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Typical morning

"Dad, can I go with you when you take Rylee to school?" Asked Reagan this morning over breakfast. While it is really a hassle to get all of the kids dressed if you don't have to, her sweet little smile and the tilt of her head penetrated my defenses and I heard myself reply "Yeah, I guess that would be okay." I knew what was coming next.
"Can I come too?" Pipped Madison.
"Me too?" Jordan chirped.
"All right. You may go too." I said.

We finished our ham and eggs (Not green) and the whole troop marched upstairs. Rylee and Reagan are pretty easy to dress. They will wear whatever you chose for them or do a pretty decent job of choosing their own clothes. I dressed them first.

Madison and Jordan are a little more picky. I pulled out jeans for them.
"I don't wan jean." Said Jordan.
"But it is a little chilly outside." I said.
"I wan dis." She pointed to a floral print dress.
"Okay. Sigh."
"An I wan shorts." She continued.

I prefer that the twins wear Crocs. It is so much easier than socks and shoes. But Madi would have none of that. That would mean that Jo would want socks and shoes too.
"I wan socks." She announced. I checked my watch.
"Sigh. Okay."

We finally got panties and jeans and dresses on everyone. I paused to grab their jackets off the top rack.
"I don wan jacket." Madi said.
"It's cold out. I think you will be more comfortable if you wear your jacket." I said.
"I doooon wan jacket!" She insisted.
"Okay." I said, but brought it downstairs anyway hoping that she would change her mind.

"Everyone find your shoes!" I commanded. We sifted though piles of drop cloths and paint cans (We are in the middle of trying to paint the walls) and came up with three pairs of shoes and one pair of flip flops. At least I call them shoes, but my daughters insist they are Sckechers and or Sliders.

I put Madi's "Sliders" on first. Then Jordan's "Sckechers". Then Rylee's "Sliders".
"I wan Sckechers." Madi said.
"No, you already have shoes on, I don't have time to for changing shoes."
Here started the first tantrum of the morning.
"Whaaaaaaa...I wan Schechers...Whaaaaa!"
"Go upstairs if you are going to cry."
"GO UPSTAIRS!" Starting to lose the temper a bit.

"Rylee, go brush your teeth. Hurry up so we aren't late."
Rylee shuffles off to the bathroom at three quarter speed.

Shoot...I forgot to make Rylee's lunch.
"Rylee, you want peanut butter and jelly? Right?"
"Yes." She said. Thank God, she isn't being difficult.

Jordan picks a bugger and hands it to me.
"Thanks..." I say. I wash my hands.

Rylee appears with a tube of toothpaste in her hand.
"I need help." She says. So I open the toothpaste and return to preparing the lunch.

Rylee comes back out and gives me a big fake smile with her eyes closed tight.
"Clean!" She announces.
"Very good. Will you do me a favor and go tell Madison that she can come down stairs and go with us if she can be nice?"
"Okay." She said. Clearly not excited about going to confront her little sister, who could still be heard screaming at the top of her lungs.

A few minutes later Rylee returned.
"She doesn't want to stop crying, Dad." She informed me.
"Thank you for doing that, I will go talk to her. Here is your lunch, please put your backpack by the door."

I went upstairs and found Madi in bed hyperventalating.
"Do you want to be happy and go with us to Rylee's school?" I asked.
"Ye...sniff... ye...sniff... yeah." She replied.
"Okay, come on."

At the bottom of the stairs we assembled to don jackets. Reagan and Jordan asked for some help zipping theirs up and insisted on putting on the hoods. Rylee claimed that she didn't need one, but I noticed that when we finally got out the door she had put it on anyway. And Madison still refused to wear hers, even though I tried one more time to convince her.

"Okay, lets go." I said. And my small army piled out the door and rushed to the truck. Reagan insisted on checking the mail on the way.

I got the twins buckled in.
"I wan my jacket." Madi said. I knew this was going to happen... If it had been any cooler I would have relented and gone to get her jacket, but it wasn't really that cold, so she was going to have to live with her original decision.
"Madi, you said you didn't want it and we are not going to get it now."
"Sigh." She is going to make some young man crazy one day.
I hopped in and adjusted the mirror. I am not overly concerned with my appearance on most days, but the guy eyeballing me in the rearview mirror was looking pretty haggard, with bleary eyes and hair sticking out at odd angles. So ran inside and grabbed a hat and my coffee.

We sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" all the way to school.

The kids are more and more entertaining every day. The latest conversation with Reagan, now four, went something like this:

"Dad, what is this?"
"What?" I replied.
"This...What is this?" she said holding up her right hand with her index finger and thumb extended, like she was making a gun. There was something on the tip of her finger. It looked like part of a squashed pea or some other abused food stuff.
"I don't know. Where did you find it?" I asked.
"I don't know." she said. Which made me a little suspicious. I gabbed her wrist and smelled the little unidentified globule on the end of her finger. No smell at all. I was relieved that it wasn't something that had already been digested, if you know what I mean.
"Hmm, I don't know what it is, but we should probably throw it in the trash." I told her. So I pinched it off of the end of her finger and turned toward the trash can.
"Maybe...maybe...maybe it came out of my nose." She said.
"Huh? What did you say?"
"Maybe it's a booger, maybe it came out of my nose." she repeated. I dropped my chin to my chest and shook my head slowly.
"Reagan...did you just pick your nose and then give it to me?" I asked.
Nodding her head, with a big grin she said "Mmm Hmm."
"Nice." I replied flatly. "Real nice..."
She continued to smile, bounced on her tippy toes a few times and scurried off to make more mischief.


Conversation between Reagan, Madison, and Kari.

Reagan to Madison: Baby! Baby! Here! Baby!
Kari to Reagan: Is she a baby?
Reagan: No
Kari: Does she drink out of a bottle?
Reagan: No
Kari: Does she sleep in a crib?
Reagan: Yes!
Kari: Nooo she doesn't, she sleeps in a big girl bed.
Reagan: Oh.
Kari: Does she wear diapers?
Kari: See she is a big girl you should call her Madison, Okay?
Reagan: Okay.
Reagan to Madison: BABY! Here! Baby!

I guess old habits are hard to break.

I do plan to update the blog with the tales of the move and resettlement, but I just don't have the energy at the moment. Stay tuned.


I got done with ground school yesterday. The plan is to pack enough clothes for two weeks and drive the whole crew down to Florida. We are not exactly ready to go, but are hoping to get out of here tonight.

We need to get a leash for the cat and figure a way to fit his litter box in the car. Not really looking forward to a road trip with the little fur ball. When we moved across town it was only a hour drive. The cat howled the entire way and pooped himself. Kari speculates that if he is free inside the vehicle he will be calmer. It should make for an interesting blog post when we get there.

So I have the pool cleaned and the front yard mowed. Still have to wash the dogs and pack some clothes.

Kari is really a wreck. She has been trying to help out, but has lost most of the use of her left hand. I don't know if it is the power of suggestion, but she has been in MUCH more pain since she learned that she has several herniated discs. I also wonder what her medications are doing to her. The doctors have her taking a huge number of pills every day. Her latest addition is a pill to prevent migraines. She says it makes her feel "floaty and tingly", makes her very tired, and makes it difficult for her to concentrate. I told her that she should be used to that. We have felt like that for the last three years.

So hopefully we will get out of town this afternoon. I plan on sleeping for a few hours when we get there and coming right back to get the rest of the house packed up. It has been nearly impossible to get anything done with the kids here and Kari in the condition that she is in.

So I am off to do some laundry and prepare for the road trip.

The latest goings on...

We are on our third week of everyone being sick. Everyone seems to be getting over it now except Madison and I. We take turns coughing on eachother. It's getting pretty old.

As most of you know we are still preparing to move. It has caused the whole family a lot of stress. We don't have an exact closing date, but have been sure that it would be "soon" for several weeks. Due to the lack of a specific date our preparations have lacked focus. You don't want to have everything you own in boxes weeks before you move. The process has forced us to examine our inventory of "stuff." It is a lot of work to sort and dispose of extra stuff. We have made a couple of trips to Goodwill already. All the baby stuff needs to go. We would love to make a few bucks by selling some of it, but that either requires a garage sale or photographing and posting on line. Both of those options are time consuming and seem daunting. The little people have not been a big help in the whole process. Just keeping them all fed and happy is a full time job.

