Sunday, December 30, 2007

Boogers And Such

Boogers. What a gross thing. Boogers are especially gross when picked out of the nose of one child and then eaten by another child. That's what happened here...I never thought I'd hear myself utter "Please give your brother back his booger"--followed by " I can't, I ate it". (from child that stole booger) So, even though I thought it was already an unspoken rule, I had to mark it down in the Family Rule Book that there is no booger eating, especially eating the boogers of a sibling. Is it not bad enough they feast on their own boogers?

Okay, enough about mucus...

I am trying to come up with my list of resolutions for the new year. I don't know why I bother doing that because I don't think I have ever kept any of the resolutions I have made in the past. I may have made it to January 15th or so, but no longer than that. I have the usual and customary resolutions, you know, the ones where I swear off sweets and vow to lose 15 pounds a month until I am beautifully thin, the one where I vow to never lose my temper with my kids and... on and on.

I do have a list this year too. Not a long and exhaustive list, but a list none-the-less. Here it is in no particular order:

I will lose weight. (uh huh)
I will exercise. (yeah right)
I will not explode at my kids in anger. (this one I am really attempting)
I will try to keep the house cleaner and more organized. (not an easy feat with 5 impossibly messy kids)
I will attempt to do something each day to show my hubby that I respect him. (gonna be tough...not that I don't respect him, but I fail to show it most of the time)

There it writing.

Well, I am going to sign off now as I have a list 2 miles long of things to accomplish today. The sun is already down and I worked an 8 hour shift today, so I may need to cut my list short. I can smell the baby from 2 floors down, so I think I'll move diaper change to the top of the list.

Until next time...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stick Me With A Fork, I'm DONE!

So, yesterday was our annual cookie baking day. We made chocolate dipped pretzel rods, Ritz crackers spread with peanut butter and sandwiched together-then dipped in chocolate (one can't have too much chocolate in my book) and pumpkin cookies with caramel frosting. All of this mess-making, dough tasting, finger-licking (yes the kids were there) was done so we could have a variety of goodies to take to a cookie exchange. Now, we have a million and one cookies and sweet things sitting on the counter...and I have no desire to eat them! (that's a first!)

The day was actually pretty embarrassing for Mom came over to bake with me and the kids. The kids were, well, kids. And if you've ever seen my kids in action, it's not always pretty. After finishing up the baking and spraying down the kitchen to remove the flour, melted chocolate and sprinkles from every crevice, I made the suggestion that we go out to eat. (um, okay, WHAT was I thinking?) I was too tired to make lunch and mess up the kitchen again. So, we drove off to a near by Wendy's. Before we got out of the car to go in, I gave my normal warning to the kids about not throwing food and not humiliating us in public. (it never works, but I still do it..I guess just to make myself feel better) All seven of us sat at three different tables. Everyone wanted to sit by Nana, so I had to make the decision to let Gracie sit with her, because I know that she can scream the loudest when she gets offended...and I knew we'd all hear from her that "Only boys sit with boys, and girls sit with girls". Once we got our food and 'got settled', things weren't too bad. Except for the fact that Gracie spilled three-quarters of her chocolate milk all over the table,and she ripped off the plug on the bottom of the salt shaker and dumped mountains of salt all over. And of course, she only licked her hamburger and then proceeded to tell Nana she was 'full', so could she have her frosty now?

After we finished lunch and ushered everyone back into the van, we headed over to the cookie exchange. As soon as we arrived there, the kids (all of them) shot upstairs and they were actually pretty good...except for the occasional toy being launched over the railing and into the living room. Mom and I had a nice time eating, talking and going around and around the cookie table until all the cookies were gone. When it was time to go, I went up to the toy room to survey the was pretty bad. I cleaned up the best as I could, muttered my sincerest apologies to the hostess,and loaded everyone back up in the van for the trudge home. Sam refused to put his coat on yelling "Me NO wanna coat on"! even though it was only 19* outside. So, he cried all the way home about how cold he was.

I sure hope my Mom is still speaking to me after all of this! (love you Mom :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Remembering My Angel

My beloved brother Paul, would have been 36 years old today. It's been nearly 4 years since he was killed in a tragic and senseless accident...his life cut short by the actions of a drunken teenager driving a pick-up truck.

My eyes still well with tears, and the back of my throat still burns from holding back sobs of grief....oh, how I miss him!

My Mom, Step-Dad, Eli, Caleb and I celebrated Paul's life last night at a little place called Shangri-La. It's where Mom had taken him on his 32nd birthday, just weeks before he died. He LOVED Chinese food, and Mom told of the grin that he had on his face while eating there. It's become tradition to go there for his birthday. We set out our favorite photo of him and talk about what we remember about him. We don't cry and grieve while we are there...we are just happy to celebrate who Paul was and what he meant to all of us.

I still remember an argument that Paul and I used to have when we were kids. I always thought that I would someday be older than him...that somehow I would catch up to him. He would just laugh and say that I would never pass him up in age...that he would always be older. When I turned 32, it was hard for me...33 even harder. His smile stopped shining at 32.

I have faith in the belief that I will one day see Paul again, sitting at the Father's feet, when I enter the gates of heaven.

Happy birthday to you, my precious brother....I miss you and love you always.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Free Day

Yup, the kids got a free day today. Although I still can't figure out why school was actually cancelled...we didn't get that much snow. I suppose the powers that be had a good reason for it.

We made it through the day without too many negative incidents. Josh did get whacked in the face pretty darn hard with a snowball though. Too bad the "snowball" was mostly ICE! The poor kid cried his little heart out and he now has a lump directly under his right eye. I had to tell him that was the price he payed for having a snowball fight with some neighborhood kids much older than him. (he's 7, they were 12 and 16... I wanted to give them a piece of my mind and ask what in the world were they thinking throwing rock hard snowballs at such a little guy!!!) But, he learned a lesson and stayed in the house the rest of the day. He learned that maybe it's better to play with kids closer to his own size.

I am working tomorrow from 7:30-4:00, so I've been busy getting things lined up for the morning madness. Luckily, it'll be Roy drowning in the madness and not me, as I have to leave by 6:45am. I was nice though, and packed lunches, put out outfits for each kid and got tomorrow nights taco soup ready to go into the crock pot. Sheesh, I must be related to superwoman somehow :)

I think I'll make it short and sweet tonight. I already popped my sleeping pills so I can (hopefully) guarantee myself a somewhat restful nights sleep. Although, come to think of it, the pills didn't work so good for me last night....

Anyway, here's to hoping!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Calm Before The Storm

At least that's what the weather man is saying anyway... When I hear that a storm is brewing and could dump inches of the white stuff, I get excited and panicked all at the same time. Excited because like I said, I love to watch falling snow, and panicked because that snow could mean school is cancelled for the day and I'd be stuck at home with 5 kids wound up from the excitement of no school. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kids and I LOVE being a Mom, but seriously, jetting the kids off to school each morning and getting that breather, makes me a better Mom. < I don't know how I (or they) survived our three years of home schooling! >

On a different note, I gave the nursing agency my 32 hours of availability for this week and I just knew that I would be called to work not only today, but all week. So, in anticipation, (and also to help R out so he wouldn't be a basket-case) I packed all the kids lunches for school, set aside outfits and lined up he he would just have to feed them and make sure no one had bed-head. I laid in bed this morning watching the clock turn from 5am (when I usually get a call to work) to 6:17, when I finally gave up and got out of bed. No call. No work. No pay. Today anyway.
I still wonder what the Lord is doing....? I do know that I have a shift on Wednesday for sure, but I was hoping that I would be needed for the entire 32 hours this week. On one hand I am upset about not getting a shift (you know, no shift, no pay) but on the other hand, I am secretly glad that I get to stay home.

I suppose I should stop the seems God always provides. But, when I know that the mortgage is due, the car payment is due, and the credit cards (which are nearly maxed out) are due as well, the worry comes naturally. I am confident though, in the fact that our troubles are only for a season, and we will come out mostly unscathed in the end. This confidence is not from myself, it's from all good things are.

Blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. Jeremiah 17:7

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bring On Christmas

It really hasn't felt like Christmas is just around the corner, until today. It's snowing...finally! The above average temperatures that we've had made if feel like early Fall, not like December. I love to watch the delicate and dainty flakes dance in the air until they fall gently and silently to the ground.
Of course, with the chilly temperatures, the kids don't want to trudge outside to play, so the chaos is aplenty! Can't say as I blame them is blustery outside. I also don't mind not having to hang up 10 little mittens to drip dry,cleaning 5 pairs of boots covered in muddy snow, and finding a place for 5 jackets drenched with the remains of a snowball fight.

Snow puts me in the mood to decorate...the boys pulled out the boxes full of garland and lights, and now the house looks like Christmas blew up in the living room. We now have stockings, ornaments, strands of icicle lights, and wrapping paper strewn all over the place. Somehow, that's not the kind of decorating I had in mind. Ah, Christmas... I can't wait until it's time to bake. I think though, I'll do that while the kids are in school :)

I want the kids to be excited about the Christmas season. I love to see the look of wonder and awe on their faces when we light up the decorated Christmas tree for the first time. I love hearing the anticipation in their voices about visiting Santa Claus. But, most of all, I love being able to remind them about the true meaning of Christmas and receiving the best gift of all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Save Me From My Shovel

As much as I hate to admit it, I have lost some a lot of my joy. Maybe it's because my expectations of that joy were just too much. Maybe I was delirious in my new found love for God and my renewed love for my husband. Maybe...I don't know. I do know, however, that my heart feels heavy and tender again. It feels bogged down with the weight of my constant worries and stress.

Why is it that I would pick up those worries and burdens again? I thought that I had given them away to my God...I thought that I was free from them. Yet, here they are again. Plaguing my thoughts and whittling away at my joy. I'm tired. Worn out. Weary. Yet, I have to carry on, and carry on I will.

I heard a message this past Sunday on brokenness. It was said that we should stop trying to pull ourselves out of our brokenness and let God redeem and restore us where we are at. That made such sense to me....I expend so much energy on trying to pull myself out of the pit that I so often find myself in, that I pass up the opportunity for God to do His work in me. I focus on doing it myself' and in that, I always fail. I end up digging myself deeper and deeper into that pit.

So, for today, I think I 'll shake the dirt off my shoulder and hand over my shovel to the one that can redeem and restore me...and carry on.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What Day Is It Today, Anyway?

I sat at the cereal bowl strewn kitchen table this morning seriously not knowing what day it was. I had to glance up at the calender to get a clue....ah yes, it's Tuesday. I'm not sure if it's the events of the past week (you know, toddler head injury,kids home on break, hubby gone) or what. Maybe it's the steroids I'm on for my carpal tunnel. Maybe I'm just losing what's left of my mind. Maybe it was the very large glass of wine I had on an empty stomach, with a friend last night. I even forgot that I had an extra kid in the house until I looked up to 6 kids around the breakfast table :)

Now that I have figured out what day it actually is, I can begin to sort out the rest of the week. I need to make a list of things to get to make for what I am bringing to my Mom's for Thanksgiving dinner. I need to pay the bills (but it takes money in the bank to do that). I need to clean the basement, again. I think my to do list may end up being a few feet long when it's all said and done.

My little dare-devil is recovering nicely from his concussion. He's up and around and not so cranky today. (so far, but it's only 7:45am...) I've found myself looking at him through different eyes after his ordeal.(and not just my eagle eyes on him constantly) He's so very precious to me. My heart aches at the thought of what could have been. I am eternally thankful that he's healthy and whole.

I think I'll go shower and clear my head...then begin to tackle my list. Maybe I should have some breakfast first to counteract the two cups of coffee I've already had...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed

Last night I saw a life flash before my eyes. It wasn't my life though. I did think however, that my life, and the life of my family had changed in an instant. Yes, I know, it sounds very dramatic, but in the moment, I was terrified and my mind was muddled with the what-ifs. I'll admit, I was fearful. Very fearful. The only thing I could do was cry out "Oh God, oh"! I had no magical prayers.

My precious, albeit rambunctious little guy took a rough tumble off of my bed and landed straight on top of his head. I know, it doesn't sound like much, but my bed has been coined the 'Mothership' because from the top of the bed to the floor, it's a 4 ft drop. I can still see the event unfold in my head....I was laying on the bed reading a book and Sam had been climbing up and then sliding off feet first. He kept saying "Look Mama" and then he'd giggle with glee. He said "Look Mama" one more time. I looked. He looked at me, smiled, then dropped to his knees and propelled himself off the bed in somewhat of a somersault. I jumped up to see him laying on the floor. He wasn't moving. I scooped him up into my trembling arms and then watched in horror as his baby blues rolled back into his head, his face first greyed and then the color drained from his cheeks and lips, and he went limp in my arms. I quickly laid him on my bed and tried to wake him up. His eyes fluttered open and closed, he moaned in a tone I had not ever heard before. I pleaded with him to wake up and look at me. He would not. I panicked full on and dialed 911.

I tearfully explained my emergency and location to the 911 operator and then Sam woke up screaming as loudly as he could. That was music to my ears! The 911 operator began her line of questioning as to what happened and was he breathing, and instructing me to tell her immediately if he lost consciousness again or stopped breathing.< and I am thinking Oh my God, IS he going to stop breathing, why is she saying that?? > She kept telling me not to move him. At this point, I was already holding him down in the living room waiting for the paramedics to arrive. When I told her I was holding him, she instructed me to hold him very still and not to move his neck.

So anyway, long story short, he was transported to the hospital to be checked out. He was pretty alert in the ambulance...I think he hated all of the poking and prodding and being strapped down against his very stubborn will. By the time we arrived at the hospital, he was drowsy and fell into a deep sleep. Snoring and all :) He was given a CT scan of his head, was monitored, and sent home with a diagnosis of a concussion. Whew.....I could now breathe. And praise God with that breath that things were not worse.

He's a bit spacey and wobbly today, but he is happy and has a sparkle in his eyes. (and his Mama's eyes are glued to him!)

Praise Him for his mighty deeds; Praise Him
according to His surpassing greatness!
Psalm 150:2

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Mustard Seed

I am holding on tightly to that old mustard seed of faith these days. I quit my 3 day a week, but almost full time hours job, almost a month ago now. I quit because I was hired on with a nursing staffing agency that offered substantially more per hour and allowed me to be flexible in my schedule. I have gone through their new hire orientation, had my criminal background check, submitted to drug testing and supplied my professional licenses. Here's the clincher however-- I have yet to be called to work a shift, even though I was told I would be kept busy, and there would be plenty of shifts to work. Here's where that mustard seed of faith comes in. You see, if I don't work, I don't earn a paycheck. Makes perfect sense, right?

Every time I begin to panic over the bills rolling in and a paycheck not rolling in, I hear a quiet voice in my spirit that says very gently, but also very assuredly, " I will provide ". When I 'hear' that, I feel an immediate sense of relief and comfort. Now, I am not sure that it is God's magnificent voice telling me that, or if it's just my frazzled and worried spirit that is trying to bring myself comfort, but I am clinging to my faith that He will provide. My income provided about a third of what we made monthly, so to not have that, leaves us in a very precarious financial situation for sure. Apparently what makes perfect sense to me isn't what matters. It's God's perfect sense that makes things work.

I am going to tell the school today that I have to pull little G from her preschool class. I just can't bring together the $208 a month to keep her there. I know she will be devastated and so disappointed, but I think it's the right thing to do for now. I am trying to cut every corner I can and am trying to scour my brain for ideas to bring in some money...but I am just drawing a blank. Here again is where my mustard seed of faith comes in. Maybe God is waiting for me to surrender my plans and rely upon Him and His plan for us. If that weren't so scary and so hard to do....

I am absolutely thankful that R was provided another job with a steady income and I am also thankful that for the time being, I have been able to be at home with my children every day.

Now, if only my head could follow my heart...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Birthday Fit For A Princess

I meant to blog yesterday, to capture the 4th birthday of my one and only little Princess, but time got away from me, and it is now the day after :) The puppy successfully chewed my digital camera cord, so I will have to post pictures when I get a new one...

Little G's birthday celebration started 2 days before her actual birth date with a traditional English cream tea at the famed Glen Eyrie Castle. G and I were joined by Nana (my marvelous Mom), my lovely friend Jodie and her beautiful little Princess, and of course, G's (and my!) beloved friend 'Miss Cake'. I think that a grand time was had by one and all, even though G admitted to me that she did not care for the tea itself :) My little Princess was showered with princess gifts and I know that she felt quite special, indeed.

Yesterday, we celebrated again with a family party and a cake shaped like a pretty package, complete with an edible red ribbon and bow.

I think I am in denial (or shock) that my little girl is 4 years old! I remember the day that the ultrasound technician announced that we were not having another boy...but a girl! I don't think I actually believed that I was carrying a girl, until the moment I received proof. Her actual birth. When the doctor held her up for me to see, I took a quick glimpse of her face and then just as quickly checked to make sure she was in fact a girl! I exclaimed through joyful tears " It IS a girl"! The day she was born is a day I will never forget... She was in a hurry to arrive and I labored for only 18 minutes (yes, eighteen as in 2 minutes less than 20) before she came into my world. She must have known how utterly excited I was to finally have what I had prayed for...the desire of my heart, to have a little girl. Of course, I prayed for each and every one of my children, and they were also the desire of my heart, but the bond between a mother and her daughter is most special and to be cherished and nourished always.

Happy birthday to my baby are such a blessing to me and I give thanks for you. I love you with a love so sweet...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Darn The Sick Season!

My little princess is sick....her eyes are glossed over, her cheeks are rosy red and her mood is well, let's just say it's unpleasant... The poor thing has a fever of 104*, so I can hardly blame her for the bad mood. R took her into the pediatrician this morning to get checked out 'just in case'. With the high fever and her complaints of a sore throat and headache, we worried it might be strep. Luckily, she left with a diagnosis of viral tonsillitis and a prescription for lots of rest and snuggling with mom. Oh, and motrin around the clock to bring down her fever.

I am SO hoping that this virus doesn't spread to all the other kids. With any luck, it'll stop at her. (but knowing my luck, we'll all get it and be down the entire month of November!)

I'm going to go and cuddle my girl...if I can take the heat!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

My Sons, The Warriors

The boys are locked, loaded and ready for battle. All the time. It's never-ending with them. The only time they are not arguing is when they are not together. Even at meal time, all I hear is the constant bickering ,teasing and tattling about who is chewing with their mouth open, or who is clanging their spoon against the side of the bowl. The insults fly and tears are usually shed (by me--the tears not the insults).

