Thursday, July 28, 2005

Just eat, already

I've been packing the kids lunches this week.  I don't know, it was one of those moments of weakness that made me do it.  The complaints of "Mo-oom, the lunchroom food stinks." finally got to me.

I always envision myself packing those lunches you see in the parenting magazines.  Fruit and veggies.  Hummus.  Little pita pieces.  All artfully arranged and cut into cute little pieces, of course.  A juice box or bottle of milk, with the perfect cookie alongside.  In a chic, adorable, lunchbox.  My children beside themselves with anticipation that their lunch is gonna rock.

My reality is:  Cut the crusts off the bread.  Peanut butter and jelly for Nolan, or tuna; peanut butter no jelly for Ben.  Chips.  Capri Sun.  A cookie, fruit snack, or apple for Ben (oooh, an apple!); cookies for Nolan (extra to share).   Sometimes, they get a carton of milk at the cafeteria, but more likely, if I don't pack one, they buy themselves a cookie, and I look the other way.  Packed in Star Wars lunchboxes they've had for like 3 years.  It doesn't always represent the food pyramid like it should, but to them, it rocks.

And then there's Ryan.  He is my picky eater.  He makes his Dad look like a picnic (we'll get to him in a minute).  On the first day he said he wanted string cheese, chips, a Capri Sun, and that would be that.  I am still in the process of trying to get him to eat breakfast, and now I have to try and talk him into something more substantial for lunch?  I'm stressing about it, but then have a moment of clarity....

Fine.  I'll stop reasoning with him, and give him what he wants.   Even if it means he'll be a bit hungry.  I'm hoping that that would make him realize he needs to eat something for lunch that packs more of a punch.  And that he realizes breakfast is a good thing.  Hey, it may make me a bad Mom, letting him go like that when I know in all likelihood, it's gonna suck.  But I know he's not gonna be starving all day, that he can eat when he gets home.  Hopefully, a temporary hungry situation will make him more open to what I can pack him. 

Afterschool, I'm going through their lunches so I can pull out the ice packs for re-freezing, and I open Ryan's lunchbox.  I'd managed to talk him into half a sandwich that morning, so I was hopeful.  Hopeful for nothing, he brought it all back!  "We can go out to play after we eat," he earnestly explained to me, "and I wanted to have a lot of time outside."  Oh, sure, fabulous, son.  Don't eat, and go outside and bake in the 110 degrees.  Be my guest.  Not even his new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunchbox has excited him about eating at school. 

I can't even complain to his Dad about this, either.  He's picky too.  This is a man that will spit out a bite of a burger if he even detects a hint of onion, much less accidentally bites into one.  Who once said he didn't like a particular chain's pizza because it was "too cheesy," and the crust was "raw" (chewy).  Who told me this very evening that he didn't want me to make him a cheese crisp because I put too much cheese on it (I do not!).  Whatever.  I can think of more transgressions, but you get the picture.  For the love of God, he used to prefer slightly overcooked to al dente!  And because he himself is so picky, I've forbidden him from giving Ryan any lectures.  "He's just like you,"  I sigh, as I roll my eyes at Mr W.  

I'm going to continue to pack Ryan's lunch for him, to keep trying the first week of classes.  If he still is bringing me home a whole lunch's worth, then I'm gonna have to try something else, like the "yuck" cafeteria food.  I bet he'll eat it, too, knowing him, but......

The way I look at it, if he throws the "yuck" cafeteria food away, I don't have to see him do it, and at least drinks his milk, it'll be fine.

I can live with that. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Patience is my middle name

I had to drive down to work today, for just a sec.  (had to get my blood drawn--and can I just say that while the lovely young lady who took my blood didn't hurt me, she bruised me...surprising, because I have a vein that resembles an anaconda, and there's no reason for there to be a bruise...whatever.)

Work is around 30 minutes away.  I had to be there at 9, the kids go in to school at 7:50, and what with rush hour, I knew I was gonna have to boogie to make it.  No problem. 

Got the kids to school--check.  Remembered to get gas--yes.  Sneak down a back way to get to the freeway--heehee, of course.  I'm turning onto the freeway, and I hear a little voice say:  "Mommy, my stomach hurts."  Ugh.  Nooo!  I know what the next words will be, and I was right:  "I have to go to the bathroom."

"Are you sure?  Because I'm on the road, and I can't really stop right this second.  Can you wait until we get to Mommy's work, or do I need to pull over?"  "Pull over."  "Mommy's work,"  I plead.  As I say that, though, I realize that it's not a guaranteed straight shot into work, it's gonna be a while.  And it's not fair to make her hold it.  And I need to stop or she's gonna have an accident and it'll be all my fault.  Sigh.  I stay in my lane so I can get off at the next exit, planning to pull into the first place I see with a toilet.

Unfortunately for both of us, we are in a residential area.  I have to drive a couple of miles before we get to a service station, and I am praying they have a bathroom inside, but have a sneaky suspicion that they don't, as I see no indications of one as we drive up.  I risk it anyway, park, and grab Audrey.  As we walk inside, I ask the clerk, "Do y'all have a bathroom?"  She hesitates for a split second, but she realizes that it's for the toddler and not me, and shows me to the back of the store.  I'm trying not to focus on what Remo refers to these places as ("stop and rob") while we are squeezing around crates of soda and maneuvering to the bathroom door.  I'm just grateful the lady let us back there, it's hardly the time to envision stocking-capped thugs storming the place.  It's a pee emergency, afterall.  Mommy needs to take a chill pill. 

The bathroom is small, but very, very clean.  (Yay!) It's painted a lovely shade of lilac and I'm ashamed to admit, nicer than the bathroom at work.  Foamy soap.  Nice towel dispenser.  It's loud in there with the fan, I can't hear anything but what's happening in the bathroom, so once again I have to tell my imagination to take a hike.

