Wednesday, April 28, 2004


My husband took the boys to church tonight and I sat in the $2.00-from-a-garage sale lawn chair in my backyard and watched Babygirl wander the back yard with the hose turned on medium-low.

It would have been perfect, except for the following things:

1) I was cold. The sky was clear, but the sun was weak and I was in the shade.
2) The lawn is spotty at best. Our former dog tore up the lawn pretty badly. Babygirl likes to make mud puddles in the bare spots.
3) Babygirl's hair is thinning. She needs Baby Rogaine. I have started to fret that she has "trichotillomania, the chronic psychiatric disorder in which patients pull, twist, pluck and otherwise remove their own hair" because really, why not worry that your 20 month old has mental issues? She pulls on her hair while I nurse her and then shows me the strands in her hand and says "hair." She has little hair anyways. I was a baldish baby myself and now I have enough hair for three grown women (at least I do for now--when the grays start to come in, I may develop trichotillomia myself). Babygirl probably inherited her sparse toddler hairstyle from me.

Come to think of it, those moments were perfection, despite the chill and the bald spots, both human and horticultural. Sun, water and a babe--who could ask for more?

Is it a crime?

Is it a crime to wish that the boys wouldn't come home from school today? I would like the quiet afternoon to stretch into the evening without the noise and mess of boys.

Well, they are home.

TwinBoyB: "Mom, what does the word constipated mean?"

Oh please, someone, save me. Or whisk me away to Moorea to snorkel in the South Pacific sea.

TwinBoyA: "Mom, he just took the entire box of Cheez-Its!"

I wish I could lay in the weak sun all afternoon and drift to sleep. I wish someone else would iron my husband's khakis tonight. I wish my fingers and toes weren't so cold.

I wish TwinBoyB would not make random, loud, mouth noises. I wish he wouldn't ask every day, six times a day, "What's for dinner?" and then respond with "Ewww, that's nasty."

I wish I could sleep in until noon and then spend the rest of the day puttering around in the closets, sorting, purging, organizing.

I wish I had unlimited wishes and a fairy-godmother to grant them all.

Monday, April 26, 2004

A Pause

It's 5:45 p.m., that odd time of day when sometimes we pause. My husband's gone to a meeting--he's on a Rescue Mission board and he won't be home until after the kids' bedtime. The boys are in the backyard wandering around with sticks and having an imaginary adventure. The sun shines, still and it's warm. I think it reached 80 degrees today, but our backyard always has a nice breeze and shade in the afternoons.

Babygirl was laying on the floor, watching Teletubbies. Lately, she has to have all the "bee-bees" (the blankets) on her at once. That means three afghans and three fuzzy pink blankets. But her bladder distracted her and she wanted to sit on the "pobby" (the potty), so she insisted that I strip her clothes off (which reminds me of George Costanza--fans of Seinfeld know what I'm talking about). Today, she shocked me--and herself--by managing to make her first "deposit" (if you know what I mean) in her little potty. We greeted it with great acclaim and carried it with deep respect and love to the regular toilet where we bid it adieu. "Bye-bye poopy!"

When my twins were her age and older, they always denied that they had a dirty diaper. They had no interest in using the toilet--despite our repeated viewings of "It's Potty Time!", a hilarious video which includes the song we still sing today (and by "we", I mean my husband and me): "He is a super duper pooper! He can potty with the best! No more diapers to get in his way! We are very impressed!"


Only two hours until bedtime and then the debate: Do laundry? Straighten up the house? Vacuum? Work on VBS project for church? Exercise? Or just sprawl in the recliner and watch Fear Factor and eat fat-free Kettle Korn?

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Stealing the Newspaper

Babygirl and I were walking around the block Saturday. Actually, she was riding while I was pushing her in the umbrella stroller. We passed Sleeping Beauty's driveway and Babygirl spied a newspaper lying near the ivy. "Paper!" she said.

"Yes, paper," I repeated. And I kept pushing her.

"Paper!" she said again, with urgency. I can read her mind and I knew she wanted that paper. She loves to pick up the plastic-wrapped newspaper from the driveway and carry it into the house.

She began to pull at her seatbelt and said, "Walk! Walk!" I unbelted her and let her walk. By now, we were a house or two down from Sleeping Beauty's house. She turned and headed back towards the newspaper.

Now, Sleeping Beauty's house is a house obscured by vegetation. It reminds me of the fairy tale in which the castle was overtaken by thorny bushes while Sleeping Beauty slept under a spell. The two-car driveway is now a one-car driveway because half of it is covered with ivy. The ivy has crept up the front of the house. Moss has taken over the roof. An overgrown flowering tree hides the front windows and the door. Once a year, the man who lives in the house mows his lawn. Once.

Babygirl makes a bee-line for the newspaper and grabs it, triumphantly calling out, "Paper!" She brings it to me like an obedient cocker spaniel. I say "thank you" and say, "Now, you want a ride?" I figure I will get her back into the stroller and then toss the newspaper back into the driveway as I hurry Babygirl away. She'll never know.

Just then, an upstairs window slides open and the man appears. He says, "HEY!" I am holding his newspaper and he looks at me as if I am about to hotwire the gigantic late model pick-up truck which is parked in his driveway. I smile and say, "Oh! I'm not going to steal your newspaper. She just wanted to hold it. I'm going to get her in the stroller and put it back."

He's staring at me as if he might pull out a gun and shoot me. And also as if he does not speak English.

So I say again, "I'm not going to steal your newspaper. Okay?"

He says, "Oh, sorry." The window shuts abruptly.

I put Babygirl into her stroller and toss the guy's newspaper back into the leaf-littered, ivy-covered driveway. I'm pretty sure that guy was the Wicked Ogre who is holding Sleeping Beauty captive.

And because I just realized that my thumb is bleeding all over my space bar (I grated it along with the cheddar this evening) I will leave you to conclude this tale with your own clever ending.
The end.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

My Very First

I checked out my curly hair in the mirror this afternoon and saw an errant, weirdly textured hair on the top of my head . . . I plucked it out for examination.

It was gray.

That was my first one. I really am getting old.

By the Way

Being a stay-at-home mom is not what I am. It's what I do.

Heartbreak in the Backyard

YoungestBoy loves pets. Unfortunately, he has lost three pets in his short six years.

Millie the Cat was dispatched to Kitty Heaven shortly after Babygirl's birth. Millie the Cat developed some kind of neurological condition which required Kitty Antidepressants. I'd shove the pills down her throat and she would vomit them up and then scratch herself until she bled. We agreed that sending her to Kitty Heaven was the most compassionate thing we could do for her since there was no cure for her mental illness. None of the boys noticed that Millie the Cat was missing for about three months.

Greta the Dog was a furry, sweet Newfoundland. We raised her for two years. Then she nipped at TwinBoyB and a week later, nipped at YoungestBoy, drawing blood on both of their faces. She was returned to the breeder and placed in a new home. We just couldn't take the chance of having 100-pound Greta nip at a baby.

