Monday, March 31, 2008

Smarter than her Mother

"Mommy, I know you're not coming up to kiss us after we're asleep. You're supposed to kiss me before you sleep, when you're in you jammies."

How does she know? Is she practicing for motherhood? Psychic? Now she knows my lazy.

You see, after all was quiet upstairs, she was turning on her bedside light. And then falling asleep, knowing that I'd turn it off if I saw it. When she woke in the morning and it was still on, I was outed.

Smart little stinker.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Um. Wow.

Being that we live in the same city that my husband works, sometimes we'll meet him for lunch while he's on duty. Sometimes it's just me, sometimes one or several of the children join us. Today was no different, it was the two of us and the littlest one.

I've gotten used to the stares. Mostly, I think that it's curiosity about the uniform that my husband wears. He has at least 38 things hanging off of him or his shirt in someway, and they are all curious and mysterious things, sometimes forbidden, or in pouches that hide what they are. I also think that there is a curiosity about the man and his family, how he is as a HUMAN. And the fact that he is a human. And why the woman and children aren't intimidated by this person. But seriously, people STARE.

Now, I have to say, my husband is the consummate professional. He'll hug or hold his children while in uniform, but won't even hold my hand - he sees it as unprofessional, and I respect that. Apparently, today, someone noticed that we were together, however.

Sarge went to pay for his meal, and the manager kept asking if we were together. We always pay separately on such occasions, because this is one of those places that give him a discount, and we don't want them to feel in anyway that we think that the discount should be applied to anyone but him. We explained that we were paying separately. He kept asking if I was his family.

You see, when Sarge tried to pay, the manager explained that a prior patron had paid for his meal. And then, as I tried to pay, the manager explained that the patron wanted to pay for the officer's family as well. I blushed. I stammered. I said thank you at least a thousand times. I was FLOORED.

I get that there are more people who appreciate the fact that my husband does his job than who try to keep him from doing it. And for that I am so grateful. But to anonymously give us a meal, his family, has just taken hold of my heart.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Always an Adventure

I am a responsible dog owner. And a law-abiding citizen. But sometimes, sh** happens. And it always happens on a busy corner.


I took my dog for a walk. I had the plastic grocery bag ready for business. I was prepared.

She picks the busiest corner in the neighborhood. As in, people and cars passing by at slow speeds, ready to wave and say hello. She begins her business, cars pass, bicycles go by. I begin to retreive the bag that was tied to the end of the leash.

IT WAS GONE. THERE WAS NO STOPPING THIS. CARS PASSED. OLD PEOPLE WALKED BY SLOWLY.

So, yeah, my dog pooped right by the stop sign. For all the world to see. And I couldn't pick it up. I left it there. Does that make me a terrible person?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How Spring Break Kicked My Butt

Really, it was fun. We museumed, we played. At one point on Friday there were seven children in my house.

But on Monday morning, I was so looking forward to going to the fabric store ALL BY MYSELF. I took the older children to school. It was lovely. I got the third one ready.

We had to leave early, because I was worried that I wouldn't make it out of my neighborhood before I ran out of gas -- and the night before I had just said that I'd never EVER run out of gas. So I was pretty sure that Monday was my day. Alas, we made it. We headed up to his school. As I turned the corner, I gasped.

THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE THERE. Except one other slacker mom who didn't read the memo. Who had the same exact horrified expression on her face. The slo-mo "NOOOOOOOOO!!"

Yeah. Christian Preschool, Easter Monday = No School.

I told the littlest one that he could eat his lunch, that Mommy needed a Starbucks. And that he better be a good boy at the fabric store.

Tomorrow, school. For all THREE children.

ME vs. Cereal Bugs, round 3,753,466,359,252

I don't know the technical term for them, but we call them cereal bugs, because my poor babies have gotten to the point where they just scoop them out of their cereal and keep eating.

Not long after we moved here about two years ago, we apparently brought home a food with these charming critters in them. And it's been a fiesta in my pantry ever since. For them. Not us.

