Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Let's Celebrate By Regretting We Took Everyone Out To Eat

Everyone's face when I walk in with all my kids.

Afternoon Readers,

For those of you who just started following this little, old blog, today's announcement probably won't mean much.

But.

If you've been with me from the beginning, I'm here to tell you that you're old. I'm also old. We're all elderly. You guys, the twins turned six.

How did that happen? A few years ago, I was complaining about four hundred diapers a day and trying to balance two babies on my hips without dropping one of them. (And let's face it, there were more than a few close calls there.) Now? We're finishing kindergarten and Sundance just declared she's decided to go to art school before heading off on the career path of marine biologist.

I'm still not sure if she plans to study them or design clothes for dolphins. Time will tell.

This year, the birthday celebration took us to the petting zoo and then Red Robin. I'm not sure how many of you have a Red Robin in your neck of the woods, but if you're into interesting hamburgers and balloon animals, it's probably right up your alley. Kellerman children enjoy all of these things, so away we went. There was just one problem. We never take the kids out to eat anywhere because:

a.) It's terrifying
b.) It's expensive
c.) It's terrifying and expensive

When the twins were little, eating out used to be a somewhat manageable experience. But, after our numbers doubled, Husband and I had to forgo the activity altogether, in favor of simply letting the kids hit us with baseball bats instead. It's pretty much the same thing. If you don't believe me or haven't taken four, small children out to eat lately, allow me to give a quick run through of what to expect...

Seating:

The nice thing about walking your entire pack of offspring into a public establishment is the tendency of most hosts to make sure you're seated somewhere discreet. Like the middle of the restaurant.

"Is this desperate cluster of tables fine?"

Me nodding. "Of course. If we were sitting somewhere in the back, this entire flock of patrons wouldn't be able to see the show we've scheduled for everyone. Please bring waters and anything free you have so we can get warmed up."

"Would you like drinks lids on the children's drinks?"

"As long as they're lose and fall off when the time's right."

"Re-fillable fries?"

I consider. "Can your fries be thrown with a good amount of accuracy?"

"Absolutely."

"We'll take three baskets."

 Ordering:

This is, by far, my favorite part of the dining out experience. Nothing screams fun like needing to order food for everyone at the table, when you haven't had time to look at the menu. My children like to enhance this process by yelling their order over any type of communication I'm signaling to the waitress.

"I'll start with you, mam. What will you have?"

Taking solace in the children busily coloring, I start. "We'll have three orders of your-"

"Meat!"

"I want spaghetti!"

"Mom, he's being dumb again. Will you tell him there's no spaghetti here? I'll have sunflower seeds."

*The baby hits me in the head with her bottle*

I start again. "Please excuse the children. We've been living in an underground bunker for five years."

Eating:

I love when the food is finally delivered, mostly because I'm shocked the waiter or waitress heard any of the order I threw across the table. By this point, the children have eaten their weight in fries and have absolutely no intention of devouring any of the food that's been ordered. They also develop a specific kind of amnesia which demands they don't recall anything they asked for in the first place.

A child waves her fork indignantly in the air. "Mom, what is this?"

"I believe the menu called them, "Meatball Lolly Pops," I respond. "Not the most enticing of descriptions, but you three all insisted on having them."

"But, I didn't." I wanted the grilled cheese. Why would I ask for Meatball Lolly Pops?"

I stare longingly at the cheeseburger I can't reach because the baby is jumping up and down in my lap and trying to insert a straw into my ear. "Sweet heart, I have no idea. I suggested grilled cheese, and you said, "I haaaaave to have Meatball Lolly Pops."

"Mom?"

"What?"

"Doc just wandered off. He said he was done eating and was going to go live with the people in the bathroom."

Silently, I pray to Baby Jesus to help me not have a nervous breakdown, before I motion to the waitress to box up my uneaten burger. "Ok, twins, stay here. I'm going to get your brother."

"But!"

"Just impale those meatballs with tiny bread sticks and hush."

