Monday, December 10, 2012

I feel like the Grinch this year. I am seriously over it. I want to sleep for three weeks and hit the reset button. I'll start over at the New Year. Next year I will inventory my pantry, and I'll keep to my cleaning schedule, and I'll keep pretty little towels in the bathroom. Mmmmhhhmmm.....I sure will!..... Sure. I've got a few jobs for those darling little Elves everyone but us has floating around their house. How about they get their ass off a shelf and pick up some Windex or a Swiffer?

I even tried to convince my Husband we didn't need a tree. What is wrong with me?!?! Getting back to my new normal is taking me longer than I thought. How the Hell is it December anyway? Wasn't Halloween last week? According my blog posts it practically was. Hehe. Remember when I used to write more than once a month? That was like forty-seven life changing events ago.

Of course I caved to the pressure of disappointing Cindy Lou Who (Scrunch) and we went and got our tree. Every year around this time I see people with their trees on the roof of their cars and I mock them for getting such small trees. What's the point?! "Go big or go home!", I tell my husband. Turns out we don't know crap about choosing a tree. This year because I'm being such a Grinch we went local to cut it down. Woohoo! Support local! Or whatever. I Grinched out and made the executive decision that I didn't want to drive to the middle of nowhere.

It is our smallest tree ever. And I love it! It didn't take six hours to cut the bottom three feet off when we realize we do not have sixteen foot ceilings and to put the lights on. Husband doesn't even have to get the ladder out to put on the topper. If we could find the topper. Where is my silver tree topper?!?!?! That cost me a whole dollar at the Dollar Store and now it's gone. We let Porkchop stay asleep in the car and bought the tree closest to the road where I could watch him and still heckle my husband over his sawing. We bummed string off a very nice family who was clearly more prepared than we were and into the Holiday Spirit. I didn't flip off the crazy lady who got out of her car and onto her cellphone to mull over the shelled walnuts while still in the drive-thru checkout! I would say that was rather Holly and Jolly of me.

My heart may be three sizes too small, but it is growing. I still let Scrunch bring Mike the Catepillar with us to pick out the tree and haul the little white fake one from room to room with her for the last three days. I have two weeks to get my act in gear. By December 23 I plan to have Christmas in the bag and be full of good cheer. I have secured this fail proof plan by breaking my "Home for Christmas" rule and going to Grami and Gramps' for Christmas. There I will eat, drink, be merry and be surrounded by people who will ensure that the Holiday is magical, wondrous, and full of the stuff childhood memories are made of- without me having to do the work.

Dear Santa,

Please send me a two-year-food-supply sized can of Give a Crap cuz I just plain ran out this year.

The Grinch who isn't ready to face that it's already time for Christmas

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


As far as vehicles go, Huey The White Whale's (a.k.a. ten passenger eye sore that wouldn't even fit in my garage) existence was short-lived. He is now probably on his way to joining the ranks of a RotoRooter fleet or happily hauling passengers to the airport. At least that is my wish for Him. It's really not his fault I always felt like I should be wearing coveralls as I drove. I always felt like I should be cleaning carpets or snaking somebody's toilet. I can't say he'll be missed. Much. Or at all. But his presence is still felt. Every single time I release the parking brake, I pop the hood. And it would be funny if there weren't so many other damned buttons and lights that have me all nervous and twitchy as I drive. There. That is something nice to say about Huey, our dearly departed. He had absolutely no bells, no whistles. He was so simple even I could drive Him. He was so big, I felt safe out on the roads. Even that one time the road should have been closed and it wasn't and it was completely flooded out and I had to back down the road through all the water being led by a teenage twerp in his Daddy's truck, and I backed over a tree and I didn't care because it was Huey. Huey could hack it. Rest in peace Huey. Mama's got a new, MUCH smaller ride.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I am not a fan of using my blog in the way of announcements, but at some point something has to be said. We no longer have six kids living under our roof. The last two weeks have been um...Hell. I can report that everyone is happy and safe, but that is all I am going to be saying about it.

Today the sun was shining and I took Scrunch, Porkchop, and Juju to the park. We took turns pushing eachother on the merry go round. I suppose I could have taken pictures, but I got so dizzy and caught up in spinning that I forgot. Then we drove to visit the swans who live on the lake. We couldn't find them. It might be too cold? We saw a heron instead. During Porkchop's nap Scrunch and I are going to play with perler beads. I want to order some new markers and coloring books. We're having potstickers, rice, and edamame for dinner. I am trying to keep things a little boring and low key. I have a new appreciation in life for boring and low-key and am feeling the need to protect the simplicity of it. Without pictures, it doesn't do much in the way of blogging. Bummer for you. Thankful me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Favorite List Ever!

We are quarantined. Oh, goody.

This is someone's (not mine) sick joke. Because now when I don't feel like praying for death, life will look rosy again.

Husband and the kids are on a Planet Earth marathon and I'm making lists. I think I've spent four hours making the Thanksgiving meal plan, shopping list, timeline, etc. My two weeks menu plan. To-do for the Relief Society Christmas Dinner. Christmas crafting lists. Christmas break activities. I use the little Post It note Windows program to post them all over my laptop. "Pinning" just isn't the same for me. I like my lists. It's my way of doing something without having to actually move or do anything.

My favorite list has been one I've worked on over the last couple of days. It might be my very favorite list of all time! It's my 30 Before 30. It's not a new concept. Anyone who is anyone has been there done that. That's kind of what prompted it. John urged me to come up with something special to do that was just for me. Everything that came to mind initially had to do with either something for the kids or the house. It kind of sent me into panic mode and on a mission. I'm still a somebody!

What I like about the idea compared to a bucket list is that there is a time constraint so the activities have to be realistic. Sure, I'd like to bike the Great Wall and bask in the Shire, but hello?! I've got four (that I know of) sets of braces to cover. And then there's the whole being the complete food source for a small human. It kinda cramps my globe trotting style.

And so...the countdown starts...624 days...

