Friday, December 28, 2012

There will be Christmas Posts...

Never Fear! But right now I want to blog about something else!!!! For one of Butch Cassidy's Christmas presents from us, I chose The Dangerous Book For Boys.... Which sounds like I may be handing the explosives to the mad scientist, but it teaches and explores so many topics that every boy should know that I wanted him and Sundance to have it. BC had been fascinated with it! He's been wanting to read about the solar system, learn how to tie various knots, hoping that his daddy, Ace, or one of his grandfathers will build the traditional go-cart for which it gives building instructions and so much more. Yesterday, he approaches me at a very busy moment (what part of my day isn't busy????) and wanted me to help him make the awesome paper airplane that's in the book. I put him off for about an hour and finally, he looked at me and said, "You know, you would really have fun learning this, too. This book is amazing." So I begrudgedly sat down and started reading the instructions with him on how to make the various airplanes... And we learned how to make a seriously fast and cool airplane. And I had fun. I just have to remind myself he will remember and appreciate this kind of stuff, even though it's also important for me to get housework done. It's also not just important for him... It's important for me to have fun and play, too. And enjoy my kids rather than just working to keep their physical needs met. Today he wanted to make a paper Hat described in the book, and I immediately took him up on it. We really need newspaper to make the correct size to fit his head... The construction paper yielded a hat that looked more like Robin Hood's hat.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Old Fashioned Christmas and Carriage Ride

The Herd, Ace and I decided to still meet my parents, grandparents, brother, aunt and Miss Judy, who has taught me a lot of things over the years in the way of social graces, even though A) The boys were grouchy and tired from their adventure in the country and lack of sleep/ being at an arts and crafts camp all day B) LLL not feeling well from her vaccinations and teething AND the fact that the dinner began at her usual bedtime C) we knew traffic would be a nightmare .... And yet we pressed on and went, and I am so glad we did. It was a great time of visiting, eating, and semi-subdued kids from being exhausted. One of my favorite waiters made the most incredibly awesome childproof/spill- resistant cups I've ever seen. I'm including a picture of it here. LLL ate her weight in carrots and sweet potatoes.... I hope her little nose doesn't turn orange! And she yelled at everyone who walked by to get their attention, or if I wasn't putting bites if food in her reach quickly enough. Wild, that one is, truly. After eating, the children's got to see Santa again, and I escorted the older three kids on the horse-drawn carriage ride. The Princess giggled with delight the entire ride, and proclaimed that she was "born for this". I guess I should've brought her a Tiara. Butch Cassidy kept pointing out different star constellations and planets in the sky to me and Sundance made shivery sounds under his blanket and kept telling the horse to "get a move on" and something about warp speed. We piled everyone in the Herdmobile (which I have festively decorated with window antlers and a puffy red nose on the grill) and the oldest three were asleep within 5 minutes. Unbeknownst to me, Sundance had planned ahead by packing a pillow and blanket for the 20 minute ride home (see pictures). Sweet exhaustion. I am having so much fun watching them enjoy this stuff and hope they will have great memories.

Christmas Parties Galore!!!

Following Wednesday's exciting quest for a tree, both boys had their school Christmas parties. Poor Butch Cassidy's class has me for the Room Mom, but I did the best I could to have a fun party for them.... With a LOT of help from other Kindergarten parents. A monsoon-style deluge hit us the morning of the parties, but thankfully I didn't drown in the Target parking lot. I am so thankful that my boys both have wonderful, caring teachers and such sweet little friends in their classes. I brought Holiday themed Placemats for them to color and decorate after they ate their party food, and it was a blast to see all of the different ways the kids decorated the snow people on theirs. Some of the girls went as far as drawing ballgowns, jewelry, hairdos and long fingernails on their snowfield, while others concentrated on keeping their coloring very neat and traditionally colored. Sundance's class had a great time, too, and Ace helped by swapping classrooms with me so we could both spend time with both boys. After the boys came home, they got to go back down to the farm with Gigi and Poppy to decorate the country house and the tree. They also are supper at Red's Little Schoolhouse. It turned into a slumber party with all four of them sleeping in the same room with two double beds. From what I was told, there was much midnight laughing and whispering among the four of them and the two dogs, Molly and Goldie. Goldie kept visiting both beds and Butch Cassidy discovered the wonderful joy of snuggling up with a pup. He can't wait to have a dog of his own to snuggle with.... Or ten as he proposed. The next morning they got up and did a little tractor work and ate breakfast at the Tin Top again. More later on the marathon of fun that continued on Friday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Old Christmas Treeeeee....

