Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How did I get here?

Well, in case you're waiting on pins and needles after yesterday's post, I DID take out two bags of trash and one bag of recycling. But I did NOT get to the dust bunnies today! I did, however, get up at 6:15 this morning so that I could get a shower, get O dressed, get the boys dressed, get O breakfast, pack all required bags for the morning so that O could be at school by 7:45 and that I could be at a meeting at the office by 9. Whew. We did it without anyone being tardy AND even stopped at Tim Horton's to "kill" a few moments before we needed to be at the office. Tim Horton's, mmm... not a huge fan.

Thankfully, Steve gets back tonight (AFTER the kids are in bed... well planned, my love, well planned indeed!) We talked for a few moments last night but he couldn't talk long because he was on his way to Cirque du Soleil as a special surprise treat for his conference. My special surprise treat last night? A BOMB of a dinner as I tried out a new recipe in the crock pot. FYI, skip all dishes that call for hash browns in the crock pot. Not a good idea! But I'm not bitter.

I did have everyone in bed in plenty of time for my 2 hours of American Idol. Oh how I love the next 3 months of my life. Who will be my new best friends? Although, I have to admit, I was racking my brain last night trying to remember who were even in the top 10 last year. I think I have a problem. The problem being that a.) I even spent time doing that and b.) I can't remember who they were.

If you're not tuned in, I suggest you do. Seems like we've got some pretty good talent this year. As usual, I'm a bit partial to the men... I just happen to prefer guy musicians. But I have to say there are a few girls from last night that I'm pretty excited about and a few guys tonight that I really like.

I'm also pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy Ellen as a judge. She's funny without having it be about her. I also like that she isn't a musical expert. It kind of feels a bit like me sitting up there (except I'd NEVER wear that sport coat from last night.)

Anyhow, I had intended to blog a bit about what God is teaching me recently. Hopefully this isn't it. (I occasionally go deeper than crock pots and American Idol.) Not sure how I got here but I'll save the deep stuff for when Steve gets back and I have some extra to give. Until then, keep your hash browns in the oven where they belong!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Its been a whirlwind of a week around here. Thankfully, the week-long birthday marathon is finally over. Steve had to go to Florida this week (poor baby!) but thankfully Grandma and Papa have been here to lend a hand. Seriously, sometimes I feel totally incapable of holding down the fort by myself. How the heck is Kate Gosselin handling it? By the way, have you noticed how they've totally disappeared from the tabloids (not that I read them in the check out line.) They've been replaced by the stupid decisions Jake from the Bachelor has been making regarding his women choices. Or so I've heard!

But I digress.
Here at the home stead we made a bit of progress on the potty front. Turner has been very interested in sitting on the potty over the past 5 days. Yesterday morning he had some success with tinkle in the potty. Quinn, he no wants tinkle in potty. (His words, not mine!)

Here, Turner is either yelling at me to shut the door (can't the man get a little privacy around here?) OR telling me to feed him sometime.
I promise, I do feed him. It's not my fault you can see his ribs. Sheesh. He kinda does look malnourished in these n*ked photos. I think if he sat still and gave his metabolism a rest, he would actually put some meat on those bones!
All in all, things are going well around here. I'm just glad that we are seeing some of the snow melt and some ugly, dead, brown grass popping through. Hey, its better than nothing. Wow, a post about tinkle and melting snow. Tune in tomorrow when I tell you about the dust bunnies I swept up and the garbage I took out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