Paying and Exiting:

By this point, three cups of water have been spilled on the floor, two dance numbers have been performed dangerously close to the kitchen, and servers have stopped by to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday kids. Years ago, public singing would've mortified me, but, as it makes all four of my children stop talking and stare in horror, I join in, singing maniacally, and ask for an encore.

A swipe of the credit card.

The circus is packed up.

The car is sooo close but..... balloon animals.

Since having kids, I have yet to not stop once a balloon artist has been spotted. My children have the uncanny ability to track down these masters of latex manipulation from five miles out. If a child can see a balloon artist who's making tigers for free and you say, "No, not today," you dance on dangerous ground.

"Why don't you love us?"

"If you don't like us so much, why don't you just 'dopt us to someone else?"

..."I'll take two snakes and a Ninja Turtle with Sharpie eyes, please."

The balloon artist looks at my haggard face. "You sure, lady?"

"Yeah. We haven't ever taken a family vacation, so this might soften the blow of childhood deprivation. Can you give my fish a fairly life-like fin?"

Balloons in hand, we made it back to the van and started the trek home. All Kellerman children stated they had an amazing time but adamantly agreed that none of them actually requested Meatball Lolly Pops. I have no comment on that. All I know is my kids are growing up and I have absolutely no idea what a hot burger tastes like anymore.

But I do know who ended up eating all the cold Meatball Lolly Pops.

Until Next Time, Readers!



And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What I Want For Mothers Day and A Gift For You!


Morning Readers,

I'm reporting to you live from the land of puppy pee and children climbing me like Mount Everest to drop a line about what I want for Mother's Day. Ready?

Sleep.

Send sleep.

Send all the extra sleep you have lying around.

In the meantime, please enjoy a Mother's Day gift from me, the woman who's still trying to incorporate a few choice pieces of maternity wear into her wardrobe, six months after the birth and beyond. Today through Sunday, At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles is FREE. Grab it for yourself or drop me a line, and I'll be happy to gift it to anyone you think might benefit from reading about one woman's adventures trying to fit in a car.

This week has beaten me to a pulp, however, so this is me, signing off and looking for coffee.

Happy Mother's Day, Readers!



And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Friday, April 29, 2016

Trashcans and Tea Kettles

Morning Readers,

Do you ever get up in the morning and just find yourself thankful for making it through the weekend full of children and dogs?

But then you realize it's actually Friday, the week is almost over, and, really, you're about to charge into it all over again?

We have that in common then. Which, when you think about it, is better than having things in common with me, like the way I can take half a pound of Doritos and turn it into thirty pounds of fat, or the way I snort when I laugh.

Actually, I was informed, recently, I make a lot of sounds I'm not aware of. Frankly, it's probably been this way for years, but it's not until you get married and have someone committed to taking note of the horrible sounds you're emitting, you can really start to sketch out how disturbing the whole thing is.

It's a little disappointing. If I'd never gotten married, a perfect picture of myself would still sit securely in my head, a stunning Sleeping Beauty, never drooling or reaching out to slap at things in the dark that aren't there.

"I can't tell the difference between you and the dog."

Stunned and regretting asking why Husband was so tired, the only thing I could reply with was, "What?"

He yawned before he said, "Nothing personal, but when I'm listening for the dog at night, I fall asleep, wake up to him whining to go out, and then realize it's actually you making this weird noise through your nose."

"Oh."

"Nothing personal. But it's exhausting."

"I'm really sorry," I said. And I was sorry. Sorry I was not only ruining Husband's sleep, but that, apparently, I sounded like tea kettle at 2am. There were several explanations for this:

a.) Allergies

b.) I wasn't perfect

c.) Exhaustion from keeping the dog out of the trashcan

It was obviously "c". The Kellerman children's one, saving grace is their ability to stay out of the family trashcan. Possibly set things on fire?

Yes.

But my kids have an excellent record of not dumpster diving. No one eats things out of the trash pile or gleans things from the recycle bin. Every week, I burst with pride as I wheel our oversized bins full of undisturbed crap down to the corner for the trash man.

"Don't worry," I yell at the neighbors. "They didn't try to eat anything out of here even once. See you a the barbecue on Saturday."

When I'm at a social gathering, it's also a relief to be able to lead with this shining attribute. "Oh, well, it's great little Timmy joined student council, but do realize that none of my kids ate a sandwich out of the trashcan this week? There are winners, and then there are winners. Am I right?"

But Ned Yost is a different story.

The dog is a dumpster diver extraordinaire. Pizza, juice boxes, old diapers, it doesn't matter. I've spent the last week walking down to the kitchen and surveying a trail of trash from the island to the backyard, over and over again. Ever seen a dog eat a used diaper? You don't want to.

I thought that sort of thing was supposed to stay in my nightmares. Hyper-aware is more of an understatement at this point in my life. Where there was once a shining ray of sunshine that looked like Mrs. Jones being able to sit for a second on her own, there now sits a dog who's chewing half a discarded, over-cooked steak and washing it down with melted yogurt.

Does a blog count as an SOS? Or should I start spelling out HELP in milk jugs on the ground in the backyard?

You guys would come save me.

Right? The trashcan is hidden now, but it's only so long until he finds it.

So this is me signing off....



Until Next Time, Readers!

And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mrs. Jones and the Cactus Chase

I can't watch the puppy right now. I just put on my best, giant floppy hat.

Afternoon Readers,

How is everyone?

If you answered, "No getting the crap bitten out of me by a Labrador," then congratulations, you're about eight steps ahead of me both in life and chances of becoming a hand model.

I'm being maimed by puppy teeth. Shoes are being maimed by puppy teeth. My favorite sweater that makes me look like I own a yacht, boat shoes and a charming vacation home off the coast of Maine has been ravaged. Me no likey. If there's some sort of patron saint for people who aren't animal people but have to take care of animals all day, I hope they're listening. Because let's recap last week, shall we?

We shall.

But first, it's noteworthy the cast of characters has been tweaked. No, I didn't have another baby in last seven days, but the smallest Kellerman has finally earned somewhat of a permanent title, gifted to her by Doc, adopted by her mother, and used until she turns eighteen and refuses to speak to me anymore.

It started in the hospital.

"Mrs. Jones. But why Jones? Why not something interesting, like Piggle Wiggle or Barbara Walters?" I asked.

Doc looked at the new baby and back up at me. "Because her name is Jones," he said with the finality only a three-year-old commands. No negotiating. Just the facts.

And so it came to be that I set the baby down on Monday and gave her strict instructions not to go anywhere. "All right, Mrs. Jones. I'm going to take the dog out to potty. No rolling off the play mat. No scooting. Absolutely no miraculous walking behavior. I'll be right back. Two or three minutes, tops." I instructed.

Mrs. Jones smiled and hugged her beloved zebra, more intent on biting it's nose off than watching me struggle to get Ned Yost out of his kennel. I picked up the brown puppy and carried him outside, praying he wouldn't pee on me or wiggle so much I dropped him before we got to our designated poop zone in the yard.

"Ok, do your thing." I tapped my foot and waited. Thankfully, the little dog did his business without needing to be talked into it. While he finished up, I turned to look at the postman pulling away from the mail box. I turned back around. "Ok, let's g-"

But Ned was gone. I spun around a few times, calling his name and gesticulating at no one until I finally spotted him... in the neighbor's yard. This wouldn't have been so bad if:

A. The neighbor's had a way to access their yard by gate
B. Dog retrieval didn't require my thirty-one-year-old body to hop a fence as high as most fences found running along America's most beautiful prisons
C. There wasn't an inexplicable, giant patch of cactus growing just on the other side

"Ned! Ned, nooooo." But it was to late. The puppy charged, headlong, for the freakishly big group of prickly plants. "Stop. Stop right now." I shouted.

There have been two times in my life where I've been forced to engage in acts of valor. Once when I had to dive to save a perfectly-good ice cream sandwich from hitting the filthy carpet on a hot July day, and now this. I took a running start.

"Oomph." The fence hit me in the middle and got stuck on my baby gut. Like a maimed pole vaulter, I dragged myself over the iron rail and fell onto the other side. "Ned Yost, you get the hell out of there. You'll be covered in needles." Inching closer and nursing a bruised rib, I reached for the dog.

