Friday, October 14, 2011

Who buys this stuff?

There are so many products out there these days that are supposed to make our lives more convenient or healthy, but sometimes I can't help but be confused or entertained by them. And the commercials are hilarious! So dramatic. Sometimes they just make me say, "Why in the world would someone ever buy that thing?" So, here's a list of some products that make me go hmmm.

1. Those designer diapers that have cool prints on them. My kid is going to poop in this thing and then I'm going to So, yeah, I would love to pay an extra $10 for them because they look like blue jeans. If I wanted my kid to look like he was wearing blue jeans, I would dress him jeans! Duh.

2. Disposable paper towels in my bathroom. I love how in the commercials they make that family use the same white towel for 5 months and use it for everything from changing the oil in the car to picking their noses and then hang it back up on the rack. First of all, my kids use the kitchen towels to wash the dog and secondly, they never in the history of ever, hang the towel back up in the bathroom. I walk in, find the towel on the floor or in the sink smeared with God only knows what and I put a new towel up. The end.

3. This one is even more stupider than the last one. Yes, I said more stupider. The automatic soap dispenser. Why the heck do I need a touchless soap dispenser? So I am forced to buy only your brand of soap that comes in the special bottle that fits inside the dispenser? Probably. If my filthy, dirty soap pump has some germs on it- so what? Am I not getting ready to wash my hands? Are soap bottle germs immune to washing? Questions to ponder, people.

4. Vegetable slicer-thingies. I have a mandoline. Thought it would be great! They make them look so easy and handy on TV. The reality is that in the amount of time it takes me to locate all the pieces, put the darn thing together and actually use it, I could have sliced enough potatoes by hand to feed the US Marine Corps. And the silly thing is way harder to use in real life than on TV. I can't even tell you the number of times I have cut myself using it. Well, actually I can because I've used it twice and cut myself both times. So there. A regular ol' knife is less painful. Emotionally and physically.

5. Any product whose target audience is my very impressionable and mighty persuasive children. Have you seen my kid's rooms?

6. The omelette pan or whatever they call it. Does it taste different if my goodies are tucked inside the egg rather than scrambled in? I think not.

There are so many more of these that I'm sure I'll think of more as I lay in bed tonight. Most of the time I watch my shows on the DVR so I fast forward through all the blaring insanity that is the commercial. The DVR-now there's a product I can stand behind! Because watching normal TV is sooo hard.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Roller coaster

These past few months have been a little busier than usual. We've been up and we've been down. The kids and I survived without Vince around for 3 months. We were extremely happy to have him back home! The weekend that he got back, we went to Colorado on our househunting trip. We really needed to do that since we were moving 2short weeks later. There were no rental houses in the town where we wanted to be so we were kind of forced to purchase a house instead. We found one that we liked, made an offer and started the process. We knew we would have to stay in a hotel for a while until we could close, but it would only be a few weeks. Moving day came quickly. Luckily the movers were very efficient and had us out of there in 2 days time. One day to pack, one to load and our stuff was in storage the next day in Denver. We still had no offers on our old house, so we had to use the relocation company program, which means that there are a lot of hoops to jump through before you can get the house off of your hands. One market analysis, 3 appraisals, 2 inspections, 1 fallen tree, several small improvements, 2.5 months, and one ton of stress later the relo company made us a low ball offer. Which we accepted. At least we're out from under it. During that time, our family was bouncing from hotel to hotel, to relative's houses and back while waiting for our new house to close. We also stayed with a co-worker of Vince's for a couple of weeks, which was extremely generous of him. The house deal just got worse and worse. Vince and I started to feel like we were backed into a corner with this house. We liked it, but it wasn't what we had first said we wanted. When we had the appraisal done, it came back under the agreed price/loan amount. Which meant the deal was dead. Back to square one. This was good news and bad news. There were still no rentals available, so we had to change tactics. We started looking in another town closer to Vince's office. It's not ideal for us because we really wanted to have the kids in smaller schools and we would prefer to be in the country with a little more space, but at least the rental we found here is huge. It's been nice to spread out a little. Okay, a lot. Just the main floor of this house is bigger than our old house. Then add the finished basement and we have more space than we know what to do with. It all worked out in the end, but boy was I losing my mind there in the middle. I'm pretty sure I worked myself up so much I earned an ulcer.

We are mostly settled in now, but it still feels weird. Like I'm staying at someone else's house. I guess it's just because we're renting. The girls start school this week. Maybe when we get into that routine it will start feeling more like home. Audrey will be in second grade and Katie will start Kindy. The schools here do a 4 day week, so that will be different. I will have some time alone with Sam, which will be good. I am still looking for a job. Keep your fingers crossed that I can find something good. It has to be straight 8-5 kind of stuff because Vince's schedule is so wonky. And since the girls will have Fridays off and Katie will only go half days, I will have to find something part time or find day care for them. So this job will have to pay well to cover day care for 3 kids. Sheesh. That should be easy, right? We are so blessed that I am able to stay home with the kids, but I'm really ready to go back to work. I need some adult interaction. It has definitely been an interesting summer. I didn't even have to go to the amusement park to take a roller coaster ride!

