Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh, Right. It's New Year's Eve

Not that I would know since I have spent the last FIVE DAYS thinking it was Sunday.  Seriously.  I've been majorly off schedule, albeit trapped in the longest weekend in the history of the world.  Kind of awesome actually.

Anyway, all other bloggers are busy wrapping up their year, offering helpful links to all their favorite entries.  but guess, what?  I am way too lazy to read through everything I wrote last year and select favorites.  Plus, you are so faithful that you've already read them all because you check in every day, right?  Right?

Others have chosen to focus this last entry of 2010 on the future and their goals and resolutions for 2011.  Um...  yeah.  I'm sure I've got some of those, I'm just not sure what they are yet.  It's so hard to find things to work on when you are this close to perfection.  Snort.  Honestly, there are certainly things I am going to do this year - finish my novel (submit to agents and get published too, maybe?), lose the weight, end the year actually BEING the person I want to be instead of just full in intentions.  Good stuff.

Basically, 2010 was pretty good.  Or maybe it wasn't, I totally have selective amnesia about the bad things (which isn't intentional but is pretty nice nonetheless).  But I think it was.  And I have just a wonderful feeling bubbling up that 2011 is going to be a wonderful year for everyone.  I've never had anything like this before, so it must be true.

Happy New Years everyone!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Better Late Than Never?



It is no secret that I have a bad back.  I may or may not have mentioned it here before (perhaps last fall when I threw it out of whack and was all hopped up on painkillers and muscle relaxants? I'm so not going back through my archives to look), but it is a fact of my life.  I injured it doing rhythmic gymnastics when I was 15, and I have had issues with it ever since.  It hurt literally every day for at least 10 years, but now it only bothers me occasionally when I sleep wrong or exert myself.  Pretty much I know how to deal with it to get it to feel better and I am more than capable of working around it.



However, I am also fully aware that I am out of alignment and that there is a curvature in my spine as a result of the injury, and of course, I realize that getting these issues tended to can only make me feel better and alleviate my pain.  and so, after years of "meaning to," spurred on by the fact that my mom has recently been seeing a chiropractor that fixed a problem she's had in here back for 30 years (as well as curing her sugar cravings and causing her to lose 15 lbs in the process, bonus!!) I finally made myself an appointment for the chiropractor.  And after the initial visit where he took xrays to get an idea of where my problems are, I went back today to hear the results. 

The verdict: I BROKE MY BACK.

Yep.  That old injury I had 18 years ago?  Was not just the major muscle spasm we had all thought - I actually broke my lower vertebrae in two places.  Awesome.  Kind of puts the whole "I never saw a doctor, took a pain pill or even missed gymnastics practice once" thing in perspective.  Huh.  No wonder I had pain everyday.



All I can think about now is "what we're we thinking?"  I know that before the injury, I was experiencing some intermittent pain, and that I had xrays done to rule out stress fractures.  But why wouldn't it occur to us to have another set of xrays done?  What doctor sent me for xrays the first time, but not the second?  Did I see different people?  Did I really not see ANYONE?  I had physical therapy for awhile (which basically only consisted of stretching, a few weight exercises and ultrasound massage) and that has to be prescribed so I'm assuming that I saw at least one doctor, but maybe it was just my pediatrician?  So weird.  And I'm sure going to physical therapy directly after 4 hour practice every day was really doing a lot to help my back recover.  Duh.



And the strangest part is that now I'm walking around all gingerly, thinking that my back is going to hurt because I've been remembering so much about when it did.  I mean, you hear you broke your back, you expect pain, right?  Who cares if it was almost 20 years ago.  I also fell like a total bad ass because, dude, I broke my back and never once stopped training or even got a prescription for pain medication.  I am hardcore!

But my chiropractor sure has his work cut out for him!

ps: yes, all of the photos are me - these aren't even the best ones, just the only ones I have.  Is it any wonder I broke my back?

Friday, December 24, 2010

How To Ruin Santa In 7 Easy Steps

1) Have an endlessly sweet child who only ever asks for ONE thing.

This is an important step.  You cannot totally kill the magic of (and secret behind) Santa if your child asks for a thousand things, because probably they aren't expecting to get them all anyway.  But if there is only ONE thing they want, and they have been asking Santa for it for months, well, you are all set.

2) Have said item mailed to you in a vaguely marked box.

The box MUST NOT have any indication where it was ordered from and it MUST only have your name on it. It should not be addressed to the family or the child, so that you are more likely to mistakenly think it might actually be for you and open it without regard to who is in the room. It helps if it arrives on your birthday, when you are already totally self absorbed and expecting gifts of your own.

3) Open in front of child.

This step is crucial.  The child must see their gift in your hands, having come by mail, way before Christmas is actually here.


4) Give child their "Santa" gift five days early.

Obviously.  what, are you going to come up with some brilliant excuse as to why you are holding something Santa was supposed to bring right after you've been such a total idiot and shown it to the kid? Not likely.

5) Wait for child to realize they might still get presents and come up with something else to ask Santa for.

To aid in this, take the child to the toy department or another kid's birthday.  Show and tell at school works too.

6) Send someone else to buy gift.

This is important. You can't go buy the toy yourself. or you may successfully return home, wrap and hide it.  Having more than two people involved (the more the better) helps in break down as much communication as possible.

7) Fail to notice it is in the grocery bag you have left sitting on the counter for literally 30 seconds.

This is where you need more than one person involved.  The more hands the bag passes through, the less likely it is that anyone will remember/notice what is in the bag, allowing for lax security of it's contents.  Children are super vigilant, and constant surveyors of their territory, and any unattended items will be inspected within 23 seconds of being set down by an adult.

Now, you may cover all of this with lame excuses (oh, I didn't know if Santa was going to be able to find a pink one, so I got a backup) or just try and distract your kid with the flurry of snatching the toy away and running from the room, but in general, you know the whole magic of Santa is blown.  Bonus, you will feel like the BEST parent ever, especially if your child is young enough that this was really the first year they were in to Santa anyway.


ps: no, I didn't do this.  This is all completely made up out of my own imagination.  Just to help those of you out there who might not be as stellar as I am. Yeah.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas: Now With Extra Cynicism

A bloggy friend of mine recently posted about a website where you can enter your child's name, age, hair and eye color, year in school, and toy they want for Christmas and they can watch a personalized video from Santa.

Does this strike anyone else as ripe for predation?

I am the last person to be paranoid about online security in anyway - I happily plonk my info into all kind of websites and whatnot, and I talk freely about my kids here using their real names and ages and photos.  And honestly, this website sounds like something I would also participate in (or it would have if everyone hadn't made it sound so creepy, lol).  But this year I have really started noticing just how creepy the whole premise of Santa is.

I mean, basically, we force our kids to go sit on strange men's laps in exchange for candy and toys.  Everything we tell them NOT to accept from other strangers on the street. Confusing, no?  I really noticed how odd the whole situation is when we were watching an old Christmas video (Santa's Coming to Town from 1970) and Santa ( who at this point is still a young man called Chris) is singing to the children about how a kiss on the cheek is the price they have to pay to get a toy.  Ick.  Of course, the main message of the song is to share love and kindness and be nice to everyone, but given the change in social climate over the past 40 years seeing a grown man asking kids to sit on his lap and kiss him so he'll give them toys is just creepy.  Even if he is stop motion.

And it's disappointing to feel this way.  Like I have to worry about mall Santa being a pervert or my kids getting the wrong message about when it is okay to sit on people's laps and when it is not.  Santa and Christmas and everything surrounding it should be magical and wondrous and full of joy and holiday spirit.  And so I try not to point any of this out in front of the kids, and I focus on the intended message behind the songs even when the literal interpretation makes me cringe. 

Not that I think it really matters too much - the first several mornings we had our Elf on the shelf out I forgot to move him over night, and Izzy would wake me up saying "Eddie forgot to hide!" and I'd have to give some lame excuse about how I would go check it out, racing downstairs to move him real quick.  I'm pretty sure that blew the whole magical elves/Santa thing. And now that I think of it, I don't remember ever truly believing in Santa myself. I specifically remember thinking it was totally possible he existed, but he just didn't go around handing out toys to everyone which was why parents had to pretend.  No time/space conundrums for me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tis The Season To Ask For Money

So, here we are coming up to Christmas, and most likely being inundated with requests from various charitable organizations for donations.  Does it strike anyone else as the absolute WORST time for charities to be asking for money?  I completely understand the motivation; we're are all supposedly caught up in the season and a fever of gift giving and general generosity (and frivolity) tends to sweep over people.  But honestly, for me, all that means is I am even more conscious of spending money than I am usually. (And yes, husband, I am conscious of the money I spend.) With presents for the kids, christmas cards, family gifts, teacher presents, decorations and the expense of the big meal, WAY more money is going out than on any normal month.  And call me a scrooge, but when I am already spending all this money on my family and our "needs" I really am not in the mood to be asked for money.  I can't afford what I'm already buying and you want me to give you money too?  Um, no.  Sorry.

Especially with the economy the way it is, I expect many people are also feeling a similar pinch this time of year, and I can't imagine that the number of people who donate because they are so swept up in giving (and well off enough that every penny doesn't count) is going to cancel out the rest of us who are already feeling extra stress about this time of year financially.  Maybe the goal is to guilt us into giving?  Jesus died for our sins so here on the randomly selected date of celebrating his birth we should give money to every hungry child and three legged dog who asks?

I personally think charities should start a big push for donations in the spring.  There are no major holidays or huge cash expenditures in May- ask for money then.  And sure, donating in December squeezes a last little bit of charitable contributions into your yearly tax deductions, but I'm sure they could spin doing it earlier to their advantage - right after the sting of the tax man has faded in April but before all of any returns have been spent? 

You know people are always going to be generous in December.  Tis the season after all.  So laying off the intense barrage of requests for donations is probably not going to affect overall income that much.  But it could make a huge difference by pressing it at a different time of year.

ps: yes, I realize that I am only frustrated by this because I wish I could donate to causes and I can't afford to, bringing my focus back around to our dismal financial situation.  Doesn't mean it isn't still kind of annoying being asked for money everytime I'm already buying something.

pps: Bah Humbug (haha)

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Polar Express

I have an opinion on this movie, and if you are one of the people raving about it in my Facebook feed, you may not want to continue.

I've been hearing about this movie for years - since it came out and definitely since I had kids and became more acquainted with all things for them and what other parent's think.  So you could say I had at least marginal expectations for this movie to be if not good, then at least enjoyable.  And given the fairly consistent airings on tv every year, I've had opportunity to see it.  I've never made it longer than ten minutes.  But we were gifted the dvd this year so I popped it in for the kids this afternoon planning to get some uninterrupted reading time (MOTY).

And Oh.  My.  God.

Read more...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hand Dance This, McDonalds

You may have seen a McDonalds commercial for their coffee drinks with a couple doing some brief hand dancing intermingled with drinking whipped cream coffee concoctions.  You may also have wondered WTF? when seeing this commercial, as it is weird at best, stupid and annoying at worst.

read more (plus the original video)...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Spitfire

Sophie is getting sassier everyday. 

The other two kids were pretty remarkable in the total lack of any sort of terrible two behavior.  Sure Jack is a whiny pain in the butt, but he's been like that since about 1, so that seems to be more of a personality trait with him rather than any sort of phase (awesome).  Izzy has pretty much always been a delight.  She is manipulative and developing a habit for falsehood that I could live without, but there really have been no tantrums or screaming from her.  with the occasion of a couple of instances where I tell her something she doesn't like to hear and we get a stomp or slammed door or screaming from her bedroom - but these outbursts are always brief and rare.

Not Sophie.  You know that phrase "I will cut you?" That was made for Sophie.  Fortunately we don't allow her edged weapons, but if she had access I have no doubt we would be seeing some slasher action.  You don't mess with the Soph.  As it is, we just get screaming and pushing and hitting and throwing.  As in, you offer her a toy perfectly innocently and she will come over, take it, throw it, scream, and hit you.  It's super fun.  Unfortunately it is also super cute, and so so hard not to laugh at, so we are probably not doing to best job of nipping it in the bud and she will grow up to be a violent juvenile offender, but whatever.  The only good thing is she clearly does not like the laughing either, so that isn't serving too much as incentive to continue the behavior.

Now, I won't say we don't have scuffles amongst the kids - we do.  There are always fights between siblings over a toy or place to sit or whatever, and people get hit and kicked and bit occasionally.  But Jack and Izzy never act that way with other kids - they are way more likely to get pushed to the side of the playground at the mall waiting patiently for their turn while kid after kid goes in front of them than get into a scuffle over something.

Again, not Sophie.  This weekend she was on the ever popular play zamboni (WTF?) at the mall and another kid about her age decided he also wanted to sit there.  In her seat.  That she was currently sitting in.  And so, in true Sophie form she hauled off and smacked him in kind of a slap/push combo accompanied by her signature shriek of indignation.  Only this time, she wasn't smacking mommy or daddy or her older siblings who knew better, she was smacking another kid her age who apparently has some of the same tendencies.  So he retaliated  (and how - it was like a flurry of slapping; picture a girlie fight in a movie where the arms are flailing but only like 20% are connecting in anyway).  And you can call me a terrible mother, but it was kind of awesome.  Not only was it hysterical because no one was hurt in anyway other than their dignity, but she finally got a taste of her own medicine.

I realize that alot of people will probably disagree with me, and it is certainly NOT my initial response to hitting, but I have always told my kids that if someone hits you, hit them back.  I usually mean this in terms of between themselves, and the older they get the more we work on finding ways around hitting and solving the problem, but when they are little, sometimes this is the only way.  Sophie doesn't really realize what she is doing other than expressing her anger, so getting hit back might help to show her hitting hurts.  And I'm certainly not going to do it.

I also have to kind of admit that I like seeing her stand up for herself and fight for what she wants.  Not with violence of course, but I figure she still has time to grow out of that.  I want all of my kids to be kind and gentle, but also able to assert themselves when needed and stand up for their beliefs and what they want.  I like that she has that fire and confidence even if I don't love how it is manifesting.


... and now, I totally lost my train of thought, so we'll just stop abruptly here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gettin' My Brown Coat On

Recently, through the wonder of Netflix instant viewing, I have been introducing my dad to Firefly.  When ever he comes to visit we will squeeze in as many episodes as we can, and because it only lasted one season, we are almost finished - his trip at Christmas should wrap it up.  And the more we watch, the more I am reminded how wonderful this show truly was, and the more bummed out I get about it having been canceled.

read more...

Peer Pressure

When Poppy died I fully intended not to get another cat. Not never, but certainly not for the foreseeable future.  It completely sucked to keep losing pets, and even though I missed not having a furry body to pet and snuggle I was looking forward to not having that responsibility anymore.  No feeding, no litter pans, no watching the door as we went in and out to see if the cat escaped.  It was going to be so much easier.

Then my mom came to visit.

And because she is not only and addict, but also a pusher, she got me to go look at cats at the Humane Society with her.  And despite not wanting to get any, not thinking I'd find any I really loved, and there actually being a very small selection, I found two.  TWO.

Now, lest you think I was going to be swayed by any sweet furry thing (like my dad and husband no doubt do) let me assure you that I had every intention of looking to appease my mom and then turning down any of the cats.  I was willing to look, but only willing to adopt if lightning struck and I saw some that I absolutely could not live without.  And how often does THAT happen? I mean, these are cats, not SHOES.

Ha.

Anyway, there they were.  Two chubby, older (3-4yo) cats that had been surrendered by their previous family and wanted to be adopted together.  And I can't explain it, but I felt like they were just the right pets for us.  And so far, they are.  The girl, Cherry, is so sweet and such a cuddler; you can barely sit down without having her on your lap or in your face wanting to be petted.  And you absolutely can NOT go into the kitchen without her accompaniment - it's no accident this one is a porker!  The boy, Artemis, is less in your face but just as sweet.  He loves to be petted and brushed (which is good cause he has long hair), but otherwise he just sleeps on my bed or on the couch all day. 

So far they have been wonderful - they don't try to get outside, they let the kids pet them without any fear or running away, and they are both super friendly and soft and laid back.  Perfect for our family where there is a ton of chaos and not too much attention to go around.

So, with no further ado, I present, Cherry:



And Artemis:


They better live to be a hundred!