Friday, October 28, 2011

Elmo sacrificed his life for my son's vocabulary

My kids had Thursday and Friday off from school.

(Which is a whole 'nother post...I go to bed and my house is okay. I wake up and see several little fires and landfill start-ups.)

I got my act together Thursday. But by Friday, I was overwhelmed by the messes and the fighting, and the fighting about the messes.

I didn't get out of my PJs all day. And Thursday night, my PJs were awful flowered lounge pants I bought at a Target in late January 2006 and a white tank top (one might call it a wife-beater) with stains on it from a noodle that didn't quite make it to my mouth.

And in case you're forgetting, I'm not exactly petite, and "the girls" are neither petite nor teenaged any more. But hey, I'm in my house, who cares.

I'd also like to tell you about my robe. I bought it this spring when it was on clearance from Lands End. It's red, it's fleece-lined, when it's in a pool on the bed, it looks like someone killed Elmo and his entire family.

I killed Elmo and skinned him to make this fashionable and body-flattering piece of apparel.

It's so fluffy and warm, it makes me look about twice my size. And I'm about twice the size of a normal human to begin with. It wasn't my best purchase, but for $10, I'm not returning it. I haven't worn it since I bought it.

Tonight, Larry Potter, being a fourth grader with an ever-expanding vocabulary and observational skills, told me as I was making dinner, "Mom, I can see your nipples in that shirt."

He wasn't embarrassed about it, but just thought I should know, like if if I had mustard on my face.

I, on the other hand, may never recover emotionally.

And now, I am wearing the Elmo death robe. And will from now own.

And will try to forget that my son just used the word "nipples."

At Least They're Not Barbie Heads

Today's guest blogger is Bridget, who writes this blog. Bridget and I have a lot in common, including the Land of Cheese and Beer and being underpaid in the newspaper business. When I asked her for a bio, here's what she sent me:

I'm Bridget, a Hoosier via the Keystone state and the Land of Beer and Cheese. I used to write and get paid for it, but then I had kids. The day care made my kid smell like Lysol, so I decided to stay home. (OK there were other reasons too.) But no matter how many butts or noses I wipe during the day, I'm still a writer. So I'm using that skill to make sure my brain doesn't atrophy and shrivel up to the size of a raisin after years of repeated Elmo exposure.

For my 30th birthday, Hubby surprised me with a weekend sans kids in New York City, complete with a Broadway show and everything. We had an amazing time. He had been planning for months, and even brought one of my best friends in on the conspiracy so he could watch me squirm.

He likes doing nice things for me, but he's gotta get something out of it too.

But anyway, while we were there, we picked up gifts for the kids. We found stickers with their names on them at the M&M Store. They got lost in the bottom of a bag for awhile, so the kids just got them this morning. I told them they could use some of them on their coloring books or the art easel in the basement.

Despite repeated warnings that when she used them all, they were gone, THIS is what Leah chose to do with them.

That's 120 stickers on basically one page of a coloring book. At least she got 5 minutes' enjoyment out of them.

With our purchase at the M&M Store, we got two free coin purses, which we threw in with their other gifts. I really didn't know what they'd do with them.

Two words for you: Lego Heads.

My son's bizarre obsession with Lego heads is not a new thing. They've been corn seeds and about a zillion other things besides actual plastic body parts. I have very few OCD-like tendencies, but Lego men with no heads drives me absolutely bonkers. It takes all my willpower NOT to go into his room and put them all back together.

A few weeks after the corn incident, I found most of the Lego men un-decapitated (yes I know that's not a word. I don't care. I like it) and living a typical plastic life amidst fire trucks, trains and space rockets.

Until today. They were eerily quiet this afternoon, playing in Nathaniel's room. They came downstairs to show me something.

Apparently Lego heads are also good for practicing your alphabet.

The heads are also moving up in the world. Instead of living in a cardboard book box, they now get to call a bright red M&M coin purse home.

Sorry Little Box O' Dinosaurs, you're yesterday's news.

Can't wait to see where the Lego heads get to live after the birthday and Christmas extravaganza. Maybe we should get him one of these:

It would blow his little mind...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Life Update OR Adventures in Medication

Are you enjoying the guest writers?

I know I am. I've heard from a lot of you about Amy and Lisa so far, and it's great to have different perspectives on parenting.

I thought I would update you all on Hoover and other aspects of my life.

Hoover is starting to improve. We bumped his meds, which he started last week, from 2.5 mg to 5 mg, so from a half a pill to a whole.

(And if you've ever tried to split a pill the size of, well, a birth control pill, you know it doesn't end well.)

He has started to do some work in school. Yesterday he told me he did "3% of my work," and when I investigated further, it meant that he completed three worksheets at school.

Hey, three up from none, I'll take it.

In the midst of all of this, I had my 10 year college reunion this past weekend.

And some of my friends from college are people I feel I can be very vulnerable around. And some of these friends I haven't seen in three-to-five years.

That's a long time to keep in a lot of feelings I wasn't aware I was hoarding.

Stolen from my friend M's Facebook page. Some of us at our old favorite watering hole.

