Thursday, June 29, 2006

Perceived Perfect

My childhood hometown is drying up. The downtown is no longer bustling with shops. The big department store on Maine Street is being converted into The First Baptist Church, the Dairy Queen was torn down and storage units were built, all the local clothiers have long since abandoned their store fronts. It’s all gone. Well, except Klip-N-Kurl, where I went to get a $35 spa pedicure. This beauty shop has been around for a long, long time. It’s moved from one spot to another, but always on Maine Street.

I was greeted by Sheila. She hollered at me to come on back. We conversed about who my folks were and then she asked how they were doing, because of course she knows them. She asked if I worked, how many children I have, where I live, etc. Then out of the blue she said, “Don’t tell me you homeschool too? Cuz that would just make you way too perfect.” Okay, so I had a moment of do I lie? I don’t know why she asked me. It was very strange. I chose to tell her that in fact I do homeschool my children, but there is nothing glamorous about it and many days I’d like to slit my wrists. I live in a big community of homeschoolers; my children have been to public school and private school, blah, blah, blah what else can I say to not make this woman think I’m better than she? Her very polite comment to me was, “Well, around here your life would be perceived as perfect.” Whoa.

So what’s the perfection? That I chose to educate the kids? That I work very part-time and still take care of the kids? I don’t get it. I know I have looked at women and thought her life is so easy, she doesn’t know what it’s like to have to do this or that. But, I think I’ve been around long enough to know that there isn’t always a sweet gift inside the beautifully wrapped package.

There is no perfection about me or my home. It truly is perceived. Oh, but my kids, they are perfect and so is my husband. Buhwa ha ha ha ha!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Proof that I am a snob.

1. I ask for my dressing and sauces to be in a small ramiken on the side of my dish. Don't drown your food (remember that commercial?).

2. I am offended when there is only powdered milk products offered to put in my coffee.

3. I've started asking for S. Pellegrino or Perrier Water with a twist of lime. That alone could be the only item on my list here and I would say, "you snob!"

4. I think Iceberg lettuce is some form of man made food product.

5. I won't let my children consume; pop-tarts, juice boxes or any sugary cereal.

6. I don't prepare food from mixes. With exception to mac & cheese.

7. I am disappointed when I have to eat with plastic utensils on a paper plate. I must always have a knife and fork, I eat somewhat like a preying mantis.

8. I wont use a plastic cup if a glass is available and I don't care that you would have to wash it for me.

9. I sneer at people that bring desserts in a foil pan to a party. It's all about presentation. It is not hard to get a pretty tray out and line it with a doily, arrange your store bought assortment of Peppridge Farm cookies in the shape of flowers and garnish with a few sprigs of mint. Now, that wasn't so hard, and don't the cookies look so much prettier and taste better?

10. Coffee or tea is a must with dessert, no exceptions. And you had darn well better have some half & half or 2% milk or I will go to the store and get it for you.

Maybe I'm not so much a snob as I am a food critic. Okay, so never mind.

But, today I thought I was pretty snotty when I found myself in a gas station wanting so much for the coffee choices to not be in a styrofoam cup with a plastic soda lid and the powdered creamer crap was overly abundant. I even went so far as to purchase milk to put in my coffee and ask the cashier if the lid I put on the cup was in fact for coffee. She said "yes". I sulked out, got in the van and continued to be so disappointed that I missed the on ramp to the Interstate.

Okay, I know I'm not the only snob out there. Come on let's hear it.... what little offenses are you thumbing your nose at?

Monday, June 26, 2006

I've gotta golden la la la la la la

Soooo, even though I think that those Croc shoes are the most ugly things since Jellies (you know, those plastic flats that girls wore in the 80's, no? You didn't have them? I did, in clear and glitter pink), I am displaying it with a big swollen head about the size of Isaac's.

Here's something I learned on the back of a Honey Nut Toasted Oats box from Aldi's...
"Blondes have more hair than people with dark hair"

Okay, so yea for me, again. Except they didn't specify where on the body the extra hair is. I'm pretty sure mine is not on my head but rather sprouting from my jaw line and chin. Are sideburns and goatees hot or what? Yea, I have more hair than all you little dark haired 12 year-old boys wanting to shave. Whoopee for me!

