Friday, May 29, 2009

Shannon came home from school today with a HUGE book. Brand new. Very nice. This thing is softcover (thankfully) but is 2' by 2'. No exaggeration. She said it was something the teacher gave her. (she wasn't the only one endowed with such a marvelous gift, her classmates got them as well.) But where are we gonna put the thing? Ya can't stand it up against anything because it flops around, can't put it under stuff because it takes up the whole floor. I'd like to have the kids cut it up, make it into a huge card and give it right back to the teacher.

Now, I love her teacher. She's encouraging and patient with the kids. And she's a big believer in rewarding them for good behavior and schoolwork. This works very well as Shannon comes home frequently so excited because of what she "won" that day. I know we're supposed to praise them when they're good and all that but could we please curtail the stuff that comes home?

I'd rather avoid the inevitable crying and yelling at mommy when it's discovered that yet another beloved item is missing.

"Mommyyyy, I really really liked that (old, broken ugly) toy. It was my faaavorite!"

" You never played with it, you won't even miss it"

"But Mommmyyyy, I love it. Can we get it back?"

"No, we don't have room for so much stuff."

"Well can we go to the store and get a new one?"

"No, why don't you start thinking about what you want for your birthday?"

"It's not the same thing! I want it nooowww."

"You've got plenty of (whatever) Why don't you play with what you already have?"

"But I don't waaant to, I want that one."

Arms are now folded tightly and steam is spewing from her nose. There's a long pause.... and then she hits me with it.

"This is the worst day EVER! I'm never going to do anything (bla bla, incomprehensible mutterings... back to yelling) EVER AGAIN!"

Stomping up the stairs and slamming of the door follows.

I hear my mom's voice when I am asking (OK, hollering) for the kids to pick up their stuff and I'm calling it "junk." That's what mom called it. That's what I now call it because I'm tired of seeing it all over the place.

I guess that sounds insensitive, (I suppose it is) But when I'm in a mood, everything better be picked up or that "junk" will end up in the garbage. And it has, but only occasionally.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This morning, Katie and I were cleaning out the kitty litter when she stopped and pointed to the little birdie on her shirt. I said "oh what a cute little bird!" This then threw me back to a memory of (trying to) sing the little bird song from "Fiddler on the Roof" to Shannon when she was a baby and she wore her little outfit with, (you guessed it!) cute little birdies on it. I started to sing it to Katie but was forgetting the words. The strongest urge to watch the movie came over me. It's my all-time favorite musical. (with West Side Story a close second)

I remember years ago mom and Teresa were going to see this movie in the theater. I think I was about 8 maybe? I begged and begged to go, and despite their efforts to convince me I would hate it, I won.

I hated it. Sooo boring. I must have complained the whole way home. All I remember thinking was, will he ever stop saying "on the other hand..." Then I grew up and I believe Teresa may have reintroduced it to me and I loved it. (thanks Terese for keeping the culture in my life)

So we watched it. All curled up and cute under our "nite nites" on the couch. And Katie seemed to like it for a full 20 minutes. Which was perfect, I had never expected to get further than that, and I got my fix. Little by little we'll make our way to the part with "the little bird" song.

This picture is an "oldie but a cutie" (2007)

So mom wants to hear some Tim stories. Well I'll work on that. (no, that wasn't said sarcastically) I can say that right now I'm thoroughly enjoying something.

I'm actually better than him at something. Something computer-related even. We both have facebook accounts and we both tool around a little with various games. One of us does more games than the other, but that's not the point. (there's that un?intentional Irish dig quality I have coming out)

Pathwords. I'm terrible. My friends are getting scores close to one thousand. Me, around 5oo.

Mafia Wars. Tim had to swoop in and save me from going broke on that one. (fake money, don't panic mom )

He surpasses me on most (every) tasks involving numbers and/or the computer. (as he does in many other ways too) And that's fine with me. We're not competitive.

When we play Monopoly we don't sulk about not getting the favorite orange properties, or buy Boardwalk just because the opponent really wants Park Place. Or have a tantrum because we havn't landed on free parking more than once... Really, we're not competitive.

When we play games as a team we do pretty well. (we're fair at Pictionary and Taboo is not too shabby) So I never expected to feel so good about this new talent I discovered.

My high score in bejeweled is over 100,000, Tim's is 50,000 (I think) This really has nothing to do with talent. I'm pretty sure I'm just a little luckier. It feels good anyway.
When Tim plays this game, he's so focused and determined. This game gets the best of him and it drives him crazy. And I can't help but feel a twitch of pleasure when watching him struggle.

Love you hon. Even when you're winning at Monopoly.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First, I want to start by addressing the whole "Jon and Kate" issue. (I'm pretty sure everyone reading this knows what I'm referring to and I don't know how to post a link. Let alone what link to use)

I pity them for the unfortunate nature of being celebrities. Actors being put on some kind of perfection pedestal is absurd and cruel. I think that cameras have taken the place of Jon in Kate's life (she seems to thrive with the attention) and they could use some time alone to work on their relationship. (couldn't we all?)

