Lucky Charms, take two

"Mom, is this a head-horse?" Madeline asks, holding up a Lucky Charms marshmallow.

"A what?" I ask.

"A head-horse!" she exclaims. I go over to see what she is talking about.

"Oh, you mean a horseshoe," I reply, quite amused.

"Oh, horseshoe," she repeats.

"Yes, I think that is what it is," I say, going back to the dishes.

A few minutes later Madeline asks, "Is this a head-horse, too?"

"Horseshoe, Madeline. Horseshoe," I reply.

"Right, horseshoe," she repeats.

Lily chimes in, holding up what is very obviously a pink heart. "What's this?" she asks.

"That's a heart, Lily," I answer.

Madeline holds up a new one and says, "And this must be an octopus."

Right. Pink hearts, purple horseshoes, blue moons....and multi-colored Octopuses. Somehow, I doubt General Mills will give them the magically delicious seal anytime soon.


Microwave and Dishwasher Safe

I had a dream this morning that I was in a shopping cart on a very bumpy road. I don't know who was driving but it didn't seem as important as the "dunt-dunt-dunt-dunt-dunt-dunt-dunt-dunt-dunt" sensation. 

So you could look at that dream in several ways. Kurt thought it funny that I was the one in the shopping cart. 

"Why were you in the cart?" he asked, as if I had purposefully placed myself in the cart for some deep and meaningful reason.

You could analyze it as me feeling out of control of my life. You could assume I was sitting there in terror over being trapped in a cart which is speeding down an unknown but often tumultuous road. Or, you could shrug it off as just my brain feeding off one of my favorite parts of yesterday: Liam singing in the shopping cart at Costco since it had a bum wheel and made for a rickety-rackety ride. "Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhhh" and grinning from ear to ear, he thought it was most excellent.

Yesterday was one of those days that was so (mostly) successful that I thought about calling it a day by 10:30 a.m. 

It all started with my Pyrex glass measuring cup exploding in the microwave. I guess the stamp on the bottom that used to read "Microwave Safe" had an unreadable footnote that said *so long as the microwave is OFF. After cleaning up the mess and proceeding to make birthday waffles for Aidan (in your face Pyrex!) the day was off to an excellent start. (I must note this is the second Pyrex measuring cup that has exploded in my presence in the last year. The first was coming out of the dishwasher....hmmm, they claim to be Dishwasher Safe, too. You'd think I would have questioned the Microwave bit...)

By 10:30 however, I had gotten Aidan off to school, taken the girls to pick up birthday treats for his class, dropped them off, successfully stopped in at the DMV to get a new license (which in any other state could take an entire day only to be told you don't have the right forms of identification), dropped by a dear friend's workplace to say hello, then by the Senior Center for Free Bread Day, and completed a trip to Costco. There was not one melt-down by the children to be had and when we got home I found that my email to the Snow Racer company about an incomplete tool set had been received well and there was a new tool set on its way to us in the mail. After giving myself proverbial high fives in the air, I decided perhaps I'd just let well enough alone and throw in the day's towel. Kurt arrived home a little early yet dinner was already in progress because I was a little ahead of myself, and still feeling like my day had been tremendously successful. 

Had someone walked into my house, observed the lack of orderliness, the unswept kitchen floors, the mess in the living room and the three foot pile of toys and clothes laying in the hall way, I am guessing they'd have had a different view of things but then, they didn't start their day with Pyrex blowing up at them now did they?!

Thinking a little more about my shopping cart dream, I recall feeling no terror but more of an excitement as I enjoyed the ride, bumpy roads and all. So when I came in from taking Aidan to the bus stop this morning, only to find a fat-lipped Liam in a pool of tears, his sisters wildly mopping up the little bit of blood on the floor and off of the breast of his stuffed monkey, I still had a calm about me. I picked up our Hobbit and imagining a missed Graceful Like a Chicken forward dive, I asked, "Madeline, what happened?" 

