Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dear Hulu. Thank you for the memories.

My daughter is a Hulu fanatic.

She loves being able to sit on her computer and watch shows. Kids shows, of course, its not like she's just surfing the web and watching any ol' thing. Most of the time. But the best part is, she isn't watching just any ol' kid shows- she's enjoying the very same ones that I remember watching as a child.

It started with Rocky and Bullwinkle. Sure, that is a show that was on long before my time... but I remember enjoying those same episodes with my dad. Next, she stumbled onto Woody Woodpecker. Remember him? He's obnoxious... and not really how I remember him- but I guess things are different now. Now that her and her brother are expert Woody laughers- it was time to help move her onto the next shows.

Felix the Cat, Pink Panther, Casper the Friendly Ghost, ... all great oldies. As I type, Fat Albert is Hey Hey Heying in the background. And she loves to mimic the funky words and phrases they use! It is rather comical watching my 5 year old daughter wander around talking like a male teen from the early 80's! Flash backs, man... flash. backs.

I'm going to throw in my own little promo here and say, if you haven't ventured onto the Hulu site before- now is a fine time to start. Think back to your favorite childhood memories and introduce them to your child. Who knows what great stories it'll bring back- but I promise... it'll be a great time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Identity Theft

I volunteered in my son’s kindergarten class this morning. My job was to sit at one of the activity centers and work on an activity with three or four kids at a time.

I’ve volunteered a few times this year, and by now have gotten to know just a few of the kids. But often, the childrens' names still escape me, especially if it’s not one of my son’s friends and if I don’t know his or her parents.

Such was the case with Hannah Montana, the spunky brunette who showed up wearing a sequined pink tee with said logo. I figured that rather than ask her for her name, I’d be manipulative about dragging it out of her.

I was handing out the activity sheets and came around to her. “Here you go, Hannah Montana.”

I was met with giggles and huffiness. “My name is NOT Hannah Montana!”

“Sure it is. It says so right there on your shirt.”

“No, that is NOT my name! It’s just a costume!”

“But it SAYS so, right THERE! Stop being silly, Hannah Montana.”

The little brunette is now giggling profusely and her voice is escalating. “No, I said it’s just a costume! My name is not Hannah Montana!”

I sigh in exasperation. “Look, of COURSE that is your name because it is ON your shirt. Just like my name is on my shirt.” I point to the sticker from the front office that says “Volunteer” on it. “See? My name is Volunteer and your name is Hannah Montana. That’s so easy!”

Now they’re all into the game. “Your name is NOT Volunteer!”

“Wait a minute. I know my name, man. How can YOU tell me that my name is not Volunteer when I say that it is? And besides, see? On my shirt.”

Three of them answer, in unison.

“Because your name is Samuel’s Mom!”

And that is how my identity was stolen.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beer Pong - Poison Your Peers

*in affected Martha Stewart voice*

Hosting a party that will have you waking up with a bad case of the Oh-No’s is a time-honored college tradition. Bored, underage and irresponsible drinkers the world over have played drinking games for years, because alcohol poisoning is so entertaining. The secrets of success are massive amounts of alcohol and reckless abandon. You can get your friends drunk, or you can get your friends DRUUuuUUuuNK. What better way to do this than to play Beer Pong?

If you haven't got your own table, a cherry-wood closet door can be transformed into a wonderful Beer Pong Table in just a few short hours.

First, acquire a cherry-wood closet any means necessary. I got this one by inviting myself into the home of a friend with cherry woodwork, knocking her over the head with my chartreuse Everyday ball-peen hammer and lifting it while she was passed out. *wry smile*
Once you've gotten it home and wiped the fingerprints off the hammer, remove the hardware on your new cherry-wood door.

Next, simply paint circles on the top surface of the door at the appropriate points with a sable brush and acrylic paint. I use a simple, antique compass I found at the most pretentious shop in Turkey Hill. I find if I use it without being inebriated myself, I make the most perfect circles.
Now, lacquer the top of the beer pong table, making sure the strokes go with the grain, of course, for a better rebound.

Once the finish is dry, I find that a grosgrain ribbon attached with decorative upholstery tacks really brings the whole thing together, adding that special touch.

Everyone should have a table like this at their next drunken gathering.

The Beer Pong's a good thing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where Do We Learn to Mother?

I know that many who would argue that mothering is a natural skill, inborn rather than learned. I agree - but there are necessary skills and sage wisdom that every mother acquires. Hence, my question - Where do we learn to mother?

Much of mothering is trial and error. It incorporates every general field of education, in an interesting harmonic balance. Management, Bookkeeping, Cooking, Medicine, Fashion, Music... to name a few. However most mothers have "mommy inspiration", a picture in their head of what their ideal version of motherhood is. Some of this probably comes from observing our own mothers, or the mothers of our friends. I am willing to bet that it is equally through both positive experiences ("That was great! When I have kids, I'll do that!") and negatives experiences ("I would Never do that to MY kid!"). That is where most of my parenting inspiration comes from. Television cannot be overlooked, either, though. How many women of a past generation looked at June Cleaver as a role model? Watching shows like "Jon and Kate Plus 8" and "18 Kids & Counting" or other parenting related shows, is relevant here as well. I don't want to emulate either Kate Gosselin or Michelle Duggar but I've learned things from them that I would consider to be essential! Experience dealing with children before having one of my own, I consider to have been an essential part of learning to parent.

