Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aiden's Headed For the Slammer

In the next few weeks I'll be posting a sign up sheet for those of you that wish to put together a care package to send to Aiden when he's sent to Juvenile Detention for stealing.  He likes bubble gum (no mint,) hidden picture puzzles, stickers and anything that Cole is currently playing with or thinking about play with in the next 20 minutes.

The first time Aiden lied to me he was probably approaching three years old.  Cole was still a baby and was just learning to pull up on things.  I left Aiden and Cole in their playroom for a minute to run into my bedroom (I am pretty confident I had something VERY urgent to handle in there) when I heard Cole start crying. I ran back into the room and there was Cole in a heap on the floor, bawling.

Aiden immediately told me that Cole tripped and fell.  He repeated it a few times like Rain Man would and went along with his business.  A few minutes later though I overheard Aiden talking to himself while he was running his little matchbox car along the couch.

"I said he fell, but I pushed him.  I said he fell, but I pushed him."

To this day he is still that good at lying. It's really pitiful and I really hope that it never changes because he will never be able to get away with anything.  But, that's going to be a problem if he keeps up his new habit of stealing.  You need to be pretty slick to get away with that.

The first act of stealing was when he lifted a matchbox car from Sunday School about six months ago.  I really feel like this was more of an accident than a deliberate act of taking, but it was a really poor location to violate one of the Commandments.  Geez, he really has poor crime skills.

Keeping with the trend of poor skills, yesterday I noticed a $20 bill was missing from my pile on the counter.  (Don't you keep a pile of money on the counter?  No? Seriously? )  I quickly asked both the boys if they had seen it and Aiden gave me his guilty face while replying, "No, why do you need it?" I guess he was looking to see if I really deserved it or not. 

Knowing he was guilty, but not having the time to run through the process of getting a confession out of him, we headed out the door for the vet. On the way home I mentioned that I would like the boys to help me look for my missing money when we arrived home.  Aiden immediately said, "Ok, why don't you look in the kitchen and stay in the kitchen and I'll just look around my room.  But you stay in the kitchen."

He's super smooth.

Within one minute of returning home he gave me back my money, which I later found out he had put in his piggy bank, and told me he had found it on his dresser.  Sure you did.  It took a few minutes but he eventually confessed and we had a long discussion about honesty, stealing, and how Mommy needed that money to buy cute shorts she had seen at Old Navy. Didn't he want Mommy to look good? We have to work together on this.

These gray shorts are elastic wasit!  Hooray!  And the skirt is $15...seriously.

I was feeling pretty good about our stealing moment, I mean every kid has one at some point, right?  Well, this morning I discover he's been smuggling gold coins out of preschool.  He claimed that he just "found them in his pocket," but after a few questions he broke down that he had really taken them.

We started again with the stealing discussion and I told him he would have to tell his teacher what happened and apologize.   He did talk to his teacher, but seriously, what the hell is going on with him?

At this rate he'll be lifting candy from WalMart in a few weeks.  He'll have to befriend Lindsay Lohan to try to figure out how to get out of doing any sort of time for his tendency to "borrow" things without permission. 

Now that I'm thinking about his stealing this week I keep blowing everything he has an interest in out of proportion...or perhaps I'm just finally seeing the light?  He is fascinated by security sensors at stores and desperately wants to know what they are, when they make noises, and how do the people know what was taken by whom? 

(Seriously, he uses the word "whom" because grammar is really important in our family and I'm a super good Mom.) 

He's asked a series of jail questions since our trip to the courthouse early this week.

(Shit, he gets his crimal mind from  me!)

He wants to know why people go to jail and how long they have to stay and what it's like there.  He didn't understand my analogy to Mommy's time at home, but I think that things really clicked when I referenced Lightning MQueen's time at the impound after wrecking the road in Radiator Springs. (Thank goodness for a Disney movie that can teach about the slammer.)

On our recent trip to Costco, the vet and Target he was very concerned about the cash register drawer.  Why is it opening?  Why is there so much money in there?  How do you get it open?  The cashier at Costco actually asked him to step back because he was getting so close to the money, it was pretty uncomfortable....which is why I didn't say anything in an attempt to make the cashier think he wasn't with me.

I think I even saw him trying to pick a padlock we had in the garage leftover from our former shed.  He's clearly working his skills. 

When the photographer came to take pictures of us for the paper today I felt like I should warn her that we could not take responsibility for anything she left unattended.  I just don't know what he's going to lift now and I can't afford to pay back any money she could have in her purse, my kid's taking everything I have. 

Thank goodness he doesn't realize that cameras could actually be sold for a lot of money or he might have tried to pick up the second camera she set down on the coffee table.

Seriously, any good advice on hammering in the Thou Shall Not Steal message?  I do think this is normal (I'm sure Bernie Madoff did this when he was 5 too) but it's very frustrating.  He is so sweet and so horrible at the stealing thing, thank goodness, but....I mean, look at him, how is he stealing?

If you still haven't registered to win the amazing necklack from my friend Jessica's company, Noonday Collection, be sure to click over and check it out!  Alll you have to do is check out her website or a few other things and comment that you did each of them.  You could win this!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Might Make Good Enchiladas, Seriously It's a Recipe-ish People

I started a post on going to the courthouse with all three of my kids on Monday to pay my ticket.  (Thanks again Officer Cuteness. Your kindness to me lives on today.)  But honestly it was really boring and that seemed sort of mean to post.  So, here's a photo from our time there. 

FYI, if you need to get your kids to behave, I suggest telling them, "Mommy will be taken to jail if we don't get there and take care of this without you whining."

Also bring snacks.  Always bring snacks. 

The threat of jail though totally worked like a charm and the experience was honestly painless.  It should have been horrible.  I was so happy we stopped for donuts on the way home.

Anyway, since I was fresh out of things to write about I decided I would share a recipe.  I know, you didn't know I was such a good cook that I have recipes to share.  Well, usually I don't so really do not expect this often, or ever again. 

I happened to have emailed this to a friend a few weeks ago and then mentioned enchiladas to someone else and along the way I somehow ended up offering to send this to three different people and figured it could just be my post instead.

(From now on all emails I intend to send to more than three people will just become my blog post as a way of weeding out which friends are reading my blog and a way of preventing me from having to do any more work than necessary.)

So, Emily, Andrea and Lisa here is the "magic" that I call veggie enchiladas in the original email I sent to someone else.  (Totally lazy, could not even tailor to the blog.  I think that makes it more fun though.)

Honestly, I don't have a recipe, I make them up each time. Here is the general idea though.

Don't be afraid. You can leave out anything you don't like or add something that sounds really good to you, like asparagus...but that would be wrong, you would be very wrong to add asparagus to this recipe. But, don't be afraid. 

(Seriously though, if you thought of asparagus you should really only do exactly what I say because you have no culinary taste and might jack up the whole thing and then blame it on me.)

Read the whole thing before you start just in case it doesn't make sense in the order I wrote it.  This is just like that exercise in elementary where the first direction is to read all the directions and then the last one tells you to skip a bunch of it so you immediately fail if you don't follow direction number one. I totally rocked following directions in 4th grade. 

(Did I ever tell you I was the president of an exclusive club in the 4th grade called the Pinkies that was eventually disbanded by the PTA because we ruled the school too much.  Those were the days.) 

Are you still reading this?   
1/2 an onion, diced

1 zucchini sliced

1 yellow squash sliced

about 8 oz of fresh mushrooms sliced

1/2 a red or yellow or orange bell pepper diced

1 can diced tomatoes - Mexican style if you like to keep things interesting...I think you do

can black beans, rinsed and drained

cumin - some to a lot....this is important to follow exactly!

Salt and pepper

36 corn tortillas - I always let the extra ones mold in the drawer for a fun science experiment

1 can green enchilada sauce - sometimes you need two, buy two

Shredded cheese - Cheddar, Colby jack, whatever you like.

