Saturday, October 31, 2009

we chased SUPERNANNY away

If you read my last post then you know that I volunteered our families to be on the show Super Nanny. Before I go on, let me just say that I recognize that I am probably crazy for wanting to do this. I realize that I am like Lucille Ball on I love Lucy. Always cooking up harebrained schemes and getting myself into cartooninshly ridiculous situations. All I am ever really after is a little entertainment.

So back to Super Nanny, the casting director and one of the producers were interested in featuring Kristen's and my family for an episode because we have an interesting situation with the two households right next door. The kids have to deal with four different parents and two sets of house rules. The six of them are kind of being raised like siblings which brings a very unique set of advantages and problems. Like any family we have lots of issues we could use help with and I think we are a good mix of relate-able and entertaining problems. I have been corresponding with the producers for a couple of weeks and they decided to come film us to see if they could catch anything on film. In addition they have asked us to get home video of any behaviors that we would like to address. We have not been officially selected for the show, but we are very far along in the process. ABC flew two people out to get footage of us so at this point I would be surprised if they didn't go ahead with it. They are very hesitant to tell you that you will be on for sure because there is always the chance that when they tape the kids behave perfectly, or the parents don't pass a background check or a number of other things that are highly unlikely.

They came on Thursday afternoon and the plan was to film the after school routine and then do something that we would like to do on a regular basis but are prevented from doing because of our children's behavior. Kristen took all four of her kids to the grocery store by herself with a camera woman in tow and then we all met up for dinner at a restaurant. The Gartner's have literally never eaten out as a family. After dinner we were going to come back to the houses and film the bedtime routine. They told us to plan on them being with us until 9 or 10 pm.

Let me just cut to the chase: dinner went so awesomely horrible that before the food even got served Kristen and Rob had to pack up and leave the restaurant. Her kids were so crazy and all over the place that we couldn't even stay long enough to eat.

The best part was the two women from the show. They were so clearly horrified and just wanted to get away from us. Candra and Shannon are their names and they are ultra professional show-biz women. They are young (in their twenties) and gorgeous L.A. gals with graduate degrees and high paced careers. They travel all over the country and work 90 hour work weeks climbing the corporate ladder. They are both single with no children and are terrified of getting sick. Every time one of the kids sneezed or coughed you could see the two women recoil in fear. I don't blame them. These kids are a walking bio-hazard.

Here's a little breakdown of the dinner mayhem:

Emma threatened to puke because she wanted to get her way on something. Ella was at the tail end of a cold and had been on a field trip to a farm that day where she had contacted farm animals which triggered an allergic reaction so she was coughing and hacking so hard across the dinner table that the entire restaurant was staring. Between coughing fits she would get up and just wander around. Christopher cried and/or screamed literally the entire time. This is not an exaggeration. He hadn't had a nap that day and he absolutely would not shut up. He has some developmental delays and can't talk so he generally uses screaming as a means of communication. The camera seemed to make him turn the volume to eleven. After a while my husband couldn't take it anymore and hauled Christopher out to the parking lot even though its not his kid. Abe and Clark each took turns choking on pieces of tortilla chip and spilling drinks. I think in the 20 minutes we were there we spilled four full glasses of water and administered the Heimlich maneuver three times. The grand finale was when Emma made herself throw up. The camera was fixed on her and she vomited about a gallon of barf all over herself, all over her plate, and into a glass. I think I caught Shannon gagging a little. I know I gagged. I asked her if she got that shot on tape. She looked at me and said in disgust "Unfortunately, I got the whole thing"

The puking was the money shot. Especially in light of the fact that Emma wasn't even sick and had previously threatened to throw up if she didn't get her way. This is SuperNanny gold right? Well it will be if the producers can stick it out with us. We may have been too much. After Kristen and her family left the restaurant it felt (and looked) like a tornado had just passed through. Candra and Shannon told me that since there were a lot of sick kids they would rather come back when everything is normal. Little do they know that this is normal. They are coming back on Wednesday and I guarantee that someone will have a hacking cough and someone will puke. The problem is, it just might be Candra or Shannon.

There are so many things I could write about in regard to offering up our child rearing problems to a national audience. It is nerve wracking to scrutinize every word that comes out of my mouth. Am I being too lenient? Am I being too strict? My kids were pretty well behaved for the camera which is both a relief and a disappointment. I never thought I would be hoping that my child would throw a temper tantrum. Luckily Kristen's kids came through for us in the tantrum department. That twenty minute dinner had enough reality show material for an entire season and I didn't even see how the grocery store went. Kristen said her kids were "out of control", so that's good. Kristen and Rob's tolerance for naughtiness is higher than anyone I have ever known so it must have been bad.

I'll keep you updated on what happens. At this point I would be totally fine with it if we got rejected or accepted. I have yet to watch an episode of Super Nanny besides a few snippets here and there. I was thinking of going online to see what they are like but then I figured I would probably just freak myself out and decided against it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Super Nanny is coming to town

I have a few blogging pet peeves. One of them is people who only blog to complain about how crazy busy they are and the other is people who only ever blog about how they are so behind on blogging. I am about to commit both of these blogging sins. I am going to complain about my crazy busy life as an explaination of why I haven’t been blogging lately. I know, annoying, right? If you share my pet peeves, you should click away right now.

