Wednesday, April 29, 2009

30-Day Shred

It was one of those spontaneous moments. My husband was home for the day. The older two were still at school. All three little ones were napping. I racked my brains...we had to be out of something. Freezer bags. And the older girl needed deodorant.

"Honey...should I run to the store while the kids are sleeping?"

He was half asleep in the bed. He mumbled his approval. Suh-weet!

I grabbed my keys, and my purse and headed out the door. I usually head to Meijer, only a few minutes away. But...he was home. I didn't have to be home before the older kids got home. I drove past Meijer. I got on the expressway.

I passed the onramp for Canada, briefly pondering an out of country trip. Maybe that would be pressing my luck.

I drove on up through Port Huron. I was headed for Target. I wasn't sure how I was going to explain my trek to my husband...but he does know how badly I've been wanting to get out...I figured he would understand.

It is truly amazing how many things you notice at the store when you don't have crying babies, toddlers that you have to chase through the aisles, and preteens constantly asking "can we get this??" Usually I am so focused on getting done, that I only notice the items on the list, the lady handing out free samples (because my kids are begging to have one) and the odd items that my toddler puts in the cart that I have to return.

I perused the office area, looking for innovative ways to get more organized. I did not find any...but I saw the cutest journals and notepads. I looked through the cleaning aisles. I tried to remember my budget.

Then, I went through the fitness aisle. I look through the different videos. Dancing with the Stars? The Firm...60-minute workout....hay-ell no. The only time I have an hour to myself is at 2am...and I don't plan on working out at that time. Then I find a video by some trainer from that TV series...Biggest Loser...or something like that. Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred. It consisted of 20-minute workouts at different levels...and promised that you could lose up to 20lbs in 30-days. went in the cart.

Yesterday I started the workout. Well, I tried to start the workout. I got through it...having to pause it a few times to give a baby a pacifier, distract a baby with toys, and put a baby back in bed. So...I thought that I wasn't going to really feel much in the way of results. And I didn't. Yesterday.

Today my legs don't seem to want to move. My shoulder muscles are so tight I'm positive they are going to snap. Luckily most of the times I hit "pause" were during the ab sections, so my abs are actually quite fine today. I am impressed with this video. Although I thought "shred" was supposed to be a good thing...not what the workout was literally going to do to your muscles.

I am determined now, though. One, I have to justify spending the money on the silly video. Two...I have to prove to my husband (and myself) that I actually have the willpower to follow through with something. And three...if I don't lose weight while doing this thing...there is seriously something wrong with me.

Oh, yeah...and four...Irelynn thinks I have a big butt.

Perhaps if this works out well, my next Target whim will be to by some new pants...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Why I Have A Complex

I had just set Owen down in the exersaucer, when my toddler saunters up to me. Naked from the waist down, she stops, and turns her bottom toward me. She looks back at me, and then down at her bottom.

"I have a little butt."

I try not to smile.

"Yes, Irelynn. You have a little butt. Now go put some underwear on, please."

"You and Daddy have big butts. I have a little butt, and you guys have big butts."

Nothing like daily affirmations from the three-year-old.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Although this was not the first time I have ventured out with all three little was the first time I did so by choice, and not necessity. Although...sometimes there is a fine line between the two.

Day in and day out being trapped in the house with babies and a toddler who wants nothing more than to step outside and blow bubbles can produce high levels of Cabin Fever. And, then, when you add nice, warm weather and bright sunlight, inducing Spring Fever on top of that...well, you end up with a full blown case of NeedToGetOutOfTheHouse-itis. The situation was dire. Having run out of coffee, I was resorting to inhaling Pixie Stix. I knew I needed help.

I dressed the boys in the cutest outfits I could find. I re-dressed Irelynn, who had emerged from her bedroom in jeans, mismatched socks, and a big, poufy yellow dress that she had on...backwards. She instead wore a little skirt and tank top...her Tinkerbell baseball cap...and Spongebob sunglasses. The diaper bag was packed...we were set to go.

"Mommy...I drive today? I do the steering wheel?"

"No, aren't old enough to drive."

"But I older now."

"Yeah? How old are you now?"


"Well, that's still not old enough to drive."

"Oh. Okay. Maybe I drive tomorrow, then."

We arrived at Blockbuster and took a full 10-minutes getting out of the van. Owen went in the stroller. Connor was strapped to my front. Irelynn, after much discussion on whether or not she was able to ride in the stroller instead of Owen (um, no,) decided she would walk next to me.