We've been checking out our new town a little. So far, we really like it. The weather here is more like home, except at night it cools down enough that we can turn off the A/C and open the windows. We like the desert/mountain scape, it's really beautiful. And it's nice to have new things to do and see instead of the same old stuff. The kids are digging the little amusement park by the zoo. They have carnival rides circa 1960 and a cool vintage carousel that is cheap, cheap, cheap! Every ride is 25 cents except the train and the carousel, those are 50 cents. We can spend 2 hours riding for less than $10 for the whole family.

I forgot to mention the dog. Our poor dog. He's been through a lot. The week before we moved, he got attacked by the same dog that bit Audrey a couple summers ago. He had a gash in his neck that required stitches. (Don't worry, I did report it.) When we got here, he had his stitched removed. He seemed fine. We went to my parent's house for a couple weeks during which time he proceeded to chew and lick his left legs so much that he lost all the hair and developed sores. I thought it was all the fleas there. We got rid of those, but by the time we got back here his legs were worse and he continued to lick them. We had to kennel him for a time while we stayed in different hotels, so I called them to let them know about his legs. They told me that they would keep them wrapped so that they could heal. When we got there, a tech ripped him from my arms to she could wrap them up. Then she got pissed when he snapped at her for messing with him. I could have told her he didn't like other people messing with him and to be very gentle, but she didn't give me a chance. By the time we picked him up, his legs were much worse and he was so anxious, they informed me that he was "vicious" and needed some vet treatment and possibly some anxiety medicine. This dog has never been mean a day in his life. He's protective, yes. Vicious, no. Needless to say, I will not be taking him back there. I took him to the same vet that had taken his stitches out and they declared that he was a stress chewer. They gave him one of those cone of shame things and some antibiotics. I literally had to drag him into the exam room. After everything he'd been through, he was terrified of the vet's office. He finally healed and we've since gotten into this house, so I think he's calmer. Buuuut. His story isn't finished. Last week I had to take him back to the vet. I called a different one, hoping to find one that we really like. He was chewing again, this time at his tail and rear-end. It was really bothering him. He would try to run from it and bark at himself. He was crazed with pain or itching or both. I took him in, got him looked at. Ants. Apparently he got into a fire-ant den or something. The vet said that's what it looked like. More antibiotics, more cone of shame, more creams. The good news is that Buddy did not mind this vet at all. He sat for her, did not snap at her, let her give him treats. I was amazed. He seems to be doing better and his rear is healing nicely. Let's hope his story ends here, people.

Sam has news as well. He has potty trained himself!! Yes, the boy did it. Finally. I was beginning to wonder if we would both be in diapers at the same time. I didn't push him at all. He just did it. We still have accidents, mainly with #2. But even those are few and far between. He asked for a motorcycle cake after the first whole day with no diapers. That's exactly what he got. Now we have to stop him from peeing anywhere and everywhere. The park, the neighbors yard, off the upstairs deck onto the patio below...the joys of being a boy!

Since I still have things to unpack and put away (a month later) and the kids are clamoring for attention, I'll leave for now. Hopefully I'll be able to update a little more frequently now that we have internet. As soon as I figure out how to get the pictures off of my iPhone, I'll post pictures of the house too. Ciao!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Going green

I'm all for being environentally friendly and more energy efficient, but it seems like no matter how hard I try I can't get it right. For several years I have used vinegar to clean around the house. I have one of those spray mop things and I refill the bottle with vinegar and water when it runs out. I've probably had the same bottle for 5 years. I also load it up with a small towel that I've cut in half so that I don't have to use the disposable ones. But, my children spill so much on my floor that the amount of water I have to use washing those cleaning towels is ridiculous. I'm sure it probably negates the effects of not using disposables, especially since I have an older washer that uses at least 30 gallons of water for each load. Also, I don't typically have paper plates or napkins in my house, so I should run the dishwasher more than once a day. Though I admit that I'm too lazy for that. It gets loaded when we run out of dishes to eat on. I did give in to my husband's whining about paper towels though. He refused to use the cleaning rags for things. It really annoyed him to not have a paper towel to nuke his sausage biscuit in. Go figure. When we use paper towels, it makes me feel like I just wadded up a dollar bill and threw it away.

It's the same things with those fancy, really expensive, toxic lightbulbs. They are supposed to save energy, but at the rate that my kids knock over the lamps and break them I'm thinking of switching back to normal bulbs. When one gets broken, the way some people talk, I should put on my haz-mat suit just to clean it up. And where do I throw it? In the trash, of course, where it ends up in the landfill stinking up our air and leaching who knows what into the earth.

Remember that old country song that goes, "every light in the house is on, the back yard's bright as the crack of dawn, the front walk looks like runway lights, it's kinda like noon in the dead of night..." Yeah, that's my house. I'm constantly running around turning off lights. In the morning after the girls leave for school I head downstairs and turn off no less than 9 lights. I'm not kidding. Explain to me how that can be remotely energy efficient, even with the toxic light bulbs.

While we're talking about enery efficiency, let's bring our attention to the refrigerator, shall we? If you can't find something in there, does standing in the door staring for 10 minutes make it magically appear? You know you're going to ask me where the mayo is hiding anyway, so why waste time and let out all the bought air? I distinctly remember that my children were born in hospitals and not in barns, so what's with leaving all the doors open all over the place?

I think this post is rapidly becoming a rant about things that drive me crazy, so I'll go ahead and cut it short. I can't think straight anyway because now I have Trace Adkins stuck in my head. "Every light in the house is on....."

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Oh, boy. Where do I start? This kid has been trouble from the word 'go'. He decided to make Mommy's blood pressure shoot off the charts when he was in the womb and it hasn't come down since. The doctor had to induce me and Sam decided to make his entrance quickly. So quickly that his face and eyes were purple from the bruising. The nurses had to put a note on his bassinet that said, "my face is bruised" because so many people thought he had stopped breathing.

This photo has not been retouched, that is really how he looked. Poor baby. So impatient.

I prayed for a boy, and that's definitely what I got. He is ALL boy. He's loud and busy. And loud. I can't even count the number of giant goose eggs he's gotten on his head. Black eyes, stitches, *sigh*... I'm waiting for the broken bone. Because I know it's coming. I love him, but he's hard. He has reduced me to tears more in his 2 3/4 years than his sisters combined. He has 2 modes, off (asleep) and GO (loud)! There is no in between. He loves guns, as evidenced by the 12 toy guns and millions of rounds of Nerf ammo currently residing all over my house. He loves to swing, and he loves water. Especially throwing rocks into water. And his daddy. He LOVES his Daddy! Maybe it's because Daddy has lots of guns, but don't tell him that. Oh, and he loves soldiers and anything camoflauge. If he sees a soldier, he screams, "A SOLDIER!" and then runs over to hug or shake hands and tell them, "tank you for your circus." I'm pretty sure he means "thank you for your service". At least I hope he does.

Here he is at 3 months:

He was always a happy baby. As long as he was being fed. I couldn't make enough milk for him, so we had to give him formula too. Once, after he started eating baby food, he ate 6 of those big jars of food. Six! He would have eaten more, but I cut him off. He has slowed down a little since then. I'm sure his eating will peak again in his teenage years. I'm already saving money for groceries. I have a feeling I will need it! If he lives that long. I keep saying one of us may not survive his childhood and since I'm bigger...

This is Sam eating his first birthday cake. Let's just say that he enjoyed it. A lot.

One year old at Yellowstone. He had a lot of fun with that driftwood.

His first Halloween. He was a little stinker. A mad one.

He looks like he already had a sugar coma going on! His second Halloween he was a little monster. Do you sense a theme? Yeah.

His 2 favorite things, guns and water. Age 2.

I rarely catch him sitting still. Most of his images are blurry. Don't strap this kid down! He hates strollers, car seats or any place he is required to sit for more than 20 seconds. So restaurants are out. I lose him all the time at church. Luckily most people know him there or at least recognize him enough as he blazes by them to alert me that he has escaped and can tell me the general direction in which he was headed. We have child locks on EVERYTHING. You think I'm kidding. I can't believe he's almost 3. Time flies when you're so sleepy you can't hold your eyes open. That's what they say, right?

Born to be free. Age 2 3/4. He really likes the swings.

"Mama, knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"A nudder UNDERDOG!"
"Okay, son. One more underdog."

I love this kid.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Here's something I remember about being pregnant with Katie. I. Was. Terrified. Audrey was 2 and definitely a handful, as most 2 year olds are. I felt like I could barely handle her, much less another tiny baby. We were all the way in Arizona and our parents couldn't be there for the birth, so I was laboring and decided I HAD to call my mom in the middle of things. Vince looked at me like I was crazy. I needed to hear her say I could do this. Also, she said something along the lines of "it's a little late now, honey". Right.

My friend Kate sent me these funny frog socks to wear during labor so my feet wouldn't get cold, so of course I had to take a picture for her. Cue another "are you crazy?" look from Vince.

She was my smallest baby. My sweet Katie Bear. She was a snuggler from the beginning. My mom gave me a ring sling and I wore it constantly. Katie loved it. Curled up in a little ball all the time. It was pretty convenient so I could have two hands to deal with Audrey.

Home from the hospital.

Here we are at the Grand Canyon. See that lump in the sling? That would be Katie. She's still a snuggle bug. She loves to give hugs, to the point that it gets annoying. She will do the death grip around her siblings' necks until they submit to a hug whether they wanted one or not. And the girl loves a temper tantrum. I think she's a little dramatic. Not sure where she gets that from! *Ahem* Also, like her mother, she's slooooow as molasses. Seriously, I could start getting her ready for school at 5AM and she would still be late. My mom used to tell me that if I was moving any slower I'd be going backwards. See the similarity? We call it "Katie-time". My mom called it something like "Nicole, if you do not get moving right this minute, my head might explode and then I'll be forced to spank you and/or tell your father to spank you when he gets home". That's not a direct quote, because I'm sure there was some cursing involved. Hi Mom! Love ya!

Katie is a very sweet kid who will play by herself for hours. She has always been one of those easy kids that you never have to worry about. She entertains herself, goes to bed by herself (until recently), and usually doesn't have attitude. Unless she's throwing a tantrum. I'm pretty sure that God was trying to prepare me for her little brother. He was letting me have a break before Dr. Destructo came into existence. More on him in a later post. Lately she has become a little tougher to deal with though.

I love this picture! She looks so cute with her dirty face and she's so serious talking on the walkie-talkie.

