Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Breakfast Conversations

So today at breakfast the kids were discussing whether or not they were going to audition for a role in the grade level spring plays at their school. Seven said he was considering trying out for the part of Humpty Dumpty.

Ten: I wouldn't do that if I were you. There might be a head injury involved there.
Seven: Oh, that's okay. I've been banging my head on stuff for years.
Ten: I worry about you. I do.

Yeah, me too.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Minds in the Gutter

Seven has a loose tooth--one of the top front ones. It's been loose for ages, but doesn't seem to be any closer to coming out. The whole family was gathered at the table before school when the following conversation occurred...

Seven: Hey Mommy, do you want to wiggle my tooth?
Me: No thanks, I'm trying to quit.
Dan (muttering and smirking at me): I've got something you can wiggle.

And I made the mistake of laughing, which just encourages such behavior and makes both kids say, "What? What's so funny?" and I can't explain because, EUW!, so they keep asking, "What's so funny?" over and over again, all the way to school.

Then, my friend over at Susan's board said she had a great recipe for "adult" macaroni and cheese. So I asked her if the noodles were shaped like genitalia.

Dan and I are perfectly matched, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Topical Tuesday 2

In which I give a quick update for the couple of you who actually read this and worry about me and my sanity...

1) Dan went to the utility company today and, big surprise, turns out that we did NOT use more than a million gallons of water last month. So much for that celebrity hot tub party theory. Our bill was only, oh, about four thousand dollars too high. Whew. Now that I don't have to pay that bill, I can keep raising my children in the manner to which they've been accustomed. Yeah, that's right...all Easy Mac, all the time.

2) Still no cure for leprosy, but I'll keep you posted. The bumps on my face have been downgraded from Violent Violet to Cranky Crimson. I'm hoping by tomorrow they will have faded to Pissed-off Pink. Stupid face wax.

Some of you have asked me where I had this done. Actually the exact words used were, "Oh, honey, who did that to you?" (asked with appropriate horror in her voice). Well, I wouldn't want to speak ill of the company, just in case they actually offer to give me a refund, but their initials are Merle Norman.

3) Back still aches. Thanks for noticing. I left a message with my doctor and he's supposed to call be back tomorrow. Stupid air hockey.

4) I'd better go now because the gale-force winds of the thunderstorm we're having are threatening to blow in the windows of this room. Yikes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Not Feeling the Pretty

I almost didn't post this because it's just too embarrassing for words. But then I realized, what is the purpose of this blog, if not to go online to make fun of myself in a public forum in which tens of interpeeps can share myprivate shame? So here goes...

I had a little waxing mishap on Saturday. And before you go getting all excited, the word Brazilian will not be appearing again in this post. Sorry, it was NOT that kind of wax job. Everything was above the shoulders, the way God intended. Or, you know, NOT the way God intended, since he's the one who thought it would be high comedy to give me facial hair in the first place.

I've been getting my brows waxed for a few months now and love it, so I figured, what the heck, I'd go get the hairs violently ripped from my chinny-chin-chin too. Bad idea. Really. Don't go there. I can't recommend it.

Because, you see, I'm now battling a severe case of leprosy.

All I wanted was to have a nice, smooth, hair-free face like a chick is supposed to have. I'm way to young for those hag hairs that some women of a certain age develop on their chins as they approach middle age. Shut up. I am to TOO YOUNG for hag hairs. PPTTTHHH.

It wasn't even all that painful. I mean, duh, it hurt, but I was expecting a bit of pain. No pain, no gain, right? A little ouchie is a price I'm willing to pay for beauty. But now...


Pain I can deal with. But not the horrible red bumps, whiteheads, and scaly skin that I ended up with. That I PAID FOR! Oh no. No one warned me that this could happen. Because I know from the depth, nay the very cockles of my heart that, had they given me the Leprous Lizard Treatment option, I would've said, "No thank you, I'm good."

I really wanted to call in sick today at work, but I didn't think my boss would buy leprosy as a valid reason for a sick day. And, well, I'm out of sick days. And even I am too vain to lose a day of pay to hide my shame. But I styled my hair extra poofy today to draw attention away from my face, and, you know what? The 1980's called and they want their hair back.

What with the leprosy, the big hair, and the excruciating back pain, it really sucked to be me today. Wah!

Internet Insomnia

Why am I still awake and blogging at this time of the night? I mean morning? Well, there are quite a few reasons, actually:

1) The class I finally signed up for is supposed to start tomorrow. Well, today now. I went to check the announcements tonight, just to keep on top of things and make sure I'm ready for tomorrow, being the little over-achiever that am I, right? Well! Turns out I'm not the only one who took a beating with the OCD stick. There are people who have already been chatting about the class on the discussions board. One woman has already TURNED IN A HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT! GAH! Don't these people realize that I'm used to being the teacher's pet? They're taking butt-kissing to a whole new level. Great! Now I'm already falling behind in class on the very first day. And this is an online class. It's not as if I can bring chocolates to suck up or flirt with the teacher for a better grade. Not that I've ever done that or anything.

2) Dan stopped at Wendy's on the way home to bring dinner for everyone because I was helping Ten finish a project that had to be done tonight even though it's not due until Thursday because for the rest of the week I knew I'd be too busy with my own homework to help him with his. (Deep breaths, deep breaths.) So, unlike his mother, HIS work will be turned in early. Grrr. Anyway, Dan brought me a ginormous diet Coke, which I drank after six in the evening so I might as well have just smoked some crack with a speed chaser.

3) I paid the bills and balanced the checkbook tonight, which is insomnia-inducing on any night. But on this all-important night before I return to student life, when all things are supposed to be organized and settled and calm, I got the utility bill from hell. Dan says I have a tendency to, shall we say, embellish when I retell a story. But, oh interpeeps, this is, sadly, not an exaggeration in any way. This is the actual real live amount of our utility bill this month.

Are you ready?


(Give or take a few cents because I'm too lazy to go downstairs and get the bill.
Plus, if I see the amount in black and white the shakes will start again.)

