Thursday, July 30, 2009

Now?

You're all lucky I could barely sit upright without puking today, or it would have been an all day whining-a-thon about how sick I am.

Right after my morning cup of coffee, I felt like I was going to be sick. I realized it was going to happen immediately and my best option was (unfortunately) the kitchen sink. As I barfed, choked and heaved, little kid stood at my feet and begged me to make him chicken nuggets.

"You make me chicken nuggets?"

(Gag, choke) No. Go away, please (retch).

"Pwease."

(Puke) One (gag, cough) minute. I'm sick.

"Now?"

I'm puking now!

"When you're done pukin'?"

It is very hard to be so sick and have kids around. Big Kid took pity on me and said, "Mom, I'm gonna take care of you today," then he looked at his computer screen and said, "or at least take care of myself. I'll just take care of myself and keep an eye on little kid. From here at my computer."

I lured little kid in bed with me to watch some Goonies, keeping his attention with gasps of "Monster!", "Bad guy!", "Pirate ship!" through my delirium. Later I got him to nap on the couch with me. I think Big Kid played Webkinz all day.

I've stopped puking but still feel crappy. Just finally good enough to share my misery with you all. I better be better tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dear Children's Book Publishers,

Who came up with the idea of books that make noise? Because that was the dumbest freaking idea ever.

I've heard sporadic doorbell sounds for the last 20 minutes or so and decided to investigate. Turns out, little kid is playing with a book--a book that has buttons that make obnoxious, echoing sounds.

This is wrong on so many levels. Books shouldn't annoy me. Books should be quiet. Books don't need noises, batteries, or flashing lights. I know everyone's in a race to improve upon everything, but the only improvement books need is better writing and better illustrations.

It would also be great if they fit nicely on a shelf. I know you think your ginormous, oversized book is eye-catching and it is--every time I see it, it catches my eye and I think "Oh, there's that gigantic-ass book I'm never sure what to do with," and I secretly hate it for messing up the continuity of my shelves.

Let's just have normal sized, quiet books with good stories inside. No batteries required.

Kthxbai,
Ashley

Queue

I just signed up for Netflix--what needs to go on my queue? (I just spent so long looking at the word 'queue' that it looks impossibly weird now, and it looked weird enough to begin with)

Documentaries, independent films, comedies, family friendly stuff, television series that I've missed--what are some of your favorites?

The short list

I don't want to:
get anyone lunch
wipe any more asses
shower with anyone
share my cushion on the couch
share my drink
discuss Yo Gabba Gabba
referee fights
clean up dog pee
get anyone a drink
do the dishes
put away the laundry

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bed Time

I watch "Family Guy" (and I'm embarrassed to admit that) every night when I go to bed and amazingly, no matter what time I go to bed, it's on. Pretty much any time between 7:00ish and 2:00ish, it's on one of many channels.

If by some freak occurrence it isn't on, I take that as a sign that it isn't bed time and try to stay awake until it is on (almost always within half an hour).

If it's ever canceled, my sleep cycle will be all kinds of messed up.

Maybe Baby

The other day Mr. Ashley was looking through photos of the boys from when they were babies. I was shocked when he said, "I'd like to have another baby."

"A baby?"

"Yes," he said wistfully. "I know we couldn't now, but still..."

"Maybe what you really want is a hedge hog?"

"No, Ashley."

"No, stick with me here. We've had 2 babies but we've had 0 hedge hogs. Hedge hogs are cute, they're nocturnal, probably poop everywhere. Just like babies. Better even because they stay small."

Mr. Ashley sighed.

"I agree, babies are cool. It would be neat to have another one," I conceded.

"It would be a boy."

"I know, I've resigned myself to that. Boys are cool though. Could we name him Atlas?"

"God, no. No way."

"I knew you'd say that, but Atlas would be a cool name. Cobalt too."

"Never. Ever."

"Cash Alexander? Alexander Cash?"

"Uh. No and no. I really don't think so."

"We're already fighting about names. Let's just get a hedge hog and I'll name it."

So, I'm not so sure I see it happening any time soon, but maybe we're not done having kids yet. Just typing that made me think about being pregnant again and I suffered a shiver of revulsion at the thought, though. So maybe we are done. Who knows.

However, he HAS stopped saying that I will never, ever have a hedge hog. This is a major step. I'd say this means I'm pretty close to getting one.

Give Away

I spent way too much time thinking about how to do the give away--and then I decided to just do it how I wanted, even if it seemed unfair. So ae, caren, dana, yellow fence, and Gretchen, you win Aurora photo editing software. They heard we were bummed about me getting their email with the free offer too late, so they gave us 5 more. You 5 were chosen for being around for a looooooong time, you deserve a reward. So email me with your email address.

I'll be back later--I've got violin for Big Kid (which I'm a little tired of already), a headache, and work to do. I also have photos of Kent Osborne in various states of undress, but I like him a lot and feel like I must protect him from those-of-you-who-email-bosses. So I might just share a couple and keep the rest to blackmail him with for later. I'll need to think on it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thinking

I'm trying to concentrate and I've got one kid begging me to glue a broken rock back together and another making me stop everything to strap fake spurs to his boots.

It's complete insanity.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Random Links

Banksy in Africa
Africa is bigger than you think
Pets in the building
Make sure no one uses your cup
6 amazing erotic drawings (not work safe, but cool)
Calvin and Hobbes on hunting
Pictures of a bubble popping
Awesome Virginia license plate
Consequences of gay marriage
Really cool ice cube tray

We All Win

When I said, "tomorrow morning" in the post below, I really meant "some time soon". I was ready to do it today, but have to double check something first. I suck, we know that, it's probably why we're all here to begin with.

However, I do have exciting news where we're all winners. Kent Osborne is sending us pictures of himself in various states of undress, as requested. How awesome is the internet? Ask and ye shall receive! I asked for you all, of course, since some of you are single college girls and some of you are single moms and some of you are just a little slutty, which is cool too.

AND now we can all be grateful that I introduced us to "he-who-shall-never-be-named-again" because something interesting is actually coming from it! We can feel good about that now!

I was telling Mr. Ashley that Kent had commented and why that was cool (I didn't really focus on the whole naked pictures part--at all) and Big Kid overheard. We were in the car later and he said, "Hey mom, dat guy--um, somefin' 'bout Spongebob and Flapjack? I need to know his name and what he does."

When the information I gave was insufficient, he begged me to google it on my phone to get his exact job title. As I read from his impressive IMDB page, Big Kid hmmmed and ohhhed. I finished and he said, "So, no Yo Gabba Gabba?"

"Um, no. But a lot of other things. Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys? That's a big deal."

"Yeah, but no Yo Gabba Gabba."

"Well no, but it doesn't really work like that. Yo Gabba Gabba just doesn't have whoever on, you know?"

"Dey had Jack Black on."

"True."

"If Jack Black got on, he prob'ly could. Maybe he dest needs to be tryin' harder."

"Maybe so. That's a good point."

So there's some free career advice from Big Kid--he's kind of a big deal, you know.

I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures. For my readers, of course.

Friday, July 24, 2009

10 Points

You guys did awesome with your suggestions. You've got me all emotional now too. We've got such history with each other! I was going to make a list of links of the posts you all mentioned, but it turns out my blog is really difficult to search. I guess the "labels" section is for more than smart ass post script-type comments. Oh well. We'll do the give-away post tomorrow morning since I'm worn out tonight. It's been one of those days.

Big Kid and little kid were fighting earlier because little kid was trying to push the easel in front of the tv. Finally, I had to intervene and scream at everyone because I couldn't think at all. As little kid stomped away, Big Kid picked up a small stuffed animal and hurled it at him—nailing little kid right in the back of the head. I opened my mouth to yell at him when he looked at me and said, “Ten points!” triumphantly.

And then I just laughed, because it was pretty funny.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Memory Lane

I need everyone's help with something. You older closet dwellers will probably be most helpful with this task. I need you to tell me what some of your favorite posts/stories from here have been. Specifically, I need parenting-related topics but for the sake of having a healthy comments section for this post, any answer will do (because I know many of you probably want to talk about the bald beaver bachelorette post or one of the many drama posts again).

This is not some blatant attempt to get you all to compliment me or stroke my ego (although that is always welcome and appreciated). It's for something important and exciting that I unfortunately cannot mention in advance because a small handful of you are psychotic and can't be trusted.

To bribe you into participation, the post after this one will involve giving away prizes.

Everyone Panic!

little kid can't find his goggles. He can't possibly watch Transformers without swim goggles and I can't possibly work until they are located.

THIS IS AN EMERGENCY AMBER ALERT FOR A PAIR OF ORANGE SWIM GOGGLES. EVERYONE STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND SEARCH SO LITTLE KID CAN CONTINUE WITH HIS DAY.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

He Said What

So, in order to extract about 2 minutes of info from Big Kid, I have to ask 45,000 questions. I was doing that today trying to get the 4-1-1 on his social situation and camp experience.

"So, how's Mr. D? Is he nice or funny or serious or grouchy?"

"He's great. 'Cept he was a little grouchy today."

"Really? Why was he grouchy?"

"'Cuz eberyone was talkin' a whole lot and stuff and da principal had a meeting and we needed to be quiet or Mr. D was going to smash all of our art."

"What? What was that?"

"Mr. D said if we weren't quiet for da meetin', he was gonna smash all of our art."

(Stunned silence) "Did he really say that? Tell me what he said."

"Dat is what he said, if we weren't quiet he was gonna smash all of our art."

"What did everyone do then?"

"Sat dere real quiet, probably 'cuz dey didn't want our art all smashed up."

(Horrified) "What were you thinking when he said that? How did that make you feel?"

"I dest sat dere real quiet. I was finkin' if he smashed up all of da art, dat my statue of Miranda would be in dere, so I was quiet as possible."

(Furious) "Big Kid--let me tell you, Mr. D will not smash up your art. He will not."

"No, really. Dat is what he said."

"I believe he said it, but I think he was just stressed out and may not be used to working with children and he picked the wrong thing to say. He really picked the wrong thing to say. If he ever says anything like that again, obey him and be quiet but know in your heart that he will NOT be smashing your art, or anyone's art. Ever."

"He really said it, he did."

"Yeah, but he can't do that. Adults can't break people's things because they are angry. If he says that again, or anything like that, feel free to tell him that he is going to need to talk to your mom about that. And no matter what, be sure to tell me when I pick you up."

I then went on to try to determine how out of control everyone was, and he said people were just talking. When I said they're probably allowed to talk quietly though, he said they are only supposed to talk at snack and at the playground (don't even get me started on them needing a snack during a 3-hour program). They don't all work on the same projects at the same time or anything, so it isn't like they need to be silent for instructional purposes. They seem to mostly do what they want with the occasional coil cup or thumb pot thrown in for authenticity's sake. After more interrogation, things got hazy though and I couldn't tell if they really aren't allowed to talk and it wasn't long before he was getting weirded out by all of my questions and tired of talking about it.

Soooooooo, I'm pretty pissed at Mr. D. What kind of creep tells a class full of 5 and 6 year olds that he's going to break their stuff? I guess hiring artists instead of teachers may not have been such a great idea after all. Also, it is at a museum hosting tons of camps right now. No way was there a principal nearby in a meeting seriously needing silence. If so, they picked a dumb time and place for a meeting.

I don't want to be the confrontational, letter-writing, highly-offended mom but I don't want to be paying money for my kid to make pottery in a sweatshop-like atmosphere. It's only 2 more days, but I hope Mr. D can keep himself together.

Big Kid acted like nothing different was going on with Miranda, so I guess that's good. He also really loves art school, even if Mr. D teaches like Kim Jong Il rules.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Miranda statue, let's hope it survives the kiln.

Miranda Miranda Miranda

Our poor Big Kid fell in love again on Monday. He started art camp and met Miranda. The name Miranda has been written, sung and said about 2 zillion times around our house since then.

When I picked him up Monday, I noticed he went out of his way to get her attention and tell her goodbye and that it was nice to meet her.

By the time I picked him up on Tuesday, he was making clay sculptures of her (no, I am not kidding), holding hands with her and telling me all about how pretty she is. I asked, "What about Ahsiya?" and he said, "I have 2 girlfriends now." Well, okay then. When I asked who had initiated the hand-holding, he said he did because he liked her so much. When it was time to leave, he ran up to her and held his arms out. She shrank back and awkwardly put her hands in the "STOP" position as he squeezed her in a tight goodbye hug.

He waited all day today until 1:00 p.m. so he could see her. He asked if we could get there first so he could choose his seat first and I told him we'd get there when we got there. We walked in and I saw him size up the situation; Miranda was surrounded.

He walked up to this little girl that really bugs him for some reason and told her she was in his seat. One of the teen helpers told him they switch seats every day, and to sit elsewhere. He gave one last desperate look around before sitting in the middle of the table--boys on one end, girls on the other, with Big Kid in the middle, struggling hard not to cry.

It killed me.

I noticed a seat at the end of the table and walked back over to suggest it to him and Miranda herself put her hands over it and said it was saved for her friend Rebecca. Big Kid's lower lip trembled and his eyes got all glossy. I cheerfully suggested that he sit with the boys that day and make new friends! He had mentioned a boy named Alexander so I sought him out, and although at 7 or 8 he didn't look like he wanted to be BFF with little Big Kid, I told Big Kid to sit next to him and re-introduced everyone on the boys side.

I think my guy was shunned. You know how we always do that to the nice guys that are tripping over themselves to please us. We're evil.

I'm curious to know what state he'll be in by the time I pick him up. I hope she goes easy on him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

little kid list

1. He is dressing himself these days--almost exclusively in a camo tank top with a helicopter screen-printed on it that went directly into the Goodwill pile after receiving it as a gift for Big Kid. little kid found it and wants to wear nothing but his "bad guy" shirt--even if it is dirty. If I manage to hide it, he insists on another tank top so he can see his muscles. He usually goes with jeans or camo shorts, occasionally he'll insist on board shorts. Then he wears his boots. Always. Although cute, he is the perfect picture of white trash in these outfits. I have seriously considered getting him one of those "Hello my name is" tags and writing "I DRESS MYSELF" in black Sharpie on it.

2. He has worn his goggles and snorkle every day since vacation. For those of you without kids, pulling goggles with an elastic band over a gigantic head of soft, curly hair is no easy feat. Yet I do it, 4 or 5 times a day, regardless of whether or not there is any water around to swim in. He's wearing them now.

3. Every single morning at 7:30 a.m., I wake up to the sound of "MUMUM, WILL YOU WIPE MY BUTT?" being screamed at me from his side of the house. I know you're about to say that it's better than him wiping himself on my shower curtain, but it sure doesn't feel like it some days. I am not a morning person to begin with, the VERY last thing I want to do is wake up to screaming and butt wiping first freaking thing every single day.

4. He starts thinking about breakfast the moment he opens his eyes. The rest of the family are slow risers. We get up, hang out, watch some television, and generally wait an hour or so before breakfast. Not little kid. Immediately after I wipe his butt in the mornings, I hear, "You get me dinner now?" If I insist on coffee first, he stands there and stares at me and goes on and on about how hungry he is. Big Kid rolls out of bed around 9ish and doesn't want to eat until 10ish, so I have to make breakfast twice.

So, as we already know, he can be a real pain in the butt. It's a good thing he's cute and so unbelievably affectionate. He's an amazing cuddler, he just melts his body into yours comfortably regardless of how you're sitting. He's also one of the funniest little people I've ever met, his personality is bigger than his body. Unfortunately, he knows this.

These qualities, and the fact that orphanages are so hard to find these days, make me want to keep him.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beer for Breakfast

Is it wrong to drink beer with breakfast for dinner?

If I told you that little kid wiped his ass on my shower curtain today, and that was actually one of the better parts of my day, would that change your answer any?

Ashley: Wh-wh-WHAT'S ON MY SHOWER CURTAIN, LITTLE KID?

little kid: Little bit of poop, maybe.

Ashley: Maybe? Maybe? It looks like poop.

little kid: It's poop, mumum.

Ashley: Did you use the shower curtain to wipe your butt?

little kid: Um, uh, no.

Ashley: Then why is there poop on the shower curtain? WHY?

little kid: Um, a bad guy? Bad guy did it?

Ashley: You did it. You wiped your butt on the shower curtain, didn't you? I can tell that's what happened.

little kid: Maybe dest a little bit. Little bit of poop.

