Thursday, December 28, 2006

A New Year's Treat: Cuteness (not my kids)

I am enjoying my respite from work and am actually checking my blog hits (!) and catching up on other blogs I haven't read in an age. I even updated my sidebar with the blogs I more actively lurk. You may notice a new trend: Craft Blogs!

This might sound insane, as in "When the hell does Mar have time to craft??!?" and you'd be essentially correct if you were to exclaim such a thing. But behold, look what I have made!

Christmas Bunny and Rosie Bunny, originally uploaded by ICB Mar.

I defy you to challenge the cuteness. The cuteness veritibly dripped from my fingertips as I hand made the little darlings! I am gifted! I can quit my day job and make millions, right?

For those who are interested in such things, I got the pattern from wee wonderfuls and made some slight ammendments based on influences from loobylu and a ervilha cor de rosa. If you have apropensity to enjoy such things, you might want to think twice before clicking those links because you will get SUCKED IN! And for the love of all things holy, do NOT click on the links of my links or you will be LOST FOREVER!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Dear Annual Review Seekers

For those of you looking for your Annual Holiday Flannery Update (as directed in your holiday card or email), here it is! Enjoy its toasty goodness in your freezing climes! (Bwaaaahaaaa! It's like, 75 degrees here!)

And now, without further ado, The Year in Review!

A whole year in Georgia, the Land of Plenty! We made it! The kids only say "ya'll" once a week and have yet to say "fixin' to", so I think we're gonna make it. (Ribh has even started talking a bit and I do not detect a southern accent, although she does use a strong gibberish dialect.)

This February I began working full time again, initially as the Clinic Staff Supervisor for Life's outpatient clinic, and in August as the Director of Recruitment for Life University. It's been an adventure balancing full time work, mom-dom and all the extra bits and pieces into a well run household. Frankly, it's a work in progress (not working). The benefit of my new position is that occasionally I "have to" travel and then I get to escape the demands of motherhood (casting Brian in the role of Mr. Mom) and I sleep in a big hotel bed all by myself and take uninterrupted baths and eat food which was not chosen based on its appeal to a three year old.

Brian (Hubby, to regular readers), has been busy with work, developing and teaching new curriculum for clinic education, mentoring, and developing a new position which he will begin next year as the Community Education and Clinic Marketing Coordinator. This means that he will be creating and executing marketing projects to position Life's clinics in the community and creating opportunities and programs to educate patients and prospective patients about the benefits of chiropractic care. And then he will teach all the students to do it. So, he'll stay busy!

Brian has also finished his second go at the Chicago Marathon this fall (3hrs 43 mins and 50 secs) and is training for another marathon in March with a goal to complete his first Ultramarathon (he's planning a 50 miler) this year, and dreams of a hundred miler in his future. This means he is working on figuring out what foods (real food folks, like pizza and cheese cake!) he can carry and digest while running for ten hours! And, furthermore, he is developing a distance running club and the school and mentoring students as they train to do marathons and such. Needless to say, this training has cut into his golf game, but on the flip side, he has never been more fit.

Gabe is six this year! He is enjoying school and loves to read Captain Underpants books and all things Star Wars. Brian's 30 year old Star Wars action figures are getting to enjoy a second life with the next generation. Just this week Gabe lost his front tooth and now has the best jack-o-lantern grin around. His also gets a lot of attention for his gorgeous long wavy hair.

Hang on to your daughters folks! He's a heartbreaker in the making! (And wicked smart too!)

Quinlan turned three in February. She continues to have a passion for mothering. She mothers dolls, animals, Christmas ornaments, her little sister, her older brother, imaginary creatures, her Papa and anything else she can get to hold still. She also has developed her "Uterine Tracking Device" and helps me find things and put things away where they belong. It's pretty amazing. Gabe had led me to believe that small children are just incapable of understanding how to clean up without being told exactly what to do every step of the way. Quin appears to have innate talent in this arena. Whooo hooo! As Brian say, "Alright! Now there's two of you!"

I took Quin to see the Nutcracker Ballet last week (see photo above). She loved it! (and I loved having girl old enough to do it with!) Now she is attempting to go "on point" and so on. I guess ballet classes will be on the agenda next year.

Ribh Wallis. Man, I don't even know where to start. She is a trip! She's almost two and already has us bamboozled. Ribh appears to have all the strength of will of her mother and her father SQUARED! When she sets out to defy parental dictates she can occasionally out-stubborn Hubby and me. (See previous posts below to detail this point.)

She is also charmingly snuggly, obsessed with butterflies and bugs, capable of eating mountains of food, highly nap resistant, musically inclined, and the most outrageous character we have produced yet! As she begins speaking I'm sure the stories will develop rapidly. Right now our saving grace is the fact that we have no idea what she's taking about 75% of the time.

And finally, the sad news: We lost our good friend and sweet hound, Esste, this October. She was almost 12 years old and quite ill at the end. We miss her terribly and I'll still be looking for her sleeping under a pile of wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Rest in Peace, Boober.

We were sadly didn't see much in the way of visitors this year. I'm telling ya, there's lots of cool stuff to do down here! Come and see us! We'll be home sometime this summer, so make an appointment now because we'll be going six ways 'til Tuesday.

Love to All! Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Post Wherein All Chaos In the Universe Rests With Me


Seriously, Chaos Alert Levels have been upgraded to not just RED but Super Double FIREY BURNING RED around here lately. Hence, the utter lack of blog updates or photos to answer your pleas for assurance that we all remain hearty and hale in Georgia. Avert your eyes from the Firey Red Alerted Chaos contained within!

I have been traveling. A LOT. Like pretty much part of every week and most every weekend. That perpetual joy has been peppered with the viral spore of a thousand airports and a thousand school children compounded by lack of sleep and poor spinal hygiene which as we all knows equals a crappy immune system and extreme susceptibility to a full rolling ague from each viral invader and for each family member. Sweet!

But lo! They are still cute! See below:

Gabe is Anakin Skywalker. Ribh is a chicken. Quin is a princess.

