Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Kindergarten Christmas

Ryan's class had their Christmas party on Thursday, and man was it reindeer-riffic. Everything was Rudolph-themed, from the cute little obligatory Reindeer Hats:

(Look, Ma, No TOOTH!)

To Reindeer Bingo:


And much much more. I'd show more pics of the activities, but there's the pesky little matter of other people's kids in the pics and privacy and all that nonsense. Trust me, they had a great sugar-filled time.

One kid I can show you is Ryan's Love, Dillon. They don't know this yet, but his mom and I have already put a downpayment on a church and reception hall. Shh, don't tell...

What I really love about the two of them is that they really are just great friends. Sure, they write cards to each other declaring their love, and yes, they have been on some dates (family-dates, but whatever), but they've yet to reach that teasing, kissy-face stage in their relationship, and I, for one, am thrilled.

They goof off, wrestle, fart and giggle together -- just like Mommy and Daddy!

But I digress.

One more fun thing about this year's Kindergarten Christmas? Their teacher put together a "cookbook" from the mouths of our babes, where she asked them what their favorite food is that their parents make and then she had them tell her how they make the dish and she wrote it down word-for-word and voila, a new cookbook was born.

Here is Ryan's entry, titled "Ryan's Imposter Cake" :

"We buy it at a cake store and come home with it. Then we put it in the oven so it looks like we made it. Then I put icing and candy on it."

WTF?? She would say that. I'm not sure where she got the idea, but I have a feeling that it came from Shawn's birthday party, when we bought his cake rather than make it. I'm not clear on the whole "put in the oven & pretend" part, but it does have a nice ring to it...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Osi Maka, Help Us Please

Ryan lost her first tooth Sunday night. She came home with it loose on Tuesday or Wednesday and right then my heart palpatations began and Shawn has gone into perpetual sweat mode.

We do not want this child to grow up. Period. It's too much, it's too fast and we mean business.

"I can't believe my little girl is losing her first tooth," I whimpered to her on Wednesday.

"I'm getting big, Mom," was her just-a-tad-too-matter-of-fact-for-me-young-lady reply.

That was a low blow.

Shawn just got miffed at her, as though he was trying to summon all his energy to stop her growth with the sheer power of his "evil eye". Unfortunately, Ryan just rolled her eyes and giggled, and Shawn melted into a heap on the floor. I'm seriously frightened for him. (Can you even imagine her first period? I shudder. Please, God, don't ever let me write about Ryan's first visit from Aunt Flo. I shudder. Again.)

Anyway, the brilliantly prepared and generous Tooth Fairy left her a WHOLE DOLLAR and sweet Tooth Fairy Snowglobe with a tiny little hatbox on top to leave her future teeth in. I'm pretty sure this derives from the whole Princess&the Pea syndrome, but I could be wrong..

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Santa List

I'm sitting across the living room from my husband and daughter, watching them snuggle against each other watching a nature show. I haven't seen either of them so relaxed and at ease in such a long time. They are truly happy right now, and that's about the best thing I could get for Christmas.

*I'll go ahead and pass around the barf bags now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Look & See

What's wrong with this picture?

(and who do you think is responsible?)

P.S. The blue & green yarn was Ryan's touch. We feel it gives the tree a certain je ne sais quois.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sniffles and shivers and sneezes, Oh my!

Yes, that time of year has hit our household, as is the case for so many families, and when this time of year rolls around, who suffers most?

The mom. That's right, I said it. You can belly ache and whine and complain about your chills or your 103 degree fever, or the fact that you are physically incapable of swallowing, or even that the 7 inch scar down the center of your chest is sore,but do not even try to convince me that you suffer worse than your caretaker.

Take my mom, for instance. There she is, all 57 years of her, struggling day in and day out to appease her bellowing man-child as he recovers from open heart surgery, fetching him this and that, getting up (and in most cases staying up) with him at all hours of the night, and how does he repay her? By making her watch hours on end of the hunting channel.

"I can't take it anymore, Amy," she whimpered over the phone yesterday. "All day long, there we are, just staring at men in cammo, sitting in trees whispering and pointing and counting antler points -- I need help!"

How I feel her pain. Ryan stayed home sick on Monday with a fever. A fever and NOTHING ELSE. A little runny nose, yes, and a slightly hacking cough, but other than the fact that the thermometer read 100.2 degrees, she was fine. Nevertheless, she and Jax and I pulled out the couch bed, geared up the tv, sat, slept and rendered ourselves sloth-like for the entire day. Out went my Spin class, my goal of cleaning and mopping the living room floor, and any desire to be productive whatsoever.

There was no reprieve for the weary yesterday, either, as Shawn came home mid-day with a raging case of fever and chills, sending him to bed and me to the computer to cancel a Habitat meeting scheduled for that night at our house.

Then it was on to trying desperately to keep the kiddos quiet, pulling out the couch bed and watching more tv. Dinner was microwaveable, no one had a bath, and mommy slept on the horribly uncomfortable couch bed. Slept is probably not the right word. Toss and Turn? Yes.

4:30 hit and Ry joined me downstairs, refusing the cough drops I fervently pushed towards her in an attempt to salvage the night. Finally, around 5:30 we fell asleep until Jax started his morning call for "Mommy!" at 6:20.

And now Shawn is upstairs, sleeping while the Penicillin shot hopefully gets rid of the Strep, Ry is at school, undoubtedly sniffling and hacking and spreading all kinds of yummy germs, and Jax is being loud. I've actually managed to clean the downstairs, take a shower, and write this, and next we're off to Subway for lunch and the store for some Emergen-C, cause if Mama gets sick, we're all screwed.

Am I right ladies??

**There has been one highlight to all of this, though. In preparation for Daddy's Day of Rest, I explained to the kids that he was feeling yucky and had chills, so we needed to try to be as quiet as possible.

The quiet part never really sunk in, though Jax has been continuously asking Shawn, "You got Chili's Dad? Chili's? You got Chili's Dad? Chili's?"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Next we'll be singing Kumbaya around the fire...

Click to play Christmas+Card+2007
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Wanna share the love this Christmas? Check out these cool sites we used to send ecards, adopt a wildlife animal, and help people across the world. -- instead of presents from Mom and Dad, Ry and Jax used the money to adopt an animal!!!

oxfam -- Thanks to smilebox, we were able to save $$ on cards this year, and used the savings to buy a goat for a family in Africa. Who knew???

There are so many more sites that are wonderful to visit this time of year -- Feed the Poor, Save the Children, us, won't you??

Friday, December 7, 2007

Big Daddy Update

So Dad's been home a few days, and is slowly getting better. You can hear it in his voice, which is nice because all we've able to do lately is telephone.

Mom was able to take off the rest of the semester at school, so she'll be with him night and day, and will therefore need every prayer in the book to keep her sanity. Y'all help a hot grandma out, okay??

Dad is still fighting some nasty coughing fits, which cause horrible chest pain for which he's been prescribed Vicodin, but refuses to take because he doesn't like how groggy it makes him feel. That was until yesterday morning around 3 am, when it got to be too much, and rather than take his customary 1/2 pill, he took 2. Needless to say, he slept like a baby.

He and mom continue to be an inspiration to me -- just this morning as I was huffing and puffing and"oh-God-I'm-gonna-barf"-ing my way through Spin class, I just kept thinking of them and how hard they have had to work lately to get healthy, and it totally kept me going.
(There's no way I would want my kids to be put through the same shit we were!!)

See? Silver Linings everywhere...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mama Said

So you know how you've got those days where you lay on the couch all morning with your 2 yr old watching SpongeBob, Thomas, and Scooby Doo then take a 3 hour nap, wake up and clean the whole house?

Me neither.

The "clean the whole house" part, I mean.

Here's hoping your day was as productive as mine!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baby

Today my husband turned 30. Life is SWEET!! I am so glad he was born. He makes everything better. You know how there are people you meet and you wonder how life ever went on without them? It's like that, with a cherry on top.

