Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jeff Gallooly? What's the art teacher's name?

Last night my husband and I had the opportunity to go out.  Now that our girls are in 6th and 7th grade, we are able to go out more.  This is the first time we've left them at night for so long; however, we were less than 1.5 miles away.  Anyway . . .

We went to a fundraiser at a church.  It was Trivia Night--bring your own food and beverages.  Being an "average" mom, I bought some humus, pita chips, and chocolate Chex mix.  There were people walking in with coolers, multiple bottles of wine, crock pots.  One person had so much that they required a WAGON to carry it all in.  Nonetheless, we had a great time with people we never met before (my friend who organized the event was stuck at home w/ her sick kids).

Fortunately I was able to pull my weight; it was my husband who frightened me.  First of all, my very intelligent husband probably could not tell you what our children's art teacher is named, but he is pretty good with celebrity  I was a little nervous when he got not one, but TWO questions correct involving country music singers (sorry--I really don't like country music).  However, I was very frightened when he was able to name Tonya Harding's boyfriend who was part of that conspiracy to take out Nancy Kerrigan.  Jeff Gillooly . . . in case you were wondering.

BTW--guess where our team finished.  You guessed it--right in the middle!  Being average is good!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Man's Bad Day

I was volunteering in my son's class this morning, so I thought I would treat myself to a coffee before I got there.  I went inside, and a young man (about ?25? or so) came in after me.  While they were toasting my bagel (like I could just get a coffee), the man asked for some ice-cap something or other.  The lady behind the counter informed him that the machine to make those was broken.  If you could have seen the look of disappointment on his face.  He left . . . empty-handed.

I was walking back to my car when I heard a pretty big "crunch."  The poor guy ran into the business's light pole on the way out from ordering the drink they didn't have.  So you thought your day started out rough?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grocery Excitement

Being an "average" mom, it is the little things in life that get me excited.  Today I went to the grocery store and bought $195 for $130.  OK--some of those moms who claim they can go and get cart-fulls of food for a dollar and change . . . good for you.  Don't know how you do it.  I saved a third on this grocery trip--but it took an hour of planning at home and 1.5 hours in the store.  I think my time is worth about $20 an hour!  Yeah !!!

My husband would argue that I could have gone even cheaper if I skipped the organic milk and produce.  Perhaps--but I'm trying to be "greener" this year.  I'd argue w/ him that we save more money eating organic foods at home than the $20 he spent on cheeseburgers and fries for himself and the kids this weekend.  Don't get me wrong--I LOVE dining out.  I am trying very hard to do less of it.  I usually give up all restaraunt/drive-thrus during Lent.  It's tough . . . especially since we will start the perpetual taxi driving for the kids and their sports.  Thank goodness that part is just a couple months a year.

Anyway . . . since I saved $65 on groceries, can I go spend it at Target on Thursday?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Team Try-Outs

Last night was try-outs for my two daughters and the school volleyball teams.  We discussed this last year, but I had the discussion this year about try-outs.  Both my girls are in that middle 50% of sports (imagine that . . . my daughters are the median volleyball players).  They could get placed either on the A team (with a really good tryout) or the B team (for anything less than really good).  I hope they both make the B team.  The B team is more about acquiring skills and having fun; the A team is about winning . . . a acquiring skills.  I'd rather they be one of the better players on the B team than the worst player on the A team.  When they are in 8th grade, maybe the goal of the A team would be better.  The girls agreed with this.

My sixth grader had her tryout first.  Her sister tried psyching her out by telling her how the judges don't care about anything . . . even if you get hurt.  Drama!  Fortunately the younger had enough sense to tune the drama queen out.  She came out as happily as she went it.  It was volleyball.  She had fun.  Let's see what happens.

My eldest, of course, was upset the whole way home because she was "the worst" at overhand serves.  What happened to you thought the B team was a better fit for you?  You were supposed to be OK with this.  You said so.  You cannot take it back!

We'll see what unfolds when the results are revealed in the next day or so. . .

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Facebook--Pandora's Box?

After investigation, we discovered that at thirteen you can have a Facebook account.  I was approached about this since my daughter has been thirteen for "almost two weeks now."  Our daughters each have an email account.  They know that at any time my husband or I may log on and read anything and everything that comes in or goes out.  They think we have spyware that can retrieve deleted emails, so they better not delete anything.  (We may have this---I don't have any idea about spyware).  We periodically review the technology agreement they sign for school (private, religious school) and discuss scenarios of do's and do not's.  But Facebook is a whole other issue.

I really struggle with this.  I flat out think she's too young; however . . .I see this as her social outlet.  As kids, we'd walk to and from school with our friends, go to the ice cream place, talk on the phone, etc.  This weekend I put 40 miles on the car just driving to and from friends' houses for sleepovers.  They kids are bussed to school.  Again with Facebook, we reviewed a bunch of things--especially that EVERYTHING you put on-line could be there PERMANENTLY.  I am the only adult allowed to be on her account.  She may not post pictures on her account w/o my approval.  I have made her password the same as her email password.  She knows I will be checking.  She knows that I will delete inappropriate entries and defriend inappropriate friends.  Even after these discussions, I know something will pop up.  (Like that I know she logged on at midnight at a sleepover this weekend and was having a conversation with a friend).  Have I just opened a Pandora's box?  Or would it be worse to keep that box closed?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homework battles

It's one of those high maintainence nights for homework.  It is always with the oldest.  My other daughter is so low maintainence in comparison.  It is now 7:14.  She's been working on homework for over two hours, and still has more to go.  In addition, she needed me to check both her math and her vocabulary.  The former required several minutes of one-on-one instruction. 

I get aggravated with homework in general.  My children, like nearly 50% of the kids at their school, get on the bus at 7 a.m. and get off at 4 p.m.  The first thing they do when getting off the bus is snack.  If they think they have an hour of homework (which could mean 30 minutes to two hours), they are required to do it.  Often this starts to run into dinner time.  Then there's dinner--which is our family's time to connect.  Now it is 6:30--so hit the showers and finish up any remaining homework.  Snack again.  WHEN DO THEY GET TO BE A KID?!?!?

I am a little callous, though.  Often times my oldest can anticipate upcoming homework, but NEVER works ahead on the weekend.  If she'd spend 15 min. Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday--boy would her week go so much more smoothly.  She argues that the weekend is her time to rest.  How can I dispute that when there is "stuff" every night until bedtime.  Cannot wait to add volleyball games and practices to this mix.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Potty-training Revisited

I had to chuckle as I read a friend's Facebook comment about potty-training her son.  I had two daughters who were potty-trained by three.  Both would have been potty-trained by two; however, each time we hit that milestone, we had a move and I wasn't ready.  I believe if you miss that narrow window of opportunity, you've got to wait six months until they are ready again. 

ANYWAY . . . parents with three-year-olds in diapers were lazy and not willing to deal with the mess of potty-training.  This is what I thought before I discovered I was just an average mom.  This is what I thought until God, with His infinite wisdom and gentle sense of humor, gave me my son. 

I AM going to put it in writing--boys are different.  He is now a healthy six year old, but he is lucky he survived the potty training YEARS.  I started when he was about 2 or so.  No luck.  Occassional coincidental pee-pee on the potty.  The summer before he turned three we did all the techniques.  The rewards.  The flooding with salty snacks and juice where you carry the pile of dry underwear outside with you and change as soon as he was wet.  At three years old, I tried the pull-up thing (do pull-ups work for anyone as a potty-training tool?).  Then we went to only underwear during the day.  He would #1 or #2 and just sit on my couch in his own . . . "stuff." 

My husband, who was no help during this process, made a mistake and looked at me one day as I'm shampooing "stuff" from the couch.  He said, "Well, everyone says boys are tougher to train."  That was one of those moments where you head spins around three times before you start speaking with foam coming out the corners of your mouth and steam coming out your ears.  "I'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR TWO YEARS NOW!!!!"  He never commented on the process again.

Good luck to my friend.  I hope her techniques are more effective.  Did I mentioned that my six-year-old kindergartener got off the bus today, had a snack, and peed his pants while running to the bathroom?  Like I said--the potty-training YEARS.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Dreaded Science Project

The dreaded science project's due date is looming closer.  My husband and I (well . . . really I'm the only one who monitors) have the belief that as long as our kids are making A's & B's, we don't micro-manage their homework.  The instant a "C" pops up, we (well . . . really I'm the only one who steps in) start closely monitoring everything.  This philosophy brings me back to the science project.

I told my seventh grader BEFORE Christmas break even started that she was required to work one hour on her science project.  I know--mean mom.  She needed to spend sixty minutes during her two week break to make our lives easier down the line.  Guess what?!?!?  She did only an hour . . . and that was because I nagged.

to finish later

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Brilliant Kindergartener

I remember sitting through the Kindergarten orientation for my oldest.  I was a teacher.  My child was brilliant.  I was the stay-at-home mom who worked with and read to my girls all the time.  I knew these teachers would be amazed at my child.  The presentation continued, and the teacher mentioned that the children who were already reading . . .  WHAT?!?!?  Hold everything!  A child going into kindergarten already reading!?!?  There must be some mistake.  My brilliant child isn't anywhere close to reading.
The reality--my child is . . . you guessed it . . . average.

