Sarah writes

November 20, 2009

Another Secret Weekend – help, imma gonna have six kids in my house

five_ten_day_six_500x125

Stress. The devil. Do they indeed mean the same thing?

My husband is stressed. Has started a new company and is just so, well, STRESSED. On top of the demands for his time from both clients and family that he cannot fulfill, and the financial deadlines he must meet so as to keep the house in our name AND the heat turned on, he’s got the fucking flu.

Whoops, I cursed. Hoping I don’t offend any of too many of you.

Because he is stressed, I am stressed, and the kids get stressed because our patience is fickle – waffling somewhere between “I am fucking PISSED that you pooped again and where the hell have the diapers gone to?” and “Sure, eat 12 mini corn muffins in front of Blue’s Clues in the living room so that they crumble everywhere and get ground into the carpet as you drive trucks over them.” I mean, is it fair that the kids cannot predict what we will and will not get mad at these days? I say we are keeping them on their toes, no? Teaching them all about spontaneity. Or some shit.

Apparently I am having some fun with the cursing today. Must be that patience on a downward slant again. Or keeping you ALL on your toes. But I swear (ha ha ha) that I will keep it under my breath for the weekend. That is, of course, if you all can give me a bit of help? Can you? I really do think you can.

I, marvelous me, have plotted and planned with my sister, oh fabulous Jen, another secret weekend.

She will be dropping by about 2 minutes after I arrive home with my chuckleheads. I will, undoubtedly, be vacuuming up aforementioned corn muffin crumbs, as well as the cup of Lucky Charms that was spilled and stomped on yesterday morning. I will have ordered pizza for 10! Yes, ten. I think I should feed the lucky couple before they set sail. Or at least have some leftover crust for them to nibble on. And then…Jen will kiss her bumpkins and they will cry a bit and I will muster energy and make us happy and breathe deep breaths. And so will Jen. And it will begin.

48 hours with six children. Ages: 7, 5, 4, 2, 18 months, and 14 months

Remember last time? Take a look-see. Jen managed it on her own for a while, and then Momalom’s Mom came to help out. It was a hoot listening to naked children spraying water in the backyard when I took the time away from my luxurious weekend to check in. There were no trips to the ER, there were no starving, crying children, there were no unmanageable tantrums. And Jen was as cool as a cucumber when we pulled into the driveway and set foot in the house.

But, you see, there will be no water play this weekend. It is not June. It is not 90 degrees outside. We will be confined to the house. Nudity? Quite possible, just not my own. Popsicles? Just as enticing to kids, not as enticing to parents when said kids are INdoors.

So, I am asking for HELP. Again? Yes I know. My apologies. But I’m brilliant you see, because if I use any of your bright ideas and they end up a disaster, Jen can blame you and not me. And I can appear cool as a cucumber, too.

So, taking all suggestions, advice, ideas and offers of HELP for 6 kids, 2 parents (1 with the FLU), 1 house with 2 kid bedrooms, a toilet with a tendency to overflow, and limited groceries.

Take into account that we have three TVs, something like 4 computers, games and doo-dads galore, more movies than you’d care to know, a great sense of humor, and an entire front lawn full of leaves to rake.

Okay. Now. GO! Give me all you got cause imma gonna need it. And if you are willing to send stress-boy to the spa and replace him with yourself, I will love you forever! Because stress, small patience, and flu? I’m pretty certain my partner will not be up to par.

Will surely give you updates along the way. Twitter was meant for this shit, no?

Read More in Sarah Writes
Jen writes

I am so so so so so so so so so GRATEFUL to you. Do you KNOW that?
And now, I’m off to PACK!!!!! Wahooie!!!!!

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Sarah replies

Yes, of course I know! Stop wasting precious moments on the blog! Go. Pack. Drive to me. And then DRIVE AWAY!

We got it covered, sister. Me and sicky Dan! Nothing to it, right?

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Lindsey writes

First of all, I LOVE the “keeping them on their toes” – yes, yes. I am quicksilver with my own children, of a temper so hair-trigger it rivals their own … perhaps this is the “lesson” in it! :)
Second, what a beautifully generous and wonderful thing you and Jen do for each other. Seriously! Fantastic.
I think you have to surrender to it. To the noise and chaos and all of it. It’s going to be noisy, is my guess. Maybe is there somewhere you can take them where they can just run around? Indoor playground? Mall??? And then, maybe baking? Lots and lots of movies? Oh I can’t wait to see pictures from this weekend!
You guys are an inspiration to all sisters. Seriously.
xo

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Sarah replies

Ooo yes. We are lucky enough to have a school about 3/4 mile down the road with a PLAYGROUND. Destination? Perfect. Anything that requires driving will be out because, uh, NOT ENOUGH SEATS.

Baking = good idea for multiple reasons. Feed kids. With sweets. Bribery. Make Jen’s kids feel right at home. She is a baker. Through and through.

Surrendering. Yes. Oh just so totally yes. I think I will use up all of next week’s patience in the next two days. But I’m good with that. Just shhh, don’t tell my own kids. They might get prematurely annoyed.

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Goldfish writes

Turnabout. Fair play. I love it. But as far as advice? I got nuthin. I come to you completely empty-handed. Or empty-headed. Does it help to say that I’ll be thinking of you? Maybe not. Have fun, Jen!!!

