Thursday, March 31, 2011

Honey Bucket

Stephanie from Where In the World Am I is hosting this week's State Department Blog Roundup. This week's "optional talking point" is overseas/international bathrooms. I have nothing to say about that, since we have yet to be posted overseas. I do have a bathroom story, though. And it ain't pretty.

Let me start out by acknowledging that I am a germaphobe (I know this is no surprise to anyone who has ever met me). I always carry hand santizer, try to never touch railings or door handles in public places, and turn water off/on in public bathrooms with a paper towel. I know! I'm going to be awesome in a developing country. Anyway, my story takes place on a ratty old baseball field on Whidbey Island. Mitch was coaching Henry's t-ball team and I was there cheering them on with my then-four year-old girls. Now, whenever we go anywhere, I make sure everyone uses the bathroom at home before we leave to minimize the possibility that we'll have to enter a public restroom. I am aware that this is a ridiculous fantasy when dealing with children. Grace started whining that she really, really had to go potty. I looked around the only thing I saw was a dirty old Honey Bucket.

We were only a five minute drive from home, so I tried to convince Grace that she could hold it and I would zip her home in the car to pee in the comfort of her own bathroom, but no, she had to go. Now.  So, after a stern lecture outside the Honey Bucket instructing the girls NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING, we slipped inside. Olivia was hiding behind my legs while I was held Grace up so her skin wouldn't come in contact with anything. The tension inside that box was crackling. The girls could sense this was a Serious Event and were appropriately solemn. As Grace finished her business, I slipped a bottle of hand sanitizer out of my pocket and handed it behind me, not daring to take my eyes off Grace lest she fall in or touch something. "Clean your hands really well, Olivia." I said. I kept waiting for her to take the bottle, but she didn't. Finally, I turned around to see what the deal was. There was my daughter, rubbing a dirty urinal cake (which happened to look just like a bar of soap) all over her hands and arms, making sure to do a really good job.  And then I died.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Miss Scarlet

Raise your hand if you're tired of hearing about our various illnesses! I'm happy to report that Henry and Olivia trotted off to school today with a spring in their steps and pb&j in their lunch boxes. Grace, however, was covered from head to toe in a sandpapery rash, accompanied by a fairly high temp. I was pretty sure I knew what it was, and a quick trip to the doc confirmed it. Leave it to my little drama queen to get scarlet fever (Relax, Nana, it's basically strep with a rash and she won't die a slow and agonizing death on the back of Pa's wagon). 

While we were waiting at the pharmacy for her antibiotics, she spied the DVD "Tangled", which she hasn't seen yet. "I'm sure Daddy would want me to have that if he knew I had scah-let fevah." Indeed. She also figured popsicles would be necessary.  Seeing as she has scarlet fever and all. And one cannot possibly survive scarlet fever without bunny crackers. Apparently.

The only problem is that now I have to figure out how to make the DVD play in one of the machines, in addition to figuring out which machine is currently hooked up to the tv. Or, I could stall until Jack gets home. Aren't you supposed to rest your eyes for three hours after you take antibiotics when you have scahlet fevah?  I think yes.

I am awesome.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


So, after I recovered from my Man Cold I picked up whatever the kids had, unless it's the same, really long crud and it just comes in waves. Alas, there's no laying around in my heavenly bed for me, because three things have been in my way for the past 48 hours:

Somehow I have to figure out how to get to the library (25 cents a book per day! 18 books overdue!) and dry cleaners today.  Mitch is out of shirts, and the only thing I hate more than ironing is glitter.  Speaking of glitter, I would really like to thank Aimee and Christi for the gift that arrived in my mailbox yesterday. These lovely ladies work at my kids' previous elementary school, where, apparently my love of shoes and hand sanitizer was as well known as my hatred of glitter.

