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November 2007

Entries from October 2007

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

It was an interesting and busy day.

I woke up late this morning, so I had to rush, rush, rush ChloĆ« out of bed, into clothes, and down the stairs, still half-asleep. Poor thing. Did I ever tell you a week or so ago that when I came in one morning, she sat up and scolded me, "Mom, you woke me up!"? Yes, honey, that's why I'm here...  We made it to the bus stop with time to spare this morning, and I went home and zonked back out on the couch.

Had to keep Jack home from school again this morning. I think I'll send him tomorrow, but he still has a nasty chest cough. Really? Chest cough? As opposed to... his feet? But he's okay. And I'll send a note telling them to call me and come get him if he's not.

The Littles and I played a little after breakfast, and then we went upstairs so Mama could take a shower and fold laundry. Only I didn't fold the laundry. I sat on the bed with Soapy and watched Curious George. It was more compelling, what can I say.

When Chloƫ came home from school, I gave the kids a quick snack, and then I helped her write a thank-you note to Darlene, the director of her dance studio who gave her a nice check for her iPOP! trip to L.A. in January. She did a nice job. For a six-year-old. We hustled her into tights, leotard, and ballet shoes and headed for class.

The Littles and I just sat in the van during dance class; we didn't go to Wendy's for chocolate milks this time. They didn't ask, or I would have. Something much more exciting happened, however. About 45 minutes into class, Sophie piped up in a panicky voice from the back seat, "Mommy! Mommy! Help me! I have to go potty!!"  Well, well, well. (We are in the throes of potty-training for the third time in the Odette household, and this one has not quite gotten the idea that panties are not diapers, and we're not supposed to pee in them.) So I hurried her inside, whipped off her pants, put her on the potty, and waited. And waited. And waited. "Shut the door, Mommy!" Why do they think I should not be privy to their goings-on in the potty department? But they do. So I shut. Then I heard a little girl voice say, "I'm poopin', Mommy!" "I'm going poop, Mommy!" "I'm poopin'!!!" She kept me updated on her progress. Finally my nose told me the deed was done, and then she did herself. I was so proud! She actually told me she had to go and didn't have an accident! Hurrah.

Chloƫ fell asleep, drooling all over her harness, on the way home. Like all my children, she insisted she wasn't tired and didn't need a nap, but Daddy and I overruled that sentiment. She slept for hours, while I headed out for my appointment with my therapist.

This was probably the best session I've had with this therapist, to date. I don't want to talk about it here, but it was great. I'm feeling really good about things.

I talked to my dad when I got home. It was a brief conversation, but a really good one. I'm glad we were able to talk. He's going to come for Christmas, which will be really nice, especially for the kids. I look forward to his visit.

ChloĆ« and I left again, to go get her new glasses. She looks really cute in them and is so pleased that "they have pink on the inside!" (The frames are pinkish on the inside, where only she can see.) Rats, I forgot again to take a picture. I'm slacking. After they adjusted them, I had them fix the old ones too, since they're the same prescription and will be kept for back-ups. They gave me the big sigh and then did it.  Psht.

Since we were already at the mall and her six-year pictures were now overdue, we walked down to Sears to see if they were finally in. I had been calling for days. Ellie, our favorite photographer was there, and I told her they were overdue. She and the other girl tore the place apart looking for them after the computer indicated they were in. No luck. I really didn't want to wait for them to be reordered, since I've been hyping them so much! I finally conceded to having them printed out there - only to find out they look better than the ones printed at the lab! D'oh! The printers have improved in the last few years, because last time I compared, it was by far the other way around. So, we have our pictures and will be mailing them out soon.

Walking back toward our car, we were both overcome with hunger, and I asked Chloƫ if she wanted a slice of pizza. Of course she did. I told her not to tell Daddy, who was home making dinner, and to keep it our little secret. She agreed. But they didn't have any plain cheese slices left and were closing soon. Rats. It all had meat on it.

Then we headed to her acting school. They had called me earlier and asked if I wanted four free tickets to Sesame Street Live. But of course we do! They were given the tickets as a courtesy, and we were the first ones they thought of, having three children in that age group. Sweet! I don't know if Sophie is free or not, so I don't know if all five of us will be going. Hope so. While there, I showed them Chloƫ's new portraits, in the gown she'll be wearing to L.A., and they were duly impressed by her gorgeaciousness.

I brought Chloƫ home, since it was getting late by this point, to eat dinner and do her homework, while I ran to the store for various and sundry necessities. Including a gigantic bag of giant-breed dogfood that broke my dang back. And cough and cold medicine for the Little People. Not those Little People, my LPs. The cashier refused to take my coupon, because it was for Children's Tylenol, and the medicine I got was Children's Tylenol PLUS. Well, I have been a cashier and a customer service cashier and a front-end manager in a grocery store, and I know how the coupon business works, and I know this coupon was completely acceptable. So I said, "Well, I'd like to challenge that, so can I see a manager please?" She called one, and it turned out to be my buddy Katrina, who knows me and mine. She said, "Of course you can take this, and this is how you do it," being kinda totally patronizing to the cashier, who was giving me major attitude prior to that. The cashier didn't look me in the eye after that. Hoh well. A dollar's a dollar.

I came home, and the first thing Rob said to me when I walked in the door was, "Sorry they didn't have any cheese pizza for you, dear!" I walked in, hands on hips, and said to Chloƫ, "Hey! That was supposed to be our secret!" She just giggled and said she forgot about that. Hehe. Then I ran into the living room to watch the bitter end of Dancing With the Stars. And boy, was it bitter. I shouted, "OMG!" and sobbed when Sabrina got voted off, and I was mortified when Rob came in the room and caught me standing there crying over a dancing TV show.