Saturday my parents drove from my sister's house, where they watched one of my nephews play ball, to my house to watch Seth play a ball game. I was going to send my four kids back with them to my sister's house so I could have just one day...just one, measly twenty four hour period to get something done without interruption and then I would drive five hours to get my kids listening to music and thinking deep thoughts and eating the snacks I like without having to share and not stopping unless I needed to. But, when they got to my house all four of my nephews piled out with them. Surprise!!! Okay, so yea for me, again. I got to clean up after eight kids, feed eight kids and then drive five hours with an 8yo, two 4yos and the baby. Yea, freakin' for me...again!

After listening to Levi wail, scream, grunt, and moan for the last 40 minutes of the trip I arrived at my sister's home in time for her to tell me that I had interrupted her movie. She then made fun of my son's haircut (which I'll give her that), made fun of homeschoolers (uh-huh, I'll give her that too) and yelled at me for not immunizing my children (I know, you all can yell too). And what did I do? I made fun of her hair dyed hair.....ooh, I'm so quick with the witty comebacks. But, she was still so mean to me that I finally said to my mom, "Maaaaaaahhhhhhm! Rechelle is being mean to me." And then she shut her mouth. Yes, I am a child and still need my mother to intervene for me.

Now, enough of that complaining. I did get the boy's room put together and now all the blue bedding is where it should be. I got the brackets partially painted for the shelves in Ellen's room, that was one of the things I thought I'd finish on that "day off" hahahahahahahah. My sister is so gonna pay! Ahem, I mean I will just get those done some other time in the next decade or so.

In the day or two that I am at my sister's house I am going to plant a poopy diaper in an air vent and maybe she won't be able to find it. What's that? I'm evil? Vindictive? Where's the love? Hehehe, you don't mess with the April.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Disorganized Thoughts

Thanks for the comments on my ramblings about house and home. MJ I do agree with you. If we lived in a mud hut it would still be home because that's where we would all be. I failed to mention some stuff like the whole tax consequence of renting and blah blah blah. So yesterday, I dug my heels in and decided to just look at my surroundings and let God lead me, oh and I bought a new laundry basket, toothbrush holder, two pillows, table cloth, napkins and sparkley napkin ring holders and felt much better. Because I am an American woman and shopping is a cure all.

Today I have plans to paint some shelves for Ellen's room, rebunk the boys beds to make room for a little tot tot to move into the boy's room and clean out the office.

The past two days I went through every drawer, closet and cupboard and collected stuff to give away. Goodbye, tah-tah junk. So I'm feeling much more organized and therefore have a renewed spirit about this turd...ooooh I mean house.

I have a new post up about siblings at Larger Families, go check it out.

It's a beautiful Saturday, you all have a sweet weekend.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Kinda Serious for an April

So first off I got all little girl squealy about Everyday Mommy alerting me that she is giving me the Golden Croc Award...eeeeeeh! Thanks so much! I'd especially like to thank Annie because I started with reading her blog before my husband said, "Ya know, you like to write and all, why don't you just do one of those?" and of course he set it all up for me and now I'm so all blog this and blog that inside my head that it's a bit scary, and I can't remember what I've actually told people and what I've written so I've taken to saying, "stop me if you've heard this" a lot. Oh well, casualties of blogging I guess. So I'll work on my award ceremony speach, oh you thought this was it? No, no, I will need to buy a gown and get my hair done and then sit down and gush about myself some more next week.

Now, I don't usually dish out many mature thoughts on here because I'm more of a keep that serious stuff way down in the depths of your heart kinda girl. In fact I will most likely resort to sarcasm so that I can avert a tense situation and the only things that every truly make me cry are; my children, my husband and sappy country music songs (I know I'm not the only one that gets all choked up when Sara Beth was scared tah death....comes on the radio, please.)

But, I was reading Pretty Funny for a Girl's housing situation and I thought, I know exactly what she's talking about. I was raised in a well to do family. My parents built an enormous, beautiful house when I was in grade school, my bedroom was bigger than any bedroom I've had since, I drove a new car, had gobs of new clothes all the time, I just never considered that my life would be any different than what it was. But, uh, duh hur, it's been like running backwards up a mountain, we keep slipping and sliding down on our rears, in respects to comfortable living. Before our wedding my mom said that we wouldn't have a pot to pee in and of course we've always had a pot, so she was wrong there but, Clay has done so many repairs on those pots that I think he could be a part-time plumber.

So, when we moved out here to the woods and hills eighteen months ago we were testing ourselves. We decided to rent first to see if we could handle the commute, the change of scenery, the lifestyle and of course the people. Well, we can handle the commute, the scenery is breath taking, the lifestyle is serene and the people are precious. I mean precious as in I would let them raise my children if I died precious. By the way, I'm writing as if God didn't let all this happen, so please know that I'm aware that there is a plan far greater than my meek ramblings here and that is why any discontentment is fairly fleeting for me. But, let's get to the discontent part cuz I know you all like the juicy part best.

An Architect. A Design Major. A house. Mix them together and what have you got? Clay and April living in a turd. Why? Why have I always lived in an ugly turd of a house? Well, mostly because Architects that get married when they are in college and start having babies and then let their wife stay home don't get financially rewarded. Or, we just take what we can get and we always settle for less. I'm happy in the house we are renting and I can't complain about it because I am so grateful to be here, but it's not ours so I can't exacly start tearing down walls and pulling up carpet which is what I do in a house. We need a home.

I think I've been having big anxiety about this lately because of my MIL's death, it's brought up thoughts of how differently Clay and I were raised. I've thought a lot about how comforting it was for me to go home during breaks in college and even after our first was born I felt more comfortable and safe in my parent's home than in my own, the smell of the house, the feel of my bed it was home.

Clay didn't have that. His father sold his childhood home the year before Clay left for college and then moved out of state. When Clay went back "home" there was no house, no parents, no siblings, just a town. I remember thinking what the heck happened to your house? Where's your room and all your stuff? It was all in his dormroom. That was Clay, he was a very portable guy. Everything he owned could be stuffed into a Toyota Corolla.

I want a house. I want the house that Clay and April built. I want it to be purrrrrfect and I want it to be right here in this spot and not one more minute down the road, which is the problem. Our land is nine miles from our door, it's an additional fifteen minute commute. I feel like I need to resolve this, get it settled, come to a decision right now. My daughter will be off to college in six years, I want her to know the house that her brothers are going to grow up in. I need a home, my children need a home. I fear if we stay in this rental much longer this is going to be their home and it will be very painful for them to leave this place. I want to grow roots where I'm planted and let my children go to seed. I don't want to be a weed that's yanked out of the garden just when I'm getting all nice and comfy.

That's it. Poor me. I have a roof over my head, two cars in working order in the driveway, a husband that loves me, healthy children and a sovereign God. I guess I'm just looking for that big house that everybody comes back to so I can have it THE QUEEN's WAY!!! And no, that's not a picture of the house I'm renting up there, that's the house I'm looking for except a big yellow Colonial clapboard sided beast with a red barn. But, I live in Rancho-ramaville that is adjacent to McMansion Towne. Okay? There's probably a lot more details and explanations to the whole thing, but I don't know if I want to get all gooey about it. So, if I go back and read this post I'll most likely be embarassed that I complained and you all can leave me comments like this: Geesh! April your a hog!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Writing Contest

Go on over to my new friend Jules' sight, she's the sweet gal from Kansas that gave me the sunflower on my blog. She's hosting a contest for all you mommy writers. I would like to especially nominate..

Jessie because she is such a thoughtful and fluid composer of words.


Melanie- my non-blogging, but so wants to be a blogger friend, because she really does like to write even though she doesn't admit it. Come on Melanie, this is the perfect opener for you.

Monday, June 19, 2006

April's Anonymous

When we were away for my MIL's funeral we visited an Episcopal church. I read through the bulletin and the week looked a bit anonymous.

