Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Elf of a Time

Well, as is our annual tradition, I have fallen far behind on the Harold Hubert Piggybottom posts. It wasn't a very elftastic week in general though.

So, here we go:

The morning after Harold arrived, we found him resting in the nativity:

He was snuggling the baby Jesus, and he had a tiny traveling trunk with him! We opened it, because we didn't think he would mind.


It contained a tank top, a tiny rubber credit card, and a little envelope full of little pictures! I was amazed by the photos. The boys gave them a cursory glance. little kid was more interested in the logistics of using the credit card.

The next day we found him enjoying the Florida experience. And wasting food. He was wearing a straw fedora, glasses, jean shorts and the tank top, and floating in a pool of marshmallows on top of a bagel.


Big Kid was annoyed because that's his reading lamp. little kid was interested in the pool, which even had a drain. little kid was also disappointed by the lack of naughtiness.

The next morning was quite a surprise:

 The tree was surrounded with fluffy stuff!

The cat appreciated this the most. Big Kid said maybe he should just sit on a shelf from now on, and I agreed.


 The next morning he was on the shelf, but he replaced all of our family photos with Zoolander-like photos of himself. Weirdo. Big Kid wants me to replace the family photos pronto. I still haven't done it, and it is rather creepy.

Banksy Harold:


Then Harold tagged the sliding glass doors with snow spray. Not cool because that's my most hated chore, as you can see by the flash reflecting off of the streaks on the glass. Then I decided to be fun mom and let the kids spray the windows with the leftover spray, which was a gigantic mess. little kid miraculously managed to make snow balls with an aerosol spray--Florida kids will go to great lengths.

Big Kid refused to do it at first and I asked why.

"If I graffiti something, it's going to be for real," rule-abiding, property-respecting Big Kid said with a sudden burst of assertiveness.

"What?" I asked, incredulous.

"You know...with spray paint?"

"What are you talking about, Big Kid? You'd be in so much trouble. You could go to jail!"

He looked slightly serious then, like he hadn't realized it was such a big offense. Then he shrugged it off. "Well...I still might do it."

"Uh, no, you wouldn't," I assured him.

What is this? I laugh out loud to imagine sweet Big Kid, who literally cannot tell a lie (boy's got no poker face) spraying gang signs somewhere, but am also fearing for whatever kind of nonsense the next phase of life may bring. So...maybe elf graffiti wasn't the best idea. I guess. Thanks, Harold.


But the next day he brought Coca-cola, which is my favorite. He was even drinking his own itty bitty coke, much to little kid's amazement. We were slightly worried if caffeine was counted in the energy drink warning we received from the North Pole, but the can appeared empty, so what could we do?


Croquet Harold:

This was very cute and not messy. little kid hopes we get to keep his croquet set. I am glad Harold has calmed down.

Then he grew a mustache and brought mustache glasses and chocolate milk straws! He also attached vinyl mustaches to various photos:


 I thought it was funny.


The next day he brought Santa's Coal bubble gum, which really tasted like coal, according to little kid. Not sure when little kid has eaten coal, but I believe him.

Then we found him in front of the computer the next morning, watching video reports from Santa for both boys. He had a small notebook and he had written both their names with "Nice!" next to them, which was a big relief around here. People admitted to being slightly worried about yesterday's coal gum. He had also written "Redbull- Naughty!" so we think he learned his lesson.


This morning we found him under the tree with a book of Christmas stories and two tiny Christmas books of his own. Everyone appreciates books around here, and they were grateful to get a new one. I am grateful that all is calm on the elf front and am glad it's a shorter visit this year.

Phew, I am also glad to be caught up on that! This may be a record in falling behind.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All the Small Things

http://i.imgur.com/rKn32.jpg

Short sad break

Dear Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse,
Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, Allison, and James:

It feels wrong to move on with the lighthearted story of my life without acknowledging your precious and all too brief existences. Most news stories are just that, news stories, a mostly unwelcome distraction from our day but your stories have changed me. I am not able to not think of you, and am having great difficulty picking up and moving on from the terrible thing that happened on 12/14/12. I don't know if it's because I have a child your age and realize the eternal silence that would haunt me in his absence, or if it's because I spend a lot of time with first graders and can picture your wide set eyes, lightly freckled noses, Twinkle Toe shoes, twirly skirts, chubby fingers with marker residue all over them, and cargo pockets containing treasures of rubberbands and toy dinosaurs, or if it is because I am a human being; a human being currently unable to comprehend how this happened to such sweet and innocent creatures living in a civilized world.

I feel paralyzed by my grief and shock. I feel torn between never wanting to let my children go and having difficulty looking at them because it makes the loss of you that much more real and that much more profound. In times of uncertainty I often have this mental image of unlatching tiny double doors in my heart and tucking my boys deep inside, where they will be safe from reality. I cram them in there tightly, so they are safely insulated from the bumps and bruises of the world and so that they cannot leave me. I wish I could do it for real. My heart aches for the ability to do it for real.

But I see your brave parents (your dear, courageous, sweet parents whose pain I would bear in short shifts to alleviate this burden placed on them) sharing your memories with us, tales of your big hearts and carefree smiles, photos of your wide-eyed wonder for the world around you, and I know that you would not want us to be paralyzed with grief and fear. You would want the world to keep smiling, to keep playing, to keep making friends, to keep learning, to keep being a joyful playground.

I will honor your memories by not forgetting this and by not throwing my hands up and saying "Freak incident, nothing we can do," because I think we can do more in many areas and I will advocate for those changes. I will remember you in times of frustration and hopefully stop and count my blessings. I will feel true gratitude and appreciation for the teachers and administrators of my children. You will help me become the parent I want to be by lending me patience and perspective about our time here. I will try to be a better citizen and a helper, while also trying to be observant and honest about the true condition of people and what desperation or illness may drive them to. I will take more time to enjoy the little things and allow the fun, messy things more often.

And I will place each of you in that empty spot in my heart, behind those tiny pretend doors, safely tucked away, and I will not forget you. I will not let you become another news story in my life. I will carry you with me and you will be the reminder that I can do better, that we can do better, and that it's worth being better.

God bless your dear, sweet hearts.
Although we're the ones who need it.

With Respect, Sincerity and a Heavy Heart,
Ashley

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sectional Feeling

Mr. Ashley has decided we can't have a television in the bedroom.

So I decided I need a couch that's like a bed. Like one of those big sectionals that has the upholstered ottoman that fits into the non-sectional space? So I can lie on it and watch television restfully.

So there's been a ton of couch talk, couch shopping, measuring, explanations of how we can't buy a couch right now, more couch shopping, explanations why a $3000 couch is not going to happen right now, more measuring, color indecision (gray or aqua, gray or aqua?) and finally a (possibly pretend) agreement that we're saving up for my new couch (aqua!). We're going to go visit the showroom this weekend. Mr. Ashley will be so excited when he finds out, I'm sure.

The other day I was pointing out, again,  that it was impossible to cuddle on our couches (disparaging the current couches is all part of the plan) and I sang out, "That's why we need a Seeeeeeeectional!"

"Oh my God, mom! Gross. I do not need to hear about it," Big Kid said in complete disgust.

I was confused for a moment...and then I laughed my ass off.

And assured him that I don't do that.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Harmonica

Big Kid saw the harmonica post pulled up on my laptop and read it out loud before laughing hysterically.

little kid looked troubled. "You shouldn't say that. We shouldn't laugh about that!"

"Oh man, I know. It is kind of mean." I answered. (But I didn't really feel bad.)

"It's very mean! You're insulting my friends!" He seemed more pissed as the conversation progressed.

"Oh, really? You know him?" I asked, confused as to where this was going.

"Yes! I have many friends that celebrate Hanukkah!"

"Oh my, no!! HAR-MON-ICA! Not Hanukkah. Wow. I'm glad we clarified that. I love Hanukkah and whoever invented it. A lot. I'm proud of you for standing up for your friends but that's not what I said."

Can you even imagine if he told someone that I wished death upon whoever invented Hanukkah?