Fred the Snail was captured on our driveway in May 2002. He lived a happy, uneventful life in a vented pet box, hidden under the long drapes in the dining room. Then over a year later, he was moved to an upstairs window and the afternoon sun boiled him in his shell.

YoungestBoy cried hard when he lost each pet. We replaced Millie the Cat with Shadow the Cat. Greta was replaced with a giant stuffed animal. But snails are hard to find around here.

And then, a miracle! After dinner yesterday, we were hanging out in the backyard. Babygirl was riding her trike over the grass, TwinBoyB was using a giant magnifying glass to turn a slug "inside out" and YoungestBoy was hunting for more slugs. He came running around the corner shouting, "Mom! I found a snail!"

Clutched in his chubby hand was a snail half the size of my pinkie-fingernail. Its shell was translucent. While we watched, the tiny head stretched out of the shell. I couldn't believe it! In my 39 years of life, this is the second snail I've seen in the Pacific Northwest. (Other than snails that live in the water, of course.) What a lucky boy!

I said, "What are you going to name him?"

YoungestBoy thought for just a moment and said, "Replacement Fred." He went inside, got a Mason jar and put a few tasty leaves in the jar for Replacement Fred.

Awhile later, YoungestBoy says, "Oh no! I dropped my snail!"

"Where?" I ask.

"In the grass somewhere. I was running and holding him in my hand."

Sigh. Then we squatted on the grass and tried--in vain--to locate tiny Replacement Fred. YoungestBoy cried. I said, helpfully, "Well, maybe you can find another one."

YoungestBoy said, "Mom, that was just a lucky stroke. I will never find another snail."

We looked under the rocks where YoungestBoy found Replacement Fred, hoping Replacement Fred had a brother or a sister. Nope. Replacement Fred must have been an orphan or a runaway. YoungestBoy spent a great deal of time in the backyard before lunch, hunting. He found a bunch of potato bugs (he calls them roly-poly-olies). One even hung upside down from a stick, wrapping its teeny little legs around it.

But it's not Replacement Fred.

Replacement Fred! Come back! We promise not to forget you in a sunny windowsill!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Babygirl explains eye makeup.

"Now, first we'll use a nice shade of gray for a smoky eye."

Finally! Chicken & Egg Mystery Solved!

Mr. Know-It-All-TwinBoyB and his twin, Mr. Know-It-All-TwinBoyA

My twin boys have reached that magical age where they know everything. I figure this stage probably lasts until they are well into their college years. As a reasonably intelligent 39-year old woman, I regard their superior knowledge with great hilarity.

Last night at the dinner table, they explained to me that God created two eggs and that's how we got chickens. He didn't create just one egg, or two male eggs, or two female eggs, but a male and a female eggs so chickens would result. Always playing the Devil's Advocate, I said, "Well, maybe God created the chicken and the chicken laid the eggs?" They dismissed my folly without even a pause. Their knowledge was unshaken.

A couple of weeks ago, they were explaining HIV to me. They were learning about AIDS at school. I was probing to see what they were being taught and said, "So, how do you catch HIV or AIDS?" And one of them answered with a twinge of disdain, "You don't catch it! You just have it!"

This morning, while we were staring at the tea kettle, waiting for its whistle, TwinBoyB remarked that he wanted to see the "vapor." I said, "Well, look, there's the steam now!" And he said, "No, Mom, you can't see steam. You can only see vapor. Steam is invisible."

I started to argue, then stopped myself. What is the point in pointing out fact to a kid who already knows it all?

It's going to be a long decade.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Stuff That Really, Really Drives Me Crazy

1) Break-downs of major appliances. My trash compactor decided to go on strike. Unfair labor practices or something. Well, too bad for Mr. Trash Compactor. He's going straight to the landfill where he can lounge around with refrigerators who freeze eggs and washing machines who will no longer agitate. I paid Mr. Sears Fix-It Guy a hundred bucks last time Mr. Trash Compactor quit working. I will not pay anymore. Mr. Trash Compactor, buh-bye!

2) Bowls and glasses which break upon impact. Geesh, I'm so sick of sweeping up broken glass and then vacuuming up the remaining shards so baby feet will not be punctured.

3) Gritty floors.

4) My boys' horrible aim. Now, listen. I don't have one of those things, but I have used the garden hose and it's just not that difficult to hit a target! I'm sick to death of my boys' bathroom which smells exactly like an outhouse. I don't camp because I hate the stench of outhouses.

5) Really bad, stupid, inattentive drivers. But we all hate them, so I will move on to number six.

6) Stubbing my toes on errant shoes. Why can't people at least kick their shoes out of the path of my feet? Seriously? When I kick off my shoes--which admittedly, I leave in every room of the house--I put them in corners and tuck them into nooks so no one will trip over them. No one extends this same courtesy to me.

7) Thinking up dinner plans every night. Preparing dinner every night. Hearing people say about dinner, "Ewwwww, that's nasty."

8) My kids discarding their trash randomly. Mr. Trash Compactor probably quit working in response to my kids' complete disregard to his feelings. The only person who likes to put trash in the compactor is Babygirl. But then again, that wasn't trash she just put in there.

9) Late people. I am not exactly always prompt, unless I'm with my husband, Mr. Fifteen Minutes Early, but I do arrive at my appointments and obligations within five minutes of the start-time. My siblings think that if you merely arrive on the same day. that's close enough. That's why we had Easter Dinner at noon. And 1 p.m. And 2 p.m. My sister brought her kids' to YoungestBoy's fifth birthday party an hour late. And it was a small party. She arrives chronically late to work--forty-five minutes, an hour, whatever, and takes my neice and nephew to school late. Every day. My sisters and my brother claim this is a family trait, but it's not. It's just rude and inexcusable.

10) Doing things out of order. I am sequential by nature and I tend to get frazzled when I have to do something in the wrong order. I get crazed when I am interrupted ten thousand times in the middle of something.

This explains my general insanity. Stay tuned for even more exciting details and enter our sweepstakes to win a stay at Western State, Washington's finest mental institution!

On Being a Good Mother

I sometimes hear mothers say with great confidence, "I am a great mother!" This is often in tandem with a complaint about a mother-in-law's meddling ways and criticisms, but still. There are women--mothers--who absolutely know that they are doing a fabulous job.

I am not one of them.

I worry. A lot. About whether my kids will be the ones who inhale glue or walk on railroad tracks or become fixated on pornography. I waste time wondering if my boys will grow up and marry cold-hearted women who are bossy and sarcastic and then blame me. I am terrified that my kids really won't remember anything except the times I scream, "This is driving me crazy!"

Maybe that's why I take so many pictures. We always look really happy. The kids seem to be having a great childhood. Yet, I have no confidence that I am a wonderful mother.

See, a wonderful mother plays Monopoly with her kids whenever they ask. She makes a hot, homemade breakfast and packs a delicious, nutritious lunch that her children eagerly eat. She doesn't wear June Cleaver pearls, but she does have on matching clothes and a cute haircut. And make-up. She never yells and her laundry is always caught up. Oh, and she doesn't fly into a frenzy when yet another glass bowl bites the dust right next to the baby's feet. She needs no time to read, to think, to shop, to write, to talk with grown-ups. She is completely, slavishly devoted to her children, even the older, smelly ones.

I fret that the boys are going to freak out some day about the fact that they are adopted. I worry that they have fantasized a Perfect Mother in their heads--she probably resembles the Perfect Mother I have in my head. I torture myself with the reality that the twins cannot remember the times they slept on our floor in the middle of the night and the times we took them to playgrounds and the times they ran through the sprinkler and rolled in mud and shrieked with laughter. They're approaching the "I'm bored, this is not fair, no one ever listens to me" stage of pre-adolescence. They can't remember the first four years of their lives when they were the center of our universe.

Most recently, I have worried that the addition of the younger children has robbed the older children of everything--of our time, of our money, of our attention. YoungestBoy was born just as the twins went to kindergarten. I couldn't be the Room Mother. I couldn't go to their baseball games. I couldn't practice with them so their baseball games weren't so humiliating. I answered, "No, the baby is sleeping," too many times to count. I shushed them constantly.

They have to share a room. They have to share their toys. They have to be nice to YoungestBoy, even when he's being a pain in the neck.

And then, just when things were getting manageable, we had Babygirl. YoungestBoy was four and a half.

I do not recommend this spacing. At all.

I wish for each of my kids that they could be Only Children. I wish they had their own room, their own space, their own solitude. (Or maybe that's just what I wish I had!)

I can only be cut into so many tiny little pieces. I feel like the kids get their piece and whine, "No fair! He got a bigger piece!" I am never enough.

My hope is that what my kids lose--attention, time, money, things--are outweighed by what they gain--companionship, lessons in getting along with people, lifelong friendships with their siblings, experience, compassion, generous spirits.

My ultimate fear? They grow up, never find meaningful work, never find lifelong love and blame me.

(Yes, this is another premenstrual syndrome entry. My neurosis comes in regular cycles. How convenient.)

Monday, April 19, 2004


Finally. The perfect picture of irony.

The CEO of McDonald's dies of a heart attack at age 60.

Oh wait. Is that irony or just inevitability?

Carry on. I might be confused.

I'm Married to the King

That's right. Did you know I was a Queen? Yes-sir-ee-bob, I'm the Queen of Laundry and I'm married to the King of Naps.

How can a person nap when he's slept until 8 a.m.? How can he nap in the morning and then nap in the afternoon? How can he fall asleep at 10:30 p.m. when he's napped half the day?

If I nap, it means only two things: I am pregnant or I am sick.

If I nap, I will be unable to sleep well at night.

If I nap, I will wake up grumpy and out of sorts and dazed.

He is kind of cute, though, stretched out in the recliner, mouth agape, hands folded on his stomach as if he's laid out in his coffin, escalating snores. Long Live the King!

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Eighty-One Dollars Worth of Fun

Update: I feel perfectly fine today. Weird, huh?

We went to The Fair today. Not the big fair, but the Spring Fair, held on the same fairgrounds as the regular fair. Earlier in the week we'd talked about going, but then I decided it was just going to be too expensive and the kids already did a lot of fun things this week.

But this morning, my husband returned from taking Babygirl for a ride in the car and reported that the weather was nice and that he was thinking about taking the boys to the fair. So we all went.

Admission: $26 (And that was half-off)
Ride Tickets: $15 for 20 (4 or 5 tickets necessary for each ride)
Lunch: $26.25 (for me and three boys)
Games: $13.75

The kids each had between $10 and $15. They were eager to spend it on games, but I insisted that we first watch a demonstration. We walked all the way across the grounds, found Barn J and arrived in time to watch Border Collies demonstrate how they herd animals. In this case, they were herding about five ducks with great stealth and skill.

The woman asked if any child would like to volunteer to herd the ducks--to demonstrate how difficult it really is to get the ducks to go through the various obstacles. YoungestBoy raised his hand and was chosen along with another boy in a red shirt.

Watching them chase the ducks was worth the price of fair admission. Ducks quacking, kids laughing, ducks scattering. When a duck is separated from the remaining ducks, they call it a "duck split", which YoungestBoy thought was very funny. He pictured the duck in a bowl with whipped cream and chocolate syrup on it.

But enough educational stuff, Mom. There were games to play, rides to ride!

I went on a ferris-wheel type ride with YoungestBoy and TwinBoyB. TwinBoyA opted not to ride. He is not fond of rides at all. While we rode, TwinBoyA played a game involving a dart and won himself a stuffed animal. YoungestBoy and I played a game involving balls and racing horses. I won, but of course, gave him the animal (an orange monkey). Then we had a string of bad luck and lost dollar after dollar after dollar playing games. In disgust I said, "We may as well just toss our money down that drain!" (We conveniently passed a storm drain at just that moment.)

Kids are optimists, though. I wasn't, but most kids are. They were sure they'd win, so they kept spending until their pockets were empty. Even my pockets were empty by the time we left. We did manage to bring home four little stuffed animals and one poster.

My husband pushed Babygirl around in her stroller the whole time--he mostly just kept her moving and that kept her happy. She put on her very sad face when we first entered the fair gates, but when she spotted the animals--llamas, sheep, dogs--she cheered up. She's a slow-to-warm-up baby. (She immediately went down for a nap when we got home. I'd like to nap myself, but I have other kids to take care of and a mountain of laundry with my name on it.)

YoungestBoy and I rode one more ride--some contraption that circled around and then swung up and down. I think it was called a "hurricane." I don't know, but the centrifugal force kept YoungestBoy plastered to my side and caused an ache in my neck. At the peak of the excitement, I had a sudden vision of the cars being flung into the air and grabbed the bar a little tighter. YoungestBoy thought it was great fun.

When we left, YoungestBoy said the day had been the best day of his life. I guess that was worth $81.

On the way home, my husband's cell phone rang to report that our friend in the hospital has been moved from one hospital to another. He's undergoing emergency surgery for a brain-bleed. This does not look good. So, my husband's at the hospital. I feel so sad for our friend and his family. Sigh.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Karma For Being a Jerk

I have a sore throat. And I think I have Babygirl's tummy bug. And I don't even believe in karma.

Friday, April 16, 2004

How To Be A Jerk In One Easy Lesson

Secretly feel annoyed that your husband, the pastor, is going to visit a church member (who happens to be a close friend) in the hospital tomorrow. So what if it's Saturday and he's supposedly taking the week off and you've been with kids non-step for days, weeks, months, years? So what if the man is recovering from surgery so he can then undergo intensive chemotherapy? So what? What about you?

See how easy it is to feel like a jerk? Pout invisibly (of course) a little about being unimportant to your husband and remind yourself that you will never again leave the house in the daylight without kids. Think about not going on vacation in approximately 15 years. Ponder the injustice of your life.

Then remind yourself that the Hospital Guy is in worse shape than you are and kick yourself in the pants. You big jerk.

Why It's Good to be 39

Here are a few reasons why I like being 39:

1) I don't think everyone in a room is talking about me when I walk in.

2) When my husband is upset, I figure that's his problem, not mine.

3) I have a lot of experience. I've planned a wedding and funeral and everything in between. I've admitted someone to the hospital, given birth to two babies at home and slept in a hospital overnight after my 3 year old had surgery. I've hosted baby showers and sung at weddings.

4) I realize my worth as a person doesn't depend on how good my hair looks. What's inside my head matters more and I know that now.

5) My life is turning out all right. All that worry in my teens was for nothing.

6) Not much surprises me. I am no longer devastated by people's betrayals or shocked by their downfalls. I've seen a lot.

7) I've been thin and I've been fat and though thin is better, I'm the same person inside. I am not my body. I'm just inside here.

8) I have learned from experience. I know how to make mashed potatoes and how to iron a shirt and how to get a company to send me free diapers.

9) I don't care what people think. I trust my own judgment.

10) Being 39 is better than the alternative. My dad died when he was 47. Time is short. I am grateful just to be alive.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

My Twins Turn 11 Today

The twins turn 11 years old today. What's funny is that they've been arguing about when they are "officially" and "technically" turning 11. TwinBoyB says not until 11:30 p.m. when he was actually born. TwinBoyA doesn't care about the details. He says he turned 11 as of 12:01 a.m. this morning. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I think these children will argue until they live separately. Or even longer. Who knows? I can hardly believe I have two boys on the cusp of adolescence--even though they are starting to smell and have greasy hair and grow hair in strange places. ::shudder::

I have baked a chocolate cake and am looking forward to making homemade frosting, mostly so I can lick giant globs of it off my fingers. Because everyone knows that frosting doesn't have any calories if you lick it off your fingers.

Changing gears entirely . . .

I am always very hopeful in spring. Each spring I think this is the year I'm going to get the whole flowerbed weeded. I have flowerbeds that some lunatic must have planned. They are a good eight to ten feet wide as they approach the corner of the yard. I've never managed to get all the weedy grass dug out of them before I give up (in June, usually). But this year, I'm making remarkable progress. And last night, to celebrate, I bought twenty dollars worth of perennials to plant. I can't wait. Spring hopes eternal.

We're on our third day of cloudy skies and occasional rain. The babies do not quite understand why we can't go outside. Yesterday, I took Babygirl for a stroll around our circle, but it started to rain and by the time we got home, I was wet. My naturally curly hair was out of control.

We sent off the taxes today. We paid $54. I hate paying taxes. Our estimated quarterly payment was due today, too. That's the one that really hurts. If more people had to write a check to the government every three months, more people would vote Republican.

The most embarrassing thing happened today. My husband (continuing his "week off") had a friend come to "help him" with a few household repairs. They replaced the shower nozzle in our bathroom and the toilet seat, too. Both of these things I could easily do myself and I hated that someone else did them. I was embarrassed that this man thinks I'm not able to do such simple stuff. Of course, I'm also completely irrational and hated the fact that he saw my bedroom, which probably has laundry on the floor and an unmade bed--because my husband doesn't get up at the crack of dawn like I do and it's kind of hard to make a bed when someone's still in it. I've tried, believe me. I also sleep nice and tidily and when I emerge from a bed, it's a simple matter of pulling the covers up and fluffing the pillows. I am a neat sleeper, unlike some people I know who shall remain nameless.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


My husband and I were talking today about how long we've been married. Almost 17 years. That breaks my family record--my parents were married 13 years. Then my dad's second marriage lasted 7 years. My mom's second marriage lasted 5 years, her third marriage lasted 1.5 years, her fourth marriage lasted three or four years. Then she gave up marriage and just lived with a man for about 7 years.

My husband isn't sure how long his parents were married, but as near as we could figure, their marriage lasted about 15 years. His mother's longest lasting marriage is going strong at 25 years at least, and his dad's marriage has lasted probably 35.

Anyway, he was saying, "I am doing my best to get away from dysfunctional people."

And then he paused. "But my siblings keep calling!"

You know what they say. You can pick your friends. You can pick your nose. But you can't pick your friend's nose.

And you can't pick your family, either.

Rise and Whine

I hate mornings.

This morning, the ringing of the alarm at 6:30 a.m. was extremely loud. I think someone moved the setting to "LOUD." I hate being the first person to wake up in the house. I know. I'm a terrible housewife and mother. My children never wake to the sound of me singing while I fry bacon in the kitchen.

I open my bedroom door and notice Babygirl has turned on her light already. She's awake early, too. Then I smell it. She has had an explosion in her diaper. I have changed thousands of diapers in my lifetime and this was the worst. I will spare you the details--like how the diarrhea covered her stomach--and just tell you that I had to carefully strip her and put her straight into the bathtub.

I hollered to my husband (who was still in bed because he's taking the week off) so he could help me. I was expecting DaycareKid to arrive any second and realized I couldn't get the door if I were bathing Babygirl. So, my husband ran the bathwater--he added bubbles, though, which was a big mistake. Babygirl hates bubbles. She screamed during the whole bath (which lasted about three minutes).

She's been clinging all morning and fell asleep on the floor just now while watching Sesame Street. I suppose she has a little tummy bug. She's been eating and drinking all morning, though.

My husband took the boys out to lunch. Yesterday, he took them to spend their birthday money, so everyone has new video games and they are mostly not arguing.

A new friend of mine shared with me her secret for dealing with birthdays for kids older than 10. She offers them $100 in cash--in lieu of a party and birthday gift. I offered my kids this deal, and even though it cost me $200, it saved me stress, hassle and money! And I don't have to sit at Odyssey I while a bunch of pre-teen boys holler around me and play laser tag. What a brilliant idea! Their actual birthday is tomorrow, so we'll have cake and sing Happy Birthday and take pictures.

Half-way through Spring Break. Someday, I will have Spring Break, too, and I will read a lot of novels and lay in the sun and shop for an entire week straight.

Monday, April 12, 2004

How Things Used To Be

Here are the things I used to do:

1) Ride my bicycle long distances and then camp by the side of the road. When I was 14, I rode with my stepmom, brother and sister to San Francisco--from Seattle. We boarded a bus in San Francisco and headed south past Los Angeles, all the way to San Diego. On that trip, we went to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and the San Diego Zoo. I haven't been back to California--other than the airport, since.

2) Ride on airplanes. When I was 16, I flew to Tahiti with a group of teenage girls for a 10 day stay. We were purportedly helping missionaries, but I think we were more trouble than help. But oh, what a blast! I received letters from a Tahitian boy named Jean-Claude for a long time after my return home. In French. Which I used to be able to read fluently.

When I was 17, I flew to Jamaica on another missions trip. Unfortunately, by then, my authority-questioning had begun and I was again, more trouble than help. I climbed a waterfall and rode in a Jeep to the heart of the island. When I left, I spent a frightening night alone in the Miami airport when my flight was rescheduled.

I flew to Florida with my husband before we had children. We stayed with our rich friends in their rich parents' luxurious home. We rode on their yacht and swam in their pool. We fished in the deep blue sea and grilled the fish for dinner.

3) Move. I used to move a lot. I left the Pacific Northwest for college in Springfield, Missouri when I was 18. My dad put me on a Greyound bus--yes, that would be 4 days, 3 nights--when I left for school. During college, I had various summer jobs--one summer, I was a nanny in Branson, Missouri. The next two summers, I worked in Charlotte, North Carolina. During my breaks, I visited New York City, Boston, Rochester (New York), Philadelphia, Birmingham, Alabama, Kansas City, Wichita, and Tulsa.

After I was married, we lived in New Haven, Connecticut and Troutdale, Oregon, and Atlanta, Michigan.

4) Highlight my hair. I fought for many years to remain blond. I put my trust in colorists from Portland to Kansas City to Gaylord, Michigan, to Seattle. I found one I truly loved, one who made housecalls and made me look "natural."

5) Sleep in.

6) Buy shoes. I shopped for shoes whenever I had the chance. I matched clothes to shoes, instead of the other way around. I used to wear a pair of pink Chuck Taylor Converse shoes. I had a pair of hot pink and deep periwinkle ballet flats. I wore heels. My feet used to hurt from my shoes.

Now, I have children. I no longer travel, fly in airplanes, sleep in hotels, move, visit other cities, color my hair or wear shoes that hurt. By the time my baby girl reaches kindergarten in 2008, I will have been living with babies and/or preschoolers for 15 years. My husband jokes that we missed the Family Planning Class.

Some day, I'll have something interesting to discuss with other adults. When I leave the house, I won't have to change my shirt because I have a booger smeared on it. I just might--maybe--fly on an airplane again and even have a layover long enough to read a whole "People" magazine. I might even relearn how to walk in high heels.

In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through other journals and novels. In my spare time.

Monday, Monday

My husband's taking the week off. Unfortunately, I'm not. It's Spring Break. I also have DaycareKid Monday through Thursday as usual. And the laundry doesn't take a day off and for some reason, my family wants to eat every single day. Which reminds me that I still haven't put the stew into the crockpot, so what will we have for dinner tonight?

Funnily enough, my husband has gone to his office twice so far this morning, taken three phone calls from church people and has left the house to run errands.

He plans to take the kids bowling after lunch. Then, hopefully, the babies will sleep and the house will be quiet.

The kids never did notice that we didn't dye Easter eggs. I can't believe I made it through a holiday with no preparations whatsoever. And those Easter bunnies I bought on Saturday night have been completely forgotten. I should have just used the chocolate bunnies from 2003 that are still in my laundry room cupboard. No, I am not kidding.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

My Saturday: A Report

The most glorious thing happened this morning. My baby did not wake up until after 8:30 a.m., so I slept in! I woke up, realized it was morning, rolled over and slept more. Then repeated that again and again. Oh, the beauty, the joy, the uncommon luxury of sleeping in!

Then, things got crazy. Well, not crazy-insane-admit-me-to-the-loony-bin, but crazy-hurry-we've-got-to-get-ready-to-go.

I showered, attempted to dry my hair straight and was confronted with the fact that it's too long and too unruly to be straightened anymore. I think it is curlier now than ever before. Anyway, finished getting ready, fed the baby and told her we were going to go somewhere. She took me quite literally and walked to the front door. I handed her a waffle and took her for a fifteen minute ride while my husband showered and hollered at the kids to comb their hair and get ready. I assume he hollered, anyway. Who knows? Happily, I was meandering through the neighborhoods in my town, checking out houses and yards and lilac bushes and the controversial building site on the water where a man is attempting to circumvent my town's stringent building codes.

My lilac bush has not yet bloomed because it's mostly in the shade. But next week, for sure, it will bloom.

The kids have not adjusted to spring at all. Especially spring days like today where the temperature is 75 degrees. They were all wearing sweat pants and long-sleeved shirts when I returned home. I tried to convince them to wear t-shirts and the oldest two did change. YoungestBoy insisted on wearing long sleeves and heavy sweatpants. Okey-dokey, then.

We left the house at 10:35 a.m. for the Easter egg hunt at the pool. We belong to a private pool club, which is the best money we spend every year. The first event every year is the egg hunt. I wasn't sure if Babygirl would "get it," but I did bring her a white basket.

There were maybe 5 kids ages 3 and under and they had 150 eggs to gather! Babygirl immediately understood what she was to do. She called the eggs "balls." After she placed the first one in her basket, she said, "more." She filled her basket completely and even cooperated while I took her picture. She had a great time. Even though she is abnormally anti-social, she was running along, throwing a plastic egg and then snatching it up and throwing it again. The only times she paused and veered close to me were when someone said, "Hello!" to her. She likes to be ignored.

The big boys had a good time, too, and gathered lots of eggs. Now they have lots of candy.

Here's the Bad Mother moment of the day, though. I totally, completely forgot about coloring Easter eggs. We've colored eggs for the past 8 or 9 years and yet, this year, I forgot. It never occurred to me to decorate for Easter (I have a bunch of decorations) or anything. The funny thing is that the kids haven't said a word. I think they forgot, too!

If they ask about coloring eggs, I'm going to tell them that I planned to color eggs next week, during Spring Break, so we'll have something to do. Ha.

When we got home from the festivities, my husband went to work to write his sermon for tomorrow. He's had a very busy week--busier than usual, even--because a good friend of his (and a church member) has been in the hospital. He had surgery earlier this week, then suffered a complication and had to go back into surgery. When my husband did arrive home after finishing his sermon, he immediately left again to visit Jeff. He came home to stay at about 7 p.m. Yes, that would be another day "off" . . . where he worked for 7 hours.

During his absence today, we were mostly in the backyard. The kids played and I pulled weeds for awhile. The kids couldn't seem to play nicely, however, so I changed gears and got out a bucket, filled it with suds and assigned them the task of cleaning the lawn chairs. As TwinBoyA said to YoungestBoy, "I never knew cleaning could be so much fun!" They cleaned chairs, toys, the house and the patio door with great glee and enthusiasm. While they cleaned, I used the hose and sprayed off the patio, which took a considerable amount of time. I carried Babygirl with me some of the time, but she'd wriggle to get down and stomp in the puddling water. She took off her overalls, too, and soon her socks and shoes and bottom were wet and muddy.

