Thursday, July 22, 2010


I'm in a fantastic mood this morning because the weather has given us a tiny break.  The sweltering heat and suffocating humidity have temporarily lifted.  There is a cool breeze blowing through my open windows as we speak.  I know it's going to be hot again this afternoon so I'm enjoying these few a/c free hours.

This is a quick note just to say that I won't be in the blog world for a little bit....I'm taking a break to enjoy some summer time fun with my family.  I'll be back in a couple weeks.

Happy Summer!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

C'mon, people! Let your freak flag fly!

Once again, I have to share the wealth.......I read this blog post yesterday by Any Mommy and laughed my anal retentive little butt off.  Turns out, I'm not the only one with some...uh...quirks.

Her entire post is a list of her obsessive coping mechanisms and oddities.  You should know that she has 4 very young children...none of them are yet in kindergarten.  Yeah.  With kids as young as hers, she probably needs whatever tactics she can find to get through each day with a minimum of chaos.  I read her blog religiously and identify with her on so many levels.

In a show of motherly solidarity (and in an effort to entertain you with my lunacy), I'll list some of my oddities:

1 - When I watch tv, I can't just turn it on and watch whatever station comes up.  I have to start at channel 2 and go up the dial.  (Did I just age myself a bit by using the term "go up the dial?"  Is there a tv in existence that still has a dial?  I'm pretty sure my kids would stare blankly at it and then demand to see a remote.)

2 - The volume on the tv must be on an even number.  It cannot be on a must be on a 12 or 14.  This is exceptionally frustrating when the tv wants to jump 2 notches ALL BY ITSELF NO MATTER HOW LIGHTLY I PRESS THE VOLUME BUTTON OMG I'M GOING TO FLUSH THE REMOTE DOWN THE TOILET.

3 - I know that paper towels are a giant waste of money and that I should just use washable rags like my mother did.  But...I'm a teeny tiny bit of a germ freak and I like the disposable quality of a paper towel.  That being said, I reuse mine until I'm absolutely positively sure that I can't use them any more.  When I clean my countertops, I spray them with windex and wipe them down.  In my wee li'l brain, that paper towel isn't really I fold it ever so neatly and in just the right way and don't you dare try to crumple it up or fold it the wrong way or I will hunt. you. down. and I hang it over the windex bottle to dry.  Once that paper towel is thoroughly used and abused, I still use it to clean the bathroom floor or the toilet.

4 - My floor must be clean.  When Nicholas was a baby, we lived in a tiny apartment with our dog and cat.  I was crazy worried about him getting pet hair in his mouth (allow me a moment to chuckle about that New Mommy Neurosis) so I often vacuumed 3 times a day (don't fall off your chairs just yet....the apartment was the size of a VW Beetle and the vacuuming took all of 4 minutes).  To say that my standards have slipped since then is a gross understatement.  But I'm still irrationally annoyed by the sensation of dirt or grit under my bare feet.  Nothing lifts my mood faster than vacuuming and sweeping my floors.  All is right with my world if the floors are clean.

5 - I refuse to buy water bottles with straws.  I cannot figure out how to get the inside of the straw clean and I actually have visions of the germs that are colonizing there.  Also, our water bottles must be washed by hand with a bottle brush cuz I don't feel like the dishwasher is effective at cleaning the insides.  When my kids were still using sippee cups, I washed the valves with q-tips.

6 - My bedroom is mine.  M-I-N-E.  Mine!  If the children even wander in to grab a tissue, I twitch.  You wanna know how far I take this one?  I don't even allow pictures of my kids in my room.  Yep.  I'm THAT territorial.  None of their clothes or toys are in my room.  And the words "family bed" make me throw up a little in my mouth.  OMG that's so harsh!  No it isn't.  My kids have free reign over the whole house.....their toys litter every room and their school projects hang on every wall and I have countless photographs of them adorning my dining/living rooms.  I need one area in this house that's child-free.  The Husband is downright GIDDY over this policy.

7 - When I eat M&Ms, I have to have 2 at a time...not 1 and not 3.

8 - Kids who are big enough to sit on their butts but continue to sit on their knees?  Drives me apeshit crazy.  (Yeah.  I'm talkin' to YOU, Ben.)

9 - Feet are gross.  Keep them off my coffee table and couch pillows.

10 - I shave my legs.  A lot.  If the planets aligned and I happened to take 3 showers in one day?  I would shave my legs 3 times in that day.  Showering and not shaving is almost as ridiculous to me as showering and not using soap.  Again, The Husband is quite pleased with this policy.

WOW......that was therapeutic!  See, Any Mommy?  You're not alone!  We're ALL nutty in our own special ways.

Now it's your turn.  Think of your nuttiest, most anal retentive quality and share it here.  I promise I'll still love you!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sweet Tuesday morning

Normally, Rachel is the first one up.  Today, she slept in a bit.  She came down just in time to give Daddy his good-bye hugs and kisses.  I couldn't take my eyes off of her.  My head was swimming with one thought:  She's growing up.  She won't be 3 years and 3 months old forever.  After Daddy left for work, I grabbed my camera.  If I can't freeze time or keep her this way a bit longer, I can at least have some pictures to remind my future self of how she used to be.

Someday soon, her face will change.  She won't always have the squishy cheeks and the button nose.  Her hands will become longer and leaner.  They will lose the babyish chubbiness.

I want to remember these things when she's older.  I want to remember her messy "morning hair".....with yesterday's forgotten ponytails just barely hanging on.  I want to remember the goofy faces she likes to make at her brothers.  I want to remember her sweet profile and her dimply knuckles.

So I took some pictures....for remembering.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sippee be GONE

We're on Day 8 of the Great Sippee Cup Extermination.  I'm thoroughly sick of them.  Wash the cup...wash the lid...wash the valve (with a q-tip cuz, yes, I am THAT anal retentive about sippee cleanliness).  And don't even get me started on the cups that roll under the couch and aren't found until the contents resemble New England clam chowder.

The girls don't miss them.  They would rather be "big kids" like their brothers and drink out of regular cups.  And I only miss them when I have to clean up a spill from a regular cup (which are surprisingly rare).

Yes, there are plenty of times when I'm all, "WAH!  My babies are so grown up now!  WAH!  I miss my babies!"  But there are more times when I'm all, "YAY!  Less STUFF!"

We're done with maternity clothes, pacifiers, burp cloths, receiving blankets, bottles, diapers, giant boxes of wipes, bibs, sippee cups, baby gates, 5-point-harnesses, onesies, strollers, the exersaucer, the pack-n-play, and booster seats on the dining room chairs.  Also?  No more diaper bags.  For a general outing, I bring my wallet and cell phone.  (I keep certain things, like a first aid kit, stashed in the back of the van at all times.)  Leaving the house is becoming easier and easier.  (Not quicker....just easier.)  "Potty!  Wash your hands!  Brush your teeth!  Get your shoes on!  Get in the van!  Get buckled!"  They can do ALL of these things by themselves.  Excuse me while I do a brief Happy Dance.

I'm liking their independence....a LOT.

Next up?  Getting rid of Rachel's crib, mattress, and crib sheets.  I'm counting the days.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You were r....r....ri.....righ............RIGHT

I'm about to do something that I've never done before.  Something big.  HUGE, as a matter of fact!

Something that has caused me many sleepless nights and much hand wringing and more than a little bit of gastro-intestinal discomfort.

Something that will shake the very foundation of my marriage and my family....

I'm going to admit.....


...that I was.....................wrong.

YES.  I said it.  But WAIT.  There's more!  If you call within the next 10 minutes, you'll ALSO get to hear me admit this:

The Husband was right.

GAH!  I'm choking!  CPR?!  ANYONE?!  Can I at LEAST get a brown paper bag to breathe into?!  Maybe just rub my back in a comforting manner?


YOU are no help at ALL.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Since way back when water was invented, The Husband has wanted a pool.  "Wouldn't that be nice?"  He broached the subject at different times......when our friends bought a house with a pool in the yard.  When the thermometer rose past the 90 degree mark and we became prisoners of the air conditioner.  When we had kids.  When we started looking at buying a home of our own and one of the houses we toured had a pool.

I had three major reasons for not wanting to take that leap.  #1 - Safety.  #2 - Maintenance.  #3 - Cost.

Fast forward to the spring of 2007.  I looked down at the giant belly that was cooking our fourth child and I looked at the tax forms that said, "Hey!  Uncle Sam owes you more than you expected!"

My speech went something like this:  "Fine.  You win.  We have the money now so let's put in a pool.  With 4 kids under the age of 8, I won't be going anywhere for quite sometime, so we might as well bring the fun here.  BUT.  Just so you know.  I will have nothing to do with the upkeep.  If you leave the maintenance to me, we will be swimming in something resembling green jell-o.  I have too much other sh** to do without worrying about the chlorine levels in a giant bathtub."

We were at the pool store in under an hour....before I could change my mind.  True to form, The Husband picked out the biggest pool he could find.  And true to form, I asked WHY do we need a pool THAT big.  His answer?  "Because we CAN.  Have you SEEN the size of our yard?!  We could have TWO of these!"

