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2007 April

Eight Things

April 30, 2007

Newly turned 8

Some people might use the word favorite, but I don’t. Favorite implies that the others would be somehow less and they aren’t. The truth is that you touch my heart. It could be because you are so very different from me. The personality traits I love in you are ones I always wished I had.

You are an easy kid to like. You are the sort of child that other people gravitate towards. Boys want to be your friend and girls want your attention. You are never nervous. You are never uncomfortable in your own skin. You are slow to anger and when you do, you get over it quickly.

Yes, so very unlike me.

100_0260

You were the easiest baby. You never cried. I am not exaggerating about never either. Your father and I were lulled into believing it was because as the fourth child we had perfected our parenting, as if one could parent a newborn. Oh we were so sure of our superior skills that we went and had another baby right away. One who would make us pay for our inflated egos.

You are the first to laugh at jokes. You don’t take anything personally. You could do something that is completely embarrassing, but you would find a way to laugh about it and deflect the embarrassment. Yes, so very unlike me. I would be embarrassed and mortified and rehash the experience over and over again, each time feeling just as embarrassed as the the first time. But this isn’t about me, it’s about you.

Your athleticism amazes me. You are constantly cartwheeling and flipping through the house. I am someone who has never been athletic. I was the girl who always got picked last for the teams and viewed PE at school as torture. People comment on your natural ability all the time and like to compare their less athletically inclined children to you. I am not sure why it irks me so much. But it does and I usually say, “Yeah, but he’s dumb as a stump. It all evens out.” And the beauty of you is that you know I am joking and laugh.

he can do them effortlessly

Some of your siblings would be upset if I ever joked about them like that. Or really ever joked about anything about them AT ALL. But you think it is hysterically funny. You don’t take yourself too seriously. I’d like to take credit for it, like I do your blonde hair, but I can’t. I have six other children raised in the same house in the same way as you, and so far not one of them has the self esteem you do. And I have never heard one of them deeply sigh and say, “I love me.”

Your love for bad television is unparalleled. You love every show that the Disney channel has ever put on. And no matter how much the rest of us groan when we hear the theme song for the Suite Life of Zach and Cody, or cry when That’s SO Raven begins, you are convinced that we are the ones with no taste. (As a funny aside, for the longest time you thought the name of the show was Fatso Raven. You refused to believe that was not the name. “But it makes more sense, Mom?”)

I frequently have to remind you that we are not living in a sitcom, so great is your love for the one liners and over dramatic facial expressions. Then one day you discovered this:

100_8445

For about a month this winter we were treated to the frequent use, some might dare to say OVER-use, of the ironic air quotes.

You are one of the unfortunate middle children in this family. One who was born before I owned a digital camera, but after the novelty of photographing everything and running to the one hour photo developing store wore off. Digital photography has made capturing every mundane moment of our lives possible.

When I was a kid photographs were reserved for special occasions and Sears Portrait studio. But now I have made up for it. We might be lacking the photographic evidence to prove you didn’t spring from my forehead as a 5 yr old. But don’t worry, we have lots of photos like this one to make up for it.

100_9138

If I were going to sum up your eighth year with eight things about you, this would be it:

1) Jack o’lantern teeth. We wonder if you are ever going to regrow the teeth you have lost.

2) Ironic air quotes. These slay me. Especially because you usually use them correctly.

3) Disney Channel. You really think the world would be a better place if the Disney channel was allowed to play in our house all day long. And I am a mean hideous tyrant because it is only allowed to be turned on during the weekends.

4) Cartwheels. You can not walk or run from place to place in the house. You must cartwheel there. And it drives me crazy when you are supposed to be unloading the dishwasher and you insist on doing one handed cartwheels across the kitchen to put the things away. Why one handed? Because you are holding the dishes, or whatever in your other hand.

5) Your accent. I am not sure if it should technically be called an accent, or if it is some sort of speech impediment, but you sound like you live in Boston. Your alphabet has no letter ‘R’ For fun we have you say “Pahk the cah in Havahd yahd” all the time. Unfortunately your name has the letter R in it and people are always confused. Unusual name + strange accent = fun times.

