Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I don't make resolutions, nor do I have a bucket list. I sometimes think both of these would be nice to have, but I am so anal, I really wouldn't be able to handle it if I didn't reach all of my posted goals. Like even on my deathbed taking my final gasps of air.

I only write down 1 chore a week on my day-planner because usually I can manage 1 thing. And if I do that chore plus more I feel so AWESOME!!!

There are some "plans" I have floating around my head for 2009. "Plans" are different than resolutions because they are more nebulous and airy. "Plans" can change, while resolutions are diamond-hard (at least in my brain).

The first and second "plans" are the two classes I have to take to renew my teaching certificate. The first is Developmental Reading, an online course through the U of Wisconsin. I think it will be fine once I get started, but right now I am having a terrible time psyching myself up for it. The second course will be in the fall.

And there is vacation...hopefully to Disney for a couple days and then the beach for a longer stretch.

And there are the birthdays coming in February--D's and N's. D will be 40, so I may have to hire him a stripper or something stunning like that. Who wouldn't love a lap-dance on their 40th? Ok, I mean who with a penis wouldn't love one of these? And I'm already freaking out a bit because after Christmas I don't know what in the heck I can possibly get for this child for her birthday.

So there we go. Classes, vacation, birthdays. Maybe a minivan. Plans for kid #3 and D's vasectomy to follow?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Tonight G flipped himself backward while sitting at the dining room table in his booster seat. Afterwards, D told me that is the 2nd time in a week he has heard me say, "Oh my God!" about something G has done (the first was when G fell down all 13 steps last Wednesday).

I reminded D that technically I have said it 3 times in the last week. Last Tuesday, G gave himself a bloody lip by falling on one of his cars on the kitchen floor.

After supper while D was doing dishes, G got the step stool out of the pantry, pushed it over to the refrigerator and started climbing. Together now: OMG!

A few years ago, there was a commercial (I cannot for the life of me remember what was actually being advertised) in which a mom says, as her son is doing dangerous things, "If he lives until he's 5," "If he lives until he's 10" and so on. Eventually the commercial showed the now grown boy saying the same thing about his daughter.

D and I both think about that commercial ALOT these days.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pics from Christmas


N got a Barbie & the Diamond Castle doll. She feels "connected!"
(For those of you who don't know what this means, please watch Barbie & the Diamond Castle DVD 4 TRILLION times.)

G enjoying the wrappings more than the toys.

Mommy rockin' the hell outta Christmas with N's pink guitar!


Luke Duke likes to slide in through the closed door into his coupe.

Big N and Little N in front of the tree.

N got a holiday makeover from Mommy using N's new makeup kit.


Starting to look a little draggy....

A little dazed & confused....

A motley crew.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Little Miss Funny Pants

N has been on a roll these past couple days.

Tues, Dec 23rd
I took both kids out for pizza with Nana, Pa, Aunt Norma, Allan, Uncle Ed and Louise. N asked for the Papa John's cheese (and we weren't at Papa John's). I said, "They don't have Papa John's cheese here." She pointed to the parmesan cheese shaker.

Thurs, Dec 25th
On the way to Nana and Pa's to celebrate Christmas, D and I were discussing the possibility of buying a minivan in 2009. But we agreed that neither of us wants to shop with the other for a car. So I suggested that I give D the 1. amount to spend and 2. mileage requirements, and he go do the looking, test-driving, etc, since I don't care about anything else besides #1 and #2. He said, "Would you be ok with that?," and I said, "Absolutely." N piped in with, "Don't say absolutely!" When I asked why not, she said, "Because you don't trust him." God, does she know her parents' relationship or what?

Sat, Dec 27th
  • As we were pulling out of our neighborhood on the way to the zoo, she saw a house with a blue tarp on the roof (from wind damage). She said, "Maybe a rocket ship bumped into that house?"
  • When we got on the expressway, D ran over the raised lines at the side of the road, which made a farting sound. I said something like, "N, did Daddy toot?," and D said, "Excuse me." A few seconds later N replied, "I don't smell anything yet."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Minutes

Christmas Eve:

I. G woke up too early--6:47ish a.m.

II. Got pissed at D because he didn't want to get up with G even though I had been up with N like 3 times because of the wind during the night--7:15ism a.m.

III. Probably as a result of my being pissed at D and overall preoccupied with crap I needed to get done, accidentally left the gate open and G fell down all 13 steps--9:20ish a.m.

IV. Called doctor's office and felt sick to my stomach because of leaving gate undone--9:26ish a.m. (G is fine by the way. Not even a bump.)

V. Took N to run errands at Blockbuster, Wal-Mart, library--11:00ish a.m.

VI. Fixed food for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day breakfast--1:30ish p.m.

VII. Went to Mamaw's and had a very enjoyable evening eating and opening gifts--4:00ish p.m.

VIII. Polished off nearly an entire bottle of wine with D and went to bed--9:00ish p.m.

Christmas Day:

I. Kids slept until 8:00ish a.m.

II. Opened gifts and felt heebie-jeebies at all the new clutter filling up my house--9:30ish a.m.

III. Put G down for nap and began the frantic reorganization of the house to help contain the clutter--12:30ish p.m.

IV. Checked on neighbor's cats--3:00ish p.m.

V. Went to Nana and Pa's for more eating, gift opening--5:00ish p.m.

VI. Returned home with all new toys; too tired to begin re-reorganization of house--9:30ish p.m.

Thank god this is over for another year!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The goods

For some reason, I feel compelled to share what N and G will be getting for Christmas this year from Mommy/Daddy and Santa. While I am excited about what they are getting, I am a little worried that N will be disappointed. But then I think she will be so excited by the whole "idea" of Santa coming and gifts to open, she might forget exactly what she had written on her list.

Plus, I'm curious to know what other parents got their kids and approximately how much was spent. (Yes, I do spend an inordinate amount of time wondering if I'm in the normal range in terms of spending/giving gifts to kids at Christmas. I know I'm not in the normal range mentally, so I'm hoping to be so in some regard). However, I suspect most people feel as comfortable talking about this as they do their sex lives, so I never know how people REALLY live, if ya know what I mean.

Oh, and another reason to post it: So Daddy knows/remembers what the heck we got the kids. I did show him all purchases, but....ya know....he recalls nothing.

So here goes:

N's gifts--
From SANTA (1 big gift, a few stocking stuffers)
  • Blonde/blue-eyed My Generation Doll ($32.99) with matching pink dress for N and doll -- made by Nana
  • Viewfinder with Barbie & Kung-Fu Panda reels ($13.47)--- stocking stuffer
  • Bratz auto toothbrush ($4.94)-- stocking stuffer
  • Bratz Baby DVD ($5.48) -- stocking stuffer

From MOM & DAD
  • Camera ($19.67)
  • Barbie magnetic fashion book ($14.99)
  • Big crayon box, window markers & Strawberry Shortcake coloring book ($10.94)
  • 5-year-old Christmas ornament ($10.00)

G's gifts---
From SANTA (1 big gift, few stocking stuffers)
  • MegaBlocks wagon ($28.19)
  • Small ball ($2.06) --stocking stuffer
  • Tonka car ($4.04) -- stocking stuffer
  • Tonka car ($4.04) --stocking stuffer

From MOM & DAD
  • Little Tykes Coupe ($25.00) (got it off craigslist.)
  • Bath basketball hoop ($7.99)
  • 3 shirts ($14.60) -- this is totally a gift for Mom, since I have to change his drooled on/food slathered shirts at least 2-3 times a day. Means laundry less often.
  • 2 board books ($6.85)
SHARED GIFTS -- I thought it might be a good idea to get the kids a couple SHARED gifts. While G will be used to having to deal with a sibling, N still sometimes acts like she still rules the roost. Probably won't make a lick of difference.

From SANTA -- A bathblower ($19.99)
From MOM & DAD -- 3 DVDs ($20.07) (bought used from and Trouble ($4.13)

So the grand total comes to $243.53. Technically, I spent $111.57 on N, and $87.77 on G, which made me feel guilty for 2 seconds until I remembered that he doesn't care right now about any of this so why spend a fortune?

Boy, it feels good now that I have let the cat outta the bag. Never felt this good after Catholic confession. Guess I must not have been sinning well enough.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why I freak out over Christmas break

I wish I could give a definitive answer as to why I freak out over Christmas break. It goes back to when I was a pre-teen, I do know that. I distinctly remember hating Christmas Day, specifically, because I was stuck in the house with my family, unable to go anywhere or do anything or even talk on the phone to friends because they were all with their families. We only had 1 tv, which was always on sports....and I HATE sports. Of all kinds.

Basically, once I got to the stage of childhood when I wasn't getting fun toys, Christmas was just a pain in the rear.

