Friday, August 29, 2008

Wait! He picked Who? What?!?

Sarah Palin? Where did THAT come from!?!?!? Am I supposed to be happy because he nominated a woman? I know NOTHING about this person! I am shocked. Honestly, I have no love for either presidential candidate this election. I may have to start a write-in campaign now.

I don't usually talk about politics on my blog, 'cause I save that for the grocery store or the school parking lot. Makes shopping more interesting when you are being chased around the store by a little old man on a scooter who remembers when FDR was in office and thinks that the only criteria for electability shoud be lower prescription drug prices. I feel his pain, but I have to tell you folks...there is more at stake this year than lower drug prices...

Things like

  • who's gonna help Jennifer Aniston find someone to settle down with (did anyone really think the John Mayer thing would go anywhere? He's kinda weird!)
  • putting a moratorium on Brad and Angelina's child bearing (Brangelina is a real threat here, folks...when are you all gonna wake up?! We need someone who is willing to take them on and put a stop to their evil plan to populate the world with overly beautiful people.)
  • finding out who is responsible for bringing back 90210 and publicly flogging them

Serious issues here, Bloggies!!!

Sarah seems nice enough on the surface. She obviously had enough going for her to get elected Governor of Alaska. She has 5 kids, one with Down's Syndrome...running Alaska and raising kids can't be easy. Living in Alaska at all, with or without kids, doesn't seem easy to me. She sounds like a normal mom who just happened to get involved in politics one day. She's been married 20 years to a dude who has lived in Alaska forever. He's very manly. She hunts and fishes (which could make her manly?). Her oldest kid is in the military. She sounds like someone who may be a little more in touch with the common man. Or maybe just the common Alaskan. Apparently she is a major butt-kicker and has wreaked havoc among the rank and file as Governor. Still, she has very little high level political experience and I have to think that there are a lot of people who will be worried about her stepping in if McCain kicks it during his presidency. Maybe a lack of political experience is to her benefit...we keep griping about career politicians being out of touch. I don't know what to think...I'm still reeling. I just know I SO DO NOT GET his logic with this pick.

Does she have a blog? That might give me a better feel for who she is. If I could read about how she handles a teenager with a crappy attitude or a spouse who is never home or how she balances work and home issues (does she sometimes feed her kids chicken nuggets and mac and cheese because it's late and that's all there is?) I might be able to make a better decision. If she follows Sue at Happy Meals and Happy Hour and knows who BG is, then I am SURE I could get behind her.

Can't think today, people...this really messed me up. I have to go ponder the potential new leaders of the greatest country in the free world...this is not a responsibility I take lightly. I need to consult with Bathtub Gansta. I'm sure he'll help me put things in perspective. He may not look it, but he's hip to the whole political scene. I can hear him now...BG says: "Bein' a playah don't make you a politician hatah, yo! Not voting is whack ya'll, for realz!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - New Boots

Sorry for the cruddy pic, it's a cell phone pic. No photo manipulating programs on this laptop and for some reason was having problems with Photobucket. Anywhoo...

He got new boots.

He wouldn't take them off all day.

We got lots of looks from people.

He didn't care.

Little Man LOVES him some new boots!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The State of my Home

BandanaMom wants to play a game where we all post photos of our homes for decorating ideas and suggestions. I laughed out loud at the thought of taking pictures of my home because I am domestically challenged. Mostly because I am housecleaning challenged. If I could ever keep the house clean for longer than half a day, I might be able to progress to decorating. I am 44 and have yet to master the art of homemaking when it comes to keeping a clean and orderly home. I do well to keep a home where you can walk from the front door to the family room without killing yourself.

So BandanaMom's challenge kind of irritated me. Her challenge kind of stuck in my mind as I walked around my house that day. It made me get out my carpet cleaner and actually shampoo my family room carpets. Now the rest of my house looks like crap next to the clean carpet, so guess what? I have to do more!

So I cleaned off the table, which my mom said I would never be able to do. I took a picture as proof.

Then I vacuumed under the sofas and mopped the kitchen floor and did 2 loads of dishes and wiped down the entire kitchen. All because Bandana Mom wants to play a "Post your Pics for Comments" game! Dang, girl! See what you did? Quit makin' me care about my dang house! You are so fired right now, Lezlee! This is seriously cutting in to my blog reading time.

P.S. - here are some pics of my family room with possible color choices. Whatchya think?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Small Miracles

We recently had an issue with our local utility company, which you can read about here in a previous blog post. The issue was them being unreasonable. Their issue with me was that I didn't want to pay them more money that I currently don't have.

Tuesday of this week, I called APS to see if they would at least break up the deposit into monthly payments. I begged, I pleaded, I got nowhere.

Then I got mad and called the corporation commission, who regulates the utility companies in our state. I was able to talk to a nice guy named Al, who explained the regulations and the fact that the utility company does have the right to charge the deposit. He then went a step further and offered to talk with someone at APS on my behalf, making sure to note that he wasn't promising anything. Go AL!!

I received a call today from Melissa at APS, who reviewed my payment history and recognized that this is a short term event in our lives. She also recognized that the utility company was not at risk of losing money because of our few late payments. Melissa waived the deposit, thereby freeing up what little money I have, so I can pay next month's utility bill instead of paying a deposit that would leave me unable to pay my bill! Finally! Someone (actually 2 people) with brains!!

I needed that blessing this week. Thanks to Al and Melissa for being human.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Little Man likes to stay busy...

It's a Boy Thing

(That looks like it hurts!)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm no Padme

We went to see the new Star Wars movie for Big Brother's birthday. He took a few of his friends.

Can I just go on record as saying I am done with the whole Star Wars thing? That was the longest movie of my life! I'm done!! I have zero Star Wars love. Star Wars has SUCKED THE LIFE OUT OF ME!!

But my kid had a good time, so I guess it was worth it...making memories, right?

Now George Lucas needs to make a REAL LIFE version of what life on the Death Star would really be like:

C'mon George, a little reality TV style Star Wars!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Big Brother!!

9 years ago today I was having my first baby, a huge 9 lb 21 inch long boy! He came into this world a happy and sleepy boy, with a bruised face from coming through the birth canal so quickly. As a new mom, I couldn't have asked for a better baby. Other than a few tough days with gas issues, he was always happy. And he slept, all the time! I used to have to wake him up to feed him! I remember spending hours just staring at him. How could anything be so beautiful and tiny and perfect?
The thing is, I never wanted to be a mom. I didn't grow up feeling like children were a joy and a blessing. I was so afraid that I would not feel affection and love for him. Heavenly Father must have known that I was feeling this way, because he sent me the most gentle, sweet spirit he could find. Big Brother changed who I am. He loved me unconditionally. Everything he did was a joy. It has been such a sweet experience watching him grow up and develop.
His sweet spirit, his innocence, his willingness to believe the best about everyone he meets, all speak to his loving, kind nature. He always welcomes anyone into the play circle and is a pretty loyal friend. He remembers kids' names the first time he meets them. He remembers things about their personalities. He loves funny people. He's sensitive and gets his feelings hurt when people are mean. But he's also quick to forgive.

He's been a great Big Brother. When Little Man was born, Big Brother used to stand over him and talk to him. He'd love on him and kiss Little Man's forehead. Big Brother loves deeply.

Now he is 9 and he is trying to grow up. He likes to look good in front of his friends. He won't let me hug him in public anymore. He used to trust me implicitly. Now he is 9 and he likes to let me know that I don't know everything. He's always been pretty independent and is starting to really want to express his independence. I don't always like how he goes about it, but I am realizing I need to let him experience the world in a way that works for him, as long as it isn't disrespectful to others. It's painful for me to let him do that, I can't stand watching him get hurt. I try to take a "wait and see" approach and only step in when things could get really bad. My approach sometimes bothers him, he doesn't want me to step in at all, he wants to do it all on his own. Until it all goes horribly wrong and he's left with a big mess. Then he's mad that I didn't step in. Guess he's still trying to work out the detrails of how to be independent. He doesn't get that he hasn't developed the skills to handle it all on his own yet. Or maybe I don't get that he has his own way of developing those skills. But I think his way is scarier and harder with lots more potential to backfire and cause long term emotional baggage. But what do I know? I'm just a 44 year old mom remembering how her 9 year old boy came into this world. Big Brother obviously has enough confidence to try some things out. After all, he's 9 today! And everybody knows 9 year old boys know ALOT!!!! So here's to you, Big Brother!! I hope your previous 8 years has prepared you well for your 9th year and that this year is filled with many great experiences that will help you become the person you want to be. Just know, no matter who you become, I will always love you. You help me strive to be a better person every day. You have been an incredible teacher, Big Brother and my life is full because you are a part of it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thank You, Thank You Very Much!

Don't know if anyone saw this on the news, I found it hilarious. Apparently, this is an actual ancient sculpture. I have nothing hilarious to add other than:

(Said with your best Ancient Elvis accent)

"Uh, Hail Ceasar. Thank You very Much. "

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summer Fun Photo Contest!

5 Minutes for Mom and Skinny Dippers have teamed up to host a Summer Fun Photo Contest. The prize is $500.

Here's my summer fun pic:

Little Man Catchin' Toads after a Summer Rain Storm

Here are some things I can do with the prize money, if I win:

Hope we WIN!!!

P.S. - They are also doing some great back to School giveaways, check them out!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, HaHaHaHaHaHa

I have lots of desert flora and fauna around my house. We have been visited by snakes sunning on our patios, scorpions hiding in the crevices of our rock, we see a thousand lizards of various color and size running around, through and ON the house. Quail come to water from our tree every morning when the tree well fills up and roadrunners often go streaking from the desert next to us, across the street and into our neighbors' yards, scooting after beetles and crickets. This year we've had a few centipedes, which is kind of scary, so we have to keep our eyes open more. We even had a few javelinas poop in the yard when we moved in over a year ago! And almost every night when we lay down to go to sleep, we hear a pack of coyotes yodeling. We kind of have our own Sonoran Desert Zoo going on next to us.

Yesterday, I heard a new addition to the wandering menagerie of desert dudes who hang out in our vicinity...a woodpecker. I heard him (or her) out on my front porch. I thought, "Oh! How fun! A woodpecker must have found a bug or something to eat on the side of my house!" So I opened the door to peek out and see my new friend. And this is what I saw: (no comments on the poor quality of photos, I need a new camera. Mine is old and crappy...anyone doing a giveaway for a new camera?)

The woodpecker is SO NOT my new friend. He/she is now on the list of things that need to be dealt with.

Can you believe this little pecker did that to my house? He wasn't content to just knock away the stucco, he had to penetrate the chicken wire, roofing paper and styrofoam too! Hey! I live in Arizona! The houses are already built like crap here, I don't need no stinking woodpecker bringing that point home (no pun intended) by building a nest in my wall!

I called my mom, to find out if there is such a thing as woodpecker repellent. She said, "Yeah...a piece of tin." Apparently the little jackhammer will keep coming back to finish the hole unless I cover it with something inpenetrable. I can't put a piece of tin over the hole, my house is stucco and chicken wire! And they are on the endangered species list now, so I can't shoot it! (Please, all you animal rights activist, do not email me with your animal rights crap, the bird is pecking holes in my HOUSE!!!)

So now, every morning, we are on high alert, waiting for the woodpecker to return, then we promptly run out and scare the crap out of it. We keep scaring it the direction of my next-door neighbor's house...our neighbor is also on the list of things to be dealt with.

I always thought the cartoon creators were mean for making Woody Woodpecker appear to be so annoying. Now I know why...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Big Brother Rocks Out Loud

Everyone always tells me to quit apologizing so much. It's a hard habit to break. And I am wondering if me apologizing about the last few blogs not being very interesting is worse than just owning the fact that my blogs are not filled with mirth and humor this week. I mean, I started this as a way to kind of chronicle our lives, but then I feel an obligation to try to keep things upbeat and interesting to read, because I appreciate bloggers who do that for me. On the other hand, I also appreciate bloggers who aren't afraid to be human and honest and candid about their life experiences. It makes me feel normal to see other people do stupid or hard or scary things too. So now I don't know what to do other than to let you all know that I know that I need to lighten up a little after this post. And I will. After this post. 'Cause I really need to say what I gotta say in this post. Then I'll lighten up.

What a hard week for Big Brother. I "heart" this kid so much and it has absolutely gutted me to watch him struggle this week! He's trying so hard to measure up and at every turn his efforts just get smashed! And I am partly to blame for some of his trouble this week. You know what though? This story has a happy ending, so keep reading!

First...Cub Scout Pack Meeting Fiasco:
My kid has worked his butt off the last 6 months trying to finish his Cub Scout achievements and earn his awards and belt loops. We changed leaders a couple of times in the last 6-8 months, so he never has gotten the awards he has earned and we keep getting told, "Next pack meeting."

We are trying to finish his Wolf before he turns 9, when he moves to Bears, which will be in 2 weeks. So, he busts his butt, and we finish all but 3 achivements, plus some Arrow points. I send ALL of this information to the new Den Mom, in detail, so she knows exactly what he has and hasn't done. Did I say "In Detail?" Yes...I did. My notes were very self-explanatory and complete. Detailed notes. No confusion there, right?

We get to the pack meeting last night and she tells me she had some questions about what I sent, so she didn't pick up his stuff. So then why didn't she just call me???!! Right?

"What questions?" I am wondering.

She asks, "Did he complete every letter in each achievement?"

Ummm, yes. See where I typed the words "Big Brother completed each alphabetically lettered subsection of every achievement listed here?"

"Oh, well I wasn't clear on that because some achievements have more lettered subsections than others."

I repeat the words, "Big Brother completed each alphabetical letter of every achievement listed here."

Then she tells me he'll have to wait 'til September, because there is no Pack meeting in August due to Scout Day Camp and asks if that is a problem. Seriously??!!? Ummmm...YES!!! I won't go into detail, but I let her know it was unacceptable, that my dear son will be severely disappointed and that she should have called me if there was a problem. She looked at me and walked away. The pack meeting proceeds and almost every child there received an award. My son and another kid in his Pack did not. The other kid was gone all summer and had not earned any awards. Needless to say, Big Brother was heartbroken.

I was furious with her for not letting me know in advance so that I could have either picked up the awards myself or at the very least, prepared him for the disappointment so that he didn't have to deal with his feelings in front of everyone. She did not even acknowledge him. We left early, with him in tears. His Scout leader was furious and offered to give him something he had in his pocket (that just sounds bad, doesn't it? But he's a super good guy, I'm sure it was like a knife or a compass or a knot tying kit or something Scouty!), but my son was so upset he just ran to the car. We talked all the way home about how sometimes things don't happen the way we want them to and we have to learn to deal with disappointment, but honestly, I was almost in tears myself.

Why was this such an issue? Well, besides the obvious hurt feelings, my sweet son was going to receive even more bad news after Scouts, which is why I really needed Pack Meeting to be a good experience, to help counteract the following event -

Changes at School.

The kids started school on Monday of this week. Big Brother has been in 4th grade now for 2 days at this point. We decided to hold Big Brother back this year and put him back through 3rd grade. I know...GROAN!!! I have been wanting to hold him back since 1st grade and every year the administrations at the schools would talk me out of it. I know my son. I was having to push and pull and drag him through his entire school experience, day after day. He's young, he started school the day he turned 5 and it's been a struggle from halfway through 1st grade til now. He needs the time to mature, socially and academically, before he takes on more challenge. I know my son!! I have thought about this long and hard and I know my son will do better if he is not rushed through his academic career. I don't want to have to drag him through life. I want him to learn to drag himself through life!

Anyway, Big Man and I discussed it at length, I was very worried over how Big Brother would deal with it. The school was very open to listening to my concerns, they addressed the issue with me and when all was said and done, they paved the way and had everything ready and in place for him in 2 days. I have NEVER had such cooperation from a school in my life! They were great last year about dealing with some of his issues, getting him extra help where he needed it. No questions, they just did it. Then, 2 days into this year, they step up for us again.

So Tuesday night, after Scouts, we had to break the news to him, having just found out ourselves at 5 that night that the school was ready for him to make the move, 2 days into his new school year. An important note here: this is the first year he has been at a school for more than 1 grade, we have moved a lot and he has attended a different school every year since he started Kindergarten. He was excited to have friends in his class and see his other friends at recess.

So we give him the news. He looks at me with the saddest face I have ever seen and just sobs..."What about my friends? I finally have friends that I love from last year!" I felt like someone roundhouse kicked me in the heart and the gut at the same time. My emotions went all Chuck Norris on me. How can I do this to him? I wasn't sure I could now and was on the verge of tears myself. My poor child has just had 2 major (major to HIM) life events go bad on him and I didn't know if either one of us could deal with the disappointment.

So we talked and talked and talked some more and then we prayed, because I didn't know what else to do. We prayed as a family, then Big Brother prayed some more. His prayer was so heartfelt and sincere, I could not believe for a second that a loving Heavenly Father could not answer it. After all of the talking was done and we had worked through the situation with him, he said he would give it a try. He cried for a few more moments, then stopped. Throwing his arms around my neck, he looked into my eyes and told me he loved me and that he felt so much love right now that he thought he would be okay.

Dad tucked him in and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I woke up the next morning, sobbing. I quit long enough to get him to school, his new 3rd grade teacher had his desk ready and scooped him up with a big hug and welcomed him to class. His 4th grade teacher asked me to request her for next year so that he could feel welcome in her class again. (She has cancer...I pray she recovers and is still there next year!) I got in the car and sobbed all the way home and then sobbed for 2 more hours after that.

I went back to school to pick them up, puffy-eyed and weary, but hopeful. Big Brother came running out with a cupcake (someone's birthday!) and started telling me about all of his new friends in 3rd grade and a few old friends from 4th grade who asked where he was (he told them he switched classes, nobody asked anymore questions and they all moved on to talking about Star Wars. Boys! Where's the processing, the emotion?).

I was worried and sobbing for 2 days...he was fine! He is fine. He is a kind, loving, brave, courageous boy who gives me strength and makes me want to try harder to be a better mother for him every day. And I love his guts for showing me how to handle disappointment and change in our lives. Big Brother Rocks Out Loud!!