But I was too slow, a sure indicator of my lack of enthusiasm for cardio.

Ned shot back through the fence and headed for the far side of our yard. Taking another running start, I managed to clear the fence, catching my right boob on the aluminum, and sprinted after the animal who'd barged in on my life and was doing his best to make sure my calves looked amazing.

So close. The dog stopped at the edge of our yard just long enough to spot Salvador Perez, decide to pop through the fence, and chased the black cat around the garden and to the front porch.

I hit the lock on the gate and ran as fast as I could, no doubt letting the neighbors know they were lucky enough to be living next to woman who just barely had her life together.

Where were her kids?
Who gave her an animal?
Why was she wearing running shoes if she had a bumper sticker on her van that read, "If I'm running, it's because the zombie apocalypse has started"?

Gathering the last of my energy, I ran to the front porch and caught Ned by the butt and somehow pulled him to my chest. Breathing heavily, I limped us both back inside, where Mrs. Jones was crying pitifully into her play mat.

"Look, I found him."

More crying.

"I know you're upset. In baby time, fifteen minutes means you've been abandoned and have to raise yourself. But you really should've seen me clear that fence. Two parts horrifying. One part false hope."

Mrs. Jones wasn't keen on forgiveness, choosing instead to cry on my shoulder while my heart rate dropped to something that wouldn't kill me.

So that's pretty much where we're at. The baby has learned to resent me at five months old, and everything I own has teeth marks in it. But as long as I don't have to hurdle anything else in 2016, everything may be ok.

I hope.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go wash and stretch my sweater back into a human shape.


Until Next Time, Readers!



Like what you read here?  
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Fun of Being Completely Overwhelmed

If you're not following my friend, Lurk At Home Mom, you can do that here and thank me later. She just gets me, you know?

Morning Readers,

You know what pairs well with crippling self doubt?

Coffee.

Sometimes a Toblerone.

I've realized something about myself over the last week. Namely, my instincts regarding living creatures pretty much come to a screeching stop at babies. Oh, feed, clothe, change, and keep a baby happy? Check.
Figure out when a dog has to pee? ...Bueller.

The last ten days have been rough. There's really no other way to put it. I suppose I could wax all sunshine and rainbows, but where's the fun in that? Surely, pure elation lies in the details I need to relay, like watching the dog poop on the carpet over and over. Or maybe some poop in the kitchen. And the living room. Oh, and let's not forget the explosive diarrhea on the deck just now.  

(Gonna have to hose that one down. Or stain the whole thing brown. I'll have to check the budget for this year.)

Say what you want about babies, but can I get an 'amen' for diapers? It's more than a tad frustrating to be able to buy the Little Lady some nice size twos but not be able to wrap some extras around the dog. Put some Pampers on your Labrador, and all of the sudden you're the town crazy.

"Oh, Paige Kellerman?  One minute she was putting her dog in Huggies, the next, she was handing out pamphlets at the neighborhood barbecue, all about not really being out from under the shadow of the Y2K scare yet. She also ate all the potato salad that year."

The amount of times I've wandered around this week, with a baby under one arm and a puppy under the other, is staggering. Literally. That's a ton of weight to haul up all three flights of stairs in The Oak Palace. My calves look fabulous, but everything from the knees up is pretty rough. Meanwhile, Doc trots behind, asking my thoughts on the complexity of the week's installment of Power Rangers Dino Charge. Which doesn't bother me, I just wish I had more mental energy to commit to the complexity of the plot up to this point:

Will Shelby get together with Riley?
Where the hell is the missing intergem?
Is it ok for a thirty-something mom to have a thing for the Black Ranger? *folding laundry* "Ok, he's supposed to be sixteen, but the actor's really about twenty-seven. Not weird? Weird. Weirder that I Googled that. I've been staying home too long. Oh, there's that missing sock."

So, whereas I thought I'd be kicking off spring with many projects being undertaken and trying to figure out why we have ants the size of semi trucks roaming the halls, I'm containing yet more poop. There's also a smattering of...

