Sadly, we laid poor Mister Johnny to rest today. Poor Michael. He cried and just couldn't understand why Johnny died. What do you say to that? Hopefully, it wasn't our cage cleaning extravaganza that did him in. He was alive this morning, but transpired sometime this afternoon. Goodbye Johnny. You were a good little crab and will be missed!
When cleaning out Mr. Crab's cage, don't dump the excess gunk in the bathtub. Bathtub WILL clog, and I WILL get to unclog it.
As a side note to the note to self, Johnny is still doing well, but we had a sad farewell to Rex after only two weeks. (Johnny and Rex are the hermit crabs Michael got for his birthday.) May Johhny have a long and enjoyable life in his little cage, if only for the fact that I can't bear to see Michael cry at the death of another crab.
The Preamble: My computer ate my original post and now I'm ticked. But I will try to recreate, minus the brilliance, the original post. Stupid computer!
The Post:What is Christmas without a little choas and a lot of traditions?!? We started Christmas eve officially with our Christ-centered dinner. This is a tradition we started a few years ago, and one of my favorites! We have salmon, unleavened bread and sparkling cider. We tell the story of the Last Supper, the story of Jesus feeding the multitude, and of course we end by reading the story of Christ's birth from the bible. Some of the children are less than thrilled by the salmon, but perhaps they'll learn to like it!!
Then there's much time killing to do. This year we made a gingerbread train. The children had a great time decorating/eating the train! We also watched a very funny Shrek the Halls.
And you can't have Christmas eve without PJ's. My dear husband was woefully lacking in this tradition, but I schooled him in the importance of new jammies and it's now a tradition in our house too!
Christmas morning was the expected early-morning chaos, though Mom and Dad have a not-before-seven rule. We had to go wake up Odessa, lest she miss the fun, but the rest of the kids were up bright and early! The big ticket items this year were a PSP for Andrew, a Razor scooter for Lillie, Bakugans for Michael (Don't know what they are? I didn't either, but the kid is lucky I found him any. They are VERY popular!), a Barbie cash register for Katherine and giant leggos for Odessa. (This means she'll quit eating her brother's mini-leggos, right? No? Well, a mother can hope, can't she?)
We ended the day with a trip to Grandma's house with our 21 cousins 9 and under. The kids had a grand time with their cousins and all the adults survived the chaos! It was fun!
And so my house is a disaster, there's a foot of snow outside, and we are all exhausted! And so I declare a successful Christmas!! (And if my stupid computer doesn't eat this post too, you may be able to read the boring details of our Christmas!!)
1. If poopy, run far away from the person with the diaper. 2. If mom is busy, follow her around and cry loudly. 3. If mom is on the phone, need her desperately. 4. If mom is on the computer, sit in her lap and try to touch all of the things you aren't supposed to touch. 5. If being held, wiggle, squirm and holler to be put down. Then immediately cry as if you are wounded so you'll be picked up again. 6. Be cute and adorable every so often so you don't get sold on the corner. 7. Cry in the car for all objects that are out of reach. Then, if fortunate enough to be given desired object, chuck it on the ground in disgust and cry some more. 8. When Dad is home, only let mom hold you and cry when the hairy man comes near. 9. Locate any and all wet wipes/kleenex boxes and empty contents as quickly as possible. This is a fun game. 10. If you can tell mom is frazzled, take a really short nap. 11. Last, but not least, if you are really naughty and get in trouble, cry so sadly that angered adult will feel the desire to hug and kiss you all better. This is a fabulous trick. Master it well, young one.
At only 165 posts for a year, today is my blogger anniversary. Today I celebrate one whole year of sharing my adventures of motherhood with the population at large. (Mostly family, but that's just fine!) It was at the behest of my grandfather, The Curmudgeonly Professor listed on the right, that I began my blogging journey. And I have thoroughly enjoyed it!! It's been fun to have an audience to share all my blatherings with! So to all my readers, thank you for enjoying this journey with me and I hope to have many more things to blog about in the future!!
On that note, and after a comment from my mother yesterday, I am going to attempt to describe what it's like to get five kids into the van, and buckled into their seatbelts! Now that's an adventure worth sharing!
This is how it goes:
"Go get in the car and get buckled!" I yell.
One, possibly two children will trickle out to the car at this point. They will push, shove and fight to see who gets in the car first. Katherine will join them, usually crying about something, and climb into the car declaring that she can't close the door. I will then holler at the children remaining in the house that they had better get in the car, or else. Or else what, I'm not sure, but by golly, they better get their little keisters out to the car!!
Alrighty, so now that everyone is in the car, I take the baby out and buckle her in. She's mostly cooperative, with the occasional protest and arching of back, making it nearly impossible to buckle her in. During this time I holler at the children who are NOT buckled in and climbing around the car to GET BUCKLED!!! Michael is usually the first to comply, Lillie follows and Katherine starts to cry, fuss and holler about how tight her seat belt is. She is still in a five-point harness and has to inform everyone how utterly horrid it is every time we get in the car. Poor, safe, child!
Then, Andrew, who has been standing outside the car, asks if he can please sit up front. (Can you blame him? Who would want to sit in the back with all the chaos?) I usually say yes, and then he proceeds to dump all the crap on the passenger seat onto the floor. I then warn him that if he fiddles with stuff, he will be banished to the back of the van. Meanwhile, Katherine is sort of buckled in and I tell her if she doesn't hurry, I'm going to climb back there and do it for her. This is an empty threat, and she knows it, but it's my motherly duty to make this threat! She begins to fuss again and struggle with her seatbelt. (Her struggle is all self inflicted. On a good day she can do it in a minute flat.) At this point in the fiasco, it's been about 10 minutes of getting in the car.
I finally hop in the car, start it up and back out into the driveway. Katherine starts to cry and complain that she isn't buckled yet, at which point I explain that I can no longer wait and she'd better do it quickly. So, with much crying, she finally finishes buckling herself in. And, Ta-Da, we are on our way!!
Tired yet? I am!! Sometimes I'm amazed that we ever get out the door!!
I swear they are born that way because it sure isn't something I've instilled in them as their mother. Silly me, I want non-gross boys. Ewww.
Ready for the grossness? Last week, Andrew wore the same pair of socks for four days! It finally dawned on me midweek that I'd seen the same pair of mismatched, now slightly brown socks for several days. When asked, his response was, "I don't have any more socks." I wanted to strangle him. I bought the boys two packages of socks a couple of months ago. They should have enough socks until next year!! What do they do with them? I don't know, and I'm afraid to find out!! Magically, he was able to dig up a clean pair of socks.
Grossness numero dos On Saturday whilst checking the boys room for cleanliness, I discovered that the wall next to their bed is apparently a substitute for kleenex. I mean seriously!! So disgusting! So I made them wash walls until I was satisfied, which took some time.
If you haven't stopped reading, here's example number three. Andrew came downstairs, dressed for school this morning, in the same ratty T-shirt he wore yesterday and holey jeans. This isn't nearly as gross as the previous examples, but it still makes me go ewwwww!!!
Why are boys so gross? And for you more experienced mothers, is there anything I can do to encourage non-grossness. As of now, I seriously doubt it!! Ewww
That's not asking too much, is it? I want perfect children, a perfectly kept house, perfect health, perfect relationships, and a perfect husband. I mean really, it's not too much to ask for all that, is it?
Who came up with this idea anyway that makes us constantly second guess ourselves, and stress ourselves out to make everything perfect. What makes us compare ourselves to our neighbors and wonder why we can't be just like her. I mean, she's perfect in every way, right?
I found myself sitting on my 24 hour clean kitchen floor and disgustedly picking up pieces of chocolate. Seriously, stick your head over the table!!
Then I thought, why? Why do I care? Does it matter if my floor can stay clean for less than two point three seconds? Does it matter that I had laundry and toys scattered hither and yon when my neighbor stopped by? Why am I embarrassed about it? Why do I apologize?
Because somewhere, we were all programmed that our best is never enough. I know I'm not alone in this. I've talked to enough women to know that it's a fairly universal problem. We compare ourselves to each other never taking into consideration each other's flaws. What a strange thing to do.
I don't really want perfection. Well, I do. Sometimes. I'd love to have those perfectly well-behaved children who are always perfectly groomed. But then I think of all the things I'd miss out on if I truly found perfection. I'd miss out on Odessa soaking her PJ's five minutes after putting them on her. I'd miss out on watching my children learn independance when making the decision to go to the store with bed-head instead of nicely done hair. I'd miss out on mud, and mess and chaos.
And while I think it would be nice sometimes, I don't really want perfection. Not really. I promise.
