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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I Love Me Some Bargains

Even though I don't clip coupons or go out of my way to shop for sales, I still get excited when I get a good deal somewhere. Today at the grocery store I saved $294, I won't tell you how much I spent because that isn't important, because I SAVED $294!

Granted I bought meat on clearance and I wonder if that could ever be a good idea. But packages of Perdue chicken nuggets on sale for $1.00, marked down from $10, who with children can pass up such a bargain, I ask. Hopefully I won't be giving my unsuspecting family some virulent strain of food poisoning, thereby blowing my savings on doctor copays.

One of the grocery baggers asked me if I was stocking up for the end of the world and I looked at her and with a completely serious expression said, "Why yes. Yes I am."

She sort of chuckled and I continued to look at her. She didn't know what to say next, but I think I scared her. It was probably wrong how much I really enjoyed it.

Then I dragged my three carts full of food to my tiny car, because I left the gas guzzling van at home and packed the food into the tiny trunk that was filled up mostly with the stroller. Then I packed the food around the kids in the backseat who were strapped into their carseats and drove home, begging them to stop kicking the bread. The entire time thinking that if I ever won the lottery, or more accurately ever played the lottery and then won, I would employ someone to bring my groceries home and put them away.

When I got home from shopping I burst in the door and shouted to my 6 and 8 yr olds, "Want to hear my good news? I just saved a bunch of money on my grocery bill!"

And without missing a beat they both said, in unison, "Yeah, baby!"

God I love those kids. Even though they can drive me to crazy and back in a heartbeat, I still love them.

And the fact that most of them are old enough to carry the groceries in from the car and help put them away, makes me love them even more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

If You Want To Read More

I have a new post up over at dotmoms in which I write about my love for playing Monopoly with my children, which I love almost as much as gouging out my eyeballs with a blunt instrument.

Playing board games.

Go on over and read it.

Did I scare everyone away with my last post? ::crickets chirping::

Maybe you have to actually see the baby shaking his Welbuturin rattle to fully appreciate the humour. (I added that "u" in there just for Annalise. I feel so much more worldly with the extra "u". Can I just adopt the usage of the "u" or would that make me a poser like Madonna with the fake British accent?)

And They will Be Known By Their Rattles

I had a follow-up appointment with my obgyn to talk about the crazy drugs I have been taking. Rob had taken the day off of work, so I left all the kids at home with him and brought just the baby with me.

The baby loves people. He is at that adorably cute age where he stares at people with a huge grin on his face and when they look at him he laughs and buries his face in my neck. He flirted with the receptionists, the other women in the waiting room, the nurses. He had yet to meet anyone he didn't like.

That is until the obgyn walked into the room. For whatever reason he was fixated on her shoes and he did not like them one bit! And when she reached out to tickle him, he recoiled. He was whimpering on the verge of bursting into tears and I kept trying to distract him. Because nothing is worse than having your child cry when someone looks at them.

Later on I thought that maybe he just didn't want her touching him because he was thinking, 'Good God woman I know where your hands have been all day. Get them away from me!

Anyway, we talked about my medication, the positives and negatives, and decided to try a different one. She went to her vast supply closet and pulled out four boxes, four weeks worth of pills. She carried them back into the room and shook one in front of the baby.

"It's like a little rattle!" she said as she shook it in front of him and tried to hand it to him. She desperately wanted him to smile.

"It's like a little rattle for the babies with crazy mothers" I blurted out, you know just in case there was a doubt in her mind that I needed drugs.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought about what a fabulous idea that would be. Imagine walking through the store and your baby is holding onto his favorite Prozac rattle. Suddenly you come across a cart where he spots a baby just like him shaking a Zoloft rattle. They could exchange knowing glances and smiles.

It would be like a baby secret handshake for, "My mom is nuts, too!"

I think the pharmaceutical companies should take note. There is a vast untapped market out there.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I Never Claimed To Be Rational

Rob bought these bags of trail mix at the store recently and I have been obsessively snacking on them. It's healthy, right? Doesn't trail mix get it's name because those healthy active sorts of people like to take it with them when they go hiking, presumably on trails?

Isn't that why there is such a great emphasis on carrying lightweight gear while hiking, so that a person would be physically able to carry the ten pound bag of snacks in addition to their tent, backpack, and sleeping bag?

Last night we were sitting on the couch together and I was snacking away. Rob watched me sift through the bag for a few minutes.

"Are you putting back all the almonds?" he asked.

"Yeah, I don't like almonds." I replied.

"But what about the cashews? You don't seem to be eating those either"

"Well, truth be told, I don't eat any of the nuts because they bother my stomach. So I put them all back into the bag, you know for the kids." I explained. I may have rolled my eyes here. I can't be sure.

"Are you eating the raisins and dried cranberries?"

"Uh, no not really. You know the kids will want something to eat with all those nuts." I reasoned.

"Okay, let me get this straight you aren't eating any of the nuts or dried fruit."

"That would be correct." I replied, as I dipped my hand back into the bag.

"If all you are eating is the chocolate chips, why don't you just get a bag of them to snack on?"

"Because that wouldn't be very healthy, you know like the trail mix." And I wondered, like I often do at times such as this, how I could still be married to someone who just doesn't get it.

"Uh huh."

"Please let me harbor the illusion that I am eating something good for me. I feel much better that way. Okay? Is that TOO MUCH TO ASK?? It's not like I am eating a goddamn cockroach like some people."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Sign That Maybe Your Children Have Been Watching Too Much TV

They overhear a person out in public say to someone else, "Hey, did you hear our good news?"

And one child interrupts the conversation to yell, "Did you just save a ton of money on your car insurance by switching to Geico?"

And the other child follows up with, "Yeah, baby!"

And these same children think this is a perfectly normal, rational way to respond to this question.

It is precisely these moments that make a mother proud.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I Did Not Okay This

Eight Months and 13 days old.

In the swing
Originally uploaded by the big yellow house.

Today my baby decided to take his first step without holding on.

He let go of the chair with his arms stretched out. His legs stiff and unbending. I wish I could say that he was walking to me, that I was the object of his affection so strong that he was willing to break out of his comfort zone and step into the unknown.

But alas it was a piece of bright orange candy that he saw fall to the ground and he was trying to beat his sister to it.

He lost. And my high pitched squealing scared him and he fell down. The first of many times he will learn that risk taking is well, risky. Sometimes it doesn't turn out the way you think it will, and you end up flat on your ass crying, wondering what the heck happened.

I want to tell him to slow down, not to be in such a rush to leave babyhood behind.

There will be plenty of time to walk later, like when he is 4 years old and we are out shopping and my arms are full of stuff and he is complaining and collapses to the ground and refuses to go on. THAT would be the perfect time to want to walk.

I hope his next milestone is sleeping through the night. Really really hope.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Make Your Reservations Now

We are not going away for a family vacation this year. My eldest son is sorely disappointed, feeling that it is his birthright to be taken somewhere where he will relax, eat in restaurants, and have overpriced souvenirs bought for him. How this differs from his everyday life I am not certain.

But to make him feel better and assuage my own guilt and perhaps make some money, I am opening my own vacation destination : The Big Yellow House. Why go somewhere when we got it all here. The following is the description I am going to print out.


Tired of the same old vacations, relaxing on the beach, hiking in the mountains, cruising the Caribbean. Been to Europe so many times it has lost it's appeal? I have a unique opportunity for you.

**Ever wonder what it would be like to restore an old home?

**What sort of work is involved in removing old plaster and lathe walls and hanging new sheetrock?

**How to install ceramic tile in a room that is completely out of square and has not one 90 degree angle.

**Want to know how to reglaze old wooden windows?

**Do you wonder if you could rewire a house and NOT burn it down or electrocute yourself in the process?

**Ever wonder how much lead paint dust you can safely inhale or how hard you need to work outdoors in the sweltering heat before you collapse from heat exhaustion?

**Ever wonder if you have the fortitude to restore an old house?

**Or do you just want to use some cool power tools and invent new swear words?

Well, wonder no more. This is the vacation for you.

At The Big Yellow House you will get to participate in the process. No boring lounging around for you!

For seven fun filled days and nights you will get get to work on an *actual old home* Yes, not an imitation!

You will get to be an important part of rescuing an *actual old home* from a century of bad taste and disrepair. Not only that you will get to sleep overnight in this historic work in progress.

While you lay in bed at night you will get to experience the UNIQUE JOY that is original wooden windows. You can have the untold pleasure of trying to find something just the right size to prop the window up with, just like our forefathers did for so many years before this. Or if it is too cold, you can lay in your bed and listen to the windows rattle in their jams as the wind whistles though the cracks. You can use this time to ponder various types of insulation and weigh historic accuracy versus new thermal-vinyl-clad-never-need-painting-or-reglazing-again-windows.

You can have the fun of dropping something on the wood floor and watch it ROLL ACROSS THE ROOM all on it's own due to the house having settled about six inches on one side. It never gets old. Then you can mosey on down to the basement and turn the house jack, and the other one, and the other one. How many times can you turn it before you see a discernible difference in the elevation of the house? That is the question that has plagued old home owners since the beginning of time. Now you too can weigh in with an opinion!

We will also let you start a fire in one of the three fireplaces using dollar bills in an attempt to simulate the hidden costs on things no one will ever see involved in restoring an old home. Once the fire is roaring it will be time to throw in your larger bills, $20, $50, and even $100 would not be out of place as we endeavor to visually portray home heating costs. (note: please bring your own suitcase filled with dollar bills as these will NOT be provided, or several suitcases if you are striving for authenticity)

Where else could your vacation time go towards something so meaningful as bringing back a piece of history.

And remember these are just the highlights, there is much MUCH more.

There is also a companion vacation available for those who are contemplating parenthood. Hang out with seven wonderful young children who will demand your undivided attention.

Highlights of this vacation package include:

**Being woken up several times during the night.

**Walking through a pitch dark room, stepping on mislaid legos and trying not to scream or fall to the ground in pain, while holding a sleeping baby.

**Listening to and PARTAKING IN conversations about the Bionicles and their powers. Don't worry if it feels like your brain explodes and is oozing out of your ears after a few hours, it is normal and does NOT impact your ability to say, "Wow!", "Cool!", "That's interesting!" if you have practiced long enough.

**Grocery shopping with seven kids and two shopping carts. Extra points given for navigating the check out with no tantrums. Extra extra points given if you managed to remember everything and spend under $300.

**When you arrive home from the grocery store you will be instructed to throw away 60% of the food you just bought. This is an attempt to demonstrate the amount of food that will go waste once you have children.

**Reading any number of the Berenstain Bear books until your eyes bleed and/or you have the books memorized.

**Preparing a dinner when you have seemingly nothing to cook despite the trip to the grocery store. Extra points given if no one cries when called to the table and sees their plate of food.

**Learning if french fries with ketchup counts as two vegetables.

In this vacation package you will be encouraged to bring a suitcase full of dollar bills to use in lieu of toilet paper. This is to simulate the cost of diapers which will be cladding your child's ass for years.

By the end of your one week stay, you will either be ready to go forth and procreate or you will be signing up for sterilization. Either way it is a winning situation for you.

Sign up now, space is limited.


People are going to be falling all over each other to vacation here, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Quote Of The Day

Said with WAY too much excitement by my 6 yr old son:

"Mom I know why you painted our bathroom that color! So when we get poop on the walls it won't show up!"

Painted bathroom
Originally uploaded by the big yellow house.

Animals, I tell you, I live with a bunch of animals.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How To Have Lunch Out Without Paying

There are signs that you shouldn't eat at particular restaurant. These signs should not be ignored. In case you are ever faced with similar circumstances I am going to present these signs in the form of a story. Please heed the warnings or your wife will never want to kiss you on the mouth again.

Yesterday Rob and a friend went out to lunch at an Indian buffet restaurant. (Right there is cause for concern, I just don't think Indian and buffet go together, and since my Chinese buffet experience when I was pregnant I don't do buffets anymore.)

As they were up at the buffet table filling their plates a cockroach ran across the buffet table. A COCKROACH RAN ACROSS THE TABLE.

(This is the first sign that you shouldn't eat at a particular restaurant. )

But this isn't the shocking part of the story.

They continued to fill their plates and sat down to eat. Did you get that? Let me say it again. They continued to fill their plates and sat down to eat.

"Well, I was slightly concerned, but I was hungry and we were already there." Rob said when I questioned him.

"I would have screamed, dropped my plate, left the restaurant and had my appetite ruined. I probably would have thrown up in my mouth a little all day long just remembering it." I said. And to be honest, I felt a little ill just imagining it.

"You're melodramatic."

But there is more to the story.

Rob goes on to tell me that they sit down to eat their food, never really giving it much of a second thought. As Rob is eating his chicken that is covered in some sort of sauce, he looked down on his plate and sees some sort of thread like thing. He grabs the thread and pulls on it.

Only it isn't a thread.

It is a whole cockroach, COVERED WITH SAUCE AND MIXED IN WITH HIS FOOD, his food that he was eating.

(This is the second sign that you shouldn't eat at a particular restaurant. )

Did that make you throw up a little? Because it did me.

After I stopped involuntarily gagging I asked, "What did you do?"

"Well, I didn't eat anymore of that particular food, I can tell you that!"

"Does that mean you continued to eat other foods?"

"Well, yes, but we stuck to foods that didn't have sauce so we could see the food clearly."

"And that doesn't strike you as being problematic that you need to examine your food before you eat it at a restaurant?" I asked.

"We were hungry."

"I have never been, nor will I ever be that hungry."

"We decided that we aren't ever going to go back there to eat."

"You say that like there was a question about it. Like you two had to have a discussion about it."


"Who are you?" I asked.

But there is more.

Rob called the waiter over and pointed out the cockroach. The waiter was new and he was horrified. He took a napkin and picked up the saucy cockroach and marched off to the kitchen.

He returned a few minutes later and told them he was quitting his job as a waiter at that restaurant because "he couldn't take it anymore" The waitstaff telling you they are quitting because of the conditions can never be good.

That is the third sign that you shouldn't eat at a restaurant.

