Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why I Think Everyone Should Abandon Their Kids for About a Week

We celebrated our 10 years of wedded bliss anniversary on the 16th of December. It truly has flown by so incredibly fast. We got to have a lot of downtime by celebrating on a cruise ship which ported in the BWI's at the Island of Grand Turk and then in the Bahamas at Princess Cays, a private island owned by Princess Cruise lines, but really an offshoot of the larger island of Eleuthera.

I enjoyed this time with my husband tremendously. We really didn't do too much thinking about the kids, which was helped and made okay by the fact that even though we had a cell phone, there was really no way to get in contact with us because we lost service somewhere in the open water. So, it was nice to not be thinking of them every second. Plus, with my mom watching them I knew they were in good hands. As it turned out, nobody was injured except her, and that was not even a little bit of a surprise.

As far as cruises go, apparently the Princess line is typically reserved for the retired crowd, but being a week before Christmas there was plenty of younger people and small kids on the boat. It was a good mixture of a crowd. We also heard some of the ins and outs from veteran cruisers (one couple we had dinner with was on their 50 something cruise). There was enough to do, especially on the islands, but John got a little bored during the At Sea days with just lying around by the pool. I had no problem really, but I like to read and was halfway through 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest". Fantastic read by the way.

So, here is a photo of one of the more interesting things that happened. We ported in Grand Turk next to the Prime Minister of Quatar. The jury is still out on whether or not he was on the boat, but his family was. This is the 4th most luxurious yacht in the world. Probably listed as the 4th because it had ONLY one helipad. It was truly a beautiful ship. Owned by some rich S.O.B. If I could flip this for you I would. This was taken during our 'formal night' which was a lot of fun. We sat in the fancy schmancy wine bar drinking expensive wine and eating sushi and watching the staff build a Champagne Waterfall. It was cool to watch.

This is John watching the boat leave without him.....Kidding! We actually had to be tendered in the life boats out to the Princess Cays island.

And here we have the big gigantor t.v. that you could watch movies under the stars on. They gave you popcorn and blankets. We didn't watch any movies per se, but we did enjoy watching the Bears beat Minnesota on Monday Night Football. Funny story...on our honeymoon in St. Lucia we watched a WGN Tom Skilling weather report describing the horrible Chicago Snow Storm we were missing. Ten years later, We're watching the Bears tear down the Vikings in freezing cold. Isn't it ironic?

Yay. There I am on a tropical Island, but my husband didn't know how to use the zoom feature on the camera.

Okay, so we went on an island excursion. Which was waaay overpriced, but I learned a few things. Apparently Turk was a huge importer of salt. They had this amazingly complex way of diverting the ocean water into the inland areas and drying it out. Thus, their economic basis. This, me next to a giant pile of salt.

It's my shadow.

I love the beach. I love the ocean. It was a little chilly, and a little rough, but we had fun jumping into the waves.

Ahhhh....This island was beautiful. This is where I was 3 days before Christmas.

This is taken our last night.

The gorgeous over the ocean sunset, also taken our last night. Since my camera has video capabilities, I videoed the sunset so that the kids could see how fast the eart really spins. I don't think they quite got it.

I am happy to report that on this cruise I didn't gain any weight. I can see how easy that would be, what with the gourmet all you can eat buffet. And I'm serious about it being Gourmet. This wasn't any old Ol Country Buffet crap. They had lobster claws in the buffet. Anywho, John and I decided to enjoy ourselves, but we also decided not to visit the burger place on the boat, because we can get burgers any time. And we also ixnayed the pizza bar. We live in Chicago for goodness sakes, a pizza bar on a boat could never compare.
I also had one of the best massages I've ever had. The masseuse thought I was in my early 20's, much too young to have 3 kids. And she said that I must be happy with what I'm doing because it keeps me young.
So, yes, I am happy. I'm so glad John and I had this opportunity. We spent part of the time speculating on where our 15 and 20 year anniversaries will take us, but we know we have plenty of time for that. Still, it was good to reconnect, whether at the wine bar, or pool side, or during tea time (mmm...pastries) or during the hypnotists show (so awesome!). I really do recommend couples go away for a bit of time away from the kids though. I keep telling John that I don't want to be like Al Gore, or other people who find out when their kids leave that all they really liked about each other were their kids.
I suppose I don't have to worry about that one though...we still really really like each other too.
And so I leave you with another awesome sunset....

Just kidding, there's more. This is me taking a picture of John taking a picture.

Truly, one of my favorite pics from the trip. Mostly because of how natural it is. He looks red because we were watching the sun set. But this is John's real happy face, not the face you see in the posed pictures he takes.

Okay, now this. THIS is a joke. He was annoyed I took the pic, but then he thought that this was really funny, so he decided to frame it for his sister to put on her wall, so that any time she was in doubt about a decision she has to make, all she has to do is look at this and think, "WWJD". Or, What Would John Do. And the face will give her the direction she needs.

Love that he's got such a GREAT sense of humor. Maybe, really, THAT is what keeps me young. Because if laughter is the best medicine, that's probably the reason I'm never really sick.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

On Cruise Control

Those of you on facebook know that they have recently updated the profile page. It looks wonderfully overwhelming. You can also add information in about where you live, work, eat, sleep, crap, and whatnot. The new profile asks you to answer questions such as the following: Who inspires you? And "Who are your favorite athletes"?

My favorite athletes....that one is easy. I could get all Chicago-ey on people and be lame and say oooohh... Ron Santo (May he rest in peace), or Michael Jordan. But that would not be true. My favorite athletes are also some of the same people who inspire me. JulzHolla www.weisswomen.blogspot.com being one of them. And www.momontherocks.com Leslie being another. These women are amazing mothers, friends, and yes, athletes. The three of us tackled the Omaha Olympic distance tri together this summer, and I got to not only accomplish something HAYUGE but I was inspired by how hard they work, how they cheer each other on (and me too), and seriously, how they made so many friends before, during, and after the event. When I say these women are so open and loving they make friends everywhere, it is not a joke. And so for this they are 2 of my favorite athletes.

Then there's Keri www.baylorandbrody.blogspot.com. A natural athlete who keeps wanting to race with me, but I can't because I'm pretty sure I'd be embarrassed by how good she is. And yet, she manages to balance work, family and play very well. Nicely done.

Some of my other favorite athletes are also my local runner friends, Cheryl who always kicks my butt when we do our Run for the Bear cancer run, Julie and Kim....who keep me motivated to run a 9.3 mile race and continue training all the time.

These are my favorite athletes, because they have touched my life and made it better. I don't care about some showboating, penis waving, crotchety old hack of a famous quarterback. Give me my girls.

The other question was about who inspires me. I could say something prolific like, "Mother Teresa", but that's pretty lame because she should inspire everybody to do good for others. Nah. As I said, my favorite athletes are the same people who inspire me.

But, there's also my yoga instructor Jean, who during her practice teaches us to follow our own inner guide and only speak words which are intentional, kind, true and necessary. Think about that for a moment. Or ten. Only speak that which is kind. True. And Necessary-the hardest part. Have you done that today? It's hard to do all three at once, but with intentional practice works wonders for your soul.

My Pastors inspire me. They don't rant and rave about God Almighty so much as gently coax those of us lucky enough to sit in the pews on a Sunday to be an example of God's love and kindness to others all the days of our lives. Every month they send out a flier with words of wisdom, and I have saved them on more than one occasion.

As most of you know, John and I are going on a 10 year celebrate our anniversary cruise next week (thanks Ma for watching the kiddos). Sometimes I wonder what the hell we were thinking doing this so close to Christmas! There are parties to be had. Presents to be bought and wrapped. The house needs to be clean. I realized though, how important it was to celebrate such an achievement, because to get to 10 years and live in the minority of statistical marital evidence deserves a CELEBRATION! In the midst of all the craziness of preparing for the cruise, I got the Newsletter from our church Pastors, and it could not have come at a more appropriate time.

Thus, I leave you with their words that inspire me, and inspire peace. A true "Recipe for Peace".

"A Recipe for Peace

Wouldn't it be nice if there were peace on earth, peace within our families, and peace within ourselves? If we couldn't have these, wouldn't it be nice to have peace at least a few days before or after Christmas? We all know what time of year this is, Christmas time. During Christmas, we are often short of money, short of time, and short of temper, short of patience. In preparations for the Prince of Peace, wouldn't it be nice to have a little bit of Christmas peace at your house or mine?

