Monday, August 31, 2015

Go Away Creeper Lady

I got the creepiest email today. It was a notification of a comment from a past blog post on this blog.

The comment was from a guy saying that a lady had approached him and showed him a ton of pictures of my son (from this blog) and tried to claim that the son was hers and that he was the father. He gave me his contact information if I wanted more information.

I read that and I wanted to throw up.

How sick and twisted! I can't believe someone would do that. The truth of this comment has yet to be verified but even just the thought really creeps me out. It creeps me out so much that I'm considering password protecting this blog....or even unpublishing it altogether,

I know we aren't to expect that much privacy when we blog (even when we try to be anonymous). I know I'm basically publishing things for the entire world to read (read: complete strangers). But it just makes my stomach turn to think about all the ways that my content can be used improperly and without my permission.

This lady seems like a real creeper. But it could probably be much worse (for me anyway, it probably sucks to be the guy she was trying to fool). This has got me thinking a lot about the purpose and future of this blog. The whole blogging thing is not worth violations of my children's privacy or the risk that something bad could happen.

I need to mull things over a bit. I would appreciate thoughts, suggestions, or comments. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

And hey, if you happen to be the creeper lady. GO AWAY.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

When You Squeeze An Orange

Friday night, after the kids were all snoring in their beds, I pulled out a bottle of wine from the back of the fridge and slowly but steadily drank almost the entire thing during my TV date with my husband.

I fell asleep and, for the first time all week, I didn't wake up until it was actually morning. When I did wake up (when the kids woke me up at 6:45) to make the kids some cereal (like I was going to make an omelette and french toast) and saw the bottle just staring at me from inside of the fridge, I wanted to feel bad. But I didn't. My week had been insane and I had earned every single drop.

The past week involved so many stressful tasks, all unfolding at the same exact time. This resulted in three work-until-midnight evenings (but I was still able to come home and eat dinner and put the kids to bed).

All week long I looked like a walking zombie. Not only was I going to bed late, but Jon caught a cold on Monday and woke up multiple times every night. One night he just wouldn't go back to sleep no matter what I did and I was so tired and desperate (he shares our room) that I put his travel crib in the living room and let him cry it out for a while. I don't know when he stopped crying because I fell asleep almost instantly (I kinda hate to admit that very bad mommy low on the internet, but hey, I'm just keeping it real). Can't wait until he has his own room!

But this week wasn't ALL about work.

On Wednesday, I spent three hours with my kids at the county fair. Jacob wanted to go on ALL the scary rides. These are rides that even I would never go on- like, the ones that go completely UPSIDE DOWN. Thankfully, he didn't meet the height requirement so I had an excuse to tell him "no." Hey, sorry bud. I don't make the rules! What am I going to do in two years when he actually does meet the height requirements, ugh!

Sorry Jacob, no Twister Of Doom ride but how about this Happy Birthday Llama?

Cool beans, huh?

On Thursday night, Jacob had a meet and greet for his new school. The event was from 4-5. I cleared my afternoon calendar to make sure I could leave work early to pick him up at the babysitter's and take him to meet his new teacher and find his classroom. Then noon rolled around, and with it, a giant sh*t storm. At 3:30 I was just about to head out the door when my phone blew up with another emergency that I just couldn't ignore.

At 4:00, I ran frantically out the door to get the kids and we pulled into the school parking lot at 4:56. I scrambled to get all the kids out of their car seats and sprinted to the front door of the school just as they were announcing for people to leave the building. I'm pretty sure I yelled "EFF THAT!" as I blurred past the office secretaries carrying a 23 pound infant while herding two overwhelmed kids through the maze of hallways and crowds of people traveling in the opposite direction. We finally got to Jacob's new classroom, said a frantic "hi" to the teacher, and found Jacob's desk before they kicked everyone out to lock up the building.

When I pictured introducing Jacob to his new school to ease his nerves and calm his worries, I didn't exactly picture THAT.