It was this:

I Love Shoes hand sanitizer filled with glitter
 Wrapped with this:

The picture doesn't show the amount of glitter than spilled out when I opened the envelope, but the painting by Christi's daughter is a masterpiece. When my kids would come home from preschool with stuff like that we'd go in the house through the garage and I'd tell them I was just going to put their projects into a special box to keep forever, but really I put them in a plastic garbage bag and stuck them into the trash. Mother of the Year!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The McSickersons

No Cherry Blossom Festival for us.  I am enjoying washing chunks of barf out of the girls' hair, though, which is almost as good as blossom gazing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hot dog

The movers came and packed up all of our stuff a few days after school got out on Whidbey Island last spring, then we moved briefly back to Seattle into a rental until we headed to DC, not bothering to unpack most of the boxes. On the last day of school, apparently they gave the kids hot dogs. Oliva gets severe migraines from nitrates, so she's not allowed to eat hot dogs. Therefore, it makes sense that she put it in her jacket pocket rather than not accepting it or throwing it away, right? I finally unpacked that last box of rain gear and guess what I found, still in her jacket pocket?

When I pulled it out, horrified, she said, "Oh! I was saving that for Seamus!" Our dog. He didn't want it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I heard sobbing from behind the girls' closed bedroom door yesterday. I dragged my 'woman-cold'-ed ass out of bed and went in. Olivia was crying because her tooth was "really, really looth". Now, Olivia is terrified of anything but vomit leaving her body. She won't even get a haircut. I'm not kidding. Imagine what poop-training was like. Wait, don't do that. She is also terrified of things that don't belong on her body, like moles, bug bites, scrapes, or ponytails. So, I was trying to comfort her while at the same time trying to gauge if she'd notice if I just yanked the sucker, when Jack walks in to see what the commotion is.

Jack and Olivia have an interesting relationship, which is punctuated by their desire to out-torture each other. However, as soon as Jack sees her vulnerable state, he sits on the other side of her, puts his arm across her shoulders and offers her words of comfort. 

"Don't worry, Olivia. Losing your canine teeth is really good news. It's a sign that your tail is getting ready to grow in."

Isn't he darling? He babysits, you know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cue the tiny violin...

So. I've caught the Man Cold, but since it's a Woman Cold now, I was able to make eggs and smoothies for the kids' breakfast, pack the lunches, buy a couple of gifts, shop for shoes (look, I might be getting  a job one of these days and it's not every day a pair of comfy but cute black heels falls into your lap cart), and clean the kitchen today. I feel like someone's poking tiny little knives in my throat and I dread every swallow. And seriously, why does daytime TV suck so much? We have 300 channels of nothing to watch and I don't know how to make Netflix work without a kid to help me. In fact, I have to have Henry set up my exercise DVDs for me before he goes to school because there's so many consoles to plug/unplug. I would read, but my eyes are too burny (pretty sure that's a word).  Now I want some cheese to go with my whine. Except that I wouldn't be able to swallow it.

The kids have just finished their two hours of homework (does that seem like a lot for second grade? I mean, taking away giggling, snacking and chatting it probably boils down to about half an hour, but still...) and I sent the girls to clean their room.  I checked on their progress after about 45 minutes:

See, why should I watch "Hoarders" all day when I'm sick in bed when I can just walk a few steps and peek in the girls' room?

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Match Made in Fairfax

I snapped this with my phone before the girls left for Twins Day at school today. Photographic evidence that my daughters matched one March day in 2011. The twin on the left weighed 4lb 9oz at birth. The twin on the right weighed a whopping 5lb 9oz (born at 34 weeks). Now the twin on the left is 2 inches taller and 12 lbs heavier.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Man Cold

I've got to make this quick, Mitch is home with a Man Cold and I need to run out and get a bunch of drugs to numb the misery. I'll probably pick up some drugs for Mitch, as well.  I haven't had the house to myself in weeks, what with Jack being sick, Henry's little surgery, and now the Man Cold. Mitch is a pretty manly guy. I've seen him ripping out walls and slinging a sledgehammer while ignoring bloody wounds. He's hiked through Africa and lived through postpartum psychosis (mine). He's killed and butchered poultry, 'disposed' of live rodents, changed horrible diapers, and cleaned up countless piles of barf. One kid has even barfed in his mouth. His body was mangled in a car wreck and he went through several surgeries to fix himself.  All without complaint.  But this sniffle he has is taking him DOWN.

