Monday, November 30, 2009

The House Guest

We had a visitor! Her name is Linda and she was quite charming. She was very sweet, though kind of clumsy. She was also a pretty big girl, but that's okay. She was very accommodating and didn't mind that we asked her to sleep in the garage. She kept the kids entertained and took quite a liking to Jonesy. Jonesy liked her pretty well, too, but tired of her endless flirting after a while. Before you think I am rude for making our guest sleep in the garage, I should tell you that Linda is a dog. No, silly, a CANINE!! Here is a picture of Linda and Jonesy trying out her sleeping space.

See all that drool in Linda's mouth? She ALWAYS had that going on, and would rub her head on you or shake her head, jowls foaming, spraying saliva...yuck! She is most definitely an outside dog! Have you seen Marley and Me? Yes? Then you know what I'm talking about.

I wish I had pictures of the two dogs outside playing. They were cute. Jonesy is not a small dog, but looked little next to Linda. She is honking big! I took a few pictures on my cell phone, but I don't know how to upload them, so, there they stay!
Oh! Did I mention she was in heat? Yep. What an interesting experience that was. FYI...neutered males female dogs in heat. They try to, anyway. Poor Jonesy. Anna kept saying, "Look! Jonesy is hugging Linda!" and "Jonesy is trying to dance with Linda!". Oy!
So, Linda stayed for a week. She really is sweet, and I kind of miss her. My pants are dry, though, and free of slobber for the first time in a week. That I do NOT miss!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009


I've been thinking about loneliness lately.

Sometimes it is a good feeling, to be alone. At the end of a hectic day, to be able to have a quiet moment, the kids safely tucked in, it can be nice.

Whenever I have out of town guests, taking them to the airport or watching them drive away always brings tears to my eyes and an ache to my chest. It is a temporary loneliness that is heartfelt, to be sure, but quickly replaced by the bustle of typical daily happenings.

A dear friend is experiencing the loss of her husband...this feeling of loneliness I cannot even imagine. To know that he will never walk through that front door again must be the mother of all heartsick feelings. How does one live with that hurt? Do daily happenings ever make it go away?

Another friend experienced the loss of a husband to divorce. Spending holidays alone because the kids are with their dad. My heart hurts just trying to imagine it!

I am lonely for Mike. My heart hurts knowing he is lonely, too. The kids keep me busy and he WILL be walking through that door. And soon! It is a different kind of loneliness, because it is tempered with anticipation and excitement.

I have been thinking about loneliness lately. And I can hardly wait for Mike to return to us. I am blessed and I am thankful. I need to remember that and reach out to my truly lonely friends, especially during the holidays. Have you hugged a lonely person today?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Where's Half Pint?

Maggie had a delightful 10th birthday. Highlight? We set up skype and called Mike, who sang and clapped along as Mags blew out the candles from her cake. Ain't technology amazin'?

When we went to see Wicked last July, the playbook announced that in November a new musical, Little House on the Prairie starring Melissa Gilbert would be coming to Tulsa. We thought about it, couldn't inagine it, laughed about it. I mean, HOW could they make a musical based on the Little House books? We couldn't imagine. A quick glance to Maggie, who was suppressing a grin. Later that evening, she confessed, "I REALLY want to see that show! And my birthday is in November." She and her friend Lauren enjoyed the first couple of Little House books and last Christmas we gave Maggie the entire collection. They love watching dvd's of the tv show. They think Melissa Gilbert is awesome. So, I bought tickets to the show for Maggie and Lauren to celebrate her birthday.
Here they are, excited to see the show, super excited to see Melissa Gilbert. The announcement at the top of the show then explained that we would be enjoying a great show and that Melissa Gilbert would be replaced by her understudy. BOOOO!!! The girls were sad, but I am proud to say, both of them said that they were sad to not get to see her, but even more worried about her and hoped that she was okay. Sweet girls, I tell you! The show was fun, the musical numbers cute. Nellie Olsen stole the show and Almanzo and Laura's story was adorable. I think when I have a chance, I'm going to revisit the old books. Honestly, I loved the tv show, but it
kind of warped the true story of Laura Ingals Wilder into Hollywood melodrama. I want to revisit the prairie and find my inner half pint. She's still there somewhere, and looks nothing like Melissa Gilbert!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Big Time

Okay, so I blew it. I really enjoy writing this blog, and even had a few people following it. Then I hit a wall...Mike got deployed, we went to Illinois, I went to San Diego, we came home, and now I'm doing this pseudo-single mom thing. No one probably checks for updates. Have you all given up on me?

I blew it! I stopped posting. Well, I'm back now. You can all exhale that sigh of anticipation and relief!

So, how shall I begin to blog again? Should I tell you about Mike's and my San Diego trip? I'd share pictures, but they are in Mike's camera, which happens to be in Iraq. Sooooo....I'll tell you it was amazing. I spent three weeks with my husband while my children were given the royal treatment with their grandparents. (more on that later!) I flew by myself, didn't die in a horrible plane crash, saw beautiful architecture, the ocean, museums, wine country in the mountains, more homeless people in an hour than I've seen in my life, wealth beyond comprehension, real life surfer dudes, a tree with 20 hummingbird feeders hosting hundreds of hummingbirds, a dude going down the street on a skateboard wearing nothing but a green thong, green converse hightops and a fannypack (yes, I took pictures), and a beach with sand flecked with gold. We ate at an amazing Mexican restaurant called Old Town Mexican Restaurant (what the name lacks in imagination, the food makes up for in deliciousness), lots of sea food restaurants and at over priced places in Little Italy and in the ghetto. We learned the ins and outs of In-N-Out Burger and Mike was brave enough to order off of the "secret" menu..Animal style! We drank wine outdoors in the mountains. We spent an entire day at the zoo, and still didn't see it all. We saw a guy get tackeled by a baywatch crew behavior on the beach. (luckily, we didn't see the behavior) We shopped at the military px. We went to mass in some interesting churches. We rode the trolley into town the last day of Comic Con and didn't see any celebrities, but saw more freaky people than I've ever seen before. I held a bird on my arm. I saw other people with their kids and died a little inside with longing for mine. But, the best thing about this trip...the thing I'll remember always, is this. After 21 years of marriage and six kids, Mike and I found out that we STILL like each other! We still make each other laugh and love nothing more than to just hang out together. For that, I am truly thankful. I am very blessed.

So, I blew it..big time. But I'm back now! I have a couple of pictures in my camera, but we switched to Mike's camera and, well, you know where they are. I know you are dying to see skateboard dude! Trust me, those pitures will be on here as soon as I can get them! For now, you'll have to make do with this handsome man...

Here is Mike in the grapes in a town called Julian. Sigh. I miss him.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Out of My League

I am out of my league with this one.

I am not one to primp. I don't wear make-up, though I am sure I could use it, and I have only gotten one mani/pedi in my life. I choose clothes based on comfort, and the cheaper the better. It's just not my "thing". So, why did God give me four girls? Who knows?

It's funny how they are all so different. Mary loves to dance, but dreads the make-up and hair thing. Her nails are typically dirty and ragged. Clare is a reader who enjoys looking cute, but affords no real effort and is pretty satisfied with the status quo. Maggie is a little artist and a little bit of a primper. She doesn't LOVE dressing up, but has a definate sense of her own style.

This one, however...

...loves all things girly. Make-up? The girl has been caught in the recital make-up more times than I can count. She has special hair-do requests daily and says, "Hairspray, please!" when I'm finished.

We were at the mall last week (a place I avoid like the plague) and she thought she had died and gone to heaven. We passed by the huge Sephora store and she stopped at the door, eyes wide and said (most dramatically), "Oh. My. Gosh!!!" I had to drag her away.

I am glad she has dance to fill her need for girlish fluff. She is certainly in her element at the studio. I'm afraid she is on her own at home though. Please pray for us during the teen years. If this is her at four, what does the future hold?

I am way out of my league!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Remember When

Remember back in high school how much you hated geometry? How about writing compare/contrast papers? Or reading poetry and plays in olde english and having to discuss metaphores, symbolism, motifs and the like?

Well, guess what? When your children go to high school now-a-days, the teachers "let" you experience all of those wonders yet again!

I like the history, though. I didn't the first time around, but am enjoying it now. That's something, right?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When I Grow Old

One of the unique joys associated with having lots 'o kids, is realizing that some day, God willing, you will have lots and lots 'o grandbabies! I am looking forward to the day! Sometimes I think about what life will be like when my kids are grown and have houses and families of their own. I've even gone so far as to imagine what it will be like when I go to visit them! Here are a few of the things I'd like to do when that day comes....

