Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Messy Hessy and all that Jazz

Yes, the Banks fam survived Disney World. and it survived us. Oh, what stories there are to tell. But that is for another day. Loved it as I did (and I REALLY did love it) I am sort of Disney-d out. So much gets skimmed in the retelling that it seems unfair to reflect here in a blase way. I will update on that later, I promise, complete with pics of frazzled and hot kids, me with a humidity-induced afro and gorgeous husband on silly rides.

But today I am posting on the messiest children's rooms on the planet, yes, I dared to say planet because if your kids' rooms can top these, then you deserve some sort of big-ass prize like a year's supply of Swiffer Sweepers or a Dyson vac (I'm not sharing mine!!!) or some other stupendous thing that I will say I'll send you and won't. So. If your children's rooms are worse than mine, I'll send you stuff. Maybe a box of McDonald's toys I've gleaned from the pile or terrible vending machine stuffed animals (or worse yet clowns) or busted Hotwheels tracks or piles of crayon nubs or half-eaten sidewalk chalk buckets.... MoooHoooHawHaw....

So how do you make children clean their rooms? Gwen, even threatened with no allowance ever or no sleepovers or no food or no anything will clean up minimally but as soon as my back is turned, the crap pile is back. And whenever I tell Fletcher it's time to clean up his room he gets a hangdog attitude and sadly muses, "But I like it messy. I can find anything I need here!" (The top two photos are of his room, the bottom three of Gwen's).

And maybe he's right. Creativity thrives in chaos. Or so I've lived. My whole life. As my little sister once said to our mother about our home, "Mom, this is one messy hessy!" And how. We grew up neck-deep in craft projects and magazine piles. And I am certainly not a neat freak (and let me tell you - neither is hubby!) We live in a large, divinely dumpy old home where even the yard isn't immune from "Stuff" like the giant trampoline with draping walls that have seen better days and loads of bedraggled garden plants, overgrown sunflowers and sun-faded Little Tykes toys. And home-made bricks, a broken car, collected busted glass for a "someday" mosaic - it goes on and on. Inside and out. And really, I like it that way. But how much is too much?

Come on, readers - anybody out there got a messy hessy - or messy kids rooms they'd like to share? I'd love to hear your thoughts and see you photos...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm only faking when I get it right

So my soundtrack lately has been Fell On Black Days by Soundgarden. The rain, the ever lovin' rain and the grey, dark days have suited me to a black T-shirt lately. Sure don't mind the change.

I don't seem to get along very well with anyone. Gwendolyn pisses me off constantly and the F-Bomber, on the verge of 5, has been the worst-behaved I've ever seen him be.

My husband - husband who? is prickly as I am, though he doesn't admit it. I'll do it for him.

Are we ready, in our psyches, for back to school? Are we all hormonally morphing into prickly pears at once? Are we bored, nonsensical, buzz-killed and down? Are we all on the verge of breaking up? That's how it feels to me.

And yet in two days we are jetting to a 10-day momentous family trip and I have to say it: I'm kind of dreading this.

When marriages go bad there's always that last-ditch-shot-at-inducing-romance-vacation that never works and surely sounds the death knell and inks the pen that signs the divorce papers.

Is this our last-ditch attempt at being a family? My shoulders droop and my head goes cloudy when I daydream about our trudging off to the Magic Kingdom. I can hear the arguing already and I want to cry.

The four of us in one hotel room - shoot me! The hours on the airplane - what were we thinking?

But the trip was a gift - we weren't thinking. It was a generous gift from husband who's? dad. We were so excited for a while, and now here we all are. On the verge. Of something. Terrible? Wondrous? There's no turning back now. This adventure must run its course for good or evil.

I really don't want my four year old to break up with me. I don't want the rest of the family to, either. It's just that I am the Queen of Endings and the Goddess of Beginnings; it's the middle that I really suck at. I always have and right now, that's where we squarely sit, right on our lumpy, stubborn asses.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Painful pearlies

So I've really been feeling like the world is beating me to a pulp lately. My painfully boring job has gotten more painful (like big boss surveillance and heaping helpings of reverse atta-boys), the kids have been, well, kids, and Matthew has been so busy working at work and home I feel like I can't stay awake long enough to remember what his face looks like let alone get a reminder glimpse - our schedules just aren't conducive to spousal bonding. Then there's the usual snotty teen problems (although Gwen has mainly been the good child lately) and the four-year-old who is almost five going on 30 and yet has re-discovered the terrible twos.

So on a recent trip to the dentist I was horrified to discover that even though I am a brushing and flossing professional, ("I can't see one speck of tartar or plaque," squeals the hygienist, head 3/4 of the way into my mouth), it seems as though my teeth are crumbling. Like, totally falling out of my head. Like, as in, they are busting apart and I need like a zillion caps. And - dramatic pause - my favorite - that's right folks, more Painful Dental Surgery!!! And my insurance won't pay for most of it! And, like, I'm still really young, vain, and do NOT want to be a denture-clad, toothless mom at my son's first day of Kindergarten next year!!!

My dentist uttered my least favorite phrase in the universe: "Well, it looks like we're going to have to refer you to a dental surgeon."

The last time I was in this position, I spent my entire income tax refund, had a drastic allergic reaction to the pain medication (think Violet in Willy Wonka, then add hives and suicidal tendencies and the inability to stop crying for three weeks), and alienated my family so badly I thought they would kill me before I could off myself and put myself out of misery. But I also quit smoking then. For good. But that's another story.

And that night, when I came back with my great news, my little Mr. lost his SECOND baby tooth - the other tiny pearl onion on the bottom, just next the the ginormous adult bottom tooth beginning to poke through the gumball-pink skin. Ahh, the circle of life, played out dental-style. I just hope h hasn't inherited my PROBLEMS and frequent trips to the dental surgeon.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Best Weekend EVER

So the fam Banks has just returned from a really AWESOME weekend at the lake. Absolutely not long enough - I didn't want to ever leave! Just the two days of my son not playing video games and enjoying himself anyways was the greatest thing ever. Though there was a TV, we didn't watch it. Though there were I-pods, we didn't listen to them. Though there was no running water, we went to the bathroom anyway!

I am ashamed it has taken us so long to get to the lake. Last summer we just never got around to it. The summer before it seemed like a good idea, but we just never worked it in. The summer before that, well, it just didn't happen and the list goes on. But we just made it happen this year, and I am so happy. My one regret is that Gwen positively refused to go, and instead of making her, I let her stay with a friend instead. As Fletcher said over and over again this weekend, "Sissy sure is missing out!"

To see him catch his first fish (a perch) and make the transition from dipping his toes in the edge of the water to jumping in with water wings and a noodle was priceless, as was seeing his tiny face smeared with chocolate and marshmallow smores leftovers! My picky eater went from eating nothing to gobbling everything in sight since he was so hungry from swimming all day! We had the full experience - fire works, paint gun shooting, swimming, taking a boat ride, cooking on the camp fire, falling asleep exhausted in the complete darkness. All this with no telephones ringing! No housework! No video games! Yee Haw!

Maybe the best part was watching my always-busy-always-working husband just relax and catch a few fish, not look at the clock, and kick back in a lawn chair. This is the lake of his childhood, this is his camp full of family memories, and now he is sharing that with us. Perfection. Here are some photos - Fletch getting his hook baited by daddy, his first fish ever, swimming fun time and some adorable baby turtles that hung out on a log by the dock and kept us company all weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Casting off

I don't exactly know why I shirk my blog. Maybe because I have no idea if anyone reads it or not, maybe because I am afraid you ARE out there, reading. Maybe I'm lazy or have given up on my life as a writer or am too busy or, well, whatever. It's just HARD to make time sometimes, so I guess I'll stop flogging myself about it and just write when the spirit is occupado. Here is our life, abruptly, updated:

For one,
Fletcher got his cast off last Thursday!!! It was such an occasion. He refused to listen to the I-Pod or watch a movie on it like his doctor suggested - he was fixated on that screeching, rotating saw blade with eyeballs the size of hard-cooked eggs and a death-grip on my hands, which he insisted I cover his ears with. Of course we all survived. But as though my son has a psychic ability to predict an "I told you so" the technician actually burnt a small pink line on his tan little arm just where his break was. See Fletcher knew he would be injured in the cast removal process in spite of all the encouraging words to the contrary. Well, wouldn't you know it, the little sourpuss guessed correctly. And boy did he let us know it.

And I was so shocked to see that smooth, tan, perfect little arm emerge from the stinky orange fiberglass cast, or "arm home" as Fletcher liked to say - I was anticipating a withered little old man arm, a white and flaky and stinking shriveled thing with no muscle tone and the flacidity of an elderly, well, you know what. But there it was, tanned and perfect, just like the other arm. Kids are amazing, as the technician pointed out.

So he babied it for a day and then it was back to jumping, dancing, screaming, playing, waving it around like an angry noodle. Then two days later we were somewhere playing hide and seek when he fell flat on concrete, both arms out in front to catch him and I almost threw up my heart, which got stuck in my throat, and it turns out he was just fine, save for a scraped palm. Oy, that boy.

Fletcher has started a new daycare program right across the street from my work. He wailed the first day, absolutely wailed and I felt like a heartless c-u-n-t for walking out that door after 15 minutes of screaming, wriggling boy dragging me to the floor and actually feeling a little relieved. I am sin. But by the end of the week - this week - he is adjusting well and seeming to enjoy himself and I am really enjoying the extra daylight hours we are getting to spend together, even if I have no afterwork nap anymore.

Gwendolyn is enjoying the end of summer school, the anticipation of Disney World, and most importantly to her, us being gone all day. Her best friend is gone to Hawaii for the rest of the summer. The crazy nut calls like 3 times a day. To share the experience. I mustn't say more.

I am just as boring as ever. Working hard on my sourdough starter and physical conditioning (okay, like 30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week if I'm lucky) and eating healthier and oh yeah, using Crest White Strips. Told ya I'm a drag. Peace out.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weak excuses for not blogging and a recipe

So I've, ah, been really lazy, er busy. It's shit-ass hot here in Mid Mo and it sucks the ever-lovin' life outta me. The kids have been driving me nuts. It's too hot to think. I have lots of laundry to do. I've been in a depressive slump. I'm broke. Okay, all of that.

Life just comes atcha so fast sometimes that it's hard to catch your breath. I've been feeling that way lately. Of course there's work, then house work, family time, gardening - it's just all overwhelming at times. Coupled with being yes, broker than broke, and worrying about budgeting all the time and will we make the bills this months? And can I really afford to get the kids ice cream cones this weekend? And oh crap, I forgot to renew my car's registration last month and now there's a late fee? And what do you mean it's already time for an oil change again? Ugg. I'm sure you're there with me.

The truth is life goes on if you're broke or not and that's just what's been happening here. Gwendolyn is in summer school, hating every minute of it and vowing not to screw off next year and end up there again... which she also said last year... Fletcher's arm is healing up but the doc added two more weeks to his wearing a cast, so he's a bit bummed. I did purchase a wash tub, though, to make bathing a little easier. With a Wal-Mart sack on his cast, he can settle in for a good soak and really clean out that, ahem, private area, without much help from me. This week he will get a new, clean, tighter cast. He decided this one will be green. I'll post a pic when it all goes down.

My sweet husband purchased the new Lego Indiana Jones video game and he and Fletch have been pretty much playing it non-stop since. I hate playing video games with Fletcher (sorry, son) as it pretty much consists of him a) killing me repeatedly and him never dying and b) him winning always and me never scoring a point. Matt just has WAY more patience than I do when it comes to this stuff. I love to watch, though, as my husband is a dashing Lego Dr. Jones and my son is a cute, clever Lego Short Round. I'm thrilled to announce as well that I won an e-bay auction for a custom-made George Lucas Lego mini-figure. Okay, I don't know what I'll do with it, either, but we are REALLY into Legos at this house.

Okay, so here's an AWESOME recipe that even my very picky family LOVES. I mean, this chicken is the bomb-diggety and it's like really cheap to make, too. I changed the cook time to 350 degrees for 2 hours because we like our chicken falling off the bone, but the original recipe says 425 for one hour. Also, I was out of cider vinegar and used white and I'm not sure how many actual chicken thighs I had, I just used a package. So here you go:

Baked Terriyaki Chicken

1 TB corn starch
1 TB cold water
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced (I used like 3, pressed)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp black pepper
12 chicken thighs (calls for skinless, but the skin is the best part so we left it on!)

