The greatest show on earth

So, my parents were here the last two days and left this morning somewhere between 3 and 4 a.m. They are on their way to Alaska. (after a week stop in Arkansas, I'll explain below) I am excited for them and enjoyed seeing just a small portion of their ultra-organized packing job/travel set-up. We gave them our video camera when they got here, but before they even arrived Dad had already rigged his bicycle helmet with the ability to attach a camera. He plans to be a living breathing moving tripod while cycling and kayaking the Alaskan wilderness. I'm not joking when I say that I hope he doesn't get mauled by a bear and the footage ends up on T.V. While they were here my mom said, "Jim, someone told me we should wear bells to scare away the bears." Dad just huffed and said, "We can make our own bells with beer cans and rocks. You drink the beer first, then you're crazy enough to venture out where the bears are." (This is especially funny because my parents are so straight laced and non-alcoholic that my mom recently reluctantly allowed wine in the house to cook with.)

My parents enjoyed reveling at the chaotic entertainment my house provides. My Dad was here and kept my oldest three when Penelope was born, and he described this place like a weather system. Sometimes it's totally calm and serene, but all of a sudden a storm or squall can rise up with little to no warning. You just have to ride the storm, then deal with the damage once it passes.

Today, I would describe it as a circus. At breakfast I was provided a musical number to the Newsboys, complete with underwear dancing and lip-syncing. (Jackson is totally into the Newsboys. Take me to your leader, son.) Then, for our next act, I managed to fit three car seats in the back of Jimmy's car (the van is getting new tires) and drive everyone to the park to meet my friend Tara so I could exercise. In the left ring, I took off Libby's underwear and she peed in the grass. Then began the circus parade of walking/jogging/sympathizing mommies around the playground while six monkeys did their swinging/sliding/climbing acts. Penelope was fussing, got her precious chubby leg pinched by the stroller buckle, and I then did lunges while holding her in one arm and holding Cash's hand with my other arm. Jackson went home with Tara to play, and I took everyone else home, with Penelope crying (loudly) the whole time. I got her to bed. And now, if you'll direct your attention to the center ring, it's my favorite part of the circus. All preschoolers will watch an amazing, glorious and wonderful thing called Sesame Street while mommy takes a shower to wash off all traces of poop, pee, blood, sweat, and tears. This circus is ready for intermission (nap time) and it's only 10:30.

Well, there's other news to be told, but nap time is ending and the circus is about to begin again. I am packing for a trip to Arkansas. We are traveling there for my Grandmother's 90th birthday. I have been working on a slide show of pictures of her for her party. So this circus is hitting the road in four days. Anyone want to come? We've got one open seat in our van. It's the greatest show on earth! It's free, you just have to pay for gas...

Here are some pictures. Dad and his set-up, Jackson in the middle of one of his dance moves, and Penelope looking cute in the bath (my mom took the photo). Also, recently Cash has begun dunking his head underwater in the bathtub. Tonight I was able to capture him doing it. Pretty crazy. He can join the circus as the amazing breath holder or something.


"six" pounds of blueberries

I don't surf the blog world a whole lot, but I read my friend Tara's and she has a link to the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks on hers. I've looked it over before and it's pretty funny. This past weekend we were at my parents in Waldo and the day we got there, Friday, they got a postcard in the mail for a nearby berry plantation in Earlton, FL. We've been there multiple times before. I couldn't help but notice the superfluous quotation marks on their reminder card so I thought I'd add it to my own blog as a reminder of what we did, and also, to let you know that there actually was picking there, even though the card seems to imply otherwise. We picked six pounds of berries and I discovered after the first ten minutes or so that Libby's bucket only had like four berries in it. So, maybe we picked more like six and a half pounds but only paid for six...Libby got the idea. She was there to "pick" berries. Go girl!



Sometimes it feels as though my life is a series of piles. Piles seem to be taking over my life. Piles of laundry, piles of toys, piles of school work, piles of books, piles of mail, piles of dirt, piles of diapers, piles of poop (you know I had to say it), piles of dishes, piles of crayons, piles of leaves, piles of children...

Jimmy has begun a cleaning business which makes him gone all day at school and then gone again in the evenings, making me the sole caretaker of the kids for many hours of the day. I try to keep things simple around here, and play games with my mind, like, pretending Super Nanny is video taping me so that I don't lose my cool or let the children get away with anything. Or that the President is coming over so that I actually make something that resembles dinner. The other day I was outside making a pile of weeds and vines and my sister called. I let the kids go inside and I stayed on the front porch, to have some peace to talk to her, and when I hung up and came inside I was greeted by a pile in the living room. It was the contents of my pantry, in a pile on the floor. Libby and Cash were the culprits. I made them pick it all up, of course. But as soon as one pile is decimated it seems another one forms somewhere else in my house (or mind).

Last week I had just finished nursing Penelope and rocked her for a bit, trying to take a little break because I was feeling pretty tired and overwhelmed just at the task of having to get up and make everyone lunch and I had a flashback to an interview I saw on some random trashy talk show back when I was a teenager. It was a mother who had a bunch of kids and was still nursing her son who was like ten years old or something crazy like that. She would just lie on the floor and her kids would line up and take turns at the breast. I of course was horrified (that was the point) and ogled at her craziness. But sitting there, in my chair, feeling tired, I looked down at the floor and sort of understood her plight. I thought, if I could just lie down there, doing nothing, getting a little nap, and just by lifting my shirt up, nourish my kids all at the same time, I probably would. I can't blame her for saving energy, dishes, groceries, and time all at once. Well, I better add this to my pile of blogs, hope I don't regret it later (I often do) and get back to my pile of demands I'm putting off. Jackson keeps saying, "can I please read your postage?" Sure Jackson, just don't get any ideas. Let's not pile on top of mommy or anything, I'm not ready for Super Nanny to see that one.


Club G.R.O.M.G.A.T.

Anyone want to join Jackson's new club? It's called G.R.O.M.G.A.T.* and it stands for Get Rid Of Mean Girls And Toddlers. Apparently, anyone is welcome except for girls and toddlers. Although, I did overhear Jackson make a few exceptions: "Except for Mom and Penelope, and ---- (names have been removed to protect the innocent) and ----, once I talk to her about bossing me." I'm pretty sure membership is free, you just have to know the password. (Which I had to encourage him to shorten, it was originally one huge run-on sentence.) Sorry about the fuzziness of the photo, don't let it lead you to believe this is not for real.

*This club is not to be confused with Calvin and Hobbes club- G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS).