Archives for June 2008

Here’s the apple, there’s the tree…it didn’t fall far.

When I was in about fourth grade, we lived in a great two story house in Hudson, Wisconsin, a small town within spitting distance of the Twin Cities. My room was situated just above the back porch overlooking a vast field and miles of forest. It was an idyllic place to grow up, full of exploration, sledding, and outdoorsy fun! Another cool thing about my room was the fact that I could climb right out my window and sit on the roof, or at least the part of the roof that hung over the porch. I did this on occasion feeling very rebelious and super cool. I’d sneak out there, sit for a minute, then hustle back inside before my mom caught me. I never asked if I could do this because I had the slightest feeling that perhaps she would not think too favorably of what I thought a marvelous idea. I had day dreams of sitting out there, reading one of my new Babysitter’s Club books, breathing in the fresh air that whipped out of the trees and into our back yard. It made me feel just like the little girl in The Secret Garden, who always had a fun and unique place to sit while reading.

Well, one day, I got real balls and decided I wanted to explore further. I don’t know where my parents were that I had such gall to give this a try, but they were apparently a safe enough distance away that all commen sense was able to flee my scrawny body and lead me into the way of stupidity – a common ailment of youth. I tentatively tiptoed down this stretch of roof, past my brother’s window and followed the roof up to the right where it got really steep and really high. My goal was to make it to the chimney and survey the land around me, then go back to my room, victorious. My plan would have been fool proof had it not been for the nest of horse flies that I stepped in on my ascent. Suddenly swarm by giant, hungry creatures, their kaleidescope eyes surveying their next meal, my brain screamed, “abort, abort!” Biting my lip to keep from calling out and bringing undo attention to myself, I made a hasty retreat, nearly sliding off the roof to a certain hospital visit. Luckily, I caught myself and managed to get back into my room in one, albeit slightly swollen from the bites of about 500 flies (okay maybe not that many…) piece. I’m not sure if my mom and dad ever heard that story so if this is the first time, uhhhh sorry I did that?

Aaaanyway, my point is that today as I was watering my plants and Sloan was supposed to be having rest time, I suddenly look over and the little Houdini is standing in the landscaping outside his window all proud and beaming. He figured out how to unlock his window, push it open, push up the screen and climb out. Thankfully, we live in a ranch so this is not that big of a deal, save for the fact that I have no doubt he will do this again, and likely at a time when we are not watching because doggonit if the kid isn’t just like me! And if we ever move into a house with second story bedrooms, you better believe there will be some kind of alarm attached to it because I know a little too much about what Sloan is thinking in that adorable little head of his. Of course, I’ve no doubt he will outsmart me at some point and that someday he will probably share a story with me of the dumb things he did as a child while I unknowingly went through my day thinking my little angel was in his room reading. What goes around comes around huh?

29 kids, 16 (ish) adults, a pinata and a sprinkler…Are you tired?

Fireman Sloan sliding down the pole.
Getting ready to run the relay. They had to run through a sprinkler, climb the ladder and rescue a cat from the swingset (tear off a picture of a cat).
Some of the kids waiting oh so patiently. The relay ran much smoother in my mind. They were all a little too young to understand the concept. They just mosied along – it took forever!
Taking a swing at the pinata.
Playing in the sprinkler

Well, I did it. I hosted the biggest birthday party EVER! Seriously, I’m still getting the hang of these party things. I think next year will be much smaller, and Chuck E Cheese will host. All in all, though, things went well. No major injuries, only a few tears, and a lot of fun! At least for the kids. I think they all had fun. They seemed to. I had fun too, but not in a “Woohoo this is so great wish I could do this every day,” way. More in a, “Man I’m so glad my son is having a blast at his birthday party even though I’m enormously overwhelmed and dog tired,” way. It was sweet to watch Sloan get so excited and have so much fun with all his friends. We have great friends. God has really blessed us. Sloan got a bunch of super fun presents that will excite him for about three days, at which point he’ll likely return to wallowing in boredom. But those three days will be bliss. Aaaanyhoo. Tomorrow is Ballwin Days, Sunday we have another birthday party, Monday is packing day and Tuesday we head to Florida. I can’t believe it’s already here! Oh, and the cake, though not a work of art, was indeed delicious. Thank you Betty Crocker – the world is truly a better place thanks to you!

