Thursday, May 7, 2009


Entry for December 13, 2007
I gave Noah a haircut today. I cut the back, and was getting rid of all those little hairs when he starts yelling. "Ah! Ooooooooo! Owowowowowowow! Mom! What are you DOING?!" (Noah and even the slightest hint of discomfort do not mix)
ME: "I'm clipping the little hairs on the back of your neck."
NOAH: "Don't DO that! I might NEED those!"
ME: "Why?"
NOAH: "If you cut them all off, how do I tell if I'm scared?"

Entry for December 12, 2007
It is such a pain to have the house on the market. You never know when they'll call for a showing, so the house pretty much has to be perfect all the time. Unfortunately, I forgot this fact until about an hour before Mass on Sunday. Let me preface this by saying that 5 of us had the stomach flu on Thursday and Friday, so nothing got done, except the making of a lot of dirty laundry, which I am always behind on, anyway. Saturday was spent recuperating and disinfecting everything.
So I am lounging in my jammies, putting off getting into the shower till the last minute and suddenly it hits me, the house is a MESS!!! Oh no! I flip out and start barking orders at everyone. They freak and start to scatter. Joe looks at me as if I have lost my mind (a look he uses often). "We might get a showing while we're at Mass!! Hurry!! Clean! Pick things up! QUICKLY!!!!!" All of a sudden they are gone. I am running around grabbing stuff, doing what my friend Denise's husband calls a "cheap clean," which means you just make it look that way; and I thankfully realize that Joe has them all upstairs to dress and pick up rooms. But I am downstairs getting all worked up and thinking that at this moment it would be really nice to be Elastigirl.
Finally, it is passable. I go into the bathroom to take my shower, which I REALLY need now. I open the bottom door of the closet to get a towel and... CRASH!!!! The top door comes flying open and EVERYTHING-- all the toiletries, hair stuff, etc. cascades out onto the floor. I must have screamed, because Joe was at the door asking if I am OK. I tell him I am. But I'm not. I am naked, standing in my own personal sea of toiletries and Mass starts in about 20 minutes. I take the fastest shower ever and tell Joe to put the shelves back and I'll take care of the rest. He does, then loads the kids in the car. I begin to put everything away. WHY do I have sunblock from 2001? Do I really need 8 half-used deodorants? Hey! Who has been using up my good body scrub from Bath & Body Works??? I throw most of it away and let myself feel guilty for not recycling for about 20 seconds. Then I run through the house grabbing what we missed the first time.
As I walk out the door Bella yells from the car, "Mom! Look! A hawk killed a small bird on our path and ate it! You can still see the blood and feathers and stuff!" {{{sigh}}} Some things are just beyond your control...
Of course we did NOT get a showing that day, but, darn, the house looked good!
I tacked up a poem at the entrance of our house to warn people in case I miss something and they are there for a showing. Perhaps it will warn them/help them understand/make them chuckle. Here it is:
We have five children and we must confess, that quite often our house is a mess!
So look around, but close your eyes if you must, to laundry, crumbs, fingerprints, dust.
Please remember as you tour our dwelling, that it's the house, not the dust that we're selling!

Entry for December 01, 2007
Everyone has been asking when I am going to update the blog. Sorry, guys. It has just been nonstop around here. We had the fundraiser on November 16th for the Schiltz family and it was a big success! We raised enough to help them out for a few months and we fed over 700 people! Please continue your prayers for Finn to get a heart...
* * * * *
I am so tired, I don't even know why I am sitting here at the computer. We went to Smithville, MO for a week and got back about 2:00 this morning, so I am zonked.
Car rides are always interesting, especially with 5 kids. It takes a little over 7 hours to get from St. Charles, IL to Smithville, MO. Well, if you don't stop. With 5 kids, you stop. The trip always starts the same way. I get the lecture from Joe: "Do not give the children anything to eat or drink. I am not stopping till we get there." In this case, there was Hannibal, MO, Mark Twain's boyhood hometown. We thought it would be nice to check it out, since Noah and Bella are avid readers and Noah, especially, has read lots of Mark Twain. So Joe's intentions were to drive for 5 hours straight till we hit the Mississippi and Hannibal.