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Sarah replies

Yes, of course it helps. Think good funny happy thoughts. I am hoping to get a lot of hilarity caught on tape!

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BigLittleWolf replies

Speaking of tape – DUCT tape. (Last resort. Figure it out.)

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Sarah replies

Ooh. Like that picture of the baby duct-taped to the wall. Yes! Dan loves that picture. We can do THAT.

Perfecto.

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Natalie replies

Hallelujah!

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TheKitchenWitch writes

Good Lord, Sarah, you are in for it! I’d praise your generosity but clearly you have lost your fucking mind.

Twitter TOTALLY was made for this shit. I cannot wait!

Can you dose them all with Benadryl? Would that be bad?

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Nicki replies

TKW – sometimes, and I know from personal experience, Benadryl hypes them up. And my experience was with a plane ride.

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Sarah replies

Um, I was looking for like some sort of easy RECIPE from you Kitch. You have to have something….
Easy
Vegetarian
Easy
Yummy
Easy

Now go consult some cookbooks or something. You know I do this all for the pleasure of entertaining you guys.

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Kristen replies

Can you dose *yourself* with Benadryl? Would that be bad?

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Sarah replies

Neither is bad. Dosing self or dosing kids…however, I’m worried it might become costly. Do you think cheap well vodka would do?

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Nicki writes

All I can tell you, Sarah, is you will survive – at least the six kids part. You may not survive the husband with the flu but that is another story.

Do NOT feel guilty about letting them watch movies on every tv in the house. Do NOT feel guilty about letting them stay in the pj’s all day. Do NOT feel guilty if they do not get bathed before mom and dad (sorry, Jen) pick them back up.

With two little ones, you will have your hands full. Order pizza. Think about a drive thru, if you can afford it with six, on Sat at least for one meal. One weekend of bad food will not destroy a lifetime of good eats.

Jen – have a great time!!!

I will be thinking of both of you tomorrow and Sat – in between my fun weekend plans. :)

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Sarah replies

You mean your plans are more fun than mine?

And No! No guilt. None whatsoever. Are you kidding me? Jen would be thrilled if they were bathed. That would really be going above and beyond. Think she’d bring me back some New York bagels if I BATHED the KIDS? Hmm.

You know, she really needs an iPhone so she can keep up on the road. The iPhone fairy did not visit her pre-trip. But hmm, now that I think about it…that only means I can write whatever I want for TWO WHOLE DAYS…all kinds of sordid details I could post and then quickly delete before her return to the laptop on Sunday night. Hmmm. This weekend could get fun.

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Nicki replies

Having lived through the six kids thing, I am sure that even if all I do is go grocery shopping – a disastrous thought the weekend before a major holiday – it will be more fun than being with six kids. LMAO!

I am going pool cue shopping tomorrow.

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Lynne Marie Wanamaker writes

Oh my god, I have nothing. I had six seven year olds for two hours and I was ready to leave home. One of them (you’ll see why she was my favorite in a minute) asked me, “Why is everyone yelling?” And I had no idea. What is fun about yelling?

But a weekend away with your sweetie? Priceless. Go Jen! You have the awesomest sister!

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Sarah replies

Well, Lynne. I knew I like you for a reason.

I am quite the awesomest. I humbly admit it….

:)

If I could keep the decibel level within normal ranges, would you come for a small portion of the weekend? I mean, you ARE within driving distance, dammit! No excuses.

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Lynne Marie Wanamaker replies

Oh, Sarah, what a kind invitation. And I do have a stash of earplugs. (Really.) But I will be in Boston with my tiny, sedate family going to the science museum and old Unitarian churches and eating dim sum and reading books about famous shipwrecks. Maybe another time? ;)

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Sarah replies

You might, by chance, run into my aunt and her partner there at the Unitarian church. They have a a tiny, sedate family that sounds much like yours. Oh the coincidences just keep coming, no?

It’s okay. You are off the hook this time. And I guess you did come up with an excuse afterall!

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Lynne Marie Wanamaker replies

Good morning Sarah! Sorry you were up so early. Just wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to follow your adventures today–I am a luddite and don’t do that whole multi-tasking, iPhone, twitter, lap-top thing. So, unless we stop in at a public library in Boston (which is a possibility with my strange, brainy crew), I won’t be online until tomorrow evening. Can’t wait to catch up on your adventures!

Amanda M writes

I am SOOOOO happy I am not alone is my patience lacking, curse filled day!
I even said “Please hit him on the on the head AGAIN because I love it when you all beat the crap out of each other and scream IN THE CAR!!!!!!” I also may have said “If you stick the leaf in your ear, it is will grow a tree on your brain and you may or may not die. If it was me, I wouldn’t risk it!”
Now, to help you out, Popcorn/PJ party is a must! It motivates the kids to get in their pajamas early plus calms them down. I also would go on a scavenger hunt walk. Draw the pictures and have the older ones circle the pictures as they find them! THe smaller ones (my 20 mo) either just walk or I give him a blank paper and crayon to doodle as we walk. Maybe make a fort with chairs or, for easier clean up, use the table!
I hope this helps! Good luck!!!!

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Sarah replies

Popcorn parties? Yes.
Forts? Oooh, yes. In the basement though so I don’t have to be irritated when it is STILL up on Sunday.
Scavenger hunt walk? I may have to modify. Not that organized. What if we just take a walk and make it home alive, no one run over? Does that count?

