Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Employment -- welcome back to work

Well,

Five years I stayed home and took care of Turbo and Bear, and Drama Girl.
Five years, while I stayed home taking care of them, being the stay-at-home-mom of these kids, I went to school.

I've gotten my masters. I'm finishing up my M.B.A.

And I have a job.

I start in January, and while I'm happy I have a job, truthfully, I have a lot of mixed feelings.

It's not the ideal job, it's not the job I would have wanted to go back to work for, but I am taking it because jobs are quite quite scarce.

It is the first job where there seems to be little amounts of freedom and creativity. They did mention there would be creative latitude in the job, but we'll see.

It's further away than I'd like -- I hate driving at night, and I hate driving in the winter. I'll be driving at night in the winter because the hours are... off-hours. I get off work at 7.

Saying all of that,

It'll be good to make a paycheck again.
I'll still get the kids off to school in the morning.
It seems like a job I can leave at the office.

It's just that, I had jobs before that were cushy, nice, jobs, and I wonder, is this the right job?

Now, clearly, I'm not wondering so much as to turn it down. Not an idiot, here... The second income is going to help us, it's going to be nice knowing I can work, it's a start into a new career that will potentially lead me to exactly what I had before, only in a field I like.... but... I'll miss being a stay at home mom, and I"ll miss having a creative job and I'll miss all sorts of things I'm not aware of right now. I'll certainly miss the freedom!

It's a new thing, on a new road and I have no plans for it. I have no idea where it will lead me, if anywhere. It's an unknown.

Honestly, though, I don't know if I should be receiving congratulations or condolences!!!!

I will, however, be going shopping for new clothes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One of those days

This sums up my feelings today:

Lisa's Mood!

I'm so Angst! It should make my friends proud ;)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Writing writing writing

One thing I've discovered, is when I write, I blog less.

Thus, this blog, is less... ha ha ha ahh... coffeeeeeeeee........

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where have I been?

I am sorry. I know Idisappeared for a few weeks. I know I tend to do that.

This time, it was for reflecting.

There were a few weeks when I stopped doing everything and started thinking instead. Doing and Thinking are both important, but often we spend our lives simply Doing and never stop to actually Think.

I did some thinking, and here's what I came up with:

It's not too late, after all, to do the things I want to do.

It's okay to want two very contradictory things.

You can't have everything you want is true, but it doesn't mean you can't have anything you want.

I am less the river I was, and more a mountain. I still wonder, how'd that happen?

I enjoy cooking. Seriously, I did not know that.

We are paying too much money for too many channels (Yes, we're joining all the rest of the sane folk who are downgrading or canceling their cable!)

I have something special with my little boys, forged because I've stayed home with them for five years. I love that. Love that I COULD do that.

It will take me a long time to find a job in this economy, with my changing career fields. And that's okay.

And most of all....

I think that this crappy economy has taught a lot of us a good many things on need vs. want.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And it's On

So, the election is 'on'

I've already voted, mind you. I live in a state where mail-in ballots and early-voting is allowed, so all the delays and problems other states encounter will mostly be avoided here. Early voting makes sense, even if it's only opening the polls for two or three days instead of just one, but that is not my point. The merits of early voting will sell themselves today.

What I'm on about is tonight.

Election Eve.

Hubby McRed and I have two bottles of wine. We've invited a neighbor who lives without television. We're not sure what she'll be drinking (ha!).

The plan is to eat leek and potato soup with sourdough bread, drink some wine, watch the election, walk away from the election, watch some more, and hopefully, at 10 p.m., pronounce victory.

If victory is not pronounced, well. We'll have to do a few things.

First, go to the liquor store for more wine. It closes at 11.
Second, pack up and head to Canada, the Last American Frontier for Blue State Refugees.
Just don't tell Canada we're coming.
Hate to have them close their borders and all.

I am cautiously optimistic though.

The polls are all predicting a landslide, but polls can be wrong.
So I'm not celebrating early. But I feel slightly confident.

Election Eve.

Happens once every 4 years. Really, I'm surprised they don't make it a Federal day off, well, except for all the poll workers!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Nano writing

November is nano writing novel month!

I've decided to see if I can crank out an obnoxious rough draft in one month!

Stay tuned to see if I do it, go insane, or just give up.

But I want to make it clear, my goal is to establish an absolute habit of writing, not so much the finishing the novel, as the writing at a specified time every day. IF in the habit of doing this, the rough daft of my serial killing vamp gets completed, it's all bonus.

Good luck me.

Lets talk Daylight Savings Time

I understand this actually held a purpose a long time ago, what with farmers and picking and train schedules and whatever other reason it was imagined we should play with time.

But, what is it's purpose today?

It used to be to give me an hours extra sleep in the fall, followed by a depressing loss of an hour in the spring.

But what is it's purpose?

Particularly, to those of us with children, who didn't wake up this morning and go, 'oh, we fell back, I can sleep for another hour?'

So now, not only do I not get my extra hour of sleep, but I get an extra early hour of darkness in the evening.

Bah.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween,,,, trick or treat

I was going to go on about the horrors of sugar and candy, but this is not really the time.

I love Halloween. I love getting dressed up in costumes, though this is the first year in many that I've bothered... I love taking the kids trick or treating.

Candy?

I generally toss it.

For me, it's all about the experience.

Oh sure, the kids eat come of it. But it quickly disappears. I wish more parents would hand out raisins and toothbrushes, but tradition is tradition, and what would costumed kids without overflowing treat bags filled with healthy food do to Halloween? Hmm....

So tonight we'll visit our friends in the 'hood, the homes we know, the people we see every day, and some we don't, but as we'll be right there, it'll be okay, and we'll teach our children that it's okay to knock on people's doors and demand candy one night out of the year.

And why am I not going to complain about the sugar, the excess candy, and the deeper message we're sending our children by letting them ask for treats?

Because life is hard, and can be full of many hard things, and some people have it harder than others, and some have it easier, but right now, we're in some rough times, and a lot of people are having it hard.

Because childhood is short, and adulthood filled with responsibility, concerns, and the knowledge the world isn't such a great place all the time.

Because they are young only once, and they haven't yet learned about how the world really is.

Because I want them to learn to laugh, and to dress up, and play, and be frivolous, and have fun.

Just for one night, let the world be a magical playground.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A great parenting moment -- wasted

"Mom, Mom," said Bear, a slight panic to his words. "I can't find Henry."

Oh no. Not Henry... Henry was an old 'hood dog that the boys loved. He passed away recently, and I gave a very simple, but seeming satisfactory answer as to what happened to him. But now, Bear was looking for him.

I am one who believes in not blowing off these conversations. Children need to understand the world around them, and death is a part of that world, as is life.

I get down on my knees and take his hand.

"Now Bear," I say. "We've had this conversation. Henry is gone."

I'm about to continue.

But the potential Viggo-like neighbor steps in.

"Um, He means Henry, my cat...."

.....


Ah, yes, Henry is also the name of the old cat the boys like to play with....

So I said, "Oh, WELL THEN," and patted little Bear's hand... "maybe he's just hiding from you hon."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Horrifiedly Aghast

Not really sure if Horrifiedly is a word.

