#139

Valentines day is coming up:)

When I was little and heard the story about the origins of Valentine’s Day it always stuck with me.
There are a few legends I know, but the one I was told was this…  During the third century in Rome there was a priest named Valentine.  The Emperor at the time believed single men were better soldiers than men with families, so he outlawed marriage.  Valentine continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.  When he was discovered, he was put to death.  So we are basically celebrating a man who fought for love and celebrating the freedom to love:)

Around this time of the year I think of all the amazing love stories I have witnessed in my life.  But one in particular stands out to me….It is like a fairytale to me because I never actually knew the people.  I only knew of their story through their things….

When I was 12 my mother happened upon an estate sale in Burbank, California on a Sunday.  Like always, she had us in tow.  We always went open housing and estate sale crawling on Sundays, which I still love doing.  There is nothing like walking in to see how other people live:)  Anyways, this house was crammed with a lifetimes worth of stuff.  The wife, Diane, had passed away a few years earlier and the husband, Bill, had recently passed.  They had no children and had no living relatives.  His best friend was running the sale….Herb.

We slowly made our way through each crowded room.  There was so much stuff that Herb just priced things as people would inquire.  I noticed the walls were carpeted and asked why someone would choose such a strange design.  I learned Diane had been in a wheel chair the last few years of her life and Bill always wanted to keep her hands protected when wheeling through the hallways.  Her closet hadn’t been touched, her things meticulously kept just the same.  Bill had met her when they were both very young and they had spent their entire lives together in this home and it was very evident.  As Herb spoke of this couple we began to fall in love with them as well.  There were pictures on the wall of Bill from the forties.  My little sister, Ashley, (who was 9 at the time) kept saying “I know this man”  “No Ashley that photo is from a very long time ago”  “I do..I really do!”

After having spent the majority of the day there with Herb, listening intently to him recount fondly his pals and their glamorous old Hollywood stories, a man walked up to Ashley.  “Aren’t you the little girl from Growing Pains?”  “Yes”.  A conversation started and Herb interrupted.  “Wait you did know Bill!”  He walked us into Bills jam packed office and sitting amongst a million things was a tiny framed picture of Ashley with Bill!!!  Bill had been one of the heads of Warner Brothers and the founder of Toys for Tots.  Every year Toys for Tots takes a picture with the oldest and youngest person at Warner Brothers.  A month before he died, he had been the oldest and Ashley the youngest!

This tiny 2 bedroom home was a treasure… a mess… but still a treasure.  “We are about to put the house on the market”  “I want it” said my mother.  Meanwhile my father was out of the country.  He was a ship captain and was unreachable for weeks at a time.  He often would return home to find mom had made a huge life change, a pool built on a whim with no prior discussion, a car bought, the house completely redecorated…  but never had she bought a house while he was away!  At the time we were living in a large 3 bedroom house across town and mom decided we would leave it and move into this tiny, carpet walled home!  That’s my mama for you….  The stories I could tell about mama…Which I will!

Within 30 days we had the keys to the home (with everything in it mind you!).  So ALL of our furniture from a house over twice the size plus their stuff which was packed to the ceiling.  What an adventure it was rifling through all the things and deciding what stays and what goes.

The back house was a full editing and developing room with the giant old equipment.  It was donated to the Warner Brothers museum, which to this day I haven’t gone to see.  We were starting to feel as if we knew them as time went on.  We would sit and cry over pictures.  They had such a love story.  he was a photographer and photographed her every moment of every day.  You could tell with the angles and how he captured her that even after all the years together he still desired her.  There was such a look in her eyes as she stared through the lens at him.

After some time we went into the attic.  There was a rocking chair and small table and lamp.  Why on earth would someone sit up here.  Then we put the pieces together…There was a nude painting of Diane propped on an easel and a stack of letters over a foot high.  They had saved every single correspondence from the moment they met!!!  They had written each other love notes until the day she died…he’d even written a few after…

They taught my preteen heart so much about love:)  I sat up there reading about fights and how they made up through their letters:)  That you stay when you love someone even through the hard times.  Marriage is meant to last and you fight for the one you love.  You keep the romance alive even in times of boredom.  You WORK on your relationship like it is the most special garden.  A garden that needs daily tending to, enough sun and just enough water.

So this time of the year I think of Bill and Diane, as I often do as Valentines creeps up…

I hope to have a love story like theirs, for they definitely were an inspiration for mine:)

#138

If you know me, you know that I’m obsessed with QVC.  Yes, yes, I know, what the heck!?!  Here’s why….

Back in 2007 when the twins were born, I’d be up intermittently A.L.L N.I.G.H.T L.O.N.G. breastfeeding those tiny munchkins.  Here’s the thing- All the parenting books I’d read pre-babies said that during middle of the night feedings you should keep the lights low and the room calm. That way when you were finished you could get back to sleep faster.  I had no problem whatsoever going back to sleep…to the point i’d jolt awake almost dropping them!  It was staying awake while nursing that was the problem.  I wish I had the cajones to post a tandem nursing shot right here.  There’s one my sister took from above and man, is it ‘burn in your mind’ shocking… Giant mounds with tiny heads smashed against them and beady little eyes piercing through the lens.  I’ll spare you the photo.  Anyways, I digress.  QVC….

I tried watching TV to keep me awake…but even after finishing nursing, I’d have to stay up because reruns of ‘Law and Order’ get you hooked!  Or I’d get stuck on those forensic shows.  I’d have to stay up to find out whodunit!  So while flipping through channels one night I stumbled upon the glory that is my sweet QVC.  There’s no cliffhanger you need to wait up for, no delicious recipe you have to see come to fruition, or wait for the details of how that body could have possibly ended up naked and draped on a treetop.  NO- You can tune in and feel satisfied tuning out at any point.  Guilt free…nightmare free.

So a slap happy Jonny and I would wake up and watch some QVC every night.  We got amazing at ad-libbing along with an endless amount of sales pitches on each item.  Those nights were spent laughing hysterically until my c-section scar hurt!  I could even go so far as to say that QVC probably kept my short tempered, not slept tude in check which, who knows, could have down the line saved my marriage.  Thank you QVC!  XOXO

Those people can make anything look good.  “Just think of that co-worker you could give this to, sister-in-law, kids teacher, sensei.”  “This could benefit everyone in your life!”  “Every member of your family needs this life saving device”  “buy it in more than one color!  You’ll love the fit THAT much!” “Buy more, save more!!!”  “The price is steep, but with easy pay you’re wallet will barely feel it!!”  The more you watch it, the more entertaining!   It gets funnier and funnier.

Flash forward to July 2013.  We were on tour and Lilou was brand new…. Jonny found a delirious me, at 4am, in the back lounge bed on the tourbus, baby nursing in one arm and my phone in the other.  I was buying a QVC ham for our Thanksgiving dinner four months away!   HAHAHAHAHA  No shame.  That thing was frickin amazing.  I served it in my, QVC bought, Temptation cookware to boot!  He thought I was so ridiculous, he tweeted about it, tagged QVC and got a response!  It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

If you haven’t watched it, you need to tune into my favorite QVC show “In The Kitchen With David”.  This man is basically family at this point.  He’s been there with me at all hours helping me take care of every single one of my babies.  When answering the age old “who’s your dream dinner companion?”…most people would say the Pope, President, Mick Jagger.   I’d say my sweet, Prince of the “happy dance” David!  He can make me buy ANYTHING, that jolly hypnotist!  Jonny and I have even written a song about him.  It’s a love ballad entitled “Dance like David Danced”.  We always say we will film our own music video for him and his darling co-host Mary.  We shall pull the tourbus up to the studio and deliver it them personally.  While there, my dreams say, I will instantly be hired as a host.  We will need to move to Pennsylvania and I will live out my life selling amazing things to all.  I’d enjoy the snow and lush greenery.

Wow!  This post was meant to be about a single purchase but my passion had to include some backstory!  So the real post starts here…

In July of 2016, while nursing yet another, factory line Langseth baby, I was up with my tried and true late night TV concubine David, who is always in that sexy kitchen.  The TSV (which for all you losers not in the QVC know… means “today’s special value” hahahaha.) was an artificial flocked Christmas tree.  I’m a sucker for ‘Christmas in July’.  It always excites my pale, boiling in the sun,  longing for fall, body.  Anyways, I’d never had a fake tree and this little white tipped number did me in.  Yes I bought it.  Yes I had my first fake tree Christmas 2016 and YES I love it so much I’m not taking it down!  I’m gonna keep it up the whole damn year!

