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Lowering the bar for mothers everywhere...

Updated: 2016-09-07T23:30:04.173-05:00


A Pound of Manure


I feel a little more than an ounce of pretention as I sit here pondering how to write a "comeback" post...(Blechh. Pondering? I mean, c'mon...) It's just that my ego is a judgmental bitch and all I can hear is her laughing at me, reminding me that I am writing something that no one will likely read or even find online, except for my bestie, whose renewed interest in Chunkyrhino has inspired me to try to start this mother up again. That, and the kids and I had a lot of fun reading back over old posts a while also reminds me what a terrible memory I have, and that it can't hurt to keep something on file every now and then. Particularly when your life has more twists and turns than the Devil's Backbone.  

Over the past two years, I started a new job, my Dad passed away, my sister had a baby (T), moved back from Arizona, moved in with us for about a year and a half, I quit my job and now stay home to watch T and homeschool Jax. So, just a few changes... 

I'm sure the details of most of those changes will inevitably come spewing out like so much oral diarrhea, but not today, my lovies. Not today.  Today, internet, let's just sit back and smile at the knowledge that I am still out here, fucking shit up and writing it down for all the world to ignore.

Breaking Spring


**Wrote this post a year ago and never actually posted it, but it seems fitting even a year later as I prepare for another Spring Break-ing.**

Good Lord, someone grab me a valium and a case of beer -- Spring Break is FINALLY over!! I'm sure I'm not the only mom who is grateful for the start of school, but I may be the only one to admit it so vehemently. (Cue my version of an Irish Jig)

It's not that I don't enjoy having all this never-ending free time with my kiddos, it's not even that I'm jealous of all those other moms whose husbands can take off the week to spend on vacay, it's more that a vacation for the kids actually does mean more work for me, and for a lady who loves the lazy, this does not sit well.

If I were just dealing with Ryan, I'd be begging for an extra week off -- when it's just us, it's a swirl of rainbows and laughter and Taylor Swift songs bellowed at the top of our lungs. But God Bless him, when you enter Jax into the equation, the world rotates 180 degrees, toilets start flowing backwards, and we all start talking like that little dude from Twin Peaks.

You can't break routine with Jax. That is, not unless you want to deal in screaming banshee for a week, and although at first that may sound totally rockin', when you're 3 hours into a 4 hr screaming match with a 3 year old, it's starts to feel just a bit tedious. I remember before I had kids how I would pray that if God felt I was able, that I would gladly mother a special needs child. Little did I know how many different versions of "special needs" there are. What makes it worse is that he seems so normal. Until you feed him sugar, skip his nap, and tell him he can't use the puppy as a soccer ball -- and then it's all projectile vomiting and head spinning.

Someone call the priest, 'cause either the demon goes, or I'll be needing my last Rites...



Just as I'm musing over no longer feeling the motivation to write, Jax up and gets himself sent to the Principal's office at school today. Well, The YMCA's Mother's Day Out version of the Principal's office, which technically is the office of the lady in charge of child services at the Y, but you get the point.

His teacher is a lovely lady who taught Ryan in the program when she was 3, and lucky for us, she has a son a few years older than Ryan who was exactly like Jax at his age. She's always saying how happy she is to have the opportunity to teach him, and goes out of her way to paint any "incidents" with Jax in the most rose-colored of ways.

Today, for instance, all she said at pick-up was, "We had to visit Miss Toni's office today, but afterwards he did much better. His energy level was just a little higher than normal today."

Which is like saying Rush Limbaugh is just a little pompous. That's all. Just a smidge.

Once in the hallway, I question Jax as nonchalantly as possible, asking him if he got to go see Miss Toni today, and what, per chance, did they talk about? "Yeah," he responded. "I don't know."

"Okay, well can you tell me why you got to go to her office?"

"'Cause I was like jumping and jumping and jumping and then I jumped on the big blue thing and was like ahahahahahaha." Oh. Okay. I can only assume that by the "big blue thing" he meant the big blue tube-slide, and that by going ahahahaha, he meant jumping/scooting all the way down on top of it. Or something.

My questions were quickly dismissed as we were walking by the elderly grandmother of one of his classmates, and he said, "WHOA! She's OLD!"

