Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's One More?

Yes, yes, I hear you snickering out there: you've noticed I can't button my pants. You have been marveling at the fact that my arse has expanded to three times its original size in a mere week and a half.

No, I did not eat an entire box of donuts for a mid-morning snack. I have not had four Whoppers with Cheese for dinner the past six weeks. I have a good excuse:

For those of you who have lost count, I believe that will bring the total to SIX around here, should this little project come to fruition (although I take nothing for granted).

I remember reading Cheaper by the Dozen as a girl, and telling my mother I wanted twelve kids TOO. She guffawed and muttered darkly, something like, "Just wait until you find out how hard babies are..."

But hey, even reaching 50% of that goal is still pretty laudable, yes?

The first trimester is just such a cruel prequel to the whole thing. I always start out each pregnancy with grand thoughts: "I am going to stay in shape! I won't gain too much weight!" And then a few days later I am hunched over, shoveling eight sticks of string cheese into my mouth and chasing them with a cup of eggnog, in a desperate 14,000 calorie attempt to curtail "morning" sickness. Ugh, the pukiness has been bad this time - like I have a severe hangover as a passenger on a leaky dinghy in the vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle.

And, I think: I'll keep going to the gym! I'll keep up my little jogging routine! But that, too, went way by the wayside weeks ago, after a petrifying week and a half of spotting made me loathe to get out of bed, much less exercise.

So while it's still early, I hope everything goes well. I don't know if it's a commentary about how crazy I am - how could I possibly want another when I have FIVE? - or how fiercely a mother loves each of her children from the moment they are bittier than lima beans, but when I thought I might lose this baby I dove headfirst into a deep well of despair.

And I know that I'm supposed to feign horror at the thought of ANOTHER child.  But when the ultrasound this morning showed that everything looked good so far, I just felt really really LUCKY, plain and simple.  Lucky that at my ripe old age I might have another healthy kid.  Lucky that despite the fact I am not a great mom - I drink, I cuss, I watch "Real Housewives" - I might be blessed with another child.  I don't deserve all this sheer BOUNTY.  So many women struggle with infertility, multiple miscarriages.  I am thankful, and I am lucky.

So there you go.

And for those of you, who, like some of our relations, find our bringing a sixth child into the world is, at best, in exceedingly poor taste, or, at worst, breathtakingly irresponsible, all I can say to you is that I'm doing my damned best.  If it's any consolation, I probably won't have a kid-free moment until sometime in 2017.

Wish me luck, you all.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Battered Gymboree Customer Syndrome

I am Gymboree's whore.
Gymboree
I cannot stop buying the dang stuff.
More Gymboree
Every time I go in the store, or hop on the website, promising myself that "Oh I just need to get some underwear for this kid," it turns out the WHOLE STORE IS ON SALE, and I walk out three digits later with a little something or three for everyone.
Yep, That's More Gymboree

And the dang Gymbucks?

Yep.
Addictive.

More. Freaking. Gymboree.

So yesterday started innocently enough:  the "I just need some socks and underwear for the boys...."  When I got there, yes, the WHOLE store was 25% off.  Sweaters were $15.  Fleece items were buy one, get one free.  So I amassed a pile worthy of Paris Hilton Herself, and staggered up to the register with my SECRET WEAPON:  another 20% off coupon!  But when I presented my coupon, the register chick said it was "against store policy" to accept a coupon when they were having a big sale.  Huh?  Disappointed, I still bought all the loot, and left.

When I got home, I realized I had inadvertently bought TWO sweaters for Keane and none for Will.  So I hopped online, found Will a sweater, and checked out, deciding to give my coupon a try online.  And it WORKED. 

PVT, being the lawyer he is, perused the fine print on the coupon, and found nothing disqualifying my coupon during a sale - only during Gymbucks redemption periods.  So I called the store, asked to speak to the manager, and after he hemmed and hawed for a while, said they would honor the coupon - apparently for the reason that I had FOUND THEM OUT online.  But I would have to schlep BACK to the mall to get the adjustment. 

All night I tossed and turned, having nightmares about Gymboree:  what if they don't honor my coupon?  What if this guy that I spoke to isn't there?  We were only talking about $30 bucks or so, you all - I don't know what my problem was.  But I was prepared to bring out the big guns if I had to:  "I am a GOOD CUSTOMER!  I spend more than the GDP of Mali here each year!  I am PREGNANT WITH MY SIXTH CHILD!  (Oh, erm - have I not told you that?  Stay tuned!)  It is DUPLICITOUS to have a different policy on line versus in store!"  Et cetera. 

