Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Son, the Englishman

I was reading a blog post, then left a comment, read another comment that someone else left and clicked on the link to read that person's blog. After doing this 2 or 3times, I ran across a blog post that struck a chord. Only I lost the blog! I wanted to link it to this post so the blogger who wrote it would know she wasn't the only mom who misses things in her kids' lives that she should have caught. I told her I would post about my "Bad Mommy" incident so she could laugh at my idiocy. I hope she tracks me down and I hope all of you will feel inclined to share your "Bad Mommy" stories so we can all laugh and remember that we are not perfect and that kids are prone to exaggeration, which means we don't always take what they say seriously (phew...long sentence). Doesn't mean we're bad moms, just means we have a lot on our plates and if our kids wouldn't whine and fake crap so often, maybe we'd pay attention the first time!

Okay...on to my own stupid incident, which I like to chalk up to being a first time mom. It makes me feel better, okay?

My oldest son, Big Brother, is a really docile kid. Especially when he was a little guy, he was so calm and happy and just a joy! And he talked a lot. And it was just deliciously cute. He said the funniest things. He heard his dad yodeling (or trying to) one day and for weeks after that he would walk around going "doodle-deeedle, was freaking awesome and of course I thought he was a gall-darn genius. day he walks in and starts asking "Where's Daddy?" with this funny little English sounding accent. Immediately I was like, "Oh my gosh! That is so cute! Say it again!" So he asks again, "Where's Daddy?" with the cute little english accent and I'm thinking my kid is just a whiz and how many flippin' 2 year olds know how to speak with an English accent, helllooooo!!??

For the next few hours I listen to baby Hugh Grant babbling, then call Dad and tell him to listen and Dad is completely enthralled with his brilliant son. Dad comes home, we listen some more, we beam at him, we beam at each other...our son is so talented! Big Brother is just as happy with his accent and we all go to bed. Next day, same thing and I am just reveling in the geniusness that is my 2 year old son, calling everybody I know to tell them about the child prodigy (prodigy of what?? Accents?).

Then, about 3 pm I notice that Big Brother is having a hard time with his water. I look at him and he is swallowing weird, like he can't quite get it down. And he makes this face...EVERY TIME HE SWALLOWS! After pondering this whole scene for a moment, it hits me...Oh my heck! His throat hurts! He isn't talking this way because he's a genius, he's talking this way because his freakin' throat hurts so bad he can't swallow, or apparently talk, without pain! AAAAAUUUUGGGHHH! I run for the flashlight, crank open his mouth and sure enough, his tonsils are almost touching, flaming red, swollen with white pus pockets. His accent is the result of strep, that he's had for at LEAST 2 days. I started crying. He's looking at me and wondering what the fetch is wrong with Mommy and starts crying too.

I call the doctor's office, the nurse is trying not to laugh and makes me feel just a tiny bit better, but not much. She gets us in within the hour, they are 5 minutes from our house. The doctor thought it was hilarious and tried to get him to talk so he could hear the accent, but by that point Big Brother had a fever and had very little desire to channel Hugh Grant, or any other bloody Englishman, for that matter. Three hours later I had him on antibiotics, and in two days he was on the mend. But I was traumatized for weeks over the whole ordeal. He seemed fine after he recovered, but the English accents have yet to make an appearance in our home again. War memories, I guess.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quickie Post for the Win!

Blogger Buster Competition Announcement

Hey All! Amanda @ Blogger Buster (whose site I just found and from whom I am learning sooo much!) is hosting a contest, with a really sweet prize package, which I am in need of winning, so this post is for that purpose! It is also to inspire the folks at Blogger with ideas about useful features we would like to have at our disposal.

Rules are as follows, taken directly from Amanda's contest page:

Write a post in your own blog explaining which feature (or features) you would most like to be able to use in Blogger, and why you would like to use it.

My suggestion or wish is for more template selections or an easy to follow, step-by-step process that would allow you to create you own template from lots of different elements by walking you through each step:

1. Choose background, upload background image.
2. Choose sidebar shape/image, upload sidebar image
3. Choose Header image, upload...
I hope I explained that clearly. This feature would be extremely useful for those of us who are new to Blogger and blogging in general, who don't want to wreck our blogs while trying to decorate them! Here is a wishlist from others that you can look through and vote on. Here's hopin' I bloggy needs a facelift!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A World with NO Stairs!

My sister has been wanting to move for about 3 years now. She's not sure where she wants to go, and she hasn't sold her house yet. Every once in awhile we start talking about it and I start looking at various sites to see what's out there in the way of available real estate these days.

I would probably move too, if the opportunity presented itself. We bought the house we are in now in a rush and, you know, hindsight and all, I would have probably chosen a different neighborhood if I had it to do over again. I would also NEVER get a 2 story house again. I despise my stairs. Some days I realize I should be grateful for them, they force me to get some form of exercise. But stairs are evil. They collect dirt like no other part of the house. They hide tiny little Legos in their shadows, to be used as weapons for unsuspecting climbers who are in a hurry. When the climber is impaled with the hidden Lego, the stairs laugh menacingly, then toss the climber backwards about three steps, leaving them writhing in pain with
a Lego in their foot and a bruised butt or a twisted knee. Stairs are evil. They mock me daily, saying things like, "C'mon, haul that fat butt up the stairs one more time today. Betchya can't do it without running out of breath. Oh, by the way, now that you are downstairs, you should know you left the phone up here and it will be ringing any minute now. Just so ya know." Did the stairs just laugh out loud at me? They're evil, I tell ya...Eeevvviiiillll!! (Say that like Mermaid Man from SpongeBob.)

Anyway...back to my sister. She's still looking. So I started looking to see what's out there. There's a lot out there! I love looking at houses. I like to see how other people decorate their homes. I like to make myself feel like crud for having no decorating skills. Every once in awhile I find one that makes me feel better about myself, which from a homemaking point of view, is pretty sad. 'Cause if it makes me feel better about my skills? Ummm...dang.

So I came across First thing I thought was, "WOW! Pretty high end stuff!" Then I started looking around the site. They DO specialize in high end stuff. Did you see all of the awards they win? That's a pretty big accomplishement in this kind of housing market! I was about to leave when I saw the link Dream Home Finder. So I checked it out. Why not see how the other half lives? I love the way they have the MLS set up, using a maps system so you know in exactly which area of town you are looking. I really dig that the pictures come up right there on the MLS. It was a really cool and functional way to look at houses.

When the abundance of the universe kicks in and sends a couple million my way (which it will, because I am good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!), or I find some treasure under a rock, these would be a few of the homes I would consider:

I could sooo live here!

I could not keep up with the cleaning, but I love this house!

Okay, I would not consider this one...even with the tennis courts. What is with that green marble tub?

Reality check - kids screaming. Enough dreaming...gotta go kick some stair butt and get my housework done today. I am grateful for my house. It keeps us safe and warm, and it hasn't been foreclosed on. And it has GOT to be easier to clean than those mansions. Althooouughhh, I'm thinkin' if I could afford one of those huge homes, maybe I could hire a housekeeper. Then he/she could deal with the stairs. And the boys bathroom. Ahhhh, now there's a dream worth having!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Know from Funny!

I love funny people! I used to be a funny person - seriously! I WAS FUNNY!! I even did a set once at the Johnny Walker Comedy Search. It was AWESOME!! That was probably one of my funniest days ever. I'll tell you about it someday.

Now I get too stressed out trying to figure life out. I used to joke about everything! Now I just worry about everything! I worry about my husband and kids. I worry that they will be too serious. I worry that I won't find funny me again. I worry that the pee that misses the toilet will never come out of the grout. I used to use humor as a coping skill. Now I guess I use denial, the internet, frustration and depression as coping skills? Oh yeah, and food. There's progress for you.

Slowly, each day, I am remembering how great humor is and sometimes I can actually manage to crack a joke and laugh with my kids! They are actually hysterical. Remind me to tell you the story about Little Man and fart juice. I know, I KNOW!! How disgusting! But seriously hysterical! And my husband can be hysterical too. Sometimes. He needs new material.

Which brings me to the joke of the day, which I found hilarious, but my husband did not. He still tries to make me laugh with the same stupid face and funky dance move that I thought was funny when I first met him. Like 20 years ago. Like I said, he needs new material. Or I need more patience. At any rate, here's the joke:

I was walking past the mental hospital the other day and I could hear people shouting "13...13....13...13..." The fence was too high to see over, so I looked through a hole in the fence...Some idiot poked me in the eye with a stick and then they all started shouting "14...14...14..."

Speaking of jokes...I am sad today (not crying sad, just Oh no! sad) that George Carlin died! I watched and listened to him growing up (well, not all of his stuff, cause he could get a little raunchy, and I wasn't ALLOWED to watch or hear all of his stuff), but one of my favorites was called A Place for MY Stuff.

While I didn't agree with all of his political statements, George pushed the envelope when it came to using comedy to make people really see how ridiculous we can all be at times. Anyway, hit the internet and dig up some George Carlin stuff when you get a few minutes and really laugh! I'm sure that's how he would want to be remembered.

After you've laughed a bit, feel free to share your favorite joke or funny link here, if you like. But keep it clean! And just know...I used to be FUNNY!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

This Matt Guy Doesn't Dance Well!

I've been following this guy for the last couple of years. I find his whole concept really refreshing. Check out his site, read his stuff and watch his Dancing videos. Maybe it's his exuberance, maybe it's his lack of concern about his dancing skills, maybe it's his genuine love for humanity...he brings the fact home that no matter where we live in the world, we are all the same. We laugh, we smile, we live, we struggle...and we dance. The guy inspires me to try to make my own part of the world a happier place. Maybe I need to dance more.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Recent conversation between my sister and my 5 year old niece:

Niece: "Mom, I don't want to be a grumpy person."

Sis: "Well, that's good. Why don't you want to be a grumpy person?"

Niece: "It's not a good eye shape."

It's Not. I checked. Go check for yourself. Be grumpy in the mirror. It's NOT a good eye shape.

Apparently these people don't care about eye shape.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Props to My Pops

Okay, I know my posts haven't been all light-hearted and funny lately, don't mean to be a downer, just in a pensive mood I guess. Bear with me, after this Father's Day thing I'll lighten up. I feel like I need to do this, for my dads and for me. Probably more info than any of you need to know, so I won't be offended if you give up reading. It's a long post full of my ramblings. Blame it on the hormones and my 44th birthday (today), I guess.

I am one of those lucky kids that has 2 dads. Not lucky because of the divorce, but lucky because I have 2 dads that have offered me different kinds of support, both in very unique ways. Okay, what I am really saying is that this is my attempt to be positive about the situation I grew up in and honor my dads...roll with it, would ya?

My step-dad, John, is a unique person. He is the KING of Sarcasm. He is the kind of guy who can make a remark about you that is so cutting, yet at the same time so hysterically funny that you have to laugh, even though it's about you. He has nicknames for everybody... sometimes not very nice names, but funny nonetheless. He calls my kids Little Man and Big-Un. He's hard to get to know if you are related to him, he's kind of closed emotionally.

But growing up with him was an adventure. He liked to take us out and teach us how to target practice, so we learned how to use a gun. He used to take us out to these great places in New Mexico...old cemeteries and homesteads, where we would collect pottery and old bottles. He would heat up cans of Beenie Weenies in his truck engine while were driving so we always had lunch when we were exploring. When Pong and Atari came out he would challenge us to games and bet us $25 a game. I won like $100 one day. I lost half of it the next. He gave my sister and I $20 once (we were like 10 and 12 yrs old!) to go to Circle K to buy candy! Helloooo!!! Booyah!! What dad does that?! For a kid, even though he was hard to bond with, he could be a really fun person to hang out with.

He worked hard too. He trained Thoroughbred race horses, which is where I learned what I know about horses. He and his dad and my mom have quite a reputation in the business. I traveled the country for awhile grooming thoroughbreds at different tracks. I could get a job with anyone when I told them who my grandpa and step-dad are. I have him and my mom both to thank for those skills and love of horses.

He quit the track when he was 50ish, which is hard when it's all you've done your whole life. The racetrack is its own little world. It's hard to go out into the real world and function after living your life in that kind of a bubble. He should have been a coach. He loved football growing up. He has that no-nonsense "git in there and git 'er done" attitude about working out and sports. When he quit, he went and started a whole new career. At 50ish! He had to pass a physical and take numerous tests and he passed! The man hadn't been to school in 30 plus years, and with nothing but a high school diploma and the brains God gave him goes and starts a new career! I saw a strength of character in him then that I have come to admire and appreciate.

He's a wonderful story teller, hysterically mesmerizing with off the wall comments and experiences that no one can ever begin to match. It's like the old Dean Witter commercials...when John talks, everybody stops to listen. Because you know it will be one of the most unforgettable stories you have ever heard.

He's cynical and wise and funny and John Wayne. And TOUGH! He got into this fight one time with these 2 young kids. He was like, 40. They popped off to him and called him an old man. "You want some of this, Old Man?" Yeah...big mistake. They ended up fighting in a mud puddle. The 2nd kid figured out pretty fast that he was outmatched and stood by his car, watching the whole thing. When it was over, Step-dad had one kid by the nostrils..."Say your sorry to the old man, son." Son apologized, crawled out of the mud, walked to his car with his friend silently staring in disbelief and sped off into the sunset. Great story. True story. Either that or Step-dad fell in the puddle and needed to save face. Not likely though, I've seen him in action.

Watch the movie "The Cowboys." John Wayne in that movie IS my step-dad. Hard to get to know, but worth the effort.

My biological Dad, Wayne, is no longer here. Father's Day without him is hard, because he was truly my number one supporter and my greatest fan. He had his flaws, but none of them mattered to me because he was one of the few adults in my life who accepted me for me and didn't try to make me fit into their idea of who I should be. He wasn't always physically there for me like I wanted him to be. To be fair, now that I am an adult, I can see that it took him a long time to grow up. I can see that some of the issues my mom had with him were real and probably hard to deal with as a spouse. Still doesn't change my love for him. They weren't my issues, I guess.

He was this hilarious practical joker. He hot-wired a girl's car in high school so that when she tried to start the car it shocked her. He trapped his friend in the outhouse at work (construction site - he was like 45 at the time) by parking his truck against the door. Fun stuff. Anyway, you get the idea. He tried to enjoy his life. He was an avid outdoorsman, truly missed his calling. He should have been Park Ranger. He knew every inch of Arizona. He built the roads through half of the state. He was a great camp cook, he could make coffee in a paper bag on a campfire. He was a hard worker. He was a great boss. He was always helping someone.

He was great with people. People loved my Dad. He gave love freely, with no attachments. Even his ex-wives have great things to say about him (along with some not great things, but those are few). He rarely lost his temper. He accepted everyone where they were at, no judgement. For all of his flaws, he was a great dad. He encouraged me, he loved me, he accepted me and he apologized to me for not taking the time to be in my life like he should have been. And that spoke volumes to me about his true character, despite his flaws. When he finally realized he had messed up in certain areas with me, he took the time to try to rectify it.

He called me his diamond in the rough. To this day I can't understand what he saw in me that made him think I could do great things. But he never missed an opportunity to let me know that he knew I could achieve great things. Maybe one day I will. He left us before he knew his grandkids. That kills me. Because he would have been a fantastic Grandpa.

Two different men, two different personalities, both offered me things I hope to carry with me and use the rest of my life. For their love and support, their humor and examples, I thank them both. Happy Father's Day.

Wanna share your Dad stories? I would love to hear them!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Kodak Thought to go with the Kodak Moment

I used to think the little graduation ceremonies they had for Kindergartners were a ridiculous waste of time and energy. Gimme a break! They are 5 or 6 and moving from one grade to another grade just like their brothers and sisters in the older grades. Why do they need a special graduation ceremony for that? What was the line from The Incredibles - "We keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity?" Not sure if that's the exact quote, but you get what I'm sayin' right? Truthfully, that's how I used to feel about all of these stupid little celebrations for kids that kind of had no clue why they were even celebrating.

Then it happened...I became a mom. And suddenly all of the meaningless things my kids do have great meaning and value and importance to me. And it took me until now, just this minute, as I am writing this, to figure out why. Yeah, there's the first obvious reason: they are MY kids! And as my kids, they are the best looking, most well-behaved, intelligent kids in the universe and so everything they do is fantastic! (Unless it's bad, then they are their father's children.)

But hit me like a brick tonight. The 2nd (apparently obvious to everyone but me) reason all of their little accomplishments and talents and skills and actions become so important and noteworthy to me is because we only get to experience those accomplishments once! Then they move on to other feats of amazing complexity and these moments are gone. We can't go back and celebrate them later, if we let the experience pass without acknowledgement, it will be lost forever. And personally, I can't bear the thought of not taking every opportunity to create and record and remember every tiny moment of their lives that I can.

This is coming from the world's worst record keeper. I am probably one of the least organized people I know. I mean, just look at this table! So when it comes to scrapbooking and keeping track of all of the event dates and stuff, I'm severely lacking. My poor Little Man has very few pictures of when he was a baby, because I was so busy just trying to keep him from crying all of the time. Big Brother has a lot more baby pictures because he was my first. He was such a quiet, gentle, happy baby that I spent all day just watching him and taking pictures. I try not to feel bad that I wasn't more aware of my not recording Little Man's infancy. Aside from the memories, photos would have been useful when he becomes a teenager - to remind him of what a hard time he gave me as a baby! I can't go back and recapture those.

So I try to make up for it now by being a better camera mom. I am remembering to enjoy the seemingly endless little events that help my kids celebrate the small accomplishments in their lives. I smile and I clap and I proudly puff out my chest (well, not really, it just does that cause I have big ones) and tell people how funny my Little Man is and what a computer genius Big Brother is becoming. And we (all the parents at the nice little event) talk about what a great day we just had celebrating the Pine Wood Derby 4th place Ribbon and the Kinder Graduation.

I'm sure I'm slow and the rest of you have already figured this out. I just thank the Lord that I finally realized how important these stupid little celebrations are. These seemingly inisignificant, occasionally irritating, sometimes inconvenient events give me a reason to live in the present and they remind me that I need to record the present for the future, so we all have memories of the past when we need them later on.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lame Public Service Announcement

Let me start by saying, I AM NOT A MECHANIC! Got it? Okay. You have been warned!

Having said that, I found a little trick that may (this word will be important to take note of) be helpful if you are ever completely broke and without a mechanic friend to help you figure out a car problem. I am sharing it because I spent a few days last week trying to help my sister diagnose a car problem. I am not a mechanic (have I made that point clear yet?), but I do know how to research things on the internet. The great thing about the internet is that there are soooo many other people out there who are willing to offer advice... and some of them are even experts.

After lots of emailing and IMing and online chatting with all of these "interweb" experts about this car problem, we were still at a dead end. The bad thing about car issues is that even if you a car expert, diagnosing a car problem is still a crap shoot. Those guys can help narrow it down, but the average accuracy rate has got to be like what, 30-50%?

Working on a car problem is as frustrating to me as working on a kid problem, because you have to go through soooo many superficial issues until you finally eliminate everything but the real problem. THEN you still have to deal with the PROBLEM!! (There is an end to this story, stick with me...)

So, after all of the expert advice and opinions which didn't work, I told my sister about this little trick I learned. After searching on the internet, I found a way to use a paperclip to diagnose the car issue from the little computer thingy (yes, that's the technical term mechanics use). You have to find the little diagnostic box, bend the paperclip into a "U" shape and then insert each end of the paper clip into a certain slot, determined by your car model. Then you turn your key to the On position and the engine light will give a series of flashes and pauses and give you your code! 2 flashes, a pause and 4 flashes is 24. Then you look up you code to see what the problem is, go to the auto parts store for the part and then put the new part on your car.

Hopefully it will work. And if it doesn't? Well...I told you! I am not a mechanic! Why did you listen to me in the first place!!? Gah!!

My sister tried it. The car gave the flashes and she got her code. The code stated that the issue was related to a sensor. She went to the auto store. The guy there said it was probably a coil issue, not a sensor issue. Another guy there who looked like he works on cars alot said the same thing. So they bought a coil and installed it. The car worked. The code thing didn't. But the code thing does work...sometimes. If you're lucky and you hold your tongue just right while you're putting the paperclip in the slots.

Friday, June 6, 2008

They Love Me Anyway

Sometimes I get bogged down in my past. I start feeling incapable of dealing with my baggage and "issues." Which is why I struggle so much with teaching my boys good life skills. Coping Skills. Positive Thinking. Confidence. Patience. Creative Problem Solving. Consequences. Love. Faith in God. Responsibility. Self-Discipline. Loyalty. Kindness. A Good Sense of Humor. Work Ethics. Love of God and Country. Respect, for Themselves and Others. A Sense of Fun and Adventure. The ability to pee in a toilet without spraying the wall.

All of these are fairly important if they are going to go out in the world and become successful, contributing members of society. I know there's alot of information out there on how to raise well-balanced, confident kids. I read some of it. Some days I am able to apply some of it. I pray alot about it, for them and for me. Some days I don't quite get through to them because I am still trying to get through to myself. How do you teach your kids principles that you are still trying to learn yourself?

I'm still working on that.

Other than the peeing part...I can honestly say I have NEVER peed on the wall. I've learned how to pee properly. Guess I can check that one off of my list. All indications say it will be on their list a while longer.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Google Ads is My Mother in Disguise!!

I haven't posted for a few days, because truthfully, I have been in a fit of depression over the whole finding a job thing. So when I finally climbed out of the pit of despair today and checked my blog, I saw that Google Ads has a few "Stop Procrastinating" and "Need a cute Apron?"ads on my blog!! So, what are you sayin', Google? Are you questioning my housekeeping skills and priorities?


What I want to know is when did Google Ads become my mother? It's one thing for your mom to give you advice and counsel and a motherly nudge in the right direction, but it's a completely different story to have some faceless ad repeat itself over and over on your blog, mocking you, chastising you, daring you to walk away from your computer and do something more productive with your time!

Frankly, I'm a little miffed over this! I mean, do I succumb to marketing tactics and let Google Ads win or do I play hard ball and prove that I am my own woman and will do what I want, when I want and how I want, thank you very much!

And another thing, Google! I don't appreciate your tone! I didn't ask you for advice and I don't think you know me well enough to be making judgements about how I spend my time! Who do you think you are, anyway? Look, it it weren't for me and this blog, no one would even see your ads, so now what! I don't need no stinkin' ad links! Yeah, I went there, I said it, 'cause that's how I roll! Ha, ha, ha....what? You have ads on other blog sites? You don't really care if I use your ads or not? You just wanted to remind me that I have other things to do besides hang out on the computer all day? Whatever. Guess I'll just some dishes or vacuum or something. Stupid Google Ads.

****Edit: I noticed my Google Ads have is about bathrooms and the other keeps changing from "Sexy Singles" to "Spyware" stuff. Maybe Google Ads got the hint. Or maybe I finally got my dishes done and Google won and knows it won and is sitting there with a patronizing smirk on it's face, eating a cookie and drinking a mocha cappaccino.****