Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Well...THAT was an interesting evening...

Every family has them.........evenings that are so full of chaos that you feel like your hair is on fire. Once again, I'm a control freak. (Have I mentioned that before?) So...I did everything possible IN ADVANCE to be prepared for yesterday evening, knowing that we had many things to do in preparation of Halloween and wanting to hold down the stress level so we could enjoy some family-bonding time carving pumpkins. This is how it went........and enjoy the humor because we are!!

Grant comes home from school. Lets me know that he has volunteered to bring brownies for his party today. Grant and I put together his costume. (I'll post photos later...) Dane comes home and both boys get to work on some random chores.......feeding dogs, picking up their room, that sort of thing. (Dane's last day before wrestling practice starts.) Go to store and get brownie mix and go pick up girls. Get home, start dinner, Mike comes home. Mike and I fold five loads of laundry while dinner is cooking. Dane mixes up brownies and gets them in pan. Brownies bake while we eat. Clean up everything after dinner. Dishwasher running. Brownies cooling. Now baking cookies because brownies smell good. Pack 6 pumpkins into the house and carve them. (Thank heavens Mike had gutted them all Tuesday evening.) Clean up pumpkin mess, try to keep Jennica out of trouble. Cookies cooling. Empty backpacks from school, load backpacks with costumes and whatever everyone needs for school. Get laundry put away, cut up brownies and get them ready to transport to school. Get girls in pajamas. Get girls in bed. Load an appraisal file in computer that needs to be ready in the morning. Send off a few business emails on loose ends with different files. Empty dishwasher. And at 9:15......Grant starts throwing up. Clean carpet. Mop bathroom floor. Wipe down wall. Finally stumble our way to bed. At which point, Mike says, "Sure glad we had a nice relaxing evening at home. We really needed that." Laughing out loud........

Every family has evenings like these.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm the Halloween version of Scrooge

The title of this blog pretty much says it all. Halloween as a kid was great fun. Halloween as non-Mom adult wasn't even too bad. But I gotta say, Halloween as a parent pretty much sucks!

Parties started last weekend. Parties are still going. Parties will take place all day tomorrow. Every day I explain to the girls that today is not the trick-or-treating day. We've been talking costumes for WEEKS. They will be tired long before we ever hit the trick-or-treating trail. I am, by nature, a "let's-make-it-at-home" type of parent when it comes to costumes. Unfortunately, the gazillion football and school and work events that in which we have been partaking have not really left ample time in the schedule to make costumes. Grant and I are making his costume. We went easy with the girls and they are "zipping" into their store-bought costumes.

And then there is the whole candy thing. We teach our children not to ask strangers for candy, and not even to ask people they know for gifts. And then we tell them that Halloween is exempt. Go ahead, kids.............dress up in a costume and its okay to to knock on people's doors and expect them to give you candy! And does anyone's kids really eat that candy? Our sits around for weeks, we eat the stuff we like, and finally dump the rest in the garbage. We have the additional problem that we only trick-or-treat with families we know. Many of the stops along the way involve grandparents or elderly people that don't get many trick-or-treaters, so they all have something "special" set aside for our children. Our kids are likely to come home with BIG candy bars, toys, cans of pop, and possibly even some cash. Not kidding here!! I trick-or-treated the same neighborhood as a child and one house was famous for giving silver dollars!!! And remember, we live in a rural area, so trick-or-treating is a driving from house to house event. No walking here!!

Before I was a parent, I knew a Mom that actually told her kids to go home after trick-or-treating and eat ALL the candy they wanted. Sometimes, she said they ate until they barfed. But the kids knew that when they went to bed, whatever was left of the candy went in the garbage. At the time, I thought it was a bizarre concept. Looking back, I have to give her credit ... it was a way to bring an abrupt end to Halloween leftovers.

Tonight, we will carve our pumpkins at home. And then, tomorrow, we'll stuff little people into costumes, smile, and do the whole nine yards that is Halloween in America in 2007. I will congratulate children on their costumes and hand out candy. I will chat pleasantly with other parents. But if you happen to see me out trick-or-treating, know that behind the smile...........I'm hoping that Martha Freakin' Stewart chokes on her carameled apple.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The "Man in the Pot"

As a parent of four children that are all virtually "fearless", I admit to taking great delight on the rare occasions that one of them actually shows a little genuine fright. I am quite seriously afraid of snakes and all four of the kids know that and flaunt it whenever possible. So.......I just consider it getting even. They've all been known to dangle things that slither........just to watch me squirm. This summer, Jennica even thought that the garter snake she found should come inside. YUK!

To get to the point of this story, Jennica went to Mary Bridge Hospital with Mike yesterday for her routine ear-tube check. (By the way, tubes are out and ears are great!) On their way home, Mike stopped by a Halloween store to look for a skunk costume for Tiersten (Yep......a skunk!). As they walked in the door, Jennica immediately spotted a huge pot with these life-size moving legs sticking out and kicking!! She flipped out and pretty much climbed Mike's legs!

