Thursday, March 31, 2011


My children have recently taken up a cause that is very dear to my heart, but may just be the end of my marriage.

We live in a very nice townhouse.  I say nice because it has two full bathrooms (a novelty, to me at least).  It also has a loft area that has been dedicated as my husband's 'office' / library.  It has mostly become a dumping ground for random paraphernalia, playroom for the kids, and ironing station.  With a computer thrown in for good measure.

But I digress.

Of the five homes we've lived in during our ten year marriage, this one seems to suit us the best for a myriad of reasons: location, mostly.  Halfway between church and Husband's office, so he need only drive thirty minutes to either location.

This was our townhouse two years ago.  It hasn't changed much, except there's less snow now.  And the kids are bigger.

However, I am a house girl.  I dislike sharing walls with neighbors, tiny backyards full of dandelions, tall and narrow floor plans, not being allowed to paint the walls or fix the maintenance issues on my own, and always feeling as though I'm on pins and needles anticipating another move at any time.

My children are most upset because it means that we can't have pets.

They often ask me for stories about the dozens of pets that my husband and I razed when we were kids and have imagined the potential adventurous bliss of having pets of their very own. 

They have taken to pestering their Father about "what kind of pet do YOU like?" every day or so and drawing pictures of what they consider 'good' pets and 'bad' pets in an endless pro/con list of potential candidates.

This is not going over well with Daddy.  He tends to dislike the out-of-doors and prefers to avoid it.  A home of our own means maintenance of a yard, which he had his fill of as a teen, thank you very much.

But I think the children are wearing him down. 

Either that, or just annoying him.

Sometimes its hard to tell the difference.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break

My boys have Spring Break this week, which means I'm feeling a tiny bit of pressure to make the week a little bit more fun than usual.  Usually we would just sit around the house all week: reading Berenstain Bear books, staging dramatic movie reenactments with plastic animals and Lincoln Logs, and dancing around the living room to Disney soundtracks.

Yep, that sounds boring to me, too.

My mother-in-law offered to take them off my hands for Sunday through Tuesday for the low, low price of driving them up there after church: can you say, bargain?  Apparently they even got to play in the snow one day (yes, snow in spring break.  I'm so tired of this winter.) but all that I can get out of them is various quotes about cartoons "on cable channel" and shows that have been banned at my house (Maisy.  My nemesis.).  But at least they got to go somewhere 'fun'.

On Wednesday Husband was taking the youth group to Seaside for the annual spring break beach day and I had just about convinced him that the kids and I could squish in the back of the van and tag along.  I even promised that we wouldn't be any trouble.  But his fellow crony reared doubts in his mind about space issues and we ended up being eliminated from the plan.  Shucks.

So where do you go for fun when you can't go the beach?  If you guessed the other grandma's house, you're right!

 We played baseball in the backyard, dug in the garden, roasted s'mores in the fire pit and put together a new puzzle.


By Thursday, I was all out of relatives to take pity on us and all we did was walk to the library for a new cache of books. 

Tomorrow is Friday.  And I'm all out of ideas.

Maybe make cupcakes?

Bored?  I know!  Let's eat something!

Yes, I'm that mom.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Improvisational Girl-ish Crafts

I went with my mother and two younger children to IKEA a week (or was it two weeks?) ago - mostly because its a great place to walk through and get ideas for your home.  Girl saw a bedroom that she drooled over, but Mama doesn't have $400 to spend on cute room decorations so I tried to find a way to make some of those cute things, only much more cheaply (I am nothing if not a skinflint).

Anyway, Instead of spending $20 for the item we wanted, I found a set of tulle curtains for $5 and borrowed a wooden embroidery hoop from my mom, then fished around in my husband's dresser for some dollar-store shoe laces and some random hardware.  Ten minutes of tinkering and, voila!

(Please excuse the messy bed)
She came home from her Grandma's and gushed over the canopy, repeatedly telling me how much she loved me!  She sure is easy to please.

And yes, sisters, Mom finally made me bring home the giant bunny.  Drat.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I don't know why this bothers me, but it does.

I mean, I can go to Target and buy a bra and tampons and have no problem with a man as my cashier - even when they comment on my purchases, it doesn't rattle me.

But if the only two employees at the library check-out are men, I'll put back the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie and any girl-y novels or self-help books.  Is it that I don't want to appear ditsy by my choice of entertainment material? 

I have made a mental note to only check-out impressively cognizant materials (gardening literature, war history, sci-fi movies) on Saturdays from now on.  I'm caving to the pressure......

Monday, March 14, 2011

Random rants

Casablanca --
Finally saw the movie that is quoted in every other movie ever made.  I understand that this is one of the best movies of all time and is a favorite for many people so I cringe a little when I say "That was it?"
I guess I let the hype of "It's a classic!"  train my mind to think I would get swept away with the story but, um, I didn't.  However, I did enjoy seeing the context for all those random quips in my head.