Pour some oil in a skillet, I usually use olive oil because we are Greek and use it for everything here. Also, my father in law gives us insane amounts of olive oil every year for Christmas and if I don't use it on everything then things get a little crazy around here.  (More on that later, like next time we get drunk together.)

Saute the onion, zucchini, squash, bell peppers and mushrooms. Add a little salt, pepper and cumin while all this is sauteing. I usually keep adding cumin until the mixture of veggies smells like cumin or the kitchen at Hula Hut.

(Remember when I worked there and I could wear shorts that showed the bottom part of my ass because I was 24 and rockin' it  without even trying and now my ass hangs out of everything because I have three kids that have tortured my body and gravity has been so, so mean?  Maybe I should get a job there again?) 

I probably put in a couple teaspoons or so.

Keep stirring. You will need to stir a lot. This is when it is nice to have a 5 year old. Borrow one if you can, but DO NOT STEAL A CHILD and blame it on this half ass recipe. I'd be disappointed in you. You can stir if you have to, you don't have anything else to do except make out with your boyfriend.  Do it after the enchiladas. 

(Actually do it after you make the enchiladas, not after you eat them, because you will feel full and potentially gassy and no one wants to do that.)

Once everything is getting soft, but not mushy, I add the can of tomatoes and beans. Let everything simmer for about 5 minutes until things get all seasoned and the liquid evaporates a little.

While that is simmering, heat a small skillet on medium heat and warm the corn tortillas one at a time on both sides. Corn tortillas just break apart if you don't heat them first because they are high maintainence and it's really annoying.  (Prepare to be very annoyed at corn tortillas.) Stack them on a plate with loose foil over them to keep them warmish.

If they are too hot it will be hard to fill them because it will actually hurt to hold them and that sucks. Burning your fingers really sucks.  (What would you do without my instructions?)

Spray a large pan, like 9x13 with cooking spray and heat the oven to 350, maybe you should have done this earlier if you have a slow oven. I don't know what you have so I'm hoping you can make this decision and really hoping you followed the first instruction of reading all the instructions first.

Remove your enchilada mix from the heat and spoon into tortillas. About a tablespoon or two per tortilla. Roll and put in the pan, seam side down.

Pack tightly in the pan as many as you can on one layer. I usually need another small pan...this makes a lot. Then pour the can of sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. You can add cheese to the mix if you want to, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Life's really exciting around here like that.

You can also add sauce to the bottom of the can, into the mix, etc. if you like things more moist.  So sorry for using that word, very gross.  Hope I didn't ruin dinner.

Put in the oven for 15 or so minutes until the cheese has melted and everything is all bubbly like.

I like to put sliced avocado and a little sour cream on my plate when eating this because it makes me happy. I used to mix sour cream into the enchiladas, but I've been trying to be more healthy. 

Speaking of ice cream for dessert because it always tastes good after this. I'm on a chocolate chip cookie dough kick, but you are welcome to have your own opinion on this, I guess.
So that's it people.  They really are good.  If they aren't good when you make them then you are clearly not following my very easy, on task directions and you need some work. 
By the way, I also add chicken to this recipe and call it chicken veggie enchiladas, but this makes Amity's husband frustrated because then they aren't really veggie.  He's foreign though and things like that bother him so I ignore it becasue I like that he talks funny and listens to techno.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Martyr Mommy

I've been in one of the phases of my least favorite self.  I've been feeling a lot of Martyr Mommy.  Ugh.

She's so not appealing. She's a whiny, unproductive mess. She feels frustrated and sad and sorry for herself while simultaneously alienating those that could make her feel better.  She should be shaken, or hit with something heavy or maybe even spiky. 

Cole should be involved in picking the object to hit her.  (He's good with that sort of thing.)

I  want nothing to do with this person and I'm pretty sure Alex has some definite problems with her.  She blames him unnecessarily for most things and almost never puts out...but she sure is tough to lose sometimes. 

She also usually has one, maybe two, valid points amongst her rants...but is far too annoying for any one to notice, much less care.

I think her arrival started last week.  Alex had a string of work related things going on, which is nothing unusual.  I think they were just a series of semi-exciting occurrences that, to Martyr Mommy, sounded like a fabulous life while she was stuck at home.  She couldn't even sit down to eat lunch because of the kids' list of demands and he was out being waited on and having the opportunity to talk uninterrupted.

Bastard. (Totally Martyr Mommy talking, not me.  I'm too nice for that.)

(Full disclosure I think he went to a hamburger place in south Austin, but it sounded oh so nice when he mentioned it like it was no big thing while he returned the uneaten lunch Martyr Mommy had carefully packed that morning.  Martyr Mommy, on the other hand had eaten a lunch of peanut butter and honey sandwich crust - not even a full sandwich - and a mini apple that Cole had started eating and then decided it looked gross. )

Alex took Friday off work to leave for a bachelor party at the beach all weekend and even Martyr Mommy honestly didn't begrudge him going.  (Much) He deserved a break from work and some quality time with his friends.  She wanted him to have fun. Really she did. (She realizes this could be read with sarcasm but did truly want him to go and enjoy himself.)

The problem?  She wanted to have fun too, and in seeing him go off to have fun, decided that she would NEVER HAVE A GOOD TIME AGAIN!  Totally reasonable conclusion.

The weekend was actually fine. The kids were fine, but Martyr Mommy persisted. By yesterday she was convinced that she will never spend a night away from Stella, never have another dinner unless planned and cooked by her, and that the entire house would implode if she stopped working her ass off everyday to ward off that event. Again, totally reasonable.

She has yet to ask for help with anything though and prefers to mumble curse words under her breath as she storms around and picks up tiny plastic soldiers, her husband's sweatshirts and every one's cups....why the hell is everyone drinking so much around here?  Why isn't she drinking more around here? 

(There is some allegedly delicious coffee flavored tequila just sitting unopened in a cabinet in the kitchen.  Martyr Mommy even thought about cracking it open solo on Saturday night, but didn't feel fun enough for that.  Martyr Mommy does not participate in joyful events on the principle that, well it's just too joyful.)

She's feeling under appreciated and desperately wants a break.  Really wants a break.  She wants to do something that doesn't involve any of her children.  She wants to sit and write without Cole climbing into her lap or singing songs about growing his penis...because it's really difficult to write when someone is making up a song that horrible, funny and just strange. She wants to be taken out without her having to make a million arrangements about what to do with and feed the kids.

She wants to discuss thoughts and ideas and have some one be excited about something she has to say or about something she is doing.  Yesterday she told Aiden that the newspaper was coming this week to take photos of Mommy for the newspaper and she really might as well have talked to him about the crisis in Libya, he could not have cared less about what she was saying, or her excitement.  She wants someone to be excited about her. She wanted a "way to go" or a "you're really working hard!"  But...she got nothin', because that's sort of how it goes with kids and this shouldn't bother her but sometimes it just does and I am personally trying to explain to her that this is RIDICULOUS beyond words, immature, selfish, etc.....

So, she knows that she should ask for what she needs instead of storming around...but sometimes storming around is all she can do.  She can't form the sentences to say what she needs because she feels weak.  She feels like a big, huge fat whiner.  Ultimately though, she's afraid that she might be turned down and then things would just be all that much worse.

I told you Martyr Mommy sucked. A giant unproductive, irrational, sucky mess.

Because all this gets her nowhere....nowhere fast.  These feeelings feed on themselves and unless she simply tells her self to suck it up and either ask for help where it can be had or put on a smile and plow on through, things are going to always suck.  Deciding that she's not appreciated or helped or WHATEVER basically means she just decided she's going to be unhappy....unless she opens her mouth and says, "hey family, I feel overwhelmed and I sure could use some help. Hey husband, I really need a couple hours for me, when can we make that happen?"  

That will make things better.  There is no way she will be told no.  (Ok, Aiden and Cole will definitely tell her no but fortunately they don't count in any sort of what are we doing vote here.) There is no way she will be allowed to continue to whine and mumble her sadness around while cleaning if she just opens her mouth and talks. Then I can come back and Martyr Mommy can hit the road and come back the next time I feel really beat, because I hate her and sometimes I need to be reminded about what I really don't want to slip back into. 

