Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waving the White Flag

I give up.

I give up on a LOT of things.

Keeping the house clean is one example.

But that's another post. Today, I'm officially giving up on keeping the electronics time to a minimum. I cave. It's impossible in our house. If it's not the Wii, it's the TV. If it's not the TV, it's the Netbook. If it's not the Netbook, it's the DS. And *apparently* if you make a valiant attempt to take away everything for 24 hours... he'll use an electronic dictionary as a last resort.

*bangs head on wall*

It's kind of funny, really. It's rather amusing to be filling out your pertinent medical history at your new optometrist's office and have your son announce, "Mom! I got it to spell 'Constantinople!' That's one of those "You know you're a homeschooler when..." moments.

I really have tried hard to keep the electronics to a reasonable time per day. I am discovering, however, that as he ages, the challenge becomes unreasonable. This isn't to say that I won't try, but I think I'm going to have to give in to some extent. He'll just have to learn that ignoring me when I tell him to put up whatever device it is to come do a chore or go outside is completely unacceptable and will result in more chores. Or more time outside. Whichever is more conducive to my sanity that day.


My Overthinking Challenge for the day is NOT to overthink M2's education plan for next year (first grade). Since she got to stay home last Friday, I've had this odd urge to bring her home, too. A large part of me knows we'd all go crazy if I did this, but then a friend of mine e-mailed about a homeschool dance class that's going to be during the daytime starting in August. M2 has wanted to take dance forever, and I'm sure I could find a Young Rembrandts class somewhere if she still wanted to take art, and I could enroll them both in gym, and M1 could still take swimming (or we could forego the dance class and put both of them in swimming), and I could afford all of this if they were both at home and I wasn't paying private school tuition!

Then again... I need to consider what's best for my sanity.

Must. Not. Overthink.

In both of my endeavors today, wish me luck!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Weekend Recap

Because it's Monday and I really feel like crawling back into bed and snoozing for the next three hours, I'm drinking coffee and posting on my blog instead. Clearly I've got my priorities straight. The fact that I'm tired may be self-inflicted, and it may have something to do with the fact that Oz and I stayed up till 1:30 a.m. watching "Downton Abbey" on PBS because our DVR boycotted the earlier showing and heaven forbid we wait till it comes on again at a decent hour.

We're nothing if not typical products of our respective generations.

My weekend was reasonably uneventful. M2 was supposed to have gone back to school on Friday, but it was a Friday, the day after a snow day, when she was going to have a substitute anyway, so I told her she could stay home, to which she said, "Mom, can we do school HERE?"

And I said yes, and she insisted on wearing her school uniform anyway, and I learned for sure and certain why I only homeschool ONE child instead of both. There might have been liquor involved in my mental recovery plan.

But that was Friday, and I had no indication that Saturday would be horrible other than the fact that the kids and I had been cooped up together for two days and Oz was going to be working from home all day, too. Sounds like a recipe for a perfect day, doesn't it? I thought so.

It could have been worse. M1's worst offense was to give M2 a bloody nose by whacking her with a pillow during a mostly one-sided pillow fight *after* I had already given M1 The Warning against Using Hands On Your Sibling. He and I ran errands later in the day, giving M2 the treat of staying behind with Daddy so she could pester him and create random art projects. More on that in another post.

M1 and I particularly had to go to Office Depot because apparently 2011 is going to be The Year That Stuff Dies, and the paper shredder had been a casualty of that particular war earlier in the day. The vacuum and oven are also on their respective ways out. The vacuum now makes a buzzing noise when it works - something about the beater bar whacking against something that none of us can identify to fix - and the oven and range are getting moody about when they light. Last time I had to turn on a burner on the range for the oven to start to heat. 'Splain that one to me, Lucy. We also had to go to Office Depot because M1's demon-possessed cat had knocked Oz's Macbook off of the desk and killed the hard drive, because that's just the kind of thoughtful feline he is. Thankfully Oz knows how to replace hard drives and it only cost us $100 instead of $2000 for a new machine, but still. I grrr in his general direction.