So that was the day. But no, no, not quite yet! I have to run out right now, at 1:20 AM, and go do an IHOP mystery shop. I could have done it at 11:30, but, well, things came up.

It's not like I wouldn't be up anyway.


Bzz Bzz Bzz

Some of you know I'm a Bzz Agent. I sign up for product campaigns, and then they send me information & free samples to keep and to give away. I just got my Bzz Kit for Listerine Whitening Quick Dissolving Strips. So here I am to Bzzz about it!

I'm using them right now. They don't taste as great as I expected from the campaign information, but it's not ghastly, either. They're simple to put on, and you can put them on anywhere because they're practically invisible and they dissolve quickly - although, again, not quite as quickly as I expected. I guess it has only been a few minutes, though, and they're almost gone. They leave your breath fresh, too.

Do you want your own Bzz Kit for these strips? I have five codes to give away so you can sign up to receive them. The first five people to comment and tell me they want them will be emailed my codes!

NOTE: Okay, maybe the reason it didn't taste as great or dissolve as fast as I expected was because I put them on backward??


I also tried two other new products tonight. Nothing to do with BzzAgent; just thought I'd share. The first was a Phillips Crab Pretzel, which I baked in the toaster oven. Easy to make, and after I got over the "is this good or gross?" initial reaction, I decided it was pretty good. I wouldn't buy it again unless it was both on sale and I had a coupon - like this time - but it's repeatable.

The other was Turkey Hill Duetto Vanilla Soft Serve & Lemon Venice Ice. Soooo good!! Two thumbs up.


Ain't Misbehavin'


I'm about through with this day. It was downright frigid when I woke Chloƫ up for school. I waited until the last possible minute to walk her to the bus stop because I hate to wear a coat. Hate it. Hate long sleeves. Hate socks and sneakers. I just don't like to be bundled up and constricted. But I was damn cold out there this morning! Brrr.

So after I came home and had some cereal, the first thing I did was head upstairs and face reality.  Summer is over. Time to put away the children's shorts and tees and pull out the pants and sweaters. I'm not much fond of wardrobe turn-over time. With three kids, it's a lot of work. It is fun to see the forgotten items from the previous season, but then there's all that hanging up and folding (and refolding, since Sophia's usually involved and likes to play with clothes the way some kids jump in leaves).

Barbara, the cleaning lady, came today. Which meant we had the mad scramble last night to clean up in order for her to be able to come in and do anything. It's always so nice to have the house clean, but I really wish it would last for one measly hour after she departs. Milk gets spilled, dirt gets tracked in from the dog, someone misses the potty... and we're back to square one. It always makes me want to ring Barbara up and say, "Hey, wait a minute, you forgot something!"

Rob came home two hours early today, unexpectedly. That's the best. Pure joy. It also meant today, when I had to go meet Chloƫ's teacher for our conference, I could go blessedly alone. I spent an hour with her going over Chloƫ's behavior and work in the classroom and what we could do about it. She echoed verbatim my sentiments that her grades do not reflect her capabilities. She's just a little space cadet, and we've got to work on getting her take more initiative in getting her work done. I talked to her about it when I got home, but I could tell she was just not with me. She's in her own little world.

It's weird, though. She's confident. She knows she is smart and beautiful, and she will agree if you tell her! Even though she constantly has to be pushed to get her work done, she doesn't feel bad about herself. That's good, I guess. And she is both the smallest and the youngest in her class, so we think part of the problem is the other kids want to help her, take care of her, baby her a little. Strange, since she's the oldest and biggest at home, and completely capable of holding her own. Ah, well. It's a different dynamic.


I had to do a Sonic shop after that, and it sucked. They blew it. I hate when they do that, because it's more work for me! Lots more to type up that way. ;)

Poor Jack is just not feeling well. He's upset about missing school, and I'll probably have to keep him home again tomorrow. He's cranky and miserable and sniffly and coughing and just yucky - but it doesn't keep him from running around with his cars all day! We have to force him to lie down and take some rest.

He posed for this picture, though, while I was trying to get some of Soapy's new earrings:100_4384

Silly. He crackled out, "Take a picture of me doing this!" That's his favorite expression lately.

And here are the two I managed to get of Sophia. She wasn't being very coooperative:

100_4382 100_4387  Cute. If you click on the pictures, you can see an enlarged version. I don't know how to make it show up better on this main page.

That's her "I'm tired" posing. Left thumb in the mouth, right hand twiddling her hair.

Well, that's all I've got to say. Oh, that, and CSI:Miami was really lame tonight. :P


Two Days Old

I was making some food today, and I was thinking to myself how old it was when I realized it was two days old. For some reason, the phrase "two days old" struck a cord with me, and I found myself thinking about Chloƫ at two days, Robby and Jack at two days, and Sophia at two days. How fortunate I am to have memories of all four of my children at two days old. I lingered over thoughts of Sophie at that age, because she is my youngest and the memory is most fresh.

