Follow My Sorry Ass


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Death of a SalesVan

Our dejected minivan finally shucked its mortal coil.

It happened during our multi-state road trip a few weeks ago. We'd just reached an elevation of approximately 11,000 feet, near the top of Mount Crumpet or something like that (read: overlooking Denver and 45 minutes shy of our ultimate destination, which was my brother's house). We'd already seen the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and hiked briefly through Bryce Canyon. We'd stayed in and around the "parks" region of Southern Utah enough to be getting antsy of all the Mormon/cowboy weirdness, obligatory tourism, and blazing heat, and were driving intently toward Max and Megan's. The kids had only been mildly to moderately obnoxious that day, and Joe and I were just starting to shout to each other--over the usual child-related din--about how the minivan was doing with this grand journey.

Me: (puts feet up on the dashboard, and aims the A/C directly at pregnant torso) So how's the van doing?!
Joe: You know, it's actually doing amazingly well for being at almost 200k miles!

(5 minutes later)

Minivan: RATTATATATATAT! GRrrrrrrRRRRRR! (Horrible engine noises) *Car refuses to accelerate*

Me and Joe: Oh shit.

We put the flashers on and pulled over into a weigh station area for large commercial vehicles that was right near the tippy-top of the mountain pass. The kids started to get nervous, but we reassured them that everything was going to be fine; we just needed to put a little bit of oil in the car and all would be right as rain. Somehow we managed to coast in the far right lane to a gas station, where Joe poured in, like, four quarts of oil. The van was still loud, lethargic, and very unhappy. And the minute the guy at the repair shop heard the noise the car was making in an idle, he began to shake his head in a way that was both definitive and sad.

"The damage is done," the repair guy prognosticated. Due to some kind of loose bearing rattling around all over inside, the engine was probably minutes away from seizing. But that wasn't before he informed us that there was exactly jack-sh*t on the mountain in terms of towing, car rental services, or places to comfortably stop (other than where we were standing). We could cut our losses now or we could try to make it through THE ONE LAST TINY HILL of the mountain pass (about 3 miles long) before a long downward trajectory to the city.

Naturally, we decided to try to coast it.

100 feet into the THE ONE LAST TINY HILL, the van went to the little diamond mine in the sky. Indeed, it proved to be worth more dead than alive because the junkyard (after much ado and effort to get the title) offered us more for it than the CarMax dealership would have, had it been in any way serviceable.


(This was taken after Triple-A finally showed up and the van was towed to the bottom. And Zach was the only one who didn't get the memo about making a sad face.)

Anyway, the van's long-coming martyrdom was a sacrifice that won't soon be forgotten; we got a much nicer car after Megan came and picked us up. The American Dream was alive and well for us that day, as we bought a very-gently-used, pricey foreign dream car with all the accompanying bells whistles, extra seats, and safety features.

Fast forward to today: I take four kids to the DMV to register a vehicle purchased out of state and only cried twice in doing so. Alas, that is a story for another day.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Toddlers Are Funner Than Tweens

Today we were running an errand that required being in the car for awhile, and we were short on time. Being a mother of nutritious integrity I made a hasty lunchtime stop at the Bad Place of Poison Burgers.



Somewhere along the line, James decided that throwing his entire hamburger across the minivan and calling me a b*tch was an age-appropriate and prudent way to communicate his displeasure with my particular choice of eatery (point taken). His reason for the insult--which was technically not swearing since he spelled the word out instead of saying it--? The burger smelled "like chemicals" and was giving him a headache.

"Fine," I said. "Starve." And sentenced him to clean out the whole minivan by himself. Because, like Tina Fey, I Will Not Have That Sh*t.

Anyway, the commotion of all this prompted Zachy to start chucking McNuggets at my windshield from his carseat. But hey, at least that made me laugh a little bit and marvel at his hand-eye coordination. Things took a turn for the worse when, shortly after that, I peed my pants for good measure a few times while sneezing and driving. This was also the same day I discovered that one of my favorite bloggers, The Coquette, has been DELETED by Tumblr for what is sure to be a very, very foolish reason (she completes me! Well, she and Julie Robichaux).

