Wednesday, August 29, 2012

These are the sure things in life...

It's kind of like Murphy's law, you know.

** There's a time and a place to give your kids positive praise.  Like when they've remembered to wash their hands after going potty or they clean up their room without being reminded 32,487 times.  But not when they're all quietly (and nicely) playing together.

Because the minute you say, "I love the way you all are playing so nicely together", shit WILL hit the fan.

Do yourself a favor...take a mental note that your children are capable of such good behavior and leave it at that.

**  Telling your kids to stay away from the hot stove will prove to be too much of a temptation.  It's as if you're practically begging them to touch it so you can enjoy the rest of your day with them in the emergency room.

From now on, just tell them the boogie man lives in the oven.  That will keep them far, far away.

**  Don't  bother threatening your kids with the overused (and ignored) threat, "You all better be on your best behavior while we're in this store".

Why, oh why, would you even allow these words to come out of your mouth?  You are simply inviting trouble.

Just do what I do and say, "If any of you acts like a jerk while we're in this store, I will get on the loudspeaker and sell you to the highest bidder.  Believe that."

**  It's pointless to get excited over the beautiful eggplant that has finally come to life in your container garden.  

Why?  Because just as you're about to tell your kids it's not ready to be picked yet, one of them will violently rip it from its vine and proudly announce, "Mommy, it IS ready...see, I picked it for you!"

** Never ever throw away any paperwork they bring home from school.  Unless you plan to shred it into a million pieces first and shove it to the very bottom of the trash.

Because they will notice it immediately when it's in the garbage can...even though you were pretty sure they had no clue where the garbage even was since none of THEIR trash ever seems to make it in there.

** Buying them expensive outdoor equipment to play on, like a huge trampoline or an awesome play structure, is a complete waste of your money.  Not to mention a huge waste of your time, since most of these things require 2, 188 hours to assemble.  And trust me, people, you will never get back those precious 2,188 hours ever again.

Your kids only think things like this are super cool to play on when it's in someone else's backyard.

Case in point:   We gave our fabulously amazing play structure to a friend of ours because, of course, her kids loved it.  When we went to visit her, one of my spawn actually whined, "That's not fair.  I want a play structure like this!"

It took sheer willpower to stop myself from smacking him upside the head and screaming in his face, "Uh, HELLO....this WAS our play structure and YOU never played on it!"

**  Your kids will pretty much ignore you until you're involved in a gripping novel.  That's when they'll want to have endless discussions with you about some of life's biggest mysteries, like why blood is red, why God didn't give rabbits any vocal cords and how come earwax tastes funny.

**  Boys will be boys.  You might as well give up that pipe dream that all of their pee will miraculously end up in the toilet and that their rooms will smell as a fresh as a summer breeze.

It will never, ever happen...not in your lifetime, anyway.

These are the same creatures that think farting in one another's faces is the ultimate in hilarity.  And successfully burping the entire alphabet is everyone's goal in life.

Just leave well enough alone because it's ingrained in their DNA.  I'm sure your MIL would agree.

**  Never give your kids choices, especially when it comes to food.

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You:  "Johnny, do you want an apple or grapes with your sandwich?"
Johnny:  "I'll have a banana"
You:  "We don't have any bananas.  Your choice was an apple or grapes."
Johnny:  "Okay, then I'll have a plum"

Need I say more?  Just give the kid whatever damn fruit you want and call it a day.

Anything else you'd like to add to the list???


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Monday, August 27, 2012

And then they just had to suck the fun out of it....


It was the 3rd day of summer vacation and the kids were already driving me crazy.


"We're bored," they complained endlessly.

Rolling my eyes in defeat, I sighed, "Really?  You have enough toys and games to stock an entire Target store and you all can't find one thing to do?!"

Suddenly, I remembered an article I had seen in Family Fun Magazine about geocaching.

"I know what we can do...let's try geocaching!" I suggested.

"Geo...what?" the spawn replied.  "What's that?  It sounds stupid."

Cole, being the financial whiz in the family, said, "Did you say cash?  There's money involved?!"

I explained to them, "Basically we go in search of hidden outdoor treasures that other people have hidden!  Doesn't that sound like fun?"

Oh yeah, they were so on board now.  "Hidden treasures!  That is SO cool!!" they shouted in unison.

Armed with my iPhone, a few coins and trinkets, 4 sippy cups full of water, sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, visors, and snacks (whew.....), we hopped on our bikes and began our adventure.

I figured our first geocache should be relatively easily....you know, to get them pumped up and excited.

As we neared the exact spot, the kids spotted a bird feeder hanging from an oversized tree.

Landon shrugged his shoulders and inquired, "Where's the gurgle-catch?"

I pointed to the bird feeder and said, "You mean, geocache. That's it, right there!"

Judging from the looks of disappointment on their tiny faces, I could tell they were not impressed.

"Really?" Cole mumbled.  "Is this seriously it?  This isn't a hidden treasure!  Oh my God, this is so lame!"

Little pessimists.

I lectured, "It's all about the journey, guys.  Isn't it fun to imagine what we might find?"

They all shook their heads....violently, I might add.

Melting in the hot sun, I suggested we move on quickly to geocache #2.  This was not going exactly how I had planned.  But then again, does it ever?

Unfortunately, geocache #2  was nowhere to be found, no matter how hard we searched and compared the compass to exactly where we were located.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.

The spawn weren't just irritated...they were downright pissed off.

"You know what I think?" Bella said.  "I think you just were trying to find a way to get us out of the house.  You don't have a clue what you're doing!  There are no treasures anywhere!"

I had to restrain myself as I spat through clenched teeth, "Oh yeah, you are SO onto me now.  I mean, it never occurred to me to just ask if you guys wanted to go to the park.  Instead I had to come up with this huge, ridiculous wild goose chase just to get you out the front door!"

We stared one another down for what seemed like an eternity when I finally said, "Okay, let's cut the bad attitudes and focus.  We can find the next one."

I put my hand out in front of me and shouted, "All for one and one for all!!"

The stillness in the air was deafening.  And then the spawn each hopped on their bikes and one of them casted a loud, "Whatever" in my direction.

Geez, I should get paid for the shit I put up with.

The next location was called "Ocean Ballet", which the spawn deemed downright ridiculous because we don't live near the ocean.

"Let's think creatively," I hinted, as we got closer to our final destination.  "The tip says the location is out in the open but the geocache itself is camoflauged among the scenery."

Garrett clucked his tongue.  "What the heck is that supposed to mean?"

Suddenly, Cole shouted with glee, "I know!!  I know what it is!"  He pointed to a beautiful statue of dancing dolphins located on the edge of the lake.

Sure enough, the statue was named, "Ocean Ballet".  The kids all high-5'd one another and whooped it up.

"We found it, we found it!" they exclaimed.

Now, we just had to locate the geocache itself.  Instead of getting frustrated, the kids were now determined to find the hidden treasure, as was I.

There was something extremely rewarding about the process.  Kind of like getting an invisible thumbs up from God himself when you follow the right path...not that I've experienced that very often or anything.

After 10 exhausting minutes, we still hadn't located the geocache....even though we were literally standing in the exact spot where the compass had pointed to.

I frowned, "I don't get it.  We're standing right here in the spot it says it's at.  We're not looking hard enough.  It's got to be here! Someone just found it yesterday so I know it's here!"

Landon sat down and took a deep breath.  "I'm tired.  I want to go home," he complained.

"We are not going home until we find one of these geocaches!" I protested.

Right then, I spotted what looked like a drain on the ground, partially hidden amongst the bushes.  Cole followed my eyes and pointed, "Do you think it's part of the drain?"

I smiled and we both ran for it and grabbed at the drain.  The top came off immediately and, along with it, came attached a long cylinder-like tube filled with colorful trinkets and toys.

"Awesome!!" Bella screamed.  "This is hecka cool!"





She spilled the contents out onto the grass and they sorted through it until they each had found something they wanted.

Then we added our trinkets to the tube and replaced it back in the ground.














From this point, a new obsession had begun.

Every morning the spawn would wake up and shout, "Let's go find some more hidden treasures!"






















But just like every other activity I engage in with the spawn, all good things must come to an end.





"I found it first," one of them screamed.

"No, I found it first.  Get your dirty hands off of MY treasure," another one whined.

"Mommy," yet another screached, "tell her it's MINE!"













And just like that...they had managed to suck the fun out of it.

Did I mention that we were only ONE week into summer vacation?

Sigh.....


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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer vacation is O.V.E.R.


Well, people, the Summer of 2012 has come and gone....in an instant.

So, as I get back into a routine again and try to tap into my creative juices, I'll happily share our summer experiences with you in pictures....

Danced a hip-hop performance to a Justin Bieber re-mix (of course) at her recital

Swam with friends

Went geocaching (this experience alone deserves its own blog post)

Hung out at home (much to the cat's dismay)
 
Kicked butt in karate

Learned the meaning of respect (sort of)

Learned how to fend off Ninjas

Saw creepy, crawly creatures at the Serpentarium
 
Hung out at the bowling alley with friends

Swam, annoyed people swimming nearby, swam

Played with fire....uh, I mean, fireworks

Swung from a rope into the freezing lake

Dug a fresh grave for Mom 


Added yet another cat to the family

Took gymnastics lessons

Did silly poses with friends while swimming
 
Attempted a professional photo shoot

Discovered a super awesome pool nearby

Relaxed in the super awesome pool

Toured the Jelly Belly Factory (and ate our weight in sugar)

And guess what??
Totally kidding, here.
Just needed to make sure you're still paying attention.

And, finally, Mom and Dad enjoyed a vacation ALONE in Hawaii

Now if that wasn't the PERFECT way to end summer (all 86 days of it...or 2,064 hours if you really want to be specific), I don't know what is!!!


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I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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