Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Random Thoughts: the Byproduct of a Long Summer

As I told a friend when I forgot to respond to his text for a week... and then forgot to send the text telling him I forgot to respond to his text for another week, I haven't had a single, complete, coherent thought in weeks. Being a mom 24/7 is an ass-kicking job. And, this summer, save Spence's week-long stint at camp, was Me and The Kids day in and day out for three months. (Yeah. I just made that into the title of a movie. Most boring movie. ever. But, very loud. With occasional cameo appearances by Shawn Johnson.) No. Seriously. They are getting old enough that we were (mostly) happy. And our road trips and vacations were fun. But, enough was enough.

Thank God for school and teachers. Spence started 2nd grade and Lulu Pre-K. They're both loving it. And my thoughts are slowly starting to form completely again (and the laundry is starting to get done again... and dinner cooked... and I'm bathing more regularly...)

So, as we wait for full-capacity thoughts that might equal one whole blog post, here's what's been rattling around in my brain in the meantime:


And, yeah, yeah, yeah. Working moms. I know the grass isn't greener. I'm just saying sometimes you get to turn on your "grown-up brain" and have coherent thoughts sometimes. (And, I'm not even going to correct the fact that I used "sometimes" twice in that sentence. I think it proves my point quite nicely.)
It's not a flat iron. It's a cookie. And, I don't think "turn that on;" I think "eat that."
The Pre-K teachers at Elizabeth's school do "Home Visits" the week before school. (oh. the horror.) I whipped these up because a) I'm an unbearable suck-up and b) I was trying to distract the teacher from the fact that our daughter doesn't know her own name and c) who calls Children's Protective Services on someone who makes muffins?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

OCD, Crafting and Back-to-School

So. After twelve years of marriage, this is how well Shawn knows me.

When I call when he is 6 hours into a 7 1/2 hour drive to say I'll need to be making a back-to-school treat after he gets home that night, he says, "Of course you will." He doesn't even try to confuse me with logic because he knows a confused, obsessive me is way worse than simply an obsessive me. He doesn't remind me that I'm calling at 9:00pm and he won't be home until 10:30pm. Oh no. Indeed, he himself stops at Walmart on his way into town to buy the supplies I don't have.*

But, here's the story. I was asked to be HOMEROOM MOM yesterday at Meet the Teacher Day. That's right. I put it in all caps. I take these things very seriously. I'm thinking of getting a vest embroidered. Or maybe a visor. Or lapel pin. A lapel pin would be classy.

Anyhoo. I have a cousin-in-law. She's like Martha Stewart. Her blog makes me feel inadequate. I usually read it through my fingers while I hold my hands over my inadequate eyes.

But, last year she sent her son to his first day of school with these:
How freakin' cute is that?!
And here are her instructions:

To make your own:
3 1/2 " x 4 1/2 " yellow cardstock
pinking shears
3 1/2" x 1/2" pink cardstock
1" circles pink cardstock
3 1/2" x 3/8" aluminum foil
Rolos
Hershey kisses
adhesive

So. As I sat last night, waiting for Shawn to come home and pondering my newly appointed position (That's right. I said "appointed position." Like the president of the United States himself chose me for this - not like the teacher asked me as I headed out the classroom door), I decided I should make these for my class.** 

It all seemed so very logical. And, simple. *insert delirious laughter*

Except. Walmart doesn't carry Rolos in a package. So, Shawn found these:
Don't tell me he wasn't a little bit into this. He had a "vision."
Except. I didn't have cardstock. I had colored paper. That's right. The package just said "paper."

Except. I don't have pinking shears. So we just had to bunch our "paper" up around the Hershey's kiss.

Except. I don't even know what real crafting people mean when they say "adhesive." I used hot glue, double-sided tape and Elmer's. I'm sure that's probably exactly what they mean.

And, only at this very moment, while writing this very post, did I even see that my CIL's instructions called for aluminum foil. Huh. That would have been a really good idea. Seriously, y'all. I should quit all other endeavors and take up this "crafting" thing full-time.

So. Back to the story.

At 12:45am while we held individual paper pleats around Hersey's kisses and waited for the Elmer's Glue to set (FYI, you can.not. use hot glue on a Hershey's kiss. Learned that the hard way), we may have looked at each other like we had made a terrible mistake. Well, Shawn may have been looking at me like that the entire time... I may have just finally agreed with him.

Then.

I had a sleep-deprived inspiration. Sister's hair rubber bands.
We slopped some Elmer's glue around the kisses, pinched down the paper with a rubber band and went. to. bed.

But, this morning. After I took the rubber bands off, we were left with these. I'll never really understand how. Maybe it was a back-to-school treat miracle. 
I didn't make that cute monkey bag. It was a party favor
bag we were given. But, if you've got some google eyes
on hand, you can go ahead and whip yourself up one.
I'm sure it would just take some "adhesive."

But, you know what? The smile I got from Spence this morning when I showed him. Was worth it all. (And, I even refrained from shrieking at him that he was going to "mess them all up" when he picked one up and pretended to use it like a pencil. I know. I'm all rational like that.)

P.S. Don't think Mommy Guilt doesn't make me know I have to make these for Elizabeth's class, too. Luckily, she doesn't start Pre-K til next Monday.

I need a nap.

ACTUAL INSTRUCTIONS
(although I can't see why you would dare try this at home)
  • tube of M&M minis with red tops (although orange will work in a pinch) - slash plastic wrap around  the lid "hinge" so the plastic and your paper will lay flat
  • Hershey's kisses with almonds ("because they're brown like a pencil" - Shawn's words, not mine. Seriously. Tell me he wasn't into this.)
  • 4 1/2" x 5 1/4" yellow paper (although, I think I would make it longer next time maybe 5 1/2") with "Happy 1st Day of SCHOOL" written along the long way
  • 4 1/2" x 1/2" silver or gray paper
  • double-sided tape
  • hot glue
  • Elmer's glue
Hot glue the kiss to the bottom of the M&M tube. Wrap the yellow paper and secure with the double-sided tape, leaving about 1/4" overhang on the kiss end of the tube. Wrap the silver at the other end of the yellow paper and secure with the double-sided tape. Apply Elmer's glue inside the overhanging portion of the yellow paper and pinch around the kiss. Secure with a small hair elastic, if available. Allow to dry. Remove elastic.



*It probably helps my case that Shawn still tells stories about his mom being Homeroom Mom and president of the PTA. (FYI - I will never be president of the Parent Board. I know. I know. Never say never. [Never.])

**I've never been a HOMEROOM MOM, can you tell? I know I'm being pretty cool about it, so you probably couldn't tell...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Ride's Been Pimped
(I don't really even know what that means.)

So, I've made no secret of the fact that Shawn hated my old car. I'm not sure what he hated about it... the glovebox that wouldn't close; the overhead lights that were burned out; the volume button that would get stuck while increasing the volume (that was pleasant); the cigarette lighter that hung out of the dashboard by the wires; the exterior that had a ding in every. single. panel (one of which was on the trim that surrounded the driver window like someone had tried to break in with a crowbar - FYI, you can't fix that without replacing the door panel); the three-foot key scratch that someone gave it while it sat in the driveway last Halloween (I wish I knew who that was... I'd take back their candy); the scratched bumper where I misjudged the side of the garage (I don't want to talk about that anymore). And, I know having a DVD player in the car is a luxury, but notsomuch when it has the same VeggieTale movie stuck in it for six months. Or maybe he just hated the layer of goldfish/cheerios crust that the kids had cemented into the interior over the past five and a half years. I mean, seriously. What's not to love?

Shawn tried to show me other people's pretty new cars. But, ehhhh. Whatever. Mine still "worked."

Then.

Finally. He thought of it. The convincing argument. He drives two-hours down the road. A lot. And, his ginormous SUV gets terrible gas mileage. And, he couldn't drive mine comfortably.

So. I let him buy me a new car.

I know. I give and give.

Blah, blah, blah... All the different options. Blah, blah, blah... I got a Buick Enclave. It is beautiful. I will let my children die of starvation and dehydration before I let them eat or drink in it.

Also?

I got an OnStar app. It will unlock my doors for me. from. my. phone. I will never have to climb through my own sunroof again! But, even better? It will start the car for me. From anywhere. I have to be honest. I took the kids to run errands just so I could remote start the car from inside the stores. It's like I'm freakin' Knight Rider!

The one problem?

video
I'm pretty classy like that.



*Things that occurred to me as I made this video clip:
1) One should not wear a strapless shirt while filming footage of oneself if one does not want to appear naked.
2) I may have gotten a little carried away with my editing abilities on Mac iMovie.
3) I make some really weird faces while pretending to barf. This is terrifyingly obvious when viewed frame by frame. Please don't view this frame by frame.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not in the Mood for "Happy"

I want to tell you about our fun vacation to visit some friends at their lakehouse. I want to tell you about my new car (that I can start from my phone - it's like magic, I tell you)!

But, instead I have horse-playing, summer-crazed kids; my patience is thread-bare; and Shawn is out of town.

Worse. I have friends who are hurting.

There was a courageous mother in Lubbock, Christie Devitt, who battled breast cancer when she was pregnant with her second child, three years ago. She inspired countless lives with her strength and faith. But, her cancer came back this June. And this time, she lost the battle.

And, much closer to home, my good friend (and my smart-ass blogging buddy), Danny, just found out his dad has acute myelogenous leukemia.

So, really. I'm not much in the mood to tell you how awesome my Buick is. Or how I can't say "Buick" without pretending that I'm barfing (Buuuuu-ick).

All I really want to ask you is: please pray.

Please pray for Christie's family; for her 3-year-old and 5-year-old who have to live without their mama now. Pray for all the people who found strength and faith through her journey - the very people that she was so worried would waver because of her defeat. Help them to know that just because we can't understand the plan, it's not any less beautiful.

And, please pray for the Holwerda family. Give them the strength and peace for their new battle.

Because, really.  CANCER SUCKS.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

So much going on and so little desire to type...

We went back to the old hometown for a wedding this weekend. While there, we saw some of my friends who were visiting from out of town. When we were together, we may have scared a few... offended most... but we had a great time. (And, FYI, unless, "I'll just have a cheeseburger instead of a Navajo" doesn't make you spit out your drink with laughter, you just might not "get" us.)

The kids spent Friday and Saturday night with Nanny and Pop (my mom and step-dad). Nanny and Pop live on a lake. You might not think a drought is a "good" thing. But, when it makes the lake drop so low that there's a "beach" at Nanny and Pop's backyard... well... my kids are going to vote "drought" every time! Granted, you have to use a ladder to get down to the beach from the dock. Uh huh. That low.

But, the real joy? A Slip and Slide. Laid out on a downhill slope. Hours, people. Lulu and Spence slid on that thing for hours. Do you remember when it was fun to hurl your body at the ground and see how far you would slide? No. Me either. Thank goodness it's clearly marked "For Children Only. Not for Adult Use." Someone (Pop) would have been coerced down that thing for sure. What an embarrassing injury to have to explain to the orthopedic surgeon: "Well. You see. I was on a Slip and Slide..."

We came home and our cousin David is back in town for a visit. (Someone said the last time I talked about "Cousin David" that it reminded her of Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch. Now I can't say it anymore without thinking it! Get out of my head, "Sparkling.") I spent four and a half hours with all the kids at the swimming pool today trying to wear them out sufficiently so G'Ma and G'Pa could have them all spend the night at their house while Shawn and I go to an event tonight. I don't know if it worked, but I'm tired and sunburned.

That. And, I'm still waking up at 4:45 to go to 5:30 exercise class.

That. And, the market sucks a little bit right now. Have you heard? Oh. You hadn't? Yeah. Shawn's wondering why he chose this career when there are so many others out there... like post-hole digger... and human test subject.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Talking about S-E-X

I grew up knowing technically how a baby was made. Sperm and egg combine and make baby. But, I also remember seeing my parents kiss goodbye when I was in the sixth grade and thinking, "Wow. They must have kissed a lot to get that sperm and egg to combine."

Ummm.

So, when I heard about the book What's the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys which touted itself as a sex education book appropriate for ages 4 to 8*, I had to see it.

I probably could have found a better description when I asked the salesperson at Barnes and Noble if he could help me find it, though. Actually, anything would have probably sounded better than, "It's a sex book for kids."

And, my heart pounded as I read it the moment I got to my car. I don't know why. At worst, I could have walked right back in and returned it. But, you know what? It's surprisingly good. And honest. But, in a kid-friendly way.

It talks a lot about the differences between boys and girls; about talking, looking, touching and being touched (as it would pertain to children); and respecting everybody's privacy and wishes. And, it discusses starting, growing and awaiting a baby; and what happens on your "birth" day.

When I read it to the kids, Spencer acted like we had entrusted him with the keys to the kingdom. Like he couldn't believe we would actually tell him read to him, bluntly, about, what I can only assume, is already being alluded to among his seven-year-old peers.

So, tell me. Is it wrong? Should all of this be a big secret? Should I let my kids find out about sex from their peers on the playground (as is the age old tradition), or what they can sneak a look at on HBO?

I don't want that to be how it is in my house. I want my kids to know we can talk about anything; Shawn and I will answer any question - and they'll get an honest, forthright answer (even if it makes me want to squirm).

You're welcome to think I'm insane. I have a sister and brother-in-law who thought we had lost our minds when we told them about it. (But, to be fair, there may have been alcohol involved. And, my description may have been more along the lines of the aforementioned "Sex book for kids.")

But, for us, it works.



*To be exact, it is described as, "Honest, factual language and simple illustrations [that] explain male and female body parts, growing up, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, sexual feelings, and privacy in a way that makes this subject no more of a giggler than a trip to the grocery store."


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Kids at Play (WTH?!)

I was eavesdropping as my kids played.

They were playing "ambulance" - I could tell by the siren.

Elizabeth instructed Spencer (playing the Paramedic), "Pretend you dropped the patient on the ladder."

Then she (playing the patient) said, "Ohhhh. Owwww. My face..."

Sucks to be Spencer's patient.

Then things took a turn. I still heard the ambulance siren, but I heard her say, "Pretend you saw our dad was disgusting because he was a Vampire Dad like our mom." Hey. Wait a minute here.

(Please hold for this brief interruption to your blog reading while I defend our parenting. Our kids have a children's book called Vunce Upon a Time about a shy, little, Trick or Treating vampire - they do not watch True Blood, nor are they familiar with the Twilight book series. Ok. Misunderstanding averted. Parenting honor vindicated. I will now resume your regularly scheduled blog post.)

"Pretend we're playing dodgeball..." *ambulance siren* *vampire snarl*

Ok. Wait. What?!

I don't think I'm creative enough to play pretend with my children.

That.

And, I'm a little scared.

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