The Run Down:

Ribh Wallis: Is pretty mad at me for being gone all the time. Whilst I am gone and she is in the loving care of her father, she is an Angel Child. When I return home she releases The Demons of 1000 Angry and Outraged Moments of Abandonment and Outrage and punishes me with the Shrieking and Freaking Tantrums to End All Life on Earth including head thumping, clawing, and the stubborn endurance of a triathelete. It's pretty impressive. And ever so fun. It does not come with an off switch. Seriously.

Quinlan: Will only wear dresses. Especially a somewhat oversized tank top (size 4/5) that wears like a minidress and is pink, which she has taken into her head is a "ballerina dress" and therefore will drop trow the moment she arrives home and will pull said "dress" out of the bottom of a clothes hamper (dirty) to wear until FORCED to wear something else. She also talks incessantly which is alternatingly adorable and will make you want to gouge your ears out. Like this:


(two second pause)



"Yesterday, I went pee in the potty!"




"The sky is blue!"



"Yes, Quin! What?"

"My doll is wearing a dress."

And so on.

Gabe: Is obsessed with Star Wars and Captain Underpants. In his parent teacher conference, I was told that he routinely spaces off for a half hour at a time during school periods set aside to work independently. Then, when just five minutes remain to finish the given assignment (a math worksheet, writing projects, etc.), he busts through a half hour's work (sloppily) and turns in his completed assignment. And it's usually accurate. So, his teacher and I have come up with a plan to encourage him to do his work FIRST (rather than counting the fibers in the carpet) and then he can earn STICKERS by doing MORE WORK and then if he earns enough stickers he gets a new Captain Underpants book at week end. Whee! Hey, it's working!

Hubby: Ran another marathon and kicked butt as usual. Now he is immediately back in training for the next one in March. He has enlisted a group of students to train with him, so that's a bit more fun. At least, as much fun as a 26.2 mile run can be. Hubby should ALSO be up for SAINTHOOD for the lengthy solo parenting excursions while I was away and especially because the house never fell down ONCE! Pretty impressive is it not?

Me: Ummm. I'm Nuts. Any questions? Hey, and remember all that stuff I told you about the kids and how exasperating they are? I am told by Hubby, my mother, and pretty much anyone who knows me, that each and EVERY ONE of their exasperating habits signals a clear and direct genetic link to the WOMAN WHO SPAWNED each child.

And finally, THE SADNESS: Our Esste Dog, The Boober Hound, died on October 30th. She was almost 12. She was doing quite poorly for the last month. She had stopped eating and was so emaciated and weak that she could barely greet us with a tail thump. I still miss her daily and find myself reaching down to pat her phantom head and stroke her ghostly ears. Plus, I now actually have to clean the spilled food off the kitchen floor. So, for those of you who knew her, take a moment to think fondly of the Best Houndy Who Ever Was Ridden By Three Children. This, honestly, has been quite hard on us. Sniff. She was such a Good Girl.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ready, Aim, FIRE!

This week has been interesting. This week, Hubby's "new" car started on fire.

Picture this: You buy a new shiny car.

Granted, it is a used car, but it is not the rusted decrepit heap you (or Hubby, rather) have been driving for the past six years. It is shiny, and has a snazzy rear spoiler, and a PINSTRIPE, and a functioning AC unit, and a non-tinny audio system! OOOOH OOOH, and did I mention that it does not smoke copiously and overheat when driven farther than 4 blocks. THAT is super cool, let me assure you!

Like all used cars, the salesman told us that THIS WONDERFUL car has been driven for the past 5 years by a 90 year old woman, who knits doilies in her spare time, brushes her cat, and drives to church once an week to worship chastely, and drives to Publix once a week to buy crackers and sweet tea. This seemed quite possible (no, LIKELY) at the time, but perhaps that impression came from the noxious fumes from the engine of the overheating Subaru which addled our brains.

So we buy the sleek and pristine Saturn in all its Granny Glory (TM). We marvel at its spotless exterior which has never been backed into by my mother-in-law and we marvel at its spotless interior which has never experienced the smeary love of three children on a road trip. There are no hidden dirty diapers under the passenger seat and no footprints on the hood. It seems too good to be true. Perhaps we should have NOTICED THAT! (Foreshadowing stomps by and is ignored due to extreme exhaustion and the high of spending thousands of dollars we really didn't want to spend JUST YET.)

We drive the new green Granny Glory-mobile to and fro and marvel in its non-overheatingness and all is well. And the one day, the sweet new granny mobile won't start.

"Oh well" says Hubby. He gets a jump from a co-worker and doesn't sweat it. In the morning he jumps his new car again with the minivan and again that night after work.

"Hmmmm" says Hubby, "I think something must be wrong with the battery or alternator".

Others may have been more panicked at this point, but we are from WISCONSIN, and dead batteries are like MOTHER'S MILK to us. In Wisconsin, you send your ten-year-old out to jump the car in the morning. It's no big deal.

We agree that we need to bring the car back to the dealership to have the alternator looked at by a professional. We have a busy week (involving the fact that we have three kids and two full time jobs)and jump the car several time a day. Ho hum.

FINALLY, the day arrives when Hubby has 20 minutes of free time and I have 20 minutes of free time SIMULTANEOUSLY!! Whee!!! We are both at work. Hubby pulls the van up to the car and hooks it up to receive its customary jump so that we can drop it off at the dealership. He comes into my office to get the keys to start the new car. My assistant says "Hmmm. Look at all that smoke outside. I wonder what's burning?"

We look outside with interest and remark, "Oh, that's our CARS! ON FIRE! Awesome."

The End.

Just kidding. Not about the fire. About the "The End".

So we pull the firey melted jumper cables off the smoking melted remains of the Saturn's battery and engine. We ascertain that the fire department is not needed. We pry melted jumper cables out of the quarterpanels and front bumpers of both vehicles. We curse a bit. We remark on how fortunate it is that Hubby did not blow his hands (or his head for that matter) off. We CURSE some more, and with greater vehemence. We inspect the smoking ruin of the interior of the engine of the Saturn.