Plus, Big Daddy went home today, so December 4th, 2007 has officially been named my favorite day of the year thus far.

We're all feeling a little sluggish, though. Shawn's passed out on the couch (it's 8:25), the kids are asleep, and I'm pretty close to convincing myself to leave kitchen cleanup for the morning. Who knew 30 was the new 60?

We'd planned to trim the tree to celebrate Shawn's birthday tonight (low key, after the surprise party we pulled off for him this weekend), had an early evening peak:

, and this is what we're left with:

Saturday, December 1, 2007


So yesterday I got a call from Ninny about 4:30 pm saying that Dad was having Kidney failure and I needed to come to the hospital. In tears, I ran out the door, shouting at my neighbor as she stood there dumb-founded.

Praying and crying, I rushed through the late afternoon drizzle and then I hit THE TRAFFIC.

I don't know of any city anymore that doesn't have horrible rush-hour traffic, but Austin's is notorious, especially around, oh, 4:30 on Friday afternoon.

Let me just say, it's a good thing that the emergency wasn't quite as severe as I'd thought, seeing as how it took me an hour and a half to get to the hospital.

I hate not being able to be there all the time. I'm having flashbacks to my sophomore year in college when I received the call that he'd had another heart attack, but not to worry, he was doing fine and I should come home in a few days. They left out the part about him having to be "brought back" on the operating table, but whatever...

Anyway, when I finally did arrive, Mom took me aside and told me that he was experiencing acute kidney failure, something not altogether uncommon after the procedures he's just had. They put the catheter back in, and will be doing an ultrasound later today to make sure there's nothing more severe going on.

I calmed down after hearing that, but my concern is mostly for his inability to sleep because of the severe back pain he's experiencing. He had major back surgery when we were younger, which came with all sorts of complications like blood clots in his lungs and other fun things. The girls and I can still remember the ambulance pulling up to our house to take our screaming Dad back to the hospital -- the pain was that bad. Not something you want to hear when you are 11, 9 and 7 years old.

The pain now is mostly due to having to lay on his back constantly, not being able to roll over and alleviate any of the pressure from his 290 lb frame. (We don't call him Big Daddy for nothin') The screams aren't quite as heart wrenching, but the groans and moans and prayers to Jesus leave much to be desired. My heart goes out to him and my mom and sisters, who've been having to witness his discomfort around the clock (my time will come -- Sunday night, he's all mine).

Pain meds weren't working, just keeping him groggy, so they stopped giving them to him, which meant he slept not at all on Thursday night. Not ideal for a recovering heart patient. They gave him muscle relaxers last night, but I talked to Mom this morning and Ninny told her that he didn't sleep much either. This, I'm worried about.

Anyway, after Mom and I discussed his situation last night, we headed back to his room, where we found him sitting up being force-fed by Lea Ann and bitching up a storm. This made my heart soar. Anytime he harasses Lea Ann is great, but this was even better -- he was acting like himself again, and pretty soon all 5 of us were cracking jokes and laughing, wheeling him around the halls and embarrassing ourselves with our inability to keep our voices down, eliminate curse words from our sarcasm, and operate his wheelchair/IV.

It was so much fun. I'm hoping he'll feel well enough to have a short visit with the kids this morning, though the mere thought of Jax slamming his head into any part of Big Daddy makes me cringe, a feat he will more than likely at least attempt.

Perhaps we'll wait.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Movin' Out

Big Daddy's out of CCU and in his own room! Keep checking back, though -- I may have a "bowel movement" alert later. Kidding, I'm kidding...

Name Dropping

Okay, so I should be cleaning right now, but I forgot a funny tidbit from yesterday and I really wanted to share it (plus, I have an update on Big Daddy...)

Story first!!

So yesterday, after we'd said 3 pre-goodbyes, we'd finally managed to walk him all the way to the waiting room, where the tears really flew. The anesthesiologist must have felt bad for us, because he quickly informed us that Dad's doctor was the same one who'd operated on Nolan Ryan not too long ago, and was considered one of the very best.

I swear, you'd have thought he just told us Dad was all better and could go home the way we fawned all over that one. I'm not sure if Nolan Ryan cares, but his successful heart surgery made things just a little easier on our family yesterday. We are that lame.

(This week on Grey's Anatomy:

Chief: "Okay people. The research is in and we've discovered that people tend to be less apprehensive about a loved one's surgery if they think the operating doctor has successfully performed the same surgery on a famous person. So that's what we'll be doing from now on.

Grey, you'll go first -- try that gullible-looking family from Texas.")

Now, onto the update: They just took out the tubes in his wrist, leg and neck, and will most likely be taking out his chest tubes later today.

I spoke with him earlier and he sounded miraculous. I love him so much, you don't even know.

All Systems Go

Well, what we thought would only be a Triple Bypass turned into a Quadruple Bypass, but that didn't phase Big Daddy -- he's recovering well and I just heard that he is sitting up and eating, so that's a relief! He'll be in CCU today and possibly tomorrow, after which he'll be moved to a different room for a few more days.

No one is more relieved than the other waiting room patrons, who by 3:30 yesterday afternoon were ready for our motley crew to move our motley butts elsewhere. Jax can only be contained for so long, you see....

Lea, Ninny and Mom are all at the hospital, I of course, am rendered useless to them because my own little man. Don't think I'm not fuming over that.

Thanks for all of your prayers! I'll continue to keep you updated!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Here's how OUR day went yesterday:

6 am and we're up getting ready to leave for work (Shawn) and the Heart Hospital (me & the kids). Big Daddy was scheduled for a cardiogram at 8 am, and we were on our way to his side.

We leave the house at 7, head to the donut shop (for "the kids"), stop for gas, and we're on the road.

8 am and we're still sitting in traffic.

8:10 We finally arrived, stressed because of stupid drivers who can't manage to readjust their cars so they actually fit into one parking space, but mostly because I feared we'd missed him. Silly Amy. We found Menana, Ninny and Big Daddy posted up in the lobby, kicked back all comfy-like.

An hour later and they've taken him back, prepped him and now we're ....waiting. With children. Enter the Central Market playground. Right next door to the hospital. Off we go in search of food and fun, both of which we eagerly consumed. The kids ran, Ninny, Menana and I ate, and all was well. After about 45 minutes Menana went to check on the big man, while Ninny and I lured the kids back to the hospital by way of the bookstore.

After hearing that Dad was still waiting, and would be for an undetermined amount of time, I trekked back to the playground with the kiddos, rather than face another minute chasing down Jax, begging him to be quiet, and hearing Ryan whine, "I wanna go to school!"

So this makes it what, 10:45/11? SOOOO many more people at the Central Market playground at 11 than at 8:30. Ryan immediately sent her radar out and attracted a fellow girl mate, and Jax busied himself climbing, sliding, and playing with his trucks. Then some kids tried to bully him, Ryan yelled at them, and they ran away. Boys. Tough Boys.

As I sat intermittently watching them and reading Jane Eyre, I saw the little girl Ryan was playing with walking towards me.

"I'm an evil princess dog," she said.

"Me too," I replied. (When I was younger I used to get a kick out of making scary faces at little kids and watching them freak out. See how well I've matured?)

Ryan then comes running up, breathlessly saying something to the Evil Princess Dog about "losing their powers", and they were off again.

It wasn't until about 20 minutes later that I realized what part Ryan was playing. As I glanced up from my book to see what playground urchin was interrupting my peace by relentlessly screaming, "Gazelle!! Gazelle!" I saw it was EPD, obviously searching for her master, Giselle (Enchanted, anyone??), but was just having a bit of a struggle pronouncing it correctly.

About 1:30 Menana and Ninny phoned to say that they'd finally wheeled Dad back and they would be joining us for lunch at the playground asap.

One hour and several hysterical fits of laughter later (the "Gazelle" bit never did end), we headed back to wait for Dad's results. They were not what we wanted.

He has 3 clogged arteries/veins, one 50%, one 70%, and one 90% blocked. They barely got the microscope up his leg before they saw the damage, brought it right back out and declared "Bypass time!"

This is not good. Big Daddy has been battling heart disease for 17 years, undergoing numerous angioplasties, stint insertions, and one "brought back from the dead" experience. But it has been 11 years since anything has happened. 11 years of convincing ourselves we could breathe a little easier, 11 years to stop the constant "How's Dad?" conversation, 11 years to watch college graduations, baby births, and help Menana beat cancer.

Our luck could only last so long. Plus, he doesn't really exercise or eat right (though he does try), and his stress levels are always Orange or above, so this day was inevitable. But like I said, it's been 11 years -- I'd forgotten what this was like. It sucks.

We started making calls right away, booked a flight home for Lea, and waited for the doctor. By then, the kids were cranky (we all were) and tired, we were anxious to get some factual info, and we needed some comic relief.

Enter Jax. Seeing Ryan curled up asleep on one of the lobby couches, he quickly tunneled underneath a tall-boy table surrounded by chairbacks, and laid down, quietly pushing his cars. As Mom and Ninny and I were talking, Menana looked over to see Jax gone. She went searching for him, reporting back between bursts of laughter that Jax had crawled under the chair of a very old man in the next seating area, and was apparently just waiting for the guy to see him between his legs and send him into cardiac arrest.

That was fun, especially the part where we tried to drag him out, which just ended up making everyone in the lobby laugh, which you all know is my favorite thing -- it really helps with the discipline and all.

I finally decided to take the kids home, and keep updated by phone, so that's what we did.

Now here's the thing about heart patients: you never know how long you'll be waiting, or what will happen. That said, we had only planned on being gone until about lunchtime, and had just left Lola to fend for herself in the house alone. Something I rarely do because of her propencity to eat poo, pee everywhere, and generally wreak havoc. I was not looking forward to seeing what she had done as we walked in at 5:30.

What she had done was completely demolish Jax's stuffed dog, "Cheeto", a cheap little orange rag-dog that Shawn won for him at Wurstfest. Lola had gone to town, and there was stuffing everywhere. Jax ran into the Big Room, saw the destruction, stomped his foot and yelled, "Shit, Lola!"

And then we laughed. And called Big Daddy and made him laugh.

Because in times like this, that's all I know how to do.

Until I tucked Ryan in, and the tears started flowing. "Mommy, do you remember when you told me that if you cry too hard and too long you will make yourself sick? Breathe, Mommy. I promise everything will be alright." She may never know how much I needed that.

So even though I'd enjoy some peace while we wait at the hospital today, I'm bring them with me anyway, because they're my buddies -- they make me laugh when nothing else can and they remind me to breathe. I'm hoping they'll do the same for everyone else.

His surgery is at 11. Prayers are welcome!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Catching Up

This is how boring Ryan says I am to be around.

What we were doing while Daddy was listening to the vacuum guy...

Scroll down for more Thanksgiving treats!

Meme Time

Looks like I've been tagged by Melinda. Lucky YOU!! I'm not really sure I want any of you to know 7 unknown things about me -- chances are, if no one knows about them yet, it's probably a good thing. But I'll soldier on and try my hardest.

Hmmm....okay! I've got 'em! (drumroll, please):

#7) I'm a super-taster. I have a very sensitive palette and cannot stomach even a trace of peppers (except for black) in my food. A fact my husband is still trying to wrap his brain around.
#6) My birthmark is on my ass. And it's red.

#5) I hate reading directions. I'd much rather jump in on my own, and once I've completely screwed up, then I'll consider consulting the instructions. Makes life more interesting. Or something.

#4) I'm a closet Buddhist. Or I'd like to be.

#3) While in college, on the eve of one of my dad's numerous heart surgeries, I had a party because I didn't want to be sad. And now I regret it and will feel guilty for the rest of my life.

#2) I am no longer able to drink (or smell) Tequila. If you know why, keep it to yourself.

#1)I failed Golf in college. Again, if you know why, please don't tell.

Whew. My hands are sweating, my heart is palpatating, but I"publish".

Learn somethin' new everyday...

Last night I was reading a Christmas book to Ry and Jax, and it ended by talking about how just when everyone wakes up on Christmas morning, Santa is settling down to go to sleep.

As soon as I read the last words, Ryan quickly chimed in using her very best teacher-voice, "That's right, Jax, because Santa is nocturnal. Can you say nocturnal, Jax?"

I love that kid.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all! We, as usual, had the most dysfunctional fun our little family is capable of having. Let's just jump right in...

We were ambushed Wednesday night by a woman claiming she was trying to get the word out about her carpet cleaning company, and would we like her to clean a room for free in exchange for word of mouth?? Well...sure, why not? (Do you have anything that will get up dried eggs?)

Suckers. She sent in her "guy" who then proceeded to spend an hour trying to sell Shawn a $1500 vacuum cleaner.

(Note to lying vacuum salesmen: If someone accepts a free room carpet cleaning at 6 pm the night before Thanksgiving, they probably can't afford to buy a $1500 vacuum. Just a clue.)

I sweetly weaved my way through that one, channeling my inner Brenda/Tami and using my best Texas drawl to explain to the (lovely, I'm sure) salesman that Daddy works every single day of the week, and that we would actually enjoy spending time with him, so you could you please pack up all your "look-how-dirtyYOUR-vac-leaves-your-carpet" materials and get the hell out?

And he did. More on this later. I'm not done with Kirby Cleaning Services just yet -- BBB here I come!! (Oh, and that super-duty top of the line wet/dry vac? Didn't even come close to cleaning the egg stain, which is unfortunate for them.Might have changed the whole outcome of that visit...)

Anyway, that ordeal ended, Ninny arrived and we all had fun eating, laughing, playing and finally, sleeping.

And then. AND THEN....TURKEY DAY!!!!

That's right, MY National Holiday, to celebrate what a ginormous turkey I am!!

What? No parents or grandparents here for Thanksgiving? No prob, I'll take care of everything!

Let's see...pecan pie, 4 layer pumpkin cake, crispy-topped creamed spinach, cheesy corn bake,crust-topped broccoli and cheese casserole, sweet potato casserole, 2 kinds of cranberry sauce and hmmm.....what am I missing????

What's that? A Turkey? Well slap my mouth and call me Fred! Why didn't anyone mention a turkey?? Off to HEB!!

But not before I fix everyone Baked Apple Pancakes. Note to self: when grabbing handle of skillet that has spent 30 minutes in 425 degree oven, it's best to wear protective gear.

Yep, I pulled a big ole Johnny Tremain, and now my left hand is burnt and mangled. Not really, but there will be a nice little scar. Thank God for next-door neighbors bearing bottles of aloe...

Eventually we make it to the big meal , which everyone gobbles down. Except for Ryan, who was heard mumbling "gross" and "blecch" and "do I have to eat this???" and Jax, who just threw himself on the ground and went off on one of his classic Jax-Attacks. It really made me thankful for Prozac.

What else can be said? The Cowboys won, no one watched the parade, and Shawn and Ninny had a "smell my feet" war. Pretty much on par with every other holiday...

Shawn went back to work Friday, the kids and I went insane, and Ninny saved the day with bags of new clothes she bought the kids during the circus they call "Black Friday".

We pulled out a few Christmas items, read some books, put out some decor, and now I'm staring down the barrel of a day of cleaning and decorating with no escape plan for the kids (No Daddy, rain all day)...should be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shit shit shit

Jax has been saying this a lot lately.

Obviously it's my fault.

I've tried to cure him of it, though. I really have. I've been very conscious about not using the word around him, choosing the irritating "shoot!" instead, and still he says, "Shit!"

"Shoot, Jaxson."




Then, my parents reported that while at their house thie weekend, he ran outside and loudly declared, "Oh, Shit!"

Big Daddy did his best to correct him, to no avail.

Today he said it again, for what reason I'm not sure, but I quickly knocked on his head, got down on his level and said, "No, Jaxie. Don't say shit. It's naughty. Not nice. No, no,no."

After which he knocked me on my head and yelled, "No Shit!!!"

Monday, November 19, 2007

Guilt-Free Monday

In my ongoing quest to EVOLVE and become a more serene, stress-free me, I am attempting to relieve myself of some of the guilt I feel on a regular basis. So, I thought I'd list ten things guilting me down right now, and in doing so, will release them from their fleshy cave and lighten my load just a tad.

Wanna join in on the fun? Add your own list in the comments section! (I don't know why I do that to myself. None of you ever comment.)

Here's what I'm feeling guilty about right now:

10. Spending $10 on my credit card at Subway instead of coming home and making a sandwhich myself.

9. Not going to spin class this morning.

8. Convincing Ryan to buy the school's "surprise lunch" today so I wouldn't have to fix her lunch myself. (That one really hurts.)

7. Slapping Jax's hand after he ripped off the drawstring from my sweatshirt.

6. Typing up this list instead of cleaning.

5. Buying shortening for an apple pie instead of trying to find a healthier option.

4. Going up to Ryan's school this morning in ugg boots, shorts, a t-shirt and greasy hair.

3. My thighs. And my butt. And my stomach.

2. Drinking a Full-sugar Dr. Pepper, instead of a diet one. or water. or anything else that's even remotely healthier.

1. Getting to stay at home and write up silly lists like this while my husband toils away at work all day.

Collective breath...annnnddd....out again. Okay. All better.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Well, at least he doesn't pass out

My friend Angie sent me this article yesterday. I wonder what she was trying to say???

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ho Hum

Not much activity around these parts, a little poop in the carpet here, back-talk and eye rolls there...same old same old.

Ninny passed her Series 7 exam for her Stockbroker's license -- woohoo Ninny!!! Shawn's sister Courtaney just had her baby -- Evan Connor on November 5th -- woohoo!!! Menana &Big Daddy want all of us to go in on a camper trailer -- woohoo! I bought a pair of jeans on ebay and they are too small...boohoo. Lola had her teeth cleaned yesterday (no more poopy-diaper breath!!) WOOHOO!!!

That is all. Sorry.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Not Much Gets Past This One...

Ryan after school on Friday: "Hey, mom? I met another boy today named Ryan. You know what? I'm beginning to think there are more boy Ryan's than girl ones."

Then earlier today, as we passed by a house with a fully lit and decorated Christmas Tree blazing in their front yard (I shit you not): "Uh oh! I think those people forgot Thanksgiving!"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Community Touchbase Outcry

Is it normal that a 2 1/2 year old would choose to watch Elf (my fave Xmas movie, btw) over every other movie on the market? More than Cars, more than Incredibles, more than Ratatouille?

I'm not sure, but we've watched it 3 day straight now, and I'm wondering is this every kid this age, or just mine? The reason I'm not sure is because I need something to cling to right now.

Ever since the Smashing Eggs Incident (12eggs. I carpet.), I've been breathing veeeerrrryyyyy slowly and focusing on the wonderful things about my boy. For me, this is one of them.

So what I want to know is, should I be worried, or can I continue in my blissful ignorance of Other Things Jax and just concentrate on this for a while?

I really hope I can, because it is too sweet when he says in his raspy little voice, "I want watch Belly!!" (aka: Buddy)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It doesn't say "Lowering the Bar" for nothing



I have all this funny junk about Halloween, but I NEED MY PICTURES before Mommy Brain takes over and assaults my memory.

I really wish I'd had it yesterday for Ryan's Girl Scouts ceremony. Half the group was decked in blue vests, half were sheathed in their pink Girl Scout shirts, and then there was Ry -- popping out in straight zebra. It was perfect. And I can't show you because some kid may have mistaken my camera for his Halloween treat. Or it sprouted legs. Or I've left it in the dryer.

Judging by the sheer number of cameras and the 2 minute long "cheese" by the girls (which scared the crap out of Jax. Literally. He grabbed me, said "I stared", and then he shit.) there should be some random pics floating out there and as soon as I learn how to blur the other girl's faces I'll try and post some.

Though you wouldn't think I'd want to show off the fact that I was the only mom who forgot to bring their kid their outfit...

Do I smell MOTY???

Monday, November 5, 2007

Private Part Deux

Tonite at dinner, the discussion found a way to wind itself back to "private parts", involving us talking about an incident at our friend's house where the little boy she was playing with pulled down his pants, jumped on his bed and starting shakin' it (according to Ryan).

Anyway, in an attempt to be nonchalant about the whole thing, I quickly insert, "Well, it's not like he has anything you haven't already seen on your brother."

"Uh-uh, Mom. His was a lot bigger."

"Well, sure. He's bigger than Jax."

"Yeah, but it was HUGE!! It hung all the way down to the floor!!!"

...and on another note, check out our day at Wurstfest in New Braunfels...

Friday, November 2, 2007

I can't really argue with that

We've been having some "Private Parts" discussions about boundaries and rules lately,mostly consisting of: "don't talk about them, don't touch them, just pretend they're not there."

Clearly failing as a parent, tonite I caught Ry trying to "wash" Jax in the tub, and when I reprimanded her , she pleaded, "I'm sorry, mom. I just can't stop looking at it. It's so...funny."


Jax has struck again, and this time he has accomplices

Abut a week or so ago, he apparently shoved something (we think it may be a ball) down the guest toilet, a trick not quite so bad, until you add that Ryan woke up a couple of nights later, dumped a load in the clogged commode (I'm a poet...) and I didn't find out until 2 days later, when I once again went in search of "that fucking smell".

I immediately alerted Shawn, seeing as how our contract clearly states that I will wipe as many bums as necessary, will scrub as many toilets as may beckon me, but under no circumstances will I ever plunge.

Unfortunately, the same day I told him about the clogged pot, Jax up and flushed the entire box of wipes down the downstairs toilet, rendering it useless as well. Shawn apparently thought that was the potty I was referring to, and fixed the problem lickety-split.

That was 3 days ago. Due to my guilt over forcing him to do the dirtiest of dirty work, I refrained from nagging about the other toilet, thinking he was pre-treating it or something, I don't know, but last night I finally gave in, and demanded, nay, gagged that he do something about the port-o-potty to whom we had apparently rented space.

So after a long stressful day at work, he spent the a good portion of his evening not hammering out the take-home work he'd planned on finishing, but instead spent it choking, yelling, cursing and plunging...all to no avail.

And now I'm off to call the plumber, buy more candles, and add "toilet lock" to my baby safety list.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Just a Taste....

Another Halloween has come and gone, and we've got the video to prove it:

Ryan went as school-girl Elphaba, putting her costume-IQ worlds beyond most of the other kids her age. Jax was Rocket from "Little Einsteins", though according to my mom, he could also have passed as a car....

I was able to pull off Shawn's "Maximus" costume, which then left me needing a costume, so I did the easiest thing I could -- I went as the Man of My Dreams. (Speaking of which, I had the most horrifying nightmare about him last night -- something to do with him and another girl unabashedly thumbing their noses at me from the boudoir. Haunting, indeed.)

Pictures forthcoming, once I find my camera...

The best part of the night was when we went to a Haunted House one neighborhood over, where they'd hoisted the sails on a huge sailboat, posted some "Cap'n Jack" wannabe's, and handed out free beer to all the moms and dads. My kind of trick-or-treating.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Snot, Salmonella & Splenda

As if coughing all night long, hawking up lugees (sp??) and waking up with a sore throat wasn't enough to get me started on the right foot today, Jax ran off with an unbroken raw egg and, seeing me coming to grab it away, took a big huge bite. Raw egg all over his mouth, his hands, me, and the floor (of course, Lola quickly aided in the clean-up, which means I'm now on the lookout for Doggy Hershey Squirts).

Then I had to take him up to Ry's school to do some work, and rather than play with the abundant number of toys provided in the play room, he opted to climb up to the coffee table and chew open 15 packets of Splenda.

And people wonder why we stay home so much.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

So fresh. So clean.

This is just to explain the new look of the webpage.

I just couldn't stand the flashing images of pepto-bismol bottles I received everytime I logged on anymore. It was just too much. Therefore, Mrs. Moto is retired for the time being, and until I feel like going through all the tedious motions of being creative and thinking and stuff, it's going to remain as is.

Except for the Flickr Badge. And the links. They'll be back shortly. And there will be new ones!!

Contain your excitement.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This is not what I was gonna write about...

when I started typing this morning. This morning I was jotting down a little ditty about my latest submersion into Mockingbird, and its resulting effect on my life and my perspective, ad naseum... Then, as usual, I was planning on breaking into all the would-be-horrible-if I-hadn't evolved so much n the past week events that came along to destroy my Rose-colored glasses reality, including 3, yes 3 video clips supporting my claims.

It's 8 hours later and I still only have one video uploaded, so I'm scratching the whole thing. You people really missed out.

But don't sweat it, I have another (NEWER!FRESHer!) story now, one that picks up quite nicely where the previous one stalled out.

You see, in my almost-post, the moral of the story is not to let Jax ride independently on any kind of vehicle (motorized or not) during our walks to pick up Ryan from school.

This moral makes perefct sense until you realize that Jax is no longer a fan of riding in a stroller, and Ryan is now a HUGE fan of riding her bike.

So you see my problem.

I thought I'd be clever today, though, and suggested I drive to pick up Ry from school in exchange for playing at the nearby park after school, rather than riding our bike. Since a playdate with her new best friend was involved, she readily agreed.

I packed my whole big bag full of snacks and wipes and diapers and drinks, and we were ready to go.

Pick up was a breeze (if you don't count the bee who would not leave us alone), and soon Jax, Ry and her friend ran off to the park, and my new mommy friend and I chatted as we followed. It really was lovely.

Until she looked up and uttered those 3 words that send my heart into my throat, "Where is Jax?"

In the 30 yards it took to walk from the school to the park, I'd lost Jax. Little Big Man was nowhere to be found, amidst a crowd of running, screaming kids, cars cruising by, and disapproving mothers looking on disapprovingly, I walked/ran back to the last place I saw him and dispatched Ry and her friend to go the other direction

Sure enough, there he was, not 20 feet from where we started, standing next to 2 little girls in the middle of the soccer field holding a tennis ball he'd found, a big huge pee stain all down the front of his shorts.

"I think he wet himself," said one of the girls. "He was just standing here, wandering around."

I thanked the girls, hugged Jax, called off the search, and hoisted him up onto my hip, soaking the entire left side of my shirt in his urine.

And I was happy to do it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another Product of the Un-forked Tree

Yep, ketchup & eggs. Congratulations, Dad. He's just one step away from pouring gravy on his chocolate cake. I hope you're happy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Does this ever happen to you?

I've just spent most of the morning getting dressed, attending to various online matters, and prepping Jax to leave the house for a 2 hour stay at the Y while I toot over to the outlet mall to purchase his Rocket costume for 50% off, which Shawn suggested I do "to save me some time making one" (aka: you suck at making costumes, Amy).

So I put Lola outside -- more on that in a bit -- gather the necessary accoutrements and head to the garage where Jax has kept himself busy in the car, flipping knobs, raising and lowering the garage door, etc...

I take a deep breath as I prepare to face the everyday-challenge of getting my 32 pounder into his carseat, when he instantly starts fighting me, struggling to keep from being buckled. Having already used up my complete arsenal of empty threats, I simply pull him out of the car, take out his bike, and leave him to being a boy.

It wasn't just Jax's fault, though. Prior to walking out of the house, I saw Shawn's wallet, thought about grabbing his credit card to use for the $17 costume, then weighed the merits of using his over using mine, considering apr's, balances, minimum payments, etc... Depressed beyond belief, I then thought about taking the money out of our "savings" account, since I'll be going there anyway to get money out to cover the "unexpected" expense of Ryan's latest Scholastic Book Order.

Furious at myself for playing the naive ingenue who just doesn't know what to do, I realize i do know what to do; I know I shouldn't even step foot at that outlet mall, I should just suck it up and tell Jax to suck it up (I mean, whatever I end up making can't be nearly as bad as his two previous Halloween costumes --Sebastian the Crab & Toto). Having made up my mind about that, but knowing I've already gotten him ready to go, I decide I'll just drop him off to play and spend some alone time cleaning.

Which is even more depressing, if you ask me, but whatever.

Then comes the seat belt struggle, my resolve wears out, and once again I quit an endeavor I've only just begun.

My question is, at what point does it stop being quitting and start being the smarter, money-saving, okay thing to do?

Anyway, enough waxing philosophic (I've always wanted to use that phrase. Yeah me!).

About Lola and the Great Outdoors:

Knowing Lola, who always appears to be cold and is constantly snuggling up under some blanket or cushion, putting her outside for 2 hours straight in the 50 degree weather may not seem like such a great idea, but then neither is spending over $200 to have your carpets professionally (and safely) cleaned, only to have to clean 2 piles of dog poo and 1 pile of dog vomit a mere 3 days later. That said, until she is potty trained, she can shiver with the rest of us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

See What Happens??

For those few (but close to my heart) of you who complain about me not posting more often, I refer to exhibits A and B:

Exhibit A:

Daddy's Meat Thermometer. This must have been where it landed after he he pierced his hand with it and came running to me for a band-aid.

Exhibit B:

Any guesses on what this is? If you guessed "frozen pastry puff" you're a winner! (Unlike the poor folks for whom I was saving this to use to make them dinner next week as an apology for the same crappy dish I made for them last night, but without the added soup. Note to self: When preparing meals for the terminally ill, make sure they are edible.)

...and here he is running away as I try to get it from him. He won't eat my Fried Chicken, lasagna, or mini meatloaves, but just try and keep him from his FPP. Go on, I dare you.

Yes, all this took place in the 15 minutes it took me to post this morning. However, now that we've put the vacuum down for a nap, Jax is also tucked away and I am free to post to my heart's content. Except I can't because I still have 2 loads of laundry, ironing, toilets to clean, and I have to get it done before 12:30 when we leave to pick up Ry from school. Don'tcha love EARLY RELEASE???

York Stew

So much to say, so little time!! Shawn and I celebrated our 2nd 6th anniversary this weekend (or as Lea puts it, our "fake-iversary") and we went camping!!

Gorgeous weather, perfect locale, it was exactly what we've been missing. We're getting ready to go again with the kids in a few weeks. If you ever get up to the Hill Country, I highly suggest you visit Krause Springs.

Menana & Big Daddy kept the kids while we were gone, a mere 20 minutes away from us, so they were able to join us Saturday afternoon for fishing and exploring (oh, and showing off the new bikes the family bought for them).

Later, Ry and Shawn carved our Jack-o-lantern, and yesterday Shawn and Jax did a Daddy day, spending lots of time doing BOY things. I did not ask for specifics. There are some things you just don't want to know about, you know?


Sunset at Krause Springs....
Our home-away-from-home...
OMG -- Ry and the neighbors had a lemonade sale, where I think they sold maybe one or two drinks, but it didn't stop them from exploiting capitalism to the fullest. (How much should you tip on a 10 cent cup of lemonade? )
Ry's new bike. Very neon. Very zebra. Very "groovy".

Silly boys...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Thing About My Family

We fight -- oh Lord, do we fight. We're loud and often obnoxious. We drink too much and talk about taboo topics (mostly sex, and mostly my Dad). But mess with just one of us, and you'd better watch out, because all that fight, obnoxious volume, and lewd convo will come reigning down upon you in a fury. So much so that we eventually learned to stop telling each other about bad boyfriends or bosses, out of fear that we may one day take our comments back, and that by then it may be too late. Just ask Shawn, he knows.