Over the past year, my sweet baby girl has been taking lessons from her older sister called "how to throw attitude at mom". The tantrums have become more frequent and have less to do with the amount of sleep she didn't get and more to do with how mean I am that she didn't get her way. The good thing about this is that she's quick to apologize after and I get lots of bonus hugs. Katie is also our home-body. She would rather be at home with us and her toys than out and about. When she turned 3, all she could talk about was how much she wanted to do dance class. For her birthday all she asked for was dance stuff. Grandparents chipped in to pay for classes. I begged, cried, and pleaded to a dance instructor to enroll her in classes. She went three times. During two of which she sat in the corner and cried, refusing to participate. I apologized profusely and un-enrolled her. Did I learn my lesson? No. The next year, she did it to me again. At a different dance school. I was too embarrassed to go back to the other. She did last longer than 3 classes, but after a couple of months, she just refused to participate. This year, she decided to do gymnastics instead. I was afraid of the same thing happening, but she has lasted the whole year and has not quit once. I don't know if it has to do with age or the different structure of the classes, but I don't care as long as I don't have to slink out with my tail between my legs, never to return.

Did I mention she's kinda a girly-girl? She loves to wear dresses and twirl. But she does love to jump too. Like on the couch. And somehow managed to break her arm in the process.

Age 3.

Katie in the forest. Age 4.

Here's my Katie-Bear today. Still sweet. And a little sassy. I think she's the perfect middle child. She's like the buffer between her 2 crazy siblings. If you want a hug or 40, come on over.

Friday, April 8, 2011


She made me a mom. Even though she's my big girl, she will always be my baby. I remember every detail of my labor and delivery with her. My other 2 are a little fuzzy.

Just like most new moms, my baby was the smartest, cutest thing EVER!!

Gorgeous photo courtesy of my multi-talented friend Nikki.

This girl has been to more states than most adults I know. She has always been, from the beginning, a great traveler. Whether it be by car, boat, horse or airplane, this kid can handle it. Especially the horses. She has loved horses since she first noticed them. She used to drive us crazy at my mom and dad's house. She walked around all day and the only thing she would say is "haw-see"! Over and over... She's still the same way when we visit them. From the moment she wakes up, she is bugging my parents to go feed. Literally from the minute she wakes up. Then, at any point during the day, if we can't find her we go outside and she's always out there, just looking at the horses.

As a direct result of this obsession, we have approximately 4 million stuffed, plastic, or otherwise horse-related toys littering our house. They range in size from small enough to jab you between the toes when you step on them in the middle of the night to large enough to scare the bejeesus out of you when you stumble into them in the middle of the night.

This is Audrey at the beach in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. She was almost 2. Love the chubbiness!

So proud of her little fish on the Buffalo River. Age 3.

Age 6

Audrey is the kind of kid that knows exactly what to say at the optimum moment to produce the most Mommy-guilt possible. Just the other night I was admonishing her for not reading her books for school and giving me attitude about it. The entire time she was writing something on her dry-erase board that I couldn't see and I was about to start in on how she wasn't listening when she flipped over the board and I saw what she wrote. "My mom is the best mom in the whole world." Gulp. Instant Mommy-guilt. The thing is, I knew she meant it. She wasn't just saying it to get out of trouble, she knew I needed to hear it at that moment. She's always been like that. Extremely perceptive, totally aware that her parents are suckers and that she is, most of the time, smarter than I am. She is adventurous, outgoing, funny, and can be sensitive too. She is the ultimate big sister. She mommies her siblings to DEATH. She's stubborn (like her daddy!), but sweet. Her teachers love her. She is a really good student and loves to learn. It amazes me how she can be so aggressive and so passive depending on the situation. And I'm pretty sure we will be knocking the boys off with a stick. Or a shotgun if her daddy's home. She is also a world-class pouter. See below:

Oh, yes. I have seen it many times.

This is my "baby" today. Doing what she loves second-most. Playing a computer game. Most-most is being with horses. But since we are sadly horse-less at this time, she settles for playing horse games online. The things this girl sacrifices, I tell ya!

I love you, Audrey. My spoiled rotten, lovely baby.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring is for the birds

It sounds lovely in my back yard. The birds are chirping and it sounds like spring is here. Until you look outside and see all the snow and the gray skies full of the promise of more snow. The birds love our yard though. The robins and the little blackish ones with long beaks that I do not know the name of in particular. We have a couple of trees in our backyard that have berries on them and the birds come in droves to eat them

I feel sorry for them when they have to tromp through that snow. Don't their little birdie feet get cold?

They sure are pretty though. Every once in a while Buddy the beagle will get up off his duff to go out and chase them into the trees. Once in a while.

Meet Buddy. This is Buddy's favorite activity:

I call this the flop. It's his most-loved postition, and I think he's definitely mastered it. What do you think?

These were all taken on different days, by the way. Sometimes he curls up in a ball:

He spends most of his time in repose on my bed. Can't say I blame him, it is pretty comfy. But on occasion, mainly when the boy-child decides to join the party, Buddy sneaks off to other locations. Katie's bed for instance.

Another of his moves--the cliffhanger:

Nicely done, Buddy! If there was an Olympics of sleeping you would be a gold medalist! There is another pose rarely seen that Buddy attempts sometimes. I call it the Sphinx. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of that one as the postition is intensely difficult. It requires Buddy actually holding his head upright. Gasp! The last time I checked his legs did still wotk, though they are sorely under-used. I really wish he would learn to operate the vacuum because that comforter is dry-clean only and it desperately needs a cleaning. I'm pretty sure it has at least 3 pounds of dog hair on it. Call him dedicated. Call him determined. Just don't call him late for dinner.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Whys Have It!

A common word in my house. Why? Why. WHHHHHYYYYYY?! I hear it all the time. I'm sure everyone with kids does, right? So, I thought I'd make a list of my "Whys". Here we go.

1. Why is it that my children can sleep like the dead until the exact second that I turn of my bedside lamp and burrow under the covers? It's like they have some kind of radar that lets them know when Mom is going to bed. "Wake up! Wake up! Mom is trying to sleep and we can't have that!"

2. Why can't my house stay clean for more than a couple of hours?

3. Why does my son flip the brat switch on the moment we enter a store? He's fine in the car, he's fine in the parking lot, we walk in the door and Bam! He's a tantrum throwing master. I run through the store with the girls trying to keep up behind me while Sam screams the entire time. I check out, I leave (with all eyes watching my back-I can feel them) and we get to the car and he's fine again. I don't get it.

4. Why did I buy light-colored carpet?

5. Why, no matter how much money we make, are we always broke?

6. Why does everyone suddenly HAVE TO HAVE a toy that they haven't looked at in 6 months as soon as someone else picks it up?

7. Why couldn't I have been born with Heidi Klum's body, Tina Turner's legs, Angelina Jolie's face, the brains of Oprah Winfrey and the grace of a ballerina?

8. Why does my husband still think wet willies are funny?

9. Why doesn't my husband think bathroom humor is funny?

10. Why is the left side of my keyboard having trouble responding to my key strokes?

11. Why did God give my kids so much energy and me so little?

12. This one is from Katie: "Mom, why, if God knows everything, do you still have to tell the people at McDonald's if the toy in my Happy Meal is for a girl or a boy?" Aha! I know the answer to this one. "Well, honey, God doesn't work at McDonald's."

13. Why IS bathroom humor so funny?

14. Why do my blog postings always sound better in my head than they do when I write them down?

To be continued. Why? Because I have more. Trust me. And because Pawn Stars is on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Conversations with my kids

A lot of times a conversation with one of my kiddos starts like this, especially with Sam:

Sam: "Mom. Mommy. Moooommmmy. MOOOOOM-EEEEEEE!!"

Me: "Sam."

Sam: "What?"

Me: *sigh* "What did you need, honey?"

Sam: "Nah-sing." (nothing)

Me: *facepalm*

Here's another example of why I always have a headache:

Katie: "Hey, Mom. How long did you have to wait until you went to Kindergarten?"

Me: "Five years."

Katie: "Nooo, how long?"

Me: "Um, I waited five years."

Katie: "NOOO! I mean, how long did you have to wait?"

Me: "Okaaay, well, I'm not sure I understand the question. I went to Kindergarten when I was five years old."

Katie: "Argh! Mom, you're not listening."

Me: "I'm not?"

Katie: *eye roll* "How long did you have to wait?"

Me: "I guess I don't know."

Here's a convo with Audrey that happens on a pretty regular basis:

Audrey: "Mom, your butt is pretty big. And it jiggles."

Me: "Yep."

A: "Why is it so big?"

Me: "Well, I don't always eat the right things and I don't exercise enough. And I've birthed 3 children."

A: "Why is your belly jiggly too?"

Me: "Same reasons."

A: "What about your arms? They move a lot."

Me: "Don't you have something else to do? Homework? Bossing your brother around? Sticking a fork in your sister's eye? Anything?"

A: "Will my butt be as big as yours? I don't want my butt to be THAT big."

Me: "Keep talking, kid, and you won't live to see your butt get this big."

Recently at church, our new nursery director, Christine, was helping me clean up to go home. I told Sam to tell Christine good-bye. This is what followed:

Sam: "Dat's not Kiss-teen."

Christine: "I am Christine, see?" (holds out her name badge)

Sam: "NOO!! Dat's. Nooooot. KISS-TEEN!!!"

I explained that our neighbor that we hang out with a lot is also named Christine.

Christine: "Well, I know that you have another friend named Christine, but that's my name too."

Sam: "NOOOO!! You're not stupid Kiss-teen."

Me: "Alright, knock it off. She's not stupid. Let's not say that word. Let's go home now."

Sam: "Bye, Stupid."

Imposter Christine: "Um, okay. Bye."

I just mouthed "sorry" and hustled him out of there before the discussion got any uglier.

Yet another reason Mommy drinks in the evenings. :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A little bit of hilarity

So, my girls were MIA for a while but I kinda had a feeling what they were up to in our little 1/2 bathroom. There's really nothing in there but a toilet, a linen cabinet sewing/craft stuff. And since Audrey had asked me to tie a couple of knots for her, I guessed they were sewing something. A little while later, they both came out and grabbed an empty box, some wrapping paper, bows and the scissors and tape. Ah, making a present. Several minutes later they emerged with Chesire Cat sized smiles carrying a gift for me. Yay! They insisted that I wait to open it until we were done with dinner (Spongebob mac and cheese, applesauce, and carrots with rancg dressing-cause that's how we roll.) and could gather everyone, including the dogs (we are dog-sitting for Gidget, a Beagle/Corgi mix) into the girls' bedroom. Then they let me rip into it. They made me a purse! Too cute. Here it is:

They promptly made me swear that I would carry it to the mall next time we go. Then, they wanted to take pictures of me with it. I took this of the proud creators:

*WARNING: upcoming unflattering photos of this very blogger may not be copied or reproduced in any fashion unless you would like your face rearranged*
Ahem, now that we have that out of the way, let's continue. Katie decided that she wanted to take a picture of me, Audrey and the new accessory. She was sitting on the counter to get the perfect angle. After explaining that she was holding the camera upside down, we got down to business. Well, kinda. I've explained that Katie is on her own special clock, right? Yeah. Finally, she was ready. "Say cheese!" she said. Nothing happened. I told her that she had to mash the button hard. Okay, here goes. "Say cheese!" Nada. Just as I step to her to help, we get this:


Try again. "Ready? Say cheese!" I bet you know what happens. Nothing. Okaaay. One more time and again nothing happens. She starts to put the camera down and we get this:

This time we all start cracking up and Katie thinks that this is her cue to ham it up on purpose. Finally I threaten. "Look, try one more time and that's it. I'm done standing here." So, she gets serious (well, as serious as Katie gets) and points the camera at us again. She says, "Say stinky feet!" Aaaaaaand, nothing happens. As I open my mouth to tell her to just take the dang picture, this is what we get:

This time when I look at the camera I break into hysterics. It's the kind of laugh that you can't stop. The pee-in-your-pants, tears-down-the-face kind of laughter. Katie and Audrey are in on it too. So, Audrey decided to take a picture of us laughing:

So, next time you see me and I'm carrying this fabulousity around with me, be very jealous.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Another week down. Check!

Another week snowed in. Let me just say that people who are from here are probably not snowed in. But me? I'm stuck in the house for the most part. It's too dang cold to do much according to this southern girl. Besides shoveling of course. Let's see. What else is news? Katie Bear's birthday. That's right, my baby girl is going to be 5 in a couple days. I can't even believe it. We already had her party at Peppy's Pizza. It was fun. Today she had her party at school. And she gets to be "star of the week" next week. Which means that her pretty little mug will take over the bulletin board and she gets to be the helper in class and, best of all, bring home the class mascot (a stuffed animal) for the whole week while we document the goings-on. Fun! Now, I just have to find some pictures for her to take. She just doesn't seem old enough to be five. She's not as mature as Audrey I guess so she just seems sooo young still. Not that 5 is ancient. She's definitely finding a little of that 5 year old attitude though. And I quote, "I knooooww Mom (insert eye roll here)." I'm glad she hasn't lost all of her little girl cuteness yet. She still likes to sing in her little voice with made-up words to made-up songs. I love it. And she's still a snuggle bug too.

No offers on the house yet. We've had several showings though, which is encouraging. Especially for this time of year with this weather we've been having. It's hard to keep it so clean all the time. Yesterday and today I haven't really done much and it shows. And of course today is the day that a lady came by to bring me the money for the swing set that we are selling. Of course. The house is a wreck. She said it was okay because she works for Child Protective Services so she's seen worse. That would make me feel better except as she was saying this, my son, wearing nothing but his undies, was dumping out his gun collection on the floor. Is that normal? It is in our house. I hope she wasn't paying too much attention. I'll just make sure that the house is extra clean when she comes to pick up the swing set. Which is sometime when it's not buried in 2 feet of snow. So, maybe June.

Well, I am freezing and can't seem to get warm so I think I will snuggle up in bed with my book for a while and try to unfreeze my toes. Ah, crap. Nix that. Sam's just woken up from his nap. Maybe chasing him around will warm my tootsies.

Friday, February 11, 2011

With all my heart

*Disclaimer--Let me start by saying that if I'm dropping any P's it's because my son did something to my keyboard and now I have to really mash on the P to make it work.*

Today I am being reflective. I watched a show about a girl who is Audrey's age and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Can you imagine? She is one of the youngest kids to get that diagnosis. They played a video that the parents took at home when they were trying to figure out what was going on with her. It was absolutely heart-breaking. The dad was laying beside her holding her as still as he could while the little girl thrashed and screamed as her hallucinations demanded that she hurt herself. She was begging her parents to make it stop and all they could do was watch and hang on. Today, they live in 2 separate apartments in the same complex to keep their other child safe. The parents take turns staying with each kiddo. It just made me think about how thankful I am that my kids are healthy and happy.

Then I logged onto Blogspot to update and do my usual complaining about my life and my kids. I follow another blog written by an amazing mom who started it when her first child was born. 11 months later, their little girl was diagnosed with cancer and died within 17 days. Now the blog is a celebration of Cora's life and a testament to the faith and love of her parents, who are passing their February with festivites for their son, who turned 1 in January, and remembering the anniversary of the death of their daughter.

THEN, I checked out my friend Michelle's blog. I'm not sure if I've ever heard her complain. She's the kind of person that you gravitate to like the sunshine. Always happy, always smiling. She has a son Audrey's age and a daughter Katie's age. Their little girl is just like Sam. She never slows down! Michelle gets tired, sure, but she's still smiling. Her kids are her greatest joy and her blog reflects that. It's full of pictures of her beautiful family and words like, "love", "blessings", and "happiness".

So, I decided to take a much-needed page from Michelle's book and talk about all the wonderful things in my life instead of just griping all the time. I know, I know. I'll be back to normal soon, sarcasm and all.

First, glory be to God for bringing me this handsome husband of mine, who not only puts up with my daily mood swings, but lets me handle the checkbook. Sucker! I'm so grateful for him because he's way smarter than I am so he's got my back when I'm being oh-so blonde. He also keeps me strong. I don't like to think too hard and, as we all know, I'm extremely lazy. He challenges me to be better. He's very manly, so when he's at home I know that I never have to squish my own spiders, open my own pickle jars, or take out the trash. Oh, wait. Scratch that last one. I'm so glad he sticks around! Except when he leaves his dirty laundry laying around, then I wish he would go away. (See, I knew I couldn't do this without any snark at all. I'm so predictable.) He's generous and so very thoughtful. There have been several times when I picked out what I thought was a great gift for him and then he gives me something so thoughful, so genuine, that I want to run back to the store because as it turns out, my gift wasn't that good. Best of all, he made me a mother. I could never thank him enough.

When I found out that I was pregnant with Audrey I was so scared and excited all at the same time. Someone once told me while looking at my swollen belly, "She'll be easier to take care of in there than she will be out here." I was a little offended. Did she think that I was going to be a bad mom? She doesn't even know me! Thing is, she didn't have to. She was right. From the moment my water broke, my life got exponentially harder. The thing she didn't say was that I would never regret it. What no one can exlain to you before you have kids is that no matter how hard it is, or how tired you are or how bad a day you are having, or how sassy your kids are, you will still love them to your very core and be willing to trade your life for theirs, no questions asked. And all it takes to wipe out that horrible day is one tiny voice saying, "I love you Mommy." That's it. You think you know this before you have kids, but you don't KNOW it.

Audrey and I have butted heads since the day she was born. She always wanted things her own way, beginning with sleeing habits. During the day, that kid would sleep anywhere. Once she even fell asleep on the living room floor while I was vacuuming. But at night, the stubborn little thing wanted to sleep right on my chest. We tried all the tricks to get her to sleep in her own bed with to no avail. Finally we gave in. She slept with us until she was almost 3. Even after Katie was born. Today, at 7 years old, she's still so stubborn I could scream. The foot stomp. The eye roll. The sad tears. The sassy attitude. That sly smile. I could never have imagined that these would be blessings, but they are really. They will serve her well. When she's married. She loves being the oldest and being in charge, but she also is sensitive sometimes and likes to be held like a baby when we're playing. I think that she gets tired of the grind of being the responsible big girl. And I think that we forget that. I have to remind myself all the time that she's just a first grader. She's so good at being bossy and is so helpful to me with her siblings that I take it for granted. I always expect more of her than the other two and that's not always fair. Her strength will serve her well as a grown woman. I just don't want her to grow up too fast. I love that she loves to laugh, and she's smart as a whip. She's funny and is quick to make friends and she's mine. She's gonna do big things one day.

Katie gives me headaches of a different kind. The hurry-up-and-wait kind. Katie is the kind of kid that when people meet her, they want to take her home. She's quiet most of the time and shy when you first meet her. She likes to snuggle, but she doesn't need to be in your face all the time. She'd rather sit and play by herself. She loves to sing her made-up songs and talk nonsense. She has a great imagination. She's also smart, but doesn't love school like her big sister does. School isn't on "Katie-time". They have an actual schedule-what?!-and tend to stick to it whether she likes it or not. She's our sensitive soul and is always the first to share with anyone, even if it means that she won't get any. I worry about her. I worry that she will care more about other people's feelings and needs that she will get taken advantage of and maybe lose herself in the process. But God could not have chosen a better person to be sandwiched between Audrey and Sam. I want to always protect her and never let her believe that she's JUST the middle child. She's much more than that. I think she will be a fantastic mommy and/or be a nurturer of some sort. A nurse, a social worker. One thing is for sure, she will have a job where she can make her own schedule! No one else will tolerate her 15 minute bathroom breaks.

Sam. My little man with a BIG personality. How many times have I said that he's broken me or that he makes me want to go back to work? I should feel like the luckiest woman in the world that God thought I was strong enough to be his mommy. I spend most of my time with Sam just trying to survive the day when I should be embracing it. I think part of my problem is that after his sisters, I'm just older and more tired. He is soooo busy! He makes me tired just watching him. It's fun having a boy after having 2 girls. He's so different from them. Vince and I are in stitches most of the time we are with Sam. We laugh when we probably shouldn't. On the other hand, a lot of days I can't handle him. His active personality is beyond my mothering abilities. At this point I'm just trying to keep the kid alive. He is exactly what I wished and prayed for when I was pregnant. I wanted a boy so badly. I got it. He is all boy. Guns, motorcycles, daredevil, loud, fast. Those are all words that I would use to describe him. Maybe he'll slow down as he gets older and maybe he won't, but I know that he will always have the key to my heart. He loves his Mommy, even with all her shortcomings and the fact that she can't shoot straight. He deserves for me to try harder. They all do.

