Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer List #19

From the outside looking in, this was a picturesque moment. Notice I use the word MOMENT. Our Summer List includes a trip to our school's summer library. Today I forced them to go. I mean, really forced. Threaten harm, kind of force. Do you think that counts as a fun summer memory?

It has just been one of those summer days. The kind where everyone wakes up grouchy. The kind where every mouth that opens is arguing, whining or fighting with a sibling. Non. Stop. By 1:00 pm, I literally pushed them into the car and emptied them into the library. I then bought everyone a Sonic slush and came home and built a fort.
The MOMENT lasted for 45 minutes. Everyone was happy. We huddled beneath blankets and read books. We actually felt like a normal family. For a MOMENT. I really don't think normal families with normal kids, know how good they've got it.
Once the moment ended, it was gone. Fighting returned and teenagers told me, "that's not fair!" I simply looked at them and replied, "I don't care."

My girls will probably never remember this day. They will check off #19 on our List, and move on. But I will remember it. I'll hold it near the surface of my thoughts. Because, endless are the days where we are daily living, the kind of living that moves by unnoticed. But for a small moment today, we stopped running through life long enough to find joy in being together. Peace settled into the air around us and we seemed to capture all the essence of the word 'Family'. Just for a moment. But one that will hold a permanent spot within the lines of a summer checklist.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Early Celebrating

Is she excited about the sparklers?
Maybe she's mortified that someone would light a flame in this Texas heat and then make her hold onto it.
Or maybe, this is her look of joy. Can't you see it?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Good Mothering Requires Brain Cells

My last post was 4 days ago. At that time, I was an idiot. Fast forward 4 days, and I've gotten dumber. I didn't even think it was possible. But here I am, proof that I'm on a downward slide in intelligence.

In an effort to be "fun", I told the kids we were making carmel popcorn in the microwave. You place all ingredients in a paper bag, shake, cook, shake, eat. I thought that they would dive right in with excitement. But, I was wrong. The kids were a hard sell. They asked if they could just eat regular treats out of the pantry. I denied all requests and tried to force my fun upon them.

We started out by using an actual, real life popcorn machine. When I took it out of the box, the girls all asked, "What is that?" I had to explain that not all popcorn was cooked in a microwave sack. They were shocked.

After the popping was complete, I really kicked into high gear with my intelligence. I decided that the babies would find sheer joy in flying popcorn. I placed the machine in the front room and let it loose.

The first minute was tons 'o fun. Then, un-popped kernels started flying everywhere, and they were lava hot. One of the babies has a burn to prove it. And, you can only imagine what the clean up was like. Again, I remind you, I'm on a quick downward slope in the brain department.

Once all ingredients were combined in our large paper sack, the shaking began. I had to use my precious See's bag because you simply can't find spare, brown grocery sacks anymore.

The end result was delicious. I should know, because I ate half of it. The kids only took a miniature bite and then retrieved a treat from the pantry. My "fun" mothering skills failed yet again. At least this time they tasted yummy!

Brown Bag Carmel Corn
(this actually turns out more like Cracker Jacks)

3-4 quarts popped popcorn (tip: 1 quart equals 4 c.)
Place in a clean, brown grocery sack
Option: add peanuts or almonds

Place in a bowl:
1 c. brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
Microwave this for 1 minute, then stir.
Microwave 3 more minutes, then stir.

Add to bowl (will make it foam):
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. vanilla
Stir well.

Pour mixture over popcorn in the bag.
Fold over bag 2 times.
Microwave 1 1/2 minutes.
Microwave 1 minute.
Pour onto a cookie sheet.

Best when served immediately.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Days Discoveries

In no specific order, here are the things I discovered today:

1. If you live in Texas, you should not be required to sit outside during your child's swim lessons. Over the last 3 days, I've lost 4 pds. in water through my sweat.

2. Marker containers should be emptied more often than once a year.
Addie and her friends dumped out the contents of the marker bin onto the floor for easier access to coloring tools. At the bottom of the pile, I found a dried up cockroach shell. For reals. I can't decide if it died in there this summer or last.

3. I'm a moron. This seems to be a reoccurring discovery.
I catered to the children today. Tried to make them happy and enjoy a fun, summer day. I let a plethora of friends come over and made sure everyone was entertained. I applauded the cheer routine they assembled and I made different lunches according to what each individual wanted. I made banana bread for a snack and at one point, everyone was seated on the floor with their own individual bag of popcorn. Catered. To. The. Children. Every now and then, like once every 2 years, I put forth the effort to be an ideal mom. Today was the day.

But by 3:00 pm, I had a crying child and tattle telling friends. I grew weary and started to lose my 'good mother' focus. At this point, I was asking Child #2 (over the phone) to bring home her clothes (from my mom's house) so that I could wash them. Her response to me, (said with disgust in her voice), "You haven't washed my clothes yet!" I almost reached through the phone and popped her head right off. Right. Off.

The lesson I discovered today, is that I'm an idiot. In the way, way back of my subconscious, I actually thought (for a fraction of a second) that my kids are now old enough to actually appreciate the things I do. I'm a moron for thinking such things.


I'm hoping that tomorrow's discoveries include some sort of shopping. Alone.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer List #9 and #1

Paper Mache.
Yes, it was my idea and yes, people started to shake their hands and fling the glue mixture everywhere. I'm not even sure that our creations will dry in a place with 98% humidity.
A MUST for any Summer List and a treat on a hot day.
Do you like the bruise in the center of Addie's forehead? The large one right between her eyes? She fell (again) and smacked her head on the wood section of the stairs. What was she doing before she fell, you ask? Walking. On flat ground.

That was definitely not on the Summer List.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I have no defining thoughts to place here today. No eloquent words come to mind. My thoughts are simply....quiet.

I have spent a majority of the day trying to avoid the very purpose it offers. I've stayed busy and tried not to let my mind wander into deep, troubled waters.

But now, in the calm evening, I can't keep them at bay. Thoughts of my father flood my vision. Is it possible to find pain within the folds of a happy memory? I think so.

How many Father's Days have I passed through in my lifetime? 39, to be exact. How many of those did I weigh the importance of the day and give it my full attention? I can't be sure. I took them for granted.

But now, this day holds more meaning than I can grasp. It feels bigger than the day itself.

For today, I shall honor. The amazing father of my children, and the father who took a part of me with him when he left.

I whisper my love to you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer Night #16

In between the sibling fights, putting away groceries, and the pleading for people to pick up their crap, a perfect summer night unfolded. It was one of those nights where life seemed to settle into a cozy rhythm. I found myself soaking in the minutes, knowing that regular life would take over within the hour.

After we returned home from Karate Kid, the new slip n' slide was assembled. By this time of year in Texas, you can't really bare being outside for fear of being scorched. Tonight, as they played together and laughed, the temperature felt just a bit cooler.
Frosting played a large part in the perfect evening. It wouldn't really have been perfect at all if it hadn't included baked goods. The frosted cookies are to be handed out tomorrow at church. And, I'll have you know, Todd made the Father's Day cookies. Kinda poignant, don't you think?

If you look closely, you'll notice that I removed all the crispy, brown edges. I dipped each and every one (I shared a few) into that bowl of frosting. I'm pretty sure that heaven smells just like that bowl.

And, if frosted cookies weren't enough, the final lining of my evening's perfection came from this--
Chip's Ahoy WITH. REESE'S. CUPS! I know, I know, it almost takes your breath away. I literally gasped in the cookie isle at Walmart today. I'm serious. I took the box off the shelf and held it close to my heart while my mind whispered the words, "Someone finally used their genius brain cells to create a cookie that will improve the lives of all humanity." I might have to go out on a limb and suggest this invention for the Nobel Peace Prize.

