Tuesday, June 29, 2010

my dilemna

So. . .here you go.

My house is a mess.  I can't see out my windows.  My lawn needs mowing.  The laundry is up to the ceiling.  The bathroom wallpaper still need to be hung. Hanged? The kitchen floor is so dirty it is growing things.  Errands to be run.  Bills to pay.  And sometime in the near future I ought to actually cook a meal for my family.

So, you ask, what's new?

Here's the deal.  Kate's baptism is Saturday, after which our 75+ family members will be coming for lunch.  Fun day, I know!  And while I have pretty much consigned myself to the fact that my house will be consistently messy for the next 18 years, there is a leeeetle, tiny something inside of me that insists I could maybe have the whole house clean at one time. 

Phew.  It scares me just to think about it. 

So here is the question.  Do I ease my peace of mind?  Give in to the urge?  Because try as I might, I've spent a whole month trying to gradually put my house in order so that I didn't feel this sense of panic the few days before the big bash.  And you know what?  I've got an almost two-year-old that qualifies as a category 6 hurricane.  As hard as I try, it's no use.  We're messier than ever.  No holds barred- this place is a wreck.  And I've got four days.  My only option here is to rent a hotel room and a nanny and ship the girls off for the remainder of the week. 

OR.  Do I throw in the towel?  Swallow my pride, knock the macaroni and cheese off the chairs, and plead with our guests that they may come in as long as they promise not to call Child and Family Services? 

My, my.  The nanny option does sound very nice.  So does a clean house.  But I'm afraid it wouldn't do.  Perhaps my children would feel saddened at my willingness to send them away.  (On the other hand, they may be thrilled.)  And unfortunately, this plan definitely does not fit into my budget.  And besides, let's be honest here.  Once I lay off the nanny and let my wee ones come home again, I give it 45 minutes before the place looks just the same as before.  Only with cleaner windows.

It's lookin' like I'm just going to have to let it all go.  Take a deep breath, and hang out a welcome sign.

Yes.  In fact, I'm decided.   

The door is wide open.  And you're all invited.  Except, if you don't mind, I just have one more question.

Should we let our guests remove their blindfolds to eat the jello salad?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

come join the fun this summer!

Parents everywhere! 
Fighting summer boredom?  Tired of the same old day camps and lazy afternoons? 

We've got the answer! 

The W family is now accepting registration for
our annual
Child Summer Labor Camps! 
A surefire way to make your children appreciate those boring ol' summer days.  Featuring painting, scrubbing, sweeping, and general housekeeping. 

By the end of the camp your children will be adept at vacuuming, weeding, mowing, and a myriad of other skills.  As an added bonus, we can guarantee an increased repertoire of communication methods, not limited to but including bargaining, whining, and pleading.  Campers are sure to gain a better understanding of the restitution process and will graduate with the confidence in knowing that they have survived the most difficult and miserable of conditions and have emerged a stronger person.  What a better way to instill confidence and prepare them for a lifetime of challenges? 

In addition, camp participants are sure to become familiar with the ins and outs of filing a formal complaint. 
Past participants list painting and taking down the Christmas lights (yes, in June) as favorites.  Less popular activities tend to include lawn mowing and vacuuming.  

*While camp attendees report some disenchantment with the seemingly unfair expectations, we will not be dissuaded. It is sometimes perceived that the camp workers are teetering on the edge of exhaustion at having to do all the work whilst the camp counselors enjoy an easy routine of bubble baths and Bon-Bons.   However!   We will not let up in our efforts.  After all, no price is too high if we are to properly train our children to pull their own weight so that we parents may finally get that much needed break. 

 Interested persons may contact Kelly and Courtney for more information.
No job is too big for our slave work program!!!!

A lazy parent does everything themselves!
One day your children will thank you!*

*this claim cannot be guaranteed.

schools out, june is almost over, and i'm already crying. . .all in one post

It's already July, and I am just barely taking a long enough breath to document the last day of school.  Where did June go?  I love summer.  I love the freedom and love having the girls around.  But really?  Where did June go?  

We had a fun last day of school.  Kate participated in the school talent show with her gymnastic floor routine.  As I was sitting in the audience, waiting for her to perform I got a bit nervous.  The past week had been really crazy and I hadn't even thought to let her practice on the school stage, which is much different than the layout of the mat where she usually does her routine.  Turns out, I didn't even need to worry.  Despite a small mix-up with the music, Kate was fabulous!  She did the best I have ever seen and didn't have a bit of a problem.  Good for you Kate! 

After school, the girls posed for our annual last-day-of-school picture with their teacher.  Looks to me like we've grown a bit!  Another year of fabulous teachers! 
Each year on the last day of school we ride our bikes the 3+ miles to school.  We were a little worried the weather wouldn't cooperate, but it all worked out marvelously.  When someone mentioned to one of the girls that it might not be a good idea to ride this year, she answered, "We are going to do it.  We are women!"  This year Kate had a big-girl bike and was determined not to be left behind by the older gals.  Sure enough, she was head of the pack.  After school, we headed to the park to play and have a picnic before riding home. 

I can't ever decide who's more excited for the summer break, the girls or me.  I'm already dragging my feet for September and wondering how much we can pack into the next two months.  After all, this fall Emmy will join the school crowd.  Eeek

It's not even July yet and I already feel like crying. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

always a project

What I mean is this:  At our house, we don't golf on Saturdays.  We don't go to ballgames or go fishing or whatever else normal people do.  Occasionally, we attend a family gathering and sometimes participate in a race of one sort or another.  But!  We do not, I repeat, we do not train for them.  Who has the time for that when there is a patio to rip out? 

I was thinking this afternoon about these situations we always seem to get ourselves into, and it made me recall something I had read in Margorie Pay Hinkley's book, Letters.  (I am a sucker for anything she ever wrote).  I had to smile when I found this paragraph,

"Clark painted their living room white on Saturday.  What a mess painting is!  In the middle of it they discovered their bishop had been taken to the hospital with pneumonia, so nothing would do but Kathleen stop in the middle of the painting to make a chocolate cake and spaghetti with home-cooked sauce, garlic bread, and the whole works to take over to the family for dinner.  They finished up painting and pushing the furniture back at 1:30 am. . .I don't know what it is about this family that they always do things the hard way, but I guess we were not born to be Saturday golfers." 

Amen, sister.

Why do we do this?  I keep asking myself this and have come to a few conclusions.  One, we live in an old house. . .so much to do, so much potential!  Two, TWO stinkin' acres!  Three, I keep coming up with all these ideas.  Four, I am married to this super-cool guy who can take any one of my ideas and make it happen (which feeds the idea frenzy).  He is ingenuitive, hard-working, and capable.  Very, very, capable.

This past week I finally decided to finish the bathroom.  The original plan was that I would be oh! so careful to save money from my budget to put toward the purchase of the wallpaper I had my eye on.  After four months of falling short, Courtney caved and let me order it anyway.  After it's arrival, I talked my mom into helping me (which wasn't hard at all because she's the one who gave me the project gene in the first place.  She loves this kind of stuff.)  After spending approximately three hours hanging the first strip and getting all excited about how awesome it looked we ran into a snag.  (We always run into snags.)  Discouraged, I packed all my wallpapering gear away, swore (maybe), and vowed that for once, I would hire someone to do it for me.  Well.  Wouldn't you know it, but sister Jodi (she inherited the same gene) came to spend the night and by 10:00 this morning she and my mother had me in a mess again.  After a full day of wallpapering amidst 7 neglected children and 1 slightly neurotic dog, I am exhausted.  Better yet?  Still one more day before we can call it finished. 

Last month the project (one of them) of the hour was an extreme makeover on my parents back yard.  My brothers, sisters, and I roped our spouses and children into a sprinkler system, about 1.5 million tons of bark, a truckload of weeds, and a gazillion pallets of sod.  All for a Father's Day present.  You know, who wants to gift another tie?  Anyway, at the end of the second long day, my very honest sister-in-law looked at my sister in exasperation and said, "Your family is very determined.  VERY.  So determined, in fact, that sometimes you don't know when to stop."

We laughed at that.  Just before we attacked the next flowerbed. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

and today there were tears

Oh, the drama.

Today, much like most any other day, we had our fair share of tears.

When we didn't get the waffle we wanted, there were tears.  When we didn't get to sit by cousin Kalli to eat?  Tears.  When Mom came home from town to find spaghetti noodles and Parmesan cheese sailing haphazardly through the air and landing on every available surface in the kitchen? 

Believe you me, there were tears.

But the biggest, saddest tears?  They were reserved for this guy.

Buddy was due for a haircut.  Past due, actually. 
I admit he had gotten quite shaggy, but I can explain why I waited so long. The last cut was a little bit of a fiasco.  You see, the problem is that we have a poodle who we don't really like to look like a poodle. 

First of all, let me just say we (as in Courtney and I) never even wanted a dog, let alone a poodle.  But then Santa stepped in and everything went south.  I mean north- extremely north. . .(c'mon, who can turn down the North Pole?)  If we were going to agree to the whole deal, we wanted a dog that didn't shed.  Who would be easy to train.  And nice.  The word on the street?  Get a poodle.

We were delighted when we found the best of both worlds.  A non-shedding, lovable little guy who didn't look a bit like a poodle.  Everywhere we went, we were corrected.  "That's not a poodle".  And that's just the way we liked it.
Remember when he looked like this?   
The first cut went fairly well.  Dog experts everywhere told me to tell the trimmer (or do I call her a dog stylist?) that we wanted a "puppy cut" or a "teddy bear cut".  I obediently relayed the above information, and he came out of the salon looking like a cleaner, slightly shorter haired version of Buddy. 

So, feeling confident in my dog/stylist communication I approached the next haircut the same.  However, when we picked him up from his little appointment he was. . .well, lets just say he looked like a poodle.  Ryenne took one look at him and said, "ummmm, why does he have a ball on his head?"  After a short deliberation, the girls came to the conclusion that his new haircut just plain "freaked" them out. 


