Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We now return you to your regularly scheduled insanity

Yesterday, the extended family all cleared out, the left-over cookies and candies were tossed, and the Ansari's tried to regroup in the wake of 9 days of Christmas and a 12 person household reduced to the normal 6. Though it was one of the best, most lovely family gatherings in quite some time, Omar and I both sighed a little sigh of relief as we looked forward an evening of calm and relative quiet.

As the boys chewed down some very un-vegetarian corndogs, Omar asked "Where's Leo?" This is not an unusual question around here. When you have 4 kids a large home, the helicoptering well-known to the first born is long gone.

Omar started upstairs to check out Leo while I discussed further highlights and lowlights with the kids. This was soon interrupted by "Oh GOD! Honey! I need help!"

Now, it wasn't said with the tone of terror I would expect with something truly tragic. I knew the child was neither dead nor was Omar in need of my MD skills. Oh, Oh no. It was worse.

Leo, apparently, had not yet lost the christmas spirit. He decided to unwrap his own little bundle of joy... namely, the poopy diaper I had just relieved him of 20 minutes earlier. He had pulled it out of the diaper pail, and if I recreated the CSI-like scene properly, unleashed the madness in the hallway. It appears there were multiple fumbles on the path of great happiness to the kitchen. It appeared he was on his way to share his finding with all of us. He clearly needed a little added support from the wall as he rounded the corner, and the texture was too enjoyable to keep in one hand.

When I entered the scene, Omar was standing with said child, a look of stinkified horror on his face, presenting Leo to me like a grusome offering I wanted nothing to do with. He poo-covered hands were outstretched towards me as he gave me one of those "I wanna hug ya" smiles. I was given the choice of the child or the carpet. I should have known better... I chose child, and then realized Omar (despite many otherwise wonderful skills) is hopeless at cleaning a carpet. So I got to do both.

Thankfully, the current "cool color" palette of paint and carpet includes shades of brown and yellow that I have always referred to as "baby poop brown." Who knew how helpful that would be?

Our brand of peace and quite needs some serious re-branding...

Friday, December 25, 2009

It's a wrap

It's 9:20pm, Christmas day. I think it's fair to say that everyone is pretty content. The ages of the kids in the house are 12, 10, 7, 4.5, 4.5 and 1. They awoke at 4:15 but managed to stay in bed until 6:30. They knew to not come knocking on any adult door until 7am.

After stockings, pecan rolls, presents, snowmen, rouladin (otherwise known as German Christmas dinner crack), bionicles, Sorry, card games, hot tubbing, 2 New York Times crossword puzzles, and endless forms of chocolate and sugar, silence has descended. The kids are all passed out. The adults are all either reading, computing or nodding off (or a combination of the latter).

In summary, it was completely lovely. I am so blessed and so fortunate to have the family and life that I have. I hope each person who reads this litany of Ansari wackiness is similarly blessed, content and well. Merry Christmas to each of you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to you!

Nothing says "welcome to your holiday vacation week" like a good case of vomiting and diarrhea.

Monday was the day I had to buy food for the 12 people who are in my house this week, finish buying some gifts, clean a bit, care for the one boy that is out of school, and pick up my family at the airport. Instead, I found myself unable to stand long enough to even cook Max lunch, directing him instead to eat as much sugary cereal as he could put his own hands on.

I managed to rally long enough to stand upright to greet my family (after Omar cut his workday short to go get them in my place). Each day since, I have awoken, willing myself to be done with this nonsense. And though I have yet to lose my cookies, I still feel like I've been unplugged. I flopped into bed last night hugging my pillow for dear life. I am currently hoping I can actually hit the mall today for one last flurry of shopping before the reported storm-o-the-century hits.

All I want for Christmas is my equilibrium....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Clean out

The addition of many toys for many boys in 7 days was enough to finally kick my clutter-meter over the tipping point. Yesterday was the day I pulled every toy and book out of every drawer, nook, cranny, toybox or shelf and threw it all on the floor. I gathered from high and low to organize and decimate the current toy situation and make way for the newbies.

Here is what it looked like when I began

And here is 4 hours later...

Of course, one cannot do this without letting their inner Rainman take over completely. As I was using my label maker (oh, that's right) to put the finishing touches on each drawer, catastrophe struck. The labeler ran out of paper.

Now, for those of you who have never visited this dark side of OCD, let me tell you, this was enough to almost make me weep. I didn't bring organization to this point with the intention of leaving it half labeled. Oh, Oh no. So I drove to Target with 29 minutes 'till bus time, grabbed that paper and finished it up.

I can now stash away my A-type inner core yet again. Bring it, Santa!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The bully

I like to think I am raising boys who are compassionate, non-violent and kind. I know this is a bit of an uphill battle in a home where testosterone is the ruling party, but I try. Hitting isn't tolerated, there are no (purchased) guns, and physical aggression buys you a trip to your room.

So I was a little bummed to hear that Leo is becoming a bit of a jerk. He has started taking toys from the other babies, followed by a quick shove to the ground.


So, this weekend, I started watching things around here (he couldn't possibly have learned this HERE?!?). Well, the big brothers grab stuff from his hot little hands all the time. Now, usually it's their stuff, and its usually something he shouldn't have it in the first place, but that nuance isn't really penetrating the gray matter of the 15-monther.

Also, given that he is a huge climber, I am physically moving him all the time. Off the table. Off a chair he's standing on. Off my bathroom counter. Out of the dog dishes. Out of his brother's clothes drawers. Basically, we manhandle him all the time here. But always in the name of good child rearing, right?

So the next time I have to removed the pencil-sharpener from his mouth as he is sitting on my desk, I am supposed to display "gentle hands" and then ask him nicely to return to the floor? Because, really, snatching it away and shoving him might be more appropriate at times.

I guess I have found the enemy, and it is me...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Funniest thing I've seen in a while...

Anyone over the age of 55 might not think it's quite as entertaining as I do... but I can't help myself.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Little bit of levity

Go ahead and ask my husband... I've been a little crabby recently. He actually asked me the other day, as I was spouting off about some frustration "You didn't rip anyone's face off, did ya?"


