Updated: Weekend Earring Giveaway

Apr 29 2011

May 2, 2011 Update: Winners!

Yep, big surprise.  I couldn’t pick just one winner.  So I kept drawing ’til they’re all gone, and now I have to go back to LB Designs and buy some for myself.  Shoot!

Congratulations to the following winners, selected randomly:

  1. Monica: “#1 is calling to me. Gold AND pink? Check. Check.”
  2. Holly in Japan : “‘Well played, dog. Well played.’ soooo funny! Animals are smarter than we give them credit for, I think. He knows how to keep his bread buttered. ‘I do ship internationally. Because I can do whatever I want. Except teach a kid to behave well enough to keep from being suspended. Control what you can, right?’ oh Beth, you are seriously cracking me up. Story of my life! control what you can. Two more fave quotes!  Oh yes, I nearly forgot the earrings. Love them all – would wear the red ones the most, but I’m always up for a new wardrobe for any pair of earrings. (^_^)v”
  3. Heidi:  “Beth, You are a riot…R-I-O-T! You should know that Kim, your sis-in-law is one of your biggest fans…she got me hooked on you! That, and your baby shower throwing skills kind of sealed the deal for me. Darn pork n beans! ;) By the way…I’m not normally a dangly earring kind of gal, but I’m willing to try something new if I win. I’ll go with pair #2!! :)

Thanks, ladies!  And congrats on your wins!  Please email your address to fivekidsisalotofkids@gmail.com so I can get these shipped to ya.

(To read more about why I can’t give away my dog, feel free to read the whole post below.)


Welcoming the Month of May this weekend by giving away a pair of these fabulous LB Designs earrings.

I have an almost overwhelming need to give stuff away.

It happens with everything.  Old stuff.  New stuff.  Junky stuff.  Cool, hip stuff like earrings.

My kids’ stuff.  My dog.

My kids.

Just kidding about the kids.

Mostly just kidding about the dog.

As a matter of fact, I was going to give the dog away once.  For reasons he and I have discussed at length.  However, then he pulled one over on me and bonded like Gorilla Glue to my eldest son… my kid with the extra special needs.  Bonded like this:

And like this:

To which I say, “Well played, dog.  Well played.”

Because now, you mess with my dog, you mess with my kid’s happiness.

And we all know, you mess with my kid’s happiness, I punch you in the teeth.

I can mess with my kids’ happiness.  You?  Not so much.

No one who hates my yappy, runaway, toe-licking, wants-up, diaper-eating, bed-peeing dog say anything.  I’m not giving him away.

So you can breathe easy that there will be no scandalous blog dog-giveaway in our future.

You’re welcome.

But I like giving other stuff away. Like snazzy new earrings to celebrate spring.

However, I have a conundrum specific to blog-based giving.

The problem with giveaways is that you’ve told me you don’t read this blog for the stuff.  You read it for the stories.

Like the story I’m gonna have to tell sometime next week about how important it is to try new things.  New things like… oh, say… having a kid who got herself suspended from school.  How do I know I won’t like it unless I try it?  I’ll let you know after I’ve sampled a taste.

The way I see it, you could have giveaways!  Instead, you’re just getting reading material and a sense of relief that this isn’t your life.

Good thing for you I think outside the box.  ‘Cause even though you’re easy, I’m gonna give you the stories AND the stuff.  Oh, yes, I am.  Because I’m a both/and kind of girl.

And, per your request, I’m not going to make you enter by liking me on Facebook.  (Not just because my blog’s not on Facebook.)

And I’m not going to make you, well, do whatever it is you do on Twitter.  Tweet?  Twit?  (And not just because I can’t say anything in 140 characters or less.  I was thinking about it in the bathroom today… “I have toilet paper inferiority complex.  When did my friends stop buying the scratchy, see-through T.P. and move on to the fabric-weight stuff I wouldn’t be ashamed to sleep on?” See?  I just can’t do it.)

And I’m not going to make you sell me like a half-priced, day-old donut to all of your friends.  (Even though I want you to sell me like a half-priced, day-old donut.  I do, I do.)

But, if you want to enter my Super Cool You Should Totally Enter It Weekend Earring Giveaway, I am going to make you comment.  ‘Cause that’s how I’m choosing a winner.  From the comments.

And here’s why.  The more I hear from you, the more I just like the heck out of you.  And the way I figure it, everyone needs the heck liked out of them from time to time.

I’m a little blog.  You’ve got a good shot.  Good luck!



To Enter:

Leave a comment by 3:00pm (Pacific Time) on Monday, May 1st (with thanks to reader Trighap for the extended deadline, which was orginally Sunday). Include in your comment the number 1, 2, or 3 that corresponds with the pair of earrings you like best.  The winner will receive his or her favorite pair. One entry per person, please. (Although you’re welcome to comment and reply as much as you like!)

Winner selected randomly and posted on Monday.

  1. On the left, gold and pink (dangles 2 1/2 inches)
  2. In the middle, silver and light blue (dangles 3 inches)
  3. On the right, red and silver (dangles 2 inches)

Note:  This giveaway is sponsored by me.  LB Designs, creative mastermind, doesn’t know I’m doing this, but I like the heck out of her, and I know you will, too.

And another note:  I do ship internationally.  Because I can do whatever I want.  Except teach a kid to behave well enough to keep from being suspended.  Control what you can, right?  International shipping it is!

The Queen and I

Apr 29 2011

It’s time to roll out my credentials to justify why, oh why, with all the crazy and irritating* coverage of the royal Windsor wedding, I, too, MUST cover something royal.

*And, by irritating, I mean AWESOME.

I do.

It’s true.

So if royal mania makes you want to gag, go ahead and skip this one.  I promise to be back to my more common shenanigans tomorrow.

I mostly just wanted to type shenanigans, ’cause I’m about to talk about my grandmother, and that’s the kind of word that reminds me of her.

My grandmother was shenanigalicious.

Like the time at my wedding when my grandmother’s former husband (aka, my grandfather) walked into the church and she shouted across the sanctuary “OH GAWD!  He’s so FAT!  Don’t you think he got FAT?”  And my normally mild-mannered mother sat my grandmother’s royal behind down on a pew, put her finger in her face and told her she’d behave herself or else my mother would escort her hiney out of that church so fast she wouldn’t know what hit her.

Heh heh.

That wedding memory still makes me smile.

Anyway, back to my credentials (ahem. excuses.) for writing about the same blah-dee-blah-blah as everyone else on Royal Wedding Watch Day:

  1. My given name is Elizabeth.
  2. I have stationary that reads Queen Elizabeth.  See?It was a gift from a friend.  Probably because she thinks I’m a bossy-pants.  Thinks. Just thinks.
  3. My grandmother’s name was Elizabeth.  Well, actually, it was Betty June, but she always hated that, so when I was born and named something regal, she named herself after me.  We have a long family acquaintance with crazy.  Oh, wait!  That should be a credential.
  4. We have a long family acquaintance with crazy.
  5. My grandmother Elizabeth kept decades and decades worth of royal-watching scrapbooks which I rescued from the trash pile after she died.  And I still read them.  And I love them.

There you go.  Ironclad credentials.  I should have had a press pass to the wedding.  I’m sure that was just an oversight.  Hey, Wills and Kate are busy kids.  It’s OK; I understand.

(Psst… Invite me to the christening of your first child, and we’ll call it even.)

Here’s a little trip through Miss Betty’s scrapbooks, in case you’re so inclined.

In the 1930’s, Elizabeth was a child.

Which is a real coincidence because I was a child once, too.  We’re so alike, the Queen and I, what with all our ponies and carriages.

Before she was queen, of course, she was but a princess.

Importantly, though, she was a princess who spiked her kid’s hair.  Look at that pic above again.

Now look at this one.

See?  Just like me.

I told you so.

On June 2, 1953, my parents were 5 years old.  And 27-year-old Elizabeth was crowned.

Which must’ve been a real “yikes” moment for her.  Don’t you think?

And then her baby grew up.  And his hair fell onto his face.

Which must’ve been a real “yikes” moment for her.  Don’t you think?

Just one of those things a mother must bear, I suppose.

And then there’s all the scandal.  No, not just facial hair scandal.

And no, not the Mr. Peepers ad, either.  (FYI, that number is out of service.  Although I have no idea what I thought I was going to say if someone answered.  “Hello.  Is Mr. Peepers there?” just doesn’t feel quite right.)


Downright hooliganism, folks!

Scandalous, I tell you.

In fact, it might be easier to name the non-scandalous members of the royal family.  But it would be a lot more boring, too.

Hey!  There’s another thing Elizabeth and I have in common.  Abounding hooliganism in our families.  That, and shenanigans.

What Elizabeth and I lack in family propriety, though, we certainly make up in excitement.

Proudly carrying on the royal tradition,

Elizabeth, Queen of the Hooligans


P.S. I have more to say, but I’ll spare you.  Or I’ll comment on my own post.  One or the other.  (Probably the other.)


Our Cat Died

Apr 28 2011

Aden is 9 years old.

Her elementary school principal has lovely handwriting.

I would know, because I get letters beautifully addressed “To the Parents of Aden.”

My pretty little angel follows all the school rules and behaves perfectly.  Whenever she feels like it.

All the rest of the time, her behavior’s in the crapper.

This month’s hand-written reports:

  • hitting
  • biting
  • kicking

Additionally, she urinated all over her top bunk mattress.  More than lots of times.  And, no — not accidentally or while she was sleeping.  While she was awake and playing.

Additionally additionally, she had to be hugged (read: restrained) during children’s church.

Aw.  Doesn’t it make your heart feel all gushy and squishy?

Yes.  Mine, too.

Then, this week, we had great news.

Aden’s been cooperating again at school.  Yay!

Her reading abruptly and dramatically improved all the way up to grade level.  To grade level, ladies and gentlemen!  For one of my developmentally delayed kids, that’s practically a miracle.

What a relief, to be able to praise, and praise, and praise her.

She ran off the bus exclaiming, “I got caught being good, Mom!” and “I only got sent to the office two times today!”

Dare I say, we’ve turned the corner?  That we’re on the track back to — well, if not to socially appropriate behavior, then at least off the track to suspension?

I need a freaking giant piece of wood to knock on, please.

So imagine my dismay when Aden hopped off the bus yesterday crying.  Emotionally shattered.  Face wet with tears and snot.

While out loud I was saying, “Whatsa matter, baby?,” on the inside I was thinking, “Oh, crap.” Except I didn’t think the word crap.

And as I was reaching for her backpack, looking for another envelope with beautiful handwriting, Aden managed to murmur, “I’m sad.”

“About what, sweetie?”  All the while thinking, “Did someone finally hit her back?  Don’t tell her she had it coming.  Don’t tell her she had it coming. That wouldn’t be nice. Don’t tell her she had it coming.”

“Because,” she hiccuped, “because…” big breath, “because our cat DIED.”

Oh.  Of course!

How terribly, horribly insensitive of me.

I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself.

When a child’s pet dies, the parent really should consider the grief impact on a child.  The parent shouldn’t dismiss it as paltry or small.  The parent should understand that the child has a bond with the pet and is going to need time to process and come to terms with its absence.

Because our cat did die.

Four years ago.

Yes, that’s right.  Can I just say it again?

Four years ago.

Of extreme old age, and, ironically, because I couldn’t take the cat peeing all over our stuff anymore.  I probably shouldn’t tell Aden about the pee part, eh?

To clarify, “Aden, you’re upset because our cat died?”

“YEeehhhs!” she wailed.

“Okaaay.  What was our cat’s name?”

“His name was Andy, and I miss him so, so, so, so MUCH!”

Our cat’s name was Annie, and she was a girl.

The End

Put Down The Urinal Cake

Apr 27 2011

Greg won.

It was a year-long contest, if I remember correctly.

We had three kids, and we caught ourselves saying the most bizarre things.  Things we never expected to hear our own mouths speak.

Things like, “The dog is not a napkin.”

And, “Please don’t paint yourself with your popsicle.”

At some point, like oh-so-many parts of parenting, it moved from outrageously frustrating to epically entertaining.

So we made it a contest.

Every day for about a year, we saved ’em up.  All the crazy things we’d said that day.

And then, at the end of the day, we’d duel.

Quick.  Rapid fire.  Pull your pistols and verbally shoot.  Duel.

First me.  Then Greg.

And he won when he said,

“To Ian.  In the public bathroom.  At the top of my voice.  I said, ‘Put it down!  Put DOWN the URINAL CAKE.'”

And I died.  I might’ve peed.  And then I died some more.

Greg didn’t win the battle.

He won the whole war.

Game over.

All done.


I just don’t know what else can beat that.

But I’ll tell you this.

I’ve spent a lot of time seeing the words “urinal cake” since I made it my URL more than 3 years ago.

So I’ve spent more time than probably anyone contemplating our phrase.

And you know what?

I don’t just find it outrageous anymore.

Because somewhere along the way, “Put down the urinal cake” became my reminder.

My reminder that it’s OK to notice the yucky things and to comment on them out loud.  To recognize when I’m holding on to them too long.  And then to let them go.

And to laugh.  Always, to laugh.

To grab and squeeze every ounce of joy out of a life that’s sometimes full of urinal cakes.

‘Cause you might see the urinal.

But, baby, I see the cake.


Apr 26 2011

Cai was punky on Easter.  He was just having one of those off days with lots of tears.

There were tears in the morning because Cai’s plastic chicken wasn’t pooping enough bubble gum.

There were tears at church because Cai wanted to play Jesus in our preschool class resurrection story.

Yes, he cried even though I let everyone play Jesus.  All at once.  Which made for 5 Jesuses (girls and boys, of course) lying together, dead in the tomb, before the 3 angels rolled the yoga ball away.

Jesuses are alive!

My authentic Bible story wasn’t good enough for Cai.  He wanted to be the only Jesus.


There were tears when we were preparing Easter dinner.  I was boiling potatoes and stirring gravy over a hot stove.  I wasn’t willing to risk open flame burns by holding him at the same time.  Mean, mean mommy.

Tears and tears and tears.

In fact, there were only two times all day when the faucet shut down.

The first was during the egg hunt.  Candy-filled eggs and a cousin sandwich — what’s not to love?

And the second dry period was when I gave Cai my camera and told him to do his worst.  Distraction at its finest = a 4-year-old boy wielding a digital camera.

I didn’t see any of Cai’s masterpieces until late Easter night, of course.  The kids were all in bed.  Greg and I were ready to pass out on the couch.  And I started thumbing through the photos of the day.

Mostly, Cai’s pictures were full of people’s feet, the wall, and the occasional appliance.  Which I love, because it’s a window into the way my child sees the world.

But this is the picture Cai took of his twin brother Cael:

And, when through the window I glimpse the way my baby sees his brother, my heart stutters.

Breathtaking babies, thank you for being mine.


How to Name a Baby Mulligan

Apr 25 2011

There’s a part of me that fears that no one will come to my parties ever again.

Then there’s the part of me that keeps making up new baby shower games.

The second part says to the first part, “Screw you, sucka!  I don’t care if you make new friends.  I just wanna laugh at others’ pain.”

I usually listen to the second part because she’s more fun.  She also gets me in trouble a lot.  To which I say, “Eh.”

My sister-in-law, Kim, is ready to pop with Baby #3.  That’s 3 babies in less than 3 years.  (My brother is reading this and saying “BOOYAH!” right now.  So I’m preemptively rolling my eyes at him.  Take that, Jeff.)

And what better way to celebrate a new baby than to make 15 women play my awkward baby shower games?  Yep!  I sure know how to make a girl feel special.  Kim’s so lucky.

For Kim’s baby shower game, I drew my inspiration from all those nights I changed babies’ diapers, gasped in horror at the color or odor or quantity or texture, and said, “What is this?”

And then said, “Are you OK, baby?”

And then thought, “I should probably call my mom or the doctor or someone who can explain this.”

And then thought, “Nah.  He seems fine.  I just want to sleep.  Oh, dear God in Heaven, please let me sleep.”  Which is the way most of my nightly kid adventures end.

You can see how that’s a lot to fit into one game, though.

I thought long and hard, and here’s what I decided.

The game preparation went like this:

  1. Steal my kids’ stuffed animals when they’re not looking.
  2. Mash up different foods.
  3. Spread the foods in diapers.
  4. Wrap the stuffed animals in messy diapers.  Or make my mom do it.  Because she’s a good sport.  And also because she’s crazy, and she offered.

Result: A pile of very smelly stuffed animals.

Hey.  Since nothing says, “Welcome to my house!” like the smell of clams and peanut butter, I was right on target.

Next steps:

  1. Blindfold unsuspecting shower guests.
  2. Make them change a “baby” and identify the food in the diaper using smell, touch or taste.
  3. Time them so they feel pressured to hurry.
  4. Hope they don’t ralph all over, because even though the game is gross, I don’t want to be remembered for “that party.”
  5. Laugh and laugh.

Step #5 was a rousing success, actually.  Due in large part to the fact that Kim’s friends know how to get their game on.  For which I’m sincerely grateful.

Here’s Miss Kim, changing her Tiger Baby:

And here’s her Tiger Baby all changed:

And here’s the thing I noticed… that poor tiger is missing one of his bottom legs because Kim wrapped it right into the diaper.

And then she pulled his tail out the leg hole.

Which bothers me a little because Kim is having a boy.

And, um, boys have tails.

Dear Nephew,

There’s nothing I can say that will make this better for you.

But I thought you should know, you’re in my prayers.


Auntie Beth

I write “dear nephew” because I don’t know this dear, sweet baby’s name.  His mama doesn’t know his name.  His daddy doesn’t know his name.

The baby boy is nameless.  And he’s gonna fall out any second.

When I was having babies, I had the ideal and perfect names picked out for every single one.  I did such a good job naming my children that people should hire me to name theirs.

Now go back and read those last two sentences with heavy sarcasm.

Truth be told, when I was having my first baby, I had the ideal and perfect name picked out for her.  Gabrielle.  Spelled the girl way, pronounced the angelic way — “Gabriel.”  Nickname: Abby.  I couldn’t go with Gabby, because, given me as her mother, I had to plan for verbosity.  What if she spent the rest of her life with people saying, “Well, that name is apropos.  A Gabby who talks a lot?  Cliche.” How embarrassing.  And, of all the things in the world, I wanted to protect my Abby girl from embarrassment.

Of course, now Abby’s 12 and hates her name.  She’s convinced that “Gabrielle” pronounced “Gabriel” is another dreadful way I intentionally and maliciously embarrass her.

So that was a naming success right there.

By the time I got to Kids #4 and 5 — my twins, Cai and Cael — I was short on time and out of ideas.  The only thing I knew for sure was that I did not, under any circumstances, want my twins to have matchy names.

I mean, these are independent beings with their own personalities.  Saddling a twin with a matchy name forever?  No way!

Cai.  Cael.  Yeah, those are so not matchy.

So there’s another black mark in the baby-naming success book.

Baby-naming mulligans.  That’s what we need.  We need a full year, post-baby-naming, to decide whether we like ’em.  (The names.  Not the kids.)  If, in that year, it dawns on us that we screwed up the naming in an epic way, we get a naming do-over.  No penalty.

Can I get an amen?  Anyone?

So now, Jeff and Kim, you’re up to bat.  You have somewhere between 7 hours and 21 days to settle on the perfect name for your baby boy.  A name that will follow him for the rest of his life.  A name that should be masculine, unique, and meaningful.  A name like a firm handshake.

A name you won’t have to question for, oh, the next 60 years.

You might want to go ahead and name him Mulligan and get it out of the way.

Or Beth.  Beth’s a good name for a boy.

No pressure, though.

Just like there’s no pressure to diaper him correctly in the middle of the night.

And there’s no pressure to get him into the right schools and start saving for his college education.

Just like the rest of parenting.  No pressure at all.

All of which is to say,

Congratulations!  And I love you.  And I can’t wait to meet him.  Can’t wait, can’t wait.


Happy Easter

Apr 24 2011

Just a quick message from my pooping chickens to yours.

Here’s wishing you and yours joy and peace.

Or, if your house is like mine, and peace is right out, then…

Here’s wishing you and yours joy; and, if you lose your head, may someone find and reattach it quickly.

Happy Easter!