Happy Birthday Mother Hen

Today I celebrated the 1st anniversary of my 30th birthday. A friend of mine told me I would love it: "You are going to LOVE being 31," she wrote as she told me she finally had life figured out. (Insert sarcasm as you will...) Well, I have to say I DO love being 31, especially with all the fun it has already brought (and by fun I mean loads of laundry and dishes and dirty diapers and running errands with 4 grouchy kids.) Now, friend of mine, I didn't get that pony you were talking about but I was given:

At 6:30 a.m.: An almost uninterrupted treadmill workout (unless, of course, Liam needing his diaper...and clothes, and blanket...changed, when I still had 24 minutes left to go, counts as interrupted....)

At 6:45 a.m.: The opportunity to spend quality time with the toilet as I developed the bulky arm muscles needed to give CPR......to a dying elephant.

At 7:15 a.m.: Cleaning up the aforementioned quality time. (Elephant not included.)

At 7:45 a.m.: The once-in-a-daytime chance of making pancakes for the kids. (I'll admit, Kurt did offer to make the breakfast and after I whipped up the homemade batter and made the pancake syrup from scratch, he did in fact flip the pancakes on the griddle and I only had to make him put the first batch back on for being undercooked.)

At 8:30 a.m.: The chance to sit quietly with Kurt and drink an (almost) gourmet iced-coffee (courtesy of Micky D's) while the kids played not-so-quietly in the play area (did I mention we were at McDonalds?...on my birthday...and I'm not 3...)

At 10:15 a.m.: The opportunity to buy my one-and-only birthday present: Face Paints. (Madeline helped me decide what I wanted...) And just for the record, it was one of the best birthday gifts ever (if you are 5) and the kids thought our little family soiree was fabulous. (Aidan had already explained to me that his gift was that he was going to be good all day...and he was...mostly....so long as Madeline didn't get in the way...) 

At 10:45 a.m: The awesome first run at painting little trinkets on my kids' hands with my fabulous new paints.

At 11:00 a.m.: Speaking of fabulous, I had the chance to heat up left overs for the better-hurry-up-and-feed-us-before-we-get-cranky-kids...doh, too late...while Kurt finished waxing his car (presumably for the hot date we would have later...)

At 12:00 p.m.: The fantastic trip to Target, with the aforementioned 4 cranky kids, to pick up chocolate (for Kurt) where I learned that the silicon Lily Padz I had on, you know, the ones that are supposed to keep nursing moms from leaking all over, don't work for me...darn that black shirt!

At 12:30 p.m.: The opportunity to nurse a screaming baby in the truck, in the heat of the day, with 3 other kids strapped into the back....in the parking lot...of Target...

At 1:00 p.m.:  FIVE GOLDEN RINGS! Oh wait, no, we just picked up the cake from Costco (which the kids had outvoted me on 3 to 1 yesterday when they decided the vanilla filling was better than the strawberry filling...but at least I got to pick the color of the flowers Aidan chose for the top...) 

At 1:30 p.m.: CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! 

At 2:00 p.m.: Round two of the paints: This time it was all Super Heroes...
At 2:30 p.m.: Kurt realized he didn't want to miss out on the party so he took a shot at the face paints...

And in case you couldn't tell, the best way to keep a 3 year old still enough to paint their face is to get a good grip around their neck...like a chicken...

I'd keep going but the most exciting thing that came up later was when my glass Pyrex liquid measuring cup exploded in my hand when I lifted it out of the dishwasher...Have I mentioned how much fun it is to clean up glass on tile and hardwood floors? And stepping right down on a piece of it....oh, good times...

And then there was our big night out...to the wing joint...you know, the one with TV's playing.... so we (and by we I mean Kurt) could watch the Stanley Cup....DARN THOSE CHICKENS (I mean, Penguins) for losing! Kurt said that them winning was going to be my present...I asked him what the backup plan was but apparently he put all his eggs in that one basket. Good thing I got me some face paints earlier because otherwise I may have felt really let down...

But, in all seriousness, it was a wonderful day and I wouldn't have spent it any other way. I especially wouldn't have gotten a massage or taken a long, quiet walk on the beach or enjoyed a good comedy or a fine restaurant. Nope, not me. It's been 31 years full of grace. 

                                                      And what could be better than this?


Cluck cluck cluck

Sometimes, when I am talking to my kids, I feel like I would be better off talking to chickens. Take this morning for example. Madeline and I were cleaning up her room and we found these itty-bitty, white beads all over her bed, obviously having come out of something stuffed. After searching high and low, I found the culprit: the stitching of a little princess pillow had come open and the beads were spilling out. Fortunately, there was a zipper that would conceal the hole, if only kept closed. 

"Madeline, you need to keep this closed so the beads don't spill out," I told her as I zipped it up. 

"It's a zzzzzipper mom!" she exclaims. 

"Yes, I see that and it needs to stay closed so the beads don't fall out of the hole in the pillow," I repeat. 

"Will they come out and sting us?" she says, apparently not quite getting it. 

"Not bees Madeline, beads," I articulate. 

"Oh, can we eat the beans?" she asks. 

"Bea-duh Madeline, beads, not beans," I say. 

"Oh, are we going to make a necklace?" she asks enthusiastically. 

Cluck, cluck, cluck...


And at the school, she was a chicken

The human body can make all but 9 amino acids essential for proper functioning. The egg contains all 9 of the amino acids we cannot make in almost the exact proportions we need. The egg could be the perfect protein for human consumption. 

We have been trying to cut back on spending recently. So, I pulled out my favorite cookbook, More-With-Less Cookbook (World Community Cookbook) (which always gives me warm fuzzy feelings about those Mennonites) and because I forgot what I was going to look for, I began reading, from the beginning. It was during this quiet journey to the cereal section ("oh yeah! I was going to make granola") that I read about chicken eggs as protein and how great they truly are. I brought it up at dinner last night but I don't know that Kurt fully heard me (and I never got to asking him if we could buy some chickens) as he was too busy thinking how that one meal summed up our children: Madeline pranced off to go potty and came back in giggling while twirling her pants around in front of her, (most likely singing a little show tune in her head); Aidan, having thoroughly enjoyed Madeline's moment and being all-knowledgeable about such matters, went into monologue about how she could do it better and faster if she would twirl the pants the other direction; meanwhile, Lily had half a chunk of watermelon sticking out of her mouth and was trying to make some sort of guttural, animal-like sounds; and Liam, well, he was fed (i.e. content.) 

So, today, (having not been "summed-up" at the dinner table myself), I was dropping Aidan off at school when my nose noticed Lily really needed a new diaper. We were in a rush to get Madeline to her drop-off on time so I quickly got Lily still in the car long enough to take the stinky diaper off. I said a little prayer of thanksgiving that it was not smooshed (sorry for the graphics) because I had no wipes on hand; just some kleenex. As I switched out the old diaper for the new one, I saw, from the corner of my eye, a little ball (of excrement) roll out of the car. It landed on my running board. So I swooped down to pick it up with the diaper, and stepped back, right on the OTHER little ball that had apparently rolled out incognito, onto the ground, behind me... And of course, I was wearing running shoes!

So there I was, in the parking lot, stomping around in the puddles, rubbing my shoe on the curb, walking through the grass and ground coverage, a cluck-cluck here and a cluck-cluck there, here a cluck, there a cluck, everywhere a cluck-cluck, anything I could think of to get my child's feces off the bottom of my shoe. (And of course, my plan after drop-offs was to go to the chiropractor's office for some PT and adjustments where he'd be close enough to my shoes to know that something was not quite sanitary). I would be lying if I said no one noticed the crazy lady trampling around the parking lot in her gym clothes. One guy seemed skeptical of parking next to me while another drove up and asked if I had stepped in dog poop. Gee, thanks for not looking the other way out of the urge to prevent some stranger's embarrassment. 

Fortunately, Madeline's drop-off requires a walk through gravelly sand, perfect for finishing the job. And when the chiropractor told me to start heating my back two to three times daily with moist heat (like a hot shower, or soak in a jacuzzi...because you know, I don't have 4 kids or anything...) I knew he was oblivious enough that he may not have noticed the stink anyway. 

