July 9, 2014

Just a Crappy Blog

Last night, Stone's t-ball team celebrated the season with a pizza party at the park. I was only going to take Stone, but at the last minute I had to take eight out of nine kids, and we had to walk.

We all had a good time, until Stone ran up to the pavilion holding himself. "I have to pee!" I looked around. My kids were EVERYWHERE. I called to Jagger and he ran Stone up to the bathrooms.

A few minutes later, Stone screamed across the park. I looked up and he was still holding himself by the bathrooms and Jagger was running right for me. "Well, it looks like Stone peed his pants," I sighed at the other mothers.

I was about five steps away when Jagger yelled, "Stone pooped his pants! It's in his shoe!"

Great. Of course, I was completely unprepared. What mother of nine would pack a diaper bag when going out? .....What's that? All of them? Guess I didn't get the memo.

I cleaned Stone up and it was time to walk home.

As we walked, my kids began to sing. You know the 12 Days of Christmas? The part where you sing, Five Golden Rings? They changed the words to Stone pooped his pants! Even Stone, who had dried his tears and realized pooping his pants was quite amusing, sang along. They sang in 3 piece harmony, and at one point I thought they were singing in a round, but it turned out the twins were just unsure of the words. Even Hawk cried, "Poop-poop!" from the stroller.

We rounded the corner, the singing stopped. Jagger turned his head and commented, "Stone, why did you have to poop your pants? Why couldn't you just hold it?"

Being the loving mother I am (complete and utter sarcasm), I said, "Jagger, what about the time you couldn't hold it at the restaurant and you pooped your pants? You had to wear Dad's shirt and you looked like MC Hammer."

"Who's MC Hammer?" Jet asked.

I sighed, "you looked like a ninja."

Jagger slumped his shoulders, yet had a grin on his face, "Oh yeah."

"Haha!" Jude pointed, "Jagger, you pooped your pants."

"Uh, Jude? Remember the one time we went to Gabriel Brothers and Dad had to call for me over the loud speaker, because you pooped your pants? Good thing we were at a clothes store, because I had to buy you all new clothes."

Jude flashed me a devilish grin.

"Why did they all poop their pants?" Jovie laughed.

"Jo, you pooped your pants when Grammy spent the night." I reminded her.

"Oh yeah. I had a dream I was pooping my pants, but I really DID poop my pants." She smiled and shook her head as if she were enjoying the nostalgia. "That was awesome."

Awesome?

Lesson 183: Proud pants poopers = White Trash

"Stone pooping his pants wasn't the first time and it won't be the last," I told them. Then on cue, as if he were holding it for that exact moment, Hawk audibly pooped his pants. "See, Hawk just pooped his pants."

The kids laughed and sang out, Hawk pooped his pants!

I'm glad my kids can laugh at their embarrassing moments. Yes, those moments in life are horrible, but our family has found that laughter is definitely the best kind of medicine. We take lemons and turn them into a whole stinking lemonade stand and pass out cups of amusement to any passerby. Maybe my kids will have trashy blogs of their own someday......I apologize in advance.



July 1, 2014

Say Cheese!

It's no secret my family is odd. Adam will tell you it's my genes that cause the weirdness in our children. I'm not denying that possibility. I'm also not denying my family's unnatural love of cheese. We love cheese, but my son Rex has taken it to a whole new level.

I first noticed something was amiss when Rex would ask for a piece of cheese and then a few hours later I would find it completely uneaten in random places. I found them on the couch. I found them in a toy skillet. I found them in the fireplace. Cheese was everywhere!

Then, it escalated to his asking for American Cheese slices still in the wrapper. He would freak out if I tried to unwrap it. I told him he was absolutely not going to just hold a slice of cheese until it became inedible. Wasting cheese is just plain wrong. (I love cheese! You don't wrong cheese. "Nobody puts Cheese in a corner!" Sorry, I'm having a moment.)

Once he was shut off, he took matters into his own hands. I would get into the fridge and find cheese missing. Whole bricks! I would play a game of Hot and Cold with Rex. He had no idea he was playing, but his face would give it away. "Where's the cheese?" I'd ask. He'd freeze and only move his eyes as I walked around the room. His eyes getting wider the closer I got. 

