Friday, January 28, 2011

The Kids and Moving

[Ed. note: I really tried to trim back this wordy, wordy post and I couldn't do it. I guess my kids just make me loquacious. (Yeah. Go look up that word. Impressed, aren't you?) Anyway, sorry to be so verbose. (I know! It's like I'm a freakin' thesaurus!)]


Kids are amazingly resilient, aren't they? And, I guess ours aren't that different. They've taken our new adventure (mostly) in stride.

We had parent/teacher conferences yesterday. (Note to self: When attending your first parent/teacher conference as "the new parent," jokes about hitting your child don't fly so well. Noted.) Their inappropriate mother notwithstanding, both kids are doing amazingly well in school.

At the meeting with Spencer's teacher, I had to force myself not to cry when I thanked her for helping him adjust so well (Lulu, we never worried about - as Shawn says, "She's bullet-proof." Cautious, careful Spencer had us holding our breath).

We made a big decision at Lulu's conference. Ever since she was born on a bright, sunny day in June, I've been worried about whether she should be the oldest or youngest in her class (Yes. I worried about this the. day. she. was. born). She's always been so bright, though, I didn't want to offend her by making her repeat a grade. Our old school had a Pre-1st in between Kindergarten and 1st grade, so we were going to be able to wait a few years to make the big decision.

Not so at this school. Preschool is really the do or die time for this choice, otherwise they're just repeating a grade - when they're old enough to "get it." Lots of the kids at this school are the oldest in their grades if their birthdays are May through August. And, we can "spin" it for Lulu that we're just letting her get a "full" year of Pre-K since she only got here in the middle of the year.

So, it was a no-brainer today once we raised the subject with her teacher. And, I am so relieved and confident with this course of action (someone remind me I said that when she's 18 and I get to "keep her" one more year)! My biggest concern is that all the things that are challenging to her now are going to become a breeze next year and she'll get a superiority complex - this girl is already the most confident one in the family! 

Anyway, that's the awesome news about school.

Don't worry. I'm never one to sugar-coat things. There have been some hiccups along the way.

Spence can. not. turn his mind off at night. Like I said, he's our structure and routine child. (Hmmm. Wonder where he gets that from?! Stop looking at me!) We knew settling into a new house, new school and new routine would be hardest on him. God bless his teachers that school hasn't been a problem. Then again, this school is the definition of structure and routine. But, at night... oh, at night. He comes up with 32,000 things he must discuss with us. He gets out of his bed - repeatedly - until 10:00 at night sometimes! But, it's hard to get mad at the kid when you know his whole world has been given a good shake. Unfortunately, I think he smells the blood in the water with our parental guilt and has been using it to his fullest advantage. However, we've had great nights the past few nights, so maybe, just maybe, like all things parenting, this too shall pass... 

As for the indomitable Lulu (her teacher said, "You would think she's been with us since the beginning of the year!" and "She raised her hand to tell me she loved me!"), even she has had her heartbreaking moments. Unfortunately, (for me!) hers come right out of the blue.

Like saying, "I bet Miss Zouzalik (her Pre-K teacher at the old school) misses me."
"I bet she does, too, Lulu."
"When are we going back?"

And, "When are we moving back to Lubbock?"
"We don't have any plans to move back to Lubbock, sweetie. What do you miss about Lubbock?"
"Our old house."
"What do you miss about our old house?"
"It had Scooby Doo on the TV for our Family Date Nights."

You can bet your sweet life that we will be featuring Scooby Doo on this television for our next Family Date Night.

My in-laws called out of the blue and asked if the kids could come spend the night with them tonight, then stay and hang out for a little while on Saturday. I'm sorry? Did I move to Heaven?! I feel like I should have dressed better.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Great, Exhausted and No

Everyone keeps asking how we're doing and if we've made any new friends.

Short answers: great, but exhausted; and no.

At the kids' last school, drop-off and pick-up was a very social occasion. You couldn't help but see, visit and get to know other parents. At our new school, drop-off and pick-up is a very exact science. You drive up, you drop off/pick up, you move on. Don't get me wrong. I love the regimen, but it's not conducive to getting to know people.

Oddly enough, this has been... wonderful. It's been so nice to catch our breath; to just focus on each other and just have fun with each other - our kids are really funny people. Couple that with the fact that I'm an introvert at heart (shut up, I am - Introvert (n.): a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people*), it's been a really nice break since we've moved.

I've also gotten to obsessively work on getting the house in order. But, I can see the light at the end of the moving-in-tunnel and it's starting to occur to me just how "worn smooth out" I am. Couple that with cleaning the house, cooking dinner and generally maintaining a family and... well... I think I need a Diet Coke.

So, I've been blissfully trudging along, thinking, "It's nice to not have any social schedule; to be able to get things done. I don't need to hurry and find people just to 'hang out' with."

Then I went to the mall yesterday.

I'm so not a chit-chatter. (See: Introvert.) I went up to the Kiehl's counter... and I became best friends with the man working there. He knows we just moved here, where we're from, where we grew up, where we went to school. I know his daughter's name is Ali! We both agree that you just can't beat Kiehl's moisturizer, especially in this cold, dry climate...

Ya'll? I think I need to find some friends.

It's alright, though. I've been invited to a Book Club. And, I have some old college friends I can call for lunch. I might not have to become a Mall Worker groupie just yet...

* See?! I really like being around people; it just wears me out. You people wear me out. ;)

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Don't Do Tired Well

It doesn't look pretty on me. at. all. Just ask anyone. Anyone who's ever met me.

I even try to warn the kids: "Mommy is very tired tonight. Please help me so I don't get frustrated."

The other day we stopped at Sonic on the way home from school. The kids asked why and I told them, "I'm very tired. I'm going to get a Diet Dr. Pepper. It has caffeine in it. I hope it will help wake me up so I won't get frustrated with ya'll too easily." (I'm nothing if not honest - that's something, right? Yeah. Yeah. I know. Coins in the therapy fund. *clink* *clink*)

Yesterday, I was tired - again. Bone-numbingly tired. I have no idea why. But, it was like the cumulative tired of the past three months came crashing down on me yesterday afternoon. T-I-R-E-D.

I got the kids home from school. Every day, when we get home from school, Spencer gets a snack and then he does his homework. Every single day. I told him to get his snack then start his homework while I finished vacuuming.

I finished vacuuming and found him. Playing in the garage. On his new skateboard. I. flipped. out. I told him he had "no idea how angry" I was. I told him that that skateboard was "this close to going into time-out for a WEEK!" I was mad.

He came inside - contrite and repentant. He sat down to do his homework. I got back to finishing my housework. And, I hear his rational, calm voice say, "Mama?"


"Maybe you should get a Diet Coke. You seem a little tired."

I didn't know if I should laugh... or get a Diet Coke.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Decorating is Going Well

Last night, when I hung these (ok... stuck these), they read "love," "believe" and "dream."

Now. Well. Now they read:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I've been doing while I wasn't blogging

I know it's been long enough since I've checked in that some of you have started to worry that the reality of moving has finally sunk in and I've begun rocking myself in the corner. I haven't.

What I haven't been able to tell you is that Shawn moved me to a new city and then left town for ten days.


I couldn't tell you because of the murderers and all... And, by the way, my fears were not alleviated by the fact that he took the time to reacquaint me with the handgun before he left. Awesome. He thinks he's moved me to a town of thieves and scoundrels.

But, I scored some really awesome roses out of the deal.
And, he's back now, being as helpful around the house and with the kids as ever. I can get back to blogging. Finally. Does he not know how his earning a living really interferes with what I want to do sometimes?! (His response would be: "Yeah. Turns out everyone in the family likes to eat.")

So, to catch you up:
Thursday, I traveled two hours to get my hair done. Excessive? If you think so, clearly you've never loved your hair colorist. That. And, it's Joyce who's taken care of me since I was fifteen. Sometimes you just have to travel two hours to get your hair done.

While I was there, I asked her to wax my eyebrows. Eyebrow maintenance has been very low on my list of priorities since moving. I just haven't been motivated to find "an eyebrow person." (I'm not sure how one gets oneself motivate to find "an eyebrow person," actually.) Joyce went to work and exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, girl! These eyebrows! No wonder you haven't made any friends up there!"


And, right after she ripped the wax off she said, "That was probably like the first time!" Well, ummm, Joyce? I'm not sure what "first time" you're talking about, but,  no. No, it wasn't. At all.

I'm proud to announce that the last of the boxes are unpacked (well, except for the piles and piles and piles of boxes of china and crystal. Why, pray tell, do I own so much china and crystal? You would think I'm much fancier than I actually am. But, there's nowhere for it to go in this house, so, for now, it will stay in the boxes and I shall proclaim myself unpacked! And fancy...)

Back to the story: On Friday, I worked on actually decorating the house. My mom has a friend who is a decorator. And, if you think I'm too proud to take advantage of that relationship, you'd be wrong. That was slower going than I thought. And, of course I discovered that I needed to buy a few things because, well, duh.

Priscilla came to visit on Saturday. And, since she was here we asked her to babysit so we could go on a Date Night. We're awesome hosts like that. Seriously. We should write a book.

But, we all had fun while she visited. You would have thought by the kids' reactions that iCarly herself had come for a visit.

We all drove back to Lubbock together on Sunday. We had to clear some final things out of the house for closing (turns out the new owners don't want our broken armoir or ottoman, or all the miscellaneous crap that was hiding under said armoir and ottoman - weird). And, on Monday there was that shopping I told you had to be done for the new house...

But, anyway. We're back. The kids are back to school. I'm back to blogging. All is right with the world.

The house is a wreck. So, I'm off to get busy. A girl doesn't score roses around here for nothin', you know!

Also, for those of you who have been wondering, the divorce is final. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. I never want to experience anything like that again. as. long. as. I. live.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's a Mess?

This is a mess:

And, this?
This is far too many headbands. I wear them at night when I'm washing my face. Um. Yeah. I think I'm covered. (Nineteen. There are nineteen. I don't want you to get fingerprints on your monitor trying to count them. Nineteen. And one with my face soap - that makes twenty. I own twenty headbands.)

So, to be clear: My hoarding seems to be triggered by spices, handsoap (that count is up to ten) and headbands. I have no idea what that says about me. I sense it's not good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Barf or Small World?

Which to tell you? Which to tell you?


I signed up for E-mealz. (Public Service Announcement: You should, too. $15 for 3 months. It gives you weekly meal plans/recipes - it has a ton of different options - and a grocery list. And, it tries to economize, so I spend much less on groceries than I ever have before.)

Last night called for cheese grits as a side. I'm always a fan of making my kids try new things. "Just one bite. Taster's Club (as many bites as your age), if you want dessert." No fuss, no muss, no drama. Do or don't. Their choice. But, they've discovered quite a few things that they actually like in their quest to attain dessert each night (and by "dessert" I mean a piece of candy out of the Candy Basket).

Anyway, back to cheese grits. Personally, not a fan. Elizabeth scarfed them down like they're about to stop making grits forever. Spencer... really wanted dessert. He took a bite and gagged. A bonafide, legitimate gag. I looked away to try to let him suffer without an audience. He started chewing. And chewing. (A sign that you really don't want to eat something: When you're chewing the unchewable. How exactly does one chew grits?) I started talking to Elizabeth and... splash! He barfed out the grits he had tried to swallow.

Alright, son. Point taken. You really do not like grits. Go get dessert.

Small World:
Shawn and I had a beloved professor in college. Actually, he was advisor to both of us. He rocked. He was an hysterical smart-ass. He was hard. Studying for Surviving his class is when Shawn and I got to know each other so well. He's also probably the only reason I have a degree in accounting. I loved him (and I hate accounting). We still send him Christmas cards. He always wrote back. Last year he didn't write back.

Today, I dropped Elizabeth off at school. Her teacher said, "You live on the same street as one of our other families."


"Yes. As a matter of fact, the mom said you sent her parents a Christmas card." (So, we sent a Christmas card to the grandparents of some of the kids at our school. hmmm...)

"Really?! I wonder who her parents are?" (Especially, since there are precious few people up here that we even know to send Christmas cards to. I was thinking more along the lines of one of Shawn's business associates.)

"I don't know. But, I think her dad was a teacher."

I screamed his name. Elizabeth's teacher agreed that that was right. And, I realized that the mom's name the teacher was telling me was the name of The Daughter that he would go on and on about, he adored her so. And, then the teacher said...

"He's passed away. She said she didn't think you knew."

I almost cried in the hallway.

I can't wait to meet The Beloved Daughter. But, first, I came home and wrote her a note that I'm going to drop in one of her kids' bags. I don't think I can tell her what her dad meant to Shawn and me without blubbering like a loon - and what a first impression that would be.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Can Chuck E. Cheese's Be More Awkward?

Oh, indeed. It can.

Chuck E. Cheese's is just my idea of hell for the mere fact that every child in the free world is running around like a strung-out crack whore; coupled with the fact that they are all touching the same things - and then eating.

Hey, Chuck! Ever heard of hand sanitizer?! They make dispensers that mount nicely to almost any wall.

Mind you, none of this means that my next child's birthday won't be held at Chuck E. Cheese's. That's just the way life works when you're a parent and detest something...

Anyhoo, on to my point (Yes. There is one. Shut up.):
The kids and I went to a birthday party there last night. My one sweet friend up here had a third birthday party for her son. And, since we all know three-year-olds don't really have friends of their own, it's one of the birthday parties where Mom can just invite her friends (and their kids). Sweet Friend invited me so she could introduce me to some of her friends - seriously, Sweet Friend.

For the majority of the time, Elizabeth chose to climb in the kiddie tube that ran around the ceiling of one of the corners of the restaurant. I had visions of her getting lost or stuck up there, so I stood underneath trying to watch her shadow as it moved through the tube. She would stop periodically at the windows and wave to me. And, one of the corners was basically a mesh-sided box. She would stop there, we would chat and she would move on.

She picked up a boy friend, as she is apt to do. (Truly. She much prefers boys. Uh-oh.) They made their way to the mesh box and she yelled, "Hi, Mama!"

I said, "Hi, Lulu!"

He yelled, "Hi!"

I said, "Hi!"

He said, "That's my mom!" He pointed to a woman snuggled up to a man in a booth. The two were gazing longingly into each other's eyes and whispering sweet-nothings to each other. You would have thought they were at an intimate French bistro - not sitting in the middle of Chuck E. Cheese's.

And, the boy yelled, "But, that's not my dad... That's Aiden's dad."

Awesome. Does Aiden know?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Have you missed me?

Have you missed me? Tell me your answer is "yes." I really need you to say "yes." I'm just going to pretend that you said "yes." K? K.

I was going to check in on Monday, but the telephone/internet modem was out. I was composing the scathing blog I was going to post about how much I loathe the internet provider up here (who seems to have a monopoly on the market), until the technician arrived and asked, "Where's the power cord?" Power cord? Oh, you mean the power cord I put in the garage with the other power cords because I couldn't figure out where it came from? That power cord? So, yeah, my internet and telephone were down for three days because I unplugged it. I've officially lost my mind.

Then I came down with a 24 hour bug. I'll spare you the details. You're welcome.

Anyway, I'm back. And, the update is: I've been unpacking. People? Not one of you told me that this was awful. Yeah, sure, you can try to pass the blame by saying that I could have remembered from some of my previous umpteen moves that unpacking was awful. But, I feel like you should just take responsibility and admit that not. a. one. of you reminded me that this would be awful; that cleaning the bathrooms today would feel like a pleasant escape from unpacking.

I have now reached that vicious cycle of moving piles back and forth because a) I don't really know what I'm going to do with them; or b) I haven't decided if I should keep them or not. I'm about to reach c) so sick of the mess, anything without a place is going to get thrown away. That's a shame, since one of the homeless things I'm looking at right now is a Baccarat vase. Oh well. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

In happier news:
The kids love their new school. I'm pretty sure the overwhelming reasons are "big lockers" (Spence); "Expended Day" (Elizabeth) [Extended Day - the program after their morning classes where Lulu can eat lunch, take a nap and generally have a romping good time in "the fun room"]; and backpacks (Spencer and Lulu). I'm not picky. I was just happy to see those smiling (but, tired) faces when I picked them up from their first day yesterday.

And, everyone is so nice to me at their school. I don't know if I expected them to kick me in the shins every time I had a question or what. But, truly, I haven't felt like I've asked a dumb question yet (and, y'all, I've asked plenty of dumb questions). But, as Shawn said, "Those must be really nice people. Everyone is consistently nice. They couldn't all fake it every single time we have an interaction with them."

In other news:
Have you ever tried shopping for school supplies in the middle of the school year? Don't. Or get ready to hear this a lot: "That's a seasonal item." (And, that would be in reference to a pencil box!)

So, that's about it. I leave you with this anecdote (and a promise to check back in much sooner):
Spencer, Elizabeth and I were squeezed into the handicap stall in the Target restroom (going to the bathroom with children - I don't care who you are, that is a handicap). Spencer went. I lined the toilet so Elizabeth could go and she got slightly obsessed with the fact that she ripped the paper when she sat on it. She finished and I was going to go. Elizabeth said, "Brother, do you think Mommy can go pee-pee without ripping the paper?" Spencer: "Yeah." Elizabeth: "Yeah. But, she's got a big bottom."



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