This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Finger of God

As a Southerner, I love a good thunderstorm.  A gray sky and winds that cause the trees to dance and flash the lighter undersides of their leaves is invigorating.  The smell as those first few heavy raindrops hit the Alabama red clay is sweeter than honey, and the sound of a heavy rain on a tin roof is musical.  Storms in the South can be beautiful, awe inspiring, almost magical....and they can be deadly. 

Yesterday, in my home state of Alabama, there were more than 100 reported tornado sightings and more than 60 confirmed dead before I went to bed.  In my hometown of Huntsville, AL they are ALL without power (more than 300,000 homes) because the storms have damaged the Brown's Ferry Power Plant and they do not expect it to be restored for 4-5 days.  In Tuscaloosa where I attended college, it looks like a bomb was dropped on the city.  Luckily, most of The University of Alabama was unscathed, but as I write this I still have family that is unaccounted for.  The tornado that went through Tuscaloosa was estimated at a mile wide.  Think about that for a minute.  Picture a point near you that is about a mile away and imagine a vortex of whirling debris -- of everything from paper and insullation to cars and bricks -- from where you are to that point.  That tornado then moved basically up I-65 to Birmingham then took I-59 towards Gadsden and eventually into Georgia where it merged with another cell.  It is unusual for a tornado in Alabama to stay on the ground for that long, and travel that far virtually uninterrupted.  According to the radar, this tornado never unformed -- it shrank and grew, but never dissipated completely -- for more than 2 hours.  In a way, this was a blessing because it could be tracked, and people could be warned, but it also meant that the path of destruction was wide and long.  Many times, tornadoes in the South form, drop, and dissipate all within a few minutes without any warning leaving a wake of destruction. 

There are many things in nature that fascinate me, but I think that violent storms are near the top of the list.  I could have been a storm chaser in another life.  Yesterday, as my friends and family were without power and were relying on their smart phones for info via Facebook and text messages, I became information central.  I had streaming video up in 6 different windows on my laptop as I texted friends in Hazel Green, Huntsville, Madison, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa to let them know what was coming their way -- if they could get out of the basement or the bathtub or the hallway and mattress.  There was nothing else that I could do for them as I sat here in Texas, more than 700 miles from all of them.  I could not offer shelter from the storm, but I could tell them when to seek it.  At times, I struggled to keep up because the storms in North Alabama around Huntsville were forming, dropping, and moving so fast that I couldn't text everyone fast enough.

I saw so many things as I streamed the live videos from Alabama.  The weather coverage alone with the green, yellow, orange, and red covering the state radar map was enough to mesmerize me.  There were reports of debris that was picked up in Tuscaloosa being dropped as far away as Oxford, AL -- more than 115 miles away.  The news station out of Birmingham could literally track the "debris ball" in the tornado on the radar -- it was THAT large and dense.  The tornadoes captured on film were all at once frightening and fascinating, and the pictures of the devesation left in their wake was heartbreaking and I cried more than once.  These storms were the worst on record since the storms in April 1974 -- 2 weeks before I was born. I sincerely hope that the state will not see anything like them again for another 37 years.  There were stories that would break your heart, stories that would scare the life out of you, and there were stories that would renew your faith. 

Prayer is a part of my daily walk of faith, and I have been in constant prayer for my friends and family in Alabama since yesterday morning.  I hope that all of you will join me in praying not only for those in Alabama but also for those in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia that were hit before and after Alabama.  I know that yesterday there were many people who prayed for the first time.  How could you not pray, when you see the Finger of God come down from the sky and decimate your landscape, forever altering the view?

This is a very good video of the Finger of God that went through Tuscaloosa:

4-27-11 Tornado Tuscaloosa, Al from Crimson Tide Productions on Vimeo.

Tornado in Madison or Limestone County (not sure which) near my parent's house.

Tornado as it entered Birmingham

Tuscaloosa Tornado

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maybe Next Year

So apparently, me kind of faking it has not gone over well with you guys....I am slipping on the Top Mommy Blogs list, so I'm back.  This is a REAL post.

Yesterday was my birthday, and all-in-all it was a pretty awesome -- the husband took me to breakfast at Mimi's Cafe, I took a nap, I picked up cupcakes (because the kids were upset because I didn't have a cake),  I got an AWESOME birthday package containing a huge coffee cup and LOTS of Rolos (thanks Christy!!), and I ordered pizza (because there was no way I was cooking dinner on my birthday).  But the day started off not so hot.  I was fighting the sneaky hate spiral from very early in the morning.

Around 1 AM, the 4 year old, who has been sleeping successfully in underwear for sometime now, wet the bed and woke up crying.  Her big sister was in the bed with her.  So I was changing clothes and sheets and moving kids to the couch and other beds until around 2.  Then I had a hard time getting to sleep. 

Now, my loving husband asked what he could get me for birthday and I said I wanted to sleep in everyday for a week.  So he has been getting up and getting everyone to school while I snoozed away.  However, my kids are incapable of being quiet in the mornings.  I was hearing arguing over who gets to brush their teeth first, opening and closing of my bedroom door as they come in and out to use my bathroom, get a brush, look for shoes, etc.  They did not care that I was sleeping.  They did not care that they were ruining my birthday present.  But they eventually were whisked away to school by their dad, my hero.

Then my hero came back and started trying to wake me up to see if I wanted to go to breakfast.  I DID want to go to breakfast, but I also REALLY wanted to sleep.  I had to work really hard to push that bile of nastiness down and not snap at this man who had worked 12 hours, slept 6, and gotten up to take our kids to school.  He wanted to take me to breakfast -- its not like he wanted me to iron a shirt, or clean something.  So, I got up and showered and let my hero take me to breakfast.  Then we came home and took a nap, because we're cool like that. 

The rest of the day was a blur of virtual inactivity, besides picking up kids, cupcakes, ordering pizza, and a whole lot of nothing.  It was wonderful.

Then, at bedtime, the inevitable happened.  Amid the "I'm not tired" and "I'm not sleepy" decrees, and the French Farce bed-hopping, I discovered that one of the cupcakes had migrated from the table into the bedroom.....and exploded.  There was chocolate on the bed, on the floor, on the walls, and on the nightstand.  Luckily, not a smear of icing had survived what I am pretty sure was a vicious 2-year-old attack, so it was just thousands of crumbs.  But still, there I was, 8:30 at night vacuuming up chocolate cupcake and using Clorox wipes to clean the walls and the hard surfaces and rewashing the sheets that had been washed no less than 18 hours or so ago. (You know, because of the whole bug paranoia thing.)

Here is what I have concluded:  I am 37 years old.  I am the mother to 4 young children.  Despite my best efforts, I am in relatively good health.  And as much as I loathe and detest cleaning, it is part of my job.  Even if I had a maid, there is no way I'd let cupcake crumbs soil my kids' sheets and floor until it was the maid's day to come -- even if it were the very next day.  So, as much as I'd like to have a day off from "Cleaning ALL the things" (nod to Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half) it is NEVER going to happen.  I am never going to let my kids spill something like chocolate milk and say "Nope, sorry.  It's my day off.  That'll just have to wait until tomorrow." And realistically, although I try to make them clean up after themselves, I STILL have to clean behind them because they are KIDS....and I am their mom.  It's just part of my job.  But I really do wish I had made it through one whole day without busting out the vacuum cleaner and the Clorox wipes.....

Maybe next year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's My Birthday!! I'm Taking The Day Off

"You have to speak to be heard, but sometimes you have to be silent to be appreciated."

      It's my birthday!!! I have now been around the Earth 37 times. In honor of my birthday, I am taking the day off. So appreciate my silence, I'll be back ranting and raving tomorrow. Instead, let me share a few of my favorite birthday related or age related quotes. When I knew the person who first said them, I tried to credit the source. I tried to look up a few, but that negated the whole "taking the day off thing" so I stopped.