Where on Earth are you ?! Today, I opted to allow the boys and Princess skip school to accompany me, LLL and my parents, known to the kids as Gigi and Poppy, down to the family ranch out in the country to select a perfect Christmas tree from the wooded acreage. Poppy had been scouting out the property for a few weeks, so we had a few promising leads on tree candidates. The kids and I piled in the Herdmobile and headed south. We all met up first at the Tin Top Cafe... If you've never eaten there, you're missing out. There are no menus to peruse... The owner came and sat down at our table and asked us what we wanted. Straight to the chase. My kind of guy. Butch Cassidy , not knowing what was available to eat simply deferred to my Dad's judgement (Sir, I'll have whatever Poppy's having) and Sundance followed suit. Cracked me up that BC knew how to do that. After a large and filling breakfast (BC ate a plateful of food many grown men would've waved a white flag at) we headed over to the farm to start our Tree Mission. All 7 of us piled into Poppy's truck and headed out to the fields.

 BC got a chance to show off his gate opening skills (trust me, it was no small feat... A lot of people would've given up) so we could drive where we needed to go. On our way to the second stop to look at trees, BC demanded to walk by himself across the cow pasture to the next site. I allowed him to do it if he agreed to let me and LLL walk along with him... He begrudgedly agreed, then took off running across the pasture alone, weaving between cow patties and bounding like a colt on the way to a new adventure, as soon as the truck was far enough ahead of us for the threat of being put back in there was gone. We walked about a quarter of a mile ( with me toting LLL's 24 lb self) and found the perfect tree.

 Poppy got out the saw and cut it down and we piled it in the back of the truck. Took it back to the house and began the very interesting process of using a standard Christmas tree stand on a tree with a very skinny trunk.

 It took a nosedive a couple of times (with the boys shouting TIMBER!!!!!) but we eventually got it right. And wedged it between the wall and the gun safe and a small table to keep it stable.

Since the water in the house was turned off to prevent pipes from freezing, we drew water out of the well (its circa 1840, along with the original front part of the house... Back part of the house was added in 1923) to water the Christmas Tree. BC then got to ride the tractor with Poppy to go get a bale of hay for the cattle, and he thought he was hot stuff. Some people might criticize me for keeping the kids out of school on a whim and not due to illness. But I believe that there's a lot more to a person's education than just what they learn in school. Today my kids got to feed cattle, romp and explore, operate farm gates, and the joy of searching for the perfect tree to celebrate. That's not bad for an otherwise normal morning in December. 

And the memories they made are priceless. I also think its cool and satisfying for them to know they can go to the place their great-grandfather partly grew up and great-great grandparents lived. History, family and the satisfaction that comes from the simple things in life are invaluable, and I want my kids to relish in it.

Super Azars

Randomly, yesterday afternoon, we decided that it was time to wear capes and run around in the front yard. Because that's how we do things. Sundance ended up with a blanket and clothes pin combo cape, while Butch Cassidy wore his St Michael Cape from All Saints Day at School, and the Princess sported a white satin cape from Target's Halloween Clearance sale. LLL sat on the grass and squealed and crawled after them. Next time, Im totally making LLL a cape to wear. My kids rock. Sundance screamed like he had been shot when one of the clothes pins snapped off his cape, making it drag and him become hysterical... BC just laughed at him and The Princess was mad because it hit her when it went flying.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ballerina

Yesterday, I finally got to see what the Princess has been learning in her "Look at Me, I'm 3!" Ballet class. Her weekly classes are closed to parents (except for what we can see through the window blinds lol) so I was excited when it was announced that we could come in the classroom this week and see what they've been learning. Ace and Her Gigi (my Mom) also came to see her debut.... And of course LLL was along for the ride... And fought we me and whomever else tried to hold her during the performance together down and go join the ballet class. She's a wild woman. I am scared of her teenage years. But anyways, we were treated to watching the girls skip around the room (the Princess got to lead her little group and wasn't shy at all about doing so in front of everyone) they demonstrated their jetes (leaps), or as the Princess calls it, jumping over the red circle, and the big number was the Rudolph Dance that they'd been practicing. LLL went crazy when she heard the music (they have a live piano player for the classes) and proceeded to buck like a Brahman Bull to go join the class. The Princess and her classmates got to wear Red stickers on their noses and she did a good job of keeping time with the music and keeping her arms gracefully on her hips, although she opted to ignore some of the intended dance steps. At the end of class, all of the dancers get to choose a dance costume out of the trunk and model for the parents,(Mary usually chooses a Snow White dress, but surprised us by choosing a fluffy tutu... See the pictures) then dance in pairs and perform the Angel Dance, where they pretend to lie on a fluffy cloud and stretch their wings gracefully. We were very proud of her and it's so much fun to see her enjoying dance. The ballet teaching assistant, Baylee, is also a close family friend, along with her Mother, Heather, and her sisters Anne Elaine and Aidan, and the Princess calls them "her sisters", so it was really special that Miss Heather and Anne Elaine came to watch, as well. And help contain the bucking LLL. I can't wait to see her performances for years to come .

Monday, December 17, 2012

Throwback... The Underwear Incident...

This past August, I had the pleasure of taking the Herd (minus LLL and the Husband, who stayed home due to bedtime reasons) to a Biscuits Baseball game (thanks to my parents' generosity... they loaned us their skybox for the evening) with one of my all-time favorite professors from college, Dr. Bob Evans, and his lovely wife Ruth, as well as another great professor, Dr. Matt Jordan and HIS Herd (I love letting my herd romp with other larger families.... it's fun to watch the chaos and laughing that ensues).

We all were having a FINE time.....we ate tons of delicious, catered food (I personally adored the Blue-cheese macaroni and cheese) watched baseball, let the kids play on the playground that approximately 35 too many other children were also playing on, and had a great time with the team mascot, Big Mo, who came and kind of hung out in our skybox, as opposed to the usual "drop-by for pictures and hug the kids bit).

It was awesome. And then, I smelled a smell. A smell that does NOT go with a great time at a baseball game.

The Princess pooped in her pants. And she was wearing Ariel the Mermaid undies... not a disposable pull up. For the first time in a long time, I was unprepared for this, because she had been doing a great job with her potty-training, so I left the diaper bag in the car, because LLL wasn't with us. BIG mistake.... and one that I was stupid for making, because this same short-sightedness has caused many stressfully stinky panic attacks in the past. Ugh.

So I ask Matt if he had a pull-up tucked away in his bag ( with a herd of kids of his own, it was a possibility).... he didn't, so I went door to door on the Suite level, asking parents of small children if they had an extra diaper, pull-up, etc in a creepy, Trick or Treating from Hell sort of way.... I even thought about asking one lady if she had any Depends, but I decided that was rude, so I moved on to another tactic. Which I must say, is pretty freaking brilliant.

As a practical parent of many, I am like a boy scout when it comes to solving these kinds of problems and will do whatever I have to do to solve it. The world is my oyster, and I am like a diaper MacGyver (LLL had to wear a t-shirt that I folded into a diaper after one of her carseat explosions). In my mind, if she had been wearing pants/shorts, I would have simply cleaned her up and tossed the undies and let her go commando under the shorts. But she was wearing a sundress. And I could NOT let her walk around underwear-less in a sundress.... especially since she loves to pull her dress up at inopportune moments.

I walked back into our skybox, and looked at Sundance. Then suddenly it hit me.... he had underwear AND shorts. Butch Cassidy wasn't an option, as his underoos would have slipped right off of her. So I demanded he give me his Batman underwear. The horrified look on his face was priceless, but I meant business. He even tried to run away. But that never works with me.... he should know that by now.

I pulled him in the corner, stripped him down, put his shorts back on and gave the Princess the Batman underwear. She proudly showed everyone who would look. Poor Sundance was mortified. And I told Dr. Evans and Miss Ruth about what happened, and they laughed and laughed. He was pleased (if not, he hid his horror behind laughter) to be a part of and bear witness to a Herd Management incident in the making.

Getting back in the Swing of Things...

