Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bring it on Boys!

The boys got their Xbox 360 for Christmas. Of Course that is all they want to do, and it is all my husband does not want them to do.  I am so tired of hearing the fighting, already that I ask myself, why do I keep any of these ingrates around? No, wait -  why did I buy the game system.

We are all starting to come up for air after being attacked by the Christmas virus that went through the whole house.  I knew I needed a few things from the store so I asked for help making a menu for the next couple days and doing the shopping.  It was only 4:30 p.m. and it was either find another activity or listen to more screaming and fighting over the Xbox for 4 more hours.

No one was interested, Surprise. Three boys and no one wants to help with domestic chores. So I threatened them.  Either help make a menu or eat Goulash and help shop or no Xbox.  My husband decided he was exempt, so he not gets to make dinner tomorrow night and I "accidently" forgot his veggie burgers. Ha!

The boys got on board when I told them they would each get a grocery list.  If they got all the items on the list correctly and beat me to the checkout they would get 5 minutes of Xbox per item and a bonus 15 minutes for beating me.  I even tried to go to a Grocery store that I don't usually shop at but they decided they could still take me.  Bring it on boys.....heeheeheee!

So the eleven year-old started plotting in the car, checking out both lists and trying to help his brother with where items were located before we got to the store.  He tried to bolt from the car in  he parking lot to get a head start which I put the Kibosh on.  We entered the store, each grabbed a basket, and it was Game On.

The eleven-year-old was off with no looking back, grabbing organic fruit, not reading labels or items. Roockie.  The eight-year-old was calculated, checking his list twice, checking in with me - "Should I get two bunches of banana's they look small?" Love this boy. Even with the more difficult items like Pesto, deli meat, and brown rice I was way in the lead. YES! The Deli girls were totally down with Team Mom and double teamed my order while they cheered "Go Mom Go!!"

Somehow the entire store was in on this by the time we raced to the checkout lines.  One of the dad's was cheering on the boys, the store manager was helping them find items, and one woman was following my eight-year-old around and cracking up. She just kept saying, It's just like Home Alone.

Needless to say, I was finished first. But it's Christmas. I'm feeling generous. Well, that and the pressure from everyone in the store that thought it was an ingenious way to earn Video Game time. Once in a while I have a good idea.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Homework anyone?

At least once a week I get a phone call or text from someone asking if we have tonight's homework.
"Can you take a picture and text it to me" or "Can you scan and email it to us".  If we are not sharing we are doing the searching. And then finally when we are not sharing or searching, we are complaining.
"I didn't hear her say do the back of the worksheet! It wasn't on Schoology - I wasn't the only one".

What is going on?!  This is public school - they can't beat the children for missing assignments like the nuns of my day.  Why are we all so terrified of not getting homework done? I understand the kids being upset....we've already been down that rode this year.  The teachers are taking away recess.

For a school that uses the Love and Logic discipline model - how does taking recess away show consequences for not having your homework? Just sounds old school to me.  The nuns either beat us up, sent us to confession, or took away recess. 

There are no letter grades until fourth year, but there is plenty of testing.  Third graders take three different standardized test. Fall and Spring.  What are third graders getting done besides test prep, test taking, or test reviewing? That's not stressful.

Do we have the wrong theory on successful schools?  Those with great test scores and lots of homework are making the best students? The best citizens? Are we really preparing our children for the Twenty First Century? Maybe we are holding on too tight to how things used to be.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

We are not raising athletes here....

I was walking in the neighborhood the other day and stopped briefly to chat with a group of mom's who had just put their kids on the bus.  One of them was asking us "sports" moms what season it was now because she was thinking of getting her son signed up for something.  Another mom gasped and said it was Basketball season but most teams had already started practice.
"If you are not a team by now you may have trouble finding one." She stated as nicely as suburbianly possible.

The woman's response has been swirling in my head for days, she just laughed and said,
"Oh that's not a problem we are not raising athletes over here."
So what are you raising?

Seriously? Are you raising Desk Jockey's? Scholars? Hermits? I didn't think I was raising athletes either necessarily. There's no Pele or Jordan in this house. I'm raising my children - more specifically boys. Most boys I've met, especially mine, need exercise and lots of it. Sitting around for too long starts World War IV in our house everyone gets so crabby.  Locking kids up for 8 hours a day is the governments job, it's called the public school system.

I'm not just saying this because my husband is a Personal Trainer Extradinaire who eats, breathes, and sleeps exercise.  I know it personally-my anxiety, depression, IBS can get out of control when I get too stagnant.  We all know that your body needs exercise but now there is powerful research that proves your brain needs it! So especially if you are raising scholars they need exercise to grow that big brain.

The last four or five days when I take off for my morning workout which starts with a two mile walk/jog her statement just keeps popping back into my head-.
I have decided that I am raising athletes, and proud of it.  Because life is a full contact sport.  I want them to be ready for everything, able to handle anything, and not afraid of sweat or hard work.  If they learn some of that through Basketball or Soccer - fantastic! (Because I've spent a awful lot of time hanging out with them there.)

But if they also learn that from cleaning out the garage or basement, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, shoveling our driveway as well as all the neighbors over 65 - fantastic!  Good thing we got a workout in, I'm tired just writing about it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Mother's Parenting Book

My brother is going to kill me for writing this blog. I can hear my phone blowing up right now with "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!"  Just hear me out, bro.

I am currently in the process of pulling together poems that I have already written along with stuff I am writing specifically to consider for publication.  Most of these poems have a similar theme, anxiety.  These are not adult poems, so no free verse catharsis about my years spent living with anxiety.  Think more along the lines of Dr. Seuss meets Dr. Phil.  That sounded better in my head.

After seeing this common theme among so many of the silly rhymes that I have written, I took a look through my files today. I think I have mentioned that there is not much I collect other than words. Since anxiety is a huge part of my life from birth to giving to birth to two anxious boys (and marrying the third) I have collected a lot of words on this subject.

I have copied pages out of magazines, taken copious notes from books that I checked out of the library, and bookmarked 100's of websites.  There is no shortage of information at my fingertips.  So I started to route through it all.  I found something interesting.  In everything I have collected on parenting a child with high anxiety they all say something similar,

"You will never be able to take anxiety away for your child - they do need to experience some anxiety and overcome it in order to get through life."

Wow. I do not ever remember reading that before. But I did, I even copied it out of a book, and re-wrote it. I obviously wasn't ready to hear it.  Since having my children, I guess I have been so focused on them not having the same childhood that I did that I was convinced I could take the anxiety away.  Or that I could fix it. Or maybe absorb it.

My parents never worked to fix my anxiety growing up. In fact until about 5 years ago I thought they were totally clueless of the hell I went through just getting to school each day let alone the field trips, overnights, and high school. Then my mom told me her side of the story about the day she put me on a bus for a three day overnight camping trip with my class.  I just remember thinking I was going to die, my heart was pounding, my head was throbbing from crying for the last three hours.  I don't even think I packed my own bag that was a combination my mom and my older sister.  I just kept thinking, "How could she put me on this bus and expect me to make it?"  I was scared shitless and miserable.

So was my mom, evidently.  She told me that she sat in her car in the parking lot crying after the bus left.  She wasn't sure if she had done the right thing. But there was no one to ask and no way to know so she had to trust that I would pull through and if not she would get a call in two hours to come get me. She never got that call.

Little did I know my mom was writing the ultimate parenting handbook - Less is More by Barbie Babyboomer.  In talking with other friends with parents this age, we all have similar stories of thinking our parents would rather be with their friends than with us and not even knowing us growing up.  It has made us sensitive to making our children's experience of childhood so much different - coaching their teams, being their room mom's, video taping every event, performance, and milestone. We had none of that!

I turned out ok. I made it through (barely) but I did and look what I am today!
Ok now I can hear my brother laughing. Shut-up bubba you know what I mean.

What I am trying to say is, I can be mad as hell that my mother didn't spend as much time as I have reading, researching, worrying, and obsessing over my children's every experience and interaction. Or I can take a page from her parenting handbook and maybe step back a little now and then.  A lot of anxiety hasn't killed me-yet.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

That's what sister's are for ;-)

So I got a text from my older sister tonight. It read-
"I just grounded J for hitting K! Seriously how old is he? He is not ready for college!"

I busted out laughing. I couldn't help it. Her kids are 17,14, and 11.  Her baby is getting ready to head off to college next year. WOW, how time flies. I digress because I wasn't really reminiscing, I was still laughing my ass off and telling my husband stories of my sister at that age. 

Like the time she came home after school with her friends and found me wearing her socks. She tackled me, sat on my face, and ripped them off my feet.  Or the College visit with Dr. Jeckel and Sister Hyde.  She cursed my mother for making her go then spent an hour and a half in the car without speaking to her. (This is pre-celluar, ianything, or even decent radio out is Sticksville Midwest mind you) Only to get on the campus and run into a cute boy from our hometown. My  mom was livid as she suddenly turned into a charming demure young woman, who promptly ditched her mom.

Being the sensitive sister that I am I text this to my older sister who has obviously reached out in her hour of need-
"Remember when you...."

Hey, that's what sister's are for. I'm just keeping it real. Peace out.
Your Welcome.

P.S. to J and K - I have a lot stories more I could tell you ;-))))

sneaky little ....

Let's make this clear - I am the only one allowed to hide in the closet eating Halloween candy around here. Especially when it is in MY closet.

I love Halloween. Not because of the costumes, the decorations, the meaning, blah blah blah Because my kids bring home 5 lbs. of candy that I would never buy and further more that under any other circumstance my husband would not allow in the house.

So why do I hide it? Because my son's have my lack of self-control when around 5 lbs. of candy. None. And because my husband would have thrown it out on October 31st- if he could have found it.  I realized this after several Halloweens where, after I woke from a chocolate coma on Nov. 1st, the candy bag was empty and the garbage taken out. He knows me well.

The boys candy bags have been in the back of my closet behind a bag of extra toys I forget each year at Christmas and two purses that my mother unloaded on me.  I use them to store the tablecloths my mother-in-law unloads on me.  (When will either of them realize I don't use purses or tablecloths!) This blog is getting way off course isn't it?

We just took down a small tree that was dead and I thought it would be a great night for a fire pit. It isn't freezing cold yet, it was the perfect Fall day and the boys have been outside all day.  I have some graham crackers, marshmallows, but no chocolate. While I was debating running to the store it dawned on me that we had Halloween candy. Eureka!

I pull the bags out and start to dig for anything smore worthy like a full size Reece's cup or already smashed Snickers bar. Hey - this is not my first trip to the Rodeo, ladies.  As I am digging through my youngest son's bag I start to notice an unusual amount of empty wrappers.

Let me preface with -my boys are not super savvy when it comes to being sneaky. Like saying they have to use the bathroom when asked to clear the table, or saying they are going to take a "nap" with their itouch, and obviously like eating Halloween candy and leaving the empty wrappers in the Halloween bag. HA! Rookie. Everyone knows you shove the whole piece in your mouth and throw the wrapper away in the kitchen garbage bag under the dog poop bag. Well now they do anyway.

Needless to say we had a long talk about this sneaky behavior and the consequences were no smores or candy tonight. I think what I am most mad about is that this is the child that will not go anywhere in our house without one of us escorting him - but somehow found his way into the dark recesses of my bedroom closet to his candy bag. God I love these kids!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Emotional week

It's been an emotional week. The Lauren Hill story has been  daily news not only locally, but nationally. It makes you hug your kids tighter.

I meet our former babysitter, my husband's former co-worker, and a dear friends' 7 week-old baby boy.  He is beautiful! and talkative and alert and active- I don't want to change clothes because I smell like baby.  It's like that episode of Modern Family where Claire is rubbing the baby all over her while her dad looks on like she is nuts.

My children are happy one minute because there is no school on Election Day and then screaming the next because they can't play Nerf wars.  One minute my husband is pumped to go mountain biking in this unseasonal and gorgeous November weather and curing the next because the kids won't pick up their shoes.

It's been a week of up and down. A roller coaster ride. I'm never sure whether I'm laughing or crying, coming or going.  I keep hearing my grandmother saying "Expect the unexpected." But it wasn't until today in a quiet moment after the baby left, with all the boys outside busy somewhere that I smelled her.  Out of the blue, I smelled Grandma.

That's when the water works poured.  I have never felt so completely confident that my Grandmother was sitting right there next to me since she passed.  So I talked - just like old times. I made a cup of tea and almost got out the butter and crackers except I didn't have the right kind of crackers.  I told her how much I loved her, and missed her, and needed her here by my side.

I'm still going to hug the boys a little tighter tonight. Right after we go through old photo albums and relive some of those precious and not so precious moments that have made life richer by far.  Because like Grandma always said, "You have to take the good with the bad." or was that Facts of Life???

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Good things come to those who love...and never give up

This is a story you won't soon forget - this story touched us in more ways than one seeing as my Uncle George battled a nasty form of brain cancer similar to Lauren's that grows tentacles, is resistant to current medicine, and will ultimate take the life of the individual.  Lauren's motto "Never Give up".

But also this young woman's Coach, Dan "Bear" Benjamin, is a dear friend who has kept his love of coaching alive no matter how many times he was told to "give it up".  He is an amazing teammate, friend, coach, and father. He is like a brother to my husband and someone we are honored to call Uncle Bear.  Recently named the Head Women's Basketball Coach for Mount Saint Joseph University I know that he was put in this place and time for this young lady.....

Today is Lauren's last game, and Dan "Bear" Benjamin's coaching debut in college basketball.  Today they will both enter the arena one person - and exit another. Forever changed - forever touched by one another.

God Bless you both.

the TODAY show - NBC

here is the link to game highlights and interviews

MSJ website


the foundation taking donations for brain cancer research-Layup for Lauren

Ding Dong the Soccer's Done!!

At least it was for about a minute. I was so excited. I have had this day marked on my calendar for weeks - END OF SOCCER - and yet here I am gingerly holding my phone in my hand thus I may push a button without meaning to and suddenly get myself into a whole new pickle.  There is a text for one son's team asking if he can sub tonight for the first indoor game and a text from a former teammates mom asking if the other son can play indoor on their team in January.

I really want to be done. I really want to say good bye to soccer altogether, and yet here I am posed on the precipice of soccer drama to come.....stay tuned.

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's all about the sport

(Don't say I didn't warn you!)

When will you crazy ass folks stop living through your children? You can not relive High School  through your eight-year-old. So do us all a favor and sit your ass down and stop screaming "BOX OUT" and "SCREEN" in my ear.

And just because your kid plays an outdoor sport doesn't mean he can't hear you - he heard you - we all heard you! Three fields away.  Some class act you are dropping F-Bomb's at your kid's soccer game.