"Shhh," I scolded, bending down to his eye level. "It's not nice to talk about people like that, Jax."

"Okay," he reluctantly grumbled. Then, in the time it took me to straighten myself up, he'd run over to her, grabbed her dress and yelled, "HEY! YOU'RE OLD!"

And I'm back to blogging. Good time, good times.

Another one from Jax


I know these QOTD's are trite, but I've not been too inspired lately. Unless you want to hear me rattle on about screaming tantrums, hitting, kicking walls and slamming doors. Personally, living through it every day is enough for me. No need to hash out the details. So, in lieu of an actual post, and because I'm digging deep to find humorous bits about this boy, here are his latest quotes:

"Mommy, I'm the FART MASTER!!"

"Hey Mom, I'm going to find the poop with my binoculars."

"How come when I poop it makes my butt hot?"

I'm seeing a theme here...smelling it, too.



Jaxson, looking at my many many freckles: "Mom, why you got so many polka dots?"

"Ohhh, Baxter. You are my little gentleman..."


"...I'll take you to foggy London town, because you are my little gentleman."
(Ten points if you can name that movie!)

Just Another Day At The Office


After my workout this morning, I picked Jax up at the Kid's Gym, and as we were putting on his shoes, I asked him how it was.

"Great! Greta was there and I played with her. And I took her jacket and ran and she didn't win, I won."

"I'm glad you got to play with Greta, but maybe no more taking her stuff, okay?"

"Okay....and I played with these guys," (holding up five fingers, then counting them off one by one) "this guy, and him and him, and him, and me!" Excitement oozes.

Right about then, one of the boys comes out of the Kid's Gym to put on his shoes, and as he does, Jax says, "Hey, there's one of those guys!"

"Hey, dude," He calls nonchalantlyin a voice 2 octaves lower than the one he was just using.

The little boy doesn't hear him, but a second later looks up, sees Jax and says , "Hey!"

"Hey," he responds, again, in the casual, non-committal way his dad answers just about all of my questions.

He finishes putting on his shoes, starts to walk away, and throws over his shoulder a "later, bro" as he goes.

And I stand and stare, wondering who exchanged my chatty little 4 yr old boy with this 12 year old pre-man.

Live from ESPN...


NASCAR is definitely back in season. How am I sure of this fact? As I sit typing this in the living room, I can hear Jax in the next room performing his own one-on-one interviews:

(In loud Dad/Announcer voice) "So, Jimmy, what are you doing?"

(Apparently answering as Jimmie Johnson) "Well, I'm winning 'cause my car is big, my wheels are big, and I smell good, and I eat chicken after my race."

(again, in the Dad/Announcer voice) "So, Earn Earnhardt, what happened?"

(As Dale Jr, aka "Earn Earnhardt") "Well, I got in a crash. I went a little like this, and then a little like that and then CRASH! And Jimmie was doing this, and then woohoo! Jimmie wins!! I really crashed, I don't know what happened."

(announcer voice) "Start your engines, get set, go! Vroom, and Jimmie is in the lead, and OH NO, Earn Earnhardt is crashing, and now Jimmie is in the crash, and Jimmie wins!"

"What happened Jimmie, buddy?" Jimmie: "Well, I was in the crash"

And then the loop starts all over again... P.S. In Jax's head, Jimmie Johnson is GOD.

Apple. Tree.


Today's been "one of those days" with Jaxson. He's ornery to a fault, stubborn beyond anything I've ever seen, and when he's forced to go against his will, extensive damage is done to his lungs, our ears, his fists, and any surface strong enough to withstand his blows.

Shawn was grumbling about him this morning, which only made me giggle, because it's days like this that he reminds me of his Daddy the most...

Helen Marie Duplantis, 1929-2009


"The good French lady has left us..."

Mysterious Ways


We've just finished dinner and have been talking to Ryan about excluding friends at school, being mean to someone just because they were mean to you first, and all that other glorious cattiness we encounter when girls are concerned. I can't tell you how much I look forward to these "talks".

