Friday, May 30, 2008

Oh, the Pressure!

I am a fairly new blogger, in that I have only been on this darn thing since about mid-March. And when I say on it, I mean ON it. I may not be writing often, but I am reading - all over the place - pretty much every day. To my own peril.

So, I have discovered a few things.

There is this PRESSURE in the blogging world.

Not pressure to write every day, not pressure to link everyone to your blog, not even the pressure to have the best template or header...although I think it is a secret contest amongst bloggers..."My blog looks better than her blog."

Dude, I am all about the cheap, fast and easy. Ask my family. That is how I cook, dress, and shop. (I didn't say "I" was cheap fast and easy...geesh.)

I don't buy a ton of stuff at Walmart because I love it, I do it because it is all conveniently thrown under one roof. If Nordstrom's had groceries, I'd overspend there too.

So anyway, the PRESSURE, that I am referring to is this:

On almost every blogging site you will find a talented, crafty, sewing, photo-taking, photo-sharing, recipe making, healthy cooking, Martha Stewart cloned organizing junkie who is naturally funny. (I said ALMOST...don't assume you are funny if you are not. Some people are just boring and self-righteous and want to make you feel like a slob.)

I can handle pressure, I mean I have kids, right? I get the juggling of many balls and wearing of many hats thing. (I know, hee hee Scarlett, I said

Listen up, though...this pressure is taking a toll on me. I am overdue for a pedicure and it has been months since my last haircut. I look like this. I laid on my couch looking around last night and thought...we are so messy. We are such slobs. We are THAT family that no one wants to hang out with because their dishes sometimes get put away dirty and your feet stick to the kitchen floor.

(No, I didn't mean any disrespect to "We are THAT family"...a highly respectable blog with great humor and all of the other pressures...good photos...blah blah blah, thanks for raising the bar Kristen. LOL)

Have you ever been to one of those houses? You know the ones where you would rather hold it than go pee?

That is the state of our slovenliness I am afraid.

Not even
Mr. Clean and all of his magic erasers can help us now.

So if we can't even keep ourselves bleachified and sparkled up, then how, my dear blogging friends, can we keep organized? No disrespect to my sweet friend and her
organized life, but I don't think that any more organizational websites baskets and bins, pails and cute little taggy things are going to keep my kids and their stuff put away and the pee off the toilet seats. (Or the even grosser DNA that we find around my house. Shiver.)

Now let me address the other pressures...

Cooking for my family? Um, nope. I prefer the
dining out option, when we can afford it. Since we are still waiting for our stimulus check (dream on debtors), our meals look a lot like this. Especially since Safeway had them on sale and you got free movie passes when you bought a gazillion. (Pretty telling, I'm afraid when your 18 month old can request a "Ha Pocky" for breakfast.)

Since I don't cook, I like to offer my family lots of choices. At any given time we have 10 boxes of different cereal, four different types of Oreos, a selection of goldfish, and a basket of rotting fruit. (Don't look at me in that tone of voice, it wasn't rotting when I bought it.)

I used to be all afraid of sugary cereals, but as a dear friend taught me...if you feed your kids a steady diet of sugar, they won't freak out when they get it. Aaaahhhh, wisdom. And as far as the fruit thing goes, we are enjoying the health benefits of the fruit as it decomposes in our presence. It is reverse juicing. We, by osmosis, absorb the rotting fruit gasses, and when you add that to our Gummy vitamins, we are a picture of health. (Take that you kefir eating wierdos.)

Oh, and all you
organic only eating, green leafy vegetable toting, co-op produce swappers...I prefer my pesticides, because I will not become the bug eater. Just jokin' neighbor...I think it is great for you to eat that ruffly fresh off the truck California stuff...I'm just saying my super washed hairless, bugless bag salad is the way for me.

One other thing I have discovered from the world of blogging is that there are more than a few of you out there who are raising chickens.
This girl, that girl, and I think even this one. Dude, I know that the chickens poop out the eggs, but that is a farm fairy tale that I don't want to witness. And I just can't see myself uttering the words, "Daddy's out in the coop...go fetch me some eggs."

And let me say that I am a bit slow on this here computer stuff. "Ifins we had one of these back in my day", well, I might be all over this bad boy. But to all of you who are posting the great articles and photos and making it seem effortless (
Marcy), just know that it took 3 people from my family to post this one photo on my page. "Itsa gunna be a while fer me."

Lastly, the naturally funny part. Well, um. I plead the fifth. I am with
Queen April when she says, "What if I run out of funny" and people don't want to read me anymore. Well shoot, hun, that is when we have to pretend to be all deep. You make a favorite smells list or resort to ripping off material from your kids.

Action figures up the whazoo in the shower...that gets em every time.

I am vowing to prove our state of disunion to you of the mess will be coming soon. My teenager just needs to pull the sheets off of his face (it is almost noon, you know) and help me upload them. Be afraid, be very afraid.

The not so organized, totally un-organic, in denial about being un-healthy, non-cooking, apparently non-cleaning, not-so-funny, Maid.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What does that mean?

Just seconds after posting the moron blog, my youngest daughter (4 yrs) was watching and waiting her turn to brush my hair (I know, I don't get the appeal either), when she said to her almost 6 year old sister:

"Brush her hair in Spanish."

Hola, people...What does that mean?

When the moron speaks...

I was just pondering some of the joys of parenting, and before any of you think I don't enjoy it, let me issue this disclaimer: Sarcasm keeps me sane.

The thing I was thinking long and hard about today was the dumb things that I have had to say to my children. Or the things that have just slipped out.

Do you ever go to discipline them and what comes out of your mouth is a useless rambling that makes no sense and you get laughed at? I hate when that happens. I have it all thought out, but when the words mix with the emotion...I sound like a moron.

EXAMPLE: "Don't chew with your mouth full." ??? You knew what I meant right? See, moron.

I may be a lot of things, but I know I am not a moron. I mean I have a degree for cryin' out loud. A real one, not one of those Sally Struthers mail order ones.

So anyway...short but sweet, here is my list of things that I have said to my (moronic)children lately:

* Would you just grow up. (Um, yeah mom...I'll get right on that.) Then they do.

* Don't ride your brother like a horse.

* Please fill the bathtub with water, not just shampoo.

* When you take a bath, please wash with soap. (Must specify body parts too)

* Don't pick your sisters nose.

* Gross, don't eat that. (I will spare you)

* Put your clothes in the laundry room...only the dirty clothes please...oh, and in the hamper...not on the floor! DUH!

* Brush your teeth...with toothpaste...for more than five seconds. Nope, do it again.

* Please don't shove the phone at me after telling the person on the phone that I am on the toilet.

* Please don't tell the person on the phone that I am on the toilet.

* Those aren't your underwear! ??? (Wasn't my husband, in case you are wondering.)

