Coming out of the closet...

If you've been a loyal reader you'll recall we've touched on a few spring-related topics: going to the park, what the inside of one's house looks like in early spring, spring break trips, prepping for bathing suit season, and so on... **This is where I will politely refrain from making any harsh, critical commentary towards those who would not be considered loyal or regular readers and hope that rather than be offended by remarks that are clearly implied but were never actually made, you'll become regular readers and visit often (this is the part where you might go back to the links that I have oh-so-thoughtfully provided for you above)...and please do come back and bring friends!** But I digress...

Nothing says springtime like my baby's gut hanging out of her shirt, my son's "business" being crammed up into his throat by the crotch of his swim trunks, or my nine year old's ass cheeks peeking out from the hem of her shorts. No, my girls are not going to be on the next episode of TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras nor was my son was not the latest recipient of an atomic front wedgie at preschool. CLEARLY we have a few things that aren't fitting too well...the joys of having to clean out closets and drawers. Crap. One of my least favorite household chores. I seriously LOATHE going through my kids clothes for a variety of reasons:

1. It's a pain in the ass. Plain and simple. 3 kids, 3 closets, 3 dressers (yes, my children possess a lot of clothing...don't judge) It sucks. Add that to my regular laundry schedule and it makes me want to drown myself in my front loading washer.

2. It requires thinking. Ok, if it's just "out of season" does it still fit? Is it going to fit in a few months? Will it be too small when it's back "in season"? Should I sell it in a garage sale? When should I have a garage sale? Should I see if anyone else in the neighborhood is doing one? (this is where brain tangents can get dangerous) Should I just give it away? Was that one mine or Carrie's? Did she want it back? What the HELL is all over the front of it? Should I just toss it? If I'm keeping it where the f should I put it?

3. Storage space. My husband rolls his eyes every time I come home with a new Rubbermaid storage container. They piss him off because he knows that they are for housing more clothing for our kids. And believe me, I've gotten rid of A LOT of stuff... A LOT...but I still have more. Come on over. Take it, please...maybe. (I have issues letting go of things)

4. It sucks. It reminds me that they're not going to ever be that size again. It's not as bad with the nine or even the five year old, by that point I just want it out. But when I'm putting away the baby and toddler stuff my husband runs for cover because he wants no part in watching me snot and cry all over every.single.outfit holding up every one going "remember when she wore this one?" Hell, he'd have to look down to remember what he put on himself that day...who am I kidding?

5. It's expensive. Because once you stash them all away it doesn't mean that new appropriately sized clothes are going to magically appear to replace the old, ill-fitting ones. It'd be nice but it doesn't quite work that way. I try to shop clearances and will grab things here and there in off seasons and put them away, but I've never stocked my kids' wardrobes for future seasons. It's just not practical...even for my kids (ok: brief explanation for those who don't know me personally: my kids don't grow much, it's awesome so they stay in sizes for a long time...great on the wallet) But I still don't buy ahead. So I know for everything I pack away that is too small, odds are something will be purchased to replace it.

It'd be great if we could just do away with societal expectations when it comes to children's clothing. Get rid of the head-to-toe Gymboree ensembles with matching korker clippies and ruffled socks and replace them with one size fits all burlap sacks. Or matching utilitarian style jumpers. Hmmm, that may be a bit too San Quentin. How about just not caring if things are a bit too short or a bit too snug? I'm not talking hoochy momma short or hey-I-can-see-your-blood-moving-through-your-veins-because-your-shirt-is-so-tight kind of snug...I'm saying, a size off. Just a tad, what fit as jeans last season could be next seasons capri pants, a tiny bit of camel toe never hurt anyone. Last fall's long sleeved top will be next winter's 3/4 length. You get the idea. Your kids will never remember, as long as you don't have pictures to commemorate her having on the same outfit for 4 years running...

St. Anthony - can you find my shit?

I have to give a shout out to St. Anthony. He is my guy. I think I rely on him at least once a week. Growing up Catholic going to the daily prison of nuns and brothers that we called school, we got to know a lot of the Patron Saints. Those crazy Catholics gave each of the saints some sort of project, craft or group that they were to be an advocate for in Heaven, and I knew right off the bat that St. Anthony and I would become very very close. For those of you that are not familiar with St. Anthony, you might want to introduce yourself...tell him I sent you. St. Anthony is the Patron Saint of missing people and things. Now, I am very close with him NOT because I lose people. I have tried. They keep finding me. But in my highly active and chaotic world, I lose shit all of the time. All of the time. Yes...ALL of the time. Probably daily. You name it, I lose it. Car keys, cell phone, the mail, checks, my purse, I lost my car once at the Mall of you get it. I am what my family calls "Book smart" - yes, but what I will readily admit about myself is that common sense isn't too common. So St. Anthony and I became fast friends. And the dude works overtime for me. I gave him credit yesterday on Face Book and one of my friends thought it was a good blog topic for today. Thanks Pam!! So I looked up some other Patron Saints, and those freaky Catholics dished out ailments, problems, and issues like it was their job. If you were a Saint, you got something attached to your name. Titles come cheaply, even back in the sainting days. Some saints got several things like the Patron Saint of evil spirits, leprosy, thunderstorms, bacterial diseases and bacterial infections. Yes, that is all one guy. I bet he was popular in the 17th century or so. In case you need one, there are also Patron Saints who could levitate, ones against mental disorders, venereal diseases, bubonic plague, Black Death, oversleeping and Pirates. Hmmm. One of my favorites, and one that I should probably get to know, is the Patron Saint against Procrastination. And all pregnant mothers and mothers of infants, take note; Agapitus of Palestina is the Patron Saint against Colic. It is a mouthful, but she would have come in handy about 11 years ago....I would have bought her bobble head, her t-shirt and the screen-saver. There were a few Patron Saints though that I think were missing:

- the Patron Saint against whiney children

-the Patron Saint of inept husbands

- the Patron Saint of Laundry

-the Patron Saint of "WTF happened in the kitchen? I just cleaned in here..."

-the Patron Saint of headaches - either to conveniently bring one on at about 10pm or to make one go away

-the Patron Saint of adding three more hours to my day

-the Patron Saint eating anything I want and not making my ass the size of Utah

-the Patron Saint of hangovers

-the Patron Saint of "it is f-ing 7am on Saturday...go back to bed"

-the Patron Saint of shitty diapers

-the Patron Saint of negative check book balances

-the Patron Saint of WTF should I make for dinner?
-the Patron Saint to protect me from going bat-shit crazy

-the Patron Saint of adult on-set acne

-the Patron Saint of why does the check out line I am in always come to a screeching stand-still?

-the Patron Saint of why does my toddler only have to go to the bathroom when we are clearly not near one?

-the Patron Saint of people that drive with their head up their ass

-the Patron Saint of OH MY GOD - Can you shut the hell up for one minute??

I am sure you have a special need....and I am sure there is a saint for it. But it is the faith that counts. My fellow blogger does not believe in St. Anthony, so he does not work for her. But herein lies the problem. When she loses something (which is about as often as I do) she calls me and asks "Who is that dude that helps you find lost shit?" I doubt that HE thinks of himself as the "shit finder". I am pretty sure it does not say that on his nametag in Heaven. So when seeking out your Patron Saint, it is all in the approach. I plan on using the utmost grace and class when acquainting myself with the Patron Saint of Procrastination and any saint that was gifted with Inedia. Yes, there are several of them. And yes, I had no f-ing clue what Inedia was either until my pals at Wikipedia helped me out. It is the gift of abstinence from all nourishment for an extended period of time. Hello Saint Nutrisystem! Let's be friends. I am buying a big foam "#1" finger right about Christmas time. Where has that bitch been all of my life? OOPS. Bad intro. I might want to rethinking my approach here. One word of advice from this Catholic die-hard (someone in Heaven just choked)....when calling upon your Patron Saint, make sure it is the CORRECT one. When I channel my pal St. Anthony, luckily he knew I was talking about him and not the OTHER Saint Anthony...the Patron Saint of Skin Rashes and Disorders. That could get ugly. Then I would need a whole OTHER saint...And FYI - even though St. Anthony and I are tight, he has yet to help me find the winning lottery ticket, my higher intelligence or my sanity. So don't bother asking for yours either. Best of luck to ya and God Bless.

Coupons and clearance and credit cards OH MY!

