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Month: May 2006

Sum..Sum…Summertime

Sum..Sum…Summertime

imageSummer is here.  It is hot and the kids are out of school.  (Yea!  No more school!  This school year has been one horrific mass of deadlines, missed activities and writing notes explaining why my kid was once again absent.  (Grand totals:  30 for one son and 18 for the other.  Do I rock or what?  And they both get to pass their respective grades.  Miracles happen.  Being a scary bitch of a mother doesn’t hurt either.)

But do you know what that means?  Summer is HERE.  The kids are OUT of school.  All day.  Every day.  For many, many days.  Oh sure, that includes the fact that I can sleep in, but it also means I usually am awakened to the blissful sounds of arguing.  Or those of my daughter smacking me with a Barbie asking if I want to be awake now to play.  (Which makes me ask, sweetheart, did the slobber sleeping, snoring and hiding under the blanket with my eyes closed shout out to you, “Let’s play Barbie!”??)

This is where I tell you about the many wonderful activities I have planned for the kids and the amazing fun yet educational things we have planned.  Only, not so much.  My plan?  Keeping them alive until 5:00pm when their Dad gets home.  Because OH the ARGUING between the boys can make a sane woman lose her mind. (And last I checked there were not many people who were associating my name and sane together.  So imagine the flipped outedness (is so a word!) that occurs daily.  And from the girl…OH the TALKING.  Talking so much.  Talking nonstop.  Did I mention the TALKING?  Not even I talk that much and I have been known to babbleass with the best of them.  I actually resorted to calling my sister and handing the phone over to Gabriella to TALK TALK TALK to her for a while.

This is where the spotlight shines brightly on my lack of Stepford Parenting style. 

“Mom?!  (Must be shouted for some unknown, ungodly reason) Can I play on your computer?!”

“Does it involve me having to do anything?”

“No.”

“Knock yourself out, son!”

That, I can totally deal with and do so relatively guilt free.  It is the little one that is going to kill me.

“Mom?! (Again with the shouting??) Let’s play with my Barbies and stuffed animals.  What character do you want to be?”

“I want to be the sleeping one.  You know the one who has to lay down and sleep while the others are busy cleaning their rooms.”

“Mom!  There is no such character.”

“Sleeping Beauty.  She gets to sleep until her prince…who would be your Daddy…comes home to kiss her awake.”

“Mooommmmmm.  No Sleeping Beauty.”

“Okay, how about the hospital patient who is sick in bed and you are the amazing Dr. Gabriella with her team of miraculous animals who have to come up with the miracle cure in your lab but I have to lay here until you do.”

“Mom.  That is SO not a fun game.” [Sounded fun to me.]

“Okayyyyy, so how about hide and seek?  You go hide and I will come find you.”

“No, Mom.  You always forget to come look for me.” [How cute!  She still believes I forget to come look.]

We usually end up playing a board game or something to do with animals and vets and Pokemon.  (Who really, really needs to just die already!) Occasionally, we play Princess where Gabrie gets all dressed up for the ball and Mommy gets to play the wicked Stepmother forced to clean the house.  (Damn Disney!) The point being, all of her games are made up in her head.  No set rules.  They are always made up in her mind as we go along. There is no way for anyone but Gab to win.  But alas, it is good for her to play these games, so I do my best to join in.  (But she still never lets me play the sleeping character.  We will work on that this summer.)

So tell me, friends, what do you have planned for and/or with your kids this summer?  Remember my kids are 12, 10 and 5, so it makes it hard to find something for everyone.  This week we get to coast.  Also known as slacking off, being lazy, hanging out, indulging our inner sloth and just out and out being nonproductive slugs.

But next week?  Next week I should actually pretend that I have a plan.  This is where your suggestions come in.  Help. Me.  (Because if you don’t, I will call you and let Gabriella talk to you until she has nothing left to say.  And trust me, I have not seen that moment before.  Ever.) Now then, I am off to make sure that my place on the couch does not get too cool.  Must use my ass as the couch warmer.  It is my job this week.  And I can’t be neglecting my job!