1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine everything except chicken and let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and bubbles.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Place the chicken pieces in a lightly greased (I lined with foil and then sprayed it with cooking spray - it's way easier to clean) 9x13 baking dish. Dump the sauce on. Turn the pieces over to evenly coat. The sauce is sort of thin but don't worry, it will coat well after repeated turnings.
4. Bake for 30 minutes then begin turning the pieces over with tongs like every 10 or 15 minutes or so. This builds up a nice, thick glaze. When the chicken is as done as you like, it's ready to consume! The leftover sauce in the bottom of the pan also tastes great on rice, which we serve on the side.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Broken bones and milestones

Fletcher broke his arm today at the mall. We were playing at the kid's court and he jumped off the giant basketball and hit his arm HARD on the basketball hoop. He broke it in two places! So he now has a bright orange cast for most of the summer. The doctor said it will be off for Disneyland in August, thank goodness. Please say prayers!!!

It was the most painful, sickening feeling I have ever had as a parent. He was standing there, poised at the top. I told him not to jump but I had that teasing, fun look I guess and didn't get up to physically take him off like I knew I should. That basketball is about four feet tall. It's a slide. He wasn't using it the way it was intended to be used. Who in the hell puts a four-foot-tall basketball in the freaking mall anyways?!?! So he jumps and he lands wrong and and he doesn't get up, just has this strange look on his face and the lady next to me says that's a broken arm. Same thing happened to my brother. That's a BAD break.

Of course I leapt to my feet of course I scooped him up and didn't know what to do, all the shopping bags and whatnot falling at my feet. Of course the lady told me to sit down and hold his arm still, was his arm hurt? I was so confused. Why was it flopping around there, his left arm, just flopping? And what is my husband's number at work and what hospital do you want him taken to and is he going into shock? Why isn't he crying and and and.... and it's all sort of a surreal blur. Except I remember the cell phone lady telling me, "Honey, I have two boys. He's four years old - this is when it starts. It's a milestone."

Ambulance time and I'm like, why isn't he more excited to ride an ambulance? But he's quiet, he's just so quiet. Hospital - x-rays, IV's, poked and prodded and still no tears. He is a virtuous saint. He is silent as a lamb and I'm holding it all together, not passing out, not screaming for some fucking pain medication for my son right now, he's only four years old!!! and I'm calm when Matt gets there and calm for the five hours it took to sedate him, set his arm, more x-rays, paperwork and more paperwork and etc.

And when it's over and he's ready to come home he asks the doctor why he cut off his Pirates of the Caribbean shirt? Because that was his favorite shirt and that wasn't very nice. And then he wants a Happy Meal. Just a Happy Meal. We would have given him the WORLD and he asks for a Happy Meal. That is my boy. So that is what he got. and when we got home and he ate and was propped up with a million pillows and I was in the kitchen getting him ice water I started crying and couldn't stop and even Gwen gave me a hug (she's really freaked out) and Matt gave me a hug and then Fletcher yelled, what's mom crying about now? So I stopped and then we played Star Wars. That's my Fletcher, that's my family.

He's really stoned on Tylenol 3 right now and walking around our house like a chicken, clucking. I think that means he'll be okay. He just came up to me and said, "Mom, this was the worst day ever because I broke my arm." And how.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Family Firsts

Fletcher has passed a major milestone kinda early, but with reflection, his sister did at his age as well - he has lost his first tooth! I wasn't really prepared for this - he's only four and a half! But I remember asking Gwen's dentist about it when she as a youngin' and he said that tooth loss was proportionate to when the child cut their first teeth. True or not, I'm not sure, but both my little buggers got their two bottom front teeth VERY early on, like at about 3 months of age - just AWESOME for the breastfeeding mom, let me tell ya.

Strange thing is, with all the inflation - groceries, gas, clothing, etc. - the going price for a lost tooth hasn't gone up in all the years since big sis Gwen lost her first one. Yup, the T.F. still leaves a bright and shiny 25 center under the ol' pillow. Twenty-five cents for that perfect little pearl of a baby tooth. My God, it was so small. Something so small to remind me how big my beautiful boy is getting. Matt said "It looks like a tiny chip off a regular tooth," and indeed he was right. Rolling it over in my hand I felt that strange trepidation a parent feels when you can sense the onset of the growing up of your little one. There is this sense of panic as you feel your child pulling away ever so slightly and really, Kindergarten isn't that far away and we all know school ruins a child for life. Ah, his babyhood is so far behind him now it's but a bright, warm blur. Fletcher seems to be straight-on truckin' through to big boy land before my very eyes and again, where's the pause button?

Matt has taught Fletch another amazing trick - to read two new words. And I am SO proud, not just because of the fact that my four and a half year old read two words to me today, but also because of the actual words: R2D2 and C3PO. Yes, my son loves Star Wars!!!! Woo Hoo! Well, he has for several years, but this, well, this is amazing and gratifying to me on SO many levels. BTW, you may be wondering what Gwen's first read-aloud word was (it was also the first word she learned to write, before her name, even: POOP. Yuppo, that's my girl.

Another family first: Thank to a GENEROUS offer from Grandpa Walt, the Family Banks is headed to Disney World!!!! Though Fletcher remains refreshingly oblivious (we aren't going till August and we didn't want to hear "are we going yet?" every day till then) our excitement is growing daily. Well, mine is, and obsessively so. It's true, I spend every spare minute at work googling every aspect of Disney Orlando I can possibly think of. And talking about it. All the time. To anyone who will listen. Yes, my co-workers hate me.

So. That is that. Be happy, readers, and wait for more Banks Family Firsts and Disney updates!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Moment Like This, Part Deux

Well sorry for the big build-up and then the anti-climax which is here, right here. This post was to include photos of kids sportin' schwag and demonstrating happy feelings re-created after the big incident, but those children were uncooperative and I've hoarded the schwag and, well, I'll just tell you what happened: We encountered the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile!

Oh, it was so sweet. Waxed to wienerific perfection. Gleaming like a ginormous processed meat beacon in that Sam's Club parking lot. Oh, she was a beaut. Some people wait a life time for a moment like this. The kids were giddy. I was hyperventilating. Matt was patient. I beat him over the head with my purse to get him to park the damn Land Rover ANYWHERE so we could bolt for that gleaming glorious frankfurter. We left the car while it was still rolling and made a run for it lest we get left in the hot-dog scented dust - we were so scared it would leave before we got there! But mecca was there for us when we arrived. And the door was open.

I want to tell you every detail of the upholstered splendor that was the inside of that wiener, I really do. I want to tell you about the bun-shaped dashboard and the wien-tastic music playing, etc., but I won't. I'm not going to spoil it for you. It is more unbelievable and amazing than you can imagine. And you should imagine. If you haven't seen this 8th wonder of the world, then I feel sad for you. Hunt it down and do it. They give you prizes!

Yes, the wiener whistle urban legend is true. The driver gives you one. Even if you're a hysterical parent and they're really for the kids, lady. He also tells you hilarious jokes if you ask him questions like: "Do you sleep in here?" His response: "Of course not silly, it's not a wiener-bago!"

Anyhow, my family was brought closer by the experience. Gwen even hugged me, she was so happy. There is so much more I could say but no, I want you to experience this for yourself. Go get that wiener!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Moment Like This

Once Upon A Time I thought I'd never be lucky enough to see it. Then on a vacation a couple years ago I saw it not once but TWICE on the Interstate, going the opposite direction. I thought it was a sign from above that everything was good and right in the world. I have heard of other sightings. Once while on staff at a newspaper I was told one was spotted in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I rushed over only to be disappointed - it had just left.

A few weekends ago when my family was in the city shopping, we saw one in a hotel parking lot. Empty, just sitting there, with a line of a billion cars circling it like sharks around a bleeding diver. And we didn't have a camera. So since me and the kids were screaming at the top of our lungs for a camera! Now! RIGHT NOW! My husband, kind and gentle soul that he is, took us to the nearest Target to buy a disposable Kodak, then emergency-style drove us back to the scene so we could burn a whole roll of film on it.

Then last weekend all our dreams came true... stay tuned for part 2

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cool Mom's Picks For M-Day

One of my fave websites, Cool Mom Picks, is throwing some fab schwag our way for the big day. Check out their awesome list of stuff to beg hubby for. Oh who am I kidding, probably can't afford any of it and if I post this ad I get entered into a big drawing! However, the stuff is still kewl.

Cool Mom Picks Mother's Day Guide

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


It's true, it's all true, it's no April Fool's joke, I MISS MY MOMMY! Curse you, Michigan, and your pristine perfection, family ties and jobs with perks luring my mommy away! I know, I know, it was my own choice to move 13 hours away from my homeland and gripe and bitch about my mom living far away and then gripe and bitch when she did move here and now gripe and bitch when she moves back home! Mom-ma! (think 'Stella!' type anguish-filled plaintiff howl).

Yesterday after work I went to the local second hand store. Not because I wanted to buy anything (and I didn't) but because it reminds me of mom. Yes, mom and I visited there several times over the course of her brief residency here, but really any second hand store reminds me of mom. There's this smell, this musty smell, this smell of treasure waiting to be discovered in the cast offs of closets of yore. The smell evokes warm childhood memories of quiet grey days spent discovering fantastic stuff with momma in dust-mote filled corners of these warehouses of wonderment.

Ever since I can remember mom took us kids to second hand stores. While she mainly stalked the clothing aisles, I would hunker down in the musty book section and find treasure upon treasure in the classics. Peyton Place, House of the Seven Gables, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, I'm Ok, You're Ok, A Hitch hiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Blue Highways, On The Road, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Jonathon Livingston Seagull - those titles and SO many more were mine for the price of a nickel, a dime, a quarter, I don't know, never more than a dollar, at the local St. Vincent DePaul.

My mom is famous for her second-hand splurges and on her many moves (mom's sort of a gypsy in more tasteful clothing), the first thing she'd stake out was where and how many second hand stores there were. Forget groceries, this is more important! Junking is sustenance, equally if not more important than food and water! One year for Christmas, we even gave her gift certificates to Goodwill because we knew she'd like the opportunity to junk more than anything we could buy her new. Yes, mom taught us there's something soul-nourishing about second hand store hunting. And there is.

And yesterday my soul needed nourishing. I needed my momma. So I perused the racks of the musty old store and stalked the perimeter for furniture and housewares and even visited the back room for extreme bargains, etc., and then I just cried. I just couldn't help it, the tears just came. I sort of wandered in between some racks and let it out. I just plain miss my mom. I know I'll get to see her again, and I'm sure we have many junk-store filled afternoons ahead of us. I just miss her right here and now and it was nice to have that safe haven of used stuff to express myself in. Love you mom. Miss you.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I have a blog?!?!

Sort of skipped past Easter and then some... the fam has been busy lately, I guess, well, just sort of adjusting to Grandma moving back to Michigan. We were all so used to her gentle, sweet ways and kind guidance and fight intervention. And the fact that she always kept the litter boxes clean. We are all grieving. So we're going to totally have to crash her pad this summer!!!

This weekend has been grey and semi-wet, the time of year when it's struggling to be spring but hasn't quite got there yet, though there are some hella fat buds on the daphs just waiting to pop. I am rubbing my knuckles together in glee!

Above is a pic of my homemade, poorly rendered Goldbug and Maniacbug hiding in the ferns. Fletch has become fixated with an ancient Richard Scary book, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, and finding Goldbug and Maniacbug hiding in oh-so-many clever hiding spots on each and every page. So since we were homebound and bored this afternoon I decided to make our own Goldbug and Maniacbug and hide them around the house for Fletch to find.

This was fun for, oh, say five minutes. The game quickly digressed to Goldbug looking for Maniacbug, finding him, and kicking his ass karate-style. Why is everything all star wrestling with little boys?? Anyhow, we read a book, did a craft and then engaged in active play all centered around one subject. Sounds like kindergarden readiness to me!!

And Gwen? Gwen was surly. Oh so surly. But she did make some delish chocolate pudding for us. And we love her.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fried egg Fletcher

Last night Fletcher, who I was trying to get ready for bed, invented a new game: He was an egg and I had to "crack" him into a frying pan while daddy was the spatula and had to flip him over. I know this sounds weird, but it turned out to be so hilarious we all couldn't stop laughing (and we certainly didn't get calmed down and ready for bed for quite awhile).

So this is how it worked: We were all on me and Matt's king sized bed. Fletcher, sitting on his bottom, tucked up his legs and arms into his oversized Dolphins jersey and bent his head down inside the neck hole. I rolled him forward, "cracking" him into the 'pan' at which point he unfolded his body flat and then Matt (the spatula) picked him up and flipped him over a few times till he was "done" and then we "ate" him all up by tickling him all over. It was even more fun when I decided I wanted my egg scrambled, which led to crazy havoc with the spatula.

Man, that was just a really great family memory, and one I really want to remember. It is one of those times when taking a photo wouldn't have counted. There were no real eggs or pans, and it was all just make believe, nothing to photograph, but I want to keep that mental snapshot in my heart's wallet always.

And then there's Gwendolyn, moody, sulky, so full of emotional turmoil and angst. I hesitate to write about her here so as not to embarrass her. She is full of private inklings and cranky inclinations and tumult; she reminds me of the breaking of the bay from my Michigan childhood. In the spring when the ice cracks up on Lake Michigan there are these booms, loud as thunder, while the surface is still smooth and flat as ever then soon there are three and four foot thick walls of blue-green ice colliding and spiking and arching and banging and diving up from the water like deformed frozen trick dolphins and the scene is so calamitous and terrifying you want to run away screaming and stay there transfixed by the insane process of nature! But soon the ice floe is out to 'sea' and warmer weather arrives and there's the beach and the blue-green waves and the gorgeous lake is back to same-old-same-old. I guess it's just adolescence but it is MY daughter's adolescence and it is intense and scary and lovely and I just yearn for the days of same-old-same-old that lay somewhere in the foggy future. If you have a teen, I feel for you...

Friday, March 14, 2008

I must have it!!!

I was wandering the web and look what I found...
Rarely am I moved to stare slack-jawed and drooling at a piece of artwork but this, this is everything I have ever wanted in a print! It's cheap! It's gorgeous! It's a tree! Somebody slap me! I must have it for my bedroom!!! There is also another print there that made me instantly think of Gwen, and I must have it for her but I will save that as a surprise, so no post of it today! Thank you NiceBunny for making me a crazed shopaholic!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Check out Sockdrawer's website

Sockdrawer, a.k.a. my daughter Gwen, has an interesting website which you can visit by visiting the link below. Sockdrawer says, "Go here or else the evil parrot that shoots acid toothpaste will find you." ^_^

Mini misogynist or majorly mommy maintained monster?

So Fletcher, 4, has taken to ordering me around a bit and I'm not liking it. Really, it started last year when I was doing laundry in the basement and he was hanging out on the steps with the some Hotwheels and surveying the scene. Gazing at my husband's multiple-project-induced mess, he said, "Mommy, why don't you clean this up?" Huh? "Well, that's daddy's mess," I responded. "Yeah, but you should clean it up," he said. I asked him why I should clean it up when DADDY made the mess and he said, "Because that's your job, you clean things up."

I explained at the time that people are responsible for their own messes and that daddy would have to clean up after himself when he was done with his 'projects.' I'm not sure if it sunk in or not as he took off up the steps to look for more Hotwheels to roll down the stairs.

Fletcher has always been more inclined to ask for feminine help than masculine. And it's really no surprise. Though Matt is a hands-on-dad, he is more about extreme fun tickle fighting, building insanely labor intensive Lego structures, Hotwheel races that last for three hours, trips to McDonalds and Home Depot and Auto Zone, etc., than doing the laundry or cooking dinner. Not that he doesn't do this stuff, too, but he's mainly the entertainment and I'm more like, well, mom. A woman (an awesome one!) takes care of him at daycare, his big sister is like another (bossy) mom, and gramma is the go-to lady for snacks, treats and late-night story sessions. So maybe it's just that he relies on women for nourishment, clean clothing and gentle loving. Or maybe he thinks we all live to serve him.

Last night he told me, "Mom, go make me a sandwich." I told him it would be nice if he asked me politely. He replied, "Mom, it's your job to make me a sandwich and my job to wait for it." Geez, have I done this to myself? I took him to the kitchen and had him make it himself, which really honked him off. Of course, Matt thought it was hilarious. Well he'll just be laughing his butt off when he gets to cook supper for himself tonight, right :) I think I'll send Fletcher to 'help' him out.

But honestly, it's not just those couple of incidents. It's every day stuff, like cleaning his room, laying out his clothes for the next day, etc., etc. Maybe I over-baby him. Maybe I'm the one turning him into a demanding little Nazi. Maybe he's, like, FOUR and is reliant on his mom for most stuff? What do you guys think?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Noooooo!!!! My green and gold heart is broken!

I cannot describe the sadness, the end of an era *sniff* Matt had to wait till he got home from work to tell me so he could console me while I cried and denied. Deep down in his Minnesota Vikings loving heart I KNOW he is jumping for joy but he is a smart boy and knows when to shut his cake hole and bring on the lovin'.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Like sand through the hourglass...

So for some reason today I decided to tackle this enormous obstacle that has taken over a corner of my bedroom for the last couple of years and has grown so large it has started to avalanche past the bedside table and onto my pile of shoes, in the way, being trampled, and annoying me daily by reminding me of the things I let slip in the name of "no time to deal with this." It is a pile of artwork by my son and daily updates from his daycare provider that I have dutifully placed (thrown) into a GIANT Old Navy sack in the corner to be dealt with later.

I mean, I never wanted to throw this stuff out. It is priceless - all the gems of glitter and glue and crayon, every dot-to-dot and pre-school number and letter worksheet! All there! All of it! Since he was eight months old and began daycare (he's now four) with Ms. Nikki, the saint who enables me to go to work every morning without feeling like the crappiest mom on the planet for leaving her kid at daycare and going to work! Actually, I mostly think his life has been enriched 10-fold by his time with Nikki, but I'll save that for another post.

So anyhow, this pile 'o stuff also included every note Ms. Nikki has ever written about Fletch. Every diaper change when he was still in didies, every meal, every snack, every toddler snit with friends, every field trip, ride on the four-wheeler and deer encounter. Priceless! How could I have thrown this stuff in a corner for like, a few years? Well, you know how it is... "I'll get to it later" becomes a mantra and later turns into many milestones down the road. This bag of pre-school jewels has turned into our cat, Melee's, favorite bed (yes, it was all full of cat hair and several dead fleas) and like I said had turned into an avalanche so I couldn't ignore it anymore.

I got the hugest binders I could possibly find and lugged them home thinking, "This'll be a piece of cake!" What-eveh. What a mess. I am ashamed of myself!!! Like 3 hours later and after I exhausted the help of my poor tired husband, who kept creeping away when I wasn't looking and finally got away for good when I was shuffling through a mess of crayoned valentines, and daughter Gwendolyn, who collapsed into fits of laughter over the weird menus Nikki offers (donuts, pancakes and toast all in the same breakfast, for example) I finished. Sorting art from updates, that is. And nothing is in dated order except for the one, count em, 1 month (may 2007) that Matt sifted through. And I think I need like 20 more binders. And did I say I was ashamed of myself?

I did, however, discover in the pile: Golden curls, in a plastic bag, from Fletcher's first haircut; several stones from me and Matt's honeymoon to Yellowstone and the best surprise of all (for Fletcher) - two Hotwheels he had been missing for well over a year! Huzzah! Anyhow, I'll let you know how it all turns out...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fletcher is 4 and Gwendolyn is 14. Before their lives with me have slipped away to time completely, I must capture them in all their suckiness and glory. Hence this blog. Motherhood is a miracle of sorts, and a curse in other sorts. It is painful glee, exhuberant brain freeze. It is a manic-depressive x-game, skinned-knee ice ball fight with cookies and pudding pops. You know it. Why not share it with a potty-mouthed mom of two from the sweltering no-man's land of fulfilled discontent?