September 29, 2005

Pass the Potato

Humor me. Hold the gravy. Please, pass the potato.

Thanks for playing.

September 25, 2005

Can you guess?

Can you guess what Jake was trying to type? Be a peach and help a mom out. Richard took Jake (5) to work with him. Jake gets to sit at his own computer and "surf elmo dot com" or type his "business".

Richard sent me an email with Jake's "work" attached. At first it looks a bit like nothing but look closer. I was just going to go, aww, look he's trying to type letters, how cute. Then I realized he really did type something. Can you see it?

Now, don't go be a cheater and look at the comments. Can you figure it out? Now if you can figure out the first part please let me know, I still haven't cracked the code there. I'll ask him for hints later but of course, I don't want to hurt his feelings by not knowing what the whole thing says. What kind of mother would I be if I commented that his elephant picture was the best looking submarine I had ever seen? Not that I've done that either.





Dare I say that's a wickedly good try for a new Kindergartener. Don't you think?

September 23, 2005

Unlikely Entertainment

LiL J's new favorite TV fix is The Weather Channel. Nevermind the Justice League or Little Bear. Somehow, while clicking through his animated options, he found TWC. Never teach your child how to use the remote. Don't even let them see you using it, because their minds are far more adept to mastering electronic devices and before you know it, they will have taken over.

Today he's been watching for a full twenty minutes. First it was fascinating to him that he could see all the states on screen with brightly colored borders and whirly-woos. You see, my five year old son is obsessed with geography lately. LiL J has never known a time when live TV couldn't be pasued or re-wound. This means we get to see the same thing over and over which is really a must for any human being under age seven. And a personal passion for any human being under age three.

"Look!! This is where we live mom! That's our weather happening above us."

He rewinds indefinitely if they show any action over Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, California and Michigan. Those are his favorite states and he knows where they are like the back of his hand.

It was very cute at first but after watching the same twenty second clip of 'possible' rain clouds going over Wisconsin, again and again, I'm ready to watch anything else, even Barney. Weather forecasters lie. Barney's just a bad singer.

Then he notices the Rita reports so he asks me if a hurricane is a tornado in the water. He's a genius.

When he sees the simulated image of Rita heading for Texas he gasps and his face shows panic.

"Mom!! That's Texas. They said the hurricane is going to Texas! Oh no, grandpa is doing to die!!"

"No honey, he's too far away from the hurricane. He's near Austin."

Still pausing TWC and pointing to the map, "where in Texas is Austin?"

After I explain the distance to him and calm his fears I realize he's NOT going to change the channel anytime soon. At five years old, he's totally into geography land weather and the only thing that will pry him away from TWC is a 100 piece puzzle of the United States which he insists I help him with. I then have to tell him what each one is and answer the same question every single time.

Do we know anyone there?

With three older children idling their engines in slackerville, I am overjoyed that he loves to learn new things and asks us about the world he lives in. Have you watched the weather channel for hours a day over and over though. It's not natural. I'd rather be picking dried play-doh out of the carpet. And truth be told, he asks big questions and big questions by little people are hard to answer . The answer only leads to more questions. So I am forced to employ The Husband's tried and true response to the evitable, "but why?"

Because the sky is blue. That's why.

September 22, 2005

The Weirdness of Me

I've decided I'd share some secrets of the weirdness that is Melissa. There's quite a few of them so I'll start with groups of fives. I know we all have our strange little rituals and habits but I really sometimes wonder it's the perfectionist in me or a little OCD. Or I'm just plain odd. Or all three.

Here goes:

  1. I have to start reading my magazines from the back to front. OK, so I realize that's not too weird and I'm not alone in preferring reading from the back to front. Here's where it gets really weird though. I not only have to pull out all those little cards out of the magazine, I also have to TEAR out ALL pages with double sided ads before I will read it. I won't even attempt to read a magazine unless I've purged as many ads as possible without losing any of the content. So all pages with double sided ads have to go and I'll sit on the couch tearing out paper after paper, throwing them on the floor in a pile. Then when I'm done, I'll sigh with a feeling of accomplishment and anticipation, lay back and settle in for some reading. Oh, did I mention I have to go about this process without really looking at most of the content so I don't already see all the pictures and lose interest? This literally drives my husband INSANE. The kids have lots of collage material though.
  2. I'm really anal about doing the laundry. Everything is almost always washed on cold regardless of what the label says and most shirts are inside out before going in to the washer. I don't just sort laundry according to darks, whites and colors, I have a whole range of shades. The following are washed with their own kinds: towels, sheets, blacks, dark charcoals and midnight blue, primary colors, whites, pastels and jeans. Then, ALMOST everything is hung up to dry on hangers. I rarely put anything into the dryer other then socks, knickers, jeans, bedding and MAYBE pajamas. Even then everything is put on low and is dried on a short cycle. I will hang everything else up, stretching the fabric if need be to avoid shrinkage, and place them on the curtain rod in the bathroom and on the line in the basement. This ANNOYS everyone a bit because they have to help hang up wet clothes instead of throwing them in the dryer. Plus when family members come they are afraid to touch the clothes for fear that I might freak out. I didn't inherit this habit from my mom. Nope. My own mother commits the most heiness laundry sin of all times. She washes ANY clothing she has, even DELICATE items with towels, sheets, sweats and jeans, ALL in the same load. The washer will be so packed it can barely spin. Whenever she has lived with me or been to visit I chase her around while sprinkling out holy water verbal instructions on how she should be washing her clothes. I got this extremely anal and tedious laundry ritual from my grandma and aunt who were raised in the south with clothes lines. Even if they had a dryer, you didn't use it unless there was a blizzard. Supposedly it kept the clothes looking nicer longer as well. I don't know if this is true but I just can't seem to change. When I do the wash I can see them, lining up the seams of a garmet just perfectly with the hanger. If I even try to throw a shirt into the dryer I can hear their admonisions. One advantage is that at least I don't have to fold and put clothes away. Once they're dry, everyone grabs their own clothing and right into the closet it goes.
  3. I clean with paper towels. I can't stand having sponges around. They gross me out and I don't even want to touch them. I also almost always used rubber gloves. I'm teased by all my friends for this. I don't get it. What's so odd about that? Are they like actually TOUCHING the sponges, toilet, sinks, floors and everything else with their BARE hands? *Shudder* I know it's probably not the most environmentally friendly way of cleaning but I do go through a lot of paper towels. In the powder room I keep a paper towel holder for drying hands. I don't want to bother with four kids wiping God only knows what-bodily secretions? their hands onto towels and hoping they'll keep them neat on the rack. Same goes for their friends and guests. I walk around cleaning with my handy dandy notebook 409 bottle and a roll of paper towels. I can clean any surface and just pitch the dirty paper towels. No nasty, dry and shrivled up sponges for me, thank you very much. I give the sign of the cross at the very sight of a sponge. GET BACK YOU FILTHY CESSPOOL PILLOW!!
  4. If I cook eggs I have to remove that white squiggly little thingy-ma-jigger I call an umbilical cord. It's creepy looking and I won't even be able to cook or use eggs without taking a fork or spoon and removing them first. If I order eggs out then I can put it out of my mind but if I see it there in the bowl before scrambling it has to come out. Richard makes fun of me and says it's retarded and there's no such thing as white umbilical cords in eggs. However, when his mom came to visit recently she said the same thing I said about them being umbilical cords and she wants them out of her eggs too. Ah, HA! Even Mooch can't make eggs now without taking it out first. My insanity is contagious. If someone makes me eggs I'll ask like 5 times, are you SURE you got the umbilical cord thing-ma-jigger out first?
  5. I'm obsessed with vacuuming. I vacuum every day. Some rooms I'll even vacuum twice. I vaccum the baseboards, couch cushions and cobwebs. DAILY. I am still mourning the loss of my Phantom vacuum cleaner that was like the mac daddy cadillac of vacuums. About 3 years ago one of the kids, who will remain nameless, COUGH Snoo broke it by knocking it down over and over until the cord was severed. Then I killed the replacement vacuum 2 years ago when it wasn't able to keep up with my demands. Now I have a Bissell Cleanview 2. Its holding for now and it does an awesome job picking up cat hair yet I so have my eyes on a purple Dyson. Is it wrong to want to pay $500 for a vaccum cleaner? If you're busy and can do nothing else for your house, vaccum. It will ALWAYS made the room look cleaner then it is. It's like lipstick for a woman's face. If nothing else, put some lipstick on. Plus I actually love to vacuum, as sick as that is. It's therapeutic, watching everything get sucked up and disappear. I once had a neighbor that asked me to restrict my vacuuming before 9pm and wanted to know why in the world I vacuumed so often.

