Monday, August 30, 2010

There are some things I may never fully comprehend...

...and I'm okay with that.

Such as....

1) why whenever I get sick it happens to be during the work week but when Tim gets sick it's ALWAYS on a weekend.

You know, the two days a week he's actually available to help me with the kids. How's that for perfect timing?

2) why the kids continously ask me to help them with things while I'm trying to cook dinner, as Tim snoozes on the sofa in the next room.

3) why when I'm talking to Tim, he never hears a word I say yet when I'm on the phone with a friend and he just happens to be in another room, he'll hear every word I say....and feels compelled to chime in with his opinion, repeatedly.

4) why, at the ripe old age of 41 years old, I laugh like a little child any time my kids fart.

As if that isn't bad enough, Bella was trying to tell me something that the "yard duty" person said to her last week and I couldn't stop giggling.

She said, "What's so funny?"

I answered, "You said 'duty'".

With her hands on her hips, she shook her head in disbelief and said, "Seriously, Mommy?"

5) why Landon has a Boston accent even though he's never visited the east coast.

He's constantly telling me to "pak the cah ovuh they-uh" and asking for a "cuppa watuh".

6) why I still get embarrassed watching sex scenes on tv with Tim (not porn, people...think Weeds and True Blood).

7) how on earth I could possibly miss this growing in my garden...



I check that damn plant every single day and never saw that mother of a zucchini until just yesterday.

8) why my husband is the world's biggest pervert.

Upon showing him the giant zucchini and shrieking, "What the hell am I supposed to do with THAT?", he raised his eyebrows and answered, "Well, I can think of a couple uses for it..."

Good God, how can his brain manage a twisted comeback to that when all the blood in his body is trapped down south in his penis?

9) why I find it kind of creepy that Bella is in love with my friend's 16-year old son but when Landon told me he wanted to marry this same friend's 5-year old son, I exclaimed, "Awwww, that's SO sweet".

Upon informing my friend about this, she, too, thought it was absolutely adorable. Our husbands...not so much.

10) why Bella, at only 5 years old, has way more confidence than I do.

For me to get in a bathing suit and go to the neighborhood pool is downright painful.

But she happily throws on a bikini and some strappy sandals (with heels, mind you) and, at a party, confidently struts herself in front of my friend's 16-year old son...you know, the one she has a crush on.

When I told Bella that Anthony's girlfriend was at the party, too, she shrugged her shoulders and answered non-chalantly, "I don't care".

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yet another haunting tale of senseless eating...

The other day I had a craving for something bad...something deviously unhealthy for me, which would finally satisfy that inner beast howling for chocolate.

My attitude, in light of eating more healthfully these days, is to give in to those cravings every once in a blue moon. Either that or just expect everyone around me to cater to the superbitch I become when I deny myself something sinfully sweet.

After digging through our pantry, I managed to find a box of Duncan Hines brownie mix. JACKPOT!! This was so totally what I needed.

Little pangs of guilt stabbed away at me as I prepared the mix so instead of using oil, I substituted applesauce. And I threw in a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed. If I really wanted to go all out, I would've happily grated some fresh zucchini and threw that in there too but come on now...cut me some slack.

As the sugary sweet brownies baked, the kids constantly nagged me about when they would be done baking. I kept repeating, "Good things come to those who wait..."

I had to laugh to myself as I recalled my RE telling me the exact same thing when my 2nd IVF was cancelled, resulting in complete devastation as if my life had been officially declared a failure.

Yeah, good things come to those who wait...and then some, says she who has two sets of twins.

The timer went off and as I opened the warm oven, the dreamy scent of lucious chocolate permeated our home. The kids ran into the kitchen screaming, "Are they done? Can we eat them yet?"

I managed to convince them to wait for the sweets to cool off, telling them that it wasn't worth burning their little taste buds off...yet, at the same time, thinking how wonderful it would be if they could no longer complain about the horrid taste of squash. What, with no taste buds and all.

Finally, after exuding an extreme amount of restraint and patience, my hungry children descended on the pan of brownies as if they were a pack of ravenous bears who had hibernated six months too long.

"Okay, okay," I said. "Calm down...there's plenty of brownies to go around."

Once they were all settled at the kitchen table, each of them with their own little personal bite of heaven, I grabbed myself a couple small orgasms on a plate and settled in at the counter in front of my laptop to check my e-mail.

Within a few seconds, I looked at my plate and it was empty. WTF?

I angrily spun myself around on the barstool, now facing my unsuspecting kids who were still at the table, practically licking their paper towels clean of crumbs.

"Who took my brownies?" I growled.

My eyes narrowed and I glared at each of them. "Whoever took them better speak up or you will never have another brownie as long as I live!"

However, no one spoke up. They looked at each other. Cole asked, "Who took Mommy's brownies? It wasn't me!"

Landon pointed to Garrett, "It was him. I saw him take your brownies!"

Garrett, desperate to prove his innocence, broke down into tears with an overabundance of snot pouring from his nose..."Not me! Mommy, not me!"

My eyes darted to Bella, who was cowering in her chair...tiny crumbs of chocolate evidence mushed all over her lips. Oh wait, that was probably HER brownie.

"Mommy", she said matter-of-factly. "You ate them."

What kind of dumb-ass does she take me for? I ate them? Was this her idea of a joke?

I began to laugh and bellowed, "You all must think I'm pretty lame to fall for that! One of you took them, I know it!"

I got up from the barstool, put two more brownies on my plate and walked back over to my laptop.

I warned them, "You all better back off of my brownies! You're messing with the wrong person...no one stands between me and my chocolate!"

After reading some Facebook updates and finishing one of the small brownies, I reached for the second one...but there was nothing left on the plate.

"OH. MY. GOODNESS. You kids don't know when to stop, do you?! Seriously, who ate my freakin' brownie?!" I hollered.

Cole walked over to me and shrugged his shoulders. The rest of them looked just as clueless.

To be honest, they all looked pretty scared, as if they were afraid I might actually explode into a tiny million pieces right before their very eyes....and then how would they explain that to their father?

