Time to do the duty….

I found a draft in my blog posts with this title. I clicked on it, excited to find out where on earth I was going with a title like that, but sadly it had no content. Too bad, I’m sure that post was going to be a good one.

Anyway, I have a lot of laundry to put away, so I thought I would eat a twizzler and write a 7 quick takes post instead, because I like to be spontaneous.

Let’s see, where to begin…

1~ I have been in an enormous meal-making rut lately. Which is ridiculous, because I live in a first would country and have access to glutenous amounts of food 24 hours a day. But somehow when I am faced with the job of deciding what to make for dinner, I can only think of eggs…


I don’t even scramble the eggs, I just plop them in a skillet and carve them out when they’re done. I serve them elegantly with a side of toast and frozen peas…

2~ I do actually make things besides eggs for dinner, obviously. I don’t want you thinking the only thing I cook is lazily plopped eggs. But anytime I make a meal that isn’t hotdogs, I can pretty much count on at least 2 of my 6 kids gagging during dinner. (Worse than 33% on the gag-ometer, and I usually don’t make the meal again.) But it feels like I still have to see a lot of gagging.  What am I doing wrong? Should I just be resigned to keeping my eyes closed while the kids are eating?


The only thing ALL of my kids like on this plate is the okra. That is so weird. They like the slimiest, hairiest vegetable, but they won’t eat baked chicken.  I never ate okra as a kid (I like it now), but I’m willing to bet that if I had tried it, I wouldn’t have been crazy about it.

3. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I live vicariously through my children’s strait hair. Ann, in particular, has the hair I always wanted…


Her hair is long, not frizzy, and can be brushed without having to cut the brush out of her hair when she’s done.

4~ Also, I can braid her hair…


*My* hair looks like one giant dreadlock when I try and braid it. You can’t even make out the braid in all of the fuzz. But Ann’s hair on the other hand, looks dreamy. I am just fascinated by strait hair…

5~ Mary Claire has taken up store crying. It was never a consistent problem in the past, so I don’t know what is bringing on the waterworks now. Maybe she is just becoming more sentimental in her old age? Perhaps she is just filled with so much gratitude for being pushed around like a queen that she just can’t contain her emotions and wants to leap out of the cart for her unworthiness?  Maybe its the broken buckle in the cart that causes her to lament the poor quality of plastic products? Whatever the reason is, its loud.


This particular day the light bulb section was her undoing. Maybe the environmentalist in her couldn’t stand the sight of non-energy efficient light bulbs.

6~ But outside of store shopping, MC Hammer is pretty delightful.


So delightful in fact, that I didn’t see the sand she was clutching behind her back about to throw in my face…

7~ Lastly, and on a more serious note, you might consider sending up a few prayers for Rosie (who hosts My Sunday Best) and her little in-utero baby. It looks like her baby might be facing some unexpected challenges in the future (you can read about it here) and I am sure she would appreciate any prayers you have to offer. Many thanks!

Have a great Saturday night!




“I’m Bored”

That’s the current trending statement in our house. And I can’t say that I disagree…which is why I’m linking up with Kelly again! Blog away the boredom I always say! (Which always prompts my children to point out they don’t know how to type…or have blogs.)

1~Gabe needs to start a support group for “Bored-aholics Anonymous”.  (Of course by posting this information on the internet, I might have made the anonymity part harder for him.) Of all my children, he is the most bored. He just came over and sat down and said “I’m bored”. So I took a picture of him, which made him mad. But hey! It cured the boredom for a minute! The first step, in the 12 step process for Bored-aholics; have your mother take a leggy picture of you in your gym shorts.


Each time I see a picture of our stairs with the picture hanging on the wall, I like to recall how Mark and I risked our lives to hang that picture. Hanging it involved multiple ladders, awkwardly placed at angles on the stairs.  I would hope that if we had indeed died in the process, that someone would have had the decency to make that picture into our headstone, with the words “Death by Decor” on it.

