Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yet another reason why I wasn't nominated for "Mother of Year" this Christmas

Because I'm Last-Minute-Shopping Mommy.

I ended up at Toys R Us on December 23rd fighting the other panicked parents for the last Barbie Dream House.

But it wasn't really my fault!

Okay, here's the whole sad story...

(image from

I had bought the older kids some books, video games, and DVD's from the school book fair and the electronic store by November 30th.


I had finished all my shopping for people out-of-town by the first of December and mailed it all by the second.


I had proposed a let's-don't-buy-gifts-for-each-other-this-year plan to my husband, which he leapt upon with relief.


I had ordered several toys and books online for the younger children by December tenth, qualifying for free delivery in plenty of time for Christmas.


I headed to a couple of specialty stores and a clothing store for the rest of the stuff for the kids, and finished all that by December 19th.


I confirmed with my husband that we really did make a no-gifts-for-each-other pact and that it was not a trick.


Then we hit a little snag in the checklist.

December 22nd, 11:30 p.m., just before falling asleep: I realized I hadn't received that package I'd ordered two weeks ago with most of the younger kids' stuff in it. I tried not to panic.

December 23rd, 8:00 a.m.: I looked at my inbox and couldn't find the confirmation-of-order email. I tried not to panic. I checked my online credit card statement and did not find a charge for that store. I tried not to panic.

I went on the website and began to try to track my package. When I logged in it said I had no open orders. I started to panic.

Then I looked up at the top of the screen where it said cheerily, "You have 15 items in your shopping basket!"

ACK! Time to panic! I realized I had apparently never placed the order! THERE WAS NO PACKAGE ON ITS WAY AT ALL!!!!!!

Now, I don't know what kind of moron I have to BE to do this. I distinctly remember placing this order. Really. I do.

But there was the evidence staring me in the face: that cute little virtual shopping cart was winking away at me, chanting, "Fifteen ITEMS never ORDERED! Fifteen ITEMS never ORDERED!"

Christmas was two days away and I had almost no presents for THREE of my kids!

So what else could I do? I went to Toys R Us with all the other waited-until-the-last-minute moms and dads.

And of course, spent more than I should have in order to compensate.

Sigh. Maybe next year I'll have it together.

At least the pact held up: My husband got me nothing and I got him nothing. That's one expense avoided.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Barf Car

A few weeks ago my van began to take on an unpleasant odor.

Perhaps you can guess, from the title of this blog entry, the precise nature of said stinkiness.

(image from

The thing was, no one had been sick in the car recently, so I couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from.

I thought it might be Eau de Lost Sippy Cup. (You know, like the ones we’ve found under the couch with solidified milk offensively curdled inside them. Ewwww…)

But I couldn’t find anything under the seats, and all of the twins’ cups were accounted for. I couldn’t really find the precise location of the smell either; although it was definitely in the general area of the twins’ carseats.

There was nothing to do but clean the whole car.

Now, you may remember I had the car “detailed” after an accident not too long ago, resulting in the cleanest van ever known. (Read that story here, if you’re interested.)

So I didn’t expect the mess under the seats could have gotten too bad. I was wrong.

I spent a couple of hours giving the van an intense cleaning. I took absolutely everything out of the car. I removed the carseat covers and washed them in the washing machine. I threw away all the trash that had been collecting under the seats. I vacuumed AND shampooed the carpets and seats. Then I left the whole thing open to air out inside the garage for 24 hours.

I’m telling you, this was a THOROUGH cleaning.

The next day we all got inside the newly clean van. Everyone exclaimed over how nice it looked. I congratulated myself on a job well done. We drove for a few minutes in silence.

Then ET remarked, “It still smells like barf in here.”

And the annoying thing is, she was right!

So I resorted to spraying air freshener every time we got in the car instead, drowning the bad smell in a sea of floral friendliness.

Maybe I should have just STARTED with that, and saved myself a lot of trouble.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My apologies to freecycle

(This cartoon is available as a poster

A couple of months ago I posted a little joke about freecycle, a website devoted to local people getting rid of things for free. (Click here to read it.)

I was lampooning the awful stuff that people had listed for that day, just because I thought it was a funny little collection.

I've been a member of freecycle for a few years and, although in the past I've received --and given!-- some nice things there, recently it seemed there had been a real decline in the quality of the items there.

Well, now I must heartily apologize to the whole freecycle organization, because it was all due to freecycle that I received the most awesome set of chairs!

Okay, first of all, let me show you the "before picture." I got a bigger table a few years ago since our family has gotten so large, but I didn't have enough chairs to match, so we had a blend of folding chairs and mismatched wooden chairs around it.

This picture was taken in our old house, by the way.

Okay, now the "after picture."

Is that not a beautiful set of furniture?

