Friday, April 29, 2011

I confess....

1) Instead of time-outs, I make the spawn do manual labor.

But not just any type of manual labor...the type of manual labor I despise.  Pulling weeds.

With the weather becoming warmer, it's time for us to get our garden ready for summer veggies and fruits.  The thought of clearing all the weeds literally made me groan.

So I waited for the spawn to misbehave...because I knew they would.

And then I sentenced them to an hour of clearing weeds out of the garden.

Win/win....wouldn't you say?

2)  I let my kids eat rice krispy treats for dinner one night.

The Friday before Easter, we invited some friends over for a dye Easter eggs and make  rice krispy treats.  The kids participated for....oh, about 5 minutes.   And then promptly left my friend, Wendy, and I in the kitchen to finish the job.

A little back story here...another friend, Ann, had actually suggested this playdate, saying, "I thought it would be fun to get the kids together and decorate rice krispy treats!"

And then she added, "Wouldn't it be so cute to shape the treats into Easter eggs?"

So I volunteered my house and we each agreed that we'd make a batch of the treats ahead of time and then let the kids decorate them while on the playdate.  I spent 45 minutes that morning making rice krispy treats and shoving them into plastic eggs to make the egg-shaped treats, which was fun for maybe the first 2 minutes.

That day, Ann told me she couldn't make it because she had a sick family member in the hospital.

Wendy and I carried on the playdate without her, even though we were bummed she couldn't be there.

You see, out of the three of us, Ann's the crafty one.  She makes the most adorable cookies and cakes, she can take a plain t-shirt and turn it into the most precious decorated shirt you've ever seen and she comes up with perfectly delicious recipes (and her kids actually EAT the food!).

This is the same friend whose children didn't make a peep at our 9-child torturous photo session.  

So....Wendy and I helped the kids dye eggs.  The kids were disappointed to see their choices of colors....poop brown, rusty salmon, bright orange, something that was supposed to be a nice shade of aqua but looked more like burnt seaweed and some other nasty color that resembled puke.

They each dyed maybe 2 eggs and then ran off into the backyard to help Tim set up our new trampoline, much to his dismay.  I could tell he wasn't thrilled about having these little helpers in his way but Wendy and I were just relieved to have them out of our hair.

In an attempt to be helpful, I warned them, at one point, "Guys, stay out of Daddy's way".   But I don't think they heard me....probably because it was an inaudible whisper.

Then we moved on to decorating the rice krispy eggs.  I melted the white chocolate in the microwave, only to actually overcook it by accident.  Neither of us had a clue what to do so we just kept cooking it in 1-minute intervals, thinking that eventually it would soften up.  Even adding shortening to it didn't help.

Wendy and I....well, we're not exactly Martha Freakin' Stewart.  Cakes?  I can make those, no problem.    But ask me to decorate rice krispy treats and apparently all my baking expertise goes out the window, along with my ability to keep pee in my bladder while coughing.

So we took knives and tried our best to smooth the overcooked chocolate onto the eggs and then smeared them with sprinkles and m&m's.  We thought they would pass for edible and that the kids would think they were adorable....until they walked in and stared at the treats, as if they had just discovered freshly-smeared roadkill.

They asked, "What are those?"

"Uh, they're rice krispy treats", I explained.

They just kind of shrugged their shoulders and asked if they could have one.

One turned into three.  And then three turned into five.  Next thing I knew, they were under the trampoline stuffing their faces with God knows how many treats.  I guess pretty doesn't matter when you're under 6 years old and in desperate need of sugar.

However, Wendy's son stood next to Tim, never budging to leave his side, repeatedly saying, "Hey Tim, can I help you?  Tim, I want to help.  Can I help you, Tim?  Hey Tim, I want to help."

Since it was Friday and past 5:00 pm, neither Wendy nor I intervened because technically we were off the clock....and stuffing our faces with poorly-crafted rice krispy treats.  The only thing that might have made it completely perfect was some chilled wine, with a side of Xanex.

By the time I put the kids to bed at 8:00 pm, I realized they had never had dinner.

Well, unless you count rice krispy treats.

It could've been worse.  They could've had NO dinner at all.

Now, that would have been a real shame.


Got a confession? Bring it! Registered & Protected

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I want to share a little secret with you all...

Motherhood is a thankless job.

Oh, wait?  Most of you already knew that?!