Every holiday, obscure and otherwise is going to be celebrated with this tree.  It has remote controlled LED lights that I can make any solid color or combination.  So I’m already decorated for Valentines Day.  Red lights blaring 24/7.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those put together moms that decorates throughout the year for every holiday.  Those are things kids remember.  But I hate the mess and the work of cleaning up crap from all over your house seems overwhelming.  Enter, single decorated area, yet big bang for your buck tree.  It’s already making me feel like I’m mommin’ it hardcore.

Please suggest holidays that I might not know about.  I’d love to have a completely random tree here and there.  Even if no one sees it, I’ll laugh every time I pass it!!  Then I’ll yearn for the moment one of the kids tells a stranger something like “We are looking for a topper for our ‘Festival Of Sleep’ Tree!  It’s so peaceful”.  I then can look at said stranger like “What?  Your family doesn’t honor that holiday?!”  Perhaps I’ll use this occasion for the much underused blue and white light ‘Hanukkah setting’.  (Yes, I read that Festival of Sleep is actually a holiday.)

Who’s with me?  Join me in this insanity.  Get that fake ugly tree back out.  It will bring joy to your children, mother-in-law, street cleaner, neighborhood gossip.  Years from now you’ll say “Man, I wish I had been on the forefront of the year round tree craze.”

#137

So the years of hiatus brought many a birthday party….  With 5 kids you are throwing a birthday party every other day basically.  But I must say these last few have been quite the ragers in more ways than one!!

Case in point Rennix Belle, middle child extraordinaire,  sheer awesomeness, complete inappropriateness and unrelenting passion- jam packed into a tiny pale, white haired 6 year old.  If you follow me on instagram you’ve heard all about this Warhol painting come to life.

One of my favorite pictures of Renn- She wore her brother’s jock strap this day because she was taking her new dolly stroller out for a walk and wanted to be able to defend her baby and herself if I bad guy came and “kicked her in the vagina”.  Good planning ahead kid!

So it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise when the, then 4 year old Rennix, declared her 5th birthday would be themed “A1 Steak Sauce and American Flag”, a whole 8 months before the actual party.  I used this time to try and sway her choice.  Hung out at Party City a few times in an effort to entice her with a more conventional theme…”Whoa look at those beautiful princess party things”, “They’ve sure stepped up these Strawberry Shortcake decorations!!”.  Or while the radio was playing “Let it Go”, “Wouldn’t a Frozen cake be fun?!”.  Point is I tried everything.

You don’t know the feeling of embarrassment you get when making an A1 Steak Sauce/American Flag Invitation.  The horror you feel as you press send on the Evite while imagining the faces of the recipients opening it up…..  How do you decorate for such a party?  I called A1 Steak Sauces parent company Kraft to see if I could get any paraphernalia.  “Could I buy one of those cardboard displays?”, “Do they make A1 posters?”, “Do you make A1 t-shirts or balloons for your company parties?”.  Only to have each of the 10 representatives hang up on me thinking it was a prank call.

She had requested that everyone wear red, white  or blue and preferably in the form of a leotard.  She had a vision.  In the invite I stated that, surprisingly there aren’t A1 birthday party decorations so the attendees would be the decorations along with a few American flags thrown up on the walls….

I cooked up a storm because, if you’re gonna look like you’re an insane parent you’ve gotta kill it on the food, to even it out, as to not look like such a failure.  But you know what?  It was the best party EVER…hands down!!!!!

Saylor, Rennix and Raimy in their USA colors!
I couldn’t NOT post Lilou’s little ruffled flag booty and signature Lilou cowboy boots!
Uncle Zane arriving in his A1/flag ‘costume’. He’s one of Renn’s 4 husbands. Yes all 4 husbands are adults. My poor girls when they decide that dating might be something they want to do… The amount of over protective uncles will hinder many a dream.
My Niece Brooklyn and Rennix
Lilou and Auntie Mila
Gotta throw this sweet Bogh baby and his rocking mama in here!
The kids always end up shirtless or naked and soaking wet from the hose! What age does this stop??!! Hahahaha
Me, My Mama, My Sister. In the front row: My niece Brooklyn, Rennix, Raimy and my nephew Dashel

She’s probably the only child in the world that dislikes the normal Happy Birthday Song!  So for her 5th, with all her family and friends gathered round her A1/Flag cake she requested that everyone put their right hands over their hearts and recite The Pledge of Allegiance….(I couldn’t make this crap up if I tried.)  After the pledge, it morphed by default into The Happy Birthday song and then immediately for some reason into the French version of happy birthday, while the kids held American flags mind you!!!   Then the crowd sang God Bless America.  It was a blast.  While she excitedly opened the million bottles of A1 she received as gifts I told her we should do this every birthday

Everyone reciting The Pledge of Allegiance
Heading for bed after a wild day!

The VERY following day Rennix unveiled the theme for her 6th birthday.  ‘Bonnie Raitt and my best friend Pam’…..  Little back story…. Rennix has one of Jonny’s old iPads full of music.  She has spent many a year narrowing down her favorites to a single small playlist. But her VERY favorite song is “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt.  Since about 4, she has played it on repeat, to fall asleep.  And it plays for hours until I turn it off when I’m going to bed.  Numerous times Jon and I have awoken to blaring from down the hall “Turn down the lights, turn down the bed” only to look at each other and loose it laughing.  You wake up in the middle of the night, you need your jam to put you back to sleep!  It’s become hysterically funny. So her love affair with Bonnie has been strong for awhile.  And “Best Friend Pam” is one of my sisters best friends who has become part of the fam.  She’s an incredible photographer (I will do a whole post on her one day!) and has shot the family at many special times in our lives.  (All the A1/Flag pictures were taken by Pam, The family picture at the top of this blog was shot by her as well).  She happens to have red hair (like Bonnie) which tiny Renn has always been drawn to.  She adores her Pam, so why not have this friendship be honored in the form of naming her party theme after her?  Some people give flowers, Renn names a party after you.

Again we shouldn’t have been surprised…and again I shouldn’t have been embarrassed sending out this Evite either…To know her is to appreciate a dimension of this life- not normally seen.  And those who love Renn, amusingly follow right along, down her yellow brick road, no matter where it may lead.

A 4 month old Tevi and Auntie Mila

This party was a little different…Renn had friends her age and parents whom I barely knew.  What the heck are these poor unsuspecting adults going to think?  Hahahaha.  Once everyone got over the initial shock it became another hit.

As with the last, she requested that we not sing Happy Birthday but that everyone perform I Can’t Make You Love Me in unison.  BEST MOMENT EVER. She stood and took it all in with a face that said “This is totally normal and man can you guys sing”.  The poor other 6 year olds did not share this sentiment!  hahaha.  She blew out the candles on the most incredible cake which had Bonnie and Pam performing on a stage.  She was gifted Bonnie merch from her entire her career.  A vintage pin, a Bonnie mug, a handmade shirt made into a tiny dress a framed picture of Rennix superimposed on a bench with Bonnie.  Bonnie herself signed a picture for Renn!!!  She was in heaven.  It was the end all.

Morning after sugar hangover. Wearing her new Bonnie t-shirt and sipping from her sweet Bonnie coffee mug.

Who knows August 25th, 2017 might be a Strawberry Shortcake party.  She might look around and like most of us succumb to the thought that we need to fit in.  That the creative uniqueness that makes us all different is ‘wrong’.  But I sure hope not!  I hope that I am floored every year.  That each birthday a little bit of Renn rubs off on all of us.  That her flare for the odd gives all who are around her the freedom to shimmy out of our shells….even just an inch!

 

#136

2017!!!!!!!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR

I’m back!  Life got a bit hectic there and some “stuff” fell to the wayside!  But it’s a new year, new kid, new house, new tours!  So much to catch you guys up on!!  I want to first say thank you to all the readers who somehow stumbled across this crazy blog!  You guys, even with the two year hiatus have kept writing with encouraging and supporting messages.  Hearing from Jonny that some of you wanted him to tell me you missed my blog, made me feel so special!  🙂  It will take me a million posts to catch you up on these last two years (and boy do I have some honeys to share!) but let me start with the most important “new” in our lives!

On October 15, 2016 we had news for the kids…

We had prayed and prayed and debated going one more time.  I felt there was another boy floating around out there, meant to be part of the fam.  A bunch of times, we’d be in a busy area and one of us would go “Raimy, Saylor, Rennix, Lilou, OH NO where’s…no one else… that’s all of you”.  There was this feeling from everyone that someone was missing.  Raimy begged daily for a brother.  But if we tried again and it was a girl everyone needed to know mama couldn’t do it again.  I didn’t even know if my body could carry and deliver a 5th.  But we decided to give it one last go.  If it happened it happened….