Michael had his golden birthday yesterday. What is a golden birthday, one might ask. Well, I was informed by my children that this phenomena occurs when one turns as old as the day of their birth. And so, Mr. Michael turned 6 on the 6th. It's a good thing they informed me of this phenomena since I was blissfully unaware.
Now what might one want for a birthday of such magnitude? Well, if you are turning six, then you may want a hermit crab. About two months ago, Michael asked me if he could have a crab for his birthday. I told him I'd have to talk to his father and silently prayed he'd forget. Well, he didn't forget and the desires of his little heart was to have a hermit crab. So for his birthday we made the trek to the pet store, bought all the appropriate paraphenalia and brought home our two newest family members, Johnny and Rex. Admittedly, they are pretty cool to watch when they are moving about.
We also enjoyed a lunch at Wingers and yummy ice cream at Coldstone. Can't fault the kid for having bad taste in food, that's for sure!!
And so, much to my dismay, Michael is six. It's one of those moments when I scratch my head and wonder where the crap six years went and how he got so very old so very quickly!! Happy birthday my little man!!
That's my new analogy of parenting. It's survival of the fittest. It's them against me and if I lose, well, that's just bad now isn't it?
My little, adorable, three-year old is my child that teaches me patience and new parenting techniques most often. They all have their ways, but I find I have to constantly re-evaluate myself with Katherine. She's never been a smooth-sailing kind of gal. It's just not her personality. But sometimes it's worse than others.
So yesterday, after trying not to sell her on the corner, I decided we needed some changes. The constant crying and whining had to stop or I was going to lose my mind. (Though I think part must have been lost already. I can't seem to remember a darn thing these days.)
So step one was to cut her hair. She hates, no, more like detests, having her hair put up in any kind of pony-tail holder. She pulls, tugs, scratches and fusses until she finally pulls her hair out and triumphantly brings me the pony-tail holder. She then goes around the rest of the day with the 'my hair was in pig-tails, can you tell' look. It's a gorgeous look, let me tell you! So I cut it in a nice, short, chin-length bob. She looks cute and no more funky hair-do's. Go mom!
Step two was to do something about the incessant crying, screaming of the word no, and all around crankiness that she was exuding. I actually went over to supernanny.com and printed off a reward chart. And I am happy to report that for the last day and a half there has been a great deal less of all of the behavior that I so detest. We'll see how long it lasts, but I'll take a day and a half!!
So thus far, this mom is still surviving. I have not been bested by my children and I still have a lot to learn. I'm sure they'll keep teaching me. Children have a tendency to do that!
On the twenty-second day of off-track, my true love gave to me, four cranky children and a toddler on top of the table!
On the twenty-third day of off-track, my true love gave to me, three hours of church, four cranky children and a toddler on top of the table.
On the twenty-fourth day of off-track, my true love gave to me, five loads of laundry, a toddler eating toothpaste, four cranky children and a toddler on top of the table.
On the twenty-fifth day of off-track, my true love gave to me, dragging kids to gymnastics, folding five loads of laundry, toddler eating toothpaste, four cranky children and a toddler on top of the table.
All right, you get the idea. I'm on a countdown. I have 9 days until I can send my fighting, attitude-giving, grumpy children back to their teachers. We will have survived a whole entire month off-track. It hasn't all been horrible, but I could do without the fighting. I could also do without the 'I'm bored, there's nothing to do.' (I got plenty to do kid, if you are bored, I have a whole list of things to do.)
I think whoever came up with the year round school schedule didn't have children. Otherwise, why would they punish us during a time of the year that we can't banish our children outside? It's just cruel and unusual punishment. I've tried to banish them to the outside, but they come up with the whole, 'it's too cold' excuse and the parent in me feels obligated to let them back in the house. Of course, they might not be cold if they WORE SHOES, LONG SLEEVES and PANTS!! What kind of kid goes barefoot in the middle of the winter anyway? Oh wait, mine do.
Oh, and I have a toothpaste obsessed toddler that can go with the rest of them too. The joys of parenting are many, aren't they?
It's supposed to be a guy thing to forget your anniversary, but it's not. Apparently, an overworked, tired mom who is super-focused on cooking Thanksgiving dinner is quite capable of forgetting her own anniverary. My mother-in-law called me today to wish me a happy anniversary, but somehow I still had it in my head that tomorrow is the 26th.
Nope. It's today.
So my sweet husband comes home from work early with a card and a beautiful necklace and wishes me a happy annniversary. All I had to offer was a big hug, an 'I thought tomorrow was the 26th' and a cranky toddler. Nice.
At least I know how long I've been married. Eleven years. It seems like an eternity and a blink of an eye all at the same time. But in future years, I will write my anniversary on my calendar and not assume that I would remember such an important day. Lesson learned.
That's where I am today. You fellow headache sufferers understand what I'm talking about. In this fog, I do things that require the least amount of movement humanly possible, as movement will hurt my brain. I forget what I'm doing or what I was thinking two seconds ago. (Not that this doesn't happen normally, but headaches seem to exacerbate the problem!) Lound noises hurt, light hurts, children hurt. It's a lovely place to be.
The fun about being a mother is that life, i.e. children and their needs/messes, continue despite the fog. Unlike Dad who can sleep uninterrupted for two days, Mom continues to feed, clothe, clean, and take care of life. Though I have discovered that the house can fall mostly to pieces and be put back together again.
Another item of fun is that depending on the state of motherhood you are currently in, you may or may not be able to take anything that might actually help. I'm sorry, but tylenol is merely a placebo to me. I don't post this for sympathy, merely to document a fact of life. I suffer from headaches and occasional migraines. It's just how it is.
And so I sit, in my incoherent fog, sipping a Pepsi, contemplating the many things I should do, but knowing I'll just go watch Dr. Phil. I'll probably look back at this post tomorrow and think maybe I shouldn't post things when I'm in my headache fog. Oh well. Such is life.
First, I want to report that it is possible to survive a ten hour trip each-way in a car with five children. It is also possible to only stop three times in the process, though we had slightly dehydrated children. Dad doesn't like stopping. Ever. But we made it. No one killed anyone else. There was minimal fighting and the baby did survive. Though we were illegal, because really, who can expect a one year old to stay strapped in for ten hours. Especially one that is used to climbing the walls.
But I digress. It really was a fun trip. We exhausted ourselves and we spent mucho time at all the various mountains (splash, thunder, space). Being pregnant, I was unable to join in the fun at times and I rode the Winnie the Pooh ride adjacent to Splash mountain ad naseum with Odessa for whom the novelty was never lost. Odessa still doesn't like riding in the stroller. But we found that she would sit on Katherine, who was perfectly happy to ride in the stroller. This worked well until Odessa was all done and dove off the stroller onto the sidewalk face first. Her poor head! We also got in a very foggy trip to the beach, which was a lot of fun for the kids! It was a fast trip, but a nice vacation.
One of the most amazing experiences of my life are the now six times I have carried a child inside of me. There is nothing about the whole process of life growing inside of you that isn't a complete miracle. It doesn't lose it's novelty. It doesn't become boring. Most women are thankful when the nine months comes to an end, I'm no different. The aches and pains get tiresome, the sickness gets old. But the wiggling, squirming being inside is the most amazing thing. Evidence there is a God.
I got to hear my little one via doppler today. That whoosh, whoosh is such a lovely sound. The baby kicked and squirmed. We could hear it on the doppler. Though I'm not feeling this little one much yet, I know it's there. My body is expanding and grows tired quickly. And modern medicine has allowed me to hear the wonders of a tiny growing heart.
In three weeks, we get to see what flavor of little one we are having. What are we hoping for, I've been asked by many. First and foremost, a healthy child. But my heart is hoping that the chinese calendar is wrong and that a little boy will even up our little family. Though I will, of course, be thrilled with another little girl. It will teach their brothers patience!!
In a few weeks time, this little infant will grow bigger and stronger and I will begin to feel it's little thumps more and more. This is the most amazing part of pregnancy to me. And not something that is easy to describe. Men will never understand, no matter how descriptive I am. To feel a life inside you is truly amazing. I love sharing it with my other children. When I was pregnant with Odessa, they would come sit by me in the evening so they could feel the baby kick. Lillie could sit for hours waiting to feel that little thump.
There's not a day that I don't look at each of my children with amazement. I helped bring them into this world. And they grow so very quickly. My nearly five foot nine year old was once a tiny infant. I remember his kicks in my ribs like it was yesterday. Motherhood comes with so many challenges. Pregnancy is just the beginning, but what a beginning it is. What an amazing experience. I look forward to the next several months and all that it entails.