All this is why, on Sunday, I parked my carcass on the couch with my cross-stitching and watched football.

I think I want four-day school weeks. I need two days just to recover from Saturday.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just a Note..

I would like to thank you all for letting me overthink things and only laughing at me a little bit. While I might feel a bit sheepish... it does remind me to lighten up.

And for that, I appreciate you all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Serious Question

OK, I'm not sure why I ponder questions like these, but I do, and again I find myself in a bit of a cranial crisis.

I try to eat and cook healthfully. We're not perfect - we love the occasional Taco Bueno or Sonic or Chili's - but my kids are no strangers to the healthier sections in our supermarket and will often beg for such things as butternut squash, spinach, and bean sprouts. I don't have a Whole Foods budget, but I try to purchase organic food where my store offers it. For example, I got randomly excited this week when I happened to notice that my store offers organic minced garlic (they don't carry organic bulbs). I didn't *need* garlic this week, but it's now in my mental file for future reference. When summer comes, we head down to the farmer's markets and see what we can get there to go with our weekly menus. These are things that the kids enjoy and that make me feel good about our diets (even if nobody could possibly lose weight eating what I fix). One of these days I'll make the effort and go buy all our meat from a butcher instead of the supermarket, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

No problems with any of this, right?

But then my brain takes a random left turn and I wind up in the familiar Quagmire of Questioning, and I hear myself thinking, "Which is better? Organic or locally grown?"

I've been in situations where I've faced this dilemma. I'll be at the farmer's market and want, say, spinach. I've run late that day, and the organic stand is out. The little stall two away has some that looks beautiful, but it's likely been sprayed with herbicide/pesticide. I know I can wash it, and it could be okay, and for years I never would have even given it a second thought, but now is now, and in the back of my mind I think to myself, "I can just grab some organic at the grocery store while I'm there." And it causes me to stop. Sometimes I get the spinach; sometimes I don't. Which is better? To get the organic product that might have 1000+ food miles under its belt but has been grown in untreated soil and without chemicals OR the locally grown that has maybe 15 food miles but has heaven-knows-what in its system?

I even wonder this about the eggs that my own chickens lay. I would have to order online if I wanted organic feed (and pay the difference plus shipping), so it's just easier to get the chicken pellets that my local feed store carries. Plus my chickens usually have the run of my back yard and get veggie scraps (usually organic) that I toss out to them. So the eggs aren't organic. But they're mine, and I don't hesitate to eat them and even share them with others. Are they better than the organic, cage-free eggs that I could buy at the store or not?

To all you foodies out there, what are your thoughts on this subject? I'm simply curious; all opinions are welcome. And if you think the whole thing is bosh and I should shut up and be happy I can afford to eat ANY organic, tell me that, too. I'm cool. I remember the days when frozen burritos and Ramen noodles were staples. So you won't hurt my feelings one bit. :)

Stay warm, y'all!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oh, Please, No.

Just tell me it isn't happening.

Tell me that the girl hasn't started going back to her habits from last spring/summer/early fall.

Let me live in denial.


I'm a mom. I worry. I know that. I often worry unnecessarily. I know that, too. But she (and all of us!) had been so HAPPY. And while *I* haven't changed my parenting style one iota - that I'm aware of - and her teacher or classmates haven't changed anything - that I'm aware of - the girl suddenly doesn't want to take art class (the same Young Rembrandts art class she attended quite cheerfully before Christmas break)... and is latching onto my leg and fussing for no discernible reason... and coming home saying that school is horrible and nobody will play with her... and crying her heart out because she feels that her age-appropriate drawings aren't good enough and somehow that makes her a bad person...

and I worry more.

I could use a few positive thoughts thrown my way, if you can spare them. We already had a three-month check-up scheduled with the pdoc (pediatric psychiatrist) in early February (she doesn't know this), so I'm just hoping that she's coming down with something or is just having a bad week.

