Monday, May 30, 2011

Big Foot

Tonight we were watching River Monsters on Animal Planet and a commercial came on for a show called Finding Bigfoot. Gracie asked what a Bigfoot is and Emily said, "It is a big giant foot that stomps through woods and scares people!" I would love to live inside her mind!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I didn't inhale...

My 4-year-old son Harrison, who we affectionately dubbed Hashbrown, often goes by the name Hash. This was not an intentional nickname at all, and I have tried to curb it's use, but the name Hash has held on for over 4 years now and I don't see it going anywhere.

Hashbrown and my 9-year-old Emmy were just playing a spelling game. Hash would spell something and Emmy would have to tell him if it was a real word or not. For example, he would say, "Em, how about Q-D-V, what does that spell?" And she would tell him something totally over his head about the use of vowels, and he would try a different group of letters.

After a long string of non-words, Hash said, "How about P-O-T?". Emmy jumped up and down and said, "Yes Hash!!! That's it!!! P-O-T is a word, it spells POT!!" And Hash said the words that I pray he will never utter again..."Oh my gosh, I LOVE POT!!! Pot is great!!!" OMG... I can see it already, no one is going to be allowed to hang out with him in high school because he is "That boy named Hash who loves pot!!!" Maybe I should start calling him something more socially acceptable...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No Bull

Tonight Harrison and I were watching the Phillies game. It was in extra innings and the announcer said "it's now a battle of the bullpens!" Harrison looked at me and said "Oh good, they are going to bring out the bull pets! I can't wait to see them!" I just smiled at him and told him that the announcer just meant that the game was going to be won by the best pitcher. He said "Oh man, I thought the game was just about to get interesting! I would have like to see pet bulls instead of no hit baseball!". Me too Harry, me too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wonder Twin Powers... Activate

When Doug and I were young, we would often talk about having a large family.  We both have only one sibling and we both loved the idea of being surrounded by the noise, chaos, and constant love of a large family.  We exchanged our wedding vows and became husband and wife in the summer of 1998, and within 5 months we were happily expecting our first baby, or babies as it turned out!!!!  Well- we asked for it and we got it... we started our family off with a two-for-one special!!!  Our identical twin daughters were born prematurely in July of 1999.  They were very tiny, but strong and willful.  I knew as soon as I held their tiny hands in my fingers that they were going to make our lives so rich and that we were blessed to have such little miracles.   

As is the challenge of all mothers of multiples, I am always faced with huge questions about what I should do about keeping the girls' identities intact while I allow them to be twins.  I do understand that the girls are individuals, but I have learned over time that they love being together and I have decided to let them be together as much as they choose to be.  They are in the same class, they are active in the same sport, and they are pretty much inseparable.   Although they do spend most of their time together, they are VERY different girls.  

Caileigh (on left)  is our first born and she is the typical oldest child.  Caileigh is a perfectionist.  She sets her goals high and she pushes herself so hard to achieve them.  Caileigh is never satisfied with the status quo, she is always working to make things better.  Caileigh is a caretaker and she is so helpful with all of her siblings.  Caileigh is an excellent student, hardworking and eager to please.  Caileigh is sweet, but she definitely has a wicked sense of humor.  She loves to play pranks on her dad and she is really witty.  

Annie is our sweetheart.  She is naturally caring and quiet.  Annie is also as intelligent as Caileigh and they both are straight A students.  The difference is that things come pretty easily to Annie, she doesn't know why she understands things and she can't explain them- she just gets it!  She makes me laugh because she is a little clueless about common sense things, for example... when I asked her to name something made of iron, she thought for a long time and replied "an ironing board?"  Ha ha ha ha!!!  Sooooo funny!!!!  She is pleasant and a joy to be around- my sweet little Annie. 

I cannot discuss the twins without broaching their favorite thing to do.... CHEERLEADING!!!!!  

It all started when the girls were two years old.  I was flicking through the channels and I went to ESPN and the UCA All Star Nationals were on.  The twins were immediately hooked!!!!  They declared at that moment that they were going to BE cheerleaders.  They started tumbling at age 3 and they starting cheering in Kindergarten.  

Annie and Caileigh now cheer for our local Rec program and they are All Star Cheerleaders.  Last year they went to Nationals and it made me so proud that at age 11 they had accomplished a goal that they had set for themselves at such a young age.  