“The secret of stay­ing young is to live hon­estly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” ~ Lucille Ball

To me, old age is always 40 years older than I am.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

"The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The sweetest tunes are played on the oldest fiddles." -- Sigmund Z. Engel

"Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you're a cheese." -- Billie Burke

      "Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough." -- Groucho Marx

"Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again." -- C.S. Lewis

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” -- Sophia Loren

"A man ninety years old was asked to what he attributed his longevity. I reckon, he said, with a twinkle in his eye, it because most nights I went to bed and slept when I should have sat up and worried". ~ Dorothea Kent

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. ~ Mark Twain

An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her. ~ Agatha Christie

Children are a great comfort in your old age -- and they help you reach it faster, too. --Lionel Kauffman

The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they're too old to do it. -- Anne Bancroft

I didn't get old on purpose, it just happened. If you're lucky, it could happen to you. -- Andy Rooney

Inside every older person is a younger person - wondering what the hell happened. -- Cora Harvey Armstrong

Old people are fond of giving good advice; it consoles them for no longer being capable of setting a bad example. -- Francois De La Rochefoucauld

Very few people do anything creative after the age of thirty-five. The reason is that very few people do anything creative before the age of thrity-five. -- Joel Hildebrand
And finally, one of my all-time favorites:
     When I die, I want it to be on my 100th birthday, in my beach house on Maui and I want my husband to be so upset that he has to drop out of college. -- Roz Doyle, Frasier

Monday, April 25, 2011

So Enough About Me

Okay, it's my birthday week (my ACTUAL birthday is tomorrow), and I spent my weekend doing all kinds of Easter stuff, so I am kind of phoning it in today -- don't judge me too harshly for being lazy and don't tell the Room Moms.  Today's post is a Facebook game I did last year, I had to change a few of the answers because my answers that day are not all current anymore.  The rules are:

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 30 RANDOM, FACTS HABITS and GOALS about yourself. At the end, choose 30 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. Just quit the internal whining and do it. (To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 30 random things, tag 30 people, then click publish.) 

Obviously, you are not all going to be able to respond with 30 random facts, but you could do your own on your Facebook pages.  But leave me ONE random thing about you in my comments if you want.

Here is my list:

1. I am an Auburn Fan (duh) but I graduated from Alabama. I know all of the words to both teams fight songs but only sing one of them during the Iron Bowl! :)

2. I have four kids that I love more than life itself, but never planned it that way. It is a good thing I wasn't a slut in high school because birth control doesn't work on me.

3. I want to be a writer....well, I AM a writer, but I'd really like to get paid for it.

4. I miss the South -- FYI, Texas is NOT the South.

5. My favorite color changes almost daily. One day I may hate a color and the next love it.

6. I have been wearing the same perfume for nearly 15 years.

7. Before kids, I was rather OCD....4 kids is the best OCD therapy in the world because you have no choice but to get over it....several times a day.

8. I have written no fewer than 10 children's books, but since I am not Jamie Lee Curtis or Brittany Spears, I cannot get a publisher to publish them.  It is extremely frustrating when I go into bookstores and see a $10 book that has 10-12 words on a page or a crappy story (or both).

9. I love my husband and he must really love me since we all know that I am 8 different kinds of crazy on any given day.

10. I love daisies. I think a bouquet of daisies is among the happiest sites in the world.  I love other flowers too.  But I rarely buy them because they are so freaking expensive and who wants to buy flowers for themselves??!

11. People often don't get my sarcasm and twisted sense of humor.  I have lost several Facebook friends (even a family member) because of this. 

12. Fresh brewed coffee is the best thing.  For anything.  Always. 

13. I am a decent cook, but rarely use a recipe.

14. I am still OCD about my kitchen and bathrooms (don't like germs).

15. I have read all the Harry Potter books at least twice -- the first few I have read about 7 or 8 times.

16. I read lots of children's fiction, but I also read James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, and Laurie King.

17. I am addicted to Coca-Cola.

18. I love my parents -- they drive me crazy sometimes, but I drive them crazy ALL the time, so that's fair.

19. I am not a big chocolate fan, but I LOVE caramel.

20. I am deathly allergic to bees, wasps, and fire ants -- I carry an epi-pen in my purse. But I go temporarily insane, jumping around and hiding wherever possible whenever stinging insects are around, so I have only had to use it once in my life.

21. Most of the music that I listen to was recoded before I was born or while I was still in elementary school.  Chances are, that if it wasn't at one time available on 8-track, I probably don't listen to it.  Black Eyed Peas are one notable exception.

22. I used to teach horseback riding at Pine Hill Day Camp.

23. I hate it when people run their mouths about something they don't really know anything about -- whether it be other people, religion, politics, child raising, or whatever. My harshest retorts are reserved for these people. (And you all know that my retorts can be pretty harsh.)

24. I miss my old friends -- some because of geographical distance and others because we just grew apart. I miss the ones that I've grown apart from the most sometimes.

25. I can still do a flip on a trampoline -- I proved this at a birthday party I took one of my kids to.

26. I have been known to dust my furniture with a baby wipe. It actually works remarkably well.

27. I have glasses that I am supposed to wear when I am reading or working on the computer. They are in their case about 6 inches from my hands as I type this. I rarely put them on.

28. I used to want to be an actress. I also wanted to be a mechanic. I could not imagine doing either of those now.

29. My husband and I got engaged on April Fool's Day. He has never once tried to take back his proposal.

30. I have at least 30 more random thoughts I could type here, but it appears that I am done.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Counting My Blessings

So today is Easter Sunday.  But at our house, we have trouble getting everyone up and dressed and out the door for church under the best of circumstances -- without meddling rabbits -- so the Easter Bunny came to our house Friday night. 

I had a friend come over last night with her 2 kids and she watched all 6 kids so that Gary and I could go out for awhile, and so we tried to channel the kids sugar rush into cleaning.  It did not go well.  They kept doing super-productive things like running in circles, jumping on the couch, and fighting.  Bella was so concerned about what everyone else was NOT doing that she couldn't quit tattling on everyone.  William, who got the Star Wars III Nintendo cartridge in his Easter basket, kept trying to make deals with us about how little he should have to do before he could play it.  Lorelei was picking on her brothers and sister by trying to put stuff on their heads like stuffed animals, half plastic eggs, and trash.  And Jackson was walking around in my shoes with sugar residue all over his face and hands and if we asked him to do something, he looked at us and said "No thanks!" with an evil little grin. 

I took a break from cleaning long enough to cool off a little and start this blog.  As much as my kids drive me nuts, I find myself reflecting on how incredibly blessed I am.  I have 4 relatively healthy, happy children, a husband who would do anything for me (including working a crap job with horrible hours because it pays well), and enough money to pay my bills (most months).  I find myself realizing this more and more everyday.  I am blessed.

My best friend from high school has a little boy who is 6 months older than my oldest.  He was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma when he was 5, and he'll be 10 next month.  Half of his young life has been spent fighting to stay alive.  The doctors have told them that it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when this disease will take their son from them.  I do not know how she does it.  News like that would cripple me -- I would totally shut down.  But not her.  She works full-time as an elementary school music teacher and she takes him back and forth to Memphis for his treatments at St. Jude's and she ensures that he and his little brother are loved and happy.  She is amazing and I am in awe of her.  I pray for him and for her and their family and doctors every day (And if you pray, please add them to your list).  I may not be very "in-your-face-religious" but I am a full believer in the presence and power of our God.  I pray because I know that He can heal this little boy even if the doctors say that there is no hope.  And I know that if He chooses not to, only He can provide comfort. 

I have another friend whose daughter was born with a form of Spina Bifida.  Her daughter shines a bright light of hope on what people consider a defect by being a beautiful, happy and otherwise healthy little girl.  Knowing her and her mama have been an extreme blessing in my life.  This is another mom who amazes me.  Her girls are beautiful, she spends her day advocating for the Spina Bifida Association for her state, and she is a beautiful woman (and an awesome cook).  She has taken what many would (wrongly) consider a burden -- having a child with "special needs" -- and she considers it a blessing and dedicates her time to showing others what a blessing it is.  Anyone who meets her and her daughter has no doubts.

I have other friends who's children have had other illnesses that were life threatening, and more still whose children have autism or asberger's.  I know how very lucky I am, and lately I have been more and more appreciative of it.  The tag line for St. Jude's advertisements say "Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not" -- so today, on the day that Christ arose from the grave more than 2,000 years ago to fulfill a prophecy that guarantees my everlasting life, I am thankful.  I am thankful that He died for my sins, that He rose from the grave, that He is returning one day to carry the faithful home, and that I can count myself among those who call Him teacher, master, and saviour.  And I am super thankful for those who are dearest to me and that they are healthy and happy. 

So today as you're kids are running around high on more sugar than you'd normally let them have in a month, hunting eggs, fighting with their siblings, and spreading that wonderful "grass" all over your house, let them.  Sit back and enjoy them.  Enjoy the fact that they can see, that they can run, and that they are yours.  Tonight you can brush the sugar off of their teeth and be thankful for the inevitable crash that follows a sugar binge.  Tomorrow you can vacuum up the Easter grass and wash the chocolate out of that Easter dress.  Today, be thankful that they are here, that they are healthy, and that God blessed you by adding them to your life.  You and I, my friend, are truly blessed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I LOVE My Kids. So Back Off.