It's too scary to even laugh about.

Yet.

Death by Harmonica

I hope whoever invented harmonicas died a slow and painful death.

I know that's mean.

But seriously.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

He's baaaaack (HHP: Day 1)


 This morning I heard little kid shout "HAROLD!" with an excited squeal as he walked through the living room. And so it begins. Again. 

Harold arrived late last night via hot air balloon. We thought he may have a note for us so we unrolled it but it was a strange, tiny map; very exotic looking. 

little kid took it to school and was a big freaking deal all day long. That's why I can't take a photo of it for you, it's certainly been squirreled away in one of his many treasure boxes by now.

Big Kid was too tired to exclaim much. He was busy counting down the hours until winter break. He also asked that Harold be relocated while he did his homework, as he did not want to be watched. I understand.
(Sadly.)

So, we've been reunited. For better or worse.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wanted: Harold Hubert Piggybottom

Well, the holidays are upon us.

(How?!? How on earth is this possible? We just did this, people! And I like the holidays, I just need more time in between. A year isn't enough these days.)

The kids have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our elf, Harold Hubert Piggybottom. They were positive he would arrive December 1st and when he didn't, there was some concern. By December 2nd they were positively morose, despite me telling them that Harold was probably extremely busy...and possibly really worn out from last year still. Maybe Harold was coming later in the month. On December 3rd, Big Kid sadly said, "Maybe I'm just too old for an elf."

ಠ_ಠ

I said maybe we'd get a new elf, a sweet elf that just hangs out not doing much. 

They both made it clear that they wanted Harold and only Harold.

Sigh. Oh, Harold. Why did you have to be so...active? You should have been a normal, quiet elf, Harold. You should be an example to other elf foster parents everywhere, Harold.

I urged the boys to write a letter to Santa, maybe they would get some clarification on whatever was going on or perhaps Harold was MIA, sneaky little punk that he can be. Then we would mail it and it would take a while for it to get there and for a response to be returned to us.

The letter says:

Dear Santa Claus,
We are wondering if Harold is coming to our house. He didn't come the 1st, the 2nd or even today. We are getting worried, could you please send him soon, please? We understand if he's too busy working with Rudolph, Comet or Vixen or Dancer, Prancer or any of the other reindeer.

Cheers

Unedited exclusive

(Big Kid was supposed to be born Canadian, I swear. "Uh, we really want our elf...but if you need him, that's cool, sorry, cheers!")

They were pretty irritated that the North Pole takes a long time to respond, but they finally got a reply. I would take a photo but my phone just doesn't want to, so whatever. There's letterhead and quality paper and everything, folks.

Season's greetings! Thank you for inquiring about Harold Hubert Piggybottom, we are quite relieved to hear you are looking forward to his arrival.

There was an incident with the reindeer that has forced us to reassign Harold to the mailroom and due to the high volume of incoming Christmas lists, mailroom elves are not sent out until the 10th of December. I apologize for not getting this information out to you sooner and for any concern it may have caused...we have had quite the hectic month up here.

We must request that you not keep Red Bull or other energy drinks in your home this season, if at all possible. Harold fed Red Bull to the reindeer one night with near disastrous consequences; the sleigh is simply not calibrated to handle that type of velocity. Can you imagine a team of 9 flying reindeer hopped up on caffeine? No, no you can't. Rudolph's nose was lit up for a solid week! It was awful, the stable master may never forgive him. Harold claims he was trying to improve productivity, but he was fascinated with the Felix Baumgarten space jump. Anyway, we strongly advise you to avoid it. And the warning from last year about power tools still stands. As you know, Harold loves Christmas and has a very good heart but sometimes makes questionable choices. Please be a good influence on him with your own excellent behavior.

Again, we greatly appreciate your continued participation in the Elf Live in Foster Service. Harold enjoys his time with your family and the Florida weather agrees with him. And we get a lot done around here in his absence!

Please keep an eye out for his arrival. Or should I say up?

Fa La La La La, La La La La,
Bristol Pinelin Treebright

So, it looks like Harold's coming back.

Which is wonderful, because who doesn't need even more magic during the holiday season? Hmm? Right? It will be awesome, I'm sure. Really. I can't wait to see his creepy little face again. Can. Not. Wait.

Yippee.

Merry Christmas.

(Here's the history of Harold Hubert Piggybottom, in case you're new.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Power Up

I'm going to win Powerball tonight.

A bunch of friends and I bought a whole bunch of tickets together and I have the power of positive thinking on my side. After taxes and sharing, I should get about $25 million and I can work with that.

The jackpot is estimated to be at $550 million. Although it's completely not fun of me to do so, I can't help but think what wonderful things we could change in the world with that kind of money. It could be amazing, it could change the course of humanity forever if everyone just pitched in $2 at the same time once a year.

Anyway, rest assured, when I win the money I will do good things with it.

Some of it.

Update: Unfortunately, I didn't win Powerball. This must mean I'm destined for greater things.

Like Megamillions.

One day we'll have the Ashley Quite Frankly cruise, I know it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thank Buddha

Lately the kids and I have been doing yoga together.

This is every bit as relaxing and spiritual as you would imagine it would be.

(Like, not at all.)

It's very good for them though and we end every session by bowing to each other and saying "namaste", and that's about the most adorable thing ever. Sometimes I have to bribe them with candy but they seem to like it and they are improving each time. We mostly do it for the meditation aspects, and by that I mean I want 15 minutes of quiet every night. I will let you know if it pays off, so far so good. Mostly.

Somehow Buddha came up at some point and little kid asked who that was.

"He's the guy Buddhism is based on--" I started.

"NUDISM???" Big Kid yelled.

"No, Buddhism. The religion?"

"Thank lord." Big Kid said with obvious relief.

Thank lord indeed.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Einstein and Einstein

I saw this at the Atlanta airport and I really liked it, so I'm going to put it here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Unqualified

I recently attended the opening of an H&M. By attended, I mean stood in the small crowd watching the crazy long line to enter the store and wondered if these people had no internet or didn't understand the store was going to be here tomorrow and the day after that too, or what inspired them to wait in line for hours that day. (As I stood there watching them wait. Don't judge me! And in the interest of full disclosure, free gift cards motivated them but there were definitely not enough free gift cards for the hundreds of people present in line).

And while watching all of the young, hip staff dancing together in front of the store prior to the ribbon cutting, it occurred to me that H&M wouldn't want to hire me because I am too old.

(And yeah, I really did just use "hip" as an adjective for young people up there.)

Not only am I not looking for a job but retail would be a living hell for me. Folding and hanging and counting and talking to people? I admittedly lack all of those skills. But once I realized they probably wouldn't want me anyway, you would have thought it was my life dream to work there. The injustice of it all was unbearable.

I am not too old! I decided. I'm only 34! And I'm still cool! They'd be lucky to have me! (Maybe.)

But I can't dance. Or wear ALL of the things at once like they do. Or fold. Or count. And again, I don't want that job. It was still sad though.

I turned to Mr. Ashley, hoping he'd understand. "I just realized I'm too old to work at H&M." I blurted out. Before getting a response I added, "Like, they wouldn't want me, you know? It's a weird thought that I'm too old," just in case he thought I was looking for work.

"Of course you are," he said without pause.

"It's sad! It makes me sad! I'm not that old." He laughed at my disappointment of not getting a job I didn't want or even apply to.

We continued to watch them dance, all young and happy. "This music is too loud," he said. For the third time.

Then I was completely over it because that officially makes him the old one.

And I'm not looking for a job anyway.

(H&M is awesome though, I'm glad we have one. )

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Baby Showers

I called a friend while the kids were in the car the other day and left a short message regarding a baby shower.

"What's a baby shower?" little kid asked when I hung up.

"It's a party for people about to have a baby where you shower the new mommy with all of the gifts she'll need to take care of a baby!"

"Wow! What's the shower part?"

I knew he was imagining bassinets and baby swings being dropped from above on a pregnant lady and I almost let that ride.