Imagine trying to pull all the things you don't want out into the driveway while four little kids are either running amok inside or trying to play with sharp things in the garage and running into the street. It makes me have to stop and take a deep breath just thinking about it. So most of the baby gadgets, that we have spent thousands on, will be going to Goodwill. I have nothing against charity, but getting rid of things is against my nature. I am a pack rat at heart.

We have managed to pack a handle full of boxes. Mostly books and dishes that we don't use much. I had started packing several boxes of toys. However, the annal retentiveness in me forced me to try to sort the toys as I was packing them. I left the boxes open so that as I found more Legos or Little People or doll house furniture I could put them in the proper boxes. Big mistake. The kids find packed toys much more interesting than loose toys and most of what was in the boxes has been removed by small hands.

We are trying to get the rental house sold. It has been headache after headache. I went over a few days ago with the realtor to see what we could do to make the place look a little more attractive. That is when we discovered that the water heater, in the attic, was leaking. Leaking badly. Most of the water was going into the drip pan, like it is supposed to, but some was running down a rafter and into the house somewhere. I propped a board between the water heater and the rafter it was leaning against. That was a big mistake, it caused the water to leak down onto the ceiling of the bathroom.

The realtor had put a home protection plan on the house, which was nice. However, the contractor they used had me jumping through all sorts of hoops to get the job done.
"They don't make water heaters this size anymore. You won't be able to fit a new one up here." He told me.
"What? That can't be right." I said.
"This one is 18 inches and the smallest on I have is 22 inches." he said. So I got my tape measure and measured the opening to the attic. 20 inches.
"So...what do I do?" I asked the "professional."
He stared at me with a blank expression for awhile then shrugged and said, "I don't know."
"Nice..." I said.
I called my Dad, as he is a very knowledgeable guy, and asked him what he though I should do.
"They DO TO make 18 inch water heaters, call Lowes or Home Depot." He said. So I did. And they do have 18 inch water heaters."
"Hey, I just called Lowes and they have 18 inch water heaters." I told the guy.
"We don't buy ours from Lowes. You don't want one from Lowes." he says.
"I want one that fits and works." I said.
"If Lowes has them then we probably do. I have to check with the warehouse." He tells me. "You will also have to put some decking up there so the new one can be installed."
"What? They got the other one up there without any decking." I replied.
"The office will call tomorrow to set up a time for the install." He says.
"I thought you were going to do it today." I said.
"Nope." He says with a smile.

I didn't have warm fuzzies about these guys so far. They called later and said that if I didn't build a deck around the water heater they would not come to install it. I couldn't believe it and was tempted to find someone else to do the job, but I didn't want my tenants to go without hot water any longer than necessary. So I went to Lowes and bought a bunch of particle board and spent a couple of hours flooring the attic. I also took the time to remove the attic door so they wouldn't have any reasons to complain about not making it fit up there. What a hassle.

The kids still get into mischief on a regular basis. Yesterday Kari's face cream went missing from her bathroom counter top. She walked around questioning each little person she encountered.
"Did you take my face cream out of the bathroom?" She would ask.
"I didn't do it." was the standard reply.
Kari asked Madison "Do you know where Mommy's face cream is?"
"Over hee ya." Madi replied becoming excited. "Over hee ya." She continued, leading the way to the kitchen. "In hee ya!" she said pointing to the freezer. Kari thought "Well they could have put it in there." So she opened the freezer door. Madi was hopping up and down.
"Right hee ya. Ikeem!" Madi announced proudly pointing to the tub of strawberry ice cream.
We all had a good laugh. But the face cream is still missing and I shudder to think where it may have been applied.

I feel like we have a lot on our plates at the moment. I have recurrent training to study for, two days of ground school coming up, I need to renew my medical certificate, need to continue packing, stressed about Reagan's upcoming surgery, still hoping to hear something about Kari's medical issues and migraines, I should start training for the 757 in April...and the list goes on. However, a friend put it in perspective for me when she told me about the health problems that they are going through. Her husband and daughter have brain tumors, her daughter also has Lyme disease, her son has migraines and an undiagnosed bowl issue that has him doubled over in pain most of the time and they (the doctors) recently removed his appendix, unnecessarily it turns out.

So things are not so bad and we are moving forward and staying fairly positive.

Where do I start?

I guess I will start with current events and work backwards.

