Thursday, December 1, 2016

I'd Buy That For A Dollar

Nothing to see here. Just burnin' a hole in your pocket, girl.

Morning Readers,

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?

As far as the Kellermans were concerned, it was another red letter holiday, trademarked by me eating too much, my kids not eating at all, and everyone complaining they were hungry at bedtime. I ventured out to exactly one Black Friday sale, and dragged a still-attached Mrs. Jones out with me so that everyone in the ridiculously long line could ask if she was a boy.

(This didn't anger me, as I'd been the one to zip her so totally into a hand-me-down boys hoodie, she resembled an androgynous, blue potato. Whatever it takes to get fifty-percent-off a coat.)

And while we're on the subject of deals, the drabness of winter is starting to rear its head, which means my dollar store roaming is in full swing. Some people are iffy about frequenting their local discount spot, but I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I probably think about it too much. As in...

Husband: Did you go to the grocery store?
Me: Uh, I ended up going to the dollar store.
Husband: But you were gone for three hours.
Me: You don't know my life.

At thirty-two, it takes a sizable effort to convince me to leave the house for any type of social engagement, but if you tell me I can wear my TOMs with the holes in both toes and we're going to go make it rain at Dollar General, suddenly, the world seems rife with possibilities. A delicious, bargain oyster.

Now, I'm not into public service announcements, per se, but if you've written off your local dollar store because it's probably just full of crap, I'm here to tell you...

It is!

But a lot of it's crap you can use, and I've spent a solid year experimenting with what happens to be safe crap, and crap that ends up shoved in a car's console. (That stuff's kind of awesome though. For instance, when risking your life by giving a hitchhiker a ride, it's always nice to break the ice with, "If you don't kill me, you can have the five, plastic wind-up dolphins I threw in my glove compartment.)

Paige's List of Useful Crap

1. Toilet Paper

This is entirely subjective, but my recent experience was good and two-ply. Husband had his doubts, but I switched his regular brand, while he wasn't looking, so all's well. I think. He looked at me suspiciously for a week but couldn't quite figure out what was going on. Who says 'no' to four rolls for a dollar? Not this girl.

2. Baking Utensils

Need a measuring cup? Spatula? Weird sifting thing for sifting stuff? Giiiiiiirl, if you got three dollars and some gas to get there, you could be channeling Ina Garten right now. Just make sure the milk you use is from quinoa-fed mountain goats who've been journaling their feelings on a consistent basis.

3. Wrapping Paper

Never. I repeat, NEVER buy wrapping paper, gift bags, or gift boxes from regular stores again. Once you buy your first gift box for a dollar, it's like the heaven's open and your veins are hit with some type of bargain opium.

Never mind, that was a terrible analogy. Don't use cheap opium. Or any opium really.

4. Decorations

My current addiction, grabbing seasonal decorations at Dollar Tree makes me almost as happy as the time I threw my winter boots in the washing machine, regretted it when the banging noises hinted the whole thing was going to explode, but all footwear ended up coming out intact and clean-ish. If you leave now, you can nab...

Christmas mugs
Garlands
Stockings
Door hangers shaped like snowmen who look so optimistic, you want to divulge your deepest fears just so they can soothe you into some sort of passive state, facilitating the purchase of even more garlands

I own so many fake poinsettias, it's clear I have a problem. I know it. The neighbors know it. More on that later.

5. Food Stuffs

This is tricky and requires a lot of trial and error. For instance, dollar candy is generally awesome and makes me fat like any other candy. However, cookies, chips, and beef jerky should be approached with caution. If you're like me and have a four-year-old, go ahead and let them try the jerky first. Doc still seems fit as a fiddle, so I may be able to add dried beef to my list of successes.

I could go on, but I won't. Surprisingly, this post isn't sponsored by a dollar store of any kind. I'm simply a woman who's found a nirvana of sorts and dug her way out of cheap paint brushes (did I mention those?) long enough to share her joy.

And now I'm off to drink coffee out of my $1 mug. 


Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Holiday Goals and A Giveaway from Basic Invite

(A beautiful card from Basic Invite) I'd love to do a card like this with husband, but we'd have to find an empty field to hide from the children in.

Morning Readers,

I hope everyone's in a veritable candy coma from yesterday. Is it possible to eat your weight in Reeses?

Because I ate twice that.

Which basically means I'm writing this post while my hands are shaking, but fear not because it's time to jump straight into the holiday season. No pressure, right? *sighs heavily and drools chocolate*

Sooo, it's around this time of year I make bold declarations. After pouring a hot cup of coffee, I gesture around to all my off-spring and say, "Stop hitting your brother." But follow up with, "This year, we're doing Christmas cards. We shall stand together as a family, smile, and spread our awkward Christmas joy."

