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Showing posts from November, 2007

Notes to Myself

Things I Used To Worry About When I First Had Kids, But Don't Have The Energy To Care About Anymore:

1. Being fair - life's not fair, and if they can learn that lesson early in life, well, that puts them that much ahead of the game. Besides, it's fun to pretend you like one of them better - it drives them crazy. My kids actually argue among themselves over whom I like best. Which is sort of weird, come to think of it.

2. Anything any "expert" says about childrearing - unless, of course, that particular expert happens to have raised 6 or more children without going insane in the process.

3. What my children think about me - it really doesn't matter, because no matter how wonderful I am to them, they're still going to hate me when they are adolescents.

4. Providing expensive toys that "do" things - my kids prefer empty shoeboxes, cartons of craft sticks, duct tape, and garbage bags, even when presented with spectacular alternatives.

5. Going on fanc…

Friends Don't Let Friends Knit....

I am caught in a time warp. Because I haven't seen many movies since I started on this child-raising thing 16 years ago (lack of money, lack of time), my points of reference for actors and actresses are, well, a little off. So when Derfwad Manor posted fairly recent pictures of Jessica Lange and Ellen Barkin, I thought she was playing a cruel joke. I remember the fresh-faced Jessica from Tootsie. Ellen, girlfriend, in my heart you're still the young wife in Diner. But here I am looking at pictures of (not very gracefully) aging women. I feel like Rip van Winkle, waking up after 20 years. Ah, the ravages of time.

Giddy with triumph over our potty training success yesterday, I neglected to stick a diaper on Susie when she fell asleep in my bed last night. So, when I went up to go to sleep, I had to strip the baby and the bed (I love doing this at midnight). Susie slept through all of this. The whole episode agitated me a bit, so I went back downstairs to get the pee smel…

Toddler Tricks and Money Mayhem

Susie (my 2-year-old) has been on the phone a lot lately. She walks around cradling a plastic banana between her shoulder and her face and saying, "Is your mommy home?" and "Uh-huh. Hmmm. Uh-huh." I've asked her who she's talking to, but she doesn't seem to hear me. Probably because she has a banana in her ear.

Ba-da-bum.

Maybe she was talking to a toilet-training hotline, because yesterday - miracle of miracles - she walked up to me and said those 3 words every mother wants to hear: "Wanna go potty." So I sat her on the toilet, not expecting her to actually use the darn thing, when what to my wondering ear did appear but a tinkling like bells on the harness of 8 tiny reindeer.

Sorry, 'tis the season...I'll try not to let that happen again.

Yes, she actually peed in the potty. I happened to be on the banana, I mean phone, with Larry at the time, so I was shrieking into the receiver, "She did it! Did you hear her tinkling? She d…

Blogrolls and Banality

I'd like to draw everyone's attention to the blogroll over there to the left. It's short, because I don't do that "You blogroll me, I'll blogroll you" stuff. I read other blogs (lots of other blogs - this whole blog thing is slowly taking over my life, but let's not go into that), because I like them or the person writing them; but, in an effort to keep the blogroll useful, I try to keep it short. Today I couldn't resist adding a new member - finslippy. I have no idea what that means, but she is breathtakingly, seemingly effortlessly funny. Enough so that I briefly considered throwing out my keyboard and never attempting to be even mildly amusing again.

But, I came to my senses. Some of us need to be willing to be second-rate. It makes everyone else feel good about themselves.

Anna hates me again (don't you love roller coaster rides?). I mean, it's been over 24 hours since I've done something for her, which is an almost intolerab…

Happiness Is Not A Warm Teenager

I would like to draw everyone's attention to this article in the New York Times, which discusses happiness levels in the general US population. My favorite line therein is "People who live with teenagers are the unhappiest of all."

Thank you. I'd suspected as much, but it feels good to have some official statistics to back me up. Now excuse me while I go take another Valium.

