Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We've got spirit?

It's Spirit Week at the kid's school this week.  The idea behind Spirit Week is that every day the kids wear different thing to school to match that day's theme.  Hat day, school color day, beach day, crazy hair day, career day, stuff like that.  That's how it's supposed to work.

Here's how Spirit Week works for us: Monday morning I send Joseph off to school.  That afternoon I go to pick him up.  As I walk into the school I notice that all around me are kids dressed as doctors or mermaids or chefs.  "Oh shit!" I think to myself.  "We missed Spirit Week AGAIN!"  When I walk into the office Joseph is sitting there surrounded by tiny trial lawyers and pop singers.  He looks a little ticked off.  "I'm so sorry buddy!" I gush. "We'll do all the other Spirit Days, I promise!"

Then we go home and look at the list describing the themes for the rest of the week and Joseph decides he doesn't want to do anything other than Hat Day anyway because the rest of them are "too weird".

And that's Spirit Week.

In other news totally unrelated to anything yesterday Elle had a tick behind her ear.  I didn't think it was really attached so I tried to pull it off of her.  It's body came off but it's head did not.  So then I had to dig the head out.  Elle is over-dramatic and kind of doesn't handle pain well so the whole affair involved a lot of crying and whimpering.  I'm sort of over-dramatic and I don't handle my children's pain well so the whole affair also involved a lot of gagging and trying not to cry.  I had to shut the windows so the neighbors wouldn't hear all the drama and think BAD THINGS were happening in the house.

Oh, that reminds me!  Sad news!  Our second favorite neighbors just put their house up for sale.  Our favorite neighbors are the people who have us over for beers on the deck during the summer but our second favorite neighbors are the ones who's children think my children are going to hell.  How sad is that?  Those are the nicest people in our neighborhood.  But really, they are good neighbors and their kids are super sweet and we will all be sad to see them go.

But back to the tick.  After much drama we got the stupid tick head out and then we ate some chocolate to make ourselves feel better.  All that's left is a red sore spot from where I was digging around.  This morning Elle asked me to comb her hair to cover the spot up.  I did and then she put on a witch hat because today is Crazy Hat day.

One year ago today I shared a terrible picture of myself.
Four years ago today Joseph was sick.
Five years ago today Elle ate a lemon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Facebook is like the rapture

I suppose I had better blog something.  If the rapture come I don't want the last post on this blog to be one with a bunch of terrible pictures of me.

The fact is, social media is killing this blog.  And by "social media" I mean "facebook".  I made a conscious decision a couple of years ago to unplug from Twitter and stop trying to "build" my "brand" but I'm sort of addicted to facebook.  And not just because of FarmVille!  I like the instant feedback and connection that if offers.

Everyone knows commenting is down.  I used to get 10-20 comments on a post.  Now I get two or three.  And I'm not complaining because I know that's just how it is.  I'm guilty of not commenting.  Like, ever.  Even with my very favorite bloggers I just read, smile and mark as read.

But on facebook I comment and "like" and share and interact.  If I have something I want to share with the world these days it just seems so much easier to do it there.  I have over 500 facebook friends.  If I feel like everyone who wants to know anything about me is probably friends with me on facebook so they can just read about my life there.  Except my mother in law.  She reads my blog but she's not on facebook.  And that's ok.  We need the distance.  Otherwise daughter-in-law Jen and social media Jen would collide and I just can't handle that.

So facebook is taking over.  I can deal with that.  But I love this blog and I'm not willing to let it die so easily.  I have to make more of an effort to update it.  (Assuming that tomorrow I don't find myself spending all eternity in the fiery pits of hell...) I started this blog mainly as a record of my children's lives (hence the stupid url name) and if they ever read it someday I want them to think "Wow, our mom sure was delighted with us!" and not "Wow, our mom sure was easily distracted!  And why did she talk about her boobs so much?"

So, my darling children, if you ever read this, here is what you've been up to lately:

On Wednesday when I picked Elle up from school she had a missing tooth.  It had been loose and she pulled it out all by herself while she was supposed to be doing a math worksheet.  I'm a little sad I didn't get to be with her when she lost her first tooth but only a little sad since seeing loose teeth makes me feel a little gaggy.  I'm also a little sad that my baby is old enough to be losing teeth.  How did that happen so fast?

Joseph's class is going to be seeing a sex ed video on Monday.  His teacher sent home a slip this week for us to sign, giving him permission to see the video.  This is what was written at the top of the note:
It's like he's trying to tell me something ... When I told him that I wanted him to watch the video he said "I'm honestly shocked Mommy.  I never thought you would want me to see something like that."  I reassured him that the video would be appropriate for fourth graders but he's still pretty sure it's going to be terrible.  We reached a compromise where he will be in the room when the video is on but he doesn't have to look at the screen if he doesn't want to.  Nothing is simple with this child.  He sure is cute though.

One year ago today Jesse didn't read.
Two years ago today I had underwear in my fruit basket.
Three years ago today Joseph raised his eyebrows.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Precious memories?

I've been going through my old pictures and pitching a bunch of them.  Anything where the subject is too blurry or far away to recognize gets tossed.  Anything where I look like a goober gets tossed.  (I look like a goober a LOT.)  Any pictures of animals I don't know, place I don't recognize or people I don't like goes as well.  I think back in the days of film if you took a picture you damned well kept it forever because film was expensive and just because you had no idea who or what that gray blob you took a picture of was no reason not to keep it and treasure it forever.

This is my old dog Sophie.  Yes, she really was this blurry.  And demon eyed.  If you look closely you can see my wall covered with New Kids On The Block pictures.  In my defense I have a really good excuse for this.  It's because I liked NKOTB long after everyone else on the planet realized that they sucked.  That's ok, MORE POSTERS FOR ME!!!
Here's my brother and I swimming at Typhoon Lagoon in Disney World.  We were able to obtain this image by purchasing a high tech water  proof disposable camera.  I think we can agree it was worth it.  Interesting side note - this is the last time I let anyone take a picture of me in a swimsuit.
Here's another one of my brother and me.  This was an interesting period for us fashion-wise. That is to say, even though he was a boy and I was a girl two and a half years older than him, we matched.  It's hard to tell here but we have the same haircut.  We're both wearing bright tank tops and brightly colored, geometric patterned shorts.  The only things setting us apart are my Sally Jesse glasses and the fact that I got use of the shared ribcage that day.
Here's a great picture that was really worth hanging onto.  It was taken at the US Air Force Academy and one of those tiny blurs in the back is a boy I was madly in love with at the time.  This was before I figured out what the "zoom" button on my camera was for.  Precious memories.
This must have been in third grade.  I'm wearing a teddy bear pin because my teacher liked teddy bears.  I think this was taken right after I walked through a wind tunnel and mussed my Little House hairdo.
This is a picture I took of Jesse right after we got married.  Jeez, he looks like he's 12.  And in the act of going to catch the bus.  Holy crap.
Now this isn't a terrible picture but there's a funny story behind it.  We were invited to a Halloween party and Jesse and I went as Jerry Springer guests and our friend came with us and went as a security guy from the show. (I made his shirt.)  We were the first people at the party.  The next person to show up was a woman dressed as an M&M and when she got there she took one look at us and whined "Why am I the only one dressed up?"  Meaning, of course, that she thought we really looked like that.  We couldn't stop laughing at her.
Look at my baby!  Oh, he was so tiny.  That's a newborn outfit he's wearing and swimming in.  I think he's about two months old here.

Aw, look at the little cutie pie! Who's the most adorable little pumpkin in the whole wide world? Who's the sweetest little ...
Augh!  Kill it!  Kill it with fire!!!  Ok, I think we can all agree that I didn't age well.  I mean, look at me.  I'm rocking a pants suit.  And we won't even talk about glasses that are so huge I'm amazed I was able to hold my head up.
This is a trading card my dad made for me back when I was on a kid's track and field team.  The stats on the back say I weigh 90 pounds.  I bet 20 of that was my mullet perm and glasses.
This is a phase in my life I call The Kick-Ass Earring Years.  I had a lot of really cool earrings.  And a poodle perm.  And I really liked the jumper I'm wearing in the picture.  Man, I was awesome.
Here's a picture of my family at Christmas.  There's my brother and my dad and my dogs and my mom.  And my mom's hair.  Sorry Mom.  If I end up dead we all know who did it right?

Since turnaround is fair play I want to share one final picture with you.  When I was 14 my mom took me to this woman who did makeovers and gave fashion advice.  She did my hair and makeup.  I seem to remember liking how it turned out.

Two years ago today I flashed people.
Four years ago today Joseph explained digestion.
Six years ago I had gas.

Friday, May 06, 2011

And I used to look so stylish

I have a grey crewneck tee but I don't like to wear it anymore because I don't want people to think I got it for free by ordering a pair of pajama jeans.

Two years ago today I went to the gym.
Three years ago today I was creeped out by E.T.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Raising atheists

Yesterday Elle told me that the little girls next door told her how the earth was made.  "There's a man who lives in the sky who made the earth and the water and even the animals.  I think his name is Odd."

I always struggle with moments like this.  The fact is I think I want to raise open minded kids but how open minded do I really want them to be?  If one of the kids came to me and said "Johnny said thunder is caused by a man in the sky with a big hammer" I wouldn't hesitate to correct them. I would want them to know the facts and to believe the facts and not a made up story.  I would have no problem saying "That's not true."

Joseph is kind of fascinated with the concept of religion and until fairly recently when we've talked about it I've always tried to be somewhat vague about what I believe.  I've used general terms like "some people think this" and "some people believe that".  Lately though Joseph has wanted specific answers.  He'll present me with something a friend of his has said and he wants to know what I think about it.  It's made me examine how I talk to my kids about religion and matters of faith.

For example, after the little girls next door told Joseph he would go to Hell if he didn't believe in God he wondered what I thought.  I didn't think that would be a good time to say "Gee son, some people believe that's true and gosh darn it, maybe they're right.  Who really knows?" so I told him straight out what I think.  I told him I don't believe that.  I told him that I don't believe in Hell and I don't believe in God and I don't believe anyone who lives a good life and tries to be kind to people will ever be punished after they die.  Once I came right out and said it he was really relieved.  "Good" he said "because I don't believe in all that stuff either."

Joseph deals in logic and concrete ideas.  He needed to know what I thought and once I told him he felt more comfortable exploring what he did and did not believe.  And the more we've discussed it the more it's caused me to examine how I express my beliefs to my children and to the people around me in general.

I have some weird issues about admitting I am an atheist.  I feel ... guilty about it.  No, that's not right.  But I don't know how else to describe it.  It's in my nature to try to look at everyone else's point of view.  I always try to think of how the other guy might see things.  I don't want to be so single minded that I start to think only my opinion is right and only my way of thinking is right and only my way of doing things is right.  Yes, of course I have my own opinions and ways of doing things but I try to be open minded and accepting.

There is a tiny part of me that feels like if I am honest with people about being an atheist it's like saying "You're ideas about religion are wrong and everything you believe in is wrong."  So when I discuss religion with my children my first instinct is to temper what I say.  "Some people believe..."  "Some people think..." I hesitate to say that oh, by the way, I think those things are false.

It occurred to me to me though today that the people next door have no problem telling their children "God created the world and and if you don't believe it you're going to Hell."  So why do I have a hard time telling my kids "There is a logic and a reason behind how the world came to be and science can explain how we got here and there is no man in the sky looking down on us and waiting to punish us for breaking the rules."?

After all, I have no problem trying to instill other beliefs in my children.  I want them to believe that it is important to be kind to others.  I want them to believe that it's not ok to hit or to be hit.  I want them to believe that vegetables are delicious but that chocolate is ok once in while too.  I want them to believe that you should stand up for what you believe in.  I want them to believe that reading is fun is and education is important and that you should never stop learning.  I want them to believe that two plus two equals four.  I want them to be thoughtful and logical.

So when Elle told me that a man named Odd created the world I shut off that little part of me that felt guilty for admitting what I believe.  I looked her right in the eye and I told her "I don't believe that's true sweetie.  I think it's ok that they think it's true but that just doesn't make sense to me."  I used her interest in dinosaurs and fossils to help explain how scientists were able to prove that the earth had been around a long time.  She's a very smart little girl and she even threw in some of her own ideas.  "And we know some dinosaurs evolved from other dinosaurs and that's how animals evolved too?"

I realize that at this point I'm still the most influential person in my children's lives.  I struggle with that responsibility at times.  But I have to face up to it.  I want my children to be logical, open minded, free-thinkers.  I have to set the ground work for that.  We live in an area that is fairly religious and conservative.  If I don't take the responsibility to let them know it's ok to question things and to think differently from the people around you then who will?

Odd knows it's not going to be the neighbors.

Two years ago today I was random.
Four years ago today Elle was beautiful.
Six years ago today I had eye jelly issues.