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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Grinchmas? Happy Humbug? What am I missing here?

Sometimes, the holiday season really depresses me.  There's just so much focus on consumerism and the me-ish-ness of it all, that I can't fathom what or why we are celebrating in the first place.  I really try to teach my kids that the holidays, Christmas in particular (because that's what we celebrate around here, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ), are not about them, but about what they can do for others.  Which is really a pain in the butt-shelf to accomplish, what with the daily toy catalogs from big-box stores, extra 3 minutes of commercials with outlandish toys meant for adults yet targeted during the 3-7 age group cartoon marathons, and constant questions of what they want for Christmas.  I mean, come on people, since when did we decide to shamelessly promote selfishness during the season of GIVING?

It's been my recent experience that many people become rude, antagonistic, self-centered shrews who would just as soon mow you down with their shopping cart or back their car into your in a vain attempt to snag a parking spot 35 milimeters closer to the front door as they would smile at you, or wish you a Happy/Merry something.  It's sad, disgusting, and generally infuriating, although it's tough to remain infuriated long when surrounded by 3 kids who gasp in awe at depictions of the Nativity, or a house draped in millions of tiny energy-sucking lights.

Nevertheless, I decided to brave the madness of Target a few days ago, to spend the gift card my cousin had blessed us with for the holidays, along with the random one that came addressed to me in the mail from an anonymous friend.  I went in, fully prepared to abandon cart and make like a snake & slither through the jam-packed toy aisles, muttering excuses and begging pardons to reach the second-to-last of whatever, hoping that my cart would be where I'd left it 17 seconds earlier.  Also to ignore the plaintive whines and moans of the shoppers and tag-alongs.

I began my adventure in the parking lot, were I was almost rear-ended twice, and some wild man in a Prius almost took me out as I crossed an empty parking spot near the door.  The guy on cart-duty outside tried really helpfully to take my cart, and seemed genuinely confused when I thanked him but refused to give up my surprisingly steady and non-squeaky cart.

I gained access to the toy area after bypassing the chaos of the dollar-bins and the shoe department, which are usually my own personal kryptonite.  I witnessed nearly miraculous things. 

I saw older couples dividing and conquering in an attempt to satisfy the grands' wishes without breaking the bank or a hip in the process.  It was kinda cute to see grandpa staring helplessly at the huge bank of Barbie dolls and accessories as grandma walked away telling him to pick one and an outfit to go with it.  I took pity, asked a few leading questions, and sent him on his way with a cute brunette and fashionable party dress.  I think I ran into grandma in the RC vehicles area too.  Helped her find the last one of a sale item, that had been magically shoved two shelves up and behind some play-doh.  I hope her grand kids have fun with it - TT2 was hoping for one of those.

I also saw (gasp!) HELPFUL EMPLOYEES!  One woman was fortunate enough to come across a young guy (wow, I feel old writing that!) who was willing to help her find each and every item on her list, despite the fact that he did not work in the toy department, and had to search for everything.  He kept apologizing for walking her back and forth along with department, but she was just so grateful for the assistance, that it was becoming comical to listen to the apologies and effusive thanks being exchanged.  The same woman, following her helper with laden cart, begged pardon to pass, and actually THANKED me for my attitude when I obligingly backed up a bit, smiled and gave her a 'Sure thing, no problem'.  We exchanged heartfelt Merry Christmases, and went on our way.

I saw a guy, likely an uncle judging from the blank stare he was aiming at the learning toys, standing in the same spot for at least 10 minutes while shoppers rushed around him, shoved past him, and just generally ignored him.  I finally decided I had to get into that area for the last 2 things on that days' list, and gently asked if he wanted any help.  He started, looked at me like I had a third eye (or perhaps a monster zit), then proceeded to flip out about why there are 3 different leapsters and how in the whuck he is supposed to know what the kid has and so on.  I asked if he'd seen the device in question - he had.  I asked what color it was - pink.  We determined that the Leapster2 came in pink with purple buttons, and found a game appropriate for his niece.  Thankfully, there was more than 1 game, since I had come for the same one!  The man walked dazedly out of the fourth level of hell toy department, muttering about how to wrap the thing.  I just 'happened' to walk by mumbling audibly about gift bags being easy and near the registers, and tissue was a dollar.  I thought I was rather clever, don't you?

Anyway.  Those positive interactions served to lead me back to my Christmas spirit.  I think I spent more time grabbing things off of high shelves and helping with the price scanner than I did actually flinging items into my own cart.  The smile on my face seemed to part the seas of disgruntled shoppers and hangers-on, not that I'm likening myself to Moses or anything!  I did not have to wrestle for a single item, and actually ended up with something I think TT2 will enjoy more than the helicopter, and get more use out of (because we all know how long toys last around boys under 8).

I feel so blessed to have been able to, through the generosity of others, obtain some of the items most wished for on my kids' lists, and I'll be sure that they know those things are from the people who made them possible.  I hope that, in some small way, I've been able to spread that blessing and a little Christmas cheer by resisting the holiday funk, and doing my best to practice what I preach: Do Unto Others. 

How is the holiday season treating you?  Have you found your Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanzaa spirit?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rollie Eyes and other Mother-Magic

Apparently, I have super-powers.  I know!  How awesome is that?!  I did not even know half of this stuff, but then again, I am also sorely lacking in the knowledge of super-heros area.  Just ask my boys.

Here are my powers, in no particular order:

  1. Rollie Eyes - eyes that turn around and see stuff out my ears and hair.  Generally used to catch small boys committing acts otherwise forbidden in my house/car/breathing space. 
  2. Sneaky Feet - Honestly, I thought he said 'stinky' feet at first, and I was ready to act all hurt and abused, but, he enunciated again, and now I get it.  Used in conjunction with Rollie Eyes, Sneaky Feet enable the user to stealthily approach small children and pets, usually for the purpose of scaring the crap out of them and/or catching them committing acts otherwise forbidden...yadda yadda yadda.
  3. Thinking - I know what you're thinking.  I have 3 boys, when do I have time to think?  I was informed that Thinking becomes a super power when I use it to devise ever more horrifying punishments, including extra mommy-made homework, scrubbing the dogs' water dish and finding the source of the pee-smell in the playroom by sniffing the carpet.  What?  Was that gross?
  4. Quietness - which apparently works by instilling fear.  The quieter I am, the more nervous they get, although, I wish they would just get quieter too.
  5. Stickyness - ok, so I probably brought this on myself.  Boys love to try and wipe off mommy-kisses.  I've always told my boys that my kisses can't wipe or wash off, because they are full of love-glue, which is stronger than gorilla glue or teal duct tape.  I was recently reduced to incoherent snuffling by TT2, who told me that he was very upset after getting an owie at daycare, and all he wanted was a kiss and hug from mommy.  Then he remembered that he's covered in them, because they don't come off, and he felt better.  True story (sniff).
  6. Sniffy-ness - also known as the shite-sniffer.  I can smell a poopy butt at 40 paces, and pinpoint the cheese-cutter in a room full of people.  I can also tell you exactly what in the trash is stinking, and remind you I told you not to put it in there in the first place.
Now, I never really would have attributed any of the above to myself.  Well, maybe #6.  I would have thought having the gag-reflex of a sword-swallower would be more of a super-power, since I am accosted by a kid with poop-covered hands at least twice a week.  I get that he wants to wipe, but dude, for the love of Maude grab the tp first! 