Last year, Sundance was critical. "We are ?"

"Of course," I laughed.

"But we don't do that."

"Hush child."

"Well, we should. Other people do that."

"Ok, less feedback. More eating your Lucky Charms. Oh, and that milk's dual purpose. You can use it to wash down half this Pop Tart. I'm glad we're doing pictures and not a holiday letter to everyone about our eating habits. Merry Christmas, all the Kellermans have diabetes."

But...

Life gets in the way. I marvel at my friends and family who send out a beautiful holiday card every season, but I fail every, single time. I blame egg nogg. It makes me lazy. Also, organizing all my children into outfits not covered with food and then sifting through which ones won't scare the people I'm sending them to is overwhelming. Oh my gosh, and then I have to stop yelling long enough to put those cards in envelopes. Slowly. Curling. Into. Fetal. Position.

HOWEVER

This year is different. This year the good people at Basic Invite reached out to me and were all like, "Look at this vast array of wonderful products we offer. We even offer free samples and speak softly so we don't scare you off like a frightened deer."

https://www.basicinvite.com/


They dig this blog, but they also dig you and me because they're kicking off my season of giving things away by offering 25 FREE cards of your choice.

That's it. No strings attached. So, if you're like me and want to actually send fantabulous cards out this year, they've got you covered. No excuses, people. All you have to do is send them to your Great Aunt Jane who owns the dachshund farm in Wisconsin.

Another beautiful card you could send to Aunt Jane and her dachshunds.

What? Well, even if you're not doing holiday cards, you can use your winnings to get 25 beautiful...

Shower Invitations

Wedding Invitations and Announcements

Party Invitations

Or "Happy Half Birthday" cards for people you have a highly vested interest in

Basic Invite is also amazing because they offer 180 different color options to tweak your particular product, and 40 different color envelopes, so you can find just the right one. And remember, you can get a free sample before you commit, so you can neurotically pick out the right colors, just like me!

Y'all know what to do. Go get your Raffelcopter on. I'm off to steal Reeses from the four-year-old.


Until Next Time, Readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

How To Make A Festive Fall Wreath of Self-Loathing

It should come out looking something like this. Fun!

Morning Readers,

Sorry I haven't checked in for the last month or two, but I needed some time to feel sorry for myself. This was essential because, as we enter the season of being thankful, I try to make a point of carving out time to make sure I'm miserable.

Some people start putting out decorative gourds. I make festive wreaths of self-loathing and anxiety. Ever seen a mason jar filled with worries? Boom. Trademark that mother.

How did it start?

I can't pin point the exact date, but, for posterity's sake, let's say it was September 2nd. Traditionally, September 2nd isn't offensive, however, with a little tweaking, I can carefully mold any position on the calendar into twenty-four hours of irritation and inconvenience. I get into a funk sometimes. This happens to everyone, but, when given the opportunity to miserable, I like to really drive the point home.

What I don't do when I'm irritated and anxious:

Any type of self care
Work out
Smile at the mailman, unless he's delivering coupons for free burgers or custard
Leave my house
Type happy things on the internet

Election season got ya down? Impending cold weather a reminder you hate gloves? Can't handle the fact Thanksgiving is around the corner and the only thing you're thankful for is blankets you can crawl under to hide from the world?

I've got you covered. One spare afternoon, and you, too, can build your own decorative wreath. 

Supplies Needed: Hot glue gun

Let's go!

How To Make A Festive Fall Wreath of Self-Loathing

Step 1.

For a good, sturdy base, make sure you begin this project without any gratitude whatsoever. I like to start by weaving together zero optimism with the bleakest outlook on life I can muster.

Step 2.

As you braid your terrible attitude into a fun circle, try to add some anger on every third pass. If you're having trouble coming up with things to be angry about, here are some suggestions:
  • Everyone in the world has more stuff than you do
  • Everyone has a cleaner/nicer house than you
  • No one has problems as bad as yours
  • Everyone always has a good hair day and you perpetually look like Helen Hunt in the last scene of Twister. Except girlfriend's hair didn't look that bad at the end, and her abs were totally on point. Ugh. Be angry about that. Be angry at Bill Paxton too.
Step 3.


Having woven a great base, it's time to get out that hot glue gun and start adding a layer of resentment. I prefer leaves and vines made from ill-will I've gathered from the internet.
Fun tip: The internet is a fantastic place to grab discounted irritation and 50% off indignation.

Step 4.

Carefully overlap and hot glue the leaves and vines to give your wreath a look of robust sadness. Watch out. If you don't add enough resentment, the wreath starts to look sparse and lets gratitude show through the holes. Hideous. How are you going to Pin that?

Step 5.

