Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Where does the time go?  The time since the kids were little, since summer was here, since I last blogged.  Life is busy and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

All the kids are in school.  Yup, you heard that right, ALL of them.  Emma is in third grade, the twins started Kindergarten, and Drew is officially a preschooler.  Yes, Drew who is seven months old in the sidebar picture because I haven't taken the time to update them in three years. Although the pics on the blog are the same age as the most recent pics of my kids on the walls in my living room, so at least I am an equal-opportunity picture ignore-er.  If the doctor's children are sick, and the shoemaker's kids go barefoot;  I guess it makes sense that the photographer's kids get their pics taken often but they never make it out of the computer and up on the wall.  Well, maybe they do at first.  Just not after four kids.

My days have been filled with the normal everyday stuff that fills the days of a mom of four.  I really thought that this "everyone in school" thing would free up my days, but I think I am busier than ever.  Also, with Drew being here and no other children to entertain him, it has been challenging as there are no other children to tattle on him as he is trying to dance on the bathroom counter/climb the bookcase again/teach the cat gymnastics.  OK, I don't think the cat would put up with being taught gymnastics.  He's a feisty cat, which is a necessary skill for being an animal in this family.

Also, Drew is a talker.  And when I say he is a talker, I mean that I have been working on getting him to understand that you have to stop and take a breath while you are talking, and that you cannot just continue talking while you are breathing in.  No one can understand you that way, and it makes you dizzy.  And drives Mama batty.  And there isn't enough chocolate in the world to deal with that for six hours straight.

And I know all of you dear blog followers are just so excited because you have just missed reading a whole slew of sentenced that start with "and".  You are welcome.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ungrateful and Grateful

It's been a year since I went to Africa.  I can't believe it.  The team went again this year, and I was not a part of it.  I wanted to be, but God said to wait.  I will say that the time the team was gone was a rough two weeks for me.  I sat and watched as team members posted pictures on facebook of the sweet children that I got to love on last year, and the school that we were at and the slum that we walked through and experienced, and the very same park that we had brought the very same kids to, and I missed it all. I wanted to be crammed in a bus packed with children so tight that you couldn't move and you didn't know if that puddle on your lap was sweat form being pressed in with seven children on your lap or of you had been peed on, and there was no room to check.  I wanted hear their little voices sing their little hearts out and smell the stench of rotting, burning garbage on the streets as we rumbled down pothole-filled streets, jostling and bumping for miles.

I stood in my bathroom and looked at my shiny, clean toilet.  The toilet that I was so grateful for when I got home last year, the toilet with a seat and water that ran through it and that wasn't just a hole in the ground to hover over.  And I was not grateful for my toilet like I had been, because I wanted nothing other than to pee in a hole while swatting flies and holding my breath with all my might because the stench was so strong.

I wanted that.  I wanted to be uncomfortable and hot and sweaty as the children pressed in and to be constantly using hand sanitizer for fear of e-coli and typhoid and a host of other things carried on the children's filthy hands.  Hands that I held, and loved, and caressed with all my might for such a short time. Hands that played in my hair, braiding and smoothing; hands that pressed into my white skin, amazed that it changed color with pressure.  Fingers that fiddled with the rough skin on my elbows, fascinated for some reason.  I miss it so much my heart hurts a physical pain in my chest and I want to go back.

And I laid in my bed and I sobbed.  I sobbed with ungratefulness for my soft bed and my warm sheets and my house and my green yard.  I cried out with the pain of heartache of missing these people, these lives that I experienced for such a short time but had such a profound impact on my entire being.  I left a huge part of my heart in Africa, and my heart ached with the separation and I wanted to be there to feel whole again.