"Mom," she said, most sincerely. "The wood floor did it!"

And although I believed her, I am certain there is a footnote on her somewhere that reads: *And if you believe that, try me in the Microwave. 


The Missing Piece

"Hmmm, I know I had another piece of cracker around here somewhere...."

"Is it under the rug perhaps?"


"Any ideas???"


Faithful Hen

Remember Mr. Bill on SNL? He recently appeared in this Master Card Commercial that, after today, I fully identify with. 

Ever had a day that left you wondering why you bothered getting out of bed? 

I awoke to find out that my female cycle is now, oddly, as punctual as I usually prefer to be, in other things anyway; instead of 36 days we have moved to a perfect 28. I might have known this had I had more than one cycle between any of my pregnancies but alas, I did not. BUT had I known this, I might have been more prepared this morning rather than stuck wondering, "Hmmm, now what?" Nothing a quick trip to the store can't remedy, right?

After the rude awakening, I went downstairs thinking maybe I'd get my run in before the kids awoke. I think I might have made it down to the kitchen before Aidan but then, it's hard to tell because my eyes were still a little unfocused from turning the light on and he was already sitting there on the floor at my feet wishing me a good morning. So much for the run. 

No biggie...except the rest of the kids were down in a matter of moments, Kurt narrowly escaping the stampede. I told them they could have anything they wanted for breakfast....as long as I didn't have to make it....and I could pour it out of a box....oh, and they'd have to get their own milk. Lily chose Kix and Lucky Charms, neither of which she ate. Madeline picked at Lucky Charms and reheated pancakes that Aidan ended up eating after he finished his Chex. And Liam enjoyed some Tasteeos (think Cheerios that don't break the bank nor seem to ever go stale.....hmmm....)

When it was time to get Aidan to the bus stop, I hurried him through getting his coat and bag together and we headed out. We quickly found out that the driveway, no longer a hard, asphalt surface but a slick, sheer mountainside, had become something out of an extreme sport! We went slipping and sliding down. I fortunately ended up with my backside on a patch of ice whereas Aidan had the great luck of falling into the only existent puddle within 100 yards in either direction, completely drenching his pants. I grabbed him up, and since we had about 1 minute before the bus was to arrive, we ran (if you can call what penguins do running) back inside to find any other pair of pants in sight and got him changed for school.

After getting Aidan to the bus stop (right in the nick of time), I came back to get the girls ready for my church group and found that Lily had dropped her stuffed kitty into the toilet AFTER ALREADY GOING POTTY! Of course, she didn't mention that until AFTER she had handed it to me, dripping....ick.

I put the kitty in the sink, ran some water on it and made a mental note to deal with it later before hopping onto the treadmill where I realized that running was no longer an option since my back was messed up from the fall outside. With no time to shower if I wanted to get to church on time, I packed the kids in the car, had my daily 10 minute struggle to get the garage door down and drove to church. As we were walking in, Lily fell off the curb and into the only mud in the entire parking lot. Ugh.

At this point I am laughing because, seriously?

Today's discussion in Mom's group was about faith; more specifically, how much of a role God actually plays in all the little details of life. Is God just an everlasting presence, having very little to do with the manipulation of things that happen to us or is God more integral, arranging things to happen in such a way in order to get us to some final destination that we may or may not ever understand anyway? Or is God watching on, making good come out of the things that happen, although not necessarily the cause of those things? And how do we trust God with our lives when we can't even get down our driveways without wrenching our backs out? Where is God when we could use a little divine intervention, like yesterday when Lily happened to walk in front of the sled carrying Madeline and Aidan down a super speedy hill, and she happened to get pummeled, flying into the air, feet over head like a ragdoll, landing on her face??? Or was the divine intervention the fact that she came out of it with no more than some bruises, a scraped up chin and a huge respect (i.e. fear) for sleds?

Anyway, the group is always a highlight of our week: the kids play, I get fed spiritually and we all leave happy. Except of course today when we walked out to the car only to find I had misplaced my car keys. After going through all my pockets, back inside the church to check the floor, the lost and found, under chairs and tables, and then back outside, through the drizzle, to see if somehow they were still in the car and back inside to retrace all my steps, AGAIN, I finally found them in the chair I had already checked twice! 40 minutes after the search began, we were in the car ready to drive home in the mist-like rain, crawl into bed AND DIE!

Actually, we were SUPPOSED to make that quick trip to the store but since we no longer had time, it was back home for lunch and then off to take Madeline to her school at which point I was ready to just come on home and take some time to breathe....deep......breaths....while Lily enjoyed a full hour of Dora. (Sorry Kurt but I so needed that!)

Recharged, we were off to pick up Aidan so that we could get to Madeline's class early to read books. Aidan however, forgetting he wasn't supposed to get on the bus and having to jump off at the last moment, was the very LAST kid out which meant we got to watch the entire fleet of buses exit before us...by now, it was raining and we had to get to the preschool which is 10 minutes away, in 5 minutes. No such luck, but we still had time to read to the class. On the way home I noticed it was warm enough today to rain (woo hoo!) but that meant the snow was now melting  and Aidan's sledding birthday party in 6 days was most likely going to be thawed out. Not woo hoo....

Finally at home, I had one phone call I really needed to make. It was 3:55, the kids were playing nicely downstairs and I had regained some of my sanity, so I called the county office responsible for working with families to get adequate health care for their kids. I sat there for 10 minutes, listening to the pleasant hold music when the recorded voice came on and said:

"If you already have a case number, please hang up and call again. Press the first option and dial your case number so we may serve you faster."

Ok. I hung up the phone, redialed, listened to the ring and then got this:

"The office answers calls Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our office is now closed." 

Gotta love the Government. I sure hope they get to spend several hundred billion dollars on whatever they want....

At that point, the kids came up screaming so that I had no time to say aloud what my brain was yelling....divine intervention perhaps? Probably not. But this is where faith comes in handy. You see, though God had a good ol' time with us today (I hope you enjoyed it, God!), I am still thankful for His presence in my life. Who knows....I could still be looking for those darn car keys!

(Plus, forget the ponies, there must be a Clydesdale Ranch around here somewhere!)


Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with yo
u. -Kool & the Gang

Steelers 27; Cardinals 23; Liam 1!

WOO HOO! Go Steelers! (And Liam!)

Last weekend was a weekend for celebrating in our house. Saturday, Liam turned one. And because we want to encourage him to embrace his true heritage, we wanted to go with a HUGE party involving a magic ring and lots of fireworks. But, since our budget didn't allow it, we gave him second breakfast and elevenses instead. 

Seriously though, we made some pretty poor cupcakes, which he didn't seem to think much of and which were quite terrible compared to what we would make for the Super Bowl:

 And then we pulled him around outside on his sled, which he apparently loved: 

And that was about it, other than a gift or two that people sent from afar and that his siblings took great delight in opening on their own. Turning one is a much different experience as a forth child than it is as a first child. Looking on the bright side though, his birthday fell on a weekend which meant NO SHOTS! Woo hoo!

The next day was Super Bowl Sunday. As we sat watching the game, almost bored for a second or two, our kids were down in the basement enjoying a movie. They came up around half-time and after giving them one last pre-bedtime Super Bowl snack....I rushed to get them all bathed and put up for the night. (Aidan got to stay up since he is the most interested in actually watching and has the ability to stay quiet, sometimes.) 

So when Fitzgerald caught the pass that lead to a touchdown that put Arizona in the lead, our house broke into utter chaos. Well, technically, Kurt broke into utter chaos (putting it nicely) and he retreated down to the basement where the expletives could spew forth unnoticed, kind of.

