Monday, August 30, 2010

The Writing is on the Wall . . .or How I Stopped Yelling to Get the Kids to Cooperate

There are times when I sound like a broken record.

Pick up your shoes.  Put away that toy!  Please. . . please,( for the love of God,)  lift up the toilet seat before you pee.  If you make a mess, then clean it up!

You get the idea.

I say these phrases or others like it, over and over and over, until I am, quite frankly, sick of saying them. 

Sick of instructing. 
Sick of directing. 
Just plain sick of hearing my own voice.

And honestly, my kids are probably sick of hearing me whine, complain,bitch and moan, order them around incessantly.  They are kids, after all, not recruits for the army, but  I was at my wits end trying to find a solution that would get them up and moving and contributing to the family without making me hoarse in the process.

And then it hit me.

I just would take myself out of the loop.


And, how did I do it, you ask?

Well, I am hear to tell you that this solution is so blatantly stupid, so ridiculously idiotic, that, at first, I was hesitant to try it.  Because surely, surely, an answer this easy could not work.

But, I am here to tell you that it did work.  And it still does!

All I did was assign each kid a chalkboard.  The chalkboard is in a very visible spot in our almost-but-not-quite-finished kitchen remodel. (side note . . . I saw a photo in a magazine somewhere of a wall of differing size chalkboards, and I tried it in our kitchen.  The idea is not new to blog land.  I know Thrifty Decor Chick used a chalkboard in her kitchen awile back, but it is new to me.  I love the chalkboards!  They have been a hit!  It looks cool and the kiddies have fun coloring on the wall while I am busy ordering making dinner. Score!)

When the kids return from school, each kid has a list of things that need to be accomplished before they can do anything that is more fun.  They go through the list one at a time, crossing off chores as they go.

And that's it.

No.  I am not kidding.

I put up a chalkboard.  I listed their chores.  They do them.

Ridiculously stupid, no?!

Yet, for whatever reason, I am not yelling or complaining or repeating myself, and things are getting done.


Share your successes!  What have you done in your home that has been a smashing success?!?

PS  Yes,  this is a little hint of the after pics of my kitchen.  In the pictures you can see part of the island that I created and the lovely granite counter (that I got as a remnant) on top.  Sooooo pretty!!  :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Morning Has Broken (Me, That Is)

My Back to School Morning . . .

7:00  Wake up and drag myself out of bed.

7:05 Realize that hubby is actually humming to himself as he finishes shaving.

7:06 Discover, once again, that hubby is a morning person, and clearly I am not.

7:07  Realize that I hate hubby, but only when he is in morning person mode.

7:10  Wake Ab.  Ignore the fact that she has slept on top of her covers the entire night so that she does not have to make her bed in the morning.

7:11  Congratulate self for raising such a creative thinker!

7:15  Do a dance with hubby at the coffee maker as we both try to fix ourselves a cup of coffee.

7:16  Be nice, despite my Oscar the Grouch morning attitude and actually let hubby go first with his coffee cup, because he has to go to work.

7:20  Kiss hubs bye.

7:21  Return to coffee maker for my much needed jolt of caffeine only to discover that hubs took the last cup.

7:22  Curse.  Loudly.  Possibly threaten death and destruction.

7:25 Start a new pot of coffee, help Ab with her breakfast, and generally operate on autopilot.

7:30-8:00  Get showered, dressed, and ready for the day.  May or may not have dozed in the shower.

8:01 Wake up E.  Realize that he too is not a morning person when he throws a pillow at me as I exit his room. 

8:02  Check to make sure Ab is ready to go with lunch, bag, etc.

8:03  Check to make sure that I am ready to go with purse, keys, kids, etc.

8:04  Discover car keys are MIA.

8:05  Look for keys on kitchen counter, on fireplace mantle, and in my pants pocket from yesterday.

8:06  Where are my $%**!@# keys??

8:07  Panic sets in.  WHERE ARE MY   $%**@#  KEYS???????

8:08  Call hubs at work.  Accuse him of stealing my keys.  May or may not have used a choice word or two.

8:09  Instruct Ab and E to help with the search.  Search includes the refrigerator, under the couch, in the Little People toy container and other useful lost-key areas.

8:10  Decide that my keys are hopelessly lost and that we will have to (gulp!) walk to school.

8:11  Curse.  Loudly.

8:12 Remember that I have not woken up El and curse, again Loudly.

8:13  Hope that my children have not heard my potty mouth as they wait for me outside on the sidewalk.

8:14  Wake a peacefully sleeping El and deposit her, in her PJ's, in the stroller.

8:15-8:45  Walk to school.  Drop off Ab.  Walk back home.

8:46  Sweat.

8:47  Pour my first cup of coffee.  Sweat some more.

8:50  Swallow down my first half cup of coffee, and as the caffeine kicks in,  instantly remember where my keys are.

8:51  Bless caffeine and all of its wondrous ways. 

8:52  Curse hubs again for taking the last cup of joe.

And how was your morning????

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Relatively Speaking

As I was straightening up the bathroom, I overheard Ethan and hubs wrestling with each other in the bedroom.  Hubs grunted and groaned as Ethan's pointy elbows made contact with his nether regions, and Ethan, of course, laughed with delight.

But suddenly, I heard Ethan yell out, "Grandpa! Grandpa!  Grandpa!"

Hubs, I'm sure, was as puzzled as I was, because I heard him ask Ethan, "Why are you calling me Grandpa?  Am I really that old?"

The wrestling stopped when Ethan answered matter of factly, "Dad, you said to yell 'Grandpa' when I have had enough wrestling, or I'm in pain."

Through his laughter (and mine), hubs replied, " No Ethan.  I said to yell, 'Uncle!' "

"Uncle?  But why would you yell uncle?"  Ethan questioned.

And, after thinking about it a bit, I think that I am with Ethan.  Why not Grandpa?  Or Aunt?  Or Second cousin once removed?

After all, it's all relative. (Ha!  I couldn't resist!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Her Days Are Numbered . . .

"What do you think of this?"  Ab asked as she walked into my bedroom.  For the last hour, she had been trying on clothes from her closet and mine.  Her fashionista vibe was in full force, and she was creating some very interesting outfits to prepare for the new school year.  I was more than a little worried that I would have to veto her latest creation, so I cautiously emerged from my closet to take a look.

I was not prepared for what I saw.

There was my Ab, my little girl,  looking very much like a young lady.   She was wearing my black and white graphic short dress,  except on her, it came down to her knees.  Ab combined the dress with  black leggings, and in her short cropped blonde bob, she sported a white headband.  She topped off her ensemble with red sandals that let her cute painted toes peak out from underneath their straps.  It was a great outfit.

"Mom?"  she questioned, breaking me from my daze.  "Well, what do you think? "  she asked as she did a  giddy little twirl.  I could tell that she was happy with herself and with her look.  She radiated her confidence.

And it hit me.

She was so beautiful. . . and . . . she wasn't a little girl any longer.

Oh,  my brain knew that she still liked to snuggle with me before bed, and that she still enjoyed playing with her Littlest Pet Shop animals for hours on end, but my heart knew that that twirl and that confidence marked a turn for Ab down the road towards being a big girl, a young lady.  Abbie was growing up, right before my eyes, and apparently I was not ready for it.  Not at all.

"Oh Ab,"  I sighed,  "You look beautiful."  I felt like my words were choking me, as I fought back my tears. 

Ab smiled, then responded, "Mom?  Are you crying?"  She came over and wrapped her arm around my shoulder. 

We were almost the same height.

I smiled through my tears and answered honestly, "Yes.  I am.  I'm your mom and I am allowed to cry.  Now, if you would please go in your room and stop growing,  I will stay here and stop crying."

She rolled her eyes at me, gave me a squeeze, and said, "Mom, you are so weird sometimes."  And, with that, she skipped back into her bedroom.

And I watched her.  Intently.

Acutely aware of how blessed I am to be a part of her growth . . .

And acutely aware of how my days of having a little girl are numbered.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Lord Works in Technologically Mysterious Ways

Dear God,

Sometimes, I can hear you and your voice quite clearly in my life, especially when I am listening.

But,today, I have a feeling that I have not been listening.  And, sneaky God that you are, I have a feeling that you are trying to tell me something.  So, yes lord,  I am now paying attention, and I will definitely be going back to the gym on Monday when the kids start back to school.

I just wanted you to know . . . so that you can stop sending my computer fat loss pop-up ads while I am checking my email.  The first ad was annoying, the second ad was amusing,  and the third ad was my wake up call.

So, just to recap,   I got your message loud and clear!!   (And,  I am thoroughly impressed with your use of technology, frankly!)



