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!  😉

Flying The Friendly Skies!

Traveling with 4 kids is no easy feat. We checked in fine, and it was nice to unload the giant bags and only have our four rolling carry-on bags, backpacks, stroller, car seats, and children to deal with. My biggest fears for this trip were security, and boarding. The actual flight and getting everybody off the plane and into the car was a concern, but I feel like checking bags and clearing security is such a hurdle, but once that’s behind us I can breathe a bit.

Going through security, at one point Tiffany was showing her ID behind me and a TSA agent asked me with great concern if I was alone with the kids because that’s what it looked like at the moment. She was very relieved for me when I told her that I did indeed have help. The kids were not required to take off their shoes through security-SCORE! I was able to quickly collapse the stroller and place it on the belt, the girls were very good listeners and they put their own bags on the belt, then held the babies hands for us on the side while we finished loading the belt with bags, car seat, shoes, etc. Nobody wanted to line up behind us, of course, but I must say, we were very efficient! We got through as quickly as possible, with no hang ups, and the security personnel were extremely cheerful and helpful, and the other passengers were very kind and friendly. Once we were through, we even got a big round of applause! It was awesome.

Once we got settled at the gate, I took the girls and Atticus with me to get some Starbucks. The line was a good 20 minutes long, but we made it through with coffee for me, and some juice, yogurt, donuts, and muffins, as requested by the girls… so I thought. Apparently Aurora wanted a chocolate muffin, but i got her a banana nut muffin and I couldn’t hear her because it was so loud but she didn’t make it really known until we were done with our transaction and walking out of Starbucks. Aurora is our middle child, and while she is a bright, wonderful, sweet, loving, happy child most of the time, she has a dark side that reared its ugly head once the twins were born and she had to compete for the attention that she once had in abundance… for which i have a lot of guilt mixed with frustration. So, sometimes when she doesn’t get her way, she has a complete “possessed-by-Satan” meltdown that nothing can stop once it’s started. Nothing.

So there I was, halfway out of Starbucks, baby strapped to me, Ariel by my side, hands full of coffee and baked goods, and Aurora begins to scream “I HATE BANANA MUFFINS!!! I WANT A CHOCOLATE MUFFIN!!!!!” Shit. I was essentially trapped because my hands were full. Tiffany was at our seats in the terminal with Bea and couldn’t hear us, everybody’s staring at the lady with all the kids and Starbucks coffee and bags, Aurora is crying, and screaming “NO! I WANT A CHOCOLATE MUFFIN NOW!!” across the terminal. I asked Ariel to hold the bags of food while I tried grabbing Aurora’s arm and coaxing her out of Starbucks but she wasn’t having it. It looked really bad. I could feel everybody’s eyes burning into me. I finally had no choice but to leave Aurora, run over to our seats and toss all the crap down next to Tiffany, leave Ariel with her with no time to remove Atticus from the Ergo because Aurora was now alone, screaming her tushie off in front of Starbucks, and I’m sure people were concerned and security wasn’t far from intervening. All I could think about was the family who was kicked off of a Jet Blue flight just the week before because their 2 year old was having a tantrum. I had been mostly worried about the twins, but they were being perfect, even Atticus who was strapped to me as I raced across the terminal!  He happily bounced along with me, a little confused, but just enjoying the ride. I finally got back to Aurora and picked her screaming little body up, and carried her into a bathroom stall. She was still screaming about the chocolate muffin, and at this point, I definitely couldn’t give in because I would be rewarding her naughty behavior. So… I lied and told her that She could no longer go to New York, and that I was calling grandma to come pick her up. I felt kind of bad about it even as I was saying it- even now I still do a little, but I was desperate… and at first it didn’t even work, and then I got worried because I really believe in following through with threats so they know I mean business, but then again, it never even really works with Aurora, no matter how good my track record is with following through. It took about 10 minutes of fake calls to grandma to get her to stop crying, and once she was calmed down, we entered the terminal, and joined the rest of our group.

Once it was time to board, we were of course struggling to carry all of our bags, babies, and car seat onto the plane, so some flight attendants and a passenger were nice enough to help us out. A nice passenger carried my rolling carry-on bag for us, a flight attendant carried Beatrix to our seat because I was holding both the twins, plus a car seat and a backpack, and another flight attendant offered to take the car seat from me, and she kindly carried it to our seats, and the passenger lifted my bag into the overhead compartment and everything. How unexpected and wonderful that was! Once at our seats, the babies were in need of their naps. Atticus was enjoying the view out the window, so I nursed Bea to sleep before takeoff and she quietly slumbered in my lap. Atticus, strapped into his car seat, was so fascinated by the airplanes and trucks outside his window that the most noise he made was the sounds that trucks make, “Vrooom vroom!”, “Wow!” and “Ooooh!”. The girls were sitting quietly in their seats, and we were all settled and ready to go. A 30-something British couple found their seats behind us, and they immediately launched into a very loud hissy fit about being “surrounded by children”, and spend the last 10 minutes before takeoff trying desperately to change seats so they didn’t have to be near kids. They eventually got their wish and were moved 3 rows up- thank goodness- I don’t think I could have handled their glares and complaints for a whole flight. Atticus was jumping for joy at takeoff, and before we knew it, he was passed out in his seat. The babies took a 2 hour nap, and woke up refreshed and happy. The girls played with their iPods, colored and read books. Overall, it was an easy flight, considering, although a few of the flight attendants called me “crazy” for traveling with all these kids, despite having Tiffany for help. Once the plane landed and we were waiting for the plane to empty out, we got several compliments from passengers and flight attendants about how well behaved the kids were- score!
Fortunately we had a van service to pick us up because they got our bags to the car and we didn’t have to deal with that part of the adventure. Also, thank goodness we brought our own car seats because due to a miscommunication, there were 2 of them in the van and I think they had been manufactured in 1982. Overhead shield and all. No bueno. We got in late, so there was no traffic into the city, and the kids were in daddy’s arms in no time.

New York, New York!

Tomorrow we leave for New York to visit Monte while he works. He’s already been out there for a month, and we’re going to be visiting him for 2 months! We’re all really excited to see him, and to have a change of scenery for a while. I can’t wait to show the kids the museums, Central Park, the zoo, and the Statue Of Liberty. Although the older girls have been there before, they were so young at the time, I’m not sure they really remember any of it. It’s sure to be a grand adventure, but I’m pretty nervous about the airport and flight. Fortunately, I have the help of my friend and neighbor, Tiffany, she will be joining us for the whole trip to help with the kids.

Thankfully. Because I couldn’t do it without help.  I’m mostly worried about getting through airport security with 4 kids. Getting everybody’s shoes off, the stroller collapsed and loaded onto the belt, the two giant car seats for the twins, the carry-on bags, and then of course, getting the actual twins through before they run off while we’re busy doing all of the above, and then chasing them through the airport… which is what Ariel did to me years ago as a toddler when I flew to Europe with her and nobody helped me, rather, they rolled their eyes! It was probably because they were thinking “Wow, that lady is a moron, she can’t even get ONE kid through security without holding up the line. what. an. asshole.”

Okay, I guess security isn’t the only thing I’m worried about, I am also quite a bit worried about boarding the plane. Gate checking the stroller (and maybe one of the car seats) , dragging the car seat(s) onto the plane, pulling our carry-on bags and backpacks… and oh, yeah, somehow carrying the babies along as well. This might be where the Ergos come in handy so we can go hands-free. I’m assuming the girls will be pretty easy. I imagine that Atticus will be running up and down the aisles the entire flight, saying hello to all of the other passengers and trying to take their electronics, and Beatrix will hopefully sit peacefully in her seat, munching on snacks, and the girls can play with their iPods or watch a movie on the iPad.
Then there will be our arrival at JFK, and getting everybody off the plane, getting our luggage, loading up the car, and driving into the city. I don’t know why I ever bought black luggage in the past, because as nice looking and basic as it is, it’s almost impossible to find your luggage on the carousel at the airport amongst all of the other black pieces! So, this time, I got the loudest, most obnoxious suitcase colors I could find. Fortunately for me, TJ Maxx is full of all that luggage that (for some mysterious reason) don’t sell as well in the real stores. I’m pretty sure that I got some suitcases from Austin Powers’ personal collection, so there will be no mistaking it!
Here’s to a smooth journey to the other coast!

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.


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.