Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Last night, we were watching American Idol. I think it is only the second episode I've seen this season. The show was incredibly rushed, apparently it was necessary to cram in unprecedented amounts of singing and there was no time for judges comments after the first round of songs. Almost as an afterthought, they asked the judges to give very quick comments to the contestants half way through the show. Oh, Paula Abdul made me crawl under that coffee table.
Paula was obviously nervous and confused. Possibly on a mix of muscle relaxants and gin. She addressed the first contestant and said something very unmemorable about his performance and then immediately began critiquing his second performance. A performance that hadn't been done yet. Is it possible that Paula is clairvoyant? Is it possible that someone else is writing their comments ahead of time? Whatever the case, I hope FOX learns that Paula must have notice before anything is sprung on her.
Yes, Paula tried to cover her tracks and come up with some lame excuse. Was it believable? No way! Was I embarrassed for her? Definitely! Do I sometimes think that the people on TV are my friends? Ummm, maybe!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I'm slowly coming to accept the fact that my childish idea of "Normal" is not something God intended for me.
Growing up, I always had to explain my abnormal family. You see, I am an only child who just happens to have two brothers. What? Yeah, doesn't make sense, huh? It was always difficult to explain to other kids why my brothers were so much older than I am, why I have nieces and a nephew who are almost the same age as me, oh and even harder than that was to explain to other kids that they are my "half-brothers."
I've never wished for a different family or for things to be any other way, but I've tried to make everything seem just as normal as everyone else's lives. I've tried to mush our family to fit into the All-American family mold.
When I married the kids dad, things were very far from normal, but again I did everything I could to make it seem as normal as possible. The marriage ended, not with the life that I had ever dreamed of creating for my kids. And I was left to pick up the very abnormal pieces.
Then along came Superman. I kept telling my friends that he was just so "normal" and he comes from the most normal family I have ever met. I love them dearly and when I am with them I just relish in their normalcy. Even for Superman's normalcy, there is no way that we will ever be able to create the ultra norm life that I fantasized about as a child.
We are a blended family! I am a working mom. I have one full time job, two part time kids and two part time step children. I make homemade bread, am starting a garden and my children go to daycare. I am a dichotomy between Carol Brady and Who's the Boss's Angela.
My life might not be the NORMAL that I fantasized about, but I am coming to realize that we are the NORMAL of the 21st century. At the fundamental level of what really matters, we are a "normal" family. We have our struggles, but when our children are in our home they are able to just be kids, we have family dinners and we are creating family traditions and memories. And more than anything there is so darn much love in our house that it is oozing out the windows and doors.
Finally, at almost 30 years old I am coming to terms with what having a normal family should really mean. And know what? I like our version of normal just fine!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The beauty-ful spring weekend that we have had has kept me outside and away from the computer. A long Saturday of yard work and enjoying the sunshine found me sitting in church this morning with a sunburn. I'm not sure what it is that makes me do this to myself every year. It is almost like each new year I think that I will have some kind of miracle tan left from the past summer to protect me.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
He is also the best person I have ever known. He has the kindest heart and the strongest desire to just be a good person. He is an amazing Dad and Step-dad and we are all lucky to have him! And doesn't he kind of look like Superman too?
Sorry Superman, don't mean to embarrass you!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Anyway, we are very excited to get to using it. Ben and Big Ben both wanted to eat dinner in it and sleep in it last night, but I insisted it is still a bit too cold outside. I can see many summer camp outs in our very near future.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Of course there have been many moments in Ben's life when I have thought, "yep, that's MY kid." However, there have also been events like today that make me wonder who's child he is, because I can in no way understand the things he does.
Ben's school has an annual talent show. Being our Kindergarten year, we were not previously aware of this, except for a moment at Back to School night when his teacher mentioned that a Kindergartner has never been selected to be in the show. Then two weeks ago, he brought a note/permission slip home about the event. The paper listed the details of auditions and dress rehearsals. Ben immediately informed me that he planned to play the drums for the talent show. That sounded like quite an undertaking, but I spoke to his dad, who said that if that is what Ben wanted to do he would find a way to get the drums to the school and figure out an act for Ben. Great! I could rest easy, this would be his Dad's responsibility and I was happy to let him have it.
Apparently time got away from them and an act wasn't created, no plans were made to set up the drums and try-outs were today. At 8:30 this morning Ben called me from the school to remind me that the auditions were today and he needed his drums. I explained to him that I didn't know if it would be possible and if his Daddy couldn't get there he should just stay in After-School Daycare and not worry about the auditions. Of course his Dad confirmed that he would not be able to make it and that he would explain to Ben that they would start working on it earlier for next year.
Ben had other ideas though. Ben went to the Audition. He stood up on the stage and sang his little Kindergarten heart out. He sang a song that he made up. And he felt good about it. Obviously, Ben likely won't move on beyond the Audition stage, but that doesn't matter to Ben! When I asked him if it was scary to sing in front of everyone, he told me "No it wasn't. That's just what Rock Stars do!" He also explained to me that even though he hadn't been able to practice he had the whole thing planned out in his head and when his drums weren't there, he just sang anyway.
I told him right then and there that I am sure he is the coolest kid ever! But it did make me wonder if he REALLY is my kid. I don't have any idea where that confidence comes from. I would prefer to blend in to a wall and then there is my son who just wants to entertain the world to make people happy.
Yeah, he makes me pretty proud!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
No? Ok, so I'm just not a very nice person.
There is a guy at work. We, (or at least I) refer to him as "Little Dirty Guy." He is very short, is never clean shaven and ALWAYS looks like it has been a week since he bathed. He has about 4 teeth in his head and compounding that problem seems to have a speech impediment. LDG often stops by my office to talk to me about things. I'm not really ever exactly sure what he is saying, or why he needs to talk to me about it. However, these conversations are quite lengthy and my side amounts to many nods and "uh, huhs."
Encounters with LDG are so uncomfortable that I have resorted to hiding in my office with the door locked when I believe he might be looking for me. He has peeped through the mail slot in my office door to find me and I pretended to be talking on the phone. Right about now, you are probably marvelling at what a bad person I am, but it does get even worse.
Two times in the last month when I have taken the children to meet their dad in a neighboring small town, I have stopped at the grocery store there to take advantage of low prices. I have just intended these to be brief Friday afternoon stops to get a few things necessary for the upcoming weekend. Both trips have resulted in unexpected LDG spottings. The first time I finagled my way around the store in a manner to avoid any direct contact with him. Then when I was there this last Friday, I turned a corner to walk down a short aisle, and almost ran smack into LDG. He was talking on his cell phone. Crap, how had I managed to get myself in this situation? I am not proud of my next actions, but it shows my level of desperation. I looked at LDG, who happened to be looking down, I paused for a full second, then I turned my cart around in the opposite direction and hurried around the corner. From there I went and hid in the dog food aisle for a full 2 minutes before returning the the previous aisle.
Oh, I'm so ashamed of myself. But it doesn't end there... when I went to check out I saw him in one check-out with a short line and I quickly moved to a check out with several additional people in the line just to ensure avoidance.
Please tell me that I am not the only person who avoids these situations or pretends not to see someone who is clearly right in front of you. I know it's terrible and I feel bad. Next time I will just completely avoid that grocery store!
Friday, April 18, 2008
When Sarah chipped her front tooth last Fall, Ben said that it was because she wanted an Ugly Tooth so they could be the same and he thanked her.
Last May Ben was diagnosed with Asthma. He was gasping and wheezing and it was pretty scary. For the last four days Sarah has had a runny nose and her breathing has been a little "rattly." I've chalked it up to allergies and not worried too much about it. Then today, her preschool called me and said that they really thought I should take her to the Dr. They believed that her symptoms were those of Asthma. Fine... I didn't really think so, it was nothing scary like Ben's symptoms had been. But whatever, I'd take her just to get some allergy relief for her.
Rather than agree with me, the Dr. instead proved that mothers don't know as much as doctors. Sarah has been having an asthma attack for a week now, and I've been ignroring it. The Dr. did at least reassure me that it is in fact much more mild than Ben's. And now Sarah is on all of the exact same treatments as Ben.
I can already imagine what Ben's response to the news will be: "Sarah, now we are just the same! Thank you for being like me!" After all he has spent the last year trying to convince me that Sarah needs to use his medicine every time she has coughed.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I make homemade bread. I do it because the cost of buying it in the grocery store is quickly rising to $50 per loaf. And homemade bread just tastes so much better, and I can control the ingredients and preservatives my kids are eating.
However, I'm not completely insane. I make my bread dough in the bread machine and then put it in a normal bread pan to bake it. I have been making pretty standard bread machine recipes, until this week. I tried this recipe. Oh, my goodness! This was the yummiest homemade bread EVER. I know I probably didn't do it complete justice since the generations of women who have made it have not used bread machines to make their dough. I apologize to their legacy for that, but if it weren't for the bread machine this working mom would be back to buying loaves of bad bread in the store. Anyway, I cut the recipe in half to only make one loaf. Then I mixed the warm water, yeast, sugar and salt and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then I started the bread machine and slowly poured in the flour and let the machine do the work from there. About 2 hours later, I had the yummiest homemade bread EVER (wait did I already say that?)!
So, I'm telling you... with the rising cost of food and diminishing quality of store bought products, I HIGHLY recommend trying this. Oh and one last hint about the bread... I use an electric knife to cut mine and then I can have thin and relatively standardized slices.
I know I have already been telling everyone about this. But if you haven't been so lucky as to hear my endorsement of this product, well here you go!
I've had allergies all my life. Some years terrible, some years not so bad. My hay fever can be debilitating. I get it all: the watery eyes, the sinus pressure, the itchy mouth and the sneezing and runny nose.
Then one day I saw something on Oprah (if it's on Oprah, it's got to be good, right?). They spotlighted the Neti Pot. They promised that this crazy contraption would change my life for only about $15. Of course I had to go to Walgreens and pick one up.
This is what I got:
I brought it home and tried it. Using it the first time was a strange experience, but then it happened. I became a believer! A believer in the powers of the Neti Pot. And I could breath again.
I don't use it ever day. I use it when I feel any congestion, allergy symptoms or when I think I might have snored the night before. However, you can use it ever day and it is completely non addictive (unlike those spray decongestants, which I once fell prey to).
So, if you are prone to allergies, sinus infections or even just get a bad head cold, try this. Seriously, for $15 you might just be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Last night, we had an "every-man for himself" dinner night. Which translates to "Mom's not cooking, so find what you can." I chose to have a large spinach salad for my dinner. In the middle of eating, I needed to get something from the refrigerator and stepped away. I actually looked back to find my two children sneaking spinach from my plate and eating it.
Hooray for a Mom success!!!
Ben was curious about the health benefits of eating spinach over the normal iceberg that he normally prefers, yes he is really only 6.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
So, for those of you who are just plum tired of having the man in your life smell like every other guy on the street, tired of having him smell like soap, or aftershave; this product is made for you.
I present The Pope's Cologne:
Now you too can enjoy that old man in polyester robes smell!
Actually, I don't know what the Pope smells like, but logic tells me that an old man who wears polyester robes and lives in a building that was built in the 1300's (I'm guessing no AC) might not be smelling like roses.
Please visit http://www.thepopescologne.com/ to order your bottle and for approximately $25 the ancient smell can infiltrate your nasal passages... or you could go to the senior center on an August day and do some volunteer work! I'll leave that choice up to you!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Remember that from the elementary school playground?
My kids don't know that one yet... and boy am I glad. However, their lack of knowledge about that saying didn't stop them from laughing riotously for 20 minutes yesterday over the mere saying "stick it up my nose." That's what Sarah kept repeating and laughing so hard that stuff was sticking out of her nose.... ooohhh, gross. Sorry for that visual!
Oh, yeah, I was a good mother and reminded them that they better not be sticking anything up their noses.
Sometimes I am envious of the two of them and their ability to entertain each other. They remind me of the delight that can be found in the small things. They have had such a close bond since the day Sarah was born. They are best friends! And I am so glad that they have had each other. It is fun watching them, since the joys and rivalries of having a sibling close in age is a foreign concept to me.
And speaking of sayings, I'm glad that they have forgotten about "What's up chicken butt." Thanks again for that one Diane and Samantha!
2. I have never been skiing, despite living 4 years in Utah
3. I have watched Dirty Dancing probably 50 times
4. I love avocados but hate guacamole
5. I don't like to have my feet or my face touched
6. Santa scares me a little bit
7. Easter Peeps are better when they are stale
8. I saw Jeff Probst (from Survivor) at the Cheesecake Factory
9. I sleep on my stomach
10. I still occasionally climb on the kitchen counter to reach the top shelf
Monday, April 7, 2008
Yesterday, when the kids came back from their dad's, they told me some exciting news. "Pete's in a MOVIE!" That's right... a true Hollywood major blockbuster.
Thank you to the www.nimsisland.com website for providing this photo.
There you have it... Pete left home to go be a major motion picture star. That's him in the picture resting on the girl.
Ben and Sarah saw the movie this weekend and are very proud of Pete's acting debut. They say he did a fabulous job and they are wondering what his next appearance will be. It is very exciting to have a member of the family become a movie star!
This spectacular place, known as Lotus Land was designed and created by it's former owner Madam Wasabee... or Wadelieacha oh wait I got it Madam Ganna Walska, I had to look that up. This 35 acre estate has 17 gardens that are each distinct.
See, spectacular. Ok, so there is one rule about going... you have to get the bestest tour guide there.
Hey, wait a minute! That tour guide looks familiar. Do I know her from somewhere?
Now, Ben and I hate the desert. After spending much of our courtship there, we have a great dislike for the terrain, so we were a bit concerned about going into a cactus garden... but it won us over. It was one of our favorite places.