They're not too big, maybe 1/8 inch. But they're everywhere.

This time, I got serious. We'd had a lovely break over the winter, while the house was apparently too cold for them, but as the weather has warmed, along with our pantry, the cereal bugs have returned. In the crackers, in the cereal, in the pasta.

I found a lovely box of macaroni and cheese that I could have used as a strainer, it had so many holes in it from our friends. I found them in the corn starch. I threw away a bunch of tea, because I couldn't tell the difference between a cereal bug and a tea leaf. All of my oatmeal and pasta are now living a frigid life in my freezer. Everything is now in a plastic container or in a plastic bag. The rest of the stuff we actually eat is on the kitchen counter. I eye the shelves every day to see if any of our friends are searching.

The bugs are clearly unhappy. They are branching out to look for food - upstairs. Directly above the pantry is the kids bathroom, (I know this because of the flood in my kitchen when the bathroom plumbing was leaking. Lovely.) and the bugs are hunting up there, unsuccessfully, so far - you'll know if I start calling them toothpaste bugs, though, whether they've taken up residence.

I expect this round to be a KO. I am so fed up with them. Though I'll have to find a new source of protein for the children.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Shopping.

The middle child and I went shopping the other day. They boys were with dad watching a very boy-ish movie, so she piped up that she wanted to go to the fabric store with me. We had a limited amount of time, but we headed to a clothing store after the fabric store. For fun.

You see, I despise purchasing clothing for that child. She hates everything except mismatched, stained clothing. I can't seem to get an adorable outfit on her. She'll wear something once, then refuse to wear it again, so then I can't return it. It frustrates me to NO END.

So I took her in there, hoping to get an insight into what she likes and what she wants, what strikes her fancy. So we lived it up. First, we went to the shoe department and she tried on all kinds of shoes in MY size. All kinds that I would never own, but that she'd LOVE to stomp around the house in. Then we headed to the kid's section. We picked out about 11 outfits, then headed to the dressing room. She'd never been in a dressing room. I offered to let her do a little catwalk/fashion show with each outfit, but she turned me down.

She tried them ALL on. She loved it.

We had a budget set, so I had her pick her favorites, in number order. There was a first choice, then we went down her numbers, adding up the prices until we got to our budget. Then we stopped. She was the happiest little girl in the world.

I'm of two minds. First, I can't believe that it took me six years to figure out that I should take her with me shopping and let her try clothes on at the store. I think I've allowed my distaste for clothes shopping and dressing rooms cloud her shopping life. But on the other hand, I'm a little worried about how much she loved it. I hope I don't create a monster! But seriously, how big a monster can you create at TJMaxx?

She wore her first pick today, all day, and begged me to wash the rest of her new clothes tonight. And when Sarge came home from work, he complimented her on what a great choice she made and how much he loved the dress she was wearing. So totally worth it, honestly. And I can't wait to do it again. Which is saying something, because I HATE clothes shopping.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

playing with the camera


In an attempt to work on some cub scout stuff, I allowed the oldest to "play" with my camera. He was told to take some pictures in the yard, using the zoom lens and learning to frame the object in his photo. And we ended up with this. It was like his fourth picture. The others were of compost and random junk around the yard. And a shadow or two.
But, yeah, I think he might get it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

painfully boring.

Here we are. It's spring break. My children aren't being very interesting. They are playing nicely, behaving and getting along (and I never should have typed that. I'll regret it in the morning).

I even let them have friends over. Twice. Nothing. They all got along swimmingly.

I brought them to the Dallas Museum of Art. We got barked at one time to hold the little one's hand and one time he set off an alarm. Nothing more. They actually had good manners and appreciated the art. I think even more so than their mother. The littlest one's favorite was this giant blue styrofoam-looking sculpture of a person looking down at a tiny person. I think it spoke to him. The middle one thought that the naked sculptures were funny and gross. "WHY IS HE SHOWING HIS PEE-NUS?" In all capitals. And no, that couch is not for sitting on. Mostly they appreciated the little cell phones they give you that you can dial in and hear someone talk about the art. And then not listen.

