Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


For Christmas, Max received a little dirt devil vacuum cleaner. It doesn't really work, but it sure makes a lot of noise. In order to capitalize on his love of "pretend" cleaning (along with his love of "real" destruction), I purchased a dirt devil hand-held cleaner.

Whenever Max hears me using it, he runs over and insists on cleaning with it himself. Today was no different as I was cleaning the dirt from the past week from under the kitchen table.

However, as I was off in another room with Ella, instead of cleaning with the mini-vacuum, Max figured out how to open it and dump all the dirt and old food onto the family room floor.

Then he proceeded to eat all the Cheerios he found inside.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Detroit Drama

I told my husband that next time we have to go through all this trouble of traveling with the 3 kiddos, it better be to some Caribbean Island for a few weeks, and someone else is there with us watching the kids!!!! The trip was exhausting!

Not that we didn’t have a good time…because we certainly did. We went to Detroit for a 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration for Melvin’s grandparents (I’ll share pictures in another post). We hadn’t been there as a family since June, so it was good to see everyone again, and Cameron absolutely loves playing all day and night with his cousins. Melvin hand fun hanging out with his family reminiscing and listening to everyone tell us they're going to come visit us in the summer (but that's what they said last year, too) Ella loved all the attention from everyone, and Max had a great time with his Auntie Phoebe.

Although the whole plane trip was no barrel of fun, we survived it. It was the hotel stay that was the hardest. Having 3 kids in one room, especially Max’s age, is basically ridiculous. We had 2 cribs, one for Ella and one for Max, but since Max could see us, he was not about to lay down and go to sleep. So then we’d try to put him in bed with Cameron, but since he wasn’t confined with bars, he decided it would be more fun to run around the room, play with the telephone, turn on the radio, throw things in the toilet, try to get out the door, basically do anything but sleep, So then we’d put him back in the crib, where he’d proceed to scream until we tried to put him in bed with us, but then he’d crawl out and continue his safari around the room. And then we’d put him back in the crib, where the crying would start again. Plus, he would immediately throw out his pillow, blanket and pacifier, clearly letting us know that he had no intention of sleeping in that crib. We went through a couple rounds of this. Finally, after letting him cry for about 15 minutes (thankfully not waking up Cameron or Ella), I put him back in bed with Cameron, and he decided to give up the fight and just go to sleep. And I was finally able to settle in for a brief nap…until Ella started waking up her handful of times each night to feed.

And that was just the night time drama. The breakfast buffet each morning was an event in and of itself, resulting one time in a police officer coming to my (or Max’s) rescue. But I’m too exhausted to write about that. Hopefully tonight, with everyone in their separate spaces, I’ll be able to catch some zzzzz’s.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Comedy of Sorts

Tonight we're traveling. I'm trying approach the stress of it all by laughing about the thought of everything that is to come. I'll start with just getting into the airport. We will have 3 suitcases, 2 carseats, a double stroller, 3 carry-ons...oh, and the kiddos themselves.

Then we'll have to get through security. That will be the biggest laugh of all. Taking off shoes. Taking laptops out of bags. Emptying and closing up the stroller, hoping it will fit through the x-ray. All with Cameron wanting to put all the bags on the conveyor belt, Max wanting to run away, and Ella in my arms, hopefully not screaming. Then when we get to the other side, we'll have to do it all in reverse. Hopefully, Cameron won't be hiding a matchbox car in his pocket, causing the metal detector to go off 3 times, which leads to a "pat-down" of my four-year-old (speaking from past experience of course).

All of the above will probably be done under extreme pressure since we are ALWAYS running late when it comes to catching a plane.

Once we get on the plane, we have 2 "lap" children now. So in one tiny row will be all 5 of us. And I will no longer have Melvin to hand off my lap child to so that I can get whatever is needed out of the bag under the seat (cups, books, snacks, etc.), nor will I have his tray to use to keep everything away from Max, because this time, he will be the one holding Max as I'll have to nurse Ella. (Although, he keeps trying to conjure up some scenario where he will get to sit in the back of the plane while I handle all the kiddos).