But God had told me to to wait.  I had argued Him for a while, back in January when we had signed up for the trip, excited to go back, but whenever God and I disagree, He is always right.  So I waited.  My husband and I hope to go next year, if it is God's will.  Oh, how I hope it is God's will, because if I don't go back I might explode.  I want to see those kids, and love on those amazing people who have absolutely nothing that America deems of value but who have joy and contentment like I have never seen in this country because they know that stuff doesn't matter.  The faith of those people is amazing, and my heart longs to be a part of that circle of faith again, even for a short time.  Where the name of Jesus is intertwined into everyday conversation in the most natural way, because they know that they only have life and breath because of Him.  I am tired of being afraid, afraid in a land where the name of our savior is spoken hesitantly to see if it will cause offense.  To see if we will be labeled as a freak.  Where we value a life of blending in and being "normal".  I don't want to be normal.

Because we live in a society where Self is valued above all else, and I want to go back to where God is valued because I know that God is so much greater then Self.  I hear people talk in words that whisper little nudgings that Self is the most important, that we "deserve" this or that reward or break or purchase because we need to put our own needs first and I just want to scream and to go back and to love on some people who teach me so much more than I cousd ever bring to them with all the money in the world.  Because I know that what I deserve, and I know that what I deserve is not what I will get, because He died for me to make sure I don't have to feel the burn of the consequences of my choices.  He saved me.  He died for me.  He is the most important.

I am grateful for my house, and I am grateful for my money, and I am grateful for my toilet.  I am grateful that my children will not die of preventable disease or starvation.  I am grateful and I am humbled and I am thankful that He chose to give this life to me.  I also know that to whom much is given, much is required, an now that I have seen the difference in what I have been given I know I need to act.  Much is required of me, and it is not to go to the mall because I "deserve it".  It is to live to serve, and I'm still figuring out what that looks like, even a year later.  But it will come, small stirrings in my heart to lead me down God's path for my life.

And I can't wait to see what He does.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things We Have Learned, Camping Edition

1.  Our families are awesome.  That isn't something new that we learned, but rather something that we are constantly reminded of every time we all get together.

2.  If you forget your camera on a camping trip, it's good to be related to someone like Holly who always brings hers everywhere.  That way, you can lift pics off of her Facebook page and make a blog post.  (Thanks, Holly!)

3.  Our crew has finally reached the age where we can let them hang out at the campfire without constantly being within arm's reach.  Hallelujah!!

4.  Emma loves a good grandpa snuggle...

...and a good baby cousin snuggle...

...and another good grandpa snuggle, along with having her hair braided by Papa.

5.  My mom can still skip rocks with the best of 'em.  She has always been the most incredible rock-skipper I have ever known.

6.  When you don't want to walk across the cold river, if you look at your older cousin Nate with big, adorable eyes, he might take pity on you can carry you across.  You might lose your shorts in the process, but it's a small price to pay.

7.  Mud is awesome.  However, if you get yourself covered in mud because the river is too cold to play in, you will be dunked in the river anyway to get washed off.  You will probably scream.  Your dad probably will do it anyway.

8.  Great Grandmas make good drinking buddies.  They will share straws with you and clink your cup in cheers before every sip.  Even if you feel the need to drink two or three cups full of lemonade in order to cheers with Great Grandma a whole lot of times.

9.  Drew has no shame, and will pee on a tree in the open in front of everyone after a couple of cups full of lemonade.

10.  Drew will actually run, buck naked, out of the motor home to go pee on a tree at the opposite side of camp, and will sing a little "I'm a nakey boy!" song as he proudly struts his way across the open camp in front of the entire family.

11.  Camping in someone's field instead of a campground is the best choice for our family.  Definitely the best choice.

12. Camping in someone's field that is actually used as an airstrip is a wonderful way to entertain the kids.  However, screaming, "Get off the field, a plane's coming in to land!"  probably isn't something most parents yell to their kids during an average camping adventure.

13.  Papa Wayne is the best deep-fryer around.  And family potluck deep fry night is still a favorite annual tradition.

14.  Deep fried onion rings look absolutely amazing after you find out you have to be gluten-free and can't eat them.  Even if you've never liked onion rings before.

15.  Butterfly nets are not just for catching butterflies.  Sometimes they are for catching Aunties...

...and sometimes they are for catching Jack Jacks!

16.  Camping on the mountain provides great kite-flying winds.

17.  Riding your bike while trying to fly a kite from the dollar store only works till the kite string gets wrapped around the bike axle.  The kite won't make it.