Anyway, after my post about Ryan's bike problems, they apparently jumped to action, emailing each other, searching online, and coming to the mutual agreement that they would take care of this bike issue (and if possible, the little boy who made the disparaging comment).

I, of course, did not find out about any of this until about 9:30 last night.

I originally received a phone call from Ninny at around 7:30 stating she was at the moment preparing to purchase a new bike for Ryan, and would a 20" one do?

"It says it's for kids 48" or taller, Amy."

"Well, that doesn't help us, Nin, 'cause Ry is only 42". Plus, I already posted a wanted add on freecycle, so please just save your money."

"Whatever, I'm buying the bike. What else, a helmet?"

"I guess so."


"You know it."

Then 9:30 rolled around and we received another phone call, this time from Arizona, where Lea was busy searching craigslist.

"Hey, you can get a big girl's bike for $35 in Pflugerville," she begins.

"I'm not paying $35 for a bike, Lea Ann. I posted an ad on freecycle. I'm sure someone out there will respond."

"OOH! Here's one for $20!" (she's very good at ignoring me)

"Lea Ann -- Jennifer already called and said she bought one, so just forget about it."

"Well who was this boy who said her bike was stupid?" (did I mention we also all have a flair for exaggeration??)

"No, Lea Ann. We're not gonna put a hit out on a 9 yr old for making a COMPLETELY TRUE STATEMENT. Plus, Ry didn't hear him, so no harm done."

"Hmmph. Weeelll, here's one for $25 in Round Rock."

Hearing my exasperated sigh, Shawn pipes up from across the room: "What about Jax? Does anyone think about him?" (I've yet to break the news that I'm busy planning t o spray paint Ry's current Barbie bike black. He'll LOVE that idea.)

I convey his message to Lea, and she quickly begins her search. That's the difference between my two sisters: one will jump up and buy anything anytime, no questions asked. The other one? She'll let you know where YOU can buy the needed item for the least amount of money.

After we complete our conversation, I call my mom to brag about her two youngest offspring.

As she starts laughing, she says,"Yeah, Dad and I are online right now searching for a bike for Ry." Seriously.

"Oh my God, you guys are insane!"

"Well, Dad's over here saying we should get her one for our house, and then when she comes to visit, we can run along beside her like we used to do with y'all. Then I looked at him, and he said, 'Well, you can run along beside her.'" (The man is a 5-time heart attack survivor.Plus, they live on a hill. I'm not sure I'd be able to run next to her.)

"I can't believe all of you are this serious about getting her a new bike. It's really not that big a deal. I'm almost sorry I mentioned it. "

"Well, if you must know, Ninny put out a APB on the bike issue, I said we would all help get her a bike, but not to tell you so it could be a surprise. I love how they listen to me."

That's another thing about my family -- you might think there are secrets, but the real secret is that everyone knows what they're not supposed to. You'd think by now that we'd stop telling "secrets", but we're stubborn as well.

Non-secret-keeping stubborn little-boy-threatening bike-buying rednecks. That's us!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Misfits on Parade

So. Today was "Walk to School Day", an event that's been building up in Ry's mind for at least the past week. We do our own "walk to school days" every now and then, but they usually end up with us either:

A)turning around halfway there to get in the car;
B)yelling at each other about going too fast/too slow;
C)arguing about whether or not to hitch a ride with our neighbor, who leaves 15 minutes after we do and still beats us there.

These results are generally perpetuated by the fact that it's 7 am, the kids have been up since 5 (fighting the majority of the time -- isn't it amazing how dire the situation becomes when the wrong kid gets to let the dog out, or gets served breakfast first, or...turns out a light?), and I've not consumed enough coffee/Prozac to cheerily and patiently assist in the 30 minute sojourn.

My sneaking suspicion is that the real cause of the problems are that:

A) Ryan's bike is a 12" 3 yr old piece of poo with uneven training wheels;
B) Jax insists on getting out whenever we stop to push his cars along the sidewalk/street/grassy knoll;
C) Mommy is a bitch.

Seriously, the other day I heard two older boys pass by Ryan's bike on the bike rack at school and make fun of it, one commenting to the other, "Dude. Your sister's got a bigger bike than that one. And she's 3." Thank God Ryan didn't hear that. It's taken us 3 years to get her on the damn thing, and the only reason I finally made her do it was because I came across a pic of myself at age 4 on a big ole honker of a bike with no training wheels, realizing I was seriously doing my daughter a disservice by letting her wimp out.

Then there's Jax who quite literally hopped out of the stroller this morning in the middle of the crosswalk holding all 3 of his huge CARS cars, and proceeded to crawl his way across the street, tripping a couple of kids and 1 Dad. Oh, I tried to pick him up and move him along, but the only thing that did was leave him kicking, screaming, and hitting, then throwing his cars onto the ground for ME to crawl around and pick up, tripping 2 more kids and 1 mom.

When I finally managed to get the cars picked up, him in the stroller, and my glasses on straight, I realized Ryan was far ahead with some of her friends, all of whom had nice big 16" bikes, sans training wheels. Eventually she caught on, because I finally caught up to her as she was walking her bike, mumbling something about, " wheels, mmmpphhh..."

So I quipped, "Well at least you're not wearing one of those geeky helmets like they are, huh?"

"I like those helmets, mom. Why won't you get one for me?"

Because as I said, Mommy is a bitch.

Now I'm headed to find a helmet for my daughter who can barely ride a 12" bike with training wheels, but whose fashion sense has taken a backseat to peer pressure, leaving her incomplete without protective head gear.

My how times have changed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Slow Learner

That would be me, of course. I've come down stairs 3 times over the past 2 days to find Jax digging into the ice cream with a fork. Each time he grins, holds up his fork and declares, "Yummy!" Then he quickly adds, "No want more ice cream, Mommy. Here you go," and hands the sticky carton back to me.

It's now almost empty.

I'm off to buy a fridge lock. And one for the oven -- did I mention the day I came into the kitchen to find the oven on BROIL and the door wide open?

Monday, October 15, 2007

You haven't lived until...

You've spent 2 days scraping stool samples out of your diarrhea-ridden son's diapers, simultaneously fending off both your poo-eating dog and your own gag reflex. They really should have a class detailing all the nasty stuff you have to do when you have kids. Talk about population control.

Is it enough?

I've been reading this phrase a lot as I finish "The Hours", and I've been applying that question to my own life and the way I live every day.

Lately I've been doing some serious soul-searching regarding my life, my purpose, my reason for being here. I adore my family. I love my kids and my husband, but I can't help but feel deep deep down in my toes that they are not all there is for me and my life. Doesn't that sound horrible? I feel so much guilt admitting this, because as much as I bitch and complain about the little details, I really do love my family.

But still, even as I declare this love, I can't help but admit that something inside me feels empty, and I don't know how to fill it.

I've spent the past 4 years playing around with my various mediocre talents, trying to figure out my passion so that I can be not only enjoying myself, but also bringing profit into the house. I have failed at every endeavor, including chunkyrhino, and I can't help but think it's because I'm trying to serve 2 masters, and it's the financial master that's winning and in doing so, ruining my soul.

Shawn works his fingers to the bone almost every single day of the week, only to be paid less than he was a year before, only to come home to the realization that yes, we are going to have to struggle again this month, only to feel like less of a man for not being able to provide what his family wants. Isn't that a sad statement? That a virile, healthy, strong young man would feel like a failure because he doesn't make enough money to send his kids to camp or take a yearly vacation (and not just a drive to the coast). These things are mundane and insignificant, and here he is guilt-ridden and anger filled because he cannot attain them. And yet, there are people across the world who would feel immeasurable joy at being able to live the life we live.

