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Now, that's what I'm talking about...

Now, that's what I'm talking about...

Sometimes the best things in life are free.  I’m not sure who said that or if it is the lyric in some Beattles song…but, it’s true.  My husband asked me what I would like for Mother’s Day.  I could think of a few things that are totally unrealistic right now:

A cream colored Volvo C70, a diamond Tag Hauer watch with a platinum band, a trip to London,  decent looking shoes to fit my ginormous narrow feet,  world peace and an end to famine

….you get the drift.

However, these are all things that I won’t be given any time soon (at least not with private school tuition looming in the future for three kids)…and the shoes are a lost cause.

I honestly couldn’t think of anything that I couldn’t live without.  I could think of some really cheap (or totally free) gifts that I would adore:

1.  A nap:

Seriously.  I would love to take a nap…by myself….for any length of time that I should need to get recouperative sleep.  Of course, if I were to really get this much-needed REM sleep, I may not wake up for several days.

2.  The laundry done:

I would love to walk into my laundry room, for once, and not see piles of clothes on the floor.  With a husband and three small boys, I feel like I am constantly doing laundry.  In fact, my dryer has begun to squeak.  I think it’s probably time for a new dryer.  UGH.  The thought makes me shudder.

3.  The house cleaned:

So, I’ve gotten Maid Brigade from time to time…maybe twice a year.  It’s not often enough for me.  I’m the one who cleans our house.  I’d love it if I could just go take a nap and awaken to a house that is clean and smelling like lemon Lysol.  However, I think this a fairytale complete with little mice that sew ballgowns and a fairy Godmother that turns pumpkins into stagecoaches.

4.  An hour long uninterrupted phone conversation:

My best friend lives over 500 miles away.  We talk on the phone 3 or 4 times a week.  Unfortunately, our conversations are often interrupted by someone needing to go “potty,”  children fighting, or someone needing “Mommy” for some reason or another.  I’d really like to curl up on my sofa and just catch up with my best friend  for an hour.  This seems to be impossible.  My children aren’t even interested in talking to me…until I pick up that phone receiver, then I am the most popular person in the world.

5.  An afternoon with NOTHING to do:

Is this even possible?  I’m the kind of person that constantly keeps “to do” lists.  For one day, I’d like to take my list and throw it in the trash.  I’d like to spend an afternoon at an antique mall or at Sephora, trying some new lipsticks.  Maybe a pedicure would be nice?  This is definitely something that I could do for myself.   It’s all about scheduling, right?

See?  Somethings in life are free.  My son drew a picture for me for Mother’s Day.  He drew me with big round eyes and a brown nose.  My hair looks like two antennae on top of my head.  My son is 5 years old.  I think he did a fantastic job and I love my picture….even if I look like a big blonde bug.  I’m thinking about framing it.  He worked so hard on it.  I love it.

My husband is still wondering what to get me.  I think I’ll tell him about this list….and start with #1.   A nap would be nice….

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Secret..Agent Man...  Are you sure it isnt Secret A-S-I-A-N man?

"Secret..Agent Man...?" Are you sure it isn't "Secret A-S-I-A-N man?"

My best friend from childhood, Nancy, is planning a visit to see me this summer.  She lives more than 500 miles away from me.  That doesn’t stop us from talking on the phone every two or three days.  We call each other with serious needs and even call each other about things that are totally trivial…like if it’s O.K. to wear jeans to a parent-teacher conference.

It’s been several years since we’ve seen each other and have decided that this summer is THE summer.  We are going to plan time to see each other.  It’s been long overdue.  We are totally stoked to see each other and looking forward to just being in each other’s presence.  In high school, we were known as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.  We were quite the pair.  I’m not ashamed to say that in 30+ years later, we haven’t changed much.  When we are together, we slip into goofier versions of ourselves and we laugh hysterically at everything.  You know…all the things that you do with your oldest and dearest best friend.

One thing that I am sure that we will do is crank up the music and sing to every song…and screw up lyrics.  It’s what we do.  It’s what we’ve always done.  Ever since we were kids.

Back in the day, we’d sing as loud as we could:

“Medieval Woman…..Oh yeah…Medieval Woman!”   Later, we found out that Electric Light Orchestra was singing, “E-V-I-L Woman!,”  not singing about someone dressed up for a Renaissance Fair.

Or one of our other faves was:

“Secret Asian Man….Secret Asian Man…They’ve given you a number and taken away your name!”  Later, we discovered Johnny Rivers was singing about a “Secret A-G-E-N-T Man,” not someone immigrating from China.

To this day, I want to sing:

“Here’s a little bitty…about Jack and Diane…growin’ up in the Heartland.”  But, no.  John Cougar Mellancamp is telling us that “Here’s a little D-I-T-T-Y ’bout Jack and Diane.”  He isn’t telling us that Jack and Diane are short in stature. No, Jack and Diane are not “little people.”

There weren’t too many songs that Nancy and I couldn’t mess up.  Secretly, I think we liked singing the songs the way we “heard” them.  I still think that by stretching out “evil” in the song, Evil Woman, into three syllables, ELO is making it far too confusing.  It just sounds too much like “Medieval.”  But, I’m beating a dead horse.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to riding about town, with our kids in tow, singing along to whatever comes on the radio.  Lately, Nancy has been into Radiohead and Moby.  The words are muffled enough on both of their latest albums that I am most sure that if we can’t figure out what they’re singing…we’ll make something up.

I’m sure it’ll be quite entertaining….’till we find out what the real lyrics are.

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Nap time is golden, kid!

Nap time is golden, kid!

I don’t get it.  I just don’t understand why my kids fight nap time.  Don’t they understand that by the time they are teenagers that they’ll be begging me NOT to wake them up?

The truth is that I love nap time as much or more than they do…when they stop fighting sleep and finally drift off to La La Land.  I cherish nap time because this is “Me Time.”

O.K., don’t think that I finally put my feet up and eat bon bons.  I actually get things done while they are asleep.  As soon as they are in their beds, I began my frantic attempt to get everything done as quickly as possible.  By everything, I mean all the things that are impossible to do with little ones underfoot.  You know…phone calls, emails, shopping lists, ironing, laundry, mopping, and general cleaning up.  When my kids are awake, I am spending most of my time breaking up fights over crayons, changing diapers, or finding something to entertain them so I CAN get something done.

Occasionally, (and I really mean once in a blue moon) I will nap when my kids nap.  This is usually when I am sick or have not slept due to one of my kids getting sick (see earlier post on Haz Mat suit and projectile vomit).

Anyway, I noticed today that my youngest, George, fell asleep in the van.  I had to run a few errands, which interfered with nap time.  When we arrived back at our house, I gingerly picked up a sleeping baby and placed him in his crib.

He slept.

For ten measly minutes.

Then he wailed like a banshee.

What’s up with that?  I know he’s tired.  I know that he needs his usual two hour nap.  For goodness sakes, Mommy needs his two hour nap.  What’s wrong with this kid?  Doesn’t he realize that nap time is golden?  In just five or six years, he’ll be begging me to let him sleep in on Saturday, take a nap on Sunday afternoons and unwilling to wake up before the crack of dawn.  Even my five year old is now a lump in the bed in the early morning hours….unlike last year, when he’d pop up at five o’clock each and every morning.  (No kidding, folks)

I even hear Kindergarten teachers complain about how hard it is to get their class to settle down at nap time.   One friend of mine says it’s the hardest part of her day to get all of her students resting or at least staying still for 30 or 45 minutes on a mat.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Wouldn’t you just love to return to Kindergarten?  I would.  If I could go back, I’d relish nap time.  I’d snuggle down on that mat and cover up with my best flannel blanket.  There’d be no begging me to take a nap.  I’d also gladly wake up to a snack of milk and cookies.  Are you kidding me?  Take me back to the good ol’ days where nap time was mandatory.  I know plenty of adults who’d welcome nap time at work.   I’m all for a little siesta.  Bring it on.

