Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Cereal Bug Wars, Continued

I'm putting up a good fight against them and they're starting to get desperate. They haven't been seen in the pantry in about two weeks.

However, when I rearranged the slipcover on the couch, I found some under the cusions, feasting. They could have lived for months, perhaps years, under there.

They sometimes are found in the childrens' bathroom, gorging themselves on the globs of recycled toothpaste on the counters.

But they haven't made an appearance at breakfast time in quite some time, and I'm starting to feel hopeful.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Please, learn from my mistake.

Do not eat a giant piece of delicious cake, a large glass of milk while watching Dirty Jobs at the Dairy Farm. And then sit and watch Jon & Kate plus 8 where they are all throwing up.

It will make you feel queasy.


BUT, if you are looking to go on a diet and want the entire idea of food to turn your stomach? Then you should definitely watch Bizarre Foods. I give all the thanks for that gem to my Father-In-Law. Who, oddly enough, is the most squeamish person ever, but takes great glee in watching this man choke down the most disgusting parts of animals ever invented. And if you think that you can come up with the grossest, you are wrong. He eats things that you haven't thought of - even if you are a nine year old boy.

Thanks to that horrible show, when the children ask what we are having for dinner, the standard reply is "Jellied Moose Nose. Any questions?" It's like a trainwreck - you want to stop watching so badly, but you just can't.

Now that my PSA is over, I'll now take my churning stomach off to bed now.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On their own

I sent the older two children out to walk the dog yesterday. Around the block. With a walkie-talkie, a map, and a poop bag. Guess what? They got lost. And the batteries died on the walkie-talkie. Wait. Let me back up and explain.

So yeah, I sent a nine year old and a six year old with an old dog out into the big, bad world, all by themselves. It was a block, all right turns, not a single busy street. They were instructed to call me on the walkie talkie each time they made a turn. The last thing I heard was, "chhh, minor injury, minor injury, chhh" and then nothing. They didn't respond to another call, panicked as they may have seemed.

The youngest and I were out planting some plants in the front bed, and once I'd planted all six, we decided that it was time to investigate. I went the opposite way from which they'd left. I started down my street, looked down the street that was two houses away from me, and there were my children, frantically running toward me and dragging the old dog behind them.

Panting, they explained, "we had to turn off the walkie talkie because it was making noises like the battery was dying and we wanted to be able to call if there was an emergency then we didn't know where we were until we realized that we were right near Jacob's house and then we heard you say 'come back right now' and so we turned around and came back up this street and I think we went too far and I scraped my arm on a mailbox and my sister wouldn't tell me how bad it was just that I wasn't bleeding, and we must have gone too far and we were lost and we thought we weren't ever going to find our house and Maggie didn't poop." Then he took a breath.

"Um, you couldn't have gone too far. You were to go to the end of each street and turn right. Did you look at the street signs?"

"No."

"Did you look at the map?"

"No."

"Oh. Maybe we should wait a while before I send you out again on your own. At least until we can charge up the walkie-talkies."

"Yeah."

Later, the middle child, who was the driving force behind this excursion, whispered to me, "I got scared when he told me we were lost."

And so they are cured of wanting to go out on their own. And to start their own dog-walking business. Just. Like. That.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What motherhood means, in a photo


It means that you are privy to innocent and perfect moments like these. And then that you get to share them with the internet and embarass (no pun intended!) the child who's cheeks you are sharing with said internet. Motherhood ROCKS!
Mother's Day 2008 - Giveaway Event


P.S. This post is part of a contest over at 5 minutes for mom. Go check out all the other fun and adorable pictures!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

When Two Worlds Collide

Sarge was raised on a dairy farm. He recalls two main things about this - how truly beautiful the a clear sky before dawn is in the country and his father telling him, while knee deep in cow droppings, "You can go to college or you can do this. You choose." or something to that effect.

He chose college.

But every now and then the skills that he learned as a boy who sometimes helped his father gather up the cows at milking time come in handy. And for that, I'm sure he's grateful.

You see, we live in a city that was not long ago hundreds and hundreds of acres of farmland. And by not long ago I mean ten years ago. And for some, who haven't sold all their land to the mall developers and IKEA men, this means that they still have cows. That sometimes get out. And scare the poor city folk like me by running rampant through neighborhoods.

And so, the police department knows who to send. The cow wrangling expert, my husband. Who knows, apparently, that by honking, sounding his siren and yelling, the cows will go where they are supposed to. He should teach a class.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Remember the time...?

We just had one of those "times" in our house, that I think that my boys won't ever forget. They'll recall it when they're older - the oldest one will remind the youngest one again and again and again.