It's possible I may have gone on a tad too long this time, muddling the point with examples and explanations, because after my "everyone-is-different-and-that's-okay-because-that's-how-God-wants-us-to-be-He-can-do-anything-He-wants-and-if-He-wanted-us-to-all-be-the-same-He-would-have" speech, she concurred with the following story:

"Yeah, Mom, because you know, He really can do anything He wants. Like today I was sad and not feeling that great, but I still tried to be nice and good, and so when I was watching Phineas and Ferb today, they usually go straight to the cartoon after the beginning song, but this time, God said, 'You know what? Ryan has been really good all day and I know she really has to go to the bathroom, so I'm gonna put a commercial on so she doesn't have to miss anything.' And He DID!!"

Clearly, my work here is done.

Happy Chinese New Year!!


We just got back from watching the Chinese New Year parade at Ryan's school, a 5 minute long procession involving reams of butcher paper & a whole mess of First Graders banging drums and bumping into each other. Eat your heart out, Macy's.
This is Ryan's class dragon and...(image)

this is Ryan as 1/15th of the dragon's tail! Woohoo!(image)

Making Amends


So I have this friend from Back Home, who as a girl was known to cause me to crap myself and crumple my self-esteem just with a glance. Supposedly, she never knew her looks could kill, but one can never be too sure.... Anyway, I love her very much, mostly because she's just as silly as me, but also for all those other hearts and rainbows and lovey reasons we all love our friends. So imagine my surprise when I heard she was (gasp!) embarrassed by a hilarious picture of her I posted on my Facebook page (cringing as I type that) from Shah's wedding last weekend. Of course, she says her protests and "HOOKER" catcalls were all in good fun, but she mixed guilt with a Catholic, and I will not let the matter die without full flogging of myself for all the internet to see. Not that anyone other than my mom and a couple of my friends who've seen me look much worse will read this, but I feel gratified anyway.

So Kellie, this one's for you:

You touched a nerve with the "hooker" bit, so I thought I'd show you just what a hooker I can (could, was) be. Pre-reduction, pre-highlights, this was me as "Angel" from Best Little Whorehouse, my first and only role on the Mainstage, but one nobody will ever let me forget. (Especially not Ninny, who calls me every.single.time. she hears "Hard Candy Christmas" on the radio.) Anyway, there you go, pretty embarrassing, no? Although you could say it doesn't really count, since I was dressed for a part, so here's another one...
(image) I'm not sure what part of this picture is the most horrifying -- the face, the bangs, or the copper lipstick. Either way, it's bad. Bad bad bad. But again, perhaps you don't think this picture suffices, having been taken over 13 years ago, so I've got one more for ya, taken just last year:


Me as Shawn last Halloween. This is the best I've got (for now) but I'm sure if you wait a few days I'll find more. And yes, he will make me pay for posting this pic of him, so now I'm doubly punished.

There. Now. The slate is clean, I've absolved myself of my sins, and I'm off to devour my humiliation by way of a nice big box of Thin Mints.

Hustle and Flow, Baby


It's Cookie Time at the York house, which basically just means a lot of anxiety for Mommy. Anxiety over how I am ever going to avoid eating these things by the ton, and anxiety over forcing Ryan to be an underage travelling salesman. I know the process builds character, initiative, goal-setting and all that gobbledy-gook, but none of those lofty ideals have any power to stop my hands from sweating and my stomach from flipping every time she approaches a new target. I hate selling. Hate hate hate. Hate. I take rejection to a completely ridiculous personal level, so watching my child get rejected is the type of vicarious living I don't strive for. Not that she's been rejected all that much (twice -- and I will remember who you are), or even that she'll have to do all that much selling -- she's got Shawn's delegating gene. (Big Daddy, Lea and Ninny are currently in a race to see which of them can sell the most cookies for Ry). Anyway, we all have to grow up sometime, so I guess age 31 is just as good an age as 6.

Not to mention, Jax is completely in her corner. Not only did he point out to me how big Ryan is ("She's so big Mommy. She can drink beer now, I think."), but he's also informed us exhaustively that if anyone tells her "No", he'll "punch them in the head, sucker". So, there you go.

HOPE Springs Eternal...


In honor of the resurgence of HOPE, I've decided to come out from hiding. It's a new start; we've seen the dark before the dawn, and now's the time to sprout anew. Or something a little less corny, but no less meaningful...

I haven't written in a while because I didn't really have anything to say. Also, my time is no longer really mine, and any time I try to "steal" is taken from my kiddos, and that's not what I want for them. So I'll try to post as often as possible, when I have some "Mommy Time" on my hands, not just in an effort to vent or delight, but also because I didn't realize how many people have missed me. I may not have thousands of readers (Thank God!!), but the ones I have I cherish, and I want you to know that!

A quick update to satisfy curiosity:

Shawn is at a new restaurant now -- same company -- and he is flourishing. He works hard, but now his work is geared toward us -- toward canceling the non-essentials and making room for me and the kids. It's been fun to watch.

Jax has grown so much since this summer. We've been listening to him and validating him and through that effort have found ways to communicate and grow that we were beginning to doubt were possible. His tantrums have cooled, but his enthusiasm for life keeps growing -- and we are so grateful for that!

Ryan has been working hard at school and on the gymnastics team, and every day she gets stronger, smarter, and more beautiful. She's also got some brass balls on her and a mouth to go with 'em, but I'm not complaining -- hopefully she'll eventually use those traits to battle evil rather than Mommy.

I'm the same, but different -- trying to let go of my demons, and slowly but surely they are disappearing. I'm growing more thankful every day for the trials that come our way, because I know they are there to make us better, and that they will pass once they've accomplished their mission. I'm reading and cooking, playing and sleeping and trying to keep my butt from getting bigger.

That's pretty much it -- see why I haven't written lately?? I hope I haven't left some of you deflated, although I'm pretty sure I've managed to set the bar low enough in the past that maybe you'll just be mildly bummed.

Before I sign off, let me say: NO MORE LURKING!! Talk to me: comment, email or call. Part of the reason I haven't felt inspired to write is because I haven't felt a sense of community with all of you out there. I want to know how you're doing, what you're feeling, and if and how I can be of service to you. It's a new day, peeps, a Happy, Happy Day!!!

Sick. Again.


It's been awhile since Ry was in daycare, or preschool for that matter. Years ago, I was used to warding off new germs she'd bring home, and although it sucked when she was a baby and always sick, I clung to the doctor's assurances that her being sick as a baby would mean she wouldn't be getting sick as much when she started school. True, true.I forgot about Jax. No daycare, but he plays an awful lot in the nursery at church and at the gym, and he does have 2 days of pre-school a week. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that now he and I are sick almost every other week.He was suffering from a terrible cough and cold earlier last week, and sure enough, come Friday evening, I was suffering the same fate. There are just some things that washing hands can't prevent. Like when Jax sneezes in my mouth "accidentally", or the fact that when he's sick all he wants to do is climb up on me and have me smother him with kisses. Being the loving, nurturing soul that I am, I'm happy to oblige. Until I get sick, and then it's "Get away from me you little monster, mommy needs ALONE TIME!"I missed going to Shah's wedding-shower-slumber-party, which I was so looking forward to. (Believe it or not, I don't get invited to that many slumber parties these days.) Ryan was ecstatic, of course, seeing as how she'd begun laying on the guilt early Saturday morning, crying violently everytime I mentioned leaving, and apparently Shawn was thrilled to have me home as well: He took the kids out for dinner so I could sleep, slept with Jax so I could sleep, took them to church so I could sleep, and even made me some Chamomile tea.All things considered, it was a decent weekend, but one that was completely governed by germs, cough and phlegm. Thank you sir, I've had enough.I was prepared to regale you all with hilarious tidbits from my Girls' Weekend, but seeing as how I wasn't there, I'll just leave you with some funny, if old, video. This is their version of a "Camp Rock" singalong from earlier this summer. If only Disney knew what they're missing...[...]

Wurstfest 2008


(object) (embed) And this is just the g-rated fun we had. Too bad you'll never see the clip of me swinging my arms and yelling/singing, "I LOVE TO POLKA!" I'm saving that for a special night with my special man, if ya know what I mean (and I think ya do).

Gray skies are gonna clear up...



Rain drops keep fallin' on her head...


This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am not always the most prepared mother. More often than not, I'm the mom scrambling to find the last 2 socks, matching or otherwise, on the way out the door. I'm the one who frantically signs permission slips with a crayon, on the way out the door. The one who, on the way out the door, has to go back 3-5 times to grab forgotten keys, glasses, money, brains...

