys, I nagged them to clean up more toys. It was a job any babysitter could have done.

I felt bad that I couldn’t take them out some where to have a new experience. That I couldn’t get on the ground and play with all of them, or any of them for that matter. I couldn’t get them to behave better using positive reinforcement because I didn’t have time to step back and find things to positively reinforce.

All I could do was the bare minimum. And the bare minimum kept me on my feet all day long, running from problem to problem. I felt stretched as thin as I could go.

So what do you do when you feel like a bad mom?

For me it’s like any other bad habit. If you fall off the wagon don’t beat yourself up.  Just get up, dust yourself off and get back on.

Today the older boys went to school. I let the laundry sit in the dryer in the morning and tickled tortured the babies instead. In the evening I sat and joked with Ben while he bathed instead of cleaning up the dishes in the kitchen. And I let Jack fix the printer ink, something he had been asking me to do but I know I could have done faster and with less anxiety. I also sat with him and discussed monster trucks, letting him make a bracelet of them on my arm instead of cleaning the toys in the basement.

And, in case I wasn’t sure I was doing a good job, I found a show called, ‘Extreme Moms’ and got a good dose of people with mom’s so inadequate they made a reality show about it.

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Memorial Day

This has been a crazy month for Adam. For some reason it seems like, whenever there is a holiday, Adam has a deal on. Today was no exception.

He woke up and left for work immediately.

When he returns, I’m not sure if will recognize his own house.

While I was folding laundry the twins decided to pull down all the books.

While I was folding laundry the twins decided to pull down all the books.

Then they took apart the tupperware drawer.

Then they took apart the tupperware drawer.

Next they tore this cupboard apart.

Next they tore this cupboard apart.

The older boys were not to be out done by the twins. If the twins ripped through the house like a hurricane, then the older boys were more like a tornado…

Jack and Ben pulled all their bedding and stuffed animals into the kitchen to make a huge 'nest'.

Jack and Ben pulled all their bedding and stuffed animals into the kitchen to make a huge ‘nest’.

Then Ben decided he wanted to dress in Jack’s clothes. So they ripped all Jack’s clothes out of their drawers looking for something red for Ben to wear…

Jack helps Ben get dressed in his own clothes.

Jack helps Ben get dressed in his own clothes.

While this was happening, the twins descended on the nest…


At this point I decide to check the time. It’s 9:30am.

Oh my, it’s going to be a long day…

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Another Hectic Day

The morning started at 5:15am. Only this time it was not one of the kids waking me up, it was Adam.

He was getting up this early by choice. He was running the Soldier Field 10 race. If you are into running, it’s definitely one of the cooler races in Chicago. You end the race on the 50 yard line of Soldier Field, where the Chicago Bears play.

It was a good thing the race was so early, because we needed it to be over so we could make it to the suburbs for a Bar Mitzvah at 10am.

Planning was very precise. I packed everything I could and showered the night before. This morning Anjelica arrived at 8:30am. I exited 15 minutes later, and circled the streets just north of the race until I spotted Adam. Then we drove straight to Northbrook.

Adam changed in a parking lot 5 minutes from the Temple. His ‘bath’ consisted of a full body wipe down with baby wipes. Now every single member of our house has been given a bath this way, a method introduced to me by my friend Heather in Alaska who didn’t have kids at the time, and also didn’t have running water.

We made it to the temple just as the ceremony was starting. Payton Isberner was getting bar mitzvahed. His father and Adam have been friends since high school. Trips, shared jobs, bowling teams, racing competitions, and so much more. They have been a part of each other’s lives forever, but perhaps nothing says how deep it runs more than the fact that they were both the best man for each other’s weddings.

It was a beautiful ceremony. Payton gave a poignant yet humorous speech about the importance of his Tzedakah. Often, as part of their bar mitzvah, children will do an act of charity, called Tzedakah. He spent time volunteering at an Alzheimer’s facility.

Payton with his cousins Holly and Erin.

Payton with his cousins Holly and Erin.

I couldn’t help but relate it to our own lives. Jack is half way to having his own bar mitzvah. If the next 6 years go as quickly as these 6 years went, that will feel like it’s happening practically tomorrow.

With Vonda and Michelle.

With Vonda and Michelle.

Afterwards we were treated to Kaddish by the Isberners. It was great to see some friends I haven’t seen in a while. Sober. I think the last time I stood next to these two (see photo to the left) they were propping me up for my 40th birthday celebration.

Then off in the car again. I drove while Adam sat in the passenger seat in his suit, with his metal from the race around his neck, taking a work phone call. Talk about multitasking.

