Friday, January 30, 2009

I Pray For Their Safety

I acknowledge that there are a variety of parenting methods/philosphies out there. There are many of said methods that I don't use in the raising of my children but I readily admit it is not my place, usually, to tell another parent how to raise his/her child. Corporal punishment makes me very uncomfortable, not necessarily because I have any real moral opposition to it, but because a)I think most of the time parents use it as an expression of their own anger and to exert power rather than to correct misbehavior and b) I don't think, in the long term, it is effective. (But I will say that I was spanked as a child and while I can honestly say I don't think it caused any lasting scars I can also say that I don't think it really corrected any of the behavior. Having toys taken away or privledges revoked was much more of a deterrent for me).

Today I was at Target and there was a mother with two children who seemed to be in every section we were. One of the children, around 4 or 5 years of age, was being a bit difficult and the mother's response was to yell "Shut up now!" repeatedly. While I don't endorse that as acceptable parenting I didn't really feel it was my place to interfere. A few aisles later as the disciplinary problem continued the mother slapped him across the fact, open handed. This, I'll admit, put me on guard. I really battled with myself about what to do. To me that is child abuse. I have never and would never strike my child and whether one spanks or not a slap to the face is beyond reprehensible in my book. I had both of my children with me so I didn't approach her, but instead stayed close just to see if it would escalate and if it did, I told myself I would step in.

She continued to yell at the kid (who as far as I could tell was only begging, albeit incessently and disrespectfully, which could have been stopped by simply saying no and leaving the store). I finished shopping, paid, and left the store. I had loaded my kids in the car and was returning my cart when the woman came out and started loading her bags into the trunk of her car, which was parked three spaces down. The child said something that I could not hear but obviously upset the mother who took her child by the back of the head and slammed his head into the side of the car. She then grabbed his face and put it in front of hers and continued yelling. I was seriously stunned. I have never witnessed such a sight in my life.

At that point I yelled over at her to get her hands off her son. She responded with some choice expletives at which point I pulled out my cell phone and called the police. I walked back to my car, got her license plate, and followed her until the police pulled her over a few miles down the road.

In all seriousness I have never been so sad for a child. If that is how she "disciplines" her children in public I cringe to think about what goes on at home behind closed doors. I know that there are times my kids drive me nuts, test my patience, behave disrepectfully, or otherwise embarass me. However, I cannot think of a time, regardless of what my child or any other child has done, that would warrant slamming his/her head into a car. Absolutely sickening. I have no idea what will happen. My guess is nothing, which depresses me even more. I did give a statement and also gave the police the name of the Target employee who also witnessed the mother's slap to the face. In any event, those poor children are on my mind tonight and I can only pray that they are safe.

Michael Franti

I'm a big fan of the song "Hey, I love you" by Michael Franti. I found the song to the left on Youtube and thought it was really catchy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Down Will Come Baby

My son was sitting out on the porch with his great-grandmother yesterday. She went inside to grab a phone, leaving him there. He fell off hitting his head pretty hard on the concrete. Long story short, minus a big bump and a bruise he is okay. My grandmother felt horrible and said something to the effect of, "I don't know what I was thinking leaving him. I should have never done that."

Fast forward hours later when my husband gets home from work. My daughter proceeds to tell him about her brother falling off the swing. She then shrugs her shoulders, puts her hands palms up by her side and in a high pitched voice mimicking my grandmother and shaking her head back and forth says, "I just don't know what I was thinking. I should not have left him out there. I just don't know what I was thinking at all." I don't think I have laughed that hard in a while.

She was spot on with her impression of my grandmother.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Take Your Ideals...

I have listened to the term “idealistic” be tossed around as if it were a negative characteristic. As in Obama is simply “idealistic.” Or Obama is full of “ideals.” Why is that said with such disdain and disgust? It seems like we would want someone who was idealistic, but also rooted in reality. One who envisions the implementation of these ideals yet is also able to adapt to what certain circumstances dictate and demand. I don't know about you, but I like idealistic people. I admire people who hold fast to their ideals. It is those ideals that bring about change, that revolutionize the way we see or do things. If being called “idealistic” is the biggest insult that can be heaped then I think it is safe to say our President is moving in the right direction.

I don't want a leader of any type: a husband, a boss, a governor, a senator, a pastor, or a President, who holds so steadfastly resolute to his ideas that he refuses to change when faced with a set of circumstances that certainly call for flexibility and compromise. I want a leader who has his or her own ideas but who is willing to scrap those if there is a better way, who is willing to compromise if necessary, or who is willing to put those ideas on hold if called for. That's wise leadership in my opinion. I have had a variety of coaches, a variety of bosses, and a variety of other leaders both formal and informal. By far the most effective leaders were those who were most flexible while still staying true to their vision, to their ideals. So, I return to my previous question. When did “idealistic” become a dirty word?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Free Fallin'

When I was a child, my parents took me and my siblings all over the world with them. We went to England, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, all over the US, etc. Flying was a way of life and I don't remember being particularly fearful. Then when I was in 4th grade my father took a sabattical at a University in Germany. During the boarding of one of the flights to get us over there, there was a commotion among the flight attendents because they thought my mom was Sarah Ferguson (we were in England). In the process, one of the doors remained open as we started to taxi. They realized immediately, closed the door and it was no problem. However, it was a problem for me because I was sitting very close to that door. It scared me to death and I look at that as the beginning of my fear of flying.