I don't want her around. 

I'm off to talk to Alex for her so we can get this happy thing moving forward.

Goodbye Martyr Mommy.

If you haven't registered for my Noonday Collection giveaway, click here and do what it says to enter the giveaway. I'll take comments until next Monday, April 4th. Pick the winner on the 5th.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Do They Sell Good Feelings At Target? GIVEAWAY BLOG!!

Do you ever feel like you're not doing anything?

I mean, I know we're all working our assess off making peanut butter sandwiches, settling disputes about who really had the blue light saber first and cleaning up....everything, but what are we doing? I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer mundane nature of my "job." 

I know, I know, I have the most important job in the world.  I'm doing the best work that can be done.  I don't disagree, I'm making people.  People. That's huge.

The fact is though, it takes a long time to make these people and they tend to be difficult on a thousand different levels along the way.  It's joyful, it's challenging, it doesn't feel like I'm actually doing anything and it's straight up boring sometimes. 

So what's a Mom to do?  Well, we have play dates with women we like and other kids we can stand, we search for joy or wine on the really rough days, and we go to Target as much as possible to shop for reasonably priced  items that we can wear and put in our house that makes us feel good while we drink Starbucks and strap all three kids into a very large cart.  It's wonderful.

I have been to Target four times in the last seven days. This is just ridiculous.  I'm not that bored, right?  I mean getting all three kids out of the house four times in a week is sort of impressive so there are bragging rights about that.  And it's not like I'm volunteering for the homeless at Target,  I'm just buying crap I think would make me look pretty.  What am I doing?

The truth is though, I love it there, and my kids love it there. I think I've been four times this week because I've been a little bored and Target gives me entertainment, and reasonably priced fashion. 

Since embarking on our oh so tight budget I've banned Target from our list of potential activities or places to run for milk (so we have an excuse to buy a tee ball set for the boys and a new swimsuit cover up for me,)  I've avoided it because I knew I'd rationalize $100 worth of shampoo and shower curtain rings because it's easy to do and frankly, I kind of want to buy some stuff.

There is a certain kind of therapy in shopping that I can not explain, and don't really want to, because I just love it and would hate to ruin that by discovering it's actually really unhealthy.   Whether it's Target or elsewhere, it is a true joy to be able to purchase things that I find beautiful and get excited to have in my home.  Unfortunately it also comes with a whopping helping of guilt. 

What's a girl to do though?  Well, as usual, I have all the answers.

I have this friend, Jessica, that started a company selling goods made by artisans from around the world whom are trying to work their way out of poverty by making beautiful accessories and home goods.  Furthermore, proceeds go towards placing orphans in forever families (Jessica is adopting from Rwanda and also helps others raise funds for their adoptions). Shopping entertainment meet do-good for the world possibilities?  Oh Jessica, you are brilliant!

(Yes, she is as great as she sounds and yes it is sometimes difficult to be friends with her because it wounds my image of myself as a great person.  Unfortunately I love her though and so I put up with all her fantastic-ness.  Someone has to do it, I worry she's scaring a heap of other people away.) 

Anyway, so she started this amazing company.  Noonday Collection.  If you've seen me wearing excessive amounts of beads around my neck, cool bracelets, or my friend Jenn wearing a belt that I am determined to one day own (or perhaps steal from her)'s all from there. 

I was thinking that maybe instead of going to Target to soothe our souls this week, maybe we could head over to Noonday to check out all the stuff...and perhaps feel like we're doing a pretty damn fantastic thing in the process, perhaps even inching our way closer to Jessica's goodness level? 

Well, at least we could buy some pretty stuff and help another woman and children out in the process.

In honor of all the retail therapy we all need for doing this Mom job, and my dedication to each and every one of my readers (I just know there are tens of you out there reading and waiting for this) I'm doing my very first GIVEAWAY!

Here's what you can win.  The dainty necklace

I love it.  LOVE IT!

So,here's what you have to do to win:

1) Like Noonday Collection on Facebook (comment here that you did, one entry)

2) Subscribe to their newsletter to get weekly style inspiration (comment here that you did, one entry)

3) Facebook about this give away (comment here that you did, one entry)

4) Follow @NoondayStyle on Twitter (comment here that you did, one entry)

I'll take comments until Monday, April 4th and then pick the winner on April 5th.

I'll use to pick a comment number and if you are lucky and super smart for reading my'll win.  So clarification:  if you do one of these things, comment once that you did it.  If you do another, comment again.  You want to have as many individual comments as you can...four.

Also, if you live in the Austin area and want to come drink some wine with me and look at this stuff in person, (or you could just drink the wine and talk to Jessica)  please email me and I'll send you the evite.  Let's hang out!

Happy shopping therapy ladies...there might be life beyond Target. At least periodically.

(I am not giving up on Target entirely either, I'm not that desperate for for goodness, that place rocks, but so does Noonday.)

linking back up to Amanda's Bloggy Weekend at Serentity Now - A Mom's Solution to Staying Sane

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Working on Cole's Trash Placement Skills

Cole is quirky.  Saying he has a good imagination feels insignificant.  He's just funny.

He also is my most challenging.  I guess these often go hand in hand, right? 

For a while he was taking off his pull up in the morning, soaked with urine, and putting it in the dirty laundry hamper instead of the trashcan.  The laundry room and surrounding areas reeked of urine....and I almost threw about five of these pull ups in the washing machine.  Not a good idea.

Yesterday I found four, yes FOUR, pieces of chewed mint gum in random locations around the minivan. Guess who chews mint gum?  Cole and I do.  Surprisingly, I have not been stuffing pieces of chewed gum in the van's cup holders, the seat back pockets, Stella's car seat....or on the start button, which started the search for more gum. 

This morning I found a piece of rotting banana on a shelf in the playroom.  At least it was put away on the shelf I guess. I also found another piece of rotting banana on the windowsill in my kitchen behind a picture frame....under a piece of paper.  This banana placement screams Cole.

Guess what else screams Cole?

He hadn't been happy about being told that I expected him to throw his own yogurt tube in the trash. I guess he showed me.  This is the master bathroom toilet. 

(Yes, our toilet is weird and has that wood looking seat.  It's just the tip of the iceberg of the weird in our house people.  Check out the Charlie Sheen post for a view of the master bedroom door.)

I guess he and I have some work to do on where the trashcan is located for all this stuff.   

Doesn't he just look like trouble?  Cute trouble, but trouble.

By the way, if you haven't voted for me yet on Circle of Mom's Funniest Mom Blogs yet, please click on the pink circle on the right side of the screen and then click on the number next to The Mommy Therapy!  Thank you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Don't Mess With Me, I Have Issues

I'm not sure what's wrong with me.  (No, that's not a request for brainstorming on the topic to begin.)

I just got back from the gym and I seriously might be asked to leave there soon.  We all know I've had some issues with bladder control while running on the treadmill not too long ago, but now I'm just ridiculous. 

I was running today and apparently was really getting in to "the zone."  (I have no idea what "the zone" is but apparently bad things happen there.)  I was listening to my rap tunes and pushing through my fourth mile when the guy next to me starts "singing" along with me.

Now, this sounds like it could be all cute and Glee-like, but it was really embarrassing.  I was actually rapping to Eminem's Lose Yourself loudly enough to have people joining in like it's a freaking sing along.  What is wrong with me?

I tried to laugh it off and just said something weird like, "guess I'm really losing myself here."  I seriously shouldn't be allowed back in there for that joke alone.  Ridiculous.

What's worse is that I don't know how long I'd been singing loudly. It wasn't a very crowded day at the gym, but there had been an older woman earlier that I thought gave me a dirty look when she left the elliptical in front of me.  What had I been singing to her? As I've said before, my running music can be a little racy.  That poor lady had to probably listen to me sing about "ichin to do drugs," or "shittin' on you with the boom." Yikes.

