Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Trip Highlights

In which I share more random highlights from our trip as I continue to unpack.

Why oh why do toy manufacturers have to make the packaging so impossible to penetrate? If only they could make airplanes out of this same material. No more crashes or hijackings.

My MIL bought all three of her sons matching ski caps (or toboggan hats, as Dan calls them). Well, not exactly matching. Ted's is brown--the other two are blue--so you know who the favorite is. Dan and Jack opened theirs first so when Ted arrived they both said, "Hey man, you need to open your present from Mom. You're going to love it." I'm pretty sure everyone there pulled a
stomach muscle laughing so hard.

Here they are...Larry, Darryl, and Darryl.

Through some sort of weird cosmic fluke, the cousins in attendance were Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, and Eleven.

I'm now officially hooked on the Twilight series. I bought the first two books before we left so I could read them on the trip. Not only do my kids have the best aunt in the world, I have the best sister-in-law. When I finished New Moon and starting jonesing for a trip to the bookstore to get Eclipse, Cathy called out of the blue and said, "I'm going to pass right by Borders on my way to Mom's house. Can I pick up a book for you?" Am I loved or what? I finished it last night and now I'm thinking about running down to B&N to get Breaking Dawn. But I know once I start reading it that I won't get anything else done today. Sigh. It sucks being so responsible.

I don't know what my mom fed my dog while we were gone, but she is the most flatulent creature ever created. The dog, not my mom. Just to clarify.

My new favorite toy that my kids received (but Dan and I promptly commandeered--which is totally within our rights as parents): Nerf N-Strike Maverick.

Ew, I just had a presidential debate flashback when I typed the word Maverick. I feel like I should be doing shots of something. Oh yeah, speaking of shooting...

Who needs expensive toys like the Wii system we can't afford because we had to buy new tires and actuarial manuals? Not that I'm bitter. Nope, not me. Dan created this game which involves propping an action figure on a box in the kitchen and trying to shoot him off his perch from a designated spot in the foyer. I don't want to brag or anything (yeah, right) but I'm the uncontested champion. If this whole teaching thing doesn't work out, I may have a promising future career as a sharpshooter.

Okay, enough playing around. I have to go remind Dan that he promised to paint the bedroom with me while I'm off work. And I have to convince him that I actually meant painting the bedroom and not whatever euphemism he thought he was agreeing to. Yep, being responsible is no fun.

Here are the rest of the trip photos:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Trip Highlights

We just got home a few hours ago from a six-day visit with the in-laws. Eight-to-ten-ish hours on the road (thank the good LORD and Grama for the portable DVD player), two cars of Christmas gifts to unload, and four loads of laundry (so far) later and I've finally reunited with my beloved computer. C'mon, you know you're singing it. I love my computer because all my friends live in there.

Anyway, I'm exhausted and still have more laundry waiting, so I'll just give you a quick SportsCenter highlights version of the trip:

  • My kids have the greatest aunt in the whole, wide world. If there were an Olympic event for "aunting," she'd be a quadruple gold medalist.
  • I'm finally completely addicted to the Twilight series, just like Trish told me ages ago I would be--if I'd just give it a chance. And I said that "teeny-bopper vampire romances" just weren't my thing. HA!
  • I might have reached the saturation point for Tripoley and Skipbo, if it hadn't been for that awesome straight royal flush of HEARTS that I dealt myself. Aw, that was sw-eeet.
  • My mother-in-law should have her name legally changed to Sneaky McCheaterpants. Really.
  • The snake I found in the middle of the road was not real. At least I'm going to continue to tell myself that.
  • After almost eighteen years of marriage I thought I knew all Dan's crazy rock band stories, but his former bandmates told me a couple of new ones at dinner last night.
  • My father-in-law acts tough, but he's a big old softie. But don't tell him I told you so.

Okay, that's it for now--the dryer just buzzed. More tomorrow...with pictures.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to all my friends, both IRL and the ones who live in my computer. Hope your holiday is filled with food, fun, friends, and fairy dust (because we could all use a little magic at this time of year).


Dan, Teble, Grumpy Eleven, Dimpled Eight--Just trying to get one decent flippin' picture to put in the Christmas cards! :-)

Lily and Izzy chilling on Grama's couch--they had no trouble posing for a picture.

Lily doesn't let the stress of the holidays get to her--and you shouldn't either. Have a wonderful, blessed holiday, from my family to yours.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Eleven's Weird Slide Show

Eleven has become obsessed with photography lately. If only we could get him to STAND STILL long enough to get a non-blurry photo!!! Here's a slide show of his latest weird photographs--both self-portraits and shots of his family. Luckily I was spared the indignity of being one of his subjects.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Updated News

Just a quick update on my third observation:

I had my review today and the words "awesome job" were used again. There was also a "great job" thrown in--just for good measure. It was my early Christmas present! YAY!

In other news, Dan's store will only be open for four more days. Then he'll have a lot more time free to devote to spoiling the princess in the manner in which she'd like to become accustomed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Word

My friend Shelly sent me this a while back. I sent it back to her that day, but I've forgotten all my answers since then so I redid it. The idea is to answer all the questions using one word and ONLY one word. It's harder than it looks!

1. Where is your cell phone? purse

2. Significant other? schmoopie

3. Your hair? growing

4. Your mother? knitting

5. Your father? garage

6. Your favorite thing? husband

7. Your dream last night? work

8. Your drink? diet

9. Your dream goal? happiness

10. The room you're in? mom's

11. Your fear? loss

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? employed

13. Where were you last night? here

14. What you're not? skinny

15. Muffins? sure

16. One of your wish list items? employment

17. Where you grew up? Hendersonville

18. The last thing you did? television

19. What are you wearing? pajamas

20. Your TV? on

21. Your pet/pets? Lily

22. Your computer? friends


23. Your life? busy

24. Your mood? content

25. Missing someone? Grace

26. Your car? Camry

27. Something you're not wearing? shoes

28. Favorite Store? Goodwill

29. Your summer? hot

30. Your favorite color? pink

31. When is the last time you laughed? today

32. Last time you cried? yesterday


See if you can do it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grateful

I was reminded tonight, as I snuggled on the couch under a down comforter with my HEALTHY kids watching Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, that I'm pretty darn lucky. Even if the economy has tanked and my husband is losing his job in ten days and I'm splitting my time between two counties and going in to work on a snow day and all that stuff, I still have it pretty good. At least I have a job, even if it is an hour from my house. At least I can stay with my parents up there so I don't have to commute that hour's drive every day. At least my husband will get a few weeks of severance pay so he can study for his math exam. And, most important, my kids are healthy. When they're driving me crazy and I really need a break from them I need to stop and just be grateful for them--hyperactivity and all.

We were right in the middle of the show and a commercial for St. Jude's Children's Hospital came on. Jennifer Aniston (who is way too pretty to be the same age as me, BTW) was hugging a little bald-headed girl who has been battling brain cancer. Here's this cute little girl, fighting for her life, and I'm fussing at my kids for getting mud and snow on the carpet.

Wow, I have nothing to complain about.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Lily's latest photos

Eleven is going on a field trip tomorrow to J.A. Biztown. This is a great program in which kids get to interview and train to do real-life jobs. Eleven desperately wanted to be a photographer, but since he's such a math genius he was chosen to be a bank teller. He was a little bummed about it, so I told him he could have my old camera and take pictures whenever he wants.

