Archives for November 2007

Me + Stress = A Big Mess

My stomach is in knots this morning and I am just feeling like curling up on the couch, shutting my eyes, and tuning things out for a bit. My dad’s wife called last night and dad will be in town tomorrow. Again. He was here in July, and things went a bit nuts then – the icing on the cake being my dad leaving town without telling me or stopping by to tell me “goodbye”… which then evolved into a full-out ugly phone call that I finally finished by claiming to be driving through a dead spot in my cell coverage.

But he’s coming back. And it hasn’t even been four months and I feel like I’m going to get stomped on again and I’m just tensed up with the feeling of it. He is coming to meet with the manager of a group home that my brother could well be moving in to. In the past few months, things with my brother have gotten progressively worse, to the point where if he doesn’t get into an assisted living facility soon, he could well end up in jail. He makes “friends” with people who take advantage of him, people who are up to no-good, people who are shady who will suck him in to their mess. And as a result, my mom has been dealing with this for weeks, trying to keep the fallout to a minimum which has posed a huge imposition on her life, and a huge stress as well.

This snowballs into mom and dad having to talk to each other way more than is even remotely considered a good thing (seeing as how they can’t stand each other) trying to plot out what the hell to do with my brother. So, after a few weeks of this, they think they have found a place for him, which is good. Dad will be flying out for a few days to check it out. And here we are.

I don’t know why I even let it bother me. At this point, I’ve decided to not make plans with my father, and just let the chips fall where they may. Try not to put myself in situations where I will end up being disappointed or mad, or where he will have cause to criticize me. I wish I could wash my hands of it altogether, but I know he’ll want to see my kids, and they will want to see their grandpa.

It just makes me feel sick to my stomach. I can’t wait til it’s over.

In The Sad World Of Motherhood…

It’s kind of pathetic to me that I can identify and locate my kids’ stuffed animals based on their names. They have about a zillion stuffed toys – and fortunately, only a handful are meaningful enough to them to be named – but by god if you can’t find Wilbur or Izzie when they want them, you’re in for a miserable time!

Dora DVD. Check. Obnoxious CDs. Check.

Yesterday, in a fit of productivity (or boredom!) I got a lot crossed off my “to buy” list for the kids for Christmas. I had already started shopping for The Princess (it’s easy with her being at school some days). Yesterday, I did some serious damage on ordering DVDs for Pumpkin (Dora Saves the Mermaids and another one that has something to do with puppies?), CDs for The Princess (including High School Musical 2, and I’m sure I’m gonna be kicking myself for that one). Stepson wanted the Jonas Brothers cd and The Naked Brothers Band cd (I have no idea who The Naked Brothers are – it just doesn’t sound good, does it?). A few other random gifty things here and there, and my list is looking a lot better now.

I love Christmas shopping when there is plenty of time, and I’m not dealing with crabby mall crowds. It’s hard sometimes to hold back a bit and not go super nuts shopping for the kids – everyone with kids knows that kids are more than happy to tell you what it is that they want (Pumpkin has already started – but I think it’s because The Princess is doing it – pointing out everything she wants on TV, in magazines, in the newspapers). Of course, Pumpkin being so hardcore into Dora the Explorer makes it easy to shop for her. The Princess being so into Hannah Montana makes it super easy to shop for her. Doesn’t help that Disney and Nick Jr market the hell out of everything show that is on. There is certainly no shortage of merchandising for any of the girls’ favorite shows!

My goal is to be done shopping by December 15. It’s an arbitrary date – no particular reason for it…. but let’s see if I can do it.

Headphones On, Random Post

As a rule, I kind of don’t like John Mayer. Don’t know what it is about him – maybe it was that stupid “Your Body Is A Wonderland” song (Come on – “bubblegum tongue”? Puh-lease). But, last month, Starbucks had this nifty little Song of the Day program dealy where you could get a free iTunes download daily. One of them was John Mayer’s “Dreaming With a Broken Heart”… and I’m surprised that I really like it. But, with the interview with John Mayer in Rolling Stone, it doesn’t matter that he has one good song – the guy still freakin’ bugs me.

Attitude Problem

The Princess is getting an attitude. This is slightly different from her diva-thing she has always had going on – that was kind of cute. No, this attitude is one that makes me alternate between wanting to home school and wanting to send her to boarding school. I am not sure if it’s little bits and pieces of things she could be picking up from school, or elsewhere (because go figure, she is addicted to Hannah Montana and those repulsive Zack & Cody kids on Disney — and they are just rude kids!!), but man oh man… Gonna have to nip this one in the bud.

The worst part of it is the defiance. Part of it is likely her testing the waters a bit (I’m sure I posted this before!!), but it doesn’t feel that way to me in the face of it. When I tell her to do something and she tells me “no”, and then I repeat myself and she once again tells me “no”… Whoooooo buddy. I can’t imagine ever in my life trying that with my mother (to be honest, probably still wouldn’t!).

