Merry Christmas 2010

This year it snowed BEFORE CHRISTMAS... so here's a little video of us playing in it!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The Trentadue's
Mike, KaLisi, Josh (8), Caleb (5), Brooks (2)

The best morning ever...

This morning, my alarm went off at 6am. I saw the hallway light flick on, so I knew the boys were up. I snoozed til 6:30, and then dragged my tired bum to the shower. By the time I got downstairs, it was 6:47. I could hear Josh and Caleb exchanging pleasantries. They informed me that the snacks and lunches were already made, they had already eaten breakfast... and they were obviously dressed. With nothing else to do, I went back upstairs to dry my hair, until it was time to head for the bus.

After careful reflection of this scenario, I figured I had two options:

1) I could feel guilty at the thought of my 8 and 5 year old fending for themselves while I snoozed in my bed. OR...
2) I could feel confident in knowing that I trained them right, in order to be independent and responsible.

I chose the latter.

Josh and Caleb on the 1st day of school. Aren't they handsome?

quite alarming!

This morning I had to run some errands, so after packing a diaper bag and buckling Brooks in his car seat, thankfully I noticed that Mike's car was parked behind mine. (I say that because one time I didn't realize that, and ended up backing into his car... not my finest moment).

I was about to unlock his car, but noticed that it was already unlocked from when I drove the boys to the bus stop earlier that morning. So I just opened the door. *BEEP BEEP BEEP!* The alarm started blaring.... and I suddenly became soooooooo confused. I had both sets of car keys in my hand and I thought that I must have hit the alarm button on the "car remote thingy". I did my best to choose the right set of keys and pushed the button, only to set off the other car honking. So I had two simultaneously honking cars in my driveway, and I had no idea how to stop it. In a panic, I randomly started pushing both sets of buttons, trying desperately to differentiate between the honks so I could push the corresponding alarm button. But as soon as I got my car turned off, and tried to shut off Mike's car, the button wouldn't work, so I would try my car again and set it off honking again. The more the honking went on, the more flustered I got! I even succumbed to screaming out loud and jumping around like a crazy person... as if that would help the situation.

After what seemed like 7 minutes, I finally figured out that Mike's car was the original honking car, but the remote control thingy didn't work. At this point, I finally managed a logical thought, "Maybe I set off the alarm by opening the door in the first place." So with both sets of keys still clutched in my hands, I slammed the car door shut with my foot, and tried Mike's alarm button one final time. SILENCE.

I felt like I just defused a ticking time bomb and let out a loud "Whoo-hoo!", complete with a little fist-pump in the air to celebrate. That's when I heard it.... a scuffle on the pavement behind me. I did a slow turn to my right and saw a lady walking her dog. I felt I deserved a congratulations for a job well-done. But she did a quick spin and just set off walking again, pretending like she didn't notice the undeniable commotion. That's when the embarrassment set it. Why do I always have witnesses when I do something stupid. *sigh*

My thoughts drifted back to Brooks, who was still helplessly strapped in the backseat, and I was worried he might have gotten scared during the blaring madness! But upon opening the car door, he immediately started clapping and said, "Mommy... What?" (2 of the very few words he can actually say) I felt validated by his applause, and did a mini bow! Ta-Dah!

It may be yes, or it may be no.

That's the answer I got when I googled "metal bowl in microwave".

Why did I google that?

Because I saw a bowl of half-cooked, half-eaten instant oatmeal on the counter Sunday morning. Only after I wondered why it wasn't fully cooked, did I realize that the bowl was in fact METAL. If there's one thing I know about microwave cooking, it's not to put anything metal in there. I'm afraid my 8 year old son is NOT aware of this important rule.

So rather then letting images of lighting bolts and flames run rampant in my brain, I went straight to "Google" for an explanation of what exactly would happen. The possible scenarios ranged from "nothing would happen" to "metal would expand and possibly blow up, flames or lighting bolts could result causing serious injury, metal heating up to volcanic temperatures causing severe burns upon removal." (scenarios may or may not be exaggerated by my imagination and for dramatic effect)

I finally broke down and asked Josh the details. In order to get the "real" story, I tried to be subtle, so as not to cause alarm. Here's how the conversation went.

Mom: So, did you enjoy your oatmeal this morning?
Josh: Yup.
Mom: It looked a little undercooked... are you sure it tasted good?
Josh: Yup. I like it that way.
Mom: So what made you not cook it all the way?
Josh: I just wanted to try it.
Mom: So nothing happened with the microwave?
Josh: Nope.

Later on I told Mike about the "Metal Bowl Incident of November 14th, and after making sure that no damage was caused to the microwave, he initiated the following conversation.

Dad: So, did you put a metal bowl in the microwave? (His voice was smothered in a boyhood curiosity for all things dangerous)
Josh: Yeah, it was a full-on lighting storm in there!

They practically were high-fiving each other and doing chest-bumps! I guess my "approach" in trying to get the truth was all wrong. Boys.

At least he didn't do THIS.

take a picture... it'll last longer!

I just spent a good part of my day wiping fingerprints, smudges and streaks from my kitchen cabinets and walls. Not my favorite thing to do on a sunny Friday afternoon. But the alternative of encrusted surfaces is not an option I like either. I'm WAY too OCD for that.

I know what some of you are thinking... "Oh, cherish those little fingerprints while you can... before you know it, they'll be all grown up and gone." You're right. To some degree. In fact, I can't argue the fact that the hands in my family are getting bigger and more grown up. One might even think that the result of that fact would mean less evidence left behind of their presence. But the truth of the matter is... the evidence is still here... just slightly higher on the wall then before, which means much more surface area for ME to clean.

While we're on the subject, cleaning is not my favorite thing to do. Nevertheless, I do it every day... in one room or another, and I actually take great pride in a clean home. Although the whole thing may not be perfectly cleaned all at once, I get around to most of it sooner or later. But I never get a break from it. So if there's one little thing that I can cross off my list of never-ending-things-to-clean, it would definitely be washing cabinets and walls because it seems so simple... just don't touch the walls!

Case in point: I do not need another reminder of the 3 boys living in our house, thereby giving me one more thing to clean.

So, how do I cherish those little fingers and toes, if I refuse to let them stay on my walls? I TAKE A PICTURE! I'd much rather reminisce about those chubby little patties by seeing them first-hand in my scrapbook, (aka file of photos still embedded safely on my computer in original digital format), as opposed to trying to squeeze some cuteness out of a dirty, nasty imprint left behind.

See what I mean??

Are you convinced?

It's like hypnosis...

If you have kids... you might have heard of UmiZoomi. If not, here's a quick recap... Basically, it's a little cartoon where miniature super heroes, with tiny super powers, come to the rescue of children who face serious life-threatening dilemmas that range from broken playground equipment to a stranded ice cream truck.

This show has proved to be purely hypnotizing to my 2 year old. He even gets that "sleepy-retarded" look as he lays on the couch propping up his head in his hands. I've even caught my husband trapped in a glazed state as his mouth falls open. My favorite part is when the girl superhero changes her outfit in a swirl to imitate dandelion fuzz, or her pig tails turn into a measuring tape. Seriously, it's mesmerizing.

And according to Brooks, the best part is If you stay tuned til the end where you'll be honored to participate in the ever popular "Craaaaazzzzzy Shake!"... Team UmiZoomi!... WAY TO GO!!!

If you're dying to see first-hand what all the fuss is about... you can get a glimpse here...
Team UmiZoomi Video

fortune tellers...

Do you remember these? Paper fortune tellers that you used to make in elementary and junior high? I remember writing things like, "You will marry your best friend." or "You will have 7 kids!" Well apparently, they're back... but not like I remember!

One of the neighbor kids was making one of them at our kitchen table. Josh was intrigued with the concept of the mysterious origami wonder. To assist in coming up with fortunes, Josh blurted out, "You will have explosive diarrhea for the rest of your life!"

It never occurred to me to write such blasphemy when I was 8 years old. I swear these boys are born with it... because I NEVER taught them this!

Turns out, the neighbor boy was making the fortune teller as a study guide for a homework assignment. That's my boy!


