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2006 June

the club you don’t want to join

June 18, 2006

Scene:

At the baseball field, one father talking to another

Father One: See you tomorrow! Hope you have a great Father’s Day.

Father Two: Oh, I am sure that I will.

Father One laughs.

Father Two: Here’s hoping you get as lucky as me and get that patio furniture for Father’s Day, like you really wanted.

Father One laughs: Well, I got two roaster chickens to cook myself for Father’s Day.

Father Two: That’s bad.

The laughter fades away. At this point they both pause in solemn recognition of what brought them to this shared fate. They nod to each other, wave and drive off.

The moral of the story:

Mother’s Day comes before Father’s Day for a reason.

Posted by Chris @ 5:32 pm | 13 Comments  

I Survived

June 17, 2006

and the experience was much like I thought it would be.

As we walked to the car, me carrying a kicking, naked, 18 month old. The three year old close on my heels, covered from head to toe with sand, shivering yet screaming. The other children sulking that we dare to leave the beach after only four and a half hours. My 10 year old turned to me and says, “Can we come back tomorrow?”

Overall it was mostly fun. I did age significantly as the baby kept running in to the water, then would lose his footing and toddle around like a drunk sailor. My 11 year old did an Oscar worthy performance of getting attacked by a shark which made all of us at the beach laugh hysterically. I don’t know where he gets his flare for the dramatic.

(Before anyone gets all defensive about this and emails me links to people were actually attacked by sharks at the beach and how I should know this and not let my child pretend…blah blah blah… my panties are in a knot and I must complain to someone. We were at a beach lake. And as far as I know sharks do not live in lakes.)

But you know what does live in lakes? Leeches. Leeches live in lakes. And one of my sons found one stuck on his leg. Immediately I flashed to the scene in the movie Stand By Me, and said “You better check everywhere for more.” with a little nod to the bathing suit region.

We were treated to having some young adult people sitting near us. I think they were college students. One of the men was the loud mouth, obnoxious, but I thinks he is god’s gift to the ladies, type. I can’t go into the details of all he was saying about his sex life, or wannabee sex life I suspect, because I am trying to block the horror from my mind. But suffice it to say at one point I wanted to go up to him in the middle of his story and say, “There is a reason that your last date told you that she had a boyfriend suddenly three hours into the date. It is called lying. You are rude, obnoxious, and so in love with yourself you don’t need a date you need a blow up doll.”

Then I thought of Mir and her horrid experiences with online dating services and came to the realization that this type of guy… is all that is left. So yesterday I gave her the ever so helpful advice of combing through old obituaries in search of a man worthy of dating. I just realized as I typed this, it sounds as if I am encouraging dating dead men. And well, that would be an improvement also.

This morning was my 10 yr old son’s final baseball game of the season. It was pouring rain this morning which made a baseball game that much more enjoyable. You know enjoyable if you are 1) a ten year old boy, 2) love having your clothes soaking wet and clinging to your body, or 3) love to be as muddy as humanly possible. I am none of those things. Also, I should buy an umbrella.

In case you fear that I will be bored with all my new found “free” time, let me reassure you that the next two weeks are the playoff and championship games. And then the All Star League. Yes, both sons made it to the All Star teams. Though it is still being kept from them until after the championship games.

All this to say, baseball season has only just begun at my house.

Posted by Chris @ 11:43 am | 16 Comments  

Sand is hurting my tender feet

June 16, 2006

I am entertaining the thought of going to the beach today, since it will be one of the first beach worthy days here this season. And I was thinking about how going to the beach has changed since I have had children.