So, like any person in my situation, I handled it with dignity and class.

Or, I just completely lost it.

I didn't mean to lose it. Everytime someone asked me why I was crying, I just started crying more.

It was totally embarrassing. And, to boot, I'm not a pretty crier.

At least some of my friends were laughing about it while it was going on. Which is exactly what I would have done, you know, if I hadn't been so busy being a colossal embarrassment to myself.

In the end, I decided that it was just everything coming together, all at once. And I called in my prescription for my favorite anti-depressant.

And, as far as Hoover is concerned, I feel like if I can keep it together (in whatever means possible), then he can too.

And as a family, we all need to keep it together as a rule.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wisdom for the daughters

Good morning! I am trying hard to keep my eyes open this morning, as I did not sleep well last night (and you all know how much I value my sleep). I will post an update tomorrow.

Today's GBWJGHST is Lisa, who definitely makes me want to go into her house and have tea and biscuits. This post is so sweet, it makes me think about trying to be less snarky. But I know that I have to be me, even when me is flipping people off in the school pick-up line. When I asked her for a bio, here's what she sent me:

I am a southern girl through and through - born, raised, and still living in NC.  I am also a former preschool teacher turned stay at home mom.  I have three daughters, ages 9, 6, & 4, so my life is full of drama!  I also have a great hubby who travels a lot for work, so I frequently function as a single parent for a few days at a time (minus the paycheck, of course).  Before I became a mom, I had a rather June Cleaver-ish picture in my mind of what motherhood and family would look like.  It didn't take me long to realize that was only a fantasy!!  June Cleaver I am NOT, but I try hard to be the best mom, wife, and Director of Household Operations I can be.  I blog because I love to write and I want to have a record of our life as a family that I can pass down to my girls someday.  Hopefully, others will enjoy sharing the drama, frustrations, laughter, and joy , too!   My personal blog can be found at

I recently finished reading a book written by Alexandra Stoddard called "Things I Want My Daughters To Know."    I originally picked up the book because, having three daughters, I feel a huge responsibility to teach them everything they need to know to become successful women since I am their primary female role model.  I will take any advice or help I can get!  In the book, Stoddard lists about 55 "life lessons" she hopes to have imparted to her two daughters.  Some of the pearls I agreed with; some I did not.  However, it got my "wheels turning" as I thought about all the lessons I want to teach my own daughters.  So - you guessed it - I came up with a list.  (Not to worry - there are nowhere near 55 items on my list.)  Here are the top 16 things I hope my daughters will learn from me as they grow and mature into beautiful women, professionals, wives, and mothers.

18 Lessons I Want My Daughters to Learn - A message to my girls

1)  Appreciate your history.  Unlike the good ol' portrayal of the stork with a baby in a sack, you were not just randomly dropped on this earth.  You came from somewhere; you came from someone.  Be proud of that and cherish it. Professional acquaintances come and go.  Friends come and go.  Family is constant.  That doesn't mean there won't be disagreements or differences, but family is family - you are tied to them forever.  Appreciate them.  Love them.  Stay connected to them.  Always.  When everyone else disappears, they will still be there.

2)  Be a Lady.  This one is about how you present yourself to others.  (And it is not just a Southern thing - at least it shouldn't be!)  You never know who is taking notice of you.  Therefore, always present yourself in a way that is appropriate.  There is no need to wear super tight and/or very revealing clothes or a lot of artificial make-up.  Don't take part in gossip or ridiculing others.  You shouldn't compromise who you are in an effort to "fit in."  Don't do something you know is wrong just because "everyone else does it."  All of this sends the message that you do not respect yourself.  If you do not respect yourself, neither will anyone else!

3)  Be Confident in Yourself.  This is one with which I struggle to be a good role model.  I worry about my weight, my clothes, my housekeeping and my cooking skills.  I often lose sight of what it says in Psalm 139:13-16 - ". . You knit me together in my mother's womb. . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . "  As the old saying goes, "God don't make no junk!!"  I was made by God; you were made by God.  Therefore, we are perfect.  Your curly hair, your freckles, your crazy energy, your wittiness, your laugh - everything about you is wonderful and perfect.  Never doubt the beauty God has created in you!

4)  Do What Makes You Happy.  If you want to play sports, play sports.  If you want to play music, play music.  If you want to be a doctor, study hard and be a doctor.  If you want to be a teacher, give it your all and be a great teacher.  Do what makes YOU happy - not what all your friends are doing; not what will earn you the biggest salary.  Friends and money are worthless if you are miserable.  Do what makes YOU happy; what brings you joy.  You will receive rewards much greater than money or fame.

5)  Be Financially Responsible.  Money is never constant.  Sometimes you will have more; sometimes you will have less.  Often, it takes a long time to recover from mistakes you make with your money.  As they say, money is a necessary evil - you must have some of it to survive in this world.  While money does not buy happiness, mismanagement of your finances can lead to stress and strife.  Learn to create a budget and stick to it - regardless of how much money you have (or don't have).  Learn the difference between what you want and what you need.  You will save yourself lots of turmoil and worry if you learn how to be responsible with your finances.

