Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A-Camping We Will Go

Well, I'm home, showered, and rested (as rested as a person who slept on 2 inches of the bed because her 3 little kids climbed into bed with her and hogged 99% of the mattress can be), and ready to tell you about camping last week.

We got to the campground Monday evening after a quick, uneventful ride. We set up camp and sat down to relax around a fire with the kids. Not five minutes after sitting down, a truck pulled up at the site next to ours. A family got out and began to unload the truck and pitch a tent. As they made many trips carrying loads of supplies from the truck to the tent, they apparently lost track of their baby as he had wandered over to our site. Well, I completely understand how this can happen. Your child is standing next to you one minute, you turn around to grab something and in mere seconds, he's taken off for parts unknown. I understand how that can happen as I've been there and done that, but I have no idea how a one year old, wearing nothing but a dirty diaper, I might add, can leave a parent's sight for twenty minutes without them knowing. This mom and dad continued to set up camp seemingly oblivious to the fact that their one year old baby, barefoot and half naked, was toddling through our campsite and onto the road. This pattern pretty much continued the entire week. Now I don't know about anyone else, but I was not interested in babysitting their kids while I was on vacation. I have six of mine own to watch, for crying out loud.

The kids were pretty good all week. I only yelled at my dh once when the bowls he was looking for didn't jump out and bite his butt and he whined to me that he couldn't find them despite the fact that they'd been in the same spot in the camper all week. Spaz was attacked by mosquitos, Boo was stung by a bee twice, my dh got two flat tires on his bike, Spaz dumped the whole salt shaker on his eggs, we goofed up and accidentally parked in the wrong site necessitating a game of musical campers Friday night, and our air conditioner broke the last night we were there. In an attempt to fix the air conditioner, my husband, rocket scientist that he is, moved a picnic table over to the camper, then stacked a couple chairs on it, Wiley Coyote style, and climbed up the wobbling tower onto the camper. The kids made a sling shot out of the old inner tube from dh's bike and used it to shoot rocks across the campground (one guess as to who taught them that). We learned what Goji berries were, and that you don't have to go to England to see bad teeth - just go camping. We got to visit my best friend from high school and her husband and boys who live out that way and they generously treated us to Chicken George and Catfish Charlie (apparently they like to name their food in the small town in which they live) and let me use their washing machine. They invited the kids to play at their home while we chatted and loaded us up with firewood when we left. Thank you SO very much, Julie and Ron! We met a shirtless old man with a British accent who drove around in a golf cart asking people if they wanted to pet his puppy. We swam at the pool and went down an old fashioned twelve story high, metal slide of death at the beach. Our close friends, and camping buddies, joined us Friday through Monday and made the trip more entertaining. We've been camping with these friends since 1994 we always have a wonderful time together.

I got to read, a pastime I truly enjoy, but don't usually find time to do. I finished How I Write by Janet Evanovich, a book my good friend, Gin, gave me for Christmas. She insists I should write a book, but she has much more faith in me than I do. I finally read The DaVinci Code. I also read Cypress Point by Diane Chamberlain and Sea Swept by Nora Roberts. Lastly, I read the directions to get to the campground because, let's face it, if I left that task to my husband, we'd have never made it there.

I make fun of my husband, but really he does a ton of work when we camp. He oftentimes washes dishes, he dumps the gray water and starts the fire every night. He even gets up with the baby who insists upon rising at 7:00 every morning (she obviously doesn't understand the concept of a vacation!) so I can sleep in a bit. And when we left, he cleaned out the holding tank, which is a polite way of saying the poop tank. As he dumped and rinsed out the toilet, he informed me that I was very lucky that he let us go in the toilet instead of making us use the campground's facilities. He said that his father never let the family use the camper's toilet.

I stared at him for a minute and replied that "lucky" was a relative term. "I'm sorry I'm not more excited about the fact that we can poop in the camper's toilet, but consider this, hon. When you were bummed out that you weren't allowed to use your camper's toilet as a kid, I was bummed out when we had to stay at a Holiday Inn as opposed to a Hilton. You're lucky I ever agreed to go camping because honestly, my idea of a vacation is laying in the sun on the deck of a cruise ship as tanned men with accents bring me rum drinks with little paper umbrellas."

In the end, it was an enjoyable and relaxing trip and I'm thankful for the time spent with family and good friends and hey - our truck didn't even break down this time!

My best friend from H.S., her husband and one of her little boys (the other one was napping) in front of their beautiful new home

Her son giving my baby a kiss. Awww so cute!

Just relaxing with a popsicle after a long day

The old fashioned, 500 feet high, burn-your-butt-off metal, "slide of death"
Part of the gang making a tidal wave

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Car Shopping & Laundry

This is what Baby did while I was packing up the camper today.
Just hanging out in the sink with my toothbrush. What's the problem?


There comes a time when, after having a child or two, you decide to turn in your dream car for a minivan. Well, we've long since passed that stage and are now thinking of turning in our minivan for a bus. OK, well maybe not a bus, but a really big van. Right now I have two bench seats in my van. Each bench holds two children in car seats and one child squished between the seats. I have only one sliding door and let me tell ya, I could be in the circus with the contortion act I do every day trying to get the kids all buckled into their car seats.

So, we went to a car dealer yesterday to take a look at a ten passenger van we'd seen advertised. Since this dealer was over an hour away, we called first to confirm that they still had this particular van in stock. We were assured that they did indeed have it. Guess what. They didn't have it. The salesman insisted he could find us another car that we'd love and led us to a Mustang. Ummm hello? Do you not see the parade of kids behind us? Maybe we could put a few kids in the trunk? Although it would undoubtedly be a quieter ride that way, I don't think it's especially legal.

CAR SALESMAN: Oh, no problem. I understand. I have another car that will work. (as he leads us over to a Ford Freestyle)

ME: This only has six seats.


ME: Can you count?


ME: There are EIGHT of us. See? Eight. A vehicle that seats six passengers won't really work for us. Do you understand?

