Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kid's Programming: Too Eerie to be Educational?

Please welcome my new fellow blogging friend, Daddy's Law!  He's a new dad and new blogger over at and has captured my heart by "telling it like it is".  He very well may be more sarcastic and realistic about parenting faux pas than me.  Pleeeeeese check out his non-stop hilarity!  For a small taste of his comedic talents, here is a guest post that he wrote just for us! We've teamed up today to review the ridiculous reality of children's programming. Without further ado. . .I introduce Daddy's Law!

Yo Gabba Be Kidding Me

Yo Gabba Gabba premiered on Nick Jr. on August 20, 2007. Children have never been the same. The show features an anorexic looking freak in orange spandex named DJ Lance Rock, which already sounds too much like crack rock to me, which is exactly what this show is - a perfect example of kid crack likely due to even creepier subliminal messages being pumped into their mind's eye.

Muno is by far the most troubling character I have ever seen on children's television. I don't care if you accuse me of having my mind in the gutter, but there is no denying that Muno is, in fact - A ONE EYED MONSTER. Theres is no way to sugar coat this, parents. Muno is either a walking penis or a big red dildo. Don't believe me? Well, see for yourself if you can handle the truth by clicking here. DJ Lance Rock wants OUR kids to play with his "one eyed monster" named Muno - screw that. The characters are creep in general, but the most alarming aspect of the show is how close it is to a very popular reality show.

I swear, this show is Jersey Shore for kids. I have no doubt the creators of Jersey Shore got the idea for the show from Yo Gabba Gabba. The parallels are undeniable. Muno is Mike "The Situation" since he is creepy and is somewhat clumsy (See Ronnie incident) and he has a close bond with Foofa, who is Snooky. She is described as "pink and happy" and was once "bitten" by Muno. True, "the situation" did a lot more than bite snooky, but you get the point. You can't make this stuff up. Brobee no only looks like Ronnie, but it turns out they both have the mind of a four-year-old. From Todee they got the idea for Sammie and Vinny is Plex since he is the most level-headed and is described as the one who "teaches lessons to his friends and is a father figure to the gang." Finally, DJ Paulie D was modeled after DJ Lance Rock. Yes, I know he is not black - but he is very tan and he does play a similar role as he stays out of everyone's business and is everyone's friend.

I just don't understand the need for these shows. They are not cute and they are not making our children smarter. They are commercial nonsense designed to get us to buy their merchandise and prepare our kids for nothing more than a world that simply does not exist, except maybe on a beach in Jersey.

You knew I'd have my own two cents to share about the craziness of kid's programming....Right? Of course you did!  Here is MY take on one of my own toddler's latest addictions. . . .

Life Lessons From Dora the Explorer

The great thing about living with toddlers is being able to watch Dora the Explorer without a lot of people judging you. The thing is, watching kids shows with a higher level of comprehension is…hilarious and terrifying. I never realized how ridiculous they are. Dora, like Steve of Blues Clues, constantly asks her viewers questions, leading the four-year-old sitting on the couch next to me to shout wildly at the TV. It made me kind of nostalgic for the days I would watch The Price Is Right with my grandma. Eh, training them early to be old coots, I guess.

But the episode I watched today made me realize that these shows–Dora in particular–are teaching our children some skewed lessons about life. In the episode, Dora and her monkey (Boots, I think) visit a firehouse. The fire engine, Roja (red in Spanish, because kids might as well learn the language of the majority of the US population), lets her drive him as he goes to rescue a kitten stuck in a tree. Boy, I wish I lived in the town that lets a six-year old and her monkey drive a fire truck.

But anywho. About half way throughout the journey, something goes awry.

“Why are you slowing down, Roja?” says Dora.

“I’m running out of gas!” the personified fire truck says.

“Oh no! Can you see where we can get more gas for Roja?”

Oh look, there’s a gas station immediately behind you! How friggin’ convenient. Children: if you’re ever as inattentive to your gas gauge as Roja (or me), you will not run out within any reasonable distance of a gas station. You will be on an unlit road, alone, at at least five miles from a gas station. And it will be raining. And as you’re trudging through the mud, all you’ll be thinking is: “Dora didn’t say it was gonna be like this…”

They slowly make it to the gas station, where the talking gas pump fills Roja up with ten (“Diez!”) gallons of gas. And they drive away. Without paying.

Now, Dora, Boots, and Roja are on the lam for stealing about $25 worth of gas. Ah, they start at such a young age. But they still have to find this darn cat and rescue it.

But they run into another problem. They’ve found the cat. It’s just up the road…and Roja gets a flat tire. Lucky for them, and the viewers, Dora had enough foresight to pack an air pump in her talking backpack, Backpack. Because that’s how we fix a flat tire, kids, with a bicycle pump. Good lesson.

Dora asks the kids to help her pump up the tire:

“Put your hands in front of you, and pump! Keep going! Pump up and down and up and down! That’s it!”

I’ll let you insert your own witty observation here. ________.

Hahahaha, that was a good one.

The tire is fixed, and, after fending off a random appearance by a burglarizing raccoon named Swiper with a mantra “Swiper, no swiping,” they’re on their way.

