Monday, October 29, 2007

The Way of All Drinking Glasses

We don't have a good track record with drinking glasses in this house. It is a given that we will eventually end up with no glasses in the house. We usually have to scrounge around for something to drink in and end up using the coffee cups. At least twice a year, I have to buy new glasses. There are various reasons why it ends up this way. The biggest reason is probably me since the boys don't even drink from them and use plastic cups instead. I have a reputation in our home as being a total clutz. Either my elbow or my fingers come in contact with the unsuspecting object and bam! I end up sweeping the floor. The scenario starts out with me cleaning up the kitchen. As I see the glass begin to fall to the floor, everything slows down to slow motion. My eyes widen, my mouth opens, and out comes a wail. "Noooooo!" is followed by a growl and a banging of the fists on the kitchen counter. I get very upset with myself and the boys know by now to scatter in all directions when that happens. Another way the glasses break is when they are left in the sink and someone will throw something on top of it. Then I am left with cleaning up broken glass in the sink. This weekend, I went to the store to get new drinking glasses. I had procrastinated on this, but after using coffee cups at dinner for the umpteenth time, I was finally fed up. I came home after my trip to the store and collapsed on the couch. I did my ordering of the unloading of the van from there like Queen Bee on her throne. Things were going well when all of a sudden I heard a crash outside. Aidan had seen what happened and came immediately to tell me that Caleb dropped something. I knew what it was. The dang glasses hadn't even gotten in the house without one of them coming to its end. I know that these new glasses will eventually find their end in the trash can. It seems to be tradition.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Little Sick Boy

Whenever our family goes out in public, we have to keep our fingers crossed. There is always a virus laying in wait for our poor unsuspecting children. This past week, four of us were laid low with the flu. For some odd reason, my husband and Caleb were happily saved from this. My other boys and myself included were not so lucky. My little imp was the first to come down with it and passed it on to me. I couldn't understand how we got sick when there was no apparent sickness going around where we were. As I'm hanging over the toilet wanting to die, I wanted to kill whoever had gone out in public with this virus. Anyway, the same night I received my gift, Justin proceeded to throw up on the couch and then the carpet before he made his way to the bathroom. The next day, as is usually the case, he was very stubborn and refused to sleep it off. By the time evening rolled around, Justin's eyes were bloodshot and droopy. In my flu-induced state, I told him to go to bed. He went downstairs to the basement instead. Since I was too ill to get up and enforce my word, I didn't realize what happened until later. My husband came upstairs to tell me that Justin had gotten his blanket, crawled into a toy bin that was bigger than him, pulled the lid over, and went to sleep. My husband lifted the lid to see a little boy curled up inside dead to the world. The next night, Justin fell asleep on the couch in the basement. Before I stumble to my bed upstairs, I reminded my husband not to forget about his son and carry him to bed before he makes his own trek up. Later that night, I hear the cries and screams of my son as he struggles up the stairs in the dark. I call to him and he climbs into bed with me. As I hold him and comfort him, he explains to me that daddy had turned out the lights with him in the basement before he collapsed on the couch in order to stay away from the sick people. The poor child went through a lot, but seems no worse for wear.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not My Favorite Holiday

My favorite channel is the Food Network. I love getting ideas on making yummy food for my family and friends. The only time that I don't really appreciate it is during Halloween. It is chock full of ideas on how to make goulish-looking food or tons of sweets. It pretty much turns my stomach regardless of my pregnancy. Turning perfectly good breadsticks into fingers with long nails, spaghetti into worms, food with eyeballs, etc., totally grosses me out. It might be fun for boys and maybe for some girls, but it will not be something I can bring myself to do. When I was a kid, my mom made green eggs and ham for fun. All she did was put green food coloring in the scrambled eggs, but I couldn't touch them. I couldn't even look at them. Normally, I don't have a weak stomach. I can change my son's dirty diaper without one gag. Food is different for me. It should be something beautiful to look at, delightful to smell, and mouth-watering. Otherwise, it goes in the trash. Also, it's always candy this and candy that. Please. They get enough candy trick-or-treating. It's bad enough that it sits in my kitchen calling my name every now and again.

There's another thing about Halloween that I don't appreciate. It's the decorations. Pictures of ghosts, skeletons, bats, and haunted houses just don't do it for me. I think they are ugly to put it plainly. I love autumn decorations. I love the colorful leaves, scarecrows, straw, and candles in fall scents. I'm sure my boys would love fake webs and spiders in the house, but plainly I've had enough of that already.