I plop the princess on the can, and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

You've got to be kidding me, I'm thinking to myself.  All that, and she's not going.  Not a drop.  Not a plop.  Hmm, was that beer I saw out there stacked up with the sodas?

"Honey, are you done?"  "Just a minute."  I wait a couple of more minutes before asking again.  "Yeah, I'm done."  Nothing is there, but I clean her up and flush the toilet anyway.

"Feel better?"  I ask her as I buckle her back into her carseat.  "Yes," she says, "much."

I figure we'll still make it on time, and it's better to risk the wrath of my coworker who set up the blood draws to begin with than to risk the wrath of my three year old should she have an accident, especially since I left her change of clothes at home.  Ooops!

It seems that I have been blessed with patience today. 

It's too bad that my short-term memory appears to have been sacrificed to get it.  

That little purple thing stuck to my dashboard?  It's a Post-it, with my list of things to do today on it. 

All three of them.

Writer's cramp

Last night, we went to the meet-the-teacher festivities at our school.  I see the teachers all the time, but it was nice to spend a minute or two saying hello.

Nolan is in sixth grade this year.  I'm a little hyper about it, because next year, he'll be in junior high, and we all know how quickly time will pass once he's there.  As we entered the room, I saw these two striking young ladies talking to his teacher, and then she said "come back and tell me all about jr high" as they left.  NO way.  These girls were just adorable, so mature looking, I looked at the teacher and said it out loud:  "You're kidding me, right?"  She replied "No.  They really were in my class last year.  You won't recognize half the kids in here by the end of the year.  Especially the girls."  Oh, that's reassuring.  I'm throwing him into the lion's den now, aren't I?  I was worried about the size of the class (27 students) when I should have been really worried about the size of the class (it appears the hormone train will just line up right outside the door and start dumping it on in.)  It's so hard with the oldest, as I remind him often, every time we experience something new with him, it's the first time.  And it's like we are new parents with a squirmy baby again, all inexperienced.

So in Ben's classroom, things looked just fine.  I was back in familiar territory, and I really like his teacher.  She is excited, she told us, because she has Ben, and two other younger brothers of two boys that were in her class with Nolan before.  The second set, she said.  I know everything will be fine.  Ben is Ben, my social butterfly, I don't really worry about him in the same way I do about Nolan, who is mr reserved most of the time.

And as for Ryan, he is also my little social boy.  But he's the baby (boy) and I was a little pained that we didn't get the teacher I'd requested.  I'm not too concerned, she seems very nice, but I don't know her that well, so the jury is still out on this one.  He's gonna be gone all day, a big boy now, and so I'll have to adjust.  (lol)

We were walking around, and I'd promised Ben's old kindergarten teacher I'd stop by with Audrey (she has a granddaughter the same age).  Mr W, Audrey, and I were talking to her outside her classroom when the boys came around the corner.  "Look at Ben,"  I said to her.  "Wow, he's so big now,"  she said, as she moved in to give him a hug.

And that's when it happened.  All this time, I've been wrestling with my feelings about tweendom, and feeling the pang of Ryan becoming a big boy, and not worrying about Ben.  I saw him standing there, next to his kindie teacher, and suddenly remembered how hard it was to leave that little five year old with her on his first day, a few years ago.  I had a mental image of his five-ness superimpose over him as he stood next to her.  Where did this lump in my throat come from, I thought, swallowing hard and taking a deep breath.  My big fourth grader.  Breathe, girl, breathe.

I'm such a baby.

Once we got home, it was a flurry of backpacks, supplies, "It's mine", showers and bedtime.  This morning was a frenzy too, and I'm proud to say that I got them there in time.  Oh, sure, it'll probably be the last time they are on time....but I'll take it anyway.

I was laying in bed with Audrey before Mr W woke all the boys up, and I asked her "What will we do all day, while the boys are gone at school?"

"Umm, you can paint my toes."

It appears some things will remain the same around here.  When we went to pick up the boys this afternoon, Audrey was sporting some lovely pink nail polish on her toes.

One other thing that was definately the same was the mountain of paperwork the kids brought home.  "We have homework,"  Nolan announced as he got into the car, "for you."  I just spent about 40 minutes filling out forms, reading all the missives that got sent home, and getting writer's cramp.  

The good news is I  finished  in time to write this entry at a relatively decent hour.

The bad news is I still have one more kid to go!  (Ryan didn't bring it all home yet~)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Reading, writing, 'rithmatic = relief

It never fails.  One minute, I'm indestructible, the next, reminded that I'm just a big goof.

I went in to work today, and when I got home, there was a message for me from another Mom.  We are sharing the helm of Art Masterpiece for the school this year, and she was calling to let me know that our curriculum night is this Thursday, and we have to give a little talk to the masses, stumping for volunteers.   During our chat, we realized I'd gotten some mail she hadn't from the district, so I went to her house, then on to the school to make copies.  

While at the school, I previewed Ryan's new classroom, and talked to a couple of teachers.  (Our meet-the-teacher night was early this evening, so I figured, what the heck, I'll poke my head in the door, and be social.)  Managed to make the copies, collect Audrey, and get home in plenty of time to round up the troops.

Wow, I'm SuperMom!  Work, school, kids, I've got it all under control!

"I'll be just a minute,"  I told them, as I ran into the bathroom.  (Even SuperMom has to pee.)  

I'm looking in the mirror, fluffing hair and assessing the damage as I've been up since five a.m., it's hot, and no one likes looking like a raccoon.  (Even SuperMom primps as she heads out the door.) 

What is that?  I wonder, as I get closer to the mirror to check it out.

Fabulous.  A great lurking white zit, right under my nostril, sneaky, in the corner.  A real attention-grabber.  I can only hope it's relatively new, and I haven't been sporting this all day.  Well, that explains the staring. 

