Friday, May 8, 2015

A Letter To My Disenfranchised Fourth Child

Susan extracts her fourth child from the bassinet she made from Sprite bottles.

Afternoon Readers,

Ahh, motherhood. There's something about it that makes you feel dusty and old, but also young and completely strung out. In my case, my right eye tends to twitch a lot, but to each her own.

This weekend's impending holiday doesn't give me an enormous amount of pause. Mostly because Mother's Day is also the twin's fifth birthday, and when birthdays are involved, we all know what My Little Pony/ Spider Man cake takes center stage. Then again, I might break under the weight of some sort of pregnancy-induced mental breakdown and write "Happy Mother's Day!" right across a pony's face. The weekend sits nigh, ripe with possibilities.

Tough to beat, but what I've been reflecting on more this week than cake or presents, is actually the newest Kellerman.   

Sleeping arrangements?
A homing device?

My brain keeps clicking over a potential checklist of things and coming up with... absolutely nothing. So I thought it best to write a letter of explanation to our newest member, in order to minimize bitterness and maximize feelings of apathy towards us as the years go on.

A Letter To My Disenfranchised Fourth Child

Dear Fourth Child,

I hope you're finding the stay accommodating. Don't worry about making yourself comfortable. My ab muscles were dismantled by your brother and sister in 2010, so feel free to do yoga, pilates, or use any spare space to build one of those quaint side cart coffee bars. I won't even feel it.

I'm writing today to apologize. I'm afraid you won't find much waiting for you when you head towards the light. I take that back. There'll be a ton of people there, unlimited pudding, and nurses who wait on you incessantly. I meant more the part where we draw a name out of hat and take you home.

(Totally kidding. We'll have a name ready for you. I think. At the very least, I'll let the drugs wear off before I pick this time. Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not special.)

Here's the deal. You're literally getting nothing new. 

What's "new"?

Simply put, when something's new, it smells like no one's licked it, picked at it, or died in it. Haha.. no, no one's died in any of your stuff. That we know of. At any rate, you'll have plenty of clothes, possibly not gender specific, but clothes nonetheless. Sleepers, t-shirts, onsies that say, "First grandchild!" You name it, we got it.

Your dad and I talked about it, and I'm also pleased to say you're getting the crib that's only fifty-percent covered in teeth marks. Get excited, because it's gonna look fab with the hand-me-down sheets and crib music box that plays "Can You Feel Love Tonight", if you hit it hard enough.

Unfortunately, there was a list of items we had to delete this time around. Call it experience or overconfidence. I'll let you pick when you learn to talk and pick my nursing home:

Diaper Genie
Heated Wipes (Kidding... We never had those. You'll be as cold as everyone else.)
Toys - Hurry to the toy room before everyone else gets there. And may the odds be ever in your favor.
Shoes - Hahahahahahahahahahaha.... eh em.
Changing table - I discovered this thing called "the floor" last year. Life and Style just named it this year's breakfast nook.
Shampoo/baby oil/lotion set - Hold out your hand and I'll give you a dollop of Nivea

What we will have for you is lots of love. By far, we're getting better and better at multiplying it from the bottom of our cold hearts. Oh, and I promise you get a new car seat. Some of the other kids volunteered to hold you while the car was moving, but five-year-olds drop things, so.

Are you excited?! We're excited. So just stretch out and relax. I'm off to figure out if the Baby Bjorn is still holding the back door to the van shut.


Your Mom

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Grass Is Always Greener When You Pay Someone Else To Do It

"The neighborhood's concerned. First it was the plaid skirt, now it's dandelions. We're not sure where the line is anymore.

Afternoon Readers,

If you're just tuning in, I'm still fat and could really use a coconut cream pie right now. You know what they say, "New house, new baby, buy me pie." A blessed and ancient saying, handed down by many generations.

As it stands, I'm currently eating a bag of steamed vegetables I found in the freezer and waiting for my entire bag of french fries to be done cooking. Ahh, vegetables. You masquerade as food, but you fill me up about as well as the gentle wind which caresses my deck chairs. No matter, the oven timer is giving me just enough time to write and also to read the mail I just waddled out to get.

Flyer for diet pills
Coupons for two-for-one chimichangas *hides under my chin fat for later*
A letter stating I should act now before my lawn decays

Hmm, one thing I'll say is that, unlike our former neighborhood, lawn care in this neck of the woods is serious business. This letter is actually one in a set of five I've received in the last two weeks. The universe at large is extremely concerned with whether we prefer an emerald green we can sleep on top of, or one which I could comfortably give birth on. Little do these people know, I prefer to be wrapped in a gown three thousand people have used and be fully unconscious.

