Saturday, December 15, 2007

I've Had It With You Santa!

Dear Santa,

I'm writing to tell you that I'm ready to line my kids up and come clean on this whole Santa thing. You know, as well as I do, that I do all your shopping and bidding just like for the rest of the family. I'm good-natured enough to let you have all the credit but the stress is going to kill me! Sarah has been changing her mind for the last three weeks on what she is going to ask you for tonight when she sees you at the Ward Christmas Party. My garage is filled with the items she was going to ask for but has changed her mind about.

Sarah is now very set on a Baby Alive Boy & Girl baby. I've researched it and yes the "Boy" baby is anatomically correct. Little does she know, the boy baby is nearly impossible to find and thus when found, it is very expensive. Honestly, Santa, it would be easier for me to conceive a boy baby than to find this Baby Alive Boy doll. (And that's saying a lot seeing as Scott & I have produced 75% girls.) I've tried to talk her out of it stating that I don't think our sweet little girl should have a baby with a "peeny" to which she giggles and laughs hysterically. She tells me she gets to decide what she wants for Christmas from Santa, "and that's final!" We've discussed this at length. Scott wants to know who set up this tradition that you get whatever the heck you asked for anyway! (I have no sympathy for this comment because he doesn't help me either! He is in the same boat as you, Santa. Gets all the credit with no effort at all.)

After yet more research, I've learned that Corolle has a much cuter boy baby, also anatomically correct, and alas it is available. I've convinced Sarah this is the one to ask for. She had me write the exact name down for her: "Corolle Paul Wet and Bath Baby" which she will take with her tonight when she sees you.

Disaster was averted when Ben's first choice item (the i-coaster, out-of-stock everywhere and a very expensive item on the secondhand market) was replaced by the available Roboquad. Emma luckily doesn't fully get it. I have an assortment from which I can attempt to persuade her to choose from.

Frankly, I will sleep much better tonight after the grand meeting is done. I will be penniless (and Scott too) but I will sleep well knowing that I have not been responsible for undoing the magic of Christmas for my children. Even though I am sorely tempted! I just wanted you to know how I am feeling because I believe in open communication.

Until tonight,


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

By Popular Demand

Here's the photo referred to in the previous blog.

Wow! What a kick looking for this picture! Thanks for asking Chelsea! I have discovered that I actually have triplet daughters born in a spread of 6 years. Apparently we have one recipe with minor changes in the ingredients here and there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

10 Tips From a Harried Homemaker

Here's a little diddy I submitted for a ward RS book. Thought it was bloggable so here it is...

  • When trying to measure up to the in-laws as a newlywed, offer something you know how to do well to help with the Thanksgiving meal like filling the glasses with ice. This will prevent the “deer-in-the-headlights” look of panic when you are asked to mash the potatoes.

  • At the beginning of the year, buy only belated birthday cards and send them at the end of each month to family and friends.

  • Keep your house messy so that on the occasion it is clean when someone stops by, they will be pleasantly surprised.

  • Don’t overmix salad dressing in the blender, unless you are trying to make your own mayonnaise.

  • Whoever scrapbooks gets to re-write family history from her own favorable viewpoint.

  • The best way to look thinner in a photo is to learn how to use Photoshop.

  • Don’t forget to turn the car engine off, take the keys out of the ignition and lock the doors before you go into a doctor’s appointment.

  • Don’t say anything to your husband when you realize he spends time every night rearranging the dishwasher before turning it on. Go ahead and continue to load it in a most inefficient manner and be grateful that he is so helpful in the kitchen.

  • Always make sure you have your driver’s license with you if you’re speeding down a residential street on the way to school pick-up and your kids have gotten out of their carseats. When you tell your husband about the incident, be positive. Tell him the police officer was really nice and only ticketed you for just one of your infractions.

  • When your daughter sprinkles cocoa all over her bedroom, scold her firmly but with kindness and then get your camera and photograph it because someday it really will be funny. This is highly recommended for any garden variety messes that take place.

P.S. Note the chin removal...still perfecting that art.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The "Nancy" Pose

Oh, I'm so prolific today but I just read a request for the famous "Nancy" pose. Here's a perfect example....

When time for a photo to be snapped, dash behind anyone. This is much more successful when people are sitting but it can be done when people are standing.