PS  As a side note,  will you please be with me on Monday while I visit the gym?  I have a feeling that it will be painful. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If You Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter, . . . Would You Pick Up Mine While You Are There?

I have a confession.

Shhhhh!  Come closer.

I love Craigslist. 

There.  I said it,  and I feel so much better.

Seriously, folks. Craigslist is the best.  You can do garage sale like shopping from the comfort of your couch and laptop.  What's not to love?

So, every few days, I hop on over to the site, and just peruse the listings.  It's sort of like going through the classified ads in the newspaper, but virtually.  By just keeping my eyes open like this, I have scored some incredible finds.  For example,  I got my 3 piece wicker resin couch with cushions and pillows for just $80, and  . . . it was still in its plastic wrapping from the store!  Do you know how much those outdoor sofas run??  Ay yi yi!  $80 was an incredible deal.

(Here is a pic of a sofa that closely resembles mine. 
According to the Home Depot website, replacement cushions alone cost $299.00!)

Anyways, last night, I was doing my normal craigslist look-see, and I came across a listing for a "Weird Pink Sofa."  I had no idea what would constitute a weird pink sofa, so I just HAD to look.  Here is the listing and picture that I copied EXACTLY into this post.

We're moving and need to get rid of this couch. It is very weird looking and weird shaped and we got it free years ago and never used it. It is so ugly that most people who came to visit would laugh about it. All I know is that it's super heavy and I'm NOT willing to take it with us again. First person HERE gets it!

•it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Did this listing just say,"It is so ugly that most people that came to visit would laugh about it?"  Ugly ?!?Is it possible that someone had this couch in her home and did not know what this couch resembled?

Is it just me?

Please tell me that I am not the only one that thinks that this looks like a hoo ha? A va-jay-jay? A vertical smile?

Or am I the only one who has her mind in the gutter?

A weird couch? I'd say so!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Achoo! Excuse me!!!


No, it's not my allergies acting up.

It's my sneeze page!

What's a sneeze page you say?  Well, if you were my 6 year old son, a sneeze page would be a page of your sister's journal that you use to wipe your nose, but, since you are not my six year old, a sneeze page is a page that tells you more about me, Annie, the blogging wonder.

So, if you are new around here and want to get to know me better(or if you are old and just want to laugh), I direct you to my sneeze page.

You're welcome.

All you have to do is go up to the top of my home page  . . .

yes . . .

right up there . . .
and just click where it says Favorite Posts.

Once there, you will be able to learn about my parenting expertise, (yelling anyone?) or how my life is full of poop and nipple talk.  You could also grab a few tips about marriage or men in general, because clearly, I have a wealth of information on that topic.

All in all, it should be a fun adventure for you.


Now get reading!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The First Time My Mouth Got Me in Trouble . . .(or Coffee is a Dish Best Served Cold)

I was a pretty good kid.

I did well in school,  worked hard at my activities, and rarely got in trouble.  I was pretty much your typical first-born, over-achieving kid.

But one time, being the snarky girl that I am,  I got in trouble.

Big trouble.

I think I was probably about 8 or 9, and mom and I were sitting on the front porch of our house.  We were each eating a piece of pie that my mother had made for dessert the night before . . . from scratch.  

Now, you should know that my mom . . . making a pie . . . from scratch . . . was a miracle in and of itself.  Mom is, to this day, a fabulous cook,  but, she never did quite get the hang of baking.  (This is because  a) she doesn't like to follow directions and b)  her creative mind wants to tweak the recipe, just so, and that usually results in a disaster. )  She has blown up cakes and created congealed brownies.  In fact, one time my dad actually forbid her to ever bake again.  Her baking skills were that bad.

So, the fact that mom actually rolled out dough and made an honest to goodness edible pie was momentous!  And, on that afternoon as we sat and munched on her successful dish, I just couldn't bring myself to award her a compliment.  Instead, my sass bubbled to the surface, and I slyly commented,  "Mom, this is good, but . . ." (You knew there had to be a but, right?)  I paused and then finished, "But this crust just isn't flaky like the crust on the butter commercial."

I remember I smiled to myself, thinking that I was pretty darn funny.

Mom smiled too, but said nothing.  Instead, she picked up her cold cup of coffee, held it up high, and poured it over my head.

Then, she laughed.

And laughed.

And laughed.

Now, I won't lie.  I was mortified.  Not only had my humor not gone over so well,  I was also sitting on my front porch dripping cold coffee from my nose in sopping wet, coffee-stained clothes.  It wasn't pretty, my friends.  Not pretty at all.

But, looking back, I wholeheartedly deserved it.

And the lesson?  Did it have a lasting impression on me?

I'd say so, considering that I have my cold coffee ready.

Bring on the snark, I say.

Bring it on!

********I'm linking to Mama Kat today.  I used the prompt  . . . "The craziest reason I got in trouble as a child. . ."  Hop on over to Mama Kat and check her out!********

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Celebrity Look Alike? Ummmmm . . . yeah . . . .

"Honey? What movie star do I look like?" hubs asked as he raised his eyebrow and displayed his profile to me across the dinner table.

This, of course, is a loaded question. It is like when a wife asks her husband, "Does this make me look fat?" The husband's answer is wrong no matter what he replies. I knew that I was stepping out of the frying pan and into the fire with this conversation.

So, like a deer caught in the headlights, I went for a flattering guess. "Ummm. Tom Cruise?" After all, the Danger Zone, the theme from Top Gun, was playing over the loudspeaker at the restaurant.

"Tom Cruise? He's crazy, psycho crazy!" he emphasized. "Really?!?" he questioned. I could tell he was a little offended at my choice so I explained.

"No! Not really. I just thought that you asked me because of the song that was playing. I thought that you were being goofy."

His expression softened and he replied, "Whew!" (I guess that being crazy trumps being good looking in hubs' book. ) He re-posed himself, complete with eyebrow lifted, and then said, "Try again."

I seriously had no idea where he was going with this line of questions. So, I went with my gut.

"Kevin James?"

Crickets everywhere were chirping as he paused.

I was afraid.

Very afraid.

Finally, he replied, "Kevin James. Yeah. He's cool."

Whew, exactly!

********On a side note . . . Kevin James IS hilarious ( as is hubs!), and his dancing skills make me yearn for my Depends. Seriously, y'all. Check out this clip from Hitch.

And to hubs . . . Kevin ain't got nothin' on your moves!  Q-tip??  Ha!  You laugh in the face of the Q-tip!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Just Call Me a Raisin -or otherwise titled- Can I Iron the Wrinkles Out of My Skin?

Last night hubs and I went out on a date.  I wore an actual dress, and I put on actual makeup. 

I know.  I know.

The man is lucky!

Anyways, while I was primping in the mirror, I found a rather large unruly grey hair right near my ear in my short do.  Ay yi yi!  Upon finding the grey, I did the only thing that I could.

I screamed.

No.  Seriously.  I did not scream, although I wanted to.  Instead, I picked up my tweezers and plucked that offensive baby right out of my head.

Feeling a bit triumphant, I related the story to hubs.  Apparently, E was eavesdropping, and his response?

"Well mom,  you are getting old,  "  he paused and then said, " . .  . and wrinkly."



I have yet to discover a quick fix for wrinkles.  That is unless any of you out there happen to be a plastic surgeon that wants to give away free samples of Botox?



And in honor of my wrinkles, I leave you with this youtube gem . . .

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Road Trip? I Don't Think So!

I have the opportunity to take my 3 kiddies to a family reunion 5 hours away this weekend. And while the good girl part of me really wants to go so that I can see hub's family and the kiddies will get to experience all the joys of visiting with both sane and insane members of the family, (Sorry Freak! I mean that in the nicest way. Really.) the bad girl part of me wants to say, nope.

No can do.

Why, you ask?

Well, the 5 hour car trip.

By myself.

With 3 kiddies.

That's why.

Really, do I have to say more?

Usually hubs and I make the trip together, and while it is typically still a painful commute, when it is the two of us, we can usually endure it.

But, me?


With the kids?

Well, let's just say, I don't have the greatest track record with solo long car trips.

In fact, there is one particular car trip that I have nightmares about to this day. The 3 kids and I had traveled to my sister's house, a 10 hour car trip. The trip there was rather uneventful considering that I was traveling with a 9 month old, a 4 year old, and a 7 year old.

But the trip home?


The night before leaving for home, Ethan decided to start throwing up. He had a fever and was just plain miserable, but by morning, he was fever free and seemed empty, so I decided to continue with my plans to leave.

As a send off, my sister made a large breakfast of eggs, toast and bacon. Ethan ate nothing, Ab and I ate the yummy breakfast eagerly, and Ellerie, then just nine months, chirped in the highchair indicating that she wanted to try some foods from our plates. I indulged her with a bit of scrambled eggs. She gobbled them up quickly.

Within 5 minutes though, Ellerie had big red splotchy hives all over her body. She cried in discomfort and when I tried to console her, she promptly puked all over me. The planets clearly were in alignment for me NOT to leave, but I was homesick for my house and my husband, and I just figured that El had a touch of Ethan's virus and she would sleep it off like he did. (Side note . . . only later did we learn that Ellerie was and still is highly allergic to eggs. . . a totally separate blog post.)

So, I packed up the kiddies into our brand new mini van, and off we went.

One hour later we hit a horrendous bumper to bumper traffic jam. It was hot, and we weren't moving, and it happened.

Ethan started getting sick.

Ellerie cried . . . and started getting sick.

Abbie, bless her heart, tried to dole out garbage bags to her brother and sister, and then, she too got sick.

And, I did the only thing that I could.

I cried like a baby.

When we finally got out of traffic, and I had cleaned up the kids and the now-christened van, I tried to give the big kids instructions about how to get sick into their buckets that I had purchased at a roadside drugstore. They seemed weak and listless, but otherwise OK, and I thought maybe, just maybe I had endured the worst of it.

I was wrong.

After hours on the road with multiple stops for diarrhea and bucket dumping, I had finally had enough. I stopped at a hotel, a definite luxury normally, but a necessity on this trip. I needed a break. And a hot shower. And a bed. Desperately.

One at a time, I carried those sick kids into that hotel. Fortunately, the desk clerk helped me by standing watch over the remaining kiddies as I walked back and forth from the van to the room. One at a time, I bathed and washed each child's hair, gave them some tylenol for their fevers, and placed them in bed.

They all slept soundly.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I ran water for one more bath. Mine. I made the water scalding hot, and I had to inch my way down into that water, but once there, I relaxed. I inhaled the steam and let that hot water soothe my weary body. I sat there in that tub and cried and cried, but, thirty minutes later, I felt refreshed and finally, clean. True, I was exhausted, but at least I could get a good night's sleep, I thought. I cashed out in the hotel's big fluffly bed. It was about 9:30, and I was so glad that my nightmare day was over.

Unfortunately, at 12:00am I woke to the sound of the hotel's fire alarm going off.


I am not kidding.

I called down to the front desk, convinced that it had to be a false alarm. The clerk assured me that it was not. I had to evacuate the hotel.

With three sick kids.

I hung up the phone, gently picked up a sleeping El and manuevered her into the Baby Bjorn. Then I gently shook Abbie awake enough so that she could walk and follow me. Finally, I picked up Ethan and cradled him in front of me and the baby in the front pack, and I walked those 3 sick babies out to our van.

To this day, I have no idea how I accomplished all of this.

The rest of the trip passed rather normally and we all got home safely, which is ultimately what matters most.

But, I still don't want to travel alone with the kiddies this weekend.

And you can't make me!

***** I am linking this to MamaKat's this week! Go check out some other road trip stories. Go on. Go! *********

Monday, August 2, 2010

Not a Square to Spare

Dear Hubs,

It has come to my attention that once again, you have had a challenge that you could not complete.

While I realize that changing the toilet paper roll is an overwhelmingly difficult task, I really and truly believe in my heart that you are (ready for this . . .) able to do it. So, the next time that the roll empties, you only have to do the following.

1) Determine that the roll is,in fact, empty. You will know this when you reach for a square of Charmin, and your hand comes up empty.

2) Locate the spare rolls in the bathroom vanity. I have made this step relatively easy for you. The spare rolls of paper are all white and sitting on the open shelf of the vanity. You do not even have to move any items to locate them.

3) Grab a spare roll, and (here is where it gets a bit tricky) exchange the empty cardboard sleeve with the full, brand-new roll.

And, voila!

A full and beautiful, brand new roll of toilet paper!

So, my dear, please accept this challenge. I know that you can do it, despite it's seemingly difficult manuevers.

Your loving wife,


PS On a side note, if you decide not to accept the challenge, I have decided to hide all of the spare rolls of paper in a location unknown to you, and you will have to fend for yourself, and rough it, if you will. Because, frankly my dear, in the words of Elaine (my favorite Seinfeld character) . . . I don't have a square to spare!

****** And, since a good embarrassing story is a great ice breaker at parties, I am joining LambAround's party today! :) Go check out the other party goers!


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