We arrived home, I relieved Anjelica (who seemed surprisingly unstressed about the entire day) while Adam worked for another hour in the car. I packed up the kids again and then we were off to Hamish’s 3rd Birthday. Adam barely had time to get out of his suit. Oh, and he took another call while I drove over.

More multi-tasking!

More multi-tasking!

Pam outdid herself, as usual. She put out a huge spread of yummy food for a very thoughtful monster themed party…



Store bought cakes made special with Pam's creative touches.

Store bought cakes made special with Pam’s creative touches.

There were also home made monster balloons that I caught the kids carelessly popping in the basement. And probably more that I missed because I was too busy chasing the twins.

And now my friends, I think it’s time to sit on the couch and prop my feet up for a few minutes. Soon it will be time to go to sleep, then wake up and do it all over again.

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Lower Standards

On Tuesday Angelica was sick (with a cold we gave her!) so I was on my own with the four kids again.

This time around I didn’t rush right home, but stayed out in the playground for over 2 hours.

I figured out how to cover the four kids on my own. Sort of. The trick is to just lower your standards.

Ben’s teacher Ms Sara said, “I don’t know how you do it.”

Well, as you are saying this to me, Aaron is eating dirt, Sam is climbing stairs with no one spotting, Ben is running around without his shoes off, and Jack is climbing on top of the garbage can.

Rare moment when the twins were NOT running in opposite directions.

Rare moment when the twins were NOT running in opposite directions.

But nowadays my standards are so low that none of this bothers me. As long as no one is crying, choking, or getting abused by other kids in the park, we’re good.

The Hutchinson Boys join us for it bit.

The Hutchinson Boys join us for a bit.

Or maybe it’s not lowering your standards. Maybe it’s just luck. If nothing goes wrong, you will be okay. The next day Angelica was back and I down to having only 2 kids in the park in the afternoon. I’m glad, because if this happened when all four were around I’m not sure I would have handled it with such good humor…

Jack after stomping in a mud puddle.

Jack after stomping in a mud puddle.


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I finally got it. How this new form of social media is different from Facebook or Twitter.

Actually I still can’t figure out Twitter. Maybe it’s because I’m not that into music, and the top 50 most followed people on Twitter are almost all musicians. I have an account, but I hardly ever check it because there is nothing interesting on it. And nothing interesting is on it because I haven’t picked interesting enough things to follow.

Now Facebook, Facebook I get. Facebook is about the things that happen in your life. It’s about what you believe in, what you think is funny, or sad or interesting in some way. It’s you, together with your friends both past and present that led you up to this point in life.

If Facebook is about where you’ve been, Pinterest is about where you’d like to go. Doesn’t mean you’ll always get there. It’s like a wish list of who you want to be. It can be practical like recipes or kids crafts, or it can be vacations you want to take, books you want to read, or even a collection of things you find funny.

It’s anything on the internet you find but don’t want to lose again.

It is the bookmark bar you wish you had. And now you can.

Have you tried it yet? Because after my emails and Facebook, the next place I turn is now Pinterest.

Just be careful. It’s highly addictive…

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Muffins with Mommy

Things have been busy for Adam lately. Since we are interdependent, this means I have been busier too. More time spent on work means less time spent parenting for him, and therefore more for me.

The past couple of days I’ve been pushing the kids along mostly on my own in the morning. It is an incredible feat to get four kids that are so young dressed, fed, ready for school, and pack the lunches each morning. All while trying to keep them from fighting, crying or both. I’m always surprised we aren’t late every day!

When this happens, Adam often apologizes for not being more helpful as he rushes out from where ever he has managed to find a quiet spot in the house to make his work call, read his document or whatever was due yesterday. Then he hurries the older kids in the car, his back laden with backpacks, school projects, and whatever else needs to be brought to school that day.

Although I find it stressful and wish he could help more, I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND that he is doing as much as he can. That he has stretched himself as thin as he possibly can which is pretty thin by anyone’s standards.

And sometimes, when I stand in his shoes, I want to say to myself, “Are you upset about the money I’m making from this job? Or are you upset because I pay for help during the week so your occasional morning with all four kids seems hard?” (It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?)

Adam would never say anything like that to me. Which is very lucky that I’m not earning the money. I don’t think I would make such a kind husband.

Still, all this busyness sometimes makes us forget things. Four kids schedules are a lot to keep up, and when something new is thrown into the mix we get even more overwhelmed then our normal state of overwhelmingness.

