Saturday, January 31, 2009

With Profound Gratitude

I want to give special thanks to Nap Warden for the outstanding design of the Keep Believing Fund blog. The Keep Believing Fund blog deserved a look that was heartening and inspirational, and now it has that look. Nap Warden is a blog friend of Angie’s and offered her design talents as soon as she heard of the Fund. She also created the button that is now being posted on hundreds of blogs and being linked back to the Fund blog site. If you feel like giving her a thanks, and learning more about this generous lady, you can visit her blog at The Chronicles of a SAHM.

I also want to give a special thanks to LaskiGal, who helped coordinate the Keep Believing Fund makeover and spearheaded getting the word out to so many blogs. I feel uplifted when browsing around on the Internet and I see that button on so many sites. If you want to give her a thanks for her help, and learn more about this bighearted lady, you can visit her blog at From The Cheap Seats.

These ladies represent the type of selfless giving that the lives of Angie and Brian have stirred. Angie and Brian may balk at that, but evidence would prove otherwise.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Keep Believing Fund

You may notice a new button in my left sidebar. It is the Keep Believing Fund and it has been set up for anyone that wants to do something, anything, to help Angie and Brian and the boys. If you want to put a similar button on your blog, Facebook page, or website, just go to:

You can also donate through the Keep Believing Fund blog.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dear Luke,

You don't know this now - though some day you will - but when we wrestle I let you win. I am bigger and stronger and faster than you. I could use all of these things to win our wrestling matches but I don't. Because I love you. Because I would never hurt you. Because I don't want to spend the rest of my life in prison.

Haven't you noticed that you always win our matches? Haven't you noticed that, just when it appears that I will get you in a spot from which there is no escape, you pull some miraculous stunt that causes me to surrender?

So the next time we are wrestling and I have you in a pseudo makeshift, made-up mommy mega-fourplex smack down and you feel you are about to surrender, know that any second the tables will turn in your favor and I will give up the ghost. There is no need to do this:

Biting will cause the game to be forfeited immediately. And I don't care what they do on the WWF shows that you watch with Aunt Nanny. Biting is definitely outlawed in our wrestling matches. And me calling the game over biting does not mean that I surrendered. No matter what you tell Daddy and Jack. Even though I would have surrendered the match eventually anyway.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Legally Blonde Jokes

I have the pleasure of attending the Legally Blonde production at the Fabulous Fox Theater this afternoon with twelve other girls and women in my family. We will have a ball. In honor of this production, please have a couple of laughs on me. I'm sure Elle Woods wouldn't mind.

Last year, a blonde replaced all the windows in her house with that expensive double-pane energy efficient kind.

Today, she got a call from the contractor who installed them. He was complaining that the work had been completed a whole year ago and she still hadn't paid for them.

Hellloooo,...........just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid,” she said. So, she told him just what his fast talking sales guy had told her last year: that in ONE YEAR these windows would pay for themselves!

Helllooooo? It's been a year,” she told him.

There was only silence at the other end of the line, so she finally just hung up. He never called back. Guess she won that stupid argument.

A blonde is watching the news with her husband when the newscaster says, "Two Brazilian men die in a skydiving accident."

The blonde starts crying to her husband, sobbing, "That's horrible!!! So many men dying that way!"

Confused, he says, "Yes dear, it is sad, but they were skydiving, and there is always that risk involved."

After a few minutes, the blonde, still sobbing, says, "How many is a brazilian?"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I realized on Wednesday that I hadn't left the house since Sunday. One of the hazards (perks?) of working from home I guess. I had showered everyday, but hadn't wore anything other than sweatpants, hadn't fixed my hair, hadn't put on makeup for three days. Just call me sexy wife of the year.

Since I've been busy at work and John's been available to shuttle the boys to and from school and perform some of the other household responsibilities like grocery shopping, before I knew it three days had passed without me seeing the sun other than through the windows or through the door as I let the dog out. And with the economy the way it is and our tiny budget, we haven't been going anywhere with the boys after school. We've been making our own entertainment around the house after school.

When I realized the extent of my hermitdom, and the extent that I was unbothered by it, I figured I better get my butt out of the house. I joked with the boys about my lack of fresh air and told them I was going to drive them to school. As we left the house, I complained about how cold it was. "It's been this cold all week," said Jack. "You would know that if you left the house."

"That's what the Weather Channel is for."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just Doing My Part

Some of the members of my husband's family, including my husband John, are participating in a New Year's resolution contest. It is a get fit/lose weight challenge with a monetary payout that is nothing to sneeze at. John is taking this very seriously. For those that know him, I only have to say that he has not had one single drink of beer since January 1 for you to realize that I speak the truth regarding his seriousness.

Each participant has a team member, the most logical choice being that team member's spouse. If the participant wins, the team member gets to share in the rewards, which include better health, better fitness, and gloating rights.