4 going on 13

We began our day EARLY around here. I woke up at 6:30 to a brand new 4 year old face staring right at me. She has been SO excited about her birthday that its been downright annoying! I told her last night before she went to bed that she was not allowed to wake up and be 4 today. She could hardly wait to announce that she indeed had magically turned 4 overnight and that it felt good.
Remember when your birthday felt good? At 37, it no longer feels good to wake up another year older. It simply feels older! Ahhh... to be four.
She also informed me last night that she is no longer my baby. I am not to call her my baby and soon she's going to be 5, then 6, then 7 (she went all the way to 20 but I'll spare you the count!) Suffice it to say, it brought a tear to my eye. Quickly followed by the command that she is NOT allowed to be 4. Like with many things these days, she disobeyed. And today, I have a 4 year old.
But she acts more like she is 13. And our relationship looks more like she is 13. We argue, we bicker and we laugh. What to do when she really turns 13? (I have a few ideas that *might* include running away from home- me, not her- and/or boarding school.)
She is so crafty, in fact, she is able to pretty much talk her brothers into anything. She got this really ridiculously large lolly pop at her birthday party last week. I explained to her that she could have it but I would need to break it into smaller pieces because the brothers would want some too and it would cause a real stink.
From the backseat she began a negotiating process unlike any other! "Hey, Turner, do you want a sucker when we get home?"
"Do you want a LITTLE sucker?"
"Hey, Quinn, do you want a sucker when we get home?"
"Do you want a LITTLE sucker?"
"Mom, Quinn and Turner both want LITTLE suckers. Looks like I can eat my big lolly pop all by myself!"
She's either going to be a lawyer or an extortionist when she grows up.
Either way, she'll be real good at it!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Party in the U.S.A.

Finally, life is affording me a few moments to post O's birthday blow out! (It has been a non-
stop mad house around here since Saturday.) Excuses, excuses!

Anyhow... the party was a huge success. I think it was a ton of fun and even as the host, I didn't get too stressed out. That's success in my book!
O wanted a Snow White cake and, for the life of me, I couldn't find a bakery in town that would do Snow White decorations. Don't get me wrong, you can get a cake with ALL the princesses on it. Or for an extra $12 they'll *customize* your cake. But when your soon-to-be 4 year old requests a Snow White cake, you make a way. So I got the regular "cheaper" cake and bought my own *playwithitafteryourdone* Target check out toy of my own and stuck it on there! She looks so natural, right?!
These are a few pre-party shots. Turner refused to get in the picture (but imagine one more kid in stripes standing shoulder to shoulder making a goofy face) but here are the other two. Now, Quinn has begun doing this weird thing with his eyes when I say "smile" for a picture. And Olivia had been eating some *razzledazzlegagmewithaspoon* Fun Dip right before these photos. Lovely!
On our way to the party we picked up O's classmate, Lei'Asya and her cousin Le'Mont. (There's Quinn with the weird eye thing again.) Lei'Asya and Le'Mont were so excited to go to the party! And I take for granted the world we're in. On the way Le'Mont asked, "Now what's a YMCA?" I forget, since my kids practically live there, that others don't!
Well, they quickly figured out what the Y is and fit right in!
There were about 15 kids total. And the Y was the perfect place to have a party for a bunch of pre-schoolers! They were able to get their energy out (and then some.) We had friends from several realms of our life there. 5 of O's 6 classmates were there, church friends as well as work friends. It was so fun.
The kids played in the mat room as well as a play land that was right next door.
It was fun to see the kids play together, especially O and her classmates since I never get to witness that.
Then it was time for snacks and cake. A really fun thing about O's birthday being so close to Valentine's day is there are always lots and lots of pink options! And for my daughter, that's a plus!
The cake/singing was NOT my daughter's time to shine. She started crying when everyone sang (a bit odd for her) and there you can see my pointing finger (FOR SURE I was lecturing her on what she was suppose to do at that point... I need a holster for my two pointer fingers, seriously!)
At least this year Olivia thanked everyone for her gifts. She LOVED all of her presents and although I can't prove it with the pictures, she had a great time at her party. The only downside to the whole day was that the cake/snack/present portion of the day was held in the room where I have my spinning class. That's not the problem, they move all the bikes somewhere else and put up tables and chairs. What is the problem? The M&M's all over the floor that Turner found as we were cleaning up at the end of the party. If I told him once I told him 15 M&M's later, "Please, don't eat them off the ground... Mommy will give you clean ones!" You see, when you know what happens on that floor every morning and evening of the week during a spinning class and then you see your kid eat an M&M off of it, its enough to make you want to throw up in your mouth. Yeah, give me a hotel comforter ANY DAY OF THE WEEK compared to that!!!
Regardless, we all made it out of there alive, barf free, injury free and another party older! It was a fun day to celebrate Olivia and enjoy her friends!

