Come play in my world for awhile!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Who's in charge around here anyway

My eight year old is is rarely difficult to deal with. I'm hoping this bodes well for the future... so it surprised me the other day when she addressed me with an undertone of... sass. Wanting Needing to nip this in the bud I immediately informed her that it was not okay for her to speak to me in that tone of voice. I spoke a little bit more sharply than I intended, and in an effort to diffuse the situation with a bit of levity I quickly morphed into one of my ridiculous-over-the-top-mommy-personas. I puffed out my chest and did my best impersonation of what I think the monopoly guy would sound like. I told her, "You're not the one in charge around here, missy. Oh no, no. Who is the boss around here anyway?"

My silly theatrics worked. She was smiling as I blustered around the kitchen. I started giving her a good tickle and questioned her again, "Who's the boss missy?" As my daughter shrieked with laughter she gasped out her answer............. "Obama."

Well, that wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for. He may be the leader of the free world but only I, KathyB!, control the world according to me. I let it go and vowed to work on defining the person(s) running our household.

Clearly I need a new tactic, but what? I decided to mull it over. You know how when you don't obsess over something the answer just - POOF! - appears? Well that's exactly what happened. Not two hours later I was sitting at my computer and found Rosario Dawson's (as told to the New York Times) account of how her mother disciplined her:

"My mom licked me - that was her punishment. If I was a little uppity or if I didn’t listen or if she wanted to get my attention, she’d lick the side of my face or under my armpit. My mom’s a six-foot-tall amazon and she’d say, ‘’You came out of my vagina and I own every part of you,’’ and she’d lick me like I was her wee pup and she was a lioness. It was humiliating and really intense. Very primal. It’s not spanking, but it definitely works."

Holy mother of wolves! That is some nasty stuff. When my children were babies I used to gum on their little chubby arms and legs. I even fell asleep while nursing and slobbered on their heads a couple times (okay, that actually happened a lot but I didn't do it on purpose). But I never licked them. I'm not even going to get in to the part about her armpits. Eww.

So given a choice between licking my children as a means to demonstrate my dominance and maintaining the status quo...?

This is me singing "Hail to the Chief."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The big O

I'm back to last Friday. If you're just tuning in you might want to check here first and then here so you know why this was the proverbial icing on the cake. There was just so much good stuff that happened that day... I haven't even blogged about the kid and his Spiderman hat.

This time I'm in the 5th grade working on a writing project. The kids have a writing prompt. They are given a location (science lab), and a science project (their choice) and they're supposed to create a science-fiction story. This is an on-going project and some kids have written multiple chapters.

As I moved through the classroom I was impressed with the concepts that some of the students had the imagination to create and explore. One girl had her hand up and asked me to read an excerpt. I don't have a photographic memory but it's sorta etched on my brain. It might not be verbatim, but it's close:

"The scientist was shocked by her orgasm. It was much better than she thought it would be. She had been planning this for years and the other scientists were surprised by her orgasm, too."

At this point I stopped reading. The fifth graders are having the "puberty" talk at school next week and all things sex ed. have been on my mind lately. Trust me, there will be another post about that. Anyway, I read orgasm and all rational thought left my brain. Orgasm?! Why does this crap only happen when the teacher is gone? What do I say? Can I run screaming from the building? I did not sign up for this!

I am 100% certain that I turned into a marble statue. Motionless. Incapable of response.

And then the child spoke, "Mrs B! ?! What do you think? In my final chapter the characters are going to find out that the organism can cure all diseases. Is it too soon for me to let on that she was surprised by what her organism can do?"

Dear God, she wrote orgasm when she meant organism.... It was all just a type-o.

Is there anything left to say?

I didn't think so either...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday?

On this sunny Wednesday,
I just logged on to say...
The stupid game of bowling
I will no longer play

We came to the bowling alley
For some good, clean, family fun
To celebrate the birthday
Of my nine year old little one

The game started out quite nicely
I even had a hunch
My score might get too far ahead
I'd have to pull a punch

But bowling, well, it's not my game
I lost to hubby fair and square
In fact, I lost so badly
I started to despair

But the part that most frustrates me
that I didn't even see
Is that everybody beat me
Even the youngest three

Don't you love how I do wordless?!

I think the photography is the problem here. If I had better pictures they could stand alone. I'm going to have to talk to the photographer, er, my husband and make sure he does a better job next time.

Well actually, the real problem is that some creative genius (ahem... cough... my husband... cough... cough) put our nicknames up on the scoreboard and they got truncated and you can't really tell who got what score. And no, I'm not just fussing like a spoiled kindergartner because my husband totally kicked my tail bowling. And it has nothing to do with the fact that my ego is royally bruised, possibly even fractured, by the fact that even my 6 year old (although I really should mention they'll be 7 very soon) twins beat me. Many people like me, who are somewhat competitive, might even be smarting over such a stinging loss three days later.

Thank God I'm not like that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hot Dog Surprise

This is part two of my volunteer hijinks from Friday. You know, the day the teachers left the building and left me in charge? There might be a part three and four, or I might save those stories for another week. I don't want to go overboard with this...

I'm sitting at the lunch table with a first grade class (not the same class from yesterday's post. I have twins remember so I get to do everything twice. Sometimes it feels like the movie Groundhog Day) and the kids are enjoying their lunches. Please don't infer that they were eating their lunches just because I said they were enjoying them. Let me explain:

I was having a conversation with my daughter and her friend while watching a little boy at the opposite end of the table. You know how it is when you can look at a kid and immediately tell that they're up to no good? Well, this particular child was just short of sprouting devil horns. From this point forward we'll refer to him as wiener boy.

As I sat half-listening to my daughter, wiener boy very meticulously loaded his hot dog with ketchup. He then removed the hot dog from the bun, and held it - almost resting it - on the shoulder of the boy sitting next to him. Let's refer to this child as friend of wiener boy, or FWB for short.

FWB is having some sort of deep conversation with the child to the other side of him, so he's turned away from wiener boy. He feels something on his shoulder... turns his head to look... and... whap... turns his face smack into the ketchup-y hot dog.

At this point my uncanny mommy radar is sounding a loud alarm and I'm struggling to disentangle myself from the lunch table so that I can get over to wiener boy because FWB has now removed his ketchup-y hot dog from the bun and is shaking it at wiener boy, who is also shaking his hot dog in return. Trust me when I say there was a lot of wiener shaking, ketchup was starting to fly and it needed to stop. As I approached, wiener boy must've gotten a good look at the expression on my face, because he started frantically trying to stuff the evidence down his throat.

As I raced to the other end of the table I had a brief moment to think about Darwin. And survival of the fittest. And whether I should let this questionable example of humanity choke on his hot dog rather than grow to maturity and pollute the gene pool with his DNA. Fortunately it was a short distance to the child and I got there: A) Before I got any farther with the Darwin theory, and B) Before the evidence was completely consumed.

I'm not sure why, but I took wiener boy's remaining hot dog. After briefly asessing the handful of yuck I'd acquired, and a conversation so ridiculous I can't quite remember exactly how it went, I finally surmised they had been playing a game called Hot Dog Surprise where you try to "surprise" the person next to you by unexpectedly whacking them in the face with your hot dog. I was skeptical, but several other children spoke enthusiastically about the game. I explained that there would be no more Hot Dog Surprise and I was getting ready to hand the hot dog back to wiener boy. I was sizing up the hot dog and wondering if it was worthy of eating given that I'd had my hand all over it. But then I remembered that he'd whacked his friend in the face with it.

I was in the process of handing the hot dog over when FWB said, "Hey Mrs. B. I bet my wiener is bigger than your wiener."

If you are looking for Wenda she left two clues FOR TODAY -- one in this post's comments and one in yesterday's comments :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Misadventures in the first grade

I already told you that I spent the better part of Friday volunteering at the school. It was teacher appreciation week and parent volunteers take over the classrooms so the teachers can go to a catered lunch off campus. I spend several hours a week in these classes so I thought the whole experience would be fairly mundane.

As I was returning from lunch with a first-grade class we stopped at the bathroom. One little boy went in to take care of business, and came out grabbing himself and hopping around as if someone had set fire to his pants. I quickly pulled him aside to search out the problem. As he stood before me, ferociously clutching himself and hopping on one foot, he explained that, "I went in there and went potty like I was supposed to and pulled my pants back up. But I guess my ding-a-ling wasn't empty, 'cuz then I went a bunch more in my pants."

Good grief. How can you wet your pants after you just went to the bathroom?!

I took him to the office to get cleaned up. I picked out the appropriate clean clothing and asked if he needed help. He declined and went into the bathroom armed with some wet wipes and the fresh clothes. He was in there for quite some time and I didn't hear anything. I knocked and asked if he needed help. I'll paraphrase the next part... apparently, he tried to remove his pants and underpants simultaneously without first removing his shoes. I'm confident enough to admit that I've done this myself (although not after wetting my pants. And not recently.) and the result is inside-out-pants-bunched-into-a -hopeless-ball-around-your-ankles. Trust me when I say it's very hard to extricate yourself once you've gone down this road.

I asked again if he needed help only to be told no. I waited another few seconds, and then I heard muffled sobs. Aw, crap. He doesn't want me to come in, but what am I supposed to do? Leave him sitting naked on the floor with his wet pants wrapped around his ankles?

I really couldn't think of anything intelligent, so I morphed into silly-mommy-mode. I'm embarrassed to admit this but with young kids, if you're willing to check your ego at the door, you can pretty much get them out of any mood/funk/tantrum/whatever by acting like a giant goofball. And since I didn't know what else to do I started drumming a beat on the door. And the crying stopped. And then I started singing along to my beat:

I can sing...
And I can dance...
But I can't do it with pee pee in my pants.
Let's just do what we have to do...
Take those pants off on the count of two...
ONE... TWO...!