There are a variety of factors involved here. One, I have been working almost exclusively shifts that end between 1 and 3am. I can take those shifts here and there, but to have that be the exclusive order of the day for the last 3 weeks... it gets a little old. Two, the flu-mania at our daycare has me fielding phone calls nearly everyday about our kids' health. I got the "Calvin has a cough and a temp of 99.8" the other day. And...? Then Leo has been sent home two time in as many weeks for a goopy eye (which require drops that medically I know are worthless), and once because his breathing "just doesn't sound right." One or another kid was home 4 of the 5 days last week (remember that working till 2am thing...).

So, I'm a little crispy around the edges.

Today, I have the coveted day off (after working until 2am), with no kids. I am so excited to FINALLY go get some christmas stuff done. Here's a little piece of info for all of you out there - if you don't have your Christmas decorations already in your home, you are out of luck. Every Target in town is OUT of christmas tree lights. And there aren't anymore coming. Costco? Nope. Home Depot? All gone. When I found the one endcap at Menard's that still had strings of 100, I looked like the fat kid in the all-you-can-eat candy store.

And then, the comic relief. I turn around and all I see is bare bottom. Thankfully, it is 18mo bare bottom. This poor mother is trying to keep pants and pull-ups on her son who clearly wants to be a nudist. He thinks this is great fun. She pulls 'em up, he pulls 'em down. He doesn't understand her preoccupation with keeping him clad. It was exactly what I needed.

So, I am now trying to shed the weight of the daily ups and downs, decorate the tree tonight with my kids and a smile. A little football curled up on the couch with my hubby later, and a good book to bed. Then tomorrow, I will work until 3am...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Momma special

Can anyone give me a good explanation of the behavior of my children? Let me map this out for you..

For the hour and half that Omar let me sleep in, the boys apparently were happy, pleased to play with each other, and padded around the house while Omar did the crossword puzzle and drank coffee.

I wake up, and the place completely falls apart. No one is satisfied with self-directed behavior that had previously been perfectly acceptable. Everyone is trying to be the center of my attention. I get coffee spilled all over my attempt at a morning wake-up because of all the bodies that are slithering all over my personal space.

The whining, which has, by Omar's report, been ABSENT for the entire morning, is now seeping from every child in a pitch that pierces my spinal cord. When asked to please stop this hideous display (like I asked 239583 times the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that), everyone under the age of 6 looses any signs of a skeletal system. I am now on day 4 of wanting to kill my kids. And it only took 3.4 seconds.

How did mother nature let this happen? I have talked with other moms and they all have noted the same problem. How did the human species every survive this anti-Survival-of-the-Fittest adaptation. Make no mistake about it - I am the one most likely to end their battle to pass on genetic material in the upcoming years.

So, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I look forward to the 9 days we all have off together at Christmas time...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Belated Halloween

Since I never got around to it last month, here is what Oct 31st looked like around these parts.

Leo Puppy

Mike Wazowski

Max, the white ninja (who thought that was stealthy?) with Mom and Dad Mexican wrestlers

The Neighboorhood Crew

And what would Halloween be without the creepy neighbor guy. Thanks for covering that one, Nathan!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Breakfast conversation

While eating their shredding wheat and oatmeal....

Max: Hey mom, can you buy us some Fruity Pebbles?
Me: Ah yes... Fruity Pebbles... You mean sugar bombs?
Max: They are really good.
Me: I know they are. I loved those things when I was a kid. I didn't know you had ever had them.
Spencer: (Hardly intelligible through the mouth full of oatmeal) Can we get those things that Max just said?
Me: What?
Spencer: I want those Sugar Bombs cereals.

Who wouldn't....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Night shift

Yet another day in the crazy life I lead.

Now, of course, when I say "day" that doesn't always mean day. This time around my day started at 7:30am yesterday, took a little siesta from 12-2pm, and came back to life with shocking clarity with a ring on my cell phone telling me to come get Leo AGAIN from daycare (last week, it was the pre-night-shift "he had a loose stool and his armpit temp is 99.2. He has to stay home for 24 hours). This time it was "Leo has a goopy eye and needs to be pickup up within half an hour... and he has to stay home for 24 hours." (The insanity caused by H1N1 is so completely off the map I have trouble seeing straight. A temp of 99.2?? Otherwise known as "normal." Oh, and in case you wondered, my MD opinion is worth roughly a hill of beans).

For the love of all that is holy! Do these people have a copy of my schedule?!? The two night shifts I have had this month, and I am toting around a 14-monther on both the pre- and post- days??

So, I get the kid. We get groceries, get the brothers, play at the park, make dinner, eat dinner and then spend a few quality minutes of Monday Night Football with the hubby. Then, it's into the shower at 10pm, off to work at 10:30pm and picking up the first patient at 11pm. I was re-released into the wild at 7:15am. Given the fact that a) the power leaf-blowers were coming to my yard, b) I had a baby at home, and c) Max had a late start and wasn't on the bus until 11am, I did what any good mother would do.

I didn't go home.

I instead went straight to my in-laws' (Thanks Dorit and Naseem!) and crashed for 6 glorious hours of sleep with a fleece earwarmer wrapped over my eyes. We instead paid to have daycare AND a babysitter. Who doesn't love THAT price tag?

Keep drinking the beer, people. Our family's sanity depends on you!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


On the way to the cabin this weekend, the boys were watching Cars. Omar and I overhear this snip-it:

Spencer: Ah Man! Hit him in the wiener
Calvin: He doesn't have a wiener. He's a car.

Ya know. Cause otherwise it's a really good suggestion...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Electric Company

Somehow I have bamboozled the kids into thinking Tivo'ing PBS is cool. They are just as excited about watching Arthur and WordWorld as they are Cars and Star Wars... actually MORE so recently. I'm sure it won't last, but at least there is a trace of educational value to our boob-tube time.

I decided to browse the latest PBS selections recently - you know, mix it up a bit. I didn't even know the Electric Company was still around! I loved that show! I was excited to watch it with the kids...

...ah, you can never go back home. It's now a bunch of funk-savvy tween friends rapping and hip-hopping into my kids hearts. They had a snappy little ditty about the different sounds of 'oo' (i.e. foot vs boot, yes I was paying attention), and the opening credits looked like a video. I at least felt like I was back on terra firma when the two silhouetted profiles spoke the words in pieces with a cheery tune in the background (Come on, everyone say it with me, f-...-oot... foot!)

So, I am officially turning into an old person... "You know kids, this show was different back in MY day..." I can't wait to yell at the neighborhood kids to get off of my yard.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Only the 4th kid...

NEVER in my 7 years of parenting, have I witnessed this:

After a fun filled morning playing around the house and at French Park, we all came home for some lunch before baby boy naptime. He was eating, brothers were eating, I'm bustling around the kitchen cleaning counters, loading the dishwasher, chattering away with my boys.... And this is what I turn around to see. I actually watched the lids fade. ONLY a 4th kid would do this. Not a peep, not a whine, no sounds of discomfort. Just the sense of "hmmm... this looks cosy over here...." and hes' out.

I did, at least, move him to his bed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Do you know how long it took me to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich this morning? 45 minutes. Here's how it went:

Need to make that sandwich for the boys for lunch...
Mom, where's our milk?
Ok, pour some milk
Leo's standing up in his highchair!
Baby, seriously... ok just get out
Get the bread, oh, I should cut some cantaloupe, maybe that would interest Leo
Mom, can we have a slice?
Sure, sure, here ya go...
Leo! Ok, now I have to put all the sandwich bags back in the box
Oooh, this box has a boxtop... cut that out...
Mom, I'm done with breakfast
Fine, go get dressed. Where is the jelly?
Gotta pop the veggie burger on the stove for Leo's lunch
cut cut cut cut cantaloupe
No room for making sandwich... must fill dishwasher and clear some space
Get the peanut butter...
Mom, I don't have any socks
Day off today... maybe I'll get some laundry folded...
They are down in the laundry room!
Put the cantaloupe in bags and tupperware
Bread out of bag...
Leo... why did you have to dump the WHOLE box of Trivial Pursuit cards on the ground?
Spreading the peanut butter....
Spreading the jellly....

And Voila.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nicely done

The last time I cooked with jalapenos, I made the mistake of touching them with wild abandon. I was seeding them, and decided to disregard a friend's trick about putting your hands in sandwich bags, therefore keeping all those piping hot oils from forever contaminating your fingers.

Mind you, this was after I openly mocked a woman for COMING TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM because her fingers were burning from cutting up jalapenos (not to her face, of course, but come on, really? I can read the internet as well as you can...).

Karma, being the *)&*^%$ that she is, subsequently sent my jalapeno laced hands into the firey pits of hell. Blazing fingertips. We are talking rocking-gently-forward-and-back-during-dinner, just shy of moaning kind of burning. "Take THAT you mean mocking doctor!"

So, this weekend, I was not going to be Karma's fool twice. While I seeded my seranos, I had the sandwich bags firmly in place, smug little smile on my face. Just try to hurt me NOW, you pesky little pepper. So clever am I...

Do you know what's worse than having your fingers on fire? That would be having your baby's mouth on fire after you drop one of those little peppers without noticing it. There is Leo, tongue protruding from his mouth, tears streaming, saliva pooling, hands batting at his mouth in an effort to "GET IT OFFA ME!!" 7 minutes of looking at his sad little face, waiting for it to wear off. No interest in the sippy cup of milk that might, just might, make it a bit easier...

So go head, add it to the list of reasons to nominate me for Mother of the Year. I think I'm inching closer and closer to a LOCK!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


If there is one thing I don't get a lot of around here, it's quiet. In fact, I have been known to yell "SILENCE!!" more than once when I appear to be the only one bothered by 4 voices all chattering at me at the same time.

We also have a slight acoustics problem in the new house. The room in which we spend the majority of our time has wood floors, high ceilings and no curtains. You can literally hear the noise reverberate at times. In discussing remodeling, I have considered shag carpet and acoustic tile. Is that wrong from a style standpoint?

So yesterday, as Omar was still fully buried at work with the preparations for Darkness Day, I was on my own with The Monkeys. Thus, I was sitting at the Caribou drive-thru. We were heading to the Meadowbrook school Fall Festival, and I needed fortitude.

Then it happened. Silence. All 4 boys were completely quiet, as was I. The radio happened to be off. It was divine. After ~ 12 seconds...


Apparently the trait I am fostering the most fully in my boys is a fear of silence. Awesome.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hold me closer Tony Danza

Calvin informed me this morning that he and Max were going to go in the other room to play football. He was going to be the quarterback.

"Yep. I'm gonna be Jet Farve"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Hini

This one goes out to Mary! She hasn't posted in days because:

A) she is working too hard for Omar as the Darkness Day event planner
B) she is being slammed by H1N1 (or as Todd-o has appropriately re-dubbed it "The Hini")
C) she is caring for a sick child with The Hini
D) all of the above

Hang in there sista! I wish there was something I could do. Hopefully the wracking body aches will lighten up enough to feel human again in time to lift a glass Saturday night and weep with joy that both are over!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brotherly love

I am surrounding by goof balls...

Yes, Max is airborne. And no, no animals were hurt during the making of this picture

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Finally happened

The first of the Ansari 4 has hit the ER. Not to visit mom, but as a patient.

After big brother assisted Calvin out of the top bunk with a swift kick in the back, Cal landed flat on his head. He slabbed on the couch in a semi-listless state for ~1 hour after that. Then, when he attempted to get up to go with dad to pick pumpkins, he instead puked his cookies. And that was when we headed to the ER.

One of our newer ER staff was the lucky lady that got to pick up one of her senior staff's kids. She did all the things she was supposed to do, but then turned to me and said "So, do you want a CT?" That's the only reason I was there.

He did great in the scanner, no more puking, and the scan was normal - no blood in the noodle.

Good times, good times. I'm not looking forward to doing this again any time soon....

Sunday, October 11, 2009


So there I am, remembering to film the boys in a precious moment of childhood. I usually either fail to even think of shooting some film, or I don't take the time to grab the video at the right time. I already look at the few videos I managed to take of baby Max, many of which are the grainy, cruddy camera-pretending-to-be-video version. I still wish there were more of those cruddy little clips.

Thus... Spencer and Leo were in the tub. They were having a moment of brotherly love, splashing and giggling. I yell to Omar to bring the video camera. Let the film roll.

Beautiful moment. Lots of splashing. Lots of giggling. I zoom in to get Leo's baby face smiling. Water flying all over the place, Leo's mouth wide open, eyes blinking rapidly.

Pan out. Spencer is now standing in the tub, moving in front of his little brother, flexing the biceps, making a face of "the bad guy" and trying to steal the show. Hilarious little moment of a small boy trying to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Then, he starts in with the Penis Dance. I really should attach the video... but I can't bring myself to do it...Too much jumping, too much jesticulating, too much thrilled joy with the 4-year-old body that is fully inappropriate at our advanced years. Too much risk that my site will be tagged as some sicko site. Really, when all was said and done, just Too much. Of course the soundtrack to this is a blend of giggling and horror of my own. "Spencer... ok... buddy... let's stop..."

And.... cut.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Man! That was fun!

The minute my cute little husband heard the faintest whisper of "Brett Favre" on the lips of the Vikings nation, he bought season's tickets. It was a bummer when #4 announced he was not, in fact, going to join our squad.

Then excitement when he showed up to sign.

Then complete madness last night as we watched the future Hall of Famer beat his beloved Packers in the dome. MAN, what a blast. I've been to many games down there, but I have never seen a crowd stand on their feet the entire game, whooping and hollering like it was the Superbowl.

And to have a few Packer fan friends texting back and forth.... How sweet it is!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rainy Day

I got my first taste of what winter mornings are going to be like. We awoke to a rainy, cool day. To walk over to the JCC required boots, raincoats, and sweat shirts and umbrellas. This is in addition to the lunch boxes, and a new supply of diapers, wipes and snacks for Leo.

A quick aside: Thank you Pam for the Surly Sack! It's the only way we survive!

Anyway, I was feeling slightly overwhelmed and the prospect of adding 2 feet of snow to this in a few months, but then I couldn't stop laughing. This is what was standing in front of me.

How can you not love that. Ah, Spence....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Homecoming, in reverse

When my mother first told me she and my father were retiring and moving up here, I was so very excited. When she told me they weren't retiring and moving up here, I started to cry.

This all occurred 7 1/2 years ago. The original announcement immediately followed the announcement that Omar and I were expecting our first child (please see most recent post). The catch was that in the excitement of their daughter's first baby, they failed to realize that they actually weren't ready to retire. Also, Minnesota is damn cold. Unfortunately, the second conversation occurred when I was post-call, at ~7pm, when I was firing on only ~3 hours sleep and ~7 months pregnant.

Those were some really hormone and sleep deprived tears! (And I was genuinely bummed out).

I figured if I kept having kids, eventually, they would have to move up here. The twins got them house hunting on line, and the announcement of an impending Leo got them looking at Open Houses when they visited.

And this weekend, I am thrilled to say, my parents bought a house!! It is 40 seconds from Omar's parents by car, 7 minutes from us. I am so completely thrilled I can hardly speak. 20 years ago I high-tailed it out of Oklahoma, ready to take on the world and never look back. I didn't need anybody but myself and my posse of friends. Parents were for Christmas vacation (and very helpful for paying tuition...).

And then you realize they are the people who love you like no one else will. They are the one's you love more deeply than you every wanted to let on. They are the reflection of your own fierce parenting love shining back at you in a brilliant moment of clarity after 1 little boy joins the fold. They are family.

So, Mom and Dad, thanks for letting me run the other direction for those years while still supporting me all the way. I love you so much, and I am honored that you will follow me and my crazy cast of characters up here. Welcome back home.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


7 years and 2 days ago, we didn't have any children. Omar and I could go to any restaurant at any time. We could sleep in on the weekends and go for long walks with the dogs whenever we wanted to.

And then, 7 years and 1 day ago, our lives changed forever. Changed endlessly for the better. I awoke at 6am, irritated that I was going to start my 4th day as an overdue preggers chick. Irritated that I was going to have to go to my weekly residency conference that started at 7am. But then, with one swift kick, my water broke, and it became clear that this was the day.

Max, you are an amazing young man. You continue to be kind, loving and generous to your friends and your family. You break my heart every day with the adoration you show for Leo. You climb into his crib every morning so you can sit with him and make him giggle. Your spent 3 hours working on a birthday Lego yesterday - showing a focus that only a 7 year old could show. We love you so much, Small Guy, Small Fry. You brought such joy into our life 7 years ago, and it has only grown each day.

Happy Birthday, my son.

And the Vikes gave him a nice birthday gift as well. Go Favre!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Available for hire

It's love

When we moved, we moved basically one block. We mourned the fact that we moved further away from 2 friends, but celebrated the face that we moved closer to one.

Now, the Boz family has 3 girls. Strangely, Papa Boz doesn't find my little jokes about future kisses or stories-we-won't-hear-about-until-the-kids-are-in-their-30's very funny...

But, it has already begun. Their youngest is now in the same daycare class as Cal and Spence. She has asked if she can marry both of them at the same time when they grow up. And Spence announced last night "M has fallen in love with me..." To which I asked "Uhm, how do you know that M has fallen in love with you?"

"She told me."

They are all 4 years old. The next 14 years are going to be very tough for Papa Boz...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Plumbing Trauma

Now Calvin won't go to the bathroom in our house unless I'm with him....


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Plumbing Lesson

You wanna know how to freak out a family of 4 boys under the age of 7?

Semi-lose your mind when all 4 toilets start exploding 4 minutes before the bus is going to arrive while you have a baby strapped to your chest.

Yup. That will do it.

It all began while Calvin was putting on his shoes, Leo was in the Baby Bjorn, Max was getting his homework in his bag, and Spence was doing something outside. Suddenly, the sound of the flushing of the most forceful industrial strength toilet starts ringing throughout the house. Cal, with a near cry on his face, looks up to me with one of his "mamma can fix anything" gazes and says "Mom! What is that noise??" I race up to the loudest of the toilets in the boys bathroom to see water shooting out of the bowl with such force it is spraying the wall to eye level.

Now, take a person in full cardiac arrest. I am cool as a cucumber. Motorcycle accident with multiple amputations. Bring it on. But a spewing, LOUD toilet that shows absolutely NO sign that it is going to cease this behavior. I kinda freaked out.

I call Omar. I use the word "exploding" and Max starts to snivel. Omar tells me to turn the water off to the toilet. It is only after I detach the baby, leave him in the arms of the very frightened 6 year old, that I can reach down behind the belching toilet, getting sprayed all the while (did I mention I was already dressed for a wedding shower I am going to later today...?), and shut off the water. Only when I got the full bouquet of the warm air blasting from the toilet drain do I realize this isn't a water problem. It's a forceful sewer gas problem. The one salvo I had to stop the madness is useless. I call our dear friend and contractor, telling him to get his kiester to our house, pronto.

The bus is now 1 minute from arrival.

So, I kick all the terrified children out of the house, I save Leo from the corner he had become stuck in, and pretend nothing is wrong for the next 20 minutes while I get Max on the bus and all the kids to daycare. WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO? (except thank the powers above none of the boys had been sitting on the toilets when this PTSD provoking incident occurred).

In the end, after mopping up 4 bathrooms, apparently the city was cleaning the sewer lines and our pressure release system of traps in the roof was just overwealmed. The solution? 3 years from now, when they do it again? Ask for forewarning, close the toilet lids, and wrap towels around them. No joke.

And lets be serious... who's gonna remember to do that??

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bacon face

I posted months ago about how eagerly I was anticipating the arrival of my friends Gary and Mark (with the bonus of Mark's hilarious wife Kristen) for the Labor Day weekend. We all hoofed it up to the cabin with the 6 kids, cooked, drank, played, swam and laughed. It was a lovely, fabulous long weekend that makes you just bask in the glory of old friendships that are still holding like super-glue despite years and distance. (Which is a better place for super-glue than on the seat of a Walmart toilet, as one of my patients from earlier to day could attest... but I digress)

The moments of hilarity are too numerous to recount, but there are a few that stick out. Like when Spencer finished his breakfast with most of it on his face instead of in his stomach. This, itself, isn't funny, so much as just daily habit. I was out of the room, so Mark (or was it Gary...?) properly instructed the little menace to "please wipe off your face." Having become a child who will actually listen to instructions, he happily walked over to the kitchen counter, grabbed a paper towel, rubbed it all over his face, then tromped outside to his next adventure. It was only after he was long gone that we realized the paper towel he had used to shine his face was the bacon grease paper towel. (And then he was eaten by bears...)

My favorite moment was the building of the bonfire. Gary began. Then Mark assisted. Then the children supervised around the periphery of the fire pit wondering what the hold up was all about. There was very little in the way of fuel/kindling, but S'mores had been promised, so there would be fire. Oh, Oh yes. There would be fire... But not in any rapid manner. I kept peaking out the kitchen window, wondering just how much time could pass before I would hear cursing from the blessedly cold and not-burning fire pit. Spencer came in to relay the request for newspaper... of which we had none. Then Kristen came in, barely able to hold it together to report that Max had capped the adult frustration by asking earnestly "Uncle Gary... Uncle Mark... Have you ever DONE this before?"

Thank god the kid is only 6 years old. A bit older and he might have lost his life. I, on the other hand, couldn't stop laughing.

So, here's to amazing friends and a weekend to remember! We love you guys, and may we be together again soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One year ago

Ladies and Gentlemen, my 'baby' is a year old. Little Leo-Beo baby boy was born one year ago at this exact time into the waiting hands of the most lovely and talented Dr. Boz. It was 365 days ago that I giggled about the fact that I was destined to be a mother of boys, and what a lovely destiny it is.

Leo, you are the most patient, self-reliant, fearless little guy. Your little smile can right this topsy turvy ship of insanity. I can be up to my elbows in some of the more unpleasant aspects of parenting, but then you 4-prong crawl past and remind me daily that it is still the best job in the world. Oh, and thanks for figuring out that "I'm going to get up in the middle of the night every night" thing... I love you so very much.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One Mortgage

In an effort to not curse the deal that has been looming on our house for the past 4 weeks, I have posted nothing. However, despite all the possible things that could have gone wrong, we have SOLD OUR HOUSE!!!

Sweet, merciful lord. It is over. It was like slowly peeling off my own fingernails, and the price is enough to make a grown woman weep, BUT it is over. No more mowing the weeds/dirt/lawn. No more dusting or airing out the stale "No one really lives here" smell. No more "we didn't like the floorplan, but were sure to leave every light on even though it's clear no one lives here" feedback. And best of all, no more fear that I was actually going to have to keep the place plowed for winter showings. We can move on.

And who knew our "empty" house still had so much crap in it. We decluttered in January, 1/3 moved in May, took over another 1/3 in June when it was clear this could drag on for months, and now in September have finished it off. Our garage looks like a family of 12 is moving in. And that final load of stuff is all the stuff you clearly don't really even need, given we have lived prefectly happily without ANY of it since May. Anyone want a mosquito repelling machine? You know, the ones that were all the rage 4 years ago, except for the one drawback that they don't actually work despite your coworker's cousin husband swearing by them? Or how about a broken cabinet? Anyone? Anyone?

I am now going to go to Target, with a keychain that is 2 keys lighter, to by stuff for my one and only house. Ah, that feels nice...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't try this at home

Here is something that is a bad idea: Take 4 kids to a water park when really only 1 of them can swim. By yourself.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. It's a zero entry pool, and I had warned the boys that they weren't going to go down the big slide until some of our neighbors (with bigger kids that could buddy up with them on the double inner-tubes) arrived. We could at least enjoy a little splashing with Leo. It was going to be much more fun that sitting at home chewing on each other.

It was only after I paid the entrance fee and put our things down on a chair that I noticed the wicked wind that was blowing. It was a beautiful, sunny day otherwise, but if you got out of the water, it was a bit brisk.

Of course, Mr. No Attention Span Spence kept climbing in and out, kept getting cold, kept wanting his towel, and then kept attaching his nose to my thigh whining he was "soooooo cooooooold!!" He then just decided this last step was the preferred one, and just stayed right there. Now, this may come as a bit of a surprise, but having a whining child perma-fixed on your body, when you have paid good money for this "treat" of a day, makes for a crabby mama.

But then, relief! Roxie and her gang arrived, and we could turn to the fabulous fun of the water slides! Happiness for all! My thigh gets a rest! All I had to do was stand in that small strip of cement between the pool at the bottom and walkway to the stairs up, watching the smiling children skamper by. Granted, I couldn't see everyone at all times, but it's a contained circle with the only prospect of drowning being right in front of me.



Any chance there is another Rebecca here with a child named Spencer? Nope. Not only did my kid get lost at a WATER PARK, Mother-of-the-year over here didn't even realize he was lost. He had felt cold, escaped me on his way to his towel, and then couldn't find us.

I guess the nose on the thigh is actually preferable to some of the other alternatives...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cabin shinanigans

Though the weather hasn't been that hot this year, the cabin is still a get away that can't be beat. Here are some of the latest shots of the boys as they enjoy a campfire, the great outdoors and a doggy door...
Pensive Spencie

Goofball Cal

Snaggle-tooth Max

The baby who thought he was a dog

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bad relationship

I should be working out. I should be on my bike. I have a long workout today (a "brick," in fact, where you do 2 things - today is bike and run), and it is supposed to hit 90 degrees later.

I should get out there.

But I don't wanna.

I feel like this triathlon thing is like an abusive relationship, at times. I really don't like the workouts. They hurt, they take my time, I feel slow and unworthy... but then for ONE LITTLE DAY, the triathlon says to me "Look how pretty you are! You are SO GOOD at this, Athena! I promise never to hurt you again." But here I am. Gettin ready to go sweat myself silly and try to get a little faster.

Well, at least I'll feel pretty again in about 2 hours...

Monday, August 10, 2009

This is what legs are for

No, those luscious, chubby little gams aren't just for mom to gnaw on, they actually serve a purpose...
High degree of difficulty on the rocks

Extra points for taking eyes off the ground

Forget about standing! Look at this LEAF!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dreams dashed...

Conversation between Spencer and I in the car on the way home from the cabin...

Spence: Mom, I want to ride in a rocket ship
Me: That does sound cool
Spence: When can we do that?
Me: You have to be an astronaut to ride in a rocket
Spence: I want to be an asstonought.
Me: Sounds like a great idea.
Spence: When can we do that?
Me: Being an astronaut is something you do when you grow up. You have to study and train. It's something that is your job, just like me being a doctor.
Spence [pause.....pause.... sniffle...] in a very sad, whiny voice: But I wanted to be Spiderman!

Ah, life's big decisions....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Remember that for the next 18 years

I was motivated as a child to do things simply because they were things I was told NOT to do. (There was the smoking, the sneaking out with friends when I was supposed to be at the movies. Also, there might still be visual evidence of the staple hole in my index finger from seeing what would happen if I pushed the stapler shut with my finger in it... twice. I guess that's not defiance so much as just stupidity). I also chose to not do certain things because I was told I should. I don't know if it's a second child syndrome (big bro always being more of a rule follower, having to carve out my own little rebel path), or just my contrary nature, or both. 

Thus, as a parent, I have the challenge of trying to get my kids to listen to everything I say, knowing I rarely did the same courtesy for my parents. Max, following in his first born uncle's footsteps, is very much a "good kid." He mostly follows the rules (except when he tried to steal from a store this last weekend... but that's a post I haven't quite mustered up the heart to dive into yet...), and feels bad when he doesn't. However, I frequently wonder if the 3 others will be more like me. There can be only one first born.

I try to keep this in mind when it comes to things that truly are important. Like wearing a helmet when you are on a bike. An an ER doctor, this is one that I REALLY need them to listen to. I have tried to not make a Big Deal of it, since lord knows those are the things we contrary people see as most tempting to disregard. I try to keep the "What a *complete* $&^$ing idiot that guy is!" comments to myself when we see a motorcyclist without one. I also try not to demonize motorcycles, because that is the quickest ticket guaranteeing one of my sons shows up to my house with one in 15 years. I try to keep it basic - You could hurt your brain, and that is really bad. It simply isn't a smart choice to not wear one. 

So, I was pretty happy yesterday when Calvin came to me with this report. 
Calvin: Mom! I feel off my bike! (said with great, happy enthusiasm)
Me: Are you ok, bud?
Calvin: Yeah! I had my helmet on! And I didn't even break my brain! (huge grin)

Let's hope it sticks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


For those of you who don't know her, this is Mary. She is the kook-head that got me into this whole triathlon business. She is the one that makes it look easy. When I show up to do the Sprint tri, she is there to do a half Ironman... and take 6th in her age group. She has been at my side for 4 of my 5 races, and God love her for inspiring me to get out there.

And get out there I did. Sunday was a glorious day, full of sunshine and minimal wind. I had no idea how well or poorly I had trained... I managed to chug through most of my scheduled workouts, and it had been 2 years since my last race. I had struggled with my registration as well... 

You may have heard of the Clydesdale divisions in races. It's the Big Boy category. It's the chance for guys not built like a whippet to feel competitive. It seemed slightly less insultingto me when my 6'4" brother considered registering for it, given he is practically 2 dimensional. 

For the ladies, it's the Athena division. Now, having spent much of this life trying to believe I am OK with my body after years of actively hating it, signing up for Athena - actively proclaiming I weigh more than 150lbs (and I don't mean by a smidge) - is a hard pill to swallow. However, given that I am not even close to 150lbs (and at 5'10" probably shouldn't be... please see brother comment above), I thought maybe it would allow me to be competitive SOMEWHERE. The 35-39yr old women's category is wicked fast and actually contained the eventual overall winner of the race. I ain't competitive with THAT chick.

Ok. So I did it. I signed up with the chubby girls. Why not. Give it a whirl. 

And damn it, if I didn't win first place! 

That's right. I WON! Number 1, BABY! Trophy. Award ceremony. The whole shooting match! I've never won anything in an individual sport. And I will tell you something right now... it feels pretty snappy. 
I am now ready for more! Sign this Athena UP! In fact, feel free to just call me Athena from now own. I am all for it. Leo shall know me not at Mama, but Athena. She is a goddess, after all. 

And, to make it all even nicer, I actually took 16th in my age group, out of 77. Who knows... With a little more work, I may take down the skinny chicks too.

Friday, July 24, 2009


The other day, Leo was doing one of those cute things babies do - he was standing on his fairly wobbly legs, holding onto a window frame. He then became excited by his feat, grinned and started shaking the window frame. Of course, window frames don't shake, so he was the one that went back and forth. Very cute.

I giggled out loud, and Max, who was standing next to me but didn't see it, wanted to know what was so funny. So, I imitated Leo, shaking my own 5 foot 10 inch frame vigorously. Max flashed his quickly-becoming-so-mature smile, and then put his arm around me and patted my back in a "Mom, you're great" kind of way, and leaned his little head against my side...

That kid can break my heart in all the right ways.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Open Water

Having completed 4 previous triathlons, I kinda thought I remembered it all pretty well. Everyone knows that swimming in a lake is different from swimming laps in a pool. Obviously. Even couch potatoes would figure that one out.

So, I thought dipping my toes in the lake ONE TIME before my big #5 race this weekend would be a smart idea. Some might say that more than once would be a good idea... but come on, I'VE DONE THIS BEFORE. I am a pro. Never mind that I race the shortest possible triathlons that are offered, and I haven't actually done one since before Leo was conceived... blah blah blah...

I actually contemplated just skipping the open water practice-run and winging it on race day. I mean, being in a lake by yourself seems just the other side of crazy, and I have managed to miss every group swim my tri buddies have done this summer. I thought about doing it in Oklahoma, but there was a picture on the front of the "newspaper" of a kid splashing around in the "lake" by my parents home. Even the "water" splashing in the air was so dense you couldn't see through the silt and muck. No thank you.

But Monday was a beautiful, warm day. Doing laps back and forth in the somewhat populated swim area of Cedar Lake seemed like a sane enough way to get this under my belt before the race. I packed up the bag, and headed out, and was actually hot on my way over there.

Have I mentioned that water is a very good insulator? And this Minnesota summer has been stupid-cold leading up to this day? I had goosebumps by the time I was in to my knees. But since there were children frolicking around in the water, I thought I should stop being a big baby and just toss it in. 

Once I got started it took 5-6 minutes to not feel like I was drowning. I can take waves in my face. No biggy. But there is this silly little physiologic response I have no control over - the Diver's Reflex. You know how they talk about kids that survived 2 hours underwater in the winter. Yeah, the body interprets cold water to the face as moronic. The only reason you would have your face in cold water is by foolish mistake - some arctic bafoon that has plunged through the ice. It slows your heart rate thinking you are going to need to conserve all energy possible since clearly you are drowning. Not surprisingly, it's a bit hard to exercise while my pulse is dropping to 40.

This is how I voluntarily spend my free time....

By minute 15, I actually felt pretty decent. I was able to get back to my normal stroke/breath ratio, and thought this was going to be do-able. The great irony, of course, is that 15 minutes is about how long I'll be in the water on Sunday. Just about the time I will feel like I'm not going to die, it will be time to get out.

I think I just might win this thing...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Max steps out

Tonight, Max isn't sleeping in his bed. He isn't sleeping in our house. He isn't even sleeping in a grandparents' home.

No, my kiddo is officially puttin on his big-boy PJ pants, and is having his first overnight at camp. Now, of course, his camp is one hedge's distance from our house, but I digress...

And he really didn't seem anything other than excited. No fear, no apprehension, no last-minute "mom, I don't know if I am up to it" second-thoughts. Off he went, a quick wave to me, obviously forgetting that I was standing there ~2.4 seconds after my goodbye hug. 

I actually had to swing back to the camp to drop off a new sleeping bag (the 3 old ones being among the many thing that seem to have disappeared in our still-not-completed move... I am sure Max was relieved to see that I, in fact, did not bring him the worn out and apparently not-at-all-cool-anymore Nemo bag he so feared, but instead opted for a new good-old-generic orange Coleman bag from Target. I can now also rest assured that he won't be shot by deer hunters while he is away tonight). As I heaved it into the pile of 6-year-old overnight goodies, my kid was way too busy taking a turn at the slip-and-slide to give much more than a "Hey, thanks for dropping that off, lady" hand wave. 

Once home with the twins and Leo, Spence resumed his usual behavior of trying to climb into my body... and I took a second to enjoy it. All too soon, they will all be too big to want to be in mom's lap. 

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cabin Fever

And I mean that in a good way... It has begun. The boys (minus Leo) are officially old enough to strap on the life vests and get pulled behind the speed boat. We found a "tube" that is actually more like a little race car the kids sit in 2 at a time, front and back. There was very little risk of anyone actually flying into the lake, much to Max's disappointment. They could go fast and without a parent with them. Lots of bumping and splashing, lots of laughing and squeeling.

The cabin just became an even more charmed place in their minds... as it should be.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some favorites

Here are a few of the 400+ pictures snapped by my dad during our time in OKC...

All the grandkids

Spence and my Uncle Mark

Heading out to dinner (yes, those are crutches... Pam broke her foot half way through the trip. Total bummer).

Leo and my baby daddy

Dinner by the pool

Leo's first haircut (and lollipop)

Spencer plunge

Boys and guns... what else is there to say...

Cannonball comin!