As for chicken eggs, apparently I am not eating enough of them to keep all brain cells functioning properly but at least I put on a good shoe, I mean, show. And what a graceful one it is...E-I-E-I-OOOOOOOO!


Chicken Fit

Fit: A sudden outburst of emotion...or what comes over Madeline anytime Aidan looks at her, or gets too close to her, or suggests that he may do any of these things in the next century, or worse yet, LOOKS OUT HER WINDOW! 

A few weeks ago, my brother-in-law came to visit for a week or so while the three brothers went on a brother trip, driving all over the west coast to see the band Rush: 6 concerts, 9 days. (Go ahead...I'd be silently judging them too if I hadn't already said it all out loud....)

Anyway, Owl, as our kids affectionately refer to him, is now in the running for the Most-Helpful-House-Guest-of-the-Year award and given how much company we have in a typical year, this is an honor I am certain he would stick up on his office wall...you know, between his Harvard diploma and his Medical degree. I can seriously understand why one might hire daily help, even if they couldn't really afford it...I might go without a meal or two (a day!) as well if I had someone doing the dishes, folding the clothes, watching the kids and offering medical support on a regular basis (See Owl? You didn't need to go to med-school; you'd have made a top-notch housekeeper....or grandma...)

At any rate, while Zizi Owl was here, he consumed more milk than all three of my older kids combined. Granted, Madeline prefers soy milk and Aidan only uses milk to coat his bowl of sugar, I mean, cereal, in the morning. But still...it is impressive to watch a grown man put down that much milk everyday. (We might even consider renting a milking-cow next time he comes out.) At one point, Aidan asked why he drank milk and Owl explained the health benefits, and Aidan must have heard something like this: "blah blah blah, biggest and strongest ever, blah blah, stronger than God, blah blah blah..." because within a week of Owl's departure Aidan started pouring himself a glass of milk first thing in the morning. (He is also the kid who not only asked for but ate an entire plate of raw spinach after watching Popeye.) This small act of positive role-modeling would surely have won Owl the Distinguished House Guest award had Aidan not come up to me the other day and said, "Mom, you want to know why I am the biggest and strongest?"

"Why's that, Aidan?"

"Because I am drinking milk," he said.

"That's great, Aidan," I replied.

"Yeah, that's why Madeline gets even more hurt when I do bad stuff to her now."

Ah. Perhaps next time, Dr. Owl needs to be a little more specific about what we use our big, strong, milk muscles for. That way I'm not left to clean up the chicken fit:


Like Cheese Covered Chicken Soup?

Lily has the potential to be a very funny child. Now, I'll admit most kids are pretty cute around 2 and I will also admit, it is one of my favorite developmental stages (not the terrible part but all the other stuff) but Lily, well, she's above and beyond and I am not biased or anything...no, really, I'm not...Lily cracks everyone up. I don't know if it is the fact that she is this tiny ball of pure Herculean muscle:
(Note the triceps...in case they didn't hit you in the face already that is...)

Or maybe it is how quick she thinks to do funny things. Take last night for example. I had given the girls each a cup full of frozen Gogurts to finish filling them up before bedtime and at some point between the end of dinner and getting back to the bedrooms, Lily had run back and tucked the half-full cup into her bed, um, because she could? (Or maybe because she feared I would forget to feed them breakfast again...who forgets to feed their kids breakfast? That is about the most primitive of motherly duties yet somehow, I had gotten them half way to school yesterday before I about drove off the road in realization that I FORGOT TO FEED THE KIDS BREAKFAST! "Well, no wonder we are running so early," I said aloud...my bad. Times like those make me regret having vacuumed the car out...) 

Anyway, I am guessing Lily's trip to the bedroom happened when Madeline requested a fork for her Gogurt. 

"Get me a fork, Mom. I need a fork," Madeline had squealed. 

"Try again, Madeline," was my response.

"Will you get me a fork please, Mom," Madeline asked in her micro-Minnie Mouse voice. As I got up from the table to grant her this one and only wish, she clarified, "I want a clean fork, not a dirty one. Please." (You know, because I make it a habit to give my children previously used, unwashed, eating utensils...) 

Anyway, it must have been that interaction that had given Lily a moment to go unnoticed.... (because, she never climbs up on the kitchen counter, finds pricey pieces of chocolate and unwraps them, devours them and then excitedly points out where she has smeared some ALL OVER THE KITCHEN...) 

At any rate, after I put a small dollop of toothpaste on each of the kids' brushes, I went to fulfill my nightly turn-down service and there was Lily's cup, of yogurt, in her bed, next to her pillow. Meanwhile, back in the bathroom, Lily had already gotten ahold of all 3 toothbrushes, just long enough to have a little minty dessert from each one. (Again, perhaps just in case?) But, she's funny like that. And when she sees me taking her cup of Gogurt back to the kitchen, well, she put up her dukes, ready for a fight, bulky triceps and all. But since we don't live in a pigsty after all (wink, wink, Mom/Grandma) I don't budge on food in the bedrooms.

"I want water, iced, Mama," she said, in surrender.

"Ok, but stay in your bed or..." 

"To the CRIB!" she exclaims, pointing to the other room, one leg in the air and a sinister grin taking over her tiny face as she jumps down onto the pillow. 

Well, at least someone is listening to me. Now, if I can just get her to actually stay in bed so that when I come in to check on them, she's not eye to eye with me, having climbed up to the very top of their kitchen set...that will be a good night. 

Another shining example of Lily's endearing character was our little trip to Wal-Mart this morning (yeah, yeah, not only are we a mostly un-green family, outside of a shoddy attempt at recycling, but we support the evil capitalists as well...)  The Wal-Mart here has these tiny little user-un-friendly shopping carts, barely able to squeeze in my two small girls, their shoes and Bear-Bear. Liam, sleeping soundly in the carseat was on the top part where a kid might usually fit so I could see nothing in the cart or in front of us. All we wanted were some granola bars and Progresso Soup....and then some cereal, bubble bath, animal crackers, "Oooo, the megaboxes of Goldfish are on sale! And look at those cute cheddar whales!", baking powder, sweet relish ("Oh, not the breakable jar, let's get the squeezable one"), "Mommy, can we get a REAL fish?" ("No.") and, well, you get my impulsive-shopping point...(sorry Kurt, but I did stop myself when the art supply aisle started whispering sweet nothings in my ear...) And then, because the screaming and the gnashing of teeth and claws had become so unbearably loud, it was time to check out. And that is when I peeked around the car-seat to see the girls, having just escaped from an explosion at the Baking Powder factory, practicing for their next WWF match (my money's on Lily)...did you know that Baking Powder conceals bloody scratches down the cheek? And when I finally found the lid to the powder, I was met with a load of slimy green boogers...(yeah, that is gross...especially since I can only assume they were Lily's and not some other kid's whose smart and savvy mom thought twice about putting that into her cart with her kid...) 

And the white-washed Lily looks up at me, smiling and says, "Goldfish, please." 

And just for the record, those cheddar Wal-Mart whales, that Lily has already swept up with the dust pan, (the one I got for Christmas), missed the trash completely and decided to eat instead, taste a little like cheese covered chicken soup...

...better than the baking powder though...



Rocky, the flying rooster

In 2000, the movie Chicken Run came out: an animation about chickens trying to escape the coop. It is quite funny, (if you are 3 or 4...or 30...), and it is hard not to laugh at the "cockiness" of Rocky, the rooster (the voice of Mel Gibson), whom the chickens mistakenly think can fly because they didn't see the missing corner of a flyer that shows the cannon he blasts out of. He plays it up until he realizes he is going to fail them miserably and he runs away. The funny thing is, if it was so easy for him to get away, how come there was an entire movie based on the chickens trying to escape?

Today is one of those cliche days that just makes you feel sunny. The sun is shining, the air is clear, it's warm but not ridiculously so and well, it's hard for the average human not to feel utter happiness on days like today. I have to give it to CA, we do get a lot of these days here. They are great days for feeding ants with melting popsicles (Madeline) and chasing large black "stinkbug" beetles while singing "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love you, Tomorrow" before taking a foot to it (Lily). They are great for sleeping contentedly in front of breezy windows (Liam) and even for setting booby traps and then calling for your innocent sisters to come set them off (Aidan). And they are especially great for hosting a mom's party, just because you feel like it (me).