I was entrusted with the care of four little boys ranging from 2, 5,6 & 9 years old when I was 16. The oldest was a great help to me. He was very levelheaded and enjoyed helping out with grownup tasks. The middle two both had mental issues - ODD, ADHD and the 5 yr old would later be diagnosed as Bi-Polar. The baby was just that - a toddler. He was the light of my life. Little did I know that from then on, I'd help my best friend raise him, while their parents were pursuing a musical career (not famous, but really talented - they teach now). They weren't the best parents, but they're far from horrible. I don't necessarily agree with all of their parenting choices, but that is part of the reason they influenced me so much. Who leaves two 16 year old girls alone for a weekend with 4 little boys!?

I learned to cook, do laundry and clean - it was expected of me. I also learned better manners, and actual proper table manners. They held their children to a higher standard than my parents did. Respect is a major thing in their household - "Yes, Ma'am, No Ma'am...etc". I learned not to slouch, let my mouth sit agape or talk over people - unacceptable behaviors that my parents ignored. I also learned an important lesson - how to behave in a manner contrary to your personality if that is what is expected of you. They also taught me when to hold my tongue, how to manage a household, and how to care for a very sick child. When the littlest one's appendix nearly burst, and he had complications from surgery I had to pack his wound with gauze and change the bandages when I cared for him. It made me love him even more.

My adopted parents were not afraid to bring up any topics with us. My best friend and I were often engaged in thought provoking conversations about politics, sex and other adult things - not lecturing, but conversing. They challenged us to think for ourselves. This definitely helped me become a more mature person (as if being thrown in charge of a household, didn't!) and to define who I am. They didn't hide things from us, but instead used real life lessons (no matter how awkward, difficult or painful to discuss) in order to educate us. I love and highly respect both of my friend's parents. From the time that I became an extended part of their family, they treated me more like an adult than my parents do even to this day. I hope to have a similar relationship with my son.

The children themselves taught me the most lessons. The oldest boy was mindful and smart, but he let his grades slip when in High School because he was lazy. As a team, his parents, elder sister, "adopted" brother (another friend who'd been taken in) and I found a way to encourage and motivate him to bring his grades out without threatening him (at least not too much!), and he did. The middle boys have been a struggle to deal with for years - testing their parents' patience. I gave them much more leeway than their parents would like, but the boys respected me more. Hrm... The youngest, he is a treasure. I can't believe he'll be twelve in July. They say that you can't love anyone the same way that you love your own child. The love I feel for that little boy comes very, very close. I watched him grow up, from a cuddly lap warmer into a kind, thoughtful young man. He's got an amazing imagination, and the drive to do whatever he dreams. I know that he will be successful. During summer break, I helped him understand the importance of legible penmanship - we wrote a story. After school, I taught him tips for remembering his spelling words, and challenged him to come up with more complex sentences.

There are some days while watching Connor run around and play, a memory pops into my head about the little guy that I watched grow. It melts my heart. I smile, but on the inside, I cry. Some things I do, the way I react - on first thought, it was an instinctual thing but upon reflection, it often turns out to be something I've experienced or observed before.

I love my parents. My mother drives me nuts, though. She's a cleaning nut. She loves to organize and re-organize. I like having a house that looks lived in. She likes perfection. I'm rather relaxed about dishes (isn't that what the sink is for?) and dusting (forget dust bunnies, I have a dust Zoo). My mom has always been supportive of me, but she has never shown genuine faith in me. There is always the shadow of a doubt behind her smile, and a hint of disbelief when I state that I believe or plan on doing something. I generally disagree with her parenting style. That probably is part of the reason that I respect my friend's parents more. Nevertheless, how she raised me shaped who I am.

Where did you learn to parent? Who do you cite as a mommy-inspriration? Where do you get your tips and tricks from?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

As I was looking up information to write a great Memorial Day post, I came across this poem- I do believe that in honor of today, it says more than I could ever.

His uniform, it gathers dust,
And yet she keeps it, as she must.
For since she heard the word, bereft,
It's all of him that she has left.

His many medals, multi-hued,
Recall his image, love renewed.
With pride and sorrow, in his stead,

They form a pillow for her head.

Her love was spilt across the sea
To answer calls for liberty.
Though he's been gone for many years,
His memory still ties her to tears.

Parades may form, and troops may march,
Processionals of neatest starch.
And they salute the sacrificed,
Who gave beyond what could be priced.

She'll line her walk with flags again
To honor all the fallen men
And pray for loved ones left alone
With nothing by a granite stone.

She'll lay some blossoms by his name,
Her loyalty thus to proclaim,
And hold his empty hat again
Until she joins the freedom train.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Out of line?

My daughter is in the first grade. There are children in first grade that have boyfriends and girlfriends. These are normal baby crushes but don't add up to much.

Where I think it is getting out of line is when parents start to encourage actual dates.

Recently we had a school auction. One of the mothers won a trip for her kid and three friends to go see a live performance of Cats. She had her son invite the little girl that he likes. Then she invited two other first graders that liked each other so they could have a double date.

She purchased a corsage for her sons little boy, had him walk to the door to pick her up, open the car door, and take her to the door when it was done. She said this was to teach him how to treat women.

The next week the boy thought it was okay to kiss the girl on the playground. He kissed her on the lips.

I may be a prude but this is not okay for first grade. If they start this behavior in first grade what will be left for teen years?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Birthdays are a Matter of Perspective

Today should be a good day. All I want to do is snap at people. Maybe it's the weather; maybe it's because I'm still sick.

I was hoping to sleep in more than an hour-and-a-half today, but I was the only one who heard Bella screaming, "Daddy!" with an urgency over the monitor. (She'll be 14 and we'll still have it in her room, I swear.) So, I awoke from my slumber to take her potty and we climbed into Mommy and Daddy's bed for weekend morning cuddles. This didn't last for long; she kept saying, "I hungry, Maddy," which is her own word for both "Mommy" and "Daddy."

She gets all set up in her chair this morning, and it's obviously I'm barely coherent. My mother says, "I know you just woke up, but would you wear this?" and she holds up a hideous-looking sea foam green shirt. I said, "Uh, no," and proceeded to fix Bella's breakfast. I'm really not one for talking first thing in the morning.

Dishes in the dishwasher this morning were clean and have been clean, but nothing was emptied from it; the sink was filled with dirty dishes. I emptied and filled it. I'm tempted to do something with the bathroom as well, but why? It's my birthday, so why should I do anything productive?

On a lighter, happier note, the hubs and I are going to see Star Trek once Bella goes down for her nap this afternoon. We have to do it then so that my mother can "watch" her and take care of her invalid asshole husband (he had foot surgery on the 13th and is a huge pansy for pain of any kind).

Bella's playing in the background and SpongeBob is even further in the background.

Happy 28th Birthday to me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

They're already broken

As parents, we all fear that we are constantly doing and saying things to our kids that will inevitably screw them up for life and cost them millions of dollars in therapy to recover from.

I say that we should stop worrying. They’re already screwed up before they even squeeze through the expandable tunnel to enter this cruel world. Or at least mine are.

You see, they are missing the brain cells responsible for telling them that public butt scratching is not okay. And they are also missing the brain cells responsible for determining that poop is no laughing matter.

Last month, the kids and I spent Easter weekend at my sister's house. My daughter brought her favorite stuffed duck with her, who we'll call Duck and who has a zipper on his back for obvious reasons. After all, with wings instead of hands, how else are ducks to carry things around if we don’t provide them with built-in storage?

By introducing this toy to my sister’s sense of humor, Duck was soon undergoing “surgery.” (He had a tonsillectomy.)

But before long, my son had moved from surgical humor (which I find rather amusing) directly into potty humor (decidedly less amusing) by hiding tiny Lego people in the duck’s body cavity and laughing hysterically as Duck “pooped Jedi warriors.”

This was so funny to him that he brought the humor with him the next day to our Sunday morning Easter service, then picked the most inappropriate moment possible to loudly declare that Duck poops Jedi warriors. Except that it sounded for all the world like he was saying “Jedi lawyers.”

I presume that Jedi knights make good defense lawyers? That lightsaber is surely a good negotiation tool.

As for the butt scratching, it all began with a case of the itchies brought on by the darling new dress my daughter was wearing in honor of the occasion. But my daughter was having a hard time reaching this particular itch, which she announced to every single person in the room, one at a time, via a simple request:

“Will you pweease skwatch my bottom?”

To which only my 17-year-old niece, Grace, had a really great answer. “You should ask your Auntie Therese. I bet she’d love to do that.”

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Hordes of RatDom - Confessions of a Packrat

My husband and I finally realized that a family of five living in a two bedroom house is good way to lose our minds, so we are now in the process of getting our house ready to sell. It’s been home to us for almost thirteen years and to our offspring, who are 10 and under, it’s the only home they’ve ever known. This is a strange and exciting time for our family, to say the least.

In thinning out some of the (for lack of a better term) crap I’ve kept over the years, a truth has been discovered. I thought I was frugal. This is not so. I am a packrat.

The proof showed itself at every turn. Each room I went through, trying to rid some of the clutter, I unearthed…

*echoing voice* The Hordes Of RatDom!

Did I really need to keep three pairs of Just In Case I Need the Material for Something Jeans that no one will ever fit into again?
And what about the Assorted Threads and Buttons that came with shirts I no longer own? Do I really need to save them if I didn’t care enough to keep the shirt?

I have twenty pieces of Rubbermaid and/or Tupperware. I don’t need twenty plastic containers, do I? I think not.

True, some of the things I’ve “collected” over the years have been little pictures my girls have drawn for me. So I should get a folder for each child and put in that folder only the pictures that make me smile when I think of how young and sweet they were when they drew it for me. I don’t need to keep each book report and spelling test.

Boots that fit no one, a lonely shoe that hasn’t seen its mate in eons, and part of a board book that I thought I’d repair if I ever found the cover are all going bye-bye. I believe it’s also time to say so long to Jaws since the last pages disappeared long ago and the shark never bites it in the end. Can you say cliffhanger?!

What about these boxer shorts adorned with “Get me to the Church on time” that my husband wore for approximately seven hours on our wedding day nearly fifteen years ago and never wore again? They served their purpose. Buh-bye, boxers! *toss*

After long consideration, I decided to give my tiny hotel shampoo collection the boot. I hope someone at Goodwill can appreciate those little bottles because I’ve just gained a cubic foot of closet space!

Whoa, look at the space we have in this place now. Maybe we don’t have to move after all.

“Mom! Tell her to get off my third of the room!”

Oh yeah, we do.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Forgive me, Father, for I hath sinned

Those of you who are or have been Catholic will recognize this as the traditional opening line for confession. That’s the thing where you go into the little Superman booth with the voice box that lets you hear, but not see, the priest in the adjacent little Superman booth who will listen to you spill your guts about all of your most horrific, guilt-inducing sins, then tell you what prayers to say how many times before granting you divine absolution from The Things Of Which You’re Most Ashamed.

I grew up Catholic. And I can honestly say I’m thankful for the fact that my parents raised me that way, because it provided me with at least two vital components of my adult life. The first one is an ever-present belief that God is real, though my version of who He is has changed many times during my life and is still evolving even now. The second, and equally important, reason is that it gives me great blog material.

For example, the other night, as my husband and I were on our way to marriage counseling, I made a confession.

“I feel like I’m going to confession.”

He was puzzled. “Confession?”

I frequently have to remind myself that his dad is Anglican (not that I know what that means), so he does not share my childhood images of priests, tabernacles, and altar boys of whom I was always envious because why on earth is it fair that I don’t get to wear the ridiculous white garb and stand up in front of everybody and be on the Holy Altar and ring a bell just because I’m a girl?

So I explained that I was experiencing the same feeling I always had as a child going to confession, the one about trying to remember all your faults and flaws and things that make you feel like crap about yourself before admitting them to somebody else with the hopes that your life will somehow be better for it in the end.

Turns out, I was wrong. Compared to marriage counseling, confession is a cake walk. “So, you pulled the dog’s tail, talked back to your mother, and didn’t do your math homework, again? Those things are not good. You should stop that. That’s ten Our Fathers and five Hail Marys. Now go in peace, and sin no more.”

But somehow, the admonition to “sin no more” never worked, because I would inevitably do something else for which I was ashamed and then feel guilty about walking around with the resulting black mark on my soul while I avoided the little Superman booth in back of the church for a few more weeks.

Marriage counseling, at least the kind I am getting, is a totally different experience. It starts in a similar manner, where you have to admit that you didn’t do all of the things you knew you should have been doing since the last time you met and vow to do better. But then you have to sit there, look at the face of the person to whom you just spilled your guts, and listen to them tell you why that’s wrong and what you must do to improve upon it. What makes that much worse is when you’re telling them about something that you are positive is your husband’s fault and not yours, and then they point out to you that had you responded with a tad less attitude, you might have been able to avoid fighting about it.

And when you leave, there’s no Insta-Cure involving a rosary and some uncomfortable kneeling in a pew. You can’t make things better by reciting anything from memory over and over. But you still get that sense that you are to “sin no more,” except that this time, you actually have to work at the avoidance of said sin, in a way that involves a monumental amount of effort every day and not ten minutes of quiet meditation in the back of a church.

Because when you go back there again, if you haven’t put forth any of that monumental effort, there will be no virtual slap on the hand followed by a series of Hail Marys as a consequence. Instead, you will be further along the road towards the disintegration of something that you swore would last until death do you part. And instead of living with the guilt-inducing image of little black marks on your soul, you could end up living alone.

I think I want to go back to confession.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Baby's First Kiss

There are so many moments in a mother's time that stand out. First step, first word, first full night's sleep... I, as a mother of three, have loved them all. However, I will openly admit that I have a favorite- a first baby kiss. Sadly, yesterday I received my last first baby kiss.
My littlest child is 19 months and has been a loving/cuddly child since birth. He has always loved getting super-nomming monster kisses. You know the kind- you start with a kiss and then muah-muah-muah into their neck to make them squeal with fits of baby giggles. All my children have loved that- but the littlest guy, he'd always slam his face into yours asking for more... to which you must oblige with tears of pain, but those darn giggles are so worth it!
Back to the kissing... After diaper changes, I have always given kisses. Usually whilst pulling up the pants- that is a good time to pull them close and steal a quick smooching. Yesterday, I changed a diaper- pulled up the pants and said, "Gimme a kiss." Suddenly, his adorable little self walked right up to me and gave me a kiss! Not just a cheek for me to kiss- but a real baby kiss.
I melted.
Then, he gave me a high five, a another kiss and ran away. He was rather proud of himself... but he'll never know how he made me feel. 100%, without a doubt, that moment right there made it all worth it. That was one of those moments that really proves that motherhood is the best gig- and though I'll never have another "first" kiss, it only reminded me that the rest of his firsts (as well as those of the other two children) are too quick to come. :0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When Titans Fall - Role Models and the Age of Steroids

By now, most Americans are familiar with the steriod scandals that have been plaguing Major League Baseball for the past several years. Since the early days of baseball, players have been the real life superheroes that little boys (and girls) admire and look up to. In a child's eyes they're beloved, held in high regard and virtually worshipped. From the time that they can toddle, many little ones swing a minaturized bat at a ball resting atop a rather short Tee. Some of their first words are baseball related. Baseball is America's game - a tradition, a part of our heritage.

My son is a born and bred Red Sox fan. I stopped nursing him, and turned him towards the television to watch the Red Sox win the World Series in 2007. Connor was born in August, so he was a little over three months old. He's got a Red Sox board book, and can identify most of the tools related to the game - helmet, bat, ball, glove, etc. He loves hitting his little wiffle ball of the tee we got him, however he hasn't mastered the concept that he needs to hit the ball horizontally not vertically. More often than not he is bedecked in a Sox related shirt, sometimes it is a specific player tee, at others it is just a team related shirt - my favorite says "Yankees Yuck." My little boy is going to grow up as a card carrying member of Red Sox nation. Should he decide to root for another team as an adult, I will not disown him... but I won't watch a ball game with him either!

When Manny Ramirez left the Sox I tossed his shirt in the donation bag. I'm glad that I did. I am also glad that my son is young. I don't have to explain, as many parents do, why his favorite player has been suspended. Why his hero is a failure and a cheater. The impact of the Age of Steriods, to steal a term often used by commentators and players alike, affects not only the ball clubs, the players or the management. The people most affected by the scandal are the youngest fans. I realize that this brings up a teachable moment about the usage of drugs, but the question that begs to be asked is - why?

Why is it that so many of baseball's great players have tainted the integrity of the game by acting in such a selfish and irresponsible manner?

My theory is fairly simple - Greed. Look at the salary budget of teams like the Yankees. Oh yes, Texiera is a good player, but not $170 million good, at least not to the Sox. Certain players seem to have an inflated sense of self worth. Free agents shop themselves around, trying to get the highest price possible for themselves - a strange and somewhat convoluted version of prostitution. Never mind looking at factors such as team compatibility and the overall atmosphere of the ball club. Money does not a championship team make! Having a working, cohesive team on the field and properly ordered in the batting line up are the two factors in how games are won.

What needs to occur in Major League Baseball is that players need to realize that it is not, indeed, all about them. Once they realize across the board that they need to focus on the fans. The kids who want to grow up and be just like them.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Birth though five

I have been asked several times to write down the story of my youth. This will be a condensed version because I understand that this a blog and not a novel. Today's post will be birth through five. Five through nineteen are colorful too but it is too much for one post.

I was born into a large family. My mother had 5 of us total, 1 boy and 4 girls. Each of us were conceived on a different type of birth control. I was an IUD baby. My mother promptly had her tubes tied following my birth. Five children by the the you are 28 is a blessing and difficult at the same time.

We were very poor. My father and mother worked at a used car dealership. The were able to provide our basic needs but we never had extra. If we did they would spend it frivolously. They had no idea how to save.

My mother took me everywhere with her. We were joined at the hip. She knew that she was having no more children so she wanted to enjoy me. She even had me glued to her while she worked. My siblings were all about a year apart but I was 2 1/2 years younger than my sister.

I only have a few memories of my father. I do remember my siblings hiding me from him. They would put me on shelves of the closet. They would hide me under covers. They told me to be very quiet or he would hurt me and bruise me. Mostly I was with my mother so this was rare.

My mother had 4 of us in the house. My oldest sister was living with my dad's mother in Houston. My mother had to get a babysitter. Her name was Niki. We called her Niki the hooker but I wasn't sure why. (now I know)

The biggest memory I have of my father was the night/morning that I was asleep in the bedroom. He came in and sat on the bed. The jostle woke me up. I pretended to be asleep because I did not want to get in trouble. He pulled the crotch of my panties to the side and I wondered what he was doing. I knew it felt wrong but I didn't know what to do. He put his fingers on me and his nail hurt me. I screamed. He ran out of the bedroom. (it happened other times but this was the time I remember and the time I reported it)

I told my mother and Niki. They got me out of the house. I was 3 so all the memories here are jumbled in my brain. I remember waking up at my mom's office and ants crawling all over me and it hurt but took my mind off of other things. I am not sure if this is the same day or not. I remember being scared and not knowing what to do.

This is the event in which my mother became aware of the sexual and physical abuse that my siblings and endured.

I remember going to a foster home for a little while. There was a nice couple with 3 foster kids including me. They told me to call them Nana and Papa. They where so cool. I remember getting ripped from them and back into my home. Apparently I had taken a bath with a 4 year old boy and I was 3.

I was glad to be back with my mother. We had a super strong bond. She had left my father and was taking care of us. She had to get sitters for the older ones when they were home from school.

She liked helping others although she didn't have much. There was a boy named Richard that was 15 years old and homeless. She took him in, gave him food to eat and a place to live. He offered to help watch us while she worked and the older kids were out of school. She took me with her. He ended up raping everyone (but me) including my brother and making them do things together. She got rid of him quick.

My father ended up in prison for raping 2 kids in Kansas. My mother had to do something and took my brother and sister with her. I am not sure exactly what that something was. She arranged for her sister and mom to take the other two of us. They were poor too so she used all the money she had to get them a car and set them up in an apartment. She was going to be gone a week. (she didn't want to repeat any of the sitter problems)

When she returned she came to pick us up. They said they wanted one more night with us and my sister too. She told them a one night sleepover was okay. They kidnapped us and ran.

We were running from the state and my mother for a year. We lived in a car, in homeless shelters, and in strangers homes for that year. I picked up the measles, bed bugs, and lice. I was taught how to hide from the cops. I also learned that the government and my mother were evil.

I was abused by my aunt especially but also my grandmother. I remember my grandmother telling me that I was an evil sexual deviant because I liked to lay my head on my mothers breast while I slept. She told me that that was a sexual act that I should be ashamed of. (I later learned she was bi-polar woman who was married something like 10 times)

My grandmother and aunt had a big falling out and we went to a motel. My sisters and I were left in a motel room by ourselves while our aunt went to work. I was 5 and the other two were 7 and 8.

I would hate to have been the cops on the day they found us. There was a knock on the door. Someone told us to open the door, and that it was the law. We hid in the closet as we practiced for the last year. The cop had the manager of the motel open the door. They looked all around and even looked where we were hiding. They were about to leave and they said something about thinking we had gone out a window. They decided to take one more look in the closet and there were were. We were huddled up in a corner, shaking in fear.

When they got us in the car we spilled our guts. We told the poor policeman our whole story. He kept telling us to wait to tell him when he got us to the home. We wouldn't stop talking.

We lived in a children's home before being placed into foster care. That was where I was adopted. I will save the tale of that adventure another day.

My story is not a story of pity or sadness. It is a story to tell you where I have been and how far I have come.

I am a strong and happy woman now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just a SAHM

Hello, Mrs. Jones,
I've just called to say,
I'm sorry I cried when you phoned me today.
No, I didn't get angry when your call came at four,
Just as eight muddy Cub Scouts burst through the door;
It's just that I had such a really full day.
I'd baked eighteen pies for the PTA;
And washing and ironing and scrubbing the floor
Were chores I had finished not too long before.
The reason I cried and gave that big yelp
Was not 'cause you phoned just to ask for my help.
The comment that just about drove me berserk
Was, "I'm sure you'll have time because you don't work."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

So glad I'm not a tweenage girl...

So, I've exposed myself to the latest sensation of Twilight. Patrick and I watched the movie, not expecting much, and we were pleasantly surprised. As soon as we were able, we picked up all four books. I began reading the first one the week before last and enjoyed it greatly; I couldn't put the damn thing down.

The following week (the one we just finished), I read New Moon and finished it in two days. I couldn't start on the third one, Eclipse, because it was still out on loan. I begged (okay, just simply asked) Patrick to run to the store and get another copy of the third one for me (I wasn't able to leave the school for longer periods than 20 minutes; duties). He calls me to say that Wally World only has the first one. Damnit.

Instead, he finds a book by the same author called The Host.

The Host is very different from the Twilight series. Twilight is paranormal romance and The Host is more sci-fi. I'm not as addicted to it as I was the other series, but I'm giving it a chance. So far, so good.

However, since I've finished the first two books, I've been wanting to put in the movie. There just hasn't been the time for it, unfortunately. I'm going to try and start reading multiple books at once, again, and hope I can get more from the experience. I miss reading. I have a couple of Christine Feehan books and hopefully those will tide me over as well until we get the third book back.

Love Under the Stairs

I have to confess that living on the cheap has become a matter of pride with me. I’ve always been thrilled to not be a slave to the Frappuccino’d machinations of Starbuck’s. I re-use plastic grocery bags as garbage can liners, and while I use disposable diapers, I don’t pony up the money for the Huggies or Pampers, but instead clad my children’s dimpled little butt cheeks in the store brands of Target and ShopKo. The “How to Live Frugally” articles are read through carefully, and their suggestions are often met with a “...but I’m already doing that!”

Sadly, this mindset is not blending too well with the planning of the upcoming nuptials.
I’m less-than-thrilled that it’s 75 bucks for the local government to grant me a marriage license. It took the clerk two minutes to type the papers up; considering what she typed, that license ran about 50 cents per keystroke. Of course, she did give Killian two squirts of the antibacterial hand sanitizer that The Small Thing finds so interesting. (It’s cold! It’s wet! It’s neat!) With the way the bidding process for government supplies works, that hand sanitizer very well could have cost $37.50 per squirt.

I’m not having to pay for a church or a reception hall, thanks to my best friend’s parents willingness to have their house invaded, their backyard turned into a wedding chapel, and their game room used for a reception hall. Shawn and I could have been married at the county clerk’s office, but I saw a wedding take place there while we were picking up the license, and even my non-sentimental heart cringed at getting married under a stairwell with the utility closet door as a backdrop.

The wedding dress acquisition proved for some entertainment. Craigslist was a gigantic fail, as that website seems to be overrun with people who missed the day in school when “cheap” was defined. $450? Yes, ma’am, I recognize that you paid $750 for the dress, but that was ten years ago, and no, that enormous stain from the cake smash your ex performed against your wishes is probably not going to come out no matter how good the dry cleaner is. I hit up the secondhand stores, but apparently the only people who donate wedding dresses are either a size 2 or they got married in 1973. My bacon was saved by a local dress shop owner, who chose to have her moving sale the week I shopped for dresses. I even found two I liked, but the one left hanging on the rack made me look like a Coke ad, where the lady is dressed like it’s 1902 and she’s dangerously close to spilling not her soda, but her breasts. It’s hard to pull off bride-like innocence when your cleavage is erupting like Mt. Vesuvius. The victor cost a whopping 40 dollars, and I WILL bring that up in 30 years when I’m trying to foist the dress off to Killian or Adria for their wedding.

We originally had a grand total of 13 people for this wedding, but caved to the pressure of parents and invited siblings as well. We’ve now got around 30 people (where did all of them COME FROM!?), and ohcrap they should all be fed. Double up the tri-tip and chicken boob plans, and pray we don’t run out of propane. ...-pane, -pane, -pagne, CHAMPAGNE! Awww, dangit! Even if we go with Andre for all, and four glasses per bottle, that’s still eight bottles of bubbly to buy. Bubbly, bubbly, bubbles, BUBBLES! Really should buy some bubbles to keep the kids occupied, but don’t get the little bottles they sell as wedding party favors because those suck. Party favors, party favors, party favors, PARTY FAVORS!? Awww, hell. I should give some sort of memento to the guests. Let’s see, no Jordan almonds as those are a dentist’s wet dream. Too little time to splurge for M&Ms with our name on ‘em. Uhhhh, howzabout a little tea candle in a glass with some sand and seashells? We’ll use the sister-in-law’s Cricut to do some fancy-dancy tags and tie ‘em up with ribbon. Ribbons? Yeah, we should get some to dangle oh-so-fetchingly from the arch. Arch? Shitfire, I need an arch. I wonder what I ever did with the one that was in the front yard by the roses?

Oh, yeah.

The dogs knocked it over and dismantled it during a particularly high-spirited game of what-can-we-wreck-today. Stupid ass dogs, and now I should find an arch. At least flowers aren’t a monetary concern, as I’ve got roses up the hoo-hah around my house, and I’m more than willing to strip my bushes bare. I’ll take it as a sign that even Mother Nature approves of this wedding, as my Sterling Silver rose bush bloomed this year for the first time in three years. Won’t those petals look pretty scattered over the top of the wedding cake? Cake, cake, cake, OH CRAP! I need to buy a wedding cake!

Y’know, a wedding under the stairs may be all I’ve ever hoped for...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ode to a cell phone

Oh cell phone, how amazing you are. You bring good new and bad. You relay information. The little one plays with you. The older one hates you. You have been dropped oh so many times. Pieces have broken off and yet you still work. Now I get to use you to send messages to my friends and family. Though texting without a keyboard is not a fun thing to do, communication is so important. Dry hands, slippery covers. These things do not go well together. Poor cell phone you have been dropped in a cup of milk. Obviously you are not that important, cell phone. We laughed hysterically for a good couple of minutes over the fact that you are now all wet and milky. Ah poor cell phone your front screen no longer works. Oh well. You are now two years old. New contracts will be signed, new phones will be had. The life of the cell phone is short and sweet. Poor, poor cell phone, your life is coming to an end.

Update: the cell phone lives.

CSI: Mommy

As a Mom, I have found myself doing things that I never thought that I would do. Things like arranging the food on a dinner plate so that it looks like an alien in order for my child to eat it. Or marveling over my child's fascination when he farts in the bathtub and produces bubbles. Even things like feigning amazement when my boy-child describes in rather technical detail all of the deadly features of the latest Bionicle he's created.

The one thing that stands out above all the rest in the category of "I can't believe I'm doing this", is my natural proclivity to identify the ingredients in my childrens' feces and vomit. I mean, c'mon! Who does that? Moms. That's who does that.

Last night at exactly 2:18am, I was awakened by my 4-year old who was sobbing and carrying a handful of puke. It didn't even occur to me to cringe. I ushered him into the bathroom, and because there was no toilet paper in there, I didn't hesitate to use my own hands to wipe away the icky and wash it down the sink. It did occur to me, however, to try to identify what the vomit consisted of. Seriously. Here I am, bleary-eyed with a nose full of eau de puke, and I'm studying the nutritional make-up of the recent contents of my child's stomach. Oh, Motherhood!

I recall the shock I felt when my son recycled an entire can of green play-doh. I'm here to tell ya that when it comes out the other end of an 18-month old, play-doh looks no different than it did before entering that child's mouth. Color and all. I didn't realize how acutely I usually studied the contents of his diaper until I was seeing Kelly Green poo, and couldn't possibly identify what he could have eaten to have that effect on his feces. I used the front of the diaper to smear the poop to see if there were any solids in there. I smelled it - yes, I did. I held it up to the light at an angle for no discernible reason. I had no reason to think that it was play-doh at the time. I thought that maybe his daycare lady had fed him unnaturally colored cookies, or concentrated kool-aid, or... or... It was then that I realized how much I base my childrens' overall health on what they secrete. The smell of those secretions. The appearance and consistency of those secretions. I felt like a goddamned blood hound. I learned about the play-doh after my daycare provider searched her house and found an empty container under a table in a corner with traces of Kelly Green inside.

Back to last night. After cleaning up Little Man and getting him comfortably back to bed with clean sheets, clean jammies, and a hopefully settled tummy, I returned to the kitchen. He had emptied his stomach once again, from over my shoulder, when I thought he was done puking. So, I had puddles of vomit specimens to study under the glare of the kitchen lights... at 3:00 in the morning. I saw last night's dinner splattered all over the floor - egg noodles, watermelon, and though I know he ate a PB&J, I saw no sign of it. Oddly, I wondered why my two dogs who voraciously consume kitty poop, had not cleaned up the puke puddles while I was upstairs tending to the child. I realized that I was hoping that my canines would slurp up the mess while I couldn't see or hear them doing so. So, I studied my fifth puke specimen in under one hour. As soon as I realized that this specimen was made up of the exact same stuff as the specimen which I had earlier studied in the palm of my hand, I quit examining it, and cleaned it up the best I could. I did order the dogs to remove all traces of it that I may have missed, however. Apparently, they were awaiting my permission. They attacked the scene with forensic-like precision, ensuring that the grout between the tiles would hold no evidence of the mess that occurred there. Bless those dogs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why do we potty train them?

I know that sounds like a rhetorical question. But seriously, I’m asking. Why? Is it because we expect them to become self sufficient in all things excrement related? Or is it because we still expect the universe to hit the pause button on its expansion in honor of potty-related events, and understand that we are merely transferring our financial investment in poop-related products from the diaper industry to the toilet paper industry?

I contemplate this often, because my daughter’s potty needs are a much higher priority now than ever they were during the diaper stage. A wet diaper was not the end of the world to my toddler. She would deal with it until I completed whatever important mommy task I was involved in, then I would take a break, change the diaper, and life would return to normal.

But my potty trained three-year-old is an entirely different creature. She has what I call Baby Walnut Bladder, which apparently becomes excruciatingly full upon every third swig from the sippy cup. This sensation of fullness causes her to abandon all tasks great and small—everything from princess dress-up to Play-Doh—and launch into full-blown emergency mode:

“Mommeeeee, Ineedtogo potteeeeeeeee!”

I pause to consider. Is she capable of taking off her own clothes? Check. Is the bathroom completely equipped with a stool and all the child-friendly potty accessories imaginable solely for her comfort and convenience? Check. Does she understand what toilet paper is for and how to tear off an appropriate amount? Check (though her willingness to tear off only enough for one wipe cannot be relied upon under any circumstances).

So with all these factors in place, as I stop and look at my darling little girl who has developed the art of jumping, bouncing, and squirming about while holding her hands between her knees, I ask myself why she insists that she cannot go potty without my help. My guess is that it’s a form of manipulation that gives her the upper hand. She knows that potty needs take priority, and she’s using it as a way to gain control of me by forcing me to pay attention to her needs.

I finally managed to work out a deal with her. If she has to go that bad, as in rightthisinstant, she runs off to do her deed and I’ll come along shortly to help her wipe her bottom. I am still willing to assist with this task, as I figure that her days for asking me to wipe her tushie are numbered. All too soon I suspect that I will miss the sight of that bare little behind.

The other choice that she occasionally opts for is to hold it until I’m ready to help her. Those are the times when I realize that it’s about much more than potty assistance or the capacity of her wee walnut bladder (which is way stronger than she’ll let on). It’s about her wanting my attention. So we talk while she sits, and we giggle together, and I give her a courtesy wipe followed by an up-with-the-pants and an arm-tight hands-free hug, and we have fun splashing in the soapy bubbles together, and suddenly, I realize that we just bonded over a pee break.

And then I understand why us women always go to the bathroom in pairs. It’s bonding time—minus the courtesy wipe.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

It turns out that today is my day to blog. Why did I pick today? Don’t I know how busy I am? Do I ever take that into consideration?

Aaaand I’m arguing with myself. Again. At least this time I’m not doing it out loud… or is it worse that I’m doing it here, in red text, on a public blog?

Ok, so. I should probably get down to this blogging business. Get serious. Write something really good. Meaningful. Deep. Beautiful. Poignant.

Or I could… not… and say I did. Let’s all pretend.

So this is what I’m currently doing. Today I’m writing a ten page research paper on polygamy. So far, it’s going well. I’m on page four. I had a previous six pages written that I wound up scrapping and starting over; the writing was bad. This is worth 20% of my grade. So yeah. It has to be gooo-ooood. Lucky for me I’m a good writer, right?


I read some good books, and am currently reading The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. SO GOOD and definitely worth checking out if you like historical fiction.

I need to mop my floors, but that shall wait for another day.

I feel like this has been the lamest post in Blog Like Ninja history, and I apologize for that. My head is full of polygamy. I need to get back to that paper.

 kungfu cat


Sunday, May 3, 2009

What I learned today - Where's the BEEF?!

Today I learned that if you leave a beautifully prepared filet mignon on the counter where a furry, soon-to-be-dead member of the animal kingdom can reach it, while you run an extra plate out to your husband, the Almighty Meat Griller, he will be nomming down on it in less time than it takes you to come to your senses and run to the kitchen, screaming "NOOOOOOOOO".

What did you learn today?