6)  Keep Order in Your Life.  As you probably know, I am a little fanatic when it comes to organization.  There is a reason for that.  I have learned that keeping order in my life makes things easier in the long run.  It is easier to run out the door in a hurry if you know where to find your shoes and your purse.  It is easier to pack for an unexpected trip if most of your laundry is clean.  It is easier to entertain unexpected guests if you have a clean house and a stocked pantry.  It is easier to get children to bed if you follow a predictable schedule.  Keeping order to begin with will keep you from stressing and scrambling later.

7)  Laugh.  This is something your father has taught me a lot about.  When you laugh, you can't help but feel good.  Some of my best memories of your childhoods, so far, are of times when we laughed together or times when you made me laugh until I cried.  Laughter will help you get through the tough times, too.  Bill Cosby said, "You can turn painful situations around through laughter.  If you can find humor in anything then you can survive it."  Keep laughter in your life - it is good for your soul!

8)  Don't Forget to Take Care of Yourself.  As women, we are often expected to take care of others.  That is impossible if you don't first take care of yourself.  Once in a while, buy yourself something new even if you don't really need it; get a manicure; take a nap.  Never feel guilty for taking a moment to "recharge your own batteries." 

9)  Follow Through.  Finish what you start and keep your commitments.  What's the point of reading a book if you skip the last chapter??  Finish the book.  Finish the project.  You may discover it's an activity that you do not want to do again, but finish anyway.  When you tell people you will do something, you must follow through and keep your commitment - someone is counting on you; don't let them down.  If you do, they will learn that you cannot be trusted.  Only under extreme or emergency circumstances is it ever acceptable to break your promises.

10)  Do Not Wish Your Life Away.  While you are a child, enjoy the lack of responsibilities; enjoy the carefree nature of things.  Don't spend it wishing to grow up faster.  When you are young and single, travel; enjoy spending time with friends; enjoy being independent and free.  There is no need to spend your time fretting about when you will meet "Mr. Right" or when your life will become bigger and better.  It will happen - be patient.  Take time to enjoy being a wife - just a wife.  Your time as a mother will come.  When you are a mother, enjoy your children.  Don't wish for them to grow up faster - it will happen soon enough.  Each stage of your life is a unique gift.  Be wise enough to recognize the beauty of each stage and enjoy it while you can - it will not last.

11)   Be Strong.  Be brave.  As much as I would like to, I cannot shelter you from bad things in life.  You will experience failure.  You will experience loss and sorrow.  You will experience disappointment.  When you do, it is o.k. to cry.  It is necessary to grieve.  However, you cannot let the bad times define you.  Be strong and be brave.  Face the obstacles head-on.  Learn from the tough times and find a way to move forward.  When you come out on the other side, you will be proud of yourself and you will appreciate the beauty of the good times even more.

12)  Know your limitations.  Superman is a mythical character.  No man (or woman) can do everything.  You have God-given talents.  You also have God-given limitations.  This is why one of my favorite prayers is the Serenity Prayer.  It says "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."  If you are not artistically inclined, you can change that by learning new skills, but do not expect to paint a masterpiece right out of the gates.  If you are only 5'3", do not expect to be the star center on the girl's basketball team.  You cannot change your height.   You should most definitely expect greatness from yourself and set high goals, but sometimes you must be realistic and adjust your goals to fit your skills, talents, and physical abilities.  Everyone has a certain amount of time and energy as well.  Do not commit to so many things that you end up running out of time or energy before you are able to complete the tasks.  Also remember that there is no shame in asking for help.  It is not a sign of weakness.  On the contrary, it shows that you are self-aware and realistic.

13)  Learn to Cook.  It doesn't have to be gourmet and it is not necessary to do it every day, but being able to prepare a meal for yourself, your guests, your family, or a friend experiencing hard times will give you a sense of accomplishment and pride.  By preparing meals yourself, you can be more healthy and more frugal.  You can experiment with tastes and textures.  You can adjust recipes to your own personal liking (or the liking of those you are serving).  Food is everywhere in our lives.  Learn to enjoy the creative opportunities it offers.

14)  Proofread!  There are few things I can think of more frustrating that turning in a paper, sending an email, or posting a blog only to realize later that you made very basic mistakes.  It is also quite annoying to receive a letter or an email and see that the person who sent it didn't take the time or put forth the effort to write it properly.  It shows laziness and apathy.  Proofreading is simple and doesn't take much time, so do it.  Then, do it again.  The more important the document you are writing, the more times you should proofread it or have someone else proofread it.

15)  Learn Proper Grammar.  Learn when to use I or me; when to use he/she vs. him/her; the difference between there, their, and they're; the difference between your and you're; the difference between it's and its.  Don't end sentences with a preposition (i.e. Where is he at? = nails on chalkboard).  Don't start sentences with conjunctions like but or and (these words are meant to join things, not begin things).  The rules of grammar are not terribly complicated and will eventually become natural if you practice them regularly.   Using proper grammar (and spelling) is an indication that you have paid attention to details.  It shows that you are intelligent and educated.  (If you are ever unsure ask Memaw!!)

