December 17, 2010

Ghetto Hoo-Ride

Our family has been in need of a new vehicle for a long time. I've just been too cheap to admit it. Who cares if we didn't all fit in it, the air conditioning and heat didn't work, the cd player was broken, the vhs player was broken, there was a huge crack in the windshield, and the power steering belt, that also controlled the coolant, fell off every other week, resulting in the van over-heating and needing to be towed home? We didn't have a car payment and that, my friends, was all I cared about.
I guess Adam had had enough, after being towed home twice in one month. He pulled the we're getting a new vehicle and I don't care what you say. He was right. It was definitely time.

We started our car search with a few must-haves. First, air conditioning. We haven't had an air conditioned car since 2005. I'm for reals! I was pregnant for 3 of those past summers. I remember, when I was pregnant with Jude, the temperature was 100 degrees with high humidity and I had to take Marky home in the middle of the day, on route 51 in Pittsburgh, going to the South Hills. If anyone has driven on this road, you know I had to stop at a red light every 5 seconds. It was so hot and humid that I let Marky, Jagger, and Jet wear nothing but underwear and diapers; and at every stop light I turned around and sprayed them with a spray bottle full of water.

Lesson 99: spraying your kids down like a bad dog, because you don't have any other way to cool them off in your car = white trash

The next thing on our list, seating for 8 or more. I told him we needed something that at least sat 9, but all we could find were those 15 passenger vans, and all the reviews we read said they did horrible in the snow. HA! We live in Pittsburgh.......on a hill! Adam said he didn't want a "Yoder-toter" anyway.

Adam searched for weeks, until he found a really good deal on a used Ford Expedition. It sat 8 and had 4-wheel drive. We drove all the way to Ohio to check it out. Adam fell in love immediately. All I could see was the price of gas. (It actually isn't too bad. I was pleasantly surprised.) Needless to say, we bought it. Here it is.

On the way home, Adam kept going over the speed limit. It wasn't his fault. The ride was so smooth. Nothing like the van that shook violently after you hit 60 mph, shaking your brain loose. I finally told him, "Please be careful in this thing. The police are going to be looking for a reason to pull you over."

"Why would they want to pull me over?" he asked.

I chuckled, "Because it looks like a druggie-hoo-ride."

"No it doesn't." Adam got defensive.

"Honey, there's no Ford emblem on the front, like the person who owned it before wanted people to think it's an Escalade, the front windows are extremely tinted, and we have rims for crying out loud! This used to be a druggie-hoo-ride!"

Adam started to laugh. "Yeah, it probably was."

The funny thing is, I'm the one who got pulled over. It wasn't even a month after we bought it, when I was driving down my own town's street, I passed a police car that busted a U in the middle of the street just to pull me over. I wish everyone could have seen this officer's face when he peeked in the back of my vehicle to see a car full of children.

Lesson 100: getting pulled over, because your car looks like a drug dealers, and surprising the officer, because it's obvious the only kind of dealin' you're doing, is dealin' with your ridiculous life, and he can read that ALL over your face = white trash

He gave me a warning, and made Adam remove the tint from the front windows. Now it doesn't look as suspicious. We definitely need to get one of those family stick figure decals for my back window. That way the police know we need the car for the seats, not because we gangsta.
But hey, it's got air!!!

Trash Tree

The Christmas tree is one of our family's favorite traditions. We bundle up every year and head to Grupps Christmas Tree Farm. These very sweet people hand us a saw and a cart, and send us into a field to pick out and cut down the tree of our choice. The kids love this. I love that it's such a safe environment that I don't have to worry about my kids running ahead and losing themselves in the labyrinth of trees. Not that they are ever hard to find, I usually follow the loud squeals of delight and trail of snow angels made between trees.

This is the tree Adam and I picked out.

I called the kids and told them to hurry up because Dad was cutting down our tree. They all ran, screaming with excitement. I wish I could have gotten their expressions when they saw this pathetic twig. We even took the joke so far as to make them pose with the tree so I could take a picture. They were so depressed. They didn't find this as funny as Adam and I did.

After the kids realized we weren't serious about that tree, their spirits were renewed. We trudged through snow for a long time before finding the best tree for our house. Adam cut it down with Stone's help.

We took our tree home and decorated it the next day. (The day we got it, Adam threw the tree in the house and went to work. He doesn't have ANY days off this month.) Jude and Jovie really enjoyed the decorating this year, but they still don't get all the rules of tree decorating. First we had to explain to Jude that we only had a certain amount of ornaments and a whole tree to cover.

Then, I've had to tell them every day since, that just because something has a hook or something resembling a hook, that doesn't mean it's an ornament. Every day I come down to find random crap hanging on our tree's bottom branches. First, Jovie found a Halloween spider and hung it up. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a big hairy spider. Then, Jude made paper monkeys at pre-school. Notice the hook shaped tails? The thing that took the cake was when Jude found a piece of cardboard that was connected to a pair of gloves, price tag still on it, and hung it on the tree, just because it had a hook. I told him it wasn't an ornament and we had a 15 minute argument about it. He just kept insisting, "Look at the hook!"

Lesson 98: hanging Halloween decorations and garbage on your Christmas tree = white trash
For all you wondering, yes, they are still there. It makes for good conversation.
Merry Christmas!!

November 22, 2010


I admit that I have been a tad more stressed lately. I'm also aware it has affected my outward appearance. Thinking about spending the time to do my hair, put on make-up, or even pick out clothes that match makes me tired. I did NOT know, however, how bad I must look until today.

Our kids have a card game called Pictureka!. It has cards with random pictures and you can play several different kinds of games with the same deck of cards. My boys love it.

Today while they were at school, Jovie sat at the kitchen table looking at the cards while I threw beans and meat in a crock pot for chilli. I heard her exclaim, "Oh, yes," and the sound of her running toward me. She rounded the corner with one of the cards in hand. Smiling proudly, she said, "Mom, look. It you!"

Here it is.......

Lesson 97: your daughter thinking you look like a cave man = white trash

I think I'm more disturbed that this dude has a five-o-clock shadow. What's up with that? I don't know, there were so many cards to choose from. I think if I had to pick a card from that deck that showed what I've looked like lately, I probably would have chosen this card.......
Yes, this is really a card.

November 4, 2010


People tell me all the time that we need a dog. Why would I need a dog when I have my kids? Today alone Stone has chewed on multiple shoes, and ate an important document. Jude has acquired a phobia of the bathroom, and refuses to open the back door by himself, so I have to let him out to pee every few hours. Not to mention, Jovie has growled at me, bit Jude, ate off the floor, and peed in a box, on the floor, and on my computer chair (yes I sat in it before I noticed) all within 4 hours of her waking up this morning. Who needs a dog?

Lesson 96: not needing a pet because your children are less trained than a 6 month old puppy = white trash

October 26, 2010


Pants are my arch nemeses. I hate them, but I obviously can't live without them. At this moment in time, I own two pairs of jeans, and neither of them fit me properly. Jeans are by far my least favorite bottom. I wish it were socially acceptable to wear yoga pants to every occassion. They may not be attractive, but I'm comfortable.

Yesterday, I decided to bite the bullet and buy myself some jeans. Adam has been after me to do this for a couple of months now. I dropped Jude off at preschool, then took Jovie and Stone to the mall so I could go to Aeropostal. They are the only kind of jeans that have fit my big butt, oompa-loompa legs in the past.

I went in and they had a whole rack on clearance. Oh yeah! I picked two pairs up and went to the check out. Trying them on in the store wasn't going to happen. Paying for the pants was enough of a hassle with both kids throwing a tantrum. Even though I was tired and had thrown my neck out again, because my double stroller broke, I still left feeling great. I haven't had a new pair of jeans since 2006!

The honeymoon ended quickly after I got home and tried them on. The first pair were a standard boot cut, but it had distress lines around the hip area, and it made my hips that birthed 6 children look more like it was 52 kids. No thank you. Who wants to draw attention to that area? I sadly threw them back in the bag to be returned.

I still had hope. I pulled on the next pair. They fit, but the top was a little lower than I like them, and my stretched out underwear (I haven't bought underwear in a while, too) stuck out of the top. If I bought some new underwear they would be ok. Yeah, the top seemed to fit, my hips looked proportioned. Then I looked down. Ewww.....skinny jeans. These would be ok if the bottom half of my body weren't so incredibly unproportioned. My hips and thighs are massive, my legs are short, and my feet are unbelievably long. In skinny jeans I looked like one of those ballon crafts where you dress balloons up like people.

Lesson 95: the bottom half of your body being shaped like a balloon person craft = white trash

Curse you jeans! You may have won this time, but someday!!!

October 20, 2010

McDonalds Butt

Yesterday Adam told me, "Your butt is still like a McDonalds Meal, it just isn't super-sized anymore."

Lesson 92: your husband thinking of a McDonalds Value meal when he thinks of your body = white trash

October 19, 2010

The Tutu Terror

I've had four other kids go through their terrible 2's, but none compare to Miss Jovie. This curly haired ball of crazy is quickly destroying my house and my sanity. The weird thing is, she is ten times worse when she puts on a tutu, which she has been adamant about wearing at all times. She wears them with nothing, she wears them with a sweatsuit. It doesn't matter, it just has to be on.

Last week she successfully destroyed my laptop and the keyboard to our desktop. We were without a computer for a couple of days until we bought a new keyboard. My laptop is toast, though. I opened it one day to find the screen covered in orange crayon. When did she even have time to do it? I have no idea. She's a crayon ninja! Seriously, my house is covered in Jovie doodles, and I don't know how she's doing it. I rarely let her out of my sight. It's not like she tries to be sneaky about it either. She's potty training right now, and she announced, while coloring on paper at the table, that she had to pee. I quickly snatched her up and ran her to the bathroom, with a crayon still in her hand. She sat on her little potty, peed, smiled, then turned and scribbled on the wall. It was like she couldn't help it, her art couldn't wait.

Anyway, back to my laptop. I have a hard time putting away laundry unless she's upstairs with me, but the other day she contently watched an episode of Dora with her brothers, and I sneaked upstairs to try and put a dent in the mounds of clean clothes that needed put away. I put away 1/4 of a load when I heard Jovie cackling like some crazed person in a padded cell. I ran downstairs to find her typing away on my computer. I snatched it from her, and closed it up. I had been working on my book, so I knew she had probably typed all kinds of jibber-jabber and that upset me enough, but I opened it and the screen showed nothing but a weird snow, like t.v. I gasped and closed it, giving Jovie the look of death. I ran upstairs and opened it again. This time my book showed itself, and I was relieved to see Jovie only added a couple of numbers and letters. I tried to delete them, but it turned out to be some sort of code and pulled up some random search, and the first paragraph of my book became the size of half the screen and began scrolling itself up and down the whole manuscript. I couldn't stop it. I couldn't click anywhere in the document. I powered it down, not knowing what else to do.

The only thing I can do now is use Word. That would be alright if I could save what I typed, but it won't save on anything but its internal hard drive. Awesome. Thanks Jovie.

Lesson 93: a whole house being terrorized by a toddler in a tutu = white trash

You know it's bad when Jagger came home from school the other day with a drawing of our family. I'll let it speak for itself.


Lesson 94: kid drawings of your family where your daughter is drawn looking like the Tazmanian Devil = white trash
That's right Jovie, I got my eye on you!

September 30, 2010

Baby Toys

Stone has recently decided all his baby toys are subpar. When no toys appeased him I opted for other things, like the handle off of a broken bubble wand and an empty Coffemate creamer bottle that I cleaned out.

Lesson 91: garbage being your baby's favorite toys = white trash

September 20, 2010

Embrace the Crazy

What a day, what a day. It all started 45 minutes earlier than it should have with Stone wailing at the top of his lungs. I got him out of bed and told Jovie to lay back down, who in turn ripped off her diaper in protest. I didn't even have the energy to deal with that nonsense. I closed the door, and figured I'd be cleaning pee within the next half hour. Whatever.

I fed Stone, but he didn't want to nurse. All he wanted to do was stand on my lap, smile, and do a one-tooth grinning jig. It would have been cute at any other time of day, but at 6:20 in the morning, when the only thing cute is the back of my eyelids, I could have done without it.

As I got out of the shower I heard Jagger going down the stairs. I put on my clothes, got Jovie out of bed (who amazingly hadn't peed), and put Stone back in his crib. Now that I was awake, he wanted to sleep. Irony.

When I went downstairs I found Jagger sitting on the couch in a pair of underwear and his Mario ball cap, staring aimlessly at the tv screen. He looked up, "I don't feel so good, mom." I felt his head, and of course he had a fever. I thought maybe, just maybe, he wasn't going to catch what all the other kids have had. It's been almost 2 weeks since Jet came home sick, but here sat Jag all pathetic.

This wouldn't have been so bad had Adam not gone to Florida for a job interview. I had to pack all the kids up, not once, but three times today for school. First Jet had to go to kindergarden. There were no problems there, but when it came time to take Jude to school, all hell broke loose. Jagger cried because he didn't want to go to school. Jovie had become possessed by some demon and lost her shoe on the way to the car and I couldn't find it. Not to mention, Jude's class was celebrating Jude's birthday today in class so I had to take in these hideous Jell-o Jigglers I made. (I don't know if made or destroyed is the appropriate word here.)

Lesson 89: coming to terms with the fact you will be walking your child into school with a sick sibling with booger sliding out his nose, one covered in graham cracker in a backpack, and one without a shoe, and handing the teacher the most pathetic excuse for Jell-O = white trash

Thank you Kortney for being such a good friend! She saved me and stayed with the disaster children while I walked Jude into school with his sad birthday snack.

Anyway, after I had the two boys settled into school I waited for the roofers who are FINALLY going to finish my porch roofs. They were to get here at 10, but 10 came and went. At 11 my heart sank as I packed the kids up again to go pick Jude up.

On my way, my thoughts went out to Adam, who was in the middle of his tasting. Oh, how I hoped his day was better. Five seconds after this thought crossed my mind, I get a call from him. I answer.

"I'm almost ready to walk out of here," he said.

After he vented, I found out that no one had done anything for his tasting. There was no food, no knives, not even a place to cook! He ended up doing his tasting with a hand full of snow peas, a pepper, a couple pieces of meat, a boning knife, and a portable cook top. It was like trying to cook a gourmet meal at a camp site. At least he finished and proved he could work under pressure!!

When I got home I figured I'd offer up my day. No use stressing about ridiculous things. As I recounted all the good things about my day I heard a truck pull up. The roofers!! I quickly ran down and moved my cars out of the driveway.

As I walked down from the top of the hill, one of the roofers was hunched over. "I think I got car sick," he told me. They scraped off the old shingles and then the guy started puking all over my front yard. Awesome.

"I'm gonna take him home," the other guy told me.

Yes please!!

I looked like an idiot when they left.

Lesson 90: spraying your grass with Lysol = white trash

The day of nonsense continued, but whatever. Like I always say, embrace the crazy. I was going to eat a tub of Ben and Jerry's, put myself into an ice cream coma, and pass out, but I came upstairs to find poop in the little toilet that Jude hasn't used in over a week. Just one more fun prize for my day.

September 16, 2010

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This afternoon I walked downstairs and smelt something weird. I immediately called Adam. The conversation went something like this....

Jess: I smell Raid.

Adam: Raid?

Jess: Yeah, you know how Raid smells?

Adam: Did the kids get into something. (Here I rolled my eyes, like I would call him if the kids got into something.)

Jess: No. It's really strong in the basement.

Adam: Are you tired or have a headache?

Jess: *cricket*.....*cricket*.....*tumbleweed*

Adam: Oh...yeah....I guess that's a stupid question.

Lesson 88: Not knowing if you're suffering from gas poisoning because your kids give you the same symptoms = white trash

September 15, 2010

Trash Bath

One house rule for my kids - Everyone bathes before bed. There are many reasons for this rule.

1. I'm a germaphobe
2. Kids are gross
3. I'm a germaphobe
4. I have mostly boys and they have a funky natural stench
5. I thought it would be good for Jagger when he grows up and lives on his own (hopefully), it would be routine and I won't have to worry if he's cleaning himself.

Anyway, last night I was cleaning the tub to get it ready for the older kids. Stone sat in his baby seat next to me, not feeling well. He has a cold and it has made him very irritable. In a split second I changed my mind and decided to clean Stone first and put him to bed early. I didn't want to listen to him scream while the older kids splashed in the tub.

I grabbed the baby tub that rested on top of the open laundry hamper, threw it in the big tub, and filled it with water. I grabbed Stone and undressed him. He immediately calmed down. He loves the bath. I placed him in the water and he splashed merrily while he babbled, probably saying, "it took you long enough, lady." Since he was happy I thought I would pull the humidifier out from under the sink and get it ready for him and Jovie.

When I finished with the humidifier, I knelt down and began Stone's scrubbing. I hurried through our normal routine, washing head to toe, knowing Jovie needed to go to bed early too and still needed a bath.

Reaching his legs, I picked one up to wash his feet and jumped in fright. Under his bum was a big black mass. "Did you poop in the tub?" A big smile was all I got in return. Thinking about it for a second I realized black wasn't a normal color. I bravely reached into the tub and grabbed the mysterious black blob.