The patio looks great. I also sprayed out the sandboxes, so they are ready for new sand. I've been itching to get the back yard cleaned up.

My husband promised to let me get out of house, but by the time I ironed everyone's Easter clothes, it was already 8:30 p.m., so I just went out for an hour. I bought chocolate bunnies for the boys and rented two videos and two DVDs, but of course, I couldn't get the sort of new DVD player set up. It does not seem compatible with my television set, at least the one down here in the family room. So much for that.

I can't believe tomorrow is Easter. We're having dinner at my mom's house, which means I don't have to cook for once. For that, I am abundantly thankful!

Friday, April 09, 2004

And one more thing

I've seen previews for the new movie, "Ella Enchanted." And while this movie looks precious and cute (especially if you are twelve years old), I will not be seeing it for one main reason.

As the website says, "Little Ella's birthright is the gift--and curse--of obedience. As a result of this unfortunate circumstance, Ella cannot refuse any command . . . "

Well, color me confused, but it seems to me that Ella is not exactly the most obedient girl as much as is the most literal girl in the kingdom.

Plus, why do we need a movie showing how bad obedience is?

Obedience = good.
Taking everything literally = bad.

Imagine what good I could do for mankind if only I applied my mental meanderings to serious issues, she says with a straight face and a laugh.

Just An Observation

Right up front, I'll say it serves me right for watching shows like "The Real World-Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno" and "The Maury Povich Show." Still.

A guy on "The Inferno" is named Darrell. You know, Dar'-ell. Darrell. As in Darryl Hannah. Only he called himself Dar-ELL, with the emphasis on the second syllable. Say what?

Then, I see a guy on the "Maury" show and his named is Leonard. You know, Leonard, like Leonard Nimoy. Only he calls himself Le-NARD. Huh? What?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

How I Almost Killed My Baby

The weeds are growing like . . . well, weeds and we saw a woodpecker in the backyard. Yesterday, a scraggly robin played in our backyard, tempting our cat to have him for lunch. A lone orange and yellow tulip blooms in the flowerbed. The grass seed will not sprout, which is probably because I haven't watered it because we are constantly out in the backyard.

This morning, Babygirl and DaycareKid and YoungestBoy and I are outside. DaycareKid's climbing the slide. Babygirl was running around and I was surveying the flower beds where I'd weeded yesterday. YoungestBoy says, "Hey, mom, want to play catch?" I say, "Okay," and he tosses the ball high in the sky. Doing my best Ken Griffey, Jr. move, I sidestep and hop backwards and grab the ball. At the exact moment the ball dropped into my hand, I realized that Babygirl has sneaked up and was directly beneath where I was about to land.

In fact, she had fallen when I bumped into her and I was about to crush her skull with the entire weight of my body. I suddenly turned into Sydney on Alias and rotated in midair and came down hard on my hip and my hand without snuffing out the life of my precious little baby daughter. I still don't exactly know how I didn't land directly on her.

YoungestBoy yelled out, "Hey, cool! That was awesome!!"

Babygirl cried. Hard.

I picked up Babygirl, surveyed her for blood, found none. Took DaycareKid off the slide and came inside without another word to YoungestBoy. I knew he thought he was in trouble, but it was not his fault that I almost killed his sister. It was just one of those accidents--the kind my husband thinks are preventable--and I went in before I said anything I'd regret.

Babygirl was fine. The side of her head was red, I suppose from where she's hit the ground. She looks okay now. I'm fine. My hand's a little skinned.

A bit later, YoungestBoy knocked on the window and I went outside and he said in a resigned voice, "I know. I'm in trouble." I said, "No, you aren't. It was an accident. I just went inside because I was really scared because I almost hurt your sister. It wasn't your fault."

Get me a padded room, stat! Or at least get me an inflatable protective suit for my baby, one with a big old helmet so she can't be hurt in any way, ever.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Fringe Benefits of Being a Stay-At-Home Mom

1) No pantyhose required. No dress code at all. I can wear my scuffy slippers all day, even in the back yard, if I want.
3) Occasionally, babies nap at the same time, the kids are in school and I have an unannounced break. Like now.
4) No obnoxious co-workers.
5) I can't get fired.
6) I can doze on the job and no one notices, except for Babygirl who will then jab her finger into my nose.
7) Lunch is free, every day. Sort of.
8) If it's an unexpectedly beautiful day, I can spend it outdoors.
9) My kids never have to go to daycare. I never have to pay for daycare. I never have to call in sick when the kids are sick. I never have to go to an office and worry about my sick kids.
10) No gasoline or car required to get to work.

Attempted Abduction

Within this past week, a local 9 year old girl was kidnapped from her bus-stop after school. The abductor was a 32 year old man. He borrowed fifty cents from the child and called her parents with a ransom demand. Then he bound her with tape and put her face down in the back seat of the car and then proceeded to lead the police on a wild car chase down major freeways before he was caught and the child was rescued.

But that's not what interested me.

A few weeks earlier, this same guy attempted to abduct a 63 year old woman in the same area. I saw her on television last night. She was one of those really beautiful woman who either aged gracefully or has a great plastic surgeon. She said she was walking her dog, Buddy, when this man jumped out of a van and pointed a gun at her head and told her to get in.

She said, "No."

He repeated his demand and she said louder, "NO!"

And that, my friends, was the end of that. Apparently, the loser just got into the van and drove away. She reported the attempt to the police and gave a very good description and that's how they realized that this guy was the same guy who kidnapped the girl. He confessed to the attempted abduction, too, after he was caught by the police.

This 63 year old woman is my new hero.

Just say "no."

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Swimming upstream

No, this is not an entry about sperm. Or salmon. It's about me, as usual, unlike most everything else in my life.

Anyway, I find great humor in the fact that today, just tonight, two separate people mentioned how much they loved, loved, loved "Jersey Girl," the movie that I saw and despised last night. Now, either something is fundamentally wrong with me (nah, not possible) or I truly am a movie snob or (and this is most likely) . . . the world as we know it is coming to an end.


My kindergartener brought home a plant from school yesterday. His styrofoam cup was bursting with plants over six inches tall. He enthusiastically informed me that his was the biggest plant in his class. I said, "It is! Wow!" and he said, "Yes, because the teacher said to plant three seeds and I accidentally planted fifteen or twenty."

He apparently did not get into any kind of trouble when his fifteen beans began to sprout. I wonder if his teacher laughed out loud like I did.

Lie, lay, lain? Who knows? Whom knows?

Did you ever wonder how grammatically sound are you?
Click here on this . . . Quizilla. . . and find out.

I did and this is what it said:

You are a MASTER of the English language!

While your English is not exactly perfect,
you are still more grammatically correct than
just about every American. Still, there is
always room for improvement...

Monday, April 05, 2004

Stupidity at the Movie Theater

You might want to skip this if the use of a swear word will sear your ears. Or if you think Ben Affleck is a worthwhile human being--no, I mean "actor."

I went to see "Jersey Girl" tonight. How did I pick this movie? Well, I read one not-terrible review and it was the only show starting at 8:30 p.m., a time I could manage.

The movie theater I like is quiet on weekdays. Normally, I see other middle-aged folks there. Of course, tonight, I was seeing "Jersey Girl" and what middle-aged adult in her right mind would choose that movie? That's what I'm asking myself now.

As I walk down the hallway to the theater with my bucket of popcorn (the main reason to see a movie, really) and my jug of Diet Coke, I realize I'll be passing two teenaged (college-aged?) boys who are loitering outside theater number 5. I'm heading towards theater number 7. I find myself suddenly back in high school, having to pass boys who are just watching and making smart comments about girls like me who are obviously not cheerleaders or party-girls. I'm deep in my self-consciousness, walking by as briskly as possible, hyper-aware of my gigantic snack and my capri pants (should I even be wearing these in April?) and after I pass these two boys, one says, "Oh, that's all right, don't say hi to the nigger."

Uh, excuse me?? One of the boys was black and had raucous hair. He was the one who made the comment.

I turned my head around, kept walking and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were talking to me."

And then I entered the theater.

What a couple of numbskulls. Like I'd actually not speak to a strange-looking young man loitering with his friend because of his skin color. Good grief. I didn't speak to them because I figured they were mocking my advanced age of 39 (although the ticket-counter boy asked if I was a student, which was clearly delusional on his part) or because I figured they were mocking my advanced weight, or I figured they were exchanging algebraic formulas. Okay, not that last one. But still. I was just trying to get past them without embarrassment.

I guess the only way not to be considered racist is to be vigilant about friendliness. Next time, I shall thrust my hand out and introduce myself to all young men who lurk in movie theater hallways. I shall ask them if they are having a pleasant day and I shall make small talk and compliment them on their oral hygiene.

Or not.

But the movie. Oh, the movie. Here are a few comments I am compelled to make.

1) Brain aneurysms caused by pushing a baby out during labor are rare. Have you ever known anyone to die during childbirth from an aneurysm? No. If a childbirth death was what they were looking for, perhaps they could have done a little research and had her hemorrhage to death. Or die from complications caused by an induction and epidural use.

2) Children are not smarter or more compassionate than adults. Since when are children the moral compass of the universe? When did children become the ones to teach lessons to really dense adults?

3) Using the word "shit" in a scene does not make it funnier nor more emotionally wrenching. Ever. It does make me think that the writers share one undersized brain which contains a tiny version of a vocabulary and one miniature sense of humor.

4) Liv Tyler would never be working in a video store, doing a thesis on porn. Why is porn so mainstream these days? Why is masturb*t**n the topic of a first date in a movie rated PG-13? Does this mean it's appropriate for a thirteen year old to discuss? How did Liv Tyler even say her lines with a straight face?

5) Oh, back up a minute. Ben Affleck talks for paragraphs to a four week old baby, finally expressing his grief and loss over his wife . . . no one, nowhere would talk to a baby like that. A good actor would express all of that with his actions, with his eyes, with his expressions. Hello? Did you see Sean Penn in Mystic River? Sean Penn didn't grandstand and say every word out loud so we would understand his emotion. He actually acted and we could sense his emotion. Stupid Ben Affleck didn't even pick up the baby during his speech.

6) Uh, Ben? Sweetie? Rolling your eyes to the side as a main acting technique is not working. Purposely grinning with only one side of your unnaturally white teeth, not working. Levis . . . well, those are working, but don't spoil everything by opening your mouth.

7) Movies which insert dramatic elements that don't make sense deserve scorn. Ben Affleck running, literally running, through town to reach his daughter's play in the nick of time . . . um, have you heard of detouring around a street closure? Have you heard of rescheduling an appointment so you don't have a conflict?

8) Alcoholism is not a funny running gag.

9) Liv Tyler offering to have casual sex with Ben Affleck--and actually saying, "I just want to have casual sex with you . . ."--wrong, wrong, wrong in so many ways. Wrong in so many obvious ways.

10) People in movie theaters who clap and laugh out loud at this kind of movie make me think that civilization is, indeed, declining. I am a movie snob, I guess.

Two thumbs down. This movie was . . . well, to use the "s" word . . . stupid.

My Husband's Day Off

What a wacky morning.

First of all, Babygirl woke up at about 5:00 a.m. I nursed her and she went back to sleep, so I did, too. Then my husband got up early so he could take the youth pastor candidate and his wife back to the airport (about 45 minutes from us). I finally dragged out of bed at the last possible minute, showered and came downstairs by 7 a.m. No one else was awake.

I woke the boys at 7:20 a.m. Waited for DaycareKid to arrive. He always arrives before 7:30 a.m. At 7:30 a.m. on the dot, his mother calls to tell me he had a rough night and his daddy was letting him sleep in before he would drop DaycareKid off. She wasn't sure what was wrong with him--she thought he was feverish but his temperature was normal and she wondered if he was constipated and had a tummy-ache.

At 7:40 a.m. YoungestBoy woke up and ran downstairs to watch his normal 7:30 a.m. show. He was upset that he missed ten minutes of it.

Someone picked up the boys for school at 8:05 a.m.

Then my husband calls. He's at the airport, in the drop-off, no-parking zone and our car won't start. And this is our "good" car, the 1993 Mercury Sable. (The 1992 Buick Park Avenue with 265,211 miles is now for sale. Anyone want a car?) Luckily, we belong to "Drive America", some auto-service club connected with Union 76 that I joined just to get the free $20 worth of gas they offered. I have been meaning to cancel the membership, but haven't yet. So, I called them and arranged for the car to be towed. My husband couldn't do this because he didn't have a pen in the car and couldn't memorize the membership numbers and toll-free phone number and all. The woman from "Drive America" called him, though to confirm his location and we were all set.

Then Babygirl woke up.

A bit later, DaycareKid arrived.

Then, my husband calls to say the car started. Could I please cancel the tow-truck?

He took the car to a mechanic and called to report he was walking down the street toward a restaurant and that he'd have his secretary or friend pick him up and take him to his office. Then later, he called from his office to say that he and K. were going to visit J. in the hospital. Then later, he called to say he was going to someone's home to look at free books (a minister is retiring). Later on, he called again to say that our friend will be bringing our boys home from school.

Babygirl skipped her nap today. Daylight Savings time has confused her.

She's watching Teletubbies right now. There was a report today that said children who watch television between the ages of 1 and 3 have increased chances of developing Attention Deficit Disorder, which of course, makes me think 1) I am a horrible mother and the reason that TwinBoyB cannot pay attention in school and 2) Thank God for children's programming. Without it, I would be insane. Yes, I use the television for a "babysitter" sometimes. So sue me.

