Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Spoon Full Of Sugar

I have had so many e-mails asking where I was! Tickles me pink to know you are reading!!!

I have a great excuse this time...I have been to busy laying in bed... dead... to blog. I have said for years that it should be against the law for Mom's to get sick. I still stand by that philosophy.

Early in the week I began to feel like I had swallowed a steak knife. Not one to complain (duh whatever) I went to bed only to wake up 4 days later and realize that someone forgot to tell me I had died. I finally drug myself to the doctor on Friday, couldn't go on Thursday because I felt to bad to go anywhere but my own funeral. Got the picture yet? I am the proud owner of a case of the flu. Those who know me well know that I am a firm supporter of a flu shot...I guess in making sure everyone got theirs I forgot mine?!?!? I just can not remember if I had one or not...but even if I did the sucker did NOT work (I am seriously thinking of asking for a refund).

Sooooo I am on the tribe is thankful that I am back in the game...Hondo made me smile describing how they made it without me but they certainly were not full strength...he lovingly described it as "limping" along (with full visuals).

Here is a quick update on this week:

Report cards came home on Wednesday...all did very very well...can not tell you how excited we were to see grades this time. They have quickly realized that in a family this size you can not hide report card day (not to mention I work in the schools). There is always a family nerd who comes through the door waving grades for all to see. SOOOOO it just pays off to do well and save yourself the pain and agony.

Tom is home, thank the lord, or my parents would have had to drive down and run the tribe. I was in no shape to take care of anyone.

ATL is still a lovely place to live...the kids have all privileges back and the house continues to stay in tip top shape.

Ben got his first pair of golf shoes (I know... but this is huge in our family)

Dallas and Deacon got weighed...Dallas is 63 pounds and Deacon is 76 pounds (and only 8 months old).

I got my car back from the this doesn't seem like a huge thing BUT for the last month my drivers side window would go down but not up...not great for rainy cold weather...and the air conditioner would not shut off, it was stuck on high...when you hit the off button it would go to mega HIGH...again not great for rainy cold weather. Can you imagine the conversation when Noah "accidentally" rolled down the was 23 degrees outside and I had to drive on the interstate? Not sure why he is still alive?

Noel has blown her knee out again, so back to physical therapy and another MRI.

Allie and Cassie are getting ready for the dance recital (not sure where Noel will fit in to this years plans after the knee injury).

Nick spent a week in Florida on spring break (this is ALL I know because I refuse to ask any questions...better ignorant than angry).

Poppie (my soon to be father in law) hit a hole in one!!!!

I am sure there is more but in my NyQuil induced coma this is all I can think of.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

They call me Hondo!

Hondo talking to the tribe at the airport in Argentina.

“Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid.” John Wayne

Well we made it through another travel week!

I have been blogging for a couple of weeks and I can honestly say I am addicted. It's like making an instant scrapbook...and I am an instant gratification girl for sure.

I love that as Tom travels he can log on, even when we have no phone service, and check in on the daily activities of the tribe.

Our evening phone call came tonight as he was waiting in an airport in Argentina to come home. When we talked he mentioned that while he loved reading it, he wasn't tickled with being labeled "my sweet hubby" (I think what he actually said was you don't call me that in real life). I tried to explain to him that I needed SOMETHING to call him so that everyone would know who I was talking about mother refers to my father as DH (darling husband) on her blog, my sister calls my brother-in-law JW on her blog and I guess I thought I had something as catchy (plus he really is sweet).

What the conversation did do was open up the door for my story tonight.

Tom and I began to talk in 2001 and officially had our first date January 2002 (that story will have to wait). During the years the kids had referred to us by name. We began to discuss as a family that we wanted a meaningful name to call the other that did not take away from biological that could acknowledge the special relationship that had developed and that could have as deep and powerful a meaning as Mom and Dad.

Tom and I submitted names that we would feel comfortable being called...I knew my picks immediately...I went for Babs or Toots...upon discovering that Toots could be turned into "TOOTS" as in the passing gas kind of toots...I opted for Babs. Tom did not have as easy a time with his new name....we started off with King (yes he really thought we would all call him king), The Big Kahuna (yup you got it, he thought if we would not call him king we would go for this one, whatever!), Padre and a few more. He was really struggling so we started to brain storm things he liked. Like most men John Wayne is Tom's idea of a "real man". One of his favorite movies of all time is Hondo...and to be honest the first time we called him that it just fit.

