November 22, 2014

Jude's Special Gift

Last night, Jet asked if I would teach him how to cook. I chuckled. Anyone who knows me, knows I CAN NOT cook. Well, my kids are an exception to that statement. They are unaware that there are real moms out there. Wonderful mothers who prepare dinner with actual food and don't use a microwave.

You know how they say, the perfect spouse will be someone who will be able to be your strength where you are weak? Well, I married a gourmet chef. Apparently,  God also found my skills in the kitchen to be deficient.

How bad am I? I burnt no-bake cookies, because I tried to bake them. I was very confused why the person writing the recipe would leave out the temperature for the oven.

Adam has struggled over the years to teach me how to cook, with no success. He has no idea why I'm not retaining anything he teaches me. He has trained lots of people in the culinary arts, yet his wife has to call him everytime she wants to boil an egg, because she can't remember how to do it. I explained that  cooking to me is like trying to make him solve a calculus equation. It makes no sense, it gives me anxiety, and I have no  desire whatsoever to do it.

So, when Jet asked me to teach him to cook, I told him, "You should ask Daddy to teach you. Cooking is one of the special gifts God gave him."

Jet asked, "What's my special gift?"

"Well, you're still pretty young. You have lots of time to find out. Pray about it and God will show you."

Jet smiled, "I can't wait till I find out."

"I already know what my special gift is," Jude chimed in.

"Oh yeah?" I looked at my eight year old. He looked very proud of himself.  "What is it?"

"My special gift is not brushing my teeth."

Lesson 187: Your kid believing poor oral hygiene is a gift from God = white trash

(Note: I am blogging from my phone again and it is auto correcting and bolding text like a boss. Thanks for bearing with me!)

September 21, 2014

“I Am Getting Real Sick Of Your Crap” (Guest Blog!)

Guest Blog
“I Am Getting Real Sick Of Your Crap” 
By: Lorri Stiles

I am a foster-mom.  Now before your mind fills up with images of a grandmotherly lady, baking cookies while wearing an apron and welcoming dirty faced, skinny elementary school kids into her loving home, I should explain a few things.  I am a bleach-blonde (natural color, unfortunately) ex-semi-professional football player with piercings, tattoos and a deep love for breaking things.  The last time I wore an apron was when I went to a costume party as a ‘sexy, 1950’s house-wife’.  Oh, and I don’t take kids under the age of 14.

Being a foster-mom for teens is tough.  Raising my own 16 year old girl in the process is even tougher.  All of this while working at a university and completing my masters and being an intern at a ‘behavioral school’ has driven me over the edge a couple of times.  Way over the edge.

My kids are rough.  These are kids that have been placed in foster-care for endearing behaviors such as feeding a kitten to a pitbull, throwing rocks at the elderly, bringing a gun to school, and my personal favorite, stealing a check to buy a horse.  The check only paid for half of the horse, and I am not sure where the horse was going to be hid in my suburban neighborhood.

I try to only have one foster-kid at a time in the house.  This allows me to devote the time and energy required to them.  For anyone who doesn’t know, fostering (even the good kids) requires about ten to thirty hours a month in appointments, at least one stranger in your home every month, being at court cases, and defending your every move.  It is exhausting.  By the time you have done it for a year, your whole life has been turned upside down in ways that you can’t imagine.  Seriously, I never imagined some of the rules I would have to follow and precautions I would need to take.  Locking up ALL the medicine in the house is an example.  I know, those of you with young children are saying, in your heads, “well, I do that anyway”.  To clarify the extent of this, all the vitamins, cough drops, aspirin, and even the throat sprays have to be locked, in a box, with a key, that only I have access too.  This means that when my daughter has a migraine, she has to tough it out until I get home, which can be 20 minutes, or it can be 13 hours, depending on the day.  This also means that every so often, I have to meander through my home and find the rogue bottles of ibuprofen and Midol that the girls have bought on their own after becoming desperate for relief from the pain of being an adolescent female.


Many kids come into foster-care from neglectful or severely impoverished homes.  I have to deal with a lot of food hoarding.  Sometimes it is little things, like a kid storing up packaged fruit snacks in their dresser.  Sometimes it is more severe, like two loaves of bread, canned ham, cranberry sauce, cans of vegetables and a box of Twinkies.  That is when I need to intervene.

There are good times through all of the insanity.  Though I am beginning to believe the good times are just a sign that I am slipping over the edge into crazy land.  A couple of years ago, I had five children living with me.  They were 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18.  Privacy and patience were commodities in the house that we all begged to have more of.  On one of the days where I actually had a chance to leave the house without one child or another weaseling their way into going with me, I got in the car and drove away, off to the store, I went.  Now, somewhere in the back of my mind, I questioned whether this was a good idea.  I was leaving two teen girls and three teen boys to supervise themselves and each other in my home.  I shrugged off the nagging worry, reminding myself that I had homeowners insurance and went on my way. 