Lesson 87: Washing your baby with one of your husband's nasty dirty socks = white trash

August 30, 2010

Hot Dogs On Bread

Hot dogs on bread, we meet again. It's been a while since your thin bit of compressed crust got stuck behind my front teeth.

Lesson 85: being too cheap to buy your family hot dog buns = white trash

A week of Adam in charge of the financial reins, after my gallbladder surgery, combined with school shopping for the four older boys contributed to our small food fund. The school clothes weren't the problem, it was the shoes. I've never been a name brand kind of person, I wore whatever I thought looked good. Well, Adam has this tramatizing childhood memory involving a pair of Reebok Pumps. Anyone remember those? I do, and I thought they were hideous! Needless to say, Adam desperately wanted a pair, but his family didn't have a lot of money. He tells me, even though I think it's an exaggeration, that he was the only one in his class without them. He didn't get a pair until a year later when they were out of style, and they weren't even Reebok, they were a Kmart knock off. Tramatizing. After that, he vowed never to put his kids through the same kind of embarrassment.

Lesson 86: making personal promises because of Kmart special Reebok Pumps = white trash
Thank you Reebok, this hot dog on bread is for you!

August 23, 2010

Gallbladder and Adam's Glimpse of Permanent Vacation

My gallbladder has been bothering me since Jude was born, 4 years ago. It became quite a nuisance over the past few months. I constantly felt nausiated and lethagy kept me from getting anything done. After a HIDDA Scan, my doctor felt it necessary for me to get it removed. I couldn't wait to see it go.

My surgery was scheduled for last Monday. All details were worked out. Adam would take his weeks vacation to take care of me and the kids. I wouldn't be permitted to pick anything up over 5 pounds for a month. (Yeah, like that's gonna happen!)

I had to be at the hospital by 5:30 AM. Adam wasn't thrilled. He has never been a morning person, but he got his cup of coffee and bag of what I thought was full of things to keep his amuzement during the hours he'd have to wait while I went under the knife, and never complained.

While I waited in my room to be taken to surgery, Adam sat drinking his coffee. I watched him take his last swig. Knowing he would need more to carry him through, I said, "That guy said there was coffee in the waiting room."

Adam smiled, "Don't worry, I have it covered."

He threw his backpack up on the side table and unzipped it to reveal a whole airpot full of coffee. He pumped a steamy cup of brewed coffee into his cup then zipped it back up.

"Are you serious?" I chuckled.

I could tell Adam was very proud of himself, "I don't trust hospital coffee. It always sucks, and it's going to be a long day."

Lesson 82: bringing your own pot full of coffee, hidden in a backpack, to the hospital = white trash

They soon came and wisked me away to get prepped. During this time, the anaesthesiologist came to check me out and tell me what was going to happen. He told me I would have to take a few breaths in the gas mask.

"Oh no, not the mask." I joked. I recounted the story from when I got tubes put in my ears at age 6. My anaesthesiologist for that procedure happened to be my cousin. He put the mask on me and I started to cry. My cousin smiled and said, "That's right Jessie, go ahead and cry." What?! I felt betrayed and terrified. I told this story to lighten the mood, but they took it as I was going to be trouble.

"Are you closterphobic?" the one nurse asked, seeming quite concerned.

"No," I answered.

"Are you going to have a problem with the mask?" the anaesthesiologist questioned.

I rolled my eyes, "I doubt it. I am an adult now."

They obviously didn't believe me. As they pushed me down the hall, the one nurse said to the other, "Maybe you should give this one a shot of B12."

The other nurse smiled as he stuck stuff in my IV. Being suspicious I asked, "Hey, is that really B12 or is it something funny?"

"Let's just say I'm gonna look real good in a few seconds," the other guy told me.

Lesson 83: being drugged because you tried to be funny = white trash

Needless to say, I don't recall having to breath into the mask.

After the ordeal was over, Adam took me home and locked me in our room. I hardly remember anything from that day. I would wake up and hear the muffled sound of random crying or Adam yelling at kids then I would pass out again.

I woke up the next morning to Jovie and Stone crying. Adam slept next to me. I vaguely remember Adam bringing Stone in to feed him during the night, and getting up to wipe Jude's poopy bum. I shook him awake. "The kids are up."

Adam growled as he threw the blankets off him, "All I want is five minutes of undisturbed sleep!"

I smiled. How many times had those exact words spilled from my own lips? Adam hadn't even been on duty for a full 24 hours. Over the next few days I watched my husband transform into a haggard version of myself. The glazed over stare that usually looked back at me from the mirror loomed across Adam's handsome face, and phrases I spoke on a regular basis spewed from his mouth like he'd been saying them for years.

"What is wrong with you kids?!"

"I can't help everyone at the same time!"

"Can you not make a mess for like five minutes?! Is that too much to ask?!"

"Give me five freaking seconds!"

He did have a few new ones, like, "Jovie, you are five seconds away from adoption!" I thoroughly enjoyed that one.

He even treated me the way I treat him most of the time. I wanted to show him something online one day, like he often does, and he answered me with, "I can't right now, I have to get this laundry done." When I would ask him what was wrong, he'd say, "Nothing. I'm just tired."

The one bonus of him living my daily life was that he was the one wanting to go to bed at 11. He always gives me a hard time for passing out before midnight.

I overheard him on the phone, a few days ago, telling a co-worker he wanted to come back to work. He's used to being the boss, not being bossed around by children. By the end of the week he had nearly lost his mind. The last straw was having to change Jovie's bed 3 days in a row. She had decided she didn't want to wear a diaper at night any more and would rip it off and pee all over her blankets.

Lesson 84: duct taping your daughter's diaper on her body = white trash

Adam went back to work today. I'm sure he's reveling in the quiet. I am sad to not have him here. He really did take good care of me and supplied me with plenty of entertainment!

August 6, 2010


Sister relationships are very special. I have four brothers, and only one sister. When I was younger, I always wanted a sister but had to wait 16 years to get one. At least I had my one brother, up until that point, who let me put him in a dress and do his makeup for a penny. Yes, I'm talking about you Clayte, you miser!

Lesson 79: loving money so much you let your older sister dress you up like a girl for some lame penny she found laying willy-nilly on the floor = a cross dressing Scrooge McDuck

Even though my sister, Veronica (I named her), didn't come until I was almost an adult, I still felt a close bond with her. We did everything together. Not exactly by choice, as I ended up being her live in nanny. It was a bit awkward when Adam and I would take her around town and outsiders assumed she was ours. We got so tired of explaining our situation, it got to the point people would say, "She's so cute. Is she yours?" Our reply would be a quick, "Yep" as we ran away. We weren't lying. We didn't just find her on the road somewhere. She definitely wasn't theirs.

When Ronnie was little I dressed her up and did her hair, kind of like having a live doll. Unfortunately, she was some sort of child prodigy, using big words and being able to spell at age 2. She had a bigger vocabulary than Clayte, who was 16 at this time, and everytime someone would say the word pizza it turned into a spelling bee. "Pizza, P-I-Z-Z-A, pizza". This kind of intelligence got me in trouble. She's the one who told on me when I got a tattoo.

Lesson 80: being narked out by a 2 year old = white trash

As she grew, the differences between us became more apparent. For starters, our looks are completely opposite. I'm a brunette with brown eyes. She's light haired with sparkly, bright blue eyes. I have oomp-loompa legs and a ridiculously long torso, and she has the longest legs I have ever seen with barely any middle. Oh, and my mom tells me she'll probably get boobs too. Hello?! Where is the justice in all this? Where are my gazelle legs? I could have at least gotten some pretty eyes. Nope, Beady-eyed-no-boobs here ready to go work in Charlie's Chocolate Factory.

Our looks aren't the only thing that are different. She's a talented ballerina. I dance, but I did more hip-hop. I guess you have to do what works for your legs. (I'm rolling my eyes right now.) Of course, it may not have anything to do with legs. She's a girly girl and very proper. I've always been more of a tomboy, and a lot more ghetto. (I get it honestly, you should see my booty!)

Come to think of it, there are only two things that we share. One is the ridiculous size of our feet. We both have very long feet, with abnormally long toes. The second is our ability to put those disgusting things we walk on, right in our mouths. That's right, we both have a severe case of foot-in-mouth syndrome. We don't mean to be rude, it just comes out that way. Constantly.

I've come to accept my problem, and I have tried to work on it for years. Luckily, I've had years. Ronnie is only 14 and hasn't had much practice on restraint. So, when she was here for 3 weeks last month (along with my two youngest brothers who are 10 and 9) I had plenty of amusement as she unknowingly insulted me over and over and over again. (Ronnie, you better not be crying right now or I'll tell everyone how your 30 year old sister, who gave birth to 6 kids, kicked your butt at Just Dance.....oh wait, I just did......oh, snap!)