Fingers crossed.

I'm trying to see the positive. I'm making sure my questions to her are geared to that end (i.e. "Did you have another great day at school today?" or "Tell me about what you're working on in class!"), but... yeah.

Hopefully I'll have a happier post tomorrow. The son of one of my good friends is turning ONE! What can be wrong with that?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why I Hate Shoe Shopping

I'm not a shopper to begin with. This much is true. But there is little worse in my mind than shoe shopping... for children.

Whenever my children say, "Mom? I don't think my shoes fit any more," which happens about twice a year, I inwardly groan. Then I outwardly groan. And then I make plans to take them to the nearest shoe store (typically Payless because, let's face it, when you're buying all new shoes for two kids twice a year, running to the pricey shoe store doesn't happen unless it's a very special occasion). And then I make sure we have liquor in the cabinet.

Today was one of these days. M2 had been in her tennis shoes since early summer, and when I checked them the other day, I noticed that her toes were getting squished. So I promised that I'd take her to the store today and see if I could find her some new sneakers that should, theoretically, fit till mid-summer of this year.

We got to the store, and I had her feet measured (sure enough, she had grown). We started trying on shoes, and then M1 piped up, "Mom, my shoes don't fit, either."


I reached down and tested. His toes were poking the end of the shoe. So I had him measured. And yup, he had outgrown his, too.

M2 tried on four pairs of shoes. She loved pair #1. She liked pair #2. Pair #3 was a pair of blue/silver/white tennis shoes with little blue hearts on them, and one of them hurt her feet. Then she found pair #4 and declared the winner. The kicker? Pair #4 was IDENTICAL to pair #3, but apparently they were somehow different enough to have subliminal appeal a 5-1/2-year-old girl. I don't pretend to get it.

Then we headed across the store to find shoes for M1. He tried on a pair of size 6 1/2 - MEN'S - and discovered they hardly had any growing room. Then he found a pair of entirely black shoes that he loved but which were size 7 1/2 and fell off the second he tried to walk. THEN he found a pair of size 7 shoes. They fit, but they weren't wide enough (boy has funky feet). And finally we found the winner. Pair #4 for him, pair #8 for me.

Between putting on the shoes; me undoing the shoe store lace knots, lacing everything up, and tying the shoes; me saying things like "You have to take out the paper first" and "Get OFF me, child" (to the girl, who has gone uber-clingy again) and "No, you may NOT have three pairs of tennis shoes" (also to the girl) and "Yes, you have to try on both shoes so I can see how they look when you walk in them" (to the boy)... it was a 45-minute shopping trip.

I think the saleslady was glad when we finally came up to check out. I know I was. And just think - I get to do it all over again in six months!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Boy and His... Cat?

Imagine, for a second, that you're sitting in your living room, listening to the sound of the humidifier that isn't doing squat to combat the dry air in your house, and you hear giggling from the region of your child's room, where he is supposed to be reading.

The giggles subside.

Then they start up again.

One might assume that the child was giggling at something funny in his book, right?

Yeah, not here. Here laughter of this sort is only caused by one thing... CAT.

M1 adopted one of the kittens we found under the house last year. M2 and Oz adopted a second, Vixen, but somehow Hermes knows that M1 is the one who picked him and loves him, and he will ONLY obey M1. This is a problem on occasion, because Hermes' other names are synonyms for The Devil, and when M1 isn't around... it's frustrating.

However, when said demon cat decides it wants attention, it will go down the hall to M1's room (usually when M1 is sleeping or trying to sleep) and park itself ON THE BOY. He sleeps on M1's pillow more often than not. Hermes is a very independent cat, though, and primarily keeps to himself.


Today, Hermes got needy. He had already lain on M1 during rest time. I retrieved the boy from underneath the cat so we could go pick up M2, and when we got back home, M1 and M2 went outside to play.





This is the sight that greeted me when I went to investigate. I made the mistake of opening the door to call the boy to come put a muzzle on his cat...

