Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Dropped My Phone in the Toliet

I wasn't drunk, but I was in a bar. What's worse, I was at a Country Western Bar and I hadn't flushed yet. EEEEEEEEEEW. It was in my back pocket. I stood up to finish business and....PLOP. I didn't even hesitate to dive my hand right in to pick it up thinking I could save it. EEEEEEEEEW!! Alas, I didn't save it and my girl's night out turned into a $150 event. I am so glad I didn't get mad at Steve for getting a $130 cell phone ticket about a week ago. He didn't get mad me at all, and when I decided to punish myself and get a $49 phone that was crappy, he went out and exchanged it for my original phone. What a super hero!

Don't be afraid to touch my is brand new.

Our Trip to the Snow

In keeping with my Super Mom theme, I thought I would take my girls up to the snow, by myself, without a husband, just three girls and me. The idea was good, but the result was not what I'd hoped.

The snow covered mountains in contrast to the blue sky called to us. Thinking most everyone else would be in school or at work, I decided to play the "we homeschool so we can," card and take a day off of school and take the kids to Mount Baldy to do some inner tubing down some powdery slopes. With wardrobe provisions by Kelly Hawkes and family, we were set to go. Traveling up the mountain, for the most part, was not too scary until we got really close to the top: the hair pins turns, with locals following close behind, signs that said "Chains required beyond this point," and three kids constantly asking questions I felt my blood pressure steadily rising. Then we arrived at the parking lot that was actually covered with packed snow and ice. To make a long story short, I got stuck, patronized by a jerk of a parking attendant, yelled at by an angry local and started shaking like a massive earthquake. My children started crying, I started crying and regretted my decision to do this on my own. Finally I got myself out of the parking lot and pulled over a few yards down the mountain and played there. The kids had a ball and I recovered from the trauma in time to enjoy some time body sledding down our own homemade path. Kids really do have an incredible ability to have fun, no matter what. They can make the best of any situation. Their resilience and capacity to get over something is incredible. When did I lose that? When does life become so stressful that I have to try to have fun. At what point in my life did the weight of everyday supersede seeing the joy in a pile of snow or the excitement of seeing a butterfly that lands carelessly on blade of grass. When did it happen?? Who stole this from me? I'm so thankful for the chance to recapture some of that while I watch my kids love life.

After a picnic lunch in the snow we headed back down the hill only to run right into the path of a falling rock. My choices were: swerve and hit the oncoming SUV or hit the rock. I hit the rock and found out from my mechanic I dented every plate and tank underneath my van from front to back. He said there is nothing to worry about, but the rock definitely left a mark to forever preserve the memory of when I tried, and failed, to do it all on my own.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Super mom?

I was recently at a homeschooling field trip and I noticed a couple of things. #1: There are some marked similarities among women who are with their kids most of the time. #2: There are two types of mothers, those who think they are super mom and do it all well, and those who know they aren't super moms and do everything adequately.

#1 The similarities I observed were the following. We are all so happy to be among other homeschoolers. It's like we have been without water for days and we are suddenly thrust into a room full of chilled water bottles and electrically cooled water in water coolers. We will talk to anyone who has a child in tow and looks like a mother. We are bonded by an unspoken understanding of how crazy we have chosen to be. We are all open and willing to talk about problems we are having with our homeschooled child. We are willing to admit our short comings and are hungry to hear someone say, "Oh, yeah I've been there. You will come out of this phase too."
The next similarity was our kids are extremely well behaved. In the room nearby is another field trip with public school kids. They are out of control. The faculty assigned to that group looks overwhelmed. We have 48 kids and they are quietly waiting instruction and following what they are told to do. Is it because they are homeschooled, or because the mothers in the room hold a power over these students that only a mother can hold? It's a toss up, but there is definitely a hushed awe as the mothers notice the comparison between the two groups. Maybe we are beyond crazy.
The way we dress is also similar. Most of us still care about our appearance and have not yet, ventured into the world in our pajamas, but we take a lot of short cuts. Some have their hair done nicely, but most of us have our hair twisted up in a cute clip. Our hair still looks clean and tidy, and the clip says, "Yes, I did put some effort into my hair today." But we all know it took less than 60 seconds to do this hair do. (Not counting the washing and drying which took place the night before). Everyone still wears makeup, but we have all mastered how to look like we spent sometime on our face, but we all have the knowledge that we can look "sufficiently" made up in less than 30 seconds. We all still look OK in our jeans that aren't quite "Mom" jeans, and our long t-shirts hanging stylishly out from under our Kohl's special hoodies from the jr. department, exclaim "Yes, I still care about fashion." The exact look of tiredness mixed with joy is a combination that is saved for new mothers and those of us who were crazy enough to homeschool our children.

And as for observation #2, my homeschooling buddy Kim said it best, "I want to be a super-mom, but I am more like "Just-Barely-Keeping-It-Together-Mom." I think that is exactly how we all feel, if we are smart enough to admit it.

What is a Phonograph?

Haley just yelled from the other room "What is a phonograph?"

I responded with, "It's another word for Record."

She of course continued the yelling and said, "What is a record?"

"Um," I yelled, "It's like a CD, but it is really big and you get sound out of it by placing a really fine needle on it and a record player spins it really fast. It's made out of vinyl and you have to be really careful not to scratch it. It's how we used to listen to music when I was a kid."

I waited for her response.Thinking that I had done a very thorough and comprehensive summary of the topic. At least warranting a resounding, "Wow mom, you know something about everything and you always explain everything so clearly!!" No response. Thinking that she must be bound and gagged in her room, I got up to check on her. She had apparently moved on to something else on her crossword puzzle. Yes, my 9 year old is working a crossword puzzle. And yes, she has already mastered the art of tuning me right out.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Three Little Ladies and a Man

I think it is important to feel needed. In my darkest moments, when I feel like my life is not worth much, I am reminded by the crashing of a plate on the floor or a call to wipe a little bottom, or that gentle (not so subtle) reminder that my husband, too, has needs that I am needed in the lives of my three little ladies and one very needy man.

The Merrick little ladies have been sick. That about encompasses the last month. Steve never gets sick. He says it's because he drinks Mona Vi and takes Airborne. I personally think it is because he doesn't interact with us in close enough proximity or for long enough periods of time. It seems that Merrick girl #1 and #3 have developed allergies too. So we went from cold to allergies which looks like a cold when you don't know you have allergies. But my good nurse practitioner friend said to try children's Zyrtec and what do you know, symptoms gone. I'm a little discouraged about the kids having allergies, because I purposely nursed for a long period of time so that the kids would not suffer with this aliment that has plagued me my whole life. So, I'm guessing nursing 14months for Haley and 22 months for Courtney were obviously not long enough to ensure they would not have allergies. Maybe if I was still nursing, we would have avoided it all together. The social and psychological implications not withstanding, it may have been a good and cost effective idea in these uncertain economic times. I can see it now, the headline will read: "Homeschooling Mom Still Nursing her Kids, Arrested for Not Leaving Her Kids Alone." (This blog really did not start out to go in this awkward direction).

We have had ear infections, runny noses, runny eyes, coughs, and fevers. And any mother reading will know that this means I have not slept through the night since this black cloud of terror (did I mention I've been watching a lot of LOST?) has settled over the house. Lack of sleep will always lead to me getting sick. When I am sick and tired the black cloud of terror looks like Casper the friendly ghost. My patience level drops significantly and my desire to wait on or care for anyone almost completely disappears. My children have learned to be pretty self sufficient during these rare moments and manage to destroy the house a little quieter and quicker than normal and feed themselves on what they find under the table. When I emerge from my dungeon of sickness, red eyed and stuffed up, it is NOT as affirming as one may think to know and be reminded that I am desperately needed in the lives of three little ladies and a man.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blame it on LOST

My favorite blogger Jodie introduced me to Lost, the series I thought would be so boring and was never interested in. The day she introduced me to that series, was during the week of my last blog. So I blame my lack of blog participation on LOST, actually on Jodie. I love how on her site she has my site bookmarked and it says, "Last Updated, 5 weeks ago." I know I'm a slacker, but now everyone that reads her stellar, always current site, knows the type of people with whom she keeps company.

I stay pretty current on my Facebook addiction. It struck me today, though, how really low my self esteem actually is. I am nervous, every time I ask someone to be my friend. It reminds me of being a kid and running excitedly up to a group playing on the playground and asking if I can play too. Then there is that brief moment of time while the kids were deciding that my dignity and playground social status were on the line. Will they let me play or will they run off because I have cooties of some sort. Now as an adult, on Facebook, these fears have turned into MUCH more mature thoughts like, "What if they don't remember me," or "What if they were so relieved to get away from me and now I have found them again," or "What if I offended this person in someway, that's why we lost touch and I just can't remember..." I am pleasantly surprised and relieved when someone accepts my friendship request. But until they do....I toss and turn. I feel like I need to send some kind of thank you response. You may have received one from me that went something like this: "Thanks for remembering me. Thanks for validating me as a person and being my friend albeit as superficial as we can get. " I actually accepted the friend request of someone who absolutely tortured me my entire 8th grade year. She made everyday 6th period art, my first year in California horrible. She teased me, laughed when her friends threatened to beat me up, and....well it was the laughing that sticks out the most to me. I was so self conscious and miserable because of her and her friends. Yet, I accepted her as a friend. I don't think we spoke once in high school, so she must not remember. I didn't feel like I could be so cruel as to reject her proposal as friend. We've all changed. We've all grown a little. And we all deserve second chances. (I will not tell you who this person is...I'm sure she doesn't read this blog.) Soapbox Diva, I'm pretty sure you could figure it out. Three may remember my fear of this girl.

Facebook has been fun though. I've reconnected with people who have brought a lot of happiness to my life in the past. It is highly addictive and a huge time waster, but until I have more friends than my anti-social husband I will continue to request friendships from anyone who seems even a little familiar.