Thursday, January 29, 2009

To pee or not to pee...

Little Man walked awkwardly down the hall towards us , trying really hard to keep his legs from touching each other.
"Did you just have an accident?"
Sadly, "yeah."
Monkey turns to look at her brother, asks,
"Are your pants wet, Little Man?"
"yeah,"  the wet stain covers his pants like a pair of chaps.  He continues his bowlegged walk towards me.
Monkey turns back, carrying her book from the hall to the kitchen, raises her eyebrows and  quietly, with a bit of bored amazement and just a hint of inflection, says,

Monday, January 26, 2009


Today is going to be a worthless day.
Little Man decided he would try and wake up the entire house at 4:00 am.  By screaming and crying and moving things around to get to his lamp so he could turn the light on.  He knows that screaming will get me up and he thought it was playtime.
I could hear him banging around trying to climb on top of the clothes hamper to get to the lamp.  The way our house is laid out, his room is right next to ours, sharing a wall.  When I went in to check on (scold, yell, whatever) him, he was stuck inside with the lid crumpled around him.  
I put him in bed and took the hamper out of the room.
Not more than one minute later, I hear more banging around.  Hoping it would go away, I rolled over.  Then I heard it again.  So I get up.  This time his light is on.  What the?  He had gotten the two stools out of the bathroom to his room and stacked them up so he could reach the lamp.
Too tired and irritable to admire his resourcefulness, I turned off his lamp and carried the stools back to the bathroom.  Told him to stay in bed; it's too early to get up; everyone is trying to sleep, then crawled back into my own bed.  Trey is grumbling, too, by the way.  This back-and-forth thing had been going on for about 15 minutes and we both had been up to try and get the boy in bed.
Before my head hit the pillow, I hear Little Man carrying the stools again (he bangs them against the wall as he's moving them).  Stubborn little bugger, that one.  So I get the stools and hide one in the tub, behind the shower curtain, and the other in our room, next to the hamper.  Get him in bed.  Get myself in bed. 
Then I hear him trying to get in our room (our door sticks, so it's not an easy thing to just walk in when it's closed).  I don't really remember how many times this happened - at least twice because both Trey and I got up.  When Trey went in there, the last time as it happened, he was in there for a little bit longer.  I could hear him talking to Little Man but I have no idea what he said.  It must have worked because we never heard another peep out of him.  This was around 4:30 am or so.
It's a good thing, too, because I was composing in my head the ebay listing for "one cute little three year old boy that won't let me sleep." 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is that really necessary?