2~I would love to say that *I* am immune to boredom because “I’m just so busy raising 6 kids that I have NO TIME to be bored!”, but the truth is, I get bored a lot too. Sure. there’s no shortage of things to do, but those things are usually boring. Waking up? Boring. Mundane kitchen cleaning? Boring. Any game my children want me to play (which I do with plenty of enthusiasm because I love them)? Boring. I could name other obvious household chores (laundry?), but that would be BORING. It just serves as further proof that you can have a lot of crap…I mean things, but they won’t make you happy. Or in this case, they won’t cure your boredom.

3~Whenever the kids tell me “I’m bored! Nobody wants to play with me!”, I tell them “Nobody wants to play with you!!?? That’s a weak argument for being bored. I was an only child; I never had anyone to play with. I played alone all the time.” The kids never have any sympathy for me though. Which is why when I am helping Gabe come up with things to do by himself he says “Oh! I bet you did this a lot in your lonely life as a kid!”.


Gabe really doesn’t like having his picture taken. He was so mad when I wanted a picture of him after he fell on his face into a puddle of mud.  I am such a caring mother, “yah, yah, you’re mad. Now hold still so I can get this picture; you look hilarious.”  (I *only* demonstrated that last part with my actions, I probably did not say those words out loud.)

3~Good gracious! I’m getting bored-er (a word?) just reading about boredom. Let’s move on…

4~Kelly’s 7 Quick takes post today was really amusing. I know I already linked to it above, but I always enjoy beating a dead horse. Sometimes if you hit it just right, you can get one more good neighhhh out of it. (Too morbid? For the record, I only actually enjoy the neighing of a live horse.) Kelly’s dedication to taking pictures as visual aids is unmatched; I highly encourage you to take a moment to appreciate her work.  (See, neighhh!)

5~I veered from my normally mundane rotation of the same 7 meals, and made stromboli the other night. Its always delicious, and I think it is the kids favorite meal.  I don’t make it often….because it requires me to make bread…and because not only do I make bad jokes about dead horses, I can sometimes be lazy.  (Basically, I’m a terrible human being.)

Anyway, one of my favorite things to do when cooking is to find ways to cut corners (work smarter, not harder!) and I have found that when making bread, a person can cut corners like CRAZY! Unless you have invited an artisan bread maker from Italy over for dinner, your dinner guests probably won’t notice you cut corners…or at least they won’t tell you they noticed.

I always follow the standard recipe of warm water, yeast, blah blah blah, but then I leave the safe world of following directions, and become a bread-y rebel! I stab it with a spoon for a minute (or 2!), kneed it for a minute (or 2!), and then… I DON”T LET IT RISE! I just put the toppings on and bake it! (All of the seasoned bread makers are tearing their garments, lamenting my faux pas). But honestly, the lack of rising doesn’t make enough of a difference in the bread for me to care.


The spoon stabbing. A technical process.

6~ This picture makes it look like Mary Claire has a special gift.  Like, if we went to baseball game, we would not have to buy her one of those giant foam, “We’re #1” hands.


7~That’s all I’ve got for now (thank goodness)! Fairest of Fridays to you fine folk!

Au Natural…

Inviting myself to Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes party again!

1~ I will start out by saying that it has been very hot and sweaty here in this sauna we call Kansas.  Unfortunately, this means some days require more than one shower a day for me, depending on how poorly I plan my activities. A typical, poorly-planned shower day, goes as follows…

Wake up


Yell at children (lovingly)

Go to Mass/Go out in public

Yard work (to add a first layer of sweat)

Give children food

Tranquilize children with naps/television

Work out (to add a second, deadly layer of sweat)

Shower again

2~ Why do I bother showering in the morning when I have just showered in the evening, you may be wondering? Well, because…vanity.

I know a lot of lucky people who can go long amounts of time without washing their hair, but not this lady. Without water and copious amounts of conditioner and gel, I cannot take my frazzled noggin out in public (Well, I could, but my hair in its au natural state would make people uncomfortable).

My hair does not look good after being slept on and I don’t like to waste hair gel on my hair in the evening, so I wake up with…


…Volume for daaayyyyyyyys. And the subtle appearance of a psychiatric patient.

