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Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Amazing Race

I'm sitting in bed blogging while my husband and I watch"The Amazing Race." We're both reality show junkies and "The Amazing Race" is one of our favorites. Yea, it would be nothing short of amazing to race around the world but my husband and I are so competitive and intense, we'd be that couple despised by America and on Dr. Phil when the race was over.

This weekend, I felt like I was running "The Amazing Race" minus my partner, airports and amazing places. The first leg of the race started Friday morning with getting the kids off for school around 8:20, I worked some on-line finding science fair project stuff for Little Man and my students I'm tutoring in town. A tutor called because he did not receive his paycheck last week. Hubby cancelled the one mailed earlier in the week and printed a new one. I promised I'd bring his check to him later in the afternoon, one more thing added to Today's To-Do list.

Challenge 1: By 10:30, I was dressed and running for school to give my daughter her lunchbox she forgot this morning. Would you believe her lunch is at 10:40, way too early. After visiting with her in the cafeteria for a few minutes, I was off and running for the store up the road for 2 liter bottles of Pepsi and Coke.

Little Man and one of my tutoring students have decided to do a Coke vs Pepsi Taste Test as their Science Fair Project. The problem we are testing is "Everyone has a favorite between Coke and Pepsi. Do they choose one over the other based on taste alone or are there other factors?" On Thursday, one of my tutoring students and I gave the taste test at his school. I'm combining those tests with today's from Little Man's school, convenient. . . I know.

Challenge 2: I made it back to the school by 11:15, met Little Man in his classroom, and we did a taste test on his class. He had his classmates fill out a questionaire putting their name, their favorite (Coke or Pepsi) and their reason why. He then gave them two Dixie Cups labeled #1 and #2 with each drink. They tasted both drinks and recorded their favorite on the questionaire. We tested people in the office, teachers in the cafeteria and stragglers in the hallway until we ran out of pop. Needing more tests, Little Man and I ran to Walmart around noon for more Pop and Dixie Cups. We were back around 12:30 and testing Class #2 by 1:00. Around 1:30, I was back home gobbling down leftover Tuna Helper and figuring the test results.

The kids at Little Man's school were surprisingly able to identify their favorite pop better then the adults we tested later over the weekend. I thought adults would beat the kids b/c we've been Pop Addicts longer.

Anyway, hubby entered his motorcycle in a car show and wouldn't be home for the kids after school. I had to be at the school where I tutor at 3:15. I promised the tutoring kids that I would help them finish up their science projects. Up until this week, I've never done a Science Fair Project but now I'm making up for it by doing 4 in one week.

Challenge 3: I picked the kids up early from school around 2:30. I ran across town to drop off the teacher's check from this morning, and then flew to meet the tutoring kids. By 3:25, I was knee deep in projects. Even when good, there's nothing more stressful than trying to juggle your own kids at work. Two hours, three projects and a dozen pictures drawn by my kids later, I was back in the car driving to meet hubby for dinner (I had grilled chicken and grilled veggies, good dinner choice) and then home for the official Pit Stop of the night.

Okay, the second leg starts Saturday morning. We made it to the donut store just before they closed as hubby heads for his car show. (Sorry weight loss buddy, I'd need sugar to make it through this day)

Challenge 1: The kids and I met Grandma, Paw Paw, and Great Grandma at the basketball game at 11:00. As Baby Girl warmed up for her game, Little Man and I setup a table at the entrance to the gym to do more taste testing. After the game, I finished the taste test as Little Man went with Paw Paw to Hubby's Car Show and Little Girl went with a friend to a T-Ball Meeting.

Roadblock: (A series of tasks to be completed alone before coninuing the race) By 12:45, I had wrapped up the test at the gym, raced home to get the checkbook for the T-Ball entrance fee and Baby Girl's Birth Certificate that I had forgot this morning and then rescued the puppy from the crate. By 1:00, the dog and I are racing to the T-Ball Meeting. T-Ball is going to be fun. Their team name is Xtreme, their colors are purple and green, and Baby Girl is #1, too cool.

Challenge 3: We left the meeting around 2:30, took the dog to Mom's, and made it home to get ready for the 1st of 3 birthday parties over the weekend. The slumber party starts at 4:00 just enough time for her to shower, eat lunch and pack. After the party, I dropped by Mom's to pick up the dog and hang out for just a bit, and then went home to work on the Science Fair Project.

Little Man made it home from the Car Show and Monster Truck Races around 7:30. We continued to work on the project for an hour, watched TV and then crash in bed for the night's mandatory pit stop.

Third Leg: Sunday morning,

Challenge 1: I gave the dog a bath,

Challenge 2: showered, and

Challenge 3: was out the door to get more Pop, pickup Baby Girl from the sleepover party and drop puppy off with Mom. (Everything is a challenge this morning becuase I have a headache and Hubby is at Car Show)

Challenge 4: We make it to church 1 hour late and tested everyone as they came out of service. Then back in the car running for the car show to drop Little Man off for more Motorcycle and Monster Truck Fun as Baby Girl and I grab presents at Target and run for a hotel across town for Party #2. We ate pizza and then did cake, icecream, and presents.

Roadblock: The kids head for hotel pool as I run to the mall down the road to get a Christmas Dress I've been waiting to go 75% off at Macy's. I grabbed the dress, pruse through the clearance rack, check out and make it back to the party within 45 minutes.

Challenge 5: At 3:30, I finally get Baby Girl out of the pool and in the car heading for Pary #3 (another pool party, I might add) located out of town. It starts at 4:00, we made it there by 4:20. Once again, did the whole cake, icecream, and present thing, then the kids are in the pool.

Challenge 6: At 6:15, we're back in the car racing back to town to pickup Little Man from the car show. Hubby says he'll be out there late because of the Awards Ceremony and then loading everything up afterwards. So, I made it there around 6:45,

Challenge 7: hit the McDonald's drive thru (sorry again weight loss partner) , eat dinner in the car, pickup the puppy at Mom's, and home by 7:30.

Challenge 8: Unloaded the car which looked like we'd been living in it for a month, put everything away, got showers, worked on the project a few minutes (we tested over 100 people this weekend), played with the puppy, brushed teeth and

Challenge 9, 10, 11, 12. . . : Kids in the bed by 9:00. This was definitely the most difficult task of the weekend.

It's after 2:00 AM, I'm still blogging totally wired from left over Pepsi and Coke, wondering how I'll make it through this coming week. Again, too much to do . . . not enough time to do it. No, Birthday parties so far, Thank Heavens!

Hubby's car show is over, thank God! Hubby's motorcycle won Best in Class. I'm trying to be happy for him but really feel that I deserve the flippin' award. I'm the one who raced all over God's creation this weekend.

I'd however settle for a piece of the Great Wall of Chocolate from P.F. Changs or the 7-Layer Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, I'm starving !

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Less is More

I've really thought about a friend's post titled Ignore Your Children. Her post spoke volumes to me especially after the mess I created on Friday night. The trend in parenting these days is everything you do as a parent should totally center around your children. I know that I, but strangely enough not my husband, have felt the need to throw myself into my kids my every waking moment.. Whenever I'm going to the store for groceries, to the mall to check out sales, or anywhere in between, I must take the kids with me or at least ask if they want to go. The answer is usually, "Yes" and so off I go, kids in tow. When I don't offer to take them, I feel guilty. Right now sitting on the couch typing this and watching Amazing Race on TV, both kids have already asked several times if they can sit by me. This is one of the few times I've said no. Usually, I have them on either side fighting over who has more of me. The guilt of not making everything or at least most about them can be intense. Yep, this blog has really got me thinking. Check it out.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday 13th

What a day! Could there have been a worse day, I doubt it.

I went to the school early to help with the Valentine's Day parties. I met another parent in the cafeteria and we proceeded to decorate the cafeteria where Little Man's party would be held. We made a backdrop in pink and red hearts where each 3rd grader will have their picture made with a parent, grandparent, etc... We designed a bulletin board with each 3rd graders' baby picture brought earlier in the week. Oohing and Awing at all those pictures had me remembering when Little Man was in diapers so cute but thank God we're past that. While decorating, Baby Girl's class came in for lunch, she was excited to see me. Little Man's class came a little later as we were finishing up. He didn't eat much of his pizza so I offered to take him to Sonic. I was hungry too. So, the day didn't start off half bad, but just wait.

Mom took off work to come help with the school parties. I went with Little Man and she with Baby Girl. His party was a tea party theme. There were heart shaped center arrangements on each table, place setting and name cards to show everyone where to sit. They had a buffet of veggies, fruits, little heart shaped sandwiches, cookies, cupcakes, punch, and more. For a school cafeteria, it was beautiful. They played soft music for added effect, it was really nice. Each 3rd grader wrote an essay for their guest and stood front and center with a microphone to read it. Little Man also made me a Valentine's Card which read, "I love you Mom. Your as sweet as Cotton Candy. There's no Mom like you . . ." Sounds like a horrible day, huh. Keep reading, it's coming!