16)  Present Solutions, Not Just Problems.  There is nothing wrong with speaking up when there are problems that need to be addressed whether it is in your job, in your home, or in your relationships.  However, do not just complain and whine.  State what you see as a problem and then present a solution.  Your solution may not be utilized in the end, but being able to present one shows that you have carefully considered the situation.  It proves to others that you are not just complaining, but that you are trying to help solve the problem.  Your "complaints" will get more attention and respect if you can be helpful in reaching a resolution.

17)  Surround yourself with good people.  You cannot choose your family, but if they bring you joy and peace, embrace them.  Turn to them in times of need or anxiety - big or small - and they will give you the insight and comfort that you need.  You can choose your friends, so choose wisely.  Surround yourself with positive, supportive, intelligent, morally ethical people with whom you share a mutual respect.  Choose friends who see your beauty (inside and out) and who make you a better, happier person by bringing you joy, laughter, insight, and peace.  (Remember, too, that your eventual husband should be your absolute best friend.  If he is not a good friend he will not be a good husband.  He should bring you joy and peace as well as romance and love!)

18)  Stand up for your beliefs.  If you are liberal, be liberal.  If you are conservative, be conservative.  Once you have chosen a stance, stick with it.  Don't be wishy washy and change your opinion to please someone else or to avoid confrontation.  That shows others that your are weak and easily influenced.  No matter which side you take on any issue, be educated and be able to intelligently defend your position.  Don't be afraid to speak out - in an intelligent, ethical manner - to defend your cause.  If you are educated about the topic and can express your thoughts clearly, people will respect your opinion even if they disagree.  

As I read back over these, it is painfully evident that I am not perfect.  Although I try, I don't do all these things all the time.  However, I think I do them more often than not.  Some of these pearls I have learned the hard way.  Some I am thankful to have learned from my parents.  Some I have learned form others or just from experience.  I know there are things you will eventually add to your own list of "Life's Rules," but I hope this gives you a good start and a solid foundation.  Above all else, remember that you are loved more than you will ever know - by me, by your Daddy, by your family, and by God.  I pray that love will give you the strength and courage to be the best person you can be - always.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nail Polish and Thailand, a winning combination

Welcome to the first edition of Guest Bloggers While Jessica Gets Her Shit Together, know forever known as GBWJGHST.

Our first GB is Amy. She writes a hilarious blog called Shredded Cheese and Peanut Buttered Carpet, which can go enjoy for yourselves here. (And, OMG, I think that could be the official name of my family room decor!)

I asked Amy to write a few words for her therapist for my blog, and this is what she came up with:

I think every mother that ever met me before I had children and 'knew everything' cursed me with a child just like me. Now I have four kids ages 12, 7, 5, and 4 and I'm getting ready to hand them out for Halloween. My name is Amy and I'm a SAHM. I started blogging because 3 a.m. wake-ups to the kids' partying (blackberry jelly on a beige carpet with m&m's and shredded cheese) usually means I need at LEAST an hour to calm down before I drop them off at the pound and pick up a potty-trained puppy. I'm a Veteran, cosmetologist, sarcastic, and probably severely cracked. My husband and I are stupid for each other and our morbid sense of humor makes the fact that I've had to say, "Stop peeing on your sister's foot and Dana, get your foot out of the toilet,"actually funny.  Read with caution.

Thanks, Amy. And the the GBWJGHST games begin!

(Re posted with permission. Come on, you know I don't steal without asking first.)

Woke up this morning to a party we weren't invited to. It's 4:27a.m. right now and I'm STILL not amused. Tim woke up because he had a nightmare where he couldn't breathe and at the end he heard screaming. In reality, he heard our kids laughing, which is creepy enough at this time of night.

The Damage Report:
- I had a bottle of nail polish in my purse and they decided to paint the pine cones that they'd dipped in glitter (under adult supervision last weekend) pink. We're gonna give 'em to the grandparents when we get some string on 'em, you know, the whole project-bonding-time with the kids thing. They were actually proud of themselves for deciding to paint the pine cones. And it was really clever and the frickin things are charming.

"How can you be mad, Mom? At 330 in the morning?"

The drug of choice for nocturnal children.

-They also called Tim's mom and dad on his cell and I think they called Thailand on mine. I'll call the number later today to find out who picks up. Maybe they'll call me. Hopefully they'll understand English for naughty children, because I got nothin'.

-And bubble wrap. Tim bought bubble wrap after supper so I could box up the pie plates and half of our glass stuff. The kids had it and are were dancing on it. A whole brand new roll, now on the floor, popped to smithereens, because you know, if you're high on paint fumes at 4, 5 and 7 years old, doesn't it just seem like a great idea? Mom and Dad won't hear it...

-The giant jar of peanut butter had 2 forks in it, because with all the nail polish and bubble wrap dancing, you'd get hungry too. Why is it always peanut butter?
-I could overlook the painting of the pine cones. And the bubble wrap. And the fact that they called the prime minister of Phuket. (I REALLY love that there is a place in this world called Phuket, I don't care if it's pronounced that way or not.)

While Tim is throwing up everything except his socks because of the fumes, I'm surveying the damage.And trying not to lose my schmidt mom-from-Malcolm-in-the-Middle style on everything 4 feet and shorter, because they got into my purse.

The contents are all over the bedroom floor, under the bed and on the windowsill. My right eye is starting to twitch, and I can feel the bitch wrinkle coming on. And, Oh Sweet Maude, there's no way to stop it. Ann's gonna have to crank that machine up to 30 to get rid of this one. These little infidels have the nerve to act nervous and scared and confused. Tristan was finally brave enough to bring me back my shank nail file, but I had to sit on my hands and tell him to drop it in.

Maybe it's because last time I told them that in the movie Aladdin, the reason the guy in the market place grabbed Jasmine's hand is that she stole something and that he was going to cut her hand off because that's what they DO to thieves, and then followed up with a head tilt, big eyes and the psychotically whispered, "That's what happens when you take things that aren't yours. If you stole Mommy's purse over there, I'd have to cut your hand off. Good Night..."

They have to tell their therapists something, God knows they've given me plenty to talk about. .

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I am touched.

Many wonderful thanks to the many of you that reached out and touched someone gave me your kind words. I have some guest bloggers in the works for your reading enjoyment while I try to navigate through this bumpy time.

Speaking of which, I thought it was a little uncool of me to just leave you all out there hanging in mystery as to what is going on. And, as usual, I may have been a little more dramatic than necessary.

My son Hoover is having a tough time.

Hoover is in first grade and refuses to do his work. So, he spends 8 hours a day, minus lunch, playing with his shirt, his folder, his face, the carpet, anything to not do the work he is expected to do.

But it's not only that.

He also says he hates school. Which is why he's not doing anything. He's very sad about going to school, being in school, working in school and pretty much anything else school-related.

The other day, he cut the eraser off his pencil and started carving into the brand new tables in his classroom.

When your 6 year-old starts making prison shivs in his spare time, it's time to do something.

I am getting daily, or every-other-daily calls and emails from his teacher, a friend of mine, who may read this blog from time to time. And I know she's frustrated too.

This summer, we took him to see a few doctors, and they said he had ADHD with anxiety. But that was this summer.

We're dealing with a whole new animal. And acronym, probably.

Today, I took him out of school to see another doctor. He was so excited he got to leave school early, he didn't once ask me what kind of doctor we were seeing and if he'd be getting any shots.

He did ask me five times, however, if he had to go back to school.

And now, we have some Ritalin, but no more answers than when we left for the doctors.

I never thought I'd be the parent to rely on Ritalin. But here we are, and suddenly, I'm feeling very guilty for passing silent judgement on those moms who give their kids Ritalin. I think I get it now.

This doesn't sound like a lot, I'm sure. But it's really taking up a lot of valuable mental real estate. And that stuff goes for a premium these days.

For example, why does no punishment motivate him? Why does no reward motivate him? Why isn't he happy at school? Is there something I could be doing to help him that I'm not? Is it because he's the middle child? Larry Potter's younger brother? Have I not given him enough attention? Too much?

Last year, I asked his kindergarten teacher if Hoover was somewhere on the autism spectrum.

"No, but I can understand why you'd think that."

And if he is, we'll deal with it. And if he's not, we'll deal with it. Though the doctors we've seen all say he's way too social to be autistic. And in a very sick way, I'm disappointed because at least that's something I can research and name.

I'm trying to find answers and not coming up with any.

And I know I should count my blessings. My kids, all of them, are healthy. There are parents in this world, country, state, community, faced with either losing a child or already have. I know people who have and wonder how they go on in life, while feeling silly that I'm whining about such a seemingly insignificant problem.

But even knowing that, I can't always keep it in perspective.

And my son is struggling and not happy, and has anxiety and is only 6.

And I can't fix it.

That's where I'm at today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Personal Tragedy Will Not Interfere With My Ability To Do Good Hair

Hi folks...
No doubt you have noticed things are a little more...serious...around here. I have funny things rolling around in my head and a whole list on my computer. But things are going on here at home with one of my kids and it has me a little pre-occupied.

Okay, it's completely consuming my life.

Like, it's the first thing I think of in the morning, what I think about all day long, and what keeps me up at night.

I guess this is really the first kid issue that has done this to me.

I've been going to and from doctors appointments and the school. I've talked to more school faculty than the superintendent and pretty sure I've exhausted any and all teacher and doctor friends I have.

Oh, to be a mom.

Please forgive me as I'm trying to put out the biggest fire in my life, thus far. It's gotten so I can't even leave a basic message about this child without crying. (And I thought I hated leaving voicemails before...)

As I am busy sorting this out, I'm hoping some of you can help me out.

(No, no, mailing liquor isn't can just drop it off.)

I am looking for 2-3 people to guest post a couple of times. Okay, we'll start with once and go from there. The thing about this blog versus my favorite Rants From MommyLand is that Kate and Lydia are a team. If one can't do it, the other does. Well, unless you'd like to hear from my other personality or have Larry Potter post his class list (he made himself a blog last year, I put the security features so high on it, even he can't read his own stuff...the first post was a list of all the people in his class....and yes, I'm totally glossing over that my son MADE HIMSELF A BLOG), it's all up to me.

