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February 14, 2013


Every time I see pictures of Edward and Caroline I am reminded that they were the 13s. And I smile. Because your life is obviously so full of the joy that you were hoping it would be.

And I laughed when I read the "REDACTED" on Patrick's Valentine box after I picked my jaw up off the floor at his genius. (45 minutes?? It only took him 45 minutes??) Astounding. And it tickles me that he get so much joy out of his creative accomplishments. I'm so glad I clicked on your page one last time this evening.

Try washing the clothes in Pine Sol. My daughter asked for a plain gift bag for the Valentine bag decorating contest last night too. It was after 10:00!! I let her stay up and do it though because she was out late because of her gymnastic team practice. It was really cute because she wrote "sweat" instead of "sweet" on it!

(And! Of course Baltimorcation means multiplication! Because of the x's!)

A few thoughts:
1. Your kids are gorgeous, and very funny. Caroline has the vamp pose nailed.
2. I can't recall if you've mentioned this or not, but has Patrick ever participated in a First Lego League Challenge? My son did it recently, and as it involves Legos and robotics, it might be something Patrick would enjoy, too.
3. I love that you referenced Smith Island cake, despite the unfortunate context. :)

Oh my. I love garlic, but... Eww. Have you tried using vinegar in a hot wash cycle? A good dump of vinegar is my go to for smellies.

Also, listening to an audio book of Life, The Universe and Everything and I thought of you & Patrick. I think you'd like it.

Now I feel in adequate because I don't have children or travel plans.


Ooh, no one has mentioned it and I can feel like quite the homemaker passing along my tip.

Of course, I have to say that I have never used it on laundry that smells of garlic. I have used it on clothes that smell of boys, damp, and a week of camping and on clothes/towels that smelled of mildew. And it works.

It is NOT a detergent, you just add it to your regular washload. I've only found it in my K-mart actually on store shelves, though. You might have to look around it to find it somewhere that doesn't require shipping!


For the eau de garlic, I'd try baking soda and Borax, with your regular detergent OR a TINY tiny bit of dawn dish soap. That would neutralize the smell while cutting the oily garlic residue. If that doesn't work, then I'd buy some enzyme based spray cleaner like bac-out that will hopefully dissolve the oil.

Your posts make happy adoptive mom me wish I'd get pregnant. I think hubby and I could make children like yours, and I want one. ;)

Off to google "smith island cake"

Seconding the white vinegar suggestion to get rid of the garlic stench. And then possibly another wash w/ baking soda to remove any hint of vinegar (shouldn't be any, but just in case).

That Valentine's Day box is awesome. Patrick is seriously Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes.

I vote white vinegar, too. With mild uncertainty, though -- it doesn't smell good when heated, apparently. But it's a pretty amazing cleanser for most things, and it's definitely what I'd try in the laundry. As for the Valentine's Day Box, WOW! Go, Patrick! That's amazing!

Well, Julia, here's how it is. I don't have kids -- very much by choice. I knew I didn't want kids by the time I was 9 & I spent the next 20 years putting up with people patting me on the head & telling me that I'd feel differently with time. (I did. With every passing year, I knew even MORE surely that I didn't want them.) Finally got a tubal ligation when I was almost 30 simply by throwing a hissy fit unlike I'd ever thrown before.

BUT -- I adore your children and could read about them for hours. I'd even let them come to my house to play :-) Srsly! My sister, btw, has six -- all boys -- & I adore them too. Not as babies, understand (they're loud and they smell and they leak noxious fluids), but once they're 2 and up, they are a delight. (Well, okay, as long as they go home with someone else.)

I can't explain it either! LOL!

Every time I see pictures of C & E I cannot even believe they're so old.

Seriously, you have to see Argo.

piling on to the white vinegar faction--it takes hideous male cat spray stains AND scent out of white slipcovers. Just let the offending fabric soak in the vinegar/water mix for a good while.

(and yes, internets, said cat was neutered a very long time ago.)

You know you can order Smith Island Cake online, right? It arrives in a giant box filled with styrofoam & dry ice, with the cake frozen. It's incredibly expensive but so rich that it turns into SO MANY DESSERTS that the cost isn't so bad.

(What? I had a Groupon. It was one of the best uses of money ever -- adoption fee for my furry child was the best, of course.)

I'm with Steve on Discovery of Witches. Don't worry, you will be, too. :-)

I am firmly in the child free by choice camp but thoroughly enjoy reading about your children.

(if our Great Pyrenees had thumbs, I have no doubt that he would be putting garlic in the washing machine.)

Also, Patrick's Valentine's box = fantastic. And clearly he's insanely clever. I don't get the date reference. After the As Of. Will he explain?

1) The garlic is unfortunate. :-{
2) I'm another one with no children by choice, but over the years, I've had the pleasure of counting several marvelous, magical children among my closest friends. Their parents are pretty great too, so yeah, I keep them around as well.
3) Patrick is a flippin' genius. I'm in awe.
4) Edward is hilarious "But I COULD! Here I am!" I laughed out loud.
5)Caroline is also a flippin' genius and hilarious, on top of which she's breathtakingly beautiful, and that haircut emphasizes that fact rather strongly.
6)Actually (or, how does it go? "ackshuwee"?), all three of them are hilarious, beautiful geniuses, and I wish I lived near you so I could count them among my young friends. You seem nice too, so you'd probably get to add me to your childless friend list. ;-)

Try doing a soak, then wash using baking soda in place of detergent. Absorbs odors. I, too, prefer children to travel.

Someday I will have as much self-confidence as Caroline has in her little finger. IF I am very lucky.

If the vinegar doesn't work try washing everything with a can of coke. Well, not the can, just the soda. It is a fisher mans trick to get the fish smell out after a few weeks on the boat so I imagine it would work for garlic.
And your children are amazing.

Don't worry, e, I am also a) childfree and b) without any upcoming travel plans. So we represent, presumably, some perfectly lovely third category of person. :)

Also, Ender's Game is certainly a classic and has much much much to recommend it. However, it is worth noting that in later Ender-ey books as well as--arguably--in the latter parts of the one you are reading, Orson Scott Card's noxious (and they are very noxious: don't google his writings on the subject of homosexuality until you are done enjoying his fictional writings in blissful ignorance, is my recommendation) personal politics begin to come through a little more than one might wish.

Fifthing (?) white vinegar.
Definitely see auburn highlights in Caroline's hair. Perhaps it's from all of the chlorine? Lovely, in any case.

Oh, that Caroline. The world is in trouble when that one reaches her majority.
Edward is, as always, adorable. And Patrick is very, very clever.
When my oldest was born, her hair was brown. And she was perfect! In every way! But when her hair fell out, and started coming back in red, well - my redheaded mama's heart did an extra pitterpat. My second came out pure darkhead, as her sister calls it, with dark brown eyes, and she is gorgeous as well. Neither of them have the vamp down as well as Caroline, and I think I'm grateful.
"Guards! Guards!" is an excellent choice - I am a big fan of Sam Vimes.

Do you have CVS out there? I get Ultraswim shampoo there for much less than $12. Ha, and apparently Wallyworld has it for $4. It's what we used when I was on swim team many years ago.

Great to see a new post! You guys should enjoy "Guards! Guards!" I "heart" Carrot. ;o)

Love Cahoyine's new "do" too! Goodness, your little girl is a pistol. Hold onto your hat when she hits eleven or so!

Love the fact that Patrick created his motorized valentine box in exactly the time allotted. Your kids slay me!

The one thing I'm not keen on about your (otherwise highly entertaining and endearing) post is the news that you and Patrick are doing "Ender's Game." Okay, I'm on the conservative side, but I don't think that book is suitable for most youngsters, because of the ending (which I won't say anything about here, but people who've read it, you *know* what I mean, don't you?). You should think about getting a hard copy and reading ahead, all the way to the end. I was a precocious reader as a kid and always grabbing stuff from my dad's stack of SF books, and while usually it was great, sometimes I wished I hadn't. For instance, I remember reading Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End" at about age eleven, and being profoundly disturbed by it to the point of nightmares. I can easily see a kid under about twelve being similarly disturbed by "Ender's Game."

Sorry, real downer way to end my post here ... but "Ender's Game" is not *for* children although it's about children. IMHO.

Patrick has redacted his valentines/candy? Gotta love that kid.

Chiming in to say white vinegar, but to let you know that it will smell WORSE when it comes out of the wash. The key is to dry it. You will be horrified when you open the washing machine, but dry they should smell fine.

Regarding garlic in pockets: Who has read/seen/heard about vampires recently? Have you tried washing the clothes with white vinegar? No guarantees, but someone mentioned PineSol above, which I have such an adverse reaction to, I feel I have to offer an alternative.

Edward, DO NOT get out of bed - heh! Caroline oozes sauciness. And of course Patrick won!

I am childless and love, love reading about your family.

I totally sympathize with the garlic. I washed a pair of pants with a DHA supplement the other day and I've washed them 6 times with varying methods of soaking smell removal (hot wash, borax, baking soda, vinegar, dawn dish soap) and they STILL SMELL fishy. I am hoping the comment about washing with coke works because otherwise mine are going to the garbage.

Ha ha, Smith Island cake! We are heading to SI next month. We've gone there with the same group of people for years, but now they all have babies. I'll pass on the tip. (It is funny how flabbergasted I get when someone knows about my little area of the universe.)

I don't get it. Why is Baltimore represented by xes? (Is this a football thing that I will be embarrassed to have not gotten?)

Edward kills me, mostly because my daughters have a similar clock, and we have had that same exchange. We changed the phrasing from "can't" to "not allowed" and the behavior ceased. I wouldn't normally have cared, but with a new baby who finally started sleeping (only in his swing, only in my room) I was not OK with the 4 and 2 year olds entering randomly and making a bunch of noise.

BTW I am jealous of Caroline's hair. My oldest has inherited my curly mess of hair and it drives me nuts. It only looks nice for about 1/2 an hour every day after having been wet down and brushed into submission. Then the curls start to frizz, and the more she runs around and plays the crazier it looks.

I have little to add other than it seems ungrateful to walk away without stating how much I enjoyed this post. :)

On childlessness, we were musing last night how different our post-baby Valentine's are from our pre-baby Valentine's. Think Zumanity and Vegas hotel room versus take-out Thai plus fevers and antibiotics.

I think it is quite likely that one of your three children will someday rule the world. Or maybe all of them at once. Lord help us! :)

White vinegar will get out most weird odors. Garlic oil is potent stuff, so it might take a few washes.

I feel responsible for the fact that you are listening to A Discovery of Witches since I was one of the folks that recommended it, so I also feel terribly guilty that Steve is not enjoying it. Especially since I said that the narrator was the best part! My apologies!

God, your children are such glorious wackadoos. That Patrick story made me feel like cheering too, and Caroline's vamping always cracks me up. Thanks for sharing your stories!

Tried reading Discovery of Witches and couldn't get through it. Felt to me like the author was not a natural writer of fiction but rather someone with a certain degree of erudition who decided to jump on the supernatural/sexy vampire bandwagon and hopefully cash in.

Maybe it works better as an audiobook?

Vinegar should work. I have a son who wet the bed until he was 14. And sometimes he'd leave his sheets on the basement floor instead of washing them right away...vinegar always worked to get the horrible smell out so it should work for garlic.

As the mother of swimmers, a dab of cheap conditioner combed through dry hair before they put on the swim cap makes a terrific barrier twixt hair and pool water. Ultra-swim is considered the best chlorine remover and it's probably also the cheapest of the bunch.

Liam used to say "a long time ago yesterday." Oh, nostalgia...

I have not washed garlic but my roommate did wash his one-hitter (and then pretended he didn't know what it was. ha) and the disgusting smell stayed for WEEKS - mostly in the washing machine itself, but also the clothes. It was awful. I finally googled what to do, and a cup of vinegar on the hottest cycle worked really well.

My 3 year old compatriot has a song in music class with the words "this train is bound for glory" - he sings it "this train ismoufa Laurie." Also his Lightning McQueen races to the western state of "Cownifora." One day we chatted about his recent pediatrician visit and I asked if the Dr checked his nose and throat, and when he said no, I mumbled that the doctor really should be more thorough. Said toddler looked at me and said "you're not a doctor" and when I requested Ice For My Burn, he said "I borned you!" I wish I could remember all the funny toddler-isms.

Tea tree oil gets out a lot of smells. Lavendar essential oil in a VERY TINY quantity can too although it triggers asthma attacks for me. I always wash my clothes with baking soda for freshness, white vinegar for softener and tea tree if something smelly is on them (I worked in home health and nursing homes so I had a lot of grossness for many years). I used to use natural detergent as well because it made it so much easier to get odors out but it didn't work very well with my frontloader and I caved to perfumed laundry soap.

I have nothing to add about the laundry; but two things:

1. I am unbelievably happy that Patrick's classmates understood how awesome his box was. I think I would have had to dislike them a little if they had not.

2. "But I COULD! Here I am!" is going to make me laugh all week long. Thank you for that!

If it were my own clothes that were laundered with garlic, I would probably take it as a sign that the Universe really wanted me to have new clothes. Now if it were my husband and children's clothes, I guess I would try the vinegar, baking soda, whatever suggestions.

With regard to your next vacation, are you taking requests? Because my husband has been suggesting for a while now that our family rent an RV and make a vacation out of that. Honestly, I think I would much rather live that vicariously through you and your family.

This time it was Edward who made me laugh. Well, actually, it was you, Julia, who made me laugh, as always...

While reading/listening to "Ender's Game", Tine's comment can be a bit unsettling :)

Guards, Guards was my first introduction into the Discworld, is now and always will be my favourite. I finally persuaded my voracious reader 15 year old to read the series and now he is frankly rubbing in the fact that he gets to read them all for the first time!!!

Not quite an audio book, but I have to throw in a recommendation for the new BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Tales Of The City. It reminded me of the love that I have always had for the original texts.

I am also most emphatically childfree by choice (short rude people with bad hygiene? no thank you), but very much enjoy hearing about your life with yours. If I lived nearby, I would most definitely be knocking on your door and asking to be your friend! Online comment sections be damned!

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