Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why do I do these things to myself?

Last week, we had a couple of days where it would start pouring rain all of a sudden. Sometimes the kids are good sports about it, sometimes not so much. So I came up with the 'brilliant' idea of going to the toy store to look for some fun indoor crafts we could all do together.

Go ahead, start laughing.

I also wanted to get T a stuffed animal. I have no idea what happened to the puppy he used to have, but it's nowhere to be found. S has a ton of stuffed animals in her room, but T only wants a dog, and S isn't inclined to share her puppy because it's her favorite one. Our cousins Jenn and Jeff sent her a stuffed giraffe, which she also loves, but will share. Unfortunately, because it's not a dog, T abuses that poor thing, S screams bloody murder, I end up with two kids in time out and having to put up 'Raffe. Sigh... no one wins. Since I was planning on going to the toy store anyway, I figured it would be no problem to pick up a stuffed dog for T.

Have you seen the price of stuffed animals lately? SHEESH! There wasn't a huge selection available, and of the available dogs, a tiny one was 8 Euro. Of course, the BX on base didn't even have a stuffed dog, so you get what you get, right? So, I'm thinking about it and I'm not sure how to get T a dog without getting S one and there not being a huge scene. I'm also grateful that the kids weren't with me because there was a beautiful Siberian Husky dog there - for 45 Euro. Obviously, there was no way I was buying that one. I ended up with the small dog for S, and a decent sized dog for T what kinda looks like the dog from the Beethoven movies, but with no slobber. BONUS! Of course, the two dogs exhausted my budget so no crafts for us.

The great news is that the kids were so excited to get the puppies - T named both of them. His dog is Shep and S's is Friday (names pulled from the movie Hotel for Dogs, of course). Later on in the day, we are home and S has a poopy diaper. As I'm changing her, she grabs Friday and swipes him through the poop. As I'm fussing at her for doing that (these stuffed animals aren't washing machine washable, unfortunately), she grabs Shep and throws him in between her legs into the poop too. Grrrrrrr..... Of course, then she throws the dog, and wiggles enough so that now there's poop on the floor where she is and on her clothes, plus on both new stuffed animals and where ever they landed as she threw them. I am convinced that I'm temporarily inhabited by my Grandmother, because I start muttering about a house that smells like poop and having to clean the carpet, which descends into how much money I spent on the dogs and how my kids don't appreciate how much things cost and in this economy they are lucky we have enough food to eat - all those starving children in Africa and China mind you - and how the house is always a mess and I AM NOT A MAID!!!!!! The kids, completely unmoved by my tirade, immediately move on to the next thing that captures their interest while I feel (a little drama queen-ish if the truth be told) like I'm up to my neck in poop. It take me the better part of an hour to clean the carpet and dogs to my satisfaction, at which the kids sense weakness in me since I've stopped muttering, and coordinate a perfectly planned pushing my buttons attack, and start fighting over the dogs. And then - AND THEN - T has the audacity to say something about Shep being yucky because he's wet (because I cleaned all the s**t off of him, thankyouverymuch) and starts to pitch a temper tantrum of ear splitting proportions. S, not to be outdone, joins in. Hooray. I yell at them to CUT. IT. OUT!!!!!! which only makes it worse, so I end up putting myself in timeout so that I don't completely lose my mind. I flop down on the floor in the playroom and silently wonder why this is all so hard. Do all parents feel like this? Am I just spectacularly bad at being a Mom? Was I like this as a kid, too? The questions go on and on...

Then I notice that T has walked up and is sitting quietly at my feet. "T", I say as calmly as possible, "Mommy has put herself in a time out and she needs to be left alone until it's over."

T pats me on the leg, "Mommy, why are you in a timeout?"

"Because I yelled at you and S and we don't yell or speak to each other the way I was speaking to you and S."


"The rules apply to Mom and Dad, too."

"Oh, right, right"

"You know, T, I try to be a good Mommy, really I do, but some days I'm just not very good at it, and I'm sorry."

