Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Low Tech and On the Blink

An agitated and impatient John comes running into the study. He grabs my arm to drag me off to do his bidding.

"What do you need," I ask.

"Just hit it, Mama! Just hit it!" comes the reply.

He's referring to the T.V., thankfully not a brother or sister. This T.V. is a fossil that goes from full screen to a flat line without warning. And, yes, smacking it seems to help.

Kolbe was describing an interesting show he had watched and said, "It was on the converter box last week."

Yes, some people might say "It was on Playhouse Disney or HBO." We're happy our ancient analog T.V. has a converter box to pick up a digital signal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

While Ainsley Was Taking Care of the Bathroom . . .

John was having some fun of his own. Thankfully this door is one of about seventy-two surfaces already slated for a paint job.

When I returned home from Catechesis of the Good Shepherd this afternoon, both of these sweet cherubs squealed with delight.

All is forgiven.

Count It All Joy

Really, is there anything more fun than toilet paper? Why, yes! Vaseline's always good for a laugh.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Kolbe: Mom, get that roach!

Me: No, thank you!

Kolbe: That's the second bug you've declined.

And it won't be the last.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This One's Rated "G"

For g-r-o-s-s, that is.

So "On the Mend" was a tad premature. We've gone six for six with the technicolor yawn, and the fun just keeps on coming.

On Friday it appeared that we were indeed on the mend. As we plowed through make-up work and kept Ainsley from catapulting off the dining room table, I heard one of the boys yell, "Yeah! Dad's home!"

At one o'clock in the afternoon? Not a good sign. Sure enough, another Dolin bit the dust, though having Zofran in the house eased his suffering considerably.

Saturday morning I zipped into Kroger to resupply laundry detergent and pedialyte before taking off for a women's retreat. A ways into the retreat, I looked down and realized my sweater had a large dollop of vomit on it. Who says I can't accessorize?

Various complicated reasons found us attending three different Masses on Sunday. While everyone was over the hump, John and Ainsley were having issues that lingered and lingered and linger still.

Our pediatrician called Monday afternoon to tell us he wanted something called a stool study on Ainsley. I was thrilled to see that Ainsley had a lower g.i. explosion first thing Tuesday morning. That was timely, I thought, as I cleaned her up. The women from my prayer group were just arriving, so I bagged up Explodo-Diaper and left Explodo-Jammies for later. After prayers, I zipped around running a few errands before hitting the lab where I learned that Explodo-Diaper would not fit the bill. The nice woman in charge explained how I should go about procuring an uncontaminated sample (is that an oxymoron or what?). She then handed me five vials to fill. Five vials.

I eventually ditched Explodo-Diaper and arrived home to deal with Explodo-Jammies. I lined Ainsley's diaper with plastic wrap as instructed.

As I have shared before, Ainsley is not one to perform under pressure. Eventually she saw a little action, but only enough to slide off the plastic wrap and land all over me. I had decided that Explodo-Jammies needed a second run through the wash, so in it all went.

The clock continued to tick today. At long last, Ainsley woke up from her nap and did the job. I filled the requisite vials and back to the lab we went. We bopped into the park on the way home. As I picked up Ainsley she once again and without benefit of plastic wrap pooped all over me.

I came home and changed while dwelling on the fact that I have reached my limit. I am done with poop; I am done with vomit, I muttered to myself. I walked into the bathroom and realized the former statement was not quite accurate.

After serving a gourmet meal of hot dogs and boxed macaroni and cheese, I looked across the table to see John's plate untouched and John himself doubled over assuming the exact posture that I observed when this germy debacle began nine - count 'em nine - days ago.

"My tummy hurts! My tummy hurts," John moaned. Seconds later Ainsley tossed her cookies (or her macaroni and cheese) all over me.

I see from this hilarious picture over at Elizabeth Foss' blog that we are not the only ones so plagued.

Remember Lurch from The Adams Family? There's a primal groan just like his emanating from the Dolin household.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Tim and Kolbe are story-boarding ideas for a new Indiana Jones flick.

Kolbe: How do you spell "evasive action"?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Scrunchies Are Out - Topsiders Are In

I was sitting with a group of gals planning a surprise party.

“It’s going to be an ‘80’s party,” a friend shared. “Leg warmers, purple eye shadow, and scrunchies. Remember when we used to wear all that?”

I was nodding and tracking until she got to the part about scrunchies.

“What’s that about scrunchies? I still wear scrunchies. Don’t people wear scrunchies,” I wondered.

From the look on my friend’s face – poor thing, she was flat mortified for me – I surmised that the answer was no, in fact, people are no longer wearing scrunchies. Over the next weeks, I began looking around and indeed there was nary a scrunchy to be found. When did this happen? Why does Wal-mart still sell these things? More to the point, how did everyone figure this out except me?