... you get the idea.

They're spending their afternoon together, apparently.

It's a weird symbiotic relationship.

Kind of like the one I have with this.

The psychological implications are too disturbing. I'm going to go fix supper now. I'm sure I'll have a 5-year-old shadow right behind me going, "MOOOOOOOOM??



Gotta love being needed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Whaddaya mean, this is ART??

Art has always been a dirty word to me. The minute taking art class was optional in school, I opted out. The extent of my ability to draw is limited to a slightly lop-sided 3D square. Vanishing point? Heard the term; have no ability to make it happen. Perspective? Psssshhht. My only perspective is being the person in the art gallery staring at the trompe l'oeil painting and wondering how on EARTH someone can use paint (or colored pencils, or crayons, or whatever) and make something look so REAL. I recently stumbled upon this cross-stitching site and about fell over backward. I'm pondering a couple of them for my recently redecorated bedroom.

However, that site also gave me a new perspective on what might be considered 'art.'

I love to cross-stitch. When the kids were infants, I cross-stitched each of them a little picture with their names and date and time of birth. They hung in the nursery over the crib of each child, and I still have the works carefully preserved in the 'forever drawer' of each kid. (Things like school awards, swimming ribbons, tiny toddler eyeglasses, baby books, and other mementos go in this drawer, and each kid sometimes likes to go through his or her drawer just to see what they've forgotten. I also have letters to the children tucked away in there.) When M1 got a bit older, I found a free dragon pattern online and designed a cross-stitch that reads, "Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup." The free dragon design went on the right side of the words, and this work still hangs over his bed, in between his mounted glow-in-the-dark dragon puzzles and his shelves of ceramic dragons (and below the dragon wallpaper border). M2 got a bit older, and I cross-stitched a cute little image of a cat and a mouse all dressed up in English finery riding in a hot-air balloon. I have a common dinner prayer stitched and hanging in my dining room.

Even with all the time and effort and love I've put into these works, I've never considered them art. They're just things I did, little tidbits to bring the hominess into my home. They're nothing spectacular.

But then again, maybe they are. Maybe art is more than I've given it credit for.

M2's bedspread had been getting pretty ragged-looking recently. It originally had bows at each corner; those had been torn off, either by cats or (usually) by the girl herself. It was originally white; my latest critical assessment labeled it 'dingy gray with splotches of I don't want to know but suspect marker.' Washing wasn't helping, and there were a few spots where the material was nearly worn through.

It was time for a new bedspread.

Oz and I poked around online to see what we could find that would fit M2's personality but still complement the colors in her room, which were painted to match this now-worn-looking bedspread. Thankfully pink and green are still an easy duo to find in girls' bedrooms. M2 picked out a cute quilt in the end. It's white again, but minus the tulle covering and thus easier to spot-treat and wash, and has little pink/red rosebuds and greenery over it.

When I was washing this bedspread and removing the old one from her room, I pointed out the cat-and-mouse cross-stitch over her chest of drawers.

"Do you think you're getting too old for that?"

She agreed.

"Would you like me to stitch something else?"

Part of me thought she'd say no. This is the girl, after all, who has a very unique taste in art and who is insistent that she learn how to use the acrylic paints that came with her Christmas art set (this will be another post, because Art-o-phobic mom + Art-o-phile daughter will probably equal Acrylic Paint Disaster). But she didn't. She wanted to know what I had in mind. I pulled out this pattern from a design book that I own, and she loved it. Wanted me to make it for her. And a little part of me swelled up with happiness. I asked M1 if he wanted to take down his dragon (and his puzzles), and he said no.


I might just be hormonal, and I may never make anything unique or amazing, but if my children will hang my cross-stitching on their walls, then I don't care if I can't draw a circle. The art is in making my children happy, and that's all that matters.

Out-of-the-Book Math: Day 2

The curtains are intact. (Can I get a collective "HOORAY!!"?)