And folks, it's going to take a village for the next couple weeks.

I have nothing to offer but my undying thanks and some good publicity for yourself. Okay, and maybe a Christmas card from me and some cookies or something.

Please email me at The Snarky Mom if you'd like to stretch your humor-writing legs on my blog.

(That sounded so know what I mean.)

Thanks for your help and good thoughts,


Thursday, October 13, 2011

I should have bought a lipstick

I recently "found" some money I had long ago thought I was out. So, a few nights ago, I asked on my personal Facebook page, and then TSM page, what would you do with $100 that you had to spend on yourself and couldn't be all responsible with.

(You like that sentence? I was an English major. Obviously, I'm doing well.)

I scoured the internet for the perfect thing. Four A few hours later, I was anxious and scared of choosing the wrong thing. I thought maybe some makeup from Sephora. Then I decided to look on Amazon. Then, I thought maybe clothes for me (that took up much of my time). After I decided against that, I thought maybe Christmas stuff from QVC.

(What? You don't get all excited when they start having the Bethlehem Lights people on and the deal of the day is the fresh wreath delivered your choice of weeks?:::I've said too much.:::)

Most of the people commented with assorted alcohol and chocolate products, as well as spa treatments.

I decided to go a different route.

The route that left me with these:

They hurt even as you read this. You can't see it, but my nails are actually split beyond the quick. They are still prune-y and yet, dry, and I'm definitely in pain.

All because my awesome idea to spend $100 on was....a new tiled back splash for my kitchen.

I started with the adhesive/thin set. On the box, it said basically that any use of the product will kill you and your pets, and "this has been proved to cause cancer in California."

I'm in Wisconsin, so I'm in the clear.

Here's a before:

How embarrassing (for my mother). The copper saying, ironically, says " A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen."

I'm cruising along, thinking of tiling my bedroom its so easy. Disgruntled Husband stopped at Home Depot for me to get some beige grout to finish it all off.

Not only are all the same warnings on this box, but now my cat Clark is trying to eat the little pieces that drop.

I grout everything and have to wait like 20 minutes to wipe it all off.

Hey, did you catch Modern Family last night? I did. And what about Happy Endings? Love that show...watched that, too. Then I switched the station to watch the new Extreme Couponing on TLC. (What can I say, I have varied interests.)

Then I went back to work on the grout.

Everything was hard as a rock and the sponge that was supposed to take it right off was laughing at me. I started going tile by tile scrubbing the grout off with a dishtowel.

There are a lot of tiles.

This is before the grouting and the waiting, and the suicide watching.

At one point, I though of ending it all by eating a grout and thin-set sandwich, but then looked in my cupboard.

A sponge with a scrubby thing on the back.

So what was only supposed to take 10 minutes, that was going to take 16 hours, ended up only taking an hour.

(Can you follow all that?)

And what is the finished product? Well, I don't know.

Apparently, when you tile, you spend the next 2 weeks buffing off residue. But here's what it looks like right now:

I can say that a lipstick or a wreath wouldn't leave me with such a sense of accomplishment.

I'd be okay with that. And my manicurist would still return my calls.

Please, learn from me. Next time you want to go to Home Depot and do a project, go to Sephora instead. Trust me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Balloons, Streamers, Party Hats, and Tampons

JDub texted me last week that a blessed event happened in her home.

Or maybe it was at the middle school.

[Note: Any men or other people that aren't ready to hear about the journey through womanhood, here's a site my friend Shannon created. Go read through this and have fun, because this post will not amuse you.]

Her eldest daughter and Rudy Huxtable now have something in common.

I asked her if she was going to "Woman's Day" like on The Cosby Show, and she said she had promised O. that when it happened, they'd go to dinner or something to celebrate. She just didn't plan on it happening on her other daughter's birthday.

All of this talk from JDub bewildered me. Like when I was a kid watching Rudy and Claire have "Woman Day," I thought it was only something dreamed up by Hollywood writers. People not only talked about when this happened for the first time, but celebrated it like it was a big deal? Wow.

When I was a kid in junior high, my parents were going through a divorce. I had never mentioned words like sex, puberty, tampons anywhere except at school or on the phone with my friends. So I figured when my time came (like it was a death), I would just take care of it myself. I was in walking distance to a convenience store, plus there was the school nurse and stealing from my friends' bathrooms.

And this would have been all fine and good, if my mother hadn't decided to take me bra shopping at JC Penney's and wrap up the whole trip with a nervously said statement of, "When you get your period, I want you to tell me about it."

Crap. Who told her about periods?!

So when that day did come, I did tell my mom. Because I was supposed to.

What? No ribbon?

There was no dinner out. No special celebration. Just a package of maxi-pads in my room.

I asked JDub if, on their Womanly meal together, would they eat all red foods. She laughed and said she feels badly for Mini Me when it's her turn to become a woman. I think I'd have to agree.

And then JDub told me her husband gave O a high five, like "Way to menstruate!" I almost gagged.