I had to sing loudly to be heard through the door, and by the time I got to the ONE... TWO... a lady from the office was poking her head in to see what was going on. Nothing like a little mild public humiliation to get the day started, right? I had to sing for a couple minutes, but he stopped crying, asked me to sing it again, and eventually got himself out of that bathroom without me having to go in. I think we were both relieved.

By this time I realize that I've abandoned the other mommy helping in the classroom for a good chunk of time, and am anxious to get back. I'm walking quickly down a long hallway and trying to encourage my little friend to keep up by doing more of my stupid rhymes. I was saying something about keeping up the pace, and we had to race when suddenly he wasn't there. I stopped and turned to look for him, and there he was 10 paces back with his pants around his knees.

I'm pretty sure my mouth fell open. I've been volunteering at school since my kids started school and this is, by far, the most ridiculous chain of events. Ever. How many incidents can one child have with his pants in a 30 minute period anyway? I must have been silently staring at him longer than I thought because he said, "Jeez Mrs. B. You raced my pants right off."

I have never been so relieved to get a kid back to the classroom in my life. I just hope he transfers schools before fifth grade. I don't think either of us will forget this any time soon. It's kinda cute now, but by that age? Not so much.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Where in the world is Wenda?!

I spent the better part of Friday volunteering at the school. It was teacher appreciation week and parent volunteers take over the class so the teachers can go to a catered lunch. I have so much to write about that my biggest struggle is whether I should throw it all out there in one ginormous post or divvy it up over the course of a week. Let's just say that I log a lot of hours at the school and there were more jaw-dropping moments over the course of a four hour stretch than I've had in the last three months combined!

Those who normally read my blog are probably confused by all the references to "Wenda." It's basically a scavenger hunt through the blogosphere, and it's definitely fun! If you want to join in or just want more information, you should visit:

Wenda was here for Day 2 as well. Her Day 1 and Day 2 clues are both in the "I'm rollin' in the money, baby!" post.
Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm rollin' in the money, baby

It's hard to escape news of government stimulus packages and bailouts. I was reading an article that suggested that the bailout "...will cost about $6,500 per U.S. family, a little over $2,000 per person... and raise the public debt limit to $11.3 trillion dollars. That’s $116,000 per family, or $37,000 per person, in total governmental debt." These aren't new figures but every time I see/hear them they make my hair stand on end.

I honestly try not to spend (spend!! so punny!!) too much time agonizing over the numbers. Right now it feels as though a chain of events has been set into motion and the only thing to do is step aside and let it play out. But still... those numbers are haunting.

Don't ask me to explain the logic behind my thought processes, but the whole economic turmoil got me thinking about a letter to the IRS that flew across the Internet some years ago. I did a quick Google search, and voila:

Dear IRS,

Enclosed is my 1997 tax return and payment. Please take note of the attached article from the USA Today newspaper. In the article, you will see that the Pentagon is paying $171.50 for hammers and NASA has paid $600.00 for a toilet seat. Please find enclosed four toilet seats (value $2400) and six hammers (value $1029). This brings my total payment to $3429.00. Please note the overpayment of $22.00 and apply it to the 'Presidential Election Fund', as noted on my return.

It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year.


Disgruntled of Oklahoma.

With the mind splitting logic that only applies in the world according to me I came to a brilliant conclusion. If Disgruntled in Oklahoma could pay with toilet seats and hammers, then I ought to be able to deduct my unused portion of the bailout from my income tax return. Tit for tat, right?! And since there are six members in my household that should give me a credit of roughly $222,000.

Now that's a nice way to end the week. Just as soon as I get that refund check I'm taking all of my bloggy friends out for dinner and drinks.

Anxiously awaiting the mailman,


Thursday, February 19, 2009


Sorry about that! If you were on the blog in the last 90 minutes or so I accidentally posted my notes for tomorrow's blog post rather than saving them as a draft! It was a pretty huge mess...

Growing pains

I am no longer the mommy that I want to be.

When my kids were younger I was one of the good mommies. We spent endless hours at the park, and did crafts, and read books, and rode our bikes. Sure there were tough days, but generally speaking our time was fluid and carefree and fun.

I don't know where it all went wrong. Actually, that's not true. I do know what happened. They got older and they went to school, and that is horribly ironic because during those younger years about which I was just waxing poetic I used to fantasize about this time... all my kids in school for a full day... all at the same school... old enough to be somewhat responsible and accountable for themselves.

