Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weather woes

I am going to rant now. I'm sorry that you're going to be subjected to this, but I just need to rant.

I'm tired of winter. I'm not a fan of winter to begin with, but even more, I dislike winter weather.

We've already gone through enough winter weather this season to last us for several years, but apparently we're not done yet. No-siree... time for Round 2. *ding ding ding* Where's the cute girl with the card and the announcer commentating the entire event??

Already yesterday, while the storm was still churning way out west in the Pacific Ocean (yes, I said the Pacific Ocean... did I mention I live smack-dab in the middle of the United States?), the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch.

Today, they revised it. I'm going to share the relevant parts... the "fun" parts... the parts that make me want to scream and run around in circles till they lock me up and ship me someplace chronically warm.

"Hazardous Weather...
• Rain Will Transition To Freezing Rain...Sleet And Eventually
Snow Beginning Thursday Morning And Continuing Through Friday
Morning. The Heaviest Precipitation Is Expected Late Thursday
Through Early Friday.

• 6 To 10 Inches Of Snow And Sleet Accumulation Are Expected To
The Northwest Of Interstate 44 With Isolated Amounts Near 12
Inches Possible In Northern Osage County. Ice Accumulations Of
One Quarter To Three Quarters Of An Inch Are Possible South Of
The Heavy Sleet And Snow Area...With The Heaviest Ice
Accumulations Near A Line From Okemah To Fayetteville.

• Significant Ice Accumulation On Trees And Power Lines Is
Likely...Which Would Cause Power Outages That May Last For
Several Days.

• Roads...Bridges...And Overpasses Will Become Slick And
Hazardous In The Watch Area...Making Travel Treacherous.

"Precautionary/Preparedness Actions...
• Consider Changing Travel Plans. Make Sure You Have An Adequate
Supply Of Food...Water And The Necessary Medication To Last
Through The Duration Of The Winter Storm."

Because, clearly, we don't know any of this already, they feel the need to reiterate the fact that we will A) likely lose power, B) not be able to travel anywhere, and C) have to sit here and freeze and wait for power to be restored while trying to figure out how to cook food on a stove.

And me in a house with no fireplace.

Let's hope we don't lose water this time. The last time we had a major ice storm around here, our water district lost power to the pump. Thankfully we were staying at my dad's, so we weren't as affected as those who had to stay here.

Moving back to this year's impending doom...

I made the mistake of going to the grocery store today as well as Sam's Club. I *always* do my grocery shopping on Tuesdays. This was no different than usual for me. I knew the storm was coming, knew it was forecast to be bad, but I am not a panicker by nature. I am a planner. I plan. Planning for an ice storm in which we will likely lose power does not mean stocking up on excess food that will go bad.

I am, apparently, in the minority.

Sam's Club crowds were of Christmas proportions. At 11 a.m.-ish, they had eight or nine registers open and even had one of the people running around who pre-scans items so you can get through the lines faster. At noon at the grocery store, they had eight or nine registers open, no sackers, and the lines were 2-3 people deep. I kept wondering what on earth had caused this mass shop until someone mentioned stocking up on toilet paper, and then the light - *ping* - went on.

I like snow.

I dislike ice.

I dislike cold.

I'm going to go into hibernation next year so I can just skip all this mess. Anyone else? I'm happy to share a cave if it means extra body warmth. Just one rule - no spooning!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pinecar Derby!

For a month or so now, my boy has been excited. For Christmas, the Cubmaster of our pack gave each Cub Scout a pinecar derby kit. The boys had all of Christmas break plus a couple of weeks to make their cars.

M1 was in heaven. He sketched out an image of his perfect car (which Daddy shaped) and told us EXACTLY how he wanted it painted. Gold was crucial.

We got him some craft paint from the store, and he painted almost everything on this car - everything except the numbers on the side, which he politely asked me to help with.

And then I put his name on the back. He was exceedingly proud of his work, and we were very proud of him, too. He had worked hard on it!

We went for a test run a week ago, and his car was one of the fastest. A lot of modifications can be made in a week, though, and the race itself didn't happen till today.

In the end, he didn't get a trophy, but he got a ribbon for participation, one for the "Most Genuine" car, and one for doing his best. He also got a patch for his uniform.

