Wednesday, January 30, 2008

If they would just stop crawling around like dogs.

Maybe they wouldn't have to wear pants with patches on the knees. But there comes a point when I just refuse to purchase more pants for them. Like when they ruin them in the first five times they wear them.

All three of them, eight pairs of pants. Honestly.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The other day, I was picking up the littlest one from school. I said to him, "Did you play a lot today? You looked pooped out!"

His friend asked, so sweetly, "Did you bring him extra underwear?"

Monday, January 28, 2008


I wish I had before pictures. It really didn't look that bad until you got about five feet away. Then you could see that the cushions had holes in them and the piping was totally worn away. But worn out no longer!
I was going to make a fancy pillow for the middle, but I've grown to realize in the last three days that I do have a fancy pillow, she's black with a gray muzzle and wears a pink collar. I think she might love the couch more than I do.
And because I've not had a whole lot of real work to do, we now also have a window seat cushion. And some half-made pillows that need to be sewn up.
But seriously? I totally just recovered my couch! Wah-HOOO!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Oldest Kid and the Rotten, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

It wasn't a whiney day, he even kept a good attitude through the whole rotten thing, but I tell you, I only didn't write this yesterday because I was waiting for something else to happen. Let me explain.

The Oldest Kid had a Pinewood Derby car race in the morning for cubscouts. We'd worked on his car for weeks, sanding and painting and weighing and gluing. He'd said before that he only wanted to come in better than sixth place, what he'd placed the last two years. Yeah, he came in tenth, out of twelve. He was sad, but took it unbelievably well, especially for him. And his defense, if you would have taken out the cars that were actually made by dads, he would have come in fifth or higher. (You should have seen the kid who won - he could have cared less - his dad cared FAR more than he did - because dad made the car - it was kind of sad.) But I'm not bitter, I promise. We told the oldest that he did his best and that we were proud of his hard work. And we are.

That was only the beginning. In fact, the least of the rotten part of my kid's day. After lunch, I'd just sat down to work on recovering my couch, and I heard a crash. I thought it was the little one flinging the Wiimote across the room, AGAIN. But in came the oldest, holding his head. Crying, "I jumped up and hit my head on the cabinet!" He pulled his hand away to let me look, and that's when he saw the blood and Panicked. I have to admit, I Panicked a little, too, but mostly it was because he was dripping and he was over carpet and near my newly recovered couch. "IN THE KITCHEN, GO!"

We cleaned it up, put ice and pressure on it and stopped the bleeding fairly quickly, but you know how much blood pours out of a wound on the top of your head. Yuck. I tried to clean up the drips on the tile before he saw them, but he was following me. And Panicked. And then I shouldn't have shown him the drips on his pants. But then I started to worry about whether he needed stitches or glue or something.

And of course, Sarge was working (because that's when all disasters happen, naturally). We took his suggestion to go to the firestation and have the paramedics take a look, because the last place I wanted to be on a Saturday afternoon was the emergency room - that's when my children usually decide it's a good idea to start licking random surfaces. So we piled in the minivan and headed to the fire station. And they were so good to us, and didn't even laugh in my face for being such a worrywart. And they said it would be fine healing up on it's own.

But that's not the last of my poor baby's rotten day. When we got home, we resumed turns playing on the Wii. And during his turn, I was ready to put the couch back into the room (we're only missing back cushions, but that should happen today! Woo Hoo!), so I moved him out of the chair we'd placed in the middle of the room, returned it to it's spot and then put the lamp back. While he was backing into the chair, he totally missed and ran into my lamp. Fell over on it, shattering the glass bowl shade to bits. Sobbing, again, "Mommy, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry" My kids know how much I love that lamp. And how excited I was to have a grownup lamp. And how I'll never have another one, because I'll never find such a great deal on a lamp on clearance!

I wasn't mad at him. I'm sad, but it was an accident, and mostly, I just felt sorry for the kid. He just couldn't catch a break yesterday. But I was so proud of him, because he dealt with each setback so much better than I could have hoped for. I'm blaming the clumsiness, for now, on a growth spurt, which sometimes he'll do - he'll just not know where to expect his body parts to be and get all clumsy for a week or so and then figure it out. But I'm thinking that maybe his maturity had a little growth spurt, too, and for that I'm grateful.

