Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chasing the toddler

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!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The slowest checker on the planet!

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!

The Guatamala Chronicles:Part 1

Our trip to Guatamala was an amazing trip filled with some really incredible, once in a lifetime experiences. And since I know most people just look at the pictures, myself being one of them, I figure I'll put all the pictures first. For those interested in the words, you'll just have to scroll down!!

After surviving an excruciatingly long layover in Dallas-Fort Worth, during which time I scoured the airport for a glasses repair kit, we arrived in Guatamala city late in the evening. Our car rental place closed before we were able to get the car, (which they weren't supposed to have done) and so we took a taxi to our hotel in Antigua, about a forty-five minute drive. The first thing I noticed about Guatamala were the large garbage cans in each stall in the bathroom. I quickly learned that flushing toilet paper is a big no-no in Guatamala. That is very much an ewwww for me, but I survived!

The roads in Guatamala are at best horrid. (There are a few decent ones, but they are few and far between.) In the city of Antigua it is cobblestone, and thus a very bumpy ride. Although I was exhausted, I was fascinated by the hotel we stayed in. The streets were very narrow with very little sidewalk. All of the buildings, including our hotel, had heavy wood doors. Our hotel also had a big wrought iron door for security. Needless to say, this made me a tad nervous! I was very nervous about the whole sleeping situation, and checked the bed for bugs before getting in! I'm happy to report that none of the places we actually stayed in were scary!

After surviving our first night, we got up (which wasn't difficult as the beds were very, very, very firm)and went in search of breakfast. Much to my relief, we found a place called the bagel barn. I was perfectly happy to have a bagel for breakfast since eating was the number two concern on my long list of concerns! We wandered around Antigua for a bit whilst my brother-in-laws had a long and exciting experience attempting to rent a car. We went to the bank to change our money to Quetzales and saw our first of many armed guards. It's a little unnerving to walk into places of business and have a man standing there armed with a machine gun. I'm just used to seeing the little handguns!! They take weaponry seriously in Guatamala.

We drove to a place called Chichicastenango and got our first taste of bartering at the market place. The drive itself was an adventure. You've never seen a switchback until you've driven through Guatamala. Plus we saw two giant trucks that had crashed and/or gotten stuck.

Guatamalans are relentless and never give up! That's what we learned at the market! We got the kids some great souveniers and had a lot of fun. It was amazing to see the people with their goods out on tables, and on blankets on the ground. They had things everywhere. After the market, we drove to Lake Atitlan. It was breathtaking. We chartered a boat to cross, which was done by my brother-in-law (thank heavens one of us knew more spanish than what we learn from Dora!). We walked around the little town on the other side and looked at a couple of scary hotels. (By scary, I mean moldy, ceilings falling down, questionable beds scary!) We ended up taking some tuktuks (the funky red taxi's) and staying in a very nice hotel called the Bambu. It was nice, and the restaurant was fabulous! We learned to ask for pure water, which was bottled, and we had no problems with eating or drinking.

Our hotel had a pool, and after dinner, the crazy boys went swimming. It was very cold, and the girls were smart and just watched the crazy boys! After a long, busy, amazing day, we had no problem crashing on our very, very, very, very, firm bed!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The great return!

For my readers who noticed my absence...we have returned from our brief, but exhausting sabatical to Guatamala. I will post some pictures and some stories, but it may take me a few days. Not that I expected otherwise, but life doesn't slow down or stop just because I went on vacation. So I was hurled back into motherhood yesterday and it may take me a few weeks (months, years) to recover.

I came home to a household of happy, busy children and I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. And yesterday, Miss Odessa turned one! We had a grand time birthday shopping and she ate the obligitory birthday cupcake and smeared chocolate frosting all over, just as is required by a first birthday! I pulled Lillie's tooth shortly after our return, so now she and Michael match. The children wanted to make sure that Mom still had the same rules as before, so they spent the afternoon testing boundaries. And so I return to the joys of motherhood, which, as most of you know, are many!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mommy, I will miss you.

