Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cupcake Cake

Today is Sleepy's 6th birthday and as all birthdays go in the House of Insanity, there were a few tidbits that I have to put in the archives.

I have a weakness. I know. Crazy, right? But, I do. It's a weakness involving a certain type of food. About a year ago, I was pumping gas into my van. Waiting for the gas guzzler to fill up takes some time, so I was looking around in boredom when something caught my eye.

It was an advertisement for a birthday cupcake cake.

I thought it was the most fantastic idea since sliced bread, ya'll. I stared in awe at the colorful ad with my mouth open. I couldn't keep my eyes off it until the clink of the gas pump caught my attention. I thought about it all the way home.

When the next birthday in our house rolled around, you bet I was at the bakery counter looking at cupcake cakes. I started my order out with chocolate cupcakes. I'm a chocoholic, so it stands to reason that I'm going to order chocolate regardless of my child's preference.

Then, the lady asked what kind of icing would I like. Huh? I didn't know you could pick that. She said there are two kinds. The traditional sugary crap and the heavenly melt-in-your-mouth whipped cream icing. I went with the latter, of course.

I waited impatiently for the birthday party to begin. When I was finally allowed to inhale the chocolate cake with whipped creaminess, I gulped it down in four bites and ended up licking my fingers. I even ended up running my tongue all around the outside of my mouth to make sure I got all of it.

I had turned into a fiend.

Since then, it has been tradition to buy a cupcake cake from the store for each birthday. Sleepy was given a Superman cupcake cake in honor of his birthday today and I became a fiend once again.

This birthday, we were at the park when we sang Happy Birthday to Sleepy and all of us grabbed a cupcake and devoured them. I was happy to notice that we had some cupcakes left for me to scarf down in secret.

When we got home, the cake was left on the table. I wanted to decorate the table for Sleepy's birthday dinner, so I told someone to get everything off the table for me. Sleepy decided to take the cake off the table. Two seconds later, I heard Doc hurriedly tell Sleepy to clean something up. His voice indicated to me that if I knew what had happened, I was going to blow.

I turned around and looked at the floor. My beautiful, chocolate cupcakes were decorating my kitchen floor with whipped cream topping. They had been massacred. Not fair. I realized then that I would not be able to commit the sin of gluttony with total abandon. Totally devastated, I helped him clean up the mess.

To give you an idea of how much Bashful is in his own world....Two hours later, Bashful went to get a cupcake from the box. He opened it and noticed that the cupcakes looked like they had been through a tornado. He turned to me and with complete confusion on his face asked, "What happened to the cupcakes?"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Getaway

My little Happy is an imp. If you've read my previous posts about the critter, you'll agree. Today, I came upstairs from my cave to realize there was a growing darkness outside due to a storm coming in. As I looked out the window, I saw a cherub face with curly, blond hair staring back at me.

I yelped.

My little boy was supposed to be safely snug in his room. Instead, he had sneaked out to have a little fun unbeknownst to me.

I could stab myself.

I marched outside and my expression matched the sky exactly. Happy knew he was in trouble the moment he saw me.

This wasn't the first time he had ventured outside. There was a particular time when he had gone over to the neighbor's house. When I realized he had escaped my notice yet again, I called for him outside. He didn't answer, so I became nervous. I sent his older brothers outside and they found him on the front porch of the neighbor's house. Their orders were to bring their brother home.

I should have known that Happy wouldn't obey his brothers. So, they tried dragging him. Grumpy and Sleepy had him by the arms and yet they couldn't drag him. After all, Happy rivals Sleepy for weight and height. When it became apparent that I had to intervene, I marched over there with dirty sweats and tangled hair and another expression that meant death. It was bad enough my kid was screaming in my neighbor's yard, but to have to go over there looking like death warmed over? That was the last straw!

Right now, the child has fallen asleep under his bed. He always finds the oddest places to crash. A few nights before, I looked over the couch to see half of him on the floor and the other half still on the stairs. He had fallen asleep while sneeking down the stairs.

Serves him right.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Stormy Day

This morning, I slowly opened my eyes to see curly, blond hair on the pillow next to mine. My little, cuddle buddy had decided to crawl into bed with me once again. It has been awhile since he's done that. Usually, he is looking for mischief while his mother still snoozes away.

