Merry Maturity!

There's been some kind of early Christmas miracle around here, y'all.

My kids are getting ... older.

Now, I'm not saying that they're suddenly so mature that nothing crazy happens around this joint. After all, it was just a few weeks ago that I discovered a water gun full of PEE stashed in their closet. And I still have trouble keeping any of them dressed. And their favorite thing to play lately is a little game they call, "Surprise, You've Got Tetanus!" No, there's no shortage of shenanigans here.


But lately there have been little developments that let me know they're - gasp! - approaching independence. Colin, for example, has been taking his own showers. And he enjoys letting his brothers in there with him. So he's been bathing himself, Cameron, and Coby everysingleday for the past two weeks or so. Which frees up at least twenty minutes of my evening! .....

... to do more laundry, or clean up from dinner, or something else equally exciting. But hey.

And you wanna know the second sign of independence? The one that really says something?

They've left. The Christmas tree. ALONE.

If you've been reading The Frump for a while, you know that I struggle with this every holiday season. I'm all picky about my Christmas tree - and for what? Within less than 24 hours it looks like an elephant tried to hide in its branches, thanks to my kids, and my dogs, oh and my cats too. See for yourself.

But this year ... this year ... the tree has been up for five days so far, and everyone has actually stayed out of it!

... Well, except for Meeko. (Which you would already know if you followed me on Instagram.)

I suppose I should enjoy it while it lasts, because this time next year Corbin will be a year and a half old and terrorizing the tree all by himself. But maybe just one pair of curious little hands won't do too much damage.

Hey, a girl can hope.


I've had this blog for like three years now, and in that time I've gotten tons of anonymous comments. Sometimes they're from people who have a perfectly nice and valid comment, but just don't put their name for whatever reason. Once, and only once (knock on wood), it was something hateful about how I'm a terrible mother (what? Just because I nearly break my kids' fingers and accidentally lock them in the house and snip their ears when I cut their hair and sometimes almost get them drunk? Geez). But 90% of comments left by "Anonymous" read like this:

When some one searches for his necessary thing, thus he/she desires to be available in that detail, therefore that thing is maintained over here. Also visit my web blog ...

... and then there's some spam link.

I can indeed be gullible sometimes. My brother may or may not have convinced me when I was like fifteen that Michael Jackson had moved to our tiny rural town. (He said it was to escape the paparazzi! Sounded legit to me!) But does some spammer out there really think I'm dimwitted enough to read a comment that's poorly written in my own native language and then click on a totally unrelated link, like for penis enlargement or cigarettes or kayaks or tribal tattoos?

I used to be referred to the blog via my cousin. I am now not sure whether this publish is written by him as nobody else know such distinctive approximately my problem. You're amazing! Thanks! Visit my weblog ...

Not only do they think I'm going to click on it, but that my readers are going to see it and click on it as well. Like, "Hey, this person wrote such an awesome comment, and I really am interested in 'watch nfl streaming live free!'"

I mean, seriously?

It's going to be ending of mine day, however, before end I am reading this enormous piece of writing to improve my experience. My web site: .....

Joke's on them, though. Because all my comments have to be approved before being posted, for exactly this reason. So the only one who sees them, ultimately, is me.

Hello my loved one! I want to say that this post is awesome, great written and come with approximately all vital infos. I would like to see extra posts like this. My page: .....

Great article! That is the type of information that are supposed to be shared around the Internet! Disgrace on the seek engines for now not positioning this submit upper! Come on over and consult with my website .....

Actually no matter if someone doesn't understand then its up to other users that they will help, so here it takes place. Also visit my site .....

The funny thing is, most of these comments are left on one post: the one where I accidentally taught Colin a very bad slang word for male genitalia.

I guess if you're gonna be one and try to spam my readers, then that's an appropriate place to comment.

We Be Trippin'

Photo credit: Chrissi Nerantzi

So tomorrow we'll take off on the annual four-hour trek to Missouri to spend Thanksgiving with our extended families. That means right now, at this very minute, I should totally be catching up on laundry and packing suitcases instead of writing this blog. But ... you know. Whatever.

It's okay because by this point, I have packing down to a science. I'm pretty much the only person who packs our stuff. Curtis is capable of packing his own, but sometimes the dude needs some guidance because he is the hugest diva when it comes to suitcases. Seriously.

Here's how the contents of each suitcase - a mere weekend's worth of stuff - would lay out if everyone were left to pack their own:

Curtis - A couple pairs of jeans. Four or five t-shirts. Three pairs of shoes. No socks, because he always forgets them, resulting in him wearing the same crusty pair for the entire weekend. A pair of khaki pants and a button-up shirt and a tie "just in case." Make that four pairs of shoes because if he's gonna bring a nice outfit, he needs his dress shoes. And another button-up shirt or two in case something happens to the others. Two or three pairs of underwear which are totally pointless because he wears them until they're literally just some tattered fabric hanging from an elastic waistband, but you didn't hear that from me. Toothbrush, hair brush, cologne, body spray, toothpaste, mouthwash, razor, shaving cream, deodorant, dental floss, hair gel, contact solution, tooth whitening kit, eyebrow wax. Phone charger, alarm clock, some toothpicks, and whatever other randomness he can grab and toss in that bad boy. And now that he's grown facial hair, he'd probably pack every beard-and-moustache-trimming apparatus in the house. (Apparently even lumberjack-esque appearances require upkeep.)

Colin - Three pairs of underwear, but ONLY the Spider-Man boxer briefs because the other kind result in squirmy dances and indignant howls of, "My peeeeniiiiiis!" A pair of jeans or two, a few of the shirts that he always wants to wear to school but I won't let him (i.e., the basketball shirt that he outgrew two years ago, or the one with a huge stain). Pens and Post-It notes. His mini-stapler. A notebook or three. As many rolls of Scotch tape as he can get his hands on. His suitcase would look like a portable Office Depot ... with underwear.

Cameron - His favorite Super Mario Bros. pajamas. His Mario figurines. His laminated Luigi paper doll. Every other bit of Super Mario paraphernalia he can rummage out of the toybox. And whatever paper product he happens to enjoy eating (yes, eating) at the time.

Coby - His cowboy costume from Halloween. Cowboy boots. Cowboy hat. If he has those three things, the buckaroo trifecta, he's satisfied.

Corbin wouldn't pack anything, because like ... babies can't pack.

So yeah. That's why it's all up to Mom when it comes to gathering necessities into suitcases. I not only have to remember everything everybody needs on a daily basis, but also prepare for a variety of potential catastrophes by bringing "incidentals" like extra Pull-Ups and Super Glue (because y'all remember what happened last time). It's a good thing I have mad packing skillz.*

*Except for recently when I forgot to pack any socks for the baby. Oh, or the time when it was like thirty degrees outside and I forgot the kids' jackets. Sometimes I forget things, okay? *

*Except for my stretchy fat-girl pants. I'd never forget those. Especially at Thanksgiving.

Guess I'd better get to it. Happy turkey day*, everybody!

*Or turducken. Or tofurkey. Or whatever you're eating.

Rita and the Crappy Carpet Caper

I'm more than a little frustrated with my boys this morning. In fact, I'm downright furious.

They woke me up an hour early.

Now normally, waking me up an hour early wouldn't be (too) big of a deal. Would I be a little irritated? Yeah. A little grumpy? Sure. But not furious.

It's why they woke me up an hour early that's got me seeing red. Or, more accurately ... brown.

Picture this: the dark sleepiness of predawn. I had heard my two oldest (7 and 4) up wandering around, but didn't think much about it - they usually just play around if they're up before we are. But here came Colin.

"Mommy! Cameron did something really, really bad!" he shrieked, dancing from one foot to the other.

For a few seconds, my bed had never felt more warm and comfortable, and I had never wanted to go back to sleep so badly. It was like my whole being was revolting against the inevitable ugliness of the "something really really bad" that I was about to encounter.

But really really bad things generally do not resolve themselves. I should know.

So grudgingly, I got out of bed.

And freaked. The eff. Out.

Apparently our nuisance of a chocolate Lab, Josie, had pooped on the living room floor at some point during the night. And apparently Cameron stepped in it. And apparently Colin was all like, "Hey Cameron, since you're already poopy anyway, why don't you just carry the HUGE PILE OF DOG CRAP back to our bedroom and SMEAR IT ALL OVER THE FLOOR?" Which apparently made perfect since to Cameron since HE DID IT.

How's that for a "crappy" wake-up call?

Poop was, like, ground into what I swear was at least half of the carpet. The fluffy loops of their blue hooked throw rug were so caked with poo that there was no salvaging it - there was no way I was putting that shit, pun totally intended, in my washing machine.

I don't like to - and try very hard not to - lose my temper. But y'all? I yelled. Like, loud. I've cleaned up more than my fair share of poopy messes in my day (see here or here or here or here or here for some prime examples. Yeah. I know. And that's not even all of them). But this one ... this one was baaaaaaad. Six o'clock in the morning, and I'm sitting there in the middle of the boys' bedroom floor, throat raw, head pounding, tears coming down, crying "This is gonna take a steeeeeeeeam cleeeeeeeaneeeeeerrrrrr!"

My initial thought was to make them clean it up themselves. But a.) they seem to actually enjoy playing in poop, and b.) it was gonna take an expert hand to clean up that carpet, not two little boys scrubbing the mess in deeper.

After 45-ish minutes, I had the situation pretty much remedied. But I was right: it's gonna take a steam cleaner. Y'all know how much I hate my carpet anyway. It's beige, which is like THE most impractical color when you've got four children two dogs and three cats. And whoever bought it forgot to get the nice stain-resistant kind because I'm not kidding when I say that water stains it. WATER. Needless to say, there's a good chance the kids' floor will be permanently poop-smudged. Like a ghost. A poop spectre looming up at me from the carpet every time I set foot in there, cruelly reminding me of the time I had a mommy-meltdown in the middle of all that feces.

After all that? I got to resume my usual morning tasks of getting everyone fed, dressed, and ready to school. Yay Monday!

The boys are grounded from their Wii and their computer for a week. That just doesn't seem like enough, though, considering the enormity of the mess I had to clean up. Any suggestions?

Weigh to Procrastinate!

Even though I taught six Zumba classes a week well into my ninth month (not to mention regularly push-mowed my own huge yard and literally chased after three kids), I still managed to gain fifty pounds during pregnancy.

I know ... that takes some mad weight-gaining skillz. Try not to be jealous.

So after I had Corbin in June, I was all fat and stuff, and then I lost a few pounds. Like maybe twenty. But if you're good at numbers, you'll realize that still leaves around thirty extra pounds somewhere in the vicinity of my hips and thighs and upper arms and chins and back boobs. I started upping the exercise and watched what I ate and lost like ten pounds in a week, but then I got overconfident and gained it back.

Mass consumption of cookies will do that to a person. Who knew??

I'm still teaching Zumba, but only two classes a week now. And I'm sure my class is weary of seeing my big dimpled ass, encased in stretchy-yet-clingy pants, jiggling all gelatin-like in front of their faces. So it's time for me to drop a few more pounds.

I actually decided that in October, but then it was, like, Halloween candy season. So I figured, hey, I'll just eat the Halloween candy and then be good - dietarily, I mean - until Thanksgiving. Because who can just know there are Kit Kats and Milk Duds and Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins lurking around their house and not eat them? I mean, really, who?

So I was totally going to be good after Halloween. But then it, like, got cold. And I mean ... cold weather demands that I bake, and make soup, and stuff my face with carbs. It's prime comfort-food season, y'all. And I'm a good cook, dammit.

So since I've come this far, I might as well wait on the diet - er, lifestyle change. Right? Because like ... Thanksgiving is next week. And I've got not one, but two delicious Thanksgiving dinners to attend. Featuring deep-fried turkey and homemade hot rolls and desserts and such.

What I'll do is, I'll splurge on Thanksgiving and then watch what I eat until Christmas. When of course I will have to bake cookies for Santa and eat the contents of my children's Christmas stockings and cook a ham with all the trimmings because hello, Christmas dinner?

After that, I'll seriously start in on losing these love handles and other wobbly bits. Okay, so maybe after New Year's because everybody knows that I can't pass up a good cocktail and some hors d'oeuvres.

But come spring, it's on!!!

... Until Easter, of course.

Born This Way?

I always said I wouldn't be upset if one of my sons turned out, you know ... that way. I have to admit, though, it's a little unnerving. It's just that I didn't really expect it to happen.

Some people say it's a choice. I used to think it was a lifestyle that people entered into consciously. But I'm almost positive my three-year-old, Coby was - in the immortal words of Lady Gaga - "born this way." And though I might not always understand it, I love him regardless, and I respect who he is.

You see, my son is ...

... a country boy.

A cowboy boot-and-hat-wearing, shotgun-and-racecar-loving, hunting-and-horses obsessed, tractor-truck-and-tool-tinkering, sweet-to-his-momma country boy.

This wouldn't surprise me so much if we lived, say, in the country. Or on a farm or something. But we live in an area with like 400,000 people. With, like, museums and theaters and malls and traffic jams. And aside from the times when we visit rural Missouri, where Curtis and I grew up, Coby has had very little "country boy" influence from the people around him.