Why am I always the last one to figure these things evidenced by this 28 second video you're about to watch. Registered & Protected

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pouring My Heart Out....What Might Have Been

April 22.  It will always stay with me.

The estimated due date of a baby who should have been...but never was.

This child would've been 7 years old now.  He?  She?  I'll never know.

Back then, the pain was crushing, the grief unbearable.  It felt as if I would never heal completely.

"It gets easier," the nurse explained.  "Someday, it won't hurt as much." And I half-heartedly believed her.

Silent grief, they called it.

Why, I asked?

Because no one likes to talk openly about pregnancy loss.  You deal with it privately because you don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable...or worse, pity you.

You keep it to yourself simply to avoid the well-intentioned loved ones who say, "This baby just wasn't meant to be" and "Everything happens for a reason".

All you know is that there will never be a 1st birthday celebration for this child, no contagious belly laughs that would make you smile from the inside out...there will be no cherished hugs, no sweet, sloppy kisses, no whispered "I love you's".

It feels like a punishment for a crime you didn't commit...a life sentence of sorrow, uncertainty and bitterness.

However, there are some things you will always have that no one can take away from you...the memorable dates.

The day you found out you were pregnant, the first ultrasound when you laid eyes upon the little bean for the first time...and the estimated due date of when that tiny, precious gift would've been delivered safely into your loving arms.

It's true...time does heal all wounds.

But time does not erase memories, as painful as they were at one time.

No matter how much your life has changed since the loss....

And no matter how many children have been born to you since then...even realizing that those same children wouldn't be here if the bereaved child had will always remember.

And wonder.

What might have been. Registered & Protected

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Can someone just shoot me now?

One evening, Bella and I went out for some good, old-fashioned mother-daughter bonding time.  You know, shopping and sushi.  Good times.

While driving along, we enjoyed a nice conversation until things took a turn for the worst.

It's conversations like the following that make my head throb violently....

Bella:  Mommy, do you remember when I used to want to marry Troy from High School Musical?

Me:  Yes, of course.

Bella:  And now I want to marry Justin.

Me:  Justin Bieber?

Bella:  Yes, Justin Bieber.  What was Troy's last name?

Me:  His last name was Bolton, I think.  But you know his real name is Zac Effron, right?

Bella:  What?  His real name?  You mean he's not a real person?

Me:  He's a real person...I mean, Zac Effron is a real person.  But Troy was a character he played in the HSM movies.

Bella:  So is Justin a real person?

Me:  Yes,  he's real.

Bella:  What about the kid who sings Never Say Never with Justin?  The Karate Kid?

Me:  Jaden Smith?  He's a real person.  He played a character in the movie Karate Kid, though.

Bella:  But he's in the Never Say Never video with Justin....

Me:  Yeah because he sang the song with him.

Bella:  But the song is from the movie, where he's the Karate Kid.  You know what I'm talking about?

Me:  Yes, I understand.  And I'm telling you, he's a real kid.  But he played a fake character on the Karate Kid.

Bella:  I know and I'm telling YOU that doesn't make any sense.  How can he be real if he's fake?

Me:  He isn't fake.  His character is fake.  The kid is a real person who sang a song with Justin Bieber.

Bella:  Wait, which kid are you talking about?

Me:  Really?  Are we really dancing in circles here?  Okay, let me explain again....Jaden Smith is the kid who starred in Karate Kid but he played a fake character named Dre.  Jaden Smith sang the song Never Say Never with Justin Bieber as a REAL person.  Make sense?

Bella:'re basically saying that the Karate Kid is real and no one's fake?

Me:  OMG, are you even listening to me?!

Bella:  Yeah I'm listening but you're obviously confused, Mommy.

Me:  I'm confused?!  Okay, whatever.  End of conversation.

Bella:  Mommy?

Me:  What?

Bella:  Is Hannah Montana a real person?  Or is Miley Cyrus a fake person?  They both sing so it's kind of hard to tell.  And how can someone be FAKE?  If they're a person, they're alive so they can't be fake.  Cartoon characters are fake, right?  But someone does their voices so maybe they're not fake.  Like, Woody and Buzz aren't real but they have voices so maybe they are real or there's someone doing their voices who's real...

She continued having this one-sided conversation the rest of the drive to Target.

Upon entering the store, I immediately darted to the medicine aisle and picked up a bottle of Extra-Strength Tylenol.  

