Thursday, February 28, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Special Thursday Edition!

In addition to the million and one errands I had to run yesterday, our compy decided to officially enter old age and needed a massive check up and some Viagra to get up and functional again. It was one of those days, even for Brett.

Last night we're all doing our chores to get ready for bed. I'm wiping counters down when Brett walks up.

"Mom, I have good news, bad news, and better news."

"Um, okay. Give it to me."

"The bad news is that when I was vacuuming in the living room, Evan was bouncing on the couch and he knocked the blanket down and I accidentally sucked it up into the vacuum. The good news is I got it out before it started to stink up the motor. The better news is I've told you all of this and you haven't yelled at me yet."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yes sir, that's my baby

We are a house divided. In the kitchen, that is.

I have yet to meet an ethnic food I didn't like. I love trying new things, cultural food fascinates me especially. I grew up in the DC suburbs where there was no shortage of interesting and diverse food to be found. And I love them all.

If Curt had his way, there would be two food groups. Carbohydrates and red meat.

That makes the things I want to eat, like hummus, guacamole, and Pho make Curt turn his nose up and beg for meatloaf. And, although the older four kids have remarkably adventurous palates, I started loosing some ground when Evan came along.

See, Evan is Curt's clone. To the point that he sits like him, walks like him, grumps like him, and sadly, eats like him. As a wee little baby I spent countless hours trying to get him to eat his veggies to no avail. Baby cereal alone was acceptable. Baby cereal with peas was not. And he's still the same way. Carbs and meat. Cheese, if he's really desperate. Just don't try and sneak any brie in on this kid.

I started to get really frustrated. A picky kid is like a cancer, it spreads. Pretty soon even Lucas was shoving bits off to the side of his plate, complaining.

So this baby? I had huge hopes for her little gastrointestinal habits. I was determined that she would eat.

When we started her on cereal, she happily ate her carrot "smush". Then bananas. And, I knew she was really and truly my clone when she put away some avocado with gusto.

It feels like a new day is dawning at our house. The tide is turning, and baba ghanoush is back on the menu.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday FYI

Did you know that a plate of dry Strawberry Chex makes a great toddler snack?

Did you know that it makes an even better monster truck track?

That it makes the perfect background noise to the motor sounds that come out of Evan's mouth 23 hours a day?

And, were you aware that when this becomes boring, flinging the broken, crummy plate of Strawberry Chex will just bring a whole other dimension of fun to your two-year-olds day?

Learning new things is so much fun. Really, without it my day would be so

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! The innocence of youth.

To say that Brett dislikes seeing me breastfeed Elle is rather like saying that I'm slighly fertile. He hates it. And although I'm discreet even when we're at home, he still moans and groans every time I sit down to nurse.

I find this kind of amusing, as the only other baby I ever had real success with nursing was Brett. Yesterday, as he's standing there telling me about his day, his hand held up to block any boobage that might burn his retinas, I tell him this.

"Brett, why does it bother you so much? You loved it when you were a wee baby too."

"It's just gross, I mean she sucks on you."

"Yeah, well it's actually quite normal, and really good for her."

"Man, all of the good-for-you-stuff is just nasty! I'd rather eat a whole plate of spinach than to ever have to touch a boob."

Think I can I get that in writing?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

At the Bunny Ranch

The other night I snuck out of the house after Elle was asleep to do a little birthday shopping for Curt. I often take an older kid with me when I run errands like this, just to get some good one on one time with them. This time it was Brett's turn.

Curt had his eye on an air compressor for his garage since before Christmas. We headed up to the Tractor Supply Company, which is kind a neat store. They sell farm implements and supplies, clothing, and even some cool toys. If you catch them at just the right time, sometimes they have cute fuzzy things too.

We walked in and wandered around to find someone to help us. Before the sales lady takes me to find and decipher what it is that Curt wanted, (did I mention that I grew up in the city?) she points Brett off in the direction of the adorable dwarf rabbits they had just gotten in stock.

A few minutes later, I've made my decision in compressor land and call for Brett. He comes up, predictably a little love stricken.

"Mom. Can we pleeeease have a bunny? Did you see them? They were so cute!"

"Yes, I saw them, and they are very sweet, but we have six kids, we don't need pets too."

"But we could really use a rabbit mom! All we have at home are dust bunnies!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

Why my breastmilk will taste like hops and barley tomorrow

"Hey Emma, can you help me find Ellie's other shoe? We can play 'I Spy' and look for it while I nurse her."