Wow, I'm a big dork! 

Mr W's comforting words?  "Maybe people just thought it was a booger."  Gee, thanks, honey.

I will seek solace in the Six.

SaturdaySix - Episode 67

1. Who was your first best friend?  How old were you when you two met?  Are you still in regular contact with each other?

My first best friend was Jenny H.  We met in the womb, lol (our Moms knew each other/went to school together).  We were 8 years old when we first officially met, and she complemented my rather frou-frou Easter dress that I'd worn to school (the beginnings of a long line of wardrobe 'What was I thinking?' moments for me).  We are in regular contact with each other, even when we go through phases of not being on the same page.  She is the closest thing I have to a sister.  :)  She is credited (and sometimes cursed) with being the person who introduced me to Mr W.

2. Other than the "Saturday Six," what weekly or daily memes do you play most often?  (Please give a link to that journal.)

There's that word again..."meme."  I'm beginning to think that word is French for 'you are an idiot--don't you have a dictionary?'  Hmm.  I guess I don't have any other regulars, really; but I'll play along if it looks like fun, or I'm out of stories involving our latest foray into "your bodily functions and you,"  or am just copying everyone else.  (Oh, come on, we all do it, admitting it is the first step to acknowledging you have a problem, isn't it?)

3. Which of the following likely has the bigger mess underneath it:  your stove, your refrigerator, your couch or your bed?
Despite my best and most vigilant attempts, I'd have to say....the couch.  I move it all the time, to clean up under it, but I swear, Shadow sheds more hair than a middle-aged lounge act who forgot to take their Rogaine.  Hair, rawhide chew flips, toys, chewed up pencils, toys, spare pennies, toys, movie cases, toys....(to the trashcan, shh, don't tell).  Stove, fridge--not too bad, but then again, I've not looked under them lately; and as for the under-bed-mess, space is limited due to a piece of workout equipment I stub my foot on from time to time (not mine); a big gift wrap box, and whatever the cats have hidden under there.

4. Take
this quiz:  How long does MSN think you'll live?  Then take this one:  How long does Blogthings think you'll live? MSN has me at 93.  Blogthings at 85.  Either way, too many things will be sagging.  And to think I was contemplating another tattoo...

5. Do either or both of these motivate you to make any changes in your lifestyle?

That tattoo isn't looking like a good idea anymore, hot or not; and now I'm thinking I'll take up smoking, drinking, and running around with the wrong crowd once my kids are out of the nest, because 93(85) is a very long time.  I'll need some scandalous stories for my twilight years. 

6. Name five things you would like to do by December 31, 2005.

Okay, in no particular order...

1)  Get kissed, under the mistletoe.  (Something that'll remind me I've still got it.  LOL.  In the spirit of Christmas, it doesn't even have to be Mr W.  Oh, I'm gonna be in trouble for this one...)

2)  Sleep.  For an entire day.  Okay, I'll take 8 hours, but no kids.

3)  Go to Las Vegas.  Because I have never been.

4)  A spa day would be nice.

5)  Have an overnight, away from the kids.  With Mr W.  (and I've redeemed myself for #1!)  

In a few short hours, I'll be whisking the small fry off to school.....  

I know I said I'd be relieved once school started up again.  

I'm not ashamed to admit I'll be a little lonely, too.   

(But I'm sure Audrey and I will find away to keep ourselves entertained.)


Friday, July 22, 2005

Heiress to the throne

Audrey has been doing really well with the whole big-girl using the bathroom idea.  So far, so good, no accidents, (except for a few dress hems falling in) and if anything, she's a little too enthusiastic about it.  She wants to go all the time, it seems.  I even had to pull over, just the other day, to take her into a restroom inside Starbucks because she suddenly had the urge.  Even though she swore she didn't when I'd asked as we left five minutes before.  That's okay, been here, done this.

She wants help, then sends you away.  Sometimes, she dresses herself; others I chase her down the hall: "Put your clothes on in the bathroom, not out in the living room."  "Privacy,"  she commands, pointing to the door.  "But sit on the bed," she adds.  We've been patient, and accepting of her demands, because we are very pleased that things have been going so well.

Mr W called out to me the other night, "Hey, come here for a minute."  I thought he was going to show me some long lost episode of COPS, so I dawdled.  And he hollered again, so I huffed on in. (I was making dinner, I don't like to be interrupted, because then I get sidetracked, and although I am a good cook, I burn things too.)

"Check her out," he mouthed, pointing to the bathroom.  Man, if he's calling me in here for the cleanup, I'm killing him with this spatula, I thought.  He read my mind, too, because he mimed what she was doing before I could threaten him with death.

I peek into the bathroom, carefully.  She's sitting on the toilet, with a catalog in her hands.  Thumbing through it, like she knows what's what, complete with knit brow, like she's concentrating on what she's reading.

Well.  I guess she has this bathroom thing down better than I thought. 

I'd have started to tease Mr W about who she got that idea from, when I realized it smelled like something was burning in the kitchen. 

Oh, yeah. I'm on top of things....


I have a friend that works nights.  A lot of times, I call her and chat after the kids have gone to bed, because it's nice to get a word in without hearing "Mooom" in the background.  However, I needed to go into the garage to call her as everyone was asleep, and well, I knew I'd wake someone up if I stayed inside. 

Going into the garage was complicated by the fact that the light was burned out.  Lest I punctuate my speech with screams of horror should something decide to crawl over my foot, I decided I needed my trusty flashlight.  The flashlight was in Nolan and Ben's room, having been borrowed the night before when thunder started rumbling.

So I tiptoe into their room, and jump about a foot into the air when Nolan sits straight up in bed, awake.  And looking sheepish.  "Okay, you caught me."

(Now, I know what may be going through some people's minds right now, but rest assured, it wasn't anything like that.  Shame on you.)

