Monday, June 28, 2010

Time flies when you're having fun...

I’m feeling pretty "kidded out" right now, but instead of ranting and raving (believe me, I’ve done that already) about the past week with my kids, I’m just going to relate some of the past moments spent with my two angels and hopefully I’ll be able to laugh.

  • Before my parents came to visit last week, my son asked me how long they were staying. Well, my mother had told me two days, but since they have never stayed for more than a day before, I told my son not to expect more than an overnight visit. When my parents arrived, I was in the kitchen when I heard my son ask his grandma how long she was planning on staying. My mother answered that they were staying for two days and my heart lurched as I heard my son start to say, "Really? My mom says you never…" I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast in my life-I got to the room just in time to ask if anyone wanted any ice tea, and my son never had time to finish his sentence

  • I promised the kids that we would go to the pool for a couple hours on Friday since everything (at least with me) was returning to normal. We were in a hurry (as usual) and I asked if they would apply their sunscreen themselves-I had gotten a call from my husband and several texts from a co-worker, and it seemed like a very logical decision at the time… Now my son is ghostly white like me, so when I got off the phone I really covered his back, but I mistakenly thought the other body parts were adequately protected. We were only at the pool for a couple hours, but by the time we got home, I was wondering whose kids these were-both looked as if they were wearing a red mask! Their skin was red around their eyes, tops of their cheeks and nose, and I had a pretty good hunch that sunscreen never made its way to that part of their face. Thankfully a slathering of Benadryl made them human again by Saturday morning.

  • We signed the kids up for the summer reading program and decided that we would take part in this year’s "Get Outdoors" campaign. 30 different parks have hidden wooden markers, and each marker contains an etching related to a different water related topic-you follow the clues given for each park trail to find and rub the etching in your book. The trails for each park are rated for difficulty, and we decided to do both a hard and moderate trail with daddy on Saturday. We decided on the hard trail first and I noticed 2.40 mi. in the upper right corner of the book-hmm…  Smooth gravel paths turned into a rocky up and downhill climb and the further we went, the worse it got. My daughter and husband were faring quite well, but my son and I were faltering for several reasons:

    •  A) Gnats decided that we might make a tasty snack, and they swarmed incessantly around our faces. I don’t like bugs, any bugs, and neither does my son (long story short-he had gotten one in his eye so he was now wearing my sunglasses-the figures you see way off in the distance are my husband and daughter...), and we weren’t too crazy about becoming gnat food. My very tolerant husband said the gnats wouldn’t bite as long as we kept moving, and this might have calmed my son but it didn’t fool me. (Where was the bug spray when I needed it?)

    • B) I shouldn’t have gulped down a bunch of water before our hike because I desperately needed to go and was getting cramps!  
    • C) My son and I are klutzes-he and I were tripping constantly over the rocks, and I am now nursing a soar knee. 

  • Things started out jolly, but then there was nothing but angry shouting- my daughter at my son because she wanted to lead the way, my husband at my son when my son decided he didn’t want to walk anymore, and me at my husband for yelling at my son. Just one angry family going for a hike in gnat filled woods in the 90 plus degree weather. We finally found the marker and did make it out of the woods in one piece (my son got a piggyback ride most of the way back-poor hubby!) when my crew decided that we should do a couple more trails-one rated moderate and one rated easy. I did the easy with them but the moderate was still up and down hills, so my knee and me stayed behind on the nice trail bench…

  • Then there is a mish-mash of things from refereeing some of my kids little squabbles to things I just can't label. Here are some excerpts:
    • My son likes to stand behind my daughter when she goes online to play Jump Start. (By the way, I will be reviewing the new Jump Start Get Moving Family Fitness Wii game this week and hosting my first giveaway, so stay tuned…) Anyhow, he has played a touch more than she has and has a tendency to shout at her for doing things "wrong." Well my daughter is usually pretty patient with her brother, but that patience has run out these past two weeks. She turns around and bops him in the head, he comes crying in to me, and she loses computer privileges.

    • Then we had an incident in the yard. My son grabs my daughter’s shirt and won’t let go so my daughter gives him a kick and each comes back to the house crying about the other. An early bedtime for both (can anyone say parent party?) seems to have done the trick because we have had two very pleasant children the past two days.

    • Our dog has been fixed and hasn’t done "the nasty" since November, but occasionally he tries to dominate over my son and certain objects. I just had this discussion with my son this morning:

    "Mom, I need to keep my Hulk hands up high because Uno keeps trying to love them."  
    I snickered but held it together. "Okay, that’s a good idea."
    "You know mom, I can’t lay down on the couch anymore."
    "Why’s that?"

    "If my arm is hanging down, Uno wants to rub on it. And the other day when I was hiding from him under my quilt, he straddled my neck and tried to do it to my head."

    Okay, it’s not funny but is funny at the same time and I tried to calmly tell him to call me if the dog started doing this again. Then when my son left the room my daughter and I exploded with laughter-I really needed that (although my son, not so much…) I hope you can find some funny in these long summer days too!

    Molly over at I'm a Sleeper Baker recently passed me the "I'm Going Places" award and I need to tell you where I'll be (or think I'll be) in ten years then pass it on to ten other bloggers, so here goes:

    -My daughter will be in college and my son will be finishing high school (will that officially make me old?)

    -My husband says that he wants to retire in ten years, but looking at having two in college, me thinks not...

    -And me? Well, I will still be teaching and hopefully will take a stab at some formal writing. Only time will tell, right?

    Now I'm going to pass this on to ten other wonderful ladies:

    Septembermom at My Voice My View
    Nicole over at A New Normal
    DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom
    MOPTG at Mom of the Perpetually Grounded
    Yonca at Yonca is Cooking
    Lyndsey at This is my life
    The Girl with the flour in her hair at Peeling an orange with a screwdriver
    Zen Mom at Zen and the Art of Motherhood
    Shelly at Tropical Mum
    And Tesa at 2 Wired 2 Tired

  • Friday, June 25, 2010

    Ilness and In-laws

    I rarely hear of anyone getting sick during the summer months-I mean there is the occasional allergy sufferer or spring cold, but summer is when all is right with the world. But I soon realized that I traded a fast paced workweek for visits with the relatives-a visit from my parents and a visit to my husband's parents-and I guess these back-to-back visits weren’t such a good idea.

    My niece’s graduation party was June 19 and my parents wanted to swing by our place for a few days on their way back from Massachusetts-um, June 16 and 17 (and we were leaving for Western PA the morning of the 18th.) And don’t forget that school let out just a few days before and my house was showing signs of neglect, but how hard could this be, right? Wrong! I was dead tired and now I had to clean my house, get ready for guests, and do laundry so we could pack for our trip, and the kids wanted to hit the pool and get together with friends-what was I thinking?

    The kids were really excited about their grandparent’s visit, and as June 16 approached, my son slept less and less, getting up a few times around 5:00 AM! And getting him to go to bed and stay in bed was next to impossible.

    "Go to sleep."
    "I forgot to go to the bathroom."
    "You went to the bathroom about twenty minutes ago-I saw you. Now go to sleep."
    Silence then, "Mom?"
    "What now?"
    "Did I ever tell you about..?"

    It looked as if things would be okay, but by Friday morning (the day my parents were leaving and so were we) my son started coughing. He didn’t have any other cold symptoms and seemed in good spirits, so we passed it off to some sort of allergy thing and set out. The five-hour car ride was pretty uneventful, except for the occasional hack, sputter, gag and my daughter yelling, "Cover your mouth! Mom, tell him to cover his mouth!"

    We were staying with my husband’s parents and decided to treat them to dinner out, but we sort of forgot that the kids (notably my son) were in a car for five hours, or how one of them (my son again) may be getting sick. But the kids would be with grandma and grandpa so they would be on their best behavior… Just in case, my husband and I flanked my son but it wasn’t enough-he had hit the wall and I knew it would be a fast spiral downward especially if everyone took their time to enjoy their meal! So my husband and I took turns aiding and abetting our son-maintaining control of the larger than normal glass of chocolate milk, trying to keep his spaghetti on his plate at all times, and resorting to crayons and books when all else failed and everyone else was still eating.

    The grown ups had all ordered the jumbo fish platter, and although I’m not really a fish eater, a trip to Wendy’s when we were on the Interstate cured me of any beef cravings. I decided to live a little and I ordered the fish with beer batter, and I could barely eat half before I told the waitress she could take it away-it was so good I didn't even mind that some of my son's spaghetti had fallen on my shoe.

    We decided to let the kids blow off a little steam and walk off some of our meals at a couple local parks, and my son seemed to perk up a bit. But I started feeling a bit strange-it was 80 degrees out and I started getting the chills. In fact, when we got back to my in-laws house, I donned a sweatshirt while everyone else was complaining about the humidity. And when my husband and I finally went to bed, I started getting stomach cramps, but since it was nearing that special time of the month, I didn’t think it was anything to worry about-I should have worried because I tossed and turned all night and by the next morning, what went in was on its way out and I was like this all day. I spent the entire Saturday ferrying between the upstairs bedroom, the living room couch, and the bathroom, and those of you who know anything about my in-laws you also know that they show Newfoundlands, and since they are kept in the area of the house where the bathroom is, I had to muscle past them each and every time I went. This is a pretty big feat considering that their one male is nearly 200 lbs! I figured out that if I could lure the drooling beasts to one room, I could make a mad dash for the bathroom. It worked nearly every time-I may have been mobbed once or twice in a few of the attempts. (There are five of them you know...)

    The rest of my family attended the party (there were about 200 people), enjoying a food spread that included pigs in a blanket, fried chicken, and itty-bitty cheesecakes with a choice of five different toppings. Oh, and did I mention the pool? I was so sick I couldn’t read or watch TV, the heat in the house made me feel like I was melting, so my mind wandered as I stared at the wall and tried to sleep. My saintly husband made a few calls to see if I was still alive-I was-but by the time everyone rolled in about 8 that evening, I wanted nothing more than to go home. We were supposed to stay until Monday, but my husband and I compromised and we came home Sunday night-I was feeling a little better but not enough to want to socialize, and all I wanted to do was sleep in my own bed.

    I’m not sure if I had food poisoning or a virus but I'm better but my son’s cough got worse (of course)-he has a virus similar to the one I had during school (my cough lasted almost a month!) It just has to run its course so he is taking something to help him sleep at night (the cough keeps him up) and I’m typing up this post to help me deal with him during the day-let’s just say he has had more than a few melt downs over the last few days, and his sister and I have become the enemy (he still likes his dad!)

    I feel like I should end with a moral or something, so how about "That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable," or "A truly wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn." (Funny! Okay, I’m getting tired so bear with me…) How about "Every path has it’s puddle" and maybe I’ll just "go with the flow." Uh oh, I almost forgot.  Molly over at I'm a Sleeper Baker recently passed me the "I'm Going Places" award, but it's already Friday in the AM (I started this at 11 PM Thursday!) and I need some shut eye, so I will get this together soon... Goodnight everybody!

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Life's Chapters

    Well, I’m back- back to normal (not likely), but definitely back blogging again. I was just juggling a little too much lately with work and family commitments, and even though I love writing to all of you, sitting down to write felt like just another chore I had to complete so I decided to come back when things calmed down a bit. I tried to write a couple of times, but each post attempt turned into the ravings of a pretty stressed out mom-heck, I didn’t want to read it let alone make all of you suffer through it! I know I haven’t been the best bloggy friend either, although I still managed to tweet about giveaways (but giveaway addicts are hard to cure…)

    I wanted to write tonight for two reasons: 1) I took the kids to see the last Shrek movie and thought I would share some of the highlights, and 2) I wanted to share how that movie got me thinking about my own life, so prepare for deep (not too deep)introspection.

    I wasn’t a fan of Shrek III- we did eventually add it to our DVD collection (you can’t have Shrek I and II and not III) but I felt the mood of the third movie was a little too “sinister” and I remember anxiously glancing at my kids the entire time we were in the movie theatre. So I was decidedly nervous when both asked to see Shrek the Final Chapter, and I put off seeing the movie until I heard about it a little more. We saw the “regular” version of the movie because $33 dollars to see an animated movie, even if it’s 3D, is just too much in my book. Besides, I previously forked over the bucks to see two other animated films in 3D and didn’t think it added much to the picture-in fact (much to my daughter’s horror), the second time I marched out of the theater still clutching the 3D glasses so I wouldn’t feel like such a sucker.

    So what was my take on this final version to the Shrek saga? I loved it (oh, and my kids did too!) The story revolves around Shrek and his new role as husband and father, a theme we adults can all relate too. He feels as if he is just going through the motions while helping to raise his toddlers, and he yearns for the days when he was a plain old wanted ogre. Enter the funny little man known by the funnier name, Rumpelstiltskin-he draws up a contract that will allow Shrek to be a regular ogre for one day. Shrek takes the deal and is once again feared, but he soon realizes he’s been tricked and the decision he made so hastily could drastically change the lives of those he loves.

    Now there are a few things you should keep in mind before you decide to see this movie. Evil wins out over good for a time being in this movie, and witches are Rumpelstiltskin’s chosen friends. Plus, there is a scene where the dragon is her old self, so keep this in mind if your kids are easily scared. But the scenes are decidedly less gloomy than Shrek III, and I was genuinely impressed with the overall message of the movie-I think you will be too.

    To say I can relate to Shrek’s plight would be an understatement-the stress from these past two weeks made me a little jaded concerning the many roles I play in my own life. If I only did such-and-such I would be a better mom, or if I worked harder I wouldn’t be faced with the constant catch up I do with my classes, if only I had more time or more money, if only… But the thing is, there will always be an “if only” no matter where we are or what we are doing with our lives, just like there will be the good days and the bad. So I’m going to take a lesson from Shrek’s Final Chapter-try to enjoy my life just the way it is (messes and all!)

    Shrek images are re registered trademarks and/or copyrights of their respective holders.  These are free wallpapers from 

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Say it aint so!

    There are certain utterances that you never want to hear, or never hear again after you hear them the first time, for a variety of reasons-some things make you want to toss your cookies, some scare you to death, and some just grate on your last nerve. I’m in a bit of a mood due to another sleepless night, so I’m in the perfect mind set to share some of these with you. I’ll start off with my son, a king of sorts in this particular area because he certainly knows how to produce shock and awe in those around him. (For those who aren't into potty humor, I'll warn you now about the first item on my list.)

    "I have a skid mark."
    My husband spied my son stark naked in the hallway when he was supposed to be donning his PJ's tonight.
    My husband: "Where’s your underwear?"
    My son: "I threw them down the chute." (Laundry chute)
    My husband: "Why?"
    My son: "Because I had a skid mark."

    Okay, for those of you who don’t have boys, or husbands for that matter, this is a polite, albeit strange, term that those of the male persuasion use to refer to somewhat soiled undies, and the term alone can send a mother off the deep end. Thank goodness my husband had him go and retrieve this particular pair, or I was in for one nasty surprise the next time I did whites! Now around our house, if you did the deed you need to clean it up yourself, but I’m afraid to go into the bathroom for fear of seeing water everywhere, so I’ll continue with my list…

    "Can I please?"
    Okay, this one has started becoming a habit with both my kids, and it’s a habit I need to break now. When I say no, I mean no, but for some reason this word doesn’t mean the same to either of them-it means whine as much as possible until A) Mom pops a gasket, or B) Mom pops a gasket. I don’t change my answer so I’m guessing that my explosion is something worth watching-maybe I need to hide a camera somewhere just to see what I'm missing.

    And then there are problems with the request of me to them. This problem has started to get worse as well, and it takes a minimum of 3 requests (and this is on a good day) for me to get my kids to do anything. Now I know how my mother felt, and she had four kids instead of two!

    "Mom, you’ve got to see this!"
    I don’t know how this one started either, but no one likes to close the bathroom door in my house except for myself. My husband’s theory is why close it when it someone just opens it anyway, my daughter closes it sporadically, and my son not at all. And my son always has something to show me once he’s in there, and I can honestly tell you that nothing that happens in that room interests me.

    This next item is more of a theory of mine to help explain the unexplainable. The kids are both in bed and I just surveyed my living room-there are two books, two dog toys, and there used to be a pair of large socks (I took care of these dear) lying on the floor. For some odd reason, my family does what I call a "drop and run"-the item is taken off or placed in a particular location, and once there it becomes part of the scenery. Nobody sees it so it ceases to exist. Each member will then quickly run off without said item unless I point out that it needs to go too.

    "Mom, when are you going to get off the phone?"
    I forgot to mention in my last post that quite a number of supposed emergencies and repeated requests occur when I’m on the phone. Now I try not to call anyone until after the kids go to bed, but business hour calls are the exception. Today I received to e-mails concerning a credit card purchase I made Monday-unfortunately, I mistakenly ordered an item twice. (I finalized the order before my promo code and didn’t know it.) Well, I called the company and their representative told me that the one order had been removed, so why was I getting two separate e-mails from UPS concerning delivery? So there I was, sitting in front of my computer using the number pad on my phone to answer questions with my credit card company, and my daughter repeatedly asks me if she can get on my computer. Then, when I finally did talk to a human, and before I could be reassured that I was only billed once, my son runs into the room yelling “Mom, Mom” and starts pulling on my arm. I give all the right mean looks and I give the same lecture after I get off the phone that I gave the last time they both did this. What gives?

    "Mom, I don't feel so good..."
    I had to finish my list with this little number because nothing scares a parent more than getting upchucked on (been there on more times than I care to admit). Unfortunately this line is often muttered late at night when our kids are either in bed, or somewhere other than near a bathroom. My husband and I have become almost pros at this one, often grabbing a nearby container, guiding our sickly one as fast as we can to the bathroom all the while chanting, “Everything’s going to be alright.” Man, we’re good!

    Well there are others decidedly more sordid, but my husband now says he wants a blog of his own and my daughter is afraid of what I might write next, so I better call it quits while my family still talks to me. Do any of you want to share your special "something’s" that you could do without hearing for a while? I’m listening…