We consider what kind of voodoo the chaste and benevolent "granny" must left on this car that would cause this kind of ruin within weeks of purchase. Or else the car has absorbed her pure and benevolent ways and considers us to be crass interlopers with grubby-handed offspring. Which we are.

So now we have entered the hell (or purgatory) of negotiations with insurance agents ("Yes, you will have to meet your deductible on each claim separately and I will probably return your phone calls only after you leave 37 messages threating my life") and car salesmen ("What do you mean, our responsibility? You didn't buy the extended warranty which costs approximately half the value of the car. Too bad.")and so on.

Think of us kindly. And for those of you in Wisconsin, don't let your ten-year-old jump the car anymore. And for once and for all; NO, HUBBY DIDN'T SWITCH THE RED AND BLACK ENDS! It was freakish thing. The car is possessed by Southern Baptist offense with our Northern Heathenish ways.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Verbal Jazz and Politics

Hubby has the WHOLE WEEK off from work and tonight he has sashayed off to hear jazz and drink martinis, whilst I sit home and juggle children and fend off telemarketers.

Actually, the call tonight wasn't a telemarketer, but a political pollster and I gotta admit, I'm a sucker for pollsters 'cuz I just love to add my subversive views to the whole mix. Think of how my libertarian cum liberal cum fiscally conservative pro gun stance messes with their magic matrix. SQUEEE! Mom, stop reading now. I had to giggle when they asked if I'd heard of George W. Bush. Scary to think that they get some "no"s. It's always a good night when someone asks what your opinion of the president is and then writes it down and submits it to someone somewhere. Not that my opinion is all that original these days. They kept claiming the poll was "strictly for statistical purposes," which is like saying the war is strictly for checking out if our rifles work, but okay, whatever you sophisticated and savvy pollster tricksters. Mom, you can start reading again....I'm done talking politics.

So Hubby is off in Urban Male World after spending an entire week taking naps and entire days downloading music and reading Blink. Because September is "use it or lose it" time as far as compensatory time in our workplace goes. But you'll notice, I still went to work. I'd discuss why but I'm still trying to keep work out of the blog, so forget it. How's that for taunting?

Speaking of downloading music, how is it possible that we (Hubby and I) are in our mid thirties and haven't discovered Radiohead until recently? Sad isn't it when reality TV (Rockstar) is your entree to heretofore undiscovered music? How many sentences in a row can I write in the form of a question? (Ugh. Did you catch the finale of Rockstar? Lukas Rossi. Bah. King of Poseurs.) I guess you have to factor in that we both grew up in Wisconsin. Now that we are in Georgia, we are working hard to make sure our kids don't think Freebird is the national anthem. Gabe's current favorite is still Greenday but Quin is quite taken with James Blount and asks for Beautiful about 20 times a day. (Did anyone follow the logic of this paragraph? Jeesh!)

Gabe has now requested that I write an entire paragraph about him. (He actually called it a "long sentence thing" and I interpreted that as a wanting at least a paragraph.) His reading skills are taking off rapidly and we can no longer spell things in order to keep them secret. Damn. Since when do first graders have vocabularies which include "plethora" and "horrify"? Admit it. He's a veritable genius. He would like you to know that he also likes Jack White of the White Stripes and the Racontour's song "Steady as She Goes". Oh, and he's the master of Sonic Heroes on PS2. Okay Gabe, is this enough yet?

This post has become the opposite of a well-crafted writing piece and frankly, I gotta get Gabe through the tub and into bed in the next 15 minutes. So, suck on yet another sugary, meandering and strangely political puff piece. Yum!

Monday, September 04, 2006



Like anybody will even read this since it has been 40-some days since I last posted.

An entire month has come and gone. All of August in its sweltering beauty and daily afternoon thunderstorms,...kaput.

And now September has arrived. As uncrisp and un-fall-like as September can be in the Southland. We are looking forward to another 75 days of air conditioning.

And we are nearing the one year mark of being true country fried Southerners. We say "ya'll and fixin' to" with reckless abandon and nobody even hollers "Hey Billy Bob, we don't say fixin TA, we say fixin TO". In other words, we fit right in.

We attempted a pseudo-Brush Run party yesterday and gathered together the old crew which is near enough to attend (Peter) and a gang of students from the Chiropractic school and we ate garlic dip and enjoyed a few libations. But the whole thing was over by midnight and nobody sat around the campfire until it just wasn't the same. Maybe we'll do better next year.

I have a new job at the school, which keeps me even busier than the old one. But I am enjoying it immensely, and am even getting to travel a bit here and there.

I'd like to claim that my job is so crazy that I legitimately don't have time to blog...but I guess that would be a cop out. I don't have (or don't choose to make) the time to blog the way I really want to, therefore, I don't blog almost at all, except occasionally to pacify the six of you out there who check back here regularly because you KNOW me and you want to see what the kids are doing down here in the Land of Plenty.

My formerly growing audience of people who read this blog because it WAS an interesting place and my writing WAS actually compelling in some way has long since returned to dooce or some other person who posts well written things on a regular basis. So, in a way, the condition of this blog makes me feel like a failure and I never like to revisit the scene of my failures. So, hence, I never come here. Sad, but true.

So, for the six of you who miss hearing from me: here ya go. I posted.

Maybe I'll be in a better mood next time and I'll post some photos.

Friday, July 14, 2006

In The Immortal Words of Judy Blume:

Eat it, or wear it!

Whilst I was in the other room attempting to download vacation photos, someone was "helping" Ribh get some dip for the carrot chips I had given her to snack on in her high chair.

Apparently, Ribh isn't interested in having shiny happy sour cream masque applied to her entire head. And she wasn't afraid to say so.

Quin, on the other hand, seemed to be of the opinion that Ribh really needed a specialized hair and inner ear beauty treatment.

And furthmore, she wasn't too thrilled with the timeout that resulted from her efforts.

We're baaaaack!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Sign of Life

I exist.

