Our family

Our family

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas prep

It is a bad idea for me to receive emails that promise you 100 hundred days of Christmas cookies, as editing the list to a reasonable number of cookies to bake is not my strong point.

I have a house full of cookies, in addition to terribly gaudy and classic Christmas decorations, the largest tree we could stuff into my living room, the requisite Christmas village which apparently had a blizzard of white cotton that will not let up, ans appears to be growing. This of course is on top of the normal accumulations found in a house of eight. Now we have added snow boots, snow pants, a million lonely unmatched gloves (I just created a profile for them on match.com, we'll see what happens).

And now the cookies. A brilliant idea read in a magazine where skinny moms with the skin of 20 year olds give you sage advice on meaningful gifts suckered me into making cookies as teachers gifts. Of course like most of my family endeavors this had to be super sized. I had 15 teachers on the list (2 for each class, 5 outside the classroom teachers) were fortunate enough to receive a tiny bag of crumbled cookies from the sweaty hands of my 5 children. Who needs decent pay or working conditions when you are receiving that kind of gift. Next year it is coffee cards, I will mentally tie my hands behind my back when I pass the magazine rack next Christmas season and a smiling, red-sweater wearing, 16 year old, playing the part of mom on the front cover of Woman's Day tries to convince me that she knows the path to ubermomhood.

Well all of that aside my house is crammed with Christmas spirit and endless Christmas music, and the kids, they are indeed wired and edgy from all of the preparation, but they are also truly enchanted. Yes they are. They are opening Advent calendar doors, Matthew is wrapping presents he created, all are helping to bake, arranging the decorations and creating christmas decorations from construction paper and sparkling glue.

In the mix of all of this is my birthday. I think it may have been 10 years since I had a birthday so good. The kids were ready to party and celebrate something during the long wait till' Christmas. They sang me happy birthday in German. Chris gave me his bag of candy with a sign on it that said "for the poor". Matthew gave me a poster that said "go, team Bo" Even the babies gave me a gift of bath salts! And best of all it SNOWED!

The snow, my birthday and Christmas baking was just one of the most exciting combination these kids can remember. I thought Matthew's little nervous system was going to explode. He LOVES snow.

Oh and lest I forget the 3rd child this year was voted child of the month Cara Sophia! So this was a night out as well. We called her 'student of the month" all week. as in "what would the student of the month like for breakfast?"
When we got back from the ceremony which didn't end until "gasp" 8PM which is beyond late for the three amigos, Cara fall into bed and says 'student of the month is cranky, student of the months feet hurt, student of the month is tired" and she closes her eyes for the night.

Friday, November 27, 2009


The Brilliant idea that going to the Macy's Day Thanksgiving parade would make a perfect Thanksgiving morning hit me all at once as most great ideas do. I run the idea past Steve and he agrees it is a great idea to head into the city with the 5 kids on Thanksgiving. This is why we are married lack of clarity on the definition of fun.

Well we hit the road at 7:45 and sailed right into that glittering city. Driving down 80th st. Matthew shouts "there's Andrew!" what? oh yes it is the other branch of the Bo family. The kids and I jump out of the car and Steve drives off to find parking.

My SIL is a pro at this parade thing and she takes off. I am trying to keep up, crossing streets at dizzying speeds. Mark loses a shoe and is forced to hop across a street. We reorganize and look up to see that they have already crossed an Ave illegally. I ditch my coffee grab the kids hands and like a high stakes game of Frogger, we manage to cross the street avoiding both the police and the speeding cars.
We snake through the yard of the Museum of Natural History. Past balloons feet away from us completely inflated and lying on the street, 2 stories high even prone. We make it to CPW and single file walk though throngs of parade participants dressed to the nines in costumes of clowns dalmatians, flower pots, princesses. Smiling and stopping for pictures with the kids! We are the only civilians for a block.