"Hey, at least we didn't have to pay for our lunch."

"Next time you want a free lunch why don't you just root around in the dumpster behind the nearest McDonald's. I'm sure there is cockroach infested food in there that would be to your liking." I said.

The jury is still out on the fourth sign... food poisoning.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Champagne Taste, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Budget

I am a bit of a snob.

There I said it. Though it stinks to have good taste and no means to satisfy it. Good taste, my own personal beast of burden.

This is especially true when it comes to clothing. My general rule is that if a store has shopping carts and sells toilet paper, I don't buy clothes there.

I have also never liked shopping at consignment shops. It's a combination of the crowded hodge podge of clothing, the smell of different peoples detergents all mixed together, and the fact that all the stuff has been used, or "previously worn" as the sign at a local consignment shop states. I have no problem buying previously read books though, so we will often go just to browse the huge bookcases.

The few times that I have wandered over and looked at the clothing I generally haven't been impressed with the condition of the clothes or the price. I've bought things here and there, but mostly I avoid even looking.

This weekend that all changed. I was lured over to the other side by a brightly colored sign.

In doing so, I discovered something new about myself. As much as I loathe buying used clothing for my kids, I love bargains more. When I saw a sign over the racks of clothing that said everything with a red dot sticker was $1, well I couldn't help but look. I fully expected to find used, stained, ugly crap for that price, but I was wrong.

$1 for an item of clothing, like an adorable GAP dress, or Gymboree sweater! Why that is practically like having clothing that is disposable! It's less than a cup of coffee! Look how excited I am! Look at my over use of explanation points!

Soon I'll be one of those women at the grocery store with a little accordion file envelope filled with coupons and calculator. Okay, maybe not.

Quote Of The Day

Said by my 4 year old:

"Mom, you should have had your penis operated on since you are the one who hatches all the babies."

Why yes I do homeschool my children, why do you ask?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Second Verse Same As The First

Just when we thought it was over, we are sucked back in. It's one of those times when I feel like the needle is stuck on the record* of my life.

Today is the first practice for fall baseball. God help me.

*Yes, I am old. It got me thinking though, at what point will this expression be completely archaic and need a footnote to explain it's meaning.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Imagine Me Standing At The Front Door Playing Taps

People ask me all the time why I have so many children. Sometimes it is asked with the undercurrent of "you are crazy", sometimes it is asked wistfully, but mostly it is asked out of genuine curiosity. In a day and age when the average American family has 1.7 children, seven children seems absurdly large.

I also get asked, "How many are you going to have?" And before I had my seventh the honest answer was always, "I don't know." There had been times over the years when I thought I might be done. But yet I mysteriously saved the baby things up in the attic "just in case" and the thought of parting with any of the baby paraphernalia made me well up with tears. I love babies. I love holding them, nursing them, rubbing their round fuzzy heads. Older children, well, I find them to be much more challenging.

This morning I kissed my husband goodbye at the front door, like I do every morning. Only this morning he wasn't heading off to work. He was going to the doctor for the Surgery-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named. He rolled down the window as he drove off and yelled, "You're sure about this, right?" And I yelled back, "Oh yeah! And you're going to have SO.MUCH.SEX from now on you won't know what hit you." I am sure all the neighbors are thrilled with this newly acquired knowledge.

So this is it. The grand finale. The quit while we are ahead. The why tempt fate. The final curtain call. The caboose. The last straw. The End.

The complete family. Perfection.

Originally uploaded by the big yellow house.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thankfully There Is More Than One Way To A Man's Heart

I outdid myself for dinner tonight.

I began by picking blueberries off of the bushes in our backyard. I felt so pioneer-like out there in my yard gathering food with my own hands to eat. My ten year old has been telling everyone that we grow organic blueberries, which makes it sound way WAY more impressive than a few scraggly shrubs really deserve.

I enthusiastically told the children that we were going to have blueberry something or other for dinner tonight! Rob is away, so my meal preparations the past few days have consisted of things like cold cereal, and scrambled eggs. So in keeping with the breakfast theme I decide to make blueberry pancakes.

I got out the big bowl and my measuring cups and spoons, at least the ones I can still find that have not been stolen for digging out in the yard. I got out my recipe book where I have written my ever expanding pancake recipe that I have changed and doubled, and doubled yet again. I scooped eight cups of flour out of the bag and into the bowl.

There is probably a reason that the ingredients are in a certain order in the recipe, but I do it my own way anyway. I don't follow directions well. Most likely I was male in a past life.

I head to the refrigerator. Hmmmm, the only milk I have is vanilla flavored soy. Vanilla is good, I like vanilla flavoring. I pick up the carton and realize there isn't much left. Ah no worries, I can improvise. My 8 cups of milk becomes three cups of milk mixed with 5 cups of water. It's like skim milk, right?