It's heartening to know that the very things that annoy my kids the most also seem to make me a super hero.  At least to one of them, and well, I'll take that any day.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Holiday Kick-off

So, I’ve been MIA. Again. You know how it is. Life happens, and happens often.
We made it through Thanksgiving without incident. Nothing really noteworthy happened, so I’ll spare you all the details.
D went out on Black Friday, for the first (and last!) time ever. He brought home a new artificial tree and apparently searched 3 Target stores to bring me a pair of K-Uggs (knockoff Ugg boots), even though I did not ask. How sweet was that? Add in the fact that he almost brawled with an 80 year-old woman in Home Depot and it equals a good story for the next few Thanksgivings. He’s not all that happy with the tree we got, but it works, it’s cute, and none of us are allergic to it. And you just can’t get a nice holiday family photo when the family is full of snotty, red-eyed, rashy people.
We started our Christmasn decorating the weekend after turkey day. TT1 and TT3 had a ball helping me decorate the new tree, and tormenting Daddy, who was berating the tangled house lights in the garage. They both had very definite opinions on the placement of each and every item on the tree, so I had to do some strategic re-placements over nap time. TT2 spent most of the day lounging on the couch nursing a nasty head cold, but did manage to rouse himself to decorate the “kid” tree upstairs. Gavin sneaks out of bed every night, turns on all the Christmas lights and just sits next to the “big” tree, fondling the ornaments. He just loves the ‘pretties’ and can’t figure out why he could touch them to hang them, but is not allowed to now. I can always tell when he’s been at the tree, because the ornaments get a little bottom-heavy again.
Of course, no holiday is complete without bloodshed in our family, and so it was that TT# was our first Christmas Calamity. No sooner had we gotten home from church on Sunday, than he decided it was a good idea to pull on one of the stockings hanging from the stairs. Of course, the weighted chrome stocking holder came crashing down and thwacked him right in the corner of his eye. An ice pack and lovies later, he’s chasing his brothers around the house acting like a snake, so no lasting harm done. Now every time he walks by the stockings, he tells us that thing is ouchie.
So, since last we spoke, my house is decorated, although the boxes are still stacked in the corner, and I didn’t really ‘clean’ before putting up the decorations, my husband has strung a few lights outside, and the kids are all fired up about having their own mini-tree upstairs, full of the stuff they have made over the years.
You’ve heard of the Elf on the Shelf right? Well, those things creep me out, so I mixed it up a bit. Every night of the Advent season, Santa’s elves come into the house to leave a treat in the Advent house. Sometimes it’s candy, sometimes not, but they only come when behavior merits, since we all know bratty kids scare away elves and fairies.
Well, the elves came the other night, depositing their ‘Elf Gold’ in the first box of the advent house. Unfortunately, yesterday’s behavior scared them away last night, so nothing today, resulting in some morning hysterics. Hopefully the kids will figure it out (again) that crap gets nada, or worse, more crap! This elf has candy, footballs, board books, stickers, matchbox cars and other fun stuff to cram in that house over the next 23 days, so they’d better shape up fast! Of course, they’d never know if I just stuffed it all in their stockings…
Until next time, may your days be Merry and Bright!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And so it begins...

Now that the madness of Halloween is past, it’s time for what my peeps at Rants From Mommyland like to call The Halloween to Holidays Death Spiral.

When I first read that particular post last year, I found myself nodding my head and making affirmative noises that annoyed and perplexed my office mate to no end. Then I realized that I don’t really have it so bad. Here’s why:

1. My kids are YOUNG. Which means:
     a. No sports parties, coach’s gifts, or schedule-shuffling for end-of-season games.
     b. Only one kid is in “big school” and the extent of my obligation to the class party is supplying some sort of food item the room-mother-in-charge (call her RIC) has deemed I can be trusted to provide without much effort or thought.
     c. Daycare is at work, so those parties can be attended on breaks! No time off needed.

2. My family decided a year ago to buy only for the kids. Which means more $$ in my pocket to squander on useless crap for said kids, that will probably be broken before New Year’s. Mixed Blessing.

3. It’s horrible, but I really don’t have to deal with the IL’s much over the holidays. They don’t really DO Christmas, and we do. And, the last eleventy-bajillion times we’ve invited them over for BBQ’s, birthdays and whatevers, they don’t show up. So the Big D sort of gave up on making any firm plans with them. It’s sad because we love his family, but it’s another mixed blessing in that we have a slightly more flexible holiday schedule because of it.

4. My mom still does Thanksgiving at her house. I have not yet been granted the right privilege of working my fingers to the bone for a week providing a hearty holiday meal for the entire family. Don’t get me wrong, I totally help out, making stuffing, making my famous gravy, helping the kids set the table…you know, helpful stuff.

5. I don’t do Black Friday. I did once, and that was enough for me. Never. Again.

6. I live in California. It gets foggy, and it rains (sometimes) but we don't get snowed on where I live.  We VISIT the snow.  For Fun.  Yeah, I know. Oh, and our landlord pays for a gardener to rake the leaves that deign to fall.

7.  I don't do Christmas Cards.  It's just too much work to find a decent card, compile the addresses, sign every single one, address every single one, stamp every single one, and take them to the post office.  Nevermind wondering who is going to pitch a fit because they did not get one, or why there were no pics of the boys in them, or or or or or.  A people-pleaser I am not.

On the other hand…

A) I don’t do Black Friday. That means I have to deal with the hordes of people flocking to every retail space in North America in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

B) My kids are YOUNG. With on-site daycare. Which means I have no excuse for dragging out pick-up when I get The Call to pick up my snotty/pukey/poopy kid before they start leaving an impenetrable wall of germy goodness on every available surface.

C) Family only buys for kids. Which means an excessive haul of stuff times 3 kids.

D) Family only buys for kids, but we also have 3 or more White Elephant gift parties to attend. And for some reason, I always end up choosing the wine…

E) My mom still does Thanksgiving at her house. Which means something is going to get broken or stained or worse. Funny those things don’t happen when she watches the things every week. Just at family functions.

F) I live in California. Only 29% of California residents know how to drive well in the rain. Of that 29%, only 2% will be driving in the rain when I am on the road. Leaving me with the other 69% of crappy drivers.

G) The Fog. It’s Tule Fog, which means it’s basically soup. You can’t see more than a car length in front of you, and high-beams make it worse, which is why fog-lamps were invented. Yet the vast majority of drivers here insist on driving the regular speed limit, with their high-beams on. I am surrounded by idiots.

H) I don’t have to play with my IL’s. Which means oh-so-much family togetherness with my family. Which makes my right eye twitch. And my B to hover just below the surface, ready to burst forth in all her snarkety glory with little to no provocation from my mom family. Which makes Big D ask dumb questions about my regular consumption of mood-altering prescription medications.

What fun times do you have planned this holiday season? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last week was our Parent-Teacher Conference. I know. Fun day, right? Oh so wrong!

At home TT1 does pretty well. He knows his sight words, spells decently and “gets” his math. Apparently, school is a whole other kettle for the poor kid.

To our utter astonishment and horror, we were told that, although #1 had begun the year reading over grade level, he is now not even reading at the level he started at. He is on sight words list #3, while 98% of the class is at list #13 or above. One over-achiever is on list 25 of 32! And as for math? Well, he has yet to finish a math facts addition sheet, nevermind moving up to subtraction.

His grammar skills are atrocious. At least according to his teacher and the class work we were presented with. I am appalled. I am embarrassed. I am sad.

Let me be clear. I. Do. Not. Compare. Children. I just don’t. Kids are each their own, unique animal, and it’s unfair to lump them all together. That said, I found it extremely difficult to believe that #1 could be quite so far below grade-level at the end of the first quarter of 1st grade.

So, we signed the nasty paper that says we understand that his work is not good enough for promotion at this time, but that he is not yet being held back. We had to sign in blood our promise to work with #1 every day (as if we weren’t already doing so)  on every thing the teacher had pointed out to us during our 15 minutes of hell.

In BLOOD I say.

We did not just sit back and idly absorb this information. Oh no. We made sure that this teacher was aware that #1 is a lefty and has had difficulties with writing from day 1, that learning disabilities run in the family and we had been made aware of the possibility of such during kindergarten, and that he really does need to sit front and center in order to keep him focused and engaged.

