Monday, January 30, 2012

A Day in the Life of

My daze are weird and oddball and funny looking.  A lot like my family in most cases, now that I think about it, so it's fitting.  Each one is a bit different due to my funky working schedule as a ballet teacher.  A typical day though, goes a little something like this:

6 a.m.  Hubby awakes and makes the coffee.  This is Reason #1 why I keep him.

Between 6:30 and 7:30 I roll out of bed, due to four year old tap dancing on my face, and drink the said coffee.  I have recently realized that the amount of coffee I pour into my mug and the amount of coffee that actually finds its way down my gullet are not one and the same.  I lose the same cup several times and though I always pour another, I rarely get time to drink it.  Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse comes on as I make His Royal Stinkiness his "nice and warm" (warmed almond milk) and oatmeal.  Unless we're out of oatmeal and then he may or may not eat last night's chocolate lava cake.  No comment.  I make myself eat something though I am not hungry in the morning.  If I don't, I'll forget, and then I'll be flying around the house on a broom by noon.

The girls are up by this time and jump into their school work in pajamas (because we all know that the Number One Reason for Home Education is the pajamas).  In the process of teaching them to be independent workers - something I pursued with feverish abandon in K-2nd grades - they now basically school themselves.  They write their own schedules, set their own alarm clocks, and are off like gang busters.  It's weird.  I love it.  Why?  Because I love homeschooling but I hate teaching school, that's why.  If you've homeschooled, you understand.  I never wanted to be a schoolmarm.  I am not good with a ruler or chalkboard and I wear my hair in buns for work already and I don't want the bobbypin headache.


ME  ^

I shower.  Not alone of course.  I have three kids.  And a dog.  Who is fiercely determined that he must protect me from shower or potty monsters and must accompany me always.  I haven't been alone in the little girl's room since 1999.

If I have a morning class, I sneak out quietly so Gianni doesn't have a melt down.

At ballet, one ballerina pees on the floor which causes another to...pee on the floor.  Nervous bladders are contagious.  A dance mom is irritated with me and I feel stressed out.  Also, Teddy Bear's Picnic is monstrously aerobic and I am sore from doing "super dooper side splits."

When I get home the house is a wreck because that's what happens when I leave for a couple hours:  a tornado of toast crumbs, toys, Legos, pencils, wrappers, and bandaids attack my house.  It is unexplained but it is predictable.  I clean the floors and load up the dishwasher.  I check on the girl's work, help Cora with prime numbers, inform Anna for the upteenth time that the state of her bedroom makes me want to toss my cookies (at this point Gianni shouts, "cookies?? I want cookies!") and get out the left overs for lunch.  The kids have been selling hot cocoa on the corner every day, so after lunch they whip up a bath, grab their trusty tip jar, and set up shop.  I use the free moments to grade papers, fold laundry, clip coupons check Facebook, answer emails, work on a magazine article that's on a deadline, pin things on Pinterest.  I've been helping a local teen with her writing, so I quickly proofread her latest essays.  Gianni is cold and comes back to help around the house try my patience.  And search for the ever elusive cookie he's sure is around somewhere.  We read Sandra Boynton books until I turn into a hippo myself and go berserk.

After the kiddos make a few bucks they netflix a documentary or watch a recorded episode of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman.  Snacks all around.  Gianni is learning to read (drat him!) so we do a chapter out of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  I get ready to leave for work again.  Put something in the crockpot.  Cora gets dropped off at swim practice, Anna comes along as my assistant, Gianni hangs with grandpa.

No one pees in inappropriate places.  Success! I debate graduating a couple hard working bunheads to the next level and have a heart to heart with a fretful mom. Another mom is interested in homeschooling and asks how do I it all?  I laugh hysterically.  Dance moms are funny.  Weird, but funny.