3~ Perhaps a collage would be fun…

big hair

You can change the face, but it doesn’t change the hair. I’m pretty sure even if Locks of Love was DESPERATE for hair, they would still turn me down, “Uhhhhh mam, we’re here to help people, not humiliate them”. And just to clarify, that *is* my naturally long neck, no Photoshop there!

4~ This is why I buy bottles of hair gel the size of my head.


Just a bit (a lot) of hair gel, and I look like I can be trusted to drive a car again. Also, I’m not trying to intimidate you, by leaning in for this photograph. I am just forcibly showing you my hair gel.

4~ On another note, as I mentioned above, I have been “working out” as part of my poorly planned sweaty day. And just to be clear, I use the expression “working out” very loosely. Please do not be under the impression that I do anything amazing. I am just a normal person flailing their limbs around to raise their heart rate… and I normally eat some Twizzlers when I’m done (I could probably stand to cut out the twizzlers).

I would be curious what more proficient worker-outers would have to say or recommend. I have been alternating doing these workouts from this youtube channel and running. I only do the workouts that are body-weight only. I don’t have any equipment (because ain’t nobody got storage for that!…especially people who have 6 children. I have enough trouble storing the children).

The youtube workouts are a pretty good mix of “I may be flailing, but I can do this”, and “I am probably dying”.  But when I want to come as close to a cardiac death as possible, I do this stairs exercise. I’m really trying to improve my abdominal area (thanks kids), so if anyone has any other bright ideas to offer, please do. My midsection would thank you.

5~Side note: While trying to write this post today I have been holding Mary Claire because she has a little bit of a fever.  I find it amusing that she likes to cover her nose with the corner of her blanket. She does this all the time, not just when she is not feeling well. I just can’t seem to understand how breathing all of that hot recycled air is comforting…

FullSizeRender (5)

She will probably grow up to be that person on the airplane breathing into a paper bag.

6~ Due to my excessive showering, I feel like my summer dinner creativity has ceased to exist. All summer we have basically just been eating tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, spaghetti, and waffles.  (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that is a lot of food items for one meal.  However, if you ever tried one of Mark’s maple syrup covered taco-dog-burger-waffle-spaghetti, you would know why his restaurants keep going out of business. Kidding of course. Since I am a lazy cook, I would never make all those items the same night; probably much to Mark’s disappointment.)

7~ And while I am making the same repetitive meals, the kids pull all of the pots and pans out, fight over them for 5 minutes, and then leave them for me to clean up.


Maybe the kids think that the sight of all my cooking supplies will trigger a memory of something besides taco-dog-burger-waffle-spaghetti.

Oh well, we’re not starving over here. So life goes repetitively on!

I hope your Saturday is spent doing something more exciting than this blog post! Bon Voyage!!!


Do you tape socks to your walls?

Its Friday! 7 Quick Takes day! Where would I be without 7 QT? Its so much easier to put my useless dribble into bullet point form. Kelly’s Quick Takes are much better than mine, so if you need to cleanse your brain palette after reading Mary Big Hair, head on over to hers.

Off we go!

1~ Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…


….Unless your children make it for you. Then its the weirdest meal of the day.

For some reason, my thoughtful child (Gabriel) decided I was in need of breakfast in bed recently. I don’t question his intentions, but I do question his breakfast choices. Everything in the above breakfast basket is legit breakfast food, except for the chips. Gabe was so excited, jumping up and down yelling “The spicy chips were my idea!!!!” that I couldn’t refuse to eat them. So I tried to enjoy some spicy chips first thing in the morning. It wasn’t too bad, and it definitely wasn’t as weird as drinking soy sauce.

2~ I’ve been curious to try the oven cleaning method I keep seeing on Pinterest. (And by curious, I mean avoiding it until I absolutely had to). I’m referring to the method that uses baking soda and vinegar. So I did it, and sadly it required actual effort.


I kept getting my hair caught in the heating coils. And wow do I have bags under my eyes. I need to get some eye cream…or sleep…or stop using cookies to cleanse my palate after eating Sour Patch Kids candy

The picture on Pinterest made it look like you effortlessly spray it on, let it set, and then wave your hand over it like a princess dismissing her servants, and it is CLEAN! But no. So much no. It did get the oven clean, eventually, but it was not graceful.

3~Mary Claire


A baby wearing a baby. Adorable. Much cuter than an adult Mark, wearing his Teddy Ruxpin backpack.

She loves toting around her baby in that baby carrier. Sadly, the same cannot be said for me. Once my babies are able to control their hands, our baby carrier situation is not so cute anymore. If the toy makers could make a doll that simulates hair pulling and screaming, Mary Claire would be giving her baby a ride in a stroller instead.

4~If my children ever learn to cook, it will not be because they learned from me. Nothing makes me crazier than cooking with children. The questions, the fighting over who gets to pour something, the questions…


I distracted them from “helping” me by giving them food. Food seems to solve a lot of problems with children. On an unrelated note, where on earth do people learn to eat their feelings?…

5~I eat my feelings. And boredom is the most delicious feeling of all. My metabolism is still decent at the moment, but it won’t last forever, so I need to get things together before my metabolism totally fails me. I tried giving up eating my feelings for Lent this year, but that was before I realized how many feelings I had. I just need to come up with an alternative…maybe smoking? (I am completely joking.)

6~Remember that First World Problems video? I’m sure you do. Well, I think of that video (the part where the guy is kneeling by the trunk of his car crying because “I bought too many groceries and now I have to make TWO trips!”) every time I carry in my groceries using these bags…


I like these bags because I can sometimes get all the groceries inside in one really painful trip. I hang one bag from each arm and make a run for it, like I’m doing some obstacle on The Biggest Loser. Wouldn’t want to have to make 2 trips. (A big thank you to Erika who bought these bags for me. Now people can blame her for perpetuating my laziness ;)). Also, I’m glad Erika didn’t get me three bags, because I would look silly using these two, with the third around my ostrich neck.

7~Ann used her own money to buy some duct tape at the store. I tried to gently persuade her to buy something else, by asking “What are you going to do with duct tape?!” but she insisted…


…and I guess she showed me.  She used her duct tape to lay out her clothes for the next day… socks included. She was a little disappointed when I told her she couldn’t put duct tape on the walls anymore.

And on that note, I wish you the finest of weekends filled only with the cleanest ovens, the most carefully planned outfits, and the spiciest of chips.

Walmart buns are the worst.

Here I am just stalking Kelly’s blog again and linking up with 7 Quick Takes!…

1~I am currently in the middle of several projects which include the yard, chalk painting a desk, finishing off a minor bathroom reno, and switching out my children’s clothes to the appropriate size/season (all the very firsts of first world problems). So obviously I’m blogging right now, just excited to share all sorts of things no one besides me could possibly care about…

2~Recently I sent Mark to the store to grab some buns (sounds inappropriate, but its not) for our exquisite hot dog dinner. The job turned out to be somewhat…confusing?…


Should we blindly trust the label and suppress any memory we have of the shape of a hot dog? Did someone bump a lever with their elbow at the Walmart hot dog bun factory?  …Whatever, let’s just eat ’em – they’re enriched!

I have so many questions about that bun situation, but Walmart offered no explanation. They could have at least put a sign out that said “Sorry! There was a mishap at the Bun Factory. I guess we shouldn’t have had the ‘Wear a blindfold day’ during spirit week.”…….I’m not even certain Walmart knows this occurred. Also, the shelf looks fairly empty.  How many Walmart shoppers bought these and either A.) didn’t notice or care about the label, or B.) thought, “I don’t remember hot dogs being patty shaped, but then again, I also sometimes forget where I put my car keys…”

3~I share this next picture because I am quite sure I am the first parent ever to take a picture of their children wearing sunglasses.


Set them on a piano bench next to Stevie Wonder and they would blend right in…

4~Not too long ago Gabe came up to me very proud of his attire and said “Take my picture!”


Then he said “These are for picking up poop!”…. (?!?!?!?!?!? Cue my interior panic attack about what poop, and where, and WHY ON EARTH IS HE PICKING IT UP?!?!?!?!?!) Thankfully it was just Lego poop (????) Such an enthusiastic smile, for such a questionable activity.

5~Sometimes when I don’t have time to make a list to go grocery shopping I just take pictures of my pantry and refrigerator on my phone and try to wing it (I think I saw this idea on Pinterest? Though it doesn’t seem like a very Pinteresty idea)…


Please don’t judge my potatoes….

Its definitely not as effective as planning ahead and making a list (go figure, I was shocked too,) but its leagues better than just using my memory. The only draw-back is if your phone dies, which is exactly what happened to me yesterday when I used the remainder of my battery up taking pictures of this….



He is the first of my children to attempt applying mascara without permission. He was very concerned with the mascara on his hands.  If only he knew….

I didn’t want to have to run back to the house to clean him off so I tried removing it with wipes. The wipes got most of it off. It just left him looking like he was wearing heavy eye liner.  I will tell you what, grocery shopping with a miniature Jack Sparrow feels weird. (I briefly considered asking my nephew, Alex, to Photoshop Eli into a picture of Jack Sparrow because he did such a good job photo-shopping these Johnathan Taylor Thomas curtains into my kitchen to go along with this post…)


7~I’m going to go ahead and give you a break here and spare you a #7. Go forth and live all the joy of a Friday night spent yelling at each other around the dinner table, frantically throwing kids in and out of a bath tub, and (if you are Mary Claire) running around with no pants on…




7QT~ The time I lived in a men’s dorm for 3 years…

Linking up with Kelly again for 7 Quick Takes (7QT). I will just keep doing this on Friday’s until she tells me I can’t anymore.

1. After Mark and I graduated college and got married in ye old 2003, Mark’s first job was as a Resident Manager at a college. So naturally, we lived in a men’s dorm. But I didn’t care! Because I was just excited to be moving in with Mark Arnold…ah, young love.


2003: Before digital photography was readily available . There were so many pictures of people blinking…and you didn’t even know it until it was too late.


My parents were so proud of me on my wedding day.

2. I quickly learned that College boys smell like microwaveable burritos and dirty socks. Perhaps it was because the dorm was built when my parents were in grade school, and the smell had built up over the years, but either way the smell was hard to shake.

3. After a month of marriage I found out we were expecting baby numero uno. I’m not going to say living in a men’s dorm was the *most* awkward way to transition into newlywed life and pregnancy. When considering Mark’s other probable job prospects, (prison island guard, carnival worker, or shrimp boat skipper,) I suppose there are jobs with more awkward or smelly environments to live in, but the dorm certainly wasn’t the *least* awkward. Was I mildly nervous I was going to end up delivering my baby in front of a bunch of stunned freshman boys? No. I was petrified. But all turned out well, and baby Gianna was delivered in a hospital miles away from the microwaveable burrito-socks.


A fond remembrance of Mark’s full head of hair…except for that one forebalding patch.

4. Speaking of the smell of dirty microwavable-burrito socks…when I was first pregnant, God bestowed upon me a VERY heightened sense of smell accompanied by extreme nausea. So, every time a college boy would throw one of those fragrant burritos into the lobby microwaves, the smell would come wafting through the air vents sending me into a nauseous panic.  During my panic I would desperately try to open all 4 rusty metal windows at the same time to get some fresh air. Fortunately, the college boys only microwaved burritos ALL THE TIME.

5. Part of Mark’s salary as a Resident Manager included free passes to the cafeteria! 3 meals a day! For 3 years! I never really minded college cafeteria food…. for the first 4 years when I was actually in college. But then as the years kept passing, and I kept eating cafeteria food, it kind of lost its luster. (Of course I don’t mean literally lost it’s luster; one of the hallmarks of a good cafeteria is deep-fried food complete with a strong grease sheen…”kitchen luster” is the culinary term I believe.)

Don’t get me wrong, I was very grateful to have food. I could always make a tasty meal out of Fruit Loops. But it was becoming more and more difficult to identify the meat, “Is it a beef patty? No, its too grey. Is it chicken? No, its too grey. Maybe it’s duck?” Even now, as I struggle to make dinner with a bunch of kids yelling at me (they are worse than Gordon Ramsey on Hell’s Kitchen), I am just glad to know what type of meat I’m eating and what exactly is in my casserole.