So I got up this morning, exhausted, armed, angry and dangerous.  And dragged my girls BACK to the loathed mall.  Where the guy I spoke to was there, and rather anticlimactically, remembered me, and happily credited my money.

Effing, effing Gymboree.  Just when I'm going to leave it, it always throws me a little bone, makes me keep coming back for more.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do I Have to Move To San Antonio?

So, dear friends, how was your Black Friday?  I did a bit of online shopping, but I cannot imagine a worse fate than lining up at Walmart at 10pm.  Although maybe one year I will go just for the value and entertainment of the anthropological study, sleep is just too precious right now.

What I inevitably end up craving, however, on Black Friday, is Mexican Food.  Eating all that bland mush that constitutes Thanksgiving brings out my inner Hispanica; I want nothing more than a vat of salsa to set my hair on fire.  But alas!  Not one but two of our favorite, close by Mexican restaurants have closed lately.  Why?  Why?  What is it about Tulsans?  Does going out to eat conflict with Bible study?  Do they not want to get within 8 miles of the slippery slope to hellfire that is a margarita?  Why this town can't support more decent restaurants is beyond my simple comprehension. 

At any rate, we decided to venture out a little further and try a new spot we had passed, El Mojito.  While it looked a little sketchy on the outside, glamour is hardly the hallmark of a decent Mexican joint, so in we went.  And as soon as we stepped in, we knew we were screwed.  We were met not with a bunch of happy, efficient Mexicans bustling around, but a group of dejected, rather slovenly white people, who amongst the four of them had a difficult time seating us.  Our server seemed very confused; while we were his only table, he seemed to get lost each time he went back into the kitchen.  And after we had sat there for twenty minutes without placing our order, he came back to give us more chips, and left again.  When he eventually DID take our order, PVT had to signal me to slow down:  I was already on Kid #3's order, and he was still painfully inscripting the corn dog of Kid #1's order.  Finally, when we were done, sitting and languishing, he apparently had to drive to Cleveland for a takeout box.  At this point, PVT was not angry, but rather felt sorry for the guy. 

The restaurant's decor was reminiscent of an IHOP that had not been remodeled since the late 1970's.  The food was passable, but really - how hard is it to screw up cheap Mexican food? 

So we won't go back.  And if you know of ANY good Mex joints in the Restaurant Limbo that is South Tulsa, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks, Dry Turkey or Not

So we survived PVT's Golfapalooza absence, with nary a puke or errant poop.  Woo hoo!  And now that holiday that kids just don't care about except they do get some school off, Thanksgiving.

I'm afraid I don't really care about Thanksgiving, either.  Yes, I am a very thankful girl.  Yes, it's nice to have a day off.  But if PVT and I had it our way, we (OK, OK, PVT) would just make his famous red sauce starting at 9am (this involves so many tomatoes my kitchen resembles the site of a particularly bloody homicide), and let it simmer all day long.  Meatballs would magically appear.  Cocktails would be poured around 11am. 

Now doesn't that sound like a better Thanksgiving than...dry turkey and mashed potatoes out of a box?

Ah, maybe someday.  When all those family elders become senile and don't care what day it is.

But, in the spirit of giving Thanks, here are a few of the things I'm thankful this year - besides, of course, my five healthy children, my roof, medical insurance, my own decent health despite years of drinking too much wine and Diet Mountain Dew, and my employed husband:

1.  That PVT did not yell when I purchased five $38 dollar ridiculously adorable personalized Christmas shirts from this very very dangerous website.

2.  That PVT did not even mention the Whole Foods charge that mysteriously appeared while he was gone (and, while I was careful to check prices, I did throw in a bottle of organic ketchup - that I later realized was $7.99.  Holy tomato paste!).

3.  Pre-mixed margaritas.

4.  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - for making me feel like a well-adjusted, sane individual.

5. Quiktrip - a clean convenience store with attractive, polite employees where you can buy a large French Vanilla Cappucino for $1.29 cannot be underrated.

6. Free shipping, free returns.  And no sales tax in Oklahoma.  Nordstrom may be far, far away, but there is a God. 

7.  That compared to some people ALREADY lining up for their Black Friday deals, I am a relative retail ascetic, a paragon of restraint.