Sometimes I didn't even have to ask. He began carrying baskets full of cheese bricks, baggies loaded with cheese sticks, and purses brimming with cheese cubes. Oh, and I can't forget when I came into the room to Rex cooling himself with a hand fan made of cheese slices.

Could it get any weirder? I'm so glad you asked.

A few days ago, Adam and I were outside with the kids doing yard work. I noticed Rex missing when I did a head count. Adam went inside to find him. While standing in the doorway, he yelled to me, "Hey, the American Cheese wrapper is laying on the floor in front of the fridge."

"Ugh! Please find Rex and get the cheese." 

Adam returned laughing. "There is something wrong with our children," he said.

When Adam started up the stairs, he called out, "Rex. Do you have cheese?"

He heard a quick, "No," coming from the little boys' bedroom. Reaching the doorway, he saw Rex on his bed, completely covered with his blanket.

"Rex, do you have cheese?" he asked again.

"No."

Adam pulled the blanket down. Rex's eyes became wide as he realized he had been caught red handed lying on his bed with American Cheese slices covering his entire body in some sort of bizarre cheese suit.

Lesson 182: Feeling the need to wear cheese = white trash

Lady Gaga's personal stylist better watch out. Rex is on the scene, and the cheese doesn't stand alone!

June 6, 2014

Age Defying Face Cream

Times are tough, and it's written all over my face. Literally.

Since we moved to our new home, things have been tight. Well, everything but the skin on my face. And with our finances the way they are, I have no extra money to buy fancy Avon face creams that I used to get. I thought I would be able to survive, but today I took a selfie with one of the twins and realized I had a wrinkle in the middle of my forehead even when I relaxed my face. Lovely.

Lesson 181 : Wrinkles = White Trash

Tonight, while I was at Walmart buying milk, I thought I would take a detour to the cosmetic aisle and see if they had any cheap face creams. $20! They were all over $20! Come on Walmart, where are the $1.97 bottles of Equate Face Cream with the circle that says, "Compare to Botox"?

I walked away grumbling about tough times and about the twins who I swear are responsible for the wrinkle on my forehead. By the time I reached the refrigerator aisle, I was smiling. Why do I get upset about wrinkles? Wrinkles show the world I've had a life well lived. Yes, the wrinkles on my forehead give away that I've dealt with a lot of stress and worry, but my laugh lines show that despite the trials of life I've found joy and a reason to smile.

Wrinkles are beautiful little story tellers.

Ok, but maybe it would still be nice to be an unpublished author.

March 31, 2014

A Is For Alligator

First off, I want to tell you about my daughter's love of bacon. It's unnatural. When I go to the store and ask all the kids if they would like anything, this is usually what I get.

Marky: (an annoyed glare)
Jagger: "Ice cream sandwiches!"
Jet: "Ice cream!"
Jude: "Hard chocolate chip cookies."
Jovie: "BACON!"
Stone: "Fruit snacks!"
Rex, Fox, and Hawk: "AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" (They just like to yell and jump with the rest of them.)

Lesson 180: Daughter loving bacon more than an 80's Footloose Fan = white trash

The second thing I need you to know for this story is what a horrible mother I am. Jovie has been able to identify letters since before she was 2. I take no credit for this. The kudos goes to the many phonics movies she's watched and the multiple learning websites she's played. Yep, I passed the buck. It was just so easy to plop her in front of the TV or computer and get chores done or tend to babies while she learned, "A is for a-a-alligator, and a-a-apple." (All of those programs seemed to use the same examples.)

Jovie is now in kindergarten, with several years of phonics under her belt.

Yesterday, I was flipping through the latest Oriental Trading catalog, and Jovie came over and peeked at the items on the page. It was a luau theme. She pointed to a decoration of a roasted pig. "Ew! Those people are cooking a pig. Wait. What comes from pigs?" she asked.

I smiled, "Ham. Bacon." Her eyes got huge and she began licking her lips like a hungry cartoon character. "You love to eat pigs."

"Yeah I do! I also love eating alligators. They come from apples."

Uh, maybe I've given those websites and movies too much credit. Here I thought she understood she was learning letters. I had no idea she thought she was also getting a science lesson. I wonder if she thinks elephants are hatched from eggs, queens only sew quilts, and all unicorns can play the ukulele.

