Thursday, May 28, 2009

Me and Facebook

According to a quiz on Facebook (ahhh, Facebook, I love you, I hate you. Nothing brings me more worried filled nights than wondering why some friend I had ten years ago won't confirm my friendship. Really, I don't need that kind of anxiety. And yet, I persist on going back for more rejection. What's even worse is finding someone you are so totally excited to find and you make a moron of yourself, but when they do respond they are just really, really over you and aren't at all as thrilled as you just told them you were) I am a terribly mysterious person. I think that's funny. Either you people are more obtuse than I am, which is saying something, or I really am an enigma wrapped in a mystery shrouded in a conundrum. So, here are the answers my so-called best pals got wrong, plus a few more.

1. I am scared of bridges. My personal hell would be living in Astoria. I don't understand how or why they stay up the way they do. And they sometimes collapse. You can tell me they don't, but they do. It isn't that I'm afraid of heights, I'm not, but their structure makes no sense. Am I the only one to notice there isn't anything under them keeping them aloft?

2. I don't like cucumbers. Well, it isn't that I don't like them, perse, but they give me instant and severe nausea as soon as I take a bite. I find this weird indeed and if anyone can explain that to me, please do leave me a comment. But don't worry about me, if one is hidden under a Ranch laded crouton, I will be ok.

3. I wanted to be an archaeologist as a child. I only changed my mind when someone told me very few get to dig up mummies, most sit around in a library doing research all the time. Which really shouldn't have discouraged me because I would love to sit around in a library all day. So maybe I will be an archaeologist when I grow up after all.

4. I cook to relax. I love cooking and baking, especially if the kids are right outside the window playing outside where I can hear their chatter and something wonderful is playing in my under-the-counter cd player (lately the Los Lonely Boys). I love the ritual of it, the cookbooks, the smells, even the cleaning as I go which is a strange thing to love, but I do. Baking however is rather trying in Wyoming elevation: adjustments must be made and my cakes still fall flat. But my cinnamon oatmeal bread turned out yummy yesterday.

5. I hate sweet pickles. 'Nuff said. They're disgusting and not just because I can't eat cucumbers. I love the dill variety.

6. The nickname I dislike is Missy. Hated it ever since I was a kid. I think it may go back to my brother dating some chic named Missy and she was snotty. And they were always kissing around me, which was simply revolting. No little girl wants to see a close up of her brother's tongue; I need counseling just thinking about it. It's closely followed by "hey, aren't you Laryssa's Sister?"

7. My favorite musical is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It's simply the best.

8. I started my homeschooling journey in second grade for this reason: we were learning how to alphabetize and I couldn't understand it. I was not accustomed to not understanding things and I was not appreciating the feeling this gave me. The girl who finished her page first got to help the others who were lagging behind. The girl who finished first was a twerp (Aerie, think redhead...oh yeah, you know who I mean) and when I humbled out and asked her for help she gave me a sly smile and walked away. Now since my mother had been telling me she would be happy to homeschool me if I was ever so inclined, I decided oh boy were they all going to be sorry when I never came back. And so I didn't ever go back. I can't promise you anyone was sorry though.

9. I don't how I could exist without books. I know, seems dramatic, but I am serious as a heart attack. I am a ferocious reader and libraries are my favorite places. I read more books by the time I was 13 than most people probably read in their whole lives. I love the characters and the plots and the suspense and the smell of books. I love the look of books, especially antique ones. I love wondering who else has read the words I am reading. I love the legacy the writers leave behind. I love the stories that stay with you forever and change the way you think of things and the way those characters have a tendency to show up in the middle of your day or night like a drunk caller, 'hey, remember me? I love you, man!' I love laughing out loud when I am the only one in the room or getting misty over something. I stopped reading one time in my life: after the girls were both born. For probably three years I didn't read. I read a lot of parenting books, but reading about some stranger's opinion on the care and rearing of the children you gave birth to is more trouble than it's worth. To this day if I see a copy of "Parenting" magazine or hear something that reminds me of Growing Kids God's Way, I want to hide under the couch with a chocolate bar until the bad memories are stuffed back where they belong. I watched a lot of television since that is easier to do when nursing youngsters and folding laundry. But I didn't read. When I picked up something after those years, I think it was the Mark of the Lion series, I devoured it like a starving woman and haven't stopped since. Now that I think about it, I had a lot of post partum depression symptoms after having Anna... coincidence? You make the call.