The call of duty came at 3:35 a.m. I woke to loud crying and found myself stumbling down the hall, clutching my pillow and whispering "Shhhh, you'll wake the baby." In my half conscious state, I realized the crying was coming from Katherine. I stumbled into her room and realized a moment too late what she was crying about. She was throwing up. I ran/stumbled into the bathroom and grabbed a towel, all the while rubbing my eyes in an attempt to gain full consciousness. I shoved the towel under her face a moment too late. I then ripped her comforter off her bed in an attempt to avoid getting it yucky. I pulled her shirt off and yanked her out of bed, shoving her toward the bathroom. (I'm not at my most compassionate when I'm half-awake and getting to deal with a middle of the night puking.) I got her in the bathroom and instructed her to stick her head over the toilet if she needed to spit again. My dainty little daughter refuses to call it throw up, but prefers spit as an alternative term. I finished stripping her down and returned to her room.
All this time, I had random thoughts running through my head, most likely due to the state of half awareness I was in. I recall thinking that the pillow I had stolen from my husband wasn't helping, since I had still woken up with a headache. I think I stood in the hallway for a moment looking lost. I gathered up her clothes, and bedding and tossed them in a pile in the hallway. I redressed her, finally comforting her and helping her not be cold. I made her sit by the toilet while I remade her bed, found the febreeze and a plastic sheet, and got a bucket from the garage. I tucked her back in and went to start a load of laundry. I think I was finally awake by then, though I still had random thoughts running through my brain.
I climbed back into bed at 3:54, only to be called on again ten minutes later. After rinsing the bucket and getting a new towel to lay under her, I tucked her in once again and prayed this wouldn't go on all night. However, I was too awake to ignore my headache and my screaming muscles. I took some tylenol, stretched out my sad muscles, traded pillows with my still unconscious husband and finally climbed back into bed at 4:30. Ah, the call of duty. My dear sleeping husband groaned a little, for which I am grateful. At least on some level he may have known I was up. In the early years he was merely a dead man at night. Now at least he groans.
The rest of the night was uneventful, but I have braced myself for the upcoming week. If I have learned anything in my years of motherhood it is that where there is one puking child, there will be many.
Wise word spoken by Lillie's teacher after I apoligized for the millionth time for having to run after my rambunctious toddler.
This week has been very busy. Not that any other week is different, but we've also squeezed in scouts, birthday parties and parent teacher conferences. I feel a little like a chicken with it's head cut off, running in circles. We've survived, though not without some chaos!
My appointment Wednesday evening with Lillie's teacher was smashed between scouts, dinner and gymnastics. We hurried into the school only to find that the teacher was a little behind schedule. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but Dess was rather antsy. So she and Lillie devised a game called run down the hall giggling histerically whilst being chased. Oh the joy! The problem came when it was our turn with the teacher. Dess wasn't done with this fun game and kept taking off. She would then scream at her brother who was trying to herd her back into the classroom. Meanwhile, I am doing my best to be attentive to what the teacher is telling me about my child. (She's brilliant, of course! Aren't all children?) Then I would apologize, track Odessa down, attempt to distract her without making her scream and once again attempt to listen to the teacher.
Needless to say, it wasn't working too well. Towards the end, as I was losing my patience, Lillie's teacher told me not to wish these years away because they are gone so fast. Wise words. Though part of me wonders if I can just wish away the tantrum, and the ill-behaved toddler for about five minutes!
I pull down the cobwebs and return from my month long sebatical from dusting. Dust is the essence of Halloween, isn't it? I pack away all my fun decorations and eradicate any indication that Halloween was just a few days ago. It takes amazingly less time to undecorate than it did to decorate, and within the next few hours my house will return to normal. The pictures will no longer be crooked and covered in dust. The spiders will return to their resting place in a plastic baggie in the basement.
There's a kind of mourning that goes with putting away the decorations. I feel the same way after Christmas. Another year is past. Gone. Never to be had again. I wonder if all the effort I put into the decorations and the parties is really worth it. But then I remember the smiles and the fun and I know it was. And I know I'll do it again next year. Because I love it and I love the end product. And while I may question the hours of work for a few hours of enjoyment, I know I do it for the kids, which in turn rewards me to no end. They love it. It's tradition. And what is family life if not activities centered around traditions.
Life with a toddler is never boring. Some toddlers are less boring than others. In the last few days, here are some objects I have removed from Odessa's mouth.
1. Two batteries at separate times 2. A game piece from Connect Four 3. Crayons, or pieces of crayons 4. A marble 5. Dish soap (yeah, I don't know) 6. Puzzle pieces from a kids puzzle 7. Toothpaste tubes and various people's toothbrushes 8. Pieces from a purse she bit off 9. Stickers 10. A pencil eraser
Looking at this list, a stranger may think that my home is ridiculously non-childproof. But the amazing thing about Odessa, is that she finds these random things, and I don't know where she gets them. I think she climbs. The batteries still baffle me. They are nowhere she can reach. The marbles are up out of reach as well. But if she disappears upstairs, you can guarantee she is sucking on someone's toothbrush. She is such a helpful child and keeps me permanently on my toes. My other children were much less adventurous. Thanks heavens!!
Every year I throw a Halloween party for my family and it's been a ton of fun. This year was no exception. The children and I have been working laboriously on creating a spook alley in our unfinished basement, and that was the highlight of the evening. I'd never really gone down to see how it was at night, and I must say it is definitely more scary at night than during the day. Andrew even commented that it was pretty good. That is a huge complement from my son who informed me only days ago that my spook alley wasn't scary!!
We played our usual games, Halloween Bingo, Tic-tac-toe, and Twister. We also did a candy walk (as opposed to a cake walk), a little relay race and bobbed for apples. Apparently, I can't have a Halloween party without bobbing for apples!! Andrew made sure that activity was ready to go, and to my surprise all the little munchkins happily participated even though it was dark and cold!! We ate tons of food, and I made root beer as well. The kids love the dry ice!
It was fun, though I am officially pooped! And unfortunately, my stupid camera was stupid and I got very few decent pics. But here's an idea of the fun we have!!
A Side Note
I have to add this, although it has nothing to do with Halloween. It was just funny!
For school every year they have an art contest with a theme. (I think it's a nationwide PTA thing.) We've never participated because I feel like it's extra work and if the kids aren't going to take initiative, then it must not be important to them. But this year, all three kids wanted to participate. Andrew and Lillie wanted to draw pictures, but Michael informed me that he wanted to make a sculpture. When I told him that it had to be something that made him go wow and asked what that would be, he quietly thought for a minute. Then he says to me, "Well, a cool sculpture will make me go Wow!" Now who can argue with that?!? So, here's the cool sculpture of a castle that made him go 'WOW'!
"You've got to think outside the box!!" says my husband, the master of outside the box thinking. "Outside what box?", I think to myself. To say I've been conflicted lately would be an understatement. Though I don't know that conflicted is really the right word. Perhaps worn out, tired and all around bored would be more accurate.
It is interesting to me how we can go about our lives, which are traditionally boring and the same every day, and be completely happy for a long time. Then, out of nowhere, we get restless, bored or maybe even conflicted. Not that my life, or yours, isn't great, though lackluster, but more that something different would be good. Being a stay at home mom is a thankless, tedious, boring job. But at the same time I love it. Do you see confliction here? I think most moms, or heck every human being, feels the same confliction from time to time. I mean in reality, life is kind of boring.
And so, after a long discussion with my husband, he challenged me to do different things with my day. To think outside the box. No matter that he is speaking to the queen of being smack in the middle of the box, he wants to challenge me so that I'll challenge myself. Not a bad idea, though I have a feeling that my idea of outside the box is a bit more inside the box than he'd have in mind! So for my first change, instead of running today, I'm going to swim. Not exciting, I know. But it is different.
His other challenge for me was to find something fun every day to look forward to. I'm a big reader, but as of late, reading doesn't hold the same escape. It's been tedious, like the laundry. So I'm taking a break from reading and on the search for a new hobby. Not that I have time for an actual hobby, but just something different.
And so, I extend the same challenges to you. Do something different today, find something to look forward to that is just for yourself! It's hard, when we give of ourselves constantly and dedicate our lives to our children's activities and education, to remember ourselves. But do it anyway!!
On Friday, we went to the Scarecrow Festival with my mom and my sister Lori. It was a fun and exhausting day!! There were tons of giant blow-up slides, a spook alley, a train ride, little carnival games and tons more! We also took a brief visit to the farm next door. And so, debuting a slide show for the first time ever, here are some of my favorite pics from that day!!
Yep! That's right. I just said there's value in chores. I know any of my children who may read this may completely disagree with me and to them I say, "You'll appreciate all the things I make you do when you grow up!"
