Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Holiday Letter Post

Hello New Readers (joining us from Holiday Card Referral Land)! And also; Hello Faithful Readers (my Loyal Internet Lovelies)!

Now is the part where I recap the year with pithy (yeah, right) commentary and glowing reviews of the family's many stunning accomplishments (i.e. Ribh Wallis speaks! Gabe is in college! Quin won Darling Southern Belle of the Year! and so on). So, get a stiff drink (or a big glass of water for you healthy types) and enjoy: The Flannery Year in Review.

For once I'm not going to blather on about how we've moved/are moving/are settling in. We live in Georgia. We know it. You know it. Okay. Moving on.

The kids are HUGE. Not compared with other kids or anything. (In fact, they definitely take after the Maurer side and tend to be diminutive in comparison to the general population, but they make up for it with their enormous brains!) The are HUGE in comparison to the last time you likely saw them, (whenever that was) because they are kids and they grow, like, ALL THE TIME. Duh.


Gabe is in second grade and recently moved into his own "Private Boyland" bedroom in the basement, far, far from the rest of us, which seems to suit him just fine. He freaks me out in his bigness when he goes on the internet and downloads episodes of "I, Carly" (horrible pre-teen Nickelodeon crap) by himself, and then watches it. Ugh.

Happily, Gabe also checks out Monster Joke books from the school library and obsesses over Star Wars and graphic novels. So, his future "Cool Nerd-dom" is secured (says his mother, herself a cool nerd). He loves to read, play video games, play in complicated imaginary worlds in the backyard, go to Boy Scouts, talk about taking a TaeKwonDo class someday (I know, I gotta get on that), and he generally acts like a seven-year-old wonder boy.

Quinlan is in pre-K, which means she goes to school every day, but not at the elementary school with Gabe. Her program is attached to an independent childcare center, which means no buses and an extra stop for daily pick up and drop off. Fun. She seems to be really enjoying the social aspect of school and especially enjoys the daily art projects. And nap time. And snack time (because they give her junk she seldom gets at home).

Quin took ballet classes this spring, which in theory (she says) she enjoyed a lot. In actuality, she cried most days while being pushed into the classroom and then when she finally decided to participate tended to lag about and show extreme confusion regarding the notion of synchronized activity put to music (aka: dance). She did however get to wear pretty costumes and ballet shoes, which was a big hit. I'm considering trying again this spring. Maybe. I'm also considering swimming lessons, which seem far more practical given the logistical torture of three kids and after school commitments.

Quin loves all things girly. She loves clothes, shoes, hair, hairstyling, lip gloss, toe nail polish, dresses, ribbons, shopping and coloring pictures of princesses, fairies and kittens. It doesn't get any girlier than that folks! She is also a tremendous helper who loves to help me clean and cook and boss around her siblings. She is very loving and patient with her sister most of the time and a lot of fun to have a spa day with.

Ribh Wallis. I barely know where to start with her. I've said it before and I'll say it again, because it bears repeating: That girl is made out of stubbornness. Every molecule of her three-year-old body is innately attuned to the frequency of "having her own way." At all times. She breaks all norms of parenting tactics and strategies that we have painstakingly learned over the past seven years. We thought things might get easier when she learned to speak. Not so much. Now she can more clearly refuse to cooperate in something she would actually enjoy simply because it wasn't her idea in the first place. It's like that.

Surprisingly, she generally plays well with her siblings. This is because somehow she is (marginally) okay with them bossing her around (to a point), because she gets the value of being part of all the super cool stuff they are creating and doing. She is funny and silly and loving and loves to sing and color.

I have high hopes for her. For example, she helped me snap asparagus the other night for dinner and was quite cheerful and cooperative (it was her idea to help, after all). Once we/she figures out how to harness her strength of conviction, she will be a powerful creature indeed. And she's cute as hell to boot, of course.

Brian is enjoying his new position(s) at Life (Coordinator of Clinic Marketing and Patient Education/Lead Instructor for the Second Year Business Program) and has been doing some guest speaking this year to rave reviews. He won an award while speaking at the Sherman Homecoming/Lyceum. He also gets rave reviews from the students taking his class at the College. He has really found his voice in the public speaking arena and is enjoying spreading his wings a bit.

We co-presented a paper on natural birth (Innate Birthing) at the ICA Philosophy Council in Vegas just last week and enjoyed working together again. (We also went to the rodeo finals, drank often and had some amazing dining experiences while other people kept our children alive for four whole days! Huzzah!)

Brian ran quite a bit this spring (ING Atlanta Marathon) and volunteered as a medic for the Western States Endurance Run in Tahoe in June, but has been sidelined by some chronic overuse issues (shocking, no?) and currently gets his adrenaline fix off watching the Packers. It will be interesting to see what he does in February when football is over. He doesn't typically go long without a sporting obsession.

I continue in the Director of Recruitment position at Life and with that continue to travel quite a bit. This year I was in: Orlando (four times I think!), Tampa, Miami, Dallas, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Buffalo, Vegas (twice), and I'm sure a few more that I am forgetting. Attached to each of those trips imagine three or more days when Brian is home alone with the children. Yes, he is a saint. I already have slated for January and February 2008; trips to San Diego, Orlando, and Puerto Rico. Send warm thoughts to Brian.

I've not had time for any crafting or hobbies outside of finally getting addicted to the gym and losing 20 or so pounds. Which has been more fun than you might think. And I have a new hairstyle that I am somewhat attached to, surprisingly. I guess my life isn't that exciting when you have to write it down. Hmmpph.

Lastly, we have had two new family members join us this year. We adopted a puppy in August. She is the granddaughter of our beloved Esste and shockingly (and wonderfully) similar both in physical characteristics as well as personality. Her name is Clementine but she is almost always called "Doodle" or "Puppy."

We also adopted an adult cat just last month. His name is Tuxedo and he is gorgeous and fluffy. (You can see a photo of Tux one post down.) He is fitting in our household beautifully, now that he has convinced the kids and the puppy to give him the respect that any alpha male cat deserves. (He might even be more strong willed than Ribh.) Even Brian grudgingly admitted recently that he really likes him. (Shhhh! Don't tell anyone or Brian will lose street cred.)

That's it. As always, we invite you to visit us, call us, befriend us on facebook, or simply think of us fondly, as we think of you! Have great holiday and a Happy new Year!


The Flannerys

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Post

I know it's corny, but behold, a list of things I am thankful for this day;

1. The GIANT ROCK I hit with my van yesterday didn't hurt me or my passengers.

The GIANT ROCK, which ever so cunningly positioned itself in the left lane of highway 41 just as it runs beneath a narrow bit of underpass, leaped out and KERTHUMPED right under my right tire pattern in a distressingly kerthumpy way.

The GIANT ROCK then giggled menacingly as I pulled over (half a mile later by the time there was a good/safe place) to survey the damage. The damage, which appeared initially (foreshadowing for those of you looking for a little literary challenge) to be non-existent beyond the wild pitter-patter of my heart and the liters of adrenaline coursing through my veins.

Twenty miles later, when my van began making its unambiguous thumpy noises, signaling the dire sadness of my right rear tire, the rock was too far away to be consulted, but I am CERTAIN it was home making a big hatch mark on its wall of victims and chortling to its cronies how it bagged a silver minivan.

I am thankful that I have roadside assistance and that it only took about an hour to wait for them to arrive and untighten the lugnuts which had apparently been placed on my tires by Hercules.

And I am thankful that my rim was only bent (rather than...I dunno...exploded!) when the evil ROCK leaped in its path.

And I was grateful later when I spoke to my claims adjuster who assured me that the likely cost of repairs would not be quite as much as my $500 deductable, but very close. Huzzah! Okay, not really grateful for that part at all. Arrrgh.

2. I was thankful this week to bring the kids to see the lighting of the Lights of Life.

They got dressed up (kinda), sugared up (not MY fault) and ran around the Treehouse at Life singing and cavorting with Santa and some elves.

It's a pretty cool event and I got to make fun of the Student Ambassadors (elves) and see pretty lights and so on.

3. I am thankful for the rain which finally came last night and this morning (major drought here, remember?). Even though Sonny Perdue will likely think it was a direct answer to his insane subjugation of the folks of Georgia to his particular religious views.

Seriously, while I am personally totally DOWN with prayer/meditation/the power of thoughts and many other mystic and spiritual conjurations, I am totally NOT DOWN with the Governor of a state (i.e. public office, people!) leading an entire state in prayer to HIS god under his terms in order to save him from a boatload (he wishes he had enough water to float this particular boat) of BAD political decisions regarding water CONSERVATION and good STEWARDSHIP. The drought is not an act of an avenging god, it is poor management of our water supply and our mother earth overall. Jeesh! You can't just pray your way out of suffering the consequences of being assholes. Let's change our policies and practices and stop bartering in religion.

I am thankful for the rain, but I am not giving Sonny or his god credit (at least not directly).

4. I am thankful for this blog post because it is SO RIGHT ON!

5. I am thankful for the most perfect breakfast ever:

A breakfast like this can smooth over even the most insane moments of GIANT ROCKS, insane Governors and other things that go bump in the night (and day).

The only other breakfast that even comes close to this level of perfection is the chocolate chip pancakes made by a friend of mine far away. But I only get those about every four years, so I will have to cede best breakfast victory to Nutella on croissants and perfect french-press coffee.

The kids feel the same way.

6. And, finally, I am ever so thankful that we have a new family member. Really.

He is sweet and mellow (so far) and potty trained and super adorable. Meet Tuxedo, the Wonder Cat.

Tux came to us from a friend who travels quite extensively and wanted Tuxey to have a bit more attention. So far, he is surviving the steep levels of attention that come with living in my house (read: with three children). He is mostly confined to my bedroom and bathroom, which is fine with him for now.

Tux seems to like the children but is less than enthused by the joyous attention visited upon him by Doodle the Teenage Dufus Hound, who would like to lick Tux everywhere and potentially carry him around on her back like a small prince.

Doodle has moved into the awkward teenage stage of puppyhood, in which she is halfway to ginormous and none of her limbs fit properly and she is just smart enough to know when people are displeased and wants desperately to "be a good dog" but has no clue how to go about it. So she sidles and cowers and wags and bounces and generally acts like the biggest spazz on the face of dogness until she is petted and assured that she is, in actuality, a good dog.

So, when Tux utters the Deep and Dark Growl of Dog Disapproval, Doodle cowers convincingly and wags her tail in fruitless efforts to convey her good-dogness until a hurricane wind threatens to blow us all away.

But, it's only been 24 hours. I'm sure Tux will wallop Doodle something fierce pretty soon, and since Tux is in fact, fully clawed, this is certain to convince Doodle that the Nice Kitty is not to be F-ed with and she will go back to sucking up to me and Hubby as usual.

We do dole out the food, after all.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Life keeps moving along, whether I'm wordless (as far as this blog goes) or not. My three little sprouts keep growing, both literally (see above) and figuratively. The kids are such a challenge and such a treat. I forget that some of the smallest silly things can be the most valuable to you, my loyal readers (if anyone is left). So, here's a few moments from the last month.

Gabe began his latest opus: A Sponge Bob/Star Wars Comic Book entitled, Sponge Bob Star Wars: Episode One: The Plankton Menace. Sadly, his title page artwork (featured above) was marred by his smallest sister and an errant purple marker. He is still busily working on the rest of the feature.

Gabe has been enjoying Scouting (crazy politics aside) and Hubby may be enjoying it even more. Except for the Insanely Long Popcorn Hoopla Sales Extravaganza and Brainwashing Initiation. (Hey, thanks for buying our popcorn, gang!) Soon Gabe will be able to put on his neckerchief (Hello, another crazy Scouting thing!) and all that and then he'll be bored of it and we can do soccer or something. But it's fun right now. Or so they say.

