lazy weekend

we're having a lazy weekend....
last night we took the girls to California Pizza Kitchen (big mistake first of all b/c Izzy took a bad nap and therefore was in a frighteningly bad mood) for dinner. they proceeded to jump on the booth seats and whine and cry because i wouldn't let them out of the booth. i used to let them run around, but my mother gave me such awful looks about it when she was last in town that i have now resorted to bribing my children with Starburst candy to remain in their seats. believe me, i have tried everything else. candy works. horrible mother am i, but at least i no longer let my children run rampant in restaurants. i will, however, say that we only take our children to kid-friendly establishments to eat. it's not like we're at Ruth's Chris with our kids going ape shit.

this morning i took them to the pool and MaMa (Dan's step mom, Susan) met me there to help out. abby jumped in off the side (as usual), and izzy's horrid mood continued and she clung to susan and me the entire time. when her lips turned blue from lack of activity we decided to pack it in and head home. we attempted to use the big girl potty at the pool before swimming (b/c we are working on potty training and eventually we will have to succumb to public restrooms, much to my chagrin----i do not like the idea of my kids using them b/c they love to touch/explore everything wherever we go). both girls sat on the potty, but there was no action. abby almost fell in. i don't know how we'll do this once they really are potty trained b/c the toilets are so large and abby in particular is so small.

yesterday afternoon we wore panties around the house (my plan is to wear training pants/panties at home and when they are awake, and diapers when we leave or are sleeping---but i don't know if this is too confusing?) and had 3 accidents in about 45 minutes. abby had 2 and izzy had one. i was very nice about it, but i was not happy. especially since one of the accidents was poop. oy. we have several potty books we are keeping in their bathroom and we read them when we're in there. the best i can do for now is to just make a regular routine out of trying and hope that they will get it soon. they have to be potty trained in order to start preschool when they turn 3 (in December, so we have 6 months to get it done)....

i am still jogging. still only 2 miles a day, but it's better than nothing (i plan to work my way up in the next few weeks once i am better adjusted to the routine). the odd thing is i'm gaining weight. a friend told me that this is because muscle weighs more than fat. i hope this is what it is. she also suggested i get a tape measure to measure myself (waist, hips, thighs, etc.) and do it every so often to monitor my progress. probably a good idea. i am also going to check out a double jog stroller i found on craig's list this afternoon once the girls wake up. this will be good for short jaunts to the park, maybe even the grocery---and i can be more green that way if the girls will tolerate it. problem with toddlers is, they are mobile and they don't like being tied down to things---things like car seats, strollers, etc....
we'll see. but at least if i can reward them with a trip to the park they can hopefully agree to sit in the stroller for a few minutes in order to get there.

yawn. i'm tired.



by Adrienne Rich (1987)

If you have taken this rubble for my past
raking through it for fragments you could sell
know that I long ago moved on
deeper into the heart of the matter

If you think you can grasp me, think again:
my story flows in more than one direction
a delta springing from the riverbed
with its five fingers spread


pet peeve du jour

ok, so it really irritates me when.....

people run their sprinklers the morning after a deluge, kinda like the one we had last night....3+ inches....wtf?!?!?! i know we can't all be super green and perfect, but the least we can do is conserve some water after mother nature has blessed us. geez.

took the girls to the pool today with our sitter and abby was like a little mermaid. she kept jumping in off the side and telling C, "NO! NO! I DO IT MYSELF!" (meaning she didn't want C to catch her when she jumped in) apparently my children will not realize for some time that they cannot swim on their own yet. when they were in the tub the other night, abby all of a sudden said, "I so pretty, Mommy." I laughed and laughed, and then she said, "Izzy pretty, too!" love it.

tomorrow we are having a play date and picnic at the park, and my GNO (girls' night out) is tomorrow night. dan will be out w/ his friends as well, so i got a sitter. i can't wait!

a paper i wrote...(another lost & found)

this is from a paper i wrote in high school, but i revamped it a bit for another class in college...it's a little rough, so beware....

My Autobiography

I spent the summer of 1993 in Leesville, Louisiana, working as a counselor at a camp for both mentally and physically handicapped children. I can't recall ever wanting anything so badly as I did this job; I love kids---their vitality, their personalities, and their zest for life. So I was more than willing to devote three months of my time to these hundreds of campers.

From the moment I stepped onto the camp grounds that June, I was excited, energized, and ready to work. Even as the sultry summer sun beat down, I was exuberant. The first four days were spent beautifying the facilities and learning about what to expect from our campers. We learned CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver; we practiced the basics of sign language and discussed potential problems we might encounter. Nevertheless, this so-called "orientation" in no way adequately prepared me for what was to come.