After my sing along I decided to cool down and head to the locker room to pretend to be a normal person again.  While washing my hands, I casually glanced at the myriad of mirrors surrounding me, only to see that I had, what I hoped was a ring of perspiration in certain lower regions of my body.

Did I pee my pants again?  Is this happening now without me even knowing? Am I just sweating a lot there?  Is that normal?  Should I talk to a doctor?

I was mortified. I attempted to use one of the lower had air blowers to point near my crotch, but it really didn't help and despite it being a rather low hand dryer, it was difficult to get my crotch that close to the dryer. Sorry lady that had to witness that.  I didn't have an extra shirt to tie around my waist this time because it's 80 degrees out and I didn't think I'd be needing clothing to cover my incontinence or my apparently nasty sweating problems.

Dear Lord, there are no words.  So, so, so embarrassing.

I can just imagine that I've become something of a freak show to the people that see me there all the time.  I'm sure they all talk amongst themselves, "have you seen that Mom that pees her pants and sings curse words while running on the treadmill?  I wonder how she takes care of those poor kids?"

I'm not sure I can go back.

When we got home, Stella must have thought that since I'm willing to pee my pants I must not really care about much about what happens to my body so she did this....


And yes, I know it's difficult to comprehend, but I actually do look that fantastic after running 4 miles, peeing my pants and rapping a little Fifty Cent at old women.  I'm gross.

Linking Back to Amanda's Serenity Now-A Mommy's Solution to Staying Sane: Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This is How Mekhi Phifer Changed My Life

So Mekhi Phifer just left my house.  He just set up the cable in our playroom.  Thank you Mekhi!

Ok, it wasn't probably him but it really looked like him and I personally haven't seen him on anything since ER tragically went off the air.  I'm just saying.  He could totally be working for Time Warner Cable in Round Rock under the name Chris.  I probably should have asked for his autograph...just in case.  

I think I scared him though because I was watching True Blood when he arrived and it is basically like not so soft porn.  It was a pretty uncomfortable moment for Mekhi and me.  He was totally missing his days on the set after the visit to my house. 

 (Sidenote, why do so many people like True Blood?  It's nasty. I read the books, but I'm just not tough enough for the show. I've tried four episodes now and I am officially giving up.)

Anyway, I think I had a point to this post.  A point littered with sidenotes, but a point all the same so I'll try to regroup. 

Right now Aiden and Cole are blissfully watching PBS televsion in the playroom.  See.

What? Don't they look blissful? Cole has that fun crown, Aiden's sitting on a car bean bag.  Bliss!

Well, I am blissful anyway.  Mekhi just left and we have a fully functioning television in our playroom.  This is life altering. 

Until recently we had been a one tv household. We'd functioned like this for over a year and were just fine like that, until a few weekends ago when we went to visit friends that had a tv in their playroom.

On Sunday morning all seven (yes, SEVEN) kids took their juice to the playroom to sit and watch some morning cartoons and wake up.  Alex and I were totally baffled.  See, we usually watch Curious George or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while we drink coffee.  We never watch the news or have simple silence to talk....usually silence though, no one wants to chat.  This was unbelievable.

The whole drive home, Alex and I tried to figure out where we could squeeze $300 out of our budget to purchase this daily escape from kid world.  We were desperate for the peace that the playroom tv seemed to provide. That was how we wanted to start our mornings.  We were going to make it happen.  We had big dreams. Big, quiet, tv dreams. (We aim low in life sometimes.)

So now that Mekhi has left, I am free! I actually told the boys they could only watch Arthur, but now Word Girl is on and everyone just seems so content....who am I to mess it up?  That would just be mean and I'm not mean. 

Speaking of mean, before cranky Anonymous lady writes a long comment about how I am allowing the television to raise my kids while I selfishly sit and write the afternoon are so right cranky Anonymous lady.  I am being selfish right now and it feels fantastic for my mothering skills.

I plan on letting them really live it up today, relish in the mindless indulgence, destroy their capacity to think a litle and then possibly make it easier to control them.  Maybe? 

If not, at least I got to sit here and write about how good it feels to have peace in my house while my children are here and how there was that time that Mekhi Phifer set up my cable.  I don't remember when that last happened. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Searching for Fabulous Amongst the Envy

I'm not feeling very funny today.  In fact, I feel a little disappointed in me today, which is makes it tough to think you're hilarious.  We went to church yesterday, so I'm going to blame my internal guilt on that.

I've been cloaked heavy in envy lately of just about everyone around me.  It's pathetic and sad.  Spring break has brought out an unprecedented amount of pictures and status updates about every one's fantastic trips, future fabulous vacations and recent exciting excursions.  (Please email me any additional synonyms you have for trip.  Oh!  I'll have to work in "holiday.") 

The truth is, I'm just plain jealous of everyone and it's beyond lame.  Every one's getaways, particularly those without children, are making me feel trapped and frustrated that currently our life doesn't afford those types of luxuries. I know, I told you it's so lame. 

Lame or not, the feelings are here and they must come out.

I once read in a magazine that when you start to feel envious of someone else, you should start a mental list of all the things that are fabulous about your life.   I tried the mental list thing but all I thought of were past really fun vacations that I currently feel I'll never be able to go on again and a lengthy list of items I would like to purchase that are not likely to be purchased in the next, well...say, never.  That was such a stupid magazine.

Since a mental list didn't work I thought I'd put a list out here in cyber world so that I could refer back to it without getting confused about what I'm jealous of and grateful for right now .  I'm easily confused.  I have a lot of emotions.

I also decided I'm not putting any of that normal crap like how I'm grateful I have three healthy kids because, of course I'm grateful that I have three healthy kids.  I can't put that on the list because it's insulting to the list.  It's important, but it's too obvious and doesn't really hit home for me, thank God.

I also plan on including lots of superficial stuff because that is part of life and it does make me feel a little happier.  Man, maybe I should be going to church more often.  I'll put Jesus on the list.  I am really grateful for Jesus.  He's very nice to me.

Here we go.  My Life is Fabulous Because....

1. I really love my stove. (See, I told you this was going to be superficial.)  It makes me feel like a bad ass in the kitchen, though I'm pretty sure I don't cook any better here than at my last house that had a regular stove.  I actually like to clean it and basically it's in the top 3 reasons why I bought this house. 

2.  I REALLY love my husband. I know that sounds like it's in the obvious category of healthy kids, but after being married for nine years and seeing a lot of marriages, I'm really grateful for him. He makes my life rock. He also looks like this...

which makes it extra fun to be married to him. 

3.   I love that Inglenook produces a one liter bottle of merlot that I really don't mind drinking, and sells it for $6....because that's right in my price range.

4.  Don't be confused by this picture.  Stella looks cute, but I love my black purse that is in the bottom corner.

5.  I'm happy my father has taken photos like this is his life because it gives me great joy to look at it and think about what he was thinking when he put on pants like that and when was the last time he smoked one of those target cigarettes?  Too cool.

6.  I'm also happy my mom took photos like this because....well, this one just makes me smile. I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't fascinated by this picture, wishing I would be that pretty when I grew up.

Why don't I ever wear dresses like that? I could really get behind some gratitude for a dress like that.

7.  I'm ever so grateful for teen fiction in my life.  Twilight series and The Hunger Games series...I would be nothing without you.  Nothing.

8.  I have a brother and parents that just worked to get me a new laptop.  That's pretty awesome. That's really awesome.  I plan on being a famous writer as soon as I get that computer.  That's all I need, right? 

Make friends with me now people.  Come April, I'll be in the Statesman again and more difficult to reach through all the paparazzi that will swarm my life.....that's what happens when you get an article in the Austin newspaper, back section, back page...right?

9.  I am so happy I have a child like Cole that says "scuse me" every time he toots.  Literally every time.  Silent, a rapid fire of five, whatever.  Each one gets it's own "scuse me."  No matter what is happening in my life, that is freakin awesome.

10. My Bob stroller.  It makes having three kids a little less painful in public.

11. Starbucks chai tea lattes make my world go round. 

12.  I have really easy hair.  I don't have to do anything to it.  I probably should, but I think it's ok even when I don't. That's awesome.  If it weren't mostly gray it would be perfect.

