Come play in my world for awhile!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Which one of these things is not like the others

I guess I made it too easy, huh?!
KathyB! is NOT supposed to be red like a lobster.
Clearly we made it and we've been thoroughly enjoying ourselves on the Florida beaches. Pat is working during the day and joining us in the evening and on the weekends. We got to the beach and I got the kids all lubed up and shielded from the sun... and then neglected to do anything to myself! Sometimes I get so excited and caught up in the moment that I forget about things. Important things. This makes me a fun person because I'm spontaneous and fun-loving. It makes me an idiot because what person over the age of 30 forgets to put sunscreen on?!
Somebody call Child Protective Services, please?
We need an adult on this vacation, ASAP.

Monday, March 30, 2009

This is how it goes

Mile 1
Mile 120

Child: I have to go po-tty!
Mom: Seriously. We've been gone less than two hours.

Mile 136

Child: I'm getting tired of watching movies
Mom: Great. The next 650 miles should be a piece of cake.

Mile 259
Child: I have to go po-tty!
Mom: I now dub you princess-pees-a-lot

Mile 308

Child: (melting down and creating a complete and utterly ridiculous spectacle of herself)
Mom: Is it wrong that this is funny?

Mile 329

Child: Are we almost there?
Mom: As I click on the portable GPS so that I might give an exact description of just... how... far... we are... from our destination I realize that, in addition to being gorgeous and sexy a tad jello-y, my thighs have the kryptonite-like power to block satellite signals. The GPS works on the dashboard... sitting on my feet... resting on my knees... but perched on my thighs...NOTHING. It's like the ultimate dead-zone. Decide not to spend anymore time thinking about what exactly this says about the density of my thighs or the general state of my hotness.

Mile 342

Princess-pees-a-lot: I have to go po-tty!
Mom: (escorts children into a restroom that makes filthy sound appealing)

I won't bore you with the intricate details. Suffice it to say that one of my daughters learned a valuable lesson. When using horrific public facilities you should never sit on the seat and, if you do, you never, ever push let your pants fall down around your ankles so that they rest on the floor. EVER. Enough said.
Mile 365

Child: Mo-om.... I'm hungry
Mom: Roll eyes. Remind child that we just ate a little over an hour ago. Do mental calculation of food consumed. Realize I've officially crammed enough crap down my throat to meet my caloric needs for a 48 hour period. At least. And we still have 400 miles to go.

Mile 391

Anonymous child: Unleashes toxic gas cloud that has mom riding with her head hanging out the window like a deranged Golden Retriever, and nearly forces dad to drive off the road.
Mom: Surely a wild animal climbed into the car at the last potty stop because there is no way that smell could have come from a human.

Mile 400
Child: Are we there yet?
Mom: Realize that we are existing in an alternate space/time continuum where life moves in slooooow mooootion.

Mile 430

Anonymous child: Releases another cloud of noxious gas.
Mom: Knows the drill and gets the windows down faster this time. Dad is able to stay in the proper lane of traffic. Makes note to call National Security Agency to have daughter classified as a biological weapon. She could have flushed Osama bin Laden out of the mountains of Afghanistan in a week with this stuff.
Mile 447

Princess-pees-a-lot: I have to go po-tty!
Mom: Laughs wickedly. Sure, why not! Let's pull over again. At this rate we'll get down there just in time to turn around and drive home. Vow to call Guinness Book of World Records to see if daughter qualifies for inclusion under the category of world's smallest smallest bladder.

Mile 566

Dad: We need to stop for gas. Anybody have to go potty?
All: YES!
(Enter another bathroom of questionable cleanliness)

Repeat the exact same lesson learned at Mile 342 with the other twin. And no, I'm not kidding. And yes, I wish I was. Follow this lesson with an advanced lesson on toilet flushing without touching anything. And almost lose my flip-flop in the toilet in the process.

Mile 623

Princess-pees-a-lot: Hey, mommy? I actually don't have to go to the bathroom.
Mom: (sighs with sadness) At the rate we were going we could have peed in every county from North Carolina to Florida... I had been fantasizing about the fame and notoriety that would have come with such achievement. If only we hadn't taken away all liquids after that last potty stop.... Realize that I'm losing it for real this time, and slip into a catatonic state.
Mile 764

Mile 767

We made a wrong turn at mile 767. Do you think we eventually made it? Or are we still driving around.... Tune in next time....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Does this stuff happen to anyone else?

My husband has been out of town quite a bit lately. I'm not usually jumpy at night by myself, but lately... for some reason I've started double-checking the locks and making sure the alarm is set.

The other night was completely un-remarkable. I went to bed and was snuggled down under my cozy blankets in a deep, restful sleep... until I wasn't. I awoke slowly with the vague feeling that someone had been caressing my cheek. I smiled groggily for a moment until I remembered my husband wasn't home. And when the kids come into my room at night they're scared and their frantic footfalls sound like a herd of wildebeests stampeding across the hardwood floors. I instantly came fully awake as my neck began to tingle with that prickly feeling that someone was watching me.

I lay still as a corpse as I willed my eyes to adjust to the cold, inky darkness surrounding me. My bed no longer felt warm and safe, rather, I suddenly felt vulnerable and exposed. My mind began to race... why hadn't the alarm sounded... am I dreaming... if I'm dreaming then why do I have this oily, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach...

As my eyes slowly grew accustomed to the darkness I could see movement across the room by the armoire. My breath froze in my throat and my blood turned to ice as my senses exploded with the acute awareness of every sound around me: the thundering of my heart, the soft whoosh as the heater turned itself off, the change of my breathing as I willed myself to be calm, and the slight rustle as the form by the armoire shifted.

My thoughts were being spun by the panic that I could feel overtaking me. My mind flitted through options... the kids... dial 911... the alarm... the kids... And then, before I was even aware that I'd made a decision, I was ripping the blankets aside. I threw myself out of the bed and rolled across the floor in my best Jack Bauer impersonation. I scrambled to the alarm key pad, hit the light switch, spun to face the intruder, and simultaneously pressed my back into the panic button for all I was worth.

As the bright light assaulted my eyes I kept pressing spastically against the panic button as new waves of fear overcame me, but there was no alarm.

And then, I looked into the face of my intruder.

Seriously. And I'm not referring to the the dead plant and the pile o' crap. Nope, it's the balloons. The kids had tied air-filled balloons to a helium-filled balloon and were experimenting to see just how many air-balloons the helium balloon could "carry."

Last time I saw this tangled mess of balloons it was upstairs in the hallway. I'm guessing that the heater kicking on as a result of the cooler weather (remember I said I could hear the heater click off) somehow created a current and enabled the balloons to travel downstairs and into my room?! It must have been the ribbons caressing my face...

God, I'm an idiot! Thank goodness I was grinding my back into the wrong side of the alarm keypad. Can you imagine if I'd set off the alarm?! That would've called for a two-part blog for sure!!

This colossal example of stupidity is why I had an extra glass of wine

there was no post yesterday.

I spent the day recovering.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The death of patience

It's okay, sweetie. You didn't mean to dump your cereal all over the floor. Next time let's remember that we don't do handstands in the kitchen. Even when your sister double-dares you.

I told you to change (your shirt). We talked about this. And didn't I tell you to lean over? I will try to get the ravioli out of your shirt (the shirt that she just earned today for memorizing all of her multiplication/division facts in a timed test. The shirt that no one else in her grade has earned. The shirt that has made her a veritable rock star amongst her peers). Don't cry... I'll soak it and it'll be good as new (fingers crossed) by tomorrow...

Hey! Who left wet towels all over the bathroom floor?! How many times do I have to tell you not to leave wet towels all over the place?! And would it kill you guys to rinse the tooth paste down the sink after you spit?? When your father gets home....


Tell me this is not underwear on the (kitchen) counter?!?!?!
Who left their underwear on the counter? I don't care if it's clean, it's gross!
Seriously! You have to think before you do these things...
I can not believe I even have to tell you these things!!!
Am I the only one in this house with their head screwed on right today?!?!

No kittens or baby chicks were harmed in the making of this post.
My mental health, however,
is officially damaged.

As for the kids, well, some save for college...
I'm saving for therapy...
Mine, not theirs.
And yes, it was one of THOSE days...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We're going on a deferral

It seems every third blogger I visit is going on vacation. In the spirit of spring break our family is taking a trip as well, but I'm hesitant to call it a vacation. Sure, there will be hotels, warm weather and a beach, but a vacation? In the world according to me a vacation implies an opportunity to get away -- a respite, or reprieve.

In anticipation of this, er, trip I am going to:

*Do 27 loads of laundry to ensure everyone has their favorite underwear/pajamas/t-shirt/dress.

Return home to discover I need to purchase a new Kevlar safety vest before entering the laundry room (like how I said new? Kind of implies that I had one already). The laundry pile after vacation will be so large that if I enter unprotected I might be killed if the pile were to topple.

*Go grocery shopping and buy a truckload of crappy food that we don't normally eat and spend ridiculous amounts of time agonizing over the merits of happy kids versus the sugar buzz. Did I mention we're going to be driving for 12 hours? It's like some sort of sick human psychology project. Being trapped in a tin can whizzing along the highway at 70 mph for twelve... hours... straight... must be what the 7th circle of hell looks like. Exacerbating it by throwing in a bunch of slap-happy sugar buzzed kids is like grabbing the devil's own pitchfork and poking him in the butt with it. It's smart to think before you do these sorts of things!

Return home to discover that I did a fabulous job getting rid of perishable food all food in general before we left and then set off on an epic groceryshoppingpalooza that will kill half a day without batting an eye. I would rather swallow Legos than go on this shopping trip because I know the minute I get home I'll discover I forgot at least two crucial items.

*Clean like a madwoman before we depart so we don't come home to a messy house. I will also tidy-up like a madwoman during the, er, trip because cramming 2 adults and 4 kids into the swanky hotel with tiny, hip rooms where dad's staying for his business trip is like trying to wrestle an elephant into a grocery bag.

Return home and wonder why I bothered with the pre-trip cleaning. The minute we step foot over the threshold there will be laundry and clothing and books and shoes and bathing suits.... everywhere. It will take hours - if not days - to get it right again, and that's without the kids' help. If I drag them into the unpacking it could take weeks. And in a move that defies logic and reasoning, I will discover the house is dusty and there's a dust bunny doing a happy dance in the corner.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled to be going, and I'm thankful we get to go at all. But I just don't think that vacation is the correct word on any level. There is a change of scenery and fun stuff to do, but there is no respite. As for getting away from it all... well, the trip actually creates more work and when you come home everything you didn't do while you were gone is waiting -- and then some.
I think deferral fits the scenario much better. Deferral implies you've put something off. It implies (to me) there's a potential penalty.

So, this year my family and I are going on deferral.

Much more honest and accurate than vacation, don't you think?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Are you smarter than a 6 year old?

Last week I was reading books to my daughters. It was especially enjoyable because my girls are all independent readers now. The days of sitting with a warm, sweet-smelling child nestled on my lap while I read an endless pile of books, struggling not to fall into a comatose sleep and crush them underneath the weight of my body are mostly behind me.

Of the stories we read, my daughter Emily particularly enjoyed Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. In this book, Sylvester loves to collect pebbles and he happens upon a magic one that can make wishes come true. Emily, who is also a lover of rocks and pebbles, was completely taken by the concept of magic, and mentioned it periodically throughout the week.

Friday we were at the barn while Rachel had her riding lesson. Emily trotted up to me with a shiny, unusual pebble and held it out for my inspection. There are a lot of semi-precious stones, such as garnet, that can be readily found near our house, and any time she comes up with something sparkly she brings it to me for identification, hoping for precious gems.

Emily: Mom, what's this?

KathyB!: Oh, that's a magic pebble, Emily! This is very exciting! Do you want me to show you how it works?

Emily: Nodding skeptically. She's been around the block a few times, and she knows how I operate.

KathyB!: I rubbed the pebble furiously between my hands, squeezed my eyes tightly shut, and then wished... for a diet coke.

(Ironic that I'd wish for my child to bring me a diet coke just a week after they'd let one explode all over me less than a week ago, isn't it?)

Emily: Grinning from ear-to-ear she scooted over to the chair where I'd left my drink and ran back. She was loving the game and pleaded for me to make more wishes.

This went on for a short while...