Go on a Llama trek
Swim with dolphins
Go paintballing
Snowboard at Lake Tahoe
Take a ballroom dance class
Make sushi
Ice skate in Yosemite
Go to Yellowstone
Handgun safety certification
Learn to play bridge
Start the TKGA Master Knitter course
Go to Studio 49 Retreat
Go indoor surfing
Take all my sewing machine classes
Practice yoga thirty days in a row
Do a mudrun type obstacle course/run
Ride in a hot air balloon
Spin from our bunny
Take all the kids on a bike ride
Have a sleepover with just my sisters
Do 30 Day Shred for the full 30 Days
Learn what all the numbers mean on my camera
Finish my Kelmscott sweater
Buy a really nice purse that does not have to double as a diaper bag
Build and plant my window boxes every season
Purchase something with my name or initial on it
Go to a concert
Get a really good tan
Start violin lessons again (Greatest regret of my life!)
Read Jane Austen's six novels

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fill 'er up.

This week has been brutal. I don't think I sat down for more than three minutes for two days straight, unless I was in the car. That is even more sad since I have a nursing baby. Thankfully, Squishy would nurse upside down if she had to. On top of the physical exhaustion that accompanies the running of our house, this week was especially emotionally exhausting. I can schlep kids, change diapers, and pack snacks all the live long day, but add to that the emotional needs of everyone and I'm left feeling like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I am working on filling it back up.

Yesterday I thought she was calling to check on me because of my last post. Turns out she was just calling to check on me. God love her! Phone time with someone that "gets" me is...I don't even know how to explain it. But it is good. Then I spent the evening sewing with a chick I can like. I finished four rows on my quilt. Huzzah! It might be done for Christmas after all. Miss8 wrote me a love letter while I sewed that reminded me of just why we are doing this. Beezus told me a story that confirmed to me that while I'm not her "mom", she trusts me and I am her go-to. She knows she can count on me and that I'll be there for her. That's got to count for something. Husband brought me onion rings and a Dr. Pepper. He said he'd split it with me because I'm trying to limit my intake to once a week. He knew better and let me drink the whole thing. True love, baby. This afternoon when I called him and said I was hitting a brick wall he made me promise to take a nap. When I agreed he told me he was on his way home. I slept for three hours and woke up this evening in time for Family Game Night. He had fed them all dinner and was cleaning up the kitchen. I could not even begin to think of doing this without him.

I might run away for an hour tomorrow to have lunch by myself in the car, but a couple more onions rings and another Dr. Pepper and I should be ready to face another week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Back in January I was heavy and uncomfortable at 36 weeks pregnant. My husband was on the other side of the planet and Erick was in arm restraints and being syringe fed after his recent palate surgery. He stood in front of the pantry one afternoon in pain and pointing at a bag of chips. With his arms stuck straight out he screeched, and cried, and pleaded, "Meeeee eeeeaaaat!"

I went into my closet and cried.

I thought, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done."

This is so much harder than that.

Parenting is some rough stuff.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Every mother should have a Hannah. Hannah is cute, and fun, and paints polka dot nails, and she has started coming once a week for a couple of hours so I can have an extra pair of hands, go to Parent Teacher Conference... or blog. She's out on the play structure right now painting Porkchop's nails blue and orange- like a dinosaur.

Thanks to Hannah I am now posting Halloween pics.

You should know that my dreams of a family coordinated Halloween almost died hard when I had to referee the cat fight over who was going to be Alice. I couldn't just say I was going to be Alice because I AM THE QUEEN and I did not want to have three Alice's. I know we could have, but that's not the point in coordinating the whole thing. Then Beezus wanted to choose her costume. A brown recluse. A brown recluse!?! You're killin' me. So a brown recluse it was. At least it wasn't something slutty.

So that's how it went down.

Halloween 2012. Brought to you by the letters "S" and "W" (for spider and web).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

As I stomped through the puddles of the school parking lot in my flip flops, I realized that both the flaps of my nursing bra were still undone from the hourly nurse-ins the night before. Ay, ya yay. I discreetly did my best to snap them in place and smooth down my bed head while we waited at the cross walk. Normally, I might have put a little more effort into looking more put together for my mission, but I didn't realize I was going to be headed out on a mission until the keys were already in my hand. I was headed to have a little conversation with the yard duty/tardy Nazi about who can yell at my kids. The list is very short. Me. I was polite and nice and mostly did it by kissing her butt, but I think I got my point across.

It was pretty much the last thing I wanted to deal with this morning. And not just because it was a blow to my vanity. (OF COURSE I would see two other pre-school Moms and someone from our ward the morning I couldn't tell you where my toothbrush was. And I probably smelled like Vicks Vapor Rub because between the nurse-ins I was up doing chest percussion on a croupy toddler.) The hormonally fragile nine year old having a melt down over the pants she's wearing today was just icing on my teetering crazy-cake. Because although I might be crazy with my rules about respect and modesty, I'm consistently crazy. It's a new concept for some of the members of this household. (The consistency part I mean.)

So yeah...I did not want to explain to the yard duty how her disregard for tone and word choice (i.e. yelling at little kids) was especially distressing and anxiety producing in children who are extremely sensitive to criticism- especially from authority figures in the school setting as school has always been their "safe place". I wasn't asking for any sort of special treatment or accommodation, only that if there was concern expressed over how and when they arrived at school that it be directed at me. See? I can play nice.

So why do I tell you this story? I dunno. Maybe I tell it for me. If I've been a little cryptic about the specifics (both legally and emotionally) of everyone involved, there are reasons. Some of them are obvious and another is that we're doing our best to figure it out, too. When we sat down early this year and set our plans and goals for the year, doubling our family (even temporarily) wasn't on the list. It doesn't mean it wasn't the right thing do to, it just wasn't planned. It's complicated and lots of it a giant pain in the butt. BUT I still mean it when we sing the part of The Wanted's "I'm Glad You Came" extra loud. Really, really, really loud and it makes us all laugh. I always think of the kids when I hear that part and I've told them so. What they don't know is that while The Wanted make me laugh, Jason Mraz makes me (happy) cry. Maybe I just needed to be in the car this morning so I could hear the last few measures of my new theme song.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I need a source for your most very favorite plain white plates (ala Martha Stewart Magazine). Because if I hear one more argument over who gets the pink plate I'm going to fling it like a Frisbee off an overpass.