He was beyond thrilled with his car's performance, and I'm beyond proud of my little big boy. He did awesome.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A monologue on boys

I never spent a lot of time around boys as a child. I had boy cousins, but I also had a LOT of cousins, and the ones closest to my age were girls (there were three of us born within five weeks of each other), so even when I did get to see my cousins, I hung out with the girls. I had boy friends in elementary school, but mostly I just chased them or vice versa. I had lots of guy friends as teens (and several boyfriends of the more romantic variety), but by then, no proper teen considers his- or herself a "kid" any more, and conversations are so much "deeper."

Deeper. In hindsight, I laugh.

So I always just knew that I was going to have two boys and raise them to be wonderful little T-ball players... and that thought caused God to get a good chuckle, yell, "SMITE!" and send me a science-oriented Aspie boy and the Diva you've met previously. Clearly, I didn't really know what I was thinking. I certainly wasn't thinking of toy guns and sound effects and roughhousing.

And drawings of people being shot. But that's another post.

I've dealt with a lot of BOY today.

After I picked M2 up from school, she and M1 and I headed over to my friend The Preacher's Wife's house. TPW (The Preacher's Wife, lest I get carried away with acronyms here and forget to explain myself) has three kids. She has E, who is 5, in kindergarten, and the quietEST of the TPW's kids. I say quietEST because I've never seen him go into thoughtful mode. I know he does it. His mom wouldn't lie, and she says he does it. I've just never seen it. But I'm sure he does it.

Then there's J, who is 4, dying to be in kindergarten just to keep up with big brother, happy-go-lucky and always up for action of any sort as long as there's lots of action. Did I mention he likes action? 'Cause he does. If I didn't already know his middle name, I'd think it was Action.

Finally, there's L, the girl of the bunch, who is a very cute curly-topped 2 and who has recently discovered her Inner Diva, which mostly meant that she and M2 discovered their mutual love of all things pink and princess-y today and spent a good amount of time hauling shoes, hairbrushes, stools, and radios through the house to amuse themselves, No Boys Allowed. There would have been a Cinderella dress involved save for an incident which had caused said dress to be forcibly removed and placed in the laundry pile.

But I digress.

The boys saw M1 walking up the stairs to the house when we arrived, and Chaos reigned supreme. Every time these boys get together, you'd seriously think they hadn't seen each other in several years and absolutely MUST make up for it in the first 15 minutes after shrieking, "HE'S HERE!!!!!" while yanking open the front door with a force that should have removed hinges from drywall without a second thought. I am amazed that TPW's house still stands. There's rampaging, screaming, shouting, running, shooting of Nerf guns, swordplay, pistols, cowboy hats, and maybe the occasional mattress involved in all of this, and I realize that I never, ever, EVER in a million years had pictured myself in the scenario of asking another mom, "Um, is he allowed to stand ON the dresser?"

(The answer, by the way, was no.)

Or, perhaps, saying, "Don't aim the guns at people. Shoot the door [TV, wall, floor, ceiling, any conceivable inanimate stable object] instead."

I had no idea that trying to get a boy - any boy - to listen to you over the din of a highly involved sword/lightsaber fight would entail a bullhorn on full blast in their left ear, and even then the answer will be a fairly detached, "Whuht?"


"Whaddaya mean, WHAT?? I've been yelling at you for the last five minutes! Do you want a cookie?"

"Oh. No."

*resume fighting*


Thankfully, TPW and I got to have a nice long chat while the boys were repeatedly capturing, mauling, and otherwise killing bad guys (and once in a while each other), and the house and all the boys survived. We keep thinking that if we get them together often enough, the volume will go down.

Maybe this is what we get for thinking.

After I left TPW's house, the kids and I hurried home, grabbed some dinner, and then prepped for Scouts. I have three little Cub Scouts in my Tiger den, M1 and his best friends, J and F, who are identical twins. For some reason, when you put two twin brothers plus my boy together, the trouble quadruples. The math doesn't add up. Maybe it's government math and I need new lessons.

Herding three first-grade boys through the motions of a "meeting" is much, much harder than herding cats. I should know. But J and F, for whatever reason, actually seem to like me as a den leader and are really good for as long as the meeting lasts. The minute we say our promise and dismiss, though, they vanish down the hall to M1 or M2's room like they've been launched by NASA.

(Children? What children? Ohhhhh that noise down the hall... THOSEchildren... Oh, you want me to deal with them? We may have a problem here...)