After quickly apologizing to our guest, a long time friend of Kurt's, I scooted Aidan upstairs, aiming for a very rapid bedtime routine. "Is daddy angry?" he asked.

Angry....hnmmmm, now let me see. That might sort of describe the beginnings of what he was feeling....another way to put it is that he wanted TO DIE! I am fairly certain he would have very much liked someone to just go ahead and put him out of his misery.

As it turns out, football has the potential to actually make people a wee bit crazy. And by 'wee bit' I mean completely and totally out of their minds! It causes grown men to strip off their Steelers jersey because every time they wear it, the Steelers lose! (And we all know it is because of the jersey.) It makes other grown men go outside and re-enter the house, because every time they do so, it seems like the Steelers have a great play. It makes grown women watch the entire end of the game upstairs because certainly it was her going up that caused the Steelers to get back on track to win....and there's no way she'd come back down as she refuses to be responsible for the downfall of the team AND the decline of her husband's mental state!

Football is a nut-producing sport....where there is football, there are nuts. And lots of them....(hee hee hee.)

But of course, in the end, it was all worth it: Kurt taking off that shirt, Brooks heading outside in the cold so that he could come back in and jump start an incredible drive at the end, and me, watching from the nose-bleed seat upstairs while assuring our son his daddy would be okay....as long as we won. 

Go Steelers!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Little Liam!

The Problem With Frizz

On PBSkids.org, there used to be a story called, "The Problem with Chickens." In the story, the chickens all started acting like humans, doing all the things the ladies in town did, until it became a real problem. 

In our house, it's kind of the other way around really....but right now we are focused on "The Problem with Frizz."

You see, we have had issues with Lily's hair. A while back, Madeline, in an act of utter irritation, yanked out a HUGE clump of Lily's hair. Ever since, we have had this problem with frizz. 

Over Super Bowl weekend, we decided to try cutting her hair (again) in attempt to calm the madness. This is what happened:

It's not bad, just super um, bowl-ish....

But, what we noticed is, the frizz, although shorter, is still very much alive and well. So, my mom suggested we try what my brother does with his little girl. After bath each night, they put in anti-frizz stuff, comb her hair, let it dry and she is frizz-free in the morning. We dutifully tried that last night and here is what we got:

Or from a different angle:

I can't tell if it just didn't work or if this is just her first of many bad-hair days....


Godfather-like Chickens

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." (Clemenza to Rocco in The Godfather, 1972)

Aidan and Madeline inspired the child version of memorable quotes yesterday. After breakfast, Aidan decided to make some paper airplanes as the girls finished up eating. 

"Aidan, you are wasting the paper," Madeline said as she watched him grab more paper to complete his paper airplane. 

"No, I'm not," replied Aidan. "I'm making airplanes."

"Yes, you are and the animals won't have anymore places to live if you keep wasting the trees. Paper comes from trees you know," Madeline said.

"I know that, Madeline, but there are plenty of other trees in the world. There are enough trees for the animals to find new homes," Aidan said.

"Oh, like the rainforest?" Madeline asked.

"Yeah, the rainforest is a great place to find a tree to live in," Aidan said.

There was a moment of quiet before the conversation took a slightly different direction. 

"Lily, you should not pet lions," Madeline said.

"Yeah, never pet a lion," Aidan agreed. (Finally, they agree on something!)

"What about turtles?" Lily asked.

"Well, turtles have eggs," Aidan said.

"Yeah, and turtles have babies: turtle babies!" Lily said, tickled with herself.

"And there are turtle families in the sea," Madeline said.

"They're COOOOT," Lily said. "Baby turtles are cooooot." She started laughing as if she had said the funniest thing in the world.

"Wow, those are cool rocket ships, Aidan," Madeline said, looking over Aidan's work.

"They are not rocket ships. They are paper airplanes," he replied.

And in my head I imagine Madeline, in her rough, squeaky voice, sagely saying: Save the trees. Don't pet the lions.