"That's just what the party is called. You just give the mom the gifts, nicely and normally."

"Pretty sure I'm adopting babies," said Big Kid. "You know, since I don't like the idea of...sex." He whispered the last word, unintentionally emphasizing it by hissing it through clenched teeth.

"One day you'll like the idea." I promised. "But I'm fine with you adopting."

"Oh, I'm havin' some babies! Definitely!" little kid swore with enthusiasm. "But I'm havin' a baby shower first! I might have lots of babies," he added with a calculated gleam in his eyes.

Wait until he finds out you only get a shower for the first one.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Longest Week Ever

little kid has been home sick for 4 days this week.

I feel bad for him and all but between daylight savings time, the election and its aftermath on Facebook (holy drama, Batman!), and 4 straight days of Survivorman and questions about dipping swords in lava among other things...short of bleeding out of an orifice he was going to school today.

What was sweet (and annoying) was that all day every day he would ask when his brother was coming home and missed him terribly. He'd wait at the front door as the bus pulled up and would wrestle him into a hug and try to kiss him (which Big Kid enthusiastically avoided due to germs and bad breath).

He'd beg him to cuddle him during a movie or sit close to him so he could sling his arm across his shoulders.

And then, within about 15 minutes, he'd start torturing him. I just don't get it! It's really rowdy, crazy stuff too. Big Kid has broken down the most frequent little kid characters for me:

1.) The clown that gives bears flu shots. This is my favorite because it's so insane but it's also the most annoying because the bear (Big Kid, he's a grizzly. He does not want to be a bear at all, though) HATES flu shots. And the flu shots are violent and the whole thing is very boisterous. This poor bear needs about 25 flu shots a day, too.

2.) The crazy old lady who loves dogs. I don't understand this one but Big Kid both loves and hates it and it makes our dog nervous. I don't think she's as physically aggressive as the clown that gives flu shots but it gets Big Kid riled up every time, usually mostly with laughter.

3.) The German rap guy. That's how Big Kid explains it but I'd say it's more like a weird Nazi impression of Jersey Shore. Hilarious and very strange, again often ends in violence.

4.) The nasty punk. This is his rudest, meanest self with a weird voice. The whole persona infuriates Big Kid immediately because of the bad manners and the ridiculousness.

He also likes to pretend Big Kid is a squirrel. I thought this was funny for a while and confirmed that he was adopted from a squirrel family but it really upsets Big Kid, so I stopped participating. I now insist that he's NOT a squirrel because despite it being super funny, I think we're over it.little kid will probably swear to his dying day that Big Kid is a squirrel. This is one of our biggest arguments lately.

Anyway, that's what I'm dealing with.

So today I'm going to get my hair done and go visit Catfish's brand new baby and watch reruns of Project Runway and he's his teacher's problem.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Don't Be Scared

The other day Big Kid said he would be scared if Mitt Romney won. little kid agreed solemnly.

That gave me great pause. Of course it's hard to retain total objectivity when you're passionate about something (everything!) but when we "officially" discussed the election, I tried with impartiality to break down in the most simple of terms why each party supported each candidate. I thought I always made a point of behaving myself in politically influenced conversations they were a part of and was cautious when they were listening. Heck, Big Kid was even a really big Romney fan at first and I supported that (it was difficult but good practice for when he grows up to be whoever he wants).

But they know who I like. And I have clearly discounted the fact that they are sneaky little eavesdroppers, paying attention to more than I realize and picking up on things in the most simple of ways and breaking it down to what they know; the idea of being scared. (I am not scared of Romney becoming president, by the way. I am worried about the current political climate in general though and I'm sure they've picked up on that. And that made them scared.)

"Don't be scared! Please! If I can teach you anything, it would be to be involved and active without reacting with fear because it's often impossible to get the big picture with politics. Mitt Romney is a smart, successful man who loves his family. He did really well in the debates--he's a good speaker and a confident guy and even if I don't personally agree with what he is saying, I understand why others might and maybe I'm wrong. That's the most important thing, a lot of people get really hung up on being "right" about who they like, to the point of refusing to be able to like even one single thing that the other guy has done or might do that could be good, and that just hurts the whole country. Both candidates are smart men. Maybe it would be better or maybe it would be worse but we get to choose again in another 4 years and not a whole lot happens in 4 years anyway, thanks to the checks and balances of congress."

(See how I said "checks and balances" and not "assholes"? It was a very mature conversation).

"So you wouldn't be scared if Mitt Romney became president?" Big Kid asked, looking me in the eye for any hint of dishonesty.

"...No. I would be disappointed based on the points we most solidly disagree on but I would have to hope it all turned out alright. We will all be okay, either way."

"Okay," Big Kid said. "But his vice president is crazy."

(He saw Paul Ryan's work out pictures. They made him uncomfortable.)

"Eh...he's a little weird but Mitt's healthy. We'll be okay."

(Because I was all out of diplomacy by then.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat

I didn't buy candy until today so that I wouldn't eat it all.

And then I bought a bag at Costco. And we're not even going to be home to pass it out.

And I did that on purpose so I could eat it.

Ugh.

Happy Halloween to you all.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Two Faced

I love Halloween and still want to dress up as a zombie, dammit, so we're renting a hotel room and going to a big zombie event.
I'm using this photo of a face that zips off as my make up inspiration:

So creepy. #Halloween

When I showed the kids they gasped, little kid with admiration, Big Kid with horror.

"You cannot wear that, mom!!" He insisted.

"Why not? This is cool!"

"Because--" he was flustered, stammering as he made his point, "Because everyone will see your....your organisms!!"

I seriously almost peed my pants.

And I'm totally going to let everyone see my organisms, I deserve to have a little fun.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Autumn

So for about a week now, I've been staring at this giraffe's ass.

Allegedly, this giraffe (her name is Autumn) is going to have a baby soon. But there is speculation that she's just a fat ass because all she does is eat. (Seriously, that's it.) And supposedly giraffes don't look pregnant but I don't know how they hide a 200lb baby with a 6 foot neck so well. So we'll stick with allegedly. She's also got a worthless mate who paces around and eats all of her food--typical man. I'm sick of his face. (I'm talking to you, Walter!)

The children have been excitedly waiting for something interesting to happen. We check every day, several times a day, and make sure the feed is up and running by 5pm because they shut it down to the public at night (so you have to leave the window open).

"So, what's their plan here? Will they do surgery right there on camera?" Big Kid asked.

"Surgery? I hope not."

"To get the baby out? When will they do it?"

"Oh, the baby will come out naturally," we stared at each other for a moment, me realizing the potential to freak him out. "You know, from her vagina."

"Oh GOD! Mom!!"

"What, Big Kid? That's where babies come from!"

"That poor baby," said little kid sadly.

"Think of the mom! She's got a 200 pound baby giraffe coming out of her--"

"MOOOOM! MOM STOP! You are talking about someone's VAGIN-a!"  (Gin sounding like the drink, and all of the emphasis on the first two syllables). "Her VAGIN-a! Come on now!"

Haha! Poor Autumn and her poor VAGIN-a.

Please God let this baby come while they're at home so I can further traumatize them with nature's miracle.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Do Me a Solid

I try not to ask you to vote for things or support causes too often because I have lots of friends and care about a lot of stuff, but also have a very short attention span and major follow-through problems. So instead I'm going to tell you about Project Run & Play, an online competition that's like Project Runway for kids' wear.

A friend of mine is in it and I've enjoyed seeing what everyone comes up with each week--they have some seriously talented ladies participating. Naturally, my friend is the most seriously talented and deserves to win, especially this week's challenge which revolved around boys' wear. As any mom of boys knows...boys clothes are among the most sucktastic apparel out there. Unless you love football appliques. Every once in a while I get lucky at Gap Kids, Crew Cuts or Old Navy but it's a major score to find something I really like.

(Ahem, I mean they really like. These are their clothes. Of course.)

But I REALLY like her (M)athlete look.

