Saturday, August 30, 2008

Are You Ready for some FOOTBALL?!

Bring on the smack talk ladies---college football season is ON! And let's just say this Ohio State Buckeye could not be happier!

As an alum, I am proud to say we not only have the best damn band in the land--we are going to be kickin' butt on the field. So I say to her and her and other college football FANatics, in the words of her, "Fear the nut.....fear the NUT!"

****The picture doesn't show it but the chair is covered with a Buckeye stadium blanket and Spanky is wearing an Ohio State jersey.  Dino is wearing his orange for the Cleveland Browns; he's more into the pro scene ;) and Sarah didn't want to be in the picture but she will be cheering for the Buckeyes today if she wants to eat (yes, I am kidding or am I?).

QUICK UPDATE--Winning but hoping Beanie is OK.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Now Spanky is TWO


My goodness--you are two! I can't believe it! It seems like yesterday I found out I was pregnant with you...where has the time gone?!

If anyone ever broke the mold (and shattered it into hundred of pieces) in our home, it is you. You are my busy, busy, busy boy. There is always something exciting and wonderful happening and you must always be involved :) You laugh harder than any child I have ever heard, you scream with delight over the smallest fun things than any other child and you can throw a tantrum better than any child I have ever seen :)

You want to grow up and join your brother and sisters in all their activities. You follow them everywhere. If you had your choice, you would be sitting with Dino in his pre-k class right now, coloring away.

You love markers--you love to color on paper, people and everything else. I can always smile during my toughest work out or my 86th squat just be glancing at your latest 'art work' on my calf. You are always carrying a stuffed animal (preferably beanie baby kitty) or a doll baby where ever you go. I know you will make a great dad--you show such love to these objects along with any baby you see anywhere. You are generous with your kisses to say the least!

You are fiercely independent. You like to do things by yourself--no matter how hard it might be. But you always remember those you love. No one can leave the house without you opening up your arms and walking up to them saying 'hug'. And then you wave and say 'bye, love doo'. It is the cutest thing.

Like your brother, you love to dance. "You May Be Right" gets you rockin' no matter when you hear it. I can't wait til you join him in singing.

I amazed how much you have stolen my heart along with all your siblings. You bring such a joy to our family!



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rude @ssholes do exist, even in Texas

After dropping off 3/4 of the kids at school this morning, I brought Spanky out to the car and noticed a dad getting out of his car to bring in his daughter. Now usually, I would have not have given him a second look but he was wearing this white belt with really weird '80s style 'rips' in the leather. Now white belts, rips or no rips are not the most appropriate attire for older males taking their kids to school--heck, I'll say white belts are not appropriate for any males.

He said in a very loud voice and with a huge smile,  "Hi Lisa, how are you doing?"

I was taken aback--I did not know, at least I didn't think I knew him and I quickly felt guilty for mocking his attire choice in my mind.

I flashed my biggest smile. "I'm great! How are you today?"

His smile turned to disgust and his tone from friendly to plain ugly. "I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to another Lisa." (Yes, he totally emphasized the YOU--I am sure every person in the parking lot heard that YOU.)

And he turned to get his daughter's backpack before approaching another mom, apparently the Lisa.

I looked down, picked up my pace and scurried to the car. But in my mind I totally told him off and made him cry, but not in front of his kid. My inner b!tch has limits ;)

Monday, August 25, 2008

There's Just Too Much to See Waiting in Front of Me

The season is changing; kids are buying new shoes, getting hair cuts and buying school supplies. Moms who spent the lazy days of summer fixing meals, driving to camps, organizing vacations...are now faced with a not so noisy home and a caldron of emotions. There is that feeling of freedom--no constant messes unless we make them (and we never make a mess right?), no fighting or whining--and at the same time there is that small black hole in the very core of our soul as we let go of the hearts outside our body  and watch them as little birds test the air outside the nest. 

Usually this is the season I focus on getting the house back in order--the mud scrapped off the walls, the carpets cleaned, the refrigerator freed of the mystery food that has been forming new life. Then I might spend some time getting those errands I have put off forever--Spanky does need his birth certificate some day afterall. Before I know it my kids are back home. And they have changed; I have not. And that is not fair to me, my children or the God who has plans for me.