* Please don't hurl the baby headlong into the wall while pushing him on his pooh bear toy. (Smack! *%#$*)

* No you may not use my scrapbooking scissors to cut your hair.

* Who's hair is this on the bathroom counter?

* Get that diaper off your head.

* Get that cereal box off your head. (Teenager)

* Get that (fill in the blank) off your head.

* Don't color on the walls.

* Who colored on the wall? Cabinet? Pantry door? (A child literally wrote Pantry on the pantry door...thanks Martha Stewart...we couldn't have found it without you.)

* No thank you, I don't want dread locks.

* Ouch, you are pulling my hair!

* You shouldn't drink soda for hand me my diet coke, crushed ice please.

The dumbest thing I have said to my kids lately:

"Who wiped this booger on the wall?"
As if.
They are so not answering that question.

The dumbest thing my kids have done lately:

Wiping boogers on the wall/floor/furniture/bedding...hello? We own stock in kleenex, buy toilet paper in bulk at Costco, and have been known to have $50.00 worth of wipees on hand at any given time...must we be so gross?

My apologies to those who don't have children, really, they are a delight. (Giggle giggle)

To those of you who share in my parental frustration...what are some dumb things you have said as of late?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

God Bless the USA

About half my lifetime ago, I was sitting in my dad's car being an arrogant teenager. (Okay, so a little more than half my lifetime ago...alright.) My dad was in northern California and I was a little far from my mom and my friends, and where I called home.

I was suffering from the normal teenage angst...boy A didn't like me, boy B did, I didn't like boy B, boy C and I both kinda liked each other so we kept in touch through letters (way before email) and I was all too worried about where I shopped, what I wore, and how I looked. (If I had only known then that several years into the future it would take twice as long and twice as much make up to look half as good, right?)

So I remember my dad going off on what I thought was a useless tangent about memorial day and what it meant. He talked about the different wars, and seemed to focus on the Vietnam war. My dad was a career military officer...a pilot in the Army...and had worked his way up the totem pole where a lot of people liked and respected him. He never served in the Vietnam war, or any conflict for that matter, but I'm sure the reality that he might have to, clouded his life in some way. At any rate, as he was telling me about the Vietnam war, he began to ask me if I knew why it happened or when. He asked me if I had studied it in school and I think I "lovingly" snapped at him with a typical teenage "I don't know and I don't care!"

Well, let me tell you that what ensued was probably the most passionate conversation or should I say lecture that I ever experienced with him. We did not and still do not have a real close relationship. I mainly feel that it is because my parents divorced and when I had to choose who to live with, I chose mom. (Kids should never have to make that choice...especially preteen girls who have many biological reasons for needing to be with mom!) I don't fault either of my parents for this, it is what it is, but I understand that the defining straw in my relationship with my dad was simply that I chose to live with my mom. I wish that he could understand that by choosing her I wasn't rejecting him, but I guess I will never understand his pain either. His military career took him to various other states after the divorce, and although I saw him a couple of times a year, it affected our relationship.

The reason I share that personal blurb about our relationship was to explain to you how I was impacted by his "lecture." I think as kids we always look at our parents from our own narcissistic points of view. We think they were born and bred to be put on this planet as our parents and we often can't see them as much else.

That day, I saw my dad as a truly passionate American. I saw him as a really dedicated serviceman. I think I also saw a little history professor and politician in him too.

He pulled the car over, and in response to my arrogant "I don't care" said to me:

"Young lady, a lot of people not much older than you fought and died for our country so you could sit your pampered little butt (he didn't say butt) in school and not care."

Ouch. I got his point. He made several others in the course of that conversation, but the first one, was the most powerful to me. It is the statement that said, "This is bigger than you sweetie need to show some gratitude."

He wasn't mad at me, but it was personal to him. He had lived a life rich with military experience wherein he knew that his own life could be taken so that our freedoms could be protected. He voluntarily signed up for that and made it his life's work. I don't think he cared if other people were ignorant about it, but I think he wanted me to be fully aware of something that meant so much to him. After all, I was his daughter. A daughter of an Army Major.

To this day, those words resonate with me from time to time. I sometimes forget how privileged I am (we are) to live in this country, to be protected by strangers who love this country even more than I do, and to enjoy the freedoms that I enjoy.

Because of a soldier, I can:

* Pray to God at home, in church, and even at school, or choose not to.
* Congregate peacefully to object to something like abortion or have one.
* Choose not to carry a weapon, or be thankful that I can.
* Sleep peacefully in a house instead of a bomb shelter.
* Go just about anywhere I want.
* Go to work or school and not ever think about what is happening in other countries.
* Be ignorant of the battles fought throughout history, question them, or simply learn about them.
* Send my husband off to work, instead of war.

There is so much more, but as we enjoy our Memorial Day Weekend, I just wanted to share those thoughts with you all. Even the soldiers who haven't "fought" the wars, have helped win the battles.

Thank you to our Nation's Armed Forces, past - present - and future, and thank you to my dad.

Major William Thomas West, Jr. You have taught me a lesson that lives on in my heart and will continue to live on in my children.

"I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free...and I won't forget the men who died and gave that right to me...and I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today, because there ain't no doubt I love this land...God Bless the USA!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Season of our Friendship...

I once had a dear friend from church tell me that a close friend of hers and herself had grown apart. It seems that they lost commonality or something and no longer spent the time together that they once had. Instead of gracefully growing apart, and just letting things lie, the one friend sent my dear friend a letter...a goodbye and goodluck letter...stating that "The Season of our Friendship is over." WHAT?

Can you imagine getting a letter like that? Can you imagine writing one? In case there was any question before, there is none now. Wow. What a slap in the face.

I now think I understand the letter, and I can honestly say now, that I have experienced that kind of friendship waning. It just happens, but do we have to be so frank, so bold, so...well...unkind?

You all have gotten to see me rant a couple of times on this blog about friends or family or other things, but you should realize that most of the people that I am directing my verbal vomit at will never read this. Or if they do, since I don't NAME them, they will have some questions. They can't just assume that I mean them. You know what they say about assuming anyway, right? I really do see this blog as a brain dump at times and am well within my rights to publish whatever I want.

Would I want to directly hurt anyone, well unless it was my least favorite political candidate, the answer is no. If I thought that the person or people that I was blogging about would actually put two and two together or even read this, I would probably harness some of my venom and save it for the day that I do have to write "that letter." Dear ________, The Season of our Friendship is Over. Sincerely, The Maid.

Oh what joy it might be to actually pen those words, place the FOREVER stamp that my mom bought me for Mother's Day on it, and put it in the mail. The only problem is that you wouldn't get to enjoy the reaction of the reader as they opened your poison penned parcel.

You all know what I mean, though, right? There have been those soured friendships that have left you wanting to plant the bag of dog poo on their porch and set in on fire...ring the bell...and run, right? (Okay, I've watched too many movies.)

But seriously, it is normal when hurt by a so-called friend or rejected one too many times to want to move on. It is healthy to discern which friendships are edifying to your life, and which ones, well, just drag you down. Maybe they snipe at your choices or your parenting, maybe they like to "parent" you in front of others and make you feel inferior, maybe they like to call or email you only when they have nothing better to do...fair weather for sure. (I recently erased about 50 people from my list of email was so liberating!)

The real friends, the true friends, they are the ones who take a licking and keep on ticking. You might have it out or disagree hugely on things, but they still would drop everything and come to your stupid jewelry party. They reciprocate. They have you over for dinner or invite you out as girlfriends or couples. They sometimes pick up the tab and they let you do the same for them. They share what they know, and don't judge you for what you don't know. They give advice when it is asked for, and gingerly when it is not. They don't normally hound or push you to do things, but sometimes they do...if they know it is good for you. Even if they are an expert on something, they listen to you and don't pretend to know more than you do. They will eat dessert with you, even when neither of you need it or want it. Lastly, they know when to give you space, and they know even more importantly when you need them not to.

My husband and I have spent the last 8 - 10 years wanting to and trying to make friends at our church. We have been in many social situations where we shared phone numbers and vowed to get together with other friends. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn't. We have made friends that we can drop in on and friends that we would welcome to drop in on us. We have made friends that have lasted and friends that have faded. We have made friends that we love to hang out with and friends that we hang out with anyway...because we keep looking for the good in them. (If you are our friends and are reading this, don't try to figure out which kind of friend you are. If you are reading this, you are probably the ones we like to hang out with!)

In these last almost 10 years, I have collected phone numbers, email addresses, and snail mail addresses. I have prayed for almost all of you at times and have probably invited you to a thing or two.

What I have come to realize, is that I have needed to send out the "Season of our Friendship" letter for some time now. As we have been collecting friends over the years, I realized that maybe even God himself is showing me that I don't need or want to be friends with everyone. (Friendly, yes, intimate friends, no.) Jesus even had a close circle of intimate friends...not an email list of 100 people...but the precious 12. What I feel like I am experiencing is the ebb and flow of life, the point now at which people may disappear from my address books, but they are still a part of my heart and mind. They were there for a season, and now they are not.

I feel as if I have had something to learn from each of fading friend maybe taught me that I am good enough and don't need to compare myself to her. And now I don't. I don't even desire to be her intimate friend anymore. That is freedom. To see her fallibility and realize that I am no different, no less, and just as good as she.

Another fading friend taught me that I have the ability to make people feel good about themselves or badly about themselves...I can choose how to impact people. Through the times that she made me feel inferior, I have learned that I don't want to do that. I no longer "look up to" her...but I see through her. She has pain and insecurity...despite the outward appearance.

Finally, I think of one last fading friend, and I still wonder what she taught me. Maybe she taught me that loyalty was important and not to give lip service to people. Say what you mean and show gratitude when something nice is done for you. Maybe I learned through her ingratitude and her "ear tickling" that I need to be real with people and I need to be thankful.

When I first started talking with my husband about this our huge pot of friends seemed to be dwindling...that we had amassed so many friends over the years that seemed to be wasting away to a select few...he had this to say.

"Maybe we are in a friend recession."

We laughed. It was silly, but it was poignantly true. The chaff is burning away and we are to be left with our intimate friends. Not that we or they are perfect, but they have been chosen by God to be a part of our lives, for this season, and we don't want to miss it.

It is only when "things" or "people" are stripped away, that you can appreciate who and what is left standing with you. Who is for you. Who is left for you in this "recession."

For those of you that are fading, you had a purpose and taught us something. For that, we thank you. For those of you that are still standing with us, thank you, and we love you. God has chosen you as our friends and we are grateful.

Monday, May 19, 2008

To be or not to guest

Lately, I am in awe of Western Civilization...or the lack thereof.

I used to like to entertain. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have soured to this social outlet. It used to be my absolute joy to plan an event, make it beautiful and memorable, and to make my guests feel wonderful. I am no Martha Stewart, but I always try to outgive my guests...what they give me in time and attention, I try to meet or beat with thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and of course, yummy food.

I now officially can't stand to plan a party. No matter the type of party, I have come to the realization that my hopes and my expectations will always be dashed. People are rude. People are extremely selfish. And lastly, people can be just plain thoughtless. Why so mad, you ask? Oh, let me tell you.

I planned a joint birthday party for my son and daughter and while I don't expect everyone to drop everything and come running to one of my parties (I mean it was at a Pizza place for cryin' out loud), I do expect a reply.

As a host, you are expected to contribute:

* Food
* Drinks
* Birthday Cake
* Tokens (Should there be video games)
* Goody bag

As a guest, now this is the hard part...

* A REPLY. Hello people?

Get this, though, the RSVP is tricky...if you reply, it is generally polite if you show up.

I know, picky picky, but I like the little brats that I am paying money for and wasting good birthday cake on to actually be there. I don't care how many kids tug at me for more tokens, ask when we do cake, annoy me about opening presents, and bug me for one more goody bag...I just like the little jerks to show up.

We gave out 26 invitations (at school) for this party, and had 14 replies. Three of my son's friends were coming, and 8 or 9 of my daughters friends. Wanna know how many kids showed up? Four of my daughter's friends, and 1 (ONE) of my son's friends. (Thank heavens for our three faithful church families that are not included in that count, grandparents, and auntie...with all of us and all of our kids, it was still a big, fun group!)

So why did our peeps dog us so? Not sure. We shower everyday (usually) and we haven't been no-shows to any of their parties that I am aware of, so I don't get the poor turnout.

After pounding my brain for the answers, I have only come up with a few theories:

1) The rapture happened and I missed it.
2) The parents were in an alcoholic stupor and forgot to drag said kid to the party.
3) The daughters friends had all just watched "Mean Girls" and decided to pull a fast one.
4) There is a secret conspiracy to botch birthday party attendance, and I missed the memo.
5) The dog ate their invitation. (And they don't even have a dog.)
6) Almost the whole lot of invitation wielding second and fourth graders were abducted by aliens.
7) They just don't like us. (Possible, but c'mon not likely. We are great.)
8) It was their day to wash their hair.
9) The kids woke up that day and said, "Mommy, I'd rather clean house today. Can we skip the birthday party?"
10) People are just plain selfish and rude.

So obviously you all know which theory I am leaning towards.

I think life gets busy, people overcommit (or don't commit at all) and just decide to "skip" your event. Not thinking about the people behind the invitation. Not thinking about the money and the love that goes into "treating" your friends to a party.

I know for the most part that it is not about the gifts...because probably 90% of the time, we advertise "no gifts" on the invitations themselves so that people will come and celebrate with us and not feel pressure.