Head back to the internet. It's time to gather accent pieces. (My fave part!) In some other wreath-making tutorials, I've seen crafters add flowers or decorative wheat. I prefer to add berries of jealousy and despair. Specifically, head over to Instagram and peruse how others live their lives. Some types of accent pieces that worked for me in the past are:
  • Realizing everyone's makeup always looks perfect and I never have the time to put any on
  • Admitting I'm the only person in the word who's not a size two
  • Coping with the fact that, with the exception of my own kids, every child in the world is impeccably styled 
  • Accepting the hard truth that everyone in the world is rich
  • Making peace with the sad reality every other person on the planet is on vacation in the Bahamas, except me
Step 6.

This is the critical step of choosing the focal point for your wreath. Remember, the right object can make or break all your hard work, so pick wisely. This season, I tried to focus on the fact I wasn't doing or achieving enough. Crafter's Monthly said this was more indicative of the 2015 craft season, but I say go with your gut. Things I used as my focal point included:
  • Reminding myself I'm thirty-two and haven't done anything groundbreaking, like discovering a cure for a disease or winning the Nobel Prize for literature
  • Worrying I don't parent nearly as well as other parents and becoming positive I'm ruining all my children in some way I'm not sure of yet (have narrowed this down to more affection/less affection/more time helping with homework/less time with homework to inspire independence/ yelling less/yelling more to prevent death on part of people who climb and fall off everything
  • Accepting that every other human has a beautifully decorated house, while I'm on my third month of painting kitchen cabinets, my linoleum is curling, and hand prints cover our walls from ceiling to floor
  • I have split ends
Step 7.

Now that your wreath is done, make sure not to hang it on the front door. Let it sit inside your house and gather  dust. Showing it to other people might lead them to comment on it and bring up their own wreaths. Downer, right?

Right.

BUT, now that I'm done making crafts, it's time to head into the holiday season and get some great posts up on this here blog. I've got fantastic giveaways coming up, and I'm all about giving you guys free stuff before Santa season.*

*Will not be giving away any wreaths



 Until Next Time, Readers!


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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ned Yost Sort of Wants To Live Here

Ned Yost before he gained eight-hundred pounds. He ate those glasses before he ate the rest of the house.

Afternoon Readers,

"Your dog spent all day trying to escape."

The neighbor laughed while he said it, but as I tried to keep Mrs. Jones from leaping to her death on the patio, I also searched desperately for humor amid the chewed-up garden hose and a Barbie doll with no legs. "Did he?" I yelled back across the fence.

He nodded. "Yep. He nudged the lock on the fence for about twenty minutes. For a minute, I thought he had it. That dog's really something."

"He's something, all right. Thanks for telling me."

"Good luck!"

"Luck has nothing to do with it," I mumbled. "We're gonna need an exorcist."

Ned Yost, as it turns out, is a little more than we bargained for.

Ok, a lot more.

Getting a puppy is kind of like playing the lottery. You either win and the dog you picked out grows more or less to expectation. OR, the creature you bought on Craigslist ends up weighing eight hundred pounds and eats your oven. There's not really an in-between, at least where the Kellermans are concerned.

Flea literally gave us fleas. Ned Yost is literally giving me a nervous breakdown. And Husband needs to quit giving me animals. Especially animals who, unfortunately, are too smart for their own good. Someone should've warned me chocolate labs....

Eat everything not nailed down
Eat everything that's nailed down
Eat actual nails

That's correct. All worldly possessions the Kellerman children see fit not to break, Ned Yost trots behind and ingests. That leaves Husband and I with exactly one pair of socks each and a 401k we're hoping the dog doesn't figure out how to log into. I've stopped waiting for the sun to wake me up, and, instead, listen for one of the children to shout, "Ned ate your mascara, Momma. How you gonna look pretty?"

I'll never look pretty again, children.

This is due to the fact, when he's not eating dryer sheets, the dog is thinking up ways he can escape the yard and and run toward freedom. Possibly the cat. No one's sure on this particular point because we don't know it's happened until it happens. And, by that point, I have a beleaguered old woman on my porch, trying to wrestle a muscular, Hershey-bar-colored lab up the porch steps. Last night wasn't any different.

"Oh. Hi, Sue."

"He got out again."

I shifted Mrs. Jones to my opposite hip and surveyed the situation. My small, greying neighbor looked like she'd just done a steeple chase and hit every ditch on the way down. Hair stuck out all over her head, and little beads of sweat trembled and splashed on the doorstep. "You took little bit to open the door. Everything ok?"

Quickly, I reached out and grabbed Ned by the collar, before I apologized. "Sorry. The baby was trying to base jump from the top of the stairs. I only have a few rules in life, but catching my offspring first and answering the door second is a non-negotiable."