Monday 7:00- Alcoholics Anonymous will meet in the choir room
Tuesday 7:00- Overeaters Anonymous
Wednesday 7:00- Gamblers Anonymous

Do you see the trend? So, there must be a lot of anonymous addictions in that area. I thought it was odd and funny and then I just thought that's sad.

What are my addictions?
1. Coffee
2. Blogs
3. Staring for long periods of time at the chickens
4. Staring for long periods of time at the garden
5. Following the path of for sale signs along any given road
6. Daydreaming about a perfect encounter with a local farmer that wants a family to come live on his farm and take it over because he has no one to run it for him and he is now too old and doesn't want any land developers to come build 700 houses on his wheat field and he becomes so fond of my family that he just gives us his acreage. In return I bake him a pie every week until he passes away. And the land is just right over there, ya know, close to everything.

Is there a Land Coveters Anonymous?

Which reminds me I pulled over and watched the wheat being harvested today and explaind the process to my children, who were pretty much thinking "can we just go home?".

My Nit Wit
Clay had an allergy attack in his eyeballs yesterday. I'm still making fun of him for saying that to the nurse. I had to guide him like a blind old man into the doctor's office because he couldn't open his eyes without them gushing tears and stinging. While the doctor had her back turned to him asking him questions like, "Do you have carbon monoxide detectors in your house?" (because that is very important information to know when you’re having an allergy attack) he was making faces at her so I would laugh. I did my straight face and stared at him in my "you're an idiot" posture. Then I told him there were probably cameras in the room and the prescription she gave us was probably going to cause him to go bald because he is such a twit.

My Light Bulb
I bumped Isaac in the head the other day and he said, "Oh, you bumped my fourth head". Isaac has a ginormous head that is shaped like a light bulb. Hey Isaac, what's the big idea? So the fact that he thinks his forehead is a fourth head makes perfect since. Maybe he does have four heads. And yes, I think it is incredibly healthy to make fun of my children. At least I don't constantly have my mommy goggles on and can't see that even my most perfect children are a bit strange and disfigured.

My Genius
Mom! Mom! I have a trick; I've been practicing holding my breath for a really, really long time. Let's start with the letter U......Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Wait, wait, I can do it longer.....(but, it's too late to impress me because his father and I are laughing to loud to hear him. Maybe next time he'll remember to take a breath before he starts his amazing trick.)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday Afternoon Post

My new post is up at Larger Families. It's about wove, tah-woo wove and mawage (Princess Bride, anyone?)

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Killer in Me

You! You're still alive because you’re so stinkin' cute.

And you! You're not cute but very beautiful inside most of the time and that is why you can be counted among the living.

As for you! Well, when I go to get my ax to chop you into little bits you make fun of the way I'm walking or talking and I start to laugh, so I'll keep you around for comic relief.

And then you! I like you, you talk a bit too much, but I like having you around, so count your blessings.

Now, to the roaches in my bathroom; you all must die. I have noticed that I'm not as scared of you anymore, especially since I killed your mother and father and you are now just second generation little pests. The crack in the window frame that you poke your alien antennae out from to get a little moisture when I'm naked and defenseless in the shower is going to be sealed shut. I'm not afraid to throw a shampoo bottle at you and I do have a razor and I know how to use it. If you know what's good for you, you'll leave. Consider this a warning!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Because in this family we talk about it.

Everyday or maybe a couple times a day I get the call. Sometimes I run, sometimes I stall, sometimes I pawn off the call to others. How much longer will the call continue? I decided it was time to ask.

Ike- Mom?! I'm done! Will you wipe my bottom?

Me- Ike, when do you think you'll start wiping your own bottom?

Ike- When I'm big like a daddy.

Me- I think you should think about learning before then.

Ike- Does daddy wipe his bottom?

Me- Yes

Ike- Does Sethy wipe his bottom?

Me- Yes

Ike- Does you?

Me- Yes

silence, pondering

Ike- Well, maybe yesterday I'll wipe my bottom.