The lady behind the counter stared at us. Her jaw dropped, but she quickly regained her composure.

Irelynn skipped by the racks of movies and merchandise, and pointed out various points of interest.

"Look, Mommy! Barack Obama! Look...Rock Band! I see Tinkerbell!'s Daddy!" I look to see a picture of Adam Sandler.

Owen looks around from the stroller, and Connor babbles at him from the baby carrier. I start noticing a slight stench. Great. That figures.

We pick out the movie "Bolt" and head to the counter.

The lady looks cautiously at us.

"How far apart are they?" she is indicating the twins.

"About two minutes."

"Oh...they're twins? Wow."

Irelynn pipes up.

"They are Owen and Connor."

She finishes ringing us up, and we are about to head out...I wait for it...maybe she won't say it...

"Have a nice looks like you have your hands full!"

Ugh. I should have known.

I smile.

"Yup. It's a good thing I have a good little helper!"

We take 10-minutes to get back into the van. Then we head to McDonald's.

"I want chicken nuggets, ketchup, and a chocolate handshake!"

Sounds good to me.

Then we headed for Grandma's house. wasn't the most eventful outing...but it was an outing, nonetheless. My symptoms have started to fade...greasy food helped. I'm not quite cured...but with a few more outings, preferably when my husband comes home from work so I can go sans little ones, and I may just be on the road to recovery.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Virtually Cool

I used to make fun of sites like MySpace and Facebook. I firmly believed that I was too old for such nonsense. Although I haven't quite bridged the gap between rock band tees and mom pants (though the troll underneath the bridge is beginning to mock my BNL shirt,) I had always viewed these sites as a way for young, single people to mingle. Alas, a friend of mine convinced me to start an account.

What I have found is that although there are plenty of young people mingling...(as stated in one movie, "MySpace is the new bootycall")...there are also several people my age and older also using these sites as a way to keep in touch. I have found myself actually searching for old friends...and family. I have uploaded photos of my children. I have even found myself actually sitting at my computer for a good five minutes contemplating something deep or witty to write for my "status."

Now, this may seem like a waste of time for a mother of five children. However, I have found some serious benefits. Such as actually having contact with the outside world, albiet virtually. I can hold adult "conversations" with people. I can see in a list of short blurbs what is happening with people I know. Plus, I have learned the intricate language of texting. Which comes in handy with my preteens, who think they are speaking to each other in code.

The older girl responded to her brother the other day with, "WTF??"

To which I responded, "watch your abbreviated language, young lady!"

The kids are beginning to think I'm psychic. Because, you see, it must be some form of magic or a sixth sense that I possess, as opposed to me actually being in touch with modern day society. In a preteen's eyes...29 is ancient. Despite my bootcut jeans and rockin' tee-shirt. They openly gawk when I break out with a "LOL" or "BRB." I guess even with the right language, I don't really "fit in."

That's friends on Facebook think I'm cool.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chocolate and Wine


The older girl is pacing the kitchen, picking at her clothes. I look over to see that she is wearing a yellow polo shirt...over a huge white tee-shirt. Now, I know the layered look is popular, but this seemed a bit...over the top. Apparently she agreed.

"Well, why don't you just wear the yellow shirt?"

" can see through it."

I look at the clock. They need to be out the door in two minutes.

"Well...just take it off and wear the white tee-shirt."

"Then I'll look like an IDIOT!"

The tee-shirt was her 5th grade graduation shirt...not so cool when you are in the 6th grade, I guess.

" need to go! I'm sorry, but..."

She moans and runs down the stairs to her bedroom. I look at the clock. One minute.

She runs back up, mumbling something about hating school, and opens the dirty laundry basket, pulling out a pink long sleeved shirt. She runs to the bathroom, and changes in two seconds flat. But then...

"I don't have time to brush my HAIR!!! OH MY GAWD....I look like an IDIOT!"

"Well, grab the brush and take it with you, because you're going to miss the bus!"

"I HATE school! I have to wake up early every freaking day just because of SCHOOL."

Finally, the kids head out the door. Five minutes later, they return, having missed the bus. I call my parents' house, in hopes that someone is available, because all three younger kids are still sleeping. Luckily, my stepfather was able to come get them.

"Can't we just stay home??"


My stepfather arrives to pick them up. And then, the little ones begin waking up.

Irelynn promptly demands candy.

Both babies decide that they want to be held. All. Day. And Owen decides he doesn't want to nap. All. Day.