The latest misadventures in parenting:

This morning as I was preparing to leave Newark and come home to Houston, Rylee and Reagan were up early and up to no good. It is hard to believe, even for me, that they got into so much trouble in such a short amount of time.

Kari got out of bed to find Rylee in the kitchen and caught a glimpse of Reagan bolting from the room. They had been thirsty and had helped themselves to iced tea and milk. Normally I would applaud such independent behavior. However, in this instance they went a little overboard. They had gathered all of the cups from the cupboard and filled them ALL with milk and iced tea. They then proceeded to mix all of the cups of milk with all of the cups of iced tea by pouring one into the other and back again. They went through a whole one gallon jug of milk and an entire gallon of tea.

Kari was trying not to lose her temper. She looked at Rylee. Rylee in an act of sheer self preservation spouted "I didn't do it!"
Kari ordered Rylee up to her room and surveyed the mess for a few moments. After a few deep breaths she turned to go up stairs to lecture the culprits. That is when she notice the empty bottle of teething tablets on the living room floor. We keep those in the medicine cabinet in the kitchen and the girls KNOW that the medicine cabinet is off limits. She picked up the bottle and brought it into the kitchen, set it on the counter, and started through the dining room toward the stairs. That is where she noticed a large pile of wrappers on the the floor. Wrappers from the individually wrapped multi-vitamins. "That's not good." She thought.
She continued her trek up the stairs. Towards the top of the stairs she found her yoga mat. That meant the the girls had been in the other off limits area, the guest room. She took another deep breath and three more steps to the top of the stair case. At the top of the stairs she paused. There she found the entire sewing kit, which is also kept in the guest room, spread across the floor. Hundreds of pins and needles were scattered across the carpet.
Rylee peered from her bedroom door. Their gazes met.
"I didn't do it!" Rylee piped.
Kari brought both girls over.
"Are you going to spank our bottoms?" Rylee asked.
Kari didn't spank they bottoms, but gave them a stern lecture about the dangers of playing with pins and needles. She then asked them what else they had gotten into.
"Nail polish..." Reagan answered, looking at her toes.
"Where did you put it?" Kari asked. Reagan led Kari to her bed room and reached under the bed to retrieve a small bottle of pink nail polish.
To their credit Rylee and Reagan did a pretty good job of painting their nails and didn't make too much of a mess with it. They got it on one of the cabinets in the kitchen, on one of the bar stools (the bar stool was pretty much trashed anyway) and on one of their toys.
"Well, that isn't all you got into. Come with me." Kari said, and led the girls down stairs to the pile of vitamin wrappers. She scooped up the wrappers and brought them into the kitchen as she was starting to question the girls on who had eaten what. Then Kari noticed that many of the medicine bottles in the cabinet had been disturbed. That started a new round of questioning on what else they had gotten into. As it turns out they only ate vitamins and teething tablets. Rylee still denied any involvement in that operation, putting all the blame on her younger sister.
Kari was certain that the vitamins didn't have iron in them, which would have been the most dangerous ingredient, but she called poison control anyway. The poison control center assured her the the kids were not in any danger and gave her a list of side effects that eating a bunch of vitamins could cause. Kari went to Reagan, who had been sentenced to sit on the couch and not move, and told her what she might expect to feel from eating those vitamins.
"You are not going to die. But your tummy might start to hurt, you might have a hard time going poop, and you might get a rash." Kari told her. (I have also found that it makes their pee really bright yellow, almost florescent. Just in case anyone was wondering.)
"Ooooooh." Reagan replied.
Kari lectured her awhile longer on how many of the things in that cabinet could make her very sick. Kari then went to the kitchen to start cleaning up the huge mess the girls had created.
"Mommy?" Rylee asked.
"Yes, Rylee?" Kari answered.
"Um, Mommy...I, um...I ate some of those too...Am I going to die?" She stammered.
After reassuring our oldest that she was not going to pass from this world she had to step outside and take some deep breaths.
"SHE LIED TO ME!" Kari was thinking. She was quite angry.
It is disturbing when your kids start to get GOOD at lying.

Other than that life has settled back into an almost normal state of chaos. We still don't have any answers to Kari's medical mysteries. I imagine that most of you who follow the blog have heard about the little scare that she gave us last week.