Last year, we decided to start letting our kids go trick-or-treating. We didn't regret it. The boys had so much fun. They loved getting the candy, but the best part was dressing up in a costume. This year, I started early looking for costumes. We looked in every store where we live. A new store popped up in the area which was especially for Halloween costumes. I had never been in that store in my life and didn't know that I would come to regret stepping foot in it. I had my boys with me and had no idea that my boys were about to be scared to death. They should have had a sign that said, "Enter at your own risk. May be too scary for little ones." As we entered the store, there was a fake graveyard with all sorts of gory, frightening scenes. The boys stood there with there mouths open taking it all in. I hurriedly told them to come along and look for costumes. As we came away, I heard, "Mom! There was a man without a head! His head was in his hands!" "Mom! There were bugs crawling all over this guy's body! They were eating him!" As we moved along the aisles, there were moans and screams coming from various speakers throughout the store. I wasn't in there long when I realized that the prices and selections were definitely a waste of my time. Right before I decided to leave, I realized that the little hand I held was shaking. I looked down at Aidan. The poor boy was so scared his whole body was shaking in fear. I immediately hustled them all out the door berating myself for my ultimate stupidity. As I put them in their car seats, Aidan kept saying over and over, "I scared, Mama." He didn't want to go into any store after that. I know there will be times that I make mistakes as a mother and that was a whopper. I called myself a "dead beat mom" and smacked my forehead for a while after that.

Needless to say, Halloween is not my favorite holiday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Light Bulb

Things I promised myself I would never do:

1) "discipline" my kids. I refuse to use the "s" word in case there is a weirdo out there ready to call the cops on me. I can say, "Why no, officer! I would NEVER do that. Just look at my blog. I said "discipline". That means "time out". Whenever I was spanked as a kid, the only thing I could think of to say to my parents in rebellion was, "I am never going to spank MY kids when I'm a mom!" I usually got a smirk, a quirk of the brow, and an, "Oh, yeah?"

2) eat vegetables. I would come to the dinner table and most often there would be vegetables as part of our meal. It would be a low point in my day to see those vegetables. My parents were adamant about eating every bite off our plate or we weren't allowed to leave the table. Most nights, I would be the last person sitting at the table crying into my plate refusing to eat the nastiness. One day, my tortorous little brother taped me crying like a little baby on a tape recorder. When I paused to take a breath, he pushed play and everyone got to hear the playback of my bawling. While everyone started giggling, naturally I wanted to pull his hair out. Stinker.

3) wear a certain dress size that will remain nameless. Now, that's just laughable after so many babies.

4) use the TV as a babysitter. If I want to take a shower, I will. Normally, I don't let the boys watch that much TV. There are times, though, when I need to have some time to myself and that's when a movie goes in.

5) use leashes on my kids. When my husband and I were honeymooning at Walt Disney World, I noticed some parents had leashes on their kids to keep from losing them. They were attached to the part of their backs where they couldn't reach them. I sneered and said, "I would never treat my children like dogs." God forgive my stupidity. If we ever have the opportunity, the leashes will be bought and used.

It's interesting how things change when you grow up and see the light.

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Baby Shower

Bigger than some; smaller than others. Almost 36 weeks and counting. I want to shout a big thank you to all of my family and friends for the outrageously generous gifts I received for my 5th baby. This kid is already spoiled and he's not even out yet. I washed all my new baby clothes in Dreft last night and was overwhelmed with the need for him to arrive immediately. He may be two or three weeks in coming, though. I will try not to go insane with the waiting. Here are some pics of the wonderful things I got.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Fairies

My husband and I have been married for twelve years now. We have had our share of pet peeves about each other, but there is one in particular that has me chuckling lately. For years, I have had a problem with the loud buzzer or extremely loud music that awakens my husband in the dark every morning. It probably wouldn't bother me so much if he didn't press the snooze button ten times. Literally. I'm not exaggerating here. Okay, so maybe it's only five, but you get the point. Now, I do have compassion for my husband. I understand it is very difficult to get up in the dark and get ready for a job that you would like to say "shove it" to. You would think I would remember this compassion early in the morning, but when you are as jealous of your sleep as I am, that compassion flies out the window after the third slap of the snooze button. I'm sure my husband's ears are still ringing over the years of complaints coming from the other side of the bed. "Just turn it off!" was my most grumpily mumbled complaint. Lately, though, the alarm clock has had a mind of its own. There were a few times when my husband would open his eyes to the light of dawn, look over at the clock, and freak out. As he rushed into the bathroom, I would pull my big belly out of bed and iron his clothes for him. Hey, I felt sorry for the guy. He would come out of the bathroom and stop dead in his tracks at the sight of me ironing his clothes. It would make me giggle under my breath thinking I am certainly not being so predictable and keeping this man on his toes. Because of these late to work episodes and the faulty alarm clock, my husband found a different source to wake him. The first time I heard "the fairies" I slowly sat up in bed and said, "What in the world is that?!" My husband kept snoozing away and I decided not to let it bother my sleep. A couple days later, I realized it was his cell phone. It wasn't your typical alarm. It sounds like a bunch of fairies gently playing their fairy instruments announcing a new day. I teased him and said, "Your fairies are telling you to wake up, sleepy head." I definitely preferred this to the buzzing of the monster bee, but for some reason, he used the alarm clock this morning. As I was jolted awake, I mumbled, "Where are the fairies? I like the fairies better." I'm sure my husband just loved it when I called it that.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou my Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heaven's Son!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Words by Mary Elizabeth Byrne