I'm a chore mom. I sacrifice perfection in cleanliness for teaching my children how to do chores. They fold laundry, they do dishes, they clean bathrooms and Andrew mows the lawn. They weed the garden, they pick up and vacuum and clean out the car. To read this sounds like I'm a slave driver, doesn't it?
I'm not really a slave driver, although they do have weekly and daily chores. But they are fairly minimal. I figure they help make the mess, they get to help clean it up! Right?!?
Yesterday, I took the children to the Scarecrow Festival with my mom and my sister. (Pictures to come, just haven't gotten there yet!) It was a ton of fun, but it completely wore this momma out. And all the grand ideas of chores and things I'd get done went completely out the window. So after I picked Andrew up from football, we came home to a meal of re-warmed, two day old pizza on paper plates. I hadn't done the dishes in two days and the kitchen was an utter disaster.
So I told the kids I needed their help. Andrew said he'd do all the dish jobs, unloading, washing and loading. These are things that I usually split between the three oldest children. In turn, he didn't have to help clean off the counter and if we finished before he did, then we'd all pitch in and help. What a kid!! And so we went to work and in 45 minutes, we had the kitchen sparkling clean and could see the counter top again.
As I sat down on the couch, pooped but grateful, I couldn't help but be glad that I've taught my children not only the value of work, but the value of working together. Not only that, but I have amazing children! They aren't perfect, but they do what I ask them to do! I couldn't ask for better kids! I'm counting my blessings right now! All five and a third of them!
One of the most depressing things in a mother's life is when a little one doesn't nap. For whatever reason, Miss Odessa took a half hour nap yesterday morning and that was IT! I could tell as her afternoon naptime drew near, that she was still in an awfully good mood, so I didn't put her down until later than usual. And then I got to listen as she wiggled, squirmed, spit, threw toys out and proclaimed "uh-oh", shook her bed, and other noises I could never quite figure out. After about an hour of this roucous, I went upstairs, gave her a sippy, laid her down and said go to sleep. Funny thing, she didn't heed my words and after the sippy was gone, I got to listen to the spitting etc. all over again. I finally released her from her prison after another hour, and she was actually a pleasant little thing. But honestly, if she quits napping already, this momma is gonna lose it!! Nap time is sacred! Doesn't she know this?!?
It's just another day. I have the same laundry to do, the same house to clean. I have the same woes with the children and the same husband who works too much. It's just another day. I have the same money woes, the same cereal on the floor. Everbody is a day older, but it's just another day. At the end of the day, I'll cross another day off my calendar and look at tomorrow, just like I did today. Just like I will tomorrow.
Sometimes life is just a series of days. Nothing exciting. Nothing interesting. Someone may ask, "What have you been up to?" and you reply with "Nothing". Not because you have been doing literally nothing, but because all you've done is the same thing you did yesterday. And who wants the response, "Well I cleaned my house again, though you can't tell." They want a snapshot, and an interesting one. They want the highlights. And sometimes, there just aren't any. Sometimes life is just life. And that's ok.
This post may seem depressing. It's not. Not really. Though if you have a maid that's bored, send them on over. I'm kind of tired of cleaning up the same mess. But I'll take my boring, non-interesting life. I don't need drama. I need my children and my husband and truth be told, I love this house. Even though I have to clean it, again. I'll cross off another day, I'll count my blessings. And I'll do it all over again tomorrow. There's always something ahead, something to look forward to, though today, I'll make it through today. I'll do it all over. Again. And well, that's just life!
She loves the table. She loves to be on it, at it or near it. I don't need another toy in the whole house! She loves to color at it, or just stand on it and survey her surrounding. Apparently, she is adding sleeping on it as well! I have never had someone so tiny so happy at the table. What cracks me up even more is that she actually colors. If there are crayons at the table, she'll climb up there and squack until you open the crayons and get her some paper. She does occasionally chew on them, but that's what one year olds do, right?
It never ceases to amaze me what big personalities these little people have. They are each so different and unique. They all came from the same people, they all look very much alike, and yet by personality alone, you may never guess they are related! Motherhood is definitely an adventure!
This is the Power of Awesomeness. (If you insert your best superhero voice when you say it, it's even better!) It belongs to my nine year old son. What the heck is it, you may be asking. Well, at one point, it was a bouncy ball. It broke in half, and was gutted, and dubbed The Power of Awesomeness. I'm not sure I can explain it's powers, but apparently, if you suck it to the middle of your forehead, thus giving yourself a hickey, it makes you awesome. My son has been looking high and low for The Power of Awesomeness, and I came across it while cleaning today. It's a random thing, but it makes him giggle, thus making me giggle. Who can explain the random things of childhood? And who would want to? So for now, I possess The Power of Awesomeness, though I won't be sucking it to my head any time soon!
1. Refuse to wear a bib. 2. If no refusal to wear a bib occurs, make sure to get any exposed area covered with food. 3. Never use a napkin even if one is supplied. Your sleeve works much better. 4. Pick at any and all red or green 'things' that mom might try to put in your food. 5. If mom is foolish enough to serve a meal such as Spaghetti-o's (using the term 'meal' loosely here), make sure to get the red sauce in any available crevice. 6. Only eat junk food with enthusiasm. Gripe and complain about healthy food. 7. Make sure you are 'full' after a meal so an hour later you can be hungry and try to mooch junk food. 8. Drop your utensils on the floor at least five times per meal. 9. Dump your cereal at least once a week so mom remembers that you are a child, and anything more should not be expected from you. 10.Make sure to get as much food on the floor as you get in your mouth.
These are just a few of the rules that my children come pre-programmed with. It has become apparent to me that despite my efforts, all of the above will occur at some point during the week. I remember how grossed out I was watching my younger siblings eat and wondering how my mom could stand to let them feed themselves. I now understand that it's not any less gross when you are the mom, you just become immune. Most of the time anyway!
This is the wet wipe fiend. She will find the wet wipes, even if you hide them. She has gotten them off the table, out of the laundry room and out from behind the couch. She moves at the speed of light and if you catch her in the act, there's no remorse. Just lots of grinning and trying to see how many more she can pull out before I can get to her. It's lucky for her that she's cute. Otherwise, I'd have to ground her. I've even caught her on top of the table, pulling out the wet wipes as fast as she can. I'm not sure what the intrigue is, but she sure enjoys this little game!!
My sweet baby girl has learned to make a not so sweet noise. It's this grating, high pitched screech. She makes this lovely sound when she plays, when she's mad, when she's dancing. She just does it continuously. It's lovely, let me tell ya. We are all begging her to stop. The worst is when she does it in church. Nothing like bringing immediate attention to your family.
This noise reminded me of another child who made a similar high pitched screeching noise during my growing up years that I still have nightmares about. (Love ya Lori!!) Yes, my sweet little sister would make this amazingly high pitched noise. I think she and Odessa knew each other in another life. And Lori, loving me like only a sister can, made this lovely noise just to grate on my nerves. It drove me buggy, and she loved it!! (Or so I perceived!) I think she also made this sound at our psycho cat, Muffin. (Ah, now there are some stories! That cat was a nut case!) I truly have never heard anything quite like it, until today. And so it seems that things that drove me nuts in childhood are going to drive me nuts in adulthood as well. Patience is a virtue, right?
I determined that my nine year old son should at least understand the workings of a diaper. Seeing as how he proclaimed to me the other day, "But what if she poops or something?" when I left him for fifteen minutes to make a milk run. So I set out to teach him how to diaper Odessa.
After Odessa's bath last night, I made Andrew get a diaper and I showed him how to put the diaper on, then I left him to it. It was funny to watch Odessa, amused that her brother was attempting to diaper her, smirk at her brother and then proceed to squirm. After a couple of minutes and finally getting the diaper on her, I handed him her pants and told him to get her dressed. He got one foot in and then she began to kick her other leg so he couldn't get it in the other hole. Andrew finally said, exasperated, "This would be so much easier if she would just hold still!" Yes, my son, it would be!
I laughed to myself and remembered not too long ago, when he was the squirmy baby and his uncle, just about his age now, attempted to dress him and proclaimed much the same thing! Such is the cirlce of life!
That's what Michael informed me while I was doing his hair for school this morning.
"Oh, yeah. What's your joke?" I said. I prepared myself for a really dumb kid joke. Then he told me that he even made it up himself. Uh-oh.
"So, mom, I had another bad dream last night." Long pause. I took the hint.
"What was your bad dream about?"
"It was about you waking me up?" Teehee, giggle, giggle, giggle.
I must admit, it made me laugh. He has a great sense of humor. He wasn't too happy when I woke him up this morning and even informed me he was still sleeping. The great thing about Michael is that he turned something he wasn't happy about into a joke! What a great kid!