Oh. And big news. During one of the ten jillion phone calls today from my husband, he mentions that he's thinking about going down to the Humane Society to pick out a mutt for the kids. I am staying out of this. I want no responsibility or blame for picking out a "bad" pet.

Next week is Spring Break. My husband decided today that maybe he'll take the week off. I wonder if his week "off" will be anything like his day "off" today?

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Sunday Night Update

Sore throat: Gone.
Baby: Crabby and sick? I couldn't get her to stop crying this afternoon.
Dishes: Washed.
Emailbox: Empty.
Family room: Cluttered.
Living room: Couch cushions in disarray.
Laundry: Folded basket on couch, lightbulb burned out, dirty clothes, wrinkled clothes.
Eyes: Contacts now in for 15 hours. Optometrist would be displeased.
Kitchen floor: Disgusting.
Easter: Oh no, coming on Sunday!
Bills: Paid.
Checkbook: Balanced.
Children: Sleeping, apparently healthy.
Husband: Sleeping, exhausted from too much work. Driving youth pastor candidate and wife to airport at 7 a.m.
Cat: Missing, again.
Chocolate: Gone.
Newspaper: Unread.
Exercise: None.
Vegetables consumed: None.
Fruit consumed: None.
Backyard: Weedy.
Brain: Dim.
Bed: Waiting.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Going in Circles

Babygirl slept until 8 a.m. today, so I did, too. That was a lovely start to a day which turned out to be dizzying. I went in circles, lopsided circles with a baby on one hip, trying to get stuff done. I sort of cleaned out the laundry room, including the grime under the utility sink and the stack of stuff balancing on the freezer. I cleaned the boys' stinky bathroom. Then I tried to clean up the kitchen, but Babygirl refused to be put down and I can't do dishes with one hand, so I thought I'd straighten up the living room, but got distracted by the laundry. And, of course, I have three boys to supervise. And the baby always wants something, even if it's just an audience while she empties the dirty-clothes basket in the laundry room.

After lunch, my husband took the boys to the middle school ball-field, along with their twin friends, to play a little baseball. While he was gone, I went to Bargain Street Liquidators, where I heard they were having a $2.00 clothing sale. I found a pair of Liz Claiborne pants and pair of capri pants and a shirt for Babygirl and a little blue cardigan for her, too. I bought YoungestBoy a pair of sandals. I bought my husband a short-sleeved, knit shirt that retailed for $42.00--and I bought it for $2. I love a bargain. Of course, it was hard to pick through the deep bins to look at everything, especially holding Babygirl in one arm. She suddenly feels like a fifty pound sack of flour when I'm holding her while shopping.

She grew impatient with shopping, so I promised her a cookie and drove through McDonald's to buy her one. And five more, too, which I somehow ate. What? How did that happen? I had five cookies for lunch. Very nice. Someone, please, slap me now.

We were home only a short time before the boys returned. And not just my boys--but their three friends, too. They had a wild time of playing hide and seek and running around in the yard and making a lot of noise. I cleaned out my dresser while they were playing and then came downstairs and sat in the backyard with Babygirl. The weather was so perfect--in the upper sixties, low seventies, I'd guess. My husband was at church, participating in the interview of another youth pastor candidate and his wife.

John came to pick up his kids at about 5:30 p.m.--by then, I was feeding everyone a nutritious dinner of frozen pizza and corndogs. At 6:00 p.m., TwinBoyB was in the bathtub, TwinBoyA was in the shower and I was vacuuming the living room, wondering how it was that I was busy all day, working all day, not sitting down all day--and my house was still a wreck! I was half-way through, thinking that I just might actually be ready to go to dinner at 6:45 p.m. when I suddenly realized green salad! I was supposed to bring a green salad to the dinner. Oops.

At 6:12 p.m., Babygirl was in her pajamas, YoungestBoy was in the tub and I was nursing Babygirl to sleep. She had no nap all day. By 6:25 p.m, she was asleep. My husband had arrived home and was washing YoungestBoy's hair and getting him ready for bed. I went to the bathroom and did what I could to make my face presentable and to arrange my hair in some semblance of style. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate my natural curl?

By 6:35 p.m., I was ready and downstairs assembling a salad out of the Romaine I found in a drawer. I had only a carrot to add to it. Sad, very sad, indeed. I made salad dressing and we hurried out of the house, minutes after the babysitter arrived.

We were late for dinner, but not very. The youth pastor candidate and his wife made an excellent first impression and proved to be outgoing, competent, smiling young people. He was 23, she was 22, and I suppose we seemed so old to them, but I remember being 22 as if it were yesterday. The dinner was delicious, though it was very funny that the main dish was Chicken Divan, which involved a lot of broccoli, which my husband hates. He's made a crack about broccoli before she pulled the hot dishes from the oven, so we all had a good laugh about it. He was in fine form, telling amusing stories and cracking jokes. The host couple are fifteen or twenty years older than us, in a different stage of their lives. They have a beautiful home, quiet and clean and gorgeous. I suppose in twenty years I might have a clean, quiet, gorgeous home. One can always hope.

My home is not clean now, but it is quiet. The kids are all asleep--or are faking. My husband went to bed after I reminded him that we lose an hour of sleep tonight. It's 11:10 p.m., then, suddenly, boom! An hour gone! Tomorrow will be a long day because there are lots of meetings after church and tomorrow night.

But hey, my underwear drawer has been purged and now I will be able to get dressed without picking through through maternity underwear first.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

April Fools? Please?

My kindergartener told me he had a terrible day at school. It was picture day and he told me the photographer made him say "I love you" and all his classmates laughed at him (except for his friends). I kept questioning him and he told me more and more and I was trying to be motherly and helpful by saying, "Well, sometimes people aren't laughing at you, they're laughing with you." And he said, "No, they were laughing at me."

We talked at length and then he finally grinned and said, "April Fools!" He was so pleased that he "got me."

TwinBoyB brought a friend home with him from school. He and Dustin played basketball outside, rode bikes around the block, played the piano. For two hours, they played and played. The second Dustin left at 5:30 p.m., TwinBoyB grabbed his forehead and declared he was sick, very very sick.

I laughed. He said, "Mom, don't laugh at me." Apparently, he is actually sick? Why can't my kids all be sick at the same time? Why do we have to drag it out for weeks and weeks? Please, please let this be an April Fools joke.

TwinBoyb later said, "Mom, sometimes I worry that when I'm dead I will really miss you." I said, "When you are dead?" Tears filled his eyes. "Yes, and it makes me really sad." Then YoungestBoy piped up and said, "Yes, I'll miss you, too, when I'm dead!"

I said, "Hey, I'm not going to die until I'm an old woman and you won't die until you're an old man." God, please let that be true!

On a completely-not-joking note, my throat still hurts, though a bit less than yesterday. I might survive this sore throat.
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