Bacon grease --
This is one of those things that people saved in metal cans and cooked with for many many many years before Crisco and cooking spray were invented.  Apparently it will kill you with just a glance because it is so full of grease and bacon and, therefore, worse for you than just plain grease.  But I rose to the challenge the other night and cooked with it and I just have to say yum.  I will definitely be using this again in the future.  At least, until my heart clogs.

Published! --
I've actually seen my name in print!!  I don't know why this excites me so much other than it means that other people in the world now know that I exist, but it does!  Any no, it's nothing monumental, just a Letter to the Editor in Living Without magazine (a magazine for people with food allergies) but I still get to brag about it!  Just don't critique it: yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition.  I was lazy.  It will never happen again.

Plastic bags --
For a good fifteen years the media has made sure that everyone knows that when shopping for groceries (or just random things at a store) you should always choose plastic bags over paper because they are recyclable.  Most store don't even carry paper sacks, and since I (and my husband) are of the dust of the earth that can never remember to bring reusable bags with us we end up taking home a gallon jar full or various plastic bags each month (shopping bags, sandwich bags, frozen vegetable bags, bulk food bags, etc.).  This never seemed a big deal to me, since I collect them and take them to Target (or wherever) once in awhile to dutifully recycle them into something useful, like a good Oregon girl should.

However, I was mildly annoyed (or perhaps a stronger word) reading a fact-check article in the paper a week ago that stated that, um, yeah, plastic bags aren't really recyclable.  That was all a lie.  Only about 0.3% of the bags that are even taken to be recycled (which is about 13% of all plastic bags in general) actually get turned into something else.  There isn't even a market for the rest of them, so those nice stores that take back your bags and promise you a pat on the back for being a conscientious citizen are just throwing them in the garbage when your back is turned.

I'm not really into the save-the-world, earth-day buy-in, but I do believe in making a small effort not to fill my garbage can to the brim each week.  Plus, I really hate it when others lie to me.  I'm a big girl, I can handle the truth even if it makes you look bad.

Okay, enough ranting.  Time to load my dishwasher.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Shopping with mom

My mother takes me shopping all the time.  Not the kind where she buys me stuff and I come home with bags of fun clothes and items to try out, but the kind where she lets me ride in the passenger seat of her car with my two kids in back as we shuttle to and fro to get the things on our lists.

This week I had perused the ads in the Sunday paper and found nothing that tickled my fancy, so I happily planned to spend the week at home cleaning bathrooms and filing bills.  So when Mom called on Monday morning and said she had a few places to go and did I want to come along? I jumped at the chance, not expecting to actually purchase anything.  She had a few specific things to get and I just went to browse.

We spent time at the Mill End Store where she returned a rug and I was chagrined with how much they wanted me to pay for music note fabric; then JoAnns (where she bought nothing and I spend $20 on a pattern, thread and material for a new dress); and finally Winco, where I ended up buying another $10 in groceries even though I'd already bought my monthly groceries LAST week.  There's thirty dollars I'll never see again.  But it wasn't like I broke the bank, so I wasn't ashamed.

Tuesday morning comes and Mom calls me up again: "I have to go to IKEA today, do you want to come?"  IKEA?  Yes!  There isn't anything I need there, but so what?

But first we stop at Home Goods to look for a rug for mom - she found nothing, but I bought something.  Then to IKEA, where, again, she bought nothing but I spent $40.  Hmm.  Then we ran in to the huge Target there at the airport (lovely.  Huge store with no customers - a dream) and I spent another $10.  Drat.  Husband will not be doing a happy dance this week.

After two days of 'helping' Mom find the things she needed to buy, she bought nothing and I bought everything.  Score two points for Mom.  I did, however, tell my mother as she dropped us back home that if she was going to any other stores this week don't call me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Laundry, Laundry

Laundry, laundry, so good to me,
Laundry, laundry, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh laundry morning, laundry morning couldn't guarantee
That laundry evening you would still be here with me.
 Laundry, laundry, can't trust that day,
Laundry, laundry, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh laundry morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be
Oh laundry, laundry, how you could leave and not take me.
 Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever laundry comes, but whenever laundry comes
You can find me cryin' all of the time
 Laundry laundry . . . . .

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

IEP meeting

Right after school ended on Monday I met with Boy One's 'school team' for our annual Individualized Education Program (or something like that.  I actually don't recall for certain what the initials IEP stand for.  My bad.).

This is the third year that we have held these meetings (two years of kindergarten and this year in first grade) and it's always his classroom teacher, the learning specialist, speech therapist, autism specialist, his classroom aid, and myself.  This year we were missing his occupational therapist, which is fine because he doesn't like her and has thus far refused to comply with holding the pencil the way she says to. 

