Tuesday, June 30

TV Time Out

On Sunday we went to a pool party to celebrate Jack's baseball teams, ummm, winning season. When it was time to leave the kids refused to get out of the pool. You know when your kids are swimming around in a pool, and you know you can't reach them, and they know you can't reach them, it creates an impossible situation. It was made even more impossible by the fact that there were about 50 people from town all around, most of which I barely know, so I didn't want to start screaming like a mad woman and threatening to beat them senseless. I knew we were in trouble though when Dennis handed me his cell phone. "I'm going in" he said, and in his eyes I saw a furious gleam that would surely end badly. My one last attempt, including the words "your father is coming in the pool to get you and then you're really going to get it!" finally did the trick, and they came out. Because of their, shall we say NOT listening yet again, they lost t.v., video games and computer play for the rest of that day. After the initial moaning, pouting, crying and wailing (mostly from Jack) they settled down to play outside. Ride their bikes, shoot the basketball, draw with chalk. Inside we played Candyland, and before an early bed had time to read 2 full books. Today while at the trailer supply store with me and their grandfather they did the same thing. When it was time to leave they started darting around the small store, thinking it was a great game that I couldn't catch them. I threatened the "no t.v., video games and computer" time out again, and they still didn't listen. Eventually of course they did leave the store, but too late. Television gone. Again there was moaning, crying and wailing (again, mostly from Jack) but this time it only lasted about half the amount of time as before. Since we've been home we have played outside, playing a great round of H.O.R.S.E. basketball (which I won). They played nicely while I made dinner, helped me set the table, and as I type this Jack is doing his maze book while Abbey paints watercolors in her Disney Princess book. They are sitting together at the little Cabbage Patch table, as content as can be. Neither of them have even mentioned watching television. It is so nice, it almost makes me want them to get into trouble at least 3 or 4 times a week. Naw, I think we will just be turning OFF the t.v. a hell of a lot more in this house. Apparently they needed an electronic break!

Of course there is one little downfall with this time out system, and that is that I have to spend a lot more time entertaining them. So far I haven't minded, although I am already wondering what the heck I am going to do in an hour when it's time to jump on my treadmill for 30 minutes. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 29

Jon & Kate Reprive

As I heard the saddening news of death after death of celebrities out in Los Angeles one thought jumped into my head, and that was that Jon and Kate Gosselin must be ecstatic because the paparazzi and media attention has been shifted off of them, at least for a little while. I'm glad (no, I'm not glad that people have died), but I am happy that chances are good that I won't see Kate or Jon or any of their kids on the cover of my Us Weekly this Friday, like I have been week after week after week. I'm sick of them. I think we all are.

Thursday, June 25

Schools Over!

Yesterday was Jack's last day of school. Finally, it feels like summer is here. It helped a lot that today the rain stopped and the sun came out for the first time in about 12 days. Although summer will be great, I'm sure of it, the kids really need to put on their LISTENING EARS if we have any chance of getting through this summer without me becoming a screaming banshee. I brought them both to the grocery store this afternoon, something that I haven't had to do in forever. Usually its just me and Abbey and everything is smooth and calm and peaceful. Not so today. Jack insisted on pushing the cart while Abbey sat in the front and smacked him in the head with a package of paper towels. He would randomly speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down. So nerve wracking. I kept waiting for him to take out some old lady. But we managed to get through and I know that I have a lot of sibling love to look forward to over the next 10 weeks.

As usual, the last day of school also arrived with an AVALANCHE of paperwork brought home. I am frightened to think how much I'm going to have when they are both in school together. I might have to rent a storage space for the worksheets alone!

On a sad note, the world lost both Farrah Fawcett and Micheal Jackson today. While Farrah's death was sad, it was expected and came after such a long hard battle with the big C. Not so with the King of Pop. Unbelievable. Jack said to me "I thought only old people had heart attacks?" How do you explain to a 7 year old that your heart can give out no matter what your age? Also how do you explain to a 7 year old how a boy who was born black got so light skinned over the years, a point that was made quite obvious during the many photo montage's on the screen?

When I learned the news of Jackson's death I was standing in my kitchen making dinner. Ironically, I was standing in the exact same spot doing the exact same thing when I learned that Heath Ledger had passed away from an accidental drug overdose. The lesson here? I spend too much damn time in the kitchen.

Monday, June 22

Things Motherhood Has Taught Me

Here is a random list of things that being a mother has taught me (in no particular order of importance).

Not bringing food with you into the bathroom is something that you actually have to teach your children, not something that they just know.

You can worry about things you didn’t even think existed before you had kids.

You are never “fair.”

No matter how occupied your children are, they will need you urgently the second you either sit on the toilet or pick up the phone.

The theme song for “I Carly” is quite catchy and good to dance along with.

All of the actors you remember from your own television shows as a child are now apparently providing the voices for every cartoon character under the sun, i.e., “is he watching the Wonder Years in there? I think I hear Fred Savage.”

Band-Aids are required every time you leave the house.

To a child sunscreen is the same as hot searing acid. The same goes for bug spray.

A fever in the middle of the night is 1,000 times worse than the exact same fever at 2 in the afternoon.

The people who make children’s programming are on some sort of hallucinogenic drugs.

You would die to save your children. You would rip someone apart with your hands like a wild mother bear if anyone tried to harm them.

You can no longer watch any kind of news involving the abuse of children.

Oddly, permanent magic marker does not stay on Ziploc baggies.

You can exist on less sleep than you ever thought possible.

Sleeping “in” means sleeping past 8 am.

You can use your hands as a tissue, when given no other choice. You can also use your sleeves.

You can love another person unconditionally, and more than you love yourself.

What have you learned?

Sunday, June 21

Fly Killer!

Well, you know how I feel about bugs.

In my opinion, President Obama just moved up about 5 notches. That's right, kill that fly! The only thing that would have made it cooler was if he had caught it with a pair of chopsticks like Mr. Myagi. And now, PETA is out for his blood. You just have to laugh. Its a frickin' fly people!

Friday, June 19

Blah Blah Blah

Ants, spiders, more ants, mosquitoes, beetles, moths, fly's, more ants and one tiny little green worm I found creeping along my bedroom floor. These are the bugs in my house right now. Yuck. I can't stand bugs and wonder why I live in the woods when I would be much rather suited for a condo in the city. Of course, they have their own bugs I'm sure, you can't escape them. If I moved into the heart of New York City with not a speck of grass or tree I would have rats and cockroaches, and I think those would be worse.

So Abbey and I are home today, no work and no activities. We are on about the 12th straight day of rain (minus Wednesday which was beautiful, the 1 day of the week). We were home yesterday too, so I got all my cleaning and laundry and shopping done. So far today I have gotten up and put Jack on the bus, gone out to breakfast, thrown in the last random load of whites, pulled out all the paint paraphernalia for Abbey and laid on the couch. I laid on the couch in the middle of the day. Granted it only lasted about 45 minutes, but still, delightful.

Now I am greatly looking forward to school being over. Jack still has 3 days of school next week before he is off for the summer, and at this point it just seems ridiculous that he is still going. Every morning he fights me to get out of bed, every night he wants to stay up just a little bit later. I am done too, sick of packing his backpack and lunches, scrounging for quarters for his milk money. Tired of rushing out of work and stressing about getting home in time to get him off the bus. We are all ready for a break. Until about August, then I will be itching to get us back on a routine and back to real life.

So I think this post was quite appropriately titled "blah blah blah" because it was just filled with blah blah blah. Sorry.

Monday, June 15

Who, Me?

I just wanted to share a couple of blog awards I just received (my first EVER) from my good bloggy friend Jen over at Yours + Mine = Ours. You may be thinking "wow Kirsten, awards, congratulations!" or maybe you were thinking "but of course you are a brilliant blogger and deserve oodles and oodles of awards" and you would be right. You may also be thinking "and awards from Jen, that is an even bigger accomplishment" and you would be correct there too. So here you go, feast your eyes on these babies. After this they will reside on my sidebar, for all the world to see and marvel at.

