Friday, February 26, 2010

"If you don't have anything nice to say...."

"....Don't say anything at all." Lately, if I were to live by that rule, I would have to become a mute.

I'm a summer baby. I love warm weather, long days, and fun with friends in the great outdoors. The dead of winter brings out the worst in me. The devil knows the way to my heart is to combine frigid temps and five children who are all getting over various viruses. Mix sleepless nights in with cabin fever and I become a screaming banshee.

Patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, virtues are HARD for me.

At the end of the day, when the house is finally quiet, I ponder some of life's tough questions... How does one learn that he is Olympic Curling material? Will Simon really retire after this season of American Idol? How does my house get so messy in one day? Then, after I pick the house up a little and turn off the tv, I force these shallow and meaningless thoughts out, and let the truly hard ones in.... How are my children going to remember ME? My parenting? How I handled cabin fever and RSV + stomach viruses + sleepless nights? What haunts me is the fact that they won't remember having RSV, stomach viruses or keeping me awake all night. All they will remember is my tone, my screeching about toys always being in the floor, and how I threw the same type of hissy fits that I fussed at them to quit.

With the promise of March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb, I too am making a promise.... To quit taking these sweet moments for granted. To freeze them just this way in my memory and appreciate each day for what it holds. 'Cause even "stuper-huros" need a do-over from time to time.

While living on testosterone-overload may try my patience... also fills my heart with joy and love.
And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

-Ephesians 3:19-21

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Overachievers in our own right.

Today was one of those days... The Storm had me in tears before 10 am. It was as if they all woke up and plotted out their day with all the ways to make me crazy, before they ever left their bedroom. Those boys need to be outside. Spring-like weather needs to hurry up and get here... to stay.

Divine intervention occurred when one of my oldest and dearest friends called to say she was bringing cupcakes over this afternoon for all of our kids. I love that my girlfriends call me up and say, "Hey, I'm coming over, and I called the rest of the gang. We'll be there at 3:00. Oh, and we're bringing the food. See ya." God couldn't have sent me a better group of friends. I have the best gal pals in the world. They know my house will be a mess. They know my boys will probably cause some trouble. But yet, they still love me... and bring me food.

The three girls that showed up today had no idea just how much I needed them this afternoon. Love, laughter, and sunshine can do wonders for a Mom who has thrown one too many pity parties lately. Though they were here only a short while, I felt renewed... rejuvenated... refreshed... you get the picture. I was ready to tackle the rest of the day. Suddenly, my children seemed cute and funny to me again, the laundry pile didn't seem quite as high, and the thought of cooking dinner didn't make me roll my eyes.

Girlfriends like these make life so much more colorful.
I love you, girls!

Another thing I love about my girls is just how competitive we are... in a healthy way. In a world where women are known to be overly judgemental and down right vicious towards one another, I'm thankful to have found a group of friends who are definitely "toppers" but not in the way one might suspect.

Here's how a typical conversation might go--

Girlfriend 1: "My kids have had frozen pizza three nights in a row."
Girlfriend 2: "So. Mine have eaten fish sticks for lunch every day this week."
Girlfriend 3: "Yeah, well, I can't remember the last time we had a fresh vegetable... I mean, why go to the trouble when they aren't going to eat them anyway??"
Girlfriend 4: "I just wish my kids would eat something other than chicken nuggets."

Or we may be heard "bragging" about our workout routines....

GF 1: "I have got to hit the treadmill tomorrow. I ate a red-velvet cupcake for breakfast this morning."
GF 2: "I haven't been on my treadmill since before I got pregnant... for the first time.... six years ago. Now we just use ours as a giant clothes rack."
GF 3: "I stuck a workout dvd in the other day, but only because I like the upbeat music."
GF 4: "My husband said the front desk clerk at the gym asked if he wanted to just cancel my membership."

And our version of locker room bragging is a little different from that of high school boys...

