Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Do you know the muffin man?

My munchkin is up waayy too late.  She's just padded up here, and selected "pink, I want pink" for me to use in this entry.  And here she sits, curled up in my lap.  Excuse the typos.

I think Nolan hacking away woke her.  Sigh.

Tomorrow is the last day of school.  You know what that means...

Classroom parties....pizza, movies....and cupcakes.

Lots and lots of cupcakes.  Around 4 dozen cupcakes, to be exact.

It looks like a bakery exploded on my kitchen table.  

Ben wanted to take some to school to celebrate not only his last day, but his birthday.  He requested chocolate cupcakes with white frosting.   The sprinkles?  Well, I threw them in for free.

Of course, Ryan was on to me..."What's that?  Cupcakes?  For me?"  "No, sweetie, these are for Ben's class."  "OOO!  Can I take some to my class too?"  "Okay."  He requested white cupcakes with white frosting....and I threw sprinkles in for him, too.  Maybe I'll charge him a hug, though.  Can't always give the extras away for free.

And my big kid?  Suddenly too big for cupcakes.  Sigh.  "You know I don't like cake, Mom."  Who is this child?  Not like cake?  Can he really be one of mine??

Meanwhile, I'm fighting off the little helper, who thinks that the cupcakes are all for her.  "MMMmm, Mommy.  I taste??"  She's not happy to hear me say, "No."  I explain to her that they are for school.  She makes up a story about how I will need to make her cupcakes for her "ballerina school." (she doesn't attend)  "Sure, sweetie.  Please take your finger out of the batter."  I'm getting a tummyache just watching her, and I've not even started frosting yet.  Ouch.  Is that a tooth?

There's a reason I will endure the odd looks I get at the checkout when I stock up on the cake mix and frosting when it's on sale.  In this  respect, I am beyond Boy Scout, I'm so prepared.  I even have extra little paper liners in the pantry too.   You never know when a cupcake emergency will hit.  I've discovered giving up a bit of shelf space for this is well worth it, because devoted baker that I am, I'm still not baking cupcakes from scratch for the small fry.  Have you seen what happens to cupcakes with them?  They eat the frosting.  They throw out the cake.  Oh, the carnage of little cakes in the trash cans!  Oh, the frosting all over faces, as the kids get sugared up in time to go home!

Betty Crocker, you are a friend of mine.

Aww.  Munchkin is down for the count.

She'll be happy when she wakes up to see that I saved her a couple of the extra cupcakes.  With sprinkles, of course.   

I'm still here

I threw out my back.

I wish I could say I did it doing something fun, like trying that butterfly-upside-down-lotus-under-the-chandlelier Kama Sutra maneuver; or that I jumped over the barrier in left field and ran to pinch Gonzo's backside during Friday night's Diamondbacks game, getting injured in the ensuing security scuffle, but alas, I can't. 

Somewhere between attending the game on Friday night, and going to work on Saturday morning, I tweaked it.  I felt the not-so-pleasant twinge as I got ready for work, but went in anyway, trooper that I am.  I didn't last long.

I spent most of Saturday laid out on my Mom's recliner, making friends with her heating pad and a fantastic little pill she gave me.  She took care of the kids that were with me (Audrey and Nolan) and took care of me too.  Ahh, nothing like a little Mom-TLC.  Where was my loving husband during all this?  Mr W went to the ASU baseball game with the rest of the crew....because it was the last homestand of the season,  not because I was a raving, unpleasant bitch; and that's the story he's sticking to.  ;p

I forgave him for leaving me in the capable hands of my Mom because he remembered that he didn't use all his pain medication, and brought me one.  Wow.  I'm sure I would've felt better, if only I'd been able to stay awake.  It was like the pharmaceutical version of a tranquilizer dart, and for that, I'm certain everyone was grateful. 

In spite of still feeling some discomfort, I managed to go in to work on Sun and Mon too.  This morning, the only complaint I have is some soreness and stiffness that I'm sure will fade as the day goes on...at least I hope it does.

I want to get caught up on my reading, and need to be able to sit here.  Without medication.  

I can only imagine what comments I might make should I take anything stronger than Motrin. 

Friday, May 27, 2005

Random not so deep thoughts

A few ponderings--

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise?  I just saw a picture of them on the 'welcome' screen, and I suddenly feel so...OLD.  He seems a bit obnoxious about the whole affair, but I guess dating a beautiful girl 16 yrs your junior will bring out the tiger in any man, even if it is the still-gots-it Tom Cruise.

And can I just say, that right now, I think she's a pretty lucky girl.  For crying out loud, she just made a little Batman movie, with Christian Bale in the batsuit, Liam Neeson, and the fantastic Morgan Freeman; I saw the preview--wow.  AND she's dating Tom Cruise?  AND she's adorable?  (Somebody, quick, hand me the botox and send over the extreme makeover team...ha!) 

I'm bad when it comes to Batman--lol, Audrey and I were in Barnes & Noble, in the kids section, where they had picture books of the story with stills from the movie in them...and I had to thumb thru them.  Over and over again.  Mr W calls me in the middle of my ogling, so I joked with him, after I explained where and what I was doing: "if I bought these books for the kids, it's not like I'm really looking at them, is it?"  He has the grace to indulge his wife, and just chuckle.  He'll save the merciless teasing for later.

Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka?  I'm intrigued and perturbed about this.  I think he's a good actor, but I don't know...will I be sitting there looking for Gene Wilder? 

The new Coldplay CD will be released June 7th, I believe.  I'm looking forward to it....every time I hear Chris Martin sing 'honey, honey' in a lyric, I lose my train of thought.  What can I say, I dig the voice.

While I was at B & N, someplace that is completely dangerously too close to us now, I decided to reserve the new Harry Potter.  Nolan and I love these books.  I teased him that this time we would get two copies, because I read fast, but we still fight over who gets to go first between Nolan, me, and Mr W.  I may even Harry-it-up this time, and go get it at midnight the day they start selling it, I feel so strongly about it.  I was admittedly a bit disappointed in the last book, so I'm hoping I get some answers in the new one. 

Did I mention Batman? :D

Touching moments

This evening, we went to the school for their annual yearbook signing/ice cream social.  The cafeteria is the location, and all around the inside is the artwork the kids did in Art Masterpiece (each kid picks his favorite, and then they get hung up all over the place). 

It was cool for me to see what the kids I taught picked out, and find Nolan and Ben's favorites. 

I got the big kids their yearbooks, shooed them away with tickets to go get their ice cream, and planted myself at a table with my friend Jane.  I think it's safe to say that of all the school events, this one is the loudest, and the most chaotic (all the kids running around "sign mine" "no, sign mine" and eating ice cream too...a little sugar goes a long way, lol).

I didn't get Ryan a yearbook.  He's a kindie, none of the others got yearbooks when they were kindies either.  But he started to get all indignant about it, so we were trying to talk him down...and you know how reasonable an upset 6 yr old can be.  I swear, that boy, he's got a whine/cry that could shatter glass, it's so high pitched.  I'm sure the dogs in our neighborhood start barking when he does it, and I actually cringe, shrugging my shoulders up earward as much as possible before I tell him to knock it off.  He'd already demolished 2 ice cream bars, and was sitting there annoyed with me, when Nolan hands him what is left of his; his attempt at distracting the little guy.

I give Nolan an "are you sure?" look.  He nods yes back at me.

"You rock!"  I mouth to him.

"You owe me!"  he mouths back.

I couldn't help but laugh.  Smartass!

I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned around to see a girl from Ben's class standing behind me.  "Hi, Ben's Mom.  Thanks for teaching me about art."  "Oh, you're welcome, sweetie," I reply, "Which piece did you pick?"  She blushed a little--"I don't remember." "That's ok."  She hands me her pen.  "Would you sign my yearbook?"


"Of course."  I'm handing back her book to her and a girl standing next to her, also from Ben's class, asks me to sign hers, too.  That made my night, it was so cute. 

I told Jane that I couldn't remember their names (I mix one of them up with another in the same class), but that the little girl that came up to me first was always happy to see me and really enjoyed the lessons.

As we sat there and kept an eye out for our kids, there was a group of sixth graders behind us.  We got a glimpse of next year that for me at least,  both frightened me and left me appalled (at their behavior).  No, no, no, how can it be that the kids we know and love will morph into creatures like that?  Tall.  Flirty.  Mouthy.  OY!!

I'm now praying summer passes ssslllooowwwlllyyy.

Which means that it'll fly by, and before long, I'll be sitting there at the next signing/ice cream social, a sixth grader by my side, privately lamenting that he's leaving the elementary school wading pool for the big pool, the one with the deep end, of jr high.

I wonder if they allow floaties there?

'cause I know I'm gonna need them.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Mom! Can I try this?"

Mood:  melancholy, pensive

I am surprised that my mood and this entry will probably not match.  I'm a girl, mixed up moods are a way of life for me sometimes~ sigh.

This morning at breakfast, I was reminded of why I find Costco an adventure to visit.

Whether I go alone or with the kids, there's always something to see, taste, or play with. 

The best thing about taking the kids there is letting them try the samples.  Of course, this is if they can even get close to the samples, considering that the opportunity for free food, no matter how small, seems to bring out the nastiest behavior in even the sweetest-looking old ladies.  Suddenly, they are maneuvering their carts like they are jockeying for the pole position at the local racetrack.  Woe to you to be in their path, because they will take you out!  And not even apologize for nearly smashing your two year old in between their cart and the sample lady's 'kitchen.'  You are on your own if she's packing knitting needles in her sizeable purse.  

Don't even get me started on the mayhem that can ensue when the sample lady runs out and needs to make some more.  People circling like sharks...just waiting for the timer to 'ding.'  How Pavlovian, I think, as I watch them go round and round.


The kids, who usually will turn up their noses at the mere sight of something unfamiliar,  will eagerly nosh on anything put in front of them while we are there.  So much so that I've considered donning an apron and hairnet whilst I serve up bite-size pieces of food on little toothpicks or in little cupcake liners.   Seriously, why does it seem to enhance the appeal if it's on a toothpick?  Oy, the toothpicks make me nervous.  (I just can envision that ER visit-"No, dr, really, it was an accident" as I have  the toothpick removed from a tender region)  What is it they say about never taking food away from an animal as it is eating?? 

Oh, and Mom is a sucker for the kids pleas of "Can we take some of this home?  We LOVE it!"  I'm so excited at the prospect of them eating something new, that sometimes I am blinded by the fact that this is Costco.  It's gonna come in a huge quantity, and no one will "LOVE" it for long. 

The latest, I'm-a-dork purchase?  Belgian waffles.  I should have realized that the appeal was not the waffle itself, but the whipped cream the sample lady had lovingly swirled on top of it, inviting, fluffy....

My kids love whipped cream.  Like most things, it's my fault.  I happened to have some on hand.  My best friend, Jenny, was over.  We regressed to our teenage years, and were shooting hits of it straight into our open mouths in the kitchen, and Ben busted us.  Of course, he had to try it, and was totally hooked; so he shared his new find with his brothers...and they liked it too. 

So there I am, walking down the aisle while the kids are eating their waffles.  Even picky Ryan is entranced, and I'm just pleased to see them branch out, even a little.

Audrey points to the cold case as we walk by, to the bottles of whipped cream, and I tell her, "no, silly, we don't need that..."

When we got home, they of course ask me for some.  Fine.  Then they ask, what about the whipped cream?  I don't have any, and they are all long-faced like I've announced I'm leaving for a long trip alone.  "Try it with syrup, like always."  "But it's not the same,"  Ben says.

<eyeroll>  "You'll just have to wait until I can get some, then."

A few days later, I remember to pick some up.  I think that I've won some small victory, as I squirt some on Ryan's breakfast.

And all he eats is the whipped cream.  Great.

In the midst of this all, Audrey is asking for toast.  Cool.  I make her some.   She indicates she wants it "like Nolan"--cinnamon toast.  So I sprinkle it on, and she leaves it untouched.  Hmm.

Today, I make the waffles for Ben.  He eats the whipped cream, and a little waffle too.  Audrey is in the kitchen again, insisting she wants toast.  Sigh.  I make her toast (you know, they say that a kid needs 10+ tries, 10 times of seeing something new, before you should abandon the idea and just realize they don't like it..or is it 25 times?  I forget, but you get the picture...) and she won't eat it.  "What?"  I ask her as I point at it.  She goes to the fridge, and brings out the whipped cream bottle.  I am defeated.  I don't feel like fighting it anymore. 

So I lovingly swirl it on top of her toast.  Gross?  Probably.  But it doesn't matter, b/c I know she's only going to eat whipped cream anyway--the vehicle I serve it on is irrelevant.

I'm taking comfort in that it is a dairy product.  And it's not the full-on fat-filled stuff.

I think I've learned my lesson.  We'll be keeping with the regular menu favorites for a while, and the next time I buy whipped cream, it's hiding in the back of the fridge. 

I still need my stash, after all,  for 'emergencies.'  ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Guilty pleasure

Audrey has a new little thing she does.

She comes up to me, hugs me, and says "You are the best(est) Mommy ever!" 

Oy.  What do you say to that?  I just hug her back, and tell her thanks, that she is the 'best ever' too.  I secretly enjoy this little outpouring of affection.  I need to tape it and replay it when she's older and we are arguing about something insignificant.

Where did she get it from?  Her brothers.

"Mom, you're the best" comes out of their mouths every now and then too.  Hmm.  It's nice to know that the boss likes you.

Even if the only raises you get don't involve money, but sticky, dirty hands on your clean shirt.  A footprint on your new white sneakers.  Snot on your shoulder.  An misplaced knee in your back in the middle of the night.  The car behind you honking because the light turned green, but you are busy admiring the sleeping toddler in the rearview mirror and are still sitting at a complete stop.

There are days that I love being the Mom.  I never would have thought it was possible, when I was a teenager, and arguing with my mother about something insignificant.

You can bet she gets the last laugh when I share my day with her~

Ok, I'll admit it

Psst.  Over here.

Yes, you.

Ok, I'll admit it.

I want the last day of school to get here just as much as the kids do. 

Not only is it the last day of school, but it is Ben's birthday to boot.  And that evening, Ryan, my little Ryan, will be testing for his orange belt.

Oh, I feel a cake-baking urge coming on.

I remember too well how I felt at this time, right before Ben was born.  Giant.  Like I'd swallowed the turkey float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  Eagerly awaiting my chance at birthing greatness, where I would actually not need a c-section, and do it all on my own. (hahahahahaha, don't worry, that delusion didn't last long nor did the no meds delusion last long either)  I would be uber-Mom!  I would handle not only a two and a half year old, but a newborn as well, leaping tall buildings in a single bound!  Step aside, ladies, the professional has arrived!


I'm getting ahead of myself here, I'm so excited about his big day.  I'll wait and tell you the rest of the story next week.

You can be pregnant with anticipation until then.

Curse of the low rise

I've been shopping, and there's been some trauma.  Pant trauma.  For whatever reason, there is a preponderance of butt-crack pants out there.  Low-rise, I believe, is the official term.  A drag, in and of itself, because, frankly, no one needs to see that much of my hienie, unless I'm getting paid for it, which is very, very, unlikely.  More power to the girls that can pull that off, but I'm not one of them.

The other problem that I'm having with pants-shopping right now, and the other women who experience this will understand, is the problem where yes, they fit the around the butt, but nooo, you could fit two entire hands and a purse down the back of them because they are too big in the waist.  Man, it's a blessing and a curse to have that kind of curve going on in the difference in slope, I guess, from your behind's summit to the part where your lower back meets it.  (and no, a belt won't help, cuz the fabric bunches one way, the belt goes another, and crap, there's a whole new set of problems) 

['Foiled again!' I'm thinking.  'Mwahahahaha!' replies my ass.  Just when I thought we were gonna be friends again thanks to the running, the bitch decides to still have it in for me.]

I'm not alone, there were these ladies going on about it in the dressing rooms too, and I piped in, because I couldn't help it, they were talking about the same issue of butt-crack pants, ok, in Spanish, but still--finding someone else that day having the same issue was a relief.  Dressing room bonding--something you'd never see the guys do. 

It got me to thinking about the perfect pants.  They fit four very differently shaped girls, making them all look great, like magic.

I encountered them in the book by Ann Brashares, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants."   I really liked this book, and the two others that follow it.  The pants do have magic, and it would be nice to encounter them somewhere in real life, lol.

I'm very excited that this book was made into a movie, and the movie opens next week.  Although it seems that everytime a book gets made into a movie, you take your chances, I'm willing to be optimistic with this one.

Much more optimistic than I am about finding perfect pants to call my own.

And now, good night. :)

Double booked! Again!!!

Kick me in the head, someone.  Or buy me a drink.

It's a busy week here.  Nolan has a project due today(make a puppet and write a report about someone who signed the Declaration of Independence), Ben just had one due last week(Rainforest Animal--report and 3d depiction of his animal, a caiman), and Ryan has Water Day Fun coming up on Friday.  Nolan also has a band concert tonight, Ben has to be at aikido for another student's test at around the same time (he's the partner); there's the first double booking, but I have help this time, thanks to the other coolest Dad I know; I need to fill up water balloons on Thursday night for Ryan's festivities on Fri, and there's something I'm forgetting, I know it.

Oh, yeah.  I just realized that in addition to volunteering (teacher asked for help, I said yes) at Ryan's water day, I have to take Nolan to the eye doctor too, and the times will probably overlap.  OY!  That's what I get for not checking the calendar.  I'll just have to have a chat with her tomorrow, and work it out.

I need a clone.  Or a wife, lol.

To top it off, I'm retaining water for some unknown reason, and I haven't seen my ankles in a couple of days.  When I went to the doc about it (hey, it freaked me out) she said it could be anything; stress, hormones...and I thought, I swear to god, I thought, "I'm not under any undue stress."  And as I sat here thinking about this week, I have say to myself 'what? not under any stress?  You'll buy the hormone theory (they are raging; look out, temper; look out, sex goddess) but not the stress one?  Wacko!'

Guess I didn't realize it until I wrote it.  Honestly, so many things to do all the time, only so much of me to go around.  I'm not whining, mind you, I'm just wrapping my mind around the insanity this week is turning into.  On the bright side:

*Tomorrow is Weds. and the week is halfway over.

*I don't have to go it alone, I have dh and my friends to help out when I'm about to jump

*I've discovered, through the kid's projects, my hidden talent as a sculptress...painter...and that I can wield a mean pair of scissors...that replica of 'David' is just a package of Model Magic away

*I just need to make it through this week...Friday I may go to a Diamondbacks game with a friend, and we only have 5 more days of school left, sleeping in (hahahaha) is just around the corner.

*Ben's birthday is coming up next week!  And Disneyland the week after that!  (Indiana Jones ride, here I come!!)

I feel so much better now I think I'll go to bed.  I'm gonna need all the rest I can get--

'cause who knows what'll pop up that I 'forgot' in the morning.

Monday, May 23, 2005

He's still around

I was listening to the new Dave Matthews CD over the weekend at work, and now I have this stuck in my head:

"...first time I kissed you, I lost my legs..."

It reminded me of the first time I was kissed.

He lost his legs, alright.

Because I pushed him away, he fell backwards off the porch, and narrowly escaped landing on his butt, sprawled out in the front yard.

I recovered, apologized, and beat it inside to the sanctity of my bedroom, where I promptly told my friend Jenny (yes, that same Jenny I always talk about): "Ewww.  That was gross, I don't know how people do that all the time."  Luckily for Mr W, she talked me down, and bolstered up my courage for the next night's attempt, where I tried to kiss him.  After costing him considerable teenage pride, I figured it would only be fair for me to make the attempt.

Now, he's around 6 feet or so, on a good day, and I'm 5'5" (on a good day), so there's that height issue, that I wasn't sure how to overcome.  He wasn't expecting it, either, and not likely to try again anytime soon, considering.

So I gathered up my courage, stood on my tiptoes and moved in for the smooch...and planted it somewhere on his neck.

Shyah, I'm sooo graceful.  I took solace in the fact that no one was pushing anyone off the porch, however.

I beat it inside even faster that night, convinced that it just wasn't gonna happen for me like in the movies.  (keep in mind, I was just shy of 14 years old at the time)

In spite of all that, he still came around.  Later that week, we had a rainstorm, a summertime evening monsoon that you'd have to live in the desert to appreciate.  We sat in the car port, lawn chairs side by side.

And this time, when we kissed, we got it right.  Kissing like mad with the storm going on all around us.

There's a reason, you see, when I go on about how much I like the rain.

It has nothing to do with "eww, gross..." and everything to do with finally understanding why people like to "do that all the time."

Mr W is just happy that I don't push him away when he moves in for the kill now.

Although, I could always have a flashback.....  ;)

Treat pusher

Last week, on Thursday or so, I bought the dogs some food, and a box of bones.

I don't give them treats ALL the time.  Okay, I do spoil them at least once a day.  They're wonderdog and superpup, I can't help it.

Apparently, neither can Audrey.  I busted her with some in her hands on Friday.  I scolded her, because while it is cute that she doles out the goodies, I don't like her doing it, especially unsupervised.  A dog, no matter how good natured, is still a dog, and the potential for injury is there, so I usually take care of it or I'm standing right there when she does it.   Responsible Mom, or so I thought.

Last night, I'm in the pantry, straightening up.  It's bad enough that I overstock (a necessary evil with the bottomless-pit-stomachs I live with), but it's worse that I often find things put away that are in essence, empty, but the kids don't toss it out.   I mean, if there are 10 chip crumbs in the bottom of a family-size bag, don't you think they'd see that that's probably not something the next person will find enjoyable?  That less-than-a-bowlful of cereal could probably find a new home, and not just waste space in a big box?  Of course not.  Hence the clean-up I do when I think of it every few days.

I pick up the box of dog treats, and whoosh, it's very light.  I turn around to Mr W, and say, "Well.  I guess I know now why the dogs were so happily following your daughter around.  I bought this on Thursday, and usually it lasts a week or two, if not more, and look:  empty."

She's a total sneak, I didn't see her do it.  I think that she was feeding them through the gap at the bottom of the screen door into the backyard, and/or putting a bunch of them down on the ground and letting them have at it.  It would explain why they haven't been eating as much lately.  It's not just the heat we've been experiencing these last few days, like I thought it was.

It's the little dog bone pusher.

Just a bite

I hate mosquitoes, but they love me.  It's that Mexican food taste, I guess.  Being yummy to winged pests is not the kind of yummy I'd like to be...  At any rate, I have received about 5 bites as I've been reading here, and they itch like hell, they feel like 50.  Might as well make it worth my while and do the Six.  <scratch, scratch, oh I know you aren't supposed to>  

Saturday Six - Episode 58 

 Picture from Hometown

1. What is the last product or service you tried just because you saw a commercial that impressed or amused you about the product? ProActiv, for unsightly skin.  Damn it, will it ever end? Did you like the product or service after you tried it?  Yes, I had some problems with it at first (adjusted) and then it was ok.  It works.  You gotta love that.

2. How old is the oldest photograph in your home? I'm guessing 35 yrs old.  Are you in it?  No, it's of Mr W as a baby.  Cute, even then.

3. What is the most supernatural event you have experienced?  I had a dream about Mr W's Mom a few months after she passed away.   Did you feel there was a specific reason that it happened to you?  I was living with him and his Dad. (We all had our own rooms, and Mr W behaved himself.  Most of the time.)  I was feeling a bit weird about the whole situation.  One night, I had a dream about her, and she was just beautiful as always, in 'her' bathroom, and the lighting was golden...and she took my face into her hands, and talked to me about how she wasn't in pain anymore, and that it was ok with her that I was there.  She said some more things, but I can't  remember them now, I just remember feeling how peaceful she was, and when I woke up, I felt  much, much more at  ease staying there.  I know it might seem like "oh, that's just a dream" to others, but to me it was very real, I could smell her perfume and everything.

4. Do you usually consider the glass half-empty or half-full?  Philisophically or realistically, lol?  I'm just happy to see that the glass is mine, that no hands have been in it ("ice, Mommy") and that the liquid is still clear and not muddied by the backwash of little lips.  That there is liquid in it to begin with is a miracle too.  That there would be enough liquid to truly ponder this question?  Not likely.  Because of what I mention above, I tend to drink it down asap.  Seize the drink, it may be gone or spilled in 5 minutes, lol.

5. What part or parts of your body do you shave regularly?  Regularly??!!  I'm just lucky to be in the shower at all on a regular basis; shaving is a bonus; shaving all the necessary parts (hmm, what are they, I'm not telling) requires another adult in the house to bar the bathroom door.  (but I still manage to get it done, lol...)

6. What day is typically your busiest of the week?  Everyday is a busy day here, with all these kids, 2 cats, and 2 dogs, oh, and my husband running around.  Working, getting 'em all to school, doing the household stuff...wait, I need a nap.  What day are you usually the happiest? Sunday afternoon, when I'm off of work.  What day are you usually the saddest? 
Friday night, when I realize that Sat a.m. I have to go into work.  Actually, these flip-flop, some days Sunday is the saddest, because my real work week is just beginning, but Friday night is my happiest b/c I'm <sshh, don't tell> going to work, and Mr W gets to be me for a few hours. 

Friday, May 20, 2005


I just couldn't resist this:

Weekend Assignment #60: Recount an interesting moment in your life that somehow involves Star Wars. It can be deeply tangential -- it doesn't have to have happened at a Star Wars movie, for example. But let's face it -- for the last 28 years Star Wars has been part of the common culture. Surely there's an interesting moment in your life in that time, in which Star Wars, its characters or its merchandise has been a part of it.

I grew up watching these movies.  One of the most enjoyable things I've done as a parent is passing on my love of all things Star Wars to my kids, and watching them become just as enchanted as I am by it.  Yesterday, I got a two-for-one reminder of it.   

As we were walking through the mall, wasting time, my oldest, Nolan, poses this question to me and my friend Jenny:  "What's your favorite Star Wars character?"

Without hesitation, we both answered simultaneously: "Han Solo."

"I think all women in our age group would answer that,"  Jenny added. 

Honestly, is there any question when it comes to this?  I remember sitting in a theater with my family, having driven up here from the small town to the big city to view it, and swooning over Harrison Ford.  What was I, 9 or 10???  And I've been swooning over him ever since.  That man is just waaay too good looking, and that little scar on his chin just pushes me over the edge.  Ahem.

So my big Star Wars moment involves realizing the appeal of the quick-witted scoundrel type before I was old enough to date, as well as the sex appeal of Harrison Ford; and being reminded of this by the query of my 11 yr old, while we were waiting to go see the newest installment.  (On a day that I let them all skip school to go watch.)

Extra Credit: Ewoks: Cute or Evil? Explain.

Cute.  For crying out loud, they look like little teddy bears come to life.  Just don't look at the eyes too long--then you'll say 'evil'.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

From meanie to queenie

We made it out the door, and to the dentist in plenty of time this morning. 

Audrey was a good sport and let me take her in her pjs.  She took the little cup of sedative, and we hung out in the waiting room...at first, she relaxed to the point of "wow, I need some of this for at home," but then she started getting irritable and crying for everything.  I held her and soothed her the best I could; I even stood with her in my arms and did the Mommy-sway, but by the time we went back, she was no longer a happy camper. 

You'd think a sedated child wouldn't be capable of a hissy fit.  

Not my sedated child.  She threw a hissy fit that actually was quite impressive, when I think about it.  I know if I'd taken a small shot glass of a Demerol/Vistaril(sp) combo, I'd be pretty cooperative.  She was not.  She wouldn't even lay in the dentist's chair unless we held her down.  They tried to put the nitrous on her nose, and she wasn't interested.  Fabulous.  Doc comes into the room, and we talk about my options at this point.  He said they could papoose her and be done with it in 15 minutes or so, but I was hesitant to do that because I don't want her to hate going to the dentist.  I know she'd remember, and hold a grudge like only a small fry can.  In spite of this, I decided to give it another shot. 

I talked to her, calmed her down, and we tried again, to more of the same, so I just threw in the towel.  Sometimes, being a Mom means you have to choose your battles, and this time, I chose to leave the field first.  Doc says we can just keep treating the cavity like we've been doing, and fill it either when she's big enough to cooperate, or in the case that it really starts causing her discomfort.  Or it falls out altogether, lol.

We head for home, and on the way, I call my friend Jenny so we could stop playing phone tag.  She was off today and I invited her to come along with us to our destination later in the morning...but first I had to go sign the boys out of school...and we'd meet her at the theater at 11.

The theater to watch Star Wars, that is.  I'd promised the boys way back that we'd skip school and go see it on the day it opened.  I almost weenied out of it too, b/c of the crowds and the idea of taking along the mood-swing toddler, but they wore me down.  

We were lucky enough to not have a huge crowd, arrive with good timing (got to feed them lunch in the mall first), and we got great seats!  Yay!

The movie is really good, and I won't say to much about it b/c I know people (with the exception of Kelly) may not have seen it yet.  Go.  It's worth it.  Yoda rocks, and who would've thought the dark side of the force could be that seexxaayy?

In the course of today, I've gone from meanie (Audrey probably thought so) to queenie (my boys thought I was the coolest Mom in the world, skipping school for Star Wars).  It's almost dinnertime, so I can feel the pendulum shifting back to meanie...hmm, maybe we'll just have to have pizza.

Because everyone knows that Queens don't cook. 

What about endorphins?

Today started off well.  I got up, got everyone going, didn't forget Ben's project, and even typed up a rough draft Nolan had written in the 10 minutes we had left before dropping them off at school. (I don't really need to say that this draft is something he 'forgot' to ask me to help out with last night, do I?)  So they were a little late--but everyone had their stuff, I'm not sweating a tardy slip.  And I didn't even raise my voice once.  (new a.m. record)

Mr W invited me to lunch, and I managed to jump in the shower, change the girl, let her go potty again before we left, while I threw the pup into his crate...and we were only 15 minutes late.  It was okay, because so was he.  I even scooted over to ASU after we were done to pick up a few nifty Sparky antenna balls. Nothing says "I love my school" more than having your mascot grace your vehicle with the antenna shoved up its butt.  (Maybe I should've gone with a bumper sticker.)  While I was there, I'd even parked at a meter and didn't bother to put change in it, and no one was the wiser. 

I should've known all this karmic goodness would come to an end sometime today.

It started when I decided to go in search of some pants I saw the other day, and should've just bought, but nooo, I'm a girl about it, I needed to shop around; and today, they were all gone.  Then, I realized that lunch was not going anywhere.  I was soooo full!  I decided to change into my running clothes, for comfort, and so that I could run as soon as we got home from aikido.  Gotta pay the piper, especially after I missed a couple of days...

I knew the run tonight was going to be hard, I just had a feeling about it, but I forced myself to go anyway.  I can do this.

No, I can't.   The last time I was that breathless, whispering out religious expressions, the ending was much more enjoyable than doubling over at the end of my block wishing for a stunt double.  It was truly craptacular, the degree to which I just, well, sucked.  To top it off, my iPod also decided that my performance was subpar, and halfway through my ordeal, I'm listening to Eric Clapton, and it stopped working.  I was almost more upset about that than I was with myself!  I think it just overheated and the battery was low, so it checked out for the night.  I was just standing over it, sprinkling it with holy water, a few minutes ago.  I think it's gonna be ok.

As for me, I don't know.  I realize not every run will be fantastic, but I'd really been excited lately because I'd made progress.  Not being able to duplicate the good run I had the other night just wrecked my "me" time.  I'm not shooting for the Olympics, people, but come on...a little jaunt around the neighborhood shouldn't be all that hard.  "You've given birth,"  I remind myself, "what's a few more feet?  another 30 seconds?  don't stop, don't stop, don't stop..."  and then I stopped.  Dammit. Where's my oxygen?  Where's my hot personal trainer?  Oops.  Sorry.  Endorphins can wreck havoc with my already overactive imagination.

I finally get everyone down for the night, and am messing with some pictures here on my computer, and the site I need is shut down.  WTF?  <eyeroll>  Of course it is.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping things will go smoothly.  I'm hauling my butt out of bed early to walk the dog, and stretch out my legs before the real fun begins.  Audrey has a dental appt, and she's getting a filling.  She'll be sedated for this, so I have to keep her from eating or drinking anything between now and then.  She is not above going to help herself in the kitchen, so I made her stay up late, hoping that she'll sleep until the last minute, and I can get her into the van without her drinking anything.  It's impossible to reason with a hungry/thirsty 3 yr old, so this could be interesting.

And I have to manage to get 'em all out the door on time, if not a little early, so we can make it to her appt without rushing.  LOL, I should just call ahead and let them know I'm running a bit late right off the bat, right?

Maybe if I have enough faith, karma will swing back in my favor.  I hope so, because with the exception of conjuring up a hot personal trainer, my bad showing tonight tells me my endorphins aren't going to be any help to me at all.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I knew this going in

There are about three people who are going to tell me "I told you so" when they read this.  Go on.  Laugh it up.

Ryan has appointed himself the poop-watcher.  For Max, of course.

"MO-OOM!  He did it in here, by the green couch."

"MOM!  Max did it again!"  "Ewww, MOM!  Is this pee?"

Sigh.  It's good that he's telling me this, I mean, someone (that would be me) has to clean up.   It's just that a) Max does have his little accidents despite my best efforts; b) Ryan is letting me know.  At the top of his lungs.  The very minute it happens; c)  my world has suddenly become all about poop again.


Well, yeah.  With all these kids around, at some point, you will hear about poop. 

Ponder this:

When they are newborns, you marvel at them, ooh/ahh, oh, look a dirty diaper.  Cute when it's the first one but not so cute when it's what feels like the 100th one of the day in the middle of the night.  I remember Mr W was so proud that his baby worked, that he regaled my friend Janna, along with her new boyfriend (now husband) with the tale of Nolan's first poop when they visited me in the hospital.  In detail, with color commentary and everything. Thank heaven Dale comes from a large family and had been around babies before, or my poor friend Janna might have had a lonely flight home.  I had a little chat with Mr W after that....

Then they get bigger, and the stuff gets to be more on the scale of a biohazard than you'd like to admit.  Suddenly, carrying around scented garbage bags (strategically located in your purse, the diaper bag, the car...) seems like an excellent idea.  Too big for you to handle it well, too small for "the chair."  This is the twilight time when you long for release from the bonds of Desitin.

Finally, they reach the goal you've been dreaming of for months now, and are finally ready for potty training.   Entire books written about the subject, and yet you are convinced that your child will be different, your child will be the exception, your child will be trained so quickly that you will wonder why you waited so long to do it.  RIIGGGHT.  Six months later, you are resignedly putting PullUps in your shopping cart, muttering to yourself that "this is the last package, really, I won't be buying these again." 

Eventually, everyone makes it to the point of being able to wear "big boy <or girl> underpants."  You're so happy, you wonder if a theme party celebrating this milestone would be inappropriate.  'I'm done!' you think as you look around the house.   

"Mommy!  A little help here?"  Ryan's voice beckons me to the bathroom.   Okay.  Maybe I'm not done.

They are potty trained, and yet, you are still hearing (and thinking) about poop.  Did he go today?  When did he go last? (constipation in a toddler is not something you want to mess with)  Is he cleaning up?   Please, tell me he used the bathroom and didn't just flush a toy down the toilet...

While Audrey is in the midst of potty training, the other kids are finally on their own with this (except for the occasional tummy ache) and I was actually looking forward to having everyone out of diapers. 

Along comes Max.  Who we all adore, but is still learning how to exhibit civilized behavior.  No matter how much I keep an eye on him, I have only caught him in the act once or twice.   He's quick and he likes his privacy, but the Ryan alert gives him away...

I'm getting a paper towel to clean up after him today, and that's when it hit me.  Until Max is potty trained, and that could take a while, my world is all about poop again. 

Cleaning up, making sure he goes to the bathroom (outside), and being vigilant about toilet misshaps...I've been down this road before.

I was just hoping that this time, there'd be a detour. 

I'm willing to grant him a grace period.  But after that, he's getting a PullUp.   I'm sure there's a doggie version somewhere out there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It's back

I thought I'd give an update...

Mr W said that when he got my page, he started to laugh in the middle of his class. 

When he got home, he did notice that the a** smell was indeed, diminished.  I didn't even need to point it out to him again. 

Upon our arrival back to the house after a family outing (we took the kids to the ASU baseball game) it was late.  All the kids were busy in their rooms putting on their pjs, so I took that moment to reinstate my good wife policy.  

This time, the look on his face did all the talking.

Monday, May 16, 2005

What did you say?

We were getting ready to leave the house.  After strapping Audrey in her carseat, I came back inside, to let Mr W know everyone was outside waiting...and had my hands on my shirt, fully intending to flash him some serious skin, because I'm a good wife that way...

I didn't even get a chance to get all the way in the door when he looks up at me and says, "It smells like a** in here.  Didn't you notice it when you came in?"  My hands came off my shirt as I made a mental note to find my nun's habit.   "I love you, too, honey, and I'm a little insulted."  "Why?"  "Why?  Why don't you just say, hey, when did you clean last,"  I giggled, "because it smells like it's been a while."  "That's not what I meant,"  he says, before going on to say, "I mean, we do have four kids running around.  When is the last time they took a bath?"

Now am I not only not flashing him, I thought, but he's not going to be seeing flesh for quite some time.

"Dude, so not only am I lax in housekeeping, but now my kids are smelly, too?  I can assure you that Audrey and Ryan have had baths, very recently, although I can't speak for the big kids..."  "See?  It's gotta be them.." "You're not helping."  I look around, and yeah, the place does need a pick-me-up, and resist the urge to go fetch him the broom and mop and tell him what he can do with it.  "Okay, okay, we'll hose down the big kids later; but neither of us will have time to do anything around the house until Monday."  "Fine."

Well, here it is, Monday.  And I just finished sweeping and mopping, one of my tasks for today. 

I can type him messages when I page him, so a few minutes ago, I typed this message:  "Just mopped.  Now the house smells like 90% clean floor, 10% a**."

As I am considering reinstating my good wife policy when he comes in the door, I am anxiously waiting to hear his response.

Phantom pain

Yesterday, I participated in a kickball tournament.

Yeah, you read that right, kickball.  It was for charity (The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society).   There were two teams put together at work, and one day while I was there, I noticed that my friend's team needed one more girl, so I got on board.   There are worse ways to spend a nice (okay, it was a bit hot) Sunday afternoon, right?  Initially, I had planned on the whole family coming.

But of course, Mr W and I got our signals crossed, and he wanted to go to the ASU baseball game with my Dad. (Considering the kick in the pants we got from the UA yesterday, he would have been better off with me, a fact I am not mentioning to him--why pour salt in the wound?)  Ben went with them, the rest of the kids and the pup went to Nana's, and I went to my kickball game alone. 

It was Mr W's idea that I not wrestle with the rest of them by myself..."Take them to your Mom, or you aren't going to enjoy yourself."  "..But, "  "Hey.  Think about it.  Do you really want to have to keep chasing Audrey off the playing field?"  "...there'll be a few other kids there..." "No.  You know how she is..."  "Okay."  (where is this good will when I want to go to the mall alone, lol?)

When I got to the park, I was glad I'd taken his advice.  It was hot, and there wasn't really any shade.  The bathroom was far away.  And while the big kids would have stayed close by, I'm sure I would've been chasing Audrey on the other side of the park before our first inning was over.  Guess he can be a smart guy, I thought.

I had fun!  I didn't have to worry about counting heads, or scanning the little crowd for them.  I got to finish a complete sentence or two, and play with my own watergun without there being a fight about who's turn was next.  I even took a sip of,  um, apple juice. ;)  Just a sip of course.  I still had to drive, afterall.

One of my coworkers was so surprised to see me, I couldn't resist commenting, "Yes, I do occasionally peel them off my leg and make it out the door alone." 