I have gotten 2 wall posts on Facebook and 3 emails complaining about the fact that I did not have my blog posted by 8:00 this morning.  There was no school today in honor of Good Friday.  I slept until nearly 11:00 so sue me.  But, here it is...better late than never.

In the hypercritical email that I got a couple of days ago, this woman suggested to me that I "shouldn't have had kids" since I "obviously don't like them."  Let me explain something:  I LOVE MY KIDS.  My kids are awesome.  They make me laugh every day.  They are the reason I get out of bed every morning.  I would do anything for them.  And they drive me absolutely insane.

This is the plight of all mothers -- we teeter between loving them so much it hurts and being so mad that we want to hurt them.  There are many times that they do or say things that are so incredibly touching and sweet that it nearly brings me to tears and then there are things that they do to my house, to each other, and to themselves that literally make me cry.  And not EVERYTHING that they do is a mess -- Lorelei will come and sit beside me while I am working on my blog or screwing around on Facebook and say "I love you Momma.  You make my heart super happy" and Jackson will grab my leg while I'm making dinner and say "I love you Momma!  I NEVER let you go."  William will still let me give him a hug and kiss before bed despite the fact that I KNOW it makes him cringe because he is 9.  And Bella, who is just like me (bless her heart), will come and try to cuddle with me and make me insane gifts of affection out of bendy straws and thumbtacks.

I've had other well-meaning moms tell me that I need to learn to appreciate the little things and find the beauty in the things that they do.  I can find the beauty in MANY things.  Like when they wrote out their welcome message for my parents in Bendaroos or when they used no less than 46 pieces of paper to make me a Happy Mother's Day sign.  Or when they wrote "My mom rocks!" on the wall with a "Washable" marker and made me breakfast in bed consisting of 2 Eggos and an entire bottle of syrup....that dripped off of the plate allllllll the way down the hallway and onto my sheets and into my hair as they stood beside my head trying to wake me up.  But if you can look at the carpet in the upstairs portion of my house and tell me that I should appreciate their use of color and symmetry and not get mad at them, then YOU are clearly a better mom than I am. And your Xanex prescription might need some tweaking.

If you want to know how much I love my kids, just try to do something that I perceive as a threat or just being mean.  My inner "Mama Bear" will come out and you will be sorry.  As much as I dislike conflict, I will get all conflicty up on you if you in anyway come close to what I perceive as an attempt to attack, harass, mistreat, or in any other way discriminate against my kids.

Do they drive me nuts?  Daily.  Does that mean that I don't love them?  Absolutely not.  It means that they are normal.  And so am I.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm Ready to Be Hated

On Tuesday, this article was very popular on Facebook:  Parents, Don't Dress Your Daughters Like Tramps  It was reposted by just my friends more than a dozen times.  There is one reason for this:  It hits a chord with all parents.  We all agree with this.

So who are these parents that let their kids dress like they're going clubbing when they should still be wearing Garanimals?  Who told Target that my 7 year old would EVER be allowed to wear gold lame stretch pants and a halter top?  And why does Wal-Mart sell padded training bras in sizes as small as 6X?  When shopping for clothes for my 2 girls I am constantly amazed by the crap that is out there.  I want my kids to "grow up" but I don't want them to audition for the next season of Jersey Shore. 

It's not just the little kids either.  The pre-teen and Junior departments at stores like Kohl's are full of clothes that promote their budding sexuality.  As the mother of 2 girls, I think that they need to hire someone like me to design clothes for little girls.  I want my girls to look cool, but I want them to know that they can do that without wearing low-cut, skin tight, mid-driff bearing, clothes that no one should be wearing regardless of their age.  When I was growing up, I wanted very much to be cool, just like my kids do.  I wore some get-ups that I am definitely not proud of today.  Okay, it was the late 80's and early 90's -- I wore LOTS of things that I am not proud of, and I did it with a spiral perm.  My job as a parent is to make my kids better at things than I ever was.  This includes fashion.  If I have to be a "Mean" mom to do that, then so be it.  And I was a rebellious teen once too, so don't think I won't search your backpack for clothes that you plan to change into once you get to school, or call your friends' moms to make sure that you are still wearing what I sent you out of the house in.  I pulled all that crap on my parents too.

I am blessed with boys as well as girls, so let me make something else clear:  If you want me to like you dating my son, do not come around my house dressed like he picked you up off of some random street corner.  I am working very hard to raise my boys to treat women with respect and I will not have them dating girls who make respect hard to give.  Also, as much as I try to instill morals and an appreciation for modesty in my boys, I know that there will be a time when their hormones take over and all of those things I tried to teach them will grow faint in their memories or disappear altogether.  I can be a mean and snarky mom if I need to in order to run you off, and as much as I hate conflict I will endure it if it means my son can avoid being your "Baby Daddy" at 16. 

My kids will no doubt "hate" me at times, I know that I "hated" my parents when I was a teenager.  But I also know that those times will pass, just like they did with me and my parents.  I am now so very appreciative for what I felt was a strict up-bringing of not being able to stay out all night and wear micro-mini skirts.  I am even more appreciative as a mother.  I had 4 kids on 4 different kinds of birth really IS a good thing that I wasn't allowed to stay out all night in a micro-mini, and that I wasn't a slut in high school.  I will accept my kids' hatred for not letting them do whatever they want because it is my job as a parent to not let them run around all willy-nilly doing whatever feels right in the moment.  As the guy who wrote this article so rightly states -- "I am their parent, not their best friend."

Don't get me wrong, I hope to foster a relationship with my kids that encourages them to come to me with their problems, but I also want them to understand that the responses they get will be from their MOM.  I cannot turn off my parent-ness for them to bear their souls to me like I was their 16 year old co-hort.  The more open and honest our relationship, the better, but it will ALWAYS be a parent/child relationship. 

I saw this yesterday and I love it, so I am sharing it here with all of you.  If you are easily offended by a little foul language, you may want to skip it....I also am working on one for sons.:

Tina Fey's Prayer for a Daughter

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, dammit.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Second Post of The Day, But I Needed To Vent

I have to stop saying "How stupid can you be?" I think people are taking it as a challenge.

As part of my craptastic day yesterday, I received an email from a "Tiger Mom" who was offended by my post that criticized the over-achieving, pushy moms who make their kids do all kinds of ridiculous things so that they can feel like successful parents. She turned her criticism not to the blog, but to ME as a parent. She said that I was one of those parents who lets their kids eat too much sugar and watch too much TV and that her kids were not allowed to go to houses like mine because she was trying to raise them to a "higher standard." She found my blog insulting to moms like her. Lady, I'm not insulting you, I'm describing you. If you are insulted, then I am sorry in the most sarcastic form of the word.

There is a fundamental truth that you people who keep criticizing are failing to recognize: This is MY blog. I do not work for CNN, and can therefore say whatever I want here. These are my takes on things and if you agree, great. But if you don’t agree, keep it to yourself because I don’t care. I don’t care where you went to school, what degrees you hold, what books you’ve read, how smart you think you are, or how successful you think you are as a parent. You are the proof that someone can become rich, achieve high social standing, hold multiple degrees, and still be an idiot. It took me many years for me to lose my mind….why the hell would I want a piece of yours?

Here’s a thought, quit reading my blog if I offend you so much. I mean, I want people to follow and vote and all that, but if you are looking for conflict you are in the wrong place. I am not a fan of conflict. I blog to RELIEVE my stress, not to add to it. Just the act of putting it all out there makes me feel better. Sometimes I am justified by seeing it all written down and I can look at it and see that I was right about how nuts something was, and sometimes I receive further validation from reader’s comments. If you disagree with me then I don’t want to hear about it. I am guessing that since most of my followers echo my mindset, you haters are choosing to send emails instead of leaving comments because you know that while I will simply ignore your emails and blog about you anonymously, my readers would rip you a new one. I don’t really know what to tell you except that since stupidity is not a crime, you are free to go. No one is forcing you to keep reading, so quit. Quit reading so that you won’t be offended. And for God’s sake, quit sending me emails telling me how wrong or misguided I am. Go find a different blogger who will tell you how awesome you are for being a helicopter parent and how your children will grow up to be perfect because you only fed them whole foods and never let them watch TV.

Also, you know those intense unexplained pains you get sometimes? You deserve those.

So, How Was Your Day?