"You are going to fix this counter top, right?" she'd ask. Or, "Your garden really needs weeded." The best was when Jackie was over and out of nowhere she lovingly glanced over at me and said, "Jessie, one of these days I'm going to pick out an outfit for you, do your hair, and paint your nails."

I looked at her and chuckled, "Wow Ronnie, cold as ice."

My sister looked at me, confusion in her eyes, "What?"

Jackie chimed in, "You pretty much just told your sister she can't dress herself and her hair is hideous."

Lesson 81: needing to be dressed by a 14 year old because you obviously can't do it yourself = white trash

Sisters. I'm so very blessed to have one!

Love you Ronnie!!

July 27, 2010

House For Sale

In the market for a new home? Check out this stylish abode.

This small, two story, Ohio River view property is full of character.

Enjoy the tranquil sound of a babbling brook? This house is equipped with leaky gutters, that provides a soothing pitter patter as it destroys the porch below.


Are you a pack-rat looking to start anew? Then you'll love this home with an enormous dumpster occupying half the driveway and blocking the entry way to the back yard.


Have a green thumb? This garden needs your love, and while you work with the flowers, cool off in the shade of the trees growing in the gutters above.



After two straight weeks of gardening, relax on the modern front porch. Whimsical meets industrial on this porch full of Amish treasures, carpentry tools, and layer of wood chips.


The inside is a treasure chest full of surprises. Enjoy looking out this new door with fancy flourescent yellow spray insulation crammed between the slats of an exposed slat and plaster wall.


Give those over-worked feet a vacation on this plush wall-to-wall foam padding on top of plywood.


So, if you are the most desperate kind of individual, give White Trash Realty a call today!

July 16, 2010


Lesson 78: Driving around town with a visible half eaten Poptart stuck to your bumper = white trash
Thanks Jovie for sharing your breakfast with Beaver County!

June 25, 2010

Letters of Complaint

Dear Washing Machine Draining Hose,

Please stay in the wash tub. Stop getting crazy and spewing water all over the place. This is the second time you've flooded my basement this week.

Dear Stone's Dresser,

Please remove yourself from the middle of my kitchen, and would you please take the pile of tools with you!

Dear Jude,

Please learn how to wipe your own bum. Wouldn't you like to have a birthday too?

Dear Stone,

Please learn to amuse yourself. I'm running out of material!

Dear Brain,

I'm sorry I abused you. I'm sorry I neglected you and subjected you to horrible visions of child feces and big purple dinosaurs. Can we please get back to the way we were when I knew my name and the day of the week?

Dear Mangy Disgusting Stray Cats,
Will you please stop peeing on all my belongings in my garage? The broken windows on my garage door, from a 1 year old with a baseball bat, and a brother-in-law with a horrible arm for throwing snowballs, are NOT cat doors.

Dear Pittsburgh Area Contractors,
Stop trying to rip off a charity that is trying to help us get our roof finished. Shame on you! Are there no decent people left in this area?!

Dear Adam,
Don't go and get a new career. You'd be doing the culinary world a great injustice if you leave it to be an insurance salesman. I know you're tired and you miss us, but we'll always be here when you get home. We love you and want you to use the wonderful gift God gave you. You don't just make food, you create art. :)

Dear Laundry,
Do you think you could fold yourself for once?

Dear Life,, forget it.

June 19, 2010


I am one dirty diaper away from commiting myself to the looney bin! Adam has worked the past 11 days straight, and I'm not talking a normal 9-5, no, he's been leaving here around 9 and not returning until midnight! There have been days where he doesn't even lay eyes on Jovie because she's still sleeping when he leaves.

Why is he working so much, you ask? Well, let's see.....first he had an employee who got wasted then owned himself on a curb, resulting in having extreme brain bruising. His doctor won't release him back to work until next month. Then another one of his employees picked up a fun little heroin addiction, obviously terminating his position.

Lesson 74: learn to handle yourself in a professional manner!!!

Adam also lost his Sous chef, who was the only other salary paid employee, so Adam has to do all morning and afternoon parties by himself, but because they are terribly understaffed he also has to stay for dinner business.

Yes, Adam has it hard, but my life hasn't been a cake walk. (Even though Adam tells me I'm on a pemanent vacation.)


Did I mention that on the last day Adam had off, we started some home improvements? They're only part done. Stone's dresser has been in the middle of my kitchen, backwards, for the past two weeks. There's boxes of flooring and floor padding piled beside it. I can't get to my island. I can't set up my ironing board. I've bruised my hips trying to walk by this ridiculous heap.

Outside is embarrassing. There's chunks of plywood everywhere, and the yard needs trimmed (I mowed, but I'm terrified of our weed wacker. It's impossible to start, vibrates profusely making my arm fall off and spits out more smoke than the industrial park on the other side of the Ohio River.)

Lesson 76: having a weed whacker that is solely responsible for global warming = white trash

I can't even enjoy my front porch. My rocking chair is buried beneath planks of wood with nails sticking out! LORD HAVE MERCY! I think my brain is hemorrhaging.

As I've said before, my kids are extremely moody when they don't get to see their Dad. (after reading this blog, I'm sure you can see they aren't the only ones). There's been more whining and fighting than ever before. One night I went up to yell at the boys, who were determined NOT to go to bed, I opened the door and Jet started to cry, "I miss Daddy." As soon as he mentioned their father, Jagger started to cry too, "I need Daddy to come home."

"I know. I miss Daddy, too." I reassured them, trying not to cry myself.

Looking at Jude as he climbed the ladder up to his bed, I waited for him to break out in tears like his brothers. All that came from my child's mouth was, "Daddy has a peep like me."

Wow.....what a tender moment! Thanks Jude for keepin' it real.

I'm just tired. I'm used to having a few hours in the morning to do what I need to do. Now I don't even have that. I've done all my grocery shopping with the kids, gone to Walmart with all the kids, and I've even managed to take all the kids to the park alone (I was tired of being stuck in the house, and the kids needed a little pick-me-up). I look ridiculous when we're out. Stone has to be held all the time. If he's not, he's screaming his head off. I let him scream at home, but strangers in stores really frown on it. I found that if I put him in a sling he's completely happy, and I still have the use of both my arms. The only problem is I've been wearing him constantly. He's so heavy that when I lay down at night I still feel like I'm wearing the sling!

I wish Adam could have just one day off, he'd actually be able to sit down, and he could hold Stone. It's a win-win. That way he's relaxing and I can do chores without having to hold that 5 million lb. lump. No seriously, he's like a lump. The child doesn't hold any of his own weight. It's like Weekend at style.

This too shall pass.....this too shall pass......

WHEN?!!!!! As of right now there's no end in sight! Even my dreams have had enough!

Lesson 77: Dreaming several consecutive nights in a row about the Time-out chair = one tired white trash lady

June 7, 2010

Standard Dress

I had a bad morning yesterday. My boys have a clock in their room and aren't allowed to come out until it says 6:00 with the a.m. dot glowing. (Jag has a habit of waking himself and everyone else up at 4am.) Yesterday, they ignored that rule. At 5 my boys were screaming and running up and down the hall. Then Jude decided Jovie shouldn't miss out on the fun, so he opened her door and woke her up.

I laid in bed wishing the nonsense would magically stop. course it had to get worse. A few minutes later I hear, "Ewwww! Jovie, don't play with your poop."

I leapt out of bed, but it was too late. The poop monster struck again for the third time this week.

After I cleaned her up, I went downstairs and put all my kids in time-out. Jovie for playing in her dung, and the boys for not obeying the rules. Jude got extra time for lying. He told me Jovie opened her own door, which is absolutely not possible. Good try Jude.

While they were crying in time-out, I nursed Stone and flipped through my issue of Family Fun. On one of the back pages I saw a coupon for those Family Stick Figure decals. Adam and I want to get one because we know it would look ridiculous. I let the kids up and got on the computer to design my family in stick form.

I opted for the fancier version, where you could make your stick figure doing something. I made Adam's a chef. Marky's played video games. I chose one playing soccer for Jagger, and one reading a book for Jet. Jude's character was playing with cars. I found a curly headed little girl carrying a purse to represent Jovie, and Stone was a cute little baby.

Moving on to me, I couldn't wait to see what my person could be doing. First, the head. I scrolled down, but the only thing that was close to me was the boring one, labeled "bob". Eh, I clicked it anyway. I then proceeded to the body. There were so many to choose from. The list seemed endless. I scrolled down. Then, scrolled down some more. Went back to the top and started again. Nothing. I don't ride horses. I don't cook. I'm not a diva. I don't surf, play football, or am a shop-a-holic. And for crying out loud, I don't LUGE!

Depressed, I picked a triangle dress. Looking below the picture I saw it was labeled, "Standard Dress". My heart broke. Bob, and standard dress? I'm the Jane Doe of stick figures. I grumbled away from the computer and slumped down on the couch, zoning out to the boys playing video games.

Adam came down a few minutes later. Knowing me all too well, he took one look at me and asked, "What's the matter baby?"

Near tears I exploded, "I was trying to make us one of the family stick figure stickers, because I had a coupon," Adam smiled at the mention of a coupon, he's amused by my love of a good deal, "and everyone else got something fun, but I got standard dress. STANDARD DRESS! There's nothing special about me. I have no talent! Where's the stick figure with a vacuum? Or, how about one cleaning poop? Huh?! Where?!"

Lesson 73: wanting a stick figure cleaning up feces on your back window to represent yourself = white trash
"Did you order the sticker?" Adam asked with a smile.
I crossed my arms like a little kid, "No. I'm not getting one until they come out with a Superwoman outfit."

June 2, 2010

Coo-Coo's Nest

Adam and I have never had a hanging plant on our front porch, but I've always wanted one. My neighbors always have them and I rock on my porch coveting their beauty. The pretty blooms cascading over the pot, making homes seem well taken care of and homey.

This year I was able to join the neighborhood hanging basket club. Adam came home with one on Easter. It not a flowering basket, it's just greens. He had used parts of it for decoration on the Easter buffet table and brought home what was left for me. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I was happy none the less.

A few weeks went by and for days I noticed everytime I walked out on to my porch a freaking bird would fly out of my basket. No! I walked over to the plant as the bird sat on a telephone wire and shouted obscenities at me in squawk form. Sure enough, nestled deep inside my plant was a nest.

"Adam, I think a bird made a nest in my hanging plant," I whined, "come check. I'm afraid this crazy bird is going to peck my eyes out."

Adam came out and took down the basket, "There's six eggs in here."

"What?!" At first I was angry. I finally felt like my house fit in and wasn't the street's eye sore. I knew I wasn't going to be able to water the dang thing, and sure enough, within a week my fern had become quite brown.

I wanted to take it down, but I have to admit, Momma bird was pretty clever. All those inbred mangy cats couldn't get to them. So, I left it. Even though it made our house look extremely trashy. Who leaves a dead plant hanging on their front porch? This girl.

Lesson 70: having a dead hanging basket full of birds on your front porch for decoration = white trash

It has been rewarding, though. I was actually on my porch when they hatched. It was a very weird moment where I felt like I was in the delivery room of someone I hardly knew. I wanted to watch but didn't want to invade their privacy, then got weepy when I heard little peeps coming out of the nest.

Now, they are like my family. No, seriously, they are like my family. There are six babies shoved into a way too small nest and they all have personalities. The other day I watched them as the sun was setting. I had just put all my kids to bed, and so had Momma bird, and just like my kids who have a million excuses to be out of their rooms, one of the baby birds was perched on the side of the nest. The mommy bird sat on the telephone wire yelling at the baby, and the baby squawked back until the mom had to come and physically put him back to bed. I rocked in my chair, laughing, "Oh Momma, I know how you feel."

Lesson 71: talking out loud to a bird in a wilted plant, that none of your neighbors can see, so they think you've lost your mind and are talking to a dead weed = white trash
Luckily, the other day one of my neighbors commented on how my plant must not like the sun. I chuckled and said, "No, it likes the sun. It just needs more water and a lot less bird." Then I had her come over and check out my extended family. Peeking in the basket and seeing the six hungry babies with their mouths open, thinking I was going to upchuck some delicious worm chunks into their beaks, my neighbor said, "Six?! There is seriously something wrong with this street, even the wild life have too many kids!"
Lesson 72: Don't move to my street unless you are prepared to have at least a half a dozen kids like the rest of us :)
So, if you're bored, come on over and check out my birds. You'll know which house is mine by the decrepid plantlife hanging proudly on my porch.

May 26, 2010

Wardrobe Malfunction

I don't get to get out much, (I'm sure you're all shocked.) but this weekend one of my really good friends got married. I needed a sitter but Jackie was going to the wedding too and all my other family members, in the area, work in the restaurant business and asking one of them to watch my kids on a Saturday night would be fruitless. Since the kids had been begging me to stay overnight at Gaga's house, I decided to call my mother-in-law and ask her to put her sanity on the line and keep three of my boys, then bring my sister-in-law home with me to watch Stone and Jovie.

Lesson 68: having to split up my kids and find multiple baby sitters just to go to a wedding = white trash

When I asked Gaga if she'd watch the boys, for some crazy reason she thought it sounded like fun and asked if she could keep Jovie as well. Before saying ok, I questioned whether or not this lady was all there. Who would gladly take my boys and beg for more? Should I leave my kids with this crazy person? After realizing they live with me every day, I decided they were, of course, safe. My sister-in-law was easy. Who doesn't want to come cuddle a baby?

The day of the wedding, I was thrilled to get out of my house. I felt like an actual person with an identity. It was liberating to sit through church and not have a squealing child or one whining, wondering when we are going home. My hands were free, I got to hold the bulletin and actually read it! But leave it to motherhood to rear its ugly head right when I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

About the time when my friend was saying her vows, I felt a warm trickle rolling down my stomach. The bad thing about breast feeding is your body will make milk even when it's not needed. Since Stone is such a good nurser I produce more than the average momma bear. I looked over at Jackie (she was my date since Adam had to work and her boyfriend was in another country) and chuckled.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I have breast milk leaking down my stomach."

Jackie of course found this very amusing, but was kind enough to take me home before the reception so I could relieve myself.

Unfortunately, when I got home, Stone was asleep, and you DO NOT wake up Stone. He's not exactly the most pleasant of babies. Not wanting my sister-in-law to have to deal with a cranky Stone, I decided to suffer through it.

At the begining of the reception, I was doing well. There was a lot of adult conversation, that I reveled in. No one said a word about Hot Wheels or Spongebob. No one cried or demanded a popsicle. It was amazing!

Then, while I ate, the flood gates let loose. Within twenty minutes my dress was soaked from my chest to my navel. Luckily, I chose a dress that didn't show the ridiculous state I was in. Jackie laughed and made fun of me all night, and though I was soaked and cold I refused to leave.

It eventually did get extremely uncomfortable. Not only was I soaked but I felt as if I would explode at any second, so we decided to leave.

"Do you want to go give Sam a hug and say goodbye?" Jackie asked.


Lesson 69: not wanting to give your friend a hug on her wedding day because you're scared you'll ruin her beautiful dress with breast milk = white trash
Congrats Sam and Matt! May you have many, many happy years!!

May 15, 2010

Are You Serious?!

Yep, that's feces. This has been Jovie's favorite thing to do the past couple of days when she wakes up. Yesterday it was poop covered popcorn kernels. Why she ate a dozen popcorn kernels? I'll never know. None of my other kids have done this since Jagger pooped on Marky's bed and wrote on the walls, blaming it on his imaginary friend, Jack Raymond. (Yes, his imaginary friend has a first and last name. He's my kid, with my ridiculous imagination.)

If any of you are feeling the need to procreate, please feel free to come to my house for an all too real dose of reality.

Lesson 67: the Johnston kids, serving as a means of birth control since 2003
They're lucky they're so darn cute......even when they are covered in their own excrement.

May 8, 2010

Put On Your Red Shoes And Dance

As soon as Miss Jovie started taking note of the world, she became infatuated with shoes. When she learned to crawl, she would make a b-line for our shoe pile and spend time evaluating shoes and sticking her foot in the ones she deemed worthy.

She not only loves to wear shoes, but she plays with them as well. Not having a lot of girl toys in the house, she loves to play with Hot Wheels. She makes it a little less tomboyish by putting the cars in her shoes and driving those around.

Jackie and my mother-in-law are Jovie's partners in shoe crime, constantly buying her shoes to fuel her addiction. One time her Gaga (Adam's mom) took her to Target and ended up walking out of there with three new pairs of shoes! The one pair looked like pink ballet flats that were covered in glitter. These were Jovie's favorite until I had to remove them from the house. She had outgrown them but refused to stop wearing them. She'd shove her pudgy foot into them, then waddle around saying, "Ouch, ouch, ouch." My grandmother who said, "You must suffer to be beautiful" would be proud. Jovie took this to a whole new level when she cried as I pryed them off her feet with one of them actually bleeding from the top strap.

Lesson 64: wearing shoes that make you bleed, but not caring because you look fabulous = a whole lotta crazy
Luckily, Jackie felt sad for her and bought her a fancy pair of red shoes. She loves her red shoes. They don't really match with anything, but she doesn't care. She puts them on, then does a little dance, watching her shoes and squealing with delight. The first time Adam witnessed this he asked, "What is she doing?"
"She's just doing what David Bowie told her to do. She put on her red shoes and danced." I told him.
When Easter came Adam and I knew that we wanted to put a new pair of shoes in Jovie's Easter basket. With Adam's schedule during the holidays, I never have a lot of time to shop. Going to Walmart at 10:30 at night ended up being my only option. I found a cute pair of white sandals that I thought she would like. On Easter morning she peered into her basket and pulled the shoes out. She sneered at them and threw them back in the basket. Adam and I looked at each other feeling confused.
"Look Jovie, they're shoes." Adam told her as he tried to put them on. Jovie kicked her legs, but Adam managed to get a shoe on. She took one look at them then yelled and kicked her foot wildly until the shoe flew off. She never wore those shoes again. I put them on and she would immediately take them off. I gave up and passed them on to my niece.
Then, when Adam and I were wandering around Walmart on our anniversary,
Lesson 65: celebrating your anniversary wandering around Walmart = white trash
and we found a pair of little Tinkerbell flip-flops. The thought of Jovie in flip-flops was too much to pass up. The next day, when she woke up, we got out her new shoes. Again, she was unimpressed. She hasn't worn them once. It's not like she doesn't like flip-flops. She wears everyone else's.
"Is she too good for Walmart shoes?" I asked Adam. They are the only two pairs of shoes she's ever had that were bought there, and she refuses to wear them.
"Is that a bad sign?"
Lesson 66: being scared that your daughter is too good for Walmart = white trash

May 3, 2010

It's A Nice Day For A White (trash) Wedding

Today, Adam and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary. So, in honor of that fact, I’m going to tell you about our special day.

It was May 3, 2003, and though the weather had been dreadfully cold and dreary for months, the sun shone brightly and warm. Adam looked handsome in his dark gray suit with light blue shirt, and I felt confident in my pale blue dress. I chose blue since I had already been married (Lesson 59: marrying then getting divorced after 2 months = white trash) and I was noticeably pregnant.

Lesson 60: being 9 months pregnant at your wedding = white trash

The Justice of the Peace married us with a small gathering of loved ones. Afterward we had an awesome party at the fabulous Rockton Fire Hall. We ate delicious food that Adam cooked himself, and showed off the ridiculous wedding cake that Adam and I made ourselves.
Lesson 61: spending 23 hours together making an enormous wedding cake = one of the best moments of our lives
After the party we spent the night at Adam’s parent’s house before the trek home the next day so Adam could go to work. No fancy honeymoon.

When people ask what our wedding was like, we usually answer them in our best hillbilly voice (sounds like Mater off of the movie Cars),
Lesson 62: telling people, “Weez got hitched down at da JP, then had a fancy ree-ception over at da fire hall, and con-suu-mated da marriage on Adam’s parents floor.” = white trash

Yep, that’s how it went down. It may not be the fairy tale wedding you all dream about, but I did get my Prince Charming, and that’s all that matters!

Happy Anniversary Adam! I love you so very much!

Now back to enjoying our day……
Lesson 63: spending your Wedding Anniversary cleaning up kid vomit = white trash

…..but at least we get to clean it together! :)

May 1, 2010


Nonsense. That word can sum up the past couple of weeks in this house. Did you know crazy was contagious? Just like colds, when one person gets it, they all come down with it. Adam and all the kids have caught the crazy, making them act completely bizarre. I seem to have caught a completely different strain. Mine is more of an irritated crazy, a side effect of dealing with the other absurd one everyone else is suffering from.

Adam is going through some ridiculous home renovation phase. Everyday, he wakes up, takes the kids to school, comes home and destroys something, then leaves for work. First, it was our driveway. Jackie’s railroad tie retaining wall that connects to our drive had become hazardous. There were sharp broken wood chunks and rusty dowel rods sticking out everywhere, waiting to impale one of my children. Adam removed them (with Jackie’s permission) and all the rocks, mud, and clay that surrounded them.

When he was half done, he chatted with me and moseyed over to the yard with the pick ax and pulled up a couple of bricks that stuck out of our yard. When he did this he found there were more under the grass. He thought it would only take a few minutes to pull out a dozen bricks. A day later, he had ripped up half my back yard.

Lesson 56: Finding enough bricks under your yard to build a retaining wall and barbeque = white trash
So, between the destruction of the retaining wall and half my yard, the kids have had ample amounts of mud to gambol in and track lovingly through my house. Their clothes and shoes have been destroyed, my floors have been defiled, and yesterday Jude cavorted in the mud then crawled into our minivan and wiped his feet on 2/3 of the seats. Not to mention, earlier this week Jet brought home a note from his teacher that read, “You can tell that it's Spring! We have a little problem of mud being tacked into our carpeted classroom.” It had to my kid, I just know it!

Lesson 57: teacher sending home notes because your filthy kid is destroying the school = white trash
The worst day had to be when Adam decided to remove everything from the kitchen and deposit it on the dining room table. Not that we use the table that much. There’s 8 of us and we only have 3 chairs, one stool (that can seat 2), and a drum seat. We’re still short 2 seats. Anyway, he sanded the unfinished drywall on our kitchen ceiling, leaving a layer of snow-like drywall dust covering the island, counters, and floor. Then he left. On his way out he said, “You should clean this up and paint the ceiling today.” I sighed as I held an inconsolable Stone, and watched my daughter throw potting soil, from the spider plant in my dining room, all over the floor. “I’ll get right on it.” I grumbled as Jude and Jet ran past me throwing drywall dust at each other, and leaving a trail of little white footprints from the kitchen to the living room.

Now for the kids, I don’t know what the heck is going on. They’ve all ODed on crazy pills. Whining and messes, fighting and messes, hysterical laughing, nonsense conversations, and you guessed it……MORE MESSES! There has been more fighting this month than there has ever been. Our Time Out chair hasn’t had a chance to cool off. There’s been real fighting and now Marky has introduced them to the world of wrestling. Great. Jovie has a big chuck of skin missing from her forehead (because she can’t miss out on a chance to beat up her brothers) and Jet has a black eye. You’d think this would stop them. Nope.

Jovie wins the award for messes. She’s depotted several plants, painted herself in feces, dumped a gallon of milk and swam in it, picked up Jude’s puke bucket and emptied it on the floor, doused my carpet in bubble solution, and that is just a taste of what she’s done. There’s more, trust me, but this blog is long enough.

Jet and Jude tie for the ridiculous conversation prize. They’ve both been saying really odd things, from Jet having night vision, to telling me he can smell chicken in his ears (Adam says it's a side effect of the night vision) and wanting to know, “Who shot dat chicken?”

Jude’s latest is when I go up to wipe his butt he yells, “Surprise! Happy Birthday!”

Lesson 58: only Birthday present you get is a potty chair full of stool = white trash
At least he got me something.

April 19, 2010

The Dump's Lasting Effects

Today, during family lunch, Jet tells Adam and me, "I've had night vision for a long time." Adam looked over at me and raised his eyebrows. I held my laughter, because my son was dead serious.

"Oh, and how does one acquire night vision?" Adam asked. "Did you fall in a vat of toxic waste? Get bit by a radioactive bug?"

"When....when I was four," (which was just a couple of months ago) "I tripped over a toy in my room and hit my head." he explained in earnest while reenacting the event. "Then I woke up and I could see in the night." Jet's eyes were huge as he recounted the event.

"Wow", was all I could muster. I tried not to remind him that he wouldn't have gotten hurt if they would keep that dang room clean.

He proceeded, "Then I put my arm up to my eyes like this....and now my bones are green!" After pulling his arm away from his face, his expression said to us that there was no doubt in his mind that he was speaking the truth.

"So, you have x-ray vision too?" Adam asked. Jet fervently nodded

I glanced over at Adam, "I told you that room was dangerous."

Lesson 55: obtaining mutant powers and radioactive bones after tripping over toys in your bedroom = white trash

April 14, 2010

The Dump

My poor boys. Four of them are crammed into a 10 x 12 room, and when we rearranged the living room for our Christmas tree this year I decided I wanted my living room toy free. We used to have a toy organizer shoved in a corner of the living room where toys spilled out all over the main room of our house. I'm sure there are plenty of you who think it is horrible that I de-kidded my living room, but I have 6 kids! The amount of toys in this house is ridiculous!

Now, the toy organizer fits snuggly between their two sets of bunk beds, leaving the overflow of toys to clutter their floor. I'm so happy. Jude has a bad habit of dumping all the bins on the floor while searching for a toy then leaving everything there after it's been found.

The last month of my pregnancy with Stone, I was very tired and lazy. I didn't have the energy to clean their room, or even to fight with them to clean it themselves. Needless to say, their room eventually got so bad, looking at it made me desperately need a nap. The only visible piece of carpet was by the door from us closing the door at night. Despite the disaster, the only thing that ever happened was, "Your room looks like a garbage dump!" coming out of my mouth.

