A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Friday, December 27, 2013

Monster In My Walls

Two years ago on April 1 I heard some sort of noise in our crawl space. Skittering running and rattling, it was disconcerting. I woke my husband up but due to my unfortunate timing, he thought it was an April Fools joke. Almost but not quite one year later - it happened again - and I convinced him we had a problem because it started again, but not on April 1.

In the last week, there has been something in the outside wall of my computer room, and now this morning - in my kitchen wall. Whatever is happening in my kitchen is more frantic, running and crashing into the two by fours and making an incredible racket while my coffee is brewing.

What the hell.

I guess you call an exterminator, the kind that does large pest removal. It reminds me of someone I knew who had a raccoon that broke into their attic every fall. They had it trapped and removed. And it came back. They knew it was the same one, because the exterminator tagged it. Every year they heard the crashing in their attic and had to pay to get him trapped and removed ONE MORE TIME. Apparently he really liked them.

We already had to throw away all our camping equipment and stuff because it was covered in various wild animal poo. And the other stuff that was in the crawl space, it has an entrance from our computer room and we were using it for storage.

I feel like the coyotes from the forest just aren't doing their job if I have wild animals in my walls. Or perhaps these beasts are seeking sanctuary.

Well, that's just a bad idea, because seriously you can't say here. BAD SQUIRREL.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cookies for You And Cookies For Me But Mostly Cookies for Mr C

I had this grand plan about making from scratch gingerbread men this holiday. I had read a few recipes online, and yeah it's a lot of work but I thought I GOT THIS. It'll be SO SPECIAL AND AWESOME and we'll make cookies and everyone will be so happy to have homemade cookies!

And then the stress of the universe dropped down on my shoulders like a ton of bricks.

I had promised cookies. Cookies were the last thing in this world I wanted to deal with.

But I was out shopping - and saw this gingerbread cookie mix marked down, and it was Betty Crocker and I thought oh god, ok find, I committed we'll just make these and I'll be a loser mom who didn't make proper home made cookies.

I felt bad. I'm not some PINTEREST MOM but omg I WANT TO BE ONE.

But as we mixed and stirred and the rolling took place, and I showed Louis how to flour the rolling pin the way my mom showed me something became clear.
They didn't care. We were making cookies. They were rolling dough and cutting out cookies and getting dough everywhere. My son kept saying THIS IS SO MUCH FUN! And Julia kept eating cookie dough.

So we made the cookies and we made the icing and we decorated them and they aren't pretty but they are ours, and they are actually delicious.

Who needs made from scratch, these are the best cookies from a mix I ever had.

I hope Santa likes them!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

She Still Asks Why

The girl child still asks why. WHY? WHY everything. None of the boys ever did this. Perhaps Louis wasn't that interested, I don't know. The twins for obvious reasons. Why isn't a word they conceive. Everything is or is not, without reason, from what I can tell.

But the girl. WHY? WHY she asks. Why do you drink this coffee? Why did you get my yogurt (you asked for it). Why did you get this shirt? Why is your hair long? Why is this show on? Why do we have milk? Why is there chocolate? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why is this a helmet?  Why is this a tv?

I don't ask why, but it doesn't trouble me that she does.

I figured out a long time ago, that asking WHY is asking for heart ache, a lot of the time.
There isn't really a why because some things just happen because they do.

In the course of 24 hours, my mother was rushed to the hospital in serious condition, my grandfather began the process of dying, and my cat died.

Why?

Well it could be because I'm being tested. But I'm pretty sure I'm not JOB and I'm also NOT religious and let's take it one step further, if I were, I'd be a pretty arrogant ass to presume my deity had time to test me.

No, I'm not being tested. This past weekend was a big old heaping dose of the thing called life. Maybe life itself is the test. I freely admit I cried a lot and probably failed a lot. But I realized while out Christmas shopping that it didn't matter if every single thing in my life exploded at once, I had to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Life isn't convenient and it doesn't work on a schedule that coincides with my sleep and work plans.

Time passed. We played Chutes and ladders, and had a tea party, and made hot chocolate. My husband buried the cat in the pouring rain today. There were tears. A lot.

My mom is getting better 48 hours later. My grandfather is still leaving us slowly, but in his own time.

Why? Because those things are also life. My mom got a good medical team, so we move forward with progress. My grandfather is strong and didn't go as quickly as they thought.

I was angry at the universe for these helpings of tears and worry coinciding at such an close interval, until I got my mind around the idea that no one ever gets sick or dies when it's convenient. Babies also tend to come when it suits them, so there is some cosmic symmetry there.