I know I am at fault. I know that I am not, or have not been, strong enough to resist the temptations of material goods, of creature comforts...of cable. If we're being honest here, and I think we are, 70% of the arguments I have with the kids involve them not leaving me alone long enough to watch Oprah or... South Park. Seriously, though, how silly is this? How sad and pathetic and weak is it that I would put television before the beautiful gifts God has bestowed on me.

I want to rid myself of all of these temptations. I want to not want to watch a movie rather than take a walk with Jaxson, or play dress up with Ryan. I do work at it, I really do, and I detest as much as the next guy people who whine and complain and never take any action. I don't want to be one of those people, and have always prided myself on working towards that goal, but as I reach this point in my life, I'm stripped of my rationalizations and forced to face the ugly, ugly truth: I was not put on this Earth to watch tv, to rack up credit card bills on extraneous clothing, to be famous, to make loads of money.

Then what? Just a mom? Just a wife? Nothing else? Just wait 18 years until the kids are out of the house to start really living the life I feel destined for? What about Shawn? Where does he fit into the equation? And couldn't we all benefit from a change? If we were able to work towards a higher purpose together, side by side, day by day, as a true unit?

Since I was a little girl, before I knew how to put it into words, I wanted to help the less fortunate. The Peace Corps, missionary work, all of this seemed so romantic and idyllic to me. As I grew up, I continued to spend spare time volunteering here and there, but never took the plunge into something bare and scary. And I've got a degree as a teacher, which I thought would satisfy my urge to help others, but which really just led to more bitching and whining.

I stayed home with my children, only to find myself complaining left and right about, well, everything. Everything I have to do, everything I don't have, everything other people get to do that I'm missing out on. I try to attribute my day-to-day activities to the higher goal of taking care of the 3 people I love, but still I feel empty and shallow, spoiled and rotten. Is it really necessary that I make those Chunky Apple muffins that Shawn love so much? Or that Ryan's room is pretty as a picture? How important is it really that I make new pillow covers for our couch? I mean, really?

The temptations and covetous feelings are everywhere, to the point that I really don't feel I will be whole until I do without. Without the air conditioning, without the tv, the clothes, the house. Without the knowledge of what others have, without the desire to take time away from my loved ones in order to chase the almighty dollar. I have all these things and still am not fulfilled, so what next?

Am I impetuous? Yes. Am I dramatic? Please. Do I go to extremes? You bet. Is this just one of those instances where I've forgotten to take a few days' worth of Prozac, have slipped into a mild depression and started taking inventory of my life through an unstable mind? Maybe.

But what if this is none of those things? What if this is real and tactile and waiting? What then? How do I reconcile 30 years of hedonism, a husband and 2 kids with the desire to sell everything and move to Guatemala? Why would God deliver these people to me if this is my calling, but not theirs? Why is it always all or nothing with me? Why can't I merge both worlds?

What is wrong with me? And how can I fix it? I want more for my kids. I want more for them than a new computer or a great college university or a career in the NFL or on Broadway, but what if those are their dreams? When do I let go of mine in order to help them achieve theirs? Would I be serving them better if we did let go of our possessions and lived in foreign country where they could actually experience life, learn things never taught in books, and recognize the true worth of silly little things like bread and water and a clean place to sleep.

Am I looking for the easy way rather than the difficult path that forces me to meander through the nonsense to get to the essential? I feel like the answer is yes, but then I also feel like I tend to be a tad hard on myself during these moments of insight and deliberation. Or maybe I'm not being hard on myself so much as being honest and realistic.

I guess what i want is for someone to tell me what to do. I am weak. I need guidance and direction. I need a sign. I need to know whether or not living in a nice house, comfortable and safe, spending spare time collecting clothes for the underprivileged, or working the Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck, sending money to children thousands of miles away so they don't have to hide at night from armies who would rather see them as soldiers than see them in school is enough. I do those things now, and I'm proud of the work I try to do (another on my long list of sins), but I need to know if it is enough. If I'm willing to go places others won't in order to help those truly in desperate need, why shouldn't I?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Just a snippet

Here's a tidbit I've pulled from the agglomeration of stories we've gathered this week:

Any given morning, this is how Jaxson and I start the day --

"Jax, you want milk or orange juice with breakfast?"

"Milk! Milk, Mommy, milk."

"Okay." (reaching for the milk)

"Orange Juice! Orange Juice Mommy!"

"You want orange juice?"



"No orange juice, Mommy, milk!"

"Which is it Jax, orange juice or milk?"


Friday, October 12, 2007

Can't talk now. Busy being a Failure.

Seriously, I'm slaving away here at being the worst mom ever, so much so that I don't even have time to list all the ways I've completely sucked at Mom-dom this week. Who knows, maybe Diarrhea Dude will take a break between squirts to sleep and I can write more then. Or not.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Little Woman

Sorry about the absence. Last week took the wind out of my sails and I needed some time to decompress. And disconnect. Seriously-- no computer, no tv. I think I've spent so much time worshipping at the alter of that false idol, I thought it would be harder than it was. But whaddya know -- I ended up waking up to my life, doing a lot of soul searching, and recommitting myself to the important things in life.

Don't get me wrong -- I have dvr, I'm not really missing anything. (Now if I could only figure out a way to get to watch those recorded shows before 10 pm each night...)

It sounds like I've had some sort of lobotomy, I know, so lest you start calling wondering whether or not Zombies really are back and have taken over my body, let me show you what's keeping me uplifted and excited about the everyday details that would normally bore &/or disgust me:

( I got mine for $20!!) EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED OR NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT HOUSEKEEPING IS IN THIS BOOK. If you haven't read it, you need to. Shawn even reads it, though mostly just where it talks about tools and the garage. But still.

Not to mention, almost every cleaning product they suggest you use is a cheap, inexpensive household item, and most of the techniques they use are good for the environment.

I swear, it makes me want to go out and be a Home Ec teacher. Me.

Plus, I get to wear these while I clean:

Ninny bought matching "Domestic Diva's" aprons for me and Ry, and I just scored this one on eBay:

Apparently, I'm the last homemaker in America to discover Jessie Steele. I hear her aprons have been featured on Oprah's Favorite Things (and Desperate Housewives), which explains why I'm out of the loop, seeing as how I am fundamentally against watching her Favorite Things shows. It causes too much envy. I'm jealous enough as it is. The added pressure would be too much.

Anyway, I love love love wearing these, but I know a lot of you aren't as sickeningly 1953 as ! am, so perhaps you'd enjoy something a bit more contemporary, more sarcastic, eh? May we suggest:

Not as sexy, but just as much sass!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Speaking of ubiquitous emails...

You Know You Grew Up In the 80's if:
1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word SIKE.
2. You can sing the rap to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and can do the Carlton. ("...chillin' out maxin', relaxin all cool and all shootin some b-ball outside of the school...")
3. You know that 'WOAH' comes from Joey on Blossom
4. If you ever watched 'Fraggle Rock'
5. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.
6. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.
7. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.
8. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.
9. You played the game 'MASH'(Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House)
10. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.
11. You know the profound meaning of ' WAX ON , WAX OFF' (I still do this when I'm cleaning. Miagi would be so proud.)
12. You wanted to be a Goonie. (I still do, and now so does Ryan.)
13. You ever wore fluorescent clothing. (some of us...head-to-toe)
14. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off and his cheeks shifted.
15. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf. (and why she had a closet full of the same dress.)
16. You took lunch boxes to school...and traded Garbage Pailkids in the schoolyard.
17. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets. ( I think I might still have some scars)
18. You still get the urge to say 'NOT' after every sentence. Not.
19. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets.
20. You ever owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes.
21. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying 'I know you are, but what am I?'
22. You remember 'I've fallen and I can't get up'
24. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates.
25. You have ever played with a Skip-It (I think I might still have the ankle bruises to prove it.)
26. You remember boom boxes and walking around with one on your shoulder like you were all that.
27. You remember watching both Gremlins movies.
28. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli were hot. (umhmm, KIRK CAMERON)
29. You remember Alf, the wise-crackin' lil furry brown alien from Melmac.
30. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool...and don't even flinch when people refer to them as 'NKOTB'.
31. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on 'Saved By The Bell,' The ORIGINAL class.
32. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.
33. You just sang those words to yourself.
34. You still sing 'We are the World'
35. You tight rolled your jeans.
36. You owned a bannana clip. (and wore it to prom...)
37. You remember 'Where's the Beef?'
38. You used to (and probably still do) say 'What you talkin' 'bout Willis?'
39. You're still singing 'Shot Through the Heart' in your head, aren't you?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

How did this kid get so cool?

