Sunday, January 30, 2011

Heeeere's your sign...

"The Amazing Triple-Bodied Hare"

Ryan, my fabulous, wonderful cook of a husband, decided to make rabbit for the first time for me tonight. Being one who loves most of the things he makes (save only fish eyes) I was very excited and wanted to watch as he prepared my dinner. So, he seasons the rabbit and puts it into the sizzling hot cast iron pan, and out from my mouth spews this brilliant remark: "So, that's just one rabbit, eh?"

Ryan looks me dead in the eye, pauses, and says, "No, I glued three of them together and that's what came out."

I sat there trying to come up with a face-saving retort, something like, "No, I meant to say (insert appropriately meaningful question here)..." but all I could do was stare at him like the fool I was, until I started laughing. Then his laughing followed... I held out my hand for my "I'm stupid" sign, handed out by my giggling husband, who was all to willing to give me the award for my umteen-millionth time.

Monday, January 24, 2011


"What'r you lookin' at! I'll cut you, I swear I will"

Being a homeschooler, I read things about what my kids "need" at certain ages, like little to-do lists for my kids' brains. On one of those lists, it stated that it would be a good thing for my kids to start listening to me read some chapter books fitted for their age. Some of the lists even had lists to detail which books might be good. For example, Beatrix Potter's "Tales of Peter Rabbit," "Winnie the Pooh," etc. etc. As I read the list, my eyes became big as saucers, dreaming of the lovely tales I could read to my little ones as they sat, enraptured by the adventures beloved by so many over the last century. Lets just say I was more than a little shocked by what I found in these "children's" tales...
Peter Rabbit- the gist of the story is about a dishonest, disobedient little bunny whose father was murdered by the farmer next door, who, along with his cat, has a vicious bloodlust for cute and cuddly furry creatures. And don't get me started on his cousin, Nutbrown Hare and other associated stories. The book read almost like a preschool Stephen King tale, not that it mattered much because my poor little ones couldn't go two sentences without asking me what the outdated vocabulary meant.
Winnie the Pooh- This is not the cute, cuddly, silly band of creatures that Disney animated for the world. Pooh is a moron who takes little care for others around him, and he and Piglet are at times quite thoughtless and mean. The other characters act out their story equally as carelessly, but not in the cute child-like way Disney imagined, but more like they're in some sort of weed-induced haze. And again, the vocabulary made it so unmanageable that my little ones could never keep up anyway.
Peter Pan- This kid is in serious need of a whoopin. Just saying. He is a mean, selfish bully with a bloodlust that rivals Jack the Ripper. Seriously, picture Neverland as something out of Lord of the Flies, and you've kinda got it. I kept waiting for Piggy to be named among the Lost Boys. I read a chapter yesterday where nary a single character went without bragging at least once about how many times or how brutally they killed someone. And lets talk about the "Darlings"... these lazy fools leave their kids in the charge of a dog on a daily basis, and when Dad purposefully poisons the dog with his "Medicine" (cocaine much?) in front of the children, they even banish the Dog, the one responsible character in the story, so that their children are subsequently kidnapped by Peter while Mom and Dad are partying at the house down the street. Somebody call DCFS.

I'm not sure what's next on our reading list. I'm thinkin "Little House on the Prairie" is the only safe choice, but everytime I think about the storyline it makes me yawn. How am I supposed to draw my 4 year olds into the world of books with that? In the meantime, I somehow have to invent a machine to turn back time and erase the memory of murderous boys, cute little bunnies hacked up or baked alive by murderous farmers, and moronic stuffed animals come to life and acting out like they're in a drug-induced stupor.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

When to cry...

It seems my mouth has gotten me into trouble again... no surprise for those of you who read me regularly. As all mothers and fathers can tell you, when the lights go out at night, or when naptime has just begun each day, there is usally at least one little voice that rings out, "Mommy! I need you!" Most times I show up obligingly, only to find out I've drug my butt out of a workout so that I can break up some drama between the two girls or some such nonsense, and so we've established some simple rules for when the kids can call on us after dark. At first we told them, "Only call us when you really need us!"... of course, that was such a foolishly broad rule that immediately "when you really need us" was expanded to mean when a sock was removed and lost in the covers, or when a toe was bumped on the bedpost. And so we redefined the rules to say, "Only call us when it's an emergency!"
"What's an emergency?"... So we needed to be clearer...
"An emergency is when you are hurt really bad or very sick"
"Ok Mommy"
But again, this was redefined by the kids to mean any time they wanted to imagine up a headache or some such nonexistant illness in order to get us to come in the room. So we again were forced to be even clearer.
Then we heard them repeat our new rule today...
Caleb, on being gently scolded by Ryan about something, began to cry... no, wail, over his hurt feelings. Then Hannah and Sarah appeared to calm him...
"Buddy, don't cry. That's silly to cry about that," Sarah chided.
"Yeah, buddy, you should only cry when you are throwing up, bleeding, or on fire"
Yup, there it was. The reasons we gave the kids why they could call us after bedtime- We're not raising any panty-waists over here ;)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Um, hello?! God calling!

So last night while reading my small group study (entitled (Crazy Love, by F. Chan, if you're interested in checking it out) I was convicted... I realized that I never really look forward to prayer time with God. It's as if I'm trying to squish him into those last few minutes of my day grudgingly, rather than filling my day with him joyfully and basking in his presence, as he's made clear I am most welcome to do. My cousin Ruth put it best when she said that if you try to fill a cup with rice and then stuff a rock into the same cup and shut the lid, the lid can't be fully shut most times, whereas if you put the rock in first, and then all the rice, the lid can be shut nicely most times without much effort. She said, "The rock is God, and the rice is EVERYTHING else. If you try to fit God into the end of your day, it's going to be quite an effort, whereas if you put him in first, oftentimes everything else molds nicely around him." That's really stuck with me. That and the reminder from Francis Chan that we shouldn't try to fill the space of our prayer time hastily with words, but rather we should take time to consider WHO we're speaking to and then, once our mind is firmly set in the place of awe and wonder where it rightly should be, only then should we enter his presence and converse with HIM. So this morning, when 6:45 rolled around on my clock, my eyes popped open and I thought, "should today be the day I start really giving him my time in the morning... should I commit to waking up early and spending time with him?"...

My next thought was (and I'm ashamed to admit this, but it's as bare and honest as I can be): "But I sacrificed sleep for Caleb for the last TWO years, and only just now I'm starting to really get that back. And I sacrifice my whole day for my family... my time, my effort, all serving them most of the day" (let me say this is a LIE I told myself, of course I have tons of ME time, but I always seem to feel rushed and hurried, and so it feels like very little, and so I made up this lie, like the martyr I was imagining myself as).

Next thing you know, a voice, not mine, appeared in my head. I know it wasn't mine, because it used the wrong tense. Normally, when I imagine God's thoughts, they are spoken from my point of veiw (i.e. "yes, you do still love me... I know your promises". This was different. I heard:

"But I sacrificed EVERYTHING for you."


Oh. Crap. I suck.

"You're so right God... so now what. What do I do with that time?"

I realized, as I realize now, I'm still not looking forward to that time. To waking before the break of day, and shaking off sleep not to entertain my own whims, but to spend time with him.

Is it really so much for God to ask for a half hour of my time? Do I really think that my days are about me, or that my purpose here is to entertain myself, comfort myself, or spend my time as I please?

And so tonight I asked God first for his forgiveness. Forgive me for not looking forward to time with you when so many have died or sacrificed all just to tell others about you. Forgive me for not loving you as I ought to. And then I asked that he change my heart. Mold it, shape it so that I yearn to spend time with YOU, Lord, and that all the spaces of my day I would want to fill with YOU. And I challenge you, reader, with the same. What are your priorities, how is your prayer life, and do you really know who you're talking to each time you sit down to pray, if you pray at all. I'm not sitting on a pedestal... as I said, I suck at this worship stuff, I just want you to think about your time with God, too. It's the most important relationship you'll ever have, and it's not about YOU. Just think on it, and feel free to tell me I suck if it makes you feel better :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why you should never let Sarah be your Bartender...

Sarah typically stays by herself in her room and quietly plays during naptime at our house, as is necessary for my sanity since if she didn't she'd be shadowing me around for 2 hours each day asking me endless questions (that child wants to know about EVERYTHING... cute but tiring). And usually she has some wonderful surprise she's made up for me when I come in to get her... "Momma, I made a nest out of all our stuffed animals!," or "Momma I stripped the beds and made a tent for myself!"... it's all good, as long as she's entertaining herself and happy whilst I commence my daily business. Today though she made me do a double take...
Sarah: "Momma, I made you a drink!" (handing me a play cup full of some imagined concoction)
Mommy: "Oooh, what is it?" (as I pretend to take a hearty sip)
Sarah: "I made you a mix of coffee, tea, and a special ingredient... MUSTARD!" (Smiling proudly)

Um, maybe later darlin, Mommy needs to go pretend spit out into a pretend sink somewhere. It's the thought that counts though, right?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sorry, you just hit Mommy's Panic-Button

I'm known in my circles here at home to have a tough stomach. In fact, my friends in the Mom's for Christ playgroup have sorta told me I'm now the go-to gal for when their kids have questions about things they would normally shirk at, like what do grasshoppers look like up close, and what does a snake feel like. I'm totally used to going out in the back yard and finding and investigating whatever creepy crawlies we can find, oftentimes bringing them into the house to live a short while (I say short because typically they're poked and prodded to death by my critter-investigation team, sorry little Buggies). But there was this one time that my "eeeeeeew" limit was far exceeded...

We were vacationing in NJ with the in-laws, and my SIL Stacey was down visiting from their home in NH with her 5 children. Stacey and I are like 2 peas in a pod normally when we get together, and with both of us being homeschoolers it's usually like a tag-team event of who gets to teach the little ones for the next hour before you get to slump exhausted in a chair and let the other person take off with the 8 kids for the next hour. But this particular day, Micah, the oldest at 6 1/2, found a dead squirrel on the sidewalk. Of course, all the children thought this was AMAZING and rushed over to check out the poor critter like a bunch of drooling lawyers at a car accident. I lagged behind, allowing the girls and Caleb to run ahead and join the investigation, mostly because, well, I'm slow and lazy. When I came to the scene, I thought, what a neat way for the kids to learn about death, decomposition, and squirrel anatomy (it was fully intact, no guts/no blood, I was just looking at the neat features of their body... I wasn't aiming for an inner anatomy class), and then Stacey allowed Micah to poke the body with a stick.
Well, of course, then all 7 of the big kids soon were hunting around for sticks to poke the body with, and then, to my horror, were soon flipping the sad little creature about like a pancake on the sidewalk. I saw my kids creeping down to their hands and knees to get a better look, on the selfsame sidewalk where the squirrel just lay, and at that point announced, "ALRIGHT, that's enough... time for my kids to head inside" This was followed by a chorus of whines "Awwww Mommmmm! Whyeeeee? It's neeeeeat... weeeeeeee're not touching iiiiiiiiit!!" Stacey looked surprised and smirked, knowing I'd just snapped past my comfort zone. I laughed too a little inside, knowing that her kids would be out there quite a bit longer investigating, and knowing that the two of us were more than ok with the other person's choice because (at least I think) neither one of us would judge each other for their parenting choices, for the most part. But still, I had drawn the line, and my kids were dragged back into the house and ordered to "WASH AND SANITIZE EV-ER-Y-THING!!! And then wash again!" My toddler was wiped head to toe with germ-x and their clothes, though not burned in a bonfire, were washed about seventy-five million times before they were allowed to wear them again. Shoes were bleached, and kids were once again restored to a relatively germ-free state. This Mommy found her freak-out limit, and it apparently was reached in the handling of a dead rodent-style creature on the sidewalk. They'll just have to learn about death and decomposition on you-tube from their germ-free, sanitized bubbles :)

"I saw what your kids did to my buddy, and I'm comin after you!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

I love you, but you're killing me ssssllllooooowwwwllllyyy

Dear Hannah...

It's me, your Mommy, the one who brought you into this world and nourished you and fulfilled most of your needs since birth. Yes, I know I'm also the dole-er out-er of spankings and the one who tells you to stop sucking your beloved thumb, but I'm hoping all that other stuff outweighs the latter points. But here's the thing, kid, You are slowly killing me. Or at least trying to push me over the cliff to crazytown.
You see, I was a child once myself in what you would consider a LOOOOONG time ago, and the family I grew up in ate meals together. When we did this, we would put the food on the table, pick up our utensils, consume the food and drink, and then the meal would be done. Usually quickly. Arguably maybe a bit too quickly, as I've seen instances where my father and I have inhaled whole seafood platters in so short a span as to have dropped our fork at the last bite just as Ryan and Poppop Barry were finishing garnishing and preparing to begin eating their meals. So yes, I know it's a slightly skewed point of view I have, but work with me here, I do have a point.

You have got consume your meals in a more timely manner. Just got to, I say. Every. stinkin. meal. is. at. least. an. hour. long. with. you. I applaud organization in most other fields of life, but really, must you make sure you slowly nibble the skin/crust off all items of food before beginning to actually eat whatever part of the meal is left? And must macaroni noodles really be slipped painstakingly one-at-a-time onto each tine of your fork before you can eat the whole bite? And, not to be too picky, but I'd really love it if you'd just TRY to eat food that is mixed together on the same bite rather than carefully separating each morsel. Or at least, if you have to do these things, can you do them faster please? And must each meal really be topped off with a half hour of me hollering for you to PUHLEEEEEZE drink your drink (we're only talking about 6 little ounces here!). I promise you, if you do not start to drink of your own free will you are going to dry up like a cute little pink raisin with a bow in its hair and a tutu on.

And baby, if you don't do it for yourself, to expand the amount of time you have during the day for fun stuff like play and TV time, do it for your dear loving mother, who is going to lose her shmidt if I have to wait one more minute for you so that I can finally clean up the kitchen and get on with my life. As it is, I have to wait for you to finish because it is a ridiculous, futile effort to clean up around you only to have you finish and scoot out of the chair, leaving in your wake approximately 40 lbs of crumbs and possibly (probably?) a puddle of spilt milk behind you on the floor. And, I'm really starting to look more and more like a drill Sergent each meal, hollering from behind you to "pick up that cup, Missy, and take a drink, NOW!" So please baby, no more making me count out how many more bites you have to eat or instruct you in how to eat a sandwich without nibbling the crust to death. You need to eat, and do it fast. Just get it done, suck it down, and move on with your life. Please. Before I lose my ever-lovin mind.

Love and kisses,


p.s. I hope you know now why I break into tears when you ask for "more, please" after finally finishing your meal. They are not happy tears.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Brave New World

We are now a crib-free home. Today, sadly, we took down Caleb's crib and put up his new bunk bed set, given to us by my cousins Deb and Andy. The set looks great and is perfect for his room, but the only problem is it looks so grown up in there now. The crib set is gone, the diapers are hidden away in a drawer, his baby jumper and bumper set are no longer under the bed and it makes me a little sad. My boy keeps growing, and he's done so well with the new bed so far. Ok, so he's only had a nap in it, but he was so cute sitting there in the bed looking around at his big new room setup, all tucked into real blankets with a real pillow, and he didn't once try to hop out and go exploring around the room. The threat of spankings should little feet pitter-patter upon the floor might have helped that part. And yes, I am still watching him there sleeping on my little toddler cam, the one I swore I'd never get because, "we're becoming so ridiculously paranoid about our kids and what they do... I learned to sleep without someone watching me once upon a time, blah blah blah"... well that was before I got to worry about my own little darling sneaking out of bed and climbing ladders to upper bunks that are perilously high for someone with so little frontal cortex reasoning skills. Soon diapers will be a thing of the past too, and really as for that, none too soon, but I'll miss having a tiny tot who needs me 24/7. Then again, when it means I get to sleep at night and not wipe bums anymore, maybe I won't miss it tooooo much :) Adios little Bubby crib, bring on the big boy bed days and a whole new adventure!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Umm, no no and absolutely NOT!

Ahh, love, it causes us to do many strange things for our little ones. I remember once at a photo shoot one of our wee ones, approximately 5 weeks old, started to look a little green and Daddy, rather than let her hurl on the lovely photo backdrop, stuck out his hand and caught the goo before it ruined her cute little outfit and cost us a hefty backdrop-replacement fee. And I remember the days of allowing my sweet boy to gnaw on my (second-favorite) girl parts like they were a rubber chew toy for the sake of good nutrition and getting a thumbs-up from the leleche ladies. But this one little gem I have to say is about the most revolting, never-gonna-happen-est product I've ever seen.
It is just what it looks like. A mom-operated booger sucker. Yes, Mom's around the world who are frustrated by poorly operating nasal aspirator bulbs can now order this wonderful little product and suck away their kids nasal congestions. The product description admits freely it's a "bit wierd looking" (ya think?!), but swears none of your little darling's green and crusties (or slimies, as the case may be) will end up in the tube connected to your mouth, but even still... EW EW EWDIE EW EW! The picture alone makes me gag.
I dare you to find a nastier product on the market. Dare ya, I say! As for me and my house, lets just add this to the list of fun gag gifts to get for my girlfriends during the gift exchange season :), cuz that's the only use I can find for this product.