A few weeks after I returned home from the hospital, and after a night of poor mom-of-a-newborn sleep, I went into their room early one morning to retrieve clothes for school. I climbed the mountain of broken toys and stuffed animals, and in an extreme lunge, reached desperately for Jagger's pants drawer. As I stood there I heard Tickle Me Elmo, "Ha-ha-ha...that tickles." I looked down and couldn't see one strand of fuzzy red fur from that annoying monster. If you've ever seen a Tickle Me Elmo you know it's not a small toy. I tried to move my foot because Elmo wouldn't shut up, causing my sleep deprived soul to slowly turn black. "To infinity and beyond!" cried a large Buzz Lightyear completely invisible under the mound beneath my foot.

Lesson 53: kids bedroom being so cluttered you're standing on large talking toys and can't even see them! = white trash

"That's it!" I yelled.

I did a gymnast routine to get out of the bedroom and stomped downstairs. I took the kids to school and upon my return went back up with garbage bags in my frustrated hands, and didn't emerge until 3 1/2 hours later. I came out with a crazed look and three garbage bags full of broken toys, and for some reason, food wrappers. My kids know they are not permited to have food upstairs, but I felt too victorious to yell at them when they came home.

Their room was so spotless it brought a tear to my eye. The floor...I could see the floor, and it stayed that way for a month. I think they were just so happy to get to their beds without hurting themselves, that they took better care of it. The only problem was the occasional food wrapper or popsicle stick laying on their carpet. I would reaffirm the fact that they were under no circumstances to eat food in their room, and ask who had broken the rule. No surprise, no one owned up. Despite my yelling, it continued. Then one day I found a balled up dirty diaper. Weird. Why were my boys playing with a dirty diaper? I asked them why. No answer.

Now, the other part to this story is my daughter. She is constantly trying to be helpful. She loves to get stuff for me, helps me unload the dishwasher, and clean up messes. As soon as she started to walk, she knew how to throw away her garbage. She has always been so helpful that I am able to ask her to throw stuff away for me.

Jovie has always seemed to know exactly what I am talking about. I felt like I was talking to myself for years with the boys, but Jovie came out knowing the English language. Even as a baby she would give me the stink eye when I would make a bad joke, and before age 1 could nonverbally let me know she understood everything I said.

One day, after I changed Stone's diaper in my room, I asked Jovie to throw the diaper away for me. (We have garbage can in the bathroom.) She gladly nodded, took the diaper, and disappeared out the door. A few seconds later she returned for her praise. I thanked her and she left smiling to go see what her brothers were doing downstairs.

After I got Stone ready for the day, I left my rooom. Walking past the boys room, I saw the diaper. Hmmmmm. Jovie must have been distracted because it laid next to a couple of toys on the floor. I picked the diaper up and disposed of it.

Later that day, Jovie had a popsicle. When she was done she brought me the stick. "Put it in the garbage." I told her. She smiled, and started up the stairs. "Where are you going?" I asked, but she kept going. Confused, I got up and followed her. She walked straight to the boys room and threw in the stick. She turned and smiled, waiting for praise. I stood with my mouth agape.

I know she probably heard me saying their room was a garbage dump, but having to retrain my daughter to throw her fruit snack wrappers in our garbage cans and not on her brothers' floor is just plain sad.

Lesson 54: kids' bedroom being so cluttered, your 1 year old thinks it's an actual garbage can = white trash

March 31, 2010

Million Dollar Smile

Marky is finally getting baptized this weekend during the Easter Vigil. Being Catholic, he was required to participate in the Rite of Election a few weeks ago. The Rite of Election was held in Saint Paul's Cathedral in Oakland. The Cathedral was completely packed with all others participating, along with their families, from the whole Pittsburgh diocese. The bishop presided and a television crew was there taping the event.

Well, being the stress-bag that I am, I was in a tizzy trying to get Marky there on time. We stopped at McDonalds on the way so Marky could eat. (It was a long day for the two of us.) When we got there, I grabbed Stone and quickly lead Marky and Adam to the Cathedral doors. We made it just in time. I sighed with relief as I sunk into the pew, happy that we weren't late. (We had gotten lost in downtown Pittsburgh, resulting in tears on my behalf.)

Stone was perfect, letting me listen to mass. Amazing. They soon called the names of those getting baptized. Calling Marky's name, we both made our way up to the front with the others so they could sign their names in books. I proudly stood behind Marky. That's when Marky turned and gave me the most beautiful smile.......covered in ketchup!

I stood mortified. We're standing in front of the whole church, the bishop, and PUBLIC TELEVISION, and my kid has McDonalds ALL over his face. A spit wash would be embarrassing for him, and would probably be inappropriate to do during a ceremony. So I left it.

That following Wednesday, I picked up the copy of the Diocese Catholic newspaper that was delivered to my house, and there we were in a picture. Awesome.

Lesson 52: Kid in front of the whole church during mass with the bishop, that is televised with McDonalds smeared all over his face = white trash

Don't worry, I learned my lesson. I will most definitely be checking his face before mass this weekend. Luckily, this one won't be on TV!

Jovie Smorgasbord

Jovie has been a real hot mess lately. I need an extra set of eyes.....or maybe a whole other body. A 19 month old needs constant supervision, and having five other kids, one being a new baby, my attention is drawn thin. A disaster follows wherever she goes, and she has now decided that she must taste everything she picks up. Whether it be just a lick or a whole-in-mouth chewing experiment, it doesn't matter, she just has to give it a taste.

Lesson 51: daughter licking bubble solution off a bubble wand, chewing on a cigarette butt off the ground, and drinking a cup of (non-toxic) paint water with paint brush still in it....all in a half an hour = white trash

March 16, 2010

Going Outside

The sun is out and the million inches of snow have melted. You know what that means? I get to sit on my front porch!

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love to rock in my Amish rocking chair and bask in the sunlight on my front porch. In the summer I spend most of my time after the kids have gone to bed enjoying the beautiful hillside full of trees on the opposite side of the Ohio River. The river itself is brown and disgusting. I'm glad neighboring houses block that view. I rock away while praying or enjoying the occasional neighbors company. (When I say occasional neighbors, I mean Jackie. She's the only one who doesn't mind being seen with us!)

Today was not only sunny, but also quite warm. My kids have had an extreme case of cabin fever after being stuck in the house for four excruciating months, so the prospect of going out into the fresh air lifted their spirits. My kids are quite simple and were totally stoked they got to trade in their bulky winter coats for hoodies. I, on the other hand, am just as simple, and couldn't wait to reunite my big butt with its most favorite seat.

Giddily, we made our way outside. Now, I have to tell you, we never use our front door in the winter. It's just easier to go out the back door, which is closer to where our cars are parked, avoiding the bitter winter wind. Plus my front door gets stuck in cold weather making it impossible to open unless you know the secret trick; but the door opened easily today.

I stepped outside as the kids barreled out the door like a clown car vomiting clowns. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath of fresh air.........choke, choke........fresh air? I opened my lids and scanned my porch. I expected a certain amount of disarray after a harsh season of neglect, but what I saw caused much confusion.

We have not had a pet in the house since Jasper died. I don't need anything else pooping, peeing, or vomiting on my floors, my kids are enough. Seriously! When I walked out on my porch, my favorite spot in the world, I found a pile of regurgitated hairball, a nice plop of feces on my front step, and the whole front of the house had a lovely cat pee smell.

Grrrrrrrrr........Now, I don't hate animals. I love dogs and most cats. Jackie's cat, Cheddar, is the best cat ever! He makes sure both Jackie's house and our house are mice free. He's an outside cat (most of the time), but he is clean and taken care of.

I do, however, have a problem with the nasty inbred cats that roam around the neighborhood. There are a million of them, and they all look the same. All five gagillion of them are thin with scraggly gray fur, looking as if they just crawled out of Pet Cemetery. They're creepy! And they're deficating on my stairs and spraying my house with their strong smelling urine!

Lesson 50: my house being the neighborhood cat toilet = white trash
Needless to say, my butt had to just look longingly at my Amish rocker while I cleaned my front porch. Don't worry butt, there's always tomorrow!

March 3, 2010

Thinking Arby's

The first few weeks after bringing a baby home, those who come to meet the new addition looks them over and tells you who they think they resemble. Sometimes it’s generic, “He looks like you.” I think the best comparison I ever got was when my mom looked at Jude as an infant and told me, “He has Poppy’s nostrils.” Now that was specific!

Stone has been no different. Though I’ve heard very different opinions about most things about him, the one thing they all agree on is that he has my lips. Poor kid, he inherited the full lips that practically ruined my childhood.