Hubby will pick up Cora so I swing by some overdue library items and grab a couple things at the grocery store.  At home again I thank Grandpa McPhee and clean up the house yet again.  I put some Civil Wars on the cd player, which competes in a harmonious way with the sound of the Mario Cart in the living room, pour a glass of wine, and chop veggies for salad.  "But where are the cookies?" moans Gianni woefully.  I text my sister twenty five times or so and Anna sets the table.  Cora is ravenous from swim practice when she gets home and Hubby and I spend the next two hours trying to finish a sentence in the middle of lovely chaos.    We play some card games, do a Star Wars puzzle for the 123497.239587 time today, load up the dishwasher, and start the bedtime process.  This involves snuggles, books, teeth, water, potty, tucking ins, music, etc.  Repeat eleventy seven times.   On what kid planet does getting out of bed to ask to be tucked back in make sense?   Hubby and I netflix The Office and forget to talk about our days.  We'll remember tomorrow when the kids are up and we can't get a word in edgewise.

Sleep.  Repeat.

So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Top Ten

I love Steve - er, Dan.  I mean, Michael Scott.  Whoever.  Whomever.  He's great and I love him.  This movie is flawless and the perfect mix of sweet and serious and hysterically funny.  Ah, Pig-Face Draper and the Murderer of Love.  That'd be a great name for a band actually.

Anyone want to start a band with me?  You have to be Pig-Face...I'll be the Murderer of Love.

On a slightly more serious note (if you consider war and people getting their hearts cut out to be serious.  And I think you do) this is my favorite drama, hands down.  Braveheart is for sure quite worthy too, but this one makes me swoon.  I can hardly believe that villainous Wes Studi went on to play the Sphinx (he's terribly mysterious) in one of our other ridiculous comedy favorites "Mystery Men."  That movie makes me snort with laughter - Mystery Men, not Last of the Mohicans.  Also, Zoolander.  But we were talking about Last of the Mohicans.  It's beautiful and perfect and sweeping and inspirational and luscious.

Speaking of ridiculous comedies...ah, how I love Monty.  This may be the most quotable movie of all time.  What's your favorite color?  Blue - no, wait!  Yellow!  No - AAAGH!  Or how about the whole "She's a witch, burn her!" or my personal favorite, "She turned me into a newt!"  *silence* "I got better..."

One of the best romantic comedies is About a Boy.  It's not strictly comedic which is why I love it.  It's dramatic and has some ugliness and some yuckiness and a twelve year old boy and it has Toni Colette, who, let's face it, is one of the best actresses of all time.  Also, it has funny British isms in it.  That's what's Hollywood romantic comedies are missing:  ugliness and funny British isms.  If they'd just put in ugliness and British isms in a Jennifer Aniston movie, I'd be much more inclined to watch it. 

"Up" is quite possibly the best love story ever made told in eight minutes.  Maybe the best ever.  My kids can watch this everyday and I don't mind.  I can't say the same for any other movie in history.  Sadly, all Gianni wants to watch is Homemade Bound II and all Cora wants to watch is Myth Busters or Man vs Wild and all Anna wants to watch is The Elephant Princess or H2O.   I'm tearing up just thinking about Mr Fredrickson and Ellie.  I want to have twins and name them Mr Fredrickson and Ellie.  Or Keven and Russell.  Seriously!  Babies actually LOOK like Mr Fredrickson, don't they???  Tiny old, cranky men in onesies.  

Would someone please give me a baby, please?  Why do I have to beg?

Ok...ok...make fun of me...whatever!  I love The Mummy.  I said it.  I LOVE cheesey, special effects, adventure movies - so sue me.   If there is a cornball movie entitled something like Killer Crocodiles From Outer Space Who Eat Toes, I will totally stop the DVR from recording the world's best show to watch it.   Also, Brenden Fraser is easy on the eyes.  I may or may not spend the entire flick pretending to be Rachel Weisz.  That's ok, because my hubby spends the entire flick pretending I am Rachel Weisz so it actually works out pretty well. 

Maybe I just love Madeleine Stowe.  Maybe I just love Bruce.  Awww...Brucie. In any case, I love this movie.  Weird and hard to figure out and full of angst and sci-fi craziness, I just love this movie.  

This is my BFF's fave and I am so, so, SO lucky that it is because it's the only non chick flick in her arsenal.  We (me and Mike, her and her hubs) have watched this series so many times in our pajamas and fuzzy socks and brownies and ice cream and telling our kids to go to sleep, that I literally cannot count.  Despite that fact, I still have no flippin idea what the plot is.

