If my life was a commercial…

My friends have been asking me to update my blog. It’s been a few days since I have added any new posts. It’s not that I have nothing to say, because that is certainly never the case. It’s not that I don’t have the time to write my non-existant thoughts down, because even if I don’t surely I will put off something much more important like changing a diaper, getting the kids dressed and fed and getting them off to camp on time — OK, that is one thing I will not forsake. I will not keep them in this house any longer than necessary. Camp is a wonderful, albeit expensive thing. But to have a few hours without bickering, bantering, kicking, shoving, biting and screaming is priceless I tell you.

Mastercard could make a great commercial using my kids at their worst. In the end they they pan over to me, mastercard in hand eagerly handing it over to the lady on the other side of the desk saying “Sign ’em up for every program under the sun” … and then a close-up of the huge enormous the smile on my face as I walk out sans children… and the word Priceless at the bottom of the screen!

It’s been 22 days since my kids have been out of school. It’s been 22 long days. The mornings, this week, are wonderful, relaxing, almost joyous. Alexander and I go about what we need GoingAbouting… we go to the playground… have play dates and run errands. He may have a small tantrum from time to time, but the old pro I now am knows how to diffuse these episodes… Other than that he is perfect. He has not learned how to beg and plead and whine mercilessly for things that he wants and does not need. He accepts no as an asnwer and he does not talk back.

The afternoons are OK insofar that I can keep the kids busy and separated unless they are busy together… Yesterday Rebecca was inside drawing while the boys were outdise playing with the hose and the pool. Everyone was happy and so was I. The day before was a blasted nightmare. Even though I am an old pro when it comes to Alexander, with the older two I am still learning the ropes.

I thought it would be a good thing to let them both have play dates at the same time. The girls would play together and the boys would play together. Alexander would either hang out with me or his brother. I have no idea on earth what I was thinking… No idea whatsoever!

Both friends arrive minutes of each other about 5 minutes after we return home from camp. The first 15 minutes are practically blissful. The girls are outside in their bathing suits playing with the hose, pool and swingset. The boys have gone up to play games. I know they say to be leary of silence, but silence is such a rarity in this household that I relish and cherish every second of it. I sit outside on the deck with my iced tea and sprig of mint and open up to page 70 in A Thousand Rising Suns. I have read the author’s other book, The Kite Runner, a few years back and it remains a favorite. I am savoring this book equally as much. I want to keep reading… I want to see what happens next to the characters… it’s a page turner and I don’t want to put it down. This is the perfect oportunity to open the book and ignore the kids. I make it through a page when Rebecca and her friend go inside and I am left with the baby. He seems fine down below happily entertaining himself. I open the book back up. I manage to get through a few more pages before all hell breaks loose.

The boys are screaming that the girls are barging in on them so that they can’t play games… the girls are screaming that the boys are bothering them… no one will leave anyone alone. I am quietly amused as, an only, I have never experienced sibling rivalry, so when it’s minor stuff like this I usually laugh. Usually it sorts itself out without my medling. Sometimes I need to intervene. Looks like this will be one of those times.

I tell the girls to stay down stairs and play and the boys can go back up and play whatever they were playing. The fighting does not stop. Nor does the screaming or shouting. Christopher comes outside with his friend and a piece of blue paper on which is written in large letters the work KEEP he asks how to spell OUT and GIRLS! I am chuckling because all summer I have been trying to get him to write in a journal. Just one sentence. Nothing more. Perhaps, instead, I should have told him to write notes to stick on his door. I think the girls tell his friend to rip up the sign becuase he does. Christopher comes back out in tears. I tell him to make another sign. At this point Rebecca is making signs that say KEEP OUT CHRISTOPHER. This does not sadded Christopher instead what does is the picture that Rebecca drew on her sign. The boy had big hair. Christopher did not like the picture. He said he did not like the boy. More tears, more fighting. Rebecca is egging him on and he punches her — wham — in the chest. Christopher is sent up to his room in tears. Inside Rebecca is still making her mean signs. This is the longest play date… ever.

Eventually it is time for the kids to go home. Christopher is still crying up in his room. He does come down briefly to say goodbye to his friend. Both kids have lost TV and computer privileges. We go back to Christopher’s room and only then do I notice the sheer mess… Monopoly and Monopoly pieces all over the place… Lincoln Logs and blocks all over the place… stuffed animals all over the place. And crumbs…. teeny tiny crumbs mooshed up in the rug. This gets me. Food is not allowed in the bedrooms. It is not allowed upstairs. Food is allowed in the kitchen, family room and dining room only. Food is not allowed upstairs. I do not know how it got up there. I am told that his friend brought fortune cookies for everyone and decided to moosh the individually wrapped cookies into crumbs and proceeded to spill cookie crumbs all over the place. How could a little boy do this? How could mine not come and tell me… I want to cry at the mess. I don’t. I tell Christopher he is responsible for cleaning his room… properly… to Pass Inspection. And my kids know what that means.

My day is still not over… not by a longshot. I still have to make dinner and take the older two to their evening tennis lesson. It’s hot and it’s humid but at least the sun is not high overhead… I have to rush to have dinner ready before we hit the courts so that I can have it on the table the minute we are home. The kids will be ravenous. I prepare a bunch of different cold salads — pasta with pesto, tomatoes with goat cheese and basil, a corn salad from the Barefoot Contessa, cucumber salad and a one more made from fresh trout. I serve little toasts grilled on the grill with the dinner. Salads are easy breezy but time consuming. After all the stress of the anfternoon it’s a race aginst the clock for me yet… Finally at 5:30 I get the kids ready, leave the baby at home and take off. I have a few minutes in the car and I want to read but I am happy to watch the kids. They miss about 50% of the balls — they have only just picked up this particular sport — but their strokes are beautiful. I am for a moment proud and for a moment I have forgotten about all the bad stuff… until the lesson is over and they are back in the car and the whining ensues all over again…

If my life was a commercial this one would be for Calgon… stressed out mom shouts for the bubbles in the tub to take her away!

Moo and Popsy

My kids always love it when Moo and Popsy come to visit. Moo and Popsy visit once a month. They don’t come to see me or Don — sure they pretend they do, but it’s the kids they really come to see!

The kids wait anxiously downstairs, noses pressed to the window, and as soon as the car pulls in they get ready to pounce! Actually one gets ready to pounce and the other hides… and the baby is still too young to get excited.

Figure 1, tall dark headed male approaches door followed by Figure 2, short, blonde lady in oversized dark sunglasses…. Child 1 readies herself for the pounce while Child 2 dives into the couch and burries himself in pillows. Child 3 is not entirely sure what to do make of this.

After hugs and kisses Child 1 Grabs Figure 2 and pulls her in the direction of her room, while simultaneously Child 2 grabs Figure 1 and pulls him in the direction of his bedroom. Child 3 scampers behind following everyone up the stairs. I hear the gate click into the lock position and I do the Dance of Joy!

I am kidlet-free for a few beautiful, precious albeit too-short moments! I can breathe. I can get something to drink. I can grab a handful of m&ms without sneaking them — although I don’t realize this is an option until it is too late. I can do the dishes… but I don’t! Hey, I can pee! I can pee kid-free!

As the kids are all upstairs playing beautifully and quietly and Don is off to the dump and the storage rental facility I start to prep lunch. My daughter has requested “Not Sandwiches Again” and so I decide to have a nice chicken salad, green salad, accompanied by some bruchetta (made with yellow, orange and red tomatoes) and grilled toasts made from French Bread and an Onion batard from our Fabulous Baker. I love to cook and it’s quite enjoyable when I do not have babies tugging at me and a 6 year old trying to pants me whenever he gets the opportunity. Especially not having to yell “Get Away From the Stove” 50 million times as I am grilling the toasts… For a moment I am happy and serene… peaceful. For a moment I forget there are children in the house until I am abruptly shaken out of my reverie by a whiney, squeely “MaMaaaaa!” I fill up his sippy cup with Evil Juice and send him on his way again… Phew!

Eventually Rebecca and my mom come down and watch me grill the toasts and help set the table. We eat outside, al fresco, and it is a glorious breezy day. It feels more like early May than Late June. I need my sweatshirt. Lunch is delicious and actually quite relaxing. Something about eating outside tames the kids a little bit. So much so that the baby asks to get out of his high chair and falls asleep on my lap.

We all linger around the table after we’re done eating… Christopher heads to the swings and while the rest of us sit and chat and soak up a little sun. After 30 seconds my mom spies a sunburn and rushes to apply the sunscreen yet is upset that it is as strong as 30spf!

I am really enjoying this. I am really enjoying sitting on my duff doing nothing. This is my calling… now I have to figure out how I can put my talent to use and earn some money… sitting on my duff doing nothing!