The names have evolved into more than we ever expected...we have begun to call each other Babs and Hondo...all the tribes friends use them with as much love as our own children...and even our families have started calling us that. Who knows maybe his drivers license will one day read "Hondo".

What ever we call him, sweet hubby, Dad, Honda, old buddy old pal...he is loved.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

The front of Ben's shirt


The back of Ben's shirt

The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. Alan Alda

Creative...artistic...dreamer...imaginative...inspired... inventive...resourceful...ingenious... innovative...productive...this is Ben. He is on his own path to self discovery and being a part of his journey is a true gift.

Today I was downstairs as the children came in from the bus. I can usually tell who enters by the noise they make. Today all I heard was the door slam and "Babs, Babs, Babs", I did not hear footsteps...because Ben was floating in the door. Before I could raise my head he was in front of me...I do believe I was blinded momentarily by the smile on his face. He was proudly wearing a new blue shirt and beaming from ear to ear.

Several weeks ago Ben had entered a contest to design the shirt that his middle school would wear on a band trip to Florida. We had seen rough drafts as he designed it, but we were not on hand when he turned in the final drawing. Ben informed us that his drawing had won and that soon he would have the t-shirt to show us. Fast forward several weeks, meals..tears...laughter...drama...and the shirt was a distant memory (although I am sure not to my boy).

Today the shirt was delivered and Ben got to proudly wear it at school. It is absolutely amazing! Not being able to draw myself I am always awe struck when he sits down to doodle, his drawings tell a story. This shirt itself tells a story...from the palm trees of Florida... to the roller coaster at the park they are going to, he captured it all...not to mention it is a jamming color I would pick myself (I am sure I will "borrow" the shirt on the next dress down day).

I am one proud mom today...heck I am a proud mom everyday, who am I kidding. Being a teenager is hard, being a teenager in a house with 6 kids is even harder and being a teenager with two parents who are self proclaimed over achievers is next to impossible. Watching this young man dust himself off when he stumbles...tackle life with the tenacity of a his heart to the world...and mature into a young man is a gift, that I never take for granted. Life is a little sweeter today. La vida es buena.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Cassie Age 2

Cassie rocking her new hat in Florida

Cassie March 2009

Every child in a family is unique...after all that is what makes the world go round.

Cassie is that child you remember from your childhood...the one who made you laugh so hard you peed your pants, the one who came up with the cool saying or word that everyone began to use and the member of the family who can lighten the mood just by being....

Just when things seem to be going in the crapper around the house Cassie will pipe up with one of her "what ifs?" have you ever noticed that everything you say can be found in a song...she has the ability to take a sentence you just said, come up with some obscure song and sing it back to you...we lovingly refer to her as our family savant. Example : talk about drying clothes turns into "In the dryer the mighty dryer the clothes will dry tonight". She will tell you about the latest show she watched (this week it was Animals Gone Bad) and how Santa got killed by his favorite reindeer trying to feed him ...or tell you about the plight of a child in China whose Crocks (shoes) got stuck on the escalator and he went to the top, no one found him and he starved to death (not sure where this one came from but she swears it happened in a mall).

During our last vacation she found a hat in Target she just HAD to have. Although the other children were horrified with her fashion choice she wore it everywhere we went (maybe BECAUSE they were horrified?). The tribe began to call her "Chemo Cassie" until we overheard them and stopped it immediately.

From the time she was little she had a way with words, now I am not sure that you will find any in the dictionary but over the years we have begun to collect them...we call them Cassie-isms and they are forever a part of the language of our house.

Here are just a few:

Scrap Froat - Strep Throat
Mentally Regurgitated - Physically Allergic
Choir Factor- Chiropractor
Book House - Library
Green Stuff-Mello Yellow
Crunches - Crutches
Measuring stick - ruler
Loaf Bread - White Bread
Fidgetator - Refridgerator
Plane Driver- Pilot
Squetti- Spaghetti
Stinky Cheese - Parmesan Cheese (bought at the Stinky Cheese Store)

Adding the word aholic to everything - example: Grillaholic for those that grilled well, Danceaholic- one who loves to dance (this was cute the first 5 words she did it with, it quickly lost its apeal)

And my all time favorite - referring to everything as an "anus". She learned the word this year in health and used it as her power word daily. Watching my sweet hubby cringe when Cassie told the waitress they had hard chairs in O'Charley's and they hurt her "Anus" was priceless. She still whips this one out when she wants to needle him.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

There is a time for everything...