We have a clear view from the steps of the museum to the street, there is only about 2 dozen people in this whole area. The kids have confetti dropped on their heads from floats, participants come to shake their hands. They can stand on the steps for a better view or sit on the curb.

But where is Steve? Finally he calls I am on 81st and CPW. We are only 2 blocks away but alas here comes Santa, and we all know this means the end of the parade! He missed the whole parade.

At the close of the parade, SIL say lets go and she hops on the end of the parade and we all follow it down to 72nd street when we exit for the park. A great walk in the park and we head back out of the city to enjoy the thanksgiving feast!

A brilliant idea after all!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet! " If you say that one m ore time...."

Happy Halloween. This is the big day. With 5 kids under 7 now, this is a reverent holiday. One to be honored, dreampt about, prepared for. It is not a joke, It is time to bring out the power tools.
Yes. That's right the power tools, well you just go ahead and carve by hand, 5 pumpkins.

The kitchen floor covered in newspaper, Steve and 5 pumpkins. Two choices: Scary or happy. Matthew designed his on paper and each of his little foot soldiers wanted his design.

The walk looked amazing with five pumpkins aglow, lining the edges. Ending in a scary talking skeleton head, and a bloody door saying keep out. We played Halloween music in the background. I think it was pretty awesome if I do say so myself and I will, only because no one else will, otherwise I would just nod demurely and insist it wasn't enough, but since that opportunity is not presenting itself, I am put in the awkward position of self-congratulations, which honestly is whose fault?

Carving was followed by the baking of pumpkins seeds, lunch, costumes, anxiety while waiting to trick or treat, then finally ahh the trick or treating! 2 vampires, 2 ghosts and 1 bloody skeleton head out the door, quickly joined by a which and a transformer or was he a power ranger?

And put so succinctly by Cara 'this is so excitin'" oh and was it, house after house, would they answer the door? What would they give us? Tentatively knocking at first then bolder with each house, the routine down pat. At 4 and 7 they have the stamina for block after block, candy bags brimming with forbidden junk, junk and more junk food! Enough sugar to fuel and entire 3rd world country, and it is their's in their own bags, free flowing from the heavens through people's front doors and into their bags. It is impossible but yet true, true so true!

Back into the house bags are spilled onto the floor, piles of candy and the search for illegal candy carried out by Matthew begins, then all of the Reece's peanut butter cups and almond joys are handed over to their parents as payment for their security duty on Halloween rounds.

Then the trading begins, emotionally charged accusations flying, rumors starting, alliances formed and broken, tears shed and finally calm as one of the brighter ones realize that maybe they could do more then admire and fuss over the candy, maybe we can eat it!

Now it's moms turn to begin the weeks of negotiations ahead, 1 piece now, 2 after dinner. Not 2 big pieces, okay then one big and that's it. Alright 1 big, 1 small, don't ask again or the candy bags go away for the day.

This may be one of the best Halloweens on record, but our Halloween record is woeful so that isn't a rave, which perhaps this day was worthy of. The family had a fun time together which is the overarching goal of the weekend days no matter what the theme or the events it contains. So we put away the costumes of this year and turn toward the hectic Christmas season, time to dust off the cookie recipes, make the wish lists and plan the celebrations!

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Schedule

At 6AM my alarm rings, and I am wishing for more sleep despite the fact that I went to sleep at 10 the night before. I find my slippers in the dark and head downstairs to start my coffee, glancing at the 5 lunch bags ready to go standing on the counter. Sandwiches inside with sticky notes for each kid. I shower and have completed what passes as a beauty routine by 6:30. Clothes chosen the night before moves things along.
I head downstairs to sign notes and write checks that I was way too tired last night to fill in. By 6:50 I have some company and breakfast is beginning. I drink some coffee and make sure everyone has something to eat.
I grab Cara dress her, and fix her hair. Everyone has eaten, is dressed with teeth brushed and backpacks in hand, eager to pick a prize from a bowl filled with treats. I say good by and head into school. Work is a blur of activity. Trying to reach children who struggle and understanding very clearly how much parents are counting on this working, I give it all I have.
I pack up and head to the post office and then to Accent Master. I drink a diet coke to keep me going, desperate to go get the boys from school and to see my babies after their long day at school.
Finally it is 5:30 and I can go! I pick up the boys. I am so happy when we walk in the door. Tell me everything, but they don't, they tell me nothing. I know now that the school stories come at night when they are laying in their beds. Then I get my delicious glimpses into their day. Oh I wish I could be a fly on the wall and see how they negotiate this new world.
Everyone is alseep. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, the lunches packed, the living room picked up. I wish I could pick up one of my sleeping babies right now, and cuddle up with them on the couch.