When I finally caught my breath, I took the kids out to play on the playground. I glanced around at all the parents chatting happily, drinking the refreshments that had been served earlier in the event, and gossiping about the teachers while their kids played. Stepping from my crazy afternoon to this relaxed scene, I just had to laugh. Only in my world would a "meet and greet" be that stressful. Things are that crazy for ALL working moms, right? Because I swear I feel like I live on a separate planet from everyone else sometimes.

Playing at the new school
This would be a great picture definition of the word "brothers."

This sign was posted at the gate to the playground...
Ok, who's the pig that ruined it for everyone else?

Today, my husband tackled the long list of home improvement items needed to make our home rental friendly and so I had the three kids to myself. I took ALL three of them to the mall to run an errand, then to Target for school shopping, then to the grocery store. The entire excursion took three hours but it felt like ten. At one point, there was a call to poison control. At another point, there was human poop on my shoe. At a third point, I was standing in a sea of spilled pencils.

"Hello, poison control? My son chewed on an electronic toy and swallowed orange gunk. Yes, "orange gunk" IS the technical term"

Jon likes orange gunk and teriyaki equally.

At Target, I had a napless baby in the cart, a three year old who kept jumping on and off the front end of the cart while it was still in motion and who was so excited about all the shopping that he kept pulling everything off every shelf to bring to me for purchase (sorry, we don't need six packets of Batman washcloths), and a six year old who kept running off and nearly caused thirty separate cart collisions. At the grocery store, Jacob and Ryan were opening the closing all the doors in the freezer section, picking frost off the shelves, and eating it ("look, we're eating SNOW!"). I loudly responded with, "Why are you kids following me? You should go find your mommy," before I marched away down the aisle. They didn't think that was amusing at all.

And then, after a trip like that, I see people on Facebook complaining about the store not having diapers in their favorite print and I'm all like, "Do I honestly live in the same world as people who consider diaper print to be a big source of stress?"

So yeah...all that just to provide the context for this:

You know what though? Even when things are at their craziest, I think I secretly love it. I think there's a masochist deep down inside me waiting to come out. And that masochist probably wants me to adopt like three more diaper-wearing children.

Because while kids do bring an insane amount of unnecessary stress, there are also many moments like these:

Big pile hug Mommy!

Hello, there is a panda in my garden

I read a great post on Facebook tonight. I'm not nearly eloquent enough to give it justice but it goes something like this: when you squeeze an orange, what comes out? Well, orange juice duh. Why? Because that's what's inside. When we get squeezed under the stress of life, what comes out? Anger, pain, fear? Because that's what's inside us?

The point is a great one. It's easy to pretend to be a great person. You find out who you really are when things get tough. So, when things get tough, we control what comes out. I absolutely love that.

Unfortunately, all that came out of me this week was some yelling, a bottle of wine, and a great big buzz.


 In other news, our home will officially be a rental in TWO short-long WEEKS!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Have You Stomped A Crab Today?

How is the weekend over? I swear it JUST started. Not cool.

The weekend had ominous beginnings. Friday my Seahawks played the Broncos in their first pre-season game. I was excited to be wearing my new favorite dress and was even happy that it was blue so I could wear some Seahawks colors for the day. And then I got to work and the first thing my Broncos-loving coworker said was, "hey, nice Bronco colors!"


At least my dress was fabulous (Loveappella from Nordys). I love the pattern.

And Friday night ended with me falling asleep on the couch to a big fat Seahawks loss. At least it's just the preseason.

I've been so freaking exhausted lately. My schedule hasn't really changed (I still get the same little sleep as I have always gotten) so I don't know what that's all about. Saturday, the kids woke me up at 6:30 am and then I took Jon and rushed out the door to get my van looked at. It needed a little more work than we originally thought. I ended up trying to kill 5.5 hours (that's so much of my weekend time!) around the repair place while everything got wrapped up.

First Jon and I went for a LONG walk. Then we went grocery shopping. Jon was so happy and was charming the pants off everyone in the grocery store and pointing and grunting happily at everything. He was WAY past his naptime but was going strong and happy. It was so much fun to spent forced one on one time with my youngest (he often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to getting my attention) even if it was just in the store.