"Well, Daddy...she kept accusing us of eating her brownies and then her head started spinning like a thousand miles per hour and it flew right off her head, right about the same time her body exploded all over the kitchen...and, get this....her mouth was still screaming 'Where's my freakin brownies?' It was horrible, Daddy. We're not gonna be able to sleep for months."

And then I pictured Tim using the life insurance money he'd receive after my death to pay for a lifetime of therapy for each of them...after their schoolmates started complaining that every time my kids would even smell a hint of chocolate, they'd have a complete meltdown and start screaming "Where's the freakin brownies?"

I rolled my eyes and tried the nice approach. "Okay, I'm not mad anymore...it's just chocolate. No big deal. But it's really irritating me that one of you is sneaking over here, right under my watchful eye and taking my brownies. Just tell me who it is and we'll call it a day."

Still, no one owned up to it. Whatever. See if I ever share brownies with them again.

Staring them down with an evil eye, I grabbed another brownie from the pan and sat down in front of my laptop.

Only this time, Cole smartened up and decided to keep an eye on me. Imagine that? HIM keeping an on ME, for a change.

Just as I was about to shovel that sweet little morsel into my mouth, he screamed, "A-ha!!!!! It's YOU...you're eating the brownies!"

Huh? WTF? Little smart ass child.

Immediately, I stopped myself and looked at my hand. Well, what do you know? There it was....a hunk of brownie headed towards my gaping mouth, which I probably wouldn't have tasted since I was so engrossed in reading a friend's update on Facebook.

All four of the kids now stood around me, arms crossed in front of their chests and smiling as if they had just made the bust of the century.

"Oh, come on, guys..." I pleaded. "I'm entitled to make a mistake every now and then, aren't I? Look, I'm sorry for accusing you of taking the brownies...clearly, I was eating them and not even paying any attention!"

Would I ever live this down? Of course not.

Bella smiled as she said, "So you seriously didn't know you were eating the brownies? Really?"

I shook my head, knowing full well I should be ashamed of myself. This is why Oprah, Dr Oz and all those other fitness and nutrition gurus tell you to NEVER eat in front of the tv or the computer.

Thankfully, the kids let it go and didn't mention it again. Until the next night...

After I said goodnight to my sweet little bundles of joy, I went downstairs to clean up the kitchen from dinner.

Suddenly, I heard laughter coming from Cole and Bella's bedroom.

My ears peaked with curiosity, which quickly turned to embarrassment, as I heard them each trying to out-do one another in their best demon-possessed voice...

"Where's my freakin brownies?" and "If you ate my brownies, you'll live to regret it!", followed up with "I can't believe how angry she got...they're JUST brownies!"

So, my friends, needless to say, I will never eat senselessly again....it's totally not worth the humiliation and shame.

I've learned my lesson. And my kids will suffer for it.

Next time, I'll just bake the brownies when they aren't home. And I'll devour the entire pan with such gusto and purpose it would make Jillian Michael's shit in her pants.

Later, I'll tell the kids, "Oh, by the way, I baked some brownies and ate every single one of them. You guys aren't angry, though. Right? After all, they were JUST brownies."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pouring my heart out...the bagel shop was probably not the best place to have this conversation

It's time to pour my heart out again with Shell at Things I Can't Say.

I was born and raised Jewish; however, I converted to Christianity as an adult.

Shortly after my conversion, Tim gave me a beautiful gold cross to wear on a necklace, which I promptly removed any time I was to be around my parents, out of fear that they would never understand my reasons.

When my friend Tori and I were in Vegas for an IVF cycle, my dad (who lived there at the time) picked us up at the airport and took us to breakfast.

And as luck would have it, it was the ONE time I forgot to take the necklace off.

As we were eating bagels and slurping down coffee, my dad glanced across the table at me. Something had caught his eye.

My eyes followed his eyes...he had noticed the cross on my necklace. I found myself nervously grasping at it, as it clung to my neck.

The look on Tori's face was classic, while I stumbled to find the right words. "Uh...I...uh, well, I kind of converted to Christianity. Didn't I tell you?"

My dad's eyes practically bugged out of their sockets and he exclaimed, "NO, you never told me! Why would you convert?"

Still completely tongue-tied, I said, "Are you sure I never told you?"

With his brow wrinkled and his eyes closed (a sure sign of anger), he said, "No, I most definitely would remember if you had told me that!!"

Trying to find my way out of what was sure to be a cumbersome discussion, I mumbled something about never feeling complete until I discovered Christianity and how he would probably never fully understand.

His eyes still closed, he answered, "You're right. I don't understand!"

Is this truly the conversation I wanted to have with my dad over stale bagels and cold coffee, while a good friend of mine sat next to me wondering how on earth I was going to explain this.

The look on Tori's face read, "Oh, this is gonna be good....so much better than Paradise Hotel", which is a show we were both obsessed with.

We'd spend the entire hour of the show calling each other back and forth with, "Can you believe that backstabbing bitch didn't get voted off?" and "Dude, you totally know that one couple is getting it on!" Real mature stuff but, hey, it was a welcome escape from the treacherous adventures of IVF.

"I just felt...", I began to explain. "It felt like a piece of me had been missing until I discovered Christianity. You and mom forced Judaism down my throat, giving me no choice to decide on my own what I was interested in."

He laughed, which seemed a little out of place, considering the seriousness of the topic.

Tori looked at me and silently mouthed, "Awkward".

Yeah, just a little.

My dad shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Okay. Whatever".

My friend seemed to be relieved, as I wiped a bit of sweat that had begun to bead up on my forehead. I knew my dad, though...and I knew he wasn't about to let this go without further discussion at a later time.

It wasn't until weeks later that my dad brought it up again over a phone conversation.

He said, "I don't understand how you can say we forced Judaism on you. Religion isn't a choice. Your mother and I simply exposed you to the religion you were born into."

"Well," I said. "You forced me to go to Hebrew School every week, services every Friday night, a Bat Mitzvah at 13 years old, confirmation at 15 years old...I felt like I didn't have a choice. It wasn't something enjoyable for me. I went through the motions to make you happy."

There was only silence on his end of the line. Had I gone too far? I very rarely talked to my father like this...so open, so vulnerable.

Finally, he said, "I guess I'll never understand it. But it's your life. Do what you want."