CAR SALESMAN: Ohhhh (still looking completely dumbfounded)

Needless to say, we did not purchase a new vehicle yesterday.

OK, I'm off to finish up some laundry. Speaking of - it absolutely cracks me up when my sister or my mom says something like, "I have to do laundry today." Today? Today??? That always makes me fall over laughing. I do an average of three loads a day. Every day. I don't mind doing laundry. Really, laundry rates way higher than changing poopy diapers, cleaning the toilet that my sons can't hit to save their lives, and, God forbid, cleaning up vomit. The only thing that makes me insane is when my children take their nice, clean, freshly folded laundry and instead of putting it away in their drawers and closets, they plop it on their floor. It sits there a few days only to be thrown back into the hamper when, after I've threatened their very lives, they clean their rooms. Not that I don't just adore being their maid, but something about washing perfectly clean clothes before they're even worn makes the blood vessels in my head explode.

Sorry, I digress. Now, I'm going to finish folding the laundry for my kids to throw on their floors. Have a wonderful night!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

In a Funk

I've been in a funk the past couple days. It started on Thursday, which just happened to be my anniversary. Fifteen years I've been married to Mr. Wonderful. Know what he did for our anniversary? He called me from work to let me know that he was going to be working all night and while on the phone, off-handedly mumbled out a luke warm "Oh, by the way, happy anniversary." This got me thinking about mother's day when he did nothing because "you're not my mom." And then there was my birthday when he did nothing because, well just because, I guess.

Then last night, I watched Bridge to Terabithia with my kids. Have you seen this? What a horrible movie! I mean, it was actually a movie worth seeing with believable acting, some fun special effects, and an overall, wonderful story of friendship, but there should definitely be a warning on the DVD - "Caution - the sweet, intelligent, compassionate girl you'll grow to love in this movie, suddenly dies at the end! May cause uncontrollable sobbing, sadness, and snotty noses. Do you not watch if you have PMS, or are in a bad mood because your husband blew off your anniversary." I personally like to see movies that are light, entertaining, and don't require too much thinking. There is enough drama in the real world and I have no need to see more of it on the silver screen which is why my all time favorite movie is The Princess Bride :)

OK, enough of my depressed funk. On to other things. We're gearing up to go camping this week. Wait, let me rephrase that. I'M gearing up to go camping. That means, I do forty million loads of laundry, I pack clothes and toiletries for eight people, I grocery shop and cook, I basically move three quarters of my house in to our camper. I'm sure I'll have some stories upon my return as we have yet to go on a camping trip where we don't run into car trouble. One time, a bracket of some sort broke, leaving us stranded at a K-Mart for six hours, one time the truck caught on fire, another time the alternator went out, a different time, the truck kept overheating necessitating the use of the heater in ninety-five degree weather, and yet another time, the camper flipped over, taking our truck with it and rolling it into a ditch. Sheesh, after reading that list, you'd think we would have long since abandoned camping in favor of safer vacations, but we're just gluttons for punishment. Well, that and the fact that there isn't any other kind of vacation where a family of eight can stay for $35 a night!

I don't have a laptop and if I did, my kids would probably bury it in the sand on the beach, use it for a fishing lure, or put it in the campfire to see what would happen, so my blog won't be updated until Monday or Tuesday of next week. I know it's basically just my mom my who reads this, but just in case someone else stumbles upon this by accident, you know why there won't be any updates for a few days.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What's for Dinner?

I have good news! I no longer have a nephew without a name. His name is Dominick. Well, it's not exactly Dominick. It's actually Samuel Dominick, but he won't be called Samuel. Or Sam. Or Sammy. See, my brother-in-law is Sam. He's actually Samuel the 48th or something like that. He wanted a Samuel the 49th. My sister did not. They compromised. He's Samuel on paper, but Dominick in real life. Does any of this make sense? Despite the fact that my sister didn't take any of my kids' name suggestions (Monkey, Lightning McQueen, or Jellybean), she and Sam picked out a good name for their little cutie-pie!
I have some more good news! Baby pooped out five staples this morning (don't ask me how I know exactly how many she passed!) She's none the worse for wear either. When I took her back to the hospital for a repeat x-ray this afternoon, I got to take a look at her x-ray. I wish I had a copy to post on my blog for posterity as it was rather interesting to see yet more staples still in her intestines somewhere. Hopefully, those will make an appearance tomorrow.
And now, for a little dinnertime conversation before I go watch Bridge to Terabithia with the kiddos....

