Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The TV Trials

Did the title suck you in? Are you expecting some juicy gossip?

If so, you are out of luck.

This is the tale of moving a new tv into the house without Dave’s help. Oh my.

Long story short, a friend of mine at school decided she was going to give away a pretty new 32 inch television to the first person who replied to her give-away email. Lucky me was sitting at the computer eating my lunch when her email popped into my inbox.

Lucky me, indeed. I ended up being the first person to answer…..but there were about 15 people after me who did also……all within seconds of each other.

Did we need another tv? No, but ours in our bedroom croaked two months ago. It just kept changing channels all on its own and could not be turned off. (cue Twilight Zone music)

Did I want it? Yes. (I know, I have needs/wants issues. I’m working on it.)

Did we watch it a lot? No, but it was nice to have to hear the news in the morning, check the weather or Sports Center, and for the weekends when the girls wanted to get up early but we didn’t.

So today, I went by my friend’s house to pick up the tv. Just she and I. What a plan.

Hah! We bent down to pick it up off the floor and about keeled over. That thing was heavy!

Okay, new plan. I called Katie and Alex to see if they were close by to see if they could help. No such luck. Rats.

We were on our own. Somehow, magically, we were able to maneuver it to my van without killing our backs or dropping the tv. How, I don’t know.

All the way home, I was trying to figure out how on earth we were going to get the danged thing out of the van and into the house. I could just see us dropping it and there goes the free tv.

Thank goodness for slaves teens.

First task, move the office tv upstairs to my room. Now, it is not as big as the new one but it is pretty flippin’ heavy. Holy Toledo. I struggled assisted while Alex carried the *%&$ thing to my room.

Whew. One down, one to go.

As I stood there, breathing heavily, I told Alex we were not going to be able to carry the tv to the office. There was no way. New plan.

I moved the rolling tv stand to the kitchen so all we had to do was move it from the van, through the garage, and into the kitchen. Piece of cake.

Guess what? That stinkin’ tv did not weigh any less the second time around than it did the first time. In fact, it probably weighed more. But we got it onto the tv stand and successfully pushed it back into the office.

The kids now have a bigger tv for movies and games. And I have a tv for news, weather, and the Disney Channel. You know, vital channels.

And my back? It hurts. I’ve already taken Motrin. I should be in great shape tomorrow.

Me, with a sore back, shoulders, legs and who knows what else AND twenty kindergarteners.

I don’t think Motrin is going to be enough tomorrow.

I think a large diet coke is in order. Mickey D’s, here I come!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Big Brother is Watching......

Yes, Big Brother is watching you.

Not in the global sense, of course. What, did I scare you?

Alex has watched the little girls quite often while I run errands. It’s going to become common place next year when Katie is gone. But for now, he’s usually not the key person in charge unless it’s necessary.

Now, that makes it sound like the boy is incapable of babysitting his sisters. No, that’s not the case……although I sometimes worry about coming home and what I’ll find.

It can’t be any worse than coming home once before when Alex was in charge and Anna Grace had written on the couch with permanent marker WHILE he sat there playing video games.

It also can’t be any worse than coming home one day after daddy was in charge only to find out the girls had decorated Katie’s carpet with make-up while he was downstairs watching sports.

Last night, I didn’t have any choice. It was Honor’s Night for Katie, Dave is gallivanting about China, and the girls really could not come with me. Golly gee, can you imagine? They can’t even handle Mass for an hour much less Honor’s for two or more! I’m already dreading Graduation, but I digress.

But last night meant having to call daddy on Skype, brush teeth, read stories, and put them to bed. He’s never done that before. To say I was nervous was an understatement. I knew Alex could handle it but the girls? Only having Alex at bedtime? How would it go?

I had my phone set to silent during the awards program just in case. I had a few texts like: “can they play on the computer”, “yes we called dad”, and “they are going to bed now” kind of thing. I had one call from him too which freaked me out but it was only for the girls to say goodnight.

So, as I calmly impatiently sat through Honor’s Night, Katie was awarded her gold tassel for finishing four years of high school in the Gifted/AP program, the gold rope for graduating with Honors, and the gold stole for being part of the National Honor Society.

Katie receiving her National Honor Society Stole (photo courtesy of Tracy, Cat's mom)

Katie and Catlan (photo courtesy of Tracy, again!)

Katie and Natalie, her best friend and future college roommate

Katie, Catlan, and Natalie

I came home to a quiet house. Wow. Well, except for my company of Anna Grace beginning at 11:30 pm, it was a quiet night.

And then…..

This morning, we were driving to school and chatting about last night. Anna Grace mentioned that she cried at bedtime because she wanted her mommy.

Nothing new there but how did it play out?

Upon questioning, Abby said,

“Alex hugged Anna on her bed until she felt better.”

I teared up.

I know he enjoys his sisters but they get on his ever-lasting nerve. But last night, he was the daddy. He took care of them.

Flashback: when I got home last night, Alex gave me his grinning thumbs-up sign and said,

“I put them to bed!”

Huge strides made this week.


All my kids are really growing up.

To my blogger friends: I truly have not forgotten you. I try desperately to read your blogs when I can, but time seems to get away from me. Maybe this weekend, I can finally get caught up. I will be back, I promise! Being a full-time working mom to four whose husband is traveling is rather challenging. My hat is off to all my friends whether single, married, working, staying at home, who are able to keep their heads above water. Right now, I am treading and sinking. :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Here are a few snippets of conversation this weekend from the five and under crowd.....

When Catlan was leaving today: Bye sweetie!

After seeing Jon and Kate plus 8 on a magazine cover: Wow, they have lots of kids. We need lots of kids too.

When asked why it’s necessary to sneak into mom’s bed during the night: I want you to be safe while daddy is gone. I don’t want you to be lonely.

Comment to Katie and Catlan who were babysitting one of the girls: I am playing outside by my lonely self.

During bath time: I don’t want to use that soap because I’ll smell like birds. (Dove soap with a bird symbol on the soap bar).

Getting ready to eat: Mom, Alex is upstairs playing his buitar and won’t come down for deener. (spelled as spoken)

When asked what the bad words were, the answers: the S word is stupid, the B word is butt, and the P word is poo-poo head.

My personal favorite: I can’t hear you; my ears are turned down.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Bubbly Adventure

This morning, the three girls and I headed out to

to do some necessary shopping. You know, Benadryl, Sudafed, and Kleenex. It’s that time of year.

While there, I thought I would be nice and buy

for the girls. I’m such a nice mommy, huh?

Alex and I spent the afternoon getting sweaty pulling weeds which is absolutely NOT my favorite thing to do. However, duty called. While we worked, the girls played outside with their new bubbles. I was extra nice and bought them really big bottles.

I was actually thinking ahead. Big bottles of bubbles equals lots of entertainment. Lots of entertainment equals more quiet time for mom.

But when I rounded the corner to check on the hooligans girls, I found a lovely sight awaiting me.

They had dumped out both bottles of bubbles on the patio and were happily prancing through the mess.

Guess where all the bubbles are now?

I vowed to never buy them bubbles again.

Anna Grace said, “you won’t remember.”

Wanna bet?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

To Skype or not to Skype

Skype. The way to keep in touch with others who don’t live close by. A great concept….free and with video! Much better than a phone call.

A great concept….if it works.

Last night, we made our nightly after dinner call to Dave who was in Hong Kong. Not sure where he is today though. Somewhere in China.

Anyhow, after multiple tries, we gave up. The video portion of Skype on either end would never kick into gear. We could talk all we wanted but just never saw each other.


But that didn’t stop the girls from trying. They still got right in front of the camera as if it would magically start working. Oh, and they figured yelling at the camera louder would make it work too.

You know what? It didn’t work. I know you are just amazed by that news.

Tonight, the video worked but the sound went in and out.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Lost in Time.....

I am in a time warp. Time seems to move faster than it should. Why is that? Am I really that old?

Don’t answer that question. I already know the answer.

It seems my days go by faster than I expect. What is on my “to-do” list gets put off each day. Y’all, that makes me crazy! Technically speaking, my weekends should be full of things to do “on the list” but naps and general laziness take over.

Not a good combination.

Now Dave has left us for a month of leisure work in China.

No, there is no leisure involved. I put that in there because I know he reads the blog when he’s traveling. Just had to make a smart remark. :)

He’s the one who makes sure we turn on the dishwasher, unload it, take out the trash, put clothes away, take a bath (my least favorite activity for girls), make it to church with my little monsters girls, you know, stuff like that.

When we were in Florida a few weeks ago with my sister and her boys, my nephew said (about his dad being in Iraq), “There is no one home to keep us in line anymore.”

Sounds like my house right now. And Dave’s only been gone for seven hours!

I hope to keep the blog updated for the foreseeable future although Facebook beckons me more. But my stodgy husband won’t join Facebook. In fact, he looks at me with disdain when I have my handy dandy laptop on the couch while he surfs the cable channels.

(This should make for an interesting Skype conversation once he’s in China, huh?)

I am sure I can create posts of the kids to amuse you. At least, I hope so.

This month will be a month of endings. School draws to a close in 28 days (and yes, I am counting!). Anna Grace graduates from kindergarten; Abby will move onto Pre-K4; Alex into his sophomore year. I know, not a huge deal……

But Katie has Honor’s Night, Baccalaureate, Yearbook Bash, and Graduation all in the next few weeks. Toss in Prom, Senior Night for baseball, and who knows what else…you’ll see Alex will be making some bucks babysitting. He’s excited about the money part….not the babysitting part.

That is a taste of things to come.

I will try my best to keep up with it all. I have some ideas churning in that old brain of mine of posts to do.

If only time will allow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Sandy Story

Did you know that



don’t mix well?

Gee, I’ve always known that but just felt the need to remind myself.

Yesterday, the girls played outside in our backyard with two girls who live next door. These girls have very hands-on invisible parents. We’ve never met them nor seen them. Who lets their kids go play in someone else’s yard without checking on them?

Anyhow, the four of them together got the brilliant idea to put sand on the upper part of our playset, throw it at each other, and generally wallow in the joy of creating a mess.


Until this morning. Abby put her shoes on for school and discovered they were quite sandy. Dave told her to stomp her feet to get the sand off so he could sweep it up.

That’s it. The only request was for her to stomp her feet.

Do you know the child refused? Any other time, she would greatly relish the idea of stomping around the house.

But no. Since she was told to do it, she refused.

So, me being the controlling mother that I am, picked her up, put her back down, picked her up, put her back down……until she was sand free. Yes, I made the child stomp her feet.

That was the start to my day.

All at 6:30 this morning.

Yeah me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tales from a Tired Mom....

Sound the alarm, strum your violins, and grab your tissues. I am going to whine.

Nah. I wouldn’t do that to you. Maybe. But golly gee, I am worn out. The question is why.

Is it because I am the mom to four? No, because some of you have more kids.

Is it because I work full time with a bunch of wild kindergartners? No, others of you do the same thing. And heck, being a stay at home mom is just as hard if not harder! Been there, done that.

Is it because I run endless errands/carpooling? No, some of you do that too.

I can’t blame cooking or cleaning because I do very little of each. It’s my least favorite thing to do. And, I have a wonderful husband who greatly assists.

So what’s the deal?

All I can figure is I am overwhelmed with life at times. This is one of those times. I just returned from a great trip to the beach with my sister. I should be rested, right?

Nope. I am worn out.

I think it’s because I’m old. I really do. I’m old and too busy. Heck, if I sit down when I get home from work, I might fall asleep. I have to stay standing until we eat dinner.

You think I’m joking? I’m not. Truly.

Please tell me I’m not alone.

Might also explain why I am so quiet during the week.

That…..and Facebook.

Yes, I know. I’m too old for that too.

But I’m there anyhow. Who cares what the teens think!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Long Road Home

I know, I know. I missed a day from our trip. I neglected to do a post about our last beach day. I think y’all will survive. I was tired. Sue me.

Plan of attack today: pack the cars, check out, and leave by nine.

Reality: Ha!

Katie and Catlan wanted to be on the road to Gulf Shores, Alabama by nine’ish in hopes of playing golf upon arrival. No problem. Just help us load the cars first, please.

We were all up on time, breakfast eaten, food packed up. Let’s go! The four big kids headed on down to retrieve luggage carts. Remember the picture of our arrival? Four carts worth.

They returned ten minutes later empty handed. There were no carts to be found. Say what? Do you people not realize how much stuff we have??

Okay. Plan B. Start hauling everything down piece by piece. I drew the short end of the stick volunteered to stay in the room with the little ones. We knew they would be of very little help----plus both were in lovely moods. Just lovely.

Thirty minutes later, the cars are loaded, the crying stopped, the tv hooked up again; we’re ready to roll. Bye Katie, bye Catlan. Drive safely.

We pulled out of the parking garage headed on our adventure home. Less than one mile away, Anna Grace dropped her headphones on the wrong side of the van. The wrong side meaning I could not reach it. With no big kids to help, I was in trouble. What to do, what to do?

I deftly reached for the umbrella and hooked the headphones----after several minutes of trying all while driving. Yea for mom. Now quiet will reign. Whew.

Our trip was uneventful until we hit Alabama.

As we moseyed along the highway going slightly higher than speed limit (shhh), a white car drifted into my lane. I gently (seriously) honked the horn to warn the driver. He in turn corrected his behavior, sped up, and spent quite a while giving me the one fingered wave. What’s up with that? I didn’t do anything wrong! Check the plates…..a Georgia driver. Go figure.

Moving on. About half an hour later, a white pick up truck begins to tailgate me on a two lane road. What’s with the white vehicles today??? And then, he tries to pass me several times in a no-passing zone. Excuse me? It appears like the occupants are teens with a death wish. I call to warn my sister who is driving ahead of me. Last thing we need is to have them try and pass us both and run her off the road. Fortunately, about ten miles later, we merge into four lanes and then pass us-----waving wildly-----but nicely. Plates? Georgia as well. Speaks well of our state, huh?

The best part of Alabama?

Yes, Anna Grace sound asleep. Trust me, she needed the sleep.

Glad to be home, even with the tornado warnings. And hail storms. We’re home. Missing one kid……but that will be the norm pretty soon.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Case of the Red Knees

Day three in Panama City. Please tell me it will be warmer!

I headed out to the local grocery store early this morning to restock the essentials: milk, fruit, and toilet paper. You see, we are renting a condo where paper products are not replenished. I brought some with me but…..we needed more.

Hey, we have seven people here. You got a problem with that?

But as I was out shopping, I realized that I was warm---for the first time all week. Whoo hoo! The wind is gone….or it is significantly less blowy. Do you like that word?

Beach bound and truckin’, baby!

Bathing suits on. Check. Sunscreen on. Check. Cooler packed. Check. Let’s go!

We loaded up our gear

and headed for the sunny shore.

Ah, bliss.

The little ones spent the day playing in the sand building castles and anything else their little hearts desired. They had the wonderful assistance of cousins which both greatly enjoyed.

Anna Grace loved to be buried in the sand (makes my skin crawl just to type that) so she enlisted Katie to help.

She spent most of the day crawling around in the sand and smoothing it on herself like it was lotion. Ick. Might explain why it took so long to clean her tonight, huh?

Hours were spent enjoying the sun and sand today----with food and sunscreen replenishment. Everyone needs a break at some point, right?

We returned home worn out from the sun and gulf breeze. Showers were quickly taken so we could de-sand ourselves. We looked over our bodies to see change in color---for those of you that actually turn a nice shade of brown. Me? With my pale Irish skin? I go from white to red to white again. No problem. I was slathered in SPF 30 today. I should be fine.

Except that I apparently forgot to coat my knees. So most of me is still lily white but my knees are bright red. Lovely, huh? Mystery solved and lesson learned. Be sure to completely cover your body before heading outdoors. But it’s still better than last year's spring break when all of me was red. Ooo, that was a bad week.

Tomorrow brings good weather, more food, a visit from Catlan, and our last full day in Florida. It should prove to be a wonderful send off…

I leave you with my favorite photo of the day…..

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blown Away....

It’s April, right? And I’m in Florida, right?

Then why is it 40 degrees and very windy??

No beach visits this morning. Instead, we hung out in the room this morning watching movies, reading books, playing hide-and-seek, and other such fun things that can be achieved in a three bedroom condo.

After lunch, we headed to Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum. Us, and everyone else visiting Panama City who did not want to be riding the waves. Wall to wall people. But we saw all kinds of weird things.

A man who can pop his eyeballs out of his head, the largest ball of string, the Eifel Tower made of matchsticks, the tallest man in the world, and other such information that is fun to read and wonder about.

After we’d had our fill of trivia, we headed to Pier Park. My nephews thought it was a park in kid terms: playground. Nope, shopping. A huge outdoor shopping complex filled with all types of stores and food. Even Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville---which was packed. Bummer.

The girls waiting ever so patiently to shop. Yeah, right.

The plan had been to get ice cream for a treat, however every ice cream place had lines running out the door. Instead, we packed up, headed for home, and found an ice cream place right across the street from our condo complex. How much better could life get?

But alas, the little ones really wanted to go collect seashells. We bundled up in sweatshirts and hit the sand running. Running because our feet were cold, not due to the excitement, I assure you.

I did corral everyone long enough for a few family pictures.

Karen, Joshua, and Spencer

Katie, Anna Grace, Abby, and I

Katie and Karen shivering on the beach!

The girls loved being in the sun and wind so did not want to give up when the others headed back for shelter.

Here are a few random shots of the little ones at play.....

Dragging them back inside was challenging as they wanted to collect every last shell on the beach. I eventually convinced them there would be more tomorrow.

Unless they are all blown away by the winds.

Then I am in trouble.

Keep your fingers crossed or mommy is up a creek without a paddle.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What Gives, Mother Nature??

Ah. Spring break. A week of bliss. A week of surf and sun. A week of sharing time with cousins and sisters.

Guess someone forgot to inform Mother Nature of our plans.

Katie, the little ones, my sister and her boys left cold, cloudy Georgia this morning only thirty minutes behind schedule. My fault. Just couldn’t cope with packing late last night. Anyhow….

The cars were packed…we were ready to rumble.

We had to laugh though at the thought of us taking only one car. Which we seriously considered doing. But check out our packing. There is no way we would have made it here sanely in only one vehicle.

But hey, the more space you have, the more you take, right?

As we gleefully pulled away headed toward the interstate, via a stop at Starbucks for my sister, we were excited to begin our adventure.

Until…I realized as we pulled into Starbucks that I had left my make-up at home. Eeek! I need all the help I can get when it comes to looking a bit younger. So, I left Karen (the aforementioned sister) in the drive-thru and headed home. Granted it’s only two miles away but…..

I called Alex, who chose to stay home…but that’s another story...and had him waiting in the driveway so we could quickly drive past and return to meet Karen. But the boy called me saying it was too cold to wait outside so he put it in the mailbox. Good plan.

Make-up recovered, latte purchased, let’s hit the road.

The drive was actually fine. No major issues, no traffic, no nothing. And at times, seriously there was NO nothing. Cows, horses, sheep, roadside stand, what have you. But no bathroom, gas station, food, civilization-----you get the picture.

But, we had the pleasure of the DVD player complete with headphones for the girls so we didn’t have many issues from them except for the occasional yelling from Abby to ask a question that she could not hear the answer to so she’d ask again….but I digress. (Golly gee, but was that a run-on sentence or what?)

With our stomachs rumbling and bladders begging for help, we were concerned about our chances of finding help other than the cooler in the back of the van and the trees along the side of the road……..

But wait? What’s that ahead? The big city of Eufala, Alabama. We were so thankful that Eufala had everything we needed. Mickey D’s, gas, and bathrooms. What more could we ask??

Well, Katie did. She wanted to drive. Oh my. I am a really BAD passenger. Trust me. When we travel, I always drive. Always. But I let her. Yeah for me. And things were fine, like I knew they would be. She was just happy to not have to assist with the DVD player in the backseat. Hmm, I knew there was an ulterior motive.

As we approached Panama City, Katie informed us that this part of Florida is on Central Time. Really? I had no idea. Sure enough, after a few calls home to check, that was the verification.

Wow! We just gained an extra hour of vacation and never knew. Cool!

Checking in was interesting. It took four luggage carts to haul all our stuff upstairs. We were quite the attraction, I assure you. Wish they offered a discount for entertainment.

We are now settled in our condo ON the beach complete with a water park, lazy river, two pools, on the beach, white sand, and full kitchen. Oh, did I mention it is on the beach?

But…..the bummer is the weather. It is cold and windy here. We braved the pool anyhow just to test it out. Well, we meaning the younger four kids. Not Karen, Katie, or I. We preferred goose bumps from the wind only. The little ones swam happily until they had to get out. Brrr. Katie and I had to carry them back to our room because they were so stinkin’ cold.

No pictures from the beach or pool today. Maybe tomorrow. But they’ll just be scenic views. It’s supposed to be colder and windier tomorrow. In fact, we have a freeze warning tonight.

What’s up with that???

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring Break.....

One week of freedom
as school is now done.
It’s time for us all
to have lots of fun!

We head to the beach
in just a few days
to enjoy surf and sun
while we play, play, play, play!

But today we are home
so what do we do?
Oh, trust me, my days
are much like a zoo.

Dad is off serving
the U. S. of A.
I’m on my own
to survive this long day.

As the sun starts to dawn,
I hear four little feet.
We’re hungry, Mom.
Please can we eat?

Add Alex to the mix
as soccer is calling.
A game must be played
with lots of footballing.

Pass him off to a friend
who goes in my place.
Too hard to keep little ones
contained in one space.

Instead, to the high school
we surely did go
to watch Catlan pitch….
What a great show!

One hundred ten pitches
and seven innings end
the game in the win column
with cheers from the girlfriend!

To the Golden Arches we go
since hunger did call.
Eat your food in the car, girls
and don’t let it fall!!

Soon Alex arrives
at our meeting place
Got out of the car
with a smile on his face

A win for his team
first place, they are now.
What was his lunch?
I’m sure you’ll say wow.

Iced coffee and three donuts
Were all the boy had
‘til he ate the girls french fries...
His lunch sure was bad!

Home again, home again
jiggity jog.
Time for some errands.
No time to blog.

As dinner approaches
hungry cries reign.
Please stop, I cry loudly
or I’ll go insane!

The beach is beckoning.
Can’t tell it no!
The weather’s not ideal.
But we will still go.

Stay tuned for pictures
of our time in the sun
Sand, waves, and cousins…
It sure will be fun!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hip Mom, say what???

I was surfing around Facebook tonight and did the “What Kind of Mom are You?” quiz just for fun. After all, we all need a giggle or two each day just to survive, right?

According to Facebook, I am Pretty Hip for a Mom. I am, and I quote,

“You are doing pretty good! You know that being a strong mom is important and that you aren't perfect! You can laugh and cry with your kids! You demand respect and set a certain standard for your kids to follow! You are the MOM of the Year!"

Wow, aren’t I good??? I never knew.

Just tell that to my kids.

I know my teens are on the floor hysterically laughing. My mom? Pretty hip? Yeah right.

My only hope for redemption lies within the little ones. Who are currently going reading stories with daddy. Ah yes. They will back me up.

Until…I have the gall to say, be quiet and go to sleep. It is bedtime.

Whereupon Anna Grace pipes up with, “You are mean.”

End of being the Hip Mom.

So I ditched my usual routine of hanging out in the hallway outside their room until all is quiet on the western front. Which routine is detested by everyone else in my house. But my theory is, if she’s quiet, I know I will have a calm evening. She, of course, meaning Anna Grace. Otherwise, I spend the next hour yelling up the stairs to be quiet.

Sit in the hallway with peace.

Go downstairs and yell.

What to do, what to do?

Well, I ditched her tonight because I was irritated.

Abby, on the other hand, was sweet as pie. Kept saying, I am being quiet, mommy. Awww. My sweet and compliant long as she is not copying her sister. Heaven help us.

Quite a bit of screaming “I want my mommy” brought me back upstairs.

Yes, I fell for the old “I want my mommy” trick. Sue me.

A few hugs and rocks later, she is calmly in bed upstairs while I am happily typing downstairs. Abby, as always, is content in bed reading to herself. The big kids? Who knows.

Oh, maybe I’d better check on that.

All I know is, Facebook lied.

I am a cranky, impatient, brain-challenged, non-cooking kind of mom.