At the brunch, one of the moms asked me about how I stay calm with so many kids.

"What kids?" I asked realizing I had no idea where any of mine were, outside of Liam being fed by a friend (with a bottle of course!) But seriously, I am like Rocky, the flying rooster. I sometimes look like I can fly; I appear to have flown in; but things aren't always what they seem.

Take yesterday for example. It is apparent to me that the world is coming to an end. First there was Burma and the tragic cyclone. Then there was China and that devastating earthquake. You can find fires in FL and I am certain more will start up right here in CA if you give it a few weeks. But what really made me realize the world was in trouble was when Madeline came screaming in:

"MOMMMMMMMY! Get her, get her, GEEEEEET HER! She spilled them on the floor, she spilled them on the floooooooor AND SHE'S GOING TO EEEEEEEEEEEAT THEM! HELLLLP!"

Like most flying roosters, the rate of my heart actually did go up a notch or two, but I calmly said, "Madeline, what are you talking about? Please tell me in your quiet voice."

I'm surprised she didn't shout: "THIS IS MY QUIET VOICE LADY!" but she did manage a few calm words, "Lily is GOING TO EAT MY GOLDFISH! STOP HER! HURRRY, QUICK...LOOOOOK!" She frantically pointed under the table where Madeline's beloved goldfish were swimming on the ground, just hopping into Lily's mouth by the dozens. It wouldn't have been so funny if this hadn't been the THIRD type of Goldfish they were munching on yesterday. They had decided to enjoy some Whole Wheat Goldfish for breakfast and since it was one of those mornings, (you know the holy-crap-what-was-I-thinking-when-I-decided-to-have-another-kid-who-thinks-sleep-is-for-the-birds mornings) I looked the other way (hey, they have whole wheat somewhere on that ingredients list...). Then, at snack they wanted the Rainbow Colored Goldfish. And of course, a run to Target sent us snacking on Cheddar Blasted Goldfish in order to balance out our diet. I would have thought by this point in the day, Madeline would have been pouring them under the table and begging Lily to finish them off for her. I know I was sick of them and I don't even eat Goldfish.

So, when Madeline came out from quiet time today and said, "Mom, am I hun-gary?"

I said, "I don't know. Are you and what would you like if you are?" I did NOT expect my small central European country to want more Goldfish.

"Goldfish, and granola bars and pancakes," she says. "Get off your bum bum mommy," she continues as she tries to push me off my chair in the direction of the snack cabinets. All I could do was chuckle.


Ms. Montoya has died. (In case you are one of those people who has better things to do than to keep up with this blog on a regular basis, Ms. Montoya was the black widow spider living in our house.) After narrowly escaping the suction of a high powered vacuum, having her home completely destroyed and then, like the people in flood planes, hurricane zones, earthquake and tornado territory, rebuilt the web in the EXACT same spot, she was taken by surprise today by a flying piece of toilet paper. Having survived the initial attack, she made one last ditch effort to escape by jumping toward the arm attached to the paper. The last thing she heard was a man's yelp of surprise and then a loud flush as she was swept away in a downward spiral. 

We're still checking the toilet upon every use just to be sure she didn't somehow find a way out...ok, so maybe that's just me...but seriously, spiders are pretty clever creatures...you just never know...

That puts us at 8, plus two unknown. 

Where was I...oh yes, Madeline. Madeline has become quite the bug person actually. She walks around petting all the "good" spiders. (Thank you Kurt for showing her how you can touch the cellar spiders in the garage because they won't hurt you..one of them in particular got so annoyed recently that when she went looking for it to pet for the dozenth time before going inside, it had left a "Dear John" note telling her she was becoming a little too clingy...and then vacated the premises. Perhaps that's how we ought to get rid of the ravenous rabbits...just leave Madeline out to pet them.)