My own origins, and Curtis's, are from an area where people ride horses to bars. With their kids. Where you go to Walmart (in the next town over because yours is too small for even a stoplight) and it's perfectly normal to see an Amish buggy parked in the lot. Where a traffic jam means there's a slow-moving piece of farm equipment up ahead, and every boy's first summer job is hauling hay. Where, at least in my school, a hunter safety education course was mandatory starting in the sixth or seventh grade, and opening day of deer season is treated like a national holiday. But despite being steeped in that sort of upbringing, Curtis grew up to be an eloquent guy who grasps the concept of "manscaping" (thank. Gawd.) and loves a good Merlot.

The type of men I grew up around are genuinely good people. They'd give you the (flannel) shirts off their (hairy) backs. They're just a bit ... rough around the edges.

I always thought that country boys were the way they are because of their upbringing and their surroundings. But then I had Coby. And one day when he was just a wee tiny lad, barely old enough to form sentences, he grabbed a watergun, stalked around the house, and announced that he was "shooting deers." I was absolutely floored, because at that point he'd had ZERO exposure to anything hunting-related. He'd never been around anyone who did it; Curtis hasn't hunted in years. And I'm a bleeding heart who would rather feed deer than shoot them, so he certainly didn't get it from me.

As he got older and his interests developed, his inclinations became more apparent. Fishing. Horses. Four-wheelers. Racecars. Tractors. Perpetual hat-wearing. Outdoor chores and a strong work ethic, even at this age. Cowboy boots. And a level of innate sweetness and politeness that I've only ever seen in a country boy.




Did you know that some people are actually born this way? Because I had no idea. It has been a revelation. I thought it was a product of upbringing, but this little urban dude has country running through his veins. It's just who he is. And I love watching it develop.

You can't spell "cowboy" without "Coby," y'all.

The Candy Bowl

The Halloween candy is almost gone, thank goodness. I'm glad because a.) I've methodically picked out my favorites and now all that's left is the stuff I don't like, and b.) I'm sick to death of finding wrappers and stuff laying around.

Like yesterday when I went into the bathroom. I discovered, much to my chagrin, a sticky pink lump stuck to the floor beside the toilet. It was some kind of chewy candy - a Starburst or something - that someone had apparently decided they didn't like. (Why it was beside the toilet is beyond me, but you never know where you might find a nasty surprise in my house.) I figured since I was going to flush in a minute anyway, I may as well just toss it into the bowl. So I did that, then peed, flushed, and walked out of the bathroom, not looking back.

A bit later, Curtis went to pee and he was all, "Honey? Is this ... candy stuck to the inside of the toilet?"

I explained the situation, adding that I had thought it would go down when I flushed. Curtis shrugged and decided to try to dislodge it with a stream of pee. (Oh, to have the ability to aim!) But no such luck. "I'm sure it'll go down when I flush," he said with a shrug. So he flushed. And then like me, a few minutes earlier, he left without checking.

Fast-forward a few more minutes: we were getting ready to leave the house, so I told the kids to go pee first. Cameron went into the bathroom. I heard him peeing. There was a brief pause. And then he came out ....

... chewing.

I got a sick feeling. "Uh, Cameron? What's in your mouth?" I asked, not really wanting to know the answer.

"Candy," he said, opening his mouth to show me.

It was pink.

OMG. "Did you get that ... out of the toilet?"

He nodded. And then swallowed.

Oh yes he did.

The child ate candy that had been chewed up, spit onto the bathroom floor, tossed into the toilet, peed on not once, not twice, but three times by three different people, and marinated in toilet water for at least a half-hour.

Cameron eats paper. I'm used to that. But most paper isn't, you know, soaked in piss and festering with a bazillion raging germs.

If he doesn't outgrow this, no one is ever going to want to kiss him ...

Snippets and Such

Right now I'm straining to beat the clock. Because at this moment - while I'm just sitting here staring and I can't think of anything specific to write about - the baby is happily cooing away in his little bouncy seat. But I guarantee as soon as I start to write something, he'll be all, "Waaaaaah!"

So I think I'll try to tempt fate by writing snippets instead of a regular blog post.

Snippet #1: My kids are home today because their school is a polling place. So if all the worked-up political posts on Facebook don't drive me crazy, my children will. They're already acting as though I laced their cereal with uppers.

Snippet #2: I just had to spend sixty bucks on new jeans for the boys. That wouldn't be so bad except we just bought them jeans in late August - which means that their brand new jeans lasted all of two months before falling victim to raging knee holes. I have yet to figure out how they do it. Are they walking around the school on their knees all day? Perhaps doing an excessive amount of groveling?

Snippet #3: Colin just asked me how to say "mad grandma" in Spanish. Then he ran away. Naked.