My premise is that my "anxiety" is a big umbrella holding all these little issues I have related to Christmas.
  • I do not "relax" well at all, if one considers relaxing laying around watching tv or reading. I can handle these activities for only short periods of time, and I prefer to do my reading in bed at night. So extended periods of time with little to do but watch tv or read just make me edgy. I am not a "hangin out" kinda person.
  • I get my energy from being out and about, around other people. Being in the house, unable to go anywhere, makes me feel trapped, caged. And this time of year, it is often too cold for even a walk with the kids. So fresh air is hard to come by. All of this makes me anxious.
  • Christmas break fucks with my routine, and I really, really need a routine. I am not a slave to my routine, but if anybody is gonna screw with it, it's gonna be ME. I get into a rhythm with playdates, N's preschool schedule, and housework/errands, and small breaks like Christmas are short enough to be unable to establish a new routine (like summer break), but long enough to totally throw off one's momentum.
In my senior year of college, I developed neuralgia over the Christmas break from school. The sensation was at the top of my head, and felt like drips and drops of water plopping onto my noggin. It wasn't painful so much as annoying. I had chronic headaches during that time too. And I just felt sad. It was a month of hell.

Once I got back to school in January, I felt fine, so attribute this bout of neuralgia to 1. being out of my routine, 2. hating Christmas in general, and 3. having the time to worry about what the hell I was gonna do with myself in 6 months when I graduated from college. Stress can do all kinds of crazy stuff to someone who unknowingly (at the time) suffered from anxiety.

So my issues with Christmas break go back many, many years.

But as bad as this sounds, I have gotten immensely better since having children. Now I just struggle with the routine part, but I listen to Christmas music, decorate the house with interest and enjoyment and like shopping for my kids. Before my kids, I was an utter Bah Humbug. Hated decorating, hated shopping, didn't own any Christmas music. I was the Christmas Bitch.

D would probably argue that I am still that, at least when he is on vacation, but I think I have improved.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last minute gift gettting

I had been so strong, so courageous. Weeks ago I finished my Christmas shopping for the kids, and I had held firm. But watching G today look through his books, some of which are barely held together by a shred of binding, I thought I might get him a book or two.

Doing so will not mean purchasing for N, since I already have a book-like gift for N sitting in my closet, which I intended to save for her birthday in February. But yesterday and today she has been playing alot with her Disney Princess dress-up books, and the aforementioned book is a Barbie magnetic storybook.

Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Getting out by myself today to purchase G a couple books will help minimize my stir-craziness that will begin in earnest tomorrow, when we are inside to avoid the crowds. We will be making a visit to the muffin store, though, to order goodies for Christmas morning breakfast.

Oh, I'm gonna do it. Mental health care of this kind doesn't have to be too expensive.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How I buy wine

I think it is kinda funny and more than a little pretentious the way some people "do" wine. Swirl it in their glass. Waft the air above the rim with their hands to savor the bouquet. Taste a little bit to get a sense of the flavors. How people can sip a little wine and know it has hints of tangerine, mocha and woodchuck is beyond me. But I am not a high society gal.

So when I go to stock up our wine rack, I have two things in mind: Price (must be under $10 per bottle) and Art (does the bottle and/or label look cool).

I purchase a couple bottles of wines I like---riesling and other sweeter wines---and a couple bottles of wines D likes---those that taste like wet salt.

D sometimes tries to imitate a wine connoisseur (swirling, smelling, sipping), and I'm never sure if he is being serious or not. So I always make fun of him.

Today's 6 bottles totaled $40 (all were on sale, and I got a 10% discount for purchasing 6). A German riesling in a cute pink bottle. One with running cats on the label. Another called Juno with a mythologically beautiful woman on the bottle. The other 3 I can't remember.

Prior to kids, we toured a couple of wineries during our travels. It was always fun, but I never "got it." I could never taste the hints of whatever flavors were supposed to be infused throughout the wine. I could never understand paying a shitload for crushed grapes.

I can appreciate the art of wines/winemaking from an ideological stand, but from in my practical reality, cheap and pretty are the way I roll.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our day

I thought about having this be a picture-only post, but it would be totally unlike me not to have some witty (or stupid) comments to share.

This little hottie went to her preschool party all decked out as Santa's elf. The other girls wore their rather "conservative" Christmas dresses (long-sleeves, no cleavage). My baby is gonna rock the pole one day.

See how limber she is already.

See how friendly she is with men.