Anyway, I’m letting my youngest whimper a bit in his bed.  I think he needs a good nap.  Napping in the car seat is no nap at all, in my humble opinion.  He’ll thank me for it later.

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Did June ever say No?

Did June ever say "No"?

I just can’t say “NO.”  I guess I’m just easy.

Well, that sounds really bad.  What I mean is that I feel compelled to say “Yes” when someone asks me to do something. Whether it is volunteering for a silent auction  or making 32 sugar cookies shaped like hearts for my other son’s Valentines Day party at school…I can’t help myself.  I always say “Yes.”

Deep down I know I feel like I need to have my calendar as busy as possible so that no one can say that I am lazy.  With three little boys, all age five and under, who could possibly say that I am lazy, right?  Well, I was raised to believe that women who stayed at home instead of working forty hour work weeks were “ladies of leisure.”  My mother worked full time and was engaged in full combat battle of the “mommy wars.”  There was no word so dirty as “housewife” in my household.  June Cleaver, Donna Reed and Carol Brady were considered a bad influence on a generation of women.

And here I am…no longer a practicing attorney….now I am the dreaded…

h-o-u-s-e-w-i-f-e

Call me a stay-at-home mom, domestic engineer, housewife…whatever.  We can spruce up the title, but it is what it is.

So, to compensate for my new title since leaving the workplace, I try to stay as “involved” as possible.  This is what I had planned, right?  I wanted to be the mom who makes homemade cupcakes from scratch for school parties instead of store bought cupcakes.  I was determined to make my sons’ Halloween costumes, go to story time at the library, take trips to the children’s museum.  I wanted to be busy and involved.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the onslaught of requests…from everyone.  I didn’t know that when people got wind that I was a stay-at-home mom, they thought that I would have all this time on my hands.  I became a volunteer magnet.

Can you substitute for the preschool?  Are you available to teach choir?  Can you sew my child’s Halloween costume?  Will you make a paper mache volcano for the project?  Do you mind making 42 chocolate covered strawberries for the class party?  Do you mind babysitting my sick child?  Can you make our meeting?  Will you smock my daughter’s Easter dress?  Will you facilitate our group?  Can you fill in for me?  Will you chair this event? Can you do the Thursday morning group?  Will you return this to the store for me?  Blah, blah, blah!

The requests do not seem to end.

I am not a martyr.  I admit that I like to stay busy, so I usually don’t mind doing most of what I am asked.  However, I do think that most people assume way too much about stay-at-home moms.  It is assumed that because I am at home, that I couldn’t possibly be as busy as I would be if I worked outside the home.  Let me clarify:  Because I am not working outside the home does not mean that I am not working.  Period.   I work very hard, thank you.   Even if I didn’t volunteer my time for a variety of things, I would still be extremely busy.  Here are a few reasons why I am busy…at home:

I have a three year old that is struggling with potty training.  That alone takes most of my patience.  I hold my breath when we go out the door and into the van while he is in his “big boy underwear.”  Things were so much simpler when he wore a pull-up.  Now, we may have two pit stops from our door to his preschool….a mere five miles down the road. The ten minute car ride now takes thirty minutes.  Don’t get me started on how he feels the need to use the bathroom in the great outdoors.

I have a nineteen month old that is no longer content to be “strapped in”…to a stroller, a car seat, etc.  He wants to run free.  This isn’t happening while we are out and about.  At least not while I’ve got to keep an eye on my two oldest children.  Therefore, I (and everyone within a five mile radius) must endure screaming from a child secured to an umbrella stroller.  It’s the only way I get things done and I can’t bring myself to use a child harness.  Those things just look like leashes to me.  Plus, he is strong.  Very strong.  Walking an enormous English Mastiff down the sidewalk would be easier.

