Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pappy versus The Flylady

I am constantly on a quest to get my house clean and organized. As you can imagine with 7 people and four animals in a house, it gets messy at breakneck speed. To compound the issue I have inherited the "I'll use this someday" gene. I come by it honestly, my Pappy, God rest his soul, lived through the Great Depression and for good reason kept everything for the rainy day when it would be needed. His basement was a wonderland!!! Those of us after him have continued on with our borderline hoarding heritage. I have in the past taken this desire to keep things to absurd levels. At one point in time I had over 130 empty toilet paper rolls stored in drawers and a closet. I thought they'd be good for kid's crafts, mind you at that juncture in time I only had one child. I finally parted with my cardboard cylinders, but not as easily as one would think, but when I did it was completely freeing.

Normally my stockpile involves emotional attachments: cards and notes from grade school, toys given to my kids from family and the worst offender, my children's clothes. Just imagining them in the tiny apparel brings such nostalgia I have trouble parting and so I keep it. My treasures have at times enveloped me in a funk and I am torn between my desire for domestic saneness and my biological need to squirrel stuff away and use for future kids. In my quest for household sanity, I found the Flylady. If you have never heard of her, she is a wonderful women who helps millions discover what it feels like to have a clean sink everyday and an uncluttered life. I have read her book several times, I've joined her website, I daily receive her emails trying to keep me on the right track. I can't tell you how great it feels to follow her program to fling out the things I don't need, use, or love. Then I have a day like today. A day when instead of getting rid of things I bring them in. I get my "Pappy" thoughts flowing and I head to the thrift store that's going out of business and not only do I purchase the sizes the children are wearing right now but I set out to acquire the clothing in the following three sizes as well. I mean how adorable will Vance look in four years wearing those jeans and shirts and what a great deal boot. Do I need it? No. Do I use it? Well not yet. Do I love it? I love the price. Would Pappy approve? If it can be used someday, yes. Would Flylady approve? No.

Maybe this does not seem like a dilemma for those with ample storage, such as the illustrious basement or even an easily accessible attic. I however have limited storage space, a ladder leading to a 3'x3' opening in my ceiling is my attic, it houses holiday decorations, baby supplies, boxes containing I don't know what, empty boxes, and clothing from birth to at least size 7 for both sexes and here I am, "Pappytizing" my life with even more stuff when I should be "flying" and downsizing. I imagine the only way Flylady would allow such a thing to happen is if I followed her recommendation of the number of things brought into a home should be balanced with the same amount of items leaving to bless others. I'm afraid there is no way to satisfy both of the voices in my head...

Well maybe there is, if I brought in 10 new outfits do you think I could justify eating those 10 candy bars taking up space in my fridge? I know that would bless me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Birthday Gifts

Today commemorates the day of my birth 32 years ago. The day where my poor mother pushed out a 9 pound 14 ounce baby and still had the energy to win the name game of Erica versus Bonnie. Yet here I sit collecting the rewards of her effort. I'm sure that being contracted by her uterine muscles was not a day in the park and yes I did suffer the unfortunate cone shaped head for several days after but thankfully I have no memories of that voyage past the cervix.
My celebration of that momentous day has, thus far been spent with my children. Brynna spent the night with a friend and brought me home a beautiful orange colored cake decorated by her and her friend with a whole bottle of sprinkles dumped on top, accented with half a bottle of candy stars. She said she chose orange because that's my favorite color and she knows how much I like sprinkles. Evidentially, I like them A LOT! The children along with our neighbors, John and Matt, sang me "Happy Birthday" with the cha-chas, the version I prefer. I think they were hoping by doing so that they'd be able to have some cake. Their plan was quickly foiled, because as soon as they sang the last note Keely came up to me and presented me with her birthday gift. "Mom, poop", my Sloth girl said. While I was washing my hands in the other room those sprinkles beckoned the children like a siren calls a sailor to his demise. Brynna decided to show her masterpiece off and slid the cake into the lid. Keely slid her chair over and "checked" out the damage. My beautiful cake did not last long. I'm not sure how it happened but it is now two inches higher on the right and marked by finger pokes all around and for some reason it looks as if was sat on. How the heck does this happen?
Ryleigh later made me a "cake" out of toothpaste and rainbow jimmie sprinkles on a plate in her room. When I confiscated it along with the tube of Thomas the Train Tooty Fruity toothpaste she claimed it was to brush her teeth with. "We don't brush our teeth with that much toothpaste and we don't brush them with sprinkles either", I said. "Okay," she replied, "let's just eat it then." She ran to grab some spoons. Yum!
So as I reflect on this day I have to thank my mom for all her hard work in pushing me out, if she hadn't I wouldn't have this day to treasure: a hug from Jace, a battered cake from Brynna, a sweet dessert that's good for your teeth from Ryleigh, a poopy diaper from Keely, and a smile from Vance. Birthday girls get all the good stuff!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

There's a Tear in My Beer...