I assume they rescued the cat. I didn’t actually watch it until the end. I had a feeling the kids were getting impatient with my frequent snide remarks.

Someday, I think I’ll write a kids show. One that’s real. In my kids show, character will get scammed, contract a rare disease, and lose their life savings to Bernie Madoff. And they would die at the end of every episode. Because life’s harsh. And kids should learn that early, so they won’t be as surprised when it takes a big dump on them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Perfect Alibi

One of the unforseen perks of this motherhood gig is the ability to deflect all gross and unladylike behavior. I revel in these magical days when my kid cannot verbally defend himself. Those days are slowly but surely coming to a close as his vocabulary grows every single day. What follows, however, is an account of how one mom, in all her poopy, dirty, tardy glory, can blame any and every unflattering and smelly occurrences on a pint-sized mute.

I remember a phone call with my mother not too many months ago. My youngest son had awoken that morning with a serious case of the Everything Is Wrong With This World-itis. I complained to my all-knowing mother of just how hard it is to have this little man who’s mad and cannot tell you why he’s mad because he’s just a very mad, very nonverbal toddler. The Waaaaaa’s and Why Me’s of the conversation were implied and very much understood by the high-pitched, whiny tone of my voice. Having braved this storm not once but three times before, she laughed and told me that things could always get worse. Because mothers are all about the encouragement. So I wandered through a few weeks with a newly opinionated yet still babbling ManChild. He had things to say, angry, vengeful things, and no way to just TELL ME WHY YOU ARE RED IN THE FACE.

One afternoon we stopped by a home goods store. With the frustrated and silent tot strapped into the cart, we edged and poked our way through tight aisles of candles and bed sheets. During one most difficult corner turn, I twisted to my side to fit through the heaps of clearance items. I tugged at the cart with the universal maternal touch, the gentle manhandling, to squeeze it through the narrow path. And then it happened. Filling the air with pungent icky-ness and my little heart with hope.

I farted.

What would typically have been a humiliating and all around disgusting experience was solved by the very problem of which I constantly complained. There was this boy, this little toddler boy, right there in my cart. This little toddler boy who cannot deny my white lies and who is permitted by codes of social decency to crap his pants. In a bowel-jerk reaction, I too loudly declared “Oh, honey. Somebody must have a stinky diaper. Shooey Gross!”. There was a dazzling display of wheeling my “smelly” baby to a bathroom. To thoroughly cover up mom’s toot, he endured a step-by-step commentary on the diaper-changing process in the back stall of a packed ladies room. Extra confusing was the fact that he was not getting his diaper changed. Perched on the plastic table, the little man was told to hush and go along with it. Just let me act like you pooped, dangit.

In following days, the idea that my child could take the blame for mommy’s poor gas control changed my perception of what it meant to have a baby who cannot speak. The possibilities were endless after such an enlightenment.

BURPING: He must’ve had too much organic fruit this morning.

SHOWERING: I was planning on washing my hair. I really was. But then there was this baby who needed to eat and sleep and such and I just couldn’t pry myself away from precious playtime to brush my teeth. It was in the name of love, if you think about it.

LINGERING POOP SMELL: Dad returns home from work. He makes his way to the closet which just so happens to be close to the Master Bath to change his clothes. Five seconds after entering, he runs wildly from the toxic toilet, unsure if someone has died or if there is a hidden septic tank we didn’t know about. There is a simple explanation, really. Baby had a wretched, dirty, nasty diaper. When asked why the baby’s load was not changed in the confines of his room with a changing table and diapers and Febreze and whatnot, I quickly announce that I was scared his gentle nose couldn’t handle the lingering fumes. Dad gives Mom a doubtful glare to which she immediately changes the topic so that Dad will forget the stinky mess. Ten minutes and two accusations of men not appreciating stay-at-home mothers later, and poop is the last thing on his mind.

GASEOUS GAS: See Diarrhea.

WEIGHT: While getting my roots highlighted, the hairstylist points out that I have finally had the baby. I take a moment to weigh my options. I can tell her that my newborn is actually a two-year-old, or I can play along that I have just given birth and that this Muffin Top is the child’s fault and not, well, the result of too many muffins. Faux Baby Fat it is, and I leave with lovely locks and many, many well wishes for the new mom.

TIME MANAGEMENT: Never in the history of calendars has there been such a brilliant excuse for failing at time. Be they appointments, deadlines, or errands, all must-do plans can quickly become eh-I-didn’t-feel-like-it dates without the crushing guilt associated with simply bailing. You know it's true.

-I wanted to go to the store/doctor/dog groomer/Zumba class today. I really did. But Lil Man was acting like his nose might possibly get snotty at some point soon. It isn’t snotty yet but I have that mother’s intuition thing going for me, and I can tell you it will probably be snotty and definitely be contagious.

- I wanted to go to the store/doctor/dog groomer/Zumba class today. I really did. But Lil Man just lit my house on fire and we are going to have cleanup and insurance mess to handle. What’s that? You’re in the driveway and my house looks hardly scorched? It was the back room, you see. The back room, yes. You shouldn’t come in here. You know, black lungs and all that.

