Monday, August 21, 2006


Before we went out Friday night, I'd changed my clothes.  Oh, it wasn't anything special, but I did manage to get out of the t-shirt routine.

On our way to the Olive Garden, Audrey started her own version of  "Toddler  Eye/What Not to Wear" from her carseat.

"Mommy?  You look pretty."

"Thank you, Audrey."

"Ooooh, I like your earrings!  Pretty."  (big twisty hoops)

"I like your shirt."

Mr W interjects with "What do you want, Audrey?"  I roll my eyes at him.  Not-so-pretty.

"But, you know, Mommy, you would be prettier, if you wore a dressie.  No pants, dressie.  I know!  A skirt?"  She claps her hands in excitement.

I giggled and shook my head. 

Aaaahhh....think she's had a little too much "Project Runway."  Between that and the "totally new you makeover" in Max and Ruby's Beauty Shop, I'll be lucky if I don't wake up one day to orange hair and an aluminum foil toga.

So pretty.

But I'm 5 1/2 in dog years

It just dawned on me this morning that I think I made it through the entire weekend without cooking for anyone else.   With all these little mouths to feed, that is truly almost impossible. 

Birthday magic?  I think so.

My weekend-sans-kitchen duty started Friday.  The lovely Jane took me (and Audrey) out to lunch.   That evening, the family took me out. 

On Saturday, Mr W took care of dinner.  All day I was treated to various renditions of "Happy Birthday," one of which was Ryan's underwater version (don't tell anyone, but that was my favorite.)   I dodged the smack-Mom's-bottom-until-we-lose-count but forgot that Mr W is a stealthy one when he wants to be.  I would've thought he'd just let it pass, but noooo, he caught me; he had all those little helpers, and Audrey chanting, "My turn!  My turn!"  That little girl packs quite a wallop. 

Last night we had pizza at Nana's house. 

Initially, I was hoping to get some extra sleeping-in time (yeah, right)...but the kitchen pass does nicely too.  I'll take it.

I also was hoping to do the Sat Six on Sat, but I didn't get around to it.

I'll just blame it on the cake.

Saturday Six - Episode 123

1. Would you prefer being a small fish in a large pond or a large fish in a small pond?

I'm more a small-fish-large-pond girl anymore.  That large-fish deal is just too much trouble....been there.  Done that.

2. If you could change one thing about the climate where you live right now, what would it be and why?

Considering I have about another two months of heat, as we transition from surface-of-the-sun-hot to tolerably-not-burning-your-ass-on-the-carseat-hot, I'd have to say it would be nice to have a cool day thrown in here just for a change of pace.  But I can't complain, overall.  It's a dry heat.  Ha!

3. Do you consider yourself more or less normal than those around you?

What?  What I consider myself to be is "as normal as" those around me.  On any given day, I could be better or I could be worse...some days I'm Plankton (megalomaniac), some days I'm Spongebob (dorky, means well), other days, I'm Patrick(drooling, incoherent, occasional flash of insight).  LOL

4. Take the quiz:
Are you right or left brained?

I am left-handed.  Once, I had the cheesy misfortune of someone trying to flirt with me using the "lefties are in their right minds" line.   Smooooth.  As Velveeta.

Anyway, I have to agree with my quiz results.  Mainly because it's true, what they say, about being left-handed in a right-handed world--parts of you can't help but become ambidextrous.  The results:

You Are50% Left Brained, 50% Right Brained
The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

5. Consider the last meal you ate: was the primary course beef, chicken, fish or vegetables? How often is this your primary course?

Pizza doesn't count here.  Beef.  Mmmm.  Fairly often.  I tend to eat more chicken.

6. Should men who belong to a religion which permits it be allowed to have more than one wife? In other words, should polygamy be legal on religious grounds?

In this day and age, what's the point?  You are more than likely going to be able to produce progeny with just one wife.  You aren't working acres and acres of land where you might need 20 kids toiling away for you.  Even if you were really a glutton for punishment, would you really want to deal with the demands of family, times 3 or 4 families?  That's not even taking into consideration the demands of 3 or 4 women...why would a man put himself, willingly, through that? 

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Faces a Mommy can love

I was over at Laura's j, and she had an entry about photographing kids.   So I decided to follow along and post a few pics of my kids.  It's been a while since I've posted any. 

As I look at Nolan in the pictures, I realize he's changed a lot in the last few months, so I may have to sneakily get a couple of new photos of him.  Sneakily.  Because he's not gonna like it at all.