I wasn't a big fan of homework as a kid, and I'm even less so as an adult. I think homework is code for 'busy work so I feel I've done my job as a teacher.' I mean seriously. Some of these assignments are anything but educational.
Andrew brought home a worksheet earlier this week that had a crossword puzzle on it. It had the usual clues on it, but it didn't have any word possibilities like most of his others had. And so we spent twenty minutes trying to figure out the clues before I finally gave up and got online. I found a website that you could type in the crossword puzzle clues, how many letters and then it gave possible answers. I don't even feel bad about it. What was he supposed to learn from a crossword puzzle that his mother couldn't even solve without the aid of the internet? It's just busy work, in my opinion.
Then last night, he brought home spelling words and was whining about having to write sentences. He hates writing sentences. So I go and look at his list and his words are all months of the year and days of the week. Now if the point of writing sentences is so the kids understand the meaning of the words, then that was just busy work. What fourth grader doesn't know what Monday means?
But I think my favorite of the week is the project Lillie brought home. They are doing a unit on plants. Fabulous. But she/I have to do a project. The project paper consisted of several ideas and the kids had to pick one. Well the one Lillie picked, and I can't say I blame her, was a vegetable sculpture. Now please explain to me what carving a vegetable is going to teach her? Other than taking a lot of time, I don't find that terribly valuable when it comes to her education. Fun, yes, educational, not so much.
One of the major disadvantages of having so many children is that I get to do each grade times the number of children I have. The only time I have a problem with this is when they/I have to do homework. Stupid homework!! And here I thought I was done with school long ago. Silly me!
Last night, due to nothing on TV, I watched an Oprah that I had taped a couple of days previously. I usually tape Oprah, and then I'll watch a few minutes and if I think it's interesting, I'll watch the whole thing.
This particular episode turned out to be on child predators. I couldn't even watch it. About five minutes into the show, I was in tears. I had to turn it off and I even deleted the episode knowing I would never be able to watch it. But I can't quit thinking about all those innocent children.
I very rarely have a cause or anything that I feel strongly enough to fight for, but this one hit home. So I'm posting a link to Oprah's website which has information on how to contact your senators to pass a bill that will allow more funding to track down these perverts and put them in jail. Please support this bill. Our children are literally our future and we should protect them with everything we have. And hopefully, now that I've shared this I'll quit thinking about it. (Probably just all the hormones!)
Here's a link to write your senators. http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20080911_tows_predators
And here's more info. http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/20080911_tows_predators/1
I had to go shopping. And I'm not talking like it could be put off for a day or two, I'm talking nothing in the cupboards besides cereal. And while the children can subsist on cereal alone, I cannot. So I waited until the most amount of children were in school, and I went to the grocery store. Sadly, this means I still had Katherine and Odessa.
Now it is important to understand that this shopping trip is on the heels of a very long night during which Odessa felt the need to be awake for two hours. So a sleep deprived mom, a one year old and a three year old went to the store. Not a recipe for success.
We walk in and Katherine immediately goes to the cart that the kids can sit in the front and drive. And while it is a fabulous idea, it only works for children who sit still. Still is not in our vocabulary, apparently. So I veto the cart and go for a regular old boring cart, to which there was much gnashing of teeth. The first ten minutes were fine. We survived the produce section, though I quickly discovered that the cart I chose veered the the left. Annoying, but not the end of the world.
By the time we hit the dairy section, Odessa had had enough of this sitting down business, and had decided to stand up in the cart. And she doesn't just stand, she dances, or points or squeals. There is no still in her little body. So I sit her down, for the first of many times and she proceeds to get mad and kick her shoe off. Then she says "uh-oh" until I get her shoe. The rest of our shopping trip consisted of this:
1. Katherine asking me if she can have this, please, please, please, pleeeeaaaassssseeee! 2. Odessa making everyone fear for her life by standing up in the cart. 3. When let down to walk, tearing pricetags off of things or pulling things off shelves, or pushing the cart into things. She's a strong little bugger. 4. Katherne hanging on the cart while doing gymnastic feats. 5. Me holding Odessa while she screams and trying to push cart one handed. Cart veered worse the more that was in it. 6. Odessa being friendly to the other shoppers. 7. Odessa biting Katherine. 8. Katherine screaming.
We did survive, though barely. The shopping part is only half the battle, now I have to put the groceries away. I bought myself some M&M's for a consolation prize, I turned on the TV and I put Odessa down for a nap. It seems to be helping, but unfortunately I still have laundry to do and a house to clean. Calgon....take me away!!!
Those are wise words and ones I have to remember often with Miss Katherine. Katherine started preschool this year, and after a trying two weeks of getting her to school at 9a.m., I begged and pleaded and they switched us to a 10a.m. class. (Actually, I came in 15 minutes late, disheveled, in my pj's and said, "This isn't working!!" I think they believed me!) Ten is much better, but we still struggle some mornings.
Friday was one of those days. She came down bright and early in her new BYU T-shirt, that, while cute, looks like a dress especially when she wears shorts, which she was. I didn't say anything until it was time to go to school. Let's just say she looked very cute in her T-shirt/dress at school. It was obviously not a battle that was worth fighting, and so I chose not to. I did win the war over doing her hair, though. So at least she didn't look like a total orphan!
About a month ago, I bought Katherine a new princess crown. She wore it continuously for several days. On Sunday, after doing her hair, what did she put on? You guessed it, her princess crown. She proudly wore it to church and we got many comments on her beautiful crown. It was yet another battle not worth fighting. And what little girl doesn't want to feel like a princess anyway!?!
So my message of the day is to pick your battles carefully!
Two days of school and the novelty has officially worn off. Monday and Tuesday the kids were ready a good twenty minutes before the bus came. Today, not so much.
I coerced them through breakfast, which only one of them finished. I sent them to get dressed, brush teeth, and comb hair with only fifteen minutes till bus time. I had to stand in the hallway, knock on doors multiple times, beg and plead, to get them ready for school. Lillie had wardrobe issues, as did Michael. Luckily the boys' hair takes all of two seconds and a little water. Lillie almost got to go to school looking like an orphan child. But alas, we were able to squeeze a braid in at the last second. They raced out to the bus stop, and although they weren't first, they still made it on the bus.(Being first is top priority at my house!)
Homework novelty has also worn off, though that didn't take as long to lose it's appeal. Imagine that! We are now to the begging, pleading and bribing to get homework done stage. It's one of the things I could do without! (Odessa's idea of homework is to chew on books and spit out the cardboard. She learns through osmosis!)
But the novelty has not worn off for mom. I love school. I love my children too, but yay for school! The house is quiet, or relatively so, for a few hours. I may get something done, or I may lay on the couch and hope I don't lose my breakfast. (Oh the joys of pregnancy!)
I was a broken record yesterday. So were the children, for that matter. These are the things that came out of my mouth 400 times yesterday. "No, you cannot play the DS. No. No you can't have a Dora sippy. No you can't play with friends. Do your homework. Eat your food. Go play. Yes, please play with friends. Fold your laundry. Do your chores." Now if you multiply each statement by 400, then you will know what I did all day.
It all started innocently enough, but by the end of the day I was ready to strangle various children. Katherine wanted to play Lillie's Nintendo DS. But when she got it out, we discovered it needed to be charged. So I plugged it in and told her she could play it later. This is how it went:
2 minutes later Katherine: Is it charged yet? Me:No. It takes a long time. Go play.
1 minute later Katherine: Is it charged now? Me: No, Katherine, I said it takes a long time. Now go find something else to do. Katherine: Oh, ok. Can I have a Dora sippy? Me: No you already had one. Katherine: No I didn't. (Insert dirty look from mom.) Katherine: Mom, can I play the DS yet? Me: No. Don't ask me again. You can't play it till after lunch.
30 seconds later Katherine: Is it after lunch yet? Me: (While pulling my hair out) No, and if you ask me again, I won't let you play it at all.
2 minutes later Katherine: (whispering) Can I play it yet? Me: (much exasperation) No and now you don't get to play it at all today.
Thus ensued many tears, gnashing and whaling of teeth and other trauma. Did it stop her from asking me anymore? No, she asked me all day long.
As other children came home, the pattern continued. Michael asked me forty billion times if he could play with friends. By the end of the day I was begging him to play with friends. I, of course, had to repeat my pleas to Andrew and Lillie to either eat their dinner, do their chores, or finish homework.
I'm hoping today is better. I've hidden the DS from sight and I've started making children repeat things I say to them. It's not really helping, but at least I know they heard me.
"Then you must be married to a rooster" says Michael the other day. We had just visited the farm and apparently that inspired the above comment. Thus ensued a vigorous conversation about who in the family was a chicken and who was a rooster. It was riveting, let me tell ya.
