Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Husband


My husband is a very good driver.  A very conscientious driver.  He's not a Sunday drive, lollygagging old-man-in-a-hat sort of driver.  But he's a good driver.  A safe driver.  He signals appropriately and judges gaps well.  He's courteous to other drivers.  One sure fire way to piss him off and bring out the asshole in him is for another driver to be a jerk.   That's it. 

He's a car kind of guy.  He likes a clean car.  I've seen him take a look under the seats of my car and bust out a full body shudder.  He likes sparkly seats and a shiny interior.  When my water broke and labor began with Big, he took time to put big black plastic yard bags on the seat . . . just in case the industrial strength gigantic maxi pad I was wearing happened to leak.   That paints a good picture.

Few things can make my husband spin illegal u-turns, shoot a gap in traffic, hang a hard left or really put a seatbelt check on the passengers.   Last weekend, catching a glimpse of this guy brought our the race car driver in MOTH.  He spun a u-ie, shot a gap, exceeded the speed limit and positioned the car perfectly so the kids could see this wild thing of beauty.



I was looking through the lens of a camera and whispered, "man, this lens is too big".  Imagine my shock when I peeked from behind the camera body and saw this big drink of water only about 10 feet from the car.  He proceeded to walk up right next to the car, veer toward the back, look both ways & cross the street. 

Wow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Let's Go Fishin'


Fishin'.  One of the major things on the kids' bucket list for the summer was "go fishing."  Mission accomplished at a fantastic little joint where you don't pay for tackle, don't pay for licenses, don't pay for time  . . . but you keep what you catch.  And you pay by the inch. 

Three hours and four fish later, we have four prize winning rainbow trout, four smilin' youngsters and a successful family outing.

Middle was the first one with a fish on the line.  She was so shocked at the "reel it in, honey, reel it in" that she sort of, well, er, freaked out and just started walking backward.  Luckily, she didn't have much line out and she was able to pull her catch up on shore. 


Little hooked the next one.  It was the biggest one of the day.  A giant mama rainbow trout.  When we cleaned, she was FULL of eggs.  I love the look on his face.  Right after I snapped the shot, he dropped the fish and it went flopping all around . . . just about went back in the lake!!



Big hooked two on this trip.  One with a little help and one completely solo. 




Mimi fished and stayed with it for a long time.  She got really good at reeling in, but mostly carried the bait bucket around asking if anyone needed a new 'wormie'.  Once there were fish in the bucket, she obsessively checked on them.  Cute words of the day were, "Uh, it's dead now."  (Sidenote:  Anyone specifically atuned to fashion?  Yes, she did dress herself.  Yes, her clothes are on backward.  Yes, she is barefoot.  And, no, I don't care.  She's happy, therefore, I am happy.)



As a kid, I spent more time than the average kid fishing.  On a boat, at a lake, taking care of bait, tackle, bobbers and spinners.  Fishing was one of my dad's favorite activites and I could rig a line in about 20 seconds and was an expert at casting by the time I was in kindergarten.    My dad was a devout fisherman.  He had a trophy of a trout that lived on his desk.  It is one of those things I remember from my youth.  It was fat and ugly and dusty.  But it was HIS and it sat on HIS desk.  Fishing with my dad was kind of like going to the library, as a kid.  There was alot of "shhhh" and "fish won't bite if there's a ripple on the water."  We were shushed into silence more times that not.  I spent many a long afternoon huddled up under the bow of the fishing boat, in a nest made of weathered old orange lifejackets reading a book by the light of an emergency beacon.  The sway of the boat would lull me to sleep, or I'd lay down in that hideout praying for daylight, the shore and a port-a-potty.  Exhausted from the day and with horrible sunburn, we'd return from fishing just in time to clean our catch. Smart dad that I had, he taught me (and my brother) to clean fish from an early age.  Actually, we'd set up an assembly line of cleaners.  He'd drag the hose across the back lawn and turn it on to just a trickle.  He'd turn over three buckets out by the flower bed and we'd perch on them, me, my brother & my dad.  My brother had the knife.  He'd take a fish, slice it from woo-woo to gills and hand it off to me.  My job was to loop my finger into the gills, rip the gills and pull the guts in one swift pull, then hand it to my dad.  He scraped the black and bloody icky stuff from the spine, lopped its head off and put it in the 'clean' pile.