Down deep inside of every human being, there is a deep God-given longing that there would be a greater sense of peace within ourselves, within our families, within our nation, an between nations. Isaiah, the prophet, had the same longings. During his time, his people had been fighting for forty years. Can you imagine what it is to live in Palestine or Afghanistan, or Iraq today? Isaiah knew that when God created humankind it was not Gods' intention for us, parents and children, and blacks and whites and Arabs and Israelis, and Persians and Americans, Muslims and Christians, to be at war with each other.

Isaiah knew and understood the recipe for peace so that the people of Israel could live at peace with each other. So he gave them the recipe, but they didn't understand it, so for 700 years the people continued to fight with each other until the Prince of Peace, Jesus, came to earth and actually walked in the paths of peace.

The first part of this recipe is this: a person needs o be filled with the Spirit of the Prince of Peace, Jesus. When the Spirit of the Prince of Peace begins to live inside of you, you start becoming a peaceful person, more tolerant, more at ease. You can't skip that ingredient in the recipe.

Second, anytime the Spirit of the Prince of Peace lives inside of you, it results in righteousness, right relationships between two people or nations. Righteousness is to treat each other with gentleness, kindness, and forgiveness. Righteousness always consists of a healthy dose of forgiveness. You can't have peace in any family without forgiveness. You cannot have peace without righteousness. You just can't.

Third, anytime the Spirit of the Prince of Peace lives inside of you, it results in justice. You cannot have peace without justice, fairness, equity for the millions or billions on earth who are hungry and starving and don't have clean water or gainful employment.

However, we want to take shortcuts. There are not shortcuts to peace in our families, and not shortcuts to peace within our inner hearts and minds, and no shortcuts to peace in the world. there are no shortcuts to God's peace. All three steps are needed; all three ingredients are absolutely essential; the Prince of Peace inside, righteousness, and justice. We need ALL THREE ingredients or it won't work.

The angels in the Christmas story were singing high above the shepherds and they sang, "Peace on earth, good will towards all people, with whom God is well pleased." The angels did not sing, " Peace on earth for all people....Peace on earth carte blanche. Anyone with a credit card can charge it." Rather, the song of peace adds a crucial ingredient, "with whom God is well pleased:' that is, people who do the will of God will find peace. Many people want the shortcut and omit the phrase, "with whom God is well pleased." Do you long for peace? Do you long for peace in your marriage, in your family, in yourself? Do you long for peace among the nations? Yes, we all do.

Peace can actually happen......You see given time, and certain conditions peace can and does happen, even to all of you cynics that don't believe in God's peace. Peace can happen in your marriage, in your children, in your workplace. We know that there are no shortcuts to peace, although some people foolishly try them. There is a recipe for peace: The Prince of Peace inside our hearts and motivations who then work for righteousness and justice. When it is all done, many individuals, families and nations find peace and live in peace.

We all know what time of year this is, Christmas time. Will you be short of time, short of temper, short of patience, short of tolerance and understanding? In preparation for the Prince of Peace, wouldn't it be nice to have a little bit of Christmas peace at your house or mine?"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Hooligan Squad

My kids are nuts. Pretty certifiably. Unless I'm the one that's nuts, and since no one has had the mercy to lock me in a padded room, I get to regale you with my stories.

Often times, the boys get the nicknames of Beevis and Butthead. One blond, one dark. Sitting on the couch grunting 'laughs'. You think it's a t.v. show. That's a joke. It's my living room.

Last night I took the boys to their school for a Don't Stop The Music program, where there is singing, and dancing, and learning of instruments and how to clap out rhythms, etc. You can drop your kids off, and since they have a hard time participating when I'm there, I decided to do the drop off. Maddie and I needed to run to the grocery store for some things for this party I'm having here Saturday. John was doing Christmas things that cannot be done with kids around, if you know what I mean.

So, I plunked them into 2 folding chairs, said hello the the speech therapist, waved at the Principal, and cockily took my merry ass to Jewel/Osco.

They were supposed to be performing at 7:15, and I got back just in time. I looked in the dance crowd for Nate. Then Jack. They were nowhere to be found. Then....I see them. Pointing at me and laughing. They were in the EXACT same spots I'd left them in an hour earlier. They hadn't even taken off their hats. Or gloves. Or coats. They hadn't moved. In an hour. Obviously they did not participate either.

I was, for lack of a better word, FURIOUS! But I was also laughing to myself. What the hell is wrong with these kids? Mostly I was mad because the high school kids work really hard on a volunteer basis to put together such an awesome program. Then I figured, this will be the story they tell each other, when they're in high school sharing a beer (trust me, I know that one's coming. I'm not even in denial) saying, and laughing in their Beevis and Butthead voices...

"huh huh huh....remember the time, when mom made us go to that STOOPID music program.... and we did nothing. Yah, that was funny. Huh huh huh huh huh..."

Their first drunk story. I am so freaking proud.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Been a Busy Week

Aside from the usual Thanksgiving Festivities, we've been plowing through our annual traditions around here, mostly because the hubby and I are going on a Carribbean cruise in a few weeks for the 5 days leading up to Christmas. I couldn't pull the kids out of school to celebrate so momentous an occasion, and so basically, I'm losing a week with my holiday shopping, preparing, decorating, etc. Add to that hosting a ginormous party this upcoming weekend which I am very excited about, and well, I feel a bit pressed.

One of MY favorite fam traditions is going to the city to see the Holidays around the World exhibit at the museum of Science and Industry. Then we hit the hotel for about 10 minutes, go to dinner at Rainforest Cafe (we use our meal coupons from the summer reading program at the library), and then go to Lincoln Park Zoo. Their zoo lights exhibits are amazing, and it's cool to see the gorrilla's sleeping in their nests.

The final day is spent in the pool at the hotel for a bit, and then we hit the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier. Way too much fun.

This is the motley crew in front of the Blackhawks tree at the MSI. My camera, no matter the settings, cannot do it justice. Rest assured it's beautiful. And amazing. The topper was the Stanley Cup...or at least a foam replica of it. We skip around a bit. You can't tell, but this is some ice carvings at the the zoo. By the way, it was FREEZING Friday night.

At the MSI, there is a circus area, complete with funhouse mirrors. Nate thinks his enormous head is hilarious. I swear, the kids spent like 10 minutes running mirror to mirror. Even people passing thought they were a riot. Proud mother moment...There's my kid with the gargantuan head.....

This is me and the monkeys in front of the penguin exhibit.

At the Chicago Children's Museum, playing Fireman Dress Up. She wanted to be the puppy.

Nate found it necessary to dress up in adult sized fireman clothes instead of the ones they had for his size.

Jack found one with the pants a little too short...

It's a fun exhibit. You get to call on the radio in the truck to dispatch, put out LED fires with a laser like hose....crawl through a simulated smokey house....

There's also an area where you can build a sky scraper. Or, as my dad thought, a shed in the backyard. You get screws, and nuts, and a 'nutdriver'.

She was very enthusiastic about building, just like the brothers.

Nate made some sort of artsy craftsy project. It involved a lot of tape, and we're still not sure what it was.

This is the house that Jack built.....

Race car pig tail girl.

This was fun. There's an extra exhibit there that we didn't go into all about Jim Henson and his muppets. Kermit was under the tree. It was fun to spot the puppets in the presents.

I leave you with me and the Crew!

Let the Holiday Season Begin!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Well, I was BUSY winning WORST Mother of the Year Award...What Were YOU doing?

I feel bad for my friend Keri. Mostly, because she doesn't live close enough to me to get into the nitty gritty of mommy hood. She blogs a lot about how she knows certain mommies who are way too freaking awesome. Their kids are for lack of better wording, THE BOMB! Oh, you know those mama types who have all their shit together (and are medicated) and they and their children are righteously perfect with no effort made on their part.

Well, My dear Keri, sit down, while I chat with you and brag about how CRAPPTACULAR of a mother I am. Some moms brag about how awesome their kids are....Ummmmm I kinda sorta live in the real world...

Okay...here's my story. I have actually debated about blogging about it, because I could be reported. But I made my phone calls. Those directly involved promised me they would report me. If you decide to report me, I will deny this is my blog. And so,....

Monday night I went to my preschool board meeting and told my dear friend Jenny, "WAIT until I tell you how I lost the "Mother of the Year" award this time around."

She's pretty much in contention with me for "Worlds Worst Mom", so she was giddy...excited. She replied..."Ooooh, I can't wait.... does it involve illegal activities?" To which I unfortunately truthfully responded..."Um, Yah, Kind of".

So, back to the story of how bad I suck at my day job. We all know John works from home way too much, or 3-5 days a week, I mean, I LOVE HAVING HIM HOME. I assumed wrongly he would be home Monday afternoon when he said Monday at 8 a.m. that he gave up working out early because he was too tired. I assumed wrongly he was done for the day when I decided to go to Walmart to get a sewing kit to sew on these stupid Boy Scout Patches that he would be home. Madders had a ride home from school Nate had a ride home. Great. But Nobody was home. I was at Walmart. John decided to go for a run.

I got a call from Maddie's Mommy friend asking if John was home (as she was dropping Maddie off), because Nate came outside when she dropped Maddie off saying he had NO IDEA where his Mommy and Daddy were.

Here is the breakdown in a nutshell. Nate gets home at 11:20. Maddie got home at 11:45. Mommy was at Walmart doing Boy Scout B.S., Daddy was running....Nate was home unsupervised for roughly 25 minutes. Yes, I left my son unsupervised for damn near half an hour. Let's read that more closely. Nate was HOME ALONE. Macauly Culkin style. I messed up, because I cannot depend on my husband to be home at my whim when he works from home.

If you want to report me fine, but I warn you...I might enjoy it. Quiet time. No cleaning up the same mess day after day after day after day after day. But I assure you it was an honest mistake. Even if it involved illegal activities.

Nate did great by the way. He turned on the t.v. and went to his happy "Sponge Bob SquarePants" place.

Now, Jenny thinks it's funny that I felt bad, and in my "bad mommy moment" I knelt beside him and said, "Nate, Mommy is soooo sorry. I feel terrible. Nest time this happens, go to Annika's house". It's funny because I prefaced it with a "next time" clause.

Look, I gotta cover my bases.

Even when I Eff Up.

Because I'm not perfect. I never pretend to be.

And we've all survived in spite of it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Because a Regular Day Isn't Crazy Enough

I took some really cute photos of the kids carving pumpkins a while back, so I thought I'd share before my explanation of why I never have time to blog.

Maddie was very excited to be doing things mostly on her own this time! Jack REALLY did it on his own. He used the little tools and everything. He was also relatively injury free for the evening, which was nice.

Okay, this is the actual Halloween photo. Nate decided he wanted to be a Ninja instead of a dinosaur. I didn't care either way because the costumes were $3 a piece at Good Will. They served their purpose.

He did NOT carve that. He just picked the design. But, knowing Nate he'd probably tell you that he did.

Yesterday was really so much FUN! Really. Dripping with sarcasm fun. It all started on Monday when I took the yahoos (I mean boys) for the 6 month dental check up. After the whole rigamarole with Nate a little over a year ago I do not take chances and we go religiously for our cleanings.

Well, it was discovered that Mr. Deformed Enamel somehow had an already filled molar rampant with decay. In fact, it was so bad part of his tooth had broken off. Our regular dentist had threatened with another "kiddie root canal". Yay!

With our insurance, the regular dentist will not treat this problem, so I had to go to a Pedontist. Which means the nearest one on my insurance is over 20 miles and 45 minutes away. Riduculous. Plus, they only see kids under 6 before 11 a.m. on a weekday. That does not work with going to school from 8:30-11:15. More ridiculous. So I made our appt. for the Monday before Thanksgiving...Dentist at 8, parent teacher conferences at 11:15.

Oh, but that was not to be. When I called for the initial appt. they asked if he was complaining of any pain. "Ummm...I don't really pay that much attention to him, because he is a middle child and all, but I will check on that and get back to you later."

So, I asked Nate. Does your mouth ever hurt buddy? And his answer was, "Only when I bite down."


So I called the dentist yesterday at 8:15 and explained. They wanted me there by 9 a.m. Uh, no, that is not physically possible...I took 6 kids to school yesterday (I love carpools by the way). So they wanted us at 1. 1 I could do.

We got there and they took him in right away. I was about to get a nice butt grove going and was just about to crack open my book when the dentist called me back and said, "Yeah, I'm going to have to fix this for you right now." Yup. It was THAT bad.
So I asked the receptionist what that meant for insurance and she went to veryify with doc what that meant and they couldn't tell me because the dentist was not all that sure what he would find when he went in. double crap.
As it turned out (sorry for the buzzkill), he did NOT need a baby root canal, but the filling is huge. Apparently he has to keep this tooth to save the space for his grown up molars. Whatever.
Can't wait to get this bill just in time for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Little Miss....Inapropriate

Today is Wednesday, which means Nate had OT and ST (occupational and speech therapy), which means I was at my clinic for almost 2 hours, which means I got to chat it up with a very dear and good friend of mine for a while before I subjected myselft to torture for the sake of being um, ahem, "athletic".

Jenny and I banter. Back and forth like old ladies. She shares my visceral hatred of some words like secrete, and moist, only on a scale of 1-10 her gag reflex is set at 100. People come in just to listen to our back and forth. We could probably make quite a bit of money off this routine, and lest ye think we hold back, be warned you should really have a thick skin when you have this good a rapport with someone. I have a handful of friends it works with. The rest I have to remember that I can't call you a "bitch" because you think it's derrogatory, not a term of endearment. That's okay though, my DB friends know who they are.

So, Jenny and I were talking. About how she bought a new minivan. From Iowa. That was hit by a deer. And she hasn't even seen it yet, but her brother said it was okay, so I guess we trust him, which of course set me off on a rant. I must've said something pretty awesome, because she said, "Do you know those little miss books? Yeah, you'd be "little miss Inappropriate". And I could not argue, because that is pretty much true.

At 2:00 today I visited the Sports Med section of the clinic I work at for some therapy of my own that did not include a bottle of some fine full bodied red. I lay down on the table, and before she even touched me, my PT Goddess Carolyn (who runs a lot more than I do) says, "Yah, I don't even have to touch you and I can SEE how tight your IT band is". Is that bad? I vaguely wondered....until she ultrasounded it, and then massaged the CRAP out of it. Tears and physcial therapy go hand in hand like MnM's and popcorn...that's all I'm sayin'. There may have been a few embarrassing watery trickles leaking down my cheeks, but maybe not since I was squeezing my eyes so tight to not focus on the pain. Yoga breathing did not help. The outer part of my left knee is probably going to be bruised tomorrow, but that's okay because she realigned my right hip (probably out of whack because of the left knee) and then kinesiotaped me for the extra support for this Hot Chocolate 15k I'm running on Saturday.

Yes, I'm running over 9 miles. No, I'm not in my right mind, and I do not know what I was thinking.

Then Carolyn decides that I'm not in enough pain so she showed me just how much more pain I can subject myself too if I just position my IT band on a foam roller just right and roll it out. I quote, "If it hurts, you're in the right spot. If it doesn't, you're either too far forward and on the quad, or too far back on your hamstring." Friends, hurt is an understatement. It was pain of the type that made me nauseous and is supposedly GOOD for me. So now I get to buy a foam roller and do these exercises 2x a day and hope it helps with the pain. It's like, you have to spend money to make money, only more like, you have to be in excruciating wanting to die pain before the other pain in your knee goes away. Hmmmm....

What is actually wrong with me? Well, according to The Goddess of Sports Med, My IT band is so tight it is pulling my kneecap up and making it gap, thus causing some tendonitis below the knee. My hip only hurts because I wanted to avoid my knee hurting...a compensation injury if you will.

So, wish me luck with this 15k. It's for a really good cause. And wish me luck with my knee, because I don't want to have to do again what I did today.

Yeah, that pretty much sucked.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mom Prom, Take 2

Last year, I got to go to my first ever Prom. The Mom Prom. I never went in high school because I was never asked. I was pretty much a fat dork, so it's no surprise. I spent Prom Night with my buddy Karl (he didn't want to go to prom either) watching a first run showing of Forest Gump. It was a good time, and having known Karl since we were in 2nd grade, it was like attending a movie with a sibling. Our last hurrah before college consisted of an American Graffiti style night out involving the local pool and illegal activities.....but I digress.

Last year I dressed as Waldo's girlfriend. This year...well...you'll see. And I got to take BOTH boys to the Prom! It was so fun!

This is my son the skeleton. Last year he wanted to be a skeleton, and I couldn't find the costume. This year I found the costume at Good Will for $5, brought it home and he decided he wanted to be a Storm Trooper. And I unknowingly offended anything with a penis when I said, "But you were one 2 years ago." GASP! "NO MOM!! I was NOT a Storm Trooper, I was a CLONE Trooper, they are different."
Really? There's a freaking difference? When can I start playing that Star Wars drinking game, the one where everytime you see a bad guy in white you take a shot???