I have to admit, at that age my lips didn’t fit my face, and it was pure ammunition for cruel kids to torment me every day. They called me horrible names and would stick out their bottom lips and use their tongues to make big upper lips, pretending to be me. I went home upset quite often. To make me feel better, my mom would tell me, “Those lips will make you famous one day.” She would then show me people like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler who are known for their large smackers. This is why, though I’m not the one in the family obsessed with the Rolling Stones, I have a special affection for Mick Jagger.

Stone’s lips are just the same. Being entirely too big for his face, we have a good time watching what his amusing lips can do. For instance, since he has no teeth, occasionally he will suck in his bottom lip in the middle, creating two perfectly sized bottom lips. Adam’s favorite is when he flattens his bottom lip and sucks in the sides of his top lip, forming a cowboy hat shape. When this happens, Adam lovingly states with a grin, “Look! Stone’s Thinking Arby’s!”

Now, Stone is not the first person in our family to Think Arby’s. About a month after we moved into our house, and a few years before the Thinking Arby’s campaign, we were driving to Walmart. Adam was the person physically driving. I sat in the passenger seat needing to be sedated. I don’t do well as a passenger. About a year before this incident Adam and I had had a fight about me being too over critical of his driving. I told him when to brake, when to slow down, and would hold onto the “Oh shit” bar the whole time looking completely terrified. It’s not that Adam is a bad driver. I’m a bad driver. I’m way too cautious, the type of person who brakes as soon as I see another car’s brake lights ahead, even if they’re five miles down the road. It’s pretty sad, and it Adam crazy when I'd warn him that cars were stopping at a red light.

“Yeah honey, I see it.” he’d tell me in a very annoyed tone. It got to the point where he asked me not say anything ever again or he’d leave me on the curb. Realizing I was driving my husband to insanity, I decided to keep quiet no matter how scared I felt. I did well for the following year. Even though my heart raced and I would often break into a cold sweat while Adam sat behind the wheel, I still kept my mouth shut.

Then, on the way to Walmart, on that beautiful warm clear day, we neared a stop light. Since it was such a nice day, no rain or snow, I was able to see things very clearly. We neared the light, a pick-up truck in front of us. My heart beat erratically as the truck’s bumper got closer and closer and our car’s speed didn’t seem to be slowing. The next thing I knew our car had been fused together with the truck’s rear end.

I looked over at Adam and all he had to say for himself was, “Whoops.”

Whoops? I thought to myself. This wouldn’t have happened if I was permitted to be annoying and overbearing.

“What were you looking at?” I demanded, confused at how he didn’t see the large truck now sticking out of our hood.

“Did you know they have two Arby’s melts for four dollars?” he asked with a grin.

Lesson 49: Wrecking your car because you want a roast beef sandwich = white trash

I looked to my right, there sat an Arby’s restaurant with a sign that read exactly what Adam had just told me. I whipped my head back around to glare at my husband, “You wrecked the car because you wanted a sandwich?!”

“Honey, it’s two Arby’s melts for four dollars!”

I was not amused.

A few years later the “Thinking Arby’s" commercials made their debut. The first time we saw one of those commercials, Adam and I both broke out in laughter. We joked about him getting out of the car after the accident with a big red outline of a hat floating above his head.

Now when we’re in the car and Adam suggests stopping at Arby’s, I immediately grab onto the “Oh shit” bar and hold on for my life.

February 19, 2010

Labor and Delivery

Ah, labor, the final step before holding your baby in your arms instead of your womb. On the evening of February 4th I had a feeling that my water had broke. Then, to confirm this I began having contractions. I had contractions until 4 am when they pretty much stopped. Feeling very confused I called my doctor in the morning.

“Come on in.” he told me.

Adam and I packed our things (just in case) and headed to the doctor’s office located above the women’s hospital where I would eventually deliver.

We got to the office around 10:30 on February 5th, and were sent down to Labor and Delivery shortly after. They hooked me up to Pitocin around noon. I hate Pitocin. It’s the devil’s drug, making contractions ten times worse, and I’m lucky enough to have had Pitocin with every delivery. What a prize to be won!

Around the same time it had begun to snow. I’m just glad we got there before the storm that dumped feet of snow on Pittsburgh. Adam wasn’t so happy. He has always wanted to deliver one of the kids himself. He has grand visions of driving me to the hospital and then having to pull off on the side of the road, roll up his sleeves, and deliver his offspring like a pro……..Uh, no thank you. First off, I tell him, “You’re a chef, not a doctor. It’s not like taking a turkey out of the oven.” I can just see it. He’d take the baby out with a pair of tongs and put it lovingly in a pan of warm water. Scary. Second, I want an epidural. He’s cruel and unusual to wish extra pain on me just to have something to put on his resume. (Yes, he’s mentioned it.)

After getting my epidural, I laid on my side and watched huge white flakes fall from the sky. It was beautiful. It helped take my mind off the fact that my contractions weren’t strong or regular enough to have a baby any time soon. To add to my frustration Adam was restless. He’s never had to wait long in the hospital for a baby to be born. I usually get there and POW….done. This time was different and Adam didn’t know what to do with himself. He went through all the drawers, put on a stethoscope and listened to my heart beat and my stomach. He finally had enough and tried to lure the baby out with a trail of Skittles.

Lesson 47: Luring your child out of the womb with a trail of Skittles = white trash

Around 7pm all the nurses had left me and Adam decided he was going to go to the bathroom. I was all alone watching Jeopardy. I thought to myself, “This baby is never going to come out.” Right after the thought crossed my mind my body doubled over as it tried to push a baby out on its own. “Oh crap,” I thought to myself, “Button, where’s that emergency button?!” I looked up and spotted what I needed. I stretched my arm out but the darn thing was just out of reach. I will never make fun of those, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” commercials ever again. I looked to the door but no one was coming to save me. No Adam, no nurse. I was going to have a baby all by myself.

Then I heard it. The most beautiful sound, my nurse coming through the door, “Someone’s having a baby.” She sang out.

How did she know?

Adam returned from the bathroom, “Who’s having a baby?”

“Meeeee.” I grunted, not able to speak in my normal tone. I was trying so hard not to push that my voice sounded like a caveman learning to talk or Satan after suffering a stroke. I haven’t been able to decide which one is more accurate.

Within minutes, a flood of nurses were by my side. “We’ve paged your doctor, but we can’t find him. Don’t push.”

“Seeeeeriouslyyyyyy?!” the caveman asked.

Adam ran to my side and held my hand as I turned his bones to jelly. You think pushing is hard? Try keeping a baby in. Did you ever have to poop so bad that you’re walking on your tiptoes holding your butt cheeks together the whole way to the bathroom just to find out there is already someone on the pot taking their time, and you are reduced to breaking a sweat while dancing outside the bathroom door as you prairie-dog it? Imagine your feces is a 7lb 11oz child. A thousand times worse. Trust me.

Ten minutes passed and they still hadn’t found my doctor.

“I’m starting to worry. I don’t know if your doctor will make it. If the baby starts to come out I know what to do.” the doctor-in-training told me.

I looked over and saw Adam’s face light up. “Maybe I can talk her into letting me catch the baby.” he whispered.

“Staaaaaaayyyy awaaaaaay from meeeeeee!” Satan responded.

He ignored me. “Should I scrub up? Put on a gown?” he giddily asked. “Let’s do this thing!” he shouted.

I rolled over to face the onslaught of nurses. “Keeeeeeep him awaaaaaaay from meeeeeee!” It was definitely stroke Satan this time because I’m pretty sure there was fire in my eyes.

Adam’s hopes were dashed when seconds later, my doctor came into the room. He had been delivering another woman’s baby, whose doctor wasn’t able to make it in to the hospital because of the horrible weather.

“Ok Jess, give me a little push.” my doctor told me.

Hello? I’ve been holding this child in for over 15 minutes. I guess my 'little push' was a whole lot different than the 'little push' he meant. I gave one push and the entire medical faculty in the room yelled at once, “Whoa! Whoa! Stop. Stop.”
“No more pushing Jess. Just wait a minute.” my doctor said.

Ugh! I threw my head back on the pillow and looked up at the TV. I sighed and audibly solved the puzzle on Wheel of Fortune. My doctor looked up at me and then the TV and gave a little smirk.

Lesson 48: Being able to take time to solve a puzzle on Wheel of Fortune during the hardest part of labor = the sad truth that I’ve had one too many babies!

Stone was out seconds later, ready to face the world. He had dark hair, dark blue eyes that will most definitely be brown like mine, and despite the snow storm raging outside, he was born with a beautiful tan, compliments of either my dad’s or Adam’s dad’s genes. (Neither of us were lucky enough to get that nice skin, but half of our kids have it.)

Welcome to the world baby Stone! We’re so happy you’re here!