Wednesday, July 30


A bunch of unconnected ramblings today. First up this morning, great news. Yesterday President Bush signed into law the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act which calls for $150 million over five years for such initiatives as expanded pediatric-cancer research and a national childhood-cancer database. Let's thank all those parents for their tireless work to get this accomplished!

Second, on my way to work this morning I passed some construction. I use this word lightly because it was actually just a guy shoveling on the side of the road. ONE guy. With a shovel. And a truck. He wasn't even blocking traffic in either direction and yet the State of Massachusetts found fit to have not one but two cops there to direct traffic. One was standing on the side of the road talking to the shoveler and the other was sitting in the squad car with the lights on. Phew, good thing they were there or I might have taken that guy and his shovel right out. I might have missed his bright red truck and his bright orange reflective gear. Only in MA!

And I have to share a funny story from the park. We were there with a friend of mine and her 3 kids, and we were the only ones there except for 3 teenagers hanging out on the swings. Two girls and a guy. They were harmless looking enough and probably not even old enough to drive which is why they were hanging out at the park and not somewhere cool, or at a job. While me & the little girls were looking at the butterflies sitting on the flowers (yes, it's AWESOME that girls really do want to do this!) I heard the sound of "ewwwww" coming from the boys behind us. Next I heard this "they're kissing, kissing!!!! Yuck" and Jack told me, well yelled to me actually across half the park "Mommy, they were kissing right out in public like they are in the wild or something." Yes, apparently my son thinks kissing only goes on "in the wild" of the jungle or some other appropriate place like that. At this point the teenagers were laughing uncontrollably and snickering to each other. After feeling a little pang of sympathy for the 3rd wheel girl who has to hang around all summer watching her 2 friends make out (who hasn't been in those shoes at least a few times?), the next part of the conversation went like this:

Me: "well, it's OK, Daddy & I kiss sometimes" (I guess we must sometimes)

Jack: "Not in the park"

Me: "Well, maybe if Daddy came to the park with us sometimes I would kiss him!"

Hmmm, at this point the teenagers got the hell out of there and I don't blame them. I wanted to yell after them,

"Yup, they're not so cute are they, so make sure you keep it at just kissing!"

Tuesday, July 29

Only Child

So, I've been down a child for over a day now. It's not like I misplaced one of them or anything, but my dad took Jack away to the lake for some quality Grampy time yesterday and will not be back until tonight. Actually, now that I started to write this post they will probably pull into the driveway any second. I forgot how nice it is to have one child. Don't get me wrong, I love Jack to bits and pieces but let's just say that he is my "demanding" child. I don't know if it is because he was first and got a lot of undivided attention as a baby, or if it's because he is a boy, or if it is because he is Jack. Probably a combination of everything, but whatever the reason it has been a nice break to just have Abbey alone. For example, yesterday afternoon we spent almost 45 minutes playing "hair salon" where I sat on the floor in her room and she put barrettes, clips and elastics in my hair while alternatively wetting a comb and brushing it. Then she put blueberry chapstick on my lips for a while. It was almost as relaxing as a real salon. Today we went to a Farmland with Suzy & the gang and I felt almost guilty for just having my 1 easy child while she chased after 3, but I adjusted. We had a really nice day and oh sh**, they actually did just pull up in the driveway. OK, easy over!

Saturday, July 26

Anti What?

The Sweat Absorber and Friction Fighter. "Indoors or outdoors, work or play or on occasions when you sit on your butt all day. Don't let your buns get red use Anti Monkey Butt Powder instead."

Seriously, this is a real product. Dennis saw it at the store a couple of months ago with the kids and after that they would sometimes yell out at each other for no apparent reason "Anti-Monkey Butt!" and I would just ignore them, because that's what I do when they say things that don't make sense, or have the word "butt" in the sentence. But yesterday while picking up his prescription at Rite Aid (formerly known as Brooks around here) he couldn't resist and had to buy it. The kids are still looking at it and cracking up. The product is really just plain old powder, the ingredients are as follows: Talc, Calamine Powder, Fragrance. That's it. But the marketing people at this place are genius. The name of the company . . . Anti Monkey Butt Corporation of course. It says that it is "ideal for butt busting activities such as motorcycling, bicycling, horseback riding, truck driving, hiking, hockey, football, and baseball." I just thought that this was too funny not to share. The laugh our family got alone made up for the purchase. So do yourself a favor, pick up some Anti Monkey Butt today for yourself or someone you love, because no one wants to have a bright red butt like a monkey!

Thursday, July 24

Limbless Wonders

If you like to talk to tomatoes
If a squash can make you smile
If you like to waltz with potatoes
Up and down the produce aisle

Then we've got a show for you.........

My kids LOVE Veggie Tales, and don't get me wrong, I like them too. They teach morals and wonderful lessons about life and tell stories from the bible, what's not to like? In fact, they are so wholesome that I am always surprised that the kids actually like to watch it. Believe me, they are as addicted as ever to that quirky yellow sponge that lives under the sea, but I like that they get a dose of "goodness" every once in a while. As with all things that the kids really get into, we have been on a Veggie Tale kick lately, getting videos out from the library and from Netflix. But I can only take so much. I can grasp the concept of cucumbers and asparagus hopping around with hats & clothes on, but it's when they carry things that freak me out. They don't even try to pretend they have arms for this, and the basketball or suitcase or whatever it is is just floating in the air next to them. I find this totally unnerving and have trouble getting past it, so I usually just don't watch. The kids on the other hand, they get it. Obviously, they don't need arms to play baseball or eat spaghetti, it just is. So, they BLAST the theme song and dance around the room and sing other songs from the show too. The newest one seems to only have 2 lines (although I am sure there are more that they don't recall). It goes something like "God is bigger than everything, God is bigger than . . godzilla." They sing it over and over and it's only mildly starting to get on my nerves. I tried to change it up and sing stuff like "God is bigger than our house, God is bigger than . . . a little mouse" but they didn't like that. I was informed that wasn't the way the song went and I am not allowed to change it. Okey dokey. I guess I should know better than to mess with the classics!

Wednesday, July 23

International Coleman Day

When I first started reading these "mommy" blogs the first one I read was Because I Said So, which is how I learned about other blogs, as well as a couple of Carepages ( Carepages (like Caringbridge) are where parents post information about their children who are fighting diseases, to keep everyone up to date and also (I believe) as a great form of "writing therapy." One day there was a link to a 4 year old little boy's Carepage who has cancer, named Coleman Larson. I have to say that I got totally hooked. His mother really opened up and let us into her world, a world that I am grateful every day that I don't have to experience firsthand. When I started reading back in March Coleman had just undergone a stem cell transplant and I read along through his recovery and healing, moving out of the hospital and eventually back home again. I have to mention that he also has an adorable twin brother, Caden, who seems really energetic and mischievous and reminds me a lot of my own Jack. I'm not sure why I kept reading Peggy's (that's his mom) posts, but I just couldn't stop and kept hoping that one day I would read that she had really wonderful news, really fabulous news that Coleman was well and healthy and she was shutting down the Carepage. But that hasn't happened. Things have been going well for them though, Coleman has a lot more energy and she keeps writing about all the fun they are having now that they are home from the hospital and done with treatment, and all the "normal" things she is so glad they are able to do. She's even grateful for yelling at them. Imagine being grateful that you can yell at your child? I hadn't before, but now I am grateful. I'm grateful for every time-out that I can give them, every hug & kiss, every book I can read them, every exasperated sigh I have over their antics. It's too easy to forget that their are mother's out there who would give anything for that sigh. So my heart broke a bit earlier this week when I read that Coleman's recent MRI & Spinal Tap showed that the cancer is not gone. It's still there after chemo and radiation and a stem cell transplant. I don't know what their next step is, but I pray that whatever it is, it will cure him once and for all. The family is in Iowa City now, meeting with the doctors. In the meantime please just add this little boy to your prayers. I also wanted to post what I read today.


Friday, July 25 at 11:00am

Please - I am asking all of you out there to send everything you have (prayers, hugs, thoughts) to Team Larson on this Friday at 11:00am. The power of prayer (collectively) can help them right now. Please pass this message along to everyone. And remember to hug your children or anyone close to you !! Thanks for your help
Scott and Peggy - we are right here with you !!

And while I have you all held captive and am demanding prayers, I would also like everyone to send prayers and good thoughts and good karma and whatever else is out there to my Uncle Joe. You are brave and strong and good, and please know that the whole family is behind you, fighting with you. (In spirit, obviously, because if all of us were actually there with you every day Aunty Jeanne would probably go bananas!)

Tuesday, July 22

A Dry Spell

Maybe my kids have been super boring lately and my life just uneventful, or perhaps I am tired and my brain is not functioning properly, but I haven't had the energy to post lately. Even today I really don't have much to say. I will say that I am happy that it is still summer and we haven't officially entered into the routine of fall. I have said in the past that I am usually ready for summer to end by early August or so, and the same will probably be true this year, but I'm not there yet. I love routine, and by August the laid back lackadaisical non-structured world of summer has gotten to me and I am ready for normal bedtimes, activities and regular bath's to resume. I am ready for my children to be so tired from rising early in the morning that they fall asleep easily in their beds, rather than hemming & hawing and stalling for 1 more drink, 1 more story, 1 more snack because they are just starving to death and cannot possibly get through the night without sustenance. They have gotten so used to late nights from vacation or weekends that they just outright ask if they can watch just 1 more movie. Sure, it's like 9 pm but since it's summer why don't we throw in a 2-hour movie and you guys can just veg out all through the night. Can I get you some Coke to drink or perhaps some bars of chocolate with that?

Still, I'm not quite ready for full fledged routine to set in yet. This morning we had a little glimpse back into scheduled life, and it exhausted me. I'm like an athlete that is out of practice. Jack is in CCD Camp this week which runs from 9-3 every day. Just like school. He's been good about getting up and going but it involves prep work for me. Once again there is a backpack to pack and a lunch and snack to be made. And 2 days this week Abbey is going to Y camp with my mother which is another backpack to pack, lunch to be made. Then it is getting all 3 of us out the door early in the morning and everyone off to their respective destinations in time, and the reverse in the afternoon. Thank goodness for my parents living close and being such awesome help, I don't know how I would swing my life without them. How do people with no help pick up 2 children at exactly the same time 30 minutes apart from each other? I'm continually amazed how some mothers do this day in and day out, all year long. Picking up and dropping off and child care scheduling and phew, I'm tired just thinking about it!

Once again my admiration and respect goes out to you, you full-time working mothers of the world ~ have a drink, you deserve it!

Saturday, July 19

Shower Boy

Abbey started showering about a month ago. Not like before that she was just dirty all the time, obviously she had tubs, but she informed me one day that now that she is "grown" (you know, 3 1/2 and all) that she will only take showers. Fine. I actually love it because I am not crouching over the tub, hurting my back and getting all wet washing her. She washes herself because she does everything by herself and I just pop my arms in to wash her hair. Ahhh, lovely. But Jack, my GIANT of a 6 year old, still took tubs only because he doesn't like water on his face, or so he claimed. Now, since summer started I have begun to notice that he is spending about 90% of his time in the water underwater, with those ridiculous looking goggles that cover your whole face including your nose. He does flips and swims and handstands, never above for more than the few seconds it takes to ensure proper air supply. Tonight I suggested that he take a shower, and told him that he could wear his goggles in there. He looked skeptical for a second and then decided to give it a try. All I can say is Hallelujah! He washed himself and I just had to control the water temp a couple of times. I will admit he looked a little foolish, but who cares. It was much quicker than a tub and so much less work for mommy. Another day, another small step into independence.

On a side note I stubbed my toe so badly that I believe that it is broken. I've never broken a toe before so I can't be sure, but it feels broken. This has nothing to do with showers or kids, but I just wanted to share, because it hurts. Speaking of things that are broken, as in broken dreams, the whole family took a drive to the Ford dealership today to look at new trucks for my husband. The poor man is driving an old Crown Vic with bad tires, a check engine light and no inspection sticker. His other option is his 13 year old truck which runs, mostly. Anyway, living in the dreamworld that he does, he was pretty sure he could get a good deal on a truck that we could afford because really, who in their right mind would buy a truck now with the price of gas the way it is. He figured they would practically be giving the things away. Ummm, not exactly. He's not the best with math but figured we could make it work. I of course went along with him and then had to be the one to crush his spirit and hope for life with cold, hard financial facts. The salesman told us that no, even with their incentives and trade-in's and fancy smancy deals that they did not have any trucks like he wanted in stock, new or used that we could finance for less than $300 a month. Surprise, surprise. He is outside right now cleaning the mold out of his 1995 Bronco.

Wednesday, July 16

Strength In Numbers

For those of you who know me you know that I am always half-heartingly trying to lose weight. I try for a few days, then get hungry and stop for a while. Try again, get hungry. You get the idea. Anyway, Michelle over at My Semblance of Sanity, one of the bloggers that I read religiously, has started a lose weight together type of thing. If you feel like checking it out and getting in on the losing bandwagon with us, go to this link and join us. I plan on checking in every Tuesday with everyone else to chart our progress. Sorry for the short post tonight but I just received my "Party of Five Season 3, Disc 3" in the mail from Netflix and I want to start watching it. Can you blame me? Everyone knows that Season 3 was the best, when Kirsten has a nervous breakdown and goes into that great depression, and Bailey becomes an alcoholic and they have the whole intervention thing before he crashes his beloved jeep with Sarah in it. Ahhh, loved that show. So happy it has been released on DVD.

Don't make fun of me, OK?

Tuesday, July 15

The Big Flush

I don't know about anyone else, but apparently I have a hell of an ear-wax buildup problem. I don't want to be too gross or share too much personal information here, but I'm ready to come clean. "Hi, my name is Kirsten and I have excessive ear-wax." There, I feel better. I mentioned in my vacation post that my ear had been blocked for over a week, and it was really starting to get annoying. I suspected it was just wax, but a small part of me thought it was something worse, like maybe a giant bug had crawled in there or something. Anyway, I started to miss not being able to hear out of that ear and my husband has started the habit of standing on the side of my blocked ear and saying things under his breath that I can't understand. When I ask him what he said he just smiles guiltily and says "oh, nothing." Very suspicious. So off I went to the doctor's this morning. Actually I had to see the Physician Assistant because surprise surprise my doctor was on vacation. By my calculation he has around 7 or 8 weeks of vacation time each year. So in I went for the big flush. He looked in my ear and proclaimed that it was completely clogged, to which I wittingly replied "what?" He then took a GIANT syringe thingy that looked like a turkey baster and filled it with some sort of solution that was probably just warm water but could have had some sort of medicinal substance in it, not too sure. He then proceeded to put it in my ear and push what felt like the equivalent of Niagara Falls into my ear with about the speed of a person shooting out of a cannonball at the circus. Quite unpleasant. But right away I could HEAR! Hallelujah I could hear. And everything was so LOUD. The sound of the collar on my shirt rustling against my skin was magnified by about 1,000 and really started to freak me out. So in all it was a very productive visit. I do have a tip for anyone who has this done, after they shoot all the water into your ear and it comes back out into the little basin you are holding under it, don't turn your head and take a peek into it to see what came out. Not that I did this or anything because that might be gross and I'm sure seeing that would make you want to gag, but just trust me and don't look!

Sunday, July 13

Family F.U.N.

Back home from the campground! We had a fantastic vacation which cannot possibly be summed up with one simple post. All I can say is 20 family members plus 1 cottage plus 2 trailers plus 3 bathrooms equals 1 hell of a good time. I am finally alone and able to sit down at the computer, Dennis having taken the kids swimming at his sisters because they did not spend nearly enough time in the water this week. Here is what went down over the past 7 days.

Adults = 14
Children = 6
Generations in attendance = 4
Beds = not nearly enough
Fights with my husband = 2
Campfires = 10
Hot dogs = many
Marshmallows toasted = 22 at least
Falls = 2 (b.t.w., neither were done by children)
Go Carts on the track inhabited by us = 9
Nice dinners out without children = 1
Margarita's = 6
Approximate beers consumed = 180 (whoa, we might have a problem)
Smirnoff Ice's = 24
Boxes of wine (so, we like boxed wine!) = 4
Glasses broken = 1
Hours spent swimming in the lake = 35
Dives off the dock = dozens
Blocked ears by this writer = 1 (going on 8 days now)
Rainstorms = 3
Puddles jumped in = 8
Bug bites received = 127
Bottles of sunscreen = 1
Pitchers of lemonade drunk = 13
Fights over the ridiculous X-box = 7
Fish caught = 16
Quiet = None
Pages read in my book = 1.5
Loads of laundry done since I've been home = 6
Walks around the lake done by me & Colleen = 1.5
Walks around the lake done by those of us who really walk = 6
Times my children had soap touch their bodies = 1
Pedicures = 4
New trailers bought = 1
My score in mini-golf where I kicked ass = 49
Little boys named Jack who learned how to swim = 1

Spending 168 hours straight with your entire family = priceless

Phew . . . I am ready to head back to work tomorrow exhausted. I love vacation and I love the campground, and it goes without saying that I LOVE my crazy family, but I am always happy to return home. I have this thing where I have to clean my house from top to bottom before we go anywhere, which my husband finds ridiculous but I find necessary. I just love coming home to a nice clean house, and since we have only been home now for a day it still hasn't had a chance to get really messed up again. I especially love my floors, my nice clean floors. Spending 7 days in a cottage where the floor is constantly gritty with sand & pine needles, I relish in the fact that I can walk without having stuff stuck to the bottom of my feet. Now I am off to make something to cook in my oven because if I have one more thing cooked on the grill right now I may puke.

Friday, July 4

Ooooh . . . Ahhhh

Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite Holidays, right after Christmas and Thanksgiving (because of all the eating, obviously). My birthday falls on the 5th, so the big celebrations and fireworks always seemed to be a little bit just for me. When I was younger I actually thought the fireworks were for me, but that was short lived. Now that I am slightly older the fourth is a bit different, but still fun. Sure, I am not sitting on a beach right now, sipping a beer and watching some fireworks with my honey, with only a sweatshirt and maybe a blanket to sit on. I am home, I just vacuumed, and need desperately to get my kids to bed because it is almost 10:00. Also, I am blogging which I can 100% say I have never done on the fourth before!

We took the kids to see fireworks last night. They loved them! Abbey couldn't stop saying that each and every one was her favorite, along with yelling out each and every color she saw. "Oooh, red, oooh green, oooh Jackie look, red again." Jack loved them too, although more in a cautious oh boy is he his mother's son kind of way. He kept remarking that the fireworks looked like they could be missiles from alien spaceships coming toward us to attack. He also kept asking where they were being set off, if it was far enough away that we wouldn't get burned from the falling ash, and what would happen it they didn't shoot into the air like they were supposed to. He also kept asking over and over again if it was the grand final. "Is this the grand finale?" We kept explaining that he would know the grand finale when it finally arrived, but he didn't believe us. "Is this the grand finale?" "Is this? Is this?" At one point Abbey looked at him and said "Jackie, don't say grand finale again." I think he would have enjoyed it more if he didn't have this constant anticipation of when the end would come, although at the end he proclaimed that it was awesome. The same thing happened during the parade we went to today. Instead of enjoying it fully, he kept asking if it was over. I knew that he wasn't asking because he was bored with it, I think he just has such a hard time with things ending, the end of anything, be it a parade, a fireworks display, or a playdate that he tries too hard to prepare himself for the end, and the truth is he is never prepared.