I am crazed...with preparations to embark on the family road trip extraordinaire!

We will leave tomorrow morning from sunny, smoggy, sweltering Georgia and drive across the country in a minivan loaded with children ( and don't forget the family dog) and peanut butter sandwiches to breezy Wisconsin. We are planning to make it to Milwaukee in a single day.

Hubby plans to have a large drink, brimming with alcohol, as soon as we arrive, regardless to the time of arrival.

I will shoot numerous photos and hopefully relate a few heee-larious stories of madcap adventures on our Great American Roadtrip and subsequent tour of the Shining State of Wisconsin. 'Cuz we're gonna see all of it folks, God help us! We will be visiting every relative who ever had the (mis) fortune to share a snippet of DNA with our clan. Our kids will smear peanut butter onto every sofa from Milwaukee to Crandon to Eau Claire to Mondovi. They will never forget us (or remove the stains from our visit).

Hey, it could be worse, we could be going to Iowa. ('Nuff said.)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Sign That I Should be Blogging More

I am lying inertly on my bed, feeling rotten and slightly feverish.

Gabe approaches with a piece of lined notebook paper and a pencil.

Me: Umpff. (weakly) Hi Buddy.

Gabe: Mom! I made this sign! It says: "Do NOT disturb Gabe!"

Me: Oh. What's it for?

Gabe: It's for me 'cuz Quin keeps bugging me!

Me: (silence) Huh. But Gabe, can Quin read?

Gabe: (long silence, thinking) Yeaaah?

Gabe returns to the living room where I hear him lecture Quin about his sign and then he sits and watches cartoons while holding his sign in his lap. I continue to lie inertly and feverishly on my bed and watch Kathy Griffin (who is my new favorite comedic genius).

End Scene.

*Aren't you glad I came back to blog about the hilarity and great doings in my life? It was really funny at the time. I swear. Maybe it was the fever?

Saturday, May 27, 2006


My Baby graduated yesterday.

It was just from Kindergarten, and I am philosophically opposed to the way schools and parents over-celebrate every little childhood accomplishment as though each and every minor achievement is deserving of pomp and circumstance. But still. Sniffle. He's done with Kindergarten.
I cried when he started Kindergarten and today I cried when he finished.

He has grown up so much this year. He has: Learned to count to 1000, learned to read Frog and Toad chapter books himself, learned to count out change, learned to tell time (and not just on a digital clock) and learned how to write stories about his life.

He has also learned how funny a fart is and how superior boys are to girls (excuse me?) and how his school is better than all the others in our county.

He has learned how to be a great teacher's helper and he has learned how angry and disappointed his father can be when he comes home from school with notes about bad behavior.

He learned how to ride his bike without training wheels and he learned how to buckle his own seatbelt.

But he still needs to be tucked into bed every night and he still needs help tying his shoes. He caught in a world between being my baby boy and being this humongous boy-child, moving independently about the world.

I love you Gabe and I am so proud of you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

13 Things (and a bonus item or two)

I'm still alive..and so are my children.

This working full time gig is kicking my ass blog-wise.

Things which have occurred since I last blogged:

1. Kids have all been snotty and sick and feverish at least once.
2. Ribh has achieved fully accomplished bipedal status and runs around all over the place.
3. Hubby finally got the Social Security office to accept our application for Ribh's social security number, which should arrive in the mail in approximately 27 weeks.
4. I did 800 loads of laundry.
5. The Boober Dog is getting more and more arthritic and pitiful everyday and some days can barely make it down the stairs and outside to pee more than once.
6. Hubby and I attended a Chiropractic Conference where we both taught. (Hubby a headlining speaker in fact. Me? Just a fun little adjunct.)
7. I cleaned the toilets once (sad isn't it).
8. I spent 40 plus hours in my minivan simply commuting. And listening to books on tape. If only I had a computer in there.
9. I walked during my lunch hour 3-4 times per week and worked up to doing 9 sets of a 40 step flight of stairs each time. Whew! (And yes, my arse hurts...but hopefully is shrinking!)
10. Went to the Birthday Party of Noah; Gabe and Quin's stream-stomping-buddy. Drank a few margaritas and watched the kiddos play crazy German party games (because Noah's mom is a German nutball).
11. Went through caffeine withdrawal and then learned to enjoy coffee without sugar (see number 13).
12. Took an afternoon off from work with Hubby, left the children in child care, and took a nap together. Just the two of us. At the same time. With no children in the bed. Or even in the house! Bliss.
13. Gave up sugar 2 weeks ago. Holy schmoly, it ain't pretty. Lost 3 pounds though.

We are driving to South Carolina to go to a rugby tournament this weekend. I'm sure that will be interesting, but you'll probably never hear anything about it ever again from me.

I will leave you with a favorite link, to which I had every intention of doing a tribute...but never got off my arse and made it happen. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Camping: How to Lose Your Mind in 24 Hours or Less

Are you READY?!!

1. Upon arrival at campsite watch as son adopts a series of small, fragile woolly caterpillars and names them each Arthur. Help him make homes for them in a small cup. Explain that caterpillars need some rest and shade when it is 89 degrees outside.

2. Gather several of the woolly mini-monsters for your enthusiastic three-year-old. Feign delight as she names them (Blackie and Brownie) and declares to the world vociferously that caterpillars LOVE her. Apparently these are THE BEST CATERPILLARS EVER!!!

3. Watch as children hug, cuddle and squeeze the caterpillars unmercifully, lamenting when they become limp and unresponsive. Help children adopt new (obviously ubiquitous) caterpillars. Compliment children as they wear listless caterpillars like fur stoles.

4. Visit neighboring camp site. Allow your children to befriend heavily (southern) accented children who ply them (while you are busy setting up the tent and cooking dinner) with sodas, juices, chips, and Easter candy.

5. Declare that there is just enough time to go to the beach before making dinner. Change all children into swim wear. Change self into swimwear inside dinky tent which as already reached Finnish Sauna levels of heat and humidity. Wonder where shade is.

6. Drive to beach. Unload children and beach gear. Circle asphalt parking lot on foot, dragging three complaining children, searching for way into beach. Finally find notice sign declaring that beach will not open until Memorial Day. Think: "Ummm. Hey, I understand that rule in Wisconsin where it MIGHT be 67 degrees on Memorial Day, IF you're lucky. But...uuhhh...It's like, 90 degrees in Georgia RIGHT NOW!!!" The campground is open. Where's the freakin' WATER!!!!" Concede that there is no way to "sneak into" the beach. (Totally fenced off.)

7. Calmly load crying and complaining children back into car, promising to douse them with water from the faucet back at the campsite. Distract them with talk of dinner. Promise them marshmallows if they eat dinner.

8. Begin making dinner. Realize propane bottles for campstove are all empty. Send Hubby to nearest gas station (10 miles away) for more propane. Allow children to drink juice at neighbor's campsite while waiting.

9. Upon Hubby's return, discover that problem is with propane connector being loose rather than propane bottles being empty. Finally manage to connect propane and light camp stove. Make dinner (the famous "camping casserole"). Have dinner universally rejected by all children and Hubby. Force kids to ingest a portion of dinner and hence a smattering of protein to offset the sugar. Make a large margarita for Hubby. Make a large margarita for self.

10. Drink margaritas and watch children prepare marshmallows (extra rare) until children appear somewhat sleepy and force them into bed at 8:30. Watch fire, drink more margaritas, and play "lightsabers" with the flashlights in the campfire smoke with Hubby.

11. Wake up every 30 minutes all night long. Curse the existence of bathroom 50 feet from tent and wish for a shotgun to shoot out glaring street light in front of busy bathroom.

12. Morning dawns. Try to keep children asleep as long as possible by remaining perfectly still on mostly deflated air mattress as your ass digs deeper and deeper into the ground. Give up at 6:30.

13. Try to keep children reasonably quiet and mostly inside tent as long as possible since other people's tent are a mere 20 feet away. Give up at 7:15 am. Apologize sweetly as your neighbors emerge from their tents, bleary eyed.

14. Try to make breakfast quickly to stave off toddler from eating dirt, twigs, and rocks. Try to console other children over "escape" of caterpillar pets. Tell them that "Blackie" and "Brownie" and "Arthur I, II, and III" went home to see their mamas.

15. Since the beach is clearly out of the question, plan a family hiking trip to enliven the day. Load toddler in sling onto hubby. Fill pockets with sippy cups. Drag children along nature trail, pointing out natural wonders, like the small stream, the wild flowers, and the litter.

16. Take priceless photos of Natural Wonders (kids) in front of "Natural Wonder" (waterfall over dam).

17. Beg Park Rangers for band aids after Quin falls and splits her knee open. Clean up blood.

18. Drag children back to campsite. Uphill the whole way. Quin will no longer walk and must be carried. By Mama.

19. Try to feed children PB and J sandwiches. Children are too hot and too tired to eat. It is too early to drink margaritas.

20. Relent to their pain (and your agony) and start up minivan, put in Disney movie, and crank up the AC.

21. As children mercifully drift off to sleep, admit defeat, pack up tent and all the camping gear, and drive home.

22. Upon arrival at home turf, blast the AC, take lengthy shower, eat hidden stash of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs and kiss own mattress (with tongue).

23. Take three and a half days to recover sufficiently to download photos and write post.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Why I'm a Slacker

I haven't posted anything new for three reasons:

1. This week Ribh has decided that she can walk. And walk. And crash. And walk again.

2. Easter preparations: Cooking eggs. Buying candy. Trying to keep Quin out of the candy. Dying eggs. Trying to keep Quin from decorating the walls with egg dye. Trying to keep Quin out of the candy (repeat ad nasuem). Trying to keep Quin from eating the chicken bouillon cubes (!!??! WTF!!?!).

3. Preparation for our First Annual Easter Weekend Camping trip into the mountains (yes, mountains) of North Eastern Georgia. Come back next week for photos and stories. Because we are crazy people taking a one-year-old, a three-year-old, and a five-year-old tent camping in the mountains. Wheee!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Rantings, Ravings and the Hierarchy of My Web Site

I realize the last post was a little vague. Frankly, the subject matter is a little too risque for me to describe in any more detail and maintain the tone of this blog. Then I would have even more hits from searchers looking for nudity in suburbia. So, if you are easily offended, think on it no further. Also, Hubby wanted me to point out that the bulk of said risque activity was perpetrated by Dr. P, not his oh-so-straight-laced self. Ahem.

Not to let a post go by without a steaming heap of controversy, I have to report that I have been embroiled in a little controversy in an online mom's group to which I belong. It is a group for AP (AP = Attachment Parenting, read "Granola Crunchy") moms and is generally a place of mild mom talk about cracked nipples and snotty noses and such. Last week there was some debate about vaccine reactions and vaccine safety. I (thankfully) kept out of it and let the debate rage without sticking my nose in. This week the controversial subject was Fluoridated Water. One particular mom, who had defended vaccines last week was now defending (mostly) fluoridation and went so far as to say that the so-called evidence "will never change the minds of those who see fluoridation of water as government interference in their lives".

At this point, I flipped out. (I trust this revelation of my getting a bit too worked up over such an issue won't shock most of you.) I then posted that I felt that all the "facts" which back up government justification of public policy and many mainstream health procedures are complete manipulations of data and all the other such ranting you have come to expect of me. In my defense, I did clearly state that this other mom was more than entitled to her own opinion but then I tore apart every thing she had said.

Of course, she responded defensively and with hurt feelings because she felt personally attacked. I relented a smidge and ate crow and apologized for hurting her feelings but stood by my stance that I did not agree with her opinion and didn't care for the way she had characterized people who disagree with public policy as simply being against government interference and I continued to discount her so called "facts" as being a slag heap of manipulated data.

And now I am "a figure of controversy" in my little online community. It's not like I chased her down (as a friend of mine once did) and threw a full Big Gulp cup into her open car window. (But I kinda wish I could).