In the other room, I could hear Grumpy playing peek-a-boo with Sneezy. Sneezy had been wailing his distress about being confined in his jail and Grumpy had decided to take pity on him. I could hear his little laughs every time Grumpy said, "Boo!"

Grumpy eventually brought Sneezy into my room and all three of them were in bed with me. Happy wanted to hold the baby, so I let him. I turned to look at the sweet picture they made. My mouth fell open as I looked into Happy's eyes and then Sneezy's. Sneezy's eyes were the blue eyes of a baby. Happy's eyes....weren't.

I was surprised and dismayed at the same time. Where had the time gone? How could I not have seen that Happy's eye color had changed? They weren't the blue eyes of a baby any longer. As I looked closer, I realized they were green and blue with a little gray mixed in. The color that my husband romantically calls A Stormy Day. They were my eyes. It was quite disconcerting to see my eyes staring back at me, but there they were.

A little while later, I asked Happy to come to me so I could look at his eyes again. I wanted to make sure, I guess. I took his little face in my hands and as I studied his eyes, he rolled them around and then announced, "I want some breakfast. I want chocolate pudding."

I smiled and said, "Okay."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Little R & R

The year was 2002. I was very pregnant with Sleepy and Grumpy was still a toddler. Bashful had just finished pre-K. Our condo was up for sale and we were going through horrendous negotiations that brought me to tears on a regular basis. Doc told me to get out of town for some much needed R & R. So, I booked a flight to visit my parents.

I've always loved to fly even though I don't do it often. I often like to look around in the airports and wonder where everyone is going. Are they on a business trip? Are they visiting family? Are they on vacation? I love the busy-ness of it all. The flight attendants always draw my attention as well. Their made-up hair and makeup, the crisp, professional suits they wear, and the calm smiles they always had on their faces made me think I could be a flight attendant if I had a different life. To go all over the world was something I often daydreamed about until I realized that they probably only see the inside of the airports more often than not.

The boys and I found our seats on the plane with no problem and enjoyed the take-off very much. I kept them occupied throughout the flight and things were going smoothly for me considering I was tired from the pregnancy and just wanted to lay down.

As we were nearing our destination, the plane began its descent. It was not a smooth descent, but I have a strong constitution so it didn't bother me. Grumpy, on the other hand, threw up all over me. He threw up on himself, too. And the floor.

The nice flight attendant came over and gave me a barf bag. I opened it and was ready for anymore upchucking, but the damage was already done. With what napkins were available, I did my best to clean up Grumpy and myself before the plane reached the terminal. When it was our turn to get up and leave the plane, I looked at the flight attendant with an agonized uncertainty. She calmly told me not to worry about the floor. They would clean it good as new, I was promised. It made me think that maybe I didn't want to be a flight attendant after all since cleaning up strange kids' puke was part of the job.

We were greeted by my father and as he got a whiff from our general direction, I was quick to explain what happened. He was very understanding and we went straight for the baggage claim. We claimed my luggage and Grumpy was changed into fresh clothes. I, on the other hand, was used to the sight and smell of puke on me in the last few years and opted to change at my parent's house.

Needless to say, that was quite the flying experience. I have flown since then and I've realized that it isn't the most pleasant experience. I am usually juggling a little one about in my arms while trying to take my shoes off for inspections. Fun. I've also learned from my previous experience and have a barf bag handy. Just in case.

Monday, June 16, 2008

False Threats and Empty Promises

Sunday morning, I was fixing eight-year-old Grumpy's hair for church. I bent down (very little these days) to sniff his hair. I wrinkled my nose and scrunched up my face. "I'm not sure if that is a clean smell or not," I said doubtfully.

His face twisted into a small smile that he tried to hide and he assured me he washed it. I narrowed my eyes and slowly said, "Alright." Then a little imp sat on my shoulder and I got a devlish look in my eyes.

I said, "If you don't wash your hair, I'm going to come in there and wash it for you, naked butt and all."

I think he swallowed his tongue.

False threats and empty promises. I'm just full of them.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why Dad Loves Me The Best

Today is Father's Day and I thought I'd have a little fun at my siblings' expense. Now, having five children of my own, I know in my bones that Dad's love for us is equal and knows no bounds. Some of these statements may be true, some embellished, and some are just plain silly, but it is all in fun.