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Does this dress make me look fat?

Does this dress make me look fat?

image The other day one of my children (whom I shall not name to protect the oh-so-guilty) told me that I was fat and added a twist of was I aware of that fact? (Okay, the actual words were “I think you are overweight and don’t know if you know it.”) I removed the knife from my gut and immediately put the child up for auction on e-bay.  (Starting bid only 99 cents!)

Seriously, as IF I am not aware that my ass has recently applied for it’s own zip-code.  I could blame it on stress.  For the love of all things stress eating related, I certainly deserve that one this year.  But no, I blame it on my daughter.  (What?!  As if she won’t grow up and blame everything on me anyway.) Okay, not so much my daughter as my 7 months spent on bed-rest while pregnant with my daughter in which my ass spread was proportional to my bump growth. I looked my best ever just before I got pregnant with her her.  (See?*) But even so, it isn’t like I am 5 weeks post-partum.  I am 5 years.  Five freaking ever-loving could’ve lost it by now years.  Guess blaming it on her is probably out, too.

What about age?  Can I blame it on age?  Genetics?  I can totally blame it on my Mom.  She would totally understand.  But again, still not practical or fair. 

So it looks like I have 2 choices.  (1) Bitch and moan and hate the way I look while continually avoiding activities that I should enjoy while crying and feeling miserable–thus making everyone around me miserable or (2) Do something.  As hard as that decision seems, I am totally going to just stop the bitching and moaning and self deprecating comments.  I am taking action.  But what to do?  What to do?  Do NOT even suggest giving up anything like caffeine, coffee or my occasional chocolate.  I would be forced to ban you and then hurt you.  Badly.  Besides, it isn’t the eating that is the problem.  I would have to say it is the lack of exercise.  But ohhhh how that bores the hell out of me.  I need fun.  I need excitement.  I need cheap.  I need suggestions.

So for now, here is the game plan.  First, I want your suggestions challenges.  Second, I am going to team up with someone to keep me accountable and urge me on.  Who?  Well, someone who is already doing this.  Someone who has a goal.  Someone who has already given the shout-out for challenges that I can follow with her.  (And then add to those the ones you offer up.) Who am I talking about?  Why Jenny of course who is doing an awesome job at her weight loss blog, Big Slice of Life, Small Slice of Cheesecake.

She has been incredibly brave in her openness about her weight loss.  (Don’t expect that.  I don’t even tell my husband what I weigh.) And she has an amazing diet plan going on–well, more a new way of eating and not so much a diet plan. (Don’t expect that either.  I don’t do plan ahead meals or anything as organized as such.) And she has decided to post some photos up documenting her exercise challenges.  (Okay, maybe I will steal that idea because that is hilarious.)

Anyway, it is on.  Three weeks until the beach.  Two months until BlogHer.  IT. IS. ON.

* Yes, I know this photo is not recent and that I have blonde hair.  (Blonde is real.  Red looks more natural.  Go figure!) This picture was taken by one of my very best friends ever about a year or so before I got pregnant with Gabriella.  It is a motivation and reminder that I need to get back to this look.  But without the cheesy pose.  I can lose that, too.  (Now if only I can find the picture of me in the smokin’ black dress I wore to my sister’s wedding. THAT is real motivation!)


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Once a brat, always a brat!

Once a brat, always a brat!

Last weekend my brother went to go stay with my Dad for a few days.  Although that meant the drive to Houston, there was no way I would miss being with my brother and sister.  Put the three of us in a room together and we will not only be inappropriate, but the laughter will be nearly nonstop.  I thoroughly enjoy them.  If there is a comment to be made that is inappropriate, one of us will make it. Take for instance when a sportscaster came on TV.

“He has a face for radio!”

“Totally tanorexic!”

“Did he get run over sideways by a steamroller?  No one can be that FLAT sideways without intervention!”

And on and on went the tacky (and might I admit rude) comments.  My Dad stared at the three of us.  (This is where I say he was appalled at the horrible children he raised and was shocked that we were so tacky, but I cannot.) He laughed.  He did throw in the obligatory, “You three are bad.  Totally your mother’s influence.”

Okay, so admitting we were mean towards another human being is not so much the highlight of who we are as people.  But the point is…we laugh.  It doesn’t matter what we are talking about, it is like getting 3 comedians who have their timing down perfectly after a lifetime together and letting the zingers fly.  It was nice to be together.  (Only a few more weeks and we will be together again!) We even got to go to the local Mexican restaurant and eat real Mexican food with really strong margaritas.  Laughter & margaritas.  This adult hanging out so beats the hell out of the childhood hanging out! Although, that rocked as well since it involved bikes with cards clothes-pinned to the spokes to sound like we had motorcycles, Kool-Aid and sweating.  Lots of sweating as a kid in Texas.  (But at that time, we all knew what to do and where to go when you were thirsty.  The nearest yard hose.  Always had FREE water.) We were one bad ass, Kool-Aid drinking, water hose stealing gang of hoodlums.  Oh yeah, baby!

But see, here is the thing.  I am the youngest.  All attention must be paid to me.  Why?  Because I am the youngest.  However, this didn’t seem to work out as planned.  I got there on Friday night and left on Monday morning.  Want to guess what night everyone decided to go to the steakhouse for dinner?  Come on.  Guess.  Monday night.  Was I pouting about it?  Acting immature?  Being a brat?  Oh hell yes, I was.  In order to make them feel the most guilt possible, I called all of their cell phones and left messages like, “Are you thinking about me?  You should be.  Do you know that I am not there?  Feel free to discuss it among yourselves.” All of them got a similar message.  Except my brother who actually picked up.

“What?” (Is that any way for a grown man to answer his phone?)

“Do you miss me?  Are you thinking about the fact that I am not there?” (Imagine adult whining.  Totally have it down to an art form.)

“Nope.  In fact, I forgot you were ever here.  Who is this again?”

“That is SO NOT funny, buttmunch.” (I am the queen of mature comebacks, let me tell you!)

“Brat.”

“I’m telling!”

See?  Once a brat, always a brat! 

We are totally psyched to get together this summer.

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We laughed. We cried. We dined on Jack Daniels sauce.

We laughed. We cried. We dined on Jack Daniels sauce.

Yesterday was Gabriella’s last day of preschool.  She was so excited!  We walked to her classroom where there were other mothers congregating and crying.  Like real crying.  I grabbed one of them in a panic and asked, “What’s wrong?  What happened?” I am thinking an act of terrorism occurred while I was jamming to the Woo-Woo Dance on the way to school or the teacher had a heart attack or something horrific happened that I was unaware of.  She looked at me with her tear stained face and said, “Well, it IS their last day of school.”

I just stared at her.  Oh, of course, they are mourning the end of their free days.  “Yeah, I mean, what ARE we going to do to entertain them everyday?” Then patted her on the shoulder.  She stared at me as if I was the most horrible mother EVER!

“No.  That is NOT why I am crying.  She is *sob sob* growing up and this is the end of her preschool days.”

Really?  I mean REALLY?  I looked at her as if she were from another planet.  She looked at me as if I were the world’s WORST mother EVER.  Totally awkward moment.

“Oookkaaayyyyy, yeah.  Ummm, good luck with that.” I kissed Gabrie and pretty much just shoved her into the classroom with a kiss and a have a good day.  I didn’t have time for that crap.  I had a blind date! 

Yes, a blind date.  Someone I met online.

As I drive away laughing my “wooohoooo I am free” laugh that I maniacally laugh at every drop off, my cell phone rings.  “Mom, I forgot my lunch.  Can you bring me something?”

This of course meant a trip to the store to get something to be able to MAKE something for lunch.  (Yeah, he totally got a Lunchable.) I raced and dropped it off.  As I was at that school, the other son called, “Mom?  I forgot my book at home.  Can you bring it up?”

PEOPLE!  I am dressed in work out clothes and need a shower and am running late for my date!  Ugh!

Finally, all errands finished, I shower, do the make-up thing and throw on some clothes.  (Yeah, whatever!  Totally tried to find a outfit that said “casual yet aware this is a first date.”) Dashed off an email to announce that I was running late and headed out.

Arriving at the restaurant 30 MINUTES LATE, I rush the hostess announcing loudly enough for all to hear, “I am meeting someone and I am SO LATE!” As I start to look around I hear, “Jenn?  Is that Jenn?”

I rush around the corner to meet my date.  (What?  You thinking I was meeting a man?  I never said that!)

LISA!”

“JENN!”

Hugs all around.  Apologies for being late.  Then of course, since we have never met in person the first thing I say is, “Girl you have to get over your phone issues so I can call you.”

From there it was laughing and gossip. (Yes, as a matter of fact, we did talk about you.) So much talking in fact that our waitress was about to kick us out if we did not order something.  By her fourth trip around I wanted to grap her by her flair and announce, “Muffy or Barbie or Bitsy, whatever your name is, go the hell away and when we are ready to order we will, ohhhh I don’t know….make EYE CONTACT with you at the very least and NOT hide behind our menus ignoring you. Mmmmmkay?”

And then Barbie got my order wrong.  But it was good anyway!

Now it would totally not be fair if I didn’t tell you the truth about Lisa.  You know that totally kick-ass, funny, warm and adorable persona she puts on with her blog?  Totally can’t be real can it?  Wrong.  She is exactly as awesome in person.  She is who you are reading online.  Hysterical and oh so much fun.  I may have to stalk her.  (Sorry, Lisa!)

So go give her some love because she did wait a half an hour for me to show up which means she probably had to deal with Barbie A LOT before I got there.

After lunch was over (damn kids to pick up and appointments to keep), we parted with a hug and a “We totally have to do this again!” Because oh how it would’ve sucked if she was like a bore or a freak and I had to pretend that of course I liked her as I made up lies about how lunch was fun.  (Actually, I just would have never said anything about it.  I won’t lie to you people!)

So I pick up Gabriella and the tears of everyone.  Oh the tears.  I tried not to vomit on anyone, but puhleeze! Now, the first day of kindergarten, I may cry.  But the last day of preschool?  Not so much.  Only because I have to play Barbies and be THE main playdate for My Little Pony and such for an entire week until her brother’s get out of school.  Then they have to take over.  That is why we have such a big gap in the ages.  Babysitters and playmates.  All in the planning people!

And that was my day yesterday.  Today, I am Clubbing Moms.  And I NEED you people to go over there and slam down some good questions for me.  I know some of you have tweens.  Throw me a bone, my friends.  Hey, Busy Mom did it.  And we all want to rock the world the way Busy Mom does, right?  And so did Chris and she has way more kids than you do and she took the time. 

Now then, have I sent you to enough people to keep you busy while I Club some Moms?  We’ll talk soon. I have yet another project that is going to be both fun and frustrating starting up Monday.  You will laugh.  You will cry.  You will send me Jack Daniels.

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THe Humpty Dumpty of heartbreaks

THe Humpty Dumpty of heartbreaks

Mother’s Day was hard.  Well, at first it wasn’t because I decided to pretend it was any other day.  I have become very good at that since Mom died.  Pretending. With so many firsts coming up, I can pretend that it is another day when in fact it feels like it is anything but that.  I did a pretty job of it, too.  I let the kids do what they wanted.  I watched DVD movies (avoiding all mention of Mother’s Day and commercials taunting me with “Have you called your Mom today?”) Clint was out of town.  Clint is always here on days of significance, so it was so easy to pretend it was any other Sunday.  But it wasn’t. 

Gabriella leaped into my bed when she woke up and snuggled up close.  She laid her head on my chest and put her tiny, preschool, still-warm-from sleep toes on my legs and just wrapped herself into me.  I pulled her as close as I could and I cried.  I cried because I know that I am so blessed to have a little girl to pass on the mother/daughter things to.  I am blessed because my boys are everything to me.  I am blessed because in what I have with my daughter reminds me of what my Mom and I shared.  And I cried.  Because it reminded me of what my Mom and I shared.  In her sweet innocence, she asked me why I was crying.  I told her because my heart was so full it was overflowing with tears.  She lifted her head, looked in my eyes and put her hand on my heart and said, “That’s because Grandma is in her your heart and she loves you so much.  And everyone you love….like ME…is in your heart, and it is just so full with so many people there, right?” I could barely nod.  How did someone so young become so wise?  How can I keep her so innocent and pure of heart?

After we got up, I was able to make the day normal.  I was able to act as if nothing was wrong.  That nothing was special about this regular Sunday.  My aunt called to check on me.  I told her I was fine.  My brother called.  He was told I was fine.  Really, I am JUST FINE.  Now if you will stop asking, I can do a much better job of pretending.

Do you know what place is the hardest place to be on Mother’s Day and when the hardest time to be there just so happens to be?  The grocery store at 9:00pm the night of Mother’s Day.  Typical of the ways of my children, one of them realized they needed something for school in the morning, so I decided to run out and grab it that night, rather than in the morning.

Walking into the store and heading towards what I needed, I froze.  Do you know what is left that time of night on Mother’s Day?  The picked over flowers that are starting to wilt a bit and were not the best of the bunch.  A few scattered cards that no one chose that year.  Some helium balloons that are slowly losing their air and looking rather pathetic and wrinkled.  The leftovers.  The cards that won’t be going to anyone’s mother that year.  The flowers that should be bringing a smile to a Mom’s face, but won’t be going home that night.  The balloons that will eventually deflate before a Mom has a chance to see it and smile.  They all should have gone to someone’s mother.  Some Mom should have had those things.  Been sent the cards, or the flowers or the balloons.

I just stood there frozen.  I should have bought flowers.  I should have bought a card.  I should have bought balloons.  As I stared at the remnants of the unchosen tokens of love, I began to cry.  They represented all that I could no longer do for Mom.  They were in my face reminders of the years ahead that I will pass by displays like this and never have the need to browse for that perfect card for Mom.  Or find the most beautiful flowers.  Or get that balloon that will drive the dog crazy and make her laugh.  And I cried.  Not the dainty, pretty cry that actresses or other women can pull off.  No.  I stood there in the middle of my local grocery store and sobbed the kind of body wracking sobs that you cannot hold back no matter how hard you try. 

It could have been one minute or five before I felt a hand on my shoulder.  I made no attempt to stop.  I couldn’t.  I just spread my arm out at the surrounding area, then on my heart and then again at what was all around me.  The woman put her hands on my shoulder and just said, “Mine died 3 years ago and I still hate this part of the store on this Day.” And she hugged me.  I am normally not one to hug a total stranger in the middle of my local grocery store, but at that moment, it was all I could do.  I pulled myself together as best I could and thanked the woman.  She patted my back and told me she knew the look, the face and the tears all too well.  With a squeeze of my shoulder she was gone.  I shook my head as if to clear it and finished what I had to do.

Back to pretending everything is okay, I checked out and went home.  It was obvious I had been crying, but no one said a word.  They can tell when I need them to not call comment to it.  Like I said, I am good at pretending.  Because, and I ask this because it terrifies me, what if I don’t?  What if I let all of this pain and anguish and anger and fear and misery come out?  I am afraid it will completely shatter me. 

Then what?  What if it does shatter me and I cannot figure out how to get those pieces to fit back together again? What if they don’t fit back together again?  I have no idea what I will be left with.  No idea what the pieces that survive will look like or function like.  Worse, what if it shatters me and I am never “me” again?  I don’t know how to do that.  I don’t know how to let it all out yet still know that somehow it will be okay.  That somehow the pieces of my shattered heart will find a way to piece themselves back together again.  I just don’t know.  So I don’t let it happen.  Not all at once.  And not when I feel it will overwhelm me.  I just don’t.  I just can’t.  What if the pieces just don’t fit anymore?

Then what?

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