Friday, October 30, 2009

Say "Click"....Take a Pic!

Family pictures taken at JCPenney. November 2008.

* * * * * * * * *
Last November, we all went to JCPenney for our family pictures, which were to be used for our Christmas cards. I couldn't have asked for a better picture-taking experience. We were in and out in about 1 hour.

Let's compare, shall we, the adventures of the previous year. November of 2007.....I waited too long to book the appointment, so we wound up with a 2pm appointment...on a Saturday. I cringed, knowing we'd be there for a looong time. We arrived on time for our session and wound up waiting on line for 2 hours before we were called in. Apparently, our entire county decided to have their pics done on the very same day. What are the odds?

Very good, you say?

Well you're clearly a whole bunch smarter than me.

The kids behaved pretty well, considering they were only 7 1/2, 5 1/2, almost 2, and 6 months old. I consider it to be a raving success that no one one was one had a potty accident....and not once did I whisper under my breath that I wanted to choke the ever-lovin' snot out of the people running the photo studio. (You don't understand what a huge accomplishment THAT was.)

We were finally ushered into the sauna...I mean, studio.

Really? Is there a need for the studio to be 80 degrees? We weren't taking these pictures in the nude!

We barely made it through the session....and it showed on the final pictures. When the associate pulled up our pics on the computer, it didn't take too long to pick which ones we would buy cuz they were all borderline horrible.

Let me just explain that when we take family pics, I try to keep the clothing and background as simple as possible. I prefer a solid-color background like white (we've done black, too, and it really looks nice) and I dress the kids in clothes with complimentary colors. Last year, I had the girls in dark pink and the boys in light blue. My reasoning is that I want to see the faces...not the cheesy fake fireplace background or the god-awful light-up Rudolph sweater my daughter fell in love with. (Yeah, I'm sure SOME store in SOME corner of the world has a light-up Rudolph sweater. I've seen stranger things. Like the hideous Dora sweatshirt that makes noise via a little sound box attached to the sweater. I'm not making that up.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. The wardrobe.

Let's just say that this is the only time during the year when I become freakishly obsessed with how they are all dressed. Ordinarily, I let them wear whatever they want.

So in 2007, I thought it would look great to use a white background and dress all of the kids in navy blue. I found navy, button-down shirts for the boys and navy dresses for the girls. In real life, they looked pretty sharp. On the pictures, the blue looked black and depressing. Combined with the fact that they were all completely fed up with the whole day? My beloved family pics looked more like prison mug shots.

When I actually brought the final pictures home a few weeks later, I stuck them into a scrapbook and forgot all about them....they were too pitiful to hang up. When I look at them now, I can laugh at how horrible they are.

2008 was a whole different ball game. I managed to get the 10am appointment, which is the first session of the day. I picked much lighter colored clothing for everyone. I had a list in my hand of which pictures I needed to order, so that process went much quicker. We actually had fun during the shoot and my very favorite picture, which I have as a framed 8x10, is one of us all laughing about something silly the photographer did.

My only boo-boo in the whole thing was not thinking ahead to my framing options. To hang in the house, I ordered 2 of the 5x7s and 5 of the 3 1/2x5s. There's no way to put those into a collage without having them custom framed and I wasn't interested in spending over $100 for that. I finally came up with the solution you see above. I bought one of those "floating" frames. It's 2 pieces of glass and a frame (instead of one piece of glass and a cardboard backing). You're supposed to put any size picture in the frame and it appears to be floating. I also bought a roll of double sided tape and a large piece of textured poster paper (the kind of stuff kids have to use for school projects). I laid out the photos in an arrangement that I liked and used the double sided tape to affix them to the paper. I was left with an awkward looking bare spot near the bottom, so I got a book of family quotations stickers from the scrapbooking section of the craft store and filled the space with this:

I was quite proud of the finished product. And if I had to guess, I'd say the whole thing was done for less than $30.

As for this year....pfft.

I'm too tired. We're skipping the family photo shoot. If I can ever get myself motivated, I'll pick one of my own pictures to use for the Christmas cards.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've been workin' like a dog



Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Every single day....usually twice a day.

Maybe sometime when I'm feeling REALLY brave, I'll share pics of Laundry Mountain.