When I got home, the children were amazingly well-behaved.  The house wasn’t burning, it wasn’t missing any major structural portions.  The kids were cooperating and playing a video game together.  While this tripped my MOMDAR (that weird radar mom’s have when something just isn’t right, but we can’t figure out what it is), I decided that I was being paranoid and went about my business putting away groceries.  About the time that I had most of the food put away, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom.  I opened the ‘powder room’ door and flipped on the light.  Something wasn’t right.  Was that corn?  And why does the seat have brown….Oh… oh no.  My bathroom was covered in a brown, chunky substance with little pieces of corn floating around in it.  It was on the walls, it was on the toilet, it was on the floor, and it was on the mirror. 

I lost it.  The edge of sanity came and went in a blink of an eye.  I was fast approaching screaming lunatic that needs shock therapy.  I stormed out to the living room where my children sat, playing their game and I screamed words I never imagined I would have to even think while living with teenagers.


My kids erupted into laughter.  The fact that I didn’t have an aneurysm, a stroke, a heart attack or a psychotic episode at this point obviously speaks to my mental and physical strength.  I was dumbfounded.  I lost it again and said the words that would ultimately be my downfall… “This CRAP is NOT FUNNY”.  My kids fell on the floor laughing.  Finally, my princess, my angel, my 16 year old demon looks at me and says, “Mom, it is chocolate” before she falls back down laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe.


Miss Lorri, as my kids call her, is my lovely babysitter's (Pi) mom. This woman has a heart of pure gold, and it gets bigger with every kid she meets. She's an expert at loving those who can be hard to love. Not only is she a foster mom, she is also the person responsible for the remarkable breakthrough of our autistic son, Jagger. She was his very first TSS, and she spent 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, for years working with him. He started out non-verbal, and God bless her, she had to sit through tantrum after tantrum, but when she was done with him, he was able to be mainstreamed in Kindergarten. I know my children are not the only kids who have become better individuals because of her influence. Jagger may scream, "I'm not your boyfriend!" every time he sees her, but I know he does in fact love her. Just like the rest of us!

Thanks Lorri for being brave enough to air out that dirty laundry! 

August 17, 2014

Living With Nature.....Indoors (Guest Blog: Carrie Noble)

Guest Blog

Living With Nature...Indoors
by: Carrie Noble

My in-laws’ owned a “historic home.” A hundred years ago—maybe even fifty—it must have been spectacular. The exterior: three stories of red brick, topped with multiple chimneys and a slate-tiled roof. Inside: well-crafted woodwork, multiple fireplaces, tall windows framed by tasseled curtains, and a majestic staircase.

By the late 1990’s, the place needed some serious work. Functional central heat would have been nice, for example.

Its upstairs apartment was supposed to be temporary housing for my family, but we ended up staying for nine loooonnnnnng years. We arrived with one kid and left with four!

You know how mankind has slowly overtaken forests and fields, shoving Nature aside? Well, I think that was what was happening there…in reverse: Nature trying to reclaim its territory.

Exhibit one: Squirrel Bowling Leagues. In the attic above our bed on the third floor, squirrel bowling was the “in” sport. They must have used jumbo walnuts as balls—they made so much racket. I think they had a bar up there, too, because sometimes we heard them brawling and swearing in Squirrelese.

Once, a member of the league must have made a wrong turn and ended up in our bathroom. Sad to say, after Mr. Squirrel tangled with my husband and a boot, he never bowled again (unless they bowl in Squirrel Heaven).

My mother-in-law also relied upon my husband’s skills as an amateur exterminator when uninvited bat houseguests flitted through her region of Wildlife Manor (not its real name). My husband wasn’t much of a tennis player, but he could backhand a bat like Martina Navratilova.

And then there were the snakes.

One day, I watched in horror as a blacksnake climbed up a brick wall to a ledge under the edge of the roof. Snakey proceeded to lunch on baby birds, despite my fervent prayers for him to fall down and die. (Did you know snakes can scale walls? That’s just wrong!)

I found a baby snake in our bathroom once. I screamed, slammed the door, and waited for my husband to get home. By then, it had vanished. No one ever went to the bathroom without turning on the lights after that.
Snakes also liked to frequent my mother-in-law’s kitchen downstairs. She has snake-o-phobia, so she did not ask them to stay for a cookie and a Bible story.

Hordes of mice came to call, too, leaving their little black droppings as parting gifts. Gees, no wonder the snakes came in. The house was prime hunting grounds!

Does anybody like big, hairy wolf spiders? I found one in the sink, the size of a toddler. Well, maybe not quite that big. But close enough.

Nature was pretty aggressive in the yard, as well. Ticks and poison ivy attacked my kids often enough that the doctor probably kept our charts in the section of files labeled “rednecks.”

And oh, the pool hole! Once upon a time, it had been a beautiful in-ground pool. But during our stint at Wildlife Manor, I had to phone the game warden to rescue a young deer that was trapped in the crumbling, weed-infested chasm. As for groundhogs that fell in…they were out of luck.

So…I’m pretty sure
Lesson 187: living in a tumbledown mansion with more critters than they have in the Philadelphia Zoo=White Trash!

Truth be told, we were blessed. We had indoor plumbing and enough to eat. Winters were tough but nobody got frostbite. And the kids still reminisce about the seven-acre yard where they climbed trees, rode bikes, picked apples, and frolicked in poison ivy.

It wasn’t my idea to live there, but I know it was God’s plan for us at that time. And when we finally moved into our very own house, we appreciated it all the more.

However, I still firmly believe that Nature should stay outdoors.

I met Carrie at St. Davids Christian Writers' Conference this past June. She befriended me despite thinking I was a stalker. She is a wife and mother of 4, and she just so happens to be the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner in the YA category. Her book, The Mermaid's Sister, will be available in February 2015. (You can pre-order a copy on Amazon......hint!....hint!!)

Thanks Carrie for your trashy contribution!!  

August 11, 2014

Table Manners

First off...

Lesson 185: Blogging from your phone because your baby destroyed your laptop =white trash
(I tried to find any random acts of auto correct,  but reading microscopic text was killing me! I apologize for any I missed.)

Back to the story...

Anyone who has kids knows there comes a time during summer vacation when you lose all control. Not only do you lose control, but you lose the will to even care.

Well, that time had come in our house. The rule of our house is no TV or games until chores, homework, and instrument practice are done. Even then, they only receive one hour of TV time. They perform other chores off a list in our kitchen to obtain extra time. This past week, everything had gone right out the window.  No one had practiced an instrument (unless playing Rock Band counts). There were several days when they didn't do their one required chore. And the video games! Oh the video games! It was just so much more relaxing for me to have them zoned out in front of the TV than fighting and destroying my house.

Of course, Adam, who spends 99% of his time at work or asleep, told me, "we need to take back control." Which translated to," you need to handle this."

So, I started the long frustrating road to getting my kids under control. The way things started out though, I wondered if they'd finally figured out they out numbered me.

I'd ask them to do something and I was blatantly ignored. Our first floor is a TV free zone, yet I went to the store and returned to find not one, but two televisions in my living room. "We'll put them back when we're done", they told me. They were in my living room for a full week.

I asked my older boys to clean their room. I walked past their door after an hour and heard, "One!" Slap. "Two!" Slap. Apparently they were waiting for a tap-out. I decided to give them more time. An hour later, I put my hand on the door knob then heard, "My seaweed,  my rules." What in the world? I pulled my hand off the knob as if it were scalding hot and decided to give them one more hour to finish the task I gave them.

When the hour was up I went to their door and heard screaming. I entered their room to see the mess had not changed. They all froze, which was impressive seeing as they were in the middle of holding Stone and trying to wrangle him (against his will) into a pair of doll panties.

Adam was right. I needed to get things back under control. "Clean this room now or you're all grounded." They looked at me, dropped Stone (who flopped away like a mermaid), and finally got to work. I resolved from then on I would ask them once and that was it. No excuses.

It has worked for the most part. The No Nonsense Sheriff has rolled back into this no-good-child-run town, and is getting things done. I'm back in my saddle and quick on the draw. No pathetic excuse can be drawn before I shoot a well aimed, "Now!"

"I'll do it after.."


"Just give me a..."


There have been a few times when I'm not such a tyrant.

"Now!" I yelled as Jovie sulked away to clean up stray dishes.

"But I'm really hungry."

"Eat a cracker while you clean." See? I allow little privileges as long as they are still doing what I've asked. I just can't back down right now.

However, this tactic did backfire. During my loss of control, my kids decided they didn't need to sit and eat at the table. They ran around and dropped food everywhere. The twins were the worst.

One night I served dinner. Rex grabbed his corn dog and ran. He jumped in his little Cozy Coupe car and tried to drive away. (Did I mention my kids also brought in all their outside riding toys?) Finding him, I opened the door, pointed and said, "Go to the table." He looked at me with a devious smile and said, "No."

Was he challenging the Sheriff to a showdown? Silly boy, hadn't he realized it had been high noon all day and the Sheriff hadn't lost yet? I aimed and shot, "Now!"

He jumped out of the car and ran to the table. He yelled, "But I poopin'." I didn't really register what he was actually saying. All complaints had sounded the same and I was still strutting around from my latest win. I felt the urge to be a kind tyrant and decided to be lenient.  It wasn't until the words were coming out of my mouth that I realized what I was truly saying...

"You can poop at the table."

(Record scratching)

I rounded the corner to see the rest of my kids looking horrified.

"Really mom?" Jet asked holding his nose.

