Joy to the World

OK, so I’ve been a total slacker lately.  First, all of this horrific winter weather crap happened.  I don’t know if I have seasonal depression, or just depression depression, but I was definitely on the verge of curling into a ball in the corner.  Then Sheepdog and I escaped for eight days in Mexico.  It was glorious… sun, exercise, quality time with my husband (high-five to us for breaking the headboard), and complete autonomy over my day.  It was complete and total bliss in paradise.

It physically hurts me to look at this picture right now.

It physically pains me to look at this picture right now.

But everything has a price, so we returned to a gaggle of kids with multiple versions of the plague.  The only place I got to show off my tan was at the stupid doctors’ office.  I mean, the kid who puked on the floor in front of the check-in desk didn’t even mention my glow.  Not once, the selfish little bastard.  What a complete and total waste.

It already feels like a month has passed since our trip, yet we have been home fewer than six days.

But I think it is safe to say that things are starting to turn around for us in the health department.  Antibiotics and other various medicines have started to work, viruses are running their course, and quarantines have subsequently been lifted.  And today, praise generic zithromax, everybody left the house for work and school at their regularly scheduled times.

But not before a few of us had a morning hang-out in my bed, starting somewhere around the six o’clock hour.

First to crawl in with Sheepdog and me was Kid E.  He succumbed to a stomach bug earlier this week, but rallied within 24 hours.  I attribute this exclusively to the fact that he has finally been named Star Student in his kindergarten class, with his reign to begin next Monday.  It also happens to be his exact half-birthday.  “Abuzz with excitement” is a bit of an understatement when it comes to describing this kid right now.  We even already started filling out his information packet, which lists facts and favorites about him.

Family Pets: Robo Fish.  Why, yes, it is battery-operated.  Mainly because the mother can't handle taking care of even one more living thing right now.

Family Pets: Robo Fish. Why, yes, it is battery-operated inside of an empty, plastic bowl. Mainly because his mother can’t handle one more living thing right now.  Case in point: the dead, yellow leaf in the middle of the potted plant.  Don’t you judge me.

Much of our conversation this morning consisted of him asking questions about himself (Q: What is something special I have done for someone else?), followed by me prompting/ providing answers (A: Well, you brought home all of that homework for your big brother, who has already missed four days of school this week.)

Please, please, please do me a solid and let him be well enough to go back to school today.

As if on cue, Kid D bounded into our room and crawled on in with us.  Kid C arrived shortly thereafter and squeezed in as well.  Everyone was feeling good and planned on going about their regularly scheduled programming.  Joy to the world!

This week I have been overwhelmed upon re-entry to my real life.  I have post-vacation blues.  I am tired.  I am sick of everybody getting sick.  So I am sitting here, watching the rain fall outside my office window, daydreaming that I am out by the pool in the warm sun with a cold beer in my hand.  At 9:42 in the morning.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Vacation Shoes – Part Dos/ Deux

Have you missed me?

Well, I’ve been super busy working out and learning how to make bread from the wheat grain and adding carbonation to water and giving all of my attention and mommy love to kids who have been sick since last November.  Oh, and then Sheepdog and I went back to Mexico.  (To read about last year’s trip CLICK HERE )

Earmuffs, kids.  Consider yourselves warned.

Ahhhhh, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Say it with me with the accent… “MAY-He-Co.”

That magical land where all I do is sleep and sunbathe and drink and read books.  And that He ‘n and She ‘n thing with my sexy husband.  Maybe that’s how I lost five pounds on vacation.  It’s definitely how I got a nice suntan and lost the bags under my eyes and wiped the scowl off my face.

When we left Atlanta last week, Sheepdog had a full beard.  He hadn’t grown a beard since Kid A was a little bitty, so the mountain man thing was kind of a first for the kids… and most of them HATED it.  And I mean started every sentence with, “So you’re going to shave that nasty beard and…”  But I loved it, so it stayed (Sheepdog’s no dummy, folks).  But then it got itchy and too warm for a Baja vacation, so I told him he could lose it, but only if he would take it off in stages.  And…  It…  Was…  Awesome.

"Me gusta tu barba" - Kesha (when she's in Cabo)

“Me gusta tu barba” – Kesha (when she’s in Cabo)

I found it surprisingly/ disturbingly sexy even though I burst out laughing every time I looked at him (as did my sister and my mom).  My brother-in-law and most of the staff at the resort thought it was spectacular beyond words (the male staff was envious because a new corporate policy prohibited them from having any kind of facial hair… “Nos sentimos como señoras,” they lamented).  Then my dad said something on the golf course about not really liking it because he didn’t want his daughter having sex with a Mexican porn star.  So Sheepdog shaved the very next day (again, Sheepdog is no dummy, folks).

Adiós, bigote.

Now, you may be presuming that I am well versed in the Spanish language, but you would be wrong.  I am, in fact, a bit heavy-handed with the Google Translate today.  Having resolved to learn conversational Spanish after last year’s trip, Sheepdog set us up with a program called Pimsleur, which stresses active participation instead of rote memorization.  All I needed to do was take thirty minutes each day to listen and repeat, without interruption.

It didn’t happen.

I tried, but thirty minutes is an excruciatingly long time to be still and focused when you have a gazillion other distractions and things to do before the kids get home from school.  My lessons would go something like this…

Voices from my iPod: “This is Unit One of Pimsleur’s Spanish I.  Listen to this Spanish conversation:
Perdóne, señorita.  ¿Entiende Inglés?
No, señor. No entiendo.
Hablo español un poco.
¿Es usted un norteamericano?
Sí, señorita.
In the next few minutes, you will learn not only to understand this conversation, but to take part in it yourself.”
Me: (to no one in particular, especially since I am alone in my car) “Eh.  But I do want a margarita and some guacamole.  I wonder what shows recorded last night.  ‘Norteamericano’ is a funny word.  ‘Norteamericano.  Norteamericano.  Norteamericano.’  I wish I could take a nap right now.” (turns off iPod) 

Oh, how I wish I took Spanish when I was still in school.  Instead I learned Latin and French, which (fortunately?) stuck with me.  Now, every time I go to places where they speak a foreign language, even though I have toiled (see above) over my adult Spanish lessons so that I may converse on the most basic of levels, it is the language d’amour that sneaks out of my mouth when I’m not paying attention.

The maids in Cabo would come to the house every day.  I wanted to say hello and genuinely thank them for doing the menial tasks that I, too, am familiar with most days at home (also to relatively little applause), but I’m not touching said chores with a ten-foot pole during my glorious week of vacation.  I also wanted to grab my swimsuit and get poolside.

Me: “Hola, señorita. Gracias (internal dialogue: for washing my towels and changing the sheets on my sex bed).  Pardonnez-moi (more internal dialogue: while I lay out in the sunshine and drink a Pacifico with a lime.  Oops, did I just speak French?).  Adiós.”

I meant to say “excuse me” in Spanish (“perdón”).  Ironically, my French slip was a bit Freudian, as “pardonnez-moi” actually means “forgive me.”

Yes, please forgive me for being an idiot but also for having an awesome time in MAY-He-Co.  Especially whilst you have to do all of the crappy jobs.  Gracias, merci, and gracias again.


Along with the facial hair props that heavily influenced our husband and wife activities in Mexico, I brought some awesome shoes to the party.  Sheepdog liked them very much.

Zapatos de las vacaciones, perro pastor aprobado.

Zapatos de las vacaciones, Perro pastor aprobado.  Note the rainy Atlanta backdrop.  Trust me… they looked even better in the Mexican sunshine.

Good thing too because, all too quickly, our week was up and our vacation over and we were on a plane back to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the rain, rain, rain that has turned Atlanta into Seattle-East.  We thanked Grandma and Grandpa with genuine passion for playing Headbandz and minding the store for a whole week and we hugged the kids with genuine passion too because we truly missed them.

Then Kid D threw up in the dugout during baseball practice, less than twenty-four hours after our return.  And Kid C was sick with chest/ sinus congestion and we were dealing with snot and kid puke and diarrhea.

Welcome home.  Welcome back to life with five kids.  Bienvenido a casa and bienvenue à la vie avec cinq enfants.

Sheepdog, we’ll always have Cabo.

As my friend, Fat Bastard, says… only fifty-and-one-half weeks and 1,695 miles to go…

Wish me luck for tomorrow…


I decided to be nice and add a translation for today’s bilingual (trilingual?) post.  You’re welcome…

Dos/ Deux = Two in Spanish/ French
Me gusta tu barba = I like your beard
Nos sentimos como señoras = We feel like women
Adiós, bigote = Goodbye, mustache
Zapatos de las vacaciones, Perro pastor aprobado = Vacation shoes, Sheepdog approved

Vacation Shoes

From April 10 – 17, 1999, with Nanny and Pop Pop happily in charge of a three-year-old Kid A and a five-month-old Kid B, Sheepdog and I set off for a week of some fun, sun and “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” time in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica.  It was a fantastic vacation filled with good food and drink, exploration of fabulous beaches and restaurants and jungles in a rented jeep, hanging out with cool people and a bunch of wild monkeys watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, and – best of all – time alone with my husband at a 5-star beach resort.  I loved every single minute of that trip (except maybe for the lizards in the shower).

It’s a good thing too because it turns out Sheepdog and I would not have another no work/ no kids week away together for twelve more years.  Seriously.  That is a very long time to wait to go on a real vacation, but there was always something more important to spend money on, or a sick and needy kid, or I was pregnant (it happened A LOT) or there was a work conflict.  Plus it turns out that not many people are capable or up for the challenge of watching five kids for an entire week.  Fortunately for us this time around, Sheepdog’s parents agreed (I presume they were not really sure what they were saying yes to when we begged them almost a full year ago to commit – NO TAKE BACKS!) to come down and wrangle the entropy in our absence.

Knowing that it was such a long time since our most awesome Costa Rican vacation together and presuming that our next trip could potentially be that far off in the future, I set out to make this the best trip ever.  I organized, scheduled, planned, prepared and set up the kids and the house to the absolute best of my ability, so it would not be such a burden on their caretakers and so I would not worry so much about them.  With Grandma and Grandpa in charge I knew they would be cuddled, loved, protected and they would play tons of card and board games with them (which is torture for me).  As far as my own preparation, I did P90X and got my hair colored and a mani/ pedi and I waxed and shaved and did all of the things that you need to do to lay around for a week half-clothed/ half-naked by the pool in front of other people.  I picked out and packed some cute dresses and several cute bathing suits.  And then I packed my vacation shoes.

"Are we going to a strip club when we get to Mexico?" - My brother-in-law, Brandon, when he got on the plane and noticed my choice of footwear for the flight to Cabo

It really is true that Sheepdog is a very simple man.  He requires only regular doses of food, sex and biking, and not necessarily in that order.  Anything else is bonus material.  I figured the least I could do to set the tone for our awesome week in Mexico was to wear some sexy shoes on the airplane.  I wanted the week to be special, and that meant the opposite of Sheepdog coming home every day to find me frazzled, tired, unkempt and, more often than not, barefoot and in sweatpants.

In addition to wearing the leopard shoes, I downloaded and read a very dirty book during our vacation week.  And when I say “very dirty” I actually mean there’s not enough Orbitz gum in the world to wash that dirt out.  I am sure I was blushing the whole time I was reading it.  It is very poorly written with a bunch of really cheesy euphemisms and clichés.  The stuff I read was disturbing on so many levels that I could not even wrap my head around most of it.  Yet, if I am being honest I have to admit that I read the whole damn thing.  Not that I got into all of the pervy stuff in the book, but it most definitely set a mood for our trip.

So the preparation and planning and even the twelve-year wait were all definitely worth it.  We didn’t worry too much about the kids and we enjoyed each other and Sheepdog got to golf three times and take a four-hour mountain bike ride and I lounged in the sunshine by the swim-up bar (we have very different ideas of what to do while on vacation).  By the end of the week I felt refreshed and recharged and ready to get back to the kids and our regular non-vacation lives.  I felt like I could deal with the temper tantrums and wash the dishes with a smile, at least for a little while.

It’s a good thing, too.  We came back to little kids who were mad, mad, mad that we had gone away and teenagers who needed this and needed that and everything was URGENT and it is a very good thing that I refilled my patience bowl on that trip because I sure have needed it lately.  Having all of these kids and trying to raise them without causing irreparable damage and running a family and a home can be incredibly rewarding but it can also be hard on your body and soul.

So every once in a while I’m going to think back to our fabulous week in Cabo and I am going to take out my leopard print platforms and I am going to put them on while I make the beds or fold the laundry or do some other menial chore.  I’m hoping that will get me through until the next time Sheepdog and I go away together.  That, and the dirty book is actually the first in a series of three.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…