18.  If you ask a five year old boy to "show me your cute face!"  This is what you get.  And I have to say, it's a cute face!

19.  My hubby is a rock star and can run five miles in the rain, over rough terrain, through the mud and muck.  Oh, and Wayne and Heather aren't too shabby, either!

 20.  Jack Jack even looks adorable in time-out.

And what was he in time out for, you ask?  Well, that brings us to our biggest and most important Thing We have Learned, which is...

21. Our borrowed motor home can be put into neutral by a three year old without the keys in the ignition or a foot on the brake.  And it will roll off the blocks and go backwards about four feet.

22.  Emergency brakes in motor homes are a really good idea.

(No one was hurt during the making of these memories.  By the grace of God, the older kids had stopped playing hide and seek under the motor home about ten minutes before Jack Jack drove the motor home.  We are very, very thankful to God for watching out for our family!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Least of These

Spring has officially sprung here in the Pacific Northwest, and with that comes not only longer days and pretty flowers, but also the affects of those longer days and sunshine.  Namely, the ability to actually see the grime and gunk and algae that built up everywhere over the winter.

So, last week I hauled out the old pressure washer and got to work on the walkways and patio.  Every spring, I think "oh, this isn't too bad this year, maybe I'll just skip it this time," but I do it anyway and am always amazed at the difference.

I have to say, the actual act of pressure washing is relaxing.  I love the monotony, the sound that drowns out everything else around me, and the chance to be alone with my thoughts for a while.  This year was a little different, though.  This year I had the chance to be alone with my thought while watching gallons and gallons of clean, pure water clean my sidewalk.

Yes, that is the same way I have pressure washed before.  But it's different now.

Let me back up a bit.  Back in August, one of the things we did on our trip to Africa was stay at the YWAM (Youth With a Mission) base in Arusha, Tanzania.  We were there for the dedication of the Tumaini house, an orphanage that our church helped build; as well as a baptism of many of the Maasai people, including the chief of the Maasai tribe.  It was incredible, but that is a story for another day. 

The particular situation I was brought back to when I was pressure washing was a time when we were relaxing.  Papa Cho, who ran the YWAM base also had built the New Vision school as a way to educate some of the local children.

New Vision School Arusha, Tanzania

To make a long story short, a man from Bellingham, Washington went to Tanzania and found street children playing with a soccer ball made of plastic grocery bags, and decided to make a difference.  New Vision Soccer was born as a ministry to the street boys of the area, and they built a full-sized, regulation soccer field and started the New Vision soccer organization.

We went to watch this team of amazing boys play, and they played a game against some of the members of our missions team. 

Some of our team from Christ the King Church played against these boys, and the rest of us sat and watched while the neighborhood kids swarmed us.

As was the case most of the time, the kids were thrilled with the chance to get their picture taken, and see their image in the back of the camera.

 This is Adrain, hubby to the superbly awesome Lemonade Makin' Mama.

We sat with these kids, playing games, singing songs, and having a great time.

The kids were fabulous, as all the kids in Africa were.  Happy and joyful and just amazing.  However, they were thirsty, and we all had out bottles of water that we brought everywhere.  That was the hardest part.  We couldn't share our water, as we wouldn't have enough to go around and it wouldn't be wise anyway.  Many of these kids were sick, and tuberculosis was common.  Sharing water wouldn't help the kids, it would just spread disease.

The water they had was scarce.  A large reservoir filled with water was available for people to fill up jugs for their family, for a price.  Considering the average family lives on less than a dollar a day, the cost of water is high so it isn't something families have a lot of.

That which is available isn't of great quality, the kids' teeth are stained from what is in the water.

 Here we were, surrounded by thirsty children.  And we had clean, pure water.

 Matthew 25: 34-40
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
These are the least of these.  They were thirsty, and we could do nothing.

