Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This amount of time it takes to load the pictures in this post is meant to encourage you to drink with me.

What do you get when you take a boy to the library and let him pick out a book to take home?

You get this:

And, we happen to own three copies of this particular book in English.  Apparently the librarian DID tell him this book was in Spanish, but he didn’t think she was talking about the book he was checking out; he thought she was just letting him know.  Which is what librarians do- they tell you every language that a book is published in so when you get home, you can add the Italian translation of Charlotte's Web to your must-read list.

His new school is nice (multi-lingual librarians!), so I hope we don’t have to switch next year.  Last month, the school board proposed new assignment plans, with our neighborhood going past several close schools to a traditional-calendar school a bit down the road.  The thought of a three-month summer break makes me throw up in my mouth a bit.  Luckily, that plan got scrapped and now they want to return to last year’s assignment plan but probably let the kids grandfather into their current school so maybe Eve can go to the same school as Nat and Dan if we’re lucky.  But refer to the name of this blog and tell me how lucky we are.

I liked the fundraiser (“Laps for Holly Grove") the new school put on.  It is much like the Boosterthon that we had to endure at our old school, except all of the profit goes to the school and there aren’t paid goofballs interrupting classrooms everyday pushing children to raise more money if they want more prizes.  Plus, it’s an entire fun day where the kids are outside doing stuff besides just running, like tug o’ war, bounce houses, dance parties, etc.  I’m sure this is nice in comparison to just going outside for 30 minutes to run your heart out and then return to your classrooms smelling like wet dog.  Holly Grove keeps the dog park outside.

All I know is, I heard Gangnam Style come on over the speakers and I turn around to see Dan breaking it down like this:

Natalie’s been training years for tug o’ war.  More specifically, ever since Eve learned to walk and started taking Natalie’s things.

We took a half-day from school on a Friday and went to the State Fair.  We had a pretty busy schedule and this was the best day to go, most importantly because I had a 20-mile hike the next day and I needed to carb-load.  NEEDED TO CARB-LOAD. 


Our first stop was the NC State ice cream.  It totally kicks your ice cream’s ass.  Ice cream isn’t even on my top twenty list of favorite foods, but NC State ice cream is magical.  And how can a food that keeps your kids quiet for five minutes at a time be anything less than magic?  Pecan Krunch (butter pecan ice cream with caramelized praline crunchy goodness) is the winner, even though I tend to shy away from ridiculous uses of the letter K.  But Pecan Krunch might just be the perfect antidote to Killer Klowns from Outer Space. 

Matt just had to stop and get the deep-fried peanut butter and jelly.  I am so glad he did.  This was the best thing I put in my mouth all day, and if you saw me at the fair, I was putting stuff in my mouth all day.  It's a Smuckers Uncrustable on a stick that is dipped in batter, fried to a ridiculous amount of deliciousity, and then coated in powdered sugar.  You couldn't even tell where the bread ended and the batter began.  It was like a donut but a GAZILLIONS TIMES BETTER.  Uncrustables are lame, but deep-fried they are gold.  Eve gives this two thumbs up.

I want to go back in time and not offer her a taste of the deep-fried pb&j.  That's how much I want another bite.  

Since Matt picked such a winner, I blindly followed him to his other must-try: the Philly Cheesesteak Eggroll.  We should have just gone back for more deep-fried pb&j's.  

I think this was gross.  The first bite, with the duck sauce on top (what the hell were they thinking?), left little to be desired.  But then a few minutes later you kind of started craving more grease.  So I had another bite.  And the duck sauce was still whack, but the eggroll wasn't that bad.  I think this is how people in tenements get addicted to crack.  At the end, the carton was filled with a mixture of grease and duck sauce.  It was nuts.  I don't want to eat it again.  I feel dirty.

When we're not shoving food in our mouth, we're putting our heads through holes and taking pictures.  The state fair is famous for having cheap painted signs and picture taking-holes throughout the kiddie land with licensed characters that have obviously not been licensed.  The state fair is lucky that Spongebob and Co. don't have Susan G. Komen's lawyers prowling about.

These are my boys.  The four-armed caveman (who obviously is just as blown as we are that he gets to ride Baby Bop) and the barker on the mic who is the Bubba of pie.  If you haven't been to the fair and heard him before, you have no idea what I'm talking about.  I am sorry, but I can't help you.  If you type in "NC State Fair Pie Microphone" on YouTube, all that comes up are State of the Union addresses.  And they won't help you understand what the pie barker does.

The kids got to see their entries for the cake competition on display.  I was surprised at how well they covered their cakes with fondant.  I am expecting big things on my birthday from now on.

Eve still likes the rides that no one is standing in line for.  She's going to be super-pissed when she's too tall and the only things open to her are thrill rides.

Nat and Dan would wait in line all day as long as there is something dangerous waiting for them at the end.

Like a rollercoaster that gets disassembled every two weeks and moved around the country by people who may or may not have sobriety issues.

Eve is just happy to stick to things that aren't too high off the ground.  The carousel rocks her world.  The carousel makes me dizzy.

But not as dizzy as this:

I had more than one kid so they could ride on these obnoxious pukemeisters together and leave me out of the whole damned thing.

That, and I love children.

Matt tried to take Eve in a funhouse, but she screamed so loud that the carny just gave us our tickets back.  I don't know why she wouldn't enjoy walking through the spin cycle of the washing machine; she's always hiding in there when I tell her it's time to clean her room.

Her most favorite ride is definitely not being picked up whenever she throws her arms in the air and perpetuating the idea that she is a princess to be catered to.

Nope.  That's not happening at all.

We make the kids walk all the way across the fair to this one particular stand that sells the cheapest best corndogs ever.  Sometimes they get ancy when we forget to feed them.  But seriously, kids, I'm full on deep-fried sandwiches and eggrolled subs!  I can't keep track of how hungry you should be.

Since you guys got to eat, I'm going back for a country ham biscuit.  Because my blood pressure is low.

Full bellies bring out the best in us.  Nat loves Eve and Dan loves the rubber band he found on the ground.  Santa is bringing this boy an Office Max gift card.

I'm thinking if we replace the sofas in our house with bales of hay, the kids might be able to have conversations without fist fights.

(Not that we have fist fights in our house, but I don't really know what the kid-equivalent of "bitch-slap-a-thon" is.)

Let's send bales of hay to the Middle East!

And deep-fried cheese.  Please to send the deep-fried cheese.

Daniel decided to use the rest of his ride tickets on a funhouse that had air-brushed pictures of beer steins and big boobies.  

Natalie wanted to fly through the air (on something that will disassembled in two weeks) with the rest of her tickets.

Daniel cried and scammed his way into more ride tickets.  I can't resist a kid in yellow glasses crying.  I'm going to make sure he has horned-rimmed glasses when he's of age to have a car, because I can always say no to hipsters.

I found redemption.  I had no idea it was so cheap.

I found a garden that I want in my own backyard to replace the piles of nothing going on back there.  Most importantly, the red color scheme would hide so much blood that is constantly being shed by my children.  If someone's not bleeding from the face, the day's not over yet.

If I could carve pumpkins like this, I would...totally carve pumpkins at the fair.  Not sure if there is a pumpkin-carving circuit, but if there is, I would be headlining it.  If there is not, I would be leaving these bad boys at my neighbors' front doors and recording their reactions.  Which would initially most likely not be the reaction a master pumpkin-carver would expect.

But we don't go to the fair just to look at vegetables; we go to the fair to eat vegetables. Like roasted corn.  And I'm kind of grossed-out to admit that all five of us gnawed on this bad boy, but at the time it seemed perfectly not-gross.

Our last stop at the fair is the frozen apple cider, which should really be the first stop since it's so much warmer when the sun is up.  But it's the last stop, dammit. 

They also sell hot cider, but it's not what we do.

I was carbed up.  I hiked the next day.  All was good.

After all that craziness, we had a Duke day.  My 35-minute drive turned into two hours, and I found myself uttering my mantra over and over again, "It's not cancer."  It's just two hours in the van.  Missing lots of appointments.  Waiting to be seen.  No. Big. Deal.

It started out with an ultrasound and a lot of towels.  More towels than necessary.  I don't get the towels.  Then the ultrasound tech tried to tell me I can't take pictures.  Obviously she's new.  Obviously, I didn't care what she said.

She was probably worried Duke was going to find out why their laundry bill is so high on account of all those towels.

Next, it was a chest x-ray.  Eve had to take off her cotton shirt because...x-rays can't penetrate cotton.  Good to know next time I'm going through the airport and am trying to conceal something on my person.  WEAR POLYESTER.

 But the hospital gown did look cute with the tutu, boots, and lead apron.

Phlebotomy, schmeblotomy.

Eve is probably one of a few kids who enjoys visiting the hospital.  Most likely because she's not footing the bill.

Here are two people, Drs. Heath and Wechsler, that should probably be put on our Christmas card list.  I don't know how they got skipped after saving Eve's life.  I probably ran out of stamps.

Nurse Chelse and company surprised Eve with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday and a present as we were leaving.  

Eve showed Dan what she got when we returned home and they both tried to start making their own crayons.  Without adult supervision.  YOU CAN'T DO THAT RIGHT NOW.  Why not?  I HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE AND GET BATTERIES FOR IT.  Why does it have this plug?  DON'T YOU SASS-MOUTH ME.  I HAVE TO PACK.

The girls and I were joining Matt and Dan at their cub scout camping trip.  Matt sent me an email with things to pack, but I temporarily freaked out because there was no bullet-point list.  And by temporarily freaked out, I mean that I stood in my room for the better part of an hour while I alternatingly stared at the computer and the pile of clothes.  I don’t know what kind of crazy pills I did or did not take that day, but something in my brain was misfiring.  I pack for myself and the kids for every trip we take, but the thought of packing to sleep outside was apparently too overwhelming.  I did what the kids usually do when I ask them to do something/anything, which is stand there looking confused and wait for Dad to get home.  Which, for future reference, seriously works.

It was cold, but Eve passed out in my arms next to the campfire while the other kids ran around on a s’mores high.  When it was time to go to bed and I had to pry the space heater off of my lap, I thought I could have done an even better job packing had I actually packed a space heater. 

The next morning, Nat was the first up to return to the campfire.

I played dead as long as I could.  How was it that I was awake before Daniel and Eve?  Should I start turning down the air to forty degrees at night and hope it renders them comatose so I can wake up on my own and not to little people asking if there is candy in the house?  Yes, there is always candy in the house.  Let me sleep another few minutes and I’ll tell you where it’s hidden.

They always wake up, though, even when wearing long underwear.  You're supposed to stay hunkered down when you wear long underwear.  The kids didn't get the memo. 

Note to self: teach kids to read; continue writing memos.

Natalie found one of her friends trying to warm up by the fire.  It's like one of those funny pictures where you can't figure out what season it's supposed to be, except the girl who is supposed to be getting her picture taken in the spring is finding her lips have turned blue.

Eve found bacon and pancakes.  BACON AND PANCAKES.  I actually don't even like pancakes but when it's cold outside and there is bacon, you can make a pancake and bacon sandwich which will knock your socks off.  But immediately put them back on or you'll succumb to hypothermia.

Daniel said his mouth tasted like smoke and sticks.  

I guess this is why you need to remember to pack a toothbrush when you're camping.

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