MOM: What did you guys do in school today?
AJ: I don’t like chicken.
MOM: We’re not having chicken.
BOO: Oh! I love chicken! I want a leg!
MOM: This isn’t chicken. We’re having pork chops.
AJ: I don’t like pork chops.
MOM: Since when?
NANA: Oh we’re having chicken?
BOO: I get the leg!
MOM: We’re not having chicken tonight.
BABY: dadadadada
PRINCESS: I just want milk.
BOO: You can’t have milk! We’re having chicken.
SPAZ: My butt itches!
AJ: What is that brown stuff in the rice? I don’t like that.
MOM: There’s no brown stuff. Eat it. So what did you guys do in school?
NANA: This doesn’t taste like chicken.
AJ: It’s not chicken, duh!!! Mom, what’s 483 divided by 14?
MOM: I don’t know, Aj. Put your homework away. It’s time to eat now.
PRINCESS: Can I have a fruit snack for dinner?
MOM: No, you can’t have a fruit snack. Eat some meat. Spaz, settle down. Princess, tell me what you did in school. Why did you get that stamp on your hand?
PRINCESS: We were, um, in the room, ummm…..
BABY: dadaaaa baba
NANA: Stop kicking, Aj!!!
MOM: What room, Princess?
AJ: I’m not kicking you.
BOO: Can I have more chicken?
PRINCESS: We were at school. Mrs. Milton, ummm, gave us stamps, ummmm, because…..Is that corn?
NANA: Mooom, make Aj stop kicking. He’s kicking the table.
MOM: Nana, pass the corn to Princess, please. Aj stop kicking the table. Spaz stop drinking all your milk and eat. Why did Mrs. Milton give you guys stamps?
NANA: I already have corn.
MOM: I know you do. I asked you to pass the corn to Princess.
BABY: DA DA DA!!! (as she flings a piece of bread across the table)
MOM: Stop laughing. Don’t encourage her.
BABY: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! (as she throws another piece)
MOM: No baby (as I take her ammunition away)
MOM: So why did you get a stamp, Princess?
PRINCESS: ummm, because I, ummmm was a statue.
MOM: You were a statue? Did you play a statue game in gym?
NANA: I didn’t have gym today.
AJ: She’s talking to Princess, not you!
BOO: Can I be excused?
MOM: No. Finish eating.
PRINCESS: Ummmm no, not in gym. In, ummm Mrs. Milton’s class. We were statues.
MOM: OK you got a stamp on your hand because you were a statue in Mrs. Milton’s class?
MOM: (under breath) I give up.
AJ: Nana’s chewing with her mouth open and I need $5 for our field trip tomorrow.
NANA: Oh yeah, I need an empty coffee can for a project we’re doing tomorrow.
PRINCESS: Can I have a fruit snack now?
BABY: woof woof woof (as she throws a piece of corn on the floor.)
BOO: Can I have some more chicken?
MOM: Spaz eat, Baby stop throwing food, Nana chew with your mouth closed, Aj, quit kicking the table, Princess, you can’t have a fruit snack, and WE’RE NOT HAVING CHICKEN!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stomach Stapling

I was talking to my mom on the phone this morning, asking her if my sister had come up with a name for my cute, little nephew when I heard Baby choking in the other room. I ran in, grabbed her, flipped her over and whacked her back. She swallowed whatever it was she'd been choking on and seemed none the worse for wear. She got down and ran off to play like nothing had happened. Just as my pounding heart started to return to normal, I noticed a pile of staples where Baby had been sitting. She must have gotten them out of her older siblings' room. I started thinking that maybe Baby had been choking on staples! I had no idea, but it was sure a possibility since she's one year old and puts everything in her mouth. I called the pediatrician who told me not to give her anything to eat or drink and to get her to the ER immediately. My mind started racing with horrible visions of them having to cut open her tummy to get the staples out. What kind of mom was I that I could let my baby swallow staples?!

So, we went to the ER where they took x-rays and lo and behold, they found many, many staples in her stomach (I half expected them to find Barbie shoes, Polly Pocket clothes, maybe a Lego or two and some pennies as well, but thankfully it was just the staples.) Anyway, they surprisingly don't do anything for swallowed staples. I'm supposed to watch for them to pass and take her for a repeat x-ray tomorrow to see if they've all come out. I thank God that the doctors didn't have to remove them and I'm glad they didn't get stuck in her airway. For now, I just need to get up close and personal with her bowel movements. I can do that.
This gives new meaning to the words "stomach stapling".
I think with this most recent bill, we've officially financed the new wing of our hospital. I think we should have a room named after us.

I'm an Aunt!

My sister just had her first baby! I'm so excited for many reasons!
1. I finally get to be an aunt!
2. It's her and not me this time!
3. Much to my surprise, my kids didn't scare my sister out of ever having kids!

She had him this afternoon and I rushed over to the hospital as soon as I could. That is, after my husband got home from work and we loaded our six kids in the car. Like most hospitals, this one doesn't allow children in the maternity ward unless they're siblings of the newborn, so I went in to see my sister, brother in law, and their brand new baby while my husband "watched" the kids in the main waiting room. I use the term "watched" loosely because apparently they were all kicked out of the hospital by a security guard for being too loud while I was visiting my new nephew. I came out to see them all outside climbing trees. Princess tore up her new skirt and Boo flipped himself over a concrete wall and hurt his back. Then my husband took a turn and went in while I tried get the kids to all calm down and behave after their father had them all wound up.

Anyway, my sister looks great as always and my nephew is so cute! He smells like a little baby and makes those cute little baby sounds and hasn't started talking back yet. I miss that. My kids smell like sweat and dirt and they definitely don't make cute little sounds!

The only problem is that my little nephew doesn't have a name. After nine months, my sister and her husband haven't come up with a name for the poor little guy. So, for now, I'm the VERY PROUD AUNT of little Baby No Name!
(Congrats Web!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Is it Time for School to Start Yet?

UGH! What a fun few days I've had here. Spaz knocks over my neighbor's motorcycle, the kids are constantly fighting, yelling, and crying. And I've been doing nothing but following them around with a broom. Baby poured a bottle of baby wash on the carpeted floor of my room. Spaz grabbed a bag of Chex Mix by the bottom and dumped the whole thing on the floor. The baby proceeded to slurp the pieces up off the floor like a dog as I swept. Spaz also saw my iron setting out, picked it up, dumping out all the water, and asked me what it was. In all fairness, he was curious since he'd never seen the iron before, as I only iron maybe once a year. Really, who wants to drag out an ironing board? It's much easier to hang the clothing in the shower and blast the hot water to steam the wrinkles out, or even get out your hair straightener to put a crease in your clothes, or better yet - wear nothing but jeans and t-shirts and you never have to worry about ironing.

The baby did nothing but follow me around crying all day and Princess just took out toy after toy leaving behind a veritable mine field of playthings. The older kids fought with each other over the dumbest things. "Huh uh! Spiderman could fly way faster than Harry Potter." "You're wrong! Harry Potter has magic and he could kick Spiderman's butt!"
"No way!"
"Yes way!"
"Mooooom, who can fly faster, Harry Potter or Spiderman?"

