Scenes from a 3-Day Easter Carnival


We did not go to church but DID watch “The Passion of Christ” as we do every year. We were all pretty darn silent, for Siwinskis. Some of it had to do with having to read the words instead of hear them. But it’s a tough one to watch. Some of us had to cover our eyes during the scourging. Some of us dozed during parts of it. I hate that I always get sleepy during this movie. Maria mentioned the same thing. We related it to Peter in the garden who could not stay awake for his agonizing friend. I think sleep is a defense mechanism. As I write this I wonder if I would have been able to keep my Lenten vows for longer than 45 minutes had I watched this movie at the BEGINNING of Lent. Maria gave up Social Media and stuck to it.  She does not get her discipline from me.


There were only six of us to dye 5 dozen Easter eggs. Dillin and Duncan were both working. But the noise level was still high. Mitchel got in trouble fourteen times for being a spaz. David only twelve times. Everyone called me selfish because I wouldn’t share my brand new sharpies: 24 awesome colors. No! You people can not be nice to my sharpies. Use your dad’s. He loves you more.

Easter Vigil at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary lasted two hours and forty five minutes. I will fully admit to the world that I took a bathroom break to get away from the incense for a minute. Father Tom likes a LOT of incense and whipped that smoking metal container on a chain around like he was trying to lasso sinners.  I was NOT checking my social media from the bathroom stall. I would not do that. Nor would I take a sip from my purse flask. Incense just makes me cough. I needed to breathe some smokeless air. Seriously. My family wrongly accused me.

It’s just that there are soooo many saints to pray for us. And I am glad for this but do we really need to ask every single one of them to pray for us in one night? The readings for this holy night are thirty two pages long. 32. Every year we say “Wow! I don’t remember it ever being this long.” But its a history lesson, this night, all the way back to the beginning of creation. But this year it WAS longer than I remember. The readers really annunciated well. I never noticed the part about God creating sea monsters. So there is that.

We stood in the dark with our candles for an hour. It was beautiful and the music was luscious and rich with mystery and tradition (and smoke) but it was hard to pay complete attention because I was worried my three youngest boys were going to burn each other up. Or worse, their sister. Her hair caught on fire once in church. She’s okay though. It was a quick put out.

Duncan got off work early and showed for halftime. Grant didn’t notice he’d arrived for about ten minutes because he was taking a little halftime rest. He must have felt like he could relax once he found out Wisconsin beat Kentucky.

There were some new upbeat songs this year and the boys got the giggles. They can not help but bounce up and down to the rhythm and I sometimes wonder if we would fit in better at the church where there is a full band that rocks the house down and you can drink coffee during the whole thing.  But we are Catholics: me by choice the rest by birth. Will they stay strong in the traditions of their religion? I don’t know. But I DO pray their faith remains. This is what matters I think.

Easter Morning:

We are moving to a new place in time where the dogs were the ones to wake us instead of the kids. Daisy was doing her old dying dog cough; Duke was itchy, scratching and licking himself obnoxiously. They both needed to go out but we could not let them because Duke always eats the Easter eggs.

The Easter Bunny got very confused on the basket delivery. It turns out that Duncan always gets a yellow basket and orange is Daniel’s favorite color. Always has been. And David always has green and Mitchel always gets blue. Go figure.  I wonder if the Easter Bunny got in to my purse flask last night. But who can blame him (or her): It can be confusing with so many of them and cause the desire for a little sip every now and then.

When we finally go out, it is a race against time to pick up the dogs’ frantic stress poop before one of the focused egg searchers (there are now only three) steps in it. 59 eggs are found. We all think Dillin took one before he went to work this morning.

Now there will be Easter candy trading. Duncan will end up with most of the candy and then he will divvy it back out again. It’s more about the winning the negotiations for him.

Deviled eggs, asparagus for color (and later discussions about pee), and two spiral hams for dinner. We figure Dillin will eat one full ham by himself on account of the fact that he gave up meat for Lent.

How did my children become so strong willed?

I want to devour these moments with my people, my carnival people, like Maria is currently devouring all her long neglected social media accounts, like Dillin consumed much of the beef jerky from his Easter basket.

Instead I will try to savor them, chewing slowly, so that I taste every flavor, smell each scent. Even the incense. Even the dog poop. I want it to last.


Wait! Is that Poop?

The other day I walked through our breezeway after a couple days of travel to find my husband cooking something yummy on the grill outside. A few of the kids were all hanging out watching him. It was a really nice scene to come home to so I grabbed a beer out of the garage fridge intending to sit on the back steps and join the fun of watching Grant cook. Until I saw that there were crusty brown streaks across the bottom concrete step.

“Wait! Is that poop?” I asked, catching myself before I sat down.

“Yeah. David fessed up to stepping in dog poop. We were just talking about where might be a better place than the back steps to scrape it off your shoes.”

“Is anyone intending to clean it up?”

“Well, we were talking about that too. It probably should dry first. We don’t want to gross up the broom.”

I stepped over the bottom step and just went inside. Sometimes things look funner than they really are.