We went from using 6700 pounds last year to 8400 pounds last month to OVER ONE MILLION pounds this month. Yeah, right. Must've been all those pool parties, charity car washes, and lawn watering services I was offering. You know, when it was below freezing outside! I know that Dan will straighten this out tomorrow. I know he will. Because I am not equipped to handle ONE MORE THING right now.

Okay, deep breaths. D-E-E-P breaths.

Yeah, that's not working for me either.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Potty Humor for Boys

Seven brought home his graded papers folder Friday night. One of his papers was an essay he wrote after learning about Martin Luther King, Jr in which he had to answer the following questions:

"What if you could do one thing to make your school even better? What would you do?"
So he wrote (I left his spelling the way it was on the paper):

"I would make a law tha Everyone will be nice to each other. It would help owr school a lot. It is my Dream. And people will shar."

His teacher wrote a smiley face and said, "I like your dream." I was patting myself on the back, having a big Prideful Mommy moment that I'm raising such a conscientious kid and a good little writer. Then I saw what he and his big brother had written on my white board downstairs:

If you can't read it, I'll tell you what it says...

"Look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's an egg salad sandwich! NO! It's The Crimson Crud! And his sidekick Patrick the Pee Brain. "

Then there's a picture of "The Toxic Flusher," complete with a toilet plunger in his hand.

Wow, the pride that is bubbling out of me at this very moment. It kinda (sniff) gets you right there, doesn't it?

On an even more prideful note, my man is DA MAN! Before leaving to put in about nine hours at the mall on a busy Saturday (while I was out getting my brows waxed like the girly girl that I am), he FIXED my garage door opener. Not just a little bit fixed, mind you, but all the way, truly, and wholly, every single part works, fixed! He rocks.

I love me some Fix-It man. And he can write too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I swear it was the Air Hockey

In the Murphy's Law of doctor's appointments, my ear didn't hurt as much when I woke up today, NATCH, because I went ahead and made that appointment yesterday. If I hadn't made the appointment I would be gouging out my ear with a letter opener by now, I'm sure. This is exactly the same phenomenon as when my car magically stops making the funny noise it's been making for months the very second I drive it onto the mechanic's lot. Dan made me keep the appointment (LOVE THAT MAN) when I said I was going to cancel it. I didn't want to pay the co-pay for them to tell me that I have a cold, but Dan said he didn't want me to be miserable all weekend if it started to hurt again five minutes after the doctor's office closed--which is the norm. Plus, my back has been hurting for a month and it was time to get that checked out too.

So I went, thank goodness, because my ear canal is inflamed. The ear drum looks okay, though, so I don't have to try to find an oral antibiotic that I'm not allergic to. I have prescription ear drops which don't seem to be doing much for me yet, but we'll see.

The best part of the appointment was when the doctor said, "So what did you do to your back?" Because see, here's the deal. Remember when we first got the air hockey table and we didn't attach the legs yet--we just sat cross-legged in the floor and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to hit the little pucky thing? Yep, you guessed it.

I torqued my back.

Playing air hockey.

Which no one believes.

When you say you hurt your back playing air hockey you get a "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" response. If Dan and another man are around there is much elbowing, high-fiving and back-slapping. People assume that there was something kinky going on and that "playing air hockey" is what the kids are calling IT these days. Um, sadly, no. It was the hockey.

So I tried to explain to the doctor that it was truly and for realsies an air-hockey induced injury, while blushing and stammering wildly. He laughed. A lot. So I explained the legless table, the s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, the cut-throat competition, etc. He laughed harder--the kind of laugh that makes grown men wipe their eyes. So I said, "I knew I should've just said I was swinging naked from the chandelier," which made him laugh even harder, probably because he treats my husband too.

Long story short, I have problems with my hamstrings and/or my sacroiliac joint for which I have to take an anti inflammatory do lots of exercises which require me to twist into bizarre poses and postures involving my butt being up in the air. So I told the doctor, "Well, great. That's how I got into this mess in the first place."

On my way out he was waving good-bye with one hand and wiping his tears with the other. He called out, "Tell your husband, 'Good job.' I'll never look at air hockey the same way again."

Sheesh. Men.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Excuse me, who put the golf ball in my EAR?

Oh just OUCH. I feel like there's a huge flaming golf ball inside my ear, pressing my ear drum directly into my brain with the force of a Mack truck. (In regular, non-crazy-writer-speech, that means I have an earache.) I feel so bad for every time my kids had an ear infection when they were babies and I didn't know why they were crying because this FREAKIN' hurts!

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, but until then I'm keeping up a steady intake of ibuprofen. I've even done some of the home remedy earache things like: aiming the hair dryer at my ear for 3-5 minutes, heating olive oil and putting a few drops in my ear, using Afrin to clear out my sinuses, using an electric heating pad and a heated rice bag, drinking hot tea, steaming up the bathroom and staying in there until my hair frizzes....all that crazy stuff. I went to Kroger to get some of those homeopathic ear pain drops, the ones with chamomile in them, but I can't use them. They contain sulphur and I'm allergic to sulfates. I checked with the pharmacist and she said don't use them. So what do you interpeeps do for an earache?

But I played through my pain and totally kicked booty on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader tonight. The one with the middle school principal who won $300K. I SO would've had the half a million dollars because I was yelling, "JONATHAN SWIFT," at the TV screen--despite the pain in my ear. I NEED to be on that show! I even got the Mayan civilization question right, mostly because I wasn't gambling my own money. I even got the "not all carrots are orange question" because I knew that carrots come in white, purple, and yellow also.

My brain is chock full of useless information like that--at least until the Mack truck finishes driving through it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Brotherly Love?

Here's a picture of my boys sharing a post-bath cuddle last week while watching "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" Really cute, huh? Yeah, don't get too excited because the cuddles quickly deteriorated into a wrestling match, complete with strange sounds and weird faces. And then there's the one I photographed tonight.

What's a little brother to do when your older brother takes away the Game Boy and won't give it back? Well, first Seven tried some passive-aggressive attention-seeking tactics:

Then he tried to be a little more "in your face" with the pesky little brother thing:
Finally Ten had had enough of the "hey look at me" act and tried to hold him off so he wouldn't lose a life in the game. Ten said I should give this picture the caption, "Kabam!"

Eventually they worked it out and took turns with the game. And no small children were harmed in the making of this blog. But one mommy nearly sprained something falling out of the chair while trying to discreetly stretch to reach the camera.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

Ten loves to make "set-ups." That's what he calls the many, many (Oh So Very Many) elaborately designed and artfully placed arrangements of action figures that he creates each day. Which he NEVER, EVER wants to take down. I can't tell you how many of these beautiful creations I've destroyed with my big feet and my selfish desire to hang up the boys' clean clothes. I know. I should be ashamed.

We were having nightly battles about putting toys away: I want a clean house and uninjured feet. He wants his creations to last forever. So I came up with a brilliant Mommy Compromise, if I do say so myself.

Much like Seven's Craft Obsession, Ten now has his own photo folder of set-up pictures. I taught him how to use the features of my digital camera and how to save the pictures in his own folder.

He spent three hours making sets one day. Then he took pictures of them so that he can write books about what his characters are doing and illustrate the books with his photos.

He didn't mind cleaning up his room that night (well, not much anyway) because he knew that the set-ups he worked so hard to create were saved forever on the hard drive. Not that he LOVES cleaning or anything, but it certainly cut down on the weeping and gnashing we were experiencing at clean-up time every night. And that works for me.

To find out what works for some other bloggers, go check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Totally Topical Tuesday

In Which I Share Five Totally Unrelated Topics and pretend that I stayed on topic:

* You should go over to the American Title contest and vote for my friend, Trish Milburn, because her entry, OUT OF SIGHT, is just that. She's made it to the 4th round and there's a publishing contract at stake vote with as many email addresses as you can.

* I didn't kill anybody ALL DAY LONG, for which I am immensely proud. Especially since I was dealing with university types who can't lower themselves to return phone calls to those of us peons who are trying to register for their classes. But I think I've found a way to circumvent them altogether, which makes me beyond gleeful. Approaching giddiness, even!

* Ten and his daddy were discussing World War II while reading THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS. Ten said, "So, back then PawPaw fought against the Japanese and Ohio Grandpa fought against the Germans, right?" Dan nodded, then he told Ten about Italy and Mussolini. Ten was stunned. He said, "If Italy was our enemy, how come we have so much pizza?"

* I've got a weird sort of "nesting" thing going on right now. Since so many things in my life are up in the air and completely out of my control, I'm taking control of the little things I can manage. Like cleaning out the drawers and cabinets in my bathroom. Or the boys' closets. Hey, I may not be registered for the class which starts tomorrow (!!), but my linen closet looks fabulous. I'd show you a picture, but my computer and my camera aren't speaking to each other at the moment.

* I could really use a snow day tomorrow. I'm just sayin'. I could clean a lot of closets on a snow day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Moving On Up. Maybe.

It's entirely possible that I've completely lost my mind. Not that this comes as a surprise to anyone who knows me.

We told my mom yesterday that we're kinda sorta possibly perhaps thinking about considering moving up to her side of town. Yes, we told her that. Which means we might as well start packing now because Mom doesn't see the "kinda sorta, ... etc." part of the sentence. To her it reads as, "We're moving up to her side of town," so it's a done deal.

When we weigh the pros and cons of moving there are a lot of pros. Free babysitting ranks right up there near the top. Dan would be closer to work. The schools up there are pretty good too--just take a look at me to see the superior product they turned out. Wait, my brother went to the same schools. Scratch that one. We'd be closer to help with my grandparents if they need anything. Daddy is right there to help Dan if something breaks. (Did you notice how I called him "Daddy" because it involved needing something from him? I'm such a Southern girl.) The whole family is nearby. In fact, that's also on the con list, just so you know! :-)

On the con list: In my current county, city, and house I am an adult. This is my house, the towels go where I SAY they go because I am the MAMA and I said so. Huh. I am the alpha dog, the queen bee, the... well, throw some other animal metaphor in there because I'm fresh out. You get the point--I act like a grown up here. But when I go back home to Mom and Dad's house? I immediately convert to a bratty fourteen year old girl when I cross the city limits. So clearly that'll have to change. I'll have to put on my big girl pants and learn to say things like...

  • These are my kids and I'm raising them this way.
  • We don't do that in my house.
  • They've have enough sugar, Grama, stop feeding the monkeys.
  • Seatbelts and booster seats are required by law and my kids will always wear them, no matter what.
  • No, the kids can't go out on the boat with you yet, Grandpa, because they don't know how to SWIM.
  • Because I'm the MAMA and I said so.
  • No. (Somehow I have never figured out how to say this to my mom.)

I'll have to learn to accept advice graciously without seeing it as a slam against my parenting/cleaning/cooking style. Yeah, like I have a cooking style. That was a good one.

I'll have to learn to either clean my house better and more often or learn to handle comments about how messy it is. Or learn to say, "Yep, it's a mess and I don't care." Or even, "You're right it is a mess. Here's a Swiffer. Knock yourself out. "

We'll have to do the "Boundaries Talk" before we move up there. If we move up there. Because it's not a foregone conclusion. Really, MOM! We're just thinking about it. Because Dan might get transferred or promoted or something and we'd have to move again right after we get settled up there. I wouldn't want to move twice. Heck, I'm not even sure I want to move once. I hate moving. We've been in this house for almost ten years. Do you know how much STUFF we've accumulated in those years? The market stinks right now for sellers and we have a lot of work to do on our house before we could put it on the market. And I don't want to think about total strangers traipsing through my house.

I love my house, my neighborhood, my neighbors, all the parks nearby, and most things about my kids' school. I love this town. I'm getting a brand spankin' new SUPER TARGET that they're building just for me less than five minutes from my house, people! How can I even consider leaving the town that is kind enough to build me my very own SUPER TARGET. If it weren't for the six lane interstate running between me and my beloved brand new SUPER TARGET, I could WALK there!

So we have a lot to think about. Because WE ARE JUST THINKING ABOUT IT at this point. Honest.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Seahorse eyes

So Seven walked into the kitchen while the rest of us were finishing lunch and said, "Hey Daddy? Which way are my eyes facing?"


