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To the two ladies who sat next to us at the beach today. I owe you both a beer. Or 7…
Sorry I scared you. I’m sure the last thing you came to the beach for was to watch the lunatic woman next to you retching uncontrollably. Sorry I yelled too but I was getting frustrated that everyone was panicking and asking me questions that I physically couldn’t answer unless the only answer they were looking for was “huaaaaaaargghhhh ::pant pant::HUARRRRGGHHHHHH! I do love knowing that they worry about me though. I’m usually pretty confident that my kids wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire.

I’m also sorry that my kids are assholes. They aren’t at the age where bickering is cute anymore and much to all our dismay, beating them isn’t socially acceptable. Amazing as it may seem, it was easier when they were toddlers. The initial set up at the beach is not unlike the melee that happens when all 10 of us are seated in a restaurant.  Depending on the degree of the magnetic pull based on the current lunar cycle, the tilt of the earth on its axle and the mood of a few key players in my house, the arranging can go as slick as Anthony Weiners well….you know. Or it can be more traumatizing than a my daughters watching Kanye dis T Swift on live tv.

Today was a Kanye/TSwift kind of day. There was a large audience, differing opinions, a few tears, some swear words…all very dramatic.

But at least we aren’t like the family sitting on the other side of me. Douche canoe  dad of the year award goes to the toolbag who tossed his screaming daughter into that water in hopes of making her see just how fun it really is. Imagine being about 5 years old, freshly spackled in 900+ sunscreen and innocently digging to China with a plastic spoon, when suddenly you’re being helplessly thrown into shockingly cold, tumultuous water that may or may not be infested with the spawn of Sharknado. The water is dark. You can’t see your feet and your father is laughing maniacally at you while splashing what you swear is salty acid in your face screaming ISINT THIS FUN???!!!!! No wonder the poor kids screaming brought the lifeguard over to inquire. In fact you ladies left over an hour ago and that kid is still sobbing and most likely scarred for life.  Should that father get stung by a jelly today, there will be a LONG line of people more than happy to pee on him…in fact I should probably drink some more water.

Where were we….oh yes..assholes….teenagers…pre-teens and tweens…you name it. I got it…kinda like Pamela Anderson and STDs.
It was easier when they were babies, I tell ya. Back in the day we had a routine. We had assigned seats. We had 5 point harnesses. Now…every day, my life is like the running of the bulls. The screaming, the chaos, the blood…

Teenagers suck. They suck the food from your fridge. The gas from your car. The money from your pocket.The joy from your life. Long gone are the days of fuzzy jammies,  tickle time, snuggles and random acts cuteness.  No longer do we hear from the other room, “your my bestest friend ever, we’re gonna live together when we grow up too! ” now it’s commonplace to hear things such as “I’m going to stab you, with a knife, right through your heart! IF YOU EVEN HAVE ONE!!!!” In fact, just moments ago, Cody told Ryan to “eat it” and shoved his face in the sand. I pretended not to notice. Ryan then went off and dumped ketchup all over Charlie’s fries so Charlie goes and stomps across all of Jordyns neatly arranged towels..the cycle repeats itself over and over. Its the circle of life, Simba.

I used to tell my kids all the time “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Today I told my son I was going to sew his face shut. And by God, if I had my sewing kit here in my beach bag the deed would be done.

Yep, memories….love them…I used to think my kids were so sweet and cute i could just eat them up. Now, I wish I had! What the fuck. Seriously. I don’t have teenagers, I have mean-agers.  I have a daughter who yells at me when I tell her how nice she looks, a son who won’t let me touch him and a few that I’m ready to start my own Hunger Games with.  My eldest boy, lets just say one of us is going to end up locked up…probably me…in a Rubber Ramada…
There are some days when  I want to go reminisce about their little people days. I can imagine it now…Mommy…why is that scary looking drunk woman wearing pajama bottoms and one shoe staring at us all playing in the ball pit?? SECURITY!!
So, as I sit here on the beach, the hubbies chair next to me is empty because the teenagers needed a ride to work . The OCD child is shaking out towels for the 900th time and strategically placing them in a perimeter around us. My biffle (best friend for life)  is snoozing on the big blanket at the center of the towel  moat. The two witless boys are taking french fries and placing them in a circle around them in the hopes of being attacked by a flock of rabid seagulls, causing the lady nearby to glare evilly at me, as I pretend to not notice. Again.

They aren’t always assholes though. You ladies just missed out on a good moment when one of my little crotchfruit pulled out a bottle of bubbles that I got them, for shits and giggles, yesterday. She’s sitting here lying on a towel blowing bubbles discussing her summer read book with her big sister. Then she asks her if today is a good day for sailing. So big sister sailor goes on to explain that despite being gorgeous, a day like this would be difficult because of all the luffing that would require a lot of tacking.(whatever the hell that means) And she is actually listening. No one is yelling, fighting or bleeding. The seagulls have moved on to the tourist family about 100 yards away who’s kid dumped a whole bag of pretzel sticks. No Park Rangers have come to  us with ding and dong in handcuffs. (yet) The screaming next to us has stopped. I don’t see the kid…she might be off on a walk but  I heard rumors she was completely buried in the sand by a disgruntled local. And as the bubbles float by, I look at her face. I do miss that awesome toddler she was…her chubby cheeked face and the blond ringlet hair…but the beautiful young lady she is growing into is pretty damn awesome too. Bitchy, but awesome. In fact every  one of them are growing into amazing young adults and although the teen years have thus far left us all feeling more abused than Octomoms uterus, we will make it. Better, stronger, closer.. .So yeah…sorry they were assholes .. its a phase, they will get over it…and someday when they have kids, and those kids become teenagers, they will be assholes too..I know this for a fact, Simba, because its the mother fucking circle of life!

So, Hakuna Matata bitches! Live, laugh and love!

Meet Joe.

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My Partner In Crime. My homeslice. My future source for bail money. My husband, best friend and the number one victim to this crime spree called MY LIFE. He’s been through a lot. (meaning 20 years with me) People like him. But after meeting me, people pray for him. He has been known to introduce me to people as his “Other 12 year old” (rightfully so considering my penchant for fart jokes) And I though it was about time you “met” him.

Joe is…

the Yin to my Yang.

the beginning of my alphabet, because he is type A and I’m type Z.

He is shy. Introverted. Quiet. Timid.

He is… my exact opposite.

He thinks things through. He carefully weighs options. He takes into consideration all possible consequences before taking action.

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Unlike me, who spends a whole hell of a lot of time going “Oh shit. Why on EARTH did I just do that?”He is kind. He is loving. He has a heart so big, the world could fit into it and there would still be room for the moon and all the piled up laundry in my basement.

One year, he invited one of his older, lonely customers to our home for Thanksgiving dinner because he knew he would be alone and eating a can of cold chicken noodle soup otherwise. I mean, the kids were terrified when he came in dragging his O2 tank behind him, and I cant count how many times a kid whispered to me “Is he alive?” during his many cat naps on our couch. But, that’s Joe. The way Joe saw it, this man had no family, and we had plenty to share with him.

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One Saturday morning, one of his older customers (he has a soft spot for them!) was talking about how she had her purse stolen and how all her money, ATM card, everything was gone and she had nothing for her needs until the bank reopened on Monday. Joe gave her the $50 cash he had saved in his wallet for “a rainy day”.  (now, mind you. There is NO budge in our budget, so $50 saved up is a BIG thing around these parts) With a tear in her eye, and a grateful heart, the old woman left, picked up by her driver, who told Joe that the woman was extraordinarily rich, and had unlimited access to resources, but was by all accounts, batshit crazy. He never saw the woman again, or the $50, but no matter. The deed was done out of the kindness of his heart. Not for the potential of a reward, but for the pure purpose of doing the right thing. The reward is knowing you did good for someone, who in that moment, needed it. (even if it turns out she really did not NEED it..lol)

51992_497722375976_546220976_7391134_4594781_o13357_242526400976_546220976_4695260_3228931_nJoe is the hardest working man I know. Twenty four hours after surgery to have his cancerous thyroid removed, he was back at work. I, however,  had a GI scope three days ago and I’m STILL bitching that my pyloris hurts. Go ahead, Google it, I’ll wait, and get your mind out of the gutter. It was ann546220976_2913160_2961423 UPPER GI, so nothing about this is related to my butt and its as of yet, unchartered territories.

