I am a double agent. 

Disappearing in the shadows of messy bedrooms,
Now you see me, now you don't  - 

I am first to know, last to go
and in between it all.

I espionage, 
I sabotage, 
I sanitize 
and compromise.

I write the mission;
I am the mission. 

I am a double agent. 
 "Agent M.O.M"

I am trained in the event of a hostile takeover. 
My photographic memory has yet to fail me.

I prefer my nerves shaken not stirred.

When asked for my demands, 
I will say that all I need are; 
good children, 
a good meal 
and a good man,
but will exchange a half hour nap for any of the three.

As a loyal reader of this blog, I will disclose to you the following;

 (there are eight other agents residing in our Safehouse.)

You have been given special Mi4 clearance to this classified information.

In exchange for being their M.O.M, these agents give me street cred.
 Hardened criminals don't mess with me.

You know what they say;
keep your friends close and your children at a comfortable distance.

EXHIBIT A:  Agents in action, training hard. 

These agents head up our surveillance division. 

EXHIBIT B: This is our sleeper cell.

EXHIBIT C: These agents are developing new brainwashing tactics.

I'll give you the top-secret bio-sheets of the special agents in the Roberts Cell: 

"The Hustler"  
He's self-serving, distracted 
and sly, 
Can make reckless seem innocent.
consumes his body weight in fast food, daily.
Breaking curfew is his specialty.
He has the audacity of a politician and the sleep habits of a newborn, 
 and he sucks the energy and cash out of two middle-aged parents.

WEAPON OF CHOICE:  a shamefully messy bedroom 
HIS WEAKNESS: physical labor 

 "The Cat"
She's moody, fierce,
and secluded.
She moves at her own pace (especially when the bus is in front of our house) - 
and she'll let you know when (and if) she wants your attention.
Don't try to cuddle, this cat has claws.
You'll think she's curled up on the couch doing homework,
 but she is actually just texting.  
Don't tell her she can because then she won't - 
 and don't tell her she can't because then she will.

WEAPON OF CHOICE: A soccer ball to kick into flower pots, doors and front porch decor.
(and she gives me a mean post-lecture silent treatment) 
HER WEAKNESS: cute boys, obviously.

"The Fox"
He's handsome,
cunning and crafty,
able to avoid any sort of household chores or organized labor with ease. 
 Face-timing with the ladies like it's his job,
and hoarding money like it's going out of style.  
His eyes will ensnare you, 
His ears perk up as if he's listening, 
but it's all a trick.

As cooly as he came to dinner, he walks away, with slap on the back
and drops his dirty dish in the sink only offering; "yo mom, thanks for dinner, you're a doll."

WEAPON OF CHOICE: ordering baseball equipment from Amazon with my money
HIS WEAKNESS: a quick temper

"Agent Jane" 
She's assertive, spirited
and cheeky.
Her energy could supply power to a small country.   
She inserts herself in middle of the action, assuming she was invited. 
To sleep is a waste of time, 
to do nothing all day is garbage. 
Her fun is made just as it's happening.
Her humor borders on inappropriate and uncomfortable.
And in spite of her father's efforts, she is still boy crazy.

WEAPON OF CHOICE: Biting words, a scowl, and a stomping foot.        
HER WEAKNESS: someone holding her wrists

"The Grin"
He's pushy, passionate
and toothless.
His gaming habits are obsessive, out of control and problematic.
 A smile reveals a good-natured boy, 
never mind that he is jumping on the furniture
and downloading games on your phone,
He pulls out his teeth by himself and bandages his own knees. 
WEAPON OF CHOICE: relentless calls to my cell-phone to tattle on his sisters   
HIS WEAKNESS:  Tight pants

"The Babe" 
She's timid, self-contained,
and long-haired.
She's loyal to those who know her soul.
Afraid of thunder, and most loud sounds, but not afraid of the dark.    
She gets her heart broken if she's ever disciplined,  
believes that unicorns are real and that the world is good,
and she only cries to manipulate and get her way.     