I grew up watching old black and whites and I'd probably seen every Hitchcock thriller by my teens, easy.  "Vertigo," "Psycho", "North by Northwest..."    This is most likely my had it all.  Crazy sexy, suspenseful and just fun.  Who is the Hitchcock of our generation?  Maybe M. Night Shyamalan?  What think you?

Can't leave out this.  The movie I have seen more times than any other.  The one that is the most quotable.  It is inconceivably perfect.  I remember sitting in the Elgin Oregon Opera House (a crazy good treat - we never went to see movies in the theater.  Or at home.  Mostly, we made our own...bad acting...bad writing...bad Hollywood budget).  Anyhoo.  When Fezzik threw the boulder I threw the popcorn.  I so intimately know the exact second that Fezzik throws that boulder now I would never throw the popcorn, but that's because I have seen The Princess Bride, oh I don't know, four thousand times.  And I love it every time.

Ok, I lied.  I said Top Ten but then I had to come back and round it up to Top Eleven.  O Brother Where Art Thou is heaven in a dvd.  It may even be more quotable than Monty or The Princess's a toss up.  It's definitely the wittiest on the list!  You have to watch it at least four or five times to catch all the one liners, so go ahead - start now.  I'll wait.  Come back and tell me what you thought and we can ride off into the sunset, quoting Delmar and Everett and Pete and Big Dan...just DO NOT SEEK THE TREASURE.

Okay, it's not the best list ever and it will change as I drift off to sleep and suddenly think,

Ack!  I can't believe I forgot-

insert favorite movie here-

but these are the ones I would stop on any channel for, any time.  Because there's something special about watching a film on television, isn't there - even if you own said film on dvd or well worn VHS - because others around the world are watching it with you?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

double digits

Today my little Roo turns ten.
I remember turning ten. I think.
I got black high-tops with velcro.  They went well with my layered pairs of rolled down socks and pegged jeans.
But this isn't about me.
She was a bald, chubby little pufalump.  Good natured and goofy. 
Still is.

Had a tendency to get dirty and was very accident prone.  Usually those two qualities went hand in hand.

But always photogenic.

How much did I love this dress?  Quite a lot.  Please mail me one baby so I can dress her, STAT.  I do still have this dress.  I have a compulsion to get rid of things, but I do still have this dress.  I think.  Maybe I don't.  Maybe my sister has it.  No matter, keep the babies coming please.

Sometimes when you're the Middler, you have to put the kabosh on the Elder.  You know, by sitting on her after you fold her like a cheese sandwich in a small baby doll crib.

Now she looks like this, which is extremely odd because those other photos were taken last month.  I am sure of it.

Pardon me while I go sing "Sunrise, Sunset" and cry.

Please pray for me.  I may end up one of those scary old ladies who carry around a Cabbage Patch doll and think it's real.  I already have the dress, for the love of Pete.  It's not looking good for me.

Happy birthday, Annalise Rose!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I am Jami Gertz

So my little Gianni-Be-Good, my Moose, my Pooky Head, my four year old whoIbirthedwithouttheuseofdrugsthankyouverymuchcanIgetanamen? had his teeth pulled yesterday.   Those teeth.  Those FREAKING teeth that have been plaguing us for two years finally had to go.

There were sobs and tears and yelling and hitting.
From me.
At home.
Cuz I didn't go.
I left that to the Daddy because I figured I gestated him and birthed him (withouttheuseofdrugsthankyouverymuchcanIgetanamen?) so Daddy could do the dentist thing and we'd pretty much be even.  More or less.

When he came home he was puffy eyed and sniffly and seemed out of it due to the drugs and wanted ice cream.
Daddy I mean.

Gianni looked like a rugby playing hockey pro.

And he had a blood mustache.


He looked like a four year old vampire.
Not pretty.  Not right.  Very, very wrong on every level.

