Friday, July 30, 2010

Hot weather entertainment

I mentioned that Cash loves YouTube. Who knew that there were hundreds of homemade videos of kids and their car collections?  (Well, I ddin't know - Cash found them all on his own.)  As much as they could spend their entire day in front of the computer watching these videos which drives me nuts, it is pretty cute to see all three huddled around the computer saying, "That one...that one...that one" as they list off all the cars they see that they want. So we made some of our own videos (which I'll spare you, besides the fact that our new camera takes videos in MP4 format which I can't upload to blogger...any suggestions? I guess I'll have to convert) and took a few pictures.

Of course it wasn't a flawless effort trying to get all three to coordinate on a task.

There's really not much going on here. Just blasted hot or raining so we spend more time inside now. Or in the pool. Actually during one of our last trips to the pool Ashton wasn't watching where he was going and ran into a pool chair and fell on his front teeth and knocked them a little further apart - now they're turning gray and will apparently stay in that unsightly state until they fall out in a few years. Lovely. I guess you can tell them apart better now if you figure out which one has gray teeth and a wider gap.

Here was our entertainment during the last tropical storm:

Uh, whatever works, I guess.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Once upon a time I believe I may have mocked a certain husband for his online contest obsession. He was a sucker for any online contest that could result in free stuff.  We were soon the proud owners of an autographed football from someone we had never heard of, an old man baseball cap with some insurance logo on it, and my personal favorite, the DVD Shiloh: a movie about a boy and his dog. 

Fast forward to the past year or two. Ryan got his Sony Playstation from some deal he found online. It involved opening and spending money on a sony credit card, a bunch of rebates and in the end was only $40 or something (plus the cost of a new tv he insisted had to go with it, ahem...).  I believe I may have also previously complained about my mortification that everywhere I went I had to present my Playstation credit card. Like when I was at a swanky spa with some friends and they had to hold our credit card on file and I bust out the Playstation card. Seriously? Everyone I gave that card to always looked at it and then looked up at me with a somewhat mystified look. Like beneath the mature mother-of-three-children facade was an obsessive gamer who just couldn't wait to get home and shove the kids aside for some Grand Theft Auto time. Ugh. And then when I realized all our earned points from spending money on the credit card were fueling Ryan's gaming habit rather than something useful like airline miles or cash back I said I was done with the Playstation card and I better see a new credit card in my wallet soon.

But not only that. He would come home from work, hardly utter a word to the family and park himself at the computer to start earning sony points doing their online contests. I'm sure that more than once, or perhaps a hundred times I may have complained that he was at it again. Get out here and help me with the kids, blah, blah, blah....

Well. A few months ago they randomly selected 33 people out of the thousands that do their online contests every day to compete in an online Jeopardy tournament.  He was actually one of the 33.  He was pretty excited to find out he'd answered every question right. And then disappointed to find out that so had some Jennifer Z. from Ohio, only she'd done it faster and was thus pronounced the winner. The winner had two days to fill out some papers and get them back in. She didn't do it.

And the title of the winner of the first quarter final fell to mine truly, Ryan Isom.

But then he had to wait around for the other quarter finals to finish. So about a week ago was the big final Jeopardy game.  He missed two. I was worried - it didn't sound very promising to me. He said he'd bet a lot of points though and felt he had a pretty high score.

Today he finally got the call:  HE WON!  This was no Shiloh DVD, my friends. This time the prize was $5,000.

Except, because he was a Sony (Playstation) credit card holder, it was doubled to $10,000.

Yes. I repent. May I never stand in the way of your online contesting again. Or your Playstation credit cards.