We've had a few small fishing trips, but nothing like this one. Nothing as successful, for one. And nothing where the kids had this much fun, for another.   I had a parenting ephiphany this weekend.  It's not that I didn't have fun as a kid, fishing with my dad.  I did.  I had plenty of fun.  But not fun, FUN.  The fish DO bite with a ripple on the water.  It doesn't take absolutely silence to drown worms and make memories.  Here's an old growing up family tradition that I resurrected from this trip.  When I was a kid, after every trip, my dad would lay the fish out, pose whichever kids were on the trip and snap a picture with his camera.  The earliest trip was before the time of polaroids and I can remember fighting with my brother over which one of us got to hold the picture, rubbing that special paper for 20 seconds before peeling it back to view the magic.  He'd carefully print the date, our names & where we went in careful, black, bold, square letters. 


Mimi, Middle, Big & Little
Trout Haven
Estes Park, Colorado
June 2010

Yee-Haw


Can I get a yip, yip, yippppeeee???


Bombardamun a la Water Balloons

Yes, I taught them how to play. 
Yes, it was fun.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Knots Prayer

Dear God,

Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart and my life.

Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind.

Erase the will nots, may nots, and might nots that find a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all, dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the am nots

that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough.


Amen.

Packing.

Each kid needs five outfits.  Two must be long.  Long sleeves and legs.  Yes we are only gone for 3, okay maybe four full days, but add a night time thing, like marshmallows, campfire, or sitting on a porch, in there at altitude, so it will be cold, plus fishing and/or horseback riding, complicated by no laundry facility and I think five is conservative.  The other three are short type outfits –  one of which will be used for the journey there and back.  Add sweatshirt, preferable hooded, for each kid. Add panties for everyone,  night time protection for those that need it, add panties AND pull-ups AND diapers for Mimi, because you never know what kind of bootie-mood she’ll be in.  Add jammies, long in case it’s cold – short in case it’s blazing hot in the cabin with no fans.  Add socks for hiking and/or fishing and/or horseback riding – flip style summer shoes AND tennie runners.  Add swimming suits.  Add goggles & dive sticks, arm floaties for Mimi, in case there really is NOTHING to do.  Add the frisbee.  Throw in a volleyball.

Then to the bathroom – toothbrushes x 5 (MOTH can damn blazin' do his own stuff . . . in fact, I'm predicting he'll start packing just in time to question me about every addition made thus far making statements like, "Are you sure that will be warm enough?" or "Do you think we'll need one more?")  Can you believe my kids all use a different kind of toothpaste? I’m on a flossing rip right now so I don’t want to lose momentum on the mini vakay.  Shampoo and conditioner and soap of some sort.  Add hairbrush and doggers and hats for the sun.  Add face stuff and pit stick, lippy, lotion & butt cream.

Homestead reminds me I should take sunscreen, a first aide kit, bug spray, immodium & pain meds.  I think I better throw in a tampon or two.  The first aide kit lives in the car, but I took a gander through it this morning.  It has Motrin, Benadryl, Immodium, Midol . . . also bandaids, neosporin & shoestrings in case I have to deliver a baby. And safety pins. You never know.   I added a pair of nitrile gloves. Back to delivering a baby. Like I said, you never know.  Bonus:  there were already tampons in there.  Cross that off the list.  Extra bonus:  the lidocaine isn't expired and I still have good suture.  It's good to be able to sew something (or someone) back together. 

Now to load the car.   I pretty much say to the masses, “Get what you want and make sure it will keep you entertained.”   That means iPods x 2 for the big kids and "can I borrow your old shuffle?" from Little.   We have two baby DVD players – charging those now – adding headphones to the “front seat” bag.  I'm adding a bag of pollies-slash-babies-slash-little animals that will keep Mimi busy for hours.  Also, though it seems like overkill, I'm adding the cooler.  It fits between the middle seats and has a bunch of munchies.  Double whammy -- the DVD player can balance on it for optimal viewing x 3 kids.  Only one kid is left in the cold.  Thus, the other DVD player, an iPod, book or leapster.  Also throwing in a deck of cards, uno and pass the pigs . . . in case we get rained in.  THAT would suck.

