Friday, February 27, 2009

My Sanctuary

I have begun this quirky habit of making my bed. It began when I finally took down the Pack n' Play basinett, that was becoming a collect-all for dirty clothes, spare computer parts, and random pieces of mail. I went through and cleaned and rearranged the bedroom. I even changed the bedsheets. It was clean. And spacious. I didn't want to leave it.

Now, why would anyone in their right mind, with five children, three of which can turn over the rest of the house within five minutes, tops, bother to make her bed everyday? Because it is the one...the only...thing that I have control over.

Tonight I will turn out the lights on the toy littered floor, and the laundry couch (you know...the designated couch where the clean laundry gets dumped until one has time to fold it.) I will walk past the kitchen sink...which was cleared this afternoon, but now holds empty bottles and dessert dishes...and a random piece of bologna that Irelynn decided she no longer wanted. I will step over the ginormous pop-up tunnel that Irelynn set up in the hallway...walk past the bathroom where my preteen daughter's cosmetics and hairbrush still stand on the counter...and enter my clean, uncluttered room. I will close the door and for a few moments...a few wonderful moments....feel like I'm in control, stress-free, and organized.

Of course, the next morning I will walk through the door, and the colors will be brilliant, munchkins will declare my arrival, and the full impact of last night's tornado will be revealed. But tonight....for tonight....I'm going to pretend it is all a dream.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Go Team!

It appears we have a basketball fan in our family...and it's not my husband. The other night, Bruce was flipping through channels, when Irelynn told him, "wait! Go back! Basketball!"

The Pistons were playing. We looked at each other and shrugged.

She began giving us the play by play. "He throw the ball! Mom...look...go! Go go go! Go my team! The blue guys my team. Go my team!"

I am trying to remember if there were any Backyardigans or Dora episodes involving basketball.

Last night, American Idol was on. Usually she is a big fan. We were feeding the babies, when we heard what sounded like...crying? Or...yelling? I'm not sure...but it didn't sound good. I put the bottle down, and ran back to our bedroom, the source of the sound.

There I found our toddler...remote control in hand....yelling at the TV. She had changed the channel and found a basketball game.

"Go my team! Go go! What the hell?"



Now, she may not have gotten her love of basketball from my husband...but her vocabulary...well, I'm pretty sure that didn't come from Dora.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Why is it that men can endure extreme temperatures, clogged toilets, spider-infested crawl spaces and broken down cars...but the common cold can reduce them to whimpering babies?

I should have known it was coming. The other night he began to moan. Quietly...with his lower lip protruding just slightly...he began to complain. He wrapped the blanket around his shoulders, and shuffled through the house, waiting to be asked what was wrong.

The next morning he could not move. His voice came out in weak, broken sentences. He began to sound like a hoarse William Shatner: "I'm...not well." He finally crawls out of bed, an hour later than normal, and somehow dresses himself for work. He needs help opening the DayQuil.

Upon returning home, where he weakly boasts of his ability to get through the work day, he collapses on the chair, once again unable to move. He asks for water. And for me to feel his forehead. I tease him about whether or not he behaved this way at work...asking his boss to bring him drinks and kiss him on the cheek. He is not amused.

I am reminded of a video I once saw. At least I know that I am not alone. There is actually a term for this phenomenon: The Man Cold. This is dedicated to all the women in my life who have also had to deal with "Man Colds."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Venturing Out...

My husband has this odd habit of forgetting that we have five children. He has these idealistic views of venturing out into public as a family. In his mind, we will all pile into the van, head out to Sam's Club, purchase a soda, and walk around as one big happy family, perusing the aisles and checking out what is new in the electronic department. It will be a wonderful family bonding experience...get us out of the house, and provide some free entertainment.

Now, you would think that previous experiences would puncture this happy bubble, and provide a heavy duty dose of reality into his poor, delusional mind. Alas, he always seems to think that it was just a "bad day." Next time will be different. Next time we will not have to change explosive diarhea filled diapers in a public restroom (having to bathe premie babies in the bathroom sink.) We will not have to deal with preteens with skate shoes who want to try them out in the pet food aisle...falling flat on their back with their skate shoe flying through the air nearly taking out an elderly man. We will not have to deal with an overtired toddler screaming at the top of her lungs that she needs a banana right now, regardless of whether you have paid for it. We will not have to deal with a screaming baby with terrible reflux who pukes on us in the middle of the frozen foods section. No...those previous times were all a fluke.

The reality of taking five kids out to go shopping: you need at least an hour to get ready. An hour?! Yes. An hour. Because the babies need to eat. Again. And be changed. The toddler needs to gather her dearest friend, Blanket Snoopy, and her baby doll, sippy cup, and the odd magnetic game she got in a Wendy's kids meal to take with her. Oh, and she needs to be changed, too. The diaper bag needs to be re-stocked. The 13-year-old boy needs to find his wallet. And go search for his sweatshirt. The 11-year-old girl needs to go brush her hair and put on concealer. And find her purse.

The three older ones need to find hats and gloves. And they need to pile in first, as the two babies need to be placed in the middle row of the van. The 13-year-old has to help buckle in the toddler. This takes awhile. The boy can reconstruct a Nintendo DS out of spare parts he has found in playgrounds and around the house, but he cannot figure out how to buckle a toddler into a carseat. Finally, the toddler is secure, the preteens are in their designated seats, and the babies are in place...with a few rounds of shushing and popping the pacifier back in.

Finally, we are off. "The Backyardigans" is playing on the dvd player in the back. Connor is crying because his pacifier fell out. Jaylond is yelling to turn up the radio, because a Greenday song just came on. Marissa is yelling because Irelynn just hit her. My husband is yelling because the driver in front of him is going too slow. Irelynn repeats what he just said, causing the older two to erupt into fits of laughter.

At Sam's Club we are quite the vision. I have Connor strapped to my front, while I push Owen in the stroller. Irelynn is tailing me, clinging onto her baby doll. Marissa is not too far behind, saying "Mom! Mom! Can we get that? Please?" Jaylond has his eyes set on the free sample table up ahead. Bruce is the only one actually perusing the aisles.

Now, I am not one to usually care what others think...but even I can't help but notice the stares we get. Most of them are friendly see the whispers..."look! Twins!" I've actually seen people count...point to each of my kids and end with a look of either awe...or disapproval. I've also had people actually stop me to see the babies, and ask questions.

"Are they twins?"

"No. I had them two months apart."

Ok...I've never answered that way...but...come on. Seriously?

"Are they identical?"

I look at my boys. One is short...stocky...pudgy cheeks...full lips....not much hair. The other is long...super that curls up and stands on end....ears that stick out....with long eyelashes and a grin that lights up the room.


I get comments that range from "what a blessing" to "you must have your hands full."

After shopping, if there are no sudden...emergencies...there is still the stopping to feed the babies...and the changing of the diapers. Bruce groans in protest.

Well...we either stop now and feed the babies...or listen to the screaming all the way home. And...we either change diapers (and pull-ups) now...or have them leak through onto their clothes and carseats. It all comes with having kids.

The good news is: I have the procedure pretty much down. I even enjoy the looks we get at times. My husband always gets his prized fountain soda. And my children will have many memories of family Sam's Club.

The bad news is: we spend much more money than we intend due to pacifying toddlers, preteens, and husbands....and my husband realizes that there was not so much bonding as there was planning, stressing, arguing, and pacifying.

However, had it not been for his insistance, I would not be eating a warehouse supply size bag of M&M's and enjoying a big-arse glass of wine right now. And so, I shall continue to endure these outings.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why I Love Kids

It was not a day for the weak. I ran out of coffee. My husband was called into work...on a Saturday. The children were all home...and getting restless.

I scrounged around the kitchen to find another suitable source of caffeine. Aha! There is coffee! Does coffee go bad? It is coffee my mother-in-law brought back from Puerto Rico...when I was still pregnant with the twins. Hmmm...only one way to find out. Yes...still good.

I come back into the kitchen after changing Owen. I see Irelynn has the markers out...and has purple streaks on her face.

"Irelynn...did you color on yourself?"


"What are you supposed to color on?"

"Um, paper or sumthin' I think."


"Yes, Irelynn...paper. We only color on paper."


I continue on into the living room to find Connor with a wide-eyed expression in the exersaucer. His hair is standing on end. Next to him, with a satisfied grin, is my 13-year-old...also with his hair standing on end.

"Look...he looks like a Super Saiyan."

I cringe at the Dragon Ball reference. Just what I other two boys to grow up obsessed with it.

The day drags on, with the older children growing more bored by the minute. I finally break up a fight by pulling out some blueberry muffin mix and telling Marissa to bake. It was a simple set of instructions...not (too) much could go wrong.

Jaylond preoccupies himself by building an elaborate backdrop and set for his bionicles. He is attempting to do a stop animation film. This project took up a good part of five hours. This endeavor consumed my dining room, and almost turned into a disaster movie with the onslaught of the monster toddler. I was very grateful when he wrapped up for the day.

Irelynn, not used to having to share the TV, fought with her sister over whether they were to watch "Harry Potter" or "Scooby Doo."

Thank goodness my husband came home soon after that, with Chinese food in hand...and a bottle of wine. I knew there was a reason I loved him.

I must admit, as frustrating as my children can be at times...they are a neverending source of amusement.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fix this, Mom...

Well, we had our first disc casualty. It was bound to happen, at the rate of speed my 2 1/2 year-old switches them out. I should have been prepared. After all, the loss of a favorite movie can have a profound impact on such a young child.

Irelynn popped in "Shrek 2" and happily bounded over to me. She climbed into my lap and prepared for it to start up. The screen read "no disc." Uh oh.

"Um, Irelynn, I don't think it's working."

"No,'s just loading."

"Sweetie, it's saying 'no disc.' Let's open it up and see what's wrong."

"Okay." She jumps down and runs over to open the DVD player. She hands me the disc and I notice a long crack running down it.

"'s broken..."

"Clean it, Mom," she states with confidence; knowing the reason some discs have not played in the past.

"No,'s broken, not dirty. There is a crack in it."

"Oh. Fix it, Mom."

"I can't fix it."

"I get you a screwdriver?"

I see the hope and determination in her eyes. I explain to her that "Shrek 2" is no longer with us. It will live on forever in our hearts. She took it better than I thought. She nodded in understanding...and promptly put in "Blue Guy" instead.

I guess at least discs are easily replaced.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Technical Toddler

I'm beginning to think my toddler is a technical genius. Her latest favorite activity is instant messaging her father while he's at work. Although she cannot spell, she types out letters and sends it to him. She also pulls up the little animations menu and clicks on different animations to send him. She even knows where to click on the link to open up a box with a wider selection of pictures. My husband turns the sound down at work, and I just let her play while I do the dishes.

She also knows all the intricate details of starting up a DVD. She finds the one she wants, and if I'm not paying close attention, she will switch out the discs, close the player and start up the movie. She even puts the other disc away.

The other night, the cd player in the kitchen was still on while we sat down to dinner. The Chipmunks cd, on it's fourteenth repetition for the day, finally finished up, and the next cd in the player started up. Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" began playing.

Jaylond groaned as Dave declared that we were financially fat.

"Man...I'd rather listen to the Chipmunks."


Irelynn sighed, as though he had just twisted her arm, and climbed down from her chair. She ran over, hit "stop," then pushed the button to switch it to disc 3. Then she hit "play," and bounced back to her chair. Once again, the Chipmunks filled the room with their theme song.

And, while it is nice to not have to hear the constant whining demands all is a bit unsettling to hear her bound between the rooms with glee as she starts up "Tonka Wonka," and then turns on the Chipmunks in the other room. And did I mention she also knows how to control the volume?

So, if anyone gets an e-mail from me that does not make any, I have not gone completely is more than likely my toddler sending out messages. As long as she doesn't upload any embarrassing photos...I guess I'm okay with that. Because...oh yeah...did I mention she has stolen my camera and taken several...well....artistic photos? Connor's nose....her dolls...Bruce's feet....and my behind. I'm half expecting them to end up on the internet anyday now.

Hmmm....better go delete those...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jay's Birthday

I don't remember giving my kids a mogwai for Christmas. And yet...last night my house seemed to be crawling with gremlins. One rode Jay's skateboard into the pole in the basement. Another spilled soda in the dining room. One bought a laser pen into the movie theater....and another laughed hysterically while telling inappropriate jokes. And I'm not sure, but judging by the waffles, syrup and Doritos all over the counter...I'm pretty sure they ate after midnight.

I thought taking care of twin babies and a toddler was bad. This is nothing compared to supervising six teenage boys (and one preteen girl) overnight. Jay's birthday was quite the event. Bruce took them to go see "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." Which, I guess, went fairly well (despite the laser pen and making fun of theater employees...same kid, incidentally.) Apparently, the most memorable part of the movie for the kids, we found out later, was a point in the movie where the theater was quiet and my husband reacted to the scene by saying, "Damn!" Go figure.

Upon their return, after cake was demolished, our basement turned into a battle zone. Pillows were thrown. Black lights were flickering. Videogames could be heard in the background. Comments only funny to 13-year-old boys were made. And our daughter was instructed to come upstairs, much to her dismay.

How we survived, I'm not entirely sure. Perhaps the fact that we have five children has enabled us to endure the noise and flying objects. What I was not prepared for was the basement smelling like a boys locker room. I promptly brought out the Lysol as the last kid finally left.

My house is now back in order. I sigh in relief as I hear the soothing sounds of screaming babies and whiny toddlers once more. Thank goodness thirteen only comes once. Only four more kids to go...

Now...where did that damn mogwai go....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Discipline, Sawdon Style

I don't know what is husband attempting the "tree pose" on the Wii Fit, or my toddler attempting the "warrior pose." The scary thing is that she can do it better than any of us. Not only does she wield the Wii remote like an expert, carefully making her selections and waiting for the screen to tell her to step on the board...but the child has remarkable balance skills. Should I be concerned that my child can do virtual yoga but cannot count to twenty? Oh well...math is overrated, anyway.

Thanks to having older children in the house, my toddler's interests are probably slightly different than most kids her age. She asks to play the Wii Fit or Rock Band nearly everyday. One of her favorite shows is "iCarly." Her favorite song is "So What" by Pink. Not only does she watch "American Idol," but she has favorite singers. Last season it was David Archuleta.

I always look forward to the new season of "American Idol" starting up. Not because I enjoy the show, particularly, (although I do get sucked in toward the end), it is because it not only provides much needed entertainment for our preteens (a nice break from Spongebob and Hannah Montana)...but it also gives us a few new discipline options.

There is always, of course, the "you will miss tonight's episode if you don't behave" punishment. There is also the slightly more cruel, "you can watch half of it and then go to bed" punishment. And now, my husband has come up with a new, more creative punishment, which he explained to them last night.

You could hear the fighting in the living began to escalate. It stemmed from us telling them they had to straighten up their school things in the front closet.

"Moo-oom! Jay's being a jerk!"

"She flipped my bag and papers flew everywhere!"

Bruce tells them that they each get a turn to plead their case convincingly. After they are done, we will vote. Only one child will win. The other gets voted off, to be sentenced to a grounding, or other appropriate punishment.

The kids looked at each other and back at him in disbelief. Since neither wanted to miss the show that night, they decided it was best to just stop arguing. Although...I'm not sure if it was the fear of missing the program, or that their father would try to do a bad Simon impersonation.

Bruce: (In a bad British accent): That was an utter mess. It was like a nightmare!

Maureen: (spacing out) You look great tonight. Your outfit is beautiful...but....I'm just not sure that argument was right for you. You need to be true to yourself.

Irelynn: No, Dog, didn't work for me.

Are we cool parents, or what?!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dinner with the Sawdons

Dinnertime is usually an event at our house. It is one of the few bonding opportunities we have with our older children; a time we can ask them how school went, what is new in their lives, etc. Of course, this is usually done in raised voices, as we try to hear each other over fussy babies and a toddler who wants desparately to be included in the conversation, so she does so by mimicing the person talking at the moment (hand gestures and all.)

Last night, however, became somewhat of a circus. The older kids were bickering. I think it started with whether or not I used Cheez-Its in the baked chicken dish. I don't remember where it went from there, because I tuned it out. Connor decided he wanted to be held the entire time. Bruce launched into a lecture about Marissa's attitude and backtalk, and Jaylond's attempts to provoke his sister. Irelynn was telling me that although she did not like the chicken, the macaroni noodles were good.

After finishing her noodles, she got down and put a Backyardigans toy bin on her head, and proceeded to tell us she was an astronaut. I calmly asked her if she would like more noodles. She agreed and climbed back up to the table.

The older kids were stubbornly taking forever to eat their dinner. The next thing we knew, Irelynn was pelting Marissa with macaroni noodles.

"Irelynn, stop that. It's not funny. Daddy is NOT laughing." Bruce scolded her.

After a couple minutes of giggling, she calmed down, only to launch into new fits of laughter as she exlaims, "I throw noodles at Sammy!!!"

We look down to see Samson, our black cat, walking next to the table....covered in noodles.

This, my friends, is why I drink.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Vampires, Kids, and the Birds and the Bees...

I have always considered myself to be a fairly perceptive person. The kids have actually accused me of having eyes in the back of my head...or wondered if I was psychic. Unfortunately, when you have this many kids, not only do the signals start to get jumbled, but the demands of the younger children sometimes take precedence over what an older child might be trying to sneak past me. That, and being cut off from the rest of society renders me slightly inept when it comes to current trends, movies, and book series. Such as the "Twilight" book series.

I knew that there was a book. I knew that there was a movie. I also knew it had something to do with vampires. And that it is, apparently, quite popular with teenagers. So, I thought nothing of the fact that Marissa came home with the book from school (her teacher gave it to her) and wanted to start the series. Or that soon after, Jaylond began reading it. He is now into the second book. What I did not know is that the content of these books is perhaps a bit inappropriate for their age level. Thankfully, a good friend informed me that I might want to read the series myself.

If anyone reading this is reading the series, and does not want a spoiler, you might not want to continue. However, if you are a middle-aged concerned mother, like me, who is not planning on reading the series anyway, by all means, continue.

I have not quite made it through the first book. So far, not too bad. Nothing that I would think would phase them. Jay looked at me in surprise when he found out I was reading the series. Suddenly, I notice the kid is barely putting the book down. He is determined to get through the second book and move on. Interesting.

Marissa is ok with the fact that I am reading them, but curious as to why. I told her that it would give us something to talk about. She shrugged...and then said, "Jay heard that the characters 'do it' in the fourth book."


"They 'do it'?"

"Uh-huh....well, that's what he heard, anyway."


I go back to my friend to ask if the characters do, indeed, "do it." She confirmed that they do, and that it is quite passionate. But, if it makes me feel any better, they are both vampires, and they are married. Well, I suppose that makes it a little better. No cross-species premarital relations going on. I have a dilema. My children are reading through a series that apparently has sex scenes. What, as a parent, do I do? On one hand, I do not want my children to think I condone them reading stories containing sexual situations. On the other hand, I don't want to do the proverbial parental "flipping out," and ban the series, knowing full well that not only are all of their friends reading it...but they will either hear about it or read it secretly, anyway. So, I speak to my husband about it.

His first thoughts were to tell them that the fourth book is off limits until they are older. I tell him that we could do that...and it would let them know where we stand...but we shouldn't be naive in thinking they won't read it, anyway.

Then he says maybe we tell them they can read it...but they have to read it, out loud, to us. I point out that this would be awkward for more than just them. He agrees.