I would like you to imagine my herding cats scenario now, picturing their mother and I trying to finagle two protesting boys back down the hall, into their shoes, and out the door with as little escapage as possible, all while M1 is luring them back as stealthily as possible with promises of seeing his anole or playing with the new actual tools and actual blocks of wood residing in a bin in his room.

It takes two semi-experienced moms multiple attempts to achieve our goal. You'd think we would know their tricks by now, but they're slippery little buggers!

However, for all the scenarios I never imagined, for all the tomfoolery and shenanigans and lollygagging and hijinks, I couldn't imagine mom-life without a boy in it.

I'm really not sure how I survived until now.

I now propose a toast, because moms of boys often deserve a good stiff drink to get through it all: Long live boys and those who deal with them!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Divas (and their brothers)

Ask any of my friends, and they'll tell you: My Daughter is a Diva.

Sure, most little girls are divas, but mine... well, even my friend whose daughter practically lives in "princess dresses" has admitted that my girl is pretty special. (This is why they're really really good friends.)

My daughter has been planning her birthday party since early December.

Her birthday is in March.

She loves dresses, which are things I despised as an older child and still wear about once a decade today; baby dolls, which I hardly ever played with as a kid; arts and crafts in all forms, jewelry being a favorite, where I think slap bracelets were about as far as I ever got; and purdying herself up for no good reason, which... oh, let's be honest, it better be a darn good reason for me to put makeup on, and going to the store or meeting up with friends just doesn't cut the mustard. I think I wore make-up in high school for about three months total because I was just too darn lazy to put the work into it.

I was a tomboy, and now I'm raising a Diva.

I got my hair done a couple of weeks ago, and my stylist put me in curls since I mentioned that Oz doesn't care for it when I come home with straight hair. He loved it, but Miss Diva loved it even more and instantly demanded that I do the same thing to her hair.

For some reason, I obliged. And then I took a picture of her in front of her girly bed with her girly pillow that another friend had made especially for her because she has twin boys and just sometimes needs a girl to dote on.

I'll happily loan out M2 for that purpose at any time. She loves to be spoiled, and I get tired of doing it.

Heaven help me when she reaches "that" age.

Then yesterday, she pulled this little number. I had been checking out some photos that I'll be posting this weekend, so I snapped this shot.

And when she saw the flash, the Diva came out.

"Do you love the camera, darling?"

"Yes! Can I see my picture?"

*bangs head repeatedly into wall after a futile effort to make the divachild believe the world does NOT, in fact, revolve around her*

Thankfully, she has a big brother who is very effective in bringing his sister back to reality, at least for a little while.
While I know it's probably technically bad to encourage him mocking her, this was just too funny.

I don't think he could stick his hip out if he tried, but he was bound and determined that his baby sister was not the only one who could be in pictures.

I actually had to crop her out of both of these pictures of him, because she was incredibly jealous of his time in front of the lens.
So she stuck her head in front of him. You can't see it, but I think her hip is stuck out so far, it's actually in the next room. Attitude much?

Gah... sisters.


One thing is for sure, lack of confidence is not an issue in this house!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thinking ahead... way, way ahead...

First off, after 21 days of snow on the ground, it is FINALLY melting. Finally. Here's to melting snow not coming back. Ever, if I have my way.

And with the melting snow comes thoughts of spring. Like gardening. And Spring Break. And with thoughts of Spring Break comes thoughts of summer. And with thoughts of summer comes thoughts of fall. And with thoughts of fall comes thoughts of curriculum for the 2010/2011 school year.

And schools. I do have to figure out which school M2 is going to be attending next year sometime in the next couple of months. Option 1 is the current school, which is a good school and has the PERFECT calendar for us since we get a one-week break in October (over M1's birthday) and a two-week Spring Break (over M2's birthday). It also is where her current friends are, which does have to be taken into consideration. Option 2 uses a traditional calendar, which is a down side, but it's a larger school with more extracurricular activities and is actually cheaper for us. She's only going into kindergarten, but still... wherever she goes next year really is where I'd like to keep her for a while. Option 2 is a good school, too, by the way. Where would you send your daughter??? I seriously want to know.

Back to curriculum. Since I'm just a little bit OCD and an uber-planner (gardening plans will likely be laid out next week), I went searching for ideas for next year, and I think I've pretty well gotten it figured out already. And I may have ordered most of it after Oz may have indicated that it was acceptable to order books and materials for August in... January.