Melamine? Cheap porcelain? Acrylic? Restaurant supply? IKEA? Amazon? Target? What plates does Chuck E. Cheese use? Those have got to hold up to a decent amount of abuse. Where are those old Rubbermaid catalogs when you need 'em?

Friday, October 19, 2012

I came across this little gem while stalking the aisles of a thrift store earlier this week while I killed some time. It made me laugh. Not "ha ha truly funny belly laugh", but the "oh for the love! are you freaken' kidding me?!" type of laugh.

The irony almost made me want to puke up.

Because instead of just doing it, we have to have a committee meeting to plan who will provide the refreshments, order the supplies, paint it, modge podge, and then cut the vinyl with our Cricut. 

Shouldn't it look more like this...

Back of an envelope with a crayon from the bottom of my purse. Bingo! That'll get the message across.

I'm really trying hard to implement more of this principle into my life. Trying. I did not start with Halloween costumes. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I don't feel like blogging because I feel like I'd need to "catch up". Let's pretend I did.

We went. We saw. We conquered.

Moving on.

Right now...

Beezus and Scrunch are in the backyard grinding acorns for a school project. Something about Native Americans and acorn flour.

Miss8 is in reading the fourteen page Wikipedia article on raccoons.

Scrunch came in from grinding acorns and is yelling about ManCub coming into the bathroom.

Porkchop is doing the dishes. He loooves to do the dishes and rinses and rinses and rinses and rinses them.

ManCub is being thrown into the air by Papa as a distraction to staying out of the bathroom.

Juju is army crawling all over the floor in search of lost popcorn kernels.

I have a cold and am sitting in the recliner with my laptop.

Papa is in charge.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I am reading and learning really great inspiring and empowering things. One of which was that the average person on the average day has 50,000 thoughts. I've been hatching a few decorating plans and we're in the middle of our entry for the Scarecrow competition. No wonder I can't blog. Where would I even start?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Three Wishes

I wish the cleanliness of my house (or lack there of) didn't make such a direct impact on my stress levels.

I wish I never got tired.

I wish my kids would grow up to be happy, stable, responsible contributing members of society who work hard and are able to create and maintain healthy, lasting relationships.

Not too much to ask, right?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It is what it is.

It makes you feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy when the therapist you call on referral tells you that "some people might think you nutty."

Gee, thanks. She doesn't know about the whole Mayor thing.

We have an attorney.

And now we have a therapist.

I got my nails did for The Wedding so if I could remember her name I could drop it in random conversations as "my nail gal" and feel all sorts of swanky. All I'm missing now is my masseuse and I'll be set to change my blog...The Real Housewife of Crazytown.

Alas, no masseuse. I will have to settle for the reflexology massage I got for $17.99 a couple weeks ago. It really deserves a post in itself, but the moral of the story is- do not judge a seedy massage parlor by it's outside.

Why am I writing? Just to let you know Crazytown continues to live up to it's name.

Where are your children? At the table eating salad for lunch, at their request.

I have an attorney, a therapist, one-time nail gal, no masseuse and weird kids who ask for salad for lunch.

(Actually they are fishing. We ran out of croutons so I dumped gold fish on last night's salad. I'm going to turn around to a pile of licked-off-the-Ranch lettuce and a couple of orange crumbs.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Today was the Primary Program. (The one Sacrament meeting each year that is put on by all the kids in the Ward. They each have parts and sing, etc.)

I sat for a lot of it feeling sad, awkward, frustrated, and throwing a hell of a pity par-tay! for myself. Sitting next to me was Peter, an old friend of the girls. Then ManCub. And then the kids' Mom. And next to her, her friend. Somewhere I got this hair-brained idea that maybe she would like to come and watch the girl's in their first Primary Program. John, Juju, and Porkchop were left at home fighting off colds. With Scrunch up on the stand as well, I felt all by myself and outnumbered by the crazies.

A friend posted this link on her FB about The Invisible Mother.  It served as a great backdrop for my pity party. For if you think Mothering is the hardest job in the world, try doing it for another woman's children. Because no matter how many nights I stay up sewing new skirts, they will be most excited to show them her. And even if I was the one who taught them how to knit, their first project will be a gift for her. But I will need to make sure it gets wrapped. I will cook, sew, clean, keep track of homework, get cashback for the Toothfairy, make sure they ate breakfast, Google how to curl hair with socks, and that they brush their teeth, but she gets to be Mom. It is the hardest, most awkward place, I never thought I'd find myself in. This sucks. Welcome to my party.

As the first verses of my favorite hymn began, I started to soften and I cried through How Great Though Art. It was a much needed blessing that the kids were on the stand and the really wiggly ones were at home. I was able to focus and pay attention and really think and feel without the constant distraction of wiping someones nose. Somewhere during the middle of the Sacrament I happened to glance to my side and see C sitting in her black tube top and white capris. A few minutes earlier I had harshly thought, "At least she has long hair. It helps to cover what her clothes don't and at least a couple of the tattoos."

From somewhere the thought popped into my mind, "This isn't easy for her either."

Though most of the situation is due to consequences of her own choices, it doesn't mean it's easy. They call her Mom, but it's me they'll be going home with. They are my words that she will hear repeated when Beezus tells Miss8 that she "can do hard things". It can't be easy to know that although she is their mother she will never be able to give them the kind of life that we can give them, are giving them. It can't be easy to have her son not cry when she leaves and reach for me when I go to pick him up.

By the end of the Sacrament and just as the kids were about to begin, I made a little bit more peace with the whole situation and my party came to an end. She and I share much of the same pain. I can do hard things.

The girls rocked their parts. And I could hear them singing from where I sat. Their skirts looked cute, and the hair-curling with socks actually worked.

For the very last song we sang all my kids' favorite, I am a Child of God. And I cried again.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday, monday.

  • I have to write or my head might explode, or I might forget. 
  • I'm totally bummed that I've had my new sewing machine and serger sitting in its box for over a week! Merry early Christmas from my Husband! I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't play until my CEUs were done. Blast being the responsible adult! 
  • I better finish my CEUs soon. We have the primary program and my sisters wedding coming up in the next couple of weeks, both of which will require new skirts for the girls.
  • While it IS helpful that the girls are 9 and 8, they are still little girls with no experience living in a typical family that has chores, responsibilities, belongings, etc. It is normal, but this can a be huge source of frustration for me. The kind that leaves me wasted at the end of the week and in tears. I was rescued by a friend who put away my groceries and my husband bringing me a slice of tiramisu. 
  • I have a friend who does not wait for you to come up with ways she can help. I've never heard her say, "Let me know if there is something I can do to help." She just does things. And I've watched her do lots of things for lots of people. When I grow up, I want to be more like that.
  • Today's FHE is on table manners. Basic, but it's something that is driving me CRAZY! I found this list that I liked. Since Miss8 is having her tooth extracted we needed something soft for dinner. Mashed potatoes and salmon. This should put "no complaints over what is served" to the test.

Table Manners
1. Eat with a fork unless the food is meant to be eaten with fingers. Only babies eat with fingers.

2. Sit up and do not hunch over your plate; wrists or forearms can rest on the table, or hands on lap. You don't want to look like a Neanderthal.

3. Don't stuff your mouth full of food, it looks gross, and you could choke.

4. Chew with your mouth closed. No one wants to be grossed out seeing food being chewed up or hearing it being chomped on. This includes no talking with your mouth full.

5. Don't make any rude comments about any food being served. It will hurt someone's feelings.

6. Always say thank you when served something. Shows appreciation.

7. If the meal is not buffet style, then wait until everyone is served before eating. It shows consideration.

8. Eat slowly and don't gobble up the food. Someone took a long time to prepare the food, enjoy it slowly. Slowly means to wait about 5 seconds after swallowing before getting another forkful.

9. When eating rolls, tear off a piece of bread before buttering. Eating a whole piece of bread looks tacky.

10. Don't reach over someone's plate for something. Politely ask that the item to be passed to you. Shows consideration.

11. Do not pick anything out of your teeth, it's gross. If it bothers you that bad, excuse yourself and go to the restroom to pick.

12. Always use a napkin to dab your mouth, which should be on your lap when not in use. Remember, dab your mouth only. Do not wipe your face or blow your nose with a napkin, both are gross. Excuse yourself from the table and go the restroom to do those things.

13. When eating at someone's home or a guest of someone at a restaurant, always thank the host and tell them how much you enjoyed it. At least say that you liked the dinner or mention a specific item that was particularly tasty, i.e. the dessert was great. Again, someone took time, energy, and expense to prepare the food, so show your appreciation.

And I'm going to dig out some popsicle sticks for a manners game, and spray paint a little pig for our table so we can play this game for fun.

  • I am still wanting to move the country and eat a lot of peaches. Some day.
  • My days of room re-dos have come to a screeching halt, but I still need the outlet of doing something for my home. I am working on a list of things that will take me less than 30 minutes to complete but will give me a full day of happiness and self satisfaction.
  • I am going to be making peace with the laundry. Audible is going to help. 2 loads folded and put away before noon is my new goal- starting tomorrow. What should I listen to first?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to school

My midwife said that just when you get your kids trained up into such nice little people they're ready to send off for school to ruin. I am beginning to see how this is the case.

Scrunch doesn't care. She can't wait. She doesn't even flinch or hesitate to give me the thumbs up signal to hit the road. She says goodbye to me in the car because once inside it's like "Yeah, whatever. Catch ya later old lady."


With her gone to preschool now, I am officially outnumbered two afternoons per week. I am going to miss my little helper. She's become so silly and nice to have around. More than ever I have come to rely on and appreciate my "big girl".

P.S. Please tell me I'm not the only person who sings Billy Madison's 'Back to School' song every time you see someone's 'Back to School' post? Jr. High obviously left a deep and profound impression on me. Rest easy though. I have not taught my preschooler any of Adam Sandler's songs.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Can you see me now?

This was the picture that should have been at the end of my last post.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Remember when lamenting over which fabric and type of window treatment I'd use in the family room was my great stress in life? Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa!

Yes. Well. (Regaining my composure.)

Times have changed.

The kids' mom is in the hospital (just a little slice of drama). Yes, they see her. Twice a week. And I said I never wanted an open adoption. Teeheeheeheeheeeheeheee! Joke's on me! This isn't even an adoption. I'm the unpaid babysitter.

OK. I'll stop now or risk turning into Uncle Albert on Mary Poppins and this post will end with me in tears.


The kids' mom is in the hospital. I found out yesterday. After stopping at the store for flowers, a Dr. Pepper (for her), a Diet Coke (for me and somewhere to put the flowers we just bought), and a card- I picked up the girls from school and we went for a visit at the hospital. I hate the smell of hospitals. Costco, home late, homework...loverly.

This morning my personal assistant rings and it's the school. My phone is never too far because  my worst fear is missing a call from the school, or CPS, or our attorney, or Jim McMan calling to tell me I've won a huge cash prize and can I please call security to let him in at the gate.

It was the third grade teacher. Miss8 is complaining of a tooth ache. She's anything but a whiner so I know she's owie. I get us a last minute appointment at the dentist which I've been putting off until we are just more than glorified babysitters and they can be on our insurance. I'll be damned if I don't encourage my son to go to dental school. Holy Shiznat! So while she is on antibiotics for the next ten days, I have exactly ten days to get a second opinion. We get home and have a little visit with the family they lived with previously. This means ten kids running back and forth through the house squealing and "Aaaargh-ing!" like Pirates. "Please chew the chips at the table!" "Dear Lord thank you for blessing me with a baby who will sleep through the next elephant stampede!"

The bottle of barbecue sauce is still sitting on the counter as a reminder that I did not get out the crockpot before I left. I pack up half the kids to go buy Whoppers and Husband works on math with the other half. Or I think it was half. Whatever. My math needs work. I took whoever had their shoes on. Prior to my day going to hell I made manipulatives to learn place value. Just in case you were wondering...No child left behind is leaving a boatload of them in the dust. I have never so strongly considered home schooling, except oh, wait. I can't! I'm just the sitter. Actually that's not fair. Technically and legally I'm just the sitter, but the tender mercy that has gotten me through the day and probably the next week happened while at the dentist.