Snippet #4: Which brings us to reason #4,020 that I can't figure out the knee holes in the jeans: my children NEVER. WANT. TO STAY. DRESSED.

Snippet #5: Do any of you watch The Walking Dead? Because I'm kind of obsessed with that show. I've seen every episode multiple times, and read every issue of the graphic novel. And the latest episode? I won't post spoilers but ... OMGWTFBBQ!

Snippet #6: It's rainy and cold here in Iowa today, and I seriously have to bake. It's not like, "Oh, it would be a nice day to bake some cookies." It's like, "No kids, fix your own breakfast, Mommy is baking. You're bleeding? Deal with it yourself ... I SAID MOMMY IS BAKING!!!" Why am I this way? It drives me nuts.

Mmmm ... nuts. Walnuts. In chocolate brownies. With chocolate chips.

..... Wait, what? Oh yeah. I was writing a blog post.


Snippet #7: I've been trying to be more active on Twitter but sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself. In public. Also, I've been tweeting to the cast of The Walking Dead (see snippet #5) and none of them has answered me which kinda makes me a huge dork. If you wanna follow me and make me feel like I'm having a conversation, find me here.

Okay ... this post lasted seven whole snippets before the baby started crying. I think that's pretty decent. So while I go get him, let's talk: what are y'all up to today?

Beware of Boogers

So Halloween is over for another year. And if my "fat-girl pants" could talk, they'd be laughing maniacally right about now, 'cause y'all? I have ingested enough Halloween-related calories in the past few days to negate my next seven hundred Zumba classes. Time to re-boot the lifestyle change.

... You know, like maybe after Thanksgiving or something.*

*Which will probably be closer to Christmas.

Anyway. At least it was fun. (Well, mostly for the boys since they were largely excluded from the cleanup and the laundry and got to hear people gushing about how cute they looked and ate candy without worrying about it going straight to their asses.)

The dudes hollowed out pumpkins ...

 I seriously had to make them all put on clothing first. 

 Colin was a little freaked out by the pumpkin innards.

Which I artfully carved ...

 ... using a pattern, but whatever.

Then came the trick-or-treating. Colin and Cameron were Mario and Luigi, Coby was Woody from Toy Story, and the baby was some sort of nondescript froggy-looking thing. Although he didn't go trick-or-treating because, hello, no teeth. He stayed home with my mom, who was visiting, and helped hand out candy.

Those aren't Christmas lights ... they're orange for Halloween.

I'm glad my mom was here to hand out candy while Curtis and I took the kids out into the neighborhood. Because as much as I enjoy seeing the cute little trick-or-treaters in their adorable costumes, I've definitely got a few Halloween pet peeves.

It was cold, and I had bundled the boys up as well as possible without them having to cover up their costumes with coats, but their noses still got all runny. And in my grand tradition of being grossly underprepared, I forgot to bring any tissues. Candy wrappers aren't all that great for wiping snot. So when my three-year-old came up to me with a booger the size of Texas attached to his finger, I was at a loss. See, normally I'd tell him to wipe it on the grass or something but we were like in people's yards and they were like out there and they'd be all, OMG! That woman just told her kid to wipe a booger in our grass!

So I just told him, "Wipe it on your pants."

So he did. But it was one of those superglue-boogers that just sticks to your skin, and it didn't come off on his pants. Meantime, Curtis and the other boys were moving further ahead.

"Just wipe it on my pants, then," I hissed. And he tried, and again, it just stuck to him. So, cringing inwardly, I plucked the booger from his finger and told him to run on ahead and catch up with his brothers.

But then there I was, standing in the middle of the sidewalk with a booger - not even my own - stuck to my fingers.

When a crowd passed in front of me, I quickly bent down and tried to swipe it onto the lawn. But it didn't budge ... only collected a little booger-toupee of grass. So I forcefully wiped it onto my own jeans. And then spent the rest of the trick-or-treat time with a giant grass-covered booger stuck to my leg, like the hairy mole of a witch.

Fun times.

Since our trick-or-treat night is actually the 30th, we host an annual neighborhood bonfire on the actual Halloween holiday. It's always a good time.

I got exactly zero pictures of Coby without his mouth open.

 ... See?

Cameron told me he'd roast me a hot dog. Because I love mine burnt black and covered with ashes and dirt.

Nothing like a bonfire to make your buns freeze and your face burn. Unless you, y'know, turn around ... but then you have the opposite problem.

I had a nice Halloween, but I'm pretty glad it's over. Although now I have the next month to pretend I don't spend every waking moment daydreaming about going into my kids' massive candy stash and stuffing my face.

Did y'all have a good Halloween?


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