Doesn't Nate look ferosh? I am so proud of him though...he went to the dance with me and only freaked out a little bit. Then he was happily doing the hand jive, and the macarena, and we even did the Charlie Brown. "Everybody Clap your haaaaaaaands! Stomp, criss cross!"More ferociousness. These costumes better bag them a lot of candy.

Okay, so here's the story. I decided to be one of the Andrews sisters after I found the army jacket and couldn't find any pants that fit me. Apparently there are a lot of heavier men wearing army costumes around Halloween, and then giving the costumes to goodwill. If you don't know who the Andrews' were, google them. Think Bugle Boy. ALL the mommies at the dance got it. I know, I know I know! In their famous army photo for the USO they wore button down shirts with a tie, but young boys wouldn't get that AT ALL, and they thought the army jacket itself was cool. Add to that the fact that I told them I was from the 1940's and I was borderline cool.

After the dance, I put the boys to bed and went to a grown up party with my neighbor. Thank goodness it was within walking distance. It was a fun party...I attempted to be all gossipy and get some scoop on someone my neighbor and I both know and before I could ask the question in my head I was handed a shot of whiskey, which then made me even forget I had a question to begin with.
Then Shaggy Do was refilling my beer and asked me why I was dressed as an Angry Nazi for Halloween. In case you've never seen me when I've had a few...Ummmm...I don't get angry. Sure, I may drunk dial my parents, but I don't get angry. So where this dude got ANGRY Nazi from is beyond me. The Nazi thing...maybe. Maybe I should have told people I was Eva Braun.
Later in the evening there was this dude there named Bob with no costume on. So I taught him how to fist pump and started introducing him to everyone as my new friend "The Situation". Obnoxious yes, Angry, no.
Saturday was fun. Slight headache, but moreso just exhaustion. When's the last time I went to a grownup party like that?
When can I go again?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When You Have To Choose

I'm starting to realize that part of my problem with artistic endeavors, home decorating, painting, and being organized is the requirement that you need to make choices. And what makes that harder is that the choices you have to make have to be done from such a vast array of possibilities that all just look so good. That's why I'm good at cooking and baking. You have one choice: Dinner with some allergen parameters and you're given the ingredient list with some variations. I can make those choices. I can help my children choose their clothing in the morning because it needs to be weather appropriate. I can choose a good book to read or movie to watch.

I cannot choose between my children.

Now, I'm not referring to choosing between them as in, "Who do I like more today?" because the real answer to that question varies. Daily. Hourly. Minute-ly. But now, I am faced with a very real situation that requires me to make a choice between Nate and Maddie. Don't worry, it's not life or death or anything as melodramatic as that, but still.

I consider myself to be a good mom. Maybe not a GREAT mom, but I really don't have the time or energy to be a GREAT mom. You know who the GREAT moms are, they never yell (my theory is they are medicated), they are always just a tad on the weirdly overjoyed side to see their kids home from school (medicated or drunk?) and they make cute little cut out sandwiches for their kids lunches. Oh, and GREAT moms do home made Halloween costumes. I fit into not one of those categories, but I do provide my children with basic necessities: food when they're grunting about hunger pains, activities such as soccer and gymnastics and basketball. I even show up for those cold ass soccer games that I ENJOY SO FREAKING MUCH.

However, as a just good enough mom, I now have to choose whose Thanksgiving program I go to. This is the problem with children who are 13 and 1/2 months apart. They do the same kind of stuff for school on the same days at the EXACT same time, the only problem is the schools are 15 minutes down the road from each other.

So, who do I support? Either way, someone will be disappointed that Mommy and daddy can't BOTH be there to watch. Nate has lines he needs to memorize. It's like a real show. This is Maddie's last year in preschool (the same preschool I've been with for the past 5 years), and so I'd love to be there for sentimental reasons.

How do I choose who I am lucky enough to let down that day? We only have 1 videocamera, so I can't record both of them to show the other parent. It's a conundrum, and the best solution I have is to beg the kindergarted teacher to allow me to come in for a dress rehearsal. But still, it won't be the same.

I'll never be a GREAT mom, but I was hoping I'd pass the test to be at least a C average mom. I'm thinking that if this is only the first of a few major let downs on my part in choosing between children, I may not even make the grade at all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Patching

We decided to take the kids to another pumpkin patch this year, even though we drove 1 1/2 to go to one for my cousin's kiddos 3rd birthday. It was a beautiful day, as it was over 80 degrees, which made riding on a hay ride seem a bit odd. But we had fun anyway.

Yes, this is the 4 people I love the most, even if John makes funny faces every time I ask him to pose nice for the camera.

These bouncy pillow thingies are the bomb. THE. B.O.M.B.! I'm glad they are finally making their way to IL, as if you remember (which I'm sure you don't) we first got acquainted with them 3 years ago at Vala's Pumpkin Patch in Omaha.

Down she goes!

I'm going to turn this black and white. Or sepia. And do something with it. Unless Keri has a better idea. I just love this shot.

Frickin' goats. I hate goats. Almost as much as I hate balloons. And cats. These goats didn't smell as bad as goats usally do, but still. Why are goats ALWAYS the only animal you can really pet in a petting zoo? And WHY do they always try to eat my clothes? I hate goats.

This is me and the kiddos. Almost Christmas card perfect!

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday 5's (Five New Fotos, Five New Facts)

Yes, this is Nate, laying in the middle of the street in front of the house. And yes, I took a picture of it. He was punching Jack and Jack just gave it right back to him. No, he's not wearing shoes. How sweet is this? Until you know that Jack was teaching Maddie to rollerblade so that she could play hockey with him. As in, he could shoot pucks at her with the old hockey stuff Opa "donated" to him. Dad was nice enough to give Jack his old hockey stick, which happens to have been a lefty. Pretty soon, I'm sure Dad's going to be donating other random things in his garage to his 4 favorite boys....tools....tools....maybe some fishing stuff....did I mention his tool collection?

What I WANTED to do was take a picture of Maddie. What wound up happening was Nate jumped right in front of my camera. He does that a lot.

It's like the helmet is bigger than her head. And when she falls she just says " Oooh, I fell on my booty! Good thing I have cushion on my bootie!"

I love this pic. Action shots are my fave. It's real life, not a posed moment. And if you know my kids, those posed moments don't always turn out so well....

Five Facts about Jack:
1.) He's getting better at soccer. Such a difference between first and second grade. He likes to say that he's got "mad defense skills", and his father and I have 'mad eyerolling skills'.
2.) He's tall and skinny. Do you know how hard it is to find 8 SLIM pants?
3.) His favorite foods are spaghetti, hamburgers and fruit. When offered a snack, he goes for fruit.
4.) He got to watch Pirates of the Caribbean last week, and wants Nate to watch it with him because he says it's not scary. I'm still on the fence, but they DO seem able to separate the Star Wars Fantasy land from real life pretty well, it would probably be the same with Pirates.
5.) The kid LOVES slapstick. He's been after John to find more Stooges episodes.
Five Facts about Nate:
1.) He's doing really well reading sight words. We've even read some Dick and Jane and Dr. Seuss books together. Wow.
2.) He's very seriously a math whiz. The kid adds and subtracts like crazy.
3.) Right now, on his bedroom floor, there is an epic battle going on amongst all his guys. Some are in the window sills, some are on the bed. It's a death match.
4.) The kid changes his underwear and clothes 3-4 times a day. Not because they're dirty, but because he doesn't like wearing long pants on his legs, and hates pants buttons, and HATES socks.
5.) He's a tv/wii junkie. I REALLy have to limit it, or he will be a couch potato. And he'll be happy about it too.
Five Facts about Mads:
1.) She's now in preschool 4 mornings a week. Wednesdays are "enrichment" days, and she LOVES it.
2.) She picked out a witch costume for Halloween, and wants to be a scary witch. Some days she's all girly girl, and some days she takes a street hockey puck to the chest. I love that.
3.) She LOVES music. She likes to go to the library and get cd to listen to. Currently, she's been singing at the top of her lungs the Veggie Tales Christmas Songs. LOVE IT!
4.) She sort of has a lisp. It seems to be resolving though. I keep reminding myself she's young. And she's stimulable when corrected.
5.) She can still fit in 24 month pants/skirts/shorts, but needs at least a 3T for the length. She swims in a size 4 (she only weighs 32/33 lbs). But, since she's so tall, she can wear 4 or 5 tops. Doc says she's 'almost' in the 20th percentile for weight, which dropped from a year agot from being almost in the 50th. But, she's healthy, happy, and I'm not going to worry!