....Just in case you're ever wondering what that smell is when you're driving my van.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Man in the Mirror

Some stuff that came home in Elise's backpack this week:






“They chew the babies [sic] food and barf it back up…”

I'm imagining the lesson: "and that's what's known as 'parental regurgitation behavior', kids. Okay, class dismissed for lunch."



Not sure what to think about this, entitled The Mirror.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why I'm A Little Bit Scared

Top 10 Reasons I'm A Teensy Bit Scared To Have Another Son (Yes, these are all sexist)

10. My downstairs bathroom already smells like the reptile house at the zoo; more boys in our family = more packs of neighborhood boys coming over and missing the bowl.

9. Potty training and the accompanying public urination phase. (My big boys used to do it from the top of play structures in public parks.)

8. Even more broken bones and trips to the orthopedist. (James just got his cast off after he'd climbed the fence for a "shortcut" and fell onto the concrete fountain in our backyard.)

7. More trips to Wal-mart to buy cheap shoes. And socks. (Will wears out a pair of sneakers every two weeks, then the hole(s) in his shoe creates the same problem in his sock.)

6. The noise, oh the noise! It's just gonna get louder up in here. (Zach is entering the screaming two-year-old phase.)



5. The punching, oh the punching!

4. More years of accidentally stepping on legos with bare feet and gingerly putting away lego creations for safe keeping.

3. Energy requirement: I'm tired just thinking about chasing another little boy through toddlerhood.

2. Needing to remember all the Thomas The Tank Engine characters' names, personality traits, and political orientations for that much longer.

1. It's a little bit scary how sweet a son can be.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Toddlerspeak: A Few Definitions

Big Tom (n.)- See Also: Grandpa Tom.

Big Truck (n.)- (1) Any large vehicle; (2) alias of Uncle Chuck.

Elmote (n.)- A device that, when pointed at the TV, summons Elmo to the screen.

Gramma Kiss (n.)- See Also: Grandma Kris.

Nack (n.)- a fruit snack.

Monday, April 27, 2015

You've Got Male: Part Two

Boy #4 is a go! (And thank you, higher powers that be, for an apparently healthy baby!)

Elise was a little sad that it's not a baby sister, yes. But she is okay now.

OMG, what am I going to do with FOUR BOYS running around my house?!?!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Acronyms

"Take me to church, I'll whistle like a dog on a Saturday night..." -Elise, singing her interpretation of Hozier

"ELISE is an acronym. It means Eggfart Leprosy Idiotic Stupid Elephantitis." -Will, apparently unaware of wet-lab immunoassay ELISA

"Oh yeah? 'WILL' stands for Whalepoop Idiotic Lame Loser!" -Elise, without missing a beat

Monday, April 13, 2015

You've Got Male

I have no idea whether we're having a boy or girl this time.

Might be finding out the baby's sex in a week, when I have my regular doctor visit, if they can squeeze me in between regularly scheduled ultrasounds. But if they can't, and I'm still in suspense, I am not waiting until 20 weeks, y'all. I'm gonna go blow $100-150 on an elective 3D u/s because this is my last time doing this whole pregnancy thing and I refuse to be reasonable.

Besides, I need a way to mark the passage of time other than puking.

My dad is here visiting, and yesterday Elise asked him what he was going to dream about that night. He said, "I think I'm going to dream about your [baby] sister!" I promptly reprimanded him; she is already putting on a brave face and saying she's cool if the baby ends up being another brother, but dude. That is gonna be, like, too much to bear if she is hearing that "sister" ish and the baby ends up being brother #4 for the poor girl.

Oh well. Elise's teacher (wonderful lady) has been busy telling her about how she grew up with FIVE brothers and everything turned out okay. Thanks, Mrs. DeChellis. We love you!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Ish My Kids Say, Tween Edition

Some of my kids are getting kind of mean-ish and tween-ish.

Examples:

Will called Elise a "can of butt juice" yesterday, inciting me to gag (stupid pregnancy-related nausea).

Less benignly, James called a fellow fourth-grader at school an "ugly lesbian" and chased him off the playground. When I heard about this incident from my good momfriend, I gave him a stern, for-ten-year-olds version of a lecture on hate speech and took away the computer (travesty). Then, today, he informed me that all I do is "drink Coke and nap all day." Oh, how I wish that were true, mine-angry tween-ish child.