I stared at the kids' disgusted faces. Hold it together Sheriff. You can't back down. They'll think you're weak and you'll lose everything you've worked so hard for.

"Yes, really. Everyone eats at the table." I sat down, held my head high, and resumed my dinner. A round of groans met my ears. I pretended not to notice and fought the urge to groan along with them.

Lesson 186: Teaching your kids it's socially acceptable to soil yourself at the dinner table = white trash

Is this the point where the Sheriff rides off into the sunset?.... No? ....Bummer.

August 4, 2014

Are You White Trash?

I've had a lot of women come up to me lately and share their "white trash mom" moments. They are all really funny and make me feel slightly better about my own life. Apparently, we can all be a little trashy from time to time.

So, if anyone is interested, you don't have to be a mom, you could be a dad, grandparent, child, pet, the wildlife that sits in my garbage cans at night and eats my "white trash" bags full of garbage, I don't care, if you're trashy I want to hear about it and I will be taking stories to post as a guest spot on my blog.

Please send your stories to Don't forget a little bio about yourself to be included with your story. Unless you want to remain anonymous. Some are in denial of their true trashy selves. But I say embrace your trash and own it!

Can't wait to hear from you!

July 9, 2014

Just a Crappy Blog

Last night, Stone's t-ball team celebrated the season with a pizza party at the park. I was only going to take Stone, but at the last minute I had to take eight out of nine kids, and we had to walk.

We all had a good time, until Stone ran up to the pavilion holding himself. "I have to pee!" I looked around. My kids were EVERYWHERE. I called to Jagger and he ran Stone up to the bathrooms.

A few minutes later, Stone screamed across the park. I looked up and he was still holding himself by the bathrooms and Jagger was running right for me. "Well, it looks like Stone peed his pants," I sighed at the other mothers.

I was about five steps away when Jagger yelled, "Stone pooped his pants! It's in his shoe!"

Great. Of course, I was completely unprepared. What mother of nine would pack a diaper bag when going out? .....What's that? All of them? Guess I didn't get the memo.

I cleaned Stone up and it was time to walk home.

As we walked, my kids began to sing. You know the 12 Days of Christmas? The part where you sing, Five Golden Rings? They changed the words to Stone pooped his pants! Even Stone, who had dried his tears and realized pooping his pants was quite amusing, sang along. They sang in 3 piece harmony, and at one point I thought they were singing in a round, but it turned out the twins were just unsure of the words. Even Hawk cried, "Poop-poop!" from the stroller.

We rounded the corner, the singing stopped. Jagger turned his head and commented, "Stone, why did you have to poop your pants? Why couldn't you just hold it?"

Being the loving mother I am (complete and utter sarcasm), I said, "Jagger, what about the time you couldn't hold it at the restaurant and you pooped your pants? You had to wear Dad's shirt and you looked like MC Hammer."

"Who's MC Hammer?" Jet asked.

I sighed, "you looked like a ninja."

Jagger slumped his shoulders, yet had a grin on his face, "Oh yeah."

"Haha!" Jude pointed, "Jagger, you pooped your pants."

"Uh, Jude? Remember the one time we went to Gabriel Brothers and Dad had to call for me over the loud speaker, because you pooped your pants? Good thing we were at a clothes store, because I had to buy you all new clothes."

Jude flashed me a devilish grin.

"Why did they all poop their pants?" Jovie laughed.

"Jo, you pooped your pants when Grammy spent the night." I reminded her.

"Oh yeah. I had a dream I was pooping my pants, but I really DID poop my pants." She smiled and shook her head as if she were enjoying the nostalgia. "That was awesome."


Lesson 183: Proud pants poopers = White Trash

"Stone pooping his pants wasn't the first time and it won't be the last," I told them. Then on cue, as if he were holding it for that exact moment, Hawk audibly pooped his pants. "See, Hawk just pooped his pants."

The kids laughed and sang out, Hawk pooped his pants!

I'm glad my kids can laugh at their embarrassing moments. Yes, those moments in life are horrible, but our family has found that laughter is definitely the best kind of medicine. We take lemons and turn them into a whole stinking lemonade stand and pass out cups of amusement to any passerby. Maybe my kids will have trashy blogs of their own someday......I apologize in advance.

July 1, 2014

Say Cheese!

It's no secret my family is odd. Adam will tell you it's my genes that cause the weirdness in our children. I'm not denying that possibility. I'm also not denying my family's unnatural love of cheese. We love cheese, but my son Rex has taken it to a whole new level.

I first noticed something was amiss when Rex would ask for a piece of cheese and then a few hours later I would find it completely uneaten in random places. I found them on the couch. I found them in a toy skillet. I found them in the fireplace. Cheese was everywhere!

Then, it escalated to his asking for American Cheese slices still in the wrapper. He would freak out if I tried to unwrap it. I told him he was absolutely not going to just hold a slice of cheese until it became inedible. Wasting cheese is just plain wrong. (I love cheese! You don't wrong cheese. "Nobody puts Cheese in a corner!" Sorry, I'm having a moment.)