My son cried copiously when he realized Chilli's stocking is still hanging, and wondered what we should do with it. The girl cried because Chilli can't be her best friend anymore. They both crawled into bed with me and cried last night until they were quiet.

When it was quiet, and they were both sleeping snuggled against me, I laid there and cried too.

I didn't even wonder why.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I'm Not Outdoorsy But...

I have to confess I have a SICK adoration of Bass Pro Shop. It's so much fun, it's marketed and laid out so well inside I WANT TO BE OUTDOORSY.  I want to camp and hike and fish and be one with nature and cook over a fire.
Well, I do in my mind. Mostly I just want to buy their cute things and sit inside comfortably while using them.
Bass Pro is holding special Christmas activities for families this weekend and next weekend and so we hopped down there for something fun to do with the kids. They've cleared out all the boats in the boat showroom and it's one big Christmas wonderland with lots of things to do. 
Like a carousel and trains and real live but not dead animals. I mean how can that NOT be awesome?
There was even a spot for coloring Christmas pictures and for writing your very important letters to the Big Man Himself. Louis took the job as scribe and surveyed everyone very seriously about what they wanted.
The boy isn't a cheap date. I'll leave it at that.

It was a fun, amazing laughter filled time. I was so glad we went because it was a perfect little family outing.

Until we left.

The idea was, we'd wander around this mall and look for anniversary presents - our wedding anniversary is Monday (tomorrow). This was the IDEA anyway. He took the stroller loaded with coats and Charlie, and I took Louis (for crowd control), Miles and Julia.

The first thing that happened is that I realized we're at the family activity mall. Tons of stuff for kids to do. None of it on my agenda. Crying. Sobbing. Begging.Tantrums. These things which I firmly DO NOT ALLOW take place.   In the process of trying to tug one of them along, I twisted my bad knee. Now, walking is agony. 

I can't walk into a store, because they're acting like whackadoodles and I need to go into nicer shops. So, we're not doing that. I call the husband, I say "This isn't working, I can't do this." We agree to meet at the food court.

We go to the food court, at which time Miles decides it's time for an autistic meltdown. We haven't HAD one of those in a while. Julia sees balloons. She refuses to stay with us. She wants a balloon. If you think I'm buying ONE balloon for them to fight over, you can forget it. If you think I'm buying THREE balloons for them to make unbelievable noise with in the car, you can forget it. NO BALLOONS.

Miles is clapping his hands loudly and fussing. I ask him to stop because people are staring. He SCREAMS like I'm killing him. Now, more people are staring. He takes my hand and tries to make me put it on his mouth, repeatedly - when I pull my hand away he shrieks and pulls at his shirt. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we're officially THAT table.

I am trying to watch two kids who are on meltdown of different sorts and Louis is just about to die, wanting to hideunder the table I can tell.

Two poopie diaper changes, the return of daddy and some burger king dinner worked like a cease and desist on the tantrums. 

I added this last part, because I show a lot of fun family pictures. You don't seem me kneeling in the bathroom stall just after the picture, trying to clean the poopie pull up of my nine year old without getting it all over me or him, or letting his pants touch the gross bathroom floor. You don't see that sometimes I get a lovely ring in the shape of toilet seat on the back of my pants, because that's the only place to sit WHILE changing said pull ups and sometimes there is water on the seat. GOD I HOPE ITS WATER.

Did  we have fun? Absolutely. Despite the crazy hour. But did I nearly break down and cry in the food court?

Absolutely.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

She's Got This

I was used to the idea that Louis would always be ahead of the twins by leaps and bounds.  That's a hard thing to get your mind around, that two of your children aren't on the developmental train you want them to be on. They're wandering around the station, not moving the way one child is.

Louis is so smart. I know I take it for granted sometimes. I take HIM for granted, he's the third parent around here too often and I'm always so sorry for that.

I didn't expect my three year old to start earning her "taking care of the twins" stripes quite yet but it seems that she's already working on that merit badge and I didn't know it.

At bedtime, in the middle of reading Goodnight Moon I glanced over and noticed Charlie had a trembly lip and tears running down his face. Charlie is a lot like a toddler in that when he's over tired, he'll just sob for no reason. I put my hand on his cheek to wipe away his tears, but Julia climbed into bed as I finished their story, and hugged him tight. "What's wrong buddy?" she asked him.

He cried harder and she sat up, took his hand and said, "Do you need a squeeze, Charlie?"

Charlie has peri-perception issues and I'm spelling that wrong. I don't know how it's spelled. You'd think I would by now. Anyway, he has issues where he craves/needs deep pressure especially on his joints, for calming. Strong pressure hugs, pressure on his shoulders, on his wrists, he desperately needs these and will sometimes act out until he gets them.