An hour or so after my perfect summer night began, it all seemed to fade into normality. Showers had to be taken, dishes cleaned and slides put away. But somehow, these ordinary motions felt just a little easier to accomplish. Smiles seemed to remain and tired bodies lounged on the couch. A few arguments erupted and even tears from the youngest. Just a bit of normal sprinkled into an evening to remember.

Friday, June 18, 2010

She Returns

She has been away at girl's camp. 5 days.
I have missed her presence.
While she was gone, I still laid out a dinner plate for her each night. Out of habit.
It felt strange falling asleep knowing she was elsewhere.

For 5 days, she had fun. She ate and laughed and built her testimony.
My days remained routine. But yet, they felt off balance. One person short.

I pick her up and she smells like the out of doors.
She states she is tired, but she rolls on and on with stories and songs.
Giggling in between.
I look at her and take her in.
I watch her wild hand motions and the drama she adds to each story.
And I realize, in the singular space there in the car, just how much she has grown. Just how much I missed her. Just how much she is a part of me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


11 years ago today.
At 1:15 pm.
You became mine.

I am forever grateful.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

She Threatens

Have I ever mentioned that my sister is nice? She's super nice. In an annoying way. I don't know how she does it. It's got to be exhausting, being nice all the time. Maybe that's why she sometimes wears her pajamas all day. She's just so tired from being so nice. If you ask me, it's way easier to be mean. I speak from experience.

Every now and then, my sister tries to be firm with me. She tries to lay down the law with a slight edge in her voice. It's so bizarre when this happens. The nice girl is valiantly trying to not be so nice. It's weird. Whenever these moments occur, I tend to just stare at her with a puzzled look on my face like there's a leprechaun standing right there in my kitchen. Stomping her foot. It's that weird.

She has recently threatened to terminate my visits. She thinks I'm overriding her authority by letting the twins have whatever they want. I don't see a problem. She does. She has used her firm leprechaun voice to tell me that I'm going to have a time out from my babies, if I don't stop it.

She has started putting Keagan in time out. It makes my heart hurt. The other night, this child wanted a candy bar. My sister said 'no'. I gave it to her anyway. She just stared at me with her beady, leprechaun eyes and said, "I said no". I replied, "that's stupid".

I let Keagan play with the hose. It makes her happy, therefore I am happy. Again, my leprechaun sister said that she didn't want her child to drink out of the hose. "Um, OK" I told her. This is Keagan staring at her mother pounding on the kitchen window for me to not let her drink:
I am slightly afraid that my sister might actually stop being so nice long enough to follow through on the time out. Only slightly afraid. But, just in case, I'm currently devising ways to conceal my actions so the leprechaun can't see. It's a work in progress, but I think I'll be successful. Maybe I could write a book about the results. I'll title it, "Don't Let The Leprechaun Scare You!" Nice.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Field Trip #1

A day at the farm. I only paid $323 to get in, and within an hour we were so hot we were ready to evaporate. When anyone started to complain, I told them to be grateful they weren't a pioneer.

Every farm needs a train ride.
We fed lots of animals who seemed more adjusted to the temperature than we were.

Todd grew up on a farm, and I don't ever remember him mentioning peacocks. This one made really loud, disturbing noises and flew up into the tree. Until now, I had no idea peacocks could actually fly. I thought they simply walked around all day dragging their feathers behind them. The farm proved educational and hot.

I'm fairly positive that these are the cutest girls ever to ride this pony.

This horse was in the shade and much easier to ride. Yee Haw.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Short Hair Has Advantages

Hi. My name is Addie, and I like to hold things too close to my hair.

The first time something like this happened can be found here.

You would think it's rather obvious that you shouldn't hold a wheel churning Zu Zu by your head. More than likely, Addie will remember that from now on.

Here is the Zu Zu. It's wheels are. still. turning. I sadly admit that it was rather fascinating to watch the little hampster move itself up her hair.
If you squint your eyes, it could look like a really cool earring.

And before you ask, yes, I did grab my camera and photograph her being tortured before I ever offered to assist her. My motherhood love knows no bounds.

Disclaimer-- no fake rodents were injured in this incident. But now Addie's hair is just slightly shorter on one side.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flipped On A Rainy Day

Behold our rainy day creations. We made these AFTER I forced them to clean out their closets. These flops turned out so flippin' cute! I'll let you buy a pair. You just have to take the child who is wearing them. Be careful what you wish for....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Remains Of The Day

The last day of school was Thursday, but it seems I am only now able to write about it. The effect on me has been profound. Although, I must admit, I have relished the lazier days and slower schedule.

During the last week of school, I am always stunned by the amount of crap that tumbles through the door. The stacks of paper, projects and writing samples, could blanket all of Texas. Once I sorted through it all, I then had the crazy notion to dump out the remaining contents of 2 backpacks.

It's like my garbage can and the school store got married and then barfed on my carpet. And all this ONLY came from the small front pocket of the backpack. I think I found a Fun Dip that my child received sometime last October.

Sam waited until the end of the year to find out if she could fit in her locker. Looks like she could use a little growth over the summer.

In a moment of 'trying to be a fun mom', I bought shaving cream. After they got off the bus, I asked them to put on swimming suits and meet me on the driveway. I gave them each a can and let them loose. The oldest two looked at me like I was stupid. The youngest entertained us all.

She wore this hat for quite some time. She started walking up and down the street, waving at her friends.

On Friday, I lost all sense of composure. I let the house go, I let everyone paint, we went to see a movie and ate pizza. I completely freaked myself out. This week, I've got to get it together. But, I'm not quite sure how to top the shaving cream. Chocolate pudding?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Mother's Prayer

School ends today people. Brace yourselves. My children will be out there.
I decided to create a mother's version of the Lord's Prayer. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Print it and tape it on your mirror. Repeat each day. We're all in this together, and if we work as a unified team, we just might make it.

The Mother's Prayer

Lord, please grant me the serenity to stay sane,
Through the endless and hot days of summer.
Please give me the strength not to strangle anyone under the age of 14,
And teach me, dear Lord, how to talk sweetly through clenched teeth.

Thou knowest the plight of this mother,
You hear her constant cries and wailing through the summer months.
Comfort me, oh my Creator, and bless my children to fall mute.

I love thee Lord, I serve thee day and night.
So, I plead for thy presence to rest upon me,
So that I might resist the urge to run far away.

Please grant unto me the gift of silence and children who are kind.
Help me to ignore my house in constant disarray.
I will give unto thee my obedience and effort,
And in return I ask that thou wilt help me to survive.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More Than Special

The day is drawing to a close. For most, it will pass without fanfare or notice. But, for one 10 yr. old girl, today has been extraordinary.

Test results arrived today. She passed. I do not say it lightly. She. Passed! Texas testing for a 5th grader is a big deal. For a child who is dyslexic, it's monumental. This girl has accomplished something that slips by as ordinary for most students. She has worked and worked and worked. Her teachers have worked. As her mother, I have prayed countless hours.

Thus, today, is extraordinary. Today marks a milestone achieved. One that was rightly earned. The happiness is palpable in our house.

She used her teacher's cell phone to call me from school. I screamed in the middle of Target. Her only request to celebrate, was to spend time with the babies and for everyone to go out to dinner.

Lucky for her, she also has an extraordinary Nana. She too screamed when she received the news. She bought Kellie balloons and treated us all to a fabulous restaurant.

It's the day before the last day of school. Up until now, I have stewed and worried over these results. I have been too preoccupied to offer my usual load of whining and complaining that my kids will be home for the summer. From now on, I shall double up my efforts.

We have experienced many days, when test results arrived, that did not end like this one. But maybe, that has made this day all the more special. School is an uphill battle for this girl. And today, she reached the summit. So. Very. Extraordinary.