Family Circus

No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys. - Doug Horton


Seen on the bumper of an old Chevy pickup truck parked at Wal-Mart: A small sticker stating, 'MY WIFE TOOK EVERYTHING BUT THE BLAME'



“I am not a housewife for the simple reason that I did not marry a house.”

I'm not a Housewife! Does anyone else have a problem defining yourself when asked to fill out a generic form that asks your choice of career? My answer is: That. Depends. In 1997, I served in a Home Health Care capacity for a few months, and I would have checked off Nursing back then. In 1998, I was riding out with the San Angelo Fire Department, I would have checked off Medical Services. In 1996, I managed a Hallmark store, so I would have checked Management. In 1985, I waited tables, and would have checked off Food Service. Now, as a full-time Stay At Home Mom (since December 1998), I could check off all of those and more!

I hear many women saying, "I'm just a mom." No. You. Are. Not. Just. A. Mom.

Please take a few minutes today to list all the things that would not get done the way they get done now if you suddenly vanished today. Please tell me how you define yourself when you leave comments. I realize that not every person who reads my blog is a SAHM. I invite you to give me your definition of yourself as well.

Be sure to stop by Hat Trick and see my lovely girls!


I am from tall pecan trees, from Downy-scented sheets drying on the clothesline and warm cinnamon-raisin bread. I am from a nondescript brown brick suburban home, where two inches of snow was enough to cancel school.
I am from long walks to school, shaded by only Crepe Myrtle trees, hotter than hell in August.
I am from placing an angel, older than me, atop the Christmas tree. I am from Goodwill clothing that may not have been new, but was always new to my wardrobe. I am from the hot-tempered, Irish-Italian bloodline that has created so many beautiful loved ones, and genetically equips me to drink any man under the table.
From picnic lunches in the park, and napping with my grandfather in his Old Spice scented armpit and climbing trees to pick and eat crabapples. I am from Dillon, Del Priore, Coffey, and Williams.
I am from stained-glass cathedrals and scarcely-practiced Catholicism. A wayward preteen beginning, finally accepting His gift at 15. I'm from a sweltering summer city, a fierce family, and fattening meatballs with gravy.
From the aunt whom I most resemble, the rebel in her family whom I would have chosen to be my sister, the blood sister who hated me as a child, but loves me as a woman, and the mother who gave birth to me, despite the risk to her own life.
I am from albums full of wedding pictures, family reunions, and childhood amusement park visits. I am from County Cork, Ireland. I am from Marshfield, Wisconsin. I am from Osara Di Puglia, Italy. I am from Lynch County, Kentucky. I am from Chicago, Illinois. More valuable than gold, the memories my mind holds. More precious than jewels, the memories I make with my own children, who will one day write an ‘I am from…’

I was inspired by the incredible Mary over at Owlhaven.


Sunday at Dad's

My dad and mom were out of town during Easter weekend, so we arranged to get together as a family on Sunday, April 23. That was yesterday. Why am I just now posting about it? I'm just now recovering. What did I do, you ask? Eat. Drink. Make like a lump on a proverbial log. Honestly, what took a lot out of me was laughing at my own children. They were having a great time, fueled by food, gifts and last but not least, WATER.

My daughters have three sets of grandparents, and refer to each by specific names. My dad and (step) mom are: Papa and Rainie[ray-nee]. For some time Papa and Rainie have had a Slip-n-Slide, which they reserve for when grandchildren are present. Until my sister, Kelly, gave birth to Aidan back in November 2005, my daughters were the only wee offspring to enjoy it. Aidan did not play a role in the antics that are in the story to follow, just to set your mind at ease. He's only five months old, so give him at least another month or two. Then Aidan will be ready to wrangle my daughters!

So after we finished our dinner on the patio, my daughters were playing in the backyard (read: chasing each other around and screaming like banshees). I was clearing off the table when my dad asked me if I'd brought a change of clothes for the girls. I hadn't, but my dad reminded me that each of my daughters got new outfits as gifts in their Easter baskets. He asked if what they were wearing was okay to get soaked. I responded by saying, "That's why my kids' clothes come from WalMart!" My dad and my DH set up the slip-n-slide in the backyard, in full view of the adults still sitting at the table on the patio. The slip-n-slide has a small pool at the far end, surrounded by an inflatable cushioned barrier to prevent injury. Of course, the makers of the slip-n-slide were assuming that no child could get enough momentum to fly over the protective barrier by simply running and flinging themselves face-down onto a wet, slippery 100 foot piece of plastic staked to the ground. What they did not predict is that my father and my husband played human bowling with all three girls on the slip-n-slide. Imagine if you will: Each man would take one arm and one leg, count to three, then let go. The girls screamed, slid rapidly to the 'pool' at the far end, jumped out and made a speedy return so they could go again. Yep. They're my kids. Got it from me. What can I say?Rosie is still in diapers, and we did not think of that as a problem until it became so overloaded with water that it began to tear at the velcro closures. Sweet Rosie stood at the end of the slide, realized her predicament, grabbed at the diaper to retain her modesty, and called for 'Mommy'. When I got to her and took it off anyway, she was so relieved. Rosie broke into an open sprint back to the beginning of the slide, looking for the men who had already gone inside!

The water fun was over. While I schlepped the girls through wardrobe change number three (out of street clothes into Princess costumes, then out of costumes into play clothes, then out of wet clothes and back into street clothes) DH loaded the back of the SUV with the Easter booty from Papa and Rainie, pulled up the stakes to the slip-n-slide, placed it to dry (I don't know where exactly) and loaded up the seven and five year olds to hit the road. I was left with a defiant toddler. Rosie was hearing none of this business about leaving for home. Nuh-UH!! Imagine: high-pitched screaming/screeching, her tiny body crashing to the tile floor, bare feet pounding the wall, arms swinging to grab at anything, all the adults (minus DH and Me) marveling at the fury of my two year old. I'll say it again: she's redheaded - on the inside. I scooped Rosie up and carried her to the SUV - feet pointed outward to avoid a nasty kick - plopped her in the carseat and snapped down the restraints. Rosie continued to scream until she realized two things: 1)we were already on the road home, and 2) no one was paying any attention.

As we pulled into the driveway, Rosie was peacefully sawing logs in the third row, with her older sisters showing definite signs of fatigue in the seats just behind me. Who knew having so much fun took so much out of a kid? Yeah, I knew. But I'm not telling them!


Why am I just now learning about this? Madness, I tell you!

**UPDATE** Rosie has kept every drop of water and a few dozen Saltines down (maybe I should say she's kept them 'in' as well) for 24 hours now.


Our Guest

Most folks have family or friends over to visit for the Easter weekend. Not too many unexpected guests. Rotavirus walked in the front door of our home, unannounced, dropped his bags next to Rosie's bed, and made himself right at home. His friends, Barfosaurus and The Runs showed up Monday. Unfortunately, they didn't just stay for the Easter holiday. And they only like Rosie. They LOVE Rosie. The pediatrician called in prescription suppositories today. The pharmacist says: "They'll make her very drowsy." I told the pharmacist: "Any change from the whining/moaning/screaming/barfing child who's taken to creating exploding diapers will be a welcome change!"

I can say that I know one thing for certain: Pergo floors advertise that you can quite simply wipe up any 'spill'. Well, I've wiped up entire toddler meals that have 'spilled' from my 2 year old's stomach. What a Godsend!


Happy Birthday!

My sister-in-law adds a candle to her birthday cake today! Happy Birthday, B.


Keep-Out House by Shel Silverstein

Another poem written by one of my favorite authors. Do you think maybe I am in need of some alone time??

At last - I finished my keep-out house,
A house that's meant for privacy,
A house that's meant for peacefulness,
A house just meant for only me.
There is no door where strangers knock,
No window where they peek and grin.
A perfect private keep-out house...
Now... how do I get in?


Monday Challenge!

Over at Owlhaven there's a Monday Challenge: Take three photos in your home that are reflections of YOU! What small items or small areas do you have in your home that makes your home your own? What shows your personality?Post your photos with explanations on your blog by Tuesday evening and put the link in her comments section. Wednesday morning she'll look at all the entries and choose one that she thinks shows the MOST personality or is the most interesting. Here are three of my favorite things, ones that make my house mine/ display my personality:

The first is my side of the master bathroom sink, with all my getting ready products. What can I say? I'm a Virgo, so looking good is essential!

I collect uniquely-constructed dolls, made to sit at the edge of a shelf. This is the orignal one, an angel of sorts, that got me started. My father's sister, whom I most closely resemble, brought this to me while I was still at Baylor. The tiny card inside the netting reads: Sing like nobody's listening... Dance like nobody's watching! Behind her on the shelf is part of a collection of Matriochkas from Russia. My lovely sister, Kelly and her husband Justin brought back several: a large one for me (of course) and three smaller sets for each of my daughters.

I love this one! I love it that she is so glammed up, even carrying a shopping bag. The small 'bag' reads: Who are all these kids and why are they calling me mom? There are moments like that for me.

BITUMINOUS? by Shel Silverstein

The hard coal's called bituminous,
Or is that anthracite?

Stalactites grow down from caves,
Or do I mean stalagmites?
Those fluffy clounds are nimbus -
No - wait - they might be cumulus.
And that kid who was raised by wolves -
Was he Remus - or Romulus?
The brothauruses ate no meat.
Does that mean they're carnivorous?
Or were they brontosauruses
And were they herbivorous?
A camel is a pachyderm -
Or do I mean dromedary?
Is this match inflammable?
I thought it was incendiary.
Octagons - no hexagons -
No, heptagons have seven sides.
And don't spray fruit with pesticides -
Or do I mean insecticides?
If I can see right through a thing,
Is it transparent - or translucent?
These are just some of the things
I find confusing...or confuscent.


The Indie Virus

Indie Virus is here!!

I have been infected with the desirable Indie Virus. Emma at The Bees Knees was thinking of me and passed this virus.

This is a virus you WANT to catch!

The Finer Points

The experiment, henceforth referred to as "The Indie Virus," has two goals:

To bring exposure to lesser known blogs (especially those outside of Technorati's top 100)
To explore the metrics behind a viral linking campaign launched by the "little guys" (less popular blogs)

Instead of rehashing the ideas here, I'll send you on over to
Copyblogger to see how this thing progressed in the comments. I think people are skeptical, but the bottom line is that this is just a casual experiment. Launching it doesn't really cost a thing, so why not try it? I'm just hoping for enough results that I'll be able to crunch a few numbers. Consider it an experiment in marketing with blogs.

The Rules
Participating in The Indie Virus is easy. All you've got to do is link to lesser known blogs from within a post (or two, or eleventeen), but you have to make sure that the anchor text of your link is The Indie Virus. This is critical, because in order to track the experiment, I'll be searching for the phrase "The Indie Virus" on common engines like Technorati, Google, and Yahoo! Oh, and also, make sure that you link directly to a post WITH A TRACKBACK and not to the site itself - it speaks louder!

This is a virus..... a very contagious virus but one you want to get.

I'm infecting some of my wonderful hilarious mommybloggerfriends!!

Zephra at her blog:
Chronicles of an Exhausted Mom Z- I love how you honestly share the daily battles involved with your career of choice: Stay At Home Motherhood. It's nice to know that there is another mom out there who feels the same as I do about a lot of things. I am not alone!

My younger sister, Kelly, at her blog:
Zhook KJ - I am so blessed to have a sister like you! We don't love each other because we have to, but because we make each other laugh. Oh yeah - and we have that whole 'growing up together' thing.

Elizabeth, at her blog:
Motherhood is not for Wimps Liz - You make me laugh at my own life more and more with each post I read. You inspire me to be a more emphatic writer. I have never met you or your breathtaking daughters, but I know we'd have a fun afternoon at the zoo!

Go, and Spread the Love!


You've been Punk'd!

I meant to say 'Tagged'! You can read my Six Weird Things Meme, then go type and post your own.

Six Weird Things About Me:

1. As much as I'd like help around the house, I won't let my DH do anything or hire a maid.

2. If any housework gets done, I want to do it. That's why my house looks so 'lived in'.

3. I tell people that if they want to come by and see me, they can stop by anytime.

4. If they want to stop by and see the house, they have to make an appointment.

5. My main meal is breakfast. The rest of the day, I eat what my daughters do not finish.
6. I have not been to the mall in more than a year.



Just like I promised. I have answered your questions! I've also included the questions for those of you who weren't here...