(Big sigh) "I know, Mommy. It's hard. It's just hard to be a mommy."


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dieter, the meter reader

The kids are in a 3 hour preschool type summer program through the daycare center on base. Since they are both going on the same days of the week and the same hours, this presents me with time to get my running around done without having to drag the kids with me. My ultimate goal was to work out every day, since where I drop them off is a few buildings over from the gym and workout room.

On the first day, I ran into one of the MOMS Club members, who told me there was a free aerobics class held in the gym Monday through Thursday. That works out great for me - I get my workout in by 10 am, and still have an hour and a half to do whatever needs to be done. Now into the second week of this schedule, I realize I'll need Fridays to ride the bike at the gym and unlock my leg muscles. This aerobics instructor does not fool around. By Wednesday of last week, even my toe muscles hurt. I didn't even know I had toe muscles. But, that just means it's working, right? I can't wait for the day when I make it through her entire workout without feeling like I'm going to throw up or throw my shoe at her. I hope I see that much improvement before we leave, if we ever actually get to leave.

Today, I needed to go to the commissary after class. By the time I finished at the commissary, I had just enough time to head to the library before picking up the kids. By the time we got home, the kids were tired and hungry, and I was sore, tired and hungry. I took the easy way out and decided to heat them up some frozen mac and cheese for lunch. The divine Miss S, resident diva, had some sort of meltdown. I have no idea what about other than she kept saying 'juice!", but I filled her cup when we got home, and other than actually pour it into her mouth (which isn't going to happen), there really wasn't more I could do. While I was cooking and then cooling the mac and cheese, I gave the kids a few crackers. Of course, they promptly smashed them to smithereens and dropped them onto the carpet. Thinking that I could get them settled at the table with the m&c, then vacuum quickly, I directed them into the kitchen.

And then the doorbell rings. I painfully go down the steps to see who it is - and it's a man from the electric company here to read our meters. CRAP. I can't do anything but invite him in and cringe as he sees the dust on the steps, the pile of shoes by the door, the laundry hanging up everywhere to dry. There are dirty dishes in the sink, a trail of cracker crumbs from the kitchen to the living room, piles of folded laundry I haven't put away, a pile of beach towels spread out all over the floor from this morning's wrestling session, the TV is on, the fans are on, the playroom is an all out disaster zone because I was looking for library books to return this get the idea. The worst of it is that I hate it when the house looks this way. We honestly vacuum at least once a day, usually more. The dishes were in the sink because the dishwasher doesn't completely dry the plastics, so I lazily decided to let them air dry. Sigh...... Germans are so fussy about their houses in general. I haven't sprayed the grass coming up through the driveway yet, and I haven't cleaned the windows in over a month. Plus, the kids have m&c spread all over their faces, the table, and on the floor, but want to come with me to see Dieter read our meters (we have two). As we head downstairs (to the clean part of the house, by the way) I see this enormous spider web that stretches from the ceiling halfway down the stairway wall. I don't have anything tall enough to get it down, either. Sheesh.

But Dieter reads the meters and takes off, at which point I start to clean frantically since no one will see it now, but at least I'll know it's done. No wonder the Germans around here think the Americans are dirty pigs!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

We spent HOW much on a movie?

Today was another "Give Parents a Break" day. For GPAB, you should be able to get a pass from your 1st Sgt (not going to happen with the wanker we have in charge), from the AFRC (not going to happen unless your spouse is..umm..away for a while), or from Family Advocacy. Back when the Family Advocacy playroom was in the community building instead of shoved into a tiny little unused childcare center classroom, I used to take T and S. One week I met the director of Family Advocacy who encouraged me and the other moms there to call her and get a pass for GPAB. I don't know if the other moms did, but we sure have taken advantage of it whenever possible.

This month GPAB was from 10-3. R and I had talked about going to Luxembourg to catch a movie in a real theater with surround sound, theater seating, and all the other bells and whistles. When R called Family Advocacy to ask for a pass, the director was on vacation and R was referred to the AFRC. When he went to the AFRC, they refused to give him a pass unless we wanted to speak to a counselor to determine if we were stressed enough to qualify for one. When R told me this I had to laugh. I know that if we took the kids into the AFRC for an evaluation, not only would we walk out with a perma-pass, the 'counselor' would probably ask for one too. And, since these things have a way of coming back to haunt careers (cough*career suicide*cough), R wisely passed. Gotta love the way military handles things -but that's a story for another day. Long, long in the future. But don't worry, I'm keeping notes.
So this morning we were all up by 7:30 and the kids were in a good mood. Checking the movie theater website, the new Ice Age movie was playing there, so we decided to take the kids and go. It's really not all that far, less than an hour away, and there's a great mall attached there. And on Saturday, I think parking is free since we were there over the time limit and didn't have to pay.

The kids were really, really good. We headed out around lunchtime and bought snacks for the ride over, planning to eat lunch when we got there. We found it without getting lost (a first), got a good parking place, the kids didn't run into traffic, and we found the entrance without walking two extra miles. The first place we went into was having a sale and we were poking around in the toy, shoe, and clothing sections. S had managed to get her shirt really dirty on the ride there, so I thought we could just buy her a shirt while we were there. Since she started pre-school two weeks ago, she has ruined some of her clothes with paint and permanent markers (HELLO! they make washable markers now!), so she really could use some new shirts. They had some really cute stuff, but I know S well enough to know that cute to me is the kiss of death for her. It's nice, though, to be able to hold something up and have her let you know if she likes it.

After putting the kids through the boring part (shopping), we took them to the carousel and let them ride a few times. S took over the fire truck and T chose the spinning tea cup. What a difference from the last time he rode the carousel! He was really good about getting off when we asked him to (S, if you are wondering, protested long and loudly - but what else is new?). After that we went to get lunch and met an American couple that live in Luxembourg. We chatted with them for a while and then headed off to the movie theater. We dropped off our purchases in the car first, and when we followed the signs in the parking deck to the movie theater, we got our two mile unnecessary walk in. We still made it to the theater in time, where we spent 6 Euro each on admission, and another 12 Euro on popcorn and water. Again, I feel the need to point out that the kids did beautifully. The concession stand is self serve, so everything is out for you to grab. I was expecting a battle over candy and coke, but neither one of the kids asked for it. Still, when I sat down and realized that we just spent over $50 to go to the movies, I was almost sick. I guess I should get used to it, because it's not going to get any cheaper. I could always pull a page from my mom's book and start sneaking food in, I guess.

Anyway, the theater was great - double arm rests, comfy seats, plenty of leg room, and everything. The kids loved the movie, so it was totally worth the one time splurge. It wasn't too crowded, either, and there were lots of other kids there who got excited at the some parts of the movie the kids did. As we left, T said sadly, "but I want to go back to the popcorn place. I want to stay there". I feel ya, T. But we can go to the base theater with popcorn and drinks for around $25, so chances are slim we'll go back to Lux anytime soon for a movie. But it was a great afternoon.

Since I haven't posted pics in a while, here are some recent ones - We were so happy today that S's hair is mostly long enough for a pigtails!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A poo story - and I don't mean the bear.

Any of you who are moms know that on occasion, talk about kids turns to stories of poo - and I'm not talking about the bear. For anyone that finds talking about such things offensive, I warn you now - stop reading immediately.

It's been really warm here lately, which has been nice to feel like it's really summer, but interferes with my sleeping. Even though our bedroom is pretty cool, we had to break out the fan, which means that I alternate between too warm and too cool. The only reason this is any kind of important is because I'm really not sleeping well. Just a little background to explain why I was so tired yesterday. S was running a fever off and on Sunday and yesterday. When she doesn't feel well, she wants to be held - just like most kids, I suspect. When I'm cuddling with S and I get really still when I'm tired, I tend to nod off as well. Luckily, I have T around to shout, MOMMY ARE YOU ASLEEP? WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!! if I do. After lunch, S, climbed up in my lap and fell asleep. T, who wanted me to play trains with him, was nice enough to bring me S's blanket and pillow from her room. When I went to lay her down on the makeshift bed we made her on the floor, she woke up. So, T, S and I ended up all lying on the floor watching a movie. T looks over at me and says, close your eyes, Mom. Which was pretty much all it took for me to fall asleep. I vaguely remember him moving around and when I woke up about an hour later, S was still fast asleep and T had demolished a huge bag of chips. He also informed me that he'd had a big poop with lots of toilet paper. I didn't think much of it because I'm used to getting the play by play in such things.

A little later I went into the bathroom (the door had been closed) and realized something was not okay. Both toilet seat lids were down which should have been my second clue that something was really wrong. I lifted up the lid and tried not to gag. There was a LOT of toilet paper in the toilet and the smell - well, let's just say that the fertilizer they spread around here would have been an upgrade. At first glance I thought that it was just the abundance of paper that was the issue. It was also obvious that T had tried to flush, but the poor toilet just couldn't handle it. So, I figured I'd get a garbage bag, scoop up the excess tp, and all would be right with the plumbing. Because stuff like this completely grosses me out, I grabbed a bunch of empty plastic grocery bags because there was no way I wanted to touch the stuff that was in there. Armed with supplies, I marched back into the bathroom to fix the problem.

So I wrapped my hand in the bag and went to work. Know what the problem was? It wasn't exactly the TP. There was a LOT of poop in the toilet. The TP was just a clever disguise. At this point I was actually gagging when I realize that I have poo all over the side of my hand. How in the world did all that poo come out of one tiny little tushie? How was he not sick with all that in his system? Half an hour, 45 Lysol wipes, one plunger and lots of retching later, I had the toilet unplugged, a garbage bag with what seemed like five pounds of poo in it, and a brand new respect for plumbers. I also have a healthy respect for intestines and bowels. How he had all that in his system without poisoning himself is a mystery to me. No wonder he was so grouchy!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy July

Yay! It's July! There's not really anything particularly special about July other than it gets us one month closer to leaving for our next adventure. Last week, summer arrived. When I say arrived, I mean literally came out of nowhere. A couple weeks ago the highs were in the low 60's if we were lucky, I was still putting the kids in sweatshirts occasionally (and myself too). But we've had sunshine and temps in the 80's almost every day for over a week now. I've even (I'm a little ashamed to say this after all the complaining about the cold I've done) kvetched about the heat. Although, it's really not the heat. If you are in the shade, the weather is perfect. But we must be a lot closer to the sun because it feels like a laser beam when you are in it. Dr. Evil, is that you?!?

A good friend of the family came for a visit last week. Since I knew him first, I get to claim him if sides ever have to be chosen - heh! I hadn't actually seen him since T was a few months old and I hadn't spent much time with him at all over the last decade. Once he was here, we picked up right where we left off and he's been officially adopted into our family (sorry, man, there's nothing you can do to stop it). What's so interesting is that he's happily single and doesn't want kids. I was really concerned about the visit because as we ALL know, being around my two can switch people who REALLY want kids to the other side of the fence. I should totally video them and sell the tapes to advocate birth control and parenting classes. Hmm......

Fortunately, everyone got along well. The kids just loved him and it didn't seem like he wanted to throw them out the window or duct tape them to a chair or into a closet. Of course he can be a little hard to read so I may be way off base, but I take it as a positive sign that he didn't run screaming from the house or change his flight to an earlier day or time, or lock himself in his room and refuse to come out.

What else amazed me was how the kids (for the most part) behaved while he was here. On Friday, we took the kids to Bernkastel and they listened and behaved well. I wasn't sure who those kids are, but if someone switched out my kids with stepford kids for the weekend - I thank you, cause it was a great 5 days.

This weekend is 4th of July weekend and it's hot enough to spend it by the pool, covered in 3 inches of sunscreen to protect our pasty, sun starved skin. I'll have some pics of the visit up soon and hopefully some of the kids at the pool.

Happy 4th. Be safe out there, people are crazy!