So when the downpour started this morning just in time for school drop-off, I was sitting a little straighter in the car, knowing that even though I hadn't bought Ryan a raincoat since she was 4, I was still prepared with my ever-ready car umbrella.

The one I forgot was broken and doesn't open all the way.

So you can imagine the look of death Ryan threw my way as she crouched under the half-opened, jimmy-rigged umbrella, tilting her head to the side to avoid the eyeball hazard jutting out in front of her. As a 5th grade safety patrol kid looked on.

Therein lies the problem. Not that the umbrella is a piece of crap that offers her limited protection, but that she was seen holding it by someone other than an immediate family member.

At least, that's what I'm assuming the eye-rolling,hair-flipping silent response to my "Love you!" meant. Unless it meant, "Woman, you are the worst mother ever. Get off your dead ass and spring for a raincoat, or at least an umbrella that opens all the way." Yeah. That could be it.

The Dark Side


While this title instantly gets me humming that awesome Eddie and the Cruisers tune (anyone?anyone?), I'm using it in it's more widely known context, ie: Darth Vader and all his little white robot people, or whatever they're called.

The point is, last night I woke in a sweat, fumbling for my glasses to see if, in fact, I'd woken up next to Darth Vader or possibly James Earl Jones. Surely that unmistakeable breathing belonged to one or the other.

But, no. It was Jax, stuffy-nosed and still sucking on his binky, his little ribs expanding with gusto every time he sucked in air, allowing no one within a 10 ft radius any peace.

Walking him back to his room, I tried to get him to give up the binky in favor of breathing, but he was having none of it. "I need it to sleep, Mom!" he protested.

"Yes, but you can't breathe, dude. If you aren't breathing, then you're not sleeping. You're dead."

You'd think the Dark Lord, of all people, would know that.

Fight Club


There's something to be said for testosterone. While at our "Family Practitioner" last week, seeking relief from the red, swollen, pocked and puss-filled tonsils attacking my throat, I came across James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys. Looking for anything to take my mind off the fact that my kids were clawing onto the end of their "good" rope, having already been waiting an hour nd all, I skimmed through the first few chapters with feigned interest.

Until I saw the part where he confirmed what I've always known -- boys are born brain-damaged. Yes, that valuable T-hormone they're so fond of having, that Y chromosome that brings so many new dads to tears, actually washes over the male fetus and damages their walnut-sized brain.

I think we can all agree that this explains so much.

Like how last week, as Shawn was getting out of his truck and witnessed Jax being pushed by a neighbor boy, he immediately yelled "Hit him back!!" As if on cue, Jax lifted the older boy off the ground and slammed him back down to Earth with gusto. Stifling a victorious yell, Shawn quickly went to "assess" the situation, where Jax was excitedly awaiting him with a request for "High Five, Dad!"

One brain-damaged penis being raised by another brain-damaged penis. Peace and harmony never stood a chance.

Sick Sick Sick


Ry has strep, and has been home going on 3 days now. The first day was fun -- a fresh breeze, my sweet little complacent sick child limply lying on the couch, wimpering with delight everytime we fawned over her, which with Shawn home all day was every 10 minutes. Did I mention Jax was at his grandmother's? Yes, life was clm and still and peaceful.

Yesterday Jax was home, but only for a bit before he was carted off to preschool, where he completed the most elaborate yarn-stretching loom thingy and had no accidents! Even his return to the house was uneventful, aided by the Happy Meals I purchased prior to picking him up. What's a little childhood obesity for the sake of sanity?

But today? God, help me, tody they're BOTH here, ALL DAY LONG, with no reprieve in sight. Well, that's not true -- tomorrow should be back to normal, but it's much more fun the melodramatic way. Either way, they've been at each other since daybreak, and I can see no further than this computer screen, I've blocked everything else out. Tht's how it works when they get this way -- I tune out and rock myself in a corner, and they turn everything upside down.

I suppose I could suck it up and be more hands-on, more involved, but I've been doing that for over 6 years now, and I'm getting tired. How home-schooling moms do this 24 hours a day, I'll never know, but if I don't get out and get some me-time pretty soon, someone may need to come check my pulse. I haven't exercised, shopped, or watched any R-rated movies in the past 3 days, and that's just 3 days too long.