Leave it to Spaz to lighten the mood a little. Just when the last little thread of patience was gone, Spaz came walking in my room with a little, pink, plastic Barbie purse over his head. He informed me it was stuck and he couldn't get it off. I pulled on the purse. It didn't budge. Aj pulled on it. It didn't budge. We both started yanking at this little plastic purse, but to no avail. It was totally stuck to Spaz's head. Aj gave it a last ditch effort and pulled so hard on the purse, that Spaz came up off the floor! Aj is standing there holding onto the purse that is so welded onto Spaz's head, that Spaz was lifted off the floor and still the purse didn't move. I grabbed a pair of scissors prepared to hear Princess whine as I cut her precious purse off Spaz's head when finally it came lose.

All I know is that I definitely do not get paid enough to put up with this stuff! And Back to School time can't get here fast enough!

Monday, July 16, 2007

All I Need is my Security Toothbrush

This isn't the best picture, but if you look closely you'll see that my bedspread really needs to be replaced, but that's not what I'm talking about. If you look closely enough, you'll see that my daughter has a lovely bruise on her cheek from falling off the chair on which she was climbing, but that's not what I'm talking about either. If you look very carefully, you'll see that my daughter fell asleep holding her prized posession - a toothbrush. Who needs a blankie or a pacifier when you have a trusty ole toothbrush? Only my kids. @@ The only problem is that the toothbrush belongs (or belongED) to her brother. Ew.

So, I went to the store to buy a replacement for my son. Why are there twenty billion different toothbrushes from which to choose? Why? Is brushing your teeth really such a science? Why exactly are there toothbrushes with little pieces of plastic spiking out from the bristles? Why are there toothbrushes with scrapers to clean your tongue, spinning mechanisms to give your gums a massage, flashing lights and sound chips so you can listen to a tune while cleaning your teeth? Is all that really necessary? With all the money put into toothbrush development, marketing, and advertising, I bet we could wipe out cancer, find a cure for alzheimers, feed the world, and develop a boarding school for toddlers.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thank God for Rum!

I didn't have time to blog last night because I was too busy researching boarding schools for my three year old. After a nice cocktail or two or fifteen and a good night's sleep, I'm back to tell you about the wonderful day I had yesterday.

First, I must say that my kids have actually been very pleasant this summer. I've only heard "I'm bored" a couple of times, they've been getting along for the most part and they've done an admirable job helping me keep the house clean. All in all this summer has been swell. I knew it would all come crashing to an end soon, but I wasn't prepared for it yesterday. I think there were about ten minutes yesterday when there was no screaming, fighting, or crying. That left the other twenty-three hours and fifty minutes filled with a cacophony that could wake the dead.

The boys decided to take the mattresses off their beds. They proceeded to prop them up on the top bunk and "sled" down onto the floor. This fun game went on until I got wise and realized what they were doing. By then, they'd somehow managed to tear down the curtains and crack the window. It was one of the only windows in the house that's still glass; the others having been replaced by Plexi-glass. At this point I found myself thinking that it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if they broke a leg or two, as that would keep them sitting still in one place for a few weeks.

That isn't what had me upset though. What really sent me through the wall (funny I should use this term) is what my three year old did. He and my six year old were outside talking to our next door neighbor, a fifty-something year old man. My six year old loves to have tea parties with him and he dutifully, if less than happily, humors her.

So yesterday, both my three and my six year olds carried loads of play food and dishes outside and arranged them over at his house for the grand soiree. Meanwhile my neighbor ran to the store, leaving his garage open when he left. My three year old, Spaz, with Princess looking on, decided to hop up onto my neighbor's motorcycle. (Yes, this is the same kid who drove a golf cart into our camper.) Anyway, the motorcycle fell over and hit the snow blower which knocked a hole in the garage wall and scratched up the bike. Thankfully my son wasn't crushed beneath the bike.

I tried to keep in mind that he is only three and doesn't know any better. I should've known that he was over there, but I was playing tic tac toe with Boo and helping Nana sew a pillow and I didn't even realize those two were messing around in his garage until my neighbor came knocking on my door a little later.

Well the good news is that my neighbor is a very nice, understanding guy, Spaz is still alive and I still had some coconut mudslide left in the fridge. The bad news is that after all my researching last night, I've discovered that there are no boarding schools for three year olds. Someone get on that, will ya?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hey Batter, Batter!

Woo Hoo baseball season is finally over! Now don't get me wrong - I delight in watching my kids play. I really enjoy seeing how the team grows and improves from those first cold pratices in April to the play-offs in July. I love cheering for my kids' teams, watching really close, exciting games, and seeing my kids hit a homerun or make an amazing catch, or slide into home just under the tag. Those things are all great and wonderful.

What I won't miss is trying to get dinner on the table at 4:00 so we can be at a field across town by 5:00. I won't miss packing up coolers with water, and bags with jackets, sunscreen, toys, coloring books, and snacks for the little ones. I won't miss the following dialog, "Do you have your bat? Do you have your glove? Why isn't your glove in your bag? Where's your bag? Well go get it. Yes now. We have to leave in a minute. Find your stuff and get it in the car!" I won't miss repeatedly pulling my one year old down from the bleachers on which she's been climbing or chasing my three year old away from a busy street all while trying to watch the game. And I especially won't miss the planning and coordination it takes to get three kids to games on opposite sides of town at the same time.

I have a huge, color coded calendar that takes up the entire side of my refrigerator, to coordinate games, fields and times. My husband and I draw out a game plan, as if plotting our offense in a football game complete with Xs and Os. “OK. You take Aj, Princess and Spaz at 10:00 and go to Field A. I’ll cut down the middle with Boo, Nana, and Baby and get to Field B at 10:15. Then you double back and pick Nana up at 10:25 and bring her to birthday party. I’ll run across town and get to Aj's game in time for the seventh inning. You cover Boo’s game back at Field B. I’ll bring Aj with me when I pick Nana up from the party and we’ll head to Field C for her game. You round up everyone else and meet us head on at Field C. Got it? Ready? Break!

The Michael Jordan of the baseball world. He sticks his tongue out with every pitch.

Know why my daughter switched from baseball to softball? Because the girls get to wear shorts.

