Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I know it was summer, because yesterday, I gave myself a version of a very expensive pedicure. It involves leaving my black flip flops exposed to the sun for hours, thereby burning off all dead/calcified skin when I place them back off my feet.
I know it is summer, because I haven’t seen my thighs since last September, and it appears that while they were in hiding, they slaughtered and ate a whole ranch worth of cattle and livestock.
I know it is summer, because my DEEPLY rooted hatred of pool toys has returned. More specifically, my loathing of diving torpedoes, pictured above.
Because my kids LOVE those things, and so I made the mistake of gifting them in their Easter baskets. Last year, we bought the small torpedoes, which were like my worst nightmare EVER, because they are way too small, and impossible to see at the bottom of a deep pool. Don’t even get me started on this one time last year when some crazy lady picked up one of our torpedoes and accidentally took it home (because she had the same set). I totally get it, there are somewhere in the range of 10,000 of these things hanging around the bottom of our pool because no adult in their right mind is going to dive in and search the bottom of the pool for a $1 toy. I am way to frickin' cool for that.
The WEIRD part? She realized the torpedo had our name on it, brought it back up to the pool (while I happened to be there) and then proceeded to tell me she was going to keep it, because I probably had her torpedo. Right?
Whatever lady. When you bring those things to the pool, you are basically donating them to the army of amoebas and pee particles that are planning to attack the urinary tracts of children around the world. Go ahead and steal my torpedo while trying to justify it to my face. Whatever helps you sleep at night.
So. I was “kind of” thinking the large torpedoes would be easier to see on the pool bottom (though still not alleviating my refusal to actually dive down to retrieve it, once located). And while they are more visible, these suckers really move. Which means they almost always end up in the deep end. Which means they are fair game for the *older* kids, who don’t bring any toys to the pool simply because they can steal stuff from the little tykes who lack the ability to swim/dive/breathe underwater.
Another true story: How we had to stalk an older kid at the pool last year, because he took our shark water gun (like, it ACTUALLY had a shark head…very little kid friendly), and stashed it in one of the lockers in the locker room. And when confronted, he totally denied it, until we opened up every locker in there and *miraculously* found it. What a co-inky-dink.
On another related and infuriating side note: Our pool has decided that kids can rent lockers this year, and allow for locks to be left on overnight throughout the swim team season. Which now means, the older kids can take my kid’s crap, and stash it in their lockers with no way for me to retrieve it. It kind of makes my blood boil. And while I am aware that 95% of most of the kids up there are non-kleptomaniacs with entitlement issues, do you KNOW what 7-14 year olds keep in their private lockers???
Half-eaten donuts, juice cups, soaking wet bathing suits and a variety of compressed, sugary crap. I’m not kidding, and I know it to be true, because when I search the lockers for my kids stuff, this is what I find.
Coincidentally, it is also how the amoebas and pee particles will mobilize their armies upon dry land. MARK. MY. WORDS.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Zoo day. Which began with a somewhat animated Hippo tank. It was all kinds of cool and amazing, but also scary as one of these dudes was attempting to gnaw on the wood surrounding the top of the beast enclosure. Hmmm. I don't have a plan for saving the lives of my children in the event of a hippo stampede. PARENT FAIL!
I am in the process of getting my crap together for summer break...which is about to officially begin. But somehow, I got my mind all wrapped around the idea for a summer music mix for the kids, and I thought I'd share it with all of you. Because most of what I listen to on the radio is HOLY-COW-SO-INAPPROPRIATE-FOR-PRESCHOOLERS.
So. Here's my list, and please feel free to add some suggestions, because it is HARD to find good kid music that isn't sung by a cartoon character.
Somewhere over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Miracle, Renee & Jeremy
Morning Lullabies, Ingrid Michaelson
You are my Sunshine, Elizabeth Mitchell
Ever, Ever After, Carrie Underwood
Do You Believe in Magic, Aly & AJ
Somebody to Love, Glee Cast
I Love you too, Ziggy Marley
If you want to Sing Out, Sing Out, Daisy Mayhem
This Little Light of Mine, Bruce Springstein
Walkin' on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves
Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Chip Man & The Buckwheat Boyz
And yes, I am totally aware that I could be RAD and link excerpts from these songs, but it's late and that might fry my brain cells. So link to itunes or whatever, and check it out. And give me some suggestions, because it also appears that any non-cartoon-singing-kid-songs are indie folk. Which is great, BUT....pool time makes me think more of upbeat type stuff, though ukuleles are okay if they are used all schnazzy like Jason Mraz. Ideas for songs with a beat that don't reference one-night stands, alcohol usage or profanity?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
And now I am watching the American Idol Season finale. Ohmygod, Crystal Bowersox's teeth used to be really yellow. And Paula Abdul is DEFINITELY on drugs. Awk-ward. And that one BeeGee is so freakin skinny. And shouldn't Brett Michaels be in bed and on blood thinners--I mean, seriously dude, take your wig off and relax a bit.