Miss8, who was beaming with excitement like it was Disneyland because she's never been to a dentist before, tells the dentist..."ManCub and Juju have the same birthday!"

"Who's Juju?" Dr. Stacy asks.

She looks right at me and without hesitation, "She's my baby sister."

I try not to cry and I beam with pride. The dentist is thoroughly confused.

Sometimes I want to run away, and I do after putting three of them in the jogging stroller. I feel anxiety, anger, guilt, confusion, stress, and question at every turn what the hell we think we're doing here and then one of the laundry-making gremlins mouths off with something like that.

I'm really, super glad I let someone else come up with a Master Bedroom Moodboard for my birthday last month. Let someone else stress about which fabric and window treatment I hang. Best twenty-five bucks I've spent all year! Not like I was going to be off on my own getting a mani-pedi any time soon.

Didn't she do a great job?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bulleted blogging suits me best.

  • We've been doing fun things, I swear. We went to the train museum. And rode the light rail to get there. Ew, eww, ewww! Our local mass transit is not like it is in other cities (that know what they're doing). As soon as we stepped on, I regretted it. Don't touch ANYthing! Oh, and did you know it is a federal law that your stroller has to be folded up while riding. Could they make riding public transportation any less kid friendly?
  • Our summer fun list is almost over. So is the summer. I'll do an update with a bazillion pictures sometime. No promises.
  • People used to comment that I had my hands full, now they just stare like I should have a reality t.v. show. This compels me to not leave my home without wearing makeup and being fully dressed. People don't expect it, and I cannot bring myself to be 'that haggard looking mom with the ton of kids and ugly white van'. 
  • I need to do a post about Huey, the white whale- a.k.a. the ten passenger van I drive. We have a love/hate relationship. It is leaning more towards the love side every day.
  • Thanks to a friend who has my back, I scored the mother of all Craigslist scores this past week. A triple jogging stroller for next to nothing and a big play structure with swings and a slide for absolutely nothing! 
  • Holly started nursing school today and I know she's not going to blog, but there. Now it is documented. I am very proud of her. Even if it totally cramps our phone talking style
  • The girls guessed my age as being 40. They are grounded until I am.
  • Proud Mama moment...Scrunch asked me to teach her to knit and both school-aged girls have signed up for the knitting club at school.
  • I guess I left out a few details about the kids, and people ask me their ages all the time. 9,8,4, 2, 18mos, 6mos. ManCub and Juju are exactly one year apart to the day. He and Porkchop are 9mos. apart. Beezus is the oldest, and I'm still having a hard time coming up with a name for Miss 8.
  • Husband completed our Ward's mini triathlon this past weekend. And he did it without training, and did it well. Ugh. He kills me. I have to train and train and train for a 5k, and he busts out a 6mile run with some buddies after not having run in years. I am starting to suspect...cylon.
  • I milked again last weekend. I love it. Isn't that weird? I love milking cows. I am in the middle of consulting my calendar so it can become a regular occurrence.
That is all. It is my bedtime.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Photo dump

I have barely enough brain cells to rub together to form coherent sentences. Trust me. I met a couple of new gals at knitting last night and it sent my brain into overload. Grown ups to talk to! They probably think I have the worst case of adult A.D.D. (They don't know me well enough yet to know that I do.) I was desperately needing to recharge and it was just the ticket. From now on, it is a must-have on the weekly list of priorities. Eat. Knit. Homework. Laundry. Repeat. I didn't even knit a single stitch the entire two hours I sat there laughing and catching up.

My side of the conversation was like a run on sentence of the captions to these pictures.

This summer has been crazy, good crazy...been on out of town and on the road alot...came home, bought a van, and added three more kiddos....checked my e-mail and BAM! There they were...all doing well...Scrunch is Scrunch, Juju is still squishy, and we praise the Heavens when Porkchop is asleep...he's on the go...has a partner in crime...Double Trouble... Juju is really squishy...Did I mention she's super, duper, oober squishy?...and today was the first day of school!

Monday, August 13, 2012

One. Two. Three. Four. I declare a thumb war!!!!

My hands are ripped after the weekend of milking. (I made yogurt, ice cream, and butter. So yummy. And I'm totally sold on renting my house out so I can move to the country, milk cows, and eat peaches.)

But back to the subject at hand- thumb wars.

That is the most I got out of 4th grade. Thumb wars and bloody knuckles. I was a bloody knuckles champ. The boys used to even let me play with them in the lunch line. But after attending Back to School Night tonight I have realized, Holy shmoly! Things have changed. And I'm not even old people. I promise. I had a birthday last week so I was recently reminded exactly how old I am. I feel LOTS older than I really am. In fact, I can't WAIT to turn 30 so my age is more reflective of the bags under my eyes. Anyway, they have syllabuses (???) syllabi (???) in elementary school!?!

We did not wade in with kindergarten. Nope. Feet first. Sink or swim. Straight for 4th and 3rd grades. Full fledged homework, science projects, writing assignments, the goods. Meanwhile, back at home my four year old thinks she's going on fourteen.

Oh, laws.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I remember almost all of my teachers. Except this crazy high school English teacher who was completely off her rocker. For the life of me I cannot remember her name. I dropped her Honor's English class as a sophomore after only a week. The only thing I remember about her class was the word  'juxtaposition'. She was big on all that literary comparison B.S. I mean what can you expect- she was an English teacher.

Juxtaposition: Juxtaposition is a linguistic tool, used in any written text or any daily conversation, to highlight the distinction, the contrasts and the similitudes and alike attributes of two concepts, thoughts, characters, feelings, objects by placing them together in the context.

Man she would have loved for me to expound on the juxtaposition of my day yesterday. The comparison and contrast between the easy-paced morning spent doing farm chores, and the rest of my day dealing with chaos in the ghetto.

I woke up extra early to work and then I headed out to get my second milking lesson so I can cow-sit this week/end. I'm sure you'll hear about being peed on, making yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. As I washed dishes in the kitchen, a grandma taught her grand daughter how to make apple sauce from the apples that had fallen near the neighbors driveway. I felt so Laura Ingalls Wilder straining the milk and tossing the zucchini over the fence to the chickens. I drove home to nurse Juju the whole while thinking, #1. Man, I want to move. #2. This is the life and if I ever move and buy a cow I will name her Nellie and I will say, "Whoa! Nellie!" a lot.

Fast forward a few hours and I sat clutching my wallet and keys in a sticky waiting room chair at the Medi-cal provider hoping to get copies of some of the kids' previous records. I watched a mom yank her kids around and talk to them worse than I yell at my dog. On a bad day. I was totally unnerved as I walked the halls of the girls' previous elementary school. This is an elementary school? Run down and creepy. I'm so glad the girls won't be there now. As I walked back to my car I thought about that High School teacher whose name I can't remember.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Family Matters

As I scaled the Everest-like mountain that is the laundry Husband walked by and asked, "If you didn't have six kids, what would you be doing right now?"

I think I muttered something that starts with 'shut', ends with 'up', and lands my kids in hot water. I cannot let my mind go there. I am living minute by minute. Sometimes in twenty second increments. And I talk to myself. Like. A. LOT!

"Oh, for the love of all that is Holy!" - Like when they tattle. Oy. Little girls like to tattle.

"I must remain calm." -Like when the dishwasher has been out for three days and CPS calls and says they are coming to your house.

"I am the grown up." -Like when I want to jump and down and whine when someone is jumping up and down and whining.

"I want my mommy!" -Like when CPS and the attorney were coming at the very same time on the very same morning.

"You can do hard things." -Like pretty much every time I want to run away.

"This is worth it." -Like when Scrunch tells me she has three sisters.

"They are worth it." -Like when the girls give me a hug first thing in the morning.

"In ten years none of this will matter." -Like when I'm staring at the laundry, dishes, or toys strewn everywhere.

"In ten years only this will matter." -Like every time I question what in the Sam Hell possessed us to think we could pull this off.

This is pretty much the hardest thing I've ever done. Not my parent's divorce, infertility, adoption, Porkchop's cleft and subsequent surgeries, natural labor- none of it compares to daily physical and emotional work that parenting these six kids has required of me. But I also know all of it combined prepared us for it. 

From a recent e-mail I wrote..."We knew this was not going to be easy. We will just continue to do the best we can, with what we've got, while we've got them. When I start to question what craziness we've set out on and invited into our lives I am constantly reminded by the kids that we are doing this for them. Over dinner Beezus read the sign in our kitchen about good moms having sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids. She looked at me and said, "You've got six happy kids." "

In ten years, only this will matter.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Moving Day

I think you will understand if my presence is a little sporadic. After spending a pretty penny at none other than IKEA, I walked away without most of my purchases. The checker thinks I'm nuts. What's new? Must have had something on my mind.

Furniture has been moved, re arranged, and re-rearranged. Yesterday was moving day. The girls (9 and 8) are here and we are slowly transitioning Professor (15 months) into our home while at the same time facilitating bonding and attachment as best we can. To say this has been an amazing experience is the understatement of the century. I am awed, humbled, amazed, you name it- at how good this has been for me, my mothering, my entire family. There are obstacles, and hurdles, and lots of laundry to overcome but man alive! It is good.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Say a little prayer for me.

I am completely bushwacked. But good.

It was a day filled with sheet forts, clementines, smoothies, perler beads, slip n' slide, coloring, and spaghetti. It was a blessed day. (Yes, we are a corny Crazytown these days.) Three out of six napped AT THE SAME TIME! If that is not a blessing straight from heaven, I don't know what is. There was no fighting. No meltdowns. The kids are polite and sweet. Scrunch is in heaven with older girls to keep up with. Porkchop had a blast with my new boyfriend closing each other in the pantry. And Juju has no doubt she is going to leap from her bouncer and grab a bite of whatever might be hanging off the edge of someone's fork. If they drop something that would be even better, manna from heaven. Jedi doesn't know who to follow next. I am feeling more confident that the lingering baby weight will come off after only a short time of chasing everyone around. At dinner, Husband looked at our full dining table and with sincerity said, "It is so good to have you in our home."

I thought I might be relieved when I dropped them off this evening to where they are staying, but I wasn't. I was kind of sad. Several times throughout the day I caught myself watching them all and smiling. Like the Grinch who stole Christmas I felt my heart grow three sizes and I thought, "Oh crap, I'm falling in love."

Right now none of the kids know what is going on. We're all just really good friends spending the summer together. They are in the temporary custody of an amazing family until we sort things out, like ASAP. We meet with the attorney in the morning. We are preparing plan A, B, and C. There are so many variables, so many unknowns. Except that I feel my protective mother tentacles wrapping around these kiddos with a fierceness I didn't expect so quickly. When I picked them up this morning more than once Beezus (the oldest) asked when we would be home. I winced a little and said a little prayer. "Please let them come home."

I don't feel I've asked for much and if I have, will you please pretend I haven't and do me this one little favor? Say a little prayer. "Please let them come home."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gag Order

It is easier for me to just not blog than to keep my mouth shut. But when I think about it, I will be sad for myself and my kids if we don't record at least SOMEthing about this time in our lives.

The less-than-Reader's Digest version goes like this...we are in the process of updating our homestudy ASAP and working towards adoption or at least taking custody/fostering a sibling group.

This is not something we went looking for. We know it sounds crazy. (Please see above where it says Mayor of CRAZYtown). We know people might not understand. Should've seen the look on the Kohl's cashier when I cleaned up at their sale last night. She was all sorts of confused. Daycare? Camp director? We know this is going to be hard. As someone has already been pointed out, BEST CASE scenario this is only going to be hard. Since when is 'hard' a reason not to do the right thing? We are not doing this as a service project or because we are nice people. Trust me, I'm not that nice. We feel like we have been prepared and feel that this is the right for our family. For now, that is all I can say publicly. Please don't say anything to my children. My number one concern is the what is the best interest of the kids. I have admired Dian Fossey since I watched Gorillas in the Mist as a little girl. I can and will go gorilla!

Phew! Now I feel like I can go back to blogging about the latest painting project. Oh yea! Between shuttling kids and coordinating get togethers I bought a nail gun, started a book club, and ordered a ginormous cross-stitch pillow kit for my birthday. Oooh, and Gramps stopped by (from So. Cal)  to bring me a giant Dr. Pepper and took me to have California Eggs Benedict at our favorite place this week. Welcome to Crazytown!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coming or Going

I need to make a deal with myself that we don't go anywhere in July. This shouldn't be difficult as we only have the one car until we decide what we're going to do. Scooter? Commuter? Golf Cart? Bite the bullet and bring in the Mini Van? Of greater priority is to figure out how I'm going to do laundry. My washer literally died on it's last load as we left out of town. Last week? Two weeks ago? What day is it?

My Grami was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. After spending an afternoon looking at Assisted Living Facilities in Salt Lake with me, Jess came up with a no less than brilliant plan. Let's go on vacation! We pitched it to Grami and she bought it. My Dad had flown into Salt Lake and started packing. Jess and I went to a wedding on Thursday. Thursday night I flew to St. George to meet my Husband and kids where we visited with my in-laws. Jess and Ez, Dad and Grami caravanned down to So. Cal on Saturday. Sunday we packed up the kids and left St. George and headed to So. Cal. John dropped us off and then continued home in my sister's car. We've been here with the kids and getting Grami settled on her permanent vacation. Tomorrow we will head home with the kids, Jess will spend a day or two and then drive back home to Utah. 

An estimated 2,881 miles and 48hrs in the car (not including our trip to Monterrey earlier in the month).   

Sitting down to schedule my grocery delivery. Right. now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Whoa Nellie! (You didn't know I call you Nellie, did you?)

We are havin' fu-un!

I just finished nursing at a truck stop outside of Battle Mountain, NV. Ever been there? No? You lucky devil.

If your idea of a vacation involves 30+ hours a week in the car, Veggie tales Christmas medley, a nose-picking booger flicking two year old, and visiting the craziest of the crazies in Crazytown, well then baby, I got your number......





Sorry 'bout that.

Had to take a break to belt out "Break Free!!!!" Oh, the poetic irony of perfectly timed Queen.

"God knows, I want to break free-eee!"

"I've got to break free-ee!"

"I want to break free, yeaaaah!"

"I want, I want, I want, I want to break freeeeee!"

We are driving to Utah where we will stay with my sister overnight. Then Husband and the two loudest, I mean oldest kids will head on to St. George. I will attend a wedding with Juju and fly to St. George that night. We will spend a few days with Husband's family and then drive home after the weekend.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Long and short of it.

The long version is...well, I already gave my husband an earful of the long version. And my mom. And my sister.

The short version is...we tried to go to the Zoo today and were unsuccessful. We did not see as many sights as I would have liked, but we eventually found adequate parks. Twice. The day was not a total loss, though. We found ourselves in front of Penzey's and a great knit shop after being lost without GPS signal for over an hour. I made a deal with Scrunch that I'd let her pick the color of my token travel skein if they were oh so good in the shop. Now what to do with the hottest pink Madelinetosh sock you've ever seen? They were not so good at the Goodwill so we had to leave without books for the drive home. Then we got lost again. Juju was a dream baby per her usual even though she is majorly teething. I deserve a cookie for keeping a straight face while listening to Scrunch give an unsolicited dissertation on the nastiness of the outdoor ashtrays or "sickoramus" as she calls them to a little old Asian man I'm pretty sure spoke only limited English. Never again will I buy granola bars with chocolate chips and then toss them in the direction of the kids after they have been in my bag all day. Did I mention we got lost today? And the traffic is horrendous? And that's coming from someone who learned to drive in Southern California. I don't foresee us moving to Portland any time soon. It is pretty, the weather was unusually nice, they have lots of fun things to do, but I like it hot. Note- not necessarily hot pink but oh well. Oh, and I am sooo looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.

Yes, that was the short version.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I moonlight as a sherpa.

With Porkchop on my back in the Ergo and Juju on my front in the sling, I held Scrunch's hand as we stepped onto the MAX headed for the Children's Museum today all by ourselves. They did great! I'd even take it over ensuring that Porkchop keep his carseat straps buckled any day. We loved the Museum and every time the MAX goes by and Porkchop catches a glimpse of it he screetches, "choo chooo!" at decibels almost only dogs can hear. Almost. We can still hear it. It is awesome.

The pool is awesome. The food has been awesome. (i.e. Pasta Presto's Tortellini Rustica and Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe's Aztec Mousse). The blackout curtains in our room are awesome. Having a vending machine is awesome. Housekeeping with fresh towels any time we need is awesome. Traveling with the kids has proved to be quite awesome.

I would however, like a dollar for every time I have heard the least helpful comment ever by strangers.

"You've got your hands full."

It grates on my nerves. Why thank you dipshit, I didn't notice. Now hows 'bout you hold the door? Honestly. What does that even mean anyway? From the cute little old lady with a nostalgic smile I can handle it. It's sorta sweet. But from anyone else, it totally bugs. It's often one of those observations handed down with a note of condescension. What am I supposed to say? "You're right. Which one do you think I should give back?" One of these times I'm going smart off and get us all in trouble when I smile sweetly and respond with, "And my heart, Jackass."

But mostly, even the strangers have been awesome. Especially all the ones Scrunch insists on talking to. Every where we go. Including the homeless ones. I held my breath she wouldn't say anything about the six foot cross-dressing blind man who stood in line behind us. What if he wasn't as good natured as the young man wearing a turban who she questioned incessantly at In N Out last fall? She has no fear, that girl. The first time I watched this video I thought, "I could see Scrunch doing this."

Send it sistah ! from sebastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

Mind you she doesn't speak French. She wanted to stand on the edge of the rail on the city overlook, and open the windows on the aerial tram. She danced to drums of the Occupy movement in downtown. She wants me to let her ride the MAX by herself. She offered to watch Porkchop at the park so they could go. She's four.