Like this morning when Adam came out from the bedroom as I was packing lunches and declared, “I have already billed 3 hours today.”

Then he looked at the clock and said, like he says every morning around the same time, like a line from a cheesy 80s sitcom, “We got to get to school or we are going to be late.”

A vision of Bart Simpson saying “Ai Caramba”, Norm saying, “Afternoon Everybody”, Tattoo yelling, “The Plane, The Plane”, and Larry from Newhart saying, “I’m Larry. This is my brother, Darryl. This is my other brother, Darryl.” all flash through my head briefly.

Then next he says something different. “Wait, isn’t today ‘Muffins with Mommy’ at Ben’s school?”

Crap! That was today? I checked the calendar. Yep, from 8am – 8:30am. I checked the time. 7:47am.

I was half way through cutting a PB&J. I still had my pajamas on. I hadn’t even put in my contacts. There was a twin crying at my feet, wanting to be held.

Adam graciously offered to take the twins to Jack’s school while he dropped them off. I threw on the closest thing I could find and hobbled as quickly as a woman in her 40s wearing a boot could over to Ben’s school.

We made it, just…


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Lots of changes have been happening here, and I thought I’d give you a little update…

The warmer weather is a change in itself, seems like everyone is happier now that we can spend more time outdoors in the sunshine. And it’s a keen reminder that summer is just around the corner.

What have we been doing with this warmer weather?

Jack has started soccer and baseball again. A few weeks ago he played against his buddy Angus as they are not on the same team this year. It was very cute to watch Angus running from second to third base while Jack waved as he passed. As 6 year olds, they have started to actually follow the rules. People can get “out”, not everyone gets to run the bases no matter what.

IMG_4449Jack’s soccer team is coached by two soccer enthusiast and as a result they have a killer team this year. Each game is a blow out! Jack is learning a lot, and has even managed to score some goals.

DSC_0755Jack has been better about his big brother status with the younger kids, even Ben.

Jack teaching Ben to Ride a Bike.

Jack teaching Ben to Ride a Bike.

Playing at Adam's Park with Sam.

Playing at Adam’s Park with Sam.

Ben has started a phase where he talks about wanting to be a girl every day. Some days he won’t answer us unless we call him, “Jackie”, the female version of his idol, Jack. He’s quite a bruiser, so I’m not sure what it all means. I still see him play “Hulk Smash” with his toys, or have the dinosaur obliterate a tower he’s just built, then he’ll go and try to wrestle Jack or Papa to the ground. He’s got a crush on Abby, a girl in his class. We shamelessly use it to get him to go to school every day, “If you don’t go you won’t see Abby, will you?”

We are screwed for next year.

Everything is better with Abby around.

Everything is better with Abby around.

Sam has reached a whole new level of mischief. Anywhere I turn he seems to be. Like climbing up to the top bunk in the bunk beds. Anything new I have around the house he finds instantly and plays with. I found the boot I use for my stress fracture in a plastic play tunnel the other day…

My tupperware drawer.

My tupperware drawer.


Aaron is still running a fever. He is on day 5, which I find slightly alarming but I have brought him to the doctor’s office twice and he checks out fine. Poor guy has been a coughing, tired mess this week. Apparently there is a bug going around lately that lasts 7 days, let’s hope it’s that and nothing more serious.

The twins also graduated to big boy car seats this month, they seem to really enjoy them, though I find it challenging to get them in and out of the car now. My new method is to carry them both at the same time, one of each hip, trying to close and open doors without any free hands. It’s quite comical, and if I could I would take a picture of it. But for now you’ll have to settle for a car seat shot…


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Twin’s One Year Check Up

Adam and I took the twins to get their one year check up today. Both twins had to forgo their shots. Aaron has been running a fever for 3 days and when he arrived at the doctors office it clocked in at 101°. They gave him some liquid medicine, which he refused to swallow, but they some how managed to get down. I know because 10 minutes later I was holding him over the sink as he almost threw it up.

We knew Aaron was sick. But Sam surprised us with another ear infection in the same ear he seems to keep getting them. He has been sleeping through the night and seems pretty happy so we had no idea. They prescribed him a course of antibiotics.

As far as measurements, turns out Sam has overtaken Aaron in weight, but in height Aaron measured taller.

Aaron’s height was 31 in, in the 85%. His weight was 21 lbs 5 oz, in the 50% and his head count was 47 cm, in the 75-90%.

Sam’s height was 30 in, in the 50%. His weight was 22 lbs 8 oz, in the 75% and his head count was 46.2 cm, in the 50%.

