She didn’t Swear I Swear

Sometime last week, in a moment of absolute mommy clumsiness, I dropped and broke a Corning Ware French White ceramic baker that I use regularly. I mean… I really couldn’t help but say “Oh shit,” as it was a wedding present that until that day had survived 13+ years. And really… there’s nothing wrong with saying “Oh shit” (see my previous post about how everybody poops), until your husband swears he heard your then fifteen-month-old daughter repeat it outside a few hours later. Granted, I’m not sure I believe the hubs: Peyton has a vocabulary of maybe 5 words tops, and a certain someone probably wants to take the heat off himself for all the swear-words the boys have learned from him. However, she IS in full-on parrot attempt mode right now. My closest friends won’t even let me bring her to our Wednesday breakfasts anymore for fear she’ll repeat something they’ve said about their ass hole husbands. So… perhaps there is some validity in what both the hubs and Peyton are saying.

And so, I’d like to now bring your attention to this recent picture of Peyton. I love it because I think there is a sweet, almost angel-like softening of her features, probably because she wouldn’t pose and hold still and mom was also using a camera phone. But herein is my point:

Sweet Pea ain't going to be so sweet and angelic once mommy is through with her.

Sweet Pea ain’t going to be so sweet and angelic once mommy is through with her.


Oh shit.


The land of the misfit toys

When the kid(s) are away, mom definitely does not get to play. As Matt is visiting his grandparents up north, mom decided to tackle cleaning out his old car bed. Minus a mattress for a couple years now, the car bed had become a receptacle for unwanted toys and breeding ground for toy sets with 300+ pieces.

Inside the cavernous shell of a car were enough toys to fund, albeit “cheaply,” our local Toys for Tots drive. I filled a giant trash bag full of shit, which included (but was not limited to) enough cheap ass Burger King and McDonalds Happy Meal toys to prove we could have provided fast and questionable food to a very, very, small, undeveloped country.

We all have this plasti-crap.

We all have this plasti-crap.

I found all the missing puzzle pieces for puzzles I had long since failed to garage sale and ultimately sent to a land-fill without their missing friends. There were enough Matchbox and Hot Wheels to film a remake of Gone in 60 Seconds, a sequel, and perhaps the entire Fast and Furious series. (I kept these. Kids never outgrow Hot Wheels. And lately they’ve become great teething toys for Peyton. Don’t laugh. I’m not kidding.)

Finally, while the legos are supposed to be confined to the basement, I believe the car bed Sarlac pit had swallowed enough legos that all the Kragle in the world wouldn’t have made a difference. Kragle

I finally emptied that sucker. Finally. At least I didn’t find anything nesting or moving. So guess what, I’m celebrating the lack of pill bugs in all that mess by having a drink. 🙂 Surprise, surprise.

Have a good night.

“Everybody poops… sometime. You know that everybody poops.” (cue R.E.M. background music)

Yes… I realize I have not posted anything in a long, long time. No… you will NOT make me feel guilty. You try running around after a now one-year-old who walked early, thinks she should keep up with her older brothers, and firmly believes every scrap of paper she can get her hands on should be shredded or eaten as an appetizer. Enough said.

"And baby makes 5..."

“And baby makes 5…”

Anyhoo, I came to my blog today to share my family’s poop adventures. I’m not shitting you (pun intended). Any of you out there who have kids still in diapers or young boys obsessed with potty words (read: any boys, maybe your husband, too) probably grow weary of hearing, literally, about crap. At my house, it’s like a public service announcement. All family members feel they need to share when they have to take a dump, as if they need to lay claim to one of the four bathrooms, or, at least the one that has toilet paper. I grow tired of hearing about butts, poop, little weenuses, and just about anything related to it. And one day, after discussing bodily movements over dinner, I announced that I had simply had enough.

The boys looked at me open-mouthed. “What?” “Are you serious?” “You don’t want to hear about our poop?” (Giggle. Giggle.)

“No! Not only do I not want to hear about it… but I’m tired of seeing it every damn time you forget to flush.”

“Oh,” in unison, with heavy sighs of sadness.

Mom sighs and — get this shit (pun intended again) — gives in! “Can we at least code it or call it something else if we must announce it? Not everyone at ___________ (insert restaurant here) needs to know that you’re about to de-foul the restroom.”

“Like secret code??????” Excitement growing.

“Yeah….. like secret code. We’ll all do it!” Feigned excitement from mom.

So yes, we all have a secret code we use when we have to go. And it goes right along with our own individual likes and interests. Don’t believe me, read these:

Father: “I have to go drop the kids off at school.” Something he does both literally every week-day morning AND in poop-speak. In fact, he looooves to go drop the kids off at school because that means he either literally gets to escape to work or in poop-speak gets to read Car & Driver magazine un-interrupted.
Mother: “I have to see a man about a wallaby.” Stolen directly from Finding Nemo. Because Disney movies are all I ever get to watch anymore. And why does P. Sherman always need to poop in the middle of a root canal?

This dentist really likes wallabies.

This dentist really likes wallabies.




Nate: “I have to go deposit some pennies in the bank.” Comes from my money-obsessed but clearly clueless son. (The kids thinks he’s rich because he has about $150 dollars in the bank. He once asked us if we ever spend $1,000 dollars at once. Ummm hello, mortgage? Routine colonoscopies (while we’re talking poop)?
Matt: “I have to take the train out of the tunnel.” You all know how obsessed he is with trains, right? His code is perhaps the most fitting. Sometimes he even changes it up by saying “The train is leaving the station…”

It beats some shitty chocolate choo-choo reference.

It beats some shitty chocolate choo-choo reference.

…and last but not least…

Peyton: “Miss P needs to mind her P’s and Poos.” Yes, I realize Peyton can’t say much yet, but Miss P is her nickname, she does need a more proper code and it beats me calling out “Holy shit, Peyton!” when I change her diaper.

So now that I’ve disclosed the family’s secrets, if you hear Nate discussing pennies at the local restaurant, or you hear Matt screaming “The train is leaving the station, now, mom!” through the open window at the carpool line, you keep that snicker to yourself. And come up with your own shitty euphemisms.


Parenting is a House of Pain

Earlier this week, while listening to Fort Fun’s Rewind station on the drive home from school, Jump Around by House of Pain came on. Naturally, it was only a few minutes before Matt decided that since we were in a semi-quiet, enclosed place with a sleeping baby, he should try to imitate the shriek that House of Pain samples in the background. Yeah… his attempt was not so good. Naturally, it was only a few more minutes before Nate decided he should imitate the shrieking, too.  Yeah… his attempt was only a small notch better than Matt’s. Naturally, at this point, the baby was awake. She looked to her left at a shrieking Matt. She looked to her right at a shrieking Nate. She listened to the music. She gave me a look in the baby mirror which I caught in the rear-view which clearly meant “What is up with my brothers’ awful vocal stylings?” Naturally, she then let a shriek of her own out which was… well… damn near perfect: Perfectly in rhythm. Perfectly in sync. Perfectly loud. Peyton upstages them all.

And baby takes the Grammy!

And baby takes the Grammy!

In related musical news, Peyton has decided she’s a big fan of the song “Gold Digger” by Kanye West. If that means she destined for becoming BFF with North and getting wrapped up in that Kardashian nonsense, well… then I might have to shriek.

The Great Blizzard of ’14

All snow & no play makes my boys & girl pass out. And I didn't even half to drug them!

All snow & no play makes my boys & girl pass out. And I didn’t even half to drug them!

“Shark bait: Hoo-hah-hah! Shark bait: Hoo-hah-hah!” – Finding Nemo

Parenting Success 101: Letting your sons watch the first thirty minutes of Jaws. Explaining convincingly & whole-heartily that the shark specifically went after the little boy on the yellow raft because he didn’t listen to his mother, who told him not to go back in the water. Assuring them that sharks use their “sonar” to detect the tastiest morsels of selective hearing and parental disobedience.

  • Matt (after said explanation): “I promise I’ll listen from now on. I don’t want to be six and die. I want to at least turn, like, seven first.”
He should have listened to his mother.

He should have listened to his mother.

Parenting Success 201: Letting them also watch the scene where the two local yahoos attempt to catch the shark off the dock with a roast and a prayer. Explaining that the man only escaped the “shark dock” swimming after him because he was a fast swimmer from all those lessons he took when he was a boy. Re-iterating that you only had to be able to swim faster than the person behind you, who probably has a history of not listening to his parents.

  • Matt (after said explanation): “I can swim faster than Nate. I’m fast and I wanna keep taking swim lessons.”
  • Nate (after said explanation): “Can I take swim lessons again?”
"Just keep swimming." - Dori, Finding Nemo

“Just keep swimming.” – Dori, Finding Nemo

Stay tuned for descriptions of 301, 401 and 501 (for the life-long student of non-listening).

The Griswolds and The Bradys hit Disney: Part II

I’d like to begin Part II of my Disney series by announcing — surprise, surprise — that Nate already hit Matt with his cheap breakfast-at-the-castle sword and had it surreptitiously taken away. It actually took a full week before that happened. Shocker.

Anyhoo, let me pick up where I left off in the first installment:

Wednesday, Day 6, Legoland

L==>R: Peyton, Matt, Victor, Alex, Jack, Elle,  Nate, Lauren & Will

L==>R: Peyton, Matt, Victor, Alex, Jack, Elle,
Nate, Lauren & Will

We began Day 6 of our whirlwind vacation with a much needed break from Disney, and a short trek east to Legoland. The Griswold children (aka Nate, Matt and we’ll have to guess on Peyton’s opinion) agreed that this was their favorite park. Not so much for the rides — where the theme seemed to be really long lines, really short rides — but more for all the neat Lego sculptures situated throughout the park.

IMG_1529 Nate participated in the “Lego Trade” program, meaning he could bring or purchase a Lego figurine for around $3, and spend the day trading it with one of the numerous figurines clipped to the name badges of all the Legoland staffers. Within minutes of purchasing his figurine, he fed it to a Lego wolf.



IMG_1536Here are a couple cool shots of some neat Lego sculptures we saw, sneaking in some of our nation’s landmarks and history. Might as well get those kids prepped for their return to S-C-H-O-O-L, huh? Oh yeah.

Again, the sculptures were way cooler than any of the rides, but the kids both enjoyed the Dragon roller-coaster, and — oddly enough — the jousting horse ride. Then, while Nate attended flying school with his cousins, the shorter of the Griswolds and Bradys (aka Elle and Matt) attended driving and boating school. While Elle’s Lego car did nothing more than ram itself into a Lego pole, Matt kind of drove circles around the other age 6 and under kids, I’m pretty sure from letting him spend way too much time playing Mario Kart Wii. Everyone enjoyed boating school, even Clark Griswold himself: IMG_1552

Unfortunately for our day at Legoland, it was perhaps the one day of our vacation where we failed to experience lesson #4: It rains every day in Orlando. Well, technically we weren’t in Orlando anymore. But irregardless, that lack of heat relief was one of many factors contributing to Alice and Sam the butcher’s departure shortly after noon. And again, it also brings me straight back to lesson #1: Do NOT go to Disney (or Legoland) in August. Legoland didn’t have very much shade, and I’m pretty sure during August in Florida if you leave a grape sitting out for more than a couple hours you’ll have a withered old raisin. And that leads me to my favorite shot from Legoland:

The boys impersonate their "personality" after too many hours in the heat.

The boys impersonate their “personality” after too many hours in the heat.

Needless to say, we bugged out of Legoland at about four, and headed to Carrabba’s for some good food and adult conversation. We put all the kids except Peyton at the end of the table, gave them carte blanche on their lemonades, and shunned them away whenever they tried to invade Adultoland. Several of the adults imbibed on that other form of sustenance whence becomes of a grape subjected to heat (and fermentation), and then the whole pack of us hit Del Bocca Vista to float around in the resort’s Lazy River until we were, you guessed it, wrinkled like raisins.

Thursday, Day 7, Epcot

We actually began our day at Epcot with another character breakfast, this time a buffet at Chef Mickey’s, inside Disney’s Contemporary. At least this time for $30+ per adult I could eat until I was full, and the kids could meet the more traditional Disney characters, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, etc. Matt still seems a little suspicious of the over-sized cartoons:

IMG_1567From Chef Mickey’s we hopped the monorail to Epcot, where we really should have given ourselves two days. Future World itself kept us occupied well past noon, where most of the rides required a Fast Pass, but were so worth it. I’ll second my WDW guide that Soarin’ — the hang-gliding ride — was the favorite of most of our party, although when you marry into a family of car enthusiasts you can’t help but like the Test Track ride. Matt’s brother and older cousins were ribbing him for the car he designed, which looked something like a Smart Car that had been stepped on by a dinosaur, but they shut their mouthy traps when his car beat theirs in speed, design, efficiency, and well… just about everything.

I’ve always liked the Living with the Land boat ride, although this time I remember passing through the garden and remarking to myself about all the produce my kids won’t touch, even with a more-than-generous dollop of ranch dressing. Peyton wasn’t too impressed with Living with the Land either: IMG_1581

The shows at Epcot were really entertaining. During the interactive Turtle Talk with Crush, the first question some innocent little pre-schooler asked was “how Crush made baby turtles?” Nice job Disney for handling that question with more grace than most parents.

We planned the day’s 10+ minute squirt perfectly-timed with the Club Cool store, where you could sample different Coke flavors from around the world. Despite dodging the rain, this stop was the start of the day’s minor disasters. I would say Matt downed more than 10+ Dixie-cup-sized servings of the lemon-lime drink, Kinley Lemon from Israel. Prior to all that sugar he consumed a bag of candy that grandpa purchased for everyone but Matt decided was his. Did I mention he barely ate anything at Chef Mickey? So what you have is a kindergartener full of candy, tons of liquid sugar, and exposure to all that d**n heat (need I mention lesson #1 again?) . Q. What do you get? A. A mid-afternoon puking. Good times. I might also add that Matt left his sugary, soggy cup of Kinley Lemon in the cup holder of the stroller, and when I went to push said stroller without looking, I got stung by something with a huge stinger that was schlepping off Matt’s leftovers. This was bee sting #2 of the vacation, as poor Jack also stepped on one at Blizzard Beach. Thankfully, though, it was our one and only puke experience the whole trip. It has to happen to one kid, right?

By the time we actually hit the World Showcase Plaza, it was close to four, and I have to say we just couldn’t pack in all the countries. We spent what little time we had left at China, Norway, the UK and the US, and we finally made it to closing time at one of the Disney parks, with half of us taking in the evening IllumiNations show and half of us watching The American Adventure presentation. By the time we bid Epcot adieu, parting was not sweet sorrow.

Lesson #8: Give yourself two days at Epcot, preferably ditching your kids on day two.

Lauren & Matt. Note Matt's post-puke change of attire.

Lauren & Matt. Note Matt’s post-puke change of attire.

Friday, Day 8, Hollywood Studios

It was a pleasant surprise for the Griswolds and Bradys to make it to Hollywood, as we had originally planned on a second day at the Magic Kingdom. But being the fast pass queens that Carole Brady (my SIL) and her sister were, we found ourselves with the time and one more day on our 4-day Disney tickets. Lights. Camera. Action.

"The force is strong with these two."

“The force is strong with these two.”

After suggestions from several of the lovely ladies in The Real Housewives of Fort Wayne, we immediately ran to the Jedi Training Academy to sign the kids up to be young padawans. This may have been a mistake, as at least a couple of the eldest padawans asked if they could train to be sith lords instead. No surprise, really. I’ve got some great video of the kids taking on Darth Vader, so gimme $50 or so for a WordPress upgrade and you can check it out! Instead, you’ll have to settle for this action shot of the boys costuming up for their jedi training:

Matt's already using the force to shrug off his brother's false affections, knowing he's clearly joined the Dark Side several years ago...

Matt’s already using the force to shrug off his brother’s false affections, knowing Nate clearly joined the Dark Side several years ago…

Highlights from Hollywood Studios included The Great Movie Ride, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Lauren’s first upside-down coaster, when she grabbed my hand so hard she left marks), and Star Tours (the Star Wars ride). I personally chickened out on the Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror, but most of the kids liked it. We lost our second kid at Hollywood, when we were leaving the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show. The truth was that when we left the pavilion, Matt just kept walking right past the rest of us, but I’m preferring to tell everybody that he was steadfastly determined to get back to the stage and see if it would really hurt to be run over by that 400+ pound boulder Indiana Jones dodged. At any rate, Matt was returned to us by a friendly cast member who spotted us all doing a frantic search for him. Leave it to the Griswolds and the Bradys to lose another 5-year-old.

We buggered out of Hollywood Studios early so we could swim one last time at The Bonnet Creek Resort and pack up for the two-day trek home. We also ordered more food pool-side for dinner, where I was pleasantly surprised our waiter remembered us fondly from Day 5.

Day 9 & 10

Our final days were the drive from Orlando back to Fort Fun. While I think the trip home usually drags, I found the trip there seemed to take much longer in anticipation of all that Disney excitement. However, we did make a major mistake of deciding to head home via I-75 instead of the scenic Carolinas and Virginias. Only in Hotlanta will you run across construction and scads of traffic on a Saturday afternoon. Someone should just bomb Atlanta — this coming from someone who even lived there for three months. I was never so pleased to get off the d**n interstate for the night somewhere south of Lexington. On the plus side, with each state we passed through I could feel the downward shift of the temperature by five or so degrees.

We made it back to Fort Wayne by five o’clock on Sunday, thus ending the Griswold’s first trip to that fun money-sucker in the south, Disney World. We created mostly fond (and hot!) memories, and all in all it was a really great trip. Sure… going to Disney is one of those necessary family vacations where the adults in the family need a vacation from their vacation. So did the Griswolds get one? That vacation from the vacation? We sure did: School started three days after our return. Whoot!

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