Thursday, July 30, 2009

What the Treadmill Did This Year

Remember the engineer from the toy company who contacted me regarding a toy that wasn't holding together for us? The Wicked Cool Engineer Dude? I thought about an email conversation I had with him when I heard the treadmill going the other day. The conversation revolved around the fact that our treadmill gets lots and LOTS of use, but rarely for exercise and even more rarely by me, for whom the treadmill was purchased in the first place!

I started thinking about all of the things the treadmill has been used for over the last year and was actually pretty amazed by how creative my guys can get when they are bored. So, for your perusal and amusement, I present:

101 Things Boys Can Do With a Treadmill

  • Line coins up vertically at the end of the treadmill. Turn it on to a very slow speed and watch coins fall off of the end of the treadmill and land on top of each other in a neat little stack on the floor (I was very, very impressed by this one!)
  • Place robotic/electronic hamster in hamster ball. Place on treadmill. Start treadmill at slow speed to see if hamster can maintain rolling on treadmill. Suddenly shoot speed to high and watch hamster ball go flying across the room.
  • Do same thing as above with Little Brother or annoying neighbor kid. Get grounded for the rest of the afternoon.
  • Use as a fort to maintain possession of the living room. Cover with blankets to avoid detection and scream loudly at anyone who dares to remove the blanket to see what's going on in said fort.
  • Use to burn off excess energy before bed or to avoid a shower. Take turns with brother running slow, then fast, then slow while running backwards and pretend not to hear mother yelling something about bathing.
  • Turn treadmill on slow speed while cat is sleeping on it and watch how long it takes him to realize he is moving while sleeping. Laugh when he lands in a sleepy pile at the end of the treadmill (note: no cats were hurt in this experiment. He was disgruntled, but not hurt.)
  • Place drowsy, frustrated cat on treadmill again, turn on medium speed and watch him trot to stay on treadmill. Then watch cat quit running and again land on the floor in a heap before he shoots boys a disgusted look and walks away to his food bowl.
  • Plead with mom 6000 times to use the cat as an experiment on the treadmill again and walk away dejected after hearing 6000 "no's."
  • Try to make a sculpture out of a styrofoam block by turning treadmill on high and rubbing off corners and sides to create "masterpiece." Throw crappy sculpture on the floor and leave little pieces of white styrofoam all over living room. Run to friend's house. Come home and ask what happened to the living room!
  • Sit at top of treadmill with legs crossed. Have brother turn treadmill to highest speed. Shoot off end of treadmill and land on butt on the floor. Laugh hysterically.
  • Turn treadmill on high. Drop various articles on treadmill mat to see how far they will launch across the room. Suggestions: Legos, Action Figures, Army Guys, Shoes, Mom's hair clips, Super Balls, oranges...whatever else looks intriguing.
  • Have one kid hold loose end of toilet paper roll at top of treadmill. Place toilet paper roll on treadmill surface and turn treadmill on at medium to high speed. Watch toilet paper unroll and try to keep roll on treadmill without breaking paper. Try to put paper back on roll and replace in bathroom before mom sees. Sit silently for a few minutes before admitting toilet paper experiment to mom when she asks who unrolled the paper and then tried to roll it back up and hide it.
  • Line up green army guys with precision into perfect little platoons on treadmill surface. Turn on treadmill and wipe out entire army, then declare victory.
  • Use at high speed to rub helmets (and subsequently part of their heads) and weapons off of plastic army guys in order to disarm them (note: said rubbing leaves tiny little pieces of shredded green plastic stuck to your carpet. Not to worry, they vacuum up relatively quickly).
I know...I'm not at 101 uses yet. I need to start taking pictures, because some of them are really hilarious. I'm guessing I should have a pretty complete list by this time next summer. The treadmill list should probably include me getting on it at some point, yes?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Little Summer Fun

We didn't do a lot of vacationing this summer, funds are way too tight! But we did take the time to go see my mom in the White Mountain area of Arizona. Can I just say how nice it was not to sweat the minute I walked out the door while we were there? I feel like a walking armpit right now in Phoenix with this blast furnace type heat!

The boys really enjoyed the weather there too, but found it difficult at first to figure out how to amuse themselves with no other little neighbor kids to play with. We have a neighborhood FULL of little boys so there's rarely a shortage of playmates!

Anyway...Mom has a wonderful garden, which many of the little woodland creatures like to visit, so they have live traps set up around the compound to keep the critters at bay. Little Man stepped up and took over security duty for a few days and did trap checks every so often. He scored a very angry little chipmunk who had chewed the blossom off of a would be melon and then got himself stuck in the trap. Grandpa took over deportation duties and the chipmunk was promptly relocated to a new location down the road.

We found another little chipmunk while we were fishing, he was a hungry little dude and had an amazing internal clock, as he appeared right at lunchtime! We shared some lunch and fished for awhile.


Actually, Big Brother, Grandma and I fished for awhile and caught nothing. Little Man, who could not sit still and who snagged his line on the bottom of the lake numerous times by constantly reeling in his line, causing us to have to restring his pole every 15 minutes, was the only one who caught a fish. Go figure.

I didn't get a photo. Of course. We had no net and I was trying to keep the fish on shore while Grandma got a bag to put him in. Little Man was FURIOUS that we didn't get to take him home, not understanding that a 4 hour drive in the hot sun would result in a stinky, dead fish.

Props and thanks to Grandma for taking the fish cleaning duty so she could show the boys how to take care of their future catches. I hate doing that crap.

So, aside from the massive, blistered sunburn I obtained at the lake because the sun did NOT FEEL HOT at all and I forgot the suncreen, it was a nice trip! Other than the forgotten suitcase. I forgot my suitcase. No clean clothes or underwear. Was too busy making sure my kids had videos and Playstations for the drive there. You know, the important stuff. You know what the amazing thing about that all was? I didn't sweat the whole time I was there, so my clothes were actually wearable for more than half a day! I did end up going to Wal-mart for a change of clothes and underwear after almost 3 days though.

It made me want to move away from the dry, brown desert in which I currently miserably reside. I know...I'll be changing my tune in about 4 months when we start having Chamber of Commerce weather...but for now? I'm kinda diggin' on Small Town America in the cool pines.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Have Good Boys

Sometimes I look at my boys and wonder how I ever got so blessed to have two such fantastic creatures in my life. I have good boys. Big Brother has this wonderful gift of laughter that is so infectious and when he smiles the world smiles. Little Man has an extraordinarily advanced sense of humor that causes fits of giggles from all of us at the most inappropriate times, like in the middle of church. When I relax and just enjoy being around them? I feel blessed and happy. I see them for who they really are. I love them deeply. When I am in that relaxed place I forget the messes they made with the paint on the table and the fact that they still have not done the 3 tasks that I've asked them to do 6 times today. I forget the arguing and the talking back. And I forget that I am trying too hard to make them fit into my idea of who I think they should be. Just for a moment, I let them be who they are. When I let them be who they are I can be who I want to be...the sane, happy and well-adjusted mother I want so badly for them to have. It's not who they have most days right now. And I am sad for them. My lack of happiness is not their fault. It's just life and my lack of coping skills. They are good boys. They deserve better. And I am blessed to have them in my life.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Giveaway Announcements!!

HEY! SEE THAT LITTLE SECTION >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>on the far right of this blog? The one that says Check Out Boymom Giveaways? Check there for new giveaways and click on the links to win fun stuff! C'mon! Do it! Just DO it! You might win something cool! There's a new giveaway today!

Lynette won some free Fruit2Day and Rachael won some Purex Laundry Sheets! So make sure you stop by that little corner once in awhile!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Neighborhood Isn't Fun Anymore

Would any of you mind if I vent for just a minute? I need to get something off of my chest so I can move on. It's been eating at me for a week now and I really need to let it go. So maybe if I write about it I can do that. Move on, I mean. Cause really, I am losing way too much sleep over this issue. The problem?

Little Man lost his bike to a thief last week. It has kind of put a damper on our summer. The bike was in our yard, up by the front porch and it was taken during daylight hours in between his trips back and forth to his friends' houses.

At first, I was kind of angry with Little Man, because truthfully? I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. He leaves his stuff out overnight all of the time. He is really not good about putting his scooter, bike or skateboard back in the garage when he's done.

But then I realized that he was in the process of his playtime and riding back and forth all afternoon. He had no reason to think that some idiot would walk up on our lawn and take his bike in the middle of the afternoon! We live in a relatively safe neighborhood and we've never really had a problem with people stealing around here. In fact, one of the neighbor kids leaves his bike in various spots around the neighborhood for days at a time without anyone even looking at it funny.

So it was a little shocking to think someone was brazen enough to step into my yard and steal something in broad daylight! And then I went from shocked to outright pissed off. Yes, Little Man does need to learn to put his stuff away and yes, this is going to be a tough lesson for him, but dang it! The bike was up in our yard! It wasn't on the sidewalk or in the middle of the street, it was in our yard and it was the middle of the day and what kind iof person just strolls up into someone else's yard and snags a kid's bike?!

Well, we had some leads. We called the police. Problem is, I never wrote down the serial number. There's only so much the police can do now. So far no one's talking. One thing all of the neighborhood moms and dads did notice as they were helping us look for the bike is that there seem to be a lot of bikes that have been spray painted white among a certain group of teenagers in the area. Weird. Do we have a bike chop shop in the hood? It also became apparent that there are lots of interesting relationships between families in our neighborhod that I was not aware of. Two of the families I thought I knew fairly well swore up and down that they knew who took the bike and they went so far as to tell me that they actually saw the kid on the bike several times.

The kid they were accusing is fairly new in the neighborhood and a few other parents had told me they've been having problems with the new family too, so the policeman and I went over to try to see if there was any truth to what we were being told. There wasn't. I was extremely embarrassed. The poor kid was embarrassed. The parents were very understanding and showed me the bike he was riding. It was NOT EVEN CLOSE to Little Man's bike, of which the accusers had seen a picture, so they KNEW this kid's bike was not the one we were looking for. The parents let the policeman search the yard and garage while they explained that the 2 families that had accused their son had recently started a major fight with their kids and had caused this family all kinds of problems since they had moved in. Great. Now I'm involved in the neighborhood drama!

So...I apologized, made some new friends and we all moved on. But still no bike. I offered a small reward, but still nothing. The neighborhood teenagers, 2 of which are kids of the 2 families that misdirected me, are suddenly very quiet around me and go to great lengths to avoid me. I have a feeling they know who took the bike. But I'm pretty sure I will never find out. The bike is gone and that's that. So are my good feelings toward some of my neighbors now and that makes me sad. My neighborhood doesn't feel the same anymore. I am constantly policing the area and always asking the kids who ride bikes in the desert by my house what they are doing. I don't feel like my kids can play out in the front yard and run in for a few minutes to get a drink and cool off without us having to worry about what's going to disappear. And I hate living like that. I hate not being able to trust the people who live around me.

Now most of the neighborhood is on alert and everyone tells me they share the same disappointment. We didn't think we lived in one of THOSE kind of neighborhoods where you always have to worry about people messing with your stuff. Apparently we do have to worry. Our neighborhood has lost its innocence. I guess it was just a matter of time. It just makes me mad. And sad.

The only good thing to come out of this is that Little Man is now psychotic about putting his stuff away. So I guess I should be glad for that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I seriously have no idea...I'm not sure he knows what he was doing either.

(Date on the picture is wrong, this was a self-portrait taken just a few days ago.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Splish Splash I was Takin' a Bath!

So I'm getting ready to take a shower the other day and I open the shower door to turn on the water. I notice, much to my dismay, that the shower really needs to be scrubbed and that there are shampoo bottles all over the floor. I say was actually more like acknowledged, because I knew the state of the shower a few days prior, just chose to ignore it, hoping it would clean itself.

One of the reasons it gets so messy is because my kids prefer to use it over their own bathtub in their own bathroom! I have no idea why, they just do. And for some reason, it never occurs to them, or my husband, to toss the empty bottles in the trash can when they are done showering. Course, it did take me 2 or 3 days to actually bend over and do it myself, so I guess I shouldn't be talkin' smack about my lazy family.

Anyway...with a heavy sigh, I bent over to pick up the empty bottles and underneath one of them found this:

Sorry, I know the picture quality stinks. I told you all I have a crappy old camera, right? It's certainly not my photo taking skills. I said I NEED A NEW CAMERA! And no remarks about my housekeeping skills, either! I am working on it, people!

It's a scorpion. A big, dead scorpion. I have no idea how long our visitor had been there. I know the bottles had been on the shower floor for 2 or 3 days. What if it had been there the whole time!?!? AAUUGGHH!! How freaky! At least it was dead, but my kid had just been in there a few hours prior taking his own shower! Needless to say, no more bottles get left on the shower floor.

And yes, I did scrub the shower, so it doesn't look like that anymore. I'm workin' on it, people!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Have You Ever Seen an Elephant Disappear?

A few months ago I shared my memories of my first circus, complete with an elephant parade through the middle of the small town where I lived. My kids got to see their first circus last week and WOW! It was so much better than the one I saw as a kid! For one thing, last week's circus was in an indoor arena and not outside in a tent, which made it much more comfortable! We also had really good seats, thanks to Feld Entertainment and Mom Central, so we were able to see everything really well, even when they were down on the opposite end of the arena. Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey chose a good theme this year in "Zing Zang Zoom". It coupled some really amazing circus acts with fun magic tricks. I think the best magic trick was when they made an elephant disappear! Yep, an entire elephant! The kids were absolutely amazed! And I was pretty impressed myself.

The acrobats were absolutely incredible. Talk about talent! There were numerous fearless feats taking place right in front of us including folks leaping through the air upside down and sideways, hanging from wires, riding on swinging on boards while flipping and was all really cool to watch! Then there were those cage guys that ran around the hamster wheel spinning cage things, which would just make me ill, but made Little Man immediately decide to try to build one in our backyard. Nice. He already scares the life out of me with his lack of fear and his acrobatic abilities!

The animal acts were fun to watch, they included dogs, horses, elephants and tigers. I must have a thing for elephants, I found them to be the most entertaining. They have so much personality!

But my favorite part had to be the chicks who got shot out of a cannon. Cuz seriously? Who has that for a job? That's stuff you see on cartoons and old movies, right? I never really stopped to think that someone would actually do that for a living. It was so weird to actually see it in real life in front of my eyes. Boom! Chick flying through the air, lands in a big air bag...tah-dah!!

That's it, she's done for the night! Cake...right? I know, I know they practice during the day. C'mon! Don't wreck the easy job dream for me, folks! How does one get a cannon chick job, anyway? Maybe I'll apply. Although I have some concerns about the lycra suit and the whole weight/velocity thing.

It was a really fun family night and BONUS!...I ran into fellow blogger Melanie and family(she's got the cutest kids!), from My Little Patch of Sunshine and I also got to wave across the arena to my ticket winner, Trudi and family! My family will definitely do the circus thing again...great night of entertainment. Plus, I have a lot of questions for the cannon chick, so I have to go back to get the scoop before I apply for that job.

Don't forget, Zing Zang Zoom is traveling across the country and you can get a family 4 pack for $44 when you use the codeword MOM at ticketmaster(dot)com. Go see the circus this summer!