"Caught you?  Doing...?"  He whips out the flashlight, followed by our copy of the new Harry Potter.  "I'm reading with the flashlight under the covers, and I can't get comfortable." 

"Sweetie, I'm not going to scold you for reading.  It's not like you have someplace to be tomorrow, is it?  Come on, I'm gonna be up for a while, read in the living room, with the light on, like a civilized person."

It was one of those moments when you think that maybe you do have a handle on this gig.  I have always hoped that they all develop a love of reading, not just because I love to, but because it's a good gift to have.  Seeing him so enchanted with a book as opposed to what I usually see him enchanted with (starts with N and ends in 'tendo') was sweet.

He made it until 1 a.m. before he decided that he'd had enough.  Which is much longer than I made it in the garage talking to my friend.  The conversation was good, but the garage--way too hot.

Baked cricket, anyone? 

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Chantal tagged me in this book 'meme' (hey, that's what she called it..) so here we go...

1. Number of books I own:  I would guess, about 100.  If you counted what was in the kid's rooms, well, then the # would shoot up, but I have no idea; last count was 250 or so for them.  I don't have a lot of space, so I usually will check out new books at the library, and if I like them enough, that I know I'll reread it or want to lend it to a friend, then I buy myself a copy. 

2. Last book I read:  Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, of course, last weekend.  It's the best book of the series so far, I think.  I like it just as much as I liked the Goblet of Fire, which had been my fave until now.

3. Five Books That Mean A Lot to Me:  Okay, this one is harder to answer...

1.  Anne of Green Gables-- The L.M. Montgomery children's classic.  I was home sick from school one day and my Mom brought this to me from the library.  I loved that story!  A smart, feisty red-headed schoolgirl?  I must've read that every year from the time I was 10 until I hit high school.  I'm not a red-head, but I identified with the spirit of this girl so much, it hurt.  I'm thinking about getting a copy for a smart, feisty red-headed schoolgirl that I know right now...

2.  Little Women.  Louisa May Alcott's story was another book my Mom brought me that day.  I enjoy the characters in this book, and wanted to be Jo when I grew up.  I don't have sisters, but this book made me wish I did.

3. The Stand-- Stephen King.  What's not to love about Stephen King?  I love his books, and this is my favorite one.  My copy has been read so many times, it's held together by tape, and some of the pages fall out when you open it up.  While it's true that it's grim, it's a good story.  Ya just gotta love that the evil survivors flock to Vegas and make it their headquarters.

4.  The Count of Monte Cristo--Dumas' tale of love, deceit, and revenge was a pleasant surprise to a high school sophomore.  I like it every time I read it, and it's been a while since I read it last.   (I need to get my own copy, I've never owned this one.)  I still remember how it made me sit up straight in my seat.  Okay, I'm cheating now and adding another here, but The Divine Comedy affected me that way too.  Shyah, those images of Inferno stayed with me for a loooong time.  (Nothing like a little Catholic guilt, eh?) 

5.  The Harry Potter series, and the Lord of the Rings.  I'd never read the Lord of the Rings until I saw the first movie.  I just couldn't get into it, and wow, was I ever glad I opened that book up.  His use of language is amazing, the story is so vivid, I would sit up in my room after the kids had gone to bed and read it by the light of the t.v.  With Harry Potter, I resisted being drawn in by the hype, then decided to read it to Nolan one summer.  And we were both hooked.  I love it that I share Harry with Nolan, that he seemed to start to really like reading when we read it together.  He is also a fan of LOTR, but he hasn't read them--yet.  He returned the favor to me, in the form of Junie B. Jones.  He hasn't gotten to many of my childhood favorites, not yet.  Somehow, I think getting him to read "Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret"  would be hard to explain to his Dad, lol.

Let's see, I would feel I was leaving something out if I didn't mention "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series.  Love them, they are fantastic.  I am transported back to teendom when I read them.  Another favorite of mine that I recommend to my friends (and that they've all liked too) is "The Dogs of Babel," by Carolyn Parkhurst.  So haunting, I couldn't put it down.  And I love Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros, for my Spanglish spirit.  For small town flavor, The Big Stone Gap trilogy by Adriana Trigiani is so reminiscent of my small town experiences that I recommend them too.  And my guilty pleasure has been the Georgia Nicholson books by Louise Rennison.  Any book titled "Angus, thongs, and full-frontal snogging" is going to make you pick it up, lol.  There are 4 of them now, maybe 5, and I am unashamed when I check them out even though they are technically found in the young adult/teen section of the library.  Yup, I smile back unabashedly as I hand over "On the bright side, I'm now the girlfriend of a sex god.." (her 2nd book in the series) to the librarian.  They are hysterical.  At least they are to me.

Okay, now I get to tag some folks, I think.

Kelly,  Mrs L, Tara (soundtrack), Pickle (jen), Tara (peachy t), and Remo.  (links to these in my 'other journals')  Aw, come on guys, it's only three questions.  :)


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

On dates, and drinking...

Wow.  It's so loud in my house right now, I've resorted to my iPod at a volume that is sure to make me need a hearing aid that much starts next Weds, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling relieved....

Mr W and I made it to the wedding on Sunday night.  First of all, let me tell you, I had fun, although it was a fish-out-of-water experience, for the most part.  And that Mr W neglected to tell me initially that the wedding would be a non-alcoholic affair.  When he finally did tell me about this on Sat night, the conversation went like this...

"I hope you know that you will be the driver tomorrow."

"But there's not gonna be any liquor there."

"That's not funny."  "Seriously."

"Dude, I'm not going."  "Stop it."  "Look.  I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times you and I get to actually go out alone, with the opportunity to have a drink.  I don't have enough fingers to tell you how many times during the course of the week that I really need a drink, due to the antics of your children.  You've got to be kidding."  "There's always the parking lot.  You could stash some in the trunk..."  "Shut up."

He wasn't kidding.  And I had to laugh, as we stood in line for at the buffet, as I heard a couple of other people joking about it too.  "See, I'm not the only one,"  I pointed out to him, and stifled a giggle when I heard another parking lot suggestion from the people in front of me.  We did have champagne to toast with, but the servers denied our requests that they leave the bottle at the table.  Spoilsports.

Aside from that, it was very nice.  I admitted to Mr W that the fact that everyone cleaned up so well (what is it about men and tuxes?  :) Oy!) made up for the lack of libations.  It was funny to me to notice that it was obvious which group of people were the groom's friends.  "You all look alike,"  I said to Mr W.  He looked offended.  "Silly, look around--so many men, all with the same short haircut."  So cute, I added, to myself. :p

My only faux pas, I think, besides being a bit underdressed (I'm never relying on Mr W again for information about these events), was when one of the guys at my table asked Mr W "So, how long have you been married?" and I quipped "about 100 years."  I thought that was worth a giggle, but um, no one laughed.  Fabulous.  "Well, maybe it feels like that," his colleague said.  While I responded correctly in the next breath (14 yrs) I still felt like a bit of an idiot.  So I didn't say much after that...and we left early, because we had to go pick up the kids across town (as I predicted).

An example of our (oh, okay, I'll claim ownership, seeing as I bear the scars and all) children driving me to drink just happened five minutes ago.

I hear a loud crash, over my music.  Not good.  I put my forehead in my hands, automatically massaging my temples, as Ryan walks up to tell me:  "We were playing, and it was an accident, we can fix it, but we knocked down something with the light sabers." 

Oh, let me guess.  Let's see, no fewer than five children in the narrow hallway, brandishing 3 foot long light sabers, perhaps a couple of picture frames on the ground is what I'll see when I turn around.


I go and scoop them up, assessing the unfixable damage, making sure no glass is left on the tile...smiling to myself that for once, I made a good choice.  I bought the cheap frames, foreseeing this very incident.

If only I could pick lottery numbers with that kind of accuracy.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Just one more minute

Hitting the bookstore last night was fun...not too crowded...I didn't have the smaller fry to chase after, and browsed to my heart's content.  Shook my groove thing in the music section, got my geek on in the science books, was rofl at my favorite cartoon anthologies (The Far Side, Dilbert, Baby Blues), and discreetly peeked at ahem, more adult fare (who knew they'd put an orgasm manual right there, at the end of a table, in the center aisle?  They may as well as had a flashing neon light above it...hey, there's nothing wrong with doing a little extra credit...)

Ahem.  Back to today~

All afternoon, Nolan has been circling me like a shark, waiting...finally he says to me, "Mom, do you know how much longer you're gonna be with that?"  I at first feel a pang of guilt, because I've been online for quite a while, but it quickly gives way to a wave of irritation as I reply: "Look, man.  It's true that I've been here for a while.  But who has been monopolizing the computer, every day, all week??  I'll be done when I'm done, so back off."  Seriously, those kids have been all over this all week.  Mom's turn!

So, before I hear, "I'm bored, there's nothing to do," one more time, here's my Saturday Six.  I've missed it the last two weeks, I'm not missing today.  (I still can't believe I'm doing it on a Saturday!)

Saturday Six - Episode 66

1. What is the last thing you either camped out or got up unusually early to be able to buy?  The Harry Potter book.  I didn't really camp out, though, because I don't consider pre-ordering and getting my line # early to truly be considered camping out.  There was a/c, and snacks to be had at will, indoor toilets--not camping, lol.

2. If you had to give up one of the following for a full year, which would be the easiest to do without? I could do without television, because I like to read so much. Which would be the most difficult to give up?
Hmm.  Meat.  I'm a carnivore, and I'm tired of people acting like that's a bad thing.  A close second is my vehicle, as I am the driver of the Mom-mobile; need it, and if you doubt me, then you take a three year old for a walk sometime; you'll soon see it my way.
    a) Your personal vehicle
    b) Your Telephone (both cellular and land line)
    c) The Internet
    d) Meat (all of it:  Beef, Poultry, Pork and Seafood)
    e) Television

3. How many items (include all bottles, boxes and containers) are in your medicine cabinet?
  Ha, ha, ha, you're kidding, right?  I'm a girly girl. I'm not counting, and am feeling lucky that you didn't ask what I had stashed under the sink.  Which is the last one you used? 
My lip balm.  I hate it when they feel anything less than kissable.  LOL.

4. What is the first source you go to for news of any kind when you wake up?  How much do you trust that particular source? 
I watch the local hoo-has on Channel 3...funny stuff.  I switch between that and the Today show.  I can't say I trust any one source more than others...because you never know; it's news today, but retracted tomorrow. 

5. Take the Quiz:  
What do the letters of your name stand for? Okay, I did it.  With my full name, and my shortened version, and since they both start "Anna" you'd think the answer would be the same, for those letters, but it wasn't.  Whatever.  Here's the short version:  Appreciative, naive (?), nice, altruistic. 

6. What is your favorite color and why? PURPLE! I don't know, it just is; it's a leftover fixation from my preschool crush on Donny Osmond. If you have a journal or journals, is this color the primary one on those journals?  If not, why not?  There is purple in my j, but it's not the only color.  I just liked the combo with green when I picked as I set it up.  I toy with changing to a nifty background color, but...I'm a lazy creature of habit, lol.

And now Ryan is circling me..."Mommy, are we gonna make cookies?"  (Audrey's asleep, so he's eager to jump into 'lil-chef' mode.)  Who am I to deny my youngster the joys of chocolate chip cookies?  Besides, he's been hearing me say "Just one more minute" for about 40 minutes now and I'm starting to feel guilty as he's starting to lose patience.  And the margarine is soft by now, I'm sure.

