Monday, October 6, 2008

Pit of Despair

Sunday was Keola's 2nd Birthday. I found some adorable Diego animals and the plan was to make some cupcakes and throw the animals on top and maybe a personal size cake with Diego on it for the birthday boy. Well during the design process- the cupcakes got scratched because- wouldn't a whole safari/jungle scene be really cool. Hmm, Diego is Antarctica Diego- so I'll have to add a snow scene- easy enough- white frosting. We had a work-BBQ at noon on the other side of the island, so I had to get up early so I had enough time to finish the cake. The girls helped, by playing with the frosting and we were on schedule.

We finish the BBQ, I run home with Bella and Lily to get the cake- hoping that in an hour car ride- both would have a good nap and - no such luck. Where are The other 3 members of the family- well they were drawn into a plot involving boat rides and sand bars, and they promise to meet us at the party. I cannot be late though as I have the cake. Well, I guess they might nap in the 20 minutes to Chuck E cheese- yep that's right my absolute FAVORITE party place(insert sarcastic tone). No such luck- Bell conked out as we pull into the parking lot and Lily was still yammering about singing Happy Birthday. Bella wakes up enough to dive into the ball pit. The pit of despair. Ick. It's the equivalent of a baby pool without the chlorine. I try to get her to ride the rides which works, for awhile. But she is always drawn to the ball pit. I know what lurks there...and it involves days of sanitizing and laundry and whimpering. Finally she realizes that the carousel is waaay more fun than the pit and rides it about 10 times. I'm starting to feel queasy watchin her go round- although it is going slow enough that 3 and 4 year olds can hop on and off at random. She gets down and is very clingy, I assume she's hit the wall. Exhaustion meets overstimulation and all faculties just shut down. She will not let me put her down. She's got to be dizzy. She finally lays down on the booth by the table. I hear it- the "mama" followed by the cough and the splashing sound. This is a new record for us. We didn't even make it out of Chuck E Cheese's before there was puking. Outstanding. It's funny when you are dealing with trained professionals how quickly everything goes into action. I grab the pukey child and relocate, Carrie- a clean freak and nurse already has most of the mess on the booth contained- she is issuing orders to the other children- get a worker, bring sanitizer, Jen needs wipes. By the time a worker shows up with 1 rag and a bottle of lysol we have everything cleaned except the carpet under the table. The worker looks at Carrie, says- oh that's not bad, if you don't mind I'll just clean it up LATER. I'm too busy making sure Bella is not gearing up for round 2 to be confrontational about complete idiocy. Carrie on the other hand is not- She grabs the Lysol- yes we DO mind-go away- and has the mess completely sanitized before the worker even realizes what has happened. And that is why I LOVE Carrie. I am packing up and Lily is whimpering that we can't go, she didn't sing Happy Birthday yet. Carrie says they'll bring her home so go on home. I mean really- an hour and a half is really not enough time to marinate in the filth of Chuck E Cheese. How could I deprive her of the opportunity of contracting some other virus that might result in say a rash or some fun form of gastroenteritis? At least she'll get to sing Happy Birthday.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pink Parts

So awhile back I received a gift that Lily helped pick out. It was a box of Vegas themed bath products. I unwrapped the paper, opened the box and was bombarded with fragrance. Suddenly I was back to 1985, huddled on the bathroom floor with the Barbie perfume factory. I can't remember who gave it to me, but I can assure you it was not my parents. And I understand why now. In 1985, Barbie did not have very discerning taste in eu du toilette. That is probably because she is plastic. Or marketed to 7 year olds. Ah the days of high quality products. You could make pink rose-ish perfume, or blue rose-ish perfume- you get the picture. There are few roses that I actually like the smell of- My friend used to have yellow roses that smelled like urine- it was really bizarre- or maybe that's where the neighborhood cat hung out....but I digress.

Tonight Kiera discovered the box of bubble bath- named things like "sexy bath bomb", "Romantic Shower jelly".. and I quickly swipe it from her before she can read the labels and I have to explain what sexy means. I hid the package under the sink in her bathroom because a) the smell was permeating my bathroom and I couldn't hack it and b) there's more room in there. So she chooses the glittery pink rosey scented bath bomb and Bella choosed some sort of confetti sparkly fuscia concoction. They disperse to their respective bath tubs. In a few minutes Kiera hollers_ it smells so pretty- am I gonna be pink? Hmm- maybe should have saved it for Halloween. As Bella's bomb dissolves- the confetti does not- and the tub is very very pink. Her hands are pink- Lily drops in to use the facilities and absolutely must partake in the pink bath. Meanwhile Kiera yells- my hands are pink- will other things turn pink? Just wait and see I tell her. 45 minutes later, they are all still splashin around- Bella and Lily are trying to catch the elusive confetti. That's probably gonna clog the drain. That really tells you what high quality product this is- I know they can manufacture water soluble confetti for sexy bath bombs...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Island flu.

Every year we get it- once if not twice. Sometime we pass it around for weeks- sometimes it comes and goess within a couple days. I blame it on high incidence of travel and tourists. And school. And Children are germ factories. When we get the letters home from school that there's another case of fifth disease or pink eye- I know our days are numbered. I also know that if we set foot in Chuck e cheese or the burger king play place the kids will be feverish or sick to their stomachs in approximately 24-48 hours. I once had to rescue Bella from the top of the Burger King playplace- it was not a good experience and I'm pretty sure it had not been cleaned or sanitized since it was built. We didn't go back for a long long time.