Several hours later, when they got home, the "man in the pot" was all she could talk about. I was totally clueless and she was SO earnest about telling me and so frustrated because I was grasping her seriousness, but couldn't imagine what in the world she was jabbering about. Mike explained, and I tried very hard not to laugh, as this was obviously very serious to her! We have continued to tell her that it was a silly decoration and she doesn't seem to be having nightmares, but it sure made a BIG impression!

Serves her right for dangling a snake in my face.......... :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I can see the light in the distance...

This coming week is our LAST week of football for 2007! Two weeks ago, I couldn't wait to get there, and now I'm going to be a little sorry to see it come to an end. Both of our boys have really matured this season and its been wonderful to watch! There teams have also been incredibly successful, with only one loss to each team. And, important to the Mom here, NO MAJOR INJURIES to any kid on either of their teams. With one week still to go...I'd better knock on wood......

Also, this past week, I turned 39! Mike made dinner on my birthday and my parents joined us and the four kids for cake and ice cream. It was nice to be home for the evening! And......last night, Mike shocked me with a surprise birthday party! He had started making some noises on Thursday about doing some house-cleaning, at which point I didn't catch on. I still didn't totally catch on Friday night as we were working around the house together and he was doing a more in-depth cleaning than usual. But Saturday, I got a little suspicious that SOMETHING was up. In any case, I still didn't guess that our usual rowdy group would all show up at 6:00 pm dressed in Mexican costume, carrying a ton of food, and........a pinata!! As always, we had a great time together and it was a lot of fun. I even won a round of Poker!! (Now that I think about it, maybe they let me win because it was my birthday. Nah........they're not THAT nice. :) ) In any case, by the time we re-possessed our children and got them into their own beds, it was 2 a.m., but THANKS to Mike and the rest of the gang for a great birthday! A few more weeks and we'll be sailing the West Coast of Mexico......

Lastly, a few weeks ago, we upgraded our camera. The last one had been as tough as nails through a lot of abuse, but a cup of apple juice on our camping trip this summer was just too much for it. We're having a blast playing with our new toy as, obviously, digital cameras have come a long way in the last few years. I've posted new photos of each of the kids above. At top, the girls playing on the playground at one of Grant's games. The photo of Grant (#26) was taken in Pe Ell on October 14th, where he had probably the best game he's ever had (so far anyway)with two fumble recoveries, two quarterback sacks, and some general knocking-other-people-down. And, lastly, the photos of Dane (in green,#50) are of him making a touchdown, and doing what he loves most..........smashing somebody on the gridiron (he's the guy in green on the TOP of the pile).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I feel like a hamster on a wheel...

Its Sunday night at 6:30 pm. If I could do anything I wanted right now....hhhmmmmm........I think I would go to bed and pull the covers over my head and sleep for a solid 12 hours with no interruptions. I'm in that mood where I just want to be left ALONE for awhile.........peace and quiet........ALL ALONE!!!

It actually was a good week and I'm truly grateful for that. In fact, I feel a little ungrateful even admitting that I'm craving time alone. But its one "benefit" of being a one-appraiser-business that we generally get a lot of time alone (I don't think I've mentioned that my trust assistant, Jennifer, has moved to Vancouver..... ) and we get accustomed to that mind-organizing time. This past week was just one of those that the schedule was VERY full every minute of every day with activities involving other people and I've got that "hair-on-fire/claustrophic" feeling tonight of not being totally brain-organized going into Monday morning. I HATE that! The "control freak" in me really NEEDS to know exactly what to expect every moment of every day this coming week. If I'm prepared for the things that I KNOW are going to happen, I deal better with the unexpected things that always come along. Am I making ANY sense here?

I've actually got some really funny stories to share from the kids this past week, but I'm too stressed at the moment to think they're very funny. I KNOW they're funny, but I can't focus enough to put them down in words.

So now that all you people know how truly insane I am.........well..........yeah. Good night!! I'm still running on the hamster wheel......

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm starting a club...Wanna join?

Its been awhile since I've gotten on my soapbox, but upon reading the news today, I'm motivated to express my not-so-in-demand opinion. So here goes...

I've decided to start a club. People Against Poor Judgement On My Space. PAPJOMS. Hmmm....That doesn't really have a ring to it. Well........something like that. Wanna join?

Now, before you get your hackles up, I'm not against My Space itself. I'm against "Poor Judgement" on My Space. In my experience, this happens to include almost the vast majority of My Space accounts that I have surfed, but let's just say thats a coincidence. And My Space is not the only one of these venues--there are others that are equally as obnoxious. So please include those as well under the heading that I am terming as "My Space".

Here are my gripes:
1) My Space is providing an easy venue for VAST amounts of poor judgement to surface. I've seen two news stories in the past two weeks involving sex offenders using My Space as a method with which to meet their victims. Both of these instances went so far as to actually result in the victims meeting these criminals and crimes being committed. All of the involved victims were below the age of 18, and apparently, using My Space without parental supervision or guidance. (Not to say that the parents would have been any smarter than the kids.....)

2) My Space is the host of a whole lot of photos, text, etc. being posted with NO thought to the PERMANENCY of internet record. Gone are the days when a note was passed around a high school english class stating who has a crush on whom, who got drunk at what party, what girls are using birth control, or whatever that week's rumor may be--when the note died, so did the permanent written record. Today, these messages are posted on My Space. To be accessed forever and ever. Its bad enough that our teens are engaging in as many adult activities as they are, but to have them posted publicly on My Space? Yikes!

3) And this is where I really start to feel the gripe--Our college and adult users that are exhibiting as poor of judgement (or more so) than our teens. Photos of obscene gestures at the camera, photos of obvious drinking binges, photos of all kinds of things that 30 years from now you don't want your boss/grandchildren/world to witness. Come on, people!! Where is your self-respect? Where is your class? For heaven's sakes, play! Enjoy life! Have fun in whatever manner you desire, and live with the consequences! But don't allow it to be posted on the internet!!!

Consider the permanent societal impacts of My Space. Are our heads-of-state going to be attempting to confirm a Supreme Court Justice in 30 years and My Space photos from a fraternity party suddenly surface? How many sex offenders are out there surfing for their next victim right this minute? How many of us have a moment or two (from which we learned a lesson) and prefer that it would stay a very private lesson and not posted on the internet?

In closing, I'm going to submit the perfect example--I had two close high school friends that briefly dated an upper classman. That upper classman is now a politician. He is highly respected in his field of work, as he should be, for the adult that he has become. I could tell a few stories about him from our younger days. But thats all they are......stories. No My Space posting. No photos from my cell phone that I downloaded to the internet. Just fond stories of silly high school days. As it should be. He has nothing to fear......

If he had been born 20 years later, that may not have been the case, and a scandal could be waiting to break at any time. Despite his hard work. Despite his excellent track record in his job. Despite the responsible adult that he is today. Despite the good he is doing in legislature getting some important bills passed that will benefit our society.

So........If you are a My Space user, and if you perhaps have a photo or two posted somewhere, and if perhaps there are obscene gestures made at the camera, or other immature postings....Enjoy them. Because you might just live to regret the poor judgement you used the day you posted them.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Grant.....little and tough!!

Grant played another football game on Saturday. In this one, they finally met their match and they got beat. They put up a heck of a fight in the first three quarters, but finally got by-passed late in the game.

Grant, again, had a couple of great runs. He is on the smaller end of the kids, but tough as nails!! Its not unusual to see him pushing the last yard or two to a first down with four or five guys hanging on trying to bring him down. This week, he got his arm stomped on, but kept on a trucking!

I took the attached photo from the grandstands this past Saturday. Grant is #26, and he's standing next to teammate and good friend, Darrol. Darrol is about "average-sized" for the boys in their division. GROW, Grant!!! :)

Speedy Gonzales meets Batgirl

The already-a-handful Jennica has developed a few new skills lately, and is finely honing a few that she had previously revealed to us. Its giving me a serious case of "absence-of-patience-itus". Let me explain...

First of all, our youngest daughter has the longest and skinniest legs ever to be seen on a three-year-old. No case of the preschool chubbies here......her thighs and calves are long and muscular. And, boy, can she use them!!! This kid can RUN like the wind!!!

Second (also probably related to those long, thin legs), she has recently learned to climb things VERTICALLY. Like cabinets, specifically. And she is FAST!! She climbs up on our countertops lickety-split, we lift her down, and she's back up there in a heartbeat.

Combine these skills with the fact that she has no fear of ANYTHING, and we've got a problem on our hands. She always manages to get some form of "contraband" out of an upper cabinet(all the lower ones have Jennica-proof child locks on them), hops back down off the countertops and runs for her room like Carl Lewis. She does a "Pete-Rose-type-belly-slide" under her bed, tucks her feet up, and the only way to get her out is to lay on your stomach and drag her out by whatever body part you happen to grab! The other alternative is to leave her under there and ignore her, but thats not real practical if you're trying to get out the door to a football game, or preschool, or wherever else we're headed.

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH. Once again, she's got us thinking. I will give her credit for that! The standard punishments don't work with this child so, once again, we're having to get creative and think of ways to outsmart her, and provide a deterrent, all at the same time.

So if anyone out there has any suggestions for how to deal with Speedy Gonzales and Batgirl all rolled into one........we're listening!!