So...the only other option left is to have a heart-to-heart discussion with the children. I suggest he speak with Jaylond, while I speak to Marissa. I see the fear in my husband's eyes. I see the wheels turning, trying to come up with some other not involving him having to speak to his children about sex. I reminded him that I had to have the "big talk" with both of our is not as though they do not know what it is. He squirms.

"Come on, Honey, don't you remember what it was like in middle school?"

He looks at me funny.

"I don't remember what happened yesterday, let alone what happened in middle school."

I sigh.

"Well, I can guarantee that they know alot more than you think they do."

He finally agrees that this is the best option, but wants me to tell him what I plan on saying to Marissa so that he can steal it for his conversation with Jay.

I guess I'd better get crackin' on getting through the book series at least I'll know what I'm talking about. I can picture the conversation now:

"Marissa, sweetie...we need to have a talk..."

"Ok...about what?"

"Vampire sex."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

You know you have preteens/teenagers in the house when....

- Your husband has to ask you if the bra he pulled out of the laundry is your's or your daughter's.

- The living room end table is littered with copies of Parenting magazine, Green Eggs and Ham, and Twilight.

- Your almost three-year-old starts referring to you as "Hey Mom," and answers yes or no questions with "uh-huh" and "nuh-uh."

- You can no longer understand, let alone help your child with her math homework.

- You have to recalculate portions at dinnertime to compensate for your son's appetite.

- You have to become creative with your discipline...time-outs and ignoring them are no longer effective.

- When you listen to their music you begin to wonder if you truly are getting old.

- Your husband goes from being funny to being "a dork."

- You went from knowing everything to being completely clueless.

- You suddenly realize that you are not, in fact, a hip young mom. You are old.

- Last but not realize you are turning into your mom.

Friday, February 6, 2009

About that luck thing....

Where is my mother-in-law to tell me, "I told you so!" My moment of good fortune was swift and fleeting...and we are back to our usual visit from Uncle Murphy. And he likes to remind us of his law on a regular basis. Anything that can go wrong...will.

You know what's even worse than Uncle Murphy visiting? When he also brings along Aunt Flo. All I know is that the noise in the house is amplified, the beer disappears quickly, as well as the junk food, and one of them thinks its funny to replace all my clothes with smaller sized versions.

The twins have been sick for awhile, but Owen's cough and congestion turned into short, wheezy breaths. I took him in to the doctor and found out he has RSV. He needs breathing treatments every four hours (which, let me tell you, is loads of fun with a 5-month-old.) I'm assuming Connor will follow suit.

Irelynn is over her ear infection, finally, but still seems to have her respiratory thing hanging on. And she has suddenly decided that she doesn't want to go on the potty anymore. No reason...she just won't do it.

Bruce found out that the furnace has some sort of humidifier attached to he decided to try it out. Little did he know, one of the hoses wasn't attached all the way. Marissa came upstairs to inform us that the cat peed in her room....alot. I went down to check it out. As soon as I set foot in her room, I hear a "squish" sound. Her carpet is soaked. So, after going over it several times with the carpet machine, we now have a DEhumidifier in her room, working around the clock.

Of course, on the day that Bruce had to work late, the day just dragged on with one thing after another. Several breathing treatments and fussiness with Owen. Connor spitting up nonstop, and screaming half the time. Irelynn beating Jay with a flag she found, with him cowering on the floor saying, "that's unpatriotic!! Obama would frown on that!!!"

Oh, yeah. And more Tonka Wonka. Because my day would not be complete without a Tonka Wonka viewing.

The good news is that all the kids are in bed right now. All but Connor. And Bruce is home...and on baby duty so I can have some computer time. Although I'm thinking maybe I'll just go to bed. I need some sleep to deal with our visitors...I'm sure Aunt Flo will be expecting coffee and donuts in the morning, and Uncle Murphy will hide them somewhere. Perhaps that will give me an excuse to get out of the house...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tonka Wonka and QVC

My toddler is very particular about her shows. And she usually has a certain rotation...of about two videos...that she requests, The current two are "Tonka Wonka" (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) and "The Blue Guy" (Big Fat Liar.)