And to top it off, Elise is really fond of making catty comments about James' birthmark within his earshot. That's all I need, for him to develop a massive complex about your standard-issue hyperpigmentation, because we aren't all neurotic enough around here.

That's pretty much it. Zach hasn't hit the mean comment phase yet, just the literal one where he says, "hit!" and hits you (hard). New baby is being a little bit mean, making me a little bit sick still, but that I can abide.





Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dear Baby #5

Dear Baby #5,

I can vividly remember writing this letter to your next-oldest sibling, who is now a toddler. I was in dire straits in the days I was expecting him--off my antidepressants, ill with hyperparathyroidism, guilt-laden, catastrophically stressed, supplicating to the pregnancy gods that things would work out. All is much better now (knock on wood). Nevertheless, there are some things I would like to ask of you.

1. Could you please stop making me vomit so much. I know that sentence is supposed to have a question mark, but it is a firmer request than that. We are coming up on 12 weeks. The broken blood vessels in my eyes tell me that this much heaving (in addition to this much Zofran) can't be good for either of us.

2. Could you please try to avoid making your grand entrance to the world on Will's birthday (September 19th)? Will shares so much with everyone; I don't think he will want to share his day. Any other day is preferable, even the anniversary day of the 9/11 tragedy. I assume you will stay put through James' (8/5) and Zach's (8/22) since you aren't technically due 'till 10/8.

3. Could you please, please allow me to have some energy this weekend, when your dad will be out of town, sailing to Catalina the Channel Islands with his buddies (cue ominous Gilligan's Island theme music: "a three-hour tour")? It'll be just me plus your four sibs, until Meryl and Aunt Kay and Uncle Chuck and get here to visit and help. Have mercy, little plum-sized fetus.

4. It would be awesome if I didn't pee my pants when I cough, sneeze, or puke (see #1). I know this is outside of your control, but it can't hurt to ask.

5. Please don't develop complications or give me delivery surprises of the unpleasant kind. I'll try to keep my liver and other organs happy as best I may.

Thanks. I love you.

Mom

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Interlude

I feel better today, all of a sudden.

The puking has momentarily ceased. "Puh-raise God for vittory!" exclaimed Granma Joad.

I think I may actually put on non-bathrobe clothing, emerge from the house for the first time in weeks, and do the thing that we Californians love best: purchase something.

There's a fairly long list of "crucial" items to buy (with apologies to the Joads)--

For Will: t-shirts "that aren't crappy"; new football cleats
For Zach: toddler motorcycle, and toddler potty (He's been telling me when he's pooped in his diaper; I'm SO not ready for this, but here goes.)
For James: non-fiction book "that isn't crappy"; new football cleats
For Elise: I can't even remember but I know she needs something.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Poem of the Day

Or, In Defense of Naming a Baby Before She is Born

My Baby Has No Name Yet
by Kim Nam-Jo (1927-)

My baby has no name yet;
like a new-born chick or puppy,
my baby is not named yet.

What numberless texts I examined
at dawn and night and evening over again!
But not one character did I find
which is as lovely as the child.

Starry field of the sky,
or heap of pearls in the depth.
Where can the name be found, how can I?

My baby has no name yet;
like an unnamed bluebird or white flowers
from the farthest land for the first,
I have no name for this baby of ours.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sorely Needed Meme


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Zach's First Sentence, & More

"Mama sick!" [makes barfing noises] -Zach

"Mom, I've been right about things before. And I think you might be having a baby." -Elise, ever-observant

"Mom, if you decide to have another baby, and I'm not saying you are, I'll help change diapers!" -James, making me cry the other day

"Mom, I'm sorry you don't feel good. I love you." -Will

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Day

Today has sucked a little bit.

First, I felt like sh*t. Had to cancel the kids' eye doctor appointments because I was too nauseous to function.

Second, I threw up repeatedly in my car (I made it into the trash can, though). This was while Zach and I were in the line at the Taco Bell drive-thru, because, you know, sometimes you NEED nachos and nothing else will suffice. Sometimes, you just NEED NACHOS or your body will punish you severely (mine did because I was about three minutes too late in getting said-nachos). Anyway, since the trash can is between the front seats, I twisted and writhed violently while puking and may have seriously pulled a muscle between my shoulder blades.