KathyB!: Again, rubbing the pebble eyes tightly shut... I wish that Emily would gather up all of her school work and books and put them in the car since it's almost time to go... I rubbed for an extra long time to give her a chance to clean up, but when I opened my eyes she was sitting still as a statue and hadn't gathered a thing. I looked at her questioningly.

Emily: Mo-ooom. You did it completely wrong that time. You had your head tilted back and it doesn't work that way. You have to do it the way you did it the first time. Here, let me show you. .
(Emily plops down on the ground screws her eyes tightly shut and begins rubbing the rock with gusto. She has the most amazingly smug look on her sweet little face as she makes her wish.)

Emily: I wish mom would pick up all my stuff and put it in the car for me so that I could find more pebbles.

(She opened her eyes grinned at me as though she were the Cheshire cat. )

Holy mother of all booby traps, I stepped right into it. I just got owned by a six year-old. If she can bamboozle me like this at 6, imagine what she'll be able to do at 16.
We both had a good laugh as mommy picked up her stuff.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring has sprung?!

I keep hearing that spring has sprung, but what if everyone is wrong? What if spring actually exploded? How exactly does one differentiate between a spring that has sprung and one that has exploded? Don't worry, I took pictures.
Spring started this week by exploding at breakfast. This is a meal I normally skip, but on Tuesday I was so hungry I was ready to start gnawing on the computer keyboard. I decided to head into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal while I was on the phone. I was trying to be efficient and get everything ready so that I could dive right into my cereal the moment I got off the phone. Except some evil genius put the open bag of cereal back in the box upside down. How do you even do that without spilling all the Cheerios inside the box in the first place?

Of course when I pulled the bag out I dumped Cheerios all over the counter. I'm pretty sure that this type stupidity is the reason I usually skip breakfast.

Later that day I discovered that spring had also exploded here...

And here....

At this point it really just felt as though I'd lost control of the household. I hadn't put it all together. If today is the first day of spring, then all of these events were exploding in anticipation of today, the first day of spring. After a long and dreary winter, spring was not going to be sprung -- with all it's pent-up goodness spring was going to explode.

Thursday I woke up prepared for an all around crappy day. DH has been out of town and, frankly, the weather around here has really sucked. It's like we live in the land of perpetual rain and gloom. I'm constantly soggy, my shoes are soaked, I'm trapped in the house... So you can imagine my surprise as I looked outside and saw the makings of a stunning day.

I hopped out of bed, suddenly chipper, and went straight to the 'fridge for my daily diet coke. I drink two of those things a day and the first one is finished by 9:00 AM. I was just about ready to crack it open when one of the kids called for help with a braid. I left my Coke on the counter and went to assist.
I returned maybe five minutes later and found everyone happily munching on cereal. I opened my coke and... kerpow... diet coke explosion... all over the kitchen... all over me. Usually I take pictures of this stuff because we like to laugh at our stupidity after the fact. Today, no one suggested we get the camera.
I looked over at the kids and, I swear to you, they looked like cartoon characters with their mouths hanging open and their eyes bugging out. And then one of them says, "Um, mom? Abby knocked your coke off the counter when she was getting her bowl." And then Abby chimes in with, "Yeah, but it didn't spill!"

Really? Thanks for the warning.

I was torn between tearing someone's head off and hysterical laughter so I mopped myself off, changed my shirt, piled the kids in the car and headed to the school where I was volunteering to help with the third grade play. I don't think anyone even noticed my funky hair. I'm not sure if that should bother me.
The day proceeded uneventfully after the Diet Coke incident. I was busy and actually getting quite a bit accomplished. My daughter's class that is putting on the play needed a giant tin can to use as a prop. I stopped by the market on the way home from school and found a perfect tin can - full of ravioli.

I decided to have ravioli for lunch so I could take the can to school the next day. The ravioli was heating as directed in the microwave when the doorbell rang... Apparently two minutes, 30 seconds is waaaay to long to microwave ravioli.

And it was then that I finally realized that this year
spring had not sprung -- it had exploded.
Happy first day of spring!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My kids are gifted!

It's really amazing. Every parent secretly thinks their child is gifted, but it's unusual to have four gifted kids in one family.

Usually, once I've revealed my children's talents, the questions start pouring in. The most common question I get is whether I had the children tested to confirm their "gift." There are 100 standardized tests from the CoGAT to the ITBS, but I recommend you test your kids at home. I, personally, find that my kids are tested almost every single day. Either that or the kids test me every single day. It's practically the same thing, right?

One of their gifts is sensing the EXACT moment that I stop working. I can fold laundry, scrub toilets, vacuum floors or do taxes. I can do these tasks and I won't see so much as a glimpse of my children, nor hear even a peep from their mouths. But the minute I'm finished... the second I plop my butt into my favorite chair... poof!... there they are... telling me that the entire roll of toilet paper fell into the toilet (after they already pooped), asking if they should flush it, asking whether it would be really bad if their gum fell out of their mouth while doing a handstand and subsequently got ground into the carpet (not that it happened but, you know, if it did), informing me that there is a four-legged creature in the pool, or wondering what's for dinner.

They also have a gift for mixing up the time on weekdays and weekends. All four of them can tell time. They all have clocks they can see clearly from their bed. So how is it that on weekdays it takes a stick of dynamite, a huge measure of patience, the bulk of my sense of humor and a fair number of threats to their physical well-being to get them out of bed at 7:15. On the other hand, at 7:00 AM on Saturday morning they are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and asking if Dad's going to make them pancakes.

Really, this is a double gift as it's also a gift for avoiding physical harm. Awaking early on the weekend and then dancing around the bed where mommy and daddy are trying to sleep and alternately singing the praises of pancakes, and beating on one another/fighting, is a sure fire way to get yourself wiped off the face of this earth. And yet they're all still here. This isn't really so much of a gift-- it's more like a miracle.

But their final gift, selective hearing, is the one that amazes me the most. They can't hear me ask them to unload the dishwasher, but when I'm sneaking into the pantry to raid the Girl Scout cookies? They're on me like white on rice. It starts innocently enough; the kids are outside playing on the trampoline and there's no way they could know what I'm up to. I start with one Thin Mint. Then, I have to sample a Samoa or two. But my oh my, those Thin Mints were sooo yummy... and before you know it half the box is gone. Just as I'm sneaking out of the pantry to bury the evidence of my naughtiness, there they are. There's not even time to wipe the crumbs from the corner of my mouth before they're lined up like the food police. Begging for their share. I'm convinced that with the slightest crinkle of a bag of chips or the muffled tearing of a new box of Girl Scout cookies my children are alerted and instantly teleported to scene of my crime. They're gifted I tell you, GIFTED!

I know it's irritating to listen to parents go on and on about how talented their kids are. But sometimes you have to acknowledge genius when you see it.

Bow down, people.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I guess you have a point

Last week my daughter, Hannah, had the opportunity to represent our elementary school at the First in Fitness competition.

During PE each child was given the opportunity to try-out for the events and only the top 3 kids in each category were invited to participate. There are 700 kids at our elementary school and I'm proud that Hannah earned a spot.

The kids who participated were pretty much out of school the entire day. I volunteered to chaperon a group at the competition because this was exciting stuff. In my head I pictured something on par with the Super Bowl. There's no way I'd miss this!

There were kids in my group from grades 3-5 and we had a fair amount of downtime between events. A bit more than halfway through I started fantasizing about balancing the checkbook, and then I started thinking longingly about folding laundry and scrubbing toilets. Is it possible to die of boredom? I looked over at the kids and saw at least two who looked like they were willing to pull the plug rather than actually find out. Being the veteran volunteer that I am I quickly snapped out of it when I realized the potential for mayhem.

Bored kids + no authority figure = TROUBLE
Let's face it, the kids aren't dumb. They know exactly how much power a volunteer chaperon has: ZERO. I quickly wiped the drool from my cheek, gave myself a mental head slap or two, and whipped out my bag of tricks. The good news is that the kids were desperate for stimulation and willing to play along. The bad news is I need to get a bigger bag of tricks. I had 'em for about 15 minutes.

My next ploy was to engage them in conversation. I talked about what a privilege it was to have been selected to represent the school. Their eyes quickly started to glaze over, so I asked them
what they'd learned from the experience. They were quiet for a moment and one of the children responded.

Child: I learned, like, sooo much today Mrs B!

Me: (Smiling encouragingly)

Child: I learned that if you work really hard and practice and really try your best that you can be a great athlete.

Me: (Looking meaningfully at the other children to see if they're absorbing the profound nature of the message that's been delivered.)

Child: And the best part about being a great athlete is that school isn't important. We got out of an entire day of school and my teacher said that I don't have to do my homework for yesterday or today.

Me: (Who put me in charge here anyway? I'd debate her on this if I felt as though she were wrong)
I guess you've got a point

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

There really IS a conspiracy!

First there was the pool sweep.

But then all was quiet and I was lulled into complacency. I went about my life secure in feeling that the conspiracy had been shut down. And then the cake happened. What cake, you ask. Didn't we do this post yesterday?!

It's the Hannah Montana cake. But there's more.

What I didn't mention yesterday is that making the stupid-good-for-nothing-spawn-of-the-devil-cake nearly pushed me over the edge. That cake was big. Much bigger than it looked on the blog. It was actually five different cakes all cobbled together. At 11:00 the night before the party I had finished baking, made the frosting, completed half the decorating, and I was tired. I put the cake aside certain the worst was behind me. I planned to leave the "fun" stuff for the morning so the kids could stand around oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the brilliance that is their mommy. That's how it was supposed to work .
I woke up the next morning and casually began work on the cake. Here's what actually happened:
The angry wood elves who reside in my home must have gotten into the frosting. It was like half-set cement. I tried to work it and within 5 minutes my hands were shaking so hard I literally couldn't do any more. I know the rest of me isn't in the best shape but my hands?! Give me a freakin' break. I made MORE FROSTING to replace the stuff the elves had messed with.
I assembled the backstage with the new frosting. I can't say I was surprised when I saw it starting to lean.
Did I mention we were t-4 hours to party time, it was raining hard enough that I was seriously contemplating the merits of building an ark, and the party was supposed to be an outdoor scavenger hunt on GOLF CARTS?! I was starting to freak out worry.
When the kids came in shrieking that the cake was falling on top of Hannah Montana my stress level might have inched up a notch.
The good news is that the cake didn't completely fall, the party was moved indoors, and all was right with the world. The better news is that there was a TON of leftover cake. My cake may look like a wreck but it tastes like heaven.
I carefully wrapped the leftover cake in cellophane, set it on a wooden cutting board, and placed it in the oven. I had enough leftover cake for a week and I intended to enjoy it. In the world according to me, placing baked goods in the oven adds an extra layer of airtight security against dryness.
Yesterday I was in a hurry. The kids are home from school and there's homework and gymnastics and someone forgot about a paper that's due Friday. I was like a multi-tasking machine. I was doing math problems, checking email, preheating the oven, and debating reasearch strategy. I was a force of nature and I ignored that funny smell for a minute...

The oven hit 400 degrees before I realized the precious, wonderful cake, the cake for which I skipped lunch so that I might have an extra large slice after dinner, the CAKE was still in the OVEN.

If you look really hard you can see the tiny wisps of smoke. The melted buttercream. The cellophane that has become one with the cake.

The cake is clearly the third arm of the conspiracy.

It's out there, people.

Be safe.

This is the end of the Hannah Montana cake stories. I promise.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sometimes it's better not to talk

A couple months ago I got tagged in one of those Facebook notes where you're supposed to write 25 random things about yourself. I actually managed to dig deep enough to create the list, and threw it out onto FB for all the world to read. However, there are two seemingly innocent revelations that have come back to haunt me:

9) I love to burn things and blow things up!! Not in a scary way, don't worry :) More like fireworks (not the sissy type that are available in NC!) and bonfires.

19) I love to bake. I can do amazing things with cakes and buttercream and/or fondant. I'm sad that my kids have had mommy cakes for so long that they ask for a Costco cake to be different.

One of my friends read the note. She mentioned to her daughter that poor, poor KathyB! doesn't get to make birthday cakes anymore. So last month her daughter decided that I should make her birthday cake. She waltzed right up to me while I was volunteering in her class and declared that I just had to make her cake. She was ridiculously cute when she said it. Who could say no to that? Oh, who am I kidding? Do I ever say no?

