Tag Archives: full disclosure

You know you’re frazzled when…

We got back from Nebraska last night and I’ve spent the past half of a day unpacking, doing laundry, cleaning and trying my best to catch up on emails, blogs, articles and everything else.

Last night I wanted to also catch up on a show that Daryl taped for me while we were gone.  I rewound the video tape, got comfy on the couch and gave Alex a fistful of washable markers to decorate my feet to keep him busy while I watched.

Alex doesn’t really stick to feet when let loose with washable markers and Mama’s lower half.  I had mad, multicolored scribbling from my thighs down.  I also found out that “washable” is a relative term.  After 5 minutes of scrubbing with a soapy washcloth before bed last night, I decided to stay technicolored for the night.

Today I resumed my dash to catch up on things, tossing in more laundry, taking kids to the pool, cleaning the kitchen, writing articles, downloading pictures, checking on the garden and so on.

And I knew we were supposed to meet my in-laws at the Shady Drive-Inn for lunch but I somehow lost track of time until I was frantically clearing the last of our bags from the van and making sure all the kids had shoes and were loaded in.

And sure enough, as I jumped into the passenger seat, I looked down and saw these…

(Green has since been added in order to get this post published.)

Nobody can say I’m not a colorful character.  😉


Filed under the little stuff

We Are That Family

We have new neighbors across the street and I’ve spied a cute little girl who looks about four years old.  It will be nice to have more children in the neighborhood, especially since our beloved two-year-old neighbor and her parents moved away last month.

We haven’t had a chance to go over and say hi yet.  They seem nice, tidy, quiet.

Hmmm…. we’ve got one out of three going for us!

As much as I try to rein it in, we are the family with sidewalk chalk all over the front steps, wood sculptures stacked in the back yard, bikes tossed on the grass in a rush, the slip-and-slide and hose rigged to the slide in the back yard, dinosaurs hiding in the flower beds, baskets hanging from climbing trees and signs of children everywhere.

We are also the family whose kids are running around at dusk playing tag, enthusiastically calling to the bats after dark, screeching at unfair calls in made up games, having shouting matches, laughing in the sprinkler and generally always letting you know there are children about.

Yesterday, the following exchange could be heard from the front steps:

Anna:  Mom!  Alex is on your car again!

Me:  Well, get him down please.

Anna:  Jack is poking him with a broom!


We are that family.

Hopefully they’ll like us anyway.  🙂


Filed under the little stuff


When my girls were little, I sometimes came up with creative ways to occupy them when I was sick.  Between problem pregnancies and long-term illnesses, I spent a lot of time on the couch with little girls who were not the type to sit still and watch Sesame Street.

One of the ways I used to occupy them was to let them draw on the bottoms of my feet.  I’d give Victoria washable markers and she’d doodle halfway up my leg while I got to rest and not fall down or throw up for a little while.

(I still remember how idiotic I felt at the prenatal appointment when I stripped down and then realized I was decorated up to my knees in toddler art and had forgotten to wash it off!)

I still use the busywork trick.

Tuesday night, I really wanted to watch a television show.  My boys were bored so I sat Alex at the top of the couch with me and 25 Matchbox cars and Jack at the end of the couch with washable markers.

For a good twenty minutes, I lined up fire trucks and convertibles with one little boy while another enthusiastically decorated me.

On my right foot was a series of… well, I have no idea, but upside down they look a bit like a weird smiley face.  And on the left… I was orange.  Jack decided he wanted to make me an alien.

It worked.  I watched my show, the boys played and were happy (before moving on to the next busywork — even doing graffiti on Mom only works so long), and I’m pretty sure most of it was non-toxic.

And then today… I kept meaning to take a bath or jump in the shower but one thing after another happened.  And so I took a walk around the neighborhood with two little boys and decorated feet.  I drove to the lawnmower repair shop and rode along to the car repair shop to see about air conditioning.  I gardened and chased the kids outside.  I said “hi” to the passing teenagers.

All with these feet.

(Blue toenails courtesy of Annalee, who offered me a free spa treatment and pedicure the same night.)

My left foot kept scaring me throughout the day.  I’d forget about it all and then catch sight of that and think I’d missed some sort of terrible accident.

Even after I finally got that bath, my left foot is still pale orange.  And the brown heart appears to be permanent.  I’m surprisingly unconcerned, though.  It kind of makes me smile.

