some very odd things I do to LITERALLY make me feel better about myself…

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And none of them are actually valid. Let’s get right to it, shall we??

1.) Weigh myself in the morning, after peeing, but before taking a sip of water.
2.) Watch the show, “Hoarders: Buried Alive” to minimize the mess in my house and justify how clean and organized I actually am when I actually am not but comparatively speaking my home is spotless.
3.) Lower the lights before my husband is allowed to see me naked.
4.) Suck my stomach in before my husband is allowed to see me naked.
5.) Rarely wear makeup. Because then, when I DO actually put effort in to making myself look pretty good, everyone is amazed and says, “wow Leah. You are actually somewhat attractive! We never knew it!!”
6.) Put high heels on. That one works EVERY time.
7.) Pretend to cry in front of my kids. They all run over and shower me with hugs and kisses and swear I am the best mother in the history of mankind until I break into laughter at which point they realize I was never actually crying. They are, of course, onto this one, but they still go through the routine, every single time.
8.) Eat a big salad for lunch. Emphasis on the salad and not the “big”.
9.) Go the farmer’s market along with everyone else in town. I walk around with my little eco friendly bag, and maybe buy an onion or a yellow pepper. But really? I am there for the fresh pastries and the homemade chips and guac. But man, my organic-hemp-globally-hand-stitched-by-folks-recovering-from-something-in-a-half-way-house-eco-bag sure makes me feel good about myself…..

my family’s crazy things about being a big family….

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I read this funny post today about the reality of raising a large family. The author has 7 kids total, but 5 are 10 and under. Well, that’s me. 5 10 and under. And I found her article funny, but actually not that applicable. 2 out of the 10 things applied. I expected more because I figured we would have more in common. Totally irrelevant though, because I laughed and frankly, in general, that is the only goal when I read something online. The two that matched? Something is ALWAYS lost (keys. phone. homework. pencils. a kid.) The other? We are ALWAYS in a rush. But really, that’s always because of number 1 – something being lost. Hahahaha…..

This made me think today because I took Christmas photos this afternoon. Yes, we live in Florida. So yes, we did the requisite “on the beach” photo. But honestly, they were wearing turquoise and red, and one son had on a bow tie with shorts so we did not do the typical khakis and white shirts thing so don’t bust my unoriginality too much. Anyway, the point is, going through the torture I mean the picture taking me me wonder about what would be on MY list. So here it is….

1.) Family photos. Taking a picture where all 5 kids are looking at the camera (or at least in the same direction “Hey everyone look, a shark!!!!! while I snap and click and snap, screaming about a shark so they all look in the same direction and I end up with an artsy photo where they all look contemplative, studying the horizon…..) or where no one has hands doing something weird (see this Talladega Nights clip for a giggle on his hands on camera…I swear some kid is doing something like this every time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfv1FhdaBBk ) or is picking a nose, crossing eyes, or just flat out being annoying. Seriously. Next time I do photos I am gonna have Ken video the entire thing and post the reality of it. I want to both pull my hair out and beat someone by the end of it all.

2.) Bath time. The oldest now pretty much bathes himself. But for the rest?? It is assembly line bathing. A nice long lingering playtime in the tub? You kidding me?? NO TIME. One gets in with the baby who is already in there. I lather the hair. I then have the kid stand and scoop up the lather from the head and rub it onto a loofah then into all the cracks and crevices of that kid. Sit down. Rinse. Condition. Out. The kids fight over who goes first because that kid gets a totally dry towel. By the time I towel off kid five, I am pretty much just wringing water out. And the bath water at the end? It ain’t pretty.

3.) Meal time. Except when we get all fancy and formal, it’s like a scene from GI Jane where they eat out of the trash cans. I throw some food on plates. I put it on the table and it’s like vultures fighting over fresh roadkill. By the time the final kid gets food the first one needs seconds. If you don’t move quick enough, seriously, someone is gonna mistake your arm for a chicken leg and just lean in and take a bite. Trust me. It happens.

4.) Have you ever seen one of those MME cage fights? Well my kids don’t get much tv time. So when they do? Sweet and funny giggly little 4 year Elis Rey may as well be some random crazed guy from Vancouver who has 3 kills under his belt and 6 pack abs that are not about the look but about his literal ability to bench press a car. She is gonna come at you like a crazed marauder to get her Princess Sophia episode on that tv. A little Drake and Josh? You want Sam and Cat? You better be ready to punch a little girl in the face cause it is ON. And since I don’t let anyone punch little girls in the face, Elis Rey tends to win. Even Marlowe…turn the channel from Paw Patrol and she is gonna shriek at you until the glass breaks and you are begging for mercy.

5.) Keeping the ears of the younger ones innocent. Hadley thought the f word was “fart” until a year ago. But now, when he sees or hears it he says, “MOM!!!! the F WORD!!!!!!” and the other kids go, “no one said the f word!!! but that guy over there said f*&^. Mommy, what is f*&^??” So they just kind of absorb these things younger, via innocent meaning osmosis. Like in China…it was a fad for young people to wear shirts that had American cuss words printed, LARGE, on the front. Hadley learned quickly to not respond because when he would point the others would look and ask. And Kincaid, who is still a newer reader, would try to sound it out. “No honey. ‘c and k’ put together makes the ‘k’ sound.” Um, yeah.

6.) You have a MUCH harder time trying to sneak in a Sunday afternoon quick session of “daddy needs to talk to mommy for a few minutes in the other room while you guys play quietly and our door will be locked” because, inevitably, someone turns on the tv, and the battle begins anew and then you have to leave your afternoon delight session to referree a gaggle of kids throwing down in the family room.

7.) Although the first article said someone is always sick and that someone is always crying, I find this not to be the case. Unless that includes Kenny, in which case it is applicable, because our grocery bill would reduce even the most stoic man to tears.

8.) Packing lunches. Hadley likes mustard and pickles. Kincaid likes extra meat and the crusts cut off. Chase won’t actually eat a sandwich. Elis Rey only likes nutella. My kids get NO say on breakfast or dinner. But lunches I cater to what they like. Keeping it all straight in my mind is like negotiating strategy and alliances for a particularly vicious episode of The Bachelor.

9.) Christmas morning. Carnage. Pure and simple. I try to keep the focus on Jesus, the real meaning, etc. But in all honesty, their eyes glaze over and it all gets lost. It is like a particularly vicious scene from the Hunger Games.

10.) Shopping. At this point, I will not take any of my kids shopping unless that child is unable to speak due to age, laryngitis, or a taped up mouth. And bringing all 5 at once?? “You NEVER let us have fruit loops!” “Why can’t we have a pogo stick right NOW???” “I know it is 10 a.m. but can we get some subs??” And so on. It just makes for an unhappy time. Look. I hate Walmart. With a passion. But I would rather subject myself to a 2 a.m. run to Walmart for essentials while the hubs and kids sleep than bring all 5 with me to the store.

Man, I love my life.

blog, sweet blog, wherefore art thou????

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I have missed you, oh blog of mine.

For three months now, I have barely been able to catch my breath. And I am seriously, totally praying and hoping and doing naked rain dances under the full moon to get back into the swing of things.

It is strange really, and I can not totally put my finger on it. A little bit of everything, I suppose. But never before, with the addition of any child, has it been SO incredibly hard for me to get back into the swing of things. Why?? Well, I have a few theories. Here are the reasons (excuses) for my lack of blogging, and lack of function, in life right now.

1.) I have a newborn. I mean, for all intents and purposes, I have a 3 month old child, and I need to cut myself some slack. But since I am a seasoned parenting pro at this point, I did not really give myself a chance to settle, catch my breath, and be a bum for a while.

2.) We got back from China and had to literally jump back into life, full speed, without a breather. Now, I am SO glad I got to bring all the kiddos and we were able to stay longer in China because we left when school had not yet started. BUT….returning to the country, with a new child, with 4 kids starting school two weeks behind, well, let’s just say the report cards reflected that. (Do I actually care? Um, no. Pretty sure no one missed the section on ‘how to keep someone alive during brain surgery” so they will get past it.) But still….it took a toll. Schedules, activities, lives….it just went from 0-60 in 2.7 seconds, just like the super charged porsche 911 i really want my husband to get. Oh. But I digress.

3.) They discontinued the style of my favorite planner. Yes, I use an actual planner. Like, with writing. Seems sad, but I HAVE to write it down. I am scared of putting it in my phone, losing it, whatever. And as a result, I have forgotten a TON of dates, events, schedules, and more. My buddy Tzizzle got me one at the beginning of the school year and it was good but the layout was different and then a kid spilled orange juice all over it. So then I went hunting and was desperate to find the old style. No luck. After much searching, I found something super close. It is ugly and cheap and not nearly as adorable as my old style, or like the one my bud gave me, but, well, I am using it and trying to get back on track.