Over the summer I attended a neighborhood swap. What a great time! Bring all your junk and take home mine absolutely free. I roamed around on the lookout for good finds.

“Ooh, Kel!” a friend called. “Aren’t you a size six? Grab that pair of Sperry Topsiders.”

Sperry Topsiders. Every girl in my high school sported a pair. They fit like a glove. I took them home faintly puzzled that I now had shoes left over from the preppy era. Suddenly I saw Sperry Topsiders everywhere. All over the swank stores at the mall. On the feet of a nine-year-old sitting in front of me. A neighbor saw me wearing them and called, “Cute shoes!”

When did Sperry Topsiders come back into vogue? How did everyone learn of this trend? How did it escape me?

Fashion mystifies me. There is some mysterious formula that other women seem to absorb. For me it’s like memorizing irregular French verbs. Scrunchies are out; Topsiders are in. Scrunchies are out; Topsiders are in. Say it again. Got it.

The crux of the problem is that irregular French verbs don’t morph; fashion does. Everyone seems to get this except for me. And the mystery of it all leaves me with a sinking feeling that I have somehow time travelled back to the sixth grade.

That was the year my family moved. While in geographical terms we migrated a mere four miles, in other respects it was a world away. We moved from middle class digs to a wealthier neighborhood and a new school populated by hoity toity girls who, I promise you, emerged from the womb with an uncanny ability to both accessorize and flirt.

They primped and did makeovers and read Seventeen Magazine. I still enjoyed climbing trees.

Oh, how I wanted to figure it all out! I, too, read Seventeen Magazine – from cover to cover - mostly because I was desperate to crack the code! Baby blue Levi’s corduroys? Check. Over-sized comb in the back pocket? Check. Bubble gum flavored Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker? Check. Beyond that, I was hopelessly lost.

To some degree, I still am. Maybe there’s a gene that failed to pass on properly. Maybe my secret decoder ring got lost in the mail. Who knows? Oh, I have managed to find a style of sorts that I call my own, but it isn’t easy for the fashion impaired. Rebecca Teti could have been describing me when she wrote:

Ladies, I am not a fashion maven. I try not to look utterly out of step with the times, but as I have neither the temperament nor the budget nor the figure to make shopping fun, I’m content with a style (if something so haphazard can rise to the level of a “style”) I might call “presentable middle-aged mom.”

(Or perhaps “last year")

Can I hear a shout out for presentable middle-aged moms in last year’s fashions? We keep Sears in the black!

I was trying on shorts when the micro-inseam was still the rage. Good grief! What post-pubescent female could actually wear those things? Now I am not exactly fit, but neither am I large. I must have tried on thirty pairs of shorts. In the middle of this, I began to wonder if there weren’t yet another memo I failed to received, this one detailing some special sort of underwear one should don when wearing these odious shorts.

(Note: If low-rise shorts require underwear that starts with a “th” and rhymes with “song,” I say no, thank you to both the shorts and the undies. I am in full agreement with a friend who refuses to invest in an item that is designed to do exactly what every woman has spent her entire life trying to get her underwear not to do.)

Maternity clothes present their own set of challenges. Looking around the pool this summer, I was so impressed with the array of cute maternity bathing suits. Where were these darling numbers a year ago? Then pregnant with Ainsley, I scoured both the online and the brick and mortar maternity world and found there was one word to describe every single bathing suit: skimpy. Yes, skimpy. I can think of a number of adjectives to describe the look I had in mind, but, trust me, skimpy did not make the list. I ended up getting a suit from a friend. Cute, it was not. It brought to mind words such as moo moo and caftan. My sister actually burst out laughing when she saw me in it. What’s a fashion-challenged pregnant mother to do?

Nursing brings another wave of fashion woes. With birthday cash in my pocket, I hit the mall the other day intent on finding something snazzy. With a few extra pounds here and there – pounds that I fully intend to lose really, really soon! – nothing I tried on was flattering in the least. Frustrated, I bopped into Strasburg Kids and spent my birthday money on a dress for sweet Ainsley. She looks better in clothes than I do.

Eventually I get fed up with the entire process. I go all Felix Unger and conclude that if I can’t pull off trendy, at least I can be neat. I grab my trusty Lands End catalogue and place an order.

All of this begs a basic question: Why bother with it at all? Well, for two reasons. First, I actually do enjoy looking nice. It’s something I like to do for myself, my hubby, and for all the people who have to look at me all day. Rachel Balducci and Hallie Lord took up the issue here. It captures the balance between too much and too little.

Second, I have found that ignoring any area of life doesn’t make that area any easier; in fact, it just complicates things further. Going back to those post-partum days, the simple process of getting ready for Mass would become an ordeal when I had nothing to wear. The entire family would be headed for the van as I stared at a bed covered with three blouses, two skirts, and a slew of bras.