Before today's topic, let me give you a little bit of background (very helpful that my fellow blogger and I are in fact, related so I only have to do this once) Growing up in a household with 6 children you quickly realize the value of money. Especially when the father of those 6 children is an accountant and financial planner and a man who when he is told the price of something often stammers "AMERICAN DOLLARS?!?!?!" with eyes bugging from his head. And the mother of said 6 children is the queen of bargain shopping...ask to see the closet of our youngest brother's former upstairs bedroom. Clearance rack scores for birthdays and Christmases to come, odds are pretty good she was in labor with at least one of the six of us at a garage sale and she has been known to haggle with the fine folks at Target. So my sister and I are no strangers to the ways of frugality and budgeting. We are familiar with penny pinching and belt tightening. We cut coupons and online sales are cause for overly excited phone calls of an immediate nature. Yet we still panic when our husbands enter into the financial world.....

You all know by now my sister and I have talked every aforementioned topic to death. Today is no exception. We both have admittedly come dangerously close to shitting ourselves when our husbands sit down to check the bank balance. We break out into hives and start sweating in places you don't talk about at parties. Which is weird because neither one of us go nuts with the debit card. In fact, I don't even USE my debit card. My husband and I instated a "cash only" policy several years ago that works quite well for us. (although we need to come up with another term "allowance" sounds so juvenile) Despite my lack of debit card usage everytime he logs onto I find myself cowering in the corner like a frightened puppy *and see above for details about hives and sweating. Why is that? I haven't gone hog wild online shopping. I didn't go on some crazy Target spree buying all sorts of unnecessary crap (well, I probably did, I just used my cash for it). Which I guess in a way is good, I no longer have him questioning

"What'd you spend $60 on at Target?"

"What'd you get at Old Navy?"

"Are groceries REALLY that expensive?" (not necessarily I just know of a few friends who like the ol' hey-Miss-cashier-add-an-extra-$30-to-my-total-so-I-can-get-cash-back-trick)

"You went to Target again?"

My fellow blogger treated herself to a pair of shoes and had no sooner GOTTEN IN THE FREAKING CAR when her husband called to ask about the charge to the debit card. Damn online banking assholes. They have all ruined the lives of women everywhere. Men everywhere are rejoicing while women are making voodoo dolls and cursing their names. I was on the phone with a girlfriend the other day as she was walking in to Kohl's and she said her husband's radar was probably going off as she passed through the doors. She swore that her phone would ring as soon as she swiped the credit card.

Now I know that this will be one topic where we don't have all of our readers going OH MY GOD YES THAT IS SO MY LIFE! Because I could count several of my friends who I know in fact hold the proverbial purse strings. Their husbands are so financially inept that they couldn't hold onto a quarter found on the ground in a parking lot long enough to keep their family afloat so the wife had to take charge. I also know in some families the husband and wife have completely separate accounts and neither knows what goes on ( could be onto something there...) I mean, don't get me wrong, I DO know what he does with our money. I know all about our investments and IRA's and savings and all that crap but he prefers to be in charge and I'm ok with that. He LIKES knowing where every friggin single solitary itty bitty teeny weeny penny goes every damn friggin month. And he likes knowing the status of MY "allowance" (seriously people...find me another name for it...I'm not 11) When I left to go to the grocery store the other day he asked if I had money. Yes, I have money jackass. I can budget. I know how much I get at the beginning of every month and I'm fully aware of how many days are in each month. Therefore I know how long that money needs to last me. Admittedly things have gotten a little dicey towards the end of the month and I've had to get VERY creative in the pantry but that's where my upbringing has come in handy...thank God for coupon clipping and clearance racks...

For sale: TODAY ONLY!

For Sale: Attractive 39 year old. 6'1". Bald. Great sense of humor, never forgets birthdays or anniversaries, rarely sick, decent set of morals. Steady job. Only snores after he has spent an evening with the Captain and Coke. Maintains a nicely manicured self and lawn. Lacks an "indoor voice". Comes with three absolutely adorable children. All are good eaters. Good students, good sense of humor. Also seem to lack an "indoor voice". Great price for all, actually I may offer YOU some money! Slightly flawed: Cease to work without female intervention

I am down to my last nerve. I am at the end of my rope. Picture this: Edge of Cliff....Me. My girlfriends and I had a garage sale this weekend (that was my first mistake....arguing with strangers in the cold and rain over something that is .50 is not my idea of a good time. Thank goodness someone brought Bloody Marys). So since I was preoccupied all weekend, the activity in my house came to a screeching halt. I mean NOTHING. I was in the garage (WHY??) at 7am on Friday and Saturday. The kids got themselves pretty much ready for school with little assistance from me. And they did pretty well. I mean, I did have to remind them before the bus came that milk usually does best when put back in the fridge. I did also redirect them to the placement of our dishwasher so that they could put their dishes in there instead of on the counter ABOVE the dishwasher...but all in all, they did well. They even brushed their teeth and I only had to tell them 2 times. It was a little chaotic running in and out, but I thought "tomorrow with Dad home it will be much easier". WTF was I thinking? How long have I known this man? I am fairly intelligent, but I find myself thinking off the wall, idiotic things sometimes like "my husband can manage decently without me."

So 7 am Saturday morning rolls around. Here I am in the garage again. Stupid Stupid Stupid. I hear activity stir in the house. It is the 5 year old. She wants breakfast. Now mind you, I warned their other genetic half that I would be unavailable today, so he was in charge...all day. I said "go ask daddy." "He is sleeping and I don't want to wake him" she sleepily replies. Are you f-ing kidding me? This is the kid that does not seem to mind at all that I am sleeping when she calls for me at 3am to tell me that she just went potty. But heaven forbid we disturb daddy well into his 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. So I get her set up with cereal, cartoons and strict instructions to get dad if she needs anything else. Then I repeat this drill with the two boys who can get their own breakfast, but came to me looking for baseball gear and gatorade. But this time they couldn't disturb dad because he was in the shower. Weird, no one has trouble asking me for stuff when I am clearly naked and unavailable. Dad and the two boys leave for baseball. They come back two hours later after the rain had called it off. They are carrying the leftovers of their breakfast out. When I enter the house three hours later, these leftovers are on the kitchen table. Perhaps we need to discuss that styrofoam cubes do not make attractive centerpieces, and if not refrigerated properly, will start to smell pretty rank. No worries though, because I should have actually called the bomb squad to find out exactly where it detonated in my house. I was able to see beyond the shrapnel and find my family safely bunkered in on the couch. ESPN obviously saved their lives, because they were huddled together in a near catatonic state. Thank GOD they were ok. By the looks of the house, they barely made it. I simply said "Wow, you guys have a lot of work to do in here" and calmly turned and went back to the garage. It looked like a sanctuary compared to my kitchen and family room. But as the day progressed, my family's wits waned. They forgot where the laundry room was, so dirty clothes stayed where they were taken off. They had forgotten our rule about milk. They lost the directions to the dishwasher. They were obviously stunned and disoriented by my absence, so they channeled their inner "Survivor" and decided to stick to what they knew...what was comfortable; the couch and television. Why does all normal activity cease when mom is not around? Why do all major appliances stop working in my absence? I know it is not a power issue, because judging by the amount of cheese that was melted to the inside of my microwave, that worked just fine. The plate that held the rest of the melted cheese was on the counter. I need to get the blueprints of my house and draw arrows to all of the areas that need to be visited daily. I should have checked to see that they all successfully were able to use the bathroom in my absence. The couch and remote seem to be the only things that worked while I was gone...and by "gone" I mean not in the immediate service area. My husband did attempt to unload the dishwasher, but 75% of the dishes were on the counter because he claimed that he "Didn't know where they go". Um. Yes, I can see how that can be confusing. We have lived here for three years and I routinely switch the shit around so that I am the only one that can find things. WTF.

My girlfriend shared a similar story with me. But she was actually gone for the weekend. 2 whole days. Can you imagine what she faced when she got back? She said it was ugly. She called her husband on Friday to say that she had arrived at her destination. His response "Do you know we have no food in the house?" Now by this, he clearly means that there were no fully prepared meals just awaiting 5 minutes in the microwave or no Hungry Man meals in the freezer. My friend said "Rumor has it that there is a grocery store in should go visit it." Good for her. When she called later that night to say goodnight to her kids her disgruntled husband answered the phone "We are at McDonalds. I had to feed them something." She replied "Well GOOD! You are right by the grocery might even be able to see it from there!". Right on sister! But I bet she is still doing laundry from the weekend. But since no cooking went on in her absence, there will be no dishes to do or dishwasher to unload. Lucky bitch.

We moms are the cog that keeps the wheel turning. Without us, it is clear that all hell breaks loose. So pat yourself on the back today. And if you have the kind of husband who manages just fine when you are not around....starts laundry, loads and unloads the dishwasher, changes diapers regularly, feeds the animals (and I mean children here) and knows how to sweep and wipe up breadcrumbs the size of his head, I think I speak for everyone else when I say "I am sorry, your husband must be gay" Kidding of course. That was said out of pure anger and jealousy. I let it get the best of me. Now I need to go make the wasn't made all weekend. Imagine that.

In the arms of angels...

Yesterday, sweet baby Jackson earned his wings...please pray for his parents Melissa and Dan, and big brother Caden.  There are no words...

Babysitter thy name is NOT dad...

I came downstairs last night after dinner to hear the remains of the following conversation:

DAD: "Hey guys, let's pick out a few movies to watch tomorrow night"

KIDS: "Why not tonight?"

DAD: "You're going to bed soon, they're for tomorrow"

KIDS: "What's tomorrow?"

DAD: "Mom's going out" (cut to mom in the corner doing the happy dance)

KIDS: "Are you going with her?"

DAD: "No, I'm babysitting you guys"





Insert multiple spaces for dramatic pause effect

Yep, you read that right. My husband, the father of my children used the word BABYSITTING when referring to his own offspring. I just about punched him in the goods that contributed to said children. What is it about men that seemingly gives them the right to say they are BABYSITTING their own children? When people ask what I do, do I tell them I babysit all day? NO! Because that would imply that I am in fact getting paid to watch SOMEONE ELSE'S CHILDREN. I will never understand why men seem to think that when mom leaves the house, they have become the babysitter. Nope, not DAD...NOT the other responsible adult in the house who is supposed to be accountable for other small people in said house. Not the other person who gave them life, just the babysitter.

Last time I checked my BABYSITTER was the adorable 13 year old up the street who answered to the name of Alexis...not the stocky, hairy mouth breather who typically answers to DAD. My BABYSITTER comes on her bike and armed with a back pack full of play-doh, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles...not PS3 games, a tin of Kodiak, and a spitter. I don't get it. I really don't. When dad leaves the house, does he announce to the kids that mom is BABYSITTING? Nope. He just up and leaves. But mom has to full on prep everyone else for her departure. She has meals ready, pajamas laid out, everything is prepared, every contingency is planned for. Does dad ever consider those things when HE leaves? Nope, he just grabs his wallet, grabs his crotch and heads for the door. Whatever.

So I'm going out tonight. And I'm not going to have dinner ready when I leave, I'm not going to give the kids a bath, (I'm actually going to go out of my way to make sure they're exceptionally dirty before I go) I'm not laying pajamas out, I'm not labeling sippy cups, I'm not putting out diapers and butt cream, I'm not picking up toys and crap before I head out, I'm going to primp and get ready and I'm walking out. Plain and simple. I am not leaving a babysitter, therefore I have no one to give instructions to. He is their father, he knows what to do.

No Massage envy here....

Censorship warning: For my parents, siblings, relatives, friends, acquaintances and blog strangers that NEVER wanted to know anything tiny details about my sex life, stop reading right now and enjoy the rest of your day. Ok. bye bye.

I have been under an inordinate amount of stress lately. I am not talking the day to day "piles of laundry, defunct appliances, need to run to the bank/post office/grocery store, the 5 year old bit the 7 year old" kind of stuff. Well, that still exists, but add a crap load of other shit on top of that and you've got me. So during a mid-morning phone call with my husband, my best friend, my soul mate, my rock, I confided that I am at my breaking point and I need to connect with him as I feel that we have been running opposite directions lately. I need a chance to not think about "things" for awhile and relax, etc. He totally agreed and is all game, which is great. So our evening runs as usual: He blows through the door with enough time to grab a kiss, a sandwich and one of the kids to head to baseball practice. I leave shortly after that and head to hockey with the other 2 and also make stops at Target and the grocery store on the way home....Ahh yes....home....the Utopia where I am greeted by the wreckage of a half-ass dinner, backpacks all over, dirty clothes from the uniform change, mail, homework, lunches for tomorrow, crabby tired kids, teeth brushing, bed time stories, and laundry laundry laundry. I flop into bed exhausted after the tornado that tore through our house had subsided. Unintentionally, I let out a sigh that measured 3.8 on the Richter scale and may have been heard by most inhabitants in the Western Hemisphere. "Tired?" he asks. I grunted something that my brain thought was a "yes". Then he said the sweet words every woman wants to hear in bed "Wanna back massage?" I just rolled over in agreement. And this is where he and I need to have a serious discussion about the finer points of a back massage; I know that this man is not gay. But his limp-wristed swatting of my back left A LOT to be desired. And the intensity and attention of the so called back massage was directly related to the excitement and intensity of whatever sporting event he was watching on tv. During time-outs or commercial breaks, I got some decent attempts on knot-reduction. During key plays, it was as if he were putting forth a half-ass effort at getting a gnat off of me. Then, some overpaid idiot jock made a stupid play, and I damn near choked on my kidney when he thumped me in the shoulder blade with his man paw. So, to save my life and internal organs, I moved away. When the game was over, all attention was back on me. "Are you better?" he asked. I am pretty sure he was referring to his oh-so-healing back massage and not any lacerated organ injuries that he caused. And I fought really hard not to tell him that I am pretty sure that someone with a wooden prosthetic arm could have produced better results, so keep your day job. But instead, I said "I just need a stress reliever." This is where I shot myself in the foot. What woman in their right mind says something like that to a man while laying in bed? I should have known better. All in all, an innocent statement. But this is where the X and Y chromosomes are vastly and retardedly different. And with that, the back massage turned into a front massage.

Me: WAIT. What are you doing?

Him: I think it's pretty obvious honey.

me: Ok, when I said I needed a stress reliever, I was thinking copious amounts of alcohol, a night out, a bubble bath...or dinner out, just you and me.

him: I thought we were past the point where I needed to buy you dinner first.

me: I am sorry, I am just so stressed and tired.

And with that, we got into a discussion about how sex IS a stress reliever for men and how most men could be vomiting, bleeding from their eyes, have lost a limb and STILL want to have sex. He could not understand at all when I explained to him that for most women, it is not about THAT EXACT MOMENT but more how the overall day played out. For any nighttime extra-curricular activities to take place the day cannot include sick children, a call from the mother in law, a call from the children's school, a 5 year old sweaty tantrum at Target, 5th grade math homework that I don't get, a messy house and a lecture about how much I just spent at Gap....none of these are aphrodisiacs to me or most normal women. And PLEASE keep all bodily noises to yourself. I don't think they are funny, and they don't make me want to rip your clothes off. After this explanation of our differences, he looked at me like I had a penis growing out of my forehead. And with that, he turned off the light and said "I'll make reservations for Friday."


While talking to one of our other sisters the other day, she brought up the subject of babyproofing and questioned how much of it we really did. Her daughter is 15 months old and is getting to the stage where the notion of getting into stuff holds more interest for her. I thought about it briefly and realized we really didn't do a whole lot of babyproofing at ALL. For ANY of our kids. And they're STILL ALIVE...imagine that!

Go into any major "variety" store and you'll find an entire section devoted to babyproofing your home. Fridge locks, toilet locks, cabinet locks, drawer locks, doorknob covers, door chime alarms, outlet covers, or you can go one step further and completely replace ALL of your outlets with fancy slide-them-over-to-the-side-to-plug-crap-in ones...yikes. The babyproofing industry is a money maker, that is for sure. But they didn't make a killing from me. I will admit to doing the bare minimum when it came to babyproofing. We do have outlet covers and that's about it. I looked at all of the screws that came in the package of cabinet locks and it just looked far too complicated so I moved potentially hazardous chemicals elsewhere. I don't keep anything poisonous in my fridge so I saw no reason for a fridge lock (although it might keep ME out of there...not an altogether bad idea) My kids have never been big fans of the toilet during toddlerhood (meaning they crapped in the tub) so toilet locks weren't needed. We did try drawer locks in our apartment when our oldest was a baby but we got rid of them for two reasons: #1: they pissed us off, those suckers can be hard to open (aka: parentproof) and #2: anyone who knows us and our kids knows that we don't produce the tallest children in the world so by the time she could reach the drawers she didn't care what was in them anyway making the locks unnecessary. Does this make me a bad mom? I'm not's not like I go out of my way to make dangerous things accessible to my kids, but we also haven't wrapped our kids in bubble wrap and then put them in a bubble for good measure. I don't keep my Ginsu knife collection in the baby's closet, although the hedge trimmer would fit in my son's toybox it doesn't seem like the best spot, and the paint thinner in our oldest's room may start to produce unpleasant fumes after a while.

There are companies out there who will come to your home to babyproof for you. You can PAY someone to do this for you. Really???? Shit, I'll do it right now...for FREE...get the Windex away from the Cheerios, move the kitchen shears away from the sippy cups, don't keep the baby formula and the Comet on the same shelf, it's best to keep power tools on a high shelf in the garage, knives and other sharp objects out of reach is always a good idea...etc, etc. There are BOOKS and VIDEOS that you can buy. Seriously??? WOW...just WOW. Maybe I'm just lazy, maybe I'm just cheap, but I guess some of those things in the books and videos are common sense to me. For those of you about to embark on the parenting journey for the first time, I implore you to save your are some tips on parenting and baby safety from the Daily Epidural for you:

HMADD - A startling disorder

It is confirmed (not by a licensed medical official). I have HMADD. I am not a genius, but I do frequent medical websites. And even though it is not listed as a disorder, I know I have it. I suffer from Home-Makers Attention Deficit Disorder. It is an ugly disease and I am thinking about starting a support group, but I can't focus long enough to actually do it. I have had it for awhile. I think it is genetic. My mom has it. My sisters have it. Not sure if it is contagious, but some of my neighbors have it too. It is like Herpes. I don't think you can get rid of it. I have tried. Take this for example; I brought something into my bedroom to put away. Our office is a room off of our bedroom. The computer looked at me, I looked at it. Before I know it, I have pissed away an hour checking emails...all because I came to put something away in the near vicinity. But it's not just that the computer is a distraction from a less desirable task. It is that I cannot focus. I have the attention span of a fruit fly on pure fructose. I go to put away laundry, and I end up trying on the shorts I was thinking about wearing when it hits 80 degrees. The button pops off, so the next thing I know, we are driving to WalMart to buy a needle and thread. While at WalMart, I see that potting soil is on sale. So I buy some dirt, pansies and a trowel. When I get home, I start to pot my new flowers. I spilled some dirt in my husband's precious sanctuary (aka garage) so I go into the house to get some paper towels and the dust vac. Then I notice that the charger to the dust vac is missing. I instantly suspect the 7 year old. So I go to his bedroom where I find his drawers spilling open their contents (my huge pet peeve). So I start reorganizing his drawers just enough so I can shut them. Some of the clothes in the room are dirty, so I head to the laundry room...where I'm struck with a lightning rod of brain activity "Ahh yes....this is where I began about three hours prior." But now I have started and left a minimum of 4 projects. I have been moving and working all day, but now the laundry is still undone, I have a pair of unwearable shorts, a new spool of thread, 12 plants, three pots, dirt on the garage floor, a dead dust vac and a half-organized child's room. Shoot me now. I feel like I am on the house cleaning tread mill...and neither I nor the house look any better. My home-making life sounds like the book "If you Give a Pig a Pancake". That author wrote a whole series about cute animals with ADD, and she made millions off of it. Millions! Filthy, lucky bitch. She basically took my life, made me into a pancake loving pig and now she's living the good life. Well, I am not enamored with my inability to hold onto a task for more than three seconds (but pancakes do sound pretty damn good right now....I wonder if I have syrup?) DAMN IT! I can already tell you, I will head down to the kitchen to make breakfast, but on my way, I will see that elusive sock to the unmatched pair that I have been looking for. The other one has been sitting on top of my washing machine waiting for its match. So I will take the sock to the laundry room where I see the still unfolded pile of clothes. So I will start folding the clothes. Then the kids will wake up and need to get dressed. But they won't want any of the clothes that I just folded so we will find other clothes (in their half-organized drawers) and by then it will be too late to make pancakes. So we will have to have cold cereal. But I still want pancakes. And guess what? I am out of syrup. So we will have to go to the grocery store where I will be enticed with the sales ad about the salmon for sale, so I will mentally plan and buy all of the items for a great grilled salmon dinner. And when I get home, I will realize I forgot the damn syrup!!

All alone in the world...and loving every minute of it

On Saturday I was texting back and forth with a friend and in one of the messages I commented that I was at Walmart...ALONE (yes, that part was really all in caps). She texted back that it's sad when that is our idea of good time. God that IS sad. I loathe Walmart, I detest it with nearly every fiber of my being, but on that particular day it was my only option. Sadly enough that trip was pleasurable because I WAS ALONE.

Ask any mother and she'll probably tell you that grocery shopping sucks...unless she's ALONE. Tell her to run in and out of 5 different stores, the bank, and the post office all before lunch and naptime (oh, and it's raining) and she's likely to punch you in the babymaker...unless you tell her that she can do those things ALONE.

To walk the aisles of a store solo is akin to a few days relaxing on a beach. To NOT have to take the extra fruit snacks, chips, candy bars, toys, and dollar section crap out of ones cart is like being handed a fruity cocktail complete with umbrella and cherry (that you don't have to share!) To NOT have to placate children with enough snacks to feed an army while you wrestle a toddler back into the seat of the cart is similar to laying in a lounge chair reading a mindless smut novel.

My husband will never understand why I get giddy at the thought of an hour in Target alone. He will never understand why grocery shopping without three kids in tow will leave me grinning from ear to ear. He will never understand that just the IDEA of running errands without even ONE child is enough to relax me for the next few days (or hours...who are we kidding here). Likely because he has NEVER done it, nor will he ever. If he does take anyone, he takes the easy ones. He knows nothing of shopping with three children alone, therefore he could never even begin to comprehend why the grocery store on a Saturday WITHOUT KIDS ranks right up there with a trip to the spa.

Other mothers get it. Other mothers understand. Other mothers see each other pushing carts as slowly as humanly possible through the store with little smiles on their faces, and they get it. They get the sheer bliss of getting to do it alone. They get the joy that comes from being all alone in the world...and loving every minute of it, while it lasts anyway.

Sweet baby Jackson...

They say that laughter is the best medicine. But sometimes a little prayer can't hurt. Today, we take a day off from our normal sunny, sarcastic selves and ask for prayers from all of our friends. We ask for you to take a moment to pray for a dear friend/fan and her husband as they watch over their sweet little boy, Jackson.  He was found 2 days ago in his crib unresponsive and is currently at the hospital. Little Jackson needs all the prayers and love he can get right now. Our hearts go out to him and his family. Whatever your religion, beliefs, faith...please pray for this 2 1/2 month old sweet baby boy for help and healing, and pray for Melissa, Daniel, and big brother Caden. We will be back on track next week. But for today, pray. And hug your kids a little bit tighter...

To believe is to know that
every day is a new beginning.
Is to trust that miracles happen,
and dreams really do come true.

To believe is to see angels
dancing among the clouds,
To know the wonder of a stardust sky
and the wisdom of the man in the moon.

To believe is to know the value of a nurturing heart,
The innocence of a child's eyes
and the beauty of an aging hand,
for it is through their teachings we learn to love.

To believe is to find the strength
and courage that lies within us
When it's time to pick up
the pieces and begin again.

To believe is to know
we are not alone,
That life is a gift
and this is our time to cherish it.

To believe is to know
that wonderful surprises are just
waiting to happen,
And all our hopes and dreams are within reach.

If only we believe.

A friendly letter...

Dear Parents and other spawn patrons of our local playground,

I realize that now that "spring has sprung" and all that jazz, nothing pleases any mother more than being able to take her young outdoors once again. I get that. Being cooped up all winter sucks. Putting on winter gear for months on end sucks. I too, enjoy the wonders of spring and letting my children run amuck in the great outdoors; however when I do venture out of the confines of my neighborhood and head to the nearest park, I have a few MINOR requests of you and your heathens who are also inhabiting said park:

1. GET OFF OF YOUR PHONE: Unless you are Secret Service and really need to take that incoming call from the President or are texting God himself, being on your iPhone at the park is completely unnecessary. Do you absolutely have to update your Facebook status and let all 422 of your friends know that Junior just catapulted another child from the twisty slide? I think not.

2. PUT THE BOOK/MAGAZINE DOWN: Call me crazy, but when my children are dangling precariously from jungle gym equipment several feet off of the ground, the last thing I could even consider doing is settling in with the latest issue of US Weekly. Save it for the bathroom.

3. BRING YOUR KIDS A DRINK/SNACK: I have three children, therefore I have enough sustenance for my three children. Please bring a snack for your bottom dweller so Junior can stop hovering 3 feet away drooling over my kids' fruit snacks and picking his nose. I am not a snack bar, step off...continuing to stand there is not going to endear your child to me enough to offer them food.

4. (this one is for Junior) GET THE HELL AWAY FROM MY 2 YEAR OLD: Dude, you're 6 years old and built like a brick shithouse. Hold up for 12 seconds while my toddler tries to get up those 2 stairs and then you can have your turn. If you barrel past her one more time for your turn on the bouncy bridge, I'm GOING to kick your ass.

5. (again, for Junior) TAKE TURNS YOU SELFISH LITTLE MONSTER: I've been watching you on that swing for the last 17 minutes. About 3 minutes into it you turned green, your eyes went glassy, and looked like you were going to puke so I KNOW you want off that thing, BAD. However, I have also noticed that there are 7 other children standing nearby clearly waiting for a turn so by staying on there so they don't get a turn makes me want to watch you vomit up everything you've ingested since last May. Keep on swingin' you little shit, keep on swingin'.

6. Seems pretty basic but WATCH YOUR KIDS: Seriously. Did you see your 7 year old just bodily toss a preschooler out of the way so they could get down the slide first? Hey, how about the part when your 8 year old kept climbing UP the slide before checking to see if that toddler was on his way down? And that time when your kids RAN up the steps and knocked over those 2 year olds who were also trying to get up? Funny shit when your kid who is MY size cruised past that kid on the monkey bars and knocked him down...good times. My favorite part was when your kid AND his three friends were laying full length on the short slides for a good 20 minutes, thereby rendering them completely useless to any other child. Oh wait, it got even better when the little shits rolled their eyes at me and started laughing when both I and my 5 year old asked them politely to move. Awesome. Playground equipment does not equal LARGE WOODEN BABYSITTING STRUCTURE. If that were the case I could save myself $50 for a Saturday night out with my husband and just dump my kids at the park.

Now I will be the first to admit, that parks make me a little neurotic. I break into a cold sweat and my heart rate triples when my kids ask to go to the park. Yes, the climbing and jumping and sliding and swinging all do very bad things to my blood pressure. But things would go a lot more smoothly if you and YOUR kids would take heed of my gentle suggestions. Happy Spring and if you could let me know how often you visit this particular park and when those visits will occur I'll be sure to avoid it next time and stay home.

The doctor will see you...eventually...

I was awoken early yesterday morning by the awful sound of my neighbor's dog choking up a bone. It was a deep, throaty hack that made me want to put the poor thing out of its misery. Then, as my level of consciousness improved, I realized that was not a neighbor's beloved pet, but rather my 5 year old overcome by whatever virus invaded her little body overnight. "Crap" I thought. Yes, I was obviously bummed that she was bordering on the edge of miserable, but even more cognizant of that fact that this means a visit to the doctor. I called right when the clinic opened to improve my chances of being seen as soon as possible that day. "Our earliest appointment is at 4pm. Would that work?" asked the receptionist. I wanted to reply, tongue in cheek "Do I have a choice? I would rather come in at 9am since I am out and about, my daughter is still in fairly decent spirits and the two boys don't have to be forced against their will to come with me. But yes, 4pm would work perfectly!" By the way, I called right at 7am.....and the earliest appointment that day was 4pm? Since she wasn't bleeding out of her eye sockets, I guess that put me on a different priority list that day. No biggie. She just sounds like a seal choking on three pounds of razor-sharp fish bones. No fever, but I am waiting for one of her lungs to show up on my lap at any moment. 4pm works fine. I did kindly ask to be put on a cancellation list.

So 4pm rolls around. I pick up two unsuspecting boys at school who are overcome with excitement that they didn't have to take the bus, and the unannounced arrival of mom at school obviously meant we were about to embark on a fun adventure. Their disappointment when told our real plans for the afternoon was palatable. I am pretty sure everyone in the tri-county area knew that my boys did not want to go to the doctor. That displeasure was echoed by the patient herself when she caught wind of her brothers' angst. Awesome. Three reluctant kids, at the end of a long day crammed into a doctor's office. Just awesome. When we checked in, they called our name right away. This was hopeful! Hope was dashed when the nurse lead us to the exam room and explained that the doctor was running a bit behind today. Nice. I kindly asked "What is a 'bit'?" She apologetically replied "Only about 20 minutes or so." to which my boys looked at her like she had a penis coming out of the middle of her forehead. I read the look. She must have sensed it as well. Anyone, with or without children, would have sensed it. She said "I will see what I can do." and quickly left the room before my kids could stage a bloody revolt on her. We didn't see her again for a good 15 minutes. I am not sure if the sounds reverberating from behind our closed door prompted her to come more quickly, or stay away longer, but she announced that we would be seen any minute now. In that time, I was wondering why, if they doctor was running behind schedule, would they choose to lock a mom and her three monkies on crack in a room that is no more than 32 square feet in size, with limited toys, limited books, no padded walls and no liquor. Let's face it. The toys are a breeding ground for germs. They just drum up more business for the clinic at a later date. So I pretty much ban those. The books are usually missing pages or ones that we have read the other 65 times we have been there. We had already blown through the snacks that I had brought...literally. It looked like my kids took their baggies of goldfish, smashed them into bits and sprinkled them on the floor. There was a fight over the ONE extra chair that was in there. They took turns spinning on the doctor of these spins resulted in the 7 year old being thrown off head first into the wall and careening onto the floor. My only thought was that if he needed medical attention, we were at least in the right spot. And maybe a bleeding or unconscious child might actually bring a doctor to our room. Imagine that. Then the exam gloves kept them busy for a few minutes. I didn't even stop them from blowing them up with air and putting them on their heads, rooster-style. Because by that time, it was entertaining for me too. "No, you cannot lay on the table. No, you cannot use the stethoscope...or the eye flashlight....or the ear thingy. No, stay out of the drawers...I don't KNOW when the doctor is coming. Yes it will still be light out when we get home (I HOPE!) .Yes, I know your brother just touched you. We are in a room the size of a volkswagen, he can't help it." And on and on. In the time I had to think and reflect, I came to the conclusion that there are tiny video cameras in each exam room. They office staff monitor these cameras and let the doctors know which room of patients is about to implode (and I am sure they are extremely entertained at the same time) When the doctor finally got to our room, she was greeted by one child spread human X-style on the floor in a puddle of goldfish snack cracker crumbs, another with one arm through each of the pelvic exam feet stirrups pretending he was in jail, and the sick one sprawled across my lap and spilling over into the extra chair. The look on her face read "Had I only known, I would have ordered tranquilizers." And in two minutes, she was gone. Just like that. I was left with the carnage of a 35 minute wait with three kids in a room smaller than my closet and a prescription. We cleaned what we could and left with three tired and crabby kids. When offered stickers, I think they shot the nurse such and evil glance, that she went right to the campus chapel and prayed for their demon souls. We walked down the hall to the in-house pharmacy. I handed the attendant my prescription. She chirpily sang "Thank you! This should only take about 20 minutes!" I wanted to scream "What is it with you people and your 20 goddamn MINUTES! By 20 you clearly mean 30 or more, so why don't you just say 'Ma'am, we understand that this is the last place on earth you would rather be with three children, because we have nothing here to occupy or entertain them, but we get a kick out of watching you go all Mommy Dearest on them while trying to keep your cool in public, so even though we have your prescription ready, were going to make you wait to see what your breaking point is' " She apparently read my mind. She sheepishly replied with "Or, we are open until 8. You can come back and pick it up." Ya think?

GPS can kiss my...

If you recall, last week I mentioned my daughter's upcoming state tournament for Destination Imagination. Thankfully, that phase of 3rd grade is now done and over with (don't even get me started on how she cried that it was over and how much she wants to do it again next year...shit.) Saturday morning dawned sunny and beautiful as I packed my heathens into the car for the road trip. Another mom and I decided it would be a good idea to caravan up there we meet up at a local gas station, get good and coffeed up (which would turn out to be a mistake of ginormous proportions) and head on our merry way.

Anyone who has ever had a child involved in ANY kind of tournament/competition etc knows that there are specific times involved. You can't just show up whenever you feel like it, things wouldn't run very smoothly if everyone slept in and showed up at noon. So like any other organized event, we KNEW we had to get there at a certain time. Now, both this mother and I had printed copies of directions that our friends at Mapquest had provided. We made the erroneous decision to eschew those directions in favor of relying on good ol' Mr. GPS, thinking he was more wise in the ways of directions than our friends at Mapquest. So we had left on time, made good time driving north and figured we had JUST enough time to reach our destination (well, not got to the point where we knew we'd have to haul ass from the parking lot to get there on time but still...) Mr. GPS got us into the greater Baltimore area with no more wiggle room allowed in the we're-going-to-have-to-haul-ass-from-the-parking-lot schedule, but we made it....or so we thought.

You see, the address that had originally been given to us wasn't well liked by Mr. GPS. So in contacting the fine folks at our final destination, they gave us what they thought was a much more useful address...and wouldn't ya know it? Mr. GPS liked it! He guided us there happily...through random back streets and stopped us at too many red lights to even count (which continued chipping away at our hauling ass schedule) and we ended up in the middle of a random residential area behind a 7-11 (weird considering we were supposed to be on a COLLEGE CAMPUS) We were now down to about 5 minutes until our deadline and we had NO friggin clue where we were. So not only are we lost as all get-out, I was out of juice boxes and fruit snacks, my coffee had kicked in about 45 miles earlier and I had to pee, the kids had watched Cinderella three times, the youngest had thrown 4 pacifiers at my head and was crying about a dropped "me", the other two were arguing over whose turn it was to play the DS, and the other parents who were waiting on us were calling and texting like nobody's business wondering where the hell we were. Hell. We were in hell. I went mommy dearest on my kids and told them to stop talking to mom, stop talking to each other, and watch their damn movie (luckily they all complied...even the oldest who was trying not to cry once she realized she was going to miss the first part of her tournament) so I could figure out where the hell we were and how the hell to get us the hell out of whereever we were.

The other mom exited her car, walked over to mine and basically just shook her head as if to say "Where the F are we and what do we do now?" We were completely, hopelessly lost; our GPS' were completely useless...we may as well have had these mounted on our dashboards:

Then it hit me...I had google maps on my Blackberry! YAY! Mini portable Blackberry GPS to save the day...wrong again...Now we were heading in the complete opposite direction, had to ask a friggin highway crew for directions (which now that I think about it, they may have been convicts doing community service...maybe not the best idea) but either way, they told us we had to go BACK in the direction we had just come from. Holy shit. Other mom was dangerously close to tossing her husband's GPS onto the freeway, my Blackberry was clearly of no help, and I almost cried but I had to pee so bad I was afraid I'd cry something other than tears...that's all I'll say about that.

We followed the directions of our friendly neighborhood convicts and within 20 minutes we finally, finally, finally reached our stupid friggin damn destination. What should have taken us an hour and 45 minutes took us over FOUR FREAKING HOURS. That's right, FOUR HOURS. Our poor kids were trapped in the cars with us ranting and raving, texting and talking back and forth, venting our frustrations and road rage, one was carsick all the while knowing they were missing part of their day. GPS can kiss my ass. Seriously. It does not stand for Global Positioning System, because if it did, I was positioned in the 10th circle of hell last Saturday morning. Pretty sure satellite imagery doesn't reach down there. Nope, it stands for Guess your Position Sucka or maybe God Please ShutthisstupidpieceofcrapoffbecausenowI'mhopelesslylost, how about Gigantic crappy directional Piece of Shit?  Four freaking hours people. My GPS has given me some of the most f-d up convoluted directions yet I still keep turning it on. I don't know why, technology isn't all that great. Centuries ago explorers managed just fine with a compass; granted they ran into Florida and thought it was India, but whatever. I will never use my GPS again, GPS can kiss my ass. Seriously.


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Sharing is for the weak minded‏

At breakfast, we always have a little run-through of the day: who wants what for lunch, what practices are after school, etc.etc. Today, the princess asked what she and I could do today. I replied excitedly "You have a friend coming over today! It will be super fun!". And I was genuinely excited. It is usually just the two of us home to fend for ourselves in a world of make-believe house and school. So a playmate for the day meant that I might actually get a break from the normal fun of tea parties and "restaurant". She looked at me with a furrowed brow over her bowl of Cheerios. "Well, I am NOT sharing. I mean it. Not anything." Ummmm...ok. I called her bluff. "Whatever. It will be fun. You always have fun when friends come over. We can bake cookies this afternoon too." I pulled out my trump card with that one. She loves baking and I love eating, so that project has been put by the wayside now that swimsuit season is just around the bend.

So we drop the boys at school and she and I head back home to get ready for our guest. I am bursting with excitement (ok, playing it up a little bit so that it may, by osmosis, reach her). The door bell rings. I clap my hands, she rolls her eyes. Yikes. I didn't know she possessed that skill. I thought that came with puberty. I am a rookie still I guess. So I answer the door and I hear my own voice. I must have channeled a preschool teacher strung out on Pixie Stix and Mountain Dew, because I didn't quite recognize the perkiness in my own tone. I must have REALLY been hoping for that osmosis to kick in and if not, maybe the guests wouldn't notice Eeyore sitting on the couch pouting. "Honey, Claire is here!!" to which my own little Miss Manners answers "How long is she staying?". We obviously have not had any formal courses in social grace. I wanted to yell "Perk up Princess. This is a play date, not a prison sentence." But I did the fake mom laugh and the "oh, she woke up on the wrong side of the bed" deal to my friend. When really, I wanted to throw her ungracious little ass back into that bed and deadbolt the door shut. But instead, I exchanged casual conversation with my friend while my sweet angel kindly glared and growled anytime the offending visitor looked in her general direction. Luckily, this did not scare off the other little girl. As I would soon come to realize, the visiting friend accepted it more as a silent challenge. Like she was saying "You don't want me here?? I'm gonna play with everything you own!..."

Now, my little girl was not outright mean to the friend, but I wouldn't necessarily call her demeanor warm and inviting either. At snack time, my daughter took the first glass of juice instead of kindly passing it to her friend and waiting for the next one. Not a big deal, right? I mean, they are preschoolers. BUT, it was a big deal when I put orange slices into a bowl for each of them and my daughter passed the bowl this time to her friend...only to announce with impeccable timing as her friend took her first bite "Remember mom when you put water in THAT bowl for the dog that ran away?" Natural instinct caused an orange to be spit onto the counter. I reassured little Claire that I gave that bowl to the dog's owners when they came to pick him up...this bowl  just looks the same. I shot a disapproving glance at the evil blonde I spawned.

At dress-up time, my little one came up wearing pretty much everything in her toy box. She looked like a 62 pound hooker that doesn't quite get the "layered look". Her friend was not-so-happily wearing a Home Depot apron and a fireman's hat. When playing babies, my daughter had 13 babies shoved into two strollers, a stuffed dog on a leash and three diaper bags. Her friend had a webkinz cat strapped into the infant carrier with the loose handle that never seems to stay upright. When playing school, my daughter wanted to be the teacher. The friend happily agreed to be the student...until the "teacher" announced upon starting school that it was naptime. I intervened every now and again trying to think of games, activities and projects that might not call a need for boundary control. But how can a 5 year old color with 8 markers at a time? Well, I didn't think it could be done, until today. Her little body also managed to take up three barstools at lunchtime. I am not sure at what point during the morning or previous evening my cherub was possessed by the devil reincarnate, but it was a stressful, ugly scene. Had I been her friend, I would have gotten in her smug little face and told her off. But like I said before, the friend brought her fire along to this fight and made a subconscious promise to touch everything my kid owned. Needless to say, it was an AWESOME day. And by awesome I clearly mean I should have taped a box of wine to my back with a direct-feed straw into my mouth, and every time I tried to speak, wine would just soothe away any frustration. It would have kept me from having that "Mommy Dearest" moment I had when we forced our smiles through gritted teeth and bid our friend farewell. I calmly shut the door and unleashed my fury. My daughter looked at me as I foamed at the mouth, wildly flailing arm and hand gestures, pointing fingers and popping veins. Thank GOD we live in the country. No one could hear. And if they could have, they would have probably run away crying as well, which was the response I got from my kid. After I let myself calm down a little, I went and found her in her room, taking out the Barbies that she hid under her bed. I wonder why??!! Anyway, I got down on her level (physically and emotionally) for a moment. With my forehead gently pressed to hers, and my arms around her, I calmly said "Honey,I know that it is not fun to share sometimes. But we want others to share with us, and it is important to treat out friends with respect and kindness as we would want to be treated when we go to their houses. Next time you can put aside some of your extra special things that you don't want to play with that day, and that is ok. And I will tell you WAY beforehand when a friend is going to come over, ok? And even though I don't like the things you do sometimes, I will always love you, ok"? She was quiet as I continued to hold her close, noses touching. She was moved with emotion. I can tell. She quietly replies, "Mommy? It looks like you have a one really big eye in the middle of your head."

