December 23, 2009

Christmas Family Photos

Ah, the family photo. A beautiful moment of time captured on a glossy 8x10. For most people family pictures are treasures, where everyone is dressed in their best and their beautiful pearly whites dazzle the shot.

Eh, not so much in my family. We keep the torture to a minimum and only do family pictures once a year. We do them at Christmas and we take them at home. There is no need to drag poor innocent bystanders into our craziness. We’ve tried on a couple of occasions to have individual pictures taken of our kids and we never left without a frustrated photographer or some weird pose that I compromised on to get a certain kid to take a somewhat normal picture. (I have a professional photo of Marky on the wall wearing a scuba mask and snorkel. His ears are bent down and the goggle part is completely fogged over, but he wouldn’t stop being difficult without knowing scuba gear picture was in his future.)

Lesson 40: professional photos of your children wearing dollar store scuba gear = white trash

We don’t feel guilty, however, asking our family and close friends to suffer through the nonsense. They know us; it’s not really a shock when my children act up when asked to pose for a picture. They have strict orders to just stand there and snap away no matter what is going on. That way, after about 20-some shots maybe, just maybe, we’ll have something we can use.

We’ve never achieved that “family photo”. It’s like a unicorn that I just can’t touch, or that lottery ticket that’s always off by two numbers, or that pregnancy test that always reads positive right when Adam gets promoted. You always have these grand ideas but reality is no where near what’s in your head.

Sure, I’ll admit it. I envision that beautiful picture where my kids are all smiling and wearing clothes that match. My boys wearing ties and my daughter in a frilly dress with bows in her hair, while Adam and I look put together and respectable all cuddled together with our well behaved children.


No, our pictures are nothing like my visions. They are in fact, quite the opposite. They usually resemble some sort of out of control nightmare. We never attempted a family pic until Jet was born, but these are the results.

2005: Jagger was throwing such a tantrum about a Mario and Luigi doll that the only way we could get him to stay put was for Adam to hold him. In the photo that was “the best one” Adam is holding a screaming red-faced Jagger upside down. “Merry Christmas!”

2006: Big surprise, Jagger is crying again. Bonus….Jet is crying as well,and Marky is giving psycho Jagger rabbit ears. Awesome. “Happy Holidays!”

2007: Adam had to work early, so I took a picture of the boys. I had morning sickness and could seriously care less about how it turned out. Oddly enough, it’s probably the best photo I have of my boys.

2008: Marky was in a REAL bad mood. He refused to even take down the hood of his sweatshirt. It wasn’t just over his head, oh no, he had pulled it completely over his face. He sat there blindly holding a screaming Jovie. My beautiful baby girl, remember the one in the frilly dress and bows? Nope, red-faced and hating life.

2009: I finally gave up on the dream. If you can’t beat em’, join em’. This year we took a crazy picture on purpose and in addition to the Christmas card we gave out some of Adam’s delicious home-made spiced nuts to go with them. “Merry Christmas! From The Nut House” (Yes that is Marky's butt!Don't ask)

Lesson 41: Christmas family photos that are always a hideous train wreck featuring screaming kids or their rear ends = white trash

December 19, 2009


Adam called me today and told me he scheduled me for a surprise haircut in honor of my 30th birthday tomorrow. That's right, today was my last day in my 20's. Not that I care. I'll be having my 6th baby soon and I always think people assume I started having kids at 12.

Excited, since it's been a year since my last haircut, I took a quick shower and made my way down to the beautician. I walked in and told them who I was.

"Oh, your husband scheduled you a haircut and a pedicure." the lady said with a smile.

My smile faded, "A what now?!" I demanded.

"A haircut and a pedicure?" she answered with hesitation.

"Are you kidding me?!"

It's not that I wasn't thankful for the present (I'd never had a real pedicure before), but he could have told me all the details. The problem was that my feet and legs were absolutely not presentable. Adam has been working from 9am-midnight every day except Sunday and I'm extremely pregnant and uncomfortable. I never have time to shave my legs nor do I really want to bend that way unless absolutely necessary. Not only have my legs not been shaved in over a month, but I haven't painted my toe nails since my brother's wedding on August 1st. Needless to say, all that was left were weird colored shapes on my big toes. Classy.

Lesson 40: going to your first pedicure with hairy legs and chipped painted big toes = white trash

December 7, 2009

Prize In The Box

I really miss the days when I could get a simple bowl of cereal with no surprises!

Lesson 39: pouring a bowl of cereal and having a dirty Hot Wheels car fall into your bowl with some added chunks of dirt = white trash

For all those who are wondering.....yes, I still ate it.

December 5, 2009

Jet, The Precocious 'Planer'

My third son Jet is the calmest child I have. He has never really given us any grief. Even my pregnancy was easy. I never had morning sickness, I didn’t feel tired, and the actual labor was short and sweet. As a baby, Jet rarely cried. He sat quietly, seeming quite content with observing his surroundings. When he did cry he had an abnormally deep voice that sounded ridiculous next to any other crying baby.

As he’s grown these past years, (he’ll be 5 in February) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Jet’s an old soul.” Truth be told, he really is! Now that he is able to express his wants, he often makes us laugh at what he thinks is “cool”. For instance, when he styles his hair, his two older brothers have the messy look, but he demands that his hair be parted on the side and combed neatly over. “I need my hair in a circle.” he tells us. He enjoys button down shirts, and when it came time to choose a backpack for school he chose one that resembles a briefcase. It has Hot Wheels on it, but he does in fact carry it like a briefcase even though it has a strap to go over his shoulder. He looks like a middle aged man on his way to the office when he goes to preschool.