I can’t imagine what our townspeople must think of me.  🙂


Filed under the little stuff

Real Life

In the interest of balancing out all the perfect sounding mamas and houses out there, here’s another installment of small confessions just for you.  🙂

  1. Directly below this sign in the upstairs hallway is a doorknob-sized hole in the wall where a child opened the bathroom door a bit too enthusiastically. 
  2. I brought four pieces of dry whole wheat bread to stave off starvation when we headed out to a swimming event today.  By the time we got to the last piece as we were leaving, the kids were breaking off chunks and it was like feeding geese at the park.  With less honking and hissing, luckily.
  3. There are currently approximately 87 pounds of stuff on our dining room table.
  4. By the time Alex’s birthday came on Monday (our third birthday in four days), we were so tired that he didn’t even wear clothes for most of the day.  
  5. Most of his presents were from thrift stores.  But he loved them.  🙂

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Filed under This and that

Joyfully Imperfect

Photo by Alex, age 2 (identified by blue footie pajamas), who secretly swiped Mama's camera and replaced it after documenting cats and messes throughout the house

I’ve gone and done it again.  I’ve stumbled onto one of those blogs that has suddenly convinced me of what a total deadbeat I am.

You know the ones.  With perfect PhotoShopped children in perfect homes with handmade, organic, felted toys and descriptions of blissful daily joy.

I should know better.  I know those places don’t really exist.  I know Disney bluebirds don’t circle that mother’s head as she happily bakes bread every Saturday and her children laughingly play at her feet.

But the pictures…

But the descriptions of the days…

Suddenly I was sitting in my messy house with my children up way past when most people’s children are sleeping and feeling so inadequate.

And then I wondered if anybody ever wandered in here and accidentally got the impression that WE live that sort of life — all fairy doors and mud puddles and those ridiculous bluebirds.

So I’m here to tell you that we are not that sort of family.  This is not that sort of a house.  I am not that sort of a mother.

I try to say it fairly regularly and I try to include photos of the dirt and crumbs and stained shirts and chaos, but probably not enough.  I know how easy it is to sit on the other side of the monitor and imagine.

So once again, I’m posting a full disclosure post.

We are messy, loud, tacky, goofy and more than occasionally irritable.  The children bicker.  Their hair is usually messy.  My hair is usually messy.  My husband is half bald but the hair he has left is usually messy too.

My back yard is presently decorated with artificial Christmas tree parts that our neighbors gave us to craft with.  My six-year-old has used them to decorate the swingset, the lawn chairs, the lawn swing and several planters for “Christmas in April.”

I don’t know about those other mothers and what their homes and families are like.  I’m fairly sure they mean to inspire and not depress with those posts and pictures.

I have learned to read just enough of those blogs to get motivated — to clean the front porch, to try to bake bread in the bread machine tomorrow, to try that craft — but not too much that I start to think that I need to try to be that.

I’ve learned that I’m okay with not being perfect.  I like our loud, messy, crazy home.  Sometimes there’s yelling, sometimes there’s chaos, sometimes there are tears.  That’s real life.  But there’s also a whole lot of laughing and silliness and cuddling and talking and living the most perfect life for us.

Self portrait of the artist/thief, with runny nose


Filed under the big stuff

Latest Writing and Monkey Pictures

Just thought I’d post a few of the articles I’ve put up lately:

Join the 2010 Happiness Challenge!

Best for Babes looking for blogs to run its breastfeeding PSA

The AAP recommends no spanking and discusses why it doesn’t work

What to do instead of spanking

Parenting secrets for peaceful holidays

And have you heard of Nonja the orangutan?
She uses a camera that dispenses a raisin with every click
and the photos are automatically uploaded to
her Facebook page

She has over 70,000 fans!

and yes, I know she’s an orangutan and not a monkey
so here’s my own monkey pics.  🙂

Christmas photo outtakes!


Happy Sunday!

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Filed under Uncategorized

Another Halloween Down

I hope you and your goblins had a happy Halloween!

Mine had a mostly grand time.

Towards the end, not so much for Alex.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a Halloween in 11 years of motherhood
that didn’t involve at least one child in this state.

Note the two pumpkins.
One is his big brother’s.
He wanted ALL the pumpkins
so Jack was a sweetie and let him carry his.

And he still looked like this.

I am not really much of a fan of Halloween.
I try to hide it but I do it badly.
The children have given me chocolate to make up for it.
I’m a big fan of chocolate
so I suppose Halloween is okay.  😉


Filed under Uncategorized