I recently enjoyed several good hair days in a row. The reason? An updated haircut. A little maintenance, a little attention and these areas of life are less of a headache.

I am not a nun who dons a wimple each morning. While there are moments when shaving my head sounds tempting, that is not the life God has called me to lead.

So here I sit still waiting for my fashion decoder ring to arrive. In the meantime, I can always count on Lands End.

On the Mend

Thanks be to God and Zofran, we are on the mend.

I have a shower curtain and a bath mat left to disinfect. Yes, this was one messy bout.

The Land of Ick has morphed into The Land of Make-up Work. From the next room, I hear Kolbe call, "Good! I've finished another test." Progress, progress, progress.

God bless the homeschoolers of the world. I share their love for the art of teaching. I understand the desire to pass a love of learning on to your children. I can't fathom how anyone gets a lick of school work done with toddlers in the house.

I leave the dining room for a scant second and return expecting to see a studious third grader and a diligent seventh grader, noses to their respective grindstones. They have vanished without a trace.

Instead I find a one-year-old basking in her new-found ability to climb, climb, climb! You know, there's no good day for a toddler to learn to climb on the dining room table, but truly some days are worse than others. Ditto for her ability to climb the ladder-back chairs.

I have visions of stitches dancing in my head.

Did I just refer to my baby as a toddler? Say it isn't so.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Becusting and Wame

Between mopping floors, dosing kids with phenergan, and transferring laundry, I've enjoyed a few choice Johnisms:

On seeing Ainsey lose it: She frowed up. It's becusting.

On the latest video selection: I don't wike Tom and Jerry. It's wame.

Laughter is welcome here in The Land Ick because it is indeed becusting.

Happy Anniversary!

Dave and I celebrated fourteen years of marriage yesterday. We spent the evening dosing kids with Tylenol and mopping up vomit.

Warning to my neighbors: I don't have a skull and crossbones to post on the front porch, but consider yourselves forewarned. Free range germs in the house! John was burning up with fever while Ainsley and Kolbe tossed their cookies in stereo. Tim got into the action this morning.

All of this is further complicated by the fact that my half and half - dated 10/31 - has curdled so I am facing four sick kids and a mountain of n-a-s-t-y laundry caffeine-free. This simply will not do. I plan a quick trip through the McDonald's drive through.

I'm angling to write a bright, uplifting piece about the joy and fruit that has come from these years of married love, but Ainsley is at the door wailing, "Mamamamamama!" and John has just informed me that his pull-up is poopy.

On a lighter note, I just found a Netflix DVD that has been missing for a month. In fact just yesterday I called Netflix to find out what I owed them. I think Season 1 of Monk will bring some much needed levity to this dreary day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Rainforest Cafe

Warding off gorillas and monsoons.

Excitement Behind Every Door

Burger King off of I-95.

I walk John into the bathroom stall and shut the door. His face lights up with excitement, and he does this maneuver with his shoulders that shows he's anticipating big time fun.

"Are we hiding," he asks, barely containing his enthusiasm.

Sorry to disappoint, my precious bundle of joy. We're just going potty.

Another Sous-chef in Training

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Seven Quick Takes - The Vacation Edition

Jen hosts Seven Quick Takes. Here are a few blurbs about life around here...

1. Tuesday night we returned from a potluck dinner and found two gift bags sitting on the dining room table - one for Tim, one for Kolbe. Inside were guides to Disney World. We leave this morning, er, um, sometime today.

2. It appears that Winnie the Pooh has made other plans for breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, midnight snacks, etc.. Please pray that if we can't eat with John's favorite bear, we can at least have a nice chat and photo-op. If we miss Pooh, mother and tot may require therapy upon our return.

3. We've been planning this trip for a l-o-n-g time, but kept it under wraps until a few days ago. This made for lots of excitement for the older boys. With John, however, I now know that we should have told him as the tram was pulling into the Magic Kingdom. Every time we get into the car, he thinks we're en route to Disney. He flipped when I drove him to school the other morning. He loves 'cool, but it doesn't hold a candle to Disney World.

4. Packing up is always interesting as my "quick and dirty" style meets Dave's "slow and methodical" one. All I can say is our marriage has come a long way from those early trips.

5. One of my frustrations with packing up is that if we tarry long enough, we eventually seem to move in reverse. Messes get made, people get hungry, perhaps someone narrowly misses the potty. I found Ainsley rummaging in my purse. Among other things, she managed to find the ziplock bag holding the cache of pacifiers.

6. We nearly had a breakout when one of the boys left the back door open. Ainsley would have escaped but she made the fatal mistake of considering provisions. I found her standing in the doorway throwing the two extra pacies out before she scooted. Plans foiled again!

7. I think I am more excited than the kids.