Looks like it's time for this mamma to roll up her sleeves and do it the right way. Now where are those flash cards and books on animals?


February 11, 2014

Infestation

Did you ever have one of those days? Don't you love when those "special" days spill over into a whole week of fun? I sure do.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of enduring such a week.

It started with the twins throwing Hawk in the oven. OK, I’m being dramatic. They didn't actually throw him in the oven. They just opened the door allowing him to burn his little hands. I’m pretty sure I was more traumatized than Hawk. This incident caused us to spend over $200 in burn supplies and gauze at Rite Aid.

A couple days later I fell down the stairs, hurting my back. That night I laid in bed and thought, “Well, things can’t get much worse.” Oh, spoken like a fool.

The next morning, the kids had a 2 hour delay. I woke up and my back was feeling a great deal better. Not 100%, but definitely better. I spent those few extra hours taking my time, smiling, and saying to myself, “see, things are getting better already.”

That morning, everything was so under control I called out to Jovie, “Jo, come here. We actually have time to do your hair nice this morning. Want me to braid it?” Our mornings had been so chaotic before that and I hardly had time to brush her mop let alone style it.

I pulled a dining room chair into the living room for her to sit on while I braided her hair. She sat and happily sang a little song as I brushed away. When it was free of knots, I used a comb and parted her hair. I looked down, gasped and jumped back in my seat.

Jovie turned around, looking frightened from my reaction. “What mom?” she asked.

I composed myself. “Uh, nothing.”

I hesitantly sat back up and peered into her hair, probably looking like I do when I open up a putrid diaper. I reluctantly used the utmost tip of my finger and pushed a little hair to the side, jumping and gasping again.

Jovie leapt from her chair, “What? What is it?” she demanded.

“Sit!”

She quickly sat back down, looking terrified. I ran to the boys’ door and yelled down, “Boys come here now!”

They emerged from the basement as I was pulling all the dining room chairs into the living room.

“What did we do?” they asked. Obviously, my tone made them believe they were in trouble.

“Nothing. Just sit.”

They all sat down and I began combing through their hair like a crazy person.

“What’s going on?” Jagger asked.

I ignored him. I was panicked and didn’t know exactly how to handle the situation. Looking back now, I didn’t handle it well.

“Mom…….Mom……Mom…..Mom, what’s going on?” Jagger wouldn’t stop.

“LICE JAGGER! WE HAVE LICE!”

“What’s lice?” Jet asked.

“BUGS! BUGS IN OUR HAIR!” I wasn't trying to yell, I just couldn't help myself at the moment. I was in a state of total meltdown.

“BUGS?” Jagger didn't like the sound of that.

I check all the kids, and luckily, only Jovie and Jude had lice. After I finished, I stood and stared at all my kids as they stared back at me, all lined up on chairs, looking for some sort of response. I put one hand on my hip and the other on my chin and thought.

“What do we do now?” Jet asked.

“Um….I’m not sure. Let me go wake up daddy. Stay put.”

I ran upstairs and tried to wake up Adam. “We have lice Adam. LICE! I really need some help.”

“Don’t worry, the reservation isn’t until later.”

I sighed, realizing Adam’s contribution to the day would be no more than cheering me on between snores. I walked downstairs and called the school. Talk about embarrassing. My kids just started at this school and here I am telling them we are disease carrying trash. I let them know that Jovie and Jude were the only kids who had it and they may want to check the rest of the kids in kindergarten and 2nd grade.

I hung up the phone and sat thinking. I looked over at my kids (still on chairs) and picked up the phone again.

“Yeeeeesssss.” My brother’s groggy voice tried to sound cheerful, though I knew he was probably ready to kill me for waking him.

“I need help. We have lice.”

“Huh?....(yawn)…..Why do you need rice? It’s like 8 in the morning.” My brother is only slightly more coherent than Adam in the mornings.

I turned the phone so my lips were touching the mouthpiece, “No, LICE. LIIIIICE!”

“Oooh. Ok, I’m coming.”

