Thursday, November 29, 2007

Deny, deny, deny.

A friend of my oldest came to play today. We were joking around and somehow we were joking about sending the boys upstairs to play Barbies.

And the middle one outed the oldest one. "He plays Barbies. Yuh-huh. You do too, you play Barbies with me."

He denied it emphatically. How else does an eight year old save face in front of his friend?

You see, at the begging and pleading of his little sister, he'll play. In fact, that's what they played so beautifully together this weekend. He hasn't done it for months, but if he's in the right mood, and his sister has worn him down, he'll play.

I pulled the middle one aside. I quietly explained to her that if she ever wanted her brother to play Barbies with her again, that she needed to keep quiet. That she needed to keep in within our family. (Telling the internet totally doesn't count, does it?)

I'm not usually a fan of secrets. In fact, we don't keep secrets in our family, only surprises. I've explained that secrets usually are bad, that you're hurting someone's feelings by not telling them a secret or that it's just a bad thing that really should be told to a trusted grownup. Surprises, on the other hand, run rampant this time of year, and they're joyous things, they're fun, and the truth will come out and everyone will be happy with surprises.

But in this case, to save the oldest one's face and to save the middle one's precious time with her Barbies and her brothers, she needs to zip it. And she did. I was impressed.

Annual Traditions, Random Thoughts Style

Well, not that kind. And not every year, because I'm a terrible patient.

So, I'm getting ready to go to the doctor. And it's a little nerve wracking, because I'm not really accustomed to getting those parts of me ready for a viewing.

So I decide that shaving my legs is a good idea. Because otherwise the doctor might not know where to begin. But then I put on lotion and wonder if it was a mistake because it was pretty smelling lotion.

And as I'm getting dressed, I find that I care immensely what shoes I'm wearing. Not because I'll actually be wearing them, but because I'm worried that my feet will stink. And he'd think that something died in my lady parts. And well, ew.

And I wonder. Do gynecologists have a great sex life or a terrible one? Great because they know where all the important stuff is? Or horrible, because when they come home and the end of the day and their lady is feeling amorous, they just think, "Oh, no, I just can't look at another one today."

And my mom always says that you can tell how long the wait is by the quality of the magazines in the waiting room. If they're really good, you won't have to wait long. If they're bad, you're in for a long wait. True to form, I settled down in the waiting room with a big fancy decorating magazine and they called my name. I threw down the magazine with high hopes, then got back to the exam room and there was not a magazine in sight. And I waited. And waited.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Old. Again.

So the oldest one was talking about U2. About how he thought it was spelled. He got the spelling right, but his thinking was a little off. "You know, like they probably spelled it in a text message or an email." (How he knows about these things, I don't know. I don't know how to text message, and I certainly couldn't get over my spelling issues to do it, even if I did know how. Anyways.)

Um. Yeah. U2 was around before text messages. Maybe before emails. You know, back when I was a kid. I explained this to him.

"So, you mean, U2 is a bunch of 50 year olds or something?"

And you know, I had to google it to find out? I had to pause and think about it? It was even a possibility? And crap, I'm old.

(But not as old as Bono. Woo Hoo! He's 47. I know that now.)

There's a salon for everything

I made note this morning of a fancy salon this morning aloud to my husband and son.

"Salon Pour Vous"

The littlest one, nearly five, repeated me. Or so he thought.

"Salon For Poo?"


That's right buddy, that's the kind of town we live in. We even have places to fancy up your turds.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Poetry

I hate it. I know, I know, that makes me unsophisticated and unromantic. But it makes me crazy. Especially the rhyming kind that's not supposed to be funny.

Now, back in my younger days, if a boy wrote me poetry, his days were numbered. It was never a conscious thing, I probably couldn't even enumerate how much I disliked poetry, I just knew that if a boy was trying to tell me what he thought or felt in a roundabout way that we'd never last. But man, that was definitely the kiss of death for me. Let's just say that my husband has not one poetic bone in his body and thankfully for both of us, I think that's just perfect.