I really didn't think that my children would grow to literally hate each other. I believe they do, since I hear it all the time. " I hate you, you jerk!" is spoken out several times per hour. The degrading innuendo between them is a constant.

I was hoping that the peace in my heart would mean peace in my home too. It hasn't. When I step back and take a look at what is going on around me in the midst of their battles, I have a battle going on inside of me as well. Part of me wants to scream and yell and carry on about how I can't stand their fighting, and the other part of me silently blames myself for their carrying on. I don't know how to make them see what is becoming of them as siblings or how to help them to love and respect each other. I, as well as them, are blinded by the boldness of the rage that battles on.

Lord, I plead with you to help bring peace to our home and to my children's hearts. You have given me peace within myself, and I beg you to bring that peace to my family. I specifically pray that you would soften E's hardened heart and break through the walls that he has built up around himself. The anger that is in him is so scary and heartbreaking. Please, restore him back to the sweet, loving and content child that I know he is under his wrap of rage. Help me to love him as he is, but also to direct him in the way that he should go. Please Lord, break the bonds of anger and hate that have formed between my children. Bring peace and restoration to our family...

Friday, November 2, 2007

I Want A Refund

I am having a hard day. Actually, it's my oldest son that is having a hard day. But, we all know when the kid is having a hard go of it, the mama is too... I am SO having to hold myself back (with a valiant effort) from wringing his neck and wrapping his disrespectful tongue around the fence post outside. That sounded kind of harsh, didn't it? Yes, it has been that kind of day.

It's the kind of day where I long for the sun to go down and the eyes (of the children) to get heavy... I would never survive this parenthood thing if there wasn't the gift of sleep. And I don't think the kids would survive their childhood either.

I drug myself into the doctor's office today. I am finally insured after almost 2 years. I am having a physical on Monday, so I went in to have my preliminary blood work done before I actually see the doctor. I swear there is something wrong with me. My hair is falling out, my wrists and fingers are numb almost all the time, I can't lose weight no matter how hard I try and I am SO DARN tired ALL the time. There is a host of other symptoms that I have to complain about, but I won't air them here. I'll save that for my appointment with the OB, which I have scheduled for Wednesday :) Knowing my luck, I'll be perfectly healthy and won't be able to blame my thyroid or something for my spare tire and fluffy thighs.

I'm going to sign off...I have to finish cleaning my house for the Homemade Gourmet show I am hosting tomorrow. I've been cleaning for weeks, but not actually accomplishing much since the kids come along behind me and undo everything leaving a path of destruction and dirt.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Candy Hangover

Yup, it happens every year. The dreaded candy hangover. And it's not even the kids, it's me! I can't seem to control myself around the piles and piles of candy that the kids score on Halloween. The almond joys and mini twix seem to get me every time. I'm really good about setting a limit on the amount that the kids can have, but I always go over my limit! And every year I tell myself that I won't do that again. Luckily, with all of the candy being of the mini size, I only ate the equivalent of 2 (or maybe 3) full size candy bars... I think that I am making up for some lost time, since I never got to go trick-or-treating as a kid :)

The kids had a blast last night. The older 3 dressed up as 'vampire-zombies' (their word for it , not mine). Basically, they had whitish-gray faces with vampire teeth. I painted a black nose and whiskers on G so she could be the kitty she wanted to be, and little S just went as himself because he would have nothing to do with having paint on his face. He was a little confused as to why we were going house to house, but once he realized that if he said 'trick or treat' he would get candy plopped into his bucket, he was all for it! He was so cute saying 'fwick er feet'! And he always followed up with a thank you so sweet it would melt my heart. The only catastrophe was when he fell running down the side walk and all of his candy went flying out of his bucket. Tears were shed, but a sucker made it all better. After the sucker, his little hands were so sticky that he couldn't have dropped his bucket again if he wanted to.

I think I need to go eat some spinach or something so I can redeem myself from all of the sugar in my blood.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Cry Of My Heart

I've been to many women's retreats over the years with each one being warm and inviting. I would leave there having relaxed a lot, feeling refreshed, somewhat rested, and ready to get back to my life....but still not feeling like I was where I should be after such an event. I felt a lot of disappointment, actually. I would look around at all of the women around me that were praying, worshipping God with all of their heart and showing true joy on their faces and in their beings. I wondered why I didn't have that. Why did I not feel anything spiritual? Why was I not moved by the worship and where were my tears?...why did I not have that joy? I wanted to have what those women had. I longed for it. I thought that surely, there was something wrong with my heart, it was so hardened and stagnant.

I have gone through periods of complete denial of God to times where I cried out to Him daily, pleading with Him to help me. To change me. To heal me. I waited, but I did not hear anything....I suppose I wasn't really listening for his quiet and still voice because I didn't really believe that He would show up for me. I felt cut off from any blessing, I only felt cursed and alone. Alone in such a darkness. I have spent the majority of the last 18 years wading in and out of depression and despair....only choosing to petition God out of complete desperation, but believing full well that it was all for not. I did not have a 'relationship' with the Lord, I felt like he was just the Lord of other people, not me. I felt invisible and unworthy of His love.

I was given the opportunity to attend another women's retreat this weekend...although this was called an 'Adventure Weekend'. I went into it not knowing what to expect, other than I would probably get some rest and relaxation and maybe hear a tidbit or two of something that would make me ponder just who this God that everyone talks about really is. I prayed the 'obligatory' prayer beforehand that God would become real to me and would meet me there. I even prayed that I would allow Him to enter into my heart all of the way, not just part of the way. I am really good at keeping Him at an arm's length away...the faith just has not been there. I had hope, but only a little, that maybe, just maybe I would walk away from there with some of what everyone else seems to, peace, joy.

When I arrived at the retreat center, I knew that this was no ordinary retreat and I was a bit worried. There were women in purple shirts everywhere...and on the back of those shirts, it read J E H O V A H and the verse in Psalms that says ' Everlasting to everlasting, you are God...' Honestly, when I saw the word Jehovah, I cringed a little and squirmed in my seat. I grew up in the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the "Jehovah" that I knew was not a loving and approachable God. He was a God that I feared and avoided. Still, I tried to push those insecurities aside and have hope that 'this' would be the retreat where I figured out how to get what I!

God pierced my heart and broke it very early in the weekend. He knows how stubborn I am and He knew He needed me broken right away, so that the time would not run out. My cry was answered and He met me there! My hard heart was broken and softened. I laid down my pain at the foot of the cross. I laid down my unforgivness, resent and bitterness over many areas of my life. I pleaded with God to give me a new love for my husband. He gave me back the love I had for him when we first married...only deeper. Those burdens are no longer mine to carry...they are God's and He can handle them so much better than I! The name Jehovah has a new and precious meaning to me. While hearing the testimonies spoken, I caught a glimpse of the pain that I have caused my children by living in anger and not loving them the way that I should. I also caught a glimpse of what could become of them if I continue down the path that I am on. I saw pain that could be theirs when they are grown. Pain that I don't want to be the cause of. I saw the importance of a savior.

The pain that has ripped valleys in my heart has been replaced with joy...the holes have been covered and filled with Him and His love for me! I am truly a daughter of the King and HE loves ME!

I know it will take a lot of prayer and work on my part to not pick up again the things that I laid down. They are not my burdens anymore, but only I can choose whether I scoop them up and carry them again. I do not want my God to have died for nothing... He carries them...who am I to say that I will carry them?

A bamboo shoot takes 30 years to form it's roots before emerging out of the dirt with a little sprout. Once the sprout makes it through that dirt, it grows inches a day! I am much like that bamboo's taken me 33 years to grasp the enormity and majesty of the God that longs to be mine. But, now that I have broken through the surface, I will grow in Him and be able to reach for the light that He provides.

I am free!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lucky 7

7 years ago today, little Josh made his way into the world by way of his screaming mom. He came flying into this world 2 weeks early, tipping the scales at nearly 9 pounds. Even the doctor was amazed at how big he was for being early. Not me. I knew he was big even before he was born. In fact, two days before his birth, the OB was feeling my belly to see if she could estimate his size. She said "Oh, I think he's pretty small...maybe 6 pounds". Ha. I could feel that baby move from the tips of my toes to the top of my head he was so big. I swear my entire being shook when he kicked! Even my stretch marks were at their breaking point. They were so taut they bled. Seriously! I thought I was going to deliver a moose by bursting at the seams. It's no wonder that I howled and screamed without any control while delivering him. Not only was he a moose, my epidural failed and I felt every bit if it. Ouch.

Happy birthday to my sweet boy. Your Mama loves you. Stretch marks and all :)

The Jack-O-Lantern cake

Making a wish!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Is It My Birthday Yet Mom?

I think I have heard those words at least once a day for somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 months now. My sweet little J is turning 7. Tomorrow. He asked me today if his birthday was in 4 more days. When I told him that it was tomorrow his eyes lit up like sparklers on the 4th of July, and he yelped "IT IS? WOW"! He thinks that I have some grand party planned with games and party favors and friends. Tons of friends. I've had to remind him over and over, that no darling, it's just family. No streamers, balloons or games of pin the tail on the donkey. Hopefully, he isn't horribly disappointed in me. I gave up on big birthday parties when they started to cost more than I paid in insurance premiums for my pregnancies and births. I am making his cake though. No store bought cakes here. This year, he figured out that his birthday is quite near Halloween, so he chose a 'cupcake' cake shaped like a pumpkin. In other words, the cake is comprised of 24 cupcakes arranged into the shape of a jack-o-lantern and then frosted and decorated. And hey, I'm not even using frosting out of the can! That should score me a few points, I hope.