I've sorted out all the Christmas presents I scooped up at Michael's, just to make sure I hadn't made a mistake; but, no, I had just the right number for each kid. I thought I was spending an average of 15 dollars on each kid, but it looks to be closer to 25 dollars a person when all is said and done. Which is way too high, but the hell with it. Call me a spendthrift.

Larry is offering to take me out tonight, which is nice considering I've been spending all his money. Meaning, I had to take Anna to Kohl's again today. She was fairly exuding tolerance, but you could tell s…

Shopping Madness

I am totally defeated by this Christmas shopping thing. Generally, we get each kid a "big" gift - meaning, one that they would really like - yet inexpensive (for the younger ones, we rarely spend more than 10 dollars, usually much less; the 2 older ones get 25-dollar gift cards). But the kids like to open a lot of presents; so I go out and buy a whole pile of little tzotchkes for a buck or two each, and the kids have fun "shopping" in my bedroom for all their siblings. (And given the sheer number of presents this type of gift-giving generates, you've got a recipe for massive confusion on my part).

All of which is my convoluted way of explaining why I've spent over a hundred dollars on rather unimpressive presents for 6 kids. I mean, I could have bought something really nice for that sort of money. Sock yarn, electronics, kitchen tools.... the list is endless. Instead, all I have is a big pile of crap. Of course, the good thing about crap is, it tends…

I'm Dreaming of a Fat Christmas

Surprisingly, Larry did not attempt any home improvement projects today. Instead, he took the youngest four to our town's holiday parade, despite frigid temperatures and a biting wind. A good time was had by all. Well, at least by the kids. And we ate turkey. And apple pie. And stuffing. And I wanted vanilla ice cream again, but no one got me any.

Last night I dreamed that I suddenly realized I had gained 80 pounds (which is a fairly significant weight gain for a person under 5 feet tall, let me add). Larry was saying, "I told you you were eating too much." And I kept insisting, "It can't be. My jeans still snap shut."

Do guys have dreams like that? I don't think so.

I made Larry read the Best Buy circular today, just to get him up to speed on what's current in the electronic world. Why? Because when I mentioned that the hot present for this Christmas is Wii (and please raise your hands if you remember when the hot presents were Cabbage P…

Fall Festivities

[Welcome, visitors from Scribbit! If you want more holiday tales, you can always check out this post, or this one. Or any post from any December, really. Go ahead - it's free!]

We got up bright and early last Thanksgiving Day - not voluntarily, of course, but when you manage to get your 2-year-old to bed by 7 in the evening, you've got to accept that she is going to be chirping merrily in your ear around 6:30 AM. I went downstairs full of plans to make the house presentable and to finish cooking the dinnerfor our guests. Larry, it seems, had no such concerns about holiday hospitality. I mean, unless he felt that painting the front door this morning was the best way to show people how welcome they are in our house on Thanksgiving. So he painted for a while, and then he decided to while away some more time chipping off the extra concrete around the front stoop railings. A must-do item on anyone's get-ready-for-Thanksgiving list, I'm sure.

When is a day off not a d…

Anyone There?

Today was a distinctly unfunny day. From the burned graham cracker pie crusts to the cold I seem to have picked up, nothing went quite right. But I'm okay now. Holidays are worse in the anticipation than in the actual event. Once I'm caught up in the swing of cooking and baking, it's all almost enjoyable (aside from the high-pitched whining that emanates constantly from my offspring - think cicadas). And I took Anna to get her hair cut today, which made her like me for almost 15 whole minutes. So that's good, too.

When I wasn't in the kitchen or out currying favor with my alienated teenage daughter, I was noticing that the other bloggers I visit get way more comments than me. What's up with that, huh? I have Sitemeter, and I know you're out there. Remember when you were little, and your mother took you to see the play Peter Pan? And everyone had to clap for poor little Tinkerbell, or she'd die or something? You all didn't clap, now did yo…

Thanks A Lot, Pilgrims!