The twins are such good girls and they make us so proud every day!!!!  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Facebook Flashback

A friend suggested that I archive all of my Facebook posts so that I could get a hard copy of the statuses that I have posted both as a memento and a resource when I finally get around to writing that book...   I was reading through some of it early this morning and it made me cry because I was laughing so hard.  I have decided to share some of it here

*Gracie (age 5)  "Harrison, you don't know anything.  You can't tough the kittens when they are in the glitter box, it's where they get themselves all clean and sparkly!"

*Emily(age 8) and Harrison(age 3) were playing a board game called  "Girl Talk".  Emily asked Harrison "Which boy do you like and why... details, we want details."  Harrison replied, "I like Obi Wan Kenobi because he has a cool lightsaber and he is a great Jedi master."

*Harrison "Mom, what kind of food do they have in juvie?  I just want to know what Grace will be eating when she goes there."

*Gracie and I were reviewing her sight words from school and we got to the word "we".  Grace was struggling to identify it, so I told her what it was.  She got very sure of herself and said "No Mom, that's not how you spell it, it's wii."
I then decided to do word families with her.  I asked Grace to put a letter in front of "an" to make different words.  She said "With an "m" it spells man."  I said, "Good, now try it with an 'f'."  She replied, "Mom!  You said I'm not allowed to say F words!!!"

*Harrison "Mom, are you dead or a lime?"

*When I asked Harrison why he was so tired this morning he said "I'm not wearing my Star Wars underwear so the Force is not strong with me today!"

Welcome to my crazy world!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Wacky Wonderful World Of Emily

Emily... my sweet little original girl.  Emily was born just two short years after we had the twins and she was honestly the best baby I had ever seen. After having multiples, any singleton probably would have seemed like a piece of cake, but Emily was a very patient and quiet baby.  Content is the perfect word to describe her.  Emily was just happy to be alive!  This is how I always describe Emmy... she is just naturally happy and mostly easy-going.  It is not easy being the middle child in our crazy family!  Emmy has two wild younger siblings and identical older twin sisters who are not super accepting of Emily's alternative taste.

Emily is definitely an original!  She is a chameleon with her wardrobe,  a hippie-chick one day and a goth princess the next.  She doesn't ever follow the latest fashion trends, and I actually don't think that she is even aware what is in style.  She dresses like she wants to dress, she does her hair however she wants, and she doesn't listen to music or watch TV shows because they are popular.  She really takes time to listen to music and she likes music in various genres; Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Def Leopard, AC/DC,  Dixie Chicks, and showtunes... she listens to everything!!!!!

Emily loves to read graphic novels, she enjoys playing instruments, and she loves to write.  Emily is also drawn to animals- something that I find fascinating.  Whenever she comes in contact with an animal, it is like there is a magnet pulling them together- a mutual attraction and instant bond that comes so naturally. She is very kind and nurturing and I get great pleasure watching her smile as she scratches a dogs belly or softly handles a newborn kitten.  The connection that she has with animals is magical to me.

Emily is as passionate about art as she is about animals.  Emily loves to paint and draw.  She will spend hours in her room drawing cartoon characters with very intricate details and writing elaborate stories about their adventures.  Emily has won a few art awards, but she honestly couldn't care less about the awards or accolades... Emmy loves the process of art.  She loves seeing her visions come to life and she creates things just for the sake of the creation, not for anyone else to see.  I have gone into her room and found stacks of pictures, each one better than the other.  They are usually crumpled up on her floor, waiting to be tossed in the trash when I decide that I can't take the mess anymore.  When I ask her why she lets her beautiful creations get ruined she just says that she was finished with them.  She has moved on to her next project.

When Emily was in Kindergarten, she had to write in her journal about what she wanted to be when she grows up.  Emily wrote, "I'd like to be mermaid or the Secretary of State", and this sums up Emily in a nutshell.  With her vast interests and her creativity, who knows what Emily will become, but I do know that it will be something GREAT!!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


We had a great dinner tonight, so I though that I'd share the recipe...