I brought Girl and Boy One with me to the meeting in the first grade classroom and for the full hour and fifteen minutes they played educational games on the class computers and read books quietly to themselves.  The other team members commented as the meeting came to a close how impressed they were with how quiet and well behaved the kids were.  I wanted to gloat, but managed to bite my tongue.  After all, we had just talked for an hour about the behavioral issues my son has in class - gloating would have been a bit uncalled for self-serving unreasonable cheesy.

Things I remember from the meeting:
  • Boy One will still throw himself on the floor if he doesn't get to choose the job he wants for the week.
  • He has certainly surpassed the eight-words-per-utterance goal that the speech therapist set for him.  He tends to tell her "I don't want to go to speech today.  I'm not happy.  I want to stay in class.  I haven't finished my illustrating.  You already took me out of class once, that's enough.  I not happy about this."  He can be very vocal when the situation warrants it.
  • Everyone agreed that Boy One is smart.  Too much so.  (He gets that from me.)  And stubborn, too.   (He gets that from his dad.)
  • He is right on track with the other first graders with math, reading and writing (!).  So much so, that he no longer has to go to Resource Room everyday for tutoring.  This is FANTASTIC news, since he abhors being separated from his classmates (he's removed from class two to three times a day for individualized instruction - he hates that) and doing so causes most of his moods.  Woo-hoo!
  • His internal clock is more accurate than the atomic clock - no one needs a watch as long as he's around.  This annoys his teachers to no end.
  • He still doesn't want to participate in group discussions because he takes longer to process his answer than the other kids and feels lost when pushed to perform on the spot.  But that seems to be pretty common to people in general.
  • Best news: Boy Two can ride the short bus to school with Boy One next year, even though he's not in a specialized program!  Boy Two swelled with pride upon hearing this.

I conveniently forgot just how long these meetings tend to run, and ended up leaving Boy Two at his kindergarten for a full fifty minutes after he was dismissed for the day.  Again, my bad. 

Good thing the school secretary likes me. 

Or, did.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We'll call it a draw

Our poor little family has had a terrible time with illness the last two weeks.

The boys and Girl came down with a stomach flu (Boy Two brought it home from school, wasn't that thoughtful?), but it was pretty mild with them.  Then Daddy and I came down with it and it wiped us out.  For five days I couldn't eat anything, and just the smells from the kitchen were enough to make me nauseous.  It was like being pregnant, without the benefit of having a baby to show for it.  I lolled around on the couch Friday through Tuesday and was grateful for my sweet kids: Boy One took charge of making meals for his siblings, while Boy Two and Girl brought beverages and blankets to Daddy and I and gave us kisses. 

If you have to be sick, its much nicer to be sick when your kids are old enough to take care of you.

Then Tuesday through Friday Daddy was out of town (well, away from home).  He drove out to a client site in Boardman, then drove back to downtown Portland for work supplies, then back to Boardman, then got trapped in Hood River due to the Bad Drivers creating havoc in the Bad Weather, etc., etc.

While he was gone Girl was feeling worse and worse due to complications from her stomach flu and the colds that all the children were warding off.  On Wednesday night after I put the kids to bed I remembered that Girl had asked to sleep upstairs in my bed the next time Daddy was out of town.  She was still awake and amenable to the idea when I went to her room to check on her, so we gathered her Strawberry Shortcake blanket, Dolly, Fauna, princess pillow, cup of water and flower night light (whew!) and lugged them upstairs.

Now, I was a little selfish and reluctant to share my bed because, frankly, my best nights' sleep are when Husband is out of town and I have the bed to myself.  Finally, no one is hogging the blankets or snoring, there are no alarms waking me up at 3:30am or repeated midnight phone calls from frustrated employees or clients.  But I chivalrously gave up my coveted solitude and shared with my daughter.

What a great decision!  I don't usually go to sleep at 7:30pm, but I made an exception.  She watched me slather my hands with my favorite Lemon Cream lotion (a regular nighttime ritual) and I offered to put it on her hands, too, which she loved.  I also rubbed it on her feet, something I've never done before.  Then we laid in the dark and I sang 'her' song to her (Just A Closer Walk With Thee) and a few more hymns, like I sometimes do during the day while I work.  That led to some good conversation about God and Mama's usual Wednesday night Sabbath routine.  I find that of the three, Girl is the most sensitive of our children to our faith, and I'm always trying to exploit that.  Finally, she fell asleep telling me a very long, rambling, involved story the gist of which I don't remember in the slightest. 

I have to remember to do this again.  The children really enjoy the undivided attention when they get it, which isn't often enough.

Daddy finally came home late Friday night and was home Saturday morning (before heading back to Boardman), during which time he took Girl to the doctor's and she was diagnosed with a UTI.  Ick.  But at last, after three fulls days of antibiotics, she seems to be back to normal. **huge sigh of relief**

The best part of the last ten horrendous days was going grocery shopping yesterday and seeing the aisles, mounds, mountains of bulk Easter candy just waiting to be purchased and brought home and displayed in little glass jars to tempt and discourage us.  I restrained myself and only bought six kinds.  I'll get the rest next month.