After yesterday's meltdown, I was hesitant, but graphing went INSANELY well by comparison.

We started by creating a table. I took inspiration from the fact that he had been pacing the floor while I had been on the phone with a friend and let him use a subjective tool (the size of a step) to measure each room and put it on the table. We talked about rows, we talked about columns, we talked about how everything had to be labeled neatly, and then he filled everything in.

Keep in mind my rooms aren't that big. I told him he could take any route around a room he wanted as long as he took the same route the second time. And he took itty-bitty teensy-weensy steps.

Then we talked about line graphs. He likes line graphs. He's made them before, though he hadn't remember it till we talked about it.

We raided the fridge for that graph, and he told me what instrument to use for measuring, what units to use (grams), and told me how to set up the graph. Then he weighed each clementine, plotted its weight, and linked everything together.

The final graph was a bar graph. We raided the fridge again and used two dozen eggs for the final experiment, since I was due to deliver those eggs this morning anyway.

I weighed the eggs and he put dots to keep track of how many were in each column, then he filled it all in and colored it.

He's really excited because tomorrow we're going to break out a workbook called "Math at Hand" that I picked up somewhere for free and he's going to get to *interpret* various graphs in a chapter that's all about insects. Could it be more perfect?

(On an unrelated note, the snow was totally less than spectacular here. It's friggin' cold out there, but there wasn't much snow. I am annoyed. And PMSing. Rant over. Thank you.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nobody Expects the Mathematics Inquisition!

So M1 got very excited about his non-book-related math today. We talked about number patterns (2, 4, 6, 8 are all +2; 3, 6, 9, 12 are all +3; etc.), we did a couple together, and he seemed really keen on it.

So I handed him the sheet that I'd made, and he went to town. I had only put 10 problems on there plus two 'bonus' questions that I figured he wouldn't get but what the hey, they were bonus questions so who cared. (For the record, bonus question #1 was the Fibonacci sequence, and bonus question #2 was the x2 sequence of 2, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.)

My first clue that I might have done something 'wrong' was when he hit #2:

3, 7, 11, 15, ___, ___, ___

And flipped out.

"MOM!!! It looks like it's +4, but it can't be +4. It doesn't start on the right number!!!"

Oh, my.

I told him to take a deep breath and make very sure that the first number really truly mattered in a pattern - for example, did a shape pattern always have to start with a circle? Did a color pattern always have to start with red?

He got the point, settled down, and got the answer. Crisis averted.

He went through several more, really enjoyed some of the shape ones I'd drawn, and then got to #9:

100, 91, 82, 73, ____, ____, ____


You'd have thought I was trying to kill him.


Never mind that he'd just successfully done one that went "15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 5." Nope. 100 was TOTALLY the wrong end.

It took him 15 minutes to climb down from the top of the curtains and speak in coherent sentences that didn't end in excessive exclamation points. When he realized that all he had to do was find the difference, he settled somewhat, but then he got things all flipped around and was trying to guess the blank without filling in the pattern number (i.e. 73-63=10, no that's wrong... 73-65=8, no that's wrong...), and nearly lost it again.

Oi and vey. I'm definitely glad we touched on the topic, and I'm sure next time will go better (I promised him the same bonus questions with big prizes for when he finally figures them out), but yikes. I had no idea he was going to consider this torture. This is the boy, after all, who spends entire afternoons going through his various collections and sorting them by type and who loves making dichotomous keys for fun. Clearly these activities are not similar in the boy's mind.

Tomorrow is measuring and graphing. Let's hope my curtains are spared.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Learning Curves

For Christmas this year, Oz got me a cast iron griddle. It's the perfect size to fit over two burners on my stove, and I've been looking forward to the day I got to use it. I *wanted* to use it last weekend, but since there were certain people here who couldn't keep down the contents of their stomach, I figured I'd play it safe and wait.

I broke it out today.

