Thursday, December 30, 2010

How to Start Mama's Year Off Right

Happy 2011, my friends! While 2010 was a splendiferous year for us VT's, I will not be terribly sad to say au revoir to these closing weeks. In fact, I would say that these two weeks have been the WORST CHRISTMAS VACATION EVER. But years of motherhood at least provides one with a vivid imagination. Everyone is alive; no one was hospitalized; no one was diagnosed with a terminal disease. Woo hoo!

Perhaps it was when I was cleaning jade-green poop out of a car seat. Or steam cleaning bodily effusions from the dining room chair. Or resorting to CHARTING dosages of acetaminophen and ibuprofen to various children. Or when I started to become confused over which child to lavish the most attention on. Or when I stopped saying "Please don't kiss the baby (with your snot-laden, germ infested mouth)" and just started yelling "STAY AWAY FROM THE BABY!" that I started to feel a wee bit desperate. Which is silly; of course children get sick. But all of them in quick and overlapping succession? For almost the whole break? Except for the baby, who just had a little cough. PHEW.

Apparently PVT sensed my self-pity, because guess what? He had booked a trip to Seattle to watch his beloved Oregon Ducks play in the BCS National Championship game with his friend John (we of course not having the wealth or connections for him to attend the actual game in Phoenix). He had decided to bring our two big boys - both rabid football fans - too. Which left me here with the little ones. But now I am GOING TOO! Which is another three plane tickets, but hey. Methinks a change of scenery is just what Mama needs. Oh, and did you hear there's a Nordstrom in Seattle?

I was going to surprise my mother, our hostess, who is only expecting three VT's. But as youthful as my mother is, having an additional four people - three of whom are 4 and under - show up at the airport could give even her a heart attack.

So HI MOM! Are you reading my blog?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa, Can We Have a Few Spa Days Now?

One had an ear infection and pink eye, one had a fever and bad cold, and one had the runs, but on the whole the punks had a very Merry Christmas/Toy Orgy:
PVT and I, however, are exhausted, after all this gifting, cooking and cleaning. Santa constructed this dollhouse up until about 2 am, and you would be shocked to hear his potty mouth, provoked by shoddy Chinese construction and mis-drilled holes:

But everyone was thrilled with their various gifts:

Sylvie was the only child who was jipped by Santa, but she didn't seem to mind - she was just happy to be here.

Obviously I was really happy to have her here too - my own Christmas present for the year.
Merry Christmas, y'all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Nordstrom Store Near Me? You Mean Texas?

I wish, Brothers Nordstrom. Unless you consider driving five hours to the next state to be a viable option.

Ah, Oklahoma.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ear Infections, Hurl and Other Holiday Festivities

Many of you asked if we had made our pilgrimage to the Gilcrease yet, where we will make museum employees shed tears of frustration and horror. Well, we were supposed to go this morning, but were thwarted by the second ear infection of the week. So, another trip with 5 kids to the doctor! Where I wonder if the chairs and door handles are crawling with HIV, syphilis or rotavirus! Merry Christmas!

Luckily, of course, ear infections are easily remedied with some pink antibiotics. So now we are just waiting for Santa, and I am trying to figure out what I am going to serve a rather sizable crowd for Christmas dinner. I know I am ladling out some Hot Mulled Beaujolais Nouveau. So it probably won't matter what FOOD I serve, right?

And now for our Nordstrom missive of the week:

Isn't this a delightful dress? Sort of an upside-down bouquet. My youngest sister, Tarzhay Miss, will be going on a Booze Cruise on New Year's Eve near her home in Chesapeake, Virginia, and this strikes me as a perfect ensemble to sport on such an occasion. And of COURSE I am not jealous that she is venturing out on New Year's Eve, given that her children are an elderly 3 and 7.

And look at this delight:

It makes me pine for spring, which seems so far away when you're staring down a cold hard January.

And my other dear sister? Her plans for the New Year are yet to be determined; hers may be the most interesting of all - she may or may not be getting married soon. She has just recovered from an odd virus, which left her hurling on the DC Metro platform. And in CVS. I promised myself I would not blog about her adorable inability to momentarily hold her hurl (she has yakked in an elevator! In her friend's new Beamer! On my rug! Out my other sister's car!), but I wouldn't do that. I'm way too nice.

I suspect she will be starting a blog shortly to tell you all of my hideous secrets.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Racism, Sexism, Too-Many-Damn-Kids-Ism

It has started, people: the long, hard wintry purgatory that is Holiday Break. People always ask "Are you ready for Christmas?" Well, of course. That's just shopping. I'm good at shopping. I'm not so good at keeping 4+ kids entertained for two weeks without succumbing to keeping the Wii and PSP games on 24 hours per day.

