Friday, March 28, 2008

Morning routine

Every morning when I wake up, I'm going to pop open this webpage and scroll through it while I down my tea and try to scrounge up the courage to deal with another day.

And when I wander into the bathroom to get dressed, I will stare at my bleary, exhausted face in the mirror, and think 'Cameron Diaz wished she looked this good'.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Be warned!

Evan got a Doodle Pro in his Easter basket and we've all had great fun writing goofy sayings on it. This morning as I was standing there with the crying Ellie who'd been up since 5, I wrote "Free Baby" on it.

Brett sees me do this and remarks "Mom, you need to underline that." He comes up and underlines the words to illustrate his point.

"You're right Brett. I'm sure this will attract a ton of more potential takers on my offer."

"See? I always underline everything."

"Oh yeah, why is that?"

"I like to be taken seriously. You
do not want to take your Brett lightly"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Don't ask, don't tell

I'm not going to tell you what I had to bargain with to get this sucker, but it's probably illegal in several states.

And it's wicked cool. Even without all of the awesome shit it does, it was totally worth every penny for how chic it makes my breakfast of tea and a mini Cadbury egg look.

Klassy, no?

Back to rehab

We had a wickedly good and horrifically sugar filled Easter.

I uploaded the pics last night and realized that I got only one of Michael. Snapped when we first got up, the I'm-too-cool-for-this-basket-crap attitude comes through loud and clear, no? Fear not, as soon as we got to the farm and he was surrounded by the cousins we reverted back to our fun kid-like self and he was a blur the rest of the day.

At our house, Easter baskets always include a book. This year I, errrr the fuzzy bunny had no trouble picking out a book for Brett. He read the title and proudly pronounced "I'm dangerous now and you will allllll fear me!"

After we finally got moving and Elle took a nap (maybe she's saving them all for holidays, because her last one? St. Patrick's Day) we headed down to the farm for the family lunch. I got a ton of great pictures of Ellie, probably because she's the only one that didn't run around all day like a demented crack fiend, but this one is my favorite. I figured nothing says Easter better than tarting your infant baby girl up, and I tarted mine up good. She's silently pleading for me to take the bow off. And to give her a bite of the jelly bean I had in my hand.

I literally had to stop these two in their tracks to get a shot that wasn't a blur. Stay tuned next week as Emma gets pneumonia from running around in 35 degree temps with her jacket half off all day.

And little Evan. In his wildest dreams he couldn't have conjured up a day like this one. Daddy was home, there were presents, that Peep/crack stuff, and an afternoon spent running around outside looking for those egg things.

After we had stuffed ourselves to bursting at one family dinner (cheesecake!) we headed down to the other grandparents. This was a much smaller crowd, and Grandma S always lays out the good stuff at the table when we visit. This was also the first time that Elle was big enough to sit in a high chair at the table. Evan has permanently claimed the other one, so Elle sat in this beautiful antique. Grandpa tells me that it belonged to Ellie's great- great- great- grandmother. She had a blast in it, holding court, beating a silver spoon on the tray. Poor baby, once again today she'll be but a commoner here at home.

And, thanks to the record number of snow days we've had this year, the kids spring break was greatly abbreviated and they're back at school this morning. I happily bundled them up this morning and sent them off where they can come down off of their candy high as was intended, surrounded by hundreds of other addicts.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bumfark. Who wants to pet the pony?

Often when trying to describe the town I live in and just what makes it so Bumfarkish, I find myself at a loss for words. It's not just that Bumfark is small, I've lived in small towns before. It's not that it's rural, I've survived rural too. Freshly transplanted to Delaware, I was once given directions to Wal-Mart that included the phrase "When you get to the crossroads where the cows are always in pasture on the left, make the right." And you know what? I'd move back there in a heartbeat.

But this place? It's just something else altogether.
It defies explanation. Bumfark dances to the beat of it's own drummer. And that drummer has only one drumstick and shows up at the opera. We post signs pleading for support, but list websites that don't exist. We schedule Little League games around the first day of turkey hunting season. And let's not forget the one stop shopping that you can do at the automotive/copy and fax center/florist/tanning booth.

And I think it's all starting to become just a little too normal for the kids. Tim Gunn said it best, when you've been in the monkey house too long, you just stop smelling the stink.
Which is really the only explanation I can offer up for the events that unfolded Thursday night.

