Dellabee and Me

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Fly Away, Little Bird (or at least flap your wings a little bit)

The other day, Desmond asked if he could have some ice cream. I replied sure and then got up to get it for him.

And then it occurred to me that the kid is 9 years-old and can probably get himself some ice cream.

So I sat back down and told him to go ahead and get it himself. He was a bit taken aback but proceeded trepidatiously into the kitchen, much like someone who is lost.

What followed was like an old episode of The Three Stooges. He wasn’t sure which side of the refrigerator was actually the freezer. He couldn’t reach the bowls. He didn’t know where the scooper was, and then he didn’t know how to use it. Through it all, I continually fought the urge to just do it for him. Good grief.

Then it hit me – he had never scooped his own ice cream before. Like, ever.

I have been trying to give the kids more responsibilities since we moved into our new house. They have to put their own laundry away. They have to clean their bathroom. They are expected to clean up after themselves. My son has to bring the dogs outside. Baby steps, right?

But it isn’t just about chores and responsibility. I mean, not really. It’s about them growing up.  Not just me letting them grow up, but also encouraging them to grow up.

A few years ago a bird made her nest on our front porch, right near the door. If we peeked out the window closest to the door, we could see the wobbly baby bird heads that would disappear as soon as the door opened. They grew quickly – it was a matter of weeks before the nest was crowded with fully-feathered birds. One day, I happened to be watching the nest through the window when the mother bird flew off. In her exit, she seemed to flap her wings a little harder than usual, which jostled all the babies out. They fluttered off clumsily behind her.

Except for one.

He ended up hopping off into the grass. A heated lord-of-flies-esque scene quickly unfolded: the baby hiding in the shrubs, the blue jays diving low, the mother bird watching and diving at the blue jays, and I swear on my life a snake popped its head up through the top of another bush like a fucking puppet. We intervened, capturing the baby in a box and putting her back up in the nest so she could try that exit one more time.

The nest was empty within hours.

I decided that my wings need to be flapping a little bit harder so my baby birds realize they can fly.

So tonight, as I typed this, my kids are unloading the dishwasher together. For the first time. Like, ever. There were some initial complaints. I had to force myself to stay seated instead of jumping up to help every time one of them said “but I don’t know where this one goes!” Eventually, the dishes were put away in mostly the right places.

The kids seemed to get a little bit taller in those 10 minutes, I think.

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A Brief Check-in

And like that, it’s summer.

Being a school employee, I look forward to having summers off. Then I remember that I am not actually “off,” but actually just morphing into SAHM mode. I suck at stay-at-home-momming.

Actually, I think I am pretty average at it.

Sometimes I am on top of my game. I play with the kids, do projects with them, bring them to cool places, take them out to eat. Other times, well, I spend WAY too much time on my computer and let the kids sort of Lord-of-the-Flies the day away.

Summers are nuclear hot here in the South. The kind of hot that makes it hard to breathe – where you nearly die starting your car and waiting for the AC to kick in. Summers in the South are spent largely indoors. This has been a shift for me – having grown up in upstate NY and then living in Oregon for about 10 years, my summers had been spent outside. Staying inside in the summer was always kinda lame. But now, it’s a matter of survival. I am okay with staying inside. The kids are too.

In fact, the kids might be too okay with staying inside. D is nursing a killer technology addiction right now. All he wants to do is play frigging Mine.craft on the computer or his tablet. For the first few days of summer break – when I was still working my required teacher workdays – he didn’t even get out of his pajamas. I’m afraid he’s going to turn into Cartman from South Park.

E, well, she wants to do stuff. All the time. Art projects, exploring outside, making “museums” out of found objects. She longs for a friend in our new neighborhood, which sadly appears to consist entirely of older semi-retired folks. I sent our contact information to school with her to give to her friends so we could hopefully get some playtime scheduled, but nobody responded and we still haven’t heard from anyone. I did sign her up for summer dance classes, which have just started. I might need to find her another camp or something before she drives me batshit crazy.