A Baker, I Am Not

We’re having Sloan’s 5th birthday party today. His birthday is not for a couple of weeks still, but since we’re going to be out of town we’re throwing a party early. One thing that drives me nuts is my complete lack of ability to make a nice cake. Martha Stewart would probably melt into a puddle of bitter tears if she saw some of the dreadful concoctions I’ve made, including this one:

which is Sloan’s cake for today. Even with a super duper cute cake pan that bakes a giant cupcake, I still manage to come out with a lopsided mess. Oh well…it will taste good because I was smart and just went with good old Betty Crocker. I’ll update more later with pictures from the fire fighter birthday party!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Lion’s Choice Small Dipped Cone…

$.29 well spent…

Why eat from the top when you can bite off the bottom?
Or the side?

A new word and a terrible excuse

At lunch today, I told the kids that after naps we would spend a little time cleaning up. Sloan’s response:
“Mom, I don’t think I can clean up today. Sorry. My knee hurts, and it’s telling my tummy to hurt a little bit too and I think my heart is also a little bit hurting so I just think that I can’t help you clean up today. I think I will just go play outside and ride my bike and you can clean.”
Me: “Well, if you have that many things that are hurting you, I don’t think you should go outside. You should probably just lie in your bed all day.”
S: “Weeelllll…it’s just hurting me to clean, not to play.”

Later, when Lee and the kids were wrestling, Lee gave Sloan a good shove. He fell over laughing, shook his head and said, “That’s phenobulous.” What a kid.

In the spirit of full disclosure

I am overwhelmed. “Why?” you ask. Well, to start, my house is literally a pig sty. Seriously, we are living in filth. And I am frustrated that it’s so totally nasty in here. “Well, why don’t you just clean up?” you say. My answer to that is this: I don’t know how to clean with three screaming kids under my feet. I really don’t. I am a person who gets overwhelmed easily. Too much noise stresses me out. I can’t have a conversation if music is too loud. TV commercials make me feel like I need a dark, padded room to escape to. And crying kids make me crazy. I just don’t handle too many sounds meshing together very well. And for me to concentrate on a task, I need some peace and quiet. Thus, my severe issue with cleaning. I just can’t get my house cleaned with the kids around. Vacuuming is fine and I can clean the occasional bathroom. Dishes are okay, though not easy, and getting dirty laundry into the washer is pretty basic. However, getting said laundry out of the washer, into the dryer, folded and put away is not my strong suit. I blame it on the basement laundry – I don’t know what I’ll do when we live in a house with a first floor laundry. Mopping – pretty much out of the question unless I can have a few solid hours of no kids. Which leads me to this post. I don’t remember the last time I mopped my house. There-I said it. Here is a picture of what my pile of dirt looked like after sweeping the kitchen last night.

“Not too bad,” you say. Well, thanks, but the picture doesn’t do it justice – there was a crapload (pardon my french) of dirt and that was just the kitchen pile. That was not the piles from the other three rooms I swept and I didn’t even get to the bathrooms or our bedroom. Combine all the dirt in our house together and I think we could re-landscape the front yard.
What were the kids doing while I swept? Well, the older two were actually, miraculously, playing together in the basement. Although Tia ended up wetting her pants for the umpteenth time. I think she’s digressing in potty training. Landon sat in his high chair and screamed his head off as I frantically swept, feeling like crying the whole time myself.
Lee, trying to be so helpful, got a bunch of laundry out and started folding and putting it all away. What I really wanted him to do was hold Landon so he would stop crying. But that’s the difference between men and women isn’t it? A crying baby does not phase Lee. He just tunes it out. I, however, literally feel like I’m going insane. I ended up grabbing Landon and holding him while I ran the vacuum through the house, at least getting some of that nasty dirt up off the floor. But then I couldn’t get the vaccuum back into the closet because it looked like this: So I just left it sitting in the hallway.

I ended up with a massive migraine. I think my brain was swelling in an attempt to break away from the craziness of overload. So I went to bed early with visions of dirty floors plaguing me all night long. And now I am awake, still with a headache and still with dirty floors. What will I do today? Probably go somewhere to escape the mess. Out of sight out of mind right? In other news, we’ve had tons of fun the last few days, though that’s what’s contributed to my messy house and headache. Lots of playtime at the park with friends, plus a trip to Six Flags water park for me and the big kids (so fun!), plus a trip to the Zoo yesterday, combined with Lee being out of town for the weekend makes for one tired mama. So, I’m off to start another day, but I think it shall be a little more low key because I need a break from all the fun!

A different sort of date night

*update: A few have asked how we found out about this – We got a random email from someone we don’t even know that they were shooting in the area and needed extras. We applied and were accepted. Lee’s application words were something to the effect of, “ruggedly handsome man, 6’2″, athletic build. Has a beautiful wife who would love to be a part too if needed.” When I talked with the lady to confirm, she asked if I was the beautiful wife with the athletic husband. I hope they weren’t sadly disappointed when we walked up…
Last night, Lee and I dropped our kids off at my parents house and headed out for an evening away. This, however, would not be the ordinary, boring, gogetsomedinnerthenseeamovie type of date. Oh no. We had something much more interesting and random set up. We drove to the set of a low budget film (veeeeery low budget) shooting in the St. Louis area and for the evening, we were peasants in Rome circa A.D.411. The shoot started at 8:00 last night. It ended at 3:30 in the morning. We’re tired. Let me tell you a little about what it’s like to be a movie star.

We arrive to the park where the shoot is to take place. It’s in an area of St. Louis that I would classify as slightly scary. We drive all the way to the back of this park, which was beautiful, and pull into a river overlook with a large monument built in honor of Louis and Clark. It’s an impressive structure and becomes the focal point of the funeral scene which we will shoot. We immediately get fitted for our costumes. We are “upper class” peasants. I know, I found that description a little random myself. Lee’s costume was actually really cool. I wish I had a picture but we weren’t aloud to bring cameras. He looked quite authentic. He even got to carry a sword, which he thought was super cool. I, however, looked like the wicked witch from the West on crack. The clothes themselves were not horrible, but the wig they put on me was horrendous. They oooh’d and aaah’d about how cool I looked, but I didn’t buy it. I looked really frightening. Next was makeup – there wasn’t much needed. They just dabbed foundation all over us to make us look tan and dirty.

Anyway, we were dressed and ready by 8:30. We started the actual filming at 11:00. Whew. This movie business is tough. There were a lot of interesting characters there. Many who were self professed “actors” and took it very seriously. There were a few children, who impressed the socks off me. They had awesome attitudes and were angels throughout the whole thing. I got to thinking of bringing my own kids on a shoot like this and shuddered at the horror of it.

The confirmation of my awful hair came when the director was placing us in different spots and looked at me and said, “Your hair is suspicious.” I replied (in my best Monica Gellar voice) “I Know!” Alas, no one told me to take the monstrosity off my head, so I found a piece of wire and tied it back a little, crudly taming the beast. Sigh. Finally, after all night of shooting and reshooting the same scene over and over, they called that’s a wrap and Lee and I jetted home and fell exhausted into bed. All in all our acting debut was fairly fun. I mean, the two of us really rocked our roles. We were stellar. We were filming the funeral of the king and let me tell you, we will move you to tears. It was worthy of an Oscar. Now all we have to do is sit back with a cold drink and wait for Speilberg to call…should be aaaaaaany minute now…

Wordless Wednesday: The dinosaur finally crashes

The weekend in vignettes

Friday morning: I pile the kids into the car and take them to Best Buy to get Lee the Tiger Woods Wii golf game. Taking three kids into Best Buy by yourself is not very fun. Of course, two seconds after we get in there, Tia has to go to the bathroom. I’m seriously questioning the potty training thing…Afterward we head to McDonalds for playgroup since it’s raining.

Friday afternoon: Lee is on the couch and Sloan says, “Oh Daddy, guess what? We got you a present today.” I quickly shush him and remind him it’s a secret. “I didn’t say it was a golf game,” he protests.

Later that day, we decide to go to the mall to let the kids play and get a bite to eat. I tell them to go to the bathroom before we leave. I hear them giggling in the bathroom and look in to see Tia sitting on the toilet peeing and Sloan standing in front of her, peeing in the toilet between her legs. That’s disgusting.

Saturday: Tia wakes up with pink eye, which I can only assume she picked up at McDonalds. I head to a blogger’s guild meeting (more on that later) and then pick up a prescription that the pediatrician calls in, thank God, because when I get home, Tia’s eye is swollen, very red and almost crusted shut. My doctor calls in a refill just in case one of the other kids gets it. I love her.

Saturday night: we go to the Chesterfield Aquatic Center, which is the greatest public swimming place I’ve found and I snap this picture of Landon. What a stud.
Incidentally, my baby is 6 months old today. Where does the time go? What a joy it’s been to have him these last 6 months – what a bigger joy it’s been to have him sleeping through the night this past month! Here is a picture of his mad sitting up skills!
Sunday morning: Sloan is in the shower and suddenly remembers that this is the day he can tell Lee what his present is. He comes running out naked and dripping wet and shouts, “Daddy we got you Tiger Woods golf! Can we play it?”

Sunday afternoon,:Lee wants Lion’s Choice for lunch. Not what I would pick, but whatever, it Father’s Day. Lee plays Wii golf all afternoon, until the US Open starts, at which point he parks himself on the couch and proceeds to whoop and holler at the TV all evening – taking a short break to go play a Volleyball game for a recreational league that he joined. Random, I know. My parents join us for dinner and watch with us as Tiger Woods manages to pull off a putt at the 18th hole to force Rocco Mediate into playing again today. After that ends, Lee flips over to the NBA championships to watch LA defeat the Celtics and force game 6. Eight years ago I would have known nothing about either of these events, nor would I have cared. Today, I’m excited to see who wins the US Open. That’s what love’s done to me.

It’s a beautiful night last night and we sit on the front porch for awhile. I go to bed and Lee falls asleep on the couch on our front porch. He wakes up at 3:00 am and comes to bed. All in all, it’s a good weekend.

Happy Father’s Day and Happy Birthday

Happy Father’s Day to all you daddy’s out there, particularly the three that most affect my life. To my husband, who is such a great dad. God has so greatly equipped Lee with the goods for fatherhood! He loves playing with the kids, chasing them around endlessly while they squeal in both horror and delight. He reads with them, loves on them and cherishes them. He tells them over and over how much he loves them and how proud of them he is. He teaches them about who God is and His grace in their lives. He prays with them. He’s just a phenomenal dad. Today Tia had pink eye and could not go into the nursery at church, so she stayed with us. While we were in our small church class, she snuggled up on Lee’s lap and held her arms out for him to rub them. She looooooves it when you rub her arms. (There’s a good chance, she inherited that from me.) And Lee loooooves to oblige because when you rub her arms, she sits really still and leans back against you and it’s so sweet. I could see his face melting as he shared that special time with her. I’m grateful for him.
And of course, to my own dad, who spent his share of time rubbing my arms in church as I grew up (and who recently has started rubbing Tia’s arms for her – seriously, if you want to get on her good side, rub her arms!). How grateful I am for such a wonderful father who poured into me as a child, who was always there, cheering me on, building me up, laughing with me and loving on me. He is a man of honor – a man of God who loves my mom and has no problem showing emotion toward any of us. My dad is a giver and has given so much to so many over the years. What an example he is to me! My dad was my role model for what kind of husband to find and he was a most excellent model. He is still a voice of wisdom and grace in my life and in Lee’s life and I’m grateful for him every day!
And then there’s my father-in-law, another amazing man to whom I am indebted to as he himself raised three godly young men, his middle one being my dear husband. I love sitting and talking with Herb and listening to his wisdom and knoweldge. He is a blessing in my life.
And finally, a big Happy Birthday to my nephew Cade who turns eight today! Cade was born just four weeks before Lee and I got married, so he holds a special place in our hearts. What a fine young boy he is turning out to be – smart, helpful, funny and a sports nut! We love you Cade. Glad you had fun at your party! Enjoy the day everyone!