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."


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.



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!

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