Our mostly unused kitchen. Don’t let yourself become consumed with jealousy for all that counter space OR cabinet space OR 1950’s appliances.That mini fridge smelled terrible….but at least my ironing board was handy.

6. One of the downsides to this incredibly-perk filled environment that I have described thus far, is that as a Resident Manager you have to enforce rules upon large college boys who don’t like rules. So, when students would come knocking on our apartment door looking for Mark (when he wasn’t around,) I would hide. I would sit motionless, without breathing, until they left. I always presumed they were mad at Mark for something, and I hate confrontation.


For the last 2 years of our college dorm life Mark and I slept in a loft bed. Since we only had one bedroom we had to make room for us, the dressers, and baby Gianna. The loft became a little tricky to navigate during my second pregnancy, and clearly we never made the bed.

7. Overall its amusing to look back on. Although, I’m not so sure the college boys who lived next door to us with our screaming baby were all that amused, but at least they got a little taste of night time parenting…


Gianna. 3 months old. Learning the in’s and out’s of college life early on, and apparently eating her fill of cafeteria food.

A jolly Friday to  you and yours!

Its drafty in here.

(I am joining Kelly again for 7 quick takes, per the usual)

Well look what the winds of May (2015) have blown in…an old blog post I never finished!

So I was going through my draft posts and I came across this one, which I wrote in MAY of LAST YEAR. Apparently, I went through all the trouble of uploading the pictures and writing words… and then let it die. Well, not anymore! Rise Lazarus!…and hopefully this post does not stinketh too much!

It’s really not *that* great of a post, but it did help remind me of when Gianna used to make me play the most painful games of charades with her. Martyr-parent over here; the early Christians would be so impressed. “Ravenous lions you say?! [me scoffing arrogantly.] Let me tell you about the 7 trials of childhood entertainment…”

So without any further martyrdom adieu, I give you:

7 things you can do this summer with your kids….

1. Sit on a roof. But just sit. It was dangerous enough climbing up there…

This activity normally only lasts about 5 minutes before sitting on the roof gets boring. So, try and have something planned for afterward.


2. Dress all your children alike. They like it. It makes them feel like something is happening. “Now that you’re dressed alike, you’ve earned the privilege of sitting on a couch!”  Yeahh!!!

Here are the kids in their traditional labor day outfits.


3. Yard trash; play with it! Not the broken beer bottles or old car batteries, but sticks or branches are great. I simultaneously file this one under “Creative Thrifty Toys” and “Lazy Parenting.”

Spinning in circles with a stick. Totally safe idea. What could possibly go wrong?


4. Have an Easter egg hunt. Its never too late.

If this picture were in an art exhibit I would title it “The Boxcar children in suburbia”…I don’t know, I guess they just look disheveled to me.


5. Play charades. Gianna (whom I love dearly, with my whole heart, really I do) does not excel at this game.  However, she loves the attention. Her clues are extremely unhelpful and she ALWAYS comes up with some overly-complicated thing to act out.

Here’s an example…a real life example:

(Gianna flailing on the floor)

Me: Your’re a scuba diver?

G: No.

Me: You’re choking?

G: No.

Me: You’re a turtle stuck on its back?

G: No, Mom! I’m a fairy godmother who just fell off a unicorn.

I’m not kidding. I did NOT make that up. Her ideas are always *totally* un-guessable. So many wanna be comedians in this family. Its an epidemic.

When you are trying to be funny, but end up looking like you are having a bowel movement. We’ve all been there, right? Right?!…..Please tell me you’ve been there.


6. Make blanket forts.

Good for creativity, but GREAT for starting violent physical arguments. Always the beginning of World War 4. (We’ve already had WWIII which started by riding in the car together).

“We’ll clean it up when we’re done, Mom! We promise!” -Liars


7. Lay down, and have your immediate family members come greet you one by one. This one might feel awkward at first for the teens in your family, but we all know they need attention too.

And she began to wonder if she would ever experience this mysterious “alone” people speak of…

And that’s the end. I would be flattered if someone wanted to submit this post to a Kansas summer travel magazine.