This should be nirvana and instead it's starting to look like hell. I've already covered the fact that I'm lost. I'm still stumbling around in the dark trying to reacquaint myself with me, but that isn't the problem. Oh no, the biggest problem is interacting with the kids and trying to divvy myself up into enough equal pieces to satisfy everyone's need for attention. Picking the kids up from school has become the low point of the day. I spend the entire day thinking about how quiet the house is without them (okay, not really, but I do miss them). I arrive in the carpool line to pick them up and I am eager to hear their stories. And then they get in the car. All four of them bursting with enthusiasm and excited to share their stories and adventures. And they can't contain themselves. They interrupt each other. They get rude. There's some occasional pinching in the back when someone goes on too long about their day. By the time I get home I'm usually lecturing one, if not all of them about manners and respect for each other and blah, blah, blah.

It doesn't get better once we are home. Everyone attacks me with homework and forms to be signed and reading logs. No one gets my full attention. Throw sports and other activities into the mix and it quickly becomes ridiculous. It's not like the kids are over scheduled either. They each do one sport at a time, plus Girl Scouts, but you multiply that times four and, well, it's just a lot. I feel like it's a constant struggle to keep from running into myself at the intersection of crazy and busy. But how is it that I was bored a couple hours ago while they were at school?! Talk about a study in contrasts.

I know she's got five and I only have four, but I swear this is what it feels like when they all get home from school.

I do realize this is nothing new. Every single one of you is probably reading this and thinking, "Cry me a river, lady." The problem is it's sucking the joy out of my time with them. I know it's not all sweetness and light, but it seems wrong when the most fun I've had with Hannah lately was when she was sick at home recovering from the stomach flu and we played endless games of Sorry together. She is such a funny kid with a dry, sharp sense of humor. A lot like mine come to think of it. But it's not like I get to see it that often.

And then I wonder... was it really that great when they were younger or am I conveniently forgetting just how hard it was? Did I really read them a story peacefully or were they crawling all over and standing on one another in an effort to try and get the best spot to see the pictures? It's probably a little of both, but right now it seems all I do is nag and complain. And that is not the mom I want to be.

I've gone back and forth and changed this last paragraph at least five times. As I read back over this post, not to proofread but to problem-solve my own situation, I think I get it. It wasn't perfect then and it's not perfect now. Then I was agonizing over why my twins wouldn't sleep through the night. Now I'm frustrated trying to manage complicated schedules with panache while still being a meaningful (not grouchy!) influence in their lives.

I guess this is why they say being a mom is such tough work.

So, I'm going to make some changes. Basically, I'm going to try harder to speed up when the kids are at school and slow down when they get home. Either that or I'm going to make an appointment with my doctor and see if she can prescribe a chill pill.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The magical hat

Today was the 100th day of school and, of course, I volunteered in the classroom. I swear I don't know what I'd blog about if I didn't do something at the school every day.

The 100th Day activities were uneventful. The kids had fun. The kids ate cake. The kids made hats proclaiming their pride in being 100 days smarter.

Mission accomplished.

We were lined up in the hallway after centers and preparing to go to music. There was a class of older kids in the hallway with us and they were oohing and ahhing and making complimentary comments about the kids' hats. The first graders were starry-eyed at the attention being lavished upon them by the older kids.

I wasn't prepared for what happened next. A woman was coming down the hallway. She was blond, dressed in tennis clothes, appeared to have an artificially enhanced bust, and she was giggly and loud. You know the type. Our school has silent hallways (it sounds creepy, but I've grown to see the brilliance in the concept) so her loudness was extra-noticeable. I try not to be judgemental but this woman truly was like some sort of caricature magically brought to life.

I noticed her and dismissed her in the same instant. The older kids had a different reaction:

Girl #1: Wow... like, WOW!

Girl#2: Um, yeah.

Girl#1: She seriously needs a hat (in reference to the I'm 100 days smarter today hat).

Girl #2: Um, no. They tried to give her a hat, but her teacher took it away. There is no way she's getting a hat.

Girl #1: She'd be making the little kids look bad if she got a hat.

And then there was me: smiling in vindication. Suddenly, my faith in humanity -- restored.

Note: I was with Emily's class, not Abby's when this all went down. They're identical twins so I thought I could pull it off. But I guess with Abby's name printed on the hat it was a bit obvious... and this wasn't the hat from Emily's class. Emily was not up for photography, though...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At least I know why everyone's getting sick

Friday the girls returned from school with their backpacks loaded with Valentines from their friends. And candy. Emily delights in sorting her candy. She sorts it by type, color, and even into piles (the "Love It" pile, the "Like It" pile, and the "Give It to Mom" pile) according to how much she enjoys a particular candy. Sometimes she even makes bar graphs to represent what she's got in her stash. She is that into the candy.

Emily finished her initial sorting, and moved on to the truly important task of eating. She had a package of Mini M&Ms and she kept dropping them on the floor. I tried not to notice as she picked them up and ate them. But when she dropped a whole handful on the ground and started to pick them up, I asked, "Don't you think that's gross? Eating food off the floor - even though it's our kitchen floor - isn't really the best idea. There are germs all over those M&Ms" She looked at her fistful of M&Ms for a moment and then answered thoughtfully, "It's okay mom. There might be a couple germs, but I really can't taste any of them. See?" She then proceeded to pop the whole lot of them into her mouth.

