Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clearing Out the "Edit Posts" List

I have sat down and started about 5 blog posts over the past 2 weeks, but none have managed to flourish into completion. Being a bit disappointed in myself for not maintaining my personal goal of at least one post per week, I am going ahead and posting this complete stream of consciousness entry.

So what were those other posts going to be about? Here is the low-down...

Baby Whale tried to nurse boats in Australia
....brought back many memories of nursing our children. I found it very sad that this little newborn was so desperately trying to latch-on and aren't all newborns as clueless about their surroundings? Put just about anything in front of them and they will suck it; just ask any new parent's finger if this is true.

Mother Gorilla mourns dead baby
.... The mother did not want to give up the corpse of her dead baby that died from a suspected heart defect. Many people doubt whether animals have any parental feelings beyond instinct, but perhaps humans are too far removed from parental instinct. It is especially evident when there are so many instances of child neglect, like this recent story about an 11-month-old that died of starvation and dehydration.

The last news story that I started to post about was (surprisingly) not about animals, but about The Recent Immunization Debate that seems to be going on day-in and day-out over at MSNBC.
Lax vaccinations causes whooping cough outbreak -- link
Vaccines cause autism -- link
Vaccines are not linked to autism -- link
(the above to articles are older but referenced heavily)

Aug. 21- Non-vaccinating causes more measles -- link
Aug. 22- Non-vaccinated kids pose a health risk to everyone -- link
Aug. 25- Our kids shouldn't play together -- link
Where do I even start with this one? I, for one, am cautiously suspicious of vaccinations, but our children have had the shots on the infant/toddler schedule. They have not had any of the school age booster shots.

I imagine that if I had been more informed about the dangers of the shots and the actual effectiveness (or should I say ineffectiveness) of immunizations, we may have chosen a different route, but either way, there is no reason for parents to be in such an uproar and battling it out over this.

Don't we all do the best we can to take responsibility and make intelligent decisions for our children? Are any of us so confident in our daily choices that we want to force our decisions onto other parents?

This is simply a great way for MSNBC to maintain their readership. Get everyone to take a side then maintain this perpetual debate.

So those are the thoughts and perspectives that have been swimming around in my head recently and now that they are out of the way, I can now post about what has been occupying my time since last Monday.

....But now I am out of time again and I need to get up and chase my naked 2-year-old!

I'll be back later, I'm determined!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Easy" Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

I have never posted a recipe before, but this is an easy favorite of mine. Cooler weather will hopefully be arriving soon and soup is great when it's cold outside.

"Easy" Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

  • 46 oz can of tomato juice
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream*
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter*
  • 5-6 tomatoes
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic (add this to suit your preference)
  • Fresh Basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
* This is what the original recipe calls for. I have only made it like this two times and it was, of course, delicious, but lets get real folks, how much milk-fat does one family need?! I usually substitute half-and-half for the cream and margarine for the butter. (I once tried it with fat-free half-and-half, but it was not very good. Fat-free is mostly corn syrup.)

1. Peel and seed the tomatoes. (There is a learning curve on peeling and seeding tomatoes, but once you get it, it's not a big deal. Here is an instructional video just in case.)

2. Simmer together tomatoes, tomato juice, butter and garlic for about an hour and a half. (I often throw this into the crockpot and cook on high for 3-4 hours. That way I don't have to monitor it and I can instead monitor the children!)

3. Remove heat and allow soup to cool. Put mixture into a blender, add 6-7 leaves of fresh basil and blend together. (This is where a hand-held blender comes in quiet handy. I use mine to blend the soup right in the cooking pot. You still should wait until it has cooled a bit because scalding hot soup splattered up your arm is not pleasant.)

4. Return soup to pot and add cream, simmer for an additional 30 minutes. (Again, you can put this together in a crockpot on low for about an hour and not have to worry about it.)

5. Serve and enjoy.

Looking over the recipe now, I realize that perhaps it is not as easy as I thought. Maybe I have just made it so many times that it seems to require little effort. Hopefully you will give it a try and let me know in the comments how it works out.

BTW - ALL of our kids, even our very pickiest eater, eat and enjoy this soup. I usually add crackers or bread to thicken-up our toddler's bowl. He isn't all that great at spooning liquids.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Wedding, a Bit of Confusion and the Summer is Over

I suppose the summer is drawing to a close. The public schools have started back and I am just beginning to see a tinge of red in a few leaves on the Bradford Pear tree that waves to our bedroom window each day.

We rounded out our very busy summer with an annual New Hampshire visit. This year we journeyed in August so that our trip would coincide with my sister-in-law's wedding.

Stacey Elizabeth Holland married Christopher Joseph on Saturday, August 2, 2008 on Bear Island in Meredith, NH. What a beautiful bride and a beautiful wedding!

But, I must admit that the ceremony's procedure created a bit of temporary confusion in our four-year-old's mind - Let me explain....
Setting: The lake side home of Barney and Bettyanne Holland, bright flowers adorn every walkway and the weather is pleasantly warm and sunny. Sunshine filters through the pines and the water sparkles.
Scene: Standing on a prominent rock, about 3-feet over the guests are the groom and his best man. The wedding music plays as the wedding party walks down a path. First, toddler Henry is lead by his daddy and brings flowers to the mother of the bride and of the groom. Next appear the two lovely flower girls, Elora Holland and her cousin Erin. They are followed by two young ring bearers, 7-year-old Corbin and 4-year-old Jacob.
The boys took their job of carrying the rings very seriously. Corby told them that if they dropped the rings, Aunt Stacey would not be able to get married. We were so happy that all of our children could participate in their aunt's wedding!
Next appears the matron of honor holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers. (Yes, I was the matron of honor but I still can't get over the word matron. It just sounds so....well, you can imagine!.) Last, the radiant bride is escorted by her father and the wedding begins.
The rock we were standing on was very large, probably more than 100 square feet of surface area, so there was plenty of room to stand on, but I must admit that during the ceremony I was mostly concentrating on not falling. The rock was pretty uneven and you know I just had to wear those cute little bronze heels instead of hiking boots which would have given me a lot more traction!

Despite my balancing act, I still got a little emotional when Stacey echoed "Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay." Even now the words move me.

Back to the wedding:
The ceremony is complete and the bride and groom kiss. He escorts her down the rock.
Here is the tricky part.
The best man (Chris' friend Dave) turns and takes the matron of honor's arm (that's me) and he escorts her down the rock and follows the bride and groom. The guests are excited, but as the wedding party departs they quiet. Just at that moment the four-year-old exclaims, rather loud for all to hear -
"Did Mommy just marry another man?!?"

Poor Jacob! Could he have really thought I was getting married too! Needless to say, there were many helpful and somewhat snickering family members to help clear-up his confusion.

Despite my failed attempt to acquire a second husband (darn-it), we really enjoyed our little vacation. It was a great way to close a busy summer of swim-team and home repairs. Now it's on to soccer and school.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Very Busy Summer So Far

It's been well over a month since my last post, but we have been very busy and we remain extremely so!

In early May we spent a wonderful week meeting and visiting with my father's side of the family in Destin, Florida. The beach was beautiful and the kids loved playing in the ocean, but none of that compared to the precious time we were able to spend with family from all over the country. Who would have guessed that so many people who had never met would have so much in common and be so much alike! In the end we all went our separate ways, but I hope our reunion becomes a regular event because we miss everyone dearly.

As soon as we returned home we jumped back into Corbin's baseball season with a game the day after our drive. Uncle V. arrived a few days later for a week long stay and Elora's dance recital. The recital went very well and I was impressed by many of the dancers' abilities. This is our first year participating in the evening performance, so there were even adult dancers in some of the classes.

After our company departed for Pennsylvania, with dance class wrapped-up and baseball coming to a close we moved into the summer swim team season. This year we have two swimmers, but unfortunately the practice daily at two different times! Needless to say, I typically spend all of my weekday mornings at the pool.

While the kids focus on their sports and activities, Corby and I are working hard to fix-up our rental house in order to sell it.

People warned us that renters will trash your house but we were not prepared for some of the strange and destructive things they did to our property. Were these people crazy? I think they were trying to re-mulch our flower beds with cigarette butts and cat litter! Gross!!

We have spent every spare hour painting over nail polish marks on the walls and ripping-up pet stained and smelly carpet. We did get quotes from handymen and painters, but needless to say, nothing saves money like doing it yourself....yay.

On top of all of this, Corby committed himself way back, early in the spring, to a Shakespeare on the Mountain theater production, and because his performances start next weekend, practices are almost every night.

This all stand to reason why the PB&J Chronicles have been a little quiet, but I hope to squeeze in some blogging time this summer so keep checking for updates!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Mosquito That Rings In Your Ear

A particular news story has been ringing in my ears this week, perhaps you have also heard about The Mosquito.

A new device dubbed The Mosquito is being reported as a revolutionary teen loitering deterrent. This small box with a $1500 price tag is designed to be affixed to a location and emit a high frequency sound that is supposedly heard only by teenagers. Its makers at kidsbegone.com claim that this sound is merely annoying and drives the young, would-be vagrants to a "quieter" location.

Curious as to what this "mosquito buzzing in your ear" may actually sound like, I did a quick Google search and found a few links that are supposedly the same sound amplified by the device.
When I played the Mp3 at a low volume, I was unable to hear the sound, but after cranking the dial up I was indeed able to hear a high pitched ringing sound, that in no way resembled the sound of an insect. Imagine instead the high pitched ring that resonates in your ears after spending hours at a loud concert or perhaps after being too close to fireworks on Fourth of July.

Interested in whether my husband could hear the sound, I played it a few times more. My daughter, who is nine, could hear the sound at a very low volume as could my seven year old son, our four year old even came into the room to ask us to please "turn off the alarm".

The kids all complained that the sound was too loud and, to my shock and surprise, they said that it hurt their ears.

I understand the frustration of businesses and property managers when teenagers decide that their stoop is a great new hang-out, but using a method of control that is indiscriminate in who it drives away is a terrible idea. More importantly, we have no research into what prolonged exposure may do to young children, who are definitely able to hear this sound. Fortunately, there are other people who share this view and are taking action.

This new invention also offers us a opportunity to consider how adults and teens are interacting.

I find it a bit disconcerting that adults would prefer the anonymous communication provided by a technological sound box as opposed to an actual conversation with teenagers or their parents. I have no doubt that teens can be difficult to reason with, but perhaps they would be better suited for adulthood if we actually began to teach them to interact with adults in a mature manner when they are young.

Our society seems to view adolescence as a complete vacation from reality, authority, and responsibility. Now, thanks to this new automated dog whistle, we can add human communication to that list!!!

If you would like to listen to those high-pitched frequencies, here is a link and an article explaining a bit of the science here, but be aware that prolonged listening can aggravate your ears.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No One Said It Was Going To Be Easy

Today, while reading a post about new parenting over at Cafe Asteria, I found it interesting how quickly new parents become seasoned veterans in their own right. A few months of parenting may not entitle you to write a book or give parenting advice on a daytime talk show, but after one week with an infant, there are quite a few tasks that you begin to master to perfection.

Trial and error, and repetition, and repetition, and repetition, and repetition, slowly evolve the uneasy and inexperienced parents into trained diapering and swaddling machines. The nervous insecurities melt away into confidence and proficiency. What a wonderful feeling!

But, here's the rub...

As soon as you acquire your black-belt in midnight feeding, it is time for your baby to sleep through the night. And just when you earn your Olympic gold medal in changing a diaper on your lap in a car, it is time to potty train. You can even memorize all of the names and numbers of the Thomas the Tank engines, much to your toddler's pleasure, but in a few years it won't even matter because he will have moved onto something different.

It becomes more and more difficult to maintain that wonderful feeling of knowing exactly what to do to care for a child, because the older they get, the more complicated that job becomes.

Moms and dads struggle to stay on top of the ever changing parenting terrain by learning new tricks, adapting old techniques and forgetting some skills all together. We fight the early childhood battle of "just keeping them alive" and later move into the vast gladiator arena of trying to "teach them to be good people without screwing them up".

Parents must constantly gauge and assess their children in order to figure out what to do next. We read books and research. We ask questions and try new things. We attempt to manipulate any available aspect in life for their benefit, but it never feels like enough.

For me, that wonderful "good parent" feeling is nothing more than a distant memory, only replaced with uneasiness and doubt.

I look back on the infant era of colic and projectile spit-up and think "those were the good ol' days". Back then you knew where you stood with a child. If they were fed and asleep, you knew you had done your duty and you deserved a pat on the back.

Now when I go to bed every night I wonder, what strange and perplexing problem I will have to adapt to in the morning? What disturbing, unexplainable thing will I find broken, smelly or altogether missing? What questions will they ask me about life and what questions will I have to ask them? What if they don't tell the truth or if I catch them in a lie?

Each day brings new challenges, but perhaps what is even more worrisome than my infinitely imagined scenarios, is the idea that what if tomorrow is the day that I won't be able to figure out what to do?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You Know You're a Parent When...

...you find yourself questioning a four-year-old as to why he was stashing two weeks worth of apple cores behind the couch.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

You Know You're a Parent When...

...nothing says good mornin' like a size 10 foot in your face!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Grieving and Acceptance of My Health

Yesterday, I was prescribed a medication that I will most likely have to take for the rest of my life. This morning I took that first pill and it went down quickly and easily, but my acceptance of this health condition has been a much harder thing to swallow.

After going to my general practitioner last fall with complaints about heart palpitations, I was tested and it was revealed that I most likely had hypothyroidism, an endocrine disorder. Since then I believe that my feelings about this illness have progressed through the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief.
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
Denial - When it was first suggested that I may have a thyroid problem, I was completely unconvinced. The author and patient advocate Mary J. Shomon wrote that most people have a vague idea that the thyroid is somewhere in your neck and that,
"...when malfunctioning, [it] makes you gain weight and develop a goiter."
I just couldn't accept that I was being diagnosed with the same illness that relegates people to a 300 pound body where they are so weak they have to ride the electric cart at the grocery store! I decided that the blood test must be wrong, or maybe I was just having an off day. When my doctor suggested I start taking a hormone replacement (the standard treatment) I flat out refused and he agreed that since my numbers weren't that bad, I could come back in four months and be tested again.

I knew the test results just had to be different then.

Anger-During that period of waiting, I began to research the causes of hypothyroidism and I began to get MAD.

It seems that just about everything in the world, and more specifically things man made, have been linked to endocrine malfunction. Cosmetics, household cleaners, artificial flavors in food, food emulsifiers that enhance processing, wireless frequencies from cellphones and computers, fluoride and other chemicals in the tap water, all of these things have been shown to harm thyroid function.

I believed that I had been wronged and I wanted someone to pay.

Bargaining - I then decided that I was going to take control and fix myself.

I thought that if I could change my diet or start the right exercise routine, than perhaps I could make this all go away. I started trying to lose weight (which is supposedly very difficult for someone who is hypo). I was able to bring my weight down from 160 to 145. I just knew that I was going to make everything better.

I would cure myself of hypothyroidism.

Depression - Last week, on Monday, I returned to my doctor for a new blood test. The nurse called me on Wednesday to tell my that my numbers were MUCH WORSE. I could hardly think on the phone when she told me that I would have to go on medication. I think that she sensed I was stunned and said she would schedule a consultation in one week and I could discuss my prescription with my doctor.

So, for the past week I have been mopey and dismal. Frequently suggesting to my husband that I was probably not going live into old age. Asking him bleak questions about whether he was prepared to raise our children alone.

I knew in the back of my mind that these assertions were unfounded, but my feeling was just one of general loss. I suppose I was mourning my youth and the more disturbing realization that I only have a limited amount of control over my health.

- Tuesday, the day before my doctor appointement I decided to quit whining and empower myself. I started reading websites and forums that discussed living with a thyroid condition (instead of just looking for a cause or a quick fix as I was before). I bought a book and read until 1 am. I prepared myself with questions to ask my doctor about the medication and outlook.

I am very thankful to have a wonderful general practitioner who was willing to spend 15-20 minutes discussing things with me yesterday. He answered all of my questions and I can honestly say I feel good about the future.

Postscript: While researching online I discovered that Oprah did a feature about hypothyroidism in her November magazine, as well as an entire television show because she has it. I guess now instead of telling people I have that weird thyroid disorder that sometimes makes you obese and develop a bulging goiter in your neck, I can just say, "I have the same illness Oprah has". Perhaps that might put it in a better light.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I Hate the Cat, I Hate the Dog....Oh wait, they're o.k. now

As I was walking through the bedroom this morning, I was awoken from my morning stupor by the cold, wet sensation of cat, hair-ball puke slipping under my barefoot. I was surprised at how calm I remained as I scraped the offensive goop from between my toes and dutifully returned to clean the carpet.

It then dawned on me that I have finally stopped hating our pets.

"Hating your pets? How could you!?", you may ask, but it was not always that way and I now believe that I have come full circle.

When Corby and I were a child-free couple, we had many cats. One summer, after a litter of kittens were born, we housed seven cats. Over the years we gave a few away and some ran away, but we always had 2 or 3 at least. The cats were our children, until I became pregnant for the first time.

While pregnant, I was surprised at how quickly our beloved cats went from fluffy balls of love to the most disgusting things in the world. The cat hair, cat puke, cat litter and the occasional "your laundry basket looks just like my litter box" accident all offended me to the point of wanting to get rid of all of the cats.

After Elora was born, things seemed to settle down a bit. I think that cats can sense stress and really don't like the sound of a baby crying, so generally they all gave me a wide berth. The only remaining annoyance was that all those cozy, soft baby blankets looked just as cozy and soft to all of the cats. Countless times I would find a stack of newly washed baby items (we had no washer and dryer, so we used a laundromat) covered in cat hair, and that usually sent me over the edge.

About four years later, living in a new house with a fenced yard, we decided to get an adorable puppy for our two children. Things were good for a while until I became pregnant with our third child. No one tells you that while pregnant you have a increased sensitivity to odor. I didn't even want to be in the same room with our dog now, who had grown to a hefty 70 pounds. It didn't help that our 1200 square foot house was beginning to seem a bit cramped.

After Jacob was born, the amount of dog hair shed around the house quickly became the bane of my existence. Dog hair gravitates and adheres to snuggly, terrycloth baby sleepers especially as the baby squirms and crawls across the floor. I must admit that I am not the best house-keeper in the world, but the amount of hair our dog could produce was no match for our vacuum, in fact, we went through two vacuums during this time.

I eventually trained our very smart, obedient dog, who had in many ways become the neglected step-child of the family, to not go into certain rooms of the house. Things were better because the hair wasn't everywhere, but when I became pregnant with our fourth child, I seriously thought that we should consider making the dog an "outside pet".

Finally, a year and a half ago, we finally upgraded our house to one double the size. We now have about 2200 sq.ft. and a large fenced back yard. The dog stays in the kitchen and entry hall even though there are no gates to keep him out of the other rooms (I think that he has incurred my wrath over the years enough to know that it is better to stay under the radar). We have only one cat now, because when we moved our other cat decided to run away and return to our old house. We retrieved her once, but she ran away again and we couldn't find her thereafter.

The pet situation has settled down now, but I guess it was never really a "pet situation" at all. I mean, the rest of the family always maintained a loving, fair relationship with all of the animals in the house. I suppose it was my crazy prenatal or postpartum hormones that made me so animal intolerant.

If you take a minute to think about it, there is probably a primal explanation.

I imagine that in primitive societies, animals posed a serious threat to a new baby. Those domesticated wild dogs and feral cats that kept company with the cavemen would surely not think twice about picking off a tiny human if times were tough and they were hungry. Perhaps my abhorrence of animal odor and my desire to protect the children from a mass of pet hair is only a latent remnant of an innate instinct for survival.

What do you think?

Blub-blub is a 13-year-old, striped tabby who sometimes forgets to keep her tongue inside her mouth and Nog-dog is a rotund, five-year-old, pound-puppy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You Know You're a Parent When...

You are painfully aware of the futility of trying to maintain or repair ANYTHING in a room shared by young boys.

This torn wallpaper is actually worse behind the dresser! I probably would have taken it a lot harder had I been the one to decorate this room, but it came this way when we bought our house. It will serve until the boys are old enough to want to change it.
Notice that this ceiling fan is not only missing a blade, but it's light globe is also long gone.We should have known better than to put the boys' bunk-bed under the fan, but the room is pretty square and it was going to be within reach where ever we put it. The popcorn ceiling is also a daily casualty of the bunk-bed. Those little white buggers are all over the place; you would think it was snowing indoors!

Postscript: One of our three sons is solely responsible for the wallpaper, ceiling fan blade and the ceiling popcorn removal (breaking the light globe was a joint effort). Those of you who know our boys can probably guess which one has done all of this damage, those of you who don't know our sons can refer to this post to draw your own conclusion.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Take These Broken Dreams!

Christmas, a Florida vacation and then the flu, I certainly have not been able to keep-up with everything with so much disruption in life. So, it came as no surprise to me when strange movies began to appear in the mailbox as a result of a long, neglected Netflix Que.

Haven't we all done this before?

I am sure at some point in my Netflix organizing, I had a good reason to put The Secret of My Success in my que, but I can't seem to remember why!

Watching a few of these golden oldies from the eighties got me to thinking about how our culture used to view the corporate business world as compared to today.

Secret of My Success, Trading Places, Working Girl, Wall Street, Baby Boom, just to name a few, are all examples of the idealism in which we once viewed the suit-and-tie, corporate boardroom lifestyle. Hollywood told us that anyone could make a fortune in the business world with just a little common sense and an assumed identity!

Do they even make movies like this anymore? I am hard pressed to think of any modern movies that similarly create the illusion of a "Get Rich Quick" corporate world.

What kind of fortune making schemes do Americans aspire to today? My best guess is that young people have transferred their adoration of the yuppie business world, to an adoration of celebrity life. Movies released over the past decade often revolve around the lives of celebrities, some fictionalized, for example: Notting Hill, Almost Famous, Americas Sweethearts, and American Dreamz. Not to mention television reality shows like American Idol.

In both of these cases, whether it is in a corporate office or on a stage, singing in front of thousands, the general theme is that fame and fortune can be easily acquired.

Isn't that the whole underlying idea that appeals to us lazy Americans?

Americans want it all, but they shouldn't have to work too hard or sacrifice anything.

Here is my list of 80's Businessman Get Rich Quick & Easy Movies
  1. Wall Street
  2. Trading Places
  3. Risky Business
  4. Working Girl
  5. Secret of My Success
  6. Baby Boom
  7. Big Business
  8. Big
  9. Mr. Mom (Teri Garr is a mom turned tuna fish advertising genius)
Please let me know if I forgot any!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Back to Life, Back to Reality

We are all trying to get back into our normal routine this morning after spending last week in Florida, camping and visiting Disney World. We all had a wonderful vacation; thank-you to Grandma and Grandpa Holland for the perfect Christmas gift!

Eight of us shared a campsite in the Disney park at their Fort Wilderness and we visited 3 of their 4 theme parks: Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. The weather was beautiful, the crowds were light, the lines were short and the food was delicious (just ask my bathroom scale!).

Now I am beginning the difficult task of getting everything back into functioning order here at home. The kids have resumed their schoolwork this morning and there is swim practice and theater later this afternoon. There was very little downtime during our holiday break and this morning I have had to hit the ground running despite feeling a little groggy and hungover from the excess of fun and relaxation.

Here are some pictures from our visit. Enjoy!

Corby and the kids ride to the swimming pool with Grandma

We were surprised by how much Henry loved the Disney Characters
Grandpa and Elora riding the bus back to camp for the little boys' naptime.The boys wait for the Epcot fireworks showI think the little boys ended up riding this over 10 times.All the kids loved Thunder Mountain Railroad, although Jacob did not want to ride it again because it was too wild. (click this photo for a better look at Jacob's expression!)

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Case of The Smelly Trash Cans

During the course of an average day at home with four young children, there are often strange mysteries that arise. Parents must often tap into crime-solving skills residually learned from watching the X-files, Law & Order and perhaps even the Spielberg classic Young Sherlock Holmes.

Each day I am left wondering:
Where did this come from? Who started this fight? How is this getting so dirty? Why does this keep getting moved? What is this thing?
One of my proudest moments as a mommy sleuth involved a cellphone that had been missing for a few days (long enough to lose its charge) and a curious light left on in a closet. With no adult explanation for why the coat closet light was on, I knew that something was not quite right. After digging way back under a nest of jackets I discovered a three-year-old's cache of stolen items to rival any pirate's buried treasure, cell phone included.

While I do spend most of my time trying to deduce who, what, when, where and how, there are rare times when I get to witness a criminal in the act. Last night was one of those nights.

A few days ago, my suspicions had been aroused when I noticed that our bathrooms were particularly pungent. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not a great house keeper and with so many little boys in the house, there is usually a urine smell that underscores the overall odor of the two bathrooms that the kids use. But this smell was particularly strong, so I checked for the usual culprit, urine soaked underwear left on the floor after an accident. I found no such thing - Hmmmm, curious.

I noticed the following day that the trash can seemed out of place, but only a bit. Very suspicious.

Last night I was really clued in when I found the bathroom trash far from its cubby next to the toilet, in fact, it was in the middle of the floor. Upon further investigation, I discovered that there was pee (and a whole lot of it) filling the trash. AH-HA!

My oldest son was getting ready for his bath and I immediately went into my line of questions.
Me - "Have you been peeing in the trash can?"

Corbin - "I don't think so. Maybe when I wasn't paying attention."
(Corbin has a very short attention span, and I sometimes find him in the bathroom, totally engrossed in something, with his pants down, oblivious as to why he even went in there!)

Me -
"This isn't a little bit of pee. This isn't an accident. I don't think you could have done this without paying attention."
While questioning my first suspect I had little time to pay much attention to our second oldest boy who had trotted into the bathroom to get undressed for his bath. In mid-interrogation, with the smoking-gun trashcan right in front of me, Jacob walked right up to it and calmly began to pee in the trash like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Caught in the act!!!

Looking back, I can relate to the gratification felt by wildlife biologists who spend years studying animals and then finally witnessing something never seen before.
"Researchers have long speculated about the wild gorilla's mating habits, but now for the first time in history, scientists have seen...."

This morning, Jacob proudly exclaimed, "Mom! Mom! I went to the bathroom and I didn't use the trashcan!" I am so proud.

So, The Case of The Smelly Trash Cans has been closed (yes, trashcan is plural, this was happening in more than one). But despite getting a full confession, I never was able to ascertain a motive. Why was Jacob peeing in the trashcans? We may never know.