Monday, August 31, 2009

If you don't like bitter please don't read

There are things I should be doing here. In this place called work. None of which have to do with writing the second blog post of the summer. Well I actually started a much sunnier post a few weeks back, but I recently ran out of cheap Chardonnay and so my disposition is quickly deteriorating.

I have 10 people in my house, now this is not the maelstrom it may be for others as I normally have 8 people in my house. Oh and in the name of full disclosure my SIL has been hosting two member's of the family for the last 48 hours. A decision made hastily at the end of a late night swim party. This has increased my anxiety instead of decreased it, because as I get older I am very definitely becoming much more darker in my outlook ( maybe they fell off the boat, didn't use sun screen or started talking about their privates again, a new and apparently hysterical topic).

So yes I have a lot people basically loitering and using up a lot of toilet paper which no one but I have demonstrated the skill of replacing. I hate to lord my incredible skill set over others but when they are of this magnitude who can resist. That is right. I can work 40 hours a week and replace toilet paper. I do indeed get a lot done.

Another remarkable talent I have is feeding these troops totally uninspired and depressingly un-nutritous meals. In fact one night I brought Mikie to tears over a hot dog, just to read the package and find out that it is 120 calories and 110 from fat. I should have just let him do shots of lard and called it a meal.

Not that anyone should think that I don't have fun, I did take 9 people on a camping trip. Where we (and by we I mean 2 of us) set up camp in a pouring rain storm and then proceeded to feed them unhealthy food in more tedious cooking situation then usual.

Despite a summer of visiting my parents at their lake front resort-like setting, dragging kids to the beach, about 10 pool parties, a gala birthday party, camping, movies under the stars, a fair of the old-style scary carny variety, late night beach walks, bike rides and pool swims, and intensive tutoring for the kids in math and reading every conversation with my superhypermom friends reminds me of what I failed to do, from amusement parks, to basketball camp I have come up short. I am worn out and battered from the summer. This mad dash seems to now be how parenting is defined, no wonder everyone is medicated (how did everyone score those prescriptions? I must be going some pansied doctors..hello mother's little helpers..and they get you through the day, get you through your busy day la, la la oh doctor please some more of these outside the door she took 4 more)

Granted it may not have been brilliant to give birth to entire neighborhood of children in 3 years time.

Next summer we will embrace the phrase "less is more".

No more feeling guilty because I can't spend every spare moment in full-throttle entertainment mode. Oh and that I don't want to, that really bothers me what is wrong that I don't want to always do fun stuff? Maybe because fun recently has meant we will laugh and have fun, while you pay the tab and chase after children, clean and cook. Oh now I really sound as bitter as you all believe me to be, oh and please forgive my but this post may have been the best 30 minutes of my summer!

Friday, June 26, 2009

So here I am with 3 weeks to be home with the kids...and wow it just becomes more fun. Tonight is the eve of our first ever tent camping trip. Of course storms are predicted, but for this evening who cares. As we play in the backyard watching a storm roll in., exciting as they always are. The clouds making the night suddenly appear in the middle of the day, the thunder still off in the distance, the wind kicking up.
Now inside the kids and I listen to the great music of MJ. They are having fun, on the edge of out of control, but with no other adults to speak to, the chaos is less grating. That is why sometimes on your own with the kids is easier.

Chris gets into the spirit of the evening gleefully grabbing the calculator and saying I am going to do 3 times 300!! Oh this is a wild Friday night before vacation!

Monday, June 8, 2009


It has been too long between posts! I see now I even have a follower to this blog, so maybe I should take it a bit more seriously as my fans are waiting with baited breath for my next riveting family of Bo story.

Well we have been up to too much to even consider sharing all of it. School is coming to a close and Matthew and Christopher have made me endlessly proud.
So we need to get ready for summer. Plans are being made. Once such plan includes the 7 of us and a 3 room tent.

So this weekend was the trial run. I was mercifully saved from this trial by Matthew who chose not to sleep out in the tent in Nonni's backyard. What motivated him to skip these shenanigans is a mystery still to me.
Rumor and a few snapshots indicate that a wild night was had in the wilds of Queens with those who chose to tough out the adventure. Matthew and I snuck out to the movies and then had a quiet breakfast the next day. What was at the root of this move by Matthew was never actually discovered, but it was still a good evening for everyone in their respective places. This marks the 3rd night since coming home from the hospital that the babies have been out for an entire night without me.

The babies have started to vacation without me, it is a disturbing trend. Previous to the camping trip was an independent 2 night adventure at gram and pappas' which they accomplished apparently without an ounce of regret. Well good for them, I guess.

Some prize remarks from the 5 amigos
" I keep my butt in my underwear!"-Mark
" YOu people are RIDICULOUS!" Cara
passing a graveyard " oh look at all the people who got killed, was there a battle there?"-Matt
"I still love Lauren, but I don't want Matt to know"-Chris
"Cosmo's not a real dog"
"how do you know"
"he don't poop"-Mikie

Thats it for today!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What a day

Some days are fun, big gifts...like going to the amusement park, or the beach. They come wrapped in bright paper with big bows on top. You anticipate their arrival and dust off the camera.

Other days you are more like today. You can't even identify them as a gift, because there is no wrapping paper, no bows in sight. You just wake up and a gloriously simple day rolls out to you. Where the kids play in patches on sunlight on your living room floor. They stop to give you a quick hug or share a thought. The smell of something baking in the oven as you move seamlessly even dare I say effortlessly, toward a good meal at the end of this day, this true gift. A chance to enjoy the efforts of all you have worked for. Breathe it in, move slowly, don't distract yourself with thought, just be in the moment, be in the gift.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

got to the beach

So maybe we are pushing the whole summer agenda, by hitting the beach the minute the mercury goes above 50, if any of those thermometers use mercury anymore. This beach picture was taken, when avoiding the water was still the goal. After a bit several of them lost their fear and shoes, socks and pants were wet and crusty with sand. Luckily our car usually has random pieces of clothing we can throw on.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Where are you?

On my way to work each morning I pass a high school with dozens of kids streaming off the public buses, down the streets and onto their campus. I look though the crowd and try to find Matthew and Christopher. Oh that's what he'll be like, no wait, not that disheveled, no not that.... well, pierced. I can never find Matthew, though that maybe just a reflection of the neighborhood that does not produce many blond kids. Though his hair may be darker by then, at least in the winter.
This trip I realized I should look for a Cara, Mark and a Mike as well. Cara I can see in almost all of the pretty girls in their stylish jeans and furry boots, long glossy hair spilling out of their "Eskimo" coats. Walking with friends or boyfriends. I see her in the Pizza parlor I often share with the high school lunch crowd. I overhear pieces of her future conversations about the swim team, the school work and peals of laughter drifting off the table where she sits in clumps of kids.
I can't seem to find all of my boys though. I don't have any idea what they will look like, the roles they will either choose or be forced into. It takes my breath away when I see a table full of these energetic and healthy teenagers and realize there are just 5 sitting there. My lucky dining room table in 10 short years,at least on the days I can get them there all together, ah my future is so bright I have to wear shades!
What will we be like? Can we talk? How can I bring the relationships now into the future? It is scary and exciting. On rough days they want to sit close to me, they glow when I make the time to sit and play a game, and endless desire to hold my attention. A bad patch made up for by swooping the kid into my arms kissing the bridge of his nose, or ticking his tummy. These easy outs for mistakes, harsh words or lost patience will no longer be available to me. What will take their place? Will I have learned to be more cautious, not criticize and hold my tongue? What will the cost of that be? They will no longer really know me if I can't speak directly, if each word is guarded. There will be an inevitable gap.
I do see, despite what every ICarly, and Hannah Montana show would like you to believe, parents close to their teenagers. I look with trepidation and despite my misgiving excitement toward the kids future. I think they will continue to bring me laughter and heartbreak similarly to how it is now.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Well we finally did it, laid down our kings ransom to get the kids up on ski's. There was varying levels of success and I am limitlessly proud of each kid for giving it their all!