Well actually it's in my 2% milk, but nonetheless it's there for a stupid reason. I assume my emotional distress is the cause of hormones regulating themselves after birth. It has been 3 months though since Vance's arrival, so maybe I can't blame it on postpartum and just have hormonal issues. The end of Disney Channel's movie Jump In got me all choked me up. It is a cute movie, but does it warrant tears? That would be a big resounding "NO". I mean it wasn't even as if I watched the whole movie and got really involved in the plot or the characters, but rather I caught their jump rope victory and welled up. That's right, I said jump rope victory, it wasn't even an all American sport like football or baseball but just some kids doing double dutch. I've always had a seeping eye problem with movies, but movies that were tear worthy and that I watched at least three quarters of. No, this emotional distress was caused after walking in and out of a room for an hour and then settling down to watch their rope skills leading to a win. Crazy!

Maybe my melancholy was the result of my approaching birthday and the fact that I can only do 10 jumps over a rope before becoming winded and quitting. Or maybe it was because I'm reading the book of Ecclesiastes, not one of the more uplifting books of the Bible, yet I haven't come across any mention of playground props. Whatever the cause it's a bit asinine. What's going to happen when the kids go back to school and I see other playground games? Will tether ball or dodge ball set me off? What could a game of tag do to my psyche? I hope I will be able to pull it together because salty milk tastes gross. Probably even more so than young Hank Williams' beer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bald Barbies

I sent out a photo update to family and friends showing off two of my girls new hairdos. Brynna and Ryleigh got their hair cut last week. Normally, I'm too lazy to take my kids for hair cuts ,no that's not why Jace has long hair. The girls have never wanted any sizable amount chopped off and I just can't see paying $15 for an inch off the back - I can do that much. As a mom with three beautiful girls, you would think that I'd be all over the bows and braids. The truth is I hate to brush hair and I only do pony tails. Now granted, I have mastered the pony tail and I can do one, two, or I've even gone as high as 8 pony tails on a single head, but that's the extent of my hair doin' skills. My girls only get braids when their grandmother comes to visit. All of this to say, I'm not a hair mom.
Brynna has been letting her hair grow for a purpose, and I've been not so patiently waiting for her to reach her goal. She once had a short little bob with bangs, her choice only with strong maternal influence at the age of four and the promise of coloring it pink. Then I think Brynna was about 5 when one of her friends cut her hair for Locks of Love and Brynna was in awe. She declared that day that she would do the same and help little girls who didn't have hair of their own. Very admirable, I could back this. After a year of slow growing, Brynna announced to someone that she was growing her hair out for Barbie wigs. Confused I asked her what she meant, "I thought you were growing your hair for kids with cancer." "I am," she replied, "that's the back. I'm going to grow my bangs out for the Barbie wigs." The "Duh" was implied.
Brynna's friend once again unselfishly chopped her mane for the program and Brynna went with her, Ryleigh just wanted to be like the big girls and tagged along. When Brynna's turn came and she was getting her tresses clipped, the hairdresser asked if she wanted bangs. She opted for not. I guess all those bald Barbies are going to have to get someone to knit them some beanies, it's going to be a cold winter with no hair.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Poop in a Ziploc

Keely's penny has made the arduous journey through her bowels to reintroduce itself to the world in a sticky brown clump. "You pooped the penny", I said as if she had accomplished great things. I asked if it hurt to poop the penny out, her reply was "yeah" with a smile on her face. She wanted to see her effort and then her Sloth voice chanted, "Poop penny" three times. Brynna came into check it out and was a bit disgusted. However, even in her disgust, she still thought her sleeping older brother would be upset that he missed out, hence poop in a ziploc. The depths of brother-sister love.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Naked in Rain Boots