Bills
Vacuuming
Wondering if I'll mop the floor in 2016
And trying to get the twins to the end of Kindergarten.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering what Kindergarten's been like so far, here's a snapshot.

Me: Time to rise and shine for school!

Sundance: No.

Butch: No

Me: Come on. Socks, shoes, outfits, breakfast. Move it.

Sundance: Life is hard and you're mean.

Me:  I am mean. Lucky for you, I retired from a life of knife fighting on the street to wash your socks instead.

Butch: I give up.

Me: Yes. Yes. Mommy did that years ago, but that doesn't mean we don't have to put on a fresh t-shirt and tackle the day. Kisses! I have to run down stairs and milk fresh Lucky Charms from the box for my babies.

Repeat scene endlessly.

School's almost over though, and the potential for having everyone home, chasing after the dog, and trying to paint the cabinets and all the woodwork in the Oak Palace white is looming.

Aren't you glad we get to spend the summer together?

That's what I thought. Pass the Toblerone.

Until Next Time, Readers!

 Like what you read here?  
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When You're In Over Your Head: Whatever Happened to Flea? Part II

Hide yo couches and hide yo electrical cords, because I'm eating everything up in here.

Morning Readers,

It was two in the morning when I got kicked in the face.

"What? What the hell is going on?"

Confused, I looked around and realized I was blind. No, not blind, but something was sitting on my head that was fat and wiggling around. It attempted to bite my nose off.

"Ouch! What? Why? Why are you doing that?" I hit the person next to me. "Wake up. He's eating my face. Wake up, right now. This was your doing, so I'm going to need you to intervene. And there goes my hair. He's going to drag me off this bed by my hair. Help me. Help. Me."

Groggily, Husband sat up and grabbed the chocolate Lab puppy off my face and plopped him down between us. "But he's really cute, right?"

I rubbed the spot where he'd bitten off half my ear. "Oh, he's cute all right. Cute enough to drive me frickin' nuts." Gingerly, I massaged the scratch marks on my left cheekbone. "Do you think this'll heal or should I buy one of those half masks like the Phantom of the Opera?"

With a grunt, the little, brown dog burrowed into the blankets and looked up at us, completely nonplussed. Husband patted him on the head then rolled back over. "He'll learn. And thank you, it means a lot to me. Really."

I punched the side of the pillow. "That's nice. But remember, I only do one favor a year requiring I be mauled in my sleep." Sighing, I rolled back over and tried to salvage some rest. Well, until I was woken up again at 3am, 4am, and 5am. Oh, and let's just throw in 6am too.

You may have guessed already, but I'm not an animal person. On a scale of animal cruelty to PETA, I fall at about an Owen Wilson in Marley and Me. I put up with them. They grow on me. Eventually I'm fairly attached and start asking them questions like, "How do I look in this dress?" Or, "If you were doing taxes, would this be a deduction?" So, no, I don't go search them out. Husband finds them and lovingly leaves them with me 24/7. Which is why, a week before Easter, he found me completely unamused in the kitchen, after work.

"You mean you're getting me a dog."

Husband shook his head. "Listen, it's a great idea. Me, you, the kids, he'll be for everyone. We can pick him up Saturday."

My hand spasmed and I dropped the ladle I was holding into the soup pot. "This Saturday? As in, the day before Easter?"

"Uh. Yes."

"That's the worst idea ever."

"It'll be fine."

"If by fine you mean celebrating the resurrection of the good Lord Jesus by potty training a puppy while I handle every other detail of getting ready for a family holiday, then, yes, it'll be fine."

"So, that's a yes?"

I tried again. "Hey, remember when we just had a baby four months ago?"

"Yep."

"That was fun. I think my c-section incision finally healed."

"Soooo... what do you think?"

And that's how Ned Yost came home. If the name sounds familiar, it's because Ned Yost is the manager of our beloved KC Royals. Unfortunately, all our Ned has manged, so far, is to keep us up at night and poop on everything we own. Right now, he's biting my wrist and making me reevaluate whether Husband I truly communicate or just mime suggestions at each other to see what sticks.

Yay.

