Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Mommy, why was that mouse eating his brother?"

So wasn't it just the other day when I posted about one of the kids hiding Tim's computer mouse and I was saying Thank God it wasn't a real mouse we were talking about? Funny how things come back to bite you in the ass.

Over the weekend, I felt motivated to do some organizing, especially after looking at our family room the day after Christmas. It looked like Toys R Us had exploded right here in our house. And isn't it funny how when we start to organize, it seems that you can't finish one job until you finish another job and that job can't get finished until you finish yet another job? That's how it was. I started to go through all the toy bins we have and clear them out. But where was I to put all the extra toys? I wasn't quite ready to get rid of the toys...just figured I'd save them for a rainy day and pull them out of thin air and exclaim, "Wow, look what I found...." and the kids would think it was new stuff.

So then I had to clear out a bunch of cabinets in the laundry room so I could store the toys in there in an organized manner. But then where was I to put the crap from the laundry room? You see where this is going when I said one job hinges on another job which hinges on another job and so on and so forth?

After clearing out the laundry room cabinets where I now wanted to store the unused toys, I went out to the garage to make room for that crap. While in the garage, I couldn't get to the shelves because all the plastic bottles and soda cans were in my way. So yet another job hinges on another job....I started sorting through all of it to put them into the appropriate recycle containers. I didn't have the garage door up so I only had the light of the garage door opener, which wasn't really much. As I reached in back of one of the shelves to grab a coke can, I heard a "squeak, squeak, squeak". I knew it had to be a field mouse because the squeak sounded so tiny but it still creeped me out. Why do we even have a cat if she can't catch mice for us? Useless cat just sleeps and eats....some life, huh?

I ran into the house and grabbed a flashlight so I could get a better look at our new houseguest. I shined the light on him and there he was, bulging scared eyes and all, stuck to a piece of sticky paper that Tim had put down months ago when we suspected mice were roaming around our garage. But, alas, he wasn't alone. No, there were a couple other mice stuck to the paper as well but they had already succumbed to a lonely death, probably from starvation or just being scared shitless. That's when I ran into the house, waking Tim up from a nap on the sofa, saying "you gotta come out to the garage...there's a mouse in there stuck to the paper you put down". He just laid there. "Come on, I said, there's a mouse in the garage....hurry up". Cole and Bella sprung to life...."did you say there's a mouse in the garage? Where? We wanna see it....".

Tim got up and came out to the garage with us and I opened the garage door so we could get the light of day in there to help us see better. Immediately upon seeing the mouse, Cole and Bella said, "awwww, look at him....he's so cute". Yeah, he's real cute but he probably has rabies or whatever diseases field mice carry...I said "don't touch him, don't go near him" but they continued to move closer to get a better look. I figured I had to scare them to get them to listen..."guys, don't get any closer to him....he may jump on you and then he could bite you and you'll start foaming from the mouth and you'll need a bunch of shots in your butt". So then they were happy to watch from a distance....

Tim got the sticky paper with the mice attached to it and then we could see that the mouse had started to eat one of the other mice. I didn't even think the kids noticed it. Tim took the paper out to the garbage, with me following him, saying "you're not really gonna throw him in the garbage, are you?" and he's yelling at the kids to not follow him, saying "you don't wanna see this, stay away" but of course this only intrigued them more. Tim tossed the paper into the garbage upside down and walked away. I pleaded with him, "please don't do that....let's try to free him from the paper and let him go. He'll die if we don't" and Tim said, "um, yeah, that's kind of the point. If we let him go, he'll just come right back into the garage again". And the kids were pleading along with me, "yeah, Daddy, you can't let him die...you can't just leave him in the trash".

Tim just stood there, looking at me as if I had just grown a 3rd arm. I was very serious....but hell, I wasn't gonna free the mouse from the paper but I sure did expect him to do it. He's the man of the house, after all. Then I busted out the story that he had heard a million times...."don't you remember when I was around 8 years old and my hamster died and my dad said he'd take care of it and I thought he was gonna bury it and, instead he threw it in the trash. When I went out into the garage after dinner to throw the trash away, I opened the lid and saw my poor beloved dead hamster just thrown on top of the trash as if he had never been loved or cared for....I was traumatized over that....do you want your kids to be traumatized like that???". He knew he didn't stand a chance at that point.

He told the kids and I to go into the garage while he freed the mouse. Then he came into the garage carrying a box and said the mouse was in there. I didn't believe him so he showed it to me. I didn't really see the mouse but I did hear some scurrying around in the box. He wouldn't show it to the kids though. And then he walked off and said he was gonna go let the mouse go down the street by the lake. Bella freaked out and started crying..."I wanna see the mouse...I wanna make sure he's alive". So I ran after Tim and he rolled his eyes. I said, "come on now, she just wants to make sure it's alive" and he came back and showed the kids the mouse. When they were satisfied that the mouse was indeed alive, he left to free the mouse down the street.

I walked back into the house with Cole and Bella. I needed to rest after that kind of excitement. Oh, but Cole and Bella were just getting started with all their curiosity ...."Mommy, where did the mouse come from?", "Will he be able to find his family again?", "Do you think he knows Ratatouille?" and of course, "Mommy, why was that mouse eating his brother?". Darn it, they HAD noticed. I was too tired to get into the nitty-gritty details of death and survival instincts, even though we had covered the subject of death awhile back when our pet rabbit died suddenly. And of course I can never come up with anything smart or witty right when the moment calls for it. Instead I said, "because he wouldn't share his legos". Cole said, "oh....his mom should've just put him on a time-out then instead of letting his brother eat him". And off they both ran to play....

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wierd things I never knew...

Tonight, as I was chopping onions for dinner, my eyes began to sting and before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheek. UGH! And for some reason, the stinging sensation stays with me for hours afterwards. So I set out on a google search to find ways to stop the tears from flowing everytime I cut onions. I found some interesting tips:

chew gum while cutting the onion
wear swim goggles
chop the onion under cold water
hold a piece of bread in your mouth (huh?)

It made me wonder what other random facts were out there that I wasn't aware of.

When snakes are born with two heads, they fight each other for food (now aren't you glad you know this? The wierd thing about this random fact is that it says "when" and not "if", as if 2-headed snakes are a natural, everyday occurrence. The positive side of this is that if you ever encounter a 2-headed snake, it'll be too busy fighting with each other over who gets the first bite, that you'll have time to run off.)

The first known contraceptive was crocodile dung, used by Egyptians in 2000 B.C. (eeeewwww, eeeeeewwww and just plain eeeewwww)

When you die your hair still grows for a couple of months (now that's just downright creepy)

The word "lethologica" describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want (so then how are you expected to remember the word that describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want?)

Women are 37% more likely to go to a psychiatrist than men are (yeah, as if that's a surprising fact? This is because men ARE the reason women have to see a psychiatrist)

The largest number of children born to one woman is recorded at 69. From 1725-1765, a Russian peasant woman gave birth to 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets of quadruplets (I'm seriously still stunned after reading this fact. I could not even begin to imagine....the poor lady spent most of her life knocked up! And I thought Michelle Duggar was crazy with her 18 children?)

The average human eats 8 spiders in their lifetime at night (this fact actually made the hair on my neck stand up....this fact is even freakier than the fact about hair still growing after you die. Note to self: call the exterminator first thing in the morning)

Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it will digest itself (the sick thing is that I think that would actually be pretty interesting to see....but who's gonna be the person to volunteer for that study?)

On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily (this is extremely disturbing)

If one places a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion, it will instantly go mad and sting itself to death. (you just know there was some sadist out there who actually tried this and that's how this random fact came to be)

And last but not least....

In an average day, a four year old child will ask 437 questions (so for me, that's 874 questions a day....that makes my brain hurt)

Banging your head off a wall uses 150 calories an hour (very good to know because after being asked 874 questions each day, I WILL be banging my head off a wall but at least my butt will get smaller at the same time)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Christmas recap....

I really wanted to post yesterday about our fun Christmas but as I sat down to write my post, Bella asked what I was doing. I told her "I'm about to write a blog post about our Christmas". She said, "How about if I tell you a story and you write that instead?". Okay, sounds fair. Plus, I think she'll get a kick out of it when she reads it 20 years from now!

We started our Christmas celebration by baking and decorating sugar cookies.