Cassies room

My craft room

Noel and Allies room

The den

The living room

Sweet hubby and my love shack, can you believe there are no clothes hanging off the bed?

The laundry room...with no clothes piled or hanging out of the basket

Ben and Noahs room

Nick's room

This is the time to brag!

ATL (After the letter) is a mighty fine place to live today. I did not do my morning walk through today...I figured why head out the door with blood pressure high enough to cause a stroke. Now I kinda wish I had...who would've thunk it?!?!?! Now I have to ask myself who stole my children and replaced them with these Stepford Kids???

I captured the glorious sights, am I a lucky woman or what? For those of you that have been in the house you will see that Ben and Noah are sharing rooms again, Nick has moved to the Dallas room upstairs, Noel and Allie are sharing downstairs, Cassie is now upstairs in the orange room and I am proudly back in my "craft and scrapbook" room....always changing and never boring.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it

It takes two baby !

As a child I vividly remember my mother saying she could eat anything if she did not have to fix it herself. At the time I don't think I appreciated what she an adult boy do I understand completely.

Ben and Noah stepped up to the plate to fix dinner tonight. In the spirit of all the great male cooks of my family, I am sure my father would be proud. The girls have dance (yes they have earned that back), my sweet husband is traveling and I spent the better part of the night on the road running from here to there. I love that the tribe is working together and I really love that I did not have to fix it myself.

I have to say that it was yummy!!! Watch out Emeril Lagasse!!!

Here is the recipe they fixed:

What You Need!
1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 1 lb. ground beef 1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Taco Seasoning Mix 3/4 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream 1-1/2 cups KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided 1 cup TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa

Make It!
HEAT oven to 400°F. Prepare Dinner as directed on package. While Macaroni is cooking, cook meat with taco seasoning as directed on package.

STIR sour cream into prepared Dinner; spoon 1/2 into 8-inch square baking dish. Top with layers of meat mixture, 1 cup cheese and remaining Dinner mixture; cover with foil.

BAKE 15 min.; top with salsa and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

They teamed this up with some Velveeta cheese dip and chips for a Mexican fiesta.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Please ekscuse...

I recently made a career change. I was lucky enough to be hired as a school nurse. While I had a few rough spots initially, I am starting to settle in. I have off 52 days not including summer break (and weekends), I am home every day as my tribe gets off the bus, I have the luxury of picking what school in the district the tribe attends and I have the pleasure of Noah's company as we ride to school daily.

Yes the pay reflects that I have off 52 days not including summer break, but I think I have convinced myself (and my sweet hubby) that it is all worth it.

As usual it's the little things that crack me up. I have begun to save school excuses that parents send in...having sent in many myself, I have to wonder what slips I have made and who might be giggling at my expense. My favorite came last week "Please excuse Johnny, he needs to pee alot. He has a small bladder."

Real school notes written by parents.

1. My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.

2. Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

3. Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31,32, and also 33.

4. Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is administrating.

5. Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.

6. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.

7. Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part.

8. Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.

9. Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side.

10. Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.

11. Please excuse Pedro from being absent yesterday. He had (strikethrough: diahre) (strikethrough: dyrea) (strikethrough:direathe) the shits.

12. Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.

13. Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.

14. Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.

15. I kept Billie home because she had to go Christmas shopping because I don't know what size she wear.

16. Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

17. Sally won't be in school a week from Friday. We have to attend her funeral.

18. My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the Marines.

19. Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.

20. Please excuse Mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps.

21. Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover.

22. Please excuse Burma, she has been sick and under the doctor.

23. Maryann was absent December 11-16, because she had a fever, sore throat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever and sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

What A Burger!

Ben, Nick and Noah

Noah, Noel, Allie and Cassie (in her jamming new hat)

If you live in the south you eat Krystals, in Ohio it is White Castle, as a child it is Mickey D's and in New York it is 5 Guys Burgers.

Several years ago my sweet hubby turned us on to one of the best hamburgers I have ever had. Whataburger! The only time we get to indulge is when we go to Florida....and one trip is never enough. They toast the bun lightly, extra mayo, cheese, lettuce, onion and pickles...a little bit of beef heaven.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Here kitty kitty kitty.

Lula Belle today.

Lula Belle the day we brought her home.

Lula Belle helping Tom at the computer.

My sweet hubby travels about 2 weeks out of every 4. While most people would think it would be difficult to be away from the family...I believe that Tom is always in fear of what he will come home to.

I tend to use that time to paint rooms, rearrange furniture, stencil corny sayings all over the walls, experiment with new recipes (thank the lord Ben still thinks I am the best cook ever)....and bring home new animals. My BFF once told me "It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission".

Cats do not have the best track record in the Caplinger house. I believe that the moment they cross the threshold they are minus 2 or 3 of the 9 lives they started out with. This is a family that LOVES cats, well most do. Nick and Tom may be hold outs...but the rest of us adore the purr of a kitten and laying with them while they make bread on your leg.

In November while Tom was traveling I went to pick up Dallas at daycare and they had just brought in 2 Rag Doll kittens. Now I am sure at this point you see a trend...picking up Dallas..bring home an animal. This kitten was the most beautiful fluffy hunk of love I had ever seen. I quickly emailed my Aunt Donna who is the leading cat authority in our family. She said that this was a breed she had always wanted....SCORE! Knowing I would need reinforcements I brought the kids in to see her. As only kids can do, they convinced me that my sweet hubby would think this would be a great idea (okay so I knew this was stretching it a little but I really wanted the cat). Sooooooo I brought the cat home. We gave her a sounthern name to fit a queen "Lula Belle" . We didn't know a thing about rag dolls but heck it was a cat.

Fast forward a couple of days. The kids and I google "rag doll"...the following is what we found "If you want a large cat which is non-aggressive, loves to be with people, and is very placid, you may want to consider a Ragdoll. Also, if you love the look of a long-haired cat, but do not want the constant grooming associated with breeds such as the Persian, a Ragdoll would be a good choice. The gentle Ragdoll is also good with children and is easy to introduce into a multi-pet household." OH MY she will be perfect....then we read this..."Ragdolls are large, heavy cats, with broad chests and large hindquarters. They are slow-maturing, and do not reach full maturity until approximately three years of age. Females are smaller than males, weighing about 10-15 pounds on average. Males weigh an average of 12-20 pounds as adults, although some may grow to be larger." OH MY!

Well we are 3 1/2 months into loving Lula Belle...according to the vet she may not be full blooded, we don't care she is perfect...and at 5 1/2 months old she is already topping the scales at 12 pounds, still perfect.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.


Math is radical!

Friday was PI day at the Middle School. Allie invited me to participate in the PI activites, Noel was a volunteer for the classroom so I got a bonus. A two for the price of one. I did not excel at math in school...and it was not a lot better at 40 something. I think the best part about a "Fun Day " in middle school is that they let you eat goodies....and of course all these goodies were round...pies, cakes, cookies, candy and cupcakes....YUM.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Tribe

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

A Tribe - group of people related by blood or marriage

I have used many terms to describe our family. A dear new friend that we met during unfortunate circumstances referred to our clan as a tribe and it has stuck in my brain today. I like the sound of it, it rolls off your tongue easily.

Everyone seems to be on pins and needles waiting to see how D-Day went. My new 2ND BFF even sent me a text message asking me if the tribe had tied us up in a closet.

Hate to disappoint but no they did not. However there were lots of tears, anger, dismay and shear disbelief. How in the world could we turn off all the TVs, who was going to wash clothes and how could we possibly think they were not carrying their load; after all don't all teens believe parents use them as slaves?

We began by leaving them with the letter, we answered any questions and then explained that there was food available in the crock pot...and then my sweet hubby and I went out to eat. Upon our return we found that not much had changed (duh), the kids had all fixed themselves something to eat, they had all retreated to their corner of the house, one actually went down the street to play. I am not sure what I expected, but needless to say I had to laugh so that I did not implode.

