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.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ramblings: Awaking from a six month siesta. Parte Uno.

I'm sneaking back on here for a moment with a post of my intentions to pick up writing where I left off. Actually, that's too overwhelming since my last post was in MARCH and it is now OCTOBER. Then, I had a 5 month old baby. That round-faced, fat-rolled baby is now a chattering, hat-loving, still-chubby-but-slimming-down-by-the-day crawling machine.
Oh, and he'll be ONE in five days. I'd like to say that I've been keeping track of everything that's been going on in the last half of a year so I could put it on here eventually...but I didn't, so I probably won't. SUE ME.

My kids probably will sue me one day. The charge: Failure to accurately and appropriately document major life events during formative childhood years. GUILTY.

How abouts an abbreviated version---Come on, it's for the children.
-We dragged the family down to Florida for Spring Break where our besties, the Kemps, met up and put up with our circus-of a family. We had a blast. Maddie zip lined and did a ropes course that was about three stories high without missing a beat. Alex got one flight up and almost wet himself. But eventually he manned up (after extreme taunting from Dad) and did a few high ones. Sorry, I only have video of it and my technology is uncooperative tonight.

-We contemplated building a house. Searched for land for many weeks trying to realize Jeremy's dream of putting all these dang boys to work on "some land" in order to keep them out of trouble. An aside: I feel the need to point out that Jeremy and his brother grew up on a HUGE piece of land, were required to do LOADS of work everyday to keep them busy, and STILL managed to get into more trouble and life-threatening situations than most people could dream of. Boys=trouble, land or no land.

 -Found some land and almost bought it. Then, a couple weeks later we accidentally found a house for sale that was enough house to house our giant brood. (Did you enjoy the usage of 'house' as both a noun and a verb? I thought so. You're welcome.)

-Jeremy, Trace, and I were able to travel to Washington to meet up with almost all of his siblings to celebrate the life of our little niece, Angelica , at her sweet funeral.  It was a gut-wrenching experience, but also a really special glimpse of how her short life here touched so many people.

-Bought aforementioned house, and spent June making some significant and insignificant changes--added a room, retiled, recarpeted, added cabinetry, repainted, etc.

-The twins turned five and begged me for a party at Chuck E. Cheese. I submitted and they, with about 12 of their friends, partied the afternoon away with that giant, creepy rat. The party ended with all of the parents lapsing into insanity at the ticket counter while the kids tried to decide what ridiculously worthless crud they wanted to exchange for their tickets.

-I packed. Alot. And then packed some more. With five kids home all day "helping". I decided that for my sanity and the prospect of actually selling it, we would NOT list the house for sale until after we had moved out. Mostly. We left each room with furniture and stuff that wasn't absolutely necessary for us to take.
-We celebrated Maddie's 8th birthday by moving. Umm, did I mention that it was JULY in TEXAS when we moved? Basically, it was hotter than the devil's armpit. Alright, I'm just guessing on that one.  I have no actual, first-hand knowledge of sweaty satanic armpits--I'm just assuming it would be one of the sweatier body parts, of course excluding the hairy lower back/upper hiney portion because that is just disgusting to think about.
Maddie is still holding it over my head that she didn't get a birthday party. Uhh, didn't the slurpees I brought you guys that afternoon SCREAM par-tay? Probably not. They were melted into syrup before I got the car door open.

-We had Jeremy's family reunion in New Hampshire the week after we moved. It KILLED me to pack suitcases when my brain was in full-on UNPACK mode. I could barely stand leaving things so undone and disheveled, but we loaded up and flew the freakshow on a week-long journey to New England. That could and should be a whole post of it's own. Maybe it will...more to come on that.

This is what CRAZY on an airplane after four hours and no nap looks like:

-Things we discovered on that trip:
1) The only thing hotter than moving in Texas in July, is visiting an entire geographical region that doesn't (for the most part) have central air conditioning during a history-making HEAT WAVE. We spent an entire afternoon in the air-conditioned public library. All 20 of us.
2) Sleeping on the third floor of Jeremy's sister's house, even with 3 fans on us, was, according to Jeremy "hotter than when I lived in Tanzania." Trace's baby monitor read in the upper 90's at midnight.
Everyone had a great time, despite the melting of the majority of our brain cells, although I don't think it will be on anyone's list soon for future reunion destinations. At least not in the summertime. But it was almost worth it for the seafood...I had a to-die-for lobster roll right before this picture on the beach--which was taken right after Aidan threw a rock directly at Maddie's head while aiming for the waves. We couldn't figure out why she just started screaming.

3) My gallbladder hated me and decided to attack one night (for the first time ever) while we were staying in a Residence Inn in the middle of nowhere, NH. Luckily, there was a hospital within 15 minutes, they had GOOD drugs, and we were able to rouse a bleary, but willing, Uncle Peter to drive over and sit with our abandoned and unconscious brood at 3 in the morning.
4) When gallbladders hate you, they try to kill you. Like, really, really make you want to die. Curled up, vomiting from the pain, in full-body sweats, stabbing chest and back pain, want to die. I thought Jeremy might kill me on the way to the hospital because he was driving so fast.
Our tiny townhouse from 2000-2003
5) Alex either fibs or has a miraculous memory. After a day in Cambridge and at Harvard to see where we lived while Jeremy was in law school and where Alex was born, he claims to remember his days as a newborn in the tiny townhouse and fabulous snowball fights in snowstorms that neither Jeremy or I can recall.
Some of the Fielding grandkids with G & G--Boston
6) Boston was an awesome place to live and we didn't take full advantage of our three years there with only one kid. Alot easier to travel and explore in small numbers.
7) Oh, how a decade or so can change you.We had one of those surreal, out of body experiences standing in line at the Harvard Law bookstore waiting to buy about $4000 worth of t-shirts and junk with our 5 incredibly sleep-deprived, hot, hungry, and LOUD kids and thinking back to the eleven years before when we stood at the very same cash register and I was pregnant with Alex.  And we thought life was crazy then. HA!

Stay tuned for parte dos...

Ramblings: Awaking from a six month siesta. Parte Dos.

-I unpacked, organized, and unpacked some more. And once a day, I would give in to the moaning and pleading and take a break so the kids could swim. The twins became fish this summer being able to swim most days, so if we can get Trace swimming next summer, I'll have it made.
-Maddie is baptized at our church the same day we have a giant garage sale at our old house. Luckily the house sold and closed in record time--about two weeks. But that meant our stuff there had to get moved out fast. That was the longest day ever, and I want it on the record that I will never, ever, ever have a garage sale again. We almost got a normal picture of all of us. The bright sun didn't help us out...

Her program cover. Taken at the beach in Florida in March...she was freezing.

-Alex, Maddie, Aidan, and Avery all started school--a new school on account of the move. The big crazies were a bit nervous, but are fairly outgoing so we weren't too worried. The school tried to put the Triple D (the Dynamic Duo of Destruction) in the same kindergarten class and I freaked. Not a good idea. I questioned that move and was informed that there were four other sets of twins starting kinder, and I was the only parent that didn't want them in the same class. Really?!
Luckily, they got separated and its been the best thing ever for them. Their own friends, their own activities, their own stories to tell each other, and a minimally competitive setup. Though Avery is sure to let EVERYONE know he has mastered all of his sight words before Aidan. Trace and I chill from 7:30 until 3:10 when everyone's back and chaos ensues until bedtime, which on most days cannot come soon enough.
Aidan started with the tail end of a vicious black eye--he learned the hard way not to spin on the coffee table and fall face first on the tile floor. That picture is not altered at all--his eye completely matched the blue paint in the office. It was terrible. He got very self-conscious because everywhere we went, people stared at him so I taught him to tell everyone, "I beat up a fifth grader. You should see the other guy."

-I have two more gallbladder attacks--but this time I'm prepared with some pain meds. Finally my doctor says, "How about we just chop that thing out?" And then, "You shouldn't lift anything more than 10 pounds for three weeks after." Hmmm. Does that include my obese 25 pound ten month old? (I made it a week, more or less.) Post-surgery, she informs me that I had alot of gallbladder stones. One was a little smaller than a golf-ball---probably the culprit in the recent attacks. I was only a little sad she didn't save it for me because it's just the freaky kind of thing my friend Jessica would LOVE. That and pictures of roadkill. She could've made a necklace out of it.

September/October 1
-The boys start soccer, Alex starts Fall basketball, Maddie joins the jump rope club, and we spend most nights running from piano, to scouts, to practices, and to games while trying to finish homework, dinner, and an occasional shower here and there.
-Jeremy flees the country in an attempt to find peace and quiet, and a decent night's sleep. He fakes a long business trip to Chile and comments via email to me (which I read while melting in the 94* heat) that the weather there is a perfect 73*, Santiago is a gorgeous place, but he's frustrated that he doesn't speak Spanish. I had a message for him in very clear English: WHAAAA. And then tonight he got this email from me in response to asking "how were the kids?" (I'm not kidding--I did a partial cut and paste for you):

Aidan snuck and then ate the snacks I had packed for Trace to have at the game right after I told him NOT to touch them--(referencing the TWO 1/2 hours of basketball games I had to drag everyone to this afternoon)-- 
 Avery had a 15 minute FREAKOUT at the bball game over the iPhone and the fact that his legs "wouldn't work" when it was time to leave, which caused him to scream and writhe around on the gym floor like a wounded sea lion. A wounded sea lion in heat. A wounded sea lion in heat with ADHD. That REALLY REALLY wanted to play cartoon wars again. Then they hosed down the tile floors by alex's room with toilet cleaner while they were supposed to be in the shower, sprayed water everywhere, and talked about "crotches", "poop" and "wieners" for 30 minutes. Oh, and they've added "retarded" to their verbal repertoire--which obviously thrills me to no end. And they refuse to stop asking me if it is Fair Day yet. Freaking fair day.

Chile, is there room for one more down there? I'll only bring a carry-on. I don't even mind that I don't speak the fact, that might be kind of nice.