But I have a slight confession.

I think I may perhaps find campy vamp movies funny.

We watched Bitten, with that guy from Clerks, you know, real high budget, and um, I want to watch it again because I can't remember laughing that much in a long time.

Now, Iron Man was all good and well, but it was too slick and not plotless enough. It tried to have a plot when really, it would have been better just admitting there was no real one.

The Dark Knight was superb, but, lets face it, not really a comedy.

So,

Me and campy vamp movies.

Who woulda thunk?

Friday, September 26, 2008

The little things they say

So I realize now that one reason my husband and I together is because of the little things, not the big things.

He drives me insane, mind you, quite batty at times... but... it's things like when we first moved here and he said one day, out of the blue... 'You're losing weight, I can tell, it's showing in your face.' And that one comment spurred me on to new efforts... it was REALLY noticeable because he noticed and, one thing about my husband, he doesn't lie, and when he attempts to, it's obvious.

And other things like, like this morning...

We'd had a rough week, his work is getting to him, to me, and to be too much with all his side projects and school and my school and life, yawn, you get the idea, but this morning I took the boys to school and came home and when I came upstairs because he wanted to chat about something he stopped, and said...

"you look kinda sexy today, in a slightly bohemian way..."

And now, I'm in a great mood.

/aw shucks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The boat is sinking! The boat is sinking!

So we're sinking. Well, no, Wall Street is sinking, and apparently, if I'm reading the news right, is doing it's damndest to take the Everyman down with it.

I'm not an economics major, although, apparently, neither are any of the executives working at the big companies that are currently falling, but I am uncertain as to why the 700 billion dollar bailout is necessary. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a plan that will help, but so far, the only reason I can find that explains it, is to 'avoid financial panic.'

Bit late for that.

And, what about the Everyman? It's not like this is going to help the Everyman, bailing out these buffoon companies that, from the headlines this morning, may face angry mobs of protesters demanding pieces of their overblown compensation checks. Because lets face it, even with the bailout going through, and limits on 'compensation,' the checks are going to more than equal people's retirements, retirements that are currently being lost.

So, we need to pass on this great debt to our children and grandchildren, to avoid panic, and a recession?

Haven't we been in a recession?

And can't we, as a nation, come up with a better solution than having the Everyman pay a price the Everyman didn't exact?

I can hear the Everyman asking these questions:

Will OUR debt be forgiven? Will we keep OUR homes? Will we be able to find jobs? Can we relocate Wall Street to another part of the nation, and restaff it with competent people? THIS is what America has come to now? Making the Everyman who's already suffering in an economy of errors, who's already been watching the financial markets warily for some time, wondering why, if we weren't in a recession, things were hard, pay more money they don't have, to bolster the very financial institutions that caused the mistake in the first place.

For shame.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Solution to Wall Street

Give me the $700 billion stimulus package money, and I will personally save the real estate market by buying lots and lots of homes, than refinancing them for the people who lost them... then I'll go shopping and buy lots of consumer goods.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lets all hate HBO together

I like Netflix because I can get entire seasons of shows that I can't be bothered to pay extra money to get on premium channels. For the most parat, I find that premium channels don't really have anything worth watching.

The exception is HBO.

HBO has Band of Brothers (which you can netflix now)
It had the Sopranos (Netflix!)
Deadwood.

And now,

True Blood.

I want to watch True Blood. I was told True Blood would be available on Itunes shortly after each episode aired. Only now, it seems that information is incorrect. True Blood will only be available after the entire series has aired.

So I hate HBO.

And to be fair, I hate cable television in general. There's so few really good shows worth watching, but to watch them, you have to pay for a lot of crap television. There's no a la carte packages, which, frankly, in today's age of media gluttony, really, there should be.

So I hate HBO because it wants to make money and the only way to make money for its programming is to, apparently, put one or two really good shows on, and then expect people to pay extra money and give them one or two good shows with twenty more crappy shows.

Now, Itunes lets you download shows immediately. Sci-Fi offers some shows on Itunes right after airing. Netflix lets you download some videos and shows immediately. But, not HBO shows. No, I have to wait til the series ends, or I can get HBO.

Is one show worth an HBO subscription fee?
Nope.

I can barely justify regular cable.

I think we ought to start a media revolution. Everyone should cancel their premium channel subscriptions and extended cable plans and demand a la carte service.

Lets be done with crappy televison! Lets demand only good shows! Lets make those shows downloadable immediately, because lets face it, that's where the future is going to be. Eventually, these industry giants will collapse under the weight of all their crap and there will only be shows that people actually want to view, all downloaded on itunes, with no cable bills...

Lets all hate HBO, and bring the future that much closer!

Dang it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boys Room, part one



See? I did actually finish a project!


This is the first of the four walls I'm doing in the boy's room... It's all painted, and I added the wooden airplanes and stars I painted...


Remember, these are five year olds!


I will eventually remove the painter's tape. And it's not the final placement. I am spacing the stars so they fill more of the wall and have more space in between. I need to get some ubah-3m adhesive tape stuff for the wood planes.
But hey, the boys' love them!


Monday, September 08, 2008

Brady is out!

I know it's not rational, but I am seriously bummed about Brady's knee injury.

It most likely will keep him out of the season.

He was my guy! He was my favorite player. I loved watching him play, I loved watching football knowing that Brady was the best QB, no matter what some grumpy red heads in the house might say...

...how can football season be the same?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kids in the hood

There was slight drama in the hood yesterday.

I never handle these things well, I just don't.

I go two ways.

I go 'whatever' and let someone else eventually deal with it.

Or I go and say stupid crap and be all cranky and pissy.

I'm sure somewhere there is a middle ground, an appropriate way to not say things in high-pitched whiny ass cranky voices (how I imagine I sound) without doing nothing.

I really need a Teacher voice. I might ask my teacher friend for some pointers.

But it comes down to, in the end, I wouldn't have to say things in whiny cranky voices if people paid attention to their own kids.

So we have kids in the neighborhood that do stupid things. Of course they do, they are kids.

It's what parents are for. Most parents get that parenting is an active thing... some not so much. I feel some of the kids are good kids who'd do less stupid things if there was occasional parenting.

As for the kids not from the neighborhood, well, they usually get bored and leave.

But what is it with signs and kids? Why must children hang on signs, pull on signs, tear signs down? Is it some inner desire to break down the confines of authority and society, or is it just cuz it's there?

When I was 17, I snagged road cones with some friends and we tossed them out the window.
Then, we stole a Stop sign.

It wasn't easy.

We had to settle on snagging some construction signs first -- they were much easier to pull down and take... and it wasn't until a snow storm blew a Stop sign down a few weeks later that my friend and I were able to um, obtain, one for her. I kept the construction signs. It was because in my mind I envisioned a cool urban bedroom with cool urban signage.

We lived in rural New Hampshire. There wasn't really much 'urban' to it.

So my solution for the hood?

Take down the stupid signs before the kids pull them down on their heads, and put in speed bumps so the idiot adults that speed through will be forced to slow down and less likely to hit one of the blissfully unaware kids that ride on their bikes down the middle of the road.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My soul in a mosaic... i guess

Okay,

here is my mosaic:


Go to More Gravy's website for instructions on how to make yours! I would do it for you, but I've been up all night playing facebook scrabble and making silly mosaics!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yay! The Bear is home.

My little Bear is home! For a nice, long detailed account of what I've been doing this week, here...

It was a crazy week, where I learned you can frett away a pound and a half, and that it's possible to forget to eat, even if you are the type that loves food, like I am. Mmm.

It's the sort of week where you're thankful that you know you're neighbors and they don't mind letting your daughter hang out, so you can deal with things that need to be dealt with, knowing she's safe. Or the neighbors that let you carry their half-exhausted Turbo over to their house, dumping him off, bathless (sorry for the stinky toes!) hungry and overtired. The sort of neighbors' who ask how the little Bear is.

And while it wasn't the worst week, there are far worse weeks one could have, the first bit was very scary. The second was chaos. The third was his coming home, and happy.

But now he's home, happy, and a bit skinnier, his baby pot belly is gone! I guess that makes sense. He's alright, and Turbo and Bear are upstairs playing happily, as if he'd never left, as if Turbo didn't have three and a half days without his other half, and only a niggling little cough and some breathlessness remains of Bear's ordeal.

Yay Bear!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Granola Mom

I no longer know what 'being granola' means, and I don't care. I'm way past the age where labels actually matter, despite the media's attempts to label everyone into neat sub-categories... but that's an entry all by itself.

I do know that I was never going to be 'that mom,' you know, the mom that baked home-made snacks for their kids, packed neat little lunches, and made sure everything was somewhat healthy.

Except, I am that mom.

Last year, I left it all to the school system. My daughter wanted to buy lunches. Toward the end of the year, after I began to pay more attention to what Drama Girl ate, I decided I needed to pay slightly more attention. And I read the school menu. That pretty much sold me on the idea that the school lunches just are not nutritious. Oh sure, their are 'nutritious choices' but how many kids do you really trust to make those choices, when most of us, as adults, can't make them?

Yeah.

So this year, I've been packing her lunch and filling it with healthy snacks. The thing is, the healthiest snacks are pricey.

So I baked.

I set aside two hours on Sunday, figuring this is something I plan to do weekly, and baked an entire week's worth of healthy snacks that can be alternated with fruit (which, happily, requires no baking).

And what did I bake?

Honey-wheat muffins with sunflower seeds -- mainly for breakfasts... if you think you're kids won't eat healthy, HA. My sons tracked these muffins down from upstairs and through the paper bags that were concealing them. My only inkling they found and scarfed some down were the crumbs falling from Turbo's lips...

Home-made granola --this sounds a lot more complicated than it is -- it was embarrassingly easy)

Energy bars from that kick ass 'Foods You Crave' cookbook -- with a nice peanut butter layering

And that was it. These snacks and the breakfast muffins will take my kids through the entire week, with a fruit or two tossed in.

So yeah, I'm that mom now.

But you know what? It's cheaper this way, healthier, and it spares my kids the nutritional joke that is the school lunch menu... oh with one exception, because I'm not TOTALLY that mom -- Drama Girl can eat a hideously unhealthy lunch every Friday.

Oh, and if anyone has read Lunch Lessons... let me know.. I"m thinking of picking it up, because it's hard to creatively think up healthy lunches.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How Does My Garden Grow


It's a very small garden --
a container on the back patio garden, to be specific, but, it grows.... maybe not as well as some gardens grows, but it grows enough for me.

It grows...

Beautiful marigolds

Plentiful tomatoes





ready to ripen


Sweet and plentiful basil used quite frequently





a chili pepper plant that's spiced up a chili really nice


Bushy strawberry plants, sans fruit though




Rosemary picked almost bare and mint for yogurt sauces and pho



Oregano for anything and everything



Overflowing flowers

and lovely native blossoms

How does your garden grow?



Does it bloom?


How so?





Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Welcome To Middle School Momhood

Today is the second day of middle school.

I'm a mom of a middle-schooler.

Drama Girl, personally, seems a bit young to me, to be a middle-schooler, but she's the right age, even if she looks younger, and is smaller than the other kids.

So I dropped her off and she disappeared into the throngs of other walking news-flyer ads for J.C. Penney, Justice for Girls, and Kohl's. I lost her rather quickly, and drove home, wondering, where'd all the time go? How'd I even GET to be a mom, much less a mom of a middle-schooler (yes, I know the facts thank you, we're speaking philosophically here) and what happened to the kid I was, and how come, even though I don't LOOK remotely like I used to, what with aging and lines and crows feet and such, sometimes I FEEL like I used to, and if I feel like I used to, than how on earth did I end up where I am rather than where I thought I would be (granted, I never did have a solid grasp on 'where' I would end up).

And the biggest thing is, is it too late then? Not to go back, I mean, to middle school? That was a nightmare. But is it too late to go back to where I wanted to end up, from here? Can I do it?

I don't know.

I want to find out.

Watcha' think?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Tisket, A Tasket, Lets Hear it For Baskets

I love baskets. Baskets are one of the single most useful creations beside the wheel. Seriously. Now, you can have too many baskets laying about looking all cluttery and undecorous, but there is no such thing as too many functional baskets... I have lots of baskets, and it ocurred to me that for every basket I purchase, an area of my house becomes cleaner. Hmmm. I know you're thinking it seems silly to dedicae an entire post to inanimage objects, but these inanimate objects contain clutter, therefore, helping me keep my house clean.
So, in tribute, here are my baskets.
Meet the Baskets



























Dragon Basket -- this fine hanging baskety fellow holds a Dragon Basket -- this fine hanging
baskety fellow
holds a few train tracks and stuffed animals in the boys' room.



This basket is the all-encompassing toy basket. There is no 'seperate bins' because four-year olds are not interested in clearly-defined bins that are toy-specific. What that means is, my boys aren't organized enough to appreciate organizational basketing.
















Except for the train track basket. Tracks MUST have their own basket.











Here we have the hamper frog basket... look, there's a frog! Oh, it's just Turbo.




















This blurry basket holds mom-things. Stay out. All of you. It's my basket. It keeps the sink area clean and free of clutter.


The dog basket... this holds all of Crazy's toys. The boys' 'chore' is to pick up dog toys at night. Every night they rush around the living room picking up dog toys and tossing them in the basket.


Everyone needs a remote-odd-video-laying-around basket.



A tisket, a tasket, a brown tree basket.




The 'Man Basket.' It's not a frou-frou woman's basket. It's pretend-leather, and dark, and manly, and such. Hubby McRed needed his own basket because he kept messing up my kitchen basket. However, I took the picture out. It had (gasp) mail.

The kitchen basket that contains our kitchen clutter. If it overflows, it must be cleaned out. It's close... real close...


My beloved shoe basket. This basket is the most essenial basket in our house. It holds all of the kids shoes and my shoes. The rule is only one pair can remain in the basket. In the winter, I'll get a storage ottoman and line the inside with a towel, for the winter shoes.

I also have a book basket, a papers-I-need basket and a few other storage baskets. I didn't talways have these baskets. And you know what? Before my baskets, my house was even messier than it is now!

So, yes, this is a silly post dedicated to inanimate objects, but I'll be, I need my baskets...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back to the ole writing...

I intentionally took the summer off from my writing. I was getting too stressed, and writing nothing. I spent the whole summer forcing myself not to try to write, to just let things be...

Monday, I'm baaackk. Well, the writer in me is back.

You'll find me whining about my characters, writers block and struggles every now and again, along with the normal whines about how my whole family just so doesn't get it maaann...

I'll be wearing flannels, uggs, and a scowl.

I bet you can't wait!

Out of the mouths of babes


"Mom,"

"Yes, Turbo?"

"Mom, sometimes kids don't need moms. But sometimes kids need moms." (smiles with a four year old's smile)

"Yes, Turbo, sometimes kids don't need moms, but sometimes kids do..."

/sob... waaahhhhh

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dear Snarky School Counselor's Secretary

My daughter has an IEP. She's had one since she was 9. I just would like to clear that straight up.
I am her parent, and I like to be involved. I'd also like to make that clear.

I understand you were in the middle of chatting with your BFF about adopting poor children overseas, and I'm sorry to hear that Ukranians are no longer adoptable, and I realize I'm interrupting your most interesting conversation, at 10:45 a.m. during your workday.

It's just that, when I asked you to take a message for the counselor because I wanted to touch base and have a short conversation with her about my daughter's IEP, you seemed to misunderstand me.
Somehow, you believed I needed a lecture on IEP Process 101.
You explained to me the IEP process, the same one I've been working with since Drama Girl was 9, but thank you kindly, for assuming I never actually bothered to read her IEP. But you didn't take down my message.
You then proceeded to explain how the special education teachers and regular teachers and principles from both schools all met together to have a nice little chat about my daughter and her IEP. I already knew this. It's mandated by law that I receive notice of and invitations to all IEP meetings and reviews, and I'll be damned if I never miss 'em.
I'm sure it surprised you, what me being a parent, and all, that I was disrupting what you perceived to be as sound process.
Anyhow, what you clearly should also know, since you know so much, is that last year, your counselor was in a foreign country, and didn't make my daughter's IEP meeting. Neither did I, although I did send an e-mail and discussed beforehand with her current teachers what I felt were important things that hadn't been dealt with before. The fact your counselor was absent is the reason I'm sitting in your office smiling through teeth that really want to gnash you to precious little bits, trying to get you to give me a piece of paper so I can deal with someone I really need to deal with.

That was all I wanted -- a simple piece of paper so I could write a note to the counselor requesting a brief chat about the transition.
I understand that you are a process person, so clearly caught up in the process that it never occurred once to you that all the while when you were discussing meetings about MY child with counselors and teachers and special education helpers you neglected to mention me, the parent. You seemed to think I was an unnecessary complication. My presence or involvement in the matter unnecessary. Your precious process handled it.
And you still didn't give me a piece of paper.

Well, Snarky School Counselor's Secretary, I'm afraid you've given me the impression we'll be seeing a lot of each other these next three years, so let me start all over and reintroduce myself properly.

I am a mother of a child with an IEP. I care about her education, the help she's getting or not getting, and what goes on during her day at school. I am an involved parent. I am not satisfied with any process that involves my child, specialists and teachers, but not me, the parent. You'll be hearing from me fairly frequently. Try to be less snarky. Oh, thank you, now, for finally giving me the piece of paper. Don't think to toss it. If I don't hear from a counselor soon, I'll be calling Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday... you get the idea.

P.S. By the way, regarding your precious process, let me assure you, no one can spin in and out of process, paperwork and red-tape than someone who's worked ten years in government. I know what process is. It's why I'm damned if I'm going to leave my child to it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Summer Winding Down! Panic! Flee! Deny it!

This may be the first summer in a long time that I'm grumpy about it's inevitable (but not here yet) end. It's not over, but it's winding down.

It's been a GOOD summer for me. Relaxing, enjoyable, mostly stress-free, and filled with oh, FRIENDS, and NEIGHBORS, and CHILDREN to play with my own HORDE. I'm going to try to prolong summer into the very early days of September, but I fear September, for me, has meant the 'the end of summer' for too long. But hey, I can try.

So I've decided to do a wind-down-of-the-summer post.

First is my list of things I've learned this summer.
Following that is the comparison of what I SAID I would do this summer with what I ACTUALLY did this summer. It's not as bad as I thought it would be...

Now here's a list of things I've learned this summer:

  • My neighbors are cool (love the neighbors/friends).
  • I adore amaretto sours, I verily verily do.
  • I have a slight addictive attraction to badminton.
  • I may be more crafty than I thought --I will be blogging about the boy's room and my uber-crafty-cutesy ideas as I do them . It won't get me in a mag, but it SHOULD be cute).
  • It was easy to get rid of all high fructose corn syrup in the house, and follow the Healthiest Kid in the Hood guidelines.
  • My dog really is crazy.
  • My daughter does better with chores, schedules, and no television.
  • The chore chart is uber effective for four year olds.
  • Despite wanting to be cool, I'm really mommish, only without mom jeans -- really cool moms don't do chore charts, thought bubble boards, and obsess over how to get fish oil in their kids...
  • I looove sushi still.
  • I suddenly want jeans embroidered with animals in bright colors emblazoned on my ass -- motivation to drop another size.
Here is April's list of 'things I will do his summer' compared with what I actually did, and if I can finish it by the end of summer (ha).

1. Read insanely long classics

No. I instead delved into the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers and am on Book 4. While I didn't delve into Anna Karenina or Crime and Punishment, I'm thoroughly enjoying this series, and can complete it by the end of summer. It could be a classic, what with it's total passionate and unrealistic love tale, so I can half-count it.

2. Learn how to do a website.

I can do this by the end of summer. I know enough to do a basic website using dreamweaver. I am not sure though, that I will get to cascading style sheets in the next two weeks. I'm moving this to the 'fall' list, if I do one.


3. Learn how to use new fangled camera which allegedly will be my graduation present.

WOO HOO. I did I did. I haven't yet conquered the manual settings, but I love love love this camera. And as soon as Hubby McRed changes out some computer parts, I'll be able to upload photos directly to the main computer, and not just my laptop, which I'm very excited about.

4. Get Bear to go in water.

A success. He is in a regular swim class with Turbo, and has no fear of the water. It's not his favorite thing to do, but he goes to swim class, and enjoys it while he's there. We'll be continuing swim lessons on a once-a-week basis through the fall/winter to keep them moving forward with swimming.

5. Get Turbo to go underwater.

Yes and no. He is doing better at putting his ears and head back in the water, and he's gone under twice, but he doesn't yet do it freely like it's no big deal.

6. Learn to swim, take three.

Um, yeah, maybe we'll be doing that in January again...

6. Help Drama learn multiplication table by heart (she's like, going to middle school... ack)

We'll be working on this next week. I don't know if she will remember it all, but we've made an agreement to work on it the final week before school.

7. Lose Ten Pounds.

Well, I lost a size, but not ten pounds. I did lose a few, but I'm the size I wanted to be by the end of summer, so I count this a success. I have a new goal now, one more size down. I know some people go by 'pounds' but I like going by 'sizes.' If I succeed, by the holidays, I will be at the size I want to be for, like, ever.... bwaahahaha... (and I don't cheat, if I have to suck in my gut, and move things around to 'fit' it doesn't count as 'fitting.'

8. Overcome fear of grilling.

Um, to be honest I totally forgot about this one. I am not afraid of grilling, for some reason, I've never learned the fine art of charcoal grills.

9. Paint two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen.

You'd think... truthfully, I've done a bedroom and a half. I'm working on the second bedroom now. I find it doubtful that I'll paint the kitchen, but it's possible I could get to one of the bathrooms. I'll be moving this to the fall list.

10. Raise beautiful container tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.

Well, my peppers and tomatoes are going strong, and I should get a decent crop out of them, but only one! The strawberries, alas, have borne no fruit. The problem, I think, with the strawberries is they keep sticking out runners, rather than growing fruit. I've gotten two teeny strawberries out of them. The plants are strong, but no fruit. My basil, rosemary, oregano and mint are doing well, but I had to ditch the cilantro and thyme.

11. Explore the green way walking trails (some of us have 'walking down walking trail' issues)

Um, yeah. It was like, too hot, and I'm a whiner in the heat. We'll do some of these in the fall with the boys and the dog... maybe.

12. Find cooler music to listen to.

Ha. Success. Hubby McRed couldn't take my dated music and updated my Ipod with Portishead and some other cool music I like a lot but can't tell you the name of.

13. Give up Diet Coke, take 323.

Done. All hail iced tea. It's got caffeine but isn't nearly as bad for you as diet coke.

14. Figure out how to program cell phone.

I can do this in an hour, but I just can't be bothered, but I want to change my ring tone and figure out how to email pics so I'll be doing this before the end of summer.

15. Keep house clean enough to enjoy summer.

Success! It's been 'clean enough' to enjoy summer.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Countdown to School

13 days left before school starts for Drama Girl.

20 days left before school starts for Turbo and Bear.

This means:

6 a.m. wake up calls (waah)

Smoothies, oatmeal bars and other wholesome, pre-thought-out breakfasts.

Time to make school lunches.

A new more rigorous, scheduled routine.

But most of all?

Two hours and 20 minutes of MOM ALONE IN THE HOUSE TIME.... WOO HOOOO

Now, here's a short list of things I will NOT be doing in that alone time:

Grocery shopping.
House cleaning.
Laundry.
Chores of any sort.
Stuff for the children.

This is a short list of things I WILL be doing in that alone time:

Writing.
Reading.
Visiting various coffee shops to write, or read.
Shopping for me.
Dancing around the house singing.

You get the idea.

AND it goes without saying...

I'll be missing the 'hood posse...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Lahdeedah's Hood Post

So The Munki and Me and Helping Garden Gnomes have both done a hood post.

Here's mine.

I love my 'hood man.

Okay, so lets clarify that a bit.

This is a nice little high-density community with two common areas (and next year, allegedly, a community garden... woo hoo!). This past spring and summer, the place has been overrun by hooligan children from the age of 1 up. Throughout this past summer, I've discovered Bear really really really really likes a little blonde girl, Turbo likes her to, just not really really really, he just really likes her.

They've also begun to acknowledge the existence of the 16 month old little girl.

And they play. Oh how they play. They run barefoot through the grass, dig in the trees, vroom on the little sidewalk which they are sure is JUST for scooters, chalk and skateboards and run into the 'castle' (gazebo) or just flop on the grass and look at the clouds. You can hear them laughing, giggling, fighting, crying, laughing and giggling in turns. It's great. It's what summer is meant for. Not being bored indoors moping and driving your mom/dad/whoever crazy. But being outdoors, barefoot in the grass, smothered with dirt and grime and little boy/girl sweat, and happy.

I love how some of the adults play badminton occasionally (seriously, folks, what's up? I mean, I count it as my aerobic exercise...). I love how we had a little bbq gathering with the neighbors. I love that I actually KNOW my neighbors, and their kids, and dogs, and who belongs to who and where, and all that jazz. I especially love that we all get along and that over the course of spring/summer they've morphed from neighbors to friends.

I love that on the other end of my area, the neighbors are friendly, and sweet, and know my boys and my girl and are tolerant of the pesky little fellas. I love how they know my dog and when she escapes, they catch her, and find it amusing. I love the good naturedness of them. I know the 'circle peeps' don't really know the other end of my row, but they are nice, generous people who love seeing the neighborhood alive, as long as the kids don't kill their flowers, maim the trees, or kick their dogs...

And as for Helping Garden Gnomes observation on the particular neighbor who shall not be named, well, I understand everything she wrote, and she's right. She's negative, and she always wants to come out occasionally and make her presence known, and sometimes she'll stop you and give you some negative energy, and sometimes, I swear I'm sure it's my imagination, but sometimes it seems she's beaming it out from her windows with secret/not-so-secret glares, but it's okay. If you think about it, it's rather silly. Because we don't have to return it (be the force Garden Gnome, feel the happy la la zen flow through you... hee hee). Yes, there will always be negative people, and occasionally, when they feel everyone is tuning them out, they make their presence known, but it's okay, because there's a group of happy positive people, and negative people aren't so upset with everyone else as they are with themselves. The only solution is to trivialize it, which I think I shall do, by simply smiling, and keeping it where it belongs, on her end.

And I hate giving this much space on a positive post to the negative side, but I feel it should be said, I want to put it out there, to make it as meaningless as possible. I don't want a loud intrusive negative brat to ruin our happy hood parade. So I've said it, I'm done with it, and all the glares, groans, and 'accidentally loud' comments will thusforth be ignored, until such time as an occurrence occurs in which I have to deal directly. And thusforth we shall not speak of the neighbor who shall not be named lest by speaking of said neighbor, we ourselves get sucked into the um, big negative energy vat in the ground... cuz um, it's filled with molten lava...oh how it burns...

And so, I just want to say,

I love my 'hood.
I love the circle peeps who became my friends.
I love the tree peeps who are great neighbors.
I love the silly dogs of the 'hood with their various crazy personalities. (Seriously, a french bull dog who thinks he's a mastiff? for reals?)
I love how my boys have kids to play with.
And I love amaretto sours when someone else makes them.

Tah!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Obnoxiously Healthy Lunch

My new fave book:

The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood.

I borrowed the book, Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood from my neighbor, and as soon as my copy comes in, I'll return it, I swear... really... I promise...

.. but I'm totally sold.

Eating healthy is vital for kids. None of this 'they're young, it's fine crap anymore.
Saying that, I like the 80-20 or 85-15 rule, 80 to 85 percent healthy, 15-20 percent 'anything.' Which, lets be honest, is pretty darned good.
It's not easy. But I've started 'going healthy' a ways back (last summer I made huge progress) so it's a bit easier to take the next step.
We eat way lots more veggies. Less fast food. More salads. Now, I am checking labels for high fructose corn syrup and numbered dyes. I'm making healthier snacks.
I'm making obnoxiously healthy lunches for my kids.
And you know what?

They don't mind.

See?


I cut up some fresh veggies, tossed in some arugula and red onions, cut up some tofu and put out some cheese.
My tip here is: to make it easier for the 'next' time, cut up/shred all the veggies and put the leftovers in a plastic bag... that way, the next time, there's no chopping.

Here are their tortillas: I bought the uber large ones by mistake... ooops, so I cut them in half.

This is the end result.


See that nice, bubbly cheese? And check out the overdose of zuchini on Turbo's half. Bear was all about the tofu and carrots. Yes, I said tofu.

And even the big kids like it... here's Drama Girl, finally getting that health food can be good food.

And you know what?

It was ridiculously easy. The boys loved putting on their own toppings. And there isn't anything in that entire meal that is bad for them. Even the sauce doesn't have the High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFC).

If I can do this, anyone can.

Extra health hint for free:

And snack time? What do you do with snackers?
Put out a bowl of 'snack whenever you want' items in it: stash with carrots, bits of rice cakes, apples and fruit, raw veggies, anything you don't mind them eating. And don't worry, they'll rarely get to the bottom of the bowl, but if they do? If you have power snackers? Well, raw veggies are near impossible to 'overeat' and just limit the fruits!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chore Chart Extreme

Okay, here it is.

The ULTIMATE chore chart...


Be amazed, be very amazed... just not at like, how I didn't do such a good job with the whole cutting straight thing. You can be amazed at what foam board, foam paper and velcro can do...

We've got your basic themes:
Sun = Day = What we are doing that day.
Moon (it DOES look like a moon...) = night = what we do at night.

Behavior = what we want to be doing or not doing.
Chore/Play is interchangeable for what is next.
Now = what we are doing now.

And the little charts next to it all? The sticker tally! Woo hoo! Stickers = Treat cards = Varying treats!!! Woo hooo I want a treat card! Okay, I really am fine.

Now, check these babies out... Did I mention that I had Turbo and Drama help with their chore chart? It made them love it even more. The colors? Pink and pastel lavender? They also picked out...

Now these babies, well... each 'task' you do gets you a point, which goes in the point bank. We clear the point bank out and trade points for stickers at night. This is because they are OBSESSED with geting 'points' or poker chips. So I bought these wooden box things at Michaels for $1 a piece and let them paint their own...



I then stamped a happy Wow and Amazing stamp on them.

I am giddy with my craftiness tonight.

It doesn't happen very often, successful crafting and me...

Chore Chart

The Ultimate Chore Chart will be created today.

BWAHAAHAHAA BWAHAHAHHAAA

My kids will do chores and behave, all for poker chips in the hopes they can get a train...

Soon, my Empire of Poker Chips Will be Complete...

...

and then I will start on my next Conquest.

I will create 'cards' and put them in 'collections' and my neighbors and friends will scurry around endlessly, hoping to get full collections of cards so they can get....
...
more cards.

Oh wait, that's PackRat... Nevermind.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mom has HAD it. Like, yeah, totally... in all caps...

Before I begin, those of you with children under 4, look away. Don't read. It doesn't apply to you.
This is about cleaning, and any woman with a child or children under 4 who has a clean home needs counseling, because no sane woman with a child under 4 can maintain a clean home for more than, maybe, half a day, tops.

For the rest of us, or for those who wonder what's coming Bwwahhaaa, well, this weekend, MOM HAS HAD IT.

And I hate using 'Mom.' I like to pretend I have an identity that isn't so close to Moo or Ma'am, or Mumu. Something about the 'mmm' sound. Anyhow, LAHDEEDA has had it. Okay? I have HAD it.

I am not a 'neat' person by anyone's standards. My OCD 'can pick a minute jelly stain on the wall from 30 paces away' guy, Hubby McRed, and I have come to an uneasy peace. He avoids the kids' rooms, my desk, the laundry room and the closet if it's messy, alone. This does mean I have to occasionally get him his clothes, but whatever works. The rest of the house I try to keep well, at least clutter free and swept. I'm not so good at vacuuming, but in a prior incarnation, Hubby McRed was the God of Vacuuming, and nobody, I mean NOBODY can vacuum to the perfection he can... the straight 'freshly vacuumed' lines that are so neatly parallel to each other, the way the carpet stands up, cheering, at the end... it's a skill.

Anyhoo...

I had the house clean for a week. Sunday to Friday. We weren't even home most of Friday. Yet, somehow, upon waking on Saturday morning, I see...

Dishes to the ceiling.
Counters filled with wrappers and dirty spoons, leftover food cans, cilantro on the cutting board...
I move to the dining area... my eyes sweep over an un-wiped-down table, crumbs the size of whole bread loaves on the floor, a yogurt stain mocking me in it's peachy little way.
I scan past it to the living area and there's the dog bed, ruffled up into a ball. The couch pillows askew and ascatter. Dog toys everywhere. The ottomon blanket twisted. Oooh. Was I upset.

So I went up the toy-laden stairs into the hall of trucks and cars. To the laundry room (yeah, it's upstairs, I know, sooo cool) with the pile of 'tween girl clothes hanging out of an open dryer (seriously, do you have to wash your sneakers?) and the cat food all over the floor. I go look into Drama Girl's room, where the rule generally is clothes stay in the closet and nothing is on the floor, and discover her floor littered with, well, Tween stuff.

This is all BEFORE my first cup of coffee.

I glare at Hubby McRed. I can't help but think if we'd GONE to that playgrounds cafe this morning, I wouldn't have quite had it. I'm sure somehow it's all his fault. I mean, I see red beard hairs in the sink... he's not innocent...

I drink two and a half cups of coffee... and discover MORE dishes have been made. TWO dishes to make one bowl of oatmeal. Why?

So I exploded.
And created my own universe. It's like, cool. Life has just begun on one of the planets I accidentally created, and on another planet, they are wondering if they were created intentionally or if life was a haphazard accident.
I spent some time creating order in my new little universe.
Then I returned to my house.

I made a DECISION that ENOUGH was ENUFF.

I informed the Bear and Turbo that they need to clean the hall.
I told Hubby McRed I was cranky so he could hide.
Then, I sent Cinderel.... I mean Drama Girl to the sink.
I had her unload the dishwasher, and then, had her rinse EVERY dish in the sink and EVERY dish overspilling the sink. I had her do it properly, (I was checking) and to then load the dishwasher.
She was indignant, and attitudey, and I told her the truth.

"Perhaps, if you understand how much work I have to do because you don't rinse your own dishes or put them in the dishwasher, or because you just casually use three bowls, six spoons and seven glasses just to make one meal, perhaps you'll appreciate the effort, and you know, STOP MAKING SO MANY MESSES!"

The boys have 'dog toy' duty. They are responsible for putting the dog toys away and taking the toys upstairs after they've played with them. They also have to clear the hall of their toys. This week, they will be doing their new chore: helping unload dishes.

They required some prodding, but it's expected. They are um four.

Drama girl though, well, she's DRAMA. She whined and moaned and though she worked, it did sound like she was being tortured. She calmed down though when Hubby McRed told her the more she moaned and whined and yelped about it, the more we'd give her to do. I was ready to gag her, for all the whining, have you EVER heard an 11 year old whine?

But Hubby McRed took the rags out of my hand.
"You don't understand," he said. "To her, this is torture. I remember dishes and doing them. It's awful, they just pile up, and it seems like they go on for eternity. This is the WORST CHORE for a kid... hey, there are some dishes up here, lets go bring them down..."

It may have been cruel, but it was worth it...

And the whole time I was trying to put into words just WHY besides having a greater understanding of what her obliviousness does, she should do chores, Hubby McRed stepped in with a surprisingly good reason. I mean, I knew the reason, he just had a better way of putting it...

"Drama Girl," he sighed. "You do chores because you're part of the family. Everyone does their part. Doing chores teaches you to respect the work that goes into being part of a family. By doing chores, you become a more responsible respectful person. It makes you a BETTER person. If you never did any chores and you never worked, you wouldn't value anything or care or respect anything. It's not just about doing chores because we don't want to do them. Although we don't. Do you think your mother likes doing dishes every day? And by the way, you and your brothers are doing the dishes every day now..."

See? Wasn't that insightful of him?

And to prove his point, he pointed out who the polite kids were, the kids we liked, that were respectful, well-behaved and liked for who they were... they were all kids we knew who had chores. Then he pointed out the kids that had no chores (Seriously, I have no idea how he knew this...) and asked how she thought they behaved.

Well. It was a winning closing argument.

After her bout with the WORST chore EVER, she did her normal daily chores and then realized she had the whole afternoon to play. See, it wasn't so bad doing chores.

The kicker? Because the universe has lately been very good about reinforcing my points... she knocked on her friends' door, two polite boys that live in our hood... what did they say?

"We'll be out in a half hour. We have to finish our chores..."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shady Tree Park

A week or so ago, I posted about the Burning Stones Park. I mentioned we would be headed to Shady Tree Park.



Shady Tree Park is older, which explains why the trees are big enough to provide shade. Nothing like a New England canopy, or the tall ever-aspiring-higher trees of the Northwest, but, tall enough and wide enough for some shade.

Since the entire point of this post is about the shady tree park, you'd think I'd have taken some pictures of the soft green grass and said shady trees. You'd think.

Anyhow, trust me, the grass is soft and green, and the trees are shady.

But the kids? The kids were still hot.
And brave. Too brave.
But at the end of the day, despite some drama, and an unfortunate bloody-nose incident Cutie suffered, it was a good shady day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hot Diggidy Dog

Oh dear.

It is July, and can someone please tell me, where the school supply lists are this year?

I can't seem to find mine for my daughter, and while I'm certainly in no rush to send Drama off to Middle School and introduce Turbo and Bear to pre-Kindergarten, sometimes, I like to look at the school supply lists.

It makes me happy, especially during these dog days of summer (who knew the Romans blamed the constellation Sirius for the hot, oppressive days between July and August?). And these are the dog days of summer... too hot for my liking. The sun just sort of beats down on you and every breeze is the sort that brings heat and fire and misery. Why, it's a wonder I didn't just fall down halfway through my walk with Crazy, what with all the hot winds and burning sun.

And perhaps, perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but not by much. It's dog-panting weather out there, and no rain in sight except for an overly optimistic rain cloud last Saturday night that finally dispersed.

Oh I know, I know, waah waah waah, I live in Colorado, the dog-days of summer pass as quickly as they go, but I live in the moment, and let me tell you, this moment is hot, oppressive and the reason why I will never live in the Southern Hemisphere. Unless it's like, on the beach, or in one of the micro-climates where somehow it never gets above 75.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Burning Stones Park


Here is Bear and Turbo at the Burning Stones Park, also known by its proper name, Sandstone.



It's one of the uberest parks I ever did see.


But there's one teensy eensie small problem. They did such a great job with this park, the open spaces, the huge playground contraptions, the kiddie area to die for, the big kid area, the mini-climbing wall, the rocks to run around in, why, heck, they even have a water feature.


Here's Turbo going down the closed slide that's part of the stone-theme.


The bridge to the right connects it to an ubah-playset.


But...

There are no trees.


Oh, there are trees, you can see them off in the distance. But they aren't shaded trees, and they aren't anywhere near the play area.

This means that in the summer time, the time most children are seen at parks, the kids just boil. And, more upsetting, the moms boil, too. I don't know where you are on the 'enjoy boiling' scale, but I hate the heat with a great passion that requires I live in places where summers are either short or non-existent. Now, of course, Summer here will never end, but it will get cooler... and I'm fine with that.

But with this melanoma breeding ground of a playground, I am not fine. Because as much as I love taking Turbo and Drama there, and as much as they love going there, and as much as the water feature is neat, and despite how much sunscreen I lather on their little non-burning bodies (seriously, am I the ONLY one that didn't get the nice Italian skin? wtf?) it just isn't enough. The sun beats down til sweat rains down their foreheads and their pores open up and flood their skin.

See, here is Bear and Turbo boiling in the summer sun.

Which is why, next week, rather than go to this lovely park, we are going to a tree-lined park... a nice, cool, shady place where squirrels can be seen climbing trees and occasionally, one imagines, someone gets bombed by bird poop.

There will be photos...

...of the park. I am not so lucky to catch bird-bombings.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

SLACKER

Wow,

What a slacker I've been.

I can't help it. It's summertime. I have the right to be lazy.

Plus I'm addicted to the Twilight series, so that's been keeping me up.

Can we all say, wow, it's July?

And listen, summer isn't FULLY over, there's still July and August. Half of August if you're in Colorado and you have kids. But, July is a VERY LONG MONTH.

So don't fret. You still have time to languish away at parks, lakes, sandy reservoirs and coffee shops.

It's not time to be sad or panic yet. Why, heck n crap, I bet the summer weather lingers on into September!

There's STILL MANY DAYS AHEAD TO ENJOY....

And I will not mention fall or cool weather or anything until at least August. Even though it's my favorite season, and I'm having crazy Fall urges to nest and be cozy and make pies and cross stitch and buy school supplies.

I just... can't...help it.... make.... it.... stop....

It is STILL SUMMER.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer is Over


Oh, I can hear you now, all arguing, disagreeing, but the FOURTH is just around the corner, there's TWO WHOLE MONTHS LEFT.

Well, sorry to correct you, but no, no there aren't.

The Fourth of July marks the end of summer. Especially in Colorado, but elsewhere as well.

You mark my words. The Fourth of July will end, we will all return to our daily summer lives full of gooey potato salad, slimy slaw and greasy dripping burgers or chicken, and a nagging ringing in the ear from the fireworks, thinking summer is now FULL BLOWN WOOTXOR.

How wrong we'd be.

You see, NEXT weekend, there will be sales.
Back to school sales, to be precise.

You'll walk into Target to discover that they've set up the back-to-school bins. I love the back to school bins. I get positively giddy whenever I see them. I buy myself stuff from them, just to get into the mood. Wal-Mart will have it's aisles all done up, and then, the ads will start to come in the Sunday paper, on the television, and your kids, my kids, all kids, will shout 'TURN IT OFF' and run screaming, because... it's Back To School Time.

The first lines in the battle for Back To School Shopping will be drawn the weekend after the Fourth of July. From office supply stores to Target bins, from Microsoft to Apple, from Justice and Limited Too to Abercombie and Fitch, the lines... are drawn.

So, as a parent, you're thinking, YES, and "how, seriously HOW, can we prolong this 'back to school' feeling?"

Here are some tips.


Start shopping for your child's school wardrobe now. Just buy some things that will be a necessity, for Drama girl, it's jeans from Justice (which is now allowing you to shop online as of July 28th, for parents who despair of Tween Trash clothing, check them out, they aren't half-bad). (Note, they are owned by Tween Brands, which owns the Limited Too) Then, a couple of weeks later, buy a couple of outfits. This prevents the kids from buying an entire wardrobe spur of the moment that they'll hate in two months. Buying the stuff in a few, shorter trips guarantees they will mostly like what they buy.

Prepare your child for the school day schedule. Oh this is the fun part. Start waking them up earlier by 30-minute increments until, a week before school, they are on the school day wake/sleep routine. Think this is cruel? Well yah, but you'll thank me come that First Day of School wake up time.

Get the supplies now. If you have 'the list.' The list is the entire supply requirements for your child's grades. If you get them now, you can avoid injury and foul play at the various supply bins mid-August (which, btw, is when Colorado kids go back to school... Colorado for the Win!).

Start talking about your fall plans. This one drives the kids crazy. But, they cry, it's SUMMER. This is your opportunity to show them the calender. Yes, dears, but look, it's ALMOST school time! Save this for the third week in July, or first week in August, depending on your child's school start time. And don't get too carried away. This is how shopping for Christmas Presents in August starts, and really, there's no need for that.




Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Meet Jose

This is Jose.


Dodge Durango, Gas Guzzler, Carrier of Cargo, Deliverer of Children.

The boys named him Jose.

He has been a member of this family since the boys were born, oh those long four and a half years ago...

... and if you happen to know where those long four and a half years went, please let me know, I'd really like some of them back...

Anyhow.

Jose carried this family from the East Coast to the West Coast to the good ole' Colorado range. At least, I think it's a range. Or the frontier. Either way, it's Colorado and we have mountains, cattle and ranges.

Jose is currently out of favor with the country, gas prices rising and all, but we love Jose, and we'll keep Jose, as long as Jose lasts, which should be a pretty long time.

The thing about Jose though, he's always dirty. Seriously, the guy is a pig. And clutter junkie. Oh, the things he collects in his back seats, the food he munches on practically non-stop on every drive, and seriously, how long must the wet-dog scent last? It was months before we stopped smelling regurgitated goldfish. Don't even get me started on his Diet Coke and Starbuck's addiction...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Final Five.... Pounds

I'm there.

I have talked for some time, but not here, about the Eternal Ten.... those mysterious final ten pounds that you just need to lose, but that won't budge, no matter what you do. Oh sure, the Eternal Ten mock you, maybe letting you go down three, only to up back three and a half, snickering and mocking and pointing, yes, those Eternal Ten Pounds...

Five pounds ago, I was there.

I finally realized that for the Eternal Ten to give way, I needed to eat a bit less... Coffee Heath Bar Ice Cream, I abjure you, Starbuck's Frappucino's, Cinnamon Dolce Latte's and Cinnamon Bread, mourn you. Hubby McRed's Hidden Stash of Peanut M&M's, I pretend I don't know where you are...

I also walked a bit more.

Chasing run-away toddlers also helps.

Then, the Eternal Ten gave way to the Final Five.

I hit the Final Five last night, but thought my scale was broken. I mean, after all this time, how could I have finally lost those 1.6 pounds that would end the stale-mate between me and weight loss? The scale has registered at the same weight for so long, surely, it's just that the battery died...

So I checked it with the gym scale while dropping my son off for his swim class (You didn't think I went to, like, work out, did you?) and it turns out it's not broken.

Welcome to Lahdeeda's Final Five -- the Personal Struggle To Not Eat Coffee Heath Bar Ice Cream.

I'm now determined to hit my target weight by fall... those Final Five will give way in the next two months or else.

I'm so giddy, I could munch on a celery stick.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I've got a runner

Note: Season is a new cast member, and is a neighbor named after a season. Real vague, I know...Sweetie is a cute blonde pre-schooler that rules the neighborhood with blue eyes and a mischievous smile.

"Poor Season," I'd say to Hubby McRed.
"She's always off chasing that running toddler of hers," and I'd point out the window to the blur that was Season, off chasing her running toddler down the sidewalk past our window.
I'd shake my head. Oh, poor thing, I'd think. But, well, he does keep her in shape. (She's quite the little hottie, and I say that with lots of green envy).
"Tsk Tsk. He can even open the doors now. That's how he does it. She'll need to get higher locks."

And then I'd go back to watching The Deadliest Catch, tsking tsking about runaway children.

Then Turbo got his rocket pack.

One day, when I said 'come on, it's time to go home' he fired it up and took off. It'd been awhile since I used my rocket pack, and for some reason, Bear took off too. I chased Turbo, since he's the one with the rocket pack. He went around the corner and out of our little 'hood, to the neighborhood street and was about to fire off a booster into the overgrown weed field that leads to the bus depot and the street. A nice little ten year old asked if I needed help catching the rocket boy. I said no, booked it in flip flops, quite a feat alone, you should try it sometime, and caught him.

Then I back-tracked to Bear, found him hiding in bushes, pulled him out, spanked both their booties (Spare me the no-spanking rule, lines MUST be drawn) and walked two crying preschoolers back home.

I thought it was over. We had a talk. There was a spanking, but no.

Second time we're outside, Turbo chased a bunny with Bear and Sweetie. Bear came back, Turbo and Sweetie wandered down the sidewalk. I YELLED at Sweeite and Turbo to stop. This was more to alert Sweetie's parents that I found them and they were WAY beyond the boundary. But then I had a dilemma. Sure, Sweetie stopped, but Turbo, he fired up his rockets....

I caught up to Sweetie, what to do what to do, well, I'm certainly not going to leave a pre-schooler alone on the side-walk, so I said 'You're coming with me, honey' picked her up and took off after Turbo, who DID listen to me when I said "NO THAT"S A ROAD" and instead went around the block, to be intercepted by Sweetie's Dad.

There was speaking, spanking and tears.

And today, new boundaries for the Turbo.

I've confiscated his rocket pack.

As for Season? Well, she was last seen booking it around the corner of our house after dark...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Meet Drama Girl

Here is Drama Girl....


She doesn't look like a pre-tween there does she? Trust me, we're in full tweendom mode. And I know you can't see her face, but truthfully, this photo contains the essence of Drama Girl. She is in a place that none of us want to return to, if we're honest, or our memories are intact. There is just so much...Drama.

Next year she hits the middle school years. She'll be mixed in with the angsty seventh and eight graders, but there's no real way to solve the sixth grade conundrum, not really. You just have to go through it, and she will, with angst, drama, Emotion. Send help.

See that smile though? See it?
Remember it, because over the course of the next three years, it's going to disappear into that "i'm more bored than death" expression.

And if you want to know how I really feel about my daughter, here you go.