WEAPON OF CHOICE: (a mean smack upside the head to Canyon when no one is looking)
HER WEAKNESS: A threat to cut her hair


"The  Boss"
He's fiery, fussy
and demanding,
He eats brownies for breakfast because his mom doesn't want "the struggle"
He plays Mario Bros after bedtime because his mom doesn't want "the struggle"
He knows his way around iphones and youtube, 
older siblings are intimidated by him, 
and younger siblings?....
well, there are no younger siblings, and that's the problem.

WEAPON OF CHOICE: He no longer takes naps.  
HIS WEAKNESS: The "happy boy" step.

"The Instigator" 
He's sarcastic, stubborn and strict, 
A rabble rouser and confidante
He may be the worst of all of them.
Encouraging the agents to do what they do best.
He laughs at the wrong things,  
high-fives for bad behavior,
and enjoys the fray.
He argues over hem lines, chores and wasted electricity.
Wrestling the kids till someone gets hurt and then goading them into coming back for more. 

WEAPON OF CHOICE: snoring like a bear

I am a double agent M.O.M.

I am no fool,
yet I'm every body's fool.

counterintelligence is not an oxymoron.

I feel the heat, 
but remaining cool is my job. 

Nothing can phase me.

Sleep deprivation?...I laugh! 

Solitary confinement?...yes please!

Water boarding?...been there, done that.
(Have you even heard of natural child birth?)

I am a double agent.

I fear only anarchy -

 Go ahead, try me. I will not break. 
Nothing can take me down.

"hey psst...Agent M.O.M - summer break starts this week!"


...agent down.



A little bit ago I stayed up all night packing, literally all night.
And finally in the negative degree morning hours,
 we carried the spoiled, sleeping kids to the chilly car and headed South.   
As we drove away from our house I ran a quick checklist in my head making sure we didn't forget anything.
I closed my heavy eyes just as Dean pulled onto the freeway.

And woke up four hours later here. 

On the road to Disneyland!

Because the ten hour drive across three states wasn't going to be long and miserable enough, we took a side trip to Calico Ghost Town.
Although overpriced and chintzy, Calico holds a charm for Dean and I - 
and we just can't help ourselves. 

Calico has been a family tradition since our first visit on our Honeymoon.   
And now here we were back again in 2013 with seven crazy kids. 

(plus one) My adorable lil niece Sophie came along with us to keep the kids in line. 

The shop keepers along the street must have radioed ahead warning each other of our crew.

People scattered, streets emptied, store fronts closed, townsfolk took cover in the local bar.     
It really was a ghost town. 

We walked around in the abandoned mine shafts and rail track, 
Until a half dozen tour buses pulled up and we had to behave ourselves. 

Lauren was approached by a man and woman from Korea who said that their son wanted to take a picture with an American girl.
As you can see it was a thrilling moment for the kid.

And yeah, one or two children went missing, but they were eventually found. 

We tried to leave these two behind on purpose, 
but they somehow found their way back to the car.

And then,
 just like that, 
...we were on the road again.

Somewhere in the Nevada desert, I saw this sign

and fueled by just four hours sleep,
all I read were the words, "children" and "abandon them." 
After eight hours in the car ... sounded pretty good to me.

By some small miracle we finally made it to California! 

My brother had arranged for a few of us, (my siblings and parents) to all stay together at a rented house,
 sharing in the expense and combined chaos. 
Some arrived by aeroplane, some arrived by motor coach -
and some stayed back at home to keep the fires going. 
But by nightfall, all of the slackers rendezvoused at the little house on Sonya Place.

That first night the kids ran up and down the stairs, inside and outside,
 like hopped up field mice. 
All the adults stood exhausted each of us wondering;
  "how are we going to do this?"

So here is how we did it - 

 A "HOW TO" guide of sorts. 

"How to survive with sixteen kids at Disneyland!" 