CLEANING: A toddler makes the perfect scapegoat for a disheveled house. On occasion, late afternoon will roll around. My Cleaning Day having experienced no cleaning at all, is a wreck. Dad arrives home from work to a house that smells almost clean but looks wholly filthy. I spritzed the air with various cleaning products, swiped some dirt from the floors across my shirt, and feigned exhaustion. Do you know how hard it is to clean, and mop, and clean all day, only to have a child that instantly dirties the place up? {Particularly effective in receiving pity for work and hardship you actually did not have to experience. Complimentary foot rubs and dish-cleaning from husbands hopefully included.}

It is these months most mothers dread, with children old enough to announce their displeasure but undeveloped enough to not tell you the what and why’s, that I am finding my greatest joy. The boy can walk, play, and laugh just as swiftly as he cries and screams and throws the most breakable items. But he keeps my secrets, my dirty, awful secrets. He does his mom a favor, even if totally against his will.

*By the way, this post (packed to the brim with “overshare” material)is auto-set to explode upon Lil Man’s 14th birthday. Just know son, that you did poot/poop/destroy/get snotty, Child. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankfulness--A Life and Death Issue

{Disclaimer: I recognize that a great portion of my posts are extremely sarcastic in nature. This is not one of those posts. I do have a serious, and sometimes a somewhat inspirationally motivating message for you, my dear Banana Pants readers. So sit back and soak in some seriousness for a moment with me. We will get back to our regularly scheduled doses of sarcasm and snide remarks momentarily. But today is a day of reflection and personal growth for me. I'd love it if you'd tag along. . . }

I realized during my 30 Days of Thankfulness campaign that I haven't given a ton of thought in the past few months on things that I take for granted. I know a few of the items on my list are rather “off-the-wall”, but I'm still thankful for them, all the same. It's amazing how much of the everyday simple things we forget to be grateful for. I can say all day that I am thankful for my family and friends and relationship with God, but I'm realizing that that attitude of thankfulness is not always clearly evident in my everyday life.

I've done a bit more studying lately as to how to better have that lifestyle of appreciation to God. I've found out some simple, yet hidden truths about thankfulness that I had overlooked up until now. I'd like to share what I've come up with, if you all can bear with me through my rambling. I promise it will be worth it. Jesus always is.

Paul says, “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).

(Well, there goes my plans of turkey consumption!)  What he means is that the kingdom of God isn’t about rules and regulations, about what you should eat or drink or anything else. It’s about receiving righteousness, peace, and joy through the Holy Spirit.

All of those things are gifts. He’s saying the kingdom of God is like a stack of presents, wrapped up with nice big bows, waiting under the Christmas tree for us. And the degree to which we will experience the kingdom of God is the degree to which we have accepted those gifts and appreciated those gifts.

Paul makes the same point in another letter. He starts with this challenge:

Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place. (Eph 5:3-4)

Now, wait a minute. I know it seems like we’re still talking about rules and regulations: “Keep your pants on… keep your mind out of the gutter… keep your mouth closed… keep your hands off of other people’s stuff.” But Paul’s going to take a left turn here. Look at what he says in the rest of the verse:

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Eph 5:4)

Let there be… thanksgiving! That’s not at all what I was expecting him to say, the first time I read it.

I was expecting him to say “let there be holiness,” or “let there be purity.” But he’s going a lot deeper than that.

He’s saying the reason why we’re sexually immoral, and impure, and greedy, and filthy and silly and crude….. the REASON why we are big-time sinners is because we think we deserve certain things in life, and we don’t think God’s giving them to us.

We think we deserve sex, so we grab it on our own terms. We think we deserve comfortable lives, so we get greedy and grab stuff to make us happy.
We’re not thankful for the things God’s already given us. He’s the Father who loves to give good gifts, and if we were thankful for those gifts, we wouldn’t feel the need to grab more. Instead we’d say, “God’s given me everything I need… why would I turn my back on him for a few more trinkets and toys?”

Because there’s also the flip side in the very next verse:

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Eph 5:5)

He’s saying that the thing driving all those desires is idolatry, worshiping other things more than we worship God. We might treasure Christ a little bit, but we treasure something else more. We might believe in Jesus, but we serve something else to get our immediate desires fulfilled.

Here’s the thing: the Kingdom of God isn’t just about believing in Jesus. Every homeless drug addict I’ve met on the streets of Bricktown believes in Jesus. Every guy I’ve talked to at a bar who is struggling with a porn habit believes in Jesus. Every married couple I've ever known, who are roommates but not lovers,who feel like God tricked them into marrying this person and cheated them out of a happy marriage… they all believe.

The problem is not that they don’t believe in Jesus, the problem is that they’re not thankful for the things Jesus has already given them. Things like righteousness, peace, and joy through the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s saying that unthankfulness is what leads us to idolatry, and idolaters have “no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

Thankfulness is a life-or-death issue. This week, especially this Thanksgiving thank God loudly and boldly for what he gave you on the cross through Jesus Christ, and what he gives you every day through his Holy Spirit. I know that I will be doing the same thing.