In her two days of life, she was born, whisked to the nursery as a completely healthy (for once, thank God!!) newborn, I went to a regular recovery room, and my baby was brought to me to nurse. That was utterly undescribable. After the first night, when I was unhooked from all my tubes and cords and medications, she was allowed to room-in with me, and I admired my precious baby for hours on end. Instructed to start walking (no rest for sore c-section patients), I pushed her little plexiglass crib around and around the ward, and we sat in on the horrible Shaken Baby Syndrome seminar. And then, right at two days, we were both released from the hospital. I brought my brand-new baby home. No NICU stays, no surgery complications for me, no more medical interventions of any kind. It was grand. I will never forget it.

But it is over so fast. It is sad to have a two-day-old baby, whether it's your first or your last, because on the one hand it seems like they were just born and on the other, you can't believe it's been two whole days already! And then you realize what you are in for. Two days quickly becomes two weeks becomes two years becomes five, ten, and then you turn around and it's all over. Of course, we still have a fair way to go, but that fresh, new baby is now two-and-a-half, and I can't imagine where the time has gone.

Speaking of lost time, I was going through an old wallet that I'm getting rid of tonight, and I found some old IDs. It's always fun to look at your younger self, isn't it? Here I am as a sophomore in high school:


And here I am as a senior: Baker2

Here I am in college:


And here I am as a young mother, in my first passport photo as we were getting ready to move to Guam:


Now, of course, I'm completely fat and ugly and gross, so y'all don't need to see a current picture. But the point is, those days seemed just like yesterday - especially the college days - and the time just flies by so quickly. I never felt it so strongly as I do now, with kids who refuse to stay babies. It's painful. The progression of life is inevitable, and there is nothing we can do about it except enjoy the time we have.

The double stroller is gone. It was yet another purchase we made in Guam, right after we got the news that twins were on the way. Yet another tangible piece of proof that Robby once existed, even if he never took a ride in it. I refused, until now, to feel any emotion about giving it away. It's just a material object, after all. Someone else needs it more than I do. My surviving twin will be five in a few short months, and my baby girl is growing quickly and rarely agrees to sit in the stroller anyway. But I let Rob take care of the actual handing over of the thing; I hid inside and took no part in giving away one of my most cherished "twins-are-comin'!" possessions.

After that, we fed the kids and then showered to get ready for Rob's eye exam. Another mystery shop. Honey, I hardly do anything anymore unless I'm getting paid for it! Kidding... mostly. We got to the mall right at the scheduled time, and at the reception desk, we were told our appointment was at 1315, not 1345. Hell no, sister. I wrote it down right as it was being scheduled, and I clearly remember her voice on the phone. 1:45. They were not at all pleasant in telling us that six other people "showed up" for their appointments, and no offer was made to reschedule us. We were completely incensed and left.

So with a trip to the mall and nothing to show for it, we started toward the exit. We passed Claire's, where Chloƫ got her ears pierced in August, and Rob piped up behind me, "Wanna get Sophie's ears pierced?" I thought to myself, Yeah, right, and said sure. I totally thought he was joking, as we have long been opposed to piercing babies' ears on the grounds that they should be able to ask for it themselves. But he asked her, and she said she wanted it (hello, she's two - what does she know about it?), so he took her in and started getting her signed up.

I kept waiting for the "ha ha" moment, while I was outside the store, sitting on a bench. I wasn't going to take part in this. But then he mouthed out the window to me, "Gold or stainless?" I just frowned at him. And then they put her in the chair and gave her the stuffed animal. Wait a minute... I bolted into the store and gaped as they started putting the dots on her ears. He's - serious?!! They're going to put holes in my baby's ears?! I stood there and checked the dots myself, and the next thing I knew, another associate came over, and they're shooting the studs through her earlobes. She got that completely shocked look on her face, and then she started hollering. Rob, in front of me, bent over her to comfort her, while I whacked him repeatedly on the back to let me at her. It seemed like forever. By the time I got to her, her tears were dry, and she was admiring her new earrings. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. She's two! Only two! But I have to admit, they look very pretty on her. Rats, I forgot to take pictures. Tomorrow I'll post.

Then we headed to Sonic to do another shop before going home. I didn't feel like sitting home. It was cold, but we had a free day together as a family. I couldn't come up with anything to go do, and besides, I needed to go grocery shopping. We were plum out of food for the kids to eat maƱana. I made my list and drove to the store. I have to say, they play really good music while I'm shopping there. I always feel body wanting to boogie, and more than once I've caught customers looking at me before I realize I've been singing right out loud.

When I brought the cart out to the car, I had the pleasing realization that there was no huge stroller in the back to hinder loading up the bags (canvas, natch).  That was a plus. I'm glad to be rid of it. Really, I am.

I can't believe it's almost been two days since I decided I was done with it. Time passes so quickly.


Gone Widget Crazy

Thankfully, Rob got off duty early enough today to take ChloĆ« - along with her brethren and sistren - to her first acting class. I felt like shiznat and fell fast asleep, until he called to tell me he was on his way home.  ChloĆ« was feeling a lot better, it seemed, so when they returned, Rob went to the school to prepare for his participation in the haunted house, and I took her to the second acting class.

I woke up feeling crappier than ever, so I reluctantly had to cancel my "job" helping to run games at the school carnival. I really hate flaking out like that, but what I hated even more was realizing that I had bought 50 tickets for the thing that would go to waste if we didn't go anyway! So I called the organizer back and told her that, saying she might as well put me to work, but she refused. Am I even making sense here? I feel like I am not, so let's move along.