It’s been about 4 hours which means Moo and Popsy will be leaving soon. This also means my time of leisure will be leaving too… I want to throw myself at them…. get down on my knees and beg and plead them not to leave, because as soon as they do I will be yelling and chasing… I will be pulled on, prodded, poked and pantsed. My world will come crashing back down. Hard. I want to tell my parents to stay, please stay but I can’t. There is simply not enough room in the Crazy Crowded House. So I bid them farewell and brace myself for the chaos that is moments away.

I should be grateful. I should be thankful that I had a few moments of peace. I should be grateful that I was, temporarilly, in a place where I had forgotten about the kids. I should be grateful that for a short while I was able to sit and relax and have adult conversation. I should be grateful but I am not. I want more!

Aboard the SS PT Barnum

As a child growing up in Manhattan one of my favorite summertime adventures was to take the Circle Line Ferry (around the island) or the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Something about being on the water… the cool breeze… and the enormity of the boats (at least to a small child) made those outings so wonderful and memorable.

We are minutes from a ferry that travels from Bridgeport, CT to Port Jefferson, Long Island (NY) and for years I have wanted to see what it was like. The opportunites never came and I decided that this was the year we would give it a try.

Yesterday morning I told Alexander that we were going to go on a boat, a big boat. He had this strange look on his face as though something just did not make sense and ran to the back door shouting “boat! boat!” The only boats he knew were the little plastic ones out back in his water table or sandbox. I think, perhaps, he must have thought it odd that I was so excited we were going to go on one of those. After all, surely he walked on them almost daily? I wondered if he wondered how we would all fit on a piece of plastic smaller than the size of my hand?

As we approach the ferry, the P. T Barnum, (everything in Bridgeport bears his name) the kids soon learn that this is no small vessel and their excitment builds as we near the ship and climb not one, but 2 flights of stairs! On top (I am not sure what they have been on that is this high off the ground) they can see the water far below and the sky for miles and miles and miles… in the distance, an hour and fifteen minutes away, they could even see Port Jefferson, LI.

As we set sail and pick up speed, the wind picks up too. The kids’ windbreakers all form mini sails up on deck. They all look as though they want to take flight at a moment’s notice. This is the feeling I remember having as a child.

Our hour passes quickly, almost too quickly it seems. And while we are eager to check out this quaint little town approaching us — this town which reminds me of Newport on a smaller scale — I am not ready to dismebark the P. T. Barnum. Just a ferry transporting passengers and cars across the sound, to us, at this moment she is as majestic as the grand oceanliners of the past. The horn blows, the bow is raised and we must all begin our descent.

We find our way to a deli to grab some sandwiches and feed the young bellies before heading off to a playground… Next time I would prefer to check out the charming little boutiques and shops that line the streets near the harbor, but this trip was for the kids, and I being the selfless, giving martyr I am, thought we should amuse the children rather than bore them… (Yeah, that’s a good one!– Next time, and there will be a next time, the trip will be about Me Me Me!)
We get word that there is potential for what could be a nasty summer storm and decide to take the 2 o’clock ferry back home. This time our vessel is not so grand. The upper deck seems quite primitive by comparisson. The kids, this time around, prefer to be inside. They all settle into a booth and work on various art projects with the paper and pens one smart mother has brought along in her Tote. This said Tote is larger than mine. My tote has three sweaters, (one for each child) a camera, a bottle of iced tea, a bottle of lemonade, a sippy cup, a bottle of pomegranate lemonade, some sunscreen, a small brush, a wallet, a cellphone, car keys, sunglasses, reading glasses, some diapers, wipes, three half eaten chicken salad sandwiches that I could not bear to throw away, and a pack of Juicy Fruit that I had to buy because Alexander had helped himself to it while we were in the checkout line at Stop&Shop last weekend.

Susan, the mother of this most enormous Tote has but one child. Surely she was confusing the Ferry with the Minnow… surely she was bracing herself that smoething terrible would happen during this three hour tour! She must have been fearful we would get lost and go adrift and rest upon some unknown, unchartered island in the Long Island Sound complete with savage head hunters! But, I wonder, did she pack the Grey Goose, or did she assume there would be plenty in the Lounge?

Susan, the Mother of this most enormous Tote was also the genius who packed the pens and papers… but really, that was a small pad and the pens were not terribly large either.

As with all good things, this too had come to come to an end. Everyone was in good spirits as we headed to our cars. Fun was had by everyone — children of all ages. We would all do it again and it is most likekly we will all do it again… My way!

The Secret Pocket

Kids can smell food/snacks/treats/candy from miles and miles away. Have you ever noticed that? They are worse than vultures, seagulls, rats or racoons. They are the worst scavengers known to mankind. I used to treat myself to a bowl of ice cream at the end of the day. When the older two were a little younger and safely tucked away in their beds and off to DreamyLand my husband and I would indulge in our daily treat. A nice bowl/cup/mug of ice cream. It didn’t matter how it was served, nor particularly the flavor — though I certainly have my favorites. What mattered was that this was the one thing we could eat quietly, peacefully sans children. And that made our treats that much more delectable! While my husband prefers those with nuts, and flavors like Spumoni, Banana Split and Neopolitan and a very specific Rocky Road, I have my own set of flavors. I am an Edy’s fanatic (Dreyer’s for you all over on the other side of the country) and I can be found salivating in front of the freezer section of our grocery stores… rows and rows with flavors like Mint Chocolate Chip, Ice Cream Sandwich, Mocha Chocolate Chip, Butterfinger… I could go on and on. A great day for me is when there is a sale and I can buy one and get the other for free! But sadly the days of late night ice cream are over. My youngest gets me up with the birds. At 5 am I hear his cry and I, the mother bird, must fetch his worm, or in his case his milk — but I don’t doubt he’d eat that worm!

At 5 am I drag myself out of bed to retrieve him from his crib. I have tried desperately to create an oasis there for him, filling it with his Bunny and favorite books. But neither Bunny nor the books are a match for Mama Bird and her Worm. I clutch Alexander in one arm and with my free hand clutch the railing for dear life, certain that if I let go we will all go tumbling down and break our crowns. (Did I feel like this when Rebecca and Christopher were this little? Oh age is not the kind one at all.)

Mother Bird gets her Baby Bird his cup of milk and they nuzzle together on the couch for a while… and then chaos breaks and the day comes at me full force until the kids are sent up to bed (the older two) at 9 or 9:30 as it’s summertime and I follow, barely dragging my ragged, tired old self behind them. The day is long and the day is over and in just 8 hours a new one will begin… oh joy (said with a great deal of sarcasm).

This is how I got my secret pockets. I still crave something sweet. Usually at the 3 or 4 o’clock mark when there are miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep. Sometimes a cup of coffee or a nice tall glass of ice coffee give me a little perk. Sometimes I need more. M&Ms are my all time favorites. You can have a few or you can have the whole damn bag (and then feel damn sick afterwards) and they can be hidden perfectly in your pocket! A handful in the pocket of a shirt or a skirt, placed strategically, popped in to the mouth even more strategically, is just what a(n exhausted) girl needs. Half the fun is outsmarting the kids you know! Sneaking something they too crave and covet. I love how the little pieces of candy melt perfectly and instantly calmness is bestowed upon me. Has something to do with seratonin, right?

Then, the other day the most tragical (I know that’s not a word!) thing happend. Alexander caught me… He knew exactly what I was doing. He walked over to me, held out his little chubby hand and said “want one.” Without hesitation he then asked “Please?” What’s a mother do to? I got caught up in the moment. I surely could have denied there was anything in my skirt pocket, but I was delighted that one of my offspring could be ever so charmingly polite! In a weak moment, I retrieved a little red chocolate m and offered it to him.

I Love you more than tunafish!

You know deep deep deep down (keep digging) despite the incessant bickering there is indeed something thicker than water… sibling love! Rebecca was eating her tunafish sandwich when she came home from ice skating practice this evening and she and Griffie were having one of their typically bizarre conversations… they were talking about their likes and dislikes. Rebecca dislikes eggs and milk with a passion rivaled only by her brother’s hatred of tuna. I caught the tail end of the conversation. What I heard was “I love you more than tunafish!”

Now, what I know for certain is that her brothers (both of them!) missed her so much that when she slept over at her friend’s house recently they decided to play in her room… Wait! Maybe that was not out of love, but the chance to enter a No Entry zone, The Sister’s Bedroom! Well, I’m a mother after all so I will pretend to think that they missed her… a little… like crumb from a piece of tunafish sandwich!

Strawberry Fields Forever!

When the rains finally stopped and the sun decided to shine down on us I packed up the kids for a little fun. For days we had been cooped up indoors. The kids were at eachother’s necks and bored beyond belief because they have no toys and nothing fun to do. I am a mean Mommy who never lets the kids play and have fun. So I decided to give this having fun thing a try.