And thank goodness, I did because the conversation over dinner was just as traumatizing. Registered & Protected

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to survive Spring Break with your kids....

Spring break has officially begun in our neck of the woods, people.

This is what I call a serious "fight or flight" situation.  The way I see it, I can either lock myself in the bathroom, curled up in the fetal position while sobbing hysterically OR I can suck it up and make the best of it.

Since having a complete meltdown doesn't bode well with the spawn (it makes them think they're in total control), I have no choice but to make the best of a horrible situation.

So here are some of my best tips for surviving Spring Break with your spawn....

1)  Chances are, they had some type of celebration at school the Friday before break began.  You know, the party that occurred 10 minutes before school let out, when the teachers shipped your kids home to you with a shit load of candy-filled plastic eggs, as they smiled and waved a friendly goodbye to their lovely students?  

Never mind that the principal and teachers were all high-5'ing each other and giggling hysterically as the last student left campus...that's when the REAL party began as they popped open the bubbly and played a nasty adult version of Twister.

And chances are, you hid that candy almost immediately upon returning home, right?

On Monday morning at approximately 9:00 am, break out the candy, folks.  This will buy you enough time to perhaps shower and eat breakfast.  It'll take the spawn roughly 30 minutes to consume all the candy and then what will follow will be what I like to refer to as "the sugar coma".

The sugar coma lasts for about 28 minutes, 10 seconds.  Enjoy it.  Have that 2nd cup of coffee.  You'll need it.

2)  Have plenty of activities planned that you can casually mention every time they misbehave.  Like, say, dyeing Easter eggs.

Try this..."Uh guys, if you  keep spitting at each other, I'm afraid we won't be able to dye Easter eggs".....or play at the park, fly the kite, poke the kitty, whatever.  Make it sound like they're really missing out on something good.

3)  Actually, have plenty of activities planned for real....or you will get your ass kicked and handed back to you on a silver platter by those same spawn.

4)  Some activities to do....

  • start a vegetable garden (no, I'm not'll kill some serious time)
  • open the front and back doors and tell them to run around the house, in and out, quickly 10 times (be sure to lock both doors on the 9th round, while they're still outside...that's KEY)
  • go for a bike ride (bring band-aids because you know someone's gonna get hurt)
  • go on a treasure hunt (and tell them they can't come back until they find Mommy's sanity)
  • walk around Costco while eating free samples (what I like to call "the poor man's lunch")
  • take them to the gym with you and let your trainer beat them into submission while you enjoy a strenuous stroll on the treadmill
  • break out the paints that you've hidden away, if you can find them (be aware they will more than likely paint on each other instead of the paper you've provided)
  • bake cookies (try not to lose your mind while repeatedly warning "don't eat too much dough or you'll die of salmonella poisoning") 

5)  Some activities they will find more enjoyable....

  • smelling each other's asses to see whose smells the worst
  • pulling each other's hair out in huge clumps
  • stuffing their younger siblings into the huge plastic bubble you bought at Costco, plugging up the exit hole and farting into it
  • jumping into the humongous pile of clean laundry you just sorted
  • hiding your beloved bottle of vodka 
  • screaming so loudly that the neighbors have considered calling 911 at least 3 times in the last hour
  • digging up the flowers you just planted in the front yard
  • frightening the family cat so badly that she refuses to leave her litter box for days
  • harrassing the exterminator to the point where he's tempted to "ignore" the obvious hornet's nest hanging from your child's outdoor swing set
  • texting the word "shit" to random people in your address book on your cell phone (including the grandparents who believe their grandchildren are the most precious and sweetest children alive)

6)   Be okay with the fact that they will probably not brush their teeth, change their underwear or say one nice word to their siblings the entire week.  It's only 7 days, people...if they were doing this shit during summer break, you'd have reason to be concerned.

7)  Stock your liquor cabinet with plenty of tequila, vodka and other fine spirits.  Have your Wellbutrin prescription refilled early.  And be sure to have plenty of chocolate, ice cream, cookies (hell, even pancake batter...whatever your necessary evil is) on hand to enjoy during those moments when you begin to think that coming back as an aardvark in your next life sounds like a darn good plan.

This is a sure sign that you are dangerously close to completely losing your mind.  In fact, you might want to have the local psych ward on speed dial, just in case.

