Monday, January 30, 2012

Funny girl

On the way to the doctor with Adelaide, I said, "Please do not toot on the doctor this time." Adelaide: "Or he will not give me a sucker?" Me: "Would you give someone who tooted on you a sucker?" Adelaide: "Yes, if they were behind me."

Overheard during bathtime: Adelaide: "Are you scared of ovarians?" Josie: "Ovarians? You mean barbarians?" Adelaide: "Yes, barbarians. Are you scared of barbarians?" Josie: "No, not really."

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Ahh… bedtime. The time of day that every tired mom longs for. The time when she can unwind, drink a cup of tea, put her feet up and catch up on her Dr. Phil episodes. (OK, maybe that last one is just me.)

Honestly, after putting in a 14 hour day “on the job” (or possibly even more if you work outside the home too) every woman deserves an hour or so to herself. Right?


My children will come up with any excuse to put off going to bed. Or maybe I should say staying in bed. They GO willingly enough. They just seem to pop back up after about fifteen minutes. They’re like Weebles. You know, “Weebles wobble but they won’t fall down.” My kids go to bed but they won’t stay down.

Here is a compilation of things that bother them so much that they come and bother me:

I need my Pocahontas doll. No, wait, I need my Dorothy doll. And she needs her dress buttoned. And she needs to take off her shoes.

I need the pink bear. No, not that one. The other pink bear. Or maybe it’s the one that’s upstairs. Will you go get it? (The last thing I want to do is go back upstairs again.)

I need another blanket. Or two more. This one is too fuzzy. That one is not fuzzy enough.

I have to go potty.

It's too hot in here. Could you turn on the fan?

The fan is making too much noise and I am freezing.

I am squished. There are too many pillows on this bed.

I need an extra pillow.

My feet are sticking out! Will you come and cover me up again?

I’m thirsty. Can you fill up my canteen?

This water tastes like clams! (Clams? Really?)

I heard a thump. A thump! Did you hear that thump?

I have to go potty.

I need another kiss. And another hug.

I keep thinking about Gremlins. Why did Daddy let me see those Gremlins? It was a bad idea, Mommy. (I would have to agree on this one.)

We should not have read that story about Medusa.

My hair is tangled. Like snakes. Can you brush it out again?

How many days is it until my birthday?

The wind is howling! Thunder! I hear thunder!

There is a spider on the ceiling. Can you come and squish it?

I needed to tell you that I love you. (How can I get mad about that one?)

I’m hungry. I could really use a banana right about now.

There are crumbs on my sheets. I have no idea how they got there.

I think I have a bug bite. Look at this red dot.

I have to go potty.

I need the itch-stick. I need a band-aid!

I have a hangnail. I need the clippers.

My head hurts. My tummy hurts. I need an ice pack. I need medicine.

Josie won’t stop talking and so I can’t fall asleep!

I had a bad dream. (You haven’t been asleep yet!)

I’m scared. It’s too dark in here. Can I have a flashlight?

I have to go potty.

from my 1/29/12 article for

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stairs and Consequences

"Hey, my little children..." said Mom.
"Hey, our big mama!" said Sadie.

Since I have decided to become a hardcore, somewhat mean mother, I have completely revamped my parenting philosophy. No more counting to three. No more asking the same question four times. Ask it, expect it, get a response (either "yes Mom," "yes Ma'am," or "Okay, Mom" and GIVE A CONSEQUENCE if it doesn't happen.

I think it's working for us. Yesterday I overheard Sadie telling her friend Bella that "We cannot do that. No way, we already had three consequences this week and we do NOT want another one!"

In other news, Jedidiah fell down the stairs (four or five of them) last night and bumped his little head. One of the girls forgot to put the gate back up. I hate that stupid tension gate. We need another swing/hinged gate (ours got thrown out after the flood) but they cost $60. Of course, what's $60 compared to Jed falling down the stairs....? I need to find some money.

Also, he makes the funniest, cutest little sounds! "GoogieGoogieGoogie" and "GogiGogiGogiGogi," "tick-a-tick-ULLL-tickaticka!" and some other little squeakly sounds that I can't even explain. His vocalizations are amazing... maybe he'll go to work for the UN someday. Or the circus.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Job Description

TITLE: Mommy (also Mom, Mama and “But, MO-OOM!”)


Team player needed for a challenging position in a chaotic working environment.

Duration of the position: forever. Successful candidate will maximize learning potential of all subordinates and supply general coziness to the workspace. Candidate will possess excellent communication skills and must be able to “count to 3.”

Must be willing to work ridiculous hours and be on call 24/7. Overnight travel is also required and will include trips to small guest rooms of varying relatives, gross port-a-potties and desolate muddy campsites.

The successful candidate will provide transportation and entertainment along with medical, technical and emotional support to all subordinates and is responsible for repeated follow-up.

There will be a strong focus on equipment and supplies needed to run a Food Service operation. This job requires management skills and a tremendous need for patience. Responsibilities also include laundry, maintenance and janitorial work (including disposal of poop and throw-up.)

Candidate must possess catlike reflexes in case someone falls off the bathroom counter. Candidate must also have the strength of a pack mule and be able to carry a baby, two bags of groceries, a purse and a diaper bag all in one hand.


This description is not intended to be an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of all that may be required.


1. Outgoing calls to doctors, dentists, tutors, playmates, cousins and grandparents

2. Initiating, following up and/or attending (when required) appointments, recitals, birthday parties, “shows,” fishing trips, teacher conferences, family reunions, field trips, playdates, vacations, summer camps, sleepovers, swimming lessons, dance lessons, music lessons and Sunday School

3. Candidate must be willing to be hated occasionally


4. Efficient data entry including school and medical records, baby book and scrapbook entries, letters to pen-pals, Santa and the Tooth Fairy

5. Preparing estimates (for groceries, Christmas lists, orthodontist bills and birthday presents)

6. Internet research: educational toys, safety recalls, G-rated movies, craft ideas, free family events and the closest garage sales. Also needs ability to navigate


7. Awareness of organic foods, phosphate-free dishwasher liquid, all-natural shampoos and Xylitol tooth gel

8. Familiarity with Fair Trade principles (e.g., “I will give my little sister a cracker if she’ll give me all of her Halloween candy” = NOT a Fair Trade)

9. The candidate must be willing to alternate between being loved desperately one minute and deemed an embarrassment the next


No previous experience is required, but on-the-job training is offered on a continual basis, whether the candidate wants it or not.


1. Excellent interpersonal communication skills, especially at eye level and while in public at the grocery store or while singing lullabies

2. Strong problem solving skills and sound judgment (may be compromised because of job-related sleep-deprivation)

3. Strong attention to detail (e.g., “Does everyone have on underwear?”)

4. Excellent multi-tasking and organizational skills with the ability to set priorities and meet deadlines (e.g., feed the baby, make breakfast, make beds, wipe juice off the floor, get everyone dressed, put lunch in the crockpot, find 4 coats and 8 mittens, tie 6 shoes, let the dog out and change a load of laundry all before leaving for an 8am doctor appointment)

5. Ability to work with a team (e.g., handing out brooms and dust-rags before cranking up Annie’s “It’s the Hard-Knock Life”) for cleaning day


No salary. No insurance. No pension. No paid overtime. No paid holidays. No time off.

No opportunities for advancement. Candidate will be expected to fill the same position forever without resigning. Candidate assumes complete accountability for the quality of the end product and is responsible for maintaining a thorough file of “Mommy-guilt” throughout all eternity.

Unlimited smiles, hugs, snuggles and kisses for life. Successful candidate has immediate tenure and can never be replaced.

-from my 1/22/12 article for

Monday, January 16, 2012


I've been thinking recently about all of the cute stuff that Josie used to say when she was Adelaide's age. She's almost to the point where she doesn't say those hilarious things anymore, and it makes me sad! Some of my favorites were her "crunchy" blanket. No one knows why she called it her crunchy one, but it was pink and fuzzy and had a little red princess in one corner. She STILL cries about losing it, and she still calls "him" her "Crunch" or her "Crunchy."

Anysling. Like, "I don't want to do ANYSLING!" or "I did NOT do ANYSLING to her!"

And my very favorite, Jesus' earthly parents, Mary and Jophus.

Gotta love that kid.

My little sunshines

Mom: "Good morning, my little sunshines."
Josie: "I am not sunshine. I am moonshine."

While playing "2 Truths and a Lie" at dinner, after everyone had a turn, Adelaide said, "And now, now I will do Grammie's. Today, today, Grammie stuck her fingers in her nose. And today, Grammie said, 'horsh horsh horsh all the way home.' And today, Grammie went poop on the TOILET."

Mom: "On top of spa-GHETTI, all covered with CHEESE, I lost my poor MEATball..."
Josie: "Don't sing that song. It makes me sad."

Adelaide, handing me her fortune cookie: "Here, Mom. Can you get the directions out?"

Mom: "Well, if you must."
Josie: "I must."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Boys will be... troublemakers

Before Jedidiah was born 13 months ago, I used to see little boys running around at the speed of light, climbing furniture like chimpanzees and banging on things for no reason.

I used to see them fighting, yelling and jumping and I would roll my eyes when their moms would inform me, “Oh, he’s just being a boy. Boys will be boys, you know.”

“Yeah, right!” I would think to myself. “If I ever have a boy, he will never act like that! I never even had to baby-proof the house with any of my girls!”

Alas, the irony of my own predictions has struck yet again.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my baby boy. He means the world to me! But here is a sampling of what he’s doing to drive me nuts (so far):

He wakes up before anyone else and proceeds to smack the bluebird music box on the side of his crib with the palm of his hand - BANG! Bang BANG! Bang! - over and over until I come in to get him. He grins up at me with his little moon-shaped face and big blue eyes, all cute and unassuming.

He is thrilled to have a new day! He is thrilled to be alive! He pulls on the crib rails and stands up on wobbly legs to reach for me. Only then do I see that he has somehow yanked off his pants, his socks and lost his diaper. He is thrilled to be naked!

I love mornings with him before everyone else is awake. Even though he's wiggly, I can usually buy some butt-wiping time by handing him the little cat figurine from the shelf above the changing table (if his hands are free, he feels compelled to stick them in poop.)

When we snuggle together in the rocking chair, I love the way he nuzzles his little fuzzy head down between my neck and my shoulder...we cuddle under his cozy blue and yellow ducky blanket and nurse and rock and usually I sing him a song or two. He smiles and coos at me then reaches up to poke one finger in my eye and the other up my nose.

And this is the calm before the storm.

He's VERY impatient for his breakfast, so as soon as he is done, he slides down my legs into the floor and he is gone. If I happen to look away for two seconds, then I’ll be all over the house looking for him, calling out “Jed! Jeddy!” as if he's going to say, “Hey Mom! In here!”

Over the next several hours (until the arrival of glorious naptime), I may find him enjoying one of his favorite pastimes:

Making Cheerio soup by mixing his cereal with the water in his sippy cup

Sneaking dog food out of the bowl and cramming it into his mouth

Crawling up the stairs, full-steam ahead, laughing and looking back over his shoulder

Sticking his hand in the toilet and swirling it all around

Throwing food all over the floor and rubbing the leftovers into his hair

Opening cabinets to pull everything out and dump it on the floor

Hammering any object he can find with his little wooden hammer (including glass doors)

Opening the kitchen trash can so he can rummage around in it then get his fingers stuck when the lid closes

Pulling books, CDs, movies and anything else on a shelf off the shelf

Turning on the bathtub faucet so he can splash water everywhere

Tearing up his sisters’ artwork, craft projects, dollhouse, Polly Pockets, ponies, dress-up clothes – you name it

Climbing up on the bathtub, the bed, the chairs, the play kitchen counter – anywhere he can gain a foothold

Getting stuck under the table, the kitchen chairs, the desk, the coffee table – anywhere he will fit

I know that these are not terrible things; sometimes they may even be deemed cute things. They are not, however, things that I’ve ever had to deal with before. It’s exhausting!

I guess it’s a good thing he’s my youngest, though; if I’d had him first, I would’ve probably been way too tired to have any other kids.

Much to my dismay (and former disbelief), apparently boys WILL be boys.

--from my 1/15/12 article for

Sunday, January 08, 2012

I Resolve...

Ahh. A new year. A fresh start. A re-do.

Yep, it’s the one time of the year we can all take a “Life Mulligan.”

Honestly, I am not always the mom, wife, daughter, friend or teacher that I want to be. I’m thankful for do-overs.

I know that I’ll never be perfect, but I do love a fresh start.

Here at our house, the tree has been taken down, the gifts de-boxed, the lights wound up and stored away. The halls have been un-decked. We vacuumed up a million pine needles (along with three pieces of Frankenberry cereal from Halloween that were under Adelaide’s bed.)

Out with the old and in with the new, right?

I’ve always heard that goal setting works, so this year I’m going to try it for myself. I’m making it public so I can be held accountable. Here are some of my goals for 2012:

Read lots of good books. I’ve been spending way too much time playing Words with Friends and Bejeweled Blitz. I’m squandering my reading time. However, I have learned all three of the three-letter words that begin with “q.”

Be better at time management. It seems like I waste a lot of time on things that don’t really matter. Things like walking back and forth through the house, forgetting what I came into a room for and wandering back out again. Things like watching “Say Yes to the Dress,” worrying over things that are out of my control, folding pajamas, checking email and playing Words with Friends. I need to use my time wisely.

Be more optimistic. I am a born pessimist. I catch myself sounding like Eeyore the donkey from Winnie-the-Pooh a lot. "It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily. "And freezing. However, we haven't had an earthquake lately." This sounds exactly like me! Being a pessimist is not something I enjoy. I want to be one of those bright, happy, sunny people! How do you change your disposition? I’m not sure, but I want to try.

Be healthier. I want to eat better, cook smarter, exercise more and generally take better care of myself than I have in the past. Hindsight is 20/20, and I don’t want to still be trying to lose these same old extra thirty pounds next year!

Get up earlier. This is a problem for me. I need to get up at 7am every day. I know I would get so much more done if I got started early (before the kids “get started!”) Unfortunately, as my favorite cartoon character, Brak the Spacecat, says, “Oh, man, I love sleepin’! Wish I could wake up so I could go back to sleep again!” This would also entail going to bed earlier – also a problem, thanks to my night-owl husband (and Words with Friends.)

Trust my instincts more. I tend to second-guess myself (pessimistically) and worry over what other moms (especially homeschoolers) are doing, if my kids are learning enough, if I’m teaching them well know, if I’m screwing them up or not. Instead, I want to believe in my God-given ability to parent and teach my children what they need to know.

Micromanage less. I have some real issues with micromanaging my kids (especially my oldest.) This year, I want to let go and let them make their own mistakes…and probably find that they won’t make as many mistakes as I thought they would.

Relax more with my kids and my husband. I need to focus more on instigating date nights, planning “Special Mommy Time” with each of my children and having Family Fun Nights when we’re all together… times that really matter.

Work on a family project. I don’t really know what this should be yet, but I do know that I want us to do something worthwhile together. Something that helps someone. Something that makes a difference.

What are your goals for 2012? I’d love to know your tips and tricks for reaching them (especially if you’re planning on turning yourself into an optimist this year…I need all the help I can get!)

from my 1/8/12 article for

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Dads do the Driving

Dads need to drive, not just because they are control freaks on the road, but because they just can’t do everything else properly (like moms do.)

Take, for example, our recent trip home from Christmas in North Carolina: nine hours in a minivan with a one-year-old, a three- year-old, a six-year-old, a seven-year-old and a LOT of presents.

We attempted something we usually try to avoid: driving during the day when the kids are awake.

I would’ve saved myself a lot of frustration and yelling if I had just squeezed my butt in the back between the booster seats from the very beginning. Unfortunately, though, I gained ten pounds over Christmas and my butt wasn’t squeezing in anywhere.

So we started off with Dad in the driver’s seat (where he belongs) and me in the passenger seat, surrounded by toys, drinks with ill-fitting lids, candy wrappers, books, coats, pillows and who knows what else. Dad paid no attention to the kids. His eyes were on the road. He was focused. He was a driving machine.

Of course, we hadn’t made it out of the driveway yet.

Less than 20 minutes into the trip, the children ended up “needing things,” as children often do. Things like having their dolls’ hair untangled, their pencils sharpened, their hands “unstickied,” their Etch-a-Sketches repaired, extra straws for their juice boxes, the radio turned up, the radio turned down, the radio turned off, the heat turned on, the heat turned off, the crackers picked up off the floor, a blanket, a fan, a mint, some gum…. I, of course, ended up in a weird sideways half-sitting, half-reaching behind me position.

After an hour or so, my leg cramped up and I had to stick my feet up on the dash. Dad, oblivious to his needy children, changed lanes and pretended that he was a NASCAR driver.

Once I managed to contort myself into a torture position with my head twisted around at an unnatural angle, I proceeded to fill the enviable role of Entertainer Extraordinaire!

I can only read so many stories and play so many games of I Spy. Let’s face it: when you're in the car, the answer for something green is always grass. My Activity Bag contains a finite amount of activities. A movie on a laptop would come in handy, but unfortunately I’m against them (if I suffered through a childhood of boring car rides, my kids can too.)

“Okay! Who wants to play Stare Out the Window with Your Mouth Closed? Anyone?”

Snacks help too, but I’ve found that the best thing to do is suggest that they snuggle in with their “car pillow” and rest their eyes for a few minutes. Since they’ve been bored out of their gourds for the past 100 miles, they usually fall for it. It seems to work better than the version Dad uses when he’s not driving, which is “SHUT IT AND GO TO SLEEP!”

Dads hate stopping to rest, stretch legs, change diapers, eat, or pee. Moms know that the two keys to ensuring a pleasant trip are dry butts and pacing yourself. No one wants to sit in a wet diaper or be stuffed into a car seat for hours on end. But you can forget about stopping by museums, historical sites or tourist traps with Dads. Dads are on a schedule. Dads need to “beat their best time.”

No matter what, it’s going to be a pain in the butt. You’re going to hear “Mommy” a thousand times. People are going to get smacked and kicked (and possibly poked in the eye with crayons) by their siblings. Dads are going to turn on their selective hearing and ignore everyone, but it's just as well. They could never contort, entertain or mollycoddle the way that moms can anyway.

Nothing is going to go the way you planned it and you are going to have to stop at a dirty bathroom somewhere, so you might as well just deal with it. Keep a fake smile on your face and lower your voice. Even though the Ohio River may look inviting as Dad roars over it at 78 miles an hour, remember that the trip WILL end.


from my 1/1/12 post for