We took the Strawberry Ferry out to the fields where we saw endless rows of beautiful, ripe berries. We were assigned a suggested row to pick our berries. It was not that the farmers wanted to confine us to these particular rows, but it was a way for them to keep track of the picking. There were about 10 of us in one row and it was getting rather crowded so I decided to jump on over to the row next to me. There I was confronted by a not so friendly woman in her 60s telling me to mind my own row! “Excuse me she said,” in an unkindly tone. “This is my row. This is the row they gave me,” she said, emphasising the my and the me a little too dramatically. I have no idea what came over me. I was brought up to be kind and curteous and respectful towards my elders… but this lady was something else and brought out something in me that could not be silenced. “Well,” I said to her, “aren’t you a lucky one to get an entire row all to yourself.” I think it shocked her. It certainly shocked me… this inner voice certainly was not my own. Then, in a kinder, gentler tone she said “really, we don’t get our own row?” Then, in a kinder, gentler tone, I explained that it was suggested we pick at that row… and I remained on that row. The older lady tended to her berries and I tended to mine.

Everyone was dressed appropriately for a morning filled with picking and eating, eating and picking, picking and eating. Unless you are Super Toddler who decides to eat his weight in in berries! (You think it was a coincidence I dressed him in red?) And the berries indeed were tender and sweet. All in all we picked over 5 pounds of berries and fun was had by everyone. We ate about a pound more that afternoon and the rest are sitting in the fridge… and I need desperately to use them in a recipe!

Mom’s Strawberry Tea Bread
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 Cup sugar (I use 3/4 Cup)

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 Cup Canola oil
1 1/4 Cup sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Sift dry ingredients into large mixing bowl –set asside

Mix together remaining ingredients, then mix in dry ingredients until just moistened

Pour into a 9 inch loaf pan and bake for 1 hour

More about my Crazy Crowded House

My Crazy Crowded House

My 21 month old’s favorite word is “wacuum” — Polish for vacuum This is quite funny since I am neither Polish, nor do I vacuum — unless absolutely necessary. He has a little toy Dirt Devil that he worships. He pushes it along all over the place. He dumps out all of his toys… ALL of them and then tries in earnest to clean his mess up with his wacuum. The problem is, and he has not quite figured this out yet, the toy Dirt Devil does not do the job. Sure, it pushes all of the dumped out Matchbox cars, Lego pieces, K’Nex pieces, toy food, crayons, stickers all over the room so that every inch of this 26 foot long floor is 100% completely covered. He is so proud of his clean up that he drops the toy Dirt Devil and walks away leaving me to clean everything in his wake…

I used to have floors. I used to have floors you could see. Some were wood and some were carpeted. Now we have floors but they are secondary to toys and other debris and matter tossed onto the floor by said Toddler in hopes that Mommy will break out the Real Vacuum cleaner. The Real vacuum cleaner is not the Shark carpet sweeper I use for accidental Goldfish spills and the like, nor is it the Roomba, retired under the dining room table. It is our Trusty White Kenmore Canister. My TWKC is hidden upstairs in the What Used To Be The Guestroom But is Now The Office Closet. my Toddler has no idea that it’s there and it must be kept that way so please don’t tell him! We used to keep the TWKC in the linen closet but Alexander would constantly pull it out and plug it in! (Little Devil) So we had to put the kabosh on that and hide it from him permanently. Of course it comes out (from time to time) but where it goes to is a mystery!

So we used to have a Guest Room. It was rther lovely and cozy. There was a nice big comfy bed, a good bedside table, a reading lamp, cable TV, a grand selection of books and magazines. We never really had all that many guests spend the night, but we had a few on occasion… Now, we have none. Nada. Zip. Zippo. Zilch. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it might have something to do with the fact the The Room has become a comfortable resting place for all that is to be filed, put away, outgrown, despised, and anything else no longer used or loved. Or, could it possibly be the fact that one no longer dares to enter our Crazy Crowded House for any great period of time!

So I wonder, when we move and find ourselves a nice large house will it still be crowded? Will it still be crazy? Secretly, I hope my homes are filled with just the right amount of craziness… it puts a smile on people’s faces and laughter in their hearts!