10. I am not a confident person. All my life people think I am, to the point of even being intimidated by me which I find laughable, but it's all a show I put on. I am sincerely blown away when I act like I am supremely confident and IT WORKS. It's only in the past decade that I feel like I'm not such a disapointment to myself and I can stop pretending to be someone that I'm not. I think it's just part of the growing up process, and if that's what comes with being in your 30s I am excited to be here. I don't like everything about myself and I have plenty of insecurites, like my weight and my hair and my clothes and speaking in a group and making small talk and my house and not having a career and everything else that I think everyone else is whispering about but no one really is, but at this point I can honestly say I give up the need to apologize for it. There are lots of things you can not like about me, but I think I'll be ok. Unless you never confirm me on Facebook, which will leave me a quivering mass of unanswered questions, curled up in the fetal posistion sucking my thumb and despairing all night.

Monday, May 25, 2009

cody, yellowstone, mt rushmore, devils tower

Aaaaah, family vacations! As much I complain about Wyoming, there are stunning parts and we got to see them all last week. I included the photo of an extremely sticky Gianni who has a difficult time getting snack foods from convenience stores and gifts shops, due to his allergies. So, being the dimwit I am, I bought him a huge butterscotch sucker. If you look closely you will see that his eyelashes are indeed stuck to his eyelid, where they were glued for the better part of a long car ride through Yellowstone National Park. You'd think, wouldn't you, that it would hurt not to be able to blink, but my only guess is that the sugar rush took away his ability to feel pain.
We rented a lovely house in Cody with my family, where we met everyone for Papa's big 6 - 0 birthday. For his birthday gift, he got to sleep with Anna, who enjoys practicing gymnastics routines in her sleep - happy birthday, Dad, sorry about the size 12 footprint bruises up and down your ribcage. My wonderfully organized mother brought along copious amounts of wine and a large gallon of saurkraut that we carted all over Wyoming. Our innards are pickled nicely now. We went to dinosaur museums (Wyoming is indeed a hotbed for fossils) and oohed and ahhed over Devil's Tower National Monument and realized in our humble opinions, that areas by Sheridan are actually more crazy beautiful than Yellowstone is. Gianni can officially sleep anywhere now: he loves the cribs at the Holiday Inns and is an expert at pushing elevator buttons. Mike made calls on doctors on the towns we went through, earning us hotels paid for by his job, which was a great perk.
And now, home again, spring has finally sprung here in Cheyenne. $13 and a unused garden spot in my yard became a sandbox, and combined with a subtle hint to the neighbors who own a trampoline and yet do not own children to jump on said trampoline, our yard is fully equipped for summer fun. Fun for them. I on the other hand, spend my time walking behind Gianni with a small broom and dustpan. And Mike says no more letting him play outside in nothing but his diaper and binky, killjoy. It's easier to shake him out when there aren't any clothes to hide sand and rocks and dirt in. It was me that said my kids should be dirty and disgusting at the end of the day, huh? I must have been tipsy on saurkraut at the time.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Day in the Life of

Ever want to play hide and seek with your children in the hopes that you may be able to hide so perfectly well that they may never find you? No? As wonderful as motherhood is (and it is) there are days when I'd like to call in sick, or at the very least, train a replacement in case I actually do go nuts like I threaten to, oh, maybe four times a day. I can't afford to pay her (the replacement/understudy/apprentice to my wonky life), but the list of duties would go something like this:

6 am : pretend to be sound asleep in the hopes that Mike will get up with the baby. If you lose the rock, paper, scissor game then pry eyelids open with toothpicks and give thanks to the coffee gods who invented coffee makers with programmable timers. Gulp accordingly.

6:15 : give Gianni his bowl of oatmeal and ask politely that he refrain from smearing too far up his nose.

6:30 : clean up oatmeal monster by whistling for Milo. What's grosser: oatmeal up nose or dog slobber? Scientists have proven that dog's mouths are cleaner than ours, so no worries.

7:00 : start a Bob video for one year old, who scientists have also proven should not be watching television. "Bob" in our house is code for VeggieTales. You know, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber? Don't make me quote movies here, people.

7:30, or maybe 9:00 : girls wake up and stumble upstairs, yawning and wishing they were approaching a table laden with waffles and other breakfast goodies. But, no, it's cereal or eggs, either of which they make themselves usually. That's why eight year olds are the coolest.

9:00 : debate taking a weed wacker to Cora's hair but settle for most of a bottle of detangler. Distract her from her oh-so sensitive head by chatting nonstop. Doesn't work. Cora hollers 'I'll do it myself!' grabs hair brush and makes a sprint for the stairs. Comes back up 3 minutes later with a slightly subdued birds nest atop her noggin. Repeat process from the beginning. Replacement must get good at this as she will be doing this part of her duties several times a day, only to shove a baseball cap over the offending follicles in surrender later. Kiss hubby goodbye. Wait, replacement may skip that duty.

9:30 : put toddler to bed. Don't misplace the binky. Tuck in. Smooch. Remove diaper wipes from his chubby little hands reach and put atop the changing table. Unless replacement really likes folding 700 million wet wipes back into an impossibly small container.

9:35 : reheat the coffee you left earlier this morning and just found in the bathroom which is odd because you are pretty sure you haven't had time to go yet today. Snack on something so you aren't climbing on a broom by lunch time and wondering why. Remember oh yeah, you homeschool, so better get educating. Where did those school age children run off to anyway?

9:45 : find the girls in a puddle outside collecting worms. Decide this is very science class like, why interrupt? Remind them not to bring the five dozens night crawlers into the house, puhleeze. Check emails. Unload dishwasher. Wipe down table which mysteriously emits crumbs nonstop throughout the day. There are enough crumbs on that table at any given time to start a bakery. Grumble a bit. Mood changes when you rinse out your Brawny paper towel and realize happily that you can reuse it later. Lovingly fold it and put it by the sink. Get dressed. Comb hair. Or borrow one of Cora's hats if you aren't up to the challenge. Or cut yourself some bangs in a wild spurt of impulsiveness and urge to look like Catherine Zeta Jones. Regret immediately.

10:30 : wonder, 'why does the doorbell only ring at the most inconvenient times?'

10:35 : wrangle the girls back indoors. Scoot them downstairs for some good old fashioned home learning! Get distracted by laundry.

11:00 : strange noises coming Gianni's room. After pondering a bit you peek through the slightly open door and watch him racing his sippy cup along the wall like it's a car. It's cute. Say awwwww. He's happy to see you and you race to pick him up. He has to go through his ritual of turning off the humidifier, putting his binky back to bed, and pointing at a photo of mommy and daddy's wedding. Then he waves his hand in front of his nose telling you he's stinky. Hope you remembered to put the wipes out of his reach.

11:30 : make lunch. Tell the girls, 'seriously! we are starting school and I mean now!' Go over some math review and sigh in relief when they remember everything they learned last week. Ask Cora to read aloud from her science book to Anna while you clean the kitchen. Again. Gianni is very helpful and unloads everything you load into dishwasher. You give him a hair brush to distract him and a scant ten seconds later you hear the toilet flush.

12:00 : tell Anna no, it was not her brush that her little brother tried to flush down the toilet, it was... it was just a kleenex. Why would you yell about him flushing a kleenex and why is my brush all wet? she persists. Sigh. With Nancy Drew as her mother it is no wonder that this child is a detective in training.

12:30 : make the mistake of walking into girl's room. Pigs would be uncomfortable with the idea of residing there. Count to ten. Not helping. Holler 'I thought I told you to clean this room yesterday!' Full war erupts as children argue about who has the most stuff on the floor and who it belongs to. Threaten with full scale bodily harm if THIS ROOM ISN'T SPOTLESS IN 20 MINUTES. Go into their bathroom. Another mistake. Don't you ever learn?

