Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lessons Learned in the Weeds

  1. Next time I hear hissing while working in the yard, step away from the rake and pruners and replace with a book and glass of wine.

  2. Don't go in the house and ask my husband to come out and investigate the suspected snake that would be the source of the hissing unless I want my yard work to be subjected to unsolicited critiquing.

  3. When husband asks, "What are you expecting me to do?" don't get all huffy and mumble that you don't know why you asked him to come out here in the first place and tell him just to go back in the house. Rather, explain to him how it is every girl's fantasy for her prince to come to her rescue and slay the dragon - even a woman like me who is fiercely independent and unromantic to a fault.

  4. When further investigation with a rake does not produce the suspected snake, do not believe yourself when you convince yourself that you are crazy.

  5. Large, fuzzy mushroom and small, sick bat partially buried by leaves look surprisingly similar, especially since small, sick bat looks like fuzzy lump with wings and teeth but no head or eyes.

  6. Small, sick bat hisses like snake when disturbed by a woman doing yard work.

  7. Children think that small, sick bat is enormously adorable and want to keep it as a pet, quashing any thoughts of putting poor small, sick bat out of its misery.

  8. Former rule of avoiding all yard work in overgrown areas that may contain spiders of any size; poison ivy; snakes; rabid raccoons; and small, sick, hissing, no headed, no eyed, toothed bats shaped liked mushrooms shall be reinstated immediately.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There Must Be Some Mistake

Alltop. Seriously?! I got in?

I love reading June Cleaver Nirvana. So when I read this post, I had to go right over to Alltop and check it out. On the Mom Blogs site, I found listed many of my favorite blogs, as well as several I hadn't discovered yet. One of my favorites was missing however - Mine! When I wrote them to inform them of this grievous error in their ways, my email must have been received by an intern in the mail room because they agreed to add me to their Mom Blog listings. Go check it out. It's really cool.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rumors in the Air

We seem to be the go-to house for a few of the kids in our neighborhood. I don't mind so much (most days). Our kids have friends to play with and I know that they are safe in my yard (until they start jumping from the tree house and flipping each other over on the hammock). This also allows me sometimes to be privy to insider information that, as they grow older, will be protected deep in their brains and only shared with 1700 of their closest friends.

The other night, a couple of the kids were over and I was swinging them on the hammock and they were talking about one of the other friends who hadn't shown up yet. Jack said that he heard that the friend who hadn't shown up yet had gotten "anxious one day on the playground waiting to use the monkey bars so shoved the kid in front of her and she fell off and broke her arm." Jack, Luke, and another friend that was over agreed that they did not believe this to be true, because the girl in question was way too nice to do something like this. I also could have pointed out that she was the size of a toothpick and unlikely able to shove anyone with enough force to break someone's arm. Instead, I asked them this: "Does anyone know what a rumor is?"

Luke, who is four and quick to remind you that he is almost five, said, "Yeah. It's when one person says something about someone that may not be true but then other people spread it around anyway." Here is the definition of rumor from Webster: A story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts. Luke will be accepting diplomas on Saturday.

I told him that he was exactly correct, and he told me, very proudly, "I learned that from Veggie Tales." So that got me thinking - which one of those mean little veggies was spreading rumors?

Friday, April 25, 2008


There was a campout:

But, since I still haven't quite recovered from my last camping adventures, I didn't participate in this campout. And I guess, technically, I can't call it a campout.

I wonder how much longer I'll be able to put a tent in a bedroom and pass it off as a camping trip.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Boys Are Nuts

There were some interesting guesses to my Guess What, Guess Why post.

Anyone that guessed that I might be pregnant - bite your tongue! But unless there has been some reverse surgical procedure performed on my husband in a secret lab somewhere without our knowledge - say after aliens faked an earthquake in St. Louis all for the sole purpose of abducting my husband because they would love to see more of his offspring running around wreaking havoc on this world so it is easier for them to take the Earth over when the time comes - a pregnancy in this house is not likely to occur.

Thanks to all who played. Without further ado, the answer to the "What" is this (sorry for the blurriness):

My son took several markers and drew down the side of his leg. And why did he do this? The answer to the "Why" is this:

He wanted to be able to smell that sweet scent of marker whenever he felt like it without having to carry a marker around. This is him getting one last whiff before I made him scrub it off.