Once he was shut off, he took matters into his own hands. I would get into the fridge and find cheese missing. Whole bricks! I would play a game of Hot and Cold with Rex. He had no idea he was playing, but his face would give it away. "Where's the cheese?" I'd ask. He'd freeze and only move his eyes as I walked around the room. His eyes getting wider the closer I got. 

Sometimes I didn't even have to ask. He began carrying baskets full of cheese bricks, baggies loaded with cheese sticks, and purses brimming with cheese cubes. Oh, and I can't forget when I came into the room to Rex cooling himself with a hand fan made of cheese slices.

Could it get any weirder? I'm so glad you asked.

A few days ago, Adam and I were outside with the kids doing yard work. I noticed Rex missing when I did a head count. Adam went inside to find him. While standing in the doorway, he yelled to me, "Hey, the American Cheese wrapper is laying on the floor in front of the fridge."

"Ugh! Please find Rex and get the cheese." 

Adam returned laughing. "There is something wrong with our children," he said.

When Adam started up the stairs, he called out, "Rex. Do you have cheese?"

He heard a quick, "No," coming from the little boys' bedroom. Reaching the doorway, he saw Rex on his bed, completely covered with his blanket.

"Rex, do you have cheese?" he asked again.


Adam pulled the blanket down. Rex's eyes became wide as he realized he had been caught red handed lying on his bed with American Cheese slices covering his entire body in some sort of bizarre cheese suit.

Lesson 182: Feeling the need to wear cheese = white trash

Lady Gaga's personal stylist better watch out. Rex is on the scene, and the cheese doesn't stand alone!

Memoirs of a White Trash Mom

June 6, 2014

Age Defying Face Cream

Times are tough, and it's written all over my face. Literally.

Since we moved to our new home, things have been tight. Well, everything but the skin on my face. And with our finances the way they are, I have no extra money to buy fancy Avon face creams that I used to get. I thought I would be able to survive, but today I took a selfie with one of the twins and realized I had a wrinkle in the middle of my forehead even when I relaxed my face. Lovely.

Lesson 181 : Wrinkles = White Trash

Tonight, while I was at Walmart buying milk, I thought I would take a detour to the cosmetic aisle and see if they had any cheap face creams. $20! They were all over $20! Come on Walmart, where are the $1.97 bottles of Equate Face Cream with the circle that says, "Compare to Botox"?

I walked away grumbling about tough times and about the twins who I swear are responsible for the wrinkle on my forehead. By the time I reached the refrigerator aisle, I was smiling. Why do I get upset about wrinkles? Wrinkles show the world I've had a life well lived. Yes, the wrinkles on my forehead give away that I've dealt with a lot of stress and worry, but my laugh lines show that despite the trials of life I've found joy and a reason to smile.

Wrinkles are beautiful little story tellers.

Ok, but maybe it would still be nice to be an unpublished author.

March 31, 2014

A Is For Alligator

First off, I want to tell you about my daughter's love of bacon. It's unnatural. When I go to the store and ask all the kids if they would like anything, this is usually what I get.

Marky: (an annoyed glare)
Jagger: "Ice cream sandwiches!"
Jet: "Ice cream!"
Jude: "Hard chocolate chip cookies."
Jovie: "BACON!"
Stone: "Fruit snacks!"
Rex, Fox, and Hawk: "AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" (They just like to yell and jump with the rest of them.)

Lesson 180: Daughter loving bacon more than an 80's Footloose Fan = white trash

The second thing I need you to know for this story is what a horrible mother I am. Jovie has been able to identify letters since before she was 2. I take no credit for this. The kudos goes to the many phonics movies she's watched and the multiple learning websites she's played. Yep, I passed the buck. It was just so easy to plop her in front of the TV or computer and get chores done or tend to babies while she learned, "A is for a-a-alligator, and a-a-apple." (All of those programs seemed to use the same examples.)

Jovie is now in kindergarten, with several years of phonics under her belt.

Yesterday, I was flipping through the latest Oriental Trading catalog, and Jovie came over and peeked at the items on the page. It was a luau theme. She pointed to a decoration of a roasted pig. "Ew! Those people are cooking a pig. Wait. What comes from pigs?" she asked.

I smiled, "Ham. Bacon." Her eyes got huge and she began licking her lips like a hungry cartoon character. "You love to eat pigs."

"Yeah I do! I also love eating alligators. They come from apples."

Uh, maybe I've given those websites and movies too much credit. Here I thought she understood she was learning letters. I had no idea she thought she was also getting a science lesson. I wonder if she thinks elephants are hatched from eggs, queens only sew quilts, and all unicorns can play the ukulele.

Looks like it's time for this mamma to roll up her sleeves and do it the right way. Now where are those flash cards and books on animals?