I am so sick and tired of sports it's not even funny. Maybe it was volunteering to be the Parent Administrator for the soccer team this season that threw me over the edge.  I hate the schedules, the expectations, the parents, the organizations, the league, and I am staring to hate the stupid little monsters that play.

Where the hell does an eleven-year-old get off telling a teammate that they have no business on the field?  Who are you, Messi? Pele'? When your sorry ass can even score a goal - let's talk. Maybe it's the fact that I just now got an email that my son does NOT have a basketball team to play on after all.

Seriously-do you know how hard it is to get your kids on teams? Oh no - it can't be the Recreation league. It can't just be pick up games on Saturday. This is the suburbs where we all live in house that looks exactly the same, we all drive the same damn mini-van, so of course our children can not possibly all be the same. Yours is the next best thing.

Do you want your kid to stand out in sports? Show them how to lose with dignity. Teach them to put a hand out and pick up the kid they ran over on the field/court even if it was a good play.  Make sure they learn the fundamentals of the game, good sportsmanship, respect, hard work, and character. Not how every game lost is someone else's fault - usually the referee- but never theirs.

I am far from perfect. I've been the crazy parent on the sideline, hell I even walked onto the Basketball court once and my kid was 8! Part of the reason I freaked out today when his basketball team went kapoop was because I could just see the downward spiral. He doesn't play in 6th grade so then he doesn't make a 7th/8th grade team and by the time he gets to High School he's got a C average, smokes pot, and doesn't go to college. He's an ABC Afterschool special waiting to happen!

Yes, I was suppose to be a drama major.  I can see the hysterics in this situation and also the light at the end of the tunnel. There is a reason that he isn't on a Basketball Team right now and whatever happens is what's suppose to be......whether I arm wrestle the neighbor over the last team spot or not. I could totally take her by the way.

Where have all the blogs gone.....

Did anyone else go to a Girl Scout camp where they sang folk songs like that one around the campfire?? Where have all the Flowers Gone? Thanks for helping to further depress the nine-year-old with anxiety issues.

Someone did ask me recently, What have you written lately? and I felt the cloak of shame fall heavy on my shoulders immediately wrapping me in the guilt of having to say, nothing.  I have a serious case of writers block. Although in my case it feels more like censorship.

I have had plenty to rant and rave about this year  Two kids, my mother-in-law living with us, still the same crazy husband, still crazy family.  It's just that my true intent was to record my humorous stories for family, friends, and eventually my kids and lately nothing feels humorous. Overwhelming, exhausting, and frustrating a lot of the time. Because of that I have been working very hard to focus my energy in a new directions. Productive, positive, peaceful directions.

I still have notes for many things I should be writing, but I guess because I often use writing as a catharsis it's time to purge. So WATCH OUT - Here she blows!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Back to Nature

My eleven-year-old, who I keep calling my ten-year-old because I lost a year somewhere, has been begging me for an Instagram account.  I've been totally ignoring it, kinda of like the fact that he is eleven and almost as tall as me.

Tonight however he said, "I don't think I want an Instagram account anymore?"

After I checked to make sure he didn't have a fever I asked him why.

"Because Darin said that he didn't really like having an Instagram account because of how it made him feel. He said it was weird. And I asked him if it was because we aren't popular."

wow. give me a minute.

Sensitive, insightful, wonder you aren't popular - YET! If only I could show him his 23 year-old self and say you going to be light years ahead of the popular kids. He went on...

"So today at recess Anthony said he would back us up and try to get everyone to play infection in stead of Hunger Games or whatever, but no one wanted to listen and so I said come on guys let's at least cooperate and vote. So they said fine and we said all in favor of infection and Darin and I were the only ones to raise our hands. Anthony just shrugged and said sorry. Why did he so that?"

Because not many people have the balls to stand outside the herd.  Look at nature.  Who do they kick out of the Pride? The one that won't eat his young to prove his manhood.

There is life outside the herd and I am proof of that.  There is also life outside of Facebook and Instagram. It may not feel like it right now, but I promise one say you won't be the one standing outside of the herd - you'll be the one leading it.

Test this!

It takes a major meltdown or five for me to figure out that my third grader is feeling a little too much stress.  Tonight was a whopper of a meltdown including a naked chest clutching child screaming "I'm going to Die!"

After 60 minutes of listening to screaming I wanted to clutch my own chest and scream "I wanna Die."  However, I could see that there was a bigger issue than the neighborhood soccer game gone arye and I needed to get to the bottom of it.

After finally getting the child to calm down and talk I discovered that he got two handball calls in the soccer game this week and Coach pulled him out of the game and his teammates "yelled" at him.  Translation - he was embarrassed.

What does this have to do with Third Grade you ask? Ah, but give it a moment.
 For I too was stupid enough to say it's just soccer, Don't sweat the small stuff.

No it wasn't just soccer.  Now as third graders they are taking several - that means three-  sets of standardized tests.  This started last week and as part of the Language Arts teachers practice for the big tests she is giving them little tests and scoring them in class.  So everyone gets to see if they are a 4,3,2 or 1.

Ahhh. I heard you sigh. I told -you would see where this is going.

"Well Jacob got a 4, and Lucy, and Isabella. And Deny got a 3..."

No matter how many times I tell my kids they are good enough and smart enough there will always be a standardize test to tell them they are not.  You know what I say - TEST THIS!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Talk.....who's job is it?

Can I take a poll? Who agrees that if you have girls the Mom gets to have "the talk" and if you have boys Dad gets to do it? One, Two , Three, ninety-nine......HA,  I win!

I was walking with a girlfriend the other day and she said that she had put together little "goodie" bags for her girls.  She had not intended to make one for each girl but started with the 7th grader, than realized she should probably include the 5th grader, then just felt bad not including the 3rd grader. So they all got one!

It was "the talk" goodie bag of feminine hygiene products: tampons, pads, deodorant, etc...she said she left them on their beds with a nice note that said "If you want, we can talk." To which I howled in laughter and gave her a hard time calling her Chicken $#!% for not having "the talk" just leaving a note.

But I love the idea- Brilliant!! My husband refuses to talk with our 6th grade boy about his body and what all is going on done there.  I keep arguing that I do not know enough about that accouterment to have an effective conversation. Remember my "sex talk" with him in 4th grade??? The whole debacle is well documented right here in this blog.

What do I put in the boy "talk" goodie bag? Condoms, lube, hand lotion? Could I Google it without getting 400 Porn sites instantly popping up on my computer because that would be EXACTLY when my mother-in-law would come in the room to ask me what to make for dinner.  It's gonna be a hard one (HA, no pun intended) to explain with my limited knowledge of the Greek language.  Maybe there is an example on Pinterest.  My friend looked at me with what was either shock, horror, or confusion it was hard to tell.  That's when she told me she had in fact already had "the talk" with them.

The 7th grader looked at her with what she could only think was shock, horror, or confusion. Ah, like Mother like daughter, good to know.  The 5th grader was excited and holler "Let's do this!" The 3rd grader was not really paying attention as she was too busy lacing up her athletic shoes that's when Mom realized she heard "Go for a walk" not let's have a talk.

I am so glad that someone else's sex talk went down in flames, does anyone have a boy "talk" goodie bag - seriously?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Courage is a Muscle - use it!

Have you ever had one of those experiences, several times, and then said to the universe, "Seriously!"

In my heart I know that the universe is trying to teach me something, but the voices in my head or around me are drowning everything else out. Such is Motherhood.

Instinct pulls you in the right direction and yet we make that left turn anyway. Perhaps it is a comment by the Doctor, your mother, or a girlfriend.  We know with all our heart that something is wrong with our child, or right, that they need something, or nothing.

My poor nephew spent his birthday in the hospital after a ruptured appendix.  If I know my sister, she is beating herself up for the whole thing. Thinking that she somehow had control over the universe. Which she does not, but I ain't gonna be one to tell her!! Have you met her? You do it.

Not that I think his awful experience was about her - exactly the opposite. I have learned so much as a parent from watching her advocate for her children.  It's something I struggle with, speaking up for myself and my kids.

There is a quote I heard once that I loved so much I printed it out and posted it on our kitchen.
"Courage is a muscle" I think instinct is too.  I beat myself up for not having more, then realize I had it when it counted the most....I was just to busy using it to pay attention.

I often think of my best friend's daughter who has undergone countless (40+??) surgeries.  All the times it was a "routine" or "simple" or "standard" procedure that landed her in the hospital again for days, weeks, or months.  How would I get through that? How could I watch? How would I not be angry? scared? overwhelmed? I think she would say - Who said I wasn't?

The more you use a muscle, the more you build that muscle. Some of us have more opportunities than others my friend will remind me when I start lamenting about what I didn't do, or ask, or say.  But each time I learn a little more, practice a little more, try a little more.

I hope my nephew is released from the hospital soon because I know that he will bounce right back. And then maybe my sister will have time to bounce back too.  Because nothing hurts us more as Mom's then dwelling on the shoulda, woulda, coulda's, instead of seeing the times it was I got this!

Like I said, I know my sister. There may have been moments when the voices drowned out her gut - but when her gut kicked in - someone got their ass kicked.  I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Early this summer my whole family went on vacation to a lake house. There was no WIFI and limited television but unlimited sun, fun, and water.  There were cousins, junk food, late nights, fireworks, and fishing. What more could you ask for?

I spent many summer days in a cottage by a lake.  There were two bedrooms and 11 cousins.  There was no TV to speak of as cable was non-existent at the time and we were in the middle of nowhere Indiana.  There were card games and board games for raining days, there was a ton of water skiing, fishing, and playmates.

As we drove home from vacation the kids talked about all the best parts of the week: learning to water ski, sparklers, tubing, shoving each other off the swim platform, fishing, hanging out with cousins, eating lots of junk food.  It brought back a flood of memories from my summers at the cottage.

How did we pass the time - unplugged? And how do I teach my children how to just - be?  This is something I struggle with as a mom.  Am I doing enough to show them how not to be "bored".  I made a simple poster for our kitchen this summer and it hangs right under their chore chart.  It's titled THE BORED BOARD.  My kids know at this point not to say the "B" word in front of me or they'll get a few extra chores.

The Bored Board has 100 ideas of things you could do with your time.  Very few include an electronic device.  Don't get me wrong, I know that my kids will need to be skilled at technology and plugged in to survive in the Twenty First Century.  I am going to have to figure out Instagram and follow them on their YouTube channel.  I just hope that when they have children they will take them to a Lake House for vacation and show them how to caught minnows with a net and fireflies with their hands.

Invisible people are hard!

This was the year - we have put off staining the deck too long and this was the year!  Fourth of July weekend we took advantage of the paint sales, went out and bought the very expensive and very thick deck restorative paint, and we got to work.

It was truly a family affair as both my husband and I painted and usually one, if not both boys were helping.  $400 in paint and supplies, well over 100 man hours, and 4 days.  I never want to see another spindle again in my entire life.

I did thank God many times for the cooler than usual July weather, the breeze, and the fact that even if the boys were not painting they were keeping themselves occupied.  This is not a challenge for my youngest son who can play by himself for hours.  We often giggle at how long he will sit somewhere near us with a toy car, gun, or Lego making the appropriate noises.

Even with all the great weather, good behavior, and a live-in cook right now (Gia Gia) by Saturday night my patience were gone. I was downright snippy.  So after I had asked for the boys to help bring the food out for dinner so that we could eat outside (seeing as my husband and I were both covered in grey paint) and NO ONE WAS LISTENING, I was ready to snap.

That's when my eight-year-old comes walking around the side of the house all slumped over, Nerf gun in each hand, looking dejected and exhausted.  The hair stood up on the back of my neck immediately and I threw my hands on my hips and shot the boy a "Don't you dare play tired with me" look.  He never did look up - he slumped down in a lawn chair heaved a big sigh and said-
"Boy these invisible guys are wearing me out!"

I laughed so hard I forgot to be mad, or tired, or snippy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


There is nothing more entertaining then two eight year-old boys in the car.  My son has been begging to play with a friend so after 10 text messages, three phone calls, and a couple of emails we finally scored!

We picked up his buddy and we are driving home when we pass one of their friends houses and this is the conversation that I hear.

"There's Griffin's house."
"He's moving."
"He is?"
"Yep next to Brody, Brody..."
"Brody Black?"
"No the other Brody."
"Brody Jones?"
"Yeah him."
"Where does he live?"
"Over by school, you know that dog that always gets out when we are at recess, you know that place we are suppose to run through the fence in case of an intruder in the school, that place."
"Yeah - I want to buy his house. I wanna live there alone."
"I'll live with you."
"I think we would destroy the place."
"We'd party every night."
Giggle, giggle, whoop, whoop, fist pumps
"Yeah we'd play Duck, Duck, Goose!"
"We could chase each other around in circles!"

Ok this is where I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud that I thought I might start snorting so instead I started "coughing" and missed the rest of the conversation that had something to do with underwear. That's eight year-old boys for you.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Why is summer so hard?

Why is summer so hard? The boys are on edge and seem more stressed than they did the last month of school.  My rational, read 1/2 a parenting book brain tells me that this is developmentally appropriate and comes from the lack of routine.

My tired mommy brain however only recalls summer being the greatest time of the year - second only to Christmas morning.  There were no rules, we played tag until dark and then played Ghost in the graveyard.  We rode bikes for hours and would chase the "fogger" down the street.

Oh those were the days...nothing like sunburns, red Kool-aid, and DDT.  What are my kids complaining about? Their chore chart, summer reading program, or sports leagues.  Jeez!
The reality is that I am floundering also. 

My mother-in-law arrived the day after school was out to live with us for six months. When she stays with us I don't have to worry about cooking or cleaning.  This is a perfect time for me to dive into much over due projects but the only thing I've dived into is the couch.

It's hard to punish the kids for playing itouch for two hours when I sat staring at the TV waiting for another grocery list.  I keep telling the boys, "Read a Book! Make something! Play a game!" Then I wonder around the house for a half an hour myself looking at things thinking-I should be doing something!! but I don't. Man, why is summer so hard?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Judgement Day

Growing up Catholic this was not an unfamiliar term but as I have grown older this has taken on a whole new meaning. Going to the pool for the fist time each summer in a bathing suit - is Judgment Day.

Why do we women feel the pressure to be perfect? To look a certain way? And ultimately to take down those women who make it happen!  I am not talking about a commentary about advertising today, magazines, or reality TV. I think women have always felt the need to be something that we are not - for someone else.

My poor eight-year-old son, always analyzing everything and I say to him don't over analyze life, just have fun. yet here I am.  "Hello Apple" Secretly happy for the sudden cold snap so that I can delay going to the pool a little while longer.  We've been to the pool just twice but I have been able to avoid the whole bathing suit thing thus far.

But what did I do was giggle at the family that walked into the neighbors pool the other night.  It was hard not to it's Saturday night at a pool in the Midwest and 85 degrees outside.  The wife is in a Maxi dress perfectly coiffed hair, make-up ,and heels! The husband is in a polo bathing suit that does not look like it has ever been washed let alone swam in and a crisp white long sleeve polo dress shirt. untucked. leather loafers. The children following behind a boy and a girl look like models right off the front window of Abercrombie and Fitch.

The irony is I do not want to be judged in my bathing suit, but here I was giggling at Barbie and Ken....and whatever it was they named their kids. The more insecure we feel, the more we need to take others down there with us to Insecurville.  I guess if you can't beat 'um - join 'um right?

I don't think that Judgment Day will be the end, the last, the finale. I think it is every day that we are given the opportunity to choose.  Do I tell my child I told you so, do I berate myself in the car when I miss the turn, do I make a sarcastic comment to my husband, do I talk about someone at the pool?

A very wise women wrote "I Didn't want my level of self-love to limit how much I could love my children or my husband.  Why? Because loving them and accepting their imperfections is much easier than turning the light of loving-kindess on myself....I know I can talk to myself in ways that I would never consider talking to another person." Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Judgment Day is everyday and I am going to choose to start but not judging the woman in the mirror - not even in her bathing suit!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Teaching Gia Gia

Wouldn't that make a great film title?

I am watching my eight-year-old teach his Grandmother (Gia Gia) who speaks very little English how to play Monopoly. This is the funniest and cutest thing ever. He won't let her go twice for rolling doubles and he has already bought up half the board so she has landed on his property three times and she hasn't made it to GO yet.

Every time she has to pay him she pretends to cry and he laughs. Every time he counts back change from a $500 bill she shouts "Bravo!" and beams like he just graduated college at age 8.  He is helping her with her properties and money and the Free Parking pot because she has landed on every tax on the board already.

I think I am taking Gia Gia down to a casino - she has rolled doubles almost every turn. But of course she was not allowed to take two turns because he had not rolled doubles.  When he rolled doubles he wanted to take 2 turns but Gia Gia was on it. She said "Why you go two and not me?" Busted! There is a new rule now.

Gia Gia has three properties now, but my little real estate mogul has 10, of course he is also out of money and desperate to land on Free Parking. He did not. He landed on Go To Jail. Gia Gia rolled another double and landed on Free Parking. I wonder how long this game can last??

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The suitcase

After the touching moments with my older son and his Gia Gia I was thinking that the youngest must be the strong stoic silent type. Until the suitcase came out.

"What's in there for me Gia Gia?" So there it was, she could have handed him her laundry bag and he would have been happy.  As it was he was excited to come away with a new t-shirt and a chicken key chain that crows and lights up.

Because of the language barrier my son at first walked away with a t-shirt that fit him, and one that would take him three years to grow into, a pair of sock that he probably wouldn't fit until he had his own children, and a bottle of perfume.

I had to intervene and tell him that Gia Gia was asking him to pass out the gifts - not take all the gifts.

God love him!

She's Here!

It's been too long and after waiting "forever" according to the boys Gia Gia has arrived! Gia Gia is grandmother in Greek. Yes, my mother-in-law is living with us for the next six months and I am OK with that.

Especially after her arrival last night.  My eleven-year-old son was the first to see the car and ran outside at 11 o'clock last night. He is now taller than Gia Gia who obviously no longer stands above 5 feet tall.  He hugged her and started to cry - "I am so happy to see you!"

As I was tucking everyone in last night he said to me, "Mom, I can't tell you how good it is to see her here." But the best was this morning.  The last time Gia Gia came to live with us the boys felt compelled to talk to Gia Gia with an accent.  It wasn't even a Greek accent really - they sounded more like Mario and Lugi. It was too cute to correct.

This morning my son took Gia Gia under his wing.  Helping her make her coffee, sharing his prized Churro that he saved from yesterday just for her to taste, and telling her all about Minecraft.  The most precious was when she said "I go shower" and he jumped up.

"The shower can be tricky Gia Gia. I will help you." He walked her upstairs and shower her everything in the bathroom and explained it - shampoo, conditioner, soap, towels.  Then he explained that the shower nozzle is reversed so hot is cold and cold is hot.  He explained how to run the water and test it first, then turn on the shower and finally how to turn it off.  He even told her "I will stand outside the door just in case you need me."

Then I heard the water - and I heard him yell
είστε καλά
"Are you OK?"
I am sure she is now ;-) What Grandmother would not swoon over being taken care of like this by her Grandson. I know I am smiling like the Cheshire cat right now my chest swelling with pride.
Although- I should get upstairs quickly because she has a bad heart and I heard him get his Saxophone out while she was in the shower. I do not want him to blast it before she sees it.  Having lived through two wars the poor women may think we are under attack!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

School's Out!!

School is out - I have my kids back - let the fun begin.

It has been a while since I've written and when I look back at my calendar it's no wonder. We've been crazy busy.  I think that's why I am just as ready as the boys for summer to start. After living through the Polar Vortex...I wonder - What do Frozen things do in Summer??

I plan to catch up with the kids, and Olaf, and my Blog, So stay tuned!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Mother's Day gift

Last night I had some errands to run and my now eleven year-old son needed some clothes for camp.  It is a tradition in our school district that the 5th grade goes for three days to an outdoor adventure and leadership camp.

So we rounded up our library books that needed to be returned and the mail that needed to be sent and took off.  After we hit the library and the post office we headed to the second hand store.  The goal was to find some cargo shorts perfect for muddy hikes and camp fire nights.

We scored cargo shorts, a rain coat, and even a Nike dry fit shirt that was "epic". At least I think that's what he said.  You never know how much is genetic until you take your child shopping.  He didn't want to try anything on, and anything we looked at had to be in one of three colors. Maybe two: khaki or grey. Yep, that's my son.

Twenty minutes into the shopping trip and we are checked out and done, it took us longer to drop off the library books and the mail.  When we get back in the car my son says to me, "Can we go get ice cream?" Oh, so here it is. I said, "I don't know buddy, we don't really need ice cream."

That's when my son pulled out all the stops.  "I brought my wallet Mom, I'm buying.Please!"

How do I say no to that offer and that face. Ok. But don't tell your brother.

He chose the local ice cream chain and as I head in that direction he is asking what our tax rate is and how much I think he will need.  We pull in and both of us are already salivating over this months mystery flavor-could it be salted caramel?  Thank goodness there was a small line because both of us changed our minds 10 times. Do we share one? Do we each try something different? Do we take the mystery chance?

Meanwhile he is asking me where to find the prices on the menu and how do I know for sure what things cost.  We each ordered something different and I held his cone while he paid the high school student working the counter.  Before we stepped away I asked him if he was going to tip them. He smiled nervously and shook his head NO.

We went outside with our ice cream cones to enjoy them and the beautiful evening.  He asked me how to tip them. I explained that this isn't like a waiter, there is a tip jar on the counter and I usually throw in a dollar.

Lots of people came and went, a classmate, a teacher, a neighbor.  He laughed and said to me, "It seems like everyone is getting ice cream tonight." Now I do want to go on record, I did say thank you to him in the store, but that genetics thing crept up again. Like his father does when he takes us out, he said "Your Welcome  Mom" I think 5 times.

On the way home when I thought he was about to say Your Welcome again and I was truly starting to get a little frustrated he threw me for a complete loop. 

He said, "Thanks Mom".
"For what," I said, "You paid."
"For being the first girl I took out for ice cream."

I just smiled. I didn't want to cry, and I was afraid if I opened my mouth all that would come out would be tears.  I took a very deep breathe and said, "Your Welcome."

What greater honor could I get this Mother's Day - than to be my son's first date. The pleasure was all mine.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Break 2014 - CANCELLED

Day Two and I have already locked both boys in their rooms and cancelled Spring Break.

I can't take it anymore. The fighting, the arguing, the complaining, the whining, the not listening.
And that's just MY behavior.

Anyone not on Spring Break this week? WHERE! I'm enrolling my kids on Monday.

I had a heart to heart with both boys last night before bed and told them that this behavior needs to stop because they are ungrateful and rude. It didn't stop.

What will matter most? What do I fight to nip in the bud, and what do I say let go? Reports from neighbors, teachers, other parents are that they are great kids. So why are they such A-hole's at home! And please do not tell me it is because this it their "soft place to land" - Does it sound like I am soft?

I'm a bitch. All the time. I hate listening to myself.  There is no amount of Time-out for this one - I should be in Mommy Jail. Hell yes I want them to behave outside my house, but damn'it - what's wrong with behaving indie it too!!

What I am trying to figure out is what is at the root of my problem.  Is it the boys behavior? Is it my childhood haunts? Or is it just me? period. Am I the problem.

Some start to Spring Break.....can't wait for Summer vacation.

Am I doing the right thing??

I think that's enough said.....if you are a parent how many times a day do you ask yourself this-
Am I doing the right thing?

I can't wait until someone writes the rule book.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Back to work off to the Funny Farm!

So much for dipping my toe in the work pool.  I jumped in the deep end and this last week put me over the edge.  Not only did I work all week but went straight into a weekend of complete chaos.

Friday work till 4 p.m. still need dinner and a gifts for the Birthday parties.
7 year-old has a sleepover Birthday party starting at 6:30 pm.
10 year-old has a soccer tournament game at 6:15 and you must be on the field 30 minutes prior and it takes 25 minutes to get there.
10 year-old was invited last minute to a Birthday laser tag party that starts at 7 p.m.

Saturday husband works 8 am to 5:30 pm
10 year-old has another soccer tournament game at 9:15 arrive 30 minutes prior and it takes 20 minutes to get there.
7 year-old sleepover party finishes up at 10 a.m. (when I will be on a soccer field) so neighbor is picking him up.
After soccer race home pick-up 7 year-old feed 10 year-old
10 ten-year old has a 12:00 pm. Basketball game

7 year-old has 1-3:30 pm. Roller skating party
Dad had a break and got a ride to the basketball game now we need to find everyone lunch, get dad back to work, get to next birthday party, and stop at the grocery store because we are out of everything at home.
Pick up Jimmy John's and Skyline and one won't eat- drop everyone off stop at their places and go to the store.
Get a call that 7 year-old is hiding in the bathroom at the roller rink because his "peepee" hurts.
Race out of the store and back to the roller rink pick up the 7 year-old.
Get home unpack groceries feed the ten year-old.

Get a shower before husband and I will leave to see Wicked at 8:00 pm. downtown
Ten year-old will get picked up for the next soccer game at 5:45 pm.
Husband walks in at 5:45 pm.
Babysitter walks in at 6:00 pm. with her curling wand
(to do 40 year-old woman's hair-yes I gave her a big tip)

Grab salad and hummus at home since we have no time for adult dinner before the performance.
Stop for chocolate before we go and ice cream shop is packed. We are now running late.
Get to parking garage downtown and can not find husband's wallet. (My fault)
Find wallet. (His doing of course)

Make it through to intermission no problem.
Both yawning our heads off after intermission.
Come home, wake sitter, pay her well, hit the hay.

Sunday time change - oh yippee.
Husband gone by 7:00 am. to get a ride in
Children up by 8:00 am. to watch TV
Mom thinking I had a moment - shit Time Change!!!
Made our Sunday staple of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, toast, juice and shove it at everyone and scream them out the door.

12:00 pm.  basketball game parents/kids
Clean up the kitchen, get dressed, grab camera, and head off to see the end of the basketball game and get the 7 year-old who does not want to go to next event.
Ten year-old has last soccer tournament game at 2:15 pm. must arrive 30 minutes prior and it is a 30 minute drive.
(ps. THEY WON!!!)

Take the 7 year-old home to play outside as I sit in a chair feeling like I have been hit by a truck.
4:00 - 6:00 pm meet basketball team for season wrap-up dinner
7:00 pm. return home to start homework
9:00 pm. Mom works again tomorrow every one to bed - OR ELSE.

Monday work till 3:45 pm. take 10 year-old to Band concert rehearsal take 7 year-old home to find a friend and figure out dinner.
Back to band rehearsal, back to 7 year-old, back to dinner, and homework.

May I please have a drink now?? Do you know what I say to women's lib - SCREW YOU!
There is nothing liberating about a woman working - just more working.....but I'm too tired to rant.
I say we just all quit and see what happens, are you in?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

WOW...I got it!

I have a very good friend who- we not only share the same the birthday but the same prayer to the universe that when we need a sign- it should be a billboard.  We are not good at subtle. Oh heck, let's call a spade a spade we are not good at signs that's why it has to be pretty clearly written to us and for us.

So when I wrote that blog about The Rule Follower....
and the next day this was the Quote of the Day in my Inbox

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
― Mother Teresa

I had to look up to the sky with a smile and say, Ok I got it.
Thanks for the billboard.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Rule Follower......

Do you know one? Are You one? We all have one....the rule follower.  They are born, not made much to the Military's chagrin.  People can be a rule follower, but deep down still not be a rule follower.

Isn't that was school was, for those of us of a certain age? Come in, say the pledge, sit down, shut up, do what I say NOT what I do, stand in line, sit still, eat your vegetables.....we had parent's who were Baby Boomer's not Flower Children so we were expected to follow the rules. All the rules.

Take a look at the book The Help.  Why was it such a huge success? Because they broke all the rules! And what do we really want to do - Break all the rules!

Is anyone confused yet? Good. Because I know that I am. Totally. But I just now figured out that I have no clue what I am doing.  I need to know the rules.  What are the rules of civility, humanity, of this game called life that we are all playing?

That is why I have spent my whole life feeling Socially retarded. Because I am. I am still trying to follow rules that nobody else is - What?!

When I was young they said don't talk about other people it is hurtful and rude and a sin. OK got it.
Then my parent's were talking about how my brothers friend had that awful red hair and was terribly bow legged.  When my brother and his friend asked me what mom and dad were talking about I said, "Rick's awful red hair and his funny walk."
Then I got in trouble. Wait? What? You are not suppose to talk about people right?
What you taught me was it's ok to talk about people, just do it behind their back.

When I was young they said do not cuss it is awful and bad and a sin. Ok Got it.
Then Dad would get mad at the drop of a hat and cussed like a drunk sailor. So I guess I repeated a few of these choice words in church and I got in trouble. Wait? What?
What you taught me was it's ok to cuss just not on Sunday in church, or in front of Mom and Dad.

There were lots and lots of rules and everyday I tried to get the list right - just right. Perfectly right. Because I am a rule follower and that is what we do - right?  We are ALL rule followers after all, right?