January 25, 2010 Kari collapsed at our home in Houston. She has suffered from hypoglycemia since age 12. She keeps glucose tablets on hand for just that reason. On several occasions I have seen her become almost incoherent and require assistance to consume the glucose. On all of those occasions she has “come out of it” in a matter of minutes. Almost as soon as the glucose is placed in her mouth.
On this occasion I noticed that Kari was eating glucose gel, which seems to work faster than the tablets, and I assumed that she was starting to feel faint. Normally that would be the end of it, but she asked for some glucose tablets because the tube of gel wasn’t helping. After eating one she slumped to the floor in a sitting position. I immediately gave her another tablet. (The paramedics advised me that giving glucose without know what her sugar level is can be dangerous and have convinced me to have a blood glucose monitor on hand, which we do now.) At this point her speech was very slurred and she was having trouble keeping her eyes open. I was still not alarmed because I had seen her in a similar state and she had always recovered quickly after having some glucose. I did become alarmed when she slumped over and could not remain upright. I picked her up and moved her to the couch. For the most part she was unresponsive. A few times she could move her hands and open her eyes. She then began breathing rapidly and dry heaving. That lasted for about 60 seconds. She then became very still and could only open her eyes when I spoke to her.
The paramedics arrived and immediately tested her blood sugar, which was 100, gave her oxygen and transported her to St. Luke’s Hospital.
At the ER she had a CT of her head, an MRI and or MRA of her head and neck, an EKG, a TEE, and several blood tests. So far all were normal, except that her cholesterol was high. She was advised to take aspirin, Lipitor, monitor her blood glucose, and stop smoking.
While the doctors found nothing conclusive they are fairly certain that she had a TIA. She has had a follow up meeting with the neurologist, where she was given an EEG, and that too appeared normal. She has another appointment with the neurologist next week and we are still waiting to hear the results of the clotting test on her blood.

So I made Rylee a promise the other night that I would take all of the girls on a walk to the park. Yesterday she reminded me of that promise, she never forgets things like that. This is the tale of the walk to the park, an event that will not be repeated anytime in the near future. At least not with only one adult.

Immediately after breakfast Rylee, for the third time that day, reminded me that I said we could walk to the park. I agreed. The kids hadn't gotten out much and were probably a little stir crazy. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to let them ride their bikes and trikes on the "walk" to the park.
So I went to the garage and found four helmets, four sets of knee pads, two sets of riding gloves, and four sets of elbow pads. Some of which was still in the packaging. The packaging for kids toys these days is a little out of control. You practically need a carbide saw and a block of C4 to get the things open. All I could find was a pair of diagonal cutters, I must have left my C4 in my other pants. I put all the equipment on the kitchen table and went to work attempting to open the packages. The kids were bombarding me with questions, three times I had to pause to help someone go pee, and they kept grabbing pieces of gear and running off with it. I finally got everything unpacked, sorted and straps adjusted. I some how managed to get each of them to stand still long enough to strap all that gear on them. The gloves being the most time consuming. They still don't get that there is a hole for each finger. The whole process took nearly 45 minutes.

I then brought the bikes and trikes from the back patio, where they had been test driven, out to the front. By this time the twins had decided that the knee pads were not very comfortable and where both sitting on the ground wailing at the top of their lungs while trying to pull them off. I never wore all that stuff when I was a kid so I figured that my kids could make it to the park and back without major injury even if they didn't wear the knee pads. Wrong...but I am jumping ahead.
I got all the vehicles to the staging area. Two red trikes, one pink trike with a handle for dad power, and a pink Disney Princess bicycle. Rylee has a brand new bicycle, but for some reason is terrified of the thing. Actually everyone is scared to get on it. I can't figure that out.
I told the girls to mount up, which was unnecessary, since two of them where nearly at the street already. Reagan and Jordan were leading the pack, Rylee was in third place, after stopping to put her shoe back on. Madison was way behind and having a very difficult time making forward progress. It didn't help that she was wearing shoes that were two sizes too big. I hadn't noticed, since many of the girls Crocks are the same color. I think Reagan had her feet squeezed into Madison's shoes. I know at one point during our adventure Reagan was wearing one big shoe and one small shoe. I gave up trying to keep track.
Madison was concentrating so hard on pedaling with her clown shoes that she wasn't watching where she was going and kept running into the curb. And every time she hit the curb or her foot slipped off the pedal she would scream with frustration. Just like a little John McEnroe. So I put my hand on her back and was pushing her. That worked for about 10 feet before she turned to sharp and tipped over, skinning her knee. I guess I should have insisted on the knee pads.

It took almost ten minutes to get passed the next door neighbor's house and the other girls were starting to get farther ahead than I was comfortable with. I was starting to regret taking the bikes. I called all the girls back and told Rylee that she would have to switch trikes with Madison, so that I would be able to push her.
"But I don't want tooooo." Rylee moaned.
"Just give me a break." I told her. "Madi is having trouble pedaling. Okay?"
"Ooookay." she said and got off her trike. I put Madison on the pink trike, took up my station as the chief propulsion officer, started pushing, and we all set off again.

The rest of the trip to the park went fairly smooth as far as emotional outburst are concerned. However, being on wheels did not speed up the process like I had hoped that it would. In fact it took us at least three times longer to get to the park than it usually does. They would steer into each other, into a curb, or a car would come and we would all have to stop while I ran around scooping up kids and trikes to move them off to the side of the road. I did get many bemused looks (which offended me) and several people were unable to overcome their urge to stop, roll down their window and ask "Are they all yours!?" and "You have your hands full."
Why do people feel compelled to remind me that I have my hands full? "I already know this! Are you offering help? Get out of your air conditioned car and chase that kid that is getting away!"
I just smile "They keep things interesting." I reply.

The girls played very nicely on the play ground for a good 30 minutes and then Rylee wanted to go over to the lake with the fake water fall. So we did. The girls all took their shoes off, dipped their toes in the water, and threw some rocks. After a considerable amount of time trying to figure out who's shoes were who's we went back to the swings.

The trip back to the house is where the wheels really came off, so to speak. Reagan, who was pretty much and angle for the whole trip, said that she was ready to go eat lunch and the twins agreed. So we spent another considerable about of time reattaching all the safety gear that they had stripped off when we got to the park. Again Reagan and Jordan took the lead. Rylee turned around and headed the other way.
"Rylee. We need to go this way." I called to her.
"I wana stay here. And ride my bike." She called back.
"It's time to go eat lunch. Come on, lets go." I called.
"I don't wana."
"Rylee, we are going home. Come on."
"Rylee, LETS GO." I said more firmly.
"NO!" She called and got off her trike. Now I was starting to lose my patience. I left Madison, who I had been pushing, parked next to the curb. Madison began to scream with frustration, because that is what she does when Dad stops pushing. I began walking back toward Rylee with a purposeful stride. Rylee can obviously read body language, because before I covered half the distance she put her hands on her butt and assumed a much less defiant expression.
"Are you going to spank my bottom?" She squeaked.
"No. But you had BETTER get on that trike and START pedaling or I might." I told her. I really didn't feel like I had time for an insurrection. Reagan and Jordan were still pulling away, Madison was still screaming because the forward momentum had stopped, and I was not going to tolerate this. Rylee climbed back on the trike and with tears streaming down her face began to pedal very slowly. Rylee knows passive aggressive.
"Rylee, don't test my patience. You need to go faster." I told her.
"But I want to stay." She wailed.
"If you are going to throw a fit every time we have to leave, it makes me not want to take you to the park. You DO want to go to the park again don't you?" I reasoned.
"No!" She spouted. Despite her attitude she picked up the pace a little.
We moved as a group about 50 yards before Reagan burst into tears.
"My uvs! My uvs!" she cried.
"What?" I asked
"My uvs. I leff my uvs at a park." she continued, very upset.
"Your what? Your gloves?" I guessed.
"Yeeeah, my guvs." She said. Her eyes brimming with tears. Now we were too far from the park for me to leave them while I went back and I was considering just leaving the gloves when I noticed that the gloves in question were in the basket on her handlebars.
"THESE gloves?" I asked as I pulled them out.
"Ha ha ha ha *sniff* Yeah!" she said. Wiping the tears from her eyes. So we spent another five minutes listening to Madison rant about being stopped while we got the gloves back on Reagan's hands.
We made it about twenty more feet before Jordan just quit. We were going up hill a little and she just tuckered out.
"Come on Jo." I coaxed. She just looked at me and sat there. Sigh. So I scooped her up and put her on my shoulders. I held her feet with my left forearm and picked up the tricycle with my right hand. "How am I going to do this?" I thought. But I managed to prop Jo's trike against the handle on the back of Madi's trike and still maintain some control of the direction we were headed. After about 100 yards my grip gave out and I put Jordan back on her trike.

The traffic had picked up a little and I was trying to get her to ride closer to the side of the road, but she kept steering out into the middle. So I would stop, turn her handlebars, and give her a push off to the side. She would start steering back to the middle. So ran Madison's trike up beside her to keep her from coming over, but that didn't work. She would just keep turning and crash into us, sending Madison into a rage. Rylee and Reagan were starting to pull ahead so I picked Jordan up again. This time she pitched a full on fit, screaming and swatting at the top of my head.
"" She cried.
"No. No bike." I replied.
I notice a lady sitting on her front porch just starting at us.
Rylee asked if she could ride on the side walk. I told her that would be fine. Only a portion of the street had side walks. So she did and then returned to the street when the side walk ended. Shortly we hit another section that had a side walk and she asked again to ride on the side walk. So she took the time to push her trike through the grass and get on the side walk while the rest of us kept going. It took her quite awhile and when I looked back she was pretty far behind. About 25 yards. "Come back!" she yelled.
"We are waiting for you come on." I called.
"I'm scared." She called.
"Just come on, Rylee." I said. She just sat there. And sat there. And sat there.
"There is a car coming!" She yelled.
"It's okay, just come here." I said.
"I'm scared."
"Rylee." I said, exasperated.
"Whaaaaaaaaa! Car! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" she screamed. The car, which was blocks away, turned down a side street. By this time Reagan was getting worried about her sister.
"Whywee...Whywee...Whywee." Reagan said, tears starting to well up again.
"Rylee come to me." I said.
"Whaaaaaaaa!" she replied.
"Sigh... The rest of you girls wait right here."

I put Jordan's trike down and took her off my shoulders. I set her next to Madison who had been screaming because we were stopped and that is just what she does when Dad stops pushing. I walked back to Rylee, took her off the trike and told her to walk the rest of the way. We only had about a block and a half left to go. So she cried and pouted the rest of the way home while I carried her tricycle and pushed Madison.

I got the trikes and bikes put away and had a beer.

I spent the day un-decorating, vacuuming the upstairs, and spraying more than a gallon of urine remover on all the spots that the kids and dogs have desecrated. Anyone who has pets or kids should pick up "Natures Miracle" at the local pet store. It is expensive, but it really works great on those spots that the dogs have claimed as their own and does a fine job on your kid's "Uh ohs."

The kids were not a huge help. Every time I turned around or had to escort one to the bathroom the others would descend on the half put away Christmas ornaments and scatter them around. I lost about another half dozen glass bulbs that way. I can see why wolves hunt in packs and can bring down much larger prey. No matter how big you are, you can't look everywhere at once. One distracts you so the others can move in for the kill.

Still having some potty training issues. Obviously, I guess, since I just admitted to using an extraordinary amount of urine remover. It is really odd. Some days they will have no accidents what so ever. The next day it is as if they have had no potty training whatsoever. I really wonder what is going through those little mind as they are standing there, bowlegged, arms raised, head tilted down staring at the urine streaming down onto my carpet, yelling "UH OH! UH OH!" Sometimes they even think to take off their panties before they let loose on my floor. That must mean they KNEW they were about to go and just did care to walk the ten steps to the bathroom. It is mind boggling. I know I have said it before, but how can it be harder to potty train a kid than to potty train a dog?

As my Dad says, "I am sure they won't do that when they get to college." I am afraid of what they WILL do when they get to college, but I have plenty of time to worry about that later.

