Sunday, September 23, 2007

I wanna be a paleentallagest someday

My 2nd grader came home this week with this poster he'd filled out with information about himself for "Back to School Night." He drew a self portrait, and you know those are ALWAYS precious and incredibly hilarious. My son has glasses and of course he draws them on his little face and it's just so doggone cute.

My little man had to tell who he lives with, whether or not he has pets, his goals, his favorite things, etc. I got such a kick out of reading this poster! There's a sentence that reads "I think I'd like to study to be ________." He filled in the blank with "a Paleentallagest." I thought the spelling was pretty darn good considering "paleontologist" is a hard word to spell. His favorite song is "Hot Cross Buns," which evidently is a cool tune for 2nd graders. Go figure!

I love being able to read more into who this little guy is, you know what I mean? These are his choices, his favorite things, what he's most proud of and, most importantly, his perception of himself. AWESOME... and yes, worth a few good belly laughs.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Snacked Out!

Okay, I complained about snacks in a recent blog, and sorry, but I'm not finished complaining. I understand kids are all about snacks. I like snacks myself. We used to ask our kids what their favorite part about playing team sports was and they'd say, "The snack at the end of the game." Of course, what was I thinking? A kid has his priorities after all.

I've done my fair share of providing snacks for various sports teams, school events, birthday parties... If you're a mom, you can probably relate. It's what we do... provide snacks for the world.

My youngest son had a soccer game today. His team colors are orange and to be cute, I thought I'd provide all orange snacks. At halftime, the team likes to have a quick, healthy snack, preferably a fruit of some sort to give the kids some energy. We provided oranges. I even cut them up and put 4 slices in individual baggies for all the kids and had wipes for the sticky hands afterwards. I was surprised at the number of kids who wouldn't touch them. Well, that's okay I thought, because the kids will really like what we were handing out at the end of the game.

I bought orange Gatorade and made these orange-colored vanilla-flavored lollipops in the shape of a soccer ball. Most kids did take these, although a few turned their noses up. One kid looked in my cooler and then at me and said, "A lollipop and a drink... THAT'S ALL?!" Let's just say I was gritting my teeth and reminding myself that flogging a child in public is probably not the best idea. I just looked at him, smiled and said, "Sorry." Of course the kid still snagged the goods and went on his merry way, without so much as a "thank you," I might add. On the way home I gave my son a short lecture on how one either graciously accepts or turns down a snack when it's not necessarily a personal favorite.

It's not like anyone could ever please two kids with anything, much less please 14 kids. That's a tough realization for a people pleaser such as myself. I'm so glad my snack requirement has been fulfilled for the season. Check that box, baby! I'm DONE!

We survived Birthday Mania!

Well, it's official... we've survived Birthday Mania 2007. Our boys turned 11 and 8, respectively, this weekend. The oldest had a birthday yesterday and the youngest has a birthday today. We had a sleepover with 4 other little boys last night and while it wasn't like the worst day of my life or anything, it's not something I desire to do again in at least a year. Happy Birthday, boys! Don't ask for anything else for a very long time! :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Aging gracefully... Yeah, right!

When I was a teenager I used to think it would be cool to be older, like 25 or 30... You know, OLD! Of course now that I'm in my 40s, 25 or 30 sounds REALLY young to me. Funny how your perspective changes, isn't it?

I've discovered over the last few weeks that I'm old. It's not necessarily my age that has led me to feel this way. 42 isn't over the hill. It's the fact that I have issues I always associated with being old. Let me explain...

I'm overweight and don't exercise. I never would have dreamed this would happen to me. I was the jock in high school and was skinny as a beanpole. 20+ years and 2 kids later and I'm pudgy. I don't like looking and feeling the way I do, but I haven't found the motivation to do anything about it. I was complaining about my situation to my husband recently and of course he's very supportive and loving, but can't possibly understand what it's like to have a weight problem since he's always been thin and very fit. He's willing to do whatever he can to help me, God love 'im. Because he's a pilot, I put things in pilot terminology. Regarding my weight, I said, "I'm in a holding pattern." That was several months ago... Sigh...