I'm not quite sure how to start this post.  I'm sure I'll step on some toes, and I apologize in advance if I offend anyone- it's not my intent to be offensive, but I have a rant to get off my chest.
There's a local blogger that I follow.  She's a real estate agent and posts things about the city where I live.  Things like featured neighborhoods (which include different houses that are listed in those 'hoods), sales reports, polls and even cool houses that we could never afford.  She also posts a weekly foreclosure watch.  She usually features a least expensive, a most expensive, then picks one from each directional region (N, S, E, W).  I look at the expensive ones and the ones in our region, usually.
Most of the time, the pricier houses seem to be in fair shape.  At least they still have their kitchens.
But today, I looked at a house that was listed as-is for $250K.
It was missing pretty much everything but the walls, windows and roof.  Not only were the appliances gone, but the kitchen cabinets were gone.  The bathrooms had no toilets or sinks.  The carpet was ripped up out of the bedrooms.  Ceiling fans and light fixtures were missing; the dining room was missing the wainscoting.   The crown molding and the base molding were gone.  It was missing the central heat and air system.  And the door and window frames, too.
The door and window frames, too???  Seriously, people?
I know we're in a recession.  I have dear friends whose husbands have been laid off.  I know stay-at-home moms that have gone back to work.  Our church has started putting together a new networking group of people to help those who have lost their jobs.  I get it.  I can't imagine the anger and frustration and worry that comes along with not having income or knowing that you are being kicked out of your home.  I'm thankful every day for what we have and pray for those who are going through this.
But destroying a house because you're pissed off is just vandalism.  I understand that sometimes, in a foreclosure, things will need to be done like new carpet or painting.  Probably the appliances would need replacing and I don't know what else.  But to completely remove things like door frames and molding?  The TOILETS?  I mean, what can you possibly get if you're trying to sell these things?  What's the going rate for used wainscoting?  Don't they understand that by stripping the house means it won't sell for what it was worth and they'd still owe the bank that money?
Sure, you might be able to get a few hundred dollars selling custom cabinets (assuming they were custom to begin with) or granite counters so I could take a step back and see selling off the kitchen cabinets to try and pay down some debt.  I could even understand selling bathroom vanities.  But the molding?  The door frames?  Used carpet?  The HVAC System?
I know that I should be a little more understanding - I know shit happens and life deals blows you can't see coming.  But if you're in debt up to your eyeballs (like the commercial with the guy driving around on a riding lawnmower) then you have to know that something just might come along and yank the rug out from under you.  You shouldn't take it out on the house that you thought would be your "forever home," that you bought banking on moving up and getting that promotion but knowing that you'd be house-poor until that promotion came through.
Now, before you people starting blasting the nasty comments to me, understand that I know nothing about that house other than it's on a foreclosure list and that it's missing a whole bunch of stuff.  I know nothing about the family or their background.  I have no idea why they had to foreclose on their house.  I do remember reading a post several months ago on craigslist of someone selling "anything that isn't bolted down in their house" because they couldn't afford the mortgage on their house and they were pissed off at the bank for not cutting them some slack.  So they were going to trash the house so the bank wouldn't get their money out of selling the house.
There really are people like that out there.  And it pisses me off.  I listen to Dave Ramsey and the stories people call in with are tragic.  Being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and desperate to find help.  But I don't remember hearing anyone talking about how they stripped down a perfectly good house because they were pissed off at the world.
What it looks like to me is a couple of grown-ups having a two-year-old temper tantrum, without accepting any of the responsibility of their actions (whether they were in control of their situation or it was something that just happened to them) and showing lack of respect.  Respect is a big thing with me; respect of people, of property, of self.  That's one thing I always try and stress to my kids (among lots of other things). 
It's the disrespect these people showed that got this rant going.  If I offended you, I'm sorry.  If you are in a position where you might be losing your job or your home, I'm deeply sorry and I hope and pray for a better outcome for you and yours.  I hope you can take a step back and see my underlying point:  that no matter what happens in life, you should still be respectful.  It gives a person dignity and will get them respect in return.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pictures from our snow day

Yesterday was a snow day.  The kids were very excited about having snow to play in.  We went out kinda early - it was before 10am - and played in the snow.  I tried teaching them how to make snowballs but unfortunately the snow wasn't very cooperative.  We just ended up throwing handfuls of snow at each other.  Monkey did manage to get some all the way down the back of my shirt.  Note to self:  don't duck and cover head, thus exposing the back of the neck, when someone is throwing snow. 
There was evidence of some early morning visitors.  The kids had fun following the rabbit tracks.  Luckily I was able to get a few pictures before they were all obliterated. 
Monkey decided to make snow angels.  She tried teaching Little Man... 
but he didn't quite get it right.  He wouldn't lay all the way back on the snow, just his elbows.
But then I had to show them how it was done.  Do you have any idea how long it's been since I made a snow angel?  I think I may have been not much older than Monkey.  
The kids tried making a snowman but it ended up more like a snow pile. 
I love a snow day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow day!