I can't wait to sit down to dinner and ask "What is this stuff?" while acting like I smell something nasty. I think I'll even take a very tiny bite of the food and say, "I tried it. I don't like it. What else can I have?" I might even cry.

I will take a big box of Legos to their houses and sprinkle them liberally on the floor, being careful to hit the good to the bed and in the bathroom are favorites!

My shoes will be taken carefully out of my suitcase and flung around in front of doors, under couches and left in the middle of the hallway.

I'll be super helpful and help fold thier laundry! Then I'll dump it all over their bedroom floors.

When I use the stairs, I will hold onto the banister at the bottom of the steps and swing my body around it, making the wood creak and groan. Fun!

Bickering is fun. I will try to annoy eveyone in the house so I can watch the different reactions...then make fun of them. Making the "retard" sign is a sure fire hit!!!

These are just a few of my ideas. I'm sure I'll come up with more, because I'm a people pleaser.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Heart Cooking

There's a job for everyone! Teach them now and someday, somewhere, someone may thank you.

There are spoons to be licked...

Ummmmm, where's Mary? Oh. Gathering wool at the window. Get busy, child! Go chop something!

There are pots to be stirred, watched over and stirred some more.

Dominic likes to break eggs. If a recipe calls for an egg, Dominic's the "go to" guy. I don't have a picture of an egg, or of Dominic breaking an egg or actually helping out in any form or fashion...but I do have this delightful self-portrait.

Stephen loves to slice and dice. Just look at that enthusiasm! Check out this pro-style garlic pressing. That's a lot of garlic! I believe it was for the Gumbo.

Maggie prefers to draw. Especially if everyone else is busy in the kitchen. That is a great time for her to find a quiet spot elsewhere to draw and write stories. Maybe Maggie will be a professional artist and be able to hire a personal chef. At our previous home, our neighbor's mother, who just so happened to be of Native American descent and believed in spirits, dream interpretation and had "feelings" about things to come, told me when I was out with my 4 (at the time) small children playing in the yard, that she had a "strong feeling" that one of us would some day be a famous author or published artist of some kind. I think the ball is in Maggie's court!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Guest Blogger

Today, I have a guest blogger. She doesn't have her own blog, but she does write many journal entries and stories in creative writing. So, without further ado, I present to you, my daughter, Clare.

Note: This is not a picture of Clare.

Last weekend, we were sitting in the grass, when all of a sudden, a duck flew about 5 feet away from us. We ran inside to get bread to feed to it, but Jonesy chased it away. Mary went to the front yard to look for it while we got the camera and the bread. She saw it right in the grass in our side yard. We threw bread to it and it loved the attention! It was waddling up and down the driveway eating bread and posing for her photoshoot! The picture above is her famous pose telling us to throw more bread. Now, raise your hand if you know how much longer this would last! If you said it would last only seconds longer, then you are right! Stephen came outside, the duck pooped, and then was chased by him down the road! I haven't seen the duck since, and thanks to Stephen, I don't plan to.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dominic's First Holy Communion

Guess what I found? (must be said in sing-song voice..) My camera cord! Where was it? Only in the place I put it! Score one for dementia!

Anyway, here are some fabulous fotos of Dominic looking handsome in his shirt and tie. The shirt and tie he swore this time last year he was not going to wear. Who always wins? Mom does. Capice?

There is a great story to tell surrounding Dom's first communion. I will tell it later. Right now, I'm gonna post a couple of pictures and get back to the tidying up I must do before I see my husband off...because I don't want his last thoughts before he goes to be...dang, this house is a mess!

I know! Isn't he handsome?

Okay, he's had it with the pictures, now. The girls posed for about 500 pictures in their dresses on their big day. Dominic is done after two. Just look at him force that smile! Straighten that tie, mister!

Here he is with his teacher, Mrs. Presley. Boy, am I going to miss her! I took this after the big event, so he was okay with one more picture...

Now, who would like to explain to me why there is a picture of the dog wearing 3-D glasses on my camera?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Fightin' Side of Me

I took a great picture of something today, and if I could find my camera's cable, I would upload it to the blog. You, too, would then get to see something that makes smoke steam out of my ears. It grinds my gears. Frustrates me beyond belief.

It is one thing to have piles of laundry to do each day. It is my fault when I go a day or two without washing a load. Piled high laundry, my fault. HOWEVER....clean, folded laundry put back into the hamper? Now you're walking on the fighting side of big momma! I know for a fact that clothes are sometimes tried on and discarded into the hamper. That is only slightly annoying. But, FOLDED clothes found in the dirty pile? That is just lazy. Seems like a bigger effort was made to treck the clothes back to the bathroom hamper than it would have been to just open a drawer and shove the clothes in. Because that's what they do. Shove...push...cram...then close the drawer with bits of clothing poking out. Sigh.

I am in no way, shape or form a "neat freak" or "organized person". Quite the contrary, much to Mike's chagrin. (Sorry, honey. Thanks for taking the good with the bad.) But don't make my job harder, please. Thank you.

Man, I wish I had that camera cord!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'll Make this Brief

I seem to have hit a blog wall. For some reason, I haven't blogged in a while. It isn't that there isn't a lot going on around here....

I seem to be missing my camera cord. Without it, I cannot upload pictures. That being said, I have some great pictures of Dominic's First Communion that I will post soon!

The kids are all doing well. Mary had her 12th birthday and Dominic his 8th. Clare will turn 11 this weekend. Stephen is still plugging away at freshman year, surprised at how fast the time is going. Anna gave herself a little hair cut on Easter Sunday and Maggie continues to find joy in dancing and learning. We recently enjoyed a quick visit from Mike's mom. You see? Lots going on.

We are all preparing ourselves for Mike's deployment. Tomorrow is May 1st. I love the month of May, but have been dreading it this year. I hope this year goes as fast as the last. Faster, even.

With this short post, I hope to regain some blog momentum. There are stories to tell....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Bone to Pick

Did you ever have a person in your life that always looks at you like they have a serious bone to pick? As if they would really like to unload on you, if only they weren't so ladylike? Well, I do. She is a mom to a couple of boys that go to the same school as my kids. It is no lie; her kids are good kids. They are scouts, they participate in academic bowl and are quiet and respectful. Her oldest son and mine are the same age and are friends. Stephen is a good boy, also, but appearently not in league with "bone to pick's" boys. Whatever.

In sixth grade, Stephen, being insecure and not one to engage frontal lobes before speaking, made some off hand remarks about another boy while riding to a basketball practice with bone to pick's husband. The other kids laughed, which further encouraged my frontal lobeless son to entertain. Well, that was enough to entitle Stephen with the label of "negative, inappropriate and generally not the kind of boy" they wished their son to be friends with. Again, whatever. By the way, I didn't find this out until later.

In eighth grade, bone to pick's son and Stephen decided to do an experiment for science together. Most of the work was done at school, but the kids were encouraged to do some of the work at home together. Stephen was told by the son, "My mom said I have to do my half at home and you have to do your half at your house because she doesn't like you and you aren't allowed to come over." He was sad and near tears when he told me this. If you know me AT ALL, it may surprise you to know that I marched my mamma bear butt over to bone to pick's husband in the school parking lot to get the story straight. Surely it was Stephen blowing something out of proportion, or a misunderstanding! Nope. I was told, to my face in the parking lot, that my son was not welcome in their home and that he proved himself to be a boy they didn't approve of in sixth grade when he spoke unkindly about another boy. I tried to explain in my nervous, self deprecating way, that we have talked to Stephen a lot about that behavior and that with lots of reinforcement, we feel he has matured and understands how that behavior reflected badly on his character. See, I understand that insecure, immature young people will sometimes try to win favor of their peers by being funny and will sometimes talk crap about another person to build up their own self worth. Blah, blah, blah.... The rest of the encounter was uncomfortable and sad. I played through in my head all of the conversations I previously had with that family, the mom in particular, and tried to dissect them. What had I done wrong? Was it something I said? Am I a bad parent? How many people dislike me and my children and I don't even know it, and will I get to find out publicly in the school parking lot? Every time I saw them in conversations with other parents, I was most certain they were talking about me! I became crouching momma/hidden parishioner. For a very short time. Then I got over myself and said, "Everyone doesn't HAVE to like me". Hard.