At the second acting class, the kids waited in the double stroller, watching a movie, while I knitted. Knit. Knat. Whatever. They were exceptionally well-behaved... until. Three girls came in and, while their mother sat nearby talking away on her celly, they broke out a whole bunch of candy, right in front of my kids. Of course mine started whining that they were hungry, that they wanted candy, etc. Then they started asking the girls for candy, and I kept telling them no. Then the mom asked me if mine could have candy, and I grudgingly said they could have a little. They quickly ate that and then wanted more, and I kept telling them no, we were going to go eat after class - and the girls kept sitting there chowing down. Come on. That's not cool.

So after struggling through the huge door for the thousandth time with that humongous Cadillac of a double stroller, I decided I was done with it. I didn't want it anymore, I don't really need it anymore, and I'm sick of having it. Jack's almost five; he can walk. And if he can't, we still have two umbrella strollers and a wagon. I got Rob's approval, and then I came home and posted it on Freecycle. Two dozen replies immediately poured in. That thing is so gone in the morning!

So, I took the kids to the carnival. Fifty tickets was not nearly enough for three kids, I learned, to do the haunted house, face painting, concessions, and all those games. But they didn't even like the haunted house. That's an understatement. They were supposed to really tone it down for the little ones, and mine screamed holy terror and came out of it crying. They actually touched my children and got right in their faces and screamed. I wanted to punch them. I don't like that; why would a two-year-old?

So we quickly rushed away from there and got some snacks. Choices were limited, and the only real "food food" was hot dogs. Ugh. Major contraband in my house, but we didn't have much choice. Jack didn't eat it; he just wanted nacho chips, no cheese please. He didn't even finish his juice box. At least the girls chowed down.

They needed the energy. We went into the cafeteria and played game after game. The games were pretty stupid, and the kids got prizes no matter how well they did, but for the under-seven crowd, it rocked. They got candies and pencils and trinkets. Lots of fun. Next year, we'll do that first.

We stopped at the school spirit table last. All I wanted was a keychain lanyard, since I lost my Navy one about a year ago and have had to - gasp! - carry my keys in hand or in my purse ever since. If you have three small children, wearing them around your neck is ever so much more convenient, and I don't give a rat's hindquarters about how it looks. But they didn't have any. She even went to the cabinet somewhere else to see if she had one last one hidden somewhere, but no such luck. Rats. I plunked down five smackers for pawprint earrings for Chloƫ to wear to school on Fridays (the school mascot is a Panther), and we headed home. Finally.

Jack was complaining of a headache, and he felt hot to me by the time we arrived, so I was going to put him right to bed. He reminded me that we never got popcorn at the carnival, however, and he really wanted that "pockorn," so I put in Veggie Tales movie and popped the last bag. Then I cuddled my warm little boy on my belly while the girls went through their treat bags. Rob came home from his job much earlier than I expected, to my relief. So I handed the babies over and picked up my knitting.

He put them to bed, and I watched Dreamgirls. Then he came down, and we watched Zodiac. And that's it.


Bring on the Hand Sanitizer

Well, let's see. I think I'm on the mend, but ChloĆ« is most certainly not, and Jack is beginning to have that tell-tale cough. So, I kept them both home from school today, a fact that had Jack most up-in-arms. We rested until Daddy came home, and then I took Rob's car out in the cruddy, pouring rain for an oil change shop. His cost three times as much as mine, ugh.  Tonight, we were supposed to go to ChloĆ«'s school to set up for the Fall Carnival tomorrow - Rob's in the Haunted House in the gym, and I'm doing games in the cafeteria - but as we were leaving, ChloĆ« doubled over in pain, coughing and on the verge of vomiting. Halt right there! I stayed home with the babies, and Rob went by himself. "Have fun at camp!" I said, as he had a pack full of Haunted Circus supplies on his back.

After he got home, I went out to get Chloƫ some stuff for her cough and sore throat. Then I remembered one of the few good memories I have of my stepmother: I was about 12, home sick and sleeping in my stepsister Mindy's bed (no idea what was wrong with my own). Linda came home with a stuffed animal - a Poppel, I think, pink and purple - to make me feel better. And it did. So tonight, I picked up the Pediacare and some Tylenol meltaways, and then I got her a "feel better" balloon and the softest, squishiest, most-overpriced little purple bunny. When I returned, she was passed out on the couch, so I tucked the bunny in her arms and came up here to check email. After a while, she cried out in a weak, pathetic little voice, "I want my mommy!!" I rushed down there and pulled her up on my lap. She was holding the bunny tightly, not realizing it, and then she noticed. "Do you like it?" I asked. She smiled and said, "It's purple." This marked her approval. You just can't go wrong with purple.

So I don't know about tomorrow, now. She's supposed to have two acting classes in the afternoon, and then we're supposed to spend 3 hours running the Carnival. Thankfully, I invited the babysitter to come along and watch the little ones, but I might just send her home with them to relax. I guess we'll just play it by ear.

Wednesday, Chloƫ stayed home sick, too. I think? I know she was home another day this week. But Thursday, she insisted on going. It was her very first field trip! They ate lunch in their classroom and then took the bus to Portsmouth to watch a Junie B. Jones play. Oh, she liked it. She even got to meet Junie B.! And Jack had school pictures on Thursday, so I sent him in a nice outfit and brushed and rebrushed his hair a dozen times before sending him on the bus, at which time I watched him rake his fingers through it, leaving it all sticking up all over. Ah, well. Then he came home from school with a notice saying his pictures were on Friday, not Thursday. So, he missed them today. Eh. It's just preschool.