I'll try not to laugh anymore. Max has been in his crib screaming his head off for the past 1/2 hour while I tried to pack everything that I didn't finish this morning. I really TRIED to let the boys play while I packed, but instead, I found them in the living room with an entire box of cereal spread all over the couch and carpet. This called for putting them both in their rooms. Cameron fell asleep, but Max is too stubborn to do so. But at least now I know what to give them when I need a quiet hour to myself.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Portrait of Insanity

Today started out just marvelously (read with sarcasm).

I was sitting on the bathroom floor leaning up against the shower door, in a robe, no makeup and my hair half-dried. Ella was in her bouncer fussing, Max (who has a fever), was crawling all over me screaming at me to stand up and walk around with him. Cameron was nagging me to get him breakfast.

Melvin was getting ready for work and just turned to me and said, “You look like one of those pictures in a magazine.”

Oh boy, which one? Cosmopolitan? Glamour? Vanity Fair?

“What are you talking about?” I asked him, wiping Max’s boogers off my shoulder as he continued screaming.

“You know, those pictures where the woman looks like her kids are driving her crazy.”

At least he noticed what was happening. So when I do end up in the Loony Bin…well, he can’t say he wasn’t warned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Just some pics

I'm too exhausted to even think of anything to write today. Nothing extraordinary happened to make me so fatigued...just regular motherhood with 3 kids under age 5.

I'll just share some pictures instead.

Here's Cameron with his friend Faith. They're playing his new game of Madagascar on the computer. If you came to visit, you would be playing with him, too. Not me, he finally has learned that, "Mommy doesn't do computer games!"

Max enjoyed taking Ella for a ride all around the house.

Okay, the pictures are completely posed and I didn't let him push her anywhere. I just wanted to make my husband's blood boil for a moment.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ALWAYS listen to your children

Story #1

When it comes time to going to sleep, Cameron likes to stall. When I put him to bed, we usually talk about our favorite part of the day, say prayers, gives hugs and kisses, and I leave the room. But lately, as I’m walking out of his room, he’ll ask me insignificant questions that he just HAS to know the answer to. Like, “How many family does daddy have in Detroit?” “Why did Max get to watch three shows today and I only got to watch two?” “How many days until my birthday?”

It has gotten so ridiculous, that I’ve gotten to the point where I just ignore him. But he persists. “Please, please, please I have to just tell you one more thing!” I usually relent and listen. But once I’m out his door, my ears are shut. Sometimes when he’s not that tired, he’ll toss and turn in his bed and often make his way into the hallway, calling to me with another question or comment he just HAS to tell me.

This causes two problems. 1. He’s not going to sleep, which means he’ll be cranky the next morning. 2. His yelling down to me can very easily wake up Max…a BIG no-no in our house. So lately when he comes out of his room with some “urgent” news, I don’t respond with much patience. And such was the case the other night.

"Mommy, I have something to tell you!"
“I don’t care what you have to say, Cameron. Go back in your room.”
“But it’s important!”
“No it’s not. Go to bed! And if you wake up Max you’re in big trouble.”
"But Mom!"
"I don't want to hear it! This is getting ridiculous. Go to bed or you get no TV tomorrow!"

Story #2

I lose things...all the time....I just can't remember where I put them. I can remember every teacher's name I ever had; I can remember what I wore on my first day of high school; I can remember my first (and only) dance recital when I was four years old. But I can't tell you where I put my keys, where my glasses are, etc. Sometimes I'm amazed that I haven't lost my kids (not yet anyhow).

This past week I lost my check card. And I remember being in the car and saying to myself, "Cari, you should put this away, or you know you'll lose it." That's the last I recall of my card. I looked in the usual (or unusual) places where it it could have been...my jeans pockets, my coat pockets, the diaper bag, in between my car seats, in my drawers, in the pantry, etc. But it was no where to be seen. After a couple days of looking, I decided it was gone forever, and I cancelled it and ordered a new one (which would take a week to arrive in the mail).

However, just the other night, when Melvin was in Cameron's room, he opened one of his drawers and what did he find? Well my bright yellow check card, of course!

When he questioned Cameron about why it was there and why he didn't tell me....Refer back to the end of Story #1.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What a workout

Today I went to the gym. Not to work out, as Ella is still too young to go to the childcare my gym provides, but we went for Cameron’s swimming lessons.

While Max was in the childcare center, Ella and I hung out next to the pool watching Cameron flip and flop his way around the pool, doing nothing that looked much like swimming, but trying so hard. As I watched the lesson, I couldn’t help but notice the other people in the pool area, as only a small section was designated for the lesson.

It took me awhile to notice this, and I’m not sure why, but after about the fifth one walked by me, I realized that this pool/hot tub/sauna area was FILLED with old, balding, huge, beer belly men! And they seemed to have a routine. They’d hang out in the sauna for a while, then slowly one by one, they’d saunter out to the pool, where some of them would DIVE in the pool. Honestly, if you have a beer belly, you shouldn’t dive because you do more of a belly flop, causing a gigantic splash to cascade over almost everyone at your end of the pool. Then the men would do a lap or two, sometimes swimming, sometimes walking. Next they’d go hang out in the hot tub. And the cycle would begin again.

These are men I NEVER see up in the weight/cardio area. I wonder if they actually consider their routine a workout. I wonder if they realize sitting in a sauna will do nothing for that belly of theirs.

I shouldn’t talk, right now, they’re doing more than me. But once Ella turns 3 months, I will be a frequent visitor of the treadmills, where I’ll look quite fat and feel incredibly self-conscious next to all the young, fit people working out.

Or maybe I should just join the old, bald, fat men. I might not lose any weight, but at least I’d feel pretty.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Frozen Freaks

When my husband was first looking for jobs out of residency, and he told me he had an interview in Minnesota, my first reaction (along with everyone else I know) was, It’s COLD in Minnesota! His response was that it was a free trip and good interviewing experience, and “we’re not actually going to move there!”

So five years later, here I sit in COLD Minnesota. And Minnesotans not only tolerate the cold, they LIKE it! So much so, that they have all these outdoor events happening in the dead of winter. Minnesotans drive their trucks out on the middle of a lake to go ice fishing, they ice sculpture contests and cross country skiing trails in all of their parks.

And it seems like everywhere I look, there’s an ice rink filled with kids. Now they do actually have “warming houses” near many of these rinks…I guess so kids can begin to feel their toes before they head back out onto the ice.

But you know what? When the temperature is 10 below zero, with wind chills at 30 below, I’ll hang out in a warming house all right.. my own home. I’m plenty warm by my fireplace with heat coming out of the vents, and the only ice rink I can see is the one on my TV as I watch the Winter Olympics.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I just found a roll of film lying around. When I had it developed, I found pictures from December. I have another one I need to find, too. But until then, I'll post what I have. My month of December was filled with company, starting with my permanent company Ella. Although sometimes it seemed hectic, it was nice having people around. Even though I love living in Minnesota (minus the long, cold winter), it would be much better if we had some family around. Our December visitors each added their own flair to our life.
Thanks to my mother-in-law for playing with the boys, holding a crying Ella, putting together the toys, and helping me "dish" (I went to Let's Dish tonight...it was no fun without you).

Thanks to my sister Dana for watching the kids so much and (as Cameron would say) "being in charge," for sisterly conversations, making sure my treadmill still worked, and always making sure we had a fresh pot of coffee (that was the best!).

Thanks to my niece Chelsea (who will hate me for posting the above picture) for letting the boys torture you so much.....better you than me. Thanks to my brother Scott for getting good use out of our new theatre, for not complaining to my face about the capitalism and gender stereotypes in my home (I did read about it on your blog) and for the yummy, yummy, yummy vegan oatmeal cookies.

I miss you all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Successful feats

When I was a teacher, my day was filled with big and small accomplishments to help boost my ego. Sometimes it was a compliment from a parent, a paper showing incredible improvement from a student, a fellow colleague wanting to "borrow" one of my lessons.

Even as a grad student, the achievements were important. An "A" on an essay, a "very good question" from the professor, etc.

As a stay-at-home mom, carrying none of the above mentioned titles this term, I gain my inner satisfaction from other avenues.

Today....... I was able to use the bulb syringe to suck out the dried and clear boogers from Ella's nose.

Tomorrrow...my goal will be to do it without her screaming her head off.

Such triumph!!!!


Yesterday we went to the Mall of America for Valentines Day when my husband got home from work.

("Instead of getting you something trite like a card or flowers or something, I figured it would be better to spend time doing something as a family for Valentine's day. " -- yeah okay, I guess I'll buy that). He did only get a couple hours of sleep the previous two nights, so this was a sacrifice for him.

During our late dinner at a restaurant where there were no other kids in site:
1. Cameron colored his menu with precision, and we had to constantly remind him to eat his meal.
2. Max..well, you know how dinner goes with him...it is NO different when we're at a nice restaurant
3. Ella, she sat so nicely on my lap, just smiling.

Sometimes I wonder if when the nurses brought her to the nursery after her birth that maybe they switched her with another baby. Because my other two children NEVER just sat nicely on my lap while eating dinner.

Overall, it WAS nice just being together as a family...although for my birthday, I hope to get something a little more trite.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

Monday, February 13, 2006


As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, dinner is horrible at our house…mainly because of Max and just the age he’s at right now.

For some reason I had it in my head that having dinner at someone else’s house might be different. That my middle child might just act civilized at the dinner table for once.

Silly me.

Yesterday, while dining at a neighbor's house, Max managed to mush all his food together, dump it off his plate, climb on my lap and do the same to my food. Then later, he poured his crackers all over the table, chewed on some clementines and spit them out on the rug. With several high pitched screeches occuring throughout the meal.

Not only was dinner the same, but so was the rest of the evening. Max stood in front of their TV trying to change the channels as the older boys were attempting to watch a movie. He pushed all the buttons on the dishwasher until the homeowner finally figured out how to lock them. He opened drawers and cabinets and did a whole bunch of screaming.

He then ventured upstairs to their toy loft, where I let him play alone so my friend and I could actually have a conversation without every sentence being interrupted so I could prevent Max from destroying something.

“How in the world do you do it? How do you stay sane?” she asked me. I hear similar questions from most people who have long encounters with Max.

School…3 half days a week….and then long naps (for both of us) is my standard answer.

Cameron was the same way, so I know (or at least hope) this stage will be over….when he’s about 2 ½!!!!!!!

Until then, I’ll just keep taking deep breaths and saying to myself, “This too will pass.”

After a few minutes of peace, I went upstairs to check on Max. Whenever he’s so quiet, he’s usually in the toilet. However, to my surprise, he was just playing with the toys like he should have been doing. But when I looked a little closer, I noticed that the 4 bobble head dogs they had placed on a side table, looked a little odd. Max had decapitated all of them, and then switched their heads. Luckily I was able to fix all of them (but he proceeded to take them apart when I wasn’t looking and toss them down the stairs).

I’m not sure if we’ll be invited back over again. But at least for one night, my own house stayed in tact.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Caption Anyone?

Being the only parent at home this weekend, I'm just exhausted. So tired that I can't even think of a clever caption for this photo. Please someone, supply one for me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Cry Me a River

We have a home theatre in our new house. This Christmas, Melvin finally had it all installed and we've been enjoying it immensely for the past month.

But it will continue to look exactly like the above photo for the next few weeks (at least). You see, the darn thing broke on us. Some thing is wrong with the project, so we now need to send it back (since we purchased it online) and be at the company's mercy.

The other night Cameron was watching Wallace and Grommit on our regular TV. I asked him how the movie was. His reply, "It's boring watching it up here."

And today, I planned to have a friend over to watch a movie. My husband said something like, "So now what are you going to do?" We'll do what we always used to do and what the rest of the world does...watch a movie on a regular TV.

We're so spoiled!!!!!

But at least now I won't have to clean up this mess...left by about a dozen kids (with most of the mess probably coming from one little monster who resides in my household who decided it was more important to walk around and take handfuls of everyone else's popcorn to add to his own overflowing bowl than to just sit and enjoy the movie)

Thursday, February 09, 2006


It never seems to fail that Cameron comes into my room every morning when I'm in the middle of my shower. Then he stands there and tries to have a conversation with me...can I get a little privacy?

Today, he didn't stay long in the bathroom. I heard him downstairs, but I really just wanted to get ready in peace, without him whining that he's starving, or without me constantly shushing him so he doesn't wake up Ella, so I didn't check to see what he was doing. A little later he came into the bedroom with a big grin on his face.

"What were you doing downstairs?" I asked him.
"Come see," he smiled. "It's a surprise."

I glanced over at Melvin, and we both had a slight look of horror on our faces, wondering what exactly he had done to surprise me. But when I made my way downstairs, my worried look turned into one of glee, as there before me, on the kitchen table, were two placements, with two bowls on top, filled with cereal. Cameron had prepared breakfast for him and Max without my help. He'd never done this before, and how he got the cereal down from the top shelf of the pantry I don't really want to think about, but he was so proud of himself, and I was proud of him, also.

But this was not the only moment of pride I had this morning. Even Max, my little monster, surprised me. After eating breakfast, he and Cameron were playing around in the family room, while I was nursing Ella on the couch. Suddenly Max came over to kiss Ella, but then started tugging at his socks. He was screaming for help, but I refused to help him take off the socks I had just put on a few minutes prior. Unable to stop him because I was trying to feed Ella, he managed to tug the socks off himself. But before I could even get angry with him, he ran over to me, and put his socks on Ella's cold barefeet.

Sometimes they can be such little devils...but today, they were my perfect angels (at least this morning they were).

Oh my.

Now I'm all for self expression.

But something just doesn't seem right if you're singing about God, with a gospel choir and everything, in front of millions of people...showing so much cleavage.

But then again, this was pretty modest for Mariah, wasn't it?

I actually really liked the dress...just not for the occasion.

Reminds me of the acknowledgements on Beyonce's CD, thanking God for the talent to create music.....music that included Bootylicious!!!

Now, I'm not one to judge...I have my faults...I just find it to be quite comical actually. Sometimes I wonder what God must be thinking as he looks down on us silly people.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Just lounging

Tired of them arguing over "the couch," I finally bought Max his own littleone to go with Cameron's. So now my two little boys like to "sleep" next to each other on their matching couches. Of course very little sleeping occurs.
And yet, even though they each have their own now, they almost always end up together.
My "big boy" likes the couches as well.. but he really does sleep on them.

Monday, February 06, 2006

New Fitness Blog

I've started a new fitness blog.

I'd like to use it as a support group for other runners/fitness people who need some encouragement and accountability to get them motivated.

Visit, sign on, comment and log your own progress!!! It's title -- Chocolate: It's Why We Run


Just Perfect

Saturday night started out to be the perfect night.

After a trying day of kids with energy, who decided the house was their playground and seemed to leave toys and such in each room they ventured into, I managed to get the munchkins into bed BEFORE 8 PM. Even Ella went to sleep earlier than usual.

Melvin was oncall and at the hospital. So I popped myself some popcorn with the "pour-over" butter, settled down into our theatre and put on my latest Neflix movie, In Her Shoes. Now even though we've had this theatre set up for a few months, I haven't been able to just relax and watch a movie all by myself. Usually I'm attending to kids, or falling asleep. But the night was mine, and I was enjoying every minute of it. I remember even thinking to myself, "This is perfect...I'm going to have to blog about it."

But then in the middle of a wonderful movie, the phone rang. My husband had had a hard evening at the hospital and was coming home. He wanted to know if I could heat up some dinner for him. Reluctantly, I pulled myself from my reclining chair and made my way up to the kitchen.....where I heard screams echoing from Max's room. He apparently had been screaming for a while, as he managed to throw everything out of his crib, trying to get my attention (which was useless since I was in the basement and oblivious to all sounds above).

There goes my wonderful evening, I thought to myself. My silence was gone, my movie interrupted, my nerves starting to fluster.

But as I was holding Max, giving him a bottle to calm him, he was just looking into my eyes with such comfort, and I chastised myself. I thought, I am so blessed to have a child that cries out to me when he wakes up in the middle of the night frightened. I am so blessed to have a husband who works so hard and provides so much. I am so blessed that my other children were still sleeping soundly.

And with those thoughts, I talked with my husband for awhile as he ate his dinner, and we watched the movie together.

Yes, now my night truly was perfect.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's just one letter.

Cameron and I have been working out of a "Reading Lesson" book for several months now. Even though we started it this summer, we're only on lesson 43. However, now that Cameron can read most decodable words, he's always coming up to me, "Mommy, let's due a reading lesson." And when he finishes, "Mommy, let's do another one!"

It's great and exciting, however, in order to control the sounds and sight words the children are to be practicing, the authors of this program create stories that are quite awkward and very boring.

Except for today. I couldn't stop giggling as Cameron was reading the story. You see, in the past, Cameron had some trouble producing certain sounds. It was all developmental, and now he's fine. However, sometimes he still has trouble saying a clear "S" sound, and often a "SH" sound comes out instead.

So when he read it, the latest story sounded like this:

he said, "can I eat cake?"
she said, "go shit with the cow."
he said, "no. I will not go."
she said, "go shit with the cat."
he said, "the cat has cake."
she said, "go shit with the cat and eat cake."
so he ate cake. he said, "this is fun."

I better fix this speech issue before he starts school next year or else he might be spending some time in the principal's office.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Distracted..or maybe just Dumb

Having 3 young kids can be downright distracting. So distracting that yesterday I called my husband and left a message on his cell phone. Well, this is what I thought I did.

Later that day, I picked up my own cell phone and saw that I had one new message. Enjoying the opportunity to preoccupy my mind with something other than a screaming toddler, I quickly ran to the living room to find an illusion of silence so I could listen to the message.

You can probably guess what I heard...my own voice...leaving a message for my husband. Now it's not odd that I called my own cell phone, since our numbers are the same except for the last number, but to hear my outgoing message in my own voice and not realize that it was my own phone I was listening to and not my husbands?!?!?! Now that's just pathetic.

I think I need a vacation...alone...or at least with my husband and no kids. That opportunity won't be occuring anytime soon. Next week he's going away for 3 days for a funeral, will be back for 1 day and then will be out of town for the entire weekend for a conference.

I'll need to call some friends to help me keep my sanity....that is, if I can figure out how to use a phone correctly.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Desperate Measures

Getting 3 kids (all under the age of 5) and yourself ready before 8 AM is one huge juggling act, usually involving having to deal with one crying child after another. And sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to pull it all together.

So when you're nursing your infant at the same time that you're putting on makeup (interesting visual isn't it), and your 1 1/2 year old is screaming at the top of his lungs, tugging on your legs so you'll pick him up, a lollipop will do the trick...at least for 5 minutes. Who cares that it's red, who cares that it's only 7 AM in the morning, and who cares that your husband will probably flip if he finds out. It buys you some time, and that's just what you gotta do.