So yesterday was a completely sucky, suckfest of SUCK.  If you don't follow Allie over at Hyperbole and A Half (and you should, she's way funnier than me), then you do not know about the Sneaky Hate Spiral so you need to go ahead and click on the title and read that because today's post is all about the one major disappointment followed by 500 little things that all combined to ruin my day and my mood.

The day started out like all others, with me getting up on the 3rd beckoning from my alarm and still being way too tired to function properly and doing highly intelligent things like putting the milk in the cabinet and the cereal in the fridge and then barely getting my kids to school before the bell rang.  Then I remembered that it was egg hunt day at the little ones preschool, so I got them up and dressed with their dozen eggs each and took them to school.  I checked at the office on my way out of the building and found out that egg hunting was to commence at 1:30.  I went home, had coffee, and then the crushing blow to my day came in the form of a phone call.  It was a phone call we had been expecting, but not with the news we thought was coming.  The news was bad.  Not death or natural disaster bad, but it was a "hope-killer" bad.  This was the beginning of the sucky day. 

Despite the fact that I was devastated by that stupid phone call, I had to get on with my day.  I took a shower, even put on make-up, and got to the pre-school early by at least 10 minutes to put on a happy face for my kids' egg hunt.  Unfortunately my "happy face" didn't last long.  This is my 2-year olds first year ever at pre-school.  His class had already done their egg hunt around 11:30 or 12:00, right after lunch.  I had missed it.  His first EVER school Easter egg hunt, and I wasn't there.  This was the first kid, out of all 4 that I had missed their first egg hunt.  (If you aren't a parent, you're probably thinking this is not a big deal.  If you are a parent, then you totally get this).  Apparently, they "always" do the 2 year old's at lunch, right after recess because otherwise they are "too tired and cranky" at 1:30 and just want to go home.  Well, thanks for telling me and the other moms who showed up at 1:30 to see their 2 year old's hunt eggs.  I went with Lorelei's class to her egg hunt and then collected the 2 minions and went home. 

I got to the parking lot to discover that some other mini-van driving mom had parked her van close enough to mine that they could have been mating.  After side-stepping to get to the sliding van door and getting my 4 year old buckled in, I got the 2 year old in and then had to literally crawl across from the passenger side to get to my seat because there was no way I could get the driver's side door open enough to squeeze in.  Then one of the few songs that is like nails on a chalkboard came on the radio followed by a bunch of crappy commercials with the kids' Nick Jr. DVD on right behind my right ear and I got distracted and topped the speed limit by a whole 3 miles per hour.  I got pulled over.  Less than a mile from home.  I only got a warning, but the little things were already piling up on the proverbial camel's back.

I came home and checked some emails and got a snarky one about my blog so my "Sneaky Hate Spiral" continued.  My kids were attacking their candy-filled Easter eggs like a couple of blood-thirsty wolverines, and they devoured more candy in the 4 minutes while I went to pee than I usually let them have in a week.  There were wrappers EVERYWHERE.  The dust from the air was already settling on their sticky little faces making them look like a couple of hobos from Big Rock Candy Mountain.  Then the other 2 came home from school and the choruses of "How come they get candy and we don't?  That's not fair!  We want candy!" started.  After about 30 minutes of that crap, I'd had it.  I bolted the front and back door, told the kids that I had a headache and needed an hour of quiet, went to my room and closed the door.

Even my nap was screwed up.  All I wanted was to lie alone in the dark and wallow in self-pity, but that didn't happen.  The kids came in my room no fewer that 26 times.  THAT was half expected.  What I didn't expect, was that there was a predator in my room with me.  When I got up 72 minutes after trying to lie down, I had 3 half-dollar sized whelps on my back....just out of reach.  Stupid mosquito.

I came out to the den to discover that my kids had, once again, thwarted the laws of physics.  The small handful of Easter grass from Jackson's bag from preschool is just enough to cover the bottom of a white sandwich bag and also inexplicably enough to cover the ENTIRE den floor.  And my vacuum doesn't like it -- it kept spitting it back out.  Then the minions walked in.  My camera was still in the car from the egg hunt at preschool.  I wanted to properly convey the image that stood before me, so I searched and searched the internet for a specific picture from this 1954 Bugs Bunny Cartoon called "Bewitched Bunny."  It is the one where he rescues Hansel and Gretel.  I couldn't find the image I was searching for, but this IS from that cartoon and it IS of those characters:

The specific image that I was looking for was the one where they turned and faced the camera all wide-eyed and covered in chocolate.....because THAT is more like what was staring at me.  I cleaned the chocolate, sugar residue, dirt dog hair and other crap that was stuck all over their faces and hands and realized I had nothing planned for dinner.

After all that, there was NO WAY I was cooking, so I went and got McDonald's.  I then got a phone call from my husband who informed me that he would be home early from work (hopes raised like a shooting star!) ....because he had to be back at work at 7 AM for a stupid training class before working his regular shift from 1-1 (aaaaaaaaaand the hopes go crashing down).  He will be at work for 17-18 hours today and will be paid for 8.  I loathe and detest his job.  He only gets paid overtime if he works on a weekend.  It doesn't matter that they take him away from his family for an average of 12 hours a day during the week and only pay him for 8 and then spring these "special training classes" on him requiring an extra 4-8 hours on a day when he is already working.  He has been stuck on 2nd shift since last June even though his position is supposed to be a rotating shift.  Before this he was stuck on 3rd shift for 18 months.  He has been with this company for 3 1/2 years and has worked 1st shift about 4 months, and one of those was his 1st month where he was shadowing another manager.  If it weren't necessary for him to work to pay for things like food, rent, utilities, etc. I'd tell him to quit and we'd go back to Alabama where we belong. 

So, how was your day?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Sloth Mom"

Okay, so I realize that I am completely behind the times here, but I just found out about this whole "Tiger Mom" thing. In case, like me, you are also behind the times, let me enlighten you: Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother is a book that came out in January by some psycho Yale Law Professor named Amy Chua.  It is the memoirs of this Asian-American woman about how she raises her 2 daughters to be superior to your kids. She makes them practice the piano and the violin for 6-7 hours a day, do math and spelling drills for 2-3- hours a day, no TV, no phone, no internet, no sleepovers, no birthday parties, no dates, NOTHING because "its all about their happiness," and they can't be happy without being successful.  She believes that academic success is equivalent to successful parenting and that a kid's self esteem means nothing because kids "owe everything to their parents" and should spend their lives living up to their expectations and trying to make them proud.

Critics have raised arguments both for and against "Tiger Mom" stating that the fact that China continually outpaces the US in National test scores clearly demonstrates that the hard-line academic standard that Eastern parents impose on their children is working much better than "the laissez-faire indifference and babysitting-by-TV which too often passes for parenting these days."  She defends her parenting style in which she calls her daughter "garbage" and throws a handmade Mother's Day card back at her child for not being good enough by saying that she is encouraging them to never settle for less than their very best. 

I'm sorry, but I call bulls***.

I am working on my own memoir which I will entitle "Sloth Mom" and it will be all about the free range parenting style where kids learn to fend for themselves at an early age by scavenging for Pop Tarts and get lavished with praise for simple (yet completely practical) things like putting their shoes on the right feet and flushing the toilet.  At our house, parents help but don’t hover. Kids are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves, develop their own personalities and interests and succeed on their own merit.  [FYI -- I learned a lot about sloths while researching for this post, and I'll do a post in the future about how most normal moms are like, yeah, look for that.]