So Keola pops in on Friday- he looks a little pekid and I feel a knot in my stomach. Rough night? I ask tentatively? No, he slept fine- but he hasn't eaten anything and spent all day throwing up yesterday. As if on cue- the child starts to dry heave. Oh boy. Go ahead think it- Phil already admonished me for being a doormat. I am told it had to be something he ate. Sure- I will take your pukey child and spend the next 2 weeks puking or cleaning it up. Yea me. So I relegate him to a towel covered spot on the couch. He is not allowed to move. He eats a half of banana and drinks a whole cup of water. His color is back and he wants to play. Lets play outside- minimal cleanup should the blessed event occur- and I know it will- that's just my luck. But no- he's doing well. He drinks more water. They want to walk to the park. It's a couple houses away- what's the worst that can happen? We make it to the park- a bucket of sippy cups in hand. The girls are bopping around and I hear AN JEN! followed by a splashy sound- they must of spilled my water. I walk around the side of the playhouse and Keola is soaked in water/banana chunks. He is walking around in circles in the puddle. I get him to the grass for round 2 and after start stripping him down for the walk home. My water is intact and I use it to rinse down the playplace. Fortunately the girls brought one of kiera's blankets and I wrapped him in it. I look for the girls- Bella is splashing around in the puddle drinking out of Ola's sippy cup. Seriously. Fortunately his dad picks him up early. I try to sanitize everything before Phillip and Kiera get home from school. Lysol and bleach are my friends. Meanwhile Lily and Bella play doctor with a booklight. I know who will be playing doctor in the next 24-48 hours.......

Stop, Drop, and Roll

We had our first Field Trip for Lily's Preschool. It was the classic Fire Station trip. Lily LOVED it- especially the part where she got to wear the hat and exclaimed It's Lily Fireman! Of course we spent the previous 3 days preparing for the trip- I want to see the fireman, I do NOT want to go on the Firebus. I do NOT want you or Bella to go on the Firebus. Sweetie, it's a truck, not a bus- you can look at it, but you don't have to go in it. We arrive at the Fire station and Bella thinks it's too cool that she can hang with Lily's friends. Lily does the rounds, says hi to everyone and their mother-literally. And then we all gather for the presentation. It was all fine and dandy until the fireman in the suit showed us how a fire extinguisher worked and made it "snow" over the crowd. Bella was not pleased. I think the technical term would be "pissed off". I wanna go HOME. All done. I wanna go home. And that is what I heard on permanent loop for the next hour. I was not allowed to stand in the shade- I had to stand approximately 10 yards away from any vehicle, fireman or firestation paraphenalia. That included the entire structure known as "fire station". Notice the look of disdain, as we pose for a picture, far , far closer than 10 yards away from the vehicle.
I won't even mention the screams when they set the little doghouse on fire and showed how they put out fires. I should have figured- she only recently would be in the same room while birthday candles were aflame. I really didn't expect a demonstration considering the parking lot of the fire station was smaller than my backyard. I wonder what the codes for that sorta thing are here-but I guess they are trained professionals. Anywho- we survived the trip- she actually slept for the remainder of the afternoon and absolutely refused to speak of the incident again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

9 years and Going Strong...

Well, we've managed to keep out eldest offspring in circulation for another year. It wasn't without it's moments. But we did it. Things we have learned this year- skateboards: bad, Helmets:good. Of course had he been wearing a helmet on his pancreas all along- this year might have been a little less interesting and I would not have had to start dying my hair. I recently paid an outrageous amount for a mountain dew helmet that was to his liking- because the dirt bike helmet that he had to have last year is hot and heavy. He hangs on to it though and says it will come in handy when he gets his dirtbike- well yeah that helmet won't seem nearly as hot when hell freezes over.

The cake this year was Phineas and Ferb- and I was relieved. He is also into Bakugan which are these little ball things with a magnetic clasp and they pop open when they hit metal. Thanks to Grandma C- his birthday wasn't a total bust- as she delivered the Delta Dragonoids which apparently are uber awesome and nowhere to be found on the island of Oahu. I could not imagine trying a cake that would somehow pop open- so Phineas and Ferb were easy. Relatively speaking. He stayed home from the beach to help make the cake. I have to say it was fun having him help- although the realization that cake making from start to finish requires more than just and hour or so about did him in. By the end of cake day- I usually have all the kids completely hyped up on sugar because they steal handfuls of scraps and know I won't chase them around the house while I am coated in frosting, fondant and cornstarch- sounds yummy doesn't it? SO the base is Perry the Platypus- with Phineas and Ferb - stepbrothers who are always building wacky larger than life inventions.

I am not sure when the cake thing got out of hand in our house. No one even likes cake- except Bella. It always sits around and I end up giving it away. When I realized that no one really liked cake we switched to ice cream cakes and I would toss some sort of figure on top and call it good. But then in my more frugal years- it became difficult to shell out the dinero for a gigantaur ice cream cake- so when we would have parties I would make cakes. Kiera had the huge mermaid with cupcake hair and tail, Phillip had Baseball- there's been princess, Dora, spiderman, Bronco, Rockies, TMNT- I'm starting to lose track and each one gets more complicated. Apparently it is a reflection of my love for them. Phil requested a life size Eagle Jet this year- I wonder if the Air National Guard would mind if I quietly frosted one and plopped a few candles on it- I mean no one really likes the cake anyway.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Libraries are not monkey friendly.

