Thursday, July 30, 2009

Christmas in July

My back is peeling quite nicely. Nothing brings the family together like sitting around mom's back and peeling off her dead skin.

The girls think it's great. I think we might have peeled too soon. Regardless, whenever I shed clothing there is a flurry of skin that falls around me. It is like snow. Who says you can't have Christmas in July.

Now I just need to turn the AC up and make myself some hot chocolate.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Daddy Tax

Daddy Tax: [da-de taks ] noun plural: —xes. 1. The portion of a child's meal, Halloween candy, video game time, etc. that a father rightly takes as his own, mostly because the child wouldn't be there without him. This particularly applies to things that a father buys for a child. 2. The primary method fathers teach the principle: “there are no free lunches.”

The above definition is an amalgamation of the definition available at urban dictionary (

The US Tax Code is referenced in US Law as “Title 26 of the US Code of Federal Regulations.” It consists of 20 volumes, comprised of 13,458 pages of litigation [futily] trying to explain every conceivable circumstance under which the government feels it should be entitled to collect dollars from American citizens. For just $974 you too can own a copy of the tax code! But wait! That's not all! For another $179 you can have the additional 3,387 pages Congress added—bringing the total to 16,845 pages of legislative accounting blather. So the cost of knowing what taxes will cost you (and just Federal taxes) is, one might say, "taxing." I slay myself, but I digress.

In nearly seventeen thousand pages of composed chaos, the government manages to mention the Daddy Tax by name exactly 233^0 times.

(For those of you who don't like math, this is a very controversial statement—any number raised to the 0 power should be 1, except you can't divide by it's actually 0 or more specifically undefined. Some even like to say impossible!) Okay, so if you're one of those people that just flipped to the back of the book to get the answers...233^0 is nothing.

Isn't this riveting? Back to the Daddy Tax.

Maleen made brownies tonight. I like brownies. I like brownies so much that as self-appointed King of the Realm, I levied a hefty tax on brownies. The girls each got a brownie about one and a half inch square, and then I got mine: something in the realm of four and a half inches somewhat rectangular. The girls asked for another brownie, and the King of the Realm replied with a simple, “No,” while I was shoveling in another brownie.

There are NO FREE LUNCHES, (unless you've earned them by being King of the Realm, but that wasn't free either, was it).

Now before all you moms get after me for depriving my children of the comforts of life, let it be known that the subjects receive adequate comforts of life; the Daddy Tax is rarely invoked; and finally (and most importantly) it's my Realm, so I arrest and execute every traitor to the Realm that dare speak against the Daddy Tax.

Excuse me, it's time for another brownie.

PS, the education on tax code is free—you're welcome.

The Black Sheep

Or in this case...the black dog. And by black, I mean totally fallen from my good graces.

If my children (read: Robyn) didn't love that rodent so much, I would get rid of her. I can't stand Moxy's lack of obedience. She 'pretends' to do what you want, while you are watching, but the moment your back is turned, she does whatever she darn well pleases. The wounds are probably too fresh to be writing this post, but I shall tell you anyway.

Yesterday, I made quiche. I LOVE my quiche. The crust isn't so fantastic because I have never been an excellent crust maker (wait, maybe I am not so much like Snow White as I imagined) but the filling is a delicious blend of bacon, cheese, cream, spinach, and egg (for the record I hate spinach so I love eating quiche because then I feel like I am conquering my aversion, but really you can't taste the spinach at all). Now, on a normal night, the kids will eat hardly any, Tyler and I will have a good sized slice, but then I usually have almost half a quiche for myself to save for later. Yum. However, last night we had company, Bro. Maxwell, and he had seconds, as well as June and the baby ate an entire slice herself. This left only a quarter of the quiche left, and after I sent some leftovers home with Bro. Maxwell for lunch, there was only a small little sliver left; not nearly enough for me, but it would make a good midnight snack.

It was like a little treat I was saving for myself, like the chocolate bar in the drawer that you reward yourself with after finishing a task. I figured I would get all the kids in bed, and then Tyler and I would watch some TV and I would eat my quiche. The kids were finally settled, I took Tyler's hand and we headed downstairs. I heard a slight clinking of dishes and I thought, Did one of the kids get up to get a drink? This is when I saw the dog lick the final crumbs from the pie dish and jump down from the table.


Moxy has gotten on the table before and has been severely scolded for it. I falsely thought that maybe she had learned something. Nope. I tossed her unceremoniously out the door and then left her in the kennel for a few hours. Grr.

But my heart softened over the evening and I thought that surely now she would stay off my dining room table. So imagine my surprise when I packed the kids in the car this morning to go shopping. I had everyone ready to go, I put the dog back inside, walked to the car and realized that I had forgotten my key. So, I popped back in the door, decided to check for any money I needed to deposit and I rounded the corner to see the dog drinking out of Robyn's cup on the table.


She didn't learn a thing!! She does whatever she pleases! I hadn't been gone for over a minute and she was back on my table. I was very proud of myself. I simply picked her up gently and put her back in her kennel (I have learned that yelling doesn't help—she tends to pee all over the place). So I need to be realistic about this. She is not going to be allowed to be in the house alone. She will have to be put in her kennel whenever we leave. But she has brought this on herself. I don't even feel bad for her.

I guess you can't teach a sneaky dog new tricks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I feel like I have been on a blogging fast. It is almost unheard for me to go four days without posting. And not that I have anything very interesting to say at the moment, but I feel the need to keep updated.

The news around here is how amazed I am at the destruction little children can cause. One day does not go by without something being broken, ruined, decimated, destroyed. A lot of the time it is their toys, and it makes me frown and wonder why I even buy them toys in the first place. But after this week, I know why; I would rather have them destroying their toys than our stuff.

I was complaining to Tyler about all the stuff they get into in the house and he said I should let them play outside more often. Yep, this resulted in TWO broken bikes. I think the paperboy ran over one (a scooter), and then one of our little trikes was obviously sat on by a larger child (maybe not even ours in this case) and really messed up. Someone colored with crayon on the driveway (why, when they have so much sidewalk chalk? Granted if you teach your kids they can color on the sidewalk with one implement I could see the jump to trying something else, but they would have had to go inside to get crayons, while the whole driveway is littered with sidewalk chalk) and then Robyn took one of Dad's drum sticks (the soft yarn-wrapped kind), dipped it in a bowl of old car oil and painted the driveway as well. Tyler is no longer so hip about them playing outside.

I'm not sure how to keep them in check without playing police 24/7. I must keep reminding myself that I should laugh at these moments now because all too soon they will be teenagers and doing things that will probably drive me to write my own messages on the driveway with motor oil.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...

We were supposed to be in Idaho this week, but due to sad events (Grandma getting ill) we were forced to stay here instead. Truthfully I am slightly relieved, but only because I wasn't really relishing the four hour drive by myself (which is eight hours once you head home). I am terribly saddened that we won't be seeing family, as are the girls, so I thought that I would try to make it up to them by taking them swimming.

Now, do not expect pictures of this event, because watching four girls at a pool is plenty for me to worry about without adding a camera into the mix (water+camera=Tyler not letting me buy any more expensive toys for myself...EVER).

We did have a brilliantly good time. Water, fun, sun, even some creamies...what more could you ask for? Even Nedra came with us and she watched the baby for moments so I could take the girls on the big slides. Yay for summer and all that.

But there is still more to the story, the best part in my opinion. This is the part where I get to play a princess. Naturally, I am sure that you would see me as Belle (because of my hair color and my affinity for books), but my secret princess identity is that of Snow White, because I am most certainly the fairest of them all. And by fairest here, I mean light skinned and not smatteringly gorgeous (darn). I have been the fairest for years in fact. I think my record is only twenty minutes in the sun for a spectacular burn, so I am no fool when it comes to sunscreen...I wear it. Period.

Today was no different, except in a few minor (crucial) details. I was busy lathering up the children. I didn't have an adult around so I beckoned Robyn over and asked her to do my back. June wanted in on the action and I told them that I had plenty of back to go around. I squirted a few spritzes back there and they went to town. In the meantime while kids were lotioning me up, I was working on the baby, making sure she was nice and UV protected. I wasn't paying much attention to their work, but after all, two sets of hands are better than one. Then we were all set. Kinda.

This is where you have probably already figured out that I was NOT all set; that perhaps you should not put your chances of skin cancer in the hands of a five and six year old. And so I have this fabulous burn to show for it. See the burn.

The upper right corner was where Robyn was working and I think June did a good job taking care of my lower back. That is where the protection ends and the pain starts. Not to mention some feelings of guilt and stupidity. You would think after playing the part of Snow White all these years that I would have learned...that I would double check and perhaps put a second layer of sunscreen on. I mean it can't hurt when you are the fairest in the land. But no. Not today.

So for a just a while, when I look in my magic mirror, all I can say is, "Ouch!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

LHOTP (Pronounced El Hot Pee)

Raise your hand if you know who I'm talking about when I refer to Charles Ingalls, star of a famous television series. Okay, those who aren't raising hands yet, how about Caroline Ingalls, his wife? Maybe Mary, Carrie, or Grace, their children?

Alright, a few more hints: This particular show featured the community of Walnut Grove, Minnesota in the 1870s. The show aired 203 episodes over nine years on NBC during the golden age of television. It's the winner of ten awards including four prestigious Emmy Awards, but it gained its fame for the timeless values taught on television, yes on television!

Hmm. If you haven't got any clue yet, there's no hope for you. You're either too young or you've been drowned in the mindless blather of modern television.

Well, it's time to be out with it. I've recently fell back in love with this show. It seems to be on whenever I want to watch TV! Our girls have been watching LHOTP as well—and this is a show you'll never feel bad showing any child of any age. The crazy thing is that parents can enjoy it too (not just endure it).

So it's probably killing you right? What is El Hot Pee? I don't know where El Hot Pee comes from, but LHOTP stands for Little House On The Prairie.

Yes, I'm coming out of the outhouse (they didn't have closets back then): I watch Little House on the Prairie, and I like it. I don't have to hide it anymore like I did as a young man in high school. I'm out and I'm proud! Now, before this starts sounding too much like a march in San Francisco, I need to go watch some more Charles Ingalls. Just tonight, we watched him and his fellow Walnut Grovers win a baseball game against the evil, no-good, cheating Slick McBurney of Sleepy Eye. Gambling, sportsmanship, honesty, work, play, integrity, and fun—just a little of what my daughters learned about tonight.

BTW, if you were wondering what years it ran through, I found out for ya: September 11, 1974, to March 21, 1983. This thanks to wikipeida.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's That Time Again

It is my Blogoversary again. Two years of my thoughts and experiences. I have to admit that I am giving myself a pat on the back, because as much as I always wanted to be a journal keeper, I was never very good. I have dozens of books with my chicken scratch proclaiming that I would be better in that particular journal and then months would go by before I put in another entry.

But here are two years proving I can be fairly consistent at something. So, Happy Blogoversary to ME, and all you other people that enjoy reading my ramblings. Thanks for sharing in my life. It means more to me than you realize.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lame Summer Mommy

So last year I was very pregnant so we didn't do much at the beginning of summer. Then I had Daisy, and with a new-born, we didn't do much for the end of summer.

I would like to say that I am making up for all that this year. Instead, I am regularly nauseous and I spend most of the time making my self small snacks (that I don't share) to hold off the illness. The rest of the time I am trying to fit in a nap (which is fairly impossible with four children).

The results are in: I win the LAME SUMMER MOMMY for two years running.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Daisy by Any Other Name Would Be as Sweet

She hath reacheth a year of living. We doth celebrate in the fashion of our fathers before. We lighteth the candle.

She eateth the cake,

heartedly after first appraisal.

We giveth the gifts.

She doth quickly take to the skill of her father.

We maketh merry after our fashion.

And thus, another birthday hath been counted on our road to grace.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You Know You're Pregnant If...

...someone mentions chocolate and it doesn't sound that great.

Hand Me Downs

You gotta love hand me downs. I don't know how we would survive without them. Having four girls, it works well to pass things from one to the next. June is hard enough on clothes by herself that sometimes she wears something out before it even has a chance to get to Robyn, but in general the system works pretty well.

And bless their hearts, my girls love hand me downs. They get excited when the neighbor drops by clothes, when their sister says she is giving up her shirt, or when I get out the old bag of used flip flops from last summer; it is like a treasure trove.

But every once in a while, I am sad that they don't get more new stuff. At church on Sunday, I was going around to each nursery room singing with the children. Ivory was in the warm room where the fan is essential to keep kids from passing out. All the children had their shoes off and each pair was lined up against the wall. Ivory's class is predominantly girls, so there was a whole array of sandals, sunday shoes, and even a pair of jellies (super cute). They all looked spanking new, except for Ivory's.

Hers aren't terrible; certainly usable, but far from new, having already gone through two kids.

What can you do? They do get new things on their birthdays, but other than that, we have to make our money stretch. What are the chances they will all want to wear the same wedding dress?

Monday, July 13, 2009

For All You Seconds in the World

Take a close look. Who is that?

Yep, it's Robyn. She is riding with NO training wheels. She is so proud, but doubly so because June has yet to learn. She mentions this every time we go riding. I am sure she will remember this for the rest of her life. Let's just hope she doesn't remind June too often.

To be fair to June, I have not been the best about getting out there to teach them. And June would rather do this.

She is my little artist at heart. She is actually getting pretty good at riding without training wheels, but she didn't have the same motivation as Robyn.

In the meantime, Robyn has this short time to be the only two-wheel rider.

We took a ride together through the neighborhood. It was so nice. I should take her on one of the river trails soon (just the two of us). For the record, she does have shorts on; it's just that her shirt is too long, and well...her shorts are too short.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Remote to Rule Them All

Tyler and I have noticed this problem for the last couple of years. Hollywood has forgotten how to make movies. See, they make these great movies and then they make the sound track so loud that you can't actually hear any dialogue. This is very frustrating, especially if you watch movies in hopes of following the story line and enjoying the one-liners and witty repertoire.

So we have settled into a system at our house. We watch movies with remote in hand. That way we can turn it up loud when we want to hear the people speaking, but turn it back down when it switches back to solely music so we don't shatter windows and wake every child in the house. As it is, the TV usually vibrates and the house shakes as we try to pick up small conversations amid epic concertos. Seriously, so annoying.

We have done this for years and then one day we were griping to someone* and they said, "Oh, we have the same problem. Your TV is set up for surround sound, and without it, the soundtrack often drowns out dialogue." WHAT?!? It's our TV? I guess that does make a little more sense...maybe.

And yet, we still didn't do anything about it. We continued to watch movies holding on to the remote and grumbling under our breath (except while people talked, because then you didn't make any noise in hopes of hearing what they said).

Last night was the final straw. We were watching Lord of the Rings and it was like a volume tango.

Music: down, down, down, down.

Speaking: up, up, (quickly, what did he say?) up, up.

Rewind: Listen intently.

More music: down, down, down, down etc.

You get the picture. Even with the volume turned up enough that June was complaining that she was never going to get to sleep, it was still difficult to hear all the dialogue.

Tyler grumbled some more and I mentioned the information we had received about the surround sound TV issue. I even said that maybe there was some way to turn it off. Thirty minutes later, Tyler was finally annoyed enough that he paused the movie, examined the remote again (since he was still holding it) and went to the menu option. There it was; ***surround sound with the option to turn it OFF!!*** Hallelujah. I think about the years of movies we have sat through holding the remote. How dumb are we?

It was such a marked change after we turned the surround sound off that we contemplated watching the first half of Lord of the Rings again so we could hear it, but come on, that movie is three hours long, so we skipped it. But believe you me, we are going to enjoy watching movies from now and we will only use the remote to pause for chocolate breaks.

*I don't even remember who told us about the TV, but I owe them big time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


We did swimming lessons for the kids a few weeks ago. See, my plan was to take pictures the last day. Uh, that sorta fell through.

June was such a trooper and she tried so hard to learn to swim this year, but she wasn't so great at combining her arms with her legs and that led to a lot of floundering. A. LOT. I watched her the last day and bless her heart, she would throw herself into the water with the other kids and they would move forward and she would resurface in the same spot. I wish I could have passed along some stellar swimming genes to her, but if my daughters are anything like me, they will be lucky to learn to swim before they are twenty (which may be when I finally learned—NO SNIDE REMARKS—that really is a story for another day). But because of her whole-hearted efforts, she probably consumed more water than is recommended because by the end of the two weeks, she had swimmer's ear, a sore throat, and pink eye.

I think Thursday night (the last day of swimming) was when her eye started to gunk up (lest you think I was letting my infected daughter go back in the water with other germ free children), so our free swim day (and picture day) was spent taking her to the doctor instead.

I do have some proof of swimming lessons.

And I do let them play in the water at other times, although the promised trip back to the pool has not yet taken place...I need to get my act in gear. Just today we were trying out a contraption put together by our very own neighbor, Randy. I am amazed what this guy can come up with in his head and because Tyler let him borrow some PVC cutters, he built this for us. (That middle sprinkler rotates back and forth)

The girls loved it and I felt that I could get a 'good mother' check for today (seeing that outdoor activities are still not high on my to-do list). Now I just need to put 'mow lawn' on Tyler's to-do list. I promise I am not giving him a hard time; it's not like I EVER mow the lawn.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One Small Step for Daisy...

One giant leap for Cazier's.