It’s not only his appearance that is more mature than most 4 year olds, it’s also the role he’s taken in our family. At a very young age he took it upon himself to pretty much take care of Jagger, even though Jag is 19 months older. He learned how to work the tv, vcr, and dvd player when he was a little over the age of 1 so he was able to appease a screaming Jagger who melted down every time one of his favorite shows or movie ended. Jet would immediately toddle over and put in a movie he knew Jagger enjoyed, stopping his tantrum. He also has a hard time watching Jagger struggle with various tasks. When Jagger is doing work at the table with his TSS Jet gets in trouble at least once a day for whispering the answers to his older brother.

I’ve also noticed over the past year that Jet has become an authoritative figure to his brothers, definitely not Marky, but to the other two. I listen to them playing upstairs and I hear Jet listing the rules, and then occasionally when someone is out of line I hear, “Do you want to go to time out?” He’s never actually put them in time out. I would never allow that, but he has put himself in time out on a couple of occasions. I’m not exactly sure why. He does get in trouble when the boys are doing something undesirable and I ask them to stop, just to be told “Jet says it’s ok.” I always respond with, “Jet’s not the boss. I am!”

Lesson 37: your kids thinking your 4 year old is the boss = white trash
Other than being somewhat of a know-it-all, Jet is the sweetest and most helpful little boy you’ll ever meet. The one thing that makes me absolutely crazy is that he whines. A lot. It’s not really his fault. It was a crucial time for Jagger when Jet was learning to talk. It was the point where Jagger was at his worst. He cried and threw tantrums all day, which took up most of my attention. Since Jet was so easy going we rarely paid him any attention. Unfortunately, he learned that if he whined we immediately responded. Jet making any kind of fuss made us think there was something seriously wrong. Soon he only spoke in a whiny voice. Now that he’s a little older he doesn’t whine quite as much, but going from all the time to just 80% of the time isn’t exactly where I’d like to be.

I do want to tell you about his whiny voice. It is very distinct since he has that bizarre deep raspy voice. You can always tell when it’s Jet with a complaint. There is no mistaking it.

Anyway, on a beautiful spring day last year I had gone out to sit in my favorite spot, the rocking chair on the front porch. I rocked in the sunlight enjoying the vitamin D, since I had been deficient for so long after winter. I had the door and the living room windows wide open so I could hear the kids who were resting and watching SpongeBob. My cousin Brett (basement dweller) came out to join me. (Our family’s mood depends on the sun, so he often joined me in the basking.) We sat and chatted about trivial things until I heard Jet whining.

“What Jet?” I asked, not getting up from my chair. No response. I looked at Brett and shrugged. “Guess it wasn’t that important.”

A few minutes later I heard him again. “Jet, what’s the matter?” Still no response.

“What’s his deal today?” Brett asked.

“Who knows? Someone is probably looking at him funny.”

Again, Jet lets out another distinct plea. I was fed up by this point and got up from my relaxing place, going to the door to see for myself what was causing his grief. “What is going on in there?” I demanded as I stepped inside the door. To my surprise I see the boys sitting peacefully on the couch looking as if they were going to fall asleep. Jet’s fingers were in his mouth and he sat sniffing his blanky. I looked at them for a minute as they stared back seeming as confused as me. It didn’t look like anything was going on. They weren’t even anywhere near each other. Hmmmmmm, I growled. I gave them 'the eye' just in case, to let them know I didn’t appreciate being interrupted from my relaxation. (Which I never seem to get!)

I went back to my chair and resumed my rocking. “What’s going on in there?” Brett asked.

“I have no idea. They’re all just sitting there.”

“Then why does he keep whining?”

I shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes. Right as I do, I hear it again. I slapped my hands down on the chair arms and looked at Brett in a way to say, Can you believe this? He chuckled, “He’s being ridiculous today.”

I stood up and quietly made my way to the door. I was determined to find out what was really going on. I stood by the door in a manner that allowed me to see them, but they couldn’t see me. I watched Jet like a hawk. He sat motionless, completely zoned out on the nonsense that is SpongeBob. As I observed I heard it again, but oddly Jet didn’t move. I whip my head out and give Brett a confused look.

“What’s he whining about?” he asked, because he had heard the noise too.

“It wasn’t him.” I said bewildered.

“What?!” Brett immediately got up and joined me at the door. We both watched intently waiting for the sound to come again. Sure enough, a few seconds later, it came with absolutely no movement from my whiny son. We reeled our heads away from the door and stared at each other completely dumbfounded.

“What is that?” I asked.

“Maybe he’s a ventriloquist.” Brett joked.

If he was, at age 4 he put a lot of professionals to shame!

We both laughed, but that didn’t answer my question. We sat and listened to the sound as it rang out several more times. Realizing it was coming from somewhere at the top of the hill, I went up to investigate. It turns out, someone up the street was in the middle of home renovations and had been using a wood planer.

I walked back down the hill, laughing all the way. When I got back on the porch I told Brett what I saw.

“Are you serious? It sounds just like Jet whining!” He laughed.

A few minutes passed when we heard a louder version of what we had been hearing coming from the open window.

“Quit plane-ing!” Brett yelled to Jet.

Brett and I looked at each other for a minute before breaking out into hysterics. It worked on so many levels. Complaining….Plane-ing… was too perfect! We’ve used it ever since. Jet is our ‘planer’, and when he whines too much “Stop plane-ing” is what we tell him.

Lesson 38: having a whining child that sounds like carpentry equipment = white trash
My son’s whine may resemble the grating sound of metal on wood, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world, and I am so glad he’s part of our family!