Curt and I had gotten the babies in bed and I was feeling frisky. Frisky and thristy, so I loaded Brett up to take him to the Bumfark corner store with me. One of the perks to having six kids is that there is always someone willing to run into the store for you when you're in your pajamas.

We pulled up to the store and the first thing I notice is that Curt's grandmother is standing outside. I'm about to point this out to Brett and say hello when the car next to her moves. That's when I notice that she's standing next to a pony.


At the store. With Curt's grandma. A furry little guy, he looked ike he belonged in a My Little Pony cartoon. I'm staring in disbelief. I'm dumbfounded. The tableau was just

That's when Brett jumps out, runs to get my drink, waves to grandma, pets the pony, and hops back in the car, looking up at me expectantly, waiting for me to put it in gear and drive us home.

He's gone native.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Tastes great with Alpo!

Monday afternoon Curt's mom stops by just as I'm pulling the corned beef brisket complete with stinky cabbage out of the crock pot. She mentions that she's never really had it and wants to know if I'm very Irish. I explain that the corned beef dinner was about as Irish as I am.

"I know my grandmother and my father did the genealogy research and I'm what boils down to a big European mutt. About half Irish, and the other half English mixed with a tad of French and some Dutch. The older four kids are even more of a mutt because their dad's dad was German, so from what I understand, they're a quarter German."

Later Brett's trying to explain everything he overheard to Michael.

"Yeah, and we're part Irish too. And I've got a little German dog in me, right mom?"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Stash. And a sibling love story.

I wanted to share my collection of cloth diapers. I started using them when Ellie was a few months old and have never looked back. There are few joys greater than sniffing clean fluff out of the dryer, or getting new fluffy mail.

I dare you to hold one, feel it's cottony goodness, and not sniff it. I double dog-dare-you.

Yesterday we got a few new diapers and I was anxious to get a pic of Evan in one of them. I suited him up and asked him to stand next to Elle.

Since Elle came home from the hospital Evan really only acknowledges her presence when she has something he might want, and even then it's with a mild distain.

'Fine, I'll stand here next to her, but I'm not talking to her or looking at her.'
'She's looking at me isn't she? I can feel her looking at me.'

'Why is she touching that? All this stuff? It's mine. This right here? Mine.'

'Ohhhh, Wonder Pets. I'm ignoring you now.'

'See this? This is mine.'

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Al Gore not included

In all of this mornings chaos, Elle was revving herself up and demanding some attention. I was busy helping Lucas construct a lunch that wasn't made up entirely of Oreo Cakesters, and enlisted Brett to keep her happy for another few minutes.

"Hey Brett, go talk to Elle for a minute."

"Awww, can Emma do it? I mean, I never know what to say to her. What am I supposed to talk to her about, global warming?"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Too short

After too many weeks of winter, I started to get the itch to travel beyond the borders of Bumfarkia. It had been much too long since I'd seen some of my family, and they'd never met Elle. A few clicks online, we had a hotel room and a plan. And earplugs. Earplugs are a beautiful thing when traveling with six children.

The olders were already scheduled for a weekend visit with bio-dad. He lives on the way, so we dropped them off before continuing to the old stomping grounds.

My priorities almost always being related to my stomach, we got there and met up with Geekie brother at La Madeleine for a quick lunch. To me, coming back is one big culinary orgy.

Then we headed over to Best Buy to wander around and let Evan stretch his legs. Also, so I could play with their iMacs. I'm still working the doubtful husband. That Kama Sutra book is so complicated. I mean, who has that kind of time?

Next we headed over to see my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. Elizabeth was immediately taken with Elle. If she lived closer I'd pay her by the hour to do this.

Tricia got a chance to hold Elle and Elle stared at her as if she were the most familiar face. Except for when I was taking this picture. Then she just wanted to figure out the flashing thing.

Later, I caught Elizabeth doing something that I do daily. She made herself a cup of tea and then sat down at the table to read her book and drink it. I watched in awe as she sat and read and relaxed, uninterrupted by small children. I almost asked her to wipe my nose, but decided to leave her childhood intact.

Conor came in from playing baseball with the neighborhood kids to say hello. As I pulled out my camera, he asked me if his hair was messy. I told him it was fierce. Being a kindred spirit, he got my reference and we then bonded over our mutual love for Project Runway and Christian.

He also taught Evan everything he knows about gardening in houseplants with dollhouse sized pots and shovels. Which, as it turns out was a great deal, because Evan had a blast playing with it all afternoon.

It was a gorgeous afternoon and Evan was able to get outside. Tricia showed him around their very impressive yard and garden. Nary a mukluk in sight.

Geekie brother came over and we all enjoyed a nice afternoon in front of the fire. And discussed stuff.

Discussing stuff is Robert's forte. His knowledge and wisdom never fail to humble me. If I could open his head and crawl inside for a week, I'd be so much smarter for it.

My recipe book would also be much fatter and more fabulous. I joke that Tricia and Robert's house is also my favorite restaurant in the whole world, but if they'd let me I'd camp out in their yard just hoping for scraps.

They both love to cook and I'm unashamed to say that I've moaned aloud in ecstasy at some of the dishes that have come out of their kitchen. There isn't a cuisine in the world that they're afraid to tackle and master. Most importantly though, they make the big salad.

The big salad is a Robert creation. He's been making it for years, and I've been the happy recipient to many a plate-full. This visit, he again explained the ingredients and walked me through it. One day, with much practice and a whole lot of luck, I hope to be able to recreate the big salad in Bumfark. We need a big salad in Bumfark. We need one bad.

Too soon it was time to pack up and head back home. It was such a great visit, and we extracted a promise from them to come and visit this summer when the pool is open and the kids can run wild and free.

I'd better get cracking on mastering that big salad.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Brettism Hump Day! Who wants seconds?

Most days, I have a helper make dinner with me. It gives me someone to talk to while I cook. It's a great math exercise for them, as we usually double most recipes. They learn some basic cooking skills. And, if I had a recipe that called for frozen peas and carrots, but only had a bag of mixed veggies; it would also give me an extra set of hands to separate them. Not that I've ever asked one of them to do that.

It usually always starts with the question "What's for dinner?" followed by "Can I help you?" Most days I don't mind the 'assistance', some days I actually enjoy it. And then there are days like yesterday.

Out of all the kids, Brett is the most picky and therefore the most concerned when it comes to dinner. He constantly wants to know ahead of time what is on the menu, as if the advanced notice will give him the time necessary to prepare mentally for the bowl of chili. *shudder*

Because sarcasm is probably our only real family tradition, I usually handle this with a glib remark and we banter until I relent and tell him what we're having.

Lately though, my nerves have been shot. Frayed by a combination of dealing with a schizophrenic toddler, a sick baby, and a winter that DOES NOT WANT TO GO AWAY. (Seriously? I get these kids raised and out of the house? I'm planning a vacation someplace very warm every March.)

So, when Brett ventured up from the playroom to ask the question that I knew he would, I wasn't in the best of moods.

"Hey mom. What's for dinner?"

"A big giant plate of get-back-downstairs-until-I-call-you-to-eat."

Leaving the room, grumpy. "Man, we just had that yesterday."

Monday, March 3, 2008

Plastic makes baby seals cry

I popped on over to The Toby Show to do a little cut and paste job for my recipe book. Green goddess Jonah Lisa has a very cool ticker on there that reads "Plastic Bags Consumed this Year" and the number scrolls away.

Brett walks up and wonders aloud how they know how many bags to list on the ticker. I mean, does someone count them? Is there a job listing in the paper for a plastic bag counter? Is the ticker just for the United States, or worldwide?

I explained that it was an estimate, probably based on the number of bags manufactured last year. He was skeptical and the debate raged on for another 20 minutes.

Sometimes having a Brett means having Tylenol.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


For a while now (actually since shortly after I got Gertie), I've been contemplating buying a Mac. Our compy is decrepit. It ventures out onto the internet highway like a Grandma in an old Crown Vic, forgetting to signal, going well below the speed limit.

So, after I sat in amazement at the simplicity and sleekness of iTunes and Gertie, I started to wonder what would life be like on the other side. The dark side. Do they have cookies, I wondered.

Curt's not going to be an easy sell. I know this because one night we were curled up on the couch and the commercial for the new MacBook Air came one and I brought it up.

"Those look really cool."

"No they don't. Apples suck."

"How would you know? Have you ever used one?"

Defensively, "Yeah."

"When, in elementary school? Where you playing Oregon Trail on it?", I tease.

Sheepishly, "Yeah."

And so, I tabled the discussion. But recently I've started really looking at them and I'm liking what I'm seeing. A lot.

I think it might be time for the fat kid on the moon bounce to bust out some new moves.