After the kids came home, I loaded the three of them up in the van to take Chloƫ for an eye exam. Yeah, for a mystery shop. The doctor there seemed surprised to find out what her glasses prescription was, but when he tested her eyes, he said they were completely justified. She's got some pretty bad vision, and the anatomy and morphology of her eyes are pretty unusual. It was an interesting visit, for a biologist. We went to Pearle, where they have Optomap and can take a picture of the back of the eye without dilation. I could see the retina and the optic nerve and the sclera - very cool pictures.

Then we finished the shop next door, buying her glasses. We looked at dozens of pairs and finally settled on a really cute frame - Ralph Lauren Polo. For a six-year-old. Sighhhh. She better take good care of them!

While we were in the mall, I decided to walk down to Sears to see if her pictures were ready. Along the way, we stopped and got cookies at the Toll House stand, and I had six chocolatey hands to wipe up before we stopped in at Payless to get the kids' feet measured. All their feet are growing so well right now! I bought them all a bunch of new shoes just three months ago, and since then, Chloƫ went from 7 to 8 1/2, Jack went from 5 to 7 1/2, and Sophia went from 5 to 7! I already had shoes for the older two, so I picked out a pair of sandals for Sophia, since that's what she's still wearing most of the time. She had her heart set on the most garish sparkly pink dress shoes with pink rhinestones and Disney Princesses on the inner soles, and - gag - since they were Buy One Get One, I let her have them. I had to tell her daddy that they were REAL shoes to be kept at the front door, not play ones for the dress-up box. He visibly blanched. At least she has oodles of pink clothes to wear with them.

And the pictures were not ready yet. As we were leaving the mall, I got a text message from Rob that he was home. He'd lost his phone the previous day, at work. ARGH. Not a cheap fix. I swung home to pick him up, and then we went on to my next shop, asking about home services at Verizon. Man, that lady talked to me for FORTY minutes while they waited in the car. Yeah, 40. But it made me question what we're paying Cox now for the same services, and we may just be switching to Verizon. See, that's how they get you.

I'd gotten a message from Darlene, who runs Chloƫ's dance studio, saying she'd written a check for her acting trip and I could come pick it up anytime. We swung by, and she was there and gave it to me. It was an unexpected amount, and I found myself hugging the Ice Lady. (Darlene is very stoic, to put it nicely. Or, um, an Ice Lady, to put it not.)

Then we went to the T-Mobile store for Rob to get his new phone. I was grudging that expense, but he can hardly do without a phone, so we might as well suck it up. (And his phone was found today. Humph! But it was broken and soaking wet and unusable by that point, at least.) The store looked busy, so I told him I'd go swing by KFC and get a bucket of chicken while he was in there. I got the biggest meal. The kids are eating more lately, so I wasn't sure how much I'd need. Hooboy, that mofo was $40, and you don't even get a drink! Ridick.

While we were in the drive-thru lane, Chloƫ started squealing that she had to go potty. And then Jack joined in. And then Sophia joined in. All right, all right, I get it! I pulled in a parking space and hauled my three ducklings out. When we walked in, used the bathroom and left, the employees were all staring at me for not buying anything (it was empty in there), but I was like, hello, I just dropped a small fortune at the window, so cough up the cheap, crappy one-ply TP. They hopped on the toilet, one after the other - well, not Jack, since he stands like a man now, with his junk resting on the bowl, as his father is so fond of saying - and made peepees. Even Sophie! She was wearing her new panties and stayed dry this whole time, and she went buckets! Yay!! We are using ONE diaper a day now, for bedtime. Sweeeeet. Here's her cute tushie in her new pannies:

100_4373 100_4376

We're so proud. And excited, to stop funneling all our money into Pampers.

So we went back and picked up Rob, and went home to our chicken. Chloƫ didn't touch a thing and went to lie down. Jack chowed down on some chicken. We don't care what he eats, but when he gets his grub on, it's a beautiful sight. And Sophie, as you can tell from the pictures, has no such appetite struggles. She ate a little bit of everything.

While the kids were winding down, I worked on my knitting. I'm using a cashmere/silk/merino blend right now that is soooo luscious. It just feels GOOD to work with, and the strands slide effortlessly over each other, rarely knotting up. I finished the back and one sleeve:

100_4377 100_4378

It's going to be so cute! And soft. I hope the little boy who gets it likes the way it feels...

And I'm off. I've got a cardigan to knit up.



I desperately wanted to keep sleeping this morning when the alarm went off at 0700. I could not get to sleep last night with all the coughing I was doing. Blah, blah, blah, I'm sick, feed me sympathy, yadda yadda. After I dropped Chloƫ off at the bus an hour later, I instantly fell back asleep until the alarm went back off at 1000 to get Jack ready for school. I was hoping Sophia would still be sleeping, as she sometimes is, so I could get more sleep, but alas, she was ready to get up.

We didn't go anywhere today. I felt like such crud. She bipped and bopped around the living room, playing with her toys, while I lay on the couch and watched, participating whenever she asked.  Sometimes she crawled up and lay down next to me, and that's my absolute favorite thing in the world: holding my child, who is calm and relaxed, rubbing her hair and her impossibly soft skin, kissing her head, imbuing her with that "I-love-you" feeling. And when I'm sick and not up to moving, there's nothing better.

When Jack came home, I finally hurried into a shower, which I should have done earlier as it perked me up. We were late getting out the door to get Chloƫ, and I hoped she would just come straight to the house as I've instructed her to do numerous times if such an occasion ever occurred. I started to get the little ones in the wagon - dreading the effort it would take to pull it - when I saw the kids disembarking from their bus, up the street. I stood there and watched as she walked home with the "big kids," a trio of fifth graders who have taken a liking to her. They helped carry her bags and one held her hand, and I started considering letting her walk home with them every day. It's just a few hundred feet... I don't know. It's an alluring possibility, but I always have the idea of a predator snatching her off the street and driving away in the back of my mind.

I fed the kids a quick snack and then helped Chlo into her tights, leotard, ballet skirt, shoes and scrunchie. Oops, we forgot to go potty - must undo and redo the whole routine. That's nothing new. We drove to ballet, and I just wanted to sleep for the hour wait while she was in class. I went inside to find Darlene, the owner and director, who said she was going to give me a check to sponsor ChloĆ«'s acting trip, but she forgot the checkbook at home. Argh. I'd asked her three weeks ago and she said she would, but I felt too shy the last two weeks to go in and ask her again. She finally called me a few days ago to tell me she hadn't seen me to give it to me and... eh, I'm getting bored of this.  Next week, I hope.

I kept coughing and coughing in the car, and the Littles kept saying they were thirsty, so we drove around the corner to the Wendy's. They each had a chocolate milk (hence the lid you just found in the pantry, Rob), and I had a much-needed drink. Jack got a big kick out of this, since we normally just sit in the parking lot for the hour and idle away the time with him constantly asking if she's almost done, and he decided this would be a weekly pilgrimage for us. Why not.

We drove home, and Daddy was still not there even though he got off work two hours earlier (damn commute!!) so we drove to the bank to deposit two more mystery shopping checks I'd gotten. I had a silly anecdote about that, but it just escaped me. Rats.

When we got back, he was still not there. Grr. It was absolutely perfect weather, and Jackie echoed what I was just thinking, "I want to stay outside!"  I sat on the porch and watched while they ran around, pulling each other in the wagon. The neighbors, also with three young kids, came up from a walk, and our six children hugged and played and enjoyed themselves while I laughed with the other mom. Rob finally came home, and I was so relieved. I NEEDED a nap - and I finally got one, for a short half-hour. Better than nothing.

Jack was cuddling with me before I fell asleep, and he decided he wanted to be called River (his middle name) instead of Jack. I kept saying, "River [do this], River [do that]" and he thought it was hysterical. I started calling the girls by their middle names, too, and Jack was supremely amused by this.

Anyway, this is a very droll post, and I'm finally getting sleepy, so g'night.


Damn You, Infernal Machine!

Well, I just had half my post typed up, and then the computer ate it. I HATE THAT!! Whoever wants to type the same thing twice?!


I am tired out. Tuckered. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, we heard a noise coming from one of the kids that was quite unrecognizable. We didn't know who or what it was. Rob went in and found Chloƫ about to puke for the second time, having just emptied her guts on her brother's bed on the bottom bunk. Niiiice. I sympathized, having a painfully upset tum myself - for the second time in as many weeks. None of us could figure out what the two of us girls had gotten into. Eventually, she made it into bed with us, and Rob went downstairs in the morning with the little ones while Chloƫ and I rested and cuddled the day together in bed. I also have a cold, and she had a fever and a headache, so we were in no shape to head to the fall festival at the Farmer's Market. Bummer. With its free face painting, animal petting, pony rides and the like, it promised to be a swell time.

This morning, I decided to give Chloƫ the day off from school to further recuperate, but when Jack and I woke up to get him ready for pre-K, she said she felt better and wanted to go in, too. All righty, then! I got my three little ducklings dressed and fed, and then I made their lunches using the new Wrap-n-Mats I'd just gotten in the mail. The kids were very enthused to use their new Halloween-themed sandwich wrappers, and of course I am always thrilled with anything we can do to cut down on waste and help the environment!


We got Jacky on the bus and then Sophia and I drove Big Sis to her school. They were very happy and surprised to see her there. Sophie and I went home to have a quick lunch, and then we drove to the bank to deposit a big mystery shopping check I'd gotten. (Yay, money!) After that, I decided to take a minute before going home and duck into the yarn store in the same plaza. I didn't know what I wanted, other than to pet the pretty yarns. Well! Then I remembered a couple of nice donations CARE Package had recently received, and I decided to get some nice patterns and good yarns to spoil a few babies.

We were there for about an hour and a half! Sophie was so well-behaved, just happy-chattering a blue streak about all the yarns and books and Halloween decorations she saw, while I pored over patterns for just the right projects. I selected at least a dozen, and then the fun part - picking the yarns! Oh, I got a bunch of yummy ones in bamboo and cashmere and silk and merino. I'm drooling. Wanna see my new loot?


Pretty, right?? And so much fun to feel. Sophia and I ferried our prizes home to wait for Jack. He came home as he usually does, refusing help down from the bus and then brushing right past me into the house without a hello. I'd be miffed if it weren't so... Jack! Soon after, the Littles and I walked down to the bus stop to get Chloƫ from her bus. There were other kids from another bus coming toward us when we left the house, and Sophia shouted to them exuberantly, "Hi, evvybuddy! Hello, evvyone!" They laughed, I laughed, and so she laughed.

After the kids were all home, I quickly had to give them a snack and then rush them right out the door for my doctor appointment down the road. This doctor is always annoyed when I come with my three children in tow, which in turn annoys me, and today was no different. He asked me if he could help me make an appointment for a "better" time with no children, and I blurted out, "There is no other time!!" He got all defensive and tried to act like he was trying to help me out - whatever! I go everywhere with them; it ain't no thang.