Suburbia has an ebb and flow, a gentle current running under all box hedges which speaks of how things are done. We get our pets toenails done here. Loyd gently trims and grooms all our trees. You could use that trash service, but we've had Rick's Refuse Removal for thirty years, and he brings his family and real baby sheep to carol on your doorstep, come December.

Kellerman lawn care is as follows: Mow lawn

I think this is fairly reasonable. No one wants a neighbor who gives his house the old Boo Radley treatment and dandelion curtains. 

Scenario 1.

*knock knock*

"Who's there?"
"The people who treat everyone elses's lawn in the neighborhood."
"The people who treat everyone else's lawn, who?"
"That'll be a hundred dollars a month."
"Get the hell off my AstroTurf."

Just kidding. That's only what you say if you're not prepared.

Scenario 2.

"Hi, mam. Whoa, you have a lot of little ones. One, two-"

"Don't bother looking for the third one. He's probably going through your wallet or something. Kidding! How can I help you?"

"Ha. Right, ok. Well, we take care of all the lawns on your street, and we were wondering if you'd like a flyer with some prices in it."

"I'd love a flyer. Does it come with a coupon in it for free service for as long as we live here?"

"Um, no."

"I'm sorry, Justin. You're super nice, but we don't have that in the budget this year."

"Do you guys have a plan for lawn care this season?"

"I'm so glad you asked. Besides mowing on Saturday, we stare lovingly at the freshly cut grass on Sunday. Mondays are dedicated to feeling frustrated that it's starting to grow back, and Tuesdays are for ignoring the clover, which, as you can see, is growing in the shape of Wayne Newton's head. Wednesdays, I send the children into the yard to "dandelion hunt," which is highly effective until they take all the weeds they've picked and sow them diligently into all the spots that had remained inexplicably weedless. Thursday, we run errands and don't look at the grass, and Friday is the day I put twenty dollars into our "Mulch the entire yard" zero-interest savings account."

"So I can leave this flyer with you?"


Right now, as I look out the front window of the Oak Palace, I'm pleased to see a green, if not perfect, lawn. It's lovingly cut by Husband and I'm super grateful because I'm far to fat to start a lawnmower at this season of my life. I may not be able to birth a baby on our grass, but today's "Dandelion Hunting Wednesday," and that's ok too.

Until Next Time, Readers!

Like what you read here? Buy some Cankles
And if quick bathroom reads are your friend, grab The Big Book of Parenting Tweets: Featuring the Most Hilarious Parents on Twitter!
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

All the Stuff You Can Do In Eleven Weeks

"And she was all, 'I have the eye of the tiger,' but then she just started crying."

Afternoon Readers,

People sometimes ask me how I balance writing books, blogs, and getting my ends trimmed once a year. It's a great question, and the answer usually falls into one of two categories.

A. Poorly
B. Very Poorly

Don't get me wrong. Occasionally, a week pops up where I'm all, "Look at me doing all the things before five. And now, pizza for everyone!" (Pizza isn't a celebratory food here. It's my go-to about seven days a week.) But most of the time, the situation around Kellerman house is carefully controlled anarchy with a side of laundry, delicately garnished with a smidgeon of toddler tears. That's the usual. However, life is life, and sometimes that chaos gets turned up a notch, and an internet vacation is in order.

I am woman. Hear me roar and then crawl back under my duvet.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Maria Kang Told Me I Had No Excuses, And Then Jillian Micheals Tried To Murder Me

They're called Rolos, Maria. And they're delicious.

Afternoon Readers,

Unless you live in Antarctica, did you hear the first, glorious sounds of spring this week? I'm not sure if the beautiful weather will keep on trending here in Kansas, but, dear, sweet, Lord, let it be so. Right now, the birds are chirping, I have coffee, and a new outlook on life looks immanent.

*This spot reserved for clever transition from happy coffee thoughts to unhappy topical thoughts*

Maria Kang, she's pretty much old news at this point, hashed and re-hashed. Mostly, I ignored her when she jumped on the scene, but then I've never taken kindly to people who tell me to exercise.

(Try me and see if you get invited to my next chili cook off.) 

So, off the radar she fell, until she popped up again recently, telling me, for the second time, I still had no excuses for not exercising. 

"Shit. Give it a rest, Kang. I have Skittles to eat," I yelled from the pantry.

She doesn't know me. Doesn't know that, while not particularly heavy, my post-baby stomach looks like an angry bulldog not even Sarah Mclachlan would adopt out. Angrily, I shut my laptop and padded downstairs to the living room, where I turned on the TV and stopped, right before I collapsed on the couch.

"Am I really making excuses?"
"Maybe. No. I don't know."
"I stay home. There's time."
"Wait, did you change over the laundry?"
"No idea. Maybe just two crunches."
"Hold on. Where'd I put the kids?"
"Hmm, I think the twins are busy, but after I pulled the toddler out of the toilet, I think he got distracted with putting bread all over the stairs. Ok, let's do this."
"Cool. Down with excuses!"
"Wait, is that my toddler trying to climb in the sewer outside?"
"Look at that, it's already lunch. I'll think more about this after a solid pb and j."

Over lunch, I chewed some bread and the thought that perhaps I was just lazy. Sure, I had sixteen loads of laundry, four hundred fights to break up, and twenty-one meals to plan a week, but there were people who surfed with one leg and blind orphans who climbed Mount Everest, and hadn't Heidi Klum shopped at Target once?

Get it together, Paige.

Because I'm serious about proper form, I didn't put a bra on and wandered in search of a workout video on Youtube that fit the bill of a thirty-something looking to subdue guilt and not really sweat a lot.

Abs of Steel
Five Hundred Miles of Running Fun
What Doesn't Kill You, Isn't Working: A beginner's guide to lifting

There had to be something. "Ahh, here we go. Jillian Micheals. People seem to like her. Why not?"

Important: What She looks like at the beginning

"I've come to deliver you from your fat. I am the Pied Piper of cellulite."
     Cautiously optimistic, I hit play and prepared to have the abs of a Spartan warrior delivered to me before dinner. Maybe I'd been wrong all these years. Maybe fitness could be fun and happy and...

"And that's it for our warmup."

From the spot on the floor where I'd prostrated myself, I looked up. "What?" Suddenly, where peace had formerly resided, a storm cloud parked itself on Jillian's face.

"Part two. Abandon all hope."

The baby, covered in strawberry jam and holding a stack of unpaid bills, wandered over and sat on my back so I couldn't get up.

"Pick up the pace. You can do this."

"I can't."

"You can!"

"I have a toddler sitting on me. Where's your toddler, Jillian?"

Gingerly, I rolled out from under the baby and clawed a path to my knees. "You know, I heard, once, if you hear a hamstring snap, you should stop. Something's crackling in there like the Fourth of July."

Without an ounce of pity, I was marched on. "Up to the sky! Down to the ground! Commit to this. Commit to you. Don't quit!"

I yelled desperately to any one of my children who could hear me. "Ten dollars to the kid who takes mom out with a butter knife in the next sixty seconds." I could only survive on witty banter for so long. 

From the corner of my eye, I saw the baby slipping back upstairs. "Hey, where do you think you're going? Jillian didn't say you could leave."

"I'm thirsty."

I lunged and heard my knee shatter. "We're all thirsty down here in the tenth circle of hell."

He ran his chubby legs up to the kitchen and never looked back.

A billion crunchs
A trillion lungy things
Something I don't know the name of but almost snapped my spine in two

When it was all over, I had just enough energy to hit "off" and go in search of the destruction I was sure had kept the children busy while I'd been downstairs fighting for my life. Now that I've had a few days to process, these are my findings:

Do I make excuses? Yes.

Are these excuses legitimate? Yes. Because Jillian Micheals will try to murder you, and your kids will burn your house down while you're distracted.

Final Note: While I enjoyed the resulting endorphins, working out almost resulted in my untimely death and also the baby taking my absence to mean it was OK to pour an entire bottle of body wash into the shower, dump out the pickles, and try to increase his lash volume with my treasured staple, Maybelline "Blackest Black" mascara.*

*Will be billing Maria Kang for new mascara.

P.S I'm hopeless case, but if you're looking for a guide to working out with kids that's actually helpful, pop over and grab some wisdom from Grace

Until Next Time, Readers!

Like what you read here? Buy some Cankles
And if quick bathroom reads are your friend, grab The Big Book of Parenting Tweets: Featuring the Most Hilarious Parents on Twitter!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Young House Love, We Ain't: Or Things I Almost Did This Winter

This grainy reality captured in substandard light could be yours too, for the low price of avoiding renovations.

Afternoon Readers,

I had to start the day with green tea because Husband actually took the time to ask if I needed anything from the store last night, and I said, "Nope."

Because I'm a huge idiot.

"Oh, coffee? The lifeblood that sustains any and all hope of me being a decent person over a twenty-four hour period? I clearly saw we were out this morning and tattooed it on my arm that I needed to go buy a gallon tub, but that very important detail must've just flown out of my head when my other half generously offer TO GO GET IT FOR ME."

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Problem With Mustard Seeds

Ahh, if only there were this much variation to winter.

Morning Readers,

Oh, Winter.

What can you say about it except you wish it would die a thousand deaths and never return? Granted, last year's cold season was way worse and filled with ten times more snow, but being trapped inside all day is treating me about as good as it always does, and there's just not enough liquor in the world, my friends. Not enough.

But, even in the valley that is cabin fever, there are little peaks from time to time. Namely, me getting to run to the mail box by myself for sixty glorious seconds, drinking so much hot cocoa I'm pretty sure I have the diabetes again, and Sunday school.

Sunday morning goes a little like this:

Drop the twins off for their catechism hour.
Spend sixty minutes with Doc buying donuts and things I don't need at Target.
Pick twins up. Eat all the donuts. Get more diabetes.

Things usually go according to plan, except when they don't. Two Sundays ago, I got to dip my toes into the water that is feeling like a terrible parent.

As the hour ended and I walked through the door of the school, a worried teacher came up to me. "Hi Paige. We've been trying to call you for an hour."

"What? Why?"

"Sundance is very sick and needed to go home."

We rushed down the hallway in West Wing fashion, trading info as we went.

"She shut down the whole class. Said she was so sick, the other kids needed to get away from her in case she was contagious."

"I'm so sorry. I forgot my pho... Wait, she did what?"

"Seemed pretty serious."


"No, I think it's bad. She's down here in the office."

Expecting to see her petite frame prostrate on the floor and burning up with the plague, I rounded the corner into the office and stopped short.

"Hi Mommy." 

The little blonde girl smiled up at me and went back to neatly coloring a picture so intently, I was sure she was saving it to turn in with her application to Harvard. 

"Are you sick?"


"You don't look sick."

"I might feel better now."


She tucked the pictured under her arm and pranced back to the van, in anticipation of donuts. After we were buckled in, and Long Johns had been passed out, I decided to get to the bottom of what was going on. Most of the world is unaware, but Sundance has a giant flare for the dramatic. Just behind her blue eyes and elfin features lies an ability to make Hamlet look like and episode of Barney.

I looked around my donut. "Ok, what happened?"

She poked at some icing absently before she answered quietly. "I ate it."

"Ate what?"

"Umm... the mustard seed."

The pieces started snapping together. "You ate one of those blessed mustard seeds they brought back from Jerusalem?"

She nodded. "Please don't tell anyone. I just. I just- "

"Wanted to see what it tasted like. Ok, I get it. But why did you tell everyone you were sick?"

She looked down for a moment before she answered. "They said it would grow."

And there it was. "Ok, let me see if I've got this straight. You ate the mustard seed, and then your teacher told the parable of the mustard seed. After which, you were convinced a mustard tree would sprout out of you. Is that close?"

"How did you know that?"

"I'm old as the hills and twice as dusty."

So, while the rest of the school worried about poor Sundance, the truth of the situation was trapped in the van. One little girl sat, willing her faith not to grow so she wouldn't grow branches and be permanently rooted in the parking lot. 

The peaks of winter may be few and far between, but I'll admit that when I found out the truth, I was laughing so hard, I didn't even care about cabin fever. 
Until Next Time, Readers!
Like what you read here? Buy some Cankles
And if quick bathroom reads are your friend, grab The Big Book of Parenting Tweets: Featuring the Most Hilarious Parents on Twitter!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Boxelder Conundrum and Blogging Once A Week

"Oh, hello. I'm just popping in to creep you out and look at your unmentionables."

Afternoon Readers,

I'm honored to be here today to state with what I know to be unflinching finality that, after much testing and debate, Chocolate Toast Crunch is now the best breakfast cereal on the planet. 

Don't even try to argue. The jury's in. I have the extra weight to prove it. Buy some and get on board with the movement.

*pours more cereal*

Now then, let's get down to business. What's on the table today? First off, I'd like to call this meeting to order and apologize for my absence. Not that you sit around waiting for the not-so-riveting details of my life, but the scarcity is real, people. Why?

Book makery.