Family Circus

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


Come Visit!

I'm over at Hey, You! putting in my two cents while Ben's on vacation on a beach somewhere...but I'm not jealous. Especially not since he'll do the same for me when I am gone the second week in July! Go over and say 'Hi' on his blog, please.

Second Choice Friend

More than a year ago, my daughters befriended a boy who lives down the street from us. Made sense to me: B is a few months older than my oldest daughter, likes to play with dolls, doesn't put up with my girls' intimidation tactics, and his mom lives nearby (so I can always send him home). Last summer, they played together all. summer. long. When school began in the Fall of 2005, Halie began attending another school, and then a young boy moved into the house on the other side of B. The visits from B all but stopped. Except for the times when the new neighbor boy isn't at home. My daughters fail to accept that B only comes to call when his new pal isn't available. So, I've begun to turn B away at the door when I know that his new best friend isn't at home. Yesterday, the girls just could not understand why I would not let B play with them. I thought of telling them that I was just not in the frame of mind to watch my own three daughters plus a fourth child who belongs elsewhere. Instead, I honestly asked them: "How do you feel about being B's second choice to play with?"

What would you do? Please tell!


Glitter,Glitter Everywhere...

At Rosie's naptime, I get my older two daughters set up to work on their computer or maybe even to watch Veggie Tales while I get Rosie settled down. It normally takes about five minutes to get Rosie almost to sleep (once she stops moving, she's down for the count). Today took significantly longer than that, maybe 15 minutes. My seven year old and her five year old sister decided to create a surprise for DH, to present to him when he came home today. The 'surprise' involved creating a banner for his upcoming birthday, complete with excessive glitter. Glitter that Halie got as a gift from someonewhoisnothermother for Christmas last year, and she's done fine with it, when supervised. So I hold Halie accountable for its use (misuse).

**sidenote: DH's birthday is July 9, when we'll be departing for our vacation. The girls want to be sure they get to celebrate their Daddy's birthday as a family, so they set up this surprise with me yesterday. I baked DH's favorite cake (cherry-chocolate), and even bought cards 'from the kids' to have the girls sign today. They came up with this glitter idea on. their. own. When I discovered them in the kitchen after the longer-than-usual storytime with Rosie, they were already in the process of hiding the evidence. My daughters did not do a stellar job, however. As they walked out of the kitchen past me, they were leaving glittery footprints behind them on the Pergo floor, chattering about putting on some sunscreen and going outside! Let's just say that they didn't get to do as they had planned. They got to surprise their Daddy, yes. Go outside? No. Catie cleaned off the table, so I sent her out to the living room. Halie got the privilege of vacuuming the entire kitchen floor. When they were finished, I could still see glitter everywhere, but decided that we needed to prepare for DH's homecoming 'surprise', so I put off the deep-clean until evening chore time.

Yes, I hung the banner. Yes, the cake had a candle. Yes, we jumped out and shouted "Surprise!" Yes, the girls gave DH the birthday cards. Yes, I realize that my daughters are a week and a half early in wishing their Daddy a 'Happy Birthday', but you only turn 31 once in your lifetime, right?

Before shower and bedtime, Halie spent 30 minutes with a sink full of suds and a rag wiping up all the glitter on the kitchen floor. When I pointed out how long it took to clean up the mess, she said, "Wow! That's longer than it took to make the banner!" Not only did she do the math in her head, Halie realized what an effort it takes to clean up that kind of a mess. My oldest daughter went to bed very pleased with herself today.

Oh well. I tried!

I used all of the stain removal methods that my loving readers told me about. The spots on my husband's work clothes are diminished significantly, but still there. My DH is more than pleased and has forgiven my foul up. At least he won't resemble a spotted owl and be ridiculed by his coworkers. Thank you for giving me a chance to redeem myself!


HELP!! Advice needed

I just happened to throw my pants in with two of my DH's Carmax uniforms a couple of days ago. Royal blue collared polos and khaki shorts. They made it through the washing machine just fine, but in the dryer, the lip balm I had tucked into my pocket and 'misplaced' decided to make a grand entrance. Did I mention it was tinted lip balm? Shimmery tinted lip balm? $100+ dollars in Carmax work clothes. Spotted with pink glittery lip junk. I screwed up.

I have tried Shout, Zout, Resolve and Stain Devil for makeup, so the marks are faded...but still there. Anyone have a recommendation for getting this stuff out without further damaging the 100% cotton, royal blue shirts and the 100% cotton, wrinkle-free khaki shorts? My clothes were in that load as well, but since I wear a wardrobe from WalMart, I'm willing to scrap the pants. I have to save DH's works clothes. Hay-ulp!


