My Cat Could Write a Better Title

So my cat Thurman sat on my keyboard and began this post with "llllllllllllllnnnnnnnnn," but I erased it in favor of something more eloquent. Although now that I have, I can't really think of a better opener.*

*I mean, if your name is Ellen, my cat's opener is actually pretty awesome.

I also can't find a relevant picture for this post, but I find this one hilarious. You're welcome.

I think part of the reason I can't come up with anything is because my brain is still on the edge of a turkey-(and-other-things)-induced coma from Thanksgiving. I can still technically wear one pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans, but occasions such as holidays call for stretchy-paneled maternity pants. So I busted those suckas out and ate until I fell asleep and then woke up and repeated the whole thing. For like three days straight. (Maybe not quite, but that's what it felt like.)

And then there are the boys, who are constantly draining my energy just by being dudes. Yesterday morning, I was getting ready to leave the house to teach my nine o'clock Zumba class - with only a couple of minutes to spare, mind you - when I realized I hadn't seen Cameron for a few minutes. And the bathroom door was closed. With a sinking feeling, I opened it.

And there he was.

Completely naked, even though I had just dressed him - down to the shoes - moments earlier.

With his bottom half covered with poop.

And a toilet-paper-wrapped turd wedged between his butt cheeks.

And poop smeared on the toilet seat.

And when I staggered backwards out of the bathroom in shock, I just happened to spot his clothes.

Which were laying in a pile on the floor.

Next to two wayward turds, just chillin' on the carpet.

WHAT. the EFF.

Needless to say, I was not happy, and even more unhappy when his only explanation was "Colin was using the toilet and I couldn't get on."

"But we have two toilets!!" I shrieked. My reaction was met with a blank sort of stare.

Anyway, that was a great way to start my morning. And then, after I had cleaned up Cameron and his mess, I was putting coats on everyone when I caught a whiff of another rank smell. Yep, Coby had taken a dump in his diaper. Impeccable timing, that one.

Thank goodness the ladies in my class were understanding when I was like five minutes behind schedule.

Colin, my six-year-old, has been another source of worry altogether. Last Wednesday, he woke up fine - but within a couple of hours, had a low-grade fever. I gave him some Motrin and his fever went away, and stayed away, so I didn't think much of it. Thursday, he was completely fine. When he woke up Friday morning, his face was a little bit swollen, but we were visiting family out-of-state so I thought maybe he was allergic to something there and gave him some antihistamine. The swelling went down for the most part, and he seemed fine. He was fine Saturday. Sunday he complained in the afternoon of not feeling well, but we were in the process of driving home and he sometimes gets carsick, so I chalked it up to that. When he woke up Monday morning he was fine - but just before the end of the school day, I got a call from the school nurse saying he was in her office with a fever. I picked him up and brought him home, and as soon as he laid down on the couch his face started to swell again. This time it didn't go down.

So the next morning, Curtis took Colin to the doctor to get to the bottom of all this weirdness. There were blood and protein in his urine. After extensive testing, the official diagnosis was post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. Basically, he had - at some point unknown to us - a strep infection that went untreated, and it ended up affecting his kidneys. He's on antibiotics and a diuretic, and being closely monitored by his pediatrician (three visits this week alone), and the prognosis for complete recovery is good.

But OMG, y'all. Don't I feel like Mother of the Year ... my poor baby had a strep infection and I didn't even frickin' know. And even when he was exhibiting the first symptoms of his post-strep glomer-whatever-it-is, I kept brushing them off or attributing them to other things. Ugh. (Take a moment to feel awesome about your own parenting. I'll wait.) Thank goodness the damage to his kidneys isn't permanent, or I would never forgive myself. Now I'm going to be one of those moms whose kid sneezes and I'm all, "Uh-oh, let's make you an appointment."

Oh yeah: and this evening, between bath time and diaper, Coby peed ... in the heater vent.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to: honing my fabulous maternal skillz. And going insane, one brain cell at a time. What have you been doing lately?

Giving Thanks for my Guys

I'm thankful for my dudes. Not the legions of them lined up outside my door hoping to get a glimpse of my smokin' hotness (oh wait, that's the trash man and the meter reader), but the ones that are presently destroying my house in the process of simply being themselves.

Right now, one is naked except for a hooded hippopotamus towel and a dragon hand puppet, and he's running around the house calling himself "Super Hicko."

One is using coffee filters (swiped stealthily from the kitchen cabinet) to draw and write on. Things like, "Leishmaniasis is caused by a parasite" and pictures of mountains with smiley faces and unibrows. He's using the coffee filters because he has already used up every other available scrap of paper in this house. He is also naked.

One is wearing a diaper on his butt, an oven mitt on his hand, and a stainless-steel mixing bowl on his head, bellowing "I fire-man!" through a tube-shaped vacuum attachment.

And all of them have painted toenails, because while I was painting mine the other day, they asked if they could have theirs painted too. Although they insisted on blue because "it's a boy color."

They're a mess: literally and figuratively. And I gripe ... a lot. Because sometimes - okay, most of the time - being their mom is a dirty, exhausting, and largely thankless job. I deal with poop and clogged toilets and flooded sinks and "experiments" gone wrong and squabbles and knock-down drag-out fights and embarrassing questions and crumbs and stickiness and smudges and mud and unidentifiable crusty smears on my clothing.

But I'm thankful. So thankful. As hard and as frustrating as it can be, I wouldn't have it any other way. The richness and color they bring to my life is immeasurable, even at their most mischievous. And the joy I feel seeing them just being brothers - or watching the love and pride in my husband's eyes as he interacts with them - far surpasses any feelings I ever had before they came along.

I'm thankful, too, for the new life growing inside me. Yes, it's going to be even more crazy and hectic around here - but this new little person is also going to add another layer of happiness and love. Another facet to the sparkling jewel of family.

So here's to the catastrophic clutter and monumental messes. The tattling tales and the super-exaggerated stories. Because they're just a by-product of something special that, no matter how much I complain, I wouldn't trade for anything.

Now that I'm finished being sappy (hormones, maybe?), it's time to break out the stretchy pants - 'cause I'm fixin' to do the other thing that preggos do best: put away some mass quantities of food! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


So this morning I was in a hurry to get the kids ready so we could take Colin to school. I am always more than half-tempted to just take the little ones in their PJ's, but then there's that little voice in the back of my head that says, "The day that you don't properly dress your kids will be the day that the Jeep will break down and you'll have to walk or something." So I dress everyone, complete with shoes and coats, every single morning.*

*Never mind that I myself am usually wearing pajama pants and a ratty T-shirt and unbrushed hair and forget my bra at least 50% of the time.

Curtis's alarm had gone off at 4:30 this morning. But instead of hitting snooze (like he normally does no fewer than 1,267 times) he just turned it off. Which meant he actually got out of bed at like 6:30 ... thirty minutes before he is supposed to be at work ... which is a twenty-minute drive away.

So consequently, he was all, "I'm sorry, but could you take the dogs out since I'm running late?"

And I was like, "Sure, I'll take the dogs out. It doesn't matter that I have an hour to prepare breakfast and make sure three children are fed and dressed and at least the school-aged one is publicly presentable. I'll be glad to stand outside in the cold rain waiting on the dogs who have to sniff for at least fifteen minutes and then turn in a hundred circles before they decide on a place to pee."

Okay, so really I was like, "I guess so," in a pointedly huffy voice, but that's what I was thinking.

Anyway, my point is, I was strapped for time this morning. So when it was time to leave, I hurriedly ushered the kids into their coats. I'm a stickler for them hanging their coats on the rack every time they take them off, yet Colin's was on the floor. It seems like he's the only one who ever has an issue with forgetting to hang his; even Coby, my two-year-old, has picked up the habit. So I launched into my normal tirade about how Colin's coat isn't where it should be. He scowled as he scooped it up off the floor and put it on.

"Why is it wet?" he complained.

"Because it was on the floor, that's why!" I groused. "It's raining outside, and I'm sure when I came in this morning from taking the dogs out, I probably stepped on it with my wet shoes or something. If it had been on the hook, where it's supposed to be ..."

"But it's pee!" he whined.

"Colin. It is not pee. I'm sure it's rainwater. Now grab your backpack and come on!"

"But Mommy ... it's pee!" he whimpered, squirming.

"GRAB your BACKPACK," I bellowed. "We're going to be late!"

"But smell it!" he implored.

Exasperated, I yanked the coat right off him and sniffed. And OMG! He was right! It was wet with pee!