And if you actually read all this garbage, thank you. This apparently is what happens when I don't write often enough - I have a horrible long brain dump all at one time. Phwew!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

who's afraid of heights?

Oh, yeah, that would be me.
But these windows? They have roman shades now.
The things I do to save electricity.

She'll deny it under oath

She will never admit that she likes the soft bed. She won't even look at me while she's on it. And as soon as she thinks someone sees her, she jumps up really quick.

Oh, and I taught her how to shake. It's kind of a pathetic shake, and she only uses it so that she can distract me so she can steal all of the treats in my hand instead of just the one, but she lifts her paw and allows me to grab it. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks...

extraordinarily ordinary

Last night, we were having a cub scout meeting, and the den leader had just gone over a whole list of tall tales. Then, just after, he quizzed the boys with attributes and the boys were supposed to guess who it was he was describing. There were probably twenty.

My oldest child, each time, raised his hand with the ever-present, "ooh, ooh, ooh," and the breath holding and near explosion. The den leader each time would give the other boys a chance to answer and then when they couldn't, he deferred to my child. Who knew them. Every. Single. Time.

By the end, it was getting silly. All eyes were on him. One of the boys remarked, "let's just see if he knows all the answers!" The adults were impressed, amazed at his retention. Jokes were made about putting him on Jeopardy. He was a machine.

I remarked to him at bedtime that I thought that he did a good job remembering all the stories and who all the main characters were. I told him I thought that the grownups were impressed with how well he listened and remembered. He shrugged his shoulders. I asked him if he thought that he did a good job. He shrugged his shoulders and commented that it was just normal.

And while the rest of us can't imagine having a memory like that, he can't imagine being without a memory like that. It's just ordinary.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I finally did it.

We knocked on our neighbor's door this evening, to see if they wanted girl scout cookies. We see her and her husband here and there, and we knew they were having a baby next month.

So I ask, "When ARE you having that baby?"

In my defense, she never got a really big belly.

In my defense, the baby was due in mid-February.

In my defense, I didn't really look at her.

In my defense, I would have thought that our other neighbors would have mentioned something, and I was JUST AT THEIR HOUSE.

In my defense, the baby was nowhere around, nor was any baby paraphenalia.

In my defense, she was walking completely upright, not like a woman who had a baby five days ago.

But no. Sweet, sweet neighbor, in all her postpartum glory did not yell, scream or hit me, even though she should have. She just said, "Oh, we already had him! He was four weeks early! We just got home yesterday!"

So, no matter how many times I swore I would not embarass myself in such a way, I just did. NICE.

I had a dream about my brother-in-law last night...

So now that I have both my sisters' attention...

I promise that it wasn't a dream that will make family Christmas uncomfortable, it was more of a nightmare, really, as it also involved laundry.

For some reason, we were at a vacation house up near the lake in California we occasionally spend a week in the summer at, and I guess he and I drew the short straws and had to do laundry for the families. So we walk down some stairs and enter the house again from the outside through some sliding glass doors. And as I enter, I see laundry everywhere. All over a giant bed, baskets all over the floors and literally streaming out of the dryer. Piled up, clean and unfolded, everywhere.

I composed myself, seeing all this laundry that must belong to other people who had stayed at this house prior (multiple years - it was so much laundry). We pushed through to the back of the room where the washer and dryer are, and plan to get started. I glanced at the laundry that was in the dryer and I recognized some of the pieces, so I guess I assumed that my sister had done some laundry and forgotten about it. So I cleared room and started folding it, and that's when I realized what all this laundry was.

It was every piece of clothing that our combined six children had ever owned, and it was waiting to be folded. All of it.

This is how my brain works when I'm asleep. Can you imagine what it's like to be me awake? You may now silently cry on my behalf. Thank you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Feels like Saturday

Today is a day off for everyone, so it's feeling a little weird around here. Kids with playdates, video games being played, and even an evening out with friends for the older two. It's feeling strange. I imagine it will feel stranger on Monday, when we're still not working.

We've been adjusting for almost two weeks now to Sarge working during the day like normal humans, and I thought that it would be all lollipops and bubblegum with a side of jumping for joy, but it's actually a little harder than I thought it would be.