                                      
I would even if I didn't really like her. I would buy this immediately if I saw it in a store. Even more impressive, she had to work around the sensory issues of her son and still managed to make trendy, quality-looking, casual, comfortable clothes that would look good on any kid.

And I'm not trying to be mean, so let's not discuss the competition. Everyone's extremely talented and creative, but some people might be dressing their kids weird. Just saying.

(And I know it was mean.)

Voting's easy, it's just a button in the sidebar and is open until Sunday. I won't tell you who to vote for. I trust you don't (or wouldn't) dress your kid funny and will vote accordingly.

*The opinions stated above are my own obnoxious thoughts and are not shared or condoned in any way by my friend from the Mouse House who is NOT mean (ever, it's rather boring of her) and who has good things to say about everyone (yawn; she's lucky she's talented). You'd like her, I promise, probably way more than me. And check out her Kate Middleton inspired Preppy Princess look from Week 2. It almost made me go get pregnant with a baby girl. And I don't even like babies that much.


(Fun irrelevant fact: My kids heard the phrase "do me a solid" on the Regular Show or something and I heard it about 768 times in one weekend. And that's a conservative estimate.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Snuggle Time

Big Kid, age 9, too big for public hand holding or hugs, still loves to snuggle. We snuggle every morning in my bed, usually with the cat on our chests purring. Yesterday he took too long in the shower to have our morning snuggle and was all kinds of ticked off on his Monday morning, about the injustice of school and the ridiculousness of the early arrival time of the bus.

So we snuggled before bed that night instead and he said, "I love you so much! I could snuggle you every day for the rest of my life."  It melts my heart when he says things like that. Especially now that he's so big and cool.

"I'm available for that! We could snuggle every day for the rest of our lives." I answered.

"I would really like that. I want to do that." He hugged me tighter and then was quiet for a moment, pensive. "We're probably going to have to hide it from my wife, though."

I don't know whether to put a *sigh* or a LOL here.

He's a smart man already. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Zombiemom

"I was thinking, maybe when we have the outdoor movie night in October, we could make it a zombie party!" I announced to Big Kid, with great excitement.

"Uh...didn't you want to have a zombie party last year?"

"Yes! I really want to!"

He sighed, looking tired. Looking like the responsible parent who would have to fund the zombie party, and clean up after it.

"What? You don't like the idea?"

"It's just...weird."

"Why?!"

"You can't tell people what to be for Halloween!"

"It won't be ON Halloween. Like a Saturday or two before."

"That's even weirder. You're asking people to dress as zombies NOT on Halloween?"

"Yes. To watch a movie."

"Why zombies?"

"Because I want to have a bunch of zombies hanging around outside."

"That's very weird. Sorry."

"I might still do it."

"Oooooooookay," he said sarcastically (or star-tastically, as he hilariously pronounced it for years).

Pretty sure that means I have to do it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Kid

I just went to my first PTO meeting at the kids' new school.

I was dreading it in a major way. And I was right to because I felt like the fat kid in gym class, standing awkwardly off to the side while teams are eagerly formed, trying to stand up a little straighter and smile a bit brighter when anyone accidentally made eye contact.

And it was no one's fault. I was looking my best and feeling determined to be outgoing and helpful. But they all already knew each other and clumped up in groups of 2 and 3 to chat, in a way that made it impossible to just casually join in. I was one of "them" at the last school and I know they weren't excluding me as much as not noticing me.

So, I awkwardly checked my phone and ate as many of their pastries as I could. I tried to seek out other socially awkward penguins but there weren't many and the others did a good job seeming too busy to approach. I signed up for the stupid crap I will later complain about "having" to do, with the hope that one day I'll no longer be the new kid (and to help the kids or whatever, blahblahblah).

And if I was PTO president (and I will NEVER be PTO president--if all of the PTO presidents went extinct tomorrow, there would be no more PTO), I would hold PTO meetings at happy hour in bars. And everyone (including working parents--what is up with 9am weekday meetings??) would come. And they would talk. And they would be happy. And shit may or may not get done but we would have a better time doing it.

And no one would dread PTO meetings anymore!

My alternate idea is saying "fuck the PTO" and doing more paddleboarding and yoga and beach going and whatnot. Which is far more likely than revolutionizing or infiltrating that group.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Won't You Be Mine

My formerly quiet neighborhood is suddenly awash in kids.

We had one neighbor girl at first. Little kid loved her, I...could have lived without her. She was loud and mischievous (to put it nicely). But regardless, I was sad when she moved because he was sad.

But another (better!) neighbor girl moved in, with a fun older sister. And then a brother/sister the same ages as my kids moved in down the street at the same time. Now it's kid central.

Luckily all of the parents are cool and everyone seems to have the same laid back style, expectations and rules. Everyone knows where their kid is, everyone rounds their own back up occasionally, everyone is comfortable with kicking everyone back outside. So, while it's a teensy bit annoying to have tiny people trying to peer through my French door curtains at 8:00am on a Sunday, sometimes I have less of my own kids now and that's a good thing.

It is very scary to let your kids go into the homes of strangers though.

Not because of stranger danger but because God only knows how they behave or what they talk about around others. I don't want my neighbors having concrete evidence that we're as weird as we seem. And you always think your kids are probably *pretty* good, but what if they're the sneaky little jerk at someone else's house?? I hate it.

So one of the new neighbor moms and I were talking the other day and she said, "Oh, I just have to tell you! When your kids were over the other day--they're good kids, nice boys--" My heart is seizing up at this point, despite hearing the "good kids". I'm waiting for a "But", my brain is racing to make up excuses as to why they did whatever they've done and how I can pay for damages/therapy/ruining her kids, and I'm already coming up with punishment ideas.

"Well, your little one said something..." That little shit. I will lock him in his room and never let him out!

"...that made my husband and I look at each other...." Fuck, the husband was home. Why did I let them out?

"...and say 'We should take parenting classes from these people.' Really. Your kids are SO good, SO sweet, SUCH a pleasure, you are really doing something right."

I almost fell over in a dead faint right there.

"little kid?!? Said something....good? I've got to say, I was worried there for a second, especially when you mentioned my youngest! Phew!"

And would you believe, I NEVER FOUND OUT WHAT HE SAID? I was just so relieved not to have Child Protective Services finally called.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bad Mom

Today I yelled at a stranger's child.

To be fair, I thought it was my own child. A small person standing too close to me in a check out line knocked a bunch of stuff over and I told him to pick it up and then reprimanded him for not doing it neatly.

Then I noticed it was not my child, because his mom was standing there with a shocked look on her face.

I laughed and explained myself but it was really embarrassing. Like, I'm still embarrassed.

But he was doing a shitty job picking that stuff up.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dear little kid,

You're a bad ass.



I know I shouldn't write that because I shouldn't read it to you as I traditionally do the birthday letters; your young ego probably can't handle the confirmation and you're not supposed to call first graders bad asses (to their face), I'm pretty sure.

But there's just no other good description of the force that is you. You shine with confidence and charisma, you live and love fearlessly, you explore and examine the world with certainty. You're incredible. You're a sponge for information and a finder of lost treasures and an enthusiast of the mundane like bugs and sticks and rocks.

You are also so sweet. The other day I kissed your face and you told me that you get tears in your eyes when I do that. This morning, before you were even fully awake, you asked me to wake your brother so you could get a birthday hug and kiss, it was foremost in your mind. You hug and hold hands and snuggle with intensity. Sometimes I call you my parasitic twin...but every day I know I am blessed beyond measure to have such love in my life.

And such adventure! Who else would see 10 mythical skunk apes during our short skunk ape expedition in the everglades? Who else had to fight off herds of unseen stingrays at the beach house? Who else creates elaborate traps of rope and string to catch whatever may creep through our living areas? You find adventure in everything and that is so admirable and interesting, I am convinced the world must be a brighter place through your eyes.

And ours is a brighter place because you're in it.

Happy 6th Birthday, little kid. Thanks for the love, the hugs, the laughter, the tears, the adventure, the dirt and those little containers of captured bugs I find everywhere. Thanks for being you.

