Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Is A Special Day

I have a dozen little half thoughts and a few complete thoughts whirling around in my head, so I've decided to give them a place to go so they can be free of me. :)

This morning I have pulled Danyo off of our kitchen table no less than 17 times. This last time I said pretty sternly (because I am busy blogging and I don't need the interruption) "Don't get on the table anymore Danyo, I mean it, you are driving me batty!" Almost at the exact same time, Avee said just as sternly, "Don't lell at him mom!" and Bo said, "Uh, Mom, he's only 1."

Hmmm, they sound just like their mother. And in case you are worried that I "lelled" at a 1 year old, Avee considers any kind of reprimand of any degree, a "lell". She's all sensitive and whatnot.

Every time I have pulled Danyo off the table he has bolted for the computer chair. Don't tell me the kid doesn't have my number.

Nextly.

Bo is not a big fan of Kindergarten. He has all-day Kindergarten and it is not sitting well with him. It has been weighing on my mind since he started a week ago yesterday. He had a shortened day, two hours shorter on his first day and the first words out of his mouth were, "That was tooooooooooo long."

On Monday when he went for the normal length of time, the first thing out of his mouth was a matter of fact, "I won't be going to kindergarten tomorrow, that was just too long." It was also the first thing he announced to J when he got home. That he wouldn't be going to school the next day.

My heart ached for him because, it is too long. I never considered that before he started. I really just thought about my freedom with only two kids to tote or tend. Because I am stellar like that.

After bribing him with a pack of pokemon cards, to go on Tuesday (a great tip I received on this here blog!) and making very sure he understood it was just for Tuesday, and that he would not be getting a pack of pokemon cards every school day of his kindergarten career--he went off happily.

And he continues to come home with one report every day. It was too long. I try to get information out of him as subtly as possibly (he's very possessive of his time away from me, basically he believes it is none of my business. Or else he manages to "fohget evwuhthing" about his time away from me, but can remember a memory from when he was 21 months old and couldn't talk. Yeah right.) and while I don't have much luck, I have learned a little. "Touching the wall is a bad habit". I thought that was a gem. I'm actually kind of glad someone else is harping on him besides me, but then again---does he need this kind of edjamuhcating for 6 and a half hours a day? I dunno.

I have a few options I'm considering. Truth be told, I want him with me as much as he wants to be with me. And while I'm not necessarily inclined to indulge in such things, this is Kindergarten we're talking about and I'm not really going to have the luxury of choice I have right now--in the future. Unless I want to superglue him to my apron strings and remove any choice. I'm not sure I'm cut out for real true homeschooling, I do think that takes a special skill which I do not posses. Also called patience and intelligence. I have only a little of both.

And I don't wear aprons.

And superglue scares me.

Avee just got off the phone with her friend Ella. Just before she hung up (all pretend, btw) she said, "Oh yeah, and your mom goes to college. I love you. Bye!"

Tha's mah girl.

Thirdly.

My best good friend Traci at Code Yellow Mom came to visit last weekend. Holy moly, has it really already been a week?! It was totally awesome. I enjoy every second I get to hang out with her and she came childfree; which, even though we aren't childfree, is very rejuvenating. My kids fell completely in love with her. If you are interested in learning more about Traci, you can read this post I wrote a couple of years ago. She's muy awesome. Avee fell in love with her almost immediately which struck me for a couple of reasons. Avee is pretty selective, she's not a "I like everybody" kind of person like me. But she's cute and charming so she can afford to be selective. And Traci is not a "look at me, love me, let me win you over" kind of person. Like I am. :) She's much more calm and mellow and quiet. So, within hours, Avee was all over her and proclaiming that Traci was her "favowite gwownup." I've never heard her say that before. It was pretty cute.

Also, after Bo's second day of school and I was trying to get as much information out of him as subtly as possible and I was entirely unsuccessful, I gave up and went into the kitchen and started dinner.

A few minutes later I heard Traci asking him things about his day. He was answering everything. I think she started off asking him trivia though, and he loves that crap. But up until this day, he was a cool cucumber with her. I was enjoying all of the questions and answers and just happy that someone was getting the information out of him. Even if it wasn't his darling mother.

This went on for about 15 minutes and the Q and A was still going on when I heard Traci kind of laughing and then say, "Hey Nobody, Bo's getting pretty up close and personal here." I went into the living room to find Bo lying on her, completely mauling her, happily answering all her questions.

All this time, I thought I just wasn't asking the right questions. Turns out, I wasn't asking the right WAY.

I love you T, thanks for coming to visit.

I have to go now. I'm getting pictures of the kids taken in 40 minutes. None of us are dressed.

I may or may not have a time management issue.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

To Whom It May Concern Time

Dear Phone Company that starts with a Kwuh and ends with an Est:

I switched over to you for a couple of reasons. First, we were trying that VOIP business, and while it's a great idea, it wasn't working so well for us. I had lots of people with caller id, thinking I liked to just call and breathe heavily. When in reality, VOIPy just didn't let me be heard any other way. And that was a tad embarrassing. And then there's the part where they raise our bill after a year. They said they would, and I said I'd change when they did, so there you have it.

You offer competitive rates.

You are straightforward.

You are easy to install, your internets is suitable for my needs, and every person I want to call is an easy 7-10 digits away. Except my sister in England. I have no idea how many numbers her phone number is. Or how to dial her, for that matter.

You are high maintenance and needy and I can't handle that.

One time, a couple of years ago, I was talking to my friend about a boyfriend she had. She mentioned how he always wanted to be with her, always called when they were apart, adored her when they were together, etc, etc, etc. I mentioned, "J has never been like that. Sometimes I wouldn't mind being adored like that." My friend made a motion of tugging at a collar, like she was being choked. It made me laugh right out loud and brought me back down to earth, with the wonderful, kind, and non-suffocating husband I have.

You are showing me quickly how lucky I have been. While simultaneously DRIVING ME INSANE.

You call 2-3 times a day. You constantly want to go over my first bill. And give me your number, as though I don't have the resources or mental capacity to figure out how to contact you IF I NEEDED YOU. I ask you not to call and you always act apologetic and like you won't ever do it again, but within 4 hours, or first thing the next morning, you are calling again.

What do you want from me? Isn't my business, a check every month, and my present satisfaction enough?

You are pushing it. I would pay good money to not be annoyed. I might have to go back to inconsistent, non intrusive, overpriced VOIP. Don't make me show you how serious I am.

I am a busy woman with very important things to do every day. Like miss my 5 year old at school, retrieve my 1 year old from the toilet, and listen to my 3 year old scream "IwantthatIwantthatIwantthat!" over and over at the TV. You see? I'm busy.

Please find someone else to stalk and obsess over. I'm all stalkee and obsessee'd out.

Sincerely,
Nobody in Iowa

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Spittin' Image

I'm hoping that people who read this blog, that don't know me in real life, realize that I only write about a small part of our lives. On any given day, my kids can be tyrants or angels. Genuis or Gumpish. Hilarious or annoy the living daylights out of me. Of course, the beauty of this blogging business is, you only get to see what I put out there. Fortunately, I have real life friends who also read this blog, so I know I'm not completely a false advertisement. Or so I like to tell myself. In those lonely lonely nights when I'm alone. Blogging.

That being said. We have been having a problem with Avee spitting. I have no idea how or why she picked it up, but she is persistent in trying to land gobs of slobber on various people and things. It's disgusting. After trying lots of different ways of good solid parenting, to get her to stop, I finally had to pull out the spank card. And use it. She got a swat for spitting on the baby. That's a big deal. She was devestated, I was very stern with her, and I was certain the problem was solved.

So today imagine my surprise when....
I was sitting outside reading with my niece, "watching" Avee and Danyo playing. Suddenly I see 4 boys, 9-12 years old, all jump up and run across the yard, in the opposite direction from us. I see them throwing frantic glances over their shoulders and I looked around myself, for the threat.

I see Avee, sort of following, with a slow and casual saunter, in their general direction. It didn't add up. So I called out to one of the boys, "What's going on A?" He answers, "I don't know." Even more perplexing. So I look back over at Avee, still making her way toward them, and I see only her profile, but I can see her face is somewhat contorted and I see what looks like a large cotton ball on her chin. I take a guess, "Is she spitting?"

"Uhhh, yeah. I think so!"

"Avee Kathryn you get over here right this minute!"

She comes immediately. Furiously wiping her face over and over with the back of her hands. By the time she gets to me, there is no evidence.

"Were you spitting?!"

"Yes."

"What have I told you about spitting!?"

"I wasn't spitting on people."

Ohhhhhhhh. Well then. I had to fight every urge not to burst out laughing at her brilliant little defense. She was terrorizing a pack of boys, 3-4 times her age, but she wasn't spitting on them. Just following them with a gob of spit.

I keep telling her pretty girls don't spit. But she keeps proving me wrong all.the.time.

In other news, we went and met Bo's kindergarten teacher today.

I am aware, that as a first-time mother of a kindergartener, I am hyper--something. Hyper-everything, maybe. I want the teacher to jump up and clap that she has the privilege of my preshy, in her classroom. I want her to have all his information memorized. I want her to thank me profusely for letting him come to that school. I want her to look at him and know that he is the most brilliant child to ever enter her classroom.

I also want her to teach him to stop eating his boogers and lend him lunch money when he forgets.

As we were getting in the car to go to the school, Bo said, "I'm getting so nohvous." It melted my heart. I love when my kids express what they are feeling. As we drove he said, "My nohvous is getting biggoh and biggoh." I didn't tell him that mine was too. And that my heart was in my throat.

He was very quiet and stayed very close to me.

He didn't say a word to his teacher.

At the very end, as we were about to leave, I bent down to him and said, "This is where you will come tomorrow to answer some questions, and this is who will be asking you the questions." His teacher chimed in, "Yep, it will be right here at this table!"

Bo finally looked up, looked her square on and said, "I alweady know evwuh thing. Evwuhthing."

I laughed out loud and said to his teacher, "Aren't you thrilled you are getting a student who already knows everything?"

I do not think she thought either of us was smart or funny.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tiniest Bit Unlike I Anticipated

What? You don't want to read all week about my fabulous time in Oregon?

Well, I never!

I've been puttering around my house, "recovering" and trying to find some way to bring order back to my home. I'm pretty sure it's a lost cause, so I'm embracing the chaos. But it doesn't matter. My mom will be here in 4 days, all will be well by then. If not by then, soon after. As soon as she has a chance to rest up from the trip up here.

Someone told J last week that he needs to be there on Bo's first day of kindergarten (we both tend to underestimate the importance of some milestones in our lives, and in the lives of our children) so he decided to start making it more of a focus and working to mentally prepare Bo as well. Something that uh....his mom has neglected to do. Sorta.

It's been entertaining at the very least. Saturday as Bo bolted out the door to go swimming with his friends, J called, out, "remember, as much fun as you will have swimming, kindergarten will be 10 times more awesome!"

I think he's good at the life lessons type stuff.

Things That Make Me Say, "Hunh!?":
  • At the store on Saturday I saw "Animal Shaped Rubberbands?" What is that? Targeting the brightest of consumers? Of course, there are people who like their stuff to look cute before it's used. I guess that's why there is an industry for printed toilet paper. I'm just not one of them.
  • That ridiculous paper plate commercial where the chick says, "I will not be defined by the number of dishes I wash." Again. What is that? Are women really walking around being/feeling defined by the dishes in the sink? Really? I mean, I know I live in Iowa and all, but maybe I need to get out more. I go from being annoyed at its stupidity to being offended by the suggestion. Annoyed and offended Nobody is not a pretty picture.
Things That Have Made Me Laugh Out Loud This Week:
  • Anytime Bo says, "Oh and by the way..."
  • Anytime Avee pretends to read like Bo. She slowly "sounds out" unintelligible sounds for several long seconds (in which I hope Bo doesn't realize that's how he sometimes sounds) and then blurts out, "BE NICE!" with a huge grin. Or "Twelvedy Seben!"
  • Hearing my kids mutter, "Why I oughta..."
  • Writing sentences for Bo to read and hear him say aloud, "My name is Bo. I am a gay-nee-us! YEAH! I'm a gay-nee-us! What's a gay-nee-us Mom?" It's genius Bo, genius.
  • Hearing J tell Bo he couldn't go running with him unless he had an airplane to fly, because that's the only way he'd be able to keep up.
  • Danyo making up sign language signs to get attention. A recurring one is of him "strumming" his forearm. Between that and "more" he thinks he's got the entire language of signing, mastered. That's not even counting how he thinks the sign for "Daddy" is to tap his finger on my forehead instead of his own.
  • Avee's recounting of things she does that are naughty that I might not ever even know about otherwise.
    "Mom, I need to tell you somesing in yo eeyoh. I wented downstayohs and I ate all yo gum. Evohwee one. All gone." Complete with proud grin, as though she should win an award for her naughtiness.
  • This picture of Avee. She insists on dressing herself, by herself, all the way, all the time, every day. This shirt has an opening on the back.

    Her response after putting on this shirt. "What's this hole about, mom?" I love that it wasn't, "What did I do wrong?" Clearly there was a problem with the shirt, not the dresser.


  • Bo's response to how he felt about starting kindergarten, "Kind of nohvous, mostly good." I told him it's perfectly fine to feel nervous, that he probably won't feel nervous anymore once he's gone to school and seen how much fun it is to be in kindergarten. He added, "It's pohfectly fine to feel mostly good about it too, Mom."
  • When talking about the planets with Bo, I joked, "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus," and my niece chimed in (my 15 year old niece who has lived in England for the last 8 years), "Yeah, girls go to Mars to get more bras, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider."
    I told her that only worked in England. Over here you just sound slow trying to work that rhyme. Of course, whoever thought of "stupider" probably isn't winning any literary awards.
  • Bo's writing on this box.



  • "At ten o'clock, my mom goes to college"









    • Avee's version of "Defying Gravity".
      video


    • This face

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    "I don't want to be bored with you"

    So, I wasn't going to do a recap of the Blog Party for a couple of reasons.

    First one being, I thought it was totally lame. Juuuuuuuuuuust kidding. No truth in THAT joke fellow psycho-analyzers. The first reason being because I was afraid of leaving someone/something out. You know, like I had this totally meaningful experience with someone and then completely don't acknowledge it, and then it's devastating and then there's the phone calls, and the sobbing, and then the subsequent lawsuit...

    I just wanted to avoid that all together. Then also, I knew 14 other people would be recapping it, and for the same reason I didn't take a camera to Chicago or Oregon, I wasn't going to recap. I enjoy riding on other's hard work and good deeds. In Iowa, it's pronounced LAY-ZEEEEE.

    But I dream about Elastic.

    And crack up laughing in front of complete strangers about Carronin.

    And still have the urge to use my elbows "inappropriately" on Millie.

    So I feel like I should recap, in an effort to clear my mind.

    I'm just going to do some free association writing here. Good luck.

    I got to pick up Millie first thing Friday morning. Being with Millie is like being with a sister. I'm 100% comfortable, and while that's great for me, possibly not so great for her. I am aware of that. She's very witty and funny and has a great knack for making anyone she's with, have a good time.

    We picked up Klin and had a great time getting to chat over breakfast. It's weird how there's an immediate level of comfort with complete strangers. Klin is friendly and smart and definitely passionate about what she does, and you can just tell she's very good at what she does. I am inspired to totally copy her.

    After we finished breakfast, where NCS had joined us, we walked to the parking lot to load up NCS's van. I asked NCS, "Where are you parked?" And she said, "See if you can find my van." I immediately started to get argumentative and say, "I don't remember what your van looks like!" when I spotted Super Happy Girl. In all her Dental Misfortune Glory. It was a wondrous sight and we all laughed pretty hard. And we felt super cool loading up the van with everyone staring. At least I wasn't the ugliest girl there. Sorry NCS. I know you love her. Everyone needs someone to love them. But even love can't make some girls pretty.

    Now, a little background---I am somewhat intimidated by Elastic and Millie's musical prowess. They know every song ever written, it seems. And often when they make music references, I feel like my eyes should be rolling back in my head, drool should be spilling, and to top it off, I should insert a finger in my nose. I'm completely illiterate about that kind of stuff. But I do try to keep it together. For the kids.

    So, Friday night, Carrot, Elastic, and I ventured down to the beach to check it out. I had "known" them and been in their presence less than an hour. I was feeling like that 1st grader hanging out with the 4th graders, totally awesome. We hit the beach and Elastic says, "Doesn't this remind you of Chariots of Fire?" and she breaks into a slow mo run and they both start "singing" the tune. Immediately I became overly excited. I KNOW Chariots of Fire! I played it on the piano when I was little. WAHOO!! I'm so in the cool club. For that moment.

    And I break out in song, loudly joining my two new BFFs.

    With the theme from Star Wars.

    Yeah, I'm cool. Of course they both laughed and pointed and what's a musically illiterate girl supposed to do? I stopped pretending to be cool right then and there.

    That night Annie showed her amazing ability to be a ring leader, with a group of loud and disorderly rings, and we had a great time getting to know each other a little better. Some people too well.

    Like that vague reference? You are welcome.

    On Saturday even I enjoyed shopping. I hate shopping. It was fun to hop from person to person and get to know everyone a little bit better.

    I got to eat lunch with Carrot, Glittersmama, Aubrey, and Elastic. A definite highlight for me.

    Carrot is gentle and kind and very funny. I've loved her blog for some time now. And I hate to brag, but the real thing---the real Carrot, is even better in real life. I just wanted to be by her all the time in hopes that her sweet and funny would rub off on me. It didn't. I'm still crude, rude, and entirely unfunny. Something that totally cracked me up, I was totally loose with van riding and hopped from van to van. One time when I was riding with Carrot and I was telling her about my tendency to get random songs stuck in my head that usually reflected how I was feeling. I listed off 3 of the songs that were randomly stuck in my head. She quietly says, "I don't think those are how you are feeling, I think you are channeling my CD case." She had all three songs with her.

    Glittersmama was someone I was super excited to meet. I may or may not have thrown myself at her when she stepped out of the van on Friday night. And she may or may not have winced and ducked. But we both pretended that didn't happen and carried on. She is strikingly beautiful and doesn't act like it at all. I'm not saying she walks around hunchbacked and stuttering--she just doesn't walk around acting all superstar and whatnot. Even though she is. Whenever Glittersmama laughed at anything I said, it was like an award. She's not a snob or anything, but she definitely isn't going to go around making you feel good by laughing at dumb things. I said plenty of things she didn't laugh at. But we aren't talking about those things. At least not on my blog. She also has like four thousand more IQ points than me. I'm a smart girl, but around her, I'm hunchbacked and stuttering.

    Aubrey is...I'm having a hard time articulating what I feel about Aubrey, because with her, it was a presence, more than a description I could articulate. When she was around, I felt good. I was happy to be alive. Maybe she's a walking feel-good pheromone or something. I don't know. She's engaging, she's smart, she's funny---in a way that was a little bit different than the rest of us. I am not in the LEAST bit gullible, and she totally got me a couple of times. One time she opened up a jar of bean dip and I, trying to be kind and conversational and make her not feel like a left out bean dip opener, said, "Hey, did you make that dip?" I almost fell out of my chair when sweet, kind, very personable Aubrey made a motion with the jar of bean dip and gave me a look like, "I'm fighting every urge not to call you stupid right now, because I AM a nice person" and showed me that indeed, the bean dip was in a STORE BOUGHT CONTAINER. In short, I like Aubrey very much. It's strange that a person I barely knew before last week, is someone I really am glad I know and hope to see many many more times. If she brings the bean dip.

    Elastic is someone you immediately feel comfortable with. Even if you are ending sentences with a preposition, she won't judge you. I loved hearing her stories because they are great and entertaining. And she doesn't just talk over you---it's a conversation with her. "I remember this one time I totally tore my pants when I was running from these mobsters and had to jump a fence to get out of this pasta factory. Have you ever torn your pants running from mobsters in a pasta factory?" I keed. But I always felt very drawn in by her stories, but I also felt like she was just as interested in what I had to say. You know what I'm talking about, right? Plus, I love the way she truly loves and enjoys her kids. It inspires me. If she can be that cool and that enthusiastic while having twice as many kids as me, working, AND homeschooling, I think i could probably muster some enthusiasm for these little stinkers around here. Elastic---I want to move to Texas all over again. Just for you. :)

    Along with Klin, I got to room with Suzanne, Amanda, and Tori. I just imagine, if those girls had been my roommates at college, this sentence would not be as coherent as it is today. I never would have gone to sleep. Or to class. I LOVE those girls. I had met Suzanne and Tori before and pretty much everything I thought before, remains. I just feel an even great kinship with them. Yes Tori, I said kinship in reference to you. I'm a complete dork. Tori is quiet but funny. She's one of those cool girls who everything she wears, says, does, thinks----is automatically cool. You just want to be with her because you are certain you will become cooler by proximity. I tried. I'm still a dork. But I love Tori even more.

    Suzanne is like...like a lifetime best friend that you just pick up where you left off. She has a calming effect on me. I love to be with her, love her insights, love how she loves Nobody, and love her stories. She's the most unassuming person I have ever met. That's assuming I know what unassuming means. Suzanne would never do that.

    Plus, she's not a blanket hogger. Or sleep kicker. And even her morning breath is like roses. In short, I love Suzanne.

    Now Amanda. She came walking up to us at the airport and she had this great smile and I thought, "hmmm, she's pretty. And that's an awful friendly smile. It's almost like she knows us..." Turns out she DID know us. To me, she didn't look like the picture I saw on the internet. I would have said something, but I didn't want it to sound like, "You're a dog on the internet, and not half bad in real life" because it's just different. But I heard Elastic tell her she didn't look the same. Elastic is all kinds of bold. So I wasn't the only one who thought it. Amanda is like the prize at the bottom of a really delicious box of cereal. I really really really like her. She's quiet, but the kind of quiet I love. She says really hilarious things---quietly. So it totally reinforces me to not be an insufferable loud mouth, because then I get to hear the hilarious, and quiet things she says.
    One day we all walked really far down the beach to take a picture by a rock. Yes, we're that cool. About 2 feet away from the rock, as we were walking back, I suddenly had to go to the bathroom SO BADLY. Well, a mother of three, walking alongside a beach with rolling water sounds, having to go to the bathroom desperately was a very trying experience. Amanda and I would talk and then 3 minutes later I would say, "Ohhhhhhh, I'm not going to make it." And she would sweetly say how hard my life must be right now. And then we'd talk about something else and then I'd bust out with the whining, mixed with mild panic. Finally, the bathrooms were relatively in sight and I was chanting, "I think I can" and being totally annoying and Amanda says in a sweet voice, "I tell my children, just don't think about it." It was a horribly cruel thing to do. She was so sick of hearing me, but too nice to tell me to shut my face, so she used her children. To tell me I was being a baby. It made me laugh a lot, and that laughing added to the above mentioned scenario, it didn't have any way to go but ugly.

    I want to move next door to Amanda. Well, I want to live on one side of her, with Mt. Rushmore on the other side. I feel like I discovered a gem in Amanda, someone I will call friend until the next time I almost pee my pants. Then she will be a sad reminder of what might have been, had I kept myself "intact" at the Blog Party.

    I had some reservations about this party, because 15 women is a LOT of women. And to be perfectly honest, sometimes it was a little overwhelming. But I have walked away from it feeling amazed that so many different people with so many different personalities, could have such an amazing time like we did.

    Yvonne was one of the people I didn't know at all, and I loved that I got to meet her and spend time with her. She is one of the most easy-going people I have ever met. Unless she was faking. In which case, she is the best faker, while being around a bunch of really loud girls, that I have ever met in my life. I think every person there loved getting to know her and talking to her more. She's easy to talk to and easy to be with.

    Heffalump was another person I didn't know. But I called her house on Sunday night at 10:30 and did some heavy breathing (only because NCS almost hit a pedestrian) only to find out that she was not in fact Carrot's cell phone. She was so friendly with her late night wrong number caller. If only she'd said, "No, this is Heffalump" I would have known the first time I called. She's a great cook and made a yummy dinner for us and has an adorable and VERY mild-mannered baby girl.

    Carronin makes me laugh. Almost every time she spoke, it made me laugh out loud. She's just really good at the one sentence, very funny things. I think I will try every day for the rest of my life to be as succinctly funny as her, and I will probably be on my death bed telling a knock-knock joke that doubles as a novel. I think I heard more than half the women there talk about how Carronin made them feel good when she laughed. I agree. I'm very glad I got to meet Carronin. Plus, she got her picture taken with Lyle. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

    NCS was the MC of this whole shindig. She didn't do much MCing, but she did a LOT to put it all together and is great at making everyone feel welcome. And happy. She was an excellent hostess and I have many things I could write about NCS, but I fear this post has grown too long already. I'll just say, NCS completes me.

    I was so tired on Monday morning when I left, I think we fell asleep close to 5 and woke up at 6. And the ONLY reason I got up at 6 am to catch an 8:30ish flight is because Tori and NCS were calling the shots and they are WAAAAAAAAAAAY more careful and "on-time-ish" than I could ever dream of being. I had like, an entire 12 minutes before I had to board the plane and I hardly knew what to do with myself.

    I wanted to tuck Millie in my purse and bring her home with me. But I don't carry a purse, so it wasn't an option. I was sad to say goodbye, but I know I'll spend time with lots of these girls in the future.

    And now, hopefully I can go back to dreaming about butterflies and tulips, and no more about blogging buddies. I love you Elastic, but at 2:30 am when my 3 year old is crying out in her sleep, it's just alarming and next to impossible to stop dreaming about you and take care of my baby.

    That is all.

    *NCS did not really almost hit a pedestrian. That is an outright lie.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Goings On Around Here

    Today I said to my 15 year old niece, "That's Marsha Brady."

    Silence.

    "You know, from the Brady Bunch."

    Silence.


    "You don't know the Brady Bunch?"

    "I think I've heard of them."

    I feel such a great responsibility now. It was going to be a fun month with movie rentals and ice cream. But clearly we don't have time to mess around like that.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Do Y'all Know?

    Oh hey there.

    How's it going?

    I just got back from a really great trip to Oregon. It involved an almost all-nighter with a childhood friend. The kind of friend that is like a comfy warm blanket on a cold day. We always pick up right where we left off, and she is always just what I need.

    Some driving and flying.

    Meeting lots of new people.

    Eating delicious food.

    Figuring out who I am when no one is calling me mom and not one single person needs me to cut their waffle. And I didn't have to fight with anybody about why it's better for me to pour the syrup.

    Entirely too late of nights.

    Beautiful Oregon coast.

    Laughing so hard my face hurt.

    Singing badly. Which is the only way I know how to sing.

    And lots of other very enjoyable things.

    I'm exhausted. I haven't pulled an all-nighter since probably college and I pretty much just had 2 on this trip.

    I came home to my wonderful husband, and even though I had an amazing time, I missed him immensely. A banged up Bo "I fell, then Wyan twipped, then I twipped ha-doe". Basically he stumbled, which in turn tripped his friend, who consequently smashed him into the sidewalk. I just enjoyed his interpretation.

    Avery hugged me for a really long time. And then bugged me for "sour candy green kind" the rest of the night.

    My darling niece who flew here last night and then babysat the kids all day today until I got home at 5:30. It's a great feeling knowing your kids are in completely capable hands. She's a superstar.

    And my sweet sweet baby who looked me up and down and made a wide circle around me, only to beeline to his dad. If it wasn't so funny, it would be sad.

    My husband is channeling Kip right now. So I better get off the computer and channel LaFawnduh. However a whiter than white redhead does that...

    Don't worry, I'm sure there's a babe out there for you too. Peace out

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Wii Our Family

    My baby got his kindergarten teacher assignment today. It was the one teacher, based on limited information and sufficient judmentalism, I didn't want him to get. Whatever. Teach me to be a snot.

    I'm kind of sick to my stomach that my baby is going to kindergarten. I won't bore you with the details, but just yesterday I was crying over what he'd done to my body. Now the body is old news, worse off, and he's going to kindergarten. Seems so unfair all around.

    As soon as I'm done with this post, I'm going to start some serious google research on cults to join. I'm looking specifically for one where the followers sit around with their kids all day and force their children to give them hugs and kisses, eat their vegetables, pick up 8 things off the floor, tell their mom she's beautiful, learn how to cook like Bobby Flay, "homeschool", and never leave home. Or buy Pokemon cards.

    I put homeschool in quotes because my version of it needs it. I don't have the energy or patience to do such a thing so my version of it would be "homeschool". Ie, coloring and Wii boxing. I have nothing but respect and admiration for people who manage to do it f'real.

    Okay, so, I'm about to tell you the long story about how we now own a Wii. And maybe give you a little background as to why I have freaked out a little about Bo's affinity toward all things Pokemon. I don't think the are the devil incarnate. Much.

    Last Spring, Bo mentioned regularly to us that he wanted a Wii. Most of the time our responses were, "yeah, us too." But neither of us were willing to pull the trigger on that kind of a purchase for something we absolutely don't need. J's definition of need. Not mine.

    Somewhere in that period of time, my mom came to visit. My mom goes on walks regularly, and on those walks, collects aluminum cans. She has purchased, with cash, a 4,500 square foot home, paid for by the money she received collecting cans. So naturally, when she came to visit, she took my kids for walks, and collected aluminum cans.

    Well, Bo is somewhat of an imitator and immediately fell into the role of can collector after she left. I could be taking a corner on two wheels in my hot rod van and he would spot a can out the window and yell, "STOP! I gotta get that can."

    As his mother, I was proud and amused. As I often am with this boy.

    As his father, J was proud, and immediately figured a way to capitalize on this new passion. As he often does.

    So, in early May, J created these darling fliers with Bo's picture. I'd show you how darling, but our hard drive is kapoot and we don't have it anymore. The flier stated his name, how old he was, and that he was trying to earn money for a Wii, because his parent's were too cheap to buy one themselves. And in an effort to earn the $200 his parents wanted him to earn, he would be collecting cans and bottles to recycle. Y'see, in the great state of Iowa, we get 5 cents for each can and bottle. So. Bo's flier asked these kind people to put their recyclables out in front of their door each night between 5 and 7 pm, and he would collect them.

    He had an immediate response. Out of about 8-10 fliers, at least 5 people put stuff out regularly with a couple of others now and then.

    Each week we took a giant Rubbermaid of beer bottles and Pepsi cans to the store to cash in.

    We told everyone with pride, what our little preshy was doing. J made a chart where he got to color in a cool dollar symbol circle thingy for every five dollars he earned. Five dollar bills became the be all end all in money. He would trade $500 for a five dollar bill because it meant coloring in a circle.

    He earned $27. Then $44. Then he had a birthday and grandma sent him THREE FIVES. She was supposed to send one $5, but she's a grandma and won't be told what to do like that. Another friend of mine gave him some Twizzler nibs, extreme goldfish, and a five dollar bill in a cute little glass jar. The three best things ever in Bo's world.

    He soon had close to $100. Enter, Pokemon obsession. Suddenly, he was obsessed with Pokemon and had a major wad of cash at his disposal. J and I feel strongly that he should be able to make his own decisions with his money now so that he makes dumb decisions now when the stakes are low. But if ever I have had issues with wanting to be controlling, this is where it rears its ugly head. It is very hard for me to let him do what he wants with all that money, when all he wants are Pokemon cards. I begged, pleaded, smack talked, pleaded more, tried to trick, did everything I could think of, short of telling him he could not spend all his money on Pokemon cards. He literally wanted to take $90 to the store and buy every card he could with that wad.

    So what you say? Well, the other end of that problem is---he's 5 and as such, is the youngest Pokemon nuthead of the crowd. And they completely take advantage of him when he gets new cards. Another hard lesson he has to learn---and I let him. When he mourns the loss of a card in a trade he didn't want to make, I ask him if they tied him up and beat him with a bicycle wheel to make him make the trade. He gets what I'm saying, but for some reason, can't bring himself to say no to those older kids. And that's a lesson I'm willing to let him learn the hard way.

    But NINETY DOLLARS WORTH? I can't.

    So. We made the rule that he could only play with Pokemon cards on Wednesday and Saturday. A couple of other moms made the same rule, so that's been good. Then we made the rule that he could only buy cards once a month. That was to buy some time for the Wii money to be earned and bought before he could blow it all.

    Nothing has deterred him. So finally we decided to make it $100 he had to earn for the Wii.

    Then we decided that $78 looked an awful lot like $100 and traded it for a hundred dollar bill.

    We have the Wii.

    And it is TOTALLY awesome.

    Bo doesn't have anymore money. He spent his last $8.50 on two packs of cards and was almost immediately swindled out of them.

    That's why he tried to bribe us on Sunday morning to pay him to go to church. He's a desperate man, in need of a fix. And no gas money.

    We had hoped that Bo working hard to earn a Wii, would help him learn the value of a dollar, and appreciate the Wii even more. What happened was, it was too big of a goal and he lost sight. And, the cans sort of fell into his lap, so it wasn't really hard work. And uh, he's five. We might be a little overly ambitious in teaching Bo. Maybe.

    So, that's the story of the Wii. The story behind the cards. And why my arms and shoulders are killing me today. I love the Wii. I'm totally chilled about those dumb cards, now that all his money isn't at risk. And I can't beat my husband at boxing.

    I may die trying.

    p.s. My mom didn't really buy a house with an aluminum can collection fund. Maybe a wreath at the thrift store. But not a house.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    You Ask, I Answer. It's Just That Simple

    I've worked hard at keeping this blog about what I started blogging for in the first place. It was a venue for sending 5 less long rambly emails in a week and posting pictures.

    It's grown a bit from that and I've met some awesome people.

    For the most part, I don't check my site meter for any reason other than finding out how people get to my blog. I'm cautious about people doing pervy searches and landing on my blog. So far, so good.

    Then I started noticing lots of places where I don't know anyone, looking. And I got curious. So without calling it a national delurking day or some other made up day, I asked people to say hi.

    Thank you Jamie and Jennifer. My ONLY TWO DELURKERS. I was gone from the webernets for a long time too.

    sigh

    I do have a bunch of questions that I want to answer before too much more time passes and then it will just be weird for me to start answering questions people asked 6 months ago.

    I'm just going to list the questions and answer them. I should say who asked them and link to them, but I just got knocked out 4 times in a boxing match with my husband. I'm so tired.

    1. If you had the opportunity and the money was OK, would you ever provide day care for someone else's children?

    Maybe. Depends on children, their parents, and my circumstances. I just watched a friends newborn for 2 months, 3 days a week and he was a perfect baby, I knew I was doing her a big favor, and I knew there was an end in sight. Too many parents are not respectful of your time, not honest with money, and not good parents---and I'm not interested in cleaning up other people's messes while I'm busy making my own. In general---little to no interest in providing childcare.

    2. Are you planning on having any more kids?

    Yes. When we were first married, we wanted lots of children. Then we had one and realized how much work it is. I am sure I want at least one more. If I were 5 years younger, I'd probably want two more. J, on most days, would like to be done---but I think we both feel pretty sure that we want one more---in time. In time.

    3.If Publishers Clearing House came to your door with $10,000,000, what's the first thing you would want to do with the money?

    First I thought that was ten thousand. And then I was like, "Why waste my time man?" Then I realized it was 10 million.
    First thing would be, invest whatever it took so that if I went an blew it in a week, whatever was invested would be enough to support us so J wouldn't have to work again. I love having him home, I love hanging out with him, and he has so many dreams and ideas that having independent wealth could make happen. I'm sure there would be a lot of 3rd world country work involved, living in different countries to experience their cultures and learn their languages. I would love to go visit my friends in Australia. There would be lots of traveling, lots of fresh sushi.

    And we'd probably move to Texas.

    4.Ben and Jerry's or Pho?

    Possibly the hardest question posed. I mean, that's like saying, Bo or Avee? Which is funny because Bo was named after the ice cream and Avee would eat Pho 3 meals a day if she could.

    I'd probably choose Pho because I could actually live off of that healthily. Whereas, Ben and Jerry's would make me a Dateline Special. Just general taste preference--Ben and Jerry's. All.the.way.

    5. If a girl with an English accent came to stay with you, what would you make her say?

    "Near here". I love how English girls say "Neeyah heeyah".

    6. Jamie, you didn't ask a question for me, but thanks for delurking, and next time, come to GNO. You will see a 5'11 girl who should not be contorting, turn into a contortionist. Few people can make me laugh as hard as Kiki can.

    7. Are both your computer and your phone dying?

    Not for the reasons you called me out on, but yes, our phone service is junk. We tried the VOIP thing with a local company and I hate it. When I happened to be talking to the company about another problem, they said, "Oh, your phone shouldn't be doing that, you should always call when stuff like that happens." Well actually, what I would like is a phone service where I don't have to call in every other day and wait on hold for 20 minutes to be told it will be taken care of in 10 days all while I'm paying you for crappy service.

    Thank you for asking.

    8. What is your favorite drink?
    Cherry coke. It is my weakness. I love it to the very cherry molecules that make it perfect. But I really do try to stay away because I know it's not good for my body. And my body is my money maker so I have to take care of it. Wait. What?

    9. What do you love the most about me?
    The thing I love most about you is how funny you are in your writing. :) You make me laugh every time I read. No pressure. I lie. The thing I love the MOST about you is that you taught me the phrase, "Food Network is like p0rn for fat people." I also think you are one of the nicest people I know.

    10. If you could turn back time, what album would you NOT buy?

    I really didn't think I could answer this question, but as I was rereading it for this post, one popped into my head. It was a Tori Amos album. I was 18 and living on my own for the first time. I found a review on it in a magazine my roommate had. The review raved about it. So I went and bought it. It disturbed me. I was young, naive, innocent, pure, and religious. And she talked about some crazy stuff and some distorted things about God. I'm sure it was all deep and metaphorical and whatnot, but at the time, it disturbed me. I bet now, it wouldn't. And I do like her voice. But that experience sort of just turned me off.

    11. Hello again to "Sabins"! I would rather have Britney as my mom. Because uh, I wouldn't have to be alone with her, you know, with supervised visitations and all. Plus, maybe I could meet Dr. Phil.

    12. What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
    In general, I don't care for cereal or most breakfast foods. Unless they are deep fat fried and smothered in chocolate. But, I do like Honey Bunches of Oats the most.

    13. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be? Australia, Canada, New York. I actually don't care about the destination, I would just want it to be all expense paid with really nice accomodations.

    14. What object would you most love to buy to put in your home right now?
    Hmmmmmmmm. I don't really have anything. I guess probably a new bedroom set. But if I had the money for that, I'd probably want to spend it on something else. Like, a trip to New York or something. :)

    15. For what in your life are you most grateful.
    To be married to J.

    16. If you were at a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it even if it sounded strange and not appealing?
    Yes. I'll try pretty much anything once. Not a big fan of innards or excessive raw stuff, but I'll try anything.

    17. Whom do you admire most? In what way does this person inspire you?
    That's hard because if you are my friend, there's something I admire about you and some way that you inspire me. That's sort of a requirement to be my friend. I think I'd probably have to say my friend (and friend's mom) Anita. She is an incredible mom, wife, friend, photographer, and many many other things. I couldn't summarize in even one blogpost why I admire her. She has inspired me to be a good mom, wife, and friend by how she's lived. She's given me life-changing advice at different times in my life, she has always supported me in whatever I've done, she's always happy to see me, she makes me feel like a superstar no matter what I'm doing or where I am in life. I haven't actually talked to her in over a year but I think about how she would do something or things she's told/taught me and I still use them as a guide for myself.
    She also doesn't read my blog. So like, I'm not earning any points here.

    18. What would constitute a "perfect" evening for you? I'm so torn right now. I love uninterrupted time with J but I love being with my kids too. I guess a peaceful, fit-free evening with my kids and J---a yummy dinner that I didn't have to cook or clean up, a good movie or tv on dvd, and someone else to bathe the kids. I also really like hanging out with friends. Its just that kids get in the way of that. But I really like my kids...

    19. If you could change one thing about the way you were raised, what would it be?
    Uhhhhhh, not a single solitary thing. Hi Mom!
    There are some things I would change but I also believe the things I experienced have made me who I am. And I love who I am---so not sure what I'd do. Oh, I know. I would have changed my parent's willingness to let me get involved in extracurricular activities. I am the 8th of 9. My parents were tired by the time I hit high school. But I would have liked to have done sports or acting or debate, or any number of things, but my mom wasn't interested in toting me around and I wasn't secure enough to just do it and figure the rest out.

    20. What do you value most in a relationship? What I value is trust. What I enjoy is humor. I also need depth. It has to go past a certain point in conversations or I get bored and disenchanted.

    21. What things are too personal to discuss with others? Hmmm, I'm pretty much an open book. I have friends that aren't, and with them it's usually, marriage and money. I don't know that there's anything I won't talk about.
    Have I shown you my birth mark?

    22. What do you like best about your life?
    My marriage and those stinky little kids. The least? Hmmm, probably inheriting my dad's big bones. I mean, big bones can only account for so much, but they sure aren't helping the situation.

    23. Would you be willing to eat a bowl of live crickets for $50,000?
    Probably

    24. If you were guaranteed honest responses to any 3 questions, who would you question and what would you ask?
    1. Are those Bugle Boys you're wearing?
    2. Is that Grey Poupon?
    3. Omar, would you REALLY buy us a shiny new computer if you won 10 million dollars?

    25. Are you ever going to write a book?

    My brain itches to write something, but so far it hasn't come up with anything worth compiling.

    26. Your favorite time of the day?
    Evening. It's quiet, no kids ringing the doorbell, relaxing, I can blog or watch tv or read or talk to J without interruption.

    27. Would you ever by your 4 yr old Pokemon cards?
    I probably would have bought my 4 year old Pokemon cards because I was really bad about having control and moderation when it came to my kids---until just a few months ago. After going through all their toys about 5 times since we moved here, and getting rid of SO MUCH STUFF and it barely making a dent, I realized they had too much and it was my fault. I've gotten better. But, a few months ago when Bo was still 4---I wasn't so good.
    I have told Bo that I will not buy him Pokemon cards with my money. But he can buy as much as he wants with his money. He has purchased 3 packs with his own money. He's out of money now, and so this morning he said that J and I had to pay him $15 to go to church. Interestingly enough, $15 is how much a tin of Pokemon cards costs.

    28. Are you coming to visit me?
    I would LOVE to go to Australia AJ---see above. :) (the winning of 10 mil would have to happen first)

    Okay, I think I answered everything. I wonder how many people made it to the end.

    Goodnight y'all. Tomorrow, I'm making waffles!