Oh yes, and we also win a trip for two to see a Jeopardy taping in L.A. We're super excited about the big win. Especially since we've been looking at our finances for the upcoming year with a big question mark.  So as excited as we are, I have to admit it was a little deflating to discuss the allocation for the 10K.  We live off of absolutely everything we make here. (Remember how expensive Miami is? And how we pay probably two or three times to live in an apartment what you pay for a mortgage on a house?  Yeah.) So we already spend everything we make. And this year Ryan's loans start coming due and as hard as he has tried, they can no longer be deferred. I asked how much. Over $7,000. Bummer. Plus take out a thousand for tithing, whatever for taxes, and there my friends goes the best darn prize we've ever won. I had such plans in my head for where I thought that $10,000 could go. But hey, at least those loan payments won't be coming out of our hide.  :)

It was a pretty timely blessing though, I'll say. And a really nice bonus to people who have never in their lives received a dime of help from anyone during all these schooling years.

Moral of the story?  Well, pay your tithing for starters. And then never, ever stand in the way of your husband's online contesting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It's funny to see the way you parent through the eyes of your kids. (Or not, when they're yelling at each other or commanding the other to go to time out and you know exactly who they sound like.)  Whenever my kids get hurt- goose eggs, fat lips, big enough bumps and bruises, I always try to put some ice on it. But they usually won't tolerate full ice, so frequently I find myself just going for something as cold as they can stand, usually out of the fridge.

So it's always amusing (and catches me a bit off guard) to walk in like I did yesterday and see Cash with a jar of parmesan cheese up to his head.  Or mayonaise. Or sour cream. Or like happens on occasion, Phoenix will slap me in the face...then bring me a yogurt, which I'm confused about until I realize I'm supposed to hold it to the wound. How thoughtful.

Which habit has also transferred to his new discovery of band aids. He'll get out the band aids, pull one out, then realize he needs to justify their use so he'll whack himself on the head a few times then put the band aid over the inflicted wound.

Or the other amusing things these kids come up with. The other day I was laying on the couch and told the kids I needed to go take a shower.  I didn't pay much attention to Cash saying, "Don't worry mom!" until he walked over to me moments later with a mouthful of water which he promptly sprayed out of his mouth all over me. And the couch.  I had to admit, it did remarkably resemble a shower - especially with how much water Cash can apparently store in his mouth at one time.

Or overhearing Cash in his sweetest voice saying to a barely awakening Ashton, "Good morning Ashton. Want to play pillow fight?" as I glance over just in time to see him lunge at poor disoriented Ashton's head with a pillow.

The other day Ryan and I were discussing how it would be good to have some one on one time with each of them - then we remembered - they never want to be separated. Any time we've tried it they just scream and scream and throw tantrums until they can be back with their siblings. And I have to admit, even though they're crazy, they keep things entertaining around here. Walking in to see all three huddled around the computer watching Mickey mouse on YouTube in Swedish (Cash gets to this completely on his own), glancing over to see one naked kid playing the piano while the other two naked kids "shake their booties" to it, the constant dog piles on top of each other that seem to amuse them, and hearing them all say "look at me, look at me!" and walking in to see all three naked boys (this is frequent now with all the potty training) doing "tricks" on the couch - meaning all three bent over in strange positions with their naked bums fully exposed or legs splayed wide open in my direction. Lovely. All waiting for my proud response.  :)  Yep, it's a lively place around here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A little out of control

It's been a busy few weeks. Ryan has been gone a lot. I've had the majority of the last 6 or 7 weekends alone, including a couple Sundays at church by myself - which is never any fun.  Actually, Sundays are never any fun when there are two of us trying to keep these crazy kids under control, let alone one.

I had said once upon a time that I was enjoying the twins being two years old.  Yeah, that lasted for about 2 weeks. Then they went through an insane amount of crying phase. Now they're going through an insane amount of crying phase topped with extreme stubbornness and resistance, combined with a mean streak.  Phew. It's amazing we go anywhere since every time we come/go/move/change locations/tell someone to do anything it's met with a screaming toddler who refuses to move and who kicks and hits me to death if I try to pick them up.  So there's a lot of kids getting left behind because my arms are too full to drag them, and I value my eyeballs too much (I've darn near had them scratched out more than once).  I frequently walk back to wherever they are to find concerned people looking for a responsible adult to claim the abandoned child. And I'm always a little perturbed that my threatening to leave them has yet to faze them and elicit the response I'm hoping for: that they'll actually care that I'm leaving them and just give in and follow me.