But I must admit, I'm a weird mom. I call my children chickens. It's true. I also call them variations of turkey-head, monkey-butt, turkey-lurkey and any other possible combination of the above words. I get looks from people whose children are 'sweetheart' and 'darling', but I know they secretly want to join me in calling their children chicken-butt. Because sometimes, they are just chicken-butts!
Since I've admitted my weirdness, I'll confess another. I do weird things with my children. I sing them perverted versions of several songs, I make weird noises at them and with them, I dance goofy. Yeah, I'm just weird. The worst is when I forget not to be weird in public. I figure I just give people a good laugh, but still, sometimes I embarrass myself.
The other day I had Odessa with me at the grocery store. That in and of itself is a trying experience. I was attempting to entertain her so she wouldn't do the whole climb out of the cart thing, so I start spitting. I know, not very lady-like, but she loves it. So we spit at each other for a minute and then I growled at her and she giggled. (At least I call it a growl, it was really more like a possessed person's growl followed by same person's strange laugh.) I look up and see an old man with a look on his face that read something like, "Lady, you are one strange mamma."
I was mildly embarrassed but just ignored him. And although I refrained from anymore weird growling, I did continue to spit with my daughter. I know, I'm weird. But honestly, sometimes a little embarrassment is worth it if it keeps the baby in the cart!
What is a kid to do when their mean old mom says they can't have yet another lemonade stand. Well, in my house, that is by no means the end of things you can sell. Apparently, my children have caught their father's entrepreneurial spirit. Earlier this summer, Michael collected a baggie full of BB pellets that had been discarded all over our neighborhood park. He quickly took them to the neighbor boy, who he knew to have a BB gun, and sold the pellets to him. They were likely his to begin with!!
But yeserday, after their lemonade efforts were thwarted once again by mean old mom, Lillie and Michael began to color picture after picture. I asked them what they were up to and they informed me that they were going to have a picture stand. I laughed and we went on a walk a little later. They took their pictures and ended up playing with a friend for a while. Their silly mother thought they had forgotten all about their little project. As I was chatting with their friend's mother, they told me they were going to start home. They beat me home, but were giddy by the time I made it home. Michael starts excitedly telling me all the money they made on the way home. Apparently, they went door to door selling their pictures on the way home. They were up bright and early this morning coloring their little hearts out. That'll teach me to say no to a lemonade stand!! Oh, my little entrepreneurs!
I spy a three letter word that starts with the letter S. It's on the front page, but don't strain yourself, it shouldn't be too hard to find. Once you find it, leave me a comment, but don't give it away to others. If it's too hard, I'll post another hint later...Have fun!
There is a horrid, awful disease that has spread rampantly through my house. And I am the only one not affected by this disease. The verdict is still out on Odessa. The disease begins when someone finishes a package of something. The disease is passed from the empty package to whoever dare touch it. Somehow, despite my willingness to touch empty packages, I've managed to remain untouched by this disease. My children and my husband have not been so lucky.
Just yesterday, I opened the cupboard and saw an empty package of cookies and a wrapper from a ding dong. They were just sitting there, looking menacing. I grimaced and snatched the empty packages and hurriedly threw them in the trash can. I barely escaped with my life.
I am pretty sure this disease has affected many other households across the nation. I am here to warn other women so they can stear clear of this horrid disease. It seems to mostly affect men and children. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: Empty packages and wrappers in cupboards, inability to touch said packages, twitching when asked to dispose of such objects.
Beware! This disease is so contagious I fear Odessa is next to contract it!
And counting. That's how many shoes we have! And the bizarre thing is, no one can ever find their shoes. How can it be humanly possibly to have that many shoes and still have the children searching all over the house for shoes? It's a phenomenon I've yet to understand. And it's like the shoes reproduce. But they don't reproduce matches. Nope, just single shoes.
At one point all the shoes fit in the basket I bought. But for some reason, they no longer fit and are constantly spilling out all over the floor. So when you walk in the door from the garage, you are typically tripping over shoes. My other favorite occurance with the shoes is when one of the kids empties the entire basket looking for a missing shoe and neglects to put them back. Then it's like the shoes threw up on themselves.
Part of the problem is that we have cleats for soccer, cleats for football, old shoes for mowing the lawn in, shoes to wear to school, and shoes to wear to church. Sheesh! It looks like I have a bunch of shoe hogs in my house. And if their feet would stop growing every six months, I could stop keeping Payless in business! I even have a box of old shoes in the basement. The ironic thing about keeping shoes to pass on, is their feet are never the right size for the shoes I keep. Or they are the right size, but the wrong season.
I kinda wish I lived in a country where there was no need for socks and shoes. I swear they'll be the death of me!!
There's always Sesame Street! I don't think I would have survived five children without Sesame Street and good, old, trusty Elmo! It never ceases to entertain small children.
We've had a 'day' today. Not limited to, but definitely including, fighting, crying and much ado about nothing. All day. By all five children. Lovely. Odessa has a little cold and took a two second nap. Ok, so it was forty five minutes, but that still doesn't count when you are one. So she's cranky, ornery, and cranky some more. So after a couple of tantrums, and all other tried and true methods of entertainment, I stuck her on the couch and turned on Sesame Street. She can get off the couch by herself, but so far has entertained herself by either watching Elmo, or talking to me over the back of the couch. Whatever, as long as she's happy!
The great thing is, Katherine is happy as well. Thank you Sesame Street!!! Two down, three to go...
Dad took a day off of work (Hooray for me!) and we decided to drive up to Mirror lake in the Uinta Mountains for the day. After trying to make sure we didn't forget anything and stopping off at the store for water bottles, we got on our way. I asked the kids twenty times if they had socks and shoes and thought we were good to go. Until I realized about half an hour into our trip that I forgot my tennis shoes. I just had on my flip flops. Good going mom! So next time the kids forget their shoes, I vow to be nicer to them! We had to stop and buy me some shoes! So irritating!
But we had a lovely day. The drive was a tad longer than we thought, and Odessa wasn't overly thrilled at being in the car that long, but she survived. We enjoyed hiking around the lake and over to a smaller lake called Bonnie lake. It was chillier than I had anticipated, but we all warmed up as we hiked. Odessa oohed and awwed at the scenery and at every dog we passed. Katherine had a mini-nervous breakdown at the dogs, but what else is new. Silly girl! On the drive home, we stopped at a lookout point that was a beautiful water fall. It was truly spectacular. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of it to share. We love nature!
With the exception of some potty adventures by most of my children, (why do they not understand 'go potty now or forever hold your pee'?), it was fairly uneventful. We got a little dirty and a little wet. Andrew got a lot muddy, silly boy. It was peaceful and lovely and we got Dad for a whole day!
I got a wild hair yesterday, prompted by breaking a part on my drip line Monday night. I decided to take it upon myself to fix it and solve my lack of water issue in the front yard. So I spent yesterday digging in the dirt, playing in the water and fixing sprinklers! After four trips to Home Depot, during which I got to ask a prepubescent child to help me find the thingy that goes on the end of the other thingy, I actually fixed it. I think it was a miracle. And nothing dripped, at least not by the time I was done. And I learned a whole heck of a lot about my sprinklers. I even learned how to replace the heads to get more coverage. Look at me go! And I raised up four sprinkler heads in the backyard so that I should no longer have dead spots. But amongst all my success, were some major adventures with the children.
First and foremost, one should never, ever take small children to Home Depot. For my first trip, and my introduction to the teenager who helped me, I took only Lillie, Katherine and Odessa. I thought I'd taken a pretty good crew, but the fact of the matter is, I should never take Odesssa shopping. Period. Never. She sat in the cart happily for all of 1.2 seconds before she started kicking and rubbing her feet together to make her shoes fall off. Then Lillie and Katherine took turns climbing, pushing, and doing gymnastic feats on the cart. After I threatened their lives forty two times, they decided that chasing Odessa was much more fun. I had to liberate her from the cart for fear of death. The kid won't sit down in the cart. She has to stand up. So I got her down and let her walk while I tried to explain what I needed. (My teenage friend was actually pretty helpful and only gave me and the children a couple of 'looks'.) This, of course, was as successful as having her in the cart. She proceeded to get into bins of stuff, squealing with delight every time she got caught.
And then, Lillie had to go to the bathroom. Of course!! Unfortunately, I already knew where the bathroom was. We've been there many times. After finding all of my parts, we ran Lillie to the bathroom. At which point I realized that Odessa had lost a shoe along the way. So we had to backtrack and find her shoe, which luckily we found. It's not like the kid has a ton of shoes if we lose one! We survived the checkout with minimal whining and requests for candy and headed home. I think it was more exhausting to go to Home Depot than it was to fix my sprinklers!