4.) Remember number 3? Well, since home, I have planned travel and schedules for a family member adopting from China, done my normal life which is crazy, and have been planning a two week trip to NYC for the holidays. After spending the last 3 weeks staring at the December calendar and seeing that December 25 was a Thursday, I somehow superimposed Thanksgiving and Christmas in my mind. Thus, I planned to celebrate the hubs’ birthday on Thanksgiving. His actual bday? It was Tuesday. A fact I learned at the end of the day. On Tuesday.

5.) Church. Warehouse Church. I was compelled to start it. Like, literally. And as I said from the beginning, I had no plans, no hopes, no expectations. Will it continue? I don’t know. I DO know that there was very real beauty that resulted because of obedience and following God’s plan. Did it feel weird to do it? YES. Does it feel weird right now to not be doing it? YES. But the thing is, I have learned to just LISTEN. And to OBEY. (Well, God at least hahaha….) He gives us things for seasons sometimes. His ways are not ours. We can’t always understand His purposes. Not our job. Our job is to be available. To listen. And to be WILLING. I may be a zombie right now. But I am a willing zombie. What more can I give? Not much. I feel very discombobulated about it all, and want a routine and a church home. But He has this, and I will follow and trust Him in it!

6.) Weight gain. I swear this one is about to do me in. However, I am not one of those “NY resolution people” because you don’t magically say you will lose weight, but only starting on that certain day blah blah blah….that’s bogus. You are either committed or you are not. Me? In my mind I am committed but my body has literally NOT been able to do it and I have gained 13 pounds…which brings me to number 6….

7.) Total lack of sleep. THIS is in all honesty what has pretty much sealed the deal here. I have never needed a ton of sleep. I routinely exist on 6 hours a night and do great. No problems. Once in a while less, or more, no issues. But since we got home from China, and Marlowe moved into her room, I have been averaging about 3 hours per night. It has been really bad. By the end of the 3rd week she was actually great. No more needing me at night….no crying in fear or pain or confusion. Just waking up once or twice for a bottle. That’s not the killer. What is? She is loud. She moves, talks, and makes little mewling baby kitty noises all night long. Add on to this one kid at least waking up once per night, and I am barely sleeping. The solution? Well, for the first time I am redecorating without actually wanting to. Marlowe is getting the guest room off the kitchen. It has a door I can CLOSE. Now, if she cries loud, like a real cry, I can hear it. That wakes me up. But her little sounds, tiny cries here or there, nope. Can’t hear those and I can sleep. This will be her first full week in that room (pics to come because it is ADORABLE) and I plan on, God willing, getting a regular 6 – 8 hours for a few nights per week. Hallelujah.

8.) Eight here is actually back to number 6 above. That lack of sleep has led to lack of coordination and energy that I need to do the kind of workouts my body needs. As a result, 13 pounds. THIRTEEN pounds. And I am NOT happy about it. The good news? The sleep starts this week. And so does a juice fast.

I have my new planner. The baby has her room. The trip is planned. We are doing home church for ourselves and visiting local churches in the area. I am doing a week long juice fast. Boxing starts back up on Tuesday. And I am ready to get back to life the way I like to live it. Busy, involved, healthy, and of course, hilarious to myself here in the land of Leah Sweet blogging.

Several days in a row of virtually apocalyptic mommy failures….

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I mean, either go big or go home, right??

Well, I guess. Not, generally, however, when it comes to failure. Although really, of you a re gonna make your mark you may as well make it really clear.

And my mark last week? One of resounding and epic failure. Sure, we all have those regrettable moments as a parent. We look at ourselves and say, “Could have done that better” or “Did I really just do that?” or “Holy bleep I AM becoming my mother!!” But every once in a while it is bad, it is SO bad, there is nothing to do but, well, immortalize it publicly, humiliating oneself in a blog. So here we go. Now remember – it is not even that any one of these is unforgivable. Rather, they are all awful, but compiled together in the short span of like 3 days, they become this combustible yet impressive volcano of mommy crap.