But seriously, we brought them to a real art museum for over four hours.

I brought the older two to Target. They were fun. They helped me to remember dishwasher detergent. That could have been a disaster.

We went shoe shopping. No one had a temper tantrum. Everyone has shoes that fit that do not have holes in them. The middle one got "fancy" shoes that have a little heel and make noise when she walks. They also require painted toenails. She's in heaven. But I had to explain that she couldn't wear them with her ratty pants with two patches on each knee, a two year old T-shirt and a fancy hand-me-down denim jacket. It just wasn't speaking to me.

I know I'll regret all this tomorrow, but honestly, I'm not sure that I like this stage they're going through. There's no challenge here. I know, I know, be careful what you wish for. Because we're only on our first day of Spring Break, and there's three more museums planned, and it's supposed to rain tomorrow.

Signed,

Just Can't Make That Woman Happy

Sunday, March 16, 2008

church etiquette

We brought the littlest one into "big church" today instead of Sunday School. It was time. But apparently we forgot to teach him the rules.

When the offering plate went by, he tried to take a five dollar bill. Out. From the offerings.

I wonder if they'll let him back in next week. Or just check his pockets on the way out.

Friday, March 14, 2008

How to clear a room

I have this technique. Fine, scare tactic, whatever. It works like a charm.

I say to the children, "Either go upstairs and play, or help me clean up down here!"

Unfortunately, my downstairs never gets cleaned up by them. But usually my objective is to get them to go upstairs and use their imaginations and quit rotting in front of the television. And it works!

It also works for "I'm bored!" Quite nicely, in fact.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Caught!

My oldest won a prize this evening at an event we attended - they were glow sticks, several of them. He shared some with his siblings, then explained that he was going to save one for another day.

The little one asked, "Why are you saving it?"

"So I can use it to sneak-read after bedtime."

HA. HA. I'll be watching out for you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blogger's Paradise

Any blogger who is having a hard time thinking of something to write about should go get their driver's license renewed. Not that my children don't give me plenty of fun, but I could spend all day at the DMV, or whatever they call it in Texas, and frankly was a little disappointed when it was all over. All too soon.

The first, and possibly best, was the ladies room. I even took a picture with my husband's cell phone, but I am cheap and technologically challenged and can't figure any way to get that picture without paying $5, and as great as it was, I can think of way better things to do with $5 (Cadbury creme eggs, anyone?). But there, in the ladies room, there was an electrical outlet. With one child safety plug in it, labeled in black magic marker, as big as you can on an irritating plastic outlet cover, DPS. And what struck me was that they felt the need to label it, as if someone was going to steal it. And then, "Oh, my gosh, I bet someone did, and then they HAD to label it!" and "Who thinks to steal an outlet plug from the DPS?" And then I remembered my roommate in college who NEVER paid for toilet paper, because she knew all the best bathrooms on campus that were always overstocked.

And the signs. Oh, the signs. There were sheets of copy paper covering practically every surface in that place. "Do not let your children hang on the picture backdrop" "Exit here" "enter over there" "go that way" "no, that way" "no cell phones"

At least 38 signs per wall that said, "NO CELL PHONES" and for the drivers who can't read, signs with a cellphone with a circle and a line through it. Each of my children, by age two would have known to turn off their cellphones. So my husband, what does he do? He gets a call and answers it. And there was a woman who worked there who had cellphone radar. As soon as he put it to his ear? She barked, "No cell phones on this side of the wall!" But my husband was having a Very Important Phone Conversation and didn't hear her. So he kept talking. Until I kicked him. In the 4 minutes I waited, she yelled at two other people. One for not moving down to the orange cone (thankfully, she was in front of me so by the time I was the head of the line, I knew better) and another for talking on his cellphone.

Thankfully the yellinglady was not my customer service agent, because my picture would have looked frightened. And the lady who did take care of me promised that I didn't look like a freak in my picture. She wouldn't show it to me, but she promised. Hopefully she's not one of those who takes pride in taking the best (by that I mean worst) driver's license pictures. And she didn't even laugh when I told her my "weight." I mean, she might have smirked a little, but she didn't look over the counter and go, "Lady, your butt weighs that much. Let's try again."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gap-osis

Finally, after much ado, the middle child has lost her first tooth.

Finally she gets to write her story in the "tooth journal" which cause some worry today (mommy, who did I tell first? It was you, because you pulled it out? No, baby, think of the first person who you called. Daddy? And you hollered upstairs to your brother and then stuck your bloody gap under his nose to look at? I think either one of them counts.)

She spent the better part of the day doing things that people who've lost their first tooth do. She looked in the mirror a lot. She said "Mommy, LOOK!" a lot, and then I got the pleasure of looking at her tongue stuck in the gap. Sideways. Blinking. Open Mouth. Closed Mouth.

She was disappointed that tonight's dinner menu didn't include spagetti, which I've promised she'll get tomorrow. She wants to suck it through the hole in her mouth.

She got to show two friends.

My favorite part was watching her lay in the bath and look at herself in the reflection of the drain, making every face known to man.

She got to use her tooth fairy pillow, which she's had since before she had any teeth at all.

As we got closer to bedtime (mind you, the tooth was pulled this morning as I woke up. She entered my room with a tissue and turned on the lights. Mommy, I'm ready. I'm going to lose my tooth today. We'd tried each day for three days now. I was dubious. It came right out. No blood.), she started to worry about the tooth fairy. "What if she doesn't bring me a sparkly dollar? She brought my brother a sparkly dollar. What if she doesn't think I'm that special?" "Oh, no, mommy, it's raining. Her wings will get crumbly!" "How does she get in the house?"

And the best, "WHO'S STAYING AWAKE SO THE TOOTH FAIRY WON'T COME? EVERYONE NEEDS TO GO TO SLEEP RIGHT NOW. I'M NOT AWAKE, I'M TALKING IN MY SLEEP."

Now, I just can't forget to put the sparkly dollar under her pillow. I had to improvise - I don't own hairspray. Yikes!


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Stylish strangers

The middle child was feeling very stylish today in her hat and mom's old sunglasses. On top of the world, you could say.

She says to her brothers, "If I were drinking a coffee and reading the newspaper at Starbucks, I would look like a stranger."

And now we know what they look like. In her head, at least.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Messing with a nine year old - my favorite pasttime

We started school this morning at 10am. Which is two hours later than normal. Because, well, snow. Nevermind that the roads were dry and clear, this is Texas and there's something white on the ground, it looks strange and it makes people drive badly. Well, worse than usual. Therefore, we must delay school until we determine that the foreign substance on the ground isn't harmful to children.

This morning, over a leisurely breakfast, I overheard the middle child asking her all-knowing older brother if this meant that they'd stay until 5pm, rather than 3pm. He told her "no."

My evil mother-brain began to turn. Casually, as I was helping with shoes and jackets and finding mittens that don't match or fit but by golly they're good enough, I mentioned that I would pick them up today at five. It's such a good thing that he wasn't looking at me, because I would have burst out laughing.

It worked, because he was furious. "THEY CAN'T MAKE ME STAY LATE! IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM IT SNOWED." I considered letting him in on the joke, but I chose not to. I just told him it is what it is, and he'd just have to deal. And that I packed him an extra snack.

Here's the meanest part. I let him go to school believing it. That's the price he pays for hitting me with a snowball.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Holy SNOW, Batman!



So Tuesday, I nearly posted about our snow. I mean, we got an inch, and for this part of Texas, that's a pretty big stinking deal. Usually we get rain at 33 degrees, then it freezes and the entire region is paralized for about three days.




But no, it snowed just as the children were getting in bed, snowed all night, then it all melted away while they were in school. It was terribly cruel.




Wednesday, it was seventy degrees. No joke, we had our windows rolled down, short sleeves on, ready to plant our spring flowers.


Until today. It started snowing around noon. And then we got some sleet. And then snow. And it still hasn't stopped snowing. And it's not supposed to until tomorrow. My kids actually went sledding (in the drainage ditch - don't laugh it's the best we can do!). And made a snowman. We don't own shovels. Or gloves that fit, really. Because in a few days, the kids will be begging me to take them to the pool again.
This is why Texans are insane. Gah!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

VOTE.

I was surprised the other day when I spoke to some other mothers and expressed my concern over the weather and how it could affect voting.

Both of the women flippantly said that they weren't going to vote, that they didn't like any of the choices.


WHAT?


It doesn't matter if you don't like any of those choices, because ONE of them is going to be the president for four years. None of them are perfect for anyone, but one's got to be better for you and your lifestyle choices and beliefs. Their choices and actions will affect our daily lives while they are in office.

I know I'm late, but voting is a right that we take for granted in this country. We've never known anything different, and we don't know how lucky we are to be allowed to make this choice for our country. And a lot of women before us fought really hard for us to be allowed to even make that choice.

So, yeah, voting is important. And I totally did it two weeks ago! And didn't even have to wait (except for my husband. who was slow. and was my ride.)

Preparing him for manhood

So the middle child got fake fingernails today. They were a dollar at Target, and she spent her hard-earned money. They were lovely - purple and blue with sparkles on them. And really long. She and I spent some quality time together, putting on the fingernails and discussing the merits of long fingernails and the drawbacks.

She took her gaudy, witch-ish fingernails upstairs to show her brothers. Bless their hearts - they could care less about fake fingernails - but they ooh-ed and aah-ed over them the best they could before getting back to their Star Wars thing they were doing.

Then it was dinner time. She struggled to eat with her fake fingernails. They kept falling off. And, because my sons are going to be great husbands, they offered to help her put them back on. And on. And on. I'm not kidding, each one fell off at least twelve times, and each time, the oldest boy dutifully and without complaining helped her to put them back on. And he discussed the fingernails with her. Really, he listened while she talked about them, but he did what she needed him to do. Practicing for man-hood.

His wife will be so grateful to her one day.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I took my dog for a walk.

Usually she walks us. She walks ahead, sniffing and generally enjoying life. This is the way this walk started out. Until we got about half a mile into it. She started to drag and then slow way down. By the end of our abbreviated walk, we were going at a snail's pace, and she was still dragging behind a good three feet.

It was sad and pitiful. She adores going for walks, I just say the word and her eyes light up and she starts jumping around and pacing between me and the leash and my sneakers. She just loves it. I think I'm going to have to start taking her for short walks just to make her happy, but not for my exercise.

My dog is old, and it's becoming harder and harder to ignore.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

What have I done?

I signed the biggest kid up for football today. Granted it's only flag football, but we've told him he has to play flag football before he can play tackle football.

I know, you're thinking, since when did she get a teenager? Because where I grew up, the first time boys put on pads and helmets was freshman year in high school. But this, my friends, is Texas.

We start our boys in helmets and pads just as soon as they can hold their heads up with them on. Which is apparently about seven. And in Texas, people look at my youngest child with envy. You see, he's a solidly built little boy who doesn't seem to be slimming down, no matter how many apples I feed him. And they all comment that he should play football. Which I'm sure he will, as he seems to be as drawn to football as he is to pushing buttons. Mostly my buttons, but that's a subject for another day.

The oldest. Wants to play football. He says flag football is for wimps, that he wants to tackle, but we say learn the rules and learn how to control your stinkin' temper and then we'll see about tackle football. In the fall. Which makes me want to cry. Because he's only nine. And wow.

I guess even though I've been in Texas for more than ten years, I'm still not a Texan. I just can't wrap my brain around this. But apparently I've spawned two little Texans and somehow it's in their blood. Fortunately for me and my grey hair situation, my daughter does not yet want to be a cheerleader and she doesn't yet use product in her hair. Unless you count boogers.