When I get desperate, I have been known to use Photoshop.


I will be lucky to get the Christmas tree in the house, with lights and ornaments before December 24th. Scotty did not convey the message that he adheres to a strict 20-step program to get the tree into the house. He just described about the first 6 steps. We have a long way to go people! The consolation prize is that we'll get to enjoy the Christmas tree until well into January since the take-down process is a 25-step program...

On a separate note...because she is one of our blogreaders, Happy Birthday to my niece, Emily! I have great memories of growing up with her. We have a number of things in common including we both love to play the piano and at any family "work" party growing up, neither of us could really be found working. I remember the days of trying to measure what percentage of her body were her legs, running after her to try to cut a straggler long curl in the back and hearing comments like, "why are your knees so huge" to which I'd answer, "because I'm 13 years older than you!". Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What's in a Tree?

Finding the right tree is one of the more important Christmas rituals in our family. We used to go to one of those local pop up tree lots. Meaning that they pop up on the corner right before Thanksgiving about as fast as it takes to clear out the pumpkins from the same corner lot after Halloween. This is not a bad thing, however we discovered that this is one of the most expensive options for choosing a tree. (We are standing in front of our chosen tree this year.)Expect to pay $90 to $130 or more for a tree on the "pop up lot". (I'm not even going to discuss flocking ... I've never done it and if I have my way I never will. I am also not going to discuss the fake tree, I know there a lot of believers out there, but after all is said and done what is there to discuss? No scent, no thought, no imagination, no, no, no!)

Eureka! About 2 or 3 years ago we discovered the Home Depot Christmas tree. I have to admit I was a bit weary but I was pleasantly surprised. The trees were fresh and good looking.

(You can tell if a tree is fresh if you take a single needle and bend it in half. If it snaps or breaks in half it is fresh. If it just bends.... find another tree.)

They also have pretty good service (even for Home Depot!)They will give you a fresh cut, and "package" the tree in a nylon netting for easy transporting.

This year we departed from the pop up lot (no surprise) and Home Depot! It came down to time. It would have taken time we just did not have to make to trek to Home Depot and "Find" the tree that belongs to us.

Sidebar... what does "Find" a tree really mean? It means searching the rows of trees looking for that tree that "speaks" to me... er US. I guess you could call me a tree whisperer. At the end of the day I will find the tree that just looks and feels right. That is the only way I can explain it.

Today we picked up the kids from school with the intention to go immediately to find our tree. We passed by Nob Hill Foods and they had set up a pseudo Pop Up Lot. I was of course immediately against the idea, however when I was across from the lot (and when I found out that all the trees were about $35) I heard a tree "speaking" to me. The third tree we looked at we chose. A record for tree whispering.

The Nob Hill pop up lot did not have all the amenities that I am used to at other PUL's like a fresh cut service, a hole already in the base of the trunk, and a wrapped up tree for easy transport. I guess you just have to lower expectations with a supermarket Christmas Tree. Well I am just happy that we were able to find out tree at a very good price and Nancy was happy that we were able to find it quickly. If you think that finding the tree is the end of the story you are sadly mistaken. This is the part of the ritual that drives Nancy crazy. Once we get the tree home we trim it up a bit, and then spray it down with the hose and let it soak in a bucket of water for a couple of days. So the tree we purchased today (Wednesday) will probably not make it into the house until at least Friday or Saturday. It is just one of those things I like to do. No one likes a dirty tree in the house. I am sure that Nancy will be following up this entry with the other view of this most important tradition.

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Just Because

Heaven knows I take a zillion photos but I finally got the photo that captures what I see all the time in our cutie little Grace. Where has three months gone? I can't be "done" with a little face like this looking at me all the time. Don't worry, I'm not committing myself either way but a look like this is what it's all about for me.

P.S. Gracie is also getting full face time on the blog because I had to choose a photo for the Christmas Card photo that wasn't her best. The true sacrifice of a mother is having to choose the picture with the greatest percentage of kids looking good even at the expense of one kid not looking as great. Of course, the ultimate deciding factor of a family photo choice is the one where the mom looks good regardless of everyone else. I didn't have to worry about that one this year.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A night with the AQUABATS!