Onto the next ingredient, eggs. Look in the refrigerator. No eggs. I remember that I used them all up two nights ago making scrambled eggs. I am moderately worried, but still confident I can find an adequate substitute. I search through the cabinets. What is egg like? I spy a sad lone jar of applesauce in the back of the cabinet. Perfect.

Things go along swimmingly until I come to the baking powder. I remember that I used up the last of it a week ago. I look through the cabinets, but nothing seems to be an acceptable substitution. Should I just ignore that ingredient? What else can I do? I am at the point of no return. I pull out the box of corn starch and toss some of it in. It's powdery, it's white, and I have no real grasp of it's purpose.

I start pouring the batter into the pans. They are rather dense. I flip them over and they make an audible thud in the pan. My spatula bends from their weight. Hmmmm, they also won't cook in the center. But then I remember there is no eggs in them, so who cares if the center is a little runny.

I decide to rename this food, since it is more like a panpuck than a pancake. I call the children in to the kitchen and introduce the Healthy Pancake Alternative. It's like having a pancake but without all the pesky fat, cholesterol, and taste!

"Mom, they look really weird and I can't cut them with my fork. Can I have a steak knife?"

I learn that my children, who cry at the sight of homemade macaroni and cheese, who painstakingly pick the diced vegetables out of fried rice, and who believe ketchup is a vegetable, these same children will eat something that has the consistency of a super ball if it is swimming in enough syrup.

Looking on the bright side, we can resole our shoes with the leftovers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

And It's Not Even My Birthday

I had a bunch of things running through my brain that I was thinking of writing about.

1) I learned sheetrock is heavy. I was almost crushed to death by sheetrock this afternoon and how I felt like the old lady in that infamous television commercial, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" I had no idea that 5 pieces of sheetrock could totally knock me to the ground and trap my foot underneath. Makes me wonder if the one legged man lost his leg in a sheetrock accident.

2) I picked out a paint color, an actual color not in the white family, for the kids' powder room and it turned nicely out despite my hyperventilating panic attack when I first put the paint on the walls, because ohmygod it's so dark and so brown and I feel like I am trapped in a turd. But, hey what better place to feel like you are trapped in a turd than a bathroom.

3) When I go to the library it is as though all knowledge is sucked out of my brain and I cannot remember a single author I like or books I want to read. I wander through the library looking over all the shelves and can't find a damn thing. Interestingly enough the opposite seems to happen at the bookstore, where I find way more interesting books than I can afford to buy on a single trip.

So those things were going through my mind as I walked through town today, trying to keep up with my running children, while trying very hard not to run myself.

Then something else happened that made be cry. And I am not really the crying type of person. I knew this is what I'd have to go home and write about.

I went to the post office today and there was a package for me. A package from someone I only know through the internet. A really cool someone.

Kathy and her family sold all their stuff, gave up their "normal" life, and took to the road with their four children. They just returned to the states after spending 7 months traveling through Mexico. A part of me, a large part, is jealous of their lifestyle. A dream of mine is to take a year or two and travel around the world with my children.

I'm not sure that I even have the words to express how thankful I am. I never really get presents from anyone. When I was a kid my mother used to give me money to go buy my own Christmas presents and then she would wrap them up and put them under the Christmas tree. Then on Christmas morning I would have to get up and unwrap them all. What sort of messed up craziness is that?!?

And my husband, as much as I love him, is not a great present giver. He is famous for buying me nothing, but telling me what he wanted to get me and then providing excuses for why he wasn't able to get it. There is a reason Father's Day is after Mother's Day, I say. He will never live down the Christmas he gave me a stack of yellow legal pads (don't you need those for law school?) and a box of Junior Mints (I thought you liked those?). I need and like tampons too, but I don't want them wrapped up under the Christmas tree, even if they are the ones with the silky plastic applicator.

Today, I opened up the package and wrapped inside was the most gorgeous piece talavera pottery. I have been walking around the house clutching it to my chest. No where seems special enough, or high enough, to put it down. It has a place on the back of it for hanging it on display on a wall. I may just thread a string through it and wear it around my neck. That way I can show it off to everyone.

Kathy, thank you for your friendship, your kindness, and for a kick ass piece of pottery.

A Rare Photo
Originally uploaded by the big yellow house.

And shortly after the photo was taken I shoved the children off the couch and told them to stay away from my pottery.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Quote Of The Day

"I had to eat all of them. There were only five cookies left and I didn't want one of the kids to feel left out. Honestly, I did it for them. The kids are worth the slightly nauseous feeling I have right now."

Said by me after my husband asked what happened to the five large cookies that he had last seen on the kitchen counter.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Untold Joys Of Having A Two Year Old Sister

Help Me!
Originally uploaded by the big yellow house.
First she colors all over me with magic marker, then she locks me out of the house.