I’m trying to find a way to nip the attitude without yelling and being the bad guy all day. If anyone has any ideas, that would be fantastic. By the end of today, I felt like we were finally making some headway… but I have a feeling this is not gonna be a one-weekend fix.

Is it Just Wrong of Me?

Hubby was the one up with Pumpkin for an hour in the middle of the night. I got nearly 8 hours of sleep, yet…. I am so tired. I don’t dare complain about it, because I’m sure he feels worse! Of course, I’m sleep walking on the night we have plans to go out for dinner and a movie (L’s parents are taking us out to thank me for watching their daughter every morning). Maybe have to make a Starbucks detour before the movie!

(Oh, and how on EARTH do you get ready to go out when you have a house full of kids, a conference call, and only about 15 minutes to yourself!?!).

My Little Contrary Girl

Pumpkin is undoubtedly the most contrary kid I have ever known in my life. If you say “purple”, she’ll say “green”. I was watching the Michigan/Michigan State game last weekend and I was rooting for Michigan (of course), cheering, “Gooooo Blue!” The Pumpkin’s reply: “Stop! Blue!”

She’s always like that. I’ll tell her I’m making lunch, she’ll say, “I hate lunch!” One day, she’ll talk nonstop about taking a bath and how she wants to take a bath – but at bathtime? “I don’t want to take a bath.”

Today, for some reason, The Princess was stomping around the house saying, “Keep your panties on! Keep your panties on!” (And yes, I’m laughing while I type it because I have no idea why why why she was saying that – but oh my freakin’ lord, it WAS indeed a funny choice of things to repeatedly exclaim while marching around the house). She was followed by Ms. Contrary who, of course, was chanting: “Take your panties off! Take your panties off!”

Hubby didn’t find this amusing at all (as I knew he wouldn’t). As he said, “Good lord! What are you teaching these kids?!”

I’m It

Emily tagged me, so…

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?
I was watching “House” – and that made me laugh. Hugh Laurie cracks me up.

2. What were you doing at 0800?
I’ll let you know when I get there – that’s in 7 minutes. Right now, I’m listening to five kids singing Hannah Montana songs. I’m pretty sure they’ll still be doing it 7 (no wait, 6!) minutes from now.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Emptying the dishwasher and making my kitchen not such a pit.

4. What happened to you in 2006?
I started this blog in 2006. I wasn’t pregnant in 2006, which is awesome. I dunno. It was a nonyear. Edited: Duh. I started this blog in 2005, not 2006. Hell if I know what happened in 2006.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
I dunno. I’ve been sitting here being quiet for awhile. This is good – means the kids aren’t bickering.

6. How many beverages did you have today?
Water and a glass of milk.

7. What color is your hairbrush?

8. What was the last thing you paid for?
I bought lightbulbs, a Coke Zero and some CheezIts yesterday.

9. Where were you last night?
Home. Hitching a walk on the treadmill and vegging.

10. What color is your front door?
It’s burgandy. I hate it.

11. Where do you keep your change?
Some is in my purse, and I have a change jar in the closet.

12. What’s the weather like today?

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?
Mint chip.

14. What excites you?
Depends on the day really. My kids learning new cute things. My daughter learning to read is pretty freaking cool. She’s getting there. Magazines in the mail. Cappuccinos. Getting out without the kids. Getting out with the kids.

15. Do you want to cut your hair?
NO! Still growing it out from the very short cut last year.

16. Are you over the age of 25?

17. Do you talk a lot?
No. I’m too busy listening.

18. Do you watch the O.C.?
I’ve never seen it, actually.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
My friend’s brother is named Steven.

20. Do you make up your own words?
Not like some people I know (Um, “hitherforth”?!?!)

21. Are you a jealous person?
Not usually, but I’m human and I have my moments.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?
Probably my mother

25. What does the last text message you received say?
I don’t know.

26. Do you chew on your straw?
Trying not to chew on random stuff. My dentist yelled at me.

27. Do you have curly hair?

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
I have to go to the store to get eggs, balsamic vinegar and honey…

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
I don’t know. I wouldn’t say even if I did.

30. What was the last thing you ate?
Half a mini whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.

31. Will you get married in the future?
I’m already married and if for some reason I end up not married, I probably wouldn’t ever remarry.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
All I’ve seen is “Knocked Up” on DVD.

33. Is there anyone you like right now?
Besides the usual suspects, no.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?
Last night.

35. Are you currently depressed?
No, but the weather sure ain’t helping my mood.

36. Did you cry today?
Not yet, but the day is early.

37. Why did you answer and post this?
Because I don’t have much else to say – so it saves me from having to come up with a blog topic for today.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.
Eh. Do it if you want – if you do it, tell me. 🙂

These Are The Days…

Lately, despite the fact that sometimes being home all the time makes me want to poke a stick in my eye, I have come to realize that I am so truly blessed to get to be with my kids, and to be available for my girls when they aren’t with me.