This all happened Friday afternoon. You'll recall that Abby was home with the stomach flu on Thursday. Hannah got it Sunday morning. ((sigh)) Kids, let me just tell you that no amount of Clorox and Purell will save you if you are going to eat food off the floor.

We're screwed here in the world according to me. Anyone want to take bets on how long it'll be until the next one gets it?

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Wish that I Had Duck Feet Blog Skills

I wish
that I had blog skills.
And I can tell you why.
You can change your template with blog skills.
You won't take a break to cry.

I wish that I had blog skills.
No stock templates!
No bland for me!
I would create a custom interface
for all of you to see.

If I had mad blog skills,
my two columns would be so wide.
I would not have empty, blank space
all over the right side.

I think it would be very good
to have them yesterday.
Only moms with blogs skills
make these changes without
wasting an entire day.

My family would not like them.
They'd say, "Please, please no more!"
They'd say, "you take those blog skills
and you take them out that door!"

"Don't feed us mac and cheese again
for dinner. Please just don't."

I guess I can't have blog skills.
I would like to. But I won't...

But, if I can't have blog skills,
what's left for poor, poor me?
Am I doomed to life with two columns
to never master three?

I think there are some things
that today I will not be.

And that is why
I think for now
I'll be happy as KathyB!

Friday night I got a wild hair and decided that my blog was looking tired. As in chronically stale. As in pretty much exactly the same for the past year. I started surfing around various template websites, and was informed by my dear husband that, "he didn't want to hear about it" when the whole blog collapsed in a fit of fatal error codes. He said it with a smile, but we've obviously been down this path before. Once. Or maybe twice. And yet in spite of going down this path my blog never changes. The whole process usually concludes with me drinking wine, wondering why I couldn't have just been happy with things the way they were and... frantic. Meanwhile, Pat is sitting on the couch rolling his eyes and trying to stifle a smile. Enough said.

I hope you love this new look because I:

*Created 7 different back-up copies of my blog that I can't open up to save my life, but am afraid to delete for fear that I might need them.

*Deleted all of my widgets. And that really bites because it took a lot of time for me to get that pop-up that reminds you not to copy my stuff to function properly. Then I deleted a couple widgets a second time. I have no idea how I did it. I am that good.

*Deleted my blog list. Shazam!!! I live by that thing. I don't have a google reader and I just go by whatever is newly updated on the blog list. I'm not even sure I'd know how to find half of your blogs without my blog list.

*Painstakingly re-created the list only to have my battery die right before I hit SAVE, so I got to re-create it again. The good news is it only took about 15 minutes the second time.

I really hope you like my new Spring-like vibe. Come summer, fall, winter... it will probably always be spring in the world according to me.


Clearly, I borrowed heavily from Dr. Seuss for this post. The concept, verse, tone... the whole nine yards. This book is a perennial favorite in our household even though my kids are past this reading level. I'm going to assume that our beloved Dr. Seuss would consider imitation the highest form of flattery....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Things that make me go hmmmm

Today I have a child home sick with the stomach bug, and my schedule is out the window. Instead of racing around like a maniac I'm suddenly taking the day at a lackadaisical pace, and it's left me lots of time for thinking and cleaning and wondering.... a child can be violently ill one minute, and then dancing happily behind me as I start a load of laundry the next. Why don't I feel that good right after bowing to the porcelain Buddha?

...if methodically disinfecting every toilet/sink/doorknob/light switch in the house in an effort to keep the stomach bug from systematically attacking us is like closing the stall door after the horse has already left the barn.

...if the headache I have is from the overwhelming odor of bleach permeating the house or an early indicator that my body has been infected by the cooties and my time is running out.

...if I really thought I could use bleach while wearing my favorite black sweats and walk away without tiny little white specks all over them.

...whether I should go ahead and eat four more of those creamy, delectable, mouth watering chocolates that I pilfered from the Valentine's Day stash. I'm going to be throwing up soon so it might be prudent to store some extra calories for when that happens, right?

...whether my toothbrush was touching Abby's toothbrush in the toothbrush holder, and how long that stomach cootie can live on a toothbrush anyway?

...whether it's better to get sick on the weekend or during the week? Which is ridiculous because Murphy's Law clearly states that you will be vomiting and incapacitated at the point when you're most vulnerable. So weekday, weekend... does it really matter?

...what the incubation period for the stomach bug is?! Every gurgle of my stomach will have to be analyzed for the next week. In the world according to me one week is the point at which you can officially consider yourself safe.

If you don't hear from me on Monday, well, you'll know why...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Remind me why I do this again?

Today I was volunteering at the school. Normally I help the first graders with writing, but today the children were engrossed with preparations for Valentine's Day. Instead of helping the kids I was handed a mountainous stack of worksheets that needed to be put in proper order and collated. My thoughts on this? Dear Lord I've died and gone to hell. I'm assuming this is some sort of cosmic retribution for body checking my daughter over the weekend... sigh.