First of all the whole family has been sick. By whole family I mean my kids and Kristen’s kids, so that’s 6 pair of constantly runny eyes and snotty noses. Yesterday Jack and Abe were diagnosed with pink eye and ear infections and of course they refuse to take the medicine or let us put drops in their eyes so we have to literally sit on their chests and hold their heads between our knees and restrain their arms while the other parent tries to pry open their eyelids and drop in the antibiotics. This must go on every three hours for the next seven days. Its pretty awesome. I haven’t caught the cold yet but my joint stuff is flared up so bad right now I can barely function. I was supposed to go in for a third biopsy this week but I haven’t been able to make myself go. They take a little scoop of skin out and then cauterize the wound. They numb the area while they do it but the problem is the gaping festering wound that lingers for weeks and weeks afterwards. I need to just suck it up and go in.

I have also taken on the job of liquidating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of spa equipment for my brother after he closed his spas down. When I agreed to do it, I guess I had forgotten how hard it is to actually accomplish a grown-up task (like a phone call) without being interrupted by screaming children. It has all come back to me now. If you are interested in a microdermabrasion machine of your very own or a storage unit full of really nice furniture, I’m the one to call.

Speaking of working, I have an opportunity to go back to work doing commercial leasing. I would be renting office space to businesses. This is what I did for years and years. I have enough experience in this exact niche that I could do it in my sleep. It pays on commission and the money is ridiculously good but it is time consuming and I’d have to figure out childcare two days a week. Its not something I can do half way and I am struggling to decide if I want to commit to this. It’s an amazing opportunity in an economy where jobs are hard to come by, and the whole thing just fell into my lap. I do miss working sometimes and we do need the money. John works weekends and Jack is in school all day so all I would need is care for Ham two days a week, maybe even just one day. I am sure my in-laws would help. I would hire a cleaning lady to pick up the slack in the household and I could do a lot of the work by phone and computer. I would have to drive a lot and I hate thinking about being away from home for long. Can you tell I’m agonizing over the decision?

We had houseguests this week. A good friend from my mission, Elder Steve Smith and his wife and three kids came into town for a wedding and stayed with us for a few days. It was so much fun to get caught up with him and his family is absolutely delightful. They have boys similar in age to my boys and then a tiny three month old baby who was born two months premature so she is the size of a tiny newborn. They drove all the way from Texas and we had so much fun with them. There is a bond that you get with mission buddies that you just can’t get anywhere else. They know you on a certain level that no one else can and you share a common experience that is impossible to explain to a person who wasn’t there experiencing it. Steve and I served together in Metz, France at the beginning of our missions and then again in Brussels at the end of our missions. He was a great missionary and one of only a handful that I keep in touch with. It is so fun to see how everyone’s lives have turned out so far.

Have you ever watched the show Super Nanny? In our house Super Nanny is a verb. As in: These crazy kids need to be Super Nannied, or My friend has a hard time disciplining her son, she needs to be Super Nannied. (Incidentally, we are also always threatening to “Ceasar” our dogs) My point is, we are being Supernannied. Yes, you read that right. Super Nanny is coming to our house on Thursday to film our family and see if Nanny Jo can help us with our parenting challenges.

It’s a long long story. One that I may eventually take the time to write, but right now I don’t have time because I would rather die than have my house look messy on national television. The yard is not done and for that we may be doomed to look like white trash, but until this whole thing is over, I am obsessed with cleaning. The producer was very adamant about “acting normal” and just letting the house look like it always does on any given day… Yeah right. I am more than willing to exploit my children for five grand and fifteen minutes of fame, but look like a crappy housekeeper on TV? No. Freaking. Way. It’s a good excuse to do some spring cleaning.

I have never even watched SuperNanny. They were looking for families who lived close by one another to feature and when they heard that Kristen and I are sisters who are right next door with connected yards they were all over it. Between the two families and six kids, I’m sure we will provide plenty of material. I’m hoping the whole thing will be good fun and family memories. Years from now I picture us saying, “Hey remember when we were on Super Nanny! That was so funny! Lets watch the DVD.” And not “Remember when we went on prime time television and they showed me pooping my pants? My therapist says I need to forgive you for that.” We are far too committed to the whole thing to turn back at this point so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t end up looking like total idiots and my kids don't end up scarred for life.

Alrighty…If you got this far reading then you are a true friend. Either that or really really bored. Now you have heard my excuses for not blogging more regularly. I swear I will never blog about not blogging ever again. Thank you for listening to my long rant. I am open to any advice, suggestions, criticism or comments so lay ‘em on me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

1990 2nd place family doubles bowling Trophy

Jack and John went "hiking" in the orchard behind our neighborhood this week. They do this often and usually come across a lot of really interesting items. To my dismay, these items are usually brought home for display or further study. Last time it was an animal skull and a backpack full of rocks. You get the idea.

This time was different. Jack found the greatest treasure he has ever found (his words). Two 1990 2nd place family doubles bowling trophies. You have never seen a person so proud of a trophy that they didn't actually win. He has carried them around the house for days and moves them to different prominent places. He doesn't really even know what bowling is but he is now planning a championship bowling career.

Can you believe that someone would throw away such a treasure!?

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys