Friday, August 29, 2008

The disease

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!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

4 billion shoes

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!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

When all else fails...

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...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A day trip

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!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Adventures in sprinkler repair

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!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Brilliant idea, stupid cats

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)

Monday, August 18, 2008

On again, off again.

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!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Who me?!?

Not me! It couldn't be!!

This is what happens when you let the baby have an M&M cookie in the car to preserve your sanity. It was worth the mess!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


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!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


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!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The dreaded toy room

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!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The wet game and Stop all the crying!!

This was just too funny and I had to share.

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.

Things I tell Michael (age 5)

1. Your shirt's on backwards.

2. Eat your breakfast. (20 times)

3. Your shoes are on the wrong feet babe.

4. Please eat your lunch. (another 20 times)

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!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tantrums and other fun

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!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Guatamala Chronicles: Part 2

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.!