Saturday, February 28, 2009

Positive Thinking

It has been a rough week. And I feel compelled to warn you, I am likely to be doing allot of bellyaching in a moment here. Feel free to eject now. I won't blame you...... 

We were off to a bang with the bashing of the Suburban - but you already know that. This week the Book & Author invitations go out which means that myself and other RAMA volunteers got to stuff and seal all 3,500 of them. The kicker was the night before, just after they closed, I realized the print shop hadn't put our address on the reply envelopes. So myself, Tim, Sippycups & Dr. Daddy got to apply 3,500 labels to said envelopes. In the words of my dear husband, "This is really fatiguing!"

Friday was "tacky day" at the girls' school. Why children who show up on any normal day dressed like this need help dressing for tacky day is beyond me.

But I obliged and helped them assemble these beauts:

When we picked them up after school, Morrigan started taking about our plans for Saturday morning when we were scheduled to go to a Girl Scout bird watching adventure. This has been on the calendar for weeks and was a perfect activity for a weekend when Tim is working all day Saturday and all day Sunday. And then they cancelled it on me Friday. The news was not received well at all. Morrigan promptly stormed off to her room to cry. Eion joined her upstairs and I heard the sounds of scuffling and more crying. I waited to see if it would work itself out but eventually went up to see what the fuss was all about. Turns out Eion had punched his sister and given her a bloody nose. Though his subsequent punishment made her cheer up and forget all about the bird watching.

Needless to say, I was looking forward to getting out of our house. We were scheduled to play poker last night but as the sitter's arrival time came and went, I was feeling a bit nervous. When I called her, she said she had forgotten and then told me how, "The thing is that I am really sick." Now, she didn't sound AT ALL sick and I will bet you 50 million dollars she is working today at the RAC when we go. So I changed into my pjs and put away laundry. Great night.

But this morning I was determined to make the best of the weekend. I was not going to focus on how long and lonely it was shaping up to be. When the kids woke up, I offered to make pancakes. Two out of three refused and started to cry. When I told three that I wasn't going to make pancakes from scratch if only one person was going to eat them, she started to cry. We are off to a bang up start.

Now I know none of this is particularly earth shattering and I am most definitely hormonally challenged which is coloring my world view, but I have to tell you, I don't think relentlessly positive is going to work this weekend.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Excellent


In one of those bad news/bad news kind of things, I managed to sideswipe a concrete pillar yesterday going through the Little Caesar's drive through. All the way home I was thinking maybe I could just tap it out and Tim wouldn't notice. Then I got a good look at the damage. The thousands of dollars of damage. But we are going to be relentlessly positive here:

1) No one was hurt.
2) I only uttered some minor obscenities at the time. Certainly no f dash dash dash type things.
3) We are insured.
4) We own three cars so I am not without transportation.
5) Thanks to the body shop's lack of work in process (finally that slow economy is working in my favor) and Kirsten being able to give me a lift home, they were able to start repairs directly.

Now excuse me while I go enjoy a $300 slice of pizza.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lockdown Complete

Well the kids survived their tv/computer/sweet free weekend in spite of their prediction that they would perish immediately. Can't say I missed the tv at all. May have to close it up for a while......

Saturday night Tim had to work but I was lucky enough to have a cocktail party to attend at Sippycups & Dr. Daddy's. He had on pants that Tim would have loved - embroidered with pink martinis!

The party was great fun and my kids were very obliging and let me sleep in until 8am the next day. Wonders never cease.


And while we didn't notice at the time, holy prints Batman!

Sunday Tim was off work so we did exciting things like go to the gym and Sam's Club. Ann & Hans came by to drop off a check for Girl Scout cookies and ended up staying for dinner. The kids were happy for the playmates and we were too. 