I've been leading a pretty healthy way of eating for about two years now. I've found many helpful websites that provide calorie counts of restaurant menu items and, one of my favorites Hungry Girl, provides guilt-free recipes of some of my favorite foods as well as a shopping list of must haves to take to the grocery store. John and I are computer geeks somewhat, so any resources I can provide him online he finds very helpful. And I know he reads my blog, so under the category of just doing my part I thought I'd provide him with this list of awesome calorie burners:

Cooking dinner 96 calories
Dusting 120 calories
Grocery shopping 190 calories
Ironing clothes 190 calories
Making a bed 94 calories
Doing laundry 250 calories
Mopping floors 150 calories
Washing dishes 144 calories
Washing windows 144 calories
Vacuuming 196 calories

These numbers are for an average sized female performing these activities for 30 to 45 minutes. Think how many calories an above average sized male would burn doing the same activities for, say, an hour or two!

Go Team!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do These Lyrics Come With Parental Warnings?

We've been playing a lot of Rock Band at our house since Christmas. I hate to admit it because I used to make fun of those people that I'd see in Best Buy with their fake guitars and pseudo-Rock Star moves pretending to play music and acting all cool when the song was over. The ridiculer has become the ridiculee.

Jack is always on guitar, unless he gets tired and lets his dad play, Luke is on drums though not lately because he beat the snot out of them the first week and they broke so we are awaiting the replacement set, and they can sometimes talk me into taking the mic. If our band scores high, we can unlock more songs.

I am no vocalist by any means, but I did get a score of 98% singing Celebrity Skin by Hole. I guess you could say Courtney Love is no vocalist either. I think I would have gotten 100% had I not had to choke over certain lyrics since I was singing them right next to my 7 year old. You know, the lyrics calling Cinderella a slut and talking about hooker waitresses. Not that he would have noticed. He was paying way too much attention to his guitar playing. That's one of the nice things about this game. If you are not singing the lyrics, you hardly notice them at all.

Which is why I hadn't noticed the lyrics to Cheap Trick's Surrender until John pointed them out to me. This has become Jack and Luke's favorite song. They want to hear it every time we get in the car (John downloaded it to his MP3 player-what a Dad!). They seem to only know the chorus, which talks about your mom and dad being a little weird. But if you listen, or read if your playing the game, closely, this is what you'll discover right from the get go:

Mother told me, yes she told me

I’d meet girls like you

She also told me to stay away

You’ll never know what you’ll catch

Just the other day I heard

Of soldiers' falling off

Some Indonesian junk that’s going around

Translation: nasty girl, STDs, penis’ falling off from Indonesian STD.

I'm waiting for the questions to start rolling in, either from the boys or from their friends' mothers.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

His Alter Ego Strikes Again

Have I mentioned that Luke is a genius? I know that I am his mother and that I am biased, but he is very, very smart. He knows things that he shouldn't know at his age. And not just how to properly throw a punch so he doesn't hurt his thumb (thanks Shannon), but reading things and math things and critical thinking things.

I guess he should be smart. My husband and I are both engineers. His IQ is 145 and mine is 135, although I still want a do over. I know I can beat him if I can take the test without kids coming and knocking on the door and breaking my concentration. Although he's beaten me at every game of Scrabble and Trivia Pursuit we've ever played. Did I mention I'm competitive? Anyway, back on track, I guess I was always worried that our smarts would cancel each other out and our kids would have trouble in school. But we've been lucky and they both do really well. Luke just continues to surprise me.

Luke likes to do Brain Quest cards in bed some nights instead of reading books. At age 3 he was doing the 4 - 5 year cards. At 4 he was doing the 5 - 6 year cards. Now at 5 he is doing the 6 - 7 year cards. And when I say "doing" I mean doing. He gets them right. He knows the answers. I don't know how but he does.

One of the questions I read him was "What's a shorter way to say 'They were not home?'" He looked at me like I was wasting his time and to get on with the challenge and said, "They weren't home."

So I started to talk to him one night at dinner about LEAP, which is the gifted program at our school. Kids attend LEAP one day a week instead of their regular class, and it offers a unique and challenging learning experience for those that exhibit a high aptitude for learning. I asked him if he wanted to try out for LEAP to see if it was something he might like.

The anxiety appeared on his face instantly when he realized the program would take him away from his class and his friends once a week. With that anxiety came Luke's alter-ego, the baby-voice speaking little kitten named Nip-Nip.

"Nip-Nip doesn't want to go to LEAP. Nip-Nip would miss his friends. Nip-Nip loves his friends. No LEAP, Mama."

"That's fine, Nip-Nip. Tell Luke to finish his dinner."

Maybe even if tested he would not qualify for LEAP. Maybe he's right where he should be. Maybe I'm just being the overly-proud, puffed up mother. It looks like if Nip-Nip has his way, I'll never know for sure. At least he can always fall back on his looks.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Luke's Lessons on Coping

Luke does not like to feel sad. Or hurt. Or disappointed. He doesn't know what to do with these emotions, doesn't like how they take over control of his feelings, and doesn't like the vulnerability that goes with them. His way of dealing with these emotions is to convert them to anger. Anger is something he understands. Anger is power. Anger doesn't make you feel like crap.

The conversion from sadness, disappointment or hurt to anger is a visible transition, though it occurs in a nanosecond. And if you aren't ready for it, if you aren't paying close attention and gauging his emotions to know when something may disappoint him or hurt his feelings, all I can say is watch out. Because being prepared is the difference between blocking a punch and taking one square in the eye. Because with Luke, anger comes with hitting. Not all the time, but sometimes. And he has very good aim.

Obviously this hitting is unacceptable. Fortunately, if I can look on the bright side, he has kept his hitting in the family. It is usually his brother, my mother and me that are the recipients of Luke's wrath. We are working with him on better ways to cope with this anger. We are learning to predict when it might happen and trying to head that off. We are giving him ways to deal with it, like taking some quiet time for himself in his room or beating the tar out of a pillow. We are even talking karate lessons, hoping he will learn discipline a la Mr. Miyagi of the Karate Kid.

We talk to him in the way parents of the 21st century talk to their kids. We talk to him about his choices and making good decisions. Well, Luke's choice is to bop me on the head and deal with the consequences. Not the choice I would have hoped for, but he is a live-in-the-moment, spontaneous sort of fellow. And then he tells me I made him do it. He didn't have a choice. I thought our discussions about choices and making good decisions were going no where, but then he told me after he had a screaming fit: "Sometimes you just have to yell. It's not your brain. It's not God. It's not Jesus. It's your decision." He's right. Sometimes you do just have to yell. And yelling is better than hitting.

Little by little, Luke is coming up with his own ways of coping. Rather than giving us the chance to say no to something and disappoint him, he is answering his own questions. This goes something like: "Mom, can I have potato chips? No." A sentence like this is said very quickly all in one breath, not giving me time to say no and break his little heart, which of course makes me want to say yes just to see the happiness on his face.

He has also convinced himself that he didn't really want what he was asking for. This goes something like: "Mom, can I have some candy?" "No baby, not before dinner." "I was just teasing. I didn't want any." Which of course makes me want to say yes just to see the happiness on his face.

Which leads me to wonder if he is coping, or if he has just figured out another way to put one over on me. Did I mention how smart he is?

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Thought I'd Make Resolutions For Everyone

Driving in the car yesterday, home from the house of my friend Angie (you know her from Keep Believing), I was bored, my eyes growing tired, the uninteresting drive lulling me into a dangerous state of hypnosis.

So I thought it would be entertaining to ask the boys about their New Year's Resolutions. Once I got their attention over the Nintendo games and DVD player, I explained to them that for grown-ups New Year's Resolutions were goals that we set to try to accomplish something we'd been wanting to do but hadn't or try to improve something about ourselves or in our lives.

Jack, still in Nintendo mode, proclaimed, "My resolution is to beat a DS game in less than 16 hours. And I will pick this easy Kirby game."

And Luke, never one to be outdone by his brother, chimed in, "I will learn to drive a car."

"You can't do that for 10 years, Luke. Can you pick something else?"

"I will ride on the hood of a car while it is driving down the highway."

"Ummm, I don't think so. Try again."

"I will ride on the trunk of a car while it is driving down the highway."

"O.K. How's your movie coming along?"

I feel that it is my duty to set resolutions for these boys. And while I'm at it, there are a few others that could use some resolutions as well:

Luke: Since I am beginning to realize that I do really dangerous things and always get hurt, though I think I always get hurt the last time I do something and haven't quite figured out the last time I do it is because I got hurt, I will stop doing the really dangerous thing that I am doing the time before the time I would normally get hurt. Or in other words, I will stop before I get hurt. Better yet, I will stop doing really dangerous things, but who am I kidding? I'm a 5 year old boy.

Jack: I will no longer use the word Sh*t. Even though I didn't realize it is a bad word and was just repeating the woman I idolize. Now that I know it is a bad word and hate to get in trouble or break the rules, I will not say it again. Unless she does.

My mother: I will no longer use the word Sh*t. Even though it was the only curse word that my mom let me use because it was the one curse word she used, and even though it flows from my tongue like water. At the very least, I will no longer say it in front of Jack. And if I do, I will try to whisper it. (I admit, I'm at fault here too so I will add my name to this resolution, but Sh*t it will be hard.)

Indy: I will no longer bark obsessively in other animals faces for 24 hours straight, imploring PLAY, PLAY, PLAY, PLAY. I realize they do not enjoy this, especially old cats who simply tolerate my existence to begin with and who could take out my eye with one swipe should they choose to do so.

John: None for you. You've made your own and they are better than any I could have come up with.

There you have it. With the exception of John, I expect we might make it until Midnight.