Vacation is a Relative Term

So we are on our Christmas “vacation” or holiday “break” from school. And as I do dishes two or three times a day, fold four loads of laundry, bake cookies that stick to the cookie sheet, chase the kids around the house, “Get down! No jumping on the couch. Have you lost your mind?!”…I wonder when the “break” will begin because I think I’m losing my mind.

christmas 2012 022  When you are a mom, the term “vacation” or “break” doesn’t really mean time off to relax or get things done. That term is deceiving. It means chasing the kids around the house, being a referee to the fighting and bickering, “Mum, Bradley said ha ha to me” and “MOM! Collin threw a car at me.” It is thinking (and really believing) you are going to get all kinds of things done with this “extra” time, like organizing the closet and cleaning out the cupboards and then get all stressed out because you barely got anything accomplished and are counting down the hours until daddy gets home because mommy is really starting to lose it. Where is my break? And why wont these children nap?!

christmas 2012 066

I will admit, the first week or so was fun; waiting for christmas, baking cookies, wrapping presents, playing games, making crafts, admiring the christmas lights. But ever since New Year’s…well, I am totally over it. I am ready to get the hell out of the house!

I need to work for my sanity. I need to see people. I need to talk to somebody over the age of 3. Now, Bradley (my 7-year-old) is pretty good company and we have some great conversations…but it’s not the same as seeing people “out in the real world.”

I love my kids. I just don’t want to be home with them every day, all day. I will lose my mind…sweet and cute as they are. I really don’t know how stay at home moms do it. It’s just not for me. I find myself wishing for work so I can have a “break”…oh, the irony.

Must be time for a mommy night out…or a drink, either one or both will do.

How do you make it through “breaks” and “vacations” from school?

xxx

A Letter to Santa

The other night Bradley sat down with a pencil and paper and wrote his letter to Santa. I love his first grade handwriting and creativity. I love the fact that he put directions on how to open the letter – that is the “rip” at the top of the page and an illustration!  But I think my favorite part is that he asks if he has been good or bad. Shouldn’t he just know? I thought most kids just said they were on the good list no matter what. He just cracks me up. I can’t help but laugh. I think he thinks there is some kind of chart, like the clip system at school.

santa letter In his letter he did list all of the nice things he did, like helping his sisters put on their shoes in the morning and working hard in school. On the other side was his list. Surprisingly it was a really short list! And at the end, he wrote “I am 7,” and circled it, just so Santa would know.

I “mailed” it to the North Pole this morning, which is basically dating it and putting it way in my cedar chest where I store all of my favorite keepsakes. I can’t wait to give him that pile when he is older.

I wonder what my Santa letters were like when I was little.

How do you save your Santa letters? Which ones are your favorites? I would love to hear your stories!

xxx

 

 

 

Still My Thanksgiving Miracles

I always get reminiscent this time of year. I enjoy spending time with family and the holiday meals together. And I always think back to two years ago and how blessed and thankful I am.

It was the day before Thanksgiving that I got to bring the girls home from the hospital. No more NICU. I still can’t believe they were so little, weighing two and three pounds. Thanksgiving turkeys weigh more than they did when they were first born. I remember being able to hold each tiny little bundle, one in each arm.

And here we are now. They are running around like crazy little two-year olds. They are healthy. They are happy. I am thankful.

There are some days when I don’t know which way is up. There are some days when I fall over from exhaustion. There are some days when everything just works out great and I feel like we should be a sappy family sitcom. But everyday I am thankful and I am kissing my blessings, each and every one of them – Bradley, Collin, Elsie, and Mallie. 

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

xxx

Wake Up! Let’s Go to the Park.

Before I was even all the way awake this morning I was thinking of a way to get out of the house and procrastinate some chores.

Who else might possibly be awake this early with kids? So I texted Brandi, my partner in crime with things to do with the kids.

Me: Wake up! What are u doing today? I got a shit load of laundry and haven’t showered yet, but I think I’m gonna throw my hair in a pony tail and put on some clothes and take the kids to the park. Wanna go? Supposed to rain later. So we gotta hurry.