I stood on my patio, spraying pure, clean water to do nothing more than remove dirt and make it look pretty, and thought of these children and cried.  It still haunts me, that time where we sat with the least of these and weren't able to give them a drink.  I do know that we really couldn't have helped them, sharing our water would have brought them relief for a moment, but possibly have spread disease that would last.  In an area that couldn't afford medical care, that would be devastating. 

It was hard.  It is still hard, on days when the gas line at Costco is long, or someone is rude at the grocery store, or when our power goes out for a few hours.  It is hard to be frustrated in my selfish American way, and then the memories come back and humility sets in.

We live in an area that has so much, that some of our biggest inconveniences are waiting behind other wealthy people to buy whatever we want.

I am humbled.

There was one little sweetheart in particular who touched me.  I never got her name, and I don't even know for sure if it was a girl or a boy, but the painted toenails make me think it was a girl.  She crawled up in my lap and cuddled close.  Some of these children are orphans, some live with grandparents or relatives or are passed from relative to relative as none of their family has enough money to raise them on their own.  Some live on the streets, where survival means following anyone who will feed you, so gangs and violence are common.

Safety is rare.  Security is hard to come by.

This little sweetie crawled up in my lap and within minutes, was sound asleep.  Amidst the hustle and bustle of the noise of the other children, the soccer game, and the rest of our team singing and dancing, she found security in my arms, even if only for a short while.

We didn't speak the same language, but some conversations don't require words.  So I held her.  I held her as my arms started to ache and fall asleep, not moving at all for fear of waking her.  I held her till the game was almost over, and her sister came and got her to take her back home, wherever that was.

I sprayed my patio, listening to the sound of the pressure washer and the rhythm of the sprayer cleaning off the concrete.  I remembered holding her, and although I couldn't give her what was obvious (water) I was able to give her something else.  I wonder if she remembers me at all, or if this was just another day in her difficult life.  I do know that I will never forget her.

And I will never look at pressure washing the same way again.

Be sure to visit New Vision Soccer's website here, and "like" them on Facebook.  This is an amazing organization bringing hope to children who have none.

Here's a link to a video New Vision made from the trip in August 2011:

Thursday, March 29, 2012


It has been a DAY.

A day of tattling, whining, tattling, yelling, tattling, complaining, and tattling.  My eye is twitching and even the cat has figured out that leaving me alone is really the safest option right now.  This is not one of those days filled with joy and wonder of life viewed through the eyes of children, I am just ready for them to go to bed.

I was in the kitchen making dinner, when I heard a bicker starting.  I firmly believe that parents who involve themselves in every sibling spat are setting their children up to never be able to resolve conflict on their own, so I kept chopping chicken and waited to hear the inevitable escalation.  When Emma came into the kitchen and started with the "Mooom?!?"  I took a deep breath before I answered her.

Exhale.  Three hours till bedtime.  I can do this.  "Yes, dear?"

"Mom, could you encourage Grant a little?  He's drawing a lollipop and he doesn't think he is doing a great job, but he is doing really well.  Do you think you could give him some encouragement so he will feel better about his drawing?"

The concern in her voice sucked the remaining air out of my lungs, and I looked at her in awe.

Mama heart swoon.

It is nice to have those little reminders every once in a while, amidst the challenges of four kids and the fighting that goes with that, that they really and truly do care about each other. 

Ben tried some encouragement of his own, "Gwant, that really is a good drawing.  You are still a good draw-er, even if you are not as good as me!"

OK, it's still a work in progress.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blissful Freedom

Alrighty folks, it's official.

After close to eight years straight

thousands of dollars spent, 

countless hours and hours of my life,

many, many, MANY accidents involving bodily fluids on my legs and feet,

I don't even want to know what we did to the landfills of our country,

I have finally


changed the very last diaper I will ever change on one of my children.

That's right,

Jack Jack is potty trained.

(and the heavens open, the angels sing, and the Great Beam of Light comes down, basking me with Glory and Peace and a much nicer smelling house)

I had all these plans for this time, rolling around in the buckets of money we would save, re-decorating my house with the extra time on my hands, and being filled with so much awesome at the new stage we have finally reached in our family.  Instead, all the kids are going through a growth spurt at the same time, so all my buckets of money are going to food (seriously, one breakfast recently was two dozen eggs, a whole pineapple, a double batch of pancakes, and a whole package of bacon; and that was just the kids, Marty and I didn't eat,) which just leads to  even more trips to Costco with one more boy who pees.


