Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Almost 7

Tomorrow we leave for an out-of-state wedding. You know the one that's had us all nervous about my hair? You're nervous, right? You should be--hot rollers did not go well. At all. I'm better with the curling wand these days, but there's still an excellent chance of giving myself 3rd degree neck burns. BUT OH WELL. I'm just going to try not to.

We've rented a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains for after the wedding. During all of this packing, and preparing, and neck burning, I keep trying to imagine myself with my feet in a nice, cool, fresh creek.

We had plans of horseback riding through the mountains but before booking, I noticed that in the frequently asked questions, it said riders have to be 7. little kid won't be 7 until August.

"little kid, we might have to round up if they ask your age. You're almost 7, so I think that's okay."

He looked alarmed. "Wait, wait. I'm only 6."

"I know, but you turn 7 in August. And you're very brave and listen to instructions well--I think it will be fine. Probably just an insurance thing."

"That would be a lie!" He insisted.

This was a conundrum, because it is indeed a lie.

"Yes. A little one. Mostly just rounding up though--you are practically 7."

His eyes filled with tears. "I'm not gonna lie, mom! I'm not going if I have to lie!"

I was surprised by his sudden truthiness. This is a child who lies every night when I check to make sure he's not out of bed.



I was also proud of him, and felt slightly relieved that his moral compass is intact.

"Well, we can be honest about it, but that might mean no horseback riding. Do you understand? We'll tell the truth, ask if that's okay, but if it's not, then that means we just can't go. Okay?"

Looking sad and worried, he said okay.

I explained our dilemma to the owner...who said he had to be 7. There is no reward for telling the truth.

So, we won't be horseback riding in the mountains--but we will be honest. (and I'm pretty pleased with that, too.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dear Mailman,

I'm sure your fear of my 11 pound wiener dog that you have never seen outside or uncontrolled ever is a very real and serious thing, but honking 8 times in my driveway during my nap to deliver a package I didn't even need to sign for?

Get your lazy ass out of the vehicle and leave it on my porch.

The UPS guy does it multiple times a week, with great success.

I noticed you did manage to get out twice the week of Christmas...which I'm sure had nothing to do with hoping for a holiday gratuity. You had the cute little Santa hat on, which seemed incongruous for the man who never smiles.

A nap is a rare and valuable thing that you do not fuck with--you just don't.

Waking me up from a nap is far more dangerous than an 11 pound dog behind glass doors.

I will bite you.

the sleepy, disgruntled lady with no bra

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Trend

When the kids got home today, little kid said that the bus driver asked him to tell me that Big Kid was jumping from the top step and that it wasn't allowed. I told him not to do it anymore and he got very indignant.

"I've done that forever!! They can't tell me how to get OFF of the bus!" He insisted.

"Uh, actually they can. It's their bus. You will get off of it their way." He looked at me as if he couldn't believe I was taking their side.

"Seriously, you could trip and fall or break something--there's a million reasons not to get off the bus that way, don't do it. It's for your safety. Don't waste the bus driver's time, just get off of the bus correctly."

"I am so sick and tired of people sucking every bit of fun from my life. I hate the bus, the bus driver has no idea what she's doing--," he started. He was really upset and the whole thing was weird and overly dramatic.

"You know what? Go to your room and just chill out on your bed until you get yourself together. You're a little tired or out of control or something and you need to go calm yourself down."

He stormed from the room, making a point to carefully but firmly close (but never slam) the door behind him.

Whenever he is mad at one of us, he goes and draws on his whiteboard. I don't know what he draws since these are highly secretive missions but I've interrupted once and the speed with which it was erased confirmed my suspicions about why he angrily races to the easel every time he is mad.

We call it being whiteboarded.

I was pretty sure I was being whiteboarded in there and it took a lot not to go in there and insist that he was wrong some more, but I suspected he knew he was wrong and that he was either overly tired or something else was up here.

A few minutes later, he came out looking a little watery-eyed. "It's not the bus. I'm depressed about something else."

My heart dropped a little. "You are? What's wrong?" I went in his room and sat on his bed with him. The cat jumped up to sit on his chest and purr and sniff at his face.

"It feels like everyone is hating me. Like there is a trend of everyone hating on Big Kid." He said sadly.

It hurt me. I always worry so much about bullying. He is such a sweet and sensitive soul.

"What do you mean? What's up? The bus driver isn't hating on you, dude."


I've heard Megan's name now and then, in the forced but casual way you try to let your mom know you like someone when you might not even fully realize that you like them yet. I know that Megan likes cats. I'm sure he's discussed his love of Socks Clinton with her.

His eyes were teary. "I told her that I was leaving school early and would be gone in 3 days. She said 'yay'."

I waited for the rest, and a small hiccup made me realize that was all of it. The whole tragic ordeal.

"She said 'yay'?"

He nodded, frowning.

"Maybe she meant like 'yay for you'?"

He shook his head no, wiping his eyes with his hand.

"Has she been mean to you lately?"


"Maybe she was joking?"

"Maybe she was. But how is that funny?"

"You know what is funny? She might be sitting on her bed right now thinking, 'Man, that was my chance to get his phone number and keep in touch over summer and I blew it!' You know how sometimes you just say something to fill up the quiet? Maybe she was trying to be funny and said the wrong thing. I've done that." Like every day, I didn't add.

"Yeah." He looked miserable.

"Were other people involved? Or was this embarrassing in some other way?"


"So what did you mean by the trend of being mean to Big Kid?"

"That was a joke. There's not really a trend, that just sounded better."

(Is this tween angst? Is that what I'm dealing with?)

"I understand. Well, if it makes you feel better, and it probably doesn't, when I was in 4th grade and I liked boys, I would chase them around and hit them with sticks and stuff. They probably didn't think I liked them and I did. A lot. It's really confusing to be a 4th grade girl. Or boy." I kissed the top of his head. Pearl was in his face too, purring and rubbing her head against his.

"That doesn't really make me feel better at all."

"I know it's hard. I understand. Just try not to take it personally, is what I'm saying. Would you feel better if we let Pearl attack her? She loves you."

"I probably would."

"Maybe she'd eat her face off."

"Mom. You've taken it too far."

"Yeah. I do that sometimes. I don't really think Pearl would eat her face off and we wouldn't want that anyway. Right?"

"Right," he said, with a hint of uncertainty.

Or maybe he was just disturbed by the suggestion. I don't know. I thought I handled it pretty well up until that part.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reading Reward

"Did you know the end of the year reading party was a fruit kabob party?" Big Kid said, in a rather accusatory tone.

"It was?"

"Last year it was an ice cream sundae party. I read 14 novels that they picked and got some fruit kabobs for it? Sorry, that's not special. They are always getting us to eat fruit now, I read those books for an ice cream sundae."

"Yeah...I see why you're disappointed. Still, you enjoyed the books and still got a party for reading them," I offered, fully recognizing that a fruit kabob party sucks.

"It's just out of control. The pizza in the cafeteria has blue crust and they're making our ice cream sundae party a fruit kabob party because they're so worried about us eating healthy."

"Yeah. I see your point. We can have our own sundae party."

"It's not right."

"They didn't have to give you a party at all."

"I didn't have to read the books and when they said there would be a party, I did not think it would be fruit kabobs. Fruit kabobs are not a party."


I know it's a little ungrateful of him, but I have to agree that fruit kabobs are pretty lame.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mash Up of my Heart

Yesterday was Big Kid's 4th grade musical.

I think I've mentioned this before, but school assemblies make me cry. All of them. No matter what. A really ugly laugh/cry hybrid that if I don't hold back, sounds like a distressed hyena.

This one was particularly hard though--they are so big. No longer are they the tiny little peanuts being silly on stage. Even the awkward, gangly children in ill-fitting clothes are fading. They are growing up, they are becoming real people, and they were just so lovely. I was overcome with emotion.

I was wondering if I was alone in these thoughts when Mr. Ashley turned to me and said, "You can tell who they will become. Like the little girl with the red hair?" and I laughed because I had noticed her too, so much in fact that I was ready to hunt down her parents to congratulate them on a job well done. There was nothing spectacular about her, you could just see the strong, confident woman she was about to grow into and she was particularly close to taking that step away from childhood. Many of them were like this, they were finally individuals instead of a group of goofy school kids.

The kids' new school has an amazing music program. At the first grade musical, they did a drum line and sang "We Will Rock You." They did it well, too. This one ended with a Cups/Some Days mash-up that I think was incredible--not just the concept but the performance too. I was so proud and impressed. Excuse the poor camera work, I had to concentrate so hard to hold in the laughing hyena cry.

I came home and watched it three times and happy/sad cried my heart out each time. Happy at their success and our success in raising them, and sad that so much raising has already happened so quickly.

The "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone," line makes my heart crumple, because it is so true.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dangerous Expedition

Today I have to clean out the boys' bedroom to prepare for the removal of bunk beds and the installation of twin beds. Big Kid is tired of being on the top bunk and little kid is a wild laughing sleepwalker and can't be trusted up there.

I've had two cups of coffee and have been sitting here thinking about it for an hour and a half.

I would honestly prefer to put on hip waders and venture out into the everglades. And I've done that before and hated every single second of it.

It's probably safer than what I'm about to attempt, too.

If you don't hear from me by tomorrow, I am probably underneath a mountain of little boys underwear, action figures, random Lego pieces, wadded up bits of scribbled on paper, and treasures like bottle caps and snake skins.