OK, I give. I do have my hands full. And (no sarcasm involved) my heart.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Travel Tips

I knew we would either be taking a few road trips or a long plane ride with the kids this summer. Either way, I knew we would be locked in a confined space with the three of them for a long period of time without a scooter or a sandbox- our go to sanity savers. I started reading blogs and scouring Pinterest for ways to make it easier and for some helpful hints. More than a couple of people have expressed that perhaps we were crazy for attempting a roadtrip to Portland with them. Husband got so much flack over it at work yesterday that he called mid afternoon to "check" on me. "You brought your wife, three kids, and a dog to live in a hotel for a week while you work?!?!" I missed his call. We were swimming.  I refuse to sit home for the next five years waiting for my kids to be 'old enough' to do things. I'd lose my mind. Knowing this makes it worth the work and effort involved for me to keep it together as we tag along on Husband's business trips. These is what has worked (for us) (this trip).

I started packing each day's outfits in a separate bag. It seems like a minor thing, but I can stick panties, hairbows, everything in each day's bag and know we have it. It makes it lots easier when Husband helps dress the kids. The baggies come in handy for all sorts of things.

I used to pack a huge bag with different pairs of shoes, and this time I started listening to all the posts I've read about creating a wardrobe pod. This is all I packed for nine days. (Minus the unmentionables not pictured.)

We don't do movies in the car. I'm not against it, it's just not something we do. In the past I've packed a little snack and Dollar Tree doodad in a little baggie for each hour we plan on spending in the car. This time we did something a little different and I gave each of the kids a pile of 'tickets' (craft foam strips) and they could "buy" snacks and activities when the store was "open". Porkchop totally didn't get it, but he was happy to "pay" with his tickets. Scrunch most definitely did. Especially when I asked her if she would rather pay me a ticket when misbehaving. These are the kinds of activities I started compiling weeks ago...

Busy Bingo
Their own embellished clipboards for the torn out coloring and activity pages.
We made these car kits at our RS Activity last week and I filled it with bandaids and alcohol wipes which then Scrunch covered Jujus legs in.

Squence matching from the Dollar tree blocks and cut up craft foam.
I used one of the tutorials out there to make coloring pages out of pictures for Scrunch.
Dollar tree cookie sheet with monkey and banana magnets which can also be used for tic tac toe.

Tan grams cut from craft foam.

On our way out of town I saw signs for a book sale and made Husband stop. I scored an entire bag of Best Seller's and popular book club books for 3 dollars! Score. Know how many pages I read on the ride up? Zero. Zilch. Major bummer for Mom. If I wasn't doling out snacks and activities I was working. We tethered my phone to my laptop so I could do this and it's kind of cramping my style, but not as much as it would have had I taken the week off. 

You have to be willing to let the plan change based on the kids' mood. I struggle with this. Come on! A tour of the Tillamook cheese factory would have been awesome! But two additional hours in the car would have done everyone in. Dairy Queen ice cream cones is kind of like visiting a dairy, right?

Make frequent stops. Not like you have a choice if you have a nursing baby, but even half an hour at the ghetto park in Podunk, OR is better than cranky, screaming kids for the half hour you would have gained in travel time.

No matter how prepared you think you are and how many snacks you've packed, you're going to get bored. So are they. You'll want to run screaming from the car. It's okay. You will find ways to pass the time, and then when you think you're really going to lose it and change your name to something other than Mo-om, you're there!

A great hotel pool is worth every penny.

So is finding great local places to eat. 

Repeat the last two as needed. I've planned a busy fun-filled activity day alternating with a low key cartoons on fluffy beds interrupted by swims day and so far, it is working.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I have a vacation hangover. Where you wake up in the morning thinking, "what just happened?!?" but it hurts your head to think about it. And yet you know you're totally going to do it again this weekend. 

This is the low-down. Or download. Or whatever of our adventure this weekend. I'm boycotting the use of the word vacation. There are outings, field trips, adventures, but no such thing as a vacation with three littles- let's not kid ourselves.

Monterrey Bay Aquarium- Thumbs up! Kids were in total overwhelm. Picture taking is not so fabulous because all you get is the back of their heads as they stare in wonder.

Camping at Big Sur- Only one picture of Squishy made the cut. Trying to keep track of everything and everyone while hiking, eating, and sleeping in the dirt is about all I could handle. The State Park was great, Riverside Campground- not so much. Crowded and cranky rangers. S'mores and friends saved it.

Pfieffer State Beach- Beautiful and freezing. Scrunch loved it, Porkchop might have had the blowing sand not been right at his eye level.

Hogs Breath Inn- Best thing I ever did was make friends with a foodie! Thumbs way, way up.

Carmel- If I was rich I still wouldn't live there. Driving up and down the 1 (Pacific Coast Hwy) gives me an anxiety attack, but once you're in town you feel all swanky and posh just being there.

Hyatt at Monterrey- Nice. Wish our room had a jetted tub, but now I'm just getting picky.

Beach Party- Thank goodness my son is hard headed since he totally fell off the shuttle bus as we arrived. The hard headedness really kicked in when the tide came in and we had to keep Scrunch out of the water. Camping for two days prior really made the food and accommodations seem that much more awesome.

Twisted Stitch- Knitting shop in Monterey is teeny, tiny but got the job done and I came home with two beautiful skeins of Malabrigo Finito.

Monterey Crepe Company- Yum!

Dennis the Menace Park- Highlight of the trip and we have the most pictures of the kids in playing in the maze. Amazing what having them fenced it can do for my sanity and feeling like I could pull out the camera.

Sonic in Tracy- Strike one! against Sonic, as much as it pains me to say it. No one was more disappointed than I that it was just plain awful. We found a nice park not far away though to stop and get our wiggles out.

Overall I rate this a lovely jaunt, fabulous excursion, or charming expedition. I have officially kissed the notion of a vacation good-bye. It's cool though. You feel all smart and exotic when you can tell people you've just returned from a peregrination. Watch for an upcoming post entitled Peregrinating Portland. Please, for the love! It will make my ten hour trip in the car that much more enriching if I can picture you incorporating peregrination into your next meal with co-workers, in a conversation with a grocery store clerk, or in a Sacrament talk.

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