On November 27th (last Wednesday night) Ben and I went to see the Aquabats! It was so much fun. The put on one of the best concerts I have seen them perform. They played some of their newer music and also some great older songs I haven't heard for years. I was truly FUN! The Bat Commander in my first cousin, so we have followed the band for quite a number of years. It is great seeing them have so much success!

This is the "Bat Commander" during the concert. Below is a stock photo of the band in action. You can tell we are related because we have the same body profile ... I don't feel so bad any more because he is like a super hero!

Christian Jacobs is also a co-creator of the kids show on Noggin "Yo Gabba Gabba!" This is DJ Lance who stars on the show and he was touring with the Aquabats.
Click on DJ Lance to visit GabbaGabba land.

We met Lance and found him to be the nicest person. He was willing to talk to us like there was no one else in the room. Ben was really excited to meet him because he recognized him from Yo Gabba Gabba. Emma wished she had seen Lance because she LOVES "Gabba Gabba" as she calls it. I was really impressed with Lance, a very genuine and friendly person that has not let any of his fame go to his head. This is Ben and Lance right after the concert.

This is Ben and Christian back stage after the concert. We got to meet all the band members and as already mentioned DJ Lance.
Sarah has informed me that she will be going to the Aquabats the next time they come to Slims in San Francisco. Personally I can hardly wait!

Oops! This was actually posted by Scotty and NOT Nancy!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a somewhat nontraditional thanksgiving this year. We spent our holiday week in Pacific Grove next to the Beach. We had the most spectacular weather with sunny days and temp in the upper 60's. We had fun with Family and friends who came to play for a couple of days.

This is me and my sister Karen. It is fun to have a sibling who is close by and we enjoy their family so much.

I am sorry I do not have a picture of her oldest daughter Christy or her husband Danny. Danny and I had a great day golfing on the Tuesday before thanksgiving. We were paired up with Russ and Mickey, two retired gents who knew absolutely every soul we encountered on the course. A bit intimidating but friendly guys that put up with a couple of amateurs. Later that night Danny and I spent a good amount of time sparing with my new obsession Mashoonga! sabers. Yes Danny, I await our next battle padawan!

Here are the Lucy's, Danny and Christina's Lucy and our Emma Lucy. Cute Cute Cute!

My kids LOVE their cousins, and they are so kind to their younger counterparts. This is me and my kids with their cousins Katy and Becca and Becca's "friend" Kyle.

I took the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and had a blast. Here are the kids next to the main otter exhibit. I swear we did see otters! Unfortunately they did not make the photo.

We had a fun time on thanksgiving day with friends from Church. They joined us on Turkey day as we enjoyed our special meal together. Afterwards we all went and saw Disney's new movie out "Enchanted" I recommend this movie to everyone. It was excellent definitely a 5 star and probably worth another viewing at the theatre!

Our thanksgiving day ended as the sun set into the Pacific.

Wow Christmas is just around the corner! Happy holidays!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Theater Casualties

My oldest niece got married today in the Salt Lake Temple! Jenny is only 10 years younger than I. We are closer in age than her mom and I (we are 13 years apart). I am so sad I couldn't be there but thrilled that my darling daughter got to go in my place. I do not want to steal Scott's thunder on blogging about it since he was actually there but I was so excited to see the pictures I had to post one immediately. Jenny is an amazing woman and so talented! I am so happy for her! I know she is giong to be so happy with her new hubby, Mark.

Every show I play for seems to have some sort of family casualty. Missing this temple wedding will go on record as a big one for me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Shhhh...the carrots are sleeping!

Is it ever too late to go to the grocery store? Good old Safeway is advertised as being open 24 hours a day. I made a late Saturday night run to my local Safeway this evening, about 10:30pm, to pick up a few last minute items before the Sabbath. After running into a friend and colleague from the theater (hey Lenore!), I went into the produce section to pick up my much needed bell pepper. I was bewildered to find that all of the lights were out in the refrigerated section--you know, the part where the sprinklers go off every so often. Does the produce section close? Apparently the lettuce and other various vegetation do go night-night at my Safeway.