I hung up the phone and looked at the worried faces of my kids (still on chairs). I felt horrible. I knew I had just scared the crap out of them and it wasn’t really that bad. “You guys can take your uniforms off. You get to stay home today. We all have to wash our hair with special shampoo. Why don’t you go downstairs and watch some tv.” They all jumped up and ran down. I called after them, “Don’t sit on the couch, please. I’m going to have to clean it.”

Jagger let out a moan, then yelled, “I JUST WANT MY LIFE BACK!”

Slightly dramatic.

While I waited for my brother, I started on washing bed linens. I had to get a move on it. I knew it was going to be a whole day event. Never do I wash ALL bed linens in one day.

My brother appeared and I made yet another trip to Rite Aid. (Remind me to buy stock.) I dropped $100 on lice shampoo. $100! Big families should not get lice. What a rip off.

I got home and my brother and I started cleaning kids. We started with Jovie and Jude. We combed and picked through their hair, looking like primates, for almost 2 hours. While we worked on them, my brother’s girlfriend came to help, too. She asked what she could do. I suggested turning the laundry around. She came back up with a frown and something behind her back. “What?” I asked, knowing it wasn't going to be good. She pulled Jude’s brand new 2DS out from behind her, “This was in the washer.”

My stomach lurched, “Oh no. I didn't even check his bed for those types of things. We just bought that for him.” I looked at my brother, “Well, that’s another $100 down the drain.”

It took 7 hours to shampoo and pick through all the hair in our house. It also took 13 hours to wash almost all of the bed linens. And guess what? My dryer broke. Ok, so it just takes double the time to dry as it used to. I imagined it coughing and spitting as I dried the last few loads of comforters, “hack….hack….Why are you doing this to me lady?....hack, hack…Can’t.Go.On...wheeeeeeze.”

Oh, and don’t forget my sweeper broke, too. I watched it smoke for a good 20 minutes.

At the end of that day, I sat at the table with Adam, Clayte, and Emily. We all looked haggard. I mumbled, “I can’t believe how much money I’ve wasted this week on nonsense.” I leaned back in my chair, “Burnin’ Benjamins.”

Clayte chuckled, “Yeah, you’re a baller.”

The best part of the lice epidemic? The school nurse telling me they checked all the other kids and no one else had lice.

“Do your kids go to daycare?”

“No. But my house is like a daycare.”

“Have you shopped at the Red, White, and Blue store?”

“No.”

“Have you been anywhere with a lot of kids?”

“Nope. We never go anywhere.”

“Then I have no idea where they could have gotten it.” She looked me over and I could only guess what she was thinking.

Lesson 179: Being such dirty people that lice can just spawn out of nowhere = white trash

The rest of the week I was very cautious. Peering around every corner and waiting for things to spontaneously combust. Things weren't too terribly bad, but in the last 3 hours of my week, I came down with a cold, Stone’s fingers got smashed in a door, Jovie’s ceiling light got broken, and the police showed up to respond to a 911 call made from my house.

“Dispatch said it sounded like kids,” the officer told me.

I guess dumb things just needed to squeeze themselves in before the week was up.


That night, I couldn't jump in my bed fast enough. I threw the covers up over my stuffy face and offered up a prayer of thanks. Thank you God for this week. Thank you for my kids being healthy enough to have hair to have lice in. Thank you for our beds and warm blankets to break a dryer. Thank you for medicine to help Hawk’s hands, my back, and now my sinus pressure. Thank you for family to help me through stressful moments. And most importantly, thank you for helping me survive with a few shreds of sanity still intact!

January 24, 2014

Twin Turmoil

I've been getting a lot of flack these past few months due to the lack of blogs. All I have to say is, 

"THE TWINS ARE TWO!"

This is the real deal. They blew out those four tiny candles and the air raid sirens went off. I should have went and got in a bunker somewhere, but alas, I've stayed above ground and dealt with all the horrifying consequences. The words, "I'm not going to survive these twins," spilling from my mouth several times a day, since.