I learned to always have film in my camera while they were young.  My pediatrician, once I was on the third kid, used to jokingly tell me as I left the office, "take lots of pictures!" and for that I am grateful.  As a result of that comment, I am pretty sure that I've avoided the syndrome where you only have picts of the oldest/second oldest and none of the rest. 

Now that I have a digital camera, I just keep it charged and take it along with me from time to time.  It's got a great zoom lens, so I'm trying to remember to take some from a distance, because it's nice to have photos that aren't so posed.  You know how it is---now that they're older, they ham it up whenever they hear me turn on the camera.  And there are only so many bunny-ears-on-my-brother pics I'm willing to take.

Lest anyone think that I'm that organized, let me just add that while I have some scrapbooked, some in albums, there is a lot of them, mainly from *gasp* the last four years (since Audrey's been born) that are languishing away in their packets.  I'll get to them.  I have to.  Mr W can't tell baby picture from baby picture.  Such a man.  lol

Anyway, the second picture of the kids, with Audrey and Ryan encroaching on Nolan's game space, has a picture of Audrey's latest favorite, her llama.  I got it for her a while ago, when I bought this book for her called "Llamas in Pajamas."  As we also have the book, "Is your Mama a llama?" I thought it would be cute to have one for story time.  Besides, on Jimmy Neutron, one of the characters, Carl, is also obsessed with all things llama.  (Now there's proof I need to get out more.)

Anyway, I love it that she doesn't just call him her llama, but refers to it as her 'llama-in-pajamas' all the time. 

I couldn't resist taking Audrey's picture in front of my flowering shrubs.   The flowers are purple (my favorite color) and with all the rain we've had recently, appeared like magic.  I took those pictures last week, and sadly, the flowers only made it through to the other night, when the wind and impending storm just swept them away.  They'll be back. 

Speaking of coming back....

Mr W is due home this evening, and none to soon.  I've reached my limit, I miss him quite a bit. 

The kids do too, Audrey especially.  She likes to meet him for lunch, and we haven't been able to these last few days.  When we were talking to him last night, she told him: "You done.  You need to come home, right now." 

Although Audrey and I made the hot fudge sauce yesterday, I were so busy last night with baths and Nolan's homework, we didn't get to put it to the test.

So Mr W might get a treat tonight, too.

(That sounds bad, doesn't it?)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Peace and quiet

There isn't turn down service here.  No mint on my pillow, unless you count the five M & M's Audrey shared with me.

The chef is quite talented, and dinner was first rate.  Dessert was greeted with high fives although a chocolate volcano erupted in the microwave.  (Who knew hot fudge, overheated in the micro, would still taste a little burnt? Oops...)

We had a nice evening, and I was glad I stayed home. 

Tonight, it's the chef's night off.  And we're trying our hands at homemade hot fudge sauce.

I'll keep the fire extinguisher close by.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Whaaa? Wait a minute, here

Mr W announced to me a while back, "Oh, I'm going out of town for a few days in August; there's a conference in Tucson I'm getting sent too."

Whatever, I thought, a few days, not too far away, no big deal. 

Okay, so I'm a little jealous that he can come home and just say these things, and not worry that he'll have to arrange anything other than his suitcase, if that, but whatever.  Work is work, right?

I didn't even pay attention, really, to where he was staying until he called last night to tell me his details. 

I'm a lot jealous.  It's posh, swank, it's one of the better known resorts in these parts, in national magazines, stars stay there, the works.

"What?  You're staying WHERE?  What happened to economy, what happened to Holiday Inn?  Wait a minute, last year, you go to San Francisco, one of my favorite places; now you're at a resort; I'm here, with the four children, and all that entails, I smell like ass, and I think the cat just threw up, and you're in the lap of luxury?  Isn't it time for your manicure or something?" 

I spare him the chance to pull the "I-buy-you-cool-presents" card. 

"It's a good thing you did get me the laptop, or I might have to drive down there and hurt  you." 
I think he may have felt an ounce of guilt.  At least until his head hit the five-star pillows.

This morning, I'm up early, I get to shower uninterrupted and I get the kids up for school.  I'm in the zone, the kids are cooperating, and then...

*Ryan spills an entire glass of milk.

*I step in a hairball/cat puke combo.  Barefooted.

*The dogs eat all the cat food, which means I have to go get some more, and I was just at PetsMart yesterday.