I mean, it's awesome that dads are involved like this. It just brought back a memory of a car ride about three days after I told my mom the anticipated news. Like I said, my parents were in the middle of a divorce and we (my brother and I) were with my dad. He was like the 2nd person in the world with a car phone, and he was talking to my mom. All I heard was his end of the conversation, and it was enough.

Oh really? Okay. Have you talked to her about it? Okay then.

And then I spent another 20 minutes in the car avoiding eye-contact with him.

As a mom of a daughter, I look to JDub and other moms like her that definitely handle this topic well. I hope in 8-10 years, I have enough knowledge to handle MM's Woman party as well as JDub has.

But my party will involve maraschino cherries, red jello, cocktail sauce, and stewed tomatoes. Because I just can't be a good mom without a little daughter pubescent humiliation.

You know, something she can recall in horror someday when she's an adult.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Body at Rest

This may, very realistically, cause drama.

Like"links-on-a-message-board-plotting-your-death" kind of drama.

And while there's no such thing as bad press (supposedly), I am kind of sensitive and thinner skinned about bad things written about me.

That being said...

So, you know how I've said before that Hoover has problems settling down at night? (I have. Go look for it.) Well, Mini Me started following suit. (Larry Potter, who has slept through the night since he was 3 days old, is a champion sleeper. He may have to list it on his resume some day.)

Hoover has been having some other issues as well, mostly brought on by first grade and curses from my husband's parents.

So I decided to try something drastic. And since the school frowns on my "sleep-a-way" school campaign, I decided to try something my friend Jamie suggested.

Three days later (thanks, Amazon Prime), a bottle of melatonin arrived at my doorstep.

And the angels sang.

Blessed nectar of the gods, I bow to you.

I did a lot of research on melatonin, plus talked to some medical professionals. It's a natural substance your body makes to help ease you into a sleep, but with all the technological advances these days, the artificial light from things like TVs, computers, cell phones, etc. can really mess up your balance. (In a wikipedia nutshell.)

Not that my son spends a lot of time in front of the TV or anything. (Okay, he likes the Wii, but I do try and limit him. He loves to run around outside, too. And start small fires.)

Disgruntled Husband was not on board with my purchase.

But I wanted to try it. So that night, I gave Hoover one dropper-full of melatonin. (I checked all the dosages...we coo'.) And because MM was there too, I gave her about 2 drops worth, just so she would feel like she was included.

Now, before the melatonin, bed time was something I've seen on Supernanny. Up and down, up and down. We'd put Hoover and MM to bed at 8, and be threatening them until 9:45. It wasn't fun. And in the mornings, Hoover was a complete bear to get out of bed. And then he'd be a big bear for my friend, his teacher because he was so tired.

Twenty minutes after his dropper-full of melatonin, he was fast asleep in his bed. MM was, too.

The next morning, he woke up with DH's alarm.

And the angels sang again.

His teacher said there was no more meltdowns and crying (though other areas of school are still challenging for him, for sure, it's just better without the tiredness).

When it came time for his second dose, DH was all about the melatonin.

I know you can't expect a drug or natural substance to fix your kid. Medication and other aids are to be used with great caution. The nay-sayers that will comment on this are all entitled to their opinion. But sleep was a source of stress for all of us, and it's been solved.

And I'll have a dropper-full to that!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My generation and Religion

Last night on Facebook, my former next-door-neighbor and friend of my mom put up an article called "Six Reasons Young Christians Leave the Church."
(Two things, yes I have my mom's friend as my friend on Facebook, and this lady has never NOT posted a religious post. Whatever floats her boat.)

I really did want to comment on this, but my compulsion to please my mother won, and I did not. But I did read the article. (Here it is.) For a genre of writing I can only classify as right-leaning, this was refreshingly balanced.

But I can sum up why young Christians leave the church in a much more technological and charismatic way:

The movie "Saved!"

If you aren't familiar with this movie, check out their IMDB page here or turn on USA network any given's usually on. 

I know my mother wouldn't agree with me on my opinion, but I lived it and I find the movie "Saved!" to be more documentary than fictional script.

I was in a church group much like that of the girls in this film, only the church I attended didn't have a school. If they had, I'm sure I would have gone to it. I continued on in college in a church group.

And hey, just for the record, I don't think church groups are bad. I think sometimes the kids that emerge as the leaders get it wrong. But they're kids and that's what kids do.

Aside from the whole getting pregnant to save her gay boyfriend angle of the script (and actually, the way they portrayed that, I can totally see actually happening to some poor confused Christian girl), this movie was my life. Well, in vague scenes and emotions. We had a Hilary Faye. We had a Pastor Skip. We even had a Dean.

But we didn't have credits at the end of our scenes. Life just went on.

God called them to judge others for him.

The reason young Christians leave the church isn't the constraints put on science or sexuality. It's the fed-upness with self-righteous behavior. We just can't stand the hypocrisy any longer.

There were times in my life that I'd see a girl Saturday night cry and give a heartfelt speech at a youth group getaway about how she had seen the light and everyone else should too, and then Monday afternoon, sneak off to have sinner sex with her boyfriend.