Since mid-February, the oldest one has been working on Star Wars Lego for the Wii. There are 160 things that you need to get - minikits, power bricks, golden bricks, whatever. Each one unlocks some cool little trick or thing that makes the story/game more complex and fun. Each time you achieve one, you save the game. He plays that saved game nearly every day.

When he went to school on Tuesday morning, he has 130-something of these 160. When he came home, there were only 8. Eight.

Little brother had his turn and somehow reset the WHOLE thing. And didn't tell me. Until chaos reigned when it was time to play for a few minutes after homework. There was freaking out and panicking, then blaming of the faulty nunchuck by the child who can't read. It was kind of a disaster all around.

We've achieved some kind of peace - for one week, the older child has usurped the younger child's time allotment for the Wii - to help him build back his hard work and to punish the younger one. On the plus side, the middle one is happy, because she has her playmate back for a week.

But over dinner when they're adults, they'll tell their children about the time that the little one deleted the older one's game. Hopefully the bitterness will have dissapated by then

Car shopping.

My van just hit 150,000 miles. Although I plan on keeping it another 50,000 miles (unless it needs another transmission), we had some time and thought it would be fun to peek in new cars.

Not fun.

My problem is that I'd love to drive something small and zippy and fun. Problem is that I have too many people to drive around. And too many demands, other than "what you love" and "what you can afford", which is what my husband received when he was car shopping. Like four other people, and long legs in the back seat (eventually) and curtains. Lots and lots of curtains. Oh, and groceries to help grow the long legs.

We started by looking at the fun, adorable car that I would have driven away with that day if I'd had my way (not really, I promise, but oh boy, I sat in it awhile). Then we looked at a car a little larger. Then a little larger. Then larger still. Then, oh, hey, let's look at the biggest vehicle on the lot! Lovely! I will park at the edge of town and walk the rest of the way, because I can't park it any closer without running into something!

Gah. Three kids. Car that will last 10 years (through the teenage years- oh heavens.). That I can park. That I can afford. Non-existent.

Listen up, car manufacturers -- you have about three years. Get to work. Make it happen.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Unashamed

The oldest child had a sleepover. His friend kept trying to find things that he could use to embarass him at school next week.

His mom calls him silly names and uses baby talk to him? Score! Only notsomuch, because we do it as a joke, and I've done it to him in front of school. Darn.

Favorite stuffed animal? Score! Only notsomuch, because it's his mascot, and he's made no bones about that to anyone he's ever met.

I love that my child is so secure with himself and who he is and what he loves that he can't be embarassed by his friends. I only hope that we can continue that well into the teenage years.

The middle one? Notsomuch. I'm at a total loss with that one and the ball of insecurities that she carries everywhere with her.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's the little things

There are things that I'm certainly enjoying about my children getting older. I'm not looking forward to deoderant and armpit hair, but there are little things.

I can ask my nine year old to return the cart, rather than schlepping three kids to and from the cart return, usually holding at least two of them, and praying the third doesn't run in traffic.

I can let the nine year old out at practice, then find a parking place if I'm late.

I don't cringe at the thought of getting ice cream cones anymore. I didn't used to get one of my own, because I spent so much time cleaning up theirs (by that I mean licking the sides...) usually with some horrible combination of bubblegum ice cream and gummi bears. Now I can get what I want, and not have to bring an entire container of wipes and a bib and a bath towel. I recall one time finding a hose at the ice cream store and being so happy, because it was the appropriate tool.

I can shower without an audience. I can pee without an audience.

I am enjoying my children getting older, I am. Or at least I need to keep reminding myself of the good things, because along with the good comes the sassing. And armpit hair.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Getting What You Asked For

The littlest child demanded crunchy peanut butter for his sandwich. Demanded.

Five minutes later, returned to the counter was a half-eaten sandwich - the jelly side had been eaten, the crunchy peanut butter side remained.

"WHY?" You can imagine my tone of voice.

"Because it had nuts in it."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All-out Game Hunt

There was a near disaster the other day. The Lego Star Wars game for the Wii was missing. As in nowhere to be found. The case and the disc, both. All other games were accounted for, just this one was gone.

The oldest plays it each day that he gets a Wii turn. He loves that game. He didn't want to find another game to play, he was willing to postpone his turn until we were able to find the game.

We all ended up participating in the game hunt. We looked upstairs, turned over the downstairs. Nowhere.

Often, I'll bribe the children to help me find something, usually my keys, with a "whoever finds them first gets a quarter!" This time it was "whoever finds it gets ten extra minutes on their Wii turn!"

Suddenly, the middle child appeared, having magically found the game. Under her brother's bed. "How'd you find that game so fast?" I asked. She tried to hide a smirk.

"I hid it under his bed." It took a few lies to finally get that answer out of her.

"Why?"

"Because I wanted them to play with me, and they ALWAYS play that game." Imagine the whiniest voice you'd ever heard. "And it didn't even WORK."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Giving away all my secrets

Granny came to visit this weekend.

And, as we ALL (right? right? please?) do when we have company, we clean up. We vacuum, we clean up toys, we wash all the dishes, we shovel out the minivan. Or at least take it to the industrial vacuums, but when we run out of quarters, we call it "good enough," or "my gosh, it's going to cost more to vacuum it than it's worth if I don't stop"

The children took great delight in letting their Granny know at every turn that they had been forced to clean before her visit, and Daddy had to take the minivan to a special place to vacuum it because our vacuum wasn't good enough for our van.

As much as I might like to pretend, after thirteen years, I think that Granny knows that we have to clean up before she gets here, even though when she gets here she's pretty sure that we live like pigs. Even though she'd never, ever say it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

wannabe.

I'm a photoshop wannabe. I want to learn it so badly, no just so that I can make myself ten pounds lighter. Or twenty, whatever. I wanted to make one of those Andy Warhol pop art pictures out of a picture of my dog, and I failed miserably. Miserably. I couldn't even get four of the same picture on one page. It was that bad.


So I start small. I started with a scanner, really. And I started by finding an old picture frame in the closet with no end of junk. I took pictures of the five places that Sarge and I have lived since we married and scanned them. All except for the recent house, which belongs in the digital age.


I cropped them to make them all artistic-like, because, quite honestly, we've never lived in an architectural wonder. And besides, I needed them to be vertical and all the pictures were horizontal. I turned them all black and white.

And that is the extent of my current Photoshop knowledge. And now I have this:





I'd crop it and enlarge it for you, if only I knew how.



A request.

Dear God,

I know You have bigger and better things to do, but I really need your help. You see, it's been days since I've had a decent night's sleep, and You're the only one who can help.

Would You mind sending us those storms during the day? I can't sleep with four people in my bed. I can't sleep when I'm worried that the roof will come off, or that the spot in my bedroom that leaks will start again. And those tornado sirens - who sleeps through those? Oh, and, it's awfully hard to sleep with five people and a dog in the tornado closet.

I know that You will take care of us in all things, and that I don't need to worry about my roof that much, because You'll help me through what ever storms You send us, whether figurative or literal, but I'm really tired. A decent night's sleep or two, and I'm good to go, promise.

Thanks.

Love Always,

fiveberries

Coming right up!

I don't usually blog about blogging, but I have an anniversary coming up. Saturday will be one year that I've been doing this, this coming here to this computer to type out the stories of my children's childhood, silly things they should know about their mother, and sometimes a complaint (who, me?) or, ahem, two.

But yeah, one year. And if I plan it right, it could be my 400th post. But I have to think of something good to write for 395, 396, 397, 398 and 399. I'd better wake my kids up to make them tell me something funny. Yeah, notsomuch.

Oh, and my first post was about laundry. I'm pretty sure that Saturday's probably will be too, as it's the purpose of my existence (only one year, and I've already figured out the meaning of life - I'm that good.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Only in Texas


This is a tortilla chip. It is not worth a lot of money on ebay - you see, it was on purpose. A whole bag of them.

This is what makes Texas great. That, and armadillo toilet seat covers that could easily be mistaken for a silly hat.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

healthcare: SOLVED!

We were having a rousing political discussion at the dinner table the other night, and we were discussing the benefits and drawbacks to each candidates healthcare solution. I know, right? And the funny part was that it was the children who started it. And finished it.



Without getting into politics too much, our explanation was fairly simple. People don't want to pay a lot for healthcare, but they have high expectations for what doctors and hospitals should do.



The littlest suggested, "why don't we keep it the same, but have the doctors and hospitals charge LOWER." Complete with hand motion.



He might not be able to read, but he can solve the world's problems over pasta.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Adding to his portfolio

My youngest child got his picture taken last year with Miss Texas 2007. Today he added some Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders to his portfolio. Um, yeah, he likes pretty girls.

Unintentional Decluttering

I've been on a little bit of a decluttering kick lately. The closet under the stairs, the childrens' closets, my fabric stash - nothing is safe.

But in the process of cleaning out my kitchen cupboards, there's been a giant platter that's been in the way since the day we moved in and I put it there. When I say it's giant, I mean it's practically the size of my first kitchen table. I bought it a million years ago on clearance (hey, guess why no one else bought it? You can't put it on the table and still eat! But good news! The whole 20 pound turkey will fit on it!), and have been using it as a decorative piece ever since.

But in this house, the cabinets and ceiling are too close to each other to allow the platter to fit in between. So in the cupboard it went. I cleaned out my cupboards and put it on the counter, where it's been taking up space while I figured out what to do with it.

Yesterday, I finally decided that I'd put it in the office, on top of the bookshelves. Where it seemed pretty stable. You see where this is going, don't you?

Add three children in a small cluttered space getting excited about flight simulator to a "it seems pretty stable" giant platter up high and you get a giant crash, frightened whimpers and a freaked out mother. And demands to "NOT MOVE AN INCH WHILE I GET MY SNEAKERS." Shattered platter. And suddenly, a little less clutter.

Thankfully, my Arkansas Dr Pepper can airplane was spared. That and the pig will be buried with me, I'm sure.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

All she needs is a chef hat

Apparently we've been watching too much Food Network.

The middle child and I were in the kitchen making pizza dough. She was in charge and doing all of the dough kneading. She says, "I'm the chef."

And then, "You're the sous chef"

And now, she's walking around with a towel on her shoulder, just like Emeril. Her father is so proud.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Tornado Closet, formerly known as the Secret Pie Hole

I've been on a decluttering fling lately, and my most recent attack was on the giant closet full of junk under the stairs. Honestly, it's a huge closet, and it had become my dumping ground for all things I didn't know what to do with. And there were a lot of them.

But I hit a little stall, and currently everything that was in that closet is now in my front entry and office, as I still don't know what to do with all of it, but I just know I don't want it back in that closet. In fact I refuse to put it back in that closet (though I'm tempted to just fling it in the garage. Is that cheating?).

As luck would have it, this week has been the week of tornado watches and warnings. Something about dry lines and cold fronts, I don't know, all I know is that suddenly children show up in my bed. And proceed to fall asleep and flail about.

I have lived in Texas for 11 years now, and just had my first opportunity to sit in a closet while the tornado sirens went off. While watching TV with bunny ears, because you know the satellite never works as soon as it rains.

But while I was listening to friends recount the next day about being squished into their pantries or multiple wiggly children in a bathtub, I was ever so grateful for all the junk that was no longer in my closet under the stairs. We had warning, so I sent the children upstairs to get pillows and blankets and their favorite stuffed animals and a flashlight. And because there was virtually nothing in the closet-as-big-as-my-last-house, we had quite a party. Even the dog came! In fact, long after the sirens had subsided and the sun had come out, the younger two children demanded that I shut the door so they could play tornado.

In summary, my first experience with a tornado closet was a little disappointing. But I'm thinking that the closet would be a good place to store my home owner's insurance policy. You know, since I don't have anything else to put in that closet.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

For My Mother

I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with both my sisters, with no children involved. My mother didn't come - not that she wasn't invited, but I think that my poor brother-in-law would have just curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor sucking his thumb if all four of us invaded his home. But even while I was there, she was telling me she couldn't wait to read all about it. Which translates, "POST ALREADY, YOU LAZY WOMAN!"

Unfortunately, we were the most boring people ever. Honestly, I got more material from 20 minutes in DPS than I did from a weekend with my sisters (and, by the way, the lady at the DPS - LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE - she must have thought that I just couldn't help looking bad and she was trying to be nice. Or she takes great glee in bad drivers license pictures. Least I don't have to live with the picture until I'm 65 like SOME people.)

Except that I noticed something. Each of us are completely capable intelligent women independently, but honestly, together we had some of the most ADD conversations you've ever heard. We'd start talking about something, someone would interject with a tanget, we'd go with the tangent, have another tangent off the tangent, and go on and on, and only sometimes make it back to the original story being told. We only stopped to sleep, and even so, we didn't do much of that.

And my brother-in-law told me we weren't allowed back unless we brought at least one child so he'd have someone to play with. Honestly, I've never seen someone so giddy at the airport.

So, Mom, I'm sorry. You raised boring, well-behaved children. So I guess talking to us in the middle of the night did work.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Forced Advertising Rant

First, it was the grocery store, then I'm stuck on an airplane, listening. Listening to what they want me to hear without the ability to turn it down or walk away. Seatbelts fastened, my friends.

My philosophy on television and radio has always been that if I don't like what I'm listening to, then I'll change the station. There's no need to get mad or freak out, just change the station. This time, it was impossible.

I had 60 hours (not that I was counting!) away from little people talking to me, and I was ready to think my own thoughts and *gasp!* read a book! But here I was, listening to advertising from Visa and the airline. I worried that it would go on the whole flight. I dreaded the return trip.

Thankfully, it was only about 15 minutes. And the return airplane didn't have any televisions assaulting my eardrums. But I'll think twice before I book another flight on that airline. And besides, they didn't have any Dr Pepper.