Her kids may be playing piano and violin at Carnegie Hall, but my kids will be inventing new instruments, writing plays, and whatever the hell else they want to do because I fostered imagination and built their self esteem to convince them that they COULD do anything.  Her kids will not be allowed to pursue careers that don't require a doctorate degree and it will not matter if that isn't what they want to do because she has raised them to believe that they have to please HER and SHE has decided what will most please her is for them to be miserable.  My kids on the other hand, know that I will be pleased with whatever they do as long as they are happily living somewhere other than MY house.  She threatens to take her kid's toys to the Salvation Army, to cancel Christmas, and refuses them food, water, and bathroom breaks in order to get results and I promise my kids trips to Sonic and the movies, or candy.  We both get results, but the difference is that my kids don't hate me.  Her daughters, now 15 and 18, swear by their mother's parenting style and say that they never felt unloved or abused.  Really? Not even when she threw that card back in your face saying "I reject this.  I do not want anything from you if it is not your absolute best work"?  THAT didn't make you feel just a little unloved?! 
Now, anyone who knows me (or reads my blog) knows that I do not coddle to my kids -- they get punished when necessary (sloths have some pretty wicked claws, in case you didn't know).  I do not sugar coat life for them -- I tell it to them straight, with a hint of sarcasm, in a way they will understand it.  If I have to explain math to William in terms of X-Wing Fighters lost, or number of droids produced, then that's what I do.  If I need to let Bella do her independent study project on Justin Beiber to encourage her to do research and write well, then I do.  If I need to convince Lorelei to eat her vegetables by letting her eat it like a puppy, then I do.  And if I need to bribe Jackson with candy to keep him from peeing in his underwear, then that's what I do.  Because I AM THE MOM.  I am not the drill sergeant, I am the Mom.  I do what I have to do to make my kids healthy, happy, functioning members of society.  There will be time enough for them to face the harder things in life, (like when they're older than 10) and I hope that by NOT taking life so freakin' seriously when they are kids, they will learn NOT to take it too seriously when they are adults.  I don't want them to burn out on life at 22 and come live in my basement.  I want them to know their strengths, work on their weaknesses and accept what cannot be changed.  If I expect them to be the best at everything all the time, then they will be disappointed and I will too.  Oh, and since I'm criticizing, I think it is a little premature for her to be tauting her parenting memoir before her kids are even legal adults.  Our job as parents is not to have perfect kids -- it is to raise responsible adults.  If I take on all of the responsibility (deciding what they will do, telling them how to do it , and forcing them to do it and re-do it) then they WILL NOT be responsible OR independent.
So here is all I expect:  Put God at the center of your life.  Love and respect me, your dad and each other.    Show others the respect and courtesy you would like to receive from them.  And do your best at whatever you do.  If they follow those simple instructions, then their lives will be happy and fulfilling.  Then they, and I, will be successful.  Suck on THAT "Tiger Mom."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Take That, Facebook

Facebook has a status update box that says "What's on your mind?" and then they limit me to 420 characters.  They obviously do not have a very good understanding of how my mind works.  So this morning as I drink my coffee and "collect my thoughts" I figured I would share the random and totally unrelated things that go through my mind.

We are the trashiest family in our neighborhood.  Literally.  Trash days are Monday and Thursday here, and while most of our neighbors have their 3-4 bags of trash, we put out about 8 bags on average every trash day.  The plus side to this is that everyone thinks that we've always just had a party.  We also don't recycle.  I know, recycling is a good thing to do, but here where we live, you have to pay $10 extra dollars a month to recycle.  That's $120 a year.  It's ridiculous, so we don't do it.  (Go ahead and judge me, I don't care.)

I've been trying for months to par down on the amount of stuff in our house.  It is not going well.  And I keep finding crap that I HAVE NO IDEA where it came from.  Yesterday I found a stuffed horse.  It's about the size of a small kitten, and I don't know which kid it belongs to or where they got it.  I also have found books that I know I never bought and I don't remember ever getting as gifts.  Then there are the clothes.  My family has T-Shirts that just sort of appeared and I don't know where they got them.  Bella has a T-Shirt for a 5K in Oregon.  We've never been to Oregon.  Nor have we ever run in a 5K.  Where does this crap come from??  I am beginning to wonder it perhaps my kids are kleptomaniacs and pick up random crap from other people's houses.....

Lorelei wants me to have another baby.  She keeps asking me if we can go to the baby store and get another baby.  I've told her that Jackson is the last baby, but she doesn't get it.  She also gets very upset when I tell her that because "Jackson isn't a baby anymore" and she wants "just one more baby, please??"  I told her that when she grows up and gets married, she can have all the babies she wants.  She told me that she wants ME to have another baby, because when she grows up, she wants to have puppies and kitties.....I'll tackle that on another day.  Today we are talking about why she cannot have flying lessons (she doesn't mean in an airplane....she wants to fly like a bird, or a bumblebee, or a superhero without a cape.)

Bella is obsessed with Justin Beiber.  It is very annoying.  Don't get me wrong, I've listened to his music and I took Bella to see the movie about him, so I know the kid has talent, but WOW.  She has repeatedly told me and her dad that she "has Beiber Fever" and that she "WILL marry him one day" and she plots how to break him up with Selena Gomez.  She is 7.  When she acts like this about a boy she has zero chance of ever meeting and who is about 10 years older than her, it makes me think that I need to lock her in her room until she is about 30.

William cannot focus on anything that isn't Star Wars related.  He can tell you in vivid detail which planets the Rebels have saved from the Empire and how they did it, he can recount specific details from the battles (including ship specs), and he can accurately describe the gazillion and five species and the planets that they came from, but he cannot learn his multiplication tables or remember to put his name on his paper.

Jackson wants to carry a purse.  Bella and Lorelei get to carry purses, and I carry a purse, so he wants a purse.  His request makes sense -- he has all of these dinosaurs and wooden blocks to carry around and a purse WOULD make things easier to transport.  His father might have a heart attack if I actually let him carry one of the pink or purple ones that we have though, so next time I am at Goodwill, I will search for a proper "Little Man Satchel."

Now my coffee is gone and I need to go get another cup.  This is why Facebook limits status updates, I guess.  Luckily, Blogspot does not have such restrictions. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Not a Real Post

I was up until after 4:00 AM, and there is a parental issue that requires most of my attention today, so this isn't a real post.  I will resume my "real" posting tomorrow. 

But I DID want to take a sec to say THANK YOU to all of you for reading and voting for me!  As of last night, I am ranked #65 overall and #10 in humor on Top Mommy Blogs and I have received some AMAZING reviews!!  Please be sure to vote every day by clicking on the brown "Vote For Me @ Top Mommy Blogs" button over there on the right.  My ultimate goal is to be in the top 10 overall, but that may take awhile. Be sure to pass the blog along to anyone you think might enjoy it, and ask them to vote as well. 

You guys make ME feel normal by following and voting and agreeing and relating!  Just knowing that there are other parents out there like me is a comfort!  Thanks for reading, and keep coming back!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's NOTHING Like Preschool On TV

Who posts on Saturdays?  I DO -- because this is my therapy.

If you read this blog regularly (if you don't, then shame on you), you are well aware that my 2 year old was sick for about 4 days and I didn't sleep much as a result.  You also know that I was stuck watching Nick Jr. for those 4 days and just about went nuts.  If you don't have preschoolers, then this post will seem like I am speaking a foreign language.  I assure you that all of the shows I am about to discuss do exist and are in every way as disturbing and/or annoying as I say they are.  I am an expert.  My kids have been watching this channel since it was called Noggin and it has been on in the background of my house for about 9 straight years.  Nick Jr.'s "tagline" is "It's like preschool on TV!"  Guess what?  NO its not.  It isn't anything close to preschool -- no one is eating paste or sticking rocks in their underpants or picking their noses or grabbing food off of each other's plates and there is no biting or hitting.  Nope -- Nick Jr. is a sunshiney happy place full of talking animals who teach our kids to be little Socialists.  Now I have talked about some of this before, in this post: Seriously? Yep, Seriously. but some of these shows really stick in my craw so I'll be going over what really bugs me about them and I'll let you know what the tolerable ones are.

The Fresh Beat Band:  Okay, this show is about a group of young adults with the combined mental capacity of my 4 year old, yet they are allowed to run around bursting into songs about how "It's Been a Great Day," "Let's Go Bananas," and "Friends Give Friends a Hand."  In the real world, they would be institutionalized and participate in occupational therapy in order to dress themselves.  But, it falls about middle of the pack on the annoying scale.

The Backyardigans:  This one is actually my favorite Nick Jr. show.  It does bother me a little that the penguin, the hippo, the lizard, the kangaroo, and the moose all live in the same neighborhood, but since it is the only show on this channel that has at least a hint of sarcasm, I'll give it a pass.

Jack's Big Music Show: So, I *think* that Jack is a dog.  A blue dog with a clubhouse, a best friend named Mary (who I think is also a dog), and a named Mel who plays the drums.  The show incoporates all kinds of music clips from such chart-topping groups like "The Laurie Berkner Band" and "Curious Buddies."  This one actually isn't bad either except that I have no idea WHAT Jack is exactly and that some of the music makes me want to find something sharp to puncture my ear drum with.

Toot & Puddle:  This is what I might nickname my two youngest.  This show is about 2 pigs who travel al over the world.  But they never go together because one has to stay behind so the other can stay home and receive post cards from the one travelling.  My favorite episode is when one of them travels to the Middle East and tours a famous Mosque....because you know, Muslims love pigs.

