Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ramblings: By a madman

Avery: But why can't I have pudding?!@#$@
Me: Because it's lunchtime. You need to eat real food first.
Me: When you cry, I can tell you're tired. Maybe you need a nap today.
Avery: I DO NOT NEED A NAP. I'm NOT crying because I'm tired.
Me: Well, when you've been crying all day about silly things, that means you're tired.
Avery: (Stunned silence) Uh...did the doctor tell you that?
Me: Yup.
Avery: (Wide-eyed. Runs away)

Moral of the Story:
If the doctor tells your mom, it must be true.
Or: Don't cry unless you really, really want something bad enough to risk having to take a nap.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ramblings: Happy Nude Year

Oh, it's New Year? Whoopsie--that makes the holiday photo cards I just sent out entirely inappropriate. But that also ensures the PTA won't be asking me to volunteer anytime soon.

I'd like to say that we've gotten tons accomplished the past two weeks we've that the kids have been out of school and Jeremy's been around more than usual. But...I don't think we accomplished half of my 'to-do' list. Not even the fun stuff. We all passed around a terrible cold. I thought I was over it but I ended up at the doctor yesterday with a terrible earache and sinus infection. Lovely. December was a tough month for us--me and three of the kids were knocked out for consecutive three day periods with a stomach flu, Aidan got pink eye, the next day Avery was at the doctor with ear and sinus infections, and Trace has been battling teething and a bad cold that had him breathing really raspy like a tiger.  Today a trip to the doctor revealed a sinus infection and surprise! Pink eye. But I will knock on wood and say that we are all on the mend and hopefully everyone ages 5-11 will be healthy enough to return to school Thursday. Or else.
I've noticed two major things since the kids have been home all day for over two weeks. 1) They drink a TON of milk. Our milk consumption has gone up 200%. 2) My house is constantly thrashed. Immediately after being cleaned it morphs somehow back into post-tornado chaos that would be newsworthy. At least for local news.
The last day of school I was able to park with the other 4,298 parents in the grassy/muddy acre around the school, hike to the school, and attend the class parties with at least 2 of the 4 kids. They were all at the same time--the boys insisted I go to the kindergarten party, Maddie seemed only little bummed that I couldn't make hers, and all Alex cared about was that I come get him before I left since it would probably be before school was officially over. 
The boys got to participate in Texas versions of ice skating (sliding around on paper plates) and snow ball fights (chucking different sized Styrofoam balls at each other).  Oh and stuff their faces with cookies to which they applied 2 inches of bright blue frosting and 1/3 jar of sprinkles. Needless to say, they had a blast. Alex's was a "cool" party where they let the 5th graders wander at will throughout the fifth grade hallway and classrooms. They were allowed to do whatever they wanted--play the computers, sit and talk, use their cell phones. (yeah, most have phones). The coolest part according to Alex: there were three big platters of Chickfila nuggets. Uh-huh! I TOTALLY went to the wrong party.

Christmas Eve we had my brothers and their fams and parents over for dinner, the cousin ornament exchange, Grandma giving out the grandkids' blankets she's been making for the past five months, and a white elephant gift exchange for the adults. I almost wrote "adult white elephant gift exchange" but that would've been an altogether different game...not PG like ours was.

The only pictures from the game was of Jeremy with his score--enough for a very hairy crowd. I love how Trace's almost matches his crazy red hair. Grandma scored a fancy gold Buddha and Grandpa a bright blue sauna suit--"to lose weight" according to the box--and not "to look like a giant idiot" like I would've advertised on it. For some reason I can't remember most of the other things--ooh, Greg got back his own gift: a fire starter that looks like a mini rifle. Sweet. All the guys might be getting these in their stockings next year since they were all drooling.

And what the heck is going on in this picture? I look like a melting hunchback with a rogue hand growing out of my chest but without any arms where they should be. At least I don't look like I'm really enjoying peeing my pants like my brother next to me...Come to think of it, I do look like I'm noticing a growing puddle on the ground under him. 

Christmas started very early for all of us except Trace, who was lucky enough to sleep in til 8:30. Alex woke all the other kids up at 5:30 and then we were quickly awoken by their noisy chatter on the stairs. They had all their gifts open and were halfway through breakfast before Trace woke up and stood in shock for about 10 minutes. They were flinging gifts at him like he had a clue what to do with them.  He was more than slightly freaked out by Jeremy's new Reagan bust. He started jabbering at it like it was a real person once he was sure it wasn't going to attack him. Jeremy rocked his new Chuck Norris shirt--and I'm not sure what/who was holding his hair hostage...but whatever it was, it was very powerful. And not to worry, Aidan uses his forces and nerf gun to fight evil (usually).
Santa brought the twins pretty much every Star Wars figurine, ship, candy, or Lego product available on Amazon and at the nearby Walmart and Target. Santa has to cover his bases--the elves can't do it all.
Maddie scored a scooter and Alex was sorely jealous.  (That was a super understatement for the outrage that occurred.) Mom took the scooter for a spin first--you know, to test the brakes and make sure everything was working properly. And because it was super fun. Santa may be bringing me one next year. Don't worry! She wears a new giant helmet when she rides. And an AT&T guy working in the neighborhood was "nice" enough to come to the door a couple days after to tell us that she really shouldn't be using something "so powerful" without full body armor basically. How random, AT&T guy. And nosy. And a bit creepy.