1.) At the end of the week, after school line pick up, Kincaid began a conversation in the car. “Mommy, I love you.” “Aw. I love you too buddy.” “Mommy, you know I like your food right?” “Sure bud.” “Well I didn’t like your food today. It was SO bad.” “Sorry about that little man. Do you not like ham and cheese any more? You eat it every day.” “Mommy, you KNOW I love ham and cheese. But mommy, today, I didn’t like it. I took a bite and it was so gross so I took another bite or two and then gave up because I wanted to puke. A LOT!!” “Wow. Ok. That’s too bad.” “Well I looked at it and there were these green spots. The gray spots did not taste as bad as the green spots. But the green spots were REALLY bad. I mean, I tried to eat it mommy but I just couldn’t do it.” “Um, oops.” How in the word did I miss putting green spotted ham on ALL my kids’ sandwiches? What the heck is WRONG with me?? And side note, how sweet is that kid that he repeatedly at green spotty ham, trying to like it?? Hahahaha. Um, not really funny. But you know….

2.) While having a playdate with another mom and her 4 kids, I thought little Marlowe was in her room with the two little girls. It wasn’t until I heard the screeching wail, right outSIDE the kitchen door, that I realized she had crawled outside, and fallen down the cement garage stair. She looks like she was in a bar brawl.

3.) As I got into the car after weight training on Saturday morning to drive to my 6 mile run location (a big bridge), I saw something on the floor. It was a Mrs. Fields semi sweet chocolate chip nibbler. I bought 12 fresh ones the day before, and gave them out to my kids. I was SO good and did not eat any. Marlowe, however, must have dropped one. Because it was looking at me. The cookie. A cookie that Marlowe had probably sucked on, and then dropped. Onto the floor. If my disgustingly dirty SUV. I mean, the level of filth is unparalleled unless you have an equal number of kids. And I picked it up. Then I put it in my mouth. For the record, to be fully accountable and give full disclosure, the song High Enough” by the Damn Yankees came on. And while chewing grimy floor cookie, I sang along, knowing all the words, to one of the worst songs ever. SO much shame.

4.) This one is bad. Like as in, not funny bad, but regular bad. On Sunday afternoon I popped a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Yeah, I am SO hard core. I know it. Anyway, I took a couple of sips then Ken called and said to get a sitter because he had some plans for us. I put the drink down, talked to the sitter, and we left 20 minutes later after I shuffled our afternoon around. I rarely have a drink at home. Maybe a glass of wine, or a Mike’s. I don’t like beer. (Ok, understatement. I HATE beer. It is like cold fizzy urine. But grosser.) But if I do, I pour out any left and throw away the bottle. Well, I didn’t. And when I got home, like 4 hours later, there was a half inch of liquid left. (cringe….). I asked around. Chase acknowledged that she had sipped a little bit, but was mostly upset because she spilled the majority of it and thought I would be mad for the mess she made. (Sure enough, the entire kitchen floor was particularly sticky). While I was relieved that she had spilled most of it, her demeanor while telling me this, crying and lying on the floor, was somewhat suspect. Reminded me of some friends, who played out that exact night in college, like every night.

5.) In 2 days I forgot a chiropractic appointment, a car appointment, soccer practice, and I think a few other things, but I forget what they all are. Were. Whatever.

6.) Doll mutilation. During another playdate, my older son and his friend mutilated my oldest daughter’s American Girl doll. Hadley wrote on her fabric chest. The other kid pushed nails through her face. Deeper issues? Honestly I don’t think so…the boys normally build stuff. They regularly hammer and nail; their favorite show is destroy build destroy and Chase had been torturing them prior to said incident. But Abigail, the doll, now looks more like a teen angst ridden, rave attending, goth styling, excessively facial tattooed version of the sweet little doll she used to be. In all honesty, I don’t really care. My only concern?? This will not be a reflection of my daughter’s style choices moving forward….(not that I am opposed to some expressive choices but, well, the doll looks like she belongs in Night of the Living Dead….)

Please note – this is where the original post was going to end. I had not posted yet though, and now I know why. Because my failures had still not been completed….

7.) Floor pizza. Last night, I made some rockin homemade pizza. It is chock filled with veggies like peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and has organic chicken sausage. The kids love it. Well I cleaned up after dinner but must have missed a spot, supposedly under the table. Because this morning when I got out of the shower, Marlowe was on the kitchen floor, eating a piece of pizza. Apparently, a piece must have landed on the floor (5 kids. pizza flying everywhere. don’t you judge me.) Marlowe, thus, must have found it. It was there. Under the table. All night. And she was chomping away. Apparently, the pizza is even better the next day. Who doesn’t like pizza for breakfast, right???

