Thursday, August 28, 2008

NieNie Day

It’s NieNie Day throughout the internet. Generous bloggers around the world are holding silent auctions to benefit the Nielson family. I considered having an auction here but truth be told, between the incessant migraine and back to school I feel like my life is spinning wildly out of control (also, I didn’t want to start a bidding war between my 3 loyal readers, since 2 of them live together, it could’ve gotten ugly fast). So, while there will be no auction here, I will without a doubt be checking out as many others as I can and making a donation that way, it’s a great excuse to shop (as if I need an excuse).

I discovered NieNie about a year though a link on her sister’s blog, Cjane Enjoy It. I have since been drawn daily to the photos of her life and inspired by her love of motherhood and domesticity, just as I have been uplifted and encouraged to enjoy life when I read Courtney’s blog. It is obvious that they are part of a very close and loving family.

When I read of the tragedy of their accident I felt as if someone dear to me had been hurt. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought, many times, about this family. My heart aches for all of them. It has been an amazing thing to see how their extended family has swooped in and stepped up. Once again they have inspired me.

Design Mom has over a hundred auctions listed on her blog if you would like to participate. If you haven’t already been introduced to the NieNie Dialogues they are here, her awe inspiring sister is here with daily updates and unmatched skills with the written word. You can also learn about other events and ways to support this family here.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

September 12th

I think this looks hilarious. I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stop me if you've heard this one before

I have a giant migraine. A giant marathon migraine, and frankly, I’ve had enough. For the last 3 weeks, give or take, this headache has held on. At times it has eased up to the point I have been fooled into thinking it was going away, but no dice. Every morning my husband calls me when he takes his break (because he really is sweet like that) and he asks how I’m doing. Sometimes I lie (but he can tell, and he doesn’t like that) the other days I have to tell him that I still feel like there is a tiny person with a jackhammer trying to remove my eyeball from the inside out.

I am falling apart here. I am angry. Angry because if I leave my house in anything less than a disguise worthy of Michael Jackson (you know, hat, sunglasses, and a body guard carrying an umbrella) the natural light of the outdoors makes me nauseous within minuets. I’m angry because I am letting my family down- don’t say “Oh, no. You are doing your best, blah, blah, blah….” Whatever. I am letting them down. I don’t want to be, and I am not being carelessly negligent, but when I am unable to perform my domestic duties they are let down. It’s the truth, I don’t like it, but I can face it. I am angry because I don’t want anyone in my ward to know how I feel because the only thing worse than a 3 week migraine is the knowledge that everyone either pities you or they think you are a big fat faker, so I just keep showing up and doing a crappy job because I don’t have the energy to be fabulous, now they just think I am a lazy flake. I am angry because I seem to have no control over my body, and feeling out of control really sucks.

Along with being angry I am physically and emotionally exhausted, guilt ridden, and depressed. Oh, yeah, I’m starting to get a little cranky too. Thanks for listening, I just needed to get that off my chest.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm sorry. What did you say? I wasn't listening.

For those of you who have been wondering (and even for those of you who haven’t been wondering) how my mother’s visit is going I have an update. There have not been any international incidents so far. In fact it has been quite pleasant, even yesterday when I took her out and about. (Though the teenage boy acting as our cashier at the grocery store seemed to find her flirting a little weird {as well as a tiny bit scary I’d be willing to bet}).

A couple of days ago my sister-in-law graciously offered to have my mom join her and my nieces at their little singing class. She asked me for a list of possible conversation topics. I threw one together, but the truth is my mom could talk for hours without taking a breath, so you really don’t have to worry about being at a loss for words, she does all the work.

Here are a few things she likes to talk about (in no particular order)

1. The Olympics

2. Food (especially the dessert portion of the meal)

3. How other people raise their kids and/or spend their money (heaven forbid they are bad at both)

4. The weather

5. Any gossip you have access to, she doesn't have to know the people you are gossiping about she is just so intrigued by human nature

6. Eric Estrada’s undercover work and his handsomeness. “He’s still just as good looking as he was when he was on that TV program.” (I’m not kidding, but I surely wish I were.)

