From me to you

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

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We are having a wonderful time on our vacation/family visit. I hope you all are having a great holiday as well.

Don’t forget to count your blessings!! I’m thankful every day for those up there and the hammy-ness of this one down here:

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XOXO,

Stef

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The Daily Dichotomy

It’s a very strange, modern world we live in these days.

I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline early this morning and, as one does, absentmindedly noted the prevailing themes. They were:

  • Steve Jobs death & his legacy.
  • Politics – Obama’s pending press conference focused on the jobs bill (employment – not to be confused with Steve Jobs).
  • A little boy name Harry who has an inoperable brain tumor and is fighting for his life.  http://www.helpharryhelpothers.com/ What an angel.
  • Kim Kardashian’s wedding cake

Let me ask you – which one of these things do not belong?

I am all for reading some inspiring and light-hearted news on occasion to brighten my day, or my otherwise dreary news feed – but, honestly, who really gives a rat’s ass about Kim Kardashian’s wedding cake? That family is the pinnacle of all that is wrong in this overly materialistic and value-based-on-appearance society that we seem to find ourselves living in these days.

Some days I ignore it – that odd dichotomy we modern people tend to effortlessly follow, balancing the truly frivolous with the overwhelmingly important.

Other days, like today, the blatant frivolity – in the presence of pain and suffering and so much unmet need – is a slap in the face.

The worst things in my life today are:

1. My kids are out of school and I’m not home with them. I’m not making their meals, baking something special and pulling out the Fall/Halloween decor for them.

2. It’s dress-day numero dos at work this week and I’m wearing Spanx. I just can’t wait for the bathroom gymnastics THAT will entail.

3. There’s a little boy named Harry in the UK fighting for his life and his momma is sitting there begging for a miracle.

The best things in my life today are:

1. My husband is home with my children today. Even if I can’t be there, HE can be. I’m so thankful for that.

2. My home, and all that is in it. It has rained for the past 24 hours but I woke up warm and dry in my soft bed, my down comforter and my personal space heater, my husband, beside me. I had an early meeting from home (using my iPhone – thank you, Steve Jobs). Then I crawled back into my warm bed, in my warm home, with my husband and my two snuggle-bunnies. My two happy, healthy sons – bounding with the energy and excitement of a 4 day weekend and planning what fun they will have with their days.

3. There’s a little boy named Harry who decided to raise money for brain tumor research when he realized how sick he was and when he met another boy like him. He decided he wasn’t going to die without doing something first. Something that will help others. He makes my world a better place.

Kim Kardashian’s wedding cake can suck it.

Thankful Thursday – The Greatest Gift

The greatest thing I’ve ever done is have my children. They are everything to me in a way that nothing else is.

I love my husband, but he’s a grown man and I didn’t make him. His momma did and I’m quite sure she feels about him the same way I feel about my little dudes.

I love them both so much. They are so unique. Clever. Sassy.

Oy, with the sass. (At least they come by it quite naturally).

My 9 yo is so complex. He’s smart. He’s bossy. He’s introverted. He’s extroverted. He’s sweet. He’s sour. He’s gives great hugs. He’s shy. He’s just SO LAYERED. Which, I think, is pretty normal. (Whatever that means).

These days he prefers to play with Legos by himself in his room with the door closed. I’m attributing this to the first rumblings of Tween angsty-ness. He’s good at understanding nuances in other people’s words, tone or facial expression. (He says “SARCASM” whenever we are sarcastic – which is a lot).

He’s good at turning on the charm. Can be very Eddie Haskell-ish. He has a fake smile, but when he’s not thinking about it sometimes we see his real smile  and it’s to die for.

My little dude, my 7 yo, on the other hand is absolutely without artifice. Nothing fake here, people.

I read a comment in another blog about a gal’s Autistic son that really resonated with me. She said he’s just absolutely PURE. In his reactions and expressions. I absolutely feel the same way about my little bubba. He’s pure. If he’s happy then he’s unabashedly happy. If he’s mad then he’s all thunderous brows and angry eyes. It’s one of the two. No sulkiness. No manipulations. Just pure emotion. Pure love.

Having both of them is absolutely the best thing I have ever done. I am more than “just” a mother – I’m a wife and a daughter and a business professional – but nothing I do in my life will ever be more important than conceiving, birthing and raising these two wondrous creatures.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this gift. This gift of BOYS.

Bike rides & broken toes

Oh the horror.

Yesterday we decided to go on a family bike ride. My little guy, Bubba, just graduated to a bigger bike with no training wheels. (Oddly enough, he is already more confident and a better rider than his older brother – how does that happen?). Anyway, we got Bubba a bigger bike this weekend and decided to all go out yesterday. Sounds great, right?

Then we realized it was going to be 100 degrees and decided to go on a ride in the evening after it had cooled down a bit. So we went to the movies instead. (Winnie the Pooh at the dollar theater. Cute, but not remarkable).

I got crazy with some cooking in the afternoon and early evening (more on that later), and when we sat down to eat dinner it was about 7:30. It was nearly 8 pm when we said, oh, family bike ride. We should go do that. So we hopped on and away we went.

Now, this is the part where I admit that when I’m rushed (due to the setting sun, in this case) I don’t always exercise the best judgment. I don’t think I’m ALWAYS a bad mom, but I do think I sometimes don’t think things through.

Tangent: One of my favorite kid movies is “Meet the Robinsons.” Anytime I think about a plan not being thought out I remember the scene where the T-rex is being controlled by the bowler-hat guy and has the kid cornered and he can’t reach him because he “has a big head and tiny arms.” Then he says, “I’m just not so sure how well this plan was thought through.” Then I laugh.

Anyway, back to last night and my not-well-thought-through plan. Or complete lack of plan really.

Here’s my guilty confession: I didn’t make the kids put on helmets or pads.

*sigh*

I know, I know. I suck. We were riding to our neighborhood park which is about 3 residential blocks away and I just thought it would be fine. After all, kids are going to fall down every once in a while. I did. I never wore a helmet or pads. Anyway, there’s my flawed logic and have since understood the error of my ways.

So everything was perfectly fine at first. Once we got to the park I said, “hey, let’s go through the park over to Bubba’s new school.” This entailed crossing one semi-busy road. We successfully got there with my older boy only falling on his bike once and luckily NOT in the middle of the busy street. We checked out where Bubba’s classroom will be and then decided to head back. Then my older boy wiped out again right in front of me and I had to brake severely to keep from hitting him. We got back up and went on.

It was getting duskier. My husband said he should have brought a light – just in case. And he said it was stupid of us to go this far without pads, helmets and a light. I didn’t say anything. I agreed but felt it was my fault so I just didn’t say anything. I was silently cursing myself though – stupid, stupid, stupid.

We got back to the park and that’s where my youngest wiped out. He got distracted, as he does, and rode into a flower bed. Luckily no real damage except to his pride, but he is Autistic and this is one of his things – he doesn’t like changes in routines or being surprised. So when he wiped out he was a crying mess for about 5 precious minutes before we could get him back on the bike. We were losing light like crazy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t DARK yet. It was dusk. And the sun had sunk below the horizon at this point.

We persevered. We got through the park and into our neighborhood. We were two blocks from home and I remember thinking that I felt bad that the kids had fallen but, you know, being new riders I guess that happens sometimes . . .

Then my front tire caught a groove that I couldn’t get out of and the tire slid sideways. I went BAM. On my right side. On the pavement. Bike on top of me. Stunned. *sigh*

I got up, surveyed the damage and determined I would live. My chain had come off and it took another 3 minutes to fix before we could take off again. Porchlights were coming on at this point.

And, again, my older boy wiped out.

Oh, dear lord, I thought, I’m being punished for being a stupid, hasty momma. It will be just my luck if we get a broken bone out of tonight. And with the way he landed, and was screaming, I thought it was entirely possible he had a broken leg. Thank goodness he didn’t. Just scared him and made him hopping mad at his bike.

At this point my husband said, “It’s really too dark for us to be riding. This was stupid.”

So we metaphorically limped the rest of the way home. Got the kids cleaned and bandaged up and sent them to bed.

That’s when I looked down at my foot and, sure as shit, I had a broken toe. Deserved, I think.

I was going to take a pic but, trust me, it’s not pretty. All kinds of black & blue this morning. And maybe it’s not totally broken but just a sprain. In any case it will serve as a reminder to me to always make sure the kiddos, at least, are properly prepared before any future bike rides.

Learn from me. Don’t be a hasty momma.

Homework, HTML & Hardware

I am going NUTS trying to work on this blog re-do, re-design, re-everything. There’s a problem with mapping my new blog domain to my new blog platform and when I inquired of technical support their response was that “it’s a bug in our system.” YOU THINK? You can’t map a domain to other nameservers and YOU THINK there’s a bug in your system? Holy hell, people.

And then there’s the whole theme editing and html stuff and what do you mean I have to use HTML to change the font? Or upgrade. And how come the new font only shows up on half the blog post? And a Gravatar? And Favicon? And, so, yeah, that. Going nuts.

And I was on a business trip to my company HQ in San Francisco last week (where I got to spend 2 days in a conference room with no less than 5 stinky sales men at any given time. Lucky, lucky me).

And my oldest son AND my husband started school on Monday. My youngest doesn’t start until Tuesday next week so I have to work from home while the hubby is gone to school some mornings. You know, so my youngest doesn’t burn the house down playing with matches or decide to scale the roof or something.

And my work laptop decided to crap out last week while in San Francisco. Perfect place for it to happen though; my IT guy there worked on it all day. It should be good as new. Should be. Except now I can’t get on my home wi-fi network. Which makes working from home rather difficult.

This too shall pass. This too shall pass.

I will get this damn blog stuff figured out. Even if it means transferring registrars and begging and pleading for help with the html. The work laptop stuff will get figured out too. That’s why we have IT guys. And little one will be in school next week and we’ll get back into the school routine.

It always works out. Everything always works out. It’s just an absolute bitch to get there.

In the meantime, here’s my guy on his first day:

He loved it. He called me at work when he got home to tell me it was great and his first homework assignment was to eat Oreos and then write about it. His teacher obviously knows how to win over her students.

Okay, as I was writing this missive I took a break to go outside and get the mail. Little Bubba decided to come with me and ride his bike. He has a very little bike because for quite some time he’s been too scared to ride without training wheels. Just last week we took the training wheels off and he hopped on and rode like a champ. Like he’s been doing it all his life. But the bike is so small that his knees come up to the handle bars.

So I said, “hey, little dude, try out your brother’s bike and see how you like it.”

At first he didn’t want to try, but he’s a good kid and he likes new things so he agreed to try. Here’s the result:

I have to go buy a new big boy bike now. SMH.

Ta!

Kids are really obnoxious

Okay, y’all know that I love my kids. They are a part of me – why I live and breathe every day. 

But, seriously, they are so LOUD. Loud, obnoxious and unrestrained. 

Things were so quiet when they were in California. I often talked out loud to myself when I was home alone. Just because it was so dang quiet. Not anymore! We’re lucky to get a word in with each other.

Last night we were in the car and my mom was sitting in the backseat between the boys and she was plugging her years because she was getting it from both sides. Bickering and playing with each other – in just about equal parts. 

On one hand, I’m happy my kids don’t feel inhibited or restrained. I want them to be able to speak freely to me, my husband and our immediate family – especially my parents. I want them to be kids and act like kids and let the creativity flow and if that means having competitions about which of them can sound more like a girl when they scream then so be it. (However, not in the freaking-ass car).

On the other hand, when they are being loud it makes it really hard to hear their parents or grandparents, it makes it impossible for us to talk to each other, and there comes a point where we cross from creative outlet to just plain ole bad manners. It’s a balance. Right now I feel like we are teetering a little over on the bad manners side – maybe because they are just home from a 3 week vacation and need to figure out their boundaries at home again? I’m guessing that’s it. 

In any case, I LOVE my children but they just might be the death of me this weekend until they get back in the groove. The grandparents are staying through Sunday morning and then we can get back to our normal lives.

Speaking of normal lives, we seem to have gotten into a bad sleeping pattern/night time habit with the kids. It doesn’t get dark here until 10 pm. Often we don’t make the kids to go to bed until 10 pm. It’s summer, it’s fine. But they stay up in their room screwing around, talking, playing, getting in each others beds for at least another 2 hours. It drives us crazy. At 10 pm, and definitely by 11 pm, we are ready for some adult quiet time. No obnoxious kids. 

Last night was particularly frustrating. I started getting them ready for bed at 9:30. At midnight I made one of them go sleep on our bed and, later after he had fallen asleep, my husband moved him back to his bed. But before that we had to interrupt the movie we were watching about 6 times to tell them to settle down. It was just flat-out outrageous behavior. 

So, as a result of all this, I’m considering dismantling my office, my girl sanctum, and making separate rooms for the kids. It’s no longer so important to have a guest room (since my parents bought a travel trailer and will use that when they visit). The trade-off would be that I would take a room that has been traditionally a playroom/pets room and I would clean it up and re-organize my office space there. 

Con: it doesn’t have a door. It’s just one end of a long room. The other side of the room has the stairs up to my husband’s loft office and the door to the dog run. Oh, and I wouldn’t have a window facing the front of my house anymore when I’m sitting at my work station. I would have to keep a tortoise’s habitat in my office.

Pro: none for me personally. The benefit of peace and quiet that would come from the boys having separate rooms is a win for the whole family though.  Oh, yeah, and I would have a tortoise in my office.

The boys are 9 & 7 years old. What do you think about giving them their own rooms? Will it be a good thing or can this be seen as giving in to their tyranny? I think the alone time would be a benefit to them. They each kind of re-group when they are alone. But would it hamper their closeness? I want them to grow up close to one another. 


Help. Please. Thank you.

Thankful Thursday: Too Much Good Stuff

I am indeed very thankful today. For many reasons:
  • Last night my boys came home after being with their grandparents in California for 12 days. I’m so thankful they came home safely to me. It felt weird having half my heart beating from another state. The two halves belong together just like my babies belong with me.
  • I’m thankful for having a mom & stepdad who would take my children for 12 days just so they can be with them and take them to do fun things. They went to the mountains, they kayaked, they swam a lot (and are still learning and getting better), they went to the Jelly Belly Factory, they helped my parents buy a travel trailer – okay, so not always fun for the kids. But my kids will get the benefit of that travel trailer (we’re already planning a trip for the 6 of us to Yellowstone next year) and how awesome are those grandparents? 

 

  •  I’m thankful for the time I had with my husband over the past weekend. We NEEDED to reconnect romantically without kids, parents and stressors and we did just that. And I was spoiled. He was spoiled. It was GOOD. After 12 years together (11 married) we don’t expect heart-shaped explosions all the time, but respect, understanding, caring, and a teacup or two of passion will put us in good stead for a while.
Date night. Downtown Boise. We saw BUCK and it was SO GOOD.
  • I’m thankful for the time I had alone. My husband had shows or rehearsals every evening so I had my house to myself. WOW. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was paralyzed in indecision from the options. Do I want to write a blog? Make dinner for MYSELF only? Clean house? Watch a chick flick? Pay bills? Work out? Paint the hallway? WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY SHOULD I DO? In the end, to be honest, I didn’t do much. I did the dishes some days. I watched some girl TV (we don’t need details. moving on.) I worked out. I watered plants. I did (some) laundry. I did NOT bake a darn thing. One night all I ate for dinner was Zucchini. It was awesome.
  • I’m thankful for friends who are like family. ‘Nuff said. 
  • Last, but not least, I’m thankful for my renewed work-out ethic. I came back from vacation with the intention of beginning my work-out regimen. That Sunday I got out mid-day and started day 1, week 1, of the Couch-to-5K program using the C25K iPhone app. I didn’t finish it. I ended up walking half the “runs”. Because, hello, I’m not in the best of shape. But I’m going to persevere. I’m going to get it done. I’ve been hitting my elliptical at night. I’m very proud of myself. Very proud of the effort I have been making and I hope to keep it up. In the last 12 days I’ve done 3.1 miles on the elliptical a couple times, and then about 1 to 1 1/2 miles a few other times. I’m using a Pedometer app on my iPhone to track the elliptical work-outs. This is good for me. Baby steps. I will get there. But first I need new shoes. 🙂 

 What are you thankful for today? 

Baseball Mom

It’s starting. I’ve resisted for a long time – he’s too young, he’s not ready, let’s just do martial arts instead – but now it’s time. To push it off any further would be doing him a disservice.
My oldest has joined an organized sports team. Baseball, to be specific. 
3 weeks ago when I reminded my son that he was signed up for baseball and it would be starting soon he had a gigantic fit. He didn’t want to do it, how could I make him and why didn’t I warn him before I signed him up? Well, he knew I was signing him up, he chose baseball over soccer, and I even double-checked with him. So what was the problem? Nerves. He was scared to meet new people and do something he wasn’t used to doing.
2 weeks ago when my mom & stepdad were here they bought him a bat, a couple baseballs, and a mitt. We went out to a baseball diamond at a school nearby and practiced a bit. After that I didn’t hear a word of complaint.
Last night we went to the first practice. I signed all the forms, got his uniform and signed up to bring the snacks for one of the games. In true sports mom form.
I was so proud of him last night. No nerves last night. He jumped right in. And when the coach was asking for a volunteer to demonstrate where center field was he raised his arm the highest.  
In the next 5 weeks we have 4 practices and 10 games. Here we go.
He’s an Angel. And a handsome devil.
His brother giving him words of encouragement just before his first time up to bat.
Because I love themed collages.

Bitchfest & IG LW review

I’m annoyed. For several reasons:
  1. I’m at work and it’s Monday. 
  2. I’m getting a cystic/nodule type acne bump on the side of my chin. I could ignore it but it freaking hurts. Like I-can’t-forget-it’s-there kind of hurt. So that sucks.
  3. What started out as a nice Mother’s Day yesterday went south in the middle of the day when my kids completely forgot that they ever had manners to begin with and proceeded to act like whiny, annoying, born-in-a-barn, selfish 2 year olds. They are 9 & 7. I was taking THEM shopping for stuff for THEM. On Mother’s Day. Ungrateful little wretches. People used to compliment me about their manners. What the hell happened??
  4. My oldest decided to continue this trend through this morning when he laid on the floor for 30 minutes because we were making him wear jeans to school that make his butt look big. For reals? I mean, really? He’s 9. He’s small. 51 inches tall and maybe 52 pounds. Nevertheless, kicking, screaming, pounding the floor tantrum this morning. He is grounded from the TV & the computer now.
  5. We decided to try an ADHD med for my little one this weekend. He has never taken ANY meds, and there’s some concern with treating the ADHD because the medicine can cause Autism characteristics to become “worse” or just more defined. Well, we tried one on Saturday and, OMFG, the child turned into a holy terror. We were in survival mode with him until it wore off. I held him until he calmed down and then quietly handed over the the Wii remote and slowly backed away. So, yeah, we won’t be trying that again. I would rather deal with his concentration issues than that mad, angry and aggressive little spawn of satan.
  6. My insurance guy keeps calling (when I’m not home so I just get these annoying messages) to sign up for a service or I’m about to lose a discount for the next 6 months. This is my thing: I obviously was signed up for it the last 6 months – why the hell are you bugging me about it again? When I sign up once I expect it to stay in effect. Do you really think I have time to deal with ONE MORE THING? And I have to carve out the time to do this during the day while I’m at work. 
Which brings me back to WORK. I try not to talk about work too much here – but I just have to say something. I’ve been doing this job for over 5 years. Which is a long time, in this field, to stay with one company and in the same position. I’m getting a little freakin’ burned out. I’m tired of the same problems and the same non-solutions. Home annoyances on top of the typical work stuff makes days like today really hard.
I would love to be Susie Sunshine and see the bright side of every thing, every day – but that’s just not me. Sometimes I can do that. Other times I want to wallow in my annoyance with the world or just go back to bed already. 
I know I’ll get over it soon. Except for this stupid cystic pimple. That’s going to take several days and a lot of oil massaging.
So enough bitching. Here’s a look at how last week (LW) went, in Instagram (IG):

Sunday: We shot off the rocket my 9 year old got for his birthday. It was SO COOL.
Monday: I took my little guy to his developmental pediatrician. This was in the waiting room. 
Tuesday: I got new specs.
Wednesday: We went to see Wicked. This is the stage before it started. It.Was.Awesome.
Thursday: There was a duck in the road. I persuaded her to move for her safety.
Friday: Read Night at my oldest’s school. Every year we put on a puppet show for the event. We = my husband as the puppeteer with help from a nephew and friend. It’s a real crowd-pleaser. 
Saturday: The hubby got all handy and installed our new water heater.
Saturday: During the medication snafu: angry eyes and a thunderous brow.
Saturday evening: Hot water. Bubbly toes. Fantastic.
Sunday: Mother’s Day breakfast in bed. Crepe with Nutella & whipped cream. There was bacon too but somehow it disappeared before the picture was taken.
Sunday: some of my Mother’s Day loot. Chocolate (of course), funky socks, and homemade books. Plus a card with a tropical island and tropical music in it (no drink with an umbrella in it though). I also got a color bowl (flower pot) for the front porch AND, drumroll please, I did not have to wash a dish all freakin’ day. Hallelujah!