We actually have a snow day today!  First time in the two and a half years we've lived in this area!  How very exciting!
Sure, I had a lot I needed to do today.  I was looking forward to getting the kids to school so I can run errands and such.  
But it's a SNOW DAY!
Now, instead of "working" later today, I'll be outside throwing snowballs at the kids and taking pictures.
I love a snow day!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Birthday

BA-na na na Nah naaah 
You say it's your BIRTHday!
BA-na na na Nah naaah  
It's my birthday TOO, yeah!
(nothing like being serenaded by the king of the dipshits in an old shop car)
(And I'm one year closer to 40 today)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oh, bring it ON!

photo by Stephen Cummings 
  Girl Scout cookie sales start tonight at midnight.
This is my first year involved with the Girl Scouts - I'm a cookie sales virgin!  Ok, that just sounded wrong on so many levels, I should delete that.  Here's the deal.  This is like no other fund raiser I've ever done.  We had our troop meeting this week and everything was explained to us about how this would all go down.
Do not sell cookies before 12:01 am, January 16th.  Do not sell cookies BEFORE 12:01 am on January 16th.  Do NOT sell cookies before midnight on Thursday night.  Yes, this really was emphasized several times.  I'm thinking to myself - how would they know?  And another mom asked the question before I did.  This started the ball rolling of stories from bygone days of selling cookies.
Apparently this is a major competition.  And I don't mean between the girls.  Some of the stories floating around were, first-off, always from someone else's troop.  So-and-so would see someone selling cookies before the start date and would ask, oh-so-innocently, "oh, what troop are you in?" and then go report that troop for selling cookies early.
At another troop, one person trumped another's "regular sales" of 500 boxes at a particular business, again before the official start date.  (During all this, I'm visualizing times from childhood of moms bumrushing stores to buy Cabbage Patch dolls, only they're waving Girl Scout order forms instead.)  The girls get penalized for early sales, by the way.
Really?  This really happens?  I'm all up for a bit of healthy competition, but this is ridiculous.
Then she passes out a form for us to sign and they want my SS# or DL#.  Huh?  This is for the purpose of their Collections department for money that is owed them.  HUH???  People are skipping out on what they order?  Taking the cookies and running and I'm held responsible for it??  Who are these people?!?
Then she goes over the delivery dates.  Again, it is emphasized DO NOT deliver the cookies before February 27th (even though we'll be getting our cookies on the 24th, or somewhere around then).  I think we moms were all too stunned to react by this point because I don't remember any horror delivery stories being passed around.  From other troops, of course.
Now, I like Girl Scout cookies.  The thin mints are the bomb, especially when they're cold, but I will NOT be held responsible for someone else's bad financial decisions.  So if I come to you (or better yet, my sweet little Monkey with those big puppy dog eyes comes to you) and ask oh-so-sweetly "would you like to order some Girl Scout cookies?" know that we won't ask before midnight tonight, they for sure won't be delivered to you until February 27th (even though they'll be taking up space in my house for a few days beforehand) and when they are delivered, you better pay for what you ordered with cash, a money order or a check made out to me (which I will promptly go cash).  
But you better buy a lot of cookies.  Monkey wants to win an ipod.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What is a friend?

photo by Gwennypics 
A wise man once told me that if you can count the number of good, true friends on one hand, you are truly blessed (thanks, Daddy).  I think that I am lucky enough to have a few more than that.  I've made lots of friends over the years.  Some have come and gone, but some have stayed with me.  One from childhood (Hi, E.S.!), a few from college and many since then.  People that I know that I can count on if I need help.
So, what is a friend?  How do you define friendship?  Is it someone you don't have to talk to but you know is there for you?  Is it someone you see every day?  Do they take care of your children or do you take care of theirs, or both?  Could it be someone that you've never even met face to face, only become friends over the internet?
How do you maintain that friendship?  Is it though phone calls, emails, Facebook or texting?  Do you see them on a daily or weekly basis?  Maybe only once a month for dinner out or once a year for a weekend getaway?  Or is it even less often than that?
I know that we can't get through life without building relationships with others.  Our children are quick to make friends and we should be, too.  We should be open to meeting people of all kinds because we never know what kind of influence they'll have on our lives.  I know that I'm guilty of staying within my comfort zone when it comes to meeting people and making friends.  I haven't ventured out to areas outside my church or my daughter's school or the gym where I work out.  So what am I missing?  Is it possible that my horizons could be broadened by befriending someone who is struggling with addiction?  Or someone who is from another country or culture than mine?  Absolutely.
What holds me back?  I don't know...  fear of the unknown, perhaps.  Shyness.  Hmmm...  something to work on.
I can't imagine what life would be like without the friends I've made.  They make me laugh, hold me when I cry, tell me if I'm screwing up (nothing like brutal honesty from a friend, right?), help me with advice or even just hang out with me.  I'm so very thankful for the friends that I have made.
I remember another bit of wisdom.  I'm sure I'll get the wording wrong but hopefully you'll get my meaning.  Friends love you because they want to, family loves you because they have to.  That may not be entirely true - I'm sure there are some who don't love certain family members - but the point is, the friends you have don't have to be your friends.  They are there because they want to be and because you want them to be there, too.
Treasure your friends.  Tell them once in a while - hey, I'm glad you're here.  Think about the things you value in your friends and are you exhibiting those same traits to them?  Are you as good a friend to others as they are to you?
Go hug a friend today.  Just because.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Homeschool Debate

I'm back on the homeschooling idea.  Monkey's teacher, who came up with an accelerated program for Monkey and two other advanced readers in her class, had to move back to where she had moved here from.  I don't know the whole story, but it had to do with a job for her husband.  
Anyway, so Monkey has a new teacher.  She's also getting bored in school.  She likes learning and she's doing very well, but that's just it.  She'll finish her math before the other kids and quietly draw on her paper.  She got in trouble for it.  Twice.  Unfortunately, I never got a chance to talk to the teacher to get her story before she left, so I don't know both sides.  I only know that Monkey had finished her work, correctly, and was trying to occupy her own time while waiting on the other students to catch up.  At least that's what she told me.
So, now I'm looking again at homeschooling for next year.  Can I just tell you there is way. too. much. information out there about homeschooling.  I have never felt so overwhelmed about one "simple" topic in my life.  Except for maybe statistics.  That was pretty overwhelming.  Thankfully, I have friends who homeschool and are enjoying it, so it's not like I would be out there all on my own.
So, as I see it, here are a few of the perks:  The "school day" is shorter.  The state where we live only requires four hours of study for it to count as a full day.  This would allow for more free time with Monkey to do things like sports/dance/girl scouts without having to rush, rush, rush after school and before dinner and/or bed time.  I wouldn't have to get up quite so early every morning, since we'd be on our own schedule (selfish, I know, but it's true).  I could teach to her skills.  She's reading on a 3rd or 4th grade level (she's only 6, remember) and she does really well with math.  She's even started doing simple multiplication in her head.  In her HEAD!  Another perk is that in this area, there are lots of homeschool groups and enrichment programs, so she'd still get that classroom feeling with other students two or three times a week.  She's a very social girl, so I know that would be important.  We'd be able to take field trips to museums and such and I'd be able to teach through involvement.  She'd also get to stay in her current Girl Scout troop, so she wouldn't lose that connection with her current friends.  And if it doesn't work out after a year, she can go back to school for third grade.
Naturally, just as there are some upsides, there are downsides as well.  I would lose a good bit of my own free time.  I know, that sounds horribly selfish, but anyone with children will agree (even if they don't want to) that downtime away from one's children is very important to one's sanity.  One way to "fix" this would be to make sure Monkey is in one of those enrichment programs (which I would do, anyway).  The trick will be getting it to coincide with preschool with Little Man so that when Monkey is at school, Little Man would be, too.  That would give me a couple days a week to have my "mommy time" without both children.  The idea of coming up with a curriculum is daunting, at best.  There is really so much out there - how would I know what to choose?  Also, I'm not a very organized person.  I know one doesn't HAVE to be organized to teach, but it certainly helps.  And will Monkey and I be able to slide into the student/teacher roles?  Will I be able to be the teacher without being the mommy?  Will she be able to accept and respect me as the teacher when it's time to learn?
All these questions and doubts are floating around.  There's a reason I never wanted to homeschool - I just don't know if I "have it."  But, if this is something that Monkey needs to succeed, I'll do it.  I can't screw her up that bad in a year, can I?
What do you think?  Any words of wisdom out there? 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


photo by mikebaird.
  Life.  There are a lot of different things people say about life.  Circle of life.  Seasons of life.  Life routines.  Getting into the groove.  But what about life patterns?  Patterns are everywhere if you look hard enough.  Seasons come in a pattern.  The phases of the moon form a pattern.  How plants and animals grow and change is a pattern.  Music is a pattern.  Reading follows a pattern.  Everything starts at one phase and changes to another phase; a pattern.  You could even look at day/night as an A/B/A/B pattern.  
 photo by faeryboots
Have you ever examined a bumble bee?  He has a pattern.  Flowers follow patterns.  Trees, animals - think zebras and tigers and leopards - birds.  Think about animals that migrate; they follow a pattern every year of their life.  Everything around us has a pattern.  Even down to the DNA.  We, as people, have and develop patterns.  Oh, we call them routines, but they are patterns just the same.
We're entering back into the school pattern today.   I love the school pattern.  I'm selfish that way.  I love being able to get my kids off to school so I can do mundane things like go to the grocery store without them.  I can run around and do little errands that would take me twice as long if I had even one of them with me.
Patterns (or routines) make life easy to follow.  I bet you travel the same way to work every day, if you work outside the home.  If you work from home, I'm sure you follow a pattern there, too.  Get up, get coffee, sit at the desk/computer/whatever for about the same length of time before you get more coffee.  As a parent getting children ready for school, you follow a pattern.  How many times a morning do you say, "Come on or we'll be late for school," or "Hurry up and finish your breakfast"?  Wouldn't it be interesting to note for, say, a week, what time every morning you say that or something similar?  
Some patterns are necessary for survival.  An easy survival pattern to think of might be the spots on a fawn or a snake.  They camouflage the animal so it can either hide from the predator or the prey.  But what about a traffic pattern?  Imagine what might happen if an airplane didn't follow a flight pattern or cars didn't follow the road patterns.  What if a building was built haphazardly instead of utilizing the basic pattern needed for construction? 
photo by rutlo.
Think about it.  What is your pattern like?  What would happen if your pattern got disrupted somehow?  Would it totally screw up your day or would you just roll with it and adapt? 
Stop, today, at some point and look around you.  Do you see the patterns?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Calling all writers...

  Hello dear readers.  I know several of you (at least I hope you're here reading) are writers.  I have a request of you.  Trey, my wonderful husband, writes.  Well, at least he used to.  You see, he was an English major, back in the day, when we first met in college.  His concentration was creative writing.  He used to write prose, poems, stream of consciousness, you name it.
But he hasn't done it in a long time.  His job is a bit more technical now and doesn't really allow for any creativeness.  I've encouraged him to write stories about things he's seen and done, or fiction or about whatever it is that inspires him.  He's a bit reluctant, possibly because he hasn't done it in a while, but he said he would think about it.
I would love it if some of you writers could encourage him to break out the old leather journal and put pen to paper.  He isn't one to share everyday things on a blog (unlike me, right?) but I've told him that if he'd write something, I'd love to share it here.
What challenges have you faced as a writer?  What inspires you?  When do you find you do your best writing?  What other words of encouragement can you share?  Do you have any links to writers that you like?  (don't assume I go to the same places you do).
I look forward to sharing your words with Trey.