Thursday, August 30, 2007

Linda's Day Care

Just in case any of you are available today, I have seven children under my care ranging in ages from 3-13. If you notice that I have not posted in a few days, I have run away. Do not call the authorities, just let me be. I will return eventually.

I am taking all of them to the local water park. Am I an idiot? I figure that there is enough for them to do that I can sit, and get through a few magazines. RIGHT! I just pray that I do not lose anyone.

My mother had no problem helping me today until something came upon her called the flu. Now, I am on my own. As I stated before, I could use your help if you happen to be in and around Orange County, California. I pay very well.

I will be praying most of the day today-praying and crying at the same time.

Lunches need to made, drinks need to be packed, towels gathered, and bathing suits adorned. Yes, it is official, I am crazy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Car?

I need a new car. I drive an 11 year old GMC Suburban. In its hay day it was cool. It has custom wheels, leather seats, power windows, a CD player, and a built in television. Yes, you read that correctly, television, with an attached VCR.

My car has 155,000 miles registered on the odometer and is completely paid for in full. My car is slowly but surly falling apart in its old age. When it reaches 40 MPH the car rattles and gyrates because the radial tires are having issues. My children consistently tell me that a window is open or a door is ajar because of the whistling sound echoing through the cab. Many knobs are missing and there are carpet stains which each tell a different story.

Although my children are allowed to eat, sleep, drink, spill, splash, and drag sandy feet, in and around my car without a notice, I keep my old car fairly clean. My mechanic tells me, "This is a good truck," but with all of the fix it money that has been poured into it we could have built a second story on to our house.

I need a new car, but I do not want a new car. A new car involves massive monthly car payments, restrictions of every caliber in regards to food and drink, weekly visits to the car wash, massive monthly car payments, diligent inspections upon each child's exit from the seat, massive monthly car payments, body checking when parked closely to other cars, precisely choosing of the perfectly acceptable parking spot to avoid door dings, massive monthly car payments, and massive yearly car registration payments. For those reasons, I am sticking with my 1996, GMC Suburban.

As for the 40 MPH rattle, it feels like an amusement park ride and the children smile and giggle when it really gets going strong. The whistling sound is comforting, and the VCR works perfectly with all of our Veggie Tales videos. The best part of keeping my old car is the fact that I am far, far away from any and all massive monthly car payments. I just hope my old car has at least, eight more lives, or I may have to return to teaching full-time to afford the massive monthly car payments a new car would bring. If that is the case, instead of working, I think we will just resort to walking everywhere. Everyone could use the exercise. Who needs a car?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Little Miss Spider

I like spiders. I do not love them, but I like them. I have read enough information about spiders to know that they are good for the environment. I don't necessarily want to hold or touch them, but they do not bother me. If they scare my children, I have no problem killing them, but if they are small enough, I will catch and release them into the wild.

During the summer we have these big brown spiders that come and visit our great outdoors. They build fantastic, detailed, webs, and their construction and persistence amazes me. My husband and I love to look closely at the web construction to discover the way in which it was formed.

We have one particular spider who builds a web every night between our roof and patio table umbrella. for some reason, by morning, it vanishes. By nightfall, she is again, working diligently to rebuild her home, in hopes of snagging a delicious bug.

The other night I decided to give her a boost in the hunting and capturing portion of her life. After long hours she had once again built a tremendous web and sat, patiently in the middle of it, waiting for dinner. Since our garage is littered with easy-to-catch crickets I made my way to the garage, grabbed a foreboding creature, gagged a little while it was jumping in my hand trying to escape, ran to the back yard, called my husband to witness the killing, and threw the cricket right in to the web. Cool.

She proceeded to wrap the cricket like a mummy in record time. Her long legs were working over time as she spun him into a cocoon. She hovered over her prey as he sat lifeless, and I was pleased to be able to help her out, following her web building.

At the nights end, she thanked me. I could see, in her seventeen eyes, her gratefulness in my assisting her with dinner. In the morning she was gone but at least her tummy was full. If she returns tonight, I will once again help her out with dinner plans. We have plenty of crickets to spare.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dinner Is On You

My oldest son loves to cook. For his eleventh birthday he received a trip to Dream Dinners with his Nana to make three meals for our family. Yesterday was the day for his big meal preparation. He had the menu items chosen, his hair was neatly combed, and he was dressed to cook.

