November 27th, 2013 · Parenting
Today, I am 43. How is it so far? Well…
I woke up early and ran in 15 degree weather. I didn’t die, but it’s distinctly possible that I have frostbite on my cheeks. Both sets.
Soon after I returned home, Dan and I piled the 3 youngest into the van to drive 30 minutes to meet a stranger in a strange land so I could purchase my birthday present: a used salon chair. (I want my subjects to be comfortable when I butcher their hair.)
Stranger was running late. Very late. But finally showed. After my boys all tried out the chair in the middle of the parking lot, we loaded it and them back into the van. On the way home, Andrew puked. Several times. Then we were detoured due to a traffic accident. So, a relatively quick purchase turned into a 2.5 hour venture. (They better like that chair.)
Back at home, I put AP in a warm shower, then stuck him in my bed with a barf towel so Maria and I could run over to a friend’s house for a bag party, where I spent more money.
We then ran to the library to return overdue books, then back home to find Dan (finally) showering, and two boys eating my birthday cake.
I cleaned the (very chocolatey) kitchen and then started packing the car for Grandma’s house.
Before we could head out for the long, traffic-y drive, the kids (all but sickie) had a knock-down-drag-out in front of God and the neighbors about who was going to sit where.
While I was assigning seats on a rotating basis, somehow Dan and Jack got into it – BIG TIME. What about? I have no idea. (They probably don’t, either.)
I finished loading the van with the other kids, and all their crap, and then we settled in to wait for the fighters.
They finally joined us and we were on our way.
Andrew made it about 15 minutes before puking again. Luckily, I caught most of it in the Country Crock tub I brought along for that purpose. But, not before all the others vocalized their disgust and hilarity.
I put a lid on the barf (that was smart to bring the lid, Mom!) and thankfully, AP fell asleep.
I bet Grandma can’t WAIT to see us.
You would think that with FIVE kids, I’ve seen it all. All types of fits. All types of peculiarities.
Believe it or not, though, I’ve never sent a kid to school in jammies. Unless, of course, it was jammie day or something. I’ve sent a kid without breakfast. I’ve sent a kid without a coat. I’ve sent one without homework, lunch, a signed paper. But I’ve never sent one without regular clothes.
This morning, however, Andrew decided to break me in.
After getting up first, and cheerfully, he came down and shared a banana with his dad. Then he announced that he was NOT GOING TO SCHOOL. So, I took the usual approach. I disagreed with him. I threatened. I bribed. Then I forcefully changed him into clothes for the day and then left him to think things over.
Instead of reconsidering, he spent his time changing BACK into his jammies. (Funny how he usually needs help with his clothes, but suddenly this morning he can do it all on his own!)
I put him in his room while everyone else finished breakfast. Luke finished first, so I handed him Andrew’s clothes, gave him a pep talk and sent him off to be a good big brother and convince Andrew to get dressed and ready for school.
Up against the clock now, I told Andrew that he was going to have to go to school in his jammies. I did NOT get the expected response.
“OKAY!” He said. “I’ll go to school in my jammies. That will be GREAT!”
I tried to explain that his friends might laugh and that everyone was going to wonder why he wasn’t dressed, but it had no effect. He was thrilled.
So, I threw his coat on him, put on his shoes and gave him his backpack. Then he proudly marched down the driveway with his siblings, ready to go to school.
At least I won half the battle, right?
Does this look like the face of someone so who can be so stubborn???
November 17th, 2013 · Friends
You might think we won a costume contest, but we actually won a dodgeball tournament! WHOOHOOOO!
I’m sure our victory had nothing at all to do with the two teams that were disqualified for fighting.
Well, Mother Nature is determined to make this a crappy Halloween. And, so is Dad, I think. He bought the UGLIEST pumpkins EVER. They have warts all over them! Maria was screaming last night as Luke chased her around the house with his pumpkin. To add to the misery, I discovered very quickly that the ugly pumpkins were very, very THICK. I broke every tool we had trying to simply cut a top into them.
Enter: the electric scroll saw. Tim Allen would be proud. And, it didn’t matter what the pumpkins looked like, since they were already ugly. Oh, and because the boys just wanted to make barfing pumpkins this year anyway.
We went simple this year with the costumes:
So far I think I’ve had five groups come by. Lots of rain, umbrellas, puddles. Gonna have a lot of candy left over and some very wet children coming home soon.
October 23rd, 2013 · Projects
While I’m thrilled that Jack’s team is winning at football, it is (finally) becoming a little chilly. And, those metal stadium seats can get coooooooollllllllldddd.
I am happy to report that MY tush will be comfy and warm this Sunday. Oh, and dry, too!
The top is fleece and the bottom side I covered with a layer of plastic cloth, in case of damp bleachers.
Of course, I had to add a little school spirit, too.
Jack practiced hard this week.
Andrew… he just goofed off.
Early this morning, I ran a 10K with my good friends Jessica and Marion.
Then we headed over to the football game. We WON!!!!! Jack played well, but really, I think it was the team gear we wore that won it for them. We were all decked out – sweatshirts, earrings, headbands…
One more game to go! The championship!!! What else can I make or do to support our team??? Ohhhhhhh…. maybe an air horn?!?
The lengths I go to to support my kids… it’s ridiculous.
Ever since I can remember, I wanted a horse. Any time my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday or for Christmas, I told them, “a horse.” They explained the impracticalities to me and the expenses, but I still persisted in my request. And, for years, I religiously submitted my entries for winning a horse through Horse & Rider Magazine, praying each time that I’d win.
From a young age, I rode horses during summer camp. When we moved to Dallas in ’78, I started taking Saturday lessons at Merriwood Ranch. I think it cost $7 per hour back then. As I got older, I spent more and more time at the barn. I did anything to be around the horses. I helped groom and saddle, feed and turnout. I was delighted when a horse needed some exercise (a free ride!) or the teacher needed help. I always had a favorite horse – for a long time it was March, then Starsky and Beau…
While my other friends ran track or played volleyball or other school sports, I stuck with riding. I LOVED it.
When I turned 16, unbelievably, my dream came true. My parents bought me a horse. And, not just any horse, but the best horse EVER. Ralph was half quarter and (more importantly) half Arab. He was spirited (the people that sold him couldn’t keep their kid on his back for all the bucking he did) and he was gorgeous. He had a pink nose, a lot of personality, and came for carrots when I called him.
This my brother Jeff and me, the day Ralph became mine. I still have that card!
When it was time for college, I made sure I found one with a barn near by. When I moved back to Texas after school, I made sure Merriwood had room for us again. And, when I got married and moved to Missouri, the first thing I did was find the right barn for Ralph.
Soon after getting married, Dan and I worked two jobs each to earn the money to buy some land where we could build a house and keep Ralph. We were successful, and as soon as the house was finished, we put in a horse-worthy fence and moved Ralph to his new home. We also became hay farmers
When I became a mother, my firstborn got his first ride on Ralph.
As did my second born:
Several years ago, when Dan accepted a job that we knew would require several moves, we decided that it would be too hard to move Ralph around with us. With a prayer in my heart, I called Merriwood and thankfully, they were willing to welcome him back “home.”
After returning to Merriwood, Ralph was well taken care of and loved my many. Just a few days ago, despite his 33+ years, he still had a rider on his back. After some serious stumbles, though, he was officially “retired.” I guess he didn’t like retirement, though, and headed off to the greenest pastures there are.
I had a bucking good time!
September 12th, 2013 · Family
During our wonderful family trip to Michigan this summer, my children had the opportunity to bond with their Uncle Mark.
So strong were the newly formed bonds that after retuning home, my kids wanted to tell Uncle Mark about all the things happening back at home. When we went fishing, for example, they asked me to take a picture and text it to him.
Then there was the football exchange… Sam had made Uncle Mark a ceramic football during a visit to the Art Barn. Once it was finished, we mailed it off to him. In return, Mark sent a real football to Sam, and some candy for the other kids. (Mark loaded my kids up with candy while on vacation.)
Thank yous were a necessity, so I programmed Mark’s number into the kids’ iPods so they could text him. (Mark is still thanking me for that.) Since then, there has been the occasional text back and forth, mostly just to say “hi.”
Apparently, however, there was a recent conversation via text of which I was unaware. Sam and Luke decided to check in with Uncle Mark. Remembering the sweet treats from the summer, Luke suggested to Sam that he text Uncle Mark and ask him to send Jolly Ranchers. (I found this out later not because the boys said anything, but because my sister ratted them out.)
Lo’ and behold, a package showed up the other day addressed to the kids. Inside was a huge bag of Jolly Ranchers! The kids were thrilled – and tickled! When I asked why in the world Uncle Mark would be sending them Jolly Ranchers, they fessed up to the text.
Needless to say, the Jolly Ranches are long gone… except for the ones I keep finding in my washer. (Worried about unfair consumption, everyone grabbed the candy by the handful and filled their pockets, darn it.)
Thanks, Uncle Mark. We owe you. Big time.
Maria is playing volleyball this year. It’s the first year she’s played a sport for her school.
Now, you might think I’m going to post about being a competitive sports mom. Not to worry – I’m not going to go out and kill her competition. I really don’t care if she wins or loses. And I don’t know much about volleyball… yet. If she’s enjoying it, I’m happy. And, I’ll go to all the games I can and cheer her on.
But, the other day she came home with all her gear and told me that a friend on the team had a really cool string bag – made from the school plaid. She wanted to know if I could make her one.
Of course I could make her one! Darn that other mom!!!
I found an old skirt and a great tutorial.
And ended up with this:
It turned out great. I was definitely the more excited of the two of us, however.
Yesterday, while the older kids were in school, Andrew and I ran some errands and then took care of a few things around the house. One of the things I needed to do was check on our whole house fan. We rely on it quite a bit, and a couple of days ago it had suddenly stopped working. When I turned the knob, nothing happened – it didn’t come on, there was no humming, no nothing.
I had mentioned the situation to Dan, who talked it over with his dad, who suggested that maybe there was a reset switch somewhere. Of course, at the time, Dan couldn’t work on it… he was busy working on his Fantasy Football draft.
Onto my shoulders it fell.
So yesterday, I climbed up into the attic to check things out. We have those folding stairs to get up there, kind of like these:
I left Andrew on the upstairs floor to play while I tried to walk toward the fan without falling through the ceiling. Once I reached the fan, I could open the louvers and see Andrew below me. I looked all over the fan and saw nothing but dirt. However, there wasn’t so much that the fan was stuck or couldn’t move freely. I called down to Andrew and asked him to turn the fan on, but he couldn’t reach the switch. So, I told him to go into the bathroom, grab the stool and bring it into the hall so he’d be able to reach.
There was some frustration, because Andrew had to squeeze between the attic stairs and the wall, and then do some difficult maneuvering with the stool to get through. With a little encouragement, however, he made it. I had him turn the knob and discovered that the fan still didn’t work.
I located a covered box on the fan where the power was attached. However, I needed a screw driver to open the cover so I could see if there was a reset switch in there somewhere. As I made my way back through the attic, I heard a crash and the attic stairs came flying up. I looked below into Andrew’s startled eyes and asked what had happened. “I had to push the stairs to get the stool back through,” he told me. “They were in the way.”
No problem, I thought… I’ll just come down the first few steps and then unfold and lower the second half of the stairs when I get there.
Not a good plan. I’m not sure exactly what happened, except that I started to fall and ended up trapped between the two parts of the stairs. I was holding onto the flimsy rail with one hand and the rest of me was pinched and dangling. I looked down to find Andrew staring at me, stool still in hand.
I was stuck! I couldn’t let go and just drop to the floor, because the two pieces of stairway would just pinch me together harder. I hung there, not knowing what to do. I was trapped and only had a 3-year-old to help me. I managed to take some of the weight off by hooking my right leg onto the stair railing that surrounds the stairs leading up from the first floor. But, I was still stuck. I couldn’t go up at all, so other than taking some weight off, the railing didn’t do me any good. I looked at Andrew – still holding the stool. “Bring me the stool,” I told him. I thought if I could stand on that with my right leg, I’d be able to extricate myself somehow.
“I CAN’T bring it to you!” Andrew told me. “I can’t get it around the [attic] stairs.” (Hence the stairs flying up when he tried to get around them before.) I asked him to try, and thankfully he did. It was frustrating. There wasn’t much room to squeeze the stool through and he was too short to bring it up and over the stair railing. I coached him as calmly as I could and luckily, he’s persistent. (My other kids would have thrown the stool down the stairs, screaming in frustration, and then stomped off and left me.)
After what seemed like an eternity, Andrew managed to get the stool past the attic stair and his dangling mommy, and I was able to take my foot off the railing and put it onto the stool. Once I was on one foot, I was somehow able to disentangle myself from the attic stair.
I heaped praises on my 3-year-old for saving my life, then checked out the damage I had done to myself. It wasn’t too bad, I thought. So, I went to get the screwdriver, reset the attic stairs and told Andrew to stay put against the wall so he was far from the stairs.
Back in the attic, (can you believe I went BACK up there???) I unscrewed the cover on the power box and discovered… a bunch of wires. And a battery looking thing. NO reset button. Dammit. I was going to have to pass the torch to Dan. Which means it may be a while before we have a working fan.
Of course, today is beautiful, and our windows are open, but there is no air flowing through the house. It’s cooler outside than inside!!!
Oh, and you should see my leg today. It’s black and blue from top to bottom. Really pretty. Thank goodness it’s cool enough for pants.