Me- Okay, sounds like a good plan.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hen or Rooster? Edna or Ed?

This was baby Edna, she was the most adorable chick. Ellen would hold her and she would fall asleep in her hands. Now Edna has transformed into an unruly teenager, but he still doesn't mind being held. He sounds like he's dying when he tries to crow. Maybe he is having some gender confusion issues, not that we had anything to do with that.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Good Lord It's Monday!

Today I walked four miles. Golly that felt good! Then I came home with a somewhat swirling headache, puked in the kitchen trash, told the kids to call Dad to come home and went to bed. Am I that weak? Yes. I also didn't think I could tolerate the septic tank guy coming and trying to nicely write him a check and smell

Head throbbing, throbbing to the popping, popping sound of the well going out.

Yes, Clay came home and learned how to deal with Septic-Tank-Pumping-Man, he got a lecture about cleaning out the filter, Septic-Tank-Man did not say, "Thanks Dear."

He also played very loudly in the basement with Well-Pump-Going-Pop-Man. I was upstairs still realing from my second visit to the Holy Porcelain God while listening to them go on about how old the well pump was. Isaac and Levi joined in the fun by banging on something metal.

Oh, and no I'm not pregnant.

So now that everyone is asleep, I'm feeling much better thankyou. Do I want to look around the house to see how they survived the day? No. Because then I would want to wake all the angels up and ask, "Why? Why? Why do you have to take all the cushions off the couch and move them to another room to build a fort? Why do you have to spread peanut butter and jelly on every surface in the kitchen? Why do I feel like you are having a party in my absence?"

Needless to say, I gotta a lot of work to do tomorrow and it's gonna start out with a lecture and end up with a tidy house. (insert sound of whip lashing here) The warden is back and the inmates are gonna pay, oooooh their gonna pay. And no big blue eyes batting at me are gonna make me back down, no siree.

In Other News:

Okay, now about my New Lifestyle. Some things I've noticed since I've started eating really healthy.
1. No zits. Just a couple teeny tiny ones that cleared up in a day. The demon zits that rise up from the burning depths of hell have been exorcised. I have nothing to pick.

2. Never ever a need for a laxative. Whoa! Add a bunch of fiber to your diet and you better have a good book to read, cause you'll finish it in a day. No wonder we've had the septic tank pumped twice in three months.

3. Less irritable during my "I want to pummel all that is precious to me" time of the month.

4. Weight loss. I can wear everything in my closet, no actually some things are too big!

Is it worth it.....mostly, but I could sure go for some Milk Duds.


Do hens crow? I don't think so. We think Edna, our favorite chicken named after my dearly departed grandma, is actually Ed.

I only ordered hens. How did we get a rooster? Pure luck. She, I mean he is so cool. I just hope she, I mean he doesn't get mean. We're going to keep calling him Edna, cuz my grandma used to tell a great story about a rooster eating all the corn and Grandma Edna could crow.


I'm disappointed in the performance so far. I can't figure out peas, I harvested four. Come on! How hard can this be! I think my big success this year is going to be pumpkins. Yipee, I won't have to spend any money in October. But, really cucumbers, tomatoes please give me something, just one measly salad.

NO TV in June:

This is no TV month. Good Lord what have I done? It's like we are all coming off of a drug addiction. The chaos of cleaning up after kids that acutally play with their toys instead of sit comatose in front a a screen, priceless. By the end of the month non of us miss it. We've done this for at least five years.

sidenote: The kids got to watch a movie today via their dad cuz Mom was out of order and Dad had playdates with Septic-Man and Well-Pump-Man. Oh, and he had to bring his actual work home to save me. He's my hero.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Check This Out

-Don't let him fall down that hill. Are you watching him?
-Language...really, the little ones could hear you.
-I don't think this shirt is appropriate, I'm going to go change.
(comments from my most mature 12 yo daughter to me obviously needing her guidance.)

-Life with Levi is so fun.
by Seth at the dinner table watching his baby brother babble incessantly.

Okay, now go check out Larger Families. I'm gonna be writing over there once a week or so with some other really fabulous writing mommas.