6) Your hair. It hangs into your eyes and you like it that way. You refuse to have it cut. Luckily your hair looks pretty good long. If by pretty good we mean long straggly mop. If the hair gets much longer and I just may sneak into your room with the scissors while you are sleeping.

7) Reading. You are finally reading. Sort of. You can read. You just prefer to guess based solely on the first letter of the word. I am forever asking you if reading is a guessing game. And you are forever answering, “yes, it is!”

8 ) Your big heart and generous spirit. And the fact that it will not bother you one bit to know that I am well over a month late finishing this post about your birthday. We did have cake on your birthday. That should count for something.

Birthday

Posted by Chris @ 11:07 pm | 65 Comments  

and now this slowly turns into a sports blog

My superstar son

I might have been joking when I said I expected my 6 yr old to be the Barry Bonds of the elementary school set, but damn if he wasn’t a superstar at his game. That is among other children who haven’t quite mastered the eye hand co-ordination either.

Baseball is serious

Then on Saturday, all the kids had games. I stayed home with the non baseball playing kids and sent Rob off with my camera.

He got a few good action photos. That is my son pitching. And the other kid striking out.

Strike...

And I am sure his mother has a photo of him pitching and my son striking out. That’s just how it goes. Watching your child play sports is an exercise in bipolar emotions.

And there was an entire slew of photos I could use for my ‘What Not To Do’ series on my other blog. But it’s all good. Like I told Rob, those photos were preserving the memory. We know that the kids have feet and/or tops to their heads, we don’t have to have photographic evidence of it.

Posted by Chris @ 10:00 am | 6 Comments  

drum roll please…

April 29, 2007

Before I begin I just want to thank everyone who has participated. Those of you who donated to heather as well as those of you who donated to this little raffle. It grew much bigger than I ever imagined. And the amount of money that was raised for Heather and her family is stunning. There really is no other word for it.

Be sure to check heather’s blog, Especially Heather
to read about her progress. She is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday. And it is because of all of your monetary donations that she does not have to worry about how they will pay for their hotel rooms and those of her parents. It is because of all of you that she will be able to have her family with her while she goes through this.

******

One more little thing. I am sure that some of you will have won something that you don’t want or need. Like maybe you won a bracelet and you have no arms. Well, give it to one of your friends or family members as a gift. What? Your entire family is armless and you live in a commune of armless people?

Oh well, I trust that you will be able to find someone who would be more than delighted to have a gift from you. Look for them. Spread the love. Just don’t whine to me. I have seven kids afterall who do more than their fair share of that.

And I have very little patience. I have seven kids who suck it all right out by 8:00am.

And now, with no further ado….

Keryn does not have a blog. I know shocking isn’t it? That there are still people who exist that don’t detail their lives on the internet. Keryn is donating a matching mother/daughter bracelet set AND another bracelet. These bracelets are simply stunning.

matching mother-daughter bracelets

The winner of the single bracelet is:

Yet another Jennifer ( almostatillson@yahoo.com / http://www.appleseedmommy.blogspot.com )

The winner of the mother/daughter set is:

Bobbie ( bubbebobbie@yahoo.com / http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/bubbebobbie/ )

******

The beautiful Karen, of chookooloonks has donated one of her photographs, matted and framed. All you have to do is hammer a nail into your wall and hang it up. Don’t even tell me you don’t have somewhere to hang something this gorgeous.

framed photo

The winner is:

Yvonne (ymi717@yahoo.com/ http://www.whyamiymi.blogspot.com)

******

Katie, from Ramblings of a SAHM, is so incredibly talented that it kills me. She makes her daughters’ matching Easter dresses, knits all FIVE of her children matching sweaters, quilts, sews, scrapbooks and probably cooks the partridge in the pear tree. Katie has donated this red felted pocketbook, or purse, or handbag… whatever term you use in the part of the country you live in. I call it a pocketbook and I also drink soda.

red_handbag

The winner is:

deanna (neysa70@gmail.com/ http://www.willitraintoday.blogspot.com)

******

Look at these blankets! Don’t they just look so soft and cuddly? Lisa, who does have a blog, Three Beans… and a sprout makes these baby blankets. The winner can choose either the pink or the blue one.
blankets

The winner is:

Candy (Candace.frye@fda.hhs.gov/)

******

Alli, from Adventures in Imperfection, makes these adorable aprons. Seriously I think maybe if I had a cute apron I would enjoy cooking more. because I am all about the accessories. Not only is Alli donating a handmade apron, but she will let the winner decide what colors/fabrics to have it made in. Don’t want you to clash with your kitchen while you are cooking!