I was supposed to go to an Oscars party but was just too tired after the long weekend. So sorry Kirsten for leaving you without a wingman! I do suck. Oscar parties are tough for me. I don't go to the movies often and when I do, the Academy and I just don't see eye to eye. But it didn't matter this year anyway - I was too beat to go!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Uh, Yeah


I found this Easter dress for the girls and asked if they liked it. "Oh yes!" they said "We want to wear that dress!" Eion chimed in, "I want to wear that dress too!" When I told him that pink dresses weren't going to fly for little boys around here, he burst into tears and ran to his room.

The girls, unfazed by his departure, wanted to know if they could get the coordinating hat and pearls.



Super Supper Club

Melanie & Jerry hosted a Caribbean themed Supper Club last night which was so fun. But then again, this group always has a blast! We didn't follow the theme so well and made a chocolate pretzel pie:

It was the first time I made it and while tasty, the crust was a bit tough to cut. I'll work on that for next time.... But the leftover pie did make an excellent breakfast.

[I was a total slacker with pictures so I have to thank Kirsten for being on the ball with the camera and providing me with these.]

We stayed up too late talking and laughing but fortunately for my workout this morning, not too too much drinking!

And as for today, the lockdown on tv, sweets and computer games continues. Behavior is improving, s l o w l y.....

Reset

And just when things are going crappy and the kids are combining their efforts to make me a complete nutcase, the universe intervenes to save me and I get a call from my Mother in law just to say that she and my Father in law think we're doing an outstanding job raising our kids and they are really proud of us. Consider my attitude reset. [But don't think that means the kids have gotten their tv privileges back!]

Friday, February 20, 2009

I May Need Help...


figuring out what Morrigan means. She said that I treat her like she is invisible and my maid. Now, would that be today when I cut my workout short to run and lift with her (as requested) or when I let her have a candy bar at the tennis shop or when I let the girls watch tv while eating lunch (almost unheard 'round here)? Because I'm not sure which of these would make her a servant or demonstrate that she is ignored. But what the hell do I know?

PS My response was "If you want to see being treated like a maid, I will show you being treated like a maid!" hissed before the closing of the tv indefinitely.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Draw?

Alright. I tried to sharpen my chess skills using the Apple chess game that came loaded on my mac. The computer called the game a draw (note: I had it on nimrod setting. When on the more advanced setting, it tends to beat me in 3-5 moves. No good.) Now, I know I am not a chess pro, but I am pretty darn sure that when the opponent has only a king left and I have king, queen, 2 bishops, a rook, 2 knights and 2 pawns left, it is not a damn draw! I am seriously taking issue with this game. Now how I had not yet managed to win in this situation is something I need to address.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Notes From Chess Club

Yesterday at Chess Club, we were an odd number so Mr. Richards asked if I could play Crawford, who is in second grade. I told him that I would be happy to as long as he was comfortable having one of the kids kick my ass. 

The boy had me on the run from the get go. [In my weak defense, he has been playing 2 years more than me, is very bright and I suck.] And an embarrassing number of moves in, he said, plenty loud, trust me, "Check." The whole room said "Oooohhh" and one kid whispered, "Crawford has Mrs. M in check!" I escaped and managed to hold on until we ran out of time, at which point I exclaimed, "Woohoo! A tie!" 

I have got to practice more.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pinball Wizard

Our drive to school soundtrack today was Pinball Wizard. Conversation as follows:

Maggie: Does the boy in the song use scent to play?
Me: Yes, he plays by sense of smell.
Morrigan: And intuition.
Maggie: No! Only smell!
Me: Actually, he plays by intuition and sense of smell. Now can we get out of the car and go to school?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

The girls share a room in which they have a trundle bed. The cats love to hide in the space under the taller bed when the trundle is out. When I put Maggie to bed, about an hour before her sister - the gal needs her sleep, I had her do a kitty check under the bed. (They sleep with their door closed so I don't want the cats in there. Not to mention, the cats are pretty lively in the middle of the night and don't make good bed partners.) No kitties was the report. But when I took Morrigan upstairs, there was Midnight, curled up in bed with Maggie. I may have to stop outsourcing the kitty checks.