200 miles

I think that June is about the busiest month of the year, activity wise. Do you agree? There are a ton of cookouts, graduations, sports activities, recitals, concerts, weddings, and end of the year extravaganza's. It is an impossible month to diet in, there is just too much stuff going on, and most of this stuff involves eating and drinking things you really shouldn't. This weekend was no exception to the June rule, and yet again I wish I had a weekend to recover from the weekend. I feel as though I spent most of it in the van. It started Friday night with a baseball game 2 towns over. And these aren't little towns out here, where I live it takes a minimum of 20 minutes to get anywhere. On Saturday we went to a fun cookout an hour and a half away (although I have to say that the drive was worth it for the rice crispy treats alone). Sunday Jack had a birthday party over half an hour away and then another away baseball game, in another away town. By the time all was said and done last night I had driven 200 miles, a total of 6 hours spent inside our blue van, which would explain why the check engine light came on. It is just plain plumb tuckered out (to take a phrase from Amelia Bedelia).

Speaking of Amelia Bedelia, I think those books might be our new favorite. That Amelia Bedelia is so literal, it cracks us up. We only have one book right now, "Amelia Bedelia and the baby" and the kids LOVE it. She is a maid but in this book she has to go and babysit, and hilarity ensues. For example, on the mother's list of instructions it says "put the baby's bib on" so Amelia puts the bib on . . . herself. She puts the baby powder on . . . herself. During playtime the baby sits in her playpen and Amelia Bedelia plays with all her toys. Ahhh, Amelia. You are such a card.

Thursday, June 11

Alien Invasion

Today has been our second afternoon in a row that we didn't have an activity. No baseball game, no taekwondo, nothing. It has also been rainy, overcast and gray, which makes for nice indoor activities. Yesterday the kids wanted to fill the house with "bad guys" to fight. Since we didn't have any bad guys lying around, they decided to make them. When Jack discovered that no, we did not have oh, 10 or 15 giant pieces of heavy cardboard that he could make bad guy cut outs out of, they settled on the long easel paper. Abbey laid down and Jack traced her, but when he was done they decided that it looked more like an alien than a bad guy. They then proceeded to spend over half an hour coloring it in and cutting it out. They decided to hang it in the doorway from the kitchen to the dining room, so that, in their words, they could "scare the heck out of daddy." I'm happy to report that it worked, he was scared. Actually, I kept forgetting it was hanging there and the rest of the night, after the kids were asleep, as I wandered around the house, grabbing myself an apple for a snack (OK, chips, whatever) I kept catching it out of the corner of my eye. Hanging there, in the dark. It was pretty creepy. This morning I moved it onto the cellar door. Abbey then made another one, to scare the pants off of Jack when he came home from school. He was slightly scared, or at least he pretended he was scared, bless his heart. He even let out a little squeal.

Another activity today while Jack was in school? Abbey dressed up as this, and declared herself "Indiana Alice" because you know, Indiana Jones meets Alice in Wonderland? Pretty clever, huh?

Monday, June 8


Old Friends
Old Friends
Sat on a park bench like bookends

Since I was a little girl my mother has always had different groups of friends she hung out with. Old friends, school friends, work friends. I learned from her that you don't have to choose, and could have as many friends as you wanted. As I grow older (but not OLD) I notice that I have the same thing in my own life. I have a couple of friends from high school, some known my whole life family friends, some from college, work friends, and now town friends. This latest group is made up of mothers that I have met through different things around town, and we see each other a lot. At the park, the school, the library, the bus stop, taekwondo. At the baseball and soccer fields. We talk about the town, teachers and coaches and homework, and of course the kids. We have been getting together too, for dinner or for drinks. It is a lot of fun to have people to hang out with that live close by. There is a big group so when something is planned whoever can make it, makes it and it is just nice. So while I preface this by saying that I am enjoying my new found town friends immensely, I will not make the mistake of referring to them as my "girls"again, like last Friday when I posted on Facebook that I was "heading out with the girls for drinks." Typing it felt wrong, and at first I couldn't understand why. Then as I was walking out the door my best friend, my college/life/forever friend Suzy called. As soon as I told her that I couldn't talk, that I was running out the door and heading out with the "girls" for drinks I knew why. Even saying that I was going out with "the girls" when she wasn't one of them sounded wrong on my tongue. Believe me, she knew how wrong it sounded too. Everyone in our families know, when you say you are going out with the girls, it only means one group. THE girls. The college group. I know she doesn't begrudge me my new friends, but damn, I shouldn't be calling them my girls! The next day some of us were all together at the Cape. The families had all gathered for one of our as often as we can get togethers and she ratted me out to the others. They were equally aghast with disbelief that I had called these foreign women "my girls" and had no problems at all telling me how wrong I was. They even came up with their own name for my new friends, but I won't share that here.

The funny thing is that if anyone had told me during my sophomore and junior year of college way back in 1994 that these new friends I was making would become a part of my life forever, I don't know if I would have believed them. For instance, if someone had whispered in my ear when I met Suzy that day in the hall of our dorm, her blond hair as curly as all out, wearing her cheerleader uniform, that this girl would grow up to be one of the woman I would share all my secrets with, I would have laughed at them. Her, that cheerleader? No way. But college life bonded us, all of us. We ate together, partied together, studied together (yes mom, we did study sometimes). Shared secrets and stories and our lives. And that is the way it has stayed. We don't see each other nearly enough, we are all flung out in different spots, but when we do see each other it is like nothing has changed. It's like we could be heading out to the caf for lunch. Its just the same as always.

I am lucky that I have so many friends, and I treasure ALL of them. As the saying goes, some are in your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime. Maybe the difference between season friends and lifetime is the ability to be able to call each other out on their shit and still be friends? I shouldn't have called these new women my girls, shame on me for that. Pam should learn how to use the delete button on her camera, Suzy snorts. The point is that we love each other anyway. Just as much as ever.

Wednesday, June 3

Get Me Out Of Here You Crazy Cookie!

Last night I was super duper cranky, so cranky that I didn't even want to feed the children dinner but wanted them to just go to bed at 6. But alas I did feed them (hot dogs) and bathed them (well, technically I ran the water for Abbey and added the bubbles and then Dennis luckily got home early and finished up the process). He then put them to bed, while I lounged on the couch and drank wine (yes, I was that cranky). Anyhoo, while lounging I was of course flipping through the t.v. channels when I stumbled across "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here" which apparently is a Survivor type reality show but with celebrities stranded instead of "real" people. I swear to you that I sat open mouthed gaping from the second I flipped onto this channel until I finally tore myself away. For one thing, I think their use of the word "celebrity" is a bit of a stretch. It has Heidi and Spencer (Speidy for those of you in the know), Janice Dickinson from that modeling show, two comedian woman who I've never heard of, a blond girl, one of the Baldwin brothers, the wife of a former Illinois governor (the WIFE, not even the senator himself, I mean really?), Shanzyia (?) from American Idol, and oddly thrown into the mix, Lou Diamond Philips (who I actually would probably consider a celebrity). I guess they hang out together in the jungle of Costa Rica, do challenges and then someone gets voted off? Not really sure of the storyline. I had to stop watching, because to use Abbey's favorite saying, it was freaking me out man.

In other entertainment news, my new issue of Cookie has arrived. As in previous months, it seems to be chock full of incredibly useful information for the average normal mother. Tori Spelling is on the cover and is looking beautiful while her children look adorable and Dean looks, I guess, rugged? There is an entire section devoted to redecorating your kids rooms. The rooms are gorgeous of course, and feature economical and practical items like a vintage steamer trunk for your 8 year old boy ($425), Shiro birch shelving for your unborn child ($3,800), or small pillows with bubbles on them for only $75 each! But wait, there's more. Father's day is just around the corner, and you're not sure what to get that love of your life? Cookie to the rescue. 21 items they deem perfect. I'm still not sure what to get Dennis. I'm torn between the $386 espresso pot, a $165 cologne, the $798 carryall bag, the $100 boy scout knife set, or $70 aviator sunglasses. He would probably really like the pocket knife, but he would look pretty sexy in those sunglasses. Decisions decisions. But shush, don't tell him. I want him to be surprised.

I know I bash this magazine, but I honestly do like to read it. It gives me quite the chuckle. And really, without it what would I blog about?

Tuesday, June 2

Dear Mom and Dad,

Check out this wonderful note Jack came home with yesterday. The last 3 weeks of school will indeed be homework free. Ahhh, music to my ears.

No more worksheets. No more sentences to write. No more number scrolls. No more finishing dinner and having to fight with him to get his homework done before he could watch t.v. Reading we can handle. It is a normal part of bedtime anyway, and it is nice to have him read instead of me sometimes. And isn't his handwriting nice and neat?

Monday, June 1

Extra Coffee Please

I am feeling exhausted this morning. Exhausted in the way that I could very well put my head down on my desk and slip into a deep sleep. I'm on my second cup of coffee and hoping that I will jolt awake sometime soon. I'm not sure why. We had a good weekend, busy in a productive "wow we got a lot of shit done this weekend" way but not over booked with parties and gala's that had us out until all hours of the night or anything. I hope I'm not coming down with anything weird. One of my glands seems a little swollen but I'm pretty sure that it might just be a bug bite. Maybe I stayed up too late watching "Maneater" on Lifetime last night.

In all our weekend was actually very productive. The kids both went over to a friends house for a couple of hours Saturday afternoon for a double playdate. I didn't even know those existed but man do I love them. Dennis and I scampered off to Walmart, feeling like a young childless couple as we bought a new mower, assorted yard items and various car accessories. We even stopped at the flower stand to get a few plants and flowers. All alone. I know, we were wild. It was so weird. I even mowed the lawn later in the day. Up until this point I had never used a lawnmower. (Is that odd?) The push one we had was so old and decrepit that it took superhuman strength to pull start it, and then fine tuning to keep it going. It finally died and we were forced to go and buy an inexpensive light mower. Dennis started it and began to mow, and then turned it off to see if I could start it. Of course I could because I am woman hear me roar, right? After about 1 minute though I realized that I was a fool and should have pretended I couldn't start it, because this means that now I will have to mow. Then I discovered that I liked mowing. It reminded me of vacuuming which I actually do enjoy. Back and forth, back and forth, I like that you can see the progress you are making as you go. What was once an untidy patch of yard that looked like it belonged next to an abandoned lot is now nice and clean. Voila'! When I thought more about how light the new lawnmower was another brilliant idea slipped into my mind. "Jack" I yelled. "Come and see if you can push this lawnmower." He came and yes indeedy, he could push it. Turns out he likes to mow too. I am wondering if this is OK. Can a 7 year old mow the lawn? There aren't any child-labor laws against this kind of chore for a child of this age, are there? Abbey cleverly took this opportunity to chase whoever was mowing around shooting them with the water gun. Just "giving you some cooled off water mommy." Anyway, Jack mowed and I mowed and now that I think of it Dennis barely mowed. Actually, looking back I now see him leaning against the shed with a wicked sneer having himself a little chuckle. "Ha ha ha, my plan is working perfectly. The new light lawnmower will be the answer to all of my evil schemes. Ha ha ha." (insert evil laugh here) In his defense he did do all the planting (my thumb is far from green), put down new grass patches, changed the oil/fluids, etc. in the cars, put new wipers on the van and fixed my broken blinker. He even hung new plant hangers and on Sunday took the kids for a hike while I stayed home ALONE for over 2 hours. If we are keeping track (which I'm not because what kind of mother does that, right) I am up to almost 5 hours of child-free time this weekend.

So I guess what I am saying is that I shouldn't be so tired. But I am. Maybe it was Jack's damn bird homework. He (meaning us) had to watch for birds, check off the ones he saw and then write a small little 5 sentence report on 1 bird. He had over a week to do this and we did look for birds everywhere we went but hardly saw any. Even on his hike with his father he only saw 1. Our yard, neighborhood and town seems a bit lacking in the bird department, I think it has something to do with all the predatory animals we have milling about. But finally we managed to spot 7 different types of birds and after baseball last night I nudged, helped, cajoled and begged him to finish up the report part. I have heard a rumor that his teacher might (please be true, please be true) be done giving out homework for the year, leaving the last month to be homework free. I really hope this is true, because I am so sick of homework. But damn, if I can't handle first grade homework, we are screwed.