The after-party was at Chuck E. Cheese's. G loved the train.
Didn't quite know what to think of Mr. Cheese sitting next to him.

N likes the real Cheese.

The family that plays skee-ball together, stays together.

The 15-month-old who got us kicked out of Chuck E. Cheese's for disorderly conduct.

My kids are nuts! But they have so much character.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I DO NOT want the next two weeks to involve N plastered to the couch staring at the tv. And with the cold weather and my utter refusal to do things out in public with everyone else who's children are out of school, the possibility of aforementioned is very, very real.

So, I am playing Social Coordinator. We have 2 playdates arranged, and are working on a 3rd. I don't know yet how many I intend to squeeze in.

During this same 2 week period, D will be off work for 7 days straight. 7 DAYS PEOPLE!!!

My husband and the school system at large are trying to kill me.

My hope is that N will be content having friends with whom to play, while D is somewhere in the basement doing whatever it is he does down there. And no one will be pacing the floors, getting under my feet or in my way, or relaxing too much in front of me. Or complaining.

I will allow them to breathe in my presence. That is acceptable.

Am I one of those moms?

I just did something I never thought I would do. Something I think is pretty uncharacteristic of me (you can argue if you'd like).

You ready?

I sent in G's picture to a local magazine for a Beautiful Baby Contest.

The last time this magazine had a beautiful baby contest there were some ferociously ugly babies that graced the pages (they showed all the entries, not just the main winner). I showed my mother the magazine to see what she thought, and I didn't preface it with, "Check out these homely looking babies." Ok, well, maybe I did, but she totally agreed with me that a boatload of 'em apparently had parents with poor, poor eyesight and no vision insurance.

Anyway, when I picked up this magazine at the grocery the other day and saw the Beautiful Baby Contest announcement, I thought about their last contest. I don't expect to win, but I just thought my goober-grinned kid has at least as much cuteness as the kids from last year.

(Editorial note: While writing this, I looked on for some adjectives for ugly and found, among others, appalling, disfigured, frightful, grisly, repugnant, loathsome, all of which seemed a little hard-core to use with little wee ones. Which made me momentarily question how hard of a heart I must have to think of those particular infants as being that ugly.)

Hmmmmm. (I think to myself whether there is a special ring of hell for people like me...regarding baby beauty, that is. I know there are rings for my other faults.)

Nah, they was ugly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Really bad mother of the day

Up until today I had never screamed at N. I had been gruff, a little sarcastic, a little inpatient at times, severe in a strangely calm way, but I had never let off a full-fledged harpy-like, "So help me god" scream. I guess that is pretty good for having been a mom for nearly 5 years.

I had just absolutely had it with her attitude and pokiness this morning. There were around 6 things I wanted to get done before G's nap: pick up a Santa suit from a friend's house, deposit a check, buy diapers & wipes, rent a DVD in order to use up a free rental coupon, mail letters, and return books to the library.

Once I had gotten myself and G dressed, I told her to get dressed. She informed me that there was a cartoon she wanted to watch on tv. Since I rarely watch tv, I don't have much patience with anyone who puts tv before living life, especially my preschooler. I told her the DVD rental was for her (which it was), so that helped motivate her to get her clothes on.

Getting her shoes on was another matter. I don't know what the heck she was doing, but I had G and all the junk I needed in the car and she was still putzing around. When she finally did get into the garage, she was packing 3 books, a Barbie, her bear, and her paci, all of which was jumbled in her arms nearly falling to the floor multiple times. And making her move even slower. As if it was even possible.

Then she saw that I had put about 6 of the big cardboard tubes that holiday wrapping paper winds around in the recycling bin. Rather than getting in the car, she grabs the one she had started to decorate (and never finished), thereby making all the other precariously balanced junk in her arms start to slide. And she starts whining that she wants to keep it so she can decorate it. Like I'm throwing away shards of gold.

It was at this point that my head popped off my body, and my mouth screeched, "GET IN THE CAR NOW!!!!!"

What followed was an overflow of tears from N and an overflow of guilt from me.

I apologized to her immediately and told her I loved her. I also asked her how she felt when I yelled. I told her this is how I feel when she yells at me and is disrespectful. I told her it wasn't right for mommy to yell, and that mommy had lost her patience.

But she was a jewel while we were running errands. Never once complained, and she always finds something about which to complain. I guess since I never scream, N knew I meant business and was fed the hell up.

She forgave me much sooner than I will forgive myself.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Premature aging

D and I might as well be 95-years-old and living in a nursing home. Well, I would be a spry 90.5-year-old, but we would both only be able to handle gimping down the hall to the cafeteria for bingo once a month.

Last night was D's company Christmas party. We left at 6:00 and returned home around 10:30. We didn't get drunk. We didn't salsa dance or play fierce air guitar. Our evening involved having 2 drinks of wine each, eating a meal, chatting with friends, watching an improv group, and then driving home. Low key.

And yet, we are absolutely exhausted today. Getting home at 10:30 means chatting with D's mom (who was watching the kids) until 11:00, which means getting into bed at 11:20, which means reading until 11:45ish.

When we got on the expressway last night and ran into traffic, I said, "THIS is why we never go anywhere at night or on the weekends. I hate THIS!" I'm such a grumpy old geezer.

I love to be active during the day. But once the sun goes down I want to be home. I want to put the kids to bed early, have time to check email, read blogs and write if desired, and read in bed for a good long time.

And then tonight was busy. We took a cake to D's grandpa who turned 84-years-old today. Papaw makes us look BAD! He went and helped his son cut down trees today at Rough River.

Geez, D and I are pathetic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big boy babbles

D and my brother asked me if I am going to cut the little mullet that G is sporting, but I refuse. Cutting his hair will make him look like a little boy, and I want to hang on as long as I can to my baby. I know this is why I am still nursing him before bed at almost 15 months.

Of course, hearing him say words more and more makes that little boy stage come ever closer. We can just drive by a Kroger and he says, "Appa" for apple (can you tell I do all my grocery shopping there?). He says "Ball," "Bye-bye," "Hi," "Mamaw," "Nana," "Ba" for Pa, and "Momma" and "Dadda." Tonight he very clearly said, "Bubba" for bubble in the tub when I squirted his soap and a bubble floated out.

He is walking much faster now, and can bend down to pick up toys without toppling over (usually). He pretends to talk on the phone. He tries to put sunglasses on himself. He is doing all the wonderfully cute things toddlers do.

And he dotes on his sister. He squeals and laughs when he sees her standing in line at preschool pickup. He follows her around everywhere. He mimics her...which is as cute as it is annoying, particularly when he is imitating her screaming or banging my pots and pans with wooden spoons. But it is so sweet to see them play together. To see her him pick at her belly button, which is his version of tickling, and to see her let him and laugh.

I remember reading a Little Golden Book about Baby Jesus when I was a kid, and I remember it said something on the order of, "Mary treasured these things (about Jesus) and kept them close to her heart." While I try to do the same, I find I forget so much, so quickly. It is one of the worst things about parenting....the memories dissipate too soon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day of dance

Today was so busy.

D took off work so we could take N to see the matinee of The Nutcracker. She really enjoyed it. Her mouth just kinda gaped open most of the performance. At one point she looked up and me and said, "Wow!"

During the dance of the Snow Queen, a bubble machine was turned on so that it "snowed" on the audience from above. That was pretty darn magical to have it snowing on us as we watched the snowflakes dancing on stage.

After lunch, my mom, N and I went to Santa's Depot, which is like a winter wonderland, full of lit Christmas trees, a bazillion ornaments and nativity scenes. I have started a tradition of letting the kids "buy" each other ornaments, although this means that until G has an opinion, N gets to select both her ornament and his.

She was going to pick a baby with a pacifier in its mouth for him, but I told her that one was a "Baby's 1st Christmas," so she selected a tractor for him since he likes anything with wheels. Rather than picking a ballerina for herself, she chose a girl in a karate uniform since she likes Kung-Fu Panda so much. I said, "But, N, you don't take karate lessons." She then proceeded to show me her kung-fu moves in the middle of the store to prove that she did, indeed, know her martial arts stuff. Whatev.

Tonight, N performed with her dance class at a local nursing home. She was so cute. While I was putting G to bed before we left, I had D snap some pics of her in her costume.

As I was videotaping her while they performed, I couldn't help but think of her as both so grown up and such a wee little girl. I heard someone referring to raising young children as a season in your life, and that there is a time for all seasons. I know that with her getting closer to age 5 and starting kindergarten next year, a new and different season will be upon us, and while that is exciting, it is also sad to see a much-loved season pass on.

Monday, December 8, 2008

There but for the grace of God go I

My father-in-law used to tell me I squeaked when I in so tight with money. And while I don't think I'm so tight I could turn a penny into a diamond with just my ass, I do tend to be pretty frugal (as noted in my wishlist post from the other day).

But around Christmas time I really struggle with my inner spendthrift, who is also quite judgmental.

I am trying to teach N about giving to the less fortunate during this Christmas season. Since we "do" Santa in our house, I explained to her that some families move around an awful lot because they don't have a whole lot of money, which makes it really hard for Santa to find them to bring presents. And while N and G have presents sitting under the tree right now from Mommy and Daddy, alot of parents can't afford to give their children much if anything at all, so that is why we help out because we are fortunate that Daddy has a good job.

And this year she has been quite eager and willing to give of her gently used toys for a toy drive in Harlan County and look for clothes/toys for a little girl we are sponsoring from The Family and Children's Place.

Unfortunately, I am the one who is finding it hard to share. Sorta.

Today at Wal-Mart, I asked N to help me find a shirt and pants for the little girl. I buy cheap clothes for N....either at Wal-Mart, Target or at consignment sales. It is very rare that I purchase something from a mall store for her. So I headed for the less expensive clothes for our "angel." And by this, I mean the $5 and $6.50 shirts and pants. N saw some Hannah Montana pajamas, and said, "Let's get these." But they were almost $14.00. I had seen some non-HM pajamas for almost $10.00, so I suggested we get those so we would have more money for a toy.

Then in the toy department, N kept picking out Little Mommy dolls which are upwards of $16.00, but I found a less expensive, non-brand one for around $10.00. We went to look for a coloring book, but I wasn't about to pay $3.47 for one, when I knew I could get something equally cute from the Dollar Tree.

Between Wal-Mart and the Dollar Tree, we ended up buying her 2 shirts, a pair of pants, a 3-pack of undies, a pajama set, a baby doll, a coloring book, a pack of crayons, and a Littlest Pet Shop toothbrush pack. All nice stuff, I think, but I kept feeling cheap, like I should buy more or buy better. I kept telling myself that I buy inexpensive as much as possible for my own kids, so I should NOT feel guilty buying these things for a disadvantaged child, but it didn't work. I still felt sorta chintzy.

I know I am blessed and fortunate to have what my family has. I am blessed and fortunate to have parents who were both raised in poverty but worked and saved their way out of it and stressed education and fiscal responsibility to their children. I know that it is because I buy wisely that I am able to do the things I am able to do with and for my own family. I know that if something bad happened I have family who would take us in and provide us help (and I know there are lots of people who don't have that).

But a little tiny judgmental part of me gets its panties in a twist this time of year.

I feel guilty on the one hand because I don't shop at Gymboree for my "angel," and I feel frustration at all the parents of the world who don't have enough to care for their kids. It is not the fault of the kids, and so many parents only repeat the poor parenting/caregiving cycle they experienced as children, but I still get wrankled. As much as I want the government to butt out of my personal life and choices, I tend to want the government to butt into other people's lives and prevent them from having more babies or any babies if they can't afford them, care for them respectfully or responsibly, or provide a stable home life.

The holiday season is especially fun when I have an internal wrestling match going on between the angel on my one shoulder and the devil on the other.

So, in the end, I buy the stuff at Wal-Mart, I give N money to take to school to "adopt" children for Christmas, I encourage her to donate gently used toys, and I drop coins into the red kettles, hoping that the season will soften my heart, make me less judgmental, help me find peace.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My wishlist

Sometimes I put together a little list of things I'd like to get myself at some point in the near future, but this list is always terribly disappointing because it is always uber-practical stuff for the house...not for me. Or if it is for me, it is underwear or socks. So darn exciting.

I have mixed feelings about my wishlist (whenever I get a hankering to make one up).

On the one hand, I really wish I could think of something(s) I really want. I kinda wished I wanted an iPhone or iPod or Coach purse. Something that would be my own little toy. But I would kill (with a capital K) D if he bought me an expensive techie gadget because my basic FB and email and blogging needs are met with the ancient laptop I have (that is being borrowed, I might add). And I'm not interested in clothes, shoes, purses, cosmetics, body lotions... basically anything girly. (Anybody who has actually seen me in real-time knows how true this is).

On the other hand, I'm kinda proud of my inability to think of stuff I want because it makes me feel like I am not materialistic and I know what is most important---experiences and personal growth.

When it comes to buying for myself, I can talk myself out of purchasing anything. I cannot (in my mind) justify buying a book to read for the book club I'm in unless I can get it for under $5. So if a book is relatively new and popular and I can't get a book from the library, I just don't go to bookclub that month.