Packing today reminds me of the last road-trip style vakay/trip we took.  It was an long weekend, solid six hour drive to see Thomas the Train.  We loaded.  And packed.  And arranged.  And we piled in the car, started it.  And while MOTH and I were scurrying about doing final things . . . . water bowl filled until the dog sitter arrives, sprinkler set, alarm on, windows down . . . the kids bounced around waiting in the car.  When we finally loaded, Big and Middle had shoved dimes into the seat belt receptacles.  We spent another half hour in the driveway prying dimes out of the slots so we could shut the damn "ding-ding-ding" off and get going.  By the time we got the damn dimes out, we all had to pee, and went right back in the house. 

We are very, very reminiscent of The Griswalds.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all.

Can you just picture Thumper talking to a whole slew of fellow forest animals, small animated voice squeaking above the dull forest roar.  He draws out the words of the sentence for what seems like forever.

I've got nothin' today.  Nothin' nice to say at all.  At least right now. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

“What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?”

T. S. Eliot
MOTH said, "What the HELL is that?  Can someone tell me why Moose is wearing Polly Pocket boots on all of his toenails??"

Guilty grins & giggles.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Pact.


Yowza. 

In all honesty, I've never read a BAD Jodi Picoult book.  I've read four, or five . . maybe six.  I always end up staying up too late finishing one -- kinda like last night.

The Pact:  A Love Story.

Jodi Picoult books hit me hard.  And deep.  Right where all my 'nessess' meet.  My human-ness, my mother-ness, my wife-ness, my-protector-ness, my parent-ness, my friend-ness.   I read this one right on the tails of a local boy, junior in high school who lived right up the street from us, taking his own life.  While reading this book and that young man are completely unrelated, I saw his face and thought of him often as I turned pages in this book. 

Strongly recommend.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

We're halfway through 2010, so . . . .

We're halfway through 2010, so I'm checkin on my resolutions.  Logic dictates I should have accomplished half, right?

Here's my original resolutions list:

a. Last year's health research project shed lots of light on kinds of eating plans & exercise plans. Picking and choosing from each plan, I'm creating my own eating plan and exercise plan that works with my lifestyle, my children, & my exercise ability. It's a combination of South Beach, Body by God & Core Secrets, and a plain old-mostly-vegetarian-mostly-organic food diet.  Great. I had to start with that, huh?  My body/life plan is going as well as can be expected with surgery taking up 12 weeks of the spring.  My core is weak but doc says that may take a year to regerate.  Yoga is good.  Pilates is good.  The bad news is:  I'm told that the high doses of steroids present in my 18 months-worth of epidural injections for pain are very, very, very long lasting.  I'm told that I should have gained about 40 pounds.  Fabulous.  I'll settle, albeit grudingly, for a very fat and round little steroid face that my kids tell me makes me look like Chipeta.  Whatever.  But, I do want it to go away.  It can take a couple of years.  Heavy sigh.


b. I have this box of greeting cards. But, I'm not much of a greeting card person. So, this year, I resolve to send them so I get rid of them. And, not to purchase or "stock up" on shit that I won't use.  Yeah, I've sent a few.  But I still have the big damn box.

c. I'll continue to purge negativity . . . people and their energy from my life. In the unfortunate circumstance where I MUST deal with bad energy, I'll do my very best to leave the situation balanced & centered. If my kids are involved, I resolve to use it as a teachable moment and to speak in truth to them.  Yeah.  I think I'm good on this one.  Better.  It's impossible to predict but all-in-all, I think I can report a thumbs up on this one.

d. I'm seeing a doctor this year. It's a resolution because unless I write it down, I won't do it. I'll begin "well" checks as recommended for a, cough, hack, MIDDLE aged woman.   Not done. 

e. I'm knitting again. I love digital scrapbooking, and would not go back to the cut and paste version unless money came to me. BUT, I do miss holding a finished product. I miss having a creation made with my hands. I have no major projects planned. Socks and washcloths. Maybe a few mittens or hats.  Made a bunch of mittens in the drive through lane during the too-cold-to walk days of the school year.  Stopped with warm weather.  Who wants to knit in the heat?

f. I'll make the drive to see my dad at least 5 times this year.  Two down, three to go.

g. I'll concentrate on the people and things I love. I'll grow my garden, train my dogs & be absolutely real with my friends.  I realize now this assumes that I do have friends.  But, I am training my dog and growing a garden. 

h. Money. I make a money resolution every year. This year, I'll add money to savings every month. I'll switch the kids' accounts over to a higher interest accounts. I'll be better about saving the receipts for flex spending and I will submit them on time. I will make at least one extra mortgage payment.  Check.  I'm on top of flex spending.  Instead of adding monthly, I just made a giant addition good for the year.  Kids' accounts are officially added-to and I've made extra mortgage payments.  Happy.