I've taken an unplanned, several-month-long hiatus from blogging, and not because I haven't wanted to write, but more simply that life's insanity has gotten in the way. Between Mary Ellen's entrance into the world of pre-schooler ballet, the boys' entrance into formal elementary school, and the preparation of training for my first marathon as a charity runner, and trying to be a good wife, and managing my It Works Wrap business Rock Your Body Wraps (The Crazy Wrap Things!) I have allowed blogging to drop to number 47,972 on my list of things I want to accomplish.
I'm about to change that.
For several reasons.
1. I am mad that I don't have a blogging record of The Herd's past few months of misdeeds (and good, sweet, amazingly wonderful deeds, too).
2. It's therapeutic to write about my daily life.
3. It helps me to keep laughing at some of the more frustrating days and take life less seriously.
4. A lot of y'all have missed reading about the Herd.
5. I am a writer. If I don;t continue to write, that ability will shrivel up.... just like I have to run to continue to be a runner. Or I will be back to square one. And after working to be able to run 26.2 miles at one time, that would be stupid.
So I am going to start anew, and begin by posting a few of the past months' experiences (as well as our daily new crazy experiences) . I hope everyone enjoys them, and if you don't, you have no sense of humor.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The worst Dirty Diaper Explosion EVER... for Dr. E

Last month, I handled the most massive, disgusting diaper blowout in my life.... which, after dealing with the various explosions of four kids, that's saying something. Epic intensity. Code Brown. Code Double Brown. Everywhere. All four kids in the car were screaming because of the stench and mess... Had to perform emergency damage control and clean-up in the Chik-FIL-A  parking lot.... Barefoot....

Horrific, but still laughable... because if I didn't laugh I would cry ...

It began when I asked poor little Butch Cassidy, who sits next to the baby in the car, if he smelled something bad... I suspected that LLL had a "bad diaper". After sniffing carefully,  he reacted violently, and INSISTED that I pull over and do SOMETHING... because her seat was COATED in poop. BC said it was flowing like lava out of her seat. He wasn't exaggerating. 

To make matters worse, and to fully illustrate the disgusting hilarity of the situation, my wild child kept shaking a toy that had was saturated in her filth and it was getting all over him. Her toy-swinging flung the nastiness into the back row as well, so the other two kids, Sundance and the Princess, were going berserk all while LLL laughed and continued to wildly kick her feet. 

The Princess was mostly concerned about the flying poo landing on her ponytail.... It's like she would have been fine with it landing anywhere else on her.... but NOT ON MY HAIR!!!! NO POO ON MY HAIR!!! The car was in complete and total chaos... screaming and yelling.... it made me think of what I imagine a prison riot to sound like... or one of the lower layers of Hell in Dante's Inferno. 

Sundance alternated between whining about the stench, saying that his eyes were burning OFF.... and threatening to put the poo on the Princess. I had to carefully extract LLL from her poo-covered carseat, lay her down on MY seat in the car, remove her clothing, scrub her clean with wipes, replace her diaper that had been blown to smithereens, THEN cover her filthy car seat with various receiving blankets, towels, McDonald's napkins and anything else I could find in my car to keep her from being re-soiled... I felt like the MacGuyver of Motherhood...the toy (it had links attached to it... which increased it's slingability) that was soiled was safely removed from the Danger Zone of her eight-month-old hands and stowed for a good Lysoling. 

I had to ride with all the windows down, and listen to Sundance work himself into a frenzy about how his hair would never smell the same after being STAINED by THAT SMELL... yes, he's only 4. I know, right? I mean this is the same kid that took a poo in the outside garbage can. 


 I turned up some Grateful Dead to where I couldn't her the din in the backseat and drove home. And what's even crazier is that I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I love my life. 

