Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Planning...It Never Ends

Well, Christmas is officially over and I have begun the daunting task of reclaiming my home in the name of order and organization. The tree is down, decorations have been put away, and the massive amounts of wrapping paper, boxes, and packaging paraphernalia was taken away by the garbage man early this morning. It is now possible to walk in the family room without stepping on a thousand miscellaneous pieces of toys, games, and art supplies and I can actually breathe normally again instead of hyperventilating over the chaos and confusion.

However, I now have to switch gears from holiday cheer and merriment to full blown birthday party planning strategery (Yes huh, strategery is a word. GW says it is. Geesh!) Anyway, Aaron’s birthday is January 11th and it sneaks up on me every single year because we are always so busy with Christmas stuff. Then the tree comes down and the decorations get put away and holy crap I have to plan a birthday party! I thought that I was slightly ahead of the game this year because Aaron had declared long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, that he wanted a Star Wars party. So for about two weeks now I have been Googling Star Wars party ideas and gathering as much information as possible to pull off a great Jedi event. That is until he informed me a few days ago that he now wants Scooby Doo instead.

I am not all together disappointed with the change because honestly, I know a whole lot more about Scooby and the Gang than I do about the Force, but I was willing to fake it if that was what Aaron wanted. Thankfully he made the change early enough that I can still switch gears without blowing my carefully crafted timeline.

This year, we are celebrating a big birthday. It’s the big 0-5. My baby boy is almost five years old! Excuse me for a moment while I sob in the corner as Baby Mine plays over and over in my head…

Ok, I’m better now. I can’t believe how fast the last five years have gone. He is such a big boy now. He likes to get himself dressed, and make his own breakfast, and he even asks if he can have some privacy when he is in the bathroom. Privacy…from the kid that runs around naked most evenings after bath time. Boys?!?

So wish me luck with putting on a super Scooby celebration. I think that I have a pretty good plan so far, but there is just one thing that I’m not sure how I am going to pull off. Does anyone have any idea how I can convince Mike that it is imperative to the success of the entire party to give our van a Mystery Machine paint job?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oh Crap!

So Christmas is almost here and everyone is busy with the hustle and bustle that comes with the last days leading up to the big day. Elyse, being the sweet baby girl that she is, got me a special, last minute gift yesterday, but it was a gift I that would have gladly returned. A gift so awful, that I would have gone so far as to return it to a store that I knew it didn’t come from, without any type of receipt, just at the off chance that I would find the one guy in customer service who hates his job so much that he would be willing to accept a rabid squirel just to spite his employer and because he just doesn’t give a damn.

Here’s what happened.

Aaron had Christmas pageant practice yesterday at 4:00 pm. 4:00 pm is horrible for us because Elyse is almost always napping at that time and I make it a point to NEVER disrupt her nap because when Princess doesn’t nap she goes all Linda Blair for the rest of her waking hours and frankly I just can’t scrub split pea soup out of the carpet again.

In an attempt to still get her a nap, yet make it to practice on time, I put her down a little early and crossed my fingers that she would embrace the coziness of her bed and drift blissfully to sleep whilst Aaron and I did some much needed Christmas cleaning. About forty-five minutes later, she was still whooping it up and partying like it was 1999. I decided that my only option was to go in, break up the party, and try to get her to cozy up one last time or else take a trip to Target to kill time before practice and then suffer the consequences of no nap.

When I walked in, I was assaulted with the strongest poo aroma in the history of all aromas. And that’s when I saw it. My little Princess was pants less; as in no pants, no diaper, and no poo catching apparatus within a hundred yards. Upon closer inspection I was able to fully access the defilement of her crib which was widespread and far reaching. And my bitty baby was a giant turd; covered in crap from head to toe.

I would have loved to have seen what my face must have looked like from her perspective because I know that I have never been more horrified in my entire life and that includes the day several weeks ago when I saw stirrup pants on a rack at Wal Mart. What do you do? What is your first response? What should you tackle first? While I ran the scenarios in my head, Aaron turned and ran out of the room, gagging the whole way. Not fake gagging either. He was as repulsed as I was and it was taking its toll on him.

When I snapped out of it, I organized a plan of attack and put it into motion; run bath water…scrub baby like you are re-enacting a scene from Silk Wood…lock baby in brother’s room…remove all bedding, stuffed animals, pacifiers…find comfort in the fact that we are done having children…Clorox every inch of the crib and surrounding area.

By the time the poop explosion was contained, I had just enough time to throw the kids together and head out of the door to pageant practice. Because I have been blessed with the most wonderful husband on the face of the planet and on Mars, Mike left work early after my frantic phone conversation with him shortly after I discovered Elyse’s crap graffiti. He went with us to practice and then we had a much needed dinner out.

Do you want to know the best part? She decided to strip BEFORE she pooped. The diaper that had been flung to the ground didn’t have a speck of poo on it. I believe that she could have been thinking only one thing when, after already stripping, she felt the rumbling below and became a human poop geyser…”Oh crap!”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Run Because...

I run because for the last four years, I couldn’t run. Well, I could.  I had the physical ability and the motivation if say I had to run from a bear or something, but after the kids were born I let myself get so out of shape that the thought of running was overwhelming. Frankly the thought of walking for very long was too much, but I knew that deep down inside, somewhere completely buried, I was a runner.  I missed who I was when I used to run. In this last year of weight loss and exercise, though, I finally found her again. That girl who used to look in the mirror and be happy with what she saw. I never want to lose her again.

I run because I love the example that it has set for my kids. Aaron, while he has always been active, has taken a great interest in exercise and working out. He has his own set of weights and he can do walking pushups better than I can. I need Elyse to see that a healthy woman isn’t some stick-skinny model who analyzes every morsel that goes into her mouth. A healthy woman has muscle and she isn’t afraid to sweat for it.

I run because I want to spend the rest of my life with my husband and I want that life to be as long and as healthy as it can be. I love the look of pride that I see in his face when I pass him on my way to the shower after a five mile run. Even completely soaked with sweat, that look from him makes me feel like the most beautiful woman alive, and it is only because of him and his support that I have been able to come this far.

I run not for how I feel at the beginning of the run, or how I feel at the end, but for that feeling half way in, when all of a sudden I am weightless and I feel as if I could run for days. My legs move without me hardly thinking about it and every part of my body is in perfect rhythm. The feeling is fleeting, and if I directly acknowledge it for too long, it’s gone. But for those few moments I am more alive than I have been in years and it validates my belief that I am, and always have been a runner.

I run because.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Hope It Will Be the Little Things...

Much like I have done for the last four Christmases that Mike and I have been parents, I have been surveying the items that Santa has been able to check off of the kid’s Christmas lists and I wonder if the big guy has done enough. When it is all wrapped and under the tree will it look like as much as the receipts claim it is, or will it seem like much less? When the kids come down Christmas morning, will their eyes light up with excitement when they see all that Santa has brought? I hope that they feel that Santa was good to them, because I know that he did everything that he could to give them as much as possible, not that it will be an avalanche of gifts by any means. But while I was obsessing about the gifts and their quantity, I started thinking back to my childhood Christmases and I realized that none of those memories ever include a tally of what Santa brought. Those memories are about so much more.

I remember how excited my sisters and I always were to start decorating. Dad would be busy stringing the lights on the tree while we paced anxiously waiting to load every inch of free space with our most favorite decorations. There were the decorations that looked like cotton candy on long sticks, and the straw lady that Mom always made sure had a special place of honor. We each hung our baby ornaments from our first Christmases and we never forgot the shredded wheat wreaths that we had made in school.

Once the tree was done, we continued to spread the Christmas joy all throughout the house with the set of three snowmen snowballs that always sat on the coffee table and the green ceramic tree that lit up and found its place on our TV. The decorating was never finished until the gold sleigh, complete with reindeer, was set out on the window sill in the kitchen; I saw it there yesterday when Aaron and I went to Mom and Dad’s to tag along on a shopping trip.

Some of the strongest memories are from all of the Christmas Eves that we spent at my Grandparents house. We always went to Christmas Eve mass at the church down the street and then went back to their house to eat, open gifts, and tell stories. My grandmother, “Gum Gum,” always made a huge pot of rigatoni and you were never finished eating until you had at least one piece, but usually more, of her famous poppy seed roll. I remember how special the night seemed as we all said our goodbyes and headed out into the cold Christmas air to get into the car and head home to get ready for Santa. The sky was always so dark, but clear and there was no denying the magic.

I was never able to sleep on Christmas Eve, my mind swirling with thoughts of what Santa might bring, but I strained to drift off because I knew that he wouldn’t come until I was asleep. At the crack of dawn, we dragged our parents out of bed and when we came down the stairs and walked ran, into the living room we were always, always overwhelmed by the realization that Santa had actually come. I can still see our living room and how beautiful the tree looked the first time that we saw it on Christmas morning.

Of course there were gifts, but it’s not the quantity that sticks out in my mind. To tell you the truth, except for a few random presents, I really don’t remember exactly what Santa brought each year. But I remember the Santa cookie cutter that we used to make sugar cookies; Mom gave it to me to make the same recipe with my kids. I can see Dad sitting in the living room surrounded by pieces of our artificial tree, trying to put it all together despite the fact that Angie and I kept stealing large branches to make t-pees. I can see Mom sitting on the couch with her morning cup of coffee, trying to take in the intense excitement that overflowed in the room at six o’clock in the morning, and the looks on Mom and Dad’s faces as they met each other’s gaze from across the room while they watched the three of us girls tear into our Christmas loot.

There are so many more memories that I could go on and on about; things that were really special and made a lasting impression, but in the grand scheme of things, to most everyone else, were quite insignificant. I hope that when Aaron and Elyse look back on their Christmases, they remember how we went to my Mom and Dad’s house every year, the weekend before Christmas, to make the same sugar cookie recipe with the same Santa cookie cutter that I used when I was a kid. I wonder what decorations will stand out in their minds as things that were a must when decorating our house. Will they ever notice the way that Mike and I look at each other while we watch them revel in the magic of Christmas morning? There will always be gifts, though the quantity may vary, but I hope that it will be the special things, the little things that they remember most when they look back and remember our Christmases together.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Date with Aaron

Yesterday I had a date with a very handsome gentleman. We exchanged witty conversation over our pizza lunch and he held my hand when we walked into Toy R Us. Aaron and I went on a date. I needed to take him to pick out a Christmas present for Elyse and I thought that it would be nice if we made a whole thing out of it, just the two of us.

While we sat and ate our pizza, I watched him and was amazed at what a big guy he has gotten to be. When he was little, I used to imagine what it would be like when he was old enough for us to enjoy these kinds of things and I have to say that it was absolutely wonderful. He was so polite and well-behaved, and he had so many interesting things that he wanted to talk about. It was hard to believe that five years ago I was eight months pregnant with him and there we sat, enjoying our lunch and each other's company.

After lunch, we went over to Toys R Us and he picked out Elyse's Christmas present. I let him take his time and look at all of the little things that he wanted to look at and when I gave him a nudge to move on, he went without incident. It was so pleasant and made me think about a time when it was always just the two of us, only now he was so much older and I could just enjoy being with him rather than chase him all over the store.

When we got back into the car, I asked him if there was anything else that he would like to do. After thinking about it for a long time he said, "I think that it would make you happy if we went to get ice cream." He knows me so well. So we went to get ice cream, not because he wanted to, but because it would make me happy. As we ate our ice cream, he said that he thought we had done enough and that Daddy was probably wondering where he was at.

Our date was over and it was time to head home, but we promised that we would see each other again. I look forward to many more dates with Aaron, and I hope that he never gets too big to hang out with his mom. I am pretty sure that as long as ice cream is part of the deal, he and I will always make time for a date.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Little Taste Of Hell...or...The Joys of Christmas Shopping

What happens to people during the holidays? Typically I encounter your normal, run-of-the-mill idiots on a fairly regular basis, but at Christmas, oh at Christmas, the special idiots flood the stores and flock to my side.

It's a gift.

For the last several days, I have been committed to finishing the Christmas shopping to put an end to my interactions with the socially challenged. In doing so, I have had to endure many, many encounters with such individuals and I have to say that I am about ready to snap. These interactions aren't just limited to the stores either, oh no, they can and do happen everywhere.

There was a lady at Wal Mart the other day that was of the elderly persuasion and she was using one of those Rascal style scooters. I have no problem with the scooters if, IF you actually need to use one, but this lady parked her giant scooter in the middle of the isle and wandered aimlessly up and down trying to decided between snowman wrapping paper and Santa wrapping paper. Not wandered like drove up and down the isle, but got out of the scooter and walked...WALKED up and down the isle. Really, then why the scooter lady?

Anyway, it was impossible to pass her and so I had to stand there waiting, watching, taking bets on which paper it would be...I was giving the snowman five to one odds, when she put...the...paper...back! Are you kidding me lady? We have been standing here for twenty minutes and you aren't even going to end it with a choice? I can't live with that decision. I won't accept it. I feel like I just spent $8.00 on a movie ticket, wasted two hours of my life watching a mind-numbingly boring saga about a woman's right to choose wrapping paper, and then it ends with her waking up from a dream and she was never really buying paper. When I went to Customer Service to demand a ticket refund, they called security and I was asked not to return to Wal Mart.

Then there was the guy who was standing in the middle of the road chatting it up with his buddy who was sitting in a truck which blocked any and all traffic from passing. Why do people do this? Wouldn't it be just as well to pull over to the side of the road so that traffic could continue as normal? Oh no, our discussion about huntin' and how to properly gut a deer in the middle of our front yard for all of the world and teeny tiny children to see is WAY more important than you getting to your appointment on time!

I slowed down and sat there waiting patiently, when the idiot that was standing there chatting it up started violently, VIOLENTLY waving his arm for me to go around them. The look on his face was so hostile I about wet my pants. Of course I locked the doors and then sped on past muttering something about brain dead, redneck assholes as I went by. I felt all big and brave with the doors locked, but who gets that mad over someone wanting to go around you when YOU are the idiot blocking the road? Psychopaths, that’s who.

The best encounter though was when I went to JC Penny yesterday. Elyse and I had already been to Target and she had stayed in the big part of the cart the whole time being very well-behaved and only threw items out of the cart every five minutes as opposed to every other minute like usual. So when we got to JC Penny, I felt too guilty to make her sit in another cart and so I let her walk. Am I stupid or what? About two minutes in, I began to rethink my position on leashes for children and then proceeded to jog behind Elyse trying to keep her from running amuck. I found the item that I was looking for (FYI: I can't say what it is because it is a Christmas gift not because it's something naughty or embarassing.  I'm just sayin.) and headed to the checkout and that is where the encounter took place. It involved two different women, three if you count the sales lady.

Elyse was incredibly ornery and she refused to stay in line with me. She would stand on the opposite side of the line divider thingy and just grin at me as hard as she could, daring me to run after her. I was careful not to move a muscle because that's all it would have taken to send her barreling for the door at top speed. For a split second though I lost focus when another woman got in line behind me and I turned to look at her. That's all it took. Elyse heard the gunshot and she was off. I dropped everything and ran after her and dragged her back in line kicking and screaming. When I put her down next to me I grabbed her hand to keep her close and she went completely limp and dropped to the ground. She lay there, looking up at me, with that same naughty grin on her face that said, "Who's the boss now Mommy?" The harder I tried to make her stand up, the more jello-like she got. It was like all of the bones had been removed from her body and she was one huge pile of booger and puffy winter coat.

So I left her there on the floor. What else was I supposed to do? Well, the lady behind me had all kinds of opinions and she voiced them through a conversation with Elyse. She kept saying things like, "Oh, you don't want to lie on the ground. That floor is going to get you all dirty. You are too pretty to lie on the floor like that." So I started to get embarrassed and actually gave a flying monkey's ass about what she thought and so I started to try, try being the word, to make her stand up again, but she was not going for it. Now I'm starting to drop my stuff and I'm sweating. My chest is breaking out in a rash and the room is getting so hot I can barely breathe.

As I am struggling with Gumby, I noticed the lady in front of me and I realized, holy hell she has been there for a really long time. That's because she was checking out every other item separately. I started mumbling stuff like, "You've got to be kidding me. Lady, you're killing me," but that didn't make her move any faster. The cashier noticed my situation, locked eyes with me, and kind of motioned toward the lady checking out while rolling her eyes. She mouthed an apology, but it did little to help ease my distress.

Meanwhile, opinion lady kept up her disapproving monologue with Elyse and Elyse continued to lie on the floor.

Finally, the lady finished all of her transactions, cast a disapproving look toward Elyse, and strolled out the door. I sat Elyse on the counter and held her there straight jacket style while the cashier rang up my item. It took me five attempts to put in my pin number due to the struggling and thrashing, but I finally got it in there, took my receipt, and ran, head down, for the door. On our way out, I told Elyse how lucky she is that she is cute because otherwise I would have bartered with the cashier; Elyse for the thing that I was buying. She just smiled and gave me a big hug. She's a master manipulator.

Despite all of the painful holiday encounters, I am just about finished with all of the shopping. It shouldn't take much more to get it all done, and I have decided that Elyse will not be accompanying me on any more shopping outings. The sad thing is that I think that I am becoming one of them. The other day I cut off the same lady with my shopping cart three times in a row. The first and second time she seemed ok with it, but by the third time I could see a little irritation brewing. Hey, maybe she wrote about me in her blog about stupid holiday shoppers. Trust me lady, your day is coming. By the time December 24th rolls around, we will all be mindless, wandering, zombie idiots together.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I See London, I See France...Please Stop Showing Your Underpants!

May I ask you a personal question? When you are sitting down, or standing up, or bending over, if your butt and/or underwear are hanging out, can you feel that? I mean, I know that I can't be the only one that immediately feels the silent alarm of a draft, but with the amount of crack that I have seen lately, it seems apparent that most people's alarms are in need of some servicing. Women seem oblivious to the fact that they are completely exposing themselves all over the place. Every time that I see someone in this condition, it makes me think of an obscene jack-in-the-box; I never know when it's going to pop out and it always takes me by surprise. "All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel. The monkey thought it was all in fun, POP goes some panties."

I understand that jeans are cut very low these days. I myself wear low-cut jeans, but I absolutely never, ever leave the house without doing a butt check. If I have on a shirt that doesn't allow for adequate coverage, then I either switch shirts or switch pants. I refuse to be that lady in the cereal isle at Wal Mart that can't decide between Cap n' Crunch or Coco Puffs and while hunched over comparing the prizes inside reveals to all of the passing shoppers that she is wearing her Tuesday panties on Friday. It's just too much information!

What is happening to us as a society that it has become so acceptable to just put our business out there for the world to see and not even care? NOT…EVEN…CARE!?!?! Somewhere along the line, we just decided, “Eh,” and never looked back. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that there was a time when it was considered embarrassing to have your hiney exposed or your underwear hanging out of your pants, but it seems like today it’s as common as seeing someone’s elbow.

If you are going to let it all hang out, please do the world a favor and at the very least, wear some underwear that will have a fighting chance of staying put inside your pants. Why do some women wear the lowest cut pants that they can possibly find over top of a pair of the world’s most enormous granny panties? Those things would find a way to hang out of a pair of overalls for Pete sake! It’s like a huge flashing neon sign that says, “Hello world. I have officially given up!”

So when you are getting dressed this morning, please consider doing a butt check. It’s a common courtesy for which the world will thank you. And for those of you that have decided that it is ok to prance around playing a constant game of panty peek-a-boo, I am coming for you and I will be wielding a staple gun. Consider yourself warned.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vaccines Really Aren't That Important, Right?

Friday, the phone rang and when I answered it there was a long pause and I was like, "Damn telemarketers!"  Then a recording started that announced that the second round of H1N1 vaccines was going to be given out that afternoon between 3 and 6. It was 1:15 PM. Good God, thanks for the notice. I mean, do you have any idea the preparation, both mental and physical, that is involved to get Aaron to an appointment where he is going to get a shot? The recording might as well have said, "Hello, you are going to climb Mount Everest...Today...In a little over an hour...so good luck with that!"

My mind started racing with panicked thoughts of how I was going to pull this off. Elyse had gone down for an early nap and even if she hadn't, there was no way, not for a hundred of the most decadent Christmas cookies made by Mrs. Clause herself that I was going to take both kids for this appointment because I did that a few weeks ago when Aaron got his yearly flu shot and Elyse got her first round of H1N1, and to say the least, it went badly. It was after that appointment that I seriously considered arriving at every other appointment where they both had to be just a little bit tipsy so that when I am trying to fill out paper work and keep Elyse from kissing every germ-covered baby in the waiting room, but she keeps going all limp to get away from me and Aaron is in the corner wailing about how HE DOESN"T WANT A SHOT, I would find it all more funny and amusing than mind-numbingly horrific and painful.

So I emailed Mike at work because I couldn't just call him and tell him that there was an impending shot this afternoon because Aaron would have wigged out and I would have had to talk him down off of a bell tower while he wielded a riffle and shouted, "No Sot! No Shot!" My email read something like this:

Aaron has to get his second round of H1N1...today...in a little over an hour. If you love me at all you will relieve me of this burden, come home early, and take him yourself unless you want to spend the holidays visiting me in the psych ward of our local hospital.


Or something to that effect…

Anyway, when I didn't hear back from him right away, I freaked out and called my mother-in-law to rescue me yet again and of course, she put on her Wonder Woman cape and got ready to come to my rescue, but then I heard from Mike and he said that he did love me and that he didn't want to see his wife being hauled off in hand cuffs on the evening news for flipping out at an H1N1 clinic and so he would leave work early to take Aaron for his shot. Whew!

That was the easy part. Now I had to break it to Aaron. So I was like, "OK, here's the deal buddy, I just got a call that said that you have to get your last shot today. I didn't know until just now. No, I swear, I didn't know. But it IS your LAST shot and if you can be brave, you can go for ice cream or whatever else you want to do because I didn't know until just now and it's your last shot. Daddy is making you go! Mommy loves you!"

Then I took him upstairs and we made brownies together; mostly to distract him from the impending doom, but also because after all of that, I needed some chocolate therapy. About twenty minutes later, Mike showed up and took him for the shot. Would you believe that he whimpered slightly before the shot, but once it was done, it was like nothing had happened?  Boys. Then Mike took him for ice cream and we spent the rest of the evening dealing with his insane sugar high from the brownies and the ice cream.

Maybe it would have just been easier to get the Swine Flu.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sure You Can Have My Recipe. Just Sign This Contract...In Blood.

Just about everyone has a recipe that is THEIR recipe.  Something that you take to reunions or holidays or parties and everyone knows as soon as they see it that it came from you.  "OOooo, there's Aunt Betty's twenty-layer, triple-chocolate, fudge cake.  I gotta get me some of that!" 

I somehow managed to find two recipes that everyone seems to really enjoy; my chocolate chip cookies and the new, highly addictive, so sweet it will have you believing that you can fly, white chip maple cookies.  I take great pride and care when making these cookies and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when people compliment them, but with the compliments almost always comes the inevitable question, "Can I get the recipe?"  Now for the most part, I don't mind giving out my recipes, but I need to know that when I give you my recipe, you are aware of and cooperative with the Recipe Code of Ethics.  What is the Recipe Code of Ethics?   Well, I'm so glad that you asked.

The Recipe Code of Ethics is an unspoken contract that comes into play at the moment that the recipe exchanges hands.  By accepting the recipe, the Receiver acknowledges that this is the Giver's recipe and under no circumstances will the Receiver ever make the recipe and then bring it to an event where the Giver will be or to a function made up of people that know the recipe as the Giver's.

Let me clarify...

My sister Angie makes these mini-chip snowball cookies that are heavenly little balls of chocolate chip decadence wrapped in a blanket of powdered sugar goodness.  This is HER recipe.  It would go completely against the Recipe Code of Ethics for me to make these treasures for any family function because when you think snowball cookies, you think Angie.  However, it would be completely within the realm of acceptable if I were to make them for my husband's side of the family, as they have never experienced Angie's snowballs.

Makes sense, right?

So it's not that I don't want other people to be able to make and enjoy my recipes, I just need to know that they are compliant with the Code.  I want to see a wink, or a nod, or a hand jive that lets me know that they get it.  You know, because it is mine, and it's my thing, and don't even think about trying to take that glory away from me because Baby, if you don't live by the Code, then you can't HANDLE my recipe!.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let Me Show You Where You Can Stick Your Opinions!

Has anyone ever said something to you that was so rude you were physically unable to make sound come out of your mouth in the form of words with which to tell them to go to Hell? That happened to me the other day and when it did, my mouth hung open in a fashion usually reserved to produce speech, but nothing came out and I stared at the individual for about eight seconds with a look on my face that was a cross between utter amazement and complete dismay with a little homicidal rage thrown in for good measure. Even after I regained the ability to speak, I was unable to devise a suitable response and so I just smiled, said nothing, and tried to implode said idiot using only my mind.

It didn't work.

However, it got me to wondering how it is that some of us seem to have a natural ability to restrain ourselves from saying the first ridiculous thought that comes into our minds while others are completely devoid of any type of social filter whatsoever. Is it something that occurs while we are still developing in the womb? Maybe if we were able to conduct a scientific study of all of the individuals with chronic diarrhea of the mouth, we would stumble upon the discovery of some chromosomal mutation or genetic abnormality. Perhaps with proper governmental funding and extensive genetic research, we might find a cure for these people which would probably include, but would not be limited to intense psychotherapy and massive amounts of tranquilizers in super high doses which would then end the world of its jackass problem. Ya think?

You know what? Now that I think about it, maybe instead of pouring all of our resources into finding a cure for the idiots, we should instead be spending more time trying to hone our psychic abilities and attempt to harness the dark side of the Force so that we can handle these encounters on a more individual, one-on-one basis. I think that would be the more satisfying approach. Don't you?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What...It's Not Like I Kicked A Puppy

Ok, so I know that by putting this out there for the world to see, it may cause some harsh judgment to fall in my direction.  You might think, "Wow, I had no idea that Amy was so heartless."  Others might call me "Grinchy" or ask when I might remove the Yule log from my buttocks, but I am going to say it anyway because it is how I feel and I can't live a lie anymore.  I despise, nay loathe, with every fiber of my being and with a hate so white hot that it would reduce Frosty to a pathetic puddle, the Christmas song "Christmas Shoes."

There, I said it!  Praise be to God I am free at last!  Free at last!
I know that you have heard this song.  If you are a person and you have ears and you happen to listen to a radio station that plays Christmas music during the month of December then you without a doubt have heard this song.  For the earless population that has not had the pleasure, let me sum up this festive little ditty.  Basically there is a little boy, and he is in a store trying to buy some shoes for his mother because she is sick and most likely won't live through the night.  He wants to get her the shoes so that she looks pretty when she meets Jesus.  Unfortunately he doesn't have enough money to pay for the shoes, but the stranger behind him, hearing his story and seeing his plight, pays for the shoes. 

Well if that doesn't fill your heart with Christmas joy and make you want to festoon every square inch of your home with seasonal merriment then I don't know what will.

Honestly, I get it.  It is a terrible story and I am sure that there is someone in this world that will face a loss this Christmas.  For those people, the real life people not the radio people, my heart goes out to you and I am truly sorry, but for the love of the Baby Jesus enough already with the Christmas Shoes.  It is the only song ever written that when I hear just the first three notes I start to convulse and my muscles start popping out of my clothes and the next thing I know, I am all green and I am hurling cars down Main Street while people are running and screaming and I'm like, "CHRISTMAS SHOES!!!!!!!!

It's Christmas for Pete's sake.  I want to hear about Grandma getting mowed down by a reindeer, and how Mommy is getting freaky with Santa.  I too want a hippopotamus for Christmas, and yes, it is a marshmallow world in the winter.  Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

In closing, I would like to thank you for allowing me to rant and rave about my distain for THAT song.  For everyone that read this post and agrees that, "Hell yeah, that song blows," this twisted Christmas carol is for you.  Enjoy, it's one of my favorites.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The One Where I Drop The Ball, But Promise Not To Do It Again

I have really been dropping the ball on this blog thing lately. Yesterday I was all, "I WILL write a post today and I will continue to write one every single day in December. So let it be written, so let it be done!" Then, somewhere, out of nowhere, I didn't. So now I am really going to try to post everyday this month, well, almost everyday…at least more than I posted last month. Can't you feel the commitment in that statement?

So, Sunday night we put up the Christmas tree. I have to say that I have been worrying about the Christmas tree for a good three months now because I have been concerned about what Elyse would do to it. I mean, I have seen her affinity for destruction and it can be catastrophic and widespread when she puts her mind to it. I can only imagine what that girl would be capable of if left in a room for ten seconds unattended with a tree full of twinkley lights and sparkly breakables.

Lucky for us, we have a family room downstairs where we were able to set everything up. My first choice is to have the tree in our living room where we can see it all of the time and can appreciate its festive majesty while curled up on the couch in the evenings watching TV, but for the sake of my sanity and the preservation of our ornaments, the tree is downstairs. The downside is that the family room is now basically off limits to Elyse for the next twenty-three-ish days.

She "helped" decorate a little if you consider "help" taking off every other ornament that we put on, holding it over her head, and threatening to heave it as far as her little arm would allow. So, yeah, not really so much the helper this year. Aaron on the other hand wanted to put every single ornament that we own on the tree in a 1'x1' square. Spacing is not his strong suit.

Despite the challenges, we did manage to complete the tree. There was only one decoration casualty which, when you consider what I had to work with, I think is pretty good. The best part of all of the decorations is the Charlie Brown Christmas Pageant nativity scene that I found at Toys-R-Us. How cute is this?

You can't see real well in this picture, but Woodstock is in the manger and there is a little sign that says what time the Christmas pageant takes place. Charlie Brown is missing because Aaron took him to school today for letter "C" show and tell.

I love having the tree up and decorated. It just makes the whole house feel especially festive. All I have wanted to do since we put it up is sit in the dark with only the tree lights on curled up on the couch with some hot chocolate. I'm not sure why I find that more appealing...because it is Christmas and I am feeling all holly and jolly or because since Elyse has been banished, it is the one room in the house that has remained clean and organized for longer than a day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grab Your Store Ads and Comfy Shoes...It's Time To Shop!

I can't believe that it's almost here. I look forward to this holiday all year long and when it is over, I am always just a little sad. It's a day full of togetherness, fun, and ...SHOPPING! It's almost Black Friday people! What? Did you think I was talking about Thanksgiving?

For about the last oh, seven years or so, my Mom, sisters, and I all brave the crowds and the store crazies’ to embark on our yearly Black Friday shopping extravaganza. I believe that Black Friday is like Las Vegas; everyone should try to go at least once in his or her lifetime. But all of the fun and the finding of great deals can be a little overwhelming if you've never done it before. Here are a few tips to get you through your first Black Friday experience...

First of all, don't even think about going out that early without a big ole cup of coffee. "But Amy," you say, "I don't drink coffee." I don't care. Coffee is a must to start Black Friday. It doesn't matter where you go, if you want cream and three Splenda, or you take it straight up black, but you are going to have some coffee because its part of the routine by God and no one messes with the routine. Got it? Good.


Don't go in with a list of "must haves." For example, "I must get Uncle Harry that nose hair trimmer that Sears has for 98% off!" I promise you that if you do, you will most likely have to duke it out with some little old lady who saw the last trimmer from across the store and Heaven help the shopper that gets in her way of buying it for her dear, sweet Melvin whom she loves with all of her heart, but can't look at one more damn day if he doesn't trim that disgusting nose hair that she has had to look at for the last seventy-eight years and is now so long that she fears it could strangle her in her sleep, and by God she has lived on this Earth for too long to go out like that, so give her that freakin trimmer girly! Now if you aren't opposed to fighting with the elderly, then by all means, go get you a trimmer, but I think that it is more fun to just stumble on the deals.

So you’ve done some shopping and even though you swore that you would never be hungry again after stuffing yourself silly with three helpings of Aunt Mable’s famous pecan pie, you actually feel like you could go for some lunch. This is important, you must get to the food court about a half an hour earlier than any normal person would fathom eating lunch because if you wait until a socially acceptable lunch time, you will find yourself scanning the jammed packed room overflowing with hungry shoppers all looking for an open table. But there are no open tables, and when you see an open table you will look up and notice another shopper eyeing the same table. Your eyes will lock and in both of your minds there will be a gunshot signaling that, “It’s on boys,” and you will both race at top speed for the table, taking out small children and stray shopping bags in the process, until one of you reaches the table first, throwing yourself on top of it and declaring, “Mine, mine, mine, mine, Sucker!” The “”Sucker” is important because what good is winning if you don’t gloat just a little, right? All I’m saying is eat lunch early.

Of course, at some point in your day you will require a potty break. All I can say here is to try to go early and then limit your fluid intake because the integrity of the bathrooms goes way down as the day wears on. You would have better luck finding a more hygienic bathroom if you hiked back to that gas station that you saw on your way to the mall that had the chalk outline on the sidewalk and the police tape around the front of the building. Now if you are a professional Black Friday shopper, then you have been training for the last three months with a rigorous squatting program and you now have thighs so strong that you could hover over the most vile public toilet on the universe. If that’s the case, then drink up and go often. This is what the last three months of training have been about.

Last, but not least, know when to get out. Eventually the stores will be so crammed with people that not even a door jam greased with Crisco will be able to allow one more person through. Even if you haven’t completed your list, just leave because by this point, you have been dealing with people for so long that you will have no patience left and your fuse will be so short that you will have no idea of what you will be capable of doing and before you know it your day will end with you making your one phone call home to see if someone will bail you out.

Happy Black Friday everyone and Mom, Ang, and Mal, I am looking forward to our day out just like I do every year. Ang, don’t forget the hand sanitizer!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Car Seats: Made By Graco...Engineered By Satan

Thursday night, after a colossal parenting misstep on my part, Elyse dumped half an Icee in her lap on the way home from Wal Mart. When I bought the Icee, I knew that it was a mistake, but Aaron was getting one and I couldn't deny my sweet baby girl of the frosty-blue goodness. I knew that a decision so reckless would come back to bite me in the buttocks and boy did it ever.

Once we got home and I got her out of the car seat, I began to access the damage. At first glance it didn't seem too terrible. I've seen worse messes. But after closer inspection, once I got the car seat out of the van, I realized that “this was no boating accident.” It was a full-on shark attack of the seat fabric and the protective padding underneath. Of course, that is after I struggled to undo the LATCH system that, while it keeps my precious cargo safe and secure in her seat, is an absolute nightmare to remove. Not just a regular I'm running from Bill Clinton, and my legs are made of Jell-O, and we're going up a flight of stairs kind of nightmare, but more like the epic if I could just find Bill Clinton and slay him with the bronze dagger, I could finally go back to my tribe where I will be queen of the cookie people and will live happily ever after in the castle made of fudge nightmare.

So I got the thing out of the car and into the house and found that all of the crumbs that had gathered under the padding mixed with the Icee and created a gelatinous paste. There was no doubt that the entire thing; padding, belts, buckles, everything, had to be removed from the car seat and thrown into the wash. Not exactly number one on my list of things that I really, really wanted to do at 7ish PM, but if I had let that crap sit until morning, not even Bill Mays' most powerful infomercial miracle would undo the evil that was the Icee/crumb mush.

Now, taking a car seat apart is a walk in the part compared to the "when was your last rectal exam" horror that is attempting to put it all back together again. In order to get it all right the first time you need a PhD. in Rocket Science and a strong background in Engineering. Since I have neither, and a Houdini I am not, I didn't put it together right the first time...A blunder that I only realized AFTER the car seat was back together and re-LATCHed into the van, AND I was trying to strap Elyse into it on our way to a meeting at church.

I kept trying to put the buckle together but the thing would NOT click. My first thought was that some of the Icee had gotten into the buckle, got all sticky, and wouldn't allow it to go together right. Then, after I somehow managed to remove just the buckle, ran it under hot water, and then put it back in the seat, I realized that son of a BLEEP I put the pieces that go into the buckle in backwards. Yeah, backwards. The only way to fix it was to...you see where this is going right...remove the whole car seat, take it all apart again, and try one more time.

Finally, after some screaming from Elyse, threatening Aaron with canceling Christmas, and quite a few tears from all of us, I got the seat put back in the van the right way and we got on the road. That will teach me to buy an Icee.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mommy Word Problems

1.  If it takes twenty minutes to clean up one mess, and for every one mess that you clean up, the kids make three more, how long will it take you to clean the entire house?

2.  Your child has a doctor's appointment at 10:15 AM and you live 20 minutes away from the office.  How early should you leave your house to ensure that you make it to the apopoinment on time? 
  • Add an extra hour if you have a newborn.
  • Add an additional fifteen minutes for each additional child that is going with you.
  • If you are flying solo, cross your fingers and say a prayer.
  • How do you feel about speeding?
3.  If a train leaves the station at 2:00 PM going 45 mph and you leave the house at 2:15 PM to go to Wal Mart traveling at 55 mph, calculate the odds that your little princess won't have an apocalyptic meltdown in the middle of the feminine hygiene isle because you ventured out so close to nap time?

4.  You and your husband are planning a date night for this weekend.  You have two children and both of them have been perfectly healthy.  Determine the correct ratio that best reflects your odds of neither child getting sick the morning of your date thus requiring you to cancel date night.  Multiply that by 10 if it has been more than a month since your last date.

5.  Johnny has 5 toy trucks.  Timmy has 2 toy trucks.  If your playgroup last for 2 hours, how long will it take Timmy to throttle Johnny for an extra truck, thus requiring you to immediately leave the playgroup in shame?

6.  1 cookie has 250 calories.  6 cookies have 1500.  How many cookies will you need to eat to feel better about your disastrous trip to Lowes with your seventeen month old?  Multiply that number by 25 to determine your guilt level for having eaten so many cookies.  Now, take the number of cookies that you ate, factor in your guilt level, and predict the odds of you getting on the treadmill to work off those cookies.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Am Not A Control Freak And No, You Are Not Allowed To Disagree With Me.

The other day, Aaron brought home his second ever homework assignment which was to decorate a picture of a turkey over the weekend and then bring it back on Monday so that it could be placed in the preschool "turkey farm."  The note that was attached to the picture encouraged the kids to use any materials that they wanted and to get creative.  The turkey was supposed to reflect each student's personality.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Yeah, not so much.

When I was a student, I always put weekend assignments off until the very last minute on Sunday night and the thoughts of that unfinished homework tortured me all weekend.  I knew that this turkey deal wasn't a five page paper describing the origins of the turkey and how it has impacted society today...a project that I assume would require much time and research and Googling...but it was an assignment nonetheless, and I felt that it was a good opportunity to teach Aaron to do things right away and to not put them off.  So during Elyse's nap we got to work on the turkey.

I love art projects.  I love to color, and paint, and glue, and use colored glue as paint, and...you get it.  So I was all over this turkey thing and I had all of these ideas for how we could make my Aaron's turkey unique, but all he really wanted to do was use glitter.  It didn't matter where the glitter went or what color it was, he just knew that glitter HAD to be part of the equation.  So I'm all, "Really, do we have to use glitter.  I don't ever recall seeing a sparkly turkey before."  But I could tell that he wasn't relinquishing the glitter.  So then I had this awesome idea to use felt on the turkey's body and my pinking shears would make it so look all feathery and stuff especially if we alternated layers of dark and light brown pieces of felt   Oh this was going to be good. 

Well, he was on board with the felt, but under no circumstances was I supposed to be the one to wield the scissors.  I was like, "But Aaron, look at how great this would look if you cut it like this and then glued it over here and..." and he was NOT buying it.  You know what he did?  He took his regular old boring scissors, cut two squares, well sort of squares, and glued them right on top of each other on the turkey's body.  I almost cried.

After that I figured I had lost all control and I just let him do it the way that he wanted, but honestly I really thought about tracing that turkey so that I could make one of my own.  Plus, I knew that the right thing to do was to just let him have full control because, well, it was his turkey.  I also knew that I would feel like a moron if he took in this perfect turkey that was obvious that he had a little "help".  I could see the look on his teacher's face now like, "Mrs. Hicks, are you really sure that you had nothing to do with this turkey's incredibly realistic feathers and fancy top hat?"  And I would be like, "Absolutely not!  Just what you are implying lady?"

So here it is.  Aaron's turkey...

Even though he took none of my suggestions, I still think that it is pretty awesome and I know that he is really proud of it which is the important thing, I guess.  Maybe when I take him in to school tomorrow I can smuggle an extra turkey out under my shirt.  I still have some great ideas.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How To Organize 1000lbs Of Crap...Short Answer...You Can't

I am currently in the middle of the most extensive home-purging project that I have ever conducted in my entire home-owning adult life.  If we haven't used it, thought about using it, or made plans to think about using it, then it's gone.  No questions asked.  No tears shed.  A bu-bye.

It started with the closet in the living room, the room that is next on the hit parade to receive a new coat of paint.  I really want to use this opportunity while things are crazy because of the painting, to take stock of what we are really using and toss what we aren't.  Plus, our home is in desperate need of some storage solutions and I figure that this is the perfect time to implement a new system.


I took everything out of the closet, a closet that is supposed to be a coat closet but is actually a landfill for shoes, coats, umbrellas, and toys, "great day in the morning," the toys.  There just isn't a way to organize that stuff.  Every time I look in there I see more and more crap and it's getting to the point that I'm not sure if we need to organize or find one hell of a plunger.

So now that it is all out of the closet, where in the world am I going to put it?  Obviously it's been stashed away in there because there IS no other place.  I doubt that a new storage option is just going to materialize out of thin air and I have already Macgyvered the shit out of every other available space in the entire house.  Now what?

That's when I turned to the family room.  Now there is a small cabinet area down there, but it was filled with a ton of other stuff that we have been holding onto for the sole purpose of playing the "But what if we need it" game.  I decided that that game sucks and so I pulled everything out of there in order to have a place for the newly sorted toys and games from the "coat" closet.  Honestly, I have wanted to tackle that cabinet for a while, but...., oh do I even need to explain why I haven't gotten to it?  I mean, you get it, right?  The laundry, the dishes, the regular cleaning, oh yeah, and the children; add it all up and it's a wonder I even dressed myself this morning. Besides, at that time we were still enjoying ourselves with the "This Could Come In Handy One Day" challenge; it was my turn and I was debating Mike on the usefulness and versatility of poly-fill doll stuffing.

Long story short, (too late, right?) now I am on to all of the kids toys that they just don't play with anymore in order to make room for the new stuff that Santa is going to bring to further clutter our already over-stuffed house.  The sad thing is that never am I happier than when I have stuff to organize and sort.  I mentioned this once before and to put it simply, organizing is my cocaine and I'm a big ole crack whore. 

So I am crazy into making lists and trying to decide if Rubbermaid makes enough storage solutions to accommodate the insane amount of stuff that I still have to find a home for or otherwise smuggle out of the house with out the kids noticing. I just hope that Aaron doesn't ask me why that garbage bag is singing the Diego theme song because I'm not good under pressure, I'll have no excuse, and I will have to give them back all of their stupid crap.

PS  Hi Tim! I hope you enjoyed the "Great day in the morning" shout out  : )

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Moments That Remind Me Why...

I don't think that it is any secret that motherhood has been a little more difficult for me than I had thought it would be before I had children. I had a skewed, idealized vision of what I thought it was like to be a mother, but anyone that actually is a mother can tell you that no book, blog, or television interview with the Supper Nanny can prepare you for how completely it will change your life, how intensely difficult it can be, or the fact that it is the most painfully wonderful experience that can challenge, break, and renew you all at the same time. There are a lot of times when I question if I am doing a good job or if I can do it at all, but then there are moments that remind me how amazing being a mother truly is and how in spite of all of the frustrations, tears, and meltdowns-both mine and the kids, no matter how hard it gets, even when I want to throw my hands in the air and hop the next flight to Abu Dhabi, I wouldn't change my life for the world because these two babies are my world.

It's moments like watching Elyse laugh with her whole body over the funny face that Aaron is making, or hearing the two of them giggle so innocently (sometimes not so innocently) at a joke that only they get.

It's seeing Aaron turn to Elyse for a hug when he is upset and watching her embrace her brother until he has calmed down. She is so small and yet she has one of the biggest hearts that I have ever seen.

It's the excitement in Aaron's voice when he announces that Elyse is awake and the eagerness with which he runs to her room to be the first to see her in the morning. It's only matched by the smile that takes over Elyse's entire face at the site of her big brother.

It's watching the two of them playing together, meeting Mike's gaze across the room, and knowing that we are both thinking, "Can you believe that we made them?" They are only here because of us and what a crime it would have been to deprive the world of two such amazing little people.

When I'm knee deep in the trials and tribulations of motherhood, it can be difficult to see these moments and to fully appreciate them, but they are always there waiting to remind me of why I wanted to be a mother in the first place. They're what keep me going and they are the reason that I wanted to start this blog; to capture the moments that might have otherwise been forgotten. I will never forget how I felt on the days that they were born, and the moment that I saw them for the first time, but there are memories and moments that are just as significant that might have gotten lost in the day to day routine had they not been written down for me to come back to one day to remember, to relive. Like the other evening when I was getting Elyse dressed for bed and she was mesmerized by my mommy necklace. She looked at it for a long time breaking her gaze only to look up at me with those huge blue eyes that sparkle when she smiles. When I stood her up she hugged me and said, "Pretty Mama."

It's when no matter how many games we've played, or how long we have been outside, or how many train tracks we have built, Aaron still wants more time with me. It's only been recently that I have realized that that means that somewhere along the line, even when I have thought that I was a complete failure as a mother, I have been doing something right.

I don't know that I will ever completely feel like I have a handle on this job. I think that there are always going to be times when I question whether or not I was really cut out to do this, but no matter how much I doubt or how often I question, I know that I will see it in their faces, and I will hear it in their laughs so that one day when I look back at these moments and relive these memories, I will know that yes, I was a good mother.

Friday, November 6, 2009

This Is The Job That Never Ends...Yes, It Goes On And On My Friends...

No, I will not do it. You can't make me. I absolutely refuse. No! No, no, no, no! There is no way on God's green earth that am doing another load of laundry. You're going to have to figure something else out because I am finished. Hire a Mistress of the Laundry whose only purpose is to wash, dry, and fold. Find the least disgusting laundromat, save up your change, and haul that crap to the location of your choice. Load up a wagon, trek down to the river, and beat your clothes on a rock. Whatever it takes to ensure that you're clothes are clean and you don't look like a hobo because my laundry days are OVER!

Well, that's what I would like to say to the family, but we all know that I am way to neurotic to allow them to go without clean clothes. What would the people think? You know the people. The ones with eyes, that look at you, judge you, always watching. Those people. It's just that I am so tired of doing the laundry. It never ends...ever. Even when I think that I am caught up and that there is no more dirty laundry anywhere in the house, I find something. Maybe it's a sock, or a pair of pajamas, something that sits there, dirty, mocking me, laughing, and that is all that it takes. That one stray article of clothing mutates into two stray pieces and before I know it, I am buried under a mountain of dirty clothes thinking to myself, "But I was just caught up. Where in the hell did all of this come from?"

We are a family of four for Pete's sake. We're not the Duggars. How can two adults and two children make so much laundry? It's a mystery to me, but I know that I have had it. Currently I am on load number two of what will most likely end up being six or more, and the saddest part about that is that I had done four loads on Tuesday. Three days ago. This past Tuesday. So if I don't post for a few days or you don't see me for a while, please send a search party because I am most likely buried beneath a gigantic pile of clothes and my only food source will be the gum and Chapstick that I discover in Mike's jeans.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Riddle Me This...

In our house, Aaron is known as the Riddler. No one can compete with his ability to ask a ridiculous amount of questions in a very minuscule about of time. Sometimes his questions are interesting and well thought out like when he wants to know how a stream came to be in the woods. Other times they are so off the wall that they render me speechless for a good six seconds until I can regain composure and come to terms with the unbelievable amount of brain cells I am going to lose by trying to come up with an answer to such an unbelievable question like when he asks, "Why do we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner?" Uhhhhh....

This was our conversation on our way home from preschool today:

Aaron: Mom, snake starts with a "C" huh.
Me: No, it starts with an "S".
Aaron: Nu Uh, it starts with a "C".
Me: No Aaron, snake starts with an "S".
Aaron: NO IT DOESN'T!!!!
Me: Yes it DOES! S-N-A-K-E, SNAKE, Snake starts with an "S"!!!!
Aaron: "X"?
Me: No "S".
Aaron: "X"?
Me: NO, "S"!
Aaron: Mom?
Me: What Aaron?
Aaron: Did you forget to take those things into the house?
Me: What things?
Aaron: Those...The paper towels.
Me: Oh, yeah. My hands were full and I couldn't carry everything.
Aaron: Well, Daddy can carry everything. Can you believe that?
Me: Well, Daddy's all that.
Aaron: Mom...?
Me: Aaron, if you ask me one more question I swear I am pulling over and leaving you on the side of the road.

So I guess he should be getting in about any time now. We really weren't that far from the house.

*Ok, so I made that last part up, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't really thinking it.*

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh Really...

Since Aaron has started preschool, I think of him very often when he is not home and I try to imagine what his day is like. Is he having fun? Is he working hard? Is he behaving himself? When he comes home, he offers very little information no matter how hard I pry, despite all of my most serious attempts to drag even a small piece of dirt out of him. Sometimes though, you can learn a whole lot just by observing and today I learned an interesting little tid bit that he so interestingly managed to leave out.

In his class, the teacher uses a behavior system in which there is a classroom tree and everyone has a monkey in the tree. If you misbehave, your money comes out of the tree, and you don't get to "feed" him a banana sticker at the end of the day. Each week, if the students have behaved themselves, they should have four stickers and then they get to pick a prize out of the treasure chest. So far, Aaron has always had all four stickers at the end of the week, but last week when I went to pick him up on Wednesday, he seemed off. When I saw him he looked upset about something, but when I asked him about it he said that he was fine. The next day was the day of his Halloween party and while I was helping the other homeroom mom set up, I noticed that Aaron didn't have a sticker for Wednesday. I didn't think much of it because since he leaves early, I thought that maybe the teacher had just forgotten to give it to him before he left.

Fast forward to this morning...

The teacher was having all of the kids line up to "feed" their monkeys because they had forgotten to do that since the party was so crazy. So Aaron got his banana sticker and hung it up and the teacher didn't say anything about the fact that he only had three out of four stickers. When he walked away I said, "Did he get his monkey taken out of the tree?" She said, "Yeah, he was running in the classroom with another boy." Well now it all makes sense. I thought that it was really funny because it wasn't like he was beating up another kid or anything, he was just running which is SO Aaron, but I found it interesting that he didn't tell me about it. I would think that that would be something that would stand out from the goings on of the day or perhaps it stood out so much that that is why he seemed upset when I got him on Wednesday and he was too embarrassed to tell me.

When he came home, I asked him if he had his monkey taken out of the tree last week and he got this grin on his face that screamed BUSTED! He said that he did and when I asked what happened he very matter of factly said, "I was running." Just like that, "I was running." I just laughed and said, "Well, let's try to get all four stickers this week ok." I didn't want him to think that he couldn't tell me when these things happen for fear of getting in trouble again at home because I think that having the monkey taken out of the tree is all the punishment that a running offense requires. Now if he had gone all Ralphie on some Scott Farkas type, then I might have to discuss the matter a little more in depth, but if running is his only offense, I think he is doing pretty well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

May The Force Be With You...Oh Yeah, and Trick-or-Treat and Stuff

So Saturday night we took the kids trick-or-treating and they had a blast. Last year Elyse was only four months old and so she stayed behind with my mom and napped while the rest of us took Aaron around. This year though, she trick-or-treated like a pro. She held her little pumpkin out to anyone that would give her candy and she thanked them all with a huge, adorable smile; every single person.

Aaron is all about Star Wars this year and he went as Darth Vader. In keeping with the Star Wars theme, Elyse was Princess Leia. They were so darn cute I wanted to gobble them up.

Halloween is by far the worst holiday for Aaron where his peanut allergy is concerned. It seems so unfair that we have to take half of his candy because it either has peanut butter, peanuts, or was made in a factory with peanuts. He is really good about it though. Whenever he would get something that was questionable he would go, "Is this peanut free?"

Walking around I couldn't believe how big Aaron looked. It seems like yesterday that he was just a little guy that could barely walk in his monkey costume and now he was Darth Vader, running full speed ahead of us, wishing that Leia would step up the pace.

So Halloween is over and the world has turned their focus towards Christmas. Didn't we just take down last year's tree? All I know is that this year, not even one who is strong with the force will be able to keep Leia from tearing down our Christmas tree. I must consult the Imperial Senate to see what can be done.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mom Always Said, "Never Trust a Man Wearing Mascara!"

In general, I don't think that I am a very difficult person to please. (Mike, you are not allowed to comment on this post.) I just feel like things should be done a certain way; the right way. When the "right" way is not achieved, I think that there is a "right" way to handle that too. Case in point...

Yesterday, I decided to go and get my hair done. Back in the day, in a time before children, I had a regular stylist that I went to faithfully. I had my hair highlighted every few months and I was almost always happy with the results. However, once the kids were born and I stopped working, I decided that I should cut back on such luxuries and I stopped going to the pricey salon with the pricey, yet oh so nice highlights, and I opted for a more affordable salon and I started coloring my hair myself. But on occasion, I will go and get it colored professionally and yesterday was one of those days.

So I went in and scoped out the stylists that were working and let me say that I was less than confident in the prospects. There was the token twenty-something with the jet black hair and chunky bleached white highlights, and a thirty-ish woman who from behind looked more like she was pushing seventy because the blond that she chose for her hair was very blueish/grey blond and the cut was very short and unflattering. She also sported these really chunky, thick, dark-rimmed glasses that also did nothing for her overall look. From what I could tell, she looked like she should be named Madge with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth while she swept the floors.

So to say the least, I was a little nervous about turning myself over to one of these two.

After I signed in, "Madge" came over and started to ask me what she could do for me. I described the color that I was going for and she sat me down with some books to find a picture of exactly what I wanted. A few pages in I found this really great picture of a girl with a beautiful dark chocolate base and very sparse carmely, mildly reddish highlights. It was perfect and was definitely the way that I wanted to go. Anytime I get highlights, they are always blond, so I was really excited to see how this would look, especially since the highlights were so sparse, it wouldn't be too overpowering and it was going to be just the change that I needed to lift my spirits and make me feel pretty.

That WAS the plan until....

Madge says, "Well, it's going to be about a half an hour until he gets back from his break. Can you wait?" I was all, "He, who? I saw no "he" when I walked in. Just token black hair/bleach highlights and you Madge." Then, "he" came around the corner and my stomach flipped. Had I seen him when I walked in and realized that there was a chance that he would be my stylist, I probably would have ran the other way. I realize that what I am about to describe is going to seem, judgmental, possibly offensive, but hear me out. He was a tiny little guy, very thin, with hair very much like token black hair/bleach highlights except that the bleached hair was the entire front part of his head. He kind of looked light a black and white cookie. He was wearing more face powder than I was and a whole lot of mascara. When he walked, he walked with a sway that I feared may break one or both of his hips. Ok, with that being said, I know that his appearance has no effect on his ability as a stylist. How he presents himself is his own business, but I just feel that if you are in the beauty industry, your look should be very polished and when a client sits down at your station, he or she should feel confident that you can do the job. I shouldn't have been thinking, "Please don't make me look like you. Please don't make me look like you."

So I showed him the picture that I had originally showed Madge and he seemed to get it, but I was not confident. He didn't talk to me enough to assure me that we were on the same page and when he left to mix my color, a sense of fear and dread washed over me and I just knew that this wasn't going to go the way that I had hoped.

It took him a long time to mix the color, too long. At one point I heard him whispering with Madge about it and I had to fight every urge in my body to just get the hell out of there, but I ignored my instincts and stayed in my chair. Finally, he came back and we got started. He worked slowly and with a technique that I had never seen before. He explained that he was placing the foils the way that he was because it made the highlights less stripey. I was like, "Um, ok. You're the professional." Yeah, professional my ass.

So he finally finished and I started reading about what a douche Jon Gosselin is and suddenly my stylist starts to get chatty. He's talking about Lady GaGa and how much he LOooooves the Twilight series, and yada, yada, yada. Then he starts questioning the color that he used...out loud...to me...with the possibly incorrect color stewing on my head. He was even giggly about it and said, "Well, we'll see." Tee hee, giggle, giggle.

Forty minutes later he announced that it was time to rinse and I knew by his reaction that the results were not what we had originally discussed because he more or less kept trying to cover his ass for when the shit hit the fan and I got to see my results. When he turned me around in the chair I wasn't instantly horrified, but I was pretty confident that I was not going to be thrilled. The carmely/reddish highlights had a very orange look and the base color looked pretty close to the light brown that my hair was originally. There were only supposed to be a few random highlights, but it seemed like the entire top of my head was the highlight color. Did he even try to make me look like the picture? Still, I held on to hope that once my hair was dry something magical would happen and everything would be ok. But everything wasn't ok.

The whole time that he was drying me I kept trying to go over in my head what I was going to say when I saw my finished product. I decided that there was no way that I was going to pay for it if it looked as bad as I had feared. When he turned me around, my carefully thought out plan went out the window and I didn't know what to say. I had been in that chair for two hours by that point and my final result was my original color with orange highlights. To make matters worse, when I started running my fingers through it to really see what we were dealing with, I found that I had two pink streaks on each side of my head. He had carefully combed it so that I wouldn't have seen that part unless I did some careful inspection. Finally I was like, "My hair is pink." He actually moved in for a closer look and acted all surprised, like he hadn't seen that when he was drying my hair. I told him that this really wasn't what I wanted and what were "we" going to do about it? He goes, "Well, do you want to pay for it now and come back tomorrow to get it fixed?" In my head I was screaming, "Um, what now? You think that I am actually paying for this nightmare? I sat in this chair for two freaking hours when I could have been looking around at Target, or shopping at Sephora, or anything else that I wanted to do whilst I was child free. Um, pay for this? I think not!" What I actually said was, "Well, I'll pay for the cut, but I just can't pay for this color." I asked him when he worked the next day and told him that I would try to get back there to have him fix it. I paid for the cut, left no tip, and headed out the door to call Mike and cry about what the incompetent man did to me and how he wasted my two child-free hours turning me into Carrot Top. That bastard!

This is what I was talking about when I said that things should be handled a certain way because when he saw that what he had done was nothing, NOTHING like we had talked about, his first response should have been a sincere apology and an assurance that he would make it right at no charge. Can you believe he actually asked me if I was on a medication that might affect how my hair took the color? I don' think that is any of your business buddy!

So now I'm stuck. Stuck and pissed off. Do I go back today to have him "fix" it? To do that would mean that I have to get my mother-in-law to take the kids which I know she would have no problem doing, but I just hate to put her out, especially for something that I should not have to do. If she is going to take the kids, I'd like to get something done that I really need to do like grocery shopping or cleaning or laundry. I feel like just doing what I should have done originally and go get myself a box of color and do it myself, but am I a bitch for not going back to give him the chance to fix his mistake? Either way, I don't think that I could let him touch my hair again. I would have to get one of the other girls to do it. I don't know. All I do know is that this look is only going to fly until Halloween is over and then I am going to have to do something about it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So I Suck, But Admitting It Is the First Step, Right?

No one ever told me that when I became a mother, I would never again be caught up. That I would never again have the pleasure of putting a period at the end of anything because my life is in a constant, perpetual cycle where as soon as I start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the cycle starts over again and I find myself right back at the beginning. I feel like I am vigorously trying to tread water in the middle of a hurricane and if I let up for a sec, I might drown.

So I guess that I am feeling a little dark and twisty today. I apologize for being such a Debby Downer, especially if you came here to read something funny and lighthearted. My hope is that by putting this out there, I can get it out of my head and heart, and refocus on the important things. I hate feeling like this and I am sure you hate reading about it. So if you would like to navigate away from here to something a little more positive, hey, no judgment. I promise my next post will be a hoot.

Anyway, I don't know what it is exactly, just that it is everything and nothing all at once. It's the fact that I have roughly six loads of laundry waiting for me when I was just caught up on Friday. It's that I have been painting the kitchen for almost three weeks and I am still not done because I only get to work on it periodically throughout the day when I have to choose to ignore the children in order to get two strokes painted. I have had the last two Mondays to devote to the kitchen project thanks to my wonderful husband, so I guess that I can't complain too much.

Because my attention has been focused on the kitchen project, many normal household chores have fallen by the wayside, and the dirt and disorganization are starting to get to me. I have been letting the kids do things that I would never allow just so that I can get a few extra minutes to take care of something else that I have neglected. Why right this very second, Elyse is smearing Jello all over herself and the dining room table, but I'm not stopping her because it is giving me a chance to write this post.

I remember when Mike and I were first married and I had all of the time in the world to take care of the house, and the laundry, and everything else that goes into keeping a household, but now with the kids, there just isn't enough time. I feel guilty when I am working on something because I am neglecting them, but when I am with them, all I can think about is how behind I am. It's a vicious cycle.

I'm sure that I'm not saying anything that a million other mothers don't feel every single day. I just felt the need to get it off of my chest, and find some comfort in the fact that perhaps I am not treading in that hurricane alone. Thanks for listening. Now I have to go because my laundry needs switched and I think that I am burning the meat for the chili tonight.

Aaronisms Version 2.0

Talking about the surveillance cameras on the roof of Wal Mart:

Aaron: Mommy, Wal Mart has WALL-E eyes on its roof.

Aaron doesn't floss his teeth, he "strings" them.

While on our way to school one morning:
Aaron: Wow, look at all of those birds flying south.
Me: Yep!
Aaron: I bet they're headed to Mexico.

While getting ready to read a story before bedtime:

Aaron: I really wish that I had fur like Bella. Then I would always be cozy.

While looking for something to take to school that started with the letter "F" for "F" week:
Aaron: Mom, did you find an "F" word in my room?

While he was trying to move the couch in the basement:
Aaron: "Put your back into it man!"

Sitting at our campfire this past weekend:

Aaron: This sure is a great little family we have!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Girl and her Blankie - A Tale of Loss and Reunion

Elyse has a blankie that she absolutely adores. She loves this thing more than waffles, more than babies, more than even Elmo. She takes it everywhere she goes, she hugs it and kisses it, and she rubs her boogey nose on it when she has a cold. Oh the things poor blankie has seen.

The downside to this affection is that on a regular basis, blankie gets pretty funky and it was time that blankie had a bath. So I stole her blankie to get it into the wash and I thought that I had pleanty of time to get it cleaned and dried before nap time, but Princess decided that she needed a nap about an hour earlier than normal. She found one of her pacifiers ("BeeBee")that she has stashed all over the house and then she went looking for "Bankie," but "Bankie" was in the dryer. It was the saddest, most pathetic thing that I have ever seen because she wandered aimlessly around the house whimpering and calling, "Bankie....Bankie," and then she would look at me and go, "Peeeeaaaassssee Bankie...Peeeeaaaasssee, Mama, Bankie." Those sad, teary eyes stared up at me pleading for me to give her back her "Bankie" and all I could say was, "It's in the dryer Sweetie. I swear it's coming back. May I please buy you a purple poney to make the hurt go away until your "Bankie" comes out of the dryer?"
Finally her blankie was dry and the two were reunited, and once again all was right with the world.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Hour and a Half Late and Short on Patience

I believe that there is something that happens on a cosmic level when you oversleep. Some sort of shift in the universal balance of time and space, and although everything that was going to happen to you still happens as it would have had you not overslept, it happens in such a way that everything irritates you and everything pisses you off.

We overslept yesterday.

It had been a really long night. A night full of potty trips and baby awakenings. A night so long that when I looked at the clock and saw that I had only gone to bed three hours ago, I wasn't sure whether to be happy that there were still four hours left or be suicidal that there were STILL four hours left because God only knows what could happen in those four hours, sleep not being one of those things.

The last time that I looked at the clock it said 4:00 AM. I still felt exhausted and I decided that I needed to hurry up and fall asleep so that I could get the most out of that last hour. When I woke up again I thought, "Hmmm, I would have thought that the alarm would have gone off by now. That was one good, long hour." Then I looked at the clock and instead of seeing 5:15 AM, the regularly scheduled wake-up time, it said 6:45AM, as in an hour and a half LATE!!!


Fortunately, Mike has been starting work at 7:30 this week and he had plenty of time to get out the door, but while I felt good at first after getting to sleep that extra time, the rejuvenation was short lived and I just felt off for the rest of the day. Everything was a struggle and everything was a pain in the ass.

Everyone that I talked to yesterday agreed that there was something weird about the day because they all struggled to get through it too. So I have to apologize because it was us that altered the state of the universe. Had I only checked the volume on the alarm before I had gone to bed I would have known that the kids were messing with it again and instead of turning it up so loud that it catapults us out of bed, this time they turned it all the way down so that we would never get out of bed. I blame them really. The day could have been filled with rainbows and glitter, but instead it was filled with irritation and dog poo. So if yesterday sucked for you too, you may lodge your complaints in the comment section and address them to Aaron and Elyse.

PS. Aaron has refused to stay at school for lunch for the last two days in spite of his declaration on Tuesday that he loved staying for lunch SOoo much that would do it from now on. When I reminded him of that statement he said, "No mom, I told you I was only going to stay for lunch for one day." Kids are liars.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Well Hot Damn!

On the days when something great is going to happen, everything goes as it usually does until the great thing happens. You have no idea that something is going to happen because it just feels like an ordinary day. This morning was ordinary. I didn't want to get out of bed, I had to fight Aaron through the entire getting ready process, and we headed off to school like we always do.


After we got to the classroom and went through the morning routine, something miraculous happened. Aaron looked up at me and said, "Mom, what if you came and picked me up after lunch?" I was like, " Huh?!? "Like, when do you want to stay for lunch?" He said, "Today Mom." For a minute I was totally speechless. Hell yeah you can stay for lunch! So I explained to him that he would have to eat from the cafeteria since we didn't pack a lunch and he was completely cool with that plan. Stunned, I walked out of the room and proceeded to call everyone that I know to announce that Aaron was going to stay to eat lunch...at school. EAT LUNCH...AT SCHOOL!

I had a small heart attack when I got home to see what was on the menu because aside from the vegetable soup that the teacher had mentioned before I left, and I knew Aaron would hate, they were also serving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Good God of all days!

For those of you that don't know, Aaron has a peanut allergy and since this was his third teacher in two months, as in one, two, three teachers, I was a little freaked that the message hadn't gotten through about his allergy, but when I got there to pick him up they told me that he had a cheese sandwich and fruit and some other stuff and that they kept all peanut products at least a hundred feet from anywhere that he was sitting.


As we were walking down the sidewalk to get to the car he told me that he would like to start eating lunch there everyday. He always has to come to these decisions on his own. I could beg, plead, negotiate, and threaten till the cows come home, but if it isn't time for him to do something, he just won't do it. That's Aaron, always on his own timetable.

So Aaron is going to start eating lunch at school. When I got up this morning I had no idea that this would be THE day. What a difference from the first few weeks of school. At this pace, he should be teaching the class himself in about four more months.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Best Buds

So Aaron has a buddy. I knew that it wouldn't take him long to make friends because he is a very outgoing, social child;. a trait that he obviously didn't get from me. Anyway, a week or so after school started he told me about this friend that he had made, but he didn't know his name yet because apparently they weren't that far into their relationship to have exchanged names.


So more recently he started coming home talking about, for privacy sake let's call him Mater, "as in Ta Mater" (I apologize if you haven't seen the movie Cars, but Aaron and his buddy LOVE the movie and so I think that the nickname fits). Anywho....Aaron is all, "Mater said this," and "Mater does that," and "Mater is my friend."
Sweet, huh?
Every morning when Aaron and Mater see each other Mater yells, "AARON!" Even Mater's little sister gets in on the act and yells for Aaron when she sees him too. By the way, Mater's little sister is SO adorable and she reminds me so much of Elyse. I think that those two girls could do some real damage together.
Since Aaron and Mater have become friends, I have been amazed at how alike they are and it is no wonder that the two are such good buddies. They both LOVE the movie Cars and have their rooms decorated with stuff from the movie. They both have a little sister and when they had to bring in something that started with the letter A for show and tell, they both brought alligators.

Crazy, huh?

I am so glad that Aaron has found a friend. I was really worried about how he would fit in with the other kids after the tantrums that he threw the first week or so of school. I was also concerned that since he is doing half days and is only in school from 8:30 till 11:00 that he wouldn't have much of a chance to make many friends, but the chorus of "By Aaron" that comes from all of his classmates when he leaves assures me that he is adjusting just fine.

I have had absolutely no luck with persuading him to add any time to his day as of yet. When I bring it up his eyes glaze over and he drifts off into some magical fairy land that is full of fun and chocolate; you know, the typical male self-defense mechanism.

Right now Mike is saying, "Hey!?!"

I thought that he had an epiphany the other day because when he came home from school he told me that he wanted to try to stay to eat lunch the next day. He said that he even wanted to eat from the cafeteria instead of taking his lunch and that Mater would really like it if he ate with him. Then morning came and he was like, "Um, yeah, I don't really want to do that."

Of course.

I feel like it won't be long before he finally takes the plunge to stay for lunch. Aaron has always done things on his own time table and I'm sure that this will be no different. Mike and I are starting to wonder if a good old-fashioned bribe is in order; a new toy, a book, his own personal jet that he can use to run off to Disney World when ever it strikes his fancy. You know the typical stuff.

For now, I'm just glad that he found Mater because at least I know that when he finally does decide to stick it out for lunch, he will have a place to sit with his buddy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

An Indication that Elyse's Teenage Years May Kill Us

I'm not sure how it is possible to be so busy yet have nothing much to write about, but that is where I have been for a few weeks now. I suppose if I wasn't so busy, I might have time to actually think about my day and find the humor in it and thus post something mildly amusing, but my mind is constantly swimming with important dates, to-do lists, and the realization that these jeans, which were pretty comfy at one time, are now just slightly binding and it's kind of starting to drive me insane. Trust me, there is no more room up there to think about much else.

I do have this though...

Elyse has taken to stripping. Yesterday, after lunch she was a total yogurt covered mess. There was absolutely no way that I was going to be able to salvage her clothes, so I just took them all off and let her run around in her diaper while I cleaned up the table...and the floor...and the walls. In the middle of all of that, Mike called and I sat down to talk to him for a few minutes. Well, Elyse wandered off to her room and I heard her shut the door which can only mean that she is up to no good. I gave her a minute to let her think that she was getting away with something and then I went to check on her. When I opened the door, she was running wildly in circles, naked, waving her diaper over her head.


So I got her dressed and put her down for her nap. When she woke back up, I went into her room to greet my sweet baby princess only to find that princess was topless and as soon as she saw me she threw her shirt at me with the most ornery grin on her face that I have ever seen.

The moral of the story: The first person to mention Mardi Gras to Elyse when she is a teenager will suffer!