So here's (roughly) the 2010/2011 curriculum:

HISTORY: Continue with Story of the World Volume II, text and activity book. He's extremely happy with this and so am I.

SCIENCE: Continue with a combination of R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Earth & Science and E=mc2 Earth Science. Since he can plow through an entire lesson in one sitting without batting an eye, I do need two science curricula. Science is his forte, and he does retain the lessons well, and at this age, the point is to expose him to as much as possible anyway so that he can specialize later.

MATH: Continue with Math-U-See. We'll be starting Beta here in a few weeks but I know we won't finish that by the end of this school year, so we'll review, finish that, and continue on to Gamma next school year. I'm also going to continue supplementing with the occasional page of Singapore work because he enjoys the pictures and more "lively" approach as opposed to the strict black-and-white of Math-U-See.

GRAMMAR: Finish First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mine Volume I and either continue with Volume II or check out Shurley English. Decisions don't have to be firm in this area for quite a while, so I'm not in a rush. Add some Mad Libs books for fun.

WRITING: Continue Handwriting Without Tears and their second-grade curriculum one day a week. I will not be starting cursive in second grade because of his problems with handwriting, but I will start adding some dictation sentences. I'm also going to order Writing Strands because he'll enjoy the activity part of it and the fact that it takes four days to complete.

READING: Continue reading as he has been but encourage him to make a book list to keep up with all he reads during the school year. He loves to read, so this shouldn't be a big issue.

SPELLING: Not sure on this one, actually. We've been using Spelling Workout B (he finished A months ago since I didn't make him do any lesson where he could spell 100% of the words out of the gate), and he's not very fond of some of the parts of it. I need to get hold of some other spelling curricula and see what's out there. Any suggestions?

ART: I found a book called Complete-A-Sketch Vision-Dexterity-Focus which works for people with dexterity problems and ordered that and also ordered Artistic Pursuits Volume I because it will help him review the history we're learning this year in combination with art.

MUSIC: He says he wants to learn piano, so we'll see where that leads. I'm not sure his heart is really into it.

LOGIC: I ordered a fun logic problem book called Logic Safari for him to take a look at. I'll let him work through that at his leisure.

LANGUAGE: He wants to learn French AND Latin next year. He's 7, will be 8. I can't see two languages going over well. Sooo, since language IS a requirement in this state, and I'd really prefer him to learn a living language, French it is. Le Francais Facile Junior has been ordered for that purpose.

MEDIA: Dance Mat Typing will be used on the computer, and I plan to teach him some basic computer skills as well. I mean, he knows some of the basics, but experimenting is not something he's really been able to do on the computer yet, and I want that to change. (Shhhhh... don't tell him, but he's probably going to get his own computer for his birthday in October).

*DEEEEEEP breath*

So it sounds like a lot! Most of it we're already doing, though, so I don't think it'll add a lot of time to our day, and I don't do everything every day.

I'd seriously love input on where you'd send your daughter to school and what you use for spelling. Thanks!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What I May Have Said

I say things sometimes, things like "I will do X" or "Sure, let's do Y!" Sometimes, though, I don't always really mean it. So when I said I'd do a daily update with my South Beach Diet menu, I didn't really mean that. What I meant was I'd update A) When I have time, and B) When I feel enough time has passed that people might actually care, because really, I don't think you want a daily update of what I'm eating any more than I really want to see the list. I have been eating things like chef salads, lettuce wraps, and pot roast, so I'm surviving. More importantly, my family isn't feeling horribly deprived of food. I, on the other hand, can't see a Braum's commercial without drooling over the mere thought of a Brownie Fudge Sundae.

Please wait while I drool again.

There. I'm better now.

Thank you.

Seriously, though, I weighed myself Wednesday morning and was down 3.2 pounds from my start weight on Monday. This means I'm on the low side of a number that's been taunting me since before my son was born! I'd have done a happy dance in the kitchen at the time except that it was disgustingly dark-thirty early, I didn't have a bra on yet, and my blood sugar was low enough that the happy dance would have been enough to make me pass out. So I passed on the happy dance, woke the kids up, and ate breakfast instead. Oh, and got dressed, too.