And you know how, sometimes when you puke, you puke so hard that tears come out? And pee? Yeah. So that was happening right as it was my turn to order. I rolled down the window; the dude working there asked me how my day was going.

"Good!" I said.

I was still puking when I pulled up to the window, and he handed me my food between pukes.

Then, I felt bad for Zach because he kept saying, "Side!" and wanted to go outside and play. So we went to the park, despite my intense back pain. He ended up having a massive toddler tantrum and intentionally banged his forehead on the cement while we were waiting for the big kids to be dismissed from school. There was screaming and rolling and kicking. He was p!ssed because I'd had to make him leave the park to go pick up the kids. He has a huge gash on his forehead now. A few minutes later, my friend asked me if that was dried blood in Zach's hair; it was actually dried chocolate pudding, which he'd refused to let me comb out. Way to pull it all together to make me look like a good mommy, Son.

Now, Zach is eating more pudding because that's one of the only foods he will currently eat beside fruit snacks and popcorn. The big boys are watching TMNT, and Elise is out playing, and all is generally peaceful. But Zach is smearing pudding on his forearms.

At least Joe is coming home soon to make it all better. Sucks to be him, but I'm going back to bed ASAP.

Friday, February 13, 2015

More Celebrity Babies: Renamed

I just heard that the Lively-Reynolds baby isn't named Violet, after all. She's not even named a girl's name, d@mmit.

She's named James.

And I don't have a lot of nice things to say about that, having a son named James and believing fervently that neither James nor Maxwell nor Thomas nor Wyatt Earp nor anything else with a strong tradition as a male name is suddenly appropriate for a female child just because a celebrity thought it would be cute.

So! Let us commence with the renaming!

James Violet Viola! Or Violin. Or pretty much anything other than James.

(Rule for naming daughters: "traditional feminine name" > "random noun name" > "name with a strong male connotation")

--

In other news, Elise is eight years old!!!!!



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Black Magic Woman



Awkwardly-executed picture of a picture of the day (above).

Yes, my kitchen counter is dirty. But no, that...that thing in the bottom of the frame is not what it looks like (get yo' mind out the gutter!) It's my jacket.

Anyway, I'm posting this in the spirit of 1) how blessed I'm feeling lately, and 2) how amazing this one photographer was who took our portrait last Friday. She frickin' ruled. The chaos that she managed to contain when she got that shot--James being his sarcastic tween self, Zach trying feverishly to get away, neither Will nor Elise even looking in this lady's general direction until the last second, etc, etc, etc--I just...wow. It's almost like she used some kind of black magic to crop out the various eyerolling, squirming, and tears.

This is my family, guys, and against many odds it's still growing. I am so lucky.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

First World Problems

Joe: So what should I wear to the father-daughter dance?
Elise: A tuxedo. A pink tuxedo!
Will: [Laughs]
James: Is that like "Dumb & Dumber"?

(5 min later)
Me: When did you see "Dumb & Dumber"???

--

Our dishwasher died. I got to wash a sh*tload of dishes today. And I'm all...


And then I'm like,




And I'm waiting by the phone (okay, holding my cell in my hand) to hear my 2nd beta results. Fingers crossed that they're okay...



Wish me luck on this harrowing journey.

Update: all is well!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pretty Sure...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bueller, Bueller, Anyone?

Evap line??  Like, 2 hours later.

Top test is false positive from Friday 1/16, first thing in the morning.  Bottom one is today.  I know, probably nothing, but it looks like something here in person.  And yeah, my bathroom is kind of dirty.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Memes of the Day



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ish My Toddler Says: A Proud Mama's List

*Brag Alert*

I'm kind of impressed with Zachy these days, especially because of how much he is talking.  Of course, all of my children are geniuses, but I'd forgotten how delightful it is when they start saying lots of intelligible things.

Here is a comprehensive list of the words and phrases Zach says, at age almost-17-months:

Trash
Trash truck
Daddy
Mama
Jame (James)
Wull (Will)
Eeese (Elise)
Cop-corn (popcorn)
Sishy (fishy)
Bottle
Water
Cold ice
Cold water
Side (outside)
Car
Car-car (cracker)
Doggie oof-oof (doggie woof woof)
Bye
Hi
More
Down
Ball
Cossickle (popsicle)
Nanna (banana)
Potty [maybe this means he will potty-train early!!!! Please oh please.]
House
Sweep
Go-gurr (yogurt)
Shoes
Kahk kahk (quack quack)
Baah-time! (bath time!)


In other kid-related news, school started again--grumble grumble after much too long a winter break grumble grumble--and the kids promptly took turns getting sick.  First it was Will and Elise, then Zachy (and Joe, for several days this week), and then James got it this weekend.  Fevers, nasty coughs, body aches, diarrhea.  Extreme grumpiness and laying around and moaning.  Snot ad nauseam.  I'm the only one who hasn't had a twinge of it and luckily Zach's was a pretty mild version.  But woe to anyone who comes in our house right now; you'll probably catch it just by glancing at a doorknob or something.

Oh yeah.  And Elise broke her first bone while we were at the park on the Thursday before last.  For some reason she jumped off a swing and apparently landed right arm all funny-like. She walked over to me crying afterward, cradling her forearm.  I knew she had to be hurt pretty badly because it looked bruised and swollen immediately.  Then, she got really p*ssed and started sobbing again when I told her we needed to go have it looked at, because she hates taking medicine and always suspects she'll have to get a shot.  Poor Elise.

Since Joe was at work I got to bring e'erybody along to urgent care (yep, the same local place where they gave me the false positive pee test results that one time--yay).  They actually sent us elsewhere within that system to get a cast put on it, with minimal instructions, so I spent quite a long time dragging the kids from building to office building trying to figure out where the hell orthopedics was.  By the time we finally found the right building, it was too late in the day to even do her cast because the doctors had gone home!  We got sent home with her temporary brace on until the next day.  It was a very stable break, but still.  Highly frustrating.

The bright side is that she was actually ok with ending up with a cast, it being pink and all.


Big brothers: not too terribly bothered by sister's painful ordeal.



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Shark CPR

This is what passes for a quiet evening in my house these days.


The best part was when old bathwater squirted out onto my new-ish ottoman and the shark was declared "alive".  That, and when Will was like, "Sharks don't even breathe air!" after Joe stopped recording.

Think I'm ready for holiday break to be over.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Trash Talk

"I should be a chameleon someday.  No, Canadian?  Comedian!"  -James

"Boom!  Go tell THAT to all of your friends!"  -Will, during an argument with Elise

"Trash!"  -Zach, throwing anything he finds into the trash


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Celebrity Babies: Renamed

Ok, so I haven't blogged in awhile.  Since before Halloween, to be exact.

The reason?  We've been pretty busy.  Haven't even had time to put the kids' Halloween pictures or Thanksgiving pictures or funny quotes up, or much of anything, really.

But there is an urgent matter that needs my words of wisdom: the name of the newest Kardashian baby.

Do you ever hear a name someone (usually a famous person) has recently bestowed upon an innocent babe and wistfully imagine renaming him or her?  I do, because I am an elitest name-nerd jerk, and I demand that the names of celebrities' children be matched in terms of style and aesthetics.  Mason, Penelope, and.....Reign?  No, no, no [shakes head slowly].

Here is what they should have named him:  Royal (nickname: Roy).  Royal Disick.  Royal, Pain-in-the-Aston, Disick.  Get it?

But seriously, I think Reign Aston is quite lame, especially next to the down-to-earth names of his siblings.  I think something like Beau (not Reign Beau!) would have been less bombastic, but nobody asked me, unfortunately.

Speaking of "nobody asked me", here are a few other insipid celebrity baby names, revised and updated for your name-nerding pleasure....

Wyatt Isabelle
Autry Abilene

Rainbow Aurora
Aurora Mariel

Cash Van
Dashiell Van

That's all I can think of for now.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

THAT Guy

"'Cause you're a guy, 'cause you're a guy, full of farts.  That's a dis-compliment." -Will, singing to the tune of Coldplay's A Sky Full of Stars and directing said-lyrics at his older brother

"THAT guy!"  -Zach, when he looks in the mirror and points at himself

"Excuse me, WHY are we reading this?"  -James, interrupting me as I read a particularly graphic scene from Julie of the Wolves, wherein the adult wolves regurgitate their meat for the newly-weaned juveniles

"I told you a million times: a zombie cheerleader."  -Elise, when asked about her Halloween costume plans

--

I've already got my most authentic Halloween zombie accessory: a real-live "ouch" from parathyroidectomy #2.








Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Very-Belated, To My Secondborn

Will is nine.  Wowsa!

Here's a pic of when we brought him home...




....and here's a pic of the birthday boy now.






Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy Belated, To My Fourthborn

Zachy turned one about a week ago.  He also had his first day of Mom & Tot preschool today.  The highlights:

-Standing independently at the easel (though he still requested the help of my index fingers to walk around)
-Painting at the easel
-Eating paint at the easel
-Circle time with hand puppets
-Snack, during which he sat in an actual, tiny CHAIR (not a booster or high chair!)

It's unreal how quickly the time is going.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Baby Name Stories: Our Kids

I went through the scrapbooks to dig up these pics of the kids and remember the stories of how we picked their names.  I am too lazy to dig through all the old hard drives for digital copies, but I wanted to respond to a new name blogger's query through nameberry. 

How They Were Named

James Daniel B. was the name of Joe's paternal grandpa.  James is also my dad's middle name.  When Joe first suggested we name our son James, I was not enthused.  James was also the name of a child I knew when I was growing up; that James was an oddball homeschooled kid stereotype and once stuck green M&M's up his nose.  But now I am so glad we named him James, and it's grown to be my favorite boy name as our boy has grown.  I like the James Bond association, too (if I ignore the misogyny).


William Joseph:  William was another name from Joe's family tree.  Joe had an ancestor on his mother's side who was named William Durrell McCarty.  I'd wanted to use Joseph as a middle for James, but we used it for Will's name, instead--if one son is fully named after a great-grandparent, then the next son should get the father's first as a middle name, I figured.  Took me some time to get used to the name William/Will because it reminded me of the 80's movie Willow.  But there is truly no other name for this child.  He's the strongest-willed person I know.

Elise Marie--We both really loved the simple, sophisticated Elise for a girl, although she could have been an Alison).  Again, Joe's family tree was the inspiration source; he had a maternal ancestor named Elise Haseloff.  I also love Fur Elise by Beethoven.  Marie is a name I have always loved.

Zachary Allan:  the name of boy #3 was a contentious issue and it took us a long-@ss time to negotiate.  Joe liked Jackson (gasp, especially with our other kids' names) and Allan, and that was pretty much it.  He later revealed that he was joking about Jackson (what the..?).  Allan was the name of Joe's childhood friend he used to fish with.  It's a great name but I couldn't stand the thought of Al with our last name (too much like Married With Children's Al Bundy).  So after I suggested my perfectly reasonable, nice name choices and he shot them all down, I suggested the traditional and non-noveau-cool Zachary (Zach) in desperation and he agreed ("like Zack Morris!").  But by then, the big kids had gotten really attached to an early favorite (Alexander/Alex).  It took some serious convincing that the parents were the ones who got to pick the baby's name, not the kids.
George Thomas: (will update soon; 5th child syndrome) Arthur Niels: (will update soon; 6th child syndrome)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy Belated, To My Firstborn

Happy Belated Birthday, my sweet baby James.

How is it that you're already a decade old????


Pictures (of the birthday dude, of the Michigan trip, et al.) below.

At Pentwater.  Ice cream cake from Aunt Kay!

With Alanna's kids.

Horseback riding
Go-Karting.  What better fun for turning ten?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Things to Never Have

Things To Never Have In Your House If You Have Children

1.  Sharpie Fine-Tip Permanent Marker, 24-Pack Assorted Colors ('80's Glam).  Cost of item: $14.99 plus free shipping.  Cost of lesson learned: $3,000 in carpet and carpet pad.  [Yes, I have pics.  They are on my deactivated Facebook and I don't want to have to log on and retrieve them.  I think I even took a video.  You'll just have to take my word for it.]

2.  A piano.

3.  A large container of fish food.  And a fish.  (Dubya Dee is alive and well, and luckily there's no particular story that goes along with this one--yet.)

4.  Couch pillows you kinda like.

5.  A yardful of neighborhood kids and not enough banana licuado in the blender.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Moms of Boys (Scary Mommy)

Can relate to almost all of this, except for the totally-blue-uterus part.

http://www.scarymommy.com/10-things-moms-of-boys-must-do/

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Confession

I love Weird Al.




Sunday, July 13, 2014

Renegotiations

Elise (disgruntled): MOM.
Me:  What?
Elise:  When Emily lost her first tooth, her parents gave her TEN dollars!  And you only give one.
Me:  Well her parents must be rich...

Me (30 seconds later):  I mean, Tooth Fairy!  Her Tooth Fairy must be rich.  Not her parents.
Elise (unfazed):  Please, please give me ten dollars.
Me:  Plus, this isn't even your first lost tooth.  It's just your first front tooth.
Elise:  How about two dollars?

---

In other news, I made a meme:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Few Trip Pics

This was basically the front yard of the house.  Will and James snorkeled together several times a day.
With James and Zachy
Elise on Water Cay
Here it is, your moment of Zen.
Joe and big kids on Water Cay.
The house.
Ridiculous selfie at the locals' beach near town.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Trip: Quick & Dirty Version

We're back from Utila.  Here are the highlights of the trip:

The Good:
-amazing rental house with stunning views
-breathtaking snorkeling right out front of property
-no one in our party contracted malaria*, explosive diarrhea, or that emerging "Chicken-goon-yay" virus* (*we think)

The Bad
-semi-automatic weapons on bank guards y la policia were a little intimidating
-power outage on day five; toilets no longer flushed (Poo Central Station in the two bathrooms)
-!Hace calor in Honduras!  Especialmente cuando no funciona el aire acondicionado.  =Hot, sweaty baby.

The Ugly
-I will need to post an image of all the insect bites covering my legs and back, in order to do the situation justice.  Luckily Zach didn't get too many.
-Zach forgot how to sleep through the night somewhere around Day 2, even when A/C was a-roarin'
-Fun Fact:  Honduras has an exit airport tax of US$40/person (surprise!)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Riding in Cars with Kids

Mid-1990's flashback of the week:

James:  Mom, what's a "wonderwall"?
Me:  (Turning down the Oasis song on the radio)  I don't know, buddy.  What do you think it is?
James:  A koala.
Me:  I think that's a "wallaby" you're thinking of.
James:  Nope.  Two different things.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You Might Be From Detroit If...

You Might Be From Detroit If...

#001.  ...you think Kelly Clarkson should have named her baby River Rouge.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dads: The Sound of You

I read a surprisingly cool quote in People, from Matthew McConaughey:

"It's nice when [the kids] notice the deep voice from across the house, and they know it's Papa.  They know it's Dad."

This totally happened today, when Joe came home from work (yes, he did work on a Saturday; building spaceships does take dedication even on Father's Day weekend; make that Dadication.  Zing!)

Zach was helping me unfold the laundry I'd just finished folding.  The two of us were upstairs, in the special laundry-folding spot (the floor, in front of the laundry room).  Joe came into the kitchen through the garage entrance and started talking to the big kids, who were in the grips of Minecraft.  Baby and I heard the familiar clink in the key bowl--Joe putting away his car keys.  And immediately, Zach perked up and started yelling and waving his arms.

It was unmistakable recognition of Dad's dad-noises by our almost 10-month-old.

Zach was thinking, "Dad's home!"  And he wouldn't be consoled until he was in Joe's arms.

--

One of the hardest moments of my life was, after my dad's accident, being in his house while he lay across town in the hospital.  Listening for the familiar, late-day noises of my teenage years and not hearing them.  Not hearing him stroll jovially into the house after a day at work to call out, "Hullo!" in just his way.  I was an adult by then, with kids of my own.  But at that time I felt as vulnerable as if I had never left childhood.

I remember praying to hear those things again.

Thank you, higher powers that be, for the dadsounds in my life.