Oh, and if you're wondering, Easter was pretty much what you'd expect. The dog didn't sleep, the Easter Bunny showed up, and I wore giant sunglasses to hide both under-eye circles and my many misgivings about life up to this point. Any spare time was spent eating chocolate and crying quietly.

But holla for Reeses egg season, amiright?

Lord help us all.


Until Next Time, Readers!




 Like what you read here?  
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Whatever Happened To Flea?

Creepy guys in bow ties bothering you? Forget the pepper spray and grab a Great Dane.

Morning Readers,

Those of you who've been hanging out with me here for the last few years are ridiculously smart. So chances are good you've wondered once or twice...

Whatever happened to the dog?

She has a dog, right?

No, Paige most definitely has a dog. It's in her blog description. It's literally designed into the header of the website. I'm not crazy.

Here's the thing. We got rid of Flea a long time ago.

(No, no, no. He's not dead. We both had strong personalities, but if someone was getting offed, he would've taken me out first. Hands down. Street fights between housewives and 100 lb Boxers tend to end that way.)

When we sold the Split Level, the dog was forced to find a new, temporary residence. The residence turned into a permanent residence, and the transition was made. But how did it come about? Well let's see. Somewhere between packing a billion boxes, watching three kids, meticulously cleaning the house so it would be ready to show, and the great flea epidemic of 2014, this happened.

"Out. I want him out."

Husband stopped chasing fleas with the wet mop long enough to stare at me. "What? Who? Are you talking to me?"

"No, you can stay." Shaking my head, I bent down to find an outlet. "Although, this whole thing is kind of your fault, so check with me after I finish vacuuming the stairs for the eighth time today."

He looked dumbfounded before he asked. "How? How is this my fault?"

I ticked the reasons off on my hand. "First, you talked me into the dog. Second, you named him Flea. Third, fully embracing the irony, you didn't treat him for one of nature's most disgusting insects, and now I'm sleeping with them. I found thirty-three of them in the sheets last night. Thirty-three! there's more action in that queen bed than a romantic comedy on acid."

Husband shrugged then lunged at a hopping, black mass by the dining room table. "It could've happened to anybody. I just forgot. Besides, Flea's a really good dog."

He was a really good dog. Mostly. Sure, the house was crawling with pestilence. And there were the times he ran right through the screen door. Oh, and the mud, and the howling when the baby was sleeping, and-

"He's got to go. At least for a little while. We'll never sell this house if I'm constantly fighting bugs and wiping up dog dirt off the kitchen floor. It's hard enough keeping the kids from dismantling the whole place, before the realtor gives me the five minute warning"

Husband was quiet for a minute before answered. "Ok. Just for a little while. I think someone can take him for a few weeks, and then we'll move him into the place."

I let out a relieved sigh and stamped two fleas, who were climbing the curtains, in celebration. "Great. Thank you."

"But it's just temporary."

"Absolutely."


And he never came back.

That sounds heartless, but the fact was, selling and moving took a lot longer than anticipated, and Flea just sort of got used to living with our friends. He was super happy, so why move him? All signs pointed towards a dog-free house and no more hair in every crevice of my life. After a year of settling in at the Oak Palace, things are finally on an even keel. No one barks at the mailman. A 100lb couch doesn't drag mud all over the living room after a storm. Dog farts are a thing of the past. Not to mention the food budget. Did you know that, if you eat Ramen forever, you can feed a small Boxer for 8,000$ a month?

But that was last week. This week, Husband marched into the kitchen, after work, and smiled the smile that usually disrupts my well-laid plans.

"So, I have an idea."

To be continued.....


Oh, and before I forget, if you're local to the Kansas City area, Husband and I will be The 5th Annul Chef's Classic on April 16th. So, if you're looking for an awesome date night and want to hang out, drink wine, and inhale fantastic food with me, go grab a ticket! (I'll try not to eat everything before you get there.)

http://www.spcatholic.org/ChefsClassic


Tickets are 50-100$ and give you a front row seat to watching some of KC's most notable chefs throw down for a great cause. I can't wait. Someone get me some brazed duck and a glass of wine stat.



Until Next Time, Readers!

Like what you read here?  
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on: