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.