Finally my van was ready, we paid for our groceries and this happened five steps from the van:

I want his eyelashes. 

These pictures make him seem so little still. But it's a trick. He's getting so big. It both amazes me and saddens me at the same time.

Our latest project has been getting our house ready to rent out. Things are moving so quickly on the new house, I don't think we were quite ready for it to happen lightening fast. Trying to find renters has been good motivation to get to all the projects we've always said we were going to do and then never did. Like paint the nasty lime green kitchen cabinets. My husband painted the bottom cabinets grey and the top cabinets white. It looks great! I wish we had done it long ago!

A potential renter was supposed to come over today to look at the house..but she was...special. My husband texted her to see if she was interested in seeing our house. She replied and said she was crying in her yard trying to figure out where she can live. Um. Ok, then. That gave me a bad feeling about her from the beginning (drama queen?). But we said she could come over at 1 to take a look at our place and see if she was interested. She agreed to do that. Then 1 came and went. So did 1:10 and 1:15 and 1:30. She lives literally two blocks from our house. This was not acceptable. Hours later, she texted my husband and said she walked by the house. She asked how much it was for and what she could do to rent it (all this info was on the ad where she got our contact info). Um, how about SHOW UP when you say you will and not stalk us from the street? I told him not to even respond. I don't have time for dumb people.

After wasting all morning cleaning my house and waiting for the no-show, I marched the kids outside and we went for a bike ride. I'm really going to miss all these views when we move:

My gang

The first half part of our bike path

The second part of our bike path


Ryan marching up to his "house"

Can you spy the ferry? And the Jon?


Jacob came running up to me from behind and yelled, "hey mom!" When I turned around he shoved this in my face. I screamed. A lot.

Jacob went down to play along the shoreline while I entertained Ryan and pulled rocks, shells, and dead crab legs from Jon's mouth. At one point this grandmother came up to me, she was with her grandson who looked to be about Jacob's age. She gave me a very disapproving look and said with a scolding tone, "your oldest is stomping on crabs just to see them get squished. That's probably not something he should learn."

WTF. Excuse me? They were dead crab shells. They were not live crabs. Her eye contact lingered on me as if she was waiting for me to be upset by what my son was doing. Was she suggesting that my son was going to grow up to be a serial killer? I'm pretty sure she was. I ignored her and I don't think she was pleased with my "so what" attitude. And when she left I called Jacob over.

"Where you stomping on crabs?"
"Because. They're dead. It hurts them much more when we cook them alive to eat them."
"Good point. Carry on."

I seriously wanted to clock that lady. And of course it wasn't until after she left, with her nose in the air and her highly disapproving glares shooting straight at me all the way to her car that I thought of all kinds of good retorts. Why are people such assholes?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Water Park: Lost My Sanity But Managed To Keep All The Children

If there is any wisdom I can impart regarding family trips with multiple children, it's this: the shorter the better.

I always imagine long, fun-filled family vacations during which all of our time is spent laughing and bonding at beaches or pools or open markets or museums. And then we arrive. Any by the next day, I'm practically counting down the hours until I can go home and enforce the rules of our normal routine.

I don't know if it's because I have all boys, or if it's their ages, or if it's their age differences....but my boys BICKER CONSTANTLY. Someone has an extra napkin. Someone wants a dark blue hat instead of a light blue hat. Someone found a discarded rubberband on the ground and won't share it. Someone wants to listen to the radio. Someone wants to listen to a CD. Both someones want to hold the remote. Someone walks to walk in front (and will have an immediate and intense meltdown when the other steps a whisker's width in front of him).

My most commonly uttered phrases during family vacations/outings:

1) Knock it off!
2) Stop fighting!
3) NOW what are you crying about?
4) Why don't you listen to me?!
5) If you don't stop right now, I'm taking us all home (total lie. The hotel room was totes expensive)

Why do I bring this up, you ask? Well, I just returned from a one-night, overnight trip to a waterpark with my three boys plus one of Jacob's friends. And it was no exception to the above.