I need some sleep.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Whoopie!! I'm not as tech-challenged as I thought I was! My niece, April, posted this photo on her Facebook profile yesterday (after I whined something about wanting to see her sweet little Kieran) and I managed to post it to my fb profile AND get it onto my blog. See, now and then I pull my head out of my behind long enough to actually figure something out for myself. Ordinarily, it goes something like this:

"Hoooonnnnneeeeeyyyyy. I reeeeeallly want this picture on my profile and my bloooooog but I don't know hoooooow. Can yoooooou do it and let me know when you're doooooone?" (I get my mad whining skillz from my kids. They're super good at it.)

His response: *sigh* "Okay."

Dude! He's going to be thrilled that I pulled this one off by MYSELF!

So anyway, this precious, chubby-cheeked little peanut is my great-niece (is that the real term? She's my niece's baby, if you're a bit confused.)....her name is Kieran. I wrote about waiting for her birth on October 9th ("It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right"). I might be a little biased, but I think she's absolutely adorable.

(I apologize for making you go back and look up that post....I haven't become tech-savvy enough yet to figure out how to link a previous post into a new blog post. Stay tuned....I'm sure I'll figure it out one day before I'm old and grey.)

This picture is especially close to my heart because that gorgeous little girl is snuggled into the quilt I made for her. I'm glad I steered away from the typical baby pastels. These hot colors look great around her!

* * * * * * * * * * *

More rain today. Good for the lawn. Good for my marigolds. Bad for my mood. Being cooped up in the house and watching it rain? Not always my idea of a good time.

But, I digress. Did you really come here to listen to my whining? I think not.

The rain this morning reminded me, yet again, of two of my favorite mommy tools. Baseball caps and raincoats. Seriously. Once you have a kid, you might as well donate all of your umbrellas to your childless neighbors. You will never again have enough hands to hold an umbrella. Get rid of it. Get a baseball cap to keep the rain off your face. Get a good quality raincoat with a hood and you'll be fine.

Same goes for the kids. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT give your kid an umbrella. Unless you really enjoy being poked in the backside while you're trying to load the groceries into the car. Also? If there happens to be a sibling around who is also wielding an umbrella? Swordfight. And it's always fun until someone looses an eye. And if they're not trying to stab you or impale a sibling, they are twirling.

Remember the Seinfeld episode with the twirling umbrellas? Yeah. That's what kids will do. It's annoying. (Please tell me you remember that episode....don't leave me hanging like a total Seinfeld Dork.)

Put the kids in their very own raincoats and call it a day.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

You may say that I'm a dreamer....

This might be the hardest post I've written so far. There's so much jumbled up inside my head and I'm sitting here trying to un-jumble it. Shouldn't it be easy to write about a topic that evokes such raw emotion and unfailing passion? Apparently not. I beg you to be patient with me and read all the way to the end. I'm trying my hardest to make some sense and change some at a time.

* * * * * *

I opened my Facebook today to find that a former co-worker posted this: "Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act- passed the Senate and is on its way to Obama's desk." He then posted the link to the following website:

While you're on that site, please scroll down to the title "Judy Shepard on the Ellen DeGeneres show!" If you click on the photo just under that title, you can watch the interview.

A search on Wikipedia uncovered this information, which is a comprehensive summary of Matthew's story:

I encourage you to learn about Matthew Shepard's life and death. You will need a box of tissues nearby as you read about his brutal murder. Is it painful to read? Without a doubt. But I firmly believe that knowledge is power... The lessons we can learn from this are too powerful to not share.

Thank you, Rob, for posting this today. I sincerely hope our President does the right thing here.

* * * * * * * *

If, for some reason, you are unable to get to the website and are unfamiliar with Matthew's story, I'll summarize for you. On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard was led to a remote area near Laramie, Wyoming. He was tied to a split-rail fence. His 2 attackers beat him and left him to die in the cold. Nearly 18 hours later, a cyclist discovered him. Matthew died in a hospital on October 12th.

He was beaten because he was gay.

His attackers, so filled with homophobic hate, decided Matthew should die. He didn't deserve to be on this Earth any longer. He was too vile, repulsive, and immoral to live.

Because he was gay.

Let's let that sink in for a moment. Matthew's only "fault" is that he was gay.

* * * * * * *

I'm not generally a political person. Watching CNN makes my head spin. The difference between a Republican and a Democrat? I don't have a clue. Quite frankly, I don't care. Do I have some great stake in the person who occupies the Oval Office? Nope. I'm pretty sure it doesn't make any difference. I suppose if I were forced to decide, I'd label myself a Liberal. My political leanings can be boiled down to this...there are a handful of issues that I care very deeply about....I fully support a woman's right to choose an abortion. I encourage the legalization of marijuana. I don't see a problem with legalizing prostitution. And I adamantly support, with all of my heart and soul, the marriage rights of homosexuals.

Let me rephrase that.

Deep down in my soul, I believe that it is okay for a consenting adult to marry another consenting adult...whether it be a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and a man. As long as they are both over the age of 18 and not already married to someone else.

* * * * * * * *

So, you're thinking, how exactly do these two issues relate to each other?

By denying gays and lesbians the right to marry, we are implying that there's something wrong with them. Something about them is defective. They are less-than. We are perpetuating the myth that they are ill or immoral or perverted.

They're not any of those things. They are human beings who have the same wishes and dreams that you and I have. They, too, dream of falling in love, marrying, and having children. They have dreams of white picket fences and big backyards and growing old together.

They are human beings.

That is the point I'm trying to make. Just because a man is born gay doesn't mean he deserves to be tied to a fence and beaten until his bloody face is barely recognizable. Just because a man is born gay doesn't mean he deserves to die.

He deserves to find a job that makes him happy.

He deserves to have friends who make him laugh.

He deserves to go on as many dates as it takes to find his Mr. Right.

He deserves to fall in love....head over heels, can't-imagine-my-life-without-you, "For better or for worse, til death do us part" kind of love.

He deserves to have his dream it a budget-busting black-tie affair or a quiet backyard ceremony.

He deserves to adopt a couple of kids, build them a swingset, and feed them juice boxes and animal crackers.

* * * * * *

By legalizing gay marriage, we are creating a new reality for our society. We are taking a stand against the continued rejection, hysteria, and hand-wringing. We are finally living up to Thomas Jefferson's vision that "all men are created equal."

More importantly, by legalizing gay marriage, we are enabling the following generations to live in a better that accepts them just as they are. I am fighting this battle so my children won't have to. I am taking this stand so my kids won't have to attend a funeral like Matthew Shepard's. I want my children and your children to grow up being comfortable in their own skin....not being ostracized and tortured based solely on who they love.

* * * * * * *

And my one final thought before I sign off....

Stop for a moment and imagine something.

Imagine your son, your first baby boy, being dragged to a field and tied to a fence.

Imagine him being tortured and beaten. He's begging for his life.

Imagine your boy being left for 18 hours in the October chill.

Imagine opening your front door and seeing the police there.

Imagine holding your baby boy's hand while his beaten body gives up the fight. You're begging him to hold on..."please don't leave us."

Imagine picking out his casket and watching that casket being lowered into the ground.

Imagine never seeing your sweet boy again.

And you tell me.....what's the right thing to do?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Parenting Shortcuts - Vol. 1

Four kids? Yeah, I know all about shortcuts. I'd like to share some of them with you. Maybe one of my helpful hints can save you some time or money or sheer aggravation. I'd love to hear your feedback...maybe you have an idea to make my shortcut even better! So, with much fanfare (or maybe just a big "WHOOPIE" from me), here's my first Parenting Shortcut.

* * * * * * * *

Benjamin was fully potty trained at the age of 3 1/2. For quite some time after that, he would have an occasional nighttime accident (maybe once a week or so). Usually it happened on the nights when he was overly tired and couldn't wake himself up to use the bathroom. It wasn't anything to be alarmed about....most boys take longer for full nighttime training.

We had been using Pull-Ups for nighttime anyway, but I quickly realized how expensive this could become if it continued for too long. I was throwing away a pull-up every morning. Using them for more than one night seemed gross (would you wear a pair of underwear two nights in a row?). My solution? I bought the next box of pull-ups in a bigger size than he needed. At night, he would put on a regular pair of underwear and a pull-up over the top of that. He never complained that it was uncomfortable (and trust me, if there's any discomfort to complain about, Ben will speak up immediately). So in the morning, if there hadn't been an accident, I put the pull-up on his dresser to be used again. There were times when we made one pull-up last a whole week.

On a related note, I also made his bed in a way that would save me some time in the middle of the night. Over his mattress, I put a waterproof mattress protector (the kind that fits like a sheet). Then I put on a fitted sheet. After that, I put on a waterproof mattress pad (the kind that are just flat). And another sheet. I did about 3 or 4 layers of waterproof pad/fitted sheet. So in the middle of the night, when he came to me saying he'd had an accident, I went to his room and pulled off the sheet and pad...underneath would be a clean sheet. (I also do this with the crib mattress.) (By the way, this technique is priceless if you have a kid with a stomach virus. Puke + rip off sheet and pad = New surface for puking on. Whoopie!)

* * * * * * * *

Peace out, my peeps!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Insane in the membrane (Insane in the brain)

Nicholas woke up yesterday and today complaining about a sore throat. My guess is that he just had a case of early-morning dry throat, so I told him to drink some water and put a couple of cough drops in his pocket to use during the school day, if he needed to. Still, I cringed a bit at the idea of another sick person in this house.

A few weeks ago, I had a cold that left me wishing for the sweet release delivered by a double dose of benadryl. Once I felt better, Nick got it. Now the girls have it. Hmm. I wonder who will be next. The boys? Duh.

When we woke up yesterday, the outside temp was about 38 degrees. "PANTS," I yelled up the stairs. They both came down wearing pants. It was one of those rare occasions when they didn't argue with me. I am, after all, the one who checks the thermometer every morning. Perhaps they actually trusted that I knew what I was talking about.

Today, after I checked the temp again, I told Nicholas, "It's just as cold as yesterday. I think you should wear pants." Too late. He was already yanking on a pair of shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt. I repeated my statement and walked downstairs.

I gave up looooong ago trying to dictate what they wear. The only reason they consult me about their clothes is to discuss what matches or what fits. Other than that, if Ben wants to leave the house in shorts, a sweatshirt, flip-flop shoes and a pair of black socks, I let it go. I might mention to him that it's a less-than-stellar look, but if he indicates that he doesn't care, the subject is dropped. There aren't enough hours in the day to waste them on clothing arguments.

So Nicholas came down the stairs in the shorts and t-shirt. Over the next 45 minutes, I might have repeated myself another 4 times. "It's not even 40 degrees. I think you should put on pants."

At 8:15, he hoisted his backpack over his shoulders and started to walk out the door.

With no coat.

I lost. my. shit.


I might have yelled some other things that would have immediately taken me out of the running for "Mother of the Year."

Yeah yeah. I know. Raving lunatic?

In my more lucid moments, I know full well that people get sick from GERMS, not from being chilly. I also know that being cold would have served as its very own life lesson. However, it can be very hard for me to hold my tongue.

So what happened? Who knows. Maybe in that moment, like a bazillion other moms before me, I was completely sick of not being heard. Maybe I was desperate to avoid another sick child. Maybe I'm not as good at letting go of the control as I thought I was. Maybe I expected a 9 year old to have a bit more common sense than this. (You can stop laughing at me now.) Maybe I'm just a loon.

Well, whatever the case may be, I've spent the better part of the day annoyed with myself. It was a huge to-do about nothing. There's been a lot of, "I bet ______ never yells at her kids like that for no stupid reason." (Again, you can stop laughing.)


Just another day in the life....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You'll never know, dear, how much I love you

My jeans, which I'd worn all day in a good faith effort to avoid looking like a complete slob, were beginning to annoy me.'s after 4pm. That's close enough to bedtime. Here I come, pajamas!

"I'm gonna run upstairs and put on my jammie-pants."

"Okay," Nick said from the kitchen.

You are my jammies.
My only jammies.
You make me happyyyyy
When jeans are tight.

Yes, in case you're wondering, I do sing to myself. (I frequently make up my own words, just to keep things interesting.) Trust should be thankful that most of my singing is in my head. You're life is better because of it.

Aaanyway.....I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I pulled on the beloved pajamas. I got them about 9 years ago from Old Navy. The red color is quite faded by now and there are pictures of ice skates all over. The ice skates mock me...coordination and balance are not my friends, therefore ice skating is downright impossible. The fabric is super soft and crazy stretchy. Seriously? Stretchy, as in, the Octo-Mom would have been perfectly comfortable in them....WHILE she was pregnant.

I came back downstairs and walked into the kitchen.

"I looooove these pants. If I ever beefed up to 400 pounds....."

"I'd kick ya out the door!" He pointed to the door, in case I'd forgotten just where it's located.


"Oh yeah! What would YOU do if I blew up to 400 pounds?" He put his hand on his hip and waited for an answer.

So I sang, "Hit the road, Jack."

"Exactly! So don't act so shocked!"

I resumed my singing. "Hit the road, Jack. And don'tcha come back til you're thin thin thin thin thin thin thin......"

Apparently, improv karaoke is my talent. It could be worse. I could be known as the lady who can arm-fart the alphabet.

"Really though....look at these pants! I could TOTALLY grow a couple more guts and STILL fit into them!"

He walked away.

Monday, October 12, 2009

We Are Family

This is one of the pics I've taken with my new camera. Yummy, don'tcha think? I was trying to get her to do something and I snapped the photo a second too late. This is the shot I got in place of the one I was originally trying to get. I'd say it's a good trade. Some of my best pictures are ones I took by accident.

* * * * * * * *

There's something about this blog that's been bugging me from the first post. Many months ago, when I started reading blogs, I came across many different people who handled their blogs in many different ways. Some people share, names, intimate life details, etc. Some people share pics, no names (only nicknames), and no identifying details. And a bazillion people who fall somewhere in between.

So, in the interest of some semblance of privacy, I started out using initials, which quickly irritated the snot out of me. Then I switched to the middle-names-used-as-first-names method. Again, my eyeballs became itchy when I tried to reread something I wrote this way. Instead of enjoying the flow of the story, I'm forced to stop and think, "When I wrote 'James', did I mean Child #1 or Child #2?" My brain cells are too few and far between to waste in this way. Plus, this method certainly confused my readers who actually know us in real life (I know, you're shocked that someone might actually want to know me in real life!!).

I mean, really....we're not in the Witness Protection Program. We haven't won the lottery and been forced to hide our vast wealth. We don't have any messy custody battles. We're not hiding from any loony relatives (yet). I have not posted any racy pics of anyone in the family and I don't ever intend to (my apologies to those of you waiting to see the shot of me lounging at the beach in my thong bikini). So I'm not entirely sure why I'm hiding names. What I do know is that I'm done with it.

Here goes nothing!

This handsome boy is Child #1. On the days when I'm feeling too lazy to remember his actual name, I do call him #1. On a normal day, he is Nicholas James. He is the child every mom should be blessed with.

This handsome boy is Child #2. For the first three years of his life, he was my shadow. He has a heart of gold. His real-live name is Benjamin Joseph.

This beautiful girl is Child #3. She took everything I knew about parenting and threw it out the window. She's busy teaching me that she has her very own mind. Her name is Alexa Camille.

This beautiful girl is Child #4. Can you believe some people said we were "crazy" to have 4 kids? Can you look at her face and say that we were crazy? I'd say I'm glad we had the brains to try for one more. She's tough as nails and my sweet, cuddly baby. Her name is Rachel Julia.

Here at Cas Family Central, I'm the Team Captain. My real-life name is Chris. You may call me Mama Cas, cuz I kinda like that nickname. There's this guy who has spent the last 16 years making me happier than I've ever deserved to be...his name is Nick. He's a great Co-Captain and he knows stuff about my computer....which is great since I know SQUAT about computers.

So that's the rundown. From now on, I will be using our real names. I think this will make the writing AND the reading a little easier.

* * * * * * * * *

To wrap up today's ramblings, I submit 2 more photos I took with the new camera. I love them both, but I happen to adore the second one the most. Nick likes the first one. So, loyal reader, what do you think? Do you prefer the first or the second? In case you're wondering, they were both taken on my front stoop at about 8:30 one morning. The natural light was fantastic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Update from yesterday.

Welcome, Baby Kieran!
(Born last night and weighing in at 8lbs. 8oz.)

Your Great Auntie loves you and can't wait to meet you!

Congratulations, April and JJ.....
Buckle up.
You're in for the ride of your life.
Enjoy every last second of it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.

I got word this morning that my niece and her husband are in the hospital working on the delivery of their first baby....a little girl. Yippee! She and I have been communicating through most of her pregnancy with the help of Facebook. I've been able to answer her baby-related questions, see pics of her growing belly, and laugh with her about some of the indignities of pregnancy. And now her big day has arrived. If things move along quickly, my niece will be someone's Mommy by nightfall. The excitement and anticipation are making my liver itchy! (Stick with me, people, and I will show you how much fun it is to make this stuff up.)

To say that my thoughts have been consumed by the delivery is a huge understatement. I'm on the edge of my seat, waiting for the news and pictures. I'm hoping my nephew-in-law (made that up, too) is so excited by fatherhood that he immediately wants to post some pics on Facebook!

As a mom, I identify with my niece, of course. I've been in her shoes...four times. But this time is different. While every baby is welcomed, loved, and adored, there is only one "first". This first child will make her a mother. I could say that this transition is life-changing, but those words are woefully inadequate. Honestly, there aren't enough words in our language to describe the journey into motherhood.

She will never love another person in the way that she will love this baby. She will look down at her and be astonished. Speechless. Head-over-heels. She will nuzzle the sweet baby cheeks, kiss the wrinkly feet, inhale the sweet smell of her hair, and tears of joy will fall.

She will do weird things like clean her daughter's face by spitting on a tissue and using it like a washcloth. She will do even weirder things like wiping her daughter's nose with her own shirt when no tissue is available. She will develop the iron stomach necessary to not gag when Little Girl develops an stomach virus, complete with projectile vomiting. This iron stomach will also allow her to continue a meal just after having changed a grosser-than-average diaper.

She will laugh when the baby sneezes and sprays a mouthful of pureed carrots on the wall. She will yell at inappropriate times and immediately feel the sting of shame and guilt. She will be stunned into silence the first time Little Girl says "The Pledge of Allegiance." She will experience new heights of happiness and new lows of anger...all within the same 30 seconds. She will watch her husband become a Daddy. She will come to realize that a bowl of cheerios and a plate of apple slices are perfectly acceptable as a quick meal for a hungry toddler (and for a hungry Mama, for that matter). She will love her child and she will love being her mother, but there will be days when she hates the isolation and the tedious nature of motherhood. She will wonder what she did in her lifetime to deserve a gift as perfect as this little girl.

Good luck, April and JJ....All of my love to you both and to your Little Girl. She's a lucky baby. And you're lucky parents.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Aaahh. Spring break. One week of carefree bliss in the Bahamas. Enjoying the sunset with an icy margarita in my hand and the ocean water tickling my toes. Sleeping until 11 with a pink satin eye mask shielding me from the morning sunlight.

Pffft. Get real.

#1 - I've never been to the Bahamas.

#2 - I hate margaritas.

#3 - I generally can't sit still long enough for anything to tickle my toes.

#4 - PINK SATIN EYE MASK?! HA HA HA! *wipes a tear* Whew, I can't stop laughing!

No, a Casalo spring break is much more...well...let's just call it Earthy, shall we? Our spring break was very Earth friendly.

In our backyard (which, as you can clearly see, was devoid of anything you might call grass...that green stuff behind the kids is mostly weeds), the children got busy with my spoons (don't worry...should you come by for a visit, said spoons have been adequately scrubbed). They dug an impressive hole and demonstrated several times how awesome it was because "LOOK! IT'S BIG ENOUGH FOR MY BUTT TO FIT IN!"

They filled this lovely hole with water. They dug out our pool noodles and blew bubbles into the muddy concoction. They scooped it up to show me how "yummy" the mud pie was. They filled buckets and emptied them again, and again, and again. Even as the afternoon temps cooled, they didn't seem to notice that their hands were nearly blue from the cold. They pretended to be fine, even as the tell-tale shivers told the true story. They were too busy to be hungry or thirsty. No one tattled or fought over nonsense.

The cleanup was a chore. When you go in the house, please for the love of all that is holy, don't touch anything. Walk straight up to the bathroom for a shower! Daddy was mildly horrified by the giant backyard hole. Seriously?! Aren't we trying to grow some GRASS out there?! But really, how many more years will pass before they think digging a hole in the backyard is boooooring. Can I just enjoy the simple fun that comes from a spoon, some dirt, and a bucket of water? We can have green grass when they're in college.

(PS...Thanks to The Hubs for the post title. He popped that one right off the top of his head!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thank You

Today I am thankful for....

...bedtime. It's the most wonderful time of the day.

...the long, hot showers I get to take after said bedtime. The kind that leave the hot water heater on empty. fleece vest. Keeps me just warm enough to avoid turning up the heat.

...mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy with browned ground beef. (I dare you to say that 10 times in a row.) Comfort food at it's finest.

...candy corn in October and peeps in April. My 2 favorite candies in my 2 favorite months.