This is the view from Madam Wikipedia's house.
And here is a spot in the Japanese garden. Possibly the burial place of Madame Wasatch?
See... I highly recommend a trip here. Go ahead fork out the money, it's worth it. It was worth every penny we spent on it (oh, yeah... ok, it was worth what we spent + 1 X 35) I'm sorry, but you will just have to take your chances on getting the best Docent (I think that's their fancy Santa Barbara type word for tour guide) at the place!
Friday, April 4, 2008
Really, our dog Gatsby is amazing with the kids. Sarah absolutely adores him. Gatsby sleeps on a small dog bed right under my side of the bed, but every morning when I get up he runs and jumps in bed with Little Ben. Gatsby has some pretty bad habits, mainly that he isn't completely, 100% potty trained. That's right, he's a pee'er just like the kids! Gatsby's accidents happen much fewer and farther between these days, but they do still happen occasionally. He also barks at Big Ben, he feels some unfounded need to protect me. And there's the fact that his eyes get crusty and his hair grows into his mouth. I know those things aren't his fault, but they are still disturbing.
Part of the new chore regimen happening in our home is that it is Sarah's job to feed Gatsby. She loves him the most, she should have a part in taking care of him, right? The first day Sarah was supposed to feed him, I showed her where the food was and instructed her on how much to give him, everything went fine. The next day when I remembered Gatsby needed to be fed, we were just finishing dinner and I said, "Sarah, you still need to feed Gatsby." (Note to self: be more specific when talking to a three year old!) I looked over just in time to see a big piece of tortilla from the burrito Sarah was eating fly out of her hands in Gatsby's direction. Faster than I could stop giggling, Gatsby had snatched it up.
Gatsby has a delicate digestive system. This bit of tortilla was enough to give him tummy problems for a couple of days. Tummy troubles require many trips outside for him. Last night I went to bed early and Gatsby started pacing (his signal of needing to go outside). My wonderful husband took him out each time, 4 times in all. This morning I learned of his antics last night. On his final trip out, Gatsby sauntered away from Ben and went over to our neighbors, the very ones with no curtains (this was about 2:30 am). It took Ben a long time to finally coax him home, without going to the neighbor's himself. Going and getting Gatsby was just completely out of the question... you never know what you might see!
I'm thinking about rearranging chores. Maybe I should go back to feeding him and I can make Sarah take him out in the middle of the night. I'm KIDDING... ok, I'm a little bit not kidding, but I'll wait a few years!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
This morning was a rough morning. As I rushed to Circle K to get myself a Dr. Pepper (straight-up, none of that diet crap this morning). I thought about the wonderful characteristics of the sweet drink.
-Dr. Pepper would never throw a stuffed animal at me.
-Dr. Pepper would never wake Big Ben up early in the morning by crying.
-Dr. Pepper would never complain that I still haven't gone to the store to buy yogurt.
-Dr. Pepper would never refuse to get in the car in the morning.
-Dr. Pepper would never hang on my leg crying when I try to drop it off for school.
-Dr. Pepper would never refuse to get out of the bed in the morning.
Oh, but the things Dr. Pepper will do:
-Dr. Pepper will always be there willing to charge into my body to give me the pep I so need.
-Dr. Pepper will always make me feel better.
-Dr. Pepper will always help me to forget the woes of children.
For a while Dr. Pepper and I have not been such good friends. I have been neglecting him a bit, because he will also always help me to gain pounds. But this morning, I needed my friend. And he was there...
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Dun, dun, dun... Meet Jaws...
Jaws's arrival was a surprise to us. His home is in Cherokee, Iowa and he is part of a 5th grade social studies project. Jaws has been travelling around the United States, and on April 15th he will return to his owner in Cherokee. Before coming to us Jaws has stopped in Ballston Spa, NY where we noticed he told us about meeting our good friends the Nelsons. After New York, he stopped in New Mexico. He went to many exciting places in New Mexico including White Sands National Monument, a missile range, and the Gila Cliff dwellings. His next stop makes me jealous... Jaws got to go to Hershey, PA. He got to spend Easter there! I bet he saw some really big Chocolate Bunnies this Easter.
During his afternoon here, Jaws got to see the Tehachapi wind turbines, the Tehachapi Loop and downtown Tehachapi.
Jaws won't be staying with us for too long. He is anxious to move on. He got very excited when we told him that tomorrow he will start his travel to Florida where it is warm and sunny, even though he wasn't thrilled about the prospects of another long journey crammed in his tiny cardboard box.
We have had a very nice visit with Jaws, and have enjoyed learning about his travels. We're glad he stopped by!