7. How easy it is to get yourself some disability in Virginia (from the sounds of it, they could use an overhaul of that there system)

8. Funerals and dead people, it is not necessary for you to have ever even seen the corpse in question, you will certainly still get to hear about their tragic passing and their amazing funeral.

9. Her 401K

10. My dead step mother

If all else fails she will be glad to talk about her version of the past, or friends and family who are currently incarcerated or on parole.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I couldn't pick just one

My sister in law Elektra (yep, she's a superhero)asked us to post our favorite U2 videos. We couldn't settle on just one so here are the top 3.Sullivan says this is one of his favorites.

This is my favorite, today.

Honorable mention to Wild Honey, Bullet the Blue Sky, and Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Now they tell me

Living in the fiery depths of hell (Arizona) has it’s benefits, you know, the endless summer, limitless cacti, and of course let us not forget Sheriff Joe, but one thing I really hate is being last to know everything. (Well, besides Hawaii, but I mean its Hawaii, do they even take a break from their luaus on the beach to watch the news?)
I awoke this morning, at 6a.m., to find that Mr. Obama had announced his running mate hours ago. And though I was not surprised by his choice, and I even think it’s a good one, it’s like being late to the conversation. It’s a little bit annoying.
That said, I am glad to see Senator Biden on the ticket. If there is one thing the current administration has taught us it’s the power of the VP. It will be interesting to see what McCain tries to pull out of his hat this week.

As an undecided voter from his home state I hope he has the courtesy to wait until I wake up to make his announcement.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it.

In just a few short hours my mother will be here. For a week. Under my roof.
She will stay seven days. I will not be able to fulfill all her of the unrealistic expectations. She will have a fantasy vacation in her mind, I will not be able to deliver, she will pout, things will be tense, and I will feel guilty. Rinse, repeat. For seven days.

I am hopeful things will be different this time, but I am not naive.

I feel guilty and she hasn’t even crossed the threshold. I have always longed for a closer relationship with my mom, the kind of relationship she, in her fantasy world, thinks we already have. And that, my friends, is where most of our difficulties lie. I live here, on earth, she physically lives here, but mentally who knows where she calls home.

In my mom’s reality we are close, like sisters. We talk about everything, and share our deepest hopes and dreams. In my reality my mom scares me a little. She doesn’t listen, she mostly talks, and mostly about herself or she tells me about all the scandalous things she has encountered lately. She points out the flaws of those around her, friend or foe. She gives parenting advice that I am loathe to listen to considering her track record.

Sure I know WHY she does it, but that doesn’t make it any easier to listen to. I have spent years (and millions of dollars on therapy) trying to shed the baggage I took when I left home (or when home left me to go marry husband #3). In my head I know how to react to my mom, but when she comes around my heart turns me into a bitter teenager. Logic goes out the window and I behave in a most unbecoming manner.

In my mom’s reality she is the best grandma ever. In my kids reality she’s kind of weird. She’s too touchy, her moods swing in unpredictable waves, and she likes her dog just a little more than she likes the kids. Girls rule, boys drool-and heaven forbid they do it near the dog. Too much loud noise makes her uptight, and I have four sons, one bossy daughter and a dog of my own, you do the math.

She comes with expectations we cannot meet, but to her credit, she does come without her dog. I know already that I will fail. I cannot be her dream daughter, partly because she was not my dream mother, but also because her dream daughter does not exist. I would love to have a pleasant visit, to enjoy our time, but her pleasant and my pleasant are not often the same thing.

Here’s hoping for middle ground.

When it is time for her to go she will cry. She will tell me that she had the best time and that she wishes she could stay longer. She will tell me how hard it is to be so far away and she will go home and tell her friends how wonderful her trip was. Then she will tell them how I let my kids stay up too late and eat too much cereal.

Monday, August 18, 2008

18 years

At the risk of sounding like a sappy fool, I am one lucky woman.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Check this out.

