Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Mommy, I think it was the best day I've ever had."

I almost want to cry remembering her say those words, with her sweet little face looking up at me from her bed as I kissed her goodnight.

The story is probably going to sound mildly shallow, but only to those who don't know my oldest child and our family.  You see, Ainsley just got to go to her first American Girl store and for her it was better than Disney World (and yes, she's been there).

She loves her dolls.  (This I don't get because I never played with dolls). She earned her dolls.  And I'm not intending to sound prideful when I say she paid for half of her first one and all of her second.  The fact of the matter was that she wanted them when there weren't any birthdays or Christmases on the horizon and that's how it had to play out.  But the important part is that they are dear to her and she has devoured nearly every book (at least twice).  So when a store opened up in our part of the universe several months back, I knew she would love to go.  Our world is a little crazy-busy, so an opportunity didn't present itself until a couple days ago when John was off work and could hang out with the rest of the wee ones.

So she planned and planned and changed their outfits a few times and smiled and smiled and could hardly contain herself all morning.  It was almost like she was nervous.  The trip to the store was part of a Christmas gift from my mom, so we picked up Mimi on our way. 

I don't believe the child stopped smiling the nearly two (!) hours we were there, and we did it all: the hair salon, the cafe, the browsing, and the picking out of an outfit thanks to a gift-card from a very sweet school friend.  Ainsley is well known for her indecisiveness, so my mom and I were well-prepared for the stay.

What I wasn't prepared for was how I would feel about it.  We all love our children and naturally want them to be happy, so when we see them (or at least when I see mine) over-the-top thrilled I get a little teary, especially when it is for something so simple.  And I know it sounds silly to say because we were at a store, for crying-out-loud, but it is Ainsley and she isn't a demanding child, and hardly spoiled, and it was a very, very special trip for her.  I wish I had more pictures, but she was so serious and so focused on every little detail of the store that I could barely get her attention.  She would occasionally stop in her wanderings and whisper in my ear "Mommy, there is just so much here.", or "Mommy, I just can't believe it".  And I would smile and want to pick her up and snuggle the daylights out of her.

And while we were sitting in the cafe having our dessert (thank you so very much for the treat, Mom!), it was hard to keep my mind from wandering to someone who would have loved to be there as much as my little girl.  John's mom also loved dolls and loved Ainsley and would have equally loved to be there with us. But she can't because she is no longer with us and it was hard.  Very hard.  She is missed every day, but especially on days like this one when she would have been just as in awe of the store as her granddaughter and just as excited to be there.  She had wanted so badly to take Ainsley to Chicago someday to visit The Store, but life and sickness changed everyone's plans and dreams and so there we were, with one less in our party than there ought to have been.  Oh, how I wish it was different.

But everything else about the outing was perfectly perfect, from the girl who thought the Hermoine costume on Ainsley's doll was "so cool!" (cue lots of smiling from my baby), to the server who (of course) knew we had "McKenna" sitting at the table with us, to the hairdresser who spent loads of time teaching Ainsley how to care for her doll's hair.  It was lovely.

So thank you, Mimi, for so generously treating us at the Cafe' and some "hair accessories".  Thank you, Nancy, for passing on a love for dolls and understanding more than I ever will how much little girls love them.  And thank you, Ainsley, for sharing and demonstrating child-like wonderment to this tired momma.  I forget what that's like sometimes.  Well, a lot of times.  Thank you for reminding me to stop rushing around so much and just stand and stare in awe and smile at what I have been so generously been given.   I love you, sweet girl.

Friday, December 28, 2012


I tend to favor ugly shoes.  The uglier and comfier, the more I love them and even get silly-attached.  I've owned this particularly unattractive pair for about 10, 11, 12 (?) years and I can't imagine how many miles they own.

I was at my mom's a couple weeks ago - once again wearing these bad boys - when I realized something felt funny when I walked.  Felt sort of...floppy, or "ploppy", as the trips like to say. Then it dawned on me that it had been like that for a few days and, when I checked out my shoes I noticed this:

They're both like that.  How embarrassing. I'm 42 years old and who knows how long I've been strolling around with irreparably broken shoes.  And you know what's even more mortifying?  I'm still wearing them.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!

I try to have extra cash around during the holidays because the kids need to start loving to help others out, even when it might be the last little bit you have on your person. They had been fascinated by this gentleman on the way in to Sam's because he was singing carols at the top of his voice our entire way in, so they were extra-excited to donate on the way out.  And their gifting was rewarded.  Not only was he still singing, but he started handing out bells like crazy (Annie had one but declined to get in the photo) and had the kids join in on Jingle Bells.  I think Johnny would have stayed all day and the girls were beside themselves with singing their hearts out and ringing so everyone could hear.

It was about the coolest thing that's happened to them in a long time.  So Merry Christmas and Thank You, Mr. Salvation Army ringer.  You made our day.  You probably made our week.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Huge Waste Of My Time

If this pic is unclear, let the words "Fat-Free Half & Half" scream at you from the carton.  My coffee accepts only full-fat half & half, or heavy cream or anything else normal like that.  Anything else is just a waste of calories and time and money.  And don't let that picture on the front fool you; an entire cup of this stuff can be dumped in a perfectly lovely cuppa joe and the flavor and consistency are barely changed. I exaggerate, but not by much.

How I ended up with Fat Free nastiness instead of what is used to make things right in the mornings at Chez Laird is beyond me.  But I'm frugal and can't throw anything away, so now I'm Miss Grumpy McGrumbly in the a.m. because I'm forced to ruin my wakey-wake-happy juice.

Next time I'm at the grocery I'll have to pick up a pint of heavy cream to make it right.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Probably Only Funny To Me

I've been running for 27 years.  I have a wide range of racing mileages under my belt. This is, by far, the most hilarious running sticker I have ever seen. Ever.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Things To Fling - December

1. Turning 42.  This one hit me hard. But my actual birthDAY was lovely because John took the day off work and we briefly luxuriated in 2-parent parenting on a non-weekend day.

2. Carpool.  I just hate it.  And the newbies and G-parents picking up are beyond frustrating.  Also the woman who insists, every day, on driving past all of us rules-followers and weaseling in some random way to pick up her kid before everyone else.  Ballsy, but reprehensible.

3. The Triplet Tummy.  It's buggin' the tar out of me lately. It's driven by vanity, but I'm allowing myself a few days of self-pity.  I'll get over it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


1. I think How To Train Your Dragon may make my Top 10 list for favorite movies.

2. It's been hard to post. I have lots of drafts.  And they're all lame.  This one is even lamer.

3.  In my last email from the school district there were dates listed for "Kindergarten Registration" and "Kindergarten Tours".  I got shockingly weepy.

4. My sweet Boy starts talking the second  his eyes pop open and does not stop until they close.  It's maddening, but I dread the day it ends.

5. Our new neighbor's dog barks a lot.  Thankfully they are very nice (and have some pink Christmas lights which the girls think is fabulous), but I think it's funny that even Annie yells out "No No!" when he starts up. 

6. It's been a rough year.  Not horrible, and I almost feel guilty writing that because I know people who actually have rough years and I should be extraordinarily thankful for mine.  

7. I needed to be about 10 years younger when we had Annie. Wow, that kid wears me out.  But she is drop. dead. hilarious and knows it.

8. I'm in the mood to launch something into oblivion.  How's that for the holiday spirit? :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Yes, That Was Me

running in the November rain with a little-ish puppy at 9:15 tonight.  And why was I subjecting myself to the elements? Because THE PUPPY decided it would be fun to jump up on a dining room chair and put her precious little furry paws on. my. table.

That is unacceptable.

Obviously she had some extra energy, because tired dogs are good dogs.  She was not being good, so she bought herself an instant ticket to Run Till I Say Stopville.  The kids regularly visit the sister-city of That's It, We're Going Outside Nowtown.

But Penelope was game and ran for about 1 1/2 at a pretty good clip.  And now she's tired.  And good.

And that makes me happy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Potty Words, Part III

Golly, we're obsessed with these lately!

Annie was repeating "p" over and over and over again, mostly because she was getting a reaction out of Lizzy (shocker).  Of course Lizzy tattled, blah, blah, blah.  This happens every day.

But then the conversation got interesting because Lizzy, very seriously said:

"Mommy.  Aunt Trish said a potty word."

I confess.  I have a problem with swearing and yes, it is unattractive and ugly and we are not supposed to do it and I really do feel terrible about it but - to my credit - it is now mostly kept in my head.  Mostly.  95% of the time.  Okay, 90% of the time, but never in front of the kids. Not even "crap".  I don't allow them to say "butt" and I don't even like "bootie".  I feel guilty if I say "dang it!", even when it's 100% legitimate. Example: I think it's okay to say "dang it!"  when the dog has squeezed through the fence for the 300th time in 10 minutes.  And I'm trying to teach Lizzy how to ride a bike.  And Annie, who is terribly impressed with herself now that she can ride a tricycle, wants to try on everyone else's helmets (which requires help), and Gracie accidentally has dirt flung on her and is freaking, and there are 68 other emergencies going on simultaneously.  And there goes the dang dog again! But I said it, loudly, and felt badly because I don't let my children say it.

I digress.

My sister, "Aunt Trish", is pretty much the same.  Tries very, very hard not to swear in front of the kids, but sometimes children sneak up on conversations and, well, there you have it.

So I was inwardly laughing because who knows what Lizzy was talking about, and we had just seen my sister + crew a few days earlier.

Me: "Soooo...what did Aunt Trish say? Exactly?"

Lizzy: "Mommy, she said 'pee'.  She said 'peed in my pants'".

Me: "Lizzy, did she say 'I was laughing so hard I peed in my pants'"?  (this is a Trish-ism)

Lizzy: Yes.

Me:  "It's okay that Aunt Trish said that.  She didn't do anything wrong.  I just don't want to hear you say that to someone, or find out you said that to someone. Okay?"

Lizzy: Okay.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Puppies and Kids: Lessons Learned

Kids are more hyper than puppies.  At least mine are.

Kids like to run from puppies, who like to chase kids.

Kids do not nip at puppies, but puppies nip at kids, especially ones who think it is hilarious to run from puppies in order to be chased.

Puppies should wear diapers for the first few weeks.

Boys really, really, really want to hug and hold and carry around and squeeze puppies and puppies really, really really do not like that.  At least our puppy doesn't.

4 year old boys have little to no self control around puppies.

