Friday, August 29, 2008

Gustav's a bastard.

Thank you, Gustav.

Thank you for choosing now, of all times, to make your entrance. Yes, that's sarcasm.

Next week, we officially start school. A whole new routine, a whole new experience for one maniac, which adds a whole new ball to my juggling act.
All. By. Myself.

The husband has to go chase you. He chases flooding everywhere. It's what pays our bills. Pipe bursts and heavy rains are our friends. And it's kind of nice to have the husband go off for a couple of days, leaving us comfortable having mac and cheese for 3 days straight and shuffling around in piles of stuffed animals and blocks for a while. (Not that we never do that when he's home. I just feel less guilt when he's gone.)

Hurricanes are different.

He could be gone for a week. He could be gone for two weeks. He could be gone for two weeks, come home for a weekend, and go back for two weeks. More than once.

My thoughts are with the locals, first and foremost, but I'm also selfish. Please, Gustav, flood a few basements, dampen a few documents. Boost our income. But please, please, please, try to keep it reasonable. The people are still recovering from Katrina. They don't need you.

And I'd like to have a few drinks after "school" without worrying about having to handle a kid emergency.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Slash's book

So, yeah, I've gone from reading about growing potatoes and raising chickens to rock star memoirs. Call me eclectic. Please.

Anyway, the husband has the guitar that Slash is holding above. Well, one of the 2,000-something that were made. It came with a copy of Slash's book, which I have been ordered to read.

I didn't need to be ordered to read it. I heart Slash. I worship the powers who brought Slash and Axl together. In the 7th grade, I became best friends with a girl who looked exactly like Axl, and was probably just as screwed up in the head. My bedroom was plastered in GnR posters, along with a few of Skid Row and Motley Crue (I don't do umlauts. I became anti-German-punctuation after 10th grade. Plus, I'm too lazy to figure out how to type them.) I was in 7th heaven when my uncle gave me Use Your Illusions I and II for Christmas. My mother was horrified. ("Back Off Bitch?! THIS is what you're listening to?!")

***I was about to edit that when I realized that not everyone would know that 'Back Off Bitch' is a song off of UYI I, and that there was no insult hurling between my mother and I (at that time), but I'm enjoying playing around with how that might be interpreted, and decided to just stick this after thought here.***

While a certain someone was off eating and drinking in fancy Manhattan restaurants and bars, I curled up with Slash.

After 2 days, I'm on page 40-something.

Slash's story is interesting. I don't really know what other word would apply there. Unfortunately, the writer hired to express this story SUCKS. I mean, REALLY SUCKS!

I know it's wrong for me to be such a snob. It's not like I'm a writer. I am, however, an expert at smelling poo, and this is poo-writing.

It's a big disappointment to me, because I adore Slash so much. You know, minus the whole heroin/sex/alcohol/should be dead stuff. But that's what made him who he is/was, and what influenced the career that provided the soundtrack for my adolescence. Minus the whole heroin/sex/alchohol/should be dead aspect. Though I did have a scary run in once with an enormous flock of nasty geese at 2am. I thought I was going to die.

I will finish the book. I know that there are some great, juicy stories to come. They're just written like poo.

Anthony Bozza, you suck. You sucked when you wrote Tommy Lee's book, and you sucked when you wrote Slash's. If I had paid for this book, I would want my money back. After I finished reading it, of course.

Now I must end my own crappy writing so that I can go read yours.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nothing exciting

It's 8:30pm. The husband is off playing in Manhattan. Not one of the four maniacs resisted a reasonable bed time. I have quiet, and I have chocolate. But I have nothing to write about. How much does that suck!?

We may have found a house to build. It's not the sprawling farmhouse I thought I wanted, but it would suit our needs perfectly.

It seems really tiny, but it has 2 bedrooms upstairs, 3 downstairs, and it would have a finished basement, which would make it twice the size of our current home. I told you I had a modest abode!

We've been working on the cost to build, and it's surprisingly low (so far.) Unfortunately, not exactly low enough to ease my concerns about off loading this house!

Anyone interested in a 3/2 in the Poconos????? It has new grass!

That is my life this week.
I'm sorry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Time flies

Yesterday, my first baby officially turned 10. I have been a mother for a decade. A decade!

I still can't believe how much has changed in that time. Not only have I learned that there's no such thing as perfect parenting, I've also learned that my original thoughts on perfect parenting were flat out hysterical!

Plus, I no longer wear blue nail polish.

My first baby had strictly timed naps and bottles. My fourth baby slept under my shirt for 23 hours a day. My first baby had a perfectly coordinated, very expensive nursery. My fourth baby catches his z's wherever the heck he passes out. He doesn't even have an official "bedroom."

I may have been too anal retentive with J, and I assume he'll be forever affected by his test-pancake position, but I'm pretty sure I haven't broken him. Yet.

He's taken me on an incredible journey. One that's changed paths a million times. He's been the meaning in my life when the world was shitty, and he's been my biggest trial when everything "should have been" smooth. He has tested my patience, pushed my limits, expanded my knowledge, and fueled my determination. He has influenced who I am today more than I'll ever be able to influence him.

He is the Alex P. Keaton to my Elyse. Steven, Mallory, Jennifer, Andy and I wish him a very happy #10.

We love you, you weirdo!
Sha la la laa.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's not you, it's me. But it's your fault. So, yeah, it is you. Because I let you. So I guess it is me. I suck.

Dear Internet,

I know we have a complicated relationship. Balancing work and pleasure isn't easy to do. And you're just so darn sneaky, with your social networking sites, word games, message boards, and paypal options. You lure me into hours of fun, fun, fun.

But September is coming quickly. I have kids who need to learn. I have lesson plans to work on. I have instructions for chicken mummification to look up.

I can't do this without you, Internet, but I need you to stop pushing all of these time wasters.

I promise I'll reserve some time for our favorite spots, but we really need to set some limits. Think of the children! And my grass. My grass still needs you.


P.S. I am trying to work on a separate homeschooling blog, so that should be a nice little mix of fun and serious. For me. If it ever starts to seem like it might be interesting to other people, I'll make it public. Right now it's all lists of curriculum stuff, which nobody wants to read. I have a feeling I'll be getting a real kick out of it by the end of the school year!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Knock me over with a feather!

What a great, shocking surprise this morning!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My messed up kids

My kids do some majorly messed up stuff.

In the past 24 hours, styrofoam has been crumpled up into itty bitty pieces and sprinkled all over a bedroom, then trailed through the house. My kitchen sink has been filled with a combination of cinnamon, salt, steak seasoning, and a raw egg. And the downstairs toilet has been stuffed with nearly an entire roll of toilet paper. Twice.

For at least 2 years now, I have been trying to figure out where I went wrong with these maniacs. I mean, it isn't as though I'm a total pushover. In fact, I've been accused of being a hard-ass a few times. So why do they keep doing crap like this?

I think I've discovered the answer.

I was playing "Where's Your ___" with C today. He knows where his belly is. He knows where his stinky piggies are. He knows where his nose is, but he seems to think that it's funny and appropriate to point to his nose, then honk it, then honk mine, then slap me.

That has to be it. I don't think I've ever disciplined any of my babies for slapping me in the face.

So, I picked him up and spun him around so that he would get dizzy and fall down when he ran off to play.

I'm not saying I think that'll fix the problem. But this story explains a lot about why my children are the way they are.


This is the one and only sign of life in my dirt right now. Keep sending green thoughts!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Idiots In Love

I am extremely talented and creative.
In my head.

I'm tellin' ya, It's like a one-man-band in there. The gardening ideas, the freelance articles, the recipes, the lesson plans, the jokes, the decorating choices, the secret to world peace... I can do it all. In my head.

Martha Stewart lives inside of me. She just thinks she's still on house arrest.

My kids are all extremely creative, and they're not shy about experimenting with their gifts. J, the 10 year old, composes music and writes stories. H, the 6 year old, draws practically all day long. And C, the 1 year old, speaks Cat and pretends to pour shots into a hollow block from a bottle of baby lotion. He can even make me a double.

But I think that M, my 5 year old, is going to be the real artsy-fartsy one. The kind who reads her poetry in non-Starbucks coffee shops and gets offended when someone claims to understand it. The kind who would break her mother's heart by dying her golden locks black, and judge her for watching reality tv.

Why do I think this? Because what other kind of child would come to her mother, present a fuzzy caterpillar perched on the arm of a Polly Pocket and declare "It's called Idiots In Love?"


I have a bit of an issue.

I love bargains, and I love school supplies.

I love them so much, that I simply cannot control myself from August to September.

I love them so much, that I'm wondering if I might need professional help. At least from a professional organizer.

Twenty cent polybinders. I'm on it. Ten cent notebooks. Who cares that I have ten or twenty (or twenty-eight) left from last year? Twenty-two cent crayons. I'm all over them. Free glue. Hello? FREE glue. Who in their right mind says no to free glue? Folders for a penny. They might as well be free.

This is just the stuff I was able to gather in 5 minutes. There's more stashed somewhere, but I probably won't come across it until January or so. Just in time to quench my thirst for more new stuff.

I will not go to Staples today. I will not go to Staples today. I will not go to Staples today.

I might go to Staples tomorrow. :x

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Got dirt?

I do!

Finally, we were able to put down topsoil and seed! I have to be fair and say that the husband spread most of the dirt. Which was only right, since I spent so much time turning soil and digging up rocks and nagging him to bring home a wheelbarrow, which he never did. So he moved the earth for me. In broad daylight! :)

But now I'm paranoid. We watered on Saturday and it rained most of Sunday. Yesterday had me freaking, though. We didn't just get water. We got this:

No, those aren't fancy little pebbles in my driveway.

No twinkle light net in my (bad) juniper bushes.

Just the second worst hail storm I think I've ever seen.

So, now I'm worried about my poor little seed babies. I think quite a few were washed away. Now I'm checking my dirt every hour. Are they drying out and thirsty? Will the sprinkler over soak them and rot them out? I saw the hoof prints of a renegade deer. Where they scared? Will I have hoof-shaped bare spots?

Send good, green thoughts please!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Land of Make Believe

My sister came up from Georgia to visit this past week, and the one thing she really wanted to do was to take the maniacs to The Land of Make Believe.

Some people take their kids to Disney, some go to Great Adventure (Six Flags for you weird non-Jersey people) and some even do Dorney Park. Now, I don't object to any of those places, but I do have issues with crowds, lines, and biting my tongue around rude people, so a trip to any of those places is an exercise in selflessness and generosity (and martyring), rather than a happy day with my offspring.

LOMB is different.

My sisters and I knew the layout of the park by heart by the time we were 6. We knew the "proper" order for riding the rides, when to break out the picnic coolers, and what we would discuss with Colonel Corn (you'll see.)

Some things have changed since we were little. Specifically the admission price, which has gone way up to accommodate the new-ish "free" water park. Still, $106 for 2 adults and 3 children (kids under 2 are free) is more than reasonable for this place, in my opinion.

We got a late start on Friday (when don't I get a late start?), but that meant we were in the second line of close-to-the-exit parking. This would come in handy later!

First stop was a train ride around the park. (Okay, after the bathroom.)

With me already red and sweaty.

Followed immediately by the Tilt-A-Whirl.

Later, we discovered that a used Tilt-A-Whirl can be purchased for around $30,000. I want my own Tilt-A-Whirl. What do you think that might do to my homeowner's insurance?

M spent the day trying to be brave. She made it through some rides.

But had second thoughts on others. We became very adept at catching the ride operators' attention before they pushed the button.

This roller coaster has been here forever.

When I was little, it scared me because it was a "big" roller coaster. Now it scares me because it's an OLD roller coaster!

After riding the rides with the biggest upchuck risk, we grabbed some food, and my sister grabbed some cute shots of the maniacs.

So, we're sitting around, stuffing our faces, trying to decide whether or not we'll do the water park (I have major phobias when it comes to babies and water parks, not to mention 4 maniacs in a water park with 2 adults.) when, out of nowhere, there's a MAJOR crack of thunder. We could see everyone scrambling down the water slide lines, but most people in the dry park just kept going about their business.

I thought I was being slightly paranoid when I began discussing an exit strategy, but another scary boom and we were gathering up our food and herding the maniacs out of the park. Just as we got to the car (there's that bonus for being late!), the rain started. The kids made it in mostly dry, and my sister and I were slightly damp after loading everything in. We found out real fast that standing under the lift gate couldn't protect us from the major downpour that rushed in. And, when we finally made a break for the front seats, I got stuck slamming the lift gate, which was the equivalent of having the bucket dump in the Pirate's Cover water park.

So, we had a nice lunch in the car!
Until I dropped a french fry down my shirt. And I did think about sharing that picture, but I decided not to. You can see enough boobage in our picture with Santa.

The rain was immediately followed by a bright blue sky. You never would have known that it had rained if it wasn't for a few giant mud puddles on the ground, but even those disappeared fairly quickly.

So, we went on to see Santa.
The thing that kills me about Santa is that it's always HOT in his winter wonderland. To get to him, you walk into a giant fireplace and take the stairs "up the chimney," so there could be some sort of logic there. But, after climbing the dark, scary stairs (it's not uncommon for kids to freak out), you enter a dark (scary) room filled with lit up trees and fake snow. And there sits Santa, with a big fan blowing on him. One of these days, they're going to have to hook up the A/C. I'll give them another 30 years.

The kids chatted up Colonel Corn (some poor guy sits in a nearby building, carrying on conversations with little kids and rude preteens all day. Can you imagine? Not enough money in the world!), and then pumped water from the well at Jenny's house.

Jenny went out to pick berries one day, and found herself running from Indians. Er, Native Americans. When she reached the edge of the mountain, her father called from below, "Jump, Jenny, Jump!" So, she did. "There are several stories about what happened next, but we like to believe that Jenny broke her arm." Yes, we like to believe that Jenny broke her arm, her father carried her away, and the savages hell bent on nabbing the little girl went off to leave the family in peace. Yes we do.

The state officially named this Jenny Jump Mountain.
Yes, this story seriously disturbed me as a child, and I'm disappointed that my children don't seem disturbed by it at all, but I keep trying!

This ride had very inadequate seatbelts. That upset me at first. Then I realized that, if M were to freak and wind up falling out, there really wasn't far to go. We have good ER coverage. LOMB could give me their Tilt-A-Whirl, and we could forget the whole thing ever happened.
She didn't freak. I don't have a Tilt-A-Whirl.

Baby's First Cotton Candy

I tried really hard to find the old pictures of my sisters and I in the candy cane forest, but I think they must be in the back of my sister's closet, where my Little House books were hidden for 8 years. So, here are the kids (all of them) hanging around the well worn, well loved canes.

I can't tell you how many times my mom used shots of us around these candy canes for Christmas cards. So, guess what she'll get in the mail this year.

Man, I love this place. Go visit!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Best laid plans

Well, Saturday morning didn't exactly get off on the right foot. I somehow managed to get my butt in gear by 8am to pull a few stray weeds and give my mud pit a "last" tending-to, only to have a few crazy storms come through. The dirt people won't deliver in the rain. By 1:00, the sun was shining brightly, but still no luck. Our civic association doesn't allow commercial vehicles after 1:00 on Saturdays.

So, still no dirt. Still a big mud pit. Still longing for grass.

Other than that, the weekend went well. My snap press arrived, and I managed to make 2 new diapers, as well as converting a couple of old ones to snap closures. That will hopefully cut down on C's stripping for a little while.

My copy of Storey's Basic Country Skills was delivered, too. I am in love with this book. The authors share a sketch of their property's layout, which provides them with about 75% of their food needs, plus animal feed and wood for heat, on just 2.5 acres. Since I'm afraid of being kicked by cows, and I don't think I could bring myself to eat my own pig (though I am starting to come around to the idea of eating my own chickens), and I have a fondness for electric heat (and solar panels on my wish list), I'm thinking that I could do quite a bit with less than 2 acres. This makes me happy.

Combined with the other books I've just received, Mini-Farming for Self-Sufficiency and Sidetracked Home Executives, I'm on my way to becoming an organized little country wife. In my head and on paper, at least!

I wouldn't be able to do it without the help of my new coffee pot, though. My Keurig is here! I'm all wrapped up in my love affair. With a sample pack of darks, lights, flavoreds, organics, and their various combinations, it's been like trying to get to sleep on Christmas Eve. I'm just too excited about the next morning's possibilities!

There is one thing that has disappointed me about my new love, though. It's kind of loud. I was NOT expecting that from a coffee pot. Considering I can't remember the last time I managed to start my day before anyone else was awake, it isn't that big of a deal, but I guess I should warn anyone who is privileged enough to enjoy their first cup of coffee in peace. Or maybe I should have kept my mouth shut to sabotage people like that.

On a sad note, I had to lay my old laptop to rest. Well, no. I didn't have the opportunity to pull the plug myself. It just completely crapped out on its own. But now I have a new little pet to curl up with, so that's good. Except now I really have to curb my internet shopping.

That's okay. I can only handle so much excitement in a short period of time!

Happy Birthday to the husband! I'm always so much happier when we're the same age. :-)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fast forward please

I'm extra boring right now.

Today, I'm raking over mud pits, doing laundry, and trying to keep the girls from killing the frog they caught. I also need to suck it up and brave the grocery store crowds, as it's NASCAR weekend in our town. Blech.

But tomorrow... ah, tomorrow!

10am is our dirt delivery. I'm going to have grass!!!
I'm also going to be blessed by the Fed Ex man. My snap press, microfleece, and microfiber are coming in one big delivery, and the coffee pot I've been lusting after will be arriving in another.

In addition to all of that, I have a Bill Bryson book on it's way, thanks to, and two books on mini-farming/homesteading en route from Amazon.

Dirt, cloth, Appalachian humor, green beans and chickens. The coffee pot means I can keep my Suburban Jersey Girl membership card, right?