Thanks! And I totally know what you mean with the small patience threats. I think Jen told me this morning that she likened not brushing teeth to getting hit by a car to make a point to her oldest. I’m not EXACTLY sure how the analogy went, but I laughed all-knowingly when she told me at 9 am.

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Kelly replies

We did a fall scavenger hunt with our kiddos the other day that was really fun. It was really just a hunt. Their goals were to collect as many differently colored leaves as they could find, an acorn, an acorn with the stem still attached, a pinecone, pecans, etc.

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Cindy replies

I just LOVE your responses – “Please hit him over the head…” etc. I was LOL! So glad to know i”m not the only one who says things like that to my kids! Thanks for the laugh – hope your day gets better!

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Amanda M replies

Thanks! I wonder about what he tells his teacher sometimes…I got a speeding ticket and the next day she asked me if I was arrested yesterday. His teacher probably hears so much bull…haha!

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Ambrosia replies

I think those statements (“Please hit him on the on the head AGAIN because I love it when you all beat the crap out of each other and scream IN THE CAR!!!!!!” I also may have said “If you stick the leaf in your ear, it is will grow a tree on your brain and you may or may not die. If it was me, I wouldn’t risk it!”) are excellent. When my daughter yells I usually ask her to yell louder because I couldn’t hear her the first time.

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Cindy writes

Take out – lots of take out! And movies. Yeah, I know too much tv isn’t good for them, but one weekend won’t hurt. I liked Amanda’s ideas, too. My kids LOVED building forts.
And for things like corn muffin crumbs and Lucky Charms? I highly recommend a 4 footed vacuum cleaner – our lab is great at keeping the floors clean! Not that you need another living creature in the house right now…
Good luck! And Jen, enjoy the weekend!

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Sarah replies

Oh Cindy! Not that you would have known this but we just put our dog to sleep last week! Gah! Not to worry, she was very old (sixteen!) and it was her time. But you bring up a good point – and six months might just be too long to wait before bringing another little pooch into the house.

I’m pretty sure that NO MATTER WHAT I will be enjoying every part of this weekend. Wait, except the part where Jen’s littlest doesn’t sleep through the night. But Shhh, I’ve told her it’s totally fine so keep your mouth zipped, okay?

(It totally IS okay, of course, she’s my baby niece for crying out loud!)

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Cindy replies

Oh, shit! I am so so sorry! Now that you mention it I do remember some Tweets about your dog last week. I wish I had remembered BEFORE my comment! Serious open mouth, insert foot moment. Sorry just doesn’t seem adequate to cover it!

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Sarah replies

Um. I wouldn’t have mentioned anything if it weren’t okay. Don’t insert mouth in foot, you might have stepped on dog poo and don’t even know it. Please, I don’t ask that of you!

In all seriousness, we are looking forward to a new little puppy to love. The boys will be thrilled.

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Cindy replies

I’m glad it’s ok. No, I won’t really put my foot in my mouth – I’m not that flexible! Though I’m certain there’s no dog poop on it – more likely cat poop around here (they’re so messy!).

A new little puppy will be lots of fun, when you’re ready. Our dog has had puppies before (for a service dog organiztion) so we know all about the fun of puppies. Look forward to hearing the adventures on Twitter, and here.

Amanda M replies

I think you would be a funny follow on twitter…I’m @ladyevelyn Follow me and I promise to continue to be hilarious =)

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Cindy replies

You mean me? I suspect I’m a pretty yawn inducing follow on Twitter, but if you’re interested I’m @czriley. If you didn’t mean me, well, nevermind (in my best Emily Latella voice)

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Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities writes

You, my friend, are one good sister. I can barely take care of my own TWO kids (as you know when I cry a river every Wednesday without Nanny). SIX kids? Okay, I want to help with the stress, not add to it, so onwards… I would recommend a lot of television and rewards for good behavior (candy rocks). I would focus on survival rather than success :) Can’t wait to hear all the fun details of your impending kiddie chaos!

Again: Good sister. Very good sister.

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Sarah replies

Yes. Good sister. Very good sister. Survival is going to be success in my book this weekend! Yeehaw!

Hoping I can catch at least ONE DECENT PHOTO of the six of them TOGETHER. THAT is my only true goal for the weekend. And I know it is a REALLY BIG one…so wish me luck cause kids and cameras? Not always friends unless they are BEHIND the camera breaking all the buttons and your precious lens.

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BigLittleWolf writes

BAKING – YES! (However, delicious though sweets like cookies may be, all the sugar may not be in your best interest. You might consider warm rolls – LOTS of them – things like crescent rolls and biscuits because they taste good, they’re inexpensive, they fill little tummies, and they tend to make them a little more lethargic and SLEEPY and baby, that’s what you want!!)

SURRENDER TO NOISE AND MESS AND CHAOS. (That’s a given, right?) Do not let them drink out of the toilet. At least, not the little ones. The bigger ones have no doubt built up antibodies already, especially boys.

Consider a POD. You can have one delivered pretty quickly. You and hubs stay outside. Leave all kids INSIDE to fend for selves. OK. Take the babies. Oh yeah. Hubby has flu. Never mind.

ART PROJECTS. Typically dirt cheap, can be made with almost anything as long as you have some elmers glue around. Tell them you’re making ornaments. (Yarn, twigs, leaves, berries, sparkles, construction paper, funny papers, pipe cleaners, toilet paper rolls – all work well. Paint, for the very brave.)

COMPUTERS & TVS. Use them all. ANY TIME, all the time. Watch out for the x-rated sites, or your bedtime stories will be more complex than usual.

Okay. I’ve done my duty. Take two margaritas and call me in the morning.

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Sarah replies

I am laughing.
Simple
as
that.
And loving you and your perfect advice.
Especially re: POD. I’m not sure which is a better idea:
to shut myself in POD.
Or sleepless baby.
Hmm.
Flu-ly husband can get over himself. But I swear if he needs hospital treatment I will become a different person altogether!

OH SHOOT: don’t you know after I typed that line I got this TEXT from SAID husband:

Bronchitis borderline Pnemonia. Breathing treatment. Steroids. Antibiotics.

Awesome. Well, at least he got his ass to the doctor’s before the weekend.

Now back to the kids.
Art with sticks. Check.
Elmer’s. Check. Two bottles on hand.

No Porn. Double-check.

Margaritas. Drinking alone and waking with baby in the middle of the night? Alright, I guess so. You did say margaritas and not gin rickies. So…

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Amanda M replies

You are probably going to want to go ahead and quarantine your husband….

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momalomsmom replies

Great idea re the “ornaments.” That category covers a plethora of projects – all of which can be surreptitiously ditched at the optimum moment (when their little backs are turned). Unless by some freaky happenstance, they actually turn out cute.

Cut snowflakes? Decorate the windows for thanksgiving or christmas? You can iron crayon shavings and yarn and sparkles in between two sheets of wax paper, and then cut them into shapes to hang up.

Or markers on tracing paper. T

hen there’s crayons on tinfoil on a warming tray. Always fun but be careful.

Or color mixing with basic food colors in egg cups (eye drops work best) And then drop the colors on coffee filters.

Or make a welcome home banner for Jen and J? Or cards. Make paper hats or crowns and decorate them?

Or cut up the front of brown paper bags (if you have any of those) and make vests
to decorate and wear. Pirates of West Hartford. Arggghh.

And how about a cookie decorating extravaganza – with slice and bakes. Add icing, jimmies, sparkles.

Or finger painting with pudding (always a huge fave).

Or make some playdoh – another surefire hit. But make A LOT.

And the house idea is great! I remember building houses with my
own siblings, and taking a lamp (risky business) in and pillows and
snacks and books and my record player. Maybe you can find a huge box to
turn into a house or fort or rocket ship. That’ll keep ‘em busy all
weekend. “Course, the two little guys will just be annoying, so yes, do
it downstairs. Then you won’t have to hear or see the chaos.

And a movie party with popcorn and treats (the cookies?). Yes yes. Bribe them
to take bubble baths beforehand. And go outside if you can. Nanny always
said, “Fresh air tames the beast.”

OK, enough of the kindergarten activity plan.

Most of all: Lower your standards. If they watch tv all day and eat take out, no problem. If they don’t go to bed till 10:00, c’est la vie. And if they don’t do anything but run around the house like banshees, naked as jaybirds, who cares?

It’s only a weekend.

They’ll survive. And have a blast! Just as long as you survive, too.

(Get the large bottle of wine and a bucket of Ben and Jerry’s.)

And….yes, here it comes….I can still come over for the day either
Sat. or Sun., especially if poor “Flu Boy” isn’t any better. All ya
gotta do is shout.

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BigLittleWolf replies

Can I have a play date with Momalom’s Mom?

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Sarah replies

Okay, Mama. I finally fixed the funky formatting of your awesome response.

Can anyone tell my mom was a teacher? Kindergarten for a bit…then on to second, third, fourth grades. The best of the best. The teacher that all her students will remember.

Love you mom. Thanks for all the suggestions. As long as we make it through the night – and I know we will – we’ll be just great the rest of the time!

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Kristen writes

Here’s what I’ve got for you: a few minutes of time.

As much as I adore your comments, skip reading my blog today and skip responding to this post. Opt out of my portion of 5 for 10 today so that you can close your eyes for those few moments and focus on yourself.

Thinking of you, with love. XOXO

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Sarah replies

Kristen! Thank you. Were you reading our minds. Tomorrow is going to be a little bit of a change-up around here. Stay tuned.

But NOT read your blog? Um. I don’t think so. Nice try. Now go post something dammit! And it better be good!

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BigLittleWolf writes

One more idea. (Let’s think outside the box, but INSIDE the box…

WEB CAM.

Have at least one computer set up with web cam? Know some other entertaining adults? This could at least take care of Kiddos aged 7, 5, and 4 – possibly even 2. That leaves you just with Hubs & babes (sounds like a rock group, or a card game for a bachelor party).

SERIOUSLY. That gives you free virtual access to other (entertaining) adults, who can dialogue with, entertain, and otherwise distract aforementioned kids when the games, food, tv shows, energy runs out…

Messenger, Yahoo, Skype… whatever. Hell – I have to show my face at an art opening early this evening, but I’ll help out later if you want. I used to be funny… and I promise not to say fuck or shit too often. (Not so’s you notice.)

We could have a french lesson. Or discuss life. Or they could tell me their dreams… tra la…

Terrifying concept, I know. (But I bet you could find some “virtual” babysitters who could spell you for a half hour or hour here and there, and it just might help.)

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BigLittleWolf writes

My computer hiccupped – don’t know if this got saved or dropped into cyberspace (with all the missing socks):

One more idea. (Let’s think outside the box, but INSIDE the box…

WEB CAM.

Have at least one computer set up with web cam? Know some other entertaining adults? This could at least take care of Kiddos aged 7, 5, and 4 – possibly even 2. That leaves you just with Hubs & babes (sounds like a rock group, or a card game for a bachelor party).

SERIOUSLY. That gives you free virtual access to other (entertaining) adults, who can dialogue with, entertain, and otherwise distract aforementioned kids when the games, food, tv shows, energy runs out…

Messenger, Yahoo, Skype… whatever. Hell – I have to show my face at an art opening early this evening, but I’ll help out later if you want. I used to be funny… and I promise not to say fuck or shit too often. (Not so’s you notice.)

We could have a french lesson. Or discuss life. Or they could tell me their dreams…

Terrifying concept, I know. (But I bet you could find some “virtual” babysitters who could spell you for a half hour or hour here and there, and it just might help.)

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Kelly writes

My 2 year old adores this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBFhvrAOFqY. She wants to watch it over and over and over again. She especially loves it when I say, “look, there’s Javi the monkey!” The older kids can’t help but giggle when you name them as the monkey.

Also, they adore these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hllqpstavoc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-6FRfbLSd0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSQtlWwY4eg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzRH3iTQPrk

And on the YouTube kick, my kids adore watching other kids, so you can take them to my channel. :) http://www.youtube.com/user/kequinones

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Sarah replies

Thanks for the links, Kelly.
I’m always in need of a giggle and a wiggle!

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momalomsmom writes

Oh fudge. Do the rest of you have trouble submitting, or is it just me? I have to cut and paste, and then I lose the format. And the post decides all by itself where it wants to go. I know, Peach, you told me what to do. I thought I did it.

Frustrated gg

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Sarah replies

You’re cute. I fixed it. :)

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Sarah writes

Breaking NEWS: The Stars are all aligned. The bags are packed. The kids are in the car. The man is even ready on time. And then?

Jen’s
Car
DIES!

And J’s truck is filled with a load of STUFF.
I told them to get in the damn truck and drive to Hartford, and take Dan’s car the rest of the way. I am waiting for her to call me when she is ON THE ROAD.
Gah! Really? The drama of the weekend is already starting and she is not even here yet?
GAH!

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Nicki replies

You will get a reward for allowing them a car to leave you with extra kids for the weekend! Hope it all works out!

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Ambrosia replies

Oh my! I hope they finally got out!

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BigLittleWolf writes

WEB CAM. Virtual babysitters. Get everyone you know. Let them help entertain the troops. (Should work well for 7, 5, 4 and possibly even 2…)

An idea whose time has come.

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Sarah replies

Web Cam! Yes. And then I’ll just put you on speaker phone throughout the house so you can yell at the kids, at will, and curtail all that mischief. Okay? Okay. Ready Set GO!

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TheKitchenWitch writes
Sarah replies

Who loves Kitch?
I LOVE KITCH!

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TheKitchenWitch writes

Oh no! Poor Jen! Maybe (hopefully) that will be the worst thing that happens this weekend!

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Sarah replies

Yes! Jen and I both agreed that that would be the WORST thing to happen all weekend. Better to have dead car before you start than during the trip. All should be good now. 6 kids in bed. 2 happy parents set off on a weekend of freedom!

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TheKitchenWitch writes

This one rocks, too…

Grilled Portobello

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TheKitchenWitch writes

fuck, link didn’t work. arrrrr

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becca writes

Better late than never, no? I’ve told my son he needs to start enjoying the movie Cars starting NOW so that I have a moment of peace. I have a t-shirt on the line dammit!

I hope Jen is on the road so YOU can let the FUN begin and she can have a few drinks and relax!

You are a brave, brave woman for taking on THREE more this weekend. There is a reason I have two, because that’s ALL I want (we’ll forget about the fact that my body won’t allow me to have more for the moment). And even adding a few more for more than a few hours is a lot for me. But I guess this is what sisters do for one another and I think it’s amazing.

Pretty much any suggestion I would have has been listed… I’d say being outside for as much time as possible is key. Leaf pile jumping should allow for a few hours of entertainment. Add in some leaf pile burying and leaf pile throwing and maybe another hour is gone?

Scavenger hunts are no fail. Make a list of things to find in and out of the house. Make sure you put something on the list that you’ve been searching for for months… maybe it will turn up!

Paper mache… fun for all! Who doesn’t love getting all gooey and sticky with hand made glue? I’m not crafty and I was somehow able to pull it off… And the glue is only two ingredients away from cookies so left over glue + sugar+ butter… voila! sugar cookies!

For the younger kids… go buy some cheapo magnets for the fridge. Magnets of ANYTHING… at least with my son, it’s hours of entertainment. Taking them off, putting them on, taking them off, putting them on, repeat, repeat, repeat. (I see Ivy League in his future).

Other than that… I’d be putting them in a padded room with non-choking, non skin piercing toys and let them be. As I mentioned earlier – maybe it will be easier in a way for you to have built in entertainment for the kids!

And really, this is NO excuse not to be writing another kick ass blog and returning each and every tweet I send you. No excuse. ;)

I do hope J feels better. And HAVE FUN! I’ll be entertaining 21 people (11 kids) in my house on Sunday so even though it’s only for a few hours… I’m wondering what I’ve gotten myself into there. I”ll be thinking of you!

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Sarah replies

First off, Sunday’s party? Blog fodder no doubt.

Second, you were way ahead of comment deadline. Don’t even try to get out of a t-shirt. They are going to be cute. (crossing fingers)

Third, padded room? Can I borrow yours for the weekend.

Fourth, no worries. Kick ass blog post already scheduled for tomorrow, don’t even try to get out of stopping by. Responses will be coming through as long as I can stay up tonight and throughout the day tomorrow. (No, I don’t shut up much. Just ask my husband.) And tweeting? Well that’s the easiest one of them all when you have an iPhone, isn’t it?

You can’t get rid of me so don’t even try. Bwah-ha-ha!

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Jillian writes

Oh my dear lord. I have no idea how you are going to do this. Can you give them all benadryl?

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Sarah replies

I like the fact that more than one person has suggested drugging the children. Nice to know I have a liberal crowd here.

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Natalie writes

HAHA you used the term WATER SPORTS in your post.

/end dirty

Seriously, what an awesome sister are you? I would take my sister’s girls but I don’t think she has ever let them stay more than one night away, and then only a few miles away. I think.

Ok, so, two words: homemade play-doh
A few more:
–living room furniture fort making competition
–everyone make a love card for MomalomJen or MomalomMom
–Lazy Scavenger Hunt! (the next person who brings me something purple gets a kiss!) *very risky if you have sex toys in the house notthatiwouldknow
–assign parts and let them act out a favorite movie
–lock them in one washable room with a large pizza, tub of candy, some sleeping bags, and hope for the best

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Ambrosia replies

Haha, sex toys. Oh man, I would love to hear that story! I have a few of my own : ).

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Sarah replies

Lazy Scavenger hunt is right up my alley. Like Becca said, ask them to find something I’ve been missing for awhile. Just not my, er, toys. I know RIGHT where THOSE are!

Forts. Cards. Welcome Home banner. All wonderful ideas.

But your last suggestion is quite possibly the best. And if we combine that with Wolfie’s suggestion of a Web Cam? Brilliant. Entertainment and blog fodder.

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Vannessa Eggleston writes

Um, yeah, I’m not even very resourceful with just one. But I used to be a teacher so I should be able to come up with something. Ooh, centers. Everyone loves centers and they make the time fly.

20 min centers, singing, writing/drawing, puzzles, computer games, etc.

3 centers at a time. Bring out old flattened boxes and have them reassemble them and build a fort?

Sorry, that’s all I’ve got!

Good luck!

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Sarah replies

Yes! Thank you! Centers would be a good idea because it would break the group up, too!

First things first tomorrow, I think, we are going to get out of the house as long as it’s not freezing…maybe pick up the treats and make some art when we get home. Tuck a movie into the middle of the day. Late afternoon will surely be the challenge.

But I am ARMED AND READY.

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Shana writes

I don’t envy you right now but I do appreciate that you curse when you are stressed. That makes you real. And I respect real!

I apologize that I will NOT be able to give you 5 minutes tomorrow as I am heading out of town but will return on Sunday to give you 15 minutes to make up for it. Does that count for something?

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Sarah replies

Jen read some study that said people who curse are less stressed. See my logic? Or, er, my VALID explanation for all the cursing I’ve done through the years? Yup. Lower the stress, baby. Raise the patience.

I’ll take 15 minutes on Sunday. Noted. You might be surprised by the weekend’s events anyway! Safe travels!

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Ambrosia writes

I hear your plea, Sarah. I watch 3 kids (5, 3, 1) plus my 2 (14-months and newborn) during the week. Really, the babies entertain themselves. With the older kids, usually we will draw, read stories, or have dance parties.

Where would this world be without music? Of course, if you want something that does not rile them up, that may not be the best option. Unless you have a good selection. I would recommend The Jimmies: http://www.gimmejimmies.com/ Their music and music videos are perfect for children.

Bless your heart! I know Jen probably appreciates this tremendously! I hope the hubby feels better!

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Sarah replies

Thanks for the music link. I think I’ve recently heard of them through a fellow blogger perhaps?

Um, I don’t envy your weekday duties. Oy! I complain about work but I don’t think daycare is my calling, either.

More than anything I am going to have fun with the kids all weekend long. Lots of ticking, chasing and laughs, for sure!

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Maria @BOREDmommy writes

If I was you, I would be taking a sleeping pill and sleeping through the entire weekend. Let the hubby (flu or not) deal with it.
P.S. You are nuts.

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Sarah replies

My husband totally appreciates the empathy. Snicker snick snicker doo.

He is blown away by the comments ppl are leaving, actually. He’s not a reader, mind you…I just happened to enlighten him that I’m not so very crazy for spending so much time at the computer the last six days! (4 to go!)

P.S. I totally admit to NUTS. NO problem! :)

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Laura writes

If there is such a thing as karma — I would buy a lottery ticket after the weekend. Winning numbers would certainly balance out the total suckage of the flu, stress, stress and more stress. Good luck this weekend. It should make for some interesting blog stories. :-)

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Sarah replies

Karma, good point. Lottery ticket, superb idea. Will give you a portion of the winnings, my friend. You know, a finder’s fee or something.

Let’s just say that Saturday has started like this: the child who totally should not have woken up everyone else woke up everyone else. At 4:38 am.

Yup. You got it, I’m a little pissed. However, can you say blog catch-up? Perfect.

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Ashleigh Burroughs writes

I’ve never read 60 comments before – you have GREAT readers. Of course I say that because I agree with everything (from gin rickeys to “Bring me a….” scavenger hunts to leaf jumping to what a fabulous sister you are).

Give them each age appropriate responsibilities – 4 is old enough to bring you the empty popcorn bowl for refilling, 5 can be sure everyone has a pillow, 7 can count to be sure everyone is present and 2 can be responsible for making people smile … and that’s probably the MOST IMPORTANT job anyone will have this weekend.

Flu-y husband should be quarantined with football and chicken soup and all manner of drugs. I’d check on him every couple of hours, just to be sure he’s still breathing……

Finally – stay hydrated and know you are loved :-)

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Sarah replies

Quarantine the husband? GAH! I need the help. Eh, he’ll be fine. He got the doctor, that’s better than usual. And you know what the doc said when he told her he was only there because his mother-in-law (yes, momalomsmom) called and demanded he go? She said, if you are this bad now and you are only here because of your MIL, how bad would it have to be for you to come on your own?

Yes. He can barely breathe. It’s not good. But he’ll recover, I’m quite sure. So no chance he’s getting out of assisting me in the child-wrangling. Sorry, DAN!

It’s a-gonna be funny times here this weekend. I should try and catch some sound bytes for y’all. (and no, I am totally not southern but “y’all” seemed totally appropriate in that moment.)

Oh and the comments? Totally! Amazing comments. Better than the posts, I say. Keep reading people! Keep writing. You are all loved, too!

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Jill writes

My brain is mush. And I’d gladly help (though it would add 2 more *one that’s great at chasing kids, however*) but I’ll be spending the weekend with my guy’s family. In the midwest.

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Sarah replies

Safe travels, my friend.
My brain is mush too. I should be sleeping right now. What is WRONG with me? Dan is watching DIY on TV and commenting on the total idiocy. And me? Get to bed me….

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TheKitchenWitch writes

Give hubs a Thoddy and you won’t see his ass for 12 hours, promise.

I’m drinking one now, actually, because I’ve caught Miss M’s crud and I am One Bitter Bitch, lemme tell ya.

I love you, too. Not in a gay way. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because I love me da gays. Awesome gays should run the universe; it would be a better place. With better fashion.

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Sarah replies

Recipe, please. Thoddy recipe, please!

Gay way? Be careful Kitch, you know I used to date women right? I’m pretty sure you were around when I wrote THAT one!

And, um, better fashion? Yes. PLEASE.

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Adrienne writes

Hmm… of course you have to rely on the the old standards: computer, movies, popcorn and pizza. My four kids LOVE dance parties. They also love moving the sofa away from the wall and making a hideout behind it. Tents made from chairs, blankets, tables, etc. are a big hit. Sometimes I’ll give them a make-believe starter theme: pretend you’re secret agents, dino diggers, treasure hunters, etc..

And yes, definitely get them out of the house if you can. Have them rake those leaves in your front yard and sweep your front porch. Or take them out to your car and make them clean it out. You can even let them vacuum it. I’m not a taskmaster, but my kids like doing grownup work (especially if I give them all their own jobs).

Good luck, and enjoy something yummy after they’ve all gone to bed.

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Sarah replies

Okay, I know I already responded quickly via email last night but let me reiterate.

Pull the sofa away from the wall and make a hideout behind it? LOVE it.

Have the kids rake the leaves? Wast totally waiting for someone to mention it.

Mission: clean car? Brilliant! We will definitely be doing this one!

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JenLo writes

OMG! All I can say is at least you get to give some of them (the kids) back and the end of the weekend. That thought should get you through at least five minutes. ;)

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Sarah replies

Good Point! It’s not forever. Just a weekend. We will all be fine. Better than fine. Having a blast.

I am overjoyed that the cousins get to grow up knowing each other this way. It would be great if Jen lived down the street from me but I’ll take an hour away…much better than when I lived in Florida!

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JenLo writes

Ooops…wrong URL on the post above. No wonder there was a server error!!

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Stone Fox writes

this may seem a bit unorthodox, but stay with me here..

what you gotta do is get yourself a box or two of fruit snacks (if you get the kind that are made with Real Fruit Juice, this is even better as it’s almost like giving them Real Fruit). while the Wee Precious Angels are sleeping, open every single package and throw them by the fistful into the living room so they scatter everywhere on the floor. why yes, this IS exactly like the concept of “free-feeding your dog” but just wait! before you dismiss this:

-the children will be kept busy looking for fruit snacks on the floor and will be too busy to destroy your house or gang up on you like a pack of hyenas on a wounded gazelle (and with your husband having the flu, this is especially important; wild animals will always go for the weakest of the herd. just sayin’.)

-the children will be well-fed

-the children will hunt and peck through your carpet and probably eat everything else they find, especially the babies

so really, with minimal effort, you can have a houseful of happy, full-tummied kids and your living room carpet will *SPARKLE* it will be so clean.

or, the good old standby: kick their butts outside in the back yard until lunch time. then institute mandatory afternoon nap time, to be followed by supper and a movie, then bed.

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Sarah replies

You are SO freaking inventive it’s killing me! Why on earth didn’t I think of that? I just so happen to have a couple of boxes on hand – which is odd since I hate the little turdy fruit things that the kids will actually maim each other to get. I think this will be our mid-morning activity. My middle TERROR child woke all the boys at 4:38 am. Luckily the girls are still sleeping. But mama’s not too happy, to say the least. And he woke us all up, mind you, because he couldn’t find his pillow! Which was probably only because it was, get this:

UNDER
HIS
HEAD!

GAH!

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Melissa writes

You get a medal for bravery, for sure.

Six kids… one functional adult… popcorn and movie night sounds good to me! Movie night starts around 9:46am, right? What else… build a fort, under the kitchen table or somewhere with pillows… pitch a tent in the yard and send them out there to play… make play-dough, but then you have to clean up play-dough, so maybe not… have them set up an obstacle course, then take turns running through… or run races… or just run (can you tell I’m a big fan of getting them tired out?)… and, uh, did I mention movie night?

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Sarah replies

Running them ragged: check.
Movies: check.
Occasional disappearance by ME into the bathroom with my computer: check.

And yeah, 9:46 sounds about right seeing as we got up at 4:38!

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Liz writes

See? Another reason we should live nearby….sadly, I can’t get on a plane…I have my own hot plans this weekend (babysitting). I love how good you two are to each other. You are so, so lucky. Now, ideas? Hmmm. Crap. A trip to the movie store and short of an R rating (or an X), let them pick whatever they want? Get popcorn…candy..let it all crumble into the carpet with the Lucky Charms and muffins. Rake leaves and jump into them…lots of times. (I’m in MIAMI girl, I HEAR they do that kinda stuff somewhere and it’s supposed to be fun?) Arts and crafts? Charades? Chase each other til they get tired? Aw, shucks..who’m I kidding? I can barely keep my 2 entertained much less a whole gang…Good luck and if you ever wanna plan a girl’s night out, then I can help you out!

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Sarah replies

As long as it’s a girl’s night out with YOU, my dear!

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Sarah writes

The update for those who read the comments:

Jen is safe and sound and hopefully happy as can be. Who am I kidding? It’s 6:58 am and I’ve already been up for 2:10. SO! As long as she’s still sleeping she’s in heaven right now as far as I’m concerned.

Thanks for ALLLL of your words, wisdoms, ideas and good laughs. I am going to have a great weekend here with the kids. I have no doubt.

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BigLittleWolf writes

OKAY. Since you are up and going already (and have been for awhile) –

For YOU: from Dr. BigLittleWolf:

Excedrin migraine (even if just a bad headache from too little sleep)
Coffee
Chocolate

(NONE of the above for the kids.)

Yes, web camming entertainment complete with hats, voices, feather boas and accents WILL be available later today. Just get FLu-Hubs to take responsibility for finding a computer + CAM that will go together.

Will alternate entertainment & Question and Answer session (of kids) with FRENCH LESSON.

YOU are required to sip a hot toddy (or coffee or eat chocolate) during aforementioned entertainment. And sweetie, I can go for hours. Had to entertain my son when 6 years old through a 5-hour line at an Antiques roadshow… Hell, I can chit chat kids through anything after that one…

:)

And uh, yeah, those leaves. Just put little beepers on them or something, so you don’t lose a little one in the pile.

BLW

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BigLittleWolf writes

PS – Just tell them they are going to be interviewed by a famous foreign journalist (a girl can dream) far, far away, by video, on cam. (They will need to write their names with marker on a piece of paper and flash them (not flash, flash the names) from time to time. We old folk who sleep little have sucky short term memory.)

This should entertain ages 7, 5, 4. As for the rest – make THEM do the leaves. Or fill baskets of laundry (preferably clean) and let them NEST. See if they can pretend they’re little birds, just being cozy as winter sets in.

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Amy at Never-True Tales writes

Whoa boy. That’s a lot of kids (and you might as well double it when you have a stressed, sick husband). My best suggestion? Give up. Now. Just let. it. all. go.

Help, no? ;)

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Sarah replies

Yes on the letting.it.all.go. Not sure if that is giving up or just giving in, but it’s working. We are having fun. Maintaining. Even have a clean house right now – and four out of six kids were bathed tonite. Miraculous if you ask me!

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Heather of the EO writes

I’m just feeling sorry for you. I have no advice. I love in Minnesota, you’d think I’d have more indoor advice. Hopefully it’s been fully covered in the previous comments.

DEEP BREATHS. WINE. MORE WINE.

:)

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Sarah replies

Oh no no no. Don’t feel sorry for me dearest. I am fairing quite nicely. A bit on the tired side due to MY OWN MAD MANIACAL son waking all the boys pre-5 am this morning. I have to knock off this internet shit and get myself to bed. Pronto!

Other than that, everything is going swimmingly. Even the baby, who is kinda being weaned during this whole event, is being a gem. Asleep in my own son’s crib (alone, no little rough-house boy with her) in a room with her sister. After 24 hours here at Aunt Sarah’s everyone is all settled in. And? Dare I say? Even having fun. And ice cream. What’s better than that?

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Crystal Gold writes

This is incredible! I love what you two do for each other. I am too late to offer advice, just my heartfelt joy in how much you support each other!!! So refreshing and an inspiration to us all!!!

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