(Oh, and that's our tail-less cat there too. Read his backstory here if you're interested.)

But the best thing about these lovely matching chairs is that they were FREE! That's right; these eight matching wooden chairs cost me nothing!

So, freecycle, I apologize wholeheartedly for making fun of you, and I take it all back.

In the words of Archie from "A Fish Called Wanda:"

"I'm really really sorry; I apologize unreservedly. I do; I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future."

Wait, did I just get to the point where the apology was worse than the actual offense?

Oh. Sorry for that too...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Christmas Card Photo--The Weird Way

This year we took our Christmas card photo on the beach. Which makes sense, because we live in Hawaii.

But just to mix things up we decided to bring along our Christmas tree.

You should have seen people's faces on this beach when we hauled out the big Christmas tree box and started putting it up. It is an old-style artificial tree where you have to sort the branches by size and then put them all on the central pole individually, so it was a fairly long process. They had lots of time to stare.

It was kind of you-might-be-a-redneck moment....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mom, you are SO embarrassing!

Teenagers can cause their parents a lot of trouble.

So sometimes it’s nice to get a little of your own back, and mess with THEM for a change, you know?

I’ve had several opportunities recently to bug ET (my 15-year-old daughter).

First of all, there’s this blog. She is EXTREMELY mortified that I post things about her. Especially the one where she thought she’d found a dead body.(Click here to read that post.) She said I was “cyber-bullying” her with that one.

(She should be thankful for what I DON’T post about her, to be honest!)

So I’ll just go whole hog and tell you some REALLY embarrassing things I’ve done to ET recently.

First of all, I took her to a “Sweet Sixteen” party for a friend the other day. I knew it would be chaperoned by the parents, and it was at the community center so I was pretty sure it was fine, but I couldn’t resist freaking her out a little.

So when I went to drop her off, I took off my seatbelt and got out of the car.

She said in a scared voice, “What are you doing?”

“I just need to check things out inside, make sure her parents are there, you know.” I said, grinning.

You should have seen her eyes about pop out of her head. I let her sweat a little before I got back in the car and let her go inside alone.

I think that one might have made up for a few of those moldy dishes hiding in her room and having to clean up all the water on the bathroom floor when she forgets to put the shower curtain inside the tub AGAIN.

Then I took ET and GG bra shopping.

Which is the ultimate opportunity for parental embarrassment, probably.

The funny thing about this was, I wasn’t even TRYING to be embarrassing that time.

I mean, if I were trying I could have done a better job.

“Excuse me, young man? Could you direct me to the lingerie department? My daughter is developing and finds herself in need of a brassiere!”

I didn’t do THAT!

I mean, all I did was talk about what size they needed, and try to direct them to the more economical styles, and mention that if I were purchasing new underwear it would be necessary for them to clean out their drawers and throw away all their old crappy underwear to make room. What’s wrong with that?

They kept hissing at me to keep my voice down. I don’t think I was talking very loudly at all, by the way, but I guess underwear is a whispering matter when you’re an adolescent girl.

It was actually pretty funny when I thought about it.

At least it sort of took the sting out of having to shell out at the cash register at the end.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why my home will never be featured in "House Beautiful"

I am not a don't-eat-in-the-living-room kind of mom.

I mean, I do insist on eating meals as a family as much as possible and all that, but there is definitely much consumption of food in front of the TV going on around here.

This is why most of my upholstered furniture is hidden by blankets and/or slipcovers, none of it is expensive, and a lot of it is old.

(image from

Last night I looked at the loveseat where Baby Girl likes to sit and realized I wasn't going to be able to put off washing the slipcover any longer.

The mess on the cushion looked like she had attacked and subdued something wild there. I'm wondering, How much fight can a cheese sandwich really put up here?

The cheese sandwich crime scene was on top of the yogurt smears and cupcake crumbs that were already gathering on the couch. So I sighed and pulled the slipcover off to wash.

Later in the evening when I put the cover back on I was pleased to see how nice and clean it looked. It's like having new furniture! Sort of.

Then, of course, Baby Girl woke up this morning with a nasty stomach virus.

It's so nice to have your furniture cleaned before it gets vomited on....

Friday, December 2, 2011

What Happened to November?

So some of you may be wondering how I did with NaNoWriMo last month.

And some of you may be wondering: What is a NaNoWriMo? And is it contagious?

(image from

Well, November is National Novel Writing Month, and the challenge is to write a fifty-thousand word novel in thirty days. I didn’t exactly make the 50,000 word mark.

Would you like to know my final word count on the deadline, November 30th at midnight?


I guess it’s over one-fourth of the way there….

I know, right? LAME.

There were several obstacles in my way. (And I’m not talking JUST about those five obstacles whom I birthed myself!)