I like you, I love you and I'll always protect you,
Mom

(PS I could live without the bugs.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lunchbox comics

Now that the Big Kid's in 4th grade, he's too old and cool for everything. It's been strongly hinted that I shouldn't touch him at all in public. It's been suggested that maybe it's unnecessary for me to run up to the bus excitedly in the afternoons, that I could wait calmly in our yard. And he's officially too old for notes in his lunchbox.

So I settle for fist bumps, and waiting for him to come to me, and printing comics out for his lunch box.

Here's the one I included yesterday:



http://i.imgur.com/0t8hu.jpg
(Just in case anyone's wondering how he got so weird.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yoga People

So I went to yoga today.

I have been on a quest for a while now to find athletic activity that I do not despise. Kayaking was awesome, but I'm not strong enough to get mine on or off the top of my truck by myself, so it's always an ordeal. And the actual activity is best when drinking, which you generally aren't supposed to do during exercise, from what I understand. It has become mostly a social activity for me, which is still great but doesn't count as exercise. I've decided I want a paddle board, which won't solve any of the problems listed above but let's pretend it might.

I started jogging on the beach and that was great but mostly only the beach part, not so much the jogging. And then it got so freaking hot, I decided anyone who would subject themselves to that on purpose is flat out insane, so I stopped that until the air contains more oxygen than moisture. (That was my scientific reasoning behind this decision). I did just buy new running shoes though.

Several months ago I decided I was going to be a yoga person (are they called something? See, I haven't even gotten that far). So I pinned some stuff on pinterest and stopped by Lululemon a few times and talked about yoga a bit with some people who sometimes do yoga and today I finally got around to going at our local parks and rec center.

I loved it! Not a lot of jumping and flopping around a la Jillian Michaels (I quit her forever. I've said that before though) and I could see how it could be relaxing.

My particular class was not so relaxing because my adorable, true blue yoga person yoga teacher likes to sing. Like, a lot. More like yodel.

And this is great, good for her for feeling inspired and free enough to sing all of the time like that. That's awesome. And she clearly likes the music. It must feel good.

But it's a bit annoying when I'm balancing precariously on one foot with my arms outstretched trying to find this center of balance she keeps preaching about, to have her burst spontaneously into song. Indian music, which is lovely...but still. Shut up already. Especially during the end part where we just lie there and relax. Come on.

And although I told her I was a beginner, she didn't seem to understand that I wasn't just born with an ingrained understanding of what vinyasa bala hare krishna upward baby cobra was, she would just say this stuff and everyone would do it and when I'd look to see exactly what it was we were doing, she'd calmly and soothingly tell me to relax my neck. About 400 different times. It made it rather hard to relax at all.

She was wearing yoga pants that had probably been washed a ton of times and when she was doing downward dog, you could see EVERYTHING. Which was hilarious. And also made it difficult to relax my neck.

So yoga was funny and I felt like I was good at it, unrelaxed neck and all. I think I will go ahead and be a yoga person, I am just going to look for a different instructor. But maybe sometimes I'll go back for a laugh.

Now I need a paddleboard so I can start doing paddleboard yoga.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Me Again

Today was my first full day of freedom again.

It was wonderful.

I sat in silence. 

I watched trashy tv.

I went to the bathroom without anyone banging on the door.

I talked on the phone.

I took a shower without having to stop even once to find out if screaming in the house was related to playing or a break-in and murder. 

I ate hard boiled eggs and only had to peel the ones I was going to eat.

I ran errands and then stopped in Home Goods. For the hell of it. And not one person there asked me when I'd be ready to go home. Or for me to take them to the bathroom. I just looked around. It was pretty amazing.

At first there was a sort of urgency to do "something" that wasn't possible before with them around (gambling? strippers? drugs?) and then as the day stretched before me, I started to miss them a little (but not a lot).

Then they came home and I was reminded that I get to do all of that again tomorrow, with some yoga and solo pool time added for good measure.

Life is good.

Again.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Impersonator

I met with the boys' new principal today. I was very nervous because I am not "that" parent and don't particularly like "those" parents, for the most part. But my kids are the most beautiful, special children in the world and require special accommodations, naturally.

I feel very accomplished now that it's over though, like I successfully impersonated an adult-- when will I start feeling like a real grown-up? I'm 33 and have 2 (bigger) kids and many life experiences, yet  managing to act like a serious grown-up in a meeting still feels like a triumph to be celebrated.

(And now I'm belittling my own accomplishment of subterfuge. Do you see how tiring it is to be this neurotic?)

Sometimes when driving around in my SUV, I have startling moments of self awareness, like, "What the fuck am I doing driving 4000 pounds of steel around with my kids in the back like it's no biggie? Singing 'Call Me Maybe' while doing 50 miles per hour on a narrow strip of asphalt with a bunch of other distracted idiots driving thousands of pounds of metal too? Who thought this was a good idea?!"

And people even dumber than me are permitted to do this too, that's truly scary. 

I think that about parenting all of the time, when I have those crippling moments of self-doubt that pop up about decisions: "People dumber than me do this every day," I think and then I just do what I think a smart person would do. It's both a comforting and terrifying thought.

So, I don't know, don't tell anyone but I'm pretty sure I'm not actually a certified, qualified, real live "grown-up" since I feel deceitful when I actually manage to pose as one.

I'm pretty sure I'm also officially "that" parent now, or pretending to be one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dear Big Kid,

See this?


9 years. 

 I have been blessed with 9 brilliant, beautiful, thrilling, fascinating, sweet, wonderful years with this amazing human being. 

While my heart feels hairline fractured by the thought that time is racing by and trying to snatch this fantastic boy from me, I feel fortunate (exhilarated, even) that I made this person and get to spend a lifetime with him.

I keep threatening to lock you in the garbage closet because I'm pretty sure you could never turn 10 that way, and although it's tempting, I'm so curious to witness the man you will become that I could never do it.

Well, maybe I could do it if it was really an option.

Happy birthday, Big Kid. There are no words, but that will never stop me from trying.

I like you, I love you, and I'll always protect you,
Mom.  

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Magic Mike

I never did review Magic Mike for you all and now that so much time has passed it seems unnecessary but I'll document it for history's sake.

To summarize, the plot was hilariously stupid and the effects they used to try to make the film feel edgy and interesting were just plain stupid. And I wasn't even in to Channing Tatum.

 Until 2 minutes in when I saw his butt and then I was a fan. It was $11 well spent.


image 

And I like the way he dances. Like, really like it a lot. So much so that I may be planning to force Mr. Ashley to learn how to do that. Chippendales have to have some training videos, right?

I had fun with my new friend and as always, was more normal and comfortable than I expected myself to be.

I will probably watch it again when it comes out on DVD. 

For science's sake.

Due Dates

"How many days 'til my birthday?" little kid asked Mr. Ashley this morning. (Despite having been over this about 46 times per day since the end of July.)

"17 days." He answered.

"How many 'til my brudder's?"

"Your brother's is tomorrow."

"That woman!!" little kid muttered angrily.

"What woman? What are you talking about?" Mr. Ashley asked.

"My mom!"

"What about her?"

"I don't know why she borned my brudder first! My birthday should be first! I don't know what I'm going to do with her."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Helpful

My kids just helped out by unloading the dishwasher.

Except the dishes were not clean.

:-/

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hot and Cold

little kid just confessed that every time I take a shower, he flushes the toilet a few times so I have no hot water. He relayed this information while laughing hysterically at his cleverness.

This would explain why no one else seems to run out of hot water as quickly as I do. But why? Why would he do this to me?

I swear this kid has been ruining my showers one way or another for almost 6 years now.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Deep Fried Meat

I feel strongly about the recent Chick Fil A boycott and demonstrations of support because I feel strongly about equality...but at this point I'm ready to block everyone on Facebook who mentions it.

I saw this posted somewhere though and literally laughed out loud; I'd share it on Facebook but I would be breaking my own rule. (So you get it instead):

I wish he was my Facebook friend.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kid Quips

A Glimpse at Big Kid's Future

Big Kid walked up to me the other day and said, "Mom, when I grow up I'm going to be a comic stripper."