Why Dad loves me the best:

1) He named me after himself. My parents took the initials of his first and middle names and just spelled them out.

2) I can type really fast.

3) I look like his wife whom he adores.

4) I never peed outside when I was a kid.

5) I will watch John Wayne movies with him.

6) I have given him five grandsons. Top that.

7) I am his firstborn and everyone knows that firstborns are loved the most.

8) When I fell into the Erie Canal, he jumped in and saved me. (Hey, he could have let me drown, you know.)

I'm sure my siblings' could write why Dad loves them the best as well. That's how he makes us feel. Each of us are special to him.

Happy's Father's Day, Dad!!

Minister's Crockpot Delight



My church was having a potluck one day and I really wanted to impress them with my culinary skills. I imagined them all eating something I made and making "I'm in heaven!" expressions on their faces while licking their spoons.


So, I called my mom. "Mom?" I asked. "Is there something I could make that is ridiculously easy and yet extremely yummy?" Of course, she had the easiest and yummiest recipe for a dessert I've come across in a long time if ever.


I admit that sometimes I live under a rock due to the craziness of my household, so if you've seen this recipe before, you have it, and/or used it, we'll just agree that yes, I've been living under a rock. If you have used this recipe before, ISN'T IT THE EASIEST AND YUMMIEST RECIPE FOR A DESSERT YOU'VE EVER SEEN?

I'm typing this at the top of my head, so here goes:

Minister's Crockpot Delight

Throw in two cans of cherry pie filling into your crockpot.
Melt a stick of butter/margarine and mix it with a box of yellow cake mix.
Put the butter and cake mixture on top of the cherry pie filling.
Cover your crockpot, turn on low, and let it sit for about 2 to 3 hours.

You can double or triple this recipe.* Enjoy!
For more Saturday Stirrings recipes, go to It Coulda Been Worse.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pudding War

Bashful and I made chocolate pudding a couple nights ago. Luscious, creamy chocolate pudding. I gave the boys some the first night it was made and left the rest for another night. They devoured what was in their bowls and were left with chocolate mustaches.

Last night, I was on the phone for a while. I became a teenager again and chatted a while with a friend. I didn't realize that things had gotten very quiet until I came upstairs. The house was deserted and I realized they had all gone outside to enjoy the cool evening weather.

I let them have a half an hour of outdoor bliss before calling them inside. With the baby by my side, I decided to finish my dinner while watching my favorite summer show. Happy came in the house and noticed my hastily made food and asked if he could have some, too. Slowly dragging my eyes from the twirling dancers, I looked up at him and screamed.

He looked like he had gotten into a fight with the cat over the chocolate pudding. It was all over his face. Three things went through my mind at this point. First, he was over at the neighbor's house playing with the neighbor boy and his brothers. Second, what the neighbors must think of me. Finally, I realized he had gotten into the fridge while I was on the phone and made use of the rest of the pudding.

With outrage in my voice, I told him to go wash his face. Sleepy came over to me at that point and when I got a good look at his face, I was appalled. He had a growing bruise on his right eyebrow.

I demanded an explanation of Bashful and Grumpy. They finally remembered that he received that bruise from earlier on in the day. They had been horsing around as usual. I also asked them why in the world they didn't notice that Happy was covered in chocolate pudding. They looked at me as if I were insane. Happy? Covered in pudding? How absurd.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Case of the Orange Toothbrush

When I finally make it upstairs for bed, my mind dances around with visions of feather pillows, a soft bed, cool air coming in from the window, and a fan to gently lull me to sleep.

Last night, I went upstairs with just this image in my brain and began my ablutions. I went into my bathroom and noticed my toothbrush laying on the sink.

It was wet.....and it wasn't me who used it.

Grabbing my toothbrush, I march downstairs to bother the boys all snuggled into their tent in the family room.

"Who used the orange toothbrush?!" I demanded in my "don't mess with mommy" voice. Bashful hurriedly announced, "Grumpy did." His voice indicated he was glad it wasn't him who had done the dirty deed.

"Why did you use the orange toothbrush?" I asked Grumpy. Of course, I am still talking to the tent and listening for the voice within. "I couldn't find mine," he warily answered. "Do you know this toothbrush is mine?! Eeeuuu!" I exclaimed. "Well, Daddy told me to use it!" he said offensively.

