Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Idaho trip '09

So forgive me, please, as it's been a bit since I was last on here (yeah, just pretend you noticed, it's good for my ego). We made a crazy trip to Idaho to see my middle daughter, Sadie, who decided to pepper our dull lives with a removal of her kidney and follow up chemo and radiation therapy. Just when you think you have the hang of this whole life thing, wham-bam, thank you ma'am, a wrench gets thrown in it and you have to just go with the flow. It was of course, wonderful to see everyone we love and miss on a daily basis, even in the midst of worries and surgeries, etc. All my friend's kids have grown another foot and while I did get some cute photos, the majority of the time I left my camera in my diaper bag where I always had it and yet somehow in my old age, managed to still not remember to not forget to take lots of pictures. I still don't know how and when I went from teenager to Gen X-er to now, a thirty-something with gray hair and sore muscles and a failing memory. Anyway. Our trip itself was naturally not completely uneventful, but thankfully not AS eventful as prior journeys. Boise had lovely weather for us: shorts and tank tops and flipflops and sunburns that nicely turned a spiffy shade of bronze for us, campfires at the High House with hot dogs and a sandbox that Gianni enjoyed like no one's business, blooming trees and budding flowers. Heck, I think there were even Disney animated squirrels and birds and mice running around singing happy songs. Then, sigh, we crossed back into Wyoming. The land that spring forgot. Fog and blowing snow and rain and grayness and barren landscapes with nothing but tumbleweeds and antelope, who neither dress themselves in jaunty little outfits nor sing happy songs. But in spite of that welcome, it is nice to be home where we have more than 3 shirts and 5 pairs of underwear to rotate through before we have to borrow someone's washer and dryer. We had a great trip but I figured I would keep this post simple and write about one particular evening last week. Disclaimer: this is totally not about me and my friends. It's just a funny story told to me by...a friend. A friend with friends who are so not as cool as me and my friends. We did much cooler things all week long, oh yes indeedy.

Ladie's Night! Margeritas! Except ours, uh, I meant to say, theirs were spelling correctly. No kids! No hubbies! Freedom! It went to these ladies heads. So much freedom they were at a loss to know what to do with themselves. Literally. At a loss. Much time was spent talking about what to do while rotating drinks around the table (too icy, too sweet, too tequila-y, not enough tequila, wrong flavor, dropped salsa in this one, yadda yadda). Ladies decide to see a movie. One not rated G and animated. Movie doesn't start for another hour and a half. Ladies don't know what to do with themselves. Liquor store already closed (hey, there's an advantage in Wyoming!) Ladies huddled together in minivan. Obviously this story isn't about me; we'd be huddled in something cooler, like a Hummer. Ladies go to grocery store and buy mini margeritas and tiny bottles of wine. Ladies park in theater parking lot and hope tinted windows hide their shameful open containers. Ladies get slightly buzzed and giggle like school girls. Mall security is only a few cars away! Ladies get nervous like the good church goers they are, but can't stop laughing. Sadistic lady in front seat pushes the window button and scares the living daylights out of lady in back seat, who thought for a minute the security guys were scaling the car. More giggling. Diaper bags come in handy for sneaking in more mini margeritas and wine into theater. Ticket taker looks at ladies like they are insane. Or drunk. Ladies play it cool. Suave. Walk in straight (ish) line to see movie, which is rated a whole PG-13. Ladies not brave enough to actually drink anymore in the theater, especially lady on the end who is afraid the rest will bail on her if security guard, all 11 years and 88 pounds of him, approaches them. Ladies sober up by end of movie (is it because enough time went by or is it because they all had the thought that Zac Efron would be more interested in their daughters than he would be them? No one knows for sure) and go home to babies and husbands who ask, 'How was your time, honey?' and ladies all reply, 'Fun, dear. Bible study is always fun.'

Good times. For my friend. Should she write a blog, her story would be soooo not worth blogging about. We who blog have much more sensational tidbits to write about, don'tcha know.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Childhood is spelled P-L-A-Y

So Gianni is at that age now where I start getting evil looks from other mommies in the park. Do you know what I mean? Or are you the one giving me the looks? Let me explain:

I am a very over protective mom, but like every parent, I have my pet peeves, soap boxes, personal creed, etc etc. For instance, I am very over protective about people watching my children. They could be crazed ax murderers, you just can't be too careful. I am very over protective about the things they learn and just who in the blazes they're learning it from. Thus the sheltering, er, I meant to say homeschooling. I am very over protective about what they put into their bodies and like the cruel mother I am I follow in my own cruel mother's footsteps and serve them homemade granola instead of Sugar Frosted Sprinkled Cocoa Puffed Candy Balls for breakfast (an important part of your nutritious breakfast... when served with eggs, oj, toast, and a side of vitamins). I am over protective about the little things like wearing seat belts and having a buddy to take to the restrooms and looking both ways twice before crossing the street. But here is what I am NOT over protective about:

Climbing. Climbing trees and play equipment is a child's job. You get strange looks if you leave this part of childhood for when you are fully grown. Trees are made for climbing, folks! And climbing high. Sure, they could fall out I suppose and then I suppose they would more than likely break a limb, but they could also find a way to fall off your couch while watching other children climb trees on tv, land on the coffee table, spill their snack which flings the fork into the air, only to be caught by their eyeball. Life has risks. Anyway, though, my kids are climbers and this somehow warrants every well meaning (translation, meddling) parent to approach me and kindly tattle on my own children because they not swinging properly on the swing at a perfect arc and in a five-point harness; they are three stories up in a tree, usually upside down. If I'm feeling a bit small from the rebuke I just got, I'll give a half hearted, 'Hey, girls, not too high, ok?' They've been climbing since they could walk and yes, something bad could happen. But it wouldn't be worse than having good old childhood fun taken away from them. Cora used to put boys twice her age to shame by the way she'd monkey up things, no fear, and they'd be staring at her trying to figure it out and just when they'd get up enough courage, their mommies would yell at them (their names are usually Percival or Egbert or Cyril or something equally manly) and they'd scuttle off with disappointment in their perfectly groomed faces. Now I know we need these boys to grow up to become poets and poodle hair dressers and fashion designers just as much as we need cowboys and truck drivers and alligator wrestlers because together they all make the world go 'round, but I just can't help being sorry for the boys and girls who are not allowed to play. Really play. With trees and mud and torn jeans and worms and swords and water guns and snakes and snails and puppy dog tails (preferably with the puppy dog still attached however, I do draw the line somewhere). If it's the end of a long summer day and my kids aren't grass stained and holey and smell like a gym sock and exhausted and hungry, then I have failed as a mom. Sometimes I think we as parents, need to have a good grounding ourselves, with a day of digging to China and building forts and having snow ball fights and just remembering what it felt like to play. Now, my kids are just as susceptible as anybody's at wanting to have someone else do the playing for them (i.e. video games and television and toys that tell you how you have to play them and there's only one right way). Those are the days I unplug everything that has a cord (exception: coffee maker), gently prod them out the back door and then cheerfully proceed to lock that same door until they get bored of knocking and hollering and yelling that they have to go to the bathroom and wander off in search of fun. Back in the olden days, by crikey, my friends and sis would take off first thing in the morning, pack a lunch, hop on the bikes or horses and be gone until dusk, when our bellies were growling for dinner and we could distantly hear Mom calling us home. And yes, it was uphill both ways and in the snow. Now that is a childhood. They only get one you know.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Home-edjookashun runs amuck

I had to delete my old blog today, due to getting ridiculous amounts of spam comments emailed to me to moderate, and it made me a little sad, like I was erasing one of my children or something. The web is a curious thing: sites that just sort of hang in space, waiting for you to pull them up and read them. It always makes me think of the dad in "A Christmas Story" with his tapestry of profanity floating through eternity. 'Cept, of course, I keep mine clean.

So I am in the mood to write and yet, can't think of anything too darn life-shattering to say, so I'll explain to you the hows, whys, and whatfors of homeschooling. Actually, we may skip the whatfors. But since I'm asked this particular question all the time, 'You homeschool? You are so brave!' let's start with the answer to that.

I am not brave. Just the opposite in fact. I am too much of a chicken to put my innocent kids in school. Or maybe I'm too much of a chicken to unleash them on unsuspecting school children. In any case, bravado does not enter into the equation. I am approximately as brave as say, a goldfish. So there goes that theory. The #2 statement I get is, 'You must be so patient!' Again, and alas, nope. I used to be patient. Back when I was the perfect parent. Before I had any children to mess up my streak. My girls actually have to show a lot of patience with me, not as much vice-versa. Like when I can't find something in order to conduct their science experiment, or when I am quick, learning something pronto on the sly so that I can teach it to them and fake that I totally knew it all along, or when my eyes are crossing in boredom because they insist on learning about how whales don't have lips or some such thing that they find endlessly facinating and I find...the facination to have ended. So now #2 homeschool misconception is blown all to heck. Then usually the conversation goes to 'why, why, why in God's green earth would I ever want to do that?' and well, that answer is really long and varies daily. Mostly I just like being with them and seeing them learn and not having to worry that they stay in their pajamas past 9 am (or if it was yesterday, 4 pm) and not wondering or worrying about what's going on in their lives without me. But really, it's like Mike and I always say,

'We figure if someone is going to ruin them, it should be us.'

And that's really it, in a nutshell.

Ideally, my homeschool in my head looks a lot like Little House on the Prairie, with lots of curling up on the couch with good classic books and tea and heart to heart talks and lengthy supper times with great discussions and homemade bread and everyone obediently scooting off to do their chores and then hunkering down for the night with sleepy eyes and braided hair and whispers of I-love-yous, but let's be honest, most of the time it's as hectic as your house and a lot less ideal. There's arguing and tears and whining (that's just from me) and sometimes we get everything done exactly as I planned it and sometimes we don't seem to get a darn thing done other than successfully recreate a hurricane in my living room. There are good days and there are bad days. We are accustomed to being with each other 24/7, which is only a good thing, oh, 23/6 and then we start growling under our breath and cheerfully going berserk. The girls fight like cats and dogs, and yet, if they were to be separated in different grades for five days a week, the tears would rain like cats and dogs. So, at the moment, it's all worth it, although you may have to remind me of this about a million times in the next ten years.
So that's a reason or two, and if you still silently think I'm crazy, you'd be right. As long as they can function in society and balance their check books and not tuck their Star Wars t-shirts in their sweat pants, then I'm calling myself a successful mom, having a glass of wine, and putting another dollar in the cookie jar stashed aside for their therapy. Right now we're off to make homemade pizza crusts. Hey, there are fractions involved in cooking and that's sooooo math!