So after the Home Depot adventure, the sprinkler adventure began. I was smart though, and didn't begin until after I put Odessa down for a nap. I even managed a childless trip to Home Depot during nap time to get a different part and visit my newfound friend. The problem was that all of my children needed their ears cleaned out yesterday. I would say, "Go grab me the screw driver, it's in the garage." They heard, "blah blah blah, screw driver, somewhere, hmmmm." After they disappeared for two hours I would go retrieve said object myself. When child returned, I would say, "Where'd you go?" To which I got variations of, "You told me to get the screw driver, so I went to Africa to find it." Ok, not Africa, but seriously, they didn't hear a thing I said yesterday!
Then Odessa woke up before I was finished. Did she play nicely with her siblings? No, of course not. She sat in my lap and cried. And any time I put her down she screamed like I was going to leave her forever. Apparently the Home Depot trips were as traumatic for her as they were for me. So after raising two sprinklers with her in my lap, I decided it was enough for one day. And I did the final Home Depot run of the day with Dad in tow. Much easier!
So the moral of the story, women can fix sprinklers and survive Home Depot with children. The verdict is still out on whether or not it should be legal!
So last week, I went over to visit my sister in her new house and she showed me the most wonderful thing! They have two gigantic cats that make my Donny look teeny weeny and they got a self scooping cat box! It's brilliant! In my family, I am the automatic cat poop scooper! So I coveted, and then I bought.
And then I introduced my stupid cats to the brilliant, new cat box. Which my stupid cats are afraid of. They act like it's a death trap that will eat them alive if they step foot in it. So after cleaning cat poop up for two days (and not from the cat box, mind you), and grounding the cats to the unfinished basement, I brought out the old cat box and set it up next to the new, cool cat box. I also thought to mix their old litter with the new stuff in hopes that they will eventually make the switch.
So far, they are pooping in the old one, but not the new one, although one of them will pee in the new one. Poor winter is just acting like everything is going to come alive and eat her. She's still terrified of it.
So here we sit with a brilliant idea and stupid cats!! (Big sigh)
Such are the joys of year-round school. I personally am not a big fan of the year-round school system. And this year we are on a track that is very much on again off again. My kids started school three weeks ago, and today they start a three week vacation. Fun for me. The good thing about the first few days off track is that they are all friends and I barely see them. The bad thing, after two or three days they can't remember how to entertain themselves and I get to hear, "I'm bored, there's nothing to do" for the next two and a half weeks.
So they have been outside playing in the water, or in the basement torturing cats for most of the day. Lillie finally came inside a few minutes ago and informed me that she was going to color because the boys were picking on her too much. Awww, brotherly love!
We still have football and gymnastics, so that will break things up a little bit. But I am preparing myself for the upcoming whines. I am prepared though. I have a chore schedule all mapped out, I have math games for the older kids, and I think I may make them have mandatory reading time! I'm such a nice mom!! At least they'll think twice before they complain about not having enough to do!! I have PLENTY of things they could do! (Insert evil motherly laughing here!)
I love toddlers. Most of the time, anyway. They are amazing. They learn at such a quick rate, that it's mind boggling. And I sometimes wonder what we would be like if we continued to learn at such a rate. We'd all be brilliant!
Odessa is fascinated by life. She is curious and, dare I say, so smart! I teach all my babys sign language, and she has picked it right up. She says, or rather signs, bye, dog, cat, Dad, please, where, more, all done and milk. See, she's brilliant!
I love to watch her move. It's amazing any of us learned to walk with the bulk of a diaper between our legs. And yet, she toddles all over the place, albeit very bowlegged! But oh so cute! She's figuring out her personality, which is a hoot. She absolutely loves her siblings, loves to play, loves to laugh. She knows what she wants and how to get it, most of the time. It's amazing that someone so little understands so much. When I talk to her, I can see the recognition in her face. Especially if she's doing something naughty! Don't let her trick you into thinking she doesn't know exactly what she is doing. She likes to look at books at points at pictures. She loves the park, although we are still trying to teach her to sit before she goes down the slide. Makes me just a tad nervous!!
I don't love the tantrums, the biting, or the orneriness. But overall, toddlers are just plain fun to watch. They are little, tiny people venturing out in the world! And they are little for such a brief time but I am just soaking it all in! Todlers are great!
I had a perfectly acceptable day yesterday. I cleaned, dusted, mopped and vacuumed. I washed 4 loads of laundry. I even had time to start reading the new Stephanie Meyer book. With the exception of Katherine and Michael forgetting how to go play, some tantrums from Odessa, and short naps when she needed long ones, I had a pretty good day. So when I went to go pick Andrew up from football, the melancholy that settled over me was not at all expected. I sat watching his football practice with Odessa climbing all over me, and looked around at the other mothers there. I felt a bit like a ragamuffin, with my hair in a ponytail, my eye makeup mostly worn off, making me look tired, and boogers smeared on my shoulders. The ladies were all well-groomed, hair in place, fashionable clothes, neat manicures, sitting around planning all of the wonderful things they were going to do for our boys. It didn't help that when we arrived, one mother made the ever-so-lovely "wow, you've got five kids" statement. I know on every level that I shouldn't compare myself, and my turn will come not to be booger smeared. But there seems to be something about us women that causes us to look at others and compare ourselves. Now who knows if those beautiful, well put-together women are actually happy. But somehow, my desire to be completly worldly sometimes overtakes what I know about my life. My life is great! I have wonderful, smart children. And I wouldn't trade a one of them for a manicure. (Ok, sometimes I would trade one of them for a manicure!) So today, I am going to remember what I have, and I'll probably do my hair, just to make myself feel better, and remember that what I have is great!
The toy room is the bane of my existence. I've cleaned it up a billion times and made the kids help me a billion more. And every time, the toy room throws up on itself and all over the basement. I am thankful it is mostly confined to the basement, with the exception of a few things I keep upstairs for the baby to play with. But every time I look down the stairs, or have to go to the basement for something, I just wanna cry.
So this week, I decided to take action. The last time I cleaned it up, with the aid of my children, I gave them all "the lecture". It goes something like this. "If you dump all your toys out one more time, I am going to throw it all away. You don't take care of your stuff and you have no respect for your belongings. I'm sick of it and I'm not going to tolerate it any longer." Now, I've probably given this speech multiple times. And they all made the appropriate somber faces and promised not to dump the toy room again. Of course, they are children, and their memories are two seconds long. So what did they do? They dumped the toy room in the name of a really cool fort. And of course they didn't clean it up and before too long, you couldn't go downstairs without injuring yourself.
So, as I began cleaning up the other day, but I decided to make good on my word. Or mostly anyway. I threw away a large garbage sack of crap. (Crap = broken toys, McDonalds toys, stuff I don't wanna see again) Then I boxed everything else up, except for just a few things. Then I took each kid in and made him/her look in the empty toy boxes and I asked them what I said I'd do next time they dumped it! Miracle of miracles, they all remembered what I'd threatened. It was worth it to see their dejected looks when they thought I'd actually thrown it all away.
They are now attempting to earn back their precious toys. And I've decided that anything they don't care to earn back before Christmas is going to the DI. And if they dump it again, they get one warning, then I really will throw it all away!! And this mom means business!! Stupid toys!
Michael knocks on the back door. I open it and see that he is somewhat wet.
Me: What's up? Michael: Ummm, we were playing the wet game and I tried really hard not to get wet but... Me: No, you can't change your clothes. It's hot outside, you'll dry. Michael: But I tried really hard not to get wet!
I'm thinkin' that if you play a game with your friends called the "wet game", you might just get wet. Who knows though, I'm just the mom who puts a damper on all kinds of fun games. Like the mud game, and the dirty game, and the run through the house with a foreign dog game...
A minute later
Michael: Can I get my swimsuit on? Me: Are you going to play the wet game some more? Michael: Yeah, I think so.
So now they are playing the "wet game" in swimsuits. It makes sense, doesn't it?
On to stopping the crying. We were outside earlier and I was chatting with a neighbor. They have a little yappy dog, but she's smaller than Don Juan. (Don is my big fat cat.) I see Katherine standing in my yard crying.
Me: Katherine why are you crying? Katherine: There's a dog. (insert much crying sound effects here) Me: Katherine that dog is not going to hurt you. Katherine: (continues crying) But I'm scared.
My neighbor kindly put her dog in the house.
Me: Katherine, the dog is in the house, come play. Katherine: Did they close the door? Me: (insert eye rolling and sighing) Yes, the door is closed.
I'm always thinking of the phrase "There's no crying in baseball." Apparently, with Katherine, there's crying in nearly everything. Today's dog situation comes on the heels of last night's dog situation.
