Saturday, December 31, 2011

Miracles Worth Celebrating: Maternity Clothes that Don't Make You Bawl. And 2012!

Now that everyone has recovered, we are finally having FUN on this dang Christmas vacation.  Well, at least I am:  I am abusing my parents and scouring the town for my next article:  where in the freak does one find hip maternity clothes in Tulsa, Oklahoma?  Or are hip maternity clothes - in TULSA - an oxymoron, a pipe dream?    Well, it hasn't been easy.  I went to a Pea in the Pod, and tried on a few dresses, including this one that is so busy anyone who looks at it will suffer vertigo and not realize its wearer is pregnant: 

Then I tried on Heidi Klum's "Lavish" line; while I love her minimalist look and sleek designs, alas - her maxi dresses were suitable only for six foot glamazons like her.  

We also tried a local consignment store which had some truly horrifying pieces, but also a few cute dresses - this one isn't bad: 

It takes some searching, but decent pieces without Bozo bows or clownish ruffles do exist.  Now I think I have enough now to last me through this pregnancy.  Well, I probably did already, but you know what?  When you can't even guzzle a lousy glass of wine, your varicose veins are exploding out of your leg like fault lines on cocaine, and your arse seems to be inflating like a helium balloon, a new maternity dud or two can do wonders for your outlook.

And now PVT and I are going to dump ALL of the kiddies on  my parents tonight and GO OUT!  To dinner!  And then a PARTY!  We are probably going to be so totally overwhelmed with all that adult interaction that we will likely collapse from overstimulation around 8:33 pm. 

2011 was a rather awesome year for us.  I hope 2012 is as good - and I hope your 2012 is full of good health, an unexpected windfall or two, some unfettered shopping and maybe even a miraculous anti-wrinkle night cream or two.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It Wouldn't Be a Holiday Without a Little Barf

So many people have these high standards for the holidays:  everything must be perfectly decorated, scheduled and enjoyed; so many holiday outings to embark upon, crafts to plan, baking to do.  Me?  All I want to do is survive.  That's all I CAN do; with all these kids, nothing is ever going to go "perfectly" or "smoothly."  Add to the usual chaos the fact that someone is ALWAYS sick around Christmas - well, I just hang on, and pray that I'll at least catch a glimpse here and there of the true yet ephemeral Christmas spirit.

Oh, and I HATE baking.  And crafts.

This year was no different:  once my parents arrived, we drove down for a few days to the Great Wolf Lodge in Texas, a lovely if kid-centric little whirlwind.  On our drive back - the 23rd -  I started feeling what I thought was carsickness.  Boo - it was worse:  once we got home it was evident that I had caught some kind of tummy plague.  And then, a few hours later:  Colette!  And then, a few hours later:  PVT himself, who NEVER gets sick. 

One of my few Christmas pictures: 
 Sylvie trying out her brothers' air hockey table

Christmas Eve we thought we were in the clear, but both my parents caught the Contagion that night.  My Christmas hopes were reduced to two fervent hopes:  1) that none of my kids were sick when Santa came - because how could THAT happen? - and 2) that none of the kids were sick Christmas morning.  Fortunately, my wish was granted:  at 6:30 am on Christmas, I was awoken to a happy clamor and screeches of "Oh!  We are SO LUCKY!"

Phew.  But my poor parents spent the entire day prone in bed - my dad calculated that he had not been sick for EIGHT years.

At least when life throws these little kinks into your plans, you quickly realize that things are good, because hey - no one has cancer; we are all together in a nice warm house; it's Christmas and life is pretty freaking good, an ocean of puke notwithstanding.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

From Our Mayhem to Yours

May your Christmas be filled with shrieks of delight, few if any fistfights, plenty of spiked egg nog, and enough food, family and friends to remind you to what the whole hulabaloo is about in the first place.

Oh, and I fervently hope your Christmas is puke-free, too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Annual Holiday Torture, The Unfortunate Sober Edition

Ah, yes:  that time of year that is second only to summer in its ability to test a mama's pain threshold:  Christmas vacation!  Because it is Christmas vacation, I have absolutely nothing to say.  I mean, anything interesting or creative or slightly humorous has been totally sucked dry by my spawn in a manner of three days.  I suppose I could tell you about the fights, the threats that certain children have probably been relegated to the naughty list, the emailed video that confirmed said childrens' placement on the naughty list, the resulting despair, sighs and moans...oh, and the dentist appointments.  And the play dates.  And the cleaning.  And the dog barf.  And the car wash.

But my GAWD I don't want to write any more about all that.  Happily my parents - BOTH of them - are flying in tonight!  At which point we will have one-on-one coverage for 80% of the children.  That ratio is going to feel ridiculously decadent.  So decadent that I wish I could start each day with eight mimosas and a foot massage.