And that's how the conversation ended. We haven't discussed it since.

In the end, what was most important to me (and what I failed to convey to him) was my personal relationship with God.

Sure, I could've had a relationship with God while sitting in temple every Friday evening, while reciting prayers in Hebrew....just as easily as I could've had a relationship with Him, reading a bible in the comfort of my own bedroom.

However, it wasn't until discovering Christ that I felt whole again. I had been saved, literally.

It was almost as if a burden had been lifted from my shoulders... a feeling which was so comfortable, peaceful and, most of all, not forced.

At some point, my father must have come to terms with it because he sends the kids gifts for Christmas, with no mention of Hanukkah. He no longer sends me cards wishing me a happy Rosh Hashanah or calls me to see how long I managed to fast on Yom Kippur before sneaking a cracker or two.

A small part of me is sad about that. Sad, only because I feel like it's a disappointment to him. It's one less thing that connects my father and me, as we don't have a strong bond as it is.

However, I have no regrets with who I am as a Christian. I have finally arrived, spiritually, to the place I was meant to be. Even though it may not be exactly what my parents had hoped for, ultimately, it was God's doing and that brings me peace, most of all.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Well, at least SHE thought it was funny...

My mother-in-law doesn't get my sense of humor, which really is too bad because I think she might enjoy my company more if she did.

One of their neighbors was having a party on Saturday and Tim, the kids and I were invited. Now, this neighbor has a large gorgeous backyard, with a nice-sized pool and plenty of space for the kids to run around.

Every 10 minutes, my mother-in-law would come over to me, looking panic-stricken and say, "Have you seen the kids? Where are the kids?"

At one point, I was talking to one of the other neighbors, who also has young children, when my mother-in-law said to me (for the 6th time in 1 hour), "Where are the kids?"

Stretching my neck past her, I looked towards the pool. She asked, "Do you see them?"

I replied, "No, I was just checking to see if they're at the bottom of the pool, which they're not. So obviously the kids are fine and off having fun somewhere."

The neighbor started laughing, nodding her head in agreement. She said, "That's exactly my attitude, too! I totally get it!"

My MIL just stared at me, straight-faced and as serious as someone who doesn't find it the slight bit hysterical when a 3-year old drops his plate of chili on the ground and shouts loudly, "Oh shit!"

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "What?! You didn't think the pool comment was even just a little bit funny?" The unexpressive look on her face stated the obvious.

"Well, at least, SHE thought it was funny," I explained, nodding my head towards the neighbor who had laughed at the comment.

Continuing, I argued, "Seriously, the kids are fine. They're not in the pool, which is what would have me the most concerned. Do you want me to go find them AGAIN?"

My MIL nodded her head, as she sat back down in her comfy chair which she had occupied practically the whole time we had been at the party.

"Oh good God," I mumbed under my breath, as I excused myself to locate my children, who were safe and sound playing with the other neighborhood kids near a large tree.

Stunned at my frenzied concern over their whereabouts every 8.5 minutes, Cole asked, "Why do you keep looking for us? We're fine. We're having fun!" The other 3 kids chimed in, "Yeah, we're having a good time. Leave us alone!"

I walked back over to where my MIL was sitting and assured her that the kids were fine. "They're fine...in fact, they specifically told me to leave them alone!"

About an hour later, Tim approached me, looking a little green in the face. He said, "I don't feel so good. I think we're going to have to leave".

As we were packing the kids up, his mother mentioned, "I wonder what's wrong with Tim" and I answered, "Oh, it's probably just the poison I slipped him in his drink on the way down here."

Again, she just looked at me, seemingly disgusted with my sick sense of humor. I followed it up with, "Well, on the bright side, at least you now know where the kids are, right?"

While we drove home, I said to Tim, "I don't think your mother appreciates my sense of humor."

He asked, "How do you know?"

I simply answered, "I know. Trust me, I just know."

And, really, it's such a shame, isn't it? Wouldn't the world be such a happier place if we all had a a little bit of dark humor in us?


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Friday, August 20, 2010

"Mommy, hold my balls..."

This is what Garrett said to me within the first 10 minutes of being in his new preschool classroom….loudly….within earshot of every parent there, of course.

He clumsily walked over to where I was sitting, three brightly colored balls in his arms which he fully intended to dump into my readily available lap, and said, “Mommy, hold my balls…”

Right then, one ball fell to the floor and he announced, “Oh no! Grab my ball, Mommy”.

I started giggling like a nervous teenager whose boyfriend just stuck his tongue unexpectedly yet forcefully in her mouth.

I did everything short of saying, "Heh,heh...he said balls" in an obnoxious Beavis and Butthead tone of voice, which Tim has to come to adore and despise at the same time.

The moment I walked out of the classrom, I imagined the teacher ran to her desk and wrote herself a note, "Reminder to self - DO NOT, under even the most desperate of circumstances, EVER ask Garrett and Landon's mom to volunteer!"

Moving on…surprisingly, no tears were shed by any of the kids on the first day of school. Nor by me!

While they were together in the same class in kindergarten, Cole and Bella were separated this year for 1st grade…which sent me into a panic. How would I volunteer in each of their classes? What about field trips? Class performances?

Thankfully, I was assured by their teachers that it shouldn’t be an issue and there was no need to worry. WTF? If there's anything I do well, it's worry...please don't deny what I do best.

I imagined those teachers wrote notes to themselves, as well..."Reminder to self - Cole and Bella's mother is a an overwrought, high-strung perfectionist, who's clearly on the verge of a mental breakdown. Gently discourage her from volunteering every chance you get."

Here are some pictures of the kids on their first day of school...






Sigh...the first day of school always makes me wish I could stop the hands of time forever.


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Thursday, August 19, 2010

From the Heart...

A few months ago, I was approached about submitting an essay or two for a book in the works called From the Heart: A Collection of Stories and Poems From the Front Lines of Parenting.

The book's main purpose is to raise money for children's charities, with the ultimate goal being to help every child get medical care that he/she needs and find cures for some of life’s most devastating diseases.

I was beyond thrilled when I found out that two of my essays had been accepted for the anthology, which is now available for purchase by clicking HERE and will soon be available in retail stores nationwide.

All the proceeds from the book will go to selected children's charities and that's what made this is even more exciting for me, knowing that I'm playing a small part in making a difference in the life of a child.

Please continue reading the following Q & A for more information on the book...

Q: Tell me a little bit about this project.

A: From the Heart is the brainchild of the ladies at Write for Charity. After finding out that her youngest daughter needed surgery, our chief editor, Beth Davis, felt a driving urge to make a difference in the lives of children, particularly sick children. The idea of writing a book for charity had been thrown around our office for some time, but she jumped in with both feet to get it moving.

Understanding that writing a book in a short period of time would be an unrealistic task, the ladies went full steam ahead in search of collaborators. They searched magazines, the blogosphere and writers groups from around the country for the best and brightest writing talent they could find, extending invitations as they went. After sorting through over 300 submissions over the course of several months, From the Heart was born. The book is a creative collaboration of nearly 100 different stories and poems from all aspects of parenting. July 1st was the kickoff to our 90 Day Challenge and we’ve been moving ahead with book sales ever since!

Q. What is the 90 Day Challenge?

A: The 90 Day Challenge is a book sales drive that represents a goal that we set for ourselves and the collaborative authors who are choosing to participate. The goal is to jumpstart sales of From the Heart in the first 90 days by selling 10,000 copies of the book and raising a large lump sum of money for charity immediately.

The book is currently only available for sale on our website at http://www.writeforcharity.com/, but it will be available at many other retail locations following the 90 Day Challenge.

Q: Why not make it available through a national distribution channel during your 90 Day Challenge?

A: We elected to sell the book at http://www.writeforcharity.com/ during 90 Day Challenge and wait to distribute the book into bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders and on website like Amazon.com due to the costs associated with a distributor. By selling the book on our website, we are able to control in house costs, raise profit margins and, in turn, donate more money to our selected charities.

Q. Who will benefit from this project?

A: The desire to contribute to children’s charities has driven this project from the very beginning. Since the minute we decided to publish this book, we knew that children’s hospitals and juvenile disease research foundations would be the beneficiaries when it came to fruition. All of the profits from this book will be split between various Children’s Hospitals and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center.

Q: So, 100% of proceeds from this project go to charity?

A: One hundred percent of profits will go to our selected charities. Obviously with a project like this, you have printing costs, but other than that, we have committed all of the funds to our selected charities. Our authors have donated their work, our editors have donated their time and our graphics people have donated their talent. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful group of talented people involved in this project. For a list of contributors, visit http://writeforcharity.wordpress.com/the-authors/.

Q: Tell us something we don’t know about your project.

A: Well, the biggest thing would definitely have to be the caliber of our contributors. We have several nationally recognized writers in our group of nearly 80 contributors and many of our contributors have been featured in nationally distributed publications, on popular websites or on television. Their willingness to donate their work to our cause is admirable and I know that everyone who reads this volume will enjoy their poems and stories. Together with our contributors, we have begun a grassroots effort to raise funds for our wonderful charities that is growing by the day. Their eagerness to help get the word out about the book is admirable and we appreciate their support.

Q: What’s it in for me to support this project?

A: The charity situation on a national level has taken a severe beating as of late. Many incidents of run ins with unsavory “charities” have appeared in the media in the past several years. Many individuals and companies have completely lost trust in those trying to do good work because of a few “bad eggs.”

Many individuals have contributed time and effort to put this project together. Our authors contributed their work out of the kindness of their hearts and our editor, layout artist and designers all contributed time as well. Because they believe in the mission behind this project, to help children in need, we hope you will take the time to support us and purchase a copy of the book. The book in itself is a fantastic product and by purchasing, you are helping a good cause.

Q: How can I support Write for Charity’s From the Heart?

A: There are a number of different things you can do to support the project. First and foremost, you can click here to buy a book! On our website, we have the ever popular blog buttons which I have starting seeing crop up all over cyberspace. You are welcome to download the “supporter” button for your own website if you are so inclined.

This is the first anthology we have done and with the success we are already seeing with it, we know it won’t be the last. Contact one of our editors at press@writeforcharity.com for more information on how you can contribute to one of our upcoming projects or help to support our current project.


Write


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Monday, August 16, 2010

It must be a male thing....

I'm knee-deep in making a birthday video for Cole and Bella's upcoming birthday, as well as shopping for school supplies.

So, to make life a little less stressful, I've decided to just repost this "oldie but goodie" from a year ago.

Enjoy!

It must be a male thing...

I'll give you two hints in the form of pictures:





Have you figured it out yet?

It's pretty obvious that Garrett is looking at the ads from the Sunday paper from last weekend. But what may not be as obvious is that he's.....uh.....well.....there's no proper way to put it, I suppose....he's pooping in his diaper.

Yes, my friends, he is a typical male. He must have something to read while he poops. I didn't realize this "I must have something to read while I poop" thing started so early. I mean, he's only 2.5 years old.

Maybe it's even a generational thing....my grandfather did it, my father did it and Tim does it.

Which leads me to my next issue....why do men get the privilege of "relaxing" in the bathroom long enough to read the paper or a magazine?

I can't even remember the last time I had even 10 seconds to myself in the bathroom. Yet, men get to lock themselves away in the bathroom for what seems like an eternity, while they catch up on the latest going on in the world....

And oh, yes, let's not forget they also get to take care of bodily functions at the same time. Killing two birds at once, I suppose. I guess it's a productive use of time, when you look at it that way. Still, it doesn't make me any less resentful.

The other day Tim came out of the bathroom and asked me, "Did you hear that Bernie Madoff has pancreatic cancer?" I looked up at him from what I was doing (the dishes, of course) and said, "Who? What?" and he repeated himself again.

I laughed and said, "I'm sorry, you must have me confused with someone who actually gets to read the paper and watch the news OR someone who is afforded the LUXURY of being in the bathroom taking care of bodily functions WHILE reading the paper....but I can tell you that the new show on PBS, The Dinosaur Train, starts tomorrow and that there's a new flavor of V-8 Fusion on the market...that's the lastest news in MY world".

He just stared at me for a few seconds and then he said, "Oh, I didn't realize we live in two different worlds".

I said, "Oh, we do.....trust me, we do. In fact, we probably live in two completely different universes".

And, he walked away. I'll give him one thing....he's definitely smart enough to know now that a conversation like this could never possibly end on a good note.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Got cream cheese?

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Besides smearing cream cheese all over our faces, we’ve been busy trying to squeeze in some more fun activities before school starts next week.

Like marveling over our beautiful grapes and watermelon, which we've had a blast measuring every single morning….

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And making funky popsicle stick puppets.

Meet Princess Sparkly Rainbow...

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Say hello to Miss Mermaid Sprinkles...

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Welcome Blue Dino...

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And hanging out at the park, playing soccer…

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Today, we’ll be going to the local cheese factory for a tour, learning how cheese and ice cream are made….our one last hurrah for the summer!

Pictures of that to follow, provided I don't have to bail one of my kids out of a butter-churning machine.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Now who’s stylin’ at the pool? ME, that’s who!

The kids and I love going to the pool and the beach. It’s one of our favorite things to do together.

However, with the good, comes the bad…and the bad part is the packing involved.

With 4 young children, sometimes it feels like I have to bring the entire house with me. It’s not rare to see me dragging 3 different bags along on these outings…the diaper bag, 2 small beach totes full of towels, sunscreen, wipes, goggles, etc and, of course, a huge cooler filled with snacks and drinks.

By the time we arrive to our final destination, I’m exhausted. Really, there has to be an easier way, right?

When I was contacted by Simply Bags, asking if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their beautiful large beach totes, it was as if they had read my mind! I wasted no time in placing an order for a navy-striped stylish beach tote!

Just a few days later, the beach tote arrived and I was immediately pleased. Look at how lovely it is! Not only do I totally dig the stripes but the twisted-rope handle is adorable!

Everything about it screams “SUMMER!”, don’t you think?

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Besides being constructed with environmentally-friendly materials, the tote is extremely sturdy yet it’s is also lightweight.

My other 2 beach totes don’t open nearly as wide as this one does so I’m able to fit most of the kids’ thing in it. There’s a little pocket, as well, for things like keys, wallet, chapstick, etc.

The tote measures 23"W x 14"H with a 7” bottom and overall height of 25".

I love that personalization is included, which adds that extra special touch in making each tote unique. I've already received several compliments on it!

To order your very own personalized beach tote, visit Simply Bags. While there, check out the variety of other bags they have, as well.

I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Tim has re-negotiated our marriage contract...

This year, Helene and I are celebrating 8 years of marital devotion.

Well, maybe not celebrating as much as enduring, considering this day will be just like any other day of the year in which we both are trying to survive daily life with two sets of twins.

Don’t get me wrong, I would not give up our children for anything in this world or the next (heaven), but sometimes it feels like we have already moved on to the next world and God wiped out our memories of how we got here.

So why am I guest posting today?

Well, last year Helene came to me and said she wanted to “re-negotiate our marriage contract”.

When she asked if I'd like to do a guest post in honor of our anniversary this year, I decided to do a little re-negotiating of my own. It's only fair, right?

So here it goes (with Helene's responses in italics, because we all know she has to have the final word).

1. You will stop asking for my opinion when you damn well know my opinion doesn’t matter unless it agrees with yours.

Do not ask me questions such as, "Does my butt look fat in these jeans?"

Either your butt is fat or it is not. I, however, refuse to answer because I will be accused of lying or being insensitive. Either way, I lose and end up sleeping on the couch.

(Is it really that hard to simply say, "Sweetie, you have the nicest ass I've ever seen. I wish you'd stop being so hard on yourself." Would that kill you, seriously?)

2. You will not expect me to put on a good face and say nice things about your cooking.

You are right when you say, “I am not Julia Child”, but I probably wouldn’t like Julia Child’s cooking either.

I like simple foods like McDonalds, Jack-in-the-Box, Taco Bell, Pizza, Pasta and Chinese.

Again, I agree with you, take-out works for me. Please, why do you think I always give you restaurant names when you ask me what I want for dinner?

It’s a win-win. You don’t have to cook and I don’t have to eat two dinners.

(Since when are McDonald's and Taco Bell considered simple foods? When they cause you to be in the bathroom for hours at a time, I wouldn't exactly consider those "simple" foods. Just sayin'.)

3. If the TV is on and I am watching it, you will not speak to me. Scratch that, if the TV is on, you will not speak to me.

I know you would like me to be a good listener, but I am a man and we are married.

It is my duty as a husband to ignore you when you are talking, even though it drives you mad with rage.

Watching someone eating a pig’s colon on Fear Factor is less upsetting than listening to you gripe about how difficult it is for you to do “whatever” with the kids for the millionth time.

(For your info, Fear Factor isn't even on anymore. Get with the program...you can't tell me that Muscle Car is more important than anything I have to say, even if I am bitching about the kids....again!)

4. There will be no more romancing.

Buy yourself some flowers or jewelry, get yourself a card and say it’s from me.

Why bother with the middle man? You can just thank me when I get home.

(So, does this mean you won't freak out when you see I bought my dream home in Greece? Awesome! Happy Anniversary to ME!!)

5. You will have sex when, where, and how I say.

This is non-negotiable and, if not obeyed, will have undesirable consequences.

(Geez, I can only imagine....your mind is a dirty, evil place to be. But, tell you what...if I can fantasize that I'm doing the deed with Mark Wahlberg then your wish is my command).

6. You will greet me at the door with a smile and a kiss when I come home from work each day.

It is not my fault you had a bad day, so don’t bitch to me and then expect me to be nice to you in the morning.

I was at work all day, not on vacation.

(Last time I checked, most people don't gleefully skip out the door every morning as they say, "I'm heading to work, sweetie..." Sometimes you leave skidmarks in the driveway as you peel out. Work, my ass. Your work IS a vacation).

7. You will rinse the dishes and place them in the dishwasher in an orderly fashion.

I was forced to enjoy your cooking the first time, let’s not re-hash it.

You know me, I don’t do leftovers.

(That's what she said).

8. You will not complain to me about how hard it is to care for two sets of twins.

I told you I thought two children were more than enough, but you forced me to use you like a 2-bit whore without any contraception. You tricked me.

(Uh, no...let me remind you exactly how it happened. You asked your parents to babysit Cole and Bella. Then we went out for dinner, where you strongly encouraged me to drink a glass of wine...or three...and then you took full advantage of me when I could barely mutter the words "too tired, need sleep".)

9. You will not lecture me about using bad language around the children and then blurt out four letter expletives yourself because they are driving you stark raving mad.

(But it's so much fun to make you feel bad, especially when the windows are open and the neighbors can hear you. The neighbors never hear me curse because I've learned how to say the word "shit" under my breath with my teeth clenched).

10. You will not preach to me about flatulence and then proceed to do so in your child’s face because you saw me do it and you thought it was funny.
(I got nothing for this. It is funny. Can't deny that.)
11. Lastly, I have not forgotten about my promise to vacation in Atlantis for our 10th anniversary.
But, seeing as I get to go on vacation at work each day, I think it’s only fair that you go alone so we both can have the vacation of our dreams. Ha! Ha!
(Hey, now you're onto something...but why would I miss out on another chance to make you miserable while on vacation? I'm so good at it.)

I hope you enjoyed this post.

In case you didn’t, you can read it again in tomorrow’s obituary section.

P.S. Happy Anniversary, Sweetie! (Happy anniversary to you as well....here's to another 8 years of pure wedded bliss!)

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Friday, August 6, 2010

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

A bunch of random tidbits, wrapped up into one...

1) There's something seriously wrong with me. Some of you may already be aware of that but this may be shocking for others, I realize.

For instance, Cole downloaded a game on my iPhone called "Ow, My Balls".

The point of the game is to keep the little cartoon guy up in the air long enough to land on things (mostly sharp, pointed objects, as well as hot BBQ's and birds with huge beaks), ultimately crushing his nuts.

Completely inappropriate for a 5-year old child? Most definitely.

Yet, I can't help cheering him on when he's racked up 246,000 points in just a matter of minutes.

That's some serious skill right there, people. And I don't want to discourage the development of excellent hand-eye coordination, do I?

2) At the same time, there's something seriously wrong with Tim. He has a problem with referring to Cole's...uh....private parts with its properly given term "penis". I kept telling Tim that one of these days he's going to be sorry.

But of course it's me who ends up speechless and embarrassed at the park one day when I overhear our well-meaning son tell another child, "You have to be careful not to hit me in my kickstand next time you throw the ball".

And, trust me, when the poor, confused kid asked what Cole meant by "kickstand", he had no problem explaining it.

That evening, for the final time, I screamed at Tim, "For the love of God, it's a PENIS, not a KICKSTAND!! Please refer to IT the right way!!"

It must be a guy thing...being all proud of your son who seems to be well-endowed for his age. But still....

3) When someone tells you that you will be HIKING through a WATERFALL what exactly do you envision?

Yeah, that's what I thought too. A huge waterfall...lots of rocks...running water...there's a good chance you will get wet.

And when that same someone tells you that you might want to wear water shoes or sneakers that you don't mind getting wet, do you show up wearing strappy sandals after you just got a pedicure?

See, exactly what I thought again.

In Tahoe, I invited my sister, her kids and her two friends and their kids to go HIKING with us along Glen Alpine FALLS. Apparently, they had envisioned a calm, smoothly-flowing stream running down a series of small hills.

Uh, no....when I said WATERFALL, I meant WATERFALL.

They were freaking out, watching their kids run amock on the rocks. My sister was upset that I was letting my own children, as young as they are, climb the rocks.

Yet, there were parents with kids the same age as my own letting their kids explore...and I couldn't help but think of my friend, Sharlene, who takes her young twins on all kinds of adventure (including walking on cliffs).

At one point, Tim did leave the kids alone on a rock, which I was upset about but the rest of the time, we explored the waterfall together...all hand in hand.

I could partially see why she was upset, especially with Garrett's head injury just a couple months ago.

She kept saying, "Someone's going to get hurt. Becca's already scraped her foot."

I got news for her...unless there's some way you can place your kid in bubble wrap and leave them locked in the basement for the rest of their lives without CPS having a major issue with it, the kids are going to get bumps and scrapes along the way.

Isn't it better for them to incur those bumps and scrapes while doing something fun and adventurous, while being closely supervised of course....rather than sitting on the couch with a bowl of chips in hand, while witnessing others experiencing life on television?

Then she said, "Uh, not to be a bitch but..." which isn't gonna be good because when someone starts a sentence off like that, you just know you're gonna end up thinking, "What a bitch...I can't believe she said that".

Finally, after arguing with her "Where's your sense of adventure?", we left with them and went to the stream profile at Camp Richardson.

Funny thing, though, while walking along the flat ground along the calm stream is where Garrett got hurt. Go figure...

Just a scraped knee...no cracked head, bulging eyeballs or anything of that sort.

4) On Tuesday, I got violently ill...not sure if it was food poisoning or a 24-hour stomach bug but I felt like death was hunting me down.

The kids were so worried and concerned. Kind of like the time when I fell from the bunkbed ladder while hanging a mobile for Bella.

While I was puking in the toilet for the 5th time in an hour, Landon was screaming at me, "Mommy, I need a shirt. Get me a shirt NOW!"

Bella was asking, "When you're done puking, can you take us to the pool?"

Cole repeatedly asked for another bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and Garrett was pissed that I couldn't summon enough energy to get off the bathroom floor long enough to change the channel on the tv for him.

God forbid, Mommy take a sick day for once in 5 years.

Can someone please tell me when kids are supposed to develop empathy for others because I'm a little concerned that I'm raising a bunch of future serial killers.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pouring my heart out...the PPD edition



It's time to pour my heart out again...with Shell at Things I Can't Say.

Why are some women so afraid to talk openly about their experience with post-partum depression?

It saddens me that people can talk freely about their political opinions or sexual preferences, yet some women still feel nothing but shame and embarrassment when it comes to admitting they suffer (or have suffered) from PPD.

Because I'm an open book (or maybe it's just that I have no shame), I want to share a little more now than I have in previous posts on the subject.

And as a forewarning, this is going to be a brutally honest and graphic post so if you find the subject matter disturbing, please don't read any further.

My experience with PPD was devastating and debilitating. I suffered from it after I had Cole and Bella, though I didn't realize that's exactly what it was until after I had Garrett and Landon.

The depression hit me like a ton of bricks 7 months after the 2nd set of twins were born. Yes, SEVEN months later.

People usually think PPD takes hold of you almost immediately. It doesn't...it can capture you and hold you hostage within the first 12 months after giving birth.

And that's exactly what it feels like...as if you're a prisoner in your own body.

It's isolating, frustrating and downright scary...and that's putting it mildly.

With Cole and Bella, I was on auto-pilot the first few months after their birth. Survival mode at its best. I didn't have the choice to just lay in bed in the dark...I had 2 babies depending on me, needing me to keep it together for their sake.

I remember specifically when I started to suffer from intrusive thoughts, after having our 1st set of twins. I put them in the double stroller and took them for a long walk. After having been up with them most of the night, I needed some fresh air.

Along my route, we passed a lake and a horrible thought quickly entered my mind....what if I just let the stroller roll into the water? Would I jump in afterwards to rescue my babies or would I hide behind a bush and watch the stroller submerge?

In my head, I could imagine hearing their screams of fear, as they would sink deeper into the water. Would the water be cold? Would they die quickly or would they suffer?

It was extremely disturbing and I was mortified that such a thought had entered my mind. I knew I would never actually do such a thing but where did that thought come from?

I had wanted children so desperately, having gone through 3 rounds of IVF to finally conceive these children. And here I was, imagining their death...imagining MYSELF as the one who was responsible for causing their death.

I never mentioned those frightening thoughts to anyone and I avoided taking that path by the lake in the future when I would take Cole and Bella on walks.

Unfortunately, avoiding the lake didn't stop the distressing thoughts from plagueing my mind.

On another day I had taken them for a walk and as I pushed them along I noticed most of the cars were passing us at breakneck speed. I envisioned myself pushing their stroller into the way of an oncoming car.

Again, the entire incident played out in my head. Would I just stand there and watch? Or would I run into the street after them, putting my own life in jeopardy to save my babies? How far would their stroller be thrown into the air?

I could picture their battered, lifeless bodies on the concrete.

From that point on, I tried not to leave the house....too scared that another intrusive thought would enter my mind.

I struggled on a daily basis to conquer the demons that threatened to devour me. Within time, I was able to control the thoughts to the point where they became far and few between.

However, after the birth of our 2nd twins, PPD gripped me once again and it was so much worse than before.

Instead of suffering from intrusive thoughts at random times, I began having the upsetting thoughts all the time.

When giving the babies a bath in the kitchen sink, I'd see the garbage disposal switch out of the corner of my eye and visualize turning it on, watching their tiny limbs being chopped into a thousand bloody pieces.

I imagined myself tossing them over the balcony of the stairs that led to their bedroom. At night when they would cry, I could easily see myself smothering them with a pillow.

Often times, I'd lock myself in my bedroom and cry right along with them, wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

It wasn't only the intrusive thoughts that were alarming. I walked around in an angry rage all day long....yelling and screaming over the most unimportant things, such as Tim not replacing the toilet paper in the bathroom.

I thought about killing myself at least 3 times a day, googling which way would be the quickest, yet least painful while dreams of packing my bags and running away often consumed me.

At this time, I also began suffering from panic attacks, which would literally seize me in my tracks. My brain was in a constant state of alert...always working, always thinking, always planning.

I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat...I don't even know how I managed to function most of the time. Every move I made was forced and mechanical, completely void of emotion.

Making feeble attempts in seeking help, I would say to Tim, "I can't do this anymore. I just wish I could completely vanish into thin air".

And he would say, "You just need to get more sleep".

Once, I told him, "We should put the babies in foster care. I'm a horrible mother. I don't deserve them. They deserve a mother who loves them and can protect them".

Surprised, he had asked, "You want to put the kids up for adoption!?" and I'd say, matter-of-factly, "Yes, I do".

The look in his eyes was one of utter confusion and anger. Eventually, he would become resentful and bitter.

He didn't understand it...he didn't know where all this was coming from. The scary thing was, neither did I. Even though I suspected it might be PPD, I still didn't want to admit it to anyone, least of all myself.

This continued for awhile....I wrestled with the intrusive thoughts, even though I knew I didn't have it in me to act on them. That was my one saving grace, the fact that, deep inside, I was still a rational person.

In terms of the panic attacks, I tried to convince myself that I wasn't trapped and that I could leave at any time. I kept a suitcase full of clothes and essentials in the garage so I could take flight, if need be.

I struggled through every minute, every hour of the day to not feel any pain. After each long, exhausting day, I would retire to my bedroom, where I wished I could vanish into a puff of smoke and simply not exist anymore.

Wasn't a mother supposed to love and protect her children, cherish and enjoy every single minute of motherhood? Why didn't I feel that way? How had I turned into a such an ugly monster?

My breakthrough happened on November 9, 2007. My plan was to leave and never come back.

That morning, I completely broken down after Garrett had screamed and cried endlessly for 2 whole hours in the morning. My nerves were frayed and I couldn't think straight. I began yelling at him, "Shut up, just shut up....I can't listen to you scream anymore".

But the more I yelled, the more he cried. I failed to notice that his distress was a direct result of how I was reacting to him. Instead of comforting and reassuring him, as a mother should, I became more irritable and upset.

I laid him on the changing table and he continued to cry. In my disconnected mind, I interpreted his agitation as if he were saying, "You're a terrible mother. You don't deserve to have children".

Placing my hand over his mouth, I looked down at him and screamed, "Shut up...please shut up! I cannot do this anymore! I could smother you right now...just shut the hell up!"

Upon hearing this, Tim flew down the stairs in an instant and yelled at me, "Leave...just get out, right now!"

I screamed back, "Fine! I'm all packed and ready to go. And I'm never coming back. Fuck you!"

I threw my suitcase into the car, drove straight to the bank and withdrew $500 from my own personal savings account.

And then I sat in the car and sobbed for what seemed like an eternity....

In the end, I did reach out for help. Finally. I had to.