8.  That Catholicism actually encourages consumption of alcohol.

9.  For Southwest Airlines - for getting my large brood back to Seattle efficiently and relatively cheaply. 

10.  For the million little things I take for granted each day living in our great U.S. of A.

Friday, November 18, 2011

OK, Nordstrom, Where's My Kickback?

Thank goodness I just got my stupendous iPhone, because LOOK at this latest app:

Oh yes.  The Nordstrom app is here!  You must download it, because I am pretty sure that seeing that shimmery silver "N" on your iPhone will increase your happiness quotient by at least 2000% on a daily basis.

And look, I guess I have to go out and buy an iPad too:  

Yes, if you have an iPad, you can browse the sensuous Nordstrom catalogs with this app.  

And with all these wonderful apps, it will be SO EASY for you to buy heart-wrenchingly adorable little outfits like this for your daughter:

You can find this little delight here.

Anything I can do to make your shopping life easier.  (Just don't tell your husbands where you got these little tips.  I can only defend myself against one husband at a time - my own!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where I Weigh In Like Every Other Yahoo On the 20th Duggar

I am not going to talk about puke.  I am not going to talk about poop.  I have already cancelled eighty seven social engagements because of the voluminous outpouring of said bodily fluids in the house.  OK, OK, not eighty seven, but at least THREE...and that's half my social calendar for the year!

I am also not going to talk about PVT's absence, because then I will start hyperventilating at the thought that a kid will be struck by appendicitis in the middle of the night and then WHAT DO I DO?

Instead I am going to chime in like every other yahoo and weigh in on the 20th Duggar.

I happen to think the Duggar family is just wonderful.  Do any of those kids look neglected or unhappy?  And while no one would accuse Michelle of being hot, she looks so happy, peaceful and really quite youthful considering what that body has been through.

My sole reservation is her health:  I would be petrified at having a baby at 45 after suffering preeclampsia and delivering a child at 25 weeks.  But Michelle seems at peace with the whole thing.  Apparently she is exercising to keep her blood pressure under control, but I'm not sure how controllable such a serious condition is once you're pregnant. 

Assuming - and hoping! - she can have a healthy pregnancy, however, I think another Duggar child is just fine.

What I find really weird, though, is all the people out there who spew vitriol with smoke firing out of their ears - like this thoughtful comment from "Jo:"

THESE PEOPLE ARE SICK!! Why are you having so many children you cant possibly even spend one hour a day with each individual child! WHY THE HELL DO YOU NEED 20 CHILDREN! Especially after extreme complications of the last one? SSSSTTTTUUUUPPPPIIIIDDDD! I really dont understand it. Why not have 10 less kids and provide the money for each to have a college education if you have the money to support 20 children?! YOU ARE 45 YEARS OLD GIVE IT UP! God isnt giving you kids, your inability to close your legs is!



Why is Jo so angry about this nice family she doesn't know personally?  And why doesn't Jo know how to punctuate?

And this one from "disgusted:"

STOP having babies already! Our earth is already geting overpopulated because people like this thinks its ok to have a million babies. This is ridiculous and not to mention unhealthy for baby and Mom. How much attention do these kids get from their parents, its also not fair to your older kids to be raising your younger ones because you simply can’t. I feel bad for the kids.

Huh?  I am pretty sure if you think overpopulation is a problem, it's not because there are jillions of "people like this" having over a dozen kids. 

There are many, many more comments out there in this vein.  So why do people get so angry about the Duggars?  Well, my friend Kappa Kappa Karen had a theory:  a lot of these people are just jealous.  Yes, jealous!  We're jealous we don't have the patience the Duggars have.  We're jealous we don't have the faith the Duggars have that all will be just fine.  We're jealous that they seem to be doing maybe even a BETTER job with their super-sized brood than us mere mortals are doing with our much smaller families. 

Well, good luck to Michelle.  Luckily I don't think the "disgusteds" out there bother her too much.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Puke and a Bit of Gratuitous Shoe Porn

I know that when you have kids, particularly a large bevy of kids, that you expect a lot of puke and poop.  That bodily expulsions are part of the whole parenthood contract.  And that the tummy virus, while vile, is not serious. 

But let's at least admit the heavy costs of this darn bug:  the staggering loss of sleep. The 2am run the the pharmacy for Zofran (during which, going 60 mph down a wooded road, I am pretty sure a hit a possum.  Sorry, possum.)  And the next day, when all you want to do is lie on the couch, all the CLEANUP you face.  The breathtaking amount of laundry - I think I did NINE loads yesterday.  The steam cleaning of rugs.  The futile Lysol-ing of every surface.