When I saw this microscopic penis, I instantly screamed and cried. The sound that came out of me can only be compared to what I’d think someone witnessing a murder would make. It was such a freak guttural cry that the doctor asked “Is this bad?” Hahaha. I guess the mix of wanting something so badly + hormones are a weird combo in this hot bod of mine!

One day I’ll go into all my birth stories but for now I’ll give the condensed version of this last little treasure.  I attempted to do this birth at home (for reasons maybe I’ll explain in detail later).  After days of hard core contractions on and off and no sign of baby even engaging AND the fact that I was 43 weeks pregnant…yep you heard right- that’s almost a MONTH overdue y’all, I gave in to yet another C-section.  Jonny kept postponing shows because we were sure “this was it” a few times… then labor would suddenly stop.  It was rough.  So if you were one of the people that had tickets to a canceled show- I’m sorry!!  I really needed him…I was a beached whale and could barely function!  I could barely take care of myself much less 4 children.  And don’t get me started on the failure of a homeschool teacher I was!!!
My giant group ascended on to this poor unsuspecting tiny hospital.  We were the weird ‘failed home birth’ people and this was the only hospital that would admit me… in a friendly manner.  It was such a small facility that when we entered the parking lot my 8 year old son said “This is shady, turn around”.  I agreed…yet still went inside.  I was too tired and worn out to go somewhere else…

This is me heading in for surgery….  When you look this good, friends take selfies so you’ll always have evidence of your beautiful moments.  Thanks Stephan…one day I’ll return the favor ;).  P.S. Two seconds after this pic, I had a complete meltdown, panic attack and was hyperventilating as they wheeled me away from my mom, kids and friends to my impending doom.  They even let Jonny stay in and hold me for the spinal, which is ‘against hospital laws’.  But after I tried to get up and run they ‘bent the rules’ just this once.  Probably one of my finer moments… not to brag.
 He was welcomed May 31, 2016 into the anxious arms of his 4 older siblings who were shocked at his size!

He was HUGE! Notice the distance between that head and those feet!!  Jonny (my full time wet nurse/Ina May Gaskin) rocking the kangaroo hold… no big deal.  Someone watched a bit too much of “The Business of Being Born”.

Our new family addition Tevi Flynn weighed in at a whopping 10 pounds 14 ounces and 24 inches long!!!!  I gave birth to a toddler yo!  Just to recap, that’s 2 ounces shy of 11 pounds!  Sometimes…. when it’s quiet… I can still hear my lady bits thanking me for allowing my stomach to be chopped open instead of having to come face to face with this Viking man-child .

And Raimy was overjoyed beyond belief to finally have a BROTHER!!!

 

My whole family was there.  All my close friends came to support and help take care of the kids.  Even my sister who was working in New York, flew home to take care of me.

My little man skipped the baby stage.  Immediately wearing 3-6 month clothing.  The hospital didn’t even have diapers that fit him!!  He started rolling over onto his stomach before 2 months old!  Standing at 3 months holding chairs. Sitting up at 4 months.

He is now 7 months, 25 pounds and seems to be about 6 feet tall and a giant bundle of joy .

If you’ve been following My Instagram, you’ve heard all about him already.  It was my easy way to do quick picture updates and not have to take too much time away.  If you’re on instagram, follow me at @therantinghousewife and comment that you’re a reader here so I can connect with you all. 🙂

To answer the constant “Are you guys having more?” question, well, I’ve said the last three times “I’m done”, only to change my mind.  Hahahaha.  But as far as I know at the moment, he’s the last!

So now I’m writing as a mom of 5!  I’m relaunching this blog, as life is settling and I’m getting back to my old self.  And my old self loves adventure, cooking, homeschooling, singing and some other things I haven’t written about just yet.  Just posting about life!  I certainly do not have it all together… not even close, but I’d love to share with you some stuff I have figured out and hopefully connect with others who are ahead of me in the mothering work and can share as well!  I’d love to get to know all of you better..

Your turn!  ROLL CALL.  Let’s get reacquainted!