The ride started out nicely. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, the world was happy. Five minutes later Isabella and Genevieve are having a fistfight in the back seat. Joe starts yelling at them. Charlie gets upset because Joe is yelling and squeezes Noah. Noah cries. Angelina begins to whine that she is thirsty. I burst out laughing. Joe glares at me. I can't help it. All I can think of is that outside the car it's so peaceful and we are driving at 70, er, 55 miles per hour and it is like complete chaos on wheels. That's our family.
After a couple of bathroom breaks, a snack (eaten in the car) and an endless medley of Hannah Montana songs courtesy of Genevieve, we arrive in Hannibal. It is much later than we were planning on getting there. The sun is setting and the attractions are closed. Oh, well, we can take a walk around after dinner. We find the Mark Twain Diner (seriously, you expected a different name?) and get a table. The waitress informs us that there is a buffet. We check it out. It is completely repulsive. There are trays of breaded lumps of unidentifiable food and various veggies and salad fixings. After careful examination, we realize that there is fried chicken, popcorn shrimp, whole (I mean with the fins and head) fried catfish and frogs legs. I had never seen frogs legs as a food before. They look just like they do on the frog, except breaded. Ugh, icky squishy frogs, breaded and fried. I try to act natural and as if I am not completely grossed out. So, I ask the kids if anyone is interested in having the buffet. The are ecstatic! They all want the buffet, except Angelina, who always waits until the waitress gets annoyed because she's taking too long to order. Eventually, she decides on a bowl of chili. Good girl.
Charlie immediately heads for the buffet. He puts a catfish and about seven frogs legs in his dish, sits down and gets to work. In about a minute there is a catfish skeleton in his dish. The waitress brings my meal and I am busy eating when I hear Bella say, "Charlie, you can't eat the spine! Put it down!" She looks at me and makes a yucky face. I make a face back at her that says, "I don't care if you think it is gross, he is using good manners and eating food that HE likes to eat." I have faces for many occasions. I use that one a lot, though. Then I tap Charlie on the shoulder and quietly remind him that, no matter how pleasantly crunchy they are, we shouldn't eat bones. A couple of minutes later I furtively glance over to see how he is making out with the frogs legs. I don't think he likes them as much as the catfish; he only ate the little flipper-feet off of them. I can't take it anymore. I go up and get him a dish piled with normal, non-squishy popcorn shrimp. He eats it all.
After dinner we make sure everyone uses the bathroom to ward off disaster and we head out the door. On the way out Noah sees that they have a jar of Andes mints for 5 cents each. He politely asks for a quarter and gives it to the guy behind the counter, then gives each one of his siblings the candy before taking his own. Good boy.
It was dark out, but the weather was mild, so we had our own twilight tour of Hannibal. We saw Mark Twain's boyhood home, Becky Thatcher's house and Cardiff Hill. The kids were happy with that, so we piled into the car and headed west. Noah starts saying, "We're goin' west! We're goin' west on the wagon train!" He is a great mimic and he sounds like a leathery old prospector. We all crack up. Ten minutes later Noah and Bella are fighting and Angelina is begging for a snack, because she is SOOOO hungry. Charlie yells, "It's too loud!" I giggle. Joe glares. We're on the road.
The week in Smithville was good. We stayed in a house that Joe's bosses are letting us live in for several months after we sell our own. This way we don't have to scramble to buy a house right away. It is very generous of them. The kids enjoyed the fact that it was almost completely empty, so they did a lot of running and jumping. There was nothing to sit on, because it is unfurnished. Joe brought in the patio set, so the kids had places to sit at meals. The kids enjoyed looking around and deciding who was to go in which bedroom when we move. We went and got our library cards at the Smithville library, so the kids had lots of books to read. We also went to Arthur Bryant's and got a taste of real Kansas City Barbecue. Charlie, of course, loved the ribs, but the other kids liked the burnt ends best. By the end of the week, we had decided that we liked it, but that we would like it even more with our own furniture. Or ANY furniture, for that matter.
The return trip was basically a replay of the trip there, without the stop in Hannibal. Except we listened to Tony Bennet and Frank Sinatra most of the way home. Nothing like snapping along with "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" to get you excited about the prospect of being in a car for 7 hours. When the kids got tired, we listened to an audio book; Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Noah, Bella and I love L'Engle's stories. Joe hates them. It was torture for him to listen to the audiobook, but he made the sacrifice for his loved ones. What a guy!
We got home safely. No bodily fluids were spilled on the way, there was minimal bickering and everyone kept their clothes on. All in all, a good trip, I'd say.

Entry for November 09, 2007
Today we and some other homeschoolers headed over to the VFW post, where we met with two war veterans; one from WWII and one from Afghanistan. I have never seen so many boys in camo clothes. But, more importantly, I have never, ever, seen so many children sit quietly for such a long period of time. They were absolutely mesmerized.
Noah was the most still and quiet I have ever seen him. Anyone who knows Noah knows that his need to talk is equal to his need for oxygen. Well, at one point, one of the vets was describing his stint in Saudi Arabia and talking about what it is like to sleep in a foxhole with scorpions and other insects for months at a time. Noah couldn't hold it in any longer. He raises his hand and says, "Actually, the scorpion is an arachnid." Noah-- always good for a bit of science trivia!
Those vets were amazing. They were there for almost 3 hours talking and answering questions. We truly have NO IDEA what these guys endure for us. I have always felt like I was patriotic and support the vets, but now I realize what a slacker I am. Get involved. Help these guys. They give everything and get very little in return. A good place to start is Check it out.
Anyway, my hubby set this up, so I went early with the kids and brought some snacks and coffee. Genevieve played nicely with her little friend Cecelia. But apparently she drank one too many juice pouches, because, during Q & A time, Noah informed me that Genevieve was in the girls' bathroom and her tights were wet (now that I think of it, how did HE know this?!). So I go in there and, lo and behold, she is standing in a puddle of pee. I am so thankful she had the good sense to remove her boots before the pee came out. I throw out the tights and underwear and clean her up as best I can, but nothing can change the fact that I've got a pantyless toddler walking around. To make matters worse, I can't just leave, because I need to stay and clean up. So I'm stuck there with little Miss Au Naturelle (not sure if I spelled that correctly-- the French is a bit rusty) until everyone else leaves.
A few minutes after we get out of the bathroom she has to go again. I take her in and she's doing a dance while I put the paper down (didn't she just go??). I put her on the toilet and-- I didn't know girls were even capable of this-- she pees OUT of the toilet onto my shoe. Right then and there, any problems with pride that I have had went out the window. I am now a person that people take aim and pee at. How low can you go?
Then, of course, on the way home, we had the requisite tantrum. Seriously, what's a day without a tantrum? My parents happened to stop by just as I was hauling the kicking, flailing child into the house. While they were visiting she writhed on the floor making guttural sounds and then removed all her clothes. I think my parents were scared, because I heard my father say, "C'mon, let's get out of here," to my mom. Genevieve eventually calmed down-- she always does. After the tantrums she is the sweetest child in the world. Which leads me to believe that my daughter has an evil twin. (What, you think this is a bad theory? Ever watch "I Dream of Jeannie?" Enough said.) If I could just figure out how she's getting in the house, I could end the scourge of tantrums.
Later in the day, my mother called and said she would come sit with the kids while I went out to pick up the pizza I ordered for dinner. Wahoo! I can pick up the pizza BY MYSELF!! Thank God for small favors!
OK, so speaking of thanking God for favors I'm going to get totally serious about something. As much as I poke fun at Genevieve's tantrums, I can be thankful for them, because the truth is, she is a healthy child. Friends of ours have not been so fortunate. Mark and Gina Schiltz have a little boy, Fintan Patrick, that needs a heart in order to survive. Mark has taken a leave of absence from his job to be with his family and help with the burden of traveling back and forth to Chicago, where Finn is at Children's Memorial as they await news of a heart for Finn. Some friends and I have organized a fundraiser for them this Friday, November 16th at the VFW on Cedar and N. 3rd St. in St. Charles, IL, from 5-9 p.m. It's a pasta dinner and a silent auction. If you can make it, please go. If you can't but want to help, here is a way to do that:
Make check payable to: The Fintan Patrick Schiltz Fund
Be sure to include the account number on your check: Account # 4500232949 Mail checks to: Remittance Processing Dept. Charter One Bank PO Box 42006 Providence, RI 02940-2006
To read more about Fintan and for pictures, see his CarePage at:
And, if you do go on Friday, you'll get to meet me. I'll be the one with the screaming toddler...

Entry for November 05, 2007
Charlie had a great morning today. I have been giving him 2 soft gels of fish oil every day in addition to his other vitamins and I think it's helping him socially (besides, he loves fish so much, why not add more to his diet?).
Anyway, I go in his room to wake him up and I hear, "Takin' a shower," from under the comforter. I tell him that it is, indeed, shower time and he scoops up the clothes we laid out last night, except no socks because I have a huge laundry basket full of clean socks that I am hoping we use up before I have to actually pair them and put them away. I hate doing that almost as much as cleaning the toilet. So, I will get him the socks out of the basket when we get downstairs. He notices there are no socks and says, "Socks, please," so I explain to him about my aversion to socks and he listens as we walk downstairs, then he sighs and says, "It's Monday." I sigh, too.
Before he gets in the shower we need to shave because Charlie is starting to look like a parolee with the scruff on his face. So I tell him to put warm water on his face and he does, then I put the shaving cream in his hand and he rubs it on. He is careful to avoid his lips. The first time we shaved, he tried to shave his lips. I had to tell him not to shave his lips. Then I got to thinking, "I wonder, in the history of man, how many times the sentence 'Don't shave your lips,' has been uttered aloud." Not many, I'd wager. But I digress...
I start to shave him because we are pressed for time and he gets annoyed at me because he is so sure I am going to mess up and nick him. Finally he can't take it anymore and pushes me away and rinses the rest of the shaving cream off, while saying, "It's all gone. It's very all gone." All right, kiddo!
On the way out of the house, he stopped and picked up the newspaper and handed it to me. Excellent! When he gets on the bus, though, he doesn't wave. That was a big bummer. Usually he will wave and I can read his lips saying, "Bye, Mom." It is always a good day when Charlie waves.
Anyone who knows Charlie knows he is a man of little words. But he can sure say a lot in just a few words. Years ago, he was saying something that sounded like "missy kwilla." It dawned on me that he would only say it when I lost it and was yelling at someone. Then, one time, in the middle of the night it came to me. He is a big "101 Dalmatians" aficionado and what he was actually saying was, "Must be Cruella." I must be really scary when I'm mad.
Lately, when I call him to come downstairs for something he has been saying, "Keep your pants on!" Hysterical. Bella says it's from Rock-A-Doodle. Who cares? He's using it correctly!
Once, I knew a mom of a boy who had autism. He was in Charlie's preschool class. I saw her at school one day and she was all excited because her son had said his first word. "Wow!" I said, "That's great! What was his first word?" "@&%*," she replied. What do you say to that?
Sometimes, when I tell Charlie to sit down, he will say, "Shut up and sit down." This makes me feel terrible.
Me: "I didn't say, 'Shut up and sit down, Charlie, I just said, 'Sit down.'"
Charlie: "Shut up and sit down!"
Me: "OK, I did say it that time, but just to tell you that I didn't say it. I'm not telling you to shut up, just sit down. I wouldn't tell you to shut up."
Me: (sitting down) "OK."

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