Yes, it was as messy as it looks! Yes, some would say I had to be flying higher than a kite to let two 21-month toddlers and two 4-yr olds have free reign with the icing tubes and colored sprinkles! But I made myself promise ahead of time that I would not focus on the mess or the chaos but that I would enjoy every minute of this experience with them and that's exactly what happened. We had so much fun and the kids were so proud of their sugar cookie creations!

The next day, I took Bella to see The Nutcracker ballet for the first time!!! My sister had given her the "Barbie in the Nutcracker" DVD last year at Christmas and Bella instantly fell in love with the story and the music. So this year we decided to accompany my sister and her daughter on their annual viewing of the Nutcracker ballet. Bella loved it...and she got especially excited every time she recognized a song that she had seen on the Barbie DVD.
Initially, she wanted to dress herself and I was fine with that until I saw what she chose....an old tank top with a faded butterfly on it, blue jeans, shin guards and water shoes. The water shoes actually replaced the Hello Kitty flip-flops she originally wanted to wear. Oh and she insisted that her hair looked fine the way it was. The snarled-up rat's nest on the side of her head wasn't a problem for her I suppose.
I managed to convince her that the ballet was a special occasion and she should dress up a little bit. She ultimately decided she wanted to wear what I was wearing, which was a black sweater, blue jeans and black shoes. So we looked like twins (once again) but it was a much better look than what she had originally planned!

Here she is with my sister and my niece before we entered the theatre:


Here we are right before the ballet started, with her holding the program, so excited!


In January, Cole will get to do a special outing with Tim when they go see the Thomas the Train live show!
Because my family is so dysfunctional with this person not talking to that person, we had 3 Christmas celebrations. On Tuesday, we celebrated with my sister and her family at our home. We got pizza for the kids (and Tim) and then my sister, her husband and I feasted on crab....oh, to die for!! Yum! My sister tried to get revenge on me by buying all my kids toys that make noise. I guess that was pay back for all the loud toys I got her kids before I had kids of my own (when I thought it was funny). The weird thing is that the noise doesn't get to me anymore. I guess that's what happens when you have four little ones running around the house.
Here's Cole wearing the Thomas the Train bathrobe that my sister got for Landon. I thought Landon would love it but he kinda freaked out when I put it on him so Cole offered to try it on. I think it has become Cole's bathrobe now (even though it's 2 sizes to small on him).


Then on Christmas eve day, we went to my IL's to celebrate with Tim's family. We walked in and there were 2 Kettcars and 2 Strider bikes in the living room for the kids. Tim's brother and his wife really spoiled the kids this year! Garrett and Landon are really too young to get the whole idea of the Strider bikes. They kept getting on them and then lifting their feet off the ground and falling over. I imagine they'll enjoy them more in a few more months. My IL's also got them little buggy push cars, which they really loved, and we spent a majority of the afternoon taking turns running them around the outside of the house.

I love this pic because Garrett really wanted to ride Bella's Kettcar so Uncle Mike was trying to convince him to try out his Strider bike one more time and Garrett pouted and made his angry face at Uncle Mike.



Cole loved his Kettcar and rode it every chance he got! Look at that smile...just melts my heart!


When we got home, it was way past their bedtime but we let Cole and Bella stay up for a few minutes to check Norad to see where Santa was. He was already in Minnesota so we told the kids they had better get to bed so they'd be sure to be fast asleep when Santa reached California. We left cookies and milk for Santa on his special plate and a couple carrots for the reindeer and they were off to bed.

Then came Christmas morning and the kids' Christmas gift to Tim and I was to sleep in late. And by late, I mean 7:30 am!!! Never have they slept in that late. I woke up and immediately panicked when I looked at the clock and saw the time! But they all woke up shortly after that and excitement set in when they saw all the presents that Santa had left for them.


Obviously, the new play kitchen was the biggest hit! They pretty much ignored the other presents for awhile so they could check the kitchen out! It's pretty cool....makes real noises when they "cook" the food, the microwave beeps, the phone rings, the clock reads the actual time. Bella and Garrett offered to make Christmas breakfast.....a piece of pretend bacon and a pretend hotdog. Rachael Ray, move over....



Tim took those pictures, which explains why they're all blurry. I don't know what it is with him and pictures but every single time he's in charge of picture taking, they come out like this...all blurry and out of focus, which explains why Cole looks like an elf with pointed ears in one of the pictures. I was too busy filming the kids with my new Flip Ultra Video. The coolest little gadget, in my opinion. Tim also got me a Fossil watch, some Nike earphones (I suspect he got me these because I "borrowed" his and never remembered to give them back) and a set of mixing bowls I desperately needed.

In the afternoon, my mom, stepdad and my brother came over to give the kids their gifts and to have dinner. My mom and I kept butting heads in the kitchen. She offered to help, yet she wouldn't stop giving me her tips on how to cook a turkey, a ham, green beans and all the other things I had planned to make. I'm a by-the-recipe-to-the-exact-measurement kinda person....she's a throw-whatever-in-the-bowl and eye-ball-it-instead-of-measuring kinda person. But I wanted everything to be perfect so I insisted that she follow all the recipes I had planned and after offering me lots of unsolicited advice and getting nowhere, she finally decided just to do things the way I had asked her.
Everything did turn out perfectly and I can only assume so because Tim, who never seems to be impressed with my cooking abilities, said, "this was a REALLY good dinner". Even my mom said, through gritted teeth I'm sure, that everything tasted delicious. Just look at my beautiful little 10-pound turkey, which was so juicy and tender....


I have to give credit to Alton Brown on The Food Network for this recipe. This is the 3rd time I've used his recipe for roasted turkey and it's been a hit every time! Here's the link to the recipe:


And now that I've written the world's longest blog post (okay, maybe not the world's longest but certainly one of the longest ones I've written), I'll end this post by saying that I feel very blessed, especially this Christmas. Last year, I was too sleep-deprived to really enjoy it. But this year, as I baked cookies with my kids, read The Night Before Christmas with them, tracked Santa on Norad, wrapped presents for them after they went to bed and then had the privilege of watching their little faces light up as they opened their gifts, I couldn't help but feel extremely blessed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Storytime with Bella...

We interrupt the regularly scheduled blog post to bring you a very special story told by Bella, age 4:

Once upon a time, I lived at my new home with Ella of Frell, Prince Char, Clara, Prince Eric and Barbie. Um, well, Ella wasn't feeling good. So we'll talk about the doctor. Ella went to the doctor and got a flu shot. Then she went to the other doctor and got her cholesterol checked. Her cholesterol was good. She didn't cry but when she didn't cry she died on the cross. She died on the cross because she wasn't feeling good. Well, um, she was sick because she was sick and didn't want to go to the doctor. She started to cry when she knew she had to go to the doctor. Well, they had to check to see if she's feeling good or if she's not feeling good so they'll know what's wrong. I don't know why she told me she was sick. Well, she doesn't lie so actually she is sick. If they tell her she's sick, then she's sick. Wanna know why she's sick? She's sick because she ate a lot of junk and her tummy was full. The doctor took the food out. Then she was better.

Well, then the bad man came, Prince Char's dad, and he had a King's hat on him and then he made Ella sad. Prince Char's dad told the other bad guys to take Ella away. They put her in a cage in the castle. I brought her there to the castle. The green elf got her out of the cage and she showed me her book and then she, um, I can't remember the rest of my story. That's it.

The End. Thank you for reading....(giggle, giggle) and thank you for listening. And thank you for the food we eat that God gave us.

We will return to our regularly scheduled blog post tomorrow...same time, same place.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas break....already off to a crummy start

I knew I was in trouble last week when on Friday I dropped Cole and Bella off at preschool and the teacher met me with a huge smile and said, "Remember...today is the last day of school and then we're off 2 weeks for Christmas break". My tummy started to hurt and I was already calculating in my head how long EXACTLY this 2 weeks would be. 14 days....or 336 hours....or 20,160 minutes....or, if I really want to set myself off into a major panic attack, that would be 1,209,600 seconds. Breathe, Helene, breathe.....nice, deep breaths....take yourself on a mental vacation. Envision being in Hawaii on the beach...the smell of salt in the air, the sounds of seagulls buzzing about, the feel of the warm water covering my body...until I go under the water and can't come up. UGH!!

So yesterday was our first official day off for break, not counting last weekend. I knew the day was headed for disaster when Cole and Bella woke up in the morning, all groggy, and asked, "do we have school today?" and I said, "no school today" and they both got a twinkle in their eyes and smiled at each other like they had something horrible and evil up their sleeves. I was hoping to keep them busy all day so I met a friend and her kids at the mall's play area but when we got there, they weren't there yet and the kids noticed that there was a line forming over in the food court. SANTA CLAUS!

We had taken them over to see Santa a couple weeks ago but that went over like a fart in church. Cole and Bella literally yelled their wish list to Santa from 2 feet away. Landon just watched from a distance but wouldn't smile at Santa, let alone make eye contact with him. Maybe he thought if Santa made direct eye contact, he'd be able to figure out how many times Landon had bitten Garrett. Surpisingly, Garrett was the only one who got close enough to Santa to give him a high-5.

But yesterday was a whole 'nother story, Garrett freaked out when Santa put him on his lap. Total meltdown mode. The lady by the camera kept saying "Mom, play peek-a-boo with him...get him to smile". I said, "he's not gonna smile...it's okay for you to take the picture with him crying...it's more realistic...we'll laugh about it in 10 years". She sighed and looked rather annoyed, which made me wonder if she only gets paid a commission for every picture she takes where the kids are happy and smiling. I wanted to slap her.

Then Bella asked Santa if she was on his nice list. He said, "well, do you think you've been nice?" and she said, "yes" but then quickly glanced at me with a mischievous look in her eye. He said, "hmmmm, I think you need to work a little bit harder to make sure you stay on the nice list". Do you think she heard that? Nope, all my children have selective hearing, which they've inherited from their father. As I was grabbing all the kids off Santa's lap, she said, "Mommy, see....Santa said I AM on his nice list". Then Santa looked at me for quite a few seconds and said, "Bless your heart, Mom....you really do have a lot on your plate, don't you?". I guess Santa has been watching me all year.

Here's our $15.00 Santa picture....


After that, we saw our friends in the play area so we headed over there and the kids ran around like wild animals for a good 90 minutes. I was hoping they'd be tired enough for a nap but no, that just left even more wired.

This is when it really started to downhill. While the babies napped, I wanted Cole and Bella to rest. All they had to do was lay on the sofa and either watch a short movie or read a book. Cole would've been fine doing that but Bella, after just a few minutes, wanted to play with her dress-up clothes. I told them they could play as long as they did so quietly so they didn't wake up the little twins. I sat down to read one of my books and they kept interrupting me every few seconds to the point where I got maybe only 4 lines read in 20 minutes. How come other people's kids can play independently for a little while but mine can't? I just wanted 20-30 minutes to dive into a book and escape for a little while. But when Bella insisted that I put some dress-up shoes on her, I lost it. She wanted them on the wrong feet and then she didn't want me to fasten the straps but then she kept getting mad at ME because the shoes were uncomfortable and they kept falling off when she tried to walk. I kept trying to explain to her that if she let me put them on the right feet with the straps on, they'd work better for her. But she had such a snotty attitude about it, that it just sent me over the edge. I put her on time-out and she proceeded to cry so loudly that she woke Landon up.....after only a 60 minute nap, which is not nearly long enough for him to feel refreshed. So he was grumpy all afternoon, she was whiny and snotty, and I was just dreading the rest of the week. No, I was dreading the rest of the Christmas break.

Tim said he'd come home from work early but when the clock said 4:00 and he still wasn't home, I began to lose all hope. The house was a mess....their room was a mess....the laundry was overflowing with dirty clothes that desperately needed to be washed....the kitchen still had dirty dishes from lunch all over the counter.

When Tim walked in the door 35 minutes later, I didn't say one word to him. He looked around the house and saw the house in shambles and I ran upstairs and locked our bedroom door and laid down on the bed in my nice, dark, quiet bedroom. He didn't come after me....I think I even heard him lock the baby gate downstairs and say, "don't go upstairs....I think Mommy needs some time alone".

I came downstairs after a half-hour and started to throw together dinner. Tim came over to me and didn't say anything. I think he was actually a little scared to open his mouth. I turned to look at him and I said, "I think Christmas break was a really crappy time for me to try to lower my dosage of Wellbutrin". Ya think?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Would you know what to do in this situation?

A friend of mine sent me an important e-mail about what to do in the event of a kitchen grease fire. As much of a worry-wart as I am, I guess I never gave much thought to how I'd handle such a situation. My first instinct would probably be to throw water on the grease fire. But after reading this e-mail and watching the short video (30 seconds), I learned a valuable lesson....DO NOT throw water on a grease fire!! The aftermath of what would happen sent chills down my spine, especially because, chances are, my children would be in the kitchen with me because there seems to be some silent rule that they all must hang on my legs while I cook meals. When I asked my husband what he would do in the event of a kitchen grease fire, he thought throwing water on it would be the correct way to put out the fire. I had him watch the video and he had the same reaction as I did.

The following information is what was included in the e-mail.....read this first and then watch the short video.

"I never realized that a wet dishcloth can be a one size fits all lid to cover a fire in a pan! This is a dramatic video (30-second, very short) about how to deal with a common kitchen fire... Oil in a frying pan. Read the following Introduction, then watch the show... It's a real eye-opener! At the Fire Fighting Training school they would demonstrate this with a deep fat fryer set on the fire field. An instructor, donned in a fire suit and using an 8 oz cup at the end of a 10 foot pole, would toss water onto a grease fire. The results got the attention of the students. The water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out. On the open field, it became a thirty foot high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast. Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room. Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup of either creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite. This is a powerful message. Watch the video and don't forget what you see. Tell your whole family about this video. Or better yet, send this to them."


video

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Where's the mouse? Where's the freakin mouse??

Thank God we're not talking about an actual live mouse or I wouldn't be writing in my blog right now. I'd be wrapped in a thermal blanket on the back porch until the little creep was outta my house!!

No, we're talking about a computer mouse. Funny how Tim never learns. But then again, he's a man. Need I say more? Sometimes he works from home and has made the mistake SEVERAL times of leaving his laptop accessible to the kids when he steps away to run errands or take a 20-minute break in the bathroom, which by the way still really irks me. Why is he afforded a 20 minute bathroom break at least twice a day but I haven't been able to even pee for 5 seconds without 4 pairs of eyes watching me? But that's a whole 'nother tangent.

The last time Tim left his laptop out was when my mom and stepdad babysat the kids so we could go to a movie. He left it sitting out on the dining room table....open.....with his headphones on the keypad.....can't you just tell where this is going? He didn't bother to check his laptop when we came home but the next day, as he sat down to check his e-mail, I heard him yell, "OH NO, OH NO.....(throw in a couple curse words)....OH NO". I came running in the room like a bat out of hell, "Oh My Goodness, what are you screaming about?" and he said, "LOOK". The whole screen of his laptop was cracked in half and it was all blank. Apparently, one of the kids must have sat on his laptop, essentially closing it on the headphones, thus cracking the screen. It was a $500 mistake!

So after that, one would think he'd never leave his laptop accessible to the kids again, right? Well, that's what I would think....

The other day, he left it out on the dining room table. When he went to check his e-mail first thing in the morning, he started yelling, "Okay, who took my mouse?". But he was met with blank stares from children. I have to say all 4 of my children have totally perfected the "Who? Me?" look. It's cute....sometimes.

None of them would admit to taking the mouse. He asked each of them, "did you take the mouse?". Each one shook their heads. Bella said, "I didn't take your mouse, I swear", which made Tim wonder if she was in fact guilty since she actually was the only one who protested outloud.

I figured one of the babies took it and hid it somewhere. But each time I asked them about it, Landon would point to the laptop. Yes, I know that's where the mouse is SUPPOSED to be, but it's not there. He'd just shrug and run off. Garrett wouldn't give me the time of day, whatever. Then Tim gave up and before taking Cole and Bella to preschool, he asked them each one more time, "did either of you take my mouse? Tell me the truth...you won't be in trouble at all but I just need to know where it is so I can do some work". They both shook their heads and said, "Daddy, we swear we didn't take it".

Off they went to preschool and I continued scouring the house for the freakin mouse, silently cursing Tim for once again leaving his damn laptop out where the kids could get to it. Once he came back from dropping them off, we continued to look for it. I kept saying, "I know it's probably in some place that's pretty obvious but we're missing it somehow".

3 hours later, when Cole and Bella got home from preschool, Bella asked, "Daddy, did you find out who took your mouse?" and he said, "Nope and I still haven't found it". She said, "oh, do you want to know where it is?" and he said, "do you know where it is?". She said, "yeah" and walked over to the kitchen and pointed....

This would be where one of our kitchen drawers USED to be until Garrett and Landon pulled it out one day. Or should I say, completely destroyed it. Not only did they pull it out, they pulled off the whole front of the drawer, leaving it completely useless to us. Our family room looks like the inside of Toys R Us with all its toys and books, yet they enjoy playing with kitchen drawers, among other things they shouldn't be playing with.

Tim asked Bella, "it's in here?" and she said, "yes, look" and he looked and sure enough, when he looked in where the drawer USED to be, the mouse had fallen down to the next cabinet and was sitting in one of the frying pans.

Tim asked her why she didn't just come right and tell him where it was in the first place. That was simple. He said, "so you knew where it was the whole time...it's been missing for 4 hours now and you just now thought to tell me where it was". She said, "yeah, you asked me if I took the mouse and I didn't take it".

So now Tim has learned 2 lessons, the hard way of course. Never leave his laptop out ever ever again and be more direct in his questioning! This totally reminded me of the time Garrett took the tv remote and hid it somewhere and we tore this house apart looking for it and never once thought to ask him where it was. I mean, he's a toddler after all and doesn't quite talk yet, plus we were sure his memory wasn't that fantastic. 4+ hours later, in complete exhaustion, we finally said, "Garrett, do you know remember where you put the remote?" and he ran over to where he had hidden it and pointed at it. Definitely a "duh" moment for Tim and I.

And yet, do you think Tim has fixed the kitchen drawer since the whole mouse episode....nope! But at least next time one of the kids takes something, we'll know that should be the first place to look! Or maybe we'll just come right out and ask them "Show us where the lost item is, regardless if you were or weren't the one who hid it"!

Oh, and we still don't know which kid took it, though we suspect it was Garrett. He seems to have an affection for taking things that aren't his and hiding them in various places throughout the house. Just like now, when I caught him on the stairs playing with a jar of vaseline he must have found in the bathroom....


Doesn't he look so proud of himself? If I could read his thoughts, it'd probably go something like this, "hahahaha, Mommy is busy writing her stupid blog post...I'm gonna go hide her vaseline and see if she can find it...that'll teach her to take her eyes of ME for 5 minutes".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's true what they say..."this too shall pass"

I was talking on the phone yesterday with a good friend of mine. She has 3 kids, including a 5-month old baby. We were talking about how difficult it is to juggle the kids, keep the house clean, stay organized...all the things that are expected of us as mothers. She's feeling overwhelmed, scattered, disorganized...we've all been there. She asked me how I manage with 4 kids and I didn't know what to say. We all just do the best we can do, praying that it's enough to keep us going. I wished so much that I could reach through the phone and give her a big hug. My heart ached as I listened to her describe her life and how overwhelming it is right now, mostly because I understood it wholeheartedly. As we ended our conversation, I said "remember....this too shall pass".

I never used to believe that saying. It's hard to imagine the light at the end of the tunnel when you're in the midst of the struggle. I heard that phrase from experienced mothers the most when Cole and Bella were newborns and I quickly realized I was in over my head as a first-time mother to twins. At that time, I couldn't imagine things ever getting better....or easier, for that matter. But eventually, as time went on, things did become somewhat easier. Not easier in the sense that parenting was a breeze all of a sudden but easier in the sense that I was now more confident in my mothering skills. There came a time where one of them would cry and I would know exactly what they needed. I was finally starting to understand what everyone meant by "this too shall pass".

Then came Garrett and Landon and my whole world was thrown upside down all over again. Just as I did when I was pregnant with Cole and Bella, I had a perception of what it would be like when Garrett and Landon entered the world and became part of our family. Then reality hit....and it hit me hard....right smack in the face. There were times when I would have it out with God...."I love each of my children and I'm so happy that You have blessed us but couldn't You have just sent us one child at a time, instead of in pairs?"

In an old journal I used to keep, at the time, I wrote this:

"I feel ashamed to admit that I've been feeling very depressed and overwhelmed with everything in my life right now. I guess I had forgotten that around month 4 the babies are more aware of their surroundings and they don't need as much sleep anymore....lots of new milestones are being met yet they're frustrated still by the many things they cannot do. We've definitely hit that stage and there are times where I feel like I'm gonna drop to the ground in complete exhaustion. From sun-up to sun-down, it's go-go-go.....and then of course getting up 1-2 times each night with either one or both babies or Cole or Bella had started taking its toll on me....so for the last few days I've been feeling depressed and I've been crying a lot over little tiny things....yesterday, I cried while switching the clothes from the washer to the dryer, just knowing that when it's all dry I'll have to find time to fold it and put it away....and this was after I had finally just folded and put away 3 other loads of laundry. Last night, after all the kids were asleep, I took one look at the family room and the kitchen, which I had already cleaned 3 times earlier in the day, and saw the huge mess and broke down into tears....I feel like I can't keep up and that's just on the good days. There are days where I say "screw this" and let the house fall to pieces and I don't sweat the mess...but then there are days where my head is so fuzzy that I just want peace and calmness and it's hard to get that when the house is completely messy and disorganized, after I've already cleaned it 3 times earlier that day."

If someone had said "this too shall pass" to me at that time, I might have laughed. I might have cried. But God knows, I wouldn't have found any comfort in hearing that little phrase. I had felt like I was just coming up for air and then sucked back under the water again, over and over. When was it supposed to pass? Was it ever going to get better? Easier?

At this point in time, I understand it completely. When you're in the trenches and you feel like you'll never see your way out, believe it or not, you will. It won't happen in the blink of an eye because nothing comes easy in life. There are no shortcuts, there are no ways around it. You just simply have to pass through it and once you're on the other side, that's when you get it. Not that it ever really gets easier....different, yes.....easier, no. No one ever said parenting is easy but for each stage of difficulty, you soon realize that you've survived yet another milestone, whether it be the colic, the teething, or the middle of the night feedings.

I finally believed "this too shall pass" one night awhile back when I had been up for an hour in the middle of the night rocking Landon back to sleep, as he had started experiencing separation anxiety. The only thing that got me through that stage was knowing it was temporary, that it would pass....I repeatedly muttered to myself "this too shall pass, this too shall pass". And it did.

I have no idea what's in store for me with the next stage of parenting, as is the same with my friend. Neither of us could possibly know what will happen next week, next month, or even next year. But the one thing I do know is that if we believe "this too shall pass", somehow the good times will far outweight the tough times.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why am I always the last one to know?

I like to think I'm a pretty smart lady. However, I'm not so sure on the common sense. It seems like everyone else is always in on the joke except for me. Case in point....

This morning I was driving to Target with no kids in tow (a miracle in and of itself, no doubt) and I was enjoying listening to the radio. My kind of music....no KidzBop 14 playing on the CD player, no Elmo's World DVD blaring in the background....nothing but MY kind of music! Prince's "Little Red Corvette" was playing and I found myself singing to it, taking myself way back to a happy place when I was 13 years old and at sleep-away camp for the summer. After dinner every evening, the camp counselors put on a little show to give us hints about what huge activity we'd be doing that week. On this particular night, they had involved some of the campers in on the act and one of the boys who I had a huge crush on at the time (and I write "at the time" because by the next week, I had already moved on and was in love with a different boy) had dressed up like Prince and was lip-synching the song. It totally rocked my world, watching him dance and sing and I thought he was the hottest boy on earth (well, until he kissed me at the dance that week and then lied to all his friends that he had not only kissed me but felt me up too). Okay, way too much information there....

Anyway, I digress....so everytime I hear "Little Red Corvette", it always makes me think of that boy and I can very vividly remember in my mind him dancing on the stage and my heart thumping out of my chest. I always thought the song was about a car. I mean, the song is called "Little Red Corvette". I know the words sure enough but I guess I never put two and two together. See, this is where I'm talking about lack of common sense.

So after the song was done playing on the radio this morning, the DJ's were talking about the meaning of the song. Imagine my shock when one of the DJ's made a reference to the song being about a "fast woman" and not necessarily about a "fast car". They all had a good laugh about it, which left me wondering what was it about the joke that I was missing. I really thought it was about a woman who drove a fast corvette. Was it really about sex?

After I got home, I did a google search for the lyrics and sure enough it's about a woman who sleeps around. So I've loved this song for 2 decades and I never knew the true meaning of it. Always the last one to know.