Remember the wee vampire in Lost Boys, Laddie, the one that comes crashing up through the bed and Star shouts, "He's just a little boy!" even though he looks like he's going to feast on everyone's throat, or maybe he just looks like any typical small child who doesn't want to go to bed?  Yeah, that one.  My baby looked like him.  Except his parents don't look like Star or Michael and we don't turn spaghetti into maggots and we don't fly and we don't hang out with Keifer at least not outside our minds and I really REALLY miss Corey Haim now.  Curses.

What was I talking about?

Oh, yes.  The guilt we feel as parents for the loss of my baby's baby teeth.  If you were hoping to get Parent of the Year Awards this year, you're welcome for narrowing down the competition.  Mike and I have officially dropped out of the running.

So we did what every self respecting parent does when they realize they've totally messed up their kid and want to redeem themselves:  they leave $10 from the tooth fairy instead of the usual fifty cents.
Parenting by Bribes - it's how we roll.  If you give Mommy a kiss, I'll give you cake.  If you snuggle Daddy, he'll buy you some Legos.  If you don't ever leave me and go to college, I'll buy you a pony.  Things like that.

So now poor Pooky Head has no front teeth (no corn on the cob!  no honeycrisp apples!  no ribs!  no fruitcake!  no taffy!  no defending himself against rabid wolverines!) and he will be wasting the afternoon at the dollar store spending like a drunken sailor, lighting cigars for fellow toddlers with his greenbacks, and buying toys that will break the second we get them in the car.

And hopefully we will get used to the gummy-I-look-like-a-hundred-year-old-man-without-his-dentures-in look.  Also the dried-shrunken-apple-head look.
After all we have a good two years to get used to it.

And maybe the last Twilight movie will be casting small vampires.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Here lie:

the laptop

the camera

the camera in my cell phone

the cell phone.

They led good lives.

They all died this week.

Yes.  One week.  Maybe it was two.  But still.

What the heck is going on?

I'm scared to turn on the oven, my dish washer, my dryer, my car.  My hair dryer, my coffee maker, my blender.  Gee, I have a lot more electronics than I thought.

Also, I nearly chopped off my finger the other day.

It's been a weird week.

If anyone wants to contribute to the Plug Melyssa Back In Fund, now would be a good time.  I'm typing on an eleven year old dinosaur of a computer and begging my cell to come back to life.  Breathe, darn you! breathe!  Talk to me, Claudia! (that's my cell's name).  Say something!  Anything!  Please don't die!  Mr Darcy (that's my laptop), please don't leave me! Snappy (camera), please work again and I'll dedicate the time to giving you a better name!

Sniff.  Sob.  Weep.

Can we live as a one-computer house hold?  How am I supposed to waste time on Pinterest and Facebook write for a living when my kids keep insisting on doing their math and homeschooling themselves??  It's a conundrum.  A pickle.

I'd post a picture to go with this obituary, but I can't.  Cuz my camera broke.  You may have heard.

There will be a viewing, wake and burial this weekend.  You're all invited.

Please bring armfuls of brownies.

That is all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

bad theology

When my husband was a teen he loved to irritate his Italian mamma by putting up posters of evil rock and roll bands and listening to their wicked music.  It gave him no end of pleasure.  His mamma was convinced he was being led astray, especially if he listened to those songs backwards.

Our kiddos usually listen to music at night, too.  Of course it's a desperate attempt to get them to sleep longer (ideally, like 20 hours) and it started with the whole Baby Mozart craze of a decade ago.  My babies must listen to zee Mozart so that they will be the SMARTEST babies in the world!  Either that, or they'll get seizures.  It's a toss up, but totally worth the chance.  Motherhood is full of impossible choices.

Do I put them to sleep on their bellies or their backs? Wait!  They have sides.  I can put her on her side.  Flip that baby like a cheese omelet every ten minutes; we must be certain.

Cloth diapers or disposal?  Cloth makes me feel uber hippy sensitive, like I'm single handedly saving the planet with every bowel movement.  Disposal make their pants fit better.

Is it illegal to sign your munchkin up at the Fred Meyer playland/babysitter service and then go sit in your car and read?

Tough choices like that.

Anyway, after the Baby Mozart phase phased out we switched to white noise.  Mostly because I am addicted to white noise while sleeping.  It's like crack to me.  I can't live without it, plain and simple.  My kids don't care so I care for them.  Because that's what mothers do.  If mothers are cold they tell their kid to put on a coat.  If mothers are hungry they force feed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to their kid.  It's how we roll.  It's how your mother rolled.  We are rollin' in the deep.  Deep in peanut butter.  Well, not me because my kid is allergic so we mostly roll in Nutella.

What in the world was I talking about?
Right.  Music.

So since they weren't digging the white noise, we just learned to hit the Repeat button on their cd players.  This is how my four year old son knows all the words to Mamma Mia and Bon Jovi's Lost Highway album.  But in the last move our cd player became possessed by a strange and evil spirit that causes the volume to steadily increase all night long until Meryl Streep was really cookin' about money, money, money.  So we were forced to switch to the radio, not that we don't love Meryl because she's like the bestest, but really.  In the efforts to keep up with our Christian persona, we choice the popular KLove station for dem babies to croon themselves to sleep to.  Until one night...

My theology obsessive husband informs me that the precious mold-able minds of our youngsters have been inundated with *drum roll, puhleeze*

bad theology.

Which, in his book, is worse than a little Pink Floyd or Poison.
He was frothing at the mouth (husband, not sleeping child).  The offending song?

"Someone Worth Dying For."

"Are you kidding me?" he asks, incredulously.  "When we're feeling down on ourselves and depressed and hating sin, we just have to remember that we were worth dying for?"

"That doesn't sound soooooo bad," I answer, half heartedly.  Half hearted because I am struggling to hear him over my beloved white noise. Actually, I'm not struggling so much as I'm ignoring.

"Not so bad?" he croaks. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a fantastically great person like me??"

"Oh.  Oh, yeah.  I see your point.  If we were so wonderful, then it diminishes His wonderfulness, huh?  If we were so fan-freaking-tastic then it makes His sacrifice a nice thing to do instead of a mind blowing thing to do..."

"After listening to this come-as-you-are-and-leave-the-same-way, there's-a-god-shaped-hole-in-your-heart, jesus-lover-of-my-soul mumbo jumbo, our kids are going to grow up lazy, luke warm, Americanized, namby pamby, prosperity driven, pseudo Christians!  I can't take it!  What's next, midnight readings of The Shack? Sneaking out the window to go to Watchtower meetings?  Another year of this and our kids will be out of control." 

And that is why Christian radio has been replaced by heavy metal in our kid's bedrooms.
Also, Alice Cooper is a Christian and he just might possibly have good theology.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The second post labeled spiders

That irrational fear that grips you when you suck up a spider in the vacuum and then you're afraid to turn it off because when you do the suction will disappear and the spider might come back out and eat you?

I have that.
Right now.

I think he's gonna crawl out and kill me in evil, creepy, villainous ways.

I'm skeered.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Eggs Benedict, homemade by my spunky little sidekicks...

...pajamas and braids on the couch with endless coffee and American Pickers... hour on Pinterest where I planned a dinner party in Heaven (you're all invited)...

...homemade headband that makes me feel bohemian chic (and doesn't squeeze my big head.  Also, hides my roots)...

...the sound of Moose telling me I'm his "best girl..."

...then promptly letting loose a barking spider that leaves me in a green mushroom cloud of poisonous fumes that may indeed melt my face...

...a dinner date with hubby (I'm thinking gelato for dinner is a supremely sublime idea)... sissy, mama, and my nieces and nephew coming to see me...

It must be my birthday or something.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Expressions I Hate

1.  "You can't afford NOT to!"  Yes, yes, I can afford not to.  That's the point.  If I could afford to, we wouldn't be having this conversation.  I don't care if it IS cheaper in the long run to buy the fifty gallon tub of ketchup, I can still only afford the 16 oz bottle.  Having the knowledge that I would save a couple dollars eventually does not make the extra twenty dollars appear like magic in my checking account.  I don't care that a forty dollar supplement would be priceless because it is NOT priceless, it is forty dollars.  Go ahead and sell me on something and tell me I can't afford NOT to:  I'll smack you upside your self righteous head with my empty purse.  I can't put a price on so-and-so or such-and-such?  Yes, I can.  There's a price tag right there in plain sight and guess what?  I can't afford it.