Let me say straight out that I love cast iron. Some of my favorite dishes that are always meant to be cooked in cast iron include pineapple upside-down cake and cornbread. BUT! That does not mean I know how to properly cook on cast iron, and boy, did I discover that today.

I had promised the kids pancakes and eggs on the new griddle. I did the short-order cook thing and asked everyone what kind of eggs they want (one order for 'fried,' one order for 'well done,' and two orders, including my own, for 'over medium'), and I whipped up the pancake batter from a mix 'cause while I might be Betty Crocker in some ways, I do love pancake mix. Except for biscuits, and I'll have to share my recipe for those someday. Nom nom nom.

I pulled some blueberries out of the freezer to add to the pancakes while they cooked, found a bag of hash browns in the fridge (did I mention that on Saturdays we usually do brunch instead of breakfast because nobody gets up before 9 a.m. and it's usually 10 before the kitchen sees any action?), asked M2 to get the bag of grapes out of the crisper, pulled out a second cast iron pan for the hash browns, and turned on...


I started the coffee while it heated up, and then came back over and waved my hand over the hot black metal. I sensed heat. I got excited. I stayed excited while I poured the pancake batter into little batches on the back half and cracked eggs onto the front half.

I might have done an internal happy dance.

And then I looked down at my work and thought, "You IDIOT!"

Totally forgot to add oil first, and I watched in horror as all the food semi-permanently adhered to the deceptively shiny black surface.

I salvaged what I could. The eggs came out, though they lost a layer or two thanks to my stupidity, and after I scraped all the excess pancake off and added some oil, the second and third rounds of pancakes puffed up beautifully and didn't stick at all.

But the chickens are gonna get some mangled blueberry pancakes later. I'm sure they'll be hoping this learning curve lasts a while. Though whoever gets to scrub the griddle will no doubt hope that one oopsie is all it takes.

*grins innocently* Live and learn, right?

Friday, January 7, 2011

PSA of the Day




It darn well better get school out on Monday. I want the kids to be able to see how the chickens react. *I* want to see how the chickens react. I want to sit on the couch and sip coffee and hot cocoa and watch movies and do puzzles and crafts and science experiments. I need to do my annual cat tossing!

(And in the meantime, I'm convincing myself that it's not going to be a bleepin' blizzard and that I do not need to go to the store to get food.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Slackin' Off

This time of year, I like to reassess. I start staring at the contents of closets with a hungry eye, wondering what can go during Winter/Spring Cleaning and what has to be kept (like the full-sized bed set my grandmother made and which I will keep forever, even though we don't have a full-size bed and have no plans to do so in the foreseeable future). I start pondering what's going to go in the garden, even though right now my garden has been claimed by dust-bath-happy chickens and I haven't quite worked out how to keep them away from any seedlings I might eventually plant. This might just be The Year the Garden Didn't Happen. We'll see. This year I'm also trying to figure out what to do with myself since I've quit my night job and have no plans to get another in the same field. Right now I'm spending my evenings basking in the glory of the chair in my bedroom and the Scholastic paperback versions of "Harry Potter," but that can't last forever. And boredom and I don't mix.

Finally, I take a look at the state education guidelines for M1 and hope and pray that I haven't strayed too far from the fold, and I start planning for next year. I did that a couple nights ago and sighed with happiness. We seem to be in good shape, apart from some random math stuff. His math curriculum, while a perfect fit for his learning style, doesn't reach out into all corners of math-dom to incorporate things like measuring, graphing, patterns (other than skip counting), etc.

So I'm stepping out on my own next week, partially to give him a chance to settle in with his 2 and 5 multiplication tables (the 0s, 1s, and 10s are already down pat) but also to cover some of these random things. I even made my own worksheets! Hopefully I'll remember to get a few pictures.

I have also made a few decisions about next year:

1. I'm sticking with one science curriculum that I have come to really love and going to supplement it with extra reading instead of extra experiments. It seems to be a better balance.

2. I am tossing Writing With Ease out the window. He hates it. Hates copywork. We do narration for history and are starting book reports, so he'll have that process down pat, anyway. And since he's an auditory learner, staring at a sentence and writing it does absolutely nothing for him. Talking it out and being told how to correct things or having a paper scratched up with editing marks - THAT is much more effective. So we'll be doing a lot of Writing Strands activities, and I've got a book about writing that I plan to dip into now and again to mix things up. Plus, last night he told me that he wants to learn cursive.

3. I need to throw a few real tests at him. It's time.

4. I don't care how much he begs, he will not be adding a third language.

5. I want to find him a place to hang out with other kids once a week, whether it's doing volunteer work or taking a class or something. I want this to be something that does not involve ME. I want to leave (or at least be in another room, out of sight) and let him be him without me hovering around for a while. (And I need the break, too!)

Before any of those plans get firm, though, I have to convince him it's in his best interests to stay home. He's gotten it into his head that he wants to go "back to school" next year. Even M2 is skeptical. She heard him and said, "But... you'd have to keep your hands to yourself and not fight with people!" And while he immediately took offense at this, as any self-respecting sibling would, I couldn't help but admit to myself that she had a point. He might think it'd be all fun & games to go back and get to play with people at recess, but I think he's forgotten all the time he'd be spending at a desk before and after, working, and I think he's forgotten how 'bored' he got, too.

Much to ponder, much to ponder...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Growing Pains

This morning came early. The second day back is always worse than the first. I remember accidentally clicking "OK" on my phone's alarm rather than "Snooze" and then cursing at myself. I remember setting a second alarm for 13 minutes later because, really, if I'm going to snooze, I want more than 9 measly minutes, and then laying down for what seemed like 30 seconds and having a dream about having ducks as well as chickens (no, I do not want ducks, and my psyche needs to accept this apparently). I remember the alarm waking me up AGAIN and realizing that I could not, in fact, do this all day... and then I remember dragging my tired keester out of bed.

Since misery loves company, I hauled myself down the hall into M2's room to wake her up. (M1 had already slept through his alarm and I warned him yesterday that I was not going to wake him up this morning till it was time for breakfast, and I kept my word and only went into his room to turn on his light, bend down into his face, and pronounce, "LAST CALL FOR BREAKFAST!" at which time he was up and moving in less than 15 seconds. Magic, I tell ya.) M2 had a rough time waking up, but once she got moving, I went back and changed and then puttered into the kitchen to get breakfast going and start making a menu/grocery list for the week because amazingly, while my 8-year-old can't manage to get himself out of bed for love nor money and certainly can't be relied upon to DO things after he's up - other than pester his sister and pee on the bathroom floor - the 5.5-year-old can get herself up, make her bed, dress herself neatly, brush her hair, and present for breakfast in less than 15 minutes. And her pajamas will not be found later dangling from the top of random furniture.

Boys are a conundrum that I have yet to unravel.

Anyway, M2 came into the kitchen a bit later and reached up for a hug. I gave her one and then told her, "Tuck your shirt in."

"It doesn't STAY tucked in, MOM." (OK, so the price I pay for having a child promptly dressed before breakfast without screaming is early morning sass. I can deal with a lot for the sake of not yelling.)

"Well, tuck it in or you're not going to school."

*stuff stuff stuff*

30 seconds later it was untucked again. I debated whether to make her change into one of the other myriad shirts she had squished into her school uniform shirt drawer and decided, in a nutshell, pthththththththth.

She ate. The boy got to eat about half his breakfast while bleary-eyed. M2 got up from the table to brush her teeth, and the shirt was untucked again. She tucked it in and brushed her teeth. It came untucked again. I did suggest that she change at this point, but she refused. She came out to put on her shoes and coat, and it came untucked again. She tucked it in. I asked again if she wanted to change. No, she did not, MOM, and wasn't I listening when she said it the first time? We drove to school and she tucked the shirt in again on the way to the classroom. At this point, I was about to lose my mind at the idea of her doing this all day. Her teacher saw her tucking in her shirt again and said, "Is it too small?"

"Yes," I said. "But she won't change."

"They're ALL too small, MOM," announced Girl Who Wanted a Smackdown in Public.

I raised an eyebrow at the sass. Her teacher smiled and watched as M2 hitched her pants up to try to keep her shirt in for more than 45 seconds. "She's been growing. Do you want to take her down to the uniform closet and see if there's anything in there?"

Apparently *that* was agreeable to M2. I marched her in that direction and didn't bother saying to her or the teacher that I had emptied the uniform closet of anything from the now-too-small size to about two sizes larger before the school started and crossed my fingers that someone had donated one in M2's size between the beginning of school and now.

We were in luck. There was ONE long-sleeved girl's shirt that was only a hair too big and tucked in nicely.

I put the offending shirt back in the closet and am bringing the rest of that size in this afternoon... before we take her violin in to be traded for the next size up as well.

Girl gotta quit growing. My wallet hurts. Growing pains suck.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cleaning House

OK, not really. Not till I take a deep breath and get some air filter masks and purple non-Latex gloves. *THEN* I'll tackle the house and all that's in it. For now, I simply have some stuff to share with you that consists of 2010 material. Gotta empty out the folder, and plus I *promised* the boy that I'd publish his work. He's very proud.

The girl is proud, too. A couple weeks ago, she wrote this:

That little dot in the square at the bottom is THE TOOTH. It's the second tooth she's lost, and she might have been a tad excited. To the point that she had me yank the tooth for her. She didn't quite have the nerve to do it herself this time. But she insisted that she write this note for the Tooth Fairy, even though I promised her that the Tooth Fairy wouldn't be carrying off such a Very Large Note. Art girl prevailed. And when she got her reward in the morning (gold dollar plus a note back), she insisted on hauling it all to school to show her friends. Just like she hauled her art set in this morning because her teacher had promised them Show & Tell. I just pray it all comes home in one piece.

And now on to the boy. This is one of his latest writing assignments.

Oh, but before I go there, I must tell you, my kidneys have stopped revolting. I'm not sure if it's the six glasses of water I drank or the fact that I actually *ATE* something for the first time in 48 hours, but either way, between that and the Treximet I took for the massive migraine I woke up with at 1:48 a.m., I woke up pain-free. The boy woke up rash-free except for one dot on his right ear that looks remarkably like a scar where an earring had been. Random and bizarre.

Anyway, boy and writing assignment. His assignment had been to design, script, and direct a commercial. It could be for anything, from a pencil to the entire house. He selected a poinsettia that one of Oz's coworkers gifts to us for Christmas each year (cats, children, poinsettia, never mind). He set it all up and really, really wanted Daddy to be part of his work, so he wrote the script, they memorized it, and I agreed to videotape it.

Without further ado, an ad for "The Christmas Bouquet."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How 2011 Began

For me? I was asleep.

I *had* been planning to go out to dinner with a friend and then bring her back to the house and work on a 2000-piece puzzle of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" while talking and drinking wine. None of it happened.

In fact, just as Oz and I were settling in and trying to work out what we *were* going to do for NYE...

The power went out.


Oh, just a blown fuse that took three hours to fix.

After taking a shower and reading by lamplight and dealing with kids freaking out because their nightlights had gone kaputt... we went to bed.

And I woke up sick.

I hovered near the bathroom yesterday. M1 was pretty well recovered from his bout with the virus, and I didn't have to pay too much in the way of Porcelain Goddess Homage, but OMG THE PAIN. My back is still killing me. Apparently this virus' goal is to rip out your kidneys through your spine. It's remarkably successful, because I'm about to take a hook to them and do it myself.

Anywho, I'm able to move today, though I've still got a heating pad plastered to my back. Nobody else seems to have caught the virus, thank heaven. M1 now has a rash, though, that I'm keeping an eye on. I've taken pictures, just so I can tell if it gets worse or changes.

Ah, the life of a mom!