No Cash, No Dice

[Morrigan's Brownie Troop's Tea Party]

The girls and I went out delivering Girl Scout cookies today, lest I eat them all myself. At our first stop, they got out of the car and went up to the door bearing cookies. Our friend Webb answered the door and took the girls inside while he looked for cash. A minute later, the girls reappeared, cookies in hand and started back to the car. They informed me he didn't have the money (Molly had the checkbook.) It took a bit of convincing but I did get them to leave the goods, assuring them that Webb was good for the cash. Needless to say, I went with them to the door at the next house.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Weekend Won

Notes from today....

I may just keep the boy after all. All day long, he kept coming up to me and asking, "Will you be my Valentine Mommy?"

I am deeply amused by the message  on the Girl Scout cookie order form, "Great for freezing!" Riiight. As if any of them are going to last that long. I've polished off four already and am seriously considering a few more.

Maggie learned the Joy of Saving today. The girls wanted new Webkinz which I promptly told them they could pay for themselves. Neither had enough in The Bank of Mommy so they checked their piggy banks. Maggie had squirreled away $34 while Morrigan had only $7. [She had a school store addiction.] Morrigan completed several chores, including the unsavory scooping of the cat box, to get the remaining few dollars she needed to get one. But Maggie has never looked happier than the moment when she got to purchase two Webkinz and her sister could only get one. We may break that school store habit yet.

For reasons I can't quite pin down, I am tired and blue today and very much looking forward to yoga tomorrow to clear my brain. I am done with this weekend. Unfortunately for me, I have been trumped as the weekend has one more day. 

Happy Valentine's Day!



The girls are wearing the dresses they wore yesterday again. But who can blame them really? And I did manage to talk them out of wearing them to bed last night....

Yesterday was a long day with events colliding left and right. First thing in the morning RAMA had its annual Pancake Breakfast at Morningside Elementary to reward all the students with perfect attendance. We dished out pancakes and juice for about 60 kids. 

From there, I went to the gym to squeeze in a much needed workout as meetings have been derailing my fitness efforts lately. But after a 5K and some weights, I felt much better and ready to head off to my next stop: The Hotel Roanoke. Not remembering that the 13th was both the Pancake Breakfast and the kids' Valentine's Day parties, I scheduled the Book & Author tasting lunch that day as well. The other committee chairs and myself went to the hotel to try different salad, dinner and dessert options for B&A. Complete with wine which made my next stop, the school parties, infinitely more bearable. 

After a whirlwind of crafts and a complete overload of sugar, I took the kids home (bearing, I might add, a box of Valentines that all had candy attached. I cannot stress enough how much I HATE that trend.) It was 3:30 and I was about beat, feeling a bit panicked about filling the time with my strung out kids for the rest of the day. Tim is on 5pm-1am all weekend so he was out. Lucky for me, Ann & Hans took pity on my plight, let me invade and allowed my kids to run off their sugar high. 

As we drove home, the kids asked what I wanted for Valentine's Day. I told them, "You know what I want." And Maggie yelled out, "Hugs and kisses!" Time for me to go collect.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fight the Power

I have a suggestion. As I watch the country amp up for Valentine's Day, I can't help but think we might all be far happier if we boycotted this particular Hallmark holiday. Before you get all over me for being heartless, realize that I don't want to eliminate a day of showing love and appreciation for friends and family. Give more hugs and kisses! [But not necessarily to me - I'm not a very huggy gal.] And I wouldn't dream of nixing the cute paper Valentines my kids will distribute (though I see no need for candy with them. Childhood obesity is kicking our ass - let's not help it along.) 