"Cool!" I said.

He looked mildly uncomfortable. "Uh, by 'comic stripper', I mean a guy who draws comic books...not someone who takes the clothes off of comic characters or anything."

Ooooookay.


A Tender Moment with Little Kid

"little kid, you have a big, big, sweet heart, you know that?" I said, feeling full of love for him.

"Yes, but I'm also very aggressive." He stated matter of factly.

True story.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Obama Visit

I didn't mean to leave you all to dwell on such a depressing post for a week and a half, but it was annual buy-a-new-laptop-cord time because apparently it is impossible to construct a power cord that can last longer than a year. We can build robots that can do surgery, but we can't reinforce an AC adapter, no way.

Anyway, I was accidentally watching the news on Tuesday night when they mentioned that President Obama would be near our area and that free tickets would be available the next day. I didn't have anything going on  for either day and decided it would be cool for the kids to see a sitting President speak.

And then I was up all night worried about waiting and the potential chaos of this endeavor with kids. Particularly because I was watching an extra kid (Emily) for ticket-waiting day. But I did it. I rounded up the three kids, some snacks, and Bananagrams, and plopped my chair down and waited two hours alone with 3 kids to get tickets.

The kids were really good and the waiting in line was an interesting experience. Everyone bonded over the hours we spent waiting. A 900 year old lady (who I am 99% sure cut in line) gave two young black men an hour and a half lecture on the difference between democrats here and NY democrats. Their discomfort was palpable at the beginning but by the end the 3 of them were laughing like old friends.

The two ladies next to me confessed that they were there because they were under the impression that there was a radio promotion for Cirque du Soleil tickets going on. This took hours and many odd conversations to discover, in which I thought they really, really loved Cirque du Soleil and they thought there was a bizarrely high percentage of Obama fans wanting free Cirque tickets. One of the ladies was a complete riot and I suspect she had tricked her friend into attending but I'm not positive about that, because she did seem really disappointed about no Cirque tickets but also excited about seeing the president.

But anyway, we got tickets.

And then I was up all night worried about parking and whether or not taking 3 kids to a freaking political rally in a strange city all by myself was completely insane.

And making shirts. I suck at making shirts.

But after traffic and parking issues as confusing and chaotic as one would expect, and almost peeing my pants, we made it to the line to get in. The very, very long line.

I've got to say that these kids were amazing. It was so hot, the line was so long, we couldn't bring personal items or liquid so it wasn't all that comfortable, but they were psyched.

 

The whole thing was fairly boring, until we finally got the entrance and there were tea party protesters dressed like tea partiers (the colonial ones, tights and all) screaming at us through bull horns. The kids were baffled and I explained public protest and the things they yelled about. Our area was relatively calm, with short bursts of "4 more years" to drown out the screaming from the other side but mostly not very riled up and watching with quiet amusement. Suddenly, a really pretty, formerly quiet young lady in a starched shirt and pencil skirt from our side of the barrier stood on the edge in her high heels, leaned over and screamed "SHOW US THE TAX RETURNS!" at them. Her voice boomed out over thousands of people, her long hair blowing in the wind--I turned and looked at the kids and their jaws were on the floor as the adults around them laughed and the bullhorn holders started up with vehemence. It was all quite a scene. 

We finally got to the front doors and they stopped us. People near us in line were saying they were getting texts that the rally was canceled due to a shooting. Volunteers and security were nervously conferring and eyeing the line of at least a thousand ticket holders still wrapping around the block. Then they opened the door and waved us in along with 20 others, hurried us through security and closed the auditorium doors behind us as the pledge of allegiance began. 

That's when I noticed my car keys must have been left on the security counter. I considered going back but knew I'd never get back in. And then the president walked out, less than 200 feet away from me. He spoke about the Colorado shootings and about how he was putting politics on hold to honor the victims and families and we prayed. It was dark and calm and surprisingly quiet, a stark change from our crazy morning. It was over within 7 minutes. 


The kids were disappointed that they couldn't see anything (Big Kid watched on other people's camera LCD screens) and that it had been shortened but I pointed out that they got to pray with the President of the United States in a pretty smallish room and not many people can say they've done that.

It was difficult that our happy, exciting event was so entwined with such a horrific, depressing tragedy but I do feel really fortunate that we were able to hear the president speak and that I was actually capable of taking the kids to do that.

And that I later found my car keys.









Tomorrow I leave for vacation on an island with no cars, restaurants, or stores in a house that is on stilts over the Gulf of Mexico. I also still have to share pictures of my last vacation and tell you what I thought about Magic Mike, so let's hope the wifi is good.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Warning: No funny ahead

Yesterday we left vacation two days early, drove six hours home, unloaded the back of our SUV, loaded our sweet 12 year old German Shepherd into the back, walked into the vet's office with Mr. Ashley carrying her in his arms, sat in a small sterile room, and said goodbye to our friend and family member of 12 years and what feels like a million lifetimes. I kept my hand on her heart until it stopped beating and walked out with no dog and one less personality in our little home.

And then we picked up the kids and drove home with Big Kid sobbing and little kid chattering about getting a new dog or whittling wood in her honor (a prohibited hobby he's been wanting to take up for a week now).

And then we walked into our emptier home and little kid burst into tears and sobbed for an hour, clinging to me and repeating "I miss her" 400 times, while Big Kid researched "Heaven", "Dog Heaven", and "Happy dogs" on wikipedia and google. 

And I sat there and didn't cry, sort of shell shocked and unbelieving, and keeping it together everywhere but the bathroom where I sobbed in short, quiet bursts so as not to get the kids riled up again.

I keep seeing us, from a third person perspective, walking out with no dog. Walking in with our dog and out without her. Or the tableau from the perspective of the loud, annoying lady customer who peered in when the door flashed open, at us sitting on the floor red-eyed and wet-faced with our sleeping but not yet gone friend. I see a tuft of dog hair or think of letting the dogs out and my breath catches in my lungs and I suffocate in sadness for a moment.

I sit and watch cartoons and video games and revisit these images and will myself not to cry as my heart literally aches and my insides squeeze and I just can't believe that happened, I was so tired it feels like maybe it wasn't real. But it was really, really real. And despite my will not to cry, my eyes just seep on their own, my face suddenly warm and wet, it feels like out of nowhere.

It's sad and it sucks. To put it lightly.

Big Kid never wants another pet again so it can't die (this is why little kid has a fish and he doesn't, he's had this theory for a while) and while I was shocked to hear that reasoning at first, I get it right now. It's just so freaking sad.

She was such a good, happy girl, with such a sweet heart, it's not fair her body stopped cooperating before everything else did.

If everyone had a soul like this, we would have world peace:


Vaya con Dios, old friend, and I hope we meet again some day. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Like Magic

About 10 minutes after I wrote that post, a friend of mine called and invited me to go see Magic Mike with her and some friends.

The socially awkward penguin inside of me is trying to tell me that we might not like the strangers, and 4pm is a weird time for a movie--but the Summer crazy person inside of me is choking and kicking the penguin and reminding it that we wanted to go see this movie with some friends and we were invited and to shut the heck up and go.

And that it will be cool. And dark. And quiet-ish.

And that Matthew McConaughey's butt will be on a 40 foot screen.

So I'm going to go. 

I'M GOING TO GO!

Summer Blues

I've only been alone for 3 hours since school got out. For a hair appointment Thursday. This small house, the impossibility of keeping it clean while we're in it all of the time, the weather which is either too hot or rainy, the lack of free indoor things to do, and the constant noise/requests/fighting are starting to make me completely crazy.

Every day is exactly the same. With cleaning, working out, and mediating fights (and I hate all of these things). Throw in some extra kids and a few outings and it really doesn't help that much. And laundry, oh sweet baby Jesus, the laundry.

Mr. Ashley is on call a lot, so I can't even escape when he's not at work. He's kayaking today with some friends which is nice and all, but I've only been in my own kayak one time since I can never get away. Summer is more difficult money-wise too, so affording the occasional sitter for the sake of my mental health just isn't feasible and everyone I know is busy.

I just had to shout from the rooftops that I'm going crazy over here. How am I lonely when I'm literally never alone??  I'd gnaw off a finger to go see Magic Mike with some girlfriends.

Or just to sit somewhere quiet alone for a minute.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Corny

I have my kids halfway convinced we're going to drink corn juice today.

I've been talking about how I've rinsed off all of the pieces to the Jack Lalanne juicer, and how I've bought and washed a ton of corn. I've told them about all of the vital vitamins and nutrients found in corn juice, and how it makes the perfect breakfast really.

This has been going on for two days now.

They're equal parts amused and horrified and although skeptical, they don't know why I'd make something like this up and are concerned that I might actually serve them corn juice.

(Cold corn juice, I promised, with ice cubes made of corn juice so as not to dilute the juice.)

I don't know why I'd make something like this up either.

THIS is why I couldn't convince them we were surprising them with a Disney World trip that time. Poor kids. I might actually have to make corn juice so I feel less mean now.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brave

Today on the way to a birthday party, little kid kept tormenting Big Kid in Target. (We are last minute present buyers).

I told him to knock it off and that he had to behave if he wanted to go to the party. Then he started stomping around with his hands on his hips.

"What's your problem?" I asked.

"I'm s'posed to be havin' a fun day, my brudder's bein' mean, I've got you all pissed off at me, I--"

"WHAT did you just say??"

"Nothing! I didn't say nothing!"

"I KNOW what you said! Shame on you!"

"Was it a bad word?" he asked, feigning innocence.

"You know it was!"

"I don't know! I'm just a 5 year older! I don't know which words are bad!"

He's so full of it.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt though, since we drove 45 minutes to get there and we were going to get to see Brave.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pointless Activity

I wish I liked working out. I just don't.

I like the thought of it, the results of it and Lululemon clothes, but I hate every second of the actual physical exertion.

And I'm more active lately than I've ever been in my whole life, so it's not like I'm not trying. For a while there, my friend and I were walking/jogging 3-4 miles on the beach 3 or 4 days a week and kayaking and stuff. Exercising at the beach was moderately more acceptable but not because I like the exercising, just because I really love the beach. But now it's too hot and I have the kids all the time.

So I've been doing Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 . It's hard and she's as annoying as ever, but it's only 24 minutes or something, so as soon as I get to that "Fuck this!" point, I'm already halfway done. I'm currently on the 3rd day of week 3 and I'm starting to think I won't actually be ripped in 30. Which is a huge disappointment (and I think lawsuit-worthy). I'm at my goal weight and just want to get toned so I thought that Jillian may be telling the truth with this 30 day time frame, but my before pictures look surprisingly like my current self.

Mr. Ashley says my "shape is changing", but I think he's just a liar who's trying to encourage me so I don't quit. He can't fool me, I'll quit if I want to!

I'll give it 10 more days but I better be nothing less than ripped by then, she promised! I am stronger but screw being stronger, I want to look good.

I even quit Coke. And I love Coke.

(But I didn't quit wine. I kind of blame wine. I also blame the other moms in my city--it's an incredibly fit, good-looking bunch. They should just chill a little so we can lower the bar. Bitches.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Go to Haiti

There's been a lot of fighting this summer, so far it's my only issue. And I don't want to say it's all little kid's fault, but it's safe to say that it's at least 90% little kid's fault. He truly enjoys upsetting his brother, it's a recreational past time for him.

I feel for Big Kid but I'm also tired of it from both sides.

"I hear you, Big Kid, but you're also going to have to man up a bit, you know? He LIKES to make you mad and sad, so don't give him the pleasure of letting him make you mad and sad, just ignore him. I know it's frustrating, but this is the brother God gave you and you'll have to learn to adapt." I explained, in an effort to get out of parenting little kid properly.

Big Kid was furious, his face red and eyes watering, "God did not give him to me!!! The devil sent him straight from Haiti!!!"

"Do you mean Hades? You can just say hell."

"I'm not comfortable saying hell, I like saying Haiti instead."

"Okay but Haiti's a whole different place and little kid isn't from there, for sure."

"I'm saying that God didn't send him, the devil did, I shouldn't have to say hell to say that."

"Yeah, you don't have to, but don't say Haiti either." Even though it's pretty close to hell.

I weaseled out of the Skunk Ape expedition because I had a headache and because the Skunk Ape will be just as likely to be there the week after next. Next week the big one has camp and the little one has vacation bible school (Jesus help scare the Haiti away, please) and miraculously, both are scheduled for the same time and dates which means a little taste of freedom for me!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Little Things

Today the kids were blowing bubbles in the front yard and little kid said, "If you followed the bubbles, they'd take you to God," in a simple, matter-of-fact way.

It was a really nice moment.

He can be sweet.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer aka The End of My Freedom

Summer started!

So my fun free time ended!

Just kidding, I'm still liking it so far (it hasn't even been a full week yet) but it is a lot more work for me. And the beach is a whole different deal with kids. But whatever, first world problems. I think I'm just so happy not to be packing lunches or rounding up homework that I can deal with more noise and fighting and requests for games of Uno.

(I've started letting them win, just to minimize my pain. I know it's not a good life lesson but I figure I'm not doing it to boost their confidence, only to get out of more games of Uno, so it should be fine.)

I got roped into throwing Big Kid's class party since our stupid room mom had the audacity to move, and that was the disaster one would imagine an Ashley-organized class party to be. I brought 17 blown up beach balls for the 3rd graders to decorate and sign...that they destroyed school property and created general chaos with.

I may not have thought that one all the way through, but the good news is that I probably won't be asked to organize any more class parties. When the teacher thanked me, I could tell it was sarcastically. She's retiring this year and if she could have shoved us all out the door prior to dismissal, she would have, there was NO sentimentality there and I think my beach ball plan was a big part in that.

Oh well, the kids had fun and it was their party.

She got a cake.

So now we're working on the summer bucket list and this week I get to go out to the Everglades in the muggy, humid heat in search of the Skunk Ape (a mythological creature that some weirdo made up. I've met the weirdo, so I feel very confident calling him that.) little kid wants to know what our plan is if the Skunk Ape finds us instead of us finding it--which is a very good question.

My plan is to run.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Body Swap

"Mom, I have some rules to follow this summer."  little kid announced.

"Rules about what?"

"Summer safety rules."

"Oh no, bro.I'm having a risky, daring, adventurous, awesome summer. I am NOT following rules," said Big Kid.

"No! No! There are rules to follow to stay safe, bro. Water rules and stuff. If you get hurt, you're all out of fun for the summer. I saw a video about it."

"I don't care. I'm not doing it. How can you have an awesome summer with RULES? I'm not letting a video RUIN my summer."

"Dude, Coach Raymond told us these rules! This is serious! You HAVE to follow the rules!"

"Coach Raymond?? Are you kidding me? He's a maniac! He made us play golf with plastic clubs, that part, okay whatever, but for balls they were tennis balls. He's a lunatic. He's going to give me rules? FOR THE SUMMER, yeah right. Nope, not doing it."

"You don't even know the rules! Rules about swimming? You don't need rules about swimming? You don't need water safety rules, bro? Everyone needs summer safety rules, the top safety patrols in the world made these rules.."

"No! It's Sum-MER. I'm not listening to any teacher. What two words don't go together, little kid? Risky and summer safety rules. It's four words, but still. I'm awesome and this summer will be awesome."

"MOM?! Does he have to follow my rules? He does, right?"

"Well, I don't know your rules. I think general safety guidelines are good but I like risky too. Let's do safe and risky! Like, we'll learn to surf and search for the skunk ape but safely." I tried to compromise. (Mostly because I have faith in Big Kid's level of acceptable risk taking...he could amp it up 20 notches and I'd still feel safe. Homeboy is nothing if not safe.)