I took my mess over to a corner of the classroom to be far away from activity. The last thing I wanted was one of the kids buzzing through and causing me to start over again. I was engrossed in the task and working somewhat happily when the teacher approached and apologized for giving me such a crappy job. We chatted for a minute, and the teacher abruptly stopped mid-sentence. Apparently she'd just noticed that I'd been sitting on the linoleum for the last half hour and she quickly offered to clear table space for me so that I would be more comfortable.

In the midst of this conversation a student had sidled up to the teacher with a question. He waited patiently for a break in the conversation.

I insisted I was fine sitting on the floor, and that's when the little boy chose to jump in and say, "I think she'll be okay down there." The teacher turned and noted, in a somewhat surprised voice, that sitting on the hard, linoleum floor for a long time could get really uncomfortable. He looked at her with a serious, intent expression and said, "It's okay. Mrs. B'll be okay down there. She's got a nice cushion." The teacher and I both looked at where I was sitting, and looked back at the little boy with questions clearly written on our faces. There were no cushions on the floor, or anywhere else in the classroom for that matter. He looked from me to the teacher and then back again before he said, "Well, not big like your cushion teacher, but I think she'll be okay down there. It's not like she's all skinny and bony." We both must have been stunned into silence, and that probably unnerved him because he followed that little zinger with, "Oh man, was that bad manners? It's not like I said you have a big butt teacher. I said your cushion is big."

I've already had my wardrobe insulted. If those little monkeys go after my physique I might have to consider early retirement. I'm just not certain if it's considered retirement if I was only volunteering to start with.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Check please?!

This weekend we went to the park with another family. The afternoon started innocently enough with a walk down to the lake and a picnic. Afterward, the kids wanted to play soccer and quickly enlisted the adults to act as human boundary markers/referees.

The kids were playing happily, but it quickly became apparent that even though the physical number of players was even the teams were horribly unbalanced. One of my daughters is freakishly athletic and she was out-playing everyone else on the field. Nobody was really bothered by this but I pulled her aside a couple times and told her to back off a bit. It didn't work.

One of the players wanted to break for water and rather than stopping the game I decided I would sub for her and take the opportunity to even things up a bit. I jumped into the game and was giving my daughter a run for her money while also passing the ball to the kids who'd been getting out-played. Brilliant, right? What could go wrong?

I was giving my daughter a concentrated dose of see-this-is-how-it-feels-to-get-your-butt-kicked when everything went awry. I can still see it in slow motion. Hannah had the ball and was rushing for the goal. My objective was to stop her and pass to the younger players. So I did what any brilliant strategist would do -- I charged her! It was just Hannah, the ball and me, and I knocked the ball loose and into the trajectory of the opposing team. I also knocked Hannah on her butt. And made her cry. And she doesn't cry easily. Remember those Charlie Brown cartoons where Charlie runs to kick the football and ends up flying through the air before hitting the ground like a sack of potatoes?

Now in my defense, the other adults who were watching swear that I didn't knock her over. They insist that I wasn't overly aggressive with her. It all appeared reasonable. I was just trying to shift the advantage a little for cryin' out loud. Tell me I didn't just body check my own daughter.

In my heart I know I didn't really body check her. I also know that if I ever embark upon a course of action with the end result being to give one of my daughters a concentrated dose of see-this-is-how-it-feels-to-get-your-butt-kicked, well, I might step back and think for a minute.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


We were getting ready for school yesterday and, honestly, it was like herding turtles. We haven't been back in school long enough yet to have our routine running like a well-oiled machine. Children's spirits were dragging, and frustration was thick in the air as they stuffed their backpacks and fought with their shoelaces.

One child was lagging behind the others, and as she rushed through the door to join her sisters I could hear her mumble under her breath, "I don't know why I have to go to school when I'm never leaving home anyway."

I'll admit that the door was closed and my husband was already driving towards the school by the time the magnitude of that statement finally hit me.

Should I laugh?

You think you're never leaving home? I'm already planning my retirement and it does NOT include the four of you kids hanging around my house and raiding the refrigerator while I do endless loads of laundry.
Should I cry?

I can still remember sleeping on the couch when my eldest child was a wee infant. I would prop myself up on the pillows so that I could sleep comfortably with her nestled on my chest, and it seems like only yesterday. Tomorrow will surely come too soon.

I guess I'll laugh at the moment, treasure the present, and hope for the future. I just can't decide whether or not I'm hoping that that they'll live with me forever.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring has sprung

We've had a miserable winter in North Carolina. It's been cold and gray and rainy, and not at all conducive to being outdoors. I've been in kind of a funk lately, and I think part of the problem has been the weather. Thankfully, this weekend it all changed. It was sunny and clear and 70 degrees -- in short it was fabulous.

On Saturday we went to the barn, and it's truly one of my favorite places. I love the horses, I love the farm, I love the work, I love it all -- except maybe the poop. Anyway, Rachel rode her horse and when she was finished we gave him a bath. All I can say is Thank God the weather was fabulous.
I, personally, wouldn't recommend bathing a horse unless you're being held hostage with a gun pointed to your head. Horses don't really care to be bathed. They do things like flick their tail at you to demonstrate their displeasure. A wet horse's tail can hold a lot more water and soap than you'd think. You can get the equivalent of a small bucket of soapy water sloshed at you with one deft flick of the tail. A soaked horse's tail would also feel a little like a whip if it, let's say, smacked you across the face. Your daughter might also think the whole thing was hilarious and double over laughing, too overcome to speak. There might even have been photographic evidence if the camera didn't accidentally get left at the barn. I'm not saying that any of this actually happened. What I am saying is that it's a good thing the weather was nice, or I might not have ended the day in such a happy frame of mind...

Friday, February 6, 2009

There's a sock in my toilet!

Hannah doesn't get written about very much on this blog. Stupidity seems to avoid her for the most part and I think that's because a) she's just lucky, or b) she wisely sees the opportunity to avoid stupidity and makes better choices. The correct answer is almost certainly b, but if we go with that answer what does it say about the three-ring circus of stupidity that seems to follow in my wake?

Hannah was getting ready for school yesterday morning. They have to go in an hour early on Thursdays for choral ensemble, and I let them sleep as late as possible. As a result, everyone was bumbling about with a sense of urgency frantic desperation. In a supreme effort to multi-task Hannah was gathering her things and moving towards the door. As she entered the bathroom to grab a Kleenex she was carrying her backpack, shoes, socks, lunchbox, homework folder, and a permission slip.

Apparently, she set the socks on the tank of the toilet, and the next thing I heard from her was:

Hannah: "Um, mom? We have a problem."

Me: I leveled a cautious glance at Hannah and waited.

Hannah: "Mom?" At this point I just want her to not say mom again.

Me: " Yes, Hannah?"

Hannah: "Mom, (Enough!) it seems like one of my socks jumped off the back of the toilet and landed, um, you know, in the toilet."

Me: After casually walking over to ascertain that, yes, there is a sock in the toilet, "Well, just make sure that other sock doesn't get any crazy ideas and jump, too. Daddy will be home tomorrow. Nobody go potty in there, okay?"

I think the sock in the toilet might be a metaphor for the day I had yesterday. Just a thought.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Houston, we have a problem...

Somebody stole my post about making Thanksgiving pies. Except they took out the word Thanksgiving. Otherwise, it's mine. Word for word. And even one of my pictures. I have a couple things to say about this:

  • That sucks! I'm not getting paid for this. I'm having fun. I'm chronicling MY life. If it looks like so much fun then YOU pop out four kids in four years. YOU give up the career that you worked like a crazy fool to achieve while simultaneously being a full time financial analyst and full time grad student. YOU give up the only identity you've ever known as an adult and immerse yourself in all that goes with being a mom. Go ahead and do all that stuff. Then YOU can be a little bit "off" and people will smile, and maybe even chuckle, when YOU tell your stories. And no I'm not unhappy with my choices. Quite the opposite. My point is that I paid a steep price (as all do) to be able to have these silly stories, and they're mine, mine, mine.
  • If you're going to steal, then steal from somebody good. I'm not a writer (you schmuck). If you are going to STEAL then go for Vonnegut. Leave me alone. I'm not fishing for compliments here. I'm just saying, if you're going to steal then go for the gusto and be really bad. Don't rob a convenience store... go for Fort Knox.
  • Get a clue! Have you heard of Google analytics?! Don't be foolish enough to take what's mine and then come back on the same computer with the same I.P. address.
  • I know this sort of thing happens. I guess I should have been more proactive.

I've been aware of this for awhile. I've talked (via email) with this person (small potatoes blogger) and they've deleted their post. They apologized. They even removed their blog entirely. Good riddance. I wonder what else they pilfered.

I'm still thoroughly ticked-off. I'm having trouble getting excited about sharing my life. I don't have the talent to make money at this. And I'm fine with that. That's not why I do this (honestly, if someone offered to pay me handsomely for my efforts I'd gladly take the money. I don't think that's going to happen, and it's not my motivation to be here). On the other hand, the thought of someone else profiting directly from my silliness, or even the premise upon which my silliness is based? That makes me livid.

I'm really struggling at the moment. I had a hard time with the kids yesterday. There's major crap going on here with the school district that directly impacts my eldest. I didn't behave like the mommy that I know I am yesterday. My tooth still hurts from the root canal, and I have a follow-up appointment today for something that, I'm certain, will be unpleasant.

And the worst thing about all that's going on is that someone stole my bestest toy (my blog) while I was playing in the sandbox (the Internet).... That just sucks. Whether you're 30 or 3.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is that an egg?

Last night I was slicing a cantaloupe for our dinner. My daughter seemed confused and was looking at the cantaloupe, and then at me, and then back to the cantaloupe. I knew something was on her mind. Finally, she asked, "Hey mom? Is that thing just a big egg?"

I was a little surprised. We eat a ton of cantaloupe. It's not like she hasn't seen it before. I don't recall having a specific conversation about the fact that it's fruit, but I'm pretty sure she knew. I took a deep breath and asked the obvious, "What makes you think this is an egg?" She then proceeded to offer a long explanation about how they saw these animals on their field trip last week and they were called cantaloupes and, well, we eat chicken eggs so why not cantaloupe eggs....?

We had a brief conversation highlighting the points of differentiation between antelope and cantaloupe. Abby was relieved. I, on the other hand, was left to wonder what other mispronunciations were clouding her better judgement....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I think we'll have green beans tonight

These photos could probably stand on their own, but I just can't restrain myself.

I worked hard in the toddler years to instill, if not a love, at least a tolerance for broccoli, spinach, and carrots. In my mind these are some of the most nutrient packed veggies, and I didn't want to battle over the business of vegetable consumption. Most nights we have one of these three with our entree.

The other night I managed to shirk dinner duty, and my husband did the meal-making honors. He is happy to cook, but on this particular evening making dinner was no small feat as we were frighteningly low on food. He poked around the kitchen and came up with ingredients for chicken enchiladas in a tomatillo sauce. Veggies were a little more difficult. We had bits and pieces, but not enough of any one vegetable to go solo. He ended up sauteing summer squash, zuchini, onions and tomatoes with a little garlic.

The girls were called to the table, and were immediately suspicious of the veggies.

Look at the picture above. Abby is in the purple stripes. She is literally clutching her plate to her chest to prevent her father from serving her. Her eyes say it all. And then there's Emily sitting next to her. She was uncharacteristically quiet. But her face clearly says, "Dear God, what ever did I do to deserve this?"

Abby has conceded defeat and relinquishes her plate.

She is not accepting defeat graciously.

She eventually ate her veggies, but it was a tough nite for her.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of what happened next. Emily was sitting next to her sister and was being fairly quiet. Emily is not usually quiet when she is unhappy. Not by a long shot. She put a forkful of the squash in her mouth, found it offensive, and then tried to wash it down with an enormous gulp of water. Except, apparently, she couldn't quite make it go down.

When I finally finished snapping pictures of Abby's torture I turned to look at Emily. She was sitting next to me with her cheeks inflated as though she were a squirrel with a mouth full of nuts. There was a tiny trickle of water leaking from the corner of her mouth that she was dabbing, somewhat frantically, with her napkin. Her eyes were a bit glazed and held a mixture of panic, sorrow, and utter revulsion.

I told her to swallow it.... just get it over with... it's not so bad....

She made a valiant effort. She tried to swallow and it looked as though she was forcing a boulder down her throat. I thought she had it. And then everything came back up. All over the table.

I mean, I prefer green beans myself, but geez.

Note: This dinner was absolutely surreal. I was laughing as I took these pictures. And even writing this post I think I belly-laughed at least a half-dozen times. I think the pictures are hilarious. My husband doesn't find them quite as amusing, but I just have to tell you that this is one of my two favorite posts of all time -- this is the other.

Monday, February 2, 2009

You can call me Steve!

It seems the only thing the weather has done this winter is alternate between rain and gloom. Frankly, it's getting depressing. I've been thinking about days long gone when there was no t.v or computer to use as a crutch for hobbling through the doldrums of winter.

I've been thinking a lot about Noah's wife. You know, from the Bible. How in the heck did she do it? How did she keep her sons from complaining, bickering and just generally driving her bonkers for the forty days and nights that it rained? And if she could achieve this feat thousands of years ago, what was her secret? Sure, they had the whole ark thing going. It probably kept them pretty busy, what with the animals, and the poop and all. But still.

After studious reflection and painstaking research I have an explanation, and it's the same reason why Noah's wife is not named in the Bible. If she was like me, she got tired of hearing "Mom! She's sitting in my spot!" and "Mom! Something really sticky is all over the floor!" and "Hey mom? Does nail polish come off of wood?"

I'm fairly certain, in fact, that Noah's wife got so tired of hearing "Mom...." that she changed her name and didn't tell anyone to what she changed it.

I'm going to follow her lead. I am changing my name and will no longer respond to any stament, comment, or question that begins with "Mom" and ends with a declaration of sibling rivalry or a complaint of any form. From now on, you can call me Steve. But please don't tell the kids.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Happy Super Bowl Sunday

Concept and photo are courtesy of

You can go to and experience a step-by-step documentary of the creation of this culinary monstrosity. Their commentary is cute. Personally, the combination of Twinkies, bacon, and chips makes me feel more than a little sick to my stomach, but you gotta give points for creativity.

Enjoy the Super Bowl commercials today!