For one thing, my plot just wasn’t going very far. Here’s a good way to describe it, as written by Chris Baty about his own novel:

“My NaNoWriMo novel this year was
not quite what I'd hoped.
The idea seemed great in October.
I pictured my story rocketing across November
like a cheetah, flying through the
fertile grasslands of my imagination
and leaping over everything in its path.
Instead, my book bumbled around
like a myopic sasquatch in an overgrown forest,
knocking into pine trees and spending
a fair amount of time wondering if
boiled moss could work as a coffee substitute.”

I feel your pain, Chris!

Also, there’s the problem of the death of naptime.

The Day That Naptime Died.

I think that sounds like a song.

Everybody sing! “Bye Bye! My alone time died! Since the twins escaped their cribs, on all my time they have dibs. And I spend half the day stuck in the car with my kids, since the day… that naptime… died.”

(Click here if you’re interested in reading more about the demise of naptime.)

Anyways, having the twins awake ALL DAY LONG has really thrown a monkey wrench into my writing career.

Is that the right expression? Or is it “a spanner in the works of my writing?”

Or perhaps it’s “a wad of dried Play-Doh clogging my keyboard so I CAN‘T EVEN TYPE?” (I think we’re getting warmer!)

In any case, my novel is going very slowly. But that’s okay!

In the immortal words of Dory, “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!”

Yes. I’ve been watching WAY too much kids’ TV…

(image from

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Whose Party IS This?

My husband took Boo and the twins to a birthday party for a three-year-old.

I didn’t go because ET also had a party she had to be taken to, and the three-year-old in question was the daughter of my husband’s friend.

He said they were going to have a bouncy house and a cotton candy machine, so it sounded like it would be pretty fun for the kids.

(image from

When he came home, my husband asked me if I wanted to see the pictures and videos he’d taken. Of course I said yes, because I wanted to see how the kids had enjoyed all the fun things at the party.

I’d been sorry to miss seeing them jumping in the bouncy house, eating cotton candy, et cetera. I’d especially wanted to see the twins, who don‘t have a lot of prior birthday party experience and get super-thrilled if one of the kids in their preschool class so much as brings in cupcakes.

When my husband got out his iPod to show me the pictures and videos I was surprised, though.

They were all of HIM!

I’m totally serious. I saw shots of my husband jumping in the bouncy house, my husband eating cotton candy, and he and his friends clowning around.

I’m like, “Where’s the kids?”

He said, “They were there. See? There’s Baby Boy in the background there.”

Uh huh.

Okay. You couldn’t take ONE shot of your beautiful children enjoying the party?

Fortunately, I am facebook friends with the mom in question, who managed to get a very nice shot of Baby Boy and Baby Girl eating cotton candy. And kindly tagged me.

At least SOME of us have our priorities straight!

photo by J. Alino

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Timely Cartoon

from The Laughter Ward on facebook

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Still Not Blogging. Really.

In case you missed it, I'm taking a break from blogging for the month of November.

But just to keep you entertained, here's another cartoon.

Which, once again, I did not write.

Comic from

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And now for a word from our sponsors...

Okay, I don't really have any sponsors.

What I meant was, I'm taking a short break for the month of November.

Participant_180_180_whiteI think I mentioned this last year, but November is National Novel Writing month. This year I'm going to try AGAIN to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days.

It didn't really go that well last year. But if at first you don't succeed, and all of that...

Plus they give me this cool web badge JUST FOR PARTICIPATING!

So in the meantime, please enjoy this cartoon.

Which I did not write.

But it's funny.
 Chuck & Beans - You are what you eat. (c) Brian at Shoebox Blog
A Chuck & Beans cartoon by Brian from the Shoebox Blog (

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The School Carnival Haunted House

There was a carnival at the elementary school, so I took Boo and GG.

ET declined to go, being officially Too Cool For Elementary School Carnivals, and one of the twins was sick, so they stayed at home.

Well, as soon as we got there, GG ditched me, being officially Too Cool To Hang With Parents. My husband and I took Boo around to the various carnival things: you know, cake-walk, bean-bag-toss, et cetera.

We ended up in a long line for the hanuted house.

Can I just say that school carnival haunted houses have really changed since I was in school? I mean, all we did was hang a bunch of black paper all over a classroom and turn out the lights, then make people crawl under desks and stick their hands in a bowl of cold spaghetti, telling them it was guts.

It was lame, but it was what you expected from a school carnival. After all, what do you think you'll get for fifty cents?

This haunted house was WAY scarier. I mean, we still crawled under stuff. But then there was a guy with a knife in his mouth lurking under there.

image from


And there were still walls hung with black. But one of them turned out to be a tarp-covered man who lumbered toward us saying, "I'm going to get you, Boo!"