This video has been around forever, but if you haven't seen it, it's a pretty good idea of what's going on around here:

I caught Henry looking longingly at the XBox before school today, then saw him run upstairs and lick Mitch's used coffee mug.  So, yeah, send Nyquil.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Sometimes I forget that my girls are actually twins. We never call them "the twins", we usually just use their names or refer to them as "the girls". They don't play with the same toys or read the same books. Olivia is into stuffed animals, plastic animals, video games about animals, and books about animals. Grace spends most of her time crafting and performing in front of a mirror and she reads Harry Potter or classics like Alice in Wonderland or the dictionary (!). Olivia is athletic, Grace is, uh, not.  Olivia eats mostly vegetables, Grace prefers meat and potatoes (hmmm. I think Grace is MY twin). Olivia listens Pink and ABBA and  Hammerbox (don't worry if you've never heard of them-they were around briefly in the Seattle grunge-era), Grace loves Lady Gaga and Lady Gaga. Olivia is a slob, leaving a trail of clothes and trash wherever she goes. Grace is neat and orderly. Olivia would wear the same ratty Corn Palace t-shirt and too-short corduroy pants every day if I let her. I don't think Grace has worn the same outfit more than once in her life--she switches things out because she thinks people will remember that she wore her black jeggings with her white sparkle top three weeks ago.

That's not to say they aren't tight. Their teachers tell us that they are rarely apart at recess and they hug whenever they see each other at lunch or in the halls.  At home they like to be in the same room with each other, if not necessarily doing the same thing. Anyway, I do have a point to all this. Friday is Twins Day at their school.  They've decided to be twins with each other (a first, actually-usually they pick a friend), and they don't have even one matching article of clothing. I had to go to Target this morning to buy them each the same shirt, and I'm positive it will be the only time they ever wear the shirts on the same day. They want me to do their hair the same, too. How am I supposed to make Olivia's 'Medusa' waist-length curly hair look like Grace's shoulder length straight hair? Keeping in mind that Olivia HATES to have her hair done unless it's super-tight Laura Ingalls braids (and if they aren't tight enough, I have to do them over).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

National Aquarium

The images coming out of Japan are terrible. Americans who want to help can go to and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.

To take a break from the horrible news of the earthquake, we took the kids to the National Aquarium in Baltimore today.  Now, I confess, I generally compare everything to Seattle, because Seattle rules, the end. And the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle kicks the National Zoo's ass around the block and back, while wearing shorts in the rain with sunglasses but no umbrella. Ahem.

Anyway, the National Aquarium is beautiful.  The Seattle Aquarium is basically a dump in comparison. Although I'm not sure if we'll be back before we get sent overseas (NO, WE DON'T KNOW YET), we bought the annual family membership. You know you've been breeding too heavily if it's cheaper to buy a membership than pay for one day's admission for your family.  Who would have thought a full moon and a little champagne would double our number of kids and require us to buy memberships to everything and two hotel rooms wherever we go?

There was a pretty great dolphin show. We were one row away from getting splashed, but I had Grace sit on my lap to protect myself just in case, because I'm an awesome mom. Hey, my hair is hard enough to deal with on the east coast without a bunch of damn dolphins messing it up.

It would have been a perfect day but for one incident. On our way into the exhibits, we saw a sweet little boy who had obviously had some serious facial and head trauma. After seeing this little guy, Henry was ruined for the rest of the day. He was wiping tears on his sleeve for about an hour, until the dolphin show. He cheered up during the show, but unfortunately, he ran into the kid on our way out. This caused him to just lose it and I had to take him out of the Aquarium. We hung out in a nearby restaurant while Mitch took the other kids to finish looking at the exhibits. I should have swapped with him because Mitch is the philosopher in the family and generally always says the right thing. Henry wanted to know why life is so unfair and why a little kid should have to endure so much. I told him the best thing he could do for that little boy is treat him the way he would want to be treated, and likely, that is just like he was everybody else. My words didn't help much. We hung out and snacked a little while we waited, but Henry was pretty much ruined for the day, and when we got back home he had a total meltdown. One of the posts that is a very high possibility for us is in India. Thank Gah, because my sensitive little guy won't have any problems dealing with inhumanity there.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sunshine Family