Come on now, you'll have to share your own peculiarities. I know I'm not the only one.

September 21, 2005

I Want a Dolores

Many years ago during a heated argument when The Husband and I didn't feel much like having maturity in our marriage, he shouted at me some nonsense like--I WANT A DOLORES.

Being quite annoyed and agitated as it was, I just looked at him confused and shouted back "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? Stop acting like a donkey! See, what I have to put up with..... "

He tried to explain that was his "semi-cute" and non-threatening way of saying he wanted a divorce. That was a long time ago. He was a bit green behind the ears and must not have realized that "I want" and "Divorce" are not words typically received well. Ever.

He was never serious of course. Yes, it is rather immature, however, what really drove me buggy was wondering WHY he replaced divorce with Delores. How does that man's mind word sometimes, I just don't know. He still can't give me an explanation. As is often the case.

Being the brat that I am these days, I think I've decided how to end this little game. I don't even remember what "semi-cute" annoying thing Richard said to make me mad the other day.

I had had enough though and I blurted out, I want a DELORES!! AND SHE'D BETTER BE GOOD IN BED!!!!


Heh. I think that settles it though.

Well, all except for his theory that my online friends are really my lesbians lovers.

If you currently disappointed at my twisted sense of humor. Don't worrry, God isn't finished with me yet.

September 15, 2005

Looking Backwards

I miss so many things right now. I miss opportunities missed. I miss the years that are gone. I miss simpler things. I miss the newness of life that a baby brings. I miss the ocean. I miss the mountains. I miss San Diego. I feel melancholy and a longing for a taste of the past. My oldest son is almost to the age I was when I met his father. At fifteen, he's only a few years away from being a "legal adult". All of a sudden I'm painfully aware of the fact that he's growing up at unstoppable speeds. I miss his little boy days. Lately, whenever I hear the song, Ocean Breathes Salty, it makes me sad. It's a rather sad song. It tugs at my heart and I don't even know why. It makes me look back at all the good and bad things I can't change. There's a million things I would have done differently in my life from the beginning until now and surely many of those things are in regards to my early days of mothering.

For some reason I connect that song to J lately and I feel a sense of sadness for the years gone by. I was so very young when I had him and not exactly in a good place at the time. I was young, in love, angry, hopeful, and foolishly naive. And like all parents, I did some of all the wrong things with the right intentions. Being a young mom and from a crazy upbringing, I felt like I had something to prove. I know at times I expected too much of him and I was too hard on myself. When you talk to your child on the phone, no matter at what age, they always sounds so small and adorable. And in the same way, I'd look back at different stages of his early years and I could see he was just a baby. When you're standing next to an almost grown child, any child under nine years old is a baby.

Those days are gone and like all moms, I would make some changes. But I look forward to the years to come with J and all the trials and triumphs we'll have as we watch him become a young man.

It doesn't make me miss those little boy smiles and that little boy sense of humor any less though. Your child's hug is one of the most beautiful things you can be given in this world. There's deep sense of communication and unspoken dialogue being exchanged and no one thing says I love you the most without using a single word. I'm fortunate that I can still get those hugs from J, but boy do I miss his little boy cuddles. I do know though, soon I will be wondering why I ever tried to run from one of his sweaty, puppy dog smelling embraces, as hugs will be few and far between.

I wish I didn't have this sense of emptiness about his growing up. I feel lately like I didn't get my fill of the little J because I was too busy with a big family right away and too concentrated on a special needs child.

I know my feelings can't be unique. What parent doesn't embrace the growing up years with excitement and some nostalgia. Yet, some of J's littlest years were met with parental depression, difficult circumstances, and even family separations. Things happenend to his little world that I couldn't control and even though it all worked out in the end and he was loved and adored, I am a mom. Therefore I have guilt.