But what I would (and do) reject, is the rampant commercialism of the day. Retailers bullying consumers into bears holding hearts, boxes of candy, and other crap we don't need. Women (mostly but I'm sure some men too) brainwashed into thinking that if their spouse/boyfriend etc doesn't buy them flowers that have been marked up 300% just for the occasion that their day is ruined. People driven by their desire to show they care to restaurants that have jacked up the prices for the night where they will receive sub par service since all the staff is unhappy about working on such a "special" night. 

So I am continuing my one woman revolution (and one man too since Tim really doesn't have a choice but to participate as I would be ticked if he bought me flowers on the 14th.) We haven't exchanged gifts on Valentine's Day for years. Try it on for size this year. While you might feel a bit off the first time around, soon you realize that you'll never be let down on the day of love again. If what you expect is a hug and kiss, you always get just that for which you wished.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You Would Think They Were in Congress

Here at the Circus, we have The Bank of Mommy. It started when the girls wanted to expand their Bakugan empires. I try very hard not to buy toys except for birthdays and holidays so I told them if they wanted more, they could do chores to earn the money. As quarters and dollar bills tend to get lost (or consolidated in Morrigan's piggy bank,) we established The Bank of Mommy. The kids perform tasks and receive credits that we tally on a sheet hung inside a cupboard. When they have saved enough, they can shop with the money. 

Today they received Valentines cards from their Grandmother containing $5 bills. I asked if they wanted to put it in their real bank accounts and they said no, they wanted it in The Bank of Mommy. They added the $5 to their balance. But later when I asked where the bills were, they said they had put them in their piggy banks. With those accounting skills, they could have bright futures in government.

Killing Me


Eion, as of late, has been a pretty good guy. But it is important to remember that he still is E. And he is killing me. Yesterday at the eye doctor's office, they were nice enough to give him something from the prize drawer in spite of the fact that he was not the patient. He chose two items, held them for all of 30 seconds, and proceeded to whip them into the garbage right in from of our Doctor who also happens to be a personal friend. 

My patience was already wearing thin when today he exited the bathroom, and closed the locked door behind him. So far I have been unsuccessful in opening it. I called Tim at work for door unlocking advice and he inquired as to whether or not E was in the locked bathroom. Shoot. If that were the case I wouldn't be trying to unlock it.

Next to Godliness

Yesterday while I was at the Opthamologist's office (with all three kids, for 2 hours - but hey, Maggie doesn't need glasses yet and Morrigan doesn't need new ones so no complaints) I had the opportunity to peruse several magazines outside my normal scope. One of them had an article on hidden household germs. Now, I am not a germaphobe. While I try to keep a clean house, I have been caught not knowing when my kids' last bath was. I like to think of it as strengthening the family's collective immune system. But reading material was scarce so I read this article. 

Some of the items were interesting and made good practical sense. Like not setting your purse on a bathroom floor and then later put it on your kitchen counter. Point taken. But then there was the suggestion that you should wash underwear in a separate load from everything else and after you are done, run an empty load of hot water and bleach before you put in another load. Really? Seriously, I don't have time for that sh*t (pun intended.) I guess we will continue to come up short in the completely germ free abode contest.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Encounters With the Public

In spite of my general aversion to the public, the kids and I went to not one, but two different events today. After the standard trip to the gym and lunch, Tim went to play golf (it was approaching 70 degrees and beautiful today) and I packed up the kids to go to the Florentine Festival at the Art Museum. What is a Florentine Festival you ask? Well, it reminded me a great deal of a Renaissance Fair. Personally, I think they wanted to avoid the stereotypes that go with the latter. Anyhoo, it was just as well that Tim didn't join us since people in period gear were abound. [He has this thing against all period costuming. I don't even try to understand.]

But what was so much better than just the period gear was the "normal people" in the mix learning to dance in their death metal tshirts. And you can't see it, but the chick in blue is rocking pink hair. 


Overall, it was fine but lacked activities. Within an hour, the kids had played the three games, colored their crowns and were ready to hit the road. 



So we departed for another function at a local mall that I felt sure would not live up to its name, Tons of Fun. When we arrived, the parking lot was absolutely packed. I had a very bad feeling indeed. I can't say it was pleasant, but the little ones seemed to have a good time. There were bounce houses, different coloring stations, a puppet show and a magic show (by the magician that we hired for Maggie's birthday party. She was thrilled he remembered her.) While I had FAR less than tons of fun, the kids talked all the way home about how great it was. And the people watching was truly magnificent. 

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Flasher

Eion appeared today sporting only a coat. Pants, no where to be found. I told him he looked like a flasher and if he wouldn't wear pants, he had to go to his room. He opted for the room....



Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Race Relations


We don't talk allot about race in our house. Mostly because for our purposes, I find race irrelevant. I want my kids to judge people on their our merits and ignore their physical attributes. But every so often, I am drawn into conversations with the younglings about the topic. 

I dodged a bullet a few weeks back. We were on the way to the Club, which is in a pretty sketchy area of town whose residents are mostly black. Morrigan asked, "Why does this neighborhood have so many African Americans?" As I quickly thought through my possible answers, the girls gave themselves the reply, "It must be so they can be close to the Club!" While maybe I should have had a Serious Discussion with them at this point, I chose to say, "Must be."

And then we have the other day. As we drove to tennis, Morrigan said, "Someone should tell all these brown people to fix up their houses." F*ck! No I'm sorry, I meant F*CK! For better or worse, our conversation went down like this:

Me: There are white people in this neighborhood too! Look right there. [By the grace of god there was a Caucasian right at that moment.]
Morrigan: She might be visiting.
Me: But what is important here is the home maintenance right? Do you care what color the people are or do you care that they keep their homes up?
Morrigan: I just want them to make their houses better.
Me: Well then there is no reason to reference what color they are. Maybe we could say "I wish the residents of this neighborhood would fix up their homes."
Morrigan: Maybe they should spend less time at the Club and more time fixing their homes.

Did I get through? God I don't know. I can only imagine this is the tip of the iceberg. 

Donuts with Daddy


At First Pres today it was Donuts with Daddy. Eion proceeded to eat 2 full donuts and about a pint of juice. As he bounced off the classroom walls, Tim's parting words were, "Good luck with that!"

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Represent

Now, I personally don't like to represent with my clothing choices. Not a big fan of logos, ads for places, products or stores, or that which is out there just to be clever on what I wear. Based on what I see in the world, I am clearly in the minority. But even if one wants to be a walking advertisement, there are line which should not be crossed. Case in point, I was at the Goodwill today and saw a t-shirt, size 3t, with Jack Daniels on it. If you want to be a billboard for bourbon, so be it, but have we become so depraved that toddlers are open game for liquor? Why not smokes? Maybe I can find Eion a Joe Camel shirt or a Marlboro hat. And a Vegas shirt. We'll get him rolling with the trifecta: drinking, smoking and gambling!

Loving the Boy


So as was predicted by both Kirsten and Ann, turning four seems to have had a magical effect on Eion. Seriously, it was like a switch was turned on and he seems to have stopped being such a little f*cker all the time. I almost didn't dare blog about it, afraid I might upset the delicate balance in the universe that has allowed such a transformation. He has become, dare I say, completely bearable. Even when he does something he shouldn't, he quickly corrects and let me know, "I am being nice at you." I'm not quite sure what to do.

But this turn of events didn't come before he drove a mother of one of his classmates to have her child moved away from Eion. We are in a carpool and I normally drop off in the morning with the other mother picking up in the afternoon. But Anne Marie has been sick the past few days so I have been there after school as well. E's teacher put him in the car and our conversation went like this:

Ms. Shelly: Eion had a great day today.
Me: Good job buddy! 
MS: Most of his days have been good since Jackson moved to another class.
Me: Jackson moved?
MS: Yes, his Mom requested he be moved out of Eion's class.

Hmmm. Maybe I should be embarrassed. Frankly, I don't have time. I'm just glad he's being good.

Monday, February 02, 2009

TV or Not TV

Morrigan has deemed that they need new tv shows to watch. While I am FAR from anti tv, I keep a pretty tight rein over which programs the kids watch. If it isn't on the DVR list, it is out. The requested additions were  Scooby Doo and The Suite Life on Deck

The first seemed an easy decision. I mean, I watched it as a kid, right? Until I remembered our Annie experience. We were planning to see the play with a friend so I thought I would familiarize my girls with the story and songs. Which was all fine and well until a character said "God damnit" and the girls shouted out, "That's what Mommy says when she hits the wall backing out!" Well call me Miss Hannigan and fetch me a gin. So maybe I will have to give those childhood favorites a look see before firing up the TiVo.

I was initially anti Suite Life. It is a spin off of The Suite Life of Zac and Cody which chronicles the misadventures of twins who live in the hotel where their mother works as a lounge singer. The new series is basically the same thing on a cruise ship. I felt I had enough of the precocious little guys in my life and didn't need more. That is until our trip last week. Morrigan regaled me with her plans to order room service and massages which, according to her, were standard issue for hotels. So my thinking is since I have never been on a cruise, maybe she should watch the show so she can educate the whole family on proper cruising etiquette.

So Sweet


Seriously, I think Kindergarten kids might be the sweetest things on earth. Some people like the tiny baby stage, I am partial to 5 and 6 year olds. Maggie writes me and the rest of the family notes all the time telling us "I love you." (As did her sister at the same age. I saved so many of them to hold dear when she is a teenager.) She is perpetually "Maggie Happy" which we always think of as flitting about with such enthusiasm as to appear mid flight:

And her positive spins are great. The other day Mags was making a toaster waffle (not my idea - they fall under the creepy processed foods category) and came to me stating it was "slightly overbaked." What I found in the kitchen was a smoking, charred black circle which promptly set off the smoke alarm when I opened the toaster oven door. Slightly overbaked indeed.

But it seems not so much to be the kid as the age. They all are sweet. I was leaving Maggie's class today and they were lined up to go outside. I gave her a hug and kiss and found 22 sets of eyes on me. So I said "Who else needs a hug?" [As a brief aside, y'all know I am not a hugger so clearly these kids have gotten to me.] I had to hug my way out of the room. Two little boys didn't want hugs, which really was fine. One of Maggie's classmates, Campbell, said, "I can hug you twice to make up for them." Truly, these kids are melting my cold, cynical heart.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Big Top Weekend

Tim was on nights all weekend so we were low key. Maggie slept at a friend's on Friday while Morrigan had her friend Katherine sleep over here. She asked Morrigan why her Daddy had to work when everyone else was asleep. Morrigan told her, "Because he has to save people's lives." When I told him that before he left, I think it made that night shift the tiniest bit better.

Saturday after the gym I saw an estate sale in our neighborhood. On a lark, I went in with the kids. All the kids. To everyone's shock and amazement, it went well. I even bought a few things. Estate/yard sale adventures are one of the things I have missed terribly since having kids. My friend Jenny and I used to go every Saturday morning in search of treasure. Whether or not we found it, we always had a fantastic time and walked away with hilarious stories. The fact that Jenny moved to Iowa and the prospect of taking toddlers to large rooms of breakable items pretty much sidelined my bargain hunting. But I may be back in the game....

Today Maggie had a Daisy Scout meeting where we taught them to play charades. Her troop is full of the most darling girls and has made my co troop leader position bearable. After the meeting, we took the kids to the park since it was beautiful today. I think it was  up in the 60's. Morrigan was a bit put out when we arrived and exclaimed, "The park is infested with teenagers!" They overcame the infestation and pestered those teenagers relentlessly. 

I am still not over Eion's hair. There is a large section in the back that just sicks up now. So this is his look:

But I am expecting to be over it in about six months or roundabout the time it grows out.