Bring a shovel and some vodka when you send the search and rescue team out.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Home on the Range

I really want to sell everything we own, acquire a motor home, and travel the country together for one year homeschooling the kids.

I know it's the kind of idea that would leave me wondering, "Exactly what in the hell was I thinking?" within 100 miles from home. It would be loud all of the time. It would be small. No one would or could ever go away. Neither my cat nor my dog are good car riders. I would have to drink a lot and there would be a lot of yelling.

It's ridiculous and crazy and I would do it in a heartbeat. I think now is the perfect time too because I can tell the children are on the verge of annoying ages and then they will probably stop being fun. Mr. Ashley is tired of work and whenever he complains about it, I pitch my big idea again. I could write a book about it, I offer! He could take his skills on the road! His job would rehire him whenever! I can do my job from wherever! But he's all about being practical and seems reluctant to be confined to a travel trailer with his beloved family.

I also think he's worried about the whole stealing a motor home part. It's a vital part of the journey and the book though and I don't think it will be that hard, so he'll have to man up about that.

This is one of my best bad ideas ever. Think about all of the blogging material. Or at least all of the time I would have to complain to you all.

I also really, really want a pet prairie dog. Maybe I should propose this as an "either/or" situation when I bring it up again. Or both? Can you imagine if I took a road trip with a pet prairie dog? That's NY Times Best Seller stuff right there.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Work Out

The biggest problem with working at the yoga studio is that I count it as a work out.

That's completely delusional--wearing yoga pants and sitting on a stool isn't a work out.

But wearing yoga pants and sitting on a stool at a yoga studio?

I'm pretty sure that counts.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thought That Counts

"Tomorrow is Mother's Day so we're going to do whatever I want," I explained to the children when they asked if they could borrow my laptop to play Minecraft tomorrow.

Big Kid froze. "Tomorrow? Tomorrow is Mother's Day?"


"Oh. Well. We were going to get you a card...but dad's been working and..."

"That's okay. You could make me something if you want."

"Okay. Time to make you a card," he said, walking to the printer to steal a piece of paper. He turned when he was halfway to his room. "Mom?"


"There won't be a joke or anything. I can't think of a joke."

"That's okay. I don't care."

"I mean, I can think of a few mom jokes but I would never use those."


"No, definitely not. Like, 'You're not getting older, you're just getting fatter?' I would never put that on a card for you."

"Uh...thanks?" I said, laughing.

"I just didn't want you to think I would do that. Because I never would."

"Yeah, no, I didn't think you would do that."

Ahhhhh, the joys of motherhood.

Thanks, though.

Monday, May 6, 2013


"Do you know what the worst thing in the whole world is, little kid?" I heard Big Kid ask.


"No! Not everything!" As if that was ridiculous.

"Then what?"

I was curious to know what my sensitive little humanitarian would come up with.

"Social studies. Social studies is the worst thing in the world."


Social studies? He's clearly still mad about having to learn the state capitals.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Capital Punishment

"We have to learn all of the states' capitals." Big Kid told me when I asked about his homework.

"Yeah, we had to, too. You have an awesome memory, you'll do great."

"I only remember Tallahassee."

"You should make flash cards," I offered.

"To be honest, I don't really want to. It seems kind of pointless. It's not like a job interviewer is going to ask me the capital of North Dakota." He has an excellent point there.

"Yeah," I tried to think back to the last time I needed to know a state capital as an adult, recalling the pain of learning all of that crap via rote memorization. "It's helpful in trivia games or if you're on Jeopardy. Or if you're the president. You should make some flash cards."

"Ugh. I'll probably never be on Jeopardy. And we have to do a whole packet about this stuff in 2 days. Only 2 days to do it."

"Suck it up, buttercup," I replied, tiring of the conversation.

"It's not the homework in general, it's that there's so little time to do it. And I disagree with the idea of the homework." He insisted.

Big Kid is majorly over the school year. I am majorly over hearing Big Kid complain about how tired of school he is--at this point I would homeschool him for the last grading period of each year just to make it stop.

And I probably wouldn't ask him to memorize the state capitals, that's why we have google. Every time I do simple math on my phone's calculator, I hear Mr. Eder saying "You won't have calculators all of the time when you're an adult, you can't always use a calculator!" Uh, yeah, I can, with absolutely no shame at all.

"Yeah. You should make flash cards."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hello Henry

After 12 years of service, Mr. Ashley and I hauled our old couches to the curb because tomorrow West Elm is delivering the Henry:


Believe it or not, I was kind of sad to see those old Rooms to Go couches go. They've moved 4 times, they were around when we were young and hopeful, they've seen the arrival of 2 babies, they knew our original pets, they withstood the abuse of our two growing boys, and they were super freaking comfy after all of that breaking in.

I'm sure I'll get over it some time between 2-4pm tomorrow, though.