It's so easy to allow kids to dominate your daily life and to get lost in the whirlwind of raising them. I remember learning once (in church maybe?) that first comes your relationship with God, then your spouse, then your kids. That's a mighty tall order to fill but it makes so much sense. How can you raise your kids united if you're not even on the same page? I know I need help remembering this.

What this has proved to me beyond a doubt is that money certainly does not buy happiness.

Daniel may not love to practice writing his name or to learn his letters, but he is very creative. His favorite shows are Junkyard Wars, Deadliest Catch (Daddy's influence) and all those other shows about cars; fixing them up, tricking them out, (yeah, I know the slang) or building. I don't have a problem with him watching these all afternoon because he only watches for a few minutes and then goes off and "tricks out" his cozy coupe. It has been everything from an ice cream truck to a monster truck.

I love it when he talks about what he just did to his car to me like he's a mechanic. It never makes any sense but he pulls it off because he's got the hand gestures and expressions to make it believable.

Sometimes he arranges his blocks like a monster jam arena (oh yeah, I forgot to mention what a HUGE monster truck fan he is) He has also been known to make some crazy inventions out of blankets, toys, whatever he finds. After an episode of Mythbusters, he rigged together this contraption that fell apart when you pulled the string and he loved to demonstrate it over and over. (there were many versions of that one)

He really is "all boy" for now. So despite the tantrums and teasing and lack of motivation to pick up, he's just so lovable and cute.

(I'll have to make a post sometime about how "cleaning up" happens (or not) in this house)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ever have a day that just seems to go nowhere? This morning was like that. Beautiful weather. No immediate plans, just ideas. I got it in my head that I wanted Shannon to work on riding a bike today and it seemed to take forever to get there. I was baking, Tim's in the basement, kids are outside. Then I'm on the phone, kids are in and out, Tim's on the computer. Then I'm on the computer, Shannon is saying "can I just rest first?" when asked how she likes the idea of bike riding and I'm back on the phone.
Then it's lunch.

FINALLY, we make it out the front door, get all geared up, and try. I'm still holding the bike and running alongside at this point. We go down the street and back at which point I'm huffing a little and Shannon says "O.K. can I be done for now?"
And that was it. I think there are some kids who can't wait to get the training wheels off and get it in a day, and then there are the Shannons who could care less and would rather lounge around and play dress up and pretend. She's a sensitive girl who's strength is definitely academics over sports. When she was little, she would set up all her toys and dolls and have conversations with them . She still does this. I will be in another room and I'll hear her carrying on what almost sounds like a performance. Her voice even changes to be a different character. Lately she's been using a voice that sounds an awful lot like Vincent Price when she laughs. I need to get this on tape somehow...

Then we washed the car together. I'm getting stuff prepared and Shannon is chomping at the bit to help. So I give her the sponge and bucket and she's daintily touching the sponge to the soap and feathering the car with it. I watched her do this all around the car till she says "All done! Shiny as a bird!"

What? What does that even mean? She's so funny, always saying things that must make sense to her I guess.
I took Tobi for a walk today later than usual which was nice because she wasn't peeing in every yard. So we're walking at a nice, brisk pace. Enjoying the sunshine, the breeze, the lovely day in general. We get to the corner and let a family of bikers pass. As we round the corner, 2 bikers from behind us wiz by and one says " get your damn dog out of the way" I say "excuse me? Get your damn *** in the road!" Last time I checked pedestrians had the right of way on the sidewalk and I'm positive we didn't come anywhere near cutting them off or anything.
Well, it didn't ruin our walk by any means. But it's so sad that people can carry around such anger that they talk that way to strangers. It wasn't a shining moment for me either. I should have just ignored it.
The day drifted on like one of those slow, beautiful epic movies (Out of Africa) and I feel very peaceful.

That's not me on the mower by the way (mom) Don't freak out, I didn't get a tattoo. It's Tana and her two boys, Shannon, Katie, and Dan is there but hidden.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My family was outside playing in the backyard this afternoon. All but my youngest (3). I was getting ready to go out to do my daily chore of cleaning the dog poo, (ok, who am I kidding, the 2-or-3-times-a-week chore) when my youngest says "me outside?" and pats her chest like she does when she is referring to herself and I say "sure, go get your shoes on!"

She leaves the kitchen quickly, only to return not only with her shoes on, but this as well.

Now Katie was ready to help me find the dog poo. This girl is obsessed with poop in general. When we are in a public restroom, she (of course in the stall with me because she is only 3) never fails to announce loudly "mommy poop?" Repeatedly. Whether I am or not but at this point does it really matter?

I remember being at the Hemlock fair with the family last year and we were hiding out in an empty horse barn while a quick summer monsoon passed. The older two were running up and down the corridor playing chase or something. Where was Katie? Where was Katie. Oh yeah, over by one of the stalls looking in and saying in her "I-can-barely-talk" voice: " Mommy! Poop!"

"yes, that's horse poop." (monitor other kids)

"Mommy, Big Poop!"

" Wow, Katie, big poop" (continue watching other more mobile children)


"Yes Katie, horses poop big because they are so big."


And that's what mommies are for to a three-year-old.

(To her disappointment, I never made an effort to clean it up)