8)  Go ahead and canvas the neighborhood, letting your neighbors, who don't have spawn living at home, know that it's Spring Break.  Apologize ahead of time for making their lives miserable for the next week and ask them to try to not judge you too harshly when they see your spawn riding their bikes outside in the middle of a tornado.

While you're at it, go ahead and give them your most recent picture so they can be sure to share it with the news reporters and local police when you go missing, after finally having followed through with that threat you're constantly making, "If you all don't calm down and find something to do, I'm gonna throw myself into oncoming traffic".

9)  Realize that Spring Break only happens ONCE A YEAR...thank God.

10)  If nothing else, count down the days on the calendar until the spawn return to school the following week, giving yourself permission to do nothing else but sit on the sofa and stare at the wall come Monday morning.

Or you can spend your quiet time googling "is it possible to grow back brain cells after having been subjected to extremely loud noises, God-awful smells and horrendous sights for 7 days straight?" and "What will happen to me if I ever lose my sense of humor?"

Pick your poison. Registered & Protected

Friday, April 15, 2011

Things I shouldn't say....

Hey, people...guess what?  Shell at Things I Can't Say asked me to be her BFF this week!!  To say I was over-the-moon excited is seriously downplaying it!

Each week, Shell hosts a meme called "Blog Friend Feature", where she features various bloggers who share a little about themselves or whatever's on their mind.  I've discovered many new favorites through this weekly feature!

Shell also hosts another popular meme called "Pour Your Heart Out" every Wednesday, where bloggers are invited to pour their hearts out.  I love this meme in particular because it's such an amazing outlet for bloggers who may want to share something deep and personal without being judged or disrespected.

Personally speaking, my PYHO posts are quite therapeutic for me, as I often dive deep into topics I wouldn't be comfortable sharing otherwise.  Yes, I have a serious side...who knew?

It would totally make my day if you'd head over to Shell's and read my BFF guest post, where I confess to being more of a "Things I Shouldn't Say" kind of person.  I heard a nasty rumor that, technically, SAHM's aren't supposed to break out the chilled wine until 5:01 pm so I'll need something to put a smile on my face since, trust me, by this point in time, the spawn have already been whining about this and that, fighting with one another and driving me freakin' batty.  

Good God, there are some days where sticking my head in the microwave would be less painful than listening to them whine and fight with one another.

While you're at Shell's, if you're not already a loyal follower of hers (which would shock me because she has quite a huge fan base!), be sure to click that follow button on her right sidebar.  I promise you will not be disappointed! Registered & Protected

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Just say no...not as easy as it looks!

I'm a softie when it comes to my kids.  Not because I'm nice, mind you...but only because the thought of them crying breaks my heart.

Yes, I'm a huge pushover and they know it.

However, as they're becoming older and more challenging in their own right, I'm quickly realizing that it's time for this Mama to take all the control back.  Before I know it, they're going to be teenagers running around here, telling me how it is and putting me in my place.

I told Tim, "You know, we've got to get things under control around here.  I think the spawn are under the assumption that WE work for THEM.  It's time to rein it in, baby".

The other night, I made a delicious dinner of grilled chicken, green beans and fresh fruit.  What's not to like, right?

But Landon, the littlest spawn, took one look at his plate and freaked out.  And I'm not talking a little bit of whining here and, we're talking full on temper tantrum, chock full of snot, tears and "I'm not eating THAT!"

He Demanded that we make him a hotdog instead.  Yes, folks, Demanded..with a capital D.

Attempting to sound like an experienced parent, I replied, "You're going to eat what everyone else is eating or you can go to bed hungry."

With his arms crossed tightly in front of his little chest, he puffed his bottom lip out and screamed, "No, I won't eat it!  Make me a hotdog NOW!"

I told myself, "Count to 10....breathe in, breathe out....shit, count to 50 before you rip his damn head off his ever-lovin' neck!"

Trying to compromise with him, I explained, "You eat the dinner I served you and I will gladly make you a hotdog....your choice.  But you'll also have to apologize, change your attitude and use some manners."

Still, he carried if this was his last meal and I had just served him cold dog shit with a side of cat puke and some mouse piss to wash it all down with.

The crying and pouting was getting to me, don't get me wrong.  But something inside me wouldn't allow myself to give in this time.  It wasn't just the fact that he wanted something different than what I had made, it was the manner in which he had dealt with the situation....rudely, disrespectfully and without any concern for the other members of this family.