About 10 years ago I ordered a set of Sunshine family dolls off of eBay. When I was a little girl, the Sunshine Family was my LIFE.  They were hippie dolls from the late 60s /early 70s. The mom wore little Birkenstok sandals and had regular body proportions and flat feet just like real people. They had a country store, a house, and a farm with a cow that "produced" milk (water) and a chicken that laid little plastic eggs. The sets came with little booklets that taught you how to make furniture for them out of tissue boxes and cardboard toilet paper holders. So, so awesome. There was a grandma and grandpa, too. Several years ago, I got the whole set on eBay in mint condition, with the little plastic bands still wrapped around their heads. They weren't cheap, but I was so happy to have them again, at the ripe old age of 30 or so. When Olivia was a toddler, she got a hold of one of the babies from the set and ate it's eye. That's when I put them in a glass box. That hasn't stopped my girls from coveting the dolls, though.

Lately, my girls' favorite pastime is playing "Red Carpet" with their Barbies. They videotape the Barbies in their various skanky outfits, posing as an interviewer and talking about their outfits and who designed them. I've tried to buy/make Barbie clothes don't look like they came from "HookersRUs", but they of course love those sparkly tramp dresses best. Now, I love a Red Carpet show as much as the next person, but it kind of grosses me out that my seven year-old daughters are playing it with their dolls.

So, here's my dilemma. Do I take the beloved dolls from my past and give them to the girls in hopes of more wholesome play? I'm kind of feeling like I'll get more enjoyment seeing my girls play with them than I do from just seeing them in a box. On the other hand, the girls will probably re-dress the mom and grandma in hooker suits as soon as I hand them over. I refuse to tell the girls they have to keep the hippie clothes on the dolls. I try to never suggest how they play with their toys as long as beating each other with them isn't involved.

Speaking of beating, Jack asked me to phone Henry's doctor and ask when he can start clobbering him again. So sweet that he's concerned, isn't it?

The dolls have been lovingly passed on.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sliced and Diced

Yesterday, at the crack of dawn and with no food in our bellies (one doctor-ordered, one nerve-induced), I took Henry to have a very large birthmark/mole thingie surgically removed. We checked in to the surgery center and had a little meeting with the plastic surgeon, followed by a pill to calm the nerves and relax before the surgery.  I then asked if there would full sedation along with the pill and they shook their heads, a little sadly if you ask me, and said, "Sedation is only for your child, we aren't authorized to administer anesthesia to parents."  Jerks!

We got to the pediatric pre-op area where we were to wait for about 45 minutes and there was a toddler behind a curtain screaming. And screaming.  And screaming. And screaming. "Can you just go ahead and give me the gas now?" Henry pleaded with the nurse.

Everything went really well, I held his little hand while they gave him the gas and he was asleep in about four seconds. I went to the waiting room and they called me back when he was done. Recovery was a little rocky, but he DID NOT BARF.  Woot! He was pretty sore and woozy last night, but woke up this morning raring to go, so I let him make his own breakfast. This turned out to be a mistake.  Apparently, there's a reason he's not supposed to move much for the next week. I won't say what happened, but the word "oozing" comes to mind.

Jack is home from school sick today, so he's been helpful in keeping Henry still by playing video games with him. It's a hardship, I know. One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that, unlike when the girls are home sick, we won't be watching Pride and Prejudice (BBC version) or Little House on the Prairie.  Dang.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


3:15 pm, fresh off the school bus:

Grace: Olivia met the kid that's been pulling my hair today.  And not in a good way.

Me:  {sighs} Olivia, did you get in a fight at school today?

Olivia: {grins}

Grace: It wasn't HER fault. [kid's name] pushed me in the back when we were walking to the bus and Olivia whipped around and pushed him back so fast he didn't know what hit him. And then she gave him the evil eye and he pushed her and she pushed him four times.

Kate: {sighs} Where were the teachers during all this?

Olivia: Oh, they didn't see me. I'm too good for that.

Kate: {sighs}