Then when I was in high school I played on a USA Juniors Basketball Team. During one tournament we flew into Dallas and had to ride in a tiny plane to Lubbock. It seriously sat about 25-30 people and shook horribly the entire way. You couldn't talk to anybody because you couldn't hear. Then everytime we hit an air pocket we'd drop. I really thought I was going to die and to this day don't know how that little plane stayed in the air.

Fast forward a few years later when I was in college and we flew to out of town games on an almost weekly basis. My coach used to dose me heavily with dramamine to make sure I was sleeping before the flight would take off. If not, I would hyperventilate.

Needless to say, flying for me is an issue. This poses a problem considering my husband and I would like to take our children to Ireland in the coming year. This poses a second problem because my parents have just moved to DC and unless I have no plans to see them for the next four years I need to figure out a way to not only get my rear end on a plane and remain calm enough so that US Marshalls don't board to escort me off, but I need to figure out a way to remain so calm that my children don't pick up on the fact that their mother is petrified and convinced we are all going to die. A bit extreme, I know. But, a problem nonetheless.

I know that statistically speaking one is more likely to be in a car crash than a plane crash. However, that still doesn't provide me with much comfort. Especially, when it seems like you can't turn on the news without hearing about another plane crashing somewhere. (With the exception of the heroic landing by "Sully" in the Hudson, most seem to turn out with mass casualties).

I know that much of my fear is irrational, but it is a fear nonetheless. So, tell me. Any suggestions to help me get over this fear? And how about you? Any fears you know are irrational but just can't shake?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rotating Skyscraper

I read about this in the new National Geographic. It is one of the coolest things I have seen. I would love to be able to see firsthand this architectural and technological wonder. One of the coolest parts is that there is a drive-in elevator which lets residents park right outside their front doors. What will they think of next?

Obama's for Christmas

President Obama came on the TV the other day and my daughter asked where he lived. I told her he lived in Washington DC, where grandma and grandpa live now. She then asked if we could go and see him. I said, "Well, maybe someday." She replied, "How about for Christmas?"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Times Like These

Some of my favorite times during the day are the brief moments when I get to spend time alone with each of my children. This doesn't happen often and usually not until the evening, but it is precious nonetheless.

I love cuddling with my son in his bed. He is such a sweet and sensitive soul and laughter comes easily to him. Lately he has become very interested in books and so he will go to his bookshelf and pull out book after book, bring it to me on his bed and we'll read. He tries to repeat all that I say and I just love watching his facial expressions, sensing his excitement, and listening to him as he struggles with and then masters new words.

Time with my daughter is equally precious. I usually read with her as well, but more often than not we play with dolls or princesses or have a tea party. Sometimes she does my hair or I'll do hers, but many times we simply sit together and talk. I am constantly amazed and impressed with her and feel so honored to be her mother.

Truly, those are some of the best parts of my day. I look at both of my children and realize how blessed my husband and I are to have them in our lives. I look at them and realize that I truly want our world to be better FOR THEM and for their children. I look at them and think that they have their entire lives ahead of them and anything is possible and that I just don't want them to grow up too fast because I want to be able to hold and cuddle and love them just like this forever.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

She Strikes With a Needle and Atones with a T-shirt

My husband was asked to give blood when the Red Cross came to his office earlier in the week. He agreed and went downstairs to donate. The tech missed his vein the first time. When she went for a second attempt she sprayed him with blood. She then did the same with two more of my husband's colleagues before being taken off needle duty. He fortunately had an extra shirt in the car so he didn't go through the rest of the day looking like something out of a Dexter episode. For his troubles he was given a stupid looking Red Cross t-shirt. After what he just experienced I don't know that he'd want to give them any free publicity.

When he called and told me he was sprayed I figured it was just a few droplets. Fast forward 9 hours later when he got home. He brings in his shirt to show me and the entire front of it looked like someone had taken a paint sprayer and shot blood all over him. I have never seen such a thing as a result of donating blood and I have had a lot of problems in the past while giving blood, either willingly or as a result of a doctor's order.

I am tempted to send the Red Cross his dry cleaning bill along with a hood and sickle for the agent of death "phlebotomist."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting Stuff Done

For the past 6 years whenever there has been a problem with billing, insurance, our homeowners association, or any of the other variety of things that always end up going wrong it was me on the phone taking care of these issues. For a long time I didn't mind it; I actually kind of liked it. Then I had children. It seems like I got sick of dealing with other people's incompetence, failures, mistakes, gross negligence, etc. Having children in a way made me realize what's important and what I hate wasting my time on. I figured I have better things to do than deal with stupid people who can't do their job. (The sleep deprivation of being a new mother probably didn't help these bitter feelings much either). These phone calls became a nuisance even more so than they already were. Not to mention the fact that everytime I get on the phone one or both children start crying, screaming, fighting, or just laughing loudly. None of which are conducive to a semi-professional conversation. But more than anything I was just sick of having to handle every conversation on every issue.

So, I have gradually over the past few months started handing off some of these phone call duties to my husband. At first he'd put them off and put them off until I would just end up making the phone calls. And don't get me wrong. I still make more than my fair share of calls. However, my husband is like the task master on the phone now. He's checking people left and right, calling them and giving them deadlines. The man is getting things done and it's awesome.

Now if I could only get him to put his dirty clothes in the laundry steps.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Biggest Loser

Over the past couple of seasons I have really been into watching The Biggest Loser. I think it is amazing to watch the transformation some of those contestants make. However, the real reason I watch is because I think Bob, the trainer, is so sexy. My husband teases me relentlessly about my little TV crush. I don't care though. If I had a trainer that looked like that you'd have to drag me out of the gym screaming, "Bob, take me back to Bob."

Reflections of the Inauguration

A lot of my close friends and family are Republicans. Over the course of this last election period I have grown tired of the constant belittling and disrespect shown to our new President. It is also amazing the amount of half-truths and lies being circulated about what they THINK Obama MIGHT do, despite those ideas being in direct conflict with what he has SAID he WILL do. It seems that maybe we should give him the chance to screw up before criticizing him for potential mistakes.

Anyway, today I read a blurb from someone I am friendly with about how he finds Obama to be a hypocrite because he wants workers to cut back on their hours in order to give co-workers more hours, yet believes Obama has no problem spending in excess of $150 million on his inauguration. When I first read that I was a little concerned myself, so I was curious as to what other Presidents have spent, specficially Bush. Doing a little digging there are many sites that claim Bush only spent $40 million and used that as a platform to criticize Obama for wasteful spending. However, I dug a little further and this is what I found.

While many claim Bush only spent 40 million for his innauguration, here is why using $160 million number and comparing it with Bush's 2005 costs represents a classic apples-and-oranges assessment: For years, the press routinely referred to the cost of presidential inaugurations by calculating how much money was spent on the swearing-in and the social activities surrounding that. The cost of the inauguration's security was virtually never factored into the final tab, as reported by the press. The $40 million (Bush inauguration cost) does not include the cost of a web of security, including everything from 7,000 troops to volunteer police officers from far away, to some of the most sophisticated detection and protection equipment.
The question for the press then becomes: How much did the government spend on security for Bush's 2005 inauguration?

Buried in a recent New York Times article published one week before the controversy erupted over the cost of Obama's inauguration, the newspaper reported that in 2005, "the federal government and the District of Columbia spent a combined $115.5 million, most of it for security, the swearing-in ceremony, cleanup and for a holiday for federal workers." You read that correctly. The federal government spent $115 million dollars for the 2005 inauguration. Keep in mind, that $115 million price tag was separate from the money Bush backers bundled to put on the inauguration festivities. For that, they raised $42 million. So the bottom line for Bush's 2005 inauguration, including the cost of security? That's right, $157 million.

Plus that doesn't count the 16 billion a month he has spent on the Iraq war. Talk about wasteful spending.

On a more positive note I had many wonderful conversations today with people who seem to be hopeful and optimistic. I realize, as do most, that Obama will not solve everything and I also realize there are many who just will never like him and will always find something to fault him for. To each his own. However, the historical significance of today's inauguration should not be lost on anyone: supporter or critic. It is an important day for our history and I am proud to have witnessed it.


Random Notes:
I had my daughter watch portions of today's festivities with me. She knows who the Obama's are as we have talked at length about them with her. She obviously does not understand the significance of this, but I am glad she was a part of it nonetheless because someday she will understand why this election was so historic and hopefully this will mark a turning point for our country. Anyway, I digress. There is a book we have been reading lately called Llama Llama Mad at Mama. My daughter now calls our President "Barack O'mama llama" and our First Lady "Michelle O'mama llama."

I pointed out George W. Bush during the swearing in and said he was our old President and Obama was going to be our new President. She said, "But Bush was our new President and now he is our old President?" I said, "yes." She then asked when Obama would be our old President. I told her hopefully not for another 8 years.

Michelle Obama came out wearing a gorgeous dress for one of the balls. When she came on stage my daughter asked, "Is she a princess?" I replied, "She looks like a princess doesn't she?" My daughter then asked, as Obama took his wife's hand, "Are they going to get married now?" I told her that they already were married to which she replied, "He is her Prince." My daughter relates all aspects of life to Disney Princesses.

So, what are your thoughts on the inauguration? Do tell.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Social Butterfly

My daughter has turned into a social creature. She loves interaction with other children. I am constantly amazed at her ease of making friends at the park, play dates, ballet class, at church, and other social functions. She and I are alike in so many ways, but this is not one of those ways. She definitely has inherited my husband's sense of social ease.

I enjoy my friends, don't get me wrong. But I am usually just as content alone. I rarely crave the social interactions like she does. She has quite a few cousins and one is just a few months younger than she. My daughter has been asking for weeks now if she could come over and play. Every morning we get up she asks me to call my sister to see if her cousin can come over to our house. Sure, no problem....except for the fact that my kids were sick for over a month. Then just as mine started to recover my sister's kids became sick. I've been staving off a very persistent 3 year old for a solid month now.

Fortunately, tomorrow that will change. My sister is dropping my niece off for a couple of hours to play with my daughter. I don't think I could have lived through another day of my daughter following me around with a telephone telling me to call my sister.


** We were shopping at Survivalist Headquarters tonight (also known as Costco) and at the end of each aisle different samples were being offered. A woman offered my daughter a cup of grapefruit slices and just as I was about to decline on her behalf my daughter says very matter-of-fact, "Oh, no thank you. I can't have grapefruit because I am allergic."

** My daughter has been running through the house chanting "Barack OMama" today. Can't wait for tomorrow.

** Has anyone heard the song "Home" by Tandy? It's beautiful!

** My husband, the kids, and I eat a lot of Basmati rice. We buy it in the 50 lb. burlap sacks at Costco. We just restocked. We have enough to make any Mormon survivalist proud.

** By this time tomorrow we will have a new President. The excitement is palpable. Here's to us, America!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Reason to Hope for Change

I don't know if I can adequately explain my feelings about the upcoming Presidential Inauguration. I have never been filled with such hope and optimism for an incoming President; I've never been so excited for a new President to take the helm and outline his plan for our country. Part of it is my age, but most of it is because I don't think we have had a President generate this much expectation and excitement before. Well, at least not anytime during the past eight years.

The expectations facing this man are great. He will be expected to fix what has been damaged or destroyed over the course of the last eight years and he will be expected to do it quickly. There are those who think he is up for the job and those who are hoping he fails (a concept so foreign to me...I would never want any President to fail, regardless of party affiliation). The reality is that President-Elect Obama will not be able to remedy all that ails our country overnight. It will take years, but I am so hopeful that he will immediately begin to implement his plans to fix our economy, our healthcare system, the war in Iraq, etc.

Television has been flooded with Obama this and Obama that and there seems to be fairly consistent rhetoric when it comes to the way people describe him. Both his supporters and critics alike describe him as truthful, cool, calm, collected, analytical, even-keeled, and other similar adjectives. That is exactly the type of person I want making hard, complicated decisions. That is the type of person that should have been in the White House for the past eight years.

It will be interesting to see how Obama's beliefs grow and/or change. President Bush governed Texas more from the middle. Few would describe his record as Governor of Texas as extreme. It wasn't until he got to the White House that he began to veer so far to the right, polarizing the majority of Americans. He no longer represented most mainstream Republicans. Sure, there are those fringe, right-wing fanatics who think he is a terrific President and I think over time, the decisions he made and the long-term effects of those decisions will prove otherwise. But it gives me pause. Could Obama do the same thing the other way?

I'm a moderate. Some would say I am a liberal Republican, most would say a conservative Democrat. Technically, I'm neither. I do know that I don't want a President who deals in extremes. We've had one of those for eight years and have been repeatedly shown that that does not work. It's divisive. Obama has governed from the middle. I hope he remains that way. Just as Bush went off the right side deep end, I pray that Obama will not dive off the left side deep end. By all accounts thus far it does not appear that way, but Washington DC has a way of thwarting even the best of intentions. I truly do believe that Obama will do a much better job of uniting and not polarizing our nation. I also think he will not label those that differ with him as evil or un-American. I have faith that he will not cultivate a climate of fear, but instead one of hope and optimism.

One of my favorite aspects of Obama is the way he interacts with his family. He seems to have a wonderful, strong, respectful marriage and it is obvious that both he and Michelle Obama have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. In a day and age where politics and scandals seem to mix it is nice to see a positive model of marriage (I would say the same thing about President and Laura Bush's marriage for the most part as well). It is also endearing to see his interaction with his children. It's been a long time since children, in the truest sense of the word, have moved into the White House. Watching how Michelle Obama and our future President have made the transition with their daughters' best interest at the forefront of all decisions instills me with a sense of comfort and security. I can't really explain it other than to say that I think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their children and their spouse.

I watched an interview with Warren Buffett this weekend. I was surprised to learn that he is a staunch Obama supporter. I don't know why that surprises me so much, but it does. Buffett had a slew of compliments to bestow upon Obama, namely believing that he truly can fix the economy over time. He acknowledges it will take years, but believes the policies Obama plans to implement and the team he has put in place is the appropriate one for our current predicament. Buffett said one of Obama's best qualities is his ability to listen and absorb the information.

So, I'm excited to see what new policies this President will implement, I'm anxious to see new people in charge working together instead of divisively pulling each other apart. I am excited to be able to hope again, to feel optimistic about our country, and to truly believe that the American people, you and me, will once again have a say. We have been silenced by fear and accusations of being un-American for eight years now. It's time to hope for change.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I went in tonight to check on my daughter before heading to bed myself and this is how I found her. Homegirl is out!

Friday, January 16, 2009

So Free

Last night I was able to go out for drinks with a good friend from college. She travels to Tucson frequently for business and so we have been able to meet for dinner quite often over the past year. Usually though I have my children in tow. Last night, however, my husband was home and so the children were left behind. For all of you fellow mothers out there, you know why this is a big deal. I got to go out alone for almost 4 hours, complete a conversation without constant interruption, discuss a variety of adult topics without having to spell out certain words or phrases that I don't want little ones to repeat, and drink more than one alcoholic beverage. I had a blast.

I seriously need to make it a point to do that type of thing more often. Just that small break completely rejuvenated me and gave me the will to go on...haha. So, I am looking forward to my next solo night out in the coming weeks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Think I Hear Dueling Banjos

My daughter today goes over and hugs her brother and says, "Oh, I love you so much." She then announces to me that she is going to marry her brother one day. It was so sweet that I didn't have the heart to tell her that we live in Arizona, not Arkansas, and that type of thing is frowned upon here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vroom Vroom Vespa

I want a Vespa. I mean, I really want a Vespa. I do realize that I have 2 children and a Vespa is not exactly conducive to transporting a family. Not to mention the fact that I pretty much go nowhere without my children and thus would rarely have the opportunity to actually drive said Vespa. However, that doesn't stop my obsession with wanting to own one.

My husband currently drives my old Sentra, a car that is now 8 years old. Heaven forbid it break down, but if it does I have suggested to my hubby that maybe we should get him a Vespa. He's not too keen on the idea considering he works on the opposite side of town now and a 45 minute drive in July when it's 120 degrees outside is not looking too appealing to him. I told him that if he drives fast enough the wind could function as free AC.

The primary reason for my suggestion is a selfish one. If he has a Vespa then I can drive it on weekends when he is home with the kids. Quick trips to the grocery store, post office, mall, visits with friends.....I could just hop on the Vespa and be off.

If you had no one else to consider what is something you would buy or wish to buy just for yourself?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


In September 2007 my mom feel down their spiral staircase, shattering her hand. The doctor said he had never seen such a break. Needless to say she required surgery and was out of commission for close to a year. She still does not have full range of motion back.

The day after Christmas my 80 year old grandmother fell and broke her back. She didn't tell any of us for a couple of days and so before we insisted she see a doctor she walked around for two days causing further damage. She is now cooped up at home and barely able to move.

My father began his 4 year appointment in DC this week. He left Saturday with my mom to follow in a few weeks. Sunday my mom is moving things outside, trips, falls, breaks her foot in three places. She is having surgery Monday, will be in a cast for 12 weeks, then will undergo a second surgery followed by more time in a cast. She, too, is cooped up at home and unable to move.

Seriously? What's next? I will say this. When people in my family decide to do something, we go big. Even when breaking bones there is no half-assing it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Review: The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

I finished reading The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb last week. I have put off writing about it because there is not really anything I could say to truly do it justice. It was a wonderful book and incredibly dynamic. There were various layers that ended up coming together very nicely. Probably most impressive was the characterization. So many characters were so fully and completely developed. Oftentimes in books some of the fringe characters get left behind. That was not the case in this book.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the fact that the author created fictional characters around actual events. He blurred the line between fiction and reality and did it very successfully and effectively. The story opens with the tragedy of Columbine. Caelum Quirk, the main character, and his wife are both employees of the school: he as a teacher and she as a nurse. He is away in Connecticut preparing to bury his aunt, but his wife Maureen ends up hiding in a cabinet in the library during the shooting. Much of her experience during Columbine mirrors the account that Patti Nielson gave of her experience during the actual shooting. Whether or not Maureen is basely loosely on her is undetermined. The story explores the effect that Columbine had on its survivors and the often tragic consequences of living through such an ordeal.

This story line parlays into another story line that centers around Caelum's heritage. Fleeing Colorado after the event Caelum begins to uncover many secrets to his past. The book also explores the idea that you can never really escape the experiences of your life. Despite fleeing to Connecticut, tragedy continued to envelop Maureen's life and by extension Caelum's. They never truly recover, even years later, from the events at Columbine. Everything after that day is somehow effected by the events Maureen lived through at Columbine .

The book is 600 plus pages and I enjoyed each and every one. It was a book that really made me think about how certain things happen in our lives and those events, whether big or small, set into motion a series of events that will form our future. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone. It is definitely one of the best books I've read in a while.

Has anyone else read this book? If so, what did you think? What are you reading right now? I have just started The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What the Numbers Say

This was an exhausting weekend. My husband and I continued the overhaul on our house, which is more time consuming than one might think especially while still trying to make sure our kids get some attention. :) The good news is that I have only one more room to paint and the garage to clean out. The rest of the house is now immaculate and freshly painted.

Here's the rundown:

Hours Spent Cleaning: 14 plus
Hours Spent Painting: 6 plus
Gallons of Paint Used: 5 and counting
Rooms Painted: 2 full bathrooms, one kitchen, one dining room, 2 hallways, 17 doors, all baseboards but the living room (to be done this week)
Trips to Home Depot: Amazingly, only 2
Trips to Target: Amazingly, zilch, zero, goose egg
Gallons of Water Drank: 937. Only a slight exaggeration.
Hours Suffered from a Migraine: 12 straight
Hours of Sleep Over Past 2 Nights: 7
Number of Disney Princess Movies Watched: 2, Mulan and Mulan 2
Number of Books Read: 1 for my own pleasure (The Hour I First Believed) and 27 to the kids.
Number of Times I Let My Daughter Do My Hair: 9
Number of Times I Let My Daughter Do My Make-up: 1 and that was all it took to not let that happen again.
Number of Pictures My Kids Painted: 32 and boy was it messy
Number of Hours I Played "Castle" (a made up game) with my kids: 3 straight

So, tell me what you were up to this weekend and what do you have on your plate for the week?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Put the Old Bitty Before the Cart

I have to tell you I had a rather interesting experience at the grocery store last week. I had finished shopping and was pushing my cart up to a cashier. I had seriously already turned my cart into the line when an older woman ran in front of me, bumping my cart, and stood in front of me looking at me triumphantly. I just stood there with a confused look on my face like, “What the heck are you doing?” Then I noticed she didn't have anything in her hands. I started to put some items on the conveyor when she flags down who I presume to be her grandson, not any older than 10 years old, and waves him into the line.

Then it just gets awkward. The poor kid is standing there next to me with the cart and I am already in line and his grandmother will not move. She motions to me as if she is shooing an insect away and in fact turns to me and says, “Can you move? I was here first.” If a)my children weren't with me and b)her grandson wasn't with her I would have had a few choice words for her. However, I gave her a look that needn't any further explanation and let her grandson pass. My 3 year old daughter knew enough to say, “That wasn't very nice of that old lady.” To which I said, loud enough for that old bitty to hear (but after her grandson had wandered off to get a balloon), “No, it wasn't. She is not setting a very good example for her grandson. That is not how I would ever want you or your brother to treat others and that is certainly not something your grandma would EVER do.” She said nothing, just turned and again gave me that triumphant smirk.

The cashier apologized to me and said that he was honestly so stunned that he didn't know what to do. He'd never seen anything like it and much like me did not want to do anything to embarrass the child with her, who was very clearly uncomfortable with his grandmother's line cutting abilities. I have been cut off many a times when getting into a line. However, I have never been THIS cut off. I was seriously so stunned I was at a loss for words. The saddest part was the fact that she was so proud of herself. It appeared to be the highlight of her day and if that is truly the case then she can have it. But is that not crazy?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My daughter has been in a ballet class once a week for five months now. She loves it. She looks forward to it every week and talks the rest of the week about what she did in addition to showing us all her new moves. Today was Parent Observation Day. We have these once a month and my daughter is always thrilled that I am able to sit in and watch her perform.

However, today after every couple of activities she would run over and pleadingly ask if we could leave. I would send her back with her friends to finish the class. When class was over she told me that she doesn't want to go to dance anymore. This from the girl that wants to live in her tights and leotard. This from the girl who, since dance, turns everything into an elaborate performance. So, what changed? Honestly, I don't know. I talked with her at length about it tonight and she just says she doesn't want to go anymore.

Really, I don't care if she sticks with it or not. If she no longer enjoys it I am certainly not going to make her do it. However, I also don't want her to quit something because she might have just had a bad day. So, I am going to have her finish out the month and then revisit the situation. If she is persistant with her desire to dance no more then I'll pull her from the class.

So, I don't know....any ideas?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Random Nothingness and Some More

So, I am still sick and while I am not totally miserable I am beyond tired. Exhausted in fact. Seriously if I could just sleep for a few hours I think it would do wonders. But my husband was out of town for the early part of this week again, which means virtually no rest for me. He returned home tonight.

Then my grandmother fell last week and broke vertebrae (spelling) in her back. So, I've been going over there to fill prescriptions for her and make her dinner. It's not that I mind, because I don't. I'm happy to do it, but when I am sick and all I want to do is sleep the simplest of things wear me out.

Much of this I bring on myself. Instead of taking it easy and resting when I could I plow ahead with my normal, oh, trying to stick to the artibrary "house purging" schedule I made last week. The good news is that despite taking Monday and Tuesday off because I just felt like absolute crap, I did manage to finish the rest of the upstairs today. Every single room and closet has been gutted, organized, cleaned, and put back neat and orderly. I can't even begin to tell you how good that feels. I just need to have the carpets upstairs cleaned now and one floor of the house will be complete.

The main floor is a different story. We still have our Christmas tree up, which I am sick of looking at. My husband's job this week is to get it out of here ASAP. My daughter went from wanting to keep it forever to deciding she didn't like it as much when all the needles fell off everytime she touched it.

Totally changing the father leaves for DC this weekend (He and my mom are moving there for the next four years at least) and he wanted us to set up webcam accounts so he can talk to the grandkids. So, I did so today and tested it on my brother who lives in Wisconsin and then set up an account for my mom as well. I realize I am probably behind in the times here, but can I tell you how awesome that is? I am going to have a lot of fun playing with it.

This could be why I am tired.....I could be (and really should be) in bed right now. Both kids have been asleep for over 2 hours now and here I am blogging and then looking around the living room and kitchen at all that I could be cleaning (and probably will end up cleaning before I even think of going to bed). So, I have nothing to complain about I guess.

What do you find yourself wasting time on? Or doing instead of sleeping?

Conversations about Babies

My daughter told me yesterday (after telling me for months that she is going to have babies when she is an "old woman" and name them the same names as she and her brother) that , "When I am a mommy I don't want any babies." I told her that if she is a mommy she must have had a baby. She said, "Well, I don't want one right now." Thank God! When her father and I pick out a nice, handsome, wealthy man for her to marry when she's 30 then the babymaking can begin.

She has also informed me that she absolutely does not want any more brothers or sisters. She wants it only to be her brother. When I took the crib down out of her brother's room to move the bed in she got very excited and asked what I was doing. I told her I was storing the crib since her brother was getting to be a big boy now. She said, "Does that mean you'll have no more babies to put in the crib?" She asked it a bit too gleefully.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Why I Have an Ulcer

I am a worrier. I worry about quite a bit on a day to day basis. Not to the point where it renders me incapacitated or anything like that, but enough to cause some unneeded stress and anxiety. I worry about the health and safety of my family and friends, especially my children. I worry about finances and job security in this economy even though my husband just made a smart career move to a career about as stable as they come. I worry about the type of world we will have left for our children and grandchildren. The fact that so many have a blatant disregard for our world and its resources is greatly disturbing to me. How so many can turn a blind eye to the effects our wastefulness has caused and then still tuck their children in at night, promising them the world, seems at the very least hypocritical if not a blatant lie.

I worry about the type of impression the world's ugliness will leave on my children and if the leadership and example my husband and I are providing and instilling on their ever impressionable brains will be enough to negate those negative influences. I worry about "values" that are not shared by me and my husband being imposed on my children at an impressionable age. I worry about sending my children to school when we live in a world where school shootings have become, if not the norm, at least too common. I worry that people seem to have such easy access to guns and that most school shooters take guns from inside their own homes, not buy them from some scary man on the street as so many would like us to believe. I worry about a lot.

However, one of the best things I have done for my children is to not let them see me worry about these things. Sure, they've seen me stressed or upset at times, but I am super-conscious, especially around my sponge of a daughter to not voice or express these worries. I don't want my caution or concern (or at times panic and despair) to impact or influence her love and experience of all things new. I want her and our son to have a healthy fear of things like not running out into the street or not talking to people we don't know, but I don't want her to think that the world is some big, mean, scary place that is out to get her and her brother.

She is so much like me in that she internalizes everything and weeks to months later will bring up something she heard ages ago. It always makes me sad to think that she might have been worried about that for so long. So for as long as possible I want her to experience the wonder that childhood presents. To see the world through the eyes of a child is a blessing and those of us with children, who take the time to really listen to and interact with our children, know what I mean.

When I think about the term "innocence lost" it makes me hyper-aware that childhood used to last so much longer...even just from the time I was a kid. Kids become aware of the world's evils and dangers at such an early age that it is scary. Nothing made this more concrete for me than when I was teaching. The lives some of those students had endured are utterly heartbreaking. This realization just makes me want to provide a safe, loving environment and provide experiences that cultivate that "innocent" time and not do anything to shorten it or speed it along.

I want both of my children to one day look back on their childhood with memories of being carefree and excited and fun, but most importantly provided and cared for and most certainly adored and loved. I think that is probably what all parents want for their children.

Despite all my worrying I also have an innate sense that things will work out. I just trust that somehow, someway things will work out for the best. Maybe that's naive or overly optimistic, but it's how I feel 99 percent of the time. So, now that I have shared my neurotic innermost thoughts, what are some of your worries or concerns that you think about on a regular basis?

I Think Hell Froze Over

My daughter slept for 10 solid hours in her own bed, never once waking and crying about wanting to sleep with mommy. I kept waking up wondering if she was still breathing. (My son was a different story last night). I sure hope this is a step in the right direction and not just the one exception in an otherwise crappy rule.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Self Diagnose, Self Medicate

I once dated this guy who was pre-med and he would attempt to diagnose any ailment I had. While at first it was impressive it became quite annoying and in time made me paranoid. Talk about a solid reason to be a hypochondriac. Anytime I sneezed I waited for him to conclude that I had only weeks to live.

I think because of that experience I have always been reluctant to take myself to the doctor. I don't want to seem like I am overreacting. So, I end up waiting until I am horribly ill and end up walking out with 17 different medications as opposed to if I would have taken myself when I was first sick and could have been cured with one. (I am fortunately not that way with my children).

So, the internal struggle has begun. I'm fairly certain that what I have is a virus, in which case there is nothing they can give me. I am also 99 percent certain I have ear infections. I am prone to those and end up with serious infections and a boat load of medication almost everytime I get sick. The fact that my ears throb so badly that the pain has radiated to my jaw and kills so much I can't even lay on the right side of my face makes me fairly certain that my diagnosis is correct.

That being said I still don't want to drag two kids to the doctor where I am sure I will have to wait, so I rummaged through my medicine cabinet and found antibiotics from when I was sick a few months ago (yes, I know that's bad...I didn't take the entire course of them). In the interest of self-preservation and cost cutting measures I am self-medicating with a 10 day course of amoxicillian. Shhh! Don't tell anyone. That's probably about as good as the doctor could do anyway.

On that note, I am going to take something to knock me out and go to bed...something I should have done hours ago.

Weekend Recap

So my kids were sick for most of the month of December. My son is still battling a cough and runny nose. Imagine my surprise when Christmas came and went and I was still not sick. I mean, come on, I catch everything. Well, my glee was short lived. I came down with the same crud that is going around on Saturday and I am now miserable. Add to this the fact that my son has decided to start waking up every hour all night long and I'm about ready to claw my own eyes out. Or the fact that my daughter stands in her door way in the middle of the night crying about wanting to "sleep with mommy." I love that they love me but I'd love it more if they'd love me less during the hours of 10 pm until 7 am.

On more uplifting news my husband and I have made great progress in our "house purging" endeavor. I was able to clean out both kids' rooms, closets, dressers, toy boxes and put up new beds in each. My husband gutted his closet and dresser and I mine and I even managed to "spotlify" (yes, it's my made up word for the epitome of cleanliness) the laundry room. So, our upstairs has only the office remaining and if all goes well I hope to clean that out this week. My illness has thrown a bit of a curve into the plan, but I think I'll power through. Then hopefully next weekend we can hit the kitchen, the storage closet, and the garage. We have someone coming today to pick up 17 bags of donated clothing and bedding from our closets and drawers. Craziness...I am just glad all that stuff is not in my house anymore.

So, tell me about your weekend. What did you do? What's on the agenda for the week? Have you managed to stay healthy during this "cold" and "flu" season?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mark of the Beast

I paid off a credit card today. Our remaining balance was $6.66. I hope that is not a sign of impending doom.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Let the Purging Begin

I sometimes feel as if I live in a toy factory. It seems as if toys are starting to fill every available corner of our house and frankly it is just claustrophobic. My husband and I intentionally did not buy our children big presents this year for Christmas, opting instead for a variety of smaller items. We asked our family to do the same and they mercifully obliged.

Even so, over time, toys and gadgets and clothing accumulates and before you realize it you are stuffed. This week I went through our house and just made notes about each room and what I'd like changed. Much to my husband's dismay the list grew exponentially and by the time I was finished I had outlined a 3 week "purging" process. Most of the labor falls on me since I am home and I know what I want to keep, what I want to donate, and what I want to toss out, but there are some "heavy lifting" items that will need my husband's manly attention. :)

I began today and spent hours in my daughter's room alone (I could have done it in probably an hour if I wasn't simultaneously trying to entertain two children and keep them from wreaking havoc on the rest of the house). I also started straightening up the office, which won't be that big of a chore. The office closet is another story. I stayed up late a few nights ago cleaning my son's room and so all that is left there is his closet. Ideally, I'd like to purge my closet, my husband's, the hall linen closet, downstairs storage closet, the garage, the kitchen shelves and cabinets, repaint the house, clean the carpets, and the list goes on.....and on.....

I guess I just want to begin to live a more minimalistic lifestyle. I'm tired of constantly being surrounded by the latest toys and gadgets. Don't get me wrong...I love all that stuff. I just feel like I need more room to breathe. Plus, I figure the less I have in my house, the less I have to clean up on a daily basis.

So, what about you? Do you like a lot of "stuff", prefer a more minimal existence, somewhere in between? Do you ever just get sick of everything and go on a "purging binge" much like I am doing?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


When I was in college I took a cruise with three of my friends to different ports throughout Mexico. We had a great time, but I remember as I was boarding thinking, "Man, it wouldn't be that difficult to fall off this boat or get thrown off." I voiced these concerns on more than one occasion and was repeatedly told, "Oh, that's virtually impossible."

Then a few years after I took this cruise it seemed like I couldn't open up the newspaper without reading about another person falling or being thrown off a cruise ship. It now seems to be an epidemic. I just read about another cruise ship employee today falling off the ship. It appears that it is fairly easy to do. I don't understand it really.

My husband has never been on a cruise and would like to go....with our kids. While I have no doubt we'd all have a lot of fun, the thought of our children, our son especially on a boat at open sea, scares the bejesus out of me....seriously. My son is the kid who, on a daily basis, makes me rethink my opposition to the leash/harnesses so many parents use. He's the kid who makes all other kids look easy. I don't want him anywhere near that boat, because if there is a way to get off it, he will find that way. I know I'd spend the entire time worrying instead of relaxing and having fun. (I have similar moments of panic when my husband suggests taking the kids to the Grand Canyon.)

So, anyone taken a cruise with small children? Did you enjoy yourself? Were you worried about one of them going overboard?