On Halloween, I attended a classroom party for my friend’s daughter in her second grade classroom. Her father is deceased, and her mother, who has been my friend for oh… a hundred years, was unable to get out of work for the Halloween party with two days notice. Schools blow my mind with this stuff – I have to say. Of course, most parents wish they could attend every function, but for parents who work outside the home, it’s not a realistic choice. You simply can’t attend every school function, and you must pick-choose which one is “most important”. Of course, all of these events are important to the kids. Which sucks. My friend’s daughter asked if I could go, and I told her that if her mom wasn’t able, I would be happy to go.

Happy might have been stretching it. It was actually a mind-numbing experience. I ended up taking both of my kids to the party and wrangling a two-year-old never fails to be an interesting experience. But, we were there, and I was glad that we could be. I hope when these events are events for my children, I am still in the position where I can get away from whatever I’m doing for an hour to take part.

This morning was another such day where I was grateful I wasn’t zooming off to an office job. Shortly after The Princess and her friends went outside to wait for the bus, Pumpkin decided she was going to find the toilet brush and give the toilet a good cleaning. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said I had to towel off most of the bathroom – it was a mess – and an ill-timed mess, because I didn’t realize until the bus was pulling away from my house that The Princess had left her backpack on the counter.

I decided to get Pumpkin ready to go and held off my departure until I knew the school bus traffic jam would be over outside the elementary school. By the time I arrived at the door of The Princess’s classroom, my poor little monkey was so relieved to see me – her teacher told me that she’d been so upset. They had apparently called and left a message for me at the house right after I’d left for the school. The Princess ran into my arms, and was sobbing. I felt so bad for her – she was devastated about forgetting her backpack. Her teacher had been so kind – told her if I wasn’t able to come, it would be okay, they would find her a snack for snacktime, and she had been planning on hot lunch today anyway. There was nothing that she needed in that backpack, but she really wanted to have it with her. I’m glad I could bring it in.

The thing is, and I know I’ve said it before, whether you stay at home or work outside of the home, it often feels like the grass is greener on the other side. I have never known exhaustion like I’ve known the past few years. Some days I wish I could dash off to an office job, and work a 40 hour week to get a BREAK! Granted, my stay-at-home life involves working 3 jobs (plus being a mom), so it’s far from the typical SAHM experience.

Too often, I think I take things for granted. I’m trying not to….

Code Blue

When I was in elementary school in California, we had the typical fire drill, and because we lived in the Bay area, we also had Earthquake drills (duck under your desk, protect your head and neck using your arms). When I moved to Michigan in junior high, I had to become familiar with Tornado Drills.

These days, in addition to Fire Drills and Tornado Drills, the elementary school students are learning the drill for “Code Blue”. I just heard about this from my five-year-old yesterday and am in part stunned that I didn’t learn of this from the school. Code Blue, in case it’s something different in your area, is what they call it when someone comes in to shoot up the school. Code Blue is where they teach the kids and teachers to barricade themselves in the classroom, tip the desks up and hide behind them.

I understand that there is a relevance to teaching this – you just never know who is going to go postal and do that sort of thing. In the days of Columbine and Virginia Tech and all of those other schools where it’s happened, preparedness is probably a good thing. I’m not going to be unrealistic – I understand that it’s one of those unfortunate things they teach with the hopes that the students and teachers never have to use it (I’m sure they feel that way about fire drills and tornado drills as well – and while I’ve felt several earthquakes and utilized my earthquake knowledge several times – I have never – knock wood – ever had to utilize my tornado or fire drill knowledge). I so hope that happens in the case of Code Blue.

While I understand the importance, I’m not going to lie: it freaks me out and saddens me that my five year old is learning to hide from imaginary gunmen when she should be coloring and learning to read. Further, I’m a little bit mad (um, okay, more than a bit) that the school has not sent home any letters to the parents describing the Code Blue drill or what they told the kids about the Code Blue drill. I have no idea how much of The Princess’s information comes from the teacher and how much comes from her peers on the schoolbus.

When my family moved to Michigan in 1990, it was with the intent of “wrapping us in cotton” – to move away from a rougher environment, into one my mom felt was more safe. I remember in 8th grade, a kid brought a gun to school – not to inflict violence on anyone, but rather, just to show it off. Unfortunately, a student did end up getting shot with that gun. In the leg. I don’t remember lock downs – I’m sure there wasn’t any. It was a horrible thing, absolutely, but, there wasn’t that fear of what his intent REALLY was bringing that gun to school. My mom packed us up, moved us across country. Though the gunshot wasn’t the catalyst for the move, it certainly didn’t hurt my mom’s case that our neighborhood just wasn’t safe enough.

So here we are. We live in the same small town my family moved to nearly 18 years ago. This place that was supposed to be so safe…