The older kids were playing in the same neighbor's backyard, with said dog. Katherine runs inside our house with her big alligator tears and much crying.
Me: What's wrong? Katherine: There's a dog and it scared me. Me:Ok, stay inside then. Katherine: (sniffle, sniffle) I'm all better now.
Out the front door she goes. Not five minutes later the door opens and I hear her running and sobbing.
Me:What's wrong? K: The dog scared me again. (sniffle, sob, sniffle, sob) Me: Well then don't go outside anymore. That dog isn't going to hurt you. K: But it scared me. (sniffle, sniffle)
And out she goes again. I was surprised when she didn't come back inside crying about the dog again and about fifteen minutes later I went out to call the kids in to get ready for bed. And where do I find Miss Katherine? Perched on the highest rock in the neighbor's backyard. She wasn't crying, but she wouldn't go play either. I called her to come home and she cried from her perch all the way to the gate, stopping for a minute to completely freak out at the dog. I wanted to yell, "there's no crying!", but I restrained myself.
5. Stop touching your sister. You know she doesn't like that!
6. It's not the middle of winter, go change your clothes. (and vice versa)
7. Hey buddy, your shirt's on inside out.
8. Your swimsuit is inside out, bud, go change it. (One of my personal favorites. You'd think he'd notice!)
9. Don't torture your sister!
10. What are you supposed to be doing?
Can you tell he has an issue with clothes? He's always in such a hurry that he never stops to pay attention to how he's dressed! He started Kindergarten yesterday, and this morning, I had to mkae him change three times before he was dressed reasonably for school! He even layed his clothes out last night, but forgot they were there! He is such a sweet kid, but sometimes he just gets distracted! Don't we all!
So Odessa, being the youngest of five, has, at a very young age, mastered the art of tantrum throwing. You wouldn't think that a child barely one would know what she wants to the degree of throwing a fit to get it.
We were in the grocery store this morning and she was a tad cranky. I pulled her out of the sling and stuck her in the cart. She liked it for a minute and even played peekaboo with the sling for a minute. Until she saw the bananas. It was all over after that. She began twisting and squirming in her seat and doing the sign for food. Explaining that we had to pay for them first simply doesn't work at one years old. We got to the checkout line and she was getting louder, so I got her out of her seat and let her walk around. It didn't work. She wandered over to the next lane and began fussing at some poor woman and doing the sign for food. Poor thing thought if mom isn't going to feed me, maybe someone else will! Oy! So I picked her up and put her back in the sling. This merely encouraged a full on throw my body every which way fit, fussing and signing food over and over and over again. Lovely. And of course, with my cursed luck, I managed to pick the line with a woman who had like three different orders. I finally got her in the car, which she was less than thrilled about, and she screamed all the way home. I rushed in, got her in her seat, cut up a banana and thought we had survived the worst. Nope. She ate a few bites then started chucking banana on the floor. So after all that, she ate a poopy lunch! So when we go in to the doctor for her one year visit and he asks me how she eats, I can officially say that she eats like a toddler!!
I started the day with a little yoga. I'm not used to that firm of a mattress and desperately needed to stretch my muscles! We had a fabulous breakfast and had a nice peaceful morning. We then took a boat back across the lake, during which time I discovered that I still get motion sickness. I was a tad queasy getting off the boat, but unfortunately I spent the majority of the rest of the day trying not to lose my yummy breakfast. The lovely guatamalan switchbacks didn't help!! On our drive, we stopped at the breathtaking waterfall pictured above. It was just off the side of the road, and it was spectacular. We stopped at a little town called Solola, which had a biweekly local market. It gave a real taste of what the locals experienced at market. It wasn't geared at all towards tourists, which was wonderful. It was fascinating to see baskets of tomatoes layed out. There were baskets of chicken and geese. People were mostly dressed in traditional clothing. Babies were strapped to mom's backs, and mom was hauling stuff on her head, or trying to sell food from the family farms. It was crowded and chaotic and fascinating.
The rest of the day was a lot of driving. We stopped at a place for lunch, which I know everyone but me enjoyed. It was a buffet with more typical guatamalan food. I was busy still trying not to lose my breakfast! We made it back to Antigua and found a hotel. Our next stop was an active Volcano called Picaya. It was quite the drive during which we got stuck in traffic, which actually turned out to be a blessing for me. Because we were no longer on windey roads, and were stopped a lot, my tummy was finally able to settle down and I was able to enjoy our Volcano adventure!
We made it to the bottom of the Volcano at about 9p.m. (The traffic was horrid in Guatamal City!) We were uncertain as to whether or not we would still be able to go up the mountain, but the locals were able to round up nine horses and we were off on our adventure! My father-in-law survived a fall off his horse, which would have been a lawsuit in the states, but in guatamala it's called fix the problem and move on! I love their attitude! The ride up the mountain took about 45 minutes. There were these little lights along the path, and at first I thought maybe it was bits of lava. I asked my guide, with my limited spanish, and he picked it up and set it in my hand. It wasn't until it started to move that I realized it was some kind of light bug. It was so tiny, it was like a spec of light moving on my hand. I also noticed many holes along the side of the trail. I found out they dug these holes so that when it rains, the path they use doesn't get washed out. The holes allows the water some other place to flow.
When we made it to the point where the horses could no longer go, we dismounted and got ready to hike. It was cold and very windy and the lush vegetation was nearly non-existent. I was grateful for my rain jacket. We walked a little ways before we got to the old lava. Then we walked for quite a ways on very difficult terrain. The old lava was not easy to traverse in the dark. As we approached the new lava, our guides stopped us and went up ahead to test for the safest route to get to the lava. Then they led us up close and we took turns sticking our stick in the lava. I was probably ten feet away, but the heat was so intense, I thought it would singe the hair on my arm. I found a marhmallow that some other tourist hadn't managed to fry in the lava, and we had fun watching it melt. It was fascinating to watch the lava move. It had a life of it's own as it moved down the mountainside. We found out the the old lava that we were standing on was only ten days old.
The way back down was fairly uneventful and it was nearly midnight by the time we reached the car. Our guides were great and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. We fell into bed in an exhausted stupor around 2a.m.!
Now that Odessa is one, she is turning into quite the toddler! Yesterday, she wanted to make sure I was paying attention and that I never had a moment of peace. She successfully unrolled and shredded part of a roll of toilet paper, pulled puzzles out of the cupboard and dumped them on the floor, disappeared up the stairs only to yell "Ma" at the top, chewed on various remotes and chased the cats. And that was just before lunch! She spent the afternoon playing in the cat water and food, only to run away and squeal with delight every time I caught her. She pulled out all of the plastics from the cupboard. She found a beater and hit several siblings with it, and she tried to bite Katherine numerous times. I have a feeling that she is going to keep me permanently on my toes! I have mixed emotions about this phase of babyhood. On the one hand, I wish she would just stay still for a couple of minutes, but on the other hand, she's so darn cute I just want to kiss her little face!
The kids go back to school on Monday, so amongst the craziness of returning from our trip, I have been running errands like a mad woman. By the time we had survived Walmart, Odessa was done and I was on the lookout for the shortest line. What I didn't know is that I chose the slowest checker on the planet. By the time I realized he was slow, I figured that if I switched lines, it would probably take more time than if I just stayed put. I think I was wrong. The lady in front of me wanted her stuff split into two orders, which must have been beyond the checker's abilities. When it was finally my turn, Odessa had started throwing a fit and wanted down, so I sent Andrew with her to put her on all the coin rides. Minus a coin. She doesn't care, she's one! The slowest checker on the planet proceeded to check each item, and then inspect it. He wanted to know if the dress I bought for Lillie was a shirt or a dress. Then he discovered that there was no tag. I figured I'd die in line if he tried to find out how much it was, so I told him not to worry about it. At one point I almost climbed across the checkstand and took over. When he finally got to the end of my order, I looked up and realized that all the other lines that previously had two or three people in each, were now completely vacant. Lillie had brought Odessa back to me and she had proceeded to climb up and down me, while throwing herself backwards simultaneously. I was overjoyed to finally have a total so I could pay and go. It was truly a miracle! So if you go to Walmart any time soon, be on the lookout for the slowest checker on the planet. If he's having a bad day, you might just die in line!
I am a stay-at-home mom to 4 drama-queens, 2 grubby little boys, 2 cats and a tortoise. I constantly threaten to move to Africa and change my name to George, but I secretly love the chaos my kids create. Life is rarely boring and these are our adventures as recorded by me!
A~ 10 years old and loves to torment his sisters. L~ 8 year old drama queen gymnast. M~6 years old and terribly precocious. K~4 year old sweetheart, but she cries, a lot! O~ 2 year old holy terror. E~ 5 months old and the yummy baby.