Saturday, April 19, 2008


Because I am a little bit of a hippie (and I will reaffirm that when I begin to post about worm composting), I have always wanted to travel with the kids to far off places. More than that, I want the kids to provide service for others and to be able to be a part of a society completely unlike their own. So I can remind them always of how great they have it.

The main problem has been that most of the organizations that do this type of thing don't want herds of little kids hanging around. And, it's a little on the pricey side.

So, this past year, we have really been trying to curb our spending and save our money so that when the kids reach 14, at least one parent can take a child on a volunteer trip. And the kids are also saving their money to go. And other than Nate, who has the uncanny ability to get out of any and all work, they are all hard workers as well. When motivated. Usually by candy.

At any rate, with Rebi now 13, I started looking around for volunteer opportunities. And what did I find? An organization that will accept kids as young as 8. Which means that August or September of 2009, we are going on a humanitarian aid trip somewhere in the world. Whether they want to or not. Anyone want to join us?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An Open Letter to Donny Osmond

*In regards to this contest:

Dear Donny-
I'm so excited that you're hosting the America's Favorite Mom contest this year, because I have had a crush on you for like EVER! But since my kids are a wee bit on the ungrateful side, I sadly do not believe they will nominate me. In fact, I secretly believe that every nomination is the result of undue pressure exerted by unfit mothers on their ungrateful children, likely with a series of bribes and rewards, in an attempt to claim the title for themselves. I would never ever think of placing such pressure on my poor innocent children, which is why I believe I deserve the crown.

If that isn't convincing enough, I'd like to highlight a few of my more impressive parenting moments from the past 13 years as a mother.

In my dedication to giving my children the best the world has to offer, I often was forced to work part or full time. It can't be helped that on occasion, this resulted in children being left behind because I was loading bags into the car and forgot to load the car seat. Don't worry though, I made up for the baby's trauma at being left- asleep- in his car seat by bringing home a shiny new toy for him to stare at. He's 6 now and assures me that he doesn't hold a grudge. And yes, there was the once that I left with the entire family to visit grandparents, only to realize that the middle child (oh how I have tried to take care of that middle child) was at the neighbors' house and not in the car where she belonged. It can't be helped that the other 4 kids were in the car and it was quite noisy. I wasn't able to HEAR the absence of a 5-year-old. Don't worry though, I made up for her trauma by putting more money in her personal therapy fund. They each have one. It brings such peace of mind to know that as a mother, I am looking out for their mental health as well as their physical health.

Over the years, there have been many opportunities to serve my children. I have served them macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, hot dogs and corn dogs. I have even served them oreos and ice cream for dinner on occasion. I believe that including all of the food groups is the corner stone of great parenting. In fact, I have served them so many nutritious meals, that I am completely unable to duplicate my success. As a result, I am now allowing them to figure out their own meals. I think it builds character for them to experience the dilemma of whether to have peanut butter and jelly or cold cereal for the 3rd meal of the day. And wouldn't you know, it turns out that they like to alternate. It is so rewarding to be able to remind them of how many hungry children there are in the world, when they choose to complain about the vast options available to them to fill their own stomachs.

I have definitely instilled in them a love of music. In fact, I am so dedicated to their musical education, that I insist that they practice piano every day. Without fail. Once, my darling oldest son did what I like to refer to as exaggerating on his practice minutes. I just felt it was too important to his future career as a concert pianist to allow such deviousness. So, in order to teach him one of those fantastic life lessons that can only come from experience, I went ahead and made him practice 1000 minutes over Spring Break to understand just what that kind of time feels like. Sure, my ears nearly bled as he angrily smashed through the same 6 songs for 16.67 hours, but I knew it was a sacrifice I had to make for him to grow. And he thanks me still today. In his heart. I know he does.