1:00 : hide with "guilty as sin" by Tami Hoag. Read the 500 page, "Night Sins" without knowing there was a sequel so now you are obliged to read the second. If there's a third, you are writing this woman and demanding closure immediately if not sooner.

1:30 : realize you haven't seen Gianni in a while. Oh, there he is, sitting on the table, eating crumbs. Nice.

2:00 : more laundry. Check emails and phone messages (you would have lost the phone several hours earlier but found it under the couch along with quite a few candy wrappers the girls went to more trouble hiding than it would have taken to just throw them away). Oh right, those 20 minutes were up a long time ago. Get up the courage and namaste-attitude to venture back to their room. Not exactly shocked to hear that 'it was clean, like, two minutes ago, mom! But then we started playing again and well, this pile is to land in when we jump off the top bunk! And this pile, well, I'm playing with it right now so I can't really put it away yet! And-' Close door.

2:30 : put sticky toddler back to bed. Plan dinner. Feed restless natives a snack. Remember you forgot to eat lunch. Write a silly blog for your loyal readers, all two of them.

4:00 : wake Gianni, remind Cora to grab her swimbag, tell Anna she can't go out of the house looking like that, find keys, remind Cora AGAIN to grab her swimbag, wish you would have remembered to charge your phone, hook your reusuable grocery bags over your shoulder along with diaper bag and toddler. Trip on dog on the way out the door. Buckle everyone in van. Back out driveway. Go back for the swimbag.

4:30 : drop Cora off at swim team practice. Love that eight year old. Run errands with Anna and G. in the mighty Wyoming wind. Anna is chatty without her sister to interrupt her, so conversation is constant, if a bit one-sided. Head to grocery store for a few things. Spend too many agonizing minutes over the whole free range vs. whole grain fed chicken eggs. Can't get the ones that are both, too expensive, have to make a choice. Decide for happier, free range-ier types this time.

5:45 : try to speed up Cora in the whole locker room/shower/get dressed dance. She is always the first to hit the showers, and yet, the last to be fully clothed and presentable. Do the whole hair episode all over again. Meanwhile, Gianni running pell-mell through a wet locker room, falling every five steps and making eyes at all the girls. On the way home the girls are fighting over, get this, a string. Yep, a string. A dirty piece of yellow curly ribbon that isn't even curly anymore. After asking nicely three times to knock it off, you finally hit the roof and shout, 'Shut up!' Spend the rest of the ride wallowing in Mommy Guilt.

6:00 : hope you had dinner planned down to the letter, because kids are hungry and underfoot. Do you really only have three? Cause it feels like seven, at least. Threaten with wooden spoon if anyone so much as looks like they might say something less than complimentary about what you are preparing. Kids set table. Anna wants candles. Gianni wants food now. Dog wants something tasty to drop so he's glued to your side. Mike wants kisses. No, wait, not from you he doesn't! Unless replacement looks like Jenna Elfman. Which I totally do if you close one eye and drink too much.

7:00 : clean kitchen, yet again. Get a chance to use that Brawny, yeah, baby. Bathe Moose. Wonder why you're wetter than he is. Wrestle him into Buzz Lightyear pajamas after lotion-ing him up which is about as difficult and time consuming as say, catching a greased pig, or figuring out the meaning to a Peter Gabriel song. Read his favorite books to him, which I may have forgotten to say earlier, you will read about three million times per day. Pass him around for kisses and hugs and put to bed.

7:30 : kick children off tv and order to get ready for bed. This requires telling them to brush their teeth, oh, about 64 times. Tuck them in. Read a chapter of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.' Say goodnight. 'But we haven't brushed our teeth yet!' they cry in protest.

8:30 : retreat into television never-neverland with hubby. Curse the dvr who only records shows periodically and at it's peculiar discretion. Settle on Dancing with the Stars because it's good payback for football season.

10:30 : tumble into bed. Snore. Drool a little on pillow.

Repeat 7 days a week for 18 years.

Actually, it's not a bad position. The perks are good. I think I'll stick it out.