Less poo-riffic occasions would be nice, however.....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I've been holding on to this one for awhile

Because the Herd has kept me running... But the pictures from this incident are too awful to keep to myself. About a month ago, the big 3 were playing in the playroom. I walked in there and told them I was going to get them some clothes and get LLL up from her morning nap. Came back LESS than 10 minutes later, and all three kids were covered in black chalkboard paint, had paint rollers out and were painting our wooden bar. This had to have been premeditated, because BC had to take a chair, push it up to refrigerator, reach way to the back of the top of the fridge, get the previously UNOPENED can of paint, get a paint key out of the toolbox on top of the fridge, open the paint, dispense rollers and brushes to his Herdmembers, and then begin destruction. It was, and still is, all over the red carpet, and the furniture, and them. I had the strip them and put them one by one in the shower and SCRUB the paint off of their bodies. Being a mom of this Herd takes a strong constitution.... Or complete insanity... Or both. And lots of prayer. And liquor. And the ability to laugh. A lot.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And we wondered why

.... They were even crazier than usual.... Even though it's always a zoo around here, this afternoon has been WHACK... Kids hurling DVDs, ninja-star-style, at each other... Running through the den at a pace the Kenyans would be proud of.... Chaos. The Husband found this little bottle of Great Value Energy Drops in the garage just now. It's like Mio energy, or Red Bull in concentrated form. It's like giving the Tasmanian Devil crack and watching him spin even faster. I'm hoping they will come crashing down fast and hard.... Because I've been counting down until bedtime today. And if they don't crash, there's always Benedryl. I'm not afraid to use it.... Judge me, you don't live here ;) oh, and the picture of Sundance shows that even with a helmet, that when everyone is high on caffeine, no one is safe.

In the time it took me to...

Lay LLL down and change her clothes, BC took a Sharpie marker that he had previously absconded and hidden for an opportunity just like this, and labelled Each of the children's bedroom doors with the name of the room's occupant. I've already tried rice it with an extra strength magic eraser, to no avail.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Fridge finally got a lock...

And this is why: upon cleaning up the playroom and ridding it of the toys my kids refused to clean up... They lose then for that... I stumbled upon a situation that left me stunned. BC had taken roughly a six pack of beer and poured it into a plastic container for his boats and Lego "submarine" to swim in. The empty cans were all over the floor, which is the only reason I immediately knew it wasn't pee, fo once. BC's explanation for this hideousness was that water just wouldn't work because he needed something that foamed and bubbled like the real ocean. Help.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rub a Dub Dub...

A Herd of kiddies in a tub... Or an inflatable moon jump in the backyard.... With a crazy spray sprinkler hose and a huge bottle of soap. I had allowed the big 3 to jump on the bounce house in the yard while I watched LLL scoot around in the house... That's becoming a full time job within itself!!! I came out back to find that BC had smuggled a huge bottle of dawn out back and turned the sprinkler on and created a bubbly bouncy wonderland. Sun dance was spraying the bubbles and the princess was making herself a bubble tiara. My first impulse was to get furious, because I had told them no water.... But after seeing the sheer joy on their faces, I just sat down and watched them. I love my life.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Would you believe that ...

... the Herd's current favorite song is "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd" by Roger Miller? I mean, I love it too, and it gets stuck in  my head for days... but it's hilarious to hear the Princess walk around singing about 'can't drive around with a tiger in your car' and Sundance singing about 'fishin' in a watermelon patch'. I actually kind of pride myself on them having somewhat eclectic music tastes for preschoolers.  If you've never heard it, take a listen :

Of Course Sundance's favorite song of all time, to my dismay, is Rod Stewart's "Do ya think I'm sexy"....  I guess Sirius 70's channel now has to be forbidden? LOL

I love my kids. Life would be boring without them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Drivin' that Train...

.... High on Coke, Dr.Pepper and Sprite. I'm absolutely spitting nails right now. I went in LLL's room to put her down for a nap (isn't that how SO many of these incidents start?) and came out to find BC acting as bartender behind our bar in the rec room. He had poured his brother and sister, and of course, himself, a double old-fashioned's worth of caffeine in my leaded crystal drink glasses. He had also thoughtfully poured 7 or 8 cans of dr pepper into the leaded crystal ice bucket, shown here, and spilled a huge quantity of it on the floor. These soft drinks were for the husband's poker group.... I don't drink them and I CERTAINLY don't let the kids have them... Especially BC... Caffeine or excess sugar turns him into a raving meth-head... And he's already been wild and in trouble today. He will be sitting in time out the rest of the day until bedtime, except for dinner. He also has to deal with an angry Daddy when he gets home and apologize to the poker group for ruining their drinks. The Princess seemed to think it was an elaborate tea party and keeps asking for more fizzy tea. Long afternoon ahead. Anyone have tranquilizer darts? The refrigerator shown below had an entire 12 pack of each type of drink.