If I was having such a good time, why did I feel a little lost?  I'd be fine, and then I'd catch myself starting to look around, even though I knew I didn't have to.  I kept noticing that I didn't have anything in my hand other than a bottle of water.  I was eating ice, but I caught myself only eating the little pieces.

What is this little ache, this emptiness I feel?  Me, who ordinarily jumps at the chance to do anything fun sans kiddies, feeling off my game because I'm alone for a change? [When they are with me, driving me crazy, I can't wait to get away.  When I'm away, alone, I can't wait to get back home.  I can't win.  Wacko!]

It must be the Mommy version of phantom pain.  You feel the ache in your limbs, in your hands because they are empty.  That buzzing in your head?  That would be clarity of thought.  "Hello?  Clarity?  Have we met?"

I got over it.  The second I was in the van to go home, where I promptly called Mr W, to see if Ben wanted to hitch a ride with Mom back to Nana's. 

Phantom pain.  Just another one of the parent ailments no one warned me about.  I'll add it to my list, where it will fit nicely between "grounder's remorse" and "momtuition."

(And for the record, my team lost.  Twice!  No matter, we had a good time anyway, we got fed, and we also got tshirts.  Not bad for a Sunday afternoon in the park.)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Can't sit still

Recently, one day last week, I noticed that I was standing while everyone else sat and chatted.  Oh, I was talking too, but I realized that day that I don't sit down much.  With the exception of my online activities, I stand or walk around.  Alot.  I should be the size of this 'l' as much as I move around, but that's another story. :)

Chasing the little ones down, keeping an eye on the pup, forgetting why I went from point A to point B and backtracking, going out the door, coming home--it all takes its toll, I guess.

I was sitting at my Mom's yesterday afternoon, in her giant 1 and 1/2 chair, Ben at my side.  We were watching 'Shrek2' of all things (lol).  I woke up in time for the credits, Ben long gone, to the feeling of little eyes watching me.  "Shh."  Audrey says. "Mommy sleeping,"  I hear her tell my Mom. 

All this time I thought it was the magic in Mr W's recliner that knocks me out at will, when really, it's just the magic of being in one spot long enough to close my eyes.  I told him so yesterday, that if I'm sitting still, I'm asleep in minutes, and he agrees.  In the van, while he's driving, of course, I can't make it the 40 minutes or so to my Mom's without catching a cat nap.   Embarrassing as it is, on Friday at work, I caught myself fighting off sleep again.  I should've gone home when I bumped my nose on my scope, but I opted for coffee instead.  It's relatively quiet there.  I'm in one place for quite some time.  No kids clamoring for whatever.  Magic, and zzzzz. Thank goodness for caffeine, because not even rousing music was doing the trick.

Right now, I'm hoping for Mr W to wake up so I can take a nap. 

After nearly witnessing the circle of life take place when Shadow nearly caught EG in the hallway right now, and I grabbed her to give the cat time to escape, I think I deserve one.

But I'm not likely to get it unless I sit down.  A minute or two should do it, [yawn] I thizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

It's too early

I promised I wouldn't complain about this puppyhood thing.  But I'm sleep deprived this morning, so I'm weak. 

All I can say is, would it kill the little bugger to sleep past 5 a.m.?  And would it kill him to stay away from Shadow's crate, because once she's up, she's UP, thumping like mad and almost tipping the crate over?

Don't get me started on him barking at the cat.  [Yawn]

One more thing...and then I'll go back to cuddling his little supreme fat puppyness...Look, pup.  I put you outside and say the word 'potty' for a reason.  Why is it you can stay outside for 30 minutes, and only pee and poop within five minutes after I get you back in the door? 

[Yawn]  Only one thing I can do at this point.  It's my Saturday Six, on Sunday morning.  The sleep deprived, gotta-stay-up-so-no-one-gets-hurt, <sniff, sniff> oh-I-know-what-that-smell-is edition.

Saturday Six - Episode 57

 Picture from Hometown

1. How many scars do you have on your body?  Where are they?

I have the usual chicken pox scars, (cheek, leg, back of hand, etc.) and scars from falling off bikes (knees, elbow).  And then I have the scars I've earned during childbirth.  Yup, that c-section scar that I affectionately referred to as "the zipper" while I was pregnant is a winner; as is the scar that joined it from my hernia repair, again a parting gift from the pregnancies.  Ugly, true, but unavoidable, and not something anyone else sees in public anyway.  Pregnancy--the joy of watching your body become a road map.  (There's something you're not likely to see on a Hallmark card.) 

2. What is the last junk food you ate in such large quantity that you actually felt guilty afterwards?

Ahm, does a malted milk ball before 6:30 am count?  The one I just snuck earlier?  Let me think...I really like the Ghirardelli chocolate  bar that has caramel in it that I resist every time I go through the checkout at Target.  When I cave, and buy one, I have intentions of only eating a square at a time...so the last time that I ate the whole thing, I felt a little pang of guilt, which I hate.  You know what you are sticking in your mouth, why feel guilty about it?  If it makes you feel that bad, why bother enjoying it in the first place?  (she says as she hides the telltale gold foil wrapper...) 

3. What is the closest spot to your home where you go when you feel like you need an afternoon escape?

Escape, oh, my favorite word, lol.   There is no escape for me in the afternoon, not with everyone coming back home again afterschool.  I'd say the mall, but that makes me sound like such a GIRL.  I guess my neighborhood, when I'm out walking the dog.  Preferably alone.  Or in a comfy spot with whatever book I'm currently reading.  I can pretend I'm the Czarina of Russia, reading my book, even if Audrey has just finished wiping her hands on my pants again, Nolan has retreated to his room, and Ben is arguing with Ryan over who would win in a fight. (Yu-gi or Ash?  A burning question!)

4. Of those in your collection, what movie have you watched the most times?

ToyStory2.  Really.  I'd say that it's the kid's fault, but that would only be partially true.   

5. Have you ever felt discriminated against?  What about you do you believe led to the discrimination?

"But why can't I play Little League, Dad?"  "Because you're a girl." 

"I'd like to grow up and fly planes and be an astronaut." "You can't fly jets, mija, because you are a girl." (okay, and I can't see for shit, but that's not the point here)

'Because you are a girl' colored my life not only because girls weren't allowed to do a lot of things, and certainly my generation didn't have it nearly as badly as those before us, but also because I'm a HISPANIC girl, and in my very traditional upbringing, being a girl precludes you from doing just about anything that doesn't involve taking care of everyone else first.  (although, when it came to education, my parents were very modern, and encouraged me tons there.)  God forbid you want to do anything that involves exercise (potential to endanger your precious female parts) or interaction with the opposite sex (potential to endanger your precious female parts).  Or the sun, for that matter (oh, there was to be no chance to mar the skin with a ...tan.  but I made up for that later-) **

Anyone that thinks that we're enlightened in this day and age about being discriminated against for being a woman is not really paying attention.  It's more subtle now, but it's still there.  I didn't get a job once because my pregnancy was showing.  Oh, I'm sure if I called them on it, that wouldn't have been the official reason, but it was. 

As far as discrimination for being non-Caucasian, well, that too is alive and well in some parts of the country, make no mistake about it.  I've experienced it in the South, when I was almost denied the use of the bathroom in a business until they realized I was there with my FIL, a man as Southern and Caucasian as you can get.  Even here, in the Southwest, where I feel like sometimes I'm in the majority, I get comments like "Oh, I didn't know you were Mexican...but you don't speak with an accent!"  Mild?  Yeah.  Mildy annoying.  I don't think I've lost any jobs over being Hispanic, if anything, it's been a plus to be conversant in Spanish here, but well, it's hard to describe.  Subtle, like a bad taste in your mouth that you can't put your finger on or get rid of, out there in the atmosphere ofthe city I live in; just something I live with.  I think I notice it more depending on who I'm with, for example, going out with my Dad is a different experience sometimes from going out with Mr W.  We might go to the same place, but be treated differently.  That kind of subtle.