2.  "Get out of your comfort zone!"  Right after I smack you upside your head with my purse I'm going to karate chop you for telling me this.  Have you ever noticed that when people tell you to do this, they are bullying you into doing something that they themselves are very, very good at?  Like a volley ball champion coaxing you into joining a game?  A theater major telling you that stage fright isn't real?  A type A personality who is great with numbers preaching at you about your finances?  It would be like me telling you to get out of your comfort zone and put on a tutu.  Come on, all the cool ballerinas are doing it!  You wanna be cool, right?  Get out of your comfort zone, man!

3.  "Get out of your box!"  See above.  I like my box.  It's mine.  Not yours.  Get your own.  I'll come over for coffee sometime.  We can hang.  But I'm not going to live in your box and you aren't going to set up house keeping in mine.

4.  "What's up?"  I hate it when I call someone and this is how they greet me.  It has nothing to do with being slang; I just always feel like there is somewhere else they'd rather be.  Translation:  why are you calling me and what do you want cuz I'd really rather be plucking my eyebrows than talk to you.

What expressions make you grit your teeth?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My love affair with pizza cutters (and all things pizza) has been passed down to my youngest offspring.  He was talking off the very ears of the repair man come to fix our sink this morning.

This morning at 7:48 a.m.  Isn't there a law against that kind of punctuality?  When repair men say I'll be there at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, don't they really mean, I'll be there at 6 p.m. next Groundhog's Day?  What's up with this wonkiness?

Anyway, Moose was precariously perched above Repair Man's head, nestled in the sink, chattering nonstop about Darth Vader, Strawberry Shortcake gum, the dentist, squishy-squashies, muscle tone, and what he wants for Christmas 2012:  a pizza cutter of his very own.  What a nut.  I can't imagine where he gets it.

My plant shelves are still barren.  Like a barren desert wasteland.  Sometimes a tumbleweed tumbles by. Or a camel.  It's a cross between a desert and a ghost town, that's why, now stop interrupting!  Anyway, that's all the action my plant shelf sees.  I tried to find some of those cool empty picture frames (even though my husband tells me they look creepy.  I told him HE looks creepy.  I'm mature like that) but no one seems to sell any.  I advertised on craigslist but the only one to reply wanted twenty dollars.  What am I, made of money?  I think I'll try the particular Goodwill that sold me the painting of the four legged ballerina...they should have some appallingly bad art that I could buy simply for the frames.

Do you ever get the feeling that I actually have nothing to blog about?
So do I.

Do you ever get the feeling that I blog because Facebook has a status update word limit?
Pshaw.  Pshaw, I tell you!

Do you ever get the feeling that I am blogging to avoid homeschooling my children?
I can't believe you'd suggest such a thing.

I refuse to homeschool EVER AGAIN until someone buys me a decent pencil sharpener.  I'm not kidding.  I quit.  I could wake up at five every  morning and sharpen eighteen hundred pencils and they would still mysteriously disappear or break by mid morning when someone desperately needs one, which leaves the minions doing their math completely wrong and in a permanent marker and leaves their mother writing a rent check with the busted tip of half a crayon.

What?  You've never written a check with a crayon?

Speaking of homeschooling, Pizza Cutter Boy is teaching himself to read, in spite of me yelling, Knock it off!    I don't appreciate this kind of early learning.  Humph.  I've done the reading and the research!  I am all for letting my son get there when he's ready...not forcing...not starting formal school until he's eight...or eighteen.  He's a boy!  A squirmy, silly, short attention spanned, BOY!  He's not ready to "do school!"  I'm not ready for it; I have a Kid In My Classroom Limit and it's TWO.  He can't start school until his big sister graduates.  Holy rusted metal, Batman, I am not teaching you to read and that's final!  Why don't my kids ever listen to me?

I guess I could sharpen pencils with all my pizza cutters.
(she admits, grudgingly).