The winner:

Apron

Apron

The winner is:

laughing mommy (stacitee@yahoo.com/ http://laughingmommy.com)

******

Cool mom picks is offering up a “taking care of mama” gift pack
including an oyikes diaper bag (www.oyikes.com), a pair of yogini style YogaSmart Pants (www.yoginistyle.com) and a basket of pampering goodies from Zen Momma
(www.zenmomma.com) worth $200. Have you been to their site? You should if you are looking for any sort of hip, affordable, and unique baby/ kid/ mom items.

The winner is:

becky ( becky@misspriss.org / http://misspriss.org )

******

Karen, from Troll baby and Swank Web Design, is donating a free web design for anyone using the wordpress platform or blogger. Wow!

The winner is:

The wooden porch (thewoodenporch@yahoo.com/ http://thewoodenporch.blogspot.com)

******

Mir, from Woulda Coulda Shoulda is donating one of her products from her cafe press store. The lucky winner can pick whatever item they want. T-shirt, mug… refrigerator magent, perhaps?

The winner is:

Michelle (mke90@yahoo.com/ http://coconuts.wordpress.com)

******

Kathryn, from Daring Young Mom, has donated a shirt from her cafe press store also. I have her pink Daring Young Mom shirt, though I am neither daring or young I wear it ironically.

The winner is:

Karen (kanerak@yahoo.com)

******

My dear friend Stacy, Jurgen Nation, is a wonderful photographer. It is her shoe photo in my header image. She is donating one of her photos matted and framed.

I chose this one to signify strength in the face of the unknown:

The winner is heather. Yes, THE heather. Proving she does have friends in high places.

******

My friend Jenniffer is donating homemade biscotti. She will make it to order, with whatever flavorings you enjoy. biscotti

The winner is:

barbara (barbara_evans@hilton.com)

******

Carmen, from Mom to the Screaming Masses, is donating one of her fantabulous tie dye shirts.

The winner is:

Jan (jannyo614@aol.com)

Jenny from Three Kid Circus is donating a $25 giftcard to amazon. The possibilities are endless, truly since amazon seems to sell everything AND the kitchen sink.

The winner is:

Julie caldwell (organizedfamily@gmail.com)

And the Mommybloggers is donating a gift basket, The Ready for Summer Tootsies.
pedicure kit How much would your feet love to that!

The winner is:

Jennifer R. (andynjenn13@yahoo.com/ http://www,mississippigirl13.blogspot.co
m)

******

Rachel, from Gaggle of Girls, is donating a necklace and earring set that she and her three girls made.
I was lucky enough to receive a set as a present from Rachel last week and my daughter got a personalized bracelet. She does not have one of those common names that lends itself to finding personalized items. I was so touched by her generosity. Not to mention that they are beautiful.

love jewelry

The winner is:

stephanie (smtanner82@hotmail.com)

******


Peggy
is donating a gift basket of her handmade goatmilk soaps that she sells at her esty shop. They sounds fabulous. I am a sucker for nice soap. The winner can pick their choice of 4 different soaps and they will arrive in a gift basket. If I had these at my house I would forbid my boys from using them. They just don’t appreciate soap. Or cleanliness for that matter.

handmade goatmilk soap

The winner is:

veronica (scheib@austin.rr.com)

******

The Sarcastic Journalist is donating a set of handmade notecards. I saw photos of her cards that she made for Christmas and I was in awe of her crafty talent.

Notecards

The winner is:

Fiddledeedee (fiddledeedee@mindspring.com/ http://www.fiddledeedee.net)

******

Jessica, from Kerflop, is donating one 12-14″ handmade softie designed for a boy or girl, winner can choose. Here are photos of some she has made in the past.

girly doll:
boyish or gender neutral:

How adorable are they?

The winner is:

Mary C. (marycraighart@yahoo.com/ http://runawaymommy.blogspot.com)

******

Angela, from Fluid Pudding is donating a handmade felted vase.

How gorgeous is this vase?

Felted vase

The winner is:

Deputy’s wife (gumpsjenny@yahoo.com/ http://deputyswife.blogspot.com)

******

Yvonne, from Joy Unexpected, is donating a candle set. Can a person have too many candles? I say NO, you can not. Especially if you live in a house with lots of smelly boy people.

The winner is:

Cris (Christina.Terra@gmail.com)

******

Kelly, from Girl on a Mission is donating a lovely bracelet from her online store, Celebrate! Designs. She describes it as jewelry which reflects your personal statement of faith. I describe it as pretty.

believe god bracelet

The winner is:

Life with henry and greta (janetwisner@verizon.net/ http://lifewiththewisners.blogspot.com)

******

Tracy, who doesn’t have a blog, lives in Germany so if you win her donation expect to wait a bit longer to receive it, makes reversible little girl bonnets. When she showed me photos of them I squealed, fondly remembering my days when I was obsessed with Little House on the Prairie.

Bonnet

The winner is:

Liz (Layla1234_2000@yahoo.com)

******

Shazia is donating an intro to web development class, valued at $300. The description from the website says: “Learn xhtml and css with hands-on projects, including a blog, web store, forum and a personal portfolio. Online Format, Hands-on Lessons & Projects, 10 weeks.” Wow!!! How many of us are clueless and wish we weren’t. This would be such an amazing learning experience. I am tucking this one in the back of my brain for my son who wants to learn to do these things.

The winner is:

Denise ( tlawson8@woh.rr.com / )

******

Have you ever seen those cute letterings people do on their walls? With cute sayings or quotes? Nanette is offering custom vinyl wall lettering. The person may choose whatever saying they want (one of these, any we have or their own choice). The size can be up to 23×41.The sayings do not come with the background color, that’s just for design purposes. They need to choose the color for the lettering only.

The winner will have a choice of whatever font they would like, also.

ShowLetter

I think this one would be adorable on a plaque in a little girl’s room. If you are like me and could never put it on your wall because you have the need to repaint the walls every chance you get, a plaque would be the perfect solution.

wall words

The winner is:

Katie (katiefleck@hotmail.com/ http://www.katiefleck.com)

******

This is an original piece of mixed media art donated by the artist, Erin.

Original Painting

The winner is:

Foodmomiac (danielle@foodmomiac.com/ http://www.foodmomiac.com)

******

Kristen, from Baby Brewing, is dontaing any t-shirt, with any saying for man, woman, or child. She is the one who made the Mom Loves Me Best t-shirts for me last summer.

The winner is:

Janet (jsongbird4@aol.com)

******

Merry, from Patch of Puddles, runs a shop and is donating one of these little cuties

Jen Jacobs (drjenniferj@yahoo.com/ http://thejacobsfamilyhomepage.com)

******

Julie, from And Katie Makes Three, is offering to make a set of 3 personalized cloth diaper burp cloths. You can see a sample modeled by Katie here:

The winner can specify 2 lines for each, one larger (usually used for the name) and one smaller line (usually used for a birthdate or nickname). They can also specify colors for the text and edging, as well as script versus block letters. They’re made from brand new cloth diapers.

Photo of them click here.

The winner is:

Holly (lione@rcn.com)

******

Kara is 16 yrs. old and she paints and would like to donate one of her prints for Heather’s cause.

Here is a link to Kara’s page.

What makes this donation even more special is that Kara sells prints of her paintings to raise money for a rare brain & spinal cord disorder that she was diagnosed with in 2001. Not only that, but the paintings are really beautiful.

The winner is:

Susan (murphys@rowan.edu)

******

Michele, from Blue Eyed Creations

which is a small embroidery business, is donating:

1) A children’s birthday (or whatever) shirt

The winner is:

Emily (emily.a.moothart@biola.edu/ http://www.laundryandlullabies.blogspot.com
)

2) A Birthday Bib

The winner is:

Courtney (court475@charter.net/ http://court475.blogspot.com)

******

Jaimie, who doesn’t blog but reads blogs secretly from work, donated a fabulous bracelet that her mother made.
She sells jewelry on ebay, under the seller name of *alligatorsoup*.

bracelet

The winner is:

Lauren (lauren@intertext.com/ http://intertext.com/lauren)

Angela, from Corn Patch Creations, is donating a Cozy Carseat Cover from her website She can make either a boy, girl or neutral cover for the winner. Those are really fabulous for keeping infants warm in the frigid temperatures. Those of you in warm climates have no idea.

The winner is:

brit (terrapintextiles@gmail.com/ http://www.turtledash.net/wordpress)

******

Meg has a husband who dabbles in graphic design and has a shop at cafepress. He has made up some humorous designs about
having lots of kids. http://cafepress.com/bigbaddaddy

The winner can chose which one they would like.

The winner is:

Karen (Marmee8@msn.com)

Posted by Chris @ 10:56 am | 38 Comments  

cue the twilight zone music

April 28, 2007

Tonight I am working on the raffle. I hope to have it all typed up by tomorrow.

I printed all the comments out from the giving post. Then, with the help of my children, cut the paper up into 350 individual strips of paper. I used my 2 yr old son’s safety scissors, because the all real scissors seem to have walked away from the house.

Then we folded all those individual strips of paper and put them into a big stock pot.

raffle

The children all took turns drawing.

I put the strips of paper they drew into a pile.

(I promise this story is going somewhere…)

I straightened up the pile and smoothed it out. I flipped them upside down and wrote the prizes on the back in the order I had posted them.

(Here is where the story gets good…)

Several days ago I received an email from Heather’s father. It was incredibly touching. In the email he wrote how meaningful one of the photos (link to photo here) that was taken by stacy, jurgen nation, was to him and his family. Stacy had said that to her the photo signified strength in the face of the unknown. I have been meaning to call stacy this week and let her know. And knowing her as I do I knew that she would want to send them a print. But I didn’t have stacy’s phone number. (Uh, hello stacy I lost your new, new, old, new number. Call me, love.) And somehow I never got around to emailing her because I am a very bad emailer. Very bad. People who know me know that it is nothing personal if I don’t email them back for days, weeks, or ever.

(Back to the story at hand…)

So tonight I am going through the papers and typing out who won what from whom, and once again marveling at the generosity that people have shown. Wishing I knew how to type. When I see that Heather’s comment is one of the ones that was chosen by my children.

I flip it over and see that she won the print from Stacy.

Yeah. Cue the music.

Posted by Chris @ 11:35 pm | 20 Comments  

and today I am back! like magic!

April 27, 2007

Yes, my site was down all day yesterday. The cause server overload.

I sent my host an email about the problem, and on the email form there are different categories to check on the level of urgency of your email.

I called Susan and asked her if I could check the EMERGENCY! category because what would be more of an emergency than having your website not working. They really need some guidelines on that email form.

Ultimately I checked one category down, URGENT!. We thought that EMERGENCY! should be saved for a true emergency, like if your url was redirected to one of those sites that you get spam from. The ones that make me feel like I am living a very sheltered life because I don’t even understand what they are talking about half of the time.

Luckily (?) I was out all day at doctor’s appointments, shopping at Old Navy which was eerily reminiscent of last year and has caused me to declare in a huff, “That’s it not shopping at this stupid store anymore!” Until the next big sale that is. I’ll admit it, I am Old Navy’s bitch.

Then baseball practice in the cold windy weather. With children who were dressed like it was 90 degrees outside. Because they refused to believe me when I told them that it was going to get cold in the evening. My requests to “Get your jackets!” were met with, “I’m not cold.”

And so when they complained at the field that they were surely going to DIE, I turned into one of those mothers who rudely says to her children,with barely a cursory glance towards them, “Maybe next time you’ll listen to me.”

And maybe next time they will. Though much more likely I will just grab their jackets myself to save save my own ears from the whining.

Posted by Chris @ 8:40 am | 21 Comments  

on the ‘roids

April 26, 2007

We have had some odd virus going through our house. The first symptom is a sore throat. (It isn’t strep btw, just a sore throat). Followed by congestion and a cough. Everyone who has had it is done feeling sick within a couple of days.

My daughter now has the sore throat. And feels compelled to tell me loudly over and over again.