Angel choir.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Even the Government Knows About Our Crazy

I was recently having a conversation with my friend Kristen and we were talking about the square footage of our houses.  Now, our house is small for America's standard for housing six people, but we make do.  I thought our house was 1,300 square feet, but then Kristen said her house was 1,300 square feet, but her house has two living areas, and I just know it's bigger than mine.  So I went on a  hunt to see what the square footage of our house really is.  Not that it matters, but I was curious.

Yes, this is sounding like a really boring blog post.  But keep reading, it gets better.

Being that we live in an older double-wide mobile home, it's a perfect rectangle and measuring was easy.  I measured the inside of the house, and included the walls and came up with 1,102 square feet.  Marty said that was wrong because I needed to measure from the outside, but I don't think there is any way that I missed a whole 200 square feet just in the exterior walls.  So I hit up the county assessor's website and checked, and it said our house was 1,323 square feet.  I looked up Kristen's house and according to the assessor, the square footage is identical to ours at 1,323 square feet. 

It is really weird that it's the exact same number, right?.  Let's focus on that weirdage and not the fact that I actually looked up a friend's house on the assessor's website, m'kay?

I went back to the assessor's page for our house, and out of curiosity, clicked some of the other tabs.  Didja know that there's tons of info available for every house on that site?  It's really interesting.  I looked under the "Property Image" tab, and was surprised to find a recent picture of our house, it looks like it was taken last spring or summer.  The van is there, so we were home.  I'm going to ignore the fact that somehow I didn't notice someone photographing our house.  You can't tell from the picture, but the entire driveway area is fully fenced as well, so there's no way someone could just do a drive-by-picture.  They actually entered our property and I didn't notice.  Maybe I was busy cleaning up pee.

I was happy to see that amazingly, the flowerbeds looked pretty recently weeded and the sidewalk was relatively clear of toys and bikes.  Of course, there is the ever-present grass growing in the driveway, but whatever.  I like our house.  It has very cute curb-appeal for being a 23 year old mobile home, don'tchathink?

Then I looked a bit closer.  If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it a little and see what I saw. 

Do you see it?

Imagine my shock and laughter that erupted so loudly that everyone came running when I discovered that the county assessor's website has a picture of my cute little house, all sunny and cheery and looking adorable.

With Drew standing in the windowsill.


Not only do I have this blog to document the challenges of raising this spirited child, now the government has photographic evidence as well.

Only my child. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Today in a Nutshell

Today was typical, but different in that I intentionally wrote things down that were funny and/or cute so I could blog them.  Here is today, in a nutshell.

This morning, in the mad rush to get Emma out the door and to the bus, I found Drew (a.k.a Jack Jack) who had made little steps out of his dresser drawers, teetering at the top trying to reach his backpack.  While I am used to his antics, the memory of climbing my own dresser as a child and having it fall and being trapped underneath came rushing back.  Luckily Purposefully, their dresser is long and wide instead of tall, so the danger of it tipping was quite minimal.  But still.  It's like he wants to go to the hospital again.

In true Jack Jack style, each of the four steps was perfectly spaced out from each other in an even, symmetrical stair-step pattern.  He's like an OCD Evel Kenevil.


Overheard this morning at the breakfast table:

Ben:  "You're grumpy, Grant."

Grant: (yelling) "NO I'M NOT!!"

Ben:  "I found grumpy eyebrows on you."

Grant: (scowling) "When I'm done eating I'm gonna tackle you."

I almost choked trying not to laugh.  Ah, the joy of five year old twins.  I do have to say, I'm really proud that they are using their words.


Emma was perusing her baby book this morning.  Her lovely, wonderfully scrapbooked album of memories, perfectly preserved and kept right next to the twins' empty scrapbooks, which still have the cellophane wrapped around them.  Those are right next to the empty space that Drew's scrapbook might someday go if I ever buy one and/or get photos printed from his first year of life.  Ahh, the progression of having four kids in four years. 

Anywhoo, Emma was looking through the pictures, and exclaimed, "Oh, here's one of me crying with Daddy!"  I lovingly responded, like the best mothers do, "he's probably picking on you."  She came back with, "let me see here.  Yup!  he IS picking on me!" 

Photographic evidence that the need for us to save for our kids' future therapy started really early.


We went to Costco.  Yeah.  My lovely husband met me on his lunch break, and we had a hot date with Costco hot dogs and a cart full of little boys.  We got what we needed and as soon as we hit the checkout, Jack Jack predictably announced that he had to go potty, which set off a long string of boys exclaiming their need to pee.  Marty innocently asked, "do you want to take them?"  to which I replied, "no way, Jose.  I don't want to take them to the bathroom, are you nuts?"

So he offered.  And as he was taking the kids out of the cart, he said, "now there is one rule.  Don't pee on each other, OK?"  The man in line in front of us laughed, and commented, "that's a good rule right there."  I responded, "dude, if you only knew"  "well, we haven't always had the best of luck in this place."

Marty took them potty.  I didn't ask how it went, but everyone seemed in good spirits and not reeking of urine when they came out of the bathroom, so I'll call it a successful Costco bathroom trip.


We picked Emma up from the bus, and headed straight out to get some groceries.  On the way, I asked her, "How was your day today?"  She responded quickly, almost like she was out of breath even starting.  "Well, it was a good day, but I got my feelings hurt at last recess because a boy in Kindergarten made a sand castle at first recess, and by second recess it was gone, but I was building a big sand castle and he thought that I messed up his castle, but I didn't do anything, it was gone when I started building.  But I built the biggest, most beautiful sand castle ever, and I went to go get some rocks to decorate it and he stomped all over it and wrecked it."  Her voice wavered, and her eyes filled with unshed tears.  I immediately responded, "oh, baby!  I am so sorry, that would hurt my feelings, too."  The twins were listening from the back of the van, and commiserated with her, Grant saying, "that's not fair, he shouldn't wreck your project!"  Ben, calmly in his little-Ben way, said, "Emma, when I go to Kindergarten next year, you show me who he is, and I'll have a talk with him."

And this Mama grinned from ear to ear all the way to the Green Barn.


In another conversation, Grant asked for something at the Green Barn.  The Green Barn is our local produce stand, it's awesome and fantastic and we love it.  Anywhoo, Grant wanted "that thingy that I don't remember.  But it's like Brussels Sprouts, but all scrunched up like leaves hooked together."  I was intrigued.  After carefully searching the Green Barn, he realized what he was wanting Savoy Cabbage, so we bought one.  Now I have to figure out what to make with it in the next few days.

Menu planning by the whims of children is a common thing around here, as long as the whims of the children include veggies.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blogging and facebook

UPDATE:  OK, the word is slipped, not spilled.  It was TOTALLY a contest to see who caught my typo, congrats to Shari!  I mean, I would NEVER just completely replace a word with the wrong word, re-read it twice and not notice;  it was obviously intentional and I am grateful that Shari figured it out!  Grammar police, I am NOT holding a contest to count how many times I start a sentence with "and" or "but" or end with a preposition.  Those I don't care about at all, and I'm going to pretend that's part of my charm. ;)

Original post, edited to fix the typo that Shari won the contest for:

I decided to give up facebook for lent.  I know, for some it's not a real sacrifice, but for me, facebook was quickly becoming too much of a focus during the day.  I could just hop on and read what people were up to, make a few comments and likes and then get up and get to work, but I was finding that I was just hopping on for a quick couple of minutes several times an hour.  I would finish the dishes and one of the boys would want me to read him a story and I would tell him, "Sure, buddy, right after I check something on the computer really quick."  Putting my children off for facebook is never a good thing.  Having your focus on something that was not God or family is never a good thing either.