When he left the house at 9:20 I expected that he would not return until noon. When he arrived home at 10:30, I was quite surprised. To which magical place did he go, where you can prepare three, oven ready meals, in just one short hour? I could prepare three meals in one hour, but I would have to drive to three different restaurants to pick up the meals before hand. Simple.

After some questions, and comments on the quickness of his outing it all came together. The meals that he had prepared we not actually "oven ready." He arrived home with three plastic, zip-lock bags. In each of the bags was a main dish, ready to be prepared at another time, with his mother's help, and some instruction, and some more help with side dishes, and then some more help with cooking the meals, and once again, more help with putting together a dinner.

Although I was too tired to help, and bitter that he spilled on my just cleaned stove, I bit my lip, smiled and helped him through all the preparation needed to cook his very first dinner for our family. His Parmesan Chicken with Dijon Sauce turned out great. We had peaches and rice as side dishes, and everyone ooohed and ahhhed over the delicacies. My daughter opted out of the dinner after her first taste, what a shock, and settled for left over macaroni and cheese.

We sat down as a family for dinner. I had to do a lot of guidence, but someone else actually cooked dinner. We had great dinner conversation. I had two Drumstick ice creams for dessert.(They were the reduced fat variety) And, for all of those things, I am greatful. Very greatful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vacation, All I Ever Needed

My daughter has spent her summer, weeks away, at Hume Lake Christian Camp, Ohio, Colorado, and acting lessons. Spectacular! She will have plenty to write about during the first week of school.

My oldest son has spent his summer, weeks away, at Cooperstown, NY, Ohio, football camp, and friends' houses. Fantastic! He will have plenty of "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" ideas.

The little kids has enjoyed trips to the water park, beach, Ohio, friends' houses, pool, Legoland, movies, and dinners in fun restaurants. Wonderful! They will be able to draw pictures of places they visited this summer, without a thought.

My husband has spent time away this summer in Cooperstown, NY, Ohio, Phoenix, AZ, Portland, OR, and has the joy and freedom of going to work, alone each day, to a place he really likes. Superb!

I have been to Ohio, the beach, pool, Legoland, movies, and dinner in fun restaurants, with four children, and at times 5 or 6 children. I need a vacation...from summer, from children.

I'd love to go somewhere sunny, but not too hot. I'd like to be alone with my husband. I'd like to sit and read magazines until I am sick of reading magazines. I'd like to lounge in a beach chair in the sun without being bothered by anyone except the hotel gal who insists on spritzing my face with chilled water. The only thing I need, right now, is a VACATION, either that, or school to start. Let the countdown begin. Fourteen more days.

I'm sure that my starting school wish will come true more quickly than my vacation wish. At this point, I'll take either one. I'm desperate.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Eating Crow

The High School Musical 2 party came off without a hitch. I actually had fun. In addition to the Skittles, pizza, cheese puffs, popcorn, and ice cream, I had to dish myself up a large bowl of crow.

At 5:30 I decided to record High School Musical 2 to watch another day. I am dead set on learning at least one of the dance routines for the neighborhood talent show...not! Even though I knew it was going to be on twenty six more times this week, I knew that everyone would want to watch it over the weekend. As I pulled up the T.V. guide on the television screen, I immediately noticed that the movie started at 8:00. From what I had remembered, the party my daughter was hosting started 6:30. I remember her telling me that the movie started at 7:00 hence the 6:30 start time. I panicked!

My panic turned to anger as I relentlessly asked my daughter why she started the party so early and what were we going to do with ten teenagers for an hour and a half. She assured me that she would create ways to entertain the invitees and that I was not to worry. I continued to fume all the way to my mother's house, where the party was being held.

In addition to my frustration with the early start of the party, my daughter remembered, once we arrived to set up the party, that she forgot the door prizes. I did not have enough time to return to our house and be back to my mother's house where the party was being held. I knew that I needed to greet parents, and stewed in my frustration with the mistakes transpiring before my eyes. My mother was leaving for dinner, but offered to run to my house to pick up the forgotten items. She is wonderful!

The first girls arrived at 6:45 and sat, as my lovely daughter tried to engage in conversation. I once again repeated my frustration with the early start time, but indicated, at 7:00, that the rest of the girls were very late...thankfully. The one member of the party chimed in and noted, "The invitation said that the party started at 7:30." What??? My first thought was, "Ooohhh I owe my daughter a HUGE apology." My second thought was, "Why are these girls so early?" I took a deep breath, apologized for my angry outburst, and my gracious daughter accepted. I'll never know why she didn't tell me that she thought that she put 7:30 on the invitation. Evidently, I had her convinced that she had made a mistake. My very bad!