And if any of you make fun of my small family being called large....well, phlbbbbbt! Some place in this weird world four is a lot, A LOT!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My Husband's Mother

My husband’s mother passed away very suddenly two weeks ago. She was diagnosed with a breast cancer nearly eleven years ago. She suffered through surgeries and chemotherapy. She experimented with a lot of homeopathic remedies, especially chiropractic and herbal remedies. She never won the battle. However, cancer was not what brought about her sudden death. She had a chemo treatment on Friday and was admitted to the hospital on the following Monday after she had been falling asleep at her desk. My husband spoke to her that evening and she was prepared to go home Tuesday morning, she died of pneumonia Tuesday afternoon.

We cried. We made arrangements for the care of the children. We boarded a plane.

Her first marriage lasted eleven years and produced three children, my husband being the youngest. Her second marriage lasted four years and broke any ties that she may have wanted with her children. She moved several states away and her visits came seldom more than once a year.

It’s a complicated situation. The flurry of arrangements began.

She moved from town to town, state to state. She was searching for something. I don’t think she ever found it. Or, maybe she was running from something. Did she feel guilt? Did she find forgiveness? She started several careers. She went back to college and became a certified nurse. She moved from town to town, state to state.

We dug through piles of paper work to find if she had a last will and testament. We ordered an autopsy and for the body to be cremated.

She was alone, so very alone. Her father was a preacher as was her first husband and her brother-in-law. She was raised in God’s church, she knew God’s laws, but I don’t think she ever knew God’s love or believed that she was one of His children. She joined a New Age religion that worships light and sound and sings to Hu, which is a god. She journaled about her dreams and wrote letters to a picture of a balding man in a dark suit that was said to be the “Master”.

We made calls to inform relatives that the memorial service would be at the “golden pyramid temple”.

Her daughter spoke at the memorial service. She gave a brief history of her mother’s life then read a letter that said, “You left to soon. We weren’t finished”. She was remembered as mischievous. A chiropractor told a story about the cats that she had given her. A man that took a class with her said, “She told nice stories.” The same man sang two songs one was a rendition of Amazing Grace except he reworded it to sing Amazing Hu.

I didn’t cry. My husband didn’t cry. My children didn’t cry.

Her oldest son dug through pictures to present a memorial board at the service. There were many head shots of her as a beautiful young single woman and as a lovely older single woman. There were a few pictures of her on a visit with one of her children and a couple with all three. There were childhood photos and even one of a Navy Ball she attended with her second husband. There was only one photo of her holding her second grandchild. No other photos of the four grandchildren were on the memorial board.

The clergy woman spoke slowly and deliberately because, as she explained before the service began, not all people understand what Hu is and she needed to speak so very slowly so we could contemplate every word. She told us about the light and sound and about Hu and “Balding Master” in a dark suit. There were some words that were not spoken slowly or were omitted; daughter, sister, friend, mother and grandmother.

The two ex-husbands sat next to each other.

The best thing that came out of the service was an apology. Not from her, but from her second husband to her children. He said, “Listen, I want you to know that I have a daughter now and I’m very sorry that I didn’t encourage your mom to have a relationship with you. I’m rather ashamed about that.”

The clergy woman spoke quickly and said, “There will be a private gathering for the family afterwards, there is nothing planned for the rest of you.” My Sister-in-law felt a panicky urge to go purchase candy bars and juice boxes to hand out to the Hu followers and co-workers.

We left the “golden pyramid temple” and drove back to my Brother-in law’s home. There were ten family members and four of my sister-in-laws family that gathered to eat and fellowship. The afternoon was beautiful and sunny. The children ran around the yard. We ate good food. Some of us drank beer and sat on the big wood swing.

It was a long day. We were exhausted from all the digging through paper work, making phone calls and making decisions.

Now we’re home.

There is still much to be done, many phone calls to make. My husband is flying back to meet with the court registrar to become the representative of his mother’s estate.

He is not sad. He is not angry. He is just tired.

He is the son of a woman that he called Mom.