Another case in point....I'm always surprised when celebrities come out of the closet and reveal themselves to be gay. Like Rosie O'Donnell. I was shocked...had no idea. Didn't make a difference to me though because I'm probably one of the few people who actually really like her and find her to be very entertaining. And when Ellen DeGeneres announced she was gay, you know I was just sitting there with my jaw on the floor. Huh? She's gay? Had no idea! And the Doogie Howser guy? Lance Bass? Melissa Ethridge? They're gay too? Again, it's honestly not a big deal to me because it doesn't change the fact that I adore them all as entertainers. But each time I would see a picture of these people on one of the big magazines, like People, with a beautiful smiling picture of them with the huge announcement "I am gay", I'd hear people snickering "oh, I totally knew he/she was gay...this is no surprise". I was the one person thinking, "I had NO idea".

I just never seem to be in on the secrets or information that others are aware of. Perhaps I walk around life with blinders on? Or maybe I lack that 6th sense that others have? I can never read between the lines. But then again, what should I expect from someone who once tried to convince her college roommates that eventually Halloween just had to fall on Friday, the 13th and can you imagine how hard we'd party when that day finally came??!!

But somehow in all this I did manage to earn a MA in Psychology. Go figure....

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Mommy, Santa really IS everywhere...."

So I'm one of those moms who thoroughly enjoys being able to hold Christmas over their kids' heads. As in "if you don't stop hitting your brother, the elves will report it to Santa" or "you're gonna end up on Santa's naughty list if you keep spitting on your sister". That always seems to straighten them up.....for a few minutes, anyway. No kid can be expected to behave for 20 minutes in a row, right? Or maybe that's just my kids?

My newest threat is "don't you know that Santa is everywhere....he sees you all the time. He has elves secretly planted in various places and they watch you and report back to him. And sometimes if you've been especially naughty, Santa will be watching you himself!!!" I'm not sure if the kids really believe me or not. Up until now....

Tim and I took them to the grocery store yesterday. We normally don't do this but we both needed gas in our cars and, at our store, when you spend over $100 you can get a huge discount on gas. Our discount yesterday was 40 cents so that made our gas only $1.20/gallon. So we both fill up our cars immediately after shopping. Needless to say, grocery shopping with 4 kids is not my idea of fun. The store just got these really fun new cars that have a little tv in the front, where 2 kids can sit. Most kids would get a kick out of this and stay quiet the whole time while Mom shops. But not my kids....nope, they fought the whole time. "I wanna sit in front of the steering wheel", "Hey, you broke the tv...Mommy, Cole broke the tv", "I want out", "I don't want to sit with her anymore". Between the 4 of them, they played musical carts over and over to the point where I finally lost it and screamed, "all of you stay put for the next 2 minutes so we can get the shopping done". That didn't work. So I said, "I bet you all that Santa is here somewhere in this store, hiding, and watching you all...I'll bet you anything he's shaking his head in disappointment and considering putting you on his naughty list". Bella looked like she was considering this and she asked, "once we're on the naughty list, do we stay there or can we have more chances to get back on the nice list?".....I love how her mind works. I know expecting the kids to behave 100% at the grocery store is way too much to ask but this would've been a very quick trip if they had all just stayed in their carts and watched the little tv!!!! But with all the stops and having to break up fights and with them wanting to switch carts, the shop was dragging on way longer than it should have been.

We headed over to the deli as our last stop to pick up some ham and there was a tall man with white hair standing there waiting for his food. When he turned around, we all noticed he had a huge white beard and glasses. He looked at the kids and said, "do you know who I am?" and the kids just stared at him. He asked, "who do I look like to you?" and Bella said "Santa Claus". He said, "that's right....I'll give you all these candy canes if you can behave just a little while longer so your Mom and Dad can finish their shopping". Then he handed them each little candy canes that he had in his pocket. My jaw dropped at the beauty of all this....such perfect timing!

After we walked away, Bella said, "Mommy, Santa really IS everywhere". I didn't hear a peep out of her or Cole from that point on....and they even helped me put all the food on the check-out counter and didn't ask for any gum or candy while we waited for our groceries to be scanned and packed. I couldn't have planned that any better if I tried!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Me....pregnant again? This HAS to be a joke, right?

I had an appt today with my former ob/gyn, Dr D (my regular ob/gyn is on maternity leave). Dr D was my ob/gyn when I was pregnant with Cole and Bella and he was the one who delivered Garrett and Landon. I absolutely adore him! I had made the appt because it's been 6 months without a period and I guess I'm still in denial that at the age of 39 (which seems young to me) I'm already in the throws of menopause. Even though my ob/gyn had tested my FSH, roughly, 2 months ago and it was already at 32. So I wanted to go in and discuss this topic once again and see if there was any other definitive test that would tell me for sure this is what's going on with my body. Or at the very least, talk to the dr about herbal remedies instead of hormone replacement therapy, if needed.

Upon being called into the exam room, the nurse and I talked about the kids. The wierd thing is that she remembered me from when I was pregnant with Garrett and Landon!! I guess I was in there often enough but it's been 21 months! I should've asked her what kind of pill she takes that allows her to have such an excellent memory because Lord knows I can't even remember my name half the time. She asked the reason for my appointment and I told her that I hadn't gotten my period in 6 months and I figured it was due to perimenopause but I wanted to make sure there was nothing else going on that may be a more serious explanation, like cancer. So totally not likely but once my mind gets going, it doesn't stop. I went from having extremely heavy periods every 2-3 weeks to absolutely nothing, which I thought was pretty strange.

She handed me an empty pee cup and said, "I'm sure Dr D is gonna want me to do a pregnancy test". I laughed so hard I almost fell off the table. She said, "I know, I know....you need another kid like you need a hole in your head but just for humor's sake, let's at least do the test, okay....just to rule it out". I said, "I had my tubes tied with my last c-section!! Dr D did the surgery himself after he delivered the boys. He assured both me and my husband that he did everything short of burning those suckers to the core to make sure there would nothing passing through those tubes ever again." She smiled and said, "I'm sure it'll be negative but it is standard procedure to run a pregnant test when you've gone this long without a period. And besides, haven't you heard of the stories of women who've had their tubes tied and still ended up pregnant. We've had several patients that that has happened to". Yeah, way to reassure me. So I said, "Honestly, I can't even remember the last time we had sex. Maybe 2 times in the last 6 months??" and then I quickly had a flashback where I had said the very same thing when I learned I was pregnant with Garrett and Landon. But at that time, we had had sex only ONCE in a 3-month period and that was the evening my body decided to pop out 2 eggs at the same time, totally unexpectedly. I can't believe it but my heart was actually racing when I handed her the cup. She smiled and said, "I'll be right back and tell you, okay? You said yourself there's no chance you're pregnant so no worries." I looked down at my belly and thought I don't even LOOK pregnant....wouldn't I be like at least 5 months pregnant by now with a big, old, puffy belly?? Geez, when I was 8 weeks pregnant with Garrett and Landon I was already wearing maternity clothes!

I waited...and waited....and waited....and waited some more. I was wondering where the hell the nurse was and what was taking her so long coming back in and telling me the pregnancy test was NEGATIVE. I even felt silly for being worried. Even though I was extremely groggy after my last c-section, I specifically remember asking Dr D, "you did remember to tie my tubes, right?" and he had laughed and said "I did not forget....your tubes are out of commission, I can assure you of that" and then he had gone on to tell me that he was glad I had chosen to have my tubes tied because he did not recommend me becoming pregnant ever again. My uterus had been stretched and overly compromised as it was between the 2 twin pregnancies within 2 years that it was paper thin and he said if I had stayed pregnant another week or 2, we might have risked it rupturing. I remember that scared the hell out of me and I knew in my heart we had made the right choice to go through with the tubal ligation. So this was all going through my head as I waited impatiently.

After what seemed like an eternity, the nurse came back in and said, "Dr D will see you in his office". I said, "wait, I thought you were going to come back in right away and tell me the results, even though I know I'm not pregnant. Isn't he going to come into the exam room?" and she said, "No, he thinks it'll be easier if you just come to his office". Right about now, I'm thinking "OH SHIT...." My heart was pounding and again I was having flashbacks to when my other ob/gyn had told me I was pregnant with another set of twins. She had had the nurse get me from the exam room and lead me straight back to her office where she had said, "have a seat....". Okay, breathe.....breathe.....breathe....but seriously why was I worried? What are the chances of being pregnant after having my tubes tied and only having sex twice in 6 months? Breathe....breathe....breathe....