Recently, I saw an address book, and I thought, "Hey, I could use one of these," even though this doesn't really qualify as a gift for me since it has a household purpose. But then I thought, "Well, my current address book isn't falling apart." And it is not falling apart, but it is old, and names/addresses have been crossed out all over the place. It came in the mail as a "Welcome to the Community" gift, so I didn't even shell out any of my own money to purchase it 7 years ago when we moved into this house, but I still think, "Nah, I don't really need a new one."

You would think I had lived through the Great Depression.

So here is my pathetic wishlist that I am currently keeping on the refrigerator:
1. address book
2. knife for putting icing on cakes & cupcakes
3. basting brush
4. Harry Potter books 5, 6, and 7

Only #4 would even remotely qualify as a personal gift because 1-3 are for the home. And #4 is something N or G would eventually inherit.

I sure hope the Treasury and Federal Reserve aren't relying on little ole me to jumpstart this economy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Doing teen boys

I read an article in the paper today about a pregnant woman who is in jail awaiting arraignment for raping/sodomizing a 15-year-old boy. She is 25 years old. The fetus may or may not be the teen's child.

I was pretty stupid at 25 years old, but I can assure you that I never wanted to bed a teenage boy.

Now I can totally see and even understand a 25-year-old man wanting to bed a 15-year-old girl are dogs. There is a long, long history of older men bedding and marrying young girls. It happens to this day. I'm not saying it is right, but from an evolutionary perspective, a older man impregnating a 13-year-old makes reproductive sense. Not common sense, but reproductive sense.

But I cannot believe a woman would really have any interest in a teenage boy. What is even remotely appealing about a teenage boy? Are they more pliable and easily manipulated than a 35-year-old man? I'm sure this has to be part of it.

When I was teaching, there were these two 8th graders who would come to my room to chat after school sometimes. One I had taught when he was in 6th grade, and the other I had taught during summer school. Nice kids, but perhaps 2 of the biggest doofusses (or is it doofusi?) on the planet. I could tolerate a 3-minute visit from them before the sheer stupidity of their conversation melted parts of my brain. Why would a woman want to subject herself to this kind of conversation on a regular, intimate basis?

And there is nothing appealing about the "boy" look. This is one of the reasons I don't like Leonardo DiCaprio in most of his movies because he looks too much like a child. The only movie I really found him attractive in was Gangs of New York because he looked more manly, more gruff. Older than 14 years old.

Ok, by blogging about this I'm giving myself the willies so I better sign off, but the article really confounded me. Even more than the economy right now, and that is pretty hard to do.

Friday, December 5, 2008

How have we kept it together?

I asked D the other night if I am hard to live with, and he gave me "the look," which means, "Why do you ask me questions that you know you don't really want the answers to?"

Then I asked him if I am as hard to live with as his sister, and he gave a definitive, "No." So I feel a little better.

Last Sunday, I was way irritated and irritating, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. I had just had a period, so I knew hormones weren't to blame. And then the lightbulb turned on, and I realized that D had been home from work for 4 days IN A ROW. And when D is home too many days in a row, I start to go bonkers for a number of reasons.

First, when he is home too long, it really interferes with my stay-at-home routine. If he sleeps in, I feel like I shouldn't vacuum or drag the kids upstairs so I can clean the bathrooms....because he is on vacation.

Which brings me to point #2. When he is off work for many days in a row, I get to be reminded for many days in a row that I never get a day off. I get to cook, clean, and tend to the kids every single day without a break. I don't get to leave my workplace because my home is my workplace. Yes, it is my choice to stay home, but it kinda makes one a bit pissy to see the hubs dorking around while I am folding laundry or sweeping 8 tons of glitter off the floor.

Thirdly, after a number of days off D starts to get a little bored, so he paces. He kinda wanders aimlessly around the house, mostly in the kitchen, where I usually am. While he is pacing, trying to figure out what he wants to do, I am looking at the toy & junk fallout from G and N, thinking to myself, "If you want something to do, how about picking up some toys and stashing them? Or taking the laundry out of the dryer? Or do the dishes sitting in the sink?"

Now D is a brilliant computer dude. He can wrap his head around engineering stuff that I couldn't understand in a million years. But he is not so good with things household related, and by this I mean, cooking, cleaning, dusting, straightening, folding, sorting, hanging, etc. Don't misunderstand--he is a very neat man. His clothes land in the hamper; he hangs things up. But the subtleties of household maintenance are beyond him.