Look who's talking

Last night around 6:30 Steve noticed a news crew outside our door. Last time we had that the Dayton SWAT team quickly followed. But last night they were trying to interview motorists going down our yet to be plowed street. No one wanted to talk to them. They noticed all 5 of us peeking out the windows at them. They motioned us out. And 5 minutes later Steve and Turner (the real Turner) were being interviewed. Here is the link if you want to check them out! We are nerds for sure now!

Better post to come later today (I'm late with Olivia's birthday party AND an update on our *spa* bathroom.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

What's in a name?

For the past few months, as the boys begin to have more and more words, I've noticed a pretty funny trend. Quinn calls Turner "Nurner", which makes sense. They both call Olivia, E-ah. Which I love, because that is exactly what she called herself at that age. So I'm guessing it's a language developmental thing. The crazy thing is that Turner now calls Quinn, "Nurner." At first I thought it was confusion. That maybe he thought since people called him Turner, that was every one's name. But when I ask Turner Quinn's name he belly laughs and says, "Nurner." Like he knows he's ridiculous.

Okay, so that is the background.

Thanks to President's Day today, I *got a chance* to take all three kids to the Y this morning. On our way home the three of them were goofing around in the back of the van. The roads were treacherous so I was pretty focused forward. Then I heard Olivia trying to get my attention. So I shot back, "What O?" Her issue:

"Mom, Turner hit the other Nurner with his shoe."

Poor Quinn, he probably doesn't know who the heck he is. A Chinese kid with a Polish last name who shares his brother's name. Sorry, Charlie! .... I mean Nurner!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

epic fail

Did you ever have one of those days where you deserve a big fat red markered F, circled no less, at the top of your paper? That was my day yesterday. It seems as though I failed on every level of motherhood and personal achievement possible.

Yesterday was a plain 'ole, old-fashion, stress level to the max kind of day. The pressure of Olivia's birthday party (happening a few hours from now... pics and inevitable stories to follow) closing in, getting the house in "show" condition for a showing today (that has been cancelled by the way- I could cuss!) and a Valentine date night that with all the other pressures bearing down, I felt like calling off.

After getting Olivia home from school she told me she had important stuff in her book bag. We looked inside and there it was... the beloved childhood brown bag decorated to receive Valentines from classmates. Except NO ONE TOLD ME THEY WERE EXCHANGING VALENTINES AT SCHOOL! In fact, I thought it was oddly freeing to not have to deal with any kind of Valentine party, and in light of the fact that her school has yet to celebrate any kind of holiday, it seemed normal. But there we sat with a sack of Valentines from kids who are probably talking bad about us as we speak. This is not the first time I have been uniformed.

Olivia has missed *popcorn* day at school twice this year (parents send $.50 for a bag of popcorn). We must look like the biggest stick in the mud parents who don't want their 3 year old (nearly 4 thankyouverymuch) to have any kind of fun. I bought some tickets for a school event that never made it home in time for the event, so I had to buy more, and then they made it home nearly a month after the event. I'm thinking there is a missing link in the communication process. It *might* be the aforementioned 3 (nearly 4) year old. I'm just sayin'.