At the Oklahoma Redhawks AAA game

Friday, July 3, 2009

Back in Minny

The annual journey to Oklahoma is done for yet another year. Like any good vacation, it seems to take an infinite amount of time to start, then it's gone in the blink of an eye. 

And since life has a sense of humor, the re-entry has been... entertaining? Or horrifying... you be the judge.

What are the chances 3 of 4 kids are pooping at the same time? Well, it has taken 9 months of Leo's life to do it, but I am proud to announce we can now strive for 4 of 4. Thankfully this was not a combo travel-horror-story. I was safely ensconced in the house (with Omar back at work) before this round of fun. I was dealing with Leo's little package of love (without any wipes other than the emergency 3 that live in a baggie in the back of the drawer, and those were pretty much dry) when I hear Calvin yelping "I went poopy in the pottttttttty!" I yelp back that he will just have to cool his jets for a minute until I can get to him.

As I am completing the 2nd half of this little foray to poopy-land, I make a comment to Cal that it was weird that he and his brother were doing this little trick at the same time. Then Spence, who is standing next to me in the bathroom, says "Me too!"

Now, since he is standing there fully clothed, it makes one scratch her chin. 

"Really? Where did you go?" "In YOUR bathroom mommy! Come look!!" Since flushing is completely optional in the bathroom routine of my sons, the evidence remained. The evidence also remained in the need for a new pair of skivvies for one Spencer-roo. Wouldn't some wipes be nice in a situation like that...

Now, this alone was blog-able. But life is much more entertaining than that. About 15 minutes later, as I am yelling the proper rules of engagement for water fighting out the window to the banshees who are now in the yard, I realize Leo has escaped me. Where could he be...?

Yeah... Calvin hadn't flushed either...

I am fairly sure my tombstone will read: "And then it all spun out of control..."

Saturday, June 27, 2009


104 degrees is really really really hot. Yes, Minnesota gets cold, but at least I can put on another layer. Here in Oklahoma, I can't take off my skin... much as I might want to. 

More when I am back in the MN saddle again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I truly believe the best part of parenthood is when you see the world through your kids eyes... and it totally cracks you up. The things that they say, that when you really break it down, DO make sense, while at the same time don't make sense. 

The latest giggle around here is Max's "robes." In the process of unpacking, I am finding things that never really had "a place" at the old house, but now do. There is so much more room here that I can actually place a tired old kids bath-robe that used to just kick around aimlessly between the laundry room and a random hook on the wall (or wadded up in a ball in the corner) on a hanger in the kids room that is at their level. 

Now, I never would have purchased such a thing normally, but since the kids swim every week at the JCC, they had asked us to have one for Max to walk to the pool and back. Max never wore it, as far as I can tell, and it has always been one clean-sweep away from the Goodwill box.

Until now

Apparently, in Max's mind's eye, all the children at Hogwart's dress like Hugh Heffner. When Harry Potter puts on his "robes," Max's mental picture is apparently something akin to Omar emerging from the bathroom on a Saturday morning on his way to stir up some pancakes. 

So now, he walks around the house in his furry, dark blue, cinched at the waist "robes." He knows he is supposed to share things that are cool, so he has made a chart detailing on which days which kid gets to sport "the robes." Yes, there is only one "robes." When Cal or Spence turn down their golden opportunities (with a look of "I have no idea why I am supposed to be excited about the prospect), he whips it on and looks like he is just one good pipe away from british nobility. It even has pockets for him to rest his hands in as he surveys the property. "Look mom... I look like Ron Weasley" he says. 

Love it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

While I'm away...

This is apparently what the weekends look like around here while I'm at work....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

4 years ago today...

... two little boys came into this world to join this crazy family.

And they haven't stopped moving yet! So, to my sons, I say this:

Calvin, you are a wry and funny little man. You love to streak through our kitchen each morning simply because you know it will get a laugh. You repeat anything we find funny a few times over because you love being the comedian. You study the ways of your big brother, Max, trying with all your might to be a 6 1/2 year-old instead of a 4 year-old. You even try to hang with Max when he is hanging with Clyde and Sam (as me tries to be an 8 year-old instead of a 6 1/2 year-old!). You have come by your momma-given stubbornness honestly... and man can you work it! Once those little feet are in the sand, you mean business. I've never known what is better - have my will win because I am the momma (and give you a REAL show in stubbornness), or give in a bit, as an example... 

You love to study things intently, and you will not be swayed if you are really interested in something. Breakfast can just take a flying-leap as long as you are waiting to see Stink Brothers (a garbage truck) on a Friday morning. You are our night owl, and already you can sleep in more than anyone. I can already see the Saturday mornings of our future with you in bed 'till noon. You are very polite, really showing your ability to give a spontaneous compliment or say "Mom, look at those beauuuutiful flowers..." Your dad and I love you so very much. Happy Birthday my little man.

Spencer, you are my sweet, sensitive, watermelon lovin guy. If you could move back into my body, I am quite certain you would. You love to be a complete goofus, saying silly words or the opposite of what everyone else is saying. You and your blanket are rarely apart, and the 4 year old rule of "blankets stay in your bed" may be a toughy for the next few weeks. That, or we just won't be seeing much of you! It appears your main motivation in life right now is to NOT be just like your brothers. You like to mix it up, do it differently, even if that does mean wearing your underwear backwards and your shirt inside out. It's the Spencer way. How boring it would be around here if you were all the same.

You are my artist, though I hope you soon pick up on the fact that markers without caps don't last too long... You were so very excited this morning to be the birthday boy that I thought your little head was going to pop. You kept hugging me in my bed, then you would pop up, grin super excitedly in my face, and then drop down again to hug me. Your dad and I love you so very much. Happy Birthday little man.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kids are funny

Two of the latest comments that made me giggle....

Omar: How are you guys liking your new room at camp (read: daycare)?
Spencer: Good, but the computer's broken. It froze.
Cal: Yeah... someone put ice on it....

this morning after slicing open a cantaloupe
Spencer: Ew gross! I can see the cantaloupe's brain!

Saturday, June 6, 2009