It finally happened. Or maybe it's already happened, and this was just the first time I noticed it. But today it finally caught up with me.

My lack of shame... and my children's awareness of shame came to a head today. It was very subtle. In fact, I almost didn't notice it.

It is raining today. Not a full on down pour... and not a drizzle... But a good rain. So as soon as I rolled out of bed, I knew I didn't have to comb my hair this morning. The clouds make an already dark morning even darker, so no one would see me huddled in my car at 7:15 am. I fixed lunches and snacks while they ate breakfast and got themselves ready. It was a pleasant, low-key morning.

7:12 am: Time to load up in the car and head to the bus.

"Do you want me to bring an umbrella so I can walk you right up to the bus?" I asked.

Josh, giving me a quick up-and-down inspection and taking full notice of my fleece bathrobe, or house coat as my Grandma's call it, said, "No, we can just run up there really fast."

Caleb went as far as to say, "Can we actually walk there by ourselves?" Mind you, it's pouring down rain. I would be considered the worst mother in the world if I sent them out there walking to the bus by themselves in the rain.

"I'll go put on some pants?" I pleaded.

Both of them shook their heads.

Please be aware that I didn't want anyone to see me either... it's not like I enjoy people seeing my bed-head hair and bathrobe. But desperate times come for desperate measures. But just to be safe, I put a coat on over my robe, so at least from the waist up, while I sat in the car, no one would notice that I wasn't actually wearing clothes.
Check out this gal...she's actually strutting around a construction site in her skivvies. My problem is, I don't look this cute in the morning.

it could have been so much worse...

Brooks didn't take a nap today. He sat up in his bed for 2 hours. He talked. He played. He banged on the wall. He was happy. But he eventually had enough, and started crying. After about 3 minutes, I knew that there was NO chance he would be falling asleep, so I went upstairs to release him.

He was standing up in his crib crying. He was bottomless. In his hands, he clutched an open diaper filled with poop!

If I didn't know any better, I think he had pooped as soon as I laid him down and he couldn't take it anymore, and decided to change his own diaper. Unsure of how to dispose of it, he just held it there on the other side of the railing as if he was trying to get it as far away from him as possible... but was completely aware that it could fall onto the floor, so he just held onto it.

No poop was to be found on any surface. Seriously, this kid is way beyond his years!

Crackin' Down

Lately I've felt like such a mean mom! I feel like I spend more time getting mad and inflicting consequences (aka pain and torture, according to my kids), resulting in tears shed, doors slammed and severe pouting by all parties. That is, until last night.... DUN-DUN-DUN!

Then it occurred to me. The problem isn't about me being too mean, but rather, me being too nice! I don't let them get away with murder... but I realized that I try to give my kids the benefit of the doubt. I don't like them to suffer. And to be perfectly honest, I don't want to make my life miserable, so I tend to look the other way on some things.

2 boys that are completely rotten! They fight, argue and scream about EVERYTHING! They ignore their chores... but I'm often too busy to notice. They have no manners. They talk back. In essence, THEY DRIVE ME CRAZY!!!

SOLUTION: I'm going to start crackin' down, baby! But not by getting mad... I realized that I don't have to make their life miserable. My goal is to make them accountable. Bottom line... I don't have to be mean to be "THE MOM!" I WILL remain calm. I WILL be consistent. I WILL succeed.

would you rather ... ?

This was our conversation at dinner:

Josh: Would you rather be shot by a gun ... or ... sit in a bucket of Matthew snot? (apparently Matthew is a snotty nosed kid from school)

Caleb: Sit in a bucket of Matthew snot.

Loud shrieking laughs!

Josh: Would you rather sit in a bucket of Matthew snot... or ... live in the wild?

Caleb: Live in the wild.

Josh: Would you rather drink acid pee instead of water ... or ... be shot out of volcano of salsa?

Caleb and Me: Be shot out of a volcano of salsa.

( I can't believe I'm playing along at this point?)

Josh: Would you rather not eat for 4 days ... or... eat boogers for 1 day?

Caleb and Me: Not eat for 4 days.

And the grand finale...

Josh: Would you rather poop throw up ... or... throw up poop?

Me and Caleb: Poop throw up.

The image this brings to mind is purely sickening.

See what I have to live with?


The aftermath of 2 boys coming home from school and 1 waking up from a nap is seriously detrimental to the appearance of my house! I had the whole downstairs picked up and almost clutter free. And now it looks like a tornado! I told them not to make messes that they weren't willing to clean up... and what did they do?

While I was making dinner (WAY ahead of schedule, by the way) something terrible happened! This is the evidence that was left:
-30 (or more) erasers dumped and scattered all over the kitchen table
-homework pages and books strewn about the kitchen floor
-couch cushions upheavaled
-crumbs... it doesn't really matter where they are... I just hate crumbs!
-dirty socks... need I say more?

and this is just downstairs.

The only thing that brings me peace, is that I'm not going to pick up a single thing! THEY WILL DO IT ALL!!! Mmmmwhhaaaaaa aahhh aahhh aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!


Tonight Brooks was the most reverent he has ever been during family prayer. I almost didn't notice at first. But I soon realized that there was no giggling... no running... no somersaulting... no slamming of doors... no climbing on our legs and backs. NOTHING! Just the sound of Caleb's little voice asking us to be safe while Dad's away... and for Dad's safety on his trip.

Half way through I peeked open my eyes and saw why Brooks was so quiet.

He was kneeling up against Josh's bed with his little arms folded and his head in his arms... NAKED... Naked as a baby jay bird.

We just might be implementing a new family prayer rule... 1) Fold your arms, 2) Close your eyes, 3) Kneel down, 4) Get in your birthday suit!
Brooks - July 2009

Green... gooey... need I say more?

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear those words?... GREEN and GOOEY!

Yesterday at dinner, I was actually enjoying the stimulating conversation about various bus-riding do's and don'ts. The conversation then shifted to talking about a certain "nerd" at school. Sidebar: I don't like this word... NERD.

Confession time... the word NERD always strikes a chord inside of me because sadly, I can very much relate to that word. Only 14 years since graduation, and I'm finally saying it, "I was a nerd!" Complete with large glasses, and braces... I sheepishly walked the halls of my middle school. Although I ditched the glasses before going to high school, I was still quiet and mousy. My confidence grew a bit with each year, and by Senior year, I think I was only slightly awkward.

But, I digress.

These "blast from the past" feelings provoked a lesson on treating everyone the same, regardless of "nerdiness" or "weirdness" or "stinkiness" or "geekiness" or "clutziness". I just wanted my boys to treat everyone with respect and be nice to everyone and be friends with everyone.

THAT'S WHEN IT HAPPENED. Amidst all this warm and fluffy chatting about friendships and kindness and brotherly love --(insert rainbows and unicorns in here too)-- I felt a little swipe on my back.

I looked over at Caleb, who was sporting a gawky, guilty smirk. Josh's face was twisted in disgust. Thanks to my "nerdy background", it didn't take long for me to put 2 and 2 together and make sense of their face combinations.

"Did you just wipe a booger on my back?" I asked.

Caleb erupted into giggles. Josh insisted that I go to the bathroom and look in the mirror. There.it.was. A green, gooey smear across my back. -- (insert gags and dry heaves here) --

I realized right then and there, after careful reflection upon my life since mothering only boys, that I am often the brunt of a lot of practical jokes, teasing, towel snapping... and now, booger wiping... pranks! Despite my best efforts to evolve, I am clearly outnumbered, apparently making me the honorary NERD of the family!

Peace of Mind

"I have a hole in my foot!" Josh's upper lip contorted in 7 different directions before his eyes welled with tears and he sobbed as he climbed back in the car!

Caleb was practically giddy as he did a little quick-step back and forth on the pavement and begging for me to do it again!

Brooks squealed with delight at seeing his brothers again.


On the way home from a birthday party, all three boys were fighting over everything from party favors to who saw the slug-bug first. I was suffering from mild heat stroke due to sitting in the wretched sun at a baseball game, which presented itself in the form of a massive head ache. I was sweaty from cleaning all afternoon. And my legs ached, just because. I couldn't imagine driving home another minute with the screeching from the back seat.