Throwing to first for the out.

I'll look forward to baseball season again in the spring, but for now I'm glad it's over.
Oh yeah - all three of the kids finished out the season with trophies this year.
Aj took fourth place in his league.
Nana took third place in hers.
And Boo came in second place in his league.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

There's One in Every Family

I’m told, ”there’s one in every family.” Well, my one is lovingly called "Spaz". It will be nothing less than a miracle if this kid makes it to his tenth birthday. Heck, it’ll be cause for celebration if he makes it to his fourth birthday! If he doesn’t break his own neck by jumping off the roof, I’m sure to wring his neck for any of the numerous deeds he does on a daily basis. This is what he did a few months ago.

The day started much like any other. While I made lunches and got my other five kids up and ready for school, Spaz used one of his favorite mediums, maple syrup, to paint a lovely fresco on the dining room wall. In an effort to redirect his energy, I gave him the job of getting me a diaper and some wipes so I could change the baby’s diaper. That’s a simple enough task, right? After several minutes, I came to the conclusion that Spaz had gotten distracted and it could be days before he remembered to bring me a diaper so I went to get it myself. As I opened the door to the baby‘s room, the stench of diaper cream permeated the air. I saw Spaz literally covered in white goo. His hair was white, his cheeks were white, his arms were white, the changing table, floor, and walls were slathered in the thick, white cream. Wonderful! I learned, after washing his hair four times, that you never, ever, never, ever leave diaper cream within a toddler’s reach. It must be kept locked up in the garage with the cleaning supplies, rat poison, and weed killer. I also learned that diaper cream will never come out of clothing. Ever.

I spent the better part of an hour scrubbing the walls in the baby’s room. Meanwhile, Spaz had moved on to bigger and better things. He went into the bathroom and for reasons, known only to him, poured a full bottle of shampoo into the bathtub. How nice. After cleaning up the diaper cream, I went into the bathroom to do damage control there. When my five year old walked in to use the bathroom, she discovered that Spaz had also generously coated the toilet seat with shampoo and put a whole roll of toilet paper in the bowl.

After cleaning up the bathroom, I made the kids some cinnamon toast. Stupidly, I left the tub of butter on the kitchen counter. I paid for that mistake when I heard my five year old call, “Mooom! Spaz put butter on my floor!” Yes, the carpet in the girls’ room was covered in butter. Do you know how to get butter out of carpet? I don’t. If you have any ideas, please give me a call!

In the time it took me to clean up (actually, “smear around” is a better term) the butter, Spaz had dumped out the toy box and taken apart the girls’ dollhouse. Spaz just loves to take things apart. He not only likes to take things apart, but he also likes to pour things. He climbs onto the kitchen counters, grabs cups out of the cabinets and fills them with water from the dispenser on the freezer door. (It’s also great fun to simply depress the button and let the water run out of the freezer door and down onto the floor.) He not only fills cups, but toys, plastic sandwich bags, the baby’s car seat, cases from video tapes, and his older brother’s cup (and I’m not talking about the kind of cup you drink from.) And it’s not just water he uses. Oh no. He uses lotion, shampoo, jelly, heck, he once even grabbed a tank of gasoline used to fill our lawnmower and proceeded to water the plants with it thinking it was a watering can.

After lunch, I sent my youngest three off to play and sat down to do my taxes, which is not exactly my idea of fun. Personally, I’d rather have a root canal than do my taxes because doing one’s taxes involves math and I recently learned from my fifth grader, that I’m completely incompetent at math. But really, how often, in your adult life, have you had to know the answer to “if a train leaves Boston at 7:30 in the morning and travels 60 miles an hour…”

I checked on the kids after a few minutes only to find that Spaz had scribbled on the baby’s head with a pen. So, I washed the poor baby’s forehead and thanked God that it was only pen and not permanent marker this time. I set the kids up with a movie and went back to my taxes. Everyone was occupied with an activity, no one was fighting, nothing was being broken, and the planets were all aligned in harmony, then it hit me. Playing quietly is almost never a good thing. Where there's quiet, there's mischief. I cannot stress this enough. You really shouldn't ever sit back, relax and revel in the silence. You will later regret this when you discover that the silence you were just enjoying was a product of the kids' attention being focused on their latest science experiment, or the stacking of furniture, cartoon style, to see how high they can climb, or the testing of the vacuum’s suction power on the dog. In any case, it's not a good idea to enjoy the silence.

I got up to check on the little ones and I noticed that the baby’s hands didn’t look quite right. On further inspection, I saw that all the fingers on both hands were in fact, glued together. They weren’t glued with good ole Elmer’s washable school glue either. They were super glued together! How on earth my three year old managed to not only find the super glue, but open it, and slather it all over the baby’s hands in a matter of minutes, is beyond me. We’ll skip the details of the next hour, but sufficed to say, about fifty cotton balls and one whole bottle of nail polish remover later, her hands were unstuck.

This folks, is my life. Every minute of every day. And I'm not even mentioning the time he stole a golf cart and drove it into our camper! Now I know what most of you are thinking - ‘This is the most neglectful mother on the planet. Does she ever watch her kids?’ Let me tell you, Spaz by himself would be a handful and a half, but with five other kids to watch, it’s impossible to keep my eye on this one 24/7. For those of you out there who have a child like Spaz -you know, a child that everyone else likes to call “busy” (and I say this with as much sarcasm as I can muster) just know that you are not alone. Believe me, you’re definitely not alone. My only advice is - hang in there. And perhaps buy stock in Bacardi and Ritalin. And when your husbands come home and upon seeing the house, ask, “What did you do all day?” just tell them “Damage control.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Just How Much Pineapple Did You Feed the Baby?

I'm not a morning person. In fact, I've never been a morning person. I used to drive my mother insane each and every morning when I was a kid. My mom was and still is a morning person. You know the type - they jump out of bed happily humming along with the birds, they make their bed, shower, dress, cook breakfast, read the paper, discover life on another planet, and invent a car that runs on mud all before 5:00am. This is my mom. I, on the other hand, am the kind of person that hits the snooze button on the alarm clock fifty-three times before throwing the clock against the wall, pulling the covers up around my head, and falling back asleep.

I can stay up until 3:00 in the morning without blinking an eye, but when 7:00 am rolls around, I still play the snooze alarm game on a daily basis. My children, however, are small versions of my mother who delight in waking me up by running through the house, shrieking the blood curdling screams of a bad actor in a horror movie about to be slashed by an ax wielding madman. It's a great way to start the day with an ulcer.

After a particularly bad week of the kids waking up super early and being super crazy in the morning, they surprised me. On Saturday morning, I slept until 9:00! That's unheard of in my house. NINE O'CLOCK! Know how I awoke this particular Saturday morning at 9:00? I awoke to my two oldest children bringing me breakfast in bed. I was certain that either

A. I was in the Twilight Zone and those were not my children, but cyborgs programmed to cook or

B. I was on Candid Camera

They came in my room carrying a cookie sheet which they used as a tray. On the cookie sheet, was a stack of pancakes with syrup, a plate of toast with jelly, and a glass of orange juice. Wow! After being reassured that the two kids bringing me my breakfast were indeed my children and not aliens who'd taken over their bodies, I took a bite of the pancakes only to discover that they weren't actually pancakes. I'm not certain what they were, but they were definitely not pancakes. First, they were black, and I'm pretty sure I've never seen pancakes quite this shade of black at IHOP. Secondly, I remembered that we were out of eggs. How did they make pancakes without eggs? Lastly, what were they doing using the stove? I mentally thank God that they didn't hurt themselves or burn down the house while flipping flapjacks, then I choked down every last bite of that breakfast because that's what moms do. We appreciate all the little things our kids do for us from the burnt, chewy pancake breakfasts to the homemade Mother's Day cards, to the mud pies and dandelion bouquets. I know that all too soon, these days will be gone.

Oh yeah - where were the other four children while my oldest two were playing Emeril in the kitchen? Well, three of them were watching a movie. And the baby was sitting in her high chair eating the breakfast that my two oldest prepared for her. It was a breakfast of pineapple. Yep, that's it. Just pineapple. A whole big can of pineapple. It was so thoughtful of my oldest kids to try and help out and give the baby breakfast like that, that I just didn't have the heart to tell them that they had given the baby enough citric acid to last a year and a half. The baby's poor little butt burst into flames every time she pooped for the next two days. I don't think I've ever used so much diaper cream in my life. Still, it was a wonderful gesture on my kids' part. So wonderful, in fact, that I hardly noticed the pancake batter splattered all over the stove and the orange juice spilled on the floor and the jelly on the counter tops and the bread sitting on the counter drying out in the open bag. Hardly.

Monday, July 9, 2007

It Never Ends

First, a little plug for my Ebay auctions. If you sew, check them out.
My husband is Mr. Fixit. He remodels bathrooms and kitchens, he paints, wallpapers, does plumbing, electrical, drywall, removes asbestos, and installs flooring. He does this in everyone's house but ours. He just finished remodeling our bathroom after fifteen years. For fifteen years that bathroom sat there untouched, a breeding ground for mold so thick we opened our own penicillin factory. The bathtub leaked and the windowsill in the shower was rusted. ( I'd like to know what idiot thought it was a good idea to put a metal window in a shower stall!) It was only a matter of time before someone sat down on the toilet, only to fall into the crawl space because the floor was all dry rot. But alas, the cobbler's children have no shoes....

So, Mr. Fixit went to do an estimate on a job at a coworker's house tonight. The homeowner's bathroom had significant water damage. The drywall had to be replaced from the floor to about three feet up the wall. My husband asked, "What happened here?"

The homeowner replied, "Well my kids ran out of toilet paper so they thought that paper towels would be a good substitution. When the paper towels didn't flush, they tried flushing again and again.

Mr. Fixit looked confused and asked, "Aren't your kids in college?

"YES!" she replied. "It never ends! The stupid stuff never goes away! They don't get any better as they get older."

There goes the remaining shred of hope I had for my kids.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Bats Won't Poop on Your Head

My sil and I took the kiddos to the zoo this week. The battery on my camera died soon after we got there, so I only got a couple pictures, but I'll share them with you. The zoo has a stingray exhibit right now where people can touch live stingrays swimming around. Ummm, isn't that what killed Steve Irwin ? Yes, please let me touch a stingray!

We all went in the Australian exhibit where bats fly around freely. Yes, that's right, BATS FLY AROUND FREELY in this exhibit. OK, I figure the bats can't dive bomb people too often or they'd be behind glass, right? So, I'm ok with walking (very quickly) through the Australia House. I guess the docent sensed my uneasiness and in an effort to put my fears to rest, said, "Oh don't worry, the bats won't poop on your head." POOP ON MY HEAD?!!! Well, I hadn't even considered that possibility until now! Gee, thanks.

Anyway, we had beautiful weather, it wasn't too horribly crowded, we didn't lose anyone, and we only had to pull Spaz out of one exhibit (he just had to chase a chipmunk into the Tapir's habitat), so all in all it was a good day.

And I thought I had it bad trying to squish all these guys in my little van! Poor kangaroo has to carry them around in her pouch!

This zebra looks a little like Boo....

His Vitiligo is spreading. :(
But the good news is - I finally figured out how to put a link in here! Yay me! I'm catching up to my six year old in computer skills.

Preparation H - it isn't just for humans.

The Einstein of the monkey world (or what I look like first thing in the morning when I haven't dyed my hair in a while.)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Stupider Half of Humanity

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that. ~George Carlin

...and the stupidest half were all out driving on the same road today. There are just too many people out there who simply should not have a driver's license. If you can't see over the steering wheel, chances are you should not be driving. If you can't manage to find the accelerator and get up to the posted speed limit, then stay in the right lane, or better yet, ride a bike instead! Grrr!