But Tim couldn't take it anymore and got up from the table and said, "Okay, enough...I'll make you a hotdog!"

A smile creeped across Landon's face and I said, "No, we have to stick to what we said.  I'm tired of us being bullied around all the time."

Knowing I was right, Tim shrugged his shoulders and told his whiny son, "Mommy's right. You have to eat your dinner first before you have a hotdog.  That's the deal."

It wasn't a deal Landon wanted to make, though, as he sat there with a bitter scowl on his face, staring daggers at anyone who dared to look his way.

The rest of us continued on with our business...eating dinner, sharing conversation, pretending that there wasn't an unruly, angry child within our midst.

When everyone was done with dinner...well, except Landon...I began washing the dishes.  I spotted him watching me and knew he was expecting me to give in.  The thought of any child going to bed hungry, even though I understand sometimes it's a necessary evil to drive a point home, has never sat well with me so this felt very uncomfortable.

"I'm going to need your plate in a few minutes," I reminded him.

By the time I loaded the last dish into the washer, he came up behind me and handed me his plate, which was now empty.  I took it, being sure to thank him for bringing it over to be washed.  As angry as I was, I knew I had to leave it at that, nothing more than a pleasant exchange of words.

This was purely a battle of the wills and we both knew it.

I felt a gentle tug on my shirt and turned around to see him still standing there.

"Mommy, I'm sorry for yelling at you.  I ate my dinner so can I please have a hotdog now?" he said, using the quietest of voices.

I answered, "Apology accepted and, yes, you may have a hotdog now.  I appreciate you using your manners", as I bent down to give him a hug.

And even though it was a simple hug, it expressed so much more than just expressed my desire to be a better parent, one who stands strong even when it hurts.  A parent who knows how to choose her battles and realizes the difference between a battle worth fighting and not fighting.

With 4 young children to care for, this was a battle I had to fight...and win.  I can't be a short-order cook and I can no longer allow them to bully me around as if I'm their personal servant.  It was getting out of hand and I finally had to take a stance, as tough as it was.

Let me just say, it's a work in progress.   The very next day, Landon was back to demanding I do things his way or the highway.  Reminding myself that things won't change overnight because he is, after all, an extremely strong-willed child, it's going to take time to set things straight again.

This is the part of parenting where I realize I'll always be walking a thin line. I want to encourage individuality without crushing his lively spirit.  I'd like him to be a responsible person who passionately shares his beliefs and opinions while keeping in mind his empathy and respect for others.

Most importantly, I have to teach him to look at others with a "what can I do for them" mentality, rather than a "what can they do for me" attitude.  He can still be a leader...he can still run in front of the pack...he just has to learn how to live peacefully among others and to treat them how he would want to be treated.

So I need to stay firm and be consistent now to ensure that he turns into the type of person I hope he'll be someday.

Oh...and I also need to do a whole lot of praying to keep my sanity intact.

No one ever said parenting was easy.  Sigh... Registered & Protected

Friday, April 8, 2011

Making peace with time...

 “You need to give up the dream of having biological children,” the doctor stated, holding his patient’s hands tenderly within his.  “I’m afraid you’re at the bottom of the barrel, with nothing left to give.”
The room began to spin violently as his words vibrated in her ears.  Her brain couldn’t process the advice; her heart refused to accept the grim reality of what he was telling her.   This was not how she had imagined the outcome of this IVF cycle, as dreams of him wishing her a hearty congratulations faded to black.

He was supposed to be “the best”…a miracle worker who, she was told, could create life even in the most formidable of scenarios.  Yet, here he was, urging her to explore other options.

She was only 34 years old but, according to medical standards, had waited too long to have children.  While pursuing a higher education and waiting for the man of her dreams to propose, she had been robbed of the natural ability to conceive a child, unbeknownst to her.

We think we have nothing but time on our side, she foolishly believed.  But time was now her enemy, having stolen from her something so personal and precious, something so valuable that not even she could comprehend the distressing consequences of the situation. 

Even as her tired body was hopelessly and permanently broken; her spirit infinitely crushed, she begged for mercy and pleaded for understanding.  “Are you absolutely sure? Can't we try another protocol?  I just cannot give up on this strong desire to have a child who shares my DNA.” 

Her husband stood next to her, tears streaming down his face.  Never had he felt so powerless, as he wrapped his arms around his wife in an attempt to take away her heartache, but knowing full well that not even the tightest of hugs could erase the misery she was feeling.

With sympathetic eyes, her doctor met her gaze.   "At this point,” he said. “You need to decide if you   want to keep putting yourself through this disappointment, continuing to do IVF after IVF only to have the same devastating outcome. When is enough enough? When you're holding that baby in your arms, it won't matter how he or she got here.  You will be so overjoyed that you simply won't remember any of the pain you're feeling now. Believe me when I say you CAN do this.”

Forbidding herself to wallow in self-pity and recognizing that defeat was not an option, she would do whatever it took to achieve her end goal.  Time would not be permitted to swindle even more from her than it already had. 

With newfound strength and courage, as well as the support of her husband, she accepted an alternate course.  Choosing to rise above the grief and devastation and triumph past the anguish of a broken heart, she continuously reminded herself that anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Less than a year later, after having given birth to her first set of twins, she was content in knowing that varying paths can indeed lead to the same destination in the end, no matter what the means of transportation.

And then it was faith that brought back to her what time had stolen, with the unexpected pregnancy and birth of a second set of twins, two years later.  

Finally, she had made peace with time.  For it was time itself, through the wise words of her doctor, which had lead her down the road she was meant to travel in attaining the coveted role of motherhood.

Note: This piece was written as a part of The Red Dress Club's Red Writing Hood Meme. This week's prompt: Someone has stolen something from you (or your character).  Something of tremendous value.  What will you do to get it back?  Or will you give up?  Write a post - fiction or non - and tell us about it.  Word limit is 600. Registered & Protected

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why, yes, I am a glutton for punishment...

I got two words that are enough to make your stomach twist into painful knots.

Road. Trip. 

Now, add two more words, which will surely send chills down the spine of every parent on God's green earth.

Road. Trip. With. Kids.

Oh yeah, I went there.

It was time for our annual Disneyland trip, which ironically will no longer be an annual trip after this last hurrah with the spawn.  Tim and I have finally wisened up and have decided that our next vacation will be just us (sans children).

I purposely planned our mini-Disney-vacay during my birthday so I wouldn't be stuck here in this hell hole of a town doing the same crap I do every single day.  I mean, I'll still be doing that same crap but why not do it at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Really....isn't wiping your kid's poopy butt just a little bit more exciting when you're at the Happiest Place on Earth?  Pour a little Jack Daniels into that large diet coke you just bought, stuff yourself silly with several handfuls of cotton candy and even the most wicked of temper tantrums can't get you down.

Okay, honestly, I liken a road trip with the kids to childbirth.  You know, you go through the motions...the pain is unbearable, you're staring daggers at all the nurses, you've just threatened to slice off your husband's nuts if he ever dares to touch you again....then the baby is born and, eventually, you forget about the pain.  Two years later, you're ready to jump back in the sack again and get knocked up.

That's what a road trip with the kids is like.  At the time, you're wondering why the hell you thought it was a good idea.  But eventually, you forget the forget the forget that God-awful smell that permeates the entire mini-van that last hour of the trip because your husband thinks it's cute to try to "out-fart" the kids.

So for those of you who have long since forgotten about the joys of a road trip with the kids, let me break it down for you.

Consider it my donation to world peace....

9:45 am:   Finally done re-packing the suitcase that the little hellions unpacked and we're ready to hit the road.  Our original plan was to leave at 9:00 am so we're not too far off schedule.

9:49 am:  We stop to get gas.  As we turn off the freeway, one of the spawn asks, "Are we there already?"    My head whips around and I bellow, "Seriously?!"

10:30 am:  Tim and I are still being nice to one another.  So far, so good.

10:42 am:  The spawn ask for the 4th time since we left the gas station, "Are we there yet?"  Tim answers, "Do not ask that again until the clock reads 3:00!"  A little voice pipes up, "But we can't see the clock".  I make the mistake of saying, "We'll let you know when we're there!"

11:00 am:  Kids begin to ask, "Is it time for you to let us know if we're there yet?"  WTF?!   I can barely mutter between clenched teeth, "No, it is not time yet!"

11:20 am:  Garrett announces that he needs to pee but we're in the middle of nowhere so I ask him if he can wait a few more minutes until we can exit the freeway.  He answers, "Yeah, but I peed a little bit already".   I ask, "In your pants?" and he says, "Duh!"  I respond by laughing but...really, I just want to bawl my eyes out.  