I have always felt like it was an honor to be invited to a party, any kind of party, or event. It means that the host thought of you, wanted you to share in it, and was spending time and money on entertaining you. (There are exceptions to this, however, if you over-invite people to what have come to be known as "checkbook parties" i.e. Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Jewelry, Candles, whatever...without having a social relationship with them outside of that...well, I think that is different. And borders on rude, in my opinion.)

Quick disclaimer: Within the last five years, I have made it a point to typically only try to invite people to "checkbook parties" that I have had over socially for other things. If you receive an invite from me, it is genuine...and I have had a policy of limiting myself (and thus my friends) to one or two of such parties per year for the last five years. Not only that, but I like to do it up for you all...make it more than chips and dip...really treat you special. I have always excused RSVP rudeness with those types of parties because they are not considered genuine invites by most people.

My mind has changed. A simple child's birthday party has proven to me that people either can't read, don't speak French, or just don't care.

"Repondez s'il vous plait" simply means people...respond please.

If you are coming, or if you are not coming...R.S.V.P.

If you are undecided, figure it out. I know you are waiting for a better offer, but there ain't one coming...just commit already. I want to know how much overpriced birthday loot-bag crap to buy for your spoiled, overstimulated little twerp, mmmmkay?

*Disclaimer: Lest you think I am a hypocrite, I admit I have been known to botch the RSVP myself a few times over the years, for that...I am sorry. I will gladly lead the 12 step program for all of us at the local "Y" ... but knowing you, you wouldn't show up anyway.

Oh, and for those of you who said you were coming and didn't...I gave away your loot bags. Chew on that one, party delinquent.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why I love my family...

I often find myself saying outloud..."why am I doing this?" Then I remember all of the kind and beautiful things they have said and done for me over the years...

Hubby's shining moments:

1) After lamenting to him (at age 27) that I thought I was getting old, he said to me:
"You just look like you are approaching thirty." (Glare.)

2) After whining that I was disgusted with my chubby self (having put on weight with each baby and not gotten it off) I said to him, "Don't you wish you had married someone thinner?"

His reply..."I did." (Ouch.)

3) I received a call at work that my 4 year old and my 9 month old were at the preschool and appeared to have the chicken pox. I called hubby on his cell phone and he was off to get them.

An hour later, another call came in. Chicken pox kids still sitting at preschool. Hubby's explanation:
He had to finish his round of golf. (Ummmm, busted!)


Fond memories of the oldest (now 15yrs):

1) When picking him up from kindergarten one afternoon, he hopped in the car and looked at me and said innocently, "Mom, have you ever been skinny?"

I waited for the rest of that sentence, and when I realized that it wasn't to be followed with anything like "dipping," I lovingly replied..."Yep, before your 9pound 3ounce body came out of my gourd."

2) Same precious son used to be such a help around the house...his toddling sister had removed all of the movies from the movie cabinet and I asked him to please pick them up...saying that "I will give you a dollar if you pick up the movies."

His reply: "I'll give you a dollar fifty if you'll do it." (I still get outnegotiated by this one!)

3) In retrospect, showering with a four year old boy in an attempt to save time, maybe not such a great idea. The problem, as I turned towards the faucet to wash my face, he tried to give me a colonoscopy with an action figure. Yep, last shower we took together.


Love from the oldest daughter (now almost 12):

1) As we were driving somewhere with the family (then 3 kids), my son was acting up. I threatened him with this not-so-patient-not-so-loving response: "If you don't knock it off, I am going to have to pull over and beat the crap out of you."

Her response in the sweetest voice: "Just do it now mom."

2) After climbing on dad's lap and playing games and tickling and having dad speak to her at very close range, sweet daughter looked at him and said, "You have bad breath." Gotta give the girl props for being a good enough friend to tell the truth! :)

3) On one trip to the grandparent's cabin, grandma had just finished pampering everyone with a foot rub. She then asked this daughter to rub her feet. Surprisingly she said she would and grandma hesitated and said, oh wait, my feet are dirty.

Her reply: "That's okay, I can always wash my hands." Awwww. She is going to make such a great wife, mom, grandma someday! :)


Third child shares the love (now almost 10):

1) Walking through Target with 4 kids is always a challenge, but for some reason on this trip I was particularly bothered by the incessant begging for stuff....He was repeatedly asking, "How bout we get this, how bout we get that?" I responded ever so brilliantly, "How bout you be quiet?"

His reply, "How bout you be patient?" Ouch. Disciplined by a 3 year old.

2) Singing Christian kids song in the car one day, my son reminded us how secular we really are. As dad and kids and I sang, "Who's the king of the jungle, who's the king of the sea, who's the king of the universe, and who's the king of me?"

Before we could start round two, he shouted: "Who let the dogs out? Who Who Who?"
Yep, we are the most spiritual family!

3) After baking some cookies and giving all of the kids a snack, sweet child #3 was really concerned that the nursing baby wouldn't get any. He asked me if she could have a cookie and I said no. He insisted that yes she could..."Just put some cookie dough in your bra."

Why didn't I think of that?


Love potion number 4, now 8 years old:

1) When sharing their hopes and dreams with grandma and grandpa, her sister said that when she grew up, she was going to be a "movie star or a princess." Sweet child number four looked at her and without missing a beat asked, "And do you have a back up plan?"

2) Watching Oprah with mom one day, we were glued to the tv as a family of six was about to say how they lived on like $26 K a daughter looked at me and said, "Mom, why aren't we ever on tv. We have SIX kids?" I thought I had it all figured out and said, "Oh, mommy is too fat to be on tv."

It only took a minute for her to look at me and say, "But there are fat people on tv." (Brat)

3) While staying the night with granny one evening, where there were not enough beds, this creative child decided that she didn't want the floor anymore. She woke up her 14 year old cousin and said, "Granny wants to talk to you." He obeyed and came back to the couch to realize that his brilliant little cousin lie sleeping in his spot. Schemer!


Blessings from the fifth child, daughter almost 6:

1) An American Idol fan, she became notorious at our church (2 years old) for singing, "She bang, She bang, yeah baby..." William Hung style. Oh, that and asking everyone, "What up dog?"

2) Desperately trying to put a sing-a-long tape in the VCR of the grandkid's room at grandma's...she came out all exasperated and demanded we help her. Grandma told her that she had to ask nicely to which she responded she hated us. After giving it another try, and again coming to ask for help, grandma again said, "We would love to help you, but you hate us, remember?"

Rather than ask forgiveness or say that she didn't really mean it, she stormed back into the privacy of the grandkid's room and shouted, "This is NOT good!" (It may not have been GOOD, but it was hilarious!)

3) After a 2 hour play date at a new friend's house, I came to pick her up. We got in the car to head home and she lovingly said to me, "Why can't I have a mom like Kara's mom? She is nice and never yells and lets us do anything we want."

Of course my reply, just as loving, was "Because I got a brat like you instead of an angel like Kara."
Yep, not winning any awards this year.