So in an effort to do SOMETHING with the punks, I searched around for a bit of diversion. The local "cowboy" museum, the Gilcrease, was offering some kiddie tours followed by a craft at the end. I contacted the museum and signed my kids up. The coordinator emailed me back and asked for the names and ages of my children. I emailed them to her, and she wrote back: "We have signed your kids up, but we would request that you bring another adult to help with your children."

WHA-HUH? This is just hilarious to me on so many levels:

a) I am not Angelina Jolie. I do not travel with an entourage. If I am paying someone to help me with my kids, I am removing myself from the scene temporarily. I am not paying someone and then HANGING AROUND!

b) Where am I going to find this spare adult, by the way?

c) If I can referee a fight, change a diaper, nurse and cook dinner fairly contemporaneously, then I think I can circulate amongst my children while they do a freaking CRAFT.

d) I did not even mention that I will have a FIFTH child in a Snugly attached to my boob, since she will not be doing the craft.

So we are going to show up at the Gilcrease with just one adult - that would be moi - and five children. If you hear of any coronaries amongst the Gilcrease employees, you will know why.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Cliche Xmas Pageant/Kids Growing Up/Yadda Yadda Yadda Post

Yesterday we went to my 2 and 4 year old's Christmas program at the Catholic preschool. After going to several of these with my older boys - both very reluctant performers and singers - it was shocking to go to a program where one of my children STOLE THE SHOW:

This little boy sang his ARSE off. In fact, he was the only child you could HEAR.

It made me laugh and cry all at once.

And Colette was one of the few two year olds who sang! And did the hand motions! And rang the bells! While a couple of the other two year olds bawled their eyes out.

Because they could see their MOMMIES.

Don't get me wrong: I've been there. The 3rd and 4th kids just don't CARE about all that crap.

Oh Mr. Will. There was a period where I was awash in baby boys. I thought I would have baby boys forever. And, my "babiest" boy - you're 4! You're the reason I see baby boy onesies and feel all torn up inside. If I have to relegate a piece of clothing to the "too small for Will" pile I feel confused and nauseous. Of course I adore my baby girls - sheesh, I have a whip cream dollop of a 3 month old - oh, but you baby boys. Don't say I won't ever have another...


Monday, December 13, 2010

Do You Still Have Somewhere To Wear Eff Me Shoes?

Thank you all for your nice comments on my fragile mental state, my friends - it's nice to have SOMEONE telling you you're doing a good job, even though you are constantly assaulted by short punky dwarves telling you something to the contrary.

I was actually a bit sad to get this email from the Nordstrom brothers today, showcasing gorgeous strappy shoes to throw on for boozy Christmas cocktail soirees:

Aren't they delicious? (Although that one on the left - I can't decide if it is adorable, or if it looks like it has a roll of panty hose bunched onto it. Perhaps both.) I was sad because our "official" holiday festivities came to an abrupt end on Thursday night after PVT's work party. A party to which I wore a simple red wrap dress (really simple. Like $48 from the Brass Plum simple) with some prepubescent Candies' pumps, and a spikey necklace - both to add a bit of tongue-in-cheek whimsy to the ensemble. Which I think worked, except everyone else got the memo to don sophisticated sparkly black tunics with leggings.

A look I have never been able to pull off because I have no legs.


Ah, well. Someone has to provide a bit of fashion comic relief, oui?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lost Keys, Or Where My Brain Unravels Before Your Very Eyes

Given all the comments I get about my larger-than-most brood, comments which range from admiration to revulsion, sometimes I feel I must try to justify my "extra" offspring even to myself. As in, I can handle it all! I can do it all - do it well, even! And then end up feeling wholly, woefully inadequateCheck Spelling

To wit: Thursdays are always a bit dicey - everyone's little psyche has had almost a week's worth of angst build-up. This Thursday was no exception: I picked up the little ones from preschool, and Colette, who doesn't nap there anymore, fell asleep briefly in the car on the way home and awoke inconsolable. As in screaming bloody murder for the littlest injustice - I think she wanted TWO juice babas, which even I could not justify. So I rocked her and sang her Christmas songs for a while. During this time a consultant from the "Couple to Couple League" called me - I am thinking about using the very Catholic method of birth control termed "Natural Family Planning." (Yes, that is an entire post in itself - even my Catholic grandmother believed in birth control. So I realize how whack job this all sounds.) I won't even tell you what topic we discussed. Except to say that it relates to the female anatomy's monthly permutations and how these reveal one's fertility.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWwww. I can't believe I just wrote that.

Anyhoo, all the while this consultant was talking to me, Colette continued her two year old tirade. I suspect even the Natural Family Planning consultant thought a bit of sterilization might be a good thing in my case.

Then it was time to pick up the big boys; I was eminently lazy and drove the 540 feet to the bus stop. It was COLD! And then, crunch time: we were getting a sitter for PVT's work party, and I wanted to make sure the boys did their homework, studied their spelling words and practiced their piano songs for their upcoming recital. And in the midst of this I needed to nurse the baby, feed the kids dinner, and get MYSELF dressed and looking semi-hot. Or at least clothed in something sans poop stains, and the spit up combed out of my hair.

Somehow, people, by the time the sitter came, I had accomplished all of this. So PVT, Sylvie (the nursing baby always comes on our "dates" the first...YEAR or so!) and I readied ourselves to pile in the car - when PVT discovered my car keys were not in my purse.

You remember I drove to the bus stop? I must have dropped them somewhere; I remember briefly Colette took them, and I went to stop her only to be interrupted by who knows what and promptly forgot to pursue her.

Losing the keys would not be such a problem except I lost the OTHER set two years ago.


So we searched aimlessly until we gave up and drove PVT's car.

The search continued the next morning; I was feeling more and more like a failure - that I just couldn't handle this life, this chaotic family - all because of the stupid car keys. I would have to get the car towed to the dealer where they could reprogram the car and make a new key. How stupid of me! To complicate matters, we were having friends over that evening, and I had to get to the grocery store to pick up a few things. And I was stranded looking for the dang keys.

FINALLY - hallelujah! - after about three hours of swearing, growling at my kids, and bemoaning my idiocy, I found the keys plugged in, ignition style, to my wrought iron Eiffel Tower.

Thanks, Colette.

For some reason finding those keys gave me renewed faith in myself. And you know what? I don't care if some people think I can't handle all of this. I really CAN'T. I'll do my best. As long as no one gets maimed or killed, who the freak cares?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Guilt Trip

Neither of my sisters has been able to make it to Tulsa yet to meet their new niece. Through no fault of their own: airfares are prohibitive, work schedules inflexible. But I like to make them feel bad about it anyway.
Gawd, I'm such a brat.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bah Humbug! Or, Boot Humbug!

Every year I sort of hate parts of the Christmas season. The crass commercialization, the relentless hawking of inflatable Santas and Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees that now start BEFORE HALLOWEEN is a real downer. Of course, I love chocolate and Santa as much as the next guy. And PVT and I love nothing more than showering our Little Fockers with a buttload of crap on Chrstmas morning. And the ensuing oohs and aahs. And the resulting huge fights and tantrums from all that overconsumption and overstimulation. But having green and red M&M's accosting me at every turn for months on end is a little nauseating. So I've been attempting to combat this secularization in little ways - lighting an Advent wreath, denying the punks a chocolate-a-day Advent calendar (instead it's create-the-Nativity-by day), etc. I don't know if it's working, but I'm trying.

But I forgive the Nordstrom brothers from overstuffing my email at this time of year. Daily there is a new must-have.

Flats, for example:

It's hard to be a fan of flats when you're 4'2" and have legs like dwarfs' stubs, but if you're a more respectable height than I am, and are going to wear them, they should at least have some pizazz, yes?

And boots! More boots!

Apparently the Nordstrom brothers think I could order a new pair of boots every week from October through March.

Well, they're right, actually.

What was I saying about commercialization?

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Long, Hard Day of Diva-Ing

It's not easy terrorizing three older brothers, locking mama out of the house, and making dramatic, whiny requests for chocolate and candy: Yes, and I've got to wean her from that damn juice baba. It's going to be worse than me weaning myself from Pinot Noir.

(That skirt? Courtesy of Costco! Via Memere.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Whiff of Mojo

The other day I realized something: almost 3 months postpartum, I am finally feeling like myself again. Energetic, optimistic, SANE. Looking back on the things that unhinged me a couple of months ago - the prospect of night feedings, dog poop on the carpet, driving to soccer practice - now these things hardly make me blink.

Phew. And yay!

And I don't think it's so much postpartum depression that I feel in those first few weeks, but just my brain - expanding? - to accommodate this new person. Do you other mummies feel this, too? That there is one area of your head specifically devoted to the location, health and well being of each of your children? There is even a bit of science to back me up on this.

Of course this must mean I am pretty smart now, what with all that expanding? Alas, this brain may be able to more or less manage my family, most of the time, but it has not yet figured out that wonderful six-figure work-from-home business. Phooey.