The fact that we went with an above-ground pool with a removable ladder made me feel slightly better about the safety aspect.  Turn on the news during this time of year and you're almost guaranteed to hear a story about a kid falling into a pool.  Never say never, of course....but it takes a bit more effort, in my humble opinion, to drown in an above-ground pool.  But again....never say never.  As of now, the boys are both tall enough to be in the pool without life jackets.  The girls are firmly strapped into their vests at. all. times.

So, yes, I admit that I love love love our pool.  I admit that he was right and I was wrong.  I admit that it's amazing awesome cool incredible to see how my kids have become, without the benefit of ANY swim lessons, such masters of the water.  I admit that sometimes I allow the pool to be an adequate substitute for a shower for the kids.  (Okay...more than sometimes.  Quite a bit, actually.)  I admit that there's nothing better than lowering my overheated body into that cool water.  I admit that we would be lost without it.

But I still refuse to take part in the maintenance.

Cuz that's how I roll.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Don't pat yourself on the back. You might break your spine.

It was a busy 4th of July weekend....lots of time in the pool and lots of time ignoring sleep.  It caught up with Alexa today.  She's been a bear.  There's been plenty of whining and fighting and foot stomping.

I reached my limit.

She was sitting on her bed (for her 83rd time-out of the day) and repeatedly wailing, "I WANT DAAA-DYYYYYY."

Deeeeep breath.  In with the good....out with the bad.  In with the nap...out with the whiny.  In with the quiet time....out with the stomping feet.  Deeeep breath.

With all of the calm I could muster, I walked into her room. 

Pull down the shade. 
Put the air conditioner at 70 degrees. 
Shut off the light.
Walk to my daughter. 
"I don't like how you're behaving today so you're going to take a nap now." 
Walk out, ignoring her grunting objections.

And that was it.  No yelling, no mini-lecture, no swat on the backside, no threats.....just a deep breath and simple statement delivered in a voice so monotone that I barely recognized it as my own.

And you're thinking, "Um...okay?  What's the point of this story?"

The point is that and then....once in awhile....I get it right.  Sometimes I remember to act like a grownup, not a petulant 5-year-old.  Now and then I remember the phrase "don't add fuel to the fire."  Once in awhile I pretend to be a calm, level-headed person.

So I'm taking a few minutes to pat myself on the back....which goes against my every core value.  Maybe it's time to re-visit my "values?"  Ask me to list 100 of my faults, mistakes, failings, and royal f***ups and I'll respond with, "ONLY 100?!"  Bashing me has become a well-loved pastime of mine. 

Old habits die hard.

But this blog gives me a unique opportunity.  I'm putting it here in black and white...for the whole world (or for the handful of devoted friends and family who read here) to see.  I'm patting myself on the back.  Giving myself a hi-five.  Today I'm writing down my successful story so I can re-read it the next time I start a thought with, "Holy CRAP...I'm the WORST mother in history!"

Today, I got it right.

Today, I did a good job.

Do you hear that, Self?  You did a GOOD job.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

It occurred to me one day that I could get into mucho troublo (I failed Spanish...can you tell?) for using song lyrics in my titles and posts without properly crediting the artist.  So in order to keep my hide out of hot water, I'll be making notes from now on regarding the songs and artists.  Mama Cas doesn't look good in prison stripes.

"Don't pat yourself on the back. 
You might break your spine."
Green Day - "Nice Guys Finish Last"
Release date 03-23-99
Love love love this group.  Love love love this song....but my favorite line from the song HAS to be:  "I'm so f***in' happy I could cry."  Makes me laugh every. time. I hear it.

If you're not familiar with Green Day (hold on one second while I weep for you)...check out the "Know Your Enemy" video here or the "Minority" video here and you might very well become just as obsessed as I am.  PS....both of these songs are totally effective if you're out for a run and having that not-so-fresh "I'm gonna drop dead right here if I have to run another step" feeling.  They'll light a fire under your me.  Also?  They sound really great if you've just dropped ALL of the kids off at school and you have 2 1/2 uninterrupted hours to yourself and you crank the music up at top volume in your cute little minivan and you say a mental "screw you" to the people who stare at you while you're singing along to every. single. word. and drumming along on your steering wheel.

Or maybe that's just me.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Funniest hide and seek game EVER

Rachel:  "Ben, do you wanna play hide-and-theek?"

Ben:  "Sure."

Rachel:  "Okay!  I'll go hide in the clothet (closet)."

As she runs off, Ben looks up at me:  ???

I snickered.

Ben:  "1...2...3...4...5...Ready or I find you in the closet!"

Me:  "Pretend, Ben."

Ben:  "Here I come!  Hmmm...where are you???"

Rachel, giggling, flings open the closet door:  "Here I am!  I wath in the clothet!  Hehehehe!!"