So I am looking to grow myself. I am trying to think back to what I enjoyed. I love to cook--maybe some new cooking classes; I used to write--maybe a writing class at the community college. I have always loved pilates--maybe I could get trained to teach. Whatever it is, I have to find something. My life has been on hold for ten years and I do not want to be the mom that can't handle living when her children do leave the nest. If they left tomorrow, I could not. And the last thing they need is guilt about 'abandoning' their mom.

And now I ask the question we ask our children all the time "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and search for an answer.

I didn't ponder the question too long, I was hungry and went out for a bite. Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum and we wound up drinking all night.

Don't I wish!

Friday, August 22, 2008

These two brothers go to a shoe store....

The first brother is very excited. 
"New shoes for me!" he exclaims as he walks in the store.
The second brother sees another boy playing with a ball and proceeds to grab it out of his hand. In his mind, all is his.
The first brother looks the shoes over carefully. They are for school and he wants the perfect pair.
After minutes of picking up shoes, inspecting the stripes, the feel, he decides on a pair of cute white tennis shoes with a fire truck on the side that lights up when he stomps.
The first boy brings the favorite shoe to the mommy. The mommy smiles and knows this shoe is not uniform acceptable.
"Honey, you'll need to find a different shoe, "she begins silently bracing for the tears of disapointment. 
The first brother smiles, "OK. How 'bout these?" and he pulls out some plain white tennies.
The  mom nods and signals the shoe clerk.
The shoe clerk begins to measure the first brother. He smiles at the young lady as she has him step here which he does happily. He even shows her the shoes to make sure she get the 'shoes that he can wear to school'.
Meanwhile the second brother bored of the ball, wiggles behind a display and gets stuck. He cries, a loving sister helps him out and he goes to the play area, after stopping by to pat a younger baby on the head and scream 'BABY!'.
The clerk brings out the shoes for the first  brother. He tries them on and declares "I like them. They fit."
She asks him to walk which he does and then asks if he can 'please wear them home?'. His mom agrees.
Now it is time for the second brother. His mommy has gone through the shoes and narrowed it down to 3 for him to pick--she had planned on getting him two pairs but the hi tech baby shoes prove too costly for more than one. The mommy calls him over; he giggles and runs to the other end of the store. She finally picks him up and shows the shoes. He kicks each one. Mommy decides on the fall suede ones (because sometimes cute trumps durability). The shoe clerk attempts to measure him. He screams and tries to hit the poor young lady. The mommy holds both hands and together mommy and clerk get the size of one foot-- 6 1/2. The clerk proceeds to get the suede shoes. While tickling and holding the second brother, the clerk places the shoes on the second brother. The fit and are cute even if he does refuse to stand (note to all moms do not keep your child only in Robeez for the first years of life). The mommy removes the shoes. Once removed the second brother proceeds to throw the shoes at the clerk. She was very good at ducking.
Meanwhile the first brother is walking about the store in his new shoes muttering "Do you see me shoes? I like my shoes."
The mommy pays for the shoes and takes a moment to respect yet another of the many differences of her two sons

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Quick 'Hello'

I am taking a very quick break from our new school year. 
The week before school turned out to have a number of 'fun' events but we miraculously made it to school with only one missing supply--the first thing Miley needed on her school desk on the first day :( BUT hey no one died of a heart attack ;)

I have lots to say but no time to say it. Let's just say one student is slowly easing into the school year with almost no assigned work (and so is pacing and bored), one's teacher is almost completely skipping review time and diving head first into intense work (and so is screaming Help Me Momeeee) and the third is not sure what to make of school but is very tired by the full schedule (and so is whiney and clingy and just a joy). it's just the perfect time for Spanky to wake up 3-4 times a night to nurse ;)

I hope to get back to posting sometime before the month ends, I hope.....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rose' instead

My girls and now my younger son attend a very unique school. They go to school two days a week, home school two days a week and go to extra curricular activities like art, PE, drama and speech one day a week. It's called cooperative teaching but I just call it half-homeschool. There are some really great things about this--I do not plan lessons, I don't pick out the curriculums, I don't give the tests (usually), I can take a very active role in their education, I can spend more time on problem areas, I can spend more time with them and I can get breaks. And there are some really crappy sides to it, like  we are on schedule--most home schoolers can go off on bunny trails or take time off for family events, like the birth of a child. We can't. The assigned work/review has to be done. And then of course there are times when I just don't feel like teach and I have to anyway.