Ryan's class has been studying the skeletal system this week.

Today in the car, she asks me if I know what the strongest bone in the body is.

"No," I say. "What bone is the strongest?"

"The upper leg bone."



"Do you know what the strongest point on your body is?"

"Umm, your skull?"

(Which way to go with this????) "No, not your skull, but close. Your elbow is the strongest point on your body," I say, reciting word-for-word that ubiquitous email I keep getting, "so if anyone ever tries to hurt you or take you, you just ram it into them as hard as you can. But only as self-defense -- not on your brother or if you get mad at one of your friends, okay?"

"Yeah, I don't ever wanna hit another kid, 'cause my friend Randy in my class, you know, my friend from Camp Doublecreek, well he's my friend and he's like the biggest kid in Kindergarten, so I'd just go get him if someone was being mean to me, and he'd use his big ole elbow on them. It's a good thing his cast is off now, or that elbow would be wasted."

It's just so funny watching her personality peek out as she's growing more independent of us. I bought her some clear glasses for her "Elphaba at the Ozdust Ballroom" costume, and she's been wearing them ever since, on the condition that she won't try to tell people that they're real. That's been fun. I actually use them as a motivator to do homework, telling her she can put on her dress-up cape and pretend she's Hermione studying at Hogwarts.

This morning when I dropped her off at school, I started to let her out farther down the drive than where the safety patrol kids are stationed, and she immediately shouted, "No! I want to get out up there, where they open your door. It's like I'm in a limo."

Reality is going to hit so hard one day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Get Your Gal On

About a year ago or so, Mindy over at The Mommy Blog introduced me to Design-Her Gals, and since then it's become one of Ryan's favorite things to do; picking out your gal, dressing her up, dressing her down...she loves it.

A while back I remember Mindy posting about the Gal-to-Gal walk, I even remember mentioning it to a fellow parishioner who is currently fighting Breast Cancer, but I don't remember if I ever mentioned it to you guys, so here it is: go to, create your Gal, donate your $3, and let's get walking, people!!

Ryan and I are gonna get our Gals going tonight, which sends shivers anticipation up and down my spine -- last time we "designed", Ryan created herself as a beautiful little black bridesmaid with a poodle. I can't wait to see what she does this time, though judging from her current Hannah Montana obsession, something tells me we'll be seeing boots and a pageboy cap somewhere in the mix.

**OOH, I almost forgot -- it's not just for girls!! They've added men and boys, too!

Monday, October 1, 2007


Apologizing for the lull. Jax has been sick and sleepless this past week, and thus my brain has taken a leave of absence. Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You're the Inspiration

You know who you are...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Good Morning, Sunshine!

I don't know about you all, but for me, nothing says "Good Morning World!" like climbing out of bed and stepping right in the middle of a big ole pile of dog shit.

I encourage all of you to look for the piles of dog shit in your life and start steppin' away.

Now if you'll excuse me, a certain weiner dog and I have some business to discuss.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Guys

Twas not a good night in the house of York.

Jax woke up about 1:30 with a 102 degree fever, burning up like he hasn't in such a long time. I should have known it was coming. It's been too long since someone was really sick, we were due.

Shawn was still closing the restaurant, not that it would have mattered, so I gave him so medicine, put a cold rag on his head, and took up my place alongside him in bed.

About 15 minutes later, Shawn gets home, finds me with Jax, and I give him the bad news.

"Did you give him some medicine?"

I love questions like these, don't you, ladies? I know he's trying to be thoughtful, and his motives are merely concern for his son, but are you serious?? Ugghhh.

Anyway, I assure him that the retard he's left in charge of his kids all these years has taken care of everything, and he should just go to bed. So he does.

Then around 4:30 am, I wake up as Jax is thrashing around at the opposite end of the bed, feel his much much cooler forehead, re-tuck him in and creep my way back to my bed.

Not 10 minutes later, Ryan comes stomping in, heavy with sleep, complaining that she can't turn her music on and could I please come and fix it for her.

Sure, who wants sleep anyway? So overrated.

But I do sleep until 6:30 when Jax is up again, and both kids are begging for cereal.

3 hours later, and I'm running the bath water for Ryan, telling Jax not to get in the bathtub, and walk to our room to get Shawn up for church. 2 seconds later, Ryan cries out, "Mom! Jax is in the tub! In his pajamas! And his DIAPER!!"

Holy Jesus, that child is lucky he is sick and it is Sunday.

Anyway, Shawn comes down about 10 am, dressed and ready, waiting for me to finish cooking his bacon and eggs.

He grabs me in a big bear hug, kisses me and says, "How are ya, babe?"

"I'm PMS'ing," I reply.

"Awww, shit," he says, pulling away.

"Thanks for the support, baby."


Saturday, September 22, 2007

I guess we can give her a pass on that one...

Ryan came up to my room just now, asking for help into a dress she wanted to wear. Having just finished watching "Freaky Friday", I asked her how it was.

"Good," she said. "I closed my eyes evertime they kissed."

"Well that's a relief," I replied.

2 beats later, she pipes up, "Weeellll, there was one time when I had to open my eyes because I fell off the couch and wanted to get back up, but luckily I didn't see the kissing."


Friday, September 21, 2007

Lunchtime Follies

Jax and I took lunch up to Ryan this morning, and it was just as exciting as always. Being the silly mommy I am, I like to twist words around and say funny things, insuring that I am not only loved but clamored everytime we go up there. (Is the big L on my forehead blazing, or what?)

Anyway, today one of the little boys was talking about Transformers this and Transformers that, so I asked him, "You must really Love Transformers. Are you gonne MARRY them?" (snicker, snicker)

He just looked at me crazily and said, "Nooo, but I am gonna marry my Transformer toys."

umm, okay.

Later, when one of Ryan's friends asked me my name (again) I said, "Queen Rammalammadingdong," at which point she made a funny face at me and sort of backed away.

I turned to Ryan and said, "I think your friend thinks I'm weird, Ry."

All of a sudden the Transformer boy pipes up, "Well I think you're pretty. Except for your eyes, I mean."

ummm, okay.

And finally, it took us 15 minutes to walk from the school to the parking lot, because as Jax has just acquired his first "Thomas" train, he insists on rolling it everywhere we go. On his knees. Through the halls, onto the patio, across the nasty black-topped parking lot...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Roberts Family Fun Time

So Lea Ann was in town this weekend, meaning we all spent 4 glorious days gorging ourselves on junk food, laying around watching tv, playing Phase 10 and napping.
Many fights were had, many names were called, but such is the case with my sisters and I.
The good news? Menana finally got her family portrait:

Here are a few of my faves:

The kiddos... The folks...

Big Daddy & his girls... Lea & Ry...

How hot is my mom??? 3 perfect bitches...

Brother Man... ...with his Daddy...

Me & my gorgeous girl... Walking away...
AND, Coming Soon to a Christmas Card near You:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm Invisible

My very dear friend and one of my many Mommy Mentors sent this to me, and I just couldn't keep it to myself. Thanks Elisa!!

I'm invisible..... It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Pick me up right around 5:30, please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going .. she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read -- no, devour -- the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals -- we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder; As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.