I have toenail fungus! Where did that come from and how do I get rid of it? It's not pretty and wearing open-toed shoes makes me want to cringe. Anybody got a sure-fire cure for this unsightly problem? Ewww! And of course I find that I can't wear most trendy shoes because I've had surgery on one of my feet, therefore I now have a touch of arthritis in that particular foot, which prevents my foot from bending into lots of different types of shoes. Those pointy-toed high heel pumps everyone started wearing again a few years ago? Can't get my foot into them. There's no way I'd ever be able to walk even if I did get my foot into them. These shoes are UNCOMFORTABLE! Doesn't anyone else notice this?

I have acid reflux! This started about 3 years ago and I've been to so many doctors in hopes of "fixing me." It's taken forever just to get a diagnosis because just when I really think we're getting somewhere, it's time to move and then I have to start all over again. I've been on lots of medications. I've been told I have allergies. I've been told I have a tonsil issue. Now I'm being told I have acid reflux. I've had an endoscopy, a swallow study (a tube up my nose and down my throat for 24 hours - Don't wanna EVER do that again!), a CT scan and several scopes. Evidently the muscles in my throat don't open and close properly. Why? And why can't that be fixed? Why can't they just give me a magical pill? Now I'm supposed to avoid all things wonderful - coffee, chocolate, sodas and tomato-based foods. Fine!!! Take away my comfort... see if I care! But I DO care! I hate giving up the things I really enjoy.

I've become forgetful! I often can't finish my sentences. I search for words in the little word bank in my brain and they never appear. I get so frustrated because I literally can't find the word I'm looking for at times. I've been playing word games on the internet and doing other things to exercise my brain, but frankly, I'm not seeing any improvement and... um... See, there I go again! The other thing I'm experiencing is the "walking into a room and forgetting why you went into the room in the first place" scenario. Ever do that? I do it daily!

Hey, I just thought of one thing that makes me feel young again... My face broke out this week! Oh, now that's comforting! I feel like a teenager all over again. Whatever happened to aging gracefully?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There's no rest for the weary

This is a crazy week, but I don't know why that surprises me. The week leading up to my children's birthdays is always crazy. The age difference between the boys is three years and a day, which means their birthdays are one day apart. How's that for planning? Actually, it was just a nice little coincidence with no planning on our part. My husband and I have come to the conclusion that our particular month of conception must just be a very fertile time for us.

We've actually gotten off pretty easy with the boys' birthdays over the years because they're close enough in age that they enjoy sharing their special days with one another. There's only one celebration rather than two. Whether it's a party at the bowling alley, the indoor play place or at home, it's always done together. I can't handle back-to-back parties. I'd be willing to do two separate events if, and only if, we celebrated weeks apart, but they don't want to do that, and that's cool by me. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is definitely my motto. It's birthday mania only once a year instead of twice, and that works nicely for me.

This year the boys are having a sleepover with four other boys (They each chose two friends to invite). The theme is LEGOS, because these guys are obsessed with them. I downloaded lego invitations off the internet to send to their friends. Favors have been taken care of already (Can you believe there are sweet tarts in the shape of legos?) and the gifts have been purchased and wrapped. I've been asked to make a cake in the shape of a lego, which I think I can manage, but I sure wish Giant or Safeway would do it for me. Those people don't make lego cakes! (My tongue is sticking out!)

I'm also baking brownies for each of the boys to take to school on Friday. I thought I was going to be assembling these cute "candy kabobs," which translates to gummies on a stick, an idea I'd stolen from some very creative moms. I thought my boys would be all over that idea since they love gummies of all kinds. I went out and bought all of the stuff I'd need, so now I have bags of gummies sitting around everywhere. I was telling the boys about this ultra cool idea I had and asked them what they thought and they said, "We'd rather have brownies." Talk about bursting my bubble! Note to self: Next time ask the kids what they want first or don't ask at all and do what I want.

I'm also making soccer ball lollipops for one of the boys to take to his soccer game on Saturday because that's the day we were asked to provide a snack. Good grief! Can't kids get by for an hour without eating? Can I just tell you I'm "snacked out?"

At least my husband is around for the big sleepover this weekend, otherwise, I'm not sure I'd be hosting this alone. I'm reminded of the year he was deployed and I had the boys' party at an indoor play place. My oldest ended up getting punched in the eye by a kid who wasn't even among those invited and the result was a huge black eye, just in time for soccer pictures too. We now refer to that event not as the "birthday bash," but rather the "birthday bashing." Of course my son ended up thinking of that black eye as a very cool thing, a sort of "badge of honor" that we took pictures of daily for a week and emailed to Daddy. We were so proud!

I can hardly believe the boys are going to be 11 and 8 this weekend. Time flies, especially when you're busy planning birthday parties.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The cat is definitely out of the bag!

Today I inadvertently told my 11-year-old son that his father and I had previously been married to other people. I didn't set out to even talk about my first marriage; it was a conversation that just evolved. The thing is, I thought my kiddo already knew about my past. I say that as if it's some big soap opera - NOT!

The fact is, both my husband and I were married to other people at one time. We haven't ever sat down with our kid to discuss this, but it wasn't something we were necessarily keeping a secret. Like I said, I thought our oldest knew about this other part of our lives.

This is how it went down...

I had to check my son out of school a bit early for a doctor's appointment this afternoon, and on the way to the doctor we were chatting about school. I asked him how he liked this new teacher and he said she was very nice, but sometimes tough. We then talked about how teachers sometimes have to be tough, and I said I should know because I used to be a teacher myself. That's when the conversation started to evolve into a different topic.

My son asked me what my students called me... "Mrs. Marva?" I said, "No, they used my last name, not my first name." He then used my maiden name and I corrected him by giving him my former married name. He said, "You were married before?" Uhhh.... I realized he didn't know after all.

So we talked further about the fact that both Dad and I had been previously married. I told him sometimes marriages don't work out for lots of reasons, and it wasn't what Daddy and I would have chosen, nor was it what God would have chosen for us, but it happened anyway. I went on to tell him that I was very much in love with his dad and knew that God helped us get it right this time. I didn't want him to worry that we might not stay together.

For a few minutes he was under the impression that his dad was really his step-dad. I had to reassure him that wasn't the case and told him he'd probably never even meet the people to whom my husband and I used to be married. Then he asks me, "What if I do?" Geez... where is this conversation going and how did we get here anyway? I explained that it would be okay if he met our former spouses. He'd just say hello, be polite and that would be that.

Then he said, "Okay." He didn't ask any more questions and the world continues to turn.

Would you like to support our school in our fundraiser?

I'm almost afraid to even get started on this subject. I've grown to despise fundraisers. I understand why they're necessary, but I'm just tired of them... PERIOD!

My kids have come home from school with the same "wrapping paper/candy/gift item which shall remain nameless fundraiser" as they brought home last year. Did people not order enough of these items the previous year to last them a lifetime? Why do we have to sell the same stuff year after year?

And you know who gets stuck selling this junk, don't you? Me, that's who! I won't allow my kids to go door-to-door, although other parents do, and I can NEVER say no to a pathetic-looking kid selling anything. I could be allergic to whatever the kid is selling and I'd still buy it! And I HATE when a kid comes to the door selling the latest and greatest fundraiser items and a parent is standing just a few feet away. The pressure to purchase from the kid just went up significantly. How can you say no when mom or dad is standing right there too? Can't do it!

Just who do I ask to buy what we're peddling anyway? We're a military family and move every couple of years or so. We don't know that many people, plus I have two kids and they're both supposed to be selling this stuff. There are 8 kids on my street alone who are participating in the same fundraiser. I also found out our church preschool is participating in the same fundraiser, so I don't feel right about taking "prospective customers" away from the church of all places. Some folks take their kids' fundraiser catalogs to work, but I don't have a job outside my home, so I'd be relying on my husband to do that. Okay, not happening! I can just see him peddling the latest and greatest fundraiser items in the Pentagon. I don't think so! All of my girlfriends' kids are selling something too, so I'm not going to ask them. None of our family members live around here, but they do have that wonderful option of purchasing online. That would be great if I had relatives who are computer savvy enough to figure it out.

Why can't I just write a check to the school and be done with it? Why isn't there just an automatic tuition fee that we pay at the beginning of the year? I really think people would be lined up just waiting to pay that fee rather than participate in the myriad of fundraisers held each school year. Just tell me who to make my check out to and how much you want. Done!

Have I mentioned I HATE fundraisers?

So... would you like to buy some wrapping paper?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's Wrong with People?

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment at a military medical facility. The fact that this appointment was at a military facility isn't really the main issue, but to me it was significant and this is why... (Get ready 'cause I'm about to get on my soapbox!)

I was about to enter the building and noticed a vehicle parked next to the curb right up front. No one was in the driver seat, however, someone was in the passenger seat. I saw this person roll down his window and throw a banana peel on the sidewalk. I just stood there staring at this man as if to say, "WHAT did you just do? Did you REALLY just throw a banana peel out of your window outside a military medical facility?" Can you believe that? Anyone could have come along and slipped and fallen on that banana peel!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by anything people do anymore. I know it was just a banana peel, but it's the principle of the matter. How would this man like it if someone threw something in his yard or on his sidewalk for him to either a) pick up and dispose of, or b) slip and fall and possibly break a bone or two?

What I should have done, but obviously didn't, was go over and pick up the banana peel and throw it away myself. I wouldn't have had to say a thing to the man, but my actions would have been louder than words. Why didn't I do that?

Where is the respect and common courtesy these days? WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? This incident really got under my skin. Can you tell? Okay, I'm done. I'm off of my soapbox and feel so much better.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Stop Me Before I Volunteer AGAIN!!!

It's that time of year... The kids have started back to school, therefore the begging for volunteers has begun! I'm a volunteer and have a very hard time saying no. It's an illness, no doubt, and one that people can easily recognize. Eyes light up when I enter a room because people KNOW they can ask me to do practically anything and I'll say yes. Why is that? What's my problem? Sometimes I think the word "VOLUNTEER" must be written on my forehead - it's THAT obvious!

I think many people automatically expect us stay-at-home types to have all the time in the world to devote to volunteering. They think our days are empty because our kids are at school. "Hey, Marva can do that because she doesn't work," is what they must be thinking. Hey, people, I have blogging to do, bon-bons to eat and soap operas to watch! I can't be expected to do EVERYTHING, can I?

I could analyze this to death. Maybe it's my internal need to please everyone. Maybe it's because I'm afraid if I don't volunteer it will reflect poorly upon me. Maybe I just need to get over it and start learning that simple 2-letter word... N-O! I suppose I could even add a second word to make that sound nicer... NO, "THANKS."

I'm trying to find ways to combat my problem. Coming up with a game plan isn't easy. Let's see... I need to avoid walking into the school, refuse to make eye contact with everyone, stop answering my phone and pretend my computer has crashed. I can do that, right? Right?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Kids really do say some of the cutest things, don't they? Our youngest son had something incredibly sweet and innocent to share with us a few days ago...

Our oldest son has somehow, during all of our military moves, managed to escape cursive handwriting. He's had some instruction, but none of his teachers have ever required him to write in cursive for anything other than handwriting practice. He's going into 5th grade (TOMORROW!) and doesn't really know how to write in cursive. I've been working with him a little this summer to try to get him ready for the possibility of having to write only in cursive this school year. Everyone really should learn how, don't you think?

One day while our son was practicing cursive writing, he commented on the fact that it was a little hard. I told him I understood, but it really wasn't that big of a deal once he'd had plenty of practice and I just knew he could do it. Our youngest son was listening in, and somehow the conversation turned to being able to do anything with the help of Jesus. Then the little man piped up and said, "I'll bet Jesus can write in cursive!"