Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pinewood Purgatory

Image hosting by Photobucket
Many years ago when ds was in first grade, and wanted to be a Cub Scout, I said I would help with the pack. Sigh! Never agree to be helpful because it will bite you. (You'll notice other parents haven't made the same offer and I'm still leading for ds#2)
If you aren't familiar with a Pinewood Derby it is a Cub Scout event. The boys are given blocks of wood and some wheels, and with the help of a loving involved adult, they are to create a car that will be raced against the other boys' creations. Unfortunately, my boys do not have a loving, involved parent. OK, that may be a bit harsh, but dh is not interested in 'woodcraft' and since I do not own a table saw, etc. our creations are always dismal. Saturday is the big race. C needs to paint his car and we need to get the wheels on straight and smooth. That sounds easy no doubt, but pine, nails and plastic are not really that speedy until you dump powdered graphite all over it. Not that that's messy or anything! I'm also in charge of table decorations and snacks. Hmm, 18 six to eleven year old boys. Perhaps benadryl with a warm milk chaser?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pointless Post

Absolutely nothing important happening here. Just a few amusing moments:

When dropping off F at preschool today, the car in front of us was empty. I expressed my puzzlement at this. F said "It must be an old lady." Sexist remark, except guess who came out and got in the car.

Mel's new hobby. While nursing she takes out her pony tail holder, hooks it on her bare toe, and slingshots it across the room.

I was doing that thing parents do, explaining how things were when I was a kid, when I hear L under her breath, "yeah, that was the jurassic period." Where do 7yo learn big words and smart alec ways to use them?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Diploma Dilemma

I attended a meeting last night to learn about the process my dd will be going through to sign up for her high school classes and diploma. There are now three, yes three, different diploma options. Oh, and kids, you need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life now, at age 13, so you can plan accordingly. Huh?? She of course will try for the hardest "honors" diploma because she is a high strung over achiever. I'm trying to imagine what will happen when the 'slouch on the couch' has his turn. I left the meeting stressed. What they are asking of these kids doesn't seem rational to me.

I like the easy pre-school years. Most problems are solved with time or a hug or both. F told me what he wants for his birthday next month. Sunglasses and a toothbrush! Yep, definitely easier.

I'm just adding this because she's my kid, darn it, and I think she is cute. This is her preferred outfit this week. You'll notice she is sans panties and her arms are raised in her interpretation of the music. It's like living with Isadora Duncan.
Image hosting by Photobucket

Monday, February 20, 2006

Avacado Au Revoir

We took the plunge and ripped out the avacado green shag carpet this weekend. It was just as filthy and disgusting as you would imagine 30+ year old carpet would be. If we don't all come down with an exotice lung condition I'll be surprised. And let me just say, at some point the previous owners obviously has a less than well trained house pet. Yuck!
The rest of the weekend was taken up with partying, none of which I got to take part in. S had a friend stay Friday and then went to a sleep over party Saturday. E went with a friend to a high school show choir event and stayed all night. They didn't get home until 2am, so glad I said yes to her staying there. L went to a birthday skating party. On Sunday I took L and her Brownie troup to a youth theater performance of Alice in Wonderland. She soaked it up, as I knew she would. I could see the wheels turning in her head and wondering how she could get on stage.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Chores (or Children Are Really Indentured Servants)

This week's large family topic is chores. It is no doubt not a great surprise that I don't have a system for chores. (See organization and sleep posts, lol.) I would never follow through with a chart, or stickers or rotation. That just isn't me. The only real assigned chores are 7yo feeds and waters the cat and 12 and 10yo alternate cleaning the cat box and emptying the dehumidifier. Those jobs take about 5 min. No exactly overwhelming. The 13, 12 and 10 yo do their own laundry. Other than that I work on the "you didn't get behind the door quick enough system." Whoever I see first when I want something done is who gets the job. These aren't difficult things. They usually include: vaccuming, picking up toys, doing dishes (no dishwasher), clean table, sweep kitchen floor, taking out trash and recycling and sitting with the 4 and 2yo when they are having a bath. On Saturdays one of the older three makes lunch. Not exactly forced labor. The 2yo pretty much gets picking up and wiping the table along with 4yo who is trying to learn to vaccum. Maybe because they never know what I'll ask them to do, they pretty much do what I ask without griping. Things get mixed up pretty well since you never know who will be gone for a practice, a sleepover or be buried in homework. What I really need is someone with a driver's license to help chauffeur kids around. That is the job that drives me batty. My main complaint about chores is that with six kids, there really isn't that much for each one to do once the chores are split up. We live in a rural area, and most kids have 4-H animals, 6 or 7 of them, and have an hour or more of barn chores. My kids don't have that and I wonder if they should.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentine's Day (Italian style)

Image hosting by Photobucket
For my children, pizza IS love.

Then I ran to a ball game, a boy scout meeting and a dance class. Luckily dh was home tonight so I didn't have to drag the littlest two along. On a redeeming note, dh stopped and brought me home some great coffee and a bottle of Jack Daniels. The man knows what I like.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I had a migraine this weekend so not much happened. The most amusing part of the weekend, the boys composing "You've got an itsy, bitys, teeny, weeny yellow polka dotted peeny." Ah, the poetry.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Knitting Up The Ravell'd Sleeve of Care

I was asleep (har, har) when the large family dynamics topic was started this week. The topic is bedtime. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as I would dearly love to get 12 solid hours. I'm nearly as lax in this area as organization. There are no elaborate routines. My kids have never fought me about going to bed. ( They pick much more embarrasing and socially unacceptable battles.) I say go to bed about 8pm . This is flexible depending on when we get home. I help 2yo get in her jammies, and 2yo and 4yo to brush their teeth rather than chug the toothpaste. I take 7,4 and 2yo upstairs and they fall asleep. Sometime about 9pm the 10 and 12 yo get sent upstairs. They are far beyond jammies and can do their own teeth! 13yo gets encouraged to call it a night at 10pm.
To start with all my babies have slept with us until they moved themselves out. This happened relatively early with all of them so it hasn't been an issue. If they wander in sometime at night they crawl in bed with us. The 4 and 2 yo are the only ones who do this. I'm convinced that is because they co-sleep together. Sort of like a litter of puppies, cuddled up on somebody's floor upstairs. They all do have beds, but they prefer to huddle together. Maybe we should heat their rooms? JK.
Now getting them to sleep past 5am. That is the problem I need to solve!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Well, what I really wanted was to write a long snarky entry about how ANNOYING dh was this weekend, but I'll contain myself. Let me just say my tongue is still bleeding.

Fri-we had 2 basketball games and had to deliver L to a sleepover in another town

Sat-ball practice, pick up L, S's friends came in afternoon, took them bowling (in the crappy weather), came home, made them food, etc. at 1am dh got sick, this resulted in me disassembling the bathroom sink, got back up at 5:30 with baby

Sun-tried to speed memorize my lines in the church skit, took kids sledding, found dh's missing glove thus avoiding divorce, made pizza, bathed kids, checked back packs, etc. Watched the football game.

What a pathetic weekend. And the best part, dh said today that I sure was grouchy this weekend! Argh!!! A bloody stump I'm telling you, all that is left of my tongue is a bloody stump!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Our Very Own Groundhog

S turns 12 today. How'd that happen? We had our traditional moment when we shove him outside and look for his shadow. (For meterological fans, he did see his shadow). We (affectionately) call him The Slouch on the Couch, but he's our slouch darn it! He is not too much of a sports kid, only playing basketball in our town league, but he likes Boy Scouts and camping, fantasy novels and Harry Potter, video games and pizza. He does pretty well in school but Lord knows doesn't put in any extra work there, lol!
Image hosting by Photobucket
He's a good big brother to F and Mel, hangs out with C alot and irks E and L to death. He has a large group of friends and is the group comedian. I'm always reminded of the TV show Cheers when S walks into a room, except instead of calling "Norm" they all call S's name. He has (probably unfortunately) inherited my wiseacre personality, but we have a great time wise cracking with each other. It's good to have someone who has your own skewed view of the world.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

System Failure

This week's large family topic is organization. Chris and Carmen are obviously organized, even if they don't claim to be paragons. I, on the other hand, hate organization. I don't like baskets, bins or boxes. I( (at the risk of seeming callous) organize by trash can. If it's broken, it goes. If it's missing a piece, it goes. Torn, outta here. Consequently we don't have too many clothes or toys. Art works and school papers get a quick gush of parental joy and then join their brothers in the recycling bin.
There is of course detritus to be dealt with. The older three are in charge of their own clothes, books, dressers, laundry. If they lose it, can't find it, or choose to leave it messy it's on them. My only request is it's in their room or backpack. Leaving it lay around will likely mean it will disappear. The 7 yo is on her way to that cold, responsible place , though I help her with her laundry. The youngest two barely wear clothes and seem to find sticks and pieces of paper stimulating toys. These two character traits cut down on their organizing needs.
I do have some tricks of course. The van holds an extra pair of toddler shoes, pony tail holders, extra pants and underwear for Mel, a basketball, Dr Suess books and paper and pencils. The last three items are actually the indispensible ones. A bored child is a child I'll be pulling off a fence or from under a bleacher. I usually have a good idea by mid-morning what will be for dinner. This is the one organizational area I find crucial. The 4pm-6pm time slot (the arsenic hours) are our most difficult time of day. Having dinner ready, simmering in the crockpot or at least thawed allows me to deal with schedules, trips, homework, melt downs or social crises.
So there you have it. My prescription for organization is to put it on someone else, LOL. I comfort myself during those occasional pangs of guilt, (the ones where some mother has a list of library books, outfits with socks for the week assembled, and an actual idea of when their kid needs field trip money turned in) with the knowledge that my kids handle keeping track of their stuff well and when I send them (push them?) out of the nest they are going to be able to cope.