That was a back story. Fast forward to last Sunday. There we were, in church, getting ready for mass. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a family load up into the pew a couple of rows back. I turned my head to smile at them, and it was the bone to pick family. They avoided eye contact (you can just tell) and I turned back to the front. Sigh. It seemed like I could feel disapproving stares on my backside. Probably tongue clucking and head shaking, too. (Okay, I'm exaggerating, here, but I was feeling kind of paranoid.) So, on with the mass. When Father Jim began his homily, I settled in to listen. (you have to settle could be a while, if you know what I mean...) He began talking about preparing yourself and examining your conscience for reconciliation. He began naming sinful behaviors that are common, such as taking pleasures in lustful activities, abusing the body with food, drugs and alcohol, judging others, and.....WAIT A MINUTE! HOLD THE PHONE!!! I sat up straighter. Judging others!? My inner dialogue went something like this. "I hope they're listening! HA! That's right, you have sinned against me! You judge me, unfairly may I add! Take stock! Confess your sins and sin no more! Take that plank out of your own eye before you remark about the splinter in mine!" Stuff like that. Then it hit me. It hit me so hard I almost cried.

I am a hypocrite. I am a sinner. I am prideful and judgemental. I was actually taking pleasure in what I had hoped was their discomfort . What did I think was happening? Did I imagine a tearful confession of guilt in the parking lot after church? In truth, they may not have even seen us, or registered our attendance at mass. Again, I say, whatever.

Luckily for me, this is the season of Lent. More than any other time in the church, we are encouraged to attend a reconciliation service or simply go to confession. We are reminded of the suffering our Savior endured for us. We are forgiven, and we must also forgive. We are reminded to not have any bones to pick, and to forgive those who have one to pick with us. This is tough stuff, and I am prayerfully trying.

Thank you for letting me vent!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Just My Style

I've been spending some time browsing through blogs lately. I have stopped watching tv. For the past couple of years, I have been tv free, with the exception of watching a few child aimed shows with my kids. But the days of folding laundry in front of the tube, vegging out with the tv on, watching the muted tv with music playing in the background waiting for the singing to synch up with the mouth more. I'm not bragging; I'm simply saying that there are times when a busy mom needs to unwind. I used to do it in front of the tv. Now I cruise blogs. I have a couple of friends who blog, and I love to read theirs. But I have been reading blogs written by complete strangers. I have become mesmerized; enamored, even. Some people are hateful in their blog style, some are sweet, some are too good to be true. The blogs I am drawn to are mommy blogs. Moms with lots of kids, usually. (imagine that!) But suddenly, like with the tv viewing, I'm ready to call it quits. I have gotten a little un-enamored. I'm suddenly turned off by many bloggers need to divulge their "parenting style". They made me question my style, and, since my parenting goes along the lines of my fashion and home decor, I don't much care for those lines of questioning! Oh, by the way, they also love to show you their funky fashion sense and tasteful, eclectic decorating styles as well. Who needs that pressure!

You see, I don't think I could define my "parenting style". Besides that, who really cares? I could give it a label and identifying characteristics, but that would be embarrassing. That might make it seem like I have it figured out. Not even close!

I am content to keep writing stories about our family life here, far from "home". I promise to not try to educate you on parenting styles, fashion or home decor. Who would want to read that?

MMMMMMmmm! Pie! Now THAT I have figured out!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Dreaded Eye Roll

You just haven't lived until your fourteen year old rolls his eyes at you, stomps his foot and says (in his crackly, pubescent voice) "You are being unreasonable!".

This kid that you fed, clothed, provided shelter for, stuck up for, helped study for test after test with, went to bat for, watched numerous sporting events of, and agonized over every parenting descision for...this kid.

I am frustrated! I am overwhelmed! I want to throw in the towel! I want to let him have his way so he'll like me again! But, I also want to make him pay. I'll show you unreasonable! Roll your eyes at me, will you! I gave you those eyes, buddy...maybe I'll take them back!

I am calmer now, having gotten that out of my system. Now I need to go make up a chore chart with lots and lots of things to do on it. Lots and lots. And lots.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Googie Girl

About twenty posts ago, I started to dedicate a blog to one particular child at a time. Though these posts are always about the kids, I wanted to give each one a spotlight for their own post. We started with the youngest, Anna, then Dominic had his turn. Now it is Maggie's turn. Maggie Maggoo. Googie Girl.

Here is something everyone should know about Maggie: from the time she was about three months old until she was eighteen months old, we were afraid Maggie would never walk. And if she did walk, we were unsure if she would do so without a walker. Here is something else everyone should know about Maggie: she is extremely hard headed. In fact, that hard head of hers is why she can walk. (and run and dance and do every normal thing a girl does) Well, that and lots of physical therapy. The girl is extremely determined and can do anything she puts her mind to doing.