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, cut in 1/2 through the bone
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound slab bacon, sliced into large strips
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups cooked Northern white beans
  • bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tomato, sliced very thinly
  • Garlic Bread Crumbs, recipe follows
  • baguette, sliced, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse and dry the chicken well and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a large Dutch oven, over medium-low heat, add the bacon and slowly render the fat. Remove the bacon to a plate when crispy, pour out HALF the fat, leaving the 1/2 the fat in the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken on both sides and then remove to a plate. Add the onion,celery, carrots and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce by half. Stir in the beans, bay leaf and thyme. Nestle the chicken and bacon into the pot. Add the chicken stock, cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the lid and top the cassoulet with sliced tomatoes and the Garlic Bread Crumbs. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, 15 minutes longer. Serve the cassoulet with baguette slices.
Adapted from a recipe by Melissa D'Arabian

Go Fish (or Gold Fish as it is called in our house)...

Today I picked Harrison and Gracie up from daycare early as a "special treat"... what was I thinking?????  I figured that they would play quietly while I did my last conference call of the day.  WRONG!!!!  They starting arguing as soon as we got in the car and preceded to fight all the way home.  With 15 minutes until my impending call, I decided to find something for them to do that would be engaging enough to keep their attention for more than 2 seconds.  I suggested various puzzles, art projects (all the art that I suggested was not messy enough for them), Tag Readers (books that they can read themselves with a special reading wand), and any Disney shows On-Demand.  All of my suggestions were rejected but they decided that they wanted to play "Gold Fish."  I got a deck of cards out, handed it to them and jumped on the phone, late to my call as usual.  I watched them playing a very loose interpretation of Go Fish for about 10 minutes and I was glad that they were getting along well and happily playing together.

Once my call was over, I started to observe the game more closely.  I heard Gracie say, "Harrison, ask me for a 4!'  Harrison replied "Gracie, I don't have any 4's so I can't ask you for one, why do you want to get rid of your 4's anyway?"  Gracie said, with a very stern look on her face "I just hated being four, my life was so hard back then.  Mommy took all of my hidden pacifiers away for good and I had to go to full-day pre-k.  My life was better once I turned five.  I could sneak around better and do stuff without anyone noticing, like using the twins cheerleading make-up and throwing my trash behind the cushions of the couch when I don't feel like going to the trashcan (I was wondering who kept doing that).  You are lucky that you are the baby, you are four, but you could still have anything you wanted if you just cried hard enough- you should try that!" Harrison listened intently as she spoke, took a few minutes to digest what she had said, and then retorted, "Grace, do you have any 4's?"  God help me!  Go fish...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meet Grace Ameila, Our Little Piglet

This is Gracie!  She was the most beautiful baby, with huge deep brown eyes and a great set of lungs.  With her bald head and her pink skin she reminded me as a soft little newborn pig, so she has been dubbed Piglet!   Gracie was never an easy child, but once she could stand up, she was quite a handful!!!!!  In this picture, she is 6 months old and she somehow figured out how to climb to the counter and get a loaf of bread- I guess she was hungry and she wanted her lunch early!!!  She is a very determined child- she was so determined that she learned how to walk at 9 months!!!!

Gracie was always a very enthusiastic eater!!!!  I had to strip her clothing off of her before she ate because she was such a mess.  The child took at least 3 baths a day until she was 2 years old!

Gracie's love for the bathtub could have gone a little overboard!!!!  She was ALWAYS trying to get in the tub, and as you can see from the picture above, she was sometimes successful in getting into that tub!!!!!

This is one of my favorite pictures of our little piglet- you can just see the trouble glistening in those eyes!!!

The only way that we could keep Gracie from screaming was to let her have a pacifier.  We tried to take it away from her when she was two, but as you can see,  she found ways to get around her missing pacifier!!!  She is very resourceful!

Ummmmm... I have no words!!!  I cannot count how many times I  caught her  painting her face with different things- pudding, sour cream, ranch dip, icing, butter, toothpaste...  I think she even painted her entire body with Desitin once at my mom's house- sorry Giggie!!!

This is Gracie in her Easter dress... where else would she be but climbing a tree???  

Oh my!!!!!  She has always wanted to be a chef!!!  She was always trying to help me in the kitchen, as you can imagine- she is a huge help!!!!

Future bank robber????  Some kind of human scarecrow???  I'm not quite sure what she is, but she sure had fun with those stockings!!!!!