You all DO know that I KNOW that funner isn’t a word right? I mean actually, I think it IS, because I use it all the time. Who actually gets to decide what is a word and what’s not? I want THAT job! Seriously. It sounds way funner than selling carpet or writing about poop.

Anyhoo. I am writing this poop post for Marie R. It was her suggestion for a blog post topic. Also,  because I am a poop expert. I have quite a few friends who are either about to have a baby or are right in the peak of what I like to call the ‘poop years’ and I need them to all know: I understand; I empathize; I have been there; and I lived. You will too. Though of course the more children you have, the longer it takes to get past the poop years. Growing six children? Well it’s pretty much just a shitty job. I mean that literally, not metaphorically. I mostly have enjoyed all the other stuff. A metaphor for my life would be more like: I helped grow a bunch of smart ass monkeys. It’s all fun and games until someone starts throwing their poop at you.

Poop was kind of endearing with our first baby. We actually have a picture of the first fecal matter I got on me. Duncan was two days old and I thought it was so cute, that little mustardy turd all over my white sweater, me smiling proudly. That fun little game lost its glamour in about 4 days.

Enter sixth born child Mitchel who at 9 months old learned to take off his clothes, including his diaper, if he was unattended for longer than 4 seconds. We got wise to him and learned to dress him with duct tape AFTER that terrible day when he discovered poop painting. I remember Grant screaming like someone had died and I came running to the source of the scream, Mitchel’s room, and just stood there in shock. “Wait, is that poop?” The grinning baby’s naked body, the crib and an entire wall, two and a half feet up from the entire length of the crib was coated with something very, very horrifying.

Grant looked at me like I was some kind of moron. “No dummy, it’s chocolate.”

“Oh thank God. Chocolate should be easy for you to clean up.” And I turned around and left.

The house.

And drove away.

It’s for sure not one of my prouder moments. Clearly I eventually went home. By then Grant had gotten the first layer off the walls and crib and had little Satan hosed down. I was the detail and disinfect crew. But he didn’t talk to me for a day or two. I don’t blame him. Good mothers don’t run away from poop.

I was just so tired of it: wiping up poop. Scooping poop and babies out of the tub so we could bleach it and start all over. Begging those little people to poop in the potty. I actually chased Dillin around with my coffee cup because he would not sit still long enough on the potty. Apparently he had more interesting things to do. (Like pull his pants down and poop in the corner of his bedroom.) I caught it buy the way. The poop. There wasn’t actually coffee in the cup at the time. I drank it all waiting for him to take a dump. It’s a shame about that cup though. It was my favorite. But I couldn’t drink from it after that incident. Shit just got in my head.

Then when one kid  would finally poop in the potty we would have to wipe their little tushies for another year. It was either that or have poop streaks across the toilet seat when YOU had to go. Grant and I can still hear the echo of Daniel “Mom…Dad…come wipe my butt.” Maria says she has memories of wiping little boy butts too. I feel bad about that. Kind of.  Especially because I think she potty trained herself at nine months. She was in it for the frilly big girl panties. I should be nicer to her.

Road trips were spectacular during the poop years, which lasted about fifteen years for us. The poop years, not the road trip. Though some of them felt that long. Somebody ALWAYS had diarrhea, usually whoever was the baby at the time.  Rarely does one discover the baby has diarrhea until it has moved all the way up the baby’s back and saturated the car seat and erupted into the air like a slap in the face which would often cause a chain reaction of vomiting and mass hysteria.  I can remember being shocked the first time we took a road trip without diapers, wipes, barf bowls and Clorox wipes. Who knew you could get places so quickly?!?

I thought things would be less poopy once they were all potty trained but it’s still a central theme in our household.

“When was the last time someone picked up dog poop?”

“The dog got into the cat litter box again!”

“Sweet! Does that mean I don’t have to scoop poop today?”

Even at the dinner table it’s talked about. Except when there are guests. Girlfriends apparently don’t count as guests and I think are judged by their ability to tell a good poop story. (Am I right Maggie?)

Red licorice caused a couple of the kids to think they were dying. The older ones shaking their wise heads “Dude, that happened to me too. Frightening!”

If someone wants to try and get out of something: “I have to poop first” is often a tactic.

And when someone isn’t feeling well, the first question: “When was the last time you pooped?”

It’s very seldom that I can get ready in the morning without someone needing the bathroom. The only one I DON’T leave the bathroom for is Mitchel. I still have poop painting resentment in me. Plus he enjoys seeing how long I can hold my breath.

I can’t hold my breath long enough for the others. Especially Mr. “I Can’t Take a Shower Until I’ve Had My Two Hour Morning Dump” Siwinski.

But I think I am on to him because sometimes I SAY I am pooping when really what I am doing is reading quietly in the only room in our house that has a locking door. It’s nice there. When people aren’t banging to get in.


This is not actually poop. But I thought it was when I was vacuuming the basement. It’s actually a toy dragon. But you can SEE how I might be a little paranoid right? Plus I wasn’t wearing my glasses.