He blinked away his tears and said "Quee" which of course means Squeeze in Charlie language.

She took his hand and wrapped both of her little hands around his wrist and hand and began gently squeezing. He stopped crying and she hugged him and kissed him.

She's so smart too. I guess she can fill in for 3rd parent on occasion.

I know Louis will appreciate it.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Santa Picasso

We had only two events we could make it to this weekend (the BIG event was Tim and Justin's wedding and we couldn't get there for that - sadface).

The Twins Club Christmas party is our favorite Holiday party and as always Mr and Mrs Claus didn't disappoint with the magic they brought.

The craft this year was so much fun - GREAT IDEA GUYS - we made reindeer food. Sparkly sugar, marshmallows and oats will be the perfect treat for when Santa's reindeer need a snack at their stop on our street. Miles had to taste test though.

The little people had a great time because - party with Santa can't go wrong!

This weekend we also decided to try out a new art museum - at Oglethorpe University.
University art museums are a great place to take your kids, because they are usually small, and there aren't hundreds of people who just paid a ton of money to get in and are too cool to have kids being annoyed by you and yours. 

This little art museum had two exhibits we had to check out, one was a series of sketches by Picasso - I mean - PICASSO come on! That's awesome. These are the only I could get a snap of because they weren't in the forbidden zone.

There was also an exhibit about the artist who created the Coca Cola (and thus the modern era) Santa Claus. It was awesome and the kids really loved it - if we had gone on Saturday apparently the big man himself was there.

I always love seeing things like this - the artists version and then the ad version of the same work. Little things like perspective, angle plus obvious props change. It's oddly fascinating.

I'm still getting over being sick so we took it easy most of the weekend, but it was a lot of fun getting out for just a little bit.

Plus going outside is always an excuse to say hello to Mr Penguin.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

I'm Really Not That Strong

People say that to us a lot. "Oh you're so strong" - or something similar. We're not I assure you. But when you don't have any choices you just make do.

That's the midwestern in us. Midwesterners MAKE DO. You deal with what you have and you go on. No reason to grouse about it.

I think though that it's important since I share a lot about being a Mom of special needs children, that I don't paint some false idea that if you just PUT ON A HAPPY FACE EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT. Seriously no, it won't be alright. Everything will be exactly as it was before you put on your happy face. I'm not better at this than you, I'm not tougher than you. I am not good at this. I'm just doing it every day, because I have do.

I do however, try to NOT dwell on the things that are threatening to destroy my soul if I let them linger.

Yesterday was Charlie's IEP. His teachers love him. He's progressing so very well. He's throwing less tantrums, will actually attend to his work sometimes. He can type his name. They say he's SO well behaved during community skills (that's where they go shopping at the grocery or at the mall). They are really pleased and think he's having a great year.

He's developmentally 39 months old, give or take.

He's 9.

If you think that isn't a knife through my heart, you're wrong. I had to blink back my tears as that went across the screen - and smile as they told me how even though he doesn't say the ending consonant for many words they aren't worried - and nod while we talked about can he work a zipper? Could we work on having him make a sandwich for lunch on the weekends?

I am sick as a dog right now and I can't talk. At bed time the last two nights, instead of reading, I've played the video of Goodnight Moon on my phone to the twins at bed time. I cried both nights while it played.

Here's why. Who is going to read them/play them Goodnight Moon when I'm dead? Can I put that in my will? I need someone to do this. I need someone to read Goodnight Moon to my babies who aren't going to be babies but, oh god they ARE going to be still little guys, possibly all their lives. Especially my Charlie. How will they go to sleep without me?

These are the things, that threaten my sanity and my well being. These are my fears and worries. What happens if I'm not here to read them a story when they are 45?

I wish I knew.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Traditions Happen

Thanksgiving in families falls into a pattern I think. At our house it's turned into - Louis makes a pie of some sort - this year it's chocolate pretzel pecan pie. He drafted helpers.
My Hunny invents a new kind of dressing (this year featuring monkey bread and TexMex muffins) and when it's time, Louis goes to help with the bird.

It seems like a little thing, but I watch it every year and feel like it's a father son tradition that started when he was a little tiny guy who just wanted to help (at that time, he was allowed to SHAKE the spices and sprinkle some) and now he's a big guy and it's just something we do.
It's a weird little tradition that feels like we'd be missing something if we didn't do it that way. It's just us on Thanksgiving since we live so far from everyone, and it's nice to have these little things that make it so special.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Diaper Changing Steam Of Consciousness

Not all Special Needs parents have to deal with diapers on kids that are way too big for diapers. However, our little guys just don't get it. Well, that's not true. They TOTALLY know what the potty is for. It's the idea of ONLY using the potty that escapes them.

So we have our conundrum you see, as they'll go in their pants ten minutes after going in the potty. Without so much as a care. They won't give you a heads up. The don't conceive of it. I'm not sure how we'll ever potty train them or if we will. I have hopes for Miles. Charlie? Hmmm I dunno. Charlie is more challenged.

I thought I would share a slice of life moment of the more grotesque sort. Turn away now if you are squeamish or can't handle poop talk.

Although if you can't handle poop talk, really why are you here? Have you even read this blog? We've got poop talk.

First there is the sniffing. Oh god, someone's pooped. Who pooped? Everyone bring your butt here for a check - who's poopie?

Once the pooper is found, we retreat to the bedroom for a cleanup and a new pullup.

"I need diaper" he says.

"Yes, I know. You pooped."

"Yeah." he answers.

Your first thought when changing a too big kids diaper is to get out what you need. The husband is better at this than me. My list includes bag for the diaper, new diaper, wipes, changing pad. Then - you have the poop.

Sometimes you think things like this:

  • Why does this smell like plastic?
  • What IS that? Is that plastic?
  • When did we have corn?
  • GOD What is this?
  • WHY DO WE SERVE POPCORN WHY WHY WHY?
  • Is that....a toy? What is THAT?
  • Oh god is that a string?
  • OMG WHAT IS IT A STRING TO?
  • How LONG IS THIS STRING?
But recently we've had more like this:
  • God that's....what is that?
  • It's strings and...is this cloth?
  • Oh my god how much is there of this? What is it?
  • IS THIS QUILT? FROM THE DOUBLE WEDDING RING QUILT?
  • Oh my GOD HE AT THE QUILT
  • Oh god more string
No joke. He ate huge longish chunks of a quilt that his brother liked to sleep with. It's old, not sentimental and it was fraying a LOT but his brother liked it so we had been allowing it to be used. 

That's a difference that it's hard to explain. I have to be aware of what is in my house because I might find it in a diaper. And it might not be digestible and it might hurt him. So I have to look at small things, toys, doodads and wonder if it will end up in a diaper or send us to the ER.

I'm hoping we've finished with the diapers full of poo-quilt.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Baby You Light Up My World Like Nobody Else

You see that face? That's the face of a three year old entranced, listening to her favorite song "You Don't Know You're Beautiful" but One Direction. Normally this song gets played on a tablet, or a phone, and it elicits a lot of dancing and singing. In fact, dancing and singing is required, even of her brothers. 

This time I was goofing around on the PC and she asked me to play the song on my phone - instead I fired up Youtube and let her watch it on my PC screen. 

She stood there mesmerized, hardly moving, barely singing along through the song.

About halfway through, she looked up at me with this big smile and said "Those guys are singing to ME! They think I'm beautiful!" 

Part of me thought that was adorable. Part of me wondered, how HARDWIRED are we as females to want to be beautiful? She's been girly, and obsessed with being girly as long as she could make a decision. She announces that she's adorable. 

Lately I've started telling her she's smart. She IS smart. But, first of all she IS beautiful, and second of all, that's not what's most important. Smart will carry her through her life. Smart will make her successful. Smart will help her make good decisions that will make a happier life.

Beautiful is just the icing on a cake that is made by SMART.

I hope she hears me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Balloons and Autism

One of any coveted item in a house of four children is always a recipe for disaster. The minimum acceptable number of ANY sort of desired commodity is TWO - at least you can go through the motions of taking turns. But who am I kidding? FOUR. That's how many you actually need.

Especially when two of your audience are severely autistic and are sharing impaired on a good day.

Yesterday was the girl's last soccer game, and there was a little party and awards. And - BALLOONS. You see that green menace poking in the upper left hand side of this photo?

It's the devil's minion.

There has been screaming and fighting, and turn taking of the worst sort since the damn thing came home yesterday.

I hoped it would fly away "Oh NO! It flew away! I'm sorry!" I hoped it popped. "Oh dear it popped lets throw it away!"

But no. The damn thing is still here. As we speak, there is a very selfish version of turn taking happening. Julia keeps taking it away from the twins and then laughing "AHHAHAHA I TOOK AWAY THE BALLOON."  Miles is using his best words, "I want bawoon pwease" and Charlie is also using words. "Bawoon. I want bawoon."

Basically, it's the Holy Grail of coveted toys.

I tried to explain to her, earlier, why I didn't want to get it out. I sat her on my lap and explained that maybe we could get it out later. I said to her, that because the twins were having a bad autism morning (they were) I just didn't WANT to deal with it. I asked her if she knew what I meant, about autism.

"Do you know what I mean, when I say Miles and Charlie are autistic?"
"Yes they're like babies."

I thought about that for a minute, and realized from a 3 year old perspective, that's probably ok.

So I said yes and that I just didn't WANT to listen to everyone fight for the next two hours until it popped.

She told me not to worry, she'd protect it from them and could I please get it?

Ugh. So it's out. And there is fighting, although at this point she's resigned herself that it isn't going to float any more and is watching Toy Story. I spent ten minutes figuring out how to work the DVD player (it requires three remotes dang) so somebody better damn well watch it.

Charlie had chosen to sit on the ottoman and occasionally chase the balloon.

But Miles has emerged supreme balloon master.
With occasional shifts of power...

I swear to god the next balloon that tries to come to our house will meet with an untimely end.




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Creek Indians LOVED The 404

I sat staring at this Facebook update from my local news station for a moment while drinking my early morning coffee, pondering what was wrong with what I was reading.
So, if what I'm reading is right we've been using that 404 area code in Atlanta for 60 decades. That's 600 years folks.

I remember 1413 like it was yesterday. Henry the 5th took the throne in England. The university of St Andrews was chartered by a papal bull.

And Georgia, a state that didn't exist, began using the 404 area code.

Seriously. Somebody at WSB have another cup of coffee and ask someone for a quick edit before you post. You just look silly.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

But I Don't HAVE Arthritis

My knee situation finally flared up to the point that a cane or a crutch was required. No pain killer touched the pain (Loritab, how could you fail me?) and it was obvious something was seriously wrong.

It turns out that all those weeks ago when I was leaving Turner Field, and then again when I got off the plane in Houston, I was having an arthritis flair up.


Except, I don't HAVE arthritis. Well, I didn't. Now I do. I have a very small fracture in my femur that isn't likely to be causing my pain but the arthritis is the game changer.

It's the life changer.

My husband suffers through several DIFFERENT kinds of arthritis - auto immune disorders love him. I've got just one problem, osteoarthritis, in ONE knee. Pretty much he functions every day and I'm become dysfunctional.

I think that makes me the big baby in this scenario.

I am finally as of this weekend off of the cane, which I hurt too much to even hate or resent needing.  I started physical therapy Monday and learned all about the knee and the quadriceps. It turns out that the swelling of your knee when you have an arthritis flair up puts pressure on the quadriceps nerves and then that in turn causes your quadriceps to fail, which in turn puts pressure on your knee, which in turn causes more swelling.

You get the idea.

I'm not sure how keen I am on my othopedic surgeon though. I liked him before. This time he was like EH you have arthritis. Seriously dude I can't WALK. It's kind of a big freakin deal to ME. The weakness in the knee, the pain, I don't want ANY OF THIS.

He also pointed out that I'm fat. "Well, you're also extremely overweight."

Sigh you know I know that. Let me just fix that. Is there a pill? No I mean a pill that won't melt my heart valves? No? Then shut up.

I guess I didn't get the memo that being fat meant I was automatically going to get arthritis.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes

I made something off of Pinterest. I did! And it didn't turn out to be some dismal failure that is worthy of going onto some mocking tumblr created by a bitter basement dweller. It actually worked. It was good.

It was - BUFFALO CHICKEN CUPCAKES.

I started a pin category of FOOTBALL FOOD a few weeks ago because let's face it, this is some of nature's most perfect food, mostly because it goes well with beer.

So here is how you make this lovely food

Recipe - Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes

Ingredients
1 pound chicken breast shredded
Franks Hot Sauce - or whatever you like for Buffalo
Blue cheese - about one cup
Pizza dough mixed (I used Jiffy brand, it's cheap and it's fine but you use what you like).

Oven Temp 400. Cook 15-18 minutes.

1. Make your dough and roll  it flat. I just use the palm of my hands. Flour your surface or you'll be pissed off like I was.
Make a rectangle on your surface.

2. Take your shredded chicken, and stir in your hot sauce to taste. At this point you can either drop in the cheese and mix it up or opt to add a layer of the cheese. I chose the latter.

The original recipe for this calls for mozzarella cheese. I put this in the same category of people who eat their hot wings with ranch dressing. NO. NO NO NO NO CRETINS. BLUE CHEESE with buffalo. But, as you like I suppose. You could use mozzarella if you had to. (Not insinuating you are ACTUALLY  a cretin if you like the mozz better but, BUFFALO! BLUE CHEESE! HEAR ME!)

3. The next step is the tricky one - if you've ever made cinnamon rolls you know what's coming - you roll it long ways - rolling the chicken and cheese mixture around in a spiral. 

3. Use liner papers or grease your muffin pan. Cut your log roll of buffalo chicken blue cheese awesomeness into about 1/2 inch tall cupcakes (I use this term loosely) and put them in the pan. I got 12 out of it. She cut her thinner in the original recipe and got more. You work out what you like. 
3. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 400. 
They were freaking delicious. How could they not be? Pizza dough, blue cheese, buffalo chicken? It's a magical combination of goodness.

And huge props and a thank you to the lady who recreated the recipe from her favorite stoney-run pizza place and blogged it. It's a cute story worth reading for sure. Plus you get her original recipe which is brilliant.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Bring Me A Fall Festival

We've started down the path of doing "THE LAST" of things, in elementary school - at least at Lou's school. This weekend was our last FALL FESTIVAL.

I'm a sucker for a FALL FESTIVAL I have to admit. I love everything about it. The first one I remember was at Nineveh Elementary School in Indiana (That's Hickory High for those of you who saw HOOSIERS). They held it in the gym because it rained, and my Aunt Suzie took me. There were silly games, and snacks, and the requisite CAKE WALK. I won a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing that I thought was the best cake ever made. I've been entranced ever since.

My son's school holds a very traditional festival, just like the kind I grew up with. You see him above diligently watching the squares in the cake walk. HECK YES HE WON. Nowadays no one brings homemade anything though. I think that's really sad. But we got some donuts from Publix, so yay donuts.
He was nearly the front of the line for the first round of DUNK THE TEACHER and he had the honor of being the kid who dunked the teacher first. 

It seems like we are always overbooked lately. I guess that's a symptom of having four kids. But we had a soccer game in the middle of the festival so after some bounce house action we all took off for the park.
And then after the girl got a goal but lost anyway, we all packed it up and went BACK to the festival again.

We weren't going to get to do his last festival of elementary school ever again, so we had to make sure it was as perfect as it could be. It's amazing, he's been there 6 years. He was so LITTLE when he started there, such a little guy. Now he's one of the biggest kids in the whole school in size and grade.
We didn't win the raffle basket (dangit) but that's ok. We had the best time. Even when the ice cream melted all over everything.

Now, it'll be two years and we'll start it all over again. 

I can hardly wait.




Friday, November 01, 2013

The Halloween Night

The Annual night of keeping demons at bay and candy extortion ritual has passed. It was interesting this year. Our neighborhood is mostly full of houses you nor I would trick or treat at - they're antisocial twerps who mostly don't turn on their lights. 

We decided to check out a different neighborhood rather than our usual haunt because last year that one was a bit dull. We picked one next to the elementary school where several of his friends live. That's where it happened.
Making our way through the neighborhood, we ran into a small gaggle of boys that he knew. We ALSO knew them and there was a parent with them. ALSO someone we knew. With a whoosh, he'd run off into the dark of night with Harry Potter, a Zombie Baseball player and others. There was yelling and LOUD NOISES and they were gone. 

I know that's normal. I was totally able to trick or treat by myself about his age. And he wasn't by himself, he was with friends from school and one of their parents. 

I bet it was liberating, not to have to help us with with twins, or Julia. Not to have to hold hands, or candy buckets, or stop them from doing whatever it is they might be doing that they should not. He got a break from Big Brother duty on a big family holiday event. That never happens.

Eventually people started turning their lights out, and the candy wells ran dry. The boys returned from the cover of darkness with their procured goods. We left and went out for our traditional after Halloween dinner at Chilis (I swear that's the only time we go there).
And Lou went back on Big Brother duty, minding knives and ketchup bottles at his end of the table. 

He's awesome like that.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Butternut Squashed in Texas

It's weird what you take away from trips. It's never the thing you think you'll come home with.

I went to Texas for the first time for work this week. I had never been to the Lone Star state, and was seriously hoping for some Basement of the Alamo kind of environment. Sadly, I was in Houston and learned that just like there is no basement in the Alamo, Houston isn't the old west. Also the Alamo isn't there. I had forgotten where it was. Luckily I asked before I went.

The first thing that happened was that after our plane ride of about 2 hours, I stood up. My knee however decided it wasn't coming along. I could barely move. I hobbled off of the plane, got my bag and found my workmates to head to the hotel. The knee felt weirdly stiff, and a bit hurty. No big whup.

I was delighted to have gotten a big room, for no apparent reason. I think it's because I called the  800 number annoyed with the local desk for not giving me my discount and for being a doofus. My reward was a mini suite like room bigger than I actually needed.
It was pretty nice.

The other thing that was nice was the bathroom, which I failed to take a picture of. The bathroom was like every mother's dream HUGE fancy shower head, enormous garden bath, three feet deep and wide. SO wide I could've invited friends over.

But that would be inappropriate.

I decided on my first night, that a luxurious bath was just the ticket. I'd take a lovely bath, and then I would ice my knee. Warm then cold, that's a thing right? I don't know. It's a thing in my mind. 

It didn't occur to me though, that taking a bath would involve getting one leg over that bathtub wall. Did I mention it was like three feet deep? When one knee isn't quite up to par, you have to make a decision. WHICH KNEE WILL I USE FOR WHAT? Will I balance on the bad knee, step over with my good knee, risking falling backward onto the tile? Or will I step in with my bad knee, risking it wobbling out from under me and me slipping, hitting my head and drowning in the tub? I opened the stopper just in case and carefully stepped in, closing it once I was seated.

The water piled in around me, warm wonderful heat, sloshing around my self and making me weightless and my knee barely hurt. Well, it hurt a bit when I had to lean up to turn off the water. But barely.

I washed and conditioned my hair, and then broke out my new soap. I just got new fun soap at the pumpkin patch. Pumpkin/Butternut Squash all natural body soap stuff. I like all natural body soap stuff. That's good, right?

As I was slathering my form with copious amounts of this new product, I was thinking, "What does this smell like?" It wasn't like soap. It was disconcertingly like something else. It's not that it was unpleasant it just wasn't a SOAP smell. I have to confess, I do want my soap to smell a bit like soap. 

It was about that time I felt warm and dreamy and realized I was nearly breaking the rule of not swimming alone in this huge tub, so I pulled the drain to again minimize my risk of drowning and managed to find a way out of the tub, albeit quite painful and awkward. 

I got on pajamas, slippers, and hobbled down the hall for some ice for my knee.

But that smell. What was that smell?

I settled in on my sofa, found an episode of South Park I hadn't seen (not hard, haven't watched it in years) and put the ice pack on my knee. 

What I learned in Texas was two things.

1. That smell was the smell of Butternut Squash baby food. Who in gods green earth makes soap that smells like baby food?

2. I now know what the Human Centipede is, because of South Park. I've steadfastly avoided finding out what it was for all these years. Thanks Matt and Trey, you dicks.






Thursday, October 17, 2013

It Happened One Friday Night

On Saturday, Oct 18 1997 was my friend Lori's wedding. I was looking forward to it. You see, Lori had driven us batty for about a year, preparing for the wedding. She wasn't a bridezilla but to say she was excited might have been quite an understatement. We bought her one of those glass lamps that you can put collectibles or whatnot inside and started collecting stuff from her wedding plans. The main plot however, was to steal her cake topper and put it inside, after gathering various items from the wedding reception. Favors, silverware napkins, etc.

Nothing would be spared.

I was pretty excited about it.

But Friday night, there were no plans. My best friend and her boyfriend eventually talked me into going out with them. Because that's fun, hanging out with people on a date is always good times. We were all friends though, and they were going to BW3 so eventually I was talked into a night of beers and triva.

There was a guy there working and after I'd been there a while he waved me over to the food counter.

I walked over, and he said to me ,"You ever date a cook?"

As for the rest...


It's the story of how families are made.



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Switching Places

We went to the fair this past weekend, and I had this moment of transition with my oldest son that was so comforting, so telling of who he is, that I've been brooding over it for days now.

We traditionally ride the Himalaya which is also call the Nordic Bobsled or many other names just depends on what your carnies have named it I guess.

It looks something like this.
Carnies blast 80s hair bands or rap or something, and the ride goes forward and there are sirens and then it goes backwards and there are more sirens. Sometimes there are lights. It's fun, I don't know why. It's one of the first "big boy"rides I ever talked him into getting on though, so it's kind of a tradition.

When we ride it, we look exactly like this.
That's actually us on it this weekend. We kind of love it. We laugh and howl and cheer and try to raise our arms, and for about two minutes, I'm not riding with my son but with my best friend. And we're having the best time in the world. We can't stop laughing, both at each other and ourselves.

But after we rode that, I talked him into riding the ENTERPRISE which is a totally different animal. It goes upside down. He does NOT care for that.

I was so excited he agreed to ride it with me, that I nearly sang along with PORN STAR DANCING while in line, but I thought hmmm, my 11 year old might not much care for that. But I WANTED TO TO.

This thing happened though, when they opened up the line to let us board. 

He took my hand.

I'd left my glasses with his dad and the little ones, and am blind as a bat without them. His hand isn't the little one I used to hold, sometimes forcibly YOU WILL HOLD MY HAND YOUNG MAN - no, it's the size of mine. He took my hand and led me along, naturally and carefully. When the ride was over, he again took my hand led me off, whispering "Just follow me Mom, I've got you."

He then talked me into riding a ride HE likes, one that spins and flops. He again took my hand, carefully led me up the steps, and onto the ride and got me buckled in. I felt helpless, like this old lady whose son was caring for her. I also felt safe. It was the best foreshadowing I've ever felt. 

As the ride started he cackled "We call this ride REVENGE HAHAAHAHAAHAH" and as I focused on not throwing up I still laughed because we were definitely even for me talking him into the Enterprise. 

He's amazing. And he's only 11.





Wednesday, October 02, 2013

11 Years

I was telling my friend Christine today, how we brought him home, sat him down on the living room floor and stared at each other.
WHAT NOW we wondered.
The cats were annoyed. There were three cats then, where now there are two. There was only one baby then, but since then there have been three more.
We had a small family bowling party on Sunday, and there was cake. I watched him, not wondering where the years had gone, but wishing they were longer. 

We should move to Mars. 

Happy Birthday to my only first baby.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

8 minutes of Autism

Scene, breakfast is on the table. Twin boys are seated at their bench. Yogurt or cereal, sausage, toast, applesauce is the fare. Mom comes in with a cup of coffee and sits down to browse a Martha Stewart magazine.

Start the clock.
8:40 - Charlie is frantically eating. He has not eaten in ten days one might think. He was held captive in a land where no one fed him, from what I can tell. He's aggressively dipping his toast in applesauce, rather flinging his hand as he does it.
8:41 SPLASH cold water on my foot. Charlie has knocked over his water onto the floor because he's being so crazy while he eats.
8:42 Mom is up - grabs a towel, picks up food, picks up Martha Stewart, wipes off cheap table cloth made with red dye that bleeds,
8:43 Mom takes Charlie's cup back to the kitchen, wipes of down and refills with ice and water.
8:43:30 Mom returns to dining room with cup - to find water sluicing across the table like a river rapid. Charlie has now spilled Miles water. Miles has left the table, and is dancing the living room, Charlie has picked up the cup - and apparently spilled it for no reason, or for meanness. Or because God told him to. Unsure on this part.
8:44 Mom frantically grabs towels, grabs dishes, moves items
8:45 Mom grabs Charlie wipes him off - he laughs and hops off to the other room.
8:46 Mom gets more towels and sops off water off the floor, picks up ice cubes
8:47 Mom picks up dishes and starts clearning the table. As she starts running the water to rinse the plates...
8:48 Miles shouts "I need a wipe!" and Mom looks over to see her coffee racing across the red aforementioned table cloth.

And that's why Mommy drinks.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Color me Delighted

My oldest child never fails to amaze and awe me. He's sweet. He's smart. He's gentle and patient. He's 1000 things any mother would want in a child. One thing that always surprises me is how much NOT like me he is. He's reserved, calm. Not rowdy. He isn't really even naughty and I've had a mouth like a sailor for years. 

But he's growing and maturing. He's five foot four at age 10. He gets humor that I feel is not only inappropriate - it's way above his head. But beyond that, his tastes and interests develop into his own little person in ways that fascinate me. 

I always knew I'd love him ridiculously beyond reason, since the first moment I laid eyes on his annoyed face. But this weekend, when he and I were up alone and I suggested a movie, he flipped to the On Demand and suggested "Life of Pi". He says "It looks so interesting, I am really curious how the story goes."

He's 10.  Did I mention he's 10? He had the entire uVerse on demand catalog at his fingertips - and this was his choice.

We watched the first half of it, pausing occasionally to explain and discuss the parts he was unsure of. Sometimes to rewatch things he thought were beautiful. I was captivated by him.

This morning in the car rider line he paused prattling on about Lego Chima (I dunno there are lions and crocodiles and they are at war with wolves or something and it's China but it's not China....it's a confusing show to me) and he turns up Landslide on the radio - listens for a moment and says "Oh, it's a cover."

I nearly fell out of the car.

It was a cover. It was the Smashing Pumpkins version. 

I said "You know Landslide?" He said "Well yeah. I just couldn't figure out what song it was, it sounded wrong. But that's a cool cover."

Then he grinned and hopped out of the car.

Look at that. We're not so different after all.