So, Maggie is nine. She takes seven hours of dance a week and is on a competitive dance team. She played softball for two seasons, but it cramped her dance time schedule, so she dropped it. She has broken an arm (at dance) and still is pretty daring with those crazy tumbling moves. She is a fast runner. She is very smart. She has a whole lot of energy and many friends. She is an awesome big sister and an appropriately pesky little sister. There are so many things about Maggie that I could fill a book with them. But my favorite thing about Maggie...she has a mouth made for Honeycomb! (she said that!) I love how she likes to be silly in pictures. She has a fun sense of humor.

Maggie is very sensitive. She is easily hurt and feels empathy for those around her. I think she will grow up to be a very loving, warm woman who is hard headed and determined. But for now, we'll keep on enjoying our Maggie Magoo just as she is!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Word to the Mother

I received a chastising phone call this morning. I guess my mom hadn't looked at my blog for a while (jeez, c'mon! You don't check in daily for reports?) and one of my posts gave her pause for consternation. Remember this one? Well, I have to make a slight correction, people!

She made (or her step-mother made) dresses out of chicken seed bags NOT potato sacks! It appears they were poor, you see, but not THAT poor! I guess there are levels of poverty that we are dealing with here. I had no idea! She told me that the seed bags would have different patterens on them and when Grandpa would go get feed, he would bring home a different pattern for Mom. She said she has a picture of herself in second grade in a seed cloth dress with ric-a-rac on it. I so very will be posting that picture when I get my hands on it!!

Makes you want to smack your kid when they ask for an Aeropostale hoodie, doesn't it!

Do you know what's great about having a ten (almost eleven!) year old daughter? Oh, I know...there are a lot of things great about it. But right now, I am thinking specifically about this little scenario. I was making a chicken pot pie yesterday afternoon (Oh, yes, it was good!) when Clare came in and announced that she was going to make chocolate chip cookies. You should know that I had everything on hand to make cookies...except for the stinking CHOCOLATE CHIPS, but that matter was solved by a quick dash to the neighbor's house. Thank you, Melissa! Now, I have made plenty of batches of cookies with the kids, but have never completely handed over the rubber spatula and hand mixer. I hesitated....... but look at this kid! Who could resist?

Anyway, with absolutely no help from me, she made an awesome dough. The dough is the best part, and my favorite. She doubled the recipe and added some butterscotch chips, coconut and pecans. My kind of cooking; no recipe. She's my girl! After devouring half the dough, we set about baking. Once I had my pot pie in the oven, and she had her first batch in the oven, she skeedaddled outside and left me to bake the batches...but I can't complain. She did come in and help out a bit more.
By the way, have you seen Clare cute haircut? I love it!

Yep, they were yummy.

What did I do while snowed in? (Iced in, but whatever)

Oh, this was only the beginning. Have you changed the bedding for eight people lately? Me neither. Not all at once, anyway...

What do your kids do with their wet clothes when they come in from the snow? Mine do this. Oh, least I got to eat fresh, hot cookies while cleaning up this mess, right?!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let it

We are having a sleet/ice storm here in Tulsa. Due to the hazardous road conditions, (I totally stole that phrase from the weather guy on the news) school and all activities have been cancelled. They have already called off school for tomorrow.


If you think I'm not using these bonus "no school" days for free child labor, you've got another thing coming!!

Strip those bed sheets! De-clutter that game room! Give your little sis a bath! Fold these towels! Tidy that coat closet! Yes, the possibilities are limitless! Six little minions doing my bidding. Seven if you count Mike, who is also stuck here at home. He has graciously helped make muffins, loaded and unloaded the dishwasher and has agreed to be my personal love slave. (Did I say that out loud?)

I really do love having them home, and not just to help me get my chores done more quickly. Mike has promised a fire pretty soon, and Mary had better prepare herself for Mancala defeat. Scrabble seems likely, and maybe Monopoly. I love reading by the fire with all the kids laying around with books. Clare is reading A Wrinkle in Time and I can't wait to talk about it with her. I'm trying to get Mary to read The Diary of Anne Frank, but she's pretty hooked on books about dogs. Stephen is reading I am the Cheese and Dominic is into the Narnia series. Maggie is ready to choose a new book, so I'm not sure what hers will be, but I'm betting on another from the Little House series. Anna will look at Pinkalicious over and over and over and dream tonight of pink cupcakes with pink frosting and sprinkles.