13. My kids are in preschool 2 days a week.  I am really pushing here for things to be grateful for because really I wish they were in preschool 3 or 4 days a week, but it could be worse...they could not be in school at all.

(In general though, saying that something could be worse is an insulting way to deal with someone that is upset about something.  It's dismissive and lacks compassion. Just a friendly reminder.)

14. My dog rocks (aside from an anal gland issue) he is awesome.  He's easy, sweet, and loves me more than anyone else in the family, and that is how things should work.  You're fantastic Indiana.

15. I've had some pretty fun vacations in the past.  I'm sure I'll have some of them again.  Hawaii, London, Greece, Mexico, St.Thomas, Barbados, Vegas, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Australia, Bali, New York City, Chicago, Kiawah Island, Napa Valley, Orlando, and the list goes on an on. 

So I should really shut my pie hole and stop whining about our lack of vacations.  Besides, this really is exactly like a vacation.

Where's my Inglenook?


Thursday, March 17, 2011

How's Spring Break Going?

Everyone keeps asking me how my spring break is going. 

Well...I guess it's fine. 

(FYI I really think it should be called something else when your kids are just in preschool and it really just feels like you got screwed out of 10 hours of down time, and it really isn't a break....but maybe that's just me.  I hear you feel differently about this week once your kids are in elementary so we'll see next year.)

Here are the highlights of what is going on with us.

Swim Lessons:

Aiden and Cole both started swim lessons and neither of them drowned or pooped in the pool. Aiden even actully excelled at swimming.

Cole excelled at keeping his goggles on and having a watering can poured over his head.  He's showing real promise and will soon be in a speedo racing someone I'm sure.

Stella found an 8 year old girl with a box of Polly Pocket dolls and I didn't have to do anything with her for the entire 30 minute lesson.  I will be seeking this child out each week to babysit my baby and will now bring a book with me to all lessons. 

I also will add Polly Pockets to the list of future girl toys I am scared of having in my house.

The Waco Zoo:

We met some of the boys' friends and a few cousins at the Waco Zoo Tuesday and it rocked. 

They were so excited and joyful that I had to let go of my determination that the day was going to be way more work than I felt like going through and release my dream that spring break would be cancelled and I'd get a call from the preschool saying to go ahead and drop the boys off as usual. 

Despite being trapped in an enclosed area with wild animals and LOTS of small children we all had a good time.  What were the chances of that?  Hooray!

Pilates Class

The time change really jacked with my children's sleep....but the upside was that Stella slept until almost 9 am one morning, which allowed me to attend a pilates class that I usually have to skip because she is selfishly napping.  She's really lazy.

We arrived 15 minutes late due to me having to stop for gas (totally wishing I had more of my mother's fear of running out of gas and filled up every time the gauge registers toward the half way mark, but oh well,) and on the way home we stopped for donuts.  This pretty much countered my exercise, but it sure felt good to go to a class again and to eat a donut.  They are so delicious.

Oh, and my instructor couldn't stop telling me to be fluid and strong.  Not sure why this rubbed me the wrong way so much, but it did.   The donuts helped me though.

Drinking During Playdates:

In true spring break fashion, my friend Jenn brought over a liter of rum and other deliciousness to mix some fruity beverages while our boys played in the backyard

Why doesn't this happen more often?  Why are we not having more cocktails during playdates? 

Thanks Jenn for addressing this need.  I think it's up to us to make this occur more regularly, not just weeks when we are trapped with our kids without end....though those are the most important times to do it.

We also wore our swimsuits and laid out in the sandbox and talked about boys.  Ok, that totally didn't happen but it would have been more spring break like.

Stella's Nine Month Checkup:

This is really not very spring break like, but in true vacation fashion I totally forgot about the appointment until I received a call from the office to confirm the appointment.  I'm so footloose and fancy free around here. 

Jenn, yet again, put a little extra spring in my spring break step though and had me drop the boys off at her house while I took Stella alone to her appointment. 

(Don't you all want to be friends with her now?   Seriously, she makes life good.)

This was a real vacation.  I took photos.  I stopped for a Starbucks.  I read a magazine while Stella played with germ infested toys. I tried to chat up other moms in the waiting room so I could feel like I was on some sort of was mildly pathetic and desperate, but a really good time.

Stella had fun too until she got her two shots.  After that she was really over our vacation. 

She's healthy and doing well though and the doctor medically declared she is still the cutest baby that has ever lived.  He's so intelligent.  Here's the proof though.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  A trip to Ross for a silver velvet chair that keeps calling my name?  A journey to the library?  A walk?  The possibilities are clearly endless and all equally unexciting....except for going to Ross for that chair because I really think that chair could make me happy.

It isn't like the old days of spring break.  Like trips to Cancun in college doing shots visiting Mayan ruins and passing out  playing in the sand.  But at least we got to go to the zoo.

****linking back to Amanda's Weeekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now  check out some of the cool blogs there!*****

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So I Was Going To Be Really Funny, But I Changed My Mind

I had the most witty, insightful, intelligent, yet personable, post about spring break all ready in my head tonight...but it's 11:00 pm people and honestly, I'm really tired. It isn't happening. Besides, I have some riveting teen fiction to read....we all have our priorities.

I blame the evaporation of all my time this evening on my children (they ruin a lot of things by confusing me with their alternating cute then horrible behavior) the time change, my inability to be brief in communication, my husband for being so intriguing that I can't stop talking at to him or staring at him (I'm really fun to be married to) and my pilates class instructor from this morning that kept telling me to be "fluid and strong." 

I honestly almost rolled up my mat and beat her with it.   She really had nothing to do with my evening, but she really bothered me this morning so I feel better when I blame something on her from today.  She was also responsible for all my dishes going unwashed until right before my friend came over this afternoon and for that mashed banana that is still rotting under Stella's highchair.  She was a really annoying instructor.

Anyway, I promise I'll write about spring break tomorrow.  If it isn't' as wonderful as I made it sound in the first lines, it's probably that damn pilates instructor's fault.

Here's a little slice of the boys this week though.  They really have been pretty good.  I'm still not psyched about it being spring break, but it's much easier when they are sweet...or when your friend comes over at 3:00 pm to make you a yummy rum drink so you can pretend you're still living it up on the beach in Ft. Meyers instead of cleaning up rotting bananas....not that I'm doing that.

P.S. If you would like to make me leap with joy...seriously I'll leap and take a photo, click on the button on the right for the link to my Circle of Moms blog entry so I can win funniest mom blog and take over the world.  I'd be so awesome at running the world. 

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why I Should Clearly Never Clean My House Again.

Friday morning, after Amity told me she was busy and couldn't sit around and drink Starbucks with me and talk about the world while our kids played, I decided I should clean.  It had been two weeks since I let Maribel go and even though I had been keeping things mostly clean, I really missed a fully clean house. 
I informed the kids that we were going to clean, changed into my running shorts, sports bra and tank top, because I had a feeling this was going to be a perspiring event and dug right in to the grime.  I basically ripped apart the house to dust everywhere.  I stripped all the beds.  I moved all the furniture to vacuum.  I was invigorated.  Aiden and Cole were dusting with me, Stella was....well, I don't have any idea what she was doing, but she's still around so I'm sure she was fine.

After about an hour and a half or so I had made a lot of progress.  Unfortunately a lot of progress basically just meant I had ripped everything apart just enough that I was really tired and had no desire to finish the job.  Ugh, how did Maribel not hate me?

Aiden and Cole quickly decided that dusting wasn't as much fun as spraying a hose in the backyard and abandoned me, and I didn't blame them.  I decided to abandon things too for a few hours and eventually ended up coming back to cleaning around 4 pm, and had a horrific time getting it done with all three kids whining and complaining wherever I turned.  Cleaning was seriously hard work.  I totally needed my sports bra.

When I finished the entire house, it looked amazing.  It looked Maribel worthy.  It smelled fantastic.  I am a wonderful woman, but cleaning totally sucked.