Happy Holidays, friends!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ten Reasons I'm Thankful My Parents Are Morons: by Mr. Grouchy Pants

It's the holiday season, I've been told. Though I'm not quite sure what all the fuss is about....something involving Native Americans and people in really ridiculously tall hats having dinner. These days, PreK seems to consist primarily of gluing dried leaves to construction paper, tracing hands to render bizarre finger-shaped turkeys, and being endlessly interrogated on “What We’re Thankful For.” I’d rather be shoveling turkey in my mouth than having to give the expected "Sunday school" answers. After a while, I’ll say anything to stop the madness.

We kids play along and blurt out the usual “Candy!” “Mommy and Daddy!” “Turkey!” and whatever it takes to suffice our teachers … but the truth is we’re thankful for oh, so much more.

Here’s my REAL list of what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1. I’m thankful my mom hasn’t found the stash of lightly chewed gum I’ve hidden in the back of my bookshelf.

2. I’m thankful my parents are so frazzled at the end of the day that they can’t figure which of them said “Yes” or “No” to my zillionth request. Thanks to their profound lack of communication I can pretty much get whatever I want.

3. I’m thankful my grandparents don’t know anything about the dangers of trans fat, lead-based paint, or even car safety. (Once Grandma let me ride in the parking lot in the front seat! It’s freakin’ awesome up there!)

4. I’m thankful for those times I can kick back and talk potty-talk with my friends without grownups giving us the stink eye.

5. I’m thankful my mom’s eyes are getting so bad she’ll invariably select “All Episodes” instead of one episode on the DVD menu — thus giving me a much needed Phineas and Ferb Marathon.

6. I’m thankful my stuffed animals have stopped throwing up all over my room (poor dears, they’ve been sick).

7. I’m thankful for that Saturday afternoon when my mom and dad both napped while I hauled mud into the tub to recreate that chocolate river from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

8. I’m thankful that if I throw a big enough fit I CAN leave the house in a full Superhero ensemble complete with matching cape and boots.

9. I’m thankful that by precariously placing a box on a chair I can almost reach where my mom’s put my Halloween candy.

10. And last but not least, I’m thankful for my parents because if it weren’t for their mediocre parenting skills I couldn’t get away with half the crap I do. Thanks Mom and Dad this one’s for you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Need To Have A Garage Sale

I’m not a hoarder by any stretch, (I believe the accepted term is COLLECTOR), but I have a terrible time getting rid of things that have sentimental value. Even though I attended high school and university a few years ago (ahem), I still have all my papers and projects from that time, and most of the textbooks too. I have no idea why, but I’m pretty sure this qualifies as useless sentimentality. My wedding dress, my size 0 cheerleading outfit (pom poms included), and my sticker book from grade 8, all still here, all haven’t been used or looked at in years but clearly, in the still useless, but must-keep sentimental pile.
And then we had kids.
You know what having kids means, right? It means that anything that comes in contact with your child is automatically sentimental. That piece of paper with one macaroni stuck to it? Get the tissue, because that is tear-worthy art, and holy crap, how dare you even try to get rid of that. (Just an aside, but if I had ANY IDEA how much paperwork was attached to having children, I may have reconsidered the entire thing, and stuck with goldfish. And no I don’t mean tax returns, I mean the never ending art, and scribbles and that piece of paper with the macaroni stuck to it).
Let me warn you – If someone tells you that you don’t need a lot of “stuff” when you have kids, they are LYING to you. You will buy things that you swore would never enter your house (and you’ll drive it there in the van you said you’d never drive too). Now add another child into the mix – one of the opposite sex – and hello, more stuff. Fast forward seven years, 12 Birthdays, 7 Christmases, 7 Easters, random gift giving, two sets of grandparents, three aunts, four uncles, a million cousins and friends galore, and the stuff begins to hoard itself.
As I am now wise to the overflowing kids’ phenomenon, please allow me to teach you the secret to a happy home – get rid of the stuff you don’t use. Genius, I know. It’s a total downer to be surrounded by all that no longer used baby stuff, especially when the kids are begging you to get rid of it too. Of course, they’re just trying to make room for their stuff, (you know, the stuff that replaced their baby stuff), but that’s a whole other story.
What’s the solution? Purge, Dump and SELL!. After much prayer and fasting and heavy-duty sorting, I have decided that it's time to have a garage sale. I think we finally decided to get rid of the baby stuff. (For it looks like trying for a girl is completely out of the question in BC's mind.) It took hours of purging, and prep and cleaning, but I think we are finally ready. It's time to let go of that big plastic car my kid would ride up and down the driveway forever a la Fred Flintstone. And the giant high chair that took up half our kitchen? It's gotta go! Everything that involved Dora, Elmo, Thomas and other painfully painful yet beloved childhood characters, were now have overstayed their welcome! I will start with consignment and craigslist, but the inevitable garage sale is definitely in our immediate future. It feels good to organize.  And the thought of getting two vehicles in the garage before the snow hits this winter will be an added bonus.  And who knows. . .if and when we ever DO get blessed with another (SURPRISE!) bundle of joy, I may have no need for all-things blue that I have accumilated.  We might just have room for a little pink and ribbons in there now. *wink wink.  But I'm certainly not holding my breath.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Boys In My House