I guess it is little online scuffles like this that make me happy that I have this blog, which all about ME and MY OPINIONS and anyone who says elsewise will have their comments deleted and will be banned. BANNED I tell you, BANNED! Bwa ha ha ha! I get to throw my weighty opinions and biases around and y' all have to either suck it up or skim over the blather and wait for me to post photos of the kids again. This is my little fiefdom and I am Queen Mar!

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Hamburger

The boys have been playing the game from the movie, Waiting. This is what happens when grown men cohabitate.

Tonight heralded some new renditions of the game, namely, "The Hamburger" and "The Other Woman". I mean, HOLY SHIT! You have NO IDEA! They are so proud of themselves, that even I get to see all their "creations".

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you DON'T WANT TO! (This means you, Mom!) But if you do...HOLY FREAKIN' CRAP!

You have no idea what I have been exposed to. Or rather, has been exposed to me. I'm afraid to go to sleep now.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Simple Life

This weekend I cleaned out my car. Or I guess, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should say, my minivan.

Not only do I drive a minivan, I drive a minivan so full of carseats that I can barely transport any adult persons and furthermore, if said adult companion were to be so intrepid as to attempt to ride in my terror of a Mom-mobile, they would likely emerge with a small feast of old snacks and moldy fruit bits attached to their posterior. Really. It's not pretty.

As the weather is heating up quickly, I decided that I must maintain some sense of cleanliness and avoid the inevitable smell that would soon emanate from my minivan. So I took the afternoon to vacuum it out.

While I crawled around cursing and vacuuming, the children crowded around asking questions about my activities and trying to "help me" until I screamed like a fishwife and threatened death to the next child of mine who wasn't playing nicely in the street, where they belonged. They complied and I followed my vacuuming with the liberal application of Armour-All and a damp cloth.

When I emerged, sweaty but victorious from my van, this is what awaited me.

Ribh had decided to go swimming in the dog dish. And her siblings had apparently obliged her need to cool off with a hosing off of her head. With the garden hose. Why she wasn't crying is beyond me.

Then she tried to ride Gabe's bike. (Notice the awesome "Plumber's Butt" she is sporting.)

Then she crawled over to me (as if I was going to pick her up in that state.) And yes, she is still crawling. Apparently, she will be brilliant rather than athletic, this one.

See how brilliant she appears. Cute though, right?

Simple minds are easily amused.

And the big kids got put in Time Out when they climbed into my clean van in their muddy states after I had clearly told them not to touch the van and not to turn the hose on their little sister, AGAIN!

This post was totally worth waiting for, was it not? Sigh. Well, at least I managed to upload some of the pictures y'all are always clamouring for! The final photo is worth clicking on to blow up and view the studied expression of innocence Quin is working.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Separation Anxiety

Lately, I've been considering abandoning this blog. I am having so much trouble finding the balance between working and mama-ing and housework that the idea of the hour or so it takes to write a decent blog post seems Herculean to say the least. I might as well commit to knitting spring jackets for all the kids or making four course dinners every night.

Puh-leeze. I can barely manage to work out about once a week or so, much less blog a few times a week. And then I guess you'd still expect the entries to be good if not entertaining and engaging; nay, award winning!

I am such a type A personality that I cannot stand to do something without doing it with all the excellence I can muster. Ideally, I can write a kickass entry while three children hang from my body in alternating poses of desperation and maternal need. I can hold off a fair amount of whining and leg clutching with the liberal application of an episode or two of Little Einsteins while I make dinner and wash jelly out of the rug but I have had to abort several sub-standard entries (kinda like the last one) which just cannot allow me to be proud of what I have written. This blog is meant to be an outlet for my creative side, and it's just not fun when I cannot take pride and satisfaction in what I've written.

I frequently write blog entries in my head while driving to work or walking on the track during my lunch break. But I never find the time to vomit them into the internets and hence the universe is saved from my meandering musings. But I miss it. So much so, that I have decided not to kill this blog just yet.

I have held off my consideration of blog-icide with this final act of desperation:

I am going to commit to writing at least one entry per week (barring vacations and other acts of God) and I am going to take the time to make it a thing for which I can be enjoy the creative act. I am doing this for me, because I have so deeply enjoyed writing again. And now that I've told you all about it, my pride will keep me on track on finding the time for this small pleasure.

Maybe next week I will commit to becoming a clown for children's birthday parties (and terrorizing adults, like Dr. P) or some other insanity. Please stop me. I beg you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Kilroy Was Here

Upon leaving a japanese restuarant:

Hostess: Have a great day. Arigato.

80's Dork (me): Domo (domo) Domo (domo).

I have problems.

And furthermore, just so this song will now be stuck in your head for the remainder of the day:

Domo Arigato
Mr. Roboto (domo, domo)
Domo Arigato
Mr. Roboto (domo, domo)

You're wondering who I am - (secret
secret - I've got a secret)

Machine or mannequin - (secret
secret - I've got a secret)

With parts made in Japan - (secret
secret - I've got a secret)

I am the Modren Man.

I've got a secret
I've been hiding under my skin

My heart is human
my blood is boiling
my brain I.B.M.
So if you see me acting strangely
don't be surprised

I'm just a man who needed someone
and comewhere to hide
To keep me alive - just keep me alive

Somewhere to hide to keep me alive.

I'm not a robot without emotions - I'm not what you see

I've come to help you with your problems
so we can be free.
I'm not a Hero
I'm not a Saviour
forget what you know

I'm just a man whose circumstances went beyond his control


The problem's plain to see: Too much technology

Machinesto save our lives
machines de-humanize.

The time has come at last - secret
secret - I've got a secret

To throw away this mask - secret
secret - I've got a secret

Now everyone can see - secret
secret - I've got a secret

My true identity - I'm Kilroy
Kilroy !

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lamb Cakes

You know how they say "March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb or else March comes in like a Lamb and goes out like a Lion"?

On March 1st, in Georgia, it was in the sixties and sunny. I was thinking: I wonder what the Lion will look like, because this is obviously Lamb weather.

Today, March 11th, is 80 degrees, sundrenched, breezy, and altogether another world from where I come from.

I'm used to the Northland, where March is the month where you finally take off your down parka and only need two quilts at night. March, to me, heralds the change from below zero weather to a balmy 15 degrees ABOVE zero. In March, you might only have to shovel the driveway ONCE a week.

This week I had to dig out the kids' shorts and sundresses, because SPRING is here, and frankly, it's more like summer in Northern Wisconsin. Up at the Lake House, this kind of weather isn't typically seen until August.

So, let me enjoy it, because by Easter I'll likely be bitching about the heat and humidity. (Wow! The Girls can wear Easter dresses without snowsuits this year!)

But for now I will enjoy the birdsong and spring peeper while I sip margaritas on my patio.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Gramma Nonny

Nonny was here for almost two weeks and I only have a handful of pictures to document her existence in our world. Hubby took these few pictures, at my insistence, the day she left, right before he drove her to the airport. Gabe was already at school and I was already at work. Pathetic, is it not?

While Nonny was here, she stayed home with the kids and their new Nanny-type, Rebecca (known to Quin as Wo'becca). She taught Rebecca where to find all our sundry household items and taught her the complicated system we have whereby Quin cannot ingest dairy products and Gabe can, but Ribh drinks breastmilk AND they all can now have milk sometimes, but only if it's the super crunchy non-pasturized, non-homogenized, practically-dripping-right-off-the-cow kind which I drive 45 minutes every other Sunday in order to get.

Nonny kissed the kid's skinned knees and pushed the kids on the swing, and made them snacks, and read the same old books aloud over and over again. She brought a magical suitcase from which she extracted small gifts like stickers and note books and animal pencils on a daily basis. She endured their squirming bodies in her bed, in her bath, on on her lap any time she sat still long enough to make one.

That final morning, as I drove to work , I was thinking about how much fun she was having with the kids, playing with them, seeing all their little idiosyncrasies and listening to them talk. (And talk. And talk.) I thought about much time WE had managed to squeeze in to talk and how she had let me run on and on about my new job and new challenges and lack of sleep and the crazy circles my brain keeps looping through.

I thought about how Nonny made the transition period from full-time stay-at-home Momdom to full time (actually much more than full-time when you count my commute) working mom so much less traumatic for all of us.

I had thought her whole visit was really all about being a hands-on Gramma for her grandkids so far away in Georgia, and all this time she was really just being a Mama. Because she knew all along what I had forgotten: Even her grown up, independent, doctor-type kid so far away in Georgia needed her Mama.

She was just being MY Mama and showing her love for me in all her small kindnesses like mending and button-sewing and dinner making. Because being a Mama is forever.

And then I missed her so much it hurt, and she hadn't even left for the airport yet.

I love you, Nonny. *Sniff*

Monday, March 06, 2006

Title Change

I've decided to embrace my whimsical side and drop the esoteric, high-brow, and wordy title for a nonsensical, retro-inspired, equally wordy title.

Hey, it's my blog. Sue me. Go ahead.

The Whimsical: I fought with the bank today about their moronic bank procedures which they insist are designed to "improve customer service" and "make sure your most important checks all go through", but they are REALLY designed to create as many opportunities for bank fees (and copious hair pulling) as possible. The pod people at the bank speak their egregious lies and half truths with a smile because they know they've got you over the barrel and they can suggest that you take the hanks of hair you've pulled out of your head and knit a nice koozie for the steaming cup of "eat my shorts" they are about to serve you, and you'll just have to run out and take knitting lessons. Because they are the bank, and they are IN CHARGE OF THE MONEY!

But, it more whimsical news, I called around and found another bank which only has like two policies which are totally asinine. Which is a great improvement over the 87 Policies of Shite employed at my current bank. AND they are going to give me $50 for my trouble in switching banks, which is much better than a toaster or "totally free checking" in my book. And the checking is totally free. Ha!

In other whimsical news, I cleaned the house this weekend, and did the laundry, and watered the plants, and watched amovie. So, that was a great weekend, because now I can FIND STUFF. Hubby kicked my butt in the Oscar poll, but since I've won for about 11 years prior, I can be gracious.

Also whimsical: Quinlan cut off her beautiful glorious long hair in one fell slice and I bawled and then swept her off to the mall for additional shaping and molding. So, overall, her hair looks pretty fine now but things were pretty tense for a bit there. THREE YEARS of LONG PRETTY SILKY hair people! Now chin level or shorter. Oh, THE HUMANITY!

The Ultimate in Whimsy: this school report by Gabe (as transcribed by his teacher).

Dd is for Dad

My dad's full name is: ("Hubby", the Boy knew the real thing)
My dad weighs: 36 pounds
My dad is 27 feet and 12 inches tall.
My dad's favorite hobby is: cooking beef (!)
My dad's favorite thing to eat is: beef
My dad's favorite color is: peach (ha ha ha ha ha!!!)
My dad's favorite TV show is: The United States of America (huh?)
My dad's favorite song is: U2 Vertigo
My dad's favorite place to go is: The Bank (true dat!)
When my dad was little, he lived: in Iowa (NOT!)
What my dad likes best about me is: my big brown eyes (awwww!)
My dad sometimes gets upset when I: do bad things
I make my dad happy when I: get green smiley faces
I love my dad because: he is fun

Onward With Whimsy!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Memo: Schedule Changes, Effective NOW

Life has been moving pretty quick lately. My days look a little like this:

6:00 am: Up. (bleary but functional) Main-line caffeine.

6:50 am: Leave for work.

6:50 to 7:45: Sit in heavy traffic. Listen to NPR. Think to self: Wow! World News! Hey, Cheney SHOT somebody? Really?

7:45 am: Begin working. RUN from various locations and tasks, from people management to problem solving to simple cleaning and sorting.

10:00 am: Realize Ribh must be hungry and I need to pump NOW, before large wet milk stains mark the front of my uniform and fail to impress my new co-workers.