Okay, time to quit supposing. It's not 20 years ago, we all have Thanksgiving dinners to prepare, and why am I wasting time in the blogosphere right now, anyway? Probably because I have a Thanksgiving dinner to prepare, but I don't know who's coming. We always wait until the last minute and invite whoever's alone (I mean, people that we know - not perfect strangers) to come eat. Those are the only people who might want to share their holiday with a teenage girl casting death glares at everyone, a whining 5-year-old, a spoiled 2-year-old girl (who's cute as a button, but loud), a 10-year-old vegetarian who nags people not to let their turkey touch his plate, and a 7-year-old boy who has just learned to burp at the table. And even then, the anticipated guest sometimes turns us down, thinking that one of those Swanson frozen dinners in the peace and quiet of his own home will do him just fine. In other words, we only get the truly desperate.

Thanksgiving just ain…

Back to the Future

Suppose the me from 1987 could visit the present-day me here, right now (look, I know it's ridiculous, but bear with me), what would I (the younger I) think as I watched the older me, on all fours, sniffing my bed, trying to figure out if that funny smell was caused by a leaking diaper? What would I think as I watched the older me at the computer, with my toddler perched on my back with her arms wrapped around my throat? What would I think as I listened to this stranger say things such as, "Leave Mommy alone now." "Go to bed." "I've told you not to tease your sister."

Would I be filled with admiration to see this adult me, this person responsible for the lives of 6 young ones, holding and tending to and disciplining the next generation? Or would I be thinking, instead, "Shoot me now...please"?

Yes, I have time to sit around wondering things like this. Don't you?

Larry worked on the kitchen floor again today. Isn't that a sur…

Here And There And All Around The Blogosphere

What a fun day! I watched the kids while my husband worked on the kitchen floor. Nothing like getting a break over the weekend so that I can start fresh on Monday (that's, um, sarcasm, folks, in case you couldn't tell). The children and I played refugee again, eating out and wandering around town in order to stay out of Larry's way. My kids are getting spoiled - "Fries again?" they whine - and I'm gaining (more) weight as a result of our substandard diet. But I refuse to even pretend to start a diet until January - I'm nothing if not realistic. Do you hear me, Sue?

Meanwhile, over at Because I Said So, Dawn is being bombarded with comments to the effect that if you break the rules of the Car Seat Gods by buckling your child into his car seat while he is wearing his coat, you are risking severe injury or even death. Give me a break, people. The kid may move an extra half inch due to the puffiness of the coat, but, compared to how we all were secure…

It's Payback Time

Today is notable in that I got nothing done whatsoever. And our handyman ran away. And our kitchen reeks because there is nothing but smelly 25-year-old plywood on the floor, and if it gets wet it releases into the air every single odor it has absorbed for the past quarter century. And it turns out that the tile guy, who Larry thought was coming tomorrow, is not coming until after Thanksgiving (as in, 2 weeks too late to save my marriage). This bad timing of Larry's might just be worth a sizable Pampered Chef order, what do y'all think?

The handyman whose number was given to us by a neighbor only after she swore us to secrecy as to his identity (this is the sort of neighborhood that has experienced extremely hostile handyman takeovers) and who finally agreed to come to our house to fix (among other things) the coat closet door, the attic door, the linen closet door (we seem to have a problem here), and the missing shoe molding - not to mention building a storage bench to th…

Odds and Ends

I have seen the light! I cleaned my oven with that self-cleaning mechanism thingie, and it worked! I wish I had tried that years ago. Actually, I think I did try it years ago, and something caught fire. But this time I managed not to burn the house down, and I didn't have to die a thousand deaths of embarrassment when the Pampered Chef consultant (salesperson, Larry insists on correcting me - he likes to call a spade a spade) opened my oven door to put in the pineapple upside-down cake.

Yesterday evening I held a Pampered Chef fundraiser at my house for a family with a sick baby. (See? Sometimes I do think about someone other than my own sorry self.) My friends and I all sat around my floorless kitchen and looked at fun new cooking gadgets (Suds Pump! Handy Chopper! Nesting Mixing Bowls!), while my husband sat in the living room clutching my credit card and wouldn't let it go. Thanks, honey. I would like to point out here that I've been using a butcher knife for t…

I Don't Want To Live Like A Refugee....