Boys In My House

There are boys in my house - and Spiderman shoes
And 200 blankies in various blues.
There's Bob (he's a builder) and Thomas the Train,
There's a fireman coat to wear in the rain.
They have trucks on their shirts and frogs on their hats;
There's a glove and a ball and a red plastic bat.
There's dirt on their faces and smudges on their nose;
Grass stains on knees and sand between toes.
There's bathtime at night with bodies to scrub,
And when we're all done there is dirt in the tub!
There's bandaids and bruises and curious bumps,
There's smiles and laughter and sometimes there's grumps.
There's odors so stinky; there's boogers so green
There's more yucky things than I'll ever get clean.
There's piles of laundry, there's stories at night;
There's bedtime and bathtime and dinnertime fights.
There's cars and there's planes and there's books about trucks
There's Scoop, Lofty, Dizzy, and Travis, and Muck.
Sometimes there are bugs, and sometimes there are frogs;
Sometimes they pretend to be lions or dogs.
There are cute little vests and darling neckties
Dragged right through the mud - oh what a surprise!
There's running and climbing and jumping and falling
And laughing and crying and hugging and brawling
And rolling and losing and finding and creeping
And whining and stealing and sometimes there's sleeping.
There's tantrums and time-outs and extra loud noise -
There's love in my house shaped like two little boys.

Some days I'm overworked and overwhelmed. . .but mostly I'm blessed.
 And I thank God for reminding me of that. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Deep Questions

“Mom,” Mr. Grouchy Pants asks, nonchalantly, with a face full of tacos even though I’ve asked him a bazillion times not to talk with his mouth full, mostly to avoid exactly what is coming next.

“Mom, what is stereotypes?” I….um…you…lightbulbs…math…err. Where does he come up with this stuff? And who in their right mind used that word around my four-year-old?!

I try to have family dinner every night so that everyone can talk about their days with each other and we can attempt to live together, not just merely co-exist. The awesome side-effect of this is that the children feel comfortable asking just about anything, so long as it is asked over supper (amidst their fighting over who got more yogurt and who's finishing their green beans before whoever else is sitting at the table). The awkward side-effect of this is that sometimes daddy is busy or has a gig (hence the part-time musician thing) leaving me to deal with the deep questions by myself whilst trying to eat dinner peaceably.  

Now I get to watch my taco get cold while I try to figure out how to explain genderism, racism, and discrimination before dessert.  Dang BC and his need to be an "artist" at the most inopportune times!

My knee-jerk reaction to this whole scenario is of course, ignorance. Maybe if I told him that I didn't know, then that would suffice until Daddy got home. Or I could try to change the subject and we could talk about something trivial, like how the sun, the moon, and the stars work.  But then I've not only lied, I seem like a loser of a mom; to not know the simplest of things of course, means that I have failed at life and should just start collecting my cats now.

Conversely, the answer I think I have to give him opens his mind up to a world I'm not sure I ever want him to see, so I stir my guacamole around on my plate and overthink the crap out of this.  

How do I explain what a stereotype is without instilling those very stereotypes into his head? How do let him keep the notion he has that pretty much everyone is the same while I teach him that a lot of people unjustifiably assume that a lot of other people suck and/or excel at a lot of fairly ordinary things? How far back in history do I have to go to explain where these ideas we all seem to have about each other came from and once I get there, do I have enough real-world examples to serve as the anti-venom to the poisons I’m about to introduce to his psyche and why the heck didn’t anyone tell me this parenting thing would be so complicated?  

And now I wish I’d just made a light salad for dinner.  

So I start taking inventory of everyone I’ve ever known in my whole life and start lining up my counter-attack. ‘Okay, so, you’re blonde, you know, and you’ve never had so much as one puppy,’ I say to myself. Your grandpa is half-German and he's a smoker, your favorite cousin is part-Asian and she couldn’t she's currently being raised by her white grandparents. . . and I start to think that maybe, just maybe, I’m ready to answer this question.  

I’ve completely lost my appetite, worrying how the answer to this is going to affect his sensitive little heart, but I’m ready.  

At the last minute, he looks at me and says, “You know, you can always ask your phone. Sometimes it can tell you answers you don't know, Mom. It's called 'Giggle'.”

Oh, how precious is HE that he feels he has stumped me with these deep ponderings of his. . .But just in case, I “google” stereotypes. Yes. . .although this may lead to an hour-long session about the unfairness of man, I am just going to go with this. . .“Stereotypes are popular assumptions we make about groups of people, based on a lot of nothing,” to which my kid says, “Oh, okay” and finishes his taco.  

OKAY?? And you're satisfied with that?! But truthfully I am releasing a sigh of relief. If only all the answers were this easy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

7-11 Project: Better Late Than Never, Eh?

As I said earlier today,  my Monday has been ATROCIOUS.  I am currently sitting on my couch watching Dr. Phil (cheap therapy) and downing a package of chocolate chip cookies. Because I deserve them. ;)  It is midnight, and I am just NOW able to sit down and write my Monday blog post. My days have been FULL and productive lately, but I am wearing down and to be completely honest, am THRILLED that this 7-11 Project is coming to a close.  I'm not sure how many more projects I can fit into a 24-hour period without pulling my hair out. So lets dive right into the progress from last week so that I can get some sleep. . .not that I'm not enjoying our time together. . .

1. Do/visit/experience 11 new activities/places/things.

Last week, I enrolled my youngest monster in "God's Gift To Stay-At-Home-Moms" a.k.a. "Mother's Day Out" at a local church.  This bought me a few hours a few times a week to have "me time". During my very first session of me time, I decided to do something that I haven't been able to in a good long while.  I went and saw a movie.  This time, however, I went by myself, which is something that I've never done and never thought that I would do.  I'd always heard some of my single friends say how much they loved going to the movies alone and I each time, I'd responded, How sad! Why would you want to go alone? Wouldn't that be sort of. . .pathetic? Now I can say from experience. . . .NO.  It is far from pathetic, and quite wonderful actually.  I went to a Friday matinee to see the movie Courageous. It was nothing short of FANTASTIC.  Let me expand a moment.  It was a Christian movie (which will immediately make some of your eye's roll, but bear with me. . .) and most a lot of the time they cannot escape the cheese factor.  Although there were some "cheesy, cliche-ic" moments, the overall plot and message was amazing.  I am so glad that I saw it alone, because I'm pretty sure I cried at least 4 times and then all-out SOBBED through the last 20 minutes.  And there aren't many movies that the crowd stands up and applauds when it's finished, but that's what happened in the theatre.  Granted, it was mid-morning on a Friday, so it was only about 15 people, but it was a "moment".  Bet you didn't think you were going to get a free review of a movie in my post. . .I always like to go above and beyond for my readers. Just call me Siskel.  Or Eibert. Or Conan. Whoever.  Anyhow, the whole point is that I LOVED seeing a movie all by myself.  I got to sit where I wanted, eat my pickle and butter-saturated popcorn and coke in peace (and guilt-free).  This will definitely become a new hobby of mine.

Another first for me came on Saturday. I was able to run my very first 5K.  This was something that I had been training for for the last 7 weeks and had been anticipating for years.  It's always been a dream of mine to run a marathon, and I saw running a 5K as one of the baby steps to accomplishing that dream.  Let me just say, I had no idea how hard it will be.  Those runner friends of mine, please do not point and laugh.  This was a struggle.  Namely because I had spent most of my training for this 5K on the treadmill.  Boy, is running outside a WHOLE OTHER WORLD compared to running on a treadmill with built-in facial fans, your bottle of water on hand, and the ability to zone out and trust that you're not going to run into a tree. The City on a Hill 5K Run that took place this Saturday was definitely not a treadmill!  In fact, it was FULL of HILLS (go figure!) and on one of the windiest, coldest days that Oklahoma has seen yet this fall season. I wanted to give up about halfway in, but I persisted and finished the entire race. And wouldn't you know, I wasn't even dead last!? I couldn't run the entire 5K, but that is something I will continue to work towards.  All that said, I finished my first 5K in 37.2 minutes.  Not bad, if I do say so myself!

2. Do 11 new activities with the kids.

After the race on Saturday, I was FAMISHED, so we decided to try our hands at making homemade pizzas. The boys were really excited to help, as pizza is one of their favorite foods!
 We went to the store together and bought all the ingredients to make turkey-pepperoni pizzas for lunch. They loved deciding how much sauce, how much cheese, etc would go on their personal pan pizzas. Mr. Grouchy Pants wasn't thrilled at the fact that we had to wait a whole 15 minutes for it to bake in the oven and another whole 10 minutes for it to cool off.  I believe his words were, "Mooooom, this cooking pizza stuff takes way too long.  Next time, you should just call and tell the pizza man to bring it to us." I know, right?  I obviously don't bake enough. In the end, it didn't taste like Little Caesar's or Pizza Hut (meaning the boys voted it a bust), so I ended up eating all three personal pans myself (confession. . .) and warming them up a can of Beefaroni.  But I enjoyed the new endeavour. :)

3. Tackle 11 new house projects.

If any of you have known me well enough to be invited into my mess of a car, you would know what a constant state of disheavel that it stays in.  I'm talking. . .last week's lunch from Sonic in the back floorboard, growing mold of some sort, random fruit loops, tootsie rolls, mismatched tennis shoes and socks, about a million receipts and toys, and enough clothing to start another spare wardrobe.  It's quite frightening at it's best.  And it's been known to smell.  A little. So when I decided to take a trash sack to it on Sunday, I was shocked to realize that I did, indeed have a floorboard.  It took two trash bags, two loads of laundry, and $3.00 in quarters for the carwash vaccuum, but it is now CLEAN.  So I'm checking that project off the to-do list.

Another long-procrastinated project of mine was organizing the boys closet.  Since moving the boys in to the same room, I had never combined their clothes and toys.  Much of Stink's stuff was still taking up residence in my bedroom and closet.  I was so excited to go through all of their fall clothes and put everything together.  I also found, in the course of it all, that these boys have WAY more outfits for Fall than they have time to wear them.  I gave some clothes away to friend's who had a little boy a bit younger than mine, but as you can see below, this closet is OVERSTOCKED.  So grandparents, NO NEW CLOTHING for Christmas.  In fact, they are good in the toy dept. too.  Just send gift cards. Haha. No really. . . it was good to finally get this task taken care of.