*I love the Irish tune to this lovely hymn.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hector and Achilles

We do not have a very good track record with our pets. Our last guinea pig was ceremoniously dumped in the trash can, the pet fish was belly up when we came back from vacation in July, and the beagle puppy "mysteriously disappeared" a few months ago. The only pet we had left was Leigh and she was forever relegated to the garage after the diaretic episodes at 5 in the morning on two occasions. Now, I do my best to forget that we have an animal living in the vicinity. Growing up, my family had one animal after another in our house and it never bothered me. In fact, I was delighted as a girl would be. I never thought I would grow up to hate having animals in my home, but that turned out to be the case. I adore animals......just not in my house. There is a good reason for this non-welcoming feeling. I am the one who has to clean up after them, feed them, and listen to their noise. I already have four boys to do all that for and now I have to do that for an animal? Somehow my patience runs thin much easier and faster for something with fur. After the last pet was gone, except for the dang dog, I announced to the family that I am done. I am done with animal poop forever. I'm tired of guinea pig poop, fish poop, puppy poop, dog poop, and bird poop. Nasty creatures, birds. So, when my husband told me he wanted to get a couple of cockatiels that a lady was giving away for free, I gave him a look of disbelief and then wondered if he had a hearing problem. I do remember that I swore off pets forever and ever, but husband has a soft spot for them and feels the boys need to bond with an animal. I explained to him my problems with birds. I would be the one ending up cleaning their cage and they are noisy. I would spend a lot of time hearing "tweet, tweet", "tweet, tweet" followed by my yelling at them to shut up and give me some peace and quiet. Husband insisted that he or Nathanael would do the cleaning. I snorted in disbelief and put it out of my mind. I forgot about this conversation with my husband and went about my week as normal. Last night, I got back home with the boys from Justin's swimming lesson at around 7:15pm. I greeted my husband who was watering the plants outside, opened the front door, and stopped dead in my tracks. In my living room, were two birds huddled together in a cage. They are gray and white with yellow mohawks and they were scared to death. I came to the conclusion that I am doomed for the rest of my life to have a pet in my house at one time or another. As my husband follows the children into the house, I looked at him with narrowed eyes and said, "I'm not cleaning that cage." I'm such a sweet, little wife.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Screaming Banshee

They have a termagent for a mother. I have become increasingly irritable lately. I have difficulty sleeping and I feel pressured to get school done every day in order to take time off for this baby to finally GET HERE already. I have done a lot of yelling and that's probably why this baby won't come until he's good and ready. Who wants a mother who yells all the time? He's probably in there thinking, "Take a chill, Mom." I know all of them are thinking that while I'm screaming like a banshee. Lately, I have noticed a peculiar trait in my oldest son that has exasperated me. This week, he left a garbage bag in the garage without putting it in the garbage can. Not putting the garbage in the trash can in the garage is a big no-no in our house because the dang dog is a bad dog when it comes to trash. She had gotten into the bag and the trash was strewn all over the garage. As I am "reprimanding" him for this and telling him he has to clean up the mess, he stares at me with no emotion on his face. He gives no indication of what he is thinking although having been there I know exactly what he is thinking. At least he has the brains to keep his thoughts to himself. The kid would thrive in the military even at ten years old. Caleb, on the other hand, will look at me like I've lost my mind. Justin will become exasperated and huffily say, "Okay!" Aidan will get this scared look on his face and hurriedly say, "Sorry, Mama," after I yell at him for making another mess. When I stopped breastfeeding Aidan at a year old, there was something about myself that I noticed right away. For an entire year, I had been calm. There was hardly any yelling and our home was peaceful. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding, the screaming banshee came back. I told my husband last night that maybe this time I should breastfeed longer than I normally do just so we can keep the monster at bay. He thought that was a good idea. If I could, I would breastfeed till the kid were five years old, but I think that's just nasty, so that idea wouldn't work. Most of the time, I consider myself a calm and easy-going mother of four boys with one on the way. That one on the way, though, has given his mother quite a boost of hormonal craziness.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pet Peeves

The crack of chewing gum always drove my mother crazy. Growing up, my siblings and I learned never to crack our gum with our mother in the same room. Whenever I involuntarily cracked my gum, her head would whip around and she would have this crazy look in her eyes. "Spit it out," she would demand and would even hold out her hand if there was nothing available to dispose of the gum. The cracking of gum never really bothered me, but this past Saturday I realized that I do have my own pet peeve and it drove me nearly insane. I have realized for years now that I have a gentleman for a husband. I was thankful for this quality in him never more so than on Saturday. We went to our son's last Soccer game together this past weekend. We sat next to Loudmouth Dad. Yelling his head off was bad enough, but then the man began to spit on the ground. I've seen men do this for years. Ever since I was a teenager and saw teenage boys do this, I was completely disgusted by it. My brothers also experimented with this "manly" pasttime when I was still living with them and I would snear at them and demand they stop that disgusting habit. Spitting is disgusting to me, but when it is accompanied by tobacco, I would have a queasy sensation in my stomach. That is probably one of the reasons why I will never be able to live in West Virginia. Visiting my parents there has been an education about the men of that particular state. Every single man has a round indentation in the back pocket of his pants indicating he has a can of tobacco waiting. You hear spitting men wherever you go- the grocery store, the movies, and don't get me started on the ball games. I have not been around men who spit very often, so it was quite a jolt to be sitting next to someone who did it every minute for an hour. Every time I heard him spitting on the ground, I wanted to wring my hands around his neck and squeeze. Not a very Christian-like attitude, I know, but I do believe it was extremely rude and ill-bred. So, I know that I will do exactly as my own mother did with my pet peeve. The first time I hear one or more of my sons spit upon the ground, my head will whip around and I will get this crazy look in my eyes. "Don't ever do that again in front of me, you hear?" I would say. So that's my pet peeve. What's yours?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Take My Life

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee,
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is thine own;
It shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for thee.


Words by Cecil Frances Alexander

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

1983- The Grocery Store Incident

My youngest brother's birthday was this week. He is seven years younger than me and my first experience with babies. I'm sure I was the little mother with him in between the big sister moments. He always seemed so little and fragile to me and I guess that's why Justin reminds me of him sometimes. To celebrate my baby brother's birthday in a big way, I'm going to tell a story about him. This is the story that seems to be the one my mother tells of the most about him probably because it was very traumatic for her. Being a mother of boys myself, I totally understand that. This story is prominent in my mind lately and I think you'll know why. When I was little, we lived in a neighborhood where the grocery store and the elementary school were within walking distance. On one particular day, my mother took us on a walk to the grocery store. We got to the store and Mom made her purchases without any problems. As we were leaving, though, that's when disaster struck. She pushed the doors open and poop that had been in my brother's underwear fell out onto the floor. My mother was immediately horrified and probably in a trance for a second or two. Before she could possibly do anything about it (I have no idea what), the door closed with a "whoosh" and the poop was smeared into the floor. We stood there transfixed until we were rushed out the door as fast as possible hoping to escape notice and marched back home. When we got there, Mother took my brother to the backyard, stripped him down naked, took the hose, and blasted his little butt with it. At the time, I'm sure my mother was irate and horribly embarrassed. Like me, though, she has learned to laugh about the crazy situations she found herself in. I prefer listening to this story from her perspective, but I think you get the idea. My brother is no longer pooping in grocery stores (at least not on the floor), but maybe someday he will have a little one with the same tendencies. I can't wait.

Potty Breakthrough

Every morning, Aidan wakes me up by getting into bed with me and proceeds to talk or sing to himself until mama pays attention. This morning, he did exactly that until I finally got up and threw a load of laundry in the washer all the while listening to him trying to tell me something about poop/potty chair while wearing no diaper. As is usually the case, he takes his diaper off now when it feels too tight or uncomfortable then goes looking for another one for mama to put on him. Well, he couldn't find another diaper this morning and decided to do his business anyway. I had visions of poopie on the floor somewhere, so I wasn't very happy. When I came out of the laundry room, I went into the bathroom without much hope of seeing poopie in the potty, but I decided to lift the lid and peek anyway. I was delightfully wrong. The kid had actually gotten up this morning while I was snoozing away, took off his diaper, and proceeded to poop in the potty chair. I was absolutely amazed. I don't know what the next days hold, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Now I just have to teach him to wipe himself, flush the toilet, wash his hands, and turn the light off. This will take years.