A major pre-purchased bday present for 2015 and a letter to Taylor Swift

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I have never written a fan letter. Not a note, no mail, no contest signups, nada. In fact, growing up where I did, and having traveled the way I have, there have been celebrity sightings and meetings along the way (including two semi-famous – in my own mind – ones with Donald Trump and Bradley Cooper, but I digress) and the truth is I just. don’t. care.

Until now.

But not for me. Sure. Taylor Swift is adorable. And her music is good. She is talented…lots of people can sing though. BUT -she writes her own stuff, which, as a writer and singer myself, I respect WAY more than the little pop hacks who are given something to record and with decent (or not even decent) voices they record and flash some skin and sleep or scandal their way to the limelight. This chick has talent. I dig it.

Still though, whatever. She is just a singer. Just a girl. But I found myself teary eyed about it all.

You see, presale tickets for her concert (starting May of next year) went on sale the other day. And I spent about 4 hours total, and an insane amount of money, online and on the phone, getting things all set. It was torture. But I relished the torture. Because my daughter is gonna freak out. Oh, and this is gonna be her Christmas and bday presents all rolled up together. For a while. Like, all of 2015.

And I am thrilled to give this chickie, Taylor Swift, my cash. All of it, in fact. Here are my words and thoughts for you, sweet young lady (holy crap, I am old enough to call her a young lady. Depressing.)

Dear Taylor.

Thanks, doll. Seriously. THANK YOU.

Your music is fun. Catchy. You have talent, and no one can deny that. But that’s not why I am writing this. I am writing because I adore how you make my daughter feel, how she can have fun and celebrate life and love and freedom and expression. Without being blatantly sexual or filthy or rebellious.

Baby, you can have s*x with monkeys (um, not that I recommend that). I don’t care what you do. Your time is your time. Your life is yours. And sure, like any and everyone else, you have the choice to do as you will. But you alone stand out in the pop music scene as someone my daughter can look up to. You are unabashedly feminine without being weak, which I LOVE. You love falling in love without publicly whoring yourself. You dance and sing and play, and make music fun while not glossing over real life truths like heartbreak and loss, things my kids need to know are indeed part of that “real life”. You keep joy alive and well and I am willing to pay 50, 100, 500 bucks to take my daughter to your show, to make it special, to invest in her joy. And do you do this by being yourself and having fun but also thinking of the young people around you and keeping it healthy for their souls?? Yup. So…I will help you line your pockets as much as possible. Heck, I will attend your concerts and dance my butt off, humiliating myself to make my daughter smile.

We will see you soon. Ok. In, like, about a year haha. My daughter is literally counting down the days. Oh, and by literally, I mean literally. She made a chart. Sigh….In the meantime, thank you. A lot.

Signed,

Mom who appreciates 1.) that you make great music and 2.) you don’t flash your va*ina all over the internet

some cool things that are, frankly, so NOT cool

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A double edged sword.

Some great things in life, with marriage, and family, and kids, and well EVERYTHING, have a good and bad side. And as applesauce literally exploded all over me tonight, it made me think about those things. So here is a quick funny post about the things in my world, (albeit my limited, suburban, white mommy world) that are just so daggone exasperating.

1.) Applesauce packets. You know, those squeezy packets of applesauce?? Oh my gosh as a mom who has to pack 47 pounds of food for her hungry jackals-I-mean-children every day, these things are great. No spoons to include, not boxy for the packing purposes, and the littles don’t struggle to pull the lid off, thereby spilling and sloshing it all over themselves. The downside? The other “edge” so to speak? When you toddler spends time in the pantry, knocks the bin of them over, and you walk IN to the pantry, stepping squarely on a capped one, which makes it literally explode about 6 feet outwards and 4 feet upwards. Lotta pressure inside those things.

2.) My pancake griddle. Seriously. I whip up perfectly browned and fluffy pancakes on that thing. My french toast? Truly delectable. Heck…my bacon???? Yeah, it brings ALL the boys to the yard. But cleaning that thing. Really??? It barely fits over much less IN the sink, and inevitably I end up dripping and making a huge mess on the floors and counters. It’s some good french toast though so…..

3.) Helmets. Yeah. Like, the bike helmets and the things you super glue onto your kids’ heads to keep them safe as they navigate the world where instead of a bike or maybe a skateboard there are literally like 29 other sort of close to biking but not quite options. They all fill your garage. I get the theory. Heck, I even enforce it. (Ok, sometimes.) But really, they put the helmets on then I hear, “Let’s get the bat and test out how strong these helmets REALLY are!!!!” The point is I LOVE my kids. Would do anything for them. But at certain ages, they may be brilliant mini Doogie Howsers, but frankly, they are all stupid and will find ways to hurt themselves no matter how carefully I secure their internal organs.

4.) Carbs. Oh gosh they are all SO GOOD like bread and pasta and rice, preferably all smothered with things like fat (aka cheese and/or butter) but yeah, there is an obvious downside. Not playing college sports anymore, you know, so I can’t do the Michael Phelps pasta portions any more. Those were the days…….

5.) Lingerie. I get it. Really I do. And sure, like any dutiful wife, I have a drawer full of it. You look hot. Feel good. But really, what is the point? It is expensive (unless you want polyester burns in your unmentionable areas), and it stays on for only a few minutes because it either a. comes right off or b. stays on and thus everything progresses way faster, ahem, and it ends up back on the floor and your flannels are back on in a matter of minutes anyway. Sigh.

 

for heavens sakes….why the world expects WAY too much effort from me (this is a sarcastic post)

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Yes, I gave a disclaimer in the title, so be warned. Should you comment or message me as though I am being serious, prepare to be cyber mocked, although there is actual truth behind each statement….not gonna lie…

1.) All yogurt should be mixed already. I really have no concept why, in today’s day and age of phones that transcribe your voice and recognize your fingerprint, there are any stir-it-yourself yogurts STILL on the market. It is an unpleasant surprise to open a new container of a greek yogurt with a name I can not pronounce properly, only to discover I have to actually put forth the effort of stirring it myself.

2.) After running 4 miles, it is counter productive to have a body that then craves chocolate chip cookies. Specifically, an entire batch of the homemade ones. Or maybe even worse, an entire vat of sausage biscuits and gravy.

3.) When you have breakfast at a nice restaurant (as opposed to breakfast in a diner), it is INSANE they they don’t carry Aunt Jemima or Mrs (Miss? Ms??) Butterworth’s. Home made maple syrup only. WHAT?? Not ALL of us like the real, homemade maple syrup. It is gross. I literally can’t stand it. But I find that it is discriminatory that the fine breakfast establishments think they are too good for normal syrup. They look down their noses at Aunt Jemima. Aunt Jemima is the BEST people. The BEST!!!!! I won’t eat breakfast at those kinds of places. Nope. Not me.

4.) Silly putty. Just the sight of it angers me.

5.) Sharpies. I have 4,816 markers and crayons and colored pencils in my house. I hide the sharpies like they are osama bin laden. And yet, no matter how well hidden, the sharpies are what my vermin kids find and use to destroy something. (why did it take years to get osama, by the way?? someone should have gotten 300 toddlers together and shown a picture of the crazy terrorist, holding a super sized sharpie, and then released those kids into the desert and within an hour they would have had him pinned down, taken his sharpie and any other weapons of mass destruction from him. easy.)

6.) Would it be wrong, in today’s world, to develop one of those hamster water dispensing things for babies? You know, like, hang it in the crib and the kids, when they wake up at night, can just mosey over there and suck out some milk or whatever until they pass back out?? Marlowe waking 3 times a night for a new bottle is REALLY old. I am 40, people. And tired. I mean, kids can’t drink milk til they literally explode, like fish, can they? And on that note I always hear that…but has anyone ever actually seen a fish eat to death? Eat til he bursts? Yeah…hmm….this is suspect….

7.) Science projects are the devil. I stand by this, yet I am expected to sew together mentos, yes SEW them, to help my kid. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get the needle through that hard candy shell, solid center, back out through the shell, and then have the thread snap? Seriously? I LOVE being a mom, and would give my life for my kids if some armed attacker came in, like it osama had his peeps launch a counter attack because my kids busted him with that aforementioned sharpie. But I did NOT sign up to sew mentos. And no, they are SO not the freshmaker. They are the bleeping blister maker.