Irelynn declares that she is a baby again. She climbs into the bouncy seat...that thing that hangs from the doorway that allows babies to bounce...and proceeds to bounce and swing back and forth. The little stinker actually still fits in it.

I try to carry on through the day...with a baby attached to my hip and a toddler swinging in and out of view crying out, "Mommy! Look at me! I a baby! I..." (crashing into the armchair) "...ow. You get me out now?"

After feeding, burping, bouncing, and rocking while singing every song I can think of from "Rock-a-Bye Baby" to "I Like Big Butts," Owen finally falls asleep. I hear Connor start to fuss as I carry him back to put him in bed. I shush Connor and run out of the room with him in hopes that he does not wake his brother.


Irelynn has dumped all of her new Legos all over the living room floor. Connor squeals with laughter. I nervously glance over my shoulder. Owen is still asleep.

I feed Connor while Irelynn builds a castle. I try to quietly set him back in his crib. I see Owen roll over, his eyes suddenly wide open. He is still quiet, though. I drop to the floor. If he sees me, it's all over. I start to army crawl across the baby's floor...and stop at the front of two feet adorned in Dora socks.

"Mommy...what are you doing?"

"WAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Mumumumumum....."


I get up, brush myself off, and grab Owen.

And....this is how the rest of my afternoon went. With the addition of bickering preteens arriving home from school, a toddler who refused to pick up her Legos (responding "I busy. YOU do it.") and then spilling Corn Pops on the kitchen floor.

Of course, as usual, on these days, Bruce has to work late. So, I fix macaroni and cheese for dinner, with Owen on my hip, the oldest girl complaining about excessive homework, and the toddler....where did the toddler go?

I hear crying from the babies' room. I go back to find Irelynn taking a picture of the formerly sleeping Connor, who was jolted awake by the loud camera sound and flash.

Which brings me to now. Late at night. The children finally in bed. With my glass of wine, and chocolate. Is it really only Monday?

Big Girl Bed

It was time.

I have prolonged this moment as long as humanly possible. My toddler had not yet learned to climb out of her crib. Those bars were my friend. They ensured that she stayed in bed at night. They mandated naptime. They will be sorely missed.

The twins have been sharing a crib. It worked out great...for awhile. Now that they have mastered the skills of rolling, grabbing and's not so great. Owen will steamroll his brother. Connor will steal Owen's binky. Owen will kick Connor. In short...neither the boys or my husband and I were getting much sleep, anyway.

And the moment finally came. Irelynn figured out how to climb out of her crib. We aren't sure how she did it...but she came bounding out into the living room the other morning.

"I did it myself!!"

It was time.

The crib was moved into the boys' room. The toddler bed was set up in Irelynn's room. We bought her Tinkerbell bedding with matching curtains. I bought a sheer purple canopy with pink butterflies. It was adorable. She loved it. She wanted to go to bed early. Bruce and I looked at each other, eyebrows raised. She gave us hugs and kisses, and bid us goodnight. started.

"Um...I have to go potty."

After she goes potty, we put her back in bed.

"I have to brush my teeth."

We put her back in bed.

"I need more kisses."

I kissed her, and put her back in bed.

"I have to put my books away."

"Sammy in my room...I have to get him out."

"I think I watch TV now."

"I get my baby doll."

Each time, we carried her back to her bed. Finally, either she ran out of excuses, or she just collapsed out of exhaustion...but she fell asleep. In bed.

That's when we collapsed out of exhaustion.

Was it really time? Really?

I want an extension.

Cake Decorating 101

The good thing was that it was a fairy was supposed to look kind of nature-like...flowing, curvy, other words, imperfect. The perfect thing for my first attempt at making a cake. Well, I should clarify...I have made plenty of cakes before...but none that required any ounce of visual creativity. The times I needed something that looked nice I would leave it to either the local grocery store, or my mother-in-law, who has a background in cake decorating. The task before me seemed enormous. Mostly because it was not just my 3-year-old or my loving, accepting family that would see this cake...but relatives that we don't see often, as well as Irelynn's friends. It's a good thing I figured they would be accepting, too.