My husband was against this trip from the very beginning and (being the smart man that he is) refused to go. I thought he was being a spoilsport and I decided to go anyway. With all the kids. Yes. I have no one to blame. This is entirely all my own doing.

But it wasn't all bad. And underneath it all, we did have fun.

The park is decorated like a lodge. There is a dead bear skin on the wall, right in the middle of the entrance. And it's eyes light up as you walk by. Ryan was totally freaked out by the dead bear (understandably). Unfortunately, every time we needed to go somewhere, we had to pass by the "pretend bear." Ryan erupted into tears and torturous screams every time we walked within 20 feet of the bear. I had to hold his hands, coax him into looking at his shoes, and repeatedly tell him "it's not real, it won't hurt you" every time we went: to the bathroom, to the waterpark, to the hotel room, or to get food. And I had to do this while carrying Jon and multiple bags full of baby crap and swimsuits.

Luckily ALL the kids enjoyed the waterpark. The big boys ran off and played in the wave pools and went down the water slides. Ryan pranced from water toy to water toy, sliding happily down the baby water slides on repeat. I put Jon down and he made a bee line for the water. He bear crawled all over the baby/toddler spray park, made multiple attempts to sneak down the kiddie slide after climbing all the way up the steps, and slapped the water over and over. Jon's favorite thing in the entire world is bathtime. Our trip was basically an entire gym-sized bath to him.

This picture says it all (so sad that it's blurry)

As demonstrated in the above photo, Jon had a great time practicing his standing in the water.

My friend and her husband joined us (with their two young kids). Somehow, even the adults managed to take turns going down the big water slides. Jacob and I went down a slide called the Howling Tornado. Holy Shit. I screamed like a baby. I screamed louder than Jacob. I was 92% certain that I would not survive. Thankfully, I was wrong. But my legs were wobbly and shaky for a full five minutes after that ride. Jacob just wanted to do it again.

My wolf pup!

Last night, Jon woke up seven times in a two hour period. He has four teeth coming in on the top at the same time. I remember being so tired and crabby that, by the seventh waking, I had a very strong desire to throw something against a wall (I resisted). I finally pulled Jon into the double bed with Ryan and me. And I proceeded to get absolutely no sleep the rest of the night as Ryan and Jon took turns kicking me and sticking their feet in my face. 

After we finished up swimming again this morning, I took the kids to the arcade. Thirty minutes, three tantrums, and too much money later, I heaved a loud, exhausted, but happy sigh of relief as I escorted four over-tired and over-sugared children to the van. There was no better feeling in the world than knowing all the children were secured (read: stuck) in their seats and I no longer had to chase them or worry about losing them. We stopped at Dairy Queen for lunch and I had a well deserved ice cream cone (and 3/4 of the cone Ryan thought was too "melty"). 

So, the kids are a lot of work and I am totally insane for saying this....but.... as Jon is turning ten months old and standing and doing big baby things, I'm so insanely sad. He is my last baby. I don't want him to stop being a baby. I don't want there to be a time when I don't have someone in my house who is a baby. I feel totally overwhelmed with sadness and....I never thought I'd say this, but I want another one. I don't know where to put my unrequited love for all the children I will never have. I guess, I should put it towards the children I DO have. But I still feel the weight of longing and the unsatisfied curiosity about What Could Be. 

This is totally all Jon's fault. He is the most perfect, easy-going, adorable baby. This is probably bad to say, but I'm pretty sure as far as my babies go that he's my favorite. He is just such a joy. He's almost always happy. He loves everything. He follows me around the house, banging on the floor and talking baby gibberish. He is so sweet and curious and funny. If someone takes something out of his hands, he throws a fit. But if he drops the exact same object and can't find it  again (usually because I snuck it away), he's like "eh, I didn't really want that anyway." 

Despite being a third child, he's managing just fine. Jon was hungry when we arrived home today. I was almost out of groceries and couldn't figure out what to feed him. So I made him a PB&J sandwich. I gave it to him and laughed. Such a typical third-child thing to do. I joked to my husband that with a first child, you make all your baby food. With a second child, you use convenient jarred baby food. By the time your third child comes along, you just slap a PB&J sandwich together. (Yes, I know you're supposed to avoid giving babies nuts, if he gets a peanut allergy from eating one PB&J sandwich, I'll hate the universe). But he loved it and ate every last smooshy bit of it.

After I fed the kids tonight, we headed to our real estate agent's office to sign some paperwork. (We had our home inspection this week and an appraiser is coming out tomorrow- ah! This is actually happening!). While we were in one room signing papers, the kids were trying to play walk-tag (because I told them if they ran in the office they would get timeout). Their efforts were pretty poor but forgivable.

At one point, a flock of geese walked by the office window and enchanted all three of my kids. Jon pulled himself up to the window, stood in place, and gawked at them with his mouth open as if they where the strangest things he's ever seen. Then he started to grunt excitedly as they were walking away. It's as if he was trying to tell them to come back.

As I was reveling in the cuteness of that moment, Ryan suddenly leaned over and puked all over his hands, his pants, and the couch he was sitting on. And yes, I got to wipe it all up by hand with nothing more than thin pieces of baby wipes separating the foulness from my skin. I think the real estate agent is ready for us to close on our house so that we don''t have to bring the kids into their office anymore.

On the way home we passed a large farm consisting of several acres of cows. The two older kids rolled down their windows and spent a very long five minutes mooing loudly to the cows over roaring traffic. So, you know... between the geese and the cows, at least they're connecting with nature.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pimp My Ride

Last weekend someone posted on Facebook that they were selling a used bike trailer. For whatever reason, I found myself insisting that we needed one. Never mind the fact that I hadn't ridden a bike in 15 years. Or that I didn't even own a helmet. "Think of all the fun we'll have!" was the only thing going though my head.

I tried to push the thought away, but my brain kept coming back to it. Clearly, my mind wasn't going to rest until I had possession of one gently used bike trailer. So, $40 and 45 minutes later, it was all mine,

The contraption perplexed me. But I managed to fish my old $5 garage sale bike out of the basement (after wiping off the cobwebs), get the bike trailer attached, and stick the kids in it. I have no idea what all the straps do or if I'm using them properly. Luckily I found instruction manuals online...I just need to sit down and open them. Looks close enough?

My personal caravan

$5 garage sale bike

Thursday night we took the trailer for its inaugural spin around the block to the farmers market. Jacob was thrilled that I was riding with him and Ryan was loving the fact that he could sit and relax while I pulled him up all the hills. Jon was also always. The first trip was a success except for my quickly deflating tires and broken gears. And as we were riding up the slight incline back home, I couldn't tell if I was just really horrible at riding a bike (can't be - I go to spin class at least once a week!), if my bike was in really bad shape, or if my three year old and nine month old could somehow weight 150 pounds between the two of them. After much huffing and puffing, we all made it back home.

Ryan hasn't stopped talking about the bike ride. Every day since Thursday he has asked me if we can ride "Mom's bike." So today, I took the bike down to a repair shop. The long-haired, pony-tailed, body-odor smelling repair man told me that it would cost $150 for new tires and to fix my gears and brakes. I almost laughed. There was no way I was going to drop $150 on a $5 garage sale bike that was probable purchased for $60 new at Target about 20 years ago. Then a shiny, green Cannondale with a large comfy-looking seat caught my attention from the corner of the room. The bike repair man said he just fixed it all up and was selling it for $200.

And that's how I left the bike shop today with this beauty. (The bike repair guy wouldn't even take my old bike for now has a new home at Goodwill).

Our bike ride today was SO much better! No deflating tires. No squeaky, unusable gears, effective brakes. The kids are obsessed with my bike. Ryan has taken it upon himself to make sure my water bottle is always filled and tucked into the water bottle holder. Jacob is enthralled with my gears and talks about the day he will get a "gear-bike." And Jon loves to use it as a drum set. (He "bam, bam, bams" on everything).