Two of my children love to be naked, actually I have a 3rd one that does while pooping but that's another story. I figure, for two of the three, it is just a developmental stage since they have all loved the freedom from a diaper. Keely will strip at the chance and Ryleigh although out of diapers still gets the "nude bug" every now and again. I have always tried to downplay nakedness. I wanted my kids to not think being naked was bad, but rather was natural. I figured if I talked about it and acted like this is who we are and what we look like then it wouldn't be such a curiosity later in life. I'm not sure if my plan has worked. Brynna is freaked out by her unclad siblings to the point that she will not remain in the same room with them. Hence, today, she came running in the house yelling, "Mom, Ryleigh is outside, naked in rain boots." My thoughts; she's out back, it's hot, what's the deal, but to Brynna it is vulgar. I had my same bare philosophy with her, she too at the age of 2 ran around in the buff but now she is very guarded. She will only undress in the bathroom, never in a bedroom, for fear someone will see her. I guess in a way it's good that she has developed some modesty because the two little ones possess no discernment when it comes to their disrobing. We've always said, "it's not a party at our house until somebody gets naked", because it has always seemed that when we have people over one of our children bares it all. I'm not sure what to do regarding my little buff butts, I don't even know if it really is an issue. Maybe I need to read a bit more on the subject, see if I'm raising strippers who will one day trade in their rain boots for shimmying in go-go boots or if this desire to feel the air in their nether regions is a desire all humans have had since Adam and Eve and have just learned to subdue. Hopefully by the time Vance comes of the diaper banning age, I will have discovered the answer, the thought of him in go-go boots freaks me out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Penny for Your Poop

Keely, who just turned two, was still walking around with a pacifier dangling from her lips, as of three days ago. She reminded me of an plump old fellow who would talk with a cigar in his mouth as if it were an actual part of his body. The pacifier rarely left her mouth and on the occasion that it did I would try to hide it only to have her crying for it a short time later. I am well aware of the pacifier recommendation of stopping by the age of 3 months but I never enforced it with my others and they turned out fine. When Ryleigh sucked one we always made her remove it while speaking as to not need speech therapy later in life like her paci-speaking older brother. I'm not sure if the pacifier is the culprit of Jace's struggle to keep his tongue in his mouth while trying to pronounce certain words, but I wasn't going to take chances. How quickly we forget though! Keely kept it in her mouth while speaking and only when I would remember or need clarification of a word would I ask for her to remove it. Now, Keely speaks like Sloth from the Goonies, I don't think the paci is to blame but rather I think her deep whining grunt-like communication is a phase. The pacifier was her best friend, her comfort; sleep was not easily found without it and with her companion in her mouth she was the best sleeper of all of my children. The pacifier was her playmate acting as her chew toy. Many a paci found it's way into the trash because of holes she had chewed in them. The holes would collect food particles because Keely liked to put food in her mouth top it off with a paci and chew it all together. When a hole was discovered I would confiscate and replace. Well, I have finally run out of replacements! The first night without her dear friend was not fun. I contemplated running to the store and purchasing another one but Brian stood firm. Eventually she fell asleep, but it has not been an easy few days. She misses her paci-buddy terribly. Off and on throughout the day she tears up and I have to hold her for a while until she calms. Numerous occasions I've had to remove her from the trash can, as she searches for her lost chum and eats a couple of scraps she has found. Now her oral emptiness has led her to find surrogate comfort. Normally it's her hand, fingers up to her knuckles or her fist, occasionally I ask her not to chew toys or animal food. Today however, when I went to change her diaper I laid her back on the couch and she started coughing and choking, I sat her up ready to Heimlich her when she swallowed. I asked her what was in her mouth and she replied in her Sloth voice, "there", pointing at a pile of pennies in Brynna's purse. Thanking the Lord that it went down and didn't choke her, the older kids were almost in tears with concern. I assured them it would be okay, and told them that I've heard stories that it just comes out in the poop. Well you might have thought I told them we had won the lottery. The questions of how, the excitement of when! I'm a little anxious over this situation. Not my children's fascination with fecal matter, but over Keely's desire to replace her beloved paci. You can only child proof a house so much and I later found her with a die, from one of the kid's games, in her mouth. I guess all I can do is pick up as much as I can, solicit the older children for help, say a prayer that whatever she ingests goes down okay and see what treasures await me in tomorrow's poop.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is that a peanut in your pocket...

The other day I asked Ryleigh if she wanted some peanuts. She answered, "Not one like in Jace's pants but the one in the jar." I think I have myself a new euphemism.