When I was fairly pregnant with TJ, our now 15year old, I was woefully miserable. “Im fat! Im gross! I am the antithesis of beautiful and sexy! Whaaaaaa whaaaaa whaaaaaa!! Where are my chocolate covered gummie bears???”

One night, Joe came home with a big pink striped box. (you ladies all know what a big pink striped box means, don’t you?) Victorias Secret! ARGH. I wanted to take the sharpest corner of that box and bury it in47629_10150114819225977_546220976_7851891_4875744_n his eye. True story. Had I been able to move my fat ass fast enough, I just may have. But, the Weeble Wobble that I was, just sat and opened the box, thinking to myself “I will just take whatever sexy negligée is in here (remember, this 15 years ago, back when VS actually had sexy negligées and not just body wash and booty pop sweat suits) and fashion it into a garrote and finish this cold hearted bastard off in his sleep when he’s less likely to be able to roll me onto my back, rendering me immobile.” 45897_476825870976_546220976_6964336_7311269_n

In the box, was a pair of jammies. An ivory, two piece, silk, short set. It was classy, it was beautiful. It was sexy. It was ROOMY. I laughed, I cried. I put my jammies on and never before felt more gorgeous, loved….wanted.

THAT is my husband. He is thoughtful. He is generous. He is loving. He is kind…. and added bonus, he is FUNNY. But the dry humor kind of funny. Again. the opposite of me!

Some of you know about the CaringBridge page I started in 2003 to help centralize all the info about our daughters medical condition, Diamond Blackfan Anemia. If not, now you do! Well, during a lengthy stay with her at her transplant hospital in Long Island, Joe was playing Mr. Mom and decided that it was his turn to make an update. It was written in 2006 but I still read it when I need a good giggle. I wanted to share it with you, so you too, can get a glimpse into my bff’s sense of humor, and learn to appreciate him and his mindset, though never as much as I do.

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March 7, 2006

To all of Kylie’s family, friends and everyone who’s life she has touched, and to everyone who has touched Kylie’s life in some way…. And to all who have reached out to our family during our times of need and support…..
I can’t even begin to thank everyone for all your thoughts, prayers and support you have all graciously given to Kylie and the rest of our family. From being with Kylie when we couldn’t be, to supporting Heather when I didn’t know how to, and by letting our other children know they were being thought of too. We never could have gotten through this alone. THANK YOU!!!!!
But most of all, I want to thank Kylie’s mom, my wife Heather. All of you who already know her can appreciate how wonderful she is. She is truly the backbone of our family, and I am the luckiest man on earth to be married to such an inspirational, loving, caring and forgiving woman. Her magnetic personality and absolute comedic sense of humor, along with her ability to handle anything she is faced with, truly reminds me everyday, how blessed I am.
The past ten days have really been a challenge for me to say the least. Being “MR. MOM” from the crack of dawn right back to the crack of dawn, has really given me a whole new insight to my wife’s world.
Being a former Marine and police officer, I thought I saw it all and could handle anything. Boy was I wrong!!It’s easy when you know who the enemy is! Who would ever think seven sweet, little, innocent children could be domestic terrorists? They somehow managed to infiltrate Homeland Security and did their best break me. After these past ten days, I’m ready to re-enlist into the service, at least the weather in Iraq is warm now.
But all kidding aside, I have a greater respect and admiration for my wife and ALL mothers. It doesn’t matter how many children you have, 1 or 10, well, I lie, it matters a little bit. To do all she does 24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week is truly nothing short of incredible. Getting up and going to work each day is like a trip to the mall compared to taking care of eight children all under the age of nine, and two crazy dogs. Heather is truly my hero!!!!
And if that’s not enough, she also manages all of Kylie’s care, which is a full time job in itself. And now she has started a project to “PAY IT FORWARD”. To pay forward our thanks and gratitude for EVERYTHING we have received from others. Heather’s project will allow our family and others to reach out to other families in need and times of crisis. So, support her project by supporting others. All Heather wants to do is what she does best, which is to teach our children to be caring and loving to others, and to make others smile. Which by the way, can easily turn to tears and if your not real careful, respiratory arrest. We all know how damn funny she is. She could easily be the funniest stand-up comic around, she never runs out of material with the crew we have. Warning…. to anyone with Weak Bladder Syndrome, don’t read her journals unless you have a good pair of Depends lying around.
Back to my story, by the way, writing is a great form of therapy.

So, O.K. here goes…..
My days started, while it was still dark, to our 2yr. old Charlie calling for “MOMMY” from his bedroom. Saying “I’m ready to get up now” over and over again. I knew it wasn’t the alarm clock, because the snooze button was not stopping the voice. Maybe if I ignored him, he’d stop. And besides, I wasn’t Mommy. It didn’t work, he didn’t stop. He only got louder. I quickly realized Heather was in Long Island and I was about to become “Mr. Mom”. So I got up, and took Charlie downstairs. He looked at me and said “I’m Hundry”. He must have been trying to say hungry. “I want oatmeal”. Easy enough, bowl, water, packet (instant) microwave. Four packets later, I finally figured out he would only eat peaches n cream. It’s only 6:45 and I’m ready to quit.
Time to go back upstairs and wake up the girls for preschool. Jordyn (4) and Kasey(3). This has to go well, because little girls are suppose to like school. I walk in their room wake them up, and they both in unison pull their blankets over their heads and say “We’re not going to school!!”. They both take after their mother’s heart, they are NOT morning girls. I should have made them a cup of tea before I woke them. Ha.. Ha.. I finally pry them out of bed and get them dressed. Hopefully they get breakfast at school, because I’m not going through the oatmeal ordeal again. 7:25, “lets go girls” “time to get coats hats and gloves on” Kasey then reminds me how I didn’t put her hair in pony’s. I didn’t want to tell her I didn’t know how to, so I said it was “no ponies allowed” day at school. So, outside to the bus stop we go in sub-zero temperature. As we stand freezing waiting for the bus, they both are arguing with me because of the clothes I made them wear. It’s got to get better, it’s only 7:35 am. Finally the bus arrives. Their both crying because of what I made them wear, and I’m crying because I know they will be home in 4 hrs. Two down, four to go.
7:45am, time to enter the 7, 8, and 9yr olds world. This has got to be easier, at least they could all dress themselves. Everything was going o.k. until Cody(8) informed me it’s not cool to wear long sleeves and jackets to school on days when it’s 10 degrees outside. I won that battle, one for me. T.J.(9) who has to be reminded of his name each day before school, walks out to the van with no shoes on. At least he was wearing his coat. Another one for me. Lets all pile in the van to take the older kids to school. Head count, who’s missing? “did anyone wake up Tyler(7)”? Another girl close to her mommy’s heart, she loves to sleep in. “Need a cup of tea, honey?”
Charlie and Ryan have to come for the ride, I don’t think DYFS would appreciate Skippy being in charge.
Don’t ask me how, but we made it on time. 9:00 am three more down. (Oh yea, Skippy jumped in the van and came for the ride too. When T.J. got out , so did Skippy.) In the school they go-TJ, Cody, Tyler Lee..AND SKIPPY!!! I want to pull away so bad, I’m soooo embarrassed. What a circus.
9:20 am, were home. Me, Charlie, Ryan(5) and unfortunately Skippy too. Now the work begins. Make beds, clean up after breakfast, start laundry (OHHH God), I never knew we had so many clothes. 11:30, Ryan says “we are hungry”. I make cheese sandwiches. Ryan starts in with “Mommy makes…”, “Stop!!! I’m not Mommy and today were having cheese sandwiches, I’M NOT GRILLING THEM. NO TOMATOES! but if your good maybe I’ll add mayo”. Another one for me, I’m starting to gain a foot-hold on this war. I get Ryan dressed for school, and Skippy starts to go nuts. Oh no, I forgot the girls, the bus is beeping. Counts back up to four. “God I know you only put on our plates what we can handle but this plate is getting REAL heavy!” Finally Ran’s bus arrives, 12:40PM. Count down to three, I can do this. Lunch for the girls, more laundry to be folded, dinner to be defrosted, oh yea, call and check on Kylie and Mommy.
3:00 pm, time to pick up everyone from school. Back in the van we go. (Skippy gets locked in the pantry for this round!) Everyone had a rotten day school, and all have lots of homework, lucky me. Pull up in front of the house just in time to meet Ryan’s bus. Why couldn’t the bus have gotten a flat? O.K. count back up to seven. Now the fun really begins…..
Homework, dinner showers, tubbies, p.j’s. story time and bed. Did I mention laundry? Do dinner dishes, and get to bed. I don’t even have to get my sleep pants on, because I never took them off from this morning.
Time to crawl upstairs and fall into bed. 8:30 pm I can’t believe how late it is. One last bed count, all seems quiet for now. Except for a loud barking coming from the back yard. OH CRAP!! I can’t believe I forgot about our new addition “Boomer” I let him in and he’s full of s**t, p**s and vinegar. So, I sedate him and now we’re all in bed. I’m too tired to open the bottle of sleeping pills. I close my eyes and I start to dream that I’m hearing “Daddy, we have to go potty”. It can’t be, I must be in the middle of REM sleep. I keep hearing it, it’s true. Jordyn, and Kasey at their bedroom door. Here we go again. Ryan now takes full advantage of this and he starts at his door saying “I’m thirsty”. That’s it, where is the razor? I’m cutting my wrists, but first I need to take a bottle of aspirin to make sure I don’t clot.
I finally get them all back to bed. I stumble back to my bedroom to find T.J., Cody, Tyler, Skippy and Boomer in my bed sleeping. I quit, I might as well start on tomorrows laundry. Who needs sleep anyway? I’m “MR.MOM”
Kylie and Mommy please come home, we miss you.
Heather thank you for being a wonderful mom, and a beautiful loving wife and best friend. I will love you endlessly.
ALWAYS AND FOREVER
JOSEPH

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Gosh, I love that guy. And its not all the nice, gushy, mostly undeserved things he wrote about me. Its that he sticks with it. He sticks with me. He has a pretty awesome saying, in addition to his invention of the amazing word BASTERCIZE.

Joes theory is this:

We may fight, but we fight for it.

How true is that?

TylerLee said to me yesterday, “I think I’m the only one of the kids in my health class who’s parents aren’t divorced.”18757_323075225976_546220976_5102436_2231717_n

That made me sad. Sure, we COULD have been divorced. We have had hard times. Who hasn’t? We both have had moments when we seriously though that jail time was well worth the feeling of hitting each other upside the back of the head with a very VERY heavy shovel. Lets face it, I am NOT the easiest person to live with.

Yes we fight. Bare minimum, but we do. (by fight, I mean “discuss loudly”, please no anonymous calls to report domestic abuse,18757_323075210976_546220976_5102435_229990_n sheesh.) But we fight because we care. The passion behind a heated discussion is based in love. The fact we care enough to just not walk away and say f-it like so many people do in this day and age is because of one thing and one thing only. We love each other, endlessly and unconditionally.

In our weird, wacked out, crazy world, the one constant we have is that. And I am ever grateful for it.

Thanks for reading, I just needed to brag a bit. Our anniversary is coming February 1st and Joe and all his awesomeness have been on my mind. Even if he doesn’t think so.  I have been out of sorts at home. Cranky, distracted, moody… lots going on with my health that has my mind in a bit of a SNAFU. As much as I struggle to maintain my positive, upbeat attitude, I have my moments of profound sadness. Fear. And I know he is feeling the same. Joe likes to be in control, and when something is out of his control, like my health, he gets even more out of sorts than me. So, I hope when he reads this, he sees through my eyes and words how I really feel about him. How much I appreciate him and his love and support, and how much I need him to help pick up my pieces as they seem to be falling one, by one.24559_375042260976_546220976_5302823_6126385_n

Believe it or not, live, love and laugh….because there is so much to live, love and laugh for!

BASTERCIZE -[ba-stir-size] verb (used with object), -ized, -iz·ing.
1. to f*@k shit up
ie; After the police left and the firemen rolled up their hoses, I could overhear Heather say “Leave it to my children to bastercize something as simple as a game of Go Fish.”

 


Jordyn came home from school yesterday and said, all excited and exuberant, “MOM!” So with matched excitement and exuberance I replied
“WHAT!?” She laughs and says she has to interview me about traditions. What sort of traditions do we have, when did they start..how did they start, etc etc. So, me, knowing full well that this wacked out family is so chock full of traditions that this homework would be a no-brainer. Oy… how wrong was I…

Since Joe and I created most of the traditions, we know them quite well. So I figured it would be nice to see what the kids think of when they hear the word “tradition”. So, once we got over the argument “But Im supposed to ask YOU about our traditions” from Jordyn and she finally realized I was just trying to see what her view of traditions were and she was game.

“OK… hmmmm” she pontificated… “favorite holiday tradition… Oh my God! HIDE THE PICKLE!”

Yes, its ok. you can spit out your coffee to, because I sure as hell did….

“um…WHAT?”

“Yeah! You know! The pickle ornament! You hide it and whoever finds it Christmas morning gets an extra present!”Yes, that is OUR pickle!

I know, Whew…right?

This German tradition of “hiding the pickle” is not made up. And its not pervy either, you freaks. Its real. But our coming across the tradition is not so traditional, since the only thing German about us is our affinity for sauerkraut and bratwurst. My kids LOVE pickles, especially TylerLee… While shopping for all new Christmas stuff in 1999 after we lost it all in a fire a week earlier, I came across a pickle ornament and thought instantly “TYLER LEE!”. We were living in the Residence Inn after our house fire, and one of Kylies nurses saw the pickle on the tree and asked us if we too, were German. Um.. with the last name of Monica…. I think not. She then told us the story. St Nicholas is involved, presents, and the pickle.. or to be exact. the HIDING of THE pickle. So, the tradition was born.

So, after I recovered from the coffee out my nostrils, tear ducts and every other orifice it found its way out of, I explained to Jordyn that MAYBE… just MAYYYYBEEEEE her teacher would be a little… um…. perplexed at the initial title of that particular Monica Family Tradition…

The next thing that popped into her mind was Elf on the Shelf. And to be honest… this was the first year we ever had one. How on EARTH, did I get thru having ten kids and never once hearing of Elf on the Shelf until NOW? Well, let me tell you, I plan on making up for lost time because that Elf…. well..lets just say in just a week he has been places no man (or elf) has ever been, and survived. Inside our shoe bench…Jordyn and Kasey’s closet, Charlie’s backpack…. I have found him perched on a toilet. He has been seen inappropriately touching himself and the Fiber Optic Christmas Angel on the mantle. Heck, upon discovery of an image of a scantily clad female on my laptop, the blame was placed on “that creepy elf.” Somehow I am not sure my children are “getting” the point of the Elf on the Shelf. Or maybe that’s just what I get for not discovering it until they were teenagers. But, alas, that poor Elf better re-up its hazard insurance with the North Pole and check with its Union Rep Elf to make sure they have a good lawyer on the books, because I’m pretty sure that Angel is going to file charges.

So Jordyn is discussing our new found friend Elf and how he is a tradition, (to which I tell her he is not YET a tradition to us) and I ask, “by the way…where is he?” After a little searching… we found him. Elf on the Shelf, was on the top shelf in the kitchen, lounging on the top shelf tequila….oh my.

Elf on the Shelf, on the Top Shelf, Top Shelf.

Elf on the Top Shelf, Top Shelf….

Looking back on the Elf’s brief journey in our house thus far, I’m thinking its not an apropos example of tradition fit for a school paper.

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that Elf looks pretty damn happy doesn’t he????