Oh, and in the lobby when we were entering, ChloĆ« entered first and went down the hall while I struggled with getting the double stroller through the door. I heard her talking to a woman, who then rounded the corner and said, "Oh! Mom's got THREE kids. Lucky you," all sarcastically. Irritated, I spat back, "Yes! I am lucky!"  The nerve! Rob said I should have told her, "Well, I used to have four of them, so I am lucky to have these three," but of course, I never think of these things in the moment.

Ah, well. I scheduled the next appointment for noon, so I'll only have Sophia. That should soothe the ol' grump a bit.

On the very short drive home, Jack fell asleep. I got out of the car and found him with his head down and drooling on the carseat harness. I stroked his cheek, and when that didn't budge him, I started to unbuckle him with the aim of carrying him up to his bed for a nap. He instantly woke up and grumpily insisted, "I'M NOT TIRED!" Too bad, my son. I caught you red-handed. Jack and Sophie went to bed for naps, and ChloĆ« and I worked on her homework. 

Daddy came home, which is always the best part of the day, and helped me talk to her about her report card. Her grades weren't as great as I'd expected or hoped, because as usual, she did poorly in listening and paying attention and stuff. Rob says she's just like him, always daydreaming and puttering around and wasting time - and I remember being quite a lot like that in first grade, myself. I'm mainly concerned because it's not reflective of her intelligence and abilities, but I am hopeful that things will turn around when she learns more diligent work habits. I really push her to be independent and timely with her homework, so I guess we'll just keep on keepin' on.

Rob and I got ready to go out, and then our sitter, Stephanie, and her husband Tim came over to watch the Odettelettes. Rob and I had a mystery shop to do down on the oceanfront, in the upscale trendy Hilton bar, Catch 31. We had a great time, laughing and joking, and I was reminded of just how much fun my husband is. Plus I had the two best piƱa coladas I think I've ever tasted - and that's saying something!

When we got home and said goodbye to Steph and Tim, I turned on the TV and started knitting! I'm using one of the creamy cashmere yarns to make a little garter-stitch sweater, and it's such fun to work with. Of course, I'll post it when the project's done. Or maybe earlier, if I feel like it.

Okay, it's late, and I'm fading fast. Arrivederci!

The Sun'll Come Out

Wild_melanie_2 Here's a fun thing! I created a "Wild Things" version of myself at Build Your Wild Self and plan to make one with each of the kids tomorrow. Try it!

Yesterday, I woke up with a sore throat and a cold. "NOOOOOO!" was my thought. I don't have time for that! After getting Chloƫ and Jack on their respective school buses, Sophia and I just hung out and relaxed. Well, as much as one can relax with an insanely active two-year-old in the house. The house appraiser came around 1300, and she was instantly taken with my Soap. She claimed to have just met a five-year-old who didn't talk so nicely as my little tot! Sophie told her name, her age, and used "please" and "thank you" without being prodded. As usual when someone is admiring my child(ren), I just stood there and beamed.

Rob had to stand watch in the evening, which meant Jack and Sophie were invading my night out with Chloƫ and the Brownies. We went to see Annie at the same theater where Chloƫ had last year's dance recital. The girls had taken a vote the day before, and they had chosen "theater dress" over "Brownie vest." I showered and, for once, actually did my hair and put on some make-up - which turned out to be a poor choice, given that it was still much hotter outside than it looked. Sweat and make-up don't mix, and two minutes after we left the house, my hair looked like it always does. Gah. But the kids looked nice! I put Jack in the suit (dress shirt, pants, vest and tie!) that we bought on sale two or three years ago and have been waiting for him to grow into ever since. My, my, did he get the compliments from all the girls and their moms! Sophie wore her 2nd birthday dress, and Chloƫ wore the other dress we just bought for her trip to L.A. (Not the one you just saw in the Sears pictures.) What? You didn't see those? Here they are!


And no, I didnt get any pictures last night, dammit! I brought my camera and everything, and I never remembered to drag it out of my purse.

So, Jack and Soap didn't exactly behave. They were good for maybe the first 15-20 minutes, sitting quietly in their seats or on my lap. Then they started getting restless. Jack was back and forth, back and forth between his chair and my lap, constantly not-whispering in my ear that he was hungry and tired. Sophia was fascinated by the light on the outside of her aisle seat and kept going in the aisle to examine it. And then she discovered the other rows had them, too. Then she came up to me and handed me a wet, half-eaten piece of candy, saying, "I like it, Mommy!" Thinking she'd found it on the floor, I quickly took it away from her and stuck it... somewhere. ;) She started sobbing SO LOUD that she wanted it, and I could not sh-sh-shush her fast enough. Then she got off my lap and revisted Kori, the Brownie in the row ahead of us, telling her she wanted another one. And Kori obliged. AGHHH! (a) Don't feed my kid candy. (b) Don't feed my kid anything without asking me first (or telling me after!). (c) Don't bring candy to a theater. And (d) Don't feed my kid candy, without asking me first, in a theater!

