Thursday, July 29, 2010

Traveling soldier

Today I flew from St Louis to Charleston with a pretty significant layover in Hotlanta.


I'm about to reveal what a geek I can be.

After all the obsession about packing for this trip and then actually packing and then repacking and then unpacking to re-inventory what I'd packed and then packing again, I have come to the conclusion that I seriously need a hobby or rehab for excessive worriers.

But, with everything that I could think of packed in two suitcases, R and the kids took me to the airport this morning. The kids were not doing so well with the idea of me going somewhere without them. I was so sad that they are sad, but I think that just maybe this will be good for all of us in one way or another.

To get the flight to Charleston, I cashed in my frequent flier miles and with my early booking, I was able to get a first class ticket. Woo! FIRST CLASS! I've heard excellent things about traveling FIRST CLASS and I was really looking forward to it.

I had my comfortable, casual, yet stylish first class outfit all picked out. Crisp khaki capris, black a line top, comfy black leather (closed toe since the toenail thing is still an issue) loafers. I even wore jewelry, which is extremely unusual for me. And I actually spent time on my hair and makeup. I was feeling very first class-y.

Walked through the airport and got to go through the first class security line. It was quicker. Yay. First class is awesome already! Hung out at the gate waiting to board the plane and missed the kids and R enough that I called. I had a sweet conversation with T (who is having the tougher time with my absence) and had what I think is a conversation with S, who kept telling me she was at my house and was waiting for me. I love my family. And I miss them way more than I expected to at this point.

Had a great first flight. Got off the plane in Atlanta and decided to walk to my next gate rather than take the tram. I was walking through three concourses, which felt good after sitting all morning. Plus, truth be told, I was missing my daily workout.

As I'm walking, I notice a bunch of military men and women. I love to people watch and I love to imagine lives for the people I'm watching. I know..geeky, right? But partly because I am a military wife and we are facing a possible deployment soon enough, and partly because I read a lot of military wife/life blogs, I always wonder in situations like these if this is the loved one of someone whose life I follow. And then I think about R and all those years he was Airborne and unattached and how when he was walking through airports like these men and women were, he was returning home, but not necessarily to a home. A first class home (if imperfect) that we have created with and for each other. So that if we are apart, we are always returning to a home, our home.

As I finally get to my concourse and arrive at what is eventually supposed to be my departing gate, I sit down and start reading a book. A Special Forces guy sits down nearby, drinking a Starbucks and eating a Ritter chocolate bar. I'm looking for his rank to see if I can figure out what it is (I'm a very bad military wife in that I don't know rank or badges beyond the obvious, and every time I feel like I become familiar with where everything is on ABU/BDU's, it changes). He sees me looking (he was an E-8 I think) and we make brief eye contact and exchange pleasant head nods. A few minutes later, he calls his mom and I overhear the conversation mostly because I'm listening. But he's headed to Ft Bragg, which is where I met R about a decade ago, and his mom is beyond excited that he's coming home. She wants to buy him a plane ticket to where ever she lives, he wants to drive. And while I don't have the words to accurately describe that interaction, I can sum it up with this - love. If cell phones can radiate love, his did. And his quiet insistence that he drive up to see his family was full of patience and acceptance, and kindness and gentle laughter.

Why this solider stood out to me, I'll never know. But we ended up chatting about Bragg, the military, kids, deployments, and moms. And in my mind the entire time? Was the R I met way back when he was stationed at Bragg, and the first few months we were together. I miss that part of our life, even though our life now is infinitely richer and way more hectic. I wonder if, when R is returning from his next deployment, strangers reach out to him on his way home the way people were reaching out to the military members I saw today. And then I think about all the hardships military life can offer and how all that can be erased (at least temporarily) with a reunion. Especially a happy one. And that? That's first class.

For anyone who knows me or reads this blog who has a loved one in the military, know that today I was thinking about all of you as I wished all the men and women I saw in the airport a safe and quick trip home.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Don't give up on me!


I have two posts in the works that I haven't finished. Well, plus this one which will be short and sweet so technically that doesn't count, right? Anyway, tomorrow I'm boarding a jet plane to take me to a city on the East Coast. The day after that? I'm getting on a cruise ship with three pals and we are cruisin' to 40! Lucky for me, the ship will be back months before I actually turn 40 - cause that would be one heck of a long cruise. So, I have no idea when or if I'll be posting blog entries for the next five days. Rest assured, I'll post up a storm when I return. Hopefully with hilarious adventures that don't involve medical treatment, stitches, falling overboard, or being abandoned while snorkeling. And the two partial posts? I'm going to be working on them tonight after I triple check my packing.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Parenting is not for wusses!

Okay, so! The good news first. T is loving, loving, loving gym and swim camp. Although - he's not mentioning so much about the gym part, so he may just be swimming. That would be a good question to ask his counselors, wouldn't it? I'm a great mom like that.

Now the bad news. T is hating, hating, hating gymnastics.

I saw nothing tonight that explained his level of upset last week or this week. And this week was not pretty.

Of course after witnessing S's tantrums all. freakin. day. long, I was ready to throw a tantrum or two myself.

So here's how it went down. We were home from camp, letting T play a little Wii. It was time to go and I went upstairs to change clothes because I was going to work out after T's class. We tell T it's time to go. R ends up losing his temper over (what else) having to repeat himself endlessly for the kids to do something simple - like put on shoes. T is upset about being yelled at, so he gets into the car with me and off we go to gymnastics with no issues. We get to the Y - no issues. Walk into the gymnastics room - no issues.

The regular teacher isn't there, still no issues. T is there with one more boy and they start warming up. T and his friend start goofing off - instigated by T, of course - both T and his friend get in trouble. Then T decides he's tired and comes and sits down beside me. Okay, he spent 3 hours this afternoon being really active and he just ran like the wind, so I'm not surprised that he's tired. But had he been doing what the coach asked him and not goofing off, he wouldn't be nearly so tired. I send him back to the mat to finish the warm up. A few minutes later, here he comes again. I ask him to go back, he refuses. Actually, he refuses obnoxiously. So I tell him to go back and follow the coach's directions. Again with the refusal and this time? There are tears.


I'm not completely heartless. But he's already been disruptive, which is NOT okay, and now that things aren't going the way he wants, he's pissed. Which, fine. Be angry. But you don't ruin everyone else's experience because you aren't actually in control of the universe. Just sayin'...

So T and I have a standoff. He refuses to rejoin the class (one more student has come in by this point) and I have to pull out the big guns and start taking away privileges. As they consequences mount, T gets angrier and angrier. He turns his back to me and refuses to respond. While I'm not backing down, at this point interaction with T is like taking a horse to water and trying to make it drink. Unless the horse decides he wants some water? That water remains un-drunk.

So I give him a minute. And since no one is paying attention to him, he starts what I can only describe as snorting snot as loudly and rudely as possible. What makes that worse (as if it wasn't already bad enough) is that right beside T is a huge box of tissues. And also? I loathe snot snorting. So ask him to stop, which means he steps it up a notch. I tell him to stop, which means he REALLY steps it up a notch, at which point I pick him up, carry him out of the room and sit him down for a chat in the hallway.

Not my brightest idea - mostly because I'm emotionally provoked. GAH! He's too angry to listen to reason, so I simply tell him that whether or not he participates in class, we are coming to every. single. one. We asked him, he said he wanted to do it, we paid for it, we are coming. Also important to know is that we will not be disrupting the class. If he isn't going to take part, then he will sit quietly and watch. Period.

This does not evoke a positive reaction from T. There's a lot of shouting and tears and anger on his part. When he starts to hit and kick at me, I calmly tell him that at this point in his young life he should know that I will be hitting and kicking back since he knows that behavior is not okay. He restrains himself but is still pretty angry. I wait until he's calmed down a bit and we go back in to watch.

Within five minutes, he wants to join the class again. I tell him that's fine with me, but he's going to have to apologize to the instructor and other kids first. This starts a fresh torrent of anger and tears. I'm on a roll today, right? He does eventually apologize, but he also sobs his heart out and I am having no luck in getting him to tell me what the problem really is. And I? I honestly have no idea.

One of the hardest things about being a parent? Is making your child do what you think (and hope) is the right thing, even when it breaks your heart to make them do it. Parenting - it's certainly not for wusses.

Piece of Cake

I am feeling all grumbly and out of sorts today. I hate my bad moods. I hate that I can't just *Poof!* make them disappear.

And when I am grumbly and hateful? Everything annoys me. The worst part, hands down, is that I don't know WHY I'm feeling this way. It isn't like the kids did anything to prompt it. R either. And I wasn't in a bad mood when I woke up this morning.



I know what it is.

S is having a 'stubborn' day. Part of a stubborn day with S involves an automatic, vehement resistance to anything I ask her to do. These days, I'm used to it (enough) that I can just keep going. But there are certain deal breakers. Not washing your hands is one of them. I was fixing lunch for the kids and I asked them to wash their hands. This led to a showdown between S and I that ended up with me YELLING at her to go to her room. So, up she stomped, sobbing and rage-y. And then we got to listen to her scream for 10 minutes. Fun.

She finally comes down and apologizes, but her heart is so obviously not in it. We take T to camp, where S is indignant and hateful that she doesn't get to stay. T, however, is filled with happiness and glee. While I'm glad that he's having such a great experience, his glee is making her attitude worse by the second. On our way home, I see a store front with a big slice of cake and the title "A Piece of Cake" on the marquee and I think...yes! What this situation cake. And yes, I'm aware that food should not be used to soothe my (or S's) emotional dissatisfaction, but sometimes a girl just needs a damn cupcake. Today was that day for me. So we park, I let S put the quarter in the meter, we walk across the street and.....the door is locked.


I start to walk S back to the car. She protests loudly and determinedly. Is determinedly even a word? I'm too tired to look it up. She wants to go in the next shop which looks like a little sandwich shop. It does not look like a cake store. I point this out. She does not care. So I ask her if she would like to go in and SEE that there is no cake. Of course she does. In we go.

"See?" I say. "They don't have cupcakes here."

And they didn't.

"Oh!" replies the kid behind the counter, "but we have muffins, and some pastries (a la Sarah Lee), and some free cookies right there." He points to the counter.

Thanks a lot, kid.

S wants a cookie.

I just can't bring myself to take a free cookie from this very new business without ordering something, so I pick up the menu. They have a kids' section - grilled cheese, pb&j and one other item that didn't hit my radar are only 99 cents. So I ask S what kind of sandwich she wants - pb&j. And then I see the lady in the kitchen making a salad. I haven't eaten lunch yet, and that salad looks great. So I order a house salad with ham. Our total bill? $3.21. It was a very generous portion of food for so little money. I let S choose a cookie, we took our food and home we went.

The rest of the day was a series of tantrums and crying and yelling from both kids, actually, and T's gymnastics class did not go well (but I don't have the energy to relay that story today). R took the kids home while I stayed to get in a quick cardio workout before Zumba. And after that? I was way too tired to care about tantrums or rage or my parental failings and I went to bed.

Piece of cake, indeed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Toe'tally Messed Up

If you are easily grossed out, don't read this. Seriously, stop right now.

Sometime before we left Germany, I dropped something heavy on my toe. This is just the sort of thing that I manage to do fairly regularly, so I couldn't even tell you what it was that I dropped on my toe - just that it was heavy and it hurt.

We were in North Carolina in December and I noticed my toenail looked funny at the base of the nail. So of course I have to start poking at it. It was uncomfortable, but not exactly sore. By the time we got to Illinois and got settled, the strange looking spot had moved up about one third of my nail. And of course, when I notice it, I continue to poke at it.

Then we join the Y and I start working out almost every day. My toe? Still uncomfortable. So one morning after I got out of the shower, I sat down and took a good look at it. That funny looking spot? Was where the toenail had become detached from my toe. And of course, I'm poking at it. And of course, it starts to come off. Well, that's just great. Over the next few weeks, I'd guess about 90% of my toenail leaves the building. Thank you. Thankyouverymuch.

Eh. No big deal. It's winter and I'm sure the nail will be at least mostly grown back by summer. With the damaged nail off, there is no pain or soreness, which is good. However, despite the fact that I have 9 other perfectly good toes and toenails, the kids seem to insist - INSIST - on stepping on the one little piggy without protection. Hey - wait - there's an idea. Nail-less toe protectors. I'm writing that one down for further evaluation.

Anyway, all was good, the nail was slowly growing back and then I dropped a hammock stand pole on which toe? Yup. The no nail toe. And since I was holding the pole upright when it dropped onto my toe, there was damage and pain and bleeding. And lots of hopping around on one foot. And lots and lots of mental cussing. Vile nasty things.

I cleaned up my toe and hobbled around for a few days until most of the soreness went away. But it was a nasty gash. And a few weeks later the toenail that had regrown? Came off. Sigh.

So. Fast forward to present day. I've got toenail on a lot of my injured toe. It's looking pretty good for the most part. But from the curve of where the pole gashed my toe? There is no more toenail. So my toenail now looks kind of like a kindergartners interpretation of a mountain. Or a big hill. Or a lump of mashed potatoes. Or a big blob. My toe - the amoeba impersonator.

So I'm leaving this week to go an a cruise with some friends. We are celebrating our 40th birthdays. This has been planned for a while. I'm really looking forward to it. But my toe? Is fugly. I mention this to my hairdresser a few months ago and she tells me that I can have a fake nail put on. How did I not know about this?? Problem elminiated. She said I'd just need about a quarter inch of toenail so that the fake nail could be glued onto the damaged toe. I had way more than that and was feeling all optimistic. The night before my hair appointment last week? I decide that that I should take a close look at my toe and make sure that it's in as good of shape as possible. I'm trying to even out the edges as much as possible, make sure that there isn't any dirt or dead skin underneath the edges when...

Yep. The freakin' toenail comes off AGAIN. Well, at least half of it. Oh good grief. Against my better judgement I show my hairdresser the funky toe and ask if I should even bother having something done about it. I can tell by the look on her face the answer is no. And then she says, "No."

But she recommends that I try painting my actual toe. That might work. Especially if I can find some ridge filler to smooth out the area before I apply polish. Then I talk to my friend Kim. And she suggests press on toenails. She was kidding, but hey? Why not? So off to Walmart I go Saturday morning with T and take a look. I didn't find ridge filler, but I did find polish and fake toenails. And I buy them. Then I come home and attach a fake nail to my big toe. And then? I polish it. It looks great! You'd never know it wasn't a real toenail. I even wore sandals. Proudly.

Sometime during the night, I remember waking and thinking that I'd caught my fake nail on something. But it was still attached when I woke up, so I didn't think much about it. Within an hour, I realized that it felt funny. Of course, I poked at it. It raised up, like a car hood, but from the side. Sigh. So as I'm trying to see if the nail was just popping off or what, the nail actually comes off. And with it? Was the remainder of my formerly attached toenail. So now I have no toenail. And I mean, this is about 6 months sans toenail, so would it really even hurt to glue another fake one on? I'm thinking it might be worth it, because of course all the shoes I'm taking on the cruise will show my toes. And I am not buying new shoes. Am. Not.

And by the way? Painting my toe? Looked like painting a sand dune to look like part of the ocean. Epic fail. My backup plan if the fake toenail doesn't work? Band aids. Maybe I can glue a toenail onto the band aid and paint it. Heh. And also? Sigh.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

1, 2, ahhhh Freak Out

R and I discussed taking the kids to a local community pool today. It's going to be hot again (when isn't it going to be hot this summer, jeez!) and we are looking for affordable, non electronically related ways to keep them entertained.

As soon as we asked them if they wanted to go, they just went nuts. There was screaming, there was rolling around on the floor, there was twirling in circles. And, inevitably, someone got hurt. The other someone was sorry but good grief!

This has been a really tough weekend for T. He's had more meltdowns this weekend than in the last two months combined. Today at the pool, T freaked out because R was trying to give him swimming pointers. Not even 'you are doing it incorrectly' pointers, more like 'it will be easier if you do it this way' pointers. So whatever is going on with him is at least close to the surface. By the time we left the pool, T and R had made their peace, but I'm really concerned.

Starting tomorrow, T is supposed to go to a gym and swim camp at the downtown Y. The kids and I haven't ever been to this Y, but I really thought that T would love the combination of tumbling and swimming. And he seemed excited about it until he went to gymnastics last week. I'm not sure exactly what happened. R took him to class and when they got back, R said that T said some of the girls in the class were making fun of him. T is adamant that he is not going back. R said he didn't notice anything unusual, and I wonder if I would have.

And now a weekend full of meltdowns. Sigh.

So, obviously, there's something going on. I know - my observation skills are astounding, no? I didn't expect to have to try and tame my internal mama bear so soon. T has faced so many challenges - his issues with personal space, his speech delay, the sensory processing issues, his extremely stubborn streak...

All of these have impacted T so far, the difference being that he hasn't noticed or if he has noticed, he hasn't minded. But if these girls were really making fun of him, he has noticed and he is quite upset about it.

So what now? Drag him kicking and screaming to the rest of the gymnastics practices? Shove him in the door of the downtown Y and run for the car? I don't think so. But I don't want to teach him to run away from difficult situations, either.

When I put T to bed tonight and reminded him of what we had to do this week, he hid under the covers and cried. He doesn't want to go to gymnastics of any form. My mommy heart did some breaking over his distress. My realistic and logical heart knows that there is a solution. But at this moment in time I have no clue what that solution might be.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Easy Peasy Saturday

Today I planned to take the kids somewhere fun and get them out of the house. R needed to finish up some school work and even if I've got the kids occupied with something, it's not the same thing as actual peace and quiet. Since he did that for me regularly while I was working on my Masters', I owe him quite a few Saturdays minus the munchkins.

I had my plan all laid out in my head - gym in the morning, shower, and head off to one of the kid friendly museums in St. Louis. After they were in camp all week long, I wanted to keep them out of the heat and humidity during the heat of the day. And yes, I wanted to keep myself out of the heat and humidity too.

There was only one issue with that. T was not interested in leaving the house today at. all. He refused to go to the gym this morning. He refused the museum ideas, and even though we then decided we'd go see an afternoon movie, he pitched the mother of all fits when we tried to get out the door.


I'm all for expressing yourself. I understand that a five year old may, in fact, feel like they never have a say in what happens. I understand that staying home with the known (aka Super Mario Brothers) is much more comforting than not, even when there is popcorn and animation involved. What is NOT okay is thinking that in order to not do something, all you need to do is pitch a fit. Not. Okay. At. All. The only reason I didn't drag said five year old to the gym this morning is because he stopped mid fit when I warned him and then explained why he didn't want to go. But two hours of game time later, he was done for the day, whether he liked it or not. And, even though he is the more easily entertained of the two kids, R needed some time minus kids to work on school stuff. So we were leaving the house, one way or the other.

Unfortunately, the other way we left the house involved us (and when I say us, I really mean R) physically picking up T and putting him forcibly in the car. It was loud and ugly. Lots of screaming and flailing about. But I also know, given T's history, if we don't demonstrate that we and not he are the authority figures, he will be positively unmanageable later on. And honestly? It's hard enough now. Sigh.

I knew anything public was out at least for a while, so my plan was just to drive. When Mom was here in March, we had planned to visit Prairie du Rocher, which is a small town beside the Mississippi River south of us. We never made it, and I thought even if I just drove there and back today, it would take about two hours and I was sure I could find something for us to do on the way there, while we were there, or on the way back. Even when T is verging on uncontrollable, he will eventually calm down if you just let him get it out of his system. It's the getting it out of his system that's tricky. To my surprise, given the level of upset he reached, he didn't strike out at anyone (that is totally progress) and did very little striking out at things. Now, the screaming? Boy howdy...that was just insane today.

He did, eventually, calm down. We got to Prairie du Rocher and visited an old French Fort - Fort de Chartes. I was surprised that the kids actually wanted to get out of the car and walk around, but we did. We went in all the buildings, climbed up the stairs to the lookout towers, toured the museum. Believe it or not, the kids got hot and tired before I did. By the time we walked back to the car, we were all drenched in sweat. So I cranked up the a/c and we headed for home.

We took the back roads. It reminded me somewhat of being in Germany again. The kids were quiet and still in the back of the car trying to cool off and I was lost in thought about how so many places on this earth look so similar and yet feel so different.

About 15 minutes away from home, T piped up and said, "Mom? I want to tell Dad I'm sorry for the way I behaved today."

I told him I thought that was a great idea. The next thing out of his mouth? Was that he wanted to play the game and would that be okay?

Well, no. Not at all. So we have the 'it's good to apologize when you've done something wrong but the consequences still stick' talk. I was expecting another meltdown over that, but T accepted it without incident.

When we got home, T apologized to R and said, "I want to play the game, Daddy, but I have to except the consecration of my acts." R was confused.

I turned my head to hide my smile and then said that T meant "accept the consequences of my actions". R was touched, but unaware that this is a concept T and I have been struggling with for a while now.

Better late than never. That's my boy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Breakfast of champions

I stayed up late last night talking to my friend and cousin Annalise. She can always make me giggle, even when we are being 'serious'. She said she's been writing, so I'm going to try and talk her into blogging, because the girl? Is FUNNY. The only downside to this is that it was after 2 am when I got to bed. But I'm a sucker for some good conversation (especially lately) and it's worth sacrificing a little sleep.

Naturally, this morning I was dragging. Went to make the kids' sandwiches and no bread. Oh, right. I forgot to go get more last night. Not because I was on the phone or anything, but because I kept thinking, "I'll do it later" and inexplicably never did. Went to get the kids some breakfast and no milk. Oh yeah, I was supposed to get more milk when I went and to get the bread that I didn't go get.


So you may be wondering...what, then, does the mother of the year give her kids to eat when there is no milk and the kids aren't jumping up and down with joy over the thought of dry cereal.

I let them have a chocolate bar.

I know! Judge away, I deserve it. ::Hanging my head in the shame of parental failure:: It was a horrible idea, but honestly the options were few and they didn't want eggs, pop tarts (which I'm not convinced is all that much better than a candy bar anyway), or dry cereal.

So then came the dilemma of what to pack them for lunch. I had hot dog buns and whole wheat sandwich rounds for bread, but the kids turned up their noses at the thought of a sandwich on anything but (as T put it) SQUARE sandwich bread. Emphasis on square included. So I made do with what we had and it didn't turn out too badly. Whether they will eat it or not is another question entirely.

Next up? Double checking back packs. T has a bottle of water, sunscreen, change of clothes, bathing suit...all good. S? I can't find her back pack. Hmm. They rode home with R from day camp yesterday since I had a hair appointment - maybe it's in the garage? Nope. Closet? Nope. Her room? Nope. Anywhere else I looked? Nope. So I try to call R - grrrrrrrr. The man doesn't answer his work phone when I'm having 'a something to locate' emergency. And his voicemail recording? Is not even him. And as snotty as this sounds, I'm not going to leave a voicemail for my husband if the person on the recorded voicemail message? Is not even him. I'm weird that way. It's a leftover from my time in collections.

So, email it is as I frantically continue searching. T is being uber helpful and walking behind me saying, "It's not there, Mom." as I look everywhere I can think of. Thank you, T. I appreciate and applaud your observation skills.

Then the phone rings. T says, "I'll get it" which has always meant that he goes and gets the phone and hands it to either me or R. This time? He answers the phone, "Hello? Oh, hi Dad." All cool and nonchalant. I have to smile. This kid is growing up so fast. T hands me the phone and R tells me that S didn't have her backpack with her yesterday and that the Y staff said she didn't bring it with her. I know that's not true because I carried it, but at least I can stop looking because it isn't going to be in the house. Good enough. So I pack S another bag and off we go to camp, where the counselor holds up her backpack as he sees us walking up.


Since she's got another bag with her, I just take her back pack after thanking the counselor profusely for hanging on to it for us, sign the kids in, and head off to the commissary. I toss the back pack in the floor of the van, and off I go. And then I notice there are ants - a couple on the shelf thing between the two front seats and a couple on me. Well, that's odd. And it creeps me out - where are they coming from all of a sudden. Then out of the corner of my eye, I catch movement. Her back pack. Her backpack has ants all over it.

Great. I'm driving and so this is going to have to wait until I pull over. When I do, the outside pocket of her backpack is crawling with ants. There were potato chip crumbs in the pocket. ::Shudder:: I stick the entire backpack in a black trash bag and tie it shut. I'll figure out how to deal with it later. Then I kill every ant I can see that's in the car. There weren't too many, thank goodness. So now I'm all sweaty and I feel like there are a million bugs crawling on me so I go to the bathroom at the commissary to make sure I don't have ants crawling on the back of my shirt or yoga pants. I didn't find any. Whew! As I'm shopping, I hear my name called over the commissary loud speaker.

What? How does anyone even know I'm here? So I go to customer service where someone has turned in my dependant military id. Sigh. On the list of things to lose? This is a HUGE no-no. So, thank you times eighteen million to the very kind person that turned it in. Crikey. I finish the shopping and come home and unload the groceries. I'm still not sure how to handle the ant issue, so the bag with the back pack is in the garage. I have borax, so I may just toss some borax in the bag and let it sit. I'll take out the clothes in her back pack and wash them - but they are in ziplock bags anyway, so they should be safe. I just know that we JUST got rid of the ants in the house and I'm not anxious to have a repeat.

But I still feel like I have bugs crawling on me. Blech. So I guess the moral of this story is....know how to kill ants and thank goodness for honest people. Maybe that positive thinking karma is paying off.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Random pictures



The local scenery, courtesy of T. It's beautiful. Hot, humid, buggy, but beautiful.

Our resident diva looking very grown up to be three. Also looking like she's about to smack the paparazzi (aka T)

It's me with way less eyebrow and way more hair color.

Pour some music on me

Oh jeez. I'm supposed to be cleaning. Well, okay, I TOLD myself I would clean today but it isn't like I put it on a calendar or promised R or anything. I wanted to clean today. Well, okay, not wanted, per se. Felt like it ought to be done....yes. That's it. Today I felt like I should clean something. I was off to a good start. Most of the laundry is done, I've got two loads left, one of which is in the washer as I type and a good majority of the other 2,000 loads are folded and sorted and ready to be put away.

I started the dishwasher before leaving the house this morning and actually wiped off the table immediately after the kids painted it with milk rather than letting the begin the process of drying into a dairy varnish. The dishes that didn't fit into the dishwasher? I washed by HAND so that I could put up the clean ones all at once.

Anyway, I decided to turn on some music to help the process. We have the music channels as a supplement to our 300 channels of nothing to watch. So what would put me in the mood to clean? Nothing as it turns out. But! The pop hits channel had me dancing in the living room. Wooooooooo! I'm such a spaz. But the good news is that I can dance a lot longer these days without feeling like my lungs will explode. For those of you who have bravely sat through my Maniac dance (a la Flashdance), you would be impressed.

So, not so much of the cleaning done and now I need to go upstairs and rinse off the sweat from the morning workout and my dance-a-thon because I'm getting my hair cut and my face waxed today. It's a little sad that I'm more excited about the face waxing. Where in the HECK is all this hair coming from? It's just unnatural unless we were still in prehistoric times and I was living on a polar ice cap. Then I would need all the fur my body is determined to grow. Sheesh.

OH SNAP! Def Leppard "Pour Some Sugar On Me" is on the 80's channel. I gotta go rock out. Let me take this opportunity to encourage everyone, everywhere to crank up the music and do your thing every now and then. I'm giddy with musical love. Or maybe it's just low oxygen. Either way - Peace out!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The power of positive

A couple of months ago, I realized that my attitude was becoming a bit....negative.

I don't want to be 'that' girl...where all I do is complain and nothing is ever good enough and even my happy times are tinged with a sense of dissatisfaction because they aren't happy enough.

So I started thinking a la Dr. do you change the internal dialogue? Because let me tell you, the internal dialogue was pretty snarky and not at all flattering.

For the last couple months, I have been trying really hard to find something positive to say or think about everyone I see. Yep. Everyone.

The little old lady that stalks the commissary looking for wayward children who are dismantling bread displays or other such horrible crimes against nature? She wears some really cute shoes. And she has dainty little feet.

The lady who just about ran me off the road today because she was talking on her phone and not watching where she was going? Cute haircut.

Our next door neighbor who has not warmed up to us in the least since we moved in? She keeps a very clean and organized garage and hasn't come over in months to complain about anything. And I assure you, there are plenty of times she has to hear the kids acting a fool.

The person in the back of the room in Zumba last night who had some noxious gas? At least they were in the back of the room and it wasn't curry they ate.

Over time it's been easier and easier for me to think the positive stuff first rather than the negative and then a quick, apologetic positive. I think it's working. I hope it's working. But I don't think it would be cheating if I hope never to be downwind again of whatever was going on in the intestinal system of whomever that was in Zumba last night.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Free Therapy

First I have to admit that I stole the title of my post today from the awesome blog Free Therapy run by the fabulous and hysterical Sadie. Here's the link to check out her blog if you haven't I :heart: her.

Okay. Now. Sorry for not posting yesterday. By the time I could have blogged, it would have been dated today, so I figure that I'll just blather on extra long today and hopefully all will be forgiven.


Well, it was worth a try.

Since I started blogging, I consider it fair game to blog about Dahl family life or things the kids say - especially when the things being said have been/are being shouted out in public. If the entire population of WalMart can hear it, I should be able to write about it, right? I am much more careful when it comes to friends and family. While I choose to spew all my stuff out for people to read and judge, I am hesitant to cross that boundary with those close to me. Most of the time anyway.

But I have to write about this. Yesterday, a dear and wonderful friend came to visit. She was nearby for a wedding last weekend and I was lucky enough to get to see her for a day. It was blissful. No matter how long it's been since we've seen each other or talked, we just pick right back up where we left off.

Last night after the kids and R went to bed, we stayed up way too late and talked about everything under the sun. Actually I think we covered everything BUT the sun. And, okay, I talked mostly. Try not to be shocked. So much of the stuff I've been bottling up just bubbled right out and even though we were both exhausted and we kept saying we needed to go to bed, she stayed up and listened and talked to me.

It was blissful!

It hit me during our talk that when I am discontent and out of sorts, THIS is what I've been missing. One-on-one conversations where you can be bare bones honest and the person loves you just as much at the end of the conversation as they did at the beginning. And while they are supportive, they are also honest and when you act like an unreasonable ass? They tell you.

Now - side note - R does this for me on a regular basis, so I have to give him a huge shout out here, but it's not the same as a girlfriend. It just isn't. Just like it's easier for R to tell his best friend stuff sometimes than it is to tell me. It's just a different chemistry.

So after a great day doing nothing in particular, and after Zumba, dinner, and putting the kids to bed, we had a chance to catch up and talk about parenting, relationships, name it. And while I mostly know how fortunate I am to have so many wonderful people in my life, it never hurts to be reminded. And it's always nice to be reminded in technicolor - which is totally how this visit felt to me - like life in technicolor.

The down side? She had to leave today. I wish our lives weren't so far apart and so busy and that seeing each other could be more of a rule than the exception. But, boosted by the warm fuzzies of the visit, we'll just have to figure out how to spend more time together.

And seriously? If the good vibes from spending time with the girls could be bottled and sold? Life would be very, very grand indeed.

And that concludes the gushing portion of this blog post.

What was not fun over the last two days? Realizing that in the city, in the rain? I drive like a little old lady. I mean, jeez! The kids weren't even with me. I blame part of this on my unreliable GPS and part of this on the fact that in the rain these days I'm a nervous Nellie since my windshield wiper blades aren't correctly hooked on to the wiper arm and that I managed to forget about this until I need the wipers to work. Of course, I am missing an opportunity at this very second to go and try to fix it in order to get this entry done by midnight. But that's how dedicated :snort: I am to the blogging process and also how lazy I am about windshield wiper repair. I know, I know. I'm a bad ass. ::giggle::

Monday, July 19, 2010

Titling a post with "gluttony" made me hungry

Of course, it could also have been the talk of s'mores (or more likely - chocolate). Either way, I'm itching to bake something. Cookies, brownies, buttermilk chocolate cake with a dark chocolate icing that hardens (sounds so much harder than it is to make) healthy snack will do. Sugar and fat people. I want sugar and fat. Also appealing? Home made granola.

But of course I realize how very bad of an idea that would be, so I'm blogging about cooking versus actually cooking and then eating the results. What? I'd have to taste test it to make sure it's fit for consumption by others ::rolling my eyes::. So I will be strong and self sacrificing and not bake. Unless,of course, any of you would be willing to accept shipments of said baked goods? That might be the best of both worlds. I can bake, I can smell it, but it won't be just sitting here asking me - nay - demanding me to eat it. Um..any takers?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Punishment gluttony

A few months ago, T was all into the idea of camping and s'mores. I blame Max and Ruby. Since I am not fond of heat, bugs, snakes, lack of bathrooms, small kids around fire, and about a million other things associated with camping, it's quite unlikely that I will be the one to take him and it's definite that I will not be the one to take him during an Illinois summer. R was Airborne, so he gets that honor. Good luck, buddy!

But I have bravely stepped up to the plate and tackled the s'mores side. I know, my selflessness is astounding. For our first few attempts at s'mores, T kept freaking out. Freaking out that the graham crackers broke, freaking out about the chocolate needing to be melted and therefore both warm and soft, freaking out that the marshmallows also needed to be heated. In general, no matter which way we tried it, making s'mores with T was a disaster. The funny thing is that he will eat graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows separately, and he'll eat two of the three together, but not all three.

So tonight, the kids went to the Y for Parents Night Out. Guess what they were doing tonight? Yep. S'mores. Fabulous. I expected to pick up the kids and hear a very interesting story about T, s'mores, and freaking out. This didn't happen to my great surprise. And on the way home, T talked non stop about s'mores and how good they are and how much fun they had making them and couldn't he have more when we got home? Uh, no.

But against my better judgement, I agreed that we would make some tomorrow. What I can't wait to see is if he's actually over his previous issues and he actually eats them, broken graham crackers, softened chocolate, melty marshmallows and all. And also how much of it ends up all over the kitchen versus in the kids' tummys.

Maybe we should record a video of it. Would that be mean?

Proof that every now and then? I must do something right.

This was supposed to be a Friday post. Thanks to my four day headache, I went to bed at 7 and here we are at 2 am. And really, a four day headache? Yeesh.

I picked the kids up from day camp today. They were outside playing under a big tree behind the Y. As I'm walking over, I'm scanning the crowd looking for them. I spot S first. She's standing just behind the tree, talking to some fellow day campers (do you call them her friends when you don't know their names?), making big gestures with her tiny hands. Her audience? Is enraptured. I wonder what she is talking about.

In my Mommy brain, I see a 5 second flash forward when I look at the kids - baby to current age in a photo montage in my head. Because of that, every now and then I am stunned at how.....individual and independent the kids are. Then it hits me - I'm so in the routine of things that it's been a while since I've stepped back and given them the opportunity to step up. This is also why I want them in day camps and preschool so that my tendency for the staus quo doesn't hold them back. As a parent, I don't always see objectively, and while I mean well and truly want the best for my kids, I tend to get stuck on auto pilot and not realize it.

By this point, I'm almost to the tree, and I see T on the ground looking up at the sky making these jerky gestures. What's that about? There is a girl lying close to him, also looking up at through the tree. Hmmmm. At this point S catches my attention again as she sees me, screams "Mommmiiiieeeeee!!!!!" and flings herself at me with glee. I catch her up in a big hug as my heart melts. I'm so lucky. I am so loved. I ask if she had a good day, and she starts chattering about how she was the princess and these (gesturing to the other kids) are her 'people'. It's good to have people. People come in handy.

T, what are you doing? I ask. T extends his arm for me to help him up and tells me "I am a robot" in his best robotic voice. The girl beside him tells me they were looking at the clouds through the tree leaves to see if the shapes changed.

"And did they?"  I ask them

"Well, yeah," the girl says "because it's hard to see the clouds through all these leaves."

I see.

T isn't ready to leave, which is a nice change from earlier this week when he didn't want to come to camp. I go and get their book bags from a nearby picnic table and when I come back the kids are saying goodbye to everyone. My kids are huggers, which is sweet, but it makes it hard to convince them that not everyone wants to hug all the time. Both of them refuse to believe this is even possible, so I was interested to see how the hugging goodbye would work. To my surprise, they offered hugs to everyone but forced them on no one. Excellent! S went up to a little girl I've seen her playing with before and says, "Hug?"

The girl declines. S pats her on the back and says, "That's okay. I hug you in my head." 

Maybe S is onto something. Maybe if we went around hugging people in our heads, we'd all be a little happier, more patient, less self concerned. Maybe not. Seems like it's worth a try though.

I'm hugging all of you in my head. Goodnight.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fitting in

When I started fifth grade, the school I attended required about an hour long bus ride. The fifth and sixth graders rode the same bus as the tenth and eleventh graders since our schools were only a couple blocks away from each other and on a similar schedule. The bus driver was named Jodi and she wasn't so fond of  kids. We were assigned seats on the bus and each younger kid had to sit with an older kid. The older kid I had to sit with? He was Satan. He was always in trouble. I was the lucky kid that got to write his sentences. You know, "I will not talk in class. I will not be disrespectful. I will not torture fifth graders. I will not grow up to be a serial killer." That kind of stuff. When I refused, he poked me in the leg with a pencil. And when I say poked, I mean he jabbed me with it hard enough that the lead tip broke off in my leg. To this day I can still see it even though I don't think about it much anymore.

But as a result of spending two hours a day with this maniac, there were side effects. I wasn't sleeping well, I wasn't doing well in school, and I was sick a lot. I don't remember why I didn't tell my Mom what was going on, I think I was just too scared. I mean, the bus driver saw what was going on every day and did nothing, so I just kept my mouth shut. However, my mom was so concerned that she pulled me out of that school district and transferred me to the district where she taught. And my life? Got a whole lot better. I spent the second half of fifth grade through the end of eighth grade in that school district. I was really happy.

For ninth grade, I was going to be switching back to my former school district so I could spend all four high school years at the same school. I figured it would be no big deal. I had gone to school for years with most of the kids I'd be going to high school with, and why not pick up right where I left off in fifth grade? Yeah, I know. Naive.

I had kept in touch with a few of my friends over the years I spent in a different school district, so it wasn't like I didn't know anyone well. My friend Karla and I attended orientation together. Karla was in band, so I tagged along with her to meet the band teacher and see the band room and all that. I can't read music. I've never played an instrument. So I'm still not sure how I ended up IN the marching band 'playing' cymbals. But I sure enough did. Green polyester wool blend uniform and all. And I met some great people in marching band and I had a lot of fun. I wasn't exactly musically gifted, unless you consider knowing all the lyrics to Duran Duran songs a gift, so my band days ended after ninth grade.

And that's where the not fitting in started. Not in a bad way. I've always been just fine with a lot of alone time and I liked being friends with all different kinds of people. So for the rest of high school, I just kind of....was. I'm always surprised that anyone even remembers me because I tried really hard (unless you were a cute boy) to be well under the radar. High school? Not my favorite period of life.

Fast forward to present day. For me, being a military wife is a lot like high school. R's job in the Air Force is one that is pretty individual. There isn't that sense of teamwork and unity that there was when he was in the Army. We've been at this base over six months, and I have yet to meet anyone from his unit. I'm sure the social programs exist, but honestly? I'm not one to seek them out.

I'm not the least bit unhappy with my life, but every now and then I realize that I really, really miss the life I left behind in NC. My first trip back this summer, it was like I just slid into my old life like I never left. While that's terrific when I'm there, it also makes me really miss it when I leave. And this week with being sick and exhausted, I'm feeling sentimental I guess. And that makes me wonder if I try a little harder here to make a connection, will I have the kind of luck in finding great friends here too? Sure seems worth it to me.

Oh for crying out loud.

This morning I barely, barely remember R telling me good bye. Come to think of it, I think he's skipped a few days of that in the last week or so - BUT - I have deserved it. I wouldn't have kissed me good bye for a few of those days either. Between the allergies/sickness/whatever's going on with my immune system and my general crabbiness and short tempered tendencies, I haven't been the most pleasant person to be around. It happens. Deal with it.

So I was surprised when I rolled over this morning and heard, :whispering: "Moooooommmmiiieeeeeee".

Me: Uhnh

S: Moooommmmmiiiiiiieeeeee. Help me change my dress.

Me: :instantly alert yet suspicious: Why do you need to change?  (I crack open one eye and S is standing there with a pair of underpants and a gown in hand still wearing the gown and panties she went to bed in)

S: I wet

Me: :sigh: You had an accident?

S: Yes.

Me: Where? In the bathroom (please, please, please let it be the bathroom)?

S: No. In my room.

Side note: S has this thing lately where she does not want to sleep in her bed in her room. We used to have both her crib and her bed set up so if she gave us a hard time about not wanting to sleep in her bed, we'd offer the crib. This was terribly convenient until she potty trained, and then it meant I wouldn't sleep well because I'm listening for the potty yell. Kind of like the Rebel Yell (love me some Billy Idol circa the 80's). Plus, S's room is pretty small so it was crowded in there with all that stuff.  So! Since we were all crammed into a hotel room off and on over a couple of weeks, she's not so much about the sleeping alone. We've heard: I'm scared, I'm thirsty, I'm too tired, I'm hungry, I want to sleep in your room, I want to sleep on the couch, I want you to rock me, and I'm sure some others too. We, being the kind and loving parents we are, make her go back to her room to go to bed - even if she's screaming. Turns out the joke is on us, because Harry Potter obviously lends her an invisibility cloak at least once a week because we wake up and - voila! There is S asleep in our room. Sometimes on the floor, sometimes on the bed...but she's getting better at coming in and staying undetected.  Last night was a rough night getting her put to bed. Lots of screaming and crying and lots of carrying her up to bed again. And again. I ended up unfolding her kid sized futon thing for her to sleep on. And this is what she had an accident on. Sigh.

Me: Okay. Let's get you cleaned up.

We get her clothes changed and I survey the damage in her bedroom. I'm not sure the foam couch/futon thing is going to make it. I take the wet clothes and bedding downstairs and put them in the washer. I'm not sure what's going on with S, but it has to be something for her to all of a sudden start having accidents after weeks and weeks of having none.

When I go to pick up the kids at noon from day camp, the counselor tells me that S is in the bathroom changing because she had an accident.  Hmmm.

We get home and before too long, S announces she has to go potty but doesn't make it again.

What on earth is going on? Since I know she CAN go the the bathroom by herself, I explain in all my infinite parental wisdom that she's going to have to clean up after herself from now on. This? Did not go over so well. So after an impressive tantrum, an hour, a lot of lysol wipes, and a bath later, S and I made our peace. For today anyway. All I got out of her over the potty accidents? Is that she doesn't want to go potty by herself. Sigh.

Child, you are doing nothing for the stereotype that girls can't go to the bathroom by themselves.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who's in charge here?

For the past couple of days, I haven't been feeling great. Sunday was the great Crab-a-thon, and every morning since I've woken up with a stuffy, runny nose and scratchy throat. At first I figured the scratchy throat was a side effect of the stuffy nose and breathing through my mouth while sleeping. I know I've been doing this because I'll occasionally snore (okay, fine, ,more like snort) and wake myself up. I also know because of the drool. Classy. But my sore throat never seems to get better, so I guess I've got a good case of something else.

This morning in the shower, the steam opened up my sinuses and it lasted a pretty decent amount of time, but once the meds wore off, man do I feel beat up and useless. Maybe listless is a better description because I can feel useless without feeling under the weather. heh.

Anyway, this morning T had no interest in going to day camp. I had no interest in dealing with a meltdown. It's only for three hours, we've already paid for it, and he's going. Period. I relayed this information to him in a much kinder and gentler way. T still didn't take it well. I even tried logic - I'm going to work out anyway, so he'd end up at the Y either way. T does his impression of a flopping wet noodle onto the floor and flails about moaning and groaning and crying about how he doesn't want to go. I am too focused on trying to breathe through my nostrils to pay much attention, especially since he thinks he will get to sit around and play Super Mario Brothers if we stay home. That's what you think, buddy!

So I let him finish expressing himself, since that's what I'm calling it these days, and calmly told him to finish getting ready, and miracle of all miracles - he did. And, while he wasn't exactly overjoyed about going to camp today, he wasn't crying or pouting when I left either. I took that as a good sign and went to workout.

I also picked the kids up a little early. They were outside eating lunch under a shelter, so it took me a minute to figure out where they were. As I walked up, one of the counselors went to get the sign in/out sheet, so T apparently took it upon himself to fill in for her and he jumped up and announced that there would be no sharing food and that every one needed to make sure and pick up after themselves. The best part of his little speech? He started it off with, "Listen up, everyone. Everyone ::clap, clap:: look at me."

The other two counselors started to giggle, so I'm guessing this isn't the first time T has asserted his...umm...leadership skills. I'm also guessing that these leadership skills get shot down about as soon as they appear, which also explains the whole "I don't want to go" thing this morning. It's my version of the ironic circle of life. Interesting. I wonder what will happen tomorrow.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Defining enough

So. Last week I went back to the doctor for a follow up visit.


I've been losing and regaining the same five to seven pounds since my first appointment six weeks ago. This time, Dr. W was also working with a medical resident and she came into the exam room first. As we discussed my frustration with my non-reducing weight, I started to tear up. As I started to tear up, so did she. Awww. She was really so sweet. And young. So I managed to pull myself together and act like a grownup. Disappointments happen, right? And moaning about the things you have no control over isn't going to change that.

When Dr. W came in and we started talking, we decided that part of the problem is that I'm so focused on not losing that I'm stressing myself out, which is more than likely contributing to my non loss. Well, it made sense when he said it. So last week, even though I still worked out, I tried really hard not to stress out about if was working out long enough or hard enough or just enough in general. And you know what? It was kind of nice. But - I really missed the Zumba classes I didn't attend.

And so, today after a very through morning upper body workout, I went to my normal Monday afternoon Zumba class. And, as usual, Misti kicked my butt. In a good way. She was talking about adding some new routines the last couple weeks, but I would like to know why everything she adds is faster than the stuff it's replacing. She's like Zumba played at 78 rpms. If my Zumba-ing was singing? I'd sound like a Chipette. On fast forward. And yet? I love it. Every single sweaty, stress reducing, fat jiggling moment of it.

On my way home, I was thinking about how easy it was to back off the working out last week, even though I missed it and how good and comfortable it felt to get back into my routine today. So I guess for now that enough is what I decide it to be.

Hair and nails

T's new 'do.Closer up

S's 'manicure'. In two days, she's done some damage, but it's still better than I could do.

Our resident diva - coated in mac and cheese and kool aid lips.

That's Mrs. CrabApple to you

This morning, I woke up with a horrific headache and a crappy attitude. I dread days like this. I don't know if I've had a dream that propels me into this type of snit or maybe it's just leftover nastiness fighting its way to the surface. But one thing I can tell you is that when I wake up like this, it's in everyone's best interest for me to avoid contact with others until I get a grip. Sometimes I can do this pretty quickly. Sometimes I can not. Guess which way today went?

I drag my grumbly, hateful self to the shower. Where I have to shave, because, well, it had been a while. Harrumph. I get out and go through the ritual - moisturizer, sunscreen, hair, deodorant, dental hygiene, and dressing. UGH. Clothes. I have a closet full of clothes and nothing I wanted to wear. And that is just flat out ridiculous. If I'm not going to wear them, then why are they hanging in my closet? Oh, right, because me walking around naked? Not a good idea. Ever.

So now I'm crabby, headachy, and irritated that I can't just build a mental bridge and get over it. Best thing for me to do? Go back to bed. I flop across the top and realize that with a monster headache that is not such a good idea. Then I feel all guilty because R has gotten up with the kids and I can occasionally hear some raised voices/screeching/loud complaining. And not only do I not want to deal with it, I really don't care. Bad Mommy!

About 15 minutes later, the guilt gets the better of me and I clomp downstairs. Everyone is fine down there, of course. The kids don't even notice I've made an appearance, so I flop down on the couch, you know, to be unobtrusive. I'm mature like that. Before long, I go back upstairs (no one was sorry to see me go), take some Advil, and wait for the headache, cramps, and crabbiness to pass. Before I know it, it's after 1, and we are going to see the open house of a friend of mine. So we all pile into the car and go. The kids are well behaved for the first 5 minutes and then all bets are off. So, we leave the open house and go to another one, because we like to torture ourselves that way. After we leave the second open house we run a few errands and then head home. And yes, I'm still crabby.

Later that afternoon, a friend of ours stops by with her daughter since they are in town for the weekend. Somewhere between my second dose of Advil and playing with the baby, I get over my crabbiness. Seriously? It took all day to shake it. That's just sad. So to celebrate my lack of crabbiness, my headache returned times seven. And I? Hid in a dark room until it was time to tell the kids goodnight. But at least I wasn't crabby, right?

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Today we took the kids to their last gymnastics class. When this started I thought S would be the one into the classes and all excited about what she'd learn. And to a degree, I guess that was true. S loves more of the tada! aspect of gymnastics. As in, TADA! I didn't do a thing the instructor asked me, but I finished with panache. S? Has the finishing part down.

T, on the other hand, is good at all the in between stuff. You know, that stuff that you actually need to be able to do to be considered a gymnast. Not to the extent that I'm willing to hire Bella Karolyi, but good enough that they are moving him along to the next level.

After gymnastics, we went home for lunch. I woke up feeling less than stellar this morning, and by noon, I had a wicked headache. We wanted to get T's hair cut today and to do a few errands, but once we got home, I was pretty much useless. And then, a friend of mine called to ask if R and I could help her fix something at her house. So we headed over there around 1:30 to help her. By the time we finished, it was almost 4 so we headed out to get T's haircut before missing the grand opportunity. If T is not in the frame of mind to have his hair cut, it's in your best interest to not do so. Just trust me on this.

As we pulled up to the hair cutting place, I noticed that there was a nail salon a few doors down. Hmmmm....what better way to wait for R and T to get haircuts than to have your nails painted? So, S and I went into the nail salon and I got a basic (and much overdue) manicure and S got her nails painted. I was amazed that she sat there on my lap all calm and happy for the whole thing. She loved everything about it, the little diva, and chose a really cute shade of pink for her nails. Once we were done, we walked over to the barbers where T and R were just finishing up. T had told us he wanted a Mohawk, which I was all in favor of. And why not? I think Mohawks are adorable, and since T is already adorable, a Mohawk would just make him extra adorable. Plus, as uptight and strict as I am about so many things, hair just isn't one of them. R doesn't exactly share that philosophy, but so far it hasn't been a problem.

Flexibility. It isn't just for gymnastics.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Library fun

Mom asked me to make her an appointment for a manicure/pedicure at the nail salon on base. Since I knew we'd be spending the better part of the week all active and stuff, I made the appointment for today because they are leaving tomorrow and she can ride off into the sunset (they are heading West) with pampered hands and feet. These things are important.

Only, I have to be with her to get her on base unless we want to deal with the Visitors Center and the ordeal of obtaining a pass for her and Richard, which I most definitely do NOT when I can just put them in my car and drive right on in. I'm lazy and impatient like that.

So now the question is what to do with the kids. I figure it will take about an hour or so before she's done and surely, surely I can find something to do with the kids on base that won't cost anything but can hold their attention until Mom is done. Hmm....

Ooohhh!!! The library. The children's section is closed off from the rest of the library and the kids love books.

So. We are going to wait for Mom at the library.

When I tell the kids? They aren't as excited as I am about the prospect of this. Probably because it involves being quiet and not raking all the books off the shelf like they do at home. But we are going anyway.

Richard decides that since we are heading to the library, he'll go too. Um, okay. I just figured he'd remain in the cone of safety that would have been my childless living room. This ended up adding a trip to the commissary to the schedule, but hey, I needed a few things anyway and it will eat up some of the time we have to burn.

We drop Mom off and head to the commissary. Two mangos, some snow peas, root beer, a tomato, a boatload of yogurt, some OJ, and a few other items later, we are heading to the car in what feels like an actual bowl of soup. I thought North Carolina was humid, but it's got nothing on Illinois. BLECH. Luckily, I still had my cooler in a cooler going, so I was able to keep the yogurt and OJ nice and cool while the rest of us melted. And by us, I mean me. No one else said a world about temperate misery.

We get to the library, and the first thing T sees is a kids computer station. However, there is only one, it's in the middle of the main library, and since quiet is welcomed and expected I knew better than the let one of my two use it because the result? Would not be quiet. Guaranteed.

Instead, I ushered them into the kids' room. And by ushered, I mean dragged. It's a pretty cool kids' area, actually. I tried reading them a book - that didn't work. I tried letting them pick out a book. That didn't work like I hoped. I tried showing them how to correctly put back the books they were randomly choosing. I put a lot of books back. On the bright side? I got to brush up on my filing skills, which should come in handy should I ever decide to tackle the ever growing mound of filing that is waiting for me in the hall closet. Sigh....

As I'm looking through a book on trains with S, I catch a movement out of the corner of my eye and turn just in time to see T standing on one of the smaller bookcases and leap off onto the floor.

Oh no he didn't!

Oh yes he did.

So I pull him aside to explain the dozens of reasons that is not a good idea and the hundreds of ways I can torture him as punishment. He's moved by none of this and S takes this opportunity to pull out a handful of books and use them as a step stool for her to reach one of the stuffed animals on a shelf. I guide them over the the kiddie tables and hope that the abacus and puzzles should keep them occupied long enough for me to clean up the mess they've created. And that was true if you consider 'making a band' out of the toys to equal 'occupied'.

Since the kids have been asking to leave the kids room since we got there and it's already been almost an hour since we dropped Mom off and since they were obviously hell bent on destroying either the room or my sanity, we walked back into the main part of the library. T immediately goes and sits down in front of the kiddie computer. Luckily a password was needed and no one was at the main desk that very second (they were probably reviewing video tape of the near Apocalypse from our visit to the kids section), I talked them into sitting down near Richard in the magazine section. And - AHA!!!!!! I discovered a chess/checkerboard. T and R are playing chess together occasionally which means that my five year old? Can beat me at chess already since I have no idea how to play. T and I play a game of checkers as S makes the chess pieces have a tea party. We are setting up the chess board when a young kid comes up and asks to play. Well, heck yeah! I give up my seat and try to keep S entertained. By now I think Mom should have called, so I pull out my cell to check it. Freaky McFreakdom, she was calling as I pulled the phone out. Apparently, when I set it to silent, I forgot to turn on the vibrate feature, so Mom's first words were, "This is the fourth time I've called...." to which my reply? Was a profuse apology and to tell her we would be right there. I picked up S, apologized to the very, very nice kid playing Chess with T and signaled to Richard that we needed to go.

So we went and picked up Mom, who was no longer angry by the time we got there. Whew. The rest of the day? Seems boring in comparison, so I'll spare you the details. Let me just sum it up quickly: lunch, potty trips, torrential unrelenting rain, creative dinner making since it was too wet to grill, massive T tantrum over not eating a 'yucky' dinner, my shock at R giving in to T's demands to eat something after he refused dinner and made a scene, my going to our bedroom for a Mommy induced time out, Mom and Richard saying goodbye, R and I carefully avoiding talking about the T dinner theater.

See? Told you it was boring!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I've got my Orange Crush

Oh, lordy!

Today, Mom and I took kid #1 and kid #2 to Six Flags. The plan was so simple....pick up Mom at the hotel around 9ish, head to Six Flags, and have fun. See? Simple!

This morning I get up and am gathering everything we will need - towels, sunscreen, change of clothes, lunch...all the important stuff. I had even thought to put Capri Sun drinks in the freezer so that 1) they would stay cold until lunch, and 2) they would double as ice packs to cool down the water I did not remember to chill.

Our first trip to NC this summer, I found out a little secret - put a smaller cooler inside a bigger cooler and the stuff in the smaller cooler? Stays cold a lot longer. Woo!

Our second trip to NC, R just looked at me and blinked (kind of like an owl) when I suggested my cooler in a cooler plan. So we just did the one cooler and drank lukewarm drinks. I'm just sayin'...

For our Six Flags trip in 2,000 degree weather? Cooler in a cooler baby. So I went into the garage to get the bigger cooler and discovered that someone had simply taken said cooler out of the van and put it in the garage. This wouldn't be an issue if said cooler hadn't also contained two week old spilled Orange Crush and several full, partial, and empty bottles of water. All glorious in their Orange Crust. Did I mention that the cooler had been sitting for about two weeks? So it was a bit smelly. And sticky. And orange crush-y. And that meant I had to clean it, even though it was already time to leave. Then again, T was still standing in his pj top and undies staring at the TV like it was promising him dinners of candy and ice cream and a puppy for his birthday, so I was already frustrated. I mean, geez, do they not realize I'm planning all this fun for them? No? Well, that explains it.

I start to pick up the cooler to clean it out in the kitchen sink and the top comes off. The top which I'm holding in order to clean out the cooler. Great. The cooler tilts wildly and splashes moldy, smelly, Orange Crush all over the kitchen cabinet and floor. Really? REALLY? So I scrub out the cooler, clean the floor and cabinets, yell at T to get dressed RIGHT NOW, and start heaving things in the car.

Well now. Doesn't today seem like it's gonna be a great day.

I pick up Mom and off we go. Six Flags opens at 10:30 and we've planned to be there by 10:15. All I really wanted was to get a parking space that wasn't a mile away and a shot at a chair under some shade (40% chance for rain today). By this point, the kids are so excited about the combo of Grammy and water park that they are amazingly easy to get along with AND they are listening. Like, to everything I say. I'm almost moved to tears, or maybe it's just the heat searing my eyeballs.

We get into the park and then into the water park, find a shady spot to put our stuff and head into the wave pool. Three minutes later? I hear Mom yell for me as she's trying to keep T from pulling off his bathing suit in public.


I grab S and trot over and it turns out that T has to go to the bathroom. Why he thinks that requires disrobing in public is a complete mystery to me. But T? Has absolutely no hesitation about being naked anywhere. It's caused some issues in the past, and I? Am terrified that he is going to end up in some serious trouble. Sigh... We make it to the bathroom with everyone's clothes all the way on and don't have any more bathroom/disrobing issues for the rest of the day. Still, though...what is up with that?

One of the great things about having Grammy with us? Was that I could ride all the water rides with T. The first ride? Looked like those slides you see at the fair - they are bumpy and you sit on a burlap sack to slide down. The water park version involved riding down on a foam mat on your stomach. Hmmm. But hey, if 6 year olds could do it, so can I right? T and I grab a mat, and walk up the steps to the slide. We go down with two other people - a mom and her son. Of the four of us? It's my mat that gets stuck at the starting gate. So I'm wiggling and trying to push myself off and getting nowhere. So the ever helpful lifeguard? Puts her foot on my mat between my legs and shoves. That doesn't work either, and now I'm giggling hysterically because I can just IMAGINE how awful it must be to have to unstick pasty chubby people for a summer job. Finally, her combination of shoving and my combination of laughing so hard I'm wiggling the mat gets me unstuck and off I go. Wheeeee! The force of the push off plus gravity plus my weight equals one very fast ride down the slide. I even catch air on one of the bumps. It was awesome and terrifying all at once. If I hadn't gotten stuck at the top I would probably have even done it again. T was all excited because not only had he gotten to ride the ride, he got to see my entire ride since I got stuck. Also, when I flew by him at the bottom of the slide I sprayed him with water which he also loved. See what fun happens when you keep your pants on, T?!?! heh.
The second ride we went on? Is called the Tornado. Uh huh. This is it:

I must have asked T a dozen times if he was sure, absolutely sure, that he wanted to do down this ride.

Of course he did! The covered tunnel that feeds into the funnel looking thing? Looks like you are going straight down when you are walking up the steps to the top and entrance of the ride. It was intimidating enough that I asked the lifeguard twice if he was sure our mismatched weights wouldn't cause the raft to flip and T to get killed or maimed. I'm a good mother like that. Most days. He assured me that we were fine and off we went. The drop into the funnel was as scary as it looked but the rest of the ride? SO much fun. No so much fun that we did it again. The raft really beat up T's back and and it was a long way up for such a long wait and short ride.

Sanity restored we drifted around the lazy river a bit before we headed to the Big Kahuna the family ride. All four of us went on this one. R, the kids, and I had done this one before. S wasn't crazy about it, but I figured she'd be okay. She seemed pretty game. I told Mom that it wasn't a bad ride, because last time I was the only one who really got wet. We finally got our turn and as we got into the raft, S freaked and refused to hold on. The lifeguard wouldn't let us go unless we were all holding on (thankfully), and there were a few tense moments and S refused to hold on but also refused to get out of the boat. There were hundreds of people waiting for their turn, and she finally decided she wanted to ride down versus walk down and off we went. Of course, she immediately let go of the hand hold and got popped in the eye with her own hand. Both kids wanted to sit beside Grammy, which meant that their side of the raft was heavier. The problem with that? As we went around the realllly big curves and rode up on the wall it was Grammy and Grammy only that got soaked.

The look on her face? Priceless. And I laughed and laughed. I laughed until my stomach hurt and each time she got drenched? I laughed all over again. The one thing she had wanted to avoid was getting her hair completely soaked and I assured her that this ride wouldn't do that. And then it soaked her 4 different times. Just her. The kids and I got wet, but not like she did. I was laughing so hard I didn't think I could get out of the boat. And then? I was laughing so hard once out of the boat that I was afraid I was going to pee on myself. (I didn't, thank goodness). I'm sorry Mom. I swear - I swear - I had no idea.

After that we went back to the wave pool. S was wearing a life jacket, so she was a lot more comfortable in the water this time around. T was actually diving through the waves, which was really impressive. We went out to the car and had a picnic lunch and as we headed back in, it started to rain. We jumped back into the wave pool until they closed it, and then we just decided to go home. All our stuff had gotten wet in the downpour, but it wasn't nearly as wet as it would have been if we hadn't gotten chairs under some shade.

Mom and S? Slept all the way home. T and I? Talked about our ride fun. The bonus plan? No one got sunburned. Now that's a good day. Even better? The floor wasn't sticky when I got home from the Orange Crush debacle and our water was nice and chilly to drink. Cooler in a cooler baby. Try it sometime.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Swimming or swooning?

This afternoon, Mom and I took the kids to a local community pool.

Man! This pool? Is really nice. If you go after 4 pm, you can get in for half price. Kids 3 and under are free, so for the four of us to go, it was $9, which on one hand seems pretty pricey, but on the other was worth the cost since the pool is very clean, there is plenty of shade, the changing/rest rooms are in good shape, and the kiddie area is HUGE. Big enough and well designed enough, in fact, that both kids were totally happy in the kiddie area, which is rare. T is all about the big people pool these days and S refuses to entertain the idea of such foolishness.

Even better than such an excellent pool? The fact that both kids, that's right, BOTH kids found other kids to play with and I was able to just chillax in the water and keep an eye out for such serious dangers as potential sunburn, water in goggles, and dangerous sliding practices.

Also amazing? The amount of sharing the kids participated in. They shared their toys and didn't play with anyone else's unless they asked - without being prompted. This, to me, is a huge parental validation/victory/success. Of course by opening my big mouth, I've doomed our Six Flags trip for tomorrow to be full of fighting and misery. Maybe not, but I'm planning to be prepared just in case. Duct tape and snack bribes are at the ready, my friends.

Not long after we got to the pool, the lifeguards called a pool break. While we were waiting to be able to go back into the pool, T looks over his shoulder and sees a little girl playing with some pre-chewed gum melted onto the cement. Always hyper-vigilant about what other people should not be doing, T launches into a lecture about how "that's nasty". Which - true - but it's not his place to be the melty gum police. Fortunately, right about the time T was giving her his verbal input on how to live her life her Mom noticed what she was doing and ran to stop her. Unfortunately, it was about half a second too late to stop her from putting some in her mouth. I felt awful for the Mom. T? Used to try and eat popcorn off the movie theater floor. He didn't want the popcorn from the bag, he wanted the floor corn. Ewwwww!

The little girl had melted gum all over her hand and face. And T, Mr. I will practically lick any surface on the planet and laugh about it, was all kinds of grossed out. As he turned to me to announce how yucky that was and girls in general are, I had a flash thought that I hope the yucky girl attitude sticks around for a while.

15 minutes later? T is carrying some little girl around in the water to where ever she wants to go and could not touch.


At least she wasn't eating melty cement gum.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Aw, geez. I hate to ask, but....

Stupid TopMommyBlogs (see juggling lady at the top right of my page) have reset their stupid counters...again.


Please consider voting. Scratch that. Please vote. Only one vote per person counts per 24 hour period, so please come back often. Come back and then vote. Please.

And then, as if I haven't imposed enough, please consider voting for and

Okay, begging completed for today? Check.

Awesomeness in pixels - baby shower edition

It's a baby buggy - made of fruit! Adorable!

Baby cake - that is the cutest thing ever! Wish I was that talented.

Of course, my kids are all about the punch and cake. The soda high starts.............NOW!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Freakin' Fourth for crying out loud.

It's the Arch through an arch. Clever.

When I was little, I loved the idea of decorating for any occasion. The tackier, the better. Now that I'm an adult? I could care less. I actually care a little bit since I had the kids...why should my grouch patrol spoil all their fun?

So, on that note, today was the 4th of July.

Whoopidee doo.

Now, let me say this: I am so grateful to live in a country where I take for granted so many basic rights and freedoms. I'm awed that men and women lay down their lives so that I can float along making sarcastic comments about things and not decorating for holidays. I am blessed and I am damn lucky, and I know it.

It does not, however, affect my apathy for holiday decorations. I think I'm missing a decorating gene or something. Actually, it's probably more of a motivation gene now that I think about it.


I had a point.

Oh, right. Fourth of July. Mom and Richard got here around lunch time and the whirlwind frenzy that exists when the kids are near Grandparents begins immediately. Here were my big plans for today: cooking out (which actually R would do) and we'd go see the fireworks somewhere.

Well, that somewhere ended up being planned for St. Louis. I have to admit - the thought of seeing the fireworks over the Mississippi River? Really did appeal to me. And then? I found out the B-52's were performing AT the arch. Today. For FREE! Sweet! And what's that? I felt....excited....about the fourth of July.

Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin Roof. Rusty! (Look it up if it makes no sense.)

We decided to take the Metrolink into the city. Easier. Cheaper. And so on. Only S decided to have a meltdown that lasted the better part of an hour. I should have stuck with my original feeling and let her just stay at the house with a parental unit, while the rest of the group went on ahead. However, the look of horror on Mom's face when I said that made me think that perhaps I was over reacting, so I withdrew the suggestion.

We finally got the Resident Diva in some clothes and into the car in time to pull up at the metrolink station, buy and then validate our tickets, only to have the doggone train pull away as we approached the doors. Isn't that just the luck?!?! Since it was a holiday, the trains were running more often, so another one came by in just a few minutes. Whew! The bonus plan? The trains had a/c. Excellent!!!!!
T making his 'silly face'

We got off the train, headed towards the arch, and were trying to catch a glimpse of the airshow that was going on. We were on a pretty shaded path, so it was difficult to follow the planes' flight patterns. But we could hear them! We got to the point where you had to go through a mild form of security. We had packed the kids backpacks with snacks, and lo and behold is this huge sign that says among other things, "no outside food or drink".


So we sat down on a bench and all had a snack. Due to my chronic over snack packing, there was really more than we could eat, so we decided to stuff some things in our pockets and try to get though the gates. Turns out? No need to be worried. They were apparently checking for video recorders and bombs. Peanut butter crackers? Not nearly as threatening.

Once we were 'in', we started to walk around. It was very, very, very populated. There were food and drink booths everywhere, so Richard went to get something to eat not involving toddler snacks and I rounded up the smoothie orders.

A smoothie? Was $5 a glass - and there wasn't even any alcohol involved. R comes over to help me carry the smoothie order back to the gang, and I feel a couple rain drops. The kids don't like the smoothies because it's heavy on fruit and very light on sugar. I saw them being was frozen fruit and ice. Which actually makes them more healthy, but that failed to impress the kids. Go figure.

And then the bottom falls out. Rain is pouring down. I'm all panicky because I had actually taken the time to...wait for it... shower, put on makeup, and do something with my hair! I'm concerned about the mascara running all down my face, but it turns out that Estee Lauder makes some pretty waterproof, hiney kicking mascara. It never ran. My hair was drenched, my shirt was soaking wet, and my glasses were all rain stained. Those silly food prep people. They didn't want the soaking masses to take shelter under their prep tents. Imagine. That's okay. Huddling under a tree was fun. F.U.N.

When the rain finally slowed down, we were all wet enough that we decided to just go. No good was going to come of the kids + rain+all the dirt and mud and wetness that was everywhere. Plus? We hadn't brought anything to sit on, and we still had four hours before the fireworks were going to start. And also? I saw tons of food and drink vendors, but not a single bathroom or port-a-potty. That's a problem. A big one. So, good-bye B-52's. I'm sad that I didn't get to sing along with Love Shack. R and I doing our drowned rat impression. No mascara racoon eyes - yay Estee Lauder!!!

So back we went to catch the metro. And we rode home. S was horrible on the train. Horrible enough that Mom switched seats with R voluntarily so he could deal with S. Yep, it was that bad.

As we were waiting for the train, Mom and I were joking around about being so wet in between trying to get the kids to stay to the back of the gray zone of train danger. (That is its own little blog entry, folks)

Mom: At least you'll have something to blog about (have I mentioned that she does not read my blog?)
Me: True.
Mom: I feel like I've been in a wet t-shirt contest. That's not a feeling I can say that I ever wanted to have. (Mom can be really funny)
Me: HA! So true. Here's the blog entry for today: Mom and I ended up in an involuntary wet t-shirt contest today in St Louis. Nobody won.
Mom: ::cackles with laughter:: Look over there - more contestants that didn't win.
Me: ::Snorting with laughter:: It's a six place tie for last place!

Good times.

Once we got back home and dried off, we took off for a local July 4th celebration. The kids were running on fumes and were just really hard to handle. We took the kids to the bathroom. R and T of course finished first, so I asked him to take S since the ladies room had just run out of tp and if R takes her, I don't have to see what she's touching with her hands. It's win win. And the men's room never seems to run out of toilet paper. As T and I are waiting, he's shuffling around in the dirt. He's so involved in creating either his own dust storm or doing imitation of PigPen that he's failing to notice that he's kicking dirt and rocks all over the people passing by.

Oh good grief! I calmly explain the situation to him and ask him to stop shuffling his feet in the dirt. Two seconds later? Feet shuffling, dirt flying, people being impacted. I tell him to knock it off. Two seconds later? Lather, rinse, repeat. GAH!

Finally, R and S come back and we walk back to our blanket. We have managed to pick the one spot where all the fireworks explode behind the tree line. Honestly, I thought it looked pretty cool that way.

200 ignored requests for the kids to stop running around and being obnoxious later, we put our feet down and say that we are leaving. We have now officially managed to spoil every single plan we had for the day. Hurrah.

After a brief but loud standoff in the parking lot involving T's angry refusal to leave his door closed (we were in R's car) while the car was in drive, we got to fight 1500+ other people to make it out onto the street. Our ten minute drive home took almost 45 minutes. The kids? They fell asleep within five minutes.

Happy 4th! I'm so glad I didn't make the festive fourth cake. I would have hurled it at someone today, I fear. Possibly myself because...yum! Cake!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I am paying for spending two out of the last three weeks in a small hotel room with the kids.

Every night, one of them shows up in our bedroom and either climbs onto the foot of our bed, into the middle of our bed, or sleeps on the floor of our bedroom. The results of this are that R and I? Are tired. And we are worried about stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night and stepping on an ankle biter. That would be horrible. Beyond horrible. And when we get up and usher them back to bed? They come back. It's like they have a sixth sense of when we enter a deep sleep and army crawl back into our bedroom. It's amazing. And tiresome.

Last night? S came in our bedroom around 3 am. She curled up on the foot of the bed until I got up to go to the bathroom. Then she had to go (which, actually, she really did). I spent the next almost three hours trying to get her back to sleep and taking her to the potty so she could then not actually go. This makes me very, very cranky at 3, 4, or 5 am. When she wanted me to go to the potty with her again at 5:30, R was stirring so I asked him to take her. Well, begged is more like it. S, of course, throws a fit and wants me to take her. If we hadn't had six false alarms in the last few hours, I might (stress on might) have been more sympathetic. Instead? I just rolled over and covered my head with a pillow.

R ended up taking her downstairs since, once again, she didn't have to actually go potty and we didn't want her to wake up T. Of course, she falls asleep on the floor in minutes downstairs and then proceeds to be a big ol' crabapple all day long. Joy!

R had his Masters' swim class this morning, so I plopped the kids in the Y childcare room and proceeded to torture myself, I mean, exert myself on the cardio equipment. I'm not going to lie, it sucked with being all groggy and exhausted from another night of interrupted sleep. It also sucked from having an irregular workout schedule this month.

I'm turning into the kind of gal who gets all old lady crotchety when you mess with her schedule. Or, apparently, the way I fold my laundry. Heh.

Speaking of which, Mom and Richard are going to be here tomorrow-ish for a few days. They are driving to Seattle to see the Boston Red Sox play (I have no idea) and then back all the way across the country to Vermont and then back down to North Carolina. It's going to take them six weeks to do this. It would take me six weeks to recover from that much time in a car.

I should be straightening up the house. I'm not the least bit motivated to do so, and R is trying to be understanding about my reluctance. I'm trying to understand my reluctance. I feel like I clean all the time, and the house? Never seems to stay clean or maybe it's that it doesn't seem to be clean enough.


And on that note? I'm going to bed and hope that R and I wake up as alone as when we go to sleep. And the house? It's all cluttered. Again.