That's right! The guy in the tarp KNEW BOO'S NAME!

Super scary!

I'm telling you, it was NOT what I expected from a school carnival. And it still only cost a dollar!

But... we didn't get to stick our hands in a bowl of peeled grapes. Bummer...

Haunted house image from

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Ice Cream Man

Well, it was inevitable. The twins have been introduced to The Ice Cream Man.

I guess the only surprising thing about it is that I managed to keep them away from him until age three.

Yes. I AM mean.

I have kind of a love/hate relationship with the ice cream man anyways. As I have a strong aversion to kids begging for money every time they hear a tinkly little song, the whole concept kind of irritates me.

My own mother found the ice cream man problematic as well, since she had actually seen a kid get hit by a car while running for the ice cream truck once. (The kid wasn't killed, fortunately, but it was frightening to witness.) As a result, I was never allowed ice cream at all as a child.

Until a well-meaning neighbor introduced me to the lovely sweet cold stuff. Mmmm...

Anyways, my older kids are allowed to buy from the ice cream man but they are required to use their own money in order to avoid the whole begging thing. But until now, the twins have missed out.

Due to the fact that I never explained the whole "ice cream man" concept to them, of course.

But this weekend the twins happened to be outside riding their tricycles when the ice cream truck came on the street.

Believe me, there was NO way to hide the ice cream truck from the twins once they saw every kid in the neighborhood clustering eagerly around it.

So we got ice cream bars. They were so excited; they're STILL talking about it.

And the begging begins....

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Backyard Swamp

As I mentioned before, there’s a swamp in my backyard.

Or you could call it a mud pit.

Here’s a photo of the muddy handprints the twins decorated our fence with.

When THEIR FATHER was watching them, may I point out.

Although some trouble may have happened when I was watching them too...

Turns out it wasn't the BEST idea to let them play in the mud.....

It’s getting better though, mostly because one of the neighbors managed to convince the landscaping people to turn off the automatic sprinklers back there.

They really were not needed anyways, since it has rained enough recently. The sprinklers are only there because of the new construction here; they wanted to jump-start the grass growing.

It was really irritating though, because we had no control over the sprinklers. Like, we’d be sitting in our own backyard watching the kids play, and suddenly the sprinklers would come on.

Oh. Great. Now we’re drenched. And it’s not even raining!

The sprinkler situation got so bad that methods of sabotage were considered. I won’t reveal the exact plans…but chewing gum was involved.

But anyways, the yard is getting better now that we only have Mother Nature watering it.

And YES, we did clean off the fence. Twice.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Freecycle Fun

The Freecycle Network

Have you ever heard of freecycle? It’s a website where you can give stuff away to people, or pick up free things from others who want to get rid of stuff. It's like a garage sale that's free. Cool, huh?

I used to belong to a local group when we lived in Maryland a few years ago, and sometimes got some nice things. Plus it’s good to be able to give something you don’t need to someone who does need it.

Since we moved to Hawaii I hadn’t gotten back on freecycle, but recently I had some things to get rid of and decided to join a group here.

Well, I don’t know if it’s a sign that the economy has really gone down a lot recently, or what, but the quality of the things posted on freecycle here has really gone downhill.

Let me just give you some examples of stuff folks are offering to give away today (and this is just TODAY, by the way!):

OFFER: Various items:
All of this stuff has been sitting in a box untouched for over a year, and my cats made it their bed, so all of this stuff has dust and cat hair on it to varying degrees, depending on where it was in the pile. But, you can wash it off.
-A tiny black nylon handbag that says "be unique, be beautiful, be you" on it.
-Unused dental kit for a dog
-A photography book of signs by Walker Evans called "Signs"
-A healthy eating cook book
-Free the Jena 6 T-shirt
-Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery T-shirt
-A movie poster for the movie "Good Hair"

(WOW. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Exactly HOW I’m supposed to wash a year’s worth of cat hair off a MOVIE POSTER I can’t imagine!)

OFFER: Crappy parts of Male Vampire costume. I offered this before, but never heard back from the person who wanted it. it consists of a cheap wig, and medallion to wear around your neck. It's from Walmart.

(Don’t try to sell it so much there honey.)

OFFER: A black money belt that I just bought recently. I tried it out with a single dollar bill, and not only was that all that will fit in it, but it was hard to get out, and ended up use at your own risk. It makes a fine normal belt though.

(Again with the extreme sales skills. It just sounds SO tempting…)

OFFER: Black Kittens 2 boys, 2 girls (possibly the mama also)

(Wonder why she wants to get rid of the whole kitten-producing apparatus?)

OFFER: HP Photosmart C4280 All-in-one printer, scanner, copier
No ink or power cord or installation disc. Worked the last time we used it, about 6 months ago, then we ran out of ink, & my rabbit chewed through the power cord.

(This whole thing is looking like a warning against having pets…)

And, finally, my favorite item…..

OFFER: EXTREMELY dirty towel. This was my cat's favorite sleeping spot for a year, so it has just tons of cat hair on it.


I guess you can’t expect much for free, huh?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steve Jobs, We Need Your Help!

ET dropped her iPhone in the toilet.

How’s THAT for an opening line?

Anyways, the way I discovered that this had happened was...

ET (my 15-year-old) was rummaging in the kitchen pantry and came out with a giant bag of rice.

Me: Are you hungry?
ET: No.
Me: Then what are you doing with that rice?
ET: I dropped my phone in the toilet.

Now this might seem a non sequitur to some mothers, but, tech-savvy mom that I am, I understood. She wanted to immerse her wet cell phone in rice in order to dry it out.

Yeah, I read about it on facebook. I’m cool like that.

(Insert adolescent eye-roll here.)

So I helped her put some rice in a baggie and asked if she’d taken the phone apart.

Here’s where we hit a big snag: Taking an iPhone apart is apparently like dismantling a bomb.

I ended up looking for the answer online and found some instructions on wikihow.

Unfortunately, the instructions were about twenty-five steps long and involved several tools, one of which I’d never heard of.

What on earth is a spudger?

It turns out this is a tool specifically for prying open iPhones or iPods. Oh, and it costs $20.99.

What, I can’t use a butter knife?

Long story short, we ended up putting the iPhone into the bag of rice intact and hoping for the best.

I guess she might have been due for an upgrade anyway…

(above image from

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Girl Who Can Catch Fly With Fingers

Looking over some of my recent posts, I seem to have a bug theme going on right now.

I guess that's what happens when you live on a tropical island...

Well, here's my latest bug story:

We've had a lot of trouble with flies recently, as you might have noticed from my post "Flies: Nature's Cockiest Insect." They've been darting in from the backyard swamp (more on that later!) and flying around the house in a most irritating fashion.

The twins found it wildly entertaining to watch Mommy run around like a crazy person with a rolled-up magazine swatting futilely at the air. After I explained I was trying to kill a fly, they began pointing the fly out whenever they could find it.

(They think they're on an episode of "Dora the Explorer" half the time. "There it is, Mommy!" "Over there! Get it!" I half expect that little blue arrow to come over and beep-click on the fly.)

Anyways, the twins have grasped the idea that flies are bad and we want them DEAD. It warms the heart, doesn't it?

But I was amazed when Baby Girl came to me the other day and informed me she'd killed a fly herself. She held up her tiny hand, thumb and forefinger clasped as if she'd trapped something.

I chuckled to myself, thinking it was cute that she thought she'd caught a fly between her little fingers. What did she think this was, the original "Karate Kid" movie?

(image from

(Remember when Pat Morita told Ralph Macchio, "Man who can catch fly with chopsticks can accomplish anything?" Don't you remember? Anyone?! Oh, come ON! I'm not THAT old!)

Then I took a closer look, and she actually did have a fly trapped between her fingers! She had caught fly with chopsticks!

Sort of.

I guess Baby Girl can accomplish anything!

(above "Bug's Life" image from

Monday, September 26, 2011

Contact Lens Karma

Biotrue Multi-Purpose Solution
My oldest daughter (ET) turned fifteen a few weeks ago, and I decided she was old enough to get contact lenses for her birthday.

She’s been asking for contacts for at least five years, but I wanted to wait until I felt she was mature enough to keep up with them and all of that. After all, we’re talking about an expensive but tiny piece of transparent plastic here. Logically, these things are going to be hard to keep up with.

Also, I myself got contact lenses at a young age (an unfortunate medical necessity at the time) and drove my mother CRAZY by ruining and/or losing them on a regular basis. But it seemed like ET was responsible enough to handle contacts at age 15.

So last Sunday we went to the Wal-Mart vision center and started the process.

They fitted her with the lenses, and said she was to wear them for increasing amounts of time for a week, and then come back the next Sunday to make sure all was well before receiving her final prescription. She had a little trouble learning to put them in and take them out; however, she was able to do it well enough.

By contrast, you should have seen the drama that ensued when ten-year old ME had to learn to insert contact lenses. My poor mother came by her prematurely gray hair honestly, let me tell you!

So I was pleasantly surprised when we spent less than half an hour on the whole “fitting” part for the contacts and were ready to go. The optometrist told me as we were leaving to remember to have ET wear the lenses every day all week.

She said, “If she loses or tears one at the end of the week, don’t worry about it; just come in on Sunday for the appointment and you’ll still get the final prescription, But if that happens early in the week, like on Tuesday or Wednesday, you’ll need to come get another pair.”