Brandi: Ur text just woke me up.

Me: Haha! Wake up. It’s nice out and prob not for long!

Me: I’m just jealous I can’t ever sleep in past 8.

Brandi: I don’t have any kids here. lol.

Me: How that happen?! Lucky!!

Brandi: I made it happen. lol.

Me: Can I borrow your magic wand for next weekend?

Brandi: My magic wand was a birthday party and my dad. lol.

Me: 😀

Me: So does that mean u don’t want to go to the park? haha

Brandi: Yes!

I would have loved some other adult company, but the kids and I made it anyway. It wasn’t too cold, considering that it is November in the midwest. But it was windy. We had a great time. I let them run loose and wild. AND I knew that they would take a good nap when we got home and I could probably get some “chores” done.

 

Sometimes you just gotta get up and go. Forget the weather forecast.  Forget the makeup. I can wash my hair later. With all these kids, if we don’t just go….we will never make it out the door. And I just wanted to get out before it rained on us. What a great morning! Love the spontaneity of it all. Those are usually the best times. 

xxx

My Dad is a Super Hero

Little boys see their dads larger than life. They can do anything. They are strong. They pick them up and throw them in the air. They are super heroes in their eyes.

This evening in the car, where most of our interesting conversations seem to happen lately, Bradley says, “Mom, I want my dad to be in the army.”

“Why do you want him to be in the army?” I ask.

“Because if he is in the army and practices a really lot, he will be a good soldier. If he’s a good soldier he can be CAPTAIN AMERICA!”

Of course, I should have known. And with six kids in all, I’m sure Brad has been Super Man, Batman, the Green Lantern, Thor, and who knows who else, the list could be endless, maybe even some wrestling guy.

I just hope he puts on his super hero cape and helps me run some of the errands next week and maybe fix the toilet or something. Or build something, I don’t know.

xxx

My Babies Playing Spoons

I think with a little more practice we could start a band. The babies are great at playing the spoons, at least Collin and Elsie are… I’m not sure what Mallie was doing in the background. She gets sidetracked easily. They all do!

Earlier tonight I got out a few plastic Easter eggs and buckets. It’s amazing how busy and entertained they were with these silly little objects. It’s not the first time I’ve done this trick. Whenever I really want to get something done, like the dishes or a telephone call, this is one of my tricks. You can’t do it to often or it becomes normal and boring. But it sure is special and fun doing it every now and then. And they played forever and I got so much done! 

They got the spoons for themselves and went to town. I thought it was adorable, although a little noisy. But we had a blast!

AND Bradley lost another tooth tonight. On his way up to bed with a little tiny baby tooth tied up in a plastic baggy he asks me, “Mom, is there more than one tooth fairy?” I thought about it for a minute, unsure how to answer. And he says, “Like is there one in China?”

“Yea. I think there is one for every country.” It’s the best I could come up with. Sometimes you really have to think on your toes.

“Now go to bed so the tooth fairy can get to work!”

xxx

Pluggers and Pipers or Maybe a Penguin

Bradley’s eating lunch and he says, “Mom, when I grow up I want to be a plugger.”
Me: “What’s a plugger? What do they do?”
Bradley: “I forgot. Maybe they are called a piper. What is it called, Mom, a plugger or a piper?”
Me: “Well, I’m not sure I understand. What do they do?”
Bradley: “I know what they do. I don’t know how to say it.” And he is getting a little frustrated.
Me: “Do you mean a plumber? They fix pipes.” I thought that was a good guess.
Bradley: “No.”
Me: “What about an electrician? They fix plugs.”
Bradley: “No.”
Me: “Well, maybe if you tell me what kinds of things they do on the job, I will know if it is a plugger or a piper.”
And we are going around in circles and getting no where with this conversation because he just can’t find the words to express what he is thinking.
So I do what every good mom does, I say, “Ask your Dad.”
It was funny hearing them go back and forth; plugger piper plugger piper. Sounds like a riddle.
“What do they do?” we keep asking.
Bradley knows, he just can’t find the words to explain and seems very tired of having this conversation with his parents. I mean, geesh, we should know, we are the parents! 
And we are all still clueless. What’s a plugger? A piper?
 
I’ll just chalk this one up to one of those funny conversations and move on. But I can’t help but keep wondering what in the world he is trying to say. I mean, this is what he wants to be when he grows up, for now. Last week he wanted to be a penguin.
 
xxx

The Art and Science of Shoveling Shit

I love my life. I have great kids and a wonderful family…but there are some aspects that are not so pretty and nice, like dog duty/dooty. But when life, or the dogs for that matter, give you a yard full of steaming piles, you have to make the best of it. Or at least try to make something of the stinkin’ piles…so I decided to give it a creative twist.

I shovel so much shit that I have it down to an art form, a science. I have an exact routine; from the best way to hold the shovel for maximum turd scoopage to the proper cursing of having such a nasty job. 

Even the kids know the routine. I grab a plastic grocery sack from the cupboard and Collin knows what time it is. “Dog poop,” he says, one of his limited phrases that is clear, it’s right up there with “me, too!”

He usually takes the sack from me and I go to the garage for the “shit shovel.” By the time I’m out and across the yard, Collin is already next to a pile yelling with excitement as if it were Easter morning and he found a candy filled egg.

I’m getting real good at shoveling shit, though, and I have it down to a science. It’s best to use the shovel with the somewhat pointed end. If you angle it just right and scoop from the bottom, aiming for the middle as best as you can, this will give you the maximum amount of turds per shovel, usually about five to six for small dogs and three to four for larger loads. And don’t forget to bend at the knees, nobody wants an aching back.

The technique is different if the grass is long and in need of mowing versus if it is short and burnt to a crisp, like it is now with the hundred degree weather we have had this summer. It’s much easier to clean up in the burnt grass. The turds dry up pretty quick and are easily scooped. If you run across a fresh pile, it is best to wait until it is dried and shriveled up. Otherwise it just smears and gets stuck to the shovel. 

You can also collect information as you lift a pile onto the shovel. This one is blue, dang dog must have eaten a piece of sidewalk chalk the kids left out. What the heck is that? I don’t even want to know what the dog ate on that one. We once found a small Squinky toy, which is a little rubber figure less than an inch tall. It came out squeaky clean, but there’s no keeping it now. I hurried up and dumped it in the bag before any of the kids saw it and tried to keep it.

You also have to have the right amount of cursing under your breath with your head turned so the kids wont hear you and go repeating, “Damn, dogs. This f*cking sucks. This is a bunch of shit. Why do I always get stuck with this shitty job?!”

We shovel up shit so often, the babies are even trained to locate piles. They follow behind and point. The other day while playing out in the yard, I found Mallie squatting down and examing something in the grass, her hands on her knees. When I went to see what she had found, she was just staring at shit. Ugh! Get away! Don’t touch it.

It’s a shitty job, but somebody has to do it…and in this house, unfortunately its me.

xxx

Creativity Always Wins: The Poop Monster Saga

How can one sweet little boy turn into such a little stinker in a matter of minutes?

 

When you tell him he has to poop in the potty.

But tonight was a night for celebrating and extra cookies. If you are a parent who has recently been doing the potty training thing, you will understand and find humor in it. If not, you will probably find a post about pooping quite boring. But sorry, I don’t care… Because this is a happy time for Mommy!

Collin is pretty much potty trained, and a good thing because he’s gonna be three in less than a week. But for some reason he just wont poop in the toilet. He will whine and cry for a diaper. I have done everything imaginable to get him to just SIT on the toilet, besides tying him down. And I am so sick of skid marks in the little Tansformer underpants and cleaning up turds. I am tired of cleaning the damn carpet. I am tired of extra unnecessary laundry. I am tired of trying to bribe him to just to take a crap in the toilet. And as much as we love books around here, reading doesn’t work either.

But he finally did it! And it wasn’t with bribes, it was with creativity and I guess a little fear, as much as I don’t want to admit the last part.

He comes into the bathroom, “Poop, Mom. Poop!” Ugh! I resigned myself to cleaning up another mess, but he didn’t actually go. So I finally got my big girl pants/mommy britches on and quit giving in. “Don’t you dare get off that toilet until you poop!” He whined. He kept getting off. I kept having to get my tired butt off the Lightning McQueen footstool to put him back on. (Yep, I took a seat figuring it would probably take a while). “I don’t care if we’re here all night,” I told him. “We are not leaving this bathroom until you finish and go poop in that toilet!”

Needless to say, that didn’t work.

Until I spotted the Poop Monster right outside the door. (I don’t know where I come up with these ideas, they just hit me in the spur of the moment.) “Collin! Poop! You have to poop in the potty,” I said and glanced out the bathroom door nervously. “The Poop Monster is coming! He’s gonna…” (and I did have to think on this one) “He’s gonna bite your butt! You have to poop in the potty.” And I made all kinds of farting noises. “You have to do that to keep him away. And go poop in the potty before he gets here!”

You know, he looked a little scared. “Mom, shut da door! Shut!” he motioned at the door with his little hand. I shut the door. I didn’t want to totally scare him, even though it was a little fun – I’ll admit it. And so did Bradley, who was in the shower and couldn’t resist popping out from behind the shower curtain at that moment and yelling “Boo!”

“If you make the poop face and go poopy in the toilet he will go away. He wont bite your butt.” And needless to say, after the look of panic on his face (even though he was having fun too, we were fighting a monster!), and repeating the process several times with lots of fart noises, and urgently glancing out the door, he finally pooped in the toilet for the first time!

We cheered. We high-fived. He was so proud.

So creativity wins out this time. I couldn’t bribe the kid to take a crap, but I was able to scare the shit out of him!

What kinds of trials and tribulations have you gone through with potty training? What worked and what didn’t? What did you find yourself doing that you couldn’t believe you actually did?

I once bribed Collin that I would let him use my computer if he went…kind of glad he didn’t that time because I probably wouldn’t have a computer left after that one.

My other favorite “creative” story was with my nephew, Jonas, when he was two or three. He was terrified of fireworks and would freak out. I asked him if he knew who Tinker Bell was and he did. I told him that Tinker Bell ate a lot of beans and that was her up in the air flying around and every time she farted it made a big bang and all those pretty sparks. He thought it was hilarious and totally forgot about being terrified. He was just looking for the little fairy flying in the air with exploding farts.

Sometimes you just have to be creative. And even though I kind of scared my sweet little blonde boy; we had fun, it worked, and I should get a gold medal for best creative story for taking a shit.

xxx

The Death of a Toy Soldier

I picked up a dark green plastic army guy from the floor. I rolled it around in my fingers. A leg was missing and half of a small arm. As I twirled it in my fingers another leg fell off. “We have a casualty,” I announced to Bradley. It seemed appropriate since we were watching a G.I. Joe cartoon. I got up to throw it away.

“We have an injury,” I announced again, loudly so he would pay attention.

Brad yelled from outside, “What’s wrong?!” I can’t believe he actually heard me, he just turned off the lawn mower. He assumed it was one of the kids. Injuries are sort of common occurences around here with all these little ones (namely Collin).

I couldn’t help but laugh. “No, hunny. I was talking about an army guy. But way to be on the ball!”

I went to throw away the plastic toy. Before I plopped him in the garbage can next to the left over crust from lunch and dried out vegetables I announced, “We have a fatality, Bradley. He’s gone. There’s no saving him now.”

Just before I laid his battered plastic body to rest in the plastic cemetery (aka garbage can), I gave him one last farewell. “You led a good fight, soldier. May you find peace.”

Poor army guy. We sure do go through them. I think the dog chewed on that one. Lucky he wasn’t swallowed and left in the yard in a pile of poop. Garbage is a much better place to rest.

And I couldn’t help thinking about those toy soldiers in “Toy Story,” one of my favorite kids movies, and I really felt bad for the stupid plastic toy.

xxx