In layers. You have to wear about three layers in Oklahoma right now to stay warm. Oz got curious the other day and actually compared the Oklahoma forecast to the forecast for McMurdo Station, Antarctica. While I realize that it is summer in Antarctica right now, the fact that our low is about 30 degrees colder than theirs will be tonight is somewhat significant, I think. The wind chill here is so cold they've been cancelling school rather than make kids stand outside and wait for buses since most people here just flat aren't equipped for winter the way they are any further north. There's still snow on the ground from Christmas Eve, by the way. Snowsuits are something my kids have never owned or even contemplated, so this snowy winter is totally new to them. People in Minnesota, Alaska, and other places where the word "cold" doesn't come into effect until the temperature hits somewhere around -20F are totally allowed to laugh at us right now. M2's school is still in session because her school doesn't have buses, much to M1's chagrin. He wants his sissy to stay home one day to watch him do school. I think she'd get bored after about five minutes and then he'd want to go play with her, but you can't argue logic with a 7-year-old, especially one who's been cooped up more or less since Christmas and hasn't had a chance to properly try out his new Heelys other than scooting around the dining room table and trying to run down the cats.

Speaking of cats, the two kittens got fixed on Wednesday. They enjoyed that about as much as I would enjoy having my head shaved. Hermes woke up utterly pissed and hissed at the vet tech almost continuously till I came and got him; he was fine once he saw me because he just wanted to be held. And eat. And eat some more. And then he kept trying to chew on his sister's neck all night. Vixen pretty much just didn't wake up until Thursday morning, which was really hilarious because she kept trying to walk, but her back legs just weren't up to it yet, so she'd take about two steps and her hind legs would just kind of... fall over... and then all of her would fall over... and then she'd look up at me and act completely surprised. And then five seconds later, she'd do it all over again. She wouldn't not follow me, either, so I wound up hauling her kitty rear around most of the evening, and now I'm contemplating making baby slings for just-spayed cats. It would have been nice to have had my hands free. Of course, that would require a skill with sewing and crafts, which I'm sooo not good at.

I'll try to get a post with actual pictures up here in the next few days. I've been working on the curriculum for M1's 2010/2011 school year, so that'll probably be the next post. If the cats or kids don't inspire me first. :)

Have a great WARM day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Day Back

Man, what a start! After having a killer Saturday night out with my girlfriends at the comedy club and the bar, I was really, really not ready to head back to school this morning. Mostly, it was early, like 6:30 a.m. early, and I had gotten quite accustomed to sleeping in till 8:30 or so - I love that the kids are old enough now to really appreciate the value of a good sleep-in!

Anyway, I had alllll these great ideas about how 2010 was going to go. I was going to keep it low-stress (so far... not bad), and I'm also going on the South Beach Diet to finally lose the rest of the weight that I've had for about, oh, eight years now. It predates my kids, so it's pretty fond of where it's at and hasn't had intentions of moving for some time now. Mmmm... clingy fat.

So I got up this morning with good intentions. As far as the diet went, I managed! I was horribly tempted to go treat myself with a batch of truffles after spending 45 minutes on math with my son who finally concluded "I hate math" when what he really meant was "I hate flash cards," but I consoled myself with spending $45 instead to get two Didjes (is that a word?) from kids.woot.com. I told the boy he can have his after he masters his subtraction facts, and M2 can have hers when she 'graduates' preschool.

I was also horribly tempted at dinner, which was taco salad, with the salty smell of chips. CHIPS. The only other time I've craved chips is when I was about 6 months pregnant with M2 and smelled guacamole chips at Wal-Mart and insisted on buying a huge bag and ate half of it and then threw the rest out because the smell made me nauseous. I don't usually crave chips.

I'll probably go a little crazy trying to stay on this diet, especially if the snow doesn't ever melt (we're on day 11 in a state that usually sees snow for 1-2 days at a time), but for now, we'll see. I sure know I felt like I was starving after lunch, and I had a huge, massively supersized bowl of tuna/cucumber salad.

I'll let you know if I survive. Until then, you get to be treated with daily menus so I can keep myself on track.

Day 1, South Beach Hell:
Breakfast: Spinach/mushroom frittata (I made this yesterday, sliced it up, and will be eating off of it all week since the kids know Mama's on a "special" diet and not to touch the "special" food)
Lunch: Tuna/cucumber salad
Dinner: Taco salad
Snacks: 1 oz. nuts; cottage cheese

I darn well better lose weight, and that Didj better live up to it's hype. Otherwise, heads are going to spin.

But that may just be hunger talking. Dang, I miss doughnuts.