The first campers came six days after my arrival; these were the mentally retarded children. These were the ones who will remain forever in my heart. Most couldn't do anything for themselves---the simplest tasks, like bathing and brushing their teeth, were unmanageable. That very first week I had a particularly challenging camper named Katie, who was 13 years old, but mentally the age of five. She could feed herself, but that was the extent of her abilities. I had the tremendous task of bathing the little girl. She seemed to fragile, so frail--like a baby bird. From the second her feet touched the tepid water, she began to scream. Loud, piercing shrieks that echoes through the entire building and cut my heart like a sleek shining knife. The tears slipped down her cheeks and she looked at me with intense fear in her glassy eyes. She gripped my arm tightly and whispered so I could scarcely hear, "Are you going to drown me?" My fellow counselor, Tina, turned to me and quietly explained, "At home her parents used to hold her head under the water so that she wasn't able to breathe. They hit her, and she was sexually abused, too." My mouth fell open. I looked back at Katie and I just felt sick.

Over the next 30 minutes I made several futile attempts to calm her but she wasn't all there. I said softly, "Katie, I'm not going to hurt you....you just need a bath so you'll be nice and clean." Realizing my words had no effect on her, I broke off. She took advantage of my silence to repeatedly ask the same question she had before: "Are you going to drown me?" No matter how often I tried to explain, she just couldn't comprehend.

By the time Katie's bath was complete, it was almost 10 p.m. Having been up with the kids since 6:15 a.m., I was beyond exhaustion. I helped her to bed and prepared to leave because I did not have bunkhouse duty that night; in other words, as soon as I had completed the arduous task of bathing and dressing my campers, I was free to relax and go to our nightly meeting. I kissed her soft cheek as she wrapped her long, bony arms around my neck. "I love you," she said. I melted. I slowly extracted myself from her embrace and turned to leave. Then, "Erin!" she yelped, "I can't sleep." My eyes welled up and the room became nothing but a blur of blackness and bunk beds. Then I thought about how she must've felt, being away from home, surrounded by strangers. She asked, "Will you rub my back so I can fall asleep?" A sharp sob caught in my throat. I was so tired, and the need for sleep was tugging at my sleeve. But she had a need too, and kids always come first. I began to scratch her back and she wouldn't stop mumbling. That night, in the dank darkness of the bunkhouse, I cried. I cried for myself, I cried for Katie. The air reeked of disinfectant and urine, and I wanted to vomit. My leg muscles began to ache because I was balancing precariously to reach Katie on her top bunk. Kids were tossing and turning on their plastic-covered mattresses and the noise filled my ears with an unusual irritation. I could barely hold back the tornado of emotions that was threatening to escape and devastate me.

I stood there like that, there in between the bunk beds, for nearly two hours---doing nothing but scratching her back. Each of three times I'd tried to tiptoe away, Katie would lift up her head and ask me not to leave yet. I couldn't bear it. The tears began to run in rivets down my cheeks; I wanted to go home, to get out of this place. I stumbled out of the bunkhouse only after I was sure Katie was finally asleep. By that time it was well after midnight and I thought about how much longer I would be awake. We still had to clean up the lounge and have our meeting, and I desperately needed a shower. It was going to be another long night.

In my state of severe emotional stress, I went to the phone and sobbed out my frustrations to my mother, over 350 miles away. During my conversation with her I decided to remain at camp for three full weeks. Figuring that 21 days was an appropriate amount of time to make up my mind, I felt better.

Over the next two weeks nothing really changed. Although I loved the kids and the friends I'd made, I couldn't take it anymore. By the time I left Lions Camp, I was too tired to cry. My mom picked me up exactly three weeks after my arrival. That week's campers had just left and the counselors were talking in the dining hall. I walked in with my suitcase and everyone stared at me. I nervously scanned the room, waited for silence, then took a deep breath. "I'm sorry," I sputtered hesitantly as the tears once again began to roll. "I thought I could do it, but I guess I was wrong. I tried, I really did....but I can't go on like this and I am sorry. Thank you all for being there for me. I just wish I could stay to be there for you." I stopped and stood there, waiting. Waiting for anything---a nod, a wave, a shrug. Waiting for a dismissal of some sort. My heart started pounding as my friend Dustin shouted, "Group hug!" About 35 counselors formed a circle around me and sang, "We love you Erin, oh yes we do..." When that was over, I said, "Thank you, I love you, too." I turned and slowly walked to the car with a heavy heart. I took one last look at the camp before I slumped down in my seat and closed my eyes.

lost & found....

so i was rooting around in my basement just now and found some things....the first is a copy of the "Six Grade Times." i say this with oozing sarcasm, because although we were 11 when we did this, the co-editors of the newspaper apparently missed the most glaring typo---the title of their own work. egads!!! looking back, it seems to me even an 11 year-old should know it should read "Sixth Grade Times." suffice it to say that the editors were chosen not by merit, but instead by popularity. had the nerds been selected for the job, my name would have been in bold print just underneath the grammatically correct title.

even funnier is the topic i was assigned. well, i can't honestly remember if it was assigned or i chose it. i am leaning towards the former. i was in charge of the Top Ten Hits. There is no date on this paper, but this was sometime during sixth grade, which meant i was 11 years old, which means it was 1987-1988...