The evening before the party I began making the cake and I had to get it done. The next day was booked from sunup to sundown. I'd been given specific guidance by the child. She wanted a cheerleader cake that was half Tarheel blue and half NC State red so that both of her parents would be happy. People out here are CRAZY for college sports. It's a sickness, really. I've found it's best to just nod your head and smile.
I don't want to drag this out, so let's just say everything went wrong. My gel dyes that I needed to tint the frosting had dried up (I really hadn't done a cake in awhile), a cake fell on the floor... it was ridiculous. I'm pretty sure it was like Laurel and Hardy do cake decorating 101, except there was only one of me and I made twice the mess. At midnight I was still working on that bleeping cake. Here's what I made:

Doesn't look a stinkin' thing like what I was asked to make, does it? I honestly wasn't trying to be difficult. The only gel colors I had that were still usable were that lovely (Tarheel) blue and a rusty orange color from when I did a Tigger cake. And when the color was so clearly Tarheel blue, well, I just went with it.

* * *

In spite of the fact that I had produced a birthday cake that did not even vaguely resemble what their daughter had requested, these friends wanted to show their appreciation for the cake. They brought over some illegal South Carolina fireworks the following weekend. We went into an empty cul-de-sac across the street from our house and launched fireworks for a solid half hour. It was beautiful.

The friends left and I started getting the kids ready for bed while Pat was taking out the garbage. I saw the sheriff's car as it drove up the street, but didn't think too much of it. It was just a couple fireworks, right? Surely they wouldn't come out for that noisy bag of TNT we blew up a couple little firecrackers, right? I guess the sheriff had a different perspective.

My dear husband is a staunch follower of rules and always colors inside the lines. I'm not completely sure what happened next... The sheriff came... Pat ran... The ginormous box that the fireworks had been packaged in was shoved under a car... Pat may or may not have dived under that same car as well. I'm not clear on that part. However, I am absolutely certain that he was grumpy when he came inside and I made the mistake of asking why he'd taken so long to put out the trash.

* * *

My daughter's birthday was two weeks ago, and we finally got around to having her party this weekend. The party was planned. Details were checked. And then out of nowhere, three days before the party, "Mom, what kind of cake are you making for my birthday?" Crap. I thought we were all about ice cream cake from Coldstone Creamery these days, but apparently seeing me losing my mind making someone else's cake reminded my child of how much she enjoys pushing my buttons my wonderful cakes.

She wanted a Hannah Montana cake, and she wanted her Hannah Montana doll to be on it. Hmmm. I decided I'd make the cake into a stage and put the doll in the middle of it. How hard could it be?

Note to self: Whenever you say how hard could it be or what could go wrong... expect that nothing good will happen.

Stupid cake. I didn't even finish decorating it. The back of the stage immediately started falling forward. Apparently there's a trick to stacking multiple layers of cake into a physical structure. Want to know the trick? Good. Go google it and then come back and tell me because I clearly haven't got a clue. By the the time we sang Happy Birthday the only thing keeping the back of the stage from completely falling over was the fact that Hannah Montana's head was smashed into it. How do you submit an entry to cake wrecks anyway?

Abby and Emily's birthday is coming up in April. They're unfazed by the Hannah debaucle and are already plotting the cake sculpture that they want me to create.

For everyone else, I'm amending the FB note and it now reads:

19) I love to bake. I used to be able to do amazing things with cakes and buttercream and/or fondant. I retired in humiliation after Hannah Montana was nearly swallowed alive by one of my creations. I'm sad relieved that my kids have had mommy cakes for so long that they ask for a Costco cake to be different.

The other part of the note... about blowing things up?

I'm keepin' it.

And to the Queen Bhe -- I know you read this and I loved making your daughter's cake! It really was fun. I just didn't realize I'd have to make so many other cakes, too : )

Friday, March 13, 2009

I got the best job in the world!

Before I start, tell me if you can complete this sentence:

On Wednesday I was___________ .

A) Picking up our new kitten?

B) Thinking that I'd look hot in a bikini by summer if I'd quit blogging and start exercising already?

C) Studying techniques to keep my blog writing from wandering off on tangents?

D) Wondering if there was any Cabernet in the house or if I needed to pick some up?

None of those accurately completes the fragment above, but how many of them do you think are true?

On Wednesday I was at the school. Kind of a letdown after all that hype, huh? I was working in what is quickly becoming my favorite place, first grade, and they gave me the best. job. EVER. Wanna know what it was? I got to help the kids with their "All About Me" books. I needed to go over what they had written, help them fill in their thoughts, and tweak punctuation. The portion of the book I was assisting with was a brief autobiography of sorts. The kids had been instructed to include some tidbits such as when they were born, favorite things (food, sport, color, hobby), and maybe something they'd really like to do.

At first glance I didn't realize I'd been given such an awesome job. I'd gone through the drill with about 8 kids and my eyes were starting to cross and I was starting to get sleepy. I hadn't quite made it to the part where I start drooling. Basically I was at the beginning of my regular volunteer-coma.

My ninth student was a ridiculously-innocent-and-gullible-girl. We'll call her GG (gullible girl) for short. GG had written something about how she wanted to get a good sun tan. My job was to encourage them to add details so I started asking questions:

Me: Why do you want a good sun tan.

GG: Mommy and Daddy were getting one and it looked like so much fun. I want one, too!

Me: Okay, tell me about that. What part of getting the sun tan is fun? Is it being outside? Warm weather...?

GG: Oh no! You don't have to be outside to get a sun tan.

Me: Um... You really you do.

GG: No you don't. My mommy and Daddy were getting one in front of the fireplace the other night when I came downstairs after I got scared.

Me: I don't think they were suntanning GG. They were probably just warming up by the fire. Sometimes when you sit in front of the fireplace you get really warm and it feels kind of like you're toasting your skin, but it's really not -

GG: NO! Mommy said they were suntanning and that they were naked because they didn't want to get any tan lines.

- -Silence - -

Me: Oh GG... That is going to take a lot of explaining. I'm not sure if we have that much room on the paper. What's something else you'd really like to do...

Good thing we don't condone blackmail in the world according to me.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Suddenly it all makes sense

I'm sure everyone has already done the "Kathy {insert your name here} needs" game that's flying around on Facebook. You know, the one where you type your first name + needs into google and then hit search... and then record the first 7 things google generates... Just for the heck of it I thought I'd give it a whirl. I had no intention of actually doing anything with it until I saw what it pulled. Apparently this is what Kathy needs:

To give herself some credit - Really. How much more credit should I take? I changed the name of the blog to the world according to me for pity sake. I'm not sure how much more obnoxiously self-centered I could be, but hey, who am I to argue with Google?

More attention - My name is KathyB! and I'm an attention whore junkie. I can control myself in the real world, but in the world according to me? There is never such a thing as too much.

To be back on the red - Interesting. I switched to white wine last week when the weather became crazy-warm. I guess I was premature. Back to the Cabernet...

Candy bars - That's a great start. Cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream? Bring it! Just let me know when this dessert-a-palooza is going to happen so that I can fast in anticipation. Ever since I put on 60 pounds gestating the twins my metabolism has been just a tad slow. Actually I don't think slow quite sums it up. More like, if-I-so-much-as-glance-sideways-at-a-kidney-bean-I-put-on-a-pound. Much more accurate.

A comb - Is it weird that I did the Google search after I popped out of the shower? Did I mention that I hadn't brushed my hair yet and that it was sprouting out from my scalp at weird angles? Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do... That was supposed to sound like the Twilight Zone music. Personally, all that doo-doo makes me feel like I have to go to the bathroom.

Love - I think this means comment love. Yesterday 300 people traipsed through here and I appreciate that you wiped your feet before you came in and I'm thrilled that you cleared your plate and put it in the dishwasher but...

To get off the D - list - Wow! I didn't even know I warranted inclusion on a list. Yay me!! I guess if I'm off the D-list then I might as well be gunning for Dooce. Watch your back sister!!

And then I started thinking that I should have googled "what KathyB! needs." For all intents and purposes that's who I am here, right? I gave it a whirl and it only pulled up one result that was different from the original Kathy search, and it was HUGE.

According to Barack Obama the change we need is KathyB!
Really, that's exactly what it said!! I can only assume this is what Google was thinking when it said I need to give myself more credit, more attention... maybe they meant that I needed to be on the red carpet... and clearly politics would propel me off of the D-List... The search wasn't completely clear the first time because I'd forgotten to search my true name.

Suddenly it all makes sense.

KathyB! for president anyone?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tongue planted firmly in cheek

I started this blog as a family journal.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my blog would make me famous. Really and truly famous. How many of you have a song, performed by Britney Spears no less, written about you? I'm sure my agent is calling for a press conference as we speak. Expect to see me on the cover of People magazine, baby.

This is huge.

Are you curious about the song? Do not say, "Oops, I did it again." I know it's oddly fitting but that would be far too cliche.

No, I'm referring to this:

We were riding along in my mommy bus (aka the minivan) and my mind was wandering. The radio was playing in the background, doing it's thing, when one of my daughters interrupted my reverie with, "Hey mom! That song on the radio -- that song's about you!" I jerked myself back to reality and started listening to the song... Womanizer, Womanizer, Oh, You're a womanizer, Oh..."

Oh, crap is more like it. That's just what I want my 6 year old repeating. We always listen to Cd's for just this reason -- radio is completely unpredictable in this day and age, and I forgot to turn it off. Where's that Hannah Montana CD anyway?

I hit the off button and asked my daughter what on earth she was talking about. I've been called many things in my time (brilliant, fantastic, gorgeous... delusional) and womanizer is not one of them. She was insistent, though, so I asked her what specifically she thought they were singing and why for the love of God she thought it was about me. She replied with:

Organizer, organizer
You're an organizer

Apparently she's not singing womanizer... it's organizer. I recognized this for the win that it was. We've spent plenty of time on the birds and the bees here and here. I don't have the mental fortitude to think of a half-baked explanation of what constitutes a womanizer. And I am an organizational freak of nature so Brit Brit could certainly be singing worse things about me, right?

I think in Abby's mind the song went something like this:

Walking round
Like you are normal
I'm good for you
If you can't find the right solution
I guess when you've got one too many
Under bed storage crates
It's what you are
It's what you are, mommy

Cookies, treats, and candies too
I have got
just the storage spot for you
Make it complicated but
There's no way I'm ever gonna let you loose
Not in my pantry, baby

Organ - organizer
You're an organizer
Oh organizer,
Oh you're an organizer baby
You, you, you are
You, you, you are
Organizer, Organizer, Organizer...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Just because it was 84 degrees today

I've been doing quite a bit of bitching and moaning moaning and groaning about the cold weather lately. I've even alluded to the fact that it's caused me to do some, er, things that might have been ever so slightly completely out of character. So when the temperature zoomed from the 20's straight up to the 80's I was clearly thrilled.

The sudden arrival of warm weather took the whole family by storm. Everyone was so relieved to be out of the house without first having to stuff themselves into multiple layers of clothing like plump little sausages that I think they forgot the natural order of the universe.

For example, just because it's 84 degrees does not mean it's safe to look at virgin, white skin without sunglasses.

Just because it was 84 degrees today does not mean that you can run around in the backyard leaving a trail of shoes and socks behind you. Well, actually you can... that's what you always do... but please realize that in spite of your blissful glee the wind is still blowing and objects left on the edge of the pool will likely not remain where you left them.

Just because it was 84 degrees does not mean if you tempt the gods by running around the still-frigid-pool in your bathing suit your dad will resist temptation. Really. You're nine years-old now. You should know better.

Sneak attack from the rear. It's dicey strategy. She almost turned and saved herself at the last moment...

But, alas, she was too caught up in the moment. He had her by the waist. She struggled and squealed to no avail... and she went in.

The 57 degree water temperature was only shocking for a minute. Right? Sure.

But the fact that it was 84 degrees today does mean that this little guy has to go away... at least until next year. Good riddance wretched snowman. You will not be missed.

Friday, March 6, 2009

You should really bring a coat

Can I just say that I am fed up with the cold weather? It's starting to seriously impact my life.

Yesterday was a busy day. I was at the school for a couple hours in the morning and the afternoon was scheduled to be an absolute zoo. I needed to pick up the girls from school, head straight to the rollerskating rink for a skating event with my Daisy Girl Scout troop, grab some dinner with the family, and then head downtown as a herd so that we could all watch two of my daughters perform in a production called Pieces of Gold.