It was a beautiful day, even warm, and when it wasn't torturous it was down right fun. The torture came in the form of getting skis, putting on boots skis, taking them off 20 minutes later, getting an endless supply of dry, fresh gloves, drinks and snack! The enjoyment came watching the kids take their first stab at skiing.

Matthew and Chris somberly waited in line for the skis, after a brief and trying lesson from Steve, Matthew looks at me and says "I'm going". He went, with no help not even a heartbeat later he is off, I call to Steve he can't believe it and rushes down after him. He made it fine and continues to do just that for a few runs, with a couple of glitches.

Chris quickly hands his skis off to Mikey. Chris did well, but it was just not for him this trip. Mikey was happy, if not a bit unwieldy, just freestyling it down the hill while holding onto his Dad's hand.

We did manage to lose Matt as he made his way up the hill on his own. After 10 minutes I am heading to find an authority, I check on the three I had to leave alone to do this, and who is there but Matthew and some kind looking woman. I will let you know that I didn't cry. He had gotten off track, and an instructor said to him "are you in here?" smart Matt replies "no, I am lost." and they got him to the right person to help him! That was more heart-racing then a black diamond!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The new year is no starting out on the best of notes. The economy is in the gutter , Russ and I ditched the run the sugar cake top that I ordered did not arrive on time for the birthday party and then pink eye canceled the party outright.

One bright spot was the dance recital. Despite the fact that no one could make it but Nonni, Nonno and the reluctant twins (though they were cheered by the cupcakes offered at the reception). Mikie was not even supposed to dance, his a drop out of the program, but somehow became once again enthusiastic about the program insisted he dance in the recital. It was all really strange thank goodness the teacher was sympathetic to Mikie's lack of comprehension of registration requirements and payment requirements and allowed him to dance.

Cara is stunning in her black shimmering outfit. She doesn't seem to understand at all why she is there or what the moves are, every time she did the dance it appeared to be the first time she ever heard about it.

Mikie is all confident nonchalance, expertly hitting each move, though he has only attended one practice. When he comes out for his curtain call he is holding a bagel in one hand, seemingly neutral at being back on stage, upon spotting me, he gives a closed mouth smile, a raise of the eyebrows and a quick low wave. Putting out a vibe of "hey, nice of you to come, good to see you, I'm looking great, no?"

Mark was home with his goopy eye and his dad. He didn't even get dressed that day. Mark likes to stay in his PJ's all day. This is because he doesn't like to leave the house. everything he needs and all the people he loves are either in his house or will come soon to see him. The world outside is no place for a 4 year old as far as he can tell. Once he told us that he can't go out with us after dark, because of the dinosaurs, foxes and crocodiles. He's the kind of kid that five minutes after you arrive he is saying "can we go home now?"

Ahhh 4 years since my triple miracle. And a miracle they were! It has flown by, well okay not the first 5 months....but after that! Happy Birthday Cara so, so Mikie and handro!