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Monday, August 27, 2012

What a Flipping Day...

Otherwise known as HOLY SHIT (and this time it has nothing to do with actual shit)!

Today dawned way too early.  I slept like complete and total caca.  (Because of that Stan had massive pity on me and brought me breakfast in bed...God love him!)  I was on pins and needles all night long.  I thought it was because I had four teenage (or near teenage) boys sleeping in our house last night and I was on high alert for any shenanigans that can occur when teenage boys combine forces.  Lucas did give me a bit of a start at 4:47 a.m. asking what the code was for the alarm to the house so he could take Bella out and I only felt a sense of relief as I realized the alarm hadn't been disarmed before that.  After that,  I knew no one left the house on any type of nocturnal wandering (if you know what I mean).  But I never fell back into a deep slumber after that so my night was shot to shit.

Even though I had a massive amount of sleep deprivation, I still accomplished so much around the house today and felt good about how what I got done before the girls came to ask me to take them on a little shopping excursion.  I happily accepted my new task.  I was ready for a break from my re-organization attempts and needed a diversion....little did I know I was going to get quite a diversion....

It was when we loaded up in the car that I discovered my GPS was stolen right out of my car.  I have told you before, I don't have the newest car or the nicest car but it runs and it gets me from place to place with no problems.  I'm fine with not having the newest or the nicest automobile so it stunned me that someone would look to my car to steal something out of it.  I stood there at the door of my car momentarily shocked that my GPS was missing.  The base of the GPS was still there.  My Sirius satellite radio was still there.  But the GPS and the charger were gone.  My first thought was that Zach borrowed them.  He emphatically denied taking anything...and why would he take it without asking?  He knows I would notice it right away.  I texted Stan the same question and got the response "so you're telling me the gps is gone out of the van?"  My response was "Yep, it's gone."

DAMN.  We've been burgled, in our own driveway, beneath the light of streetlight and our own garage light.  The thieves must have been brave, stupid, on drugs or a combination of all three.

Whatever state of mind our thieves were in, it didn't change the fact that our belongings had been violated.  I called the cops, on Stan's urging, and reported our theft.  I live my life in my own "safe little bubble" and now my little bubble has been popped.  Things have to change.  Where I felt safe and secure I now feel a little on edge.  Stan wondered, out loud, if I didn't have a little bit of a sixth sense last night and that's why I didn't sleep well.  He wondered if I may have "felt" that something was a little off.  I couldn't answer him on that.  All I can do was to make sure the house is locked up like Fort Knox and lit up like Kennedy Space Center.

Since we got Bella, our backyard looks like the space shuttle could land there.  It's so bright and well lit so we can see in the middle of the night if we have to take Bella out for a night-time potty break.  After dinner tonight, Baby Bella signaled that she needed to go out so she and I headed out to the back yard.  That's when I nearly ran into it...the biggest, meanest, scariest looking spider.  The effer was building a new web right in the path of our stairs to the backyard.  And I nearly had that creepy crawler on my face.  I screamed and screamed a little louder.  I heard the answering screams from out front.  I knew Lucas heard me and was "answering" in his own special way but what I really needed was a spider slayer with the bravery of a knight.  Instead, I turned and ran back up to the deck as fast as I could, dragging Bella behind me.  The lights I depend on for night-time bathroom treks for Bella attracted that nasty-ass spider living on our stairs.

SHIT...It's been quite a flipping day and I'm ready for a new day and for it to dawn a little later tomorrow.

Oh, for the love of my children....

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Screwing Up Continued

The other day I told the story of how I screwed up with Zach and realized I how much I needed to apologize.  That story got to me wondering what the kids were going remember about their childhoods.  Are they going to remember the screw ups more or will they take a little pity on us, realizing they are all guinea pigs in our parental experiment.  We were not blessed with a user manual specific to each kid.  So what works for one may, or may not, work for the others...their whole childhood is one massive experiment with their lives.  So what will they remember most?  The good times or the screw ups??

When we were at the beach a couple of weeks ago Claire said to me "You are a great mom.  I'd be lying if I said you weren't."  My heart sang and I did a mental happy dance, complete with cartwheels and back flips.  Nothing makes me feel better than my kiddos telling me I'm ok in their books.  But her compliment came from the mind, and out the lips, of an 11 year old.  How's she going to feel in five years when she's 16 and we won't let her stay out much past 10:00 or 10:30?    Will she remember what she told me?  Or will she take her cues from Zach who is little mad at us for not letting him stay out past 11?

What will they remember?  The good times or the bad?  Or will it be a good balance of both?

I truly hope they have a good balance of both.  I don't want them going into adulthood with a Pollyanna-ish view of their childhoods.  I want them to have a grounded sense of who they are and how they were shaped.  You can only get that if you remember the good and the bad.

I guess I'll have to keep doing what I do ~  apologizing when I need to but also striving hard to be the best mom I can so they remember the good times and the bad times of their childhoods.  And I hope they always remember how much they are loved but I am only human and I screw up every now and again.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Shizzard

Yep, that's right...I said SHIZZARD.  It's not a nice word or a pretty thought that accompanies the mention of the word but it fits the situation to a T.

Let me set the stage...yesterday was a day I desperately needed...a day to regroup and reorganize.  I worked with Claire on a couple of daunting closet reorganizations that were begging for my attention.  In between our organizing, Claire and I managed to keep baby Bella on the straight and narrow as far as puppy house breaking goes.We made sure to keep a close eye on her and get her outside when the signals presented themselves.  We did a good job yesterday. I was happy to admit to myself as I walked down the stairs this morning, it was Bella's first accident free day in our house.

"WHOA....not fast on the self-congratulations," my nose roared at me as I rounded the corner into the TV room where Bella's kennel is.  The overwhelming stench of dog shit greeted me like several slaps in the face...bap, Bap, BAP!  I walked into the TV room to Bella, who was so beyond excited to see me.  Her back end was wagging and wagging and wagging...thumping back and forth in the most enormous pile of dog shit inside her kennel.  She was so happy she and her tail created the most enormous Shizzard (shit-blizzard for those of you who were having a hard time translating that word) all over the inside of her kennel.  It made it to nearly every nook and cranny inside her kennel.  All I could think was HOLY SHIT (yes, pun intended)!  

It was just a little before 7 in the morning and my brain was having a little bit of a hard time collecting a thought.  I hadn't been caffeinated at all and I knew my first order of business is now to scrub Bella from head to back end.  My brain was so disconnected I made the error of letting Bella out of her shizzard so I could get her outside.  In retrospect, and after being told by Stan, I should have just dragged the entire kennel outside with Bella inside.  But I didn't, so the shizzard continued in the house and onto me.  Bella, who never jumps up, decided to greet me with her fecal stained paws planted firmly on my bathrobe...repeatedly.  I managed to get her leash on to wrestle her outside as she tried to rub her poopy ears into my robe and my hands so I could properly pet her.  I ran back inside grabbed a shampoo bottle and headed back outside to scrub all of Bella's own nooks and crannies.  All I could think is BLECH and YUCK.  (But, if you all remember from blogs past my area is vomit and diarrhea and Stan takes care of injuries...well, THIS was definitely my area).  I managed to scrub Bella clean before the clock hit 7:30.  

I still have the smell in the house and the kennel to take care of.  Oh, and did I mention the air conditioner guy was coming at 8 to fix our broken upstairs unit?  So he would get to walk into our house smelling like a shizzard.  Great...I think to myself ~ just wonderful.  I can't wait for him to come into our house now.  
Luckily, I turned Bella from "Shizzard Girl" to something akin to Coconut Puppy.  I found my powerful orange air freshener and sprayed the house liberally with the smell of freshly peeled oranges.  Our house was beginning to smell a little like the tropics mixed with a hint of fresh dog shit mixed in ~ nice!  The AC guy should love that.   

Stan got treated to the smell of the house before I started my air-freshening campaign.  He was greeted with the same lovely smell I was when I came downstairs but he missed the dog shit covered puppy.  He was greeted with clean, hyper puppy who fresh out of her bath.  

I couldn't even be a little, tiny bit mad this morning.  I knew I took her out at 10:30 last night.  I knew she evacuated all of her systems in that little night-time excursion but I also knew I introduced a new kind of treat to her yesterday, after the vet gave her a puppy cookie and on top of her vaccinations.  Her tummy was wobbly from all of the new treats and the trip to the vet and it showed up in her kennel.  So, my newest "baby" had her first big upset at home.  I know there will be more to come, which is why we steered clear of puppies for so long.  But you know what?  I still wouldn't trade her in.  She's a part of our family now and you take the good with the bad when it comes to family and kids.  And sometimes in living life with kiddos, the two legged and the four legged,  you get handed you a big ol' shizzard.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Seeing Red and Totally Screwing Up

OK, I know I haven't been here too much lately.  Life got in the way of my creativity.  I am happy to say that I am back and more than happy to be here (although this particular blog is not a reason to be happy).  Now, on with my story....

It's not often it happens that I see red with Zach (or any of the kids, really).  I can usually tolerate his antics with a smile on my face and go on to the next antic without so much as batting an eye.  This one pushed me over the edge...

Today was Zach's fee day.  I was looking forward to going and spending some time with Zach as he picked up his schedule, chatted with friends and looked at spiritwear as I caught up with some of the moms I haven't seen since lacrosse and school ended.  I was looking forward to joining the PTA, the booster club and whatever else I needed to help support the school.  Once all fees were paid and all of our tasks were complete I was looking forward to a little breakfast out, just the two of us.

I arrived at school when Zach told me his football practice was over and waited and waited for him to finish. A half an hour later he calls.  I can see him down the row of cars and I answer the phone with a cheery "I can seeeee you."  His gruff voice comes back, "Mom, I don't want to be here.  You just go in and pay my fees.  I want to go home" ...not what I expected.  We went back and forth a bit on the phone, looking at each other down the line of cars.  I told him I wasn't going to go in and pay his fees without him.  He said he was still in his football gear.  I told him to change his pants and come in with me. I was sticking to my guns and wasn't going in without him as I stood watching the stream of other football players walk in with their parents.  My hackles were raised a bit as I realized just how rude Zach's tone was with me.  Zach turned, walked to "his" car and changed his pants.  As he was changing his pants Stan called to let me know he made it safely to Minneapolis.  I was chatting on the phone with Stan when I heard Zach approach, with a friend of his, saying "I don't want to be here.  I just got elbowed in the arm at practice."  And then he took his hand and slapped (and it was no light little "love tap") the side of the car as he said "let's go."  My hackles are fully raised now.  I sat, dumbfounded, that he would hit the side of the car and expect me to follow after sitting, waiting, for him to finish football.

I told Stan exactly what happened and how irritated I was.  There was not much he could do from Minneapolis, except text Zach and tell him to come apologize to me.  I wasn't going in to school until I got a face to face apology.  Instead, I got two phone calls.  Knowing full well that he was just being lazy, I texted him back and saying "You know what Zach, if you want to behave like a spoiled brat and treat me like crap you can pay your own fees.  I'm outta here."  I went on to tell him he could pay his own fees with his own money, with the full knowledge that he has zero dollars.  I left school and went to Starbucks not looking back.  I was pissed and beginning to see red.

The further away from school I got the more red I saw.  I couldn't believe Zach would treat me like, the one who slips him gas money when Stan's not looking.  Me, the one who takes him to Dick's for a new, more protective, football girdle instead of the standard school issued one.  Me, the one who fixes him breakfast when he asks me in his sweet, little boy voice.  Me, the one caters to him way too much.  His gravy train with me is done, I thought to myself, as the car steered into Starbucks parking lot.  I don't deserve to be treated like a doormat by Zach, my brain churned.  The red fire in my head was alight and not much was going to extinguish it.

I got home as my phone showed a missed call from Stan and a text.  I stepped out of the car to Zach approaching, in full bluster, not knowing exactly what to say or do but managing to do it all wrong.  He tried hard to apologize but he didn't believe he did anything wrong so his apology sounded false and insincere.  He told me he didn't hit the side of the car with his fist.  He told me he tapped the window with his fingers and waved at me to "come on."  Not so, I responded and went on to lay into him with all of the thoughts that were burning in my brain.  "There was no light tap on the window.  You pounded on the door and I don't deserve to be treated poorly by you."  I went on to tell him he better start going door to door to find enough lawns to mow to pay his own fees.  I could see the panic fill his eyes but he still wasn't backing down with a sincere apology.  He stormed off and I went on to sip my tea so I could calm down.  And Stan texted me again.

He told me Zach called him five times.  He said Zach was upset because I was upset. I called bullshit on that,     telling Stan that Zach was upset because he was worried he would have to pay his own fees, not because I was upset.  Stan responded with "OK."  I guess he didn't want to goad the dragon who was spitting fire...aka me.  I know he and Zach must have talked because Zach came down a few minutes later, completely contrite and issuing a sincere apology.

The fire went out.  I know I screwed up when I threatened Zach to not pay his fees.  That's not how things work in this house.  We pay school fees.  They are a necessity and I really had no right to threaten him with that...threaten with taking away the car, the insurance, the luxuries but not school fees.  Damn, I screwed up.  Seeing red is not a good thing.  It's time for me to issue a sincere apology of my own.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Love Me Some Lucas...

Lucas usually does something to warm my heart. He is the one who started planting sweet, little kisses on my forehead as soon as he was tall enough to reach my forehead without being on his tip toes. To me, there is no sweeter sign of affection than a kiss to the forehead. Lucas is the one who comes and wraps me in a bear hug in the morning, resting his head on my shoulder with the cheeriest of "Good mornings!" coming out of his mouth. He is the one who doles out compliments without prompting or prodding and his compliments come from his heart.

This morning was no exception...

It's a rainy day here at the beach. One which requires a little extra effort to figure out a game plan for the day. We couldn't just pack up the truck and head onto the beach, we actually had to figure out something to do. The movies seemed like the perfect rainy day diversion. But that would require clothes instead of bathing suits, combs run through hair instead of just a haphazard pony tail and it would require, in my book, a little make up. I was shooing Lucas out of our bathroom so I could start the process of getting ready when he delivered his out of the blue compliment.

 "I'm not sure why you need make up, Mom," Lucas said. I told him that it's just what I do to get ready. He said "Are you wearing make up now?" I told him I wasn't and he went on to point to the mirror and say "See, mom, told you you don't need make up. Look at you, you look great without it!"  

God love you, Lucas! You are some mighty fine balm to this mama. I hope you never lose the ability to genuinely give a compliment. I hope you always use your compliments for the best purposes. I hope you can teach other guys that giving compliments, without prodding, is one of the best things you can do for a relationship. I don't know where you get this ability but I hope you keep it forever. You, my love, are one of a kind and I love me some Lucas!

Oh, for the love of my children...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

This is the first beach vacation we've taken in three years where the boys (specifically Zach) haven't had external playmates. And we're (specifically Claire) are paying the price. Zach doesn't like not having playmates so he tries to turn all of us into his playmates.

I guess it's my doing. Zach's the first born. He had my undivided attention for almost three years before Lucas came along. After Lucas was born I still made sure Zach was still well entertained. He's always had someone to play with...meaning he doesn't know how to entertain himself. I take full responsibility for this little quirk of Zach's but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Our first minutes here at the beach house saw just a glimmer of the days to come.

"Say, say, oh playmate...Claire come out and play with me." Zach went after Claire with a vengeance as only a big brother can. I was on on the third floor and heard the yowls and yelps of pain coming from two floors below. I ran to investigate - finding Claire in a flood of tears, while holding her shoulder. The guilty party, aka Zach, stood at the foot of the stairs with a Cheshire cat grin on his face, holding Claire's iPod. It seems, in Zach's quest to find a playmate, screwed up and picked the one least tolerant of his playmate "skills." Zach snatched Claire's iPod from her hand, taunting her to fly at him to retrieve her precious piece of equipment, which brought a wall smack dab into her shoulder. Claire is not cut out to be Zach's kind of playmate.

In my infinite mama wisdom, I directed Zach to turn his rambunctious attention to Lucas, which illicited a "gee, thanks Mom" from Lucas. It's a good thing Lucas is (for the most part) easy going and can handle my "mama wisdom" with good humor.

This little ditty keeps playing through my head as I watch Zach search from person to person looking for his playmate...

Say, say, oh playmate,
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree

Slide down my rainbow
Into my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends
Forever more, 1-2-3-4

It was a rainy day,
She couldn't come out and play
With tearful eyes, she breathed a sigh
And I could hear her say:

Say, say, oh playmate
I cannot play with you
My dolly's got the flu
Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo

Ain't got no rainbow
Ain't got no cellar door
But we'll be jolly friends
Forever more, 1-2-3-4

Ok, so Zach may be much more rambunctious than Claire can handle at this point. He's the one wanting to slide down rainbows into cellar doors...painfully bored, picking on the wrong parties. And Claire is the one whose dolly is sick and doesn't have a rainbow sliding into a cellar door but someday, hopefully, Zach will be Claire's jolly friend forever more.

Luckily, Lucas is stepping up and taking some of the heat off of Claire. Some of Zach's rambunctiousness is also coming my way but I, for the most part, can handle his version of playing. To me he's like a big ol' untrained Labrador retriever. Just turn your back on him and ignore him...nice? No. Effective? A bit. I have to confess though, that Zach's overgrown enthusiasm makes me smile. He truly is a man-child. He just needs a playmate his own size. Lucas is almost there and holding his own nicely. Maybe my mama wisdom wasn't that far off the mark after all.

Oh, for the love of Zach and a much needed playmate!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sometimes I wish I were a Meat-a-tarian

And I mean like a real meat eater.  You know the kind of girl I mean, one who can sit down to a juicy burger or steak and eat it with relish and abandon.  I can do chicken, fish, pork - including but not limited to bacon, ham and loins.  I can do almost any meat as long as it really doesn't taste like meat ~ or blood. The only time I ever remember wanting beef was when I was pregnant with Zach and then the only type of beef I craved was a Wendy's single with cheese, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard and mayo.  It masked the taste of the actual burger.  There are times when I just wish I really liked the taste of meat but fact of the matter is, I would make a terrible vampire, that metallic-y taste of blood swirling around on my tongue would set me over the edge.

Everyone else in my family are die hard meat-a-tarians.  They can all throw back steaks, burgers or any type of meat.  Lamb?  Bring it on (except for Claire who won't eat lamb or veal on principal).  Pork?  Flip a big ol' slab on their plates and they'll come back for more.  Brisket or steak?  Better double what you think you might need.  They all live and breathe for meat.

This aversion to meat, specifically beef, is nothing new for me.  I've been this way since I was little.  Whenever we would go out to a steak place for dinner I would always ask to get the popcorn shrimp.  If we would go to a cookout and all that was served were hamburgers, I would take a bun, a tomato, some lettuce and pass my hamburger patty off on someone else.  I remember one Christmas, my mom fixed prime rib for our special holiday meal.  She cut off a generous portion for me and slid it on my plate.  Most people I know would have been in heaven but, me?  I almost lost the contents of my stomach at the dinner table...the damn slab was swimming in blood and still mooing.  It scarred me for life.

I'm trying so very hard to not pass on my beef/meat aversion on to my kids.  And, for the most part, it's working.  Claire does watch me intently sometimes to see what I will and won't eat.  The lamb and veal thing, that's probably my doing.  It would just be so much easier, though, if I just went with it and ate meat instead of bucking the system and passing on the beef.  Luckily for her, she hasn't caught on to my hotdog/sausage aversion or she could be in serious trouble when it comes to cookouts (hotdogs and sausages get my gag reflex going before they even pass my lips...I'm shuddering just thinking about them!  BLECHY, is the only word I can think of to describe them!)  This is the one thing that I am very glad that the kids are taking after Stan.  It's just so much easier to conform than to buck the system and it would be so much easier if I were a meat-a-tarian.

Oh, for the love of my children....