I also believe in allowing them to learn those life lessons when it comes to school. That's why, when they wanted to quit school because they are too lazy to do their homework and didn't want to be held accountable for it, I allowed them to "homeschool". It's really fabulous the way they do nothing but sit on the couch watching TV, play gameboy, fight with each other, and sleep at odd hours of the day and night. I feel that they are really learning to manage their free time and experience the world around them in whatever manner they choose. And sure I provide them with learning tools. I just know that someday they are even going to use them. I am so grateful that I am able to give them that gift. It's such a blessing to hear all 5 of them recreate the battles of WWII in uncannily accurate detail throughout my house. I just can't stay mad at them for using the ketchup to mimic real blood and for using rocks as grenades. It's only reasonable to look at it from their perspective, "Walls can be repaired, but broken relationships can never be mended". And they are so right. Any time I want to get upset, I just think of their sweet little voices chanting that and their sweet little grins grinning up at me, and their sweet little eyelashes batting at me, and I know I am doing the right thing.

Well, this letter is getting long and I haven't seen Rebi, my oldest girl, yet today. I do hope she is earning enough money babysitting for other people to finish paying off the braces she so desperately wanted. She babysits nearly every day, and has paid almost $2000 to her orthodontist. Such a lesson in hard work, dedication, and the satisfaction of delayed gratification there. There is no way to absorb those types of lessons without a dedicated mother there to guide that young child. I couldn't be happier.

I just want to share one last reason that I deserve the title of "America's Favorite Mom". It happened a few weeks ago. You see, I finally worked hard enough and saved long enough to take them all across the country on a vacation. I knew it was going to be a lot of work for myself, but I came to terms with taking a break from the constantly filthy kitchen and the never-ending laundry in order to let them see New York City (well, from the airplane anyway), and lie on the beach in Orlando. They really were thrilled. And, that might be why I ignored all of the signs of the broken arm my youngest son suffered only 2 hours before we boarded our plane. It is his 8th broken bone (although he would like me to interject that this would be break number 9 if we were to count the nose. Which he doesn't. Because it's cartilage. He just wants to clarify that.), so why would I possibly begin to think he knows what he's talking about when he says, "MOM! MOM! Tyler broke my arm!" What mother wouldn't think it was just swollen and painful and he refused to use it because he was tired and hungry? That ibuprofen sure is a wonder drug. I was thrilled at how he was able to vacation with us for a week with a broken arm and not even need a cast. The doctor was so impressed with my mothering skills, she even offered to have a special "reporter" from somewhere called CPS (I still don't know what that stands for) come and visit our home for some type of "survey". Very exciting.

So, as you can see Donny, in addition to having a massive crush on you and your purple socks when I was 10, I have honestly grown into the type of mother that America looks up to and respects. Some people have whispered the words "perfect" and "supermom" on occasion, but frankly that just makes me laugh. I mean really. I know I come close, but that is stretching it just a little. I'm a little ol' suburban housewife who just happens to have a commitment to putting my kids first in everything. And they are such angels, I know it's working.

In closing, may I just say that if the photo at the top of this letter is any indication, you've still got it baby. Even after all of these years. Thank you for considering me.

Love (and I really mean that),

More Kid Shots

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Dave: Kids, when you buy soda for the candy stand, save the pepsi points. We can redeem them on for MP3s.
Rebi: How many points do we need?
Dave: I dunno, like 5 per song or something
Rebi: How many points for a Wii?
Dave: We own a Wii. You just haven't earned it yet.
Rebi: How many points to get mom to open the Wii without making us finish the chores?(shakes head sadly) Oh, I know. Priceless! There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's chores.

Speaking of the Doorbell Ditchers

Wouldn't it make their nights if out of nowhere they started getting pelted with paint balls? I could have a lot of fun with this gadget!

And only $3 in library fines since December (I think, anyway. I'm pretty much too lazy to check).

Go me!

Monday, April 14, 2008


Last night, we discussed with the children that while both mine and Dave's jobs remain uncertain, we will need to cut back our expenses. We've already dropped gymnastics, which was a large chunk, and purely coincidental timing, but now I'm suggesting that we drop piano. After all, they don't willingly practice very often. They mostly just roll their eyes when I mention it. And yes, sometimes I even get a wee bit of attitude.

Surprise! Rather than being overjoyed, they all begged to stay in until lessons naturally end for the summer.


Here is your horoscope for Monday, April 14:

"Some days are easy to get through, while others, like this one, pose more of a challenge. If you didn't love overcoming obstacles so much, you might find it a drag, but instead, it exhilarates you!"

Wow. I think I should just go back to bed now. . .