Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Practically Practical

Remember when you were young? The ultimate insult was that the shoes on your feet or the clothes on your back were KMart bluelight specials. Somehow having parents who were thrifty was a social gaffe in the highest degree. (as if you had even the slightest control over where your parents shopped) Getting a good deal was a curse and if people found-out it could somehow impugn your character and even worse your popularity. There was even a major hit by a superstar of note who no one would ever confuse with the mother of Christ boldly titled "Material Girl". It was an age of consumerism.

Though there have been many groups of teens who avoided this materialism (punk and grunge spring to mind immediately) it has steadily grown. The kids who would ridicule each other in the school yard became the parents who bought $50 Air Jordans for their 1 year-olds and frequented toy boutiques because everyone knows "it" is better if you spend more. But, then came the dollar stores, warehouse stores, and discounted and outlet stores. Steadily a change began in the most consumer population known to America - the teens. 

No longer are there clothing allowances that rival the GDP of a small country. Teens need to learn to budget their money and the value of their purchases. Teen, who never cared much about the label on her clothes handy since it wouldn't have made a bit of differenece in my shopping habits, went shopping for her friends' gifts. There was no mad dash to the mall, no $25 t-shirts that shred to bits in the first load of laundry, and no need for me to supplement her savings lucky - since I wouldn't, I'm just evil like that. She and her friends exchanged gifts purchased largely from the dollar store. They loved giving and receiving odd items that made them laugh. And when the time came for Teen to purchase pop for class parties etc. she told me not to worry. She would buy no-name pop or pick it up at the Dollar Store where there is the "cheapest price for name-brand 2 liters." A victory for practicality! Now, if we can just get them to see the folly of a $4 cup of coffee...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's About the Dress - Isn't It?

Teen used to put on a dress with glee. She would look at dresses in her closet and choose one to wear almost daily. Often times she could even be found adding a hat to complete each outfit.

Then something changed. Whether it was living near her boy cousins, who wouldn't be caught dead in dresses, or the fact that she found it increasingly difficult to dig for dinosaur bones in a skirt, at about 4 years-old she was put-off dresses. Oh, she could still be subjected to the occasional dress, but once yearly has been pretty much the maximum and really topped out with her 1st Communion dress in 2nd grade. So, when the time came to order an orchestra dress I was intrigued.

We attended the high school winter concert with the whole crew, including cousins and Grandma. Hey, this dress thing was really exciting! The concert was captivating I know because even Boy and Youngest sat still and quiet throughout.Of course in typical teen-fashion we heard about every mistake after the concert, but being no Mozart myself I will have to take her word for it.

Next on the concert tour was Youngest's performance. On the way to the show Youngest could be heard talking almost endlessly to herself. The thought flow here was interesting, to say the least:
"Mom, you can tell S-- that there is such things as Sea Cucumbers. I told her, but she didn't believe me and laughed. It hurt my feelings." then without a breath she continues..
"S-- thought I was making fun  of her cause I asked what that cat looked like. It is black and white. She said a tuxedo cat and I hadn't heard of that before. So I asked and she got mad at me. Hmmm. I wonder what S--'s dress will look like. I hope it is beautiful. I think she will like my dress, but I just really don't know. I'm so curious to see everyone's dresses."

Not kidding, this was all done in one breath. We are not looking for Youngest to give-up dresses anytime soon.
(the red dress)

Of course the concert was adorable. Really, who can see a kindergarten concert and not think it is at least cute well aside from Boy who wasn't too impressed. She was the sun, which of course set Boy and Teen into giggles because, let's face it the child already thinks the world revolves around her. Did we really need to fuel the fire?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Just say Thanks

Most everyone has them. Those little pet peeves that just get under your skin and nag at you. Maybe you don't even realize it until days later there it is in your mind again. That is how it is with me and appreciation. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for appreciation if I were I definitely wouldn't work with 90+ middle schoolers everyday.

The appreciation I am looking for is more in the Col. Nathan Jessep, A Few Good Men style. I was listening to a news story about heroin abuse in Russia. It is a huge problem that is devastating the population. At this point they have my sympathy. It is difficult to live this day in age without knowing someone whose life was affected in some way by an addiction issue. So, I'm driving along feeling badly for the country.

And then, some guy is translated blaming the US for the problem. It seems in his view our country is not doing enough to stop the drug proliferation from spreading out of Afghanistan. Are you kidding me?

How can it be the same countries that miss no opportunity to criticize and harass the US for being "where we don't belong" are also the same countries that want us to fix all their problems? Do they not know we can't even fix our pharmaceutical drug issues let alone street drug problem? If you want the darn poppy field destroyed - contribute more men to the cause! Work as allies instead of waiting on the sidelines. And if you can't do that, then by all means as Col. Jessep suggests, "Say thank you and be on your way."

Now, it is Fatherhood Friday! So, scoot on over to DadBlogs and read some great stories and thoughts!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

*raging loudly at the world*

I had planned to write a lighthearted post about the wonderful things to be enjoyed in life for today. Sadly, that will not be happening.

A child at my school committed suicide yesterday. A preteen who has barely had a glimpse of the wonderful and exciting things life has to offer decided to exit before she could even grasp what she was leaving behind. Sympathy and sadness do not begin to convey the feelings I have for her parents and family. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. I can't begin to imagine the suffering they are facing and I am sure they need all the strength they can get.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday's Tidbits

Life has been hectic, but I have picked up a few odds and ends to share.

~ In reviewing Christmas lists Hubby wanted to know what in the world Teen would want with Star Wars action figures. He specifically pointed-out to her that half of what she wants is on   Non-pulsed she looked up and said, "I am your daughter."

~ We all have those moments. Mine came on a rainy car drive in a crowded area. We were rushing to get to the roller rink to have fun. Boy was beside me, using fritos to make tusks and becoming a walrus. When pressed to look I mumbled something about letting me drive. It hit me like a ton of bricks - I was so focused on getting to the fun, I was missing it. So, I looked over and said show me. He replied, "I already ate one of my tusks." After much giggling he donned a new pair to do his walrus imitation.

~ In a hectic moment I was busily trying to tidy the kitchen. Youngest came up to let me know she had to change her clothes. (seems the bus was later than normal and though she ran home, she needed to make a change) She modeled her new outfit and explained, "I observed you cleaning up before, so I knew just what to do." Now if I can only get the rest of the family to observe me on cleaning day.

OK, I have to rush off for Teen's Christmas orchestra concert! Have a great week!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Boys are Different

Having a 5 year-old in the house is an exhausting amazing prospect. The world transitions from hands-on exploration to cognitive deduction and reasoning, at times I swear that you can see the gears turning in their heads. This was certainly the case this past weekend.

We were blessed with the opportunity to care for my 18 month-old nephew for the practically sleepless night of Thanksgiving and the following day. After a morning filled with mom & dad shopping activity, it was time for lunch and a well-deserved nap. While preparing Nephew for his rest, Youngest came in to gloat say good night.

I was just changing his diaper when she took a good look at him. (apparently the first look she has taken in the 5 months he has lived in Sunnyville) She looked to me with questions clearly ready to spring from her lips. Watching her confusion settle into a controllable flow, I completed the diaper change. Youngest then asked, "Is that long circle thing gonna be stuck on his bumm forever?"

"Yup," was all I could manage without bursting into giggles.

After a few moments of gear turning she asked, "So all boys have that kind of bumm?" In response to my second "Yup" she replied "Oh." In a voice better fitted to finding a smashed bug on your shoe.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks in the Darndest Places

Life can sometimes become a hot coal walk. You find yourself jump-hop-limping along from one thing to the next so focused on accomplishing your goal that you can forget to step off the coals for a moment and admire your blessings. Thanksgiving gives us an entire day to simply leave the burning coals for a time and be grateful.

There are days when blessings are everywhere and there are days when you feel as though you are searching for Waldo. When confronted with a "Waldo" day the following may be helpful.

~ Stuck in the car for a 20 minute drive with a teen after telling her she is grounded: Reminding yourself that you do adore the mini-hellion child may help briefly, but being thankful that you were able to bust her in whatever offense she committed may actually bring a smile to your face. 

~ Faced with a day of caring for the neighbor as well as your children when you really need to clean: Being thankful you can send them outside is helpful, but using it as an excuse to abandon all work for a bit and enjoy a morning in the woods is truly something to be thankful for! (knowing grounded teen will opt-out of the trip and can stay home and do her chores is a double blessing!)

~ Creating and completing the 10th Thanksgiving craft with your 5 year-old while trying to make dinner and bake for school feasts: You can remember that these moments are fleeting which you may be ardently hoping as the timer goes off and you are covered with glue and paint, or you can stop and listen to her being thankful for everything from "warm coziness" to her family and realize she has learned this attitude from somewhere though her thankfulness has far less sarcasm peppering it

In any event and in whatever form your blessings may take, I sincerely wish you and "warm cozy" and bountiful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Karma It Isn't

The family is gathered around the kitchen, engaged in various activities. Hubby and I are having a conversation while Boy chimes-in, sharing his input. Teen strides into this scene, exclaiming that we "need to see this." Hubby and I look-up, wondering what has her excited enough to: a) leave her room - quickly b) bring the computer & c) interrupt our conversation because she is usually so polite!

Teen proceeds to pull-up and begin playing a video. Hubby & Boy watch the video while Youngest and I work on dinner. There is some conversation about the video and the (much loved) band who recently released an album and apparently a video. In one simple act, she has everyone's attention.

Great. Now, if the world really runs on karma - why do I know so many variations of the next scene?

1. Knock gently, then enter Teen's room. Announce presence, just to be sure. 
2. Watch the book cover (computer screen, sketch pad etc) for signs that my presence has been noted. 
3. Upon hearing the grunted "huh?" respond with request, question, or interesting tidbit to share. 
4. Wait a moment....insist child put down the phone (headphones, IM window) then repeat step 3.
5. Receive large eye roll or WTH look from Teen as she tears herself away to hear the conversation originating in step 3. 
6. Share tidbit, haltingly, because now you aren't too pleased with your reception.

Forget all of the above steps and everytime you want to tell said teen anything, you call her out of her room or away from the computer and insist she give her full attention to you before you start. (must say Hubby is a master at this) It drives her bonkers, but cracks me up. This does fall under legal torture techniques - right?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Change - of Course

It is Friday, so click the link here or the button on my sidebar and head over to DadBlogs to read some wonderful blogs.

Speaking of DadBlogs, I recently (5 minutes ago) read a blog there about whether or not becoming a parent changes your views. It started me thinking rusty machinery that it is. I responded in a decidedly ambiguous manner. But I was changed, forever and markedly by a child. Only he wasn't mine.

While in high school my dad and step mom became foster parents to Joey. He was a tiny thing whose mother was in an institution and father was also institutionalized. Joey was the first foster child in my life. Here I was a high school snot who put herself above most other objects and on a visit to my dad's I meet this little guy. Having nephews & a niece whom I adored, I knew I loved kids. I had been looking forward to a visit with a baby to keep me busy and entertained. But, Joey was different. He was adrift. I adored him.

Over 3 years Joey came and went. He went to his mother when she was well and came back to my dad's when she went crazy. When he was with her my dad and stepmom would babysit and bring her clothes, food, and take her to file for benefits. Because they couldn't just leave Joey. I had conversations on the phone with her, I had seen pictures - she was the mother. She was insane.

Everyone became attached to Joey. He was simply part of our family, my brother. My father would joke that being a foster father is easy "because men become attached after a child is born." Joey was loved.

After these years and many ordeals, that would fill a book. Joey was murdered by his mother. She hung him in the kitchen.

I have no idea what he felt or thought. I imagine that there were angels there to shield and protect him. I hope there were.

This precious little life who would run through the park and say "fick it daddy" every time his radio turned off. The innocent boy who would believe that electronics were sleeping so that we could have some peace with dinner. He was gone. Everyday that fact is with me.

The effects were numerous. My father was changed, there was tragedy and ruin in his eyes. My step-mother threw herself into changing the laws to protect children. The mother was imprisoned and my father went to court to ask for life instead of the death penalty. She was insane. I became an advocate for children. I worked in prevention and education. I made DCF calls on parents and with teens who were abused. I tried to teach parents how to play, care for, and respect their children. Honestly I can't say that I would have made these choices if not for my experience. Life is experience wonderful and terrible and it is the experiences we face that shape who we are and who we become. So, yes - children change us..

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Some people call it practical

I call it creative.

Instead of Halloween Youngest celebrated "culture day" at school. An exciting event in which the mother found information suitable for a kindergartner to know, remember, and share child did some research, made a food and dressed in traditional clothing of the location. With a mix of cultures in her blood how was a girl to choose which to represent?

By the clothing of course! We spent time looking at traditional clothes from three cultures and settled on the Ukraine, because their dresses had ribbons, embroidery, and best of all they have princess headbands. Who could ask for anything more?

While looking for the basics of the outfit you didn't honestly think I was going to make the time to sew the skirt and vest did you? we picked-up a pair of scrubs for Boy's costume. He wasn't totally sure what he wanted to be, but he knew it involved fake blood and doctor scrubs. A great start for any haunting outfit.