Katherine often tells me she will miss me when I tuck her in at night. But last night she made both her father and I cry because we are leaving today and won't see them for over a week. It's amazing how you can look forward to something so much and be so sad at the same time. I know in my heart they will be fine, but when you spend so much time with these amazing little people, it's kind of hard to leave.

Michael, in his formal way this morning said, "Mom, today you leave on your trip. Are you excited?" The kids are so sweet sometimes.

Of course, as Murphy would have it, Katherine has pink eye and the baby is running a slight fever. The kids just like to make it as hard as possible for mom to leave them.

My hope for the next week is that they don't come down with any diseases, they don't kill one another, they don't tie up the sitter and leave her in the basement, and they miss us as much as I will miss them. So Katherine, I will miss you too!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Major household appliances

They don't like me. We recently survived the great refrigerator catastrophe of 2008, but it seems that we will soon be moving on to other appliance tragedies. (I am happy to report that due to an error in my owner's manual, Maytag fixed my frig for free.) Now, it seems the garage door, the vacuum and the dryer are in competition to see which will die next. The garage door has been resurrected several times already. Again, I think we are cursed, seeing as this house is a mere 2 1/2 years old. The vacuum has been disassembled and reassembled many times in efforts to extend it's life. It's getting close to 4 years old now. I don't think that's old for a vacuum, but with my rotten luck, it'll die soon too. I thought I was doing good, spending a whopping $250 on that vacuum. I figured it would last me ten years or so. Silly me. The refrigerator man broke down the expense of refrigeration for me. If we'd had to pay to fix the fridge, or have it replaced, we would be paying around $800 a year for refrigeration. That's not pretty! On to the dryer. Now, I must say that the dryer has lasted us nearly ten years. That's pretty darn good. And every time it starts having issues, if I talk to it nicely, it shapes up and behaves itself for several more months. So I am hopeful that the dryer will outlast the vacuum and the garage door.

The moral of all this nonsense? Homeownership is expensive because it requires you to own things that break. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I wish we lived in the days when you bought an appliance and you died before it did!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Michael and the Tooth Fairy

Michael has had a very eventful week! First dogs, now teeth! He lost his first tooth yesterday, but it wasn't of his own accord. It all started a couple of years ago at Grandma's house. One Sunday evening, after being told NOT to jump off the couches in the basement, he came upstairs bloody and crying. Yup, he jumped off the couches and hit his face against the coffee table. He bit through his bottom lip and we got to go to the ER to get stitches. We didn't notice his tooth right off. It was probably a few days later that I noticed that it looked a little funny. It was nothing we worried about, but over the last two years it got gradually grayer and shorter than his other front tooth. And so yesterday, after getting his teeth cleaned, it was determined that it needed to come out! He did great, no tears or anything, and he now has a slightly toothless grin which will stay that way until his adult teeth finally come in.

I have to preface the next part by saying that I am the world's worst tooth fairy. I can't even count how many times the tooth fairy has come late to our house. My brain shuts off at 9 p.m. and apparently remembering to be tooth fairy is included in my lack of brain function after that hour.

So my poor son comes crying into my bedroom at 7 a.m. to tell me that the tooth fairy forgot him. After rubbing the sleep from my eyes and trying to remember what it feels like to be awake, I told him that he got up too early and the tooth fairy just hadn't made it to our house yet. (I've had to use this excuse a few times.) Unfortunately, he went back to bed to wait for the tooth fairy. I had to very carefully slip my hand under his pillow and make the change, while he was laying there. I gave him a buck, so hopefully that makes up for completely forgetting to be the tooth fairy. But I've probably ruined his faith in the tooth fairy! When he grows up, he can explain to his shrink how I ruined all of my children by being a crummy tooth fairy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Puppy dogs and little boys

That is white puppy. White puppy has gone everywhere Michael has gone since white puppy was bigger than Michael. He loves that dog. And while white puppy isn't nearly as white as he once was, he's a much beloved family pet. He goes camping with us every year, and as you can see, even if he's hangning by his tail, he even goes to the fourth of July breakfast with us too.

Michael has wanted a dog for as long as he's loved white puppy. Unfortunately for him, we attempted dog ownership before he was born and it just didn't work out too well. Cats are much more my speed. Slow. I figure if I can keep up with five kids and two cats, we are all doing pretty good.