And that's all I've got to say about that.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Idrankamargaritaoutofacantonight. Itwasyumm-o. ButIthinkevenliverwouldbeyumm-o, ifpreceededbytwolargeglassesofwine.
LeeDewyzehasareallybigheadORareallythickneck. Ican'ttellwhich. Butmaybethealcoholadds10pounds. Idunno.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Whoa. It's 11:00 and I am just getting a post up for the day...so instead of anything deep and meaningful, I will *entertain* you with images of clothing that I have finished today for Miss L. A pillowcase dress and a monogrammed tank. Exciting stuff, I know.
Also. If this dress turns you on at all, stayed tuned. Because I have another idea for a variation that I am working on ASAP.
Mike and I went to see Iron Man 2 tonight, which was good, but mostly I was consumed with the idea that I am having a heart attack. I blame this solely on Grey's Anatomy. Because in the episode before the finale, a patient of theirs died of a major heart attack with very few major symptoms. And then, for the MAJORITY of the finale, I was holding my breath, which I am almost positive, deprived my major organs of oxygen for long periods of time.
Needless to say, I am somewhat convinced that I am about to blow my aorta. And in the movie theatre I thought I was experiencing numbness in my arm, which I now believe was just a reaction to the air conditioning/low temps. But really, who knows?
Do any of you EVER think you are spontaneously dying? Or am I C-R-A-Z-Y?
Also, I will leave you with one other thought tonight, and it is that Mother Nature is one hell of a bitch. If you are friends with me on facebook, then you know of my soul-searching inquiry to all my friends that are runners...how many dead animals do you see when you are out for a leisurely jog? Because I am seeing CARNAGE. Everywhere.
And sometimes, I think it sucks to be a part of a cycle where someone is out to kill you ALL THE TIME. I have kind of witnessed the baby cardinals/non-robbins be picked off one by one from our obnoxious rosebush and it has wounded my inmost being.
Not that I am ready to give up hamburgers.
But I am moved.
In a way that influences none of my behaviors.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I now need a minimum of 8 months of therapy to *deal* with the trauma I have witnessed.
And also. To any hospital/large corporation that is thinking of revising it's crisis management policy, I would seriously not suggest following the "lock-down" implemented by Seattle Grace.
Because leaving an entire hospital staff and it's patients as sitting ducks was kind of riduculous. And then when you shut the elevators down, I almost died. And then when you evacuated all of the necessary surgeons I was pissed.
AND. To the S.W.A.T. guy who shot the a-hole, but still allowed him to move through the hospital in a style similar to Freddy Krueger?
In other freaky-weird news, L tried to strangle Little J upon a sheep. Had there not been farm animals involved, this would be an everyday occurrence...but the sheep just takes it to a whole, 'notha level.
This weekend it went from being rainy cold to a sweat-between-the-creases kind of summer. I am TOTALLY ready for the pool, so long as I can shed 12 pounds in 6 days. Which means I am all about soup and fat-free hot dogs this week.
After I have a bowl of ice cream.
Friday, May 21, 2010
I'm not even sure what this guy is even about. He could be a Nazi with a fetish for processed foods--you'd have to check out all of his YouTube videos to know this might definitely be true. The food fetish part, not the nazi-ism.
Needless to say. Anyone who creates a character AND a theme song based upon a hot dog named Melvin is alright in my book.
First order of business, once the kids are out of school for the summer: Committing this song to memory.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Last Thursday. Sewing night.
Oh, did you email me with interest? And I TOTALLY dropped the ball on organizing this event all-together?
Yup, sounds about right.
Okay, here's the thing. When I picked the date, it sounded good. It sounded open. And then I volunteered to make that baby quilt (which was due the next day), and I started to have seizures because I could see myself staying up until all hours of the night finishing errant sewing projects.
So, I pretty much figured everyone would just FORGET about the sewing night.
But apparently, some of you have calendars. And you tend to remember these types of things.
Other side note: I found out about a week beforehand, that Mike was going to be out at a golf/bible study thingy that night. Without him to help sequester the children and their tornado-making abilities upstairs and behind closed doors, sewing night was officially DEAD.
Until. One friend emailed and said she wanted to bring a neighbor. I was still going to cancel (due to childcare issues), but as I SUCK at all forms of communication, I never got around to that.
Then. Another friend called and said her doctor-husband would be home that night and she wanted to sew! Well, I'll be damned if that wasn't a sign from God.
Thou shalt sew.
But this was all decided on Wednesday.
On Thursday, one more friend emailed to see if it was still on. And amazingly, it was, due in-no-part to my abilities to actually organize and follow through on the event I originally suggested.
So, six of us ended up here by divine intervention to sew pillowcase dresses. Again, let me say that if you emailed me and wanted to come but were waiting for me to give you DETAILS...I am oh-so-sorry. I would have loved for you all to be here! I was not cherry-picking my sewing friends. Instead, I was being a lazy slug with a hatred of deadlines who just dropped the ball.
One dress was officially completed that night! Nice! Another gal was 95% finished (no photo). And because we used a different technique with my friend Amy, I held on to one dress to experiment and finish it up. Two other gals were using this same idea to make an adult top...there were a few snags with translating this pattern to adult sizes, but I have it on good authority that one of them actually finished it (and it looks fab).
Here is Big J, *tolerating* my request to hold Amy's dress for a photo:
How cute are those patterns together????? As I did have to give this back to Amy, I am thinking that I am going to be a total copy-cat and buy all of the same fabrics she used. Also, with hers, we didn't line it (but made sure to go over all exposed seams with a finishing stitch) and then made bias tape to finish the arm holes. The contrasting fabric around the arm holes makes it extra sassy, I think.
So, impromptu sewing night was a success (despite my lazy, non-communicative efforts). If anyone wants to do it again, email me or leave me a comment. For those of you that I *missed* this time around, I will be emailing you this week to pick a new date. Any date. I'll probably even sew you 10 dresses myself because I feel TERRIBLE about the whole debacle.
On the plus side, I have a new technique that takes less time and fabric! Thanks to all the gals who came on over and served as guinea pigs...I had so much fun!!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
So. When your daughter/son inevitably asks WHY they need to learn that bull--, you can tell them this very truthful answer.
Because one day, you'll have to teach it to your children.
I am SO SUPER excited that the school year is ending, simply because I hate math homework. H-A-T-E it. I hated it back in my school days, and then here it is, up in my freakin' grill all over again. I hate it so much that I am gladly trading it for days at the pool that require a minimum of 32 minutes of pure sunscreening/screaming (as my children despise the spray on sunscreen), but the lotion kind takes at least 56 minutes to apply, and that is where i say nu-uh. Close your eyes and your mouth, here comes the spray.
For those of you who don't have first graders yet. Sigh. I'm jealous, but also smirking inwardly, as you have no idea what's coming. Kind of like when you have a baby and you wish you could shove it back in, if only to reshape the puddle of nasty skin that spans the region between the upper and lower privates, which is totally awful and disgusting post-childbirth. It's all so fluid that by some miracle, stomach skin becomes back and butt skin. I know, because I have found my belly button on both of those locations, multiple times. That's right, non-preggo women wear girdles (i.e., Spanx) to keep that mess in place. No one told you, right?
Well, that's first grade. Only, now that you're getting more sleep and you're back to the gym and your belly skin is "pretending" to be flat and smooth, parenthood is about to give you a nasty kick in the nuts, otherwise known as your intellectual self-esteem. Bru-tal.
My hatred of homework is no surprise, as I've thrown small hissy fits about it all year long. Then, I decided to take my own advice and SHUT IT, because that was getting us nowhere. I decided to put on a good attitude, down load flash cards to my iphone and attack with GUSTO!
But here's the thing. G came home this week with this math problem: 56 + 37
Great, we all know that equals 72.
Last I saw with homework, we were adding single digits, or easy crap like 12 + 4. But suddenly we are on double digits. Deep breath.
Do you know how to teach that?
Yeah, well, I thought I did too, until I started talking about "carrying" the 1, and G looked at me like I was talkin' smack about Justin Bieber. When asked how she was taught to do this problem, I got more blank stares and i-dunno's. I suspect marijuana.
The issue here, is that she is learning it in a completely different way than I did. And it's freakin' annoying! Because now addition is taught using coins and tally marks and number grids. Which totally stresses G out as she attempts to use several of these methods and ends up with an answer that includes fractions and decimal points.
And the kicker? If you ask her to add WITHOUT any of those tools, she is LOST. Like on a tropical island after a plane crash, where the survivors find a weird "hatch" and a whole group of crazies (sorry, my analogy ends after season 2).
Her math assessments continually come back saying that she is more consistent on homework than in class. Which doesn't surprise me, because we work on it until we get it right at home but I am fairly confident she has a less than basic understanding of math. Because it's being taught in 23 different formats.
So. On top of nightly math sheets, spelling sheets, and reading, we are also correcting class work and studying math flash cards. Plus eating dinner, and playing and bathing (sometimes) and watching 30 minutes of t.v. All done with a child that is mostly overstimulated and tired and potentially high on pot.
When I get back report cards, or notes on her assessments, etc., it's REALLY hard not to take it like an emotionally-oversensitive 14-year-old girl. Because it boils down to G needing more help, more practice, which I am obviously ill-equipped to do at this point. And I REALLY don't think I can blame G for it, as her study habits are not her responsibility at the age of 7. She doesn't get it. I barely get it, but can't teach it. Parent FAIL.
It's like being back in school again, where I always sucked at math. My only saving grace was that I poured HOURS of effort into catching on to what kids seemed to pick up in 5 minutes. The payoff for that kind of effort? I was always DROWNING in the hardest math class offered for my grade level. So I think that part of my advice to G is going to be teaching her to play a convincing possum, therefore securing her place in remedial math for her high school years.
I mean, seriously. No one "does" math anymore. That's what iphones are for.
Monday, May 17, 2010
But. Because I love you (and might be *somewhat* OCD), I am persevering. You're welcome.
Big J and L's preschool teacher is having a baby! And for the past couple of months, the room moms have been planning a baby shower for her, complete with a "keepsake" from the class. Here's is where I step in and volunteer my services to help make a class quilt.
Only, I have NEVER BEFORE made a quilt. Minor detail.
I have a mother-in-law that is quite a seamstress, and she has made quilts before (though it's not really her thing). I figured her general skill and patience, combined with my raw enthusiasm and tendency to take on enormous projects would get the job done. I was right.
Here is where I tell you that quilting is quite an enjoyable activity. It takes time, but it is not particularly difficult, ESPECIALLY if you are doing a really simple pattern like the one you see here--all squares and rectangles. If you want to recreate the Mona Lisa with a .2 inch square pattern, well, you might be nuts-o and that might be *more* challenging.
Once the squares were done, I rinsed them (in my washing machine) to get some of the excess ink out and prevent any bleeding in the future. Here is also where I used Retayne to help set the ink--it is a dye fixative that I bought at a local fabric store (they knew exactly what I needed when I called), but here it is on Amazon for reference. The directions are on the bottle, and I did EXACTLY what it said.
I bought three different fabrics and just went crazy. I tend to think that with the craziness of the kid's drawings, BOLDER IS BETTER! I really do love all the color (and polka dots). The strips in between each child's artwork were cut to 5.5 x 2.5 inches, and the long strips that run horizontally are 2.5 inches wide, cut across the entire width of the fabric (which was 45 inches). I knew the quilt would be eight rows, with five child squares in each row. In between each square was a 5.5 x 2.5 inch piece. So basically, I sewed each row together and then sewed the rows together with a long, 2.5 inch wide strip between each row.
When that was all said and done, I added a border of red and white polka dots (3.5 inches wide) all the way around the quilt. From there I laid a layered the quilt baking, the quilt batting and the quilt top on each other and pinned the crap out of it. Everything that happened after that was a big mess of precision that I had NO BUSINESS being a part of, but my MIL guided me through it and at the end of the day, it all worked out. I won't even begin to tell you how to "quilt" something, but trust me when I say that there are PLENTY of great blogs out there that will walk you through it. Click HERE and HERE for a couple that were recommended to me.
Here is Margaret, Big J and L's teacher, as she walked into her surprise shower. Other than the fact that she looks like she shoved a small basketball under her shirt, there are NO CLUES that she is pregnant. It makes me want to feed her milkshakes.
And this is part of Margaret's classes (there are 40 kids total, counting morning and afternoon classes). The kids definitely remembered drawing their squares and were all over finding their artwork. Priceless. And Margaret LOVED IT! Which makes it all worth it. It was the most, perfect-est keepsake for a preschool teacher. Eva.
And now I will tell you how this little story is going to play out, over the next 7 months.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Ah, blog world. Have you missed me?
No, I wasn't out of town, I wasn't sick. I was at a loss for any real time, sort of. But on top of feeling some guilt about posting, I also happen to carry some burden about the "kind" of time I put into it and it's content.
And then I realized it is a BLOG. And that it doesn't live and breathe and threaten to choke itself with small barbie shoes. And then I ate 5 oreos.
Anyway, because last week was a little crazy, I have LOTS to share. Think projects! But, we'll start the week off with a recap of the intentional behaviors I am *trying* to implement to better love my children. So this is how it went for me, and my attempts to chill the hell out this week.
Initiative #1: Wearing crappy, stained clothing
It was asked if I would let the children pick out their clothing for the week? Um, no. We'll do that later in the summer, when I can say with 74% certainty that I will not throw a tantrum if they happen to stain their pretty clothes with acrylic paint. I can guarantee that if the girls picked their clothes, they would go fancy, and the whole point of this exercise was to put them in their grubbies so that it wouldn't limit the kinds of activities we do in our day. I am trying to encourage messy play, and if they dress pretty, I tend to want to wrap them in plastic and make them SIT! and only feed them substances that are white.
Crappy clothes week was *somewhat* unsuccessful because Big J and L's class is studying colors for the next two weeks and they are required to dress in the color of the day, or they will pull their finger and toe nails out one by one. They are all business about color recognition, apparently. So (sigh), there HAS to be some thought and outfit coordination involved, which also includes hair bows. Can't help it, people.
However, I will say that G did go to school on Friday wearing a green/magenta ensemble, complete with striped socks under her sandals. Sexy. I broke out in hives a little, but guess what? It didn't kill me! I call that progress.
Initiative #2: Sitting with my children at every meal
This one, I actually stuck to...and it has been life-changing. Less spillage, less yelling, less crazy behavior designed to get my almost non-existent attention! L, who also requires a lot of focus to eat in a timely manner, also seemed to eat quicker and with more gusto! Meal times are often my opportunity to check facebook and my stalk total strangers on their blogs...and it was AMAZING to me, how those habits changed over the course of a week! All stalking is now done after the hours of 8 p.m., which is generally more appropriate and suited to creepy, lurking behaviors.
Initiative #3: Visiting a sandbox once a week
Didn't make this one, unless you include the sandbar at the lake last weekend. And then there was the whole window smashing fiasco, so I might consider that a parenting FAIL. If the weather dries out here this week, we'll give it another go...but I CANNOT handle wet, puddly sand that cats/rodents/humans may or may not have peed in.
Initiative #4: Playing with Lego for 15 minutes everyday
It wasn't quite everyday, but I did put in a serious amount of time and concentration! It seems I specialize in houses and animals, however, I still CANNOT build anything with directions, because that makes me want to cry and stick my finger in a light socket in the hopes that it will rewire the part of my brain that cannot efficiently snap small pieces of plastic together. And just to recap the deficiencies also outlined in my last post, this now means that I hate 1.) timelines 2.) deadlines, and 3.) anything project which gives me a set of directions. Just so we're clear on the kind of stubborn, slow and lazy slug that I am.
For week #2, I am sticking with the SAME goals. I'm working on adding one or two, BUT, going overboard will shatter my resolve and force me back into the kinds of patterns where I leave my kids to fend for themselves and then go ape-crap when they paint the walls with their blood and feces. I'm fighting REALLY hard against being a mom that hopes that her kids turn out to be kind and loving and patient and forgiving--though in reality I am a GREAT example of what it looks like to be a crazy, manic, bi-atch a lot of the time.
Here's where my heart meets my sin. And I am taking that bastard down "Kill Bill" style, one sandbox and piece of ugly clothing at at time.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I am bringing crazy back.
So today, I am finishing up a project for Big J and L's teacher, who is preggo and in need of an AWESOME classroom keepsake. Babies love crafts. Oh, and the keepsake is a surprise, so I'm not sure she knows that she needs it. But she does.
Anyway. Flying HIGH off of the success of said keepsake, I headed out for the afternoon carpool run. Here is also where I tell you that I hate deadlines. Or time lines. Or any sort of schedule that requires me to finish something/be somewhere at a specified time. It stresses me the hell out.
I get to Big J and L's school, 5 minutes early. I do this, so that they don't accidentally get on the bus on days when I am picking them up. This is CRUCIAL to me being able to get to G's school on time for her pick-up. And I am sitting there, two cars behind the bus.
The carpool line starts to move, I pull up...and whatdayaknow. Big J and L were loaded on to the bus BEFORE I arrived (5 minutes early) and were now headed to some location in Webster. Freakin A.
So the next 3 minutes are a blur of me trying to figure out where my children are headed, while their teacher is telling me that the bus just left, I can probably catch it! Yes! If I had satellite capabilities/ GPS wired straight into my BRAINS. Totally possible that the iPhone has this technology, I just haven't downloaded the app yet.
I am on The Amazing Race, preschool carpool edition. And I am LOSING.
Not to mention--if a CRAZY lady in a minivan pulls up along side a school bus with children in it, yelling for it to pull over, I'm pretty sure they would call the cops or shoot me on sight (to protect the minors). I saw a movie along these lines once, and if I might be so bold as to draw a comparison, crazy people and buses usually equal a bomb that will detonate if the vehicle does not maintain a speed of 50 mph. Bus drivers and trained to recognize this, I think.
Their teacher continues to try to tell me that the bus is headed for our house. Um, yes. But were there other children on the bus? Because that means it makes at least 2-3 other stops before ours. Which equals something in the range of 30 more minutes until I have them in my possession. And G's carpool line is starting in 12 minutes.
Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.
A quick call to the bus transport hub and we discover they are on their way to "Some-random-street" in Webster. Great! Where is that?
Five minutes later, we have an exact location. I peel out of the parking lot and book it. Thankfully, this area is on the way toward G's school.
ohmygod. ohmygod. ohmygod.
Five minutes later, almost to the specified intersection, I get a call. Sorry! They are past their first stop and headed toward the next house. On the exact opposite side of the school district!
Son of a motherless goat.
They are indeed on the bus, which pulls up at the same time I do. Only now, I am at least 5 minutes further away than I would have been if I had just headed home and WAITED for them to get dropped off. Without all these shenanigans, I would have bought myself 40 extra minutes to screw around on facebook.
I hate inefficiency. Particularly when it interferes with me being completely inefficient.
All this to say that Mike works 5 minutes away from G's school, and he picked her up and drove toward me. We loaded G into the car at a Mobile-On-The-Run where I promptly demanded a Diet Coke to help me deal.
Because it all ended JUST FINE. But I was panicking as if LIVES were at stake if I didn't make the afternoon carpool. I told you, I do not do well with deadlines. And I say this, because in my SIX months living at the local NICU with my babies who were struggling to live, I never once got my undies in such a bunch that I was on the verge of strangulation. Like I was today.
And this is my argument for why I should be on The Amazing Race, simply for the ratings I would pull in when I lose my freaking mind and bite the fingers off of some airport ticketing agent who screws me out of five minutes.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
You know how I like to brag about the fact that I cannot keep plants alive? That might not be *completely* truthful. Here is where I tell you about the knockout rosebush debacle.
It is pictured above. In case you are a gardening dumbass, like moi, the knockout rosebush is the one with the pink flowers (duh) that looks like it is threatening to eat our entire yard. Ghetto play toys, dog poop, yellow-slide-of-death and all.
The rosebush started small! And cute! It was planted at the request of my oldest daughter, who wanted some roses. That request alone should make you chuckle, knowing my severe learning disabilities when it comes to PLANTS.
Honesty, I invested about $15 in a stem with some leaves. I asked around for how to plant it (seriously), where to plant it, what kind of sun it likes (as if I would even know the difference), how to maintain it. I listened to the answers and followed through on NONE of the advice. I thought it would die within a month.
Quick side note: One year before we planted the roses, we had our ENTIRE back yard re-landscaped. Tore out the big, ugly deck that bounced when you walked on it and added a concrete patio. Knowing our inability to keep things alive, the landscapers selected a variety of bushes and tall grasses. NO FLOWERS, minus a couple of azaleas. That should have been my first clue.
So I found a nice little spot between two azalea bushes that looked like a *perfect* place for the roses that would be dead in 60 days. The innocent planting of this bush, however, became a scenario similar to the garden toad we captured. And are still feeding crickets to 3 YEARS LATER.
Note to other garden dumbasses--knockout roses grow like weeds!!!!! It seemed to multiply before our eyes. Fall came, and it seemed like we were in a good place...and then. Spring.
Holy hell, this thing exploded. So pretty (kind of, it's like an untamable weed), but it is seriously bullying every other plant in its area, which FYI, was WAY too small for this giant. Mike and I have begun having conversations about "taking it out" (used in mafia slang, not the terminology of gardeners who know how to dig/divide roots, blah, blah, blah).
Until I was taking pictures of it today and noticed a cardinal? fly out of it. Of course, it has built itself a nice little nest in that rosey forest. Now it seems the bush has to stay because it is some kind of nature preserve and destroying it would equal annihilating an eco-system or something.
Just kidding. I have no idea what any of that means, but I am kind of interested in seeing cardinal babies. Also, I'm not even sure it was a cardinal, but it wasn't a robbin, so if we are being honest, that is the criteria I am using when identifying common, Midwestern birds.
Speaking of dead things.
G and I found this under the yellow-slide-of-death this evening. It was belly-up with cute little leggies poking out, and as I don't know of any animal that safely nests that way, I called Mike for confirmation of its passing. If you are wondering WHY I need confirmation on whether something is dead...a couple of years ago, Mike said there was a dead bird under one of our trees and that he'd deal with it when he got home. I took a peek, cuz I am morbidly curious, and was startled to learn the dead bird was a duck! Sad! When Mike got home, he said it most certainly wasn't a duck, and we headed out back so that I could gloat about my bird knowledge...only to discover the dead bird was some piece of crap and the duck I spoke of? Actually alive and nesting under our tree. So. I guess I don't do so good identifying dead/alive.
What do you do with dead animals when you find them in your yard? Do you have your husband scoop it up and pose it on the stairs to the slide so that you can photograph it?
Monday, May 10, 2010
I could probably convince this rabbit that "real" is overrated, if you factor in the allergy season.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Going along with yesterdays post on purposefully pursuing your children...for me, sometimes that means leaving the gross breakfast dishes until a later time. Which is CRAZY! Because I hate dirty dishes and despise cleaning them.
And yet, I choose them over my children A LOT. I mean, don't get me wrong, stuff needs to get done or else fruit flies invade and dust bunnies produce night terrors and the Division of Family Services gets called...but there's a lot to be said about WHEN it gets done.
Lately, I've gotten into the bad habit of tending to stuff in the morning--email, dishes, general cleaning, blog reading. While they eat breakfast and play, I attack my to-do list and stalk people via the Internet. I've even remarked to my husband lately about how great the kids are playing together...so great, in fact, that HOURS can fly by without me paying much attention.
Which feels like a parental milestone! And it is! But do you see it? They are already starting to not need me. I'm saying this not as whiny, co-dependent mommy, but more as an observation of HOW I am training them to interact with me. Which is, apparently, a very minimal amount.
So. Yesterday we got the hell out of the house. Far, far away from my Internet connection (SIKE! I have an iphone! The Internet is now my bitch.). But really, we just went to a park. For an hour. And I got to be with my children without switching laundry loads (just kidding, I don't do laundry) or making beds or answering phone calls (though I have an iphone, no one ACTUALLY believes I know how to use it).
This was infinitely more fun.
So, while we were at the park, we found a sandbox...oh, glory. A large litter box for animals a million times grosser than cats. Relax! I don't hate cats. But I am not a fan of racoons or gross possums, and definitely prefer my children not to play in their urine.
While in the rodent bathroom, I noticed a family of 8 kids. I noticed them because they were burying one of their members up to her head in the possum litter (sand). And it kind of grossed me out to think of it and know that this little girl would be COVERED in a fine layer of ick until bathtime. And I started to have a real panic attack when I thought one of my kids might follow suit.
Until I realized how much fun those kids were having. How they were all playing together REALLY nicely. How they shared their toys with everyone in the litter box. How they were working together (we're talking about 8 kids! Ages 8 and under if I had to guess!) on a single project.
Turns out they weren't all related--some were siblings, some were cousins, some were kids that this woman's sister watches (but she was at an appointment, so her sister took everybody! To the park, no less). Oh! Did I mention there was also a 3 month old involved? And at least 2-3 kids that looked to be about potty training age! Do you know what kind of catastrophes that combo could inspire? At a PARK!
I'm all kinds of fearful that I will have to change my kids clothes before school, and because of it my children are practically paralyzed in the sand box. And here are these 8 kids! Happy! Rolling in the petri dish of viral antibodies! And lovin' life.
Seriously, what the hell is my problem.
I want my kids to have that kind of joy, unrestricted to clothing choices and "keeping clean".
Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. Even I'm starting to get tired of talking about good intentions. I'm coming to realize that knowing the kind of mom I want to be is great and all, but recognizing the crap-loads of baggage that needs to go is more practical.
So here is my plan, taking it ONE week at a time. I withold the right to tweak things as necessary and to snort diet coke if need be, as I wean myself off of my neurotic tendencies. Here goes:
They will wear their crappiest clothes for one whole week. The stuff with stains and holes. NO MONOGRAMS. Nothing made of a chino-like material. NO MATCHEY-MATCHEY, though I will say that boys clothes all tend to kind-of match because everything is a shade of green/blue/brown. Don't shoot me.
I will sit down, at the table with them for every single meal. Period.
We will visit a sandbox at least once a week. Just to keep it real and remember our roots.
I will play with Legos for at least 15 minutes each day, as this is quite obviously Big J's love language.
I will ABSOLUTELY NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES volunteer for any activities from now until the end of the summer. I don't even care if Bon Jovi is looking for a craft coordinator.
Okay folks, that is where I am starting. Small stuff, but I can guarantee that it is going to be a struggle. One week, and then we'll reevaluate. Potentially add some new changes, if I am not in major breakdown mode with the absence of embroidered clothing. We'll see.
One last shot. Of the chalk creation Little J and I came up with yesterday afternoon. Remember the chalk paint? Equal parts cornstarch and water, add some food coloring? Well, we drew shapes with actual sidewalk chalk, and then filled them in with the paint...lovin' this look. Imagine painting a huge happy birthday sign for a kid or a husband using this technique on your driveway? Just a thought.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
One last Florida post. Before you start to resent me for sitting on a beach and drinking smoothies (seriously).
Enter Nancy. Aka, The Smoothie Lady.
Nancy, Ort's mom, came along to help us with the details of beach livin'. Airport shuttles, grocery runs, daily lunch service, sunset apps and cocktails, Kentucky Derby festivities. Melon balls! BLT's! A special Friday drug store run for the newest copies of People and US Weekly, of which she purchased TWO copies, so we wouldn't have to share!! Oh my God, it's like she KNEW I have shared EVERYTHING, including personal space and bathroom privacy with one, three and then four little people, and then! Heaven sent me a selfish gift and it was an uninterrupted copy of smut from the angel Nancy. When the holy spirit fell upon Jesus, I think this is what it was like.
Think I am kidding?
Here is our lunch tray, Day #2. Homemade chicken salad day. I told you there were melon balls.
Evening #2 consisted of cocktails and appetizers on the rooftop party room of the condo. Where items such as this were served. Followed by a dinner of crab cakes and cheese grits.
My point being this--I consider myself a hospitable person. But I have not a clue. Not an inkling of what it's like to serve with such grace and humility and absolute willingness. Wow.
But also, that she would take 5 days to be with her daughter and her friends. You know me, I am big on PURSUIT, and what an amazing example. I've always believed that the work I do as a mother in their first 18 years will *hopefully* lay a foundation for a great relationship in their adult lives. I am trying to find the balance between teaching them and encouraging them and being consistent while being kind. I tend to think my sphere of influence will run out when they leave for college (crossing our fingers on that one!), and from there the choice is theirs. They get to decide if I am lovable.
Only, I am beginning to think that isn't quite right. That Nancy is intentionally pursuing her daughter, not with reprimands and reminders to pick up her clothes, but with shrimp cocktail and pre-lunch smoothies. She loves her daughter so much, that she is there. Helping. Enjoying.
How many of us wait for new friends to include us, to invite us in? How many times do you actually pick up the phone to make a new friend, to invite an acquaintance over just to get to know her? Like I said in Monday's post, my own insecurity, lack of time, blah, blah, blah, keeps me from pursing new friends with any kind of passion.
But I'm beginning to see that having a great relationship with my children means EXACTLY the same thing. Now, and in 15 years. It won't be a choice, really. And not in the sense that I will inappropriately insert myself into their lives and choose to embarrass them by attending keg parties at their alma mater. But, that I will look for the opportunity to love them and serve them well. Where they need me. And without complaint or judgement or irritation.
I LOVE to say that I have every reason to be grumpy. Or selfish. Or tired and snappy. Because I serve little people ALL DAY and I feel so entitled! Yes, I can definitely make an argument for all the reasons I deserve space and peace and quiet and cleanliness.
At the end of the day, my argument for all of those things pushes my little people away from me. One day, they won't live here. I won't wipe their bottoms (fingers crossed!). I will want them back, I will want this kind of intimacy. But I will RUIN it, if my attitude while I raise them is one of irritation...and I'll drive the point home, if I send them out into the world and fail to pursue them as adults. Which I could easily see myself doing, under the guise of giving them space and freedom.
Just something I am thinking about, particularly as I think about having my kids home this summer. Which I am personally EXCITED about. Because this school routine is killing me. And I have a feeling it is killing G, even though she is putting on a brave face. For me. Which personally, breaks my heart just a little.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I may have mentioned it before, but "The Dot" by Peter Reynolds is one of my FAVORITE children's books. All about discovering your talents and unleashing your creativity. Love it, love it, love it.
So, as I headed out to Florida last week, I picked a copy up for my good friend Ort, and her one-year-old son Max. And also decided to add a t-shirt to the mix. Dot inspired, of course.
Up close and personal...I embroidered the letters on to a piece of felt, and then cut a circle shape around it. Next, I got the coordinating color and cut a less-symmetrical oval/circle to serve as the outer blue background. Before sewing the entire thing on to the shirt, I stitched the two circles together, with a nice even stitch around the border of the yellow circle.
To attach them to the shirt, I used a dark blue thread and sewed two circles, aiming to be uneven and somewhat "rough" looking. I wanted them to look imperfect, because I like the look of it, but also because it goes right along with the theme of the book and finding beauty in something that might not be typically "pretty".
Just a quick little post tonight, because I have a killer headache and I am thinking through some things that need my desperate attention. Mostly, my 7-year-old daughter who is struggling a bit. And I am trying to get a grasp on that and think it through, but this headache is making it almost impossible to put a coherent thought together.
So I will sleep on it and fill you in on how I plan to save the world, seven-year-old style.
Oh, and also, if you are interested in checking out "The Dot", here is the link on Amazon (click HERE).
Monday, May 3, 2010
I do honestly believe, however, that we could NEVER be the kind of friends we are now, without the ugliness. The total acceptance, good and bad.
And choosing to leave jobs, and responsibilities and husbands and children and pets and everyday life for these few days every year still SCREAMS such incredible, intentional love.