But, before you think I'm whining, I'm not, it's just a little different, and I think it will take longer to adjust than I thought. The first morning, when I walked back in the house with the youngest after taking the others to school, I shushed him when he shouted jubilantly about something. And then I remembered, we could be as stinkin' loud as we wanted to be. So we were.

I've found myself thinking during the day about Sarge and wanting to ask him something or tell him something and then thinking that I couldn't, because he was asleep. And then I remembered that I can, so then I interrupt his coffee drinking while driving and typing on the computer.

His body is having the hardest time adjusting - he feels the need to go to sleep before 10pm, in order to be awake and ready to go at 4am. But his body is still telling him that 10pm is when all the best criminals start waking up and that he should be in "go" mode. And my recent bout with insomnia didn't help with all the tossing and turning - which I think was related to the fact that THERE IS SOMEONE IN MY BED.

But the days off are lovely, even lovelier when the children are all in school and we have conversations that involve complete sentences.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How to torture a nearly nine year old

Tell him he is what he eats. And then tell him to eat a cutie. You know those little clementines?
And then laugh maniacally.

Then, when he gets mad, tell him he's eaten too many sour apples. Then laugh so hard that tears start running down your face.

Then, when he yells across the room, "I HATE CUTIES!" start fake crying, really loudly. And wait for his little sister to rat him out that he's smiling.

It's almost as good as kissing him goodbye right in front of all his friends at school. Or telling his friend that he can't come play until he's cleaned up the playroom.

I can't wait until he's a teenager.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Love

I had no idea. It all started very innocently, with giggles and laughs. I told the children, "this is then only time you'll ever see your mommy and daddy hitting each other."

You see, I have a new love in my life. It's named Wii boxing. I can't stop. Well, until I have to because I can barely hold my arms up. I wake up in the morning with pain in my upper back and shoulders from muscles I didn't know I even had.

And the best part? I can totally kick Sarge's butt. I mean, in the virtual world.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It all started with the Tupperware cupboard

I think that my Tupperware cupboard woes have been fairly well documented here. Well, I had an epiphany about six weeks ago. It seems logical to most, but I cleaned up and organized the Tupperware cupboard.

I fitted every piece and it's lid together. The spare lids and spare containers - I THREW THEM AWAY. I know, weird, right? It just seems so elementary now, but it just hasn't been for the last, oh, I don't know, thirty years.

I put the lids together, the containers stacked up. And so it has remained for the last six weeks, with only a little reorganizing, daily use, and no falling on my feet each day. And I can shut the cupboard without having to pray first, then slam the door.

But since then, I've completely revamped the way that I care for my home. I'll go into more specifics later, but I decided that I wanted to live in a tidy AND clean house. And once the decision was made, the plans were set into motion and routines have become, well, routine.

And, to think, I have the Tupperware cupboard to thank for it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kitchen Decor

I thought for a moment today, that my new kitchen decor would involve the Chicago Bears.

Let me back up a moment to explain. The birthday boy is a huge football fan. When his aunt found little football players that you could set up in formation, she totally hit the Christmas gift jackpot. He adores these little players. The only trouble with them is that they keep coming separated from their little stands.

One had been in my kitchen for a few days, and since today was kitchen-cleaning day, it needed to be repaired and moved to it's proper location. So I repaired it. With super glue. Do you see where this is going now?

My super glue was a little drippy, but no worries, I repaired his "high ankle sprain" and the complete amputation of his leg at the knee. He was ready to play. I left him there to dry while I cleaned the rest of the kitchen. When it came to that counter, well, he refused to move. He liked my kitchen and intended to stay there. I panicked. I laughed. I rethought the orange and blue thing. Then I grabbed a spatula and started jabbing at him like he was a burnt cookie. And just like a burnt cookie, he flew across the kitchen when he came loose.
And my kitchen remains boring and non-bachelor-pad-like.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Five years ago

I stayed up all night with my mom. We sat at the kitchen table and she knitted and timed my contractions. I think we finally went to sleep around the three o'clock hour, or at least that's how the story will go from here on out.

Each of the children and my husband had a terrible stomach virus that week. First the oldest, then the girl, then my husband. He hadn't eaten all day and was on the mend, but still weak.