Sharing the love as child number 6, now 4 1/2.

1) This sweet child has been patient and loving and sweet from the start, always self soothing (to this day) by sucking her finger. When whining, crying, annoying baby brother crawled over to her and she had had enough, she pulled out her finger long enough to say, "Shut the hell up." Then popped it right back in and kept on sucking.

Where in the hell did she get that word?

2) This child is authoritative. Despite her sweet and often quiet demeanor, she likes to tell me that I am going to play Sorry with her "RIGHT NOW." Me: "And if I don't?"

Her response: "Then I will not poop in the toilet."

We played Sorry, in case you wondered.

3) First thing in the morning one day she hopped up on my bed and asked me "Can I have ice cream now, you said I could tomorrow and it is tomorrow!"

Me: "You can't have ice cream for breakfast?"
She: "Well then can I have Pepsi and Graham crackers?"
Me: (Too early in the morning to argue) "Whatever."
She: "I promise to eat them on the tile and not to spill the Pepsi."
Me: "Do you want cubed or crushed ice?"


Baby love, now 18 months:

1) Likes to suck finger and play with boy parts with the other hand. Likes to switch after a few minutes too. Note: Do not let this child put his hands in your mouth!

2) This child can be bought with M&M's. He even likes the ones he finds on the floor. Yuck.

3) Another really special bonding time with baby is when he climbs on my lap, asks for ice, and then plunges his tiny fist into my cup. (Gag...see number one.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Mother's Day "Blessings"

I wanted to share with you how my family blessed me on Mother's Day. There was no breakfast in bed, no diamond earrings, no spa treatments, no bubble bath, and not a single gift to "unwrap." But I am the wealthiest woman on this planet. I will go head to head with any of you, and will no doubt win!

First of all, as I shared earlier, my kids were sick. Barfy sick. Of course the three youngest ones were the ones to get this stuff. I have spent the latter half of my week preceeding Mother's Day cleaning up the DNA that has landed all over my house. (Thankfully, my husband is an awesome help with all of this and has done more than his share.)

Friday, I had a date with three of my kids to support their adventures at school. One child needed a cupcake delivery for her "student of the week" snack, one child had a kindergarten performance for moms, and one student was the "lead" boy in a classroom performance of Jumanji.

I woke up Friday to a sick baby being placed in my bed and within moments a projectile barf. Yep, that is an alarm clock you don't snooze through. Not the best start to the day, but it had to get better right? Never ask that question. It is tempting God. Do not say, "What next?" or anything along those lines. Because when you do, you pull your huge Suburban into sonic for a $3.00 breakfast burrito combo and cause $1500 dollars worth of damage to your car. Even the precious little carhop had to ask, "Did you know that your front hood and fender are all curled up?" Just give me my food. Oh, and sorry for the huge dent in your sign. (April, you can look for that on your morning Dr. Pepper run.)

Backtrack a minute back to the barf in my bed, and let me say it may have been the nausea from cleaning that up, but I began to feel sick myself. I broke the news to my kindergartener that I might miss "Muffins with Mom" because I was sick. She lovingly said, "That's okay" and proceeded to go into the other room to sob. Okay, so the guilt was laid thick and as I did her hair I vowed to show up even if I had to bring a barf bag. :) (We had a great time, paper hats, beaded pipe cleaner bracelets, juice boxes and all.)

Even after the barf and the morning accident, it was worth it.

So was the big hug and kiss and gigantic "thank you" from the student of the week. Who didn't get her cupcakes, but frosted cookies. I was told that all of the kids called those kind of cookies cupcakes anyway, so it was all good. (How precious is that.)

And lastly, I watched the hardwork of my fourth grade actor...costumed and he acted the part of Peter. The class did a great job, and after the play his face lit up as he walked over to me and said, "You look beautiful mom." Oh, yeah. He can have whatever he wants for his birthday.

I won't pretend like the weekend wasn't hard, it was dreadful. Whining, crying, and acting just plain miserable, and the kids were worse. I wondered if the kiddos would at least snap out of it for Mother's Day.

I have to confess, although I wouldn't wish any of them ill, I loved all of the cuddle time with my sick babies. The youngest is so constantly on the go, that we needed the "hookup" to rekindle our sweet mother/son bond. I just love to hear him say, "I want mama." Sigh.

On Saturday, my hubby entertained the older kids at the pool down the street, which they all desperately needed, while I kept watch on my two youngest. Of course, once left alone, I hoped to get a nap, but unfortunately I encountered a lot more DNA, with no backup! (Good timing dad!)

Finally it was Mother's Day. Our plans were to have a late lunch and just hang out. My hubby made Prime Rib and potatoes, and made a was divine. He even cleaned up every last dish...and yelled at me each time I tried to help. In fact, amidst all of the cooking and cleaning, he made sure that I didn't clean up messy kids or change diapers. (I managed to only have to change one the whole day! Woo hoo!) A big shout out to the teenager too...he is more than helpful. I just adore him, boxers hanging out of his pants and all.

And the gifts? Well let me share those with you:

Hubby: Pink roses and a lovely card. He is always good about that. (Who cares that he got the roses at Costco and I was with him...tis the thought, eh?)

Oldest Son: Lots of kind words, "Happy Mother's Days," and a foot rub. (Don't tell his friends, they might not think of him in the same way!)

Oldest Daughter: A handmade flower...tissue paper creation in lots of pretty colors. And an unwavering, perfect servant's heart attitude all day!

Middle Son: Gigantic kisses from his big pouting lips!

Middle Daughter: A photo magnet lovingly made at school...and the most honest card I have ever received. I will try to scan it and share it with you all...but this is what it said:

*Front cover: Happy Mother's Day Mom. I love you. You are a colorful star. You ROCK!
Inside left: You are the best mom. I want you to know that I don't really mean it when I
say "I hate you."
Inside right: I love you. You just really make me mad sometimes. Love, "Daughter"

This is the only child who won't need therapy someday...she will be conducting it...either that or writing for Hallmark.

Next Daughter: Homemade card that suggested that I should get out of bed earlier. (As if?)
And of course afforementioned paper hat and pipecleaner bracelet.

Youngest Daughter: Paper basket handmade at preschool filled with Hershey's kisses. (She wins. Only child to give me chocolate.) LOL

Baby Boy: As I said, he was sick, but he wanted me and even managed through his sick, sad self to give me the best cheesey smiles a couple of times!

You know, there are a few quotes that most sum up what I felt about my family this weekend and why I may have made it through it:

1) "Stop the world, I wanna get off." Unknown. (A momentary feeling. LOL)

2) "It is not a slight thing, when those who are so fresh from God, love us." Dickens, I believe.

3) "To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world." Snyder

4) "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:2

And lastly,

"Roses may say I love you, Orchids may enthrall, but a weed bouquet in a chubby fist, well honey that says it all!" (And what it doesn't say is said by crayola on a handmade card!)