Speaking of the stupider half of the population....

Since I've started doing this blog thing, I've taken to browsing through other people's blogs. I've been pleasantly surprised with how many good blogs are out there. I've found several entertaining blogs and many, even though they don't necessarily interest me, that are still well written. This astounds me because in my real, day to day life, I've found an overwhelming majority of people are grammatically impaired, have the spelling skills of a fourth grader and think that punctuation is optional. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I'm so fabulous. I make plenty of errors, but unlike most of America, I do know the difference between "your" and "you're".

I'm starting to get a little worried that my kids are going to wind up in the stupid half of humanity. Consider what happened at Nana's softball game today.

ME: Don't jump off the bleachers, Boo.
ME: Stop climbing on the bleachers.
ME: Get down from there before you crack your head open.
BOO: Waaaaaah! I'm bleeding! Waaaaahhhh!

ME: You're too big to sit in the stroller, Princess.
ME: You'd better get out before it tips over.
ME: Princess watch out!
Princess: Waaaaaaah! The stroller fell over and I banged my head!

Do you know what's on the underside of the bleachers at any given ball park? I'm not sure, but it all found it's way to Spaz's mouth today. Mmmm, nothing like month old, already chewed gum covered in dirt and bugs.

Yep, my kids definitely take after their father.

But this guy takes the cake. Another parent at the game, who works on the police force, told us about a call that came in. A man had been caught streaking through a public pool wearing nothing but a football helmet (because sometimes those pool decks can be slippery and it's important to protect your brain from injury in case you fall.) Now I ask you, do you really think there's anything worth protecting in that guy's head?

Friday, July 6, 2007

House Devils and Street Angels

I realized I'd lost track of time while running errands with the gang when they started whining from the back of my van.

"We're hungry!"
"Can't we go home for dinner?"
"Aren't we finished shopping yet?"
"We're dying!"
"We haven't eaten in like four years!"

Not wanting to stop (only because it would mean having to drag the six of them out again at another time), I replied, "We just have two more stops to make. If you're hungry, look in your car seats. I bet there are enough fries, crackers, fruit snacks, and half eaten lollipops to feed a small nation."

"Mom, we already ate that stuff on the way to Grandma and Grandpa's last week, remember?"

"Oh yeah. OK. Tell you what - if you can make it through two more errands without killing each other, I'll take you to Culvers for dinner."

much cheering from gang

I try not to take the kids out in public, so going out to eat is a big treat for them. We got to the restaurant, stepped to the counter and ordered.

NANA: Can I have two corn dogs?
PRINCESS: Can I have macaroni and cheese?
ME: They don't have mac-n-cheese. Do you want a hamburger?
PRINCESS: Then I'll have a fruit snack.
ME: They don't have fruit snacks.
PRINCESS: Fine. Then I want the thing with the stuff on it.
ME: to Culvers guy Got that? She wants the thing with the stuff on it.
CULVERS GUY: blank stare
SPAZ: Me too!
ME: OK, that'll be two things with stuff on them.
AJ: I'd like a double deluxe with everything on it.
CULVERS GUY: still confused over the last order
BOO: Me too! I want a double deluxe too!
CULVERS GUY: Are you sure you can eat all that? It's pretty big.
AJ: to Boo Yeah, you'll never finish a Crabby Patty, Barnacle Boy. to Culvers guy He'll have a Pipsqueak Patty.

Now a good mother would know at this point that it was time to limit the kids' cartoon viewing to less than twelve hours a day. What went through my head, however, is the realization that the kids could recall every line of every Sponge Bob episode ever made and they could quote them with impressive accuracy, but they couldn't remember to put their dirty clothes in the hamper.

Anyway, the gang was actually very good through dinner. The baby only threw about a pound of food on the floor and she didn't hit any other patrons with her projectile fries of death. There was no fighting, poking, crawling under the table, blowing bubbles in their drinks, or yelling and my three year old only took off his shoes once "because my feet are itchy".

A little, old lady, who'd been dining next to us, walked over to our table as she was leaving and said, "I just have to tell you what a beautiful family you have. And they are SO well behaved!"

I smiled at her, looked lovingly at my little darlings sitting there so politely and then burst out laughing hysterically. She obviously didn't know my kids. Had she seen them last night at dinner goofing off at the table and laughing like rabid hyenas, she surely would've fainted from the sheer horror of the sight.

This nice lady smiled and told me they must be House Devils and Street Angels. I'd never heard that expression before, but I like it. It fits. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy Fifth of July!

Happy 5th of July! That's me - always a day late and a dollar short.

Anyway, for the 4th of July, the whole gang went over to my bil /sil's. We had a yummy dinner and saw fireworks. The usual. I just have to show you these pictures of their garage though. You see, I married into a family of "car people". Maybe some of you are car families or know car families. My fil has about forty cars in various states of doneness, a garage with more square footage than the White House, and every car building tool known to man. He even has one of those thingys that lifts your car into the air so the guy can change your oil. <--how very technical of me. Obviously, my husband's car family hasn't rubbed off on me yet.
My bil has only one car that he's working on as of right now, but I'm sure more are to follow as he has a garage that would fit at least thirty-five cars. Their garages are equipped with cable t.v., phones, refrigerators, and toilets so they never have to leave. OK, so maybe not toilets, but when they read this, I'm sure it won't be long until they head over to Home Depot to go commode shopping.

These are people who have perpetually black, grease stained fingers, go to car shows 360 days a year, and know how to fix anything, a skill which makes knowing car people very beneficial. For the average Joe, whose car knowledge includes nothing more than being able to locate the switch that opens the hood, car repairs can be tricky things. A mechanic can tell you almost anything and you wouldn't know the difference.

"Ah yeah, your concave lube conductor is out. It's a difficult repair. Pretty pricey. It's gonna cost you somewheres in the neighborhood of $1,800.00 to fix."