I always get overcome with nostalgia around the kids birthdays. Since I had my labors induced, I always remember what I was doing the night before heading to the hospital for the big day. Usually it was cleaning like a mad woman and getting all of the other kids prepared to spend a few days without me. We even have the mandatory picture of all of the older siblings patting my enormous belly and maybe even giving it a kiss or two. I still am in complete denial that J is going to be 7 years old. Heck if I know how that happened. It's true, you can't even blink, because if you do, you'll open your eyes and another year (or 2 or 3) have passed and the kids have grown right before your eyes. It's amazing to me how quickly the kids are growing up! I realized that the other night when E brought home a form from the school for me and his dad to sign. It was a permission slip for him to participate in a sex ed course coming up in December. I shuttered a bit when I read what they would be going over in I'm hoping not great detail. Oh boy...treading new waters here.

And now I really feel old.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Thought Eye-Rolling Only Came With Teenagers

I swear, if he rolls his eyes at me one more time.... E is *very* into eye-rolling. All the time. I can't even get through a conversation ( a one-sided conversation at that) with him without his eyes fluttering back in his head 3 or 4 times. I was 11 once,(eons ago) and I seriously don't remember having an attitude like my 11 year old has. I know I sported a major tude' in my teen years, but 11? By the time he is actually a teen, his eyes might be stuck in the rolled up position. That will teach him, right?

The other night, I was watching home videos from when E was just a little guy. He was SO sweet. He was kissing and hugging his brothers and me. His eyes sparkled and his smile gleamed. I burst into tears just wondering where that sweetness went, and why? His eyes don't sparkle anymore (they just roll) and his smile isn't gleaming. It's a snarl most of the time. From what I hear from other moms of 'tweenagers', it's perfectly normal. That might be true, but it still gives me a pain in my heart.

Moving on....

The kids went back to school yesterday after having 2 weeks off. I heard the heavenly trumpets sound and the angels sing when I walked, er, ran to the car after dropping them off. Oddly enough though, the silence at home was LOUD, if you know what I mean. I missed them. Sort of.

The weekend will be here fast enough for me to long for the school bell again, though. No worries.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

No Mama, I'm Talking To My Brain

My daughter likes to have lengthy conversations. When I respond to whatever question she is asking, I usually get this: "Shhhhh Mama! I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to my brain". But, if I don't respond (because I figure she's talking to her brain again) I get a stern "Maaaama! You're not listening to me"! Well, excuse me. For the life of me, sometimes I just can't figure the girl out. I especially couldn't figure her out today in the store when she was flipping out and carrying on about wanting a purse and some shoes and a make-up kit.(the kid is only 3!) She is so not like me. I am not into purses and make-up and shoes. Yes, I carry a purse because I have to. Yes, I wear make-up because I have to, trust me. I even wear shoes, because yes, I have to. But, my daughter however, wants these things because she thinks they are fun and pretty...not a necessity. If she didn't look just like I did as a child, I'd wonder if she's even mine.

R is back. And he'll be back for at least the next week. I was SO relieved to find that out. He'll be working crazy hours, but at least he's not in a different city. I was looking forward to letting him get up with the baby during the night, but the baby chose last night to sleep the whole night through. He even slept in until 7:30am which around here is pretty much unheard of.

Go figure.

I'm going to sign off for now...gotta play catch up with stuff around the house. I have two suitcases of dirty clothes to wash from R and E being gone. I need to make my weekly meal plan and grocery list. I need to sweep the floor. I need to blah, blah, blah...

There's always tomorrow, right?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Sky Must Be Falling

The kids have been behaving. They are not driving me insanely crazy. The sky must indeed be falling! Not that they have been perfect, but I am not incredibly stressed, so things are good. Of course, now that I have spoken, er, written these words, things are sure to change. It's still early in the day, after all. In fact, I am taking S to the doctor this morning, and G is tagging along. (the others are with Grandpa) They ALWAYS misbehave at the doctor's office. I suppose if I can leave there with my sanity still intact, then I will look up to see the sky fall.

I think I have a better appreciation for R after having been alone this week. It really does help to have him around :) Seriously, when the baby gets up during the night, it's DADDY he calls out for. At first, that almost offended me, since after all, * I * am the one that carried him for 9 months, labored and gave birth to him, sat with him day after day in the NICU, I nursed him, and I am the one that kisses his boo-boos and wipes the boogers from his nose and the poo from his you-know-what. But, I soon got over that offense when I realized that him calling out for his Daddy afforded me a bit more sleep.

Signing off for now....the laundry pile seems to be barking :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What In The World?

Imagine my surprise while sitting at the breakfast table with the kids...we had the usual chatter and giggling, and the noise from PBS. All of a sudden, little S pipes in with " What in the world"? (more like " Wha in eh wurl", although we got the jist of it) We all pretty much dropped our spoons onto the table out of sheer surprise and turned to stare at him. He turned his lips up into the cutest smile ever to be seen and said it again. Over and over again. I think he enjoyed our reaction a lot, since that became his catch phrase of the day! It's so cute to hear him string words together and make sentences. Where has my baby gone? Sniff...

Another day down being a 'single' mom. I finally had to put a stop to the stair sledding. I had no idea that sledding into a wall face first could rip the skin off the bridge of your nose. Enough said.

I surely did not get enough sleep last night. With being awakened by the kids and the dogs at least 1001 times, I am still a bit heavy in the eyelids. The kids played musical beds until the wee hours of the morning, then they finally conked out. It was a very restless and sleepless night to say the least. When G woke up this morning, she came running to me with terror in her eyes and shouting " Mom! Look! BLOOD!" Indeed, her pajama top was covered in bright red blood. So was her face. I panicked for a split second until I realized that she had just had a bloody nose and had smeared it all over her face while wiping her nose with her sleeve. Whew...

This 'single' parenting stuff is for the birds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sledding Sans Snow

I have some serious empathy for single moms...I just can't fathom how they do it. R left yesterday for a week in Littleton. He'll be back Sunday, so I can go to work, then leaves again early Monday for yet another week.

I've gotten through one day so far. My head still hurts. I can't believe the amount of energy it takes to just get through the day. It's not like I don't do this everyday, but when I know that I won't be 'released' from most of my mom-duties come 6pm, the day seems longer (and more stressful) than ever. Thankfully, I've not had too many mishaps with the kids. Yet. The dog did throw up on the carpet though.

The boys spent most of yesterday and a good part of this morning 'stair-sledding'. That's where they load themselves (together) up in a sleeping bag with pillows under their rear-ends, hold on for dear life, and 'sled' down a flight of stairs. I almost nixed that all together pulling the 'that's too dangerous, someone could get hurt card', but they were having so much fun with it, I allowed it to go on. I'll probably make them stop if someone breaks a bone or puts a hole in the wall though.

Today I went into the bathroom and almost broke my neck slipping on the water covered floor. I couldn't figure out where that much water had come from. I thought for sure the toilet was leaking, or a pipe from under the sink burst. I mopped up the mess and shrugged it off as one of those things. A while later, I hear S laughing with delight. He was in the bathroom. That's never a good sign. I ran in, and found him dipping a cup into the toilet and dumping the water onto the floor. Mystery solved.

I'm going to go pop some more ibuprofen for this never ending headache, and count the days on the calendar until school starts again.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Early Morning "Raid"

Today began very early. Early as in 4:30am. R announces that he is sick and he might throw up really soon. For me, the thought of someone throwing up stirs a panic in me. I hate hearing it, seeing it, smelling it. I am pretty sure I have a textbook case of emetaphobia. (that means I have an irrational fear of vomit.) You'd think with 5 kids, and all of the times I've mopped up a mess, not to mention the fact that I work in the nursing field, I'd be over that... actually to some extent it doesn't bother me as much anymore. I think I more fear getting sick myself than one of the kids or R getting it. Because you know, if one gets it, we usually all get it.

Anyway, I gave R plenty of time to be sick downstairs (which he never did throw up, just the other end) and then I meandered down to assess the viral load. As he laid on the couch moaning and whining (what? Don't all men do that?) I went to my spot over the washer and dryer where I keep all of my various 'poisons' and such. I grabbed the yellow lidded aerosol can and began to spray down everything that he may have come in contact with. The toilet of course, the floor around the toilet (because you never know) the sink, the faucet, the hot and cold handles, and even the doorknobs and light switch. I then went into the kitchen and sprayed the refrigerator door handle and the microwave 'open' button, since R had made S a bottle during the night. Once I was satisfied that I covered all of the bases, I went back to bed, holding my breath as I passed by where R was on the couch. I muttered to him to be sure and spray everything down each time he had a 'bout' of his unpleasantness.

Turns out, I had not disinfected one surface or even killed one stomach bug during my spray-fest. I may have killed any real bugs that had been around though, as what I though was Lysol, was actually Raid ant spray! No wonder the floor was so slippery and the handles on the fridge and microwave felt so funny.