Shortly after the intermission, I realized they were just done, and I decided to take them out. I waved a quick and frazzled good-bye to the other moms, leaving ChloĆ« with the Troop Leader, and hustled them out to the lobby. I didn't know what we were going to do or how long was left in the show or even what time it was, having forgotten my Palm and cell phone at home. (I never wear a watch.) Jack was seriously complaining of hunger, and any of you who know that he's the size of a small one-year-old realize that when the boy needs fed, the boy gets fed. I took them outside and looked around the downtown Norfolk street. Hmm, sushi. Probably not. Zero's subs! We ran across the street, and it was closed. Bugger. A few more doors down was a pizza place, but all the ready-made pies had meat on them. Not gonna happen. A-ha! An open Subway. All along our way, people stopped and smiled at my dressed-up sweet babboos. The Subway cashier, a man, asked me if they were twins. Everyone asks me if they are twins. This is nothing new. When I told him no, he looked shocked. Then he asked how far apart they were, and when I told him over two years, he looked more shocked. Then he said, "She's older, right?" and when I said no, again, I thought he'd break his mandible on the counter. I told him their ages, and he said, "Whoa! I have a four-year-old son, and he's THIS BIG!" showing me a height about twice Jack's.  Seriously, why do people think this is a thing I want to hear? Is that helpful? No, not so much. And constantly having to explain about the growth hormone deficiency to total strangers gets a little old.

Anyway. They scarfed down their sandwich and drink and cookies and were STILL hungry, so I bought a bag of chips and hurried back to the theater with a towhead in each hand. Along the way, we met people streaming down the sidewalk with their Annie playbills in hand. Shoot, we're late! I found all the Brownies waiting for us, with a couple missing who were searching for us. Oops. We collected the other passengers in our van, said good-bye to the troop, and headed out. I was so frazzled from the whole evening of toddler shenanigans that I couldn't remember whether I had to go East or West. Yes, we have lived here 4.5 years. No, you can get much further east than Virginia Beach. I apologized to the other mom in the car for being such an idiot - and then I drove straight to our house instead of back at the Brownies meeting place where her car was parked. She laughed, at least.

At home, I passed off the kids to their father so I could finally get a much-needed rest. It was way past their bedtime, and they were ornery. So was I. Then Rob and I watched Fracture, which was really good. Just don't watch the deleted scenes and alternate endings; better just to leave things be.

I slept a good sleep, but when Rob woke me up this morning, I felt way much crappier than yesterday. Not thrilled about that. He let me rest some more, while he made the kids some strawberries and oatmeal for breakfast. When he woke me up again to ask if I was going to take ChloĆ« to her acting class, I looked at him and moaned something like, "I'm siiiick." He started to say something about not taking the little kids along, but then he looked back at me and changed his mind. Thank God. I felt like ass. 

I had to get up, though. No time for a cold! I had things to do. Mystery shops to do, shop reports to submit, more shops to apply for, and records to keep for them all. And Chloƫ had to go back to the acting school for the intensive training she's going to be getting for the trip to iPOP! L.A. in January. So I showered and dressed and took her to that, and I drove back out here to get my oil changed for a shop (and not a moment too soon, either; I was in drastic need), and back out to get her. I talked to both of her acting teachers about their expectations for next week, and they were both really enthusiastic about how well she's doing. She learns her lines very quickly and is learning not to look around, instead of looking at the camera, when she delivers them. She added her own little thing to the end of one thing, and the teacher loved it and told her to keep it in for iPOP!

No rest for the weary, of course. We decided to go deliver the Girl Scout goodies during whatever daylight we had left. Rob loaded up the wagon for me, and we headed out. It got dark quickly, though, and we didn't even hit half the houses. She was so cute, saying, "Hi, I have your order!" when they answered the door and "Thank you for supporting my troop!" when they gave her the money. One lady even gave her a dollar for "being such a good saleswoman," and of course she didn't stop chattering about that dollar for an hour. The collections business is hard, though! Right, Dad? ;)

Well, I think Rob and I are going to watch Lucky You now, so I'll sign off here. For the uninitiated, I blather on unashamedly in my blog posts!


Here We Are Again

Well, let's give this thingy a try. I'm already not loving that I can't change the font, but whatever.

Welcome to the new blog about our family life.  Please don't share the password; refer people to me if they want it.

Here we start...

Rob is working later nowadays, so I have to take all three kids with me whenever any one of them needs to go anywhere after school. It kind of sucks. Today, Chloƫ had a Brownies meeting, so the little ones had to go with us. The girls were playing a sort of "Chores Charades," and they were learning to be a proper audience and sit up, pay attention, and clap after each performance, for when the troop goes to see Annie tomorrow night. Jack had a truck with him and barely paid attention, but Sophia watched and clapped along with the older girls. She has this expression of absolute wide-eyed, eyebrow-raised delight that I love.

When they started getting restless, I wheeled the double stroller outside to let them get some fresh air and run around, while I helped sort candies and nuts from the fall product sale. Chloƫ sold a ton of stuff, so she'll get a patch, a necklace, a little bag, and a stuffed dolphin. I just want her to get the patch for her vest!

Anyway, on the way home, Chloƫ said, "Let's go somewhere!" She wanted to go to the park, but I was just too hot and sweaty and tired. We went home to greet Daddy and bring all our boxes of candies inside, and he and I decided, for once, to let them have fun in the McDonald's play place. We've only gone one other time, I think. After a quick dinner, the kids jumped up to go climbing ... but Sophia is the only brave one in the bunch. She quickly hiked up inside all the tubes, ran around, went down the slides, and climbed right back up. The other two little wimpy chickens just stayed on the ground, hollered up to her, and moaned, "It's too scary! It's too scary!" Oh, well!

The kids and I watched Surf's Up today. None of them really have a long enough attention span for that, though, so it was mostly me watching and them being shushed and told to watch. They are better suited to the half-hour kids show format with two 15-minute sub-episodes!