Duplicate Question:

My daughters were watching 'Pinky Dinky Doo' on Noggin this morning. Let me rephrase that: one daughter sat under each of my arms (with no 'shower' comment), and one sat in my lap. So every female in my house was watching Noggin this morning. The show is about a young girl who makes up stories to entertain her younger brother while helping to come up with a solution. Today's show was about being asked to do many 'chores' by several family members at the same time. She unearths a Duplication Machine from the bottom of her closet (come on! It's a made up story anyway.), with which she duplicates herself - times 12. Which got me thinking. If I could actually do that, I'd create at least eight: one of myself for each child, one to do all the laundry, one to answer all the calls, one to cook all the meals, one to referee all the squabbles, one to do all the leg work and chauffeur duties, leaving little old me to tend to my husband. My question is this: How many copies of yourself would you create and what would you assign each to do?


Vegas Countdown...

If you haven't seen the ticker at the bottom of the page, it's only 14 DAYS to Las Vegas with my DH for a week! Woo-hoo!


I Am:

Copied, then altered from my new friend at her blog, Soul Glo.

I know that I am neither of my parents. Yes, they have influenced my parenting style, but I am beginning a new cycle with my daughters.

I believe that my unborn daughter is in Heaven.

I fought against my parents as a teenager, but now consider them wise friends.

I am angered by ignorance displayed through irrational hatred (like racism)

I need to lose 30 more pounds, and I'm getting there!

I hear "Mommy, help!" Even in my sleep.

I drink 100% Columbian coffee. I'm still trying to get it by IV...

I want a maid, who works for peanuts.

I am doing the best I can do at any given moment.

I feel confident in just about anything I do.

I hope my daughters grow up well-adjusted.

I dream of my daughter winning an Oscar, it's just too soon to say which one it will be.

I drive at the speed limit on residential streets. I keep up with traffic on the highway.

I listen to my husband's deep breathing as I fall asleep.

I type by hunt and peck. I took 'typing classes' in school. Failed them ALL!

I think my daughters look like angels when they are sleeping.

I regret nothing. If I changed a single thing, I would not be who I am today.

I care deeply for my friends.

I should not raise my voice to my children. I know that.

I am not always the best cook, but my family eats whatever I make.

I said my daughters may be three shades of blonde, but they are redheads on the inside!

I wonder if the world would change if every human being had to work as a waitperson and/or a grocery store cashier before they could be considered an adult.

I changed my outlook after the

I cry rarely, but certainly when my daughter is seriously

I lose my patience on a regular basis.

I leave no stone unturned.

I hate things said/written to deliberately hurt another person's feelings.


Bad smells

This morning was a repeat of morning of recent days: I'm awake, impatiently wait for the coffee to finish brewing, pour myself a large cup, plop down on the sofa and enjoy the caffeine until my two year old wakes and in her groggy, weary-eyed state, toddles out into the living room and quickly snuggles under one of my arms. Today, after finishing my initial quart of coffee, I put on Jack's Big music Show for Rosie. I lifted both my arms over my head in preparation to haul my thirty-something bum off the sofa. Next thing I knew, Rosie had stuck her nose under one of my arms, wrinkled up her nose, withdrew and quietly said, "Mama, shower."

In my mind: WOW! She said 'shower' and that's a new word! Woo-hoo! Wait. Was that an insult? How DARE she! I've changed a few less than one million wretched diapers that were produced by that same human being. Does she think her poop doesn't stink?

On the outside, I simply smiled and said, "Yes, Baby. Momma needs a shower."

I'm not so sure if further development of her vocabulary is really necessary at this point.


Our Little Parrot, Catie

Bouncing around on her daddy's shoulders yesterday, Catie was circling the living room and having a grand old time. She asked her father to drop her onto her top bunk, so my DH made a beeline for her bedroom. As he approached the doorway, she told him, "Just be sure to watch out for all the crap on the floor!" My husband asked her what she meant exactly by 'crap'. Catie told him, "Y'know, all my stuff on the floor!" After depositing Catie in her bed, DH came to find me. He replayed the incident for me and said, "I think she's repeating what she's heard us saying: Pick up all your crap right now. I'm tired of stepping on it." Oh man, I thought. I've got to stop saying that crap...


The Countdown

My husband and I have laid awake for several nights now talking of our upcoming trip (ALONE!) to Las Vegas. As I was attempting to fall asleep last night, I would get a rush of excitement: a full-body shudder. DH coined the term 'The Las Vegas Twitch' in my honor. I really need to find a free countdown code to add to my blog. As of this posting, we're 18 days, 22 hours and 14 minutes away from takeoff!

**UPDATE** I finally got a ticker at the bottom of my blog. Check it out!


What did you just say?

This morning, I made hard boiled eggs on request for Halie, who was the first to rise after me. DH bought me this fabulous new set of cookware that requires no oil/very little water. I was able to place a wet paper towel in the bottom of a saucepan, heat it on medium, then allow the eggs to cook on low for 10 minutes. YUM! I didn't know that a hard-boiled eggs could actually NOT have any gray on the yolk or stink up my whole house. I did it this morning!! So, I plopped a fully-cooked egg in ice water, peeled away the shell, then let Halie have it. She held the egg so carefully, held it up to her lips for a kiss, and said in a hoarse whisper: " My Precious."


To All Farthers

My seven year old presented her daddy with a hand-crafted Father's Day card today. We hunted and searched for the card that said just the right thing to give my DH today, but found none as touching as the one Halie created:

So from my daughter, Halie, Happy Farther's Day to each and every one of you!


this is an audio post - click to play

Diaper Dynamo!

After watching a week's worth of Wonder Pets on Nick Jr. Rosie decided that she, too, could serve as a superhero by merely wearing a cape and wielding a standard household item. You've got to see the pictures:

Yes, the cape is a hand towel from the girls' bathroom, and the scepter of power is a Pampered Chef pastry brush! Those two simple items have transformed my two year old daughter into
While Rosie Diaper Dynamo has yet to rescue anyone besides her own teddy bear (Ted Bear, as she calls him), I'm already saying Watch Out Wonder Woman! She's younger, she's blonder and she doesn't need any silly bullet-deflecting wrist cuffs!


Again, Rosie SPEAKS!

My oldest two daughters are in the phase where they argue for as long as it appears that they have the upper hand. Blessedly, they do so with each other and not with me or DH. This morning, as I was unloading the dishwasher, I could hear Halie and Catie in the initial stages of a disagreement. This is the point at which they really don't want a parent to step in, so the try to keep it quiet. As I continued eavesdropping, the issue began to escalate, with each girl's voice getting louder and louder. Rosie wandered in to the living room at some point, and began quietly repeating the verbal jabs that her older sisters were tossing at each other. Halie and Catie grew annoyed that they had attracted a mini-heckler. They stormed out of the living room, retreating to their respective bedrooms, shouting "FINE!" in unison as an attempt to get one last word in. As I stepped into the living room to find a bewildered two year old, she looked up at me and shouted, "FINE!"


I should have known better

I wrote a lengthy breakdown of what my husband and I have come to call the Apocalypse Pool. Not that the pool brokedown, but after two days of increasing sibling violence mixed with craziness, I did. Go over to Hey, You and read all about the day after I spoke so lovingly of our new pool.


Weekend Update

Also an optional name for this post: PTSD. DH bought a Family Sized inflatable pool on Saturday. *Hey. I'm just telling you what it said ON THE BOX!* When we realized that it was 100 degrees outside, he inflated it, filled it with water and let the girls have at it. Pretty soon, my husband saw how much fun the girls were having and decided to join them. This was an event to be archived in pictures, so I grabbed the camera and began snapping away (also, it was a convenient excuse not to get wet). Rosie was napping at this point (yes, miracles DO happen), and as soon as she woke up, I helped her into her little suit and off she went! Rosie initially was shocked by the cold water and jumped into her daddy's lap. Pretty soon, Rosie was splashing around with her sisters and having a great time! I was waiting for the phone to ring:
"Mrs. HalieCatieRosie's Mom, this is the Dead. We'd like to get back to our eternal slumber. Could you tell your kids to quit screaming? Thank you!"
Getting them out of the water was relatively easy: hunger drives children. Their growling bellies won out when I called out the back door, "DINNER!!" By 8PM they were all sleeping. Good times. Gooood Times.


I Ask. You Answer.

DH and I are headed to Las Vegas in July for our once-a-year-kid-free vacation. We love our daughters, and we also need time away from them. For some, it's dinner out. For DH and me? We don't do anything on a small scale. Thus, Las Vegas! We have been once before (last year), and we know that there are many attractions that we somehow managed to miss. So my question is: Have you ever been to Las Vegas? I'd like to know what you did to have fun and what you saw when you were there. Just leave it in the comments!


Say that again, please!

Rosie actually said her own name yesterday- for the first time EVER! She's been saying her big sisters' names for quite some time now. Rosie normally points to herself in photographs and calls herself 'da bay-bee'. What a milestone! I just had to share.


Conversation with my 5 year old

Halie and Catie each have a chart with their responsibilities for each day (ie: making bed, getting dressed, laundry in basket, etc.). Before bed each night, we evaluate the day for each girl, placing stickers on the responsibilities that each took care of without being asked. Halie almost never debates with me about what she did or did not do. Catie, on the other hand, is a completely different story.