We pull over on the side of the busy freeway so he can pee and the other two boys decide they have to pee, too....because evidently peeing on the side of the freeway is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill that cannot be passed up.

I feel something itchy on my leg just as I hear Cole say, "Mommy, there's ants all over you and Landon".  Apparently, we've both stepped in a huge pile of angry red ants.  Landon pees all over his sandals as he attempts to get away.  Good times.

12:00 pm:  The kids are fighting over whether to listen to Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber.  Garrett wins the argument because no one can stand to hear him whine any longer...Lady Gaga it is.  All is fine and dandy until Bella asks, "Mommy, what's a disco stick?"  Tim says, "Sweetie, would you like to tell our daughter what a disco stick is?"

I roll my eyes and grumble, "I'm calling the shots!  We're listening to Justin Bieber, who, even though he's extremely annoying, is kid-friendly!"

12:25 pm:  We decide to stop for lunch and, of course, the spawn are arguing over who wants what.  We go to McD's drive-thru to order for Garrett and Landon while everyone else wants Taco Bell.  Lunch is anything but quiet while the other patrons stare at us in horror...or pity....probably a mixture of both, for all I know.

1:30 pm:  We're back on the road again, 30 minutes later than we wanted but at least we didn't forget any of the kids at Taco Bell, even though I try desperately to convince Tim that we could get away with it.  "Come on," I plead with him.  "All anyone has to do is spend just 15 minutes with them and they'd totally understand why we left them behind!"

1:35 pm:  Tim and I hear a huge "blah" from the back seat and turn in time to see Bella puking red gunk everywhere, all over Cole, all over her stuffed animals, as well as her booster seat.  We pull over on the side of the freeway to get her cleaned up, while a herd of putrid-smelling cows stare us down.  For once, Tim's happy I packed everything but the kitchen sink....cue the huge container of anti-bacterial wipes.

2:05 pm:  We're back on the road again, way later than anticipated.  Tim can't stop saying, "We're gonna hit traffic...I just know we're gonna hit traffic."

2:30 pm:  As calmly as possible, I say to Tim, "I just want you to know how much I hate your driving.  Not trying to be be mean or's simply an observation".  Actually, it's a complete waste of breath because he doesn't hear a word I always.

3:15 pm:  Landon wakes up from a short nap and asks, "Mommy, what ride do you want to go on first?"  I respond, "Huh?  We're on our way home.  Did you sleep through our ENTIRE vacation?"  Stunned, he begins to cry.  Tim says, "You are SO mean!"

3:30 pm:  Tim asks me if I mind driving a little while so he can sneak in a quick nap.  After laughing hysterically, I say, "Yeah, I'll drive...but good luck getting that nap."

3:45 pm:  Tim is snoring.  Guess he doesn't need much luck, after all.

3:48 pm:  Bella complains that her tummy hurts again.  Cole shouts, "You better not hurl all over me again!" and she begins to cry, "I can't help it!"  And....she hurls.  I say to Tim, "Sorry, dude...looks like your nap's over."

4:00 pm:  Back on the road again but realize we better stop for gas in case we get stuck in traffic.

4:15 pm:  Stop to get gas and take a potty break.  Garrett and Landon touch everything in the public restroom while I try my best not to puke.  Tim grabs a 5-hour energy drink and won't shut the hell up on the remainder of our trip.  All I can say in between his rants is, "Would've been nice if you could've grabbed one of those energy drinks for me too".

5:15 pm:  Stuck in the middle of glorious LA traffic.  Kids are asking, "Why are we stopping?  Are we there yet?"  I grumble something about being stuck in stop-and-go traffic and then find myself having to explain what stop-and-go traffic is.  I want to bang my head against a brick wall.

6:05 pm:  After singing to Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" for the 6th time, the kids are excited when we announce, "We're finally HERE!"  We check in, unload the mini-van (which now reeks of puke) and I offer to stay at the hotel with Bella so Tim can take the boys to Disneyland but she's gotten a second wind and wants to go to.  We tie a barf bag to the stroller and head out.

Even though the road trip was nothing other than pure torture, take a look at these pics and tell me it wasn't worth every agonizing minute...

And see...this is why we parents forget the scary events which occurred on the road trip.  Because those smiles are worth every agonizing minute, after all. Registered & Protected

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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