Thursday, June 12, 2014

Camping

Went camping in the Eastern Sierras last weekend, via an invitation from some very brave friends.  It was fun.  We froze at night and it was sunburning hot in the daytime, but the Costco 8-person tent continues to serve and protect.

I'd call it a success.  Zach only ate one handful of dirt and nobody snagged himself with a fish hook.


At an alpine lake near Mammoth.

Dad 'n' Zach


Will and Elise stand on boulders; James stands in a pit and looks tiny.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Motor-vation

Joe says he'll buy me a shiny new mom taxi if I can run a 6:30 mile.

My first thought--beyond wondering whether my husband is growing weary of the ol' love handles--was, Oh Good!  Now I can get the giant, tricked-out, gas-guzzling SUV I've always secretly wanted (but outwardly scorned).
"They see me rollin'/ They hatin'" -Chamillionaire Family Taxi


Then, a few minutes of internet research revealed the price of a giant gas-guzzler to be much, much too high for the likes of us.  Even the sensible one, without the spinners.  Oh, well.  On to the second choice...that schoolmarmish Honda minivan with the built-in vacuum.  Yesssss.

"You spilled something?  Vacuum it up RIGHT NOW.  Yes, while we're driving.  Need I remind you what our last minivan looked like on the inside?"  -Me, to anyone under age 12

But....dang.  Who would have thought you'd have to buy the Touring Elite (read: the most expensive one) to get the HondaVAC?  Frickin' Honda, you are really bumming me out, man.

So now I am a little sad.  And that's to say nothing of the kidney selling we'd have to do to afford any vehicle whatsoever (new or pre-food-encrusted) at the moment.

But hey, at least my love handles are shrinking.  :)

And here's another tally on the positive side of things:

Displaying photo.JPG
Zach-in-the-Box, for real this time.





Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Comic Book Artist

Here's a comic James made of his dad's life.

Notice the montage of scenes from Joe's life, each likeness with spiky hair and a smile.  There's Joe scoring in water polo (bottom left).  Top right is Joe winning a Junior Nationals event when he was 17.  Bottom right: looks like he's underhand serving a volleyball?  Top left: Joe with undisclosed female (me?). And top center, the family man with wife and gaggle of children.

My favorite is the "TM" indicating James is trademarking this idea.





Sunday, June 1, 2014

Metal Dads!

This is so cool.  I want to tell every guy I know how "metal" the dad life can be.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/31/dad-life-is-metal-photos_n_5424234.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Friday, May 30, 2014

Will's Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom (A Fill-in-the-blank assignment)
by William B., age 8


A penny saved is:  "a penny lost"

Absence makes:  "work to do"

An apple a day keeps:  "growing"

Beauty is:  "amazing"

Children should:  "always be friends"  [Awww...]

Money is:  "not all that matters"  [Good job, Will!]

People who live in glass houses shouldn't:  "be teased"

There's no place like:  "home"

Two heads are:  "better than one"

You can't teach an old dog:  "tricks"




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yet Another List of Kid Quotes

"I'm so over first grade."  -Elise

"You don't want to continue swearing because it makes you sound like an idiot."  -James, gently reminding me why I need to stay on the "no-swearing" wagon

"[Funny Neighbor Kid], You are being such an 'A-S-S Hole'!"  -James, at the park playdate this week, when said-neighbor-kid threw a water balloon at Will

"We already know that, Mom.  Please stop telling us."  -Will, whenever I tell him that it's okay to lose when you play sports


Zach cruises for the first time.  He may have skipped the whole crawling thing.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chewing Gum

(Actual Conversation. Setting: living room)


Funny Neighbor Kid:  Hey Joe!

Joe:  (in the middle of changing a poopy diaper).  Hello, (Funny Neighbor Kid's name).

FNK:  So....Did you cut off the tip of baby Zach's penis when he was born?

Joe:  (Holding back shocked laughter)  Well, kind of, but not exactly.  It's called 'circumcision.'

FNK:  I heard that's where chewing gum comes from.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ides of May

Some pictures from the last few months...
James at the air show.
Joe, with the chillun'

Will (throwin' up gang signs?), Elise, and Joe


Elise, with Poopsie.





Why so serious, Will?