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Monday, June 25, 2012

GO TO BED!

It's good to have your own Ninja...
It's 10:45pm and a Ninja, a Warlord and a Princess just ran through the kitchen!  Obviously, my three children  have inherited by night-owl tendencies...and while I knew it was inevitable...I really wish they would just GO TO BED! This is how it's been...every night of summer vacation thus far. I swore it would be different. I prepped them for a month before vacation, telling them that THIS year it would be different! They would be going to bed a half hour later than their normal school-year bedtime...everyone agreed...there was no arguing...so how is it that I find myself with three kids still up...playing pretend, complete with costumes, with no sign of slowing down, at nearly 11 pm?

I know it's my fault...I let them sleep in. If I can't get my quiet time after they go to bed, then I want it in the morning. I get up before them...quietly tip-toe downstairs and revel in the blissful quiet of the morning. Of course it isn't that quiet...the dog is up, scratching and licking himself and panting at me to go out. But I will take what I can get. I am getting a little quiet time right now, come to think of it. With the husband watching the baseball game he recorded and the three kids upstairs slaying dragons...I actually have time to think....
Not really...they are loud as they argue who's castle they are in, who is saving the princess, who is the bad guy...

Yes, those really are our lunchboxes!
I don't know what I am complaining about...I have been dying for summer vacation to get here!  No getting up early and driving the kids to school! No plans...no agenda...no homework or projects. No making school lunches...my most-hated task ever! I hate it so much that I calculated just how many school lunches I will make over my lifetime...not counting what I have already done...In the fall, I will begin my journey of making 6,860 school lunches!! NOOOOO! And really, if you count what I have already done over the years...and I did...3,675 lunches...for a grand total of 10,535! Yikes! Really? Wait a minute...sometimes the kids get hot lunch...whew...I feel so much better...that number is just too daunting and I am starting to sweat just thinking about it!

So here I am, thinking that I have it made...because I don't have to make their lunches...but wait...I do! I realized on the first day of vacation, that not only do I have to feed them breakfast and dinner, but they want numerous snacks, lunch, and after dinner, dessert! And the little one is a bored eater...which means, when she is bored, she wants to eat! (I worry about that girl!) The good news is that the oldest asked if he could cook dinner. Well, this is a happy surprise! What? Help me out? Learn something new? OK! I immediately picture he and I browsing through the cookbook, meticulously planning a meal...doing the shopping together and then leisurely cooking together. "How about I make macaroni and cheese?" he says, popping the images in my head. "OK.."  He looks in the refrigerator, studying the contents..."I'll cook this ham too," he says, pointing at the ham steak on the shelf. "Make that ravioli's and ham with rootbeer floats for dessert." So much for my meal planning. "Why the sudden interest in cooking?" I ask. "Well, I don't want to get to college and be living in my apartment and eating cold cereal and popcorn all the time!" Can't argue with that logic! Glad he is planning ahead!


(from the web...but ours looked like this!)

Since her brother tried his hand at cooking, the youngest wanted to have her own try at it. She announced that she would be making breakfast for dinner:  sausage, pancakes and scrambled eggs. She couldn't pick something that can be microwaved? Luckily Daddy was home to teach his daughter how to make pancakes! I am not good at it, nor do I have the patience to teach the art of pancakes to a demanding 6 year old! I would have definitely had to break out the cooking sherry! The next day, the middle child said he was making dinner. He is very ambitious...shrimp tacos, quesadillas, beans and rice...it took a lot of help on my part...but I am thinking that in the long run this is going to pay off! So far they have each cooked two meals...and have decided that for now on every Monday - Wednesday, they will be doing the cooking. The husband and I are responsible for the other four days... that's fine with me...now if I could just get them to help in the housework...

(Dust bunny creation from the web)
UGH...the housework...I have been seriously neglecting the housework. With all three kids at home, I find it nearly impossible to get anything done...it's like trying to brush your teeth while eating  Oreo's....impossible! Last night, the middle son was laying on the ottoman, watching TV. As he lifted his sock-clad foot up, he had a huge ball of dog fur attached. "Ewww...MOM!" he yelled. I looked over as he picked it off his foot and threw it on the floor...."you really need to do something about this, Mom," he tells me. Really? I think maybe it's time to teach my child how to use the swiffer thing to get dog hair out from under the couch! We could make it a game...whoever finds the most dog hair and dust bunnies and makes something creative out of them, wins!

Let's see...I have them cooking...I'll get the middle son to do the floors...now if I can get the little one to clean the windows and the oldest to do the dog's poop scoop, I might just have the summer I've been dreaming of! Whee!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When Bangs and Eyebrows are Estranged

So, I have been dealing with a serious hair/eyebrow issue for the last month. And I would have written about it a month ago...but I didn't want my friends who read my blog, to stare and point at me...I had to wait until things grew out before I could point out the obvious...

I went to get my hair cut and colored... It had been three months...I couldn't wait any longer...I was starting to look like a cross between a skunk and a homeless hippie. Either look isn't good...while at the salon, I asked the gal if she could do my eyebrows.  They were starting to look like caterpillars.."I just need the stray hairs at the bottom removed," I said.  She grabbed the hot wax and got right to work. As she was about halfway through the left eyebrow, she said, "Hang on a second, I need my glasses."  "Glasses?  She needs GLASSES?" I screamed in my head...She slipped on her glasses and made quick work of the next eyebrow..but then she lingered...and went back to the first...and then back to the other one. I started to feel uneasy...it shouldn't take this long...something is wrong. But when I looked in the mirror, they looked OK...way too thin...but OK...

(photo from web)
It wasn't until I got out to the car and looked in the visor mirror, did I see the horror, that used to be my eyebrow! "Omigosh! What have I done?" Not only were my eyebrows painfully thin, but half the left eyebrow was missing...and not the good half...the half you want! So now my eyebrows are really wide apart, because the left one starts at about the middle of my eye! Well, I couldn't go anywhere like that, so I came home to take a shower and add some eyebrows.  I used my really cool eyebrow powder, complete with wax that gives them texture...but when I looked in the mirror, it wasn't good. In fact it was so bad, it was funny. So I came out to show the husband, just how silly I looked, "I have ANGRY EYES!" I announced! Sitting on the couch, he looked over his shoulder at me...he stared for a moment and replied, "You look surprised! Are you surprised to see me?" ARGH! He wasn't supposed to agree with me!! So here I am, a cross between Mr. Potato Head from Toy Story and a woman who just used too much botox in her forehead, leaving her with a perpetually surprised look.

(web photo)
As if it wasn't bad enough, I realized that my bangs were too short. I  tried to finesse them down to meet my clown-like eyebrows...but they will not cooperate. It's a double edged sword. If I sweep them to the side, they look halfway decent...but then my eyebrows are obvious... Of course this all happens when I have major events going on. Fundraisers, First Holy Communion, company on the way. I am dying over the photos of me. My bangs make me look like I am five years old...and my eyebrows just look silly! I may want to hide those photos...

My self esteem has really been taking some hits lately... Last week, I had on a camisole, with a sweater over it. Perfect for the cool morning...but not so great when I went to pick the kids up from school. I kept the sweater on until I got home...and shed it at the door. I had planned to go upstairs to change, but hadn't made it up stairs yet, when our brutally honest 6 year old looked at me and said, "Eww...GROSS, MOM!" "What?" I said, startled. "You need to change your top!" Well, now my feelings are just hurt...I thought my girl would like me no matter what my shape...and that she didn't really notice.  "I can see your bra through your shirt!" EWWWW!  Nice...and if that isn't bad enough...

I was going through the kids' school papers, weeding them out to see what to keep and what to throw away. I came across a really cute art project done by the middle son...at least I thought it was cute until I actually read it..."My brother is grand. He is 10 years old and has brown hair. He is strong and tall and has tan skin color. He has blue eyes." It's accompanied by a drawing of his big brother. "How cute," I think.

The next panel is about his sister: "My little sister rocks. She is 6 years old and has tan skin color. She is strong. She has brown hair and blue eyes. She is small and is loud." OK..still good...she IS loud. The last panel is of mom and dad. I anticipate the wonderful things he says about us: "My mom and dad both have tan skin color and they're both large. They have blonde and brown hair and they have blue eyes." WHOA...wait a minute...back up! "They have tan skin color and they're both LARGE?" What the heck? Really? That's what he came up with? By large, he better mean tall! Besides...if it wasn't for the THREE kids, I wouldn't have weight issues...cut a mom some slack!
The middle son's artwork

It's one thing for me to be hard on myself...I don't need any other commentary, please! The only saving grace came when I drove for the 6 year old's field trip. I was given two little girls from another class, whose driver backed out at the last minute. They were cute and polite and full of compliments. "Your mom is so nice." "Your mom is kind and funny." "I really like your mom...almost as much as I like my own mom!" And then came the best..."Your mom is so pretty!" OK...that made my day. I turned to the two newcomers..."You can ride with me on a field trip any time!"

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Open Mouth...Insert Foot!

"Open mouth...insert foot." Yes...those directions apply to me. Over the years, I have perfected this...it's quite an art form, really...unfortunately, it happens more times than I would like.

Take this example...I'm at the oldest son's baseball practice, sitting and chatting with the other mothers. We see that one of the usual faces that show up at practice is an older man with white hair, sitting some distance off with a two year old girl...they are giggling and taking photos. After each photo taken, the man shows the little girl what it looks like on the back of his camera. "Look over there!" says one of the mothers. "How cute...grandpa is taking photos of his little granddaughter!" says another. We admire the moment and then watch practice.

(art from the web)
The next day is the baseball game. Halfway through the game, I see the grandfather with his granddaughter...and being the friendly person I am, I strike up a conversation. "We all loved watching you take pictures yesterday with your darling granddaughter," I say...and then add, "It's so nice to see a grandfather having such a great time with his grandchild." "Oh," he says, "Actually, I'm not her grandfather...I'm her DAD!"  Uhhh....as I stand there stunned in silence. Crud! "What a jackass I am," I think to myself, as I hear the braying in my head. He starts to chuckle and says, "Don't worry...I get that a lot...I'm an old dad to this one." I mumble incoherently, give him a big smile, nod...and hightail it back to the bleachers, engrossing myself into the game...but not before I tell the other mothers, who howl with laughter at my faux pas. "Oh sure...they laugh at me...they all thought he was her grandpa, too," I think to myself...only to realize that while that is true...I am the only one dumb enough to say something! UGH!

I'm on a roll...I might as well go find a fat lady and ask her when her baby is due!! Which by the way, I have inadverdantly done, one time in my life! Never again...I don't care how obviously pregnant a woman is...I will never ask! I don't care if she is in labor and the baby is hanging down to her knees...I will not ask! Once is enough! That embarrassing moment is emblazoned in my brain like a scarlet letter on my forehead.

No, not  really me...found this on the web! 
I was teaching aerobics at the YMCA. One of my regulars was a woman in her 30's who would always set her step up in the back row. She wore a leotard and tights (yes, it was the 90's) and had a bit of a belly on her. She was always very careful with her movements and never went "all out". One day, after class, she was talking to another woman, who had participated in the class. The woman was obviously pregnant...looked about ready to pop. As I was putting the equipment away, I asked, "When is your baby due?" "In three weeks!" she happily exclaimed, with a huge grin. I turned to the other woman, "And when is YOUR baby due?" She looked at me with an icy glare..."My baby was born three years ago!" I stood gaping at her, red faced and gasping for air like a fish out of water. I can't remember what I said, but I remember feeling like I wanted to be invisible...wanting to just melt away into the wall. Instead, I mumbled something stupid, got myself back to the aerobic room office, fiddled with the equipment until they left and died with embarrassment. If I remember correctly, I could not face her again and traded classes with another instructor..and eventually quit teaching there!

I'm not the only one who does these things...I know that...there have to be other people who have mouths that get them in trouble! Maybe I could start a support group, and we can come together to discuss why we feel the need to say stupid things! Oh...it probably wouldn't work...we would just end up offending each other by saying something inappropriate. The good thing for me, is that once is usually enough...you won't find me saying anything to an older man with a toddler...I will not assume anything. Even if the guy is 100 years old and in a wheelchair, being pushed by a kid calling him Grandpa. I will not say a word!

It's not my fault, really. I come from a long line of blurters. My Mom used to take us to the children's department of the only Department store in our small town. The woman who worked there, had a Bristish accent. After about 5 minutes of talking to her, my mother would have a british accent too! It was completely unintentional...and she didn't even know she was doing it. But the woman would give her the funniest looks, trying to figure out if she was making fun of her!

My dad was notorious...We took a cruise to Mexico as a family one year. I was about 20 at the time.. It was my mom and dad, two of my sisters and my sister's new husband. We had a great time and in the evenings would come together for dinner. The tables were assigned seating, and our group had our own table, but not every table knew each other. If you were a couple, you would be sitting with 6-8 people that you didn't know. Each night, the man at the table next to us, would saunter in wearing a different goofy hat. He was loud and obnoxious and really made a spectacle of himself. We found him annoying and nicknamed him "Hat Man".

Yep, this is what the guy wore! (photo from web)
One night, after a particularily obnoxious night of "Hat Man", we ran into one of his table mates, in the hallway. "Hey," my dad said to him, "You sit at Hat Man's table! How do you deal with him? He is so obnoxious!" They guy levels his gaze right at my dad and says, "That's my father." Stunned. Silence. You could have heard a pin drop. My Dad quickly recovers with, "ho ho...he's a funny guy!" That was it...we could not contain it...One sister and my mom dive for the elevator before they break into the giggles. My brother-in-law and I head to the stairs and run down the next level, shrieking with laughter. I don't remember where the other sister went, but I know she was doubled over with laughter wherever she ended up! What I didn't know at the time, was that our laughter was traveling up the stairwell, and could be heard by my red-faced father and the offended son of Hat Man. Dad had some pretty choice words for us, when we all met up again...the worst of it was at dinner service the next night. Not only did Hat Man stagger in with some crazy hat...but his WHOLE table wore crazy hats...in an act of defiance to the group at the table next to them, who found their father to be an obnoxious blowhard.

Favorite story about my Dad...God rest his soul. Funniest guy who made friends with everyone he met...never met a stranger...and genuinely liked by all. But every once in awhile he would open mouth and insert foot! I learned from the best...