I've been doing nothing but picking up nerf bullets for two weeks. All the big boys got new nerf tag guns--and all of them have learned the hard way that the tag bullets actually hurt if you get hit in the face. They have stiff velcro ends which aren't very friendly when being fired at any close distances. I've got about thirteen pictures of them crying after getting hit. I'll just post one for fun...Al won't be liking that.

A few nights ago, Jeremy and I were able to sneak off with some friends to a nice dinner (read: linen tablecloths and no highchairs!) and to see Les Miserables at the new Opera house in Dallas. We took a golf cart transport thing from dinner to the opera, which is why the picture's shaky. And I probably have a nerf bullet tangled in my hair somewhere. We spent a fortune on babysitting for the six hours, but MAN!, it was a great performance. The best part: the babysitter could drive and just drove her little self home at midnight so I could finally take off the high heeled shoes that were trying to eat my feet all night.  Definitely worth seeing if you get a chance.  The musical, not my eaten feet. 
Jeremy's a bit sunburned from taking all the kids to see the BYU football game in Dallas that day. It was sunny and about 70* and BYU won at the very last possible second. The kids were DONE after a long game in a small area with not many distractions, but at least a victory meant Dad wasn't crabby for the next three days.

And now, I've used up all Trace's naptime and then some. He's sitting and screaming for more food from his highchair. And I'm off to spend another $100 on his medicines from today's doctor's visit.  Until next time!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ramblings: Posts with Updates that never made it to Post

Dear Grandma,
In that adorable, shrinking, 87 year old little body hides a sneaky, evil genius. Of course I cannot refuse your one Christmas wish that I keep this dying blog going! Question: Were you prepared to fake chest pains, too? Well-played Grandma, well-played.  So Merry Christmas to YOU!

And while digging through pictures on my computer, I found this one of you and the boys from a couple of years ago. Look how cute!

OCTOBER: (written back in October, yet it never made it to post...)

Since the poo poo on the block incident, I needed some time to calm down. Although life around here is never that, I've managed to accomplish a few things. We celebrated our little red-headed kid's first birthday--complete with four lovely shots in his flabby thighs and more antibiotics for his never-ending string of ear infections. (And if you're wondering which side of family he resembles most--take a look at the shape of that big round head. Fielding all the way. Good thing he was a c-section.) He's weighing in at 24 pounds and is 31 1/2 inches tall--which means he's BIG. No amazing breakthrough there.
He's been chatty for awhile--he can say uh-oh, mama, Maddie, cracker, bye, hi, cookie and he screams LOUDLY  to get whatever else he wants. He signs milk, hi, bye, more, and all-done--at least when he wants to.  He's not walking yet but he can stand for a long time and string about four or five steps together before he falls. I'm in no hurry--he can crawl fast, but once he starts walking, then comes running. And the toothless wonder is still just that--with nothing showing on the horizon. At one point do I get the kid some dentures so he can eat real food?

Update: Trace is now almost 15 months, is finally walking, and has sprouted those two middle bottom teeth that make babies look like adorable little squirrels. He pushes food the front of his mouth to enjoy this new found chewing freedom. He carries on constant conversations with us and himself, although I'm pretty sure only one of us (him) knows what about. He's got quite a sense of humor and loves when he can put on a good show for anyone willing to watch--including fellow shoppers at the grocery store, the pool guy thru the window, or mom and dad . And he will insist that everyone clap and holler "yea!" for him because if we don't, he will stop doing his funny routine, give us some major stink eye, and then clap for himself. He also thinks using his razor sharp nails to pinch the flab on the back of my arm is funny. It is not.

He typically identifies when he is doing/ or has done a "pee poo" and will come and find me to report his stinky diaper, waving his hand in front of his nose to communicate just how stinky he is.  Don't worry: I'm not unrealistically optimistic that he will potty train easier because of this. Mostly I just think it's funny when he comes ambling over in his drunken new-walker stumble to loudly report what everyone in a 6 mile vicinity already smells. And he spends most of his time "helping" me around the house.

Halloween: I love getting into costumes, but this year was a challenge. I've got too many kids concerned with being cool instead of funny. Aidan submitted to my s'mores costume and wore a marshmallow pillow and 2 painted foam graham crackers velcroed to his chocolate layer. Avery went as a bloodied and scratched tiger trainer and Trace was the ferocious tiger. As expected, Avery's "whip" was confiscated 20 minutes into the evening.

Maddie was a Queen and Alex went as the World's Worst Burglar--complete with nametag, giant head flashlight, a bell necklace, and a tag on his stash reading "If lost, please return to..." He managed to evade being in any pictures. The only picture I got of Maddie was looking super annoyed at the neckline of her dress running through the church's trunk or treat.

 I've been meeting with a landscape designer to plan the revamp of our landscaping and I'm excited to see the project unfold next month. He's already lectured me about having to go out and hand water the multitude of new plants and trees that we'll have to tend to. Should I be worried that I forgot to check with him if they will withstand being frequently "watered" by four boys? Is a little extra ammonia deadly? We shall see...I love a good project.

Thanksgiving came and went fairly uneventfully.  I avoided any Black Friday shopping. But I went to sonic and was embarrassed for whoever made this sign, laminated enough for every booth, and then didn't realize for about a week the spelling error. I don't know what the "hole" menu is, but I'm not interested. Doesn't sound very appetizing.

Alex celebrated his 11th birthday at the beginning of December. Oh my gosh. I have an eleven year old. Freaky. I very well remember being 11 myself. Weird. Grandpa  hooked him up with one of Texas' required possessions: a giant gun. Well, it seems giant in the hands of an 11 year old. Some sort of air rifle that can be potentially dangerous. The box described it as an "excellent form of small rodent and pest control." Right. That's what it's best used for.  Lucky for them, Grandpa keeps it at his house or else its best use around here would be "to regulate the performance of chores, piano practicing and bedtime enforcement." What? No good? you guys won't let me have any fun.

We survived the tons of holiday parties, piano recitals, and other festivities this month. FYI Trace attacks people and licks their hair when they're not expecting it...Aidan got body snatched by his cousin Dex at the church Christmas party. He's about the same age as the twins and they are crazy when they're all together--gives me a shot of what life would've been like with triplets. I wouldn't have survived.

We posed with Santa. And although it looks like we adopted a blonde Korean boy and threw him in a sweater vest, we did not. Avery was really trying hard to look pleasant despite having to "wear church clothes." And yes Jessica, we do indeed look like the Duggar family.
We forced the kids to submit to the yearly photo taking. And once again the outtakes did not disappoint. This first one was about the most normal looking of everyone. Oh, but what a journey to get there. At one point, Trace became obsessed with Alex's crunchy spikes and we couldn't get him to stop playing with them.

Then, sensing he had a keen audience, Trace decided to get funny--he loves looking at me and then making this face because it makes me laugh every time. We finally let the kids down and Trace took off like a wild baby in his old man sweater vest.

And then everyone got a bit kookie. Hair got licked, shoes got flung,  folks started wrestling and we knew it was time to call it quits. I almost think it's worse when the moaning and groaning is replaced with the giggles and silliness. At least the deformed body poses and open mouth smiles are much more obvious in the pictures...

Jer and I managed to sneak a shot that turned out ok. Which is a miracle because look what was behind the scenes: Maddie was poking my rear and climbing between my legs, Alex and Avery were about to throw down, and Aidan had tackled Trace in an attempt to keep him from taking off across the field--you can barely see fingers flying in the right corner.  I'm sure I'll have more funny pictures and stories to share post-Christmas. Until then, FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Is it just me, or do the makers of smoke detectors have a vendetta against sleep? If not, why would they program those things to consistently run out of batteries in the middle of the night and emit those ear-piercing "wake-up you sleeping fool" beeps every minute until you crack the code on how to reinstall the battery while you're only partly conscious? Can you tell I'm cranky?

Of course at 3 AM, the detector in our bedroom started beeping, causing lots of grumbling and stumbling around in the dark trying to locate a ladder that could get my midget-ness high enough to dismantle the ticking time bomb.  I really hated tall ceilings last night. But this one was wacky and wouldn't stop the infernal beeping even after a new battery was in--apparently after some googling, we discovered that we must've unintentionally pushed a
"silence" button or something that will keep it going for 15 minutes even with a good battery. WHAT?!
It eventually stopped--but not without sucking away 40 minutes of precious sleep and waking 1/5 kids.

It made me think of that Friends episode where Phoebe's detector keeps going off even without a battery and even after she yanks it off the ceiling and throws it down the trash chute.  