2:45 pm: Wonder when lunch passed me by. Snarf down lunch at desk while reading a full inbox of work email that accumulated whilst I was tearing about.

4:32 pm: Realize I was supposed to have left work over 15 minutes ago in order to get home in time to relieve my child care provider.

4:35-5:30: Sit in traffic. Listen to same news stories repeated. Huh. Still baffled by the Cheney shooting thing. When did this happen exactly? For real? Oh, and the Olympics. Interesting. Sacha Cohen blew it. Shucks.

5:30 pm: Get tackled at the front door by Gabe who wraps his arms and legs around my leg, rendering me shackled and crippled as I enter the house. Ribh crawls quickly to my feet (not quite walking yet, the little monkey) and immediately begins mewling to be picked up. Quin is busy putting some babies to sleep and doesn't even notice I'm back. Ribh is now pulling my shirt up and patting my breasts while whining. At least SHE missed me/my boobs.

5:40-8:25: Clean up clutter, mail, laundry, think about making dinner, write bills, dishes, feed children, break up squabbles, water plants, begin dinner, administer time-outs, baths and nurse Ribh all while in the three pointed monkey death grip of at least one child at all times.

8:26: Start telling the kids to look for Papa's car. Papa is coming home! Papa! Papa!

8:34: Hooray! Papa is here! Tag! He's IT!

8:45: Watch TV while Hubby reads 16 books and puts the big kids to bed. Snuggle with my babe. Sigh. Smile. Eat popcorn for dinner.

9:15: Tell Hubby where to find his half-made dinner. Exchange first physical contact of the day with Hubby. (Smooches, I mean. Jeesh people, don't get dirty now. Remember what I have been through all day. This not a sexy encounter. Just nice to see my sweetie and actually get a hug and a kiss.)

9:30-10:30: Watch TV with Hubby. Nurse Ribh to sleep. Drift off with the TV still on.

12:06:Ribh, who has had little interest in my painstakingly expressed bottles of milk, is now as hungry as the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal and wants to make up for lost time.

1:24: Nurse on other side. Consider putting a towel over my head. (See link above if this confuses you.)

2:39: Switch sides. Think about work. Fall back asleep. Dream about work.

3:47: SWITCH! Realize the horror of your dream about work.

4:56: SWITCH even though breast are now shriveled like prunes. It's the only way to keep her asleep.

5:07: Think about work, even though baby has fallen back asleep. Remind self that I could sleep for a whole 'nother 45 minutes or so. Give up. Get up. Make Hubby wake up and move into my freshly vacated but ultimately necessary "Warm Body" position so that The Babe will stay asleep.

6:00: Throw together a lunch, so I will have something to eat at my desk. Locate breast pump. Find more bottles. Look for up-to-date photos of the kids to bring to work.

6:22: Leave early. MUCH less traffic. World News on NPR. Have time to stop at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee. Sigh. Smile. I guess I'll be getting up a little earlier from now on. If anyone wants to actually speak to me, call my cell between 6:20 and 7:00 am.

I'm tellin' ya, it's a whole new world.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Knatty Soldiers

My final task this week in getting Banana and Honey Girl ready to go home to Wisconsin was to dread Banana's hair. Yes, DREAD it, as in Bob Marley, Rasta, beatnik (does anyone still say that?), super granola Dreadlocks.

I personally think the dreadlocks are a great idea. Banana is a funky and creative stay-at-home mom who is launching her own business making the world's cutest soft-soled baby shoes and she is therefore able to do any damn thing she wants with her personal appearance. I would consider it myself if it were not for my need to present a conventionally professional appearance. My oh-so-cutting-edge nose ring is enough of a kick in the teeth for the corporate world I am about to rejoin. It will go so well with my new smock inspired UNIFORM! (I KNOW! Freak out! A smock-like UNIFORM! At least it will forestall any morning closet angst.)

Producing dreads is a 57 step procedure which involves special shampoos and rubber bands and salty spray and strange powders and basically shredding and matting the hair until it gives up and forms formerly silky hair into a perfect tube of snarls and split ends. And then you have to let them MATURE. Like teenagers. This is tedious business. (Like teenagers.) This also involves spending 10 to 20 minutes on each section of hair, all but pulling the hair out by the roots while back-combing ferociously and spraying chemical about to aid the process. The process is so painful that the instructions at dreadheadhq specifically state:

This does involve some pain. - So What? Are ya gunna squirt some? Are ya? Sniffle sniffle. Do you wanna wear the daddy pants? Do ya?-- Take it like a knatty soldier. You're gunna have plenty of phatty dreadlocks baby!

The process is especially arduous when trying to keep a three year old, an 18 month old, and a one year old out of your way whilst simultaneously keeping them from making each other scream every ten minutes. Which is frankly NOT POSSIBLE. It worked best when all three girls were asleep, but that didn't happen often. So each tediously painful dread was worked with a child hanging from one of our breasts and much cursing and interruption. If anyone got pissy (BANANA), the other would quickly counter with: "What? Are ya gonna squirt? Are ya?" And so we persevered on through THREE DAYS of said activity.

Here's the photographic evidence:

The Before Picture (Notice how thrilled Banana is looking.)

Sectioned off, but no dreads formed yet. Banana is still quite chipper.

Working the final dread, just hours before Banana's flight. Banana smiles while clutching a pillow for support.
After: Banana grins while the blood trickles down the back of her neck.

After: Rear view (we wiped up the blood.)

And then I loaded Banana and Honey Girl into the minivan and drove them off to the airport for their nightmarish journey home. The month of sisterly hanging out ended quite abruptly. And now they've been gone a few days and my house is clean again. But soo quiet. And lonely.

I'm gonna squirt.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Switched at Birth

Imagine our dismay when our friend Mike came to vist from out of town and we discovered that his long lost twin brother was lurking in our toy chest ALL THIS TIME!

Exhibit A: Mike

Exhibit B: Papa Happy Family

Creepy, isn't it!

Dopplegangers reunited.

Who do you look like?