Hoping back on a real bike (not a spin class bike) after 15 years was really strange at first. Contrary to the popular saying, I was really wobbly and unstable at first. Five minutes later, it was like I had never stopped riding. I kept wondering why I had ever stopped. The kids and I zoomed all over our quiet little downtown tonight. Jacob and I kept vying for the lead and Ryan kept giggling from the trailer and pointing out interesting sights along the way. The city looks so different on bike. It was a blast riding through the neighborhood streets and waving to neighbors. I can't wait for our next trip!

Ready to ride!

Taking the first lead

Me and my groupies....exploring the city by bike!

And here is Jacob giving me a heart attack.

Have you guys been on a bike lately? If not, you absolutely NEED to. I forgot how fantastic it is to ride a bike. It felt like childhood. It felt like freedom. It was fantastic.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Pending inspection and appraisal, this is OURS!

You guys should be SO excited. You don't have to hear me whine about sharing a 950 square-foot, one bathroom home with FOUR boys anymore!

So how exactly did this come to be when we are upside down on our mortgage? Well, my coworker's husband specializes in real estate transactions. He kindly walked us through our options and referred us to the many people who have made this whole thing possible. First, we had a contractor look at our current home. He gave us estimates for completing our basement (to add two bedrooms and a bathroom).

Then we talked with a real estate agent who kindly told us that no way in hell would we be able to recover all the money it would take to finish our basement. But she did tell us we could rent out our current place for approximately the price of our monthly mortgage payment. She also hooked us up with a loan officer who pre-approved us to purchase a new home.

Thus began the arduous and painful process of house hunting. There is NOTHING on the market right now. And with my husband's long list of must-haves.....our house hunting proved so incredibly useless. I fell in love with every house. He hated every house (except for one house that he said was "ok").

We were just about to give up and let our search efforts lay dormant until.... my husband emailed me a link to a 1980's, newly remodeled home on 1/3 of an acre in a quiet development. It had only been on the market three days. We dropped everything and went to tour the house.

And we fell in love.

That night, a Sunday, we rushed to our agent's office, completed the paperwork, and put in our offer. And waited. And waited. And waited some more.

If you are in the market to buy a home, I highly recommend against purchasing from an older couple who are in the middle of an RV trip somewhere in the middle of Nebraska. Especially when that couple lacks both an email address and any sense of urgency. But, here we are, 72 hours later and we have just been notified that our offer was ACCEPTED!

We are beyond thrilled. We are ecstatic. After eight years of hand washing every single dirty dish and utensil, I will have a DISHWASHER. After eight years of doing my make up and hair while sitting on the floor in front of my closet door, I will have a working outlet in the bathroom and COUNTER SPACE (no more legs falling asleep in between doing my mascara and blush). After eight years of yearning for a fire on dark and stormy nights, we will have a fireplace! After eight years of sharing one bathroom with way too many people (all boys), I will have my own sink! And, probably one of my most favorite features of the new house.....

A basement devoted SOLELY for little boys and their toys!

The house is a tri-level. When you walk into the house, there is a large landing that is entirely a living room (with vaulted ceilings!). Then you can walk up the stairs to the dining room and kitchen (omg, my dining room and my family room and my entry way will no longer be all the same room!) and all the bedrooms. Or you can go down the stairs from the landing to the basement and the laundry room (a room JUST for's too good to be true!) and the large two-car garage.

The living room/landing. Note the very strange fireplace. I'm 99% sure those bricks will end up white-washed.

The family room from the top of the stairs.

My dining room. A room JUST FOR EATING! And you can see my deck just out the sliding glass windows.

Renovated kitchen. It has a sky-light! And a bar!

I'd post a picture of the backyard...but it looks like a large patch of dirt and brown grass. We already have our first home improvement project picked out.

The sellers just put $60K into renovating the entire interior of the house. It looks immaculate. And at 1,900 square feet, it feels ginormous compared to our current 950. I have no idea what I'm going to do with 1,000 extra square feet. Actually, yes I do. I'm going to roll in it, and prance through it, and do snow angels in the carpet!