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Mother’s Day 2013

I haven’t blogged in a while. I realize 4 days blog free are not a lot for most bloggers, but it seems like most days I have something I feel like writing about.

People often ask me where I find the time to write a blog, and I’m not sure how I do it. But somehow I always do, and I do it a lot, so the 4 day silence must mean that I really didn’t have any free time AT ALL. Because with 4 small, active boys, you can be pretty sure that something worth mentioning happened in the past 4 days.

Well, Adam was in New York and he overlapped Angelica’s holiday. So I spent a lot of time with the kids on my own. I was pleased to see I could do it if I needed to, but much more pleased that I don’t have to.

To recap, there were cuts, bumps, scrapes, and even a bout of pink eye. There was fights, wrestling, nagging, warning, and punishing. There was an embarrassing amount of take out and pre-packaged meals. I picked up older kids from school while lugging twins with. At Jack’s school the twins took off running in opposite directions and I was unable to cover them properly. Luckily one of Jack’s classmates, Taylor, watched Sam for me. And at the end of each day, there was the satisfaction of having worked a very full, long day followed by the dread of doing it again tomorrow.

But I’m glad to report we are all doing relatively well. And I’m ready to blog about the actual title of this post – Mother’s Day.

37060_10151592837676506_460770693_nAdam asked me what I wanted from Mother’s Day and I sadly realized all the things I wanted to ask for were unachievable.

1. Time off without guilt. I know this time in our lives is short. The kids are not going to be this young and needy forever. But right now my hours are 5am until 7 or 8pm at night, seven days a week with frequent night wakings. This many kids really needs two people to cover them most of the time. And sometimes even that isn’t enough. Which is why, when Adam offered to watch the kids in the afternoon so I could do something, I refused. I know I find it difficult to watch all of them alone, and I certainly couldn’t relax and feel happy knowing I put someone else through that.

2. Well Behaved Kids. Need I say more about this? Wouldn’t it be great if, on mother’s day they all dressed themselves, wiped their own butts, didn’t argue, didn’t cry, didn’t make a mess? I think I heard Adam say at least 20 times today, “Remember the conversation I had with you yesterday about being a good boy for Mommy today?”

3. A job with holiday. No, not mine, that will come. I wish Adam’s job respected things like holiday, time off, and family. I’ve seen him wake up at 3am to get to work so he’ll be home by 3pm in time for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve seen him work every holiday we’ve ever been on. On the way to the hospital to deliver Jack we stopped by his office where he handed his secretary a stack of papers. She handed him an even bigger stack back. And today I watched sadly as he struggled to play super mom, super dad and super attorney in order not to let anyone down.   I remember my sister telling me about comedian Ray Romano’s argument with his wife. She used to complain about how much he worked. His reply was, “Go cry in your money bags.” So, I’m aware how awful this sounds, because I totally appreciate every single cent that he gets from that job. It affords us a very nice lifestyle. And for that I’m grateful. It’s just the no time off thing that bothers me.

4. A flat tummy. I know part of this tummy is just extra calories, but before I had kids it seemed like carrying extra pounds looked like I was generally bloated. Now extra pounds looks like I’m incubating another pup. And it would be nice if, for just one month, no one asked me if I was pregnant. You people are going to give me an eating disorder! And by disorder I mean the deserts are going to come out of order, like before I even get to the meal!!!

This is not to say that I didn’t have a great mother’s day. Jack, Ben and Adam all made or bought me great gifts…

Mother's Day spoils.

Mother’s Day spoils.

I didn’t cook once. And being able to sit meant I could actually converse with my kids. Ben and I sat together at lunch time.

“Do you have a penis?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Do you pee out of your butt?”

“Uhm, not really.” (I don’t think I need to explain this in detail to a three year old, do I?)

“I don’t have a penis either. I’m a girl, like you.”

Well, I guess if we didn’t have so many spares, this might alarm me. But I’m pretty sure we’ve done our part to carry on the Calisoff name.

I got a pedicure during the twins second nap.

I got to spend time with my adorable kids and perfect husband.

Mother's Day breakfast at Adam's park - let the birds clean up the crumbs for once!

Mother’s Day breakfast at Adam’s park – let the birds clean up the crumbs for once!

And most importantly, I got an opportunity to stop and appreciate the endeavor of motherhood. Because after all, today is a day to honor the practice of motherhood, not just as kids, but as parents too.

So Jack, since you tried your hardest to honor me all day, I finally honored your request to stop picking Ben’s favorite colors (i.e. pink, red and purple) for my toes and answered your appeal for your favorite color instead…


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