Friday, November 30, 2012

Ism of the Week

"Mommy, do you know what my new super power is?"

"What is it?"


"I am going to have a huge mouth like a tree, and I'm going to eat up everything.  Like all of the food, and all of the furniture, and then all of the houses in the whole world.  I'm going to eat the driveway and the sidewalk too, because my mouth is so big.  Like a tree, Mommy!  And then I'm going to eat all of the animals and the people and then I'm going to eat the whole world!"

"You'd be very lonely.  You'd be floating around in space."

"No I wouldn't!"


"Yes, you would.  If you ate the whole planet, there would be nowhere left to stand.  Where would you go?"

"Come on, Mommy... to WalMart."  

Thursday, November 29, 2012


"Mommy, what are you doing?"

"I'm just looking at Instagram."

Photobucket"What's that?"

"It's an app that lets me take pictures and then make them look old, or black and white.  It's just for fun."

Photobucket"Why are there so many of Graham?" 

"Because he likes it when I take his picture.  You make funny faces and you're harder to catch."


Photobucket "Okay, now let me see 'InstaCael'."


"Yeah, I see what you mean..."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

Cael, with attitude beyond his years, has taken to flinging insults like monkeys fling poo.  Or, if our potty training efforts don't prove effective, like Graham may be flinging poo for the rest of his years.

But back to Cael.

Since his five years haven't taught him many good zingers to exclaim when he needs a comeback, he has resorted to making his own, and his favorite formula is to announce that his victim is whatever item they were discussing.

"Cael, you need to share that train with me!"

"No I don't.  You're a train."


He is so confident in his own conversational prowess that he immediately looks at the others in the room as if to say, "I really told him, huh?"  But his technique is so overused and predictable that I often overhear some really strange dialogue from the other room.

"Hey Graham, should we ask Mommy to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch?"

"Yeah, Cael, that sounds yummy!"

"You're a yummy, Graham."

"What's a yummy?"


"Like a sandwich?"

"Yeah, you're like a sandwich too."


His comebacks are so bad, I'm almost tempted to teach him the "your mom" sequence, but I think that might be a gateway phrase that would lead to "that's what she said", and if I heard that come from my son's mouth I don't think I could ever forgive myself.

Something needs to change, though, because the incessant "nouning" is tempting me to join in.

"Mommy, your hair looks weird today."

"That's not very nice, Cael.  It's just kind of frizzy."

"You're a frizzy."

"That doesn't make any sense, honey."

"You're a sense."

"And you're a goofball."

"No I'm not, Mommy.  That's not very nice either."

"You're a nice."



Normally I'd take offense to his bizarre retort, but wasn't I as guilty as Cael?

"Well I'm rubber and you're glue..."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Resolution

I am sick of talking about potty training.  I am sick of thinking about potty training.  Frankly, I'm sick of even typing the word "potty" on this ridiculous blog, because at each mention of toilet training progress (see what I did there?) we take a huge step backward.

That is normal, I know.  In fact, I feel like I know all there is to know on the subject.  I've read all of the books and I've wiped more infantile behinds than a nurse in Pediatrics, but none of those sources accurate relay the degree of complete and utter frustration that accompany the painstaking process of getting my son out of diapers.

I'm still avoiding that word.

So I went back through old photos and posts to see just exactly when Cael mastered the art, and discovered that, after bribery didn't work, simply yanking a pair of underpants onto his cheeks was incentive enough to keep himself dry.  Within a couple of weeks after his third birthday, I patted myself on the shoulder and pitched the diapers into the trash can.


Cael's diapers, that is.  Graham might just wear diapers until the end of time.

I tried bribery.

"Graham, if you go pee on the potty, I will give you some M&Ms!"

"No thanks, Mommy.  I like cookies better."

I've tried trickery.

"You have to wear big boy underpants when you wear corduroy.  It's a law."

"Mommy, Mickey is on my bottom!  He-- oh... Mickey is wet.  Did he take a bath?"

PhotobucketI've even tried timing out his liquid intake and, ahem, output, to plop him on the potty at the precise time of elimination, but that was about as effective as giving up and making him a cozy pan of newspaper strips in which to squat.