Oh no! Not the concave lube conductor! I think I just had that replaced last year!

So, it's a good thing to know car people.

Someday I'll take a picture of fil's garage and the car he'll probably want to buried in when he dies.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Why Can't I Swim in the Toilet?

After a long, hard day of manual labor, i.e. playing with blocks, throwing your sippy cup on the floor, taking all the books off the shelf, and emptying out the toy box, it's nice to relax in a lovely whirlpool bath.

"Come on in, Mom! The water's just right!"
And just think, if the urge to go happens to hit while you're splashing away, well you're in luck!

I hope this doesn't give you heart palpitations, Denise. Rest assured, I threw her in the "other" bathtub and scrubbed her down with Lysol and sandpaper after snapping those pictures.


Here's a joke from the kids...

What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup?

Anyone can roast beef!


Monday, July 2, 2007

Things I Never Would Have Known Had I Not Had Kids

1. The number to Poison Control is 1-800-222-1222.

2. A two year old can eat 20 children’s vitamins without having to have his stomach pumped.

3. A two year old cannot drink a bottle of cough syrup without having to go to the ER.

4. Baseballs are magnetically attracted to windows.

5. You have to tell a four year old to pick up his Legos at least twenty times before he will do it.

6. Stepping on Legos in the middle of the night, makes you scream like you’ve been shot.

7. Screaming in the middle of the night is not a good idea, as it wakes up everyone in the house who will then insist they can only go back to sleep in your bed.

8. A toilet makes a nice size swimming pool for Barbie and her friends.

9. Barbies do not flush well.

10. Two year old boys do not mind having their fingernails painted pink.

11. Their fathers mind.

12. In one minute, a two year old can open your trunk and hood, turn on your hazard lights, windshield wipers and turn signals, and turn the volume on your radio as high as it will go as they get into their car seat.

13. It takes an adult six and a half minutes to find the switch to turn their hazard lights off.

14. You can easily fit an entire box of Cheerios in a floor register.

15. Ants like Cheerios.

16. So do mice.

17. Carpets that have a bottle of lotion dumped on them make squishy sounds when you walk on them.

18. Nail polish, surprisingly, sticks to the inside of a toilet filled with water.

19. It’s not a good idea to use nail polish remover on a tv screen.

20. Plastic toys shoved into a VCR will not necessarily break it. The VCR, however, will be completely destroyed when you try to retrieve the toy.

21. Putting pop in a sippy cup will make the cup explode.

22. Toothpaste does not make a good window cleaner.

23. Blue popsicles will dye skin, counter tops, and fur blue.

24. Dogs do not look good with blue fur.

25. Eating things like blue popsicles, blue French fries, and blue juice will produce neon green contents in a diaper the next morning.

26. A fifty pound boy can be launched off one end of a teeter totter by his brother.

27. A boy flying through the air after being launched off a teeter totter can break his arm.

28. Our local hospital has a great pediatric emergency room.

29. It’s never a good idea to use the clothes line to rappel down the side of the garage.

30. The doctors at our local hospital know us by name.

31. If one tries to climb a Christmas tree and breaks a glass ornament in the process, pieces of glass can get stuck in one’s eye.

32. The doctors at our local hospital are good at removing foreign objects from eyes.

33. Rocks, gum, chocolate, and earthworms should never go through the washing machine.

34. Never leave the keys in a golf cart when there’s a 2 year old, who likes to “go fast”, standing nearby.

35. It costs $600 to replace the awning on your camper after your 2 year old drives a golf cart into it.

36. It’s impossible to get butter out of carpeting.

37. It takes a very long time for hair to grow back.

38. It’s not a good idea to put yogurt in the gas tank of the lawnmower.

39. It’s really not a good idea to fill the lawnmower’s gas tank with water until it overflows and spills out all over the garage floor.

40. Watering plants with a tank of diluted gasoline will kill them.

41. If the kids are getting along and playing quietly in their rooms, it is NEVER a good thing. They’re up to something.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Harry Potter?

This is what six kids do when they're bored. Because they have no tv, computer, games, backyard, books, friends, or siblings with which to amuse themselves, they have to come up with stuff like this. By the way, for any of you wondering, this is supposed to be Harry Potter with a beard.

I try to think my kids are just exceptionally artistic, but really, aren't there better ways to show off their creativity than drawing on their brother's FACE?! As a kid, I remember coloring on paper, maybe the occasional coloring book or book of paper dolls. My children, however, prefer different mediums including, but not limited to, the dining room wall, the carpet, the leather recliner, maple syrup, yogurt, mud, and super glue.

All I have to say is - they'd better all get "A"s in art this year!

You Don't Have to Climb IN the Dishwasher to Unload It

This is how my kids like to "help" me. Nothing makes unloading the dishwasher easier than a baby who keeps climbing into it. Yep, she's almost as helpful as my three year old who likes to throw clean, folded laundry on the floor for me to fold yet again. And again. And again. Whatever would I do without these guys?


So, we had softball again today. We were up by one. It was the bottom of the sixth inning (they only play six innings). The other team was up to bat. The tying run was on third and bases were loaded. They had two outs. The girl up to bat had a full count. Not too much pressure, right? She struck out and we won. Funny, how I say "we" won like I was out there playing. In fact, had I been out there playing, I'm quite certain we would've lost.

Anyway, this poor girl struck out. Although I feel awful for any kid who gets stuck in that position, I was secretly thanking God that it wasn't my daughter who got the last out. My kids are screwed up enough. I can only imagine, twenty years from now, one of my kids mumbling to their psychiatrist, "If only I'd hit that ball twenty years ago...."

When the game was over, I stood up and cheered, so happy that my daughter's team had won until I realized that meant they'd have yet another play off game. Is it wrong to want baseball season to be over already? I remember when it started back in April. Way back then, we wore winter coats, hats, and gloves. We brought thermoses of hot chocolate to the games and bundled up under big blankets. We went from that weather to 140 degrees in the shade overnight. Gotta love IL.

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