The top ten hits were (and i remember doing this by listening to Casey Casum on a Sunday morning):

10. "Anything For You" by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
9. "Some Kind of Lover" by Jody Watley
8. "Angel" by Aerosmith
7. "Rock It To You" by The Jets
6. "Girlfriend" by Pebbles
5. "Wishing Well" by Terence Trent D'Arby
4. "Man In The Mirror" by Michael Jackson
3. "Devil Inside" by INXS
2. "Where Do Broken Hears Go" by Whitney Houston
1. "Get Out of My Dreams and Into My Car" by Billy Ocean

another section (not mine) talks about fashion. according to the Six Grade Times (lol), the top name brands in the fashion industry are : Guess, Girbaud, Outback Red, Bennetton, Forenza, Gap, and Units. You should also know that short-shorts are coming back, while jams (remember those? i confess i had a pair, yikes!) are out.

wow, what a blast from the past! i shall post another lost & found item momentarily.


Jon & Kate Plus 8


Kate Gosselin is my idol. I truly worship her. I don't know how she does it. She is a phenomenal woman.

If you haven't ever seen this, you need to set your DVR now. yesterday.

You won't regret it.


Here's a photo taken by Rhonda G. of Christy on her wedding day. Isn't she beautiful?!?! I am so happy for her and Bret. Christy, thanks for allowing me to share in your special day!!!


Today is one week since I began exercising. I skipped Sunday, and decided to allow myself one day off per week....I feel so fabulous when I'm done. I wish I could bottle up that feeling and dip into it whenever I need it. Or that I could sell it---"here, have a swig of this Awesome, Sweaty Self-Esteem Juice!" I'm not seeing any results yet, but I feel them. My tush is definitely getting more toned, which is nice. I'd like to have less junk in my trunk, so to speak. The scale registers the same digits, however. But I'm not discouraged. Well, maybe just a tiny bit. Everyone knows I'm not a particularly patient person.

We took the girls to the pool on Sunday. It was our first time swimming since last October when we were in New Orleans. They were a little timid at first, but by the time we left, both girls were jumping in off the side of the pool. Barely even waiting for us to count to three, and occasionally not really even holding our hands. This is HUGE. We have friends whose kids are afraid of the water. So I'm very proud of them and I love seeing those tiny tushes in their cute little ruffled swimsuits. I pointed out some older kids who were taking turns jumping off the diving board. Abby took a real interest in them, and every time after one of them splashed into the pool, her eyes would light up, she'd start clapping, and yell, "YAY, big boy!" or "Yay, big girl!" Very cute. Izzy wanted to swim on her own and didn't seem to understand that she didn't know how, or what the consequences would be if we let go of her. I'm thrilled she's wanting to do it, though.

We'll be working more on potty training this summer. Yesterday we put on some training pants and went outside (the best place to be if there's a mess) to walk Monster. Abby pee peed while we were down the block. All of a sudden I saw a puddle on the sidewalk, and she exclaimed, "Wet, Mommy!" And I'm all, I guess we have to go home now. So I cleaned her up and changed her clothes (including her tennis shoes, which took the brunt of her bladder's contents) when we got back. Later in the afternoon we were back outside playing and Izzy decided to take off her pants and pee on the driveway. "Look, Mommy. Izzy's pee pee." Lovely. Abby continues to use the potty several times a day, but still pees in her panties. I am trying to be patient and remind myself that these things take time. I'm not going to force it, but at 2 1/2, I think it's really time to get going on this. Nighttime is a different story, but during the day, I think is easier for them and I have expectations. I'd like to set a tentative goal of mostly potty trained by summer's end. We'll see.


our trip to the KC zoo, etc.

We caught the sea lion show upon our arrival, and it was fantastic! The kids got to see them really close up (this guy was right on the other side of the gate, within touching distance).

Here are some cute lil' warthogs. Wonder if they know Pumba? The kids weren't crazy about them because they barely moved and were therefore not too exciting.

now THIS is what i call a turtle.....

All of our kids love holding hands:
Lucy (the redhead) is first, followed by abby, lola, brandon, and ben. so 3 sets of twins together at the zoo. obviously izzy is missing from the photo. this is because she refused to hold hands. hag.

I got my workout on this day by mostly pushing my 2 almost 30-pound daughters in their double stroller (and a large bag of diapers, wipes, bottled water, snacks, etc.) all over the zoo and often times uphill. Needless to say I was a disgusting sweaty mess by the time we left. I thought the morning zoo trip would wear them out and they'd take luxuriously long naps, but no such luck. They napped even less than usual. Oh well!

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