We are going on day eleven of various children in various stages of sickness and recovery.  Poor Sylvie still continues to spout poop like the Old Faithful of diarrhea.  (Sorry for that image.)  Her bottom is red and angry, despite being changed every 3 minutes.

But hopefully we are on the upswing here,  We had better be, because PVT leaves in a few days for his annual Golfapalooza trip.  I am sure PVT is thanking his lucky stars he was here for Barfapalooza, because if he had left me with 5 puking, pooping kids for four days while he played golf, stayed at a resort, drank beer and ate steak, he would have heard about it for the REST OF HIS LIFE.

Now I'll leave you with these sparkly holiday shoes, just so you don't abandon my gross puke-filled blog forever.


Party on.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Mama Olympiad

Event #1 (5 days):  Endure your daughter's funky virus and funkier poops; while you feel terrible for her, try to resist feeling a little annoyed when she screeches "Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaa my BUTT hurts........."  every 8 minutes.

Event #2 (evening):  Prepare for your baby's ear tube surgery (bathe baby, pack bag, map out destination, set alarm for 5:15 am) while trying not to ignore your other children.

Event #3 (3:30 am):  Wake up not at 5:15 am but at 3:30 am to the sound of one poor son puking on the carpet by your bed.

Event #4 (3:45 am):  After comforting and cleaning up said son, deposit him on couch.  Perform Haz Mat duties on rug and bathroom floor with Teammate Husband.

Event #5 (4 am to 5:15 am):  Try to sleep, unsuccessfully.

Event #6 (5:15 am):  Hop up to get you and baby ready for surgery.

Event #7 (5:40 am):  Check on sick son.  Worry about son until you get home from hospital.

Event #8  (6 am):  Try to entertain bored, hungry toddler in sterile hospital room while waiting for nurses, anesthesiologist and doctor. 

Event #9 (7 am):  Try to hold your sh*t together and not become inexplicably teary when they wheel your (now slightly loopy from the medicine) baby back to the operating room.

Event #10 (7:30 am):  Remember afresh how cranky and inconsolable babies are when they wake up from surgery.

Event #11 (7:40 am):  Wipe off apple juice puke from shirt while trying not to drop writhing, screaming, baby.

Event #12 (7:50 am):  Marvel at how fast these places discharge patients, but race home anyway to sick son and sore-butted daughter.

Event #13 (8:20 am):  Arrive home to wipe butts, Lysol the prior evenings' site of disaster, and dose out Tylenol.

Event #14 (8:40 am):  Realize you can do none of these things when your woozy toddler will not let you put her down.

Event #15 (8:50 am):  Endure yet another spraying or three of anesthesia-induced apple juice puke.

Event #16 (9 am):  Try to change shirt.  Fail.

Event #17 (9:10 am):  Hope no one comes to the door since you can't seem to get a new shirt on.

Event #18 (9:15 am-11:15 am):  Cart 24 pound baby around while clucking at other sick kids.

Event #19 (11:20 am):  Finally get baby down for a nap.  Wipe sore butt of sore-butted daughter.  Collapse on couch briefly.

Event #20 (12:00 pm):  Get a call from the school nurse, who tells you your son "looks pale" and "says his tummy hurts."  Recklessly leave SEVEN YEAR OLD to babysit his sleeping sisters while you race to the school at 75 miles per hour to get other son.

Event #21 (12:30 pm):  Marvel how this son regains color while watching Sponge Bob on the couch and lustily licking a lollipop. 

Event #22 (1 pm to 7 pm):  Continue to wipe bottoms, dispense Tylenol and Ibuprofen, push Gatorade, haul fussy toddler around.

Event #23 (7:20 pm):  Realize toddler has a fever.  Resist urge to crumple on floor in heap of crumpled hopelessness.

Event #24 (8 pm):  Despite howling protests, farm all children to bed before you yourself drop.

Event #25 (8:30 pm):  Wonder when the medal ceremony is.  You're sure you'll get at least a Silver.  But will be contented with a decent night's sleep in lieu of tangible recognition.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Where I am Inexplicably Anti Rubber Boot

OK, I want to get excited about these cute boots...in the spirit of English "wellies:"

But I just can't convince myself that grown women look good in these - well, grown women who are not trudging around the wooded acres surrounding their English manor in Shropfordshire, hunting pheasants with a Basset Hound or nine in tow. 

Sure, I suppose you could argue that they're practical for the occasional downpour, but if it's downpouring, are you spending a lot of time outside anyway?  All I am doing is running from the car into Target, and these boots are hard to run in, right?

I don't know.  Maybe I am just taking out too much existential angst on some darn boots.  Maybe it's the fact that there have been THREE earthquakes in TULSA in the past few days.  Where, I will point out to those of you who live far far away, we already have tornadoes (in fact, we had a tornado warning WHEN THE THIRD EARTHQUAKE occurred), blistering heat waves, ice storms, floods and TSUNAMIS.

OK, not tsunamis.  But shouldn't you get some compensatory sex appeal for living with all these natural threats?  At least you can see the rationale for living in Key West, or Malibu, or Galveston.

Harrumph.  I'll ask my therapist.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some Seismic Shopping

So today is my birthday.  My thirty (insert blasphemous four letter word) eighth birthday.  Here, of course, is how I will be celebrating: 


Double points!  Stuff marked down-ish!  Like this gorgeous fall boot:


OK, I know, it's a Jessica Simpson boot.  Well, what can I say?  She is a little bit of a ding dong, but whoever makes her shoes does a fine job!

And look at this Kate Spade bauble, 33% off:



Lovely, yes?  Although it's still $330 smackers, alas.

And the kiddie stuff!  This dress has Colette written all over it:



So do check the sale out for yourself, my dears, if you happen to find yourself with a bit of disposable income this month.  Or if you can at least LIE to yourself and say you have a bit of disposable income this month. 

I awoke in the wee hours of my birthday to a strange shaking and the sound of hanging wine glasses clinging into each other:  an earthquake!  No one else woke up (only mamas wake up to these nighttime disturbances), but it was a bit disarming.  Turns out it was a 4.7 - obviously not worthy of LA, but feel-able.   So let me get this straight:  not only do I live in Tornado Alley, I also live in EARTHQUAKE country?  Without the sex appeal of living in Beverly Hills or Marin County? 

That is just...awesome.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Soccer and Shopping in the SAME Post

Sometimes I feel a bit terrible that I rarely go to my big boys' soccer games.  I remember growing up, having friends whose parents were always working, always busy but always made it to their kids' games.  Which seemed a bit wrong to me too - what does that say?  That you only care about your kids' athletic prowess?  But I am the opposite:  I am there for my kids ALL THE TIME - except for their games! 

So my notable absence at soccer games will come up many times in their future therapy sessions.  But I do have my reasons: 

This Sylvie of ours is a boy trapped in a girls' body.  She is a like a baby tank driven by a slightly drunk jihadist.  When let down outside, she runs straight for the street.  She loves to crawl into the fireplace and throw the gravel everywhere (finally we got smart and bought a fireplace screen).  When I give her a bath, she heaves her body backwards repeatedly in an attempt to either perform a baby back float or just drown herself, I'm not sure which.

And at soccer games?  She is either eating dirt, pawing littered fruit snack wrappers, or running onto the field.  Wouldn't you know, the other parents and coaches don't find that behavior super cute.  So instead of watching the game, I spend my time running around making sure Tank Baby doesn't collide with a seven year old running at 48 miles per hour.

BUT I did make it to Rory's championship game in his soccer tournament this game.  Rory was sort of the wonderman on the team:  he scored a goal with just minutes left in their (semi-final?) game to send the team to the finals.  When their championship game went into overtime, he made an incredible shot that came within inches of being the winning goal (or so I hear; by this time Tank Baby and I had departed - I could only last through regulation).  When the game went to penalty kicks, he nailed his. 

But, alas, his team finally lost in penalty kicks.


But we were quite proud of our Rory (bottom left).  Although it turns out his inspired performance MAY have been partly because PVT promised that if he played "aggressively," he would give him a significant amount of moola towards the latest Lego Monstrosity for which he is currently saving up.

Goaling for Legos, I guess.

***

And now, if you happen to find yourself in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I am always surprised to find myself, my latest article at Tulsa Kids is up:  shopping the local boutiques.  Who knew Tulsa actually has some cool spots to shop?  There is even a video the marvelous web editor Abby shot of me shopping with the girls:



.


Sort of makes shopping with kids look easy, yes?  Ha!  Ha!  Do not try this at home.