Life is good.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guest Photographer

I was uploading some pictures to my computer the other day, when I happened upon some pictures that Maggie had taken with my camera. You know, I don't think we have enough pictures of the she decided to take a few more. And by "a few", I mean about 25. Some of them made me cringe. Like this one....

...aaawww! How cute! Sleepy puppy....IN YOUR BED!!!??? Honestly! The dog is a shedding machine and he's been in your bed? Not just on it, but tucked in comfy and cozy between the sheets. And he almost fell asleep, he was THAT comfy. And what an artsy touch with the puppy poster above his head in the same position. She must have spent hours positioning and posing the dog.

I like this one, though....

"Say, now. That's a good lookin' fellow!"

"WAIT! Where'd he go? He was just here! Oh, well...I guess I'll lick the mirror some more..."

And don't you love how Maggie's reflection in the mirror makes her look like some kind of creepy porceline doll? The dog drool all over the mirror lent nicely to that effect, I think. This next picture makes me laugh. This is Jonesy speaking. He says "I love you". He really does! In a Scooby Doo kind of way, he totally says "I love you". Ask anyone who has been here. He'll do anything for a puppy treat.

Maggie took lots of doggie pictures that day. I think she had a good time doing it. I am thankful that she also found one more willing subject, because let me tell you, she took a cute picture of...


No Photoshop or special lens or expensive camera. Just a big sister catching the essence of her little sister. Pretty sweet.

Monday, January 19, 2009


My kids love to draw. They always have. I have washed marker off of wall paper, cleaned pencil off of windowsills and pen from walls. I have bathed little bodies decked in some pretty amazing body art. Let's not even talk about paint. Now that they are older, they draw upon more appropriate surfaces. I try not to complain when they go through an entire package of paper in a week and leave pictures all over the house. At least they are busy, productive, creative and happy. I tend to get a little annoyed, though, when they use napkins, lunch sacks and paper plates to draw on. I'm usually thinking, "C'mon! You're using up the good stuff!"

I came into the kitchen today and saw about 10 paper plates drawn upon. I was getting ready to gripe a little bit, until I saw the pictures. They were all along these lines:

I really like it when my kids teach me a thing or two. Next year, I will remember to talk more with them about Dr. King, his actions and his moving speech rather than simply wonder if the garbage would be picked up on MLK Day. I'm glad they were thinking about the reason for their awesome three day weekend. They're good kids.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Almost Twelve

What happens to girls? I mean, you tell them every single-dingle day how much you love them and how beautiful they are. Inside and out kind of beautiful. Yet, they turn almost twelve, and suddenly the girl who poses for the camera like THIS:

...starts doing THIS when the camera comes out:

...and THIS:

And if you're really lucky, she might do something like THIS:

I remember hiding from the camera at that age, too. Now I like to look at our old family pictures from when I was young. And yes, I am usually making a face or trying to look inconspicuous. It is too bad we become insecure and unhappy with the way we look. I am trying very hard right now to do something about the reasons why I STILL hide from the camera. Maybe someday soon I will feel good about smiling for the camera again and will set a good example for my girls. But for now, I guess we have more of the same to look forward to in pictures. But, HA HA! I get to see the real deal every day. And I will tell her how much I love her and how beautiful she is. The inside and out kind. Take THAT, almost twelve year old!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Maggie decided to get a hair trim and to go back to having bangs. Pretty cute, huh?

Uh, yes, we had spaghetti for supper. Why do you ask?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Random Thoughts

You know how in cartoons and comic strips, when the writer wants to show someone down on their luck and they will show him (it's always a "him") dressed in a barrel? A rain barrel with leg holes and usually little suspenders to hold it up. Did anyone ever actually have to wear a barrel? Who's idea was that? Seems less comfortable than a burlap sack, which my mom used to threaten me with when I would complain about my clothes as a teenager. She claims she wore clothes made from potato sacks. Those sacks must have been more sturdy than the Lay's bag I have in my pantry. One day, Anna decided to dress herself and put on a pair of Mary's outgrown cotton capri pants. They were pink and had flowers on them, so that was good enough for her. The waist was elastic, so even though they were a little bit too loose, the length was just right. She paired the pants with a cute top that has a turtle embroidered on it. The turtle has a flower tucked behind its ear (I know! What ear!) and therefore match the pants. She went stylin' to the neighbor's house to trampoline bounce for a while. You know as well as I do that her pants fell down every other jump, right? At least she wasn't wearing a barrel or a potato sack. But still....

Thursday, January 1, 2009


As we planned our at home New Years Eve Extravaganza (well, we were excited about it) yesterday, I grabbed a pen and some paper and we talked New Year's Resolutions. I love the new year; such a great opportunity for fresh starts and twelve step program type mea culpas. I resolve every single year to be a better letter writer, birthday card sender and over-all communicator with friends and family that live far and away. As they can all attest, I fail at this resolution each and every year. Yet, here I am; New Years Day and I have my fresh, new calendar all ready for those birthdays, anniversaries and other well wishing occasions to be entered and observed. This year I'm really going to do it! Wait! Do I hear laughter? Hmmm?

Anyway, I talked resolutions with my kids, and they were very forthcoming, even in the knowledge that I intended to make a blog post about them. I think they feel safe in the blogosphere. They know that next to no one is reading, and like to keep mommy amused.

Me: So, Stephen. What is your resolution for 2009?
Stephen: To quit smoking.
Me: Ahem. Not funny. What is it really?
Stephen: To quit smoking! It is something I can actually stick to.
Me: Ahem.
Stephen: Okay, okay. I'm going to eat better. I'm not going to get as much junk food at school.

Me: Okay, Mary Catherine. What about you?
Mary: I don't really get it. I mean is it like Lent or something?
Me: sigh Mmmm hmmmm. You get to decide how you can change your life for the better; make a fresh start! Break a bad habit or take up a new hobby...
Mary: Okay. I'm going to stop playing with the dog in a bad way that makes him rip my shirt sleeves and I'm going to stop hitting people when I'm mad.
Me: So, you want to learn to control your emotions and your anger?
Mary: Yep!

Me: Your turn, Clare. How are you going to change your life this year?
Clare: I'm going to be nicer to everyone.
Me: You are sweet. That sounds or friends or what?
Clare: Just everyone!
Me: Okay! I know you can do that.

Me: You're up, Mags.
Maggie: I'm going to stop talking back and stop having to get in the last word.
Me: That's hard. I like that resolution.
Maggie: Yep. And I also want to gain some weight. My pants keep falling off.
Me: I must have made that resolution last year!!! Just pants never slip off.
Maggie: Mine do all the time. I need to put on a little weight.
Me: Or...I could get you some pants that fit. Like a slim size?
Maggie: YEAH!!!!

Me: What do you think, Dominic? What is your New Year's Resolution?
Dom: I'm going to control my language.
Me: uhhh...
Dom: I'm going to stop saying crap and dump and stuff like that. It doesn't sound nice.
Me: Yeh, you like to be funny, but it's hard to stop saying those words once you start.
Dom: ummm hmmm
Me: I'm glad you're going to stop saying crap. It really gets on my nerves.
Maggie: Mine too!
Me: It's not your turn, Maggie.
Dom: Yeh, I'm going to stop that tomorrow.

Me: Okay, Anna. What is my little girl going to do next year?
Anna: I'm gonna be four!
Me: Yay!! So you're going to turn into a four year old; and what else do you want to do in the next year?
Anna: I want to be a soldier doll in The Nutcracker like Ashley!!!
Me: Wow! That's a big dream for a little girl. I like that. Good for you.
Anna: Yep. I'm little but I'm big, too. And I'm gonna dance in pointe shoes and walk like a soldier, too. Are you going to watch me?
Me: Absolutely, yes.

And then Clare decided that Jonesy the Dog needed to make a resolution. She said he resolves to not poop in Daddy's garden and to eat no more raccoon poop. Go for it, Jonesy!!! I have faith in you!

Mike keeps his resolutions to himself, but I know him pretty well. I'm pretty sure I know what he resolves. I know he always sticks to them, too. He is very strong and firm in character.

When I announced my goals, to be a better communicator and birthday card sender, Maggie looked at the paper and said "Don't you want to write something about exercising and losing weight?". Ever concerned about my daughters body image perceptions, I assured her that, yes, we ALL should try to eat healthy foods and exercise. Then I went in the other room and made mean faces at her.

Happy New Year!!!