Actually, we (as a family) have become so spider obsessed that even Lily calls any little creature that moves "spider." Today, we were outside when Lily started squealing: "Spider mommy, spider!" and jumping up and down while pointing in the flowers. Upon inspection, I told her, "No Lily, that is called a lizard."

"Oh, lilard," she repeated. "Liiiiiiilard." But when the 'lilard' ran off, she started chasing it, yelling, "Come ear spider! Come ear!" 

Close enough. 

And when my friends realize that, like Lily's lilard, I have taken off from wherever we are without saying goodbye, (again) they will also realize that just like them, I can't fly. And just like them, I, too, have a breaking point...that point where "calm" just doesn't make sense any longer. I just try to keep that corner of the flyer tucked away as much as possible. 


Mother's Day is NOT for the birds

For the birds-a saying that suggests something is meaningless or trivial

To all the mothers out there: Happy Mother's Day! 

Today, I enjoyed a full day with my children. We watched cartoons and cleaned the house. We went to church and played outside. We dug our hands in the dirt of our garden and replanted the pea plants so that they could climb along the fence rather than knot themselves together on the ground. We marveled over the little pods already growing on the vine (ok, truth be told, I did the marveling while Madeline and Lily collected snails and Aidan tried tying them up with dental floss) and I thought, "Wow, we grew those peas from seeds and look at them now!" And then I skipped inside with the tune of Smurfs la-la-ing in my head, wildly waving a pea pod in the air to show Hubbie Smurf and his brothers because I was THAT excited about our teensy weensy success, (knowing that when they are finally ready to eat, it will be all of ONE meal's worth of peas, minus the one I already pulled off, of course) and Brainy, after giving me a smurfy high-five, says, "You shouldn't pick them because they aren't ready yet." ...and just then I heard a little fizzle as the joy started to slowly deflate from my soul...

But then, on my way back out, it hit me that, wow, I grew these four beautiful children, far more impressive then at least a dozen green peas (that I am guessing the kids will spit out anyway), and look at THEM now! And then Hubbie Smurf redeemed himself by pointing out Lily: on her tip-toes, diaper hanging low from the weight of the sand in it, swinging a broom 3 times her body length at our make-shift bird feeder (a.k.a. Tupperware hanging from the tree) as if it were a pinata. I then noticed Aidan, squatting in his underwear to dig up dirt that would later find its way into Lily's mouth causing her to upchuck all over the yard and Madeline prancing around in her pretty, pink, velvety princess nightgown, holding a snail, and I smiled inside and out. Why would I want to spend Mother's Day in any other way?

To me, the greatest thing about being a mom is knowing that your life has meaning...sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it.


Flying the Coop

to fly the coop-to leave somewhere

They make Infant Tylenol. They make Children's Motrin. You'd think a little Baby Ambien would be in high demand. At least then, I may have come home from my once-a-year-better-make-it-count "Mom's Night Out" to soundly sleeping kids, complete with flying little z's streaming from their heads, instead of the wall-bouncing, bed-jumping monkeys I found hanging from the ceiling looking like they had just been in a boxing match...actually, that was just Lily who, not wanting to be shown up by her sister, decided a good head banging was on Daddy's Babysitting menu for the night. (I mean, it has only been what, all of a month since her last incident? It was high time...) Although I wasn't there, I think it went something like this:

3 little kiddies jumping on the bed
Lily fell forward and hit her head
Daddy called the doctor (thankfully in the next room)
and the doctor said: No more kiddies jumping on the bed!

As luck may have it, good ol' Doctor Zizi Owl was on Liam-duty and able to treat the damaged left eye to half a band-aid and a shot of "nulk." And just for the record, my maternal instincts kicked in only long enough to chase it with a teaspoon of Infant Tylenol, which in some cases does act a little like a sleep aide...thankfully, this was one such case. A little Tylenol makes a swollen little eye feel a little better...apparently that helps a little person get a little sleep. And then, after completing the evening with the magical powers of a mommy hug and kiss, I was overcome by a huge sense of relief because the little incident DIDN'T HAPPEN ON MY WATCH! YES! Finally...

And in case my sweet, dear hubbie thinks this will make me less-likely to go out in the future, think again. As much as I love watching Lily perfect the breaststroke in the sand, or help Madeline sort through her bucket of carefully collected LIVE SNAILS, or argue with Aidan over whether or not he can see a smell, every mom needs to fly the coop ever so often, to pave the path for the kids to do the same later (or is it just for a shot of sanity and a dose of adult conversation?) The only difference is, unlike my children in their future "adulthood, here I come" days, I'll always find my way back home. I mean, someone has to remember to dispense the meds!

And the next morning...I found Lily, singing a little something like this:

"In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains."


Casualty Count

Our current Black Widow Hunting count is: 1 HUGE mama widow, 1 medium sized, 2 fairly young ones, 3 for sure widow spiderlings and 2 "unknown-but-possibly-venomous-so-had-to-smash-them-just-in-case" spiderlings. We also have 1 spotted in a rusted out hole in our front gate but have been unable to make the kill due to location and we are still on the lookout for the widow in the baby's room....Oh, and I also found a suspicious looking spider in my half-awake state in the bathroom last night so I will try to get that one tonight when she comes back out to hang upside down on her web. (I am pretty sure I saw a light hourglass on her belly but it was hard to tell through my drowsy eyes at 2 a.m. Apparently, my vision was boycotting the whole event.)

More on this later...


Kind of Like an Egg Hunt

Scenario: It's 6:30 a.m. and already the kids toilet is backed up.

"Who wants to help me fix the toilet?" I say with a hint of excitement in my voice. Three hands shoot up as the kids simultaneously shout, "Me! Me!"

It's too bad I can't seem to get the same reaction when it is time to eat green vegetables or pick up a Mt. Everest of toys in the middle of the room. But, taking advantage of the moment, I let each child try to plunge the toilet once before I finish the job and then enthusiastically announce, "Ok, let's clean the bathroom, too."

"Yay!" the kids shout. Seriously. They are still like that. They all take turns spraying the Clorox Clean-Up (yeah, yeah, we're all gonna die a terrible, "un-green" death) and then they all attempt to scrub down the toilet. Have I mentioned how much I love my kids? Who else would so eagerly clean the scum (and other stuff) in the bathroom WITHOUT GETTING PAID? Aidan even went as far as to make MY bed for me one day. Rock on! I just knew there would be perks to this kid thing...

So, later today I thought maybe I oughta give the cleaning thing another go while we're on a roll. I pull out a huge trash bag, find the girls playing on the patio and announce we are going on a trash hunt, which is kind of like an egg hunt but not really. "Yippee!" the girls cheer. I look down and Madeline is holding a huge black caterpillar that she is making "play" with her Fisher Price Little People.

"Is it dead?" I ask.

"Oh no mommy. It's not dead," Madeline answers. "It just doesn't walk anymore." And she took great care to secure her highly crippled, not-breathing friend in her fist so as not to lose him while we are searching for things to get rid of.

Fortunately, our neighbor was out, (same guy who buried the rabbit) and Madeline wanted to introduce him to her furry, still and slightly stiff friend. Afterwards, I ask her if maybe we should bury the little guy.

"Yeah!" she screeches. "He needs to be buried! Mr. Richard, do you know how to bury things?"

So, he buried her caterpillar right then and there. And I heard a sweet little song in the back of my head: "Oh caterpillar, dear caterpillar. You are dead. You won't turn into a butterfly. La la la..."

We continued our trash pick-up and pretty soon we arrived at our pathetic little garden. We had tried our hand this year at planting edible items in a little 5 ft by 3 ft patch of dirt. Having noticed that the rabbits and snails were not interested in waiting until harvest time to munch, I had sprayed all our plants with a mixture of water, dish soap, baking powder and garlic. I couldn't help but snicker as I now saw the naked stems of our zucchini plants poking out of the ground. My neighbor asked what was funny and I told him to be on the lookout for bubble burping bunnies because I had mistakenly sprayed down my garden with Mr. Rabbit's favorite dressing. So much for going "organic"...Maybe I ought to have tried spraying the plants down with the Clorox instead....it seems to keep things from eating our toilets anyway. :)