The schedule was tight but doable as long as I stayed on schedule. Raise your hand if you think I was able to stay on schedule...Well, I guess you've gotten to know me better than I thought, but I have to say I'm a little disappointed that a few of you didn't have more confidence in me. And somebody needs to whack that guy in the front row upside the head. My posting gets long sometimes but there's no call for sleeping.

Back to the story...At our school if you want to pick your child up you have to wait in the carpool line. It's a long and complicated affair, but suffice it to say that if you are not lined up in your car 45 minutes prior to dismissal you will not get your child(ren) in a timely fashion. If you've got someplace you need to be? Forget it.

I managed to get to the school 15 minutes before dismissal so, clearly, the carpool line was not an option. Unfortunately, the carpool line clogs the only entry point into the school parking lot and there's no street parking. The design is stupidity incarnate.

So. What's a mom to do? Time to get creative. I pulled into the back parking lot where the buses pick up children. Parents aren't normally supposed to park back there, but the principal encouraged me to park back because I often volunteer towards the end of the day. Usually I'm there early enough that I don't run into an issue with the carpool line and I've never had a need to take him up on the offer. I quickly found a spot and dashed from the car, and I'm not kidding when I say that I dashed. It was cold yesterday, and I didn't have a coat. It isn't really that I forgot the coat, either. It's a snuggly 80 degrees in the car, the school is perpetually overheated, and it's just a hop, skip, and a jump to get into the school. Who needs to lug a stupid coat around, right?

I reached the back door in record time which is good news because I swear icicles had already started forming on the tip of my nose. The bad news is the door was locked. Fortunately there were four teachers just on the other side of the door. Unfortunately I motioned them to let me in and they mouthed through the glass that I needed to go around to the front. ((sigh))

It's 212 degrees below zero outside, I don't have on a coat, there's a perfectly good door staring me in the face, the school has a perimeter that I'm sure is close to a mile, and you want me to walk around to the front? Seriously? I'd consider it if they sent one of those Saint Bernard dogs with the whiskey flask tied around it's neck. At this point in the day, and with the prospect of a long evening ahead, whiskey shots were starting to sound appealing. But only in a medicinal capacity, of course.

I'm not proud of what I did next.

I made a desperate face and they cracked the door to hear my blathering. They were seriously not going to let me in! So I lied. I told them I left something in the first grade classroom and could they just let me in to grab it super-quick? It didn't work and it set into motion an entire chain of horrid events.

*They asked what I'd forgotten and told me they'd run and get it for me.

*I panicked. It must have been the fact that I was still standing out there freezing to death. My brain must have begun turning into a useless chunk of ice. Why else would I not just get down on my knees and beg for mercy?! In a fit of stupidity and desperation I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind -- my cell phone.

*The teacher went to find the cell phone. I knew she wouldn't find it, because it was perched happily in my hand bag. Right where it should be. Now she's got the teacher involved (we'll call her Mrs. SP -- short for sweetie-pie), and Mrs. SP is all concerned, and I feel like a giant jerk. How did I get myself into this horrible mess anyway?! This is why I don't lie. It ticks off the universe and, well, nothing productive ever happens afterwards. At this point I realize that a giant cosmic bullseye is painted on my butt. I'm just waiting for the arrow to find it.

*I'm now hopping around like a fool trying to keep from turning into a human ice sculpture. Mrs. SP tells the other teachers to let me in already and she tells me to come into the classroom and we'll use her phone to call my phone to see if we can find it. ACK! I am so busted. This is bad. I wonder if volunteers can get fired? This is definitely grounds for dismissal.

*Fortunately I was the one that got to dial the cell phone number into the teacher's phone and I conveniently dialed the wrong number.

*I then had to run to all the places I'd been in the school that day "pretending" to look for the cell phone so that I would look legit. By the time the whole charade had played out and I'd collected the kids we were late, which is what I was trying to avoid in the first place.

If only I'd worn a coat, I would've sprinted to the front and the story would've ended there.

Spring, where are you?

Author's note: I know the coat was not the problem. I am not in the habit of lying. This is going to provide a great story/lesson to my kids (when they're a little older and not interacting with Mrs. SP on a daily basis. At this point I don't think there's any point in admitting that I'm a lying bonehead) about everything from procrastinating to being on time to telling the truth and, of course, wearing the appropriate outerwear for inclement weather.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

There's so much to talk about here

Let me set this up for you... My daughters like to snuggle up on Saturday mornings and watch a TV show while their father fixes them pancakes. Snuggling up often entails pillows and blankets, and it's roughly the equivalent of building a nest for yourself. This explains the random pillows and blankets.

But look closer... you really have to look... it's hard to see. She's wearing her pajama pants on her head with the legs tied under her chin -- sort of like a bonnet.

This is not part of the typical Saturday morning nesting procedure.

I left her alone and didn't pester her for an explanation because she was obviously warm, happy and content. But when she came to the breakfast table in her underpants with her pajama bottoms still firmly anchored to her head, well, I had to know. We're a little off over here in the world according to me but, for the most part, our pants are usually not worn on our heads.

Let me fill in just a few more gaps so the explanation makes sense The photo was taken the Saturday of her first soccer practice. She was excited about soccer and the day before we'd talked about the game, and the equipment you need to play, and how much fun she would have.

Emily was anticipating practice and put on her shin guard chin guard so that she'd be ready to go after breakfast. Get it? The pant legs tied under her jaw were literally guarding her chin. My cheeks are still a little sore where I bit into them. Hard.

* * *
The follow up to the story is that I was worried about Emily. She is the younger twin (by a whopping 2 minutes). In comparison to her identical twin sister she's often the slightest bit behind. Not in any meaningful way, but when you're an identical twin people look for these differences so that they can tell you apart. And then you get a label: the one who likes purple, the one who plays with Sarah, the smart/dominant/athletic twin. I try to avoid these labels with every fiber of my being but, to a degree, it's inevitable.
The whole pants-on-the-head thing didn't seem like a harbinger of good things.
The picture was taken a couple weeks ago. Yes, I'm that far behind in my blogging. Well really, I'm that far behind in general, and thanks in advance for not pointing that out in the comments.
In spite of the whole shin guard faux pas, Emily took soccer by storm. She plays on a co-ed team and she's holding her own with the boys, and not taking any crap. And best of all she's having the time of her life.
In the world according to me she can wear her pajama pants on her head any day she wants. She just has to take them off before she leaves...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And her response was...