Yep, I love them...they just make me mad sometimes.

Happy Mother's Day,
The Maid

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Not diggin' these smells...

Of course a short while after posting all of my favorite smells, I have been inundated with the rotten ones. The Maid is cleaning up big time right now, a lovely little spring flu.

For those of you who thought my good smells list was awkward, you might want to skip this one:

10) Sewer...there is a lovely and distinct smell outside Rubio's. It ain't the fish tacos people.

9) Rubber tire smell. (We had a flat changed this weekend at Costco...I can still smell the tire smell in my hair.)

9) Melting plastic. (Nicole's oven. It was Shannon's fault LOL)

8) Public restrooms. (Dude...90% of the time I would rather pee myself than use them.)

7) Guinea Pig cage. (We have the class pet this weekend. Spike doth stinketh.)

6) Rotten potatoes. (Ever played the "what's that smell in my pantry" game?)

5) Hard boiled eggs. (Especially the ones that were left in our van for 3 weeks after the Easter Egg hunt. Praise God they were in a plastic bag...but we still had to throw away the floor mats!)

4) Dentist Office. (It is clean and sterile and all, but the smell alone gives me gastro-intestinal problems if you know what I mean.)

3) Baked on body odor. (Ever been down wind of this guy?)

2) Leaky diaper, you know what I am talking about.

And the number one...least favorite smell....

1) Vomit.

I tell you this my friends, merely for pity. Here we are on Mother's day weekend and I have been caring for sick kids...3 out of 7 to be exact. The infant has only wanted "mama" and even sat on my lap as I went to the bathroom. (I don't know who to feel sorry for on that one.) We have washed more bedsheets and blankets than a reasonable person should wash in a lifetime, and I think I have gone through a case of wipies this weekend alone.

The 4 year old made it to the trash can, however there was still plenty to clean up...I won't tell you what color or what fluid it was.

And lastly, the 5 year old decided that these two shouldn't get all of the attention and made a trip or two to the trash can herself.

I can say right now that I am thankful for couch cushions that can be zipped off and thrown in the wash, dark carpet and tile, especially tile.

With 4 kids who aren't sick, I am afraid what I might wake up to.

The Maid

Thursday, May 8, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things...part one: Smells.

I was thinking today as I was kissing my little man (17 months old now) how much I love the smell of his hair when he has had a bath. It got me wondering what some of my other most favorite things are, so here are my top 25 favorite smells:

25) The smell of rain, before, during or after a storm. (More specifically, wet pavement.)

24) The smell of freshly cut lemons or oranges.

23) The smell of Subway baked never tastes as good as it smells, though.

22) Of course, cookies baking in the oven, duh.

21) The ocean. I know it is a somewhat salty, fishy smell, but it is glorious.

20) The smell of freshly shampooed kids hair.

19) The smell of my husband's cologne that lingers in our bathroom, even when he is gone.

18) As much as I hate to admit it, the smell of freshly washed laundry. (Laundry 'tis the thorn in my flesh, I'm convinced.)

17) The smell of waffle cones baking in an ice cream shop. (Not that I am a food addict or anything.)

16) The smell of new. New car, new carpet, new house, we even went to a new movie theater and it smelled so fresh and new, that I didn't even want to eat popcorn.

15) The smell of a newborn baby, a clean little newborn baby. Mainly the sweet little head.

14) The smell of bleach after just mopping the floors, preferably after hubby just mopped the floors. :)

13) The smell of freshly brushed the goodnight kisses from kids who have just brushed, with toothpaste! (As moms we all know that we have to specify...with toothpaste!)

12) The smells of Christmas.

11) Garlic is a beautiful but odd smell, in the pan 'tis lovely, on my hubbies breath, not so much.

10) I love the smell of my Burt's Bees minty lipgloss. It smells so great I can almost taste it.

9) Roses. Not rose-scented things, but real, freshly cut roses.

8) Cinnabon at the mall. I love the smell, but never eat them, mainly because of that icky cream cheese frosting.

7) The smell of ice. You know what I mean, that frosty icey smell like a freezer that needs to be de-frosted.

6) Fire. Not destructive fire, more like the smell when you gather around a really great fire and later you can smell it on your clothes. Yum.

5) Freshly cut grass. It is a distinct, beautiful smell. It has to be just mowed!

4) Eucalyptus oil. That usually means I am getting a massage. It's a beautiful thing.

3) Cotton candy being spun. What a great smell. That sweet, sugary, airy smell. Even if you don't eat it, smelling it is just as great.

2) I adore the smell of coffee, any coffee, anywhere. Drinking it, well that is another story. :)

1) Home. There is a smell that is like no other, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but I always love the smell of walking into our home.

I will spare you the list of smells that I don't love. With 7 kids, a hubby, and of course me...there are plenty around here! ;)

Tune back in later for other favorite things! And take a minute to tell me what your favorite smells are! :)

My housekeeping duties are calling.

Sincerely, the maid.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Living on Eggshells

This will be my record for the shortest post ever.

My husband and I were in the car and were talking. He said something that made no sense (I can't even remember what it was now) and I began laughing at him (not with him) hysterically!

It was one of those laughs where if I had been slurping a diet coke at that moment, I would have definitely sprayed it out my nose.

But here is the classic part, dear bloggers, after I settled down and we almost had moved on to another topic, a look of horror came over his face. I didn't smell anything, so I knew it wasn't the Sea Captain (See I'm no Belle for an explanation).

Then he said the funny part: "Oh great, you're gonna blog this now, aren't you?"


Dude, I don't get a paycheck for the work I do, I don't smoke or do drugs, and I don't even get to go pee in you even have to ask? This is my reward: to seek and save and scribe the ridiculous nuances that make up my life! If I am entitled to anything, it is to be the family whistleblower, and no one is safe! (Mwaa haa haa...goes the evil laughter.)

I'm currently sleeping on the couch and interviewing bodyguards...this blogging stuff is dangerous business!

Monday, May 5, 2008

It's a Whole 'Nother Stupid

Just a few years ago, my husband and I really got a kick out of comedian Bill Engvall's skit "Here's your sign." In case you need a refresher, it was about stupid people needing to wear a sign that alerts the general public that they are, in fact, stupid...thus preventing the non-stupid majority from depending on them for anything of true importance. (Example...a guy stopped on the road with a flat tire, get's asked "What, did your tire go flat?" "Uh, nope. I was driving along and the other three just swelled right up on me." Stupid person's reply: "Well, the heat will do that.") So you can appreciate this, even if you are not one of the stupids, because you have probably been asked the "Here's your sign" kinda question from time to time.

Because we have ourselves been sign-worthy at times, and because we concede that we are raising a generation of 7 "stupid" people, we can to this day laugh at the same old skit. Our days and weeks are often filled with new material for the old stupid skit. Well, this weekend was no exception, and I am hoping it is the end all, be all of stupidity and that we will never top this one.