Last time this happened, we of course didn't have a ridiculous, rectangular, joke-of-a-battery 9-volt. So I had to tear apart the kids playroom in search of a toy that 1) used a 9 volt, and 2) hadn't been completely drained and purposely not replaced.  After that fun midnight experience, I went to Costco and bought a giant bulk-pack of 9 volts, many of which will probably expire before they get used but at least I'll had one when that smoke detectors started blaring! Is there a good reason they use those dumb batteries instead of making our life easier and requiring a couple run of the mill AA batteries? Would that be that ground-breaking of a renovation in the smoke detector industry?

I've decided to split by sleep-deprived frustration 50/50 between 9-v batteries and the smoke detectors that insist on them. Good evening...and may your sleep not be disturbed by the CHIRP we all know and hate.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ramblings: Muchas Gracias

To my recently returned from Chile husband of thirteen years,
I just want to take an opportunity to welcome you home. Welcome. Home. Now that you've returned to the madness that is our house, I'm sure you are really missing that quiet hotel room.

But the main intent of this letter is to Thank You. Thank you for leaving your giant black suitcase exactly where you dropped it three days ago in the middle of your closet floor. But the bulk of my excitement lies in the fact that I finally gave in and decided to open the stinky heap of a suitcase to see just how much laundry I was going to get to do today. Wow. Impressive. Not only has that bag remained on your floor, but luckily the two week old stinky laundry is indeed still left shoved and wadded in the bag's tiny nooks, crannies, and zipped compartments. AWESOME.

Because not only do I generally LOVE handling other people's stinky used clothes, but handling and sorting dirty laundry that has been allowed to marinate in its own juices for two weeks is like Christmas morning around here. The pure joy that I experienced un-wadding those still-moist, post-workout athletic socks is one that I will not forget any time soon. Did you get that? NOT ANY TIME SOON. In fact, if I were you, I would check under my pillow tonight or even next to my toothbrush to make sure that the aforementioned sweaty sock hasn't found a new home to be closer to you. But by then, it may be up and walking around to greet you at the door--it's taken on a life all its own. And I don't think it's friendly.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, welcome home. Really. Because I was really glad to have backup last night when you pulled in at 6:45 whilst I was knee-deep helping Maddie with her book report and diorama, cleaning up dinner, chasing around a toothless Trace after he managed to eat a forbidden grape that someone had dropped, and receiving the news from Aidan that Avery had pooped in the neighbor's lawn and then picked it up and thrown it across the street. Because obviously once you've pooped in one neighbor's lawn, you must regain procession of it and share it with another neighbor across the street. And then come inside reeking like....well, like Dad's pile of dirty laundry.

(Seriously--these boys are FIVE. WHO DOES THAT? I almost had a nervous breakdown. Avery sat fully clothed in the shower until Jeremy came home because I just couldn't deal with him. Aidan led everyone to the poop so it could be 1) verified and 2) disposed of. Jeremy and I have an ongoing bet as to how long we will be allowed to live in this neighborhood before they rally together and kick us out. It's too bad our other house sold because we may be in need of somewhere to stay by Thanksgiving. Any offers? I'll do all the laundry--two week old and all.)

Your Loving Wife

PS But seriously--I'd check under your pillow. You know what they say about payback...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ramblings: Pumpkin' Lovin

My two local sister-in-laws and I ventured to the Dallas Arboretum today with the under school-aged kiddies to hang out with the millions of pumpkins and flowers (and other kid-toting, stroller pushing moms). It was really something to see--gourd overload.

Trace didn't know what was going on for the first 20 minutes--he just kept looking at the massive stacks, lines, piles, and buildings made out of multi-colored pumpkins and then back at me to make sure this was all legit. Then he loosened up and started smiling and playing with some so that I could manage to catch a few pictures to mark his first birthday. 

Deanna with a momentarily happy Emily and (always) happy James.
This is Braxton. Our newest nephew/cousin. He really cramped our style by being unwilling to be buried in the massive pile of pumpkins--he insisted on someone at least supporting his neck. Dang those undeveloped neck muscles. 

And at one point, Trace was frustrated that I wasn't giving him enough direction and he took the photo shoot in an entirely different direction. He's bringing sexy back...back with red hair. None of my other kids had this orangey/red hair. Crazy.
"Come on, you know you want a piece of this T-Bone." We have about three friends that call Trace "T-bone". I'm not sure how I feel about that...
"I like this thing. It actually makes my head look small..."
Really embarrassed that he is a year old and STILL doesn't have any teeth, Trace refuses any more open mouth smiles. Or he's filling his diaper. This one reminds me of those 80's Olan Mills photos where the photographer tells you to stare off into the distance.

The big pumpkins were surprisingly really cold, despite the fact that it was about 85 degrees. I guess Trace needed a moment to cool down on his giant pumpkin pillow.

If Trace looks unhappy in this picture, I'm sure he was. I made him pose for a few with a dirty poo diaper, the making of which was also caught on camera. I'm sort of gingerly holding him so there won't be too much squish-age.