What can I say? He's resourceful. And nuts. Boys are nuts. But then, you knew that already.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Guess What, Guess Why

Can anyone guess what this is?

And the "why" is equally as important as the "what."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Great Port-A-Potty Adventure

Remember the outhouse of yesteryear? It was basically a hole dug deep into the ground with a wood shed built around it meant for privacy and to protect the inhabitants from critters and the elements. Other than the occasional use of the nearest bush or tree, outhouses were used to relieve oneself all of the time and not only on rare occasions when indoor plumbing or public restrooms were not available.

Nowadays, outhouses are made completely of heavy duty plastic so the people that clean them never have to touch them. Just get out the fire hose and blast away.

And it is rare that we come across an occasion where we have to use an outhouse. That is one of the nice things about having boys. They are still young enough (at least Luke is) that if Number 1 is calling, we can usually find a secluded area to take care of business and never have to venture in to an outhouse, or port-a-potty in modern day speak. However, the other day we found ourselves at the baseball practice fields with no public restrooms and no desire to do what a bear does, if you get my meaning. As I was going for a lovely evening with Bossy that night, that gave me the perpetual short straw for the day and off Luke and I headed to the port-a-potty. For me, that was a walk of doom.

On the way, we stopped at the car for wipes and Kleenex. Luke wondered why. I explained to him, in the gentlest terms possible, the usual condition of port-a-potties. The first thing he did when we got in was exclaim excitedly that there was indeed plenty of toilet paper. And the port-a-potty was in fact very clean. And not very stinky. Though it was crowded. And hot. And though clean, it was still a port-a-potty which meant that I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. But Luke was mesmerized. I swear it was as if I had taken him to the Bellagio in Vegas.

He was amazed with the way he could look down and see his butt reflected in the water below while he sat and did his business. He was astonished at how far his poop had to drop to reach the water. He was enthralled by the green color of the water, and called it dirty alligator water. He informed me that when his expulsions reached the water, they sunk right to the bottom. He asked why I didn’t want to sit next to him on the little platform they had obviously made just for that reason. According to Luke, this spot would have been the perfect spot for me to sit and wait while he was doing his business. According to me, I would have preferred sitting in the car. I kept asking, “Are you done yet?” Who was I kidding? For a four-and-a-half year old, this was definitely an experience not to be rushed.

As he sat and observed, he noticed a mirror above the door. How considerate of these makers of the port-a-potty. They must understand how women feel after spending more than a minute in one of these. So, after your makeup is completely smudged from pinching your nose to block the smell and from sweat running down your face and your hair is plastered to your scalp from the sweltering heat, you can use this mirror to primp. I see several problems with this, however. The first is the mirror is so tiny you can only see one feature in the mirror at a time – an eye, your nose, a piece of your hair, etc.

Second where do you set your bag while you’re primping? Do you put it here?

Or would you put it next to the toilet, in the place that Luke thinks is the perfect spot for sitting while waiting for your son to finish his two-day long poop.

Third, the angle of the mirror on the door such that it is, means that you have to stay on the seat, or too near it, to be able to see yourself in the mirror. I really do not feel it necessary to sit on the seat or next to it and do any kind of primping.

At last, Luke was finished. We used our wipes to clean our hands and then he sprinted back to the fields to fill his dad and brother in on what he truly considered to be a magnificent adventure. He honestly described it as, “Totally awesome.” I would have to disagree, although I would say my son is totally awesome. How else could you describe someone that could turn one of the grossest, most dreaded experiences into something so perfect and childlike?

Monday, April 21, 2008


One nanosecond is the same as one billionth of a second. One nanosecond is also the same as the time it takes my boys to realize that I am laying in the hammock, relaxing peacefully in the sun on a gorgeous day and quickly turn my gentle swaying into an event that would make any amusement park ride envious.

And I did have a few minutes peace on that hammock with one of the boys. But when the other boy realized what we were doing, it was as if he felt a disturbance in the force and immediately was drawn to our location where his presence was like throwing water on an alkali metal and our peace exploded into lunacy.

Jack tried his hardest to flip the hammock over with Luke and me on it but I managed to keep us upright. I also managed to keep myself out of the mud, which was no easy feat. Did you know that you can experience motion sickness on a hammock? If you’re pushed hard enough for long enough, you can. Jack did succeed in almost making me barf, which he found very hilarious and that made up for the fact that he wasn’t able to throw me from the hammock despite his best efforts.

When this hammock “fun” had gone on for what felt to me like an hour but was probably only around 20 minutes, I figured it was time to stop while we were ahead and no one was crying. Jack hadn’t gotten strangled by the strings of the hammock or impaled by the wood frame. Luke hadn’t fallen out and landed on his head. The boys weren’t mad at each other. A successful 20 minutes of fun.

“O.K. guys, that’s enough of that game. Jump on Jack and swing with us until we stop and we’ll do something else.” I need to learn that I am taken so literally around here. My eyes widened with horror as I watched him run and leap into the air as the hammock was in mid-swing. And he landed right on my belly and head. And he broke down in a fit of laughter. Had I not been laughing so hard, I probably would have cried. So much for stopping before someone got hurt.

“I think you killed me. Let’s get off this thing and go throw water balloons at each other’s heads.”

And so we moved onto another one of our favorite, harmless activities.

P.S. It takes about 15 seconds to fill one water balloon and tie it. It takes one nanosecond to throw it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday Laughs

Ralph believed that housework was a woman's job, but one evening, Jenny arrived home from work to find the children bathed, one load of laundry in the washer and another in the dryer. Dinner was on the stove, and the table set. She was astonished!

It turns out that Ralph had read an article that said, 'Wives who work full-time and had to do their own housework were too tired to have sex.'

The night went very well. The next day, she told her office friends all about it. "We had a great dinner. Ralph even cleaned up the kitchen. He helped the kids do their homework, folded all the laundry and put it away. I really enjoyed the evening."

"But what about afterward?" asked her friends.

"Oh, that. Ralph was too tired."

God is good.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Little Twin

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, or the second time for that matter, John and I really didn't talk too much about which one of us we thought the baby would more likely resemble. We could have taken photos of us as babies and adults and uploaded them into a program that would have morphed us into one image and given us a likeness of our future child. But really, why would we have terrified ourselves like that?

Once Jack was born, we were regaled with questions of "Who does he look like?" by others and by each other. It really was hard to say. We compared baby pictures of Jack with baby pictures of John, of me, and of our family members. John's family thought Jack looked more like John. My family thought Jack looked more like me. John, in his true modest fashion and with sincere love of the way I look, said for Jack's sake he hoped he resembled me.

My good friend Angie at Keep Believing commented after my Hair Post that she never really realized how much Jack resembles me until she saw those pictures. I think she's right. And here's the evidence to prove it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


My good friend, Angie at Keep Believing, bestowed upon me the following bling:

Thanks for thinking of me, Angie.
I would like to pass the award onto Mocha Momma, a recent blog discovery and someone that I hope to get to meet when Bossy does St. Louis.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Hair Post

Driving Jack to school today, he was awed by the fact that he could feel his hand on his hair when touching it ever so lightly. He said, “Hair is not part of the body, you know. It’s just a thing that covers up the bald spot.”

I’ve been looking through a lot of old pictures lately, and wondering what I was thinking when styling my “thing that covers up the bald spot.” John and the boys got some good laughs out of these pictures, so what else would a blogger do but share them with the world for further humiliation? I’ll save the fashion and make-up talk for another post.

The Bang Flip

The Fold In

The Full-Feather

The Half-Feather

The Super Scary Razor Sharp

The Puffy and Crunchy

The Lofty and Split

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Favorite Days

Some of my favorite days spent with my grandma are the ones I spent sick on her couch. I know it may sound strange, remembering fondly times when I was ill, but that was the type of woman she was. Just being with her made me feel better. And, instead of being in school, I got to spend the day with the most gracious woman I knew, even if at the time my young age couldn't quite define the specialness of what I was encountering each time I was near her.

She'd curl me up on her couch with a fluffy pillow, my favorite blanket, my favorite t.v. show, and a kitchen full of my favorite foods just waiting for me to ask for something, anything. How did she have my favorite foods when she didn't even know that I was coming over sick until that morning? Somehow, she always managed to stock each of her grandkids favorites so an impromptu visitor was never disappointed with her refrigerator or pantry. Even for my kids, even when she couldn't drive and had trouble getting to the grocery store, a visit never was met with disappointment.

And no request was too big or too small. I was there for her to take care of me, and taking care of me was something she did better than almost anyone else I've known. And she did it without making me once feel as if I was putting her out or as if she was doing me a favor. Taking care of me was just a natural extension of her love, and to her as much a needed part of her existence as breathing.

As I got older and was able to take care of myself, getting sick didn't necessarily mean a stay on grandma's couch. But then, when I was a freshman in college, I came down with mono. And I got to spend the week on my grandma's couch. I don't remember much of it. I know that she nurtured and nursed me and that I mostly slept. When I was awake, she fed me to my heart's content. And we talked and talked. My grandma kept more of a college student's hours than a grandmother's, so we had a grand time and leaving when she healed me was harder than I ever imagined it could be.

If given the choice, I'd pick sick on her couch over healthy on anyone else's.

Madonna Evelyn Kirby
December 18, 1923 - April 9, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

In Loving Memory

Time has knowledge of you and the purpose you serve
It opens up to you, and somehow, impossibly,
Allows you to comfort all those that call on you

You are a birth mother to three,
A surrogate mother to many
To any that need an ear, a shoulder, a loving hand, a loving heart

You are a stellar example of love
Love without question or judgment
So unconditional that it is more of heaven than of earth

You are protected under a shroud of faith that extends to your loved ones
We have nothing to fear
Your direct line to God keeps us safe

Your inner strength and conviction are always present
And exhibited in your posture and way of life
People sense that and are drawn to you

You have the burden of strength
And carry that load with grace and fortitude
Enduring loss and sadness in your life and soaking up the sadness of others

Timeless beauty, classic style, radiant faith
Your aura leaves a lasting impression on the lives and souls
That pass through your life no matter how briefly

You live your life as if your purpose for being
Is to love and to be loved
And you fulfill that purpose with every breath you take

I wrote this for my grandma for her 80th birthday, 4 years ago. My grandma took her last breath on April 9th. I'm not sure of the time, but it was around 3:30 in the morning and she was surrounded by her children. She is now surrounded by those who have gone before her, and her Father. I love you always, Grams.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Parenting Contradiction

One of the perks of parenthood is getting to experience again the joy of childhood through the lives of my children.

I get to watch kid movies.

I get to read kid books.

I get to color with crayons.

I get to wrestle.

I get to wander through the yard in search of treasures and critters.

I get to play on the playground.

I get to play tag and hide-and-go-seek.

I get to believe in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

So, if being a parent allows me to revert in some fashion to childhood, to participate in childish activities and live, in those moments, a carefree existence, why does... body have aches in joints and muscles I didn't even know existed? body pop and creak anytime I stand up or sit down? hair sprout grays exponentially? face grow wrinkles at an alarming rate? hands look more like my grandma's and less like my sons'?

Parenthood: The Fountain-of-Youth for the heart and soul, the Aging Accelerant for the body.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I Let Him Win...Really

When exactly did I go from losing to my soon to be 5-year old, who is a genius by the way, on purpose to getting my butt swiftly and unexpectedly kicked?

We were recently playing a game of ConnectFour, and I was trying to win. I really was. I thought it was time that he learned that he can't win every game and that he has to learn the graceful art of losing and being a good sport about it.

The game was progressing pretty quickly. I knew that he wasn't paying close attention, just quickly putting his pieces in and not really watching my strategy. It was my turn, and I raised my piece to block him from getting four in a row.

Luke: I hate to tell you this Mom, but I'm going to win no matter what you do.
Me, noticing with stunned horror that he had not one, not two, but three different ways to win: Are you kidding me? You have three ways to win?
Jack, coming over to confirm my inadequacy: Where? Yep, he sure does. I've never had three ways to win before.
Me: Well, I've never had three ways to lose before.
Luke: Let's play Sequence. It's not so easy to beat you at that.

And here I thought I was teaching him a lesson in how to play games.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Laughs

Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place. Looking up to heaven he said, "Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!"

Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

Paddy looked up again and said, "Never mind, I found one."

Friday, April 4, 2008

I Know I've Said Too Much When...

...My kids keep asking where all the Indians are when we’re driving down the street. I finally realized, once I started paying attention to what I was saying as I was driving, they were looking for the Idiots. As in, “Get out of my way, you Idiot.” Or, “Hang up your phone and drive, you Idiot.” Or, “Look at this Idiot. He shouldn’t even be allowed on the road.”

...Jack, who was two years old at the time, responded to my statement that it was time for bed with, “Oh, Dammit. I didn’t even get to watch a movie.”

...I hear Luke telling his stuffed animals, “I’m sorry. I gave you your choice and you made your decision. It's time out for you.” Is that how I sound? Shudder.

...At Grant’s Farm, Luke runs from the goat eating his shirt saying, “What the hell?”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Selective Eyesight

Jennifer over at Playgroups are No Place for Children recently wrote a post titled Male Pattern Blindness. I loved it. It is eerily familiar to the male-dominated household ailment (MDHA) I like to call Selective Eyesight. We have a lot of sensory-related illnesses at our house. You may have read about Selective Hearing on this blog. Selective Eyesight is closely related.

Selective Eyesight is that MDHA that allows the males in my household to randomly and specifically choose what they want to see and what they want to ignore. For example, my husband opened the refrigerator door the other day two times before I did. He bent over. He opened the fruit drawer. He had to, HAD TO, have seen the half inch deep, covering the entire bottom of the refrigerator, sour smelling puddle of olive juice that had spilled down the back of the refrigerator from an overturned bottle of olives on the top shelf. I noticed it immediately upon opening the refrigerator.

I cleaned it up. I could have said nothing. I could have just let it go. But...I couldn’t. “Did you not see the big puddle in the bottom of the refrigerator?”

“No (rather huffily). What was it?”

“Olive juice,” I said.

“Well, I don’t eat olives.”

As if not eating olives should make him blind to a big-ass puddle of olive juice in the bottom of the refrigerator. I’m giggling as I write this. He’s getting annoyed as he reads it. Moving on.

My boys have their own version of Selective Eyesight. They choose not to see the pile of dirty clothes in the middle of their bedroom floor as they step over it night after night. Or, they choose to see it and roll around in it, hide in it, hit each other with it, anything but put it in the hamper.

When looking for a lost toy, they cannot see it, even though it is usually right in front of their faces. But, they spot the teeny, tiny spider in the corner of their room, behind the chair, under the teddy bear, under the book, in the crack, with one tiny toe sticking out. How is that even possible?

Sometimes, I just think it is a non-observant thing. They get so caught up in what they are doing, they lose track of their own surroundings. I once sat and listened to Luke talk to Jack for almost a full 5 minutes before Luke realized Jack wasn’t even in the room. Luke was really getting mad at Jack for not answering. The only reason he figured out Jack wasn’t in the room was when he decided he had enough of Jack ignoring him and went to punch Jack, only to finally realize Jack wasn’t even in the room. I got punched instead for laughing.

And of course, there’s the Selective Eyesight that comes with laziness. It doesn’t matter that I am trying to get from the car to the house with my purse, the shoes that have been kicked off in the car, the coats that have been shed, the backpacks, the school papers, the Gameboys, the purchases made on the way home, the mail, and the keys to open the door. None of that seems to register in the eyes of the male suffering from Selective Eyesight. Someone will ask me to carry something. Usually Luke. It goes something like this: “Will you carry these toys for me because I only have two hands and already have two things to carry.” Hellllooo? Can’t you see all of the things I’m carrying? Um, no, he can’t. He has Selective Eyesight, and he selects to block out everything but my two hands. And to him, those hands are empty.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Who's The Fool?

"There's a spider on your head. April Fool!"

"There's a spider on your nose. April Fool!"

"There's a spider on your back. April Fool!"

"There's a spider on your shirt. April Fool!"

"Daddy just ate Shasta's poop. April Fool!"

And this is how my morning went. I'm predicting the afternoon will not be much different. I am a fool. A fool for reminding them what day it is. April Fool's Day on me.