4. Read 11 new books.

Well, I decided to switch things up and read Ellen's new book entitled "Seriously. . .I'm Kidding".  It was a riot! I'm talking laugh-out-loud-pee-my-pants funny.  I just love her random sense of humor, but this book was packed to the brim with inspiration too.  I'd highly recommend it.  It's also extremely easy to read, as I finished it in less than 24 hours.
Currently, I am finishing up "52 Things Kids Need From a Mom" by Angela Thomas.  And I really don't think just reading this book is going to cut it for me.  I may take this book on as a yearly project starting in January.  It gives one thing to focus on every single week of the year to allow mom's to provide everything physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually for her kids.  I am learning a lot and it has already changed so much of what I prioritize where my kids are concerned.  I'm making daily changes as I read.  It was definitely a good choice of a "self-help" book for my list.  Moms, a must-read.

Well, that's all folks!  I only have 4 days left to accomplish the remainder of the goals on my list.  Realistically, I won't be able to accomplish it all. But I still plan on trying my darndest to check off as many items as womanly possible. Tune in to the tab at the top labeled "7-11 Project" for a complete progress report.  I'll update it for the final tally on the 11th.

It's now well into the wee hours of the morning.  Yes, I type slow. So I am forced to publish and crawl into bed.  It will only be a matter of time before one of the little monsters is woken up by the flash-flood storms outside.  Or another earthquake. Or tornado sirens. Maybe a locust infestation is next.  Who knows. . .I'm only sure one thing. . .I need to spend a few extra minutes in prayer and thank God for every minute that I'm given lately.  No one knows when Oklahoma will be destroyed by some new natural disaster.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Grouchiness and Apologies

I am fully aware that I owe you a 7-11 Project Monday blog post.  However, I woke up in a cranky mood and have been running around like a mad woman with her hair on fire today.  Counseling classes, grocery shopping, and and baby shower planning. . .so pardon my tardiness.  I will be posting it tomorrow instead. In the meantime, here's a little something to tide you over. . .
Mr. Grouchy Pants Gets it From His Mama

You can call me MRS. GROUCHY PANTS today. No. That's an understatement. My throat was tight. My head was foggy. I felt like wearing a name tag this morning that read, "Crabby. Do Not Touch." Maybe the other Mother's Day Out moms would leave me alone and not engage me in the regular "How are ya?!" in their normal sing-songy-I-really-care-about-your-personal-life voices. Ugh.

I sat in bed for a moment and tried to figure out why I was feeling so irritable. But that's kind of pointless, isn't it?

Regardless of whether it's hormones, sleep deprivation, or just a plain-and-simple bad mood, I still have to make it through the day.

Meanwhile, my toddlers are scratching at one another and my husband wants to know if he has any clean socks. Or peroxide. Huh?

That's when I realize I need help, fast. And whenever that happens, I realize I need to go back to the basics. I need to return to the fundamentals of who (and what) I know myself to be. That's when I need to forget this buzzing body and sink into my spirit.

Because I've done it again. I've gotten myself trapped into a buttonhole where all I'm thinking about is what's happening two inches in front of my face. And I'm mistaking that for the real world.

What I need to remember, at times like these, is that my spiritual side--which teems and churns with joy, which represents heaven on earth--is always one choice away.

As a spiritual being, joy is my default emotion. The other feelings, whether anger, jealousy, boredom, sadness, or irritability, are merely ingredients I add by being focused on the buttonhole--that separate little body I sometimes convince myself is all there is.

I can burn off those unpleasant emotions by returning to a focus on love and love alone. Because a single, pure loving response is the way to access the spirit, to pull it into the moment...this moment.

That's when we see that our pains and annoyances are nothing more than reminders that we've chosen to focus on the buttonhole and not the level of consciousness that could have us boogieing with joy every moment of our lives.

So I take the step that will reconnect me with my divine essence. Simply put: I find something lovely or loving to do with myself.

For me, today, that means I get up. I find some socks. I pour some juice for the kids. I think about how grateful I am.. I decide to pray away my "grouchy pants".  Isn't that what I do for my son?  We pray the "dark clouds" away.  It's harder to do when you look outside to the sky and it's the same color as your mood.

But I have so much to be thankful for.  Funny that some days are harder than others to drudge up the "grateful spirit". Sometimes you can only muster up the "I'm thankful that I'm breathing. That's all I got, God."  And then other days, you are stunned by the gifts God gives us every moment of every day.  I'm going to start counting up my blessings, get my grocery list out, make my "Temperment Currently Under Construction" name tag and choose to be grateful for my little bit of heaven on earth.  Yes, even if that's just a venti mocha latte extra whip. With sprinkles. And caramel. Don't forget the caramel. . . . .Smile.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wanna Be Sister Wives?

Have you been watching this season of Sister Wives?
Oh, good. Two things I like about you are your superior taste in television and righteous moral code preventing you from enjoying the debris left in the wake of another reality TV train wreck.
Remind me to be more like you after this season of The Polygamy Party wraps.
But for the time being, I plan to bask in the drama and contemplate why I, myself, have not jumped on this idea of taking on a sister wife to help me keep my mess of a house clean.
Because I am fascinated by all things deemed “socially wrong” and have a hard time turning down the bounty of jokes such programs offer, I grabbed a bowl of popcorn and a Bible (for research purposes) and settled in for the hour-long ride of the season premiere that I had recorded on DVR. TLC’s hit show follows the boring-while-scandalous lives of a polygamous family. One husband. Four Wives. A crap ton of kids with daddy and multiple-mommy issues. The current season begins with the family’s abrupt move from Utah to Las Vegas. Prompted by the looming criminal charges filed against the unique clan for their,. . . .um, uniqueness, they packed up their van (and greyhound bus and eighteen-wheeler) and began anew in the City of Sin. To which I say, “Ironic, much?“.
The opening episode chronicles what I like to call Duh-prise!, a series of serious family talks about alarming events that everyone else saw coming. The wives aren’t thrilled when a fellow wife announces a pregnancy? Duh. How’d you see that one playing out Wife Numero Quatro? The children are acting withdrawn because on top of having to explain their dad’s feathered haircut they are now subject to having their “uniqueness” broadcast to every man, woman, and classmate in the nation. Double Duh, and yet Wife #2 looks pretty astounded. To which I say, “All y’all wives, I'm shocked that you're shocked. I mean, really”.
Midway through the show, one of the wives (the blonde one. No, not that blonde one. The other blonde one. Nope, wrong again. Oh, forget about it) began crying as she questioned how their lifestyle affected their children, their jobs, and every other nook and cranny of their world. I was prepared with my standard Duh-prise! jab but stopped short of mocking the wed-happy clan this time. Perhaps I was mastering that ever elusive sensitivity thing. Maybe I felt the woman’s pain as a mom, not sure of how to get the mom part right. Most likely it was the radiant glow of the husband’s feathered locks that entranced me. To which I say, “Sir, your hair is glorious. And disturbing. But- good grief- it’s glorious”.
Ahhhhh. Do you hear the angels sing?
Whatever the reason, I spent next twenty-one minutes trying to justify the family’s odd arrangement. Surely we aren’t all that different. Some of the wives like sweaters. I like sweaters. They live in houses. I’ve only got one, but a roof’s a roof, right? Some of the kids think their parents are whacko. My mom once greeted a group of my school friends at the door in her in MC Hammer pants. The more I thought about it, the more rational a polygamist lifestyle became.
PERKS OF GETTIN’ HITCHED…. And then doing it all over again…and again and again and again and again:
1. No shortage of potential candidates: Should one wife leave, the polygamist husband has a alternate buffet of willing and weird ladies ready to join the Wife Trifecta. From the participating prisoners in Oklahoma Women’s Penitentiary pen pal programs to the ill-dressed ladies not up to par to snag a rich date from the Millionaire Matchmaker, a good wife’s not all that hard to find. Also, I hear Kate Gosselin is on the market for a new village to raise her. . .village. And she's already good at crying while sitting on a couch.
2. Stocked cupboards: No, I’m not talking about soup. As the lone woman in a house of boys, I am faced with a monthly shock of having run out of products for the hygiene of my lady bits. Big, brave men, are scared of the tiny, cotton tools, and of course,offer no help. They will not, under any circumstances, lay their brawny hands on a toxic box of tampons. If forced to run that cursed errand, the male population will act insulted (even injured) because, you know, I begged for a period just to mess with you. With a mountain of sisterwifefriends, though? Biologically synced menstrual cycles will have you all singing the bloody tune around the same time. What are the odds all eight of us forgot to buy our necessities?
3. No Headache? Not a problem: A complaint of many uni-married couples is sexual interaction or- more precisely- the lack thereof. The average American bedroom on a Tuesday night sounds a lot like the site index for WebMD: headache, tendonitis, rabies, headache, gallstones, swine flu. A lone wife is forced to walk that delicate balance between courteous intimacy and blatant lying to avoid the doing of the “it”. I mean, the old headache-exhaustion-fatigue-stomach flu routine only works for about a week. But when your husband hops houses and swaps wives on a daily basis, suddenly Wife, The Sex Doctor need only be on-call every other month.
4. Everyone loves a little math humor: Traditional brides are somewhat restricted in boring, old choices for wedding invitations. While the standard boy-met-girl lingo is more widely accepted, I can’t help but think how much fun creating a wedding as The Newbie Wife could be. The possibilities are endless. From “We Thee Wed” to “Two Become One Fourteen”, you’d surely win in the category of uniqueness.
5. Big money, honey(s): Should the polygamist tribe be blessed with straight teeth and feathered locks (check!), a foray into the entertainment industry is a lucrative venture. What starts as weepy interviews on a reality television show can bloom into big screen celebrity. The Sisterhood of The Traveling Husband could play out on film with all the tears and female hormones of the more recognizable blockbuster hit about friends sharing jeans. The story line would be the same, just with a less attractive male lead… and probably less pants… and definitely less traveling (unless you count a midnight move out-of-state to avoid court proceedings). Never mind. That’s an awful idea. I’d definitely take the denim.
As this week’s train pulled into the station, a polygamist people wrecked and bare to sickly curious onlookers, my list of pros for the television family seemed like a grain of sand at the foot of Cons Mountain. I clicked off the TV and gave my one man a mental high-five (and a passive verbal warning against even thinking about introducing another lady into my house). I spun the little ring around my finger, repeating one thing as I drifted to sleep. Monogamy, I think I love you.