Feeling my jaw drop, I gasped, "What?" and marched down to the basement where Doc holes up. Holding my toothbrush out for him to see, I yelled, "Eeeuu!" in disgust. Of course, the man has no idea what he's done now. "Why did you tell Grumpy he could use my toothbrush?" I demanded in my best fishwifey voice. He looked at it and said, "Oh! I thought that was Happy's toothbrush. He said it was orange."

I think it's time for new toothbrushes.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Marinated Mushrooms

I've always loved thunderstorms. I love how the whole world outside my window becomes dark as the clouds roll in and thunder rumbles in the distance. I grab whatever blanket is nearby, curl into my chair, and just watch the rain come down in torrents.

It always gives me a sense of awe and peace. I am drawn into the scene outside and contemplate my life. I usually feel a smile on my face.

During one of my brother's visits, he decided to treat our family to a dining out experience. I warned him of the boisterous nature of his nephews and what it is like to bring them out into public, but being blinded by his love for them, he shrugged it off and proceeded to plop us all in the van.

We decided to go to a place where there is an all-you-can-eat buffet. We had all finally sat down with our food when the skies opened up with a crack of thunder and lightning and the rains came pouring in.

We had been living in the semi-desert for a couple years and realizing early on its lack of precipitation, we were all over-joyed to look out the window and see the outpouring. It was dark and occasionally lit up from the jagged streaks of lightning. We watched as cars had to pull over and people rushed to their cars getting soaked by the minute.

Inside the restaurant, I looked around the table at my husband, my boys, and my brother. I remember the usual feeling of contentment sweep over me as thunder cracked right over the restaurant. My brother got up and came back with luscious marinated mushrooms for me to eat. He knew how much I love them.

I smiled as I looked at Doc and the boys, watching them dig into mouth-watering food. Days like these I cherish. Normally, I don't remember the every day stuff, but the combination of the storm, my brother's thoughtfulness, and my joy of being surrounded by my family was enough to make an impression on me for a long time.

Food For Winter

That certain chipmunk movie has made an impression on my sons, especially Sleepy. Occasionally, I hear Sleepy singing, "Chicka-wow-wow, chicka-wow-wow." In the beginning of the movie, the chipmunks are storing their nuts for the winter. Thus, the family drama that ensued.

I came home with a load of groceries and had the boys empty the bags. Sleepy noticed a package of individually wrapped peanut butter crackers and little boxes of raisins. I don't know why, but it seems my little ones are drawn to little food. (I've taken this little observation and used it to my advantage occasionally when I want them to eat something I've made for dinner... unbeknownst to them, of course.)

Among a chorus of "Can we have some crackers?" and "I'm hungry", I informed them all I was saving them for a different day. Sleepy said, "Oh. I guess we are saving them for winter then."

Grumpy immediately became exasperated with his little brother. "We're not saving them for winter, Sleepy! We aren't chipmunks!" he exclaimed.

I couldn't help but laugh.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Liquid Cardboard

I've never liked coffee. I still don't. It's odd because I love the scent. Waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee is heaven to me. I love to go into the stores that sell coffee, too. I just stop and take a big whiff and I'm sure people look at me funny when they see me sniffing like a dog.

The scent is so wonderful to me that it makes me wish I liked the taste of it. Apparently, it is an acquired taste because for me, it's like liquid cardboard.

No offense to you coffee drinkers out there. I may have to make sure my doors are locked tonight.

Lately, I've been contemplating becoming a coffee drinker. Many people highly recommend this caffeinated beverage. Keeps them going, they say.

I've come to the point where I feel tired all the time. It stands to reason considering I have a six-month old and various ages of boys running through my house. I have been getting better sleep, but it just doesn't seem to be working for me.

I don't like the idea of becoming dependant on caffeine. It just rubs me the wrong way. I don't like becoming dependant on anything. I guess when it comes down to it I'm just a control freak.

When I stare at the computer screen with a half-dead look, or can barely lift my arms to do the laundry, that's when I wonder if maybe coffee wouldn't be so bad.

When I have to prop my head up during dinner time, coffee doesn't look bad at all.

Who knows? Maybe I'll become a coffee drinker after all....or not.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Curse of the Doorbell

When I think of home, I think of it as a place where I can be myself. I can kick off my shoes and go barefoot. I don't have to put on makeup or fix my hair. I can even wear pajamas till noon if I wanted to. The point for me is to have a comfort zone.

Of course, most days I wouldn't even sit on my front porch looking the way I do. My hair looks like it got into a fight with the cat most of the time and I usually smell of baby poop and Pine Sol.

That is why I run and hide when the doorbell rings.

When I was a teenager, we lived right smack dab next to the church that my dad pastored. Our house was always a magnet for those who just wanted to pop over and say hi. For some reason, no one ever thought of calling first and giving us a head's up.

Thus, people usually found us in some sort of disarray whether it be in the form of shoes piled up at the front door or a towel wrapped around my mother's head. It was hard on my mom to live in such a prominent place. Like me, she needs her down time. This was hard to find considering the doorbell rang often. The thing I remember a lot about my mom is her running for the bedroom whenever someone came over unannounced. Who wants to greet one of their parishioners with wet hair?

To this day, whenever I hear the doorbell ring, my immediate reaction is to stop whatever I'm doing and run for the bedroom.

I have tried to carry on this tradition with my sons. The boys love to run to the window and pull back the curtains to see who is at the door. Concerned that anyone would think we are home, I whisper furiously, "Get away from the windows! Don't make a sound!" I accompany this warning with one of my "mommy's dead serious" looks. My eyes narrow to slits and my mouth hardens and they always look at me as if I were going insane.

Of course, the van is always sitting in the driveway, but that never occurs to me at first. Then, checking to see if it is anyone I know, I usually see a UPS truck sitting at the end of the drive. Feeling like a fool, I answer the door. I'm sure that every time I greet a delivery man he takes one look at me and feels sorry for the man of the house.

At one time, I was expecting a delivery, so I was a little more layed-back about the doorbell. Too layed back. During the time when Happy was being potty-trained, I had him naked from the waist down.

Can you see where this is going yet?

The kid opened the front door to greet the unsuspecting delivery man before I could get to the door myself.

The child had a tongue-lashing he will never forget.

I do like my privacy and comfort zone, but I think I may be becoming a paranoid schizophrenic. Especially since the doorbell has been ringing unremittantly since the neighbor boy discovered playmates.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Growls and Grunts

When Doc was a kid, he remembers various occasions of being in the store with his brother and parents. Occasionally, Doc and his brother would gradually make their way around their parents and end up in front of them as they perused the merchandise in the aisle.

As they were trooping down the aisle, all of a sudden a giant hand would clamp onto their heads with brute force and a thunderous voice from above would growl, "You follow us. We don't follow you."

Doc also remembers the "shoulder squeeze". Occasionally, he would feel that one whenever he and his brother "acted up".

My sons have a healthy fear of their father. After all, he is bigger and has a booming voice that is not pleasant to listen to especially when they are "acting up" in the van and their father is developing a headache from the noise inside the enclosed space.

One morning, Doc was still laying in bed trying to get a few more minutes of unconsciousness with all the boys in the kitchen making noise and creating a din. I was making breakfast for everyone, so I asked Grumpy to go upstairs and ask Doc if he wanted some scrambled eggs.

Grumpy trooped upstairs and then tiptoed right back down. "He's asleep," he said. "He's not asleep in all this racket," I said. "He's probably just laying there with his eyes closed."

No can do. Grumpy was not going up there and disturbing his father. So, I asked Sleepy. "But, he'll growl at me like a bear!" he wailed. When I assured him that Doc would do no such thing, he was all for it and ran up the stairs. As he went to do his duty, Grumpy covered his ears and eyes and said, "I can't look! I can't look!" as if a bomb were about to go off.

Sleepy skipped downstairs just moments later with the happy announcement that Doc would be joining us for breakfast.

Later, Doc told me what happened. Sleepy came to stand beside the slumbering bear. "Dad!" he yelled happily. This explosion of noise startled Doc abruptly. "Aaah!" he cried. When Sleepy asked if he wanted eggs, Doc's heart slowed down and he fell back to the bed with a grunt of assent.

It's not easy being the father of five sons.