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This post sponsored by Tabasco

I will confess that I was not a perfect child.

I know! Gasp and shock, right??

But I wasn’t. There was the time I nearly gave my mother an aneurysm when I decided to adopt a barn rat as my household pet…that incident with setting the upstairs trashcan on fire…I admit being involved in a plot to lock my fresh-from-the-shower sister out of the house….in the dead of winter. Oh the list just goes on and on.

But I am being paid back in a big way.

Peyton and Rachael have joined a gang. That’s truly the only way I can explain their sudden affinity for graffiti. Between coloring on furniture, marking up walls, trying to daw on each other, and the Crayola-marker-tattoos in which they find so much joy, my girls had better be artists when they grow up so that I can someday say “Oh, I knew all along they would be great artists, they started at such a young age”. Otherwise, if they’re accountants they have no excuse for their overwhelming creative outbursts.

For those who don’t know, I’ll give you a little background on this next segment of the “Tabasco Fiasco”. A few weeks ago, Rachael was involved in a master manipulation that ended up with her lying and tricking her dad and she was punished with a drop of Tabasco sauce on her tongue. We believed it was a highly successful manner of punishment as she would turn pale and grab her lips if I threatened to go get the hot sauce. Hot sauce is a weapon of mass destruction as far as my kids are concerned.

So, the above artwork is currently being displayed on the back of the door in my girls’ bedroom. Rachael comes and gets me and announces “Peyton DREW on the door!” I go back, I look, I roll my eyes because nothing involving a surface and a marker really raises my blood pressure anymore and we move on. But Peyton announces that Rachael “helped her”….Rachael, did you do this?….NO! It was all Peyton’s doing.

Now, if it weren’t for my nearly psychotic need to document every moment of my children’s lives by camera, the next few minutes of our lives wouldn’t have happened. I went back into the bedroom with the camera and I shot a few pictures. That’s when I went all CSI on them! What I noticed with further inspection was that while most of the drawing and writing was definitely Peyton’s style, there was one part of it that stood out. See, Peyton doesn’t know her lower case letters yet….and she NEVER misspells her own name…and look at the top right hand corner of the picture….in lower case letters is the name “Peton”. Now the only letter that really sticks out is the “e”, but when I asked Peyton what letter it was, she couldn’t even identify it…aaah haaa!….Rachael has struck again.

I am a genius.

After grilling Rachael and getting the confession, I did this generation’s equivalent of telling her to go out and cut me a switch with which to be beaten. I told her to go to the fridge and bring me the Tabasco sauce.

Now, I’m a little ashamed by this next part, but really, you have to be there.

I’m standing in the kitchen with a drop…a tiny drop….a miniscule drop…on the end of a knife. The drop is to be administered directly to the tongue. But Rachael looks like a lizard because every time I make a move to put it on her tongue, she keeps pulling it back in and grabbing her mouth. She begs me to let her do it. Oh no, I want the privilege. But after several minutes of her crying, screaming and holding her lips…mind you, NOTHING has actually been done to the child, this is all just anticipatory agony…I crack up! Yes, I start laughing. I couldn’t help it, she was hysterically jumping up and down and grabbing her face with her tongue constantly in and out of her mouth.

I finally go the sauce on her tongue and she didn’t even freak out! She just asks for a glass of milk and then I gave her a pickle to eat to take away the sting. Fun fun fun!

But beyond the Tabasco Fiasco, we’ve had a fun weekend.

The very sweet Maddie Bridges

Saturday I left Peter and his dad (who is staying with us for the week) with all three kids and went over to Brandy and Jeff Fishman’s house. They’ve sacrificed their garage for two weeks while stuff was dumped off for the yard sale we had there on Saturday. I got there 5 AM-ish to help set up and we sold stuff all day long to raise money for Maddie Bridges. She has a particularly aggressive form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma and her family will be leaving for 6 weeks so that she can get a proton radiation treatment in Jacksonville. The garage sale raised almost 0 dollars to help her family with some expenses during their trip! Many of the families of the Children’s Cancer Center stopped by throughout the day to help out and it’s just awesome to see our families work together to help another family. They are just so good that way.

After that was all said and done, cleaned up and packed away to donate somewhere else, I headed home. I sacked out for a 30 minute nap and then was up and running for the evening’s festivities.

The kids were dropped off at a friend’s house for the night, I headed out to meet some of the fellow moms for a mom’s night out and Peter and his dad journeyed over to Dr. John’s for a dad’s night in.

Dr. John is a board member of the Children’s Cancer Center, and he opens his house up to host the dads in for a fun night in the “Man Cave”….that’s what he calls his den and rightly so. It’s about 1500 sq feet (the same size as my entire house) full of manly distractions…pool table, foosball table, air hockey, a ginormous wide screen plasma TV, every fun thing imaginable if you’re pumped full of testosterone. Then they bring in mass amounts of food, a poker dealer and the fun begins. Peter and his dad had a great time, apparently Pete’s dad is quite the card shark.

I met up with several of the moms for a night of food, gabbing, laughing, singing (don’t ask, I won’t force you to experience it) and dancing. It really is so wonderful to spend time with these women, we share such a strong bond and it’s like a sorority we never wanted to join, but since we’re here, we make the absolute best of it. We had such a fun time!

Today we headed to a fall festival put on by the Children’s Cancer Center and the Jr. League of Tampa. The kids got to preview their Halloween costumes, Nathaniel is Darth Vader, Rachael is Super Girl, and Peyton is the most glamorous mermaid ever. We ate, we spent time with our fellow cancer families and the kids had a blast playing and sweating.

(Doesn’t that twinkle in her eyes just worry you the littlest bit?)

Another busy week approaches. I really sort of thought that our lives would be boring and solitary when our daughter was diagnosed with cancer. I mean, who wants to hang with a cancer family?? But luckily, we are so blessed to be constantly involved in something and we’ve benefited so greatly from the wonderful support community Tampa has.

Monday the Brandon Foundation is sending out a wonderful company in their Angels program who are going to be doing demo on our deck in the back yard. A huge pile of lumber was dropped off to our driveway on Friday and when they’ve pulled up all the old yuck wood, they’ll be putting the new stuff down. Whoooo hooooo!!! I’m excited for the kids to be able to actually play on the deck again, as now it is a danger hazard. Later in the week they are also going to be replacing the dishwasher that died shortly after Peyton was diagnosed. We just haven’t really had the time or energy to deal with the dishwasher, so they’re taking care of it for us. We are so thankful for the true compassion that we’ve had the joy of seeing. A new deck is great, not having to hand wash our dishes is sooo cool, but I really think the best thing is just knowing that people have the tremendous hearts to want to help us in a time of need.

I’ve said it before and I truly believe that there are just some blessings that God can deliver only by suffering through the hard times. You recognize them and appreciate them more than you could have any other way.

f.r.o.G….fully relying on God

ps….with the pile of wood in our front yard, I really wanted Peter to go out in his bathrobe and pull a “Peter Almighty” and tell our neighbors that he is going to build an ark.

6 Comments on “This post sponsored by Tabasco”

  1. #1 tacy Price
    on Oct 22nd, 2007 at 12:07 am

    I giggled the entire time I was reading your post-I especially love the PS-Enjoy your new deck and dishwasher!! and you are so right about the feeling of knowing people care and want to make a difference in your lives during a time of need.
    God Bless and thanks for the smiles-

  2. #2 basi
    on Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Hi Anissa,
    You are too funny! Hopefully this is just a phase, that they'll grow out of. It's great to see your girls are bonding. Atleast, you have the proof of all the bad things they are doing, to show your grandkids.

    Happy to hear about your new deck and dishwasher.

    Have a great week! love, basi

  3. #3 Peter Mayhew
    on Oct 22nd, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    One thing that Anissa failed to mention was the "big bouncy". It's one of those very large devices, that are filled up with air and kids go in and bounce up and down all over the place.

    Well, chocolate being the great comforter of choice for this cancer parent, I've put on a few extra pounds, to put it very mildly, in the past 2 years with Anissa's stroke and Peyton's diagnosis. So when I saw Kay, Dana, and Cody Bertoch (all 100 pounds each, soaking wet, with rocks in their pockets) slip into the big bouncy and play with the kids, I thought that looked like fun. I didn't fully realize the effects that might happen, I just wanted to have fun with the kiddos.

    So let's just set the scene:

    Human Popcorn Machine Recipe
    1 scoop small children
    Mix in 3 Bertochs
    Let simmer at 95 degrees with 100% humidity for 20 minutes
    Throw in one very large man
    Enjoy the laughter and screams

    Yes, that's right, there are some benefits to being large. Who knew? At one point, I nearly bounced poor Kay Bertoch right out of the place. Sorry Kay! But there are just some things that have to be done in this world. I was going to try to get enough air to attempt a flip or a major bounce, but quickly realized that could have nuclear ramifications for the kids in there.

    Any way, it was something you had to see to appreciate, and Anissa and her camera completely missed out on it unfortunately.

  4. #4 Penny Hawkins
    on Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Anissa – it is time to invest in washable markers and to throw out all other writing utinsils….. or go to a bigger bottle of tobasco sauce. RUN RACHEL RUN! Penny

  5. #5 Angela
    on Oct 23rd, 2007 at 7:54 am

    People care, people reach out, people help. That is you and your family. It is now your turn, enjoy the new deck and dishwasher.

  6. #6 Paul Carlucci
    on Oct 25th, 2007 at 9:40 am

    My brother and I fought a lot when growing up. I'm not talking trips to the ER or having to answer the nice police officer's questions about who really hit us, but I once had a thumbnail crushed off in a door hinge.

    At one point, biting became the "in" thing for sibling war and there were some pretty serious punishments getting doled out for doing so. One day my brother goes and shows off a bite mark to tall people who gave us food, expecting to them to call in an air strike on my hind quarters. Unfortunately for him, he had recently lost a tooth (curiously not my fault) which matched the bite mark.

    There was much crying on his part.