It's after our devotional, and before brushing our teeth for bed. This is what we fondly call 'Sticker Time'. The charts are on the door to Catie's bedroom, so the two girls and I stood there while I assessed my five year old's day first. First on the chart for Catie? Make Bed. I look at the top bunk, and see no top sheet, nor do I see a blanket or a pillow. Aloud, I said, "You didn't make your bed. No sticker." A sound that can only be described as indignant came out of Catie's mouth. Below is our conversation. Verbatim. Don't laugh. I wrote it down immediately!

Me: What's wrong? Did you or did you not make your bed this morning?

Catie: Well, sorta.

Me: Your comforter, top sheet AND pillow are on the floor!

Catie: Well, by saying 'sorta', I meant 'No'.

Me: When you say 'sorta', I expect at least your pillow and comforter to be in a reasonable position ON YOUR BED. Maybe next time you actually mean 'No', you could actually state the obvious.


Happy Birthday, Dad!

Please join me in saying Happy Birthday to my Dad. Today is his birthday, number 57, and his big gift? Illlness, coupled with excruciating pain. Not the first time through this routine, but my father and his doctor know how to handle it. And NO, I'm not telling! My Dad's recovering at home, on good pain meds, with the best nurse in the world for him, his wife.

I love you, Dad.


Calling All Friends!

As I mentioned in the last post, DH and I will be headed to Las Vegas in July, and I'm hoping to stockpile some guest posts to plug into my page while we're away. Please let me know if you'd like to serve as a guest blogger during my vacation. Just leave it in the comments. Thanks in advance!


Great! So NOW WHAT?

When my daughters were playing dress up this weekend, there was actually a moment of peace, a moment when they were getting along nicely. I know. You could have knocked me over with a feather!

From our last trip to Las Vegas, we came home with a duffel bag full of free 'stuff' from the places we visited, so we gladly passed them on to our daughters. Here are Halie and Catie modeling a satin jacket from the Riviera. When I saw them together, I made a reference to Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dum, which drew blank stares. Halie says, "No, mother. We're Zac and Wheezie!"

Well, at least they're having fun with the stuff. We plan to bring home more fun junk from Vegas this time around. We'll be headed out for a week in July - without the kids. More on that later...


She's done it, yet again.

As I have identified my oldest child over on the right side of the page, under Cast and Crew: Chimpanzee. Pulls teeth, loves bananas. Trust me. I did not simply pull this facetious description of my daughter out of thin air. She has pulled five of her teeth - literally. You can read about her oral fixation (obsession?) here, here, here, and today. See the blank spot to the right of her adult-sized top tooth? I cannot explain it: Halie seems obsessed from the moment she notices the tooth wiggling until the darned thing is ripped out, which may be five minutes or two hours, depending on how much pain she's feeling. Quite graphically, my seven year old daughter yanked out the tooth with her fingers cushioned by only a Puffs tissue. This makes me worry about the middle child...


ABC Meme

ACCENT: almost imperceptible twang.
BIBLE BOOK I LIKE: Proverbs 31 - all about women.
CHORE I DON'T CARE FOR: Bathrooms. There are no body-sized rubber gloves yet.
DOG or CAT: Do kids count as pets?
FAVORITE COLOGNE: For men? Vetiver. For me? Goddess.
GOLD or SILVER: Silver.
HANDBAG I CARRY MOST OFTEN: streamlined black diaper bag.
INSOMNIA: Only when I'm left hanging.*ahem*
JOB TITLE: Stay At Home Mom ( judge/jury, cook/maid).
KIDS: Three girls. Halie (7), Catie (5), Rosie (2)
LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: House with three daughters and my DH.
NAUGHTIEST CHILDHOOD BEHAVIOR: Peeing in the trash can in my room.
OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAYS: Four births (we lost a daughter before Rosie), and three months after the accident.
PHOBIAS: Flying insects.
QUOTE: "Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, "No, thank you," to dessert that night. And for what!" ~ Erma Bombeck
RELIGION: Christian. Christ follower.
SIBLINGS: one younger sister. Step-siblings I call brother and sister.
TIME I WAKE UP: 5 or 6 am. Whatever time the girls get up.
UNUSUAL TALENTS OR SKILLS: I can make one eye 'wander'.
VEGETABLE I REFUSE TO EAT: Brussel Sprouts. Okay, maybe covered in cheese.
WORST HABIT: picking scabs.
XRAYS: Lots when I broke my neck and pelvis in the accident. I don't remember (see HOSPITAL).
YUMMY STUFF I COOK: Rose's Meatballs and Gravy.
ZOO ANIMALS I LIKE MOST: Orangutans. We redheads need to stick together.


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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