February 11, 2014


Did you ever have one of those days? Don't you love when those "special" days spill over into a whole week of fun? I sure do.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of enduring such a week.

It started with the twins throwing Hawk in the oven. OK, I’m being dramatic. They didn't actually throw him in the oven. They just opened the door allowing him to burn his little hands. I’m pretty sure I was more traumatized than Hawk. This incident caused us to spend over $200 in burn supplies and gauze at Rite Aid.

A couple days later I fell down the stairs, hurting my back. That night I laid in bed and thought, “Well, things can’t get much worse.” Oh, spoken like a fool.

The next morning, the kids had a 2 hour delay. I woke up and my back was feeling a great deal better. Not 100%, but definitely better. I spent those few extra hours taking my time, smiling, and saying to myself, “see, things are getting better already.”

That morning, everything was so under control I called out to Jovie, “Jo, come here. We actually have time to do your hair nice this morning. Want me to braid it?” Our mornings had been so chaotic before that and I hardly had time to brush her mop let alone style it.

I pulled a dining room chair into the living room for her to sit on while I braided her hair. She sat and happily sang a little song as I brushed away. When it was free of knots, I used a comb and parted her hair. I looked down, gasped and jumped back in my seat.

Jovie turned around, looking frightened from my reaction. “What mom?” she asked.

I composed myself. “Uh, nothing.”

I hesitantly sat back up and peered into her hair, probably looking like I do when I open up a putrid diaper. I reluctantly used the utmost tip of my finger and pushed a little hair to the side, jumping and gasping again.

Jovie leapt from her chair, “What? What is it?” she demanded.


She quickly sat back down, looking terrified. I ran to the boys’ door and yelled down, “Boys come here now!”

They emerged from the basement as I was pulling all the dining room chairs into the living room.

“What did we do?” they asked. Obviously, my tone made them believe they were in trouble.

“Nothing. Just sit.”

They all sat down and I began combing through their hair like a crazy person.

“What’s going on?” Jagger asked.

I ignored him. I was panicked and didn’t know exactly how to handle the situation. Looking back now, I didn’t handle it well.

“Mom…….Mom……Mom…..Mom, what’s going on?” Jagger wouldn’t stop.


“What’s lice?” Jet asked.

“BUGS! BUGS IN OUR HAIR!” I wasn't trying to yell, I just couldn't help myself at the moment. I was in a state of total meltdown.

“BUGS?” Jagger didn't like the sound of that.

I check all the kids, and luckily, only Jovie and Jude had lice. After I finished, I stood and stared at all my kids as they stared back at me, all lined up on chairs, looking for some sort of response. I put one hand on my hip and the other on my chin and thought.

“What do we do now?” Jet asked.

“Um….I’m not sure. Let me go wake up daddy. Stay put.”

I ran upstairs and tried to wake up Adam. “We have lice Adam. LICE! I really need some help.”

“Don’t worry, the reservation isn’t until later.”

I sighed, realizing Adam’s contribution to the day would be no more than cheering me on between snores. I walked downstairs and called the school. Talk about embarrassing. My kids just started at this school and here I am telling them we are disease carrying trash. I let them know that Jovie and Jude were the only kids who had it and they may want to check the rest of the kids in kindergarten and 2nd grade.

I hung up the phone and sat thinking. I looked over at my kids (still on chairs) and picked up the phone again.

“Yeeeeesssss.” My brother’s groggy voice tried to sound cheerful, though I knew he was probably ready to kill me for waking him.

“I need help. We have lice.”

“Huh?....(yawn)…..Why do you need rice? It’s like 8 in the morning.” My brother is only slightly more coherent than Adam in the mornings.

I turned the phone so my lips were touching the mouthpiece, “No, LICE. LIIIIICE!”

“Oooh. Ok, I’m coming.”

I hung up the phone and looked at the worried faces of my kids (still on chairs). I felt horrible. I knew I had just scared the crap out of them and it wasn’t really that bad. “You guys can take your uniforms off. You get to stay home today. We all have to wash our hair with special shampoo. Why don’t you go downstairs and watch some tv.” They all jumped up and ran down. I called after them, “Don’t sit on the couch, please. I’m going to have to clean it.”

Jagger let out a moan, then yelled, “I JUST WANT MY LIFE BACK!”

Slightly dramatic.

While I waited for my brother, I started on washing bed linens. I had to get a move on it. I knew it was going to be a whole day event. Never do I wash ALL bed linens in one day.

My brother appeared and I made yet another trip to Rite Aid. (Remind me to buy stock.) I dropped $100 on lice shampoo. $100! Big families should not get lice. What a rip off.

I got home and my brother and I started cleaning kids. We started with Jovie and Jude. We combed and picked through their hair, looking like primates, for almost 2 hours. While we worked on them, my brother’s girlfriend came to help, too. She asked what she could do. I suggested turning the laundry around. She came back up with a frown and something behind her back. “What?” I asked, knowing it wasn't going to be good. She pulled Jude’s brand new 2DS out from behind her, “This was in the washer.”