I have a five year old that has no fear.  Self confidence is one thing, but this child likes to run and jump and leap…you get the picture.  I must keep one hand on him at all times.  Otherwise, I’m back in the ER with blood and stitches.  For some reason, he thinks the big red cement balls outside of Target would be perfect to run and jump on top of.  For this reason, I try to avoid Target when my two oldest sons are in tow.  Not good.

Mental note to self:  Never, ever, ever let my sons watch Jackass.

What I am trying to get at is that I have my hands full.  I didn’t even mention housework, laundry, running errands, chauffering children, attending practices, church events, etc.  If someone thinks I’m lazy then so be it.  So, I’ve decided that I will not sign up for everything that is put in front of me without giving it some serious thought.  I’ve just been way too cavalier in filling up my calendar.   The main thing is that I’ve got to stop feeling like a sell-out for staying at home to raise my children.  I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Working at home is working.  Plain and simple.

I’m no lady of leisure.  I’m busy with or without all of my commitments.  I just wonder if June Cleaver ever felt frazzled?   Did she ever say “No” to the PTA when they asked her to chair the school benefit?  Did June ever buy Little Debbie snack cakes instead of making brownies from scratch?  Did June ever take off those pearls?  Who knows.  What I know is that I work…it’s just work within the four walls of my home.  There is no crime in thinning out my calendar and letting go of some of the madness….I think.


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I have a love-hate relationship with permanent markers.  I love those little sharpies and how great they are for labeling my boys’ jackets and coats.  I love the big ol’ honkin’ ones that I use to write Will’s name on the outside of his snack bag.  I love to doodle with them, too.  I really used to like those big markers that would smell like different kinds of fruit.  Even though our art teacher in school would tell us not to sniff them, the multi-colored rings around my nostrils would give me away as a “marker sniffer.”

However, I also hate permanent markers with a passion.  I didn’t have this much hatred toward an inanimate object as I do now….until I had children.  Permanent markers are not safe in the hands of a child.   This is pretty obvious, right?  Well, let’s just say that my boys can find a permanent marker that has been meticulously hidden better than a police dog can find contraband at the airport.  Let me explain…

Today I found my baby, George, squealing with delight as he was but inches from my white kitchen cabinet.

Holding a huge black permanent marker.

With the top off.

It was like I was running in slow motion toward my child…..Nooooooo!!!!!!!!  Stooooopppppp!!!!!!!!!!!  Drop the marker!

George dropped the marker.  As he turned to face me, I noticed a large black streak down one side of his face.  He had “painted” himself with the marker.  UGH.  This little incident brought me back to my first year with Will.  Will also enjoyed some time with a permanent marker…when he decided to paint his “private parts.”

I’ll never forget when Will was about George’s age and he found a black magic marker in my “stationery drawer.”  I thought my markers were safe in this little drawer along with my calligraphy pens, personalized stationery, and stamps.  I was sadly mistaken.

I don’t know when or how he found the marker.  I only know that my marker was missing.  I shrugged it off and thought I may have left it in a purse or a bookbag.  Later that afternoon….while changing Will’s diaper….I thought I was going to pass out.  I looked down into my son’s diaper to find that he was covered in black streaks from his lower belly to his….Well, let’s just say that his “private part” was completely black.  Will jumped up and begin to shout while pointing at his “privates” and laughing, “BWACK!!!!!!”

I thought I would faint.

I freaked out.   What would cause such streaking?  (the urine in his diaper caused the ink to fan out and look like raised veins)  Oh my Dear Lord!  Should I rush my baby to the doctor?  Was this some rare blood disease?  I immediately called the pediatrician’s office and waited for the nurse to begin her litany of questions.

Just then, Will walked into the kitchen holding …the black permanent marker…and began to demonstrate what he had done earlier….before sticking the thing in his mouth…and proceeded to giggle.

I grabbed that marker and threw it in the trash.  Will began to scream like a toddler who’s had his lollipop taken away.  I apologized to the nurse who endured my hysteria and told her about the marker.  She laughed.  I’m glad someone could laugh. Later, I hid all of my permanent markers.  Over time, I think I’ve become too lax.  I’ve stopped hiding stuff.  Today was a reminder that I’ve got to hide things again…things like markers.

Anyway, I’ve decided that along with my Ginsu knives, the permanent markers have their own “special place”….high up…away from little fingers.  So far, the “special place” is a cupboard above the refrigerator that holds all of the things that my boys find appealing…and that cause trouble…like  knives, rubber bands, twine, rope, sharp scissors, balloons, kitchen gloves (don’t ask) and now….permanent markers.

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If the word “Maw Maw” was in the dictionary, the definition would look something like this:

Maw Maw (pronounced maw maw), Origin:  Southern U.S.

1.  noun:  slang terminology for grandmother; from the slang term “Grandmaw”

2. adjective:  to describe a grandmotherly appearance – ex: short curly perm, wearing of polyester pants and floral blouse;  to describe “grandmotherly” ways or to describe someone who acts too old for their age – ex: driving a Cadillac,  Crown Victoria, Lincoln sedan (any land yacht) before the age of 40.

Being a “Maw Maw” in my home was always right up there with wearing white shoes after Labor Day.  It just wasn’t done.  My mother prided herself on being totally different from her mother.  My mother was a baby boomer and proud of it.  She was hip and cool and she drank wine…good wine…not like her Southern Baptist teetotalling Mama, who was content to watch Lawrence Welk on Saturday night while she crocheted afghans for the church craft fair.  No, my mother, a divorced professional woman, wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything so…well…”maw maw.”

Alas, I have to say that I miss the days of “maw maw.”  Maw Maw is what I called both of my grandmothers.  They were frugal, God-fearing, collard green stewing, crafty, tight curly perm wearin’ women.   Did I happen to mention that I spent most of my time with them?

If my mother had a date, business meeting, unexpected girls’ night out, vacation, etc….Maw Maw was there to keep me.  I can’t tell you how many days and nights that I spent over at Maw Maw’s house.   I helped Maw Maw plant tomatoes, snap beans, grocery shop, and she taught me to sew.  Maw Maw told me that cigarettes were “cancer sticks”  and that beer was “horse piss.”  (My mother smoked and yes, she drank)  Maw Maw made my Easter dress every year.  If I happened to spend the night on a Saturday, it was expected that I’d go to church on Sunday.  Everyone at both Maw Maws’ churches knew me.  It was commonplace at Redeemer Baptist Church for the organist to cue up “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” when I’d appear on a Sunday morning.  The organist knew it was my favorite hymn.  The only time Maw Maw freaked me out was when she told me about how Jesus would come back in the Rapture and take me alive…if I believed in him, got Saved, and made him my Lord and Savior.  I didn’t tell Maw Maw, but I would secretly pray that God would let me go to college first…then He could come get me in the Rapture.

Why this trip down memory lane?  Well, several of my girlfriends and I were lamenting about not having a sitter for one event after another.  Many of us just don’t do dates with our husbands or bookclub as much as we’d like because we can’t find a sitter.  Plus, with the economy in shambles, many of us have opted to forgo sitters all together.  While discussing this issue, one of my friends commented that her mother lived in town…as did mine.  Why had it not occurred to ask Grandma to babysit?  It seems as though it’s far too complicated to hash out.  When my friend and I looked at each other, I knew that we had the same problem.  We didn’t have a “Maw Maw.”

Many of us “X” generation moms just don’t have a “Maw Maw” kind of mom. They don’t want or desire to be anything like their mothers….and this includes babysitting.  Where the baby boomer mom could just drop off little Sally or Johnny for a day, the same baby boomer mom is just not interested in babysitting now that they are the grandparent.  At least, this is what I’m hearing out there.

(OK, if you are the babysitting kind of grandmother…don’t comment or feel compelled to email, etc.  I’ll cover you in a minute.  Bare with me. Thanks!)

I do know of several moms, who are my age, whose mothers are more than content to babysit their grandchildren.  I have one friend in particular, Patti, who does such a phenomenal job as a Grandma that I bet she’d be thrilled to call herself a “Maw Maw.”  I know Patti would wear this title as a badge of honor.

Sadly, I know too many older women who just never felt like they were “old enough” to be a grandmother…not at 55, not at 60, not at 65.  It’s almost like some women think that the moment they become a grandmother it will suck the lifeblood out of them.  Like grandchildren will become some drain on their fleeting youth.

Some grandparents require two weeks notice before babysitting or refuse to do it at all.  I even know someone who has had her mother cancel on so many occasions at the last minute, that it’s just not worth it to ask anymore.  Another friend of mine, almost lost her job because her mother backed out of their agreed paid childcare arrangement when she was a mere two weeks into a new job and no other childcare could be found.  She finally found an opening at a Mother’s Day Out program at the last minute.

I have one friend in particular who told me that her mother came to visit her and chose not to spend any time with her grandchildren.  Instead, she wanted to shop with her daughter and go out to dinner – all sans grandchildren.  My friend was upset because she felt like her children missed out on being with their grandmother.  I told her that it was the other way around.  Her mother was the one who missed out.

Am I saying that grandparents should babysit?  Absolutely not.  I’m just saying that there are benefits…on both ends…of having a relationship with extended family members.  It helps everyone out.  I know that plenty of us, “X gen’s” listened to our parents advice as they told us:

“Have fun in your 20’s, don’t get married ’till you’re 30, and you can take as long as you want to have kids!”

Not so great advice, Mom & Dad!  Thanks to all of your party lovin’ groovy advice, we’ll be spread thin by the time we’re 50!  We’ll have college to pay for when we should be worrying about retirement…and we’ll have to care for aging parents.  Sandwich generation?  No, call us the pressure cooker generation.  I’m just saying that it would be nice to feel more gracious about what we have to face down the road if the extended family was more deeply rooted.

I also believe that  “do overs” don’t come very often.  We can get the chance, as parents, to parent well with our own children.  If we are fortunate, we can learn from our mistakes and do things better (patience, love, understanding, fun) when we welcome grandchildren into our lives.

Ameriprise Financial Services has a t.v. ad spot featuring Dennis Hopper.  Mr. Hopper and all of the baby boomers are dressed in black leather jackets throwing pottery on a wheel and listening to acid rock.   The ad discusses the “alternative” retirement options for their intended audience.  It can’t be mistaken that the ad doesn’t picture any of the elderly audience surrounded by family and grandchildren.  Instead, the actors are portrayed as living out in Arizona…alone….being creative and hip.  Definitely not “maw maw.”  No, way, man!

Sophistication has its place, but you can seriously miss a lot in life when you are so “grown up” that you can’t relish children.  It’s not botox that keeps you young.  Wearing a Nicole Miller ensemble won’t do that for you, either.  Listening to the latest music doesn’t make you cool.   Throwing pottery on a wheel or listening to the Grateful Dead won’t do the trick.  Youth is fleeting.

I have three sons.  I love them.  I like them as people.  I love being a mother.  I definitely look forward to having grandchildren…but, hey, I really like kids.  Kids keep you young.  Kids know how to really have fun.  I think being a “Maw Maw” will be great.

So I have to ask:  When did becoming a “Maw Maw” become passe?  I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to that.

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Simply hilarious

Simply hilarious

When I graduated from law school several years ago, I can honestly say that I never pictured myself driving a minivan.  I thought that after becoming a lawyer, I’d drive a Volvo or maybe an Audi.  Never a minivan.  Not ever.  However, when my husband and I started our family, I didn’t care much about style.  I needed room…and lots of it.  First, I had a station wagon.  That wasn’t so bad.  When the third baby came along, I knew that I needed the dreaded minivan.  It was a surprise that I, like so many people before me, came to love the van.  It was great.  I had enough seating for three car seats, two strollers and room for all of the other stuff that comes along with having three preschoolers.

My minivan is an American breed that gets me where I need to go.

However, I have a confession….

My van is a total pigsty.  I’m serious.  When I pick up my son from school after lunch, his teachers insist upon opening the van door for him and chatting with me until he is safely buckled in.  I’m usually embarrassed because during the course of my day, I have thrown the other two boys in the van with drinks, pretzels, animal crackers, etc.  The remnants of the snacks are scattered about the floorboard.

Well, today was the day I decided to clean out the van.  Here is a list of the things I found:

1.  An umbrella stroller:  located at the bottom of the back compartment, it would’ve been nice to know that was in there instead of hauling George on my hip and carrying three bags like a pack mule.

2.  Dried up french fries:  if anyone with kids says that they don’t have these in some crack in the seat of their car, they’re lying.

3.  Baby nail clippers

4.  Package of unopened wipes:  Woo Hoo!  That’s like finding gold.

5.   Burt’s Bees Lip Balm:  I knew it’d turn up…see recent post on my favorite things

6.  Power Ranger action figure:  I think it’s supposed to be the one that turns into a wolf or a tiger…I don’t know about Power Ranger Jungle Fury versus Power Ranger Ninja Storm…whatever.

7.  Slimy frog toy that is supposed to stick against the wall when thrown (now covered in lint):  Will “won” this at school for a week’s worth of  good behavior.  Why, oh, why must teachers send this crap home as a “prize”?  Like throwing a slimy frog against the walls at home won’t get Will in timeout?

8.  Individual Goldfish package wrappers:  if I had a dime for every empty wrapper found in the van…

9.  Empty Clinique lipstick tube:  Very strange that it’s empty…no lipstick to be found.  Where did it go?  Weird.

10.  Empty Diet Coke can

11.  Broken yellow umbrella

12.  One navy blue Sea Wees baby sandal:  thought we’d lost this on our last trip to the beach.  It makes me sad to look at it.  George’s foot was so tiny!

13.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear..What do you see? book

14.  Shinguard from soccer this past fall

15.  Map of South Carolina:  No, we don’t have GPS.

16.  Artwork from Vacation Bible Schol:  This explains why my sons all have glitter on their face from time to time

17.  Jack’s raincoat:  He never wears it…Jack would prefer to run out in the rain, face up, with his mouth open.

18.  Orange swim goggles

19.  $2.34 in loose change

20.  Small bottle of hand sanitizer:  I gave up using this stuff a long time ago.

21.  Extension cord:  Makes absolutely no sense why this is in the van.

22.  Batman mask

23.  Invitation to a “Benefit Gala” …black tie:  As if I can find a sitter in time to attend this.  In fact, I think that all of my sitters are not returning my calls.  Just a hunch.

24.  Lynyrd Skynrd CD:  Note to self – hide this from the boys unless I want to hear “Freebird” over and over and over and over…

25.  Box of old, hard raisins:  so much for eatin’ healthy while on the run

26.  Soccer ball

27.  Bike pump

28.  Pair of 2T khaki pants:  these were the “emergency pants” for the van.  I need a bigger size to replace them now…like a size 4T…how time flies.

29.  “Things to do list” from Christmas:  So, that’s where that went….

30.  Church bulletin

31.  Card for free chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A

32.  Unopened bottle of orange Gatorade

That’s it, folks.  The van is clean.  By the time I load up the kids in the van next week, I am sure that it will need to be cleaned out again.  That’s just the way it is with three little ones.  We’re always bringing home artwork, crafts, food…you name it.  I’m not going to beat myself up about how clean my van is.  I’ll try to clean it out when I can.

As to the empty tube of lipstick….

I found it.  When I was cleaning out the van, I didn’t notice that the lipstick had hardened and slid out of the metal tube and onto the floorboard.  Well, when I sat on the edge of the van to vacuum underneath the driver’s seat…I sat smack on top of the gooey lipstick.  Great.  Just great.

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