Friday, April 26, 2013

Birthdays birthdays birthdays

I have always done birthday parties at home for my kids; I have so many children that it's a bad idea to set a Chuck-E-Cheese kind of precendent. We'd go broke pretty quickly that way.

With my older children I put lots of effort into their parties to make up for the lack of money spent. I planned and organized their birthdays like Julie the Love Boat cruise director.

(image from

For example: When Boo turned six, she chose a Native American theme. She hand-decorated each invitation with a drawing of an Indian princess.

At the party, we made feathered headdresses, and beaded necklaces, went on a "bear hunt" and had a "papoose race." Also we played "rain dance" and I read a story complete with hand motions. The goody bags were also Native-American themed and designed to hold the crafts the children made. All of these things I created myself from dollar-store materials and a lot of time in the weeks leading up to the party.

But for the twins' fifth birthday last weekend, I didn't do any of that. I'm just too tired for that stuff these days.

Here are the preparations I made:

I rented a bouncy house. I made cupcakes. I invited every kid they know.

That's it.

About twenty-five kids descended on my house and ran amok for two hours. They bounced in the inflatable castle, played in the dress-up chest, and enjoyed the twins' toys. They ate cupcakes and ice cream. They "assisted" with gift distribution and opening, and then happily played with all the new toys.

The place was utter chaos. Moms looked on in horror as I did nothing to corral the craziness. Julie from the Love Boat would have died of shame.

I think the kids had a great time, though.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My son peed on the DVD player

I can't even believe I just wrote that sentence. But yes, Little Boy peed on the DVD player.

Fortunately it wasn't plugged in at the time.

Why did he do it? To annoy his sister, of course.

And also because the desire to pee on things seems to be genetically inborn in males.

Hence this annoyingly ubiquitous bumper sticker:

And you can even go to the website above and have this little guy pee on anything you want!

I don't need to. I have my own little guy.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

UGH! Here we go again...

This week we played another round of that exciting game, "What the heck is that horrible smell?!"

This time we noticed a certain distasteful odor in the garage Sunday morning. We weren't sure of the origin, although a gas leak or sewer seepage were mentioned as possibilities.

By Sunday evening it was really bad. My husband came into the garage, sniffed the air, and said, "That's a dead thing." Then he left.

We looked around but the dead thing could not be located on first glance. I knew a full search would have to be performed on Monday.

I left the windows up in the van for the night to keep the smell from invading the car, and I hung a new air freshener from the rearview mirror.

Monday morning GG went into the garage to get something before school, and she immediately came back. "I don't really need it," she gasped, covering her mouth and nose and shutting the door quickly.

I opened the outside door to try to air things out, but the stink in the garage was still horrendous. We held our collective breaths as we ran to the van and shut the doors.

Inside the car the scent of Perfectly Pomegranate battled valiantly with the the stench of Dead Thing. The air was bearable, but only just.

It was imperative to that we find out the source of this bad smell, but I felt weary at the very thought of moving everything stored in the garage to try to find the horror that might lurk behind all those boxes.

ET said I should hire an exterminator. "I'll bet if you gave some guy a hundred bucks he'd find the dead thing."

I looked at her. "I'll give you fifty to find it."

"Done!" she said, a little too quickly. I probably should have low-balled her a bit more.

When we got home I parked the van outside and left the door open. ET began moving things out of the garage piece by piece.

Then she stood still and thought. She knew it would be smarter to try and find the source of the smell, but somehow it seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. Then she saw a few flies buzzing around and she had a thought.

"Follow the flies," she said to herself.

Or maybe it was Yoda who said it. (Although wouldn't he have said "The flies you follow"?)

Anyways, she realized that the flies would go directly to the dead thing. So she waited, and the cloud of flies gathered and formed and hovered around....

THE VAN!!!  Under which she saw few flies darting around a couple of gray feathers.

"Eureka!" said ET, and she came to me. In her best elementary-my-dear-Watson-style, she triumphantly informed me of her conclusion:

"Mother! I have deduced that the dead thing is a bird, and that it is under the hood of your car! You owe me fifty bucks!"

With extreme trepidation, I pressed the button and popped the hood.


"Now how am I going to get that thing out of there?" I wondered aloud.

ET shrugged. "That would cost you another fifty," she said, and went into the house.

Monday, April 8, 2013

PJ Day can be stressful

(image frommrssearles2ndgradeclass)

It was pajama day at Boo's school today.

She wanted to participate, but was afraid. She thought, What if no one else does it?

She thought, What if I have the wrong day, or all my friends suddenly decide pajama day is suddenly uncool?

She thought, What if I'm the only one in the entire fourth grade wearing my pajamas to school?

So she carefully packed regular clothes in her bag, just in case, and watched the kids going into school as I drove through the parking lot to drop her off.

I pointed out several kids wearing PJ's. She witheringly told me they were "little kids."

I pulled up to the dropoff point, but Boo did not get out. She sat in the back on the van, frozen by indecision.

Then she suddenly burst into a flurry of activity. I looked back at her.

She had changed into regular clothes and was stuffing the PJ's in her bag.

As she left the van, I wondered, is she already too old for pajama day?

But when she came home, the PJ's were back on. All her friends had been wearing them after all!

Not too old yet...

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Happy Family Outing

I took the kids to Farrell's for dinner.

That is, we ate dinner, but we were really there for the ice cream.

The hostess took us to a booth. I looked at it uncertainly.

I had told her there were six of us. (Yes, I took all five children.) She seemed to expect all of us to squeeze onto the two bench seats. Probably she wasn't used to seeing anyone with so many children.

Gamely, we all sat down, three to each side. It was a little tight. There was some shoving.

We looked at our menus, and around at the fun decor. ET pointed at something behind me.

We looked back to see what she was talking about. There was a mirror, a carousel horse, and about twenty-five kitschy little signs.

GG asked for clarification. "What do you see?"

I said, being cute, "She sees a happy family!" in my cheeriest voice.

ET gave me a look. "Uh, no," she said.

Boo smiled. "I do! I see a happy family!"

Heartened, I said, "You do?"

"Yep," said Boo, "right over there." She pointed across the room at smiling couple with a single child.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools Day... again?!

So it's April Fools Day. I've said it before, but it's not my favorite holiday.

But this year the twins are apparently able to understand the concept. Sort of.

Little Girl said to me, "Mommy, my teacher said it's April Fools!" When I agreed that it was, she suddenly got a mischevous look on her face.

Barely containing a giggle, she said, "Mommy there's a sucker on your head!" I pretended to gasp and check my head, and she laughed and laughed. "April Fools!"

This gag got less funny as the night went on, by the way. (For me, I mean. She still thought it was a  riot.)

Anyways, this year there are some neighbors playing pranks on one another. For example, one neighbor gave another a plate of brownies:
Image result for april fool brown e

Isn't that cute? (And no Ex-Lax involved. Admit it--you thought it would be Ex-Lax, didn't you?)

A neighbor kid played a less-cute prank at my house, involving a rubber band and my sink sprayer, so that when I turned on the kitchen sink I got sprayed in the face with water.

Here's a dramatic recreation with a model who is obviously not me:
(image from

That kid is lucky she's not mine, and therefore gets to live to see April 2nd.