Our library books were due yesterday. All 23 of them. If I get them there early enough today- they won't charge me. It wouldn't be the end of the world- but at .15 a book- I could buy myself a happy meal or something. I could definitely use one right now. Phillip and Kiera are off of school today. I imagine the teachers get the day off to grade the mountain of homework that I am needed to help with at night. My theory is that if I do a good job at explaining math to Phillip- then he can "help" Kiera, Kiera can help Lily, and so on and so forth. I mean really that is why I had more than one child- right? Distribution of household chores. Because like the good mom I am -I evenly distibute the household chores, do them all myself and nag constantly about no one helping out. But I digress. Library books. due. 23 books. 5 kids. This oughta be fun.

In the antiquated facilities- there are book drops. But they are locked during open hours to force patrons to bring books inside. Phillip needs books to reach his reading goal next week - off we go. We enter the library- and they scatter. The brief to Phillip and Kiera before we left was that we would play zone defense until such situation occurred that required man to man. We talked about holding hands, quiet voices, the whole routine. The "babies" were reminded of their expected behavior. Man to man- NOW! Keola runs to the life size papier mache giraffe- Lily spots the triceratops at the other side of the library. Kiera- stick to Bella- Phillip keep on Keola- Lily hold my hand. Lily snaps to my side- I think she remembers the last time we were asked to leave the library and I sat and cried in the car for 20 minutes before I could drive us home. Phillip is trying to hold Ola's hands and he is squealing and dodging up and down the stacks of books. Bella wants in on the game and sets off after Phillip- Kiera shrugs at me and Lily tries to squirm away from my grip. I haven't even managed to get the books due on the counter- criminy. I tell Phillip to freeze- Bella rams into him and Ola immediately turns around to see where his pursuer went. I grab Bella's hand and Olas and off goes Lily- followed by Phillip. 2 librarians are giggling already. That's how it starts- giggling- oh how cute- now you must leave. My blood pressure is sky rocketing. This was a very bad idea. I finally convince them that they do in fact get to pick out books but we have to go over here and wrangle them up. They go to the secluded kid area and proceed to dance on the stage that has umpteen signs posted that say DO NOT PLAY ON STAGE. Has anyone anywhere who designs this stuff EVER actually seen a child- or spent 2 flipping seconds with one. If they had they would not have put anything that was supposed to be off limits in the child area. Maybe it's just me. Allright. I've had enough. The procession to check the books out went pretty much the same as the initial entry. And I see a class coming in from the school. Yep we must leave. I try to snag a book here and there as I chase the rats through the maze. Lily and Kiera recognize "the look" and stop in their tracks. Phillip is trying to wrangle Ola and I see the youngest librarian heading our way. Lovely. Do you think you could keep them together? One would think I could- but obviously I cannot. I hate being a spectacle. There is an entire class of teenagers giggling and a very agitated teacher glaring at me. We are leaving- I am very sorry. Note to self- next time just pay the fine and kept one last shred of sanity.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Laying Down on the Job.

I don't get paid hourly. And there are times when I work nights, weekends, and really bizarre hours. Anyone with children knows this. And sometimes, although circumstances rarely allow for it- I attempt to take a little snooze on the couch. A snooze on the couch can usually be defined as me laying on the couch in a somewhat tense state as Lily snuggles either on or behind my legs and Bella repeatedly bounces on me like I am a coin operated machine that is not functioning properly. Today did not differ. We spent the morning trying to find parking at the army medical facility where we see the doctor. With four kids, you get to see them a lot. Fortunately today- I only had 2 with me. I left an hour an a half early to pick up some refill prescriptions. I figure transit time is anywhere from 30 min to 1 hour depending- that still leaves at least 30 minutes to park and get an rx. Reasonable planning. Lily has her backpack filled with toys, snacks and enough to keep them occupied for the next 2 days. I also pack back-up snacks and entertainment in my bag. Traffic moved smoothly- we were there in 26 minutes- outstanding. Hmm- valet parking is full. This is a bad sign. Valet parking at Crippler, oops Tripler Army Medical Center is the somewhat reasonable response to the criticism that severely ill patients, pregnant women and women lugging 85 children should not have to hike 1 mile up a hill(Phillip counted 2 sets of 20 steps between the lowest parking level and entrance level) . So they designated all the "no parking" areas- valet parking areas. Mind you people were parking there anyway because there was no parking- at least now $5 a car may fund a new parking structure somewhere in the 22nd century. But as usual I digress. An hour later- I finally score a parking spot after several close calls. SO much for going to the pharmacy- off to our appointment. After a 30 minute wait and Lily and bella exhausting their supply of entertainment- we saw the doctor and were on our way. I stopped by the pharmacy- they were on #425, I grab a ticket- #474. The sign say approximately a 3-5 minute wait per customer....almost 5o ahead of me- sha right- it's a good thing no one is gonna die without their vitamins ...I'll have to come back. It's 12:30- I left the house at 9- any visit to Tripler takes about 3 hours- our time is more than up- Plus Phillip and Kiera need to be picked up at 1:10 today. We get home. We are all tired. Let's take a nap on the couch I say. Bella rummages through Phillip's bag and finds a book cover which apparently doubles as a mighty fine hat. Kiera finds it amusing and wants to take a picture- but first she must take a picture of herself. That's just how Kiera is- all about equality. Meanwhile Bella has scored some glittery lip gloss and is proceeding to beautify herself. I close my eyes and must have really looked like I needed some make-up- because I then feel ooey gooey jabs to my eyelids. Good lord I hope I am not allergic- I can't possibly do another trip to Tripler today.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Keeping Monkeys out of your Food.