Ah well.  If the next one has the deliciously plump pillow thighs that THIS one has, all the foregone mimosas will be worth it, of course.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Am Still Not Convinced about the Kwanzaa Thing

Growing up I had many Jewish friends (well, after I left Catholic school!).  My first boyfriend was Jewish, and I was sure, as any 17 year old is sure, that we would get married someday.  My fantasies were crushed when one day he off-handedly remarked that he would never marry someone who wasn't Jewish.  I suppose I could have asked if he would take a convert, but I didn't think that through.  (And then he went and married a Catholic! Oh well.  Things have worked out well for both of us.)

I was always terribly interested in what Jews did on Christmas:  eat Chinese food!  Go to movies!  It didn't sound too bad, besides the lack of presents.  Although they did make out over Hanukkah - those "Eight Crazy Nights" per Adam Sandler.

Now I've gone and sent all my Jewish friends Christmas cards - how tacky.  I usually at least manage to cross out the "Merry Christmas" and pen in "Happy Hanukkah" - I think the "Happy Holidays" sentiment is too vague and cheezy.  But this is the card I wish I had sent my good Jewish friends:

Hanukkah begins at sundown on Tuesday - have a good week, friends.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And I Can't Even Sneak In a Flask

People, I love my children dearly.  Really!  I wouldn't keep getting myself knocked up if I didn't. 

BUT:  here we are, the last week before Christmas break, my last few precious hours of freedom.  And instead of finishing all the last minute errands I need to do, instead of even just taking a nap (this is legitimate when you are pregnant!), instead I am having to wake up the baby from HER precious nap and attend the living torture that is the Kiddie Holiday Party.

Multiple times.

Here is my schedule:

Today:  Colette Christmas party, 1:45 pm.

Thursday:  Rory Christmas party, 11:00 am.
                 Colette Christmas program, 1 pm.  (WHY?  WHY?  Isn't one event enough?)
                 Keane Christmas party,  1:15 pm.

Friday:  Will Christmas party, 10:15 am. 

Notice that I am required to be in two places at once on Thursday, which of course is not quite possible.  So PVT will attend one party, and I the other - unlike a lot of dads around here, if PVT attended every single kiddie function, he would not be employed.

These parties are miserable affairs, you all.  You have to park eight miles away from the school, because every other parent is there too.  Unless you are wise or lucky enough to find a sitter, you may be schlepping an unwilling, tired baby with you.  You go to your child's overheated classroom, filled with 26 kids and about 40 adults, and stand around while your kid makes a craft and eats holiday cupcakes.  Sometimes the younger kids will sing a song or two, but the older ones don't do that.  Yet you are still "invited" to come!  Usually I will cheerfully sit with my kid - after all, I'm happy enough to see said kid - until he starts begging to be "checked out."  If I refuse, said kid will sulk the rest of the party, and I am left chasing a grumpy toddler around a hot, crowded room, trying to stop her from eating the teacher's glue and knocking down all her pens.

Oh dear teachers.  We buy you gifts every single year.  Please consider a gift to us parents:  a party-free December.  Or at least host a party we don't have to attend.

Next I promise to throw some Christmas cheer at you.  Really.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

If They Could Just Shave Off About $2.1 Million

Lately PVT and I have been indulging in real estate fantasies.  As in, BIGGER.  MORE.  Part of this fantasy makes sense, of course:  when we moved in, we had a mere 2.8 kids, and now we have 5.3.  Our house is 3,600 square feet, which is of course palatial by world standards, and even by many Americans' standards.  So yes, I know - our real estate woe is hardly a grievous injustice.

But you know our guiding philosophy:  Too Much Is Not Enough.

So we've been oogling houses in our school district - a district we want to stay in because of its excellent elementary school.  Alas, our budget has not quite kept pace with our outsized fantasies, so we mostly just drool at the bigger, better houses that are just beyond our reach.

But really, we aren't requesting the Surround Sound Media Room, or the his-and-hers Master Bath with a sauna and gym, or a Craft Room, or a Mother-In-Law Apartment, or Butler's Quarters.  We don't even really need THAT many bedrooms, since most of the children prefer to sleep together like a pile of puppies.  Really, we just want a few things:  a bigger kitchen that doesn't screech to a halt if I open the dishwasher.  A kitchen nook big enough to hold a table for eight that doesn't require everyone pushing his or her chair in all the way to pass through.  A driveway big and flat enough to house a basketball hoop.  A bigger yard.  A mudroom with a cubby for each child.  And OK, my one pervy house porno wish:  an obscenely large laundry room.

So we look and fantasize and dream.  And then last night, as I was driving Keane to a slumber party in a nearby neighborhood, a neighborhood we drive through often that happens to be VERY dark at night - big yards and no streetlights - I spied a For Sale sign through the pitch black: OH.  This house looked lovely.  Big, but not THAT big.  A really nice yard.  A huge driveway.  I thought it might be just a smidge out of our budget, but oh I was eager to check.  So I ran in the house and told PVT I'd found our house!  PVT, whose knowledge of every square inch of real estate for sale within our five mile radius is so detailed I suspect MLS uploads directly to his brain every night, looked at me suspiciously.  Triumphantly I searched for the house online, and up it popped: 

Isn't it lovely?  What good taste I have!  Erm, it did look a little big, though - oh.  It's about 8,000 square feet.

OHHHH.  It's $2.5 Million Smackers.  MILLION.

This cognitive dissonance I suffer is why our house search will continue for a long, long, long time, possibly into eternity.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Randomness

So my new column about must-have apps for mummies is up at Tulsa Kids:  go take a look if you a) have a hip iPhone like I now do, or b) you are hoping to get a hip phone from Santa this year.  Or if, also like me, you like to read about things you do NOT have and then compose long retail wish lists in your head.

(Speaking of my little column:  a older lady at church* recognized me today:  "Do you write for Tulsa Kids?"  "Oh, you have EXPENSIVE TASTE.  But I enjoy reading your column."  Sheesh!  Sure I have expensive taste, but I think my columns regularly point out that I can't AFFORD my expensive taste!  That this existential conundrum is in fact the core dilemma of my very EXISTENCE!  Anyhoo.)

I do still adore my phone.  I have heard that Siri, the automated chick who lives in the iPhone, becomes progressively better at voice recognition because she becomes used to your voice and inflections.  Alas, my poor Siri is probably going to end up in asylum, because not only is she trying to understand my voice, she is also trying to understand 14-month-old-baby babble.  "Sorry, I didn't get that," Siri will say.  "I didn't understand."  I know that one day she is just going to come right out and say "WHAT THE F***?!"

And the stupid battery on my phone:  if I don't charge it in the middle of the day, by 4pm it is giving me low battery warnings.  This is even when my monsters haven't been playing their battery-sucking games on it:  Angry Birds, NCAA something or other, Fruit Ninja?  AARGH.  So I will have to bring the phone back to the dreaded Apple store where the hipster Apple employees will have to run some sort of diagnostic on the darn thing.  Ah, yes:  a trip to the mall in December.  Anything to make the notorious holiday suicide rate rise.

* Yes, it was a Holy Day of Obligation for us Catholics - the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  So, yay for me for making it to church on a Thursday with 2/5 of the children, but BOO - I didn't get there until AFTER the homily.  Got to keep the priests busy hearing confessions, right?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Never Too Tired To Diss Uggs

I promise promise promise to you that I will not blog daily about being freaking pregnant.  I know that NO ONE CARES about weird or bothersome pregnancy symptoms except other pregnant women, and maybe one's own mother.  Maybe.  So I will just say that I have been so freaking tired.  So tired that I go to bed at the embarrassing hour of 9:45 pm.  And when the alarm goes off at 7 am, I lie there, completely astonished that I have to lift my heavy limbs out of bed and start the getting-five-kids-breakfastathon.   If I sit down on the couch in the middle of the day, my eyes start to droop and suddenly, ten minutes later, I have no idea where I am and feel a bit of drool seeping out the corners of my mouth.  I have even been almost too tired to shovel chocolate chip cookies and Andes mints into my mouth.  Almost, but not quite.

I know, dear readers:  your wise advice?  STOP GETTING PREGNANT in your late thirties, for eff's sake. 

Point taken.

I am NOT too tired, however, to express my utter chagrin and dismay at these crimes against humanity: 

Uggs are bad enough, you all.  But:  Uggs with sequins?  Uggs with BLING?  Any female over the age of 10 commits a heinous fashion crime for wearing something so ridiculous. 

With that I am going to slurp down another Capri Sun and go to bed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lots of Pee, and Skinny Jeans

Two of my children, who shall remain anonymous, still occasionally wet the bed at night.  Fortunately, it is occasionally; but since it is occasionally, I don't make them wear the dreaded, babyish Pull-Ups at night.  So when they wake up wet, much laundry ensues.

Usually I don't mind; eh - it reminds me to wash their bedding!  But this week:  one child woke up wet Monday.  The other child came to our bed in the middle of the night on Wednesday, and, horror of horrors, wet our precious Heavenly Bed.  Then, Thursday night, the piece de resistance:  one child woke up at midnight, wet, changed, went to ANOTHER bed, and woke up wet in that bed TOO. 

AAAAAAAAAAAARGH.  Sometimes it's just the sheets that are wet, but yesterday it was EVERYTHING...blankets, comforters, the whole shebang.  The washing machine asked to join a union.

Last night I poo pooed everyone's feelings, and made them wear Pull Ups, grumbling and all.  Of course they woke up bone dry.

So - come on over and spend the night!  All of my bedding is EXCEEDINGLY clean.  Although I may make you wear a Pull Up.


And now for a gander at these gorgeous, gem-hued skinny jeans I will not wear for a very, very, very long time:

Ah well.  I'm kind of enjoying eating everything that isn't nailed down.