Pretty soon, they'll all be circling...the kitchen. 

Friday, July 15, 2005

The wait is almost over

The wait is almost over.

I've been anticipating this for quite some time...and some of you already know what today is...

Today, the newest Harry Potter book goes on sale at midnight. 

I've enjoyed all the books, and the movies.  Nolan and Mr W love it too.  And to think that when I first heard about them, I was determined not to get sucked into the hype.  But now, having been along for the ride for so long, I don't know how I could've avoided it.  Besides, I love a good story, and sharing that with Nolan has been pretty cool.  

So this evening, Nolan and I have a date.  We'll go and hang out at Barnes and Noble, with all the other Potter-ites, and soak up the atmosphere.  (If we don't melt first.)  And as soon as that book is in my hot little hands, I'm gonna devour it.  Well, maybe after I get home from work tomorrow...

Speaking of dates, Mr W pulled a fast one on me.  I shouldn't be surprised, but I can be annoyed.  One of his fellow officers is getting married this weekend.  When I got the invite, I told him it would be nice to go.  I like the groom, and I figured, why not?  But he said he didn't want to attend, and since he likes to keep work and home separate, I sent back our regrets that we would not attend, and that was that.  Or so I thought.

I get a call from Mr W today:  "Do you still have the invitation?"  I'd just gotten out of the shower, so I was less than thrilled to be thrust into the role of social secretary while wearing a towel.  "Yeah, why?"  "When is the wedding?"  "Sunday."  "Sunday?"  He didn't even read the invitation in the first place, and he's questioning me?  "Yeah, the 17th, why?"  I decided to say it for him.  "You want to go now, don't you?"  "Weeellll...."  "Fine, but when you get home, and I throw something at you, you just better duck and take it like a man.  Do you realize the babysitting conundrum you have put me in?"  "We'll figure something out."  Read:  I'll call around, and see who's available, and wind up taking them to my Mom's.  Across town.  When the wedding is right by our house.  "Find out where they are registered."  "Oh, I don't think they are registered..."  "FIND out where they are registered, or I'm buying him something inappropriate."

He did call me back later with the info.  And now I have an excuse to hit Bed, Bath and Beyond.   I've never been there before....  

Okay, he's forgiven. 


Ok, I'm trying this again.  I did this entry yesterday, and just as I was finishing, you guessed it--I got the big AOL kiss-off.  As we were already running late to swimming lessons, I couldn't have a do-over.   I only hoped that it was not some kind of karmic indication that my visit to the dealership with my van later that morning was not going to go well.  But that's another story.

I was folding clothes the other night and called the boys in to get their stuff.  It's a new concept for me, getting them to do it, because the control-freak bitch part of me just can't stand it when they stuff things willy-nilly in their drawers instead of moving things to make them fit well.  They seem to think that the harder the drawer is to close, the better the job they are doing.  At any rate, when I felt myself stiffen and had the urge to follow them to put the stuff away, I just told the cf bitch to shut up and close her eyes, because you just can't get good help these days.  What's a few wrinkles if it means five minutes less laundry duty for me?

Nolan forgot something, so I'm calling him back, but he's already finished his task and is booking it down the hallway.

"Pinche Nolan!"

He comes back into the room, with that look on his face that indicates that I have offended his finer sensibilities.  (This from a boy who prides himself on having taught his younger siblings how to make armpit fart noises.)

"What?"  I ask, because if I don't get it out of him now, I'll have to deal with sulky pre-teen the rest of the night.

"Why did you say that about me?  Why did you use that word?"

Great.  Yet another reminder that I don't work hard enough to make these children bilingual.   And that I curse too much in Spanish, such that any word I utter, unless it's a sentence, is assumed to be "bad."

"I wasn't cursing, if that's what you are wondering."

"Then what does that mean?"  

No, no, no.  I hate having to come up with translation on the spot...  "It means, sometimes, that you are being stingy with something, tight about if you had a big pile of M&M's, and I asked for some, and you gave me like, two of them.  I might say "Don't be pinche with them" or "no seas pinche".  And the way I used it,'s not that meaning, like always, there is more than one meaning to a word.   I can't explain it, but it wasn't bad, really."  (I have since looked it up, and the meaning I got was "darn" which is exactly what I meant.)

Mr W is amused by this exchange, and he backs me up.  But then when Nolan leaves the room, he says:  "Why do you do that?"

"I can't help it, it just happens sometimes.  You know how I am, if I get emotional, or tired, or worked up about things, it just pops out." (Like he's never heard me spout off before.)

"But why do you do it?"  What, suddenly he's a five year old?  He's really asking me why?

"I don't know.  I have no control over it.  It just happens."  He knows me, I shouldn't have to explain to him that some times I'm thinking in it, and my brain doesn't make the switch when I open my mouth; that some things just sound better to me in Spanish.  Sometimes, it's just more expressive.  (Really, just watch a telenovela sometime, and when you get over how beautiful the people are on the show, listen to them talk.  Who wouldn't want to hear "besame" as opposed to "kiss me?")  

"You seriously have no control over it?"  Finally.  Evidence that he really only hears 40% of what I say.

"I have no control over it."

"So it's like Spanish Tourette's?"  

I had to laugh.  "I guess.  You have no idea.  I bet you wouldn't complain if I suddenly developed it during an intimate moment."  Oh, now he's intrigued.  So of course I have to press the issue:

"Besame,"  I say, raising an eyebrow and feeling a wicked grin spread across my face.

"What?"  he responds, as he leans around me to see the t.v.

"Oh, nevermind."  I pick up the laundry basket and leave the room.  See, I realize that he does know what it means.

It's just that my 40% window has closed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Brown and blue

"Here, Mom,"  Ben said to me, handing me two keys.

I knew what they were, and it really hit me then.  Not that the yard sale, boxes, and packing didn't clue me in, but I was hoping to the last minute that they'd change their minds.

See, when we left for Disneyland, we expected to come back and have the rest of the summer play out as usual.

Imagine our surprise and dismay to come home and see not only a 'for sale' sign in front of my neighbor's house, but 'sold in 3 days' on it as well.

I love my neighbors, they are an older couple who are just some of the nicest people I ever met.  The kind of people you'd want to live next loud parties or "keep those kids outta my driveway" here.  As a matter of fact, when they built their pool, they wanted to put a fence in between our backyards so the kids could go back and forth to use it whenever they wanted.  She'd send over cookies just because, and we'd send over birthday cake after the kid's birthday crowd had gone home.  We'd look out for each other, sharing bits of neighborhood gossip every now and then.  One year, I even went over on Thanksgiving day in the morning to help her put her giant bird in the oven when her arthritis was acting up.   She didn't mind that I moseyed over in my pjs to do it. 

Their health is why they are moving.  It's a big house, and the upkeep for the two of them was getting to be too much.  They've found an assisted-living community they like, and off they go, riding into the sunset.  We will still be able to go and visit them, and I know we'll stay in touch, but I'm feeling blue nonetheless. 

You know, I can't even remember when I gave her the keys to my house, it's been so long.   I think it may have been when Nolan started school...oh, wait a minute.  I remember now...I gave her the keys when Ryan was a baby, and his brothers decided to lock me out of the house when I went out back to throw out the trash one night whileMr W was at work.  Luckily, they opened the door again (who says threats don't work?) but I realized that if I was going to be outnumbered in the house, I needed an alternative to breaking and entering.

"Thanks, Ben,"  I said, as I held them up against my chest and sighed.  Ugh.  I hate this.  I know people have to move, and I don't live in a small town anymore, where people live in the same house forever. 

But I don't have to like it.

On another, brighter note...

The kids started swimming lessons last week.  Of course, I couldn't get them all at the same time, but the times overlap, and it's not too bad.

I was even able to get Audrey into a first-timers class at the last minute.  They all have a good time.

And they are brown, brown, brown.  Rest assured, I slather them with sunscreen, more than once.   They may be brown, but they are protected.

I have to admit, it's quite amusing to be faced by all these Coppertone kids.  I am convinced that you could put them in a dark room, and still be able to see from the glow reflected off their white behinds (which contrast sharply against their Bain de Soleil-brown bodies.)

While I also could be that brown, I have decided that wearing a bathing suit in public and premature wrinkling are not what they're cracked up to be.  

I'm the chick sitting under the ramada, in the shade.  Now, if only I could arrange for an umbrella drink....

Wednesday, July 6, 2005


When I was younger, I always measured what was going on in my life by what was going on in school.  Since I like school, and felt like a professional student in college, it was easy to remember things for me by connecting events in my mind with what I was taking at the time, or gonna take in the future.

And then I had kids, and I had an entirely new way to remember when things happened, a new yardstick to mark my moments by.  Nolan's three months old?  I got my first real job.  Nolan's almost 1?  My brother got married.  Ben's birthday reminds me of my nephew's age, and my nephew's birthday reminds me that Ben's is exactly a month away.  Ryan's birthday reminds me that my Mom's is around the corner (in 4 days).  Mr W started the academy when Nolan was 7 months old, so when people ask me "How long has your husband been a cop?"  I can pipe that one out with ease, because it's as long as Nolan is old.  And so on, and so on....

Yet, I could never remember how long we've been married.  I seriously would have to pause, when asked, and do the math, hoping the year I'd chosen to calculate from was accurate.  We've just been together so long, that the actual wedding thing, well, I never forget the event, just the year it happened.  Mr W is alternately amused and horrified by this.

One day, however, I figured out a way to remember.  My nephew, Matt, was born the year we were married.  I just have to remember how old he is, and I'm set.

Matt is fourteen this year. 

That means that today it's our fourteenth anniversary.

We went from no kids, 2 cats; to 4 kids, 2 dogs, and the same 2 cats in this time, with all kinds of variations in between.  In all our time together, I've watched him go from gangly teenage boy to full-grown wonderful man.  He's seen my good, my bad, and my ugly; while I can't say he loves them all, he does love me, which is what counts.  Hey, it goes a long way when my head is spinning around and  I'm spewing out venom to realize that he's probably going to make me laugh in two seconds and I will forget what was making me nuts in the first place. 

We won't mark the occasion with anything special.  Maybe I'll make a cake, or something for today, like a birthday.  We may go out to dinner this weekend.  But it'll probably be just like any other day, as it should be, I think.  I think that if you can make through each day together, happy, everyday, then that's more than half the battle. 

The yardstick of our relationship isn't something I hold up against a pile of presents or anything like that.  It's worth more to me that our days together are good everyday, or as good as they can be, than crazy doings that people expect.

Because I love him, everyday, not just on our anniversary.

(But so help me God, if he leaves me a pile of unfolded clean clothes again...I may not love him that day; I may just smack him upside the head and hand him the iron.  I haven't earned the nickname 'ball and chain' for nothing.) ;p

Smarter than me

I have to give her credit, that girl.

When you have kids, there seems are divisions amongst the parents.  There's the 'By the book' group, who do everything au courant child-rearing book says to do in order to raise the uber-kid; there's the 'My Dr says' group, who will only do what their pediatrician tells them; the 'no sugar, no additive, only free-range organic anything will cross my child's lips' group (no m&m's allowed here, not until your kid sneaks them one, and they go off like a rocket) ; and the 'listen to your baby/kid' group, where you kind of go with the flow of what may fall in your lap that day, dropping everything for little Timmy's nap, or mealtime, or whatever.

And then there's the rest of us, the 'sleep deprived, been at this for a while, I know that if I give her back the binky after it falls on the floor she's not gonna die, I'll give you a lollipop if you stop pulling your brother's hair, just get me through the day' group.  We try hard.  We mean well.  Whatever it takes, I always say.  Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't; sometimes, Mommy is the one in time-out.

I think everyone kind of surfs all the groups anyway.  Whether you read about it, or talk to other parents about it, eventually you might get a different take on the situation at hand.  

And then there's the times that the kid comes up with the solution all on their own.

Today, for instance.  I'm going on about Audrey's aim and the toilet, when du-uh the answer was right in front of my face.  I was using one of those padded little toilet seats on top of the toilet for her to sit on.  She announced to me earlier this evening that she doesn't need it.  That the little seat "makes me make a mess."  And I helped her hop right up onto the toilet, she did her thing, and I didn't have to dodge or clean anything.  "I'm a big girl," she says, "I don't pee on my Pony panties." 


Guess I now belong in the 'my kid is smarter than me' least for the time being.

I'm just glad that the IQ points I sacrificed while I was pregnant and the ones that have escaped via sleep deprivation are going to good use.


Tuesday, July 5, 2005

My kingdom for a few quiet moments before dark

I tried to write a few minutes ago, and was interrupted so many times that I remembered why I've opted for staying up late as opposed to trying to drown everyone out.

It takes a ton of effort to drown them out and still make a complete sentence...and not leave out important things like vowels and punctuation, so bear with me.  I'm certainly not as young or as much of a multi-tasker as I used to be.

Great, now I've lost my train of thought...

Oh, yeah.  I was going on about chaos and wishing for quiet.  Or a dull roar.

And I lost my train of thought.  Again.  Audrey just ran screaming over to me and grabbed my arm, so I have a good excuse.  Don't worry, there's no blood involved, just a brother chasing her.

I'm throwing in the towel, until later on tonight.

But not before I add that whoever said potty training a girl would be easier than potty training a boy "because they don't miss their mark" doesn't know my daughter.

She wants to watch the action, so to speak.  And when she does, her anatomy tilts to the point that she misses her mark.  I've found it's better to stand off to the side as I provide the assist instead of right in front of her.  You get the picture.

"Listen for it, don't look,"  I plead, as I plop her down.  And she looks.  And I sigh as I reach for the tp to clean up. 

I think she's just making up for lost time, for all the times on the changing table that I didn't have to worry about but had to dodge with her brothers.

On the bright side, it's been almost a week.  No real accidents.  I'll have a smaller dent in my budget without diapers or pullups on my list.  It's the cutest thing ever to hear her say "panties."  (So far, we've gotten "Hello Kitty" and "My Pretty Pony" prints.)

On the not-so-bright side, "I do it" is still the hardest thing to allow her to do.  It's agonizing to watch her get dressed, because she misses the leg openings 100 times, it seems, before getting a foot in, and then, lol, they are on backwards...

Isn't it funny how "I do it" is music to your ears when your husband says it, but makes you cringe inwardly everytime it comes out of the mouth of your three year old?

She's so proud of herself that I let her start over.  As many times as she needs.

Because I'm pretty proud of her, too.


Friday, July 1, 2005

Even their friends are on to me

So far, this week has fallen into the pattern of last summer--

we're lazy.

Oh, I wish I could say that I've been dragging them from museums to the zoo to sporting events to libraries, but you know, I've been letting them stay up late, and sleep in; we hang around inside, and in general, veg around probably more than we should.   That's what summer is for, isn't it?

At any rate, it must not be too boring here, as I wind up with extra kids around anyway.  Nolan and Ben had their friends (brothers too) over the other evening.  It was later, which was fine, what with the relaxed atmosphere here, and it was close to the time their Mom was going to pick them up.  Nolan had been campaigning for them to spend the night, but I'd resisted.  "Your Dad has to get up early,"  I'd said to him earlier.

So the visiting boys Mom calls, and the older one tells me that she's coming to get them (they live 2 minutes away) soon.  And he has a look about him..."Sweetie, what's up?"  I ask.

"Nothing," he says, but I can tell.   "Oh, come on, I can see something's up, spill it."  I prod.  "Tell me what's on your mind, because I can't read it."

"Well, I was, kinda thinking, that it would be kinda cool if we could spend the night."  He shrugs, in such an adorable way, I just have to say:

"Okay.  Call your Mom back and let her know."

As I walk away, I hear Nolan say, "Hey!  She just said 'no' to me, but she won't say 'no' to you!"  I stifle a giggle...and they spent the night.

Nolan comes into my room, the next night, trying to extend his already-extended bedtime.  "Nope,"  I tell him.  "Please..?" he says, and makes an overly-exaggerated begging face.  The "sad eyes,"  we call it. 

"Stop making that face.  I said no, and why is it that you never make that face at your Dad when he says no?  I'm not going to change my mind, no matter how cute you think you are right now."

"Because, that face doesn't work on him, and besides, this face worked for my friend yesterday."  "It did not.  What makes you think that?"  "Because you're a pushover."  "Says who?"  I ask, uppity all of a sudden.

"Says YOU, Mom.  I've heard you say that lots of times."

At which point, Mr W has doubled over in laughter, at the entire exchange. 

"Don't you let that get out,"  I pseudo-growl. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that this is sadly, terribly...true.   All you have to do is witness Ryan's big brown eyes at work, to see the ease the kids possess at swaying my vote in their favor.

For crying out loud, even Max and Shadow have learned how to work me.  One cute little head-bob = treat.  Yelp at the back door = come back inside.  Wiggle when she calls = tummy scratch.

I'd be in real trouble if they knew the truth....that I don't need the extra persuasion to say yes or change my mind, not if the offer is good enough.

And if you look in the dictionary, next to the word "pushover" is where I'm sure there's a picture of me.

I hope they got my good side.