i. I will continue last year's work on finding a postion that lights my fire.  F.A.I.L.

j. I will give back . . . working on it.

k. I resolve to teach Mimi how to count.  She says, "one-two-free-seven-ate"

l. I resolve to teach Little how to hold doors open for ladies. Check.  Such a chivalrous little chap.

m. I resolve to help Middle make a conscious decision, daily, if needed, to CHOOSE happiness.  Oh, God.  A work in progress.  I say "choose happiness" daily.  I say "be a girl of your word" every day at least once.

m. I resolve to assist Big as her body changes and her emotions roll. I resolve to embrace her gift for dramatic flair. I resolve to be a source of strength, positivity and honesty for her. Double, Oh God.  Blossoms, tiny blossoms.  She's gone to her comfortable place and read some books, asked lots of questions.  We have a code word in case her period comes during school.  

n. I resolve to be the best wife I can be.  Huh, yeah.  Did I really resolve that?

o. I resolve to appreciate, communicate & negotiate.  I must have had something specific in mind.   I may be lacking on the appreciate, but I'm one hell of a communicator and with four kids hanging on my every word, my official title is Negotiator, Mediator and Conflict Mitigator.

Looks like I still have some work to do, huh?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Family Snapshot

Changing, changing, changing . . . . it looks like this right now . . . .

Big has her nose stuck in The Alchemist series.  She's reading, reading, swimming, playing volleyball.  Repeat.  She's absolutely joyful to have as companionship.  She's super helpful, sees the bigger picture, is a step ahead of the masses in the get ready routine, will carry a bag with no complaints, help a sibling or do a chore for mom and dad.  She's a rock star.  She's into history right now, very computer saavy (she's started catching up old scrapbooks) & crys at the drop of a hat.  Adorably emotional.

Middle is in the gym.  Seven hours a week.  She spends most of her time upside down.  She's full of zip and is riding the fine line between talking back and being an independent thinker.  She's the moody one and the grudge holder.  She's a night owl, which is, very seriously, just about to kill me.  She also has become a sleeper-inner.  She's loving volleyball camp, excited for soccer to start again & always up for an outing or adventure.  She photographs everything.  It reminds me of my dad.  Of all the kids, her diet is the best, and summer is her prime . . . she loves fruits & veggies, has a great habit of eating when she's hungry and only until she's full.   I think I've blogged before that she's the Egyptologist.  She loves learning about all things Egypt.  She once mummified a barbie and built a sarcophogus for it . . . . now she's counting days until King Tut's exhibit comes local.  She's dying to see the 'gut pot' -- she would know the technical term . . . .

Little is wild.  Everything is a weapon.  As wild as he is, he's also hilarious.  He's taken up singing this summer.  He has a song for when he eats cheese, a song for when he's playing ironman, legos, fights with the girls or takes care of Mimi.  We recently went to the circus, and he cracked me up when he belted out the national anthem at the top of his lungs.  He has no front teeth right now, which I find adorable.  He's in swimming lessons and is doing GREAT.  I'm so, so, so glad I waiting to put him in (as opposed to spending the cash too early & paying to have him sit on the step and cry.)

Mimi is nastics bound.  She can hardly stand to see Middle go to the gym, get her grips and tape and leo on without helping and getting her own leo on.  She says, "I do nastics now" about 40 times per day.  I hear cha-ching and am holding a few things over her head before we go there.  She's a bar fanatic and can almost do a front flip on the trampoline.  Everything is a balance beam.  Every curb, raised planter or wall she can walk on, she does, hollering, "I do beam now."  She's big into balls . . . of the soccer kind, or kickball kind, or basketball kind, or volleyball kind.  She hoards the balls and checks them out to the big kids in exchange for popsicles.    On kickball, we've taught her to play and she's a force to be reckoned with.  If she can remember to run after she kicks, it's history for the fielding team . . . . most times she busts out laughing and can't see first base.  She's become verbal.  Very verbal.  Yesterday, she called her first slug bug in the car . . . . we all cracked up when "YELLOWONE" came from her seat.  Tantrums are calming down . . . only one in the last full week.  Can you hear my audible, gigantic, exhale??

And as a whole . . . . . things I love about them ALL right now:

1.  Conversation.  We've had some of the best conversations in the last few days.  About everything and nothing.  We've talked about jobs, college and master's degreees (they heard the term at school).  We've discussed King Tut's exhibit and his gut pot in almost gory detail.  The highlight:  No, Little, his peanuts are not in the gut pot.  We've had a few deep conversation starters and I've turned into homework for the big kids.  Yesterday's was about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Middle brought it up.  Turns out, I didn't exactly know it's history.  They all wrote what they thought it was in summer journals.  Then, Middle did the research online & today, we'll tell them the history.  We've talked about weather, science, floods, swells in the ocean, claspers on a shark (they're watching Expedition Great White), islands, volcanos, vacation.  You name it.  It's been really fun.
2.  Play time.  I love that they are playing together.  I'm not sure how my neighbors feel about it, but I love a bright sunny morning when they are racing on plasma cars & outside playing at 7:30 in the morning.  I love Battleship and Qwirkle at QT.  And I love it when they want to stay up late or have a sleepover together so they can keep reading 39 clues.
3.  Last thing:  Mimi.  I love how happy she is with the big kids at home.  She's completely entertained and in love with their company.  I'm predicting she'll be like Little was.  Come fall, she'll be asking to go to school.  I can see it coming!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mimi and MooMoo

Moose's personality has really changed since adoption last November.  He's still protective, a touch dominant & doesn't play well with other dogs.  BUT, he's a mellow soul that does play really, really, really well with little kids.  He has the patience of a saint.  He curls up with Big on the couch while she reads books.  He watches Middle on the trampoline until his head has bobbed up and down so many times, you'd think he knew how to say yes.  He tugs with Little.  But it is Mimi that has the special bond right now.  She loves his tail.  And he knows it.  She's playing tug-o-war with it . . . .                                

And she sings into it on a regular basis.  So many times, our little people do things to get our attention, and we say, "just a minute" or "I'll be right there."  I remember our Pilot Cousin, when he was little would say patiently, "mom".  Then with more urgency, "MOM".  Then, as if he were on fire, "MOM!!!"  Then, calmy, "Judi?"   And she would look up.  Ta-da!!  Today, I was doing the "just a minute" drill to Mimi.  I "just-a-minuted" her once, twice, and on the third time, I turned to see her bullhorn yelling into Moose's tail, "HELLLOOOOO, Mommy!!!  I need you here!!!"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Too funny!!


Anyone want to guess what this is??  This drawing came home in Little's end of the year avalanche of STUFF.  I'm just beginning to sort it (I'm so glad I actually cleaned out lunch boxes before now!!)

* Hint:  I had to ask, too.

* Warning:  Your mind will go directly toward the gutter.  It's okay, that's part of the humor.




All I can think is, "What must the teacher be thinking?"

Is it a lipstick?

Red.  Is that the color of anger?

Is it a vibrator?  Where did he see . . . . . ???   My goodness, look at that ON button!













Turns out, gutter minds, it's a lightsabre.  There at the end of school, he was doing quite a few lightsabre drawings.  And doing alot of writing about lightsabres.  I almost peed myself when I came across this today . . . .



'Cause if you're not used to reading kindy-print AND you remember how hard it is to erase on that super thin parchment they use AND you remember being six years old and knowing you had a L.O.N.G. word to put very near the end of a line . . . . it might make you nervous enough to cross your L's, too. 

Then, your sentence would read (with mommy-translation)

"I wish I had a real tits lightsabre."

She'll kill me, but I don't care . . . .


When I was 16, a wonderful thing happened to me.  The wonderful thing came in a package shaped like a human.  A mysterious human from New Mexico with a flair for writing and a fabulous sense of humor.  I can't really remember how we met or became friends.  What I remember is that suddenly, through her, there was life beyond gymnastics.  Life beyond feeling and being second place.  There was a whole new, fresh, fabulous world filled with riches and treasures that could stimulate the mind and senses.   There were great books, great poetry and meaning behind the dribble of Shakespeare.  Together, we founded a literary magazine for our high school. There were simple pleasures like hiking into a frozen waterfall or riding horses.  There was companionship with no competition.  It was glorious.

She lived far outside town.  Deer ate from their front lawn.  Her mother was really cool with a wise aire and a really hip Elvira streak.  She has a cooler car than I did.   We took it everywhere.  Most unfortunately, we were seniors in high school when we met.  There was only a year of very deep friendship before college parted us. 

Years (and I do mean years) later, we've reunited through the magic of social networking.  Imagine.  We've both changed our names.  Funny that we found each other at all.  We're both married.  Soon, we'll both have kids.  We both still write.  

This weekend, Big and Middle were wading through boxes of stuff . . . and came across high school year books.  Though I'm ready for the lashing that will come from this . . . I'm still posting this 19 year old picture of us . . . from our senior yearbook.

Cheers, Reece . . . .

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

His Indian, er . . Native American Name

I've affectionately given Little a Native American Name.   It's "Hands Down Pants."

Let me preface this whole thing by saying two things.

1.  I know.
2.  I was warned.

I know that boys will be boys.  Little dudes just have alot going on down there . . . much more than their female counterparts.  Heck, when Little was little, he used to say good morning to his parts every day.  First thing in the morning, diaper would come off and he's shout "Good Morning, Dinger!!"  He was like a long lost friend.  We joked about how he could get the corner of a diaper undone so he could sit with a remote in one hand and the other on his parts.  Potty training was super easy with him, because he was so proud of how his buddy performed.  He was eager to pull it out and pee -- just about anywhere.  We praised him and he grinned and couldn't wait for the next 'funny feeling' signaling impending peepee.

Realistically, that was three or four years ago.  And he is still equally obsessed with his penis.  And balls.  The whole package, really.  Peanuts, he calls them.  Or Pirates (so, very close to Privates.)  Yesterday, we were leaving the pool.  I was leading the charge, toting the big swim bag, kids trailing behind me like ducks in a row.  I was coaching, 'stay to the side, guys', 'pick up your bag, sweetie', 'over here, Mimi' when I noticed that two people were pointing and chuckling at my trail of kids.  When I looked back to see what was funny, it's Little, moving in slow mo, like he's walking through jello.  He had one hand all the way down his pants, the other hand scratching his butt.  So mesmerized was he by the post-pool case of the 'I'm tireds', post-pool case of the 'when are we gonna eats', one hand down pants and one scratching butt, he had come nearly to a complete stop in the middle of the lobby . . . . scratching and itching and, well, watching things around him.

Really.

From a personal (and parenting) standpoint, I lean toward the school of teaching appropriateness vs. scolding.  If I had a dime for every time during the day that I say, "hand out of your pants, Bud, we're going into _________________________ (fill in the blank . . . it could be the pool, Target, Costco, a restaurant, someone's house)", I would surely be rich.  But, having dealt on a personal level with Hands Down Pants for several years now, I kindof understand why moms years ago threatened blindness and all sorts of other personal hells as punishment.  I also understand, from a child's perspective why stopping is impossible . . . and why just getting glasses must seem like a perfectly fine option.

Monday, June 07, 2010

My house. My home.

Bless the my children for teaching me and reminding me, sometimes daily, of what matters.  I'm talking about my house.  My home is my 'place'.  The place I run to.  My sanctuary. 

When I began working strictly from home, it became much, much more.  Some days, I don't leave home because, well, I can't.  I get wrapped up in working all morning.  By noon, with Mimi, if it ain't done, it probably ain't gettin' done.  With big kids activities in afternoon & evening, I try to stay close to home in the afternoon -- if not for napping, then for QT.  It's a tradition in my home.  Every day.  QT.  It stands for Quiet Time.  Eveyone has QT.  Every day.  For some amount of time, at least 30 minutes, more if you'd like -- everyone has QT.   We're in QT now.  I'm blogging, Big is on the sofa reading, Middle is in her bed playing with the iPad, Little is lego-ing & Mimi is napping.  Moose is next to the ottoman.  Tana is on the rug at the back door.  QT is mandatory.  And daily. 

Back to the point.  Last summer, the kids played musical rooms.  Big moved downstairs, Little took her room, Mimi took his.  Middle was the only one who stayed put and had no changes.  This year, she claimed to be ready for a move.  So, downstairs to the big girls' apartment she went.  Last year, I let the kids pick their paint colors.  We painted.  And decorated.  And moved furniture.  So, only fitting this year to let Middle pick her paint colors.  And, eureka sue, did she ever. 

Side note:  Thank you, Middle, for reminding me that it is, indeed, YOUR room, YOUR space & YOUR decision.

Forty dollars in paint & supplies later, we have a very pink and purple bedroom.  Pink and purple dots on the ceiling, purple curtains, pink & purple lava lamp.  It's very . . . . well, pink and purple.  It's very, well, er, um . . not my color pallate.  But then again, it's her space.   And, what's important . . . is that SHE loves HER space.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The road to hell,
I am positive,
must be lined with yarrow and dandelions. 