Every time I make an omelet- I am approached hungrily by a ravenous crowd. It matters not that already by 8 am on a Saturday morning they have had juice, fruit, cereal, and I'm pretty sure a few cheese sticks based on the wrappers lying next to the trash container. I doubt they are even hungry, but if you put an omelet on the table- they are starved. I've tried different ingredients, but have yet to find ones that eliminate all beggars. Until this morning. Contrary to popular belief, size does matter. At least in the world of omelets- I mean I have not really researched if how you flip the omelet makes a difference one way or another- but in the land of my monkeys- the size of the ingredients is the key to my having a peaceful meal. The key ingredient- green peppers. Big, evenly distributed- deters them all. I'm not crazy about them. They are my least favorite ingredient of the Denver omelet- but sometimes you have to make concessions. Cheese automatically eliminates Phillip. I melt the cheese in his- sometimes he tastes it, sometimes not. Onions- Lily's out. Kiera is pretty nonplussed about most ingredients and Bella is not afraid of green things. She rather likes salad- especially if it's mine. They scarf theirs down, and by the time I get to my eggs- they are all up in it. But throw some hearty chunks of green peppers in an omelet- they will scan it, crinkle their nose and go about their business. And I get to eat my omelet in peace- well that is to say, I get to eat my omelet. The peaceful part is all relative.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring....

It Poured. It generally doesn't pour here. The kids were amazed ,hopping around like they had been fed giggle juice for lunch.It's Weening! And I realize, they don't know rain in the typical midwest rain for months scenario that I grew up with. They don't know the sudden onslaught of torrential downpour of Colorado. The kind that if you wait 5 minutes- it'll stop- If you try to go out in it- you will be soaked immediately. All they know is what Phil refers to as - The sprite mist. Like the old commercials when you'd open the Sprite can to a sprinkly pssst sound. It mists here. And hardly that on our side of the island. SO when it rains- I let them play in it. They require umbrellas and boots. At first they giggle. Then they complain. Bella informs me There's water there. and there. On my BOOTS! On my Table. On my Car. Yes dear, that is rain. No. Water! Ok. I'm not gonna win this one. They last a few minutes and then go inside to snuggle under blankets. After all- it was a chilly 82 degrees. That kind of cold will get to you. It was all I could do to keep from brewing them a big ol pot o hot chocolate. But I realized if I made them hot chocolate- from now until the end of time- every single day it rained I would have to make hot chocolate and seriously- we live in Hawaii.

The Faux Hawk and other hair disasters.

I probably should not cut my children's hair. I know there is probably an age limit, at which point it is considered emotional and physical abuse to do so. But today was picture day. They needed haircuts. It was pouring yesterday. I was not leaving the house. So last night I cut Phillip and Kiera's hair. Phillip's was easy- I've been doing his for 6 years. He fusses every time, but as long as I spike it or do something crazy with it when I am done- he will tolerate it. Last night was the faux hawk.

Now Kiera was a different story. She wanted her hair short. And layered. Ok I can do layers. SO I do a little research and try to attemt the angled bob that is soooo popular these days. I manage a shoulder length bob. The child is incapable of sitting still. The angling posed somewhat of a problem. I had to stop before she was bald. It is a chin length bob in front- which is adorable with her features- and we won't talk about the back which is this shaggy layered mess. She LOVES it. She spent the night looking at herself and shaking her hair back and forth. I kept chasing her with the scissors trying to even it out here and there- which I am pretty sure to an outsider would totally look like I had lost my mind. The whole time Kiera's giggling- I LIKE IT THE WAY IT IS!!! Perhaps the 2 hours of sitting "still" had gotten to her. I guess I won't be adding hair stylist to my resume quite yet. When I drag her away from the mirror I'll get a picture- who am I kidding- she'll sit for 3 hours for a photo shoot.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mo-Mo Potty

Bella loves Elmo. And in this house- as in many with avid Sesame Street fans- he is affectionately known as Mo-Mo. Lily was not much into the goings on of Big Bird and his pals- she was all about Dora and Diego. Keola's mom- in an effort to encourage potty training in the little ones bought us an Elmo Potty that the kids can hi-Five when they are done and he says encouraging things. We tripped over it in the bathroom for a few weeks and then I had a brilliant idea. Whenever the little ones are outside playing in the sprinkler or the pool- the first thing they need to do is go potty. It never fails. NEVER. So why not use the Mo-mo potty outside. I mean after all- with the 2 and under crowd- there isn't a whole lot of notice in the "I have to go" realm. It has been working beautifully. Ola trots over to any vacant piece off grass or nearest trees and adds a little fertilizer. Bella watches it run down her leg. Lily. Now Lily religiously uses the Elmo throne- it is sooo choice. Much more convenient than bothering with the indoor loo. Finally Bella catches on. She now will exclusively use Elmo for #2. If the door is locked and she has abandoned clothing- she might bother to sit on the porcelain variety for awhile- but her first choice is to make the pilgrimage outdoors to visit Elmo. As much as I hate cleaning the thing- it is progress and for our little exhibitionist types- for them it is a pure piece of heaven.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Monkeying around with Homework

I am an involved parent. I try to help as much as possible with homework while the littlest baboons are slinging poo and wrestling each other- which is usually accompanied by this ungodly shrieking. The first week of school Kiera comes home with her instructions for studying- Mrs. Brouse says I need a quiet environment to do my homework in- no tv, radio or any noise and I have to sit at a table. Hmm. Well the sound proof booth is currently being renovated, so the kitchen table will have to do. Phillip locks himself in his room and tries to ignore the continual knocking of the baboon babies- egging him to come out or let them in. He is more independent and self motivated to complete his homework. Kiera likes the one-on-one guidance- aka- she wants to manipulate someone into doing it for her. Her father is particularely vulnerable to this and it brings her great joy when he is available during homework time. I watch from a distance as she bats her beautiful little eyes at him and he has no idea that she is masterfully pulling his strings with every move. It did not help that her teacher last year was also male and during the first parent-teacher conference he informed me that Kiera needed a lot of individualized attention. I shook my head and explained to the young man- she is a master manipulator- do not be fooled. After that she seemed to need a lot less attention. Last night I took the female baboons for a walk around the block , Phillip had to stay at home to finish his homework. When I get home, I am presented with 3 pages of Algebra problems that are mostly finished, but mostly incorrect. So I proceed to tackle explaining to an almost 9 year old the basic tenets of algebra as they relate to his homework. All in all, we spent a solid hour going through it and I am convinced if we spent another 5 hours on it, he would still not understand a darn thing- I mean he's in 4th grade for crying out loud(which I was really trying not to do). Kiera and the girls were in bed- after all she had completed her homework right after school, eating apples and peanut butter, Bella in her lap, with Lily watching tv, while at the same time helping her friend Eliza with her homework so they could play together.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kiera Pancakes

When I was little, my dad used to make us special pancakes. Sometimes they were Jenny pancakes, or hearts, or Mickey Mouse, or the Virgin Mary. It wasn't until later that I realized he pretty much just plopped batter down and let our imaginations run wild. After awhile we would put in requests and he loved the challenge of trying to meet them. A few years back when I had a few less kids and a few more minutes in the morning, I made my special princess Kiera her very own pancakes. With a spoon , I fashioned all the letters of her name on the griddle and carefully flipped them. They were placed on a big plate and she was ecstatic. From then on, I often get the request for "Kiera pancakes." Sometimes she would want her 'i' dotted with a heart, or a flower, but mostly she just wants Kiera pancakes. This morning was no exception and after a 2 year boycott of pancakes, Phillip also asked for Phillip pancakes- which means I then had to make Lily and Bella pancakes- poor Bella who can't read yet is going to consider all silver dollar pancakes Bella pancakes because I ran out of steam after Lily's Y and she was chanting-Gungry mommy gungry mommy. I probably should have plopped the batter down and let their imaginations run while- next time...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Public Displays of Nudity

We had our first "work" get together in quite awhile. Of Course it was the day after Phil returned home from his vacation- I mean very important training mission to Colorado and Florida- so I pretty much wanted to lay in bed for 24 hours straight. We are on our way to the party. It's a KU party. Ku is the Hawaiian god of war- and a few years back a Ku statue became the way to force socialization upon the squadron. Because with a bar in the actual squadron - socializing is a rare event....but I digress. The Owner of KU has 199 days (we are the 199th Fighter Squadron)to throw a party at which Ku gets "awarded" to the next lucky family. This past Sunday was the first family friendly KU event. It was a lot of fun- beach volleyball, a bounce house, bbq- good stuff. Bella did not want to wear clothes. But she agreed to wear pajamas. Ok. whatever. pick your battles. She did very well- I figured she'd be a cling-on, but she went off on her own and played and it was good. At one point Phil was chatting with a new lady at work and Bella decided she was "gungry". She pulls his hand towards the buffet"gungry daddy, gungry". The lady looks at Bella, looks at Phil and says- That's not your daughter and then to Bella- who's your daddy honey? Bella looked at her like she had lost her ever lovin mind. GUNGRY DADDY! If I weren't the baby mama, and didn't have a degree in genetics, I might be offended- but let's face it what do I care what other people think? And then Bella started pulling her shirt off- the international signal for "it's time to go home" -before we have to take KU with us.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hands on Potty Training

By denying diapers and underpants- Bella has forced me to throw myself into potty training. This means many things. We go on fewer outings and the carpet shampooer is a permanent fixture downstairs. I am considering selling or trading one of my children for pergo. We were into the evening of a good day. Bella had gone on the potty consistently and I was preparing dinner. She starts doing a little hoppy dance and I know what's coming....Mama! Gotta go poop-poop! Well go on the potty the time I had rinsed my hands off ,I hear her perky little voice Mama! I poop-poop in the potty!!! This is a new occurrence, a milestone, a definite step forward. I run into the bathroom with the exaggerated glee appropriate for the occasion and sure enough- she is perched on the potty and there is in fact proof of her deed. But what is that smudge on the counter, ooh on the potty too- and why is she wiping her hands on me- ick ick ick ick. My first thought is she tried to wipe, but nope- no toilet paper. Hmm- I glance in the trash- sherlock holmes has got nothin on me- and there it is-- the pull up with smudges. Yep you guessed it- she pulled the proof out of the pullup- threw it in the potty and hoisted herself up to claim the rewards. I have reached a new low in the battle. I have few reinforcements and morale is low. But today is a new start and she is asking to wear diapers again. I'm guessing my ick ick dance probably freaked her out a little.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You want me to go where???

There comes a time in all potty training fun, that you venture out, without diaper, without pullup- and try to get a good feel for where you stand in the public potty realm. One would assume it would go well since the 2 year olds in my past have felt a need to visit all public restrooms for the mere joy of seeing how many disgusting surfaces they can touch. It does not end well. Phillip's 1st outing- Burger King in Virginia. It was not good. The most memorable for me perhaps was the time we went to the beach and he was finally potty trained and I wasn't really worried about him. He runs up, grabbing himself as boys do- with the declaration that he has to go potty. There were no facilities available- so I do what any good mother would do - I pull him close and whisper go potty in the water! He looks confused for a second- I urge him- Go on, it's okay. So he runs to the water's edge, pulls his trunks down and proceeds to wave the little hose around like a mad man. I think I was surrounded by 3 other moms with a collective 6 boys who all giggled at my embarrassment- mostly because I think they all knew precisely what was going to happen.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

There's a Shark in My Tub.

