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What's the recipe for THAT?

*small, timid knock on bathroom door*
Niko: "Mommy, I want to use your bathroom."
Me: "Niko, use another bathroom. Mommy is still busy in here."
N: "No, I want YOUR bathroom."
M: "Then you'll have to wait."
N: (cheerfully) "OK. I'll wait."

A few minutes pass.

M: "AAaaaa!" (opens door to find Niko standing right up against it, dancing around doing the pee-pee dance)
N: (lifting toilet lid) "Mommy, I don't want to use your bathroom now."
M: "Why? What's wrong??"
N: "You colored your toilet with markers. In the bottom. Nooooo...wait....that's...ew ugh...that's POOP SAUCE!"
*sigh again*


Lovely dinnertime discussion

Dinnertime conversation is often a bad acid trip at my house.
Exhibit A:

Abby: "I love meteors. Meteors are in space and they fall and fall and fall and....Hey, what do you think would happen if you were standing on the earth on top of a komodo dragon on top of a house and the meteor fell on you? What would happen under the meteor THEN?"
Niko: "You would get dead."


Life with Abigail

Did I mention that Abigail is a difficult personality to manage? Yeah, that. She has such an ORNERY streak, and delights in doing the....ah....unexpected.

Over the course of this 3-day weekend, she:

- Hid my makeup all over my bathroom. Found blush in the medicine cabinet, eyelash curler under the sink, and mascara behind the door. There was a streak of concealer on the back of the toilet, but she had apparently put that back in my makeup bag. Go figure.

- Turned Gabriel's piano on, changed the setting to "church organ", and turned it off. Gabriel was quite startled to find that "Sweet Child O Mine" just didn't sound quite right.

- Removed a framed photo from its shelf, disassembled the frame, and placed the glass in one place, the backing in another, and put the photo itself under the end table.

- Hid my work badge. I found it in a drawer on the school shelf.

- Managed to snip pieces of hair out of her head with toenail clippers. She explained to Derek that she was upset that Gabriel got a haircut over the weekend and she didn't.

- Filled the pockets of a pair of my work pants with small plastic animals. I only discovered this after I pulled the pants out of the dryer and they vomited tiny penguins, horses, and rhinos.

- Sprayed Mr. Clean into one of the furnace vents in my bedroom. My room smells cloyingly of Gain scent.

- Sprinkled iridescent glitter all over the school shelf, the dining room table, my work backpack, the kids' school backpacks, and my red Fabulous Purse.

- Made off with all the kids' library books and leaned them upright on every windowsill in the house.

- Threw a colossal, epic temper tantrum at the dinner table on Sunday night....because she didn't want her "pink skin" anymore. That's right - she wanted to remove her skin and replace it with a more amusing color. She would not be soothed.

The most disturbing thing about all this? She was actually pretty good this weekend and didn't drive us too crazy with her randomness. This was normal. We didn't really think anything of it.


Hello again....

Well, ummmm.....Hi.

Several months ago, I got interested in writing again. I entered a short story contest in November. I did not win, and so far have not been chosen for the monthly honorable mentions either. It has been humbling, to say the least.

About a month ago, I was talking to a friend at work who also writes, and I mentioned the fact that I used to keep a pretty funny journal about my escapades as a SAHM with two young kids. He asked if I'd be willing to share a few of the stories, so I started re-reading my journal just to see if I still thought the stories were worth sharing.

Those stories were written by a stranger I no longer recognize.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I admire her. She was bright and funny, and her kids seem like a real hoot. She was a better mom than I am, and she had a sense of humor. Her stories are still funny as HELL, and I actually laughed out loud more than once.

But....the shock. Dear God, what a time capsule. I miss those days, and I painfully miss the friends (both IRL and online - and some both) who shared it with me. How do I begin again? Who's still on LiveJournal these days? Would there even be an audience - and if not, does it matter anyway? After all, I should be writing for ME, trying to regain some semblance of who I once was. Right?

Can I possibly summarize all that's happened in the past 3 years? I live a life that would have been utterly inconceivable during the years of the vast majority of my LJ entries.