Yes, that is right. We are all freestanding and mobile in the household again. Granted, Daisy does still prefer the crawl, but she spent all day trying out her new trick and taking tentative steps. She is up to about six at a time.

I decided to document; hence all the pictures.

Daisy is our slowest walker to date (not that it matters in the least). June started walking the day she turned nine months, Robyn at nine and a half months, Ivory at ten and Daisy brings up the rear at 11 months.

It matters not to take first place.
It matters that you end the race.

She is a stunt baby as well. It is not enough that she can must stand on things. Here is something simple like a toy, which I can easily take a picture of.

When she stands on things like the couch, boxes, stools, the counter she climbed on from the stool, I tend to run hastily to extract her (thus the lack of pictures of these daring stunts).

Golly, I can just not get enough of this cute baby. It makes me happy that her favorite thing to walk toward is ME (followed closely by her Daddy).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Have Flour, Will Bake

I guess this is what happens when you read a book about cake.

Truthfully, I asked June what she wanted for FHE treat (her turn to pick) and when she said cake, my heart leaped and did a little dance. I gave her all the suggestions featured at the back of the book (yep, the book came with recipes) and we whipped up the above.

Looks good enough to eat, huh? Except the flowers...those are fake.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Fourth

We had such a fun Fourth of July this year.

Here's the gang.

I really like to get pictures after the water games at the park, but I didn't want to get the new camera anywhere near the water and when I was finally ready, too many kids had scattered to the park. So, you just have to imagine how much fun we had soaking each other.

We barbequed, feasted,

talked, played. My baby was a great eater with her ONE TOOTH now (yeah Daisy). She wins the award for most festive attire.

We did fireworks in the evening and I gave the girls some sparklers early on. They didn't really get into the idea of swinging them around; they were too busy holding them tentatively at arms length. That's okay with me.

Happy Fourth of July! I hope you all had a great time. May freedom wave!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Let's Be Honest

So, I am not the queen of working out. By any means.

But I am always looking for something to motivate me.

Mudpies and Mary Janes is having a EA SPORTS ACTIVE giveaway. It looks very cool and it has volleyball which makes me a tad more interested.

It looks like something that would be fun to do when it gets too hot to go next week.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Up, Up, and Away?

We were up before the sun this morning.

We went to see the hot air balloons fill and rise into the morning air. We never quite got to the rising stage though...

Last year, we went on the fourth (obviously a busier day) and we arrived around 6:30 just in time to see the first balloons start taking off. It was still magnificent but I thought it would be more fun to see them go from start to finish. So, this intrepid mother started waking little ones at 5:40 am. Some took a little shaking to get going, but all were cooperative. Robyn in her sleepy voice even said, "Thanks for waking me up, Mom."
We arrived at the field a little after six and I was happy to see that not a single balloon was filled. Some were testing their hot air and many were laid out getting ready.

We picked a nice spot to sit and eat breakfast while people bustled around.

*Side note: I am not a morning person in any sense of the word, but I sure do love a good morning when I bother getting up to greet one.

Tricia met us for breakfast and we watched as balloons slowly took shape. I'm not sure if they were waiting for some cue, but people were really taking their time. The Alexander's balloon was up and taking short flights (while still tethered) before any other balloons started filling, but eventually other people got going.

Many of the balloons were filled, but by 7:30 I figured that we needed to head home so Tyler could go to work (um...he actually didn't come with us. He opted to sleep in with Daisy). I have no idea how it is supposed to work. Some of the balloons weren't even started—they were still bundled up with no one nearby to work on them. Most of them were filled, but none had taken to the lofty skies. Were they waiting for everyone to be ready? Are there rules about how it all goes? Who knows.

We still had an excellent time and I am very glad we went and despite the early hour, the girls were rather chipper.

I liked the Tony the Tiger balloon, which was new this year,

but I missed some of our old favorites like the pig and the strawberry. I wonder if different balloons come on different days or if the same ones show up for all three days. And what if the weather doesn't cooperate? I guess if we go enough times we are bound to figure out some of the intricacies.

I took a closer look at the baskets this year. They really aren't that big. I would say they hold two grown men, or three people at best. I guess that pops the dream of taking the family up together in a hot air balloon. At this point we would have to take turns or rent at least three.

Tricia said that as she was leaving she heard that they weren't going to go up because of weather conditions. It looked fine to me, but I am not a weather expert. If you want to go see them, they will be on the Bulldog Field (1100 N. Freedom Blvd) for the next two mornings. And now you know they will fill the balloons even if they don't take off.