I was sinking quickly and feared going under so deeply that I may never find my way back. I hated what I had become and didn't want my children to grow up scared of me.

They deserved a childhood filled with happiness, laughter and joy, not anger, resentment and sadness. And I didn't want my husband to hate me for the rest of his life.

I admitted to myself that I couldn't do it anymore on my own. These feelings weren't going away, no matter what I did.

After getting in touch with my former therapist and attending weekly sessions with him, I began to feel the old "me" shining through again. I also started taking an anti-depressant, which took awhile to kick in, but when it did, I felt the results with a huge relief.

Finally, it didn't hurt to be alive every minute of the day and I could hug my children and hold them tight without the fear of harming them.

Soon, the good days outweighed the bad days. It certainly wasn't overnight and I did have some setbacks here and there, which were frightening but, with the therapy and anti-depressant, I was able to overcome the PPD.

Thankfully, I found my way back again.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

I left my heart in Lake Tahoe…

We’re finally back from our annual "same shit, different place” adventure in South Lake Tahoe.

As always, Tahoe was beautiful...gorgeous blue skies, crystal clear water and crisp clean mountain air.

I'm telling you, there is nothing like being up in the mountains that clears my head and makes me feel like everything is going to be okay.

I was feeling so good that one night I told Tim, "Feel free to go see a movie with my brother and my dad and I'll take the kids to the beach".

WTF?

See what I mean. It's Tahoe...it makes me a nicer person.

However, traveling with various family members had its downside. But I want to keep this post light and fun...I'll save the family drama for another post.

Day 1...we went to Virginia City, where the kids anxiously waited to ride the diesel train. We had to stop at the candy store first because there is no fun to be had when you're not flying higher than a kite after devouring pure sugar.

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Yeah, people stared at me and my kids. Ask me if I care.

My stepdad took this next picture of Bella and me on the train. Not sure what's going on with all the boobage but now I can see why Tim likes when I wear this tank-top.

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Awww, aren't all the kids adorable, as they calmly stare at the beautiful countryside?

I don't recall anyone on the train actually commenting about how adorable they were...rather I think they were just thrilled that the sugar high wore off and that the kids were still for a short period of time.


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The cowboy in the next picture was walking around town, announcing that there would be a gun fight at 3:00 sharp. Garrett asked him, "Are you Woody?" and the cowboy replied, "Am I WHO?"

Garrett screamed, "Woody! Are you Woody?" Finally, the cowboy got it and he answered, "Oh, from Toy Story? No, but I know Woody!"

That answer was sufficient enough to make the cowboy cool enough in Garrett's book. He asked me to take a picture of him with Woody's BFF.

E-cowboy

This dude below is the smoking baby. And, yes, the baby does smoke...for real. We named him Eugene.

You may recall we bought Bella a smoking baby last year but unfortunately its head got knocked of its body and we had to lay it to rest. All year long, Bella's been talking about going back to Virginia City and buying another one.

Imagine her delight when we managed to find the very last smoking baby in all of Virginia City.

Eugene was itching for a smoke so we broke him out of the box and my stepdad lit a cigarette for him. While Eugene smoked, we read the warning on the box..."Remove and extinguish cigarette before it reaches baby's mouth. You don't want to burn his lips!"

Yeah...you don't want the baby to burn his lips but it's okay to let him smoke. Just so we're clear.

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My kids are such weaklings. They really need to start eating more spinach.

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Day 2...we went to Cave Rock Beach and caught crawdads. It was serious fun.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures. The kids kept me pretty occupied...what with grabbing crawdads with their bare hands and tripping over the slippery rocks.

We caught 25 crawdads overall...and we ate those suckers after boiling them and sauteeing them in garlic butter. Yum.

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From there, we hit the Trout Farm. This place is like a hooker at the Bunny Ranch...a sure thing. Within 5 minutes of throwing your line in the water, you'll have a bite.

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The trout farm requires you to hit the fish over the head with a steel pipe, upon catching it, supposedly to prevent it from dying a slow painful death.

I guess a quick painful death is more humane.

The kids fought over who would get to hit the fish on the head. My stepdad had to keep yelling over them, "Enough already! Each of you will get a turn!"

Then I heard Tim say, "Geez, Bella, calm down...". I looked up in time to capture this picture...

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I said to Tim, "I'm gonna have a hard time erasing this image from my mind." He agreed.

Day 3...spent the day at Sand Harbor Beach, which is the most beautiful beach in Tahoe, in my opinion.

Look at how clear the water is...how peaceful it seems. You can be up to your shoulders in the water and still see your feet at the bottom.

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You know the saying "heaven on earth"? Well, this is my heaven on earth right here...

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And we caught more crawdads. It's an addiction...just sayin'.

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Day 4...spent the morning at Glen Alpine Falls at Fallen Leaf Lake. You want to see the beauty of nature? Visit this gorgeous waterfall.

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Yeah, that's Tim...wandering around the other side of the waterfall. I think he was trying to escape my clutches but soon realized there was no way out. Poor guy.

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From there, we went over to the Stream Profile at Camp Richardson. Kinda boring, after having been at the waterfall...but it was still relaxing and the kids found some cool rocks to bring home.

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Day 5...after having dinner with my brother, my dad and his wife, and my sister and her kids, Tim went to the movies while I took the kids over to Lakeside Beach and let them burn off some energy.

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A mama duck and her babies kept approaching us, looking for food...so the kids were kind enough to share their snacks with them.

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Day 6...our last day in paradise. We spent a few hours on the beach at Camp Richardson.

Bella happily and willingly buried Cole in the sand...I had to convince her that it was not a good idea to bury his head.

She asked, "Why can't I bury his head?"

I replied, "Uh, because he won't be able to breathe. Isn't that a good enough reason?"

She answered, "No, not really."

I warned Cole that he should probably start sleeping at night with one eye open.

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Look at my sweet babies playing so nicely together in the water....and the naive, innocent duck heading their way.

Don't worry...the duck came to his senses when he realized the boys had no food to share and that if he got any closer, he would more than likely become a meal himself.

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After the beach, we headed back home...to the valley in the middle of nowhere, where it's hotter than hell.

I'm already counting down the days until next summer's adventure...

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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