Jenn asked: Where does your strong faith in God come from? You and your sister are very spiritual in (it seems) different ways, does it have to do with family upbringing or did you find it yourself? My sister and I were raised in a moral family, but not a religious one. God was working on us individually at the same time, though we were physically separated by hundreds of miles. We each accepted Christ within hours of each other. My younger sister and I have different personalities (obviously), but our individual relationships with Jesus are very personal. We have each accepted God's gift through Jesus' death on the cross and each live our walk with God differently.

Jenn also asked:Oh, Oh, I have another! I read on here one time that you and your husband have an agreement that you never say no. Is that true? What if you just don't feel like it? My DH and I have a "No, with an Appointment" rule. It means that either of us can say 'not right now', but we also make an appointment within the next 24 hours to appropriately respond to the request. Just knowing that my husband still craves me is enough most of the time!

Jaws asked: When everyone is gone and you have the house to yourself(if you ever have) what would you do or have you done? While it is rare to have the entire house to myself, I traditionally do three things: 1) Take a l-o-n-g shower: shampoo&deep condition/shave all the important parts, 2)Paint my toenails with polish that takes longer than 60 seconds to dry, 3) Read a magazine (it might be a month old, but I haven't read it yet, so it's new to me!)

Emma asked: What is your proudest accomplishment? I can easily say surviving three daughters through pregnancy, nursing and toilet training. I cannot take credit for my recovery from the accident. I give the credit to my Heavenly Father for that one.

Also: What do you do to get out and relax? I don't get out. Period. Wait. I take that back! DH pats me on the fanny as I head out to Wally World ( grocery shopping) and says "You take as long as you need." I love it when I can tell other shoppers, "Go first. I've got all the time in the world!" I'm always nice, but being especially considerate is relaxing for me.

EmilyRoseJewel asked: What is your favorite Bible verse? I memorized it as a teen, and still say it today. Proverbs 31:30 'Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised'

Zephra asked: Do you believe in aliens? I trust scripture that says that God can hold the entire universe in the span of His hand. With a God that big, who wonderfully and fearfully made our human bodies, how could we be the only creatures in the universe?

What was your favorite toy as a child? My favorite toy that I remember was the Sit and Spin. I'd spin until I made myself sick. Then I'd throw up and get right back on!

Thank you all for asking so many wonderful questions!


I've got a great idea!

Okay. So it wasn't really mine. I got the idea from Valerie. Over the next 24 hours, I will take all questions. Any questions. On Thursday, I will post the answers to each one. So, what do you want to know?

Thanks, Val!


Oh well. What next?

The news that I wanted to share last week, but I was waiting for an answer? Well, we got the answer. Disappointing news. Anytime that DH and I are presented with an opportunity that sounds like something we'd like to jump on, we give it to God. We prayed that if God had not opened the door, that He would slam it in our face. He did just that! Thanks to all of you who offered your prayers and support. We are humbled. I also know that when God says 'No' to one thing, He says so because He's got bigger, better plans for our family. The question is: What's next?


Ready to Go!!

Catie is SO ready for Kindergarten! She asked to go with me when I went to get her registered at the elementary school where Catie's big sister is a first-grader. I explained to my five year old that there would be nothing for her to do besides sit still while Mommy filled out the necessary paperwork. Catie still wanted to tag along. We arrived and she said "Hello!" to any person who who made eye contact with her (don't know where she gets THAT from). She settled into a seat beside me as I filled out the required documents. The school made copies of every paper I brought with me: My Driver's License, Catie's Birth Certificate, Catie's social security card, our utility bill, and our medical insurance card. I'm surprised that I wasn't asked to drop my pants and hop up on the copier so they could have a print of my bare behind to identify me by my distinguishing marks! (I have a remarkable scar on my left cheek, in case you wanted to know) As soon as my attention was focused on filling the blanks and signing. every. stinking. page. Catie was bouncing off the walls (literally). I'm beginning to think she may be a distant relation to *ping-ping-PING!!!* Ricochet Rabbit.


Saturday Meme

Since there's no news to update my readers on (yet) I thought we'd have some fun!

My Accent - I say I have no accent, then I talk with family in Chicago. Seems I have a slight drawl.
Chore I hate - Ironing. I have three words for you: Downy Wrinkle Releaser.
Dog or Cat - Do kids count as pets?
Essential electronics - Computer. My Teletype. (just kidding)

Favorite perfume(s)/cologne(s) - Trish MacEvoy 9 (blackberry and vanilla), Victoria's Secret 'Pink'
Gold or Silver? - sterling silver or platinum (I break out from the nickel in gold).
Hometown - I've lived in Texas for 26 years, but I still say 'Chicago'.
Insomnia? - Only if my hubby's out of town. The snoring lulls me to sleep!
Job Title - Charge nurse, CFO, Maid, Chef, CSI (not in any particular order).
Kids? - Four if you count DH. He says to count him!
Living Arrangement - House that was built two years before I was born, always in need of repair (like my 31 year old body)
Most admired trait - The 'twins'.
Overnight Hospital Stays - Four, each birth. Then, two months after my
Phobia - Roaches. *shudder*
Quote - Can you quote yourself? "My life may be many things, but never BORING!"
Religion - Christ-Follower. ( I gave my heart to Jesus 16 years ago)
Siblings - One sister (19 months younger).
Time I wake up - O-dark-hundred-hours
Unusual talent/skill - I can speak on the phone while doing laundry/reprimanding a child/preparing a meal/making a grocery list/checking homework and scheduling a doctor's appointment.
Vegetable I refuse to eat - I clean poop off of various surfaces, including the butt it came from - veggies are nothing.
Worst habit - Picking my cuticles.
X-rays - Too many to count. ( the accident again)
Yummy foods I make - I make my Italian Grandmother's Meatballs and Gravy, Lasagne.
Zodiac sign - Virgo

Feel free to do this on your blog as well!


Political Positions

While driving The Princess to school this morning, I read thought-provoking bumper sticker: YOU CANNOT BE CATHOLIC AND PRO-ABORTION

I am not Catholic, nor am I pro-abortion. I believe that, as scripture says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13)

While I am of the opinion that abortion is murder and I would never consider abortion an option for myself, I do not think that I should shove my beliefs down anyone's throat. I also believe that government should back off on a lot of hot issues. I'm praying for the day that the US Government says, "Meh" and stops trying to rule our lives. I'm interested in your opinion, and yes, all opinions are welcome.


Oh boy. Oh Boy! OH BOY!!

DH has broadened his horizons, you might say. As Martha would say: 'That's a good thing." I would love to spill it all right now so the excitement of the whole blessing does not cause me to spontaneously combust. I cannot do that. At least for now. As soon as I get the 'all clear', I will share!


Why is it that when we, as parents, meet new people and find out that they have children, we feel an instant connection? When getting to know strangers, I make more effort to make my life 'transparent', often sharing the gory details of life as a stay-at-home mom, simply to see who bolts first. Usually it's the folks with no kids, who are rushing to book an appointment to get sterilized. I find myself tempted to get caught up in the inevitable oneupmanship when comparing the horror stories of parenthood:

Parent #1: "Johnny drew on the underside of our coffee table with crayons once."

Parent #2:
"Susie drew on the big-screen TV with markers. Thankfully they were washable."

Me: "Really? My two-year-old colored every inch of flesh between her socks and her shorts with a Sharpie. Two hours and a Brillo pad later, her legs were still a sick shade of gray."

I have good reason for avoiding these conversations: My daughters have done the same thing, to the extreme, and I always sound like I'm making up the story. I'm not. I promise.

My DH is a member of a well-known social fraternity. He and I discussed what it was actually like to be a Fraternity brother. I asked once if he shared things with fellow brothers that he'd never say to anyone else. "Of course", he answered. That makes sense. Of course you share things with the members of your exclusive club that you keep from John Q. Public. So that's what being a parent means: Perpetual membership in the Exclusive Parenthood Club.

I won't even tell you what the yearly dues are.

Women in Ministry

Go visit my little sister's blog, Zhook, and share your feeling about women being 'ordained' in the ministry.


April Fool's Day!

Go visit Mommybloggers to see how I answered the questions on the April Fool's Day Q&A Smackdown! There will be posts there today and tomorrow. See ya'll Monday!


Erin: 31, Emcee. Witty redhead, handy with a whip.

DH: 30, Strong Man. Comedian, defender of virtue.

Halie: 7, Chimpanzee. Pulls teeth, loves bananas.

Catie: 5, Leaping Lemur. Gentle and cuddly, loves grapes.

Rosie: 2, Cappuccin. Flings poo, loves carrots.

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