GF 1: "I really wanted to stay up and watch the rest of the Olympic ice skating last night, but I had to hurry up and fall asleep 'cause I could tell my husband was in the mood. Then this morning he was complaining about not getting any for the last week and a half."
GF 2: "Week and a half?? Shoot! We're going on a solid month!"
GF 3: "A whole month??! How in the world do you get him to leave you alone though?? I have to hurry up and grab a towel, before I even step out of the shower, then I wrap my robe as tight as I can, and pull the collar all the way up, cause if he sees any skin at all, stretch marks even, he's all 'Woo-hoo!' so I have to dart into the closet and get dressed in there!"
GF 4: "Yeah, getting out of the shower is a problem for me too. But not for him! He 'accidentally' drops his towel every time, as if that's going to get me fired up. I always pretend I hear one of the kids crying and run out as fast as I can."
GF 2: "Girls, girls, girls. It's really easy. What works best for me is to just keep bringing up his Mom. As soon as he gets 'the look' in his eyes, I usually mention a funny comment his Mom made during our phone conversation that morning. Or, say that his grandmother really wants us to come down for a visit soon. Works every time."

What in the world would I do without you girls?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Class of '96, you just got served!

I have a t-shirt collection that is most-impressive. Some of my old shirts go all the way back to sixth grade. Church youth group, dance-line, volleyball, basketball, softball, high school class shirts... just to name a few. These t-shirts are some of my favorite things to wear, even though they are old (sniff, sniff) because after all the years of washing, they are some of the softest and most comfortable things in my wardrobe. Granted, they don't all fit the same these days, but I still squeeze into them on a daily basis. Sad, but nearly everyday I do wear an old t-shirt and sweats, or pants with some type of drawstring. Drawstrings help me to feel better about my muffin-top. Just being honest here.
Somewhere along the way I inherited my older brother's high school t-shirts too. I'm sure I probably stole a couple of them, without his knowing, since his class was so cool and all the hottest guys were in that grade. After all, they were a whole two years older! So, wearing a shirt that said "Class of '96" made me super cool, plus when I wore the shirt to places no one knew me, they might think I was 16 instead of 14... and then I could be even cooler.... like, ice cold-- cool. Funny how time changes things... Now when I wear those shirts I'm all, "Oh, NO! This is my OLDER brother's shirt!! I didn't graduate until '98!" And then I usually sing to myself, "We got spirit! We are great! We're the class of '98!" (Okay, so it's not always just to myself.)
This morning I was proudly donning a shirt compliments of '96... Her Highness was eating her breakfast, and read my shirt aloud...
"Dare to be different.... Class of '96... Need we say more?..... WHAT IN THE WORLD, Momma? What does your shirt mean??"
I tried to give a brief synopsis on class shirts, and that the Class of '96 was trying to make a bold statement. Her Highness was not impressed. So, I went on to explain that this was her Uncle Nick's shirt and how cool I thought I was for wearing it back in the day... how much fun I had playing ball with his girl classmates, and how I had crushes on some of the boys in his grade, only because they were older. "Time flies, and before you know it, you'll be in high school thinking you are too cool for school too."
Her response: "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Mom, you need new clothes."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ramblings of a Mommy-Drama Queen

My eyes are beginning to cross a little. Seriously. I have a lazy eye when I get tired. Like, really tired. And it shows up in pictures that are taken when I'm past the point of no return and desperately need a good night's sleep. No, I'm serious, it runs in our family. Sometimes I look drunk. I may or may not have just turned up a bottle of wine. Just know, that sometimes I look inebriated, and I'm totally sober. And at times, I look totally sober and well....

Thunder woke up Friday night around 10:30, sat straight up in his bed (top bunk) and puked. A ton. Oh, and he leaned over the side before he did. Vomit was dripping down the side of the bed and onto Lightning's, who fortunately had just woken up from a bad dream and moved to the couch. Since then, I keep hoping that I'm having a bad dream, and will wake any moment to find that Her Highness is late for school (again). Unfortunately, I'm having no such luck at the waking up part, since one has to go to sleep in order to wake up. Thunder continued vomiting every 30 minutes for the next 14 hours. FOURTEEN HOURS STRAIGHT. He has vomited several more times since, but nothing like those first FOURTEEN HOURS (every 30 minutes). Today is Monday, right? Okay, thought so. And yes, he's still sick. Poor baby.