I decided to do a bit of research.  I asked around a little bit more.  (Oh, the things I never thought I'd find myself doing.)  After doing so, I decided to try a new doggy stylist.  Never hurts to shop around, eh? 

The appointment was today at 12:00 noon.  I was very clear from the get-go, going into some detail about the whole poodle haircut/freaking the girls out episode.  Long and shaggy.  That was the look we were after, I explained.

So this is what we got.  I knew I was in trouble when she said something like, "it was just like shearing a sheep."

Claire was waiting in the car, and when I climbed in with this. . .uh, poodle, she started laughing.  The whole way home she sang "Buddy.  Funny.  Buddy.  Funny." from the back seat.

In Miss Stylist's defense, it seems the whole thing is entirely our fault.  Turns out we are somewhat neglectful.  A poodle isn't supposed to run wildly through a pasture of June grass, you know.  Or fetch dead fish out of the canal.  Or. . well anyway.  Most dogs of this sort are not typically bounding through the countryside.  I am now aware that most poodles typically waltz out of the back door, discreetly use the potty, after which they should be quickly whisked back into the castle.

Guess we'll have to work on that. 

And eight weeks between haircuts?  Gasp!  Four to six weeks at most, please. 

While Claire thought the whole thing hysterical, the other girls weren't so amused.  I prepared for the worst when I opened the door and let him run in. 

The first thing I heard was Courtney let out a big laugh and yell, "Look!  It's a rat!"

And then?  Tears.  From the peanut gallery. Weeping, wailing, and crocodile tears.  The whole works.  And a blue, polka dot bow?  Talk about adding insult to injury.

Poor guy.  As if a bad hair day isn't enough.  Try having one when you live in a house full of girls.

For the record, it's all part of the routine. 

The tears, I mean.

Crying over waffles?  Just fine.  Angry mommies and seating arrangements gone bad?  Expected.  Bad doggy hair day?  Bring out the Kleenex.

An absolute, certifiable disaster.

I can't wait til prom night.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

dancing queens

Another year of ballet recitals and we weren't disappointed!  It's hard to believe it's been five years since Ryenne was a "little ducky".  This year it was Emmy and Halle's turn.  They couldn't have been more excited.  And scared?  No way!  It was all giggles and an absolute thrill to be on stage.  Emmy has quite a little stage presence and acted like a little superstar.  Not much brings a smile to your face like watching tiny, tight-clad girls shake their tutus.

I know this is a common thread, but Ryenne is growing up!  Courtney and I watched our beautiful, graceful girl in amazement and remembered the days when she hardly dared get on stage. She danced with the big girls this year- most were two years older and a good foot taller!  She loved going to class this year and is making so much progress. 

The grand finale!

Halle and Emmy, our two peas in a pod. 

. . .Another beautiful evening!

guess who's boss at our house?

Monday, June 7, 2010

expert egg droppers

Once again, it was time for our elementary school egg drop.  And once again, the girls worked with their dad to come up with the perfect drop-an-egg-from-an-airplane-and-pray-it-won't-break idea.  Luckily for the girls, their dad was home this year.  He has a much more engineerish mind than I do.  The evening before the packages were due, I was away from home for a few hours. When I arrived back at our little 'ol  nest, the air was all a buzz with egg drop talk.  After four years of trying to think of novel, egg preserving ideas, the great meeting of the minds seemed a little exasperated. 

Idea #1:  Dad rigged a triangle shaped box.  Cool, yes.  Effective, no. 

Idea #2:  Add parachute.  Cool, yes.  Legal, No. 

Idea #3:  Fill the box with nails.  Huh?  I'm thinking there was some logic behind this idea but at this moment I'm not really remembering what on earth that could have been.  Cool, um. . .I guess if you reside on death row.  Safe, no.  Legal,  Absolutely not.  Abandoned, thank goodness. 

 Idea #4:  Born of desperation.  6x6" box, filled with everything soft the girls could think of.  Plastic bags, cotton balls, and three diapers.  Original?  Not really.  Legal?  Completely.  Esthetically pleasing, definitely.  The girls spent longer decorating the box than they did filling it.  (I may not have an engineering mind like their father, but that, my dear folks, they get from me.)
While we waited in line with our package, I asked the girls what they thought the verdict would be.

Waiting. . .

Waiting. . .

Waiting. . .


What an eggxiting adventure!

big stuff

After a whole lot of fast talking (and lots of waiting for him to get around to it), Emmy finally got her dad to take off her training wheels. According to Emmy, she was past due to enter the big league, and she couldn't wait a minute longer.  
It must have been time.  When the moment of truth arrived, she hopped on and rode away like a pro.  Or something like that. . . 

A few days later, she and Dad decided to ride thier bikes to Grandma C and Bop's house (a little less than a half mile).  She made it the whole way without a hitch.  However, as they turned into the driveway, Bop heard a little squeal, followed shortly therafter by a solid thud.  Turns out she saw Grandpa's truck and had a moment of panic.  Not knowing what else to do, she drove right smack into the back of the truck.  Fortunately, all was well!