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Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da!

At this point in my life; 4 kids and 8 years in, I’m no stranger to gross. There’s a stomach bug making it’s way through the girls’ school right now and Aurora had it a few days ago, but it only lasted 24 hours so no big deal, right?  She woke up in the morning and said her tummy hurt, then she barfed all over her bed (yeah, it was really gross)  So, we obviously kept her home from school and (after changing her sheets) she laid in bed all day watching cartoons.  I expected this to make it’s way through the rest of the kids at some point, but I was hoping it would be with the ease of Aurora’s case.  Barf a few times in the morning after we’re all already awake, then spend the day cuddled up with stuffed animals in bed while watching Dog With A Blog.

So, as my nights often go, we start out with no kids in our bed and at some point in the night the twins almost always make their way into our room either to pee in our bed, or as in last night’s case, to barf all over our bed.  Oh, yes, this is the life!  Last night, it started with Atticus.  He went from deep, peaceful sleep to a suddenly gagging barf-sprinkler.  I rushed him to the bathroom to hold his head over the toilet when I noticed a horrible, foul, FOUL smell- cat shit!  So there I am, helping Atticus balance his head over the toilet without falling completely in and I notice a pile of steaming fresh cat shit sitting on the bathroom rug.  Then it dawns on me!  I had scraped out and hosed out the cats’ litter box earlier, then left it outside to dry in the sun and I had forgotten to bring it back into the house.  AWESOME!  So here I was at 1am; sick toddler, cat shit, trail-o-barf through the hall… where to start?

I get Atticus back into bed, then Bea starts saying that she needs to throw up.  Bea is really dramatic.  REALLY dramatic, and often pretends to be hurt or sick so she gets attention. If somebody hits their head, suddenly she “hit” her head.  If somebody’s toe hurts, suddenly her toe “hurts”.  If I call her bluff, she can even shed convincing tears and cry “but, I looove yooou!” and make me feel extreme guilt.  I didn’t know if she was lying last night, but I took her word for it (because who wants to take a chance with that??) and pulled her into the cat-shit bathroom, I then watched as she lightly coughed over the toilet and said “all done” then bounced back to the bed.  I took a minute to pick up the bathroom rug and toss it out the back door into the rain (I get to deal with that today) then I wiped up the trail-o-barf, and got back into bed right when Atticus was ready to say hello to the toilet again.  So, back we went. Then (surprise!) Bea joined us again with her little princess cough, and the three of us shuffled back into bed.  Then, believe it or not, Bea said she had to throw up, and I reluctantly brought her back into the bathroom because, like I said, who wants to chance that??  And whadaya know?  She barfed!  So we spent the rest of the night and into the morning doing this dance. We’ve only got one kid left for it to hit, so I’m hoping the worst of it is in the day because I don’t know if I can handle another sleepless night-  It felt like I was revisiting the newborn days- SUPER FUN!  Not.

Now, off to hose cat shit off a rug!

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It’s been a long time…

I just realized that it’s been almost a year since I wrote my last blog entry.  A lot has happened since then, and I often thought “Hmm… I should blog about this!”, but life has a way of keeping you so busy with life, that you can’t find the time to do the little things. Such as blogging about life.

Since my last entry, I’ve lived in New York for 2 months while Monte was there rehearsing for the Madonna tour. I brought the 4 rambunctious kids where there were plenty of adventures to be had…  you would think that it would have been a great time and place to blog, eh?  But, no.  No, I did not blog in NYC about my daily adventures with 4 kids.  Trying to squeeze 6 people into a cab, carrying a stroller up and down subway steps, our visit to the Statue of Liberty or Ground Zero, the incredible amount of walking we did because most cabs would avoid us like the plague.  Good times.

I weaned the twins from breastfeeding in June, they were 25 months old.  It was bittersweet because I know they are our last kids (um… ya think?), and as much as I was completely over nursing (I had officially been nursing for SEVEN years straight), it’s also such a sweet, loving bond, and I know I’ll never have that experience again *sniff sniff*.  Oh, who am I kidding??  I am going to throw a party every year to celebrate the fact that I am DONE breastfeeding!

Then, this summer, we went to Yosemite and of course Monte was on tour all year, so I took the kids and went with my family without him.  My parents and my sister, her husband and their 4 kids were there, so there were plenty of people to help and entertain.  We’re trying to make it a tradition every year, so this year we’ve already got our reservations.  Looking forward to the trip, the kids love it there, and so do Monte and I!

Monte was gone from January to December (with a handful of 2-3 day visits in between).  I visited him in Nice, France for a week when they were there in September, and that was a really nice getaway for us together.  He then came to play the Los angeles shows in October, and we had a weekend away together in Vegas right after that.  I moved us in November to a house closer to my parents because I couldn’t stand being so far away from all that family help (20-30 min), so I hired some movers and away we went.  Now we live on the same street as my parents, it’s awesome!  I’m not sure my mom thinks it’s as awesome as I do, but tough cookies, grandma!  I’ve got ya now!  Muahahahaha!

Monte got off tour December 23rd, and we decided to get the kids a puppy for Christmas because we lost our precious Duke in October, they were heartbroken, and we were ready for a new doggie.  It was awesome to watch them open the box on Christmas morning and there was an adorable puppy inside!  She’s been a good dog so far, and is as cute as a button.  Since then, Monte has only left to record his new album in Denmark for 2 weeks, and somehow I survived with the kids.  It’s amazing how much harder it is to have him leave after he’d been home for a stint.  I get so used to having him home!

I’m going to try to get better about blogging again.  Wish me luck!  😉

Lisa, It’s Your Birthday, Happy Birthday, Lisa!

Today was my birthday. I had a great night out with Monte last night.  Just the two of us went to a nice dinner and did a bit of bar hopping in Santa Monica. I think the kids were in cahoots today and that their main goal was to present as many obstacles to us as humanly possible. First of all, getting out of the house was a feat in and of itself. The babies decided to take late naps, they resisted any and all attempts to feed them, and we didn’t even get out of the house until 4pm. It was much later than planned, so we decided to eat an early dinner at a kid-friendly restaurant then go to Target to redeem some gift cards that the kids all got for Christmas from their aunt Vikki. I know, very exciting, not only for a Saturday but for my birthday as well… but I felt like keeping it simple. Anyways, while walking to the restaurant from the parking lot, Monte was holding Atticus and the girls were fighting over who knows what, when one of them suddenly elbowed Monte in the balls. He immediately drops to his knees, several passerby’s stare, the girls are completely confused and he can hardly move, nor talk. After a seemingly very painful minute, he slowly gets up and we somehow make it into the restaurant. Whew! We’re in, now we can relax, right? Er… no.

Dinner was ridiculous, the older two girls were just fine coloring their menus but I will always wonder what in the hell we were thinking when we decided to go out to a restaurant with all four kids. Every time, we say that we’re never going to do it again but then we do it again– seriously WHAT THE HELL were we thinking?? If the babies weren’t on top of the table they were under it, and if they weren’t trying to dump out the salt and pepper shakers, they were jumping on the seats screaming in their horrible shrieking pay-attention-to-me voices. It was chaos. Monte finally shuffled the kids out of the restaurant and into the mall while I paid and finished my (much needed) glass of wine. When I met them by a fountain inside, they all seemed happy to be out and about, although Monte was still walking with a bit of a limp.
We went into Pottery Barn Kids, to let them explore for a bit and I wanted the girls to pick out some new sheets. We spent a few minutes following them all around, picking up toys that the babies were relocating around the store and of course the one moment both of us had our noses in our phones, Beatrix decides to climb onto a table to check out the tea party that two baby dolls were enjoying on top of it. A woman (who I witnessed not 3 minutes earlier knocking several boxed of frames off of a shelf, by the way) sneered at us and commented loudly “Is anybody watching her??” while shooting me a dirty look. Okay, first of all, we so were watching our children, if we had not been watching them then Pottery Barn Kids would have nothing left on the shelves because all of their merchandise would be on the floor. Covered in Cheerios. Hello. Secondly, Beatrix was in the process of climbing from the chair onto the table, she wasn’t technically even on the table yet, so Frame-Knocking-Over-Lady was just an old meanie who could have at least waited until Beatrix was standing on the table, teetering on the brink of death before freaking out on us. Thirdly… yeah… we were sooooo those assholes messing around on our cellphones rather than watching our kids… er.. not that we weren’t watching our kids… Suffice to say, we left pretty quickly after that, sheetless, and on a mission to get some bad-ass toys from Target. Woohoo, Saturday night!
We get to Target and tell the kids that they can each pick out one gift within a certain price range, and they spend the next 20 minutes perusing the aisles, eventually settling on some goodies. I had to get tinfoil, and Monte needed something in the opposite direction, so I took the kids my way and we were to meet up in a few minutes by the tinfoil. Who would’ve thunk that walking 10 aisles with four INSANE children would be such an ordeal? Beatrix wanted to stay in the toy aisle, she would not stay seated in the cart, so I placed and buckled Atticus into the cart, carried Bea, and instructed the girls to walk close to me. The girls start fighting over who gets to push the cart, I start tell them that only I get to push the cart, and of course, as I’m speaking and trying to pry the girls’ hands off the cart, Bea squirms out of my arms and runs the opposite direction, I chase her down. Just then, the girls take hold of the cart again, still fighting like maniacs, and begin pushing it full speed ahead towards some shelves full of household cleaners and before I could get to them- BAM!! They ram it right into the shelves, products go flying, Atticus is crying because he was thrown around in his seat, Ariel is crying loudly and holding her face because it was slammed into the cart’s handle, and while I’m trying to see what the damage is to everybody, Beatrix takes the opportunity to make another escape, and I chase her down… once again.
Damn you, tinfoil.
So, I imagine at this point that we were quite the sight to see; Baby crying in the cart, 6 year old crying very loudly while holding her now BLOODY mouth, 4 year old trying to explain away- in the whiniest of all possible voices- how absolutely none of this was of her doing, and the other baby still squirming like a maniac in my arms, squealing, screaming, and completely focused on getting back to the toys aisle. I very hastily pick up the items that fell off the shelves and put them back, and rush the kids over to the foil aisle so I could get away from the staring people (because the last thing I needed to hear tonight was more commentary on my awesome parenting skills), and assess the situation. Just then, Monte walks up to us looking completely confused, “What happened?” I’ve decided never to leave the house again, that’s what’s happened. So, we went straight home, and opened a bottle of wine. It was very good.
I know this may sound crazy, but it was a great birthday, and I love my nutty family.

Yosemite

I haven’t written anything in a long time, it’s been a busy few months, and in August, we took a much needed family trip to Yosemite- CAMPING!!! Yes, actual camping. In a tent. 6 months prior, when I booked this trip, I wasn’t really thinking logistics, I was just thinking about all the great potential memories we would make for our kids. Oh, how fun it will be to go camping IN A TENT in Yosemite, one of the most beautiful places in the world. When I was a kid, we went to Yosemite every summer in a MOTORHOME. It had a bathroom, and a kitchen, and several comfortable beds. So, as the months went by, and this trip got closer, I kind of realized that I have never actually camped in a tent. Ever. Ever? Ever. Apparently camping in an RV isn’t actually “camping”… of course not. So, as the months and weeks got closer to the date, I started to FREAK out. I was nervous about the drive, the bears, setting up camp, keeping the kids clean, the bears, what activities we were going to do- did I mention the bears?? So, I started to gear up, bought the huge tent that would be our home for 2-3 nights, planned on what to pack for clothes, should we bring the stroller? I made reservations 6 months prior, online. Getting reservations at a campground on the valley floor in Yosemite, in the summer, is pretty much like winning the lottery. I actually couldn’t get a spot for the early summer, so when the reservations opened up for mid-August on, we ended up getting a spot in late August, right before school was to start- close call! Not only did we get a campsite in one of the most sought after campgrounds, we got an AMAZING spot, right on the Merced river in Lower Pines. SCORE!! I reserved 2 nights, then quickly realized that it’s a lot of trouble to go through for only two nights, why not make it three? I was lucky to find a third night online, a few minutes later at a different campsite within the same campground, but across the way against the woods. Sweet. I actually figured that we would barely last the first 2nights and be dying to get back to civilization after night one, so it wasn’t a big deal, just a back-up plan.

So, we packed the roof rack, the ice chest, camping stove, stroller, beer, and hit the road at 5am, the morning we had to check-in. The drive up was not so bad, thank the gods for lollipops… and Barbie Princess movies. We got there in about 8 hours, including stops, in plenty of time to set up camp at our amazing campground with our perfect view of Half Dome. Fortunately, we had done a test-run on the tent in the back yard a few weeks prior, so tent set-up took only about 30 minutes, and within about an hour, we were able to (almost) completely relax and enjoy our riverfront view, while the kids played in the dirt, helped us build a fire, make dinner and roast their first marshmallows. The kids thought the squirrels were pretty funny because they would jump up on the tables and literally remove your food from your plate, as you were trying to eat it, and stare you down while they stuffed their cheeks. It was really awesome when they chewed through our bread bag when I forgot to put it back in the bear (and apparently, squirrel) box for 5 minutes.