I really have no idea why he did it, since there was plenty of toilet paper and since he isn't supposed to be wiping himself anyway (due to incidents like this).

So, now can I have a beer with my dinner-breakfast?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pet Store

In all my pissed-offness at Walmart, I forgot to tell you all that I held a Hedgehog today!!

I took the kids to that exotic animal pet store I was too lazy to go to the other day, and after looking all around the whole store and being screamed at by an angry Sugar Glider, I looked at the counter as I was about to exit and there sat a tank with one corner full of prickly Hedgehogs.

The very bored, highly pierced sales girl ummmmed and "kind of"-ed in response to all of my questions and then interrupted me to ask if I just wanted to hold one. Of course I wanted to hold one!

I was thinking the actual prospect of handling one would weird me out or make me realize they wouldn't be a good pet but I really loved it. It was so cute with its sleepy little eyes, nosing around on my palm. About 40 trillion times cooler than a Guinea Pig.

They also had a ton of turtles and a list a mile long of kinds of people they wouldn't sell turtles to, which made it easier to talk to Big Kid about the fact that a turtle probably isn't the best pet for us.

Mr. Ashley was pretty unimpressed that I got to hold a Hedgehog (he wasn't there) and acts like I'm just kidding or crazy when I tell him I want one some day, so I don't see it happening soon.

Dear Gap Kids,

What the heck is going on with you guys? First off, all of your clothes this season are crap. Secondly, they are overpriced crap.

Sorry, I just can't get excited about paying $35 for jeans for a 5 year old. I will say that the wash on your kid's jeans is super cute...but not $35-and-outgrown-in-3-months cute. Big Kid will just have to look a little less distressed and well-worn this school year. Also, a Transformers shirt for $25--are you kidding?

All of your shirts either have characters on them, smart ass statements, GAP branded across the front or are athletic-themed. It's like you're turning into a very expensive Wal-mart.

$45 for this:
Are people actually paying $45 to make their kids look like enormous dorks?

Please stop this. In the past, I've been willing to pay for your overpriced clothes because they were overly awesome. Bring back the casual surfer or little banker look and leave the Superman shirts to Old Navy.

I was excited to find your SALE25 discount code good for 25% off until the 19th and your free shipping on kid's items code (BTSCHOOL) but can only find 2 shirts that I even kind of like. I haven't checked out your girl's clothes because it usually just depresses me, but can only hope you're doing better in that department.

Please get it together, preferably before August 24th.

Frankly,
Ashley

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bored

The kids and I are making each other nuts and are super bored, but I cannot think of one free thing to do that doesn't involve me being out in the 95 degree heat.

I was thinking of taking everyone to the pet store just to look around for fun, but is that worth getting everyone showered and dressed? I know the library is showing a free movie this afternoon, but it's one I've seen and could rent and I don't know if I feel like sitting there for two hours to see a movie versus watching it in the comfort of my own home.

So it's probably mostly my own fault that I'm bored, but I still am.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Within the next 25 minutes

I suck for not checking my email more often and just found out we can all download free Aurora photo editing software until 9:15 a.m.

So quick--go HERE and add it to your cart, add code FREE24.

Here's the email:

Aurora, the powerfully simple photo editing, organizing and sharing software (now available for Mac and PC!) is FREE for 24 hours. Yes, anyone can download Aurora to own it forever – for free – between 9:15 am Eastern on 6/15 and 9:15 am Eastern on 6/16. Simply visit www.lightcrafts.com/aurora, select “Buy Now,” and enter FREE24 at checkout. That’s it! Why is it free? Aurora is offering this 24-hour summer giveaway to celebrate its launch of Aurora for Mac and several new features now available in Aurora. See the attached press release for more information about the new features, including a Retouch editing tool! (The updated version of Aurora is a free download for existing customers, so you’re covered – when you open the software starting tomorrow, you’ll be prompted to download the latest version.)

We’ve got something else in store for July that will enable you to put Aurora to good use.

Share your best edited shots to win big throughout July

To celebrate great photos and great photo editing made simple with Aurora, we’re holding an Aurora Friday Photo Editing Challenge this month…and everyone is invited to participate for a shot at winning some big prizes. We’ve got three incredible guest judges lined up – Tracey Clark from ShutterSisters.com, Amy Locurto from I Heart Faces, and Julie May from UnScene Photography Tour. You can enter the challenge, and read more details about it, on the Aurora Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aurora/71524602742 (details will be posted overnight tonight, but we wanted to make sure you had this news in advance, as well).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Look Mom!

Big Kid: Look mom, a shark tooth! little kid gave me a shark tooth!

Ashley: Cool, that was nice of--wait, let me see that. Oh gross, that's not a shark tooth, it's a dog toenail.

Big Kid: AAH! What in da heck is wrong wif you, little kid? Stop laughin' mom! Now I gotta go wash my hands.

Funny Animal Pics

You're not my real mom
Let's go buddy
Two of a kind
No, go ahead--I'm comfortable here
Marriage in nature
Enough of your bullshit
Daddeh
Monkey rides a dog
Please mail
Little rabbit

Strikes Again

I have a plethora of pencils from Staples' 1 cent deals, so I sharpened a bunch of them and put them in a black metal cup by the phone two days ago. I thought it looked nice and inspired Big Kid and I to write.

I just noticed that little kid has systematically removed every single pencil eraser since then. The pencils are in the cup, but he has yanked all of the erasers out by the root and put them in a tidy pile next to the cup.

Man, that ticks me off. Brand new, perfectly sharpened, eraserless pencils.

re: Guinea Pigs

I was a little drunk when I was seriously considering a guinea pig and have since decided it's probably not a good idea. At all.

But, Big Kid is now non-stop talking about having a pet turtle. So tell me what we know about pet turtles, please.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

He Can Fly!

I just spent the last 10 minutes trying to convince little kid that he CAN NOT fly. He's certain that he can now that his muscles are growing so big and even though I've explained that muscle size does not relate to ability to fly since people can not fly, he keeps muttering about being a super hero and giving me dirty looks. I'm pretty sure he's going to jump from something soon.

He insisted on putting on a wife-beater tank top (slightly too small) so he could see his muscles and is also wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. He wore a T-Rex pajama t-shirt, plaid shorts and cowboy boots to Big Kid's violin lesson today. It was adorably ridiculous and not worth fighting over.

Once he changed into the tank top, he picked up a heavy wooden stool and tried to carry it down the hall way (most likely to climb onto something to jump/fly from). He stumbled with it, put it down and sadly said, "I guess my muscles not as big as I sought," and stuck his lower lip out like he was going to cry. I assured him that his muscles were huge, especially in that shirt, and encouraged him to push the stool over to me so I could make sure he didn't jump from it.

"Why you not let me try to fly, mumum? I not get hurt. Dest watch!"

"No, little kid."

"Why not? Pwease?"

"We don't have insurance."

"We get some at Wal-mart! Okay? Den I fly?"

"Yep, then you can fly."

Living with a 2 year old is like living with someone continuously on drugs--they're dangerous, irrational, unpredictable, delusional and difficult to communicate with.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Life's Big Questions

Is it wrong to drink wine out of a coffee mug at 2pm?

I could wash out a wine glass, but it's Sunday and it just doesn't seem like I should have to.

Why does it always feel so depraved to drink wine out of anything other than a wine glass? I originally reached for a mason jar, but that's just plain white trash. A coffee mug is a little classier-- but it still feels questionable.

I want one!

THIS is freaking awesome!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Please Advise

Have you read Slaughterhouse Five?
Owned a Guinea Pig?
Bought Kota the Triceratops?

Please share your experiences with any of the above, as they are all things I've been thinking about lately. Big Kid has been talking hamster/Guinea Pig talk big time and his birthday is coming up. We are definitely NOT in need of a rodent, but he would love it so much. I've had hamsters and could live without doing that again. (I just ran the idea by Mr. Ashley and he suggested packaging our cat Pearl into a tank with a wheel and a ball and saying she was the biggest hamster we could find and is all his now. Big Kid would be so pissed. Pearl would be too.)

Kota the dinosaur is on sale at Toys R Us and would probably make an ideal birthday gift for little kid. He LOVES dinosaurs and I kind of feel like one large gift would be better than lots of cheaper ones. I'm tired of stuff. But do I need a life-size baby dinosaur in the house? It does look pretty cool.

I don't know if Slaughterhouse Five would be my sort of book or not, but I keep coming across it. I've read Kurt Vonnegut before, but I don't remember what (which could be a bad thing). Sci-fi is not my thing, but I'm cool with time travel (to an extent). I'm reading Outlander now, as recommended by closet readers--it's good, more romance than I'm used to but I like it. I told Mr. Ashley if I ever travel back in time, cheating isn't cheating and same goes for him. Because technically, we wouldn't be married YET. Just wanted to get that cleared up, just in case.

Okay, please relay your book-reading/Guinea-pig-having/Triceratops-buying/time travel experiences and help me avoid future mistakes.

Nerves

I have a photo shoot in an hour that I'm insanely anxious about. It is 11 adults and I rarely do adults or big groups really (nor do I want to).

The family is very wealthy and I haven't spoken with them yet, only their country club director who knows me because I took photos of her children.

I didn't even really want to be doing photography again, people just kept calling and it would be totally insane to turn money down so I decided to go ahead and do it. I'm very, very nervous that it will rain. It's been beautiful all day but there are clouds and rumbling on the horizon, and I'm really not equipped to shoot 11 grown ups in an enclosed area if I'm not in the studio.

Grrrr.

Logically I know everything will be fine, they will be nice and in a festive mood (they are going on a cruise tomorrow), it probably won't rain, and they will most likely be pleasantly surprised with their photos but right now, I'd pay them my session fee NOT to do it.

There is absolutely no point to this post other than to attempt to kill some time.


Update: Whew, it's over. It was only marginally better than I feared. The pics turned out good but it wasn't much fun for me. I'll stick with kids--give me a snotty 2-year-old over a group of grown ups any day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Saltimbanco

I never got to update you all on my Cirque Du Soleil night. We saw their show, Saltimbanco, and as everyone who has ever seen a Cirque show probably knows, sufficient adjectives to describe it just don't exist.

It was amazing, fantastic, magical, imaginative, creative, mind-blowing, funny and sexy. I walked out feeling like I was in a trance. I feel so blessed that we were able to take the boys to see it because they were completely enthralled and it was amazing to point out that these people were doing these amazing feats without special effects; that it was true talent and hard work. At first, both kids were looking at me like I had lost my mind when people in weird masks and unitards came out slinking around the stage and singing in a foreign language, but within 5 minutes they were completely captivated.

little kid sat on the edge of his seat, perfectly still for the entire show. Big Kid was equally impressed with the performers, the live band, and the guys working the synthesizer and control board. He would often direct my eyes away from the stage to point out what the control board guy was doing. At one point I heard Big Kid gasp as two contortionists were defying physics on a table-like platform and he said, "I...can...not...believe...dey are standing on furniture like dat. So wrong and so dangerous," in a disapproving tone.

Another guy was doing insane things on a bicycle and little kid says he's going to do that too, so I have that to look forward to now.

We lucked into some awesome seats, right where the cast's friends and loved ones were seated, so I eavesdropped on them which was fascinating. I'd love to see the behind-the-scene scene with that crowd--I think working that closely and being that flexible and being on tour could make for some interesting and scandalous situations.

As we left (after a standing ovation), I asked little kid what he thought and he said, "Really, really awesome. Really awesome." It really was. I want to tell you all about the crazy crap on the bike and the guy juggling a gazillion balls and the sexy man and woman percussion session or the people on the poles or the two male contortionists but there's really no describing it.

I believe this tour just started. Here's the dates and places --if you see it, you have to come back here and tell me so we can discuss the awesomeness.

Medical History

When I got home Mr. Ashley told me that Big Kid wanted to know if I'd ever been on Paxil.

"Um, no. Why do you ask?"

"It can cause birf defects in your child. Heart defects, actually."

"Wh-what?"

"Taking Paxil can cause heart defects in your unborn childrens. Dat's why I need to know," Big Kid insisted defensively.

"Uh, no. No, I did not take Paxil while pregnant."

"'Cuz it can cause problems wif your unborn child. You know, while it's still in your tummy."

Talking over Mr. Ashley who was laughing so hard I was worried he might pee his pants,"Well, I didn't take it, so no worries here."

"Look dad, don't make fun about serious fings. Paxil is a serious fing. It can cause defects! DEFECTS! Paxil's serious!"

...Now, I know when you're reading it on someone else's blog it's funny--but what normal 5-year-old fixates on side effects of various anti-depressants??? It is so absurd and bizarre and so perfectly Big Kid.

Earlier today he asked if we could buy a machine that looked like a refrigerator but was really an incubator that we'd put our napkins in, and the napkins would turn boiling red if they were really dirty, but not to worry! because the incubator-frigerator would really be "disinfectin" all of our napkins, especially the boiling red ones.

Why do we need disinfected napkins?? Why does he even know the word disinfected?

It's just so weird. It's like he's someone else's kid. Neither Mr. Ashley or I will hesitate to eat something that's dropped briefly to the floor (5 second rule, bitches) but we have a child who wants special machinery to disinfect our napkins and who needs to know my medical history.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dear little kid,

I understand that bathroom mistakes happen, I really do.

However, when they happen--say you drop a few logs on your way to the toilet--you also know that the clean up process is beyond your basic ability.

Attempting to roll it up in the bathroom rug? Not a good idea.
Attempting to use a pair of your brother's shorts to sponge it up? Not a good idea.

Also, when trying to use toilet paper, it's best to unroll a few sheets versus rolling the entire intact roll across a turd over and over again into the white grout.

I was angry when I saw the mess, particularly since I have spent the morning wearing sunglasses and unplugged headphones due to a massive migraine that refuses to be medicated.

But when I went to flush and the toilet clogged? Oh, I was pissed.

Then in my attempts to plunge the toilet, it began to overflow...chunks of poopy toilet paper swirling around my feet as the bathroom flooded. I slipped on a renegade turd in my panic to close the bathroom door to contain the damage. You may remember this as the time when I began screaming, "GET IN YOUR ROOM! YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE, GET IN YOUR ROOM NOW!"

Luckily you took my advice, because had you been present when I reached down to turn the water valve off and my hair slipped out of its haphazard bun and TOUCHED TOILET WATER, I would most likely be writing this to you from jail.

(POOPY FUCKING TOILET WATER ON MY HAIR, LITTLE KID! And on my baseboards, yoga pants, feet, vanity, bathroom rug, roll of toilet paper,several towels and a pair of your brother's shorts.)

That, my friend, is why you are staying in your room forever. FOREVER. All the bleach and all of the scalding water and all of the laundry detergent in the world cannot erase what happened today.

I suggest you take a long nap.

I still love you, just from the other side of the house,
Mom

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy Dance

I get to go see a Cirque Du Soleil show tonight!

If I was wearing pants, I would pee them in happiness.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Social Awkwardness

Big Kid really needs some friends. He's lonely and bored and kind of crabby.

However, I want no part of awkward play dates at neutral, annoying, kid-filled places with moms I wouldn't otherwise choose to hang out with. I want friends dropped off at the house and then I want the kids to go to the playroom and do their own thing.

I don't know how to make that transition though. I think his classmates' moms know me well enough but I still feel a little weird calling and asking them to drop off their kids. His favorite male friend is the one with the socially awkward mom and she mentioned that she doesn't allow birthday candles due to the potential danger, so would she (and should she?) drop her kid off at my house?

Do I want her kid at my house?

We joined an organic co-op and when I went to sign up, my boys had a great time with the co-op owner's 6 and 7 year old sons and then we discovered that they live one street down from us. I can see her house from my front yard. The co-op is on break for summer but I do have her email address (and she lives within sight). Do I just ask if her boys can come over to play or will we most likely have to hang out first, or what? I keep hoping I'll see her outside with the kids but I never do. She is a juicing guru and my dad did just give us a juicer, so I could always use that pretext for getting back in touch. God, I'm such a dork. Who knew becoming a mom could create such social awkwardness? I thought kids just got together and played, I didn't think I'd have to do so much facilitating to make it happen.

I let Big Kid call Ahsiya this evening because he's been asking for days. He just misses her like crazy. The other day out of nowhere he told me, "You know what? I've been finkin' and I loved Ahsiya since da first day of school. Da very first day." After days of begging to call her, and after making her mom understand who he was and who he wanted, he sat there silently once she got on the line. He covered the receiver and hissed, "I don't know what to say!" at me and I whispered to ask about her summer. Awkward pauses and "What?" "What?" "What?" followed for a minute or so. I told him to tell her that he missed playing with her, and he did--loudly and with a smile. Then her mom got on and said that Ahsiya would call him right back, that she needed the phone really quick and then she would call him back at this number and was that okay? He said it was and hung up.

He was happy and went back to watching television and doing his own thing. He even thanked me and gave me a hug for letting him call her. I noticed that she didn't call back, but figured he forgot and was happy with the conversation they had. Right before bed he said, "But Ahsiya's sposed to call me right back. I been waitin' all dis time. I need to talk to her so bad." Ugh.

Did she forget? Feel too shy to call? Not want to call? Why oh why didn't she call?!?

The whole thing is just painful to watch.

I hope it gets easier as they get older.

6 Degrees

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I still check in on Arthur K-A-D-E (I don't want Google knowing about this, being a part of "The Journey" via Arthur's press page is enough) from time to time. It's more a bad habit now than anything, I don't have the same perverse obsession as I had before--a shark has definitely been jumped somewhere along the way. I no longer comment or check it multiple times a day from my phone.

If you're not keeping up with it, I wouldn't start now. In fact, you have permission to just skip this whole post.

However, I noticed that our own dear Anastasia Beaverhousen went all bargain-board on Kent Osborne from Cartoon Network for hanging with the Kadester. I found this hysterical, since Anastasia Beaverhousen and I first became acquainted when she went all bargain-board on me one day (I don't even know about what anymore, something about me lacking integrity which is probably pretty accurate if we're being honest) and then eventually became a valued occasional commenter here (she left a very insightful comment on the last life sucks post).

I read her original comment on Kade's blog and LOL'd that she thought her comment would bother this guy, but I seriously LOL'd when I saw that she was mentioned on his blog and received a heartfelt and seemingly genuine apology (July 6 entry). Milk this for all it's worth, Anastasia Beaverhousen! Get Cartoon Network to sponsor the Ashley's Closet cruise, ask if they want Big Kid for voice over work, or at the very least blackmail him for naked pictures (and then share them with the rest of us offended moms).

I found this 6-degrees-of-internet-separation amusing though and thought I'd share since I originally infected so many of you with Kades to begin with. I also found the Cartoon Network guy's account of things entertaining and was touched by his apology and his relationship with his mom.

However, I swear this is the last time I'll mention anything related to Arthur Kade. (Hopefully).

Nickelodeon Party

Not long ago, I received a Nickelodeon party pack consisting of Spongebob and Dora party plates, cups and napkins to review. Although we're huge Spongebob and Dora fans around here, I was skeptical in my ability to generate any excitement over paper products. What would I even say? "The food sat on the plate very nicely and the cups did a wonderful job containing liquid!"


But that's because I was looking at the plates, cups and napkins with grown up eyes. I pulled out the party pack last time Em spent the night and the kids were overjoyed--to 5-year-olds, dining on colorful plates adorned with your favorite characters means you are partying big time. They couldn't believe we were having an actual party (because I guess it's not a real party until Spongebob or Dora show up).

There was much discussion over who would get which character and Em literally squealed with happiness when she realized the Dora napkin's pattern continued onto the back of the napkin. I will say that the colors were bright and the materials were sturdy and it was all indeed very festive.

I asked the kids to film a commercial about the Nick party products and they did:


video

(Please disregard their $1 offer at the end, they got a little carried away with the excitement of selling--and this was the 97th take so I decided to just go with it.)

All in all, Nickelodeon party ware gets the Ashley household seal of approval and I highly recommend keeping some around for impromptu parties as well as birthday celebrations.

Here's a link with Spongebob and Dora party recipes and games if you want to really go all out.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Caught in a Lie

We were in the car on vacation when Big Kid pipes up with:

"You know dat Numa Numa song? Da one I like? "

We nod, having heard the song and every possible remix of it at least 900 times thanks to him.

He pauses, seemingly deep in thought. "W-well, uh, I wanna tell you somefin', you know dat cartoon you were watchin' last night? When I came out of da room and you said for me to hurry up back in bed 'cuz it's a grown up show you don't want me watchin'?"

"Yes," I answer, remembering saving him from seeing South Park the night before.

"Hmmm," he said. "You know what I heard from a friend of mine? Dis is not somefin' I seen on YouTube, dest somefin' I heard from a kid at school..."

"What's that?" I ask casually, Mr. Ashley and I exchanging glances in the front seat.

"A friend told me dat dose cartoon people sang da Numa Numa song and it was on YouTube, but only for grown ups. Dat's what my friends were sayin'."

Other than his blatant LYING, the alarming part of this whole scenario was the completely casual and convincing way he delivered his lie. Sure the lie itself is absurd, and I'm not quite so dumb as to think that Numa Numa remixes on YouTube are a hot topic amongst normal Kindergartners, but his ability to play it off as cool as he did was cause for concern. He used to make a completely bizarre face whenever he lied which was a dead giveaway, but once he attains the ability to come up with reasonable lies, I might be in trouble.

"Hmmm, that's interesting. That's why kids aren't allowed on YouTube, because grown up stuff is on there. If you ever saw anything really weird or confusing, I hope you'd ask me about it though because I wouldn't be mad, I would just want to know what you saw so that I could help you understand it or why it isn't appropriate for kids. But you're not allowed on YouTube without a grown up around and that's why."

"I know," he said, looking completely guilt-stricken. I left it at that because I was on vacation and half-assed parenting is allowed on vacation.

Recently we downloaded KidZui, the internet for kids, and that's been perfect because he can watch videos and wander around to different websites that are all kid-friendly and it keeps him busy and seems safe. I also just heard about Kideos and it looks like it is right up his alley; he loves clicking from video to video and seeing different things, so that may cure his YouTube craving.

Out of curiosity, I did search for the clip in question and don't think he saw anything (that I know about yet) that would permanently damage him but I think it's best to keep him contained from here on out.

Kimono--UPDATED

I've decided I need a kimono to wear around the house.

A kimono is absolutely, positively not in the budget (at all) right now, but the idea struck me before bed time and I could barely stop myself from getting out of bed to research my kimono options.

So that's on my list today, shopping around for a kimono I can't buy.

edited to add: Well, Mr. Ashley's not going to like this at all, but I've done my research and have decided that the only reasonable place to buy a kimono (other than Japan, of course) is Epcot. So, we're going to have to go to Epcot to get me a kimono and now I'm having to research that. It looks like my late night idea is going to end up costing around at least $500 when it's all said and done.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Monopoly

I thought I'd introduce Big Kid to the joys of Monopoly tonight and vowed not to go easy on him, so he could learn all about strategy right from the start.

Twenty minutes into it and he owns Park Place, Boardwalk, 3 out of 4 railroads and at least one property in each decent area and is gleefully collecting rent, shrewdly analyzing potential investments and only deciding on purchases after inquiring about potential rental income vs. cost.

I own 3 measly properties and am yet somehow very near bankruptcy.

It's not as much fun as I'd hoped it would be.


P.S. I'm in jail right now.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vacay Photos

We went to the Fort White/High Springs area of North Florida on vacation with my mom and dad and their two dogs and my brother and his girlfriend. I was afraid that many people plus us plus dogs would be annoying in the small cottage we stay in, but everyone was good. There were no drunken fits, no massive tantrums, no wrecks/crashes/injuries of any kind, no fighting, no peeing on the floor or any of the usual occurrences on a family vacation.

It was really relaxing and the cold, clear water of the springs was exactly what I needed.

Here's a family photo:




I'm the one with the shadow nub arms. I even manage to look bad in pictures of my own shadow. As you can see, my brother's girlfriend is really pregnant. It was fun to be around her big, moving pregnant belly for days in a row and to talk baby talk. The boys are psyched about Baby Ethan (aka Baby Efan). Big Kid's going to teach him about mammals and little kid's going to teach him about monsters and Big Kid's going to teach him that there's no such thing as monsters and little kid is going to teach him about super heroes and Big Kid will show him which trees are conifers.



Here's Big Kid at Ginnie Springs.







little kid discovered the joys of snorkeling while there and has honest to goodness barely taken the goggles off since. I had to make a rule about wearing them to bed.



Here's the Ichetucknee River, where we attempted the 3 hour tour.



Here's Ginnie Springs. The day here started off great. We were all floating down the river, quiet at times, chatting at others, spinning around lazily in our innertubes soaking up sun, when my brother's girlfriend starts screaming over and over again that she wants out. At first, I wasn't too worried since most pregnant people are crazy. Then my mom started hissing "Holy shit, there's an alligator, oh my God" and my dad and brother spotted it too. I couldn't see it and could only hear my dad saying "Oh, it's really big. It's coming this way. He doesn't look happy. This isn't good news." I knew he was bullshitting but still--a nearby alligator is enough of a buzzkill without the family comedian narrating for you. I finally spotted it and was well past it, and it looked camped out on the bank there, so I relaxed a little.

And then she saw another one.

That pretty much ruined the relaxing mood, so we stuck to picnicking and playing in the very cold springs area.



Underwater cave.



little kid's take on the whole thing.

He did this to me at the waterpark the other day too. I saw him wiggling out of his wet trunks and as I ran to stop him, he pulled it out and christened the baby pool. The other moms were not impressed.



note the ever-present snorkel.



Good times.

The little cottage we stay in has a tin roof and several decks and porches and on one of the porches, an 8 person jacuzzi with adjustable temperature. This became a very big, warm baby pool where the boys could wear themselves out while I read nearby. It was perfect.

Mr. Ashley and I have been there twice before, once when I was pregnant with little kid and once when he was 10 months old (he took his first steps there). Our entries in the guest book are becoming a mini-journal of our major life events and it was neat to share the house and area with my family. I got really emotional while writing the guestbook entry on the day that we left and sad that everything could be different next time I go.

I'm so glad we went, it was so nice to get away, hang out with family, and think happy thoughts for a few days. Now I'm going to go drink some drugs and light stuff on fire in honor of our Independence. I hope you do the same.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vacation

I'm back from vacay!

I wanted to do one complete vacation wrap-up post, complete with pictures, but I need to upload the pics and I keep putting it off and the thought of it is becoming a chore, so I'm afraid you all wouldn't hear from me for another week if I waited until I've got everything together.

I did already upload one video, so here's some Big Kid for you, prior to a marathon tubing trip.

video

We made it two hours down the river vs. three, which is pretty darn good considering I spent the 30 minutes prior to the taping of this video promising Big Kid that I would spank his butt if he bitched the whole way down the river. He was pissed that everyone else didn't want to spend the day watching PBS Kids on the cabin t.v. and I was done hearing about it. I told him to choose "happy" or "quiet" and he ended up choosing "quiet", which was fine.

All in all, the kids were both really good. My brother behaved too, and my parents' dogs weren't even annoying.

I'm going to go upload the pics RIGHT NOW, so you should hopefully see them and hear more about the trip within the next 3 months or so.