This evening, as we were getting the kids ready for bed, I was helping Rylee in the bathroom. As I have mentioned before, the kids can't be trusted with a whole roll of toilet paper and one of us must be present to distribute the proper amount. So I was standing by the door with TP in hand waiting for her to finish up. Jordan thought it would be fun to stop in and see what was happening. Jordan likes to tickle Rylee when she is sitting on the pot. Rylee doesn't think it is very funny, but Jordan and I do. Anyway, Jordan decides to hang on the toilet paper dispenser. No, not me, the one fastened to the wall. I keep telling them that those will break, but they don't listen. I only saw it happen out of the corner of my eye, so I am not sure exactly what happened. But as far as I can tell, Jordan put all of her weight on the TP dispenser and it dislodged from the wall with a sudden snap, causing her to fall backward rapidly. She crashed into the bathroom door and ended up flat on her back right in front of Rylee. Meanwhile the door, which she set into motion with her skull, was traveling in the opposite direction at a high rate of speed. Fortunately I stopped the door. Unfortunately I stopped the door with my face.
You wouldn't think that a little imp, weighing not more than 30 lbs , could generate much momentum. But I tell you what, she did and it hurt. My front tooth is just a little loose.

Its been busy and we are hoping that 2010 goes more smoothly than 2009.

First of all I feel compelled to complain that my "12 cup" coffee maker only holds 8 cups of water and for some reason that kind of irks me every time I fill it up.

I started out my morning today by beating my dog for AGAIN sneaking upstairs to urinate on things. He is a little thick skulled I think and while I don't relish smacking him, the stern lecture he got last time didn't seem to work. Or maybe I am thick headed for not just keeping them outside. However, keeping them outside opens up a whole other can of worms.

I have already decided that this will be another of those rambling posts with no apparent point, just a meandering mind recorded on a blog.

Actually if everything I am thinking were to pour out on here I am not sure that I could go back and make sense of it. It is hard not to feel scatter brained around here. Every time I go to complete one task I find several other tasks that must be completed before the one that I planned on doing. For instance, (pause here to make French toast for the kids, but have to clean up some things first.) the laundry is piling up so I decide to wash a load. Someone just peed on the floor and is screaming "Yucky! Yucky!" So get the paper towels and clean that up. Dig through the piles of clean laundry to find clean panties. Once again turn to the laundry room, but there is cat litter on the floor where I want to sort the colors. There is no point in sweeping up all the cat litter on the floor if you are going to get it on the floor again when you clean the litter box, so I clean the litter box. I go to throw the used cat litter in the garbage, but the garbage can is full. "I'm hungry." "Me too" I hear. So I stop to fix some food for the little imps, but the counter is all cluttered, so I clear some room on the counter and have to do some dishes. I step on some random toy and bruise the bottom of my foot. "I did it!" I hear from the bathroom, so I stop and go to render assistance. Since the girls can not be trusted with a whole roll of toilet paper we must stop what we are doing to dispense it. Now that one girl has gone potty the others are reminded that they need to go potty. A fight breaks out over who gets to use the potty next. Much screaming and sometimes hair pulling. I break up the fight. I have one on the potty and wash the first ones hands. The second one gets done so I give her TP and usher her to the sink. Meanwhile, the fist one thought it was so much fun the first time that she strips off her panties again and climbs back on the toilet, necessitating another hand washing, and irritating another kid waiting to use the facilities. Finally get everyone cleaned up and clothes back on (Okay, we don't always bother with putting the clothes back on. Most times they take them all off with in 10 minutes of putting them on anyway.) I go back to the kitchen. Oh I have a message on Facebook. "I'm hungry!" I hear again. "Em Em!" one of the twins reminds me that I need to reward her for going potty with an M&M. Back to the cooking. I create some culinary master piece and the kids are quiet for a short time. So I empty the garbage. Where the hell is my coffee. Gah! Look at the's filthy. Oh, there's my's cold. What was I doing? Laundry... cat litter first.

I could go on, but you see the point.

Back to the potty training:

EVERY SINGLE TIME that I think they are doing really well, they stop doing really well. Usually for a whole day. Over all there is progress and I am thankful.

Reagan has done much better since we started working with her little sisters, except at night so we have gone back to pull ups at night.

I had more thoughts on this, but now I can't remember them.

Christmas snuck up on me. I knew it was coming, but the last week before hand just flew by and I found myself driving around on Christmas Eve looking for someplace still open and wondering what to buy.

We are still shopping for a new home in Florida. We have made offers on two, but still don't have a new house. The looking and the thought of trying to pack up all this... this stuff...and move it all to a new, likely smaller, house seems overwhelming.

I better get back to work. The house is trashed, the kids are restless, and the leak under the sink is still not fixed. I thought it would take about half an hour and we are on day two of repairs. We do have cold water in the kitchen at least and no more leak.

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