But until recently I didn't really hit rock bottom.  At the end of October, we ran out of diapers despite the fact that I was sure I'd purchased a big box at the beginning of the month.  So I did some simple diaper math.

1 jumbo box of diapers @ $19.97 each month for 37 months = $738.89

That figure is probably being conservative, because during the first 6 months of his life, Graham pooped in a much higher weight class and may have gone through twice as many diapers.  But even these figures gave me chills.  We've spent nearly $1,000 on receptacles to store and seal our child's poop, but I feel guilty about buying a new eyeshadow?


And that is how the resolution was born.

I'd call it a New Year's resolution, but I am impatient and I want this potty training business completed before Christmas.  So from now on, the 31 diapers I have left are for overnight use only, and during the day Graham's bottom will either be draped with underpants, or be bare on the plush cushion of his training potty, which I have generously parked in front of the television so that he can sit still and learn the sensations that will eventually save me thousands of dollars.


It's going well so far, and Graham's perpetual potty state means that he can be found squatting in nearly all of our holiday and birthday photos, like an uncomfortably under-dressed Waldo.


I will be sure to keep you all posted on his progress, and I will look forward to telling you of his toilet mastery.  And he had better hold up his end of the bargain, because now there are only 30 diapers left, and most of the towels in my house are kinda scratchy...

Monday, November 26, 2012


Eight years ago, when Joel was a first-year teacher and only a few years separated him from the seniors that skeptically accepted him as their new choir director, a question about shared interests prompted him address the elephant in the room.

"Really, guys, is it that weird that we like the same shows?  How old do you think I am?"

"I don't know, thirty?"

"THIRTY?!  I'm only twenty-two!"

It felt like an outrageous estimate at the time, but yesterday on Joel's thirtieth birthday, twenty-two sounded pretty good.  He's still young, of course, and completely capable of anything he chooses to accomplish, but there is a certain stigma about thirty that makes its victims feel like the best part of their life is behind them. 


Since my last birthday only found me turning 26 for the fourth time, I thought I would utilize the energy and vitality of my youth to make his birthday as special as I could without spending the money earmarked for Christmas or resorting to purchasing weaponry as gifts. 

Unfortunately, I quickly found that Joel has nearly every available gadget on the market, save for a Hello Kitty alarm clock or an at-home enema kit.  So I spent the better part of a week cataloguing my few remaining ideas and ranking them by usefulness and how likely they'd be left out on the counter for sticky fingers to coat in peanut butter or ketchup.

After I finally settled on his gifts, it was time to make the cake.  Cael recommended that I make a Cardinals cake, but in Joel's now older and weakened state, I wasn't sure he'd appreciate a frosted reminder of his team's losses this year. 

Several of the Cardinals players must have turned thirty.

Graham wasn't too keen on Cael's Cardinal idea and thought Daddy would be more appreciative of a cake in the shape of a foot, but I had a different plan.  Rather than spending several hours of my brief 26 (plus three) years slaving over rolled fondant, I thought I'd cater to my husband's true love... chocolate.

PhotobucketSo I whipped up something I like to call a "Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake with Chocolate Fudge Pudding and Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Ganache Buttercream Frosting, White and Milk Chocolate Curls, Chocolate Candy Rocks and Pearlescent Chocolate Sprinkles". 

The name needs work.


When Sunday was upon us, I spent the day putting final touches on the cake and adorning our tree with pretty, coordinated ornaments I've collected as well as several not-so-pretty but sentimental ornaments that I think I'm missing the gene to appreciate.  Our tradition of choosing a new ornament for the boys each year was born of good intentions, but in selecting on that reflects the boys' interests during that year means that my pretty, coordinated tree has to work a little harder to be pretty or to coordinate with Thomas the Train and the Mickey Mouse gang.  Maybe I should just be grateful that there won't be any runaway Airstreams or potties hanging from its branches.


Now thirty, Joel spent most of the morning watching football and being jumped on in the most inconvenient places by two younger and stealthier children.  At dinnertime, our family came over for a meal together, for Joel to open presents and to gorge themselves on "Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake with"... ugh.

Just the thought of being thirty makes me too tired to repeat the cake's name.


Despite his advancing age, I think my husband had a good evening and as happy a birthday as could be expected.  The cake was quickly devoured but my motley crew of gifts was strange and mismatched, and little more successful than that enema kit might have been. 