Luckily, it went better than I thought. The grocery store sold a Tinkerbell cake topper to me, so I didn't have to actually create her image on the cake...that would have been disastrous for sure. I took white frosting, and added food coloring until it turned a greenish-blue, and covered the cake in that. Then, I carefully placed the plastic flower holding a dangling Tinkerbell in the center of the cake. Now what? I don't know how to create flowers. This was easily remedied with those candy flowers that they have in the cake decorating aisle. needed something. Again, because it didn't need that perfectly molded look...I decided that I would try to do some green wavy vines as a border. I used the leaf tip (I only know that it is a "leaf tip" because my mother-in-law told me...thanks Mom!) and added little leaves along the vine. I also drew a big number "3" along the side. I cut the stems off of some daisies and placed them around the bottom of the cake. Well...I don't know. I *think* it looks okay....

I set it on the table, and the party girl comes out of her room. She climbs up on the chair.


"Do you like it?"

"I LOVE it!!!"

All the worry washes away. It suddenly doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. In the eyes of a toddler...the cake looks great.

I suppose I have a few more years of easy-to-please younger clients. But I better sign up for a few lessons from my mother-in-law before November...when my preteen girl requests a "Twilight" cake...or February, when my husband requests a "Star Trek" cake. I don't suppose they make William Shatner cake toppers?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Transition Years

Middle school is a scary place. I only vaguely remember middle school. I remember a skinny, awkward girl with huge pink glasses, unruly curly hair, who pretended to be totally into The New Kids on the Block because they were the most popular band. Ever. Well, at least according to any other preteen girl you asked at the time. My parents were heavily debating whether or not I should be allowed to watch "Dirty Dancing," even though all of my friends had already seen it. I remember my father buying me some L.A. Gear high tops with sparkly purple laces and thinking I was going to be the coolest girl in school. While I wasn't the coolest girl (I mean, who could be with glasses like those?) small group of modest friends were impressed. But then, they would have been impressed with me, anyway...because those were my true friends.

I see middle school has not changed much. The New Kids on the Block have been replaced with The Jonas Brothers, and the movies parents have to preview first, like "Dirty Dancing," are now about vampires. The underlying current of rampant hormones, low self-esteem, desparate attempts at self discovery, and brief surges of social awareness still flows through the hallways. Those who aren't careful get dragged under. How, as a parent, do we navigate our children through these troubled waters? Especially when our children just wish we'd go walk off a plank somewhere and leave them alone?

Watching my son and daughter I get brief flashes of my own preteen years. They are at extreme opposite ends of the spectrum...I was somewhere in the middle. My son is very self aware. He is not one to put on an act to try and fit in. I am proud of him for that...but I see him struggle to remain afloat in a sea of wannabe's and pack leaders.

My daughter, on the other hand, is another story. I have watched my extremely self aware child start to lose her sense of self as she tries desparately to mold herself into the image of the queen bees that she admires. I see her struggle as her social awareness gets twisted in the tide...I can almost see her mentally tick off in her head the behaviors needed to fit in: wear Abercrombie shirts, check....giggle incessantly, check....fawn over Edward Cullen, check...pick on kids who act like my brother even though I might secretly have a crush on them, check....don't ever admit to liking Hannah Montana, check. On one hand, I'm glad to see that she has friends, and isn't one of the kids getting picked on. On the other, it saddens me to see her have to play the game, and not realize what a truly remarkable person SHE is. I also see her setting herself up to get hurt.

As a parent, you want to throw out a life preserver. You want to tell your son that it may be rough now, but the other kids will be jealous later when he's making big bucks designing websites or creating video games. At future high school reunions they will act as though they were his best friends. You want to tell your daughter that it isn't worth it. These girls are fickle...they will turn on you in a heartbeat. They will not be the true friends that will be there for you later in life. That boy you are making fun of behind his back...the one you like...will end up with another girl, one who looks past what others think.

But you can't. You can try...but they won't listen, anyway. I suppose this is the time that they need to learn their own lessons. I don't know who it's harder for...them or us.

Man, and I thought I was long past those middle school years, never to have to suffer through them again.

Can I at least put my Johnny Depp poster back on the wall?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blogger's Block

It has come to my attention that people follow my blog more than I realize. I have actually recieved phone calls asking if everything was okay because I haven't had new entries in awhile. Rest assured, everything is fine...just busy. Not to mention...I'm not sure what I should write about. There is a newfound pressure to be entertaining and witty.

The mundane things that have occured in our household just don't seem blog-worthy. My preteen daughter has informed me that she does not like me mentioning her by name in my blogs. So we shall henceforth refer to her as "the older girl," and try to avoid things that might be too embarrassing...such as her breaking the top rack of the dishwasher, enraging my husband to the point where he actually spit when he talked, and causing my toddler to chime in with sentences like "breaking shit!" Wait...I think she was repeating something I said that time. But in my defense, as the primary dish care person, a broken (almost new) dishwasher with a family of seven is cause for a great deal of panic, which may cause a few colorful metaphors to slip out. It was not our best moment as parents. So, we won't mention that one.

Other moments that have occurred recently might also prompt CPS to show up at our door. Such as my toddler, at our family Easter get-together, informing everyone that she wants her own beer. Now, to the best of my knowledge, no one then (or ever) offered to split a beer with her...let alone give her her own beer. However, I'm sure the family is now wondering about our drinking habits. Or another moment, last night, when my brother was over. She wanted him to help her count her money. She told him, "I have dirty money and clean money." He laughed and asked her where the clean money was from.

"The bank."

"Oh...where's the dirty money from."

"I like waffles."

So, my toddler now appears to not only have a drinking problem...but she must be laundering money on the side. So, we won't really mention those incidents, either.

Other recent incidents only highlight me as an inattentive parent, so we should skip over those, too. Like the other day, when Connor was lying on a blanket in the middle of the living room. I walked to the kitchen to start some soup for Irelynn's lunch. The next thing I hear is, "Mom...Connor has poopy diaper."

"Ok...I'll change him in a minute."

"I already did."

I look out in the living room, and there is Connor, in all his naked glory, smiling on the blanket. I look around for the diaper she removed. I see it...but no poop. I spot some wadded up wipes next to him...sure enough, there was the poo. I go to grab a new wipe out.

"I already wipe're welcome."

So...we will skip over those, too.

So, as you can see, due to incriminating content, I really don't have anything to blog about right now. I will try to come up with something soon, though.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Holiday Aftermath

"Mommy...I want candy."

I sigh. This is how every morning has begun since the Easter Bunny so kindly bestowed baskets full of jelly beans, Peeps, chocolate bunnies, and skittles upon my children. The older children have not asked very often...but I would be willing to bet that if I made them turn out their pockets, we would find wrappers and squished remnants of sugar-coated marshmallow.

"No, just woke up. You need breakfast first."

"I play with bubbles?"

"Not now. Maybe later."

I am still finding bits of brightly colored Easter grass on the carpet...and chair...and along the couch.

"I like the Easter Bunny."

"You do? Yeah, he's pretty cool."

"I like Santa Claus."

"Santa, too, huh?"

"Yes. I invite them to my birthday. I have candy now?"

"No Irelynn."

I walk around the living room, picking up plastic wrap from various toys. I thought you only had to do this at Christmas. What happened to simple Easters? You get a stuffed bunny, a book, and some candy. Now it almost rivals Christmas...all we need is an isolated forest workshop for the bunny and his garden gnomes who work hard every year making toys...and Peeps. I get down on my hands and knees and crawl along the couch, looking underneath until I find...a broken Easter egg. The inside is mashed into the carpet. Ugh.

"Mommy? I have candy now?"

I look at the clock. It says 8:30am. I pick up what I can of the egg in the carpet...walk into the kitchen...and pull out the Peeps.


"Thank you, Mommy!!"


I think I'll forego the Peep and head straight for the chocolate bunny, myself.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break

Spring break crept up...ominous...foreboding. An entire week where the children do not have school or homework to occupy their time. To add insult to injury, Michigan once again proves how miserable of a state it really is...the temperature drops and snow now covers the ground. In April. So, that also rules out carefree days of riding bikes and playing ball. Fortunately, my in-laws miss their grandkids. They offered to have the older kids come up north to stay with them for Spring Break.

Now, usually big things that the kids are excited about make for good threats to promote good behavior. However, the problem with threats is that you have to follow through with them. So I have been very careful to not use the vacation as a threat...because I do not want to punish myself along with them by forcing them to stay home. So I craftily avoid discussions about the vacation, and fall back on sending them to bed early, and separating them from each other.

I begin making a mental list of what they need to take with them...the most important items being those that will keep them busy in the car on the four-hour drive up so as not to annoy their aunt so bad that she brings them back before they get there. Let's see...Nintendo DS...check. Movie...check. Books...check. Duct tape....ok, maybe not. couldn't hurt...

The moment arrives. Their aunt arrives right on time to pick them up. They have been bickering all morning...mostly about who was the last to have the charger for their DS's. Along with the random confrontations over who was in who's way, what movie they need to bring, and how old Jackie Chan really is. They still have not found the charger...and an argument errupts, full force, in front of their aunt. She is preoccupied with talking to Owen. She does, however, make a couple of comments to him in regards to the older two.