I keep waiting to see which victim this horrible virus will claim next. Every time any of the other children even cough, I run towards them with a plastic bowl, hoping to catch it before it gracefully adorns our beige carpet. They all look at me like I've lost my mind, which I totally have, and say, "Back off! I was just clearing my throat!" I'm holding on tightly to the hope that Thunder ate some rancid snow during our "blizzard" on Friday morning. Sure. Even though there are a TON of stomach viruses going around right now and several of my friends have called and said that lil' Johnny was up all night puking too.... No, no, Thunder ate snow that was located too close to old dog poop and now has e-coli poisoning.... and anyone who comes near me with a different answer will get kicked in the nuts! Cause according to Her Highness, both boys and girls are capable of being kicked there.

I'm a horrible nurse too. Day one: I'm all, "Oh, sweetie! Come to my bosom!" Day two: As I scrub every square inch of space the sick person has inhibited for the last 48 hours I scream at the others who are still well, "Go back outside and stay out until I have sprayed Lysol in that room! Wait, drink some of this Lysol just in case... well, I know it says not to, and I know that it's a long shot, but just in case, let's try to drink it and maybe it will kill the germs in your stomach! Please, I'm desperate!" Day three: "Nooooo! Please don't puke any more in MY bed! Please, PUH-LEASE run to the potty! I'll give you a dollar every time you make it to the bathroom and don't puke on the rug or bed! Come on, honey! I know you can't help it. I'm sorry. But PUH-LEASE try!"

Flash Flood was up most of the night last night screaming. I believe he now has another ear infection. Which means more antibiotics to give. I can hardly remember to give Hail his everyday. He's now on round two, for an ear infection that never cleared after RSV.

I admit it. My patience runs thin when there are sick children around. I do realize in the grand scheme of things this is NOTHING compared to what others go through. I know there are some parents out there who would give anything for their children to be as healthy as mine. And I do take their health for granted. I'm just throwing a hissy fit cause I'm tired and my eye is doing the lazy thing, and I already ate the three boxes (yes, I said THREE) of Thin Mints that my sweet little neighborhood girl scout delivered on Friday. As in, three days ago. It's all that's gotten me through, people, don't judge!

I tried to hide those Thin Mints from myself. Okay, so I should have told Bert to hide them, but it wouldn't have mattered. I can sniff Thin Mints out like a Blood Hound on a coon hunt. But yet, I never hide my keys on purpose, and somehow I manage to lose them every day.

Dang it, you stupid groundhog. Where is Spring when I need it most??

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Poem for my children...

It's too cold outside, even for super heroes, to play.
I really don't mean to wish all this time away.

Sounds of wrestling, fighting and screams;
Surely this is just a mid-winter's bad dream.

Threats have been made, toys are now in the trash;
For the sins of my youth, this must be backlash.

Amoxicillin lines, four rows deep in my fridge;
Perhaps I should pack for a beach pilgrimage.

Double ear infections and green snot, I know they can't help it;
My husband just passed off a dirty diaper and I know that he smelt it.

Hot chocolate and sweaters, only fun for a short while;
Folks passing by swear someday I'll look back at all this and smile.

Laughing to keep from crying only works for so long;
Jack Daniels, where are you? I need something STRONG.

I focus on their sweetness, while watching them sleep.
Praising GOD for their health, I begin to weep.

"These moments are trying" --understatement of the year;
"Will they remember my temper-tantrums?" now becomes a huge fear.

So many sweet moments, I often neglect;
At times I treat strangers with much more respect.

Apologies are made, a tone they are delighted to hear;
Tensions in the room immediately clear.

For GOD's grace I'm so thankful, as I often fail His test.
In the future, my goal is to only try my best.

Perhaps it's a good thing, I hope my children someday see;
A perfect super mom is impossible to be.

Knowing we're all human is a quality to be found;
After all, LOVE is it what makes our world go 'round.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rebel With a Cause

Each afternoon, as I drive Her Highness home in the royal limousine (known to us commoners as a mini-van) we discuss the typical after-school topics, well, typical for Her Highness that is... Most days she chats away about the oh-so-important details of classmate's new hairstyles, which boys got sent to time-out, and who broke the latest jump-rope record during PE.

Sometimes I have to interrupt, to learn about the areas in which I am actually concerned, such as: how she did on her spelling test; did she finish her book report in class; and did she eat her lunch or talk the entire time and stuff the left-overs back into her lunch box, as she does most days.

Yesterday, Her Highness spilled a little secret she had been keeping since kindergarten. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Did you have time to eat today, or did you talk too much again?
Her Highness: Yes ma'am.
Me: But did you actually eat the whole thing? Sandwich and all?
Her Highness, with her chocolate brown eyes wide and sparkling and HUGE smile, like she was about to bust if she didn't get this next sentence out... finally... after a whole year and a half of keeping it from me: Momma, I'm gonna tell you something, now. I ate my dessert FIRST. You know I LOVE brownies! So, I did. I ate it first.
Me: You little sneak! You know you're supposed to eat your sandwich and fruit before you eat your dessert!
Her Highness: Well, Momma there's more. I've always done that. Since way back in kindergarten. Always eat my sweet stuff FIRST, then the other... if I have time.

She was still grinning, ear to ear, and so proud that she had lived a double life all that time. Good little rule-follower in every other area of her life, except this one. Truth be told, I figured she did. Don't most kids?? But, I couldn't spoil her fun, or let her know that I didn't really mind. So, I continued...

Me: You crazy girl! Why do you do that?
Her Highness: I don't know... I guess 'cause I'm a rebel.
Her eyebrows went up with the word "rebel" denoting her seriousness.
Me: Yeah, that's you. Hey, what does rebel mean, anyway?
Her Highness: I'm not exactly sure. Maybe like, someone who loves sweets?

If sneaking sweets before lunch is as bad as it gets, I'll take it.

Our little rebel thought this (wishful) glimpse into her future was just hilarious... Her Daddy? Not so much.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hey Babe, what's for lunch?

Bert has asked me this question nearly every day for 8 1/2 years. Every. Single. Day. Do you know how many times I have ever cooked LUNCH during those 8 1/2 years?? Zero. Zilch. Nada.
But yet, he still calls and asks. Wishful thinking maybe.

Bert's a great husband and wonderful Father, so I hate to pick on him too much.
He has become a blankie of sorts to Hail, who never got attached to anything but a passie (and lately a bottle). A while back, Hail decided that he loved to squeeze Bert's ear lobes when he was sleepy. He can't fall asleep at night without them. And, that's how we know he's ready for a nap during the day, he starts squeezing the ear lobes of anyone near by. For some reason though, he mostly prefers Bert's and will ask for him if he's not home. "I'm sweepy. Where Daddy go?"

Bert's also the Head of the Bath Department. Not an easy task at our house. We tag-team this aerobic exercise every night-- while Bert bathes all five kids, I lay out their pj's and get ready to dress them. It's much like a bath time assembly line of sorts.

It doesn't really bother me that he calls and asks about lunch every day. I just don't understand why he thinks I'm suddenly going to prepare a 3 course meal, when I've never once done it.

So today when I got that phone call, as Bert drove home for lunch, I laughed as I looked around the house and thought about our morning. I was still in my pajamas, even though I had a spit-up stain on my shoulder. Only two of the four boys were dressed, one of which still in his pj's. Hail was totally naked and Lightning was in his undies. It's a rainy, cold day. There are 18 loads of laundry to be folded, and at least 17 waiting to be washed. Thunder wet his bed last night, so those sheets and blankets are piled up in the hallway, marked for urgent care. There's at least half a box of Cheerios spilled in the dinning room, along with an empty bag of Doritos and box of Cheeze-its. All the couch cushions are piled up in the middle of the living room amongst the super hero figurines and other toys and books. The bottom rack of the dishwasher had been stolen from its place, and used as a "jail" for the bad guys that the super heroes were chasing after. Cake crumbs from the birthday party we attended last night were scattered all over the kitchen table.

So today when my phone rang, I didn't even give him the chance... I answered the phone,
"Hey Babe, what's for lunch?"