Wednesday, December 16, 2015


"Mom?  How many states are there?" Lilly asks.


"There are 50 states in America, Lilly."

"No," she says, "like how many PLACES are there?"


"Yeah, like there's Ohio State and China and the park."

So just, like, literally every place?  I have no idea.

"Mom? I thought that there were seven continents but now I'm counting and if you include North Antartica and Sourh Antartica, then that's eight."

"Um . . . Maybe because I don't think there is any such thing as North and South Antartica?"

"Mom! Of course there is!  Otherwise all the polar bears would eat the penguins and there would be almost no penguins left!"

Here's the thing though. I really can't say with any kind of certainty that there isn't a North Antartica and South Antartica.  It doesn't exactly SOUND right, but it's been a long time since that was relevant in my life. Also, on the face of it it doesn't seem logical that penguins and polar bears have separate continents but what the hell do I know about wildlife?  The answer is less than I know about geography.

So I didn't argue with her. This seems like a job for School Teacher.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Adventures in Sleeping with Chris, Part II

So one thing I forgot to mention about Chris's nocturnal habits: moaning.

He moans.

A lot.

And with vigor. Imagine someone shouting at you, but they are also a zombie.

First, a silent , gentle, calm inhale.


It's frustrating from my end. Like, I understand snoring. You're congested, what are you going to do?  But moaning feels like a choice. Soooooo, if he could maybe not do that, that would be great.

It's also distressing. You know who moans?  People who are sad. Or upset.  Or are lying gut-shot on a battlefield.   Those people are moaning.

So I'm here, trying to go to sleep, and Chris is lying there, deliberately groaning like a civilian casualty of war.

It's upsetting.

Honestly, normally, it's not really a problem. I push him a little (super gently) and he startles himself awake enough to resume his normal business of chomping and leg spasms.

But the past week, it's been relentless. So, after spending the night on the couch, I decided to google it.

"Yes!"  The internet says, "I know exactly what you mean!  It's called Catathrenia and it is not a problem!"

Well.  I mean, it's kind of a problem.

"No, really! It's completely benign!  Not a big deal"

Well, again, Internet, I'm going to beg to differ.

So instead of googling, "what the fuck is wrong with my husband he's moaning in his sleep" I tried googling, "Catathrenia cure."

I see an article titled, "5 Tips for Battling Catathrenia."  I click on that because, clearly, we are about to show Catathrenia whose house it has entered and it will feel my wrath. Even if the cure is horrible for Chris, I'm willing to have him pay that price.

But here is the suggested battle plan:

1) Relax!  Not as in meditate to stop moaning, but, hey, relax, Catathrenia is totally not something to worry about.  At first, I didn't realize that this was actually listed as a step for battling Catathrenia, but I realized there weren't enough steps and went back and checked. Step one of our battle is to chill out, man.

This is not an appropriate attitude for battle, FYI.

2) make sure it is really Catathrenia, because if it something else, it might actually be a problem.  But if it is really Catathrenia, it's not a big deal.

Again, shut up.

3) use white noise.

Oh, yes, obviously, this 200 pound man lying a foot away from me and moaning like a goddamn wildebeest will fit right in with the sound of Rainfall in the Night Forest.

4) ear plugs

Maybe if you put in ear plugs you won't hear me tell you to shut up with your bullshit advice?

5) see a doctor!

Look, you just told me that the best five point plan of attack the whole internet could come up with was a) don't attack, b) verify that it isn't something actually worth attacking, c) ignore it, d) also ignore it. That's it. That our battle plan. Honestly, I don't think that doctors know things that Google doesn't. It's GOOGLE. Doctors are just better at deciphering.

If I'm counting, and I am, exactly none of those had shit to do with battling precisely anything.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Gone with the Wind Fabulous

I was at Target with the kids. They were doing that thing where they gaze longingly at the toys in the toy section, so I was wandering around the girls clothing section. Not because I want to, per se, but because I don't enjoy the toy section, and yet, it's still not socially appropriate to completely abandon your kids at Target. So I scope out the girls fashions, even back when I didn't have any girls.

Anyway, this particular time, I found a few dresses on the clearance rack and I brought them to Lilly. I'm finding it harder to shop for her these days.  The boys would refuse to wear clothes, but it was usually pretty clear why: buttons? Then no.  Snaps?  Nope.  Collars?  Never.  But I haven't been able to exactly pinpoint what gets the Lilly stamp of approval and what will be politely relegated to the back of the closet.

So I show her the dresses and she's all, "Oh, pretty!  But I have to try them on."

"Look, can't you just tell me what you like and what you don't like?  I'm pretty sure these are your size."  I mean, it's not like we need to find clothes that hide her figure flaws, right?  If she likes it, I'll buy it and then we're done.

"Mom.  how am I supposed to know if I like a dress without trying it on?"

Okay.  Seriously?  My mother's been telling me that my whole life. I don't need it from my daughter, too.

"Lilly, it's your size, it'll fit fine."

"Mom, it's not about if it fits. It's about the way it twirls."