I don't know who decided to take a whiz in the middle of Colin's coat. It's rather a mystery, much like the time someone peed on my pillow. Coby is a distinct possibility, as he has taken to whipping off his diaper and running around half-naked. If I were a betting woman, however, I'd say it was probably our pug Destiny, who has this terrible habit of holding her pee for hours, not going when we take her outside even though we wait forever, and then peeing somewhere in the house. And when she does pee inside, she pees on something: a blanket on the floor, a piece of the kids' clothing, a stuffed animal. Then of course there are the cats, who I don't think pee anywhere but their litter box, but then ... animals are freaking stealthy.

Anyway. Colin's coat was saturated with piss, and we were on the verge of lateness. Fun!

Luckily, he and Cameron are close to the same size, and so he wore Cameron's coat to school (which he didn't mind one bit, because he's always griping that he likes Cameron's coat better anyway). And now the disgusting pee-coat is in the wash.

Maybe he'll hang it up from now on ...


It's almost Thanksgiving, and I am like literally counting down the hours until I'm able to partake in the turkey-day feast at my parents' house. I fantasize about Thanksgiving dinner the way obsessed Twi-hards fantasize about sparkly vampires: relentlessly, unceasingly, so-much-it's-kinda-creepy. 

I love my family's Thanksgiving in part because it's so varied. We have the traditional turkey - a 25-pound behemoth my mom gets up at 4 am to put in the oven - and the necessary trimmings: homemade noodles, gravy, rolls, stuffing, green bean casserole, and all that. I'm making my specialty, sauteed Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions, bacon, and cranberries (don't make that face, it's DELICIOUS, y'all). And speaking of cranberries, there's always the requisite can of congealed cranberry jiggle (aka "cranberry sauce") that inevitably gets forgotten in the fridge until after dinner is over.

On top of all that, though, my big brother Steve just happens to be married to a wonderful woman (and a wonderful cook) named Arunporn, who just happens to be from Thailand, and who just HAPPENS to contribute the most scrumptious and yummy Thai dishes to our feast every year. Because really, what Thanksgiving without some Asian food on the table? This year she's making tom yum (a spicy and sour soup), som tam (spicy papaya salad), and egg rolls.

We'll eat, talk about poop and zombies and make fun of each other, and spend the rest of the afternoon a.) huddled around someone's laptop looking at dumb videos on YouTube, b.) lounging in a food-induced stupor on various couches, chairs, and beds, and/or c.) engaging in a rousing game of Garbage Catch, wherein we throw things to each other as hard as we can in hopes that the catcher will fumble and drop whatever item it is: i.e., a "garbage catch." (Last year it was a stuffed bus that said "Office Depot" on the side and honked on impact.) 

My family is, like, sooooo cultured and cosmopolitan.

I can't wait.

The only thing that bugs me about this time of year is all the magazine and news features I'm reading about tips to avoid overeating on Thanksgiving. 


I appreciate the need to be healthy and skinny and all that, but y'all? Thanksgiving is for overeating. Isn't it? Have I been wrong all these years? I fully plan to eat until I groan about how stuffed I am, then throw some stuff at my siblings until I digest a little bit, then eat some more. Thai food, traditional Thanksgiving food, I want it all. IN. MY. BELLY.

Anyway, gotta load up on energy for Black Friday shopping, right?


Just Change Your Own Diaper!

I can't wait until my kids are old enough to, like, get themselves ready and make their own breakfast and stuff. Right now, I have no choice but to jump right out of bed in the morning. Not only are the boys not old enough to (sufficiently, without a fiasco) take care of their own basic needs, they can't even really be trusted to hang around the house while I lounge around half-asleep for a few extra minutes. Because when that happens, there are almost always incidents with toilet paper or permanent markers or forks or pretzels. Or all of the above.

This has been especially difficult lately because I've had some issues with morning sickness. Nothing too severe, but enough to make me feel like not getting up the second my eyes pop open. As a result, I've been feeling insanely jealous of people whose kids are of an age where they can wake up and fend for themselves. You know, at least fix their own cereal and whatnot.

Yes, I realize that Colin is six years old, and that he could probably - if I'd let him - pour his own cereal. The problem is, I know that would involve climbing on the counters and scaling the front of the fridge to get a gallon of milk that will inevitably be too heavy for his scrawny little bird-arms to manage and it would result in a milky mess all over my floor and at almost $4 a gallon, milk is too expensive to risk wasting like that, y'all. Plus then that would mean that not only would I have to get up, but I'd have to get up and mop. And make the cereal anyway. And even if Colin could successfully manage to get himself some cereal, there's the issue of his two little brothers who, at three and two, are NOT nearly old enough to obtain their own breakfast. But they would think that since big brother did it, they surely should be allowed to do it too. Which would equal an automatic disaster.

It's not even just that, though. Do you ever fantasize that your kids are old enough to, like, be left at home while you just run somewhere real quick? The other night we ran into Curtis's boss and his wife without their kids and they were all, "We just snuck out for a while and left the kids at home, tee hee" and I was secretly harboring some INSANE jealousy because their children are old enough for that to be an option. I don't remember the last time I just went somewhere with Curtis, by ourselves, without having to pin down some childcare first. And usually? It's expensive.

Also? It would be so nice to, say, run to the store without having to ensure that three (soon-to-be four!) children are properly dressed and acceptably clean, with shoes, and herding them into the car and buckling them into carseats and booster seats and listening to Veggie Tales CDs (thanks a bucket, Chick-Fil-A) all the way to the store and then getting them out and piling them into a cart while threatening them within an inch of their lives if they misbehave and managing them all throughout the store and fielding "I wants" and "can I haves" left and right and then doing it all over again - only with groceries - on the way home.  

Of course, all this is a moot point ... a pipe dream ... a fantasy that will not see the light of reality for, oh, another eight or ten years at a minimum. (Well, the "leaving them home" part, anyway). At least I have the ray of hope that within the next three or four years, I won't have to wipe anybody's butt any more.

I know everyone says I'll miss it when they actually are old enough to be independent (perhaps not the butt-wiping, but their little-kidhood in general). But man, it sure does sound awesome from here ...

It's Not a Party Without Jell-O!

At two o'clock this morning, I was standing in front of the open refrigerator in my pajamas, shoveling canned pineapple chunks into my mouth as fast as I could. With my fingers.

I know ... sexy.

Anyway, I was reading the back of the pineapple can and the many glorious serving suggestions it offered, like "Try a deliciously easy fruit salad!" and "Make it special with pineapple kabobs!" (whatever "it" is).

And then there was this:

It says, "Entertain the crowd with gelatin desserts."

If you ask me - which nobody did, but I'm giving my opinion anyway -  gelatin desserts aren't exactly entertaining. I mean, I've never recieved an invitation that read, "Come to Suzy's gelatin-dessert-poking party! We'll watch gelatin jiggle all night long!" I've never seen someone walk up to a buffet table, gasp at the gelatin dessert and say, "There's pineapple in it!" and proceed to call all their friends over for a look at this amazing phenomenon.

The pineapple peeps could have worded it a little better. "Please the crowd," perhaps. Or "Tickle the crowd's taste buds." Or even "Liven up your gelatin desserts."

But entertain? That's stretching it. The only way gelatin desserts could possibly be classified as "entertaining" is if there were nudity and a pool involved.

But that's a whole other blog post.

I'm Sew Clueless

So ... I have a sewing machine now.

It belonged to my grandma. My grandma who sewed my wedding dress without a pattern, just by looking at a picture from a magazine. My grandma who supplied countless years' worth of doll clothes and Halloween costumes for me. My grandma who, unfortunately, did not seem to pass her mad sewing skillz on to me.

I can't explain why I wanted the sewing machine in the first place. Me having a sewing machine is like a remote Amazonian tribesman having a cell phone: neither of us know what the hell to do with this contraption. But I have this vague idea in my head that I'm going to, like, sew stuff. Like maybe ... a baby quilt? Or ... a placemat? 

Okay, I've got to be honest. I actually have fantasies ("fantasies" being the key word here) about discovering some kind of latent talent buried deep within, and whipping up all these fancy things. Being as crafty as my bloggy friend Kim and making awesome stuff like this.

But in reality? I'm the girl who got a D in my high school Home Economics class. I once tried to hem up the legs of a Halloween costume for Colin, and he ended up with cow-print capri pants. I also tried to hem a plaid skirt, and ended up with a hoo-ha baring schoolgirl number that looked like something I picked up from an adult store. And in the process of sewing up a hole in Curtis's jeans once, I accidentally stitched part of the pocket shut. So you see? I don't know what I think I'm doing, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be disastrous. At least initially.

Right now, the sewing machine is still intimidating me from its box. But soon, I'll get the courage to get it out and take it for a test-sew. Any advice from you crafties out there? Where should I start?

I hope I don't sew my finger to something. That would really suck. But it would also be unsurprising.


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