We were driving in the car and she screamed for 45 minutes straight. Screamed. I tried to explain to her several times that screaming was not going to make her throat feel better. But logical reasoning with a 4 yr old is pointless. It is hard to be compassionate towards someone who is shrilly screaming in a confined space with you.

I was this close to driving to the Emergency room. Not because I thought it was a medical emergency, but I thought that surely any doctor who heard her unrelenting screaming would give me some xanax. Or knock her unconscious. Either one would have worked for me.

My 6 yr old somehow ended up with an ear infection. The first one of his life. And he went on the penicillin, also for the first time in his life. After taking the antibiotic for a couple days he broke out into hives.

Picture this all over his body:

My poor itchy son

And you have some idea of what he looked like this morning, even after taking the maximum dose of Benadryl. And it just kept getting worse.

So off to the doctor we went for a pack of steroids. As a bonus we got a diagnosis of penicillin allergy! Serious! Don’t take it again! Get a little warning bracelet for him or tattoo NO PENICILLIN on his forehead, whichever. I am leaning towards the tattoo.

I told him we expect big things out of him tomorrow at his first Little League game. He can be the Barry Bonds of the elementary school set.

Posted by Chris @ 4:27 pm | 33 Comments  

a couple more

April 25, 2007

Kara is 16 yrs. old and she paints and would like to donate one of her prints for Heather’s cause.

Here is a link to Kara’s page.

What makes this donation even more special is that Kara sells prints of her paintings to raise money for a rare brain & spinal cord disorder that she was diagnosed with in 2001. Not only that, but the paintings are really beautiful.

Michele, from Blue Eyed Creations

which is a small embroidery business, is donating:

1) A children’s birthday (or whatever) shirt

2) A Birthday Bib

Jaimie, who doesn’t blog but reads blogs secretly from work, donated a fabulous bracelet that her mother made.
She sells jewelry on ebay, under the seller name of *alligatorsoup*. Jaimie emailed me days ago and after emailing her back and telling her how much I loves the bracelet, I completely forgot all about it. I told you, my brain is much like the spam filter losing things it should keep and hanging onto things it should let go.

bracelet

Posted by Chris @ 11:07 pm | 7 Comments  

28 months old

Last year he perfected his swing:

This year, it is his pitching:

Isn’t there any college that wants a 28 month old? Military school? Gypsies?

I would write a loving update about him and this 28th month of life. But I am too busy just trying to keep up with him.

Making sure he doesn’t exercise his newly discovered Houdini-like ability of unlocking deadbolts and escaping from the confines of the house.

Washing the bathroom floor and walls with the toilet brush dunked in the unflushed toilet.

Replacing the thousand books his tossed out of the bookcase.

Cleaning up the bag of pretzels he dumped into the tupperware drawer.

Pondering if you can still call them toys if you have them all stored above your children’s reach, or have they become decorations.

Stupid decorations. Unless one can artfully arrange castle blocks, board books with the covers torn off, matchbox cars, and three large tubs of Tinkertoys.

Cleaning up the laundry that he “helpfully” removed from the dryer, while it was still wet and tossed around the laundry room, mixing it up with the dirty clothes and muddy shoes.

All of the above in the past 15 minutes.

It really is a good thing he is so cute. Just when I am on the verge of stapling him to the floor so he will sit still for a minute, he flashes me those dimples and I melt.

Posted by Chris @ 11:16 am | 32 Comments  

strength in numbers

April 24, 2007

Over there on my left sidebar you’ll see a graphic link for heather. You can click on it to get updates and find out the current total for the donations. Last time I checked it was up to $17,500. Does that just warm you heart the way it does mine?

And what happened then…?
Well…in Who-ville they say
That [Chris's] small heart
Grew three sizes that day!

This has reaffirmed my faith in the goodness of people.

Also, directly below the graphic is link to all the donations that I have received thus far. Please check on there to make sure that your donation is listed. Because the rate of my heart expanding directly correlates to my brain shrinking.

Posted by Chris @ 10:48 pm | 10 Comments  

Quote of the day

Having his vision tested

“Wow. I had no idea I couldn’t see all that.”

It’s a whole new world. A sharper, clearer, more colorful world.

Posted by Chris @ 3:54 pm | 30 Comments