But back to the epic fail. I was running around like a mad woman trying to get the house presentable. And every.single.thing. I tried to do was undone by a little hand. Then there was a lippy little nearly 4 year old who was totally pushing buttons. She disobeyed touching something several times, so I slapped her hand. (Before you call Children Services on me listen to what she told me...) "That didn't hurt!" "Olivia, my intention was not to make it hurt, my intention was to get your attention so that you would obey." "Well, it still didn't hurt!" That's when I turned into psycho mom. I yelled. I screamed. I sent her to time out. Where she stuck out her tongue and blew me a raspberry. Oh, that sent me! Now I threw soap in the mouth on top of the time out. But not before I literally had to do 2 laps around the living room as she screamed and cried to catch her. It was ugly.

There were more time outs, and even a time out for me. I went upstairs to pray and catch my breath. I was gone, maybe 7 minutes, until I heard the crash of breaking glass. I ran downstairs. There, all three kids were in the kitchen frozen, staring at a broken jar candle. I grabbed each one, carried them to the living room put them each in time out and spent the next 15 minutes cleaning shards of class from every nook and cranny of the kitchen.

So by the time it was date night, I was at the end of my rope. (Thankfully the babysitter reported the kids were awesome, best ever! Makes me want to cuss even louder.) Actually, I'd much rather have them be evil for me than for some sweet college student! As we got in the car, Steve had written me the sweetest journal entry in a journal he's kept for me over the years. It was like God's grace falling all over my failure of a day. It was just what I needed. So while I deserve an F for yesterday, today is a new day, and I'm thankful for that.

I guess the moral of the story is I'm still faster than a 3 year old, always buy good tasting soap, never leave a jar candle where they can reach it, send Valentines no matter what, and NEVER cancel date night.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Except that its February. Which is a problem. 'Cuz I'm ready for spring. (And YES, your eyes do not deceive you, that is a for sale sign in our yard... here we go again!)
Its been fun this week, with the snow and all. Olivia had her first snow day yesterday, quickly followed by her second one today. I didn't know how I would feel about a snow day, interrupting my routine and all. But you know what, I like it. I like it a lot. We took the opportunity to do some fun things together, and braved the weather. You see, I've grown up in the snow. I'm not letting a little thing like a severe winter storm keep me down. No way. If you drive carefully and slowly enough, you can get anywhere your little heart desires!
Not long after this picture of Quinn was taken, I decided it was time to get the kids in for a haircut! Holy cow, look at the helmet on that kid. Geesh! So, we took advantage of the bad weather and drove 25 minutes to get haircuts. I really AM not normal, am I? By the way, thanks to the 3 of you who chimed in to try and convince me I'm within the realm of reasonable. I'll assume the jury is still out on the rest of you!
Because my plan for a babysitter yesterday was fouled up by the weather, I had to figure out a way to get some birthday party prep done today- with all three kids in tow.
Here is us at a nu.tri.cious lunch at Target (note the new and improved Quinn!)
And does that half eaten hot dog want to make you gag or what? I took a bite and was instantly parched. Presumably because of all the nitrates and sodium. Don't get me wrong, I love a good nitrate with the rest of 'em (hey a girl who doesn't get all grossed by hotel bedspreads should also love nitrates, right?) but the hot dog that twirls around for hours on end and has more salt than the dead sea might actually find my yuck limit.
However, I'm not above giving them to my kids! I am the living definition of hypocrisy, aren't I?

We hit a new low while at Target as I had enough and gave Turner a time out right there on the floor in the middle of the *cafe*. (Isn't it funny that they call it a cafe? Maybe to help you forget you're really just eating a spinning hot dog?)
Then we proceeded to leave a trail of pop corn throughout the store before I realized that Turner had dumped his popcorn bag upside down. Um... clean up in aisle 17!
Yeah, patience was a hot commodity by the time we rolled out of there.
Tonight is operation divide and conquer as Steve and I try to figure out how to put the finishing touches on a 4 year birthday, because the rest of the week is nutso. And FORGET about the fact that Valentine's Day is Sunday. HA! I think in about 16 years we'll circle the wagons and get back on that one. Until then, if you see a trail of popcorn; follow it and you just might find a Turner in time out.

Monday, February 8, 2010

To Texas and Back again

Sometimes I wonder why I'm not normal. Being married to the husband that I am, I think I get sheltered from the fact that I'm just not normal because, well frankly, neither is he. But when I come into contact with normal people, I'm reminded that we're a bit odd.

My trip to Texas was hugely successful. I traveled with a group of about 30 from my church. I knew a handful of them but most were strangers, and honestly, still are. But several are now new friends and that is fun.

The first night we were there, we ventured into a little Mexican dive. Oh, instantly I was in heaven. Although the food wouldn't go on my top 10 list (or even top 100) I LOVED the whole cross-cultural experience. And by cross-cultural I mean American. Because although it was different from an Ohio-Mexican restaurant and they had actual Mexicans working there and even Mexican tv going; we were still in America. But this sign was hanging right above our table... an announcement for tripe tacos.

I knew enough about tripe to NOT order them, but I did go to wikipedia to find out exactly what tripe is:
"Usually made from only the first three chambers of a cow's stomach: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripe). Abomasum (reed) tripe is seen much less frequently, owing to its glandular tissue content. Tripe is also produced from sheep, goats, pigs, and deer. Unwashed (or "green") tripe includes some of the stomach's last content, giving it an unpleasant odor and causing it to be considered unfit for human consumption."

'nough said!
But I have to say, I was pretty much the only one in our group who wasn't gagging and choking over their food.

I was only *mildly* concerned by the water pouring out of my taco... but it didn't stop me from downing the whole thing and cracking up as I did it.

Then I proceeded to find out how utterly grossed out many people are to stay in hotel beds. I never knew! I mean, I've seen the 20/20 exposes with the rest of 'em, but honestly, I've never batted an eye at snuggling up under that polyester comforter that apparently sends the rest of y'all (that's what we say down in Texas) into hysterics.

Does that make me totally gross or what? I guess I figure America is STILL the cleanest country on the planet, seamen stained comforters and all. But I did begin to question my sanity. I mean, what's wrong with me that I'm not affected by life like others around me?
I mean, creepy clown suckers SHOULD be souvenirs for your kids, right?
I saw this at that Mexican restaurant and was COMPELLED to buy one for each of the kids. Did I know what was under the wrapper? Heck no! But didn't stop me from doling them out first thing Sunday morning.
*Maybe* I should have checked the content under the wrapper before handing them out, but what fun would THAT be?
I mean, look at the delight on those faces (of course, except for Turner, who is the only one wondering, "Didn't this lady think that clown *might* scare us even for a second?")
So although we were suppose to spend the weekend learning about house churches, I spent the weekend finding out what a weirdo I am.
Hey, enlightenment is enlightenment, right?!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't mess with a girl going to Texas.

I'm getting ready to jump on a plane and head to Austin, TX early tomorrow morning. I'm excited to have been selected by my church to attend a conference there. There will be several engaging speakers and I'm going with about 30 other people from church. Most of whom I don't know real well.

I got to thinking about this the other day. I'm not sure if I've gone anywhere that requires a flight by myself since I've been married. Whoa, does that sound unhealthy or WHAT?! I did go to a friend's wedding nearly 2 years ago. It was in NYC and I went without Steve, however, I was nursing he went with me. That's a post for another time, taking a 4 month old, by myself, to the Big Apple.

Back to Texas. The conference will pretty much take up every waking hour of our time, so it's not really like we'll be gallivanting around Austin. (I'm not sure I know how to gallivant anymore, anyhow!) But it is something I'm doing on my own and I'm really excited. And strangely sad. No kids? For 3 days? Usually I dream about that, but reality hits and I'm actually kind of sad.