The kids are switching schools again. Our new house is in a different school zone than the one they were attending – after we moved, Doug just drove them back and forth to school instead of switching them mid-year. I hope that when they start their new school in the fall, they will make some nearby friends.

I have started my part-time job providing in-home counseling. I messed up last year and didn’t elect to have my paychecks broken up over 12 months instead of 10, which means I will not get paid again until the end of August. Although I originally pursued the counseling gig as a way to keep from getting bored with my regular job, I am glad to have it now as back-up money. It’s good, I can set my own schedule and pick and choose who I work with and when.

The house is great. It is feeling more like home. We haven’t done anything to it yet, but painting is definitely on the horizon. We had a storm a few days ago with c-r-a-z-y wind that knocked a couple of our trees down. The house a few doors down from us had one of their giant trees totally upended, lying across the driveway. Glad that wasn’t our house.

Meh, not much else going on around here – or inside my head, for that matter. Just chilling for now.

 

 

 

Getting It Right

I have a history of getting things wrong.

A former boyfriend used to refer to it as “Jennifer’s Social Follies,” this tendency of mine to miss an important detail, say the wrong thing, or otherwise be inappropriate. For example, I once left a voicemail joking about the recipient being “off clubbing seals” at the number of someone’s girlfriend who was actually an Inuit indian – I did not know it was her number.

I have shown up at birthday parties on the wrong day, or without gifts at parties that expressly stated “no gifts” just to be the only one who didn’t actually bring a gift. I arrived at  my son’s orchestra recital at 6:10, believing it started at 6:30, and walked into the auditorium to find his fellow violinists had been playing on-stage since 6:00.

I attended the Mother’s Day Tea at Ella’s school wearing khaki capri pants and flip-flops only to see every.other.mother. in crisp linen pants and hats, wearing chunky jewelry and freshly blown-out hair.

I swear too loudly. I wear the wrong shoes. I say “jesus” in exasperation over and over again in front of highly religious people. I say things that are accidentally offensive. I let secrets slip. I have had friendships terminated on the other end without knowing what I did. I am witty, but also impulsive – not a good combination.

I get it wrong alot.

It’s funny, sure, but it is also frustrating. Embarrassing. I often feel like I am in the wrong place, like a coffee mug stuck in with the wine glasses, or a dancer just a few beats out of step and always, ALWAYS trying to catch up.

As I sat on the stage at Listen to Your Mother, trying not to freak out because my girdle was folding over onto itself, the lights warmed my face and my castmates’ voices strummed a gentle rhythm in my brain, and I knew that I was exactly where I wanted to be for the first time in a very long time. When it was my turn to read to the audience, I moved to the microphone like it was something I’d done hundreds of times before. Everything was just the way it should have been – the laughter, the people, the mood.

Turns out, it is possible to drink wine from a coffee mug – and some actually prefer it.

It was truly an amazing evening.

Thanks, LTYM-RDU for helping me to finally, FINALLY get it right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epHTXmnZNsY

F.O.

I really, really like to swear. When I was 5 I heard “peckerhead” for the first time and that was it – true love. Although, now that I think about it, I was confused because I thought it had something to do with Woody Woodpecker. But I digress.

When I was around 7, a boy with a very messy over-bite named Eddie would sometimes walk home from school with me and he knew all sorts of curse words. He didn’t know what they meant, but he could say them with such expression. He’d wrinkle his freckled forehead and all sorts of obscenities flew out of mouth, along with copious amounts of saliva. Good times.

As we all know, swearing after having children takes on a whole new level of illicitness. When the oldest was an infant, I tried to reign in the cussing because I felt like it was gross to drop an F bomb while holding the most perfect infant on the planet. But that was hard. And as he got older, mistakes that warranted a “shit!” occurred with much more frequency.

I really didn’t want the kids to swear. I blame it on modern parenting, really. We use our words and our inside voices, there really is no room in there for calling that guy who cuts you off in traffic an asshole. Plus, well, let’s be honest here – my career had been built upon working with scores of badly behaved children and they ALL swore.

I needed a solution that would work for everyone – my need to sputter profanity and the kids’ need to avoid it. In a moment of genius-like inspiration, I recalled a game I used to play with an old boyfriend in which we would jokingly call each other curse words but only by their first letter (I’m sure you can understand why that relationship worked so well, and why it ended).