I think if I had to examine why I think back on this so much lately is that LiL J reminds me so much of Big J. In many ways LiL' J is a lot like J was. They look so much alike. Their expressions and mannerisms are very similar. Their interests in toys, movies and games are almost identical. When I realized what LiL' J's name meant I couldn't help but find it a tad ironic. LiL J's name means "holder of the heel","he who replaces", "representive" and "supplanter".

LiL' J does indeed at times feel like a representation of J and I feel this great privilege to be the mother of these boys. They are not the same boys and I am glad for that. Even so, sometimes when I see LiL' J I will literally be transported to a memory of J at the exact same age. I will look at LiL J's hands as he holds a crayon and it's like looking back into time when his older brother sat and colored masterpieces for me. I can still see his pensive expression and chubby little fingers firmly clutching the fat crayons as his tongue hangs out partially. Every squint of the eye when they talk is the same. I can remember J's facial expressions when he spoke or was spoken to and the way he moved his hands. It's a moving image in my mind met with a living model. Now, LiL J is almost an exact copy. When someone cries, J will walk over and wipe their tears and hug them. When J was this age and someone cried, he'd do the same thing. If someone fought J used to walk over to them and make them hold hands. Or he'd put their heads together to kiss. It's deja vu everyday around here lately.

Maybe I'm just weird, but certains songs have a way of evoking a strong emotion or memory and even though the song's content may have nothing to do with how I feel, it's still like a door to the past is pushed open and I want to go back through it, rearrange some furniture and finish up a few undone things before I shut the door.

September 14, 2005

Power Outages

Last night we had a wicked storm with almost hurricane-force winds. It seemed to come out of no where as the sky was instantly black, the rain was fierce and and out of our livingroom window we watched huge tree branches bend and snap. We-energies says it's the second worse in history in terms of power outages. My friends dad was driving near Holy Hill and felt his rear tires come off the road then witnessed the trailor of a semi come up and over the other lane. It came on fast and forceful but didn't seem to last that long.

My alarm clock woke me up at 6:50am so obviously we're not affected. Thank God. When I clicked on the local news I saw school closing notices. I had no idea why since we didn't have a freak snowstorm at night or anything. I didn't think the storm the night before really was that bad. I got online to check and make sure my kids really didn't have school.

Yep, it was that bad. House fires, trees falling on roofs, people injured on the highways and lots of damage. Our village was one of the hardest hits from fallen tress and downed power lines.

Yet, we still have power. I'm SO THANKFUL. With four kids, two fridges and a freezer there's no way I could deal with that gracefully.

A man died, leaving 100,000 without power and I'm sure there must be other downed lines and questions about safety. Snoo and Jake do not have school but Mooch does. However, a lot of Milwaukee area schools are closed too so I'm interested to find out why there's such a broad spectrum. Another highschool is closed due to plumbing problems.

Last night the kids just thought it was cool and fun to watch. Now I realize we have no plan in action for things like this. I think it's time to get my emergency kit updated and look into getting a generator like my neighbor did for times like this when we're not the lucky ones.

What's with the weird weather anyways?

September 12, 2005

I Can't Watch News

My family and friends know that I almost never ever watch news. It's usually just disturbing, depressing and full of terrible things that I have absolutely no control over and can't do anything about.

I'm the type of person that wants to mobilize and do something and I can't. I take everything to the very core of my being. I can feel deeply for others to the point where it's hard to walk away.

I finally watched the first of two Oprah shows on the Katrina devastation.

Big mistake. I was in tears. Shock. Heart wrenching. I can't even get my mind wrapped around it all nor will I ever be able to erase the images burned into my mind.

So sad. Sick. Scary.

I feel anger. Hurt. I'm immobilized. That feeling I hate having which is the very reason I've avoided the news accounts up until now.

Giving money will never be enough. My prayers will never be enough.

I have no right to ever complain again. I will take nothing for granted. Nothing.

September 10, 2005

Cute as a Button..

and other stupid sayings...

So I've been thinking about all the phrases we use. Like the one, Cute as a Button. How exactly is a button cute? I blogged about this in my old journal but I still haven't found the answer. I hear that stupid phrase all the time, especially when referring to babies. How you can compare a babies cuteness to a button I just can't understand. Let me see here.

Baby. Button.

Puppy. Button.

A button is a button.

