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.