Hey, I get it. Christians aren't perfect; just forgiven. Too bad those girls didn't have that attitude when they found out something "sinner-like" about another girl in our group and basically shame her into talking about it. You can't be Jesus' servant on Saturday and the Whore of Babylon on Monday. Or, in other words, I wouldn't be calling for the gravel truck to make a delivery while you're in your glass hut close to the road.

My good friend J is a pastor and she provides some great insight into the realness of Christianity. "Jesus wants Fruits of the Spirit, not religious nuts." This was once on her Facebook wall. Amen, sister.

In what's quickly becoming my favorite verse, Matthew 6:5 says "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." Every time I go into a hand-waving church, this radiates in my mind. If they're truly feeling it, awesome. But I suspect that 95% of the people doing it are only doing it because the threat of a public church flogging.

Larry Potter provided me with the perfect life lesson of religion about a year ago. We were saying prayers at bedtime and he told me that he didn't want to be a Christian. I asked him why. It turns out he told his then-favorite joke to an adult close to him. The joke? It goes like this:

Hey, what's under there? [pointing]
Under where?
Ha ha! You said "underwear!"

The adult close to him said, "I don't think that's funny because I'm a Christian."

And to a cerebral 7-year-old boy who likes underwear and farting jokes, religion was then over. Why bother if this is the way it has to be?

I tend to agree.

As I understand it, Heaven isn't about who did the most extra credit on earth. There will not be two sections of Heaven; "Christians" and "Advanced Christians" when we get there. No AP credit will be given.

It's a matter of suffocation. If young Christians can't breathe where they are, then they will leave. It's not about loving God less, it's about living up to the impossible standard by some of His most outspoken followers. Standards even those outspoken ones can't follow all the time. But only when these people fall do they suddenly learn compassion. It makes me mad.

(Which is why nothing makes me smile harder than a Family Values Republican with a recently outed gay lover. I shouldn't derive so much pleasure from that. I'm working on it.)

Maybe if the writers of that article looked a little less at statistics and a little more at themselves and the judgement going on at their churches, the answers would be a little clearer.

At least from my personal experience.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Black Saturday

While we were on vacation, Disgruntled Husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.

Well, celebrated is stretching it. We definitely had our anniversary and went out to dinner and came back to an almost-tropical location, overlooking the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

With our kids.

DH and I count on going out to dinner alone three times a year: both of our birthdays, and our anniversary. But since the state of South Carolina frowns upon leaving three kids in a hotel condo alone, we took them with us.

I broke up three fights, handled two crying bouts and took people to the bathroom four times.

Just like on my wedding day.

On the day of our wedding, one of my maids of honor (I had two...ESM and Janie) and I got up and went to get our hair done. After that, we went to the reception hall where I saw my Uncle John and cousins doing things my mom told them to helping out with last minute touches. Then we went to the church to get ready.

And discovered the church was locked.

While another friend and I tried to figure out which tree would provide me with the most privacy, the pastor that married us arrived and unlocked the door.

As far as wedding days go, mine went pretty smoothly. I wish for blogging and entertaining purposes I could tell a funny story about my day, but there really weren't any.

(Unless you count Marzana and the reception hall...more on that later.)

One of my favorite moments though was before the ceremony started and my cousin Staci had come down to say hi. She saw my mom and immediately said, "Aunt [...]!" and gave her a big hug. My parents are divorced and Staci is from my dad's side of the family.

Smiling because we were too dumb to know what was ahead of us.

When we were all legal and stuff and went to the reception hall (which is now a Korean Church), we saw our last name was misspelled. And we get into the ballroom and find problems with the seating chart.

(The seating chart that took me 2 days and several Excedrin to figure out. It's like an algebra problem. On meth.)

It was because they hadn't used the most recent version of my seating chart, which would have been fine, but Marzana, the director was yelling at me. (Note to any reception hall directors, if you have a problem with a seating chart, find someone else to work it out besides the BRIDE.)

Finally, I bust out my most impressive wedding phrase to date. With hand gestures and crazy eyes, I tell Marzana, "You see this dress?!" Implying, amongst other things, that perhaps she should find someone else to deal with this, and at the same time, "my day" was to be done to my specifications.

(I really don't think I was a bridezilla, but don't F with me at my own reception.)

And after that, Marzana was fine. Though she may have actually found someone else to yell at, I really don't know.

We had crappy food, funny toasts, and lots of dancing. At the end of the night, my friend Stephen said to me, "I've never been to a wedding at night before, and now I wonder why people even have them in the daytime!"

As far as anniversary celebrations go, our dinner for five wasn't the worst way to go. Our first anniversary we at lobster and stale wedding cake at home, with our 6-day-old son. Our second anniversary, after driving to the middle of nowhere, we discover that the restaurant DH wanted to surprise me with was closed. Our third anniversary we got to go to dinner because we had received an insurance distribution check in the mail that day. It was supposed to pay a doctor. It paid for dinner.

After that, it's a bit fuzzy. Although I do know that last year, we spent our anniversary "dinner" at Sunday School sign-up instead of at a restaurant.

Happy 10th Anniversary, DH. I only had 6 years in the pool. ;)