One of my other items of purchase was an ice cream pie: a much craved dessert to celebrate after a performance of Guys & Dolls. Going to an establishment to enjoy a treat after the show with all the kids just doesn't work anymore. The very helpful adolescent bagging my groceries happily inquired if someone at my house was celebrating a birthday. My response: "Well, sort of." I didn't want to tell him that I have hidden in my car, a plastic fork so I could eat it on the way home. It's better not to let my friendly bagger think that somebody would buy a Safeway ice cream pie just for a snack.

P.S. Don't worry, I just indulged in one piece...well, at least so far.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Theater Thursday - Words from the Ugly Stepsister

A huge part of our family is our involvement in the Danville Children's Musical Theater. This great opportunity has grafted us into the Greenberg family. We love our association with them but let's face it, we are Pam's slaves. We definitely work harder than those full-blooded sisters, Celia, Paige, Ellie & Lenore (well, maybe not Nor since she had to choreograph this show). Here's a little glimpse into what it's like for us during theater season.

Our garage turns into a workshop as Scotty works on the sets. (Notice the scooter which holds a story for another blogging day about Ben riding it on a walk with a blanket over his legs...)

Scotty works every spare minute on the sets. He married into this mess and is now a true theater guy because he claims his creative juices don't flow unless he procrastinates until the last minute.

Scotty Jr. helping out. (Notice the protective goggles. A lesson learned from the year Ben's cornea was scratched by flying sawdust.)

Two of our four neglected children during the season.

And me, practicing away, transposing music for ungrateful kids who think I can just do this with the snap of my fingers. Unfortunately, I'm not pictured at my lucky Yamaha piano I play at the theater. I decided photographing it would be very sacrilegious similar to photographing the pulpit of an LDS chapel. I am VERY superstitious about playing for a show. For example, whatever happens to be on the piano at the beginning of Tech Week MUST remain there until the final show. I have been known to have happy meal toys or empty water bottles somewhere on the piano during the entire run because they got left there in the beginning. I get very upset if things are moved. Don't be getting any ideas. Word on the street is that the theater piano is going to be replaced with a digital piano. GASP!!!!! I'm in denial. I may need medication if this comes to fruition. Yes, I have considered purchasing it myself and storing it only to haul it back for each show as part of the sets. Scotty said over his dead body.

Sarah asked me at rehearsal last Monday what was wrong with Pam. I inquired what she meant and she said, "why does she yell like that?" I told her it was just that time of year. She is an equal opportunity yeller except I don't think she ever yells at Scotty. Pam has always been good to me and our family. She even let me have a baby this theater season. We can put up with a little yelling.

Tech week is a trial for everyone but it is all worth it. There is nothing better than playing for a show. I LOVE to play the piano!! All the hardwork is worth seeing those kids shine. Pam does her amazing magic resulting in a show to be proud of! I'm grateful for such a great opportunity to do something I love! It's even better to share it with my whole family! Thanks Pam & pseudo-stepfamily!

halloween Take 2

Can you say CANDY! Each of the kids filled up their pumpkin! The daddy tax just increased! You may recognize some costumes, and happily Emma chose to actually be a Dog (a some what dressed dog with pink boots sorry you can't see them, but a dog none the less)! Hope your all hallows eve was fun like ours.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ah! Halloween!

Halloween is one of those "seasons" that our family usually gets into. We never go over board with decorations, but this year we have had a hard time getting into the spirit of the holiday. I guess you could say that this year we have taken the minimalist approach. We actually put up a Halloween quilt Nancy made last year. It is very cute and it covers all the bases. We may even get a pumpkin on the porch. Oh well.

In the spirit of minimalism I revolted this year and refused to dress up for the Ward Halloween and "trunk or Treat" party. As you can see in the photos I did in the end "dress" up.

After emphatically declaring that I would NOT be in a costume, I decided at the 11Th hour to throw together a make shift something or other. I wore the "get up" that I had to wear in the operating room when Grace was born C section. (Yes I did save it!) Not much imagination for costume but I did finally get into the spirit of the evening. Grace was dressed up as you can see as an M & M. (Thanks to Nancy's Sister-in-Law Allison for the cute costume.)
Ben was going to be a Lego block, but when he found out that Grace was going to be an M & M he decided he wanted to go as an M & M Box. Thanks to Nancy for it's creation. Sarah was excited to appear at the party dressed as Jasmine from Aladdin.
Emma is all talk and no action. She had abut 3 costumes that she wanted to wear but ended up wearing her pajamas with a Mini Mouse printed on it. Oh well, there is always next year.

Our Church party was a lot of fun. Ben had invited all the people on our court to come and one of our Neighbors ended up coming. We all had a great time. We combined with the other Ward that also meets in our building so there were twice as many trunks to visit and get candy.

In our family there is an unwritten rule that Daddy must check out all the candy received, and of course I do take the Daddy tax.When the kids are watching I get the dumb pieces, but when find their stashes, I gets what I want! Yahoo!

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time For Crossword Puzzles

I had an experience on Friday that has left me nearly speechless. Allow me to explain: I had a doctor appointment in Concord and brought Grace along, of course. I parked and proceeded to gather my things including Grace and off we went inside. It turns out the appointment was really a class (argh) lasting over an hour.
About two-thirds through the class, I started doing the mental check of where I had put my keys, wallet, baby etc. I realized I didn't quite know where my keys were. Without panic, I started searching various pockets, bags and carseat. I searched my mind but couldn't quite recall what I had done with those keys. Hmmmm. No need to panic. Luckily the class was about over so I started to gather my things hoping at this point, I had just left the keys in the car and hadn't dropped them along the way. That would be bad. Off we go outside, staying calm. I got to my car and noticed the keys were still in the ignition with the engine running. Do the math my friends--my car was running, unattended and unlocked for over 1 hour. I can't believe my little minivan is not on Craig's List as we speak. As our niece and nephew, Christy & Danny, can attest to, the car theft ring is still thriving.
A friend suggested I should start doing crossword puzzles. Thankfully I have already told my kids that they won't get college tuition unless they take a healthcare course in the care of the elderly. Am I too young for Aricept? Maybe just more sleep is in order.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Old Dog New Tricks

Being the youngest of six kids with a spread of 16 years, I have always felt young. When you have siblings turning 50, being in the 30's feels like a teenager. I am starting to recognize the possibility that perhaps I am getting older as I am in my "late 30's" having a newborn. I look around and notice my baby-making contemporaries. I can't help but see how this old goat compares to all these young hip moms I'm surrounded by. I guess I'm just not feeling so young and spry. Here are some signs that have tipped me off:

- I don't own a Phil & Ted stroller or any cool, compact looking stroller for that matter. I still push around my enormous 4-in-1 stroller.

- Actually, I haven't even been using a stroller at all lately. I just walk around with my cute little bundle in my arms if I heaven forbid have to leave the house. Why bother getting the stroller out anyway? I think it's way more fun to just stay at home.

- I don't own a Baby Bjorn. I do have a Kelty Kids front pack but it's too much of a pain to put on.

- I don't use a real diaper bag. The first couple of trips out with my baby, I carried a diaper and a bag of wipes in my hand. Now that I am forced to carry around a few things, I use one of the kids crafty trick-or-treat bags I made a few years ago.

- After those middle-of-the-night feedings, I have been faced with boughts of insomnia. I figure if I'm going to have to get up in a couple of hours anyway, I might as well stay up and get something done. It would be too painful to have to wake up again.

- I don't use a sling. I just can't imagine being coordinated enough to be able to carry my baby in one of those without having her fall out. I'm way too clumsy.

- I don't swaddle my baby. She looks frustrated to me when I tie her arms down in the blanket.

- I don't have a "hooter-hider". I see them all over the place but I'm happy with a good old-fashioned blanket.
- There aren't really any pictures of me holding my baby. I'm great at taking pictures of everyone else but I don't really like to be in the photos. This is not good. I'll be putting that on my to-do list.

It's actually quite refreshing to hear all the new tricks of the trade from the hip and trendy moms I know. There are a few problems that have been solved finally on baby number 4 due to the young 'uns. The sound machine helps us with the nap/sleep thing. The "Brest Friend" pillow is handier than free-arming it.