Today I am taking my daughter shopping. I believe that a good shopping trip will make up for a my stupid mistakes. Lunch will consist of anything she wants to eat as I grovel and enjoy my last serving of crow.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Not Quite a Boycott

According to the definition of boycott is: to combine in abstaining from, or preventing dealings with, as a means of intimidation or coercion: to boycott a store.

Okay, so I am not performing a boycott. I am not interested in intimidating anyone, but I don't know what you call it when you refuse to shop at a store because their product is over priced to the point of head spinning.

Last night our family took my oldest son and three of his friends to dinner and ice cream. We were celebrating an over due birthday. He had the flu on the actual day. We enjoyed a great dinner at Koki which is a Japanese, teppan bar, restaurant.

Afterward we went to an outdoor mall to browse and enjoy dessert. My son decided that he wanted Cold Stone for dessert. Oh my. The smallest, least expensive, ice cream scoop was $3.89! My poor husband did not realize the expense until the bill was totaled $30.00 later. This fed only 7 children. Don't think for a moment that ginormous scoops of ice cream hovered over large bowls for that price. The scoops were very normal and perhaps below normal size, and, no one had anything fancy added to their delicacies.

Our youngest child, who is four, had gummy bears added to his watermelon gelato. Since he did not finish his dessert, I was reluctantly left having to eat the remains. I hate waste. The gummy bears froze and tasted disgusting. They were disgusting because I for one do not love gummy bears and two, would MUCH rather have chocolate bits of something in my ice cream, and three, think that fruit flavored ice cream fits into the fruit and vegetable section of the food pyramid and not in the dessert section.

My oldest, a girl, found something "hard" in her vanilla cup and proceeded to cough incessantly assuring me that the hard piece of something was stuck in her throat. The drama was dripping more than the ice cream. As much as she wanted to toss the left over ice cream, which was hardly eaten, I gave her a nasty look and said, "You are eating the rest of the ice cream. It was just a piece of cone."

Most of the children finished what they had ordered, but we could have bought five, half gallons of ice cream for the same price and fed all the children at the mall.

I believe that if an establishment is going to charge you $3.89 for a mere scoop of ice cream, it better come with a free puppy. But, that is just my opinion.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fun Dip Tip

I have been forced to adapt to some unconventional ways of keeping my children quiet and happy. If you are an organic buying, label checking, red dye number four avoider, you make get nauseous reading the following. Consider yourself warned!

When the opportunity arises for me to make a overdue phone call, take a quick jog, or sit down for a few moments at the computer, desperation takes control of my "Keep the children busy" thoughts and any inclusion of heath and nutrition are thrown out the front window.

The other day I needed to make a very important phone call at 8:30 in the morning. As you well know, and can relate to entirely, when I pushed the number into my phone, all of the children were busy and happy. When the person on the other line greeted me, the flood gates of "I need you" burst into my bedroom from three of the four children, complete with tears and shouting. In attempts to comfort the teary one and keep the other two complacent, I walked to the freezer, smiled, drew from the bottom drawer of my freezer ice cream sandwiches, and handed one to each of my children. Smiles formed, tears dried, and viola! I had just bought myself fifteen quiet minutes.

Another morning, the need arose to have children be happy and busy in my absence. Knowing that I wanted to go jogging, and leave the thirteen year old, who no one listens to, in charge of the younger folks, I purchased four packs of Fun Dip candy and handed them out upon my departure. Forty minutes later I returned to well-behaved children, with blue teeth, and Fun Dip shrapnel littered throughout my living room. This was not my idea of a great breakfast, but my plan worked! The thirteen year old vacuumed the grainy tidbits from the floor, and I was able to burn some calories. Please hold your applause.

Tomorrow I need to run some errands. Perhaps I should make ice cream sundaes for breakfast and borrow a gaggle of puppies. That should buy me an hour - at the very least.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Major Meyhem

Serenity is overrated. I have to convince myself of that or I may end up institutionalized.

My quiet, complaisant, sit-in-front-of-the-television-for-hours, girl was away for a few days so life was unbalanced with myself, my husband, and three boys. I was the only girl for nine days. The house was messier than normal, it had a strange stench, and the toilet seat was lifted and shut as much as the refrigerator door. At least the toilet seat was put back down, right?