The only reason I can sit here right now and write is because the twins hid my dust pan, yet again, and I desperately needed to clean up the bowl of cereal they dumped on the ground. I couldn't find it. (It was found hours later under the pile of toys they also dumped on the floor, not to play with, obviously just to hide the dust pan.) I went downstairs to see if they had taken it to the boys' room. On my way down, I saw one of the boys' uniform shirts laying on the stairs. I bent down to pick it up and lost my footing. I fell down the remaining stairs and seriously hurt my back. (They don't call the things on my feet "slippers" for nothing.) I feel like it was a well thought out plan by my twins. So, after my near assassination, my brother and his lovely girlfriend insisted I rest while they deal with my miniature criminal masterminds.

I'm telling you, these two aren't normal. 

My life isn't the only one they've targeted. Just a few days ago, about an hour after dinner, I heard a heartbreaking scream coming from the kitchen. I went in to find my sweet little baby with his tiny hands on the door of the oven, with dried cereal around his feet.I'm a microwave mom and this is what I get for trying to cook. Rex and Fox stood beside him looking like The Shining twins. Were they acting out some weird version of Hansel and Gretel? "We'll lure Hawk out to the kitchen with a trail of Fruit Loops, then we'll push him in the oven!"

Murder isn't the only thing on the twins daily "to-do" list. Their day usually consists of at least one act of vandalism and destruction of property, breaking and entering, threats of terrorism, theft, and the occasional corruption of minors.

They went through a egg throwing stage. If I left the room for anything, I came back to broken eggs on the floor. Go to the bathroom. Egg. Turn the laundry around. Egg. Change the baby's diaper. Egg. Get the mail. Egg. I called my mom one day, in tears, after cleaning yet more egg off my floor. "What do I do?" I asked, hoping for some secret tidbit of wisdom.
"You're just going to have to stop doing everything, and never let them out of your sight."
"I was going to the bathroom, Mom! What about when I have to go to the bathroom?" I felt completely crazed.
"Well, I'm afraid you'll just have to hold it." My mom snickered on the other end of the line.
What? No easy solution? No magical vitamins they could take to inhibit their "creativity"? No. Nothing. Unfortunately, I knew my mom was right. 

Now, there are a few problems with this solution. One, I'm a busy individual. Adam pretty much lives at our restaurant, which leaves me to take care of 9 kids and a house all by myself. People need fed, dishes need done, diapers need changed, homework needs finished, doctors need called, and the list goes on and on. I've tried various means of restraint, but they've figured out the secrets to baby gates, baby proof doorknobs, door locks, stove knob locks, how to get out of cribs, and how to get out of Johnny-Jump-Ups. Two, the twins have a super power. The power to divide! They have the ability to separate and cause damage in two places at the same time. This should not be confused with the equally disturbing super power to combine! This super power combines their strengths to conquer anything that stands in their way. 

Like naps. 

Let me tell you how they got out of their cribs, before Rex's was taken down. In our old house, we had two cribs and a set of bunk beds in one room. The bunk beds were a hand-me-down and the ladder wasn't the one that belonged with the bed, so, it couldn't be properly attached. I had my suspicions when they would appear downstairs when they should have been sleeping. One day, I secretly watched in horror to see that I was right. First, Fox would throw Rex all his pillows and blankets. Rex would then pile those on top of his pillows and blankets, creating a big mound. Then, he would climb that pile and escape from his bed. Once on the floor, he'd go to the bunk beds. He would take the ladder and put it in Fox's bed and Fox would escape.

Now, I'm sure many of you are saying they should be doing ample amounts of time in time-out. They do. Trust me. This adds to the joy. Once, they were in time-out for coloring all the upstairs doors with a Sharpie. While I cleaned the doors (that stripped off the paint), Rex headbutted the wall and put a huge hole in the drywall. If that wasn't enough, later in time-out, one of them ripped off a piece of the bull-nose floor trim and chiseled at the hole until it was triple in size.

SOMEONE CALL THE NUTTY WARD!

Speaking of calls, the other night I put the twins to bed and then helped Jagger with his homework. A couple hours into it, Jagger had a paper he had to complete by himself. This type of situation causes him great anxiety. So, I told him, "I'll stay by you. I'll just be over here on the computer." I got on Facebook and saw I had 14 notifications! 14? Never have I had 14 notifications. I clicked on the little planet and saw things like, so-and-so likes your status update, "ccckhdlkjslkdjkjglslkj". Huh? I clicked on my profile and saw that I had somehow posted several status updates, with some extra witty comments posted below, sent my mom a message, and checked in at the New Life Worship Center. I rolled my eyes and walked upstairs. I found my phone hidden in the bottom of Stone's comforter. I think they thought they could pin it on him, but he wasn't in bed at the time of the offense. When I recovered my phone, I also found that they had called Adam and The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. How they got that number still baffles me, and I'm terrified to know what books they were looking to check out.

Since I could go on and on about all the moments that made me check my sanity, I'm now just going to show you some photos. Enjoy.

One cereal disaster of many.

This is what happens in the bathroom when they pick the lock. This past week they picked the bathroom lock, got into the bathroom closet, and had a good time with Scrubbing Bubbles. I found Hawk crawling the halls looking like some Colonial in a bubbly powdered wig.

More cereal

Sidewalk chalk became laminate floor chalk.

I have a feeling our old dog's spirit has attached itself to the twins.

Egg time

Sidewalk chalk became couch chalk. Accompanied by crushed saltines and a bunch of Legos.

A room full of kids and NO ONE saw this happening.

They love to dump toys on Jovie's tea parties.

Why do I buy cereal? For the record, this pile above was salvageable, the pile today was sprayed down with Saline Wound Wash. Not salvageable.

Eggs

Do you see the twins?

Within the hour of moving into our new house Rex was coloring on the walls with chalk. Which was odd, because I didn't pack chalk! Within the week, the twins had bleached the carpet, scratched the hard wood floors, and put this lovely hole in their wall.

About a week later, I was scared to death by this. But thanks to Barbie I found all the missing sippy cups full of milk I'd been looking for.

These were the only pictures I could pull myself to take. I would have maxed out the memory on my phone and camera with pictures of just cereal and eggs on my floor. There have also been a few times that it was so bad it wasn't funny. Like when they threw spoons full of Nutella all over the downstairs and in a basket of clean clothes 10 minutes before our Open House. Or when they created a staining paste substance out of Resolve carpet cleaner and my brother's $20 blue hair gel and rubbed in ALL over the new carpet. 

I'm starting to believe the saying, "This too shall pass", should be changed to, "This too shall make you pass out!" 

I need to stop writing. I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise. 

Lesson 178: Thinking about your kids makes you stroke out = white trash

As I sit here and watch Fox use the fireplace shovel to shovel a pile of toys, I wonder where the heck is Rex? But right now I get a break. Thanks Clayte and Emily!



June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

For Mother's Day, I receive a bunch of handmade gifts that my kids make in school. Unfortunately, Father's Day is in the summer, so figuring out gifts for Adam falls on my shoulders.

Usually, I just buy him something he tells me he wants. This year I thought to myself, Hey, the kids are old enough now to tell me what they would like to get for their Dad. I couldn't wait to hear what their little creative minds would come up with, not to mention a tad scared of the potential pricetag.

To tell the truth, I was a little jealous. Not that I don't love the little gifts my kids give me, but it's not like the beautifully written (and grammatically correct) poem my second grader gave me was thought up by himself. If it was, holy crap! Comparing our relationship to a flower? This eight year old is deep! No, I'm pretty certain ten other moms received the same poem.

I got out a piece of paper and a pen. "Hey Stone," I called my three year old over, "What do you want to get Daddy for a present?"

He smiled, "A spoon."

"A spoon?" I asked, feeling a little disappointed.

He ran to the utensil drawer, grabbed an every day run-of-the-mill spoon, and brought it to me. "Like this," he said.

"Ooooookay." I scribbled spoon on my paper.

"JUUUDE!" I yelled downstairs, "Come here please." Jude ran upstairs. "I'm going to the store to get presents for Daddy for Father's Day. What would you like to give him?"

Jude put his finger on his mouth, "Hmmm..." He thought for a few seconds then shrugged, "I think I should just get him some cigarettes."

"What? No! We aren't getting Daddy anything that's going to kill him. Think of something else."

His face lit up, "I know! I want to get him a toothbrush." He then gave me a very concerned look, "I don't think he brushes his teeth."

"He brushes his teeth!" I snapped at him.

Jude twisted his face, "Are you sure? His teeth are really yellow."

"That's from smoking so many cigarettes," I told him.

"Oh. Well, I still want to get him a toothbrush....and some cotton candy. Daddy loves cotton candy. Aaaaaand I want to get him some man soap so he smells better." Jude finished his list and skipped away.

Things weren't going as well as I had hoped. Jude was our wild card. I was expecting something ridiculous like a rhinoceros in a clown car. I reluctantly jotted down toothbrush, cotton candy, and man soap.

That was when Jet appeared from his room. "Where are you going?" he asked.

"I'm going to go get presents for Dad. What do you want to give him?"

Without skipping a beat, "A toothbrush."

I slammed my fist on the table, "No. Jude is already getting him a toothbrush."

"Oh. Ok, then I'll just get him some mint gum so his breath smells better, and some deodorant." He turned his head toward the living room and found his brother, "Hey Jude, you want to play Minecraft?" They both ran away.

I wrote mint gum and deodorant.

Jagger was the only one left. (Jovie was coming with me.) Did I even want to ask? Knowing Jagger, he'd probably want to get him something that dealt with Star Wars. "Jagger!"

Jagger emerged from the basement, "What Mom?"

"What do you want to get Dad for Father's Day?"

He thought for a moment while he did a little jig for me, "Uh...I think I better get him a toothbrush."

"WHAT THE HECK?" I yelled. Jagger seemed slightly scared by my outburst. I calmed myself. "You can't. Jude is already getting him a toothbrush."

"Oh." I could tell he was thoroughly bummed out, and it took him a good long while to think of something else. Like a toothbrush was the only thing he could come up with. "Uh...I don't know. Can I just get him something that smells good, like spray?"

I sighed. "Sure Jag." He ran away. Cologne was the last thing on my list.

"Don't forget cotton candy!" Jagger yelled from somewhere in the house.

I added cotton candy.

I looked at the list and thought, cold as ice kids. Cold. As. Ice. Good thing I was still in charge of the three littlest kids' presents.

Lesson  177: when your kids are allowed to buy you any present in the world and they ALL want to buy you a toothbrush = white trash

At the store, I had to talk Jovie out of getting her dad denture toothpaste. Not that she knew what it really was, but I began to rethink my previous jealous thoughts. I forget from time to time how brutally honest kids can be. Now, I am extemely thankful for those teacher-thought-out gifts. We mothers are protected! I'm sure if my kids would have been in charge of my Mother's Day gifts I would have opened Spanx, a case of Slim Fast, and a gift certificate for Botox.

As I stood in line at the dollar store, with a conveyer belt full of bags of cotton candy, I was kind of depressed about how my plan turned out. I looked behind me. Jovie stood talking the ears off of a man and his son, telling them about cat toys. I noticed the guy looking at all the cotton candy. I laughed, "We have 9 kids, and most of them wanted to get my husband cotton candy for Father's Day." He smiled.

As we were leaving I heard the man say to the cashier, "Wish I was that dad!"

I chuckled to myself. Do you buddy? Do you really?

When we got home, I gave each kids their own gift bag, and told them to decorate it by painting something they like to do with their dad. You know what? The bags are my favorite part. This was where their love for their father came through.

Stone said his favorite time with Daddy was when they ate chocolate together. Jovie painted a whale and said she liked watching fish with him. (Not sure when that happened, but whatever.) Jude painted a cute picture of when Adam takes him to the restaurant. Jet painted for an hour, and created a beautiful picture of when they cleared the woods for their fort. Jagger's picture of Adam hugging him made me a little teary, and he wanted the bag to say, "I love your squeezes!" Finally, the older kids and I came up with sayings for the twins' bags and Hawk's bag. Fox's said, "I love your snuggles," since Fox makes Adam hold him constantly. Rex's said, "I love your headbutts." That's their special thing. Don't ask. That "special thing" ended up giving me a fat lip one night when I tried to give Rex a bedtime kiss. Hawk's bag said, "I love to look at you." We laughed really hard at that one! He's only 3 months old. It's not like his bag could say, "Hey, I love when we do oragami together!"

How jealous would that dad at the dollar store be now?

Happy Father's Day Adam! We love you so very much!......Don't forget to brush!