As you can see from the pictures above, Gracie is an energetic and fun little girl!!!!  She gets into so much trouble but she keeps us laughing!!!  Gracie is a binder in our family!!!  When the older girls are fighting over clothes, or the phone, Gracie is there to lighten things up with her humor and whit!  I'm sure that there will be a lot of Gracie Moments highlighted in this blog and I hope that you enjoy her as much as we do!!!! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hashbrown's Quote of the Day

Harrison: "Hey Mom, do you need to buy gas?"

Me: "Not right now, Harry, why?"

Harrison: "Because there is a castration on the corner and we could stop there and buy gas."

Me: "A What?????"

Harrison: "A castration, you know the place where you get gas."


Harrison: "That's what I said, a castration!  OMG Mom, you always correct my words!"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Question of the week...

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Caileigh- "I want to be a cheerleading coach and work at Tri-State" (surprise, surprise)

Annie- "I want to be a pediatrician."

Emily- "I want to be a fashion designer/artist/photographer/veterinarian.
I have no doubt that Emmy will be all of these things!!!

Harrison- "I want to be a Jedi."
(A very lucrative profession... I sure hope he isn't hanging out at Star Wars or comic book conventions dressed as Obi Wan)

And my favorite response...
Gracie- "I want to be Jane Doe*.  Her husband goes to work and makes all the money and she gets to stay home and do whatever she wants all day: cartwheels, shopping, eating cake.  She has a life like a princess.  Mom, you are more like a maid and a dad... you have to take care of too many people and you also have to work at Philadelphia in your office and type stuff and tell people what to do.  I am not working like a dad when I am older and I am going to have a maid to do all of the house stuff." 
I'm so glad that I am raising such a liberated daughter!

*name changed to protect the identity of this princess who, according to Gracie, has the perfect life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Caileigh's Poem- a must read!!!!

Just a warning- this totally made me cry, get out your tissues!!!

Where I'm From...

I am medals, both silver and gold.
From sparkly bows and trophies big and small.
I am from the kitchen that smells like homemade baked macaroni and cheese,
Roasted Chicken and yellow yummy corn.
I am from my clean and colorful bedroom,
both pink and blue and butterflies too!
Cozy bed welcoming me in.

I am from the flowers of the rainbow and trees big and tall.
From bees buzzing in my ear and ants scurrying about gathering food.
I'm from the frisky cats that greet me in the morning, loving and purring against my leg,
And the butterflies that sit gently on my shoulder and kiss me.
I'm from the green glistening grass that winks at me
And the beautiful garden that has all the plants you could ever think of.

I am from mountains of mashed potatoes,
From fresh grilled steak and Mom-Mom's scrumptious  stuffing.
I am from slippery spaghetti that falls from my fork,
Talluto's meatballs and saucy sausage.
I am from Giggie's bunny biscuits that hop into my mouth
And velvety butter that melts on my tongue.

I am from "Refuse To Fall" and "Go Caileigh!"
From "PULL!!!" "PULL!!!" and "Be Clean"
I'm from the "Smile and have fun" and the "Yes! You did it!"
I'm from the "Don't give up!" and "It's the most exciting 2 minutes and 30 seconds of your life!"
And "Go out there and be the best base you can be!"

I am from the mirror of myself, my twin, my soul
From Dashing Dad and Magnificent Mom.
I am from caring coaches that always make me do my best...
Supportive, Knowledgeable, Grateful Me!
Georgia peaches always in my heart
I am from the best friends laughing,
Hugging and smiling, having fun, love to be together.

I am from National Championships and striving to be #1
From got my tuck and nailed my layout!
I'm from the distinguished honor roll, working hard to make the grade
And the Oh, Oh, Oh Evolution, forever
I'm from the Senior Squad of SYC
And Yes! I'm a big sister... again!

I am from precious memories locked forever in my heart.
From lazy days spent digging in the sand and crazy fun road trips for seven.
I am from the one and only T-R-I-S-T-A-T-E and proud of it!
TSC, friends for life, my home away from home, favorite place to just be me!
I am from the never-ending love of my family,
wrapping me in their arms, never asking for anything in return.
All of these things, pieces of me, wound up tight like a present waiting to be opened.

Caileigh Maull (age 11)

Harrison's Thought Of The Day

Today in the car, Harrison and I heard a commercial for Sleepy's Mattress Center on the radio.  Harry said, "Hey, Sleepy is one of those dwarfs from Snow White... you know Sleepy, Doc, Happy, Snorkey."  I asked him which dwarf Snorkey was and he said, "Oh wait, I forgot, Snorkey isn't a dwarf, Snorkey is you when you fall asleep on the couch and do this (insert snoring sound here)..."  Nice!!! Harry: 1, Mom: 0

Oh Hashbrown...

I am going to introduce you to all of our children individually, but after the morning that I have had, I think that I am going to begin my introductions with our youngest.  Our first four children were all girls and our last baby was a little boy who we named Harrison (aka Hashbrown, a named bestowed upon him by our third daughter Emily because it was her favorite thing in the world besides her new baby brother).  When Doug and I found out that we were going to have a son, I was so excited, not because I didn't want another girl, just because I was so happy that Doug would have someone to play ball with and to share everything that only a father and son can.  I had no idea what a huge impact a boy would have on all of us!  From the moment he was born, the girls and I have all been enraptured by him.  I think that we all were drawn to his funny little smile and his endearing ways- and he is quite the charmer.
I think that Hashbrown is the only child in our house that gets along naturally with all of his siblings.  The twins mother him and love to take care of him. They love to fall asleep with him curled up next to them- it is a very sweet thing to behold!  Emily loves to paint and draw with Harrison- the two of them have vivid imaginations that lead to lots of fun and messy "projects" that are left in all of their glue-filled, gloppy glory on my dining room table as a special treat for me.  And then there is Gracie... she was only 22 months old when Harrison was born and they have been best friends since the moment of his birth.  Even as a young toddler, she never showed the slightest bit of jealousy toward him.  She really connected with him from the start and they share a special bond- they are both trouble makers!!!!  I have never seen two kids get into more mischief- I think that they honestly wake up each morning trying to conceive a plan to top the high jinx of the day before. Not, that either one of them would not be a handful on their own, but the partners-in-crime truly find a way to accomplish feats that I have never dared to imagine!!!! 
Despite his impishness, Harrison is a pleasure to be around.  He always finds a way to make the people around him smile, and he has a natural humor that I find very captivating.  Just this morning I was reflecting on how much he has grown in the past few months.  I feel like he was just a tiny little bundle in my arms and, although he still likes for me to hold and snuggle him, he is a mighty four-year-old who is truly independent.  I always tease him and tell him to stop growing. He then smiles and bounces into my arms to remind me that he is still small and my little love. 
So, this morning I said to him "Hashbrown, you are getting so big!  What does Mommy always tell you? No..." 
Now, his normal response is "No growing up!", but today he said:
"No... drama?"  (Poor boy, you can tell that he is surrounded by girls all the time.)
"No curse words?"
"No playing in the toilet?"
"Harrison, no!"
Then, with a twinkle in his deep brown eyes, he jumped on my lap and said, "Oh, you mean no growing up!"
That's my boy!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Here we go...

So, I have had an idea for a while that I would like to write a book of some kind.  I am always reading and I really enjoy writing, but with my crazy schedule and a very full plate, I have never been able to really contemplate what sort of book I would like to write.  I do have very many interests, and I could write about those; art, gardening, cooking- but seriously, who wants to just read about those things?  If you are into those hobbies, chances are you want to be actually doing them, not reading about them.
For those of you who know me, you know what takes up the majority of my time (well, besides Facebook).  I am the proud mom of five crazy, super-active, smart, and very funny kids.  The love of my life, Doug, and I got married young and within seven years we had five kids: Annie and Caileigh are our twins, Emmy is our artist, and Gracie and Harrison although they are 22 months apart are dubbed double trouble because of their crazy misadventures.  These five blessings keep our  lives rich with love and laughter.  I have been posting many of their funny sayings on Facebook for some time, and lately many people have told me that I should write a book.  I have researched it and I know that I do not have the time or energy to get a book published now, so I thought that I would start a blog and get some followers.  Who knows, maybe someone at Random House will hear about my blog and want to publish it (: and if not, than I will have something fun and heart-warming to share with my kids as they grow.
I will be archiving some of the treasures that I have posted on Facebook from time to time on the blog, as well as posting anything new that I find funny or touching enough to share with all of you!
Thanks for following!