Nope not even the time dear daughter #2 wrote her name on the bedroom wall in sharpie, and then tried to blame it on her non-writing sister.

Not even the time that the same daughter wrote the sharpie word "pantry" on the pantry door. (Thanks honey, we would have never figured that one out.)

Not even the time that the baby (who is a weenie grabber) reached down and took his diaper completely off for full access, fell asleep, and then woke himself up by peeing on his face. (Can something be sad and hilarious all at the same time?) Nope...nothing has been met with such full-on stupidocrity. (I know, but it sounded good.)

Saturday we attended a birthday party at a friends house. They decided to have a party for all of their kids at once (great for the host, not so great to be the guest needing to bring 4 gifts) and it was a great party. Truly, my friend is a great hostess. She made sure she had shade, tables, chairs, lots of bottled water, iced tea, popsicles, the works. As we all hung out in her front yard (Front yard/garage cul-de-sac parties seem to be sweeping the nation, this was our second in a matter of weeks, and because of the popularity, we can almost forget about not being welcomed to come inside, or even allowed in the back yard) we watched the kids slide down the enormous water slide, and they were having a great time.

Personally, some of my favorite moments were getting "lei'd" (Yep, it was a luau theme), getting repeatedly squirted by the squirt gun wielding boys, and sweating.

This is where our fun weekend of stupid begins. Squirt guns. First of all, a big thank you and shout out to our host and hostess friends for giving the boys the weapons in the first place, but secondly for the brilliant advice given to the boys.

"Do not squirt the adults."

Yep, it was kind of like telling the kid at the state fair to only use his blow gun on the styrofoam target. (Again, courtesy of Bill've gotta listen to that one!)

So, after 2 hours of getting caught in the crossfire of squirt guns (a little here, a lot there), I again hear the hostess say: "If you shoot the grown ups, you will lose that squirt gun." (Here's your sign, my dear...what do you mean "if?")

At this point, her point was moot, I am already dripping with arm pit sweat and the squirt gun is the only thing keeping me cool.

So after being told when to play, when to eat, when to watch present opening, and when to play again...we decided that we had had about all the fun we could stand. Hot and tired, wet and sweaty, we headed home. Hearing on our way out, "Don't forget your squirt guns!" Dang it.

Our first order of business was the "don't squirt that in the car" lecture, and my kids seemed to be obeying pretty well. We also followed with the you can play with that when you get home speech. Do you see where I am going with this?

It gets better, my friends.

Some friends of ours cancelled a date with us, not naming any names (April), and as luck would have it other friends called for a last minute "we don't have kids" get together. We were on it. It had been a long day of family togetherness, and we were ready for our night out with the potty trained. We ate, visited, and decided that it would be oodles more fun to rent a movie and go home. (Stupid is as stupid does, where do you think the kids get it?)

In fact, instead of the theater, we decided we would rent a flick, pull up a comfy piece of couch, and watch at home. These were comfortable friends, heck they have even slept over before, so the chill out option really seemed great.

Until we got home.

My oldest (15) had been in charge of his siblings, and while I am always thrilled to come home to find the house is not burned down and the kids are conscious, nothing could have prepared us for the level of stupid that awaited us. It was a whole 'nother Forrest Gump would say.

We walked in with our sweet friends and were in the kitchen putting away the Haagen Daz we just picked up for movie night, and realized that the floor was a little wet, oh, and maybe even slightly sticky. Not a strange occurance in a house with 7 kids. So, I kept putting away the other groceries.

I walked over to the TV to set the movies next to the DVD player, and again, thought intently about the sticky floor. I mean, we wanted a movie theater experience at home, that is why we have the home theater system, but the sticky floors I could do without.

Upon closer inspection, we saw the shimmery splatters of stickiness everywhere. Floors, cabinets, countertops, refrigerator, walls, and as I began to figure this one out, my angry mom brain started to leak smoke.

"Son, what happened here?"
"I dunno."
"Really, you were in charge, how could you miss this?"
"I dunno. Maybe it happened when I was giving the baby a bath."
"There was nothing odd to you about sticking to the floor everywhere you walked?"
"I didn't see it."
"Son, you didn't have to see can feel it, you have to peel your feet off the floor just to take a step."
"Maybe it was Son #2...I saw him drinking Pepsi."
"Son, there is no way that these splatters could come of drinking Pepsi, unless the child was riddled with bullet holes and the Pepsi was spraying out of him."
"I DUNNO! I DIDN"T DO IT!" (Yes, this child has mastered teenage attitude and eye rolling.)

Since the witnesses were all asleep, the mystery would have to wait a while. Needless to say my hubby and I had to resort to mopping the floor, just to be able to sit with friends to watch a rental. (Oh yes, we all deserved signs for electing to Blockbuster it, and the kids for going crazy with the carbonated sugar.)

As we watched our movie, and zombies began to emerge from their beds for that all important drink of water, we were able to engage in a little detective work. Our CSI experience went like this:

"Daughter, what happened tonight that the floors got all sticky?"
"Oh, Son #1 and Son #2 filled squirt guns with Pepsi and had a squirt gun fight."
"Daughter, please take off your sign, I need to borrow it."

As I summoned Son #1 (because #2 was fast asleep and there is no waking him), I had to ask:

"Son, your sweet sister tells me that you filled the squirt gun with Pepsi and that you and Son #2 had wars in my kitchen?"

**Here is where he practically says "Hold my sign, I don't want to lose it!"

"No, I filled it with Pepsi, but I dumped it right out."
"Son, I may be holding this sign, but I am, in fact, simply a carrier. Please tell me the truth."
"Honest. I just dumped it out."

Yeah, kinda like you just googled that word the other day merely to find out what it meant.

As other witnesses emerged and we got a majority rule on the matter, it was deduced that Son#1 ( are almost 16) did in fact fill the squirt gun with Pepsi, numerous times, and unleashed the carbonated trigger all over my maple cabinets and granite counters. Tonight, as I was cleaning for company tomorrow night (Cinco De Mayo, baby), I found the lovely carbonated carmel colored concoction all over my stove, backsplash, refrigerator, pantry door, dishwasher, baseboards, and most probably, but undetectably the carpet.

(In fact, as I have given this more thought...the only reason that son #1 probably bathed the baby was because he was caught in the crossfire of Operation Pepsi and would have been a dead giveaway.)

I have a good sense of humor, and I have even been known to instigate a raw egg fight in my sweet little kitchen. One so awesome that showers were immediately needed. I get why they might have done this and why it might have been fun, but here is what I don't get.

Dude, the parents are coming, the parents are coming.

Wouldn't you have at least tried to clean it up? Why would you bathe the baby, but leave the evidence everywhere else? Wouldn't you have thought to yourself, "get the mop real quick and wipe off the counters...and she will never notice the walls, the fridge and the baseboards!" Even a half baked cleanup job would have been admirable.

Needless to say, tonight, I am awarding Son#1 the "Here's your sign" award.

And I actually might sleep a little more soundly as I contemplate their futures. With this kind of stupidity in the house, they won't likely be getting away with much!

Here's your sign.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Maid trades in vacuum for soapbox!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye...

Now that I have your attention, well, where should I start.

"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, when you read you begin with A, B, C...when you sing you begin with Do, Re, Mi..."

Kinda makes you want to go to a musical, right?

Let me just say, that I hope that it is not a 5 & 6th grade choir concert! I mean, the Sound of Music, they are not, but we love those little pipsqueaks so we go, eh?

My daughter came into my bedroom before maidservice began, and announced that she was all too excited for her impending choir concert this evening. She was nervous, though, or so she said. Maybe she was just looking for a bit of encouragment from mom, but apparently maids with sheets still stuck to their faces are not good at this. I believe I mumbled something about you will do don't miss the bus. (Touching, I know.)

A quick background on said daughter...she is beautiful, she is delightful, she is unassuming and very I never mind attending and supporting her. She maybe even has some musical ability and talent. (Yes, friends, I was quite the musical genius. I know you thought it was her piano playing, professional drumming father, but alas, she must get it from me. I was Gretyl in the Sound of Music after all.)

I went about my day...appointments, driving, drop offs, pick ups, more drop offs, shopping, more drop offs, and scattered throughout were diaper changes and feedings...and I still managed to get to the cafeteria (lovely place for a concert, if you ask me...wink) with time to spare.

I saw that it was filling up, my hubby and kiddos had saved me and the boys seats, and realized that I would need to stand near the back because of the stroller. I did have a good view though, so I waited expectantly to hear this delightful little program. Entitled "Opera tunists." A skit/play entwined with adapted versions (altered lyrics) of famous operatic pieces.

? Hello ? Opera ? 5th & 6th Graders ? What are we thinking ?

I remained hopeful.

As the not so eloquent, nonetheless sincere, chorus teacher took the stage, she thanked everyone for coming and told us how hard the children had worked on this and "made it their own" (that is code for if it sucks, don't blame me) and then proceeded with the much anticipated - sarcasm - program.

Again, let me remind you that I truly wanted to be here...I really wanted to hear the program and support my daughter...but apparently not badly enough to filter out all of the things that I had to endure at said program. Things that annoyed the crap out of me.

What? You ask?

Let - me - tell - you. (Get a coffee, this will be a minute.)

1) Terrible sound system, or at least a lack of knowledge as to how to use it. 200 kids are on stage and you can't hear anything they are saying because the microphones are placed poorly, the kids don't project, and the teacher is too "busy" to notice that we can't flippin' hear the dang show. (They can hear the announcements in the morning across the street from the school, but they can't figure out how to pipe the sound into a tiny little cafeteria.)

2) The lights throughout the whole cafeteria...not known for mood lighting I suppose...were on full blast. Would have been nice as a "hint" to other attendees if the lights had been dimmed...maybe they would have shut up so that we could hear just how bad the sound system was. Or maybe we could have at least not have had to look at all of the idiots with bad manners around us.

3) Families (mine included) showed up to support their siblings, however, some idiotic parents were too self-centered to take their squawling brats out of the "theater" so that others would have the privilege of "not hearing" a little better. "I gotta go potty...I goootttaaaa goooo pawtttyyyy!" Take the dang kid to the potty already.

4) Some of the kids my peeps go to school with have dads who feel it is appropriate to hang out at the back of the "theater" and carry on an entire not hushed conversation...and they do! Hello...shut up, I am trying to hear this. Step outside or go to Hooters if you need a beer and a chat, you can sit outside and be as loud as you want.

5) Some of the kids my peeps go to school with have moms who feel it is appropriate to bring squawling brat to the chatting dad and assert "Your turn" as loudly as she can so that dad will shut up and take this kid to the potty that he has been screaming for and they have been ignoring for 20 minutes now.

6) Apparently my kids also go to school with other kids who own I know, I bought them too...but wheeling around the back of the cafeteria during our priceless opera is inappropriate. Kid - You would know this if your mom would get off her cell phone and discipline you.

7) Some kids don't have heelies, but apparently ignorant parents. So they think it okay to get up and jump all over 3 rows of people and bounce in and out of the row where their parents are sitting as the parents completely ignore her shenanigans. Don't pretend that you are so into the program that you don't see barely even speak English. Hello? Se Habla Ingles? Since I don't know what the Spanish word is for brat, can you plant her little butt down, before I escort her to the border? Gracias.

8) Apparently bouncing children aren't the only ones who need an escort to the border. (And I am not talking Taco Bell.) Several parents took their children to the drinking fountain, the bathroom, and even the front of the freaking cafeteria to take a picture and wave to "sissy" right in the middle of the program! Oh, no that is not distracting at all. Kind of like your hubby's wife beater shirt and 50 tattoos, and 5 cell phone calls. (No disrespect to t-shirt wearing tattooed readers, you more than likely would be polite enough to remain seated and stay off of your cell phone.)

9) With 7 children, and a predisposition to tardiness, I am not opposed to those who must enter late. It happens to all of us. Let me just say, that if you do enter late, please do so discreetly and quietly and don't let the BIG METAL CAFETERIA DOOR SLAM behind you. Thank you. (Over and over again...slam, slam, slam, slam, duh? What happened to trying to casually slip in when late and carefully buffer the door with your hands?) UGH!

10) Not a soul was in sight from the principal, no other teachers, no other staff, no security, nobody! Had just a handful of name-badge wearing Public School officials been present to man the doors, the back of the room, and the side of the "theater" which housed the restrooms, well...maybe we could have had a real theater experience, eh?

Lest you think I am a goody two shoes that brags about everything my child does and scrapbooks each bloody nose, let me tell you that I was as happy as everyone else in the room that it was over. In fact as the cheers from the crowd erupted, I was thinking "You can't fool me for a minute with that fake applause crap" I knew it was not "Yay sweetie...that was awesome...encore!" But rather it was "Woohoo we can get our peeps out of here and go out to dinner", where we can quit acting like we are interested in all those other dang kids and just spend time with ours. I know...I've got your number.

As for my sweet opera singing little 6th grader, she stole the show in a too tight, spaghetti strapped shirt that was against school dress code, fur lined winter shoes, the wrong pants (needless to say dad got her ready) and chewed gum the ENTIRE time. Since I asked, she informed me that it was okay because she just pushed the gum to the side when she had to sing. Yep, that is my future "Soprano" and most probably future Heidi Klum reject. ("You are off...please exit the runway")

As designer Christian from Project Runway would say, she is a "hot mess."