Yep. One of the stages of Potty training. The shark in the tub stage. The good thing is that this stage marks progress. The bad thing is that it is disgusting and it requires a good deal of attention. Bella is there. Usually as I scrub her sister- Mama! Poop-poop coming! Which means the shark is already swimming. This means immediate tub evacuation and child quarantine until the affected area has been disinfected. Fortunately we have multiple tubs and with a towel wrap and help from an older child- the transfer is relatively painless. I try to postpone bathtime until after the blessed event- but her regularity is not so reliable. The other night Elmo was involved in a most egregious shark attack. Do not fear, it was handled swiftly and effectively. Bella was Burrito-fied(wrapped in towel) and watched as Elmo was evacuated to the sink. Fortunately Elmo is Bath friendly and with a good bleach soak followed by a soapy scrub- he was ready for snuggling following Bella's second bath.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beach Bums

Bella and I were supposed to go grocery shopping yesterday- but we went to the beach instead. She kept rolling down the beach and of course was dismayed when she ended up with sand on her hands. At one point she took her swim bottoms off and streaked down the beach....I have a great shot which will be perfect for a graduation or wedding slideshow. Phil vetoed internet publishing of his youngest's I will have to giggle privately!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A day in the pool....

I got a great deal on a baby pool for the backyard. It's 8 feet wide, so the bigger kids can soak as well. It takes FOREVER to fill up. The whole time the kids are pacing around like caged monkeys. It's been warm - a whopping mid-to high 80's with 60% humidity- I LOVE the weather here. Keola is here for the day and we start the swim diaper/sunscreen routine. An hour later- everyone has gone potty and they are rearin to go. Lily does a running jump into the pool- Bella follows a little more cautiously. Keola requires hand-holding, but once he's in the pool I am allowed to sit approximately 4 feet away in a chair. 5 feet is too far- I have tested the boundaries. AN Jen I swimmin! Yeah good job buddy! Mom! I'm swimmmmmmin! Allright Lily! Bella has that faraway look on her face- Bella DO NOT go potty in the pool! She hops out- Poop poop comin! I change her- fortunately we got her out of the pool in time- but wait- what's that faraway look on Keola's face? Too late this time- he's surrounded by a cloud. Allright everyone to the hose. I hose them off and tackle the pool. I know the lawn needed fertilizer, but this was not the way I was going to go about that. I go inside to grab the bleach spray and when I come out they are all slidin around in the murky dregs in the pool. Oh Gag! Into the tub with all of you.

Primal instinct......

When in we walked along at the zoo on Friday, I look back to my Bella straggler. She's distracted easily, and has very short little legs. And now she has taken her shirt off and is struggling to get her skirt off. One of the Japanese tourists is hurrying their child past the indecent exposure and I know it is going to be difficult to remedy this situation. So I do what any good mother does in such situation -I reward poor behavior with a bribe. If you want shave ice you have to have your clothes on. Don't want it, clothes on. Bella says matter of factly. Ok, Lily lets go get shave ice. Want it, shave ice! Bella runs after us pulling her shirt over her little red noggin. Inside out, and backwards- but ON! Little steps, little steps.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lily's Body Image Issues Resolved

Man Preschool Art is a RIOT! I'm a control freak. I like things done my way, if you don't want to do it my way- that's OK- just move out of the way and let me get it done. This personality trait does not mesh well with the growing independence of 2-3 year olds. Preschool allows a level of self expression that generates big messes. I usually try to contain big messes. I also like things done right, which as I've found out is truly in the eye of the beholder. As I mentioned before, Lily's 1st art had arms that were upside down and backwards. I asked her about her picture. I asked if she was all excited and was raising her hands. She giggled at me and said No mommy, her's wavin her hands, like THIS! She then waved at me with both hands and a precious smile. Silly mommy, body issues are for grown ups. Of course the big listening ears she came home with today cracked me up. No wonder they don't listen, their normal ears are WAY too small.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lily's 1st Day of Preschool!

It's here! It's here! It's here! What a fabulous morning! It began in the usual way...mama. mama. mama! Yes Lily, I'm awake. I look at the clock- 6:02- not bad! Anything with a 6 or higher is good. Where's daddy? At work. Daddy's workin? yes. like this is a shock. Every morning we go through the same conversation. Is Ola playin with me today? Not today. So the conversation ends. If the answer is yes- then every 5 seconds she asks when Ola will get here. But today she was distracted, because it was her 1st day of preschool. She put up a minimal fight over brushing her hair and didn't even argue when I informed her that her outfit choice was not what we had agreed on last night. Instead of a t-shirt and skirt, she was now wearing a leotard, Kiera's shirt and a skort, non of which remotely went together. That would have been a great picture, but the coffee was still brewing....and she trudged back upstairs and changed. Bella gallops upstairs to get dressed as well, because since she got a backpack when Lily did, she MUST be going to school WITH Lily. I had to carry her out screaming on Meet the Teacher day. We make it to preschool, not on time, not early- but crazy early. It's a rare event that I am early anymore. It usually means I got the time wrong if I am. So we head over to the park to play for a few minutes-much to Lily's dismay. But finally we go to school and she puts her bag away and we give the teacher a sack full of supplies and she plops herself down in the circle with the rest of the kids. Bella plops herself down after I snap a picture, I whisper- wanna go for a walk at the beach? Zoom- the little red spitfire is out the door-so I chase after her- get to the car. My keys are still in the classroom. What am I- a rookie? Seriously. I'm not worried about Lily- but all those first-timer moms, pacing by their cars- their kids MAY freak out when I open the door. Fortunately Ms. Chris spotted them and has them ready by the door, crisis averted. And so Bella and I head to the beach for a walk. Lily had a fabulous time with her new friends and had cheese, crackers, and oranges for snack. According to her "art" for the day, her arms are upside down and backwards- but we have lots of years to work on body image issues.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dirt, dirt and more dirt.

For children who seem to be so bothered by being dirty, they sure are, well, dirty. See mommy- diiiirteeeeeeeeeeeey! It requires utomost sensitivity and instant cleansing. Mind you, they are covered head to toe in the red clay that is the result of the high iron content here...but that speck of grass, mud, whatever icky- must be eradicated RIGHT NOW! Pig Pen was a neat freak compared to my children. That taupey beige carpet with stainmaster(yeah right) that we opted for- BIG mistake, huge. What we should have done is go to the lot our house was to be built on- grab a jar full of red dirt and find a high pile carpet in exactly that shade. If money were no object- a nice tile, pergo or all out hard wood in that shade. While we were at it, we should have had more reddish children and I should invest in all reddish brown clothes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle....

The Lion may sleep...but Bella does not, at least when I do. For many years, I enjoyed my quiet evenings. There weren't a lot, because there are always dishes and laundry and things that need to be done. Every so often when Phil was TDY I'd get a night to scrapbook or make cards or sew some fun project. Last week when Phil was in Alaska, eating King crab legs and seeing exotic animals at a zoo- I was living with exotic animals in my zoo. One night I managed to glue the pictures on a scrapbook page that I started months ago. Thumpty thump thump thumpety thump- here comes Miss Bella down the stairs. She, like Phil and Phillip, is a night person. I am not. I used to be a morning person. Now most days I question even my own humanity. So Bella helped me glue the pictures on the scrapbook. And then she fell asleep on the couch. Since a few months ago, she has been desperately trying to

give up naps. I have desperately been trying to keep them. If she does nap- she then will not go to bed until 10 or later. This does not work for me. When I found out I was pregnant with her and most of the shock subsided, I realized that any last shred of personal time was going to be a memory. I knew that if ,by chance in the next 10-15 years I got to go to the bathroom or shower by myself it was probably an accident on their part. Lily wakes up at the crack of dawn- sometimes before. She even beats Kiera up most mornings. Phillip knows how to fly quietly under the radar at night. He knows if he doesn't ask me 20 questions and minds his own business, I will get involved in something and zone him out until 9 or so. But I have always been lucky. They all usually just go to bed when they get tired. I don't like nighttime battles. I'm not going to quibble. Bella likes to quibble. She's very stealthy too. Like a little mouse. I'm going about my business and turn around...there she is on the couch, pink blankey draped across her lap and thumb in her mouth. It takes me 3-4 tries a night. She shares a room with Lily- so she goes to bed, but gets bored when Lil crashes. Then she sneaks down to see what I am up to. She stopped napping, and so the visits have become fewer- but she tends to crash in strange places in the afternoon or early evening. Most often she falls asleep on the couch, sometimes the stairs, a couple times in the hall- usually right in front of her door. Early on in my learning curve, I would open the door to check on her and end up schwacking her with it and waking her up. Now- if it's quiet- I know she's asleep or playing quietly and leave well enough alone.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Hanai Monkey

In Hawaii, there is OHANA which is family. Ohana also means "nobody gets left behind or forgotten". The Lilo and Stitch reference is for Bella who we swear is the personification of Stitch. She has this deep little voice and tends to growl and half the time I just know she is swearing at Lily in an alien language. Now there is traditional Ohana where everyone is family, because let's face it-back in the day there wasn't a whole lot of new blood bein introduced on the itty bitty little island in the middle of the Pacific. And as we have learned- everybody knows everybody or someone's aunty or uncle or cuz. Instead of Mr. or Ms. you refer to "elders" as Aunty or Uncle here. It is also perfectly acceptable for many generations of family or close friends to live together under the same roof and/or raise someone's children. So Hanai loosely translated is "adopted".

We have close friends here who in addition to 6 biological children, have 2 hanai children. Their youngest is 8 years younger than his brother, and was a big surprise. When his mom needed to go back to work, I offered to help out until he could get in their church day program. His name is Keola and he is almost 2. He blends right in to the chaotic scenery we call home. He is my shadow for the time he is here- which is for a few hours 2-3 times a week. If I leave the room, I hear "An Jen! An Jen!" because he hasn't gotten the whole Aunty pronunciation down yet. He, like Bella is just as comfortable naked as anything. I figured I should introduce you to him- as I know he will be involved in many of the stories I will have to tell!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back to School!

Oh yeah! Despite Kiera puking all over her bed last night....she managed to cart-wheel all the way to school. No fever- no other symptoms except a dry cough which probably caused the taco surprise to project itself all over the bedspread, sheets and wall. Or it may be that she points the fan directly in her face at night- I'm all for white noise and a breeze, but her eyeballs are starting to dry out. I also think this may have been the first time Phil tackled pukey laundry. I was too busy gagging and cleaning Kiera to laugh at his attempt to shove a bedspread, sheets, pajamas, 1 stuffed animal and 2 pillows in to our 1999 .5 cubic foot top load laundry machine. I guess the pillows didn't fit- I found them in the shower this morning. But I didn't have to scrape chunks off of them- so I will gladly deal with the soppy pillows this morning.

Phillip is going into 4th grade and Kiera is starting 2nd. The number of school supplies multiplies each year. Pretty soon we will be buying a desk and chair that they will have to carry to and from school. Whatever happened to the cool kids being determined by who had the 64 crayon pack WITH the built in sharpener? I think we took pencils, paper, crayons and 2 folders to school. Now they each have 7 composition books, 7 folders, 4 reams of various papers,36 pencils, 24 blue pens, 24 black pens, 24 red pens, every type of marker designed(fine, broad, sharpie and dry-erase) paper towels, napkins,sponges, antibacterial soap, antibacterial gel, tissues -(wait I KNOW we had to take tissues to school.) So since they never come home clean- I assume they are doing a lot of writing about cleaning or they are actively cleaning their learning environment.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


For the past few weeks,months,years- Phillip has been constantly asking for an ipod. Each request is summarily responded to in accordance with parental guidelines "do you have money for an ipod?" I don't know-he responds- how much does an ipod cost? That depends- what do you want it to do? I want to watch videos and listen to music- he responds casually. So we start going over the process of any major purchase. How much money do you have? $187 and a lot of change, but I haven't counted all of it lately. I'm guessing the change probably amounts to another 30-40 smackers and that of course is minus the daily slushie fee of 25 cents for the entire summer. Every morning, the junior leaders at the local parks program freeze Kool-ade in little cups. They used to use dixie cups and finally upgraded to plastic cups, much to the delight of moms and vehicle upholstery all around Ewa Beach.(To all you rookies out there- it's pronounced "Ehva"- pidgin will be a whole blog of it's own some day.) But I digress. So my chosen mate for life helps begin the research process by guiding the eldest male offspring on his first electronic hunting expedition. Although the afternoon at Best Buy did not yield a catch- valuable knowledge was procured. I look down into these beautiful brown eyes surrounded by the cutest freckles you ever did see and he reports I want an Ipod nano-4 gigs, the 8 gig is more money than I have and the shuffle is too little and doesn't play video. Well allrighty then. Can we go to the NEX tomorrow and check the prices? There's no tax there. This morning I watch him empty his piggy bank of all paper money. Mind you, the "piggy bank" is a plastic jar from 3 years ago when we never did manage to locate his actual piggy bank after our last move. I've been begging him to let me send it into his savings account forever, but he wanted no part of it. We press the dollars flat and cram them into his wallet. And off we go. It took 2 different base exchanges before we find what he is looking for. The happiness in his eyes is something we haven't seen in awhile. He forks over the cash at the checkout and clings to the package. 20 minutes later, he races in the house to download music...and videos. While waiting for the initial charge, he paces back and forth ...and so it begins. Mom can I download the song"lollipop"? Do you have money for the song "lollipop"? I don't know - how much does it cost? So to those who sent money to Phillip for birthdays, holidays, breaking his pancreas and may or may not have gotten a written thank you- Thank you so much for the lovely gift- it went towards an Ipod nano with 4 gigs and it apparently plays video!! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Please do not throw Coineys in the cages...

So on the last baseball practice of the post-season...the girls played in the van while I chatted with one of the other moms nearby. I hear this horrible screeching, not child screeching but electrical radio interference BAD screeching. My 3 year old and the 2 year old are huddled in the back seat with a 10 year old friend who was "playing" with them(aka texting out of her mother's view....)-their screams now drowned by the awful sound emanating from my vehicle. My instinct is to grab the keys out of the ignition. Wait! I have the keys in my hand (after all what good mommy would leave 2 toddlers supervised by a 10 year old with KEYS in the car..??..) so HOW is the radio making that hideous sound??? I start pushing buttons, put the keys in the ignition and finally get the sound to cease while the car is off. But wait the lights are ON. The 3 year old informs me that her sister put coineys in the radio. I look at the change compartment- there are a few pennies left. Lily can never decide if she wants to call it coins or money...regardless: This is probably very bad. The radio has ceased it's noise now. I no longer have interior lights either. But for a week, every time I hit a bump -the radio might turn on- Or the screeching would start. But even the van fairies have tired of playing their tricks on me. So now I listen to twinkle twinkle little star....over and over and over.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The monkeys in question....

These are the little angels.

Phillip: will be 9 in September. Recently was persuaded to cut his hair. Loves baseball and drawing. Last night left his crayons in his pocket and after washing now has a rainbow of fruit colors on his clothes.

Kiera: Turned 7 in April. Loves clothes, Hannah Montana, anything girly. Does gymnastics and is very bendy.

Lily: Turned 3 in March. WILL BE STARTING PRESCHOOL IN AUGUST!!!! Generally referred to as Lilyqaeda. Is a free spirit yet very particular. Also enjoys gymnastics.

Bella: Turned 2 in April. Known couterpart in the Lilyqaeda movement. Favorite word : Noooooooo! Does not enjoy clothes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Welcome to my World!

Hello there! So I am working on potty training #4. You'd think at some point you would get used to potty mishaps- yet each child comes up with new and exciting ways to test my gag reflex. Bella has decided that she no longer wants to wear diapers. Or clothes. Just a pony tail and a smile. She knows she has to go potty. She goes as far as to get the package of diapers, shove it between her legs and carry on with her business. She is shocked by the mess. As are her siblings who start to hoot and holler like a pack of monkeys in heat. So I mop the floor. Lily wants to help and grabs the Lily sized mop...before she can swoosh the mess around I ask her if she could help me by mopping the bathroom. When I pass by the bathroom in a minute she is busily mopping the floor which is now the absence of a bucket she used the toilet to wet her mop. Bleach is my friend.