In case you were wondering, I think she finally settled on

1.) “Decorating the tree by the fire place while we all drink hot cocoa”

(I had to remind her to leave out that mom and dad get “grown up” white hot cocoa, a holiday recipe to be shared on this blog SOON!)

2.) Family Fun Night.

Both mostly safe and innocuous traditions.

I think.

Live, love and laugh…always, my friends.

I know this is in my archives, but out of sight, out of mind and last night the kids and I were talking about it and I still laugh till I cry…so I had to share…man, do I wish I had pictures for this one…..

It was an early spring day in 2009 at the Monica Household.

Early morning.. and early spring..a chill was in the air, rain without ice was just beginning to fall. Mother Nature was just beginning to show us her promise for the upcoming season. New babies were being born all over this great green state. (Garden State green, nuclear waste green, take your pick, either works) Baby birds, nestled warmly beneath their mothers down, squirrels in their cans abound.(inside joke for all those going WTH? Buy hey, squirrels in a can, everyone’s a fan!) Field mice made their way into my toasty warm garage, courtesy of faulty duct work.

That week, I had discovered the tell tale peppering of mouse turds near the dogs empty food bowl. Quite aware of my husband’s Perez Hilton like behavior in regards to rodents of all types, I decided to act fast to quell this potentially exponential population boon going on within the walls of a house that has already maxed out its occupancy allotment before we had even moved in. Afraid to use bromide chips because of Charlies apparent tapeworms and insatiable hunger, I chose the somewhat neanderthal “gluetrap” option. And boy, I could never EVER have imagined what lie ahead of me as I stood in Target, looking at my choices….

First, let me tell you.. everything BUT mice get stuck in these things…As I lie them out, I was sucked into them time and time again, a vortex, if you will, of polymer bonding, the likes of such that should not be legal here in this dimension. Sally Hansen waxing products resemble Elmers Glue when compared to this stuff. Looking back now, I realize that a more ill fated plan there never was, but for my own personal attempt at waxing. Whole other story ENTIRELY…

Back to the glue traps. After I finally disperse them thru the house and garage, I go about my chores until I hear an odd ” slap slap thump”.. over and over.. I’m thinking… OMG I caught one already? COOL! Now, who’s gonna throw it out? So, this flopping sound continues. Quite aggressively in fact. And I’m thinking.. OMG.. its a RAT I bet. And a HUGE one at that… Then, the flopping got closer… and closer… and there, as I came around the corner, coming from the game room, was Sally. Our fox terrier/chihuahua mix, sporting three traps.. one on a front paw, one on a back, and her nose… Seems the smell attracts simple minded dogs too. She had been in the garage with me, I guess and I had left the door opened a bit, so she was able to get into the house adorned in her new accoutrements. Silly sally…I get the traps off, put them back, close AND lock the garage doors, and we all have a chuckle.

Then … the next day… oh, that fateful next day..

It was 6:30 am. I was sound asleep…when I was suddenly awoken by SCREAMING and POUNDING up the stairs… My bedroom door flies open and Cody, braying like a donkey, DIVES under my covers, immediately followed by TJ, double the size of Cody ad twice as loud too, RIPS the blankets off the bed. Then all the sudden I hear WHAP.. then ARRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I look… and I look again… and there… is Cody… with a glue trap.. ON HIS HEAD! NOOOOO!!!!!!

Oh man… God was with TJ that day. Cody is losing his mind, and as my instincts are to hold him back from jumping on TJ and making a sticky situation a bloody one as well, that primitive part of my brain told me DONT TOUCH THAT KID! Insanity ensued for a brief moment and the story, as it happened, began to unfold.

TJ is slow in the morning. (like me) Cody, however, is not. (like Joe) In his annoyance, and an attempt to light a fire under TJs ass, Cody threatened him w. a glue trap he found behind the computer (still no clue as to HOW he found it or why he was back there) Cody jokingly waved it close to TJs hairy legs. TJ swatted at Cody, glue trap fell… sticky side down.. on TJs leg. TJ RIIIIPS off glue trap, and in his blinding pain, chases him full throttle thru the house to my bedroom where the” WHAP heard round the world” was then executed.

So, there I am..not yet 7am… still dark out and I’m Googling “how to remove rodent glue trap from human hair” all while promising TJ that I was going to “drag him to church, and beat him in front of God.” TJ took the bus to school that am. But I promised him, that if I couldn’t get the trap out of Cody’s hair without cutting it, I was shaving his head.. with a dull linoleum knife and lemon juice….And for those of you who know TJ, at the time this “incident” took place he was rockin the whole Emo look..black hair longer than TylerLee’s , SlipKnot t-shirts, you know…the whole doom n gloom thing. But his hair is his pride and joy. (a phase we ALL managed to survive)

Well.. FYI, olive oil works GREAT… Cody had shiny hair for about a week and barring being late for school, the entire fiasco ended peacefully…. TJ still had his hair… and I will NEVER buy glue traps.. EVER AGAIN…

That’s my story.. and I’m stickin to it. Pun intended!

IMG_0014-1Apple picking! And eating, and chucking (the header photo to this blog is actually Charlie running for his LIFE from fallen apple artillery) ….and I think there was a firework involved. But apparently it was Charlie’s idea…yeah, right. There was a full moon too, yet it was 11 in the morning…imagine THAT.IMG_0043

Strawberry Hill Farm in Chesterfield, NJ is hands down the best apple orchard we have ever been to, and we LOVE apple picking. We have picked out random farms anywhere from North Jersey to Pennsylvania Amish Country and who knew the best spot was right near by. IMAG0059We picked 65lbs, yes SIXTY FIVE POUNDS of the little bits of natures candy. And we ate them ALL! I made apple bread, apple pies, apple crumble and some toxic sludge that was SUPPOSED to be Apple IMAG0064Butter. But since I had a helper (and I use the term helper loosely here) that apparently had an issue recognizing the subtle yet epic difference between the IMAG0104cooking terms tsp. and tbsp. the hours of  boiling, straining and stirring actually created roof tar that can double as a paint remover. IMAG0108

WARNING: there is no way to get around STRICT and ACCURATE measurements of spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

But I digress, back to the farm-

Things you don’t expect to hear while apple picking:

1. Kasey! Your not a secret ninja!

2. Get those apples out of my socks!

3. Kasey- “Moooom! Codys got his hands in his pants!”

                   Joe-”Again?”IMG_0126

4. Me-“Put your sister down and stop using her to nock apples out of the tree.”

5. TylerLee “OMG! Is that a TOOTH?”

and many many others I just cant remember, or choose not to… But somehow these things all seem normal  for Joe and I to overhear on an early fall afternoon at a local apple farm. Read the rest of this entry »

 Tonight, at 6:30, ALL of my kids were at the table before dinner was even ready. A feat never before accomplished. At least not without horse tranquilizers and tasers. I had to blink. I had to look twice, no, three times. I pinched myself. They were all sitting there chatting, laughing, smiling like they actually had some semblance of affection for each other. There is just something about the image of eight kids, all sitting at the table, actually getting along that makes you think its time to see the eye doctor. Or a neurologist…

Not one argument over who sat where, no elbow jabs, no “who farted?” (well, not immediately anyway) and it was all because of a piece of meat.  At 4pm, I took the raw roast and covered it in what Charlie called “green vomit”. “Just smell it Charlie” I said.….ooooooo! ahhhhhhh! yes…. thats it… thats the same sound TylerLee made when she came home from school at 2:30 and smelled it. The same noise Christie, TJs girlfriend made when she smelled it. That is the universal sound that one makes after smelling the combination of salt, rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, parsley and olive oil.

And despite its fetid, green and black lumpy look, the layers of flavor and aroma trapped inside had an almost Zen-like affect on my children when I started cooking it.

The ingredients are SO simple that if you don’t have them at home they are all easily found at your local grocery store.

 

Considering the fact  that I have to cook Because I cook in bulk, the size of the roast and the amounts of the ingredients you will need will VASTLY change for anyone making this for a normal sized family. I made sure to make a conversion chart for you all! Note that YOU are all NORMAL… Us..not so much….

Read the rest of this entry »

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