Yesterday, the kids dissappeared outside and I didn't see them for quite some time. Hallelujah, I thought, they have finally caught the vision! Then Michael opens the back door and in comes a dog. I was out of my seat in an instant, hollering at Michael to get the dog out of the house before the cats saw him. Of course the dog cooperates by running through my house in any direction opposite of a door. I finally shoo the dog out the front door and turn to see my big, fat cat, Don Juan, shaking with his tail about two sizes too big. Poor cat. The kids have done some pretty ornery things to the cats, but that was by far the worst! After getting over the shock myself, I asked Michael what in the world he thought he was going to do with a dog in the house. He informed me that he was going to take him up to his room and maybe feed him something. I found out that he "caught" the dog and intended to keep him. Well, the kids played with the dog outside until the dog ran off. They even named him Bud. Michael cried when the dog took off. The poor kid just really thinks he needs a live dog. Apparently white puppy isn't enough anymore, although he will have to suffice for now. The cats would have a heart attack if there were a dog constantly present! At least he had his own dog for a whole afternoon!

Monday, July 7, 2008

The fourth of July!!

It's an exhausting, fun holiday for us. The fourth actually starts on the third with a sleepover at my husband's grandmother's house. Oh the chaos! Many of the kids and greatgrandkids go and it's a busy time. I was discussing with my husband that this is the only way we have ever celebrated the fourth and it's going to be very strange when his grandmother passes. (May that not be for many more years.) Anyhow, the sleepover consists of lots of food, a pajama parade, which includes music, goofy costumes and lots and lots of noise. The poor neighbors!! Then the sleeping bags get pulled out, and we line the kids up on the grass. This year, my kids were up till nearly midnight. At about 6:15a.m. the following morning, a band of neighbors comes around playing patriotic music. It's a wonderful tradition, but a little too early for my taste! Our sleepy family were the last ones up this year! Then it's off to the church for breakfast.
We took the children home for a nap right after breakfast, but the only ones that ended up sleeping was me and Odessa. Then it was off to Grandma's house for more food, swimming, and fireworks. Needless to say, the children are always completely worn out after all the celebrating!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Two new posts in one day! What's up with that? I feel the need to address the paper problem today. I'm about to tackle a major job, consisting entirely of paper. I'm not sure who is really trying to save the trees, because it certainly isn't our grade school. Next year I will have three children in the grade school and I know, without a doubt, that I will get all notices in triplicate. I have determined that by the time I have all five children in school I will never have a spot of space on my desk. I'm unable to keep up with the paper now, I hate to think what it will be like in the future. My current idea of cleaning off my desk for company is to grab everything off of it and put it on the floor in the laundry room and shut the door. It's not terribly efficient for the long haul, but it creates a temporary feeling of cleanliness. Just don't go in the laundry room. And what's up with putting ads in the mail several times a week. I occasionally look at them, but it comes down to just more paper for me to deal with. I hate paper! And the process of cleaning up the paper usually consists of moving the mess around the house. If it's laundry day, then the mess moves to Dad's den. If Dad is having company, it's back in the laundry room, or up to my room. The kids have been out of school for a whole month, and I keep thinking I'll get around to cleaning off my desk because I shouldn't be accumulating more paper. Or that's what I'd like to think. But no, my desk is littered with who knows what under even more paper. I want to go on a paper strike!!

Like a moth to a flame

That's what clean floors are to children. (Can you tell that I am constantly battling the floor?) They absolutely MUST walk across the floor, when it's still wet, because they HAVE to have something on the other side.

It's also the same if you tell them to go play outside. It inspires the need to pee, get a drink or otherwise be inside the house. It amazes me. The sad thing is, if I didn't tell them to go outside and play, they might never notice it's summer time.

Clean clothes are the same. As soon as they are clean, they must get them all wet, dirty, and spill all foods down their fronts. Thus ending their state of cleanliness and providing constant work for a mom that apparently has nothing else to do but harass them about being in the house, walking on the wet floor and spilling everything they eat down their little fronts.

I love my children. And someday, they will have children. There are just rewards!!