I have so many things to be thankful for that I can't begin to list them on here. God has blessed me beyond measure to be sure. I don't know why, but he thinks I deserve it so I should try to live up to that and do the best with what I have. With all my heart.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hello there!

I haven't posted in so long that I don't even remember all that has happened in that time! A lot. I can tell you that. The big news, that I'm sure most of you know by now, is that we are moving. Vince finally got a Special Agent job. He applied for many of them, but kept getting turned down after making it through interviews and everything else. All of the hiring committees kept telling him to keep after it because his application was great and his interviews were some of the best they'd ever done, blah, blah. If he's so great, why aren't you hiring him!? We were getting very frustrated. But as always, God had a plan for us. And it didn't include Las Vegas. So, Pueblo, Colorado here we come! We are really excited because living there will cut our commute time to our parents' houses in half. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Now the stress sets in because we have to sell this house and look for another down there all while V is away for his training for 3 months. I am willing to accept your pity and any offers of help! Keeping this house ready for showings with 3 kids is not my idea of fun. Especially since you all know what kind of a housekeeper I am.

And it is hindered by this strange illness that has taken over my life right now. I started getting weird swelling episodes and I couldn't pinpoint any particular thing that would cause it except when any pressure was applied to my body. (My regular doctor thought it was all related to a neck injury and told me to take Aleve). All I knew was that it hurt bad and itched like crazy. But in less than 24 hours the swelling would be gone. I never knew when it was going to strike. Then my parents came up for Thanksgiving and I woke up one morning with a big spot on my back where my night shirt had bunched up and pressed into my skin. My mother, who is a nurse, took a picture of it and sent it to some of her doctor and nurse friends. No one could identify it. When she got home, she kept asking around and finally got somewhat of an answer and told me to go to the Dermatologist. So I did. She knew immediately what it was. Delayed Pressure Urticaria (DPU). What she doesn't know is why it starts, how long I will have it, or how to treat it for sure. We started with Zyrtec, which she told me could take up to 8 months to even begin to help. It's pretty uncommon. It basically means that when pressure is applied to my body, even for a few seconds, I develop a hive in that area. It is extremely painful and annoying. And the bad ones also give me flu-like symptoms. My joints and muscles ache and I get nauseous and just have to stop everything. I am just now beginning to figure out how to manage this. Right now I am standing as I type because sitting in a hard chair for too long will make the back of my legs so painful that I will barely be able to walk. I sanded a crack in my ceiling for 10 minutes the other afternoon and by that evening my whole arm hurt so badly that I couldn't turn a doorknob. It's a lot of fun. Then a couple weeks ago I started getting little bumps all over my body that were so itchy they would wake me in the middle of the night. This has actually been going on for a while, but only sporadically so I didn't think much of them. They kind of look like bug bites and I thought maybe we had bed bugs or something. Last Thursday was my breaking point. I had been up all night scratching and when I woke up I was covered head to toe in little red bumps. I took myself back to the Derm office and was told that these are also hives, but what was causing them was (and still is) a mystery. I was referred to my Allergist. Monday he took one look at me and said, "Yep. Hives." The good thing is that he isn't going to rest until we find out what is causing this. I donated lots of blood that day to rule out everything from Celiac disease to Lupus. We think it might be auto-immune. I go back next week. We'll see what he has to say about the results. If it were possible to die from scratching I would be dead by now! It does make it hard to get things done, though. Woe's me and all that.

What else? Christmas. It was a good one. We made the trip back home and got to see cousins, brothers, in-laws and the like. My kids got more presents than a lot of kids get in their entire lifetime. I should mention that Vince and I made out like bandits as well. We are very spoiled. And blessed.

Once we got home from our break, it was back to life as we know it. Audrey is enjoying the first grade. She loves school and really thrives in that environment. She is progressing very quickly in her reading and math skills, but I think her favorite part of school is the socialization. That little nut didn't fall far from the tree, did she? Katie is in preschool, but doesn't have as much fun with it as Audrey does. She tells me that her teacher is a "meaner". Which means that her teacher isn't functioning on Katie-time basically. Katie likes to do things at her own pace, which is usually about the same pace as a glacier. I tell her that her teacher isn't mean, she just has to get lots of stuff done in a small amount of time. She doesn't care. I think she enjoys it when she gets there, but I do get reports from her teacher occasionally that Katie cried on the floor for several minutes before joining the group. Or that she refused to participate in an activity. She's very dramatic. Another nut that is sticking close to home. I'm hoping she'll grow out of it. I also hope that Sam grows out of the terrible 2's. Soon. Sooner than soon. He's a mess. His favorite word right now is stupid. Everything is stupid. As is everyone. Even strangers. Ugh! Why can't kids choose other words to be their favorites? Like lovely. Everything is lovely. I can't break him of this word. I've tried ignoring, correcting, replacing the word, washing his mouth with soap, time out, spanking, popping his little mouth. Nothing works. I've even tried calling him stupid right back. I'm sure you can guess how that worked out. Nothing like having an argument with your 2 year old about who's stupid. I think I will go back to work when we move. Seriously. Stick a fork in me 'cause I'm done.

I guess that's enough complaning for now. You guys missed all my griping, didn't you? I have to go make supper. But first I'll complain about what to make so my family doesn't think I'm changing my ways. It's feeling like a mac 'n cheese/hot dog kind of night. Again. Ciao.