Now, who's the sick one?

Kisses, rings, and other things...


The love appears to be everywhere my kids go these days, except at home. Home is where the love goes to die. Okay, maybe not "dead", but definitely in hospice care. Roll your eyes if you must, but when you consistently find yourself brought down to the same level as your little ones, yelling and screaming at them to stop yelling and screaming, defeated as kicks and blows abound, love is not the word that comes to mind. Adoption, yes, but not so much love.

I know they've got the love in there, though. Jax's preschool techer told me just the other day that he hugged a little girl in his class, wrestled her to the ground and laid a big fat smooch on her. Shawn can't stop beaming with pride. I guess he sees it as the first step in Jax's "slaying of the ho's". I see it as the first step on the road to being a sexual predator, and in an effort to curb the whole forcing-them-down-to-the-ground for a little lip-locking action (also known as ASSAULT in some circles), I tried desperately to help him understand that kissing isn't for everyone.

"We keep our kisses for our family, Jax," I said. "Mommy gets kisses, Daddy, Ryan, Menana, Big Daddy...everyone in the family is okay to kiss, but that's it."

"And the girls," he retorted.

"No Jax, only kiss family."

"And the girls."

"No, baby. Just family."

"And the girls, too."

"Why Jax? Why do you want to kiss the girls?"

"I LIKE IT!! It's FUN!!"

I'm thinking it's not so much the actual kiss that's the fun part. My gut says it's the wrestling them to the ground that he enjoys.

Then there's Ryan, who received a ring from her off/on boyfriend-buddy this week. Dude spent 260 Chuck E Cheese tix on the thing. That's a lot of skee-ball, people. It's a stamp ring, and he gave it to her at school yesterday.

"What did he say, Ry?" I asked when she told me.

"Well, we were in the hall with our classes, so he couldn't really talk, but he threw it to me and said "It has a stamp!"

"And what was your fair reply?"

"I said, 'Cool! Thanks!' And then I asked if he had one in rainbow colors, instead."

Score one for Amy. Shawn may have Jax, but I knew my girl wouldn't let me down.

As for the "other things", Ike is upon us, as we no doubt are all aware, and many of our friends and family are sitting ducks, or were. Some have evacuted, some are holding steady. We're praying for all of them, and hope they don't receive too much damage. (The kids are more worried about what will happen to their favorite Rainforest Cafe on the Sea Wall in Galveston, but that doesn't mean they don't love you guys, too. Really.)

"Mom, come see this!"


Four little words.Evoking so much emotion. Is it something good? Something bad? Something red and permnent and all over my walls?

Lately, it's been Jaxson calling me to have a look at the tater-turd he dropped in the toilet, completely oblivious to the fact that he's also managed to pee all over the bathroom floor.

This is the sight that greeted me twice today, when after hearing his beck and call, I slowly and grudgingly made my way to his locale, hazard mask, tongs, and industrial-strength cleaner already in hand.

But neither of those moments today compare to the 3rd moment I experienced with Jax -- the moment at gymnstics where he didn't make it in time, and puddled all over the bathroom floor, his clothes, and I think I even saw some in his ear. Except this time I was not prepared. At all. No change of clothes, no diapers, just some useless wet wipes and a copy of "The Other Boleyn Girl".

No way was I fashioning that into a diaper.

So, we wiped him down, pulled up his pants and walked out, pee-pee stained and all, heads held high, brazenly meeting the eyes of all the other moms and dads undoubtedly sitting in judgement, and we left.

And 5 minutes later we sent Ryan back to tell his coach that Jax hadn't run way or been kidknapped, but that his mother had snuck away with him in shame. According to Ry, he completely understood.

My Mastercard Commercial


Kitchen faucet and stop angle replacement: $400

Rebuilding toilet and pipes: $200

Replace dishwasher: $500

Replace washing machine: $600

Repair broken water softener:$300

Servicing said Water Softener before it busts and ruins your plumbing?: PRICELESS (Actually, it would have cost $120, but still, that's nothing compared to the cool 2g's we're about to unload.)