And here is the capper:

My darling husband calls and asks me to come down.  "What?"  "The other guys have called their wives; they're coming."  "And the kids?"  "No, leave them at your Mom's."  "School?" "They can miss a day."  "They're missing enough this week (dr appts) and will probably miss a day next week when we go to that concert on Tues night."  "Come on."

I'm mentally tallying all the things I'd have to take care of before I can go.  It's a list that is very "You can go to the ball, Cinderella, if only you can get these things done first...." 

"I'm sorry, honey, I don't think I can pull it off." 

"I offered."

He's persistent, with a text message here and there.  I'm getting annoyed.  It's a generous, very sweet offer, for sure.  But on a moment's notice, because he got a wild hair up his butt, I'm supposed to procure childcare and animal care; pack up the kids stuff, my stuff, the animal's stuff, and just jet on down for tonight and tomorrow?  On limited funds?  Just because?

I want to kill him.  Why didn't he think of this last week, when I could have arranged things?

Maybe I'm the one who's being unreasonable here.

I'll just do the Six, and catch my breath. 

Before I call my Mom.  And beg like a 16 year old wanting to borrow the car.   (I made the mistake of looking up the spa menu.  T-o-r-t-u-r-e.  And call me naive, but why exactly offer "breast surgery massage"?  If you have breast surgery, I'd think you'd not have a hard time finding someone willing to massage them for free.  Am I right?)

Saturday Six - Episode 122

1. Has your blog received more comments, less comments, or about the same number of comments this summer?


2. What do you think best explains your answer from the last question?

I wrote less.  And people are busy in the summer.  At least I hope that's it...

3. With the latest terror alert about liquid bombs on airplanes, are you any less likely to schedule a flight somewhere?

I can't get away for an overnight two hours away from my house and I'd be traveling by car, and I'm supposed to think about flying somewhere?  No.  Yes.  Who's paying, and are my kids coming too?  (which means, right now, I can't answer this)

4. Take the quiz: What color flower are you?

I'm a blue flower.  I took it more than once, and changed a couple of answers I was wavering on, and still.  True blue me, I guess.  But cold?  Anyone believe that?

A blue flower tends to represent peace, openness, and balance.
At times, you are very delicate like a cornflower.
And at other times, you are wise like an iris.
And more than you wish, you're a little cold, like a blue hydrangea.

5. What was the last occasion in which you sent someone flowers?

I sent some to a colleague of Mr W's whose sister had died.

6. A hypothetical science question: A couple has a young child that they love very much. He has a rare genetic disorder that will be fatal unless doctors can use embryonic stem cells, and the only way to get them is for his parents to donate eggs and sperm so that a lab can create another embryo. Should the parents and the doctors be allowed to create an embryo to save the child's life?

Hypothetical science questions are what tend to cause trouble because they always get heated, blown out of proportion, and tainted with sentiment until 'hypothetical' becomes a segment on 60 Minutes.  Everyone wants to be right.   Sure, this ? is hypothetical in that the lab would create an embryo, but it's already been done.  Call me jaded, but I'm sure many babies have been conceived and born in hopes that they are a tissue match for an ill sibling.  Got bone marrow? 

Friday, August 11, 2006

This is the tip of the iceberg

I looked at Nolan the other day, and wondered, who are you and where is my son?

He's a little wound up.  Starting jr high hasn't been hard, but not been easy either.  Homework, a backpack that is so heavy I'm sure it'll stunt his growth, and more responsibility for himself than ever before are beginning to wear on him.

We try to help out.  But you know, we're stupid.

We've not been there before.  I've never had a backpack weigh as much as my baby sister.  I never had anyone give me attitude for just being me.

I grit my teeth and try to let him be.  I try

I think it was last week, I asked him why his backpack seemed heavier.  "Because I have two textbooks in it, too."  "The books you brought home Friday?"  "Yes."  "Did you have homework or something?"  "No."  "So do they have to go back, or are these books your teacher gave you to leave at home to use?"  "They have to go back."  "Are you sure?  I remember a couple of them saying they'd send some home..."

I stopped.   He was looking at me with that kind of pre-teen disgust, that hurry-up-say-it-I'm-not-doing-it-you-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about look that makes you want to reach out and smack a head.  Fine, fine, carry that load, buddy, I thought.  Off he went that morning, huge pack, project, and bass clarinet in his hand.

Later that week, I was in his room and saw the texts on the floor (because you know, that's where they go).  "Nolan?  Are these the books you had to take back the other day?"  "Yes."  "What's up with that?"  "The teachers said they are for at home."  "Oh, so maybe Mommy's not so stupid afterall??"  (couldn't resist) He sheepishy shakes his head no.

Luckily, his instrument can stay in a special locker in the band room, so now it's just the backpack.  And occasionally, lunch and a project.

We are all adjusting to homework--there's quite a bit, usually projects of some kind or other for which I will be dispatched for supplies at 8 pm(eyeroll)--and I'm resisting the urge to go to his Science class and staredown a little girl who has been making his life difficult like only girls that age can (he switched tables to get away from her);  I have to throw it up to the lunchroom gods that he's actually having something to eat; and I try not to worry too much and hang back.

Riiiigggght.  Easier said than done.  His father, adorably, exasperatingly, is in more of a knot about this transition than I am.  Who would have thought that Mr Cool, Mr Anna-you-need-to-chill, would be so not able to relax?  I shake my head at him as much as I shake it at the boy.

For now, we all concentrate on just getting a routine, getting it done, so he might have 30 minutes to himself at night. 

The cool thing is that he's taking Spanish and last night I got to help him practice.  It's fun.  And he seems to be getting it.  Told him I'd speak to him in it all the time.  And maybe we'd watch Telemundo (he wasn't too thrilled about that).

Anyway, the other boys are doing great so far.  Ryan had a little glitch where the teacher called me the first week of school.  The first week!   He wasn't listening, and I had a chat with him on the phone (teacher asked me to when he called)...and I threatened his little life when he got home, and he's been okay since then.  

The one thing that is getting me right now, though, is the resurgence of the Yu-gi-oh card in my life.  The older boys were into it, but not that into it, they collected but didn't get crazed about it.  I've had a long respite from them, and was thinking I'd never see them again.

But now Ryan has embraced them, and Benjumped right back on that bandwagon.  They play, they trade, and Audrey complains that they don't let her do it,  too.   Those shiny cards as addicting as crack, and tend to get misplaced, leading to cries of frustration about said missing card.

Donde esta la cantina?

Now, there's a Spanish phrase I can get behind.

Lucy, I'm home..

There are days when I just have to accept that even though I work it's so part-time I barely am a blip on my employer's radar; which means I am essentially a stay at home-r, and with that comes some retro-1950's elements to my lifestyle.

The very things I rolled my eyes at my mother for when I was sixteen, I find myself doing almost every day.

I'm more June Cleaver than Madonna, I'm afraid, on most afternoons.  Snacks for the kids afterschool, homework, outside activities, dinner, bathtimes, bedtime.  Yeah.  Real edgy stuff.

Oh, I resist.  I let things go around the house, I make said dinner way too late, I let Mr W do the laundry on the weekend when I'm at work (so hot to come home to someone else folding the clothes.)  But for the most part, it's me doing the grunt work.  He brings home the bacon, I fry it up in the pan.  (Or order pizza.) 

I decided I'd do the laundry yesterday, as Nolan, for some reason, needed clean shirts, and Mr W is going out of town Sunday so I thought I'd pitch in.  

He was impressed when I told him at lunch that I was doing the laundry.  And started searching the sky for clouds.

Oh, and that's not all.

I decided to polish/dust the piano.  The seed of this little project got planted last week, when I was dusting our dining room chairs.  They're old, and need attention I usually don't give them.  I was forced to give them some love when I saw too much dust, too much evidence that Audrey eats and plays at this table (read: dried playdough and dried food), and realized it's been too long since I did the all-clean.   Pledge worked fine, but I asked an authority who suggested...lemon oil.  I bought some figuring I'd use it next time.  Or maybe the time after that.

Because while I realize that it's really good for wood, I hate the mess lemon oil is, and the way the smell permeates you, too.

Then I remembered the same authority's trick for wearing rubber gloves while using it.  So I decided to try it.  And it worked great. 

I'm rubbing away, piano gleaming, and totally enjoying the results.  It was kind of soothing.  Disturbingly soothing.  I'm serious, children were running here and there, asking me questions: "Can I have some ice cream?"  "Of course."  "Can I have some chips?"  "Absolutely." "On your bed?"  "Mm-hmm, go for it."  

Maybe it was due to the inhalation of too much petroleum distillates, as the label warns, but I was in the Miyagi zone, wax on, wax off--and contemplating the next item I'd polish.  Bookcase?  Dresser?  I was a little surprised to find all that rubbing was also, oh my, ahm, embarrassingly enough, kind of sexy.  You rub, it looks fantastic (gleaming !), how could anyone not be a fan of that?  Rub, rub, rub, so simple--there may never be dust in my house again. (<--and that statement, my friends, is a sure sign I should have held my breath)

At any rate, I was still trying to finish before Mr W got home, because I:  a) want to see if he notices on his own, and b) don't want to get caught--gloves?  dusting?  I'd just need an apron, pearls, and a martini, really, to complete that picture.

Of all days for him to actually come home on time.

He grins, as he pauses to admire my handiwork.  I tell him I was trying to get it done before he got home, to maintain that myth that we have house-elves, you know.  "Guess where I got this idea from," I asked, holding up a gloved hand.  You think he'd guess "Martha Stewart" or "Queen of Clean" but he said, "Remo."  And he was right.

I followed him to the bedroom as he changed clothes.  I knew it from the grin on his face, but I had to confirm. (Okay, he's changing, given the opportunity, why not watch?)  "You are a caveman.  You dig it when you come home and I'm cleaning."

"It's nice."

"It's so little-wifey."

"It's nice." 

"Come on, it's so little-wifey, and you dig it, admit it."

"It's nice."

Now, there is the sign, that he's been married a long time.  He's not taking the bait.  He's being complimentary, but not digging a hole that will leave him in trouble.  You have to applaud that kind of savvy.

He even gave me a hug.

I think that perhaps today, when he comes home, I will make sure I smell like a little Windex and Pledge, cleaning cloth in hand.

This time, I'm shooting for more than a hug.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The world according to Audrey

Lately Audrey has been singing.  Everything.  She makes up her own little tunes and sings about changing her clothes, watching TV, picking up the boys from school...occasionally with accompanying dance steps/hand movements.

She does this crazy hip-shaking thing where she swings her arm around in a circle that never fails to make her Daddy smile, if not all-out crack up.

Last night she offered me these little nuggets of how things work. 

She's admiring herself in the mirror, right after I told her she'd applied too much lippy (a smear of lippy so overdone, she was a mini-Carol-Channing).  "Mommy,  Hot Girls wear lippy."


"Um-hmm, and they have beautiful long hair, and shoes with pointy heels coming out..." (she made a motion pulling her hand out of her heel, just where the stiletto would be) "..and nice dressies." 

"I'm a Hot Girl.  People will say, 'Audrey, Audrey,'..." 

Oh.  My.  God.  Note to self:  research the possibility of sending her to a convent at puberty.

I'm horrified.  I'll cop to the lippy, but the rest, well, that's gotta be tv.

She also took some time to touch on the oh-so-easy subject of love.   Oh, yes, my own little Dr Phil of the garage, coloring hearts in chalk on the sidewalk as we changed the van's battery.

"Love, love, I gwow up, I fall in love.."  she sings.  "I meet a boy..."  I couldn't hear the rest, but the last thing I heard was:

"Never break up, because you will die."  She says this, so gravely that I had to stifle a giggle.  

Mr W and I exchanged a look, raised eyebrows and all.

"Sweetie, stop that.  No more love talk.  You need to be worried about learning to read, and getting ready for preschool to start, and not boys.  School is much more important than boys."

"Tell her,"  I smack Mr W.

"School is more important than boys." 

I don't think she heard us.  She'd moved onto the next heart.

Bleary eyed addict

My husband came home for lunch yesterday and as he poured himself something to drink, he asked "Have you been sitting on that thing since I left?"  as he gestured to the computer.

I said, "Of course."  And I pointed out to him that this is what he got it for, not for me to oooh and aaahh and then put it away to use later, when I could be uninterrupted.

Because you know, letting it sit around for the next 20 yrs or so until the kids are gone is probably not what he had in mind.

I 'fess up.  This is addicting.  I can sit down and start to surf, or fool around with the ever-maddening iTunes installation that is currently the only fly in my ointment, and suddenly it's time to pick up the kids from school and I've still not hit the shower yet. 

I'll be suddenly hungry, then realize that the stray handful of Fruit Loops I pilfered from Audrey is not gonna be enough to last all day.  Yikes.  I'm neglecting hygiene and my health? 

Probably not what he had in mind either.

It's all about balance, grasshopper.  Mmm-hmm, I'll buy that.

I just need to look at one more thing....