I thought, Well we shouldn’t have to worry about that. After all, it’s only a week. She should be able to keep up with them, no problem.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

On Monday ET came downstairs and said she’d lost a contact.

I said, “Already?!”

I went upstairs with her to search the bathroom, and she hovered behind me saying helpful things like, “I already LOOKED there,” and “I told you I searched for like an HOUR! It’s just not here!”

I cannot TELL you how often I had this conversation with my own mother as a kid. I recognize that I completely deserved this annoying little drama.

Bottom line: The contact was gone. I had to go back to Wal-Mart and get another one. After ONE DAY!

And I think I sprouted a few new gray hairs…

above image from

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chaos in the Car

PLAY-DOH Metallic and Neon Color Pack 
The car can be a chaotic place when there are five kids in the family.

This week after evening fellowship at the chapel we all piled in with the usual confusion.

Boo was worried about protecting the sculpture of Noah’s Ark she’d made out of play-dough. GG had a friend she’d brought to church with us and they were conspiring busily. ET was telling me about the activities they’d done in youth group. The twins were just yelling.

ET: So we had socks filled with flour and--
Boo: Ack! Mommy! GG took my craft!
Baby Boy: Bug!
Me: GG! Give your sister back her craft! Boo, put it back in the bag!
GG: I don’t even HAVE her stupid craft!
Baby Boy: Bug!
Boo: She DID have it.
ET: Then we were supposed to run around with the socks--
Baby Boy: Bug!
GG: Like I would even WANT her stupid craft.
Boo: You SQUISHED it! Mommy! She SQUISHED it!
Baby Boy: Bug!
GG: I did NOT squish it!
ET: They wouldn’t let us actually HIT each other with the socks after LAST time--
Baby Boy: Bug!
Me: Boo, it looks fine. It’s not squished.
Boo: It IS! Right here on the edge!
Baby Boy: Bug!
Me: It’s fine. Okay, doors are closed; is everyone buckled in?
ET: Ack! There’s a cockroach crawling on the ceiling!
Baby Boy: Bug!

I looked up. There was, indeed, a roach directly above my head. (Just like Baby Boy had been trying to tell us!)

There followed much shrieking and ducking. I took off my shoe and pounded the ceiling with it. ET screamed, “Where is it? Where is it? Did it fall on me?” Boo hovered protectively over her sculpture. The twins laughed hysterically. GG and her friend, amazingly, remained oblivious to the whole thing.

When the bug had been dispatched to its final rest, and all the noise had finally died down, we were able to drive away.

All was quiet…until the next crisis….

above image from

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Telephone Conferencing -- Mommy Style

So yesterday I was having a phone conference with my sixth-grade daughter’s teacher about her grades.

(Yes, the same one who informed me of Einstein’s lack of prowess in school! Click here to read about that.)

While I was talking about checking her assignments and blah blah blah, I looked up and saw Baby Girl drop a big poop on the floor next to the potty.

At the same time, Baby Boy, sitting on the adjacent potty --they have a his-and-hers set-- yelled out, “I POO-POO! Wipe my BOTTOM!”

So the whole time I was trying to have a serious conversation with an educational professional about my daughter’s schooling, I was cleaning up poop.

I am SO glad we don’t have video phones.

I’m sure GG’s teacher would agree.

(above image from

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Flies-- Nature's Cockiest Insect

I hate flies.

I really do.

I mean besides the obvious reasons to hate flies --according to wikipedia they are capable of carrying 100 pathogens!--I just hate their ATTITUDE.

I hate how they dart inside your house in the few seconds that the door is open, fly all around your kitchen, then alight and sit with apparent casual ease rubbing their nasty little feet together.

Until the moment you grab a flyswatter or rolled-up magazine, when they zip off the second before you smack them dead.

It’s like they’re taunting you, saying, “Look at me! I’m so relaxed and unsuspecting here. Try and hit me. Just try! I dare you! Whoops! Too late, sucker!”

Rotten little things.

(above image from wikipedia)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stuck in the Car. ALL DAY!

Well, school’s been in session a couple of weeks, and now it’s clear how I’ll be spending all that free time I thought I’d have.

In the car. Driving them all to and from school.

After our move, it turns out that NOBODY is able to ride the school bus, due to the faraway location of the bus stop and the fact that the middle two kids wanted to stay at their old school (which we are no longer zoned for). Plus the twins go to preschool three mornings a week.

The thing that makes this really maddening is that the high school lets out at a different time every day.

I’m serious.

They get out at 1:47 on Mondays, 1:55 on Tuesdays, 1:47 again on Wednesdays, 2:30 on Thursdays, and 2:40 on Fridays.

Unless it’s a four-day week, in which case it’s 1:47, 1:55, 2:30, and 2:40.

Oddly enough, they do manage to START at the same time each day…

I cannot imagine who thought this was a good idea. Some anonymous administrator with no children?

In any case, I’m spending a lot of time in the car, and so are the twins, who are NOT enjoying being forcibly detained in their car seats for a couple of hours each day. And they’re not shy about voicing their displeasure.

I’m stocking up with snacks and diversions like I’m settling in for a siege every time we get in the car. I think they’re getting used to it…

But the worst part is being stuck in a long line of cars when a recently potty-trained toddler starts screaming, “I have to go POOP!”

I’d like to see that anonymous administrator sit through THAT a few times.

above image from

Thursday, August 18, 2011

There Are Centipedes in Paradise

I found a curled-up centipede in the dryer.

Fortunately, it was dead. They are hard to kill; you have to really beat them to death, or preferably cut them in half. Ewww.

They have the nastiest centipedes here in Hawaii; it‘s a form of the Vietnamese centipede. They are disgusting to look at, and also poisonous.

Fortunately, their bite won’t actually KILL you. It will just make you swell up and hurt a lot. So that’s some consolation, right?

Here’s a photo from another Hawaiian blogger who has an interesting centipede story as well.

That is seriously gross-looking, right?

According to Wikipedia these things are actually sold elsewhere as “terrarium animals,” but I can’t IMAGINE a less appealing pet.

So far I haven’t had any of these nasty things inside the house, although we’ve killed several outside the door.

And my daughter’s friend had one in her BED. Ewww!

But anyways, Dryer Centipede is the closest we’ve had to one inside, so I think we’re pretty lucky.

Unfortunately, I mentioned the dead centipede in the dryer to the kids and they freaked out, asking if I re-washed the clothes afterwards, and if not, exactly WHICH load of clothes was it, et cetera. (Obviously THAT information was not disclosed.)

So now they are all concerned that there are “centipede germs” on their clothes.

But WHICH clothes? I’ll never tell…

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What's Einstein got to do with it?

Thought for the day: Be suspicious when your child suddenly spouts seemingly meaningless trivia about the school performance of famous people.

My eleven-year old said, when getting into the car after school on Friday, "Did you know Einstein failed math in school?"

You can probably guess where this is going, but I seem to be a little dense these days.

Then I received my first e-mail from the school's automatic grading system. (Although I do understand this is after only two weeks of school, and there's time to fix this.)

Language Arts   A
Writing              A
Science              A
Health                A
Career Journal   A
Math                  D
Homework        A

Uh huh. Apparently that (likely erroneous) bit of dead-celebrity trivia was code for, “I’m doing rather badly in mathematics, mother.”

Hey kid! Einstien was in trouble with HIS mother for this, and so are you!

image above from wikipedia
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Pair of Crazy Preschoolers

The twins had their first day of preschool last week.

Only I just got around to taking their picture in front of the school today. People were walking around me while I tried to get them to BOTH look at the camera at the same time, which is pretty much impossible by the way, and giving me weird looks.

The other moms were all thinking, “Hey, lady! Didn’t you know the first day of school was a week ago?”

Sorry folks. We’ve got Kids Number Four and Five here. They’re lucky we don’t have to wait until next semester for me to remember my camera!

So we are working on adjusting to the preschool environment.

On the first day I returned to the sight that every preschool mom dreads: Baby Girl was not in the clothes I brought her in.

Which means, she was wearing her backup clothes that they keep in case of accidents.

Which means, she had an accident.

Which means, in other words, my kid’s the one who pooped her pants on Day ONE of preschool.

Yep. Looks like I’m going to be THAT mom this year. The one the teacher has to put on a grave face to TALK to at the end of school.

This suspicion was confirmed today when I was informed by the teacher at pick-up that BOTH twins had to be put in Time Out today.

According to the school’s discipline list, Time Out is like DefCon Three. It comes after (1) Warning and (2) Toy Confiscated or Child Removed. It’s only one step below getting sent to the principal.

(Not that Baby Girl and Baby Boy are particularly scared of getting sent to the principal. Seeing as they’re three years old.)

But anyways, the teacher put on her Serious Face and suggested that I talk to the twins about being quiet and sitting down during circle time.

D.W.'s Guide to Preschool (Arthur Adventures)I doubt this will do any good, but I’ll give it a shot. I’m going to read them a book about preschool and try to talk up sitting still and listening to the teacher. Honestly, it’s a hard sell for a pair of toddlers.

I felt like telling the teacher, “Look. They’re little savages. I know it. That’s why I’m bringing them to YOU to help me civilize them. Just keep putting them in time out. They’ll get it eventually.”

I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that we can refrain from more potty accidents.