On The Road To Recovery

"Mom, do they make Lyme-strong bracelets?"

And though I snickered at him and his dramatics, thanks to google I have found that they do in fact make a bracelet in support of Lyme Disease awareness. The only problem is that it stands for many other things:

Kidney disease, lymphoma, muscular dystrophy, organ donors, bone marrow donors, ecology, environment, ovarian cancer, missing children,childhood depression, glaucoma, tissue donation, and worker safety.

Putting aside the cynic in me who questions the reasons behind publicly displaying causes you support. How is anyone supposed to recognize what you are supporting? Doesn't it make the bracelets meaningless? Also, isn't the embossed phrase: HOPE, FAITH, LOVE, just a wee bit over dramatic for supporters of work safety?

So I made my own bracelet. Now there will be no doubts.

Image hosted by

Get yours now. All proceeds will go to a worthy charity, my beer fund.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Put Away All Your Breakables

I am clumsy. I forever have bruises from tripping, falling, or walking into things.

I'd like to say that it is a result of having children and being distracted, but that would be a lie. I have always been this way. My husband still laughs about how on our second (third?) date I got out of my car and ran towards his front door and fell down. Not a graceful lady-like trip and fall, instead I completely wiped out and landed sprawled on my stomach. Since I didn't know him all that well yet, I popped up and pretended like it was nothing. I was mortified, of course, but tried to pretend that my ripped up tights and blood streaming down my leg was nothing! No big deal! I'm fine really, don't mind that blood pooling up in my shoe!

As an aside, I wish I still had that kind of energy to run when just walking is completely adequate. Now a days I only run if I am exercising or someone is chasing me with a knife, neither of which happen with much frequency.

So it should be no surprise that yesterday when I was pulling up the wall to wall carpeting from our stairs that I stepped on the nailing strip not once, not twice, but three times. THREE TIMES!

I made little bloody dots all over the stairs and foyer with my heel, which my kids thought were really cool, prompting me to say, "See the lengths to which I am willing to go for your amusement?"

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sick Kids

I hate when my kids are sick. It gives me huge pangs of anxiety. Unfortunately my husband is the same way. So when one of our kids gets sick the two of us snap at each other and alternate saying things like, "How sick do you think he is?" or "Well, really, how sick could he be?" or "It's not like he has some horrible life threatening illness, right?" And then we cross ourselves, knock on wood and throw some salt over our shoulder, just for good measure for even daring to think such a thing.

My 10 yr old has been sick for a week and a half now. His symptoms are odd and varied. It began with pains in his legs and hips. The first few days we chalked it up to pulled muscles. After all, who wouldn't be sore with all that never ending baseball playing.

But it didn't feel better as I would have expected in a few days. If anything, he began to feel worse. I was especially troubled when he began limping. Then he started having headaches. The headaches were bad enough that he was crying and holding his head in his hands. Tylenol and Advil took the edge off of the pain for him, but it was never completely gone.

I brought him to the doctor last week and he had a panel of bloodwork done as well as xrays. The xrays were normal, but we have not yet received all the results of the bloodwork.

I keep looking at the other kids, half hoping- half wishing that they would get sick also because then it would mean it was something that he caught from somewhere and he would probably just get better on his own. I need some reassurance that he doesn't have some sort of degenerative- muscle- eating- brain- and- central- nervous- system- attacking- snotty- attitude- inducing bacteria. Oh wait, the snotty attitude is always there, scratch that symptom.

There have been moments of levity. Like when he was crying and bemoaning his fate and suddenly screamed, pointing to one of his brothers, "Why can't he be sick?!? Why does this always happen to me?!?" Yes, that is the sort empathetic behavior we encourage at our house. When I laughed he became even more irate, because how dare I laugh when he is sick.

Another moment came when he asked me if he was bit by something and is sick because he needs a shot of anti venom. I questioned what it was that could possibly have bitten him. I was met with exasperation and told, "If I knew that, I would know what would make me better." And I discovered that being really sick and having migraine headaches doesn't prevent a person from rolling their eyes.

When my 9 yr old told me Saturday afternoon that he was feeling tired I harassed him endlessly asking him if he felt sick. He finally yelled at me to leave him alone. "It's almost like you want me to be sick," he said accusingly. How do I tell him that yes, in fact I would like that.

I can handle coughs, colds, even vomiting and upset stomachs. Those are "normal" and while I cleaning up vomit makes me dry heave, it doesn't fill me with oppressive chest crushing anxiety.

And so I sit here now, waiting for the rest of test results to come in, peddling Advil and Tylenol like a drug dealer, hoping he suddenly just begins to feel better on his own, and knocking on all the wood I can find.

Including wood laminate, just to be on the safe side.