Of course, teacher is doing everything right. And she already knows everything we’ve told her. Of course. And she is going to be enrolling him in a reading intervention program due to his lack of progress.

So, we, being "good" parents, went home to the kids and laid down the law. No TV during the week, period. We would be morphing into “those” parents every night, and would drill the children in their studies (or make them color until their crayons were nubbins) every night until dinner, then quiz them on the drills during dessert. Hello Captain Von Trapp!

No seriously. That’s what we he decided on.

Then I had a weekend day with my child. Of course, we stayed home from church to drill him in the proper procedure for bedroom cleaning, as well as to continue getting him well, but we also talked. A lot. And we did a ton of school work. Really. And you know what? I was absolutely shocked when he was able to correctly identify 72 sight words, without apparent effort, when I tested him with flashcards. I was even more impressed when he seemed to recall fairly easily many simple addition facts when asked off-handedly. And when he was able to correctly spell (out loud) the spelling words from last week’s list.

But as soon as I formalized the process (i.e. asked him to sit down and finish some math facts, or sit down and write the spelling words), he became anxious, upset after just a few questions, and then he shut down and was unable to complete the task. HMMMM. Methinks a light bulb is flashing.

Today #1 is with Nana, because he still has ich. He mentioned to her that he was unable to see words and numbers on her computer screen unless he got very close to the screen. He also told her that sometimes he can see big things far away just fine, then he feels like he ‘goes blind’ and can just see a big blur. She let him put on her drugstore reading glasses, and (angels sing, God-light streams from behind his head) he could see the words/shapes/cartoons/etc perfectly.  Hmmmm. Another light bulb is flashing in my head.

So, being the proactive, involved parent that I am, I sent an e-mail to the teacher today, letting her know what happened over the weekend, and that after talking, we decided that we’d like to have #1 tested ASAP, as learning disabilities run in both our families, and we don’t feel that the wait-and-see approach will do him any favors in the long run. I also made him an appointment to get his eyes checked tomorrow.

The response from the teacher was not what I expected. Teacher emphasized that she feels her reading enrichment thingy will be best, and to wait and see in January how he is doing. She again pointed out that he is struggling to write, that he does not recognize simple sight words when working in small groups, that she always gives him extra time on his tests and yadda yadda. She still wants to wait. I also clued her in that several kids in the class have been making fun of him and calling him a dummy, which ain’t ok. I know how vile and vicious kids can be, me being a victim of emotional bullying my entire elementary and junior high school years. I don’t want that for him, and I’m going to do what I can to get the person in charge to nip that shite in the bud.

I’m conflicted now. My gut says to push for testing. I’ve already gotten him an appointment for an eye exam tomorrow, and that might give us one answer. But it’s not going to fix the underlying difficulties. I am beginning to get an inkling of what some of my SNC mom-friends have said for years: you have to push, become THAT parent, and keep on bucking the system until you get what you KNOW your kid needs, because to the school, it’s just another chore, another person to pay, another pain in the butt. Which is sad.

At this point, I guess I’ll talk to the other half of this parenting duo and get his take. But I still don’t want to wait for January.
I’m not sure about you, but having the ability to suck on one’s own toes kinda grosses me out. And TT1 has the ability. Not so Funny thing though – about 2 days after this:

(Yes, that is his foot.  In his mouth.  So not gonna kiss that!  Anyway.)

He started complaining about a sore throat. I blew him off for a day, then checked his throat. It looked like someone had burned the back of his throat with a miniature car cigarette-lighter, and apparently was just as painful. Now, for those of you with small children, you’ve likely endured a bout or two of hand, foot & mouth virus. Also known as coxsackievirus A-16.
Of course, he had been complaining of canker sores for a few days before he stuck his foot in his mouth, and canker sores are hard to differentiate from HFM lesions. So he probably had it before. It’s just so much more humorous to think otherwise. Not that I’d intentionally…well, maybe I would. It’s just such a PITA thing to have, that I’ve got to do something to make it easier to bear. Other than poking fun at the name coxsackie.
So, we’ve now missed 3 days of school that he really can’t afford to miss (more on that later), endured a weekend of dramatic flailing and wailing about not being able to eat anything in this stupid house, and played kiss/spit referee so often I think I now have arthritis in all my joints.
TT1 and I stayed home from church yesterday, mostly to avoid accidentally infecting other kids (even though we sent the other two off with Daddy, and they are likely carrier-monkeys), but partly so I could instruct the child on the ‘proper’ way to clean his pig sty bedroom. So I got to be mean-mommy-sick-nurse all weekend. Which all means that, this post is all about me whining. So suck it, nobody asked you to read the whole thing. On a positive note, Kate & Lydia (aka the geniuses at rantsfrommommyland) totally posted my Whuck?! I’m so stoked!

RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND: Whuck of the Day: Now I'm Not *That* Hungry

RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND: Whuck of the Day: Now I'm Not *That* Hungry: Maybe let's just have vanilla, OK? We got this the other day, and -- as expected -- we died. We also realized that Julie is a much, much ...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ok, so like I mentioned yesterday, I’m flying solo this week. D is across the country, learning about things that make him even more freaked out about his new job. Which I think is a little silly, because he is freaking AWESOME and will totally rock this job, because that’s how he rolls.

But I digress. Again. It’s an ongoing problem I have, and you already know that. I’m doing it again aren’t I?

Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes…

The Threat Level has been pretty high in our house lately, what with the schedule upheaval and resulting loss of any semblance of a routine. Homework meltdowns, drop-off detonations, weekend whining. We’ve got it all, and a family-sized bag of crazy chips.

I started thinking back to when D was on an engine, and gone 3 or 4 days at a stretch every week. I had a routine, and a plan. It worked well, for all of us. Why did we ever stop?

So I laid down the law. Mommy ain’t takin’ no mo shite. Just because daddy is gone does not give you a free pass for mayhem. Family dinner will continue, with a few adjustments to the preceding routine, and the post-dinner wrap-up.
  1. The TV stays OFF until homework is done. I don’t care if some of you are too little for homework, the idiot-box is off. O-F-F.
  2. Dinner is non-negotiable. Eat from what is on your plate, or go to bed. Same rules as when dad is here.
  3. Mealtime prayer is not time to initiate a fart-contest, a finger-war, or to get up from the table for any reason. Sit down, shut up, and show some respect.
  4. It’s called a chore chart. No, you don’t get anything but my thanks for doing your chores. Yes, you have to do all of these things; 4 in the morning, and 4 at night, plus 4 more over the weekend. It’s not too much to ask.
  5. Feeding the dog is your job, and feeding the cat is Your job. We don't have a third pet, so #3 does not have a feeding job.  No, it’s not on the chore chart because I SAID SO.
  6. ALL of you will take a bath at 7 pm. I don’t care if you do want to take a shower, get your skinny tukkus in the tub and scrub.
  7. No, you may NOT sleep in your dirty school clothes. Did you not just clean yourself?
  8. Family story time comes right after bath & jammy time. ONE book. I’m not a freakin’ bard.
  9. #2 & #3 in bed by 7:40, no exceptions, passes or deviations. Pee BEFORE you lay down in bed, cause I know darn well you felt the urge when you were getting dressed, you just held it until now to have an excuse to make me want to pull my hair out.
  10. #1, if you want to continue to enjoy the privilege of staying up later, then keep your dang mouth shut about it, because if I hear you teasing your brothers onemoretime about them being babies, or you getting to stay up because you are bigger/special/the man of the house/etc, your butt will be going to bed BEFORE them.
Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? But it’s not unreasonable. And after yesterdays’ drop-off from hell, anything is worth a shot in the dark. Can’t blame a girl for trying, right? Right? Anyone?
So far, so good. It’s only day 2, but compared to yesterday? It’s heaven!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ugh, Mondays suck.

Yeah, they usually do.  Nevermind that I have not recovered from the weekend yet, it’s the first day back at school, daycare and work, which is never easy to get into.

Take this Monday, for example. Now, #3 has been having a hard time with daycare drop-offs since he started back 2 weeks ago. Clingy, snotty, bawling, screaming, hot mess of kid. Every. Single. Day. #2 on the other hand, has loved being back at “school”, and really hasn’t given me a single problem. Until last Monday.
Talk about a switcheroo! It was Columbus Day, which also happened to be a school furlough day, so #1 was on schedule with Nana. Of course, this did not sit well with #2, who started in pretty much as soon as the car doors shut at Nana’s house.
The car stinks. I don’t want to wear these shorts. You’d better turn this car around RIGHT NOW cause I’m not going to school and you can’t make me and I hate these shorts and you SUCK! These shoes suck! I hate these stupid socks! You are the meaniest mom ever and I HATE YOU! Turn this car around RIGHT NOW!!!!!! I’m not going to SCHOOL!!!!
Add in kicking, flailing arms, screeching voice, and you’ve got him. For the entire 15 minute commute to daycare/work. All while #3 sits owl-eyed in the seat behind him.
You may ask yourself how I kept it together. How I talked him down and got on with the day.
HA! I say! I told him like it was. Sorry you’re sad kid, it’s a raw deal I know. If your shorts/shoes/socks were bothering you, you probably should have said something before we left the house, because no, I am no turning the car around at this point. I know I am mean, it’s my job. I love you, and yes, you are going to school. I am done talking, please stop kicking my car before the airbag blows up in your face and I have to sit with you in the ER instead of going up to my office.
I had to physically remove him from the car. Seriously. It was not pretty. And #3 standing there calling his big brother a crybaby did not help.
I had to bodily drag him into the classroom after warning his teacher about his mood, and mandating a nap. The cracked-out honey badger appeared as I attempted to herd #3, who was helpfully chanting “cwy-bee-bee Wogan!” out the door. Thankfully, we have incredibly awesome daycare staff where I work, and they handled him.
#3, you ask? Well, #3 magically morphed. He ran to his classroom, hung up his backpack and took a seat at the breakfast table, patiently waiting for me to open up his peaches and yogurt. A quick kiss and bye mama! It was wonderful. My baby has grown up :(
The only thing that could make my day better is finding out my boss is not leaving for vacation after all……

Nope! Good fortune is mine, and the boss is gone for 10 days, the baby is a drop-off champ, and I got a free lunch.

And #2 was back to his normal sunny self by 4:30. It was a good day.

Late last night and the night before, evil mommy, evil mommy, rocking on the floor

So, I’m flying solo this week. It’s not a bad thing! Of course, after I completely lost my schmidt a couple of weeks ago while home alone with the cracked-out honey badgers boys, I can understand why D was a little bit apprehensive about leaving for a week.

You see, it was a dark and stormy night…no, really, it was! Well, it was overcast and threatening rain anyway. So, D had left to alleviate some stress of a brand new job, and I was home alone with the 3 things at bedtime. For reasons that are good, but not really good enough, I had been spacing out my happy pills, and apparently had spaced them a bit too much, resulting in me being a sloppy emotional mess with a hair-trigger snitch factor.

After TT1 had to be held onto the pot to poop after holding it for 5 days (that we know of),

After TT2 melted down because I refused to let him have another freakin’ drink before bed in the hopes that he would not hose it down and climb in with me at some point,

After TT1 decided he could eat his dinner since the huge, toilet-clogging crap left him room in his stomach for food at 8 pm,

After TT3 stripped down and peed on TT1’s bed,

After TT3 stripped again and attempted to pee on the dog,

After TT2 got up eleventy thousand times to pee/poop/check out the toilet-ring on his butt,

After TT3 climbed out of his bed every 0.00000009 seconds,

After TT3 screamed bloody murder every 0.0000010 seconds when put back into his bed,

After being told innumerable times by all 3 wretched, ungrateful, mouthy, cranky, stinky children how much I suck, how much they hate me, and how horrible a mother I am,
I totally lost it. My schmidt fled the house in fear for it’s life. I ranted. I raved. I slammed doors of all sizes. I may have thrown something. I threatened bodily harm. I cried. I scared the living crap out of myself.

It was not pretty. And after all of that, I sat in the recliner with a glass of wine and my book, rocking, rocking, rocking and smiling evilly at the ceiling, through which desperate cries and pleas for daddy continued to filter. I may have had a twitch.

I texted D. I demanded immediate return and the location of his belt. I demanded to know why his children were so horrible to their mother. I cried. I laughed a bit crazily. I rocked some more. I was assured of swift return.

Over an hour later, I continued to rock and sip my wine. The crying and shouted invectives had ceased. I wondered where in the name of Maude D was. I rocked. I called; no answer.

After almost 2 hours, my partner, my support, my occasionally calming influence, finally returned. The house was quiet. The wine was gone. The meds were re-ordered for refill as soon as possible. The only sound was the rock, rock rocking of the recliner.

No children were harmed or permanently emotionally scarred in the making of this blog post, but apparently the truck had to die to make it possible.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Daddy days are over

Last Friday, D got a job!  Yahoo and woo-hoo and hoo-dowgie and all that jazz. No seriously. I'm more than excited and exuberant and exultant and all those other 'ants.  It's just that, well, I'm being selfish and whiney thinking about how that's going to affect me, myself and I.

I haven't missed the daily crunch of readying 3 things for school/pre-school/daycare.  I haven't missed the yelling, the frantic search for shoes (where to they go overnight?) or the complete lack of nutritious breakfasts eaten at an actual table.  Instant oatmeal and drinkable yogurt in the car are easy, but not, well, car-friendly.

I haven't missed the clingy drop-off.  I haven't missed the tears or the pleading eyes or the whines to go with me. 

I REALLY haven't missed the daycare bills!

I've actually been loving the hugs and kisses goodbye, #3 always standing at the door to wave me off, and the ecstatic greeting from my guys when I get home.  I've been loving having more help with everything, even if it does come with some snark and fussiness.

Alas, my honeymoon is over.  D starts "shadowing" which to my thinking is a nice way of saying he's working for FREE, next week, though his start date is the third. 

Which means I'm back to all of the above, on Monday.  #1 is not thrilled about going back to school-site daycare, but hopefully I can get D to run that drop-off.  #3 will just be happy to GO! with mama and Wogi (#2). 

I'll be shelling out again, and running a little crazier again.  But, I'll have a happy D again too.  It's not easy for such a mans man to sit back and let the wifey bring home the bacon, even if it's not his fault that he's out of a job.  Now he'll be doing something he enjoys, and getting the support and training he has always longed for.  And I really couldn't be happier, or prouder.

I just hope I'll still have all of my hair and my sanity by Christmas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


So, I think that, overall, the boys look like D.  Sure, TT2 & 3 have my coloring, but their mannerisms and affectations are all D.  TT1 is mini-D.  I have this photo of them when #1 was about 1, and their expressions are EXACTLY the same.  Too funny.  Can't find it, or I'd post it, not like you care, but still. 

On to my point. 

I've got mini-D's running around.  Now, when #2 was almost 2, he had a literal run-in with a bookcase at daycare.  He ended up with the imprint of a hex-screw on his left forehead.  There is still a dent there to this day.

As you may remember, #3 took a header off the upstairs railing a few weeks ago, and he has a lovely rug-burn scar on his left forehead. 

D has some sort of rash/burn/psoriasis/eczema/?? on HIS left forehead.

And now, #1 has been assaulted by #3 with a Crayola radio, and is currently sporting a lovely 1-inch gash across his, you guessed it! left forehead. 

I'm all for family resemblance, but this is getting re.donk.ewe.lus.  And I'm just waiting for CPS to show up.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Next Great Use For The Camera Phone

During a recent jaunt to our favorite warehouse store, for nothing more than Transformers wallies, we discovered the madness of the SUMMER CHRISTMAS PUSH.  They have Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes and an excess of toys sure to give any red-blooded American child conniptions, all piled next to each other right by the freaking door.

I was immediately beseeched for paper and writing implement, which I was unable to provide.  I was promised that we would never remember EVERYTHING they wanted to ask Santa, The Easter Bunny, leprauchans and every person they are remotely familiar with, for for their next eleventy holidays and birthdays.

Then, TT2 slanted me that sidelong, devious little smirk of his and stated, "You've got your phone, right?  You can just take pichurs of it all and e-mail 'em to evybuddy on da cump-ooter.'

Maude save me from techhie children!  This is what happens when kids meander Costco with a camera phone and a mission:

Anyone else notice how the photos get progressively blurrier?  It's the kid crack.  The plethora of merchandising madness, TV commercials, tiny parts and memories like elephants for everything parents wish they would forget, that turns kids into blithering idiots who can only repeat 'I wan dat, and dat, and dat, oh and dat, and dis, and dat...."

Although, I have to admit the light-up light sabers are pretty awesome.  If it wasn't for TT3 attempting to escape the cart every 2 seconds I totally would have challenged TT1 to a duel.  Who's your mommy?!  No.  I am your mommy!  Join me, and we will complete your training.  With our combined strength! we will defeat the Emperor, and rule the Galaxy together as Mother and SON!  Wait?  What?  I blacked out for a second.

Ahem, as I was saying...

Oh, and this is not the complete album of wonderfully composed photographs cluttering up my phone.  I may need to add another data plan if they ever figure out how to message these things to everyone in my contacts.  I guess I'd better start making that Christmas list and saving my pennies now huh?  Thank goodness they already know they don't get everything they ask for!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ingenuity, Imagination, and other Enemies of the Toddler's Mom

So.  As most moms of pre-schoolers know, the imagniation is a VERY powerful tool.  It turns bedsheet tents into castles, stuffed lambs into dragons, and the favorite blankie into a flying carpet.  Imagination is good.

Until it meets INGENUITY. 

Ingenuity is the bane of my existence.  TT3 is going to be renamed soon.  His new name shall be MacGyver.  How many kids can climb the face of a stainless steel fridge using their feet?  The child stacks random toys, furniture and laundry baskets until he achieves the most stable ladder/staircase possible, then proceeds to mount the 8-foot bookcase, or deposit a binkie in the dining room chandelier for safekeeping.  He knows how to use a screwdriver, hammer, drill and any spray bottle he comes across.  He is obsessed with taking about my vacuum and using the parts for crazy experiments.  He is not yet 2.

The child convinced his big brothers to daisy-chain bungee cords together, and string them from the upstairs railing down to the bottom handrail, then proceeded to show them how it might be possible to shimmy up the contraption to the top.  Thankfully, he did not make it halfway before his weight sagged the cords.

No crayons, pens, pencils, paint or paper?  Use your own poop and the wall!  Or the crib currently penning you in your big-boy bed!  Or the bed!  Or the back of the dresser!  Or the stair rail!  It makes an excellent hair-styling medium.  He told me he was making a 'moh-awk.  Nike Ayedah.'  (a mohawk, like Aidan).  Now, I'm told imitation is the best sort of compliment, but I don't think that imitating a hairstyle using poop is a compliment at all.  Call me crazy.

Then there are the cases of using shampoo to make the "slide" in the tub faster.  The slide is just the angled part of the back of the tub.  The kids' tub just happens to have less of an angle, making them actually slide once they get the teeny tushie backed up to the top.  It's actually pretty hilarious.  Until the tsunami of dirty bubble-water hits the floor.

And the using of daddys belt to make it easier to ride the dog.  Because it's just like the cowboys on TV use to 'wie da boos.  Noo-noo da boos.'  Poor Lucy, she puts up with such humiliation. Do dogs feel humiliation?  Probably.

Did you know that you can stand at the bathroom door and...well, lets just say it involves the vacuum cleaner hose attachment and "junk".  I'll leave you to your fertile imaginations.

I could go on.  And on.  And on.  But I won't.  I feel I've left you with enough disturbing imagery for one day.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Good Moms vs. Not So Good Moms

How can you tell the difference you ask?  Here is my list of how to tell the good from the posers (and you can make a good guess as to which I am!):

  1. Parent Teacher Club: Good moms go to meetings, volunteer, donate dinero and sew/bake/craft things for fundraisers.  Not so good moms go to meetings, volunteer ideas they have no intention of seeing to completion, might buy something from a fundraiser, but wouldn't be caught dead running a carnival booth catering to rabid honey-badgers on crack sugar.
  2. Room Mothers Parents: Good moms volunteer in the class weekly if not more.  They closely resemble helicopter parents disguised as helpful classroom assistants.  They organize class parties and solicit donations from all the other parents for said parties.  Not so good moms wish they could volunteer, but are more afraid of their boss than they are of damaging the rep of their 1st grader because mommy never comes to school.  They will send party donations to school with the kid, but are unwilling unable to bring said donations in person for the same reasons they don't volunteer.
  3. Kiss n' Ride: Good moms avoid this line, and actually park the car, remove all children and walk them to their individual classrooms despite the loud protests of those too 'cool' for such treatment.  Not so good moms rock the California Stop, flinging open the door while simultaneously shoving the kids out of the car, blowing kisses, sipping a caffeinated beverage, shouting reminders and tossing out the miscellaneous crap the kids forgot.
  4. Good moms chaperone every field trip, regardless of the snore factor.  Not so good moms chaperone field trips they might find interesting, which, coincidentally, are the very same trips the kids do NOT want mom at.  Go figure.
  5. Good moms pack a healthy, appetizing, nutritious and visually appealing lunch every. single. day.  Not so good moms throw a lunchable, some packaged drink and sugar-laden snack in the bottom of the backpack and call it good.  On really bad days, we THEY throw money and hope the kid remembers to give it to the lunch lady.
So, those are my top 5 differences.  What have I missed?  Send me a comment to expand on this list!  (Oh maude I'm rhyming - make it stop!)

***Just so we are all clear here - this is me making fun of the stereotypes I find in the school my kids attend.  I am not pointing fingers or labeling anyone, nor am I passing judgements.  Besides, I'd be the pot, since I totally fall into the "bad" mom group here.  So sue me for attempting to instill a little self reliance, integrity and work ethic into my kids.  I don't find it necessary or healthy to fight battles for my kids at this point in their lives - failure shapes the lessons we learn about life, teaches us coping skills, and helps develop a sense of self-worth and pride, once the tears and heartache subside.  Sorry dudes, I am PARENTING, not befriending.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Travails of Training

Have you ever had a kid who just INSISTED they were ready to potty-train, only to refuse to follow the "Rules" of the potty?  You know, those silly little rules like,

'Don't poop in your hand, poop goes IN the toilet.'

or how about 'Why are you naked AGAIN? We don't get naked to go pee!'

and my personal favorite 'Poop is NOT an art medium.'

God knew what he was doing when he made sure that poop washes out.  Now some might think me blasphemous to say that, but you know what?  If it didn't wash out, we'd all be walking around alot dirtier and smellier.  Think about it.

Aaand we're BACK.  Hope you had fun contemplating a world where poo doesn't wash out. 

So, as moms (I trust the vast majority of people reading my inane babblings are women and/or mothers), we KNOW that to potty train, one must basically give up life as they know it for however long it takes to train said child.  This is in order to drop everything every 15 minutes to plop that cute little tushie on the pot and PRAISE THE HECK out of simply remaining semi-stationary on the pot for longer than 2.02 seconds.  Bribery of the first degree (in our house, 1 M&M) for staying on it until mommy says.  Bribery second degree (2 M&Ms) if pee makes it into the bowl in any way.  Third degree bribery for poop. 

I have to tell you, this kid is stubborn!  He announces he has to pee, but has never, not one single solitary time, peed on the toilet.  He can sit there till the cows come home and hold it.  But as soon as the air outside the bathroom hits his little butt-cheeks, it's like, well, Niagara Falls or something.  I don't get it.

I also don't get how I can manage to get him to poop on the pot, thereby earning his 3 M&Ms, but he still wants to fish?!  EW!  The other 2 never did this crap! They never finger-painted with excrement either, so it's all new.  Of course, they did not train until later either.  TT1 was 2.5 and TT2 was pushing 3 before he decided to get on board with the potty thing.  This whole insistence on big-boy stuff by the not-2-year-old is crazy, and more than a little sad.

My baby doesn't want to be a baby anymore, and is bent on leaving babydom as soon as possible, aided by the (questionable) experience of his older brothers.

Wow.  For a split second there, I actually thought about another baby, wistfully.  Then somebody screamed, somebody else wailed and everybody started tattling, so there goes that nightmare daydream.

Dang it, now I'm rambling again.  Bottom line is, potty training sucks.  I can no longer laugh at my poor cousin, who has 2 poo-painters.  I find myself considering roasting in the yard all day simply to enable the kid to run naked and water the plants and save myself some carpet cleaning.  I remember fondly the days I could change a wiggly infant on my lap, and the thought of stripping naked never crossed his little mind. 

I...oops.  It's time to pee.  Or maybe poop.  Or not. One just never knows.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The First Week of School

All I have to say is, Thank GOD that's over!

By day 3, there was tears and drama worthy of an Oscar.  And not just a nomination.  Who was it that told me girls are more dramatic than boys?  They apparently haven't met my boys.  If it wasn't TT1 flinging himself into histrionics at the classroom door, it was TT3 screaming for TT1 as we drove out of the parking lot.

And just WHERE was TT2 when all of this drama was unfolding?  Calmly working out his thumbs on the iTouch, slaying dinosaurs or crashing heilos.  Until the end of the day, when he continuously, monotonously, and irritatingly asked, 'When'm I goin' back ta my scool?'

Funny how big a difference almost 2 years makes.

Friday, August 26, 2011


How do you like my new hawtness?  I decided I was tired of the same old blogger backgrounds and such, so I went on a search for free (yes, I can be cheap when I wanna) blog backgrounds and templates. 

Sheesh!  I never knew how many site there were for free blog stuff!  It was starting to get overwhelming, especially because I just wasn't finding quite the right mix of whimsical and elegant that I was looking for.  BUT (dun duh Dah DAH!) I found it! 

If you've perused my blog before (I know there are 3 of you out there!), you know the only horn I toot is my own, so it's kind of a big deal for me to tell you I totally adore Hot Bliggity Blog.  Freaking awesome designs to be had there, free for the taking.

So, I tried on a few (it's like shopping, only without mirrors and my unseemly reflection), and decided on this one.  What do you think?  Is it me?  Or am I just being pretentious?  Go ahead, I'm wearing my big girl panties today so I can take it.

So I put their button over yonder <-----.  Check them out, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Coming soon!
The first week of school, why I suck at being a mommy-mom, The Travails of (potty) Training, and other fun times.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Major, Epic, Parenting FAIL

Ok, it's been 10 days, the shock and jitters have worn off, and the scabs are (almost) gone.  What's the fail? you ask?  Oh, only taking 0.0000000001 seconds alone, resulting in a 17-foot, head-first free-fall to the floor below.  Said free-fall taken by TT3, who had been (and still is being) constantly reprimanded for climbing the stair railing and banisters.  Yes, he has a binkie, no he's not even 2 yet, yes, we know how big he is.  Thanks. 

This is what it looks like to fall 17 feet when you're almost 2:

His head and face turned a lovely shade of green the next day, almost enabling him to fade into the shrubbery in the backyard and at the park.  If it was me taking that plunge?  I'd be in a full body cast wondering who everyone is and why I'm in a full body cast.  God made 'em bendy and wiggly for a reason - bendy bounces, while stiff shatters. 

It's that time again...

Back to School night.  It was last night, it was pretty uninformative, other than letting us know where and to whom we should send TT1 on Monday.

But it WAS evident that his Kindy teacher had taken time to place him thoughtfully, and to ensure that his needs were going to be met by Mrs. X over the next year.  For example:
  1. He is sitting rightnextto the teacher, up front
  2. He has his own desk, while the majority of the other children have those little 2-seater tables with the bins for storage, which addresses his fastidious (at least at school) nature.
  3. His partner in crime is in the same room, but not close enough to get in any trouble with.
  4. The teacher uses a "money" system for discipline, and is very math-oriented - TT1 loves him some math (strange, must not be my child).
  5. The teacher seems to be pretty calm and soft-spoken, but gives off that "I don't take any crap" aura, which is a definite must with TT1.
I'm looking forward to seeing him progress through 1st grade - I think he will do very well, it's just a bit overwhelming to find out everything the kids are expected to accomplish in this first "full" year of school.  D kept commenting on how he never took a test in 1st grade, never had to do homework, etc.  Well babe, times have changed! 

Hopefully, D and TT1 will both abide by the homework rules we discussed last week: He gets to unwind after school until 4 on regular days, then it's homework until mommy gets home, and finishing up after dinner if an hour didn't do it. 

I know, I'm living in a dream world where everyone follows my edicts without complaint or deviation, but we've got to start somewhere right???

#2, Crap, Poo and other names for, well, you know.

I used to snicker behind my hand at my cousin, who told horror stories about his adorable son's habit of finger painting with his own poop.  I say USED TO because, well, TT3 has graciously inducted us into the AA of poo-painters.  Oh JOY.

It's not enough for him to just dip a finger in and smear, oh no.  He basically shoves his entire hand down the back of the dang diaper to catch the poop as it exits, then proudly displays his crap-glove before smooshing it on all vertical and horizontal surfaces within reach, including his entire body. 

But, as D pointed out, it could be worse - he could be eating it (I just puked in my mouth a little).

All I really have to say on the subject is, thank God poop washes out! of pretty much everything.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vacation? What vacation?

Seriously, I need to open a resort JUST for moms looking for a real, honest-to-maude vacation. 

A vacation where where nobody needs wiping down, hosing off or force-feeding. 

A vacation where nobody climbs into anyone elses' bed at 2 am looking for something. 

A vacation where nobody gives mommy stink-eye because the kids are screaming like banshees because there are no chicken nuggets on the menu.

A vacation where there are no bumps, bruises, fights, bites or other stupidity-induced.

A vacation where mom can SLEEP IN without someone (ahem babe) walking into the room every 5 minutes demanding to know if you intend to sleep all day.

A vacation where mom can eat her meal without paying any kid tax.  Likewise, her meal can be eaten while at it's intended temperature.

A vacation where mom can nap in the middle of the afternoon without waking suddenly to find a crayola-fied coffee table, a carpet full of the chips that were forbidden until after dinner, or anything flooded or otherwise wet.

Yes ladies, I am talking about a vacation ABSOLUTELY ALONE.  No men.  No kids.  No phones. No e-mail.  No fax.  In short, not one single distraction or reason to think about the little tyrants for as long as you wish.

I'll provide free activities, free alcohol and dinner you didn't have to shop for or cook. 

Of course, you will supply the tanning oil, smutty romance novels and The Guilt.  The Guilt, unfortunately, comes standard with every kid-free outing known to mom-kind.

It was nice dream while it lasted though, right?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Adventures in Vacationing

Vacation is very short this year.  Not so much sweet, but definitely short.  As in overnight to the beach kind of short.  But hey, we got out of town, right?

So, everyone was SUPEREXCITED...

I should have added air horn to the list of vacation supplies.  TT1 actually asked to sleep in longer.  So freakin much for the early departure time dearest husband who decided to leave at 6:30 and did not even get up until then.  But I digress.

I felt that, given the short time away, I would refrain from over scheduling every ever-loving minute and just go with the flow.  WRONG.  Oh, so WRONG!  Mommy had no plan, so the constant refrain was, 'What are we gonna do now/later/tonight/tomorrow', which is the same dang thing I hear every day at home!

Aaaaand I won the prize for calling all the stops.  I called Madera, Los Banos, Casa De Frutta, Random Gas Station, Random Gas Station, Parking Lot Potty.  I know my peanut bladders boys. 

Casa De Frutta was a hit.  I decided to let the guys ride the train, and they thought I was a hero.  Of course, when I refused to buy any of the delectable delights in the sweet shop, I became the meanest mommy again.

Santa Cruz was In.Sane.  I hadn't been since 6th grade.  I still remembered the old bandstand that required a special hook-on ladder to get up on.  I remembered like, the wooden roller coaster, the swings and a couple of other rides, not the stationary fair midway that greeted us after our hour-long journey to a parking place that cost as much as a tank of freaking gas (not really, but it sounded good right?). 

TT3 refused to ride anything but the carousel, and that was touchey, since the operator girl tried to touch his seatbelt and he flipped the flip out while TT1 and TT2 were trying to figure out how to UN buckle to get the cute blonde girl to come help them.  Ack.

Oh, and while we are on the subject of cute girls, um, cuties?  We all KNOW you are cute and firm and young - please stop flaunting all of your assets in less fabric than you are required to wear under your regular clothing.  You are 12 and you are proud of your new girls - I get it.  But when I have a 4-year-old already obsessed with boobs and cute girls, and you prance by combining his two loves, well, I have a problem.  Go jiggle your junk around in a dressing room while you try on some dang clothes!

I love the beach, really, I do.  I just do not love being the parent stuck lugging the overpacked stroller 80 miles from the boardwalk to the waters' edge all alone while everyone else is galivanting along and frolicking in the waves, leaving me to sweat like a swedish sauna junkie.  Cause that was fun. 

And there are two new Olympic competitions for the under 3 crowd:  Sand-put and shadow-stomping.  Because we all love being splattered with wet sand and water.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  After the sand, the sun, the shopping and the teensy-tinsy hotel beds shared with adorable little feet and hands that are magnetically attracted to my kidneys and crotch, reality sets in and we return home.  Rejuvenated.  Refreshed.  And Relaxed.  Or not.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's. That. SMELL!!!

Door #1 - Sunday AM
Me: 'Hmmm.  Is J burning the fire pit this morning?  Where's TT3?'
D: 'Ug.' Focuses more intently on gun show.

Me: 'No really, What's That Smell?'

D: comes off couch like rocket in butt.
TT1: waves charring red towel around 'I found it, it's this thing!'
Me: from the couch, 'TT1 don't wave the towel around you'll make it flame up!'

D: 'Geez babe, don't get up or anything.'
Me: 'You've got this Mr. Fireman.'

As we ponder how in the heck TT3 was able to set a towel on fire when not even in the room, our heighted and honed powers of investigation revealed that:
   a) TT3 hates towels hanging on the oven handle
   b) He yanks them down and tosses them high
   c) It is entirely possible that TT3 threw the towel onto the stove
   d) TT3 was observed climbing the stove to play with the knobs, so yes, TT3 did, in fact, set fire to the kitchen.

And 3 hours later, I attack the pile of dishes in my sink, and find, buried in the middle, the scorched towel and a pot holder.  No wonder it still smelled like fire in the kitchen.

Door #2 - Sunday PM
Me: 'Ugh, why does it smell like a$$ in here?  TT2 did you fart?'
TT2: 'Nope, not yet.'

Me: 'Boys, upstairs, PJ's and bed.  And throw down all the dirty clothes.'
Boys gleefully pitch every article of clothing they can reach over the railing.  Extra points if you get chonies stuck in a decorative wall hanging.

Now the smell is downstairs.  And it's fermenting.  ICK.

Me: 'Boys!!!  WHAT IS THAT DISGUSTING SMELL??  I thought I told you to bring anything peed-on down immediately!'

Boys, in chorus: 'Idunno. ME!  Maybe pee? The cat peed on it. Not me.  ME!'

Boys in bed, I attack pile of laundry.  Of course, I neglect to turn on extra light, because TT3 will just start howling.  Then, IT HAPPENED.  I grabbed something squishy, clammy and smelly. 
D: sigh 'What now?'
Me: 'Squishy laundry!  What's that smell! NASTY!'
D: 'Snuck one by ya again huh?'

Thanks babe, for that insight.  Oh, and you can clean that corner of carpet where the nasty squishy smelly pee chonies, shorts and shirt were fermenting under the wet bath towel and piles of dry yet boy-sweaty clothing for Maude knows how long.  This is what Maude thinks of fermented pee-smell:

The Project

So, TT1 and I have a project.  It was "supposed" to be a daddy & son type project, but suffice to say, it's turned into mommy-son bonding project.

We bought TT1 an old desk off craigslist.  Really, for 10 bucks, you can't go wrong.  Did it look like crap?  Yes.  Was D astounded that I'd even consider paying $10 for such a hideous pile of kindling?  Oh even yesser!

But, it's living in our garage, patiently waiting a few weeks for someone to give it some love and attention.  Here is a "before" photo:

Doesn't look too bad here, but those chunks in the veneer were my nemesis.  And the rope detail around the desktop - nasty to sand!  And the triple-flute between all of the drawers - oh MAUDE I hate that molding no matter how pretty it is!

Here are the post 3 hours of putty-ing, rough sanding and sweat photos:

8 drawers later...

Aidan actually did some work - I'm so proud :)

The back didn't look bad at all, too bad the rest was crap.

It actually cleaned up pretty nicely.  The top is crap, but that's what glass is for right?

Amazing, but TT1 actually sanded 3 drawer fronts.  He also took off all of the hardware himself.  Of course, after 3 drawer fronts, he was done and "swedding like a little piggy", so he abandoned me for the pool.  And his bike.  And some crazy game filled with ropes and towels with TT2.  Pretty much anything but the actual work that needed to be done.

But, the rough sanding is done, and it just needs a hit with some fine-grit and tack cloth before I turn it into a satiny black treasure.  And, when it's all said and done, you can't buy a desk like this for $50, so the sweat equity is TOTALLY worth it.

I must say though, I am feeling all of those crazy positions I contorted into to sand the dang thing...I am SO not 23 anymore!  I think more wine is in order tonight.  Maybe by Saturday I'll be ready to tackle this thing again.

Then again, maybe not.

UPDATE: The desk from hell is DONE!  TT1 chose the colors: satin black and fire engine red for the trim.  Of course, Grumpasaur decided to paint the trim.  I swear that man is the only person on earth who can turn satin paint glossy!  The point is, TT1 loves his new desk, and that's good enough for me. Here are some more progress shots, and a finished product. Just ignore the kid crap...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ahhh, summer.

What is it about summer that turns kids into shrieking, button-pushing tyrants?  Is it the constant togetherness with siblings, or the constant bid for parental attention that does it?  A combination of the two?  Or some nebulous "other" factor that I have yet to discover?

Case in point - naps are intended to recharge the batteries, and smooth the mood.  Apparently for everyone but TT1 & TT2.  Both woke up (or got up, depending on who slept) yesterday, still a bit whiney and sleepy.  TT2 proceeded to antagonize, bother and generally tick off TT1.  TT1 admirably employed the lessons painfully learned so far this summer, and asked nicely to be left alone, then attempted to leave the scene, asked again not to be bothered, and so it went on for about 10 minutes.  TT2 never gave up. 

It's not enough that there are 3 couches in the house.  TT2 insists on using the one TT1 is using.  TT1 has to pee?  TT2 is following a mach-3, insisting that his need is greater and slams the door in TT1's face, cackling like a deranged chicken on, well, whatever deranged chickens eat.

And so it went for about 25 minutes.  Until TT1 had had enough, got his B on, hauled off and smacked the crap outta TT2.  Of course, TT2 attempted to seek consolation and immediate justice; however D was hip to the situation (oh maude did I just say hip?) and simply laughed his arse off, as any good dad would do, right?

Anymore, it's not, TT2, why are you upset?  It's more like, 'TT2, what did you do to your brother to make him make you cry?'  Which is sad, but again, part of that constant bid for parental attention due to the grating of the constant togetherness of summer. 

That, and the fact that D is not really down with the sand-park.  Maybe a dose of away-from-home time would temporarily cure the cabin fever???

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Deviousness, and other symptoms of boredom

Yeah, I changed the blog name AGAIN.  I know!  But TT just seemed so much more appropriate now, given the triple-team efforts of the boys, their obsession with boobs and the fact that TT could also stand for 'The Thing' also known as Gavin.  Anyway, moving on.

D is gone.  Until the wee hours of tonight.  He's been gone since Tuesday.  It's been, well, an exercise in patience and sleep-deprivation.  I cannot express to my faithful few how happy I am that he's coming home.  Not just for the nookie, although that is nice.  No, I need back-up!  Actually, I need to take the back-up position for a while and let someone else take the shot first.

Our friend M, who for some reason we have not really seen in over a year (don't know why that is), graciously agreed to ride herd on the TT babysit for us while D is out of town. 

Now, 5 weeks into summer vaycay, boredom and exasperation with the constant company of the same 3 people all day seems to have set in with a vengance.  Thankfully, the TT usually get along pretty well, and apparently were on exemplary behavior on Tuesday.  Ahhh the devious minds of children.

Thing 'helpfully' brought me my phone before I left the house.  Riiiiight.  I so totally forgot my phone!  So, no way for M to get hold of me quickly to verify the outlandish tales of the TT.

To hear them tell it, they are allowed to eat McDonald's and popsicles all day, everyday, with little variation except for the addition of various types of fruit and cookies.  They are also apparently allowed to ride bikes alone and swim all day with capri-sun drinks in hand.

Thankfully, M is smarter than the TT and supervised/took part in all activities.  So of course, they ran her ragged.  But they were good while doing it.  They earned a McD's trip.  They got their cookies, and their popsicles.  They got to swim and ride and shoot baskets.  They refrained from beating on or otherwise antagonizing one another, with the exception of Thing, who was a bit surly and clingy (understandable, since he was all of 3 months when we last saw M).  M agreed to come back the next day.  Mommy is happy. 
The End, until it all fell apart.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What to say?

Well, I could talk about suddenly becoming a single-income household.  But that's no fun.

I could talk about the dog, and her incessant swimming at all hours of the day and night, despite our best efforts to keep her out of the pool.

I could even talk about certain of my children and their propensity for bodily emissions.

But no.  I'm going to explain, yet again, how I, yet again, failed to obtain more than 3 hours of continuous sleep.

Offender #1: The Toddler Bed (dun dun duhhhhhnnnnn!)
   Seriously, Thing is so whacked-out excited to have a bid bed that he cannot be placed in it while awake if you want to have the slightest hope of him remaining where you put him.  Unless, of course, you are ME, in which case you thank your lucky stars you were too lazy to disassemble the crib, and just pull the thing over in front of said toddler bed to block the Things' escape.  AND. IT. WORKS.

Offender #2: Peanut-sized bladders
   Ok, Whiney & Divo have been "trained" for quite a while now.  But all of a sudden, they can't seem to get through a night without one (usually both, ick) of them hosing down the bed in the middle of the night.  Even better?  Several times it's been MY bed, because Whiney keeps sneaking into my room after I put him down at night!  The only thing I hate more than pee-sheets is pee-sheets that have "mysteriously" disappeared until I have to play WHUCK IS THAT SMELL?!

Offender #3: The Man
   I love him, really, I do.  But he's got some sort of heat rash, and apparently the itching drives him to flop about all night like a landed trout, shaking the entire room like a 6.5 quake.  Not exactly conducive to my sleep.

Offender #4: The neighbors' yappy annoying dog
   I love dogs.  I have a dog.  But she rarely barks at night.  This dog?  Whiney farts in his sleep and this dog starts yapping at the noise.  I swear the dog sees ghosts or something.  I wish they would take the darn thing inside, but then they'd have to deal with the noise all alone.  Misery loves company.  Or something.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things that make me feel old

I'm not that old, right?  I mean, I'm not 1/2 way to 40 yet, although I'm closer to that than I am to my 20's.  I have young kids, and kids keep you young right?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

So, here is a list, in no particular order, of things that are currently making me feel old:

  • HEAT.  I can't breathe.  I can't move without sweating.  I'd rather scare the neighbors and small children by walking around in chonies and a sports bra than get dressed.
    • Just to clarify, my children are not scared by this - they enjoy making comments about my squishy pillow-tummy, and trying to blow raspberries on me.  Fun times.
  • My friends' daughter.  Seriously?  My friend is NOT old enough to have a high-school grad.  Which means I am not old enough to remember her as a 1-year old, which means we are not old, right? Riiiiight.
    • Plus side?  She loves babysitting, so now I have an awesome sitter that the boys actually behave for.  Thank God she's staying in town for college!
  • My not-hot bod.  Having kids means you basically turn your body inside out, use a myriad of torture devices on it that would have made the Spanish Inquisitors cringe, and then try to pull off wearning your pre-pregnancy clothes.  As a fellow blogger would say, you can't hide back-fat.  Or spider veins, or cellulite.
    • I can't wait for the day they invent a machine that sucks fat out of where your DON'T want it, and puts it back where you do.  Say, transfer of fat from my ass, thighs and belly, back up to my boobs where it was in the first place.  That oughtta perk those babies up!
  • My hair.  The hair on my head is currently refusing to grow, which is odd, because, the hair everywhere else on my body is on sasquatch-mode.  And turning gray in odd little patches.  The hair on my head is - sheesh you all are dirty!  Gonna look like Stacey London soon (in my dreams!), And, my head-hair has also decided to become horse-hair coarse, rather than the silky loveliness I took for granted the last mumble-hmpf years.
    Not "THE" shoes, but I love these!
  • Shoes.  Why oh WHY can't I wear the adorable shoes I used to live in?  I used to totally rock a pair of 4-inch, turquoise snake-skin sandals, oh, and my knee-high, 4-inch stiletto boots.  I cringe at anything over 2 inches now.  Wait, what?  That sounded porny.

  • Ke$sha, Lady Gaga & all those other crazy chicks.  Um, maybe it's just me getting old, but how come it's cool and awesome to look and act like a total whack-job?  Had I known this was coming, I'd have kept my awesome 80's sparkle glasses, ill-fitting clothes and bedazzler.

  •  My kids.  Specifically, Divo.  I mean really, when a 6-year old has to explain something to you, all the while shaking his head in disbelief, you are out of your age-depth.  I totally remember doing this to my mom, adding that super-annoying whiney "Moooommmuh!  Can't you just (insert ridiculous pre-teen demand here)!?
But, despite all of these lovely things, I can always wrap myself in the Snuggie of knowledge that my dear husband will ALWAYS be older and grayer than me.  Happy Birthday a little early baby!