Now you had better prepare yourself because I am OFF on vacation tomorrow. To answer the question I know all you loyal readers are asking, no . . . I did not lose those 15 lbs. I did lose 2 though, and in my underachiever way I have come to terms with this. I am sure I will re-gain those 2 within day 1 of my vacation, but such is life. I will begin anew next week full of optimism and hope for the future shrinkage of my belly roll, filled to the brim with many hot dogs, cheeseburgers and Smirnoff Ice's. I will probably not have access to a computer for the week, which may cause me to have some withdrawal symptoms, but again, I will deal with it with hot dogs, cheeseburgers and Smirnoff Ice's! So Happy Fourth Of July to everyone and I'll catch ya on the flip side.

Wednesday, July 2

Caution: Avoid Everything

I have a certain friend who shall remain nameless that lives in California and she is starting to freak me out! Yesterday she sent me an e-mail with a link to an article talking about how consuming junk food and bad eating habits during pregnancies will cause kids to be obese and have high cholesterol and heart disease later in life. OK, it didn't say "Kirsten, you ate like shit during your pregnancies, and had way too much cheese, so your kids will be sick" but it could have. Today she sends a link about Sunscreens which I check out, only to discover that the Coppertone Bug & Sun and the No-Ad brand SPF 45 that I spread on my children are actually really bad. They could cause cancer, they test on animals . . maybe. They have a ton of questionable stuff in them. I looked at their list of the "Top 10" recommended brands and I didn't even recognize any of them. Maybe you have to go to other countries to get them? A lot of them were "California Baby" brand so maybe you have to live in CA to get them. Maybe we should move so that we will be safer. Of course, then we will have to worry about earthquakes and wildfires. A couple of weeks ago she was the one who sent me the link regarding "dry drowning" too! Although, that actually is a real thing and I am honestly glad she sent it, now I know the signs to look out for. My point is that the more information you seem to have about a subject the more confused you get. The Internet has all sorts of information, and you can find whatever you want to suit your own purpose with the click of the mouse. I'm sure if I went to the Coppertone site they would have their own study about how their sunscreen is so great. It worries me though . . . could I be making my kids sick? I guess I could worry myself sick about it, get it . . . ha ha.

Tuesday, July 1


I have heard that the average size woman is about a size 12 or 14. Is this true? It would make me smack dab in the average range, but I think this number is false. I feel as though it has shrunk considerably, especially in the mother's of young children demographic. I go to different places with the kids - zoo's, park's, lakes, even dropping off at school, and I think that all of the other mothers look way smaller than me. It got me to thinking that the new "average" must have shrunk to maybe an 8, or a 10 at the most. Are all of these mothers out at the gym early each morning before their families wake up? Or do they not eat? I always feel as though everyone looks way cuter and way more together than myself. Or am I just delusional? Some days I think I look OK, and on others I look in the mirror and think I must have gained 22 pounds overnight.

I am tired today and am blaming it on the fact that I gave blood yesterday and my body must still be replenishing. Or maybe it is that we ran out of coffee and I didn't have any all day, and have been in a perpetual fog. Could I be that dependent on coffee? I think I might, because I had to actually lay down on the bed while Jack was in the tub tonight. I just lay there listening to him splash like crazy, knowing that he was getting water all over the floor, and I didn't even have the energy to go and stop him. No, it must be my lack of blood, my body just must be taking an extra long time making more. I am ashamed to say that I hadn't given since I was in high school, and we all know this was quite a few years ago. They didn't even still have me in their system! But the Red Cross was at a place that I drive by on my way home from work, and my mother-in-law had the kids, so I figured I would just pop in and give. Yes, I actually thought I would "pop" in. It turns out that people are way more generous with their blood than I thought and I had to wait almost an hour just for my turn. Luckily I passed all of the other tests, like that painful finger prick for iron, and I didn't have a temp. While I was there I saw about 4 people get rejected and they all looked pretty upset. I guess if I had gotten rejected I would have felt the same way. I mean, you hear all the time to give, give, give, greatest gift of life, blah blah blah and then to be there and actually be told, "no thanks, we really need blood, but not yours honey" would be pretty disheartening. Oh well, guess my blood is good . . . yay me.