She turns to look at me from her spot on the couch and grins "I spy Max and Ruby on the TV" and turns back to watch it.

"Young lady, the only thing you're going to spy is the inside of your room, now help me find an Ellie shoe."

"FINE. But I can't promise that they'll match."

Must remember to curse Emma later with lots of daughters.

Just like us.

The clock is ticking...

On this candy, that is.

Did you know that all candy goes bad in my house after 4 days? That means, on November 3, Halloween candy is officially no good and has to get thrown away.

In reality, it usually ends up going to work with Curt, which I'm sure his dentist appreciates. But at least it's out of the kids minds and reaches.

I started doing this when the oldest two were tots. It was amazing and sickening to me how much loot they'd bring home on Halloween. A few years later I started extending this death row sentence to Valentine candy hearts, chocolate Easter eggs, and even the odd candy cane.

This is what the school aged kids brought home today from their Valentine's parties. Which, is a ridiculous amount of sugar.

So, the countdown begins.

Well, except for my truffles. Those got a reprieve from the Governor.

Bedtime Story

Possibly the only thing that Brett likes better than an audience is a captive one.

I looked over the other night to find him reading to Elle. He just wandered up as if he had 'quality time with baby sister' on a list of things to do this Wednesday.

He doesn't seem to mind that she's more interested in trying to eat an elephant's ear than to the heart-wrenching saga of the 4 red M&Ms.

Or that I reached for my camera and started snapping.

When he was done he patted her on the head and went back to being Brett.

I had to give him a hug.

And then find some chocolate.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reason #547 why I will stay married to him forever

Aside from the fact that Curt rolled over at 3am, spooned me, kissed my neck gently, then said "Happy Valentine's Day" like he'd been waiting all week to say it; look what Dave the UPS man just delivered to my house.

Monster truck not included.

Damn, and the gimp suit was on back order.

I love you honey.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Humpday Brettism!

Yesterday we got pummeled with snow, our first real accumulation of the year. The kids had off school and we all had a busy, but great day at home together. By mid-day it had stopped and I told them not to get their hopes up for another day of reprieve.

At 5:43 am the bat phone rang and my mother in law imparted the bad news.

Another snow day.

Brett runs upstairs as soon as his brothers tell him, dressed with his pajamas on inside out and backwards. In Brett-world this strange clothing ensemble is meant to guarantee a day free of homework and Hunter Ishman.

"Yes! I knew going to bed with no underwear would pay off one of these days!"

Saturday, February 9, 2008

They like him, they really do.

Yesterday was Brett's dreaded parent teacher conference. Over the years, conditioned by miserable experiences, I have come to regard these to be only slightly more enjoyable than stepping in fresh dog poo.

Picking Brett up every day from PreK, his teacher and I would chuckle endlessly at the funny, witty things he'd come up with. So, I was a little unprepared for when he went on to grad school, errr, I mean Kindergarten. I look back on that first meeting with his teacher and think I must have walked into that pow-wow and looked a bit like Cindy-Lou-Who, all doe eyed innocence. Only in this instance, the Grinch bitch slapped poor Cindy with a candy cane and told her she sucked as a mother.

Okay, it probably wasn't that bad, but this personality-devoid wench cared not at all for Brett's wit, intelligence, or charm. That didn't amount to squat if he couldn't tow the company line and make a proper upper and lower case alphabet. IMMEDIATELY. I mean really, hadn't I been working on this stuff since the doctor slapped him on the ass and dried him off? Mrs. Greenleaf wasn't at all kind about her assessment of Brett, and I came to regard the conferences as Make-Mommy-Want-to-Cry-Day.

Over the years, I've gotten much smarter when it comes to telling a good teacher from a bad one, as well as standing up for both Brett and I. By the first two weeks of school, I can tell right off which teachers are going to "get" Brett and which ones are not.

His current teacher is strict enough to not only get Brett to do what he needs to do, but also to amazingly care about how he does as well. The grading portion of the conference was short and sweet and it felt nothing short of fabulous to hear that he was doing so well.

Then she started to talk about Brett. About how witty and insightful he is. And, how she especially loves him in science class because he brings so much to the discussions. (Sweet! All that Discovery channel, finally paying off!)