See this is where the world has messed with me for years and years.  I thought we were all playing by the same rules. And the only one that stayed the same day after day, month after month, year after year was:

Always treat other people the way you want them to treat you...
So silly me, I thought we were all on the same page.
But a couple of years ago I heard a teacher talking to a group of girls.  She had overheard them making fun of a classmate.  When she called them on it they all said, "She started it. She made fun of our project in front of the boys." That is when the teacher added the most valuable phrase ever to the Golden Rule.

Always treat other people the way you want to be matter how they are treating you.
WOW. OK. Now I got it.  Not everyone is going to play by the rules but no matter what- I will. Or die trying. I promise.
These are my rules but as I am only human, remember these could change, before I am even done typing. In fact they already have a little.

I will always treat you with love and respect except when you have canceled my flight and lost my luggage, hurt my children, or I am wicked hungry. (then you are taking your life in your own hands)

I will not set out to hurt anyone or anything physically, emotionally, or mentally. I will use my powers for good but if they go awry please tell me right away so that I can make it right. Or at least apologize.

I promise that I am working on controlling my temper, but I haven't mastered it yet. I have to tell you - as a rule follower nothing makes me hotter than a non-rule follower. And the worst of all is a non-rule follower that hurts someone I love.  Oh - those people have a death wish.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt over and over and over again.  Being only human myself I will give you a mile, and a half. Ok, six. But there will come a day when you will have taken advantage one to many times and I will be forced to walk away. I may not say goodbye, but I certainly will not let you continue to walk all over me. It hurts.

So, Ok. I think that is enough for tonight. Being a bear of very little brain I think I may have exploded my thinker.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Feeling good about this....for about a minute

Have I mentioned I have dipped my toe back into the work world? Since doing so I have been fortunate to get to sub a time or two here and there. But this week was the Mother of all sub jobs - a whole week - well what constitutes a full week now here in the Polar Vortex - 4 days in the same place for the same Teacher's Aide.

It was invigorating and exhausting.  I was part of the 5th grade in the morning and the 6th grade in the afternoon and in between I did lunch duty.  Overall I feel very enlightened.  I am not quite ready for Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? because obviously I am not.  (Just ask the poor girl who got a big fat goose egg on her math assignment after asking me for help.)

By the way my teacher friends, What the #%$&$ happened to the Answer Key? I thought your book was suppose to have questions with the answers written in red type underneath! At least they did when I was cheating in school.  What? Who said cheating? I said meeting, meeting with my other good holy pals in our good little catholic where we never ever cheated one little bit.

Lunch duty was the biggest challenge this week. I remember lunch being the only time that we were more or less unsupervised.  You could let your knee socks down even if it was only 20 minutes. But now they are monitored (by me?) and they have to file into the tables in the order of their line, raise their hand for everything because they can not get out of their seat, and then be dismissed by table to file back out of the cafeteria.

So on my first day of duty I kinda took a Norma Rae approach to 6th grade lunch.  The kids would raise their hand and from across the room I would say "Whatever you need - get it! Your old enough to take care of yourself."  When an awkward girl who I am sure would have been the object of tortureress barbs sat down in the middle of the jock table I went over and said "Why don't you move over here, I think you would be - have, have a little more room." Her eyes wide with fear at my lack of respect for the lunch room rules and the jocks all staring in total disbelief, I picked up her tray and moved it to a more suitable location.

By the end of my first day as 6th grade lunch monitor, the cafeteria was in total chaos and pandemonium.  There was more food on the floor than the food fight scene from Animal House.  One child ate nothing but crushed Doritos off the floor and another drank two cans of smuggled in Mt. Dew.  It was so loud that I actually had a headache after it was all over.  The Janitor just lurks in the corner with a mop half in and half out of sight.  He doesn't talk, move or smile that I have seen. Maybe he is there for intimidation because he scares the hell out of me goodness knows the kids must be terrified.  He sorta looks like a cross between a serial killer and one of the guys from Duck Dynasty.  Or is that redundant?

Needless to say I was not alone the following day.  The school secretary who is no shrinking violet stood watch with a walkie-talkie. She is a very nice lady (so I don't want to make her mad) but she could definitely take you down without breaking a sweat.   I'm still not sure who she would talkie with since she's suppose to man the office and everyone but the nurse came out to help restore order to the cafeteria.  The Assistant Principal staked out a spot and the Principal and Guidance Counselor both made an appearance.  The Janitor came out of the shadows and stood there front and center staring us all down.

I felt bad.  The looks on the children's faces was, well, if looks could kill I surely would have been dead.  I could almost hear them saying things like, "Thanks a lot lady.", "Now look what you did.", "No taste of freedom would have been better than this!"  Actually, that's exactly what they were saying, out loud, to me.

I felt awful.  I wanted to apologize.  I did apologize quietly as I went around to those who raised their hands for help.  I would smile and say "How can I help you?" and then under my breath whisper,  "I am sooo sorry about all this, I didn't know!."  That warm wonderful feeling that I had the day before leaving the cafeteria was gone. Replaced by a gnawing in my gut, thanks a lot Sally Fields! Well so much for Lunch room liberation. Maybe I'll stick to cheating. I meant teaching!! (damn autocorrect)

All characters in this blog have been changed to ensure maximum humiliation of only the author and none of the staff or students of the wonderful elementary school that is willing to employ me, for actual money.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5th graders

I've tried to think of very witty and clever title but I got nothing today. Just 5th graders.

My ten year-old is at that point - I remember this point -  when you have finally mastered the Double Entendre, usually involving poop or butts. And you start testing the waters of sarcasm. (God help us there because his mother has a degree from SU. Sarcasm University)

He came home from school the other day walked into the kitchen and stood behind me then proceeded to say, "Mom. I'm talking behind your back." At which point he could no longer contain himself and cracked up laughing.  The seven year-old just starred at him trying to figure out what part was suppose to be funny.  I smiled and said, "That's a good one." But what was cute was he didn't stop there.  He explained it to me, three times.

He had an Orthodontist appointment recently and missed lunch time at school so after they checked his retainer I said we could go grab lunch. He chose Jimmy Johns because "They are Freaky Fast Mom! I can get back to school faster." It was raining outside and he decided he didn't want to get out of the car so I just said fine tell me what you want.  "I want a number 2. I love number 2."  he said. I laughed first. Slowly he started laughing. By the time I came back out to the car he was in full hysterics. But what was cute was he explained it to me, three times.

Last night after a late soccer practice he still had homework to do and he was hungry again. No surprise to those of you who have lived with a ten year-old boy.  They can eat dinner at home and then go to a friends house where they were eating dinner and eat again as if they have never seen food before. Sickening.

He started his homework and I made a hot ham and cheese sandwich and put it in front of him.  He was scribbling spelling words with one hand and shoving the sandwich in his mouth with the other when my husband (who can still eat two dinners in a row by the way) says to our son "You can't do homework and eat at the same time."

Thank goodness my son was too busy eating and scribbling to respond.  I however, was more than happy to respond to that statement from the man that spent the end of our college career with food in one hand and a text book in the other.  So I said "Really? I seem to remember someone in college who could do just about anything and eat at the same time." To which my husband responded, "You did? Who?"  That is when my son choose to respond with, "She means you dad. It's called sarcasm. See-" But what was cute was him explaining sarcasm to my husband.