This morning she requested Tonka Wonka, and demanded that I watch it with her. Now, don't get me wrong...I adore Gene Wilder, but day after day of Oompa Loompas is enough to make even the sanest person want to jump off a chocolate waterfall. The best part is that my child likes to analyze the film for me. She explains to me that she likes candy. And that Charlie is sad. And that the mean girl doesn't listen. And she wants to know what is wrong with Tonka Wonka when he starts showing monsters on the boat. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure what the point of that scene is myself, so we just agree that Tonka Wonka is silly.

I finally convinced her to watch regular TV this afternoon. I took Owen back to change his diaper, and when I came out she had changed the channel to QVC. She told me she was watching my show.

"My show? Why is this my show?" I look at the woman trying to sell steaks, as she slices into one and takes a bite.

"Because you cook. And you cut. And you eat."

Good to know.

I guess it could have been worse....she could have been selling alcohol.

Perhaps Tonka Wonka isn't so bad, after all...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Speaking of Wal-Mart...

Good luck is difficult to come by in my family. You can even ask my mother-in-law...she has said several times that if we didn't have bad luck...we wouldn't have any luck at all. However, once in awhile I must do something worthy of good karma...and it just so happened some came our way by means of a Wal-Mart gift card.

My friend's husband's company was looking for married women with kids, who's household income was around a specified amount, who were planning on throwing a Super Bowl party. Such individuals would receive a $100 gift card for Wal-Mart and a disposable camera...their mission: to throw a party (using the gift card to buy food and supplies,) take pictures, and then answer some questions about their shopping experience. Suh-weet! I'll throw a party for that! Of course, that meant that I would have to find out what teams were playing this year...

So, because we got the chance to spend money that wasn't ours....Bruce insisted on going. Which meant that we were going to Wal-Mart, on a major shopping trip...with five kids. It didn't start off too bad...we grabbed three carts to accomodate all of the kids and groceries, and set off. Perhaps the day before the Super Bowl was not the best day to bring five kids out. The store was packed. Marissa wanted to take pictures of everything. Jaylond was very particular about brand choice (and color....apparently the orange bag of Better Made barbeque chips is much better than the black bag.) Irelynn wanted to help with everything. She insisted that our party needed bananas. Connor decided he did not want to stay in his infant seat, so I resorted to carrying him around almost the entire time. We had to feed the boys in the middle of the chip aisle. Bruce was being extremely indecisive about the beer: we had "free" money to spend...should we buy the really good stuff we wouldn't normally get, or just buy the cheap stuff in mass quantities? We finally got through the check-out, only to run into one of Bruce's aunts that confirmed for us that we are, indeed, certifiable. You know...just in case we didn't know.

When we got home I realized that Irelynn must have helped more than I realized, because somehow we ended up buying some weird lunchmeat with cheese embedded in it.

Ok. Next step: invite people over. Because our lives consist of eating, pooping, and taking care of kids (oh...and I guess going to work for Bruce)...we have no friends. Not really. So...we invited our siblings over. And their friends.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. My sister prepped me on who was playing, so I could be an informed hostess. I didn't feel too bad...she had to look it up online.

Irelynn was delighted to have so many people here to entertain her. She brought out her baby dolls and bottles and insisted that everyone feed her babies for her. Then she left the living room, to come back out with no shirt on, and a different one in her hand. I asked her why she took her shirt off....her answer? Her baby spit up on her and she had to change.

This is what party life is like when you have kids. Instead of being the funny drunk person with the lampshade on your head, you are the person with the nekkid toddler who covers you in smiley face stickers and tells you to change the channel to "The Backyardigans."

The best news of all, though...we now have plenty of leftover beer and sandwich makings. And the next time my mother-in-law tells me we only have bad luck, I can remind her of the time I got free beer. And a side of chaos.

I only have one question, though...when did Omar Epps decide to coach the Steelers?