A fenced-in-yard does not necessarily mean a puppy can be contained, especially when the puppy is small enough to pop through the pickets.

Puppies have ADHD

We'll get through this, right?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Potty Words, Part II

The dog's name is Penny.  Annie (age 22 months) calls her "Pee Pee".  You can imagine how many times a day the kids, mostly Lizzy, ask her to say Penny's name.  And then laugh hysterically.  Which makes Annie say it again.  And again.

And again.

Oh, like the laundry basket on the couch?  It's there because sweet Penelope thinks it's super-fun to empty out clean, folded clothing from their temporary home.   So that makes a total 6 members of the Laird clan who think that's a good activity...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Potty Words, Part I

A couple days ago, I went to the basement to call my sweet bairn up for dinner - nothing unusual.  Two of the five pushed past me, racing to the stairs with their new battle cry "last one up is a smelly chicken!" (huh?) - again, nothing unusual.  Annie waddled as quickly as her chubby crumbgobbler legs could carry her, and was followed by Lizzy and Gracie.  Lizzy was only in her underpants - once again, not unusual - but she and Gracie had huge smiles on their faces and were walking as nonchalantly as 4-year-olds can.  As Lizzy sashayed past, I noticed a post-it note on her backside.

It was this post-it:

Conversation follows:

Me: "Hey Lizzy.  What's that on your tushie?"  (I grab the note)

Gracie:  All smiles

Lizzy: "Oh, it's a picture I drew."  (shoulder shrug, with a "not a big deal" voice)

Me: "Well, what is it?"

Gracie: Even bigger smiles, if possible.  Stifled giggles.

Lizzy: "Well...let's just call it dirt.  Because we don't want to say any potty words now, do we?"

And, too cool for school, just keeps on walking like it's not even that funny, because somehow she already knows it's even more hilarious when you act like it isn't.

Gracie:  "It's POOP Mommy!!!! Bwaahahahahahaha!"  Doubled over, laughing like crazy. 

Laughing because poop is incredibly funny, especially to little kids and grown up boys.  Laughing because this was so obviously planned and discussed and giggled and snorted about and bonded over for several minutes (at least) while there was no adult supervision to impede their fun.

And no, Lizzy.  We don't want to say potty words.  We also don't want to walk around with a post-it note stuck to our bottoms with hand drawn pictures of feces that look remarkably like jelly beans. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Am I Smarter Than A Second Grader? Not By Much.

When Ainsley told me after school that her homework was to: read for 20 minutes and "some worksheet in my homework folder", I assumed she would only need 5 minutes of my time for the worksheet (she does the reading by herself).

I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.  Because not only did she end up needing 25+ minutes of my time, she needed 25+ minutes of my atrophied brain.  And for what? What second grade level worksheet could make my life miserable at 8:10 at night?  A worksheet about physics.  I was not aware that Physics 101 was now taught to 8-year-olds and would have appreciated a heads-up so I could at least have time to get all jacked-up on caffeine and therefore think a bit more clearly.

Motion? Force? Work? Friction? Simple Machines?  And "write a sentence about them" and "draw a picture to illustrate"?

And, looking forward, I can't possibly imagine how wonderful this is going to be when we suffer through second-grade homework with The Big Three.

Good grief.

*Ainsley was great during this, by the way. No complaining, etc. I was the one with the issues. As usual.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I'm Failing To See The Problem

So. When a (my) child is throwing down an impressive tantrum in the way back part of the van and uses a double-negative, I believe it is my duty to correct her. So I did.  And my sweet, sweet husband thought it was funny.  Not in the "oh, that was so hilarious that you corrected her grammar" kind of funny, but in the "I can't believe a child was throwing a tantrum and you decided to help by correcting her grammar".  More of an incredulous laughter, than "ha ha".

I easily admit my grammar is not perfect, especially when it's midnight and I'm cranking something out for this eensy little blog thingy.  But I will be horrified if I have children who end sentences with prepositions and say things like "where is he at?", because that is completely unacceptable.

And you know, at least when I told the tantrum thrower she needed to say "I will never go!" instead of "I will not never go!", she corrected herself and then carried on.

You see, as much as I try, I can't control the tantrums.  But I would like for my children to speak clearly and properly while they're screaming at the world.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Can We Get Some More Boys Around Here?

This is the question Johnny asked his dad this past weekend.  There was a pause because John's immediate reaction was "Heck NO!". Of course he couldn't say that, especially since it wasn't "heck" that blazed through his mind.

The poor kid wants a brother in the worst way and I do feel sorry for him.  In Gracie's prayers tonight she asked God to "please help Johnny not tackle me anymore" and, while he really needs to stop tackling his sisters, he needs to tackle something and they're all he has around.

Sweet, sweet boy.  The good news is that there will be loads of brother-in-laws for him some day.  The bad news is that his sisters will have to suffer through years and years of tackling before that day comes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And This Is Lizzy

Every once-in-awhile the kids sniff that Mama's Losin' It and they take a gamble and make requests they know in their sweet-little-hearts I generally don't grant.   This time they asked to take pictures with my phone and since I was on my fourth attempt at starting dinner and needed 8 minutes of no one to trip over in my kitchen, I said Yes.

Cue: lots and lots of giggling, whispers, guffaws, and running around the house.  Was it worth the 8 minutes of uninterrupted food prep? Absolutely. 