After the parties were over, I checked with Mom to see how Baby Girl's party went. She said it was good but Baby Girl was upset that she didn't get a Balloon and stuffed animal like some of the other kids. I had gone into the office earlier in the day and seen all the flowers and balloon bouquets delivered for the kids at the school. I've never liked that part of Valentine's Day even when I was teaching, more show than displays of love. I had no idea that some of the stuff were going to the girls in her class. I mean, they're in Kindergarten for crying out loud!

When walking the kids home, I was rushing towards the house strategically carrying a carton of melting ice cream that I'd taken to her party earlier. I should have trashed it there but didn't. Anyway, Baby Girl began complaining, "Why aren't you walking beside me?" Both the kids do this all the time. They argue over who sits by me at dinner, who holds my hand when walking in the mall, who sits in the front seat of my car, who gets to talk more in conversations, who gets to help with dinner, who gets more hugs and time when they go to bed and on and on and on. Anyway, I got pretty upset.

Talking to hubby at home, I complained that Mom took off work to go to Baby Girl's party and Baby Girl showed her appreciation by complaining that Nana didn't bring a balloon and stuffed animal. Continuing along that train of thought, I began analyzing her personality and which side of the family it must come from. (Thin Ice) Is she so selfish and self-centered that she did not appreciate mom being there? She gets that princess, even diva attitude that the world revolves around her. Going from bad to worse, hubby says that he didn't know why I was getting all worked up, there's not a female out there who doesn't get upset when another gets flowers and she doesn't. I'm so NOT nor have EVER been That Female! Grrrrrr. Truth be known, I never really liked Valentine's Day and now I'm ready to petition it be Ban!

Little Man had basketball games all week long. There were games Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, and Thursday night. You can really tell which kids have played ball before and who has not. Little Man is in the Not category so this afternoon I thought I'd work to improve his basketball skills in the driveway. Where this should have been a time spent enjoying each other while throwing the ball around, I became a drill Sergeant, hell bent on improving his skills so he'd do better in the next game. Ouch, what kind of mom or even person does that make me? If he doesn't care about his ability level but just enjoys being on the team, shouldn't that be good enough for me? Right or probably more wrong, I've always been competitive so I don't really understand him not being the same.

Later that night, Baby Girl went to basketball practice and I took Little Man to his first school dance. This is where it gets really ugly. Proceed with caution, if you ever saw me as a good Mom that image is about to be blasted in the next few paragraphs.

To begin with, Little Man really didn't act interested in going to the dance in the first place. I thought he was just apprehensive because he thought it would be a romantic, slow dancing with girls scene. I knew the dance would be more of games and fun with minimal actual dancing. I was right. There were 3rd thru 6th graders there running around playing and having fun. Alot of kids from Little Man's class were there. I made my way over to the bleachers where some of the parents sat and here comes Little Man. I began suggesting to him, go find your friends, go play, go have fun. He stayed right by my side. One of the kids on his basketball team said "Hi" in passing, Little Man didn't say anything. I got onto him for being rude. He does this alot. We'll see kids in town, they'll say "Hi" and Little Man won't say a word. A couple of girls from his class came over to us sitting in the bleachers and tried to get Little Man up, but he refused. I began insisting in so many words that he take part in the dance festivities which mainly comprised of kids running around acting goofy. He dug in 100 percent and sat by my side.

I was a little embarrassed because he's the only kid clinging to Mama at the dance. Embarrassment faded to flat out mad so I demanded that he have fun or else! Plan A wasn't working so I changed tactics. I told him that I had to go get sister and would be back in a few minutes. With me not there, I thought he'd definitely jump in with Every other kid there. Baby Girl finally got home from basketball practice and really wanted to go with me to the dance. We made it back to the gym within 30 minutes. Little Man is in panic mode now asking "Where have you been, I've looked everywhere for you?" He's made himself sick by now saying he has bathroom issues and wants to go home. Thinking he's faking, we stay at the dance. Baby Girl finds a couple of her friends from class and begins bee bopping around the gym as Little Man and I sit in the bleachers. There were 115 kids at the dance and Little Man could not find one kid to join in with.

I sent him home a few minutes before Baby Girl and I finally left the school. When I walked in the front door, Little Man is hugging the toilet throwing up and wailing. I lost it. Yelling "You've made yourself sick, what is going on, do you not have friends at the school, do you need counseling" and so forth as he stared up at me in total shock. I thought we were so past Kindergarten when his teacher said he had social issues and such. It's been 3 years and a new school since then, he couldn't have the same problems. He is far from a shy, quiet kid. In fact, he's just the opposite! He talks all the time, never shuts up, fights for the center of attention at home, so I just concluded based on tonight's performance that any social problems had to be his fault b/c he wasn't trying at school. I mean, I've done my part trying to help him break through social barriers with my time at the school, things like a swimming pool and 4-wheelers bound to make him the envy of the neighborhood. It's ugly I know but it's the truth.

Here's more ugly truths. Of course I want my kids to fit in and be liked, who doesn't? Only after talking to a friend did I realize the evident. My reaction to this whole dance thing is my own insecurity about not fitting in and being liked. I'm always sec0nd guessing myself with friends wondering if after a conversation or hanging out, they are going to come to their senses and end the friendship. And even more, if I perceive that someone is not interested in being my friend or doesn't invite me in their circle, I fall back to that adolescent desperately wanting to be liked and fit in instead of a more healthy approach of who cares. I'm forced to be a People Pleaser at all costs, and it sucks! If my kids are secure in themselves and do not feel this need, THANK GOD!

As we both cried, I tried to explain this to him and apologize for the night.

I've often thought, "If I only knew then what I know now . . ." Turns out I still don't know a thing!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Let them play Basketball

How can we sing the LORD'S song In a foreign land? Psalm 137:4.

Baby Girl is playing basketball in a church league called Upward Bound. I really enjoy taking her to the practices, I love the parents I've met, and everyone (me, hubby, grandma, paw paw, nana, and grandpa) love her games. She's playing with Pre-K and Kindergartners. They forget to dribble alot and run the wrong way at times. Baby Girl and a few others on her team are actually pretty good for their size. They score 5+ baskets each game, hustle up and down the court, play great defense . . . I just love all of it!

Well almost all of it, I don't love that at halftime a member of the church gets up to "talk about the Lord" and offer everyone salvation tracks. GRRRrrrrr. I'm a believer and the brief sermons crawl all over me, I can't imagine how the nonbelievers feel.

This past game, this guy gets up and talks about "his best friend Jesus". Over 20 long minutes, he miraculously got in all the key Baptist points including; Jesus knocked on the door of his heart (as he knocks on the microphone for full effect), He gave his life to Christ, gave up smoking and drinking b/c you can't do that and be saved at the same time, more God is knocking, the protection from the hand of God will be taken away if you don't answer the door (a little fear factor), God is still knocking as he knocks harder on the microphone to try to recover the attention of his audience. Blah, blah, blah and then last but not least offers the sacred salvation track.

A few Sundays ago at my church, we talked about "How can we sing the Lord's Song in a foreign land?"

This church has no clue. They are no more reaching those people at the game than they are flying to the moon. They might as well be in a foreign land or another planet like Mars. It's not coming across real as they talk about their relationship with Jesus. Dad says that they are not doing it to reach the flock at the game but only for themselves. Them working out their religion, drives me crazy!

They would do so much better by having members of the church come to the games or even better yet practices to hang out and talk with us sinners about our kids, the basketball game, things going on in the community, anything but those damn tracks. After they make a connection, then they can pursue "the Lord's Song." You know, wine and dine first.

Maybe mingling with members is not even needed. Upward Bound has brought all sorts of people from the community to the church to watch their kids play basketball. The gym is always packed with proud parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts cheering on their kids. The league is a total success. I know all of us parents appreciate the work the church has put into this first year of Upward Bound. If I was in the market for a new church, I would definitely consider them for that reason alone. But they have to go off and ruin it with their religious halftime babble, sinner's prayer, and tracks.

My husband did not grow up in church and before me hasn't had much experience with church. He has mentioned that before we were married, he was approached at different times by churches trying to save him. One particular time, he was working in the yard putting up a fence. While driving fence posts into the ground and stringing barbwire in the heat of the summer sun, he had a few from a local church drive up dressed in old-fashioned suits and dresses wanting to "visit and share the Good News with him." If they really wanted to share some good news they would have offered to help him with the fence. HELLO!

Man, they make us all look bad. Are they total idiots? Learn how to "Sing the Song of the Lord in a foreign land!"


Tonight I went to tuck Little Man in for the night. Giving in, I got in bed with him for a few minutes. He asked, "Mom, will you pray with me." He bowed his head and began. "God, thank you for all the food, thank you for my new puppy, thank you for the Spelling Bee (he won the Spelling Bee last week), thank you for a wonderful mom to help me study and for a mean dad that makes me study . . . please help me stop biting my fingernails so I can get an Ipod and not just for that but because it's bad for me. Amen" Then he asked, "Mom, you know what's the last thing I want to do. . . what I asked. . . Grow Up. . . I think it's more funner being a kid." I agreed, kissed his cheek, and then snuggled him up for the night. Sweet boy!