I don' t know which is more unbelievable-That there was $16,000 worth of jewelry available to be stolen from a K-mart, or that his friend drove him because "he did not want to show him disrespect".

Man Arrested in Theft

Friday, August 15, 2008

Breaking Dawn

I have just one thing to say--Bleech!!

I lied; I have a whole bunch more to say. If you haven’t finished reading Breaking Dawn and you don’t want to know any of the details, or you think my opinions are stupid (though I don't know why you would, my opinions are just as valuable as yours, sheesh, some people) you should stop reading now.

Okay, I warned you.

First, Renesmee?! What?? Are you kidding me? I think I’m going to suggest that my first grandchild be named Syllarayne. It has a melodious ring to it, don’t you think?

Second, all of you dear dear friends who have been asking me if I’ve finished yet and telling me how this was your favorite one-EEEWWW! I can’t even look you in the eye for a while. I’m embarrassed for you for loving it, and I’m embarrassed for me for finishing. The shame is almost unbearable. I still like you , but it's tainted a little bit. Sorry.

Third, a little editing here and there couldn’t have hurt. Really. The endless omelet eating, the endless pregnancy (it didn’t seem like rapid growth to me, it almost felt extended), the endless waiting and gathering, and worst and most pointless of all, the endless “confrontation” with the Volturi. Barf.

Fourth, The Twilight Saga: The official guide? Who does she think she is? J.K. Rowling? Enough is enough already. For the love of Anne Rice quit. Now. Please.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

mosaic meme

I don't usually do these, I think they are silly, but this one was kind of fun. Here's what you do-

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.

b. Using only the first page, pick an image.

c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker. Choose 3 columns with 4 rows.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?

2. What is your favorite food?

3. What high school did you go to?

4. What is your favorite color?

5. Who is your celebrity crush?

6. Favorite drink?

7. Dream vacation?

8. Favorite dessert?

9. What you want to be when you grow up?

10. What do you love most in life?

11. One Word to describe you.

12. Your flickr name. (kid version: favorite animal?) I don't have a flickr name so I just used my blogger id.

Your turn.

As usual, I'm late to the party.

Did you know it's Elvis Week? Did you even know there WAS an Elvis Week? I didn't. It kicked off Saturday with the annual Elvis 5K. That is amazing to me. Elvis fans running a 5K. If I could get myself to Graceland I would for sure buy one of these. A talking Elvis bust. It's very life like, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So they loaded up the truck

A couple of months ago we got new neighbors. The husband-I’ll call him Mr. Mullet, is nice guy with a nice wife who has herself a pretty sweet collection of mini-skirts, not that there’s anything wrong with that, my mom will feel right at home when she comes next week, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Point is, they’re friendly enough, as neighbors go.

One evening while they were moving in I was working in the yard and Mr. Mullet came over. “I hope you’re not sprucin’ up the yard on our account. Hee, hee!” he said. I assured him that, no, Cousin Eddie, I was not doing it on his account, it just needed to be done.

Imagine how happy I was to find this-

-parked in the side yard a day or two later.

At first I figured it would be temporary, giving them the old “Getting Settled” benefit of the doubt. But I’m starting to think it’s their storage shed. Just when you think life in the big city can’t get any better.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm thinking of writing a little advice book of my own.

Much like a rebellious cynical teenager I have had enough of THE BOOK. I’m finishing up my report on it, but I have to tell you it’s like choking down my grandpa’s moussaka. I’m having a hard time.

It’s not a bad book, and the advice is fine, it’s just, well, it’s common sense. The things in this book are things either I am already doing or know I ought to be. My biggest problem is in the moment speaking before I think. The hard part making any change is developing new habits, and the bottom line is that this is a book about changing how you react to your kids, and that when you change, so will they.

The thing I find myself wondering the most as I read this is “How does someone write a book like this, containing nothing new or profound, and get published?”

Anyway, enough of that.

It’s the first day of school and I promised hot breakfast all week. Gotta run.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Maybe I'm not a huge meanie after all

Yesterday’s “skill” is something I am just going to have to try to be aware of over a period of time, trying to make sure I can find a balance between being permissive and being too controlling, it’s definitely not a one day trick. Hopefully I will be able to form some new habits on that front, because I can see how it would be beneficial to all of us.

Day Four-Expect the Best

Today’s tricks are to have a high standard. Set the bar high, give them responsibility and let your kids know that you know they have the ability to accomplish things. Let them know that you accept them even if they don’t reach their goals, but encourage them to keep trying. Encourage, don’t praise.

This is a hard one, not for me necessarily, but I think our society has really reached a point where the praising is out of control. Every team in the league gets a trophy, teachers don’t use red pens anymore, parents are afraid to be critical of their children for fear of ruining their self-esteem. How in the world do we expect them to be able to gage how well they’ve done something, or if improvement is needed in an area? How many times have you wondered why that 16 year old does such a crappy job bagging your groceries? Or why your babysitter doesn’t clean up after herself? When every act is worthy of a hip hip hooray the praise becomes meaningless and there is no pride in a job well done. Why bother working hard if you are going to be congratulated the same for a mediocre job as you are for doing a great one? You can’t crush self-esteem if it hasn’t been built.

Sometimes I think I am too hard on my kids, and I know they have more chores than a lot of their friends. I don’t believe in babying them. I think teaching someone to work hard and have pride in what they do is one of the best things you can do for a person. Mark my words, with the way society is heading, it won’t be long before just being a responsible hard worker will set you apart from the crowd the same way having computer skills did not too long ago. It’s a dying art.

My favorite part of today’s chapter is when he says “an unhappy child is a healthy child. Being unhappy about something spurs you to make changes and improve your situation.” I agree, and I will sleep much better tonight knowing that I have been doing my part to make my kids healthy for all these years.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I wonder if Oprah would like to hear about my experience?

Yesterday went really well, only once or twice did I have to use my tactic from Day One, and nothing really escalated to a level where consequences were needed. I’m starting to think that we don’t need some stinking book, but maybe I should write one.

Day Three-Parenting Style

Oh, so now it’s all about me. Today I am supposed to think about my parenting style and find a balance between being a dictator and being overly permissive. Well, now, if I had known I was going to have to change myself I would have never taken this silly challenge.

Really, the bottom line is that so far I haven’t read anything earth shattering here, it’s just reminding me of the importance of being consistent and meaning what I say. Kids need boundaries and responsibility, but they also need love and respect. These are things most people know, the challenge is remembering what’s important when you are in the heat of it all.

In other news* The Olympics began yesterday. I am usually a big fan of the Olympics, --because I was nearly an Olympian myself—ha!ha!ha!

I have mixed feelings about the competitions this year what with China hosting and all of the doping scandals, but I know I will still drag my kids into the room and make them watch and give them that whole speech about commitment and doing your best, and not even a severe mocking from my husband will keep me from crying during the “spotlight” moments and the coffee commercials.

What do you think, are the days of true athletes and honorable competition gone forever?

Friday, August 8, 2008

I haven't given up yet.

In a bizarre turn of events, not unlike an X-file, my children did not give me the opportunity to use my Day 1 skill. Now I am a little worried about moving on to Day 2 without showing them my superhuman ability to “say it once and walk away”. To be honest, I don’t even know if I possess that skill, and adding to it makes me a little nervous, but I shall try to press on.

So, Day 2. Attitude, Behavior, and Character

I am supposed to “let reality be the teacher”, you know, natural consequences and all that jazz. I always seem to have a hard time with that. Then to “respond rather than react”, ah, this requires thinking before speaking, also not my strong suit. And finally, “thing B doesn’t happen until A is complete”, that one I usually do, so one out of three. Sigh.
In other news, my brother has shared his source for bacon that is “to die for”-who him or the pig? Anyway, here it is, just incase you have been on the lookout for salty pork or otherwise overpriced expensive breakfast meats.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I don’t want a NEW kid..

… but I could live with a refurbished kid or two. My neighbor lent me this book, not because it worked so well for her, but because she has basically given up on her dream of having the upper hand EVER in her home, so someone else might as well dream big.

I started it last night, and I have to say, so far it sounds okay. It’s a five day challenge (I have 5 kids, does that make it a 25 day challenge for me?), considering I’ve been on the 17 year super challenge I figured what have I got to lose? So, I’m taking a break from my usual spoonful of sugar tactics and giving this a go. Since I’m starting on Thursday I obviously won’t have a new kid by tomorrow, but I’m guaranteed to have at least one by Monday, just in time for back to school.

Day one is “Say it once and walk away.”

The idea is to avoid being drawn into a discussion/argument about anything at all, just calmly stating the way things are and walking away. The difficulty I foresee is that my children have legs and they will surely follow me and continue to demand a more “logical” discussion.

Coming tomorrow*Attitude, behavior, and character OR why this guy is nuts and should try selling crazy to somewhere else……

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I just want some integrity, is that too much to ask?

I have a job. –What, you didn’t know that? Hmm. That’s because I don’t usually tell people unless I need to. I’m a little embarrassed about my job. –No, I’m not a stripper. Sheesh. You people.

I work from home doing medical billing. I am lucky to have a job, my husband works in construction, which is slow these days, and we have five expensive-I mean, -fabulous children and me having this job has been a really good thing. I am extra lucky because I can be at home, choose my own schedule and my neighbor/friend is my boss. Some people might even say I have a pretty sweet setup. I should be gloating, not hiding.

Here’s the thing (don’t you hate it when people say “here’s the thing?”) my job is well, not very “enriching”. Yeah, I have the satisfaction of performing my tasks well, and sure the company provides a needed service, and I suppose by extension so do I. But what I see is that I am repeating the same act over and over all so that someone can make sure they get what’s owed them. The embarrassing part for me is that I think honestly, a well trained, somewhat intelligent monkey could do what I do.

I dream of doing something creative or something helpful. Ideally if I could combine the two I would be in heaven. Like a balloon artist, have you ever seen how happy people are in Red Lobster when the guy gives them their fish shaped balloon hat that he created with just a skinny balloon and his own two hands. Bliss! (I hope you know I’m kidding, I simply don’t have the lungs for blowing up those little balloons, have you tried it? It’s hard, and using that little pump would take away from the artistic integrity that I think is so important for an artist of any kind.)

Yesterday I told a friend that while I am grateful to have this job, I don’t see myself doing it in five or ten years. “Really?” she said in a long drawn out disbelieving tone. I couldn’t tell if it was because she thinks I have the best job ever, or she doubted my abilities, or she’s just realistic (is it possible that I read too much into what people say to me?)

I don’t think working should be about the money. Yes, I know everyone needs money. But what I believe and what I tell my husband when he is making vocational decisions, and what I tell my kids and really anyone who asks, is that it is more important to be happy than to be wealthy, and I really mean it.

Am I too unrealistic or idealistic? Is it silly of me to think, at this geriatric stage of the game (I am almost 40!), I could do something else? Something fulfilling? Something rewarding and enriching?

Also, am I too old for skinny jeans? Or are they on their way out? (there’s nothing worse than being an old woman in a dead end job wearing last season’s jeans)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back to school, bah!

One week. School starts in one week, and I for one (I seem to be the only one) am not happy about it.

I like having a house full of noisy, wet, snack eating kids.

I loathe homework and the drama that seems to be assigned to go along with it.

I like being able to say “Well, if you don’t have any clean underwear, just put on a swimsuit.” From mid-August until the end of May, you kind of have to have clean underwear on hand.

I hate school lunches and the idea of my kids eating them. ICK! After eating so fabulously gourmet here all summer (you know, frozen pizzas and otter pops), school lunch has to be a big adjustment for them.

I love not being on a schedule.

I hate the drop-off and pick-up traffic jams.

I love mid-week sleepovers and sleepy cousins in the kitchen discussing the merits of Cocoa Pebbles.

I hate the “I forgot my…. Can you run it over to me?” phone calls.

Most of all I hate the quiet, the way our house feels empty from 8:30 til 2:30.