Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Incident Report

And so it begins. Jeff and I barely survived parenting Mitchell through his teen years at Columbus Academy. Now, we are taking on triplets in round two of kindergarten at a Jewish day school. The dynamics have shifted slightly, with me working full time I feel as if I am missing out on the precious moments. I actually miss hearing the stories and little blurbs during the carpool drive home.

Jeff gets the benefit of this special time now. While I am pretty sure he plugs into his i-pod and tunes the kids out, I doubt he realizes the gems that come from their mouths during drive time. Perhaps, if I was still doing the transporting, I could have prevented the latest communication from the kindergarten teacher. Maybe I would have anticipated the direction things were going?

When the communication is written as a formal incident report, you know the matter has escalated from a poor judgement call from a 6 year old, to a disciplinary situation. This is exactly what happened last week with Eli.

Here are the highlights from the e-mail I received from the teacher:

Dear families,
I wanted to let you know about an incident that occured at recess this afternoon. The first grade teacher on duty brought this issue to our attention. Eli and Rachel were seen hiding behind a tree and kissing. We ask that you please discuss this incident with your child and let them know that we need to keep kissing only for at home. We are currently battling many illnesses here at school, and I have instructed the class several times before about the spread of germs and how kissing should only be for our families at home, not our friends at school. Hopefully this will be enough to encourage them to not repeat this action again in the future. Thank you for your support!

O.M.G. I was stunned. I knew that Eli had a kindergarten crush on Rachel. He talks endlessly about her, he draws her picture all the time, and he calls Rachel his girlfriend, but I honestly thought it was all innocent and sweet. Apparently, Eli is in advanced kindergarten where you can hide behind a tree and smooch your girl. Oy vey. Perhaps if I was still doing the pick up after school I could have seen this coming and done something to prevent the whole scenario. I have some serious Mommie guilt all right.

As much as I giggled a little bit, I was worried that Rachel's parents would be pissed off. This is an Orthodox school for crissakes. (pun) I mean when Aaryn dated Ephraim, they did not even hold hands, there was no touching at all until marriage. Holy crap, this was like a major league offense to the religious Jewish folks.

I figured Rachel's mom and dad would either have a sense of humor, or we would be going to Jared. Thankfully, I noticed that Rachel's mom was making light of the situation in the form of a status update on Facebook. She wrote: "Just got an email from the kindergarten teacher letting me know that Rachel was kissing a boy at recess on the mouth. Fantastic." So I chimed in. And we were good.

Then, I posted a similar status on my facebook and almost all the comments compared Eli to little Mitchell, which brought the whole subject full circle. Anyone who knew Mitchell in kindergarten had to put their two cents in, and join the conversation. The apple doesn't fall from the tree I am afraid. Oh my hell how I fear my future.

Jeff and I had a discussion with Eli. We talked about appropriate behavior at school and we made sure he understood that kissing is okay when you are older. For now, he needs to focus on playing at recess, not kissing at recess.

I am sure this is the first of many incident reports to come our way. I am glad that the first one made me giggle out loud. I only hope I am laughing in the future. If anybody is going to Jared it is going to be my husband, not my SON!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Photographic Proof

My kids know how to create their own fun. Given the limited access they have to electronics and devices, it is a wonder they can operate computers and handhelds. Give them a few minutes with my i-phone and they can document their boredom using the camera feature.

I happened to glance at my iphone photos. I saw that I had 442 images saved, which seemed ridiculously high. Upon further inspection, I realized, I had a few photos taken by my four budding Ansel Adams.

Here are some of the choice shots

I now have stored on my i-phone. Courtesy of the kids, I have these priceless photos as photographic proof that technology is no match for the group mentality that is raising multiples. And they have never been instructed on how to use the camera feature. They just figure this stuff out without much guidance. It scares me.

I think I need to keep better track of my personal belongings.


Friday, November 25, 2011

What leftover Halloween Candy?

To further illustrate that I am completely certifiable, here is my latest hair brained scheme to use up all of the leftover Halloween candy bars.

I am sick and tired of seeing buckets full of chocolate, fun-sized candies just sitting around. Lest I have a nervous breakdown and stuff my face full of fun sized candy bars, I had to use them or lose them. Know what I mean?

Despite my new and improved schedule, it was time to take action!

I recycled the candy. I went all green. I unwrapped the various chocolate, peanut and caramel themed bars. With so many Baby Ruth, Milky Way, Snickers and 100,000.00 bars at my disposal, I made some delicious gluten free shortbread cookie bars. These turned out amazing, and since I used aluminum foil pans, they transported easily to work, where I could share the delights with my friends.

It is awesome to keep the co-workers guessing. Free time? Who needs sleep?

These tasted like I worked hard. Cue the smoke and mirrors again because these took 10 minutes but tasted like they took much longer.

These shortbread and candy topped cookie bars were simple to create and I felt accomplished killing two birds with one high fat, high sugar stone. I made the cookie bars according to the package directions usingthe Bob's Red Mill Shortbread cookie mix that I scored at Big Lots. I baked them half way through, all pressed into the greased tin foil pans,removed them from the oven, decorated them with the chopped up candy bars, and

continued baking them until they were golden brown along the edges.

After I cooled them in the fridge overnight, I chopped them into jagged pieces and served them on a silver platter.No one could tell they were gluten free, or that they were a means to recycle the candy bars my kids mooched from Aunt Shell's generous neighbors on Halloween.

Talk about a win-win. The kids gobbled up the cookies I made. They had absolutely no idea I had re-gifted their stash of candy bars.

What leftover candy bars? Huh?

Several of my co-workers wanted the recipe and I was quick to whip out my iphone to share the step by step, pre-packaged mixing directions, using candy as a decoration.

Enjoy the cookies, kids- they are freshly baked and ready for the illusion that I am keeping my shit together. Homemade cookies mean life is good. And so it is!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am a Big Fraud

This is a post that has been in draft mode for too long. I have tried to update the blog with the latest and greatest, but there has been a lack of greatness and a shortage of attention to detail. Since some of you have asked what is going on over here, I felt it necessary to get caught up, even if it is not all sunshine and roses.

Up until recently I have had my act semi together. I have been a full time mom, blogger, wife, gluten free chef, school transportation engineer, laundress, photographer, stylist, and bargain hunter and a half assed scrapbooker. With all these full time jobs it was wonder I was able to sustain the optical illusion that I was even close to being superwoman.

The truth is, now that I have a full time job on top of the above work load, I have lost my mojo. I am a fraud. Anyone who believes I am keeping my shit together is delusional. I am the first one to tell it like it is, and it is not good over here.

Let's see.... since my random hiatus from blogging, I have had more than my fair share of blog worthy events. I have not posted any details of the drama because no one likes a pity party. This blog is a breezy, sarcastic look at my crazy life and believe me, it has been so crazy that it is actually, unbelievable.

Even if I tried to blow smoke up your ass with sunshine, rainbows and leprechauns, I could not pull it off. Without admitting all the behind the scenes, real life chaos, I would be further perpetuating the fraud and illusion. I am all for smoke and mirrors when it comes to dressing slimmer or looking like you spent a fortune when you are on a budget, but these revelations are beyond sarcasm and witty rapport.

It is time to come clean. Without further delay, I have not been updating the blog in a timely manner because I am overwhelmed.

I am working full time at Saks because I HAVE TO WORK. Jeff lost his job over a month ago, and it means I am working to provide us with health benefits and a safety net. As much as I love working at Saks, the simple truth is, I wish I did not HAVE TO work there, but I am glad I do.

I feel like a total fraud when my co-workers marvel at my ability to show up for work on time, dressed to the nines with hair and make-up, knowing I have a big family to manage. These co-workers are easily fooled because they only see the pretty side of the story. The not so pretty picture is at home, where there are dirty breakfast dishes left in the sink all day, laundry piled up in various stages in the utility room, and stacks of unopened mail awaiting moderation. This is in addition to all the coupons I have printed and clipped, but have yet to file in my binder. Now that we are minus Jeff's paycheck, it is even more crucial that I keep up with the coupons and savings. My house is more disorganized than ever before, if that is even possible.

Let's not forget that my position is 37.5 hours a week in the store. Add to that the drive time to and from (45 minutes a day), traffic and weather related delays, extra promotional events after hours in the store, and the upcoming holiday season of extended retail hours. This leaves little down time for blogging, baking and being the old Helene.

While I am working outside the home, there are areas that are suffering. This includes the dogs; that are pissing and shitting all willy nilly in the house because they are accustomed to going outside when ever they pleased while I was around. But now that I am gone all day, they wait as long as possible, and then they go. Inside. They go, I am gone, it is gross.

Factor into the insanity that Argenida has decided to go home to Panama from December 5-28 to see her family and spend Christmas with them. While I respect her need to see them, the timing is completely wrong with relation to my schedule during the holidays. This basically means that I am working ridiculous hours, the kids are on break from school for two of the three weeks Argenida will be away, and I am sans a child care provider during my busiest time of the year. Jeff has been picking up the slack and I am grateful for his contribution. He does not micromanage tasks in his sleep like I do, and there are obvious differences in our parenting style.

I totally know that I could never be a single parent. As much as I bitch and moan about his lack of interest in organization in the household duties, Jeff is doing the best he can under the circumstances. Sadly, his best is not even close to being good enough to keep us current while I am working.

This shift of responsibilities is happening while Jeff is actively seeking a new job. As seen on the dining room table, which now resembles a small employment center. There are stacks of resumes, a printer, a laptop, envelopes, stamps, and all kinds of lists of applications and correspondence. Clearly, the goal is for him to get interviews, that lead to a position. For the last three weeks he has been fortunate enough to have interviews in Atlanta and Dallas- leaving me to shuffle kids to and from school somehow. Jeff's absence has further confirmed that I could not be a single parent for more than a week, ten days tops.

I am at my wits end. The kids are eating Amy's GF Frozen macaroni and cheese for dinner on a regular basis, the carved Jack-o-lantern is rotting on the front porch, and any free time I get is spent trying to pick up the pieces in small doses. I have given in to the fact that I am a complete fraud on the world wide web.

In short, I am getting caught up and coming clean with the cold truth of the matter. It would be easier to make some shit up, lie and continue to play nicely on the blog, but quite frankly, I do not have the time or energy to do it. So there you have it. No cutesy photos of matching multiples, no recipes for homemade meals, no fake smiles and paragraphs with poetry and puns.

It is out there. I am giving up the dream of having a clean house, a face that is well rested and free from under eye bags, and a enough disposable income to actually use my employee discount.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Phineas and Ferb Live in a Technicolor Yawn

Nana and Papa bought the kids tickets to see Phineas and Ferb live at the Palace Theater. Because Phineas and Ferb on the Disney channel is not annoying enough, they created a live show in a musical theater format to further torment parents everywhere. Myself included.

Since this was my kids first experience with live theater, I had coached them on what to expect. They handed their tickets to the ticket taker. They listened to the usher as she showed us the way to our floor seats.

I made them pose for the mandatory photos to commemorate the day. Perhaps someday, they will lovingly recollect on the show that got them hooked on live theater? Fingers crossed.

While Jeff was busy in Atlanta, Argenida and I schlepped the kids downtown for the 3:00 show. After we paid for parking and took all four to the bathroom, we entered the lobby where dollar signs flashed before my eyes. I knew there would be a plethora of made in China crap for sale, but honestly, even I was stunned at the pure onslaught of options. Every where we looked they were hocking Phineas and Ferb merchandise,

and by merchandise I mean overpriced plastic shit and cheap tee shirts. Disney knows how to market to their target audience, literally.

What I did not prep them on was the unexpected intermission about 11 minutes into the show. This is what I sawbefore the overwhelming smell of fresh hurl was wafting through the theater. A kid a few rows up had projectile ralphed all over the place causing a panic and forcing parents and kids into the aisles. This was the obvious difference between the hell that is watching Phineas and Ferb on television, versus being in a crowded auditorium with others. There is no substitute for the special effects of real spew.

As one of the staff members sprinkled puke soaker pellets and sprayed disinfectant all over, the custodial team did the hard clean up. I asked permission
to take these photos for proof that I survived Phineas and Ferb live with a random 3D effect in technicolor yawn. The gal in the photo laughed when I explained that I needed photographic proof that my husband, "OWED ME BIG TIME" for these good times, ohhhh, good times indeed.