Library, thrift store, bakery, Target, bagel shop, bookstore - can you tell I didn't want to be in my own house yesterday? I needed to escape the torn-up kitchen and the refrigerator in my dining room - you know, when the going gets tough, the wimps run away. That's me.

Luckily, Theo wasn't put off by the mess and made us a decent dinner (stir-fry chicken with walnuts - excellent); luckily, because our sodium counts are going through the roof, what with being on the road all weekend and being kitchen refugees yesterday and Monday. Ido likethat boy. So now I just have to get the house ready for guests this evening. Which means, I take the myriad items lying around the main floor and throw them either upstairs or downstairs, close all the bedroom doors, wipe down the powder room, yell at all the kids non-stop not to leave their stuff around, and voila! I'm company-ready.

Martha Stewart secretly wishes she had my touch.

Maybe I should clean the oven, too, since a per…

Oh, Hell - You Bet!

I managed to escape to our neighborhood Bunko game yesterday evening, despite Larry's sudden home improvement attack. (Or, perhaps, because of it - who knows?) We needed more players, so we recruited 2 husbands (not mine - he was home, wreaking yet more destruction upon our erstwhile habitable kitchen). We still didn't have enough people, so the 2 guys, rebelling against the feminine aura of Bunko, dragooned us into playing a card game called "Oh, Hell." Which would have been a lot of fun, if I hadn't lost. Badly. Never play someone else's game - not when there's money involved, anyway.

So, anyway, after the game and drinks and food, I invited people over to our house so they could witness just what "irreconcilable differences" look like. Larry was still hacking away with his crowbar and some weird sort of electric saw that he had just bought that day at Home Depot. He really needed it, he said, to do the job right. Hey, I really need a …

Bad Timing

We made it back home. The trip was fairly easy, if you don't mind a sleepy 2-year-old screaming for her bed the last 50 miles or so.

I went out for a couple of hours this afternoon with my daughter Anna to argue over clothing choices. When we got back, we found Larry halfway through ripping up my kitchen floor. Apparently it slipped his mind that I had promised to hold a Pampered Chef fund raiser in our house 2 days from now (and I had told him this morning). A Pampered Chef fund raiser - you know, the kind where someone comes over and cooks a meal in your kitchen, a kitchen presumably not cluttered with chunks of torn-up linoleum and particle board. A kitchen, let's say, that has a floor. This is a problem, and I am not sure how to solve it, other than making Larry stay up all night until he finishes whatever project he has in mind.

It's not as if there were no other projects to work on in this house, you know.

I bought Anna 2 outfits that aren't too slutty. Th…

Entering the Twilight Zone

Well, no one can accuse us of overstaying our welcome. We head back home this evening, and we are hoping that most of the children will sleep in the car for most of the ride back. Eternal optimists, we are.

We visited a county park today and climbed up a hill to see the ruins of a "castle" built by a successful industrialist at the beginning of the last century. Wanting to know more about the history of the place, Larry and I googled the name of the location when we got back to my parents' house. But the webpage dedicated to the site has a picture of a completely renovated castle, a renovation that was finished about 7 years ago and contains both an art museum and a library. It is definitely recognizable as being built up from the ruin we saw today, which makes me wonder what the heck is going on. We saw a ruin. I know we saw a ruin. Now I wonder why we didn't see mysterious little Dutchmen playing ninepins up there.

I'm spooked, can you tell? Read Rip van…

On The Road Again

Well, we made it to my parents' house. It was a fairly uneventful car trip, disturbed only by Rachel's whining that she was hungry (because bagels, Twizzlers, and raisins did not fill the bill - I have no idea what she was expecting in the car - filet mignon?) and by my whining about how hard it was to pick up loose stitches in a moving vehicle. I'm also having a motivation problem with this knitting project, because I keep looking at the sock and thinking, "This should be a sweater." Which thought makes absolutely no sense, as I do not know how to knit a sweater. But that doesn't stop me from slipping the unfinished sock on my arm anyway and admiring how it looks as a sleeve.