But wait there's more! So my husband says to our son "But have you ever noticed how much your mother puts me down? Do I ever put anyone down?" Oh grasshopper, ask the question and you shall now receive two smartass answers.  One from your wife and one from your son.  The ten-year-old replies calmly, "Yep. Me. All the time." Horrified my husband says WHAT! I don't put you down, what are you talking about I tell you I love you I tell you how great you played.... I was already laughing because I could see where this was going, damn I'm one proud sick mother.
"Dad. You put me down all the time. Like yesterday - you put me down so hard you almost broke my back. Then you sat on me and gave me a rug burn on my face."  The puzzled luck for those three seconds on my husbands face were priceless, then I could see the, "Why you little" look set in.

"I was talking about when we wrestle. See Dad - " Yep - you guessed it, he explained it, three times.  God I love 5th graders.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sorry kiddo - we're just C's

As a mother there are many things that you hope that you do not pass onto your children: mental illness, diabetes, severe acne - averageness.

My ten-year-old son was invited to a birthday party at an indoor water park yesterday.  He came home so excited and talking a mile a minute about his experience.  He talked about how cool the water slides were, they had a lazy river, and that they had pool basketball which would have been good enough.

Just before he went to bed, as fatigue was setting in and the depression from watching the terrible butt kicking the Denver Broncos were getting in the Superbowl, he started to get melancholy.  He was lamenting his luck.

"Mom I am just not lucky. Like, I never win anything. You know like tickets and stuff like arcade games.  I had like 92 tickets and Jack had 230 and he wanted a watch so I just said 'here take mine' because the only thing I could get was the crap like a tootsie roll or one army guy. It just stinks."

Oh my. It does stink. And you got this from me. Sorry. If you put my husband and I in the same March Madness pool, poker game, or raffle he is guaranteed to walk away a winner. Me - not so much. 

When he travels he gets that "Ooopps" we need to put you in first class. I get the "Ooopps" we had a problem with the toilet that you are sitting next to Missbut it is closed for use during this flight. We apologize for the smell.

When we go to a restaurant he will get the "Sorry" we forgot your order we will take that off your bill and get you a dessert Sir. If I go out it is never sorry, it's just a forgotten meal that comes out cold and then gets overcharged. Why - just because!

If we walked into a store together I swear to you he would be the "LUCKY 100th Customer - You Win!"

But I am not bitter, much.  I have come to realize that there are people who always score the A and those of us who will always score the C. I can live with that. It could be worse? It could be a big fat F.

So I hope that helps you my beautiful boy.  Because I know it took me 40 years, or so. Oh heck - Hang tough it gets worse before it gets better, but at least we are in this together.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Me and Mama - peas in a pod

If you thought this was a mommy and me commercial you would be wrong -
Mama -pronounced (maw'maw) from the Midwest region, a name you call your grandmother.

My father's parents were Mama and Papa.  My Mama was born and raised on a small meager country farm.  She was taught to cook and sew and save everything. And she did.  She even saved her garbage in a  half gallon milk carton in the freezer, but just until garbage day. She didn't want it to stink up the garage. (smart right) But can you fit a week's worth of compostable garbage in a half gallon milk carton?? She wasted nothing.

We often gave our Mama a hard time for keeping so much stuff.  From used margarine containers and canned soup to Great Aunt Rosie's hats. She collected stamps and material for quilts and everything we ever gave her made by our own two hands.  And not in that hoarder kind of way.  Everything was labeled and organized and easily accessible.  She never threw out a baby food jar and 90% of them housed nuts, bolts, and screws.  A lesson I wish my husband would have learned for goodness sake.

When she passed away I was glad that my sister had stayed to help clean out the house.  I couldn't and to this day haven't gone near the house because the next owner remodeled it.  If you asked me where Mama kept something I can tell you.  The house is preserved in my head along with everything she had in it.

But when we needed something, she was gold.  Buttons! Holy Hat Trick Batman that woman had buttons.  Sewing room closet bottom left hand corner look for two small and one large Danish Cookie tins.

But if you asked me if I collected things I would say emphatically NO. But I do.  I realized yesterday while I was at the library (third time this week) that I collect words. More specifically other peoples words on paper. Cookbooks, How-to's, Poetry, Children's books, Novels, Self-Help, Magazines - It doesn't matter I love them all!!!

When I was a temporary worker after college and usually worked downtown I would get so excited to be close enough to take my lunch hour at the Main Library Branch.  Walking up to the doors my heart would beat a little faster and every single time I would hear a voice say, "Books are your passport to the world." I think it was a Schoolhouse Rock episode?

Sometimes I would go in on a mission like if my husband and I had a big fight it meant a beeline to the self-help section for a book on marriage.  Or a dinner rut meant straight to cookbooks for some new ideas.  My first nephew meant finding a toddler chair in the corner so I didn't look too crazy and read every board book they had on the shelf.  Other times I just walked in and got lost in an area or a stack that I had never seen before and that always produced something fascinating.  Like the day I read three chapters of a Physics text before I realized I hadn't understood a damn thing.

I don't think a day goes by that I don't think of Mama and how very much alike we are, and how very much I miss her.  And how very glad I am to have her love and life lessons to live on, like eating baby food just to get the jar.  I'm on it Mama!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

"I've been going a long time"...

My beautiful little seven-year-old boy.  I have to thank the universe everyday for this gift because along with all the "Oh no you didn't!" moments there are many "I love you!" moments.

Last week I finally got a call to sub in the elementary school nurse's office and it turned into three days of work.  All three days the only three days that there was school last week due to the Artic hurricane that passed through the Mid-west.
I was surprised how well Mom going to work was going over with both boys. Wednesday they were both supportive and even kind of of excited to send me off to work.  The seven-year-old was ecstatic because he sent me to school with his lunchbox and made the tough sacrifice of eating in the cafeteria that day - Pizza.

But by Friday the seven-year-old was over it and came into our room at 6:15 (my husband is already at work mind you) and says to me "I don't feel good".  Now you have to understand this is a daily, make that multiple daily occurrence - for this child.  Whenever he is called on the carpet "I don't feel good" whenever he has to step up "I don't feel good" and every morning before school "I don't feel good". So the child has to show serious signs of physical distress because otherwise I'm not paying attention.

Only this day he took it to a whole new level - "Mom, this is the worst that I have felt 7 years! My whole life - its that bad."  Oh brother. Lay it on thick son cause that's all you got!" (needless to say we both made it to school on Friday)

My beautiful little man, started early for Monday - 9:30 Sunday night when I got home from a girls night I went into kiss him and he sat up in bed to say "I don't feel good." He was over dressed for bed so I took his socks off and his PJ bottoms and said to him, "That should help go to sleep." and then again at 4:30 this morning I feel a little face right in front of mine "Mom - I don't feel good". Oh lordy day child.

I let him get in bed and snuggle up, mainly because I am too tired and lazy to discuss anything with a child at this hour of the morning.  But I knew we were going to have quite the morning.  He was persistent, tenacious, relentless.  I finally went into my bathroom to escape for 5 minutes giving everyone their marching orders before I disappeared.

The next thing I know there is a little tap tap tap on the bathroom door.
"I'm going potty honey go get dressed."
"Mom, I REALLY don't feel good."
"OK. Get dressed we'll talk when I'm finished."
"I can't, I just can't . Mom. I have gone to school a lot of days."
"You only went three days last week you were suppose to go five."
"No I don't mean THAT I mean like a lot of days like two years." I didn't laugh out loud - I swear. I said under my breath, well there is not end in sight my friend. and from the other side of the bathroom door I hear, "You're telling me!"