A couple days later I was flipping through my phone pics, looking for what I now don't remember, and discovered a series of shots that Lizzy claimed were hers (verified by her siblings).  They are as follows:

Nice, eh?

Because, when one is four years old, taking pictures while getting closer and closer to the toilet is hilarious.

And if I'm honest, I think it's hilarious too.

We did have a conversation about phones and water and how they don't work well together.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Because We're Crazypants

There's a new addition in the Laird house and her name is Penny.  And we love her. Lots.

 Well, we will love her much, much more when she is 100% house trained and our sweet little chuckleheads are puppy trained. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Don't Go To Jail Daddy!!!

John was pulled over a week or so ago and The Three were with him.  When I gave him the raised eyebrows I got "Well, I was passing someone", because one really needs to go fifteen miles over the speed limit on a four-lane road in order to pass Grandma Bessie.  But that is neither here nor there and I did ask permission to document this little part of John Laird's history.

It doesn't take an imagination to think about the questions that started flying while he was slowing down and lights were flashing behind.  John was explaining to them what he had done and why the police officer was pulling him over, how Daddy had broken the law, etc, etc. 

That's when Gracie shouted the "Don't go to jail, Daddy!!!!" line. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

There's A Fire Burning In This One

Gracie is a funny kid.  She exudes a certain bravado around the house and other places where she's comfortable, but most people see a generally shy, mild mannered introvert like her oldest sibling.

Mild mannered except when there's even an eensy  weensy hint of competition in the air.  After that, it's all the Katie Bar The Doors and Whoa Nellys one can muster because Gracie likes to win.  Gracie needs to win.  And Gracie is tormented if she does not.  It can be about anything, from getting in the car first, to finishing breakfast/lunch/dinner first, to racing to the bathroom, etc, etc.  She competes even when she's the only one in the race.  And it's all or nothing with this kid; second place isn't worth her time and is the emotional equivalent to dead last.

The latest example:

Every night before bed, the kids pick books to read (duh).  Since "being fair" is hyper-important among the bairn, Lizzy and Gracie take turns every night on who gets read to first (John always reads to Johnny, so it's a non-issue with him).  Sometimes I forget whose turn it is, and sometimes they forget, but the point is that last night Gracie thought she was first in the queue and it ended up being Lizzy instead.  Instantaneous combustion.  Sobbing, hysterics, hyperventilating, screaming, etc, etc.

The funny(?) part was what she was saying, or rather what little bits we could make of the words tumbling over each other in between sobs.  Some of it was the usual "but it was my turn to be first!" and "I only like to be first! Ever!". But two morsels were the choicest, uttered in tears from my lap:

"I (sniff) Will Not (big shaky breath) Sleep All Night (sob) Because I Am So (cry) Annoyed!!"

and perhaps my all-time favorite

"My (choke) Happiness (gasp) Is (sob) Ruined!!"

Her happiness was ruined.  Golly, I love this kid.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Multiple Questions

All of us were at PetSmart a couple days ago when someone asked me the usual "are they all yours?" question (as my children were racing around like banshees).

Me: "Yes."  then:

Me: "Lizzy and Gracie!  Do NOT climb on the cat playhouses! Yes, I think it would be cool to have one our size as well."

Other Person: "Well, how many ages are they?"

Silent Me: What in the world??? Ohhh...I think I get it.

Me: "Well, the oldest is 7.   Johnny. We do NOT climb in dog crates. These three are 4, and the littlest is 1 1/2."

Other Person: "Are the 4 year olds triplets?"

Silent Me: Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.

Me: "Yeah, ummm...yes.  Yes they are."

Other Person: "But one of them is a boy!  How did that happen?" 

Me: "Well [deep breath], isn't that funny!?  God just decided to make one a boy. I suppose that happens sometimes. Sort of strange, isn't it?"

Awkward staring at each other

Me: "Hmm...okay then!  Annie?? Hey guys!!  Where is your sister?!?!"

Honestly. I get this sort of stuff all the stinkin' time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

And They Thought They Were Just Buying A House

We have new neighbors and I feel sort of sorry for them.  They obviously didn't read the fine print on the contract and missed the part where we were included in the package.  That their property wasn't completely theirs. That sound-proofing was not included. That when they go outside they will be waved at and queried about anything "Mr. M - why don't you have any hair" (true question to a neighbor) and told anything from what was eaten here for breakfast to something as interesting as the size of guinea pig poop (not joking about that one).

Anyway, they moved in last weekend and it has been rare that we have been outside and someone hasn't been crying. Loudly. Or we've been yelling at them to get inside for reasons such as "Why did you think it was a good idea to smash your sister in the car door!?!??!!?!". (Also true)

Five kids ages 7 and under means weeping and gnashing of teeth is common, but tears of this frequency and magnitude is unusual...even for us.  And I'm sure they're thrilled to be living next to Chez Laird with our bikes and trikes and shovels and hula hoops and soccer balls and sidewalk chalk strewn all over the place.  Maybe they even feel a little duped because we tried very, very hard to keep the yard in acceptable condition while the house was on the market and now they're getting us sans make-up. 

Did I mention they're newlyweds?  Yikes. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Triplet Logistics: Of Frogs and Rabbits and Cats

So far the Big Three have been in the same classroom. I had considered splitting them up this coming year until an innocent conversation about what room they would be in for pre-K started (would they be Frogs, Rabbits, or Cats and please oh pleeaase don't let the girls be Frogs.  I'm not up for that freak out). Lizzy and Gracie are adamant about staying together.  Surprisingly, Johnny wants to go alone (only for school - he's still 100% planning on moving in Ainsley's room when the girls do, which is fine).  I asked him Why? and the reason I got was "so I can have my own guy friends".  Well, okay then. I can accept that one.

The problem with the girls is, and this sounds sort of silly, there's this whole social world we haven't had to deal with yet.  Social in that, they are in the same room, a friend in their class might feel obligated to invite both girls over to play (well, the mom will) because they wouldn't want to hurt feelings if only one is left out.  Or one is generally liked and one is not. Or if they're in separate rooms and one girl makes lots of friends in her room and the other doesn't have any friends at all.  I'm definitely not looking forward to the explanations that not everyone is invited to the same birthday parties.  Because so far and with very little exception, they have been a package deal. Johnny has had a couple just-boy play dates - and as much as the girls don't care of it they get it. Other than that, they stick together and that is their normal.  Their normal is in jeopardy and that can not be a good thing.

One a random note:  John just asked if I was blogging about how awesome he is, and I said "yes".  So I have. Feel free to tell him next time you see him that you think he's awesome, too.

Aagghh! Why am I agonizing over this? (Not about John being awesome.  I am not agonizing over that.)

I'll probably let the girls be together one more year.  It's only preschool...good grief.

Monday, August 13, 2012

An Example Of The Little Things Which Make Me Happy

John and I were sitting on the comfy couch a couple nights ago (shocker), watching the Olympics (another shocker), specifically Track and Field (oh, I so heart the track rats).   I was a little stressed because it was the men's 4x100 and the USA boys are not known for getting the stick around the place without catastrophe.  My brain was already jacked up on caffeine, so I was all out of Logic and Perspective to keep my blood pressure stable.

And then something caught my eye that made me smile.  One of the Jamaican wonders had his back to the camera and his race number was all wonky.  It's hard to pin those babies on and that bitty thing, that lopsided race number, humanized one of the fastest men on the planet.

Why?  Because we can go to any road race in the country, from the New York Marathon to the local Seize the Day 5K my sister and I just did, and you'll see race numbers all askew, on everyone from the most amateur of amateurs to the men and women who clock in 100 miles/week on their legs.  My favorites are the little kids who, in their minds and wearing their crooked bib number, will be the next ones crowned the fastest on the planet.  Of course they probably won't, but while these guys are running,

They probably have a picture of these guys in their minds:

Even down to the wonky race numbers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

So Incredibly Sweet

So I'm saying prayers with Gracie tonight and she chose me as her main subject.  The prayer went as follows:

Dear God, I thank you for Mommy.  She is a great Mommy and takes good care of me.  Please help Mommy have a good shower tomorrow morning so she isn't so stinky.   Please help Mommy teach me about Jesus.  I love you God. Amen.

Hint taken.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


There's either too much going on (read: piles and piles of laundry) or I start a post (there are many) and fall asleep on the couch.  Or I just fall asleep on the couch. And then the same thing happens the following night. 

I love our couch.  The throw pillows are super squishy and scrunch to the perfect shape.  A proper throw pillow is critical for superior sleep.

Either way, something's gotta give around here because this little blog thingy needs some help.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Inmates Are Escaping!

See this little sweetums? So snuggly and cute.


See the gap in the fence?  She discovered it and it couldn't be a more perfect fit for someone just her size.

For the first time ever, the triplets tattled for something important and I quickly found her in the neighbor's yard because they have one of these:

Actually, by the time I got back there, she had shimmied up the ladder to the playhouse at the top and seemed very pleased with herself.  I, however, was NOT pleased.  You see, there are four other children in this household and not one of them explored the corners of the yard.  Of course, the littlest of our wee ones has a personality that is more like this:

Explains everything, right?

Sassy little thing. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Situation Under Control

Sweet Lizzy Lou does not care for most loud noises, specifically vacuum cleaners and thunder. And hand dryers in public restrooms. And the anticipation of hand dryers in public restrooms. "Does not care for" generally  means running and hiding somewhere until it is all over, all the while holding her fingers in her ears. Her freak-outs lessen in intensity every year, but she can hear a thunder clap from 1 Billion miles away.

Tonight we had a two-fer with tornado sirens, always popular at Chez Laird, followed by a mediocre thunderstorm. Annie was the only kid who didn't give a rip as we hung out in the hallway in the basement, but I think she was mostly excited because - after yelling at Ainsley, who had heard the sirens but didn't make the connection that action was therefore required - she had her chubby, nakie self scooped out of the bathtub and bounced down the stairs with a brief stop to grab a diaper on the way. Pretty fun in her book.

So Lizzy was already unhappy by the time the tornado issue was over and just as we were supposed to sit down to dinner, the storm arrived.  Ugh.  Suddenly she wasn't hungry and, fingers in her ears, skedaddled from the table to the couch were she snuggled under a blanket...fingers in her ears.

Then. Then!!! John, brilliant John, came up with the AHa! solution we should have figured out two years ago: earmuffs!!  The ones John is supposed to use when he's working outside to help stem the tide of hearing loss.  I don't think they're really called earmuffs...noise reducer things maybe? Well, Super Dad planted those babies on Lizzy's hyper-sensitive ears and..voila!  The pic above is a now-happy child who cheerfully left the couch and ate her dinner.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Somethin' Fierce

That's how John describes our little Annie.  He's right, of course.  She reminds me so much of Ainsley (and Gracie, for that matter) in her intensity and countenance. She's happy and laughs easily, but she is definitely not the super-cheery smiley baby who loves everyone because, well, she doesn't love everyone.

It's a good Fierce, full of as much determination and confidence as a one-year-old can possess, and it will serve her well as an adult if she can balance with Wisdom.

In the meantime, I hope her siblings learn to just stay out of her way because she literally plows right through them to reach whatever goal she's after at the moment.

Oh Annie.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oh no. Oh No! OH NO, NO, NO!!!!!


Only I didn't say fudge.  I said the Big Word.  The Queen Mother of all cuss words.

Not out loud, mind you. There are children about. But I did say it in my my mind and please pray for me about my language. Please.

And why did this happen?? It's Saturday morning and the coffee maker has broken.  And John isn't here so I can't go buy a new one RIGHT NOW.  I just put Annie down for a nap and I'm considering hauling her out of bed and throwing everyone in the car, jammies and all, to run to Walgreens, Target, the Grocery, anywhere because I'm panicking.  Surely my blood pressure is rising exponentially. 
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It Wasn't About The Race

I just realized I never documented the 1/2 I did way back in February.  It was awesome.  And difficult.

Let's start with difficult.  An injury prevented me from finishing any sort of training schedule, and the longest run I managed before the race was a 7-miler.  I really wasn't all that worried about it because I figured I could run that far on race day and then really, what's another 6.1 miles?  I had already resigned myself to not meeting any goals, so my plan was to run as long as I could and then figure out how to finish the silly thing without looking too ridiculous...but willing to look ridiculous if something super-cool happened like one of the Disney workers (or even better - a Disney Character!) took pity on me and I got some sort of magical assistance as only Disney can provide. Glass carriage? Pixie dust?

So I ran the whole thing and it wasn't that easy, but was terribly impressed with myself for finishing with a respectable time.

And awesome?  Yes Ma'am!!!  I was at Disney World, for crying out loud! Running a Princess 1/2 marathon with 20,000 other people, 16,000 of which were women, most of whom were dressed up to some degree in tutus and tiaras.  Because why the frick wouldn't one dress up?  Ugh.  All I could manage was a pink top and a huge pink bow in my hair. Not enough, folks and next time I'll be one of the crazies because they had the most fun.

But the best part could have been predicted if I hadn't been so egocentric leading up to the weekend.  You see, the only reason why I was even doing something like this was because a dear friend asked me to celebrate a big birthday with her and because her impact on my little world was so profound I said yes.  I said yes, even though of the 17 women who met up for Debbie's Birthday Bash, I only knew four of them and that included the hostess.  But when the hostess is a woman of great faith who has gathered other women from all chapters of her incredible life, the results are astounding and I should have known it would be that way.  Every Friend Of Debbie was universally and uniquely of unbelievable character and talent and depth and it was humbling and an honor to meet them.

Therefore, it was also an ginormous kick in the tuckus that I need to step out of the bubble I have inadvertently created and try to think beyond myself every once-in-awhile.  Granted, it's hard to live outside of the moment around here with my five wee ones running amok, but there is a lot of hurt and need beyond the boundary of my yard and an effort should be made. 

So there.  I expect everyone who knows me in real life to challenge me a little on this.  Just a little, though.

Happy Birthday, Debbie.  Thank you for inviting me to your party.
Debbie's Princesses.  She's the one with the 13.1 sign.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sam's Club Part II

After my annoying encounter at the check-out, I made it all the way to the car and had the kids in (but not buckled) when I realized I couldn't find my phone.  I could. not. find. my. phone.  I had a crap load of hungry kids who had just been very patient on an excursion and now I was going to have to unload them from the car to head back inside to retrace our cat-herding steps, and then certainly stand in a hysterically dull line at the service counter.

Enter Becky K from The Blue Hutch!  I spied her in the parking lot, started shouting and waving my arms like the lunatic that I am, and caught her attention.  She was absolutely LOVELY and stayed with the kiddos at the car so I could race in for a fruitless search for my phone.  Yes.  Fruitless.  I thought I was going to throw up.

I returned, shoulders slumped, to the car.  After thanking Miss Becky who had delighted my kids (they talked about her incessantly for the next hour), I resigned myself to buckling them in and starting the drive home. 

But then. Then!  As I was wrangling with the five-point on Lizzy and digging out some of the junk she manages to store in her seat during a regular car ride, I felt something plastic-y and familiar.  No.  No Stinkin' WAY!  My lovely child with the most beautiful brown eyes I've ever seen had been SITTING on my phone for the better part of 20 minutes - her little tushie encountering "silent mode" over and over again as I called and called it - and didn't say a single word.  I almost crumbled.  Any of the other kids would have told me.  Even Annie would have looked up, then wriggled around trying to figure out what causing the rumble in her trunk.

But Lizzy?  No way.  In fact, she said "Your phone was making my hiney jiggle!". And laughed. 

Sweet Lizzy Lou.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jury Duty

After 41 years in this sweet city, I received my first summons.  A part of me truly is crazy-hyper-strongly pro-civic duty, I live in a democracy and this responsibility is part of the privileges we have as citizens of our great country, etc, etc.  A more current, bigger part of me is the mother of 5 kids, ages 7 and under, who instantaneously became annoyed when I only looked at the envelope and was already figuring out the logistics necessary to make this work. Seriously.  I opened the mailbox, did the quick flip of the mail to see if anything interesting (ice cream coupon?) was there, saw the envelope, and within a microsecond launched into irritable planning mode.

Attitude adjustment necessary.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Are You Catholic?

Well.  Of all the ridiculous comments I've received while out with the kids, this one is new and probably the most obnoxious and offensive.

Let's back up.  I was unfortunately at Sam's Club yesterday.  Unfortunate because the place makes me crazy, but I keep returning because milk is nearly $1 cheaper than the grocery store and - what with us barreling through 8+ gallons/week - you can see why we go.

So there I was in the checkout, with 4 gallons of milk and some strawberries, surrounded by kids (and they were being very good), when this not-so-young man turns to me, surveys the brood, and asks me if I'm Catholic.  I immediately knew what he was implying - my Idiot Radar is fine tuned - gave him the hairy eyeball and my very best smirk and said "No Sir.  I am not".  To which he replied "Well, I thought only Catholics had that many kids.  God help you".

So I said "Well He does, thank you very much" and turned away.

For. Real.

John and I are pretty used to the comments and staring and I'm sure we do look a little odd when we're at the grocery or Target.  I'm talking and gathering and regroup the entire time, and the kids are actually pretty good when we're out of the house, but the constant movement and noise gives us the appearance of a beehive. And I have to admit, when I see other biggish families when I'm out, the first thing that pops in my wee little head is "Wow - that's a big family! Looks sort of weird".  So I'm aware we could be a bit of an oddity. But really not that odd.  There are lots of families out there with more kids.

But beside the ignorant stereotyping from this guy, the thing that bothers me most is that these strangers have no qualms about asking me ridiculous questions or making equally ridiculous comments with my children present.  My children who - for the most part - do not have auditory issues. My kids were all staring at this guy and who knows what they were thinking?

And what almost made it worse for them (but better for me) is that the cashier barely waited until the man was out of earshot when She.Went.Off. with the "Who does he think he is?!! Did you hear what he said to you?!!? You can have as many kids as you want and as long as you take care of them (I thought the "take care of them" part was funny) it's no one's business!  Do you hear me??!?".  I laughed and told her I was used to it, all the while thinking about how my kids think their world is normal - bless their little hearts! - and here, at Sam's, they hear from strangers that we aren't.  It happens all the time.

Good grief.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Biggish Family Logistics - Not Funny At All

Tornado sirens exploded in the middle-of-the-night a while back, launching John and I out of bed.  Surely a false alarm, right? Right?  Late Spring.  That's when sirens are supposed to go off.  It is not Late Spring.  It is Winter = no tornadoes.

John ran downstairs to check the radar while I paused to assess the "feel" of things.  Lots of wind, some rain, what the heck?  The warnings just kept going and when I heard an actual forecaster talking at us on television - which meant SOMETHING was going on - I launched into tornado mode. This means grab the kids and head for the basement.  Easy, right? No. Not easy because there are five kids.  Five LITTLE kids who may not be able to get themselves downstairs briskly enough for my liking, because tornadoes don't wait until everyone is in the safest spot possible before they continue on their course.

So there I was, my arms full with Annie and a maglite, directing Ainsley to head downstairs, when I headed over to the Trips' room where Lizzy (thankfully) was already out of bed.  I sent her on her way, and then I paused.  Gracie and Johnny were lights-out.  Who to grab? I can't do both because of Annie.  Would one listen and immediately follow orders so I can haul the other?

And that is what I freak about when I can't sleep at night and my brain is tormented by worst-case-scenarios. Fortunately, insomnia is rare for me.

And this is why I talk to the kids about emergency plans.

And I realize this is a bummer of a post, but everything turned out just fine.  There weren't any tornadoes in our area and John was 1/2-way up the stairs to tell me as I was part-way through my thought process.

So we went back to bed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Oh, For Crying Out Loud

So I have this not-speedy-quick "race" in one week and, in spite of my maddening injury, I'm getting pretty fired up about it.  My 7-miler yesterday didn't produce any serious pain and I figure tacking on another 6 miles next Sunday will be a breeze.  Right? Don't worry, I'm not delusional about this. I know for a fact that my body will not be pleased with me after this gig and will yap at me about it for some weeks after.  But it's worth it.

But then tragedy struck this evening.  Real, honest-to-goodness tragedy that would have brought me to out-loud cursing if the wee ones weren't around.  I was negotiating Annie and trying to scarf down my dinner of pasta when an errant, sauce-laden noodle fell off my fork, tumbled down my shirt, my jeans, and landed with a wet plop on my running shoes.  I took a deep breath before I glanced down at the crime scene, steadied myself, stole a peek, and...flipped out.

Keep in mind I am not materialistic (at least not very).  Example: only one of my pair of jeans has intact knees and, as much as I've tried, I can not seem to bring the ill-fitting, ripped jeans statement back to it's glamor of the 80's. Therefore, I just look like a hobo, walking around my not-so-shabby neighborhood with my torn pants. My other pair of regular, non-jeans pants has the seam coming apart in the rear-area, but I also don those babies on anyway.  Heck, I even wore them to church last Sunday.

But my running shoes!!!  Now those are an entirely different animal and I am borderline neurotic about my shoes. I normally would not be wearing them around the house so they only have running miles on them, but this ridiculous plantar fasciitis necessitates constant arch support (golly I sound old!).  And I have this freaking race coming up and can not handle taking one million strides in my kicks, seeing the horribleness of a stain every time my right foot plants.  Because, even if I scrub the daylights out of them (they are soaking in Oxi Clean as I write), we all know it's nearly impossible to get red sauce completely out. 

Slow, deep breaths. They're only shoes.  They're only shoes. They're only shoes. Millions upon millions of people don't even own shoes and I should not freak about mine.  I should not.  I will not.  And I'm going to have to repeat this over and over in my head for the next several days until I don't get a case of the shakes every time I see them.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Warning: loads of whining to follow.

My body has betrayed me.

In all honesty it did a long time ago when God's plan included triplets, and I've come to a deeper, truer level of thankfulness (not to be confused with acceptance, mind you) of the aftermath of being blessed with a total of nearly 15 pounds and 51 inches of healthy babies.  Sigh. Shoulder droop.

But now.  Now my pride has taken a hit and I didn't have a lot left over to give up.

I'm supposed to be training for a 1/2- marathon coming up in...oh...3 WEEKS and I've been sidelined with an injury.  I've been running for over 25 years and have never been seriously-take-a-break-from-running injury and now is not the time. You see, running is one of the very, very, very few things I can do well and is the only form of exercise I enjoy.   

I've been fired up about this 1/2 for 8 months now and did everything just right.  Built the best base possible.  I couldn't have been more careful about increasing my mileage, blah, blah, blahbiddy blah.

And now it's ended and I'm still (stupidly) going to hobble through this thing for many reasons.   I ran 4.4 miles yesterday and my foot (plantar fasciitis) was only  yelling a little bit, so I think I can add another 9 miles to it without causing more injury, right?

Double curses.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Knufflebunny Sniffles

We love the Knufflebunny books around here and if you haven't read them, then you need to shimmy yourself down to the library and check them out. 

We gave the third one to Lizzy for Christmas and there's a problem.  A big problem.  And that problem is my eyes get all misty and my throat gets all chokey as I read the last couple pages.  For the record I am not a crier. That doesn't mean I'm unemotional, I just prefer not to cry.  So when I'm trying to play it cool and read Knufflebunny Free in a normal voice to the kids and not doing a terribly good job of it, they turn their heads around and look at me like I'm a crazy person. Then I have to cough and gather myself and continue reading, trying not to weep. And they turn around again to catch another glance as I manage to finish.  It's the "what is WRONG with you???" look.

I've read Knufflebunny Free at least 3 dozen times now and my emotional reactions don't change.  It's actually making me coo coo that a children's book can manipulate me like this. It isn't the only one. Miss Fannie's Hat has the same effect.  It's been one of Ainsley's favorites for over 3 years now.  Three years of becoming all teary when reading a book about an old lady who donates her most favorite hat "the pink straw with roses" to the church auction. 

When did my tough shell break apart?  And where are the pieces so I can glue-gun the thing back together?

Monday, January 30, 2012

This Is What I Hear

Right now I have Fresh Beat Band's little melody "Here We Go" repeating itself in a deafening roar over and over and over in my already-overstimulated brain. 

And I wonder why I've been having writer's block when catchy children's pop tunes have taken over what little wits I still possess.

I clearly need a break.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Unmentionables

It had been way too long since brand-new skivvies have been introduced to my dresser.  As in, 8-10 years too long.  As in, the rotation had dwindled to the low single-digits. So I finally took an opportunity and went to a random store in search of some undergarments.   The whole process was nearly overwhelming and I wish someone at Kohl's would have been able to just show me where the normal stuff is that doesn't have pictures of unicorns or scratchy material.  Somehow I feel help never would have come.

After poking around and wasting 20 minutes of my precious time, I grabbed some smallclothes that didn't appear atrocious and also might fit size-wise (and how does one know the right size after 10 years and 5 kids?).

Got home, opened up the package, and  was surprised at how HUGE these babies were!  I checked the box (I obviously spent loads of $$ here) and everything seemed fine.  Maybe they'll shrink in the wash.  Oh boy.  John's going to make fun of me when he sees my enormous underwear.  I'm going to be chastised for being cheap. Dang it!!! What a waste of time.  I could have taken a serious nap and now I'm stuck with hideous granny-gear.

Wash, dry, grrr.  I can't believe I'm wasting laundry detergent on these things.

So it was out of desperation the next morning that  I grabbed a pair and...they fit.  The enormous underwear I bought fit onto a bottom that I obviously believed was smaller than reality.

Depression.  Ice-cream needing depression.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


John wants me to document that Miss Annie has said his name first.  To be accurate, she said Ainsley's name first and she did that weeks ago.  What he really needs is for it to be known that she looked at him and said "DaDa" before she has even considered  "MaMa". 

It would have been nice for ONE of my children to have thrown me a bone or two.   Turkeys.