Dan looked really confused, but he pointed to his left and said, "That way."

Seven: "Okay, now which way are they facing?"

Dan: "Now they're facing to the right. Why?"

Seven: "Because if I didn't have any nerves in my eyes I would be looking the opposite way. And if I were a seahorse I could see in both directions at the same time. And if my friend Karis was a seahorse then she could talk to her friends on both sides of her desk and still see if the teacher was coming so she would know to stop talking so she wouldn't get in trouble."

Poor Karis, stuck with those boring old human eyes. Seahorses have all the luck.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Getting to Know You

This is one of those email things that get sent around several thousand times a year. I got this one from my mom today and, rather than send it out a thousand more times, I thought I'd just post it here. So next time I get that email I can SO copy and paste, baby.

In other words, I've got nothing to post today so I'm totally cheating. So sue me.


To the 2008 edition of getting to know your friends and family. What you are
supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire e-mail and paste it onto a new
e-mail that you'll send.

Change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to your friends
& family, including the person who sent it toyou.

The theory is that you will learn a LOT of little things about your friends &
family that you might not have known.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 5:30 AM

2. Diamonds or pearls? neither

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I have no idea--definitely a
kids movie.

4. Favorite TV show? Scrubs reruns are the only thing I ever watch--and that's

5. What do you usually eat for breakfast? coffee and a Fiber One bar

6. What kind of soap do you use? Bath & Body something

7. What is your middle name? Ann (thanks, Mom, for giving me a normal MIDDLE

8. What food do you dislike? watermelon, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts

9. What is your favorite CD? Dusty Springfield (best of) and any Beatles

10. What kind of car do you drive? 1999 Camry

11. What characteristics do you despise about people? stupidity, rudeness, just
plain meanness

12. Favorite item of clothing? pink cherry flannel PJs

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? I'd
be in Acapulco RIGHT NOW with my brother in law and his wife. We were invited
but couldn't go.

15. Where would you retire to? anywhere with a cabana boy who understands the
importance of cold, salty margaritas

16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? My 30th--when Dan threw me a
surprise party.

18. Furthest place you are sending this? Vegas

19. Who do you least expect to send this back? Debi--just 'cause everybody
else picked on her too

20. Person you expect to send it back first? ??

21. When is your birthday? May 5th

22. What is your favorite scent? Bath & Body brown sugar and fig

23. Are you a morning or night person? Both (and, OMG am I tired!)

24. What is your shoe size? 7 1/2

25. Pets? Lily (big dumb yellow lab/boxer mix) and Rocky (16 year old schizo

26. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? I got nothing.

27. What did you want to be when you were little? Actress, professional
cheerleader, Jane Pauley, Olivia Newton-John

28. How are you today? stressed--my chronic state

29. What is your favorite candy? Reese's, Heath, Almond Joy, and all those
other things I can't have.

30. What is your favorite flower? Gerbera daisies

31. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? end of May--last
day of school

32. What church do you attend? Smyrna First Baptist

33. Favorite sandwich? veggies on whole wheat from Quizno's

34. What are you listening to right now? my dog howling downstairs because I'm
up here

35. What is the last thing you ate? peasant plate from Blue Coast Burrito
(black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, Spanish rice...YUM!)

36. Do you wish on stars? No

37. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Purple Mountain's Majesty
just because I like the name

38. How is the weather right now? Cold and sunny

39. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Mom

40. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes (she bought the clothes I'm
wearing today)

41. Favorite soft drink? Diet Coke

42. Favorite restaurant? Blue Coast Burrito, Chili's, Minami (Japanese)

43. Hair color? well the box says Suede Brown, but it still keeps turning
reddish/brownish/ blondish, no matter what I use.

44. Siblings? one brother (and one parti-Pomeranian) HI IZZY!

45. Favorite time of the year? the first week of summer vacation when my kids
are excited to be home and haven't started saying, "I'm bored," yet.

46. What was your favorite toy as a child? the dollhouse my PawPaw built and Mom
decorated for me

47. Summer or winter? Summer

48. Hugs or kisses? Hugs

49. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

50. Do you want your friends to email you back? Sure

51. When was the last time you cried? when Dan was mean to me because he was
grouchy and I was hormonal

52. What is under your bed? the boys' "treasure boxes" of school projects, two
yoga mats, a huge box of my friend Bev's books, an emergency fire ladder, and
one of those plywood tables with the legs that screw in and the round glass top
that goes with it

53. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Lee Ann

54. What did you do last night? read friends' blogs, packed the kids'
lunchboxes, fell asleep on the couch reading a book, woke up long enough to
brush my teeth, went back to sleep in the bed

55. Favorite room in your house? the living room because it's the only one that
stays clean because no one goes in there. Room where I spend the most time? the
bonus room upstairs

56. What are you afraid of? my kids getting lost in a crowd or left at school
or getting sick or, Oh--I have to stop because this is stressing me out.

57. Plain, buttered, or salted Popcorn? buttered and salted

58. How many keys on your key ring? four or five?

59. How many years at your current job? three

60. Favorite day of the week? Friday--kids are at school and I am not

61. How many towns have you lived in? Six I think

63. How many people will you be sending this to? I don't know

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday "Whys"

A few things I'm wondering about this Wednesday...

1) Why does the only chance we've had for a snow day all month have to be when Seven has a field trip to the children's theatre?

2) Why do they make tickets for the children's theatre NON-REFUNDABLE for inclement weather?

3) Why does my dog stink so badly and shed so much? Because if she didn't she wouldn't be confined to the kitchen, but would be sitting at my feet right now while I type which would be great because my feet are really cold.

4) Why did the morons who designed my house think it was important to put a heating vent in my laundry room and closet, but NOT in my downstairs bathroom?

5) Why does the toilet seat downstairs have to be so very, very cold?

6) Why can't Jamie's kids come home from Haiti right now, this very minute, so she and Aaron can love on all four kids together?

7) Why did I think that taking an online class would be easier through my alma mater? You'd think so too, wouldn't you, since they already have all my freakin' information on file? Well, wouldn't you? Um, yeah, not so much.

8) Why do my kids only need my attention after I get on the computer?

9) Why am I drinking an ice cold diet Coke when I'm freezing?

10) Why do the weathermen use the terms sleet AND freezing rain? Aren't they the same thing?

(Okay, I'm such a nerd I had to find an answer to that one. Go here if you're as much of a geek as I am. Although, if you're truly a geek you didn't need to look it up because you already knew the answer. If so, I bow to your superior geekiness.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bad Omen

My alarm radio just woke me up and GUESS what song was playing...

It's the END of the WORLD as We Know It.

I think I should just go back to bed. This is probably a portent of doom. Do you think my boss would buy that excuse?

And do I get extra credit for using a word like PORTENT at five o'clock in the morning?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Just A Few Things

A few things that are spilling out of my stressed-out, sleep-deprived brain today:

1) The brain trust at my local Blockbuster. I rented two kids' movies today: one was 99 cents and is due back on Saturday, which is the norm for us. The other is $1.49 and is due back Wednesday. So I asked the girl, "What's the difference between these two DVDs?" And her response? "Um, one of them is a Two Day rental." Well gee thanks, Einstein, I NEVER would've figured that out by myself. For real? Wednesday is TWO DAYS from Monday? Whatever will they think of next?

2) Ten has a new student teacher who started today and I love her. She's so quiet and nice and I hope the kids in that class don't eat her alive.

3) My stupid garage door is broken. Again. Last week I got trapped in the garage before work/school because it wouldn't open. For those of you who have known me a couple of years...yes, this has happened before. I cut my hand last week trying to open it. Apparently punching the door repeatedly while cussing at it in a high decibel level doesn't help--unless you work for the Band Aid company. They love me over there.

Dan managed to fix the door a little bit. How does one fix a door a little bit, you might ask? It's like this. The door will open with the remote, but it won't close with the remote. Which means when I leave in the morning I have to back the car out of the garage, turn off the car and leave the kids sitting in it, go back through the garage, hold the button on the wall until the door is completely shut (and not a second sooner or it will go back up and we start the whole dance again from the top), then set the alarm, go out the front door, lock the tricky deadbolt, walk in the wintery coldness to my car, and finally start it again. Perhaps you'd like to offer me some cheese to go with my whine? Yes, thank you but make it fat free because...

4) It's too cold to walk three miles a day with the dog. I managed to get in one mile today before I wimped out, came home, and made a cup of hot tea. I can feel the fat cells multiplying.

5) The Good News: My husband finally managed to put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher tonight.
The Bad News: The dishes that were already in it were CLEAN.
The Worse News: We have a little dial that you can turn to tell the next user whether the contents are clean or dirty. It was turned to CLEAN.

6) I am still not registered for the graduate level class I'm taking. The one that starts in only NINE DAYS! I've moved beyond worried into completely freaked out and no one will return my emails or calls. Methinks it's time to crank up the old Stalk-O-Meter until somebody gives me some answers.

7) I finished my lesson plans for February (and did you notice it's only January 14th) because I wanted to get it all done before I start the class. The one that I must get in or it's gonna get ugly.

8) Cattywampus is a funny word. Try it. I dare you not to smile.

9) I've scooped up so much dog poop in my back yard that I actually have a scooping "technique" now. Labs poop. A lot.

10) Chocolate Lucky Charms with double clovers are BY FAR superior to regular chocolate Lucky Charms, according to my boys. They share this with me while I'm choking down my high fiber, tastes like a broom, sugar free, old people cereal.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

R you Ready for some Rs?

Today I had one of those Super Smart Mommy Moments that happen rarely enough (for me, anyway) to make them blog-worthy. And the strangest thing is, it was SO SIMPLE that I can't believe it.

Today after church the kids and I went out for lunch. I promised them if they didn't complain about going and got ready quickly enough to get there on time that I'd take them anywhere they wanted as long as it wasn't McDonald's. (Sorry, Holli.) They chose Famous Dave's because Ten loves their macaroni and cheese. Nevermind that it's the exact same Easy Mac that we have at home--and every other restaurant with a kids' menu--he insists it's the best.

At some time during lunch we started listing all the words we could think of that start with the letter R. I can't even remember why. This game lasted all through the meal and all through our weekly trip to Publix for groceries. I had been dreading taking them to the store, but Dan was working so it couldn't be avoided. But the thing is, we had a great time.

They had so much fun searching the aisles for R words. By the middle of the store the 4th grader was teaching the 1st grader how to spell R words (like respect, righteous, responsibility, renovate, recycle, etc) and defining them. Somehow this little nothing game turned into a major teachable moment. And a good time was had by all.

Really. Ridiculously rewarding retail ritual.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Will Craft for College fund

My Seven Year Old has a serious craft obsession. We're thinking of finding a twelve step program, but he'd probably wind up using all their coffee cans to make yet another craft with. Get it? Because those Twelve-Steppers are notorious for drinking lots of coffee? Ahem. Right. As I tell Ten all the time, if you have to stop and explain the joke, then it really wasn't all that funny to begin with. And I just ended TWO sentences in that paragraph with a preposition. My grammar teacher is fluffing my pillows in hell right now.

Anywho...the boy, he is crafty. I think he's genetically predisposed to craftiness because my mom is the queen of crafts. She does crafts with her Key to the City and Red Hat groups all the time. She even used to sell her crafts on TV when they did the Action Auction for channel eight (the local PBS station). Obviously this skill skipped a generation.

Seven has always loved to make crafts. In preschool he was always the last child finished because he had to make it "just right." I blame his Aunt Cathy for turning what was a perfectly fine little hobby into an obsession worthy of electroshock therapy. She's the kind of aunt every family wishes they had. She stops to "pick up a few things" on the way to family reunions so that when she arrives, her car doors fly open and bags from Michael's and Hobby Lobby spill out all over the pavement. All the kids in the family run to her car and follow her around like the Pied Piper for the rest of the vacation. I've never known anyone else who travels with an emergency set of glitter glue and watercolors, pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks. Aunt Cathy rocks.

The downside of this is that Seven is constantly asking us to "do a craft" with him. This morning--before I'd even had my first sip of coffee, people!--he insisted that we make a snowman. Since it's in the sixties here and there's nary a snowflake in the sky, I knew that he meant a craft snowman. Behold the crafty cuteness:

Because the crafts threaten to take over the house sometimes, I told him we could take pictures of them and put them in a Crafts file in the computer. Just in case something happens to them. Like if Mommy decides to throw them away in a few months when you've forgotten about them and you're at school so you'll never know. So here are a few more of Seven's lovely crafts. Enjoy.

These are some piggy banks that he painted. Very cute, don't you think?

And here's the tin can man, "Tinny," that he made with Aunt Cathy in Ohio last summer. Yes, last summer. And he still has it. He'll probably take it to college with him.

These are some Paint Pal statues that he painted. They sit in a place of honor on his dresser.

This is a "hamster base" that he made out of shoeboxes. Luckily, we don't have a hamster because, did you notice the lack of a cage door? Yep, that hamster would be Lily-food by now.

This is a desert scene that he created for his cowboys to play in. This was after learning the Round Up song at children's church.

This is the castle that he made at school for Oktoberfest in first grade.

These are some of the many clay sculptures he's made that are all over the house. I display these in my kitchen window.

Maybe someday he can supplement his college fund by selling his crafts on Etsy. Anybody wanna buy a slightly used tin can man?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quick Braggity Brags

I have to make this fast because I'm going out to dinner tonight for a First Grade Mom's Night Out. Hey, that's a pretty cool brag right there. But in the fine tradition of the Ginsu knife..."But wait--there's more!"

1) When Ten got in the car after school today he said he'd had a bad day. I sighed and I asked if he got into trouble, and he said, "No, but we had a geography bee in our class today and two kids were chosen to go on to the grade level geography bee and Nash and I won." So I said, "Wow buddy, that's not bad news, that's great news. I'm so proud of you!" He said, "Yeah, but now I have to compete against the
entire fourth grade. I don't need that kind of pressure!"

2) They had an Awesome Awards ceremony at school. After school Seven said, "I didn't get Academic Excellence, Mommy, but I got this instead. The certificate he handed me said, in calligraphy:

Awarded for Excellence in Academics

I looked at him and said, "Did you actually read this?" and he said (with an exaggerated eye roll dripping with attitude), "No. (
Insert a silent DUH here please.) It's in cursive." I read it to him and he thought about it for a minute and said, "Oh. Uh, nevermind. Sorry about that."

He also brought home his STARS testing results. It's a computer printout which tells parents their child's current reading level. His was a 3.1 which means the first month of third grade. Did I mention that he's in FIRST GRADE?

My head, it is positively swollen with Mommy Pride. Now I have to go find Zimbabwe on the map.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Random Happy Thoughts

These are just a few happy things I need to say here, but none of them is big enough to warrant its own post.

1) My BFF, the one who spanked us at Cranium on New Year's Eve, wanted to post a rebuttal about my smack talk, but she couldn't figure out how to set up a Google account so she could make a comment. Mwah, mwah, mwah!! Now I can say anything I want and she can't respond. The power coursing through my veins right now is nothing short of exhilarating. But I can't make fun of her too much because she totally wrote the January lesson plans all by her little old self and I'm basking in her goodness at work every day.

2) My amazing, super-smart, know-it-all friend Katydid came to my bra shopping rescue when she sent me a link to this place. Seriously, you should go. They have the most detailed undergarment information on the planet Earth.

3) Keeping my fingers crossed...Ten seems to be responding well to his Daytrana patch. We haven't seen any negative side effects. He's still eating like a horse, isn't staying up any later than his norm, and his skin is handling it just fine. It's a little bit hard to apply, but after the horror stories I heard about not being able to get the backing off, it's easier than I expected. I think it's helping him concentrate a little better, but only time will tell.

He's only been on it for three school days, after all, but something amazing happened in the car on the way to school today. He was daydreaming and didn't hear a conversation Seven and I were having until halfway through it. Instead of saying, "Huh? What?" like he usually does, he admitted that he wasn't paying attention. He said, "Mom, sorry, I was zoning out. Could you please repeat that? You know, if it was something that concerns me."

This is a HUGE thing for me because he usually tries to pretend that he was listening but he just couldn't hear. (We've had his hearing tested and we know that's not the problem.) Then he'll pester us to repeat the conversation, even if we assure him that it did not pertain to him. For him to admit that he wasn't paying attention, apologize, ask us nicely to repeat it, and realize that it may not have been about him being the center of the known universe, is major progress.

4) One of our students wrote his first and last name today without a name tag on the table to help him. This is also major progress because in August when he first came to us he couldn't make the first letter of his first name. Major Snoopy dancing happening here, folks! He also figured out how to fold up his nap mat by himself. He was so proud when he brought it to me and said (in his little Southern voice), "Look, Mrs. Teble. I used to not could do that." So cute.

5) My friend Jamie is in Haiti with her kids tonight. Please pray for their family.

6) My kids made Academic Excellence (Seven) and Honor Roll (Ten) on their report cards today. And I was able to do ALL of Ten's word problems on his homework tonight, so YAY me! I really thought I had a couple more years before I would have to call Dan at work to get his help with the math homework--especially since I used to TEACH fourth grade, for freak's sake--but I called him yesterday to "double check" my answers. That's code for "check to make sure I told the kid the right answers before I embarrass myself in front of his teacher." Luckily the child is smarter than I am so he can figure out the problem and I just check for simple careless errors. Like the ones I make all the time when I try to do mental math.

7) Katydid also sent me a very special surprise in the mail today. It's the coolest gift ever. Thanks, babe. You rock.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Señor Suckup

My seven year old is working on his PhD in brown-nosing. I've never met a bigger butt kisser in my entire life. Do you remember Eddie Haskell, from Leave it to Beaver? No? Me either. It was WAY before my time. But trust me when I tell you that Seven makes Eddie look like an amateur.

No matter what I look like he tells me I'm beautiful. Any time I'm cleaning he offers to do it for me, even though he can't reach, lift, or carry whatever I'm doing because he's too small. But the thing is, he sincerely wants to help. Mostly. The other night I needed to run to the pharmacy before they closed but I didn't want to go back out in the cold. Seven said, "Mommy, I will go to the store and get it for you." Nevermind that he's, you know, SEVEN and
therefore can't drive my car. He just wanted to get the brownie points for offering.

His teachers all think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Today was report card day and his teacher wrote the following comment, "[Seven] is such a neat kid. I'm honored to be his teacher." By the way, he got all Es (a first grade A--it stands for excellent) which is totally appropriate since he's a most excellent child. (And just so you know, Big Brother got all As and Bs. Again.)

Seven is so very sweet and precious and wonderful and darling but sometimes I just want to tell him to pull his cute little nose out of my butt and be a normal kid. Like, complain when I ask him to clean his room or something. But I don't say a word because I know it won't last. Someday he WILL be big enough to actually do the things he's offering to do.

And that's when the offers will stop.

Master of Sarcasm

You know how sometimes your kids say something and it's like you can see the words actually leave your own mouth, float across the room, and come out through your child's lips instead? Ten does this all the time. His teacher says of all the kids in her class he's the one that she can always tell when he's directly quoting his parents. And when she says "parents," she really means me. That's not always a good thing, as Ten has inherited his mother's gift of Sarcasm.

Hilarious, but not always appropriate.

His teachers have always said that he has a very mature sense of humor.
His second grade teacher used to say that he was her best audience. He just seems to get their jokes. A comment would fly over the heads of the other kids while Ten would crack up.

Yesterday we walked into the playroom as Seven was trying to get something off the shelf in the top of the closet. Ten looked at him, then me, then leaned back to watch his brother struggle. He crossed his arms over his chest and said, "Yeah, this isn't going to end well."

The kid cracks me up.

And speaking of cracking me up...we rented the DVD Underdog over the weekend. My new favorite movie line was spoken by Polly Purebred while fantasizing about a date with Underdog...

"Could you imagine me off leash with Underdog?
There's not a hose cold enough to break that up."

Luckily, Ten did NOT get that one.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Tough Decisions

Back in the fall Ten was diagnosed with ADHD. We've been several years in coming to this, but we had him tested because, quite frankly, I was at my breaking point. His teachers' opinions over the years have ranged from "You need to have him tested for ADHD immediately," to "No way, he's just super smart and as long as I keep him challenged he does fine." His mom's opinion fell somewhere between "Holy crap this kid is smarter than I am," and "Oh my God if this child doesn't stop talking and stop wiggling and stop squirming I'm going to lose my frickin' mind!"

We had him tested for Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) a couple of years ago because there's a family history. It often goes undiagnosed and can cause hyperactivity in children. The blood test came back negative. We moved on with our lives.

He managed to skate along
at a magnet school, making almost all As with the occasional B with very little effort until last year. In third grade came the homework. Hours and hours of it. Every single blessed night. With arguing. And weeping. And gnashing of teeth. It was Mommy Hell. I started to wonder if the magnet school's accelerated curriculum was too much for him. That worry was shot out of the water by his standardized testing scores: advanced in every single category, scores in the 99th percentile in nearly everything. He continued to struggle with homework, but he got by, made either Principal's List or Honor Roll, and still liked school. Most of the time.

Then came fourth grade. All summer leading up to the start of school I dreaded it. I used to teach fourth grade, so I am very familiar with the beast that is a fourth grade boy. Ten (still Nine then) was not. that. beast. I also have a lot of experience with ADHD kids and I knew that he was exhibiting many of the behaviors that those kids did.

He acted like a much younger child. In fact, his younger brother had to remind him to do things constantly, things other kids his age don't need to be reminded about: brush your teeth, clear the table, put away your shoes, coat, backpack, lunchbox, etc. He had trouble with peer relations because he acted goofy, was quick to anger, argued about every little thing. I was not looking forward to the start of school because I knew this would be the year I'd finally have to do something about my child.

This is a kid who, within the first six weeks of fourth grade, went from liking school (not loving it, but liking it) to a child who hates school. Not dislikes it, hates it. Intensely. Crying before school many mornings, crying during homework, calling himself stupid. Saying he hates himself. His self esteem is in the toilet. I have a dry erase board in the kitchen, where I write the date and what's going on that day. Look what he wrote there this week :

This just breaks my heart.

So back in September we had him tested and the psychologist says Ten has ADHD. There are subsets to ADHD. The first is the inattentive child--the daydreamer. The second is the hyperactive, can NOT be still, child. A child in the third subset has both issues. Ten falls into the second group. The psychologist says that he's not inattentive, but he's extra-attentive. He lacks an incoming information filter in his brain that tells him WHAT to pay attention to and what to tune out as unimportant. He's focused on all of it: the hum of the fluorescent lights, the custodian sweeping the hall, the kid sitting next to him whose foot is tapping, the kindergarteners down the hall, everything. He also lacks an outgoing filter that serves to self-censor, so every single one of his thoughts is expressed verbally. Think it, say it. He's also hyperactive so he truly cannot control the constant motion, talking, busy-ness that drive the people around him insane.

After a whole lot of arguments, tears, prayers,
yelling matches, name-calling, research, multiple doctor visits, and more shouting, Dan and I decided to give medicine a try. Well, I decided and dragged Dan along with me, kicking and screaming the whole way. He's such a good dad. We started out with Strattera because it's non-stimulant, non-habit-forming, and both docs recommended it as a good starting point. The psychologist warned us, however, that this particular drug seemed to be more successful at treating the inattentive kid than the hyperactive, impulsive kid. He was right. After two months we saw no change in Ten whatsoever so we stopped giving it to him.

Now we've come to a place where we never wanted to be--giving our kid a controlled substance.

After we told our family doctor that Strattera wasn't working, he advised us to try Daytrana. It's a patch that has the same basic medicine that's found in Ritalin. I'm so divided on this. On the one hand, I hope it works right away and we see a huge, dramatic change in Ten's study habits. On the other hand, I absolutely loathe the very idea of putting a drug into my kid's system unless it's for some life-threatening reason. Although, sometimes I feel I might just threaten his life if I can't get him to calm down. That was a joke. Mostly.

What if the drug works and he has to be on it for years and years? When will he be able to stop taking it? Will he outgrow the hyperactivity when he hits puberty like a lot of kids do? Will he have side effects like insomnia? Or tics? Will it make him lose weight? This kid is so skinny--he doesn't have any to lose. He's already a picky eater--will this suppress his appetite to the point where he won't eat anything? He has sensitive skin and eczema--will this patch hurt his poor little skin?

How am I going to manage a doctor's appointment every single month (because there are no refills on controlled substances)? It's going to cost an extra $65 per month--$45 meds and $20 copay for the office visit. How can I afford to pay for this every month? How can I afford not to if it actually helps him?

We started the medicine today so Dan could be here with me to observe any side effects.
I'm just a nervous wreck about the whole thing. So far we haven't seen any changes, but it did leave a little red square on Ten's skin.

Pray for him and for us to make the right decisions. This parenting thing isn't for wimps.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back to School Blues

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm not ready for my kids to go back to school. Really.

Sure, there are a few things I'll enjoy during the two days that the kids go back to school before I have to report back to my own school. Like getting my haircut without dragging the little darlings along. Cruising the aisles at Publix without fruit snack boxes launching themselves through the air to land, mysteriously, in my cart. Cleaning a room and returning in five minutes to find it, amazingly, still clean. If I, you know, actually cleaned.

But the bottom line is, I'm not ready to start waking up at OMG-o'clock yet. I don't want to deal with the hassle of homework, packing lunches, remembering schedules, other kids' cooties, pants that are inexplicably two inches too short when they fit the child TWO WEEKS AGO, and all the joy that comes with kids in school.

And besides all that, when they go back I will miss out on conversations like this one:

Ten: What do you want to do?
Seven: I don't know. What do you want to do?
Ten: Wanna build a Lego ship?
Seven: No
Ten: Wanna watch a movie?
Seven: No.
I know! Let's ram into each other until we fall down.
Ten: Okay, let's do it.

On second thought....

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Home for the Girls

Okay ladies, you've all heard the statistic that something like 70% of the women in this country are wearing the WRONG bra size, right? Well due to my recent weight loss, I'm pretty sure I'm one of them. But I'm about to change that.

Friday morning while the kids are at school I'm going bra shopping. Girls, I need your help. Well, to be completely accurate, the girls need your help.

I usually buy Playtex underwire "half size" bras for about $10 at Wal-Mart. I'm willing to spend more, but not a whole lot more. I can't justify spending $40 at Victoria's Secret on a bra. That'd be a little like putting hundred dollar chrome hubcaps on a beat-up '73 Dodge Dart. Kinda like false advertising.

So, here are my questions:
1) Where can I go to get fitted properly? (dept store in a mall is what I'm thinking) I just went to the Playtex website, followed their fitting directions exactly, submitted my info, and got the following response: "We're sorry. We cannot determine your size." What am I, some kind of freak? Of course, I don't own a fabric tape measure so I was using my husband's mini pocket-size metal tape measure that he uses at work. That might have something to do with it.

2) What's the best bra for small-chested chicks? I want to enhance my profile but not push those babies up to my nose. I'm used to underwire with a little bit of padding--not so much that the ratio of real, live boob to fiber fill is just depressing, but enough so that everyone in the room can't tell when I'm chilly.

3) I always buy flesh colored bras because I think it's really trashy to see a white bra practically glowing in the dark under a white shirt. But sometimes I want a fun, flirty color with panties to match. There are fun bras and serviceable bras and I'm looking for both. Is that possible?

4)If I find a really great bra in a department store, what's the best place online to buy more of them at a cheaper price? I have to try it on first, but I'd be willing to buy several more if I find a good one that actually fits.

5) What's the best way to wash your bras to make them last longer and retain their shape? So that they can retain MY shape. I often end up looking like my boobs are dented when I wear a fitted T-shirt because the padding dries funny.

Help me, Oh Internets. My girls will thank you. Well, not personally, but you know what I mean.

Ninja Rock Star

My Seven Year Old is sitting on the floor playing Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away" on the guitar--well, the bass line, anyway, not the melody. He's not quite a rock star yet, but he's getting there. Like the boy needed another skill to make the girls crazy about him. Last year his kindergarten teacher had to ban two little girls from playing with him at recess because they wouldn't stop fighting over him. Sigh. I'm terrified of his teenage years.

Speaking of "skills," since I only started blogging in November most of you haven't heard this story. Back when he was still called Six, we were driving home from school when he made the following announcement: "I think Ariel is in love with me and wants to marry me and I don't want to hurt her feelings but I can't marry her because I'm going to marry Rachel."

He and Rachel have been betrothed since they met in preschool when they were two years old. Rachel told her mother, "Mama, I saw him across the playground and I just couldn't take my eyes off him." Sherry, his future mother in law, and I are already choosing their china patterns. But I digress...

Ten (who was only Nine then) caught my eye in the rear view mirror, gave me a knowing wink, and smiled as if to say, "These little kids, they are just so darlingly provincial." What he really said was, "Why do you think she wants to marry you?"

And Six said, "Well you know. Because of my personality, my intelligen-cy, and my skills." (Pronounced skeels, 'cause he got street cred.)

Nine: "What skills are those?"

Six: "My Ninja skills. You know, I've been training as a Ninja so I can protect Rachel someday when we're married."

A rock star with ninja skeels. Rachel is gonna have some competition. Lord help me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Smacked by Smack Talk

Hanging my head in shame...

We LOST at Cranium last night. I know, I can't believe it either. After 47 games of Disney Scene-It, Madagascar, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, and my own home-made version of Pyramid (which was darn fine, if I do say so myself!), I think we were just wiped out from gameity. Either that or my cheating neighbors, I mean best friends, totally peeked at the cards before we came over. Not that I think they would do that or anything (they totally peeked) but I'm just saying.

So now we have to start out 2008 as The Losers. I knew we should've played Huggermugger.