Answering my own question...

I think the answer to my question the other day about how these super mega-moms do it, is this - they have no animals. So now, I am just biding my time until our menagerie's time is through.

The fish, no complaints, Brynna has trouble pouring him into a cup when she cleans the bowl, so she asks for help. The help? Oh, that would be me.

The three turtles, pretty painless, except when they escape and need to be found, signs need to be posted around the neighborhood, guess who does that. Oh, that would be me.
Three times a year, roughly, their pond needs to be emptied and refilled, guess who that job might fall upon. Oh, that would be me.

The dogs, where do I start, Calli, the teacup poodle bites a child every other day (not that they don't deserve it), but who has to take care of rescuing Kujo from Dennis the Menace and tend to injuries? Oh, that would be me. Puppa, the stray that was never claimed, is a great dog. The kids could probably remove some major organs and the dog would just try to nudge them away, however, she sheds and who has to sweep and vacuum everyday(Okay, at least every other day)? Oh, that would be me. The dog also poops. Not little Calli poop, but big dog poop. The kids for the most part clean it up, but I have to constantly remind in a loud voice so they remember. On the days they don't though, who's cleaning dog poop out of tiny toes? Oh, that would be me. To top it off the dog's in heat and keeps sneaking in the house. Right now I'm nursing and "my friend" isn't visiting for the next year, I don't want to be entertaining hers - but who is running around with a wet paper towel swiping up drips? Oh, that would be me.

As for the two rats, giving them to Brynna was the best gift Brian and I have ever given, but their huge cage needs to be cleaned often so that my kids don't go to school and become known as the "rat pee kids". Guess who takes care of the rat cage. Oh, that would be me. Also, if their cage does not remained centered on the wall then they chew whatever comes near, i.e. my couch, the speakers, toys, etc. All day long, I constantly am reminding Keely, in a loud voice, that she needs to leave them alone. She knows how to open their cage and tries to take them out against their will. I'm sure removing her, removing them takes up at least 30 minutes a day.

The kids are responsible for all of the animals and they assure me with each new addition that I won't have to worry about anything, but they're kids and their priorities are not always aligned with mine so, who has to pick up the slack? Oh, that would be me. I know what your thinking, get rid of the animals stop your griping.....but then they cry. Huge tears that roll down their cheeks accompanied by sobbing promises and whose heart breaks a little and thinks, "It's not that bad"? Oh, that would be me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Brynna ran into the house the other morning so excited that she and Jace had obviously discovered a new species of insect. Begging me to hurry outside, she claimed to have never seen one before and they were thinking that they might get a show on Discovery and be able to name a new insect. Alas, I crushed their dreams when I told them it was just a "beetle".
It actually was a June Bug, but at the time I couldn't remember what they were called. My memory lapse is just one more reason why we should move back to Maryland, how can anyone forget the overabundance of June Bugs? I have such fond memories of flicking them off our screen door every night and listening to them "thump" on the ground. Ahhh, sorry I digress.
Anyway back to my original story, after dashing their hopes, Jace just decided to keep it as a pet and name his beetle Charles. Poor Charles didn't make it through the day in a plastic cup on our patio in 110 degree weather, go figure. However, the next day Ryleigh found "Charles" in the kiddie pool and made him a pet yet again, only for him to meet his demise by 4 in the afternoon. Brynna, my child who carries crickets around and has been known to stick a roly poly in her pocket, feared both of the Charles'. I knew she didn't like them because she would stay away from Ryleigh as she "cuddled" her pet, but the extent of her fear was confirmed the other day when she came into the house screaming hysterically. Once she calmed enough to talk through her cries she said, "Jace flicked a Charles at my face". Confirmation that I am a bad mother came shortly there after, as I began to laugh at my sweet girl and the new name given to an old species of beetle. Please know that I'm not completely horrible I did give her a hug as I laughed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How do they do it?

I guess I need to stop watching all those shows on TLC that feature large families. I am in awe how they can have 12 kids or more, homeschool them, keep them under control and content, how they all like each other, and how they keep a clean house. I'm at least 7 down, I send my older two to school, my kids fight constantly, are always bored and want friends over, and my house is never clean...even when I clean it. So how do these wonder women do it? Do they ever sleep? Are my priorities completely screwed up? I guess my dreams of being Michelle Duggar are just that, dreams.