I wanted some time to get away from the draw of it all, and lent seemed like the perfect time to do it.  I could take the time to re-adjust my focus and have the kids and my Bible become my first priority, have those things be what draws me after I finish the dishes after lunch.  So far, it's going well.

Well, kind of.

I didn't realize how much I relied on the comments that would come after I posted something funny that the kids did.  That is quite often my only interaction with grownups besides my husband, and I miss it.  Quite often, something will happen, and I've already started mentally writing the facebook post in my head before it catches up to me that I won't be posting.  That part is tough.  I miss the comments, the back and forth that comes from an online chat with friends that can happen while the kids are screaming and I haven't showered.

And seriously, y'all, I actually slipped on a banana peel yesterday.  For reals.  I honestly didn't think that was actually possible, but I did it.  The heel of my shoe landed on the edge of a peel that was right next to the garbage can (thank you, small children) and my heel went skidding forward and I tensed my leg in that way you do to try to keep from doing the splits, and I pulled my groin muscle just a little bit but enough that it hurt for the rest of the day.

It was a banana-peel injury.  A banana-peeljury.  A banajury.

Clearly, I need to get out more.

Anywhoo, since Ash Wednesday, my house has been cleaner, I have started three or four new projects (but not finished any of them, because some things never change) and I have spent more time in the Bible.  Those are good things.  Well, the primed-but-not-painted laundry room is half of a good thing, but it will be a good thing when I am done.  Until then, the laundry is just lined up against the hallway and is slowly creeping into the living room.  But to be honest, just the dull, flat primer covering the totally rad late-eighties printed wallboard is a huge improvement, even with the blue painter's tape and the fact that we can't put the laundry hamper in there.

I will try to blog more often, but I kind of have this mental block that facebook statuses can be short but blog posts have to be long.  I never used to be that way, and I'm going to try to get over it.  I need to blog about things other than getting peed on at Costco, because while those posts do great things for my blog traffic, I hope to never have to post another one of those again.  Sorry, folks, I like to be here for your entertainment, but a girl's gotta draw the line somewhere.

It's called boundaries, people.

(Although I did offer to get peed on for a dear friend recently who was having a bad day.  I am willing to make sacrifices for those I care deeply about.  That's love.)

Clearly, I'm starting to ramble, so I'll end this before I make an even bigger fool of myself, and I'll go get some more coffee.  Oh, yeah, I started drinking coffee recently!  I am kind of wondering how I survived the last ten years or so without it, but I'm learning quickly.  Coffee with creamer and some hot cocoa mix is fabulous, by the way. 

If you wouldn't mind, could you kindly leave a comment on this post so I know you read it, and to save me from the rapidly approaching insanity?  I love comments.  And coffee.  Thanks, you guys rock!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Costco, Revisited

We went to Costco yesterday.

Not noteworthy for most people, I know.   But if you have been around Still Seeking Sanity for any length of time, you know that Costco and my kids have a history.

And sometimes, even when you do your darndest to stop it, history repeats itself.


So my whole plan in Costco has been to avoid the bathrooms at all costs.  It seemed like a reasonable plan, but I forgot the diaper bag yesterday and Drew had filled his diaper to the point that the ever-popular scrape-out-the-bulk-of-it-and-line-it-with-paper-towels backup plan wasn't an option (oh come on, you know you've done that); so he was wearing undies while we were out running errands.  And as any mother of a not-quite potty-trained child knows, if the kid says he has to pee, you take him to pee.

Even if you are in Costco.

We had a chat as we walked down the hallway.  It went something like this, "You will not pee on each other.  At all. Got it?"

I know, that's quality parenting at it's best right there.

Ben was walking down the hallway playing with all the padlocks on the employee lockers and apparently not listening to his mother, because he missed the memo.

So into the bathroom we went.  Emma into her own stall, and the boys and I in another.  I like to keep them close, so I can monitor the flow, if you will.

But I only have two eyes, and there are three flows.  I kept an eye on Grant, to make sure he got his pants down far enough so we wouldn't have a repeat performance.  I watched Drew, who is still learning and is likely to "miss".  However I didn't watch Ben, who was trying to sword-fight with his brother's, uhm, stream and decided that the best place to cross his stream with Grant's was just as it was leaving Grant's body.

So basically, in a nutshell, Ben peed on Grant's legs and pants on purpose.

Once again, I didn't know it was happening at the time.  Grant started screaming as I was holding Drew up to the level he needed to be, and I didn't see it at first.  Then Grant hollered, "BEN!  You are peeing on my legs!"  To which I said something calm, cool, and collected, something like, "Are you freaking kidding me?!?  What did I say about not peeing on each other this time?!?  Ben, what on earth are you thinking?!?"

And the mother of the year award goes to....

Probably not me.

Emma, who was a couple of stalls down, yelled "Seriously, they peed on each other AGAIN?!?" And I didn't even want to think about what everyone else was thinking, because like every time this happens, every stall was full.

Thankfully, it wasn't the entire bladder's full.  And thankfully, Grant was wearing warm-up pants so it all wiped off pretty easily.

And I had a sudden, earth-shattering realization of how crazy my life actually is when I replied to my daughter across a full public bathroom, "Don't worry, honey, it was just a little bit of pee and it is cleaning up pretty easily.  No big deal, it's not as bad as last time."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cat vs Tooth Fairy

Emma lost a tooth late last night.

It was assisted slightly by my darling husband, who has a tendency to assist children in losing loose teeth without even knowing that he is helping.  What a guy.

Anywhoo, she was in bed and called out, "My tooth!  I lost a tooth!!"  She was so excited, and we went in to cheer with her, both of us showing our excitement and joy while wracking our brains to figure out if we had a dollar in our wallets.

After the celebration and subsequent necessary showing of the tooth to the brothers, she headed off to bed and we found a dollar, rolled it up an waited for her to fall asleep.

However, Emma sleeps with her cat.  And we could hear her in her room, talking to her cat.  "If I wake up and there's no tooth, and no dollar, then I know you ate the Tooth Fairy.  That's not OK.  Teddy, do not eat the Tooth Fairy, understand?!?"

OK, anyone who knows us knows that we couldn't just let that one go.

And hopefully, the cat learned his lesson.  I mean, really.  You don't ever take on Fairy Tale creatures, that's just common sense.

Here's the sweet girl, who apparently slept through the whole battle.  When she woke and figured out what had happened, she saw the cat fur and Fairy Dust on her sheets next to her pillow and exclaimed, "Oh, this must be where it all started!"

On her floor, not under her pillow was a half-hazard tooth tin, a slightly ripped dollar, and a toothbrush.  The Tooth Fairy must have been so tired after the fight with the cat that she couldn't bring everything back up onto the bed.  I can't blame her, that was probably exhausting.

Luckily the Tooth Fairy left a note so we know she was OK.  The Tooth Fairy has really small handwriting, it must be because she is so small.  The note reads, "Wow, that's one tough cat!  Don't worry, I got away and I'm OK.  Sorry about his fur.  It will grow back.  Love, Tooth Fairy"  The dollar was mangled and covered in Fairy Dust, and the tin held some Fairy Dust and cat fur.

Emma's new toothbrush, broken open and also covered in Fairy Dust and cat fur.  Apparently, she beat him off with it.  At least she's a resourceful little Fairy!

And the cat, looking mildly ticked off, missing a couple of hunks of fur, and slightly glitter-y between the eyes.
Don't ask.
Unfortunately, we will never know exactly what happened between Teddy and the Tooth Fairy, as there were no witnesses.  I hope the Tooth Fairy comes back again, it seems like it was quite the battle.  And I'm not sure the cat will ever be the same.

As for Emma, she seems curious and slightly baffled.  I am interested in hearing her reaction when she comes home from school and has had some time to think it over.  She cuddled the cat this morning, offering her sympathy for what he went through last night while gently scolding him for attacking the Tooth Fairy.   He was not amused.

I just hope he doesn't try to get revenge some night when I am sleeping.  I might want to start sleeping with some Fairy Dust....