Monday, November 2, 2015

it's all fun and games

We were walking home from a dinner at a friend's house yesterday.

It was 7:00, p.m., and pitch dark, thanks to the time change.

We made the kids leave even though they still wanted to jump in the leaf pile some more. And, even after they explained that they WANTED to JUMP MORE, we still made them leave. I get it. Leaf jumping is great. I have a bit of a phobia about it myself, because once I jumped on a dead rabbit, but I have no reason to believe that that is a common occurance, so I try not to tell them, "get off get off get off, there could be dead things in there."

Still, even after they, again, clairified that they were having FUN, we dragged them away.

We were almost home, and I though we had all moved past the leaf-pile-jumping deprivation.

Then Lilly said to me, "Do you see my face mom?!  It is FULL of anger."

But the funny thing was that, no, actually I couldn't see her face.  It was pitch dark.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Day with Lilly

Lilly wakes up with a smile every day.

Every day, she bounces out of bed (I know because I hear the thump) and rushes to see us.

This is usually pretty cool, because neither of the boys cares to see us until they need a ride somewhere.

Once they figure out how to use scissors to open cereal, they're basically just here for the free laundry.

I've stopped fighting with her about her outfits.  If she wants to wear a velvet party dress with some fruit themed knee socks, well, life is short.

She bounces out the door, and is better than I am about remembering her lunch box.

When I pick her up, she has absorbed the energy from her little friends, and is full of questions.

"Mom? How do traffic lights change?"

"See that yellow box on the pole there? It holds a computer that is programmed to change the lights at certain times."

I have no idea if this is true. I don't care if this is true. I don't care about this at all.

"So, is there a person nearby?"

"No, it's a computer."

"Is there someone in the yellow box?"

"No, no. No people.  It's a computer."

"Oh, there's another one!"

"No, that's a donation bin, it just happens to be yellow.  They aren't all yellow. See, this one up here is gray."

"Oh.  And they are never smaller than that box?"

"I really don't know. I guess some might be smaller."

"And they are always yellow or gray?"

"Sweet baby Jesus please stop asking me questions."

"Fine," she says, full of hurt, "I'll ask daddy when we get home."

"Oh, please do."

We go to Target, and she is so excited about the yogurt that she trips and drops it.  She is so excited about seeing one of her friends there that she runs straight into our cart.  She's so excited about the Frozen nightgown she found that she falls over the foot of the rack.

At night, she demands we read her a book, every night, without fail.  On tired days, we would skip the book with the boys, but Lilly doesn't believe in being too tired for a book.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Baby Talk

Lilly and her cousin were playing together today. They were playing House - but this was apparently a sister wives household because there were no husbands to be seen and they referred to each other as "sister."  As in, "sister, go get the stroller for Baby."

Oh, yes, there were also babies. Babies who would never suffer at the hands of their parents the way these girls had.

"Sister, I tried to put Baby down for a nap, but she does not want to take a nap. And because we want to be kind to our baby, we would never make her take a nap if she doesn't want to, right?"

"Oh, absolutely, Sister.  And what should we make her for dinner? Because we love her and would only want her to have foods that she enjoys."

It was just, like, burn after burn on Parents who have Rules or Limits.

Later, Lilly was discussing family planning with me.

"Why doesn't Aunt Gail have kids?"

"I'm not sure, Lilly.  It's just the way her life went."

"Because her body wasn't healthy enough to have kids?"

Yes, that is exactly what I said.

"I don't think that was the reason, Lilly.  I think she just decided that she didn't want to have kids."

"Because she lives in Florida and they would always be begging to go to the beach?"

Yes, that is exactly what I said.

"She probably had some other reasons for not having kids. Also, she didn't always live in Florida."

I thought that would buy me a change in subject, but no.

"How did she not have kids?"

"She just don't have them," I respond, not wanting to discuss my aunt's potential forms of birth control.

"Did she take a pill?"

Goddamnit. Which one of you is having The Talk with Lilly?  Because either stop, or do a good enough job that she isn't coming to me with follow up questions.

"People can.  And sometimes people have to take pills to have a baby, but mostly it just happens for people and do you want to go eat a brownie?"

"Yes.  But I would prefer to get a baby because I am tired of being the only girl, and sleeping by myself."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Little Things

"Mom?  Have you read The Giver?"

Sam recently finished this classic and had mentioned that he liked it.

"Yeah, I've read it."

"There was a part that I didn't like and it's been bothering me."

"Yeah?" That's a weird thing about Sam. When I read books that were beyond my maturity level, I was all, La La La, I'm reading a book, they just said a thing - who knows what it means!

"It was the part where they gave that baby the shot," he says.

Oh.  Yeah.  That part. The baby murder. Not my favorite, either.  But probably he just thinks they gave the baby a shot. That's what I would have thought when I was his age. And I don't think they ever actually said, straight out, and "then they killed the baby."

Owen pipes in, "what did they do?"

"They gave a baby a shot that hurt," I answer quickly, wanting to manage the situation.