And he is not alone in this. I can't tell you the number of times my mother has told me how my dad would always ask, "Is there anything I can do?" which drove her batty. She felt like saying to him, "Man, open your eyes! Do you not see all the stuff there is around here that needs doing!"

While I hope D and I live long, healthy lives, I do pray that if one of us has to die while the kids are kids, it is him. And the reason I pray this is because if I die, he and the children will sucuumb soon after due to starvation or suffocation from the plague of dust bunnies that will take over the house.

I told D that I was blogging about him being off work 4 days in a row, and he reminded me that he will have from Dec 25 to Jan 1 off.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Would this be wrong? (I mean tacky)

I am increasingly getting into buying gently used items and selling our gently used items. Aside from the expense, I just feel a certain moral imperative to try to reduce the amount of new things we purchase, thereby (hopefully) resulting in less waste of resources.

For the most part, I buy the kids' clothes at consignment sales. We bought N's bike this summer second hand from Schwinn. My birthday purchases were at Plato's Closet for jeans (how buy $20 Abercrombie jeans that are already comfortably broken in, so I don't have to do it). And a number of the kids' Christmas presents are in their second lifetimes.

Now, my dilemma (well, that is exaggerating; let's call it a slight concern):

I really love Half-Price Books, a store that sells gently used or brand new overstock books. You generally can't find the bestsellers there, but I am always able to find something that I want to read. And it is an awesome place to buy kids' books. I can get Barbie, Disney Princess and Strawberry Shortcake books there for usually a $1 or more less than what I would spend at Borders. And they have bookcases packed with clearance $.25 books. Heck, even if we only read it once or twice, it is well worth a quarter.

So since I am more and more into reduce/reuse/recycle, I thought I would purchase gift cards at Half-Price books for N's preschool teacher, as well as her dance teacher. But I wonder if they would be insulted if I get them a gift card to what is essentially a book consignment store?

When I was a teacher, I was thrilled to get gift cards to anywhere. There are only so many "Best Teacher" ornaments and tchotchkes a person can have without having to rent storage space. It was so, so nice to get even a $5 card to Kroger or Wal-Mart.

And her dance teacher is young, like 15. I thought about a gift card to McDonald's, but I don't really want to encourage unhealthy eating. And I thought about just giving her cash, but I kinda want to support the economy.

So, faithful or unfaithful readers, what do ya think?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Full of holes

Well, G is, at least.

This morning he had bilateral tubes put in to hopefully reduce or (if we're super lucky) eliminate his chronic ear infections. As friends had warned, he was absolutely out of it upon returning to us from the recovery room, but after a nap at home, he was ready to eat and play for a bit. He is napping again as I type this.

The doctor said G did have fluid in his ears, but no infection. Of course, as far as I'm concerned, it was only a matter of time before another round of antibiotics. G started sounding congested yesterday, so I wasn't at all surprised to hear there was gunk in there.

While I didn't white knuckle it during the surgery or in the last few days, I did sleep horribly last night, even with half a Unisom.

I dreamed that D, N and I took G up to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital (I honestly don't even know if there is such a place, but that's where we were in my dream). And we were having to go into all these different rooms, down long corridors, even getting back in our car to drive to another building in an attempt to register G. There were huge long lines of parents with their children, waiting for the next available surgery window. N was bored and acting out, nearly getting hit by a car at one point when she jumped out of our car.

Suffice it to say, I was unconsciously worried about today. My dear friend K called last night to check in on me and offer to bring a meal to us tonight. What a doll! Considering how poorly I slept last night and how tiring it is to try to hang onto a 14-month-old coming off anesthesia, I am glad I accepted her offer.

One thing I have wondered during all this is whether other parents stew over stuff as much as I do or do they just go, "Ok, needs tubes. No biggie." As I told K last night, I just have to go through a certain amount of "try everything under the sun to avoid surgery." I did it with my c-section when G was breech; I did it with ear tubes.

It would be nice to take things in stride a little better, and, believe it or not, I do compared to how I would have handled this in my life pre-antidepressant. While D and I were waiting today, I started thinking about folks who have cosmetic surgery, not because they got half their face bitten off by wild dogs, but people who just want bigger boobs or tighter abdominal muscles or no crow's feet.

I will go to the grave with my tiny boobs, flabby abs and a whole flock of crow's feet. Rode hard and put away wet.