"It makes no sense," he argued. "You can't have both. I'm not following the rules. Coach Raymond is NOT my boss."

"I think you're kind of overreacting, Big Kid. You don't even know his rules." I pointed out.

"I don't NEED to know his rules! I won't even hear them."

"Fine, bro, I'll just let you get hurt? You wanna get hurt? Go ahead and get hurt!"

It was just like all of those movies where people switch bodies.

"I'll do what I want. You're not my boss." Big Kid answered defiantly.

"I'm keeping you safe! I am telling you! You WILL follow the summer safety rules," He screamed.

And then, in order to uphold the summer safety rules, little kid punched Big Kid in the back and pushed him into the table.

And the body swap had clearly ended and I was forced to get more involved.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just Say No

"I'm clipping this money together to buy drugs with it," little kid said out of nowhere the other day. (Fantastic!)

"Drugs??" I asked in horror, because he loves to catch bugs and I was sure I misheard.

"Yes, this is my drug money."

"What are you talking about?? You don't do drugs!" I seriously have no idea where he got this.I am not proud.

"Bro, I want to buy drugs from you but I don't have any money." Big Kid said. Yes! Big Kid! Rule Follower Extraordinaire.

"Guys, seriously, this game isn't cool. You have to stop."

"Why isn't it cool? We're not really buyin' drugs."

"We don't pretend to buy drugs. We don't do drugs. Ever. Not even pretend." (I really wanted to throw in a "Drugs are bad, mmmmkay," Mr. Garrison-style but this is serious business and they wouldn't get it anyway.)

little kid looked at me for a moment, the wheels in his head obviously turning. "Well, ya see, mom, I invented a new drink that's a drug."

"That won't work either. You're not allowed to pretend to do drugs just like you're not allowed to pretend to smoke cigarettes or kill people."  (Because smoking cigarettes and killing people are near parallel offenses in my world).

"Oh, It's not really a drug, it's an, uh, um, energy drink, and I named it 'The Drug'".

His persistence is astounding, he just never gives up ever. There's always a reply waiting in the wings.

"What?" he asked as I glared at him.  "It's a good name. You can't tell me I can't name my mesperiment that. I can name it whatever I want.." He then turned to Big Kid and said, "So bro, you want to buy Drugs? It's a drink. Not the type mom doesn't like. We don't do those drugs!"

He's 5. FIVE. 5! In kindergarten. Living a (fairly) normal life with (fairly) normal (halfway) respectable people. Why are we already arguing about him selling drugs?

And who would think Big Kid would want to buy some??

Monday, May 28, 2012

Missed Bullet

"When I grow up, I think I'm going to name my baby boy Orville," Big Kid announced.

"Orville?" God, we eat too much popcorn, I worried.

"After Orville Wright. I really admire him."

"Oh. What's his brother's name? Do you admire him?"

"Wilbur? Sure, I admire them both."

"Wilbur? Nevermind. Hey! You've always really admired Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin's nice! Or Theodore Roosevelt. We love him! I could do Theodore but, boy, Benjamin sure is a snazzy name."

"Oh yeah, Benjamin! I like that! But what should I name a girl baby?"

"Ashley!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

Peace and love

About 5 minutes before leaving the house today, we remembered it was 70s day at school. Remember how embarrassed I was when Big Kid wanted to be a pimp (to be fair, the costume was labeled "Mack Daddy") for Halloween in kindergarten? That shit came in handy all these years later!

On the way to school I mentioned how funny it would be if it wasn't really 70s day. This sparked total panic in Big Kid, who continued to panic when we pulled up and he saw all of the kids who forgot it was 70s day. I pointed out that some hadn't forgotten, but the looks on the faces of the parents who didn't know what was going on were priceless when my boys hopped from the car and strolled to class.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dear Big Brother

 little kid's message to Big Kid:

 
Hater is going to hate...or hatter is going to hat, tough to tell.

 The drawing is of Big Kid with a mustache. From what I've been told.

(THIS is why Big Kid doesn't like little kid using the white board.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Leave it to Beaver

little kid got a small stuffed beaver from his class treasure box recently.

He named it Justin Beaver.

I cannot even tell you the fun Mr. Ashley and I have had since Justin Beaver's arrival. Much talk of having beaver fever, taking your beaver to bed, stroking the beaver, asking each other if we love the beaver, keeping your beave on a leash (because little kid does attach a leash to Justin Beaver for walks) and much more inappropriate innuendo.

Let's hope by the time my kids learn what beaver is slang for, they've forgotten about Justin Beaver.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Closet Miracle

Want to hear something incredible?

Within hours of writing my post yesterday, I was reunited with Kate.

As soon as I saw her name in my gmail inbox with the email preview of "I am the author of the comment cited in today's post" I got goosebumps all over and tears in my eyes. Even more amazing, she saw my post within hours of a very big, scary, emotional life change and felt less alone after reading it. She was as flabbergasted that I kept a comment of hers for 4 years as I am that she saw my post  4 years later.

I cannot even tell you all how many times over the past 4 years I've almost written that post, how many times I've felt guilty for not writing that post, and then yesterday morning I sat down to write something else and almost against conscious thought began writing about that comment finally. And it happened to be the day she needed it most.

This is majorly one of those meant-to-be kind of things for me, one of those small pieces of personal evidence that there's something else out there watching out for us and lining up destinies. The intensity of our exchange is difficult to convey without copying and pasting; Kate is a fantastic writer and a good person and I feel so blessed that she left that comment 4 years ago and that it resulted in both of us feeling less alone in the universe 4 years later.

It's really hard to put into words. Mr Ashley was looking at me like "WTF?" as I sat on the couch with tears running down my face trying to explain it to him. Big Kid made fun of me for crying.

So you'll just have to take my word for it on how much this interaction/coincidence/divine intervention meant to me and my life.

(and NOW we're done with the cheesy stuff. I swear. Probably.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thank you for being a friend

In March of 2008, someone named Kate left me the most lovely comment. She asked me not to publish it so I didn't and won't share it verbatim here in case that still stands. She mentioned how she was going through some difficulties in life and struggles with herself and anxiety and how my habit of editorializing my own quirkiness has given her strength and happiness and how much she appreciates my doing so. I was never able to delete it, so it has sat in my comment inbox for all of these years, quietly reminding me of why we're here whenever I forget.

I do have paralyzing moments of wondering what we're doing here together. I get writer's block wondering why the hell any of you would care what's going on here. I get stage fright wondering why the hell I would choose to share my boring life with hordes of strangers. I get worried that I share too much or too little or of being judged in real life (because not letting real life people know has failed miserably--meaning about half know and the other half may find out at any time and wonder why they never knew). I get insecure over the unspectacularness (I invented that word) of me and my average little family.

And then I see Kate's comment again and feel good about the people I may have accidentally helped along the way, even if it's just with a smile, and I remind myself that I'm recording my life story and hope that my children appreciate its existence one day. I think of Kate probably every day, someone I have literally had no personal contact with since there was no way to reply to her comment, and how she couldn't possibly guess how that one innocuous comment has kept me going through the years.

And although Kate is the poster child of good comments, so many of you have touched me with your words and with the fact that you reached out in some way, or even that you are there. Every time someone comments that they've just read the entire blog from start to finish I am in complete awe (and concerned about your lack of quality reading material) and go to bed that night thinking of their comment (and of the fact that I myself have never read the blog from start to finish...I never re-read it at all, due to aforementioned stage fright). Whenever one of you who have been around for years drops by, I feel like I've been reunited with a long lost friend and am so flattered that you're still out there. Whenever someone new announces their arrival and pleasure at having found us, I am happy they're here and surprised that they took the time to convey their delight.

And I mean to reply to every comment and to reach out to every reader, but I have a short attention span, I'm lazy, and I often read my comments late at night or over the phone and vow to respond the next day and then forget. So, I'm sorry, and thanks to the Kates of the world for being here, and please excuse this cheesetastic interruption of our regular entertainment.

(And I swear this isn't a tactic to guilt you all into commenting more frequently....)