Friday, November 26, 2010

Photobooth Friday

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Third String

Today was Grandparents' Day. I was the alternate.

Happy to be there, Cooper. Thanks for the invite.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Artful Perspective

Thanks to a special request from the art teacher, I found myself volunteering at the school, again. As I ran into the school another mother was escaping. She stopped me and asked if I was Cooper's mom. When I admitted I was she immediately shared with me something Cooper had told her not more than 5 minutes earlier.

When she readied herself to leave he assured her it was fine that she needed to leave because his own mother was coming in to help with art.

The mother then asked, "Oh is your mom good at art?"

Cooper flatly said, "No, no she's not."

I guess when you prematurely wind down your career to become a full-time, stay-at-home mom no one -- and I do mean no one -- remembers where your talents once resided.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leaf Me Long Time

Now it has become a ritual. The annual blowing of the leaves onto whatever willing participant we can find. But make no mistake, Mason didn't like it nearly as much.

Way too much noise. Way too many things touching him that he did not like. He was enthusiastic to wear the gloves and the ear protection. But would not wear the goggles and when he heard how loud the leaf blower was, he immediately wanted to retreat to the perch he had in past years.

Please enjoy the look of surprise on his face. I only wish the picture was a little better.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Photobooth Friday

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winter Bugs Me

Would anyone like to know what the next renovation will be? It's meant to hide all this mess from mom. Would anyone else like to bet that it will not work?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Know... Before

Imagine if you will, driving in the car with two boys and listening to Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me. They know the words, all the words. Even the, "She wears short skirts. I wear T-shirts" words. I wish I could explain why this is true, I can't.

Anyway, the lyric, provocative as it is, encourages Cooper to ask why girls wear t-shirts with skirts. Truthfully I'm relieved he asks this and not something about why girls wear short skirts. In my misguided wisdom I reply, "Skirts come from a long tradition rooted in the history of clothing. A long time ago all women and men wore robes, dresses and skirts. In some countries men wear skirts, still."

OK. Now, just ponder this for a minute. I make geeky if not entirely false proclamations like this all the time. My children do not even flinch. We begin listing the countries where men still wear what my children would consider a skirt and/or a dress. I didn't differentiate between sarongs and robes and kilts. If it wasn't bifurcated, I called it a skirt and listed it. So, naturally it was a discussion of India, Pakistan, various Asian and Arab countries, and Scotland.

The boys were roaring and moved right on to the next things they wanted to talk about. They leave me behind and chatter between them with little regard for me or the music I turn up until I hear something strange.

Cooper starts telling Mason that babies are born naked because they can't buy clothes on "the inside". Oh oh oh. I had to push this and begin a line of questioning that literally gets Cooper making all kinds of stuff up. At one point he tried to tell me that there was a closet inside the uterus (he said Mommy's tummy) for babies and that they didn't need to be born naked but parents liked them better that way (naked).

Finally, exhausted and exasperated he says, "Mom, I'm talking about a long time ago when people were naked and didn't have any money to buy clothes!"

Well Phew! Because I thought you were trying to tell me that I still had an entire wardrobe in my nether regions just waiting to get birthed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Handle With Care

Somewhere near the ambiguous spot between tiny tail, squishy hip and furry leg is sewn a special tag. In the case of Puppy, the tag provides full instructions about regular care and a few warnings to ensure his owners won't harm his appearance or usefulness. Today Mason came to me and asked what it (the tag) is.

That's a care instruction label.

What does it say?

Well, it says we should wash him in warm water and then dry him off. (It actually says: For all ages. Machine washable.)

And does it also say to rub his back?

Oh yes, it says take good care to rub his back and ears. (I say this as I squint at the label as if I'm reading it.)

And does it say we should feed him good food?

Yes, feed him good food and keep him warm. It says we should be very nice.

And not call him stupid?

And never call him stupid.

Oh that's good. I love Puppy. Hmmmmm. (Hugs ragged 'ol Puppy with all his might.)

I wish we all came with a care tag.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Photobooth Friday

Whoa, made it another week.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Didn't See That Coming

In every family there is a child who talks. Will talk about anything. In our family his name is Mason. If you're really patient, you hear the damnedest things. Damnedest. Now, that would be the topic of the conversation tonight.

Mommy, I really wanted to tell you that I love you and something else. But I can't tell you.

Did you forget?

Yes, I forgot, and it's a bad word. (Holds up hand showing all five fingers and motions to count down on them.) Let's talk about bad words.

What do you mean? I don't like bad words. (Actually I love bad words.)

Like Stupid.

Oh yes, that is very bad.

And Shut Up.

Oh right, that is not a very nice thing to say.

Well, what about if a ninja says, "Oh my God!"? (We've been trying to explain that while God is good, saying Oh my God is disrespectful. Really a stretch of a concept for the under 5 set.)

That would be kinda rude to say.

Can a pirate say, "Oh my Gosh!"?

I think that would be OK.

What about if General Grievous said, "Oh my crap!"?

Laughing. (Can't help myself.) I think that would be OK but it is kinda gross and teachers and moms don't like gross words.

Oh right. I think if something is weird you're supposed to say, "Oh my heavens!".

Yes, that's a good alternative.

I'm saving this one (Points to last finger) for hamster. I like to say that.

Oh. (Scratch my head.)

Now mom, I think we should keep talking about the other bad words. Can you tell me some? (Holds up opposite hand and makes to continue counting down.)

I don't like to say bad words.

But mom, I want to know them.

How about I tell you what you can say?

OK, yeah, that's good.

Oh darn! Have you said that before?

No. (Counts down on his fingers.)

Oh my heck!

Laughing. Mom! That's crazy. (Counts down on his fingers.)

Freaking. Freaking is kinda dangerous to say because it sounds like a bad word. (I have known Mason to say, "Are you freaking kidding me?".

(Counts down on his fingers.)

Mason, really, I have to go to bed. Forget about the bad words.

OK. But I want a hamster. When can I get a hamster.

(I close the door and whisper, "Aw shiite, he wants a hamster.")

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Looking for a Thank You Gift

I am in search of my new signature gift. You know, the one you bring for a hostess gift, a neighbor get-well gift, an adult birthday party gift, you're an excellent postal carrier gift.

I've fallen into a rut. It snuck up on me, and now I'm having a hard time crawling out. But when during a brainstorming session concerning what to give the 14-year-old babysitter for her efforts Mason enthusiastically answered, "We could give her wine." I knew it was time for a change.


Now I don't want a lot of comments suggesting I rely on genuine feeling, and get or make things that i know are personal. Frankly, I know that's the best way to give a gift. But I don't have time to do it the best way. I barely have time to do it at all. So, please, reasonable suggestions that can work for all ages, genders, occasions. Also, prefer something I can buy in bulk and store in a closet for just these occasions that often sneak up on me as quickly as everything else.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Smashing Tradition

When all is said and done, there a lot of family traditions that are just mom-doing-everything-for-everyone but we call it a family activity. Remember pumpkin carving? How many of you actually carried the pumpkins from the car to the kitchen (or designated safe to slime zone), cut open the pumpkin, pulled all the guts out, carved the faces, cleaned up the safe to slime zone, lined up the pumpkins on the porch/step/yard, and lit the candles in all the pumpkins?

I know I did.

Mason placed one fingertip to the cold, viscous, stringy pumpkin innards and declared himself a non-participant. Coop took one sniff of the inside of the pumpkin and would have no more.

But there is one tradition -- that falls on or around Nov. 1 -- that truly belongs to the kids. Smashing pumpkins day. The rules? 1. Pick up your pumpkin and throw it on the ground. Exhilarating. 2. Throw pumpkin parts in the trash.

This is a tradition I'm keeping around.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Surely There IS Something Else

I had the recent delight of attending the first parent-teacher conference of the year. All in all the teacher is pleased with Coop's progress but at one point she made a comment I found amusing. In her sweet -- almost sounds like a song in springtime -- voice she said, "Every time I ask Cooper to write about something he writes about LEGOland. Can you encourage him to come up with some other ideas?"

Writers' Block. He has writers' block. Well, me too. Surely there IS something else to write about, right? It's not just the milestones, big trips, and hysterical turns of phrase that come from the mouths of babes... life is more. Isn't it?

Well, I just don't know. Perhaps I'm a one-note wonder. Nothing to see here but kids and the funny things THEY say. And has really very little to do with what I think. Harumpf! And so I leave you with something funny from our summer vacation -- because I too write about little else than California.

Mason brought us this shell and asked, "Is this a fingernail?"


Friday, November 5, 2010

Photobooth Friday

Ahem, I'd like to start a new tradition. The sharing of the photobooth picture of the week, on Friday of course because it is loosely alliterative and sounds fancy. Even though the photo was not really taken a photobooth, and generally not taken on Friday. We're weird. We know. Also, tradition might only last this week, and maybe next. We'll see. Don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Way Off

Growing up in a house of busy bodies -- there were five of us -- I heard the words, "Julia, stay on task!" all. the. time. I think this was my mother's way of saying, "My head is about to spin around seven times before exploding into the sky, would you put your damn shoes on." Just a thought.

After hearing it about 6,750 times it became part of my vocabulary -- for better or for worse. I basically say it to Cooper and Mason when they start a project and then loose their little attentions to another shining object. So it should come as no surprise that when I employed Cooper to help me with cutting out the 26 pieces of his costume -- a long and arduous process -- I heard him realign himself with...

"Oh Man! I'm way off task."

PS -- I won't bore you with Halloween nonsense anymore, well, until Oct. 1, 2011.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Talk

Kids keep a lot of secrets. I'm fine with that. Really, I am. But I am downright curious about this...

Was June (his cousin) giving Mason the 4-1-1 on how to eat Grandma's Sandy Beaches Oatmeal specialty? Or maybe she was telling him how she feels about him taking the spot of youngest grandkid. I guess we'll never know.

I believe it is healthy for children to have conversations that you are not a part of and that you let them own. What do you believe?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Out of Town

Sometimes you just don't want to stay in.
Sometimes you have to get out.
Get away.
See a sea of strangers' faces.
Or no faces at all.
Sometimes you feel like this, but you have to take your kids with you.
One of my favorite people invited my boys and me to join her boys and her at their place in the mountains. This is a very kind gesture as we don't have a place of our own in the mountains, or on the beach, or anywhere but exactly on our little corner, in our little neighborhood, in our little town. So you know, I can never pay her back. But she invites me anyway. I love her.

We learned you should not dress the fastest child in camouflage.