Plus the shenanigans continue. And are now multiplied by having lots of pee and poop around the house with all this potty training. Here's how my morning went the other day:

We were watching a friend's very chill, well-behaved little girl. I thought, hey, we have a little girl in the house, let's get out the play kitchen (which my kids love, we've just had to regulate more when they play with it since it's honestly just one of the messiest toys we have as we find the hundreds of pieces of plastic food in all corners of the house for weeks after every know who you are oh you that gave us this toy :)  As I was getting out the pretend food, my box of birthday decorations fell off the shelf. I thought I'll come back to you in a minute. I think it should have been an omen.

I walk back out to find a large pool of pee on the floor. Two of the three boys are doing really well with the potty, but those darn little weenie shields hardly do the trick and I swear every time they sit down they push things up rather than helping them aim down in the bowl.  So we frequently have a child successfully sitting on a potty with no pee ever making it into the bowl.  So while I'm cleaning that up, I look up to find the boys have gleefully toppled all the stacks of laundry I'd just spent the last half hour folding. Grrr. While I'm re-folding the laundry, they get back into that box of birthday supplies I forgot to go back to and I find streamers and balloons and candles and banners and tablecloths and napkins and party favors all over the house.  Sigh. I get them all back into the living room, and the third child who isn't so skillful with the potty is leaving a trail of pee all down the hall on his way.  So as I'm cleaning that up, they get into the fridge and start throwing fruit all over the house. Unfortunately for me I had stocked up on fairly over-ripe peaches, nectarines and apricots the night before. It was a disaster. While I'm cleaning that up, I hear snickering from the bathroom. Never a good sign. I go in to find the twins have climbed up on the toilet and gotten the gigantic sized tub of vaseline and smeared it all over each other and the whole bathroom.  I shoo them out, clean the mess, and come out to find them having a tug-of-war over a sloshing bowl full of pee. (Apparently it's a huge privilege in our house to be the one to get to dump the pee, even when it's not yours.)  More cleanup.

During this time, Ryan calls me to tell me that there was a ruptured eyeball coming in that wouldn't be going into surgery until late that night - the one night in all two years we've been in Miami that I had actually bought tickets to a performance. We live right by the performing arts building which I think is beautiful and I've always wanted to go to so I'd gotten tickets to "Tap Dogs."  Hang up. More sighing. I'm going to have to find  a babysitter now. I snap out of it and realize I better quickly get the laundry put away before the kids realize it's sitting there again, and as I go in to put it in their drawer - the dresser collapses (another fine piece of Isom off-the-street furniture). Unable to figure out what in the world is wrong, I leave the laundry in the bedroom and walk out to scold Ashton who is standing by the front door with it open. I go shut and lock the door and realize he keeps trying to go back saying, "Au-dee, Au-dee," and I realize that the little girl I'm watching is out in the hallway. Sheesh. Now I'm missing someone else's child! (I swear I wasn't totally irresponsible - I had really seen her on my way to put away the laundry so it couldn't have been that long.) I herd everyone back in and start the task of trying to find a babysitter for the night (this took no less than 24 phone calls and about 47 text messages and I didn't have one until my neighbor got home at 7:01 for a performance we had to get to before 7:30 - I just ended up taking a friend with me, obviously). My kids are crying and yelling and running around the house so I can hardly hear over the phone. I finally give in: everyone sit in one place and just watch a dang movie while I catch up to all the mischief you've been making!!!   (And you're kidding me that it's not even noon yet??) Then the air conditioning man that's coming to fix my neighbor's AC calls to tell me he's coming so I need to go let him in.   Someone else calls to say they're stopping by in a while, my friend comes back to get her child, the missionaries show up, the AC man gets here.... and wow. Ryan get's home from his surgery at 12:30 in the morning.

That's what I've been up to.