While I fed dogs, Tom took the time to talk to the girls separately and then the boys. He explained that while we had begun to work on functioning as a family unit, it was done with each child taking care of the "I". What we were looking for is how we can begin to take care of the "we". Something must have clicked because they retreated to Cassie's bedroom and came out about an hour later. During that time we could hear arguing, laughing and whispering. The children emerged with a plan (on a spreadsheet no less) on how they were going to tackle what was expected of them. They had all signed the bottom and they posted it on the fridge. Neither Tom nor I wanted to hear what the plan was, we told them we wanted to see the plan in action.

So today is day 4. The house is not perfect, I don't think anyone expects it to be. Having not 1 but 2 OCD parents makes this a little hard for them, okay maybe impossible, there will always be little things that make me twitch. What I have noticed is that every bed has been made each morning, the animals have been fed, the floors upstairs were vacuumed, the rooms are clean enough I can leave bedroom doors open and I have not had to clean chips or cereal off the kitchen floor one day. Not sure who is waking each child up, my guess is its Cassie who gets up every day and then wakes up all the roosters, but who cares because it hasn't been me.

No child is sulking, as a matter of fact it's quite the opposite. There have been more one liners from the kids than I expected. While wondering what they were going to do with out TV and Internet apparently one of the children who has been on and off TV restriction said "welcome to my world, and guess what I am not dead". They are sharing books and magazines and Tom and I have decided we like the quiet. Children are forced to talk to each other because there isn't a DANG thing to do otherwise.

Now do not get the impression we are over the hump. We expect the new to wear off, no one has tackled a dinner yet and they are about to run out of Ramen Noodles, laundry has yet to be addressed, it is just piling up and the weekend is before us.

Here are the 5 stages of team building my sweet hubby told me about.
Stage 1: Forming
Stage 2: Storming
Stage 3: Norming
Stage 4: Performing
Stage 5: Adjourning

Not sure where we are today...but if I learned anything from my parents it is to hang strong!

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

April is Beautiful Woman Month

Sis, me and Mom "a lifetime full of blessings"

Blessing #2

Blessing #3

Blessing #1

Who knew we had a whole month?

I am one of those women who LOVEEEEEE everything about being a girl. I am blessed to have 3 amazingly beautiful young ladies who call me mom. They are beautiful both inside and out. Watching them mature is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. This is not to take away from the "boys" in my house. Who are all a gift in their own right...but that is a subject for another blog. This one is about flower power!

I have to confess to telling my daughters "being a girl sucks" when they complain about menstrual cramps, mean girls and boys.

But the reality is I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

I get to wear high heels, lipstick, pretend I do not know how to mow the lawn, feel a baby move inside of me as it grows, I can cry my way out of a speeding ticket, I get to get on the life boat first with the children, taxi's stop for me, if I forget to shave no one knows, I never have to reach down to make sure my parts are there, I can talk to the opposite sex without having to picture them nekkid, if I marry someone 20 years younger, I am aware that I will look like an idiot, I have the ability to dress myself, there are times when chocolate really can solve all my problems, I can cry in public (or anywhere for that matter) and shoes shoes shoes and more shoes.

Growing up my mother put on lipstick to start her day, I remember asking her many times where she was going, only to be told "no where I am just getting ready". I think that it must be genetic....I too start my day with a slash of color...only to hear my girls ask "where are we going". I don't have any plans at the moment, but being a woman who knows what the day may bring. I wear rhinestone earring's to the pool, they make my bathing suit sparkle. I have been known to team up high heels with sweat pants because it makes my legs look longer. And anyone who has ever seen me a week before I get beautified knows I wash that grey right out of my hair.

I have chosen a career path that has predominately females, I have been blessed with a mother who is creative, witty and sister is my role model no matter that she is younger...and I have a BFF that doesn't care if I am one hamburger short of a happy meal and while not all the animals in the house are female, I have quickly fixed the male ones (gotta love it!).

I received an email from another "girl" in my life telling me about Beautiful Woman Month. Enclosed was a quote from Audrey Hepburn...for all of my wise cracks and attempts at humor this truly encompasses everything I love about our gender and the woman I hope I am role modeling for my own "little ladies".

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crack is Whack

What is Generation Y?

Hmm, I've always wondered this myself. Now I know.

- The Silent generation, people born before 1946.
- The Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 and 1959.
- Generation X, people born between 1960 and 1979.
- Generation Y, people born between 1980 and 1995

Why do we call the last one generation Y? I did not know, but this cartoonist explains it eloquently ...Learned something new today!

Having worked with youth for the last few years of my nursing career I have come to the conclusion that I am uncool. Call it "bust a sag" "slacking" call it whatever you like. Wearing your pants so that your panties hang out is UNCOOL in my book. I do not want to see your fannie crack...has no one told you crack is whack? I do not want to watch you run down the street with your pants around your ankles, and they say trampolines are dangerous. Have you ever seen these kids try to run, crack kills?

I asked one of my kiddo's if they understood that this style originated in prison's where inmates were not allowed to own a belt...the response "oh mom you are so uncool". So be it!

I am sure my mother is rolling on the floor laughing outloud. This coming from the child who thought Madonna was the fashion icon of the 80's, wore mini skirts so short I could not bend over, had Farrah Fawcett hair, feathered bangs and stick up bangs, wore blue eyeshadow, leg warmers, tight stone washed jeans (still a favorite), scrunch socks, ripped tights, cropped shirts, jellies, 89 braclets at one time, jammers, parachute pants, and last but not least SPANDEX! OMG was I cool then or what!

So I am uncool now, a nag and the proud owner of a very spoiled puppy...things could be worse, my crack could be showing.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I have to say that in the grand scheme of things I am one lucky woman. I have 6 beautiful, healthy and for the most part polite kiddo's. My house is filled most days with laughter, all days with pet hair, and every night they tell me they love me before they head off to bed. Ben never fails to tell me that I am the best cook ever (even if its a tuna sandwich) and Nick is growing up to be a man that any woman would be lucky to marry. With that said....

I have officially become a NAG. In a house with 6 children, one 20, 4 teens and one preteen it is almost impossible to get anyone to help on their own. I have become very creative with incentives, schedules etc, but I am finding that more and more I just nag until it is completed. I have found myself coming home on my lunch hour to clean, so that I can come home to a reasonably clean house. Socks have found their permanent home between the pillows on my couch, no matter how big a garbage can I buy there is always over flow, imagine if you can 8 people using a fresh glass every time they get a drink times 24 hours in a day and can you possibly grasp the amount of laundry that accumulates after my 3 teen girls change clothes 5 times in one day?

Well it has all come to a halt. Here is a portion of a letter that I will be leaving the children tonight.

"Beginning today there will no longer be television in this house. Do not turn on the televisions in your room, the den or the living room. You are unable to pay the bill because you have not completed your job and have not been paid for this week.

As required by law there will be adequate nutrition in the house. Fortunately for us, we are not required to cook it, serve it etc. …Only to provide it. Food is now available in the kitchen and pantry. Eating out is not an option for the children in this house. You cannot afford to eat out; you have not been paid for the week due to failure to complete your job.

Do not ask the taxi service to take you anywhere. You cannot afford a taxi; pedal power is free…utilize it.

This is not a hotel; you will not be able to phone the front desk for a morning wake up call anymore. Set your alarm and get up.

The laundry mat at the Caplinger house is shut down. We will no longer be hanging your clothes over our bed. Wash your own clothes, hang them in your own room, and put them away. There is a folding rack under our bed, which you may use. The baskets on the washer and dryer will disappear tonight. This has become another excuse to pile clothes throughout this house. If your clothes are found throughout this house they will be taken to the Salvation Army and given to a family that will cherish the ability to have so many outfits. A laundry schedule will be posted regarding the specifics on how you will be allowed to wash and at what times you will be allowed to use the laundry facilities "

As anyone with kids knows this will go over like a fart in church. So wish us luck. We will be presenting it at family meeting tonight, at which point my sweet hubby and I will be going out to dinner.

After all... who wants to hang around after this poop bomb gets dropped.

Wish us luck, we may need it. I will keep you all posted.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

50-80 feet!

5 feet of Cyprus and 6 feet of joy

Last year with an upcoming wedding and the knowledge that we would have 100 people in our house we set about to beautify our yard. Space is a commodity in short supply, so my sweet hubby built a corner flower bed. We filled it with color, flowers, ferns and a Japanese Maple tree.

In a very short period of time the plants had been trampled and the dirt was 6 inches lower. The tree began to look a little bit like a Charlie Brown X-Mas tree and we began to second guess our little plot. Last month I opened the back door after hearing someone knock. Imagine my surprise when I find the source of the knocking....Dallas has uprooted the tree...and the knocking was her attempting to bring the tree into the house, through the doggie door.

This weekend Tom and I decided that we needed to fill the now empty flower bed. A much needed trip to our local Home Depot to look at the latest in shrubbery. While walking the aisles reading tags I hear "50 feet! oh yea baby". Now if you have ever shopped for stereo equipment, a car, a TV...or anything electronic you know exactly the way in which this was said......

So no matter that this tree will grow so large we will not be able to walk in our back yard, no matter that the hole he had to dig was 3 times the height and 3 times the width of the pot and no matter that it may eventually become a doggie treat...we have a new tree.....50 feet yea baby!

It may never be easy but it will always we worth it.

Atlanta Symphony

I had the pleasure of accompanying Ben and Cassie on a band trip to the Atlanta Symphony. Who knew I would have 2 band geeks in my brood. Neither Tom nor I play an instrument so it is with great pleasure that we sit at band concerts and suffer through hours of practice. I was able to snap a few pics before my camera died.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Ping Pong...not just a child's game.

Tonight was an official Caplinger Ping Pong Tourney night (no I did not win). The secret weapon of the night was Dallas. Who thinks that every ball has her name on it and that she should be involved in every thing that we do....she fits right in with the women in our family!

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

There's a new man in town.

Deacon on the left Dallas on the right.

Just a big ole mess of love!

Our ever growing house took on another heartbeat last month. Over the last several months the kiddo's and I have been acting as foster parents for a local shelter. We would bring home whatever orphan needed some TLC...shower them with all the hugs and kisses they could handle and whisk them back before Tom's plane was set to land. We have had a 2 legged chihuahua (yes I wrote 2 legs), a pair of yorkie puppies and a very very obese chihuahua mix to name a few. For us it was the best of both worlds, love them, nurture them...and return them about the time the new wore off.

About 3 weeks ago while picking Dallas up at daycare (yet another blog about why our dog goes to daycare), I saw a beautiful if not filthy Shepherd pup. He had what I can describe as "eyes only for me". I began to tell Tom about the dog (he has a huge soft spot for Sheperds so I was halfway there) and over the course of the next couple of days I would ask in conversation if we could just foster him for a night. Of course I had decided that it would be a wonderful "spend the night party" for Dallas.

On a sunny and warm Saturday my sweet hubby said in passing "you know, if you would like to have him spend the night, today would be a good day". I have only a vague memory of going out the door but I am pretty sure I did not brush my teeth, my hair...and I had on my jammies...BUT my boy was coming home!

We had a wonderful weekend, the dogs went for many walks. The new pup was just a huge lap dog...and miracle of all miracles he picked me to love...yes he PICKED ME! It was like I had attached velcro to my fannie, every step I made he made, every time I sat down ...he just curled up in my lap. Sunday was quickly approaching and all I could think about was taking this huge hunk of love back to the rescue.

Tom was scheduled to leave Sunday for Brazil and I think the conversation went something like this...
Tom: Sweetie you know that we can not keep this dog.
Me: Yes dear (OMG OMG OMG I just have to have him).
Tom: Shannon getting another dog makes no sense.
Me: Yes dear (sense? seriously we have 6 kids?? SENSE???).
Tom: Have you thought about the additional expense, food, vet etc?
Me: Yes dear (what can one more dog cost?).
Tom: You are taking the dog back to the kennel Monday morning?
Me: Yes dear (He didn't specify what Monday).

Well there are a lot of gory details that I will spare you all. All I can say is I married the bestest man ever. Dallas has a new brother his name is Deacon and he makes my heart smile every time I look at him.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

The Family at Busch Gardens

Ben enjoying the Ping Pong table

Tom's mouthwatering stuffing, the only man to ever equal my father's!

I LOVE Christmas!

I vividly remember as a child laying awake waiting for Santa. I still would place cookies out in hopes that St.Nick would come as an adult, if I didn't think one of our four legged family members would eat them (and we would awake with barf under our tree and not presents). Many a Christmas morning my sis and I would run into our parents room giddy with anticipation...only to be sent back to bed because it was 3 am. As a parent I now understand that they had just gotten to bed after spending 8 hours putting together our Barbie Dream House and Camper.

This year we decided to take Christmas to a new level. With the belief that our children have WAY to much "stuff " we decided it was time for a change.

To begin with we adopted a family in our community. Armed with a wish list we set out for a day of shopping. Watching my kiddies shop for this family was heart warming. I saw the thought and care that went into each item we selected and was touched as I saw the lights begin to go off in each one's mind. They began to realize that it does make you feel fulfilled to give and not just to receive.

Second it was time to change our gift giving tactics. My Mom had once told me about a family that exchanged "3" for the for the heart ...and one for the head. With this in mind my sweet hubby and I agonized for many hours over what each child yearned for (the heart)...what gifts we could give as a group (the head) and what we could use as a family to spend more time together (the hands). I modified it a little, instead making a special bag for each child in which I placed small items that I knew they would love. We always struggle with homework time and keeping the kids motivated to Santa delivered a new Family computer (one for the head)....and after watching the fun my Sis and her kiddies have playing the Wii, we had our one for the hand. If I do say so my self (pat on the back, applause, applause) this might be one of our most memorable Christmas's ever....the Kiddo's still wonder how I found that "one" thing they had talked about. Gotta Love it!

After hearing our plan both sets of Grandparents stepped up to the plate and hit home runs.

Maam and Sir supplied our family room with a ping pong table (remind me to blog later about the ping ping ping of the ball at 10pm and what it does to my blood pressure). There is never a lack of willing players and it was a much wished for addition. I had bragged for weeks about my "mad skills" playing ping pong. Yet another humbling experience as my family gets to see just how uncoordinated I am. Not sure who I inherited this trait from but remind me to thank you later! There might be nothing worse than to sit and listen to your 14 and 15 year old argue over who is going to take "Mom" on their team. Thank goodness Tom agreed for better or for worse...I am sure he never realized it would come into play as we got partnered up at cards, ping pong and any other family experience where a team is involved. HIGH LOW JICK JACK GAME baby!

Grandma and Poppie took the whole crew to Busch Gardens, certainly one for the heart with this "roller coaster thrill seeking" family. I am baffled by the concept of a theme park that has a hospitality house, where you can drink all the free beer you like. Not that I am complaining...I just thought it was called "Heaven" not Busch Gardens. In typical Caplinger fashion the trip to BG was not without incident....Tom was limping around from a previous football injury from playing with the kids at the beach...being the wonderful great nurse that I am I examined it...proclaimed him fit to go to the park (I mean come on, it was all the beer you could drink AND roller coasters duh!)...imagine my reaction when it was x-rayed a week later and BROKEN...yes BROKEN....needless to say he has been elevated to "Superman" in our eyes.

So yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus......Christmas is all the things I remember as a child (thanks Mom) and having kids is the best gift of all.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Here's a story.....

I was lucky enough to be born into a family of women that can take the written word and spin it into magic. Unfortunately, I was born into that family, I did not inherit the ability. I am not naturally witty, but good lord knows I try. While I tend to "crack myself up", I have found in 40 something years, that it is not always a good thing. Being honest to a fault is exactly that, a fault. And I tend to have to many "......" in any given sentence (but don't you just love being able to do that and not think about all that punctuation?)

After sitting for hours and reading my mother's and sis's blog I have decided to venture into this unknown world.

What better way to pass along the latest escapades of my brood? What better way to keep in touch with old friends and new? And as a mom to 6 what better way to "BRAG"?

Most of you know that I tend to allow the days to escape me, I am horrible at sending letters and my BFF Pam is periodically reduced to leaving me a message to ask me if I am okay, still love her, dead??? I stink at keeping in touch...but I have great intentions. I do not know how many times I listen to a voice mail, plan on calling after dinner, and remember I never called as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep.

My hope is that you will check in now and then. See where we are, what we are up to and yes, thank your lucky stars that you do not live in our neighborhood!

So where do I start?!?!?!?

I guess at the beginning of our middle....July 2008....

How did I get so lucky? I just started collecting lucky pennies so it was not because of them. I kissed a lot of toads before I met my prince. I like to think it was fate. Two families that were destined to spend the best part of their lives together......So this is where I think I will our beginning.

It may never be easy but it will always be worth it,