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Wow.

I took the big girls -- Big & Middle on a girl's date last night.  Surprised them, kindof, with tickets to see Carrie Underwood.  Here's the summary.



1.  Wow.  Holy Cow.  That girl can BELT it out.  I bet there was oxygen under the stage.  I'm not sure it's physically possible to hold a note T.H.A.T. long at high altitude and remain standing.
2.  Double wow.  Concerts have changed alot in the last 15 years -- those that I've been officially 'concertless'.  Last night, I was scratching my head thinking about the last concert that I went to.  I think it was at the state fair.  About 15 years ago.  I think.  I can't even remember.  And that proves my point.  Concerts used to be a complete drunk fest, and even if it was a respectable artist, there was a pit where crazy shit happened.  Not now.
3.  While I'm on the subject of change . . . . techno-kabam.  Remember concerts where there was a singer.  And they sat on stage.  And sang.  That was it.  That's all.  It was just like being in your dorm room, but really loud.  Not so much now.  There's better lighting.  Way better.  And effects.  Elevated and automated stages that telescope up and down like a giant cake, extra screens.  Live close-ups, movies in the background.  Trees that drop from the ceiling & trucks suspended from the roof that drive around the arena.  Wow.
4.  Finally, I have to blog about the effects the next morning.  Since we got home near midnight last night.  Both girls were zonked out cold in the car.  I gave them toothbrush passes and helped them into bed, right in their concert clothes.  I kissed them and promised to keep Moose out of their rooms in the morning so they could sleep in.  The true after effect is this:   At 6:21 this morning, when my eyes were firmly stuck together with makeup I failed to take off last night, a tiny fuzzy blond head popped over the side of my head.  "Mom," it said in a little boy's voice, "can you listen to my heart?"  He brought in my stethescope -- a sure sign he thought something was wrong.  I popped it in my ears, eyes still closed and listened to his heart.  With my assessment complete, I said, "you're good bud, it's beating really stong."  He broke into a toothless ornery grin and said, "oh, good, I thought it stopped pumping last night." Just that much commotion woke Mimi, who sat up on my tummy and started rambling about a blue ball and a red ball and something called Zog.  Little's noggin popped back long enough to tell me she was talking about AstroBoy, that she was really good for daddy and she didn't eat any of her dinner.  6:30 am.  That is an after effect.  I should be sleeping.  It's now 8:14 and I should still be sleeping.  I swear, that's one of the reasons we parents don't do anything fun late at night . . . because you pay for it that night -- and you pay double the next morning.  Eye-eye-eye.  Let the coffee infusion begin.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Growing Up Without Cell Phones

I just had a hilarious, tears-in-my-eyes, hour long conversation with a fellow mom.  We are beginning to feel like old farts.  It seems like every day, something I say dates me further.  From walkmans and 8-tracks to Eddie Rabbit . . . we covered it all, so I thought it was particularly hilarious when she sent this to me.   IF you are 30, or older, you might think this is hilarious!


When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways… yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn utopia!

And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig?

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!

There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOD !!! Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-finks!

And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!

And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores!

And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!

See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or any time before!

Regards,

The Over 30 Crowd

A tiny birdie.

"A tiny birdie."  That's Mimi.  She's obsessed with birdies.  "A tiny birdie."  "A -other (not another) tiny birdie."   "A tiny yellow birdie."  "One-two birdies."    "Birdies talking."    "Oh!  More birdies!"
Imagine the smile and awestruck look on her face at the zoo yesterday.  A whole room full of parakeets & cockatiels that you can handle.  And feed.  It was so cool!


I wasn't sure.

Talking this morning about a product revelation. 

Several Christmases ago, when Kindle was first released from Amazon, MOTH and I sat before the computer oohing and aaahing over it's compact nature, portability, the idea behind the machine.  We thought it'd be cool, but were really hung up on the price tag.  I think I posted something about it at that time. 

In the days, years, months that passed, I became the world's biggest skeptic.  The con list grew:  couldn't take it to the gym, no more reading in the bathtub (I know, just pretend that I do have that option . . . because if I could, I would.  It just so happens that bathtime now comes with a tea set and squirtie reptiles.  Someday, I'll read in the bathtub again.  Candles and sea salts with heavenly scent.)  The risk of breaking it would be oh, so high.  At the very tippy top of my con list was that good old-fashioned feeling you get when you crack a new book.  Best two words ever:  Chapter One.  I didn't think the idea of ordering a book, having it wirelessly delivered could compare to the process of strolling through the towering racks at the library or a book store searching for a call number or an author's name.  I surely didn't think a swipe across a screen could compare to the feeling of lifting the weathered edge of a good read and plowing through it, one page turn at a time.  I wondered:  when you're holding a kindle, do you get that feeling of satisfaction when you are nearing the end of a book?  Does your breath still catch in your throat at cliff hanger moments?  And what about closing the book?  Is powering down the same thing?

No, I don't have a kindle.  I do have the kindle app for my iphone.  I loved it with business travel.  I have my phone anyway, so moving through an airport, no book is one less thing to tote.  Now, I have that same app for iPad.  iBooks is also a free download.  Today, I'm here to say:  I love them both. 

I love the portability.  I love the lightness.  I love the bookmark.  I love meter at the bottom telling you where you are in the book, and the chapter.  I love being able to change the font and type.  I love that it's backlit.  It's easy on the eyes.  And here is what I love most.  (Sit and be surprised, I was, 'cause this isn't something Amazon or iTunes could ever advertise.) 

I love, love, love that having a digital copy of a book makes space on bookshelves for other things.  As the child of a hoarder, I have my own unique set of issues.  One of them is keeping ALOT, any large volume of ANYthing in ANY one place.  Even things I love, like books, begin to grate on me and I have an overwhelming urge to purge them.  Overwhelming.  Over.  Whelming. 

O. V. E. R. W. H. E. L. M. I. N. G. 

I am physically unable to keep things.  Even if I see their need for reuse in the future.  Once the purging moment comes, I'm helpless, a token, a pawn.  And, if it ain't nailed down, it'll be gone.  With iBooks and/or Kindle . . . . I have open shelves.   I have only my very favorite reads left on shelves.  The ones I once loved and have been holding onto thinking I'll read them again . . . . . going, going, gone.   Point being:  who would have known?  Who would have thought that something so deeply ingrained in my upbringing could be addressed by a digital whatchamacallit?  Amazing.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Gimme the third, Universe.

Okay, Universe.   Gimme the third.  They say "things", a broad and general scope of crappy things that can range from a smashed finger or bleeding cuticle to death, happen in three's.  I'm ready for number three. 

ONE:  This weekend, I awoke to the sound of water.  Outside water.  Ah, summer.  Sprinklers running in early morning, happy thoughts running through my head, taking coffee outside to gaze at the garden before the munchkins awake.  Uh.  Stopped.  Dead in my tracks.  We have a problem, Houston.  On the order of a flood-style problem.  Coffee aside, and the kids now up, attempting to wade through the waterhole that is our back yard . . . the best I can determine is that a valve is kaput or a solenoid is shot.  Either way, MOTH got up cursing and stomping.  I finally sat down with my coffee.  Seemed more appropriate to use binocs to search for a cape buffalo.  We're talking complete ground OVER-saturation.  Hmm, how long have those been running??

TWO:  Last night, we arrived home from dinner out, dessert at grandma's.  MOTH had been called into a hospital (thank God we took two cars!)   I was gettting the dogs out, getting them fed, searching for the flower sprinkler to give the now-dry-grass a drink, wiping crap off of Mimi's foot (she's helping, of course), when a very naked young man ran outside and hollered, "Mom!  What was that noise?  Was it a gunshot?"  Hearing nothing, I dismissed him.  But, an hour and a half later, when MOTH called me from the driveway saying, "Can you move whatever's blocking the garage door . . . I can't get in," the pieces began coming together.  No dice.  We can't get the door up.  Turns out a gigantic spring that is critical to the open-feature is broken.  In two.  And when it popped, BANG.  Gunshot.

So, number THREE.  Universe, bring it on.  Whilst I am ready, expecting it, and my cheerful morning demeanor is still intact . . . . bring it on.

Oh wait, could hundred year Grandma's fall this weekend count as THREE?  Hundred year old grandma fell this weekend & had surgery on her old, old body to fix a broken leg.  Such a terrible, terrible thing. 

However, I think there's a theme to the three's, and I don't think Grandma counts.  It's a homeowner's whoa theme.  So, back to square one.  Bring it on.