When I was a pre-teen, my grandma gave me a huge box of buttons. Old ones and new ones. Unique ones and plain ones. Vintage and antique. I had every color, shape, and size button.
I think it was a hint that I needed to learn to sew. Which has never happened. But I do remember looking into the box and wondering how that phrase got started. It didn't help that I developed a complex about the word cute when
my 6th grade teacher made me bury a piece of paper with the word 'cute' inscribed on it. She told me it was my "dead" word and I had to bury it until they opened the time capsule in year 2005.

Yeah, right. Like I'm going to travel all the way to Falsvale Elementary School in Forest Falls to unearth a box of 'dead' words. I digress.

Where do we get some of these stupids sayings?

Knock on wood
Who's there?

Break a leg
In which sadistic culture was breaking bones considered lucky?

I'm so tired it's not even funny
And why would it be?

I'm so hungry I could eat a horse
What about a donkey? An Elephant?

I quit cold turkey
As opposed to warm chicken?

There's no such thing as a free lunch.
So, what about a free breakfast?

Don't put all your eggs in one basket
And why not?

Happy as a Lark

Why exactly are Larks so happy?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Surely you can share your own list of stupid and puzzling sayings? Come on. Let's see what drives you nuts.

Oh, and what kind of person would I be if I didn't show you something as cute as a button after reading all that ranting? Here's Puck. Isn't he buttonlicious?

September 06, 2005

Dear Bus Company


How hard is it to pick up the children on your route? I do know it's only the 3rd day of school and pick-up times will be subject to change. Routes will run behind. But to completely forget the children on your route entirely? This is the second time I've had to drive one of my kids to school, resulting in another of my children being late to class.

Really, is it that hard to remember that your drivers should be competent enough to understand that to drive a yellow school bus means you're supposed to in fact pick up kids and take them to school?

I know, I know. It's a revolutionary idea. Absolutely shocking. Don't hurt yourself trying to understand the concept.

So, what's the deal? Do I need to go down there and show you all how it's done? Must I do everything around here?


Annoyed Parent

September 02, 2005

Giggling Mother-in-laws

My husband is extremely buzzed right now.

I don't know what's up with him because he doesn't usually drink at all, but today he came home with Mike's Hard Lemonades, and downed five in about fifteen minutes. Good for him that the kids aren't around, because I don't like having alcohol in the house. It's one of my issues. My mother-in-law had one or two. She doesn't usually drink either. She's living with her parents to look after them and her father is a Seventh Day Adventist pastor. You're going to hell if you even want to eat meat or wear jewelry, let alone have a beer.

The Husband went upstairs to lay down, which is what non-drinkers do after they consume too much alcohol too fast. He left me with his grinning, tipsy mother. I love her and all but it's a little awkward to be around buzzed in-laws. I should be used to it given my childhood and my current demographic. This is Wisconsin afterall, the capital of drinking, and schmoozing with tipsy family members. Especially the family members of friends or in-laws.

've had my share of evenings spent with relatives who have drank too much. You never know when they are going to start breaking into song like some corny disney musical. And I'm not fond of musicals. Especially when they star a chubby aunt who wears too much make-up, short skirts, and bad perfume. My favorite though is when they wax poetic and start the "I love you man" diatribe. Nothing says I love you like mama slurring booze-breathed sweet nothings into your ear in between hiccups. It's charming.

After awhile I went upstairs and informed my husband that if he thinks he's going to leave me downstairs alone with his tipsy sixty-year old mother, he's crazy. I'm laughing at their perma grins. She just ger-zurped my husband. He's thirty-two and has chest hair. Yeah, I'd say she's tipsy.

Tipsy, adj. The usual signs are a flushed face, stupid grin, loud voice and a profound love for mankind. The sufferer is incredibly deep, intelligent and insightful, but prone to giggles.

I keep looking over at them and they have these silly grins. I want to shoot nerf darts between their eyes. I have too much to deal with and hungry children on the way home. We need to decide on dinner and nobody can make up their mind about what kind of pizza to order. I think my mother-in-law suggested spegettios with portabella mushrooms and cheese on top. Preschooler food never sounded more gourmet.

If they start in with the signature high pitched whines for Funyuns, ding-dongs, and Mountain Dew I think I'm going to leave them for to their own demise. I'll make sure they can't use any appliances before I leave of course.