That night we had a major plumbing problem in our kitchen which resulted in a lot of nastiness on our floor....that I had just spent all day cleaning.  It smelled foul and gave me all sorts of reason to curse. It was very, very frustrating and very, very gross.
Saturday morning I woke up with a headache. No, head pain.  It was horrible.  I got up, made Stella's bottle and then had to go right back to bed, abandoning Alex with the kids and the plumber.  I basically rolled and thrashed in pain in my bed until around one pm when I started vomiting.  It was swell.

I went back for more pain and thrashing, then back for more throwing up.  After that I laid on the bathroom floor for a while and moaned.  Cole and Aiden came and periodically gave me things like flowers and a can of chicken noodle soup. 
While I was lying in bed I could periodically hear the happenings of Alex attempting to handle all three kids.  It was tough out there too.  They went out for lunch, and dinner.  At one point I had been hearing Stella crying for a while and Alex was not having success getting her happy.  I happened to see Aiden walking by so I managed to call him to my bed so I could squeak out, "tell Daddy to feed Stella."  Yep, he just forgets stuff like that.  She's a baby, she needs bottles, it's different than the boys and it's a little complicated for him. 

During bed time I heard Alex ask Aiden what Stella was playing with and it turns out she had peed on the floor and was splashing around in it. Awesome.  Like I said, it's complicated with the baby.

He was a champ about the whole day though.  He knew I was out. There wasn't even a moment to consult me on things since I was pretty much in too much pain to talk....or I was barfing. He did it all, they are all alive and he probably loves me even more now for what I do everyday.  He'd never make it alone.

Sunday involved a trip to Costco that included the purchase of a 10 person tent.  I bet you are all thinking, "gee, your family must camp a lot!" You would be wrong, because we have NEVER been camping and I'm not a huge believer that this purchase will be justified, but it sure did make Alex happy and he was pretty traumatized by his day with the kids.  Overall the day was much better than Saturday.  Tent purchase aside, there wasn't any more time spent on the bathroom floor and none of our pipes were clogged. A huge success.

I think the important lesson to be learned here is that I shouldn't clean our house anymore. Ever.  This stuff never happened when Maribel was here cleaning.  I never once had a clogged pipe or had a paralyzing illness after she left. Alex never made erratic sporting good purchases on a whim at a large box store.  

I'm working on Alex to buy this theory and reinstate our relationship with the cleaning lady. I'm not optimistic, but I really feel it's for the safety of our whole family.  Right?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Daddy Has Been In Charge So This Is What Happens

Stella was just removed from playing with this plunger and beer bottle in our sandbox.

Here is her play attire with Daddy.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Journey to Kindergarten Begins

I signed Aiden up for kindergarten yesterday.  I didn't know whether to cry because it seems like he is getting so old, or pee my pants with joy that he'll be at school five days a week and I'll only have two little ones at home. 

It was such a tough call that I remained pretty neutral about the entire experience.  The process actually helped with my neutrality in that it was rather disappointing on the excitement factor.

There was no defining moment that signified this is the start of your child's educational future.  I didn't receive a heartfelt poem written by a Mom about losing her baby to the world as he climbs on the school bus for the first time.  (I am totally writing that for next year's round-up and handing it to every parent that walks in so that I can attempt to make them cry.)  I wasn't even frightened by pamphlets describing bullying or head lice or any other scary thing about elementary school.

It was pretty lame.

I did purchase a t-shirt so Aiden could pretend to care about being a Coyote next year. I'm going to wait to give it to him though because I have a feeling it is going to ignite a firestorm of questions about the coyote. What is a coyote? Where do they live? Why is it not just a dog if it looks like a dog?

I also had a very intense discussion with a woman from the PTA trying to describe to me all the different box top incentive programs there are and what EXACTLY needs to be brought to school for them to get their money.  I was completely overwhelmed that I have a feeling I might just be taking boxes of cereal there instead of trying to figure out the entire process. Elementary IS difficult.

Then I filled out a stack of paper about what language we spoke at home and some questions about Aiden's personality and current level of knowledge about letters and numbers. I felt sort of arrogant filling them out since Aiden is so interested in learning and cooperative in the classroom. 

I pretty much could have just written "Aiden is the most amazing kindergartner this school has encountered EVER and is going to kick all the other kindergartners asses with his vast knowledge of all things ABC and 123," across the top of the page.

That felt weird though so I just wrote that he was cooperative in a classroom setting and checked the yes boxes about knowing his letters and sounds and being able to count and write numbers 1-10.  I even resisted writing in that he could count to 100, because that wasn't seems like that could be important information though.  I guess I'll just let him wow them. 

In all seriousness, I was actually a little embarrassed when I read over my form.  It genuinely sounded like I thought Aiden should pretty much just skip to 2nd grade or go ahead and be put in charge of any behavioral issues from the "regular" children since he's so awesome.

So I felt the need to say something to the guidance counselor as she was checking my forms for completion.  I didn't want her thinking she was going to be dealing with a difficult parent in years to come.  I tired to laugh about how well behaved and smart I had made Aiden sound and then said, "I swear I don't write that on all my kids' forms, just wait until my middle child gets here."  She just stared at me and laughed (sort-of) uncomfortably and told me I was done. 

Yes, clearly I preferred her to think she was going to be dealing with a partially crazy parent in years to come.  What's wrong with me?  Why did I totally throw Cole under the bus like that and act embarrassed that I have a good kid so far?  I need to work on my moves to fit in at elementary.  It was pretty sad. 

 I probably should have just peed my pants with joy, at least I would have just been an excited and supportive parent.  I need to get to work on that poem to restore my credibility there. I bet that PTA lady could help me write something to make people cry.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Midnight Cowboy Pimps and Target Dreams

I feel sort of sick.  I've felt sort of sick for the last few days and I'm terrified of it turning into a full blown illness which requires our entire household to shut down operations, or worse and more likely, me to keep functioning as the full-time everything here while sick.  The plight of the sick Mommy.  No fun.
I may be feeling on the verge of grave illness, but Cole is feeling 100% better.  He slept until 9:30 yesterday after crawling in next to me around 5 am and woke up completely better.  Look how sweet we are sleeping together.  OK, I look a little scary but he looks so sweet.

(Alex took this photo without my knowledge because he was moved by how maternal and beautiful I look.  I swear, that's what I heard him say when he mentioned the photo.)

Anyway, I kept waiting for Cole's fever to return, but no sign of it.  Hooray! 

Cole's newfound health meant that he was going to school today and there was going to be able to attend the much anticipated Cowboy Cookout.  I've known about this lunch for about a month now, since Alex has to attend and I have to actively remind him every few days that this event is approaching so he doesn't schedule a meeting with drywall people or something, but for some reason I had decided to completely ignore the idea that dressing up like Cowboys for the Cowboy Cookout might be part of the day.   So, we spent most of yesterday on a ridiculous quest for cowboy apparel.
I do not like costumes.  Actually, I don't mind costumes, I just don't want to have to construct them.  I prefer to purchase entire sets that are made in China and eliminate my need to get creative.  I realize that a cowboy costume is not complicated but I really hate putting a costume together, really.  We have a lot of dress up options here, but unfortunately the closest we came to a cowboy outfit is a tattered plaid shirt from Old Navy or an Indiana costume....which sort of seems like dressing for the wrong team on cowboy day. 

So, my punishment for lack of planning began at Target.  I realize this was probably not a smart place to start the search for cowboy hats, which is basically the sum total of what I figured was required to dress like a cowboy when you are five, but all the same we arrived there first.  Honestly, I know I decided to go there because I have banned myself from Target and the idea of having a legitimate reason to go there was difficult to resist.

(OK, a cowboy hat at Target really isn't a legitimate reason since there are probably a bunch more logical places to try first, but the kids didn't know that and  I really wanted to walk around the wonder that is Target.  I've missed it so.  Can you blame me?)