My stomach lurched, “Oh no. I didn't even check his bed for those types of things. We just bought that for him.” I looked at my brother, “Well, that’s another $100 down the drain.”

It took 7 hours to shampoo and pick through all the hair in our house. It also took 13 hours to wash almost all of the bed linens. And guess what? My dryer broke. Ok, so it just takes double the time to dry as it used to. I imagined it coughing and spitting as I dried the last few loads of comforters, “hack….hack….Why are you doing this to me lady?....hack, hack…Can’t.Go.On...wheeeeeeze.”

Oh, and don’t forget my sweeper broke, too. I watched it smoke for a good 20 minutes.

At the end of that day, I sat at the table with Adam, Clayte, and Emily. We all looked haggard. I mumbled, “I can’t believe how much money I’ve wasted this week on nonsense.” I leaned back in my chair, “Burnin’ Benjamins.”

Clayte chuckled, “Yeah, you’re a baller.”

The best part of the lice epidemic? The school nurse telling me they checked all the other kids and no one else had lice.

“Do your kids go to daycare?”

“No. But my house is like a daycare.”

“Have you shopped at the Red, White, and Blue store?”


“Have you been anywhere with a lot of kids?”

“Nope. We never go anywhere.”

“Then I have no idea where they could have gotten it.” She looked me over and I could only guess what she was thinking.

Lesson 179: Being such dirty people that lice can just spawn out of nowhere = white trash

The rest of the week I was very cautious. Peering around every corner and waiting for things to spontaneously combust. Things weren't too terribly bad, but in the last 3 hours of my week, I came down with a cold, Stone’s fingers got smashed in a door, Jovie’s ceiling light got broken, and the police showed up to respond to a 911 call made from my house.

“Dispatch said it sounded like kids,” the officer told me.

I guess dumb things just needed to squeeze themselves in before the week was up.

That night, I couldn't jump in my bed fast enough. I threw the covers up over my stuffy face and offered up a prayer of thanks. Thank you God for this week. Thank you for my kids being healthy enough to have hair to have lice in. Thank you for our beds and warm blankets to break a dryer. Thank you for medicine to help Hawk’s hands, my back, and now my sinus pressure. Thank you for family to help me through stressful moments. And most importantly, thank you for helping me survive with a few shreds of sanity still intact!

January 24, 2014

Twin Turmoil

I've been getting a lot of flack these past few months due to the lack of blogs. All I have to say is, 


This is the real deal. They blew out those four tiny candles and the air raid sirens went off. I should have went and got in a bunker somewhere, but alas, I've stayed above ground and dealt with all the horrifying consequences. The words, "I'm not going to survive these twins," spilling from my mouth several times a day, since.

The only reason I can sit here right now and write is because the twins hid my dust pan, yet again, and I desperately needed to clean up the bowl of cereal they dumped on the ground. I couldn't find it. (It was found hours later under the pile of toys they also dumped on the floor, not to play with, obviously just to hide the dust pan.) I went downstairs to see if they had taken it to the boys' room. On my way down, I saw one of the boys' uniform shirts laying on the stairs. I bent down to pick it up and lost my footing. I fell down the remaining stairs and seriously hurt my back. (They don't call the things on my feet "slippers" for nothing.) I feel like it was a well thought out plan by my twins. So, after my near assassination, my brother and his lovely girlfriend insisted I rest while they deal with my miniature criminal masterminds.

I'm telling you, these two aren't normal. 

My life isn't the only one they've targeted. Just a few days ago, about an hour after dinner, I heard a heartbreaking scream coming from the kitchen. I went in to find my sweet little baby with his tiny hands on the door of the oven, with dried cereal around his feet.I'm a microwave mom and this is what I get for trying to cook. Rex and Fox stood beside him looking like The Shining twins. Were they acting out some weird version of Hansel and Gretel? "We'll lure Hawk out to the kitchen with a trail of Fruit Loops, then we'll push him in the oven!"

Murder isn't the only thing on the twins daily "to-do" list. Their day usually consists of at least one act of vandalism and destruction of property, breaking and entering, threats of terrorism, theft, and the occasional corruption of minors.

They went through a egg throwing stage. If I left the room for anything, I came back to broken eggs on the floor. Go to the bathroom. Egg. Turn the laundry around. Egg. Change the baby's diaper. Egg. Get the mail. Egg. I called my mom one day, in tears, after cleaning yet more egg off my floor. "What do I do?" I asked, hoping for some secret tidbit of wisdom.
"You're just going to have to stop doing everything, and never let them out of your sight."
"I was going to the bathroom, Mom! What about when I have to go to the bathroom?" I felt completely crazed.
"Well, I'm afraid you'll just have to hold it." My mom snickered on the other end of the line.
What? No easy solution? No magical vitamins they could take to inhibit their "creativity"? No. Nothing. Unfortunately, I knew my mom was right. 