My spouse and I have reversed roles - I'm a full-time working mom at Procter & Gamble (!!) and my husband is an at-home dad in charge of homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, and child-chasing. Now a federal felon, he will never be able to work again and has been struggling to re-start a career in music performace. Our attempt at building a home business in executive recruiting has been squashed by an interminable economic recession. Our marriage has endured the meat grinder of the federal court system, a year of house arrest, bankruptcy, and constant fear of foreclosure. I make only a few hundred dollars more per month than we made while on food stamps. It's frustrating. We've both gotten very involved in our church parish, both of us leading the women's and men's parish retreats in alternating 6-month sessions.

Gabriel just turned 12 and has turned out to be a science geek, writer, and quite gifted pianist. Grace, formerly the Iron Maiden and the Mistress of Mayhem, is the most loving 8-year-old girl I think I've ever known. Affectionate and beautiful, gifted in geography and math, you would never know this was the same child who screamed and cried her way through her first 18 months of life. The twins are 4 1/2 years old now. Abigail is verbal and athletic, every bit as intelligent as Gabriel was at her age - but possessing a willful streak he never had. She's a difficult personality to manage. Niko is cuddly and sweet, clumsy and somewhat spacey, and has a "way" with animals. Most days, I try to shut from my mind how much I'd rather be home with them than at work with strangers.

My parents still reside on the Harley Homestead; both of them are retired now and spend a lot of time doing outdoorsy things in Michigan. My mother just finished radiation treatments for breast cancer and is doing very well. Derek's mother shocked all of us by getting re-married last summer; she now lives happily in PA. Derek's oldest sister is still a slightly-crazy truck driver, now living in North Dakota with her menagerie of horses, chickens, dogs, and rabbits...and who knows what else. Derek's middle sister lives just outside of Philly; the recession hit their family hard and they had to give up the gorgeous home they'd built themselves and rent a small house instead. Derek's youngest sister has a 3-year-old and one on the way.

So, there's the 3-paragraph update. What do I do now?

Niko the comedian

Derek and the twins had to get up early to take me to work last week. It was simply POURING rain that morning.

Niko, usually a pretty cheerful morning person, was having a hard time on this cold, damp, rainy morning. He rubbed his eyes and wailed, "It's still daaaark! It's raaaiining! I'm still sleeeeepy!"
Derek: "Yeah, big guy. It's still dark and rainy outside."
N: "That's why I'm slllleeeeepy!!"
D: "I'm still pretty sleepy too. We're in the same boat, Big Guy."
N, brightening: "We're taking Mommy to work in a BOAT?"

So then he was sleepy and cranky....and terribly disappointed.


And so it begins

Posting these, before I forget the stories:

Taking the twins to church has proved.....interesting. Niko in particular is, erm, a lot of FUN.

Sunday Mass, three weeks ago:
Very quiet moment during Mass, when the priest is preparing the bread and wine:
Niko: (loudly) "Food's almost ready!"
Me: "Shhhhhh Shhhhhh. Whisper please."
Niko: (stage whisper) "Time to eat!"
(pause while he squirms, examines my necklace, and looks at the stained glass windows upside down. Then he notices what the priest is doing.)
Niko: "What's the man doing?"
Me: "He's praying."
Niko: "He needs to pray for me."
Me: "Yes, I know, sweetie."
Niko: (very loudly) "I need PRAYERS. The prayers are MINE. He needs to PRAY FOR ME!"
Me: "Trust me, I think he will." (watches several sets of shoulders shaking in the pews in front of us)

Sunday Mass, two weeks ago:
Same quiet moment during Mass, Niko observes as the priest holds up the large, flat circle of host:
Niko: "Mommy, that's white pepperoni."
Me: "No, that's bread. It's holy. The priest is praying over it."
(long pause)
Niko: (loudly) "The priest is praying for holy pepperoni??"
Me: *sigh*

Sunday Mass, this week:
Niko is playing with Abby's baby doll and sitting quietly in the pew (for a change). He is being very cute, rocking the doll and tunelessly warbling the words to "Rock a Bye Baby". I can practically hear the "Awwwwww" coming from the little old ladies sitting behind us.

During a hymn, he starts poking his finger into the baby doll's face. He's saying something to me, but I can't hear him over the singing.
Me: "Hold on. Tell me when the singing stops, OK? And whisper please."
(hymn is over and we sit down in total silence)
Niko: (loudly) "The baby has a booger in his nose!"
Me: *sigh* (listen to giggling from pew behind us)


Gabriel, science snob

Overheard while Derek and Gabriel were watching a hockey game on our neighbors' gorgeous HUGE HD television:

D: "Wow! This looks awesome - in HD, you can even see the puck! Whoo-hooo!"
G1: "Wow. Cool."
D: "Now, what do we say at a hockey game? C'mon! 'Blood bounces on ice!' "
G1: "What kind of science is THAT?"

Misheard song lyrics, by Gabriel

I entered the big kids' room to help with the process of getting ready for bed. Gabriel had been listening to the radio, and when I crossed the room to turn it off for the night:

G1: "Mommy, can I ask you something without you getting mad?"

Oh, dear. No mother likes to hear THAT question.

M: *cringing* "OK, sure. I guess so."
G1: *hesitantly* "Why are the lyrics to that song about ....errr...."
M: "Yes?"
G1: "The running gaze of *stage whisper* F - U - C - K"

Note: Not having a reference for it, I don't think he meant "gays" - I can only assume he meant "gaze". And the song is actually "The Renegades of Funk" by Rage Against the Machine.

M: "Well, first of all, honey, the lyric is 'the renegades of funk'. FUNK. FUNNNNNNK. Second of all, I'd like to know why you know that word and WHY you know how to spell it so well."
G1: *shrugging, without missing a beat* "I'm an author. I need to know how to spell all kinds of words."

Aug. 11th, 2009

Derek has van at the local Chrysler dealership, trying to get the driver's side sliding door and the air conditioning fixed. That sliding door has been a pain in the ass since it went out months ago. No, it doesn't effect the functioning of the van, but it effects MY functioning when I'm carrying two babies and don't have a free hand.

Anyway, D took the big kids to get them out of my hair for a couple of hours. The babies are currently happily playing in Baby Jail, so I'm taking advantage of a lull in my days' activities.

I have many projects that I need to work on, and I'm feeling unmotivated. I need to purge Gracie's side of the kids' closet and box up her outgrown clothes to make room for the school uniform clothes that are going to have to hang there now. Also, I have a pile of Gabriel's school pants with holes in the knees, sitting by the sewing machine, ready to be cut off and made into shorts. Oh, and the hermit crabs I'm babysitting need to have their tank cleaned out. Heh.

Today, during the babies' morning nap, I decided to try the exercise bike again for the first time since I was pregnant. I'm trying to figure out when I have time in my day to ride, and during nap is going to be the best time. Once the big kids are in school, it'll be easier, I think. I got a 30-minute ride done, while listening to the mix CDs frumpenstein made for me for that exact purpose. Miraculously, once I told G1 and G2 that I wouldn't be able to hear them if they tried to talk to me (I was wearing earphones), they actually left me alone. They walked by and waved at me once or twice, which was kind of funny.

Niko managed to hide an entire 12-roll package of toilet paper. He likes to plant his hands on top of objects and "drive" them around on the carpet. He drove the tp package all the way under the guest bed in the guest room. I finally found it.

He also hid his pacifier somewhere in his bed this morning. Derek and I both looked all over the crib and in the room for it, for like 20 minutes. Niko had shoved it down between the crib bars and the crib mattress, under the sheet. Not as bad as the time he stuffed it down the front of his sleeper - that day, I didn't find the darned thing until I changed his clothes later in the morning and found it wedged in the top of his diaper!

Did I mention that it also appears that Niko is going to be a player of that classic toddler game "Hide and Go Poop"? Yeah. He likes to crawl into another room or behind a piece of furniture, and then crawl out a few minutes later stinking to high heaven. Gracie was the last of our kids who liked that game; guess he's going to take after his big sister on that one.

Speaking of Gracie, yesterday was her last summer dance class (she took jazz dance during the summer). Derek has already signed her up for her class for the school year. This year, she'll be taking a combo class in ballet, tap, and tumbling. This is the first time she's done tap - that'll be interesting!

Aug. 10th, 2009

Gracie, gorging herself on dinner tonight: "I ate so much, I think I'm gonna POP!"
Gabriel: "Yep, she's gonna spew her contents."



Rockwell King

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