Our neighbors were close, but not too close… although, I kind of felt for the young, child-free group of people who were next to us. The babies were not exactly quiet, and in order to get anything done, I had to set them down somewhere, which meant the Pack-N-Play… which meant pissed off, crying babies. Who wants to hear screaming and crying when they are in one of the most beautiful places in the world, on a trip that probably took a lot of planning- I’m sure the last thing they wanted was screaming, whining children, and I certainly didn’t blame them. I could feel the annoyed vibes coming from the singleton camp, so, we ended up either holding, or wearing the babies on our backs a lot in the Ergo’s because we didn’t want to disturb them and ruin the experience, plus the babies seemed to enjoy being up high and part of the action.
We were having such a great time the first few days, that we decided that we WERE going to take that 3rd night! Not only that, but my parents suddenly decided to come up and join us at our new campsite, and they got there just in time to help us move our tent across camp. Apparently, this whole moving-camp thing is not an unusual because I saw a few people carrying their completely intact tents across camp and setting up elsewhere. Whew! We threw the tent on my dad’s truck, and drove it across camp. I’m sure that our neighbors were happy to see us go.
Our new campground was right up against the woods, not as glorious as the waterfront, but still an incredible spot and I was so glad I had kept the reservation. The kids had a good time helping us set up camp again, and I can’t even put into words what a relief it was to have grandma and grandpa there to help hold babies and cook food. They brought wine and yummy cheese and made actual meals- way more gourmet than the cereal and sandwiches that I had going on! I learned a lot on this trip, next time I’m not going to underestimate the power of the campfire. There are many delicious dishes to be made on that thing, but really, I think I should just pack my parents along for the next trip, that would cover all the bases. The new campground was very cozy (aside from my lingering thoughts of bear-attacks, which I most definitely kept to myself). It was very Oprah-goes-to-Yosemite, although my bear-fears were a little stronger in the new spot because we were against the WOODS now.

Apparently, in the wee hours of the mornings, the bears would roam the camps looking for grub, I could hear the rangers shooing them off, but we were extra strict about our bear box and there was nothing in the tent that they would want. At least this is what I kept telling myself every minute of every day there. Monte often walked to the general store at Camp Curry with a baby on his back, and I kept imagining a bear attacking them on the way to or from… once again, I kept this to myself.
The weather was perfection the whole trip, That day, we hiked to Mirror Lake and had a picnic on the sand while thekids frolicked in the water. We drank wine and ate cheese on a sheet that my parents were supposed to sleep on that night, but the babies peed on it… whoops. The girls ran around in the water, and we attempted to get the babies in because this was their only shot at a bath, which Atticus enjoyed all of 2 minutes and Beatrix not at all, she wanted no part of the water, and stayed on the sheet 90% of the time. Apparently you can pay $5 and shower at Camp Curry anytime you want. Camp Curry is a 5 minute walk from camp… good to know for next time because by the time we got home, the kids looked like homeless children.

The drive home took a little longer than the drive there, and for some ridiculous reason, we decided to stop in an Applebee’s for some grub in Fresno. We thought that the kids would enjoy stretching their legs, and eating an actual meal. I think everybody in the restaurant must have thought we were insane for even attempting, though, because if the babies weren’t on top of the table, they were running in different directions across the restaurant. They refused to sit in their high chairs, and we ended up taking all of our food to go. Why do we always forget that restaurants are off-limits with the kids, especially after going camping in the woods for 3 days? Overall, I am so glad that we were able to show the kids one of natures most beautiful accomplishments, and hopefully when the kids get a little bigger, we can hike the trails and spend a week, rather than 3 nights. When I went to Yosemite growing up, I never fully appreciated it. As a child, I didn’t realize what a big deal it was for my parents to take us on this adventure, and as a teenager, I was SO annoyed that they MADE me go on this BORING trip- really?? Who was that girl. So, I am very thankful to my parents for dragging my ungrateful behind to this beautiful place, and I hope my kids don’t resent me too much for doing the same to them for years to come.

Episode 1 of “Lisa and Liza” is here!