For the kids, that it.  At Joel's age, it might prove helpful.

PhotobucketBut for as much as I tease, we are thankful to have had him for thirty years, and we look forward to thirty more.  (And thirty after that.)  Happy Birthday, honey!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Gratefulness

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the dust has settled, I can look back and realize just how much I have to be thankful for.  So to extend the love of Thanksgiving a little longer before I go and assemble my Christmas tree, I thought I'd share all of the things that make me thankful this morning.


I am thankful that no one came down with the stomach flu before or during last night's festivities.  Perhaps the fairy was the one home sick this year.

I am thankful for backyard football games that keep the men happy and mercifully, out of the kitchen.


 I am thankful for the ridiculously large spread of food we all feasted on last night until the food coma set in and none of us were mobile enough to leave the table.  There are places in the world where people don't have enough to eat and I have a refrigerator full of stuffing.  There are other things in there too, but none of them are as important as the stuffing. 

I am thankful for the Mickey Mouse underpants my sister Amy bought for Graham's third birthday.  Simply putting underpants on him and hoping for the best isn't working as well as it did for Cael, but his tiny rear end sure looks cute with Donald Duck snaking his way across his cheeks.


I am thankful for Apples to Apples, a game that eight of us played into the wee hours of the night and brought me to tears of laughter more than once.  Coincidentally, it brought my nephew Ethan to the floor when he fell out of his chair, but we won't mention that. 


I am thankful for morning baths and colorful soap that washes away the dirt and grime of football games, glue sticks and what I can only hope was chocolate from behind their ears.


I am thankful to have most of my Christmas shopping done already and not to venture out in the Black Friday crowds.  I don't really feel like punching anyone today.

I am thankful for canine antibiotics that will, God willing, lead to the end of urine  puddles that Oscar has just enough control to leave on the carpet and never on the hard floor.

But mostly, I am thankful for family, friends and the freedom to turn on my Christmas lights without judgment.


Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your bellies be full of turkey, and your home full of family and friends!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Once again I find myself on the eve of Thanksgiving with a messy house, a major headache and no dishes prepared for the foodiest of all holidays which I am hosting tomorrow.  Last year, it was about this time that I had to bow out of the festivities for reasons I will not repeat until after midnight tomorrow for fear of jinxing myself.  (Check it out here if you are curious, but please knock on some wood for me while you're watching.)


Although I spent most of my morning making up new verses to "There's a Spider on Your Shoulder, On Your Shoulder" that found the spider inside socks, under the furniture and wreaking havoc among Cael's hair, I did find time to begin prepping the meals that I am responsible for preparing.  When I was done and Graham was off to bed for his nap, I thought it might be a good time to see just how well I'd prepared Cael to give thanks tomorrow.

I thought he did pretty well.  And if my luck extends from his gratefulness to our health and then to the success of tomorrow's dinner, I think the rest of the holiday season looks pretty good, too.


Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!  Here's hoping there's no spider on your turkey, on your turkey.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

North Pole Internets

I think they're finally on to me. 

"Mommy, why are you always taking my picture?"

"Because you're so stinking cute.  And I like to remember the silly things you do."

"No, that's not right.  You're just gonna put it on the internets."

"The internets?"

"Yeah, the internets.  You're showing everyone my picture on the internets."

"I'm only putting it on my own website, Cael.  And I put it up there because people like to hear about our crazy life.  But if you don't want me to put your picture online, you tell me and I will stop."

"No, it's okay.  So am I famous?"

"Well, a lot of people know about your shenanigans.  But you're not a celebrity or anything."

"I think I'm a celebrity on the internets.  But I don't do anything crazy, so I don't know why."

"You don't think you do or say anything crazy?  What about tearing apart your bedroom everyday?  Or asking people to see their nuts?  Just last week Graham told me you had a hooker in your pants!  I think things are really crazy around here."

"I don't think that's crazy.  You forgot about when I lost the marbles in the couch.  Or when I put a booger on your sandwich."

"See?  You're totally--  Wait, what?  You put a booger on my food?!?"

"You can't be mad, Mommy, because I'm famous on the internets."

"That means that everyone knows that naughty thing you did with my sandwich.  Maybe even Santa looks at my website and knows about those things now."

"Oh.  Then I guess I should say something to Santa."

"Maybe so." 

"Santa, I want a Captain America toy and an Iron Man toy and that really big airplane from Toys 'R Us that goes with my  tank.  And I want the "Underdog" movie and "The Lorax" and I want a bunch of movies that I would like to watch. I don't want any clothes but I do like funny underwear."

"...Oh, and a new sandwich for Mommy."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lesson Plans

Ever since Cael started school, it has been fun and sometimes interesting to see the "work" he completes.  As if I didn't have enough torn paper, twisted pipe cleaners and bits of what-exactly-is-that cluttering my countertops and hidden under my rugs, there is a near-constant supply returning home in his backpack for my review, and not all of it is refrigerator-worthy.


Most of the crumpled papers reveal partial sketches of... something and painted portraits of... someone.  But my favorites have been the handwritten papers used to practice reading and writing.  About once a month I receive a lined paper with three sentences written by the teacher but clearly conceived by the students about their lives or interests.  Through these papers I have learned that Cael "likes purple more than his brother Graham" and "eats peanut butter and jelly like a superhero".  But because there are three student's sentences on the page, I also get an insight into the lives of other children in Cael's class.


Did you know that Kaitlyn's sister had a birthday? Or that Emma thinks My Little Pony is her favorite toy?  I didn't know those things either because I was too stunned by one particular message on the page.


I don't believe that there was anything inappropriate going on in that scenario, but when laughed as I read it, I could imagine the embarrassment that this child's mother would certainly feel if she knew that her daughter's words were being shared with other parents.  Or, all over the internet.  (Uh, sorry...)

But the real shock was the realization that, adversely, some of those parents are seeing the statements Cael makes about his own life.  For all I know, there could be another local blogger out there posting pictures of her child's homework and staring wide-eyed at the words on the page.

"Sometimes my Mommy calls me Billy Buttcrack."

"My dog Oscar ate the arms off of Jesus."

"Once I ate a whole bag of candy and told my Mommy and Daddy that Graham did it, but actually I did it and stuffed the wrappers under the couch cushions and inside the floor vents."

Come to think of it, there are much more embarrassing things to reveal than a nap with Dad.  Maybe I shouldn't complain about those pipe cleaners after all...

Friday, November 16, 2012


I've always felt like a "jack of all trades, master of none" kind of person; I dabble in photography, cooking and baking, graphic design, writing and child-rearing, and each time demonstrate repeatedly that I am little more than a novice at each task.  I do hope, however, that my children are able to truly master something-- to be amazing and the best at whatever they choose. 

As a kid, I was sure it was art.  Well, first I was sure it would be singing until I got the lead in a church musical and froze on stage when it came time for my solo.  The image of a million sets of eyes, all pitying me for my incapacitation, was permanently burned into my brain and made very sure I'd never be more than just a good singer.  That's when I thought it would be art.  I'd draw, I'd paint and sculpt, and when I was an adult or more than likely dead, my clay replicas of Adidas sneakers and Play-Doh houses would be worth their weight in gold.

I'm not sure I see that happening for Cael.

"Cael, I love your self-portrait.  It's so... you."

"Yep.  I NAILED IT."

"You sure did."

There's still hope for singing, right?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Oldest Profession

My boys are smart.  Even Graham, who has a two year disadvantage over his brother, possesses an alarmingly accurate radar for misbehavior and has no problem sharing his findings.  And while we're working on curbing the tattling epidemic in my home, there are some offenses that must be reported.

"There's a hooker outside, Mommy."

"There's a what?!?"

"A hooker.  In the yard."

"Why is there a hooker in the yard?"

"I don't know.  It was under the deck.  Cael really liked it and put it in his pants."

"Cael put a hooker in his pants?"

"Yep.  The hooker was in the mud.  But Cael thinks hookers are cool so he put it in his pocket."

"What does it look like?"

"It's really dirty and bendy."

"Well if it's really dirty, you'd better bring it here.  I don't want all of you to have your hands all over that hooker."

"No, I don't want to bring it in!"

"Yes, you need to."

"NO!  I want to play with it!  I want to play with that hooker!"

Hook, Graham.  Hook.

We still have some lessons to learn.