Hubby and I had a swanky weekend in Midtown (that's the COOL, ultra hip, you-WISH-you were-sleek-enough-to-reside-here part of Atlanta for you non-locals) at our friend's new posh pad (Where Fifty Cent, "Fiddy" to the uber-hip, resides in the same high rise). And we drank some fancy drinks and I wore really high red heels and was unbelievably elegant while moderately drunk, as evidenced in this photo. Seriously. I totally didn't have to attempt to walk back to my friend's Condo of Coolness in my bare feet and hail the world's most overpriced cab ride. Not me. That was some other tipsy chick carrying saucy red heels.

In more plant related news (I seem to have developed a fondness for horticulture), my flowering basil plant has grown roots through the bottom of the pot and has flourished in the red clay of my front yard, despite the drought. It has become a happy home for a bee-zillion (hee, get it?) bees and one ginormously huge and furry spider. I clearly do not need to live within goosing distance of "Fiddy" to be incredibly hip. Or nifty. Or home to horticulture and small fuzzy creatures.

And of course, there was Halloween. Quin was a princess (shocker!) but told me that next year she would like to be scary. She wants to be a "dead bride" like Corpse Bride. Cool.

And now that the costume struggle is over, the great Candy Doling Struggle begins, whereby the kids beg for a piece of candy every ten minutes and I cajole them to do other things and bribe their cooperative behavior with candy promises. The only difference this year is I have only eaten three pieces of their candy (watching my girlish figure and all) and really would like the horrible temptation of evil SWEET SWEET sugar out of my house as quickly as possible, so I am tempted to let them just gobble it all up, throw up and get it over with. What do you think? It's a valid plan, right?

Ribh Wallis was also a princess and finally caught on to this whole Trick or Treating thing with reckless abandon. Until my friend's terrifying Wolfman costume blew her brain out (think of your worst fear and amplify it to a two-year-old's perspective...FREAKED OUT doesn't really cover it) and she covered her eyes, crawled in her stroller and more or less forced herself to fall asleep. Poor thing. But she still has tons of candy.

Gabe was Anakin Skywalker. Again. For a creative kid, he is pretty predictable when it comes to his costuming. Tonight, he is writing a love letter (!!) to his girlfriend (!!!!) in his diary. He showed it to me. He even drew a picture involving hearts!

And that's what's been sprouting around my life.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I've been thinking about words.

I've been known to throw around a complicated and arcane vocabulary. I like juicy words. I like words which have depth and color rather than utility. Why say "green" when you can say "verdant"? Why say "wild" when you can say "incorrigible" or "fractious"? Why say ANYTHING when you can find another more layered and succulent word. I've been known to call my boss a curmudgeon (he loved it) and my children hellions. (Last week, Gabe called me a buffoon-it's rubbing off!) These words actually spring to my mind more readily than simpler terms. I love learning a new word and storing it away for future use.

As you can see, I clearly have some form of a vocabulary disease. It all comes from reading incessantly as a child. It is not snobbery. I don't feel superior. I can't spell for crap and my attention to details in my writing is atrocious. You'll doubtlessly have noticed that my posts are littered with small errors, poor syntax, dropped words and other crimes against good writing. And furthermore, I'm often known to curse like a two-bit whore when I could have chosen a nice strong and juicy word instead.

But here's the thing. Good writing- good communication- is all about the thing I often lack. Simplicity.

I have been grappling with trying to express my feelings. This might sound crazy to some of you. Trust me. I'm NOT shy about expressing my feelings. If you hang out anywhere near me you will doubtlessly be subjected to my exuberant form of verbal diarrhea. I blather and babble about what I think and how I feel and how I'm getting my period, and whose poop I cleaned up yesterday and more personal information that you knew was possible in a ten minute time frame. But that is, essentially, the problem.

No simplicity. I talk myself in circles. I yammer on and on and after all the words, deep down I am not connecting. I am spilling all the surface stuff and keeping the deep stuff down deep. And when I try to find the words for that stuff-for the super secret, deep dank recesses of my private reserve - I can't spit anything out. My own big juicy vocabulary steeped brain is incapable of forming words. There is no access to "lugubrious" or "confounded" or whatever words would let me stop spinning and start understanding myself.

If I stand perfectly still and stop all the mental chatter I just feel my throat tighten and my heart beat and no words come.

A great friend of mine (the Curmudgeon himself) said something profound to me this week. He said: We are all so busy talking, we forget to listen. In fact, when we think we are listening what we are really doing is processing what somebody else's words mean to US and then we begin formulating what we will say in response, just waiting for our chance to talk again. What we have stopped doing is listening, listening not just to each other's words, but more importantly, we have stopped listening to what is behind the words. We must listen with our hearts and listen for the words coming from the hearts of others.

I think of the days when I held a nursling to my breast and looked into the eyes of my beloved. No spoken words were necessary to hear the words of my child's heart. I think of my wedding day, how I could barely meet Brian's eyes because the emotion was uncontainable, and his steady gaze was stripping away my veneer of poise and my heart was leaping with such joy I had to cry or scream (I cried). There were no words.

Almost any moment in my life of intense transcendent beauty or joy or just rightness that I can recall was wordless. Wordless.

I still believe in the power of words. I know we can make things happen by using words and we can change our lives and the lives of those around us with words.

But more importantly for me, I need to put down my crutch, my bag of vocabulary words, and feel my heart beat.

Feel my heart expand, and break, and expand again.

And then I can feel your heart beat.

And hear your heart-words.

Because you say more with your heart while holding my gaze than all the words in the world.

Friday, September 21, 2007

When in Buffalo

This week I have been in Buffalo, NY visiting friends and working.

I put it in that order because normally when I travel it is ALL about work and then a little bit 'o fun in the form of maybe dinner with colleagues or whatever. But this time, the fun has been much more significant.

During the day, I've been doing my usual work stuff (visiting schools and doctors, etc), but in the evening I've been hanging out with old school friends; a family of five, including three small children. Sounds familiar, no?(Hang on, how many kids do I have? I thought it was 97.) And slightly insane of me?

What it I told you that last night, ON PURPOSE, we went to a real sit-down (non-fastfood) restaurant, after 7:30 pm, with said three small children? That wouldn't seem like a sound decision would it? But we still had fun. I had twice as much fun as anyone else because they weren't MY three small children and therefore their antics AMUSED me rather than invoked my normal response which would have been drinking in excess and wanting to gouge my eyes out with a spoon.

How is it that other people's kids are CUTE AS HELL when they cry and blow snot bubbles and spill tomato juice on their brother and mine are NOT so cute?

Other highlights of Buffalo: Umm. Falafel?

I'm a freak.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Uh oh.

Quin: Mama! I brushed my teeth really good! See how shiny they are!

Me (passing the bathroom): Excellent job Quin! Let's get your PJs on now.

Quin: I brushed really good and I used the chocolate toothpaste!

Me (pausing): The Chocolate Toothpaste?

Quin: Yeah! It was so yummy!

Me (with a sinking feeling): Show me the chocolate toothpaste, Quinny.

Quin: It was soo yummy! I LOVE chocolate Mama!

Me: Umm. Quin, That says "poultry flavor", not chocolate.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I've been awfully nostalgic lately.

It began a few weeks ago when I finally unpacked all the photo albums. Even my own girlhood pictures were setting off sentimental connections. The rosy glow of childhood, friends I never see anymore, my once tiny ass.

This week I was showing someone my blog and we started looking through the archives. I don't know if sentimental is the word (maybe just mental) but there are so many strong memories captured there. Some great funny and sweet stuff and then of course the intense drama of the relocation to Georgia and all the drama of leaving the practice and Brian being so far away through it all. I guess the sentimental part was how much I wish I still had time to write like that. I miss having time for that outlet and being able have the satisfaction of a great post.

Today, we were loading some favorite old CDs into iTunes and we loaded up some our favorite musicals that make up some of our musical history as a couple. I know some of you haters (and less cool folk) will be tempted to make fun of us when I say that the soundtrack to Miss Saigon is intensely meaningful to me, but get over yourselves. It is.

I was listening to the ending, where Kim, a young Vietnamese girl, goes to Chris's hotel room to finally see her returning ex GI "husband" who she assumes has come for her and for his child whom he has never met. Instead she meets his new American wife and is told that she and her son will NOT being going to safety in the US as she has thought. Oh! And the perfect clarity of the moment, as Kim realizes that everything she has been hanging her hopes on, the person whose promise to return has kept her alive through unimaginable hardship, all of that is NOTHING-and she is crushed. Crushed in a way you or I could probably (hopefully) never know.

I have always found this plot to be dramatically satisfying but listening to it today as a mother...well. Maybe I'm a bit hormonal right now, but damn! I just began weeping. Knowing that she goes home to her tiny hovel and resolves that the only possible solution, to rescue her son, is to kill herself so that Chris and his new wife will bring him home to the US and a possibility of a real life. She just swallows her intense personal anguish over being forgotten by the man she loves and thinks only of her child's need. Oh, and its so beautiful, the music, and the emotion with which they sing it, and Lea Salonga (Kim) is so amazingly emotive and I just cried and cried. While Hubby mowed the lawn and the girls dressed their Barbies and Gabe played video games. It was nostalgic I guess? Maybe thats not the right word. Maybe I'm just a little too sleep deprived and stressed out? Or just crazier than usual.

So...that's my Labor Day Sunday. Weeping and stuff. Wanna come over and grill out? I'll season your meat with my tears.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

And So It Goes

I was sitting in the living room, messing around with my Facebook page, when I heard the puppy SCREAMING and YELPING from the bedroom. Usually, the kids stop doing whatever they are doing to her and she stops screaming quickly, but this time it continued. I dropped everything and RAN like hell, not sure what I would find.

I found Quin, with a look of panic on her face, and the puppy hanging from Quin's dresser by two laces tied around each rear paw. Seriously.

Quin began blubbering that she couldn't untie her, which I can understand since the puppy's weight had tightened the cords. Frankly, I can't figure out how she even got her tied by both paws without the puppy objecting strenuously. I don't even know how Quin managed to tie anything, since she's not been taught to tie.

Of course, Hubby was gone, so I had to quick hold and untie the puppy and did not get the photo I would have shot to show you the sadistic truth. But you'll just have to believe me. That puppy was done hogtied REAL good!

Sigh. Puppy. Children. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Introducing Clementine

This is how it started. We drove to Peducah, Kentucky and met Hubby's rents at a hotel to pick up the puppy. Actually, as you might have guessed, even the ride there was an adventure, with the 100 degree weather, three children, all the necessary gear, forgotten shoes, forgotten wipes, fast food restaurants and so on. But I'll spare you the gory details. We made it there. So did the rents and the puppy.

Then we spent the night trapped in a hotel room with a homesick puppy who does not know the meaning of the word "no". Or "Quiet". Or even "Shut the hell up, dammit, it's four in the morning!!"

Luckily, the kids slept through the howling and wailing, so we had that going for us. Then we drove home. Clem was pretty tired by then, so she slept great in the car. Shocker.

She is acclimating to life in our madhouse pretty well. She is still howling a bit at night, but now she is MUCH farther away so we can ignore her. She does this amazing bi-tonal howl that registers her highest and lowest register simultaneously which freaks me out on occasion, but then I shut the door and go to sleep. Because I am a seasoned mom. That is to say, callous. Or, as the Dog Whisperer would say, "a calm assertive pack leader". I'm okay with either description.

While her name is Clementine, she has already acquired a nickname. Since she is such a little dope I've taken to calling her "Doodle" which the kids use more often than anything else. After all the thought and debate that went into her name, she is most frequently called Doodle, Twinkle, or Puppy. Go figure.

