Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Don't eat until you're Full. Eat until you're Tired.


I'm trying not to post about fire. Because, well, it's just such an obvious thing to be talking about, isn't it? It's fucking hot and smokey here which makes way more sense than saying fucking cold.... because since when is fucking cold?

So, yeah, shit is burning up. People are being evacuated. Nobody can breathe and my eyes feel like I've been sleeping in mascara, underwater, in an over-clorinated pool. Hell, our first day of swim lessons was canceled due to a fire evacuation. It sucks and we are living it.... but please, tourists, visit our lovely state and leave us your hard-earned dollars....

So, today, I will provide for your viewing enjoyment.... my evacuation plans.

planS... you have more than one?

Why yes.

The 5-minute plan: Grab the kids, the dog, the cell phone and the credit card and get the fuck out. The GOOD thing about this kind of natural disaster.... it is site specific. It isn't like a tornado or a hurricane where a whole town is wiped out. As long as I have the credit card I can always buy food and diapers.

The 25-minute plan: Same as above but add turning on the sprinklers, grabbing the two crates of photo albums & momentos, the jewelry box, the safe deposit box keys, guns and as many of Hot Stuff's largest elk horns as possible. I've already backed up all my photos & computer to idiot sticks and I have them stashed at work. The important paperwork (birth certificates etc) are in a safety deposit box (ok, once and for all... is it safe deposit or safety deposit??)... but, of course, both sets of keys are in my house. Must make note to take one set to work.

The 2-day plan: Rent a storage unit in town and grab the above as well as a few select antiques and other valuables. Cut down the oily evergreen tree and drag it away from the house. Move the tractor and pickup to town.

The what-I'd-really-like plan: Do you think it would be possible to send a few items TO the fires? Like, can I selectively burn up a few things? The pink recliners, for example?

Our house is extemely defensible so I'm not too worried. But there is only one way in and one way out of our neighborhood and the idea of riding out a wild fire isn't super appealing to me... call me crazy.... so we take the "be prepared" route and hope for no smoldering lightning strikes.

It's interesting. We walked through the house and in each room asked, "What's important here?" There are some things... like the arrowhead collection Hot Stuff's grandpa gave him... that are easy... but you have to decide where to draw the line. The old photo albums... but all the new ones can easily be replaced with a quick trip to snapfish so they aren't as important. I'm discovering there aren't a WHOLE lot of things that couldn't be pretty easily replaced. And there are some things (did I mention the pink recliners??) that I'd LOVE to see go.... so what does that say about me??

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Who Needs Fancy Toys??

This is a shark. What? You don't see it? It's a shark I tell you. And this? This is a shark attack.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sometimes you are a good parent in spite of yourself

This summer I’ve done more readin’ than writin’ in blog world. And I’ve learned I might be a better parent than I thought….. (assuming you can get past the chocolatey-goodness pictures below.)

A blog I love (but shall remain nameless for now because I’m about to poke fun at their parental seriousness and I don’t know them well enough to really DO that) had a recent post about moving the kiddie dishes to a lower spot so the kidlet could help herself. Thus helping the kidlet learn all sorts of Important Things. Things like Sharing and Helping and Responsibility.

And I thought: Good Idea.

And then I realized…. We already do this.

But we call it: Parenting by the Path of Least Resistance.

Sippy cups, plastic bowls & plasticware are all located in lower drawers (the drawer just above the cookie cutters & rolling pin formerly for cookies but currently for play dough). I didn’t realize I was teaching my children an important life lesson by putting these items down low. I thought I was making my life easier by letting them get their own sippy and snack bowl….. no more “But I wanted the YELLOW cup” and it’s a heck of a lot easier to dole out the m&m’s when the bowl is already lined up on the counter.

This week SB even learned to get the milk out by himself. We haven’t graduated to apple juice since we mix our own from frozen concentrate (both thrifty and easy to water down) and the apple juice container doesn’t seal up…. Yes, my gallon milk jug has an oddly-shaped bottom from being dropped repeatedly during the learning process. And, yes, I have to keep a tea towel around the door handle to give him the proper leverage to get the door open. And, no, he isn’t pouring for himself…. Yet.

Does anyone else do things ‘cause their lazy and later learn there is a bit of genius in their madness?

O-O-O Ice Cold Milk And.....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

And then, my head exploded..... igniting a new fire....

My first effort to include my offspring in an organized activity was a complete failure. I knew it would be..... that's why I put it off so long. While others were attending music classes and play groups my poor progeny was only allowed storytime at the library and a few trips for pizza at Costco as group play.

No gymnastics.

No dance lessons.

No soccer.

No t-ball.


Until this week. Swimming Lessons.

I was prepared.

I had sunscreen, trunks & a towel for him. And goggles in the car in case they wanted him to have those too. I had swim gear for myself & the baby. I had my mother-in-law coming to meet us after lessons. I had a picnic packed.... the plan being to do lessons, eat our picnic, then swim for fun, shower, put on jammies and then head home.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Competi-mommy. And you are wrong. I'm intensely and freakishly nervous and shy about these kinds of things. I can't explain it. I blame my parents. It was the way I was raised.... something like that. Anyway. I need to carefully think out these kinds of events or I find myself hyperventilating and hiding behind potted plants.

So I left work early to gather my children. And on the radio I hear, "We are evacuating the swimming pool.... all unattended children will be taken to the fair grounds until they can be picked up." And I think, "Huh, I wonder if lessons are cancelled??"

This, people, is my life.

Monday, July 09, 2007

*** I have "Awwww...... RESCUE PACK... Coming to the rescue...." STUCK in my head... please, amputate my brain NOW. And someone please remind me not to use DIEGO as a babysitter ever again.

*** Sweet Boy looked at me yesterday and, out of no-where, says,"Mama, boys don't have boobies." I pause. I look at him. Really. "Boys have pecto-roar-al muscles, mom. Boys have muscles." "Well, then, son, what are those little 'squito bites on your chest there??" "I don't know. But they don't have holes in them so I can't feed my baby with them.... only girls can do that."

*** Hot Stuff came home, tired, and almost tripped over the little grey stool sitting in the middle of the living room (and not in the usual spot by the doorway) and gave me "the look" about it. I said nothing and pointed. Yes, Darling Girl has a New Trick. I'm not going to be the one to stifle her creativity or her chances of becoming a performance artist so I am left with two options.... put the stool in the middle of the room or make the kid wear a helmet. On second thought... that helmet isn't such a bad idea....

*** In the name of trying to be a woman and a mommy I thought possible bringing out the bronze goddess would give me a little confidence boost so I bought some Aveeno lotion with a hint of tanner. Sweet Boy walked in the bathroom this morning and said, "Mom. It smells a little funny in here." I think I'll stick to shoe shopping or something.

*** I blasted a bit of the house with goo-gone's house wash. I'm sure that shit is toxic but, wow, did it every take the pellet stove soot stains off the porch ceiling.

*** SB, DG & I went to a little girl's birthday party on Saturday. It's a daycare friend so I didn't know anyone there beyond nodding aquaintance as we are gathing our children. Hot Stuff says, in all sincerity, "Have FUN at the party!!" I had to give him the look. There was no alcohol at this party. I spent the whole time worrying about how to put sunscreen on my little ghost-babies without looking like competi-mommy (Why aren't YOU slathering your children with at least a shot glass of sunscreen every 2 hours??? No, seriously, you don't need to do it.... it's just, well, LOOK at how pale my kids are.... I know.... I'm not sure they are mine either....) and laughing at my daughter walking like a hunch back and always heading for the water features in the yard.... but trying not to let her walk because the son in this family is several months older than DG and isn't walking and I heard the grandfather make some comment about it and LORD KNOWS that mom doesn't need my kid adding to her stress.... right? That makes sense sort-of, doesn't it??

*** Sweet Boy has a new "look" wearing his baseball cap backwards. If you ask him why he will carefully explain it is to keep the ice cream off the bill of his cap when we go to Dairy Queen. Yes, we've been to Dairy Queen twice this week. Yes, it is 95 degrees here. No, that's not so very hot to people from the South but WE AREN'T FROM THE SOUTH, are we??

*** Hot Stuff mentioned last night -as casually as possible- that he might be ready to get a pair of kittens. Good thing I've been working on my poker face.

*** Monday night is the first night of swimming lessons. I'm planning to pack a little picnic since lessons are 5:00-5:30 and we will probably want to swim more after. I hope all goes well. SB was very brave and a great swimmer last summer... jumping off the diving board and all. Now I can't get him to put his face in the water or jump off the side into my arms. He must have realized his mortality or something. I just try to act like I love the water (you know I don't) and be an encouraging but not demanding mom. I don't plan to flip out and enroll him in expensive private once-a-week lessons for several months until he can out-swim everyone in the pool like a certain other mom I know did..... oh, have I mentioned how well my little niece is swimming these days? I can't compete but it is very hard not to try. I like to think I pick up the slack by packing a fun picnic and being a fun mom. Right? Ok, well, failing that.... I look better in my Land's End mom-suit than you do....

*** I pink-puffy-heart-with-sprinkles-on-top LOVE our portable air conditioner.

*** My amazing watering system is almost complete. Pictures soon. Now I want to rip out another section of grass and put in another flower bed because when you water them?!?! The flower beds look great.

*** Next weekend my daughter turns one. ONE. What the hell?!?!

*** Yes, thank you for asking for the birthday party we WILL be having chocolate cake. And, yes, there WILL be alcohol....

Monday, July 02, 2007

The farm got hailed out this weekend.

What does that mean?

All of the cautiously-optimistic bushels per acre predictions we've been kicking around..... gone. All the plans to take a bit of vacation time in late July and go help with harvest.... not needed.
All that beautiful wheat... beat into the ground, bent, broken and not fun to see.

But my mother, ever the optimist, reasons.... well, we aren't trying to buy land now so at least we don't have a big debt. And we don't have kids in college or big costs to cover so we will be fine for another year.

And she's right.

But it is so much fun to have a Big Harvest year. I was looking forward to hauling the kids up there for a week or so. Trying out a few new fabulous recipes on the harvest crew and leaving the kids with Grandma for a while so I could re-new my truck-driving skills out in the field. Sweet Boy is big enough to go a few rounds in the combine this year. Darling Girl is big enough to.... eat dirt while we do dinner in the field.

Instead the combine drivers will pack bigger lunches in their coolers and it will take all morning to fill a truck. I still might go up but it will be to move a truck to the corner of a new field and then go dump it a few hours later.... not the wild, unloading on the go, dunk your head in the water tank, testing how fast you can unload without overflowing the hopper, grab a gatoraide out of the freezer, beat the dust out of your grill, sunglasses-hat-jeans-boots, wearing a big black dust mask, so tired you can't move at the end of the day kind of harvest.

And for the cooking.... I know my dad will miss my signature dish... 5 Can Surprise. And the dessert-a-day club. And homemade pretzels with canned cheese. And little kids in dirty jeans and sunglasses sitting on the tailgate of a pickup eating watermelon.

There were no jugglers, ponies or magicians...

We survived the 7-year-old cousin's birthday party.

It wasn't as competi-mommy as I thought it would be.... a pleasant surprise. I was totally ready to discuss Montessori daycare, organic snacks and why my daughter doesn't know sign language.... yet. There was one passing comment about the kind of juice available (the pc kind, apparently.... some new capri suns lower in sugar than regular capri suns) but no one said a word when my 11-month-old went AFTER a piece of ice cream cake in the grass under the picnic table. She got it too... that's my girl. She was just excited she didn't have to wrestle the dog for it.

And none of the earnest mommies present speed-dialed Human Services on me! Not even once. I was careful to make sure they saw me apply sunscreen liberally and regularly. And I didn't swear.... out loud.... not even once.

Actually, mostly I made some comparisons and secretly felt superior.... my box-cake (tastes just like from scratch! with hershey's syrup right in the mix!) with homemade frosting (I could marry that frosting) might not be fashionable but... have I mentioned the frosting? So good. These parties the competi-mommies throw aren't that much different.... they just have less alcohol (the dads... doing the traditional dads-sit-around-the-cooler dance.... didn't even have beer) and more neon blue frosting.

I was appropriately and tastefully dressed in a brown t-shirt & print skirt (thanks Elle... good shopping) flashing a little "bohemian-I-may-be-a-mom-but-I-have-style" in the jewelry and sporting the dark lenses in my sunglasses so I could check out the competition.

My kids were well-behaved and used their best manners.... I figured the least I could do would be the same. Talk of dinner started around 5:15 but when nothing had happened by 7:00 and SB was asking if he could rummage in the diaper bag for "an old granola bar or some gold fishies or something...." we said our good-byes and headed for home.

Sweet Boy was over-the-moon ecstatic when we, unsolicited, pulled into McDonald's. And, yes, for those of you counting.... it was the SECOND time this week.... I like to think his Happy Meal collection will be worth a lot more if it is complete. (For those who know: We got Chicken Joe. Very exciting.) After a few nuggets & fries both backseaters were out cold for the drive home so I turned up the ipod, enjoyed the scenery and thought about Darling Girl's FIRST birthday in two weeks.... you guessed it..... Chocolate cake, spaghetti, the family & a couple of party hats.... oh, and a little alcohol too.