...the color black. About 80% of my wardrobe is black. It's my absolute favorite color. The downside to this fashion choice, however, is that I always look like I'm in mourning. Whatever. I don't really see that as a major problem. blog. I'm bursting with pride over this project.

...the people who take time to read my posts. Thank you.

* * * * * * * *

So tell me, my loyal peeps, what are you thankful for today. Aside from the obvious, that is. Yes, I know you're thankful for your loving spouse, your beautiful children, and your vast wealth. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Tell me what ELSE puts a smile on your face (without getting x-rated, that is).

What are YOU thankful for?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

You're a Hard Habit to Break

October is here already and since today is the 1st, I thought today might be a good day for a new beginning.

My October goals:
Run/Walk 36 miles
Bike 16 miles
No more soda

As you are all gasping in shock and horror, my husband is rolling his eyes. (Hi, Babe! Yes, I can see you.) Believe it or not, the soda part will be the hardest. In case you missed the memo, Mountain Dew is my poison of choice....when I wake up thirsty in the morning, I don't immediately think of a glass of water (duh! That would be the obvious choice for a more sane individual.). I grab a glass of Mountain Dew. If there's none in the house, I run to 7-11 and get one. Let me repeat that, in case you don't fully grasp the stupidity.

I wake up thirsty.
I find no soda.
I walk past the sink faucet (which carries thirst-quenching water).
I walk past the fridge (which dispenses FILTERED thirst-quenching water).
I grab my keys, wallet, and cell phone.
I drive to 7-11 and purchase the soda.
I come home to drink the soda which doesn't really quench my thirst...ever.

Honestly, it's just a really crappy habit that I've developed over the years. I haaaaate the taste of coffee, but I wanted the caffeine pick-me-up to prop up my constantly tired self. (Seriously? I'd sleep 12 hours a day if this pesky housekeeping and child-rearing didn't get in my way.) Also, I'd rather lick car tires than drink diet I got a bazillion extra calories along with my barely-helpful dose of caffeine.

After guzzling all of those empty calories, I now find myself in the enviable position of weighing as much as I did on the day I delivered Baby #3....BEFORE the delivery. As in, I now weigh as much as a grown woman (who ate too damn much during the pregnancy) PLUS a fetus, a placenta, and the amniotic fluid. (Too graphic? I'm trying to hammer home a point here.)

The jeans I bought shortly after her birth are digging into the spare tire around my waist. My lower back hurts all the time. I'm out of breath a lot. The back-fat that I used to scoff at now resides on MY back. My bra has THREE hooks in the back, is made by a company named Olga, and has the word "minimizer" in its description. My waist? That went M.I.A. about 10 years ago. When I walk, I jiggle. (Are you as horrified as I am?) I'm tired of being such a schlub.

On a related note, I'm issuing a temporary moratorium on my beloved stretchy pants. No good can come from wearing pants with an infinite waistband.

So I'm attempting to climb out of a four-year-long rut. During the last 4 years, I was pregnant, recovering from my 3rd c-section, nursing a baby, caring for the 2 older boys, pregnant again (at 7 months post-partum), recovering again, nursing again, caring for 4 kids under the age of 7 1/2, and trying to keep the overly-inquisitive 3rd child from playing in traffic. Clearly, my physical (and mental) well-being was waaaaay down near the bottom of the Priorities List.

Not any longer.

As of now, I have 2 hours all to myself on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings while all of the kids are in their respective schools. (Shhh...can you hear that? It's me....hopping up and down and clapping with glee.) On Monday and Friday mornings, I only have the little one with me and she is still small enough to sit in a stroller, if need be. As an added bonus, my temporarily-unemployed friend is available to run with me now and then during the week. Yay, unemployment!

The plan is to fit in my walking/running and biking on those 3 mornings. I can also get in a walk on the other 2 mornings if I put Julia in her stroller or a bike ride if I put her in the trailer seat. As an incentive, I've registered for a 5k run on November 7th. I'd love to beat my first 5k time, so I had better get busy.

The plan is to find my way out of this rut. It is not a healthy place to be. Mamas need to be healthy, I've heard. There are 5 people in this house counting on me to be a healthier Mama and wife. So if I can't be motivated by anything else, I can be motivated by these 5 people and their desire to share a long life with me.

Wish me luck. Here goes nothing.