This may come as a surprise to you all, but Target did not have any cowboy hats.  It was a big shock to me too.  I soothed my disappointment though by purchasing three adorable outfits for Stella and pretending that if she looked pretty, I would look pretty. They weren't selling any $8 outfits in my size yesterday.

The boys were disappointed, but decided to ease their aches by being horrid in the store.  I, perhaps, have unrealistic expectations for my kids in public places. I expect them to sit in the cart and quietly chat with me, or one another, about the things that I am contemplating like should Stella get a green or pink dress?  Am I putting too much pink in her wardrobe?  Is this a legitimate gender issue I should be worried about?  Stuff like that.  I don't care if they agree with me or not, just have an intelligent discussion while I push you in this large cart.  Is that too much to ask?

My boys, on the other hand, want to jump on and off of the cart, chase each other through racks of clothing and listen to me shout idle threats at them about having us leave, when we all know I love Target far too much to make us up and leave before I've had the chance to peruse the ENTIRE store for things I can't live without that are less than $20, but always total to more than $100 at checkout.  I know, I just shouldn't go there....but we needed a cowboy hat, what choice did I really have?

I eventually abandoned Target, leaving with an impressive total of $60 in clothing that Stella actually did need, flip flops that Aiden did need (Cole needed them too, but his feet were too fat for all the flip flops and was devastated about this injustice) and nothing for myself other than a $5 DVD of Where The Red Fern Grows and a dream that my boys will actually care for 10 seconds about watching the classic without complaining that no one is animated.  I totally conquered Target.  I should go back!

After rest time I decided to make a second attempt at cowboy apparel and headed to the much more reasonable Party City.  Party City had an impressive array of cowboy hats, sheriff stars, pretend spurs, holsters, vests, chaps and things I didn't even know cowboys cared about like feather's possible this was misplaced from another section, but I'm not sure. The boys were in heaven.  Cole quickly picked out an adorable hat which was perfect for his size.  Aiden, was not so lucky.

I guess today is cowboy day, Texan Day (I hate to think what goes on in school to celebrate this, perhaps a brainwashing that all other states are inferior?,) as well as several elementary hoe downs. (I have no idea how to spell that, but you know what I mean.)  Cowboy hats were a hot item in Central Texas yesterday..  Aiden's options consisted of two VERY large men's size hats, one in black and one in leopard print, a baby cowboy hat that did not push past the crown of his head or a plush, velvet hat in a brownish, purplish, redish color complete with a matching ribbon.  I swear the tag said men's cowboy hat....but perhaps it should have read "Prairie Pimp".

It really is sort of odd looking, but he didn't seem to mind so we purchased the pimp hat and Cole's hat and some small pin on sherrif badges and left to seeek out the widest flip flops to ever exist for Cole's square feet.  We went to Ross.  Nothing.  (Actually there was a chair that I am totally going back for this weekend when I have another $40 because it will make my life complete, but no fat feet flip flops.)  Next was Kohls, adorable flip flops but they were $25 and I'm not spending that on flip flops for a three year old.  Besides, I have to buy that chair to make me feel good, I have to watch my pennies.  I spotted a Rack Room Shoes across the shopping center so we made our way there.

Rack Room Shoes had a bountiful supply of flip flops that would be perfect for my fat footed child.  Score!  Unfortunately there was a little punk kid trying on cowboy boots right next to our selection of flip flops.  I knew I was in trouble.  Freakin kid and his Texas Day celebrations.

Aiden and Cole both begged me to let them just try them on to see how they fit.  I've used that before.  I'm no stranger to trying to woo my parents into purchasing me something because I look so happy and adorable wearing it. (I promise I haven't done this in the last few years.  Ok, maybe months.  Don't judge me.)   I totally know why my parents caved so often. 

 The boys looked so happy.  Unfortunately, Aiden's boots were two sizes too big and that punk kid that started the whole thing had taken the last one in his size.  Aiden was pretty disappointed, but was a good sport about it and was satisfied with a promise to search online for another option, besides he had his velvet cowboy hat....what more could an old time pimp ask for? 

Cole, literally bounced around the store and completely abandoned his day long dream of owning flip flops. He fought me to take them off for his bath and immediately put them on his bed, along with his hat and gun, to sleep with him.  About 30 minutes after I had left their room, I heard Cole talking.  I went to see what was going on and there was Cole in the dark, in his pajamas, boots, gun and hat bouncing with excitement about his cowboy image.  I stripped him of his cowboy stuff and re-tucked him in for the night. ...only to have to come back in another 30 minutes.

This time Cole was still on his bed, but he had put on his hat and boots on again and was in the process of arguing with Aiden about whether or not cowboys used swords or drove cars. Cole was emphatic that all cowboys did both, Aiden was VERY angry at even the idea of these things being uttered aloud and a fight was brewing.

I finally got everyone to sleep around 9, two hours after bedtime.  Who would have thought that my lack of preparation for the Cowboy Cookout could have created so much excitment? At least I got to go to Target again and I finally got to see my oldest son wearing a hat that any old West pimp would have been proud to have on his head.  Even if I am getting sick, it was worth the run around for these costumes.  I'll post a picture of the official outfits worn to school today later.

Oh and  just because I can't resist.  Here is a photo I took of Stella after I busted her with a stolen roll of toilet paper.  Unreal.  She is going to own that "look how cute and happy I am so you should get this for me and never punish me," thing.  I better start stealing myself to her cuteness now. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cole's Rough, Rough Day

It was a rough day for Cole.  Sickness mixed with a little bullying, and a splash of confused tragedy made for a lot of unpleasantness.  It's tough to be three....which might be why he keeps saying that he's four. 

Around 11:30 I just received a call from Cole's teacher (actually substitute teacher) saying he was under the table, wouldn't come out, and was complaining that he wasn't feeling well. Cole always has his own way of expressing things. I guess hiding under the table might be smart if you feel horrible and don't want to deal with the world. 

I'm actually noting this as a future go-to maneuver for not wanting to deal with the kids.  I bet if nothing else it would totally confuse them enough to be angels for at least 15 or 20 minutes. 

Every time I have received this call, instead of immediately thinking of my poor sick child, I instantly run through all the things I still had left to do before I was going to have to pick up the kids. It's always disappointing to find out my alone time is cut short.  Today I had planned an exciting trip to JC Penny and I was quite frustrated that it wasn't going to happen. 

Oh and I was really sad for my poor Cole, of course. JC Penny and Cole, both sad.

Cole started this morning off a little odd, but to be honest he starts most mornings off like that so I hadn't thought much about it.  I just assumed that it was going to be another day of Cole life.  After a long morning of me attempting to get Cole to cooperate, without much success, I had us both pretty irritated with the other.

In the van on the way to school, Cole informed me  that he no longer wanted to live with me.  He had plans to hop on his bike immediately after preschool and journey to Grandma and Tractor's house in Indiana where he was going to walk in the woods with Tractor.  He also let me know that he could walk if he got lost on his bike, it didn't matter if he didn't have a map.  Solid plan Cole.

He even had me phone my parents on the way to see if they would have his room ready.  They were, of course, ready to oblige, though Cole was completely confused and a little perturbed by my Mom's and my laughter during the conversation.  My Dad said that he would fly down, buy a bike and make the trip with him.  This only peeked Cole's interest in perhaps flying to Indiana instead of biking....he is pretty smart.

After we got off the phone he immediately told me he was not going to change his mind, ever about leaving our house.  He would feel the same after school and he wouldn't miss any of us.  I was actually very proud of Aiden chiming in to tell Cole that he would miss him and didn't want him to go.  Every so often he stops hitting Cole long enough to be nice.

When I picked Cole up from school I broke the news to Aiden that he had to leave also.  There was no way I was hauling a sick Cole back in an hour and a half to pick up Aiden, just so he didn't miss playground time.  I was pretty sure all kindness to Cole ended there.

Aiden spent the van ride home trying to get to the bottom of how exactly did Cole get sick. Where were the germs? Why did they stick in Cole? Why did Cole always have to get sick and make him miss school?  (Just to clarify, this is the first time I have had to make Aiden leave school early for Cole being ill....Aiden tends to be a bit dramatic.)

At home Cole was a lethargic mess.  His fever was around 103 and he didn't even care about the Diego episodes I turned on for him, a true sign of illness.  He was though, very enthusiastic about being able to finally drink Gatorade (Cole calls this Gatorader and asks for it daily, despite the fact that he has only had it once after puking about six months ago.)

As I was rubbing his feverish head he started telling me how his favorite "friend" at school had told him that no one wearing a red robot shirt could play with him on the playground.  Guess what Cole was wearing....yep, a red robot shirt.  He went on to tell me that there are only four boys in his class and this "friend" said no one else likes him or his robot shirt. 

Note to self:  Burn red robot shirt.  Punch mean kid in face.

My heart broke.  I am crying typing this.  My goodness life is cruel fast.

This isn't the first time that his favorite "friend" has told Cole that he couldn't play with him. The truth is that this little boy is a full year older than Cole, I know he comes from a nice family (ok has a nice Mom,) and is probably just feeling like the big guy on campus and Cole is very much the youngest kid on the playground.  This boy is by no means a bad kid, but oh my goodness I don't want my Cole treated like that.  

I dug deep for the exact perfect thing to say, because I am really spectacular in these big moments (remember how sarcastic I am) and always say the right thing.  I finally decided to go with,"that must have made you feel really sad.  It sounds like he wasn't being very nice to you...".and some other powerful stuff that I'm sure I'll one day read in a bullying pamphlet because they were effective and poetic.

Finally I asked, "Do you ever talk to Ms. Sharon about it?

He looked up at me with tear filled eyes and said, "Ms. Sharon got hit by a car." 

OK, I was totally confused.  What? 

Then I remembered that Cole had a substitute today and I think I heard that his teacher, Ms. Sharon, was out because her dog got hit by a car.  Oh my poor baby felt like crap, had his favorite friend telling him he can't play with him and believed his teacher (whom he loves) got run over by a car.

Tough day for Cole.  Tough day for me.  Tough day for JC Penny not getting me to hit their stores when I was in the mood to purchase.

These are the moments that I really don't ever want Cole to grow up.  I know I am constantly wishing for more time for myself, less urine everywhere, more peace and much less chaos, but Cole is just so amazing and hearing him have such a rough day makes me want to wrap him up in bubble wrap (except for the fact that this would probably suffocate him,) and never let anyone be mean to him again. That could work, right?

I am praying that tonight he is healed of whatever is giving him that ridiculous fever, he feels nothing but love and kindness from us (even if I have to strap Aiden to his bed to make it happen) and he never thinks anyone he loves is hit by a car.  

Maybe we'll have a ceremonial burning of the robot shirt just to make everyone feel better.

Damn robots.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Aiden Makes a Profane Dr. Seuss Hat

Last week, Aiden's class studied Dr. Seuss.  Of course The Cat In The Hat was a big topic. 

One of the crafts was to make a classic red and white stripe Cat hat, which Aiden thought was pretty cool so he wore it around our house a lot.

I didn't really look at the writing on the front of the hat closely when it first came home, but yesterday he was happily running around with the hat on and the words on the front no longer said 'Aiden's Hat.'

Now, the words were 'Aiden Shat.'

It really made my night.

It was one of those moments when I am really grateful to have kids so that hilarious things like this can make me laugh for hours.  

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Like Shawshank Around Here....Minus Morgan Freeman Unfortunately

Somewhere around Tuesday, the boys entered one of those horrible times of really, really, really poor behavior. I hate when this happens because it always takes me by surprise and brings on a slew of emotions that I really can't handle. 

Guilt mixed with rage is so very unpleasant.  I despise the desperate search for what could be going on with them.  Am I too hard on them?  Am I too easy on them?  Am I too cool for them? (It makes me feel better to think that this is potentially relevant, never mind even true.)

Aiden has been notably more difficult than Cole, but really when Aiden's behavior starts to fall, so does Cole's.  The coordination of their poor behavior makes me nutty. Just one of them would be difficult enough. 

So what do I really think started everything going south this week? This...

Cole's rebellious mohawk has clearly ignited some sort of uprising among the children. I'm never spending the entire time he gets his haircut talking on the phone to my friend about important things like my blog and vacations again. This is what Cole asks for when left alone with a stylist that has access to purple and blue sculpting gel.

He also has been wearing his swimsuit and a swim shirt almost every day since this haircut, I'm not saying there is a connection, but I'm not saying it isn't connected either.

Aiden's favorite expression the last few days has been, "I don't like you."  Followed closely by, "I don't like the things you do."

Fantastic, then we are on the same page.  I don't like the things you do right now either, but unfortunately I can't tell you I don't like you because I am such a good parent and I'm intelligent enough to know that's probably psychologically damaging in some way....even if I really don't like you right now. I am so mature.

I can't even force myself to drag out all the details of their actions because it embarrasses me, makes me want to crawl back to the kitchen for another glass of wine, and ignites long conversations between Alex and me about running away and leaving the kids behind with a good amount of food and drink on conveniently low shelves.  I think we're both just fantasizing, but I'm pretty sure if he made the move, I wouldn't protest.  I even know exactly what food I would put within their reach. 

(There is also another level to the plan that I have been working on after Alex and I's discussion ends about how I would put all the fun things like fruit snacks and their favorite graham crackers just out of reach because I feel so angry at them.  This is cruel, I realize, but it's my fantasy and I can make it as mean as I want to since it's probably not happening.  Probably.)

We do spend a few minutes on actually addressing the real problem, but mostly we focus on how much fun it would be to run away because it's more productive for us and makes us happy. Isn't that what's most important? That the parents are happy?  No?  Shoot...when do we get to that part of being a parent?

To give a quick summary, Aiden and Cole have decided that listening is optional, I am an evil woman that drains all fun out of everything and any task asked of them is bordering on abuse. It really pulled on my heartstrings when Aiden cried to me that he has do do "all the work around here," when I told him to pick up and put away all the newly folded laundry he had just shoved on to the floor. 

Perhaps I was too hard on him?  He did sound a little tired after he knocked all those clothes over, it was seriously hard work. Also, he had just put his cereal bowl in the sink and flushed after he used the restroom, what more could I possibly ask for from a child?  

I love his genuine feeling that he does all the work.  I mean, it really is hysterical. Other than taking his plate to the sink,  I honestly can't name a single chore he does with any degree of regularity.  Perhaps this is part of the problem? 

No....I prefer to think that they have started to misbehave due to their own genetic deficiencies (received from Alex, of course,) and negative influences from things like Curious George and preschool rather than anything that is preventable through good parenting. Again, this just makes me feel better and at least someone should be happy around here.

I have been shutting down the fun right and left.

Topping the punishment list is that the playroom is closed for business. Anything left in the playroom before all hell broke loose on the behavior front is trapped in there.  Sorry kids, go play with some sticks and dirt in the back yard.  That's what life will be like for you in the prison yard if you can't figure out how to behave.  Let's practice right now.


Cole's most missed item?  His toy shotgun, of course.  Aiden's most missed item?  Every single item in the room.  It's all his favorite.  He is miserable without all of it.  Hooray!  Parenting success! 

Only hoping this doesn't blow up in our faces later when they are leaving their toys all over the house instead of keeping them in the playroom for fear of losing access again. 

I know you are thinking that at least I still have sweet baby Stella to snuggle and giggle with through the day.  Well, even Stella has fallen to their evil, mohawk inspired ways.  She has taken to biting me  when I try to take something out of their mouth or do something as mean as pull her away from a cluster of electrical cords.  For her though it is pretty funny, especially since she doesn't have teeth and she's still so cute.

She has not escaped punishment though.  She's been forced to play with tampons and non-skid bath feet.  Ok, she really enjoys these items and I'm not really interested in punishing her, but when I walked by her playhouse it struck me as sort of mean that these were her go to entertainment options.  I swear I bought that baby some toys.

I know this too shall pass, but it's been a really annoying week and I'm ready for the tide to turn.