But by far the crappiest side is orientation week--this week. I get to find sitters for the kids (the bright side) and then get bombarded with papers and lectures about what we need and how we are going to help the kids.  Every teacher is different.  Please don't get me wrong--the teachers are great; they are just so thorough that it is overwhelming. I am that mom struggling to write down every word even though I know they will have grace periods/reminders for incorrect headings, not every kid will remember every supply, and the first week is designed to deal with all the new 'rules'.  But I don't want to get it wrong, at all. I do not want to make a single mistake, ever. So I start to panic the Sunday before orientation week. I can't sleep. I worry I am missing something--school supplies, uniform pieces, textbooks, my mind.... I start to worry about the review I did with the kids over the summer, well actually the lack of review.  I panic the first day of school the teacher will pass out work and my kids will look at it like it's Chinese. 

And my panic turns to stress and we all know what a stressed mommy makes a house. Our entire world is in sudden chaos right now. I have a ZIT. I do not get zits. But I have a zit. This is how stressed I am. After my first orientation meeting, I came home ordered a pizza and popped open a Shiner Bock ( and I am not a beer drinker). Then for breakfast--the kids had left over pizza. They have never had this but I am a wreck. And for right now I don't think I care. I need to know what needs to be in the school supply box--and I do not want to forget, anything.

And after I confirm I have everything, I begin to panic about the new year. What if my kids just don't get this? What if I am crappy teacher on this subject? What if I lose my cool like the time last year, I got so frustrated with Miley I broke a pencil in half while writing out steps to her missed math problem on the paper, or I get so annoyed with Sara's whining about her math drill that I have to go to my room, slam my door and scream in a pillow? What if I go nuts and just run out of the house naked and screaming? It could happen, really.

I feel I need a plan to make the year perfect. Every year, we get tips to make this the best year ever--add fun learning games, be sure to include exercise, be CONSISTENT. I usually write schedule after schedule or make rewards like the treasure box. I try and strive to be consistent but the fact is we are a family of 6. There are always hurdles and roadblocks, no matter what I do.  So this year, I panic and try to think of what to do. A morning bike ride as a break with Spanky in the stroller (I'll run), a schedule that imitates the school one, earned lunch outings, the treasure box (that one actually works), but this year I might add something different. I am thinking a weekly, maybe daily trip to the wine shop might make this the best school year ever :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Little Air Conditioner that Could....

Our air conditioner is 10 years old. She's been a good air conditioner. We have had very few issues. A replaced starter, some tinkering and she keeps on going. But recently things have been tough. It's been over a 100 degrees for over a week. Kids are constantly running in and out (and you know how bad neighbor kids are about shutting doors). 

Last week, our bedrooms were warmer than usual and the thermostat read 83 degrees. A little too warm. Mike cranked it to 76 and by the morning it was 76. I thought it was nearing the end of our dear AC so I called the air conditioner guy who advertises on our preferred radio station--the classiest commute in the metroplex ;) They  could come out that afternoon.

I took the kids to the gym and came home to a freezing house. I turned the AC to 79. The house was soon comfy and cancelled the appointment. Our AC was going to make it one more summer.

And then the weekend came. On Saturday as it got warmer outside, it heated up in the house. By bedtime, it was back to 83. I got out fans and the kids slept in the coolest bedroom, ours and I 'slept' in the family room with Spanky. I was not a happy camper at church.

I started trying to figure out how we could pay for a new AC unit. I wondered how much my right kidney was worth but remembering my left kidney was badly damaged thanks to a childhood infection, I decided against it. Mike decided to try putting it back to 76. And the AC kicked in and the house, once again cool.

You could actually hear our AC chanting I think I can I think I can I think I can.

On Sunday, it slowly got a bit warmer but despite the 104 degree temperture, clouds started to appear. The sun was not visibly melting everything in sight. It showed a chance of rain. The house remained comfortable.