Fastforward seven years.  My youngest child is reading in kindergarten.  Is it because of my brilliance as a teacher and all of the work I've invested in him?  No.  He's just ready to read earlier than his sisters.  I feel like I've done less with him (formally) than I have his sisters, but he's actually much sharper than I remember them being in kindergarten.  One reason--he's older.  He is an October birthday, thus, almost six when kindergarten started.  Second reason--I think his sisters and his father have made up for what I have not done.  Who knows--maybe he will be ABOVE average.  Wink! Wink!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Old I-Phones & Controversy

Several months ago my husband bought the new i-phone to replace his older i-phone.  He claimed the older one was not working properly, but after the goings-on w/ the old phone--which you will see--I think it was working just fine and that he wanted the NEW i-phone. 

We have been teasing our girls (ALMOST the ONLY 6th and 7th graders without a cell phone) that we were going to buy their kindergarten brother a cell phone for Christmas since he was at a school all by himself.  As part of this joke, daddy took the SIM card out of the "old" i-phone and gave the phone to our son.  We figured he'd enjoying playing with the calculator and other buttons.  We'd enjoy seeing the girls foaming with jealousy because their brother "got a phone."  They'd be fine once they saw the i-touches Santa got them for Christmas.

Well . . . the joke was on us.  Just for the record--taking out the SIM card on an IPhone simply makes an I-Touch w/ a camera.  Basically, the kindergartener got something better (for free) than the girls got as their one & only gift.  He can surf the web, You Tube (his favorite), email--which we have forbidden, take pictures (which you cannot do on an i-touch), use as an mp3 player (which he doesn't know), etc., etc., etc.  We have opened a pandora's box!  Who knew!?!?!?!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Floor Fight Continues

So I got the floors cleaned up.  At 9:00 Monday night I hear my husband yell, "Uh honey.  You're needed up here."  Came flying up the stairs to find my younger daughter with vomit all over her face and clothes.  Went in her room to find dad all mad because she didn't make this mess on the easy-to-clean tile floor.  She hit her bed, (all sheets, dust ruffle, two blankets, and comforter), the robe she threw on the floor earlier, the cream-colored carpet, etc.  It was one of those panicky "Where-do-I-begin?!?!" moments.  I spent the next two hours cleaning up.  I started a load of laundry, went up to hand-scrub what I could, and then carpet-shampooed the floor.  I did four loads of laundry to "rinse" everything, with a rewash planned in the morning.  I was really tired and just wanted to sleep; however, that little voice kept saying, "Do it tonight!  You'll regret it if you don't."  At about eleven I took a shower and fell asleep immediately. 

At midnight, it was my turn.  THANK GOODNESS I didn't wait until morning, because I couldn't sit upright for the next 24 hours.  I was so sick.  Another big THANK GOODNESS it was just a 24 hour bug.

This weekend's project--to clean the floors.  Have they ever been done?  I'm just looking for average cleanliness--really.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to Normal?

On Thursday, I was home all day.  I didn't get called to sub.  The after-school tutoring I do was cancelled because of the incoming snow.  So I cleaned.  I vaccumed all the floors.  I damp-mopped the hardwood floors and bathrooms, then I steam mopped them with my new "Shark."  All was ruined when the dog wanted to travel outdoors three minutes later and when the children arrived home from school with snow-packed shoes.  I'm looking at the floors now--ICK!  Despite my efforts of laying throwrugs and towels everywhere when we were all playing outside, it appears as though my floors have not been cleaned for months.  I'm going to go clean.  See what I mean--average stuff.

I am making an effort to go greener.  You could call this my new year's resolution--I guess.  I do this when it is semi-convenient and when I can find/afford the organic versions of products. 

Here is a simple floor cleaner recipe:
     *1/8 cup vegetble-oil-based liquid soap (Little pricey.  Use only a little.  Use for many "recipes." Find at health food store.)
     *1/2 vinegar (Buy generic version in gallon size for under $2)
     *Fill rest of bucket with hot tap water (add 2 or so gallons)
No rinsing needed.  Can add a couple of drops of essential oils (also found at health food stores), but I don't notice a scent of either vinegar (yuck!) or essential oils after the water has evaporated.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Day!

My day started with a 5:30 a.m. phone call saying there would be a two-hour delay for school; it turns out to be a complete snow day.  Snow days are always the best because you don't have anything planned.  Everything you do is a bonus.  And if you do nothing, nothing is lost.

The kids went outside twice today.  It was utter joy to watch all three of them (and the dog) frolicking and laughing in the snow.  They were just so happy.  I was content to watch from the window with my hot coffee and warm heart!  I know these days are becoming more numbered, so I just watched and relished the moment.

We utilized the day off to pick up the girls' glasses.  The oldest wore glasses a couple years ago; the younger has never had them.  All day long they have been making fun of me for just smiling at them.  They look so much older with the glasses on.  I didn't tell them, but the sibling resemble is enhanced with these new accessories. 

Today is one of those days that I could not imagine NOT being a mom.  Let's see what the weekend has in store . . .

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Average Life

You know you're life is average when the most excitement your Facebook page has shown is centered on the snow we are getting today.  Ho! Hum!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back to our AVERAGE routine

Yesterday we returned back to normal routine . . . sort of.  The girls were complaining the night before how tired they will be in the morning.  Really?!?!  How do you know?  They've already convinced themselves they would be tired.

I am glad to be getting back to our routine.  Of course, we are entering a couple of busy months.  I make a quilt every year to auction--this will be the second for the kids' school.  It is due in six weeks, and I haven't started.  We also have Catholic School Week w/ all of its activities (both as a parent and as a teacher).  My son will start a Sunday only kindergarten basketball.  Both girls play volleyball for school.  Last year, it was literally a seven-day-a-week endeavor.  Each had 2-3 practices a week--manageable.  Each had a game or two--again manageable.  Unfortunately--there was no piggy-backing and/or overlap.  So it was seven days a week of running for 6 or 7 weeks.  Not looking forward to that.  Luckily, both girls are of age to "babysit" their younger brother while I run that 5 miles to the gym.  At least I won't have to deal with that part.  I also got a Kindle and hope to utilize it well while sitting at practice.  I'm lacing up my shoes and getting ready (I should actually be running).

The funny part about a winter routine--we had a two-hour delay from school today (Tuesday).  The kids got to sleep in.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kirby--the biohazard

One of the things I find so funny about teens is their quest to be adults, but they still cling to childish things.  When I went downstairs to the basement where this slumber party was, I looked in horror as I saw Kirby.  Technically this is Kirby #2.  Kirby is the doll my daughter has held since birth.  It was made of a pink terrycloth material and had a pink & white striped head w/ lace around it.  Today it is actually made of an unrecognizable fabric worn paper-thin in many spots.  The lace has worn off.  The color--best described as dingy grey.  The stuffing is so displaced from the years of wear, it hardly looks like a carcass.  I would not even venture to put the thing up to my nose.  One thing is for certain--it should have a biohazard sticker on it.

When I asked my "teenager" what Kirby was doing out, she proudly cried that they all had some form of Kirby--be it a doll or blanket.  Gross!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Birthday!

My daughter turned 13 today!  Wow!  I remember sneaking to the hospital for our induction ("Doctor--will this thing EVER come out?").  Our family lived three hours away.  We told them we were being induced the following day so we would not worry them.  We wanted to call and surprise them, though I think they had their suspicions.  I remember bringing her home.  My husband and I set her in her crib, looked at her sleeping, and then looked at each other to ask "What next?"  Funny to think we were "bored" that first hour or two home.  Trust me, our colicy, high-maintainence newborn made up for lost time with us clueless, first-time parents.  To this day it amazes me how one tiny baby can physically and mentally wear out two normal, healthy adults.

Fastforward 13 years.  We truly are proud of our baby.  She is kind (to everyone except her sister), stands up for what is right, intelligent, faith-filled, determined, hard-working, funny, and beautiful.  We do truly love and adore her.  We think of our children as the best of both of us.  She is the first-born of two first-borns.  She is, also, very much like her mother in personality--but we'll save those less-than-flattering entries for another day.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Remember Y2K?

I was laughing last night as I remembered New Year's Eve ten years ago.  We were living just outside of Harrisburg, PA.  My husband had taught our then 1 & 2 year olds how to chant "Y2K! Y2K!"  Just for the record--he did stockpile some water and unplugged our computer from the wall.  We didn't keep the "car phone" plugged in the car (ha! ha!). 

Jump forward ten years--I doubt if our life is that far off from where we were aiming.  I probably wouldn't have predicted our son, but that's the biggest (and best) surprise.  When you lead that "average" life--it can be pretty predictable.  We live a good life.

Tonight my oldest is having her 13th b-day sleepover.  Wow!  Tomorrow she will be a teenager.  She's VERY excited.  This is one of those birthdays where you expect to wake up to a totally different world.  We'll do a big breakfast for the friends.  After taking them home, she will get clean-up duty to clean up after all those friends.  Did I mention she needs to work on a long-term school project AND go to bed at a decent hour to reacclimate her body to our regular schedule?  Since it is her birthday, we will give her a reprieve on emptying the dishwasher and putting away her clean clothes--they can wait for the following day.  So much for that new world for which she is hoping.