Now, there are a few problems with this solution. One, I'm a busy individual. Adam pretty much lives at our restaurant, which leaves me to take care of 9 kids and a house all by myself. People need fed, dishes need done, diapers need changed, homework needs finished, doctors need called, and the list goes on and on. I've tried various means of restraint, but they've figured out the secrets to baby gates, baby proof doorknobs, door locks, stove knob locks, how to get out of cribs, and how to get out of Johnny-Jump-Ups. Two, the twins have a super power. The power to divide! They have the ability to separate and cause damage in two places at the same time. This should not be confused with the equally disturbing super power to combine! This super power combines their strengths to conquer anything that stands in their way. 

Like naps. 

Let me tell you how they got out of their cribs, before Rex's was taken down. In our old house, we had two cribs and a set of bunk beds in one room. The bunk beds were a hand-me-down and the ladder wasn't the one that belonged with the bed, so, it couldn't be properly attached. I had my suspicions when they would appear downstairs when they should have been sleeping. One day, I secretly watched in horror to see that I was right. First, Fox would throw Rex all his pillows and blankets. Rex would then pile those on top of his pillows and blankets, creating a big mound. Then, he would climb that pile and escape from his bed. Once on the floor, he'd go to the bunk beds. He would take the ladder and put it in Fox's bed and Fox would escape.

Now, I'm sure many of you are saying they should be doing ample amounts of time in time-out. They do. Trust me. This adds to the joy. Once, they were in time-out for coloring all the upstairs doors with a Sharpie. While I cleaned the doors (that stripped off the paint), Rex headbutted the wall and put a huge hole in the drywall. If that wasn't enough, later in time-out, one of them ripped off a piece of the bull-nose floor trim and chiseled at the hole until it was triple in size.


Speaking of calls, the other night I put the twins to bed and then helped Jagger with his homework. A couple hours into it, Jagger had a paper he had to complete by himself. This type of situation causes him great anxiety. So, I told him, "I'll stay by you. I'll just be over here on the computer." I got on Facebook and saw I had 14 notifications! 14? Never have I had 14 notifications. I clicked on the little planet and saw things like, so-and-so likes your status update, "ccckhdlkjslkdjkjglslkj". Huh? I clicked on my profile and saw that I had somehow posted several status updates, with some extra witty comments posted below, sent my mom a message, and checked in at the New Life Worship Center. I rolled my eyes and walked upstairs. I found my phone hidden in the bottom of Stone's comforter. I think they thought they could pin it on him, but he wasn't in bed at the time of the offense. When I recovered my phone, I also found that they had called Adam and The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. How they got that number still baffles me, and I'm terrified to know what books they were looking to check out.

Since I could go on and on about all the moments that made me check my sanity, I'm now just going to show you some photos. Enjoy.

One cereal disaster of many.

This is what happens in the bathroom when they pick the lock. This past week they picked the bathroom lock, got into the bathroom closet, and had a good time with Scrubbing Bubbles. I found Hawk crawling the halls looking like some Colonial in a bubbly powdered wig.

More cereal

Sidewalk chalk became laminate floor chalk.

I have a feeling our old dog's spirit has attached itself to the twins.

Egg time

Sidewalk chalk became couch chalk. Accompanied by crushed saltines and a bunch of Legos.

A room full of kids and NO ONE saw this happening.

They love to dump toys on Jovie's tea parties.

Why do I buy cereal? For the record, this pile above was salvageable, the pile today was sprayed down with Saline Wound Wash. Not salvageable.


Do you see the twins?

Within the hour of moving into our new house Rex was coloring on the walls with chalk. Which was odd, because I didn't pack chalk! Within the week, the twins had bleached the carpet, scratched the hard wood floors, and put this lovely hole in their wall.

About a week later, I was scared to death by this. But thanks to Barbie I found all the missing sippy cups full of milk I'd been looking for.

These were the only pictures I could pull myself to take. I would have maxed out the memory on my phone and camera with pictures of just cereal and eggs on my floor. There have also been a few times that it was so bad it wasn't funny. Like when they threw spoons full of Nutella all over the downstairs and in a basket of clean clothes 10 minutes before our Open House. Or when they created a staining paste substance out of Resolve carpet cleaner and my brother's $20 blue hair gel and rubbed in ALL over the new carpet. 

I'm starting to believe the saying, "This too shall pass", should be changed to, "This too shall make you pass out!" 

I need to stop writing. I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise. 

Lesson 178: Thinking about your kids makes you stroke out = white trash

As I sit here and watch Fox use the fireplace shovel to shovel a pile of toys, I wonder where the heck is Rex? But right now I get a break. Thanks Clayte and Emily!