"Well, I guess we won't be getting your brother and sister anything cool anymore, because they just lose it..."

Marissa snaps at her.

"Don't talk to the baby. If you have something to say, talk to us."

I flinch. In my head, I imagine the record scratch sound effect as all action stops. For a brief moment I imagine their aunt telling them they can stay home for Spring Break. Must. Do. Something. Damage control...quickly. I look sharply at Marissa.

"Apologize. Now."

She apologizes.

"Now, I suggest you get your things on quickly and go, before I change my mind and make you stay home."

She starts tugging on her boots and grabbing her stuff. Candace doesn't seem phased. She continues talking with Owen. Whew.

They make it out of the house, but Marissa is back promptly because she forgot an item.

"Jay is already complaining because he wants to sit on the right side of the car. He says 'I always sit on the right side.' I said, 'what, is that like a law or something??' He says, 'no, I just always do.' He's such a jerk."

I smile, tell her not to drive her aunt crazy, and kiss her good-bye. I quickly close the door...and watch as they finally pull away.

I'm debating whether or not to disconnect the phones. Hmmm...I wonder how far she can get before she decides it's not worth it to drive them all the way back home...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Virus in School...

It was April 1st. The older kids had arrived home from school, and we were all sitting around the table. My mother was visiting, helping me out with the kids. Marissa starts up a conversation.

"I think I'm getting that disease Dad was talking about. I didn't feel too good today. I think it must be going around school."

I looked at her.


"Or...bug? That thing he was talking about that was supposed to go around today?"

My mom looks confused, but then you see her beginning to understand. She is much better at hiding her amusement than I am...although I can see it in her eyes.

"Virus, maybe?"

Marissa looks at her grandma.

"Yeah, that's it!"

"I think he meant computer virus..."

"Oh....well...same thing..."

Jay rolls his eyes.

"No, Marissa. It is not the same thing at ALL."

My mother, the peacemaker, interjects.

"Well...computers can get very sick,, it's sort of the same..."

You a does make sense, though. I was beginning to think there was something wrong lately. Perhaps there's a way to reboot her...or install an update....

And to think, I was blaming hormones all this time...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why I Don't Work Out

I blew the dust off of my work out DVD's....hmmm...pilates. That should ease me back into it. No hard core aerobics...just some nice stretching-type moves. All three children were asleep. I have time.

I don't have a mat, so I lay down a blanket, nudging the baby toys out of the way. I hear Connor wake up. Man.

I bring him out and sit him in the exersaucer, and hit "play." The first move requires me to put my legs straight up in the air, lift my head and shoulders off the floor and rapidly flap my arms up and down. My legs don't go straight. My stomach roll becomes more of a stomach hill, quivering as I try to hold the position. My cat misinterprets the arm flaps for an invitation to come flop down beside me, causing me to smack his butt. Instead of being offended, he rolls to the side to give me a better angle. Stupid masochistic cat. I try to shove him out of the way. Connor squeals.

Finally the stupid upside down bird exercise is done, but I hear Irelynn calling me from her room. I hit "pause" and go get her. She immediately grabs the remote to try and change the channel. I tell her that I'm watching this DVD right now, and she needs to wait.

"What are you doing, Mommy?"

"I'm exercising."


She sits down next to me to do the exercises with me. I notice immediately that not only is she much more flexible than I am, but she also can execute each move much better.

I am beginning to realize how much I am sweating, despite doing exercises called "single leg stretch." I knew I was out of shape, but this was ridiculous. I find myself following the lady on the far right of the screen...the one showing how to do the moves for beginners. Or old people.

As I am "rolling like a ball," trying to ignore my toddler's giggles, I hear Connor scream. I abruptly stop to look back at him, but realize that he is merely yelling at the other cat, who is sitting in front of him, just staring. Connor grins, and yells again, this time waving his hands in the air. The cat cocks his head to the side. I roll my eyes, and concentrate on the leg kick series.

The first cat comes over, noticing the drawstring on my sweatpants, and begins to bat at it. I again try to shoo him away, almost losing my balance. Irelynn has now lost interest, and is joining in on the yelling game with the other cat.

I swing my leg awkwardly, accidentally punting the masochistic cat. I roll onto my back, just in time to have the other cat climb up on my stomach and lay down. Irelynn bends over, looking down at me.

"Mommy...I want juice. And Dora."


Juice and Dora it is. I was getting rather fond of my stomach roll, anyway.