Thanks to the trendy moms out there that are teaching this old dog some new tricks. Well, at least being good examples of what's in. There is always going to be a better way than how we used to do it. Whether or not the old dog can actually learn the new tricks is a different story...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

10 Things I Have Learned from Celia

I have a lot of really awesome friends. There is something kind of cool and extra bonding about a friend that you have that you knew when you were a teenager. I mean, really, how many highschool friends do you really keep in touch with? I feel pretty lucky to still keep in touch with and be friends with Celia from my Laurel class growing up. We weren't necessarily the best of friends then but as the church is good at, we were thrown together by associations in Young Womens. We didn't socialize on the same planes as you see, Celia was popular and I was well, let's just say, awkward. No, I was a band geek. Now, twenty years later, I have an awesome friend that knew me when...Happy Birthday Celia!
Here are 10 things I've learned from Celia over the years....
1. It's imperative to have a housecleaner at least every other week even if you must cut something else out of the budget.
2. You may not wear your maternity clothes after you deliver a baby even if they fit and are comfortable.
3. A bottle of formula once a day or more will not kill your baby.
4. Absolutely everything we know about this subculture world of blogging.
5. You must nap every day. Lock the bedroom door and use a sound machine if necessary.
6. Wrap-up verbage is not necessary when ending a phonecall particularly when your kids need you.
7. You can host a luncheon with store bought prepared foods.
8. Only spend time decorating your house one month a year and that's it.
9. Always dress great. It is preferable to start with a fresh new wardrobe every season. You can shop at Target to justify the costs.
10. I can ask her anytime for a book recommendation because she has quite possibly read more books than anyone I know.
The list could go on. To the award-winning blogger, cleverest, funniest, understanding friend...happy birthday Celia! And happy anniversary of the accompanying picture.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Birth Anouncement Etc.

Gracie's birth announcement is out. Nancy as usual did a super job. I thought I would share it here with you also.

For a larger image see the photos at the end of the "posts".

Here are a couple more updated photos of Gracie at 5 weeks old.

The following photos show the final step started in my post (dated September 18th) titled "The Grapes of Wrath".

I wanted to show you that Emma participated in the Jelly making "ceremony" regardless of her previous injury steaming the grapes. The truth is wild horses could not keep her out of the kitchen. She insisted on helping me. I decided that for her safety she should be posted well away from the hot bottles being steamed, the cooking jelly and the hot finished product. Emma's part was handing the rings that hold the lids down. She was excited to help in any way. She really feels like it is her grape jelly too.

There are two things about this photo I need to make a comment about. First, even with digital photos, eyes are closed at just the wrong moment. Dang!

Second is a bit more serious. If you look closely it appears that our darling innocent Emma is making a rude hand gesture. I promise that our next Family Home Evening we will have a special lesson on the proper use of sign language and how important it is to avoid the naughty gestures. I'll let you know how it goes... ;)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

When I grow up I want to be ...?

It is a fun past time to watch your kids at play. If you observe close enough you may even be able to see your kids begin to develop skills that will help them decide what they will be when they grow up.

Saturday Ben decided to open a shop in his room, he made paper laptops to sell along with a myriad of other little trinkets. All for a dollar, except the laptop. That was $2.95. He showed a lot of initiative and really payed attention to detail. He could easily have his own business one day.

He was determined to set up shop. The question was what to do with his unruly siblings. Include or exclude from his venture. Ben surprisingly decided to include Sarah and Emma. Human resources specialist? Hmmm. Maybe.

Ben drew up and posted this contract on his door and required his new "employee" to sign the contract in multiple places.

Yea, I think he will be a Lawyer, if nothing else he certainly knows what a one sided contract is and he knows how to convince someone to "sine" it. My favorite part is the line that says "Sarah you need to do what Ben says." That sounds like older brother lingo. (Maybe he will be a dictator of a third world country? It's possible.)

This is Sarah, living up to the contract that she signed. I am not sure why she got the position of janitor, but I am sure it was orchestrated by Ben.

As you can see it appears that she is not taking her job seriously.


Emma's .
job was to take care of the toys in the shop. Here she is by her table

All in all they played for a few hours at their game. No TV, no real screaming or major interventions needed.

At the end of the play I saw a number of potential things that Ben could do in his future.

Shop owner, future income up to 100K.

Human resources ... 70 to 80K.

Dictator of a 3rd world nation. $$$The sky's the limit, (it may however have a short life span.)

Lawyer ... 100 to 300K.

A few hours of relative peace and quiet while the kids play .... PRICELESS!