*Get an early start!
Wake up at 7:00 a.m. pack the strollers, the jackets, the food, the drinks, the tickets, 
the cameras, the Tylenol, the kids - 
and chances are the D-train will leave promptly around noon.

*To heighten the anticipation, on the tram ride over, 
tell the little ones that Disneyland is closed. 
Watch their little smiles turn to tears - SOOO much fun!  
And for the big kids, simply tell them that Justin Bieber was just sighted on "It's a Small World" 

*If you can, bring along the big guns (grandparents) Nobody really messes with them.   

*Don't let four year olds carry their own ticket. 
yes, it's cute...but the hundred people behind you in line aren't so amused.  

Hit up the Jedi Training Show! 
By far the most worthwhile half hour at Disneyland.   


"The force is strong with this young Padawan."
"defeated the dark side you did"

"too short for a Storm Trooper, you are" 

*Moving along; don't waste your time waiting in line to meet the characters.

Who am I kidding, we waited in every line

*And make time for little girls to meet their personal hero.

and big girls to meet their true loves...

And let big boys pretend to be both a hero and a lover. 

*If your child is too small to go on the new Cars Ride... 
let a trained professional deliver the bad news.  

*Take a break once in a while.
Hitch a ride,
find some shade...
play virtual games while in a real amusement park,
chill out on a crowded bench,
and kick up your feet!

*Give the kids enough time to make those crucial calls to their stock broker.
"you got to be kidding me!"

"sell! sell!"

*Remember that "some" in your group can get cranky and demanding...
so just indulge them and go on the Peter Pan ride. 
... right Wes?!?

*It might happen that on a dare, your teenage daughter will ask a handsome Disneyland worker for a hug
But don't worry, the worker will cautiously ask; "is that your Dad?" 
and then just suggest they self-hug.
Smart kid! 

*Be prepared with a plastic poncho for Splash Mountain.  
Sure, some may tell you that you look "ridiculous" (and a little frightening) -
pshh...they're all just jealous.

*Good news! feeding a family at the park can be simple and convenient!
Simply drag yourself to a local grocery store each night, stock up on junk food in bulk,
  haul it around with you all day, fight off all the grubby little hands... and finally,   
distribute out all the home-crafted goods to the "starved" kids...

And try to ignore all the Heavenly smells of Churros, roasted turkey legs, and corndogs. 
"PB and J anyone?"

*If you are worried about your kids running off and getting lost ; 
just threaten them within an inch of their life to stay by you.  
Works like a charm.

*Prepare yourself for pouting.

Some have perfected the pout! even at Disneyland ~
(Splash Mountain closed? who heard of such a thing?)

*Get dancin while the dancin is good!
This chick had more moves than a Jello salad. 

*With such a large group one option is to divide and conquer...  
or use the buddy system, 
or don't be afraid to just fly solo. 

*Bring along nutritious snacks. 
Big handfuls of delicious, emulsified neon colored, cheese infused snacks.

*Be sure to enjoy the nightlife.
Yeah the kids are miserable and tired... 
either that or straight up crazy! 

*Another good idea is to send the kids home with a responsible adult of your choosing.

Say goodbye to your little sweethearts, promise you'll be there to tuck them in...

and then without kids in tow...


Disneyland just got real! 

*Be flexible if you can. A day off from the park might be a good idea. 
Especially if things look like this at 9:00 in the morning. 

*A few hours in the swimming pool and the warm sun...
and you'll wonder why you bothered with Disneyland at all. 

*Even better, A few minutes at the beach...
 and you'll wonder why you bothered with anything but the beach. 

*At Disneyland there are cherished picture opportunities everywhere.
On a garbage can...

waiting in line...
on a ride...
or just enjoying each other's company. 

*Above all, remember to relax and enjoy! 
You are at  DISNEYLAND after all! 

And finally -
My #1bit of advice... 

Be sure to pack it up and head home, right before you lose your marbles ~ 


(a two minute video of the girl who needs to be everything)       So far my hobby has been micro-managing my kids and as rewardi...