And now I wait, we see if our AC will hold on for just one more month to take advantage of the winter AC sales. 

I think it can. I think it can. I think it can.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Story--Get on the Bus

The bus was really nice, seriously--plush, comfy. I liked it. Our driver, Riemond, was an Austrian who I believe was driving in the womb. He was able to maneuver our giant tour bus like an agile Ferrarri in the winding streets and steep narrow roads that led our travels through the Alps. It really was beautiful.

In order to be fair, we moved back a seat after every stop so everyone would have a chance at the front, the back, the left, the right. I didn't mind too much. We had only moved about three times at this point.

At our next stop, Mike, I and our our couple friends, Brian and Tracy, chattered with the young grandson from Australia. He ws annoyed.

"Grandma getting on your nerves?" Mike asked him as we waited for our coffee (they do no serve coffee in to-go cups so we were in a bit of hurry to get our caffeine fix before we had to move on).

The young boy shook his head. "No, I love Grandmum. It's that old bag behind me."

"What's wrong with her?" I kind of giggled, trying to figure out which 'old bag' he was referring.

"Is she annoying?" Mike asked.

We had an annoying man behind us. He was obsessed with pointing out each and every cow we saw--because cows are so rare in the States.

"No. She just pisses in her seat and then I get to sit in it."

The four of us almost spat out our just arrived coffee.

Brian's eyes widened, "No way. Which one?"

"Is it the one with the black cane?"

"The one with the bluish hair?"

"Is it that lady in the big hat?"

Yes, we were berating him with questions as we wanted to make very sure we did not ever sit anywhere near her on the bus.

"It's her," he looked down at his shoes and pointed to his right.

Like a curious group of high school boys gawking at girls, all of us turned and stared.  It was the older woman with the limp but no cane. I tried to record every detail of her to make sure we stayed, away, far, away.

The next morning as we were walking to the bus, I noticed the young grandson already on the bus. He was actually the first one there.

"I plan on getting a good seat, "he smiled when he saw us.

As we were getting on the bus, we saw our friend with the bladder issues. And we noticed her 'issue' had become common knowledge as people scattered (as fast as the elder can scatter) when she sat down. The grandson and his grandmum sat right behind the old lady. Since we moved back, he would not have to ever sit in pee. He might have to smell it but at least he would never sit in her seat.

As the bus started, Lars our tour guide began to tell us about our next destination, Munich. "Oh and for a change of pace, "he added. "We will be moving forward a seat rather than back after each stop."

The poor boy shoved his face in his hands and I think I may have heard sobs.

Friday, August 8, 2008

What a Cleveland Browns Fan Says

(I have been a diehard Cleveland Browns fan since I was in diapers. I have gone through this cycle almost every year of my life. I am telling myself if I type this out, Murphy's Law will take over and the months following August will not happen and we will win the Superbowl. I believe, I believe....)

August--This is our year baby, I can feel it.

September--A few loses, not a big deal. The season is young.

October--Well, we have a couple areas that need work (offense and defense) but we have a good shot at the Wild Card.

November--It's all good. This is a total rebuilding year anyway. Did you see Ohio State clear the field with michigan ?

December--We are going to get some awesome players in the draft. 

January--Just wait til next year. We are going to RULE!

Such are my seasons. But please, don't feel sorry for me. I went to OHIO STATE, 'nuff said (shut up LSU).


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday--Chocolate Chunks with Coconut

Edited to add: Om my gosh--it's Thursday! I thought it was Wednesday. I am losing my mind....when does school start again?!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I need a Superhero Badge :)

Seriously folks. My washer 'broke'. I was washing a cheap bathmat Spanky 'used' when I took off his diaper to take a bath.  I dumbly popped it in my fancy washer and half-way through the wash, I got an OE message. I looked it up--clogged drain.

I panicked. I cannot live without a washer. I have four children--three are not very neat and the fourth has a very specific wardrobe. I cannot live without a washer.

Fixing things is not my thing though. I have difficulty hanging a picture on the wall, I can't tell the difference between a screwdriver with the star and the one with the line (I know one is called a flathead though). I usually leave fixing to the husband but he was busy and would be busy til late. I needed it fixed.

I did what I always do. I called a handyman. He would not be able to arrive til the following afternoon and would charge a hefty service call for a clogged drain. 

Surely there had to be a better way. I goggled the name of my washer and found the manual. I found the page that showed the drain filter and instructions on how to clean it. It didn't look that hard.

I popped open the cover, put a bucket under valve, unscrewed it and out popped the very nasty yuck covered filter, oh and a lot of water. I cleaned it, replaced the filter popped back on the lid, tried the washer and BAM it worked.

I canceled the handyman. No need--Lisa the Super Hero is in the house :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

So I do this just about every weekday at five

I prep dinner and I turn on Malcolm in the Middle. I'm not sure how it started. I always thought the show was funny but not funny enough to watch like everyday. 

Yet after dealing with fighting, whining, boo-boos, feeding starving children and keeping the home from being condemned by the Board of Health, the 3o minutes get me through the day. It's gotten to the point if we are out around 4:15, I start getting everyone ready to go home so I can catch my show--even though I am pretty sure I have seen every single episode twice now.

And then when it's over, I get that second wind. Like I handle the next few hours til bed time. It's my Malcolm in the Middle Magic.

So I'm wondering if I am alone here. Do any of you moms reach the end of your rope around 5 everyday? If so, what do you do when you need to wind down?

And if you need a quick break from it all. Watch this. Now. Seriously.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Story--A couple of Whipper Snappers

So all in all, London was perfect, amazing and everything else :) We did as many touristy things as we could. Riding the top of the double decker tour bus, visiting the Tower, Big Ben, Scotland Yard, Harods and a dozen other things.

And then it was time to move on to our tour. Before we got married, Mike and I met with a travel agent that convinced us joining a tour was the way to go for our first (and so far only) European adventure. We wanted to see the castles, specifically the castles of King Ludwig. There was a tour that featured the castles and visited Munich during Oktoberfest. We thought this would be perfect.

We landed in Zurich, Switzerland and immediately noticed a distinct difference no other city could compare. It was clean and by clean, I mean you could lick the trash cans clean. Even the toilets were spotless; after you flushed a mechanical arm attached to the seat and cleaned it. I was a very relaxed germaphob.

The hotel was nothing too special. It was incredibly modern with a giant life size chess board at the entrance (yes, we did play a game!).  We looked around the hotel and then waited on the rest of the tour group.

I was a bit nervous. The hotel was almost empty, save a few older people with canes and us. 

"What do you think the tour group will be like?" I asked Mike over a traditional fondue meal.

"I'm guessing honeymooners like us. Maybe some just married couples," Mike shrugged his shoulders and cracked some fresh pepper over the cheese pot. 

I popped some bread covered in cheese in my mouth and nodded.

"Yeah, I bet it will be fun."

"I wonder if all of Europe is this clean?" Mike mumbled.


The next morning, we packed up and got ready to visit our tour group in the clean, sleek , lobby. As we got out of the elevator, we noticed a sharp contrast to the modern surroundings. Approximately 35 'older' people we congregated on the sofas and chairs. Was this our tour group?

I scanned to crowd and noticed a younger than high school boy calling a woman next to hime grandmum and then a younger couple with the buttons given to us in the tour guide. Were we supposed to wear those?

Naturally, we went beside the younger couple. 

"Are you with the INSIGHT  tour?" the girl from the couple asked us.

We nodded and introduced ourselves.

"Thank God, you're here," began Scott, the boy from the couple. "Everyone here is OLD. I mean dinosaur old." 

Tracy, the girl, nodded. "If we didn't put on these stupid buttons, we would have left."

"It can't be that bad, hee, hee" I giggled looking around knowing it could be that bad.

Suddenly a younger, like in his thirties, man stood up and spoke. His name was Lars from Norway and he would be our tour guide. He briefly discussed the tour and then asked if anyone would need handicap assistance. Half the group rose their hands.

Mike and I slowly began to realize we would be spending the majority of our honeymoon on a giant bus with people almost four times our age.

I turned to our new friends. Our best friends for the next two weeks.

"Want to get a drink before we get on the bus?"