Relieved, the little woman slumped against the house. "Can he jump the fence now?"

"I hope not."

"But you're not sure?"

"The only thing I'm sure of is that the baby is eating the credit card bill behind me. Thanks, Sue. We'll work on it."

Either the dog was getting the locks open or jumping fairly tall fences. Both options lacked appeal, but I decided to brief Husband about it the next day.

"Our dog's a menace to society."

Husband nodded sympathetically yet didn't pack the dog up and adopt him out immediately.

"He's getting out a lot."

"Mmm hmm."

"We need to tie everything shut or build him some sort of fiberglass cag-"

But that thought was interrupted by two loud thuds and a squeal. Three seconds later, glass tinkled on the ground as Ned Yost came flying into the house through the basement window.

Husband ran downstairs. "What the hell?"

I turned back to the stove and poked at almost-cooked hot dogs. "So, as I was saying. Maybe we enlist him in the Navy and see if they can straighten him out."

The moral of the story here is that we don't need anymore animals. Gerbils or hamsters might be ok, but even then. Are they good with locks?

So it's settled. We need a hamster.

Or a gerbil.

Or an exorcist.


Until Next Time, Readers!



                                                                  Buy Some Beer!
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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Going Rate of A Tooth Fairy


Morning Readers,

Ok, now that summer break has come to a close, let's get everyone up to speed, shall we?

If you want to take a few minutes to clap over the fact I got together all the necessary items to successfully usher the twins into first grade, go ahead. I'll wait. No one's more shocked than I. Then again, if you saw a confused-looking woman throwing thirty boxes of crayons into her cart, while she shouted, "Finders keepers, Donna," last week, perhaps you're already current.

When I wasn't hoarding three hundred erasers, the last few weeks revolved around keeping up with the many needs of the Kellerman children.

(Four-to-one is tricky odds when you're a parent. Yes, my capacity to love has expanded impressively, but holding a baby while all three of the others mutiny over a sudden outage of off-brand frosted flakes lacks a certain appeal. I've learned to hum Amazing Grace and throw slices of bread at them until they retreat back to the Lego table.)

Other Things We've Been Up To:

Painting the outside of the house
Painting the inside of the house
Painting the kitchen cabinets
Mentally painting a future where I don't paint anymore

Now that I'm not largely pregnant this year, home improvement is the name of the game. Well, that and lost teeth. Sundance recently poked her front, bottom tooth, declared that it hurt, and quickly realized it was a money-making situation.

"My first tooth is falling out. This means the Tooth Fairy owes me a dollar."

I nodded. "True. Let me look at it."

She crept closer. "Don't rip it out."

"Hmm, the only reason I got out of bed today was to torture a six-year-old, but ok. Huh, it looks like your new tooth is coming in behind the old one. That's different."

"How diff'rent?"

I Googled quickly and got my answer. "No worries. It says here it's called a "shark tooth." So the good news is it's normal. The bad news is you're half shark."

Sundance wiggled her tooth back and forth. "No, that's good news. I've always wanted to be part shark."

"Well, it's settled then. When it falls out, you put your tooth under your pillow, and, after that, we'll release you back into the ocean."

"Mom."

"What?"

Later that week, Sundance, through unexplained circumstances, managed to misplace her newly-extracted tooth. Because she's understanding, it fell to me to write a quick note to the Tooth Fairy explaining the situation. It was placed carefully under Sundance's pillow, after which, everyone went to bed and waited.

"Morning, Daddy! Look what the Tooth Fairy left me."

Husband looked down at what the little girl was waiving up at him. Then he looked over at me. "A five?"

I cleared my throat. "I'm just as shocked as you," I said.

"Are you?"

"Absolutely. I have a few theories though. First of all, it's been years since either of us lost a tooth. Inflation probably has a lot to do with it. I think I got fifty cents, but that was in 1990, and I think we can all remember what car phones were doing to the economy."

"Mm hmm."

"Besides that," I took a sip of coffee and thought about it, "There's a very high probability the Tooth Fairy is a woman who doesn't feel comfortable going into a gas station at two in the morning to get ones."

"So she forgot to get change?"

"It's a tough job."

All this to say, the Tooth Fairy set the bar pretty high for anyone else who loses their first tooth. Because we made it very clear that a five dollar bill generally appears for a first tooth, but not for teeth which fall out in quick succession.

Then again, if the Tooth Fairy has anymore painting to do, the fumes might cause her to accidentally leave a twenty next time. Who knows? 



Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

If He's Smart, The Salesman Never Rings

Unless you're giving away free tiaras or babysitting, I'll have to pass.

 Morning Readers,

I know you tuned in today to hear rational commentary about the world at large, but what if we started with Rice Krispies and anxiety instead?

Great!

First off, the limited edition red, white, and blue Rice Krispies are fantastic. They don't taste any different, but if you swirl your spoon just fast enough, it's a crackly milk tornado of Americana. Two thumbs way up.

Now then, have I ever told you what happens when you ring my doorbell?

Growing up, I had neighbors who owned a rat terrier who, every time the doorbell rang, threw herself right at the glass storm door. It was terrifying, but she was just super duper excited to see whoever was there. I'm the opposite of that.

Salesman? Neighbor? Ax Murderer? How's a girl to choose?

I wear crippling anxiety like a suit, so standing inside the coat closet and evaluating my options usually sounds fine. Because, in the end, people ringing my doorbell during the day are almost always salesmen, and I know what's coming next.

"Mom. Mom, open the door. There's a guy out there, Mom."

"I know."

"He can see you. Even if you're laying on the floor."

"Go upstairs, child, and leave me be."

"It's ok, I'll open it for you. Hi! My mom's hiding behind the door. What's your name?"

My whispered, "Sh*t" is carried off on the wind as I push the door open and the offending child behind me. "Can I help you?"

Last Friday found me staring at a clearly-exhausted young man sweating profusely in the July sun. I felt bad for him. Poor lamb thought he was there to sell windows. He didn't even see the attack coming.

"Hi there. Are you the lady of the residence?"

"I run this nut house, yes."

He smiled. "Great. You see, we're having a sale on windows. I noticed that some of yours are a little, uh.. "

"Yes, that's duct tape." I nodded quickly. "Well, it's very nice of you, but we're not doing windows this yea-" Before I could finish, children started leaking out behind me like an oil spill.

"Mom, who's this?"
"Is he here to make dinner? I'm hungry."
"Yeah, did you know she only feeds us sometimes?"
"Can I see your clipboard? I'll draw a camel on it for you."
"Here, I'll take all those papers. I need to decorate my dollhouse."

Desperately, I reached behind me and tried to shove three kids back through the door, while the baby, suspicious I was about to sell her for some new double-panes, clawed her way up my shoulder and tried to throw herself down the other side.

The poor window man looked around, quickly realizing he was being closed in on from all sides. "Are- are they all yours?"

I thought about it. "They are. I'm not real quick to claim the one trying to untie your shoes though. I mean, he looks like us, but he's a bit of a loose cannon right now."

The salesman looked past me and peered into the house timidly.

I laughed. "There aren't anymore in there."

"No?"

Shaking my head, I took the flyer the man was absently holding out for me while he watched all three of the older kids race down the driveway and look for a way to climb into the storm drain. "No, but I have a neurotic dog who'd love to come out and tell you his problems. How much time do you have?"

The man smiled politely and peered sideways. "My name is Mark, by the way. If- if you ever need anything, the number's on the card. We can come out and quote you. I can see you have-"

"My hands full? Or kids falling into the sewers? Either or, thank you so much for popping by. I'll keep you guys in mind for next year. If you have to head out, I totally understand. But if you want to stick around, I'm going to tie a rope around my waist and jump down in there to pull everyone out. I could really use someone to hold the other end."

"No, it's ok."

"You sure?"

But he was already speeding down the street.

I yelled for down the driveway. "Ok, everyone out of there. Head to the backyard so I can hose you off."

I'm not sure how many years I have left of Kellerman children rushing anyone who comes to our door, but it is what it is. In the meantime, I'll be anxiously waiting for the doorbell to ring again, drinking coffee, and making Rice krispy tornadoes.

Because they really are delightful.


Until Next Time, Readers!




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

Friday, July 15, 2016

It's A Dressing Room, Baby

"I'll take that roll of trash bags and maybe a belt to define my waist."

Morning Readers,

Has summer consumed you yet?

I finally waved my flag of surrender and allowed swimming, random tasks, and wondering how weeds can kill all your fresh grass and crawl up to the front door take over my very act of being.

Oh, and Netflix. Netflix is my life.

Do I want to watch another episode? Is the Pope Catholic?

Melting into that type of laziness is only difficult when I have to suddenly pull myself out and do things like clothe myself. Which was recently the case when Husband and I received a wedding shower invitation and I realized the nearest thing I had to formal wear was some maternity leggings and a top that had fallen on the closet floor and was being used as a rug.

A shopping trip was in order. I was sad I didn't actually own a rug.

Sometimes I think I'm still pretty young. In my mind, I'm about twenty-two. I look twenty-two. Sound twenty-two. And then I have to take my baby dress shopping and realize I'm actually none of these things.

Having to haul around an eight-month-old velcro baby who can't be left at home is literally the quickest way to help remind you that you're thirty-two and the lines between your eyes are going absolutely nowhere but deeper. Hauling that same baby through racks of clothes and younger girls is also a good reminder that:
  • You now think most clothes are stupid.
  • There's a drastic lack of clothes for women who've had three c-sections and still have some loose fat they need to tuck into extra pockets.
  • An actual twenty-two-year-old sounds nothing like you. Like a baby deer, she is just learning to walk and chew gum at the same time. You wonder if the gum chewing keeps her forehead line-free.
Nevertheless, with Mrs. Jones on my hip, I foraged through countless stacks of tops, fleets of pants, and dresses that weren't dresses at all, but something unattractively named a "romper" and marketed to grown women who have mortgages. While the baby waved at people, I held things up.

"What about this?"

"Baaa."

"I don't know. It might be a halter top."

"Ma?"

"You're right. I need something closer to an actual horse harness to keep all this in check. If you can stay awake, maybe we'll pop by that western store on the way back. What about these pants?"

"Baba."

"Exactly. I'd look like a poorly tailored clown. Then again, I'm not sure what people's expectations of me are these days."

Mrs. Jones contented herself by grabbing at everything she could get her chubby paws on. Between extracting hoop earrings from her fist and gazing longingly at discount pajamas, I managed to pile several potentially unoffending dresses on my free arm and march to the dressing room. But I stopped short...

What was the proper protocol for bringing a baby in a dressing room?
Maybe I traded her to the attendant for a plastic number to hang on the door.
How long could the attendant sort rejected clothes and let Mrs. Jones slap her in the face though?

Unfortunately, I needed to make a hasty decision and buy something right away, so there was no getting around it. Hitching Mrs. Jones up on my hip, I grabbed the plastic number between my teeth and kicked open the first door the disinterested girl pointed at. "Well, here we go." I yelled.

No one intervened as I hung up my haul and looked around for a place to put the baby. "Where do you want to sit?" I asked. "This questionable corner or that questionable corner?"

The baby, seeing only wide open, unexplored space, was kind enough to gravitate toward the dirty concrete area that held only one used band aid and a shockingly-large piece of lint. The rest of the experience was pieced together by anyone waiting outside.

"Nope, don't eat that bandage."

"Is.. is this a corset?"

"Here, dig through my purse. It's better than picking up hepatitis."

"Hmm, this could work. But I'd need a sewing machine to fix the front and a flame thrower to fix the back."

"Where'd you go?

"There you are. There's only one bench in here. Didn't think you could disappear under it."

"Ok, I guess I'll take this one."

Semi-triumphant, I paid for my pick and, the next day, shoved myself into it with minimal tears. Husband was ready to start the car by the time I made my way down the stairs. "How do I look?"

He smiled. "Beautiful. What is it?"

"It's a romper. I wanted to feel like a toddler but also have the satisfaction I can drive myself places and do taxes."

"I see. I thought it was a dress."

"That's how they get you."

And so we headed out for the night. My purse on one arm and Mrs. Jones on the other. Just a woman, her velcro baby, and a romper.


Until Next Time, Readers!



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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mrs. Kellerman's Summer Camp For Bored Children

"Ok, campers. Who wants to earn their anxiety badge?"

Morning Readers,

Summer pretty much has me by the horns.

Between keeping my pack of kids afloat at the pool and screaming at the dog to stop throwing himself against the back door like some sort of mental patient trying to break in, I may be losing my mind just a tiny bit.

And while we're on the subject, WHY?

Why do dogs do that? Like Flea before him, Ned Yost grabs every opportunity to take a running start and slam his entire weight into the glass like the Zombie Apocalypse has started and I've left him to make a last stand against the undead.

(More on that as I lose all rational thought. Feel free to email me answers. Or adopt my Labrador. Whatever.)

One month in to the hottest season of the year, and it's starting to seem like I run some sort of deranged summer camp for people who are related to me.  Let's count the ways, shall we?

1. Activites Start At Dawn

I don't have anyone who can play a bugle, but the baby yelling unintelligible baby things before the sun's up suffices. Put those shorts on. Brush those teeth. Grab that screaming ball of fat, toss her a bottle and get ready to start another day.

I try to whisper the camp motto to myself before grabbing my lanyard. "Camp Kellerman, we love thee. Where laughter turns to tears, and everything's covered in pee."

2. The Mess Hall

Great! Just in time for some vittles. Unfortunately, there's no camp chef because that's me. And I can't cook. Instead, I yell, "Children, report to breakfast. I'm about to make it rain Pop Tarts. Take some extra for your fanny packs and let's hit this day like a mallet on croquet ball."

The baby's on dish duty because that's what happens when you wake me up at 5am. "Not walking is no excuse for not pre-rinsing the glasses," I say pointedly

3. Crafts

When you run a summer camp, there has to be some type of craft. Corn husk dolls, yarn bread boxes, it really doesn't matter. I try to get creative and let the kid's imagination take the lead. I feel sorry for people who don't have children who can turn five rolls of toilet paper into spackle and make a towel into toilet paper instead.

Sunday's activity of cutting all the socks in half to make gloves was also a huge hit.

*Stay tuned for a donation link at the end to fund new socks for Fall 2016.

4. Water Sports

Everything at Camp Kellerman is perpetually covered in water, so why not make it interesting? Sundance came up with this week's latest:

"We're doing a pool party."

"Where?" I ask hopefully.

"In my bedroom. It's all wet."

"Next to breakable electronics and outlets, I assume?"

"Uh huh."

"Super."

5. Sleep With One Eye Open

Ahh, pranks, one of camp's oldest traditions. The fabulous thing about Camp Kellerman is the certainty of being ambushed, anytime, anywhere. This is an area where Doc truly excels. This year, he's earned badges for:

Painting the bathroom wall in toothpaste

Turning on the garbage disposal and giving me a heart attack

Unloading an entire chess set into the air vent. Checkmate, indeed.

Winning most precocious three-year-old with lines such as, "Sometimes I like you. But sometimes I don't."

6. Nature's Toilet

Sometimes you have to rough it. Sometimes you pee in the backyard, despite extremely accessible plumbing. My apologies to the garbage man who was flashed this week. There was an emergency camp meeting after this particular incident.

7. Homesickness

I miss being somewhere else but I'm not sure where that is, yet.

8. Camp Counseling

Many grievances were aired this week....

Me: So you say he punched you in the face. How do you feel about that?

Camper: I flushed his Legos down the toilet.

Me: Ok. Let's address the aggression, right after I go find ladle we don't need.

Camper: Sorry. I probably shoulda just pushed him down the stairs.

Me: Can I interest you in making a yarn breadbox instead?

9. Whistle Blowing

I don't technically have a whistle, but when I yell enough, it turns into kind of a whistling wheeze everyone stops listening to. Two gasps means I'm dying.

10. It's Still Fun

No schedule for three months and days full of possibilities aren't the worst. Camp Kellerman is a hot mess, but this counselor kind of likes it that way.

Except the dog part.

That might kill me.


Until Next Time, Readers!


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

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Mama Duck

"Oh hey, Jane. I wish I could go shopping, but I'm taking the kids to the pool because I enjoy giving myself a massive coronary."

Afternoon Readers,

It's that time again.

Along with the heat, my children's desire to go to the public pool has escalated, and there's no getting around it. The good news is this particular activity is slightly less horrific than standing outside in your underwear.

But it's pretty much the same thing. And after four kids, standing around with strangers, in the equivalent of a leotard, fails to inspire the same excitement as it did when my abs were in the middle of my body and I didn't have a stretch mark that kind of looks like the word, "sad," when I try to reach things above my head.

But we did it. Yesterday, I managed to take all Kellermans to the pool and back.  Unfortunately, taking four kids to the pool is a little different than my previous years with two and then three. For quick reference, here are all the steps I used to do it.

1. Find swimsuits for five people.

2. Put sunscreen on all four kids. Forget to put it on yourself because you're still trying to find swim suit trunks for the kid shouting, "Now I can't go because you didn't buy me a suit. Why do you hate me more than the other kids?"

3. Remember that the baby's bald and rub some sunscreen into the back of her head. You don't need her looking like Ed Asner with second degree burns.

4. Spend most of the morning packing towels, snacks, swim diapers, goggles, phone, wallet, extra flip flops, and pool toys. Shoot to leave at 12:30pm.

5. Make sure everyone's gone to the bathroom. Hauling your entire family into the wet pool bathroom is about as fun as pulling a hot pan out of the oven with your bare hands.

6. Get everyone to the car and buckled in. It's now 1:30pm. On the way, answer questions about why birds can fly and what the end of the world will look like. Maybe it'll be today. Then you won't have to go stand around in wet spandex.

7. Park, unload everyone, and enjoy the stares as you get up all in the pool's business. Once you enter the four kid range, looking like a duck with a line of ducklings behind you is a given. Shout things in random directions, like, "They're all mine. Thought I'd kill some time this afternoon by giving myself crippling anxiety related to keeping four humans above the water. Is that deck chair free? Great."

8. Instead of relaxing in any sort of capacity, spend the entire time counting heads like you work in a lettuce packaging facility.