So in an instant, I swerved into an empty parking lot without a plan. I thought about just sitting there until they could calm down. I've tried this before. But that would only torture me further, since it usually takes them 5 minutes to realized we stopped in the first place. So I ordered Josh and Caleb out of the car. I still had no idea what I was doing at this point. But I couldn't stand to look at them another minute. I had to repeat the order 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 times before they got out. I responsibly waited until both boys were clear of the car, then I sped away! I thought about leaving the parking lot completely only to come back eventually, but I worried they would try to follow me onto the busy road. So I just circled them, weaving around light posts and medians. With every turn, I would catch a glimpse (often in my rear-view mirror) of them attempting to anticipate my next move as they zig-zagged back and forth. The whole time, they were running almost full-speed. Did I mention that Josh was shoeless?

After a couple minutes (literally 2 minutes), I figured they had had enough. So I stopped and allowed them to catch up to me. I rolled down the window and Josh screamed at me! I told him calmly that he needed some more time to think about how he had been acting... and then I drove off again!

By this time, I was feeling rejuvenated! Instead of anxiety and anger, I felt amusement, with only a smidge of guilt. I made one final loop among the empty parking spaces and slowed to a stop right next to my tired offspring.

"Mommy just needed a little quite time!" I said happily.

Josh grumbled inaudibly under his breath and Caleb begged me to do it again!

On the way home, we continued to have a discussion about the importance of behaving politely and quietly in the car. When I passed our street and kept going, they both questioned where I was going.

"I'm going to get you all turned around, so when I drop you off, you won't know how to get home!" I teased.

Both little bodies froze, and I could see their eyes on me in my rear-view mirror....

"Cool!" they both said in unison!

I did end up dropping them off on the side of the road... and they took a well-known short-cut through the trees... and beat me to the house!

(Random running pictures)

unexcused absence

I stumbled out of bed this morning at 6:37am, wrapped myself in my robe, fumbled with my glasses, ran a hand through my hair and realized that it was going to take some work to tame the bird's nest I had going on up there... I made my way into the hallway to find Josh already up and dressed, which was a pleasant surprise.

But as my eyes adjusted to the light I saw Caleb's silhouette sitting motionless in the doorway of the playroom at the end of the hall. My heart jumped when, as I started walking closer, he growled, "Get away from me... I don't want to go to school!" His glare pierced my soul... and it suddenly felt like a scene from Poltergeist as he started clawing at me to get away from him. For the next 25 minutes I attempted an exorcism to release poor Caleb from his devilish nemesis, in order to make the bus on time.

I was unsuccessful.

Instead, I sent Caleb back to bed and confined him to the house all day with nothing to do but read books and complete random homework assignments of my choosing, in hopes that I would make him so miserable that he would learn his lesson about staying home from school. I had forgotten how resilient Caleb is, so it was not surprising that after a brief nap, he was bounding around the house in a Sesame Street sort of way completing any chore I could think of. The playroom floor was covered with books and he was happy as can be. When I pulled out the Kindergarten workbook and made him trace every letter, he was literally whistling! The only exception was when he had to complete a real homework assignment that is due tomorrow. He suddenly developed ADD like symptoms and was having trouble focusing. But, I hardly blame him after hours of working.

It's still unclear to me whether or not he learned his lesson about staying home from school. I guess only time will tell. Now the problem I face, is how to convince the school secretary that "possessed by an evil spirit" should be considered an excused absence.

my 2nd wind....and my 100th post!

I'm not a morning person. I stay up too late, by choice. Last night I perused through the free copy of Parenting Magazine that came in the mail. I know I need my 8 hours and I know should go to bed... but I like to stay up late.

But now that school has started and my alarm goes off at 6:30 am, I have to do a lot of self-talk to get out of bed in the morning after only 6 hours of sleep. It's painful. But today I convinced myself that I would get back in bed after the bus leaves and snooze the morning away. That's the only thing that would make getting out of bed an option. This morning, I needed that option.

So against my will, I rouse the boys from their slumber. They look like they could sleep for a few more hours, so the temptation is great to just turn around and go back to bed, but I open the curtains anyway. Josh pops up out of bed right away. But Caleb needs more convincing. Eventually, they are up and moving... but they are causing a ruckus!

Loud commotion in the morning is unacceptable, especially today, because it might wake up Brooks... and then all hopes of an early morning nap are off! So when the morning started off with teasing and squealing and loud teeth-brushing and stomping, I started threatening, and "evil eye" giving, and shush-ing!

Then it's off to the bus... and back again. My body is heavy and my eyes are burning. But now I'm too awake to go to sleep. I just lay there.... Blast it all!

I hate waking up at 6:30!

First day of school

All decked out in their "semi-new" clothes, (we didn't really have a need to go school shopping because they have a ton of shirts, that they never wear, which includes, but is not limited to collared shirts... although they did get new shoes...) Josh and Caleb were excited for the first day of school. CORRECTION: Caleb was excited, Josh was annoyed. Thank goodness for peer pressure, because once we started walking toward the bus and seeing other kids emerging from their houses, he started to get on board.

After a smooth morning of eating breakfast and taming some unruly hair, I thought we were off to a great start leaving 10 minutes early to account for any first day mishaps. Good thing too... because I ended up having to sprint back to the house because I forgot to pin Caleb's "school bus tag" on him. For those of you who are not aware what this is... this is a very crucial part of his wardrobe because it clearly identifies him as a "Kindergartner" and should he get lost, it would notify any adult where he should be.

It was a bitter-sweet moment to see that big, yellow cheesewagon round the corner. I snapped a quick picture, and headed toward the already crowded bus. There didn't appear to be any empty seats in the front, (where the K's usually sit) so I, along with all the other Kindergarten moms were nervously pointing out our little K's. The driver shrugged his shoulders and just said, "I'm full, they just have to find a seat."

I felt so helpless, walking along the outside of the bus, watching Caleb's eyes scan the seats of the bus as he kept shuffling further and further to the back of the bus! But thank goodness for older brothers... although Josh temporarily forgot about Caleb as he bounded on the bus... he eventually "took him under his little brotherly wing" and they sat together about 5 seats from the back of the bus. (breath sigh of relief because at least they were together)

Now, I have to just trust in the school system... and have faith that they will return him to me safe and sound.

Mom vs. Rice Krispie Treats

I reminded myself today why I never make Rice Krispie Treats.

It actually requires two people... "but I'm a loner... a rebel." (name that movie) So I work alone. And to challenge myself even more, I thought it would be a smart idea to make 3 batches at once. (aka Suicide) Turns out, me making Rice Krispie Treats more accurately resembled a wrestling match... Tune in for the play-by-play!

Round 1
At first, it wasn't so bad. The melting of the butter and marshmallows was a piece of cake. And luckily the little man inside my head tucked a helpful little tid-bit way back in those imaginary file cabinets in my brain and highlighted the key word "RICE KRISPIE TREATS", so I was able to remember the importance of melting the marshmallows and butter a little longer then one would think.... so it's a nice drippy consistency. This proved to work well for the beginning mixing... but when you're dealing with 18 cups of rice krispies, it didn't seem to matter.

Rice Krispie Treats: 0
Mom: 1

Round 2:
This is where the extra set of hands would've helped... (one person to hold the bowl so that the other person can stir with both hands.) I may have single handedly held the bowl in a half-nelson under my arm, but it had a huge advantage with it's circular shape and slippery texture. The spoon was also winning over the crowd with it's slender physique and sticky uniform.

Rice Krispie Treats - 2
Mom- 1

Round 3:
The mess continued to spread across my kitchen counter and onto the floor. All I could hear was the "snap-crackle-pop" of my toddling son stepping on Krispies. It almost sounded like applause. I tipped the bowl upside down and proceeded to pile-drive it to it's demise, but the Krispies held firm inside the bowl and refused to come out! The bowl was too heavy to hold in one hand, so I ended up just grabbing handfuls of Krispies and plopping it haphazardly onto the pan. They clung to my fingers, despite my secret weapon, Pam cooking spray... and the Krispies had now secured a threatening lead.

Rice Krispie Treats - 4
Mom- 1

And somehow in all of this, I ended up getting a ring of marshmallow krispie around my arms, where I unfortunately have a descent amount of arm hair. This reminded of reason #7 why I will NEVER get a bikini wax.

Rice Krispie Treats - 5
Mom - 1

Round 4:
I was a fighter and managed, against all odds, to make a huge come-back. But not without casualties...by the time I was done, the kitchen was a disaster zone... I had dirtied bowls, pans and spoons so badly that they required some serious soaking before attempting to put in the dishwasher... I had worked up a sweat... and I came close to swearing 6 different times.

Rice Krispie Treats - 5
Mom - 5

In my opinion, there was no victory in this fight. I may have had 48 yummy treats to show for my efforts... but the battle crushed my spirit and depleted my energy. The chances that I will return and fight the Rice Krispie Beast are slim to none... I just don't have what it takes.

back to school = end of the world.

At least that's the impression I got from the Target manager when I informed her that the Back To School Supplies were dangerously low. "We won't be getting another shipment in until... well, honestly, I don't think we'll ever get another shipment in." Really? So I guess no one in the entire west end will never need index cards or notebook paper ever again? Come on, lady.

I mean, seriously... this happens every year...and every year, I have to go to 5 different stores to get the basic, ordinary, run-of-the-mill supplies. Although they do have a plethora of markers and liquid glue, in case you want to stock up.

I really feel for those parents who wait until the last minute to do school shopping. I mean, I'm not ahead of the game by any means... but it's still 2 weeks until school starts! It reminds me when there's rumors of a snowstorm here... all of a sudden there's a shortage of milk, bread and water. I guess the term "back to school shopping" has that affect on people--HURRY HURRY... get as many crayons and glue sticks as you can! It's a back to school EMERGENCY!!!

Honestly, the whole "back to school" thing creates conflicting emotions.
Bad feeling #1
- It brings back painful memories and anxiety of starting another school year... and I feel sick about putting my kids through the same thing. (but deep down, I know it's good for 'em so I just paste a smile on my face, pat them on the back and send them off anyway!)
and Bad feeling # 2 - The mere thought of my kids being unprepared for school does invoke strong emotions. Sadly, I have even considered bribing (aka tackling) another mom for the last Kindergarten Rest Mat in the store.

Good feeling #1 - It's excuse to get more organized and start fresh.
Good feeling #2 - The boys are excited to see old friends/meet new ones...
Good feeling #3 - To continue down the road of learning and growing and developing... it's all very exciting too!

So here we go... the beginning - and the end- of life as we know it! HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL!

I'm not sleeping... I'm just resting my eyes!

Yesterday, I had to set up and help run a primary activity... and for those of you who know what that involves, know that it's exhausting! Especially when it's hot outside, and you're running all over place trying to stay ahead of all the kids. For your own sake, I'll spare you all the details... but bottom line is, it left me bedraggled.

Then while Brooks was sleeping, I started getting things ready for Sunday. By the time he woke up, I was a little weak in the knees with heavy eyes. And for those of us not lucky enough to have a nanny or full-time babysitter or teenage kids, I had to make due. So I shut the door to the playroom, dumped out a variety of toys, and laid down right next to my little toddler. By doing this, he actually thinks I'm playing with him... so sad, I know... but someday I'll make it up to him.

The only problem with laying on my side, is my arms start to get kinked and they fall asleep. So I rolled to my back. This was no good, because he immediately straddled my stomach and pounced. So I rolled to my stomach and laid my head in my arms. This was much better for a minute or two. But once again my arms started to fall asleep, but worse, Brooks realized that I was trying to fall asleep, so he grabbed the back of my hair to pull me out of my slumber.

So I just turned my face into the carpet. Surprisingly, Brooks went back to his playing, and I got up close and personal with my un-vacuumed carpet. FYI: there's no better motivator to improve your housekeeping then a few goldfish crumbs in your forehead. Then I tucked my arms up under my legs to keep off the draft, and secure them in place. I don't want to glorify this position too much because tucking yourself into bed is soooooooo much better. But drastic times call for drastic measures. After a few minutes of silence, Brooks was completely comfortable with my position...and he even started driving cars on my back... BONUS! I had to pinch myself to help me realize my good fortune. Closing my eyes and a back rub all at the same time... close to heaven in my opinion!

It's funny how the 9-years-younger-version-of-me would've thought this scenario to be absolutely insane. But now, it seemed perfectly logical for me to be laying face down on my playroom floor. Signs of the times, I guess... signs of the times!

I haven't done much today...

I'm not sick... really. Just a little dizzy and achy. I'm afraid the worst might be yet to come. But in an effort to nip this in the bud, I decided that I would have to take it easy for today. This is what I did:

1) did 2 loads of laundry
2) cleaned the kitchen
3) went visiting teaching
4) I was already out, so I stopped by Walmart for a few school supplies
5) fixed lunch for 3 hungry boys
6) currently surfing the net for something easy to make for dinner
7) still need to gather "stuff" for the primary activity tomorrow
8) and to top things off, I'm considering taking the chillins to the pool for a night-time swim after dinner.

It's funny how my idea of "taking it easy" has changed since having kids. (sigh)

I think I had a heart attack!

The other day, Mike and Josh went to the baseball field to practice. I was chatting on the phone. Brooks was down for his nap. Caleb was upstairs playing LEGOs. I glanced out the window and saw an empty COP CAR parked right outside my house. I found myself sneaking and peeking around trying to locate the cop, and my heart jumped when I saw him walking up my driveway. I immediately ended my phone call. It became very obvious that I've watched too many forensic/crime tv shows, when my first thought was to hide or run out the back door... but I did the opposite and opened the door before he even rang the doorbell.

Policeman: Ma'am... (why do they always have to call you Ma'am? it sounds so old)... Do you own a black cadillac?
Me: Yes, it's my husband's car.
Policeman: Do you know where your husband is?
Me: Do YOU know where my husband is?
Policeman: Well, we found his car...

(Tears were welling up at this point. I had seen this moment on TV... and always found myself wondering what I would do if that ever happened to me. Is that crazy? I always wondered if I would cry in front of a stranger, or scream like they do on the movies? So, when I could hear my voice shaking and the tears were on the verge, I knew at that second that I was definitely capable of making a scene.)

Policeman:... Apparently it's been abandoned over at T------ Little League for 2 weeks now.

(Okay, now I KNOW this was a misunderstanding, since I know for a fact that it has NOT been parked over there... because he comes home every night.)

Me: (regaining my composure) My husband and son go there to practice quite a bit for a couple hours... around this same time... and I'm guessing he parks in the same spot closest to the field. I'm sure that everything's fine because I just saw him an hour ago. So I'm sure that it only APPEARS to be abandoned.

Policeman: Well, maybe just tell him to park more randomly so it doesn't alarm the Little League staff.

After I drove over to the field to get visual confirmation of my husband and first-born child, I'm grateful for this experience for one very important reason... I finally have an actual confirmation that Mike and Josh spend WAAAAAYYYY too much time thinking/practicing/playing baseball!... I rest my case!

War Zone

I'm not speaking metaphorically today. It was a literal WAR ZONE in my house today! I've got the nerf wounds to prove it! I mistakenly walked in the cross-fire of a nerf dart battle and was pelted at least 7 times.

Even little Brooks got in on it. Although he couldn't cock his own gun, he was a vital part since he was the Artillery Commander. All I heard was, "More ammo!" being yelled through the halls, followed by the pitter-patter of little bare feet as he scrambled to pick up all the darts and deliver them to his com rads.

But if it's not nerf guns and darts, it's Gi-Joe's and Army guys... and when I don't hear the whistling of darts, it's usually the crash of blocks and legos as miniature forts and hide-outs are destroyed in combat.

It's times like these that I'm reminded of a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that I learned in 6th grade.

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I hate two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills.

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

I never could relate to this poem before. But after 3 boys, I'm happy to report that this is my life... and where there are "war zones", there are three happy boys... and I love that... every second of it!

how can I blame him?

This is Mike in Alaska befriending a dragon fly. The kids and him named him "Steve".

Yesterday I was making something that called for jalapenos. I've had a jar of them for a while and use them every now and then... now I'm wondering if jalapenos go bad... hmmmm. Anyway, I went through the fridge and they weren't there.

Rewind a few weeks. Mike was so sad and lonely while I was in Alaska (I tell myself this) and so anxious to have me come home from my month long stay, that he cleaned the whole house from top to bottom. This was including, but not limited to, cleaning out the fridge. This needed to be done. And it was so nice to come home to a sparkling clean fridge where everything was in it's place. There was not a single tupperware container with some questionable, unknown substance... no moldy broccoli (you know that stuff is deadly) ... and no soggy, liquified cucumbers!

But since I've been back, I've noticed a couple things that are missing... of course, the jalapenos... and also my seasoned rice vinegar. To a normal, every-day male, these items might appear to be useless. I'm sure he thought that I never used them. But these kinds of condiments are things that you don't really notice being there, but you miss them when they're gone.

So I'm torn... do I bring it up and tell him never to throw things out unless he gets permission and risk that he will never do such a, dare I say, romantic act of service again? Or, should I just accept that my jalapenos and rice vinegar were simply collateral damage in the operation of "Husband-pleases-wife", and bite the bullet and just buy another bottle of rice vinegar?

I think I'll hold my tongue.

nesting bug...

This is NOT my way of announcing that I'm pregnant... in case anyone is wondering... HOWEVER, I think I've got a silly little "virus" that is often called "The Nesting Bug". Normally this "virus" is contracted during the last trimester of pregnancy in order for the mother to have the necessary energy to accomplish any and everything she desires before the baby arrives.

Although I'm not sure if it is scientifically proven, I have experienced it three previous times with the anticipation of each new baby. My most noteworthy feat was carrying a twin mattress and boxspring up a flight of stairs and put it together all on my own (8 months pregnant) before my husband got home.

This was NOT an easy task! I was off-balance and out of breath. By the end of it, I was covered in sweat with a sore back! But honestly, it was much easier then convincing a tired husband to catch my vision that it needed to be done RIGHT NOW!

So, for the past couple weeks, I've been evaluating the efficiency of my home and changing things that aren't running smoothly and decorating/organizing the things that need sprucing up. I'm doing all this, not because I'm expecting a new arrival... just because I'm determined to make things nice and cozy for my "rooster" and ever-growing "chicks"!

WARNING: The-Nesting-Bug-Virus is highly contagious and could be contracted the following ways: catching sight of well-organized pantry, flipping through an issue of Real Simple, reading the scripture about "a house of order, a house of God", experiencing the after-math of a recent camping trip, vacation, dinner party OR reading this blog post.

TREATMENT OPTIONS: a good, old-fashioned SPRING CLEANING SPREE! Symptoms will subside when everything in your house has a "home".


Teleporting... that's the new term that we (my family) came up with to describe Brooks' uncanny ability to escape from supervision.

I seriously think my family thought I was crazy when I would tell them that how frequently I can lose sight of my 3rd-born. "You're just too busy with the other two", they would say. Or, "You're getting more relaxed in your old age."

But on Day 1 of being in Alaska, he mastered opening the front door and using his little "cat feet" ventured out of sight in a matter of seconds. The only difference was I had several eye-witnesses. I finally felt vindication!

The thing that is so deceiving about him is that he doesn't run at lightning speed knocking and stomping over everything in his path to get away. That would be too obvious. He takes tiny baby steps, that actually make him appear to not be moving at all. He does this until you tire of watching him, and look away in search of something a little faster paced. It's at that moment that the baby steps actually thrust him into hyper-drive and in less than a nano-second he is able to disappear from view and teleport himself into a completely different location.

Thankfully, none of his teleportations ever resulted in injuries or kidnappings. But it's enough to put everyone in the family into panic mode desperately trying to locate my tiny toddler on a large farm.

no food in the house...

Since I've been back from Alaska (10 days), I've only been to the grocery store once. I didn't go overboard and buy everything in the store (like I normally do) because I had all 3 boys with me, and I didn't want to hear any whining that day. Let me explain. I normally buy 2 of most things to stock up the food storage, and to keep from having to go to the store every day. But this last time, I had a menu and a list... and I only bought what was on the list (probably a first for me).

Well yesterday we ran out of milk, and the fridge wasn't stocked with "ready to go" food and snacks. You would've thought that the world was coming to an end! "We have no food!", my husband and sons proclaimed!

Apparently in THIS household: NO MILK = NO FOOD!

So today we went to the grocery store and bought two of everything.

I'm back...

I've been home from my month long trip to Alaska for 5 days now, and I'm still adjusting to the time change... 4 hour difference. I don't feel tired until at least 2 am... and I need at least 8 hours of sleep before I even consider crawling out of my nest... so, you do the math! And the kids have been going to bed around 8:30-9am.... and they still sleep in til 10 or 11am. It's crazy!

Along with my jet-lag, I've also been a little cranky. I guess after a month of hardly seeing my children (because they were so busy playing with the cousins), this three vs. one ratio is a bit overwhelming... I miss having my sisters and mom around for constant companionship... and please don't remind me that it's 100 degrees outside!

But I need to get back to real life again... and so there will be more posts to come soon....

**** NOTEWORTHY NEWS: I unpacked my suitcases on day 2 of being home.
**** CONFESSION: the empty suitcases are still haphazardly stacked next to my bed.
**** JUSTIFICATION: The attic temperature is currently 3,000 degrees and I just can't get myself to go up there!


I was reading a friend's blog today and was reminded of an experience that happened to me when I was in high school.

One day on the way to seminary, the car was quiet as me and my dad made the 10-minute commute to the church building. (seminary is a morning scripture study class for high-schoolers) I thought we were both noticing the silence, but at 6:05 am, I was not alert enough to be a social butterfly. I had other things on my mind... cramps.
Dad was the first to break the silence by asking the following question, "So, how long are your periods?" I thought this was completely out of character for him to be asking about my menstrual cycle, especially since he always turned the channel whenever a tampon commercial came on tv. But maybe he was trying to reach out and connect... however odd it was. So after a few seconds of internal arguing, I allowed myself to utter the words, "About 4-5 days."

"Oh no," he said, "I meant your class periods."

I wanted to slap myself! Of course that made more sense... he's a SCHOOL TEACHER! So asking me about my class periods was the logical explanation for his question. But in my defense... when you're on your period, that is often the ONLY thing on your brain!

I was, however, grateful that it was pitch-dark outside, so he wouldn't be able to see the shades of red I was turning. I tried to keep my voice steady as I appeased him with a play-by-play of each class. I think we were both very desperate to keep talking to avoid any more gaps in the conversation that would surely lead to disaster!

Sadly, this was NOT the last time I have embarrassed myself by saying something stupid.

Speaking of periods, this is BY FAR the BEST commercial I have ever seen!!! Enjoy!

***The picture of the confused little boy, is NOT one of my children... in case any of you were wondering.

seems harmless, doesn't he? ... don't be deceived.

I know what you're thinking... how could a mother have anything negative to say about this lil' guy?

And in all honesty, there are a lot of REALLY GREAT things about our little Brooks. He is happy most of the time... he has mastered "independent play"... he is a great eater... he makes people laugh... he is entertained by the slightest thing... he goes to bed so easily and sleeps all night... he has the best laugh... he only poops once a day... he's not a mama's boy, so I can leave him with sitters... he loves his big brothers...and the list goes on.

But my "little friend", as I endearingly refer to him, has a side of him that can be pure evil! He throws the worst temper tantrums of all my kids and it is getting exhausting. In his defense, the temper tantrums are becoming fewer and farther between... but they have NOT lessened in intensity.

His latest tactic is to take it out on me physically by pinching, scratching, hitting and pulling out my earrings. He has learned that doing this pushes my buttons and causes my innards to literally quake! In fact, fastening Brooks into a car seat requires more patience and strength then I am often capable of... To give you a visual, he more accurately resembles a CAT being strapped into a car seat, then a baby. Changing a diaper is a similar scene... only he inherits OCTOPUS qualities and manages to wrap his legs around my arms, arches his back and twists his body so it's close to impossible to get a diaper on or off. And holding him up to the sink to wash his hands and face turns into a wrestling match with a 30 lb KING SALMON!

The only positive thing about these tantrums is it enables me to get a work out by simply doing every day tasks. After all, I'm a "glass is half-full" sort of girl. (wink)
#1 Reason I'm feeling cranky....

At Josh's last baseball game, a little girl (about 6 years old) approached me wondering if I was the mother of a certain toddler who was carrying a "dangerous" stick that was a whopping 5 inches long, and 1/4 inch thick. I informed her that I was. She cocked her head to the side, as if she was sizing me up wondering if I was fit to be a mother, and she politely asked how old I was.

I managed an awkward smile, and replied, "Mommies don't like to tell how old they are."

"If you don't tell me, then you would be lying." she said.

"I'm not lying... I just don't want to talk about it." I shot back.

She the proceeded to point out all the wrinkles on my face and neck that she could find. I argued that what she called "wrinkles" were simply, or more appropriately called "laugh lines" and "neck bending lines". She wasn't convinced.

I then proceeded to ask her how old her mom was. She confidently professed that her mother was 40.

"Guess what? Your mom is older then me!"
#2 Reason I'm feeling cranky...

During that same game, another little girl was admiring the same toddler who was now sporting a dirt-covered bottom and a dirt ring around his mouth. She asked me how much he weighed. Then 1/2 second later, before I could answer, she asked how much I weighed.

Already feeling defensive from my last encounter, I replied, "Mommies don't like to tell how much they weigh."

"My mom will tell me how much she weighs."

"Really? Why don't you go ask her."

It's times like this that I'm glad I'm a mother of BOYS!

I started today off with a bang!

After being up late last night, I pushed the snooze a couple times, but was eventually woken up by Josh (my 2nd grader) saying it was time for school. I sat up to start the morning routine....

The next thing I know, it's black, and I'm on the floor... and my head is pounding!

Are you confused? Join the club.

I start thinking back on what I can remember... and I realize that all I remember is watching Josh walk out of the room.

I immediately start wimpering to my husband for help. I attempted to cry, because it seemed logical that's what one would do if they just passed out, banged their face on the night stand and then fell to the floor, but no tears came. Just a throbbing. I stood up, a little more carefully this time, and metaphorically handed Mike my "Get-back-in-bed-and-go-to-sleep-card". Mike took Josh to school, and thankfully I've managed to stay conscious all day.

My knight in shining armor...

Oh you... with your shiny, off-white complexion... and your bright yellow "Energy Guide" sticker plastered on your side. Oh you, with your WARNING label, which so eloquently states the risk of fire and explosion that could often result in serious injury and death... and don't get me started on your exposed water pipes and hoses!

I must confess... after 24 days without hot water, in a matter of hours, I have been smitten by this stalwart appliance which stands silent and isolated in my garage. It has enticed me with the hot water flowing from the kitchen faucet... even Brooks was tantalized by the steam as it rose to the ceiling... and I find myself craving the warm embrace of HOT WATER!!! Seriously, I can't help myself!

But how can you blame me? After countless cold showers, I have forgotten what it feels like to soak in a hot tub. Although I am thankful to our previous water heater for it's brutal incentive to make me start working out again, (fyi: it's much easier to take a cold shower when you're hot and sweaty) I'm in desperate need of hot water to soothe my aching body, as it appears that all the cold showers have not only given me a temporary case of "clenched jaw", but I'm currently fighting a cold.

So, welcome to the family, dearest hot-water-heater... we welcome you with open arms!

SIDEBAR: Is it possible that the plumber who was obviously smoking in my garage, managed to get smoke in the pipes, and now I smell smoke when I turn on the water? ... whatever, a small price to pay in my opinion!

in case you were wondering...

19 days without hot water... I don't even remember what a hot shower feels like.


Today my mind is overflowing with deadlines... some of them are good... some are not so good. I have a lot of little things hanging over my head, and I just want to get them done!
Here's my list:

-3 days to get ready for the Father/Son Campout
-30 days to complete driving school
-8 days to think about my new hair style
-5 days to prepare a sharing time lesson
-45 days to pack and prepare for our Alaska trip
-13 days to prepare Caleb for his Kindergarten Assessment
-2 days to get my dining room table cleared off
-5 hours until LOST comes on (I don't know that really even like it that much... but I've invested 6 years of my life in this show... I want to see how it ends!)
-1 hour until Brooks wakes up
-2 hours to figure out what's for dinner
-number of days to go without hot water?... unknown.
-2 more days until Field Day
-14 more days until Concession Duty at the baseball field
-39 more days til I turn "one year older and wiser too"
-5 more days til Mother's Day, aka the most non-relaxing day of the year! (seriously, why does it have to be on Sunday?)
-20 minutes until the clothes in the dryer are dry

and last, but not least...


the high chair is the bane of my existence!

I love my little guy for his independence and his strong desire to feed himself. It has saved me soooo much time on those rushed mornings where every second counts. He is even capable of eating a bowl of oatmeal unassisted.

But I HATE it how those grubby little patties completely destroy the high chair requiring nothing less of a good power wash afterwards!

Enough said.

at least now I'm working out!

Broken hot water heater... Day 12.

While we're waiting for the home warranty company to make up their mind about what they will/will not pay for, (crossing our fingers for a new water heater due to a non-existent part for this old (1991) thing...) the plumber said that we could light it up as needed. So one hour prior to starting the dishwasher or taking showers, I light the pilot light and pray that it stays on long enough to heat up the tank. It seems that the period of time that it stays on is shorter and shorter, so we're conserving hot water whenever we can.

Today I discovered a better way to take a cold shower.

After a good and sweaty workout (the only thing good about no hot water is it's forced me to start working out again in order to warm up) ... I immediately hit the shower. To ease some of the pain from the frigid water, I proceeded to do a near back bend to keep the water from touching anything other then my head. This worked quite well. The cold water on my head, did take my breath away a few times, but it was manageable. After the shampoo was rinsed out, I immersed my whole body in the shower stream and did a quick spin. While I was soaping up and putting conditioner, however, I was blessed with a bit of luke warm water that finally made it's way clear across the house and upstairs.

Normally, even a luke warm shower is just as cold... but when you start out with frigid cold, and work your way toward luke warm, it's actually quite pleasant! I just might try it again tomorrow!

no wonder he keeps waking up!

The past couple days Brooks has woken up early from his naps, and he's even woke up a couple times during the early evening. So far, I've chalked it up towards his latest illness, which we have self-diagnosed as Primary Herpes... but for my sake, let's just refer to it as "allergies". I took a picture of him... not for scrapbooking purposes, since I'd much rather forget this... but for pure documentation reasons. Fortunately for all of you, I don't have the courage to post it. But rest assured, it's not a pretty sight. But because all the sores that cover his nose, upper lip and mouth, I thought that he just kept waking up from the pain.

But this afternoon (luckily before his nap), I found the phone nestled in a blanket on the guest bed... in his room. I tend to walk around the house while I'm on the phone... sometimes doing random chores while I chat... but quite often just pacing. (Yes, I admit... I'm a pacer... they say it helps your brain flow, and someone even said it counted as your daily exercise... I doubt that.)

Sorry, I digress. But now, every time the phone rings, I feel a twinge in my stomach. Nap time and bed time is very important to me, and I hate to be disturbed! Panic stricken, I do a head count of all the phones in the house, hoping and PRAYING that I didn't leave the phone in there again! So far, so good.

man enough?

Despite the fact that there are 4 boys in my family, apparently I'm the only "man" in this house... or rather, I'm the only one with enough (you know what) to take a cold shower! Last night I boiled 3 pots of water for Josh and Caleb because they weren't man enough. And this morning, Mike could only wash his hair.

Now, taking a cold shower isn't exactly something I would volunteer to do just for the heck of it... but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, right?

Here's a quick play-by-play:

Once the water touches your scalp, you experience a literal brain freeze that only intensifies as the water creeps into your ear. Half way into the shampooing process your head thankfully begins to numb, but the ice water that trickles into the ear canal continues to provide unexpected chills throughout the remainder of the shower. The frigid water that flows down your body is obviously more shocking in certain areas then others... I'll spare you the details on the "certain areas". But the initial shock of it is enough to invoke a variety of shrieks and squeals that even I didn't know I was capable of. Now comes the tricky part... First if all, rinsing the shampoo out seems to take forever, and I violently squeegee the foam off as fast as I can... but it just keeps coming. Even though I'm not quite sure if I got all the soap out, I can't bare any more so I turn off the water to condition and lather up with body wash. Thankfully, I feel warmer... either because the 72 degree air is warmer then the 50 degree water... or possibly because of the vicious scrubbing and friction of the loofa. Now, I'm literally covered in bubbles, and I'm wondering what I have gotten myself into. There's no way out! I must turn the cold water back on and submit myself to the torture once again.

Sidebar: Do you remember that feeling when you get out of a pool for a few minutes? And do you remember that upon getting back in, the water is significantly warmer... or at least it feels warmer?

Well, this is NOT the case with cold showers. Once I turned off the water, my body did indeed get warmer... but the water definitely did NOT! So, for the first 20 seconds of the rinsing-off-process, my mind flashed back in time to Girls Camp where we bathed in a pool that was fed by the run-off from a nearby glacier. It felt very similar. But finally, when the last bits of conditioner were dissolving from my hair, I am surprised by the feeling of calmness. The body convulsions have ceased, and the feeling of endurance is replaced by, dare I say, refreshment!!! Ha-haaaa... I had conquered the cold shower after all!

But man, do those dry, warm towels feet nice. I bundle up my hair in a towel as my scalp starts to thaw...

It's times like this that once again I am proud to be an Alaskan!!!

hot water... who needs it anyway?

Josh, Brooks and myself are the only ones in our family who suffer from allergies. So after playing outside in the pollenated night air for hours... we could literally feel the pollen coating our skin and hair, feel the tightness in our lungs, and the itchiness in our eyes, we desperately longed for a shower!

This was the first time we noticed that there was no hot water. It was late, and the kids were tired. So it went against everything that I knew to be right to put them into their beds covered from head to toe in pollen... I was hoping and praying that this would not lead to a night of torture for them... and me! Josh slept with a cold wet rag over his face, and I managed to keep Brooks from rubbing his eyes by putting multiple binkies in each hand.

Then I scoured the internet for a do-it-yourself guide to lighting a pilot light. Mike was hesitant to light it, even though he had seen numerous home inspectors do it. He relied on the excuse that he was the provider for our family and couldn't risk losing a limb, his hair, or his life from an exploding gas water heater. But I was not in the mood for a cold shower in the morning, and boiling water was for the pioneers... and was willing to risk it all!

So, we went out to the garage together... I was determined to restore hot water to our family... Mike was saying his last goodbyes.

*POOF* ... pilot light ignited. All was well... or so I thought.

Now a week later, I've re-lit the pilot light 3 times, called our home warranty company, boiled water for baths, washed my hair in cold water, waited for 3 hours for the technician to come, repaired of a temperature coupler (in my mind, this didn't seem to remedy the pilot light issue... but they're the experts, right?), and a $60 co-pay later....

And surprise, surprise... we have no hot water again!
I'm speechless.

lazy vs. bad hair?... I think it's a toss up.

I literally had to force myself out of bed this morning. My eyes were burning (thanks to allergies and lack of sleep), my head was pounding, my legs felt like jello as I came down the stairs.... you get the idea. In an effort to easy myself out of this deathly state, I curled up on the couch while Josh ate breakfast. I guarantee that I would still be in bed right now if I didn't feel the "motherly instinct" to oversee Josh getting ready for school. He was going on a field trip for the day, so I needed visual confirmation that he was prepared with his snack, lunch, water bottle, jacket, etc.

I heard Mike and Josh exit the house, while I remained in my semi-comatose state. I was only half aware that Mike came back inside to announce that a friend from church was here. It wasn't until after I bolted up and nearly gave myself a brain aneurysm did he mention that he had told her I was still asleep and would relay a message to me. "But I wasn't asleep." I contested. Mike said, "Well, by the looks of your hair, you might as well have been asleep!"

This friend is known for her early rising, and un-human-like knack for accomplishing everything under the sun... so the fact that she thinks I'm still deep in slumber at 7:40am makes me cringe. But, having my husband be embarrassed enough by my "morning hair" to deceive a morning visitor is equally mortifying.

How does one recover from this?

half clean or half dirty??

I consider myself to be an optimist... right now I'm trying to look past the dishful of dirty dishes, an oatmeal coated high chair, and a sticky stove top... and instead, think of all the things I've accomplished/endured over the past 24 hours.

-waking up at 5am to make rolls for a missionary luncheon
-packed a diaper bag (this is surprisingly time-consuming)
-preschool field trip
-play date with child #2
-6-7 phone calls
-primary presidency meeting
-an unplanned play date for child #1
-over a dozen emails
-7 temper tantrums
-3 arguments
-another diaper bag packed
-baseball uniform gathered
-water bottles located
-cameras charged
-baseball game
-1 more temper tantrum
-unload the car
-side dish for a family BBQ prepared
-lunch and snacks for 3 hungry boys
-1 bathroom cleaned
-a sticky toddler bathed
-a clean toddler down for a nap

I put my hands on my hips... and look around the kitchen trying to decide where to start. Josh enters the messy kitchen and says, "Wow, this kitchen is a mess!" I immediately feel defeated. How can I feel good about everything else I accomplished with the center of our home was neglected. And if it's messy enough for an 8 year-old BOY to notice, it must be pretty bad! So, what do I do?

Pick myself up by my bra straps... and do the most sensible thing I can think of...
Ignore it all and go climb in my un-made bed and take a nap. Goodnight dirty kitchen... I'll see you when I wake up!

Mumblings of two bickering boys…

As soon as Josh got home from school the other day, him and Caleb started bantering back and forth. It was getting on my nerves, but after about 5 minutes of it… I opted to not say anything and just record what they said. I had little to no contributions to the conversation, but they just kept going… it was actually more fun to be an observer then a contributer and now when I go back and read it, it actually was quite funny! Maybe you'll get a kick out of it too.

C- There is lava under the ground.
J- Not everywhere.
C- Mom, is there lava under the roads? … pause.... if there wasn’t lava under the roads, then what IS under the roads?
J- gravel.
C- Mom, what’s gravel?

C- Brooks can talk
J – no he can’t…
C- yes he can, he can say grandpa.
J- nooooo, he says Dad. He doesn’t say Grandpa.
C-Mom, can Brooks say grandpa?
J- She's not getting in the middle of this.

J – I remember when you weren’t even alive yet.
C- No you don’t.
J- yes I do.
C – Was Mom alive yet? Or was she already dead?
J- YEEEEES she was alive (laughing).

J- Can I have soda? ….. please?.... pause.... Caleb already did… I can tell by the look on his face! (Caleb turned around guiltily to reveal his red mustache. Josh was right right. Caleb had some for lunch. Josh proceeds to pour himself some pop.)

J- you are a baby… because you don’t want to watch "Monster House".
C- Mom, Josh keeps saying I’m a baby.
J- Maybe because you are one.
C- I don’t like you… and YOU’RE the baby!
J- Mom, Caleb said I was a baby.

J- Caleb, if I weren’t born yet, what would you be doing?
C- I would play Wii.
J- If I wasn’t born, you wouldn’t have that Wii because I got it for MY birthday.
C- Play legos?
J-No, you wouldn’t have that either
C- I would play xbox? ....pause... Would I have clothes?
J- You would not have any of that stuff, because pretty much everything in this house used to be mine.

C- under his breath to himself… We wouldn’t have these strawberries? (if Josh wasn’t born yet)
J-Caleb, you’re putting your dirty hands all over the strawberries!
C- I cleaned my hands.
J- they don’t LOOK clean!... let me smell them. (hmmm, where has he heard THAT before?)

C- Brooks can have peanut butter/jelly now. He’s old enough.

C – Would we have this water? (if Josh waan’t born yet?)

J- (muttering to himself while doing his homework) Man, I can’t do anything today, all because of me! Now I have to go to bed early because I talked back… a half an hour is a long time!

J-Can we have a friend over to play?
Mom- I don’t know… you guys have been fighting with each other since you got home.
J- I know, it was kind of fun. We haven’t done that in awhile.

Going back to the conversation about what Caleb would do if Josh wasn’t born yet…
C – would we have this cup?
J- If I wasn’t born yet, you would just sit there and drool…
C- (speechless)

Then they just disappeared into the playroom, and I haven’t heard a peep out of them!

toilet... shmoilet

A couple weeks ago, Brooks threw the TV remote to our bedroom TV into the toilet. It no longer works. The cable remote does change the channels, so if we choose to lay in bed and "surf" we can still do so... however, volume control and turning the TV off is now impossible unless you get out of bed.

(This is the part where I divulge how lazy we really are!)
When you're tired and on the verge of drifting off to sleep, the last thing you want to do is get out of that nice, warm bed, just to turn off the TV. So, the result is, we don't watch TV in bed anymore. It's just not worth it.

(This is the part where I redeem myself!)
Now, 2 weeks later, I'm proud to say we are making better use of our night-time hours. I am reading more and Mike is rediscovering an old hobby. It's great... I feel so much more productive and so much more empowered because I'm not allowing my "brain to go to mush", which is what I always tell the kids.

Who knows?... maybe I'll just put the other TV remote in "the toilet" as well. My next post might be about how me and Mike are having conversations longer then the average commercial break.

Brooks Bond... 007

Brooks, my 18 month old, has a knack for slipping, unnoticed, into rooms and shutting the door behind him. This immediately gets him off my radar, because when I see a closed door, I assume that it kept him out. It's only after I've looked in every other opened-door-room that it finally dawns on me that he's managed to disarm the door and slip in undetected. The end result can often be catastrophic! You might wonder how I can be fooled so easily... trust me, I wonder the same thing... especially when it happens daily.

Here's how I think he does it. He quietly awaits. He is constantly plotting, and uses his seemingly innocent "playing" as a decoy. He has learned my pattern of behavior and can calculate the exact time it takes me to rotate a batch of laundry, or unload a dishwasher. He has an acute sense of timing, despite his inability to tell time. But most importantly, his ability to sense my moment of weakness, (along with his highly sensitive cloaking device) and sneak beyond enemy lines, which leads me to believe that he truly is a mastermind!

Here are a few of his recent victories...

--toilet paper roll emptied onto bathroom floor
--toothpaste mountain on the bathroom counter
--clothes from his drawers strewn all over the room and mixed in with dirty clothes pile... what's clean? what's dirty?
--permanent marker on the couch, wall and window

and my personal favorite...

--remote control in the toilet

Bravo Brooks... I've been foiled again!
Here's the little bugger dancing because he got hold of the xbox remote!

"Don't tell Mom!"

People can't keep a secret. I myself have been guilty of passing along a scandalous tid-bit (of my own, or someone else's), but deep down I'm leery of the consequences of the divulgence. Basically, I know that if I let something slip, it's bound to hit the fan and become public knowledge. So, to prevent it from happening, I either, 1) keep the truly juicy stuff to myself... or 2) do not utter the words, "How did anyone know?"

But I'm amazed how a vast majority of the population, including my children, have yet to figure out this seemingly simple "cause-and-effect" rule of the universe. Because time after time I have witnessed countless people make a mistake or do something stupid and then deliberately tell someone all about it. And then days, weeks or even months later they are utterly astonished how anyone could have found out!

So, I have three examples to help illustrate my point...

1) I came downstairs one morning to find a heap of colorful tin wrappers scattered all over the counter. I did a quick scan at the faces of my two young sons and after a quiet deliberation in my head, came to the conclusion that the chocolate-face-Caleb was the culprit. His obvious failure to conceal the evidence was his own demise, however, he repeatedly blamed his elder brother, Josh for telling on him.

2) I recently read a post on facebook where the person divulged, "totally disappointed in my very best friend". Do they really think that so-and-so is going to ask another so-and-so if they saw so-and-so's message on facebook... and that maybe this will continue round and round until the best friend actually finds out that they are a total disappointment? Maybe this is just the poster's passive-aggressive attempt at getting even... but is it possible that people are really clueless enough to think that if they make a general statement that people can't connect the dots and figure out who they are talking about? Do people really believe that they can spout off whatever comes to mind, and that there will be no consequences for their actions?

3) I overheard a conversation last night between sons #1 and #2. I was doing the night-time-quick-pick-up, and Josh and Caleb were in their rooms getting jammies on. I wasn't sure... but I assumed that their conversation had something to do with a large collection of socks under the bed. There was some more whispering, and then I heard the words, "Don't tell Mom!" So far, no one has come forward or tattled about the contraband under the bed. And under more serious circumstances, those words "don't tell mom" might cause me to cringe and worry into the night, and construct a plan to nudge the guilty one to come forward. But since their crime was just a pile of dirty socks, I think I'll overlook it... at least until laundry day!

Walmart is also offering parenting classes...

I spent an hour at Walmart this morning... doing a little grocery shopping... but mainly finding supplies to decorate a Boy Scout 100 year Anniversary Cake for the Blue and Gold Banquet tomorrow night.

Brooks, my almost 17 month-old, is a very happy little guy, and usually enjoys being my little shopping side-kick. But he also has a mind of his own and is often compelled to spontaneously act out violently by arching his back, kicking, throwing things, and hitting me. It's been especially bad the past 2 days, and I have come to the conclusion that he must be suffering from MBS... "Mad Baby Syndrome". The only remedy to MBS is snacks, bottles (yes, we're both still addicted to the bottle in spite of recommendations from the pediatrician), lots of cuddle time, the freedom to walk around where one chooses, and to NOT be buckled in a car seat! Unfortunately, after only 45 minutes, he consumed all the snacks and juice in my loaded diaper bag, and managed to throw every single book/toy across every single isle in the store. So I zipped up my bag, hurried to find fondant and chocolate covered raisins all while trying to ignore the wimpering/crying/yelling baby in the basket.

By the time we got to the check-out stand, the MBS had completely taken over and he was not fit to be reasoned with. He continued to wail and cry... and threw his binky over the candy display and into the next check out line. Thank goodness no one was injured.

The cashier was very nice at first and tried to talk to him... he was silenced for a minute to take notice of her bleach-blonde mohawk, before the crying continued.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't bothered one bit. I knew he just wanted to go home and play, so the mutual agony would inevitably be over soon. I was just doing my best to load my cart and get out of there as soon as possible.

It became very obvious, however, that the cashier had lost her patience when a river of advice came gushing out her as if a dam had broken.

Here are my favorite parts...

Cashier: "I see that your mommy didn't buy you any goldfish!"

I tried to explain that we had a 3-month supply of goldfish at home. Apparently that wasn't her purpose in saying that, because she continued....

Cashier: "Well, I like to put different snacks and stuff in those handy little zip-lock baggy things. And sometimes I carry a bag that has little toys, or books or something so they don't get bored and cry while I'm running errands."

I'm actually speechless at this point. My diaper bag is green... and if you squint it might give the illusion of camoflauge. But we're hardly in the middle of the forest, so it's a stretch that she doesn't see it heaping out of the cart next to Brooks. But regardless, does she really think that the reason for Brooks' MBS behavior is because I was unprepared? The thought of that makes my stomach churn... and I choose to force a slight smile instead of uttering the insensitive, rude remark that is running through my head.

Cashier: "Maybe he just wants a pacifier or something."

She obviously missed the UFO that landed in Check Out Line #7.

She continued to spout out suggestions with a smart-alick sort of tone... but I tried to just block it out. She was now scanning my bananas, bread and eggs, so I much preferred to swipe my card and just get out of there, because lucky for her, I didn't have PMS today!

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