Costumes 2011

It's that time of year again. October 31st is upon us and bringing with it a desire in my children to acquire candy, candy, and candy. I rarely eat candy. I rarely let my kids eat candy. Yet I go to a lot of effort to outfit my children so that they can get some. Something about that doesn't add up.

Yet it does. It's because I love them. And what mother doesn't like dressing up her kids? Although 24 hours ago I had no idea what two of them would be and only a wig for the other, we somehow pulled it together this afternoon.

Thanks to my sister and nephew Jake for the Einstein idea. Jake was Einstein a few years back.

Thanks to the internet for the jellyfish idea. And to Libby for looking really cute as a stinging invertebrate.

And I do not thank you, Weird Al, for your CD ending up at a garage sale and then into my five year old's bedroom, into his night time music play list, and thus into his mind to dress up as you this year. But I have vowed to not squelch their creative sides, so I let him be Weird Al. (After the photos were taken Jimmy made him a name tag that said "Hi my name is Weird Al" to aid him in answering questions.)

And thank you God, for sending a miracle my way and allowing me to capture Penelope smiling naturally. It almost never happens.

Lastly, thank you Juliet, for being on the exterior of my womb this year, for being such a good baby, and for sitting quietly in your high chair while I photographed everyone outside, then smiling at me like this when I came in. I love all of you!


Doing our Thing

We live a crazy life around here. I always say this, but can I really back it up? Yes, I can.

This morning I arose early enough to get ready, nurse the baby, throw some yogurt at a kid, and get Jackson to the Dr. at 8 a.m. He is now out of his cast and has only a brace. Yes!

On the way home I dropped him at school. Came home, made bread, did school, nursed the baby, made lunch, and mentally prepared to take the entire family on two real estate photo shoots later today. I was going to pack dinner we could eat in the car along with things for the kids to do. It was raining. Jimmy and I discussed postponing the shoots due to the fact that they may look, for lack of a better word, drippy. We did.

Since I didn't have to go on the photo shoots anymore, my day was freed up and I did some art with the kids, didn't rush getting the baby down for a nap, and laid down for a short nap on the couch myself. (After reading to the children which always causes me to feel like I've taken enough sleepy medicine for a three hundred pound man.)

I woke up to Jimmy telling me we had to do the shoots anyway. People trying to sell their house prepare for pictures. They don't want to have to do it again. I totally get this. I wouldn't want to have to prepare twice. So now, we have to leave in 15 minutes.

The baby is asleep. Penelope is wearing a yellow flowered shirt with a plaid skort, but the skort is on backwards so it's shorts in the front and a skirt in the back. She puts on crocs that are three sizes too big. I tell her to find something else. She wears shiny pink cowboy boots. Cash is wearing clothes that are too big for him. Libby has on a dress that is really too short. Jackson is wearing a dirty shirt which I noticed in the doctors office but didn't want to bring him home between the doctor's and school to change. I demand that the boys pee outside and the girls go to the bathrooms. I am in the kitchen. Penelope goes a little way down the hall, then turns around and comes back and announces to me that she went potty. I bust her. She goes. We start to get in the van.

I am loaded down with my camera bag, diaper bag, a bag of tricks for the kids to do in the car, my water mug, and some Dixie cups so that when someone got thirsty I could offer them a drink of water from my mug in a Dixie cup. It is wet in the garage and there are multiple bikes and toys and well, crap on the floor. I trip and fall. I drop everything. I land on Cash's bike. I lay there for a minute. Jimmy, loading real estate signs, helps me up. I look down and say, "I think I broke my toe." I limp inside and finish loading up. I have to drive. Jimmy talks on his phone way too much to drive. Plus, he had to jump out at the office before our first stop. I've hurt my driving foot. But I am not a wimp. I just try to ignore it.

We have no gas. The appointment is in approximately 15 minutes and is approximately 19 miles out of town. Somehow we go the office, get gas, and get there only 8 minutes late. I limp around the property and we do our thing. The house is vacant. The kids get out and run around. I take five minutes to nurse the baby.

Off to the next shoot. It's off the beaten path. Wasn't even on Google maps. It involved over a mile of dirt roads. The kids take off their seat belts and enjoy the ride. We arrive only five minutes late. I limp around the property. We do our thing. The children stay in the car. There is crying a little. We take off and announce the mud bog ride will begin again. The 3 oldest kids are in the back on their knees, facing backwards looking out the back window and screaming with every bump. At some point Cash says, "Hit it, Dad!"

We go to show a house for another realtor. We don't really want the buyers to know there are five children in the van. While feeding the baby her jar of pears, I entertain the children with a story that ends with "There's water coming out my poop hole!" and this does the trick to keep them in their seats and at a low decibel level. We hit a few more dirt roads and head to dinner at Wendy's. We sit at a circular table and despite the craziness, I am in love with my family.

Then we go to Target. Jimmy wanted one thing (a movie- "Hook" from the $5 bin because my dad acquired the Hook pinball machine from 1992 and he wants to do his homework before the next time we visit) and he was just going to run in while I waited in the car (it was past bedtime for the littles) but I wanted to shop for a curtain rod. We all went in. I limped through Target. We did our thing.

We made it home and I nursed the baby and put her to bed and chased everyone else in the same direction. I finally arrived at my bed to elevate my swollen and bluish toe. I decided to relay my crazy day in an extremely long blog. I am going to bed and will start again tomorrow. I will limp around the house and do my thing. And hopefully not write a long blog about it.


10 years, 10 pins

For Jackson's birthday this year he wanted to go bowling with the family. Libby didn't get to go because she's staying with my parents for a few days. And Jimmy didn't bowl because of a previous bowling injury. (We bowl all the time. We have our own balls and shoes. I have a competition next week.) Here are some pics and stellar commentary from yours truly.

Cash has his game face on. I was trying to teach them how to get psyched up before a round.

Penelope is a bowling prodigy. We didn't even have to stand around and wonder if it would actually make it down to the pins like you would with a normal three year old. I think she got 6 strikes.

Here is Cash showing off his freestyle form...letting go of the ball from the waist. It's a new technique. I'm trying it out myself. It has increased my average score by 3.7 points in the last three months of practice.

Jackson's face after he got a strike. I am so proud. 10 pins for 10 years. I've been secretly hoping he takes an interest in my favorite past time, but that he actually has is a dream come true. I am so glad he broke his left arm and not his right. That could have seriously damaged his shot at the youth title next year.

A group shot. Penelope has moved up to a 10 pound ball. I've been practicing with her in our new yard.

Here are some shoes someone left out. We of course have our own that we bring. I don't know how anyone can expect to decently bowl with shoes like this.

We do have the best cheerleader in the world. I made sure she sucked her left thumb so as not to damage her right thumb for her future career in bowling.

Here is Justin Beiber demonstrating how he follows through when he bowls. They had instructional videos by multiple pop stars that you could watch while you bowl.

Here's the final score. The machine was broken. My score was 292, not 92. I haven't gotten a 92 since I was a toddler. You can't rely on computers. I keep my score in my head anyway.