Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

These few moments have to be one of my very favorite times ever. The kids just put on their new flannel PJs, Fitz checked Norad with them, and they ran up to bed after seeing how close to the East Coast he is getting. Now we sit here in silence, just enjoying the lights from the tree and the few moments of peace while we wait to make sure the kids are asleep. We'll head to bed ourselves after we get all the presents laid out and stuff the stockings, but for now... this is bliss. I am feeling completely blessed at this moment. No wonder 'bliss' and 'bless' are so closely spelled!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Music, revisited

Remember this guy?  When I wrote that post, we thought we were saying goodbye to Michael for the summer, but life (and bills) got ahold of us, and we weren't able to work Michael back in. But as of last week, he's back. Tonight, I had to run out to bring Charlie to his hip hop class (whole 'nother story, whole 'nother time!) and left before Michael arrived. When I got back, there was a full on jam session in the family room, with Michael on the guitar, E.J. on the banjo, and Pipo on the drum. Last week, he worked for quite a while on the piano with Emma, and she has been practicing relentlessly all week. 

With a musician Dad, and a roomful of instruments, we aren't usually lacking for music here. But sometimes, it's easy to take it all from granted. Sometimes it's easier to leave teh guitars hanging on the wall and watch a dumb movie. That's where Michael comes in. He lights a fire under our kids like nothing I've ever seen. He makes them love music, and want to get better for the love of it, and for the fun of it.

The other night, I was cleaning up after dinner and getting the table cleared to make gingerbread houses. All of a sudden I stopped in my tracks. All 7 kids, hanging out in the family room waiting for me, had started playing Feliz Navidad on various instruments together. It was hilarious, and they were having a blast. This is why we have to make an effort to keep Michael a part of our lives.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

4 Years ago...

4 years ago tonight, I sat here in the quiet living room with kids sprawled sleeping all around me. They had made a valiant attempt to stay up and meet their new brother for the first time. Fitz had met Pipo at the airport, coming in off a late flight, and drove him home in the newly fallen 18 inches of snow. It was the first snow Pipo had ever seen. He was up bright and early the next morning putting his new orange parka on over his pajamas and begging to go touch the snow. I couldn't get over the enormous smile on this sick, scared little boy.

It's 4 years later, and there isn't close to 18 inches of snow on the ground yet here, but what little we have still brings out the same enormous smile. A lot has changed in 4 years... I'm glad that smile hasn't.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hassle chores

This morning was like any other crazy morning here in Fitzville. Fitz rounded the older 3 boys up to head to school, Kaleigh made her way off, and I was trying to get Tommy and Emma ready to drop them off and then run Margaret over to the orthodontist. Minutes before we left the phone rang. It was E.J. telling me he had forgotten his big project he had been working on for days... a project that was due today, and could I please come bring it to school for him.  Sure, no problem... fit that right into the other 100 things I was trying to get done today. 

The beauty of this phone call is that E.J. knew my policy when he called. It's a brilliant idea, given to me by a cyber friend years back, and which I have not only used in my own house, but passed on to many, many friends in town, so that their children could hate me. And now I am taking it to the cyber world, so that children nationwide can hate me. 'Cause I'm an overachiever like that.

The policy is hassle chores. Very simply... if you call to ask me to do you a favor that is above and beyond the call of mom duty, a favor that is truly a hassle for me... then you will in turn owe me a "hassle chore".  These are chores that moms get stuck with. Thinks like cleaning out the van, or sorting laundry, or organizing a closet. 

The greatest thing about hassle chores is not getting an annoying task out of the way, but that the kid learns quickly not to forget soccercleats/books/lunch money etc. And as an added bonus, they learn to think hard before they make that call... is this call really necessary, is it worth a hassle chore?

And as much as my kids hate this policy, I would bet money that someday my grandkids will also do hassle chores. Maybe not right away, but after mom or dad has to drop everything they are doing to run to school with that shoebox and playdough diorama.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Last night the windshield wipers stopped working, and it was lightly raining. Margaret asked how Fitz could see, and he replied "I can't... I'm like a bat."

Charlie immediately corrected him... "Oh, you mean you have echolocation... but that wouldn't work in the car, because it would bounce right back at you off the windshield."

Sheesh... my kids have no imagination.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

He's 7

There's something about the youngest child's birthday that makes it seem that time is moving at lightspeed. Tommy was way more excited to turn 7 today than I was. I would be very happy to freeze him right now. How much longer do I have of him still reaching for my hand when we are walking? Of him climbing into bed with us in the middle of the night? Of him curling on my lap when the movie gets too scary. Not many more of these moments I am guessing. I will take them for as long as I get them.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Head count

Can you count all 7 Fitz kids in the tree? Click to enlarge and make it easier. I can find them all. I can find them with my eyes closed. I spend a good portion of my life doing head counts wherever we go. So it pains me to think that next year I will be coming up one short with each count.

I have always had a hard time with any of the kids being away for any length of time, so it is unfathomable to me that Kaleigh will be going off to college next year... away for months at a time. She is looking fairly locally... but still. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to counting 6 instead of 7.

Last night was the high school sports banquet. Being a tiny high school of only about 300 kids, we have one awards night for all the teams together. Kaleigh was announced as the “unsung hero” of the soccer team. I wasn’t surprised to hear the way her coach described her. He said that she gave her heart and soul out there for ever single game. I wasn’t surprised at all. Kaleigh gives her heart and soul to everything she does.

One of the schools that Kaleigh recently applied to requested a parent letter, describing important qualities you felt your son/daughter has. The first word that came to my mind was passion. From the time Kaleigh was tiny, everything she did she did with passion and she continues it to this day. Whether it is school work, on the sports field or sitting with her guitar in hand, she puts everything she’s got into it.

She will be a huge asset to any school that akes her next year, but she will leave a big hole in this home while she is away.