Many times throughout the day and in the car, the boys would all talk at the same time. Actually, one was talking, one laughing, and one was making any noise he could with his mouth. That is what boys do. The couch was suddenly a motorcycle ramp, as they imitated the "big trick" motorcyclists from the X-Games with imaginary motorcycles and their agile bodies, and each of them dirtied two outfits a day - including my husband.

At one point during the intense chaos I stopped everyone and said, "Settle down!" Confession time: I probably yelled it. My husband looked at me with a furrowed brow and replied, "You want peace and quiet, and it just isn't going to happen." Wow, words of wisdom, really. Did I actually think that with a house full of boys, I would have peace?

My girl has returned and brought back some much needed balance, but, she has already cried five times, fought with me about her hair style, complained about having to go to acting lessons (and she LOVES acting...drama...arn't they the same thing?) and requested a shopping trip. It has only been 24 hours.

As the VERY cliche saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for." No kidding.

I'm the one that needs to go away for nine days. I would love my husband to come along with me, and I am requesting that no children be in attendance.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Five Days

Please don't be jealous. I know that you may be tempted to, but I can help you resist the pull.

My daughter is hosting a High School Musical 2 premiere party and has invited fifteen girls. These girls will eat pizza, drink soda, and make goo-goo eyes at all the male characters in this Disney original movie. I have enlisted my mother, and her living room since it can house more bodies than my living room. She graciously accepted. I love her...a lot!

So far, only two girls have responded, "yes" but we have yet to hear from ten. Although this is not my first idea of fun, things could be worse. I could be hosting a party for ten, six year old or worse, ten, four year olds. For now I will count my blessings.

While my husband stays home with the three boys, eating fast food, getting sugar highs from soda and candy, and letting loud noises erupt from their bodies, I will be singing show tunes, eating pizza, braiding hair, and putting on make-up. I should have more fun than my husband, right?

Perhaps if I say, "I will have fun" twenty times, over and over again, while staring in the mirror it will come true--perhaps. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Did Someone Say It's Summer?

I don't know what has gotten into me. After only nine weeks, I am finally in the groove of summer. Just as the proverbial curtain of summer is closing, we are visiting the beach, Slip and Sliding to our hearts content, pitching tents, and running through the sprinklers. Once again, I am sad to report, that it has taken me nine weeks to fully accept the fact that me children are here, all day, every day, for the entire summer. I am slow that way.

The Slip and Slide has never seen more sun then it has the last two weeks. In between fighting over who is first, second, etc. Straightening our the plastic runway every other minute, and tossing juice bags to the seventy-five children that have accumulated in my front yard, I can read a section of a magazine, and enjoy my lunch in peace...relatively speaking.

Yesterday we went to the beach. I invited three neighborhood children to join our adventure, yet only one accepted...perfect! I asked the good Lord for a front row parking spot and He graciously delivered. Our usual hang out was available, our lunches were packed, and everyone kept busy. The surprising downfall was my six year old relentlessly complaining about the itchy sand, and insisting that I use the baby powder to remove it every moment that it touched his skin. That was extremely annoying. Since he fell asleep, I was able to lounge without many interruptions...relatively speaking. What a great day.

Since I only have four weeks left I suppose I better get my butt in gear with more summer activities. We are going to the zoo, swimming, taking a trip to Disneyland, completing our summer reading list, driving across country, and vacationing in Hawaii - next week. I set my aspirations high.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Take Me Away

I came across some cities of interest that, because of their name, I will never visit:
~Big Ugly, West Virginia
~Hell for Certain, Kentucky
~Satan's Kingdom, Vermont
~Smelley, Alabama
~Nothing, Arizona

In contrast, here a few cities that I would love to saunter around and check our for myself:
~Desire, Pennsylvania
~Peace, Alabama
~Little Heaven, Delaware
~Money, Mississippi
~Romance, Arkansas
And, any city followed by a comma and the word Hawaii.

Here are some real time foods you will never find me munching on unless I am on a desolate island with nothing else to eat:
~squid jerky
~lamb's tongue salad
~beef cheek ravioli
~grasshopper tacos
~salt-and-pepper frogs

And, in contrast I will consume any of the following and any time at any location:
~Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte
~White Chocolate Berry Coupe
~fresh, hot, chips and salsa
~Fried chicken
~Del Taco's bean and cheese burritos

What is your favorite vacation destination and food of choice? Please tell!