That is what I started doing. Doug started doing it too. At last, I could express my true feelings in a sem-safe way. In the car – you mother effer. In the kitchen – ahhh, that b is hot. In the bathroom – what the eff?

I can’t lie – I smugly thought I had bucked the system. Ha, stupid other parents didn’t know anything – I had figured out how to swear in front of my kids and they didn’t even know it.

Then came the day when the 4 year-old, quite appropriately, said “F.O. kitty. Go away.”

I laughed about it but felt uneasy. I thought I had gotten around this? He should not be mimicking my fake swearing. WTF?

The next week, I picked him up from preschool and chatted softly with the teacher while Ella dozed in my arms. A foster child had recently been placed with us – at this point we were doing therapeutic foster care and this was our first child. Desi’s teacher, like most people, was really interested in our fostering experience, and when I mentioned the older age of this child the teacher nodded.

“I thought maybe you had an older one now, because Desi said the funniest thing…”

Oh s, I thought.

Well, every week the kids learned a new letter and one of the activities they did was create a list of words beginning with that week’s letter. They continued the list throughout the week, so that by Friday it was quite long.

This week’s letter? F.

Desi had his own word for F. He had said “I have one. F.O.”

His teachers were puzzled, and asked him what he meant. He replied,

“You know, you say it when someone is annoying you. ‘F.O.'”

I felt my cheeks redden as Ella suddenly weighed 1000 pounds and sweat broke out on my forehead. I laughed a little and agreed that this was definitely – OBVIOUSLY – related to the new foster child and not at all in any way related to my parenting choices whatsoever.

Then I got the F out of there.

Celebrating Motherhood

This is an old post from my Myspace blog (saywhat?) that was featured in True North Parenting back in 2008.

I have been dabbling in the writing field and have had one article published in a local parenting magazine here in Bend. The same magazine is accepting submissions for their next 2 issues; the theme of each is “celebrating motherhood” and “celebrating fatherhood.” And I feel really compelled to submit something for this.

But I realize that I am unsure how to celebrate motherhood. Although I love my kids, I often feel like I am missing out on something other mothers know about. I do not wake up every morning reveling in the minute details of my parenting life. In fact, I often wake up wanting to sleep just a little bit longer. I tiptoe around the house hoping to keep it just me as long as possible, hoping to rediscover that part of myself I knew before I grew a few people in my womb.

The thing about motherhood is it is not finite, not measurable, not a “phase.” And that may be what I struggle with – because it is a permanent shift in my reality. This is not something I am dabbling in, like waiting tables or dating seriously disturbed men. This is not a persona I am assuming but instead a new identity.

How can I still be who I was before I had children, if becoming a mother has changed nearly everything about that person? And why am I fighting so hard to keep her around when it is clear that she isn’t even here anymore?

I have never been great at good-byes. I grieved for weeks when I traded a stuffed horse to a neighbor girl, even though the Smurf I got in return was a far better deal. I hate to see the old me go, not just the me who was 40 pounds lighter with fewer stretch marks and no life insurance, but the me who could hold conversations with strangers about world issues, the me who decided at 27 to get a Master’s degree in a full-time program while also working full-time.

If that me is gone, who is this in her place? This cranky woman who gets a shower every other day and is burdened with the hair to show it. This lonely gal who is so afraid of meeting other moms because they might not like her, or she might say the wrong thing and offend someone, or she might see her mothering mistakes magnified in the eyes of those who limit television and only feed their offspring organic food from local farms. This confused lady who feels conflicting emotions about her role all the time.

Maybe that is why I am struggling to “celebrate motherhood”, because in doing so I am also celebrating the end of all that I knew to be true about myself and the world around me. Becoming a mother meant I was willing to submerge myself in the cold, unfamiliar waters of putting myself second to meet all the needs of someone else – and the risks involved in growing a human are great. I let go of all my comfortable knowledge about how things should be, and CHOSE to be responsible for a baby (now 2 babies) with no way of knowing the outcome.  More often than not I totally have no idea what I am supposed to be doing, and not having rules to follow or parameters around me makes me feel vulnerable and, yes, incompetent.  It is this incompetence that leads to my ambivalence, and my longing for my old life. Because then I was only responsible for me and I was able to clearly measure how well I was doing at living my life, and there was so much less at stake if I failed.

Perhaps that is what should be celebrated then? Not motherhood itself, but the courage it takes to throw off the towel of your old self and jump face first into that crazy abyss where there are no guides, where the rewards are small and the risks great, where fear often supersedes joy – but that joy is better than anything I knew in my child-free days before I could add “mother” to my resume.

For me, motherhood is not rainbow-filled days of discovery and Zen-like contentment.  Motherhood is getting up in the middle of the night for the 5th time because my little boy has an earache and the heating pad keeps shutting itself off, and I am tired and frustrated with the crying and feeling powerless because it is 4am on a Sunday and there is nothing else I can do to make him feel better, but I keep trying and keep getting up hour after hour.  The old me would keep sleeping. Motherhood is saying “no” and listening to crying and whining even though it would be so much easier and quieter to say yes. Motherhood is listening to the same joke for 20 minutes and laughing at the punch line each time because I hate to see his little face fall in disappointment. Motherhood is looking at this body in disgust while also marveling at its ability to reproduce and lactate and hold a clingy 20-pounder for hours on end.

Motherhood is my life now. And it is terrifying and desperate and exciting and dull. And I understand right now as I write this that I will never be the old me again, and I am okay with that. The old me did not know my children, or the way our hearts are intertwined like the roots of a tree. The old me did not see the chubby cheeks under those bright blue eyes smiling up at the new mommy me. The old me did not feel those kicks and rolls from within that were but a small sign of the amount of activity to come. The old me could not know and live with the fear of something, anything, happening to one of my babies, but the new me knows this fear and accepts it as a part of the reality of motherhood.

I do not know if all mothers feel the way I do. But I do know that we all face the same decisions, fears, and losses. We all give up some part of who we are to make room for our kids in our lives. We do this because it is the heart of motherhood, not a conscious choice but a shift in what we thought was important to make room for something bigger than ourselves. This willingness, this sacrifice, is what we can and should celebrate.

Although it was my choice, my children have defined me as a mother. Without them I would not be who I am today. A woman who loves her kids and tries to do her best. A chick who knows she is not perfect and accepts that she is going to make mistakes. A gal who gets frustrated and burned out with the daily grind of parenting a toddler and a preschooler, yet still laughs at her little boy’s stories and her baby’s temper. A mother with a full heart.

 

Random Things I Am Going to Tell You

So, we bought a house. It is nice, big, on over 7 acres, and covered heavily in wallpaper.

In case you didn’t know this, moving sucks. And this was my 8th move in nearly 9 years so I should be either immune to its suckness or really good at it, but I am neither. The packing up of one place in order to shuffle it over to another place and unpack it is about as fun as typing with wet nail polish – messy and frustrating. This move was the 2nd hardest one I have ever done, coming in second to the 6-day, cross-country move we did with a 2 and 4 year-old a few years back.

My new house is in a semi-unpacked state right now. We are unpacked enough to function kinda normally (ie. the beds have sheets on them), but there are boxes and bulging garbage bags littering every room. It’s a slice of chaos.

After this move, I learned that the secret to producing stink-free laundry in my front loader is vinegar. FYI, I’ve had that washer for 5 years. That is 5 years of random, inexplicably smelly clean clothes. Thank god for google, and all those earthy people out there.

I’ve decided that I hate anyone who says “hate is a really strong word” when I say that I hate something. I suspect that the same people probably regularly use words like “amazing,” “incredible,” and “fabulous” to describe salad dressing or a new bathrobe.

I think I am becoming jaded. We went to a mall and there was a goose stupidly standing in the middle of the parking lot. Ella and I wanted to rescue him, of course, but as you may know you can’t really do anything with a goose without his permission, so we gave up and headed toward the entrance. I turned before we passed through the doors to check on the goose and saw 2 boys, maybe late teens/early 20s, walking toward the goose with what I took to be menacing looks on their faces. I stood a little longer to see what they would do, and was pleasantly surprised to see them walk by the goose, pause and say something, laugh, then continue on. Then I realized how little hope I have for the world, because I really believed that they were going to attack and destroy the goose. This is sad, isn’t it?

I am not a smiler. Please don’t think this means I am unhappy, angry, suicidal, or surly. It only means that I am thinking about something and not aware that you are watching me, because if I know someone is watching me I try to at least not frown. Interpret as you will, of course. Some of us walk around with gigantic grins plastered across our gob holes, and I say rock on if that is you. I will be over here, not smiling but not frowning and remembering how often this was a problem for me when I worked at McDonald’s (and then I will be frowning at the memory). If you see someone not smiling, and you feel compelled to comment on it by saying something like “you okay?” or “why so serious?” or, my least favorite, “come on, smile!! It can’t be that bad!”, I would like for you to consider the possibility that that person has just received terrible news, or can’t find their dog, or maybe they are trying not to shit their pants. Asking them to smile seems kinda selfish, doesn’t it?

Finally, this is a public service announcement. Ladies, you can and should trim your nose hairs.

I Already Forgot What I was Going to Call This

The youngest child lost her first tooth on Friday. And then the tooth was promptly lost in the midst of packing and moving. And then the tooth was forgotten about until Monday, when I suggested that she write a note for the Tooth Fairy explaining what had happened and then leave the note under her pillow.

I hit the ATM on the way home from work Monday afternoon, but I couldn’t get anything smaller than a $20. So I took it, figuring I’d stop at the gas station or something just to break it.

Between the bank and my house, which is about a 4 minute drive, I forgot to stop at the gas station.

So, that night after Ella wrote her note, I remembered that I only had a $20. Shit. There was no way I was heading out at 9pm – here is your evidence of my commitment to good parenting, if it is inconvenient for me it isn’t happening.

I decided, after she fell asleep, to go slip the $20 under her pillow. I rationalized that: a. this was her first lost tooth b. this was our last first lost tooth and c. we had forgotten about this for 3 whole days. A $20 seemed reasonable after all.

Only when I went in to her room I could not locate the note. Then I panicked because I had only told her to write it, I never verified that she had done it. What if she hadn’t? Would it blow the whole premise of the Tooth Fairy if she just randomly left the money with no note explaining the lack of a tooth? So I came back out and asked my husband if he had seen the note, and he hadn’t.

Then I forgot about it again. I am a terrible parent.

Tuesday morning, my husband said that he had spotted the note somewhere on her bed. I grabbed the $20 and blasted it with some gold glitter (to make it “fairy” like) and headed to her room. But she met me halfway, clutching the note in her hand with a dejected look on her face.

“I guess she didn’t come,” she said plaintively.

“Wait, where did you look?” I replied, taking the note from her and cupping the money in my hand behind it. She walked back to her bed, where I began flinging pillows around until I exclaimed “Oh, here it is, I think I found something, is this…okay, here is something” and simultaneously wedged the glittery money between her mattress and headboard. She pounced on it and happily purred about how she now had more money than her brother.

I had to take a picture of the gap between her teeth so I could post it on Facebook for my parents to see. Then she insisted that I take another picture of her posing with the glitterfied $20, which I did.

So, when you see the picture on Facebook of my gap-toothed daughter smiling next to a golden $20, please know that I am not one of those overindulgent parents who really thinks a tooth is worth $20. Hell no. I’m just the slacker mom who forgot to get change after forgetting about the tooth for 4 nights in a row.

 

 

Stupid is not a curse word

When I first started working with kids, I quickly learned how important it was to speak their “language” in order to connect with them. This usually meant saying “crap” at some point in our first few exchanges. Cliche, but it worked almost every time.

Being a lifelong fan of cursewords, I always viewed language as just one more means to communicate – I thought words were just words, each one no more powerful or important than another. Saying “crap” to an angry 14 year-old was not high on my list of things I cared about. Slowly “crap” was joined by “oh my god” and “jesus” and later “shit.” Each one had its place in my spoken rotation.

So it might come as a bit of a surprise when I tell you that despite my highly liberal worldview, I am actually a fairly conservative parent. To be fair, my kids are only 8 and 6, and I assume it is harder to be conservative with older kids. But still, I have always been very careful about what my kids watched, listened to, or overheard. They almost exclusively watched PBS for the first few years of their lives because I wanted to protect them from the commercials that saturate the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. They have never watched a rated R movie. I usually have NPR on in the car, although I also listen to Top 40 stations and my daughter loves Ke$ha (super great!…not).

When the kids were small, we forbid the use of words like “stupid” or “dumb” because I hated to hear them come from my angels’ sweet little mouths. It sounded so crass to hear little kids shouting about “farts” or “dumb heads.” I didn’t want my children to be like those children, because I was a much better parent than that. Right?

Over the last few years, I came to realize that “stupid” is not actually a curse word. It’s not. In fact, some times it is the perfect adjective for how I feel when I make a public mistake, or how someone’s hair looks, or when someone says something that is completely wrong. So the moratorium on “stupid” ended.

Just in time for me to begin working in the public school system. And now I flounder because so many parents have vilified words that are not actually curse words, because they find them to be unkind or rude or not in agreement with their own beliefs. It makes it nearly impossible for me to make the connections I used to make with language because now using any of those words results in gasps and shocked faces and accusations of “you said a baaaaadddd word!”

The truth is, teaching our kids that words like “dumb,” “stupid,” and “hate” are bad words is actually a really dumb idea. Why?

Because they aren’t bad words.

This is such a waste of our parenting energy, and I know parents are really working on this because of the strong reactions I see in 2nd graders when they hear the word “stupid.” I’m not saying just go ahead and encourage whatever words they want to use – I am saying let’s not empower words that don’t really deserve it. There are plenty of stupid things out there, and dumb mistakes, and movies that people hate. This, my friends, is a fact. To deny it is unhealthy.

In fact, I daresay our interests in appearing “classy” and well-bred are some of the main contributors to the increase in behavior problems and aggression in children. Every day, I teach children about feelings and problem-solving and how to get along, but every time I have asked a class “is it okay to be angry?” they always say “NO!”

What?

When we try to suppress in our children the things we, as adults, find unattractive, we are denying them the basic right to express themselves. We are teaching them that these feelings – and their descriptors – are wrong, and it doesn’t take a psychologist to recognize that when you teach a child that their human characteristics are not okay you are creating a ton of inner turmoil and shame for that child. None of us want to do that, do we?

Parenting decisions can’t be based on aesthetics. Our children are not simply reflections of our parenting – they are also themselves, little people who will grow into big people. They are not us.

So, go ahead and teach your kids what is right and what is wrong. Help them to understand that there are curse words and kind words and “magic” words. Tell them that it isn’t nice to call someone “stupid” or “dumb.” Tell them that “hate” is a strong word and they should use it carefully. But don’t teach them that these are bad words, because they are not.

To say otherwise is just stupid.

Listen To Your Mother 2013

Are you familiar with Listen To Your Mother?

Well, I wasn’t until a a few years ago. Then one of my most favorite bloggers ever began writing about it and talking about it on Facebook. Intrigued, I kinda paid attention. The performances are on Youtube – check them out. It is a really cool celebration of motherhood, and women, and writing.

This year, I was thrilled to learn that there would be a local production of Listen To Your Mother. So I pulled one of my pieces from my blog, edited it a bit, and submitted it for the show.

Then I freaked the fuck out.

What was I doing? ACK. WHAT WAS I DOING?

Let’s get it out in the open, friends – this little blog is nothing more than my public diary. I am not a writer, much less someone who enjoys speaking in front of large groups of people.

I was invited to audition.

I tried to practice by reading in front of my husband, but for reasons I can’t explain this made me very, very nervous. I tried reading to myself while I was driving to the audition. I parked on the street 20 minutes early and read to myself while trying not to look like a stalker.

When I read during the audition, I don’t know what happened other than I felt like I left my nerves in the car. I felt okay. I reminded myself how often I read in front of people (I read to K-2 classes on a daily basis). I kept in mind why I wrote what I did, what I was trying to express in that piece, and hoped to emphasize the right words. It was good, especially when the women producing the show laughed in the right places and one reached for a tissue to blot her tears.

I was accepted into the show.

I am not a big “joiner.” I feel really uncomfortable with commitment. But this…wow…I couldn’t be prouder or more excited and terrified at the same time.

I am doing something that scares me – and I love myself for it.

 

 

 

End of the Weekend

ella bestdayever

It was a glorious weekend.

The weather was warm on Friday, providing a peek at spring’s return. Friday night we picked up pizza from our new favorite pizza place and settled in to watch Rise of the Guardians together – only our neighbors ended up renting it too, so they invited the kids over to watch it with them while Doug and I watched it at our house. Yes, we like kids’ movies.

Saturday started off chilly and wet but the weather guy was saying it would be over 70 outside. After a breakfast of Pillsbury orange rolls (yes, all sugar and various bad things but goodgawd they are YUM), we headed off to a theater in the northern part of the city. I had won 4 free passes to an early screening of The Croods by entering a contest through gofobo. This was really cool! We got to see the movie for free – in 3D, people! – and we saw it before it is even out in theaters yet. This meant the security was kind of strict – lots of warnings about taking pictures and cell phones being off and people milling about in matching blazers. At one point during the movie, one of them came up to me and demanded to see my cell phone because she had seen a flash and thought I was taking pictures. Um, no. It was actually the damn light-up shoes that my daughter was wearing – every time she shifted around it created a flash in our aisle. Note to self – don’t wear light-up shoes to the movies.

(By the way, if you get the chance to see The Croods I would definitely recommend it. The animation and cinematography were amazing. The characters were funny. The animals were adorable. But it was about cavemen and the shifting of tectonic plates that destroyed what was Pangea, so if you aren’t a big believer in science/evolution you might want to skip it and also stop reading my blog because I am going to offend you.)

After the movie, we walked around an open-air shopping center. The weather was gorgeous. The kids played in the grassy area and the fountain. We went out for lunch (Applebee’s, meh) and headed to Costco where we spent MUCH more than we had planned to because our renewal was due. $110. Ouch. We recovered with Costco smoothies for the drive home, and then the kids went to spend the night with a friend of mine – our kids are the same ages and get along really well and my friend actually likes hosting sleepovers. So, kid-less, we rented some R movies from the Redbox and enjoyed the swearing and violence without constantly cringing and lowering the volume. Good times.

Sunday morning, I folded laundry and watched The Irish in America while drinking my coffee and eating blueberry Pop-Tarts. Picked up the kids. Fed them lunch. Then E and I headed to a friend’s birthday party, while D chose to stay home with Doug to play video games and watch nature shows on tv and, I suspect, silly videos about farting animals on Youtube.

The party had a Tangled theme, with beautiful decorations and even a few real princesses came to visit. E, though, was not really herself. I think she was tired. Plus, she is going through a little insecure phase where she feels uneasy around new people and worries about how she looks, which makes large birthday parties really hard for her. She did okay.

(Did I mention that we are buying a house? Not the short sale I mentioned before – we backed out of that deal within a week or so of submitting the offer, when we learned that the chances of the sale going through were pretty slim since the foreclosure process had already begun. We found another house in the same area. We are supposed to close at the end of March.) So on our way home from the party, E and I drove past the new house to see what was blooming in the yard.

At home, the kids did baths and had dinner and hung out until bedtime. And that is when D burst into tears because he regretted not going to the party, and also because the weekend was over and he felt like we should have done more because our weekends go by too fast.

MORE?

Seriously, our weekends are rarely this busy. We all like to be home.

D does this every week. He cries on Sundays because he dreads the start of another week. He also cries when I wake him up for school on Monday morning. This has been going on since he was in kindergarten.

It was a fantastic weekend. I am ready for bed. D isn’t ready for it all to be over. Sigh.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

fourleaf clovers

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