I'm explaining the facts of life to my eldest daughter... I've reached the point where I'm telling her exactly how an egg is fertilized... my daughter is wearing a classic deer in the headlights expression with eyes as round as dinner plates and mouth slightly agape...

Daughter: "Mom... No!"

KathyB!: (Pauses as daughter tries to come to terms with data overload)

Daughter: You need to stop talking. Right. Now. I do not want to hear this.

KathyB!: But...

Daughter: (interrupts) Stop!! I think I know what you're going to say next... that the boy puts... in... (shudders.) That's sooo wrong. (starts giggling)

KathyB!: But....

Daughter: No more. I am way too young to be hearing stuff like this. (Puts hands over ears) What were you thinking?! (more giggling)

KathyB!: (says to self... well, I was thinking it would be a bummer if you freaked out like this in school)

Silence. Suddenly daughter goes pale as a sheet, and laughter dies.

Daughter: (speaking tentatively) Mom? You and dad didn't, you know... Did you??


Daughter: Oh, MOM! That's just... just... I am never letting anybody do that to me, that's for sure. (hysterical laughter now)

KathyB!: (does mental fist pump. Mission accomplished... Wait a second. How is it that a mental picture of me and hubby doing the horizontal bop is hysterically funny?! Pretty sure I should be insulted here...)

On a completely different note, I've got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that I've recently received three awards. Woo hoo!!!

The bad news is that awards stress me out. I feel like I have to put them with a good post so that people don't think, "Wow, what a bonehead! Why'd somebody go and give her dumb blog an award?!" So I'm sitting on 'em....

In the meantime you should check out the wonderful bloggers who gave me the awards:

Zeemaid -- She is funny and sharp and lovable, but with an edge. I have her on my blog list and I look forward to her posts. And did I mention she's a hoot?! I love her.

ScoMan -- I love the fact that there's some testosterone in our midst. And he seems to be from across the pond, so an international influence as well... Bonus!
The Adventures of Mommy Maestro -- AMM is an honest to goodness "real" writer! How cool is that?! Her writing is tight, and she's just a bit off (like me!) I really do love her blog : )

Eug -- She didn't actually give me an award, but she was doing a giveaway (which I don't usually enter because I never follow through on stuff) and I was supposed to link back... and I didn't (shocker. That's why I don't normally play). I think it's over now, but I really try to keep my word... Even when it's so out of date that it's irrelevant...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The birds and the bees

It's a momentous time in the world according to me. This week my daughter begins the "health education" unit at school and that is code for sex education.

Just saying those two words, sex education, is enough to make me dizzy. There is no way my sweet little girl can be old enough.

I know that this is an enormous step in growing up and I'm not ready for it on so many levels. I think the primary force of resistance, though, is not wanting to let her go. Not wanting to crack open the door through which she will eventually walk towards a life on her own.

Do you ever wish you could freeze time?

This is me standing at the edge of the precipice and staring into the abyss that is the teenage years. It looks scary.

Fortunately I still have some control over the portion of my brain that allows me to act reasonably when faced with one of my daughters learning about SEX. I decided that it would be wise to give my daughter "the talk" at home rather than hearing it for the first time at school. Call me naive but I am convinced she's blissfully uninformed when it comes to the raging hormones, boy lust, PMS, mood swings, cramps, bloating puberty.

If she is as unaware as I suspect, can you imagine her surprise as she sits in the classroom while the guidance counselor methodically explains just exactly how that baby came to be in your mom's tummy? In my imagination it goes like this:

I see a diagram. There's always a visual.
All the better to sear it into your brain.

I see my daughter's shocked face as the horror
of reality permeates her mind.

And then I see her falling out of her chair,
passed out cold on the floor

But what if she knows more than I think? We have a close relationship. I'd know... right?! I finally stopped wandering in mental circles and just came right out and asked, and apparently they are talking about boys. ((What?!)) She said that some of the things being said were ((gasp)) a little inappropriate and I braced myself to hear what came next:

"Well, mom... some of the girls have been talking about boys. Fiona says there's a boy at the bus stop that is h-o-t, HOT. She talked about him all the time last week. It was so annoying. We finally told her, enough, he's just a boy."

The boy part was said with complete and utter disdain.

She had nothing else to add.


I think I've got some explaining to do.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Weekend trifecta

Things have been more difficult than necessary around here lately. Nothing has been profoundly wrong, but nothing has been right, either. We've had a weekend trifecta, if you will. All I can say is thank goodness it wasn't an octofecta!

Part I: My husband has been out of town for the better part of the week and it carried over to the weekend. He's never gone on the weekends. This, of course, has a snowball effect because everything scheduled for the weekend was committed with the understanding that there would be two adults around to drive the activity bus. Saturday was chaotic. I chased myself in circles all over town, crashed into myself at the intersection of Crazy Street and Overcomitted Lane, and spent a ridiculous amount of time fantasizing (did I just say fantasizing?! There are lots of great things to fantasize about and this is not one of them) about the moment when all the kids would be asleep.

Part II: Sunday I picked Abby and Emily up from a sleepover and discovered that they might have been exposed to lice. That dull thudding sound you heard Sunday was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor. There is something innately repulsive about tiny parasites vampirizing my children. With extended fingertips, I carefully lifted small strands of the girls' hair to the light fearing that I might find evidence of blood sucking parasites feasting on my daughters' heads. And I found... nothing... yet.

Part III: At this point I'm officially gripped by the irrational fear that we're on the verge of a full-scale parasitic assault. Stuffed animals went into the dryer on the hottest setting for a high- heat session. All bedding got a one way ticket to the laundry room. As I rounded the corner with yet another armload of laundry I found this:

This is where it started. A cascade of foamy white suds that should've been doin' their thing inside the washing machine, and not spilling out onto the floor... After all the vomitting that happened a week ago now the washing machine is vomitting...

The white puff on top of the purple and pink is soap suds. I moved the next load of laundry underneath the wash vomit to try and slow the flow. I cleaned most of it before I decided that this was blog worthy...
And that's the trifecta.