Franklin:  Soooooo, Franklin is a turtle.  He can count by 2's and tie his shoes, and all of his friends are other forest creatures with names like "Bear," "Beaver," "Snail," and "Otter."  Its a good thing there is only ONE of each of those animals in the entire flippin' forest.  Why does Franklin get an actual name?  I would think that if you were creating a show you would need a little more creativity than that.

Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids:  There are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many things about this show that disturb me.  The most offensive is that a spider couple adopts a bunch of their food to raise.  They live in a small "commune" and they are all resposible for making sure that everyone has what they need to survive.  Even the lazy bugs (in this show, it's the ants) get food and shelter off of the hard work of their neighbors.  Socialism.

Little Bear:  Why is he naked??  All of the adults wear clothes, and I know from a past episode that he had baby clothes, so WHY IS HE NAKED??!!

Yo Gabba Gabba:  Where to start?  DJ Lance looks like he was sucked through a wormhole from a 1970's Roller Rink and he carries around a case with little phalic symbol looking toys that he talks to all of the time clearly illustrating that he got some bad drugs.  They sing songs like "There's a Party in My Tummy" and "I like Bugs" while they do dances like Iggy Pop on a bad acid trip to "Get the Wiggles Out." 

Olivia:  Yet another pig show.  In this one there is this precoscious little pig who's favorite color is red and who daydreams all of these carzy scenarios where she is a queen, or something equally important.  She drives her parents and teachers crazy with all of her "Rules of Life" like "No matter what the situation, costumes are always a good idea."  It is far less annoying than most Nick Jr. shows, though, adult supervision is common and it does promote imagination and individuality, so I will allow it.

Little Bill: Defeinately among the winners on this channel, but it was created by Bill Cosby, so that has a lot to do with it.  Little Bill is the youngest of 3 kids in a family that lives in NYC.  He's about 5, and its fairly normal except that you never see mom yell, or the kids have a meltdown.

Wow Wow Wubzy:  I do not know what this is....there's this little creature with a "Kooky" tail, a whiney little voice, and he's got a friend who's really smart and a friend who is a rabbit who is a mechanic.  He loves to play "kickety-kick-ball" and make messes and it's just.....weird....and annoying.

Dino Dan:  This is one of my kids' favorites -- there's this kid named Dan who is obsessed with dinosaurs and he "sees" them everywhere as he's playing or at school or just going through his day.  In the real world, this kid would be diagnosed with schitzophrenia and medicated.  Unlike most shows on here though, his mom is present.  It's kind of educational and not too annoying unless you have to watch it over and over like my kids do.

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan:  I hate this show.  Kai-Lan lives in China with her animal friends (including a rhino named Lu-Lu who floats everywhere with a bunch of baloons-- WTH??)  She only answers to her grandfather "Yeh-yeh".  EVERY show is about how somone isn't happy and how everyone should focus on MAKING them happy regardless of what it takes.  Yeah, because THAT'S how the real world works -- Let's all stop what we're doing and focus on you and your problems.

Wonder Pets:  Another show that I loathe.  The "Wonder Pets" are a turtle named "Tuck," a hamster names "Winny" and a duck chick named "Ming-Ming."  They are the classroom pets at a small red school house and after the kids go home they go and rescue animals in trouble in their "Flyboat" which is a boat....that flys.  None of their rescue missions are at all realistic -- like a baby cow who got stuck in a tree because of a twister or a bird that gets stuck on top of the Statue of Liberty and can't fly (then how'd it get up there??).  Ming-Ming speaks with a lisp and is always the one to point out that "This is sewious." They save the baby animal and return it to its mom or dad and then they all have celery.  They NEVER fail.  Just once, I'd love for them to show up where there is a baby animal in trouble and say "Wow, there's nothing we can do.  Sucks to be you.  Who wants celery?"

Dora The Explorer:  I allow this one because my kids will sit still and mute for the 23 minutes that it is on.  But Dora runs all over the place with a monkey named "Boots" and her magic backpack that ALWAYs has what she needs in it -- all she has to do is ask for it.  She is constantly stalked by a fox named "Swiper" who is always trying to steal from her, and there is no adult supervision.  Ever. 

Go, Deigo, Go: Another 23 minute miracle that will immobilize the kids.  This one is the 2 year old's favorite.  Like Dora, he runs all over the jungle unsupervised, with a baby jaguar as his companion.  He is always rescuing animals in trouble by utilizing his "Rescue Pack" which can transform into anything he needs.  He swings from vines, kayaks down rapid rivers, rapels down cliffs and hang-glides over tree-tops despite the fact that he's only about 8 or 9 years old at the most.  The closest thing to a parent is his sister Alicia who is always at their headquarters radioing to him about where he needs to go. 

Blue's Clues:  Okay, Blue is a dog who lives with either Joe or Steve depending on how old or new the show is.  She communicates with them through barks (which they understand) and she makes them try to figure out what she wants to do by leaving her paw print on things thus designating them as "Clues."  There are always 3 clues.  Joe or Steve writes all of the clues down in their "Handy-dandy Notebook" and then they sit in the "Thinking Chair" to figure out what she wants to do.  There are other characters like "Side-table Drawer", "Mailbox", and "The Salt and Pepper Family."  It would freak me out if all of the inanimate objects were alive with personalities (probably because they'd be calling out to be cleaned), and I think it is weird that Joe and Steve devote so much of their time trying to fiure out what their dog wants to do, but as long as I don't have to be in the room, I will allow this one too.

Oobi:  Again, disturbing on so many levels and sooooo many questions.  What do their 'legs' look like?  Their heads are hands, so where are their hands?  There is not enough hand sanitizer in the world to make this show okay......

Max & Ruby:  Ruby gets on my last nerve and I love Max because Jackson is JUST like him.  Yeah, one question though -- WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS????!!

The absolute WORST thing about these shows is that I find myself singing all of their stupid songs to myself throughout the day.  They get stuck in my head whether I am actually watching the show with my kids or just hear it from the next room.  Nothing like walking through the grocery store and finding yourself humming the theme song from Max & Ruby or Oobi....
I think that one of the main things that bugs me about Nick Jr. is that there are no parents in these shows (little Bill and Dino Dan are the exceptions).  All of these characters either live alone or with grandparents.  I am also bothered by this version of the world where everyone is trying to make everyone happy because that just isn't the way it is in the real world.  None of the animals in Diego are trying to eat each other, Kai-Lan doesn't have any human friends, the Wonder Pets always save the animal in trouble, and there's never a hard winter in Sunny Patch causing Miss Spider to eat one of her adopted bug kids.  I like shows that encourage imagination and problem solving.  A little sarcasm is good too.  Maybe its because I was raised on Warner Brothers, so I have a hard time with all of these shiny happy cartoons that do not involve shotguns and TNT and cross-dressing rabbits.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Already Have A Job

So I know that you are all dying  to know what happened when my parents arrived yesterday, but it was fairly uneventful.  My mom actually complimented me on the cleanliness of the bathroom and the fact that there were only 2 hampers of dirty clothes and one of clean.  Then she saw the kids' bedrooms.  Luckily, her judgement was mainly directed at the minions.  Specifically the 2 oldest who "know better" and who "ought to be helping their poor mother" because she has enough to worry about. (Picture me nodding vigorously in the background....)  She later chastised me for "being at war with my children" and I took it like a champ.  Mainly because it's pretty much a one sided war, but also because I know that she really has no clue what I do on a daily basis. 

Today I fully expect the conversation to turn ugly as we will no doubt turn to what I am going to "do" with my life once the kids are all in school full time.  She thinks that my blog is "a nice little hobby" but doesn't understand why I'd want to "write a diary for the whole world to read."  I mentioned to her yesterday that I was ranked #23 in the humor category on Top Mommy Blogs, and she was completely unimpressed.  She said (and I quote) "Well, that's nice, but how many people actually read what you write?  I've never even heard of 'Top Mommy Blogs.'  I mean, blogging is not a job."'s not a 'job' in the sense that I get PAID or anything, but it IS work.  Especially since I've been trying to do it every day. 

This is the question that I expect to hear tomorrow, mainly because it is the question that ALWAYS comes up when discussing my career plans: "Why don't you look into becoming a nurse?  Like your sister...."  Well frankly because I don't WANT to be a nurse.  Also because I'd make a HORRIBLE nurse -- can you guys picture me as a nurse?  Here's how that scenario plays out in my head:

Patient presses call button......
(No response)
Presses again......
(No response)
And again.....
Me:  "WHAT??!"
Patient: "Ummmm....I need to go to the bathroom...."
Me:  "And?"
Patient:  "Well, I, uh, kind of have 2 broken legs and a ruptured kidney, and I just woke up from a 3 year comma....."
Me:  "Crap.  Can you hold it for a bit?  I'm updating my blog...."

Also, there are all these rules and regulations about what you can and can't say to a patient without getting the place where you work and yourself sued.  Not to mention the HIPAA Laws about not talking ABOUT patients in any way -- even annonomously.  Without being able to get on here at the end of my shift and rant about the weirdos on my ward, I'd go nuts and quit within a month.  Bottom line:  I don't want to be a nurse "like my sister" -- I rarely (if ever) in my life have wanted to be ANYTHING "like my sister."  My sister and I are not that much fact we're like night and day.  She is graduating from nursing school (with honors) next month and will make an AWESOME nurse.  She is empathetic and tough at the same time -- PERFECT nursing material.  She can be all business and impartial, while making you feel like you're her primary focus.  Not me.  If I like you and you die, I will be a blubbering idiot for days.  If I don't like you, well, you might die because I will avoid going into your room for anything short of a "code blue."  She is able to hold a patient's hand through a tough procedure and then go get ice cream with her kids.  I get too emotionally way or the other.

So my focus today will be to avoid the conversation as long as possible, and then dodge her career questions by saying that I am considering going back to school and still "researching possible career paths."  This, is not entirely untrue.....I AM considering taking some classes in web design....... to improve the look and accessibility of my blog and possibly do a little freelance web design.  The truth is, I was seriously interested in going to law school until I found out that you cannot legitimately do it online at 2 AM and that it costs about $80 Grand.  Then I was going to get my MBA, but I HATED the corporate jobs I've had, so I figured that would be an exercise in futility.  Besides, lawyers have to wear shoes and yoga pants are not appropriate business attire.  I want a job where I only have to put on a bra if I am meeting with my publisher, and only then if I am going to their office.  I am just not sure that my parents will ever consider me a writer until I can show them a check.  Right now, I am perfectly happy with my job -- full time wife to one, mother to four, and comic relief to dozens.....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Raise Your Glass

So last night I cooked dinner -- not "Microwave for 3 minutes, pull back plastic and stir potatoes" cooked, but like an ACTUAL meal.  I made Poppy Seed Chicken.  Now, granted, Poppy Seed Chicken is basically pouring a bunch of stuff into a bowl and stirring it then putting it the oven for 35 minutes, but still....I COOKED.  It must be because I was feeling so domestic with all the preparations for my parents' visit this afternoon.  Speaking of which, I still have a TON of stuff left to do.....and re-do.

While I was cooking dinner, the minions were making their own preparations.  The picture below is NOT what they were told to do -- not even close.  They were supposed to be picking up the gazillion and five Legos upstairs so that I could vacuum.  Apparently that seemed less important than this:

In case you can't see it well, it says "Welcome to Texas Grandmother and Pa!!"  And yes, that DOES say "Grandmother rolls!!" (I guess that is because I ROCK!)  Now, kudos to them for spelling all of it correctly, and for locating all of the pictures that they used, but I doubt that this "Welcome" will be enough of a distraction to keep my mother from noticing that the carpet upstairs hasn't been vacuumed in at least 3 weeks, or that the laundry isn't all folded and put away, or that the beds aren't made.  And, since I cooked dinner, there will most likely be dishes in the sink.  Oh, and while the 2 older minions were designing and assembling THIS masterpiece, the 2 younger minions were working on their own:

I think that this is a collage of looks like a shrine, but I think it is more of a collage.  This is in the 2 year old's room.  It doesn't even use half of the stuffed animals that they own.  I am a little impressed at the level of symmetry that they accomplished with this though. 

I am considering just handling my parents like I did when I was a teenager -- when they get here I will blast the last verse of Pink's "Raise Your Glass" (thanks to Nikki over at Moms Who Drink and Swear for the inspiration):

So if you're too school for cool,
And you're treated like a fool,
You can choose to let it go
We can always, we can always,
Party on our own

(so raise your) So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs, (perhaps change this to "underlings"....)
We will never be never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and raise your glass,

Just come on and come on and raise your glass
Won't you come on and come on and raise your glass,(for me)
Just come on and come on and raise your glass (for me)

I wanted to embed the video, but stupid YouTube wouldn't let me.  I tried to include a link that would allow you to listen to the song, but since Blogger Preview feature is messing up, I won't know if it worked until I publish the post.......but here it is:
Raise Your Glass -- Pink

That is me -- LOUD.
That is my kids -- nitty, gritty, dirty little freaks.
We're wrong in all the right ways -- we didn't clean the house for my parents' visit, but there is a killer Bendaroos messages on the wall and a stuffed animal collage for them in the bedroom.  I will have this song on loop alllllllll day as I make efforts to straighten up at least.
So, all my fellow moms out there who are also wrong in all the right ways and who will never be (never be) ANYTHING but loud -- Raise your glass (for me).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Operation Shock and Awe

Operation Parental Visit Preparedness is underway.  Tuesday I did laundry (even folded and put away!) and I did dishes.  I gathered pop tarts and wrappers from the floor, I vacuumed most of the downstairs.  Sort of dusted....I mean, I took a dirty sock and knocked a little dust off of a few shelves.  Today's goal keeps changing....keep reading to see why.

The minions have launched a counter offensive.  Every Lego that my son owns is on the floor upstairs.  The 4 year old freaked out looking for a toy that she has not seen or talked about for months by emptying the toy boxes.  The 2 year old peed on the hall carpet.  And the 7 year old "decorated" for Grandmother's visit by drawing pictures to hang on the walls.....while throwing all 36 of her "first attempts" onto the floor, ripped in half or crumpled.  She also left open markers on her bed.  Her sheets are now polka dotted with big blotches of "washable" marker colors like green, pink, black, red, and yellow.

There are also new Pop Tart crumbs all over my floor and couch from when I vacuumed earlier and something sticky on the table that I have already cleaned.  I haven't started upstairs yet, mainly because I cannot get upstairs.  The 2 youngest have literally COVERED the stairs with every stuffed animal that they own and they say its the rainforest and I can't touch it because its endangered -- thanks for that Diego.

I would like to say that the laundry is done, but there are 6 of us, so laundry is NEVER done.  Add to this the fact that my 4 year old changes clothes 2 or 3 times a day and the 7 year old has her beat by 2 or 3 more.  The 2 year old changes underwear about 3 times a day and HE KEEPS PEEING ON THINGS!    The 9 year old is incapable of picking up after himself and when I asked him for his laundry from upstairs, he brought me a pile.  Some of it was folded.  Because when I had asked him to put his clothes away earlier, he didn't, he just put them on the floor.  So when I told him "Bring me all of the dirty clothes from your floor" he grabbed the clean ones too.  *Sigh*

So looks like maybe I should change "Operation Parental Visit Preparedness" to "Operation Shock and Awe."  I am preparing for my maternal intervention.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crap. No, Seriously -- CRAP!

So as I write this, it is LATE Monday night and I found out about 3 hours ago that my mom and dad are coming to visit.  On Thursday.  As in LESS THAN 72 hours.  Crap.  Perhaps I should clarify.  My mother was a stay at home mom when my sister and I were little.  Our house was immaculate.  All the time.  She cooked dinner every night and had it ready when my dad got home and we all sat at the table like a Norman Rockwell Family.  (I know that you are all shocked that I was raised this way and yet still somehow managed to turn out the way that I am).

My mother is a remarkable woman and I love her and she loves me, but she has her way and I have mine.  They are not the same.  My mother changed the sheets on the beds at least once a week.  She cleaned the bathrooms, swept, mopped, dusted, and vacuumed every week without fail.  There was never a dish left in the sink over night.  Clothes were never left too long in the washer making it necessary to rewash them. AND SHE IRONED.  Not just shirt and pants, but pillowcases and tablecloths and napkins.  (We didn't use those at normal dinners, just for company).

Once, before we had kids and we when we were living in Louisville, I took the day off of work to REALLY clean our apartment because my mom was coming to visit and I was determined to impress her by how "together" my life was.  I cleaned the carpets, vacuumed the furniture, scrubbed the baseboards -- I literally cleaned EVERYTHING.  My parents arrived, we hugged, and they sat on the couch.  Then my mom said "Ginger, your throw pillows are filthy!  You need to take the covers off and wash them."  She had been there less than five minutes.  That pretty much was the last time I tried to impress my mom with my "housewifery."  After we had kids, it became mostly about not freaking her out.  I was not always successful.  Once, when she was visiting, there were 3 hampers in my laundry room.  She washed, dried, and folded then all.  Only problem was, they were already clean.  She could not believe that I would have clean clothes all wadded up in a hamper like that.  She had a sort of "intervention" with me.  She said I couldn't keep living like this.  I had to do better.  What my mom doesn't understand is that I DO try.  If I didn't try, the clothes wouldn't be clean at all.

And she'll be here Thursday night.  Which means that I have approximately 2 1/2 days to do about 5 months worth of cleaning.  CRAP. 

I've been dealing with a sick kid and an out of town husband and lack of sleep and stuffy old ladies who send me sugary sweet yet entirely offensive emails about my blog posts and psychotic stay at home moms -- I'm not sure that I have it in me to not have her freak out a little when she gets here.  I should be cleaning.  But I'm not.  Nope, I'm working on this blog at 12:30 on what is now Tuesday and listening to the 2 year old cough in the next room.  So, you're welcome.  I'll most likely be interrogated as to "how I let it get this bad" and be told that "I have to do better than this" but at least you all got your daily blog post.  Crap.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Haters Gonna Hate

DISCLAIMER:  Okay, here's the thing:  I'm tired.  I mean REALLY tired.  My 2 year old has had a fever of about 103 for 3 days requiring me to sit up with him to watch Yo Gabba Gabba and Diego and other such crap shows on Nick Jr. because his sleep schedule is completely out of whack and I have to get up even when he is sleeping to monitor his temperature and administer medication to keep his head from catching on fire and there are these three other kids that want things like food and permission to play video games and they need me to referee the latest fight about who called who a "Poophead" and who had the remote first and my husband is out of town so I've been up for a few days and living off of Coke, Rolos and coffee.  So if this post seems a lot like a Charlie Sheen interview, please don't stop reading or send me links for mental health help sites. 

Due to my continually diminishing mental status, I wasn't sure what I was going to write about today.  In fact, I penned a whole post about Yo Gabba Gabba and its characters before deciding that it needed way more work than I was willing to give it and abandoning it.  I tried writing about the Jehovah's Witness people that came to the door EARLY Saturday morning when I hadn't been to sleep yet, but quite frankly that whole incident is a blur and I'm not even sure that they were Jehovah's Witnesses, I just know that they were carrying Bibles and were all dressed up (and I was quite sure that I couldn't write about that without pissing someone off).  But then inspiration struck in the form of hate e-mail from someone offended by my Role Playing Toys post last week.  This hater doesn't follow my blog, at least not that I can tell, she may follow privately, but I doubt it.  I don't think I'm her kind of mom.  Here is what she wrote to me:

"Dear Madam:
I do not know you, but I sincerely hope that the contents of your blog are not any real indication of how your life really is.  Children are a wonderful gift -- that gift needs to be loved and nurtured and not belittled and ridiculed.  I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that your blog is grossly over exaggerated for comedic purposes.

Specifically, I am writing to request that you remove your post which "pokes fun" at the Breast Feeding Baby Doll.  I was thrilled to hear about this doll for my grandchildren.  We should teach little girls that breast feeding is natural, normal, and acceptable.  The tone of your post suggests that motherhood would be a poor choice.  I am certain that this is not your intended message, but that is, nonetheless, how it comes across.  If you were merely showing off for your friends, surely they have all seen it and would not miss it if it was removed. 
I actually discovered this post while searching online for toys for my granddaughter's upcoming birthday, and continued to read a few of your posts to get a feel for whether or not your attack on housewifery was sarcastic or had malicious intent.  I was pleased to discover that you are, in fact, married, and that you do have children, and therefore believe that your intent was not malicious.  I will close by offering a little unsolicited advice to you:  it is not always beneficial to share all of your thoughts with the world, women should always maintain an air of mystery."

Oh my.  I read this about 6 times.  I didn't even know that "housewifery" was a word.  I tried to track the IP address to see if one of you had sent this as a joke or hoping that I would blog about it (if you did, good job).  Now, where to begin?  I wanted to write her back......

"Dear Stuffy Old Broad:
Yes, children are very much like gifts in the fact that once they are presented to you you are stuck with them, and the fact that some days my kids are the best gift ever and other days they are like getting socks on Christmas is EXACTLY what this blog is about.  Unfortunately, it is not exaggerated at all -- this is my life.  I write about whatever the hell I want to because IT'S MY BLOG.
As to your request that I remove a post because you don't like it, the answer is emphatically NO.  If you question the validity of the post's claims about motherhood and "housewifery" please feel free to contact someone who has done it with 3 or more kids in the past decade and get their opinion (I mean a REAL person, not some Stepford Wife spawn that you trained to clean and do dishes and churn their own butter).  I do not think that motherhood is a poor choice, I think that it is an honorable and difficult choice and I applaud anyone who can do it and keep their kids out of jail and off the pole.  As for me "showing off" to my friends: lady, if I wanted to show off to my friends, I'd iron something.  And what exactly did you mean by you were "pleased to find that [I am], in fact, married and have children?"  Did you suspect that I was some sort of man-hater who only wrote here as propaganda for some really weird, extreme branch of a lesbian activist group against procreation? 
As for your advice, I think that you need to go and look up the definition of "blog" -- although, it might not be in a dictionary that still has the word "housewifery" in it.  A blog is where you rant and rave about whatever you want to.  Maybe someone will read it and agree with you therefore validating your feelings. Or better yet, maybe some old biddy will respond via email about how sarcastic and malicious you sound thus providing you new material on a day when you were completely tapped out because you have been perpetually awake for nearly 72 hours dealing with a sick kid. 
Go buy your granddaughter a breast feeding doll and stay off my page before I offend you again."

I then promptly deleted all of that and wrote this instead:

"In regards to your request that the "Role Playing Toys" post be removed now that I have shown off to all of my friends:  NO."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Truth in Advertising

In the past year I've been trying to decide what to do career-wise after all of my kids are in school full time.  As much as I appreciate all 53 of you for following, becoming a published writer will be difficult, and telling a publisher that I'm pretty sure at least 53 people would buy a book I wrote won't be much of a selling point.  With 4 college tuitions, 2 weddings, 2 rehearsal dinners, and 4 different vehicles among my future expenses, remaining a stay-at-home mom is not going to happen.  If I lived in LA, or NY, or even Chicago I'd seriously consider going into advertising.  However, I'm not sure how much work I'd get because I am pretty freakin' a fault.  So that got me thinking about how I'd promote certain products for parents.....

Pop Tarts:
"No, they aren't healthy (not even the Low Fat or Whole Grain ones), but your kids can get them all by themselves allowing you to keep sleeping or surfing the Internet."

Clorox 2:
"You know that chocolate pudding that your kid used to decorate his brand new Easter outfit?  Yeah, that's never coming out.  But with Clorox 2 it might fade enough to get a picture decent enough to send to grandma."

Resolve Carpet Cleaner
"When you absolutely, positively, can't make another area rug work -- try this."

"Better than Wal-Mart and still affordable."

"Happy Hour from 2-4 Everyday!!  Why pay full price for the drink that your kids will pour out on the floor?"

Home Owner's Insurance:
"Because you have kids, and they break stuff. A lot."

Hoover Vacuums:
"Not as good as Dyson, but you don't have to raid your kid's college funds to get one either.  (And let's face it, your carpet is shot anyway.)"

"Because you don't want to know what is causing that just want it to go away."

"Because potty training is a bitch."

Any brand of Wine:
"Your romantic evenings with your spouse have led to 4 kids under 10 ....and we can help with that too."

3-In-1 Body Wash for Kids:
"When they are teenagers they will have 26 different formulations for their hair and skin that will cost you no less than $112 per month -- use this while you can."

Schlage Interior Door Locks
"Because right now you don't care that your 4 year old just drew you another picture of a kitty-cat -- you just want to pee in peace."

"Do you know what your spawn has stuffed in the sink? Neither do we, but we're pretty sure that this crap can eat through it."

"Your kids are soooooo not gonna eat all that and you have to put it somewhere."

Hamburger Helper:
"Face it, you're not Wolfgang Puck.  But at least you made dinner."

Cliff Notes:
"Because you haven't read Jane Eyre since high school and your kid's paper is due tomorrow."

Crayola Washable Markers:
"Not really, but they're better than Sharpies."

KitchenAid Self Cleaning Ovens:
"Honestly, would it get cleaned otherwise?"

"Because there's no such thing as 'A Happy Period,' but we can dull the pain enough for you to remember that its better than not having one."

I will most likely think of more of these from time to time.  I'll save them up and do another one of these when I can.  Feel free to add your own in the comments section.