6. RAPID FIRE QUESTION #3:  Have you ever hired a:
   a. Maid 
    b. Lawyer no
    c. Chauffer no
    d. Plumber not yet (crossing my fingers)
    e. Photographer yes, our wedding
    f. Realtor sort of
    g. Gardener does landscaper count?  Yes
    h. Personal Trainer no
    i. Psychic/Spirtual Advisor no
    j. Mortician indirectly, yes

**I was thinking about this all day. I did eventually get to do some things, like play softball, instead of little league, and participate in high school sports like volleyball and track, but I think only because my Mom chose to buck the system of the paternal grandparents that lived with us.  She knew they probably wouldn't approve, but let me do it anyway.  By the time I was in high school, our small town was experiencing an economic slowdown that made my Dad seek work out of town, so he wasn't around to protest and was coming around anyway so he might not have objected at all.   Ok, my brain hurts now~~

Friday, May 13, 2005

Bathing beauties

Mr W had a loooong day today.  Whilst I was here at home reminding Ryan, as he stood in front of the fridge, to "get out of my way or you are not going to eat," he was busy doing some overtime in anticipation of our upcoming trip.  He's been very chatty for a busy man, and called me several times today, with the last call being "I'm gonna be later than I thought."  "No problem," I tell him.  Why on earth did I walk past the large bottle of tequila I saw earlier at Costco?  Again?  Oh, yeah.  The kids were with me, so I would have had to explain the straw, and they are still impressionable...keep walking. 

Before I knew it, it was late, nearly 8.  Our evening routine shot.  We still hadn't officially eaten dinner yet, but as they put down a ton of food earlier, I was surprised they were interested in anything at all.   Kids and their bottomless pit stomachs!  I still needed to bathe Audrey, who was just a mess, and Ryan, who was just a stinky boy.

We're in the middle of it all when Max appears at my side.  He jumps up and hangs his little paws over the side of the bathtub, very excited and wagging his tail.  He's sniffing away at the water, and when we do nothing, he gets agitated and barks at us.  "Mommy, I think Max wants to take a bath,"  Ryan says.  "Yeah, he probably does,"  I tell him, "because this is where he takes his bath, and labs like water, so he thinks it's his turn."  He is indeed fascinated by water, that pup, he has to put both his paws in the water dish outside before he drinks.  Flavoring, perhaps? 

I wrap things up with the kids, and then, hmm.  Should I do it? Aw, why not?

I place Max into the tub with them, much to their delight.  Of course, I took them out immediately and had Ben's help to dress them, but they thought it was cool that the pup was in there, if only for a moment.  I drained the tub and proceeded to bathe the wonderpup, who was looking quite relaxed and sat patiently while I cleaned him.  Oh, please let him love the bath forever, I think to myself, because if he doesn't, it's going to suck having a white dog.  He truly had an enjoyable time, and now looks like a white puff walking around. 

After that, I was busy doing something (okay, I was finally getting the favored sheets back on the beds) and Audrey  wouldn't stay in her room, so I asked Ben to go lay with her, and he did.  And she stayed.  When I finished and went to check on them, she was OUT.  I grinned at Ben and praised him for a job well done.

I dig it when they help me out with her.   Earlier in the night, it was Nolan getting her into a new PullUp, while receiving a lecture from her about how "it's not a diaper, I a big girl, it's a PullUp."  Ryan rescues her regularly when she gets stuck on my bed.  And when she gets in trouble, she asks for them, like they will intervene and obtain a reprieve from the mean Mommy.  "I want my Ben/Nolan/Ryan," she'll wail, reaching for the object of her affection with open arms.  And if mean Mommy allows, they catch her up in their arms, and hold her.  The look on their faces is priceless.

I hope that it's always going to be like that, that she's going to reach for her brothers when the mean Mommy is not available.  I hope they always reach for each other, period.  It's sweet. 

And when she's a teenager, it'll be an effective way for her to sift out the bad guys when she starts dating, to have 3 opinions on whether or not Timmy is such a good idea.

If she starts dating, I should say.  With 3 big brothers and a cop Dad, she'll be lucky if she gets to leave the house alone with a boy before she turns 21.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Not while I'm driving

I was just waaaay too unmotivated this morning.  I knew that I had errands to run, but wasn't in a hurry to start them.  As a result, I paid the ultimate price today.

I had to make my pilgrimmage to Costco with all four of them.  (I wasn't kidding when I said I'd be stocking up on Motrin in my previous entry.)

Afterschool, when tummies can be heard rumbling before they even make it into the van.  As they groaned about our mission, I announced that they could eat there before we started to shop.  This appeased them enough that all I had to do was keep Ben from killing Ryan in the backseat before we got there. 

Earlier today, I went to Target, and while I was there, I became so mesmerized by the jelly beans in the big, bulk Jelly Belly display that I picked some up for Ben.  I like them too, but he just loves picking them out of the bag and matching the color to the flavor.  I ran into the house to get them real quick before we left for Costco.  I figured if he doesn't eat them, then he and Ryan can chuck them back and forth, and voila! they'll be entertained without bloodshed.

We're driving along, and he's talking about them, and passing one up to me once in a while.  "Try this one, it's peach," he says, and yum, it certainly is.  "I want a green one, the apple one," I tell him, and he passes that forward. 

All of a sudden, Nolan's hand appears again just as Ben says, "Here, try this one."   And I automatically pop it into my mouth.

You'd think, after all these years, I'd have learned a thing or two about accepting edible gifts without question from the hands of my children.  That I'd know just popping something in my mouth is not a good idea, not without checking it for oh, I don't know, edibility and cleanliness first.  You'd think I'd say, "No, thanks, honey, maybe later," especially if I'm driving.  But for whatever reason, I didn't.

Boy, did I regret that.  Not at first, of course, but as I chewed, and wondered, 'WHAT the HELL is that?', I realized I had no option.  I was turning, I couldn't roll down the window, I didn't want to spit it out all over me, and I had nothing to spit it into.  I had no choice but to suffer through it.

I thought of that scene, in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,' when Violet eats the gumball or candy that is supposed to be an entire meal, then the dessert part gets her and she turns into a big blueberry.  What am I gonna turn into, I wonder, because this thing tastes like crap.  I'm chewing, and just when I think I've figured it out, the flavor changes again, and it's just wrong, to be tasting something buttery, then sweet, then breadish, is this toffee, oh no, the buttery taste is back, ew, eeww, EEWWW!  "BEN!  WHAT is that???  It's gross!" 

I hear him looking, listening to the bag rustle as he's looking for it, but can't find it.  "Ugh, pass me a better one forward, I have to get this taste out of my mouth."

"Sorry, Mom."  And then he says, and I can't believe he says this, "I tried that one too, and didn't like it."  "Well, then why did you give me one??"  "I just wanted to see if you knew what it was."

Oh, that's it, there in the logic of an 8 yr old.  I feel so much better.  Who knew my kids thought my palate was that sophisticated, that I could figure out what the mystery flavor of a (thankfully) small jelly bean was? 

Meanwhile, I'm still driving along, waiting for my transformation to occur.  Hey, maybe that's the magic Marg jelly bean, and I'll 'POOF!' turn into that gorgeous redhead Marg Helgenberger from CSI.  A girl can dream, can't she, and since I've just ingested what could possibly be peyote, why not live a little?

We're turning into the parking lot and he says "Oh, I found it!"  "Solve the mystery, Ben."

"It's buttered popcorn!"  he announces, very proud of himself.   He could of said it was supposed to taste like a lump of dark Godiva the size of my fist, and I still would have told him it was the worst thing I've ever had.  The flavor marriage of buttered popcorn and jelly bean must end in divorce, for the good of all mankind.

I glance in the mirror, checking to make sure that no wayward fragments are on my face.

Is that a streak of red I see in my hair??

"Wait a minute, son.  Give me back that bag!!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Don't look now

When they get home from school, the boys throw their backpacks on the table, so I can go through them.  Usually, I do, but I've been lazy lately, and sometimes I'll just tell them to put them away or else they'll sit there until dinnertime.  Of course, the days I do that, there's some kind of notice that I need to see or sign or deal with...bad Mommy.  It's a good thing that when they run out of lunch money, one of them will come home with stamp on their hand, or they'd be having the "eat it or eat nothing" lunch at school the next day...bad Mommy. 

I'm just getting to be sick of the routine.

At least that's what I thought, until I was emptying Ryan's backpack, and found the lunch-slip in his backpack.  It said he has 2 bucks left in his account.  (ok) Underneath that, however, it says "There are only 15 more days of school left!"

Oh, come on, I thought.  They've gotta be kidding.  I cringe inwardly as I confirm on my calendar that yes, there are only 15 more days of school left.  (You'll notice I left off the exclamation point...bad Mommy.)  What???  NOOOOOO, no, no, it can't be.  I'm not ready.  I need more time.  I need a plan.  I, aye, aye yi yi--I'm resting my head for a second right now, my mind swirling....

Well, I kinda have a plan, but it's only going to cover a few days and is only going to take care of the first week after they are out.  (We're going to Disneyland!!)  But after that, hmmm.  I guess we'll do swimming lessons, and keep up the aikido.  Maybe another class?  The library is a good option, if I can hit Audrey with a tranquilizer dart before we go and Ben remembers to use his 'quiet' voice.  I'm sure there will be opportunity to do the friend's coming over/them going to a friend's yo-yo now and then.

Okay, maybe I can do this.  Perhaps I'll institute a fee or a chore for whoever says "I'm bored" or "There's nothing to do."  I'm sure I can find something around the house for them to tackle...  Their break is short, too, they'll be back to school on July 26th.  For crying out loud, I endured an entire summer gigantically pregnant with Ryan, working full time with a toddler and a 4 yr old, I should be able to take about 8 weeks of joy.  Extra kids...swimming pools....movie stars. 

In the meantime, I'm going to try and enjoy these last 15 days.  After I stock up on Motrin, of course.

You're still ONLINE?

Yesterday afternoon, I decided, hey, the laundry pile isn't towering over me yet, let's strip the boys beds and wash the sheets.

At 9 pm, we sent them to bed, like we always do.  At 9:01, Ben comes back into the living room: "Mom, why is my bed all messed up?"

I jumped up to my feet, mumbling expletives to myself as I walked down the hall...HOW did I forget the tiny detail of oh, I don't know, their beds?   The favorite sheets were still in the washer, so I opened the linen closet and prayed for a miracle--that the sheets I sought would just fall out onto my head, instead of me having to search for them, and that this might jar my brain back into place.  I got them settled in and then tended to the wet sheets right away, lest I forget them again.  (And I know I would have.)  I find myself muttering, almost chanting, my next task to myself as I go from room to room all day.  It's not like I'm not a smart girl, it's just that there are so many distractions...stray toys left within jaw-crushing range of the puppy, a pile of mail, the towels I'm gonna throw into the wash next, a bathroom mess, "Mommy can I have some ___?"....all vying for my attention.  I'm lucky if I make it to the bathroom in one straight shot.

And then there's the other thing that competes for my attention.

It's much more subtle, but time consuming nonetheless.  I was once told that should I get started doing this, my children would be left to nosh on uncooked macaroni in their dirty underwear while I was enchanted and entranced by the glow from the screen.

A new tv show?  Nah.  This.  Writing in my journal.  While writing in my j takes time,  I'm more surprised at the time I take reading others.   There's a list over there, under 'other journals' of some of the j's I read regularly.  That can account for some of my time, lol, but when you start the j-hopping boogie, when you go from one to another via the links you find there, well, get out your good dancing shoes cuz you might be there all night.  Before you know it, the time you usually take making the rounds is suddenly <gasp> two hours, and you were supposed to leave 5 minutes ago to pick up the kids.  (Sorry, Ryan.)  Ha, I've discovered I better set my oven timer if I pop something in for the kids, because telling them they gotta wait longer because "oops, Mommy burned it" is not a good thing, and the novelty of uncooked macaroni has worn off.

As I was writing this, I had grandiose plans of including not only their link but a link to my favorite entries...but I knew I wouldn't have time to backtrack.  Hey, part of the fun of reading someone's j is checking out their back entries anyway.  Besides, one of my favorites, Un-Common Sense, doesn't have any back entries due to someone pushing the 'smite' button over an alleged TOS violation, so his back eighteen (months) is missing anyway.  The back entries that are there will tell you all about it, so check it out.  It's a safe bet you'll change your mind about backing up your journal yourself. 

There are journals I read that are from fellow Moms-in-the-trenches (Laura, Chantal, Peachy, and Kelly). The journals of the single hip chicks (Tara, Deni, and Nikki).  The ones from the Moms that have been here before, and lived to tell about it (SuzKendra, and Anne).  Mrs L and this lady, also Moms that live to tell the tale, are so funny that I have regained hope that my brain will not turn to mush and never be seen again.  In the meantime, however, I have Armand, Remo, and Patrick giving me something to mull over once in a while.  

There are more, of course.  But I'm out of time...there's the issue of that pesky toddler that needs to be fed, and a puppy that is doing the gawd-woman-let-me-out dance.

This worries me most

When we got home from aikido tonight, I returned a call to my best friend, Jenny. 

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Yeah, why?"

"I was just wondering how you were, in light of what happened today to the police officer in Phoenix."

"Ohh.  Um, I'm sad, but I'm ok." 

"Are you sure?  I know that this gets to you."

"Sure, Jen.  I'll be fine."  (Then why am I so upset?)

Today, unfortunately, a veteran Phoenix police officer was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop.   

I get asked alot about "How do you do it?  Don't you worry?"  when people find out Mr W is a police officer.  And I tell them that every job has potential dangers, some more than others.  That I have faith in him and his training, and his fellow officers.  That I know he's not gonna do anything stupid, and it's the other (bad) guy that I have to worry about. 

People have the misconception, in my opinion, that it's a dramatic, shoot-em out situation when an officer goes down, like something out of a movie.  In the nearly 11 years since Mr W has been a police officer, I've come to the realization that while bad things happen all the time, it seems they usually happen during something routine. 

A motorist doesn't see the motorcycle officer standing by the car he pulled over, and hits him.

A domestic violence call goes bad, and the boyfriend pulls out a gun.

An officer is in a pursuit, and someone runs into him as they run the red light.

And then there's the routine traffic stop, the thing they all do everyday, all the time.  Speeding.  Expired tags.  Drunk drivers.  No lights.  Unsafe lane changes.  The things people complain about the most "I can't believe the stupid cop stopped me because ____! (grumble, grumble)"

These guys are just doing their jobs, the thing they have been trained to do.  While it's easy to berate the person standing there writing you a speeding ticket in one breath,  in the next, should you be calling on them for assistance in the middle of the night, who are you happy to see standing on the other side of the door? 

Everyday, they go to work, carrying a gun and other equipment on a duty belt that is a constant weighty reminder of what potentially lies ahead.  And all they want to do at the end of the day is be able to go home and take it off.  Would you be willing to do this, day in and day out; to go to work carrying a gun and know that you might have to use it?  Or that you might have one used on you?  I'm not saying that they don't know this when they sign up for the gig, I'm just saying that before you complain about having to go to driving school, you should think about what the job really entails for them besides inconveniencing you out of a Saturday.

I'd be lying if I said I never worried about Mr W anymore.   Of course I do.  Just like I worry about my brother and the other officers that I know.  It's something that is constantly just under the surface, far enough down so it doesn't consume me, yet close enough that when things like what happen today happen, I am in a state of heightened alert for a while.  The fact that he is potentially not coming back is something we face everytime he walks out the door to go to work.  Overly dramatic?  Maybe.  But I'm being true to the job, and that's something that I just can't turn my back on.

Right now, he leaves while we are still sleeping, but I usually hear him.  I lay there and watch him go from room to room, checking on the kids, patting a head or two.  If I'm awake enough, I try to get up and close the door behind him.  I have my little 'be careful' that I say to him as he's walking away.  When he comes home for lunch or something, should we all be home, the kids swarm him before he leaves, getting in a hug and making me smile as I hear a chorus of 'be careful, Dad.'  And unless he has  to bolt out the door for a call, he always stops and lets them.  As for me, I try to keep our relationship ducks in a row.  I never want to get that visit, but should it ever happen, I don't want our last conversation to have been about who forgot to take out the trash. 

Today, Officer David Uribe, a 22-yr-veteran police officer, went to work, just like any other day.

He just isn't gonna be able to make it back home.