Sunday, January 30, 2011


Gavin and I took a weekend whirlwind trip to our homeland (Washington) for a dear friend's wedding. Although our flight home was fairly uneventful, it was quite awkward.

When we arrived at our gate at the airport in Seattle I noticed a cute, trendy-dressed pregnant lady ready to board the plane. She was wearing a light pink scarf around her neck and for some reason it solidified in my mind that she must be pregnant with a girl. I guessed she was probably 5 or 6 months pregnant and as we lolly-gagged around, she boarded the plane well ahead of us. Gavin and I were seated separately when we finally got on the plane and after a bit of shuffling seats found ourselves seated together and right next to the cute pregnant lady. As I shoved my purse under my seat "How far along are you?" almost came blurting right out of my mouth. Don't worry though...I reigned it in and instead brought up the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills article she was reading in her People Magazine. She totally looked pregnant, but you just can never be too sure. I wasn't really in the mood for a long chat and could tell she wasn't either, so I buckled-up and grabbed the magazine that I had just purchased for the flight.

When the beverage cart came along, Gavin ordered a ginger ale and I asked for a Diet Coke and when the flight attendant asked cute, pregnant lady what she was having, she ordered a "Vodka Seven". I thought I must've heard that wrong. Nope. The flight attendant handed her a cup of 7-up and a mini-bottle of Vodka. Wow.

A few thoughts that ran through my head:
*Maybe she is thinking that some studies say that one drink a day is okay...But wasn't that talking about a glass of wine and not VODKA?
*Maybe I'm on that one tv reality show where they put you in ridiculous situations and see if you'll say something? Where are those tv cameras?
*Maybe she's not really pregnant and I just made that up in my mind. It must just be a big poofy jacket...
*What do I do, what do I do, what do I do??????????? GAH!
*Is anyone else seeing this?????? Flight attendant??? Gavin???
*Wait, is she pregnant?
*Ummmm...she might not be pregnant...Those are high-heeled boots and I'm not sure any pregnant lady wears those, but then again, we are going to California.
*If she orders a second, I'm going to have to ask her if she's pregnant.
*Is this any of my business???
*Oh good, she only poured a little bit in.
*Where the heck are those tv cameras???

I buried my head in my magazine and tried to distract myself with the in-flight crossword puzzle as cute, pregnant(?) girl polished off her beverage. Thankfully, the Seattle to San Jose flight is pretty short and only allows for one beverage service. Cute pregnant/not pregnant girl made a comment to me about her husband being addicted to Angry Birds as I continued to try to distract myself while nonchalantly studying/staring at her stomach still trying to determine whether there was a baby in there or not.

When our flight finally arrived in San Jose and we emerged from the plane, you better believe I was checking my new friend out. It took every ounce of self-control in me not to follow her into the restroom to see if she would come out of the bathroom stall without a coat on so I could see what was really going on under there. Alas, I determined that cute pregnant girl was in fact, not pregnant at all. She was just wearing a terribly unflattering outfit. SO thankful I didn't ask about her pregnancy...Can you imagine how awkward that would have made the flight?

Here's a photo of my beautiful friend at her wedding and our college roomies...minus Rachel. :-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Absence makes the heart grow angry?

Its true! I miss Gavin SO much.
My husband has to travel a lot for work lately. He gets to travel to our "home", the Pacific Northwest and visit with our friends while he "works". I know he works. He works hard. Hard enough that I am positive that he hates being away from us. Or is it that I make our home SO appealing that he never wants to leave? Whatever... He has to travel a lot recently and he gets the bonus of seeing our awesome/hilarious/adorable/encouraging friends. I may be jealous.

Regardless, I'm still suffering from homesickness. Tomorrow, I get to travel up to the PNW for the weekend and leave our kids with their awesome grandparents and meet my hubby on a work trip, AND I get to see my sweet, sweet college roommate get married in Seattle. I AM SO HAPPY. I'm already planning out all of the places I'm going to eat this weekend. I love Tacoma/Seattle restaurants. Two words: Wild Orchid. Also, Indochine, The Melting Pot and Flipping Out. I love eating in the PNW. Also, I just love being near my friends.

Absence from Gav makes me love and appreciate him SO much. This long absence from my best friends makes me miss them ridiculously and love them all so much more than I probably ever would have known if we had stayed in WA. Too bad that this is what it took to make us realize it. :-(

Hopefully, I'll be able to hide all of the evidence of me "missing my husband" (nachos, late night tv, junk food) by the time anyone arrives tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ode To My Neti-Pot

How I love you neti-pot,
Thanks for cleaning out my snot.

It took while, but now I'm believing
Because my sinuses, you are relieving.

For years I lived on Amoxicillin
But thanks to you, so good I'm feelin'.

When I use you, I may look like a doofus,
But I can't resist how you clear my mucus.

Every morning with your warm water cleaning
Feels so good and brings life new meaning.

No longer do I suffer from those pesky infections,
Thanks to your lovely sinus inspections.

As I mix your salt and water brew,
I think how forever I'm indebted to you.

The boogers and germs flow out of my nose,
Then down the drain is where it goes.

You have changed my life you sweet little pot,
With illness now I'm no longer fraught.

To live without you, I'll never do,
I'll always let you clean my nose goo.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My kids do this weekly thing at church called "Awanas". I wasn't so sure that I wanted them to attend because honestly, it seemed pretty nerdy. But they LOVE it. Maybe they are nerdy? Not possible... (Hey, I know Jude needs a haircut).

At Awanas they earn little badges and little jewels for their badges by memorizing scriptures. For Jude, this is "easy, peasy, lemon squeezy" (Noelle's words). He's one of those people who has the gift to memorize everything. If you're ever bored waiting in a Dr.'s office, just ask Jude to recite a movie, tv show or book for you. You could be entertained for hours. Seriously though, the kid has about a million Bible verses memorized and I have NEVER practiced with him. Noelle is more like the rest of us, who have to practice things like memorization. She's SUPER smart, but she has to actually practice and study, unlike Jude. Don't worry though, she gets him back when it comes to all things athletic.

Tonight, Jude came home with his next jewel for memorizing 2 new verses. Noelle had practiced and practiced her last verse to get her next jewel, but came home empty-handed. No big deal to me, but she was a little sad about it. When I asked her what happened she replied, "I just have so much other stuff going on in my head. Its hard to fit it all in there." Well said, my love, well said. I can surely identify with that one.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Something That Starts With The Letter "K"

Each Monday, Jude's homework assignment is to find pictures in a magazine that begin with whichever letter they are currently studying. Tonight, it was the letter "K" and boy did we have a difficult time locating words that started with "K" in my cooking, running and health magazines. Unbelievably difficult. Here is what he decided to do:

Why, yes! Of course! "Karate Hands" begins with "K"! Also, those are tiny kittens there in the middle cut-out from a cat litter ad...


Adventurous Eating

I often affectionately call my husband "idea man". He is always full of crazy ideas, many of which I just politely nod and with great enthusiasm reply, "That's a GREAT idea honey!" fully knowing that it will probably never unfold into reality. Why squash his excitement?

My hubby is also very creative and adventurous. Not "jump out of an airplane" adventurous, but more like "order the weirdest thing on the menu" adventurous. In nearly any restaurant that we go to, I can quickly skim the menu, spot the weirdest thing on it and with full confidence know that when the waiter or waitress arrives to take our order that it will be the likely choice that Gavin makes. I love that. In fact, he was traveling for work last week and texted from the restaurant to tell me he had just ordered a jalapeno beer along with his deep fried pickles and salad. A strange dinner somewhere in Reno. According to his family, it wasn't always that way. Gavin was known to be a ridiculously picky child and teenager and his adventurous eating ways didn't develop until college. Lucky me!

Occasionally, Gavin's adventurous eating spirit makes it's way into our own kitchen. He is a FABULOUS cook. I am always impressed when he makes a meal in our home and never disappointed. Last night though, was very interesting. I think I may have tasted one of the strangest salads of my entire life. Please, don't confuse the word strangest with with the word grossest, because it wasn't gross...just, well strange.

Gavin popped into the kitchen around dinner time and said with excitement, "I have an idea for a salad!" "Go for it!" I replied, grateful to be relieved of the dinner duties. When he called us in for dinner I was slightly taken aback, but mostly curious as he finished up topping my GIANT meal of a salad. It looked pretty, but still strange.

Here's what was in the weird salad: Organic mixed greens, quinoa, slices of chicken jalapeno sausage, green bell pepper, pepperoncinis and instead of salad dressing, it was topped with BUFFALO SAUCE! Wow! If you like a flavor explosion in your mouth, you'll love this!

I LOVE my husband and his adventurous palate.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I wish I liked my dog.

I really do. I'm sure I love her, but I just don't like her. You'd think I would be a "dog person" having grown up around dogs. In fact, I've had quite a few dogs:

1. Snuggles - I got Snuggles as a reward for not wetting the bed anymore when I was very small. I have no memory of what ever happened to Snuggles.
2. Buddy - He was a "hand me down" dog from our neighbor when I was 4 or 5. Buddy was old and laid around all day long. I think we may have had him for a year before he died.
3. Lucky - Lucky was a pretty Siberian Husky that ran away after about a year.
4. Caesar - She was a big fluffy dog that I loved. Someone stole her.
5. Kayo (Poophead) - Poophead was my favorite dog. He was a rescue dog we got when I was 9 and he lived until I was 23 and married. He ran really fast and smelled really bad. Not really a cute dog, but very sweet.
6. Chewy - A puppy we got in high school that died from some strange illness about a month after we got him.
7. Mandy - A GIANT Elkhound that we got when I was in junior high and she was already OLD. She lived for a handful of years and stunk us out of every room.
8. ? - I forgot the name of the puppy my sister ran over when she had her LEARNER'S PERMIT.
9. Bindi the Jungle Dog Brem - our current canine. We've had her for 2 years and 2 months now.

I feel like I should like dogs.
I don't shy away from responsibility, I'm social, I like to cuddle, I like walks and runs - all the makings of a dog lover. I just don't. Maybe its that I just don't "get" Bindi. I'm convicted that even though I don't want to be a pet owner (we have 1 dog, 1 lizard and 2 fish) that because I chose to be one (kinda?) that I at least have to be a good pet owner. Of course, I feed Bindi, play with her, walk her, take her to the park, take her on runs and buy her Christmas presents. We let her sleep in a house in the garage with a cozy bed. She has a pet-bed outside and plenty of toys to play with and chew on. The kids play with her and give her treats. We've taught her how to sit, lay-down, stay, fetch and roll over. We take her out the ranch and let her run free and chase squirrels. She has playdates with her "cousins" Joey and Chase. For the record, I am not a bad pet owner. But how does Bindi repay me? By eating my plants, pooping in my yard, digging up my flower beds, destroying anything that has accidentally been left in her path, pulling the stuffing out of her bed and dragging it across the entire backyard on multiple occasions, and wiping her snot all over the sliding glass door. So fun. In fact, it seems like the more attention that I pay her, the more she destroys!

There were a couple of weeks recently where Bindi got little attention besides the regular food and water stops. During that time, I can't think a single thing she destroyed. More recently, I've been taking her to parks, frequent walks and paying lots of attention to her...and she is repaying good with evil.

Internet has been

Our internet has been down for a couple days, so this was originally for posting on Friday...

This afternoon as I was putting laundry away, I noticed that Jude was poised and ready to pounce from the end-table in the living room over to the loveseat. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence in our household. In fact, because of all of the leaping from furniture to furniture that occurred all summer long, we decided to get Jude a LARGE trampoline for his birthday last year. We still have the trampoline, and yet he still is leaping across the living room. But this afternoon I also noticed that Jude’s usual “direct hit” might be skewed a bit because of a coat laying across the loveseat. Before he pounced, I sternly gave him a, “No. No. No. No. No. Don’t jump over the furniture.” just as he was about to take flight. I was too late.

Jude smacked his thigh right on the arm of the loveseat and the crying/wailing/screaming that ensued was quite a delight. (As I’m writing this, I just heard Noelle say, “Jude! Get off the stinkin’ pot!” as Gavin replied “Noelle, it’ll be forever.”) Back to the crying/wailing/ was long and loud. I decided to take advantage of this moment by 1: cleaning all of the boogers off of Jude’s face and out of his nose that had built-up from the cold he has and 2: ripping the Yoda bandaid off of his right arm that had been there for no less than 9 days. No cuddling or sweet-talk could comfort this boy for a good 10 minutes.

At one point, through tears he yelled, “I’m bliiiiiind!!!!!”

to which I couldn’t help but giggle and say, “You aren’t blind.”

“Yes I am.” little man replied through tears.

“Honey, can you see?” I asked.

“Yes.” said Jude.

“Then you aren’t blind. Blind is when you can’t see anything.” I inform him.


The crying stopped and we moved on with our lives.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I think I've recovered long enough to finally speak of this. Its been about a month since "the event" occurred.

It was our 2010 family Christmas card photo shoot day. We had beautified the kids and ourselves after church that Sunday afternoon and were running late to meet our adorable photographer, Jaime. After getting Jude dressed and cleaned-up, he headed to his usual "think tank" (the potty) and began what I would describe as a marathon poo. I literally have no idea how long he was on there, but it was long enough to annoy me and leave a nice toilet-sized red ring around his buns and legs. I was rushing around grabbing coats for everyone, primping myself in the bathroom, putting on jewelry and trying to herd the family towards the door with frequent beckons (and eventual begging) to Jude to hurry-up and get off of the potty. Noelle and Gavin were patiently waiting in the car when I was finally ready to go and there was still no sign that Jude was near ready to leave his throne.

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I marched right into that bathroom and told Jude he was done and we were leaving. I forced Jude to stand-up and as I leaned over to help him wipe, ONE OF MY EARRINGS FELL INTO THE TOILET. I didn't notice, but Jude said something like, "The circle is in the toilet" which meant nothing to me and I shrugged him off and told him to flush and hurry-up because we were late and had to go. Jude insisted while pointing and staring into the potty that "my circle was in the toilet" and finally (mostly to humor him) I grudgingly walked over to glance in the potty. SICK. It was at the bottom and there was nothing in sight to help me AND Gavin was out in the car AND we were late AND I didn't really want anyone to know because I REALLY wanted to wear those earrings that day. So, I did what any woman who wants to wear something really bad would do and I reached right in. After many gags, groans, gasps and a few choice words, my earring was out. I scrubbed my earring (and my hand!) with diligence before popping that earring right back into my ear and running out the door. And I never told Gavin...

The photos turned out great!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just plain old thankful...

First of all, I LOVE high school students. I love their drama, their hormones, their silliness, their desire to be known, and of their desperate attempts to fit in. I love nearly everything about them.

Secondly, I was reminded tonight about how thankful that I am to have both received and learned to give (sometimes not perfectly) true forgiveness. I'm thankful for my pastor Brian Brennt pounding forgiveness of others into us and showing it a million times over. I'm thankful for one night in college when I forgave the person that did the worst thing ever to me and I meant it. And it was miraculous. And I was healed of all of the bitterness and anger that I had been carrying for years. I'm thankful that Jesus forgives me for the sins that I commit every 10 seconds and that he gives me strength to forgive anyone and everyone, including myself.

I should be a bitter, angry woman. I shouldn't have a blissfully happy marriage and have so much joy over my kids. I should be pissed-off all of the time, but I'm not because of Jesus. His kindness and love for me RESCUED me. I am not only spiritually redeemed for eternity, but emotionally healed and redeemed for my life on earth.

I'm thankful tonight for forgiveness, and that when its done, its done. Gone forever as far as East is to the West.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Homesick Shmomesick

We've had a handful of bouts of homesickness since we've moved to Salinas 18 months ago, but this recent bout has been pretty bad and left us making lists of all of the things we love and miss about the Northwest. Constantly dreaming about all of the things we miss in WA has made some days pretty miserable and heart-wrenching around here. In order to maintain some level of perspective, I decided to instead make a running list of all of the things I like about living here in Salinas. Surprisingly, this list hasn't been as easy to come up with as I had anticipated, but I'll leave it open-ended and add to it as more come up. Here's what I have so far...

*The weather! It was 73 degrees today - IN JANUARY - and I worked outside in my flower beds, went for a run without a jacket on and should have put sunscreen on Jude before he went to school today.
*Being close to family. Its been great to have dinners with my sister and her family, lunches during her workday and catching my nephew's basketball or baseball games. So happy to spend some quality time with my sweet niece and nephews and I have a great time hanging out with my sister. Our kids love being near their grandparents too!
*Joel and Deana Parkins (ie: Youth Ministry Geniuses). Not only are they hilarious and fun to be around, they teach us SO incredibly much about how to love high school students and how to be good at it.
*Our car insurance went down significantly when we moved here!
*We live in a quiet street with lots of kids on it and Noelle and Jude have become friends with all of them! We love having them over and playing and walking to and from school with them.
*FRESH produce. I seriously almost took a picture of the first tomato I purchased down here. I had NEVER seen a tomato from a grocery store that red before!
*We're only 6 hours from Disneyland! :-)
*We're only a few hours drive from lots of cool places (Lake Tahoe, the Brem family cabin in Arnold, San Francisco)
*The Giants. I'm a full-blooded Mariner's fan, but my husband sure does love his Giants! We made it to quite a few games last year and loved it. Also, did you know they won the World Series?
*Gavin's family ranch. We love to go out there to hike, BBQ, relax, let the dog run around like crazy, let the kids be as loud as they want, and to let the kids ride horses. What a blessing to be near it! And don't forget the annual family cattle branding! You've got to see it to believe it...
*The Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is truly amazing.
*The Santa Cruz Boardwalk - so fun!
*AND we're only about 12 minutes from the beach!

This definitely makes me feel better! Also, come visit.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rest In Peace little Spongey

We had our 9th (I think?) fish funeral today. Our beloved Spongey the goldfish was euthanized this afternoon and is now with Jesus in "Fish Heaven". At this point, there are still many tears involved in the death of fish around our house and we still gather around the toilet and say our goodbye's. Once, we buried one of our dead fish in the yard under a lovely flowering bush. It was heartbreaking when Noelle discovered that the neighborhood cat had come for a little snack. So, now all of our fish are flushed when they move on to the afterlife.

Spongey was a good fish. I think we had him for around a good 6 weeks, or so. He has not turned out to be a cheap goldfish though. Over FIFTY dollars now. Yikes. That's another story...

But we can sleep peacefully in the Brem household tonight now that Spongey has been replaced and the pet population is back to normal (ridiculous) in our home. Welcome to our family "Coffee". You better survive longer than 6 weeks or I'm having words with the dude at the pet store.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Years a little late...

I'm a BIG fan of new years resolutions. My husband is not. I LOVE having a goal set that I can try to achive. My hubby views it as just another way to fail. We may never be in agreement on this issue, but I sure do love a clean slate.

This year I'm starting my resolutions just as most people are deciding that this is a good time to give up on them. Maybe its because I was in Hawaii over New Years and it didn't really feel like "real life" when I was there...

Anyway, here are my resolutions for 2011 (They might be ambitious, but I'm feeling ambitious)...

*Write a blog every day of 2011
*Read my bible/somehow be in the Word every single day
*Become more disciplined with running/exercise (we start P90X again on Wednesday)
*Drink more water

We'll see how I do!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue...

For Jude's 5th birthday he was given a whole slew of Buzz Lightyear gear. He has these cool armbands that shoot red "circles", (not sure what they are supposed to be, but that's what Jude calls them) and wings that have buttons on the front that when you push them they say, "Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue!" and "To infinity and beyond!" among a few other things. Pretty great gifts since he's still playing with them a year a half later.

When Jude puts on his "Buzz gear" he transforms into Buzz. Every time you address him as Jude, he politely corrects you and tells you his name is Buzz. Sometimes it can be a little exasperating even though its completely adorable.

Recently, Jude had his toy Hummer/truck in the kitchen.
Our recent conversation went like this:

Me: "Jude, can you take your truck to your room please?"
Jude: "You mean Buzz."
Me: "Oh yeah. Buzz, can you take your truck to your room please?"
Jude: "You mean Jude's room."
Me: "Buzz, can you take your truck to Jude's room please?"
Jude: "You mean Jude's truck to Jude's room."
Me: (slightly exasperated and slightly confused) "Buzz, can you take Jude's truck to Jude's room please?"
Jude: "Sure."

He's lucky he's so darn cute.

Friday, January 14, 2011

45 minutes of crazy...5 days a week

Now, there is a simple solution to this problem, but I've come to accept that this is just how its going to work for now...

Nearly every school day morning I wake up peaceful and happy, but transform into a command barking, fast-moving, 2-inches away from losing-it, threatening, begging and pleading, drill sargeant who adds "honey" and "sweetie" to the end of the orders and commands.

Our day starts by a sweet little boy popping into our room and announcing directly into my face, "Mommy! Its 7 o'clock!" (He's not allowed to get out of bed until the digital clock in his room reads 7:00 and he waits with great anticipation every morning for that 7 to pop up there). I then coerce him to cuddle for just a few minutes, which never works for more than 1 minute because he's a 6 year old boy who makes a lot of weird noises and moves around more like a jumping bean than something that wants to cuddle. I finally realize that I'd be more comfortable walking around in my bathrobe than laying in bed with this dude and get up and wrap myself in my robe, or what I like to call "the blanket that I wear". I LOVE my robe. I seriously would wear it all day every day if I could. Its big and soft and fluffy and cozy and I love it. I then head to the bathroom and brush my teeth (usually forgetting to look in the mirror at this point). Its only about 7:15am at this time and this is when the crazy begins.

Walking into the boy's room, I quickly try to remember the weather forecast and pick some clothes out accordingly. He does not care what he wears. I toss pants, shirt, socks and shoes onto the foot of his bed and sweetly tell him to come and get dressed. Today, he gets to wear his shirt that looks like it is a remote control and he is thrilled and loudly squeals, "My remote control shirt!" Pretty sure this wakes his sister up. I walk out of his room and into the girl's room and find her sweetly laying in bed with her eye-mask on that reads "Do Not Disturb". Did I mention that she's 7? I snuck in while she was asleep last night and removed this eye-mask from her eyes and hung it on her bedpost, so I'm slightly surprised to see it on her. Her morning greeting to me is, "Why was my eye-mask gone when I woke up in the middle of the night? I searched and searched and finally found it and then went back to sleep." The girl has a sty on her left eye right now (my theory is that its caused by the eye mask) and I had removed it last night while she was sleeping because she's convinced she can't sleep without it and I'm convinced that its not good for that sty to be under there all night long. Compromise? I quickly find some clothes for her that won't make her hot because heaven forbid that she might get a little hot by the end of the school day. Leggings, skirt and short-sleeved t-shirt should do the trick (NEVER, EVER ask the girl to wear long sleeves or the morning craziness escalates dramatically). Thinking that its time to head in to the kitchen and make breakfast, I swing by to check on the progress of the boy....he's missing in action and all clothes (including his PJ's that he was previously wearing) are in his bedroom at this point, but he is not in sight. He's on the potty. "Get off the toilet!" is something that I never thought I would say 12 times each day, but it is a common phrase frequently uttered by every member of our family except Jude. I persuade him to get off the potty and head back to his room to get dressed. Noelle is quietly dressing and I head off to make a healthy, gluten-free breakfast to fill their tummy's for a productive day at school. At this point, I'm still hopeful that the morning is going to go off without a hitch. Its 7:25am and we have 5 minutes before our neighbor girl that we watch in the morning and walk to school arrives. The "hurry-up" command is spouted a few times and the threat that Carly is coming and you don't want her to see you naked is usually a good incentive to get the munchkins moving faster.

Surprisingly, Jude is the first one to the kitchen this morning. I hand him a yogurt and spoon and tell him to sit down and eat while I make eggs. He doesn't want eggs, but I'm making them anyway. He does want bacon, so I quickly put some bacon in the oven and return to making eggs. Noelle is no where in sight. Eggs are cooked and plated, yogurt is finished just as Carly arrives and Noelle has yet to be seen, but has been called for at least 3 times. She finally calls out, "Just a minute!" (sweetly, not quite like a teenager yet, but her tone makes me think she must be doing something productive). She finally appears and when I ask her what she was doing she casually replies, "Just laying on the bed." Hmm...this does not help mommy's anxiety level. I need her to sit down and eat so I can quiz her on her spelling words, brush her hair and pack her lunch and gather her belongings for school all at the same time. Multi-tasking.
Jude won't touch his eggs. I squirt a bunch of ketchup (organic, so its good for him, right?) onto the eggs and he finally digs in. I pack a lunch for Noelle and head over to brush her hair which she has decided this week that it has needed to be in a low ponytail in the back with a side part in the front and her bangs pinned to the side with a clip. Easy. Noelle declares that she can't eat while I brush her hair and I remind her that's not true because yesterday she begged me to brush her hair while she was eating because Carly had laughed at her crazy bed-head. Its 7:45 and we have 15 min until we have to leave.

Bacon comes out of the oven and hubby comes through the kitchen showered, dressed and groomed. How is that possible when he was still in bed when I got up? I am still in my fluffy blanket/robe and haven't looked in the mirror, but have clean teeth.

Jude is done with breakfast and I send him to brush his teeth. Noelle is slowly eating (Is she eating at all?) and I am trying to help her remember that you always need a "u" after a "q" and how to spell the word "plaque" while packing up her backpack with homework folder, lunch and water bottle. A questionable book is found at the bottom of her backpack and Mommy secretly whisks it away, but forgets to hide it and leaves in right on the kitchen counter. Spelling practice is over, some food has finally been eaten and I am buzzing all around trying to make sure everyone is looking appropriate to walk out in public forgetting that I have yet to get dressed. Its 7:55am. Time for Noelle to brush her teeth. Upon arriving in the bathroom, we discover that Jude is again on the toilet and has yet to brush his teeth. "Jude! Get off the toilet and brush your teeth!" I grab a wash cloth to wash breakfast off of his face while he's still sitting on the potty forgetting that he's going to get all messy again in about 30 seconds when toothpaste is inevitably smeared all over his face. Finally, teeth are brushed and the orders to "put on your coats, grab your backpack and bookbag" are blurted out. I quickly run to my room as I hear another knock on the door and another neighbor girl arrives to walk to school with us. I throw on yesterdays jeans that are on the floor and grab a t-shirt from the dresser and put it on covering it up (hiding the ugly shirt) with my coat and a scarf (yes, we still wear scarves in California, but mostly as an accessory) and pull on my uggs as I'm rushing the kids out the door. But we can't leave yet. Noelle has spotted the questionable book that I've discreetly (not so much) left laying on the counter and tries to beg/argue for it back. Mommy has almost had it and trying to maintain some level of grace points out all of the reasons we are not going to be reading that book anymore (also having to somewhat convince the husband of these same things) as 2 neighbor kids watch it all unfold. We are now running late. Pushing the kids out the door the conversation continues as the 3rd grade girl proudly tells us (brags) that she's allowed to read this particular series of books and I really don't care except that its making Noelle even more sad and persistent about it. This also seems to make all 5 children that are walking with us move very slowly or maybe it just seemed that way because someone was ALWAYS cutting me off (I seriously almost tripped over a child at least a dozen times) the entire walk to school.

We're on our way and its 8:05. I briefly looked in the mirror before I left, pulled my hair into a messy bun/blobby ponytail and noticed the dark remnants of yesterdays mascara under my eyes. I was relieved to see it was sunny out which means I can wear sunglasses and save myself the 15 seconds it would take to wash my face. About 4 minutes into our 7 minute walk to school, Noelle announces that she has to go to the bathroom and won't make it to class first. It takes a minute to convince her that she can make it to the school restroom. We drop 3rd grade neighbor off immediately as we walk onto the school grounds. The rest of the kids are scattered around the campus and the one who needs to be dropped off earliest (Jude's class starts at 8:15am and everyone else start at 8:20) is obviously the one that's classroom is farthest away. We rush to get Jude in his class, coat off, bag hung-up and in his seat before Noelle loses it. She tosses me her backpack (which she started carrying with one strap instead of two this week!) and runs to the potty telling me she'll meet me in front of her class. I quickly take 2nd grade neighbor Carly to her classroom, but she's decided this is the perfect time to walk. As. Slowly. As. Possible. Finally, her classroom is in sight and she walks in without even saying goodbye to me. Suddenly, I hear a loud "Mommy!!" and see Noelle running full speed towards me. She grabs her bag and then my hand and we finally saunter towards her class. I kiss her goodbye and realize that the coffee that I microwaved from yesterdays leftovers and have been carrying this entire time and have not yet been able to drink has, at some point, spilled on my sleeve. Oh, but I have have coffee! I take a sip and start to mozy towards home. I should feel relieved, but instead I feel slightly sad and lonely. I hate dropping my kids off at school. I want them with me. I like them. As I walk home and pray for Noelle and Jude and drink my coffee in the quiet, I know I should be enjoying the peace, but I'm missing the crazy. My heart leaps when I realize that today is Friday, which means I have to be back in Jude's Kindergarten class in less than an hour to help with crafts. Kindergarteners doing crafts on Friday is chaos. I'll be just fine...

*The "questionable book" is a series called "Ook and Gluk" and I'm just not sure if I like her reading them yet. They are funny and full of potty humor (which I love) but don't love my 7 year old laughing at quite yet. Anyone else know about these and have insight?