You are my Sunshines…

It’s been over two years since I have met the very best imaginary friends. When I learned we were going to be growing from a Party of Four to a Party of Five I skipped on over to ivillage and joined a buch of other crazy gals to talk about our morning sickness, swollen bodies and aches and pains. Now, as our babies approach their Second Birthdays we talk about more, so much more… We talk about ourselves, our families and of course our chuildren. We share book reviews, recipes and coctail concoctions… we support and encourage each other through tough times and tragedies and celebrate life’s joyous occasions. Some of us have met irl (in real life) and others have not. We share secrets and laughter and tears…

I have many firends (endearingly we refer to one another as Sistas) url… Don, my husband, teasingly calls them my imaginary friends though he too has met and chatted and IMd with some!

While I am lucky to have some great friends irl, I want to say a big thank you to my Sistas…. My Sunshine, my Tata, my Lova… NocNoc, Lushy, to Immy’s Momma and Hula Hula Girl and Chrissy, Miss lilbitcrazy… and to all of you whom I have forgotten to mention.. you know who you are!
You make me laugh and you encourage me to be the best… here’s a cheers to you!

When Life Gives you Lemons make Vodka Lemonade!

1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup (or less if you prefer) simple sugar syrup*
1 cup water

*simple sugar syrup
bring equal parts sugar and water to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Cool before using.

Mix lemon juice, simple syrup and water together in a pitcher and chill. When ready to serve pour desired amount into a glass with ice and a shot (or two or three) of your favorite vodka, (Grey Goose) and garnish with a sprig of mint or a lemon wedge… if you have a hammock and a good book they go perfectly!

Nothing to do…

The youngest members of our crazy crowded home

I have nothing to do… nothing whatsoever to do, so I thought I would kill a little time and start my own blog. Why not, everyone’s doing it, right? I have no laudry to sort, wash, fold and put away? I have no kids who need and deserve my attention? I have no house I am desperately trying to put on the market? Nope not me — I have nothing to do!

My cute little button nose (ok crooked and not so little) will magically twinkle and everything in this crazy crowded house will miraculously fall into place!

Instead of actually getting things done I will sit and wish they were done. I will watch my 21 month old son sleep soundly on the couch next to me. This is the (THE) only place he will nap so therefore the world around us must stop so he can get his much needed nap and I can get my much needed break. My two other children have been banished. My 8 year old daughter is in the (gasp) living room watching (gasp) TV… Well, it’s not all that bad… she’s listening to Radio Disney on TV and dancing. So yes, technically the TV is baby sitting, but she is up and dancing and not sitting and being a couch potato. So all’s not completely lost. Now my other son, 6, is upstairs and he probably is being a couch potato and he is probably (gasp) lying on my bed watching some stupid cartoon and most likely he has not taken off his pajamas as I have asked him to do… many times!

It’s Wednesday and my older two are on summer vacation. (Why they are calling this a vacation is beyond me. Maybe because it makes me, more than ever, want to vacate the premises!) It’s raining and I am delighted. I had promised them we’d go to the beach today, but I am just too lazy and now I do not have to disappoint them nor do I have to go to all the effort that going to the beach with three kids entails. I got off the hook today… wahoo! Instead I shall pay the price with constant bickering and bantering over toys and who gets what and where and when…. Ugh, don’t get me started on those danmed things called toys…

My lovely husband and I bought this house before we had any children. It was a charming New England Colonial with a little fence and 4 BR so we could plan for kids and entertain guests for overnight, or longer. Nine years later the antiques have found a new home in the attic and these brightly colored plastic items of all shapes and sizes have invaded our turf! We have been taken over by toys. Our family room used to be a haven of sorts — big comfy couches, a large wide screen television set, a nice stereo system … what else could you ask for? The couches are no longer comfy or cozy or overstuffed. To our chagrin they have become bouncy castles, playgrounds and trampolines. Ah yes, the children are so imaginative and their creativity will get them far in life… my ass… my children are disruptive noisy beasts, albeit cute disruptive, noisy beasts. My hi def TV is not for viewing movies, it’s been taken over by Sponges and Dinosaurs and red muppets and egads, Bob Saget. Yes, that’s right… my older two have recently discovered the tall skinny geek I had hoped to leave behind with my paisley prints, shoulder pads and stirrup pants. How many episodes of Full House will I have to endure? None without a nice alcoholic beverage in hand!

So here we are all cooped up in my crazy crowded lounge. I have a 2200 sq ft house and they all want to be in here, on top of me 24/7… add Bob Saget to that and now I am really desperate to move!

My dreamhouse would have a secret, hidden room with four padded walls…. I will, if I must, settle for a finished basement where Mr. Saget and the kids can play, scream, shout, jump, run, kick and bite and never ever pick up their toys!