Painting with tears

Every once in a while, I'm able to capture exactly what goes on around here.


Prison Food

So, today was one of those days. People say that all the time. What exactly does that mean? Well, for me it means I'M GLAD IT'S OVER. One of my duties as a home maker is to prepare and serve dinner for my family. This is not put upon me by my husband. I could make every night "Whopper night" and he would sing my praises. (All the way to his heart attack and early grave.) We often go to Chick-Fil-A on Tuesdays (kids eat free) but we just ate out there this past Friday night, so alleviating my duties and taking everyone to kid's night wasn't an option in my mind. I boiled some white beans all day, thinking I could create something edible to make by dinner time. Well, at 4 o'clock I realized I needed to go to the post office and get something in the mail by five. Jimmy had a meeting after school and wasn't coming home until late, so I piled all the kids in the van and ran my errand.

This meant that I didn't get dinner started early, or my usual afternoon chores done, and I left the house messy, to say the least. I came home to some disgusting looking beans, a lot of clutter, and hungry children. I began to think of casseroles I have eaten or made in the past. I've had casseroles with beans. I had some leftover chicken. I've had casseroles with chicken. I made some rice. I've had casseroles with rice. Then I remembered, "Oh yeah, if you put cheese on it, it magically makes it yummy, right?" So I shredded two ends of two different kinds of cheese. Throw in some spices, chicken broth, more spices, CHEESE...and I've done my job. But it's pretty sad when you look at it and don't even want to taste it to see if it's good enough to pass for dinner. (The whole time I was cooking I was thinking about how tasty Chick-Fil-A nuggets are.)

Also while I was cooking, my kids were doing whatever it is they do when, after a long day, I put on my angry eyes and declare, "Out of the kitchen!" My preschoolers were downstairs in the playroom playing the pre-recorded songs on our keyboard at full volume, jumping, singing, and dancing on the bed. Jackson is trying to write a letter, so I'm shredding cheese, trying to guess at how the spices might taste (because I'm too scared to taste it myself, as I said) and spelling words Jackson asks about two or three letters at a time. Penelope, my angel child, was in her jumper looking cute and making me wish I could just forget dinner and hold her. Jimmy comes in, looks at the pot of beans and says, with a look of disbelief, "Is this what we're eating?" I said, "No, I just put some of them in the casserole." So, it was a lie hidden with the truth. He trusted me (God bless him) and didn't suggest going out.

I opened a can of green beans, threw a bag of carrots on the table, put out my bread (I did bake bread, but because of my trip to the post office it fell) and we sat down to eat. I served the children. Everything is still loud and people are talking over each other and I haven't stopped in hours at this point. I just want to stuff everyone's face so I can clean up and wash my hands of this whole cooking experience. As I serve a large spoonful onto Jimmy's plate, it lands with a disgusting splatt and a little falls onto the table. For an instant I felt like I was watching a movie scene in a prison, you know, when they always exaggerate the wretchedness of the prisoner's situation by showing how inedible the food is? Well, I looked up at Jimmy and said, "Do you ever feel like you're in prison?" And we both started laughing. I laughed so hard I started crying, and lifted up my shirt to wipe my tears. (I had forgotten napkins, and I was NOT getting up.) Jackson said, "I saw your bra!" then made some comment about my stomach being fat and Jimmy said, "Let's pray."

Yes, let's.


Are the planets in alignment?

Warning: This Post by Jimmy! This Post by Jimmy! This Post by Jimmy!

Well, I just want to say that my long time favorite band since middle school has been Stryper. I have also been a fan of Boston since about the same time but recently got back into them when I found their greatest hits at Wal-Mart. Since starting to listen to them again I now like to watch them and Stryper on Youtube pretty regularly. Well Boston's lead singer Brad Delp died in March of last year. For a recent benefit concert Boston recruited Micheal Sweet lead singer of Stryper for split duty vocals/guitar with some of the songs and is actually on their current tour. How cool is that. So I post here a video combining two of my favorite bands. Who would of thought. For me personally this is as big as ...

The Chicago Bulls when they brought in Dennis Rodman.

Or the 92 Olympic Dream Team. Another great reunion of talent to dominate the world.

Or the U.S. joining the allied forces in the 2nd World War.

these guys getting together to save the mutants.

Anyways I digress. Here is the video.


In the last month...

A lot has happened in the last month. Lots of things that would probably be good fuel for my blog. It's too late now though, the inspiration has passed. However, I'll try to give the highlights.

In the last month...

I celebrated the 100th day of school with the kids. We counted lots of things, measured out 100 feet and inches, did things for 100 seconds, etc. (see my Cheerio post) I can't really think of a funny moment or highlight of this, and that's probably because I have been inhaling the smell of dry erase marker for the last hour. I just discovered Jackson left the lid off. Now that I'm high, I'll continue.

We traveled to Brandon to see Jimmy's family on Easter weekend. Jimmy's brother, Gary, and his wife Sharon were there. We went strawberry picking in a field they rarely open to the public and picked strawberries called "treasures" which Gary kept handing out and pointedly saying, "want one? it's a treasure." While picking, Cash just kept grabbing these treasures and throwing them across the field, leaving them for someone to step on. On Easter, Gary and Sharon gave us all an Easter present. It was an egg with candy, Easter grass, and an ultrasound picture inside. They are expecting a baby in October! I am very excited for them, and laid in bed thinking about it a lot that night.

Just two days later, my friend Carey called to tell me she found out she is expecting twins. I then lost approximately two nights of sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about this. I haven't yet figured out why, I guess I'm just living through her because I always said I wanted twins. But do I wish it was me? NO! :-)

My house stooped to a new level of dirty when I discovered dried up spaghetti noodles dangling from the rung of one of my dining room chairs. I tried to document this but it isn't as gross in a picture.

Spring Break arrived. We traveled to Vero Beach and stayed with the Walworths and other friends for two nights. The highlight here for me was definitely taking Jackson out into the deep water of the Atlantic ocean and jumping the waves with him. I miss the ocean I grew up swimming in!

After Vero, we drove to Indian Harbour Beach to stay with my sister. We were there for two days and visited my other sister in Merritt Island twice. Much of this is a blur, but we celebrated my brother in law's birthday, and my niece's birthday. My sister Susan made lasagna and her husband Willie introduced us to the Farting Preacher. Men of the cloth have gas too.

Wednesday of Spring Break we experienced what I'm calling "poor man's Disney World." We did all the free stuff you can do in Orlando, such as a boat ride off the Disney boardwalk (intended for those staying at the expensive hotels, but they let you look around for free) and Downtown Disney. (Instead of buying personalized mugs in "Lego Land", you can just take their picture.) The day, I'm sorry to say, was pretty miserable, between the heat and the tired children but hey, at least we didn't pay big bucks to get tired, cranky, and driven to the point of insanity.

We ended Spring Break by staying at my parent's house in Waldo. Jackson got to knee board. This has been a difficulty every year. He begs to go, and then backs out literally at the last minute. Like, right before grabbing the rope. I got myself down into the freezing cold water to help him and he tried to back out again but I wouldn't have it. I felt like I had truly recovered from childbirth when I got to slalom...on the same day, Penelope turned 5 months old.

Cash got to celebrate his 2nd Birthday with all his cousins and an elephant themed party and cake. I rescued my cake from the brink of disaster and was able to salvage the poor elephant without too much damage. It wasn't totally ghetto, but pretty much. On the parts you can't see in the photo, there's no icing.

One more thing. We purchased a trailer. Jimmy found out they are not renewing his position next year, so this is an investment property that will provide us with extra money since it is currently rented out. And some time after closing, I discovered that now I have everything I've ever wanted. An unemployed husband, four kids, government aid, rotting teeth, and a trailer. At least I'm not pregnant.


The life of a Cheerio™

Well, it starts with a seed. It grows into a plant, the grain is harvested, and eventually baked into the one and only Cheerio™. I'd like to tell you the story of some we had here in our household. About a month ago, I brought home a box from the grocery store. I'm sure the box was handled by most of my children, as Cash likes to place it on the conveyor belt, and Jackson likes to unload the groceries. Anyway, about three weeks ago, I began my school activities to celebrate the 100th day of school, which, for us, was on March 27th. One of the first things we did was make a necklace of one hundred Cheerios. I poured a bowl full of this crunchy cereal, got four strings ready, and sat down on the (dirty) floor with my students to make a necklace. As we worked, I put Cash's on his neck and enjoyed watching him eat them through the string. (I didn't really intend for us to eat them, but it was keeping him busy.) Jackson and I finished ours, but Libby did not and so I put the leftover cheerios and her unfinished necklace into a Ziploc™ (too bad I'm not getting paid for product placement) bag and thought I'd let her finish it later.

A few days later I brought the Ziploc bag somewhere so Libby would have something to keep her occupied. She didn't use it, and it ended up in my diaper bag. It lived there for a while and a few more days later again, I took the kids on a walk, and, when I returned, left the double stroller sitting in the living room (by request) so that the kids could play on it. Someone must have gone through my bag because the Cheerio necklace bag ended up in the bottom storage basket of the stroller. The stroller was folded and put away in the front closet later. A few more days later we walked again and this time the Cheerio necklace bag was retrieved from the bottom of the stroller, played with on the walk and when we returned, got left on the floor.

I cleaned up (I do this every once in a while) and placed the necklace bag in Libby and Penelope's "room basket". (I have a basket for each bedroom so when I clean up the living area I can deal with everything without having to go to the back of the house and risk waking up sleeping angels.) We then left, spontaneously, four days earlier than planned on our Spring Break trip. The lonely necklace and Cheerios lay in a quiet house for nine days.

Today, over three weeks after starting the necklace, I finally threw it away. This, however, was something the ring, I mean Cheerios, did NOT intend. Some straggling Cheerios had fallen out of the bag and still remained in the bottom of the basket. Libby and Cash played with the basket of random items today and the Cheerios ended up on the floor of my hall, right in front of the bathroom doorway. I kept meaning to get the broom and sweep them up, but never had the moment to stop what I was doing. Some time after Jimmy got home, I was holding Penelope and couldn't bend down, but so no one would step on them, I brushed them against the wall with my sneaker.

Tonight I put Libby to bed, and sat down to nurse Penelope out in the living room. Jimmy was outside* and I figured he'd be in any minute to take care of the boys. Cash was wandering around and began to go to Libby's room. I hollered at him to leave her alone. He obeyed (thank goodness) and, as he came through the hall, noticed the lonely Cheerios on the ground. He stopped, bent down, and with sheer joy and the grin of a greedy toddler, ate every last one of them. Since they were assuredly stale, and probably 75% dust, 24% germs, and 1% goodness of Whole Grain, I may have tried to stop him did I not have a drowsy baby at my breast. But, then again, I probably wouldn't have. These Cheerios only thought they were unsinkable. Not in my house.

*A few minutes later, Jimmy couldn't sit still any longer, and I heard the creak of my computer desk chair, down here in the "no toddler zone". He had been here all along. He heard me tell the kids he was outside, let me deal with all of them at bedtime on my own, that sneaky punk. When I heard him and called him on it, we had a good laugh. I can't blame him. I come down here all the time to hide and as soon as my chair makes noise, Cash is sticking his head over the gate and around the corner, asking for my attention. I'm going to have to get a quieter chair.