Updated to add: I just got off the phone with the doctor and his bloodwork came back positive for Lyme Disease. (Insert me using lots of swear words here). It is enough to make me want to pack it all in and move to the city where we would only have to deal with crime, pollution, and crazy street people. I realize in the scheme of things it isn't so awful, but I'd prefer my kids to just stay healthy, thankyouverymuch.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

In Case You Can't Get Enough

Look for my debut post over at dotmoms today, titled "Last, But Not Least" It is a lighthearted take on what it means to be the last born in a large family.

I have to admit that I am a bit nervous that someone is going to tell me that my youngest will be scarred for life, but ah well it wouldn't be anything I haven't already heard.

I am excited and honored to be a part of such a talented bunch of women.

Now go on, get over there and read it.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Just When I Think I Have Nothing To Write About

This morning a big truck backed into our driveway to deliver sheetrock. The beep beep beep sound that the truck made backing up brought the children scurrying from all corners of the house, acting like they are shut ins who have never had contact with the outside world.

As they surrounded the two men I noticed that one of the men was missing his leg. He had a metal leg in it's place. I cringed inside because I knew this would not escape the notice of my children and one of them would say something embarrassing. Though I don't know why it should be embarrassing, he knows he is missing a leg. But I guess it has been so drilled into me as a child that you don't stare and you pretend not to notice anything different about anyone. Wouldn't it be much more refreshing to say something like, "Hey, cool leg!" or "Do you wear a sock on the foot of your metal leg so that it matches your other leg?"

As they were carrying the load of sheetrock into the house, my 4 year old turns to me and says, "Do you think he is a pirate?"

I quickly said, "Shhhhh. He isn't a pirate. Now, shush."

"But, how do you know?"

I said the first thing that came to my mind, and I knew would shut him up, "He isn't wearing an eye patch, that's how." I whispered.

Good Lord, what's wrong with me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Quote Of The Day

"Today was such a great day at work."

said by Rob, not referring to a promotion, or a raise, but rather his tremendous good fortune of standing next to the vending machines when the man came to restock them and Rob was able to get the machines filled with all his favorite snacks. Though somewhere I am willing to bet there is a person complaining that their day sucked because the vending machines are all now inexplicably filled with pop tarts and hostess snack cakes.

Why Are You So Cranky?

Ticks! Ticks on my children make me cranky.

My child who is exhibiting flu like symptoms and joint pain makes me cranky. As does bringing him for x-rays of his hips and legs and for a blood draw to see if he has Lyme disease. Or, as my imagination takes hold of me, something else even more sinister.

People who think that the crosswalk sign that says "yield to pedestrians" means they can step off the curb without looking and step in front of my van that is traveling 40 miles per hour and that I will slam my brakes on for them. I don't want to slam on my brakes. trust me, it is just a reflex reaction. If I could prevent my reflexes I would run you down.
It makes me cranky when my coffee cup flies out of the cup holder and spills everywhere and all my children's water bottles fly off of their seats and roll around on the floor.

Telemarketers who call my house make me cranky. Especially when they call me about giving to some organization that wants to fight sex and violence on television and in movies and then want me to listen to their lengthy spiel and answer questions, while they hit me up for donations. (for what? magic markers and posterboard to make signs and stand outside of studios? I ask) I am cranky enough from the sales pitch that when they ask "Do you think that our children are exposed to too much sex and violence in the media?" I will answer, "No, not at all. I'd like to see more sex and more violence. And both together would be great too! I don't think we can desensitize our children early enough. Thank you and goodbye."

Being lactose intolerant makes me cranky. Nothing would be better on a hot summer day than a big bowl of ice cream, smothered with hot fudge and maybe caramel, with real whipped cream on top. And maybe some sprinkles.

When my husband takes a long hot shower, despite the sweltering heat outside, and the bathroom becomes all hot and steamy and I am forced to sweat while I brush my teeth...yes, cranky!

The water that collects on the top of the upside down bowls and glasses in my the dishwasher, so that when I take them out to put them away water splashes all over the floor. And my kids step in it after they have walked around outside barefoot and make muddy footprints all over the kitchen floor. A WHITE kitchen floor. Yes, that makes me cranky!

Changing my baby's poopy diaper and at the precise moment when I have both his legs lifted up in the air, held by one hand, he flips over and is now being held almost upside down in the "wheelbarrow" position. And then he grabs the poopy diaper that I had set down near him and flings it. The resulting scene looks like something out of the Exorcist, except with poop.

But other than those things, I'm not cranky at all.

So stop asking me, because that makes me cranky.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Quote Of The Day

"Well, I know for a fact that I didn't put slugs in my pockets. So one of you is going to clean those disgusting slimy things out of my washing machine."

Tooth Fairy, Please Bring Small Bills

This morning I walked downstairs to find my 6 year old son already up and laying on the couch. His arms were crossed across his chest and he had had on "his angry face". I found myself getting annoyed at what I could only assume was going to be some sort of pre-coffee argument. As I got closer, though, I noticed his tear stained cheeks.

I glanced around the room. There in the corner was a ripped up envelope. The envelope he had lovingly decorated and put under his pillow last night in anticipation of the tooth fairy. Oh shit. I had completely forgotten... again. If there were some sort of parenting test I would totally fail in the tooth fairy section.

I picked up the envelope.

"The envelope is empty. Where is your tooth?"


"Was it in the envelope this morning when you opened it?" Where else it would be I haven't a clue, but I was playing along with the whole imaginary fairy thing.


"So, you haven't seen your tooth since last night when you placed it in the envelope?"


"Well, let me go upstairs to your room and look around." Yes, a reprieve. I can fix this.

I run upstairs to the bathroom where Rob is in the shower.

"Rob, you forgot the tooth fairy last night!" I hissed through the shower door. I like to spread the mommy guilt around whenever I get the chance. Why should I have to bear the burden alone? "Do you have any money?"

"Oh shit. I can't believe I forgot. Go check my wallet."

I open up his wallet. A $5 bill, a $10 bill, and a $20 bill. Guilt is an expensive thing. I grab the $5 bill and head back downstairs.

"Look what I found under your pillow! You didn't look very hard!" I said as I waved the bill around in the air.

"I didn't even see it! What a silly tooth fairy. She is always playing tricks on me. Wow, a $5 bill. I always wanted one of those!"

Who says money can't buy happiness. If only every problem was so easy to fix.

Now I just hope the tooth doesn't turn up somewhere and blow this entire charade out of the water.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ye Olde Crack House

You know how some people will complain that when they seem themselves in pictures they don't recognize themselves. That they have gotten used to seeing themselves in a certain way that has very little to do with their actual appearance?

Well, I feel that way about my house. I look around and see my house the way I imagine it will look one day. I took some "before"pictures of our dining room this past weekend before I tore off hideous wallpaper and paneling.

Then I took pictures of the "after" of the cracked plaster walls with peeling wallpaper. I am used to living like this.

Dining Room
Originally uploaded by the big yellow house.

Today when I uploaded my photos onto my computer, I was shocked. I turned to my husband and pointed out the photos and said, "I can not believe I live here!"

And Rob responded, "And I can't believe how much we paid to live here."

That made us both laugh. I'm not sure why living in a hovel that you paid alot of money for makes it better than, say, being a squatter in a run down crack house. It's like buying that expensive furniture that comes already distressed or $200 jeans that have rips.

Right now I am sitting out on our screened in sunporch and our handyman is tearing down the old plaster walls. Dust is flying everywhere throughout the house despite the fact that we have lined all the doorways with heavy plastic sheeting and duct tape. The house will be great when it is all done and we can finally enjoy it.

At least that is what we keep telling ourselves.

Quote Of The Day

"Look at the bright side, it should make for some interesting gossip around the water cooler at work tomorrow."

Said to my husband after he locked himself up with my 9 year old son's handcuffs. And I informed him that the keys to the handcuffs were missing.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Growing Up

I always knew that there would come a time when my children would be hurt, or disappointed and I would not be able to kiss the boo-boo away. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was how hurt and disappointed I would be on their behalf. How seeing one of them in pain would hurt me more than any I could feel on my own.

Saturday we got the phone call that my 10 year old son would be one of the players to sit out the championship baseball game. There are 14 kids on the team and at any one game three need to sit out. Usually due to illness or prior commitments it hasn't been too much of an issue. However, everyone wants to play in the final championship game. The coach of the All Star team was faced with the unenviable task of calling up three kids and letting them know that they would sit out.

When our phone rang at 4:00pm that night, Rob and I looked at each other and we knew. We had prepared our son for the possibility, because objectively speaking, he isn't one of the best on the All Star team.

When we gave the news to him he sobbed. He was crushed. As adults we have become desensitized to disappointments, we expect them many times and we have grown used to hiding our disappointments. We tell ourselves things like, "it's for the best", or "something better will come along". But at 10 years old, you don't have those defenses yet. His cries were so painful to hear that I felt like crying for the disappointed 10 year old that is still inside of me. My heart broke to see him cry and know that there was nothing I could do to make it better.

After I sympathized with him, I explained to him that how he chose to act now, in the face of his disappointment, was the true test of his character. He had the choice to go to the game and sulk around being angry. Or he could go to the game and support the team, of which he was an important part, and cheer for his fellow teammates.

"Having character sucks," he said.

"No, it's the building of character that sucks." I corrected.

He went to the game and behaved in a way that made us proud. I couldn't help but feel that he left a little bit of his boyhood behind and took a step closer to becoming a man.

I knew that one day it would happen. I just wish it didn't have to happen so damn soon.