His favorite subject is our dog Lily. Since Lily's status has been recently upgraded to Couch Dog, this creates many a photo op for our budding young Peter Parker. He had a blast today taking pictures of her sound asleep with her head hanging upside-down off the couch. He took some of them upside down so that Lily's face looks right-side up when she's hanging. They're SO funny! See for yourself...


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Eight--the tattle-tale

Eight is the Star of the Week in his second grade class, a fact which he has not let us forget since the minute he found out last week that his turn in the spotlight was approaching. He loves being the center of attention. I can't imagine where he gets that from.

Ever since last Monday afternoon, Eight has been planning this week. He started working on his poster about five minutes after he was dismissed from school and started selecting photographs to share with the class. By Tuesday night he had each day planned out: the Guessing Jar, the Surprise Box, the snack he'd share with his friends, the book he'd read to them...everything. The boy was SO unbelievably excited. One might even call him obsessed.

Today was the Surprise Box day. He got to take a box to school and the class had to guess what was in it. He filled it with his "puppets." These are lunch bag puppets that he makes with markers and decorates to look like characters from Star Wars (or members of his family). He only has about two hundred of them, so clearly his collection is not quite complete yet. May I just mention that the $1.99 I spent on brown paper lunch bags was the best money I ever spent. The child stays busy for HOURS!

Anyway, today he was sharing the puppets with his class. His teacher said, "That one looks kinda like a worn-out Santa." Eight looked at her and said, "Um, that one is my dad."

Poor Mrs. Jones. She said, "Oh, don't tell your daddy I said that." So, of course he did.

And of course I had to blog about it. :-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A NO SNOW Snow Day

Well, yesterday's other shoe fell today--along with a bunch of sleet up in the hills of our county, so schools are closed. Naturally, because I was SO prepared this week. And because I had a mom scheduled to come help me. Now I'm going to spend the rest of the week trying to figure out how to get my reading centers caught up. But this, my friends, is a good problem to have.

There's not a drop of snow outside, so it's lucky I even bothered to check the news. Eleven and I just stared at the screen when they announced our county was closed. We looked at each other and I said, "Holy Cow! Are you kidding me?" Luckily I brought home my reading book so I can plan next week's literacy centers.

The kids and I are going to drink cocoa and help Grama put up her Christmas tree and just stay inside and be warm today. I was thinking about driving back to Smyrna to see my friends who still have school today, but it's awfully nice and toasty sitting here in my PJs. :-)

To my Rutherford County friends...na, na, na, na na! You ha-aave school.

:-) I'm so mature!

Monday, December 1, 2008

OCD and Me

I had a really great day at work today. In fact, today went so well I 'm sitting here waiting for the other shoe to drop and wondering what's going to go wrong next. And aren't I just a little ray of sunshine?

I spent a lot of time over the Thanksgiving break trying to plan out my literacy centers and get the rotations working smoothly. I've been trying to do this since September, but I've been so bogged down with other paperwork that I haven't been able to do it. I broke down and asked some moms of kids in my class to help me out one day a week with filing, paperwork, copies, bulletin boards, and stuff like that. I've been trying to be SuperTeacher and do everything myself, but it's just not possible. Today I had a mom do all that stuff for me for about two hours, which freed me up to catch up on my reading record-keeping. What a great feeling--being CAUGHT UP!

I have another mom coming tomorrow to work on organizing my class library. I'm separating the Accelerated Reader books from the non-AR books, then dividing then into Reading Levels and genres. Everything is color-coded and neatly labeled into little plastic (also color-coded) baskets. It just makes my little OCD heart go pitter-pat. I can't even express how happy it makes me to gaze at my pretty little bookshelves and see all that tidiness going on.

Yes, I realize there's probably medication I should take for this.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Very Black Friday

I'm sorry, but no stupid freaking Tickle Me Elmo (or whatever the "must have" item is this holiday season) is worth this...

I swear, I hate people.

This is just one more reason why I hate the commercialization of Christmas. It just gives freakin' idiots an excuse to act even more idiotic than they already are.

ARGH!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Wonder if this is how George Lucas started out...

My kids are bored. When they get bored they argue. When they argue Mommy gets frustrated.

In the interest of keeping the peace while Daddy works all weekend, we've made what we hope isn't going to turn out to be a very costly error in judgment...

We handed over our family video camera and let their creativity flow.

They've been working on stop-motion videography for months now, but always with Daddy's supervision. Yesterday Dan wanted to watch football and I just wanted to read (big surprise there, huh?). Dan set up the tripod and showed them how to operate the camera without him. And they've been making movies non-stop ever since. Most of them are goofy, but some are quite creative. They've been using all their action figures, toys, even the dog as characters and doing their own voice-overs, sound effects, and music.

Maybe someday they'll be multi-billionaire film makers and they can take care of their mother in her old age. At their Oscar acceptance speech they'll say, "And we owe it all to our Daddy who taught us how to use a video camera on Thanksgiving weekend while Mommy sat on her butt reading romance novels," and I'll nod and smile while I wipe away my tears of pride.

Hey, it could happen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From Last Year to Now

Last year on the day before Thanksgiving I was sitting around the house with nothing to do so I got the crazy idea that I'd start a blog. Who knew how many changes my life would see in the next year from that inaugural post.

This time last year I was working part-time, had an expired teaching license, and fully relied on my husband's income to get by. We never dreamed at this time last year that I'd be teaching in my hometown again, living with my parents five days a week, and that Dan's company would be closing. Wow. What a difference.

But you know what? The things on my grateful list, those things that really matter, are still with me. I still have the best husband, kids, friends, and family. I'm healthy, I'm happy (despite all the chaos in my life lately), and Easy Mac is still available. :-)

Life is good.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rasta-dog

Lily has always been confined to the kitchen since she was a puppy. Usually she's okay with it, but sometimes she stands at the gate and whines to be where the people are. Kinda like that song in The Little Mermaid. Since we're pretty sick of climbing over the gate whenever we enter the kitchen, our plan was to buy a house with a fenced backyard and relocate her permanently outside when we moved to our new house. Yeah, like we're ever getting a new house.

Then plans changed when we moved into Mom and Dad's house for part of the week. During August through most of October, Lily lived out on the fenced-in patio. Izzy, Mom's Pomeranian, came out to play with Lily sometimes during the day but then went inside at night. Lily was lonely, but since she's so big (not to mention a wee bit smelly) she needed to stay outside. Of course, we didn't know that Mom was sneaking Lily inside the house during the day when no one was home.

Because, even though Lily is huge and my parents have never really liked big dogs, they've developed a soft spot for my big, sweet puppy. Mom, who thinks dogs are just people with fur, decided that Lily would be an indoor dog the first time temperatures dropped below 40 degrees. Lily LOVES being a couch dog now. She sprawls out, full-length, on the couch and snores like crazy.

Naturally when we came home this weekend I had to let her come upstairs with us. Dan's still not wild about the idea, but Lily is loving it. Take a look at some of the pictures Eleven took of her last night when she was maxin' and relaxin' with her peeps...


Friday, November 14, 2008

Corndogs?

Eleven just let loose a truly disgusting, rafter-shattering, floor-board-reverberating belch in the other room. Then I heard him say to his brother, "Why did my burp just taste like corndogs? I've never even eaten a corndog."

In addition to the EUW factor this comment created, it poses a question: how would he recognize the taste of corndogs if he's never eaten one?

My kids are so weird.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How to Show Your House

If you take if off the market they will come.

Can somebody tell me why things happen like this? All random and when you least expect it and stuff?