I wondered back into the lobby during this brief hiatus only to find the mother of the vomitroid child gabbing with the ushers. When I overheard her say, "Well, they sent him home from school this morning because he threw up twice, but he kept his lunch down just fine until a few minutes ago." Ummmmmm, really? I wanted to chime in and tell her I was giving her my recently awarded "MOTHER OF THE YEAR" trophy, but instead, I bit my tongue and dreamed of febreeze, sunshine, rainbows, lollipops and unicorns. It was either that or slam her absurd face into the evil parent eliminator designed by Dr. Doofenschmertz. I made the right call.

In all fairness to the cast and production team, the show itself

was decent. Given the content and target audience, it was a nice way to introduce kids to all things live, dancing, stage and set, in person.

The voice overs were painful. If you thought Candace has a whiny ass drawl on Disney, it is magnified and amplified in the live show, not in a good way. Somethings never change, and the nails on the chalkboard that is all things Candace is made worse with a wireless mike.

I was mildly disturbed when Candace belted out her solo song, ESS- EYE-EMMM-PEE, S-i-m-p, squirrels in my pants.

It was part hip-hop, part rap, and pure torture.

So if you are reading this when high hopes of someday taking your brood to see a Disney Live show, here are my two cents. Have someone else fund the experience, talk endlessly in advance about expectations, take all the patrons to the bathroom before the show starts, be prepared to fork over a small fortune if you are generous enough to by the limited edition souvenir toys. Souvenir is the french word for rip off. So, forget a fire will need to know where to go in the case of a projectile barfing scenario.

Enjoy the show!

In case you are curious, I did consult the Urban Dictionary for various terms to use in this post. When I entered vomit into the home page search engine, I smiled at all of the thesauraus like choices.

throw up
toss your cookies
lose your lunch
toss a sidewalk pizza
tango with the toilet
make modern art in the toilet
have a technicolor yawn
expunge the contents of your stomach
bare your guts to the world
become a multicolored organic fountain
revisit your breakfast
vomit your victuals
drive the porcelain bus
perform peristaltic pyrotechnics
paint the town red.. and green and orange and pink
have to say "that tasted better going down than coming up"
burp to the ninth power
make the janitor get out the ol’ sawdust bucket
find out just how acidic your stomach contents are
greet your guts
pray to the porcelain god


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Highway to Hell

Jeff took off for Atlanta this morning before the kids and I faced our journey with I-70. It is days like today that even I question my sanity. You are not alone in doubting my ability to pull this kind of hair brained scheme- I myself, wondered if we would make it back without permanent damage to my brain.

I started the morning early, finding the kids all snug as a bugs in a rug. Despite the peaceful slumber, we had about 700 miles and one time zone to go before nightfall, so I had to gettum up and move em out. By myself.

In my head, the lyrics from AC/DC were burned on my brain. How could I not be singing this as I tackled the drive?

I'm on the highway to hell
on the highway to hell
I'm on the highway to hell
on the highway to...HELL
highway to hell
I'm on the highway to hell
highway to hell
highway to hell
highway to hell
momma, highway to highway to hell
And Im going down, all the way down
Im on the highway to hell

We had a long way to go, and a short time to get there. I was not driving this,I was in the Oy Vey mobile with a stack of red box movies and a shit load of Halloween candy. In retrospect, it was not a total recipe for disaster. It is amazing what kids will do in order to get candy and watch pure drivel on DVD.

We stopped for fuel in Terre Haute, Indiana where I made a contribution to my retirement fund. As I bought the powerball ticket, I selected a quick pick rather than my own special numbers and explained the concept of the lottery to the kids. As we drove east, we discussed what we would do with 254 million dollars. Of course I did the whole blah blah blah about charity and helping others before the kids were spending the whole kit and caboodle. Eli would move to Hawaii, CJ would buy 1000 dogs, Natalie would take an airplane to Disney and Charlotte would go to Panama. Me? I would never, ever, drive to and from Kansas City by myself with four kids. And that is what got me through the rest of the trip on the Highway to Hell.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Political Play TIme

And so the election and political schtick has started. There are all kinds of concerns with the possible candidates for our next President, and every night I catch up on the news while shaking my head in disbelief. The scandals and endless revelations are fodder for Saturday Night Live and when appropriate, I am not above joining in on the good time.

It is with this in mind, that I had my own little fun today, when I took the kids to Paradise Park

in Lee's Summit, Missouri. As the kids explored and did all kind of imaginary creative play, I took photos for the blog and memory pages.

With my warped sense of humor intact, I sat down with my children and played in the animal kingdom. There were stables, farms,
and all types of plastic animal figures to pose. This was not some facebook Farmville bullshit either, we really pretended to own and operate a farm.

When I saw there were other wild animals too, I had to make my own political statement. With elephants and donkeys readily available, it only seemed natural (un-natural?) to pose the figures accordingly.I played democrats and republicans. Then, as I cracked myself up, I took plastic animal porn photos and promptly texted them to my friends.

If you ever wondered what kind of parent I am, now you know and now you have the proof. I am all about creative play, political awareness and poking fun at my own expense.

Paradise Park- the destination for family entertainment, and political play with plastic animals. Ahhhhh, yes, it is an election year and I have to keep my sense of humor afloat.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Holiday of Gluten, HFCS and Food Dyes

Let's call it what it is really is a holiday of gluten, HFCS and dyes, also known as.....Halloween. This is the one holiday that brings out the worst in food treats. Every kid in America is out trick or treating for crap. My kids were certainly not an exception. I am all for eating healthy, and this includes devouring pure sugar laden goodies, IN MODERATION.

I made sure each of my four beggars had a different colored bucket. This was done out of necessity,to prevent confusion. When you know your bucket is green and you see a sibling swiping something from the green bucket, it is crystal clear that you have been wronged. Color coding baby bottles, tee shirts, and hats is so six years ago. Now we have territory to mark with individual colors.

When the Kansas City Chiefs play Monday Night Football ON Halloween, there is reason to celebrate. The enthusiasm and spirit of trick or treating was overshadowed by the need to get home in time for kick off. Look at the genius set up in the cul-de-sacright by Aunt Shell's house. This projection screen television was showing the game on the garage doors of the house, while keg beer was being poured for the "chaperones". New Albany can't compete with these die hards. Aunt Edye and Uncle Marc
served spankikopita appetizers, fire pit smores and wine- the chumps. Just kidding Edye. In Kansas City it is, "Trick or treat, are you ready for some football?"

Here is a good look at the stash of candy that was brought back to Aunt Shell's house after about 45 minutes.
I did my best to eliminate the absolute forbidden sugar and dye products like Pixie Sticks, Lik-M-Aid and Fun Dips, and filtered the collection to let them have chocolate bars, and other gross, commercialized, over processed individually wrapped delicacies. Here is the way the pile was broken down to separate the items from CJ's bucket into two piles, one pile for dye/gluten freeand the other pile for donation to the "wheat people." I figure they do this once a year, and I will turn my cheek for a couple of days every fall. We don't go bonkers for Valentine's day, we do not do Easter baskets, and aside from Latkes and Brisket, they don't get anything remotely close to this at Hanukkah. See kids, I allowed you ingest junk on Halloween. See, I really did!

As a parent that is concerned for my child's safety and well being, I had a duty to examine the candy they collected. I did my best to check for razor blades and tampering. It was a difficult job because, I swear there were many Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and almost all of the Godiva Gems were "suspicious" looking. I quickly segregated those and personally tasted them to be sure they were okay for my angels. What's a mom to do? I would never turn to x-ray machines in the local ER like my parents did back in the late 1970's. I am the guinea pig of all Godiva chocolates. Period, Case Closed.

To top off an already unbelievable evening, the Chiefs won in overtime. Oh the insanity of it all.

In hindsight, planning an 11 hour car trip with four kids, no aupair or nanny and ONE PARENT for the return drive just days after Halloween is a mistake. What a huge undertaking after the ghouls have eaten this kind of mind blowing junk. I am gearing up for the job, and no amount of suspicious Reeses or Godiva chocolates deter me.

I will claim my glass of wine and my Mother of the Year trophy, as I safely pull into the driveway with four hopped up hooligans. Until then, I hope your holiday of gluten, HFCS and Food dye was like the KC Chiefs on Monday Night Football....a WINNER!

The older crowd

The older crowd
Amanda and Mitchell

A blast from the past...makes it all so real now