"They gave the baby a shot that KILLED it," Sam corrects.

Situation, managed!

Also, so Sam did catch that.

So now Owen is just all hand flappy, "what is happening?! Why with the baby killing?! I don't understand!!"

And Sam is all, "right? It was really upsetting and I can't stop thinking about it and why do you think that dad would give me a book like that to read?"

Monday, September 14, 2015

If Chris had a blog

"Do you think people feel sorry for you in my blog stories?" I ask Chris.  "Like, does it come off mean?  I'm not trying to be mean.  I don't want my stories to make you feel bad."

"I don't care what you write.  It's never bothered me.  Seriously, it's fine."

We're on our way to the apple picking farm, the kids are in the back, watching a movie.  Which means this is one of our most sustained conversations all week.

"Hey," he pauses, "We've been driving this way for a while.  Do you think we're going the right way?"

"I'm not 100% sure, but my guess is no, Chris.  I would say you made a wrong turn somewhere."

"Oh!  You could write a blog about this!"

"About what?"

"Me going the wrong direction!"

"See, that's why you don't have a blog."


"Because this is neither funny nor interesting to others. Nobody cares."

"But it's me being an idiot. You always write about that."

"I promise you I don't write about it every time you are an idiot. Also, this isn't even being an idiot. It's just you getting slightly lost."

"But if you don't blog about this, it's just a waste of gas."

And ViolĂ .

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Same Old

"What's this?" Chris asks me, holding a package.

"Just some shipping envelopes I ordered. It's a package of packages!"

He looks at it, appraisingly. He considers my response. "No," he declares, "I think it's some airconditioner foam."

"Well, that's a good guess, but that's not what it is."

"It's not the right shape for envelopes!" he insists.

"Envelopes, my love, come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Also, why did you even ask me?"

"I thought you would know!"

"I suppose you could always open it."

Guys, it's almost sad. Because with a glint of defiance in his eyes he tears it open.

"Oh, my, look at that. Shipping envelopes. I did NOT see that coming. Wow."

It's like he doesn't even KNOW us.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thursday night


"IRB administration, this is Beth."

"Yes, hi, I'm calling about an emergency use?"

"Of COURSE you are!  It's 4:30 in the afternoon, I want to go home, and all the IRB Chairpeople are on vacation!'

An emergency use is, basically speaking, when a doctor has a patient who is going to die without a drug, but the drug isn't FDA approved so they need a letter from the IRB.

When you get that call you know the next two hours of your life are gone. And also that somebody somewhere is dying and a doctor is trying to save them, so only a jerk would be resentful.


Text to Chris: "on my way,"

Text from Chris:"jst cmn strait to Fairfx I have all kids"

Okay, Chris took kids to playground.  Hurry hurry. Feeling anxious about getting home late, and extra loving because none of my children are currently dying of cancer.  Love my family!  But also late! Get out of the car! Run! I forgot my purse! Unnecessary at the park! Forget about it!  Just go!  Where is he?  Where are they?  Why are all these cars here? SHIT!  That stupid Boy Scout meeting!

Some Boy Scout guy came to Owen's class and promised them a rocket if they came to the Boy Scouts meeting. Owen was IN!  So in. Like, in right now.  Is it time yet?

I forgot.  I walk in.  It is very boring, I can feel the restless desire to escape rolling off the crowd the second I walk in. Wait, sweet Jesus, what's that smell?!?  Oh.  It's Lilly.  She looks and smells homeless right now, and not in a cute way.  Why would he take her in public like this?!

"I want to go outside!" Lilly says.

You and everybody else in this room, Lilly

"I have to leave in five minutes," Chris whispers.

 Shit.  Tennis.  Goddamnit I was loving my family and now I have five minutes before my husband leaves me with a reeking child at a Boy Scout meeting.

Take Lilly outside, play, come back inside.

Chris has written a note: "Do NOT sign up!  Do not pay!" And then scampers off.

Meeting ending.

"Everybody who has signed up and paid the dues, come get a rocket ship!"



No rocket ship Owen.

So this is when Owen's innocence dies.

We go outside, Owen is too sad to play. He heads off to lay on the ground.

Sam and Lilly want to play, though.

I have to stand in this exact spot. This one, right here. If I go to Owen, I've left my five year old unattended on a playground. If I go sit on the bench, I've left Owen crying by the sidewalk.

So I stand here.

This is boring. I want to go.

If I make Sam and Lilly leave, they will be upset. Owen is already upset.

I will stand here.

This is boring.

How long has it beeeeeeeen?

Three and a half minutes.

"Time to go!"

Get in the car. Jesus Christ Lilly stinks. When is the last time someone WASHED this kid? And what is she doing all day to build up that kind of layer of filth.

This ride home is eternal.

It's only been two minutes.

Almost there.

"Mom, aren't you going to drop the boys off?"

What? Why? Where?

"To get their bikes."

God bless America.

I drive back, put them on their bikes and make the eternal drive again.

"Straight to the bath Lilly!"

"I'm hungry."

You know what, how about one of you goddamn kids tells me next time you're NOT hungry and save us all some goddamn time?

My gratitude is slipping.

We walk in the house. It reeks of tuna fish.

Turns out, the only thing that smells worse than Lilly right now is hot tuna fish house.

Mom, I'm hungry.

Get. In. The. Tub.



"If you find a wood chip with a pointy end, it's mine."

There are dirty clothes everywhere.  Why do we live in filth?  Why?  We have wall-to-wall  dirty clothes in our hot tuna house and urchin children.


Everybody is clean now.  Clothes down the laundry chute. I'll go tackle the dishes now, maybe manage whatever smells like tuna.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

He's got game.

So this weekend Chris was playing tennis with, as he described her, "a very attractive doctor."  On a slick forehand slice, his follow through was so ferocious that he whacked himself right on the head.  Today he has a sizable lump and another in a wonderful streak of embarrassing himself in front of women.

Like the time Chris, a married father of two at the time, got flirtatious with the enterprise rent-a-car lady and slapped himself so hard he knocked his glasses off.

The ladies don't have high standards, but they tend to become less interested the more you slap your own glasses off your face.

Just something I've noticed.

This is why I don't worry about Chris cheating on me. I have absolute confidence that if he ever even thought about it he would drool on himself and then trip.  And not the stumbling kind of trip, but the kind where you go all the way down.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


So one thing that's fun is making Sam do stuff for football cards.

For the low low price of $8 worth of football cards, I got Sam to empty the dishwasher, move a dresser, clear and wipe the dining room table, carry the laundry upstairs, put the laundry away, clean the toilet, tidy the hallway, pick up the random debris in the yard and sweep the walkways.

This is so much better than:

A) doing it myself
B) forcing him to do it
C) living in filth

I don't expect it will work forever, but it was fun today.


Also, today we were talking about my friend Michelle's urban backyard chickens. I say that to emphasize that my children are not farm children, as they are urban backyard children.

I'd mentioned these chickens before, including the time period where Michelle was pretty convinced that one of the chicks was going to be a rooster.

"Did they have to get rid of the chicken that was weawwy a rooster?" Owen asks.

"No, actually that turned out to be a chicken - just an androgynous sort of chicken," I tell them.

"Does that mean boneless?" Lilly wonders.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One shoe, two shoes

"Mom, so you know, my shoes are broken."

"Which ones, Lilly?"

"Both of them are broken."

"No, I mean what do they look like?

"They look broken."

"But which ones are broken?"

"BOTH of them."

"Lord Jesus help me."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Balanced diet

So my dad's all laid up at home with a bum hip. Or, rather, a new-fangled hip.  So, in efforts to entertain him, I'm attempting to write more frequently. At least until he can walk again.

Chris and I were working in the kitchen tonight. It's great to have a life partner, isn't it?  We work together and get stuff done and it's great.

I put some leftovers in various sizes of Lilly's lunch containers. Then I started scrubbing some pans.

Chris was collecting garbage, and then I saw him grab Lilly's lunch bag.

Sweet.  We're both contributing here, in an equal, helpful, fashion. I have already packed some fruit salad containers and he's going to put together the other pieces . . . huh.

That's weird. He packed that lunch, like, ninja-fast.

Well, he does that. That's why Lilly is always, "so, did Dad pack my lunch?" in a suspicious voice.

He's a fast guy, he'll throw anything in there, it's cool, who cares what's in her lunch.  She'll eat it or not.  Whatever.

But I can't help it:

"So, you know those containers on the counter were all full of fruit salad, right?"

He sighs, heavily, and with much irritation, as he pulls her lunch bag out of the fridge and unpacks the four separate containers of fruit salad.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Go fish injustice

This is my kids playing go fish:

"Do you have a seven?"

"No, Go Fish! Do you have a four?"


Much laughter, good times had by all.

But, oh how swiftly the tides of fate turn.

"Do you have a five?"

"No!  Wait.  Yes I do.  Why would you ask for that?  Fine. Here, have the five. Do you have a two?"

"The hell?  You're going to ask me for a two just like that?  Just like, coincidentally, I have one and you just happen to ask for one?  You know what, just take the goddamned two.  I hope you're happy.  Do you have a six?"

"Are you being serious with me right now?  How fucking dare you?  You are dead to me. Take the six and choke on it and die. I don't know how you sleep at night.  Do you have an eight?"

"Do you miss your soul after you've sold it to the devil?  We are no longer family, you soulless bastard.  Some day, you are going to wake up alone, strung out on the high of Go Fish, and you're going to miss your family, but it's going to be too late because the pain you're causing today is irreparable. Enjoy your eight. I hope it can take care of you in your old age. Do you have a five?

"No.  And even if I did have one, I wouldn't use it to feed the fire standing between you and certain death by freezing."

"You cheating whorebag.  Give me the fucking five or I'll tell mom."

"I don't have any fives because you already ripped them from my trembling hands two turns ago, you idiot asswipe."

"You know what? It's cool, though. You have to go through life being the ugly one, so keep your fucking five. You deserve it."

Ok, that's more the spirit of the conversation then the letter.

Really it's like this,

"Do you have a five?"

"Yes, but that is not fair. Do you have a six?"

"That's not fair! Yes!  Do you have a two?"

"It isn't fair to ask for my two!  You know I have a two because I asked you for one four turns ago, and now you asking me! Do you have a nine?"

"No fair!"

They keep using this phrase, and I do not think it means what they think it means.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sleeping with Chris

This post is rated PG.

So I've been sharing a bed with Chris for a long time now. Chris's anniversary flower note said it was over 4000 nights and I'm just going to trust his math. 

It's taken me some time, but I'm now pretty much an expert in sleeping with Chris. I will share my knowledge with you just in case you ever end up sharing a room. 

He will wake you up with a tightly secure hug, whispering, "shhhhhhh.  It's okay.  It's okay. Shhhhhh."  You will blearily think, " I . . . had a nightmare? Thanks for helping out, buddy.  I'm so soothed I don't even remember having a scary dream."  Don't buy it. It's bullshit. You weren't having a nightmare.  You were just sleeping. 

He will get up on his hands and knees and try to push you out of the bed, claiming you are squashing a child. You are not squashing a child. There's only one person in this bed who would squash a child, asleep or awake, and it's not you.  Also, there is not even a child in the bed. Also, generally speaking, if he is up on all fours, no good will come of it. The second you sense him thrashing and heaving his way up, just accept the fact that you are about to deal with some absurd bullshit. 

He will steal all the covers. And then get hot and throw them on the ground. He will then wake you up and ask you where the blankets are.  

He will clomp his teeth together so loudly and with such vigor that you will fear breakage.  Don't be concerned.  He has Hippo teeth. 

He will absolutely leave you for dead when a child comes into the room. The child could be wailing, on her third trip in, and your best case scenario is he MIGHT clomp his teeth some.

When you are tired and trying to fall asleep, he will wait until you are thisclose to asleep and then tell you that if you give out your gmail address with an extra dot in it than you can easily filter for junk mail. He will repeat until ptsd sets in and your body says, "forget it, then. No sleep for you."  Then he will fall peacefully and cheerfully asleep. 

At this point I'm so good at sleeping with Chris that I could teach a four credit hour class in it. Unfortunately, it's just another skill I have that means nothing to anybody else. Still, he's not the worst roommate ever. He is warm, and he has no way of knowing if you are lying when you say it's his turn to get up. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Space trash

Owen is sooooooooo lonely without Sam.

He popped into my room tonight.

"Hey mom," he smiles, winking at me.

He knows he's not supposed to be out of bed, but he thinks a smile and a wink-nudge will make it okay.

It does.

We chat about many many things.

"Do you remember going to Horizon, Owen?"

"Of course I do. I remember the first day I went there."

Liar. You don't even remember your birthdate.

"Oh you do?  That was a long time ago!" [indulgent smile]

"Yeah, I got in to a little bit of trouble for my voice being too loud. I didn't know my voice was too loud because it was the same voice that I had been using at my other school.  I know now that even kindergarteners sometimes have voices that were too loud, but I didn't know that then and I felt sad for breaking rules I didn't understand."

Oh. Well then. Maybe he does remember.

We then talked for a bit about packing lunch vs. hot lunch. Packing lunch has the benefit of healthy foods he probably likes, but hot lunch has chocolate milk.

I think you know which one wins.

"But, mom, you know what my least favorite thing about hot lunch is?"


"The foam plates."

He then starts shuttering while he describes the foam plates they serve lunch on, and the sound the plates make as they slide against each other. He clearly wants to peel his skin off just talking about it. He even dry heaved a little bit.

See, Owen, but this is why you keep pinging on aspergers scales.

"Do you want to know the worst kind of foam?"


"Star foam.  Star foam is the worst and don't ever bring it in this house."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

We should also still use bibs.

I was reading an old blog post recently and I figured out that we put the toddler rail back up on Lilly's bed well over a year ago and we have absolutely no intention of taking it down.  We tried that, it was awful, never trying it again.

Some day, when she's 12, she'll have her first non- family sleepover with some overly mature bitchy 8th grader that she's fallen in with, and that girl is going to make SO much fun of her and Lilly is going to come to us, furious.

"Look," we'll say, "you were a sweet girl, but dumb like a hamster in the middle of the night. We need sleep."

She'll say it caused little Skyler or Blaire or Everly or whatever her hipster name was to ostrasize her at school, but I never liked that kid, so I'm not bothered.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Three stories

1) Owen has been enjoying listening to some old kids CDs. There is one with a funny little song about how awful brothers are:

There goes my brother again
Ruining all of the fun
I know I should love him, I know that it's true
And I will
When I turn

But then I heard him singing

There goes my brother again
Being my very best friend
I know that he's clever, I know that it's true
And I'm sure
That he loves
Me too

"Is that from the CD, Owen?"  I know the tune, but don't remember this verse. 

"Kind of.  I changed the words so that they'd be nicer, though."

2) After dinner tonight Chris offered a quick trip to the pool. YAY. POOL. Two minutes later I'm shoving my feet into flip flops when I hear the thunder. 

The kids are upset. 

Sam flops on the ground, despondent. 

Owen and Lilly decide to play outside in the rain. Sam drags himself outside, wanting to be miserable, but unable to resist the opportunity to boss his siblings around. 

They have a wonderful time as I make lunches and load the dishwasher and check Facebook and wonder vaguely what the chances are they will be struck by lightning. 

They come back inside. 

"You guys took lemons and made lemonade!"

"No we didn't," Owen vigorously denies. "We don't even have lemons."  

"It's a saying Owen. It means you made the best of a bad situation."

"When you come in from playing in the fresh rain outside, the house smells like garbage."

3) tonight, Lilly's bedtime pronouncement was, "I really like my life."  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Our little secret

I read an article on Facebook the other day. It was about how you should never have "secrets" with your kids.  Instead, you should have "surprises."  It was kind of semantics, but whatever, right?  I'm taking parenting advice from the Internet, get out of my way.

So when we were driving to target the other day and Lilly says to Chris, "Dad? Remember our secret?" I say, "we don't have secrets, Lilly."

As is often my experience with following advice from parenting articles, this doesn't play out the way I was expecting.

"What?" She says.  "No way. If we tell you then you wouldn't let dad give me gum.  I'm definitely still going to have secrets."

1) dang it, she's right. I totally wouldn't allow that. Now what?
2) hey.  I'm right here. You're terrible at secrets.
3) respect my authority.

Chicken fingers

I was sitting with Lilly this evening, as she lay in bed.  She was pretty asleep.  I thought.  I mean, she was snoring and everything.


"Mom? Is boneless chicken real?"

It's one of those questions I hate because I'm no parenting rookie and I know this is a set-up. If I say boneless chicken isn't real, she'll be walking around denying that dinner exists. If I say it is real, she's going to make a fool of herself on the class field trip to the farm.

So it's always the long answer.  "All chickens that are alive have bones. Chickens that we eat sometimes have bones, and sometimes the bones are taken out by other people."

"So boneless chicken isn't real?"

Gah. Knock it off.

"Because my friend Jack says a boneless chicken bit him on the finger."

Your friend Jack is full of shit.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stick Figures

We dropped Owen and Lilly off at a kids-only luau-themed event last night.  Owen refused to wear a grass skirt, but probably has more natural talent at hula-hooping than anyone else I'm related to.  By blood, at least.  Ziggles could be hella good at hula-ing.  Who knows?

Any way, the teacher let the kids take home some tissue paper and people cut outs so that could continue their crafts at home.  They were supposed to use the tissue paper to make grass skirts and glue them on the people cut outs.   

Instead, this morning, Owen comes proudly into my room, carrying two sticks with some red tissue paper taped to one end.  

"Wook!"  he says, brandishing a stick, "torches!"

"Oh, great!" I say.  "Very cool, Owen."

"I used my two favorite sticks," he says, nodding meaningfully at me.   

"You have . . . favorite sticks?"  I am aware that Owen enjoys sticks, but I was not aware that he had, like, permanent sticks.  Like, sticks that he has relationships with.

"He keeps them in a secret place," Sam says, not even looking up from his book.  


I'm conflicted.  Do I want to know where the secret stick stash is?  How many sticks are there?  Is it a land of sticks, with stick rules and stick hierarchies, all bowing to the benevolent Lord Owen?  Where sticks vie in contests of skill and bravery to be his favorite?  

"I wike dem because they wook wike shooting rifles."  

Monday, May 11, 2015

That one time I accidentally joined a cult.

When I was five, I rode a bus to school.

Which is just basically a bunch of kids packed together with no adult supervision.

But it was fine.  We had assigned seats, which was sad because I wanted to sit next to Kim.

In retrospect, it is entirely possible that Kim just didn't want to sit next to me and made up my "assigned" seat.

Nope, thinking about it some more she totally would have just said, "Beth, I'm not going to sit next to you, because you are annoying and nobody likes you.  Sit here instead."

Either way, I sat next this hippie girl who seemed about 25 at the time but must not have, by definition (i.e., riding the elementary school bus), been much over 11.

Anyway, she made me a braided bracelet out of a single string - a feat I still find impressive.

And then one day, she announced she was starting a cult.  She said we could get on TV if enough of us joined.

"What do you do in a cult?" I asked.

"Oh.  Well . . . you don't cut your hair and you let it grow really long . . "

As a side note, I was recently recovering from a bob haircut that my mom tricked me into.

My Mom: "Beth, do you want to cut your hair into a bob?"  
Beth: What the hell is a bob?  "Sure, mom."

"SUPER!"  I said, referencing the refusing to cut your hair idea.  Unfortunately for me, she interpreted it as being on-board for culting.

"She's in!" My seatmate said to the guy behind her.  I think they were co-starting this cult?

Shit.  Even my five year old self knew I didn't want to be in a cult.  But my five year old self was also already a people pleaser.  I was wracked with anxiety.  I couldn't disappoint this 25-year-old, magic-braiding cult leader!

Oddly, I was also self aware enough to know that, whatever a cult was, I CERTAINLY wanted no part of it.  Not because I didn't want to lose my identity, but because I just wanted to go home to my family and play with Barbies.  To hell with hanging out with other people.  A cult was almost certainly going to cut into my Barbie-playing time.  I worried about who else was going to be in this cult, and, to be very honest, I wasn't even sure I wanted to hang out with this girl outside of the school bus.  Single-strand braiding aside, she wasn't a very good listener and didn't follow directions, and that made me uncomfortable.  She often didn't raise her hand in the peace sign the way we were supposed to when asked to quite down and listen, and sometimes she would raise her hand in a peace sign, but then whisper to me that she was raising it for PEACE but not for SILENCE.

Another aside: what was with the raising of our hands in the peace sign in order to indicate compliance with a quite down request?  I mean, at this point, it was the 80s.  Hippies were over.  Also, that kind of seems antithetical to what the peace sign was supposed to represent, right?

Anyway, I went home and confessed to my mom that I had joined a cult and she totally didn't care.  When pressed, she suggested that I write a resignation letter, which I did.  Hand printed it myself.  Not sure what I said, given that I was five and I'm not sure five-year-olds can actually write, but I handed it in the next day.

I have no distinct memory of what happened after that, except for being immensely relieved.

Monday, March 30, 2015

These kids watch the infomercials

The kids have a LOT of fundraisers at school.  It is almost worth Lilly's tuition to not have to participate in all the godforsaken fundraisers.

In addition to the ones designed to support the school, there are a number for specific charities.

One day, the kids got one for Heart Disease.

I think.

It could have been Thyroid Disease or possibly The Gout.

Anyway, we were in the car and Sam asked when we were going to start soliciting donations.

"Sam, I'm not sure we are going to participate in this fundraiser.  There are a lot, and we only have so many friends and family.  We can't ask them for money all the time.  We have to choose something that is important."

"Mom," he says, shaking his head in disappointment, "this IS important.  People are dying out there."

He was apparently paying attention at the school assembly.

"Yeah, Mom." Owen pipes in, "And also you can get a rubber duck dressed like a fireman!"

And this is my little friend

Owen has a little friend at school, and she happens to be a girl.  This apparently results in some amount of teasing, but they've stuck it out so far.

She writes him notes.  The only he brought home yesterday said:

O - outstanding!
W- wears red
E - eats hot lunch
N - neat!

Which is pretty much Owen in a nutshell, right?  That red-wearing, hot-lunch-eating, outstanding kid!

She invited him over for a play date a few weeks back.  We have emphatically NOT returned the invitation because we are social degenerates.

But the day he went over to her house, I was a work and it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks.

I'd forgotten to tell him not to show her his junk.

Shit.  Shitshitshit.  I felt pretty confident that, without plenty of practice, Owen would FOR SURE expose himself.  Without a doubt.

I was so certain that I planned my speech to the other mom, about how he wasn't sexually harassing as much as he was just a kid who really liked his penis to share in his life experiences.

But she didn't say anything when I picked him up.

So that was a relief.

Also, today, I was watching through the window as the kids were playing in the front yard with the neighbor girl and Owen totally flopped his penis right out.

In the front yard.

Just flopped it right out.

So I still need to have that talk with him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A midnight meeting

I'm asleep, but I feel Chris push me a little bit and say, "Are you going to sleep all day?"

This is bullshit, because it is 3:55 in the morning.  So I ignore him.

But he pushes me again and repeats, louder, "Are you going to sleep all day?"

Look buddy.  A) Middle of night.  B) One of us is sleeping here, and it ain't me.

So I say, "WHAT are you TALKING about?"

And he chuckles, condescendingly, and mumbles something about how I'm deflecting.

The condescending chuckle is a favorite weapon in Chris's argument arsenal.  It is a virtually foolproof way to take a discussion from Level: irritation to Level: rage.  The accusation of deflection is also an excellent tactic, because he is rubber and I am glue.

But seeing as how we are not having a discussion here, I let it go.

I try to steal his covers as retribution for leaving me awake and unfairly maligned at 4:00 in the morning, but the man has them wrapped up so tightly I'm not sure how HE will ever get them off.

In conclusion
Chris's weaknesses include: sleeping like a normal person
Chris's strengths include: a very condescending chuckle and blanket theft prevention.

Cayden's school is so cool

Every morning while I'm driving Lilly to school, she asks me, "are we going to pass Cayden's school?"

And every morning, I say, "yes."

And then she says, "will it be on this side or that side?"

And I say, "I can't see where you are pointing because I am driving."

When we get to Cayden's school we shout, excitedly, "CAYDEN'S SCHOOL!"

I am using the royal we there.  Except in the way where I mean, I don't shout at all.

Some days, we get distracted.  Lilly could tell you about those days.  "Mom, do you remember that day we got distracted by a bird and forgot to see Cayden's school?"

I do not.  You clearly do.

So I have learned to point out Cayden's school if it looks like she is going to miss it, because I will pay for it later if I don't.

She asked me this week if Dad could drive her to school some day.

Fine by me, I said.

"I like it when Dad drives me to school because he NEVER forgets to see Cayden's school."


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I took Sam to the PTA meeting tonight.

They were raffling off bikes, and when the kids who won were collected, a door in the lunch room was opened.

"Mom?" Sam says, "I've never seen that door opened before.  I didn't know they kept all that stuff in there!"

"Well now you know all about the secret room, Sam."

"There are lots of secret rooms around here.  The most surprising one to me was the Teacher's Lounge.  I walked past once when it was opened and they have a vending machine and a couch!"

He leans in toward me at this point, and lowers his voice.  "Mom?  I honestly don't think that there is any teaching at all going on in there."

Sunday, January 11, 2015


This Christmas, Chris and I broke our long standing resolution and bought the kids some Nerf guns.

We had rules.  They stay on the third floor.  No face shots.  Don't shoot anyone until they have consented to be involved in the Nerfing.

And it hasn't been too problematic, really.  Lilly doesn't like it, so she's off limits for shooting, and has a new role as the "bullet getter."  (Sidenote:  If Lilly likes you she will give you extra bullets.  So be nice to Lilly).

But yesterday . . .


I look up and there is a gun pointed at me.


"Please don't shoot at me."

"I'm not shooting at you.  I'm just practicing."


"Okay, but, that one came really close to my head."

"No, I'm just seeing how accurate it is."


"STOP POINTING THAT GUN IN MY DIRECTION.  Seriously.  I am being very clear right now.  Pick up all these bullets that are all over the floor, and take the guns back to the third floor.  They aren't supposed to be down here anyway."

Some time passes.

Pssswht.  With this one, I'm lucky I'm not blind.


"sorry sorry sorry"


"Sorry I forgot sorry."

"I honestly don't understand what is wrong with you.  Seriously.  That isn't funny and it's completely inappropriate and very disrespectful."

Obviously, I was having this entire conversation with Chris.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


We recently go back from Florida.  It was a great vacation.  Sun, and sand, and beach, and hardly any group illness.

But Florida is a long way away.  Chris did almost all of the driving, barring my one ill-advised turn at the wheel marked primarily by my irrational fury regarding Chris's inability to read a map.  

Anyway! I had the opportunity to observe Chris's driving habits a lot on this trip.  You know, his preferences, predilections and proclivities.  And I know now that Chris has one thing he would like to say to the drivers of the world:  


I know that because he actually said it.  To all the drivers.  Each and every one of them.  

All of you.  Get over.  Now.  Move.  Go.  Git.  

If you can't go faster than the cars in the right lane, then get in the right lane.  

If you can't move fast, period, get over.  

In fact . . . you know what?  Just get in the right lane.  You can't handle the left lane.  

There is one guy who can handle the left lane, and he has two thumbs and is named Chris H.  But not all you other Chris H's.  Just this one.  Chris H.with an Agesfeld can coast from Florida, through Georgia, both Carolinas, all the Virginias, and straight up through Ohio, in the left lane and the rest of you can kiss his sweet ass, right before you get over into the right lane, where you belong.


The other day, my niece was over at our house, playing with Lilly.  Lilly did NOT want her to go.

"Why are you packing your stuff?" she says.  "Just keep playing."

"Lilly, I have to go.  If I don't go home without complaining, I won't be allowed to come back."


I didn't know they actually BELIEVED it when we said shit like that!  I say that all the time!  Sometimes I actually think I mean it.  But, really, what are we going to do?  Disown that part of the family?  Of course they are going to be allowed to visit their cousins.  Actually, on a semi-regular basis they will HAVE to visit their cousins.

I enjoyed it immensely.  Such trusting little buggers.

Christmas spirit

A few weeks ago I had to go to the Apple store to get my cell phone battery replace.

It was ridiculous.  So many people in the store.  I couldn't figure it out, until I realized it was the Saturday before Christmas.  It's weird when you are out of sync with the rest of the world, but doing the same thing.  Like when I went shopping on Thanksgiving, but just because the kids were in bed and I wanted to go shopping, not because I wanted to tackle someone to the ground for a toaster.

So the battery replacement process took 45 minutes, during which time I wandered around the shopping center.  There was Christmas music playing, I bought myself a coffee.  Browsed books.  Bought some cheese.  It was lovely.  So much festive hustle and bustle.

"I should do this more often," I thought to myself.  "I need to stop shopping on-line so much. I'm missing out on the spirit of Christmas because I'm not out here, living life!"

And then a lady walked by with a sobbing three-year-old attached to her leg, and CARRYING a flailing five-year-old.

I realized, then, that I wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit.  I was feeling what it was like to spend an hour out alone.