It's a miracle we got the kids to sleep this evening. They were so wound up on candy and tickling and Bugs Bunny movies that I thought we'd need to use a tranquilizer dart gun to settle them down for the night. Really, all that the children do here is eat fun food, play with Lego…

Google Giggle

Oh, dear. You know, on the Firefox browser, how there is that little rectangular box in the upper right-hand corner, where you type search words for Google? And you know how, unless you remember to go back and delete, those search words stay up there until you do another search? Well, imagine my unsuspecting husband's consternation when he sits down at his computer this evening and sees "nude knitters" in his search box. That took some explaining, I must say. Because he doesn't read my blog.

We've been busy today getting ready for a weekend car trip to my parents' house. The kids are very excited about it, because they like all the junk we feed them to get them to be quiet in the car. And they like all the junk Grandma and Grandpa feed them when we visit. They are very food-oriented, my children. I'm excited about the trip because I get to spend over 4 hours knitting with no one bothering me (except to ask for more Twizzlers). Anna is excited ab…

I Feel Pretty

Do all parents feel alarmed when they hear water running anywhere in the house? Is it instinct? Or have I been traumatized by too many years of bad plumbing experiences?

Knit Night went well. I took a barely-knitting friend there, because she wanted someone to show her how to put fringe on a scarf. She couldn't figure out why everyone there was so friendly and helpful. At a loss for a better explanation, I told her, "It's because they're knitters." Really, can you picture a mean knitter? Tale of 2 Cities aside, of course.

By the way, "barely-knitting" means a beginner knitter, not one who likes to do her handiwork in the nude. In case you were wondering. Though I'm sure if I googled "nudist knitters," I'd probably find a yahoo group or two devoted to just that. Isn't the Internet great? [I was going to hyperlink to a site, just to show you that I was right; but, after perusing the options, I've changed my mind. This is a f…

Talk To Me

Everyone all over the blogosphere is having these cute conversations with their kiddies (and, yes, Sue, I'm talking to you), and here - well, that sort of thing just doesn't happen. It's all, "Did you eat your carrots? How many? Eat another one." And then they whine. Or, I'll say, "Time to play outside. Go! Now!" and they go. Sometimes I vary it a bit by saying, "Get in the car! Hurry up!" or "Why didn't you go to the bathroom before?" My teenage daughter will occasionally initiate an interpersonal exchange by screaming, "I hate you!", which I guess has the potential to be meaningful; but I never know where to go with that, you know? Maybe I'm just not approaching this conversation thing correctly. Are there certain lines I should use for openers? I mean, aside from, "Sweetie, do you have something cute to say that I could put in my blog?" Just wondering.

I have Knit Night tonight. It'…

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Title

I have a 5-year-old daughter who for some reason takes pleasure in snipping a single fringe (can that word even be used in the singular?) off our authentic Turkish carpet every few days. Every time I sweep the dining room floor (about twice a week), I find one (just one) severed string from our pretty rug, which happens to be the only nice thing we have left in this dump we call home. Today I also noticed a deep scratch in the glass of our storm door (too high for Susie to reach). I am assuming Rachel has decided to adopt a stealthier approach than she has employed previously in order to achieve her goal of destroying everything we own. And there is nothing I can do about it. If I bring attention to it, experience tells me that she will escalate.

Isn't there some sort of homeowner's insurance I could buy that would cover us for vandalism of this nature? I'm sure that it would more than pay for itself.

Susie is not adjusting well to Standard Time. She stood at my elbow …

The Way We Were

Anna asked me to take her shoe-shopping this evening, and she was shocked, shocked, to hear me say, "No." The floor of her room is still littered with the refuse from her tantrum last night, including broken shards of plastic and approximately a zillion teeny tiny beads that fell victim to her indignation at being made to catch up on her geometry assignments. It would also be nice if she put the sheets on her bed. I am quite the exacting housekeeper.

I hope that these Anna stories make someone feel better, just knowing that at least his/her teen doesn't act this way. Somebody has to benefit from this craziness. So go ahead, pat yourself on the back at my expense. I don't mind.

We're still coming down from the candy high which was engendered by the holiday-that-must-not-be-named-again-in-this-blog-until-next-October. Rachel wept all through dinner because Brian still had 4 Skittles left and she had nothing. It is beyond my organization skills to make sure th…

Thanks For The Memories

Yup, we're all mixed up, time-wise. In case you were wondering. And I had the pleasant experience of being woken up by Anna yelling at Rachel to "Get out! Just get out!" because Rachel was trying to get dressed at the early hour of 8 (well, 7, but I'll stick to Daylight Savings Time for this little anecdote, since Anna went to bed in DST, and really, 10 hours should be enough not to get too annoyed).


I don't remember when I agreed to relive high school. I had to spend an hour and a half in the car with 3 14-year-old girls this afternoon and I hated every minute of it. Funny, but until today, I had assumed that parents tell their kids that screaming and yelling in the car (at least over the age of 2) is out of bounds. And, while they're at it, that listening to an IPod when no one else in the car has one is sort of rude and immature. Maybe they could even find time to tell their darling little IPod-wearer that her hearing could be damaged when that thin…

Drive Me Crazy

Do I hate this woman, or what? Here I am gimping around, dragging one foot behind me like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein, and she's 40 weeks pregnant and running marathons? Show-off. It only takes a few women like her to ruin pregnancy for the rest of us.

It was Larry's turn to take Theo on the road today. In fact, I think it is going to be his turn from now on. We'll settle for traditional gender role assignments here - I give birth to the kids, and Larry teaches them how to drive. That's fair, isn't it? And, you know, that Lamaze breathing that everyone learns at childbirth classes that doesn't do squat when you are actually in labor? It does come in useful when you are in the passenger seat and the "baby" is driving. I sure hope Larry paid attention to how to do it.

Well, it's time to set half the clocks in the house back and then get distracted and leave the others as is and be really, really mixed up when we get up tomorrow mornin…

As Time Goes By

A fellow blogger (who is very funny, by the way - check her out) mentioned in passing that she is 35 years old. And it got me to thinking, what wouldn't I give to be 35 again? Not any younger, mind you, because 34 was the Year of the Head Lice around this house, and there is no way I could repeat that. But 35? If I were 35 right now, I could start yoga and then, when I would be 44 again, I wouldn't be pulling my back out lifting a jack-o-lantern off the porch and maybe my wrists wouldn't hurt when I try to brush my hair, and perhaps I would be so limber that I never would have done whatever it is I did to my hip a couple of weeks ago that is making my leg be all weird and numb for most of the day.

Also, my kids would all be young enough to worship the ground I walk on.

In short, I am rapidly falling apart here, and there doesn't seem to be anything (aside from time travel) that I can do about it. I do yoga now, and I walk in the mornings, and I give birth regularly;…

The End of Halloween (I Promise)

Thought I'd grab a moment while the kids continue overdosing on sugar to let everyone know that Halloween here was a rip-roaring success. Larry took the 4 youngest to a zillion houses and they came home bearing approximately 46 pounds of candy each. Which we promptly took away. Just kidding - we waited until they finally went to bed and then we took it away. Except for a few pieces, which they are working on now.

Susie dropped out after about 50 houses and came home and sat on the floor and devoured candy. It was awesome to watch. She ate and ate and ate. At one point, she had 3 different lollipops going, and an open pack of Skittles. What finally slowed her down was when she peed in her (pretty darn absorbent) pumpkin costume.

Anna went trick-or-treating with a neighborhood friend. Because the friend's family is just so cool and not horribly embarrassing like ours. Not that I am bitter or anything.

This morning we walked to the bagel shop for breakfast and the kids pic…