Monday, February 27, 2012

Son of a Shutterbabe

It kills me to look at this picture.

First reaction: Oh my gosh I'm getting really old.

Other reaction: Mason is a pretty good photog.

It's the latter that brings me joy. Mason has always had an interest in my camera. He uses my Canon, when I permit him. He uses my cell phone camera, when I permit him. We gave him a little digital camera of his own, which he carries around everywhere. The guy's got an eye. It's got me thinking, again, about the things we're destined to do.

Clearly he has a lot to learn about lighting (all the settings were manual, which is a lot for a 35-yol to manage, let alone a 5-yol). Provided I can endure the pain of being his subject, he might really make something of this.

Incidentally, his little friend -- the son of a realtor -- came to our house recently and said, "This is a nice kitchen." I've never had a 5-year-old tell me I have a nice kitchen. Then again, he's the first son of a realtor to visit.
What were you meant to do?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Run-on Punch Line

"Mom, what did one pencil say to the other?"

"Hmmmmm... Write on! Dude!"

"Noooooo. Let's shove ourselves up and then write. Get it? Cuz theys have to be just sharpened or something."

We're still working on homographs, and comedic timing.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day Wrap Up: Here's Where All the Romance has Gone

7:55 a.m.
Wake up my youngest son after finding my oldest son hiding under the covers playing his Nintendo DS.

Serve perfect heart-shaped pancakes. After the first round goes down pretty quickly I decide to start making oval-shaped pancakes, cutting them in half on the diagonal and flipping one side over to create a not-so-perfect heart shape.

Pack Coop's backpack with so many plates, napkins, cups, and utensils (all in cherry, cheery Valentine red) that it barely closes and is an obvious burden for him to carry. Then pile onto his outstretched arms his valentine box, bag of valenetines, and a valentine for his teacher. Push him, his little brother, and huge backpack into car for the 1-block drive to school.

Cooper falls out of the car under the weight of his backpack filled with plates, napkins, utensils, and cups.

I begin the thumb twiddling wait for a fellow swim league board member who is to arrive at my house at about 9:30. You know what this means. You've decided to skip the gym and you don't have enough time to run any errands so you're forced to do chores. I clean a toilet. Then empty garbages. Start some laundry. Load the dishwasher.

No sign of swim league board member. Continue with the chores and start to get a wild hair about a special Valentine's Day dinner for my family. Surf Pinterest for ideas, of course.

Record-short amount of time on Pinterest. Start really cleaning and wondering if I could have fit in a trip to the gym.

My swim league board member calls me to tell me she's running late. You think? And offers to bring lunch. Forgiven. She got me out of my gym trip, after all.

Receive a panicked call from fellow classroom mother wondering where I am and where are the plates, napkins, utensils, and cups that I committed to bring. Do I need to even talk about how the rest of this conversation went?

My swim league board member and I work on the lamest, most boring, aggravating document for the 400th time this year.

Scurry around making dinner plans, setting table, wrapping LEGOs and sending husband to the liquor store.

Leave the house to pick up Cooper and run to the grocery store to buy fondue supplies.

Begin awkward conversation with Cooper's teacher who is gorgeous, kind, and a Husker's fan. Assuming that because of her awesomeness and singleness that surely she has a romantic evening on tap. World: you should never ask a single woman if she has plans on Valentine's Day. Just like you should never ask a woman if she is pregnant. Poor girl looked at me and admitted that she and her other single girlfriends would be raising a glass and toasting another year of singleness. In an equally flummoxed attempt to fix situation and help her see that her plans sounded really appealing to me I say, "At least you don't have to put on highly uncomfortable, too small, sassy underwear for the annual you-know-what." All the while thinking, surely she knows that married couples never get to actually have romance on Valentine's and also wondering if it's too late to shoot myself in the eye. I don't really want to talk about what followed. The end.

As I walk with Cooper through the parking lot I think to myself, I wonder if I can convince Steve to take the kids to school tomorrow as my Valentine's Day present?

Cooper's ride to basketball arrives. I have to delicately explain that he is indisposed and would they please wait just a minute. (He was on the crapper.) And wouldn't you like to be this couple on Valentine's Day? They got stuck with evening practice carpool.

Steve starts mixing martinis.

Cooper gets back from basketball and the family festivities begin.

Burgers up and we all tuck in to a delicious, if casual, dinner.

I burn my finger on the double boiler I'm using to melt the chocolate for our chocolate fondue dessert. First ruin 3 bars of chocolate before figuring out what I'm doing. Good thing I have 5! Serve chocolate with pink marshmallows, pound cake bites, strawberries, banana slices, and green apple wedges. Yummmm-meeeee. Ouch. Did I mention I burned my finger?

One bite of that chocolate covered, pink marshmallow has quite the effect on Mason and he starts running laps around the kitchen island, then the ottoman in the living room. He does this about 28 times before coming in all pink cheeked and exclaiming he loves Valentine's Day.

Kids are finally in bed, an hour later than usual. And if you're married, you know what that means. At least one of us is already snoring.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

If It Smells Like a Flower

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm sharing with you a love note I found scrunched up in the bottom of Coop's backpack. It seems he has a not so secret admirer. Of course, in which way my 7-year-old resembles a flower is a mystery to me, unless she means the infamous "stinking corpse lily".

PS -- to see what Cooper made to use as his Valentine's mailbox, jump over to my sewing site.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Category


I know costumes.

Totally get camouflage.

I’ve even come to appreciate mixing all shades of green on the same day.

But this, this is a new category.

My skills as a parent are still quite puerile but already I’ve become completely calloused to the calling of parent with no pride who can take a child dressed in nearly anything, nearly anywhere.

I didn’t flinch when Mason picked for his big debut at the National Western Stock Show skinny jeans and an argyle sweater. Nor did I protest when he insisted on wearing Mario knit gloves for an entire day at school. And it is with great calm but decided confusion that I go out in public with him wearing a hat of his choice, mismatched long underwear pajamas, and cowboy boots.

Though I find it doesn’t ruffle my feathers, it does put me in a bit of a fashionista dilemma.

First , I consider: Which category is this? Is it sportswear? Costume? Underwear?

Next, I consider: Is it seasonable? Should it be worn from Labor Day on? Or only after Memorial Day?

Then, I consider: Is it hygienic? Does he smell? Are there stains, holes, or excretions from said ensemble?

Lastly, I consider: In all seriousness, should I bring my camera?

It is this last factor than I must pay particular attention to. The tremendous responsibility of supporting your child’s creativity or laziness or desire for comfort or whatever the hell it is that would encourage him to dress like this is facing it’s opposition – the responsibility of protecting your child from overt and malicious jeering, heckling, and perhaps photographic evidence posted on other’s facebook pages with the caption, “Someone please call protective services!”
Also, I suspect that when he is 35 he will be interested in the expression he found at 5. Even if he dresses like this crazy man (follow link) at 35.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I have no words to express how proud I was of Cooper when he volunteered to read to the kids at Mason's school. So, I'll just show you the pictures.

(Mason was proud, too.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On the Rebound

We're trying something new this season. Cooper decided after getting his yellow belt, that he wanted to take a short hiatus from karate. Much like breaking up with someone only to quickly jump into another relationship -- referred to as the rebound -- Cooper has fled one commitment and jumped right into the arms of another.

Ironically enough, his strength is rebounds.

Over-commitment is something I worry about. I have two ends of the spectrum to work with. One child I force to partake in activities. The other I have to limit activities. Coop's the one I have to limit. On any given day he will go to school, an extra-curricular activity, ask for a play date, and still end the night saying he's bored.

That being said, at one point right before Christmas he dejectedly pondered, "I'm just so busy." This is a phrase that should be reserved for grown ups.

In fact, I am busy. It's the reason I don't get to sew the things I really want to sew. The reason I don't make cookies every weekend. The reason I rarely see my adult friends. The reason I have to "schedule" time with my husband. I even have a calendar event for cleaning out the microwave.

But my 7-year-old should not.

My 7-year-old should have time to watch Tom & Jerry, ride scooters with the kids on the street, and decorate cookies with his mom. And so to steal a phrase he loves -- This mama is determined To Protect This House. My renewed mission is to distill his interests through the lens of priorities around here. Priority no. 1? Be a kid. What are your priorities?