Not to mention, Steve went and got sick on me. He's got a sinus infection and actually went to the doctor (anyone married to a man knows - that makes him REALLY sick.) Uh-oh. He's on meds now and I'm hoping he feels better by morning so I can hop on that plane, guilt free.

I went to the half-price book store for all the reading I'm not going to have time to do. But a girl can dream, right? And since its a church conference, the thought occurred to me that I ought to buy some kind of book that would help me grow in my faith, but instead, I walked out with a John Grisham and a Sophie Kinnsel- or however you spell her name (of the Shopaholic fame.) Ooops.

To top it all off, Texas isn't even going to have the common courtesy to roll out the red carpet for me with a nice 75 degree day. Tomorrow's hi? 45. 45 stinkin' degrees. What ever happened to southern hospitality???? I know, I know, its STILL better than 35. But not by much. Thankfully, the rest of the weekend is looking warmer. I'll take 65. I *might* even skip a session and lay out (ha!). That wouldn't make me stand out as a Yankee too much, would it?

So, see y'all Sunday when I get back (that's what we say down there in Texas!) Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gluttons for punishment

Because our lives are not crazy enough and apparently we thrive under stress and pressure, we have created the week from h.e.doublehockeysticks.

Yep, that's our toilet (next to the new uninstalled sink) in the middle of our upstairs play room. on the other side of the deflated/broken jump house is the door to the boys' bedroom.
So can you hear the buzz saw from there? Because right now it's nap time and on the other side of the door of the play room is this guy and this work.

I have to say, the tiled floor is going to be sweet! But the jack hammering during naps... notsomuch!
Don't let the smile on this guy's face fool 'ya. Steve was just retuning from his 4th expensive trip to Home Depot in 3 days. Our *little* renovation project ain't so little anymore. Oops.

How DO they keep the cost down on those TLC shows?? Somebody over at The Learning Channel is not telling the whole story.
As for the painters in the kitchen, they are *almost* done.

I, for one, am thankful for that. I nearly broke my neck after tripping over their drop cloths this morning.

And I think I might keep the set of knives and the blender on the mantel. Because nothing says, "I'm trying to grow in my gift of hospitality" like weapons and small appliances welcoming someone upon their arrival.
The rumor on the street is, I'll be able to put the doors back on my cupboards in a day or two. I think that will be nice. Shame knows no bounds like a cupboard without her doors.

Knowing I'd be *exposed* for a few days did help me clean out the cupboards. Do you think the '06 expiration date on my jello and puddings was more of a rule or a suggestion?

My second question, what possessed me to buy 14 boxes of butterscotch and pistachio sugar-free puddings?

No worries, the poison pudding is gone and the knives are on their way back to their appropriate home. Next stop... toilet in the bathroom. As for us, we're headed to the mall so as not to be under foot. All I know is, it's gonna be real nice around here... someday.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I'm smack dab in the middle of marathon madness. Our weekend was great. The retreat was a success. I'm wiped out! But, no rest for the weary! Today at 8:30 am we had painters arrive to paint the kitchen and guys arrived an hour later to tear our bathroom apart.
Pretty much its all drop cloths and sawdust. Its been a day of trying to keep kids out of wet paint and gooey grout. Its a stretch for any mommy. Thankfully because of the retreat, Steve took the day off and I had some help.
Tomorrow will be a different story! On my own to keep 3 little stinkers out of the line of fire. Who thought re-doing 1/4 of our house in the dead of winter would be a good idea?? Oh well, here we are. And did I mention that leaves us shower-less until Friday. Yummy.
I am strategically working out at the Y in order to work in some shower time. My kids are a different story. Thankfully, I hop on a plane at the butt crack of dawn on Thursday and then showers for kids... no longer my problem. (oh, was that out loud?) Our church is sending me to a conference in Austin, TX. I'm really excited about the content and the adventure with some fun people from Church. Not to mention getting to a place where the temps are above freezing.
So, wish me luck as I try to keep every one alive tomorrow. Do or die, is that too drama?