Here's the problem. I love to read, but I like to read and understand what the author is trying to write, not make guesses. I am such a straightforward person that I like to know exactly what someone is trying to say rather than having to guess and make inferences.



If you pick a word that rhymes, let's just assume it wasn't your first choice in words. You didn't pick it because it was perfect, you picked it because it rhymed and it was good enough. Why not pick the perfect word instead? I'm willing to bet money that the reason why a dove is a bird that symbolizes love is because it rhymes. You can tell me that doves mate for life and that it's very romantic, but I'm telling you, if "dove" didn't rhyme with "love" then they wouldn't be nearly so popular.

It just seems contrived. Even though I'm glad to be alive...d.

See what I mean? Or maybe I'm just a bad poet.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Almost

I almost posted earlier today singing the praises of my wonderful children, about how I really didn't want them to go back to school. About how I could keep them home for another week. They'd been playing together for three days. Straight. Upstairs, in the playroom, in their bedrooms, all weekend, together. The three of them played Barbies (promise me I'll remember that when they're older), played cars, built entire farms out of blocks, with the cars as animals. They had so much fun, barely watching TV, barely coming downstairs to eat.

But then. Then. Around five o'clock, it all came back to normal. And tomorrow, school.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

shopping. with kids. fun.

I have a shopping strategy with my children. I threaten them at the beginning of the trip that if they are naughty, then we will go somewhere extra. Somewhere horrible. Like the fabric store. And if the fabric store is on our list of things to do, I'll promise them that I'll browse and take my time.

Sometimes, when we're feeling fun, I'll beg them to be naughty so I can look around. "Please, please, knock over that rack of thread. Please, meddle. Come on, you guys, do something naughty!" They're so funny, because they'll act all conspiratory (is that even a word?) and whisper to each other to be good. And use their museum hands.

I figure that the reason why they're acting so naughty is that they don't want to be wherever we are, purchasing whatever we are purchasing. So when they were little, I'd threaten to take them outside. But the only person that punished was me. They got to leave and I didn't get my errands done. Misery all around.

So today, when the little one was naughty in Michael's, I told them that now we had to go to Hobby Lobby. And if they were naughty at Hobby Lobby, I'd go to the fabric store. And then grocery shopping. So, bonus, I got the things I needed at Hobby Lobby, and they acted like perfect angels, even in the longest line ever. Not kidding.

Smartest parenting thing I've ever done. Except that I didn't get my grocery shopping done.

Friday, November 23, 2007

This Is Texas

Where it's summer one day and winter the next. When there's a fall day, we always joke that we'd better enjoy it, because it never lasts a week. And it never does.

The tricky part is that it's fall for a week, then summer again, then winter. You can easily go from needing your air conditioner to needing your heat in a twelve hour period.

Ahh, you've gotta love this place!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

road trip



We were on a little road trip. We just came home, sanity barely intact. There was a little of this:







And a LOT of this:





And even MORE of this:


I got a teensy bit out of control with my fuzzy clearance yarn purchasing then scarf-making. I'm almost finished with the yarn I bought, and I bought *blush* twenty-two balls. I'm on scarf number 19.
Hey, want a scarf?




Friday, November 16, 2007

a good husband

My littlest one is going to make some woman a very happy wife one day. I asked him this morning if he could be good while I got on the treadmill for a little while. This was his answer:

"No, Mommy, you don't need to. You're not fat. Come watch Elmo with me."


His father has taught him well.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

scattered

The other day, we were spelling words together, the whole family. We were trying to find really hard ones for the oldest, moderate for the middle, and simple for the little. So I came up with "scatterbrained." Sarge spelled, "M-O-M-M-Y."

My head's been going forty-eight different directions and it's making me crazy. I lost my cell phone. I went so far as to go back to the scene of the flat tire to see if I'd left it there. I went even a step further and cleaned out my minivan. It was so lost. I found it this afternoon in a bag I'd used last Thursday.

We went to put the spare tire back where it belongs in the van and weren't able to. The thing that holds the spare tire on was broken. I'd gotten the van cleared of junk and I begged my mechanic (pretty please? I'm your best customer?) to vacuum the van. I hope I didn't leave anything important in there.

I've lost at least three measuring tapes in the last year. I finally ran out of measuring tapes and had to purchase a new one. And then left it in the first house I used it in.

It's ordinary that I forget at least one thing each time I go to hang curtains. This last week, I forgot practically everything. But I didn't have my cell phone to call my husband.

I can't write a decent post because I can't put my thoughts together in a coherent manner. But man, I can't wait to get them together, because I've got something to say. I'm sure I do.

I'm a mess.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

dinner: success!

The kids thought they won the lottery tonight. I've been knee deep in curtains the last few days and not getting even five hours of sleep. AND NO NAPS. I NEED NAPS. So I'm a little tired.

I didn't feel like listening to whining about dinner. After briefly considering Halloween candy for dinner, then Cub Scout Popcorn, but I decided on sandwiches. Turkey and ham sandwiches. With salami. Oooh, maybe on tortillas. Shoot. Too many options, and I hate having their orders being barked at me over and over again.

So I flopped the turkey, ham and salami on a plate. Cheese cubes, shredded cheese in bowls. Spinach, dressings, bread and tortillas. All thrown on the kitchen table and I said, "Here, it's a serve yourself meal tonight." And they totally bit.

They went to town, loading up their sandwiches with the things they love. The littlest one carefully cut his cheese cubes (with a butter knife) into slices and put them on his wrap. I've never seen a meal where none of them complained about something. In fact, the two oldest ones went on and on about how great their meals were.

I think they tasted better because they'd done it themselves. I wonder when that changes, because I know that things taste better to me when someone else makes them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

To the rescue!

As my husband was sitting on the side of the road, changing the tire of my minivan, he's busy telling me how horrible my van is and how we need a new car.

Um, babe? I ran over a nail. It has nothing to do with all of the cookie crumbs on the floor, stains on the seat or miles on the engine.

But he did rescue me, which involved going to work late and laying in the road. And I'm so grateful. And my minivan lives another day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

like talking to a senior citizen

This is my house:

"EH?"

"WHAT?"

"I CAN'T HEAR YOU. SPEAK UP, SONNY"

But it's the eight year old saying all that. Of course, the ear pain got really bad about an hour after the pediatrician closed on Saturday. Because that's the way things work. So we went to urgent care, because I knew we couldn't wait until Monday.

But it didn't end up mattering. I asked him how his ear felt, and he said "It doesn't hurt anymore, but it's leaking." Well, really, he shouted it. So now both ear drums don't work. Nice.

He's the most pitiful sick person. Literally, he started tearing up at the thought of leaving the house to go to a birthday party. And he fell asleep on the couch later that evening and when he woke up, like two hours later, he says that he was asleep at least seven minutes.

And he's even so pitiful that his sister is waiting on him hand and foot. "Do you need a stuffed animal?" "A fresh snot rag?" "We can play whatever you want..."

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Great American Pole Fir

Noble Fir, Frasier Fir, and now the Pole Fir. We thought about assembling it and then tying it to the top of the minivan and taking a picture with the kids. It would make a good Christmas Card photo...



I will now stop making fun of my Christmas Tree and get to work.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Shoe-tying snafu

My daughter. For as contrary as she might be with me, adores school - everything about it. Her teacher is on the highest pedestal you can imagine. I mean, God's on top, her teacher is barely under.

So, you can imagine my surprise, when I found myself hollering at her to get out from under her brother's bed and get to school our friends our waiting outside. I wasn't even going to make her wear a jacket, it was that bad. I even took away a birthday party before she came out, and even then, it was only because the next birthday party she REALLY wanted to go to was on the line.

It all started because I'm the worst mom in the world and I told her to do the first part of the shoe-tying thing. I was even willing to walk her through it, I just wanted her hands to do it. It was at least ten minutes of stomping around (*mostly* her) and yelling (*mostly* her). She finally relented, very unhappily. She tied the first part, I tied the second part. Then we were fine, until I dared to tell her to put on a coat, it's 45 degrees out there. That was what sent her under the bed.

Fast forward to today. Not only did she do the first part of shoe tying on her own, she asked me to show her the second part. A near miracle. THEN. THEN! After school today, her teacher (not knowing any of the hysteria that had occured the day before) tells me that she's doing really well learning to tie her shoes and she's just about got it and that they had worked together on it.

That little stinker, for all the fussing she did, and barely 24 hours later, she's tying her own stinking shoes.

If I can't handle six, how will I handle sixteen?

scrooge-ish

I remember, back in the day, when it seemed obscene to put Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving. And even then, right after Thanksgiving seemed a little too soon. I mean, it wasn't even December yet.

So here we are, the days right after Halloween, when the Christmas decor has been in the stores so long that it's on sale, and decorations are not only everywhere, but they've turned the lights on. I've been watching since the first of November the men work tirelessly putting decorations up at the entrance to our neighborhood, stepping around the smashed jack-o-lanterns that haven't even had a chance to start rotting.

But here's the deal. I was coming home tonight after dark and the lights were on down Main Street, and they were (half -- high class!) on at the entrance to the neighborhood. As much as I wanted to feel indignant that the decorations were up, they kind of made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And it made me feel like I was betraying my upbringing and the family tradition of being annoyed at all things Christmas outside the month of December and the first few days of January.


P.S. And to further betray that, I purchased a fake Christmas tree today. FAKE. And, barely in November.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Shut down.

They shut my littlest one's preschool. Just until after Thanksgiving. And honestly, I'm a little relieved. I kept sending him this last week, though each time, I was a little nervous.

You see, the place was nearly infested with head lice.

None of the kiddos in his class had it. But all the kiddos around him had it. Every day when I picked him up, I checked his little head for creatures that had taken root. Today, I even took him to the elementary school nurse before I brought him home, knowing that I NEEDED to know before I scratched my head raw with nerves and the psychological head lice. ANd before the critters found a home in my home.

They've been fighting the good fight for over two weeks at the school. They've cleaned. And cleaned. And cleaned. And taken all the toys away -- okay, not all of them -- they've stopped naptime. They weren't letting kids back in who'd had it until they'd been checked. They hired nurses. I mean, they worked HARD to get rid of them. But they couldn't.

But not only is this a preschool, it's also a church. Which they're shutting down. Sunday morning services with no child care. Bare bones. This is no small undertaking! Fumigation is the name of the game.

And, because I'm completely paranoid, I'm taking away half of my kids' stuffed animals and blankets and stuff. Because I figure it's less to have to wash later. Oh, and tea tree shampoo, because apparently lice hate the stuff, and my kids love it, so YAY.

Apparently, I can handle cohabitating with spiders and crickets, but you give me bugs the size of a grain of sand, and I'm all about the clean. Who knew.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Coffee bean:0, Mom: 1

Since the hugging episode of yesterday, my children seem to have given me the giggles. Except for in the middle of the night last night when I went to go investigate why I heard whining from upstairs, but only made a little ways down the hallway when the culprit met me halfway. I wasn't giggling, mostly jumping out of my skin and yelling.

We went to the doctor today for the oldest, with a ruptured ear drum. Nothing says ruptured ear drum like terrible pain in the ear and then suddenly no pain at all -- just, as the oldest says, "wet goo in my ear." Anyhow, we giggled our way through the doctor visit, laughing about the book about obeying that had scribbles all over it, laughing over the songs the oldest sang while he was waiting for his ear drops to do their thing.

Since we were having so much fun, I thought we should go to Target. After I finished touting my great mother-eagle-eyes to my youngest, about how I knew he'd picked up a coffee bean off the floor and I knew he had it in his hands, and I knew he'd dropped it and was picking it up, we headed to the checkout. I looked down at the four year old, who's eyes were watering and he looked like he was getting a little panicky. "What's wrong?"

"I fink my coffee bean is stuck in my nose."

Well, at least we're still near the doctor's office. I knelt down, plugged the other nostril and told him to blow. The coffee bean flew out of his nose and down my sleeve. While I'm still processing the fact that this actually worked and was still looking for the bean, a woman looks at me and asks, "are you in this check out line?" "Um, no, we were just having a coffee-bean-in-the-nose emergency." And then I burst into a tear inducing fit of giggles. She must have thought I was nuts. She proceeded to hop in that line and wish me well with my emergency. I couldn't even speak, I was trying not to cry, I was laughing so hard.

I can't wait to tell the middle one. Finally she's not the only one who stuck contraband up her nose.

Monday, November 5, 2007

You hit, you hug.

I put my kids to bed at 7:30 tonight. I had them all in bed, came downstairs and realized how early it was. Oops. You've gotta love that time change.

They were exhausted, however. The younger two were arguing and fighting every time I'd turn my back. And the two of them can really scrap.

So for punishment, once the dust had settled, I made them hug. They had to stand in the hallway with their hands around one another and hug. At first it was really sweet. They stood there with their arms around each other like seventh graders slow dancing. Or at least back when I was a seventh grader.

Then the oldest and I were discussing the punishment, and he started to giggle about it. Which made me laugh. Which made the littlest one laugh, which FINALLY made the middle one laugh. Which is what I really wanted from the whole thing.

It almost all fell apart, though, when I made them look each other in the eyes and say they were sorry and that they loved each other. You would think that it was going to poison the middle one to have to speak those words with kindness.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ice, Ice, Baby.

The icemaker in my refrigerator broke last week. The easy fixes weren't working, so while I was deciding what to do about it, we were filling ice cube trays. And when I decided that was a pain to refill the tray every time I wanted ice -- as to not incur the wrath of my husband (aka the ice cube tray filling police) -- each morning I dumped ALL the ice into the icemaker bucket and refilled all of them. That way, when the kids inevitably went to use the ice feature on the door, I didn't have to yell, "THERE'S NO ICE!" It was convenient. Well, not as convenient as having a machine do it for me, but more convenient than the alternatives.

Well, apparently, I offended my broken icemaker by putting inferior ice cubes in it's tray, and it decided to get off it's lazy buns and start making ice again. Like magic. You would not believe my shock when I went to get ice and that familiar shape was, yet again, in my ice bucket. The excitement was a little much, to be honest. I should be embarrassed, but I'm still too excited.



P.S. To the people giving out candy to my kids next year - More Butterfingers. Please?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Board Games

Somebody thought it was a good idea to vote me in charge of a group. As in President. Now, it might have more to do with the fact that there really wasn't a whole lot of competition, but I'm totally committed. I mean, committed to the organization. Not the other kind of committed. Yet.

BUT, silly me, can't leave well enough alone. So here's where I need help. I'm trying to compile a list of GREAT games, board games, that you can give your elementary schooler this holiday season.

My personal favorites, so far, are:

Blink

set

Zooreka (and all the cranium games, honestly)

And then there's the ordinary ones, like Othello and Monopoly. But I need more. And really good ones. Because these are some serious game-playing folks. And smart. So they can't be fooled by some list I googled. Because I considered that, too.

So, faithful reader(s), all four of you, tell me your favorites. Must haves. Discovered it in the lost corner of the store. Every Friday night game. For kids.

Please?