F-ing awesome. I am glad that my teaching moment stuck. I rock. Parent of the Year? Hell yes. Where is the trophy.

At night, I fell into bed to enjoy my personal pint of Haagen Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip that I had been salivating over all day. I earned it, after all. I just about crapped myself when my husband walked into the room with an extra spoon. Yep, I said EXTRA spoon. I wonder what that is for??.....Oh HELL NO! I am NOT sharing. And I mean it.

Food fight!

My husband and I are not excessively wealthy by any stretch of the imagination (especially since yours truly is gainfully unemployed) but our income provides a nice home, reliable cars, bills are paid on time, and we are able to keep food on the table. But you would never know that last part if you could be in my home at any meal/snack time. My children constantly seem to be "starving" and will fight over every last morsel in the house to the death. Not even kidding.

I would be willing to hazard a guess that a child shuffles their way into the kitchen, sapped of all of their strength to whine at my feet "I'm huuuunnnnnnggggrrrrryyyyyyy" no fewer than a dozen times a day. And it LITERALLY happens at my feet, as they collapse into a puddle of child on the kitchen floor. REALLY???? You're so hungry you can't even stand? You can barely move? I call bullshit because the second I wave a package of fruit snacks under your nose like smelling salts you'll be up and at 'em in no time...just the IDEA of eating revives my kids. And the others can sense a snack being distributed. I've even had one of my kids come bounding up the deck stairs and into the kitchen completely breathless after having hauled ass from 2 streets over to ask "Are we having a snack??" Upon distribution of said snack, I have to be VERY careful in how it's done. If one gets a different package of fruit snacks, or a bigger orange, or 12 pretzels unlike the 14 the sibling has...I'm screwed. They WILL fight over food. They will seriously count each other's portion sizes to ensure fairness and equal distribution.

I cannot tell you how many times they have almost gone to blows over who gets the last strawberry...or what is deemed the "best" piece of pizza...interesting since it's a big ass circle cut into relatively equal pieces. Heaven help me if the only bread left in the house is the "butt" piece and one "normal" piece. I've been known to lie my ass off and say we're out of bread to avoid WWIII breaking out in my kitchen because no one wants the butt. Does it taste the same? Yep, but that doesn't matter. Like I said, my children are in no danger whatsoever of becoming starving anytime in the near future, but if a sibling is even anywhere NEAR the last granola bar or has even thought about a granola bar in the past 24 hours, watch out. Even if they are not hungry or thirsty they will take every last crumb or drop to avoid having to share. My pantry is stocked plentifully, there is always SOMETHING in the house to eat (despite the many complaints stating "there is nothing to eat") yet if you were to listen to my children, the cupboards are bare and we may as well just unplug the fridge since it's sitting there empty.

My sister and I had a conversation about this the other day and apparently this is a recurring issue in both of our homes as our children have started to throw our words back at us when we chastise them for fighting over food like packs of wild dogs. As soon as either of us start to get worked up over this "survival of the fittest" bullshit, they will roll their eyes and tell us they are well aware of starving children in Africa and kids in Haiti who don't even have a house anymore. I guess we've said it a few times? But it's painfully clear that it's not getting through because just this morning 2 of mine were literally playing tug-of-war over the last package of oatmeal (apparently THE last one in the world...who knew?) I'm sure you can see how that one ended...said package exploded in the fray and I told them they can either quietly and peacefully find something else to eat or I'd just sprinkle water on the mess on the floor, hand them each a spoon and may the best man win. Neither said a word and the oldest made them both some toast...she even took the butt piece.

I love this outfit!!...So I bought one for each of you...

I just uploaded pictures from this past weekend. When I was revisiting the pictures of my kids in the typical "stand in front of the fireplace" holiday picture pose, I couldn't help but recognize their expressions. Not that I have seen it before on their faces, but I recognized the expression from my youth....on my face and on those of my siblings. It is unmistakable. And that familiar expression usually only shows itself on holidays in early adolescence. It is the expression that, wait...SCREAMS "I can't believe she f-cking made me wear this, I can't believe that THEY are wearing the same thing, and now she is documenting it forever with a f-cking picture. Shit." Does this sound familiar? And I swore once I had kids, I would never put them through the same pain and shame. Look at me now.
Can it be considered child abuse to force your children to wear matching clothes? A point that I think is definitely debatable. When solving crimes, maybe psychologists should look at old family photos. Was Charles Manson required to wear matching lederhosen with his brother at Christmas? Did Jeffery Dahmer's brother have the same sweater vest at Easter?....this philosophy may not be too far off. Most of us buck up and move on much better than that. There were so many pictures of my 5 siblings and I dressed damn near identical on every holiday from Easter, 4th of July through Christmas. We looked like the damn Von Trapp family from Sound of Music....except we can't sing. Sorry mom. I clearly recall the Easter where we all....yes, all 8 of us wore black and white polka-dots. I had thought dad to be a stronger man. He was smart. Chose his battles. And we all looked like damn dalmatians filing into church. And mom's master fashion plan was vindicated by all of the other moms, grandma's and color-blind attendees with their approving "Aren't they cute?" comments...while the 7 of us sunk further down into our seats. But what a great photo op. And now, here I sit, admiring the image of my three little ones in a similar state. And I am the proud mom.
Let me clarify that the outfits were not EXACTLY matching. That would be torture. It is bad enough, or so says my 11 year old, that he has to even somewhat resemble his 7 year old brother. So my kids COORDINATE. There is a big difference. I have gotten past buying the same sweater in different sizes. Especially now that there is a female in the mix. I don't like a hodge podge of "this and that outfits" that look like a random group of shoppers at WalMart. But I understand how the super matchy-matchy staged Scrapbookers dream photo could conjure up cold sweats for some, the need for therapy in others.

As a child, the pending holidays made me nervous with anticipation as the smoke came from the furry that mom's sewing machine created. As a mom, I plan for days (ok...weeks) beforehand so that my kids don't clash in their pictures. And it is cute...for the snippet in time that the camera captures. The bitching and moaning as they get dressed, the forced fake smile in front of the fireplace and as they beg to get undressed afterwards is somewhat daunting. And I get it. I have been there. Cute only to a certain age I think. My mom has a whole photo book of those images. And I have a painfully vivid memory of that feeling....that sickened, heavy-chested feeling when in my peripheral vision I caught a glimpse fashion clone. And GOD WILLING PLEASE DON'T LET ME RUN INTO SOMEONE I KNOW!!! Does this look familiar to you? If so, I am sorry. Truly, truly sorry.

Destination Liquor Cabinet

I am admittedly a Type A personality. I pretend that I "work well with others" but that's a load of crap. As far as I can tell, if there is something that needs to be done I can do it better than anyone else. It is VERY VERY VERY difficult for me to sit back and let others do what I clearly think I should be doing. But alas, in my old age, I'd like to think I'm getting better...maybe.

I spent the majority of my day yesterday supervising my oldest's "Destination Imagination" team. They were meeting at our house to put the finishing touches on their challenge/project/nightmare for the state tournament which is coming up on Saturday. Simple enough, right? Nope. Wrong, so very, very wrong. For those of you who are unfamiliar with DI, it is the type A, anal retentive, do-things-my-way parent's worst nightmare. Seriously. DI is to be 'hands-off' for parents and other adults, you can literally do cannot make suggestions, you are not even supposed to TOUCH a single damn thing. It is called interference and you better believe if you try to step in, you will have an 8 year old telling you off. So I've got 5 kids in my driveway armed with a big ass cardboard box, enough newspaper to line every bird cage in America, and bottles upon bottles of Mod Podge and tempera paint...and there is not a damn thing I can do but watch the nightmare unfold.

I am that mom who gets all excited when projects come home...I instantly see visions in my head of what it will look like, which craft supply I get to bust out, and the best way to make it look like my 8 year old actually did it. Now don't get me wrong, she does do most of the work...but I will fully admit that I offer up a good deal of "advice" and have a bit of influence in how the final product turns out. Yes, I'm a teacher, shame on me. So when I'm facing 5 kids and a shit load of craft supplies and I'm not allowed to do ANYTHING???? That sucks. A lot. I'm pretty sure that in the 4 1/2 hours these kids were at my house my blood pressure shot up to unhealthy levels and I drew blood from digging my nails into my palms. Oh and if you're wondering, I DID damn near bite my own tongue off from keeping myself from speaking. Sure I did my job of keeping the kids on track, they got their stuff done (and rode every bike/scooter/vehicle in my garage, colored with sidewalk chalk, blew bubbles, jumped rope, laid on the driveway and whined, fought, bickered, argued, ran in circles, spilled an entire bottle of aforementioned Mod Podge in my driveway, fought some more, rolled eyes, played tag, chased the neighbor's cat, and finished off with a water fight) but they got their shit done. And through it all I said nothing.

I said nothing about the fact that the paint job on their box looked like it had been done by my 2 year old (who ironically DIDN'T do any painting yet still somehow ended up covered in black tempera paint) I said nothing about how they were wrapping a prop in duct tape (it looked like they had done it while drunk and blindfolded...and it took all 5 of them to accomplish it) I said nothing about a blob looking thing that someone had purposely painted on their backdrop (actually I DID say something...the words "what the hell is that?" came bursting out before I could help myself...turns out my own child had painted it...whoops) I said nothing to the little darling who kept rolling her eyes at me, mumbling under her breath, and bitching about EVERYTHING (because apparently I was supposed to have been able to control the weather that bad) She made a huge stink about doing something as basic as ROLLING NEWSPAPER. Apparently it is an art and one that she 'sucks at' therefore rendering her completely unable to complete this task. Ever wanted to see if you can strangle someone using ONLY newspaper? I have...but alas, I was not even allowed to touch it. Probably for the best.

I was exhausted by the time the last child was picked up. Thankfully they were polite and well behaved (other than the nasty little eye-rolling one and the few fights I had to break up) and they were proud of what they had accomplished and piss-themselves-excited when I finally let them turn on the hose. They got their job done, they are ready for state, and I was so beyond ready for copius amounts of vodka. This is where I give props to the other mom who has done the bulk of the work for this...she has hosted these kids at her house numerous times and until now I HAD NO IDEA HOW BADLY IT F-ING SUCKED. I've always joked that she deserves a few beers...bullshit, this woman deserves a lifetime supply if not at least a keg. But that was painful. I'm not cut out for supervising projects in which I have no say and can do nothing. And I am not the least bit ashamed to admit that.

April Fool's Hangover....

It is a late post today...did you think it was an April Fool's Hangover?? That is what I have....April Fools Day dates back to some crazy antics in the 1500s, and has been a world-wide phenomenon ever since.  This is a day that people either love or hate.  Even national publications, tv stations and government officials get in on it (no, I do not believe the current presidency is a drawn-out practical joke).  A few years back, Taco Bell took out a full page ad in the New York Times stating that they had in fact purchased the historic Liberty Bell to help reduce the national debt and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. When asked about it in an interview, a spokesman for the Historical Society stated that "Yes, it is something we are trying.  We have also renamed it the Lincoln Mercury Memorial"...that is funny shit! It is a day that has unsuspecting people looking like fools.  It has others on edge, watching their backs and at the mercy of the jokester.

I went downstairs to make coffee yesterday morning, and was wondering why my three kids were sitting at the counter so eagerly awaiting breakfast. I am usually dragging any combination of them out of bed, begging them to get dressed and still 15 minutes later beckoning them to come down and eat. But today, I was met by three anxious faces. The youngest is not a master of subtleties, but I chalked it up to the early hour and the fact that I had not had any coffee yet when I unsuspectingly turned on the kitchen sink and was dumbfounded by the deluge of cold water that was drenching my from the chest down. WHAT THE HELL!??!! Fits of laughter overcame my children. One fell off of his barstool, rolling onto the floor in a very self-congratulatory manner. They got me. Dammit. It is April Fool's Day. A mother's and teacher's worst nightmare. I used to love April Fools Day as a kid....I re-set my brother's alarm clock once for 2 hours earlier than he needed to get up. Then I laid quietly in my warm bed when I listened to him shuffle to the shower. I was so pleased with myself, until my dad, wondering what the hell was going on, tipped off my brother that it was 4am....go back to bed. I peaked through the crack of my bedroom door, thereby implicating myself as the guilty party. I was sure he was going to pound me. But I felt such pride in my prank. And the list of possible pranks goes on and on. I am not a self-proclaimed master. Not at all. And I am the one that loves a good prank, unless I am the victim. So this particular morning, sans coffee, I was not pleased. I played it off though, because my kids had such a sense of pride. But I was onto them now. No one else was going to get me. But the morning continued and they persisted "Mom, the toast is burning....APRIL FOOLS!! Mom, school called and it is cancelled today....APRIL FOOLS!! Mom, is that a spider on your shirt....APRIL FOOLS!" And so on and so on. Harmless really, and all in good fun. I got in a few of my own. I twisted apart the oreos I put in their lunch and inserted little notes that said "HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY - LOVE MOM" I guess had they unknowingly eaten the note, thereby gagging and hacking up their lunch, the joke would have been on the janitor more than the kids, but by the time I actually thought the whole thing through, they were already at school. So I got them, which only spurred more lame attempts at "getting me" when they got home. But I love their energy and attempts at creativity. But believe me, I have seen it when my fellow blogger called me and said that her 8 year old emerged from the bedroom asking for a roll of saran wrap, I told her I doubt it is because she couldn't finish the casserole she was eating in her beroom....

Here is to the continued love of laughter, spurts of creativity and good old fashioned joy brought on by all jokesters out there. Why is there such entertainment in watching someone else make a complete fool out of themselves? Ashton Kutcher figured out a way to make millions out of it. Judging by my kids antics, they have a lot to learn though. Keep on keeping on :)

Have a Wonderful Easter Weekend from your friends at the Daily Epidural!

Who is your "person"?

Do you have a "person"? A Christina to your Meredith? A Rachel to your Monica? You know, the one you can go to with anything, talk to about anything, or even not have to say anything at all to and yet they KNOW? That person. I have found lately that I am fortunate enough to have more than one "person". My people, if you will.

Everyone should have a person. And your spouse doesn't count. Sure, you should be comfortable talking to your spouse about damn near everything but in your girl arsenal you should have someone else on stand-by. That someone else who wants to hear all of the things your spouse doesn't; for example, my sisters know far more about the weird goings-on with my body that my husband probably doesn't EVER want to hear. That someone who gets to hear all of the things ABOUT your spouse in much-needed venting sessions. That someone who would shake off the fog of sleep to take a phone call from you at 3 am because you can't sleep and need to talk. You are lucky to have that someone.

Friendship can be tricky as we get older, what usually ends up happening is our circle of friends narrows. And that is actually a GOOD thing. When we're younger, we think we need to have a whole gaggle of "someones". And that's ok too. Those people served their purpose during that time in your life, just because your paths separated doesn't necessarily make them a bad friend (although I'm sure we ALL have our fair share of toxic friends we have rid ourselves of). They were around when you needed them, and as your needs have changed, so has your circle. My circle didn't always include my mom or my sisters. But now, they comprise the majority of my circle, they are my people...with a select few thrown in the mix, but THEY are my sisters too. They are the ones I can go to, the ones I can talk to when I can't or don't want to talk to my husband. They are my Monica, my Christina, my get the idea. I need them, I'd like to think they need me. I hope you have a "person", every girl needs at least one. Go call/email/text your person right now and just say THANK YOU for being my person.