9. Take the time to lose track of each child, at least once.

10. Have a heart attack.

11. Try to make small talk with other parents but sound like you have tourettes instead.

"Your baby is so cute. How old is- Hey! Hey don't wander off! Sorry, the three-year-old is climbing the lifeguard stand. So you cloth di- For the love of all that's good and holy, don't hold your sister's head under the water. Sorry, what was your baby's name, again? Quinoa? Oh. James. Right. Wait, did you see where any of my kids went? Haha... summer, am I right? Gotta go."

"What was that?"

"Oh, we had all these kids because we hate low blood pressure. Same reason I have mixed feelings about oatmeal."

12. Hand out snacks. Coral thirty wrappers, even though you only brought twelve packages of fruit snacks.

13. Stay for fifteen more minutes because of hysterical requests.

14. Pack everyone up five minutes later because they thought about it some more and the water's really cold and the baby's trying to fall asleep in the wading pool.

15. Desperately try to leave with everyone and everything you arrived with. Plan to do it again tomorrow.



Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer Break Update: Birds


Morning Readers,

I hope you guys had a wonderful weekend. We spent the holiday baptizing Mrs. Jones and letting the rest of the children drink a case of 7Up. After which, Doc went out and baptized the dog in lemon/lime soda.

Whether the spirituality of the baby or the dog has increased remains to be seen.

With the twins out of school and the weather steadily warming up, summer break is now in full swing. This requires me to adjust and mold our day into a completely different schedule, where I'm mostly on the offensive, while the children and Ned attack me from all angles.

"Mom, I need toilet paper."

"Mom, he punched me in the face and I felt it this time."

"Mom, you said the popsicles were for breakfast. You just have a bad memory cause you're old."

*The baby grabs two hand fulls of my hair and does a Double Sow Cow backwards*

*Ned Yost throws all leftover bowls of cereal and milk against the wall and looks at me like I'm the idiot.*

Maybe I am the idiot. Good mothers who birth multiple children arrange copious activities to keep those children out of jail during the summer. But, as I type this, I realize Ned just dragged a mouse inside and is currently eating it on the living room floor, in front of me. Nature derails my plans again. Please hold for mouse removal.

(Insert retching noises of your choice)

Ok, the mouse is back on the lawn. You know, for someone who can't deal with animals, I attract a stunning amount of them. The mouse was simply one in a long line of creature ordeals that is slowly firing itself up for the warm months. I wish I could simply tag and bag everything that came scurrying my way, but last week proved this season may be a bit more formidable.

"Mom?"

"What?"

Sundance looked me over. "Have you ever noticed that there's a bird upstairs?"

During spring, I tend to keep the windows open so the fresh air can get in and my screaming at the children can get out. Unfortunately, this also increases the probability of sparrows.

I stopped washing dishes. "Where?"

She pointed enthusiastically. "There. Where the boys are trying to get it with the broom at the Swiffer."

The boys, both perched precariously at the top of the stairs, were eagerly trying to coax a frantic bird from the top of the molding by swinging at it in various threatening ways. Doc whacked my bedroom door deafeningly in a failed attempt, before he shouted, "Come on down, bird. We won't hurt ya!"

I could tell the bird had its doubts.

Shushing everyone, I snatched the broom, cooed softly, and oh so carefully shooed the bird down and out the door. Or I would have, if it hadn't suddenly gone insane. "Everyone get down! Get down and cover your eyes. We only have insurance for glasses, not eye reconstruction."

I threw my body over the nearest child and ducked, while the frantic sparrow slammed into every angle of the hallway, like a feathery ping pong ball.

"Mom, get it!"

"She's too slow."

"It's cause she can't run good."

Recovering, I charged down the hallway, broom in hand, and followed the crazed animal through the upstairs and into the boys bedroom. Where it proceeded to bang into every window, knock itself unconscious, and fall behind the bunk bed.

"Is it dead?" The children asked in unison.

Channeling my inner Jack Hanna, I ran downstairs, grabbed a container with a lid, and pulled back the mattress ever so slowly.

"Ahh! It's alive!"

The bird charged right at my face, giving me two seconds to deflect it with my plastic bowl. Beak met Gladware in a terrifying staccato of sorts, and then he was in the closet next to the sock basket. "Nobody move," I whispered.

Like a lioness in ill-fitting Champion running shorts, I crouched, hesitated, and pounced.

I also may have peed myself a little.

By some miracle, I managed to trap the sparrow and throw the lid on. The children ran behind me as I hauled the now insane ball of feathers down the stairs and out the door. He was released unceremoniously.


I don't think I can take anymore nature, you guys. And it's only June 1st. I'm not sure if I have it in me to trap another animal. So if it's something like a squirrel next time, I'll probably just throw 7Up at it and go hide in my room.

Until Next Time, Readers!





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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!

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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!



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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!

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