She tells me that a few weeks ago they were studying the pyramids and Egypt, and to culminate this lesson she had found a really neat computer program that allowed you to "mummify a cartoon-like person". After assuring me unnecessarily that this wasn't macabre, she says that she had lined the very excited class up to head to the computer lab. She warned them that there was another class already in there, and that they'd have to be very quiet with their mummies to not disturb them.

Brett looked ominously at all of them and says "Get that? She wants us to be silent. DEAD silent! Get it? Mummies....dead silent!" And then burst in to laughter.

She tells me that the whole rest of the class either looked lost or rolled their eyes, but she and Brett were laughing so hard that they had to compose themselves to walk down the hall. He didn't seem to mind at all that only one other person had gotten his joke.

And neither did his mummy.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Brettism Hump Day. An oldie, but goodie.

Life here has been so wicked chaotic, full of sickness, and swallowed loose change, that lately it's been all I can do to make sure they're fed, bathed, and that the head count comes out correctly.

So, in lieu of a fresh new Brettism, I give you a slightly recycled one. Many apologies and I promise to follow him around all week, pencil and paper in hand to bring you a sparkly new one next Wednesday.

I am standing in the kitchen trying to fake a cobbler for the reunion. I'm a little distracted as kids scamper in and out. Brett walks up and says.....

"Mom, what's a stripper mall?"

"What?" I reply

"A stripper mall" says Brett, more clearly this time.

It takes me a second, but I think I've got it.

"You mean, a strip mall?"

"Yeah, they just said it on TV" he replies

I explain what a strip mall is.

"Oh" he says. "I thought it would be much more interesting".


Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Lion King

Last night we left the confines of Bumfarkia and headed down into the big city to the theater.

The Lion King was in town, and back in November when I first saw the commercial advertising that it was coming, I think I fell to the floor and wept with excitement, my fingers barely able to dial to get tickets fast enough.

I get a huge kick out of the theater and couldn't wait to expose the oldest four goobers to it too. It was especially cool to see it with Michael, as a thousand years ago when he was just a pint sized terror, it was his favorite movie. He would watch it on an endless loop if you let him and would run around roaring his terrible roar.

I can't say enough how magical the whole experience was for me. Its descriptions and accolades don't do it enough justice. It's
amazing. The scenery, the costumes, and the actors are spectacular. I felt like a kid on a roller coaster afterwards. "Can we go again? Can we, hunh, hunh, HUNH?"

I spent most of the time torn between looking at the wonder of it all, and staring at the kids faces in the dark.

Emma, who was the most excited prior to the show, looked at me right after the first act and The Circle of Life finished (which, by the way, will go down in my life as one of the coolest things I've EVAR seen) and said "It's done now? Can we go to McDonald's?" Then she spent the next three hours leaning on me and seeing how far she could dig her elbows into my side before I wept.

Poor Lucas. It was almost totally lost on him. He mostly sat there the whole night looking like he'd rather be getting a root canal. I think I saw his fingers twitch a few times, presumably playing Madden in his head. At intermission he glanced over at Curt and me and asked "Is it halftime?" When I explained intermission, he looked deflated and said "We have to watch it again?"

Brett and Mike, however, literally sat on the edge of their seats almost the whole night. Michael had done nothing but complain about the whole trip since we announced it. This cumulated last night in a raging teenage meltdown at the idea of having to wear an ironed collared shirt and look like a dufus. But, the minute the show started his whole face lit up. For those few hours last night I sat in wonder as in front of my eyes, he turned right back into the sweet little guy that he was at three. I tried to talk him into sitting on my lap, but he declined.

Brett, as usual, took what he could from it and tried to utilize it in his own little Brett world. In the parking garage right after the play told me that the characters in the play were really "profound". Then he wanted to know if he could bonk Lucas on the head like Rafiki bonked Simba the next time he was being a pain. "You know, because you're not supposed to worry about things in the past." I told him he would probably worry more about the grounding he would get in the immediate future if he decided to test that theory. "Drat." he said. "Can we go to McDonald's?"

Friday, February 1, 2008

The wise man.

Today was our first full snow day and the kids got up extra early just to celebrate and revel in the fact that they didn't have to get up.

I'm on my second cup of tea.

Brett comes to me about 10am looking like he's ready to explode.

"Mom. Emma's already reached her daily quota on number of times she wanted to annoy the crud out of me. Can I go to my room now before I get in big, big trouble?

"Only if I can hide with you Brett."