Both R and I had a good laugh at that one...only my laughing didn't send me running to the toilet holding my belly, his did :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Week? A WHOLE Week?

7 days. 168 hours. That's a whole lotta time. In fact, that's how long it will be until R starts his new job. And that's 7 days from tomorrow, so factor in the weekends and it's more like 11 days and 264 hours. (not that I am counting or anything, I'm just throwing it out there)

This time together will either be a blessing or a 'curse' (not in the literal sense of course). Judging from the wretched day we had today, I am not holding out too much hope for peace and loving happiness. So, I have written a list a mile long of things for R to do around the house to keep him 'occupied'. Hopefully keeping mind and hands busy will prevent WWIII from happening. (so far he's just taken to snoozing on the couch)

We went to a new church today. Not sure how I felt about it one way or another. We're not looking to change churches, we just wanted to attend this church during the time they are having a series called 'My Amazing Marriage'. (not that we need help or anything) The kids adored the church which is good...we didn't get any balking or whining about going back next week. Maybe, just maybe, we'll get a tidbit of biblical truth that will kick us over to the 'other side', you know, the good side of our marriage :)

Not much to say tonight, as I am running on fumes from working last night...I still haven't slept and I am heading out the door here shortly for another shift.

Excuse me while I yawn and snooze....

Friday, October 5, 2007

Finally Friday

I didn't have to do much this morning to prepare the kids for school. I rolled out of bed, had a cup of coffee, slipped on some shoes and drove the boys to school. I didn't have to pack lunches. (half day of school) I didn't even have to make sure they were dressed. Today is Pajama Day, so they all went in the jammies they slept in and they kept their tousled hair, you know for the 'bedhead' look. We were completely out of milk too, so I just threw water bottles and crackers at them for breakfast. (not really, they actually had nice steaming bowls of oatmeal) If only all mornings were so easy!

Yesterday was even a pretty good day. Usually, I dread Thursdays because R has the day off (how bad does that sound?) and we spend the day arguing over the color of the sky. I think with the excitement of his job offer and the fact that we are really trying to make things better between us, the day had to have been good. Not one argument or sour word was said between us all day :)

At 12:01pm today, the kids begin a two-week 'Fall Break' from school...I'd better stock up on ear plugs and beer. (just kidding!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The 11th Hour

At 4:00 today, just when R and I both had pretty much lost all hope, the offer came in. A job offer, that is. It's not the perfect situation for us, but it's what's on the table for now, so onward we move.

The offer came at the right time however, as come Friday (yes, as in the day after tomorrow) R would have been unemployed. God is good, all the time. (even when we think He isn't)

The kids were pretty psyched, in their kid kind of way, about the new job. Of course, they make it into all about themselves (how much free stuff will we get?) but, that is a kids focus...themselves. They are the Masters of *their* Universe, after all!

I can't think of anything hilarious or even remotely funny to blog about tonight because I am too tired. I think my body is rebelling on this new diet of mine. I am once (again) determined to lose this extra ( metric ton) of weight. I am on day 3 of my starvation, er, eating plan, and so far, so good. I am only hungry most of the time. Seriously, I am eating bushels of fruits and veggies and drinking vats of water. Throw in some whole grains, proteins and olive oil, and I'm actually doing okay.

I'm going to my counseling appointment tomorrow. I have to start to prepare myself for the kids two week long fall break that begins on Monday. (just kidding, sort of...) It's always good for me to go and vent to someone that doesn't know me in *real life*, you know, airing my dirty laundry a couple times a month and not worrying about who's going to find out about it. Really though, my counselor is a kind, compassionate person full of ''good for me' advice. I always leave there emotionally stronger than when I went in, and ready to face the world...and my family!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oh, It's Sunday...Again

Since I was a kid, probably closer to a teenager, I've always had a dislike for Sundays. It was a day when everyone was home and there was always bickering. (my parents were in the middle of a separation/divorce) It seems I have passed on my dislike of Sundays to my children. I learned of this today when my eldest son chimed in with "I hate Sundays"! Truth be told, they usually are stressful because everyone is home and there is always much chaos and bickering. Add the fact that I am exhausted from working the night before, and it truly is a recipe for disaster.

So, today, I have really tried to hold myself together. I even went to church for the first time in (whispering ) months. Afterward, we lugged the kids to Target to look at the fire pits they have on sale. We walked out with a fire pit and 7 chairs to sit around the fire, a bag of marshmallows, and some very excited kids. We spent money we don't have, but I think the memories that will result from our family gathered together around a flickering fire with our roasting sticks and marshmallows, far surpasses that worry.

Here's to making good memories and changing the 'I hate Sundays' for all :)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Waiting Game

I hate waiting. Did I state that clearly enough? I. hate. it. And when I am waiting on something so nerve-wracking as a job offer for R, it's awful. I am clinging so tightly to my tiny mustard seed of faith that if I hold it any tighter, I may crush it. Or maybe it would start to sprout?

Another interview gone by today. Another shaking of hands across the table. Another, "We'll be in touch". Good Lord, just fill our cup! I keep trying to figure out what the Lord is trying to teach me/us during this constant uphill battle, but it just doesn't come to me. Maybe I'm looking too hard and in all the wrong places.

Believe me I am trying to 'just let go and let God', but I am such an utter control freak that it is almost impossible for me to do that. I just have to come to grips with the fact that I cannot control God's will for our lives and I cannot move the mountains that I have been trying to move!

So, now we wait. And wait some more. I know that eventually we'll know and understand 'the plan'.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's a HAPPY Meal Kid, Be HAPPY!

Last night I heard those words. They came from me, not surprisingly. There's always a story to go with it...

It all started with E telling one of his brothers to "shut up". I had already told him ninety nine times not to say that again. So, when he said it for the 100th time, I sprung into action. (yes, I know I should have done that after the 2nd time)

I blurted out to him "You're GROUNDED"! From what, I still wasn't sure. I was ready to even ground him from eating. He immediately blasted back with "I am NOT grounded" and then came the throwing around of inanimate objects and total chaos ensued. (as usual) He was so upset and so angry that he refused to get ready to go to his soccer game. He flung his attitude and his cleats all over the place. I flung a shoe at him. ( it was only a baby shoe ) He shot up to his room and started throwing his stuff down the staircase....a book, a know, stuff. I got a few verbal lashings with " I HATE you Mom" too. In my anger, um, angst, I flew up the stairs, ran over to him to give him a piece of my mind, and was stopped in my tracks. A shelf from the bookcase he was perched atop, fell and landed on the tops of both of my feet. I swear I saw stars... It ended there. I think he was so shocked from what happened, that he feared for his life. I knew that it wasn't his fault the shelf fell on my feet, but he didn't!

Anyhow, after much flailing and wailing, (from the kid) he finally managed to get on his soccer gear to go to his much protested game. We drive all the way across town with a van load of kids and guess what? No game. I had forgotten that this was the week that there was only one game. On Tuesday. We didn't discover this until we trekked all the way down to the far left side of the soccer field because we saw his teams' bright yellow shirts. Turns out the team we headed towards was a team of girls in bright yellow shirts. All in all, the kid got what he wanted...not to play soccer!

By now, there's the question about the Happy Meal comment, I'm sure... I'll try to make it short. We had $20 bucks from an insurance refund, so we decided to take the kids out to eat. They wanted pizza. We headed to a new place called NYPD Pizza... it was a no go. There was only about 12 seats in the whole joint and there were only 4 not already occupied. There are 7 of do the math. We leave, amidst a flurry of protests from our little people. As we are driving I told the kids to decide between a Happy Meal or getting a pizza to take home and eat there. Well, since things are never easy with this crowd, 4 of the kids wanted a Happy Meal and 1 wanted pizza. We ended up going home. With nothing. Both R and I were ready to jump out of the van it was so loud in there. My ears are still ringing. And the kids had Kix cereal for dinner.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You Know It's Going To Be A Bad Day When...

It's already turning out to be one of those days. You know, the kind of day where nothing goes right. It started even before I lugged myself out of bed. I woke up around 3am, 3:35am, get the picture. I now have an ache in my neck comparable to the time I had spinal meningitis. Thankfully, I don't have the raging fever and stabbing pain in my eyes and head like I had I think the 3 ibuprofen tablets I took should do the trick. Hopefully no need for a spinal tap, (or 4, like I was lucky enough to have) IV antibiotics or narcotic pain killers. (although those might be kind of nice) I'm just chalking it up to a less than stellar night's sleep.

The rest of the morning didn't go very smoothly either. The kids seemed to all wake up in cranky mode. The whining and crying over every little thing certainly didn't help matters here any. And then there's the fact that the dog went missing...

Is it too early for a nice stiff drink?

Thankfully, and I do mean this with all of the love in the world, I only have ONE child at home today. The rest are at the place that I love so very! Maybe I'll take a nap or 2. Or maybe I'll go shopping. Or....nah, I suppose I'll do pretty much what I do everyday. I'll read 'How Does A Dinosaur Say Goodnight?' on the couch with a snugly (albeit demanding) toddler about 25 times, wash dishes, do a few (dozen) loads of laundry, sweep, vacuum, clean pee off of toilet seats ( 4 boys, remember?) and...again, you get the point. I love my life, really I do. I wouldn't change it (other than I would like to have a 'do-over') for the world. I have been truly blessed even though some days it's hard to see through the thick clouds, but I always know there is a silver lining :)

* It's been 10 hours or so since I wrote all of that above...and lo and behold, it was actually a pretty good day! I sat and read the dinosaur book to my little one like I suspected I might, but all in all it was a good day. I made it out to Target, the bank, the carwash. I even survived the ache in my neck. *

Like I said, there's always a silver lining.

Monday, September 24, 2007

You Wanna Be What?

I had a very comical conversation with my eldest son today, only he didn't know it was comical,which made it even more funny! It went like this...

"Hey Mom, there are a few things I want to be when I grow up".
"Oh yeah, what do you want to be"?
"Well, I either want to be a pilot in the Air Force, a police officer or a chef".
(Admittedly, I am very against my sons going into any branch of the military, because I am selfish and I don't want my babies killed in a war) So I replied with this:
"I think you should scratch off being a pilot in the Air Force, you could get hurt and I don't want you to get hurt. Maybe you should be a veterinarian or something like that. You'd be good at that"!
My sons proceeds to look at me like I have 2 heads,and he replies with " You think I'd be good at eating vegetables "?
My snicker turned into some downright belly laughs at this point. He so pointedly asks me what was so funny and why would I think he'd be good at eating vegetables when he hates vegetables,and what kind of job would that be anyway? Can one get paid just for eating vegetables?
So, I had to fill him in on the difference between a veterinarian and a vegetarian. That was fun, and he now thinks he might make a good doctor for animals. He also reminded me how much he likes meat.

Anyhow, today began the first of a couple of visits to the dentist for my now enlightened child. He had to endure having 4 fillings and a tooth extracted, and, he tells me, the 'knock out gas' didn't work. He thought that he would be put to sleep for the procedure and was very dismayed when he found out that would not be the case. At least he was already numbed up and ready when the dentist broke the bad news. I however, had to hear about it in sentences broken up by some very dramatic sobs all the way home. And just think, he gets to do it all again in 2 weeks on the other side of his mouth. I can't wait. (yeah right)

I'd better run. I told the numb-lipped child that I had to wrap him in a towel and sit on him to brush his teeth like I do with his baby brother, as he seems to not want to do such a bang up job of it himself. Oy!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Goofy Girl

Now here's a smile that makes me want to smile back :)
Sometimes it's a lighthearted child that makes me realize that maybe life isn't as bad as I think. My sweet little princess is still smiling like a....well actually, I'm not sure like what, but even when her day was tough because she was fighting a fever, she still found a way to smile. And smile big.
Instead of going into a bunch of mumbo jumbo about how we all need to look for a brigher side, I'm just going to leave it at that.
Her smile says it all...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blankity, Blank, Blank, Blank

Blank. That's how my heart/mind/body feels today. I don't know exactly where I expend all of my energy, but I am so wiped out. Okay, maybe I do know where I expend my energy. (I'm the mom of 5...6 if you count my husband, and that's enough to bring any woman to her knees) I can't figure out though, why I feel so emotionally, physically and spiritually drained. Shouldn't a good nights sleep take care of that? Nah, I suppose if that were the case, there wouldn't be so many frazzled moms out there, right?

I, however, don't want to BE a frazzled mom. I want to be a calm, cool and collected mom. The mom that everyone wants to be, but isn't. I want to be full of ideas and energy and I want to always have the right answer or solution to every problem that life throws our way. I want to be the cookie baking, bread kneading, book reading, ever patient mom, you know, the mom of every kids' dream? Since I can't ever live up to the picture that I have in my mind's eye about being a mom, I have to resign myself to just do the best that I can with what I've got, and hope that the Lord will cover the rest of the things that I fall so very short of.

I am listening to the lively chatter and some bickering of the kids upstairs...they've just returned home from school with tales to tell, and wow, do they all want to talk at the same time. Each day, on the ride home from school, I get a dizzying account of the adventures and mishaps that were had in their little worlds. They all speak at not only the same time, but at super warp speed as if trying to get in their allotted quota of words for the day. I just try and take it all in without having my head explode with information overload because that would be messy and probably a little bit disturbing too! Sometimes, I just tune it all out, but keep nodding my head to make them think I am still listening.

I'm going to sign off for now, apparently, the kids still have some words to be spoken today...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It Might As Well Be A Million

I went in smiling, but I left with a scowl I'm sure. Granted, I was hit with a 'treatment plan' cost of nearly one thousand dollars for the now clean and sparkly smirk on the face of my eldest child. I thought I had been pounding into this child's head since the last time we had a dental visit and he had to have 4 cavities filled, that his brushing needed some vast improvement. Guess I didn't pound hard enough. So, come Monday, we start a series of visits to get eight (yes that's 8!) fillings, a cap, 2 extractions, a spacer and 4 sealants. I think the dentist was nervous that I was going to faint when I stumbled back into my chair after the initial shock :)

Like I said, it might as well be a million! (dollars, that is) Luckily, insurance will take some of the sting out of the bill, just think of what I could do with that money....2-3 weeks of groceries, 10 tanks of gas, 3 car payments and... oh, nevermind, it's too depressing to think about!

Either I was really tired this morning, or somebody swapped out my black eyeliner with a magenta colored pencil with a broken tip. Thankfully, I was awake enough to notice the change before I ripped apart my eyelid! It really was that kind of day... nothing seemed to flow the way it should. Including my eyeliner.

Between the bad news from the dentist, my missing make-up, a tantrum the size of Texas from a child who wanted everything but nothing made her happy, and burning the first dozen of 7 dozen has to be brighter in the morning, right?

I'm going to sign off to fold my 5th load of laundry and search for that eyeliner... Oh, and I think I'll put to bed the sweet little cherub that is asleep sitting up on the couch.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Missed Kiss

Not a Sunday (or any day, for that matter) has gone by in a long time where R and I haven't had a marital spat. Today was a doozy... Apparently, he gets stressed out trying to keep the kids somewhat quiet when I try to catch a little sleep after I get off of work on Sunday mornings. I layed down for a bit today but I still heard all sorts of commotion, including this:

(After I hear the pounding of feet on the stairs and the bursting through the bedroom door)...

Kid: "Mom"?
Kid: "Mom, are you sleeping"?
Me: "Hmmmmm...what, what is it"?
Kid: "I'm only having a Coke Zero because Dad said I could, okay"? That statement was followed by child exiting bedroom at lightening speed, before I even had a chance to respond.

Not wanting anything important, I'm not sure why they feel the need to 'see if I'm awake' or to tell me that Dad said they could have a soda...?

Anyway, let me get back to my original point. When I finally meandered down to the basement to see what was going on, I could see right away that R was in his 'mood'. I could tell this because he had the tell tale flow of steam spouting out from the top of his head, and his face was all wrinkled in anger. The comments from both of us just started to fly and they didn't stop. Finally I said we needed to get the kids out of the house and go and do something fun. We decided on getting ice cream and then going to the park. The ride to BJ's for the treat was icy cold. If looks could kill, the kids would all be orphans. While we were sitting in the car eating our ice cream, I felt like maybe I should break through the ice and try to mend the relationship. I took off my sunglasses, lightly brushed him on the arm and told him I was sorry. Then I puckered up, leaned in, and closed my eyes. He leaned in too, but instead of the passionate, affectionate kiss I was expecting, he purposefully avoided my lips and gave me only a peck on the cheek. Immediately, I was offended and told him so by quickly replacing my sunglasses on my face and turning away from him. My feelings of any sort of reconciliation faded away in an instant. I clammed up and tears sprang to my eyes and the icy-cold once again permeated the air. We rode in silence (meaning R and I, the kids were loud lunatics) to the park. Once we were there, I avoided him like the plague.

Fast forward about 7 hours later...he finally 'apologizes' for letting the argument/silence go on for so long. To me, his apology was not sincere and I told him so. He didn't argue about it or tell me that he was sincere, and that speaks volumes. Ugh. Another wasted day.

I am getting ready to go back to work in a half hour, so I'm signing off.... Maybe I'll have something better to write about tomorrow :)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Head Spinning Adventures

That's what this ride our family is on right now feels like. A head spinning-nauseating-I-can't-wait-til-it-stops-and-we-can-get-off, ride. I suppose if I could dig out my mustard seed of faith that I know I put somewhere, we might be in better shape! It's so hard to just wait and trust, and trust and wait. Waiting has never been my strong point. Ever. I don't even like to wait for my instant pudding to set before I eat it! So, waiting and watching for what the Lord has planned for us makes me wiggle in my seat. A little uncertainty never hurt anybody, right?

Onto bigger and better things...

We now have a shoe on our roof. Seems C and a friend were playing 'football' with C's shoe, and somehow the shoe now resides on the roof. Too bad it's a new shoe and it is on a part of the roof that we can't get to without a very tall ladder. A tall ladder that we don't have. At least now when I am giving directions to my house, I have a great visual...."When you find our street, just look up for the shoe, then you'll know you've found the right house"! Seriously, our house isn't hard to find. Just follow the trail of toys, scooters, skateboards, bikes, helmets and balls, and you're there. And just yesterday,we had our own 'flag' waving in the yard, the long (as in the hundreds of feet) black stringy stuff hanging from the trees (and the neighbor's satellite dish) turned out to be the ink strip from an old typewriter that the boys dismanted with hammers in the driveway. That was fun to clean up :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wacky Wednesday

The day started out rough. Most days start out a little on the rough side, so why should today be any different? I had to bite my tongue until it practically bled in order to prevent the verbal lashing that SO wanted to be had. I'll admit, I did let a few things fly, but I controlled the monster from completely appearing. My monster is the most impatient monster around! That is one thing that I really don't like in myself.

I suppose I should be more impervious (not allowing anything to pass through; unaffected; impossible to influence ) to the daily rude noises, grumbling, sass and discontent from the kiddos, but heck if I know how to do that! I felt like I was in the middle of an outright war this morning.

If I were to sit back and really take it all in with a light heart , instead of letting it get under my skin, I'm sure that I would find most of if quite amusing. Think about it, the constant fart noises that E makes with his mouth, the wayward comments aimed to sting the opposing kid, and the occasional flying fist to the chest of a sibling is funny, right? Yeah, right. This MUST be what life is supposed to be like in large families? Really, somebody tell me that this is normal! I know that fighting between brothers and sisters has gone on since Cane and Able, but...

Still no word on the job interview. Still waiting on those pins, needles, knives and hot coals. I suppose I could take comfort in the 'no news is good news' stance, but somehow for this particular situation, I don't think that applies.

Another kiddo has come down with the crud. Little S woke up covered in snot and sneezing his cute little head off. Last night though, I actually thought that we had yet another mutating virus in the house as 2 of the kids were complaining of headaches. Also, E went directly to bed after we got home from soccer, and if you know this kid, that is NOT normal. He stays up way too late most nights reading books and drawing super-hero cartoons, so for him to conk out without any sort of protesting had me worried! Luckily he woke up fine (in health, not in attitude as usual ) this morning.

Okay, I've rambled enough for now...gotta go tackle the dust bunnies under the beds!

UPDATE: He didn't get it. (the job, that is) I had a good cry and am moving on... Our ship is half-sunk I'm afraid :(

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Let The Season Begin (the sick season, that is)

Yup, it's here. 'Sick season' as we call it around our house. The time between September and April always brings a slew of viruses. So far, just scratchy throats, sniffles and sneezes is all we've got, but it's early in the 'season' yet! I'm bracing myself :)

R had his interview today for the gov't contract job. I was on pins and needles until he called me to let me know he had finished. Now, I'm not only on pins and needles, but on knives and burning coals too. He seems to think it went 'very well', so that gives me some hope. A decision should come down in the next couple of days. I hate the waiting. I'd much prefer to not be held in the dark for any amount of time, but that is just the control-freak nature of mine baring it's gnarly teeth. I have to remind myself that it's all in God's time, not mine. And I can't control the outcome anyway!

Our newest addition of the fluffy-type (aka Abbey) seems to have adjusted well. She has taken to burying herself under piles of laundry and hiding out. I think she's trying to avoid having G pick her up and carry her around like a sack of potatoes. Can't say as I blame her. I think I'd hide too! G's idea of fun is to wrap Abbey in a baby blanket and carry her around on her shoulder, while trying her very best not to squeeze her until her eyes pop out. So far, so good.

Well, I have to disinfect the keyboard before G plays her computer game as I have sneezed all over it about 4 times now. Achoo!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A New Addition To Our Family!

Now before you (yes, you mom!) have a heart attack, no, I am NOT pregnant. Really.

We do however, have a cute, cuddly addition to our household. And why not? We're already broke, it's already chaotic, so what's one more?

And here she is... Little Miss Abbey!

I know she looks a little grumpy, but I promise, she is so sweet! She is a fully grown toy schnauzer that we adopted from Dreampower, an animal rescue organization. I took the kids to the animal fair on Saturday, just to look, and low and behold we now own this sweetie. It was her eyes...they called to me from across the room! Those adorable puppy eyes will get you every time.

Anyway, those of you that know me and read this blog, can resume breathing now that you know we're not adding an addition of the human kind.

Not much else going on...just waiting on interviews for R and hopefully some movement in the right direction.

We can only go up from here, right? Right??

Sunday, September 9, 2007

This Is The Day That Never Ends

I can't shake that song in my head. You know, the one that goes "This is the song that never ends, because it goes on and on my friend"...... Only instead of a song never ending, it's my day that doesn't seem to end. It's 8:30pm and I feel like I have been up for 600 million hours, but in reality, it's only been 36, minus the hour and a half that I spent in bed this morning trying to keep my eyes closed while the kids came wandering in and out wanting everything on God's green earth. Between grocery shopping, dishes, laundry, cleaning, diaper changing, cleaning, meal making and cleaning, (notice a theme here?) I am well spent. I just want to go to bed, but I almost forgot that I have to go back to work at 11:30. Oi.

Signing off in record time tonight. I am tired and blah.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Where Oh Where Has My Baby Gone?

My sweet, compliant, cuddly and cute-as-a-bug little one has taken to screaming at the tippy top of his lungs in a pitch so high it can be heard as far as Pikes Peak. The top of Pikes Peak. The top of Pikes Peak in a wild, howling wind storm, in fact. Yes, it's that loud. For example, yesterday in Target, he let loose with that fantastic wail 4 separate times. I swear anyone within a 100 mile radius was wincing, especially my fellow shoppers in Target. I am now half-deaf in my right ear as a result as well. My only relief was that 4 strangers saw my plight and stopped to talk him down from his overwhelming (to him) ordeal. Thank Goodness for nice grandmotherly types with bright red lipstick and penciled on eyebrows. They managed to quiet him down for at least 15 seconds at a time.

My little guy has also taken to calling me "MEANIE" with perfect enunciation. His timing is such that when he says that, I know it's meant for me. All I did the first time he called me that was take the foot long serrated bread knife that he had worked SO hard to get, away from him. How dare I do that. I must be a meanie. Seriously, every time he says it, I have to stifle my laughter. However disrespectful it may be, it's SO cute coming out of his pouty little mouth in his little baby voice.

I am hanging onto his babyhood while I's fleeting. He's turning into a little boy right before my eyes. He's fast approaching his 2nd birthday, and that I can hardly believe is true. Sometimes the days go by slow, but the years seem to fly by!

Moving on past my sappiness....

R had an interview on Thursday for an HR position in a large company. It's a government contract job, so I imagine the benefits could be good. Friday, he got a call back from them wanting to do a second interview as he was one of the top 3 candidates out of 7! So, he'll have his second interview this Tuesday at 9am and they will make a decision by Wednesday. I am SO hoping that this is finally a break in the dark clouds of our lives as of late. The pay comes close to what he was making at the pharmaceutical company, so that will put us on the way to getting back on track. He's also applying at several restaurants around our house for a second job to recoup some of the difference. I'll have to keep working so we can make ends meet, but I will be relieved when he has a stable paycheck coming in. Living on commission only is for the birds I tell ya. For the birds!

Well, as usual, I've got a mountain of laundry to tackle and some very restless children, so I am going to hand over the computer mouse to little G who has been waiting very patiently for her turn to 'play'.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Of Mountains And Molehills

I don't know about all kids, but mine for sure make mountains out of molehills. My children for some reason resort to screaming like they are having their fingers twisted off for even the most minor of infractions. Sad but true, I find myself doing the same thing...not screaming wildly, but sending down harsh consequences for things that are pretty trivial. For instance, G peed her pants (again. it's a 2-3 times daily occurrence) and I grounded her for the rest of her life from playing with the neighbor girl. You'd have thought that by hearing her blood-curdling screams that I had done much worse. And when she (or the boys) scream, I get mad. When I get mad, I yell. When I yell, they scream. It's a viscous cycle!

I finally got my van back today. R loaned it to a guy he works with as his van broke down. Boy, am I ever glad to see our beat up old van again. I've been shoving 5 kids into an even more beat up Montero for 2 weeks! We must look like the circus has come to town when everyone piles out...out comes 1, 2 and more, oh and wait, yet another! Really, I'll miss hearing the piercing screams of the child whose abdomen gets used as leverage for another child's foot as they attempt to climb into the 3rd row. Really.

I'm going to cut it short tonight...I am tired and I need to make some lemon pudding to devour before I start my diet (again) tomorrow.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hello? Is This Thing On?

There are days when I wonder if my mom-microphone is really connected to it's power source. Days like today, for example. I have a sore throat from having to repeat myself (loudly) so many times. Things like "Stop jumping off the couch" and "If you hit your brother in the head with that rolling pin again"... Ugh. It's days like these that I swear I wonder how it's possible that I have not had a stroke. Or at least how I still can call myself sane.

Since I was at work this morning until 7am, R bundled up the kids and hauled them down to the park to watch the hot air balloons lift off. Unfortunately, they arrived just as the last balloon was floating up, up and away. I'm sure glad I wasn't there to hear the moans and groans of the very disappointed children. So, in an effort to save the day, we took the kids to Gunther Toody's for breakfast. At least we tried to take them for breakfast anyway. Since we were in separate cars, I went ahead of time with the hopes of acquiring a table. A nice gentleman greeted me at the door, smiling brightly. He said "Good morning! Table for one"? I smiled back and said, "No, actually I need a table for 7". Needless to say, his smile faded quickly and he scribbled my name on list, and mentioned that we may not get to sit together and would that be okay? Uh sure, whatever. Just feed me, I am hungry and tired and in need of coffee. Strong coffee. With lots of sugar.

I sit on the shiny bench and wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally, the front doors burst open and in run my children. I greet them and then look around for R....he walks in some 5 minutes later. (no, not really, it just seemed like it as I had that hungry/tired thing going on) Anyway, after C almost tips over a pinball machine to retrieve the gumball that was 'stuck' inside, J almost trips up a waitress with her arms full of plates of food, Little G and S deciding to play Ring around the Rosey, and C (again) practically jumps on someones table to catch a wayward floating balloon, we decide that it would probably be much better to just go home and eat Fruit Loops, and we run out the door.

In an attempt to reduce our income need, we have started the process of selling our home. It's being looked at by one of those "We Buy Ugly Houses" investors. No, the house isn't ugly, it's just our circumstances that are not so pretty right now. So, if we get the offer we want, we'll be moving. We'll have to rent in order to get the size house (well, almost...) we need and not have an overwhelming mortgage payment. We've always owned our homes (all 2 of them), so renting is something kind of scary! It's disheartening to have it go this far, but there really is nothing on the horizon that gives us any hope of things getting better anytime soon.

I'm going to sign off as I have a very cranky toddler demanding to watch Warryboy. Again.

Friday, August 31, 2007

No Spitballs On The Baby, Please

The things that I hear myself say sometimes make me feel like I am in some off-the-wall wacky comedy movie! Just the other day on the way to soccer practice, E was trying to perfect the art of shooting spitballs through a straw. Most of the spitballs hit the windshield, but a few were directed at the head of the baby, who of course was delighted. Since the baby expressed his delight with belly laughs, E's fire to continue was fueled even more. "Please"! I pleaded, "Don't shoot spitballs at the baby"! Little S ended up plastered with sticky balls of paper coated in spit anyway. Yuck.

The spitballs however, don't even begin to touch what Mr. Fantastic did that very same day. I had a basement full of children (5 of my own and 3 neighbor kids) and I hear C yell " Mooooommmmmm! Josh threw POOP on the ceiling"! I practically tripped over my own two feet in order to get downstairs as fast as I could. Sure enough, there was not only poop on the ceiling, but there was also poop on the stairs. So, while holding in my gags, I demanded to know the story behind why there was poop on the ceiling and whom did the poop belong to anyway?? Seems S had taken his diaper off by himself (which he does often...he's a diaper Houdini) and handed it to J. When J realized what exactly he had been handed, he threw it into the air where it hit the ceiling, leaving a smear, and then the open diaper tumbled down the stairs leaving a trail of baby poo pebbles. (thank goodness S has been constipated lately, so his poo is like something that a rabbit would leave) All of the kids in the basement said it was the most "disgusting thing" they had seen all day. I'd have to agree.

I tend to ask my kids a lot of questions. Over and over again. Here they are in somewhat of an order :

1. Did you pee on the seat? ( usually answered with a shoulder shrug or an avoidance of eye contact )

2. Did you flush? ( usually answered with the child being asked running back to the bathroom to flush )

3. Did you wash your hands? ( usually answered the same way as question #2. )

4. Did you hit (shove, bite, kick) your brother/sister? ( usually answered with "Yes, but it wasn't my fault")

5. Did you brush your teeth? ( usually answered by child throwing him/herself on the floor and yelling "But I cannnnn't brush my teeth, I can't find my toothbrush/paste" or "I wiiiillllll, laaaaater"! ) I just retort with "Okay, only brush the teeth you want to keep" or "The Tooth Fairy doesn't pay out for rotten teeth". For that, I just get a blank stare, but occasionally I'll get cooperation. Hey, I'll take what I can get!

I ask many, many more questions, but I wouldn't want to get carpal tunnel in my wrists from typing them all out.

I'm going to sign off for now, as I thought I saw the baby stuck on top of Mount Kilimanjaro (a.k.a., the laundry pile) in the hallway.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Because I Am A Superhero, After All

I hear over and over again each day..."I AM that HEEERO"! Little S has become quite fond of Warry boy (that's Larry Boy if you're not up on toddler talk). He asks to watch it several times a day by dragging me to the t.v. with his Veggie Tales DVD in hand, and sometimes he can actually sit for a few minutes and pay attention to it, when he's not 'accidentally' turning the t.v. off or changing the channel to fuzz. (we don't have cable) However, he has picked up enough to be completely enamored by Warry Boy. I (yes, me! *waving my hands in the air*) want to be my kids' hero. I (yes, me again!) want to don the purple cape and red suction cup ears to rescue them from the villains of this world. I don't want them looking to someone else with their innocent eyes and hearts to gain worldly wisdom. I know I can't stop it, but I sure can try!

We're coming up on a 4 day weekend here. The kids are looking forward to it with glee and delight. Me? Not so much. I suppose if it were exciting to look forward to constant fighting, teasing, screaming and bouncing off the walls, I would be ecstatic! I never thought that I would enjoy public school so much... (said with a little leap in my heart!)

Speaking of school, I can see that J is really struggling this year. Last year, he had such a free spirit and I know that he felt on top of the world--the way he bounded out of bed raring to go was all the proof I needed. This year, I have a teary kid that doesn't want to go to school much less do his homework. It takes a crane to pull him out of bed, and he just lingers over his breakfast and dawdles like a duck following it's mother. It's quite sad, really. I think I'll dial up my home school mom friends and get a little a advice on how to get the little guy back on track.

Not much else going on today... I suppose I should go and balance the checkbook to see if I can actually afford the $196.38 I spent at Sam's club today. I think I'll sign off to get a head start on sewing that purple cape before the kids get home from school. Anyone know where I can find red suction cup ears?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tantrum Tuesday

I think that it could be lucrative to create some kind of restraint device for 3 year olds that could hold them down in the midst of a tantrum. In regards to my particular 3 year old, a mouth guard to prevent self-biting would be a good idea as well. Heck, with all of the tantrums that go on in my house, it'd be great to have that restraint in a variety of sizes, so I didn't have to try and squeeze my 11 year old into a toddler sized one. (and here's a picture of The Queen Of Quite A Lot)

Seriously, little G threw a mega-sized tantrum this morning. Apparently, she doesn't understand why the neighbor girl doesn't get out of bed before 10am so they can play together. (quite frankly, neither do I!) She wasn't quite content to lounge on the couch and watch Sesame Street, she'd rather go and sit on the neighbor's porch and wait for the little girl to wake up. Uh, no. So, now I am nursing a headache and my ears are ringing from the very high pitched screams that emanated out of G so very early today. Sadly, I am in for more protests from her, as she's come down with a virus, so she won't be going out to play anyway!

R is still on the job hunt. It's not going very quickly though as he really doesn't have a lot of time to search and apply. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. We won't really end up in bankruptcy and foreclosure, will we?

E has another soccer practice today. I'm sure it's quite amusing for all of the other parents on the field to watch me chase around my kids hollering incessantly for them to stay away from the parking lot and to stop climbing every available tree, instead of just being able to watch their own kid chase the soccer ball. It's okay though, I am used to being a spectacle of sorts these days. Seems anywhere I go with all the kids, I get the look and stares from all of the 'perfect' families. Maybe they're not perfect so much. Maybe they just have it all together more than I do.

If anyone knows how to get me on Super Nanny, let me know.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Madness and Mayhem

I love Mondays. Most of them anyway. It's the day when my work week is over, and the school week begins! We have the usual chaos and such, as would anyone trying to get 75 people (okay, it's just 7, I exaggerated a bit) out the door by 7:30am. I still don't understand the process that goes on in the kids minds when I tell them they only have 30 minutes to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, comb their hair and gather their backpacks and lunches. Clearly, they hear in a different language than I am actually speaking because they walk around in circles not doing much of anything, especially not what I told them to do. I think in their language what I say about getting ready means 'to turn on the t.v., sit and stare at your bowl of oatmeal while picking your nose. Oh, and do it in your socks with your shirt on backwards and inside out. And one more thing, be sure not to comb your hair and put on your shoes, you won't be able to find them anyway since they are sitting by the front door in plain sight'. Maybe I should get their ears (and eyes) checked. Soon.

We went to a birthday party at the infamous Chuck E Cheese yesterday. I have a love/hate relationship with that place. I love it because we're almost always there for a birthday party for some child other than our own, so we don't have to pay for anything. I also love it that when you come in the front door, you are welcomed by a very loud and boisterous teenage girl who stamps a number in invisible ink on the left arm of each child and parent. We all had the number 63. What's great about this is that NO ONE other than the parent with the matching number can take your kid out of the restaurant. R and I had a great time knowing that we didn't have to constantly keep track of the kids, because they were not in danger of being pilfered through the front door by some desperate loon. The only thing I really hate about the place is that when it's time to go home, all the kids have a melt-down because they are not ready to leave. Ah well, such is life when all the kids are sugared up and hyped on fun.

I am starting as a volunteer at the school today. Somehow, my name and number were written in on the sign up sheet for lunch and recess monitor. Twice! I must have been in my weekly haze when that happened, because I'm not sure why I would've done that. No not really, I am looking forward to hanging out at school and making sure my kids eat their lunch and don't get bullied on the playground. (oh, and I suppose making sure that doesn't happen with all the other kids too!)

Signing off to catch up on laundry and to clean up the Legos in the living room before someone impales their foot with a tiny, plastic weapon.