Before kids:

I carried everything I needed to enjoy the beach in an attractive straw tote bag

After kids:

I need to make two or three trips from the beach to the van to haul all the crap


Before kids:

I brought a good book and a water bottle

After kids:

I bring 40 pounds of pails, shovels, and other assorted beach playing crap, a cooler filled with snacks that will promptly be dropped into the sand, and many, many bottles of water

Before kids:

I tanned to a nice golden brown

After kids
:

I slather sun screen on approximately 5 square miles of skin, most of which does not belong to me


Before kids:

I relished the quiet solitude

After kids:

I tell people to get their sandy feet off of the blanket more times than one would think would be humanly possible

Before kids:

I cleared my mind of all thoughts achieving a zen like state

After kids:

I count to seven over and over and over again and have moments of panic attacks when I count wrong or fail to count the child sitting right next to me


Before kids:

I would occasionally dip my feet into the water to cool off


After kids:

I stand at the water’s edge shivering in the freezing ocean while trying to prevent the baby from fulfilling his obvious death wish

Before kids:

I looked good in my tiny bikini


After kids:

I look good in my bathing burkha

Before kids:

I spent an equal amount of time laying on my back and my stomach to achieve an even all over tan

After kids:

I am only tan on the front of my body since I have to sit in a beach chair facing forward and supervise the children

Before kids:

I was on top of the hair removal and it required no thought before putting on the bathing suit


After kids:

Well, let’s just say hair removal maintenance has slipped down my list. Way way down

Before kids:

I left the beach relaxed

After kids:

I leave the beach with a searing migraine

Before kids:
I never realized how much one could complain about pefect beach weather

After kids:

I listen to complaints that the sand is too hot, the water too cold, the air too windy, the sun too sunny, the clouds too cloudy…


Before kids:

When I wanted to leave I would shake off my towel, put my book, and water back into my attractive straw bag and leave


After kids:

When I want to leave I begin giving warning half an hour in advance, listening to whining for the next half an hour, shake the sand off of the 40 pounds of crap, drag screaming toddlers off the sand, mutter swear words under my breath and question my sanity


Before kids:

I came home, put my towel and bathing suit in the wash and showered, feeling relaxed

After kids:

I come home, unload the original 40 pounds of crap from the van plus an additional 40 pounds of sand, vacuum out the van, shake out seven wet, sand filled bathing suits, throw away all the sand filled snacks and wrappers, clean out the cooler, shake out the towels, lug the toys and chairs to the basement, organize showers and baths for seven, yell several times at children who have left a trail of sand throughout the house, fix dinner for children who are starving because all their beach food got sandy

Before kids:

I looked forward to going to the beach again soon

After kids:

Much like hair removal, I think why bother

Posted by Chris @ 6:55 am | 48 Comments  

WWCD*

June 15, 2006

What Would Cinderella Do?

With a three year old in the house everything is a negotiation. Most recently we have moved on to the Cinderella Standard.

Everything that needs to be done is gauged by what a princess, namely Cinderella, would do in the same situation.

The short list:

Princesses do: wear dresses, wear tiaras, wear jewelry, eat candy

Princesses do not: wear stupid ugly clothes (this has a wide latitude that may or may not change from minute to minute), do not brush their hair, do not take baths or wash their hair,

Those princesses, they are a slovenly bunch.

The do and don’t lists are constantly evolving. And I find myself engaged in conversations that I never imagined I would have.

“I don’t want to take a bath.”

“Well, I’m sorry, you need to take a bath.”

“Princesses don’t take baths.”

“Yes they do. Princesses aren’t dirty.”

“No princesses not take baths.”

“Yes.”

“Cinderella not take a bath. She take a shower.”

“Do you want to take a shower?”

“Cinderella has birds in the shower that pour the water on her.”

“Cinderella is a cartoon.”

“Nu-uh”

“yes she is.”

“NO!”

At which point I question if I am really arguing about reality with a three year old.

Another day:

“Can you clean up your toys?”

“Cinderella not clean up her toys.”

“Cinderella had to clean the whole castle. And clean up all the stuff belonging to her mean step sisters. Remember the song? (here I sing the part of the song about Cinderella being very very busy) I think you can clean up your own toys.”

“Cinderella not clean when she had on her pretty clothes. I am the pretty Cinderella.”

I wonder if I can apply this to my own life.

“Sorry, no dinner tonight. I’m pretty Cinderella tonight.”

“Oh, too bad all your clothes are dirty. I was pretty Cinderella today.”

“Not tonight dear, pretty Cinderella doesn’t do that.”

The possibilities are endless.

Posted by Chris @ 7:43 am | 36 Comments  

I know, I promised a post

June 14, 2006

I did say that this morning, didn’t I?

I have a lot of things that I could write about. For one, baseball. This is a baseball blog, isn’t it? Oh wait, no it just seems like it is. Last night my 10 year old had a game where he pitched three innings and was the catcher for three innings. I aged ten years, at least. I swear I could feel the grey hairs sprouting from my head.

Today is my third son’s birthday. He is 9 year old. I could go on and on about him, but frankly he is annoying the crap out of me today. I am not sure why my children feel it is their birth right to act like little jerks on their birthdays. After all I gave birth to them. I endured the vomit inducing, please kill me and end my misery, pain. I pushed their big heads and shoulders out of, you know where. Granted, this is partially my fault, if I had it to do over again I would have chosen to reproduce with someone who had tiny shoulders and a freakishly small head.

Honestly I think those are evolutionary trends that we should embrace for the sake of our daughters. I am the one whose body has never fully recovered and can’t run a mile without needing a potty break. And the boobs, let’s not forget about the boobs. If anyone gets to be a bit bitchy today, it should be me.

My 11 yr old had a game tonight that was rained out. We found out after we were half way to the game. Oh the sadness. Oh the (feigned) sadness on my part. So I decide to have movie night at our house and stopped and bought an obscene amount of candy for them to snack on while they watch movies.

hello? What was I thinking suggesting candy for dinner? Honestly, I am crazy.

Rob is away in Orlando, Florida on a “business” trip, where he gets to do team building exercises with other middle aged people on Superman the Ride, and whatever other rides at Universal they will be going on under the guise of “working.” Also they are doing some sort of Fear Factor competition which I think sounds stupid. I’m not the least bit bitter. I have my sour gummi bears to comfort me.

I have my newest Advice from the trenches column up at larger families dot com, where I deal with the age old question of what to do with all the paper that these children generate on a daily basis. So go read there.

And lastly Blogher. Are you going? Can I jump up and down and squeal like a, well, like a girl, when I see you? Yvonne has promised to do the Worm, and I am so holding her to it. We are going to party like it is 1989.

Posted by Chris @ 4:02 pm | 18 Comments  

Welcome

June 13, 2006

You are now at my new website.

“But I didn’t type in a different url today? How can I be here?” you ask.
Dude, I don’t know. But my fabulous designer Emily,swankwebstyle.com knows. She is the one who bonked you on the head, rendered you unconscious, and dropped you here.
Change your bookmarks so we don’t have to go through the whole duct tape, kidnapping, throwing you in my trunk again. It’s exhausting, frankly.
I feel like when I brought my first baby home from the hospital. And I stared at him because he was so beautiful, but I had no idea what to do other than to stare. I was afraid that I would break him. Yes I did just compare my blog to my firstborn son.

The header photo is one from my dear friend and wonderful photographer Stacy her blog and amazing photographs can be found at Jurgen Nation

Come back later. Hopefully I will have a real post up by then and I will have had my fill of the staring. Also I hope to find the spell check. Surely there is a spell check? Because God knows that I would never win any Spelling Bees and if I am left to my own creative spelling devices,well let’s just say that it won’t be pretty.

Posted by Chris @ 9:27 pm | 41 Comments  

About

June 12, 2006

mee

Chris Jordan was a child in her former life. She got married straight out of graduate school, gave birth to more kids than you can count on one hand, and after thirteen years of parenting still looks around and wonders when the real mother is going to come home.

She began blogging at Notes From the Trenches (www.notesfromthetrenches.com) in 2004, never expecting more than a handful of people to ever read it. And half expecting that she would have to bribe even those few souls. Slowly her blog developed a following and has been nominated for several blog awards over the years.

Chris currently writes for five other blogs:

BlogHer as a DIY and Home Improvement Editor

Work It, Mom! where she shares recipes for busy working mothers

DIY This N’ That, discussing home trends and the diy movement

Mommypoints, blogging about all things parenting at a website recently named one of the best websites for kids by Real Simple magazine

As well as a weekly column at Parenting

Chris lives with her husband, children, and camera in the frigid tundra of New England, where they own an historic old house. In their spare time, they are working to rescue it from a century of neglect and bad taste. Or at the very least keep it standing despite the best efforts of the children.

It's that time of year

You can dress them up but you can’t take them anywhere.

Yes, they are all hers.
No she not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she know what causes it.
Yes, she has a television.

Her hobbies include drinking strong coffee, drinking even stronger martinis, and engaging in mental self-flagellation.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

There really is nothing left to know about her.

Posted by Chris @ 4:21 pm | 2 Comments  

Open Letter to the Saleswomen Working at JJill

Hi. Remember me? I’m sure that you do. In fact I’d be willing to bet that you haven’t stopped talking about me since I left.

This morning I went into your store to return a shirt I bought that had the hem ripped out of the bottom. You weren’t as nice or apologetic as I felt you should be since I am the one who bought a defective shirt and had to come all the way back to the store to return it. But, whatever. I was willing to overlook that as I browsed through the store to see if I might like to exchange it for something else.

I browsed around, a little perplexed by the sheer volume of elastic waist clothing. Um, yuck. Are you a clothing store for old people and I just didn’t know it?

So I walked through the store and found a different shirt. I was still looking when my husband popped into the store to see if I was done yet. He is frightened if I am in the store for too long.

You had to stop what you were doing and count my children out loud. I’m used to that. I don’t understand it, but I am used to it. I’m willing to humor you and laugh when you do that, and correct you when you count incorrectly. Because seven is such huge number it is hard to count that high.

What I am not used to, nor will I ever make excuses for is blatant rude behavior to my children. When you stepped in front of my eldest son and said, “Can I help you, boys?” while blocking their way into the store, you crossed a line.

When you stared at them, with a look of horror on you face, which is how my 11 yr old described your expression by the way, you crossed a line. Then you looked down your nose at me as if I was a leper that you couldn’t wait to leave your store. Who do you think you are?

I know the stereotypes about women who have lots of children. I have heard more than my fair share of rude and obnoxious comments ranging from, “Do they all have the same father?” to “Are you on welfare?” Both of which I won’t even justify with a response. And the not so sublte glances to my ring finger to check out my wedding rings. And for the record, yes, they are real. Are yours? Because they looked fake to me. But shhhhh, I won’t tell.

Giving birth seven times may have weakened my stomach muscles, and my bladder control has never been the same, but surprisingly my hearing is intact. That was why I turned to you and said, “Hi. I can hear you, you know.”

Then you said to me, “What did you do pop one out every year?” and “I’d kill myself.” Well you pissed me off, frankly.

Afterall, you are the one working in the store. Not me. You are there to wait on me. Not the other way around. I’m not sure that you could afford to shop in the store with what you must be making an hour, so your behavior confuses me. There is nothing I hate more than stuck up sales people. You work in a clothing store. Despite what you may think, that is just a tiny side step from being a cashier at Wal-mart.

And that is why I took a perverse amount of pleasure in saying, “It’s too bad that nothing in this store comes in my size. It’s all so…. big.”

chris

Posted by Chris @ 2:30 pm | 94 Comments  

Waste Not…

Mir has begun a new blog about being frugal, Want Not.

When she first told me about it, she said it was going to be about living frugally for real people, who still like to have nice stuff. People who don’t want to brew their own coffee in their used stockings and reuse their coffee grounds multiple times, so that they could save that $10 a year or go dumpster diving for discarded but still edible produce.

Okay, she didn’t actually say these things, but that is what I thought. I read the Tightwad Gazette. Actually I bought it, which is telling in and of itself about how frugal I am.

I mean I like being frugal, in theory.

Then I read one of her posts about how frugality requires a separate freezer. And I screamed, “I have a freezer!” And I felt so good about my frugalness that I went to zappos.com and browsed pretty shoes .

Already I have learned that sunblock expires and that I shouldn’t stockpile it in my basement, no matter how good the sale or how close I think End Times might be. And I found out about a 10% off sale at Overstock that is perfect for Father’s Day. And laundry, I love Mir’s laundry tips. So go on over there and read, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll become frugal through osmosis. Okay I can’t promise you that… but you will laugh. So go on and leave her a comment, today is the public unveiling.

Then she asked me about my grocery bills and I told her how much we spend. And she fainted. After a while she revived, but evidently was brain damaged in the fall because she told me what airline she was flying to Blogher next month. And I decided to fly on that airline too. But then… I found out I could get on the same plane, because every airline wants us New Englanders to crisscross the country, stopping at least three times, turning what could be a three hour tour into an all day long affair, for which we will have to bring our own snacks. Why aren’t there any snacks, you ask?

We are flying the cheap airline, see already I am becoming frugal. There aren’t even seat assignments, it is first come, first served and this is where Mir’s training for her 60 mile walk will come in handy, as she runs, jumps over the defenseless, pushes down the elderly, and secures us two seats together. She has been instructed to grab the barf bag and moan should anyone try to sit next to her.

(The only exception to this is if a NORMAL single male who has all his teeth, is literate, and employed wants to sit next to her. But we have already determined that there are none of them left in the world, so no worries there.)

So hopefully more of her frugal living ideas will rub off on me. Though I do draw the line at fashioning attractive footwear out of the skytop magazines, or a fetching hat out of our personal flotation devices.

Posted by Chris @ 7:09 am | 14 Comments  

The Curse of the Homerun

June 11, 2006

I don’t think I will give up my day job just yet and become a motivational speaker. Not that I actually have a day job.

Yesterday was baseball from 8:00 in the morning until about 4:30 in the afternoon.

I often think it is some sort of divine retribution that I, who despise sports so fully, would end up with boys who love nothing more than participating in sports, any sports.

That I, who think a good time in the sun involves laying down, moving only my eyes to read and my lips to suck my fruity drink, would end up with sons who need me to run, jump, cheer, and not lay down at all in the sun.

That I, who cringe and cover my face when a ball is tossed near me, would have to watch balls thrown 70 miles per hour perilously close to my sons’ faces.

That I, who hate to get dirty and sweat, would be faced daily with more stinky laundry than a frat house.

There is a God, I say. And he is vindictive.

So we had four baseball games back to back at different locations. The locations did have something in common though, they were all muddy and freezing cold, with a wind that chapped our faces and caused us all to collectively wonder if it was really March.

My oldest son, of the-hit-an-out-of-the-park-homerun-and-now-has-a-head-so-
large-we-had-to-put-extenders-on-the-back-of-his-baseball- cap-fame, he had a double header yesterday. He got up to bat 7 times. He struck out five of those times. FIVE. It was painful to watch. The other two times he grounded out. His little feet, or huge flippers if we are striving for accuracy, never touched first base.

He cried. This is permissible according to The Code of Boys (ages 11-12) which allows for crying when you miss important plays. The Code of Boys (ages 11-12) allows you to cry from physical pain only if there is lots of blood or requires a trip to the hospital in an ambulance. At least this is what I can make out from my vantage point as an outsider.

On the positive side, his baseball cap now fits again and he no longer resembles a bobble-head.

Posted by Chris @ 7:55 am | 12 Comments