I walk in to Dr D's office and he's sitting at his computer and smiles at me and says, "Hi, my dear...you look great....all the color's returned to your face and you just look happier and healthier". I thanked him and then he said, "the last time I saw you was right when you were about to deliver the last set of twins and it looked like they had sucked the life right out of you.". Yeah, that about sums it up and they're still draining the life out of me, 21 months later. Then he tried to make small talk with me....was I back at work? how are the other set of twins? how was Tim?

Then he said, "so why do you think you're not getting your period?" and I said very slowly, "probably because I'm peri-menopausal. When I saw Dr N a few months ago, that's what she suspected and she had told me my FSH was 32". He smiled....again....and asked, "hmmmm, is that what you think?". I didn't say anything. I said, "you're not gonna tell me I'm actually pregnant, right? I mean, there's no way...you tied my tubes yourself, for crying out loud!!!". He asked, "what would you say if I told you that you're pregnant?". Again, I didn't say anything. But then I started to laugh. He just stared at me. I think I was gonna start hyperventilating, thinking of how was I gonna tell Tim. What if it was a 3rd set of twins? Holy crap! This has to be a joke! Why is God doing this? First I was infertile and having to through 3 rounds of IVF to conceive our 1st set of twins, then magically becoming pregnant with the 2nd set and now this??

Then he pointed to the computer and said, "look at this"....I looked and saw "32" and I said, "that was the level of my last FSH test...that's not an HCG level, right? I mean, that would be pretty coincidental, don't you think?"

He said, "okay, I won't string you along any further...no, you are not pregnant....you are most definitely finally getting to the last stage of perimenopause....6 more months without another period and you're officially menopausal". I didn't know whether to hug him or slug him. I was relieved for sure, no doubt about that. Although part of me has always wondered what it would be like to experience one baby at a time. I've always been envious of those women who have had multiples and then get pregnant again with a singleton.

With that, he recommended I increase my calcium intake to between 1000-1500 mg a day. He also recommended trying to cut back on the Wellbutrin (after talking to my other dr, of course) and supplementing with some natural herbs that have been known to help with menopausal symptoms, like black cohosh and a couple other things. He didn't recommend HRT unless my symptoms were getting extremely uncomfortable or to the point where I was not able to function at 100% since sleep issues seem to remain my biggest problem right now, even with the increase in melatonin, which he suggested I discontinue and try the other herbs he mentioned.

So....not pregnant.....but at the end of my childbearing years. What irony!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A couple of snowmen and a visit from the refrigerator repair man...

I've been on this artsy fartsy kick with the kids lately. I'm not much with creative talent but I try. Plus, it keeps their little hands busy (ie out of trouble).

So yesterday, I brought out the art supplies and set out to have Garrett and Landon make snowmen. They sat impatiently watching me cut out the eyes, the hats, the noses, etc, etc. I poured the glue onto the paper and let them put cotton balls on it to make their snowmen. Garrett immediately freaked out within the first minute when he got some glue on his fingers. So I had to help him put the rest of the cotton balls on his snowman....or should I say, he directed me. But Landon had a blast and kept piling on cotton ball after cotton ball (even being so daring as to put one in his mouth...why? I don't know but apparently there's some unwritten toddler rule that everything that touches the hands must be put in the mouth as well, even if it's not edible).
This was the finished product:



Awww, look, it's twin snowmen!


I love how Landon looks so happy to show his snowman off but Garrett has a scowl on his face. Perhaps he was still pissy about the glue getting on his fingers?
Today, we had the carpets cleaned. The whole entire house. It all looks brand new again. I asked Cole, "so how long do you think the carpets will stay clean?" and he said, "oh, about 6". I said, "6 what? 6 days? 6 weeks? 6 months?" and he said, "no, 6 minutes". He's probably right. Although I was pretty good about chasing after each of them if they even dared to bring a sippy cup or a snack into the family room, screaming, "wait....new rule....NO food or drinks on the carpet".

Lastly, we had a visit from the refrigerator repair man. This repair guy was really young but seemed to know what he was doing. He even had an assistant with him. And he worked for cheap....he accepted payment in the form of a handful of grapes and a sippy cup of milk (eaten in the kitchen, of course, and NOT on the clean carpet in the family room).


Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Because Mommy said so, that's why"

When I was a child and my mother used to use that statement on me "Because I said so, that's why", it used to drive me nuts. I swore I would never say that to my child(ren). But then again, I said I wouldn't do a lot of things when I had kids and I'm guilty of doing 99.9% of them every single day.

So this morning, we were running around here like chickens with our heads cut off trying to get the kids ready to go to a friend's child's birthday party. We were practically begging them to get dressed and put their shoes on. I finally declared, "why are Daddy and I struggling to get you all ready to go to a birthday party...it's not like we're headed to the dr's office or anything....if you all aren't ready in the next 10 minutes, we are NOT going to the party so if you REALLY wanna go, I suggest you all start cooperating and get your butts in gear".

The biggest protest came from Bella. She had on a really cute outfit that I had just gotten for her and I was about to put her hair in a ponytail. She managed to find an old pair of swimming goggles from last summer and insisted on wearing them. I said, "you can't wear swimming goggles because when you take them off, it'll mess up your ponytail". She responded, "well, I won't wear a ponytail then". Okay.....so I said, "you can't wear goggles because it's practically winter and you only need goggles for swimming". She responded, "that's not true...people wear goggles in the snow when they ski, I've seen it on tv". Okay....hmmm, I was gonna have to really give this some more thought. "Bella, listen, I'll level you with here, the real reason you can't wear goggles is because the other kid's at the birthday party won't have goggles to wear and they'll all be jealous. So it's only fair for you to leave the goggles at home". She seemed to be mulling it over but then said, "I'll just tell them to ask Santa for some goggles like mine". I said, trying to be funny, "Bella, you kinda look like a frog with those goggles on". She looked at me and said, "yeah and frogs are cute". Heck, I was even so desperate, I said, "I don't think unicorns like goggles" and she argued with me that unicorns do indeed like goggles and they wear them to protect their eyes from the rainbows because they don't like rainbows.

By now, I'm sure I had steam coming out of my ears. I was tired of being nice and I was tired of debating this with her. I finally just said, "You are NOT wearing the goggles and that's final". She frowned....I said, "I'm gonna go take a picture of you so you can see yourself and realize how silly you look".




I showed her both of those pictures and I said, "now, look, don't you agree that this looks pretty silly?? I'm glad you want to make a fashion statement but I don't think wearing goggles in 40 degree weather to an INDOOR birthday party is the way to go". She smiled, looked at the pictures, and said, "I like looking silly, why can't I wear the goggle if I want to look silly?".

So I broke it down for her, "BECAUSE MOMMY SAID SO, THAT'S WHY!!!!! NOW GET THOSE GOGGLES OFF YOUR HEAD AND LET ME GET YOUR HAIR IN A PONYTAIL SO WE CAN GO TO THE PARTY". She wasn't happy about it but she finally gave in and let me take the goggles away. And just as I suspected, not 10 minutes later, she had forgotten all about the goggles. But man oh man, debating back and forth with her like that wore me out. I was mentally exhausted.

It just makes me shudder to think what the teenage years will be like with her.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What's all this hype over a vampire?? I totally get it now...

Today was a 2. That being on a scale of 1-10 on how crappy my day was today. From start to finish, it was just pure torture. The kids were whiny, argumentative, demanding...and that was all just before lunch. I couldn't get them fed fast enough, practically shoveling the food in their mouths for them. I got the little twins upstairs to nap in their cribs and then came downstairs and pretty much threatened Cole and Bella that they needed to rest while watching some tv so I could have some time to cool off and relax. See, that's the beautiful thing about Christmas being so close is that I can say "wow, it's really too bad I'm gonna have to call Santa this afternoon and report to him how disappointed I am in your behavior....I'll have to make sure he sends his #1 top elf to watch you both". They both look at me wide-eyed, saying "no Mommy....we'll behave". What the heck am I gonna do when Christmas is over and done with?! I don't even wanna think about it....

The one part of the day that was enjoyable was when Garrett and Landon's speech therapist came over. They qualified for speech services through our local IE program so she comes over twice a week. I've already seen a dramatic improvment in their language skills, which is quite amazing to me. They're starting to use sign language and beginning to say words, which are now understandable (well, somewhat). But the minute she walked out the door and I had to start making dinner, all hell broke loose again and I was back to making threats about calling Santa. I was near tears by the time Tim came home from work. All he had to do was take one look at my face and he didn't need to even ask, "so sweetie, how was your day?"

In the meantime, I've been losing myself in the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. Everyone's been raving about it, especially since the movie came out. I could not understand what all the excitement was about probably because it's not the typical type of book I thought I'd enjoy. And I thought it was more of a teenage thing. But now I've heard from several adult friends (as well as other mommy bloggers) how wonderful the book is. One friend even said, "You will not be able to stop thinking about Edward, the main vampire in the story". I was thinking "oh, come on now...surely I can find someone else to fantasize about, like maybe Brad Pitt or Mark Wahlberg". Oh, and I read in a magazine about a group of moms who have a website totally devoted to the series and they call themselves Twilight Moms. I actually rolled my eyes when I read that. Do these moms have nothing else in their lives to be consumed with than a fictional story about a vampire? I actually kinda felt sorry for them, especially when I read the part in the article in the magazine about how a bunch of them dressed up in prom dresses, ate a dinner of mushroom ravioli and then went to see the movie together.

But I did have to admit I was curious about all the hype so I cracked and bought the first book and I could not put it down! I devoured it in one day....every chance I got, I was reading that book. The next day I went out and got the 2nd book in the series and finished that in 2 days. Now I'm working on the 3rd book. I desperately wanted to see the movie so I called my mom and asked if she and my stepdad could babysit so Tim and I could go see it. Now, that's desperation....when I'm calling my mom to babysit the kids. Tim wasn't so sure he'd like the movie but, honestly, he never stood a chance of winning an argument with me over what we were gonna see. I figured I had sprung him loose from childcare responsibilities for a few hours so he owed me.

During the movie, I'm practically drooling over Edward. Not that he was particularly gorgeous, as described in the book, but there was something very romantic, dark and sexy about him. All I could do was hope that Tim couldn't read my thoughts!!

I get all the hype now....and I totally understand how these Twilight moms could be so devoted to the series. It's easy to see how we can get caught up in fictional characters such as Edward, since he seems to represent the ideal man that every woman would want to fall in love with....well, even though he's a vampire.

So this is how I've been losing myself these last few days when I need an emotional escape. Oh and what a wonderful escape it has been....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random randomness....

Things that make me irritable:

1) People who drive slow. You know, the ones who hop in their car and barely press on the gas pedal, as if they have all the time in the world. Chances are, I have 4 kids screaming in my mini-van about this and that and I, for one, DO NOT have all the time in the world. I'd like to get to my final destination pronto...before I lose my hearing....and my sanity.

2) People who go into the 10-item max check-out line in the grocery store when they clearly have more than 10 items. Sure, if you have 11 or 12 things, that's no biggie. But if you have 20 things and you're standing in the quick check-out line and I happen to see you, there will be a throw down, Again, I have NO time to waste....who does?

3) People who grab the only cart at the local grocery store which seats 4 children but they only happen to have ONE child. Why?? Why would someone do that?? All the other carts are meant to seat ONE child....depending on my mood, I will hunt that person down with all my kids in tow and follow them around the store, making angry faces and grumbling under my breath about how unfair life is.

Things that make me cry:

1) Looking at baby pictures of my kids. It never fails. I just sit in awe at how tiny they were at birth and then to look at them now...wow, it's amazing.

2) The movie Steel Magnolias. It's just one of those movies I can watch over and over and over and still cry every single time, especially during the scene where Sally Field and the other ladies are standing around after her daughter's funeral and she says, "I find it amusing. Men are supposed to be made out of steel or something. I just sat there. I just held Shelby's hand. There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. Oh god. I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life." I cry a river every single time.

3) I've cried out of sheer exhaustion sometimes. Just to get it out of my system I suppose. You know those moments where you're just so darn tired (not necessarily physically tired as in the sense that you could fall asleep at the drop of a hat, but the kind of tired where your emotionally and physically drained) and the only thing that will make you feel better is a good old-fashioned cry on the bathroom floor. Surely, I cannot be the only person who does this?

Things that make me laugh outloud:

1) Of course, things my kids say. Like today, I had posted an ad on Freecyle giving away 2 sample canisters I had received of Similac formula (why are they still sending me formula anyway...maybe they think I gave birth to my 3rd set of twins?), as well as a $5.00 coupon. A woman immediately responded and asked if she could pick it up today. When she got here, she said she just gave birth to a baby 3 weeks ago. Bella asked her, "does your baby have a daddy?". It wasn't really funny as in "haha funny" but more funny in the sense that I had to laugh or I surely would've died of embarrassment right there on the spot. Definitely one of those moments where you want the ground to split open so you can be swallowed whole immediately.

2) Every single episode of Roseanne and Golden Girls. I can watch those re-runs over a million times and they still make me laugh hysterically. I secretly wish that Roseanne was my mother and that Bea Arthur was my grandmother. I don't know why....I just click with them, I suppose.

Things that make me happy:

1) A cool, crisp sunny day. There's nothing better than waking up in the morning to a sunny fall day and being able to open the windows and smell the fall season in the air.

2) When I hop on the scale and I've lost weight, even though I might have eaten half a tub of ice cream the night before. Here's my thinking....if I can hang with the elliptical machine for 60 minutes at the gym, then I should be able to eat whatever I want that day. Stupid, yes. Irrational, yes. But what else would keep me going for a whole whopping 60 minutes on that death trap they call a workout machine than the thought of wolfing down 5 chocolate chip cookies after the kids are in bed?!

3) When I can snuggle up with a really good book and not be interrupted every 5 minutes with "Mommy, I need some milk", "Mommy, there's water all over the kitchen floor!", "Mommy, wipe my butt".

4) My kids, obviously. They are the reason I get out of bed every morning, even if I do have to wipe their butts and clean up messes all day long.

5) When we manage to get a beautiful family picture, like this one....I cannot remember the last time we had a semi-decent picture of all 6 of us to put on a Christmas card.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What's in YOUR diaper bag?

I'm lagging. I've been blessed with some wonderful awards and some fun tags and I have yet to compile them all into one post. I even wrote them down on a piece of paper that I kept next to my computer with the intent to write about them. Then the holidays happened...first Halloween, then Thanksgiving and now Christmas. Yeah, so I'm making lousy excuses....but I do LOVE awards and tags so I don't want to seem unappreciative at all.

Hajar at Tales of an American Nomad tagged me back in October with a really fun meme about what's in your diaper bag. I was impressed with how short her list was (and she has infant TWINS!). She actually keeps black pepper in her diaper bag....why, you might ask? Her babies, like mine, hate to be held down while having the snot sucked out of their tiny noses with the nasal aspirator. So she puts a little black pepper under their noses to get them to sneeze and....waaaahhhllllaaaa....all the snot comes flying out on its own. I thought that was pretty clever. However, when I tried it with Landon, he just wanted to taste the black pepper. It didn't make him sneeze....it just made his eyes water and got him all pissy. Figures, right? I learn a great tip like this and it would be MY kid who it doesn't work on. Such is life.

My diaper bag is humongous....I have one of those Skip Hop Duo Double diaper bags. It is the mother of all diaper bags. I used to carry around 2 little diaper bags, which drove me nuts, but I didn't think a bigger bag that could carry all the stuff for all 4 kids actually existed. Oh, but it did....it was an answer to prayer. It was not cheap...I paid $80 for mine but it so worth the money to me. I can fit everything I need for all the kids in this bag. Sure, it weighs a freakin ton after I'm done packing it up but everything's in one bag and there are so many compartments and mesh holders that it keeps everything organized.

Okay, so here goes....here's what in my diaper bag:

In the front pockets:

earphones for my iPod (for when I work out)
3 tubes of chapstick
2 travel packs of kleenex
1 pack of gum
2 travel packs of antibacterial wipes
2 small tubes of antibacterial gel (I'm a germ freak...obviously)

In the zipped area on top:

my keys
wallet
cell phone

Inside the bag:

Change of clothes for each child (seriously)
4 diapers
bag of baby wipes
Snacks galore (goldfish, nutrigrain bars, sunchips, raisins....you name it, it's probably in my diaper bag...God forbid, I should run out of snacks for my kids to eat when I'm in the car with them)
2 tampons and 2 pantiliners (just in case...sure, I haven't had my period in 6 months but you just never know when God will pull a fast one on ya)
2 tubes of sunscreen
1 tube of chapstick
Unopened water bottle (you just never know when you'll be in need of some good old fashioned water)
4 sippy cups (when we're actually on the go somewhere...have kids, need sippy cups, will travel)
2 pacifiers

The only thing I don't have are a change of clothes and a snack for me. What mother actually thinks of packing that stuff for herself? What mother actually looks at herself in the mirror before running out the door with the kids? Who cares what I look like as long as my kids have clean faces (no dried boogers stuck to their noses, no red juice stains above their mouths, no eye boogers and no ear wax sticking out of their ears)?

What's in YOUR diaper bag?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My very first drama-free Thanksgiving!

It finally happened. A Thanksgiving without any drama. No drama, whatsoever! I think I might have dreamed it but alas I have pinched myself many a time and I'm sure it was real.

Originally, we weren't sure what we were going to do for the holiday. Tim's brother and his wife had invited the whole family over plus some family friends to celebrate Thanksgiving early (last Sunday) since they were going to be away from home on the actual day of Thanksgiving. So we figured that was our holiday celebration with Tim's family. My sister always has her in-laws over and it just gets too crowded, especially with our 4 kids added to the mix. We decided against going there. My mom and step-dad decided to go to San Francisco for the day, rather than spend the holiday with us. What grandparent doesn't want to spend a holiday with their grandchildren?! Enough said.

So it was just going to be the 6 of us here at home....a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. Tim was fine with it. I was okay with it too but I was a little sad that we have family so close to us yet no one was coming over for the holiday. It says a lot about my family. I kept saying to Tim, "I'm just sad that Thanksgiving will be just like any other day for us....me in the kitchen cooking a meal that no one will probably eat and chasing after kids while trying to keep them entertained, changing diapers, cleaning messes....". I'm sure he got tired of hearing it but there was nothing he could really do or say to snap me out of my bad attitude so he would just roll his eyes every time I would start in. I envied all my friends who were getting together with their huge, loving families to celebrate the day.


The one good thing about not having family around was there would be no drama. There's always at least 3 people in my family who aren't talking to other family members and it's awkward and tense. In Tim's family, there's always some kind of needless drama that gets thrown in at the last minute, making everyone dread the holiday.

When we found out that Tim's parents were just planning on staying home, I asked Tim to invite them over. Why not? My MIL and I aren't exactly the best of friends but surely I felt we could both make the best of it for the sake of the kids, who deserved to have a fun, happy Thanksgiving. At the last minute, I got nervous because I wanted to make a really delicious meal that would impress them. I guess I was afraid I would be compared to my SIL, whose meal last Sunday was out of this world.

Thursday came and I had everything in the kitchen ready to go by the time they arrived. I planned on staying in the kitchen most of the time to avoid any possible drama that may happen or any unfriendly, unsolicited comments that might have been said. To my amazement, everything went well. I did stay in the kitchen most of the time chopping, slicing, dicing, arranging and cooking. And my MIL would come in from time to time to offer to help or to have some light conversation with me. My IL's helped so much with the kids, keeping them out of the kitchen and keeping them happy and entertained.

I did the same turkey recipe I did last year (Alton Brown's recipe from Food Network....SO yummy and juicy!) and I made real mashed potatoes (not the powdered kind that my MIL thought would have been easier), real stuffing (not Stovetop), fresh green beans with garlic and bacon, and my FIL made the gravy. It was probably one of the best meals I've ever made. The turkey was just oozing juice everywhere as Tim carved into it. The skin was crisp and a nice shade of brown and the meat turned out perfect. It was so beautiful and I wish now I had taken a picture of it!! Everyone seemed to be impressed, which made me happy, except for Tim who never seems to be generous with his compliments. "So, Tim, what do you think of dinner?"...."it was okay...I didn't like the sausage in the stuffing". Whatever. When he started in with the fact that I was using real bacon in the green beans instead of the fake stuff, his mother finally said, "will you just stop? Your wife is trying to make a nice meal. She's putting in a lot of work...you could say something nice". At this point, I was starting to see her more as my ally and my husband as the enemy.

Needless to say, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving, much to my surprise. For once, I wasn't left in tears after a holiday meal with my family or Tim's family. I can only pray that Christmas turns out as nice!

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Mommy, unicorns don't like Halloween"

My kids are my latest source of entertainment. I don't need TV, I don't need the music on my iPod. All I need is to watch and listen and I end up completely entertained. Here's some of the silly things they've done or said recently:

Bella has a habit of just coming up with random comments at any given time. For instance, the other morning, she had climbed in bed with me somewhere around 4:30 am. She woke up at 6:30 am, woke me up by nudging me and as soon as I opened my eyes and groggily asked, "what?", she said, "On Soaring over California, we had to wear seat belts. But you and Daddy didn't". Huh?? I had to think for a minute, given I had just woken up...what was she talking about? Oh, the ride at Disneyland that we went on over two months ago. Obviously, this was still weighing heavily on her mind. And then a couple days ago, she was helping me make dinner and I was explaining to her how we make minestrone soup in the crockpot. Out of nowhere, she says, "Mommy, unicorns don't like Halloween". Okay, that was sooooo out of left field that it left me wondering if she had eaten some mushrooms that had grown in our backyard. The conversation went like this, "So, we cut up all these veggies and then we throw them in the crockpot and stir"..."Mommy, unicorns don't like Halloween". I just stared at her and she shrugged and said, "well, they DON'T".
We've finally done away with pull-ups at night for Cole and Bella. I know they are capable of going a whole night without peeing in their beds so we put them to the test. The first night, Bella did have an accident but Cole didn't. However, she insisted she did not pee in her jammies. When I asked her what happened, she said, "Cole peed in the potty and then he took a bunch of the pee water and spilled it on my bed and my jammies". Now how creative is that??!! Cole kept saying "Nuh-uh, she's lying". Of course, I knew she was lying but I was pretty darn impressed with the creativity behind that one!
Today, I had to take Cole to the surgeon for a consult about the surgical procedure for his umbilical hernia. Bella wanted to come too (of course). As we were waiting in the waiting room, she said, "Cole, are you gonna be okay?" and he said "yeah, I'm fine"....then Bella said, "I'm worried about you". Cole asked "why?" and she said "because the dr is gonna cut a big hole inside of you and take some babies out of your belly". The look on his face was priceless....before he could say anything I said "NOOOO, no one's taking babies out of anyone's belly....the dr is just gonna look at Cole's belly button and talk to us about how he's gonna push it back in". Then Bella said, "Cole, I just want to tell you that I love you" to which he replied, "I love you too Bella". They hugged and just when I thought I was gonna get a little teary-eyed watching this exchange of words and display of affection, Bella pushed him away and said, "Now leave me alone....you're bothering me".
Cole was also trying to convince me that they were due for a visit to Chuck E Cheese, even though I swore up and down I'd never set foot in CEC as long as I live. And I told him as much and he said, "Mommy, don't worry about it....you worry too much...it's not a problem". I said, "it is a problem because you guys always end up sick after going there, whether it's from all the germs or the greasy, disgusting pizza, someone always ends up sick....so no, we are not going there". He continued to argue, "But Mommy, pizza is good for your heart and we won't touch anything, we'll just look". Yeah, that's as big a lie as "the check's in the mail". And then Bella piped in with "Mommy, unicorns like apples and rainbows aren't real".
Garrett and Landon are also good for entertainment value, as well. Garrett is into giving kisses big time. And he's very dramatic about it. He has to pucker up and say "mmmwwwwaaaaa" as he's giving a kiss. A kiss from him just isn't the same without the sound effects. He also gives us this horribly evil angry face when he's upset about something. He puckers his lips, bends his head down and glares. I can't help but laugh when he does this because he's SO dramatic about it. And then he always ends up laughing and then repeating the "angry face" over and over until we're finally so sick of it and begging him to stop.
Landon has decided that he has no use for words and just simply nods his head "yes" and shakes his head "no". I was starting to think he really didn't understand the meaning of yes and no, but when I asked him a series of questions, he responded appropriately. "Would you like some crackers?" Nods head yes. "Do you want to go to bed now?" Shakes head no. "Let's go change your diaper". Shakes head no (he'd rather remove it himself and run around the house naked). "Would you like to go for a walk?" Nods head yes. "Do unicorns like Halloween?" Shakes head no. Who knew?

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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