My husband called today to tell our realtor to take our house off the market. What's the point in trying to sell it when Dan won't have a paycheck in a couple of months? We can't buy a new house based on my salary alone and, anyway, who knows where we'll be living this time next year. So we decided to take it off the market and not even bother trying to sell it until we know where Dan will be working.

So, of course, we got a call from the appointment center saying that someone wanted to see our house today. Naturally. We've had exactly ONE showing in almost six months, so of course we'd get a call AFTER we decide to pull the listing off the MLS. What's really funny is that Dan had just put some brownies in the oven so the house smelled great, which would be freakin' fabulous if we, you know, still cared about selling the place and all.

Excuse me for just a moment please.....ARGH!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Competitive much?

You might not know this about me, but I have a fairly healthy competitive streak.

**Somebody sound the understatement alarm!!**

Most of the time this is a good thing because it keeps me on my toes and motivates me to do my best in most things. But every once in a while it rears its ugly head in ways that are totally inappropriate and yet hilarious in their inappropriateness. Yes so, that is TOO a word.

Take, for example, the canned food drive at school last month. I'm all about helping the poor and downtrodden, the less fortunate, the needy, the underprivileged among us. But when they announced that the class which donated the most cans for Second Harvest would win a prize, you better believe I was raiding the pantry and giving my students tickets for each can they brought in. What was the prize, you might ask? I don't even know. I just heard that there WAS a prize, and I knew I had to win it.

Of course, I didn't . That darn Mrs. Sanders won it because her class wins everything and I want to BE her when I grow up. She totally rocks.

Yes, I realize how sad and pathetic that makes me sound. That's why I'm blogging about it. The first step to healing is admitting that you have a problem, right?

I'm collecting all kinds of things for my classroom with the passion and fervor of a religious zealot, in hopes of winning some kind of contest for my class: Box Tops for Education, Campbell's Soup Labels, pull tabs from Coke cans...you name it and I'm pimping for it. This week at school we're having a newspaper drive and I'm sitting here scheming ways to get more newspapers. I emailed my best friend to see if I could send my husband to collect her papers and old phone books to add to my class's stack. Because that's just how desperate I've become in my need for my class to win something.

Anything. I just want to hear my class's name over the intercom and smell the sweet smell of success for a tiny little while. Is that too much to ask?

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to finish my report cards. Because I want to be the first one in my grade group to have them done.

Oh snap, I really need a twelve step program, don't I?

***Updated to add: My class came in third place in the newspaper contest, so it was announced on the intercom. My sweet husband drove across town to bring me a stack of newspapers and phone books, but he got there after the final inches had been counted. Not that it would've made any difference...the first and second place classes were DOUBLE my inches of newspapers. Sigh. I'm never going to win anything. Wait, there's always the Campbell's soup labels contest...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Slumber Party

My baby, who is now Eight, had some friends over to spend the night last night for his birthday. Luckily his buddies are as sweet as he is. We ate pizza and cookies, they played video games, watched cartoons, wrecked the bedrooms, cleaned everything up, and had a great time. We spread the futon mattress and the Aerobed out on the bonus room floor and let them all crash together. It was a quartet of little boy snores. So cute.

The really interesting part was getting everybody ready for church this morning. I lined them up single file, wet my hands, and tried to get their hair to lay down flat. I ended up only taking two boys with me (one got picked up before church and my oldest son decided to stay home with his dad) but they looked so handsome! If I ever make it to the store with my phone's memory card, I'll get the pictures posted. Yeah, I'm not holding my breath either.

After lunch we went to Target to help Eight spend his gift cards. As we were walking into the store I said to him, "Come here and let's see if I can still carry you now that you're eight-years-old." And I could. I scooped him up and carried him all the way into the store, only putting him down when I had to.

Just because I still could.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Seven is Now EIGHT!

What the @#% just happened? I turned around for five minutes and my wee little baby, the last baby in this family, my sweet little blond-haired, blue-eyed miracle baby went and turned himself into a tall, strapping eight-year-old. I did not give permission for that.

What happened to the little baby who cried every time we tried to strap him in the stroller and walk around the block for more than fifteen minutes because he wasn't being held? What happened to the defiant toddler who looked at his daddy and said, (hands on hips) "You not my pawent. I not you child." Where is the two-year-old who potty-trained himself and said, "I not wear dose yucky diapers. I a big boy." And what about that three year old who used to follow his brother around and call him "Beebubby?"

Then there was the four-year-old with the bowl cut. The kid who had the lead in the preschool play who said all his lines LIVE when the other kids' parts were prerecorded. What happened to that five-year-old who went off to the first day of kindergarten and said, "It's okay Mommy. Even though I'm in kindergarten now, I'll always be your baby," when I cried. And remember the six-year-old who started first grade and said, "You don't have to walk me to class on the first day, Mom. I know what I'm doing."

Now he's a second grader at a brand new school. He forgot his lunchbox the other day and he didn't cry or call Grama to bring it to him. He just decided to man up and eat the school lunch--chicken fajitas! He's brave enough to sing in front of a crowd, but he's still afraid of the dark. He would spend every moment of his life working on some kind of craft if we let him. His grades and conduct are awesome and every teacher loves him. He's grown about ten feet taller in the last six months, but he still sucks up and uses a baby voice when he wants something.

Or when he senses that his mommy is just not quite ready to let him be a big kid. Sigh. It's inevitable...he's growing up right before my very eyes.

I can't wait to see how he turns out. Wait, yes I can.

Oh yes I can.

Because he'll still be my baby, no matter how old he is. He promised.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Piper for President?

No matter who wins the election, and at this point I think it's a foregone conclusion, I have to post my favorite moment from the entire campaign process.

I don't care what your political beliefs are, that's just really stinkin' cute. I really wanted to write in that kid for office. She's spunky.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Few Pix

I can't post the pictures from Halloween because they're in my camera at home and I'm at Mom's.

But I can post a couple of pictures from last week's dress-up days at school. It was Red Ribbon Week for the Just Say No club, so we dressed up each day to speak out against drugs. Monday we dressed all in red, Tuesday was mis-matched day, and Wednesday was jammies day. I was wearing my Eleven, stop talking and look at the @#$% camera face.Thursday we wore silly hats and I wish we had a picture of it because some friends at school asked me if I was confused and thought it was Dress up Like a Pimp Day. Yeah, I looked that good in my fuzzy pink vest, my pink cowgirl hat with black and white hatband, and my black, pink, and white boa. H-O-T, lemme tell you.
Friday we dressed as what we want to be when we grow up. Mom only took pictures on those two days because she couldn't catch all three of us being still at the same time.

I want to be a Cleveland Indians baseball player and the boys want to be crytozoologists. You mean, you don't know what that is? Yeah, neither did most of the kids at their school, so they had to explain their costumes all day. A cryptozoologist is a scientist who studies evidence that suggests that there may be a living animal that is not yet recognized by science--like Sasquatch, Yeti, the Loch Ness monster, etc. My kids are obsessed with cryptids and can name some kinds you've never heard of in your life. It's crazy.

Anyway, here's the picture...


We had a good time, but my feet were ACHING after wearing my cleats all day. Ugh. Then we drove home to Smyrna to trick-or-treat with our best friends, the Gaffords. Too much Fun!
More pictures soon, including Hannah's favorite pumpkin.




Monday, October 27, 2008

Doggie Heaven

My dog is thrilled that the weather turned cold tonight. Not because she enjoys the cold, but because she has become the most spoiled rotten dog on the planet. Well, next to Izzy. Mom let Lily come in the house where the people are and she is loving it. Lily, that is, not Mom.

Lily is sprawled out, full-length, on Mom's love seat, snoring for all she's worth, taking up every inch of the couch. It's doggie heaven.

I was grading papers and she actually stretched out and put her giant head right in my lap. On top of the papers and everything.

We may never get her to go back outside again.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion

I wasn't going to do this, but I needed a little extra props.

If you can't handle shameless self-promotion, you might want to skip the rest of the blog and go make yourself a snack. Grace, Mom, and Dan, this means you. You've already been exposed to this shameless brag and shouldn't have to suffer through it again.

If you love that kind of thing (shameless bragging, that is), then brace yourself. I had my post-observation reflection Friday. This is when my boss sits down with me to discuss the lesson she watched me teach the week before and tell me how she thinks it went. Then I have a chance to agree with her or defend my choices or weep copiously or whatever.

I don't want to brag or anything (sure I do) but I will say that the words, "awesome job" were used. And not by me. I didn't sit there and say, "Wow, you did an awesome job observing me teach that day," just so I could come on here and say that the words "awesome job" were used and make you think she said them to me. Because, she really did, honest.

SWEETT! Yay, me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Get Out the Vote

I exercised my right to vote this morning, much to the chagrin of my youngest child.

Dan told Seven that we were going to vote today and Seven immediately started whining that he didn't want to go vote. We were shocked, since their grandmother has been brainwashing both children about this election since about August (when we moved in with her). We thought Seven would be delighted about casting our ballot for us, so we asked him why he didn't want to vote with us.

He said, "Well, I think that it will take a really long time to vote." Dan explained that, yes, we might have to stand in line for a while, but it was worth it to chose our leader because in some countries the people can't pick who their leader is.

Then Seven said, "But I think it will take a really long time to get to Washington where we have to go to vote."

Being the sensitive mommy that I am, I cracked up laughing at him. Dan politely explained that we don't have to go all the way to Washington D.C. to cast our ballots, but could vote right here in our own town. (While I continued laughing and saying, "That's going in the blog.")

I waited in line for an hour in front of a woman who had no concept of personal space. Or using her indoor voice. Or keeping her political views to herself. She loudly extolled the virtues of her candidate (while bad-mouthing his opponent) to the poor people trapped back there with her. Thank God I'd brought a book so I could ignore her in peace. Well, relative peace. She kept poking me in the back with her purse.
And she was that loud. I was voting for the same candidate she was, but I was so sick of her whiny-butt voice that, by the time I got up to the big red button, I was tempted to vote for the other guy just to spite her.

But I didn't. :-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Kid the Waif

Seven's teacher approached me today and asked, "What's this I hear about Dan losing his job?" I hadn't told her yet, so I assumed Seven said something. His teacher said, "Yeah, I handed out the Scholastic book order catalogs and explained to the kids that the class benefits from their orders because we can get free books for our class library."



A little while later Seven went up to her and said, "I'd really like to help my class get free books, but I don't think I'll get to order anything this time because my daddy is about to lose his job and mommy says we don't have any extra money because we have to save our money to buy food. "



So maybe my speech at Michael's last weekend actually sank in after all!



Oh and apparently he was asking for extra hugs last week at school because his daddy was out of town and he needed some "teacher hugs" to replace the "daddy hugs" that he was missing out on.



Does that kid know how to go for the sympathy factor or what? I can just picture him as one of those doe-eyed, waif-like children in paintings with puppies, kittens, and wittle bunny wabbits.

Can't you?



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Celebrity Scooper

If this whole Dan being out of a job thing lasts for a while, I may have a second career lined up for myself.


Tonight I got to revisit my high school working days. Our school had spirit night at Maggie Moo's as a fundraiser and I was a "Celebrity Scooper" for an hour.


I called upon my experience as a Baskin Robbins babe during my senior year of high school. Unfortunately those muscles haven't been used in twenty-one years and I will be so freakin' sore in the morning.


The place was totally packed with kids, parents, and a disgruntled bovine (an employee who clearly drew the short straw and had to come out in the Miss Maggie Moo costume). I had a great time and was genuinely surprised when my hour was up. The time had flown by!


And to top it all off (Get it? Toppings? Ice cream? I crack myself up!) I got to prepare my own free ice cream after my shift. Can you say espresso bean with Heath bar and caramel? I sure as heck can! YUM!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

She's Got the Whole World In Her Hands

Actually, the whole universe.

Today I'm choosing to do a school project with my kid, stick my head in the sand, and PRETEND that LNT is not liquidating. What? Going out of business sale? La, la, la (fingers in ears)...I can't hear you! I can't hear you!

So today Eleven and I worked on his latest science project for school--a to scale model of the solar system. Because I am just that good at math that I can figure out the distance between planets and convert it to half inches. Oh yes. I am.

We took a little road trip down to Michael's craft store to buy a solar system kit. I managed to corral my children into the kids' crafts section and left with ONLY the kit I went to get--a minor miracle in itself. Seven, my crafty little fellow, wanted every craft item known to, well, the universe we were about to create. I threatened them with starvation if they asked me for one more thing because Daddy's about to lose his job and I won't be able to keep feeding you if I spend $3.99 for a plastic squid and I don't care if you want to show your teacher how smart you are by building a saltwater ecosystem!!!

Ahem. Inserting head firmly back in sand now.

Ah, that's better.

We ran into Marian and her family at the store and she gave me a great, big, sympathetic hug. I can't imagine why. No bad news here, right? Right?

Anyway, we spent the afternoon painting planets because, naturally, we couldn't buy the already painted planet kit. That wouldn't be any fun at all. Besides, Pluto was pink, which Eleven declared "just wrong on so many levels." Is he my kid or what? He also said that it's not an actual planet, but a dwarf planet, which made me feel really old. Do you guys remember when we were in school and there were nine planets, no dwarf planets, and nobody had ever heard of Ceres and Eris? Which are, by the way, NOT included in the kit. Just so you know.

Eleven had verrry specific ideas about the stripes, swirls, and splotches he wanted to paint on his planets. Thank goodness we have the workshop so I can spread them out to dry without the dog eating them.

I drove my children crazy by singing the above song every single time I picked up a Styrofoam ball to poke it through a toothpick to dry. Hey, I've gotta take my fun where I can find it. It's my prerogative as a mother to make every attempt to annoy them a fraction of the amount that they annoy me.

Now I'm going to annoy them by cooking vegetables for their dinner. Heh, heh, heh. I'm pure evil. Maybe I'll sing that song again...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

LNT goes bye bye

Well, it's official so I can announce it now...



Linens N Things is liquidating.



Yep, this sucks. Looks like my sweet, darling husband will be looking for a new job after Christmas. After ten years with the company, he's going to be out of work.

Anybody else wanna gripe about the economy? Leave me a comment. I'll be crawling under the covers, curling into the fetal position and sucking my thumb, so it may be a while before I get back to you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

House Viewing, finally

I never thought it would happen, but someone actually made an appointment to come see our house. I know, right?

Of course, since we'd all but given up hope after four and a half months on the market, the house was not at all clean. Our realtor called and said, "There's an agent in your neighborhood who has a client who wants to see your house." I said, "In our neighborhood? How much time do we have?" and he replied, "Well, they should be pulling in your driveway any minute." So I said, "Well, crap! Thanks for the advance notice," and hung up. Dainty, aren't I?

Then I yelled upstairs to the boys, "Code red! Code red! Someone's coming to see the house. Let's move, move move, people." They were involved in some kind of elaborate action figure game, so they were deeply reluctant to break it down and put their toys away. When I threatened instant and painful death, they complied. I scrambled around shoving things into cabinets and making beds (hey--it was Saturday!) and praying that the lovely realtor ran into some unforseen traffic in our little suburban enclave.

No such luck. They pulled into the driveway about two minutes after I hung up the phone. I strapped the dog's leash on her, shoved the kids out the back door, and walked over to Grace's house, where we stood in their driveway watching people go through our house. They were from out of town and were on a house-hunting blitz, trying to see as many properties as they could in one weekend. Maybe that was the reason they only stayed at our house for five minutes. Yeah, right. I'm sure they loved the place but they were just in a big hurry. Right.

At this point I don't really care if it sells or not. Dan even said we should just take it off the market with the economy being what it is. Our future is uncertain for reasons I will wait until after Tuesday to divulge. I'm just glad that we finally had someone come through the stupid house. I'd rather they had come through during the summer when I actually cleaned it every stinking day, but whatever.

Hakuna matata. No worries.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tender Moment

My youngest child is almost eight years old, which just defies the laws of nature. He's my BABY! A couple of days ago I tried to lift him up for a hug and found that I couldn't...unless he jumped first.

I scooped him up to sit on the kitchen counter for a hug because he's too heavy to hold for a long time. I wrapped both arms around him and tucked his head under my chin, where it still fits perfectly. I rubbed and patted his back as I told him how I used to hold him just like that when he was a baby. I said, "I used to pat your little baby back after you finished eating so I could burp you."

And then the little darling let out a belch to rival any redneck in a biker bar after about six beers and dissolved into hysterical giggles.

I said, while trying not to laugh, "Well, at least it didn't come out the other way."

When I felt his stomach muscles clenching and unclenching against mine I pushed him away and told him lovingly, "If you toot on me, you're dead meat, mister."

More hysterical giggles followed.

I'm so glad we had that tender moment together.


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Science of Eating Jellybeans

I'm not much of a candy eater unless it's chocolate. Fruit-flavored candy? Eh, no thanks. Maybe an occasional sour apple Jolly Rancher, but only if there are no candy bars available.

But Friday I was at K-Mart with the kiddos (on a desperate search for the Sith Legacy collection) and I saw two things that I suddenly wanted with a desperation almost equal to Eleven's longing for plastic villians:

1) gourmet jelly beans

2) chocolate Skittles (which seemed like a really bad idea, but were actually not bad--especially since I usually avoid all things Skittle-related).

Now I don't eat jelly beans very often, but when I do I tend to select the fruit-flavored Jelly Belly brand beans. Yes, I am a candy snob, thanks for asking,but not as bad as my college roommate. We used to drive an hour to the mall in Jackson, TN so that Susan could buy two pounds of chocolate pudding Jelly Belly beans. I never got that crazy about it, but I do enjoy a bag every once in a while. This was a mixed bag of jelly beans and it was not Jelly Belly brand, so it already had two strikes against it going in.

But here's the thing with me and jelly beans--I have to be able to devote some time to the snacking. I have to pour out the bag and separate the colors. I can't stand to mix the flavors because there are some jelly beans which are just plain wrong and, quite frankly, should never have been created in the first place.

Case in point: popcorn jelly beans. WTF? That's just nasty and wrong. Black licorice? Euw! Jalapeno? Cantaloupe? Tutti Frutti? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The coffee jelly beans are great, but should never, under any circumstances, be allowed to mix with the peach or kiwi jelly beans. Ditto caramel with tangerine.

Some flavors are fine to be mixed together and, in fact, mixing might even enhance the jelly bean experience by mixing. For instance, coconut plus pineapple equals pina colada. A candy that tastes like a drink with an umbrella? Sign me up. In fact, on some bags of Jelly Belly beans there are cute little recipes like:

2 very cherry + 1 chocolate pudding= chocolate covered cherry.

The problem is, that's a little too close to math for my taste. I mean, if I'm going to that much trouble I might as well cook.

So, I have to be able to spread the beans out and sort them by color. Because one bean is just not big enough to fully appreciate the taste. And, anyway, who has the time or patience to eat One Bean At a Time? But if you scoop up a handful of beans randomly from the bag and pop them in your mouth, you're mixing flavors and could end up with some ghastly combingations, like grape with vanilla--both of which are wonderful alone but should not be allowed to occupy space on my tongue at the same time. So, I completely sort the colors and then scarf back three or four of the same color at a time to fully appreciate the flavor experience.

Yes, I realize this means I'm nuts. Yes, it's perfectly fine to call me anal-retentive, as long as you remember to hyphenate it.

And then pass the Jelly Bellies. As long as you sort them first. I should be a rock star so that some loser would get paid to sort my beans for me backstage. :-)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Report Card brag

The kids got their report cards on Monday and I totally forgot to blog about them. That's me--Mother of the Year for the eleventh consecutive year. They're thinking of retiring my crown.

Anyway, Eleven made straight As with no marks for conduct. He's a super-awesome brainiac AND a well-behaved role model for his classmates. Yes, we're talking about MY child. My oldest child, believe it or not. He earned the top honor in his class for behavior last week--the Golden Key--so he had his picture taken for the bulletin board at the school's entrance. Oh, and he was selected to be in the choir. Seven really wants to be in choir too but, unlike their old school, choir is only available for fifth grade and a few select fourth graders.

Seven made all As and Ss. This county doesn't do A, B, C grades for Reading, which is different than what we're used to. They just do an S for Satisfactory. He also had no marks for conduct. In fact, his teacher asked me, "Have you EVER had to discipline this child?"

They're both doing great in their new school. We're so proud of both of them.

***Updated 10-6-08 to add that Seven won the Golden Key for this class for this week. Please note that this is the first time in recorded history that the older brother won a conduct award BEFORE the little brother. Oh, and Eleven has not pulled a clip or moved a card or whatever the heck it is that they do ALL YEAR so far. YAY! Seven had one day when he wasn't "on blue," but that's because his group was being loud (but he insists he was NOT talking).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Liquid Dinner

Tonight my friend Christy and I had our dinners through a straw. Sort of.

We dined at Macaroni Grill tonight, where Christy chose a lovely green gruel. I actually took a picture of the soup, but I don't know how to get it from my phone to Mom's computer. Maybe this weekend. Mine was a margarita that cost more than my meal. Both were worth it.

I love my friends--Christy, Shelly, and Marian--who drove halfway across town to meet me for dinner because I miss them so much. I have the best friends in the world.

Due to a "temporary medical condition," Christy needed her soup to be pureed. I suggested the server just pop open a jar of Gerber's for her, but he declined. Although he did say, "Enjoy your porridge," when he put her bowl on the table. I love a waiter who can serve your meal with a side of snark.

The best reaction was from the little boy at the booth next to ours. On his way back from a visit to the restroom, he hung around our table to examine our dining selections. He stopped dead in his tracks and did a double-take when he saw Christy's bowl. He looked at the soup, looked at her face, then looked back at the soup and went, "EEEUUWW!" before returning to his own table. Best laugh I've had in a while!

Thanks for driving over to cheer me up, girls. I love you and miss you all so much. Marian, I had fun coloring on the table with you and showing off our writing upside down skills. Shelly (aka Marathon Mama) you look awesome. Christy, hope you feel better soon. Have fun on fall break next week. Oh and when you get back to school, be careful not to park in anyone's "special" parking space.

Hee hee.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Prayers for Teachers

Do you have a child?

Does that child go to school?

If yes, that child has at least one teacher.

Pray for her (or him). Right now. Go ahead. We'll wait for you.

Now go do it again. They need it.

This is the hardest job I've ever had. It's 11:18 and I've been working non-stop since dinner. I only spent about three hours today NOT working on stuff for school. During those three hours I showered, got ready (it was picture day today so I took an extra five minutes), ate, drove, took care of my kids and dog, and folded laundry. That's it. The entire rest of the day was WORK.

Pray for teachers. Please. Especially if they teach fourth grade.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Official: I've Become My Mother

It all started when I dismissed some policy I didn't agree with by saying, "Well, that's just stupid." Dan called me on it immediately, since that's one of Mom's famous catch phrases.

Then, fast forward to Friday night at the birthday bash. Mom and I were both talking about the quality of the pizza. We bought the "3 medium for $15" deal and were disappointed with the results. They use a different crust to be able to sell it for that price.

Mom and I looked at each other and said,
(in unison, in stereo, completely in sync with each other without even trying),"I like the Pan Pizza better."

We laughed at our "Jinx, buy me a Coke," moment and then made it worse by adding (also in stereo), "Because it's greasier." We even made the exact same hand gesture to indicate the greasiness of the pie. Let me tell you, it was an eerie moment for both of us.

This morning it really hit home how much I'm turning into my mom. For the first two weeks we stayed at Mom's house, I kept missing the trash can when I'd throw something away in the bathroom because Mom's waste basket is to the right of the toilet. At home we keep the trash can to the left of the toilet. Today, at my own house, I dropped a tissue on the floor. To the right of the toilet. Missing the waste basket entirely.

AAAAHHHHHH! I've become brainwashed.

But, since my Mom is one of the best people I know, that's not entirely a bad thing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Boy Party

Tonight Grama was kind enough to let Ten, pardon me, Eleven, invite a couple of his new friends over to her house to celebrate his birthday with him.

Digression #1: If you ever invite S over to your house, do NOT let him eat hot dogs first. Dear Lord in Heaven, that child can fart. At least Mom won't need to buy any roach killer for the next few weeks. S took care of the fumigating for her.

They sprayed each other with insect repellent and explored the woods. J found a whip and tried to swing from a branch รก la Indiana Jones. They picked berries and grass and added creek water to make "secret magic potions" in little jars. They swung in the hammock as if it were some kind of challenge course on Wipeout and tried to get each other to fall off the side. They talked too loud, ran through the house like bulls in a china shop, and generally wreaked havoc wherever they went.

You know...little boy stuff.

So here we were with a stack of pizzas and a house full of sweaty little testosterone-laden fart machines.

Digression #2: Pizza has the same effect on S as hot dogs.

Digression #3: Pizza also has that effect on my dog when little boys and their Grama feed her pizza. Trust me on this.

It was time for Eleven to open his presents and Mom suggested that perhaps she should open them and keep them for herself.

Eleven said, "No way, Grama. You're too old."

We all laughed and reacted with varying degrees of "Oh no he di'int!"

Then Eleven dug the grave a little deeper and said, "Well, I guess you could have a present, but only if it was something like a cushion."

At this point we're not sure if he'll make to to be Twelve.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Too Quiet

If only I could speak freely on my own blog about my own life. Not politics--I don't want to shock anyone else with my rampant conservative views. :-)

No, I'm talking about my job. Or NOT talking actually.

Oh, the things I would say if only I could. I'm dying to go off on a full-blown rant, but I can't say anything. Since this blog address is my own name (why did I do that anyway?) my tongue has to remain tied. Too many people who shouldn't know what I really think might stumble on this and I'd be toast. I can't come here when I have a bad day and tell you all about it. Those of you who know me IRL know that silence is not my thing, so you know how much this is killing me.

But just know that...if I could talk? There would be blisters all over your screen right now.

Seriously.

Grrr...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wii Are the Champions

If downhill human avalanche was an Olymic sport, I'd be a gold medalist. Bonus points for each broken bone? I'd have two dozen.

Dan and the boys and I went to our dear friends' house Saturday night to play with their Wii system. Oh. My. Gosh. We must have one. Soon. I've never had so much fun feeling completely awkward and making a total fool of myself.

I'm pretty sure I pulled an abdominal muscle laughing my you-know-what off watching Dan get pummeled by panda heads in the soccer game. I tried it too, but I couldn't stop laughing long enough to concentrate on the cleats and panda heads hitting me in the face.

We had a cut-throat game of bowling, too. Due to a career-ending bug in the eye injury, I came in last place, but it was a respectable showing. Grace and Brian were kicking our booties, but a good time was had by all.

We even let the kids play a few games. Because we're givers.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Eleven

To my ELEVEN-year-old:

I cannot believe you're eleven years old. It seems like just ten minutes ago that you were trying your level best to make sure that I never slept for more than ten minutes at a time. Ever. That's not really an exaggeration. When you were a baby, I drove and drove and drove around town because the only time you ever slept was in a moving vehicle. I even took a nap in the Kroger parking lot once. You logged a lot of frequent flier miles sleeping in your swing next to the couch so I could catch a few Zs.

I spent the first three years of your life wandering around in a sleepy fog. I enrolled you in Mother's Day Out when you were two, just so I could get a nap. You'd wake up at 5:00 every morning, raring to go. Then I'd put you in the car to drive to MDO (which started at 9:00) and you'd fall asleep in the car on the way there. I'd turn around and drive back home, figuring that you'd have a really bad day if I woke you up to go to school, only to have you wake up on the transfer from the car seat to the house. You'd be ready to party and I'd be yawning my head off. Then I'd turn around and drive back to school to drop your butt off.

I finally got to the point where you'd fall asleep in the car and I'd pull into the garage, leave you asleep in the car, and leave the door to the house open so I'd hear you when you woke up. Which you always did--way too soon.

Now that you're eleven, you still avoid sleep whenever possible. You hit the ground running first thing in the morning and keep going until you fall down late into the evening. Daddy and I call you the Energizer Bunny. It's often exhausting to spend time with you, but we're insanely jealous of your energy level.

You're one of the smartest, sweetest, funniest, most talented and kind-hearted kids I know and I'm so proud to call you my son.

Happy Birthday, Eleven.

Politics, Schmolitics: let's talk about shoes

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a couple of days. My mouse is broken and that makes it very hard to use my computer. I'm going to Target to get a new one later because I can't write lesson plans without a mouse.

Wow, who knew that my lil ol' blog could launch such vitriol? Hee hee. Honestly, I hate election years. I hate negative ads. I hate most politicians because, if you're in a position to run for a national office, there have to be more than a few skeletions in your closet and greased palms in your past because that's how people get to the national level. There's not an honest politician out there anywhere, so I end up picking the lesser of two evils in every election. Every time. I hate the whole mess. Plus Dan and Mom are hogging the TV to watch this stuff when I'd rather just watch decorating shows on HGTV. Deep as a parking lot puddle, that's me.

Hey, if you're looking for deep, philosophical, political debate then, sadly, you've come to the wrong place. Usually I just talk about shoes, desserts, kids, dogs, and fart jokes. But every once in a while something will set me off (cough, Heather Mallick, cough) and I'll have to talk about it. Not in an MSNBC/Fox News sort of way, but more of an online journal these are my opinions and they're not worth crap to anyone but me kind of way. If we want to get down and dirty and debate, that's fine too, but be brave enough to leave your name instead of an anonymous comment. I'm 99% certain that anyone commenting on this blog is a friend of mine, (otherwise why would you be here?) so I won't attack the anonymous person. I think I know who it is and I love her, no matter which political party she sides with. I'll just say: if you're going to put your big girl opinion out there, attach your name to it. Love you. Bless your heart.

More later when I'm not mouse-impaired.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tiny Political Rant

Just a few thoughts for a Thursday night:

My vice presidential candidate is hotter than your VP.


(So I guess you know I'm not talking about Joe Biden. )

Heather Mallick is a big old skanky 'ho. She should have her press card shredded and stuffed down her big fat throat. She's a pig who should keep her very biased and partisan opinion to her skanky 'ho self. At least she doesn't generalize an entire state as "a bunch of drunks and crazy people." Oh, no wait. She did. Stupid tramp.

Sarah Palin is Tina Fey's long lost twin. Only Palin's a tiny bit feistier.

Hey, Martha Stewart! Her name is Sarah, not Sharon. Duh.

Okay, I'm done now. For the moment, anyway. The last time we had an election this crazy I was pregnant.

I heart Sarah and John.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Update

I just wanted to let you guys know that my observation yesterday went really well. I met with the lady today for a "post-observation reflection." She identified the same "areas to strengthen" that I did and told me that I did a good job. She said that I'd planned very well and had a good raport with my students. It was very casual and I wasn't nervous at all--thank goodness.

Mom is still recovering well. She goes back to the doctor tomorrow to see if she's doing as well as we think she is. She's doing too much, as usual, but most of that is my fault since I was crazy busy with my evaluation this week.

We're gearing up for Ten's birthday next Monday. I can't believe I'm going to have to start calling him Eleven. ARGH. Wasn't he just born about ten minutes ago?

I just bought a pair of Levi's on sale at Ross for $7.50 in a size that I shouldn't be able to wear anymore after the way my Mommy is taking care of me. :-) I'm going to be a four hundred pound alcoholic with an ulcer by the end of this school year. But at least Mom feeds me cake. And wine.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quick Prayer Request

Seven is feeling better now--thanks for asking about my baby. Mom is doing pretty well. She's been cleared to drive for short distances, but she's supposed to continue to stay off her feet as much as possible. Ten wants to stop taking his meds, so we'll see how that goes. Pray for his teachers.

I'm going to have my first observation in twelve years this Tuesday. YIKES! If I had any memory of what I'm supposed to do, it's buried under piles of papers that are waiting to be graded. I have a ton of paperwork to do before then, so I'd better get back to work.



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bleeding Money

Okay, I'm still supporting the medical community this week but, quite frankly, I'm tired of it.

Seven took his last dose of antibiotic yesterday at breakfast, so naturally he got sick again that very day.

Seven came down to my room near the end of the day with a clinic slip. He was very warm and sort of out of it. His teacher sent him to the clinic but he got confused and came to my room instead. He was practically delirious.

I took Ten to Grama's house and drove Seven to, you guessed it, the Minute Clinic. The nurse there said they couldn't treat him, that we'd have to go to a full-fledged doctor because he had a fever, bad headache, and had just finished a round of meds. So we got back in the car and drove to an urgent care clinic. By then he was delirious, shivering, and moaning with pain. Poor baby.

They did a strep test and it came back negative, but the doctor said it would've been negative anyway, even if he had strep, since he's on antibiotics. Duh--why did they do the test? The doc said, " His throat looks like strep and he's acting like he has strep, so we're going to treat it like strep." His sinuses were still infected so he would've gotten antibiotics with or without a positive strep test.

Once his ibuprofen and first dose of antibiotics kicked in (within a couple of hours) he was acting more like himself again. Of course, he couldn't go to school today but luckily Dan had the day off. So did Dan stay with him? No, Seven wanted to stay home to "help" take care of Grama.

Oh, in the last week we've also taken Dan's car to the shop for new struts, put new tires on it, and fixed something minor that was wrong with my car.It was convenient to borrow Mom's truck since she can't drive yet, but I'm going broke here! I can't wait to get my first paycheck next week! Thanks, Grace and Brian, for taking Dan to pick up my car and getting my mail, and moving my trash can, and all the other awesome things you do for us.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Supporting the Medical Community

If you were worried about the healthcare providers in Tennessee going out of business, don't. My family has done our part this week to keep all the doctors in filet mignon and caviar. Seven went to the doctor (Minute Clinic--still loving them) once, Ten went twice, Mom had surgery on her foot, and I think I have an ear infection which will send me there some time this week. Yep, we're a very healthy bunch.

Ten developed a fever blister after being sick last weekend. Apparently he touched his mouth and then rubbed his eye because he spread the virus all over his eye. It was nasty. Naturally the Minute Clinic doesn't treat that (but I still heart them anyway) and we don't have a new doctor up here yet, so Dan had to take the day off work Tuesday to drive Ten all the way back to Smyrna to see his regular doctor. He missed a day of school but made up all the work by the next day. He's lost five pounds in the last month because he's been back on his ADHD patch since school started and the doctor is worried about that. So now we're trying to cram him full of food every chance we get.

Dan also took the day off work Thursday to take care of my mother after her foot surgery. Is he a great son-in-law or what? Mom is doing pretty well, considering what a mess her foot was in. They replaced the knuckle in her big toe, straightened the next two toes, and removed a bone spur that had turned into a bunion. She can't drive for at least a week (probably more like two or three) and she's bored out of her mind, but doing okay. (I think my sister-in-law and I will probably end up with some new knit scarves and jewelry out of this because Mom needs to keep her hands busy.) She didn't get violently ill after anesthesia like she usually does, so we were grateful. Especially Dan.

We talked to another realtor about listing our house with him. We're going to have to drop our price significantly, which has us pretty bummed out. It limits the amount we'll be able to spend on another house up here, where houses are more expensive. We have a huge list of things to do to the house this week to get it ready for the market. Again. Argh.

I miss my friends in Smyrna. Hi guys. :-(

Sunday, August 31, 2008

LABOR day

I found this over at Shannon's blog, Rocks in My Dryer, and it made me laugh. Any time you get a bunch of moms together for any length of time the conversation invariably turns to the topic How I Gave Birth. So now we can share it with all of the blogosphere.

How long were your labors?

Kid #1, 26 hours. He still takes forever to get ready to go somewhere.


Kid #2, about six hours, I think. Honestly, it was all a blur of pain and my then three year old singing the theme song from Zoboomafoo at the top of his lungs from his car seat while Dan drove through a rainy construction zone at midnight to get me to the hospital.

How did you know you were in labor?

Kid #1, I was induced because I was suffering from HELLP syndrome. Then my water broke in the hospital bed in the middle of the night.


Kid #2, Horrible pain which started while shopping for groceries at Kroger. No one told me it would feel like I was extremely constipated. I didn't know I was in labor--I just thought I needed more fiber.

Where did you deliver?

Kid #1, Centennial Women's Hospital. Where I didn't have an epidural correctly inserted into my spinal cavity until the very last minute. Then I slept through the delivery. Then I threw up on the operating table. Good times.

Kid #2, Baptist Hospital. They have really good painkillers in post-op. Unfortunately I found out that I was allergic to most of them. Is it any wonder I stopped at two children?


Drugs?

Yes, please. Oh, you mean did I take them then? Heck yeah, sister. They kinda frown on doing a C-section without them. Although I came close with Kid #1.

C-section?

Um, yeah. I'm 5'2" and both my kids were eight and a half pounds. You do the math. Kid #1 refused to come out. He always has been stubborn.

Kid #2 has his father's sense of direction. He was trying to come out sideways. The triage nurse checked me and felt his ribs.

Who delivered?

Doctors. No underwater births with midwives and New Age music for me. I thought that's what I wanted when I was pregnant with Kid #1, but after the first 20 hours of labor I said, "I don't care what you have to do, just get this thing out of me."

The doctor for the first kid was awful. Just awful. She had very rough hands during every examination for the entire pregnancy. When she pulled the screaming little monster out of me she held him aloft over my head, dripping blood on my face. Then she didn't notice when I couldn't get the oxygen mask off my face to throw up because my arms were weighted down with 80 pounds of warm blankets in a failed attempt to keep me from violently shivering during the operation.

The second one was the on-call doctor because it was 1:18 in the morning. I liked her so much I made her my regular doctor after that night. She fixed the horrible scar that the other doctor left behind after the first C-section.


Wow. Is this blog great birth control for women who haven't had kids yet, or what?


Share your Labor Day story if you want. Check out some others at Shannon's blog if you dare. (Insert maniacal laughter here.)

Not an Infomercial, much

Update on the sick kid:

Ten took a TWO HOUR NAP today and woke up with a fever. He didn't want to eat lunch, he just wanted to sit around curled up in a blanket and
shiver and moan about his headache, earache, stuffy and sniffly nose .

You guessed it. We piled in the old Camry and headed back to CVS. I still heart Minute Clinic.

We waited for less than five minutes. Total. You know how when you go to your regular doctor's office you wait in the waiting room for the length of, oh, say the Democratic National Convention (and, dear Lord, that was LONG--not that I watched it or anything, EUW), and then you're finally shown back to the smaller room, the exam room, where you tell all your symptoms and problems and list the meds you're taking to the nurse. Then you wait another short eternity until the doctor finally graces you with his presence and you have to completely repeat everything you already told the nurse. What's the point of that, anyway? Then he goes away to write the prescription and a nurse brings it back to you, as if the All Mighty Doc is far too important to hand you the little piece of paper he scribbled his illegible signature on. Am I bitter? Maybe a little.

Because, at the Minute Clinic, there's none of that hoopla. For the same co-pay that I pay at my doctor's office, I waited less than five minutes before I was shown into the little room by the actual person who would be giving my kid the drugs to make him better. I didn't have to repeat anything. She didn't have to go away to write the scrip, but looked it up on the computer right there in front of me. Then I walked ten feet to the pharmacy counter and picked up his meds. Could that possibly be easier?

I realize that there's a time and place for seeing your regular doctor. In fact, my doctor used to be the Main Head Honcho Guy over that location of Minute Clinic. (In fact, I'm pretty sure that was the title printed on his ID card. MHHG for short.) If illnesses keep occurring then the patient's condition needs to be addressed more agressively. If there's a more serious illness then you need to see your regular doc. But a sinus/ear infection on a holiday weekend? Um, yeah. I'm loving the Minute Clinic so much right now.

Now, I do not own stock in CVS or Minute Clinic. But I kinda wish I did.

Seven is doing much better today. Now Ten has antibiotics, ear drops, tussin CF, and gallons of Gatorade so he should be on the mend soon too. Oh, and chocolate chip cookies. He's my kid after all and chocolate always makes me feel better.

I Heart Minute Clinic

I survived my first experience with being a Mommy with a full-time job and having a sick kid this week. Thank God for Grama and Minute Clinic!

I was on my way to drop off my class at Art, knowing I had my principal and a parent waiting in the office for a conference, when Seven walked past me down the hall carrying a clinic pass.

"What's wrong," I asked him in a panic, immediately trying to figure out how in the world I was going to handle this situation when Daddy is at work and Grama is busy.

"My head hurts and I have a fever and my nose is stopped up and my throat hurts and I can't stop sneezing," he said. Then he sneezed, as if to prove his point.

I told him to go on to the office and I'd be there in a minute. Then I dropped my class with their art teacher, raced to the office, told the parent who sat waiting for me that I'd be right with her, and dashed into the clinic where my son was now crying. The nurse confirmed that he had a fever so I ran to the secretary's phone to call my mom. I didn't think she'd be able to pick him up because she and Dad were supposed to be setting up for a huge vintage car show the next day. Luckily she was in the car (the regular one, not the vintage truck) about two minutes away when I called so she swooped in to pick up the little guy like an avenging grandma angel. By then he was crying harder and telling the nurse that he was going to have to change schools and he didn't want to because he really liked his new school.

???

Maybe it was the fever talking. Anway, I convinced him that he was not going to change schools, kissed his warm little forehead good-bye knowing that Grama would be arriving soon, and left him in the competent hands of the school nurse. So that I could go talk to another parent about HER child. That was weird.

After school Ten and I went to my mom's house to pack up our stuff to head for our "weekend home." Seven was looking pretty puny (complete with that red mark on his cheek that kids get when they've spent the day wiping their nose) but his fever was down since Grama gave him Tylenol. He was supposed to go to a birthday party, but I told him no since he'd left school sick.

By the time we got back to our own home, his fever was up again. To 100.2, to be exact. I piled the kids in the car to head over to CVS to get some medicine and find out what time their Minute Clinic would be opening the next day. To my joyous surprise they were open until 8:00 pm. We got there at 7:40. YAY! The nurse practitioner agreed that he had a sinus infection and gave us a prescription. His brother asked if he was contagious and she said no. Then she told me to give him Sudafed.

Remember a few months ago when I was sick and the doctor at the doc-in-a-box told me NOT to take my beloved Sudafed, but to take Mucinex instead? Well, this lady looked at me like I was crazy when I told her about that. She rolled her eyes and said, "No, give him Sudafed." Well, oooo-kay then.

So I bought tons of Gatorade and the tissues with lotion and aloe, brought him home and drugged him up with both Mucinex
and Sudafed (and his antibiotic and saline spray and Vick's vaporub on his chest--hey, I'm not taking any chances) and put him to bed Friday night. Saturday, mid-morning, Ten came stumbling downstairs with his thunderous big-boy gait and said, nasally, "I need allergy medicine. I can't breathe and my nose is stopped up and my head hurts and I can't stop sneezing." Then he sneezed on me. Nice.

This morning his ear hurts and he's doing that asthma cough so we may be planning another trip to CVS before too much longer. After Ten wakes up from his nap. That's right,
nap. Which he took all on his own without me even suggesting it. My hyper child chose to sleep, which should give you an idea of how badly he feels right now.

Did I mention that my new insurance kicks in on Monday? Not now, MONDAY! As in, the day
after today? We still have Dan's insurance, thank goodness.

Oh, and just to make things interesting, the dog is sick too. She's thrown up four times this weekend, doesn't want to eat, and won't go potty when I walk her on her leash. And did I mention WHY I have to walk her on a leash in the front yard, even though we have a fenced back yard? Well let me tell you. FLEAS!! We've had a pest control company come out and spray the yard twice in the last month but apparently the fleas think the spray is some kind of growth hormone. At least the kids aren't trying to get out there and play since they don't feel well. You know me--always looking for that silver lining.

Oh, and our real estate contract ends tomorrow. More on that later...