Under the close scrutiny of Youngest and ample use of stitch witchery, her outfit was completed. Thursday she brought in a poster hastily made by mom she colored in herself, and perogies to share. Grandma came to the event, bringing Ukrainian eggs that she was able to pass around. All in all she had a great day.

The next evening we were having a costume dress rehearsal. The temperature being near 90, I thought it unwise to dress Youngest in the dragon costume formerly worn by Boy not to mention the hours I spent working on a perfectly good Ukrainian outfit that needed some more wear. It was time to improvise. We filled Youngest in on the future telling abilities of fortune tellers and turned her into a lovely gypsy. The make-up was a huge selling point on this costume.
Boy took some unsolicited advice and became Dr. Frankenstein. Complete with dirt and blood smeared arms and face. He was even able to cannibalize an old doll to have body parts in his pocket. It was great fun and brought in much candy. Hmmm, speaking of that I better go check the packaging on a few of the snickers bars. Hope your Halloween was scary and your treats were plenty!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Babies or Puppies

For as many hours of my life as the puppies are sucking away from me needing my care, I have restrained myself from saying too much about them. But very, very soon they will be leaving us for their new homes; and I was feeling a bit joyous at the prospect of having some fun money melancholy at their imminent departure. So, I began to ponder as I scrubbed the floor of the puppy pen while trying to hold my nose and keep from gagging. I have some friends for whom a pet fills-in for a young child, either because they are single, their children are grown, or they just prefer it that way. So, what exactly are the differences?

1. Feeding: puppies eat from a bowl on the floor while babies dump their bowls onto the floor.
2. Potty training: puppies go anywhere anytime you clean it up, babies do the same just with a diaper attachment.
3. Attention: puppies whine for it and babies cry for it, but you can shut the door on the puppies.
4.Bathing: babies wiggle and squirm, puppies do the same but with grip-action fur

5. Babysitting: babies overnights can be costly, but no one will volunteer to sit for 11 puppies
6. Cuteness factor: this one is a dead heat.
7. Cuddle factor: while both are cuddly, with a baby you wonder what's in his pants and with a puppy you wonder what's on his paws, nose, head - ok all his body parts.(yuck)

Each baby type has its draw backs and attractions. Maybe if I had 11 babies at once I'd shoot myself in the head I'd feel differently. But though I will be sad to see them go, I will really be ok with them going. Most days I can't say the same about my children

Monday, October 26, 2009

Testing Questions

The State Test. It is a phenomenon that brings out a strong opinion in almost everyone. Should there be a test that measures student performance? What should be the measure? Is it fair? etc etc ad nausea um.

My opinion on testing is fairly simple and straight forward. Yes, there should be tests. It seems pretty obvious to this simple person that when you teach something you need to assess if the students have learned it. (though I am of the firm opinion that a test score is simply a snapshot of a student - not a portrait of progress)

And that brings me to my point. There is a debate here in Sunnyland that teachers are spending too much class time teaching to The Test. Hmm. Let me see if I can get this straight. The "great minds" that make-up the powers-that-be have decided at each grade level there are certain skills and knowledge that each student should learn and exhibit. Ok. Next, teachers are taxed with imparting said knowledge to their students. It is just such knowledge that the curriculum is designed to cover. Sure, makes sense so far... Next teachers design interactive and engaging lessons even at the expense of any sleep to spread said knowledge far and wide. Still with me? They teach, practice, and test these skills. THEN students take state tests that cover the same skills. So, where is the problem?

This is precisely the point at which I always become lost. How can a teacher be accused of teaching to the test when the "great minds" said it is just such material teachers should be covering in the classrooms? Was the teacher supposed to wait until spring to start teaching these skills? What would they rather students learn in LA - weaving? Maybe LA teachers should teach football plays 101 for a few weeks each fall and to hell with the elements of literature or author's purpose. Maybe they should make tests that cover bizarre trivia. Because walking into a test completely unprepared is just exactly how we want children to prepare for the future.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Joy of Reading

It's Friday, so that means there are many great posts here at Fatherhood Friday on DadBolgs. Click either link for a journey to some great blogs.

When I think of books and fatherhood some images come immediately to mind.

There was the time my dad gave me The Velveteen Rabbit and inside the cover he had even written an inscription. This was as shocking as anything in my almost 5 years of experience. My father actually wrote in a book - for me. In the evenings we would sit in the living room and he would read me that story. A picture book with chapters, very grown-up for a girl who had not even begun her elementary school career.

Much later there were the times the same man would insist I stop reading and spend some time in the sun. Obviously pre skin-cancer worry days. Having nothing against the sun, I would gladly drag my reading materials out to the lake and read there.

The second inscribed book from my father came at my confirmation. It was the Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes, bound in leather with gold-leaf edges. It was a mark of my "growing-up."

These are books I still have today and cherish. I've read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories many times, but they are a comforting friend that can ease me to sleep after a stress-filled day. I have shared the story of a much loved rabbit with my own children, even sharing the picture I drew of my dad after his inscription.

Now, I listen to my husband read to my children. Listening to them laugh along with Dr Seuss and worry about Wilbur's fate are new reminders of the impact a parent and a good story can have on a child.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Different View

Youngest began kindergarten this year. Now for a child who has spent all but the first 4 months and a few summers in daycare you would think that kindergarten is simply an extension of school. Well you (and I) would be wrong. It began as a place that put fear into her young heart and had her shaking with enthusiasm. To enter the "big kid" school where there is reading and math, tests and homework was her marker that she had in fact made it, to what I am not sure, but she seemed very excited to have done it.

With this excitement in mind we diligently scour her Friday folder each week. She insists on overseeing the entire operation sharing each paper with us, explaining the nuances of the assignment that we are too old and dull to see for ourselves. So it happened that Hubby stumbled upon the first worksheet and was unable to shield the surprise and shock from Youngest. His apparent displeasure, as evidenced to our young 5 year-old by his questioning of the work, sent her into tears of displeasure. He soothed the child and let the matter drop. 

It was a while later before I had a chance to sort through the mountains of paper that come home from school look at her work. I should probably mention that while I am an involved parent, I am not obsessively so. In sorting through papers alone, I am a skimmer. But this paper caught my attention. At first glance something appeared "off." My brain seemed to say, "hey! hold on, look a bit closer." The paper was an innocuous sort of beginning sounds with animals pictures and the word minus the first letter. The student was to write in the first letter and then there was a space beside each word to copy the entire word. Normal kindergarten fare. Except that my daughter had copied each word in its mirror image. 

Yep, we are talking The Shining, REDRUM style backwards. (with each letter being backwards as well) It was truly amazing. When my brain processed what it was I was seeing I actually ran to the mirror to hold the paper up, and sure enough in kindergarten scrawl there were the words clear as day. When asked about the paper, Youngest glumly replied, "I know, I did it wrong." And yes, technically she was right. But, how amazing it seems to me; that mirror-style backwards is even a option to her brain. Of course I won't be taking her to any secluded winter retreats.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Complaints and Other Usless Things

I have a confession to make. There are afternoons that I leave my job in an absolutely foul mood. The massive cuts placed on our budgets combined with the increased needs of the students due to economic stressors and massive flu absences have created additional strain on everyone. For the large part, I avoid the "moan areas." There is no pay-off to complaining about conditions, so unless you are looking for a solution I will only nod politely and move along. Thankfully, I have a great team and together we try to find solutions that will work for us. Ways to share the load and people in whom we can confide without fear of complaints turning into a moan-fest. 

But yesterday was incredibly busy. With one demand after another falling on our shoulders. So, it was in this weakened condition I found myself driving home. I was irritated and frustrated. Wanting badly to vent, I reached for my cell. Unintentionally I was on the verge of dumping all my woes upon the shoulders of a friend. Whomever I chose to call at this moment would not be solution-focused. Sure she would listen and sympathize, but she would be left feeling bad for me without that being my intention at all. I dropped the phone, call unmade. 

I replayed the day in my head and added all the items I could not complete and would move to the next day. I considered how I would help a new student who absolutely refuses to pick up any sort of writing or reading device. How I can possibly keep students current with week long absences due to flu. How I can stay effective and energetic. In other words, I was wallowing. 

Driving along fuming at myself for not knowing all the answers and preparing myself to face the chaos at home, I happened to look into an opening in the trees. Here there was a shaded area housing a field of wild flowers. Just that glimpse and my shoulders released, my stress began to abate. It is truly a wonderful world and the beauty is all around us. I just needed to look around.

ps: There are several such areas and today I made sure to look at each on the way to and from work. ahhh - nature's release.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Defending Hearth and Home

I spent many nights being the only adult in the home at bed time. Hubby worked a 3-11 shift for a few years here and there, and with over-time (who can ever pass that up?) I was often alone at bedtime. These days have passed and now it is a very rare occasion for me to be the night guardian.

A few days ago Hubby and Teen began a weekend get-away in Chicago. Leaving me to work and slave protect and care for the littlest ones at home. The first night was not awful, largely due to my mind and body being preoccupied with caring for Youngest's current illness. Sheer exhaustion outweighed any concerns of crazed family killers breaking in and I was able to sleep after checking all doors and even peering into closets with relative comfort.

Due to the doctor and dropping in on family, we arrived home at bedtime on the second night. The kids rapidly went through the bedtime rituals and were both soundly tucked-in (to my bed). I did a quick house check and settled-in to watch some TV. After exposing my mind to science fiction and murder, I was ready for bed. Struggling to maintain space and covers I began to drift. Secure in the knowledge that we were locked in, safe. Only to be jolted to a sitting posture when a particularly loud noise blasted through the house. I struggled to identify the noise and realized it was Daisy (the dog)getting in and out of the puppy-pool to feed her offspring. Talking myself down, I remembered that both children were with me and therefore defended and that the house was locked up tight after all.

Friday morning saw the usual burst of activity. Boy had left his shoes in the car and ran out to get them, I was throwing some form of sustenance into lunch boxes, and Youngest was singing and talking to the puppies. Frantically herding the crew to the van, I was doing a quick search for my wallet (it also holds my keys). Boy notices my actions and says, "Here Mom. When I went to get my shoes these were hanging outside the door." Sure enough he was holding my keys and wallet. Oops!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Accident Prone

It's Friday and that means it's time for you to visit DadBlogs to read some great posts and maybe share a few!

Urination. That seems to be the developing theme of my week. Receiving the call from the school that Youngest had an accident on the way to the bus proved only the kick-off event. She was placed in the school's aftercare program with Boy, and I was to pick them up there. Following a detailed conversation with the school nurse about the occurrence of kindergartners and accidents (apparently it is a very stressful time) I flew up the expressway from work, because I really didn't want to have to pay for more aftercare than was absolutely necessary.One accident dealt with, too many more to go.

I cleaned Youngest up and had her all ready for soccer practice. Just before leaving the house I insisited she go potty. At this point it was made clear to me that it hurts to go potty. Hmmmm. Definitely a problem here. She took care of business and we left for the fields. After 45 minutes of practice we were back in the van when I mention to Youngest that we need to stop for milk etc. She screams that she can't, she needs to be home RIGHT NOW or she will have an accident. Now, bathrooms are never conviently located for quick access in stores, so we turn down our street and are pulling in the driveway 2  minutes later. As I am unlocking the doors she begins to cry. Accident number 2 in the van. Fun.

Cleaning her up, again, I come to terms with the idea that I will need to get her to the doctor tomorrow. This is very bizarre behavior and surely signifies an infection. Youngest is now in jammies and I leave her with Boy so I can run out to grab a gallon of milk. No accidents. Phew.

I begin to pour cranberry juice down Youngest's throat and feed them both dinner. After a decent interval, we do the bedtime routine complete with a potty stop. Since the house is unusually empty - Hubby and Teen being on an excellent adventure in Chicago - Youngest won't sleep in her bed and has planted herself firmly in the middle of mine. Sometime durring Criminal Minds she comes barrelling through the door, passing up a perfectly good bathroom located near the foot of my bed for her convience, to use the kids bathroom. Just as she hits the door - yep,  you guessed it, another accident. More cleaning, changing, and it is back to sleep.

Upon heading to bed, I realize it would be very unfortunate to wake in a wet bed. So, I move Youngest and Boy (who has now also taken residence in my bed) back to their respective locations. I coax myself to sleep in a house noticably devoid of people. Waking at 2 to a child is almost always unpleasant. This night, would prove no different. Between sobs that her bed is wet I manage to clean her up again and strip the bed. All I want to do is sleep. But where to put Youngest? My desire to wake wet has not increased with time and I cast my mind about searching for a solution. There are no pull-ups in my home. There are diapers for nephew, but he is one - they will surely suffocate Youngest. Hmmm. I look under the sink and AH-HA!

I tell Youngest I am going to put something in her panties in case of emergency. Catching a glimpse of the item she exclaims "But you said those are for ladies!" 
"Well, they are," I admit. But go on to explain that it will just sit in her panties in case a few tinkles sneak out. So, with Youngest wearing a maxi-pad we were both able to get a few hours of rest. Neccessity is the mother of invention - right?

ps. She did have an infection is now medicated and hopefully recovering soon. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Soccer Season Kicks Off

Saturday morning began at the soccer field. Youngest was playing her first game ever. And Boy was to play his first game in a new age division. The excitement was almost enough to get them to the field on time building as we rushed from the house bright and early.

First up was to be Youngest. She was decked out in new cleats don't ask - Goodwill must have gotten the older kids' shoes and shin guards. She was raring to go. As the game began we sat on the sidelines and watched the team of 5 & 6 year olds wave celebrity-style at all the parents assembled. The coach blew the whistle and there they stood. Looking at one another for direction. The clueless leading the lost. 

Eventually things got rolling and the kids were kicking the ball and running around the field. The frantic parental yelling could have been mistaken for boisterous cheering from afar. But as one approached the field it would clarify to directions. "Kick the ball." "Go the other way!" were popular cheers. Parents who had never met were rapidly learning all the players name, as it became clear that the players responded to directions best when names were used. It was an energetic game with the parents giving it their all and the kids running from one end of the field to the other - regardless of the possession or location of the ball.

Next up was Boy's game. Here was a notable difference in the activity of the parents. Fewer were the shouts of encouragement and absent were the directions. The play progressed with directions from coaches alone and was watched by a largely silent crowd. It was a more professional game with better planning and teamwork. Missing the noise and energy of the previous game, I was able to focus on the skill and attention Boy has developed. I take heart that Teen's seasons always began like this, and as the season progresses parents will learn names and will soon be cheering and engaging in the game.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Title That Fit

If you were to talk to people who knew me in college and late high school, you would hear that I was the grounded one mother-hen. When canoeing down river, it was me who would yell that there could be branches and to check the water depth. I was the voice whispering that taking treasures from a late-night chain eatery wasn't a competition, it was stealing. Sometimes I would feel down on myself, wondering if this trait made me boring.

Then, 15 years ago something happened. It started with a clueless 21 year-old waiting for a friend to stop by after work so we could all grab Chinese food. Sitting on the couch with Hubby, I was laughing my hiney-off and thought - hmmm did I actually laugh so hard I'm wet? I ran for the bathroom and suspected that this may be something more....

After making 3 phone calls to friends and family for confirmation, I gave-in and called the doctor. Yes, my water had broken - 3 weeks early. Wait a minute - this can't happen, the shower is this coming weekend! We have next to nothing!!!

Next to nothing or not, my Teen was soon to be born. With the support of a wonderful mother-in-law, my big sister, and of course my soul-mate, I eventually delivered a beautiful 7lb. baby girl.

Over the years Hubby and I have gone from clueless youngsters to semi-clueless parents. There are hidden delights and bold-faced dangers. And along the way I have learned that those traits of my youth may have made me mothering, but only through the gift of my children have I earned the title mother. Thank you Teen, for beginning the blessings. I love you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Two Tales and an Update

Life has been a bit flighty here. A bit of this and that happening on a regular basis. In tribute, I am doing a bit of this and that in my blog today.

~ One Sunday evening as we were leaving the cousins' house, Youngest who had an exhausting day of sun and pool was having a meltdown. Something about not playing enough, wanting cousins to come to the beach for sunset, etc. Suffice to say we were all trapped in the van listening to the explosion, trying to stop a chain reaction before it could begin. (deep breaths)

As we rounded a corner I caught sight of a figure. Hubby and I glanced at each other and just then the crying stopped.

"Eeewwww! Why is that man with a hose outside in his underwear?" The pure shock and questioning were apparent in her young voice. We all giggled, it couldn't be helped. No use explaining speedo's just be thankful the crying stopped.

~ Last Friday, as I left school there was a bit of commotion outside. A friend and I walked over to a truck parked on the grass in front. Inside was a 7 foot alligator. And outside was the licensed trapper the school had called.

Being the nosy people we are, we asked the principal, standing nearby, what was going on. Seems the district decided that it was time to capture the 7 foot and 14 foot alligators that live in the ponds at school. OK, the area is fenced, but kids being kids relocation seemed like a good idea. So, we asked where they would be relocated.

Nope, no relocation. They are being killed as "nuisance gators." Now, I am not making a stand for the gators, but did anyone tell them that by simply living near the school (for the past 3 years) they were a nuisance? Are there signs for the gators that warn of the school zone? It just seems wrong. And why do you need to call some specialist to come catch them if they are going to be killed anyway? Couldn't anyone do that?

~ Finally a puppy update. They are all doing well. Daisy-mom sometimes looks as if life is a bit tough - but who could blame her. You should see and hear the feeding frenzy after she has taken a break from the puppy room. It is reminiscent of a school of piranha - but with fur and small mewling sounds.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Heart Thawed

I had been suspicious. I was keeping a close eye on the girl, because I suspected something was up. But everything continued along as normal. There were no red flags or warning bells, just the little tickle in the back of my mind that something was definitely going on. As the weeks passed, I became indifferent.

Until the phone call from Hubby.

The one where he says, "Have you looked at her lately?"

"Yeah, I was with her at breakfast," I replied.

"Then how could you not NOTICE? She is as big as a house."

"uh-oh" i thought - we're in for it now.

I was angry at first. This is not the situation in which I wanted to find myself right now. But, really what can you do at this point - nothing.

So, the weeks passed. The waiting became intense. And just when I thought I would go insane with worry and anxiety- she delivered. ELEVEN brand-new, tiny, adorable puppies. (who did you think I was talking about?)

Maybe it was watching the discomfort in her eyes over the past week or maybe it was sitting up with her all night long, trying to be encouraging while my butt went numb on the bathroom floor - but whatever the reason, I am loving these tiny little balls of fur!

And mom, Daisy, reminds me that so much of our lives are instinctual. Watching a new doggy-mom know what to do, taking such good care of 11 babies is incredible.

But then again, whose heart would warm to these little things? So now I have joined the ranks of weaselmomma and suburban scrawl and I too have a new baby in the house!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Where is the Pause Button?

Three short weeks ago school started here in Sunnyville and I am sufficiently recovered from the trauma to write about it now. It was a momentous occasion for Youngest and she was appropriately adorable heading off to the playground that morning. Yes, I am that mother. You know the one. She doesn't even walk her kindergartner to class on the first day and instead has older sib, in this case Boy, take the responsibility.

As we neared the school all those last minute instructions poured forth from my mouth to Boy's ears - where I feared they were being ignored.
"Make sure she gets to her class"
"Don't let her forget her supplies"
"Tell your teacher you need to pick her up from class after school"
"Don't lose her at the bus change area" (my kids take 2 buses home everyday)
"Watch out for her!"

Simplified it comes down to - watch over her while I'm not around. As I crept through the parking lot watching her, my guilt-choked heart was in my throat. But, I too had to start a new year. So, I left it up to Boy. And a stellar job he has preformed.

Youngest made it to class and is met by her brother after school each day. He sits beside her on the bus and tells me he has to hold on to her when they are switching buses. It has been an opportunity for him to shine - now it is an opportunity to complain.
"She wiggles on the bus"
"2nd bus is too full - can't I please ride my bike?"
"Now we have 3 to a seat - mom, please let me ride my bike."
Which of course he can't do - because Youngest is too little to ride 2 miles a day and is too little to navigate the whole bus fiasco on her own. Oh-well it was sweet for the 2 weeks it lasted.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Anyone There?

To all three of my adoring fans hi hubby Sunnyville did not fall off the face of the earth and there was no cataclysmic event.

As a mother who has an outside job, I spend a lot of time juggling. And I am no circus clown - trust me on this one. In the past I allow a ball to drop here and there. Laundry can stack-up and I am ok. Cooking can be blown-off and I still feel really good. But, this season I have felt a compulsion to keep those balls in the air along with researching new ideas for work, spending time with my sisters, and of course pumping the kids for information about their new schools/classes. It has been an exhausting task, and the ball that fell was
all of my computer time.

However, I am nothing if not a procrastinator, ummm I mean persistant son-of-a-gun. So, I am back. On the bright side, there is much fodder now that I have been away, so I won't have to resort to stories about cleaning bathroom grout. And I am looking forward to some happy reading time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Best Part

I have not been online for almost a week. There are no problems, no major events - just me being unplugged. It is the one thing in the summer that I enjoy most. I do not have to check email or respond to urgent messages from parents/principals/coworkers. I can unplug. So, with summer's end looming ever closer - I chose to take advantage of the opportunity to avoid my laptop.

Highlights of the week:

~Boy went to work with Hubby last week and introduced himself as "the middle monster" it's great when everyone knows where they fit in the scheme of things.

~Spent a day conquering the water slides - and Youngest's fear was overcome as she repeated continually "just one more time" for a total of 10 times.

~Teen was caught looking at teacher's webpages - a WEEK before ORIENTATION! Think she is a bit excited about HS?

~Made tamales from scratch - yes from scratch - wrapped in corn husks and all - YUMMY!

~Continuing to think "green" in that I am hanging laundry to dry - ok i'm just cheap, but it is green.

It has been fun, and we have kept busy. But now that the unprepared nightmares have begun I am re-engaging with my laptop. I am going to catch-up on my blog reading in order to procrastinate more efficiently.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Preparations are Underway

It is August. How that happened so quickly I can not say. But the calendar confirms that summer is drawing to a close.

Youngest has been weighed, measured, & evaluated. Vaccinations have been shot into her arms, blood has been drawn from her arm and there have been attempts to collect other bodily fluids. Records of her teeth have been recorded and filed; and uniforms have been fitted and requisitioned. She still needs to report for grooming and supply pick-up. But she seems to be well on her way.

Through all of the tasks she has kept her head-up and a positive attitude in place. Well, except for the shots - but who can blame her? They hurt like H***. Though it would appear she is preparing to depart for boot-camp, I remind myself it is only kindergarten.

Being last appears to have its definite perks (at least from the parent's standpoint). She is now showing no fear. She smiled and chattered so happily at the uniform shop, that the owner gave her a new hat with her school patch embroidered on it. Which is really lucky for her, because they are not allowed to wear them at school, so why would I ever shell out $12 for a hat? At the dentist yesterday, she was so thrilled to finally be the one behind the door she willingly allowed them to x-ray, poke and prod. Only looking to me for reassurance a few times.

Her confidence has grown to the point where she is joking about how she will hug Boy each time she sees him at school. It is now less of an unknown and more of an adventure. But, still when I watch her play in the yard I wonder: how could this have happened so quickly?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Musings and Missings

My mother took the "tour of death" a few days ago. No, no she is fine. She went on an outing with a friend to: an old folks home, a crematorium, and the (local) National Cemetery. The reasons for the locations are not important; having something to do with visiting, errands, and curiosity. Whatever the reason she was reflective later and wanted to talk about plans.

I listened to her plans and wishes making suggestions, and doing voice impressions of my siblings as they will sound in arguing about her final wishes. I challenged her to come-up with a better plan in a few instances, that kind of thing. She laughingly noted that while the other (5) siblings won't even talk about it, threatening to run screaming from the room, I am playing devil's advocate.

Before you go judging me as a wicked child, listen to my side. I do not expect my mother to pass soon in any way, shape, or form. She is healthy, happy, and in complete control of her life (she's only in her 60's). This is the time to talk about it. It doesn't bring me a sense foreboding now. It is a distant event, hazy and pain-free. Another reason is that I have experience. Being the wife of an only child, we were thrust into this process 6 years ago. And it SUCKED. Sitting in the hospital while a loved one is ill and trying to discreetly ask about her wishes without intimating that the end is near is truly awful.

Of course the conversations with my mom reminded me how much I miss my MiL. She died exactly 1 year + the length of Youngest's life ago. (Yes, youngest appears to have been born exactly 1 year later - a fact Teen says we should never confess to her.) In contrast to the stereotyped MiL relationship, I had a great friendship/pseudo-daughter-relationship with my MiL. Of course there were times when I was a teen that I am sure she could've thrown me from a roof, but my own parents felt the same
It seems that 6 years has passed in a blink, yet she has missed so much.

I can almost hear her laughing with Teen over her hair-color-of-the-week, getting a kick out of the fact that we face the same personality we posed as teens. And I envision her basking in Boy's charms and challenges, as she faced many of these behaviors with her son. These 2 have memories. They remember a Nana that would move heaven and earth for them; who would take their side in almost any situation. A Nana who gave-up her entire life in Chicago to move to Sunnyland because she was determined to spend the remainder of her life near them. But Youngest has no experience with this. It makes me sad, because this is just the type of doting admiration that would appeal to her princess nature.

Friday, July 31, 2009

We Don't Need No Stinking Napkins

It is another Fatherhood Friday. So click the link here or on my sidebar and head over to read some great posts.

When does the need to use napkins begin?

Watching Youngest eat, you would think she uses them. Each time there is a drip on her hand or a spot on her cheek she wipes, folds over the offending area and drops the paper cleaner on the floor or table (depending on her attention). Youngest will not reuse a napkin once it has performed its duty. At some meals (barbecue, pb&j, cereal) this can lead to a discard pile that rivals youngest in stature. She appears as a dainty expert in the art of self-cleaning.

Until you see her leave the table. Peanut butter streaked across the front of her shirt, jelly smeared across her cheeks, and fading milk spots on her shorts would lead the casual observer to believe she had never even heard of a napkin. I believe this is not limited to my daughter either. I have seen the pre-k children at lunch. They all appear to be using some sort of wiping device, but largely end with the same results. So, effective napkin use doesn't begin here.

Then, it seems, in my home anyway, that by middle childhood they have given up the hope of napkin use. In handing Boy a napkin with dinner you will see a slight shrug of the shoulders and a reluctant hand stuffing said device in his lap. Here its existence is promptly forgotten for the duration of the meal. There is no flagrant wiping on shirt or shorts, instead it is a casual wipe across the shirt done quickly and effectively. If one is not watching for it, it would escape the eye all together.

Let it be said that Boy hates to have dirty hands. He washes them many times a day, spending full minutes completing the task after taking out the garbage or some other unpleasant task. Yet somehow this meticulous behavior doesn't translate to food. I sat watching him clear his plate and head to a bedroom yesterday. Only to find that his hands were too greasy to open the door. Instead of washing them, he reflexively began reaching for his shirt front. Being quick, I shouted urged him to freeze and think. He looked up sheepishly, began walking to a bathroom and then tried to casually wipe them on the couch! OK, I may have shouted "NO" at this point. So clearly, Boy has no real use for napkins either.

In looking at Teen, I see some napkin use beginning. She does not use her shirt or pants, or couch as far as I have seen. She leaves a table without a smudge except for the occasional chocolate milk mustache. But in the meal her napkin often lies forgotten near her plate, or in her lap. Greasy hands from corn-on-the-cob are unnoticed. Her wiping is kept to post meal, or in the event of an explosion of jelly to a minimum.

So, when/how does all of this become an adult's need to have a napkin at hand throughout a meal, and as older people do to keep one on your person at all times? Is it self-consciousness that causes napkin use? Is there a neatness trigger that flips when a person leaves adolescence? Is it peer pressure? Whatever the cause I will keep up my fight for cleanliness in the hopes that someday my children will not leave the table with milk mustaches and greasy hands.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Appalled at Candy - am I just old?

Ok, so I know that I am closer to 40 than 30, so is it just me? You decide.

I am at my local video rental chain and I walk up to the counter. (Now, the local chain is hugely conservative in many things. I had friends who worked there in their 20's and had hair drug tests as well as hair length requirements. In other words it is not "edgy' in any way - or so I thought.)

As I am waiting patiently for my turn I peruse the counter goodies. Locally made flavored nuts and popcorn, and look a new candy. Being a candy lover I walk over for a closer look and am shocked to find myself face-to-face with this candy:

Please look closely at the tag line: "we're all addicted to something." First blush I am furious that a candy company would joke about the SERIOUS drug problem in the world. That makes me mad at the outset - but I am most angry that this is at my VIDEO STORE. It's not the joke gift shop or another more applicable venue. It is the FAMILY video store. So, what - now I have to educate my son on what a crackhead is??

I get the referance to the added caffeine and addiction - and I would have probably chuckled if it had been at an appropriate store. But, here? It's like taking your child to a G movie and sitting through previews of Basic Instinct. It's just out of place - or am I being old?

I stewed about this problem of mine until my next visit. I decided I would say something, or if that didn't work I would write the corporation. I even brought my camera to take a pic. The candy was gone. Probably sold to teens and 20-somethings who wanted it to show their friends.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wrapped Around Her Finger

Today is Fatherhood Friday. So, click on this link or the one on the link in my sidebar and head over to Dadblogs for some great reads!

At the naive ages of 22 & 21 Hubby and I found ourselves in the hospital. There was no accident, just the beginning of a new life for both of us plus the new one we would be bringing home. With my sister there to guide and be supportive, my Hubby there to be worried and nervous, there wasn't much for me to do. Oh wait, I did have a job!

But that job was tiring and is another story.
At the end of all the work, the nurses eventually held a precious little girl up for our viewing pleasure. A quick glance at Hubby confirmed what I had known throughout the entire pregnancy, he would be a great dad. No, he wasn't sobbing or even tearing-up. He was enthralled.

As the team of nurses moved to the other side of the room to do their baby-checking things - he was quick on their heels. Watching over their every step until she was safely cleaned, weighed, rated, dressed, & marked as
mine his. Some people say that they were hooked from baby's first smile, well Hubby must be a push-over because she didn't even have to smile. He was hooked by her mere presence.

People who know me well know that I am apparently a sadist I love teens in general. I find them amusing, astonishing, and largely entertaining. Hubby has not expressed this affection for obnoxiousness - ever. When I worked with troubled teens he would often shake his head in wonder that I could tolerate such work, let alone enjoy it. So, as Teen began to fit her name, there were some brief periods of worry. Would he see her rebellion and that of her friends as amusing or would it become a power struggle to rival WWII? Oh, I knew there would be things that would not phase him, hair color for example. But girls giggling until the wee hours, increased independence; how would these things sit with Hubby? Would he be able to keep his relationship with Teen active and engaging?

I should never have feared. Hubby is nothing if not
crafty resourceful. Having used his influence at advantageous periods, Teen shares our musical tastes. He is now that father. You know the one - he loads the kids up in the car to head off to the concert and keeps watch to be sure the negative influences are kept at bay - yeah, that one. He grouses and complains that teens are silly, loud, and clueless but he is still doing the job he claimed at Teen's birth. He is watching over her, even when that means he gets to see some of his favorite bands has to attend concerts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In the Know

I will never be accused of hyper-parenting (click on the link for more info). Parenting in the extreme, scheduling and pushing for your children so hard that you are actually doing the work and activities for them - is absolutely not my style. Heck, I was never even ABLE to attend a PTO meeting - whose bright idea was it to schedule them at 4:00 on weekdays anyway?

As a result, I was often out of the loop with oldest. When she was in kindergarten I checked her daily folder one evening to find that there was a cookie exchange and sing-along. In. One. Hour. This was the first I had heard or seen, and I checked her back-pack daily. So we rushed through dinner and to the event, oldest still in her school clothes. Another kind-hearted parent took pity on me as I watched an assortment of children dressed in their Christmas finest and told me, "With kindergartners you never know what's going on. It will get better."

And in some ways it did get better. Teen was on safety patrol in elementary school, she won awards and gave performances- which I always attended. But, I was never the parent who knew how to get things done, or even what things I was supposed to be getting done for that matter. When the school sent a letter home saying they were moving her from advanced classes because there was no longer enough space, I didn't even know I should fight it - let alone how to fight it. Needless to say, I was not a parent "in the know" of things. Until now.

Through a series of events with Boy, (click here or here for more info) and by becoming a teacher in the district I have greatly increased my "know" power. So it was last May that I asked a counselor at my school to run Teen's high school schedule for me (she starts in August). In looking at her classes, I was dumbfounded. Two periods of English and two periods of Algebra a DAY? Only 2 electives and no language? How can this be? I colluded with co-workers and decided to wait until state test scores came back, then I would call.

I made the call this week. In speaking with a guidance counselor I was able to quickly cut to the chase; Teen wants to be in honors English and science possibly math. As the counselor was giving me the prepared "your child is not as smart as you think she is speech" I was able to quickly rattle-off the all-powerful test scores. Counselor stopped talking and started listening. She pulled records and quickly came to my way of thinking. She let me know it would take a bit, as she needed to make some major changes to Teen's schedule. She would call back, and she did. I am pleased to report Teen is now in honors, has her language as well as orchestra (she is leaving band for the cello), art, and PE. Yes, she went from 2 electives to 4. Her days will now be filled with challenge and art, she and both of her parents are happy.

Though, I do feel badly for all the parents and students who will not see their schedules until freshman orientation; I am reveling in the fact that for once - I was one of the parents in the know! And to think I only had to change my career for this to happen.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Squash 'Em

I've recently, today, joined DadBlogs (though I have been loitering in the area for awhile). And in honor of that new membership, I am posting a Fatherhood Friday story.

While on our rainy camping trip, we found need to keep the children entertained. I had board games and cards conveniently stashed under the seat of the van, and nonna had brought along Aggravation. This game was new to my family, so we decided to play it.

There being only 6 players and 8 of us niece teamed-up with Boy, while I joined Youngest (largely honorary since I made no decisions or rolls). Now, for those of you who don't know the game, it is like Sorry - but with dice, marbles, and some other changes. In other words, you can squash other players and send them back to home.

With Youngest taking the lead, I expected little squashing to be done - kind hearted thing that she is. But, Hubby thought it would be best to strongly encourage the squashing theme. "It's part of the game," he reassured her. And she took to it, like a duck to water. Terrorizing her portion of the board with zeal. Who could've known that underneath the adorable 5 year-old exterior lay a giggling squash maniac?

The game continued with little input from me, as Youngest had her own mission in mind - squashing the opposition. Until she was in position to squash her father. At this point he looked at her and said in his sweetest Daddy voice, "Are you going to squash me?" At which point a look of pure horror crossed her sweet face. She ran over to him, gave him a two-armed hug and said, "Don't worry Daddy, I won't get you."

Other players cried foul. "Manipulation!" they shouted. (Teen and Boy were among the loudest) The kids strongly encouraged Youngest to squash her father at every opportunity, but she was having none of it. And dad? Well, he was reveling in his glory at having the ear and heart of another player. Together they would conquer the game.

Until there was a move she couldn't avoid. She would have to send her dad back to home or forfeit her turn. She moved, reluctantly. After sending him back to home, she looked at him with big eyes & quivering lip. Hubby, opened his arms, she ran to them eager for redemption. He gave her a hug, told her it is part of the game, and that she was doing a great job. She said "Sorry I squashed you Daddy." He laughed, kissed her head and told her that he would always love her no matter how many times she squashed him.

The moment passed and they went about the business of conquering the board. Youngest ended-up winning the game. Squashing and competition are great, but never underestimate the power of cute in winning the game.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday

I don't do random thoughts - because I tend to ramble and one thought can lead to a page and many thoughts to a novel....But today I thought I would give it a shot.

~ Went to mow the grass yesterday, usually Teen's job - but after camping it was pretty tall and she wasn't home. Of course the mower wouldn't start. Why is it that whenever the grass really needs cutting because I've been slacking there is some problem?

~ Brought Boy + friend and youngest hiking for a bit yesterday. As they were exploring the shore trying to catch a crab, youngest put her hands on her hips and said "boys" in her most exasperated-I-don't-understand-them-voice. Get used to it honey!

~ Teen liked the new Harry Potter movie (went to the midnight show Tues.) But she was very unhappy with the end. The rest of us (minus youngest) will go see it soon - not at midnight.

~ After cutting the lawn with neighbor's not self-propelled lawn mower I agreed with hubby we should get ours fixed ASAP.

~ Contrary to many people, I like cutting the grass. I am outside. I can sweat. When it is done I can admire my work for at least a couple of days (total opposite of housework - well except the sweating part)

~ After cutting the grass I went to the fridge. Teen tried to hand me water. I reached around her to get a beer. Receiving a lecture about the hydrating power of water versus beer. Later when I said I was still thirsty, she said "told ya so." I knew she was right, but sometimes you just want a beer - right?

~ Youngest was granted her first library card this week. You would think she was given a kingdom. It was a very big moment in her 5 years and she displayed the card (complete in its own little wallet) to anyone who would look.

A week of odds and ends. Today we are going to leave for a day outing with Grandma complete with stingray petting and sharks.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Random Rants (and Raves)

I do not usually do this - ok sometimes I do this - but today I am going to rant. Today's topic is Hollywood. After reading this article (go on look, I'll still be here), I nearly coughed my diet coke all over the place. The mayor of LA, despite its 530 million dollar DEFICIT says the city will pay for the memorial.

REALLY? It cost 1.4 million - how many more teachers, police, firemen, and city workers will lose their jobs or take a cut in pay so that an alleged child molester could have a roaring send off into whatever afterlife he deserved? The mayor says they don't charge families for police etc at funerals. Does this really count as a typical funeral? It seems that even folk like me, who avoid sensational news couldn't avoid this. This wasn't a funeral - it was an EVENT. Ughhhh!

While I'm ranting about Hollywood, let me say something else. Fairy Tales and stories of the "dark" serve a purpose in society - they always have. Good triumphs over evil, strong virtues lead to accomplishment etc. So, one director or writer comes along and says - no I want a crappy pitiful ending - it's artistic. Now, every flippin movie has to be "artsy" and pull a "surprise" ending. Hollywood, it is no longer artistic, it is trite! Get over yourselves, while I acknowledge that not every ending needs to be happy - the ending should serve a purpose! (and not just to leave room for a sequel)

Ok, enough ranting. Some raves:

1) Weaselmomma is having a give-away promotion. You should go to her site and check it out. Not only is she giving stuff away, she is really funny and practical. If you are strapped for time read her "posts actually worth reading". You'll have fun!

2) I recently bought Hugs for our camping trip. If you haven't seen them, they are little kool-aid type drinks in these mini-barrel containers. Now, usually I avoid them like the plague. Always believing they were full of sugar and very bad for the kids. However, while at the store, I took time to compare and they only have 3g of sugar and 10 calories. Of course water is better - but sometimes the kids want flavor, and who can blame them?

3) If you have kid readers at home, I highly recommend the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series. I read them for work (one of the perks is reading YA fiction all the time), then handed them to Boy. They are modern-day, but incorporate Roman Mythology in high-action adventures that even include a few girl characters that are smart and tough. He ate them up. Reading the entire series in just over a week.

Guess that's it, I am kinda all over the place today! Feel free to leave a rave or rant comment of your own! What have you recently discovered that you love or is driving you crazy?