So far, Clem thinks the kids are just big puppies from her litter, and the kids are doing nothing to disabuse her of this notion. They run together through the house like a wolf pack, jumping and shrieking. Until Clem collapses in a corner of our bedroom which she has claimed as her private "timeout" zone.

She is a bit leery of the stairs. She goes up okay, but as you can see, she is a bit nervous about going down. I like how this photo gives you a frame of reference for how little she still is.

Quin is the child most enamored of the new family member. Of course, Quin thinks Clem is a baby to be picked up, tucked into doll beds, dressed in bonnets. Quin's first thought of the morning is: "Where's the puppy" and her last act at night is to tuck the puppy into whatever bed she can find.

Ribh is too little to really deal with Clem in any meaningful way, so when she is accosted with puppy kisses and nips, she just freaks out and starts screaming, which in Clem's language means "more please" so I have to keep an eye of those two.

But all in all, we are having a blast in puppy land. Now if the temperature would just drop below 100 degrees, we'd be set!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Girls Gone Garage

We tried something new. Instead of finding and paying for a babysitter crazy enough to watch 5 children under the age of seven...we just brought the party with us. And so, Girl's Night Out (Garage Version) was born.

It seems normal enough at first: a couple glasses of wine, some snacks for the kids, girl talk, kid talk, a wading pool.
And then they party really started ROCKIN'!

I swear the bottle was empty before we let the kids play with it.

And have a tea party with it.

Does this seem wrong? Cuz' I didn't pose this.

And then we caught a bug called a COW KILLER! Which was cool.

And Quin and Ribh decided they loved each other. Which was nice.
And this is why I cannot use this blog for work.

In unrelated news, but news nevertheless: Gabe Turned SEVEN today!

We are off to enjoy an adventurous day which will include a fancy dinner in a revolving restaurant in downtown Atlanta, and whatever else catches our fancy. I'll post more pictures if it's as adorable as I think it will be!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Go Public? Really

So, I went to this conference about college admissions and recruitment. And there were approximately 57 sessions about the internet (Fancy that! Apparently the internet is BIG with the kids these days! Who knew!) and about four sessions particularly about blogging.

The things I learned about blogging:

1) The kids WANT you to blog about work if you work for an institution of higher education (which I do) and have fundamental blogging skills (which I have) and the whole notion that any information about your place of work in a blog is inappropriate/a fire-able offense (a la Dooce) does not necessarily apply when you do what I do for a living. Huh.

2) If you write a REAL blog, from an independent (i.e. not school hosted) site, it is much better than some slick, grammatically perfect (which I'm not) shiny happy marketing piece that all the cool hip kids these days will spot approximately 87 miles away and will shun like the dickens. In other words, you should blog like a real person and not get all stuffy and huffy about it. Huh.

3) That I know WAAAAY way more about blogs and blogging than 97% of the attendees of this conference. Plus I have active an account on Facebook, I know MySpace is dead, I can navigate Flickr and I can say cool things like "Hey boooy, don't be such a beeotch. Get me a brewski!" (Pretty hip, I know.)

With all that in mind: Now I have to decide whether to go public with this blog (by linking it via the school website) and expose all my endless archives filled with countless stories about poop and vomit and other sundries. OR should I make a whole new shiny happy blog which I will fill with cool stuff about the shiny happy world of recruitment but keep out posts about poop, vomit and occasional usage of the word beeotch. But would that really be half as cool as this one?

Plus, if I'm blogging for work, you know this blog would become even more sorely neglected, which would make me (and you, my faithful readers) oh so sad.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Just One More

Here's how you know the folks in Casa Mar have lost their ever lovin' minds: WE'RE GETTING A PUPPY! For real. Cuz' three kids under the age of six isn't enough of a challenge anymore. BORING! We need to add some spark to our family life beyond the thirteen trips I'm slated to take for work in the next three months.

IMG_1663e, originally uploaded by mollymolly.

Now, this photo does not depict our ACTUAL puppy, because Gabe is the only one who has actually seen her and I didn't send him with a camera. But I'm confident this awesome shot found on flickr is a pretty fair representation of the state of things in our puppy's world. He picked out the smallest and reddest girl in the litter (on our instruction) while he was up north spending some solo time with Grandpa and Granny.

Our puppy was born on June 12th in Wisconsin to the Boober Dog's daughter, the Lucy Dog. So, the new puppy is Esste's granddaughter, which is pretty cool. It also means we have to somehow figure out how to fetch a puppy all the way from northern Wisconsin in late July.

And the current hot topic of debate around our house: What will we name the puppy?

The top suggestions are as follows:

Gabe: "Hermione"

Quin: "Blanket"

Ribh: "Kitty"

Crisby: "Bacon"

Hubby: "Get DOWN, Dammit"

Any suggestions from the peanut gallery? Comments are open, fire away!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Million Dirty Faces


Nonny's munchkins, originally uploaded by ICB Mar.

We have spent the past week in my hometown with my mom (known to the kids as Nonny) and my family. Every single member of my family lives here and wanted to see the kids and hang out a bit, so it's been quite busy. This photo is displays all the grandkids. Unfortunately, flickr is not cooperating and won't let me post the rest so I'll have to make another post using a different method to get the rest of the photos up here. Bah!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Haiku and Rock

This weekend we went to see Sassy's band play at a local pub. One thing led to another and the result: the best damn haiku ever written in O'Leary's Pub. To wit:

your lips and my mouth
meet in clandestine violence
bumping teeth, we laugh

guitar solos make
me offer an "o" face to
all, secret revealed

scribbling haikus
drunken verses in the dark
synapses don't fire

swimming pool beckons
limpid chasms of drunkness
silken limbs afloat

force is strong with him
Jedi paduan learns much
star wars I have seen

i'm not too drunk yet
i'm still not smoking tonight
waiting for drinkage

my transexual
girlfriend does it all for me
like juicy TETRIS

Can you figure out who wrote what?

Cute picture of kids and family tomorrow.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. (and so on)

Countdown to Mar's Big VACAY: 1 hour and 4 minutes! Squeeeeeee!

Can you tell I'm a bit excited? And I need a drink?

Be afraid.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Flush. Rinse. Repeat.

The cleanse is over.

The bad news: it was GROSS. I was hungry. And grumpy.

The good news: I'm down EIGHT pounds. That's a lot of gross stuff that came out of me! Wheee! My stomach is noticeably flatter. I have less appetite. My skin looks great.

In non-toilet related news: we are gearing up for the annual family exodus from the Southland/Land of Plenty to the Lands of Origin/of Many Beverages with Alcohol Inside: Wisconsin!

We will go out on Friday night with our local friends in celebration of my 7th annual 29th birthday, and then drag our behinds home in the wee hours to snatch a few hours sleep before loading all the kids, their clothes, their toys, their movies and games, swim gear and the poor Boober's ashes in the family roadster so that we can leave at the heinous hour of 8:00 am in order that Hubby has a chance (a wee, wee chance) that we will make it to Milwaukee in time to go to the Dentist Jam with our friend Chris on Saturday night. It's a long story. Don't ask.

More stories and photos to come. You believe me now, right?

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Big Purge

Q: How's the cleanse going, Mar?

A: Swimmingly. As in swimming right down the toilet.

I'm currently enjoying day six of the great intestinal scourge of '07. My progress has been augmented by what may or may not be the joys of the shigella bacteria which may be helping to cleans all the crevices of my colon. Needless to say, I have become very well acquainted with all the bathrooms within running distance of my desk.

On the brighter side, I'm pretty sure I'm losing weight. I won't weigh myself until the big cleanse is over on Monday night.

A Caution: If you have seen me or my children in the past two weeks, you may want to go ahead and clean your toilets extra well this week. You may be becoming very dear friends with the old porcelain bus in the near future.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Remember when I told you, just last week, that I would post again soon and tell you all about my crazy dietary plan, and you TOTALLY DIDN'T BELIEVE ME? Well, look who was wrong! Tra la la!

So, it began with an idea, (a reaffirmation, this is not new) that I should quit bitching and whining about how I've developed quite a fat ass and wishing that I could have brownies every day and only work out like once a week and somehow look like my 16 year old self, and I realized that I should like, I dunno, DO SOMETHING about it. And by DO SOMETHING, I mean do several things and do them on a regular basis, as in DAILY. Damn.

I'm just about two weeks into the project "How the Hell Did This Happen to My Butt" plan.

So the things I do regularly are:

1. Cardio. This is the one that I am typically the best at, so I'll list it first. The NEW ME does cardio AT LEAST four times per week and I actually make myself SWEAT for the bulk of it. I've been known to get all geared up and strap on my ipod and then casual saunter about the neighborhood with brief illusory periods of jogging (downhill) to feel like I did more just walk. But in reality, I've been a big fan of the "working out should be fun and never be uncomfortable, much less painful" club and I have heretofore rescinded my membership. Today I PURPOSELY ran three miles even though it really didn't FEEL like much fun until "Sister Christian" came on my ipod and then I ran and hurt and KICKED ASS because that song is so damn awesome. But it still took me over 35 minutes to run three miles, so...I've got quite a way to go.

2. Strength Training. This is the one where I feel like a complete dumbass because I have no idea what I am doing. I work out frequently at the Wellness Center at the school and all these buff young twenty-somethings come in and heave enormous pieces of metal around while glistening prettily and then hook themselves up to space age contraptions with names like "Nauti-glider" and "Cyber-myo-tonalator" and I am certain that if I were to experiment with any such paraphernalia I would like rip off a limb or knock myself unconscious. So, I convinced one such young buff student type to "train" me. Which generally involves my trainer explaining how to do basic activities like bend my arms properly and then stifling the urge to fall on the floor laughing at my expense when I can barely move the contraption BEFORE any weight is put on it. And I still am grunting and sweating (NOT glistening prettily) and barely escaping knocking myself out. So, I am thusly humiliated twice a week at six o'clock in the morning and then limp off to work. What a way to start the day, eh?

3. Classes. Group classes. The only thing more humiliation that having a young buff man watch me be unable to complete a sit up? Having a whole group of people watching me be unable to perform basic activities. For those of you who know me IRL, you probably remember that I am not known for my COORDINATION. For non-family members, I am the child who was sent to the emergency room at least every other year because I was always jumping on rusty nails, and breaking limbs, and falling down wells and the like. Why? Because, to put it delicately, I lack GRACE. As in NONE. But I now voluntarily go twice a week to classes which involve doing dance-like predetermined steps and exercises which reveal my plump and hearty ass in wrap-around mirrors. It is waaaay fun. There are some yoga positions which should be banned for those who weigh over 110 pounds. I'm just saying.

4. Dietary Restrictions. I know this stuff. I know what to eat and what not to eat. I know that saying yes to Starbucks every single day just because "I had a rough day" is not healthy. Especially when I am picking up that Starbucks at 6:30 in the morning on my way to work. Even with skim milk. I know that raiding the kids' bucket of Easter candy is not in my best interest. I know that chips and margaritas and all the yummy ways I prefer to treat myself are not the appropriate way to develop a healthy relationship with food. I know all this and yet...I do not have a good history in this area. So now I am convincing myself daily that FOOD IS NOT A REWARD and that I DO NOT CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT FOOD. Seriously, I say this to myself about 20 times a day. But it is working. I had three tiny pieces of Dove chocolate on Friday and that was the first time in almost two weeks. And I stopped after three pieces!!! And I drank wine instead of margaritas. (It's a small step, but hey, it's something!)

5. The Cleanse. This step will begin sometime this week once my magic potions come in the mail. I will be doing a nine day detox/liver cleanse/metabolism jump-starter-thingy which I am assured will clean every little corpuscle and crook and cranny of my innards and will allow me to experience the grossest poop this side of muconium. But much bigger. Cool, eh? You're REALLY gonna be checking back for that blog post, aren't you? Oh, and also I'll hardly eat anything and will become a waif overnight! (Right.)

I'd love to treat you all to a BEFORE picture now so that you can oooh and ahhh over the AFTER (slated for sometime late summer when I will appear on the cover of Maxim magazine), but I am just not THAT big of a glutton for humiliation. I mean, I know I am the queen of TMI in so many ways but you'll just have to imagine my zaftig proportions and settle for the airbrushed AFTER which I will release publicly. I just don't feel comfortable with the size of my backyard being spread graphically across the internets. Perhaps I'll post a photo of my flaccid and noodle-like arms and shoulders. Would that do it for you freaks out there who just really need to visualize my progress?

In reality, I'm not so huge, which is exactly what I've been telling myself for far too long to excuse my lack of motivation to do this thing. I'm about 30 pounds over my goal weight. A full 40 pounds over my hs/college weight, but I don't know if that is even realistic at this point in my life, so it not currently in the plan. I'm trying to be realistic although ambitious. I've never been really FIT, even though I was once really thin. So, now I'm gonna try something new. I'll keep you all posted. Swearsy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Ahhhh! MAY!

This May brings Popsicle stains, wet swimsuits on the hall floor, a discolored lawn where only the weeds dare grow big and strong, and lovely Georgia red mud tracked everywhere. We've been kicking the kids outside (NO MORE video games until you inhale at least a ten square yards of fresh air! I MEAN it!) and I've had delusions of gardening but I have only managed to pull a few stray weeds and ogle a few garden catalogs. But the ice cream truck (the rotten bastard) is back on his route and the kids have been indulged at least once, so IT's ON!

I have been traveling again. One weekend was actually hosted out of a hotel in Atlanta, so Hubby brought the kids so we could have a "nice family experience" between my work obligations. Oh! And did I mention the part wherein Hubby and I forgot what HAVING KIDS actually means and planned to partake in "nice family experience" and "trapped in a hotel room" simultaneously. Needless to say, this ended badly and with much lost sleep, although the kids did get to go swimming twice.

Quin had photo day at ballet school last week. I left work early in order to prep her for such an auspicious occasion. The written instructions said they were to be dressed in their recital outfit, with slippers, buns and "light makeup". LIGHT MAKEUP? On four-year-olds? In a crappy dance class? I bit the bullet and put lip gloss AND hairspray on Quin. The rest of her class was painted up like they were the opening prima ballerina at the Rockefeller Plaza. But Quin managed to prevail. When it came time for her individual photo session we (photographer and I) were cajoling her to pose and not cry and whine. I asked her to show us how she can point her toes (a favorite accomplishment of the last 12 weeks of extensive dance training). She immediately got with the program: She lay on one side, pointing her top leg high into the air and oriented herself spread eagle toward the camera. I told the photographer not to worry, that she was simply channeling a drunken burlesque ballerina.

I'll post photos soon (ETA: did it!). There are some quite cute ones and I have been remiss. And then maybe I'll tell you about my new training program. That is once I can walk again.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why You Are Glad I Am NOT Posting Photos

I've been told by several friends lately that based on my blog (or rather the shriveled husk left of my blog) that they feared some dire fate befell me in Vegas. Like perhaps I decided to become a go-go dancer/stripper, or I was kidnapped by a sheik, or I wandered off with the other zombies into the pool of dreams bewitched by the siren sound of the giant singing frog.

In actuality, the trip to Vegas kicked off the month from hell in which I spend three out of four weeks in February on the road. And hubby grew a uterus and the children all forgot my name and then I came home and did approximately 97 loads of laundry. And bought groceries. And sifted through the three foot stack of papers on my desk and answered 587 phone messages.

And then The Scourging Plague of Ought Seven hit our household and I continued to go to work most days while juggling vomiting children, coughing children, feverish children, and just plain pissy children, until the whole thing culminated in the most pathetic and sickest child of all: Hubby. Who is now going on to day seven of Near Death and Complete Uselessness.

Oh! And Nonny (my mom) visited in the midst of all this. Because twice every year I volunteer about 20 hours for this super cool kid's consignment sale in order to have the privilege to not only sell all my kids old clothes for good prices, but to be able to shop about four hours earlier than everyone else, Which is totally worth it because the boys size 7 clothes are totally picked over otherwise. And this is how I can afford to clothe three children. And Nonny helps me get all my clothes ready (because there are super strict rules about how they must be presented) and helps me juggle three children during the process. (Plus, Nonny is a laundry genius and she can make almost any horrifically stained item of kid clothing resell-able, which is CRITICAL. So when I said I did 97 loads of laundry, I actually wasn't exaggerating except that Nonny did about 89 of them.) But of course the sale just happened to immediately abut all my travel so Nonny came and then chaos ensued and then she left and then the raging sickness began.

And THAT my friends, is why there have been no blog entries for over a month.

And now I am going to prop my husband up and pour tepid broth down his throat because he is THAT pathetic.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Vay Goose II

The Vegas trip is getting better.

Last night we (friend and I) went to the fabulous Wynn for drinks and dinner. We were seated on a terrace adjacent to a waterfall light show which involved a gigantic anatromic frog singing "It's a Wonderful World" and statues of nude people who appeared to be zombies walking to their deaths in the depths of the waterfall. Then the giant dancing flowers and bullfight began (I kid you not) and I had to change my jaded stance that Vegas was not so great because HOW AWESOME are bullfights mixed with zombies walking to their death and a strong cocktail served to you by a pretty waitress while no children climb up your legs? PRETTY AWESOME.

Then we walked to the Venetian which is exactly like Disney if it were peopled ENTIRELY by drunk gamblers AND I saw the most scantily clad woman of my life. So that was fascinating. There are a lot of breasts in Vegas. I know I shouldn't be surprised but like WOW every other woman was either half naked with ginormous fake tits or looked like Aunt Suzy on her way to the mall. Wild.

And then my feet really really hurt because I was wearing very pretty high heels which were not big fans of the cobblestones of the Venetian, so we took a cab home and crashed.

Tonight, I check into the Hard Rock Hotel, which apparently has the best Friday night parties around for the young and hip (like me, duh!) and a POOL BAR, all for half the price of the crappy hotel I've been stuck at for a conference.

Viva Las Vegas!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Vay Goose

I am in Las Vegas. It's nowhere CLOSE to being as thrilling as you'd think. I'm here for work. I didn't even leave the hotel yesterday. Last night, after standing in high heels in front of my booth all day, I had pizza in my room for dinner and went to sleep at 9:00 pm. Then I woke up at 5:00 this morning and now I have nothing to do and nowhere cool to go. I'm watching Dawson's Creek and blogging. I'm utterly pathetic.

I swear, I'm not so old and stogy that I am incapable of enjoying the flashy pleasures of Vegas. I'd like to think that if Hubby were here, we'd be going out at night for fine dining and a crazy show or two. But frankly, we'd probably only do that once and then we'd be so tempted by the prospect of taking a nap with no children climbing on our heads, that we'd totter off to our room and order pizza anyway.

Maybe you have to be a certain kind of person to appreciate Vegas. Don't get me wrong, I find this place fascinating and beautiful even with all the garish trappings and cheesy advertisements. But maybe that's what rubs me the wrong way. Everything here is for sale. And they're not going to let you forget it. I just don't have a comfortability with blowing wads of money on a Vegas Experience (nor can I afford it, frankly).

This is starting to sound rather preachy or even worse, Pollyanna-ish (a fate worse than death OR Vegas) and that is NOT my intention. Hey, I can be the biggest consumer whore in the world given my ongoing love affair with the Macy's sales racks and shoe sellers everywhere. I delight in pouring over a Pottery Barn catalog (Which Hubby calls my house porn) and fantasizing how I could transform my house into something from the pages of Dwell (after spending copious quantities of moola). I know how to SPEND! I even really appreciate going out to a great restaurant or buying a fantastic bottle of wine on occasion. I guess I need to go out somewhere interesting tonight (so far, the Las Vegas Hilton is pretty unspectacular) and see some sights and then maybe I'll finally get it. Maybe.

Now I'm off to eat cold pizza for breakfast. Mmmmm. Yummy!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New and Improved

I just downloaded blogger's new version o' happy bloggerific formatification. Let's see how ya'll like it.

Photos of the bears in progress to come.

I'm frantically packing for a business trip tomorrow and I am addled, hence the sudden need to twaddle with my blog. I'll prolly post the oft promised bear photos at about 1:48 am when I am too keyed up to sleep. (Cuz nothing makes for an awesome business trip like starting it off with 3 hours sleep due to spazziness, coupled with (predicted) airport delays due to the one time the thermometer in georgia drops below 32 degrees and the dreaded freezing rain falls. Perfect timing.)

Wish me luck. Maybe I'll write a nice long juicy blog when I'm trapped at the airport for six hours tomorrow. Or I'll read every issue of US magazine and Star and drink four lattes. You might want to avoid ATL airport tomorrow on second thought. I'll be the dazed one dribbling latte foam and screeching about making bears.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hole in the Head

The boy has a hole in his head the size of the Grand Canyon (and that's f-ing really big).

Hole in the Head, originally uploaded by ICB Mar.

That gap represents THREE missing teeth. And while the center one just came out this morning, you can clearly see the impatience of the big old adult tooth ramming its way in behind the jagged gum line.

I don't know whether to swoon from the adorableness of the gap or be horrified by his hillybilly appearance. I just pray the new teeth will look better than the tiny gappy baby teeth did. I also fear orthodontic pleasures are emminent in our future based on the terrifying angles of the adult teeth coming in!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Like so many, I struggle with the resolution dilemna. If you resolve something, then you're pretty much doomed to failure. Which will make you feel like shit and send you to swim in trough of remorse and failure (which tastes just terrible!) and you will then be required to rescue yourself with a life preserver of cookie dough and red wine and celebrity gossip rags! (which might sink?? Hmmm. Crap analogy.)

To wit: I considered resolving to blog weekly. But alas, it has already been more than a week since my last blog entry. Hmph. Whatever.

Or, I considered resolving to be more organized, but that is akin to resolving that I grow 4 inches. I AM organized. I just have 87 children and four full time jobs (or so it seems). How about I resolve to have a full time maid and cook? (That's not me, I mean.) How about if I just get all my Christmas stuff put away before February?

I want to resolve to spend more quality time doing cool stuff with the kids. Weeknights, I tend to make their dinner and get them settled in front of the TV and then I do all the stuff I need to do (laundry, cleaning, bills etc) and squeeeeze in a bit of stuff I want to do, like watch last weeks episode of Top Chef or catch up on all the back episodes of Heroes (holy crap, that's a great show!).

This photo represents all my short comings in both of those potential resolutions. While I was watching Heroes, Quin reorganized the christmas decorations (which should be put away) for me and created her own version of Peace. Hey, at least she was being very quiet. That's what peace on earth is all about, right? Right? (I'm sooo pathetic.) If only she has an "s" she could have spelled "escape". Sigh. It always sucks to be confronted by the gap between your intentions and your actions. THAT is the problem with New Year's resolutions.

When Peace Gets Jumbled, originally uploaded by ICB Mar

And finally I have resolved to do more crafty things because it's fun and I LOVE me the fabric store.

Here is my current project: I am going to make a bear for Tristan (small nephew) and Jasper (other small nephew). * Note: I have the fabric all picked out for Mielle's kitty but let's finish this project first!*

I am using this wee wonderfuls pattern book (purchase one here) again with a few minor ammendments. Because, for one, I am making BOY bears!

So, stay tuned for more adorable crafting and tales of woe.