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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Eve

There happens to be a little more excitement in our house this year on the Eve of Halloween. No school tomorrow and I have the day off.

So, now that I won't be rushing home from work in attempt to get everyone fed and dressed,we'll have much more time to squabble about our artistic differences as I try to add more nuances to each of their costumes.

Okay, adding nuances to a superhero is pert-near impossible. Once I tried to talk him into going as the regular person (Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent) with a superhero costume underneath. I just thought Cole would look so cute in glasses. That, of course, was a stupid idea. Oh how I long for the days when I could dress him in costumes as if he were a little girl.

Alex is all for adding nuances, to the point of gawdiness. Even with the gawdiness, at least Alex cares about looking good again. We went from cute animals, to the ugliest princess costume you could imagine (I couldn't talk her out of it and she wore it for 2 years), to ugly scary monster-type witch, to trampy devil-angel entity, and finally, this year, we have a great combination of scary and cute without being a bit sexy. I guess she's some sort of gothic mummy. Maybe you've seen it? I'm surprised by the number of mothers are familiar with it.

Well, off to bed. I need to get a good start to the day. No doubt, Cole will be up by 6:00 a.m. asking if it's time to trick or treat.

Saturday's Blog...Halloween pictures and stories...

PS Doug and I bought awesome costumes, which will have to wait until next year. Who knew that harvest season would last forever and I would come down with a bladder infection...just like last year (even the bladder infection)...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Things Stef Knows For Sure...This Weekend

Do any of you read Oprah's "What I Know For Sure" columns? Last month's article was particularly good with Oprah listing the her top 20. After reading her inspirational messages, I came up with a few of my own after the weekend.

What I Know For Sure...

1. No matter how insightful I believe Oprah to be, Doug will always find a fault with her.
2. It's not the end of the world if water pours into your basement. Again.
3. The Chinese herbs I ordered must be working! I got my period with absolutely no forewaring. No PMS. Not one crabby outbreak. I even asked Doug what he thought of my emotional health to make sure I wasn't being delusional.
4. It's not the end of the world if your ornamental lilac tree snaps in half.
5. It's possible to bite through your lip and make it bleed while eating popcorn.
6. Disney is brilliant. Case-in-point: H.S. Musical III.
7. I'm not ready for my daughter to have a boyfriend, but she didn't ask my opinion when she and Nick officially became a 'couple' on Friday.
8. I spend too much time reading in the car when I'm passenger. A glimpse of the beautiful autumn landscape today finally made me fold up the newspaper.
9. Charging interest is evil. Our priest told us today in church. God might be telling me something about my career as a banker.
10. Prayer works in any circumstance. After three hours of non-stop vomiting on Friday night, I held Cole in my arms and starting praying for him to get better. I didn't quit praying until I dosed off. He didn't puke again.

And finally, what I know for sure is that I'm happiest when I'm with my family. They are simply the best.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Do It Yourself? Are you Sure?

I can’t exactly remember the context, but I often remember as I was growing up my mother stating, “You raise your kids to be independent.” Since Mom cut my meat until I was fifteen, and relied on my college roommate to provide me laundry instructions, I’m thinking that she was giving herself a pep talk in attempt to change her enabling behavior.

No matter, I get it. I get the fact that it’s really, really hard not to wait hand and foot on your kids. Even if it makes you pissy because you’re too busy doing everything for everyone.

Case #1: Alex, first child, currently age 11. To this day, she would gladly let me do everything for her. “Mom, can you get me some milk.” Some instinctual message directs me to gravitate to the fridge before Doug lovingly tells his daughter, “Get your own damn milk.” I guess my husband buys into the ‘independence’ philosophy.

Case #2: Cole, my second child, currently age 7, opposite of Alex. He continually has something to prove. On several occasions I have caught him in the act of pouring a full pitcher of lemonade bound to spill all over the kitchen counter. He’s also the one who can make himself French toast. Of course I watch to ensure he doesn’t burn himself, but he’s easily angered if I try to take over the job. What is it with this second child? He either likes to prepare his own breakfast because 1) he gets a sense of satisfaction from doing it himself or 2) he doesn’t like my cooking. (Typically, I trick him by having his breakfast done before he enters the kitchen in the morning.)

So, despite my efforts to keep my kids dependent on me forever, other forces of nature seem to be at work. But they can’t keep me from cutting their meat.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

How many of you look for signs? Not like traffic signs, but subtle hints that make you ponder issues in your life? Most likely, I miss many of these...always on a non-stop to-do list. Lately though, God has become more blatant in his messages to me.

Sign #1: My friend, Annette, is pregnant! Amy and Susie have had babies in the past year. And while I was feeling a bit lonely for a newborn, Annette has reminded me how much I didn't enjoy throwing up all the time. As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember asking Doug, the second time around, "why would I do this to myself again?" Obviously, once the prize comes, you forget those things. Perhaps I'll reignite my campaign for international adoptions! I do receive a lot of mail about kids needing help abroad. Surely that's a sign.

Sign #2: A co-worker told me about a recent article she read about kids who were involved in lots of activities. These kids were interviewed in college and asked if they had regrets about their level of involvement. Most said they wished they had been able to eat supper at home more with their family. Hmmm. Doug and I grew up this way and always said we would make sure we do this. Something happened though. Soccer, dance, guitar, etc. Last night, my hubby and I made the decision that our kids simply don't have time to be kids. After soccer season is done (in about a week), we're going to be much more careful about signing the kids up for anything that comes around. Doug also informed me that I could say 'no' once in awhile as well. I'll work on that, really.

Well, it's 7:45, Saturday morning and I have a good hour before we need to take off for soccer games for the day. I love being home. I think I'll go wake my family up so we can enjoy the next hour together. Without morning sickness.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Frustration of an Artist

Mom, can we do something together?

Sure. What do you want to do?

Make a book.

Okay. I happen to have some poster board from a class I teach. I assume he'll think the material will be perfect for the book's cover. So, when I fetch the material, what do I get?

Mom, that won’t work.

This is how every "project" starts off with Cole. He wants to do something together, but he doesn't agree with my artistic direction. So, I let him begin a project on his own and within minutes I hear...

You always do that. Start doing something else when we’re doing a project together.

I can't win. So, I sit down and watch him. Then I grab the camera. Note the boy’s internal strife. He’s not only critical of me, but he’s tearing himself apart! By the looks of his room, you’d hardly think he’s a perfectionist, but I’m seeing a few tendencies.

Lord, help anyone who will be assigned to work with the purist. And Lord help the purist keep his friends along the way.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ugly Dolls

I thought I'd begin Christmas shopping early this year, again. (It began with a tip of something my daughter wanted.) Since I'm trying to curb my senseless shopping habit, Christmas shopping seemed a healthy alternative. That might not make sense to you, but just go with it.

Anyway, Cole found the securely hidden gifts today. (They were poking out from under the carseat.) Obviously,I'll need to beef up my hiding techniques. So, have you heard of the new "ugly dolls" line? Truly the little novelties are irresistible. You immediately think, "Why didn't I think of that?" Even with my very, very poor sewing skills, I could've whipped one of these up. Anyway, isn't it intriguing how my family is attracted to ugly things? Hamsters that look like rats. Ugly dolls. I wonder what Alex's and Cole's future spouses will look like.

My Dad always used to say, "I never cared if I had a son or a daughter. But if I had a daughter, I hoped she wouldn't be ugly." I imagine he wanted me to move out of the house eventually, which I did by the age of 25.

The point of my blog? Perhaps just to ramble a bit. But there is a trifling point. I'm comforted by the fact that my kids are willing to look beyond the surface. Not only are they intrigued with peculiarity, they seem to love it. At least we've taught them something -- love more than the outwardly beautiful!

(I found these dolls at Odd+Ends in Harlan for any of you wanting to start your Christmas shopping early.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nail Biting, Skipping the Floss. Having Babies?

It’s nail-trimming time, Buddy.”

Cole groans.

“Hey, I’m doing it right out of the tub, when they're nice and soft. It should be painless.”

I take on toenail duty first. Luckily he soaked long enough so there wasn’t too much grime.

“Now, give me your fingers. Hmmm. Cole, they're all short? What’s going on?”

“I bit them off so you don’t have to trim them.”

Excellent. That’ll certainly save me some time.

A day later I’m completing an orthodontist questionnaire for Alex. The question: “How frequently does your child floss?” First of all, does my child floss? I bought some colorful flossing-type tool for the kids about a year ago. They were both pretty excited about flossing for a couple of days. We still have an ample supply.

So, here I am at the ripe old age of 39 wondering if we should consider having one more child. I think it’s a warped sort of way of clinging to my youth. How in the world could I fit another child in when I'm not even sure if my kids are flossing? What in the world could I be thinking?

So the next time I get an inkling about another baby, I know just what I'll do. Trim Cole's nails. And lecture him about the ickiness of biting them.