Needless to say, I was terrified that I was going down next, and wouldn't know it until the doctor told me to push. Thankfully (for me and the entire medical staff on duty that day) I never did get that stomach virus.

But after I'd gotten a few hours of VERY restless sleep, we decided that today was the day. Well, really, the baby decided on that day.

Apparently, even after two labors and deliveries, one isn't an expert on labor. I walked into labor and delivery on thankfully a very un-busy day. They put me in a room, sent Sarge to go register and came in to do the normal business. While the nurse was doing her normal business, she laughed.

She said, "we were so sure when you walked in that you weren't in labor."

"Really?" I asked, "so will I have a baby today?"

"Um, yeah, you're NINE CENTIMETERS." And then she called in every nurse in the place. Not kidding, there were at least thirty people in that room. My husband was gone, and I didn't know when he was coming back - he didn't know there was any urgency at all.

I did what any normal person would do in the situation. I started to cry. "PLEASE, tell me there is time for drugs! I can't do this without drugs!"

I'm pretty sure the nurses were preparing to deliver my baby with no doctor. They calmed me, said they were SURE they could get the IV and the medication in quickly and that they'd call an anesthesiologist. No worries, they told me. I'm pretty sure that was all a farce, and an "oh, Lord, please make this woman stop crying and start making herself useful."

Seriously, everything worked out like a dream. My doctor sauntered in about thirty minutes later, "Oh, I was just out taking my dog for a walk when they called!" the anesthesiologist came in plenty of time and my husband got the paperwork done in record time without even knowing he needed to get it done in record time.

I remember Sarge sitting on the couch in the room, absolutely exhausted from his illness. He helped when he could, but his help wasn't needed too much -- the baby was there in less than an hour after we'd arrived at the hospital. Heck, my help wasn't needed much!

As I held his tired, 50 pound body tonight, I was reminded that the nurses wouldn't let me hold him while I slept. I obediently put his tiny body back in the bed until they left, then I'd take him back into my arms and we'd sleep peacefully. I'd been the one taking care of him for nine months, some stranger wasn't about to start telling me how to take care of him!

And so, the adventure began.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Not quite what she intended

My mother knitted my children the most gorgeous sweaters for Christmas. These are no Mrs. Weasley sweaters, these are gorgeous, beautifully done, lovely colors. My children love them.

I was nervous they wouldn't be sweet about them, but the first thing my oldest child did when he opened his was throw it on, then jump up and squeezed the breath out of my mother. My son wore his OVER his Tony Romo jersey (hello! that kid will barely wear a jacket over that thing in 20 degree weather!) and my daughter wore hers all day, and then wore it to bed. Yeah, they loved them.

Well, here's the deal (and the part that she doesn't know yet! Hi, green.barn!). My oldest child has taken to sleeping with his. Not joking, pile up the eight stuffed animals, his tattered mommy blanket, his great-grandma blanket and the sweater my mom made. Every night since we got home. He'd been complaining that the other two kids had quilts made by Grandma and he didn't so I guess he just made do.

I know my mom wants the things that she makes to be well-used and well-loved, but I'm thinking that this method of use hadn't entered her mind while she was knitting. Leave it to my kid.

Monday, January 7, 2008

How to get my dog to avoid a specific area

My dog has a habit of laying on the fabric that doesn't belong to me or her. She gets shoo-ed away, but she always tries to come back.

When the children were babies, I'd lay out a blanket on the floor for them to play on that she wasn't allowed on. She'd always creep nearer and nearer, so that at first she wasn't touching, then just her paws, then maybe she'd lay her head down. Until we walked away, then she'd plop her whole body down in the middle.

Using this theory, I laid out some soft and fuzzy fabric that was at one time going to be a Halloween costume, but is now just taking up space. I was thinking I should make her a dog bed, in the hopes that she'd like it and give us some space on the couch.

In the last week, I've laid it all around the house, in all her favorite places. As I sit at the computer, she's always right next to me, so I laid the fabric in the very spot she usually occupies. I put it in the family room where she lays when we're borrowing the couch from her.

And, you've already guessed it, she has barely put a paw on it. She walks around it, she lays next to it, scrunched up in an awkward position to avoid touching it. I think that my dog is really a cat in a dog's body.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

I always knew I wasn't cool, but honestly.

I caught the last half of the political debates tonight. And, no, I won't even begin to touch politics here.

I'd rather touch on the commercials. Because they made me feel like maybe, just maybe, I wasn't the target or expected audience for the debates. Because they were about absorbent underwear, and medication for several embarassing problems that women my age don't have.

And I couldn't decide, was I just the only thirtysomething loser home on a Saturday night? Or am I the only one who doesn't have alternative programming or chooses not to play a videogame? Are the debate-watchers all just confined to their recliners?

I can't decide if this says that I'm pathetic for watching or if the other people my age are pathetic for not watching? Or should I say 'apathetic'? Maybe a little of both? Either way, yikes.

Friday, January 4, 2008


So, if you hadn't guessed (or already knew it because you SAW me), we traveled last week. We went, as a family, on an airplane. Which might be the first time that the five of us have ever been on a plane together since there were five of us. I think. Maybe.

When you're a grownup, traveling is not fun. There is the packing and the planning and the schlepping. And the more kids you have the more junk there is to schlep. Oh, and the jetlag.

When you're a kid, though, there is nothing more exciting. My kids thought that waking up at four in the morning was the coolest ever. And then there was the parking Far Away from the airport and the BUS. Oh, the bus. Apparently, my children have never been on a bus before. Their grins -- oh, how I wish I could have bottled them. Even the middle one, who tries so hard to stay so cool at times like that was unable to contain her grin. The comment from the oldest when he rested his tired cheeks? "the bus looks a lot smoother from the outside." Yeah, try standing in one. Next to someone smelly.

Anyhow, once we gave all our bags away to the people who didn't fill us with every confidence that we'd ever see them again, it was a little easier (and, oh, so much easier than when the children themselves were something else to schlep). We were slowed by security, who thought that the badge in my husband's wallet was some sort of weapon and had to pat him down and strip search him (kidding!). It was amusing, and a lesson to the children - a smart remark to those in charge will almost always gain you nothing, except maybe a little public embarassment.

Once we were on our way, my husband broke the cardinal rule of traveling with small children. All new things are entertainment. When the nice lady comes by and offers your child a fizzy drink that mommy never lets him have, don't say "no thank you, we have WATER." That's just cruel and you've lost some points with the flight attendant when you have to ask her to come back, your kid needs a ginger ale and he's going to start screaming bloody murder any minute, so hurry if you know what's best for everyone on this airplane. And for some very special children, this form of liquid entertainment can lead to endless fun of going back and forth to the postage stamp sized restroom four times in three hours.

I thought the three hour plane ride was supposed to feel shorter than the ten hours by car it takes to get to the other grandparents, but oddly, it did not. AT ALL.

I was totally vindicated for the cheap parking thing. I cheaped out and wanted to park in the far away with a bus parking, where they pick you up at your car and drop you at your gate, and then pick you up at your gate and take you to your car, oh, holy moly that was the coolest thing ever! Especially since we departed and arrived at gates so far from each other they were practically in different counties! Sarge totally owes me seven dollars a day! Or at least "I told you so" rights for a day. Oh, wait, it's been more than a day. Shoot.

And the best thing yet, (I mean aside from the eleven year old girl my daughter befriended who told her that the easiest way to become a cool kid is to have your mom be in the PTA and my daughter totally came up to me and says, 'mommy, you're in the PTA, right? right? RIGHT?' Oh, yes, baby, Mommy got you into the cool club this time, and don't you forget it.) is that my children are going to bed at the normal time for us in Texas and getting up at the normal time in California. And, I'll make this easier for you, that means TWO HOURS extra of sleep for mom! Or blogging. Or catching up on sappy movies that make me cry and blubber while I still can (Sarge is almost done with night shift, so no more sappy movies for me without mockery and stifled man-giggles).

Thursday, January 3, 2008

When you know Christmas vacation is almost over

The oldest, breathing deeply, right in his sister's face.

The middle, "What are you doing?"

The reply, "Trying to use up all your air."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Difficult Days

are the ones where hugs are a little tighter

are the ones where going the extra mile is no distance at all

are the ones where hearts are more grateful

are the ones where "I love you" has a little more meaning

are the ones where eyes are brimming