I REALLY don’t want to be that mom!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Hazards of Watching Crime Shows

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Complete First Season
Yesterday ET (my 14-year-old) came to me in a state of high excitement. She insisted she’d found a dead body in the woods near our house.
Well, what she actually said she’d found was a freshly-dug grave!

(She said it in italics like that too.)

Obviously I highly doubted that there was a corpse stashed away in our neighborhood. Plus I was busy watching the twins. ET found this attitude very offensive.

She texted her friends indignantly, “I found a dead body and my mom doesn’t believe me!!!!!!!!!”

I asked her to wait until her father got home and present him with her alleged evidence, arguing that dead bodies definitely fall under the heading of The Man’s Job. She said it was going to be dark before he came home, and that GG and Boo could watch the twins for a minute.

So Little Miss Nancy Drew insisted on taking me to view the crime scene. Unfortunately it involved me hiking uphill on a pebbly path in my flip-flops.

While we walked, ET told me her various theories of how the freshly-dug grave came to be there.

ET: There was a patch of freshly-turned dirt marked by a wooden cross. I’ll bet there’s a serial killer on the loose around here.

Me: There’s no serial killer, honey.

ET: MOM! Serial killers EXIST you know. They’re not mythical creatures!

Me: Okay. Why would a serial killer mark the grave like that that?

ET: Because he’s crazy!

Me: I think you’ve been watching too much Bones and Criminal Minds.

ET: So maybe there was some man who got drunk and got in a big fight with his wife and then he killed her and then he was afraid someone would find out and so he dug a grave and hid her in the woods.

Me: Again, why mark the grave? Isn’t the point to hide the body?

ET: Duh! It’s his WIFE! He FEELS bad!

Me: (Giant sigh) (Much puffing from walking uphill) Are we almost there?

ET: Or what if it’s one of the construction workers? Like if one of them got killed on the job and then they didn’t want the boss to know so they hid the body with the woods? But they mark it with a cross to show he was a good guy or whatever.

Me: Okay. You’ve GOT to stop watching Bones and Criminal Minds.

It was like talking to Velma from Scooby Doo, but with fewer facts.

When we finally got there, it was obviously a pet grave. There was NO WAY it was big enough for a person. It was not even big enough for anything larger than a cat. I pointed out that there was actually the outline of a box in the hole, less than two feet long.

She tried to insist that a person really could fit in there, but she was losing steam.

I said that if she really wanted to dig up poor Fluffy and make sure, she could be my guest, but fortunately the sight of the box convinced her.

So we headed back downhill. ET was very disappointed.

Real life is so much less exciting than TV.
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images from

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Musical Tribute to Going Back to School

Do you hear that?

It's a choir singing, to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus!

"They're BACK at school now! They're BACK at school now! Back at school now! Back at school now! The kids are back at school!"

It's a beautiful sound. Silence in the house.

Now I'll finally be able to get some things DONE around here.

Right after I catch up on my facebook account......

Hey, is it time to pick them up ALREADY?!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm That Freak at the Store

I was at the grocery checkout with my full cart.

And I DO mean FULL. People were staring. Getting it there was like pushing a Mack truck. I stack every inch of that cart, top and bottom, and have stuff hanging off the sides.

The checkout girl eyed the massive pile dubiously and asked if I was having a party.

I said, “No, I just have five kids.”

She stared at me. Apparently I’m quite the oddity.

A man stopped and asked, “Are you one of them Extreme Couponers?”

I told him no.

He said, “Shoot. I always wanted to see one of them.”

I guess I’m not as odd as I COULD be.

(above image from

Monday, July 18, 2011

Flat Stanley's Hawaiian Vacation

Flat Stanley (picture book edition)
(image from

A friend from Alabama sent me her son's Flat Stanley so we could take his picture here in Hawaii.

You've heard of Flat Stanley, right? Schools assign this thing as a project; you're supposed to take pictures of your paper Stanley doing various things and/or send him to people in other states so he can be photographed there.

We actually did this once before (for a different kid) in Maryland and took Flat Stanley around to see our nation's capital.

My friend probably thought she'd get some awesome pictures by sending Stanley here to Hawaii.

After all, this one is Stanley on the back porch of our new house. What a view!

However, it's not all sipping drinks with little umbrellas when you live in Hawaii, you know. Most of what we're doing here in "paradise" is pretty routine stuff.

It's been difficult to find real photo-worthy activities for poor Stanley around here, honestly.

I mean, I don't think she really wanted to see "Flat Stanley goes Back-to-School Shopping."

Or "Flat Stanley Helps Fold Laundry."

Here's a nice photo.

We call it: "Flat Stanley Pets the Cat While We Unpack Our Approximately One Million Moving Boxes."

And of course there's the activity that's been occupying most of my time recently.

Any votes for "Flat Stanley Helps Potty-Train the Twins"?

So far Stanley's vacation has been a real drag.