Friday, August 29, 2008

Shackin' Up with my Husband

"Honey, I'm home!"

I have some really awesome news to share. My husband and I have finally reached that point in our relationship and decided to move in together!!! Yes, you read that right - my husband and I. We just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary but have been living apart for the better part of the last year and a half. For five months, the kids and I lived in Omaha while he was in Southern California. For three blissful months of constant beach-going, surfing, snorkeling and boogie-boarding, we all lived together on Maui. But for the past year, the kids and I lived on Oahu while my husband stayed on Maui. Now, after a long and crazy, and I do mean crazy, time, my husband has finally joined us on Oahu. It is so good to be a complete family again.

I don't know how single mothers do it.

It really seems like parenting was made for two people, and not just for using the ol' good cop/bad cop thing. There has to be someone there, when things get tough, to say, "It's okay, kids. She's not really going to tear your limbs off. But just in case, maybe you should go clean up your room" and then hide the axe and guard the knife drawer.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First day of ....Stool?

Morning in Kailua

My kids' first day of school dawned beautifully. A warm gentle breeze in the palm trees, myna birds and cardinals filling the air with warbling, the earthy and organic smell of ....sewage? What I mistook for my neighbor's dog having a poop fest in my yard again was actually my new Kindergartener having an accident in his bed overnight. And I'm not talking about a simple case of bedwetting. Call it a case of nerves.

I had envisioned heralding in the new school year by waking up early, cooking a hot breakfast of eggs, spam, and rice, dressing up the kids, and taking a plethora of pictures to commemorate this annual rite of passage. But what I actually did was re-bathe my distressed 5 year old, scrub the carpet, a mattress and a trail leading up to the kids' bathroom toilet. The kids' had cold cereal and I snapped one picture while contradictively yelling at them to hurry and get in the car. So much for heralding.

We resumed the twice daily journey through carnivorous Honolulu traffic. When we got to school I had just enough time to walk each child to his or her class, meet each teacher and refrain from saying, "good luck, sucker!" to my oldest son's teacher with a wicked cackle.

I know I should be weepy and forlorn as I send my precious little ones into the care of complete strangers for the majority of their waking hours - but all I could do as I drove away was heave a sigh of gratitude for the peace and quiet of a minivan carrying just one child. It is one of life's great ironies that you don't appreciate the simplicity of having just one child until you've had four.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Mother's Olympic Dream

Watching the mother of Michael Phelps never gets old. I'm amazed at how she shows so much emotion even after he's won so many medals. Every parent, whether or not they will admit it, wants this for their children ,the ultimate success... yes even I who relishes mediocrity so, desire to see my children achieve so great an honor.

Probably the two greatest Olympic sports must be synchronized swimming and trampoline gymnastics.. and oh yeah the one where the girls twirl ribbons ( does anyone know if there is a men's division in any of these)? Sometimes as I watch my daughters dance around the living room I think to myself "wow ! That move looks like something right out of the best ribbon twirling routine"! I can tell my children have so much promise. When Olivia does a handstand at the pool I swear I get the chills and when I see Alexa jump on the trampoline so gracefully, I know it's meant to be.

Sadly for Victor there is not much hope as the only other sports are regular swimming ( boring !) and like running and jumping over these wall things that just seem to tip over so easily (lame-o). There should be mens twirling because gymnastics with ribbons is so much prettier and the athletes just seem to work harder and are so much more popular.

All of my kids have the potential to win gold and I will be that mom, in the stands weeping with joy as I watch each child straining as they point their toes in the water and win the gold.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Confessions of a Carny

I thought that since Ray was doing the right thing by confessing her cussing ways, ( the woman swears like a drunken sailor) I would stay with the theme and reveal to all you classy readers that I am in fact nothing more than a carnival worker. It's true... well sort of. I don't operate greasy rides and spit tobacco juice, but rather Alex and I tease hair into mohawks, spikes, and various other shapes and paint them wild colors. This is our talent. Some are engineers and some are lawyers or builders, we build hair. Alex can make hair into an island with a palm tree, or a ladybug, or a unicorn, or a television set, and I paint the hair with spray paint made for hair.We sweat and toil in working conditions that include hours upon hours of techno music that could turn anyone's brain into liquid, and mobs of kids and sweaty teenagers. We love it. If anyone lands in Alaska around August 20th, the mohawks on us.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

God's Way of Telling Me to "Shut It!"

I don't cuss. I thinks it's unbecoming especially for a woman to cuss. I also think that most cussing is just the result of not being bright enough to think of a more clever way to say things. That being said, I unapologetically use all the words that are in the Bible. Hey, if God uses them, surely it's okay if we use them. Practice what you preach, and all.

A couple summers ago I had an experience not unlike Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. I was at Girls' Camp (as a leader, I said "a couple" of summers ago, not "many, many" summers ago) and I happened to make use of one of my more favorite words from the Bible. And I immediately lost my voice. I didn't have a cough, a sore throat, a fever, or anything - I had literally been struck dumb. I didn't fully recover my voice for about 3 months.

For a year or two after that experience I struggled with keeping my voice around. It was such a skittish thing, like a commitment-averse boyfriend - coming and going with no rhyme or reason. I even went to an ENT who happily removed my tonsils which improved things for a month. Finally, for the past year or so, I reached a point where I knew if my children misbehaved I could reliably bellow at them as needed.

Until now.

The voice is gone again. Maybe it's time to bleep my Biblical babble. Damn!

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nope, no more I say.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

China Gives World Inferiority Complex

After watching the Chinese women kick our rear ends in Gymnastics immediately following the beat down our mens team got the night before, I am starting to well... feel a little insecure. There teams seem so together, so flawless, so determined, and the Americans seem a little more unpredictable and almost dysfunctional.It's really been making me squirm in my cozy recliner. Gee I bet those two U.S. teams felt a little sad. It's a good thing they have such a great support system. I bet their coaches consoled them and their hometowns will welcome them home like heroes. I bet the American athletes that messed up the worst won't even be thrown in jail. I think it's great that even they will get a pat on the back and a "better luck next time". They probably won't even be disowned by their families, and it's doubtful that they will even consider suicide as a way to restore honor to their countries and families after the huge failure of winning only silver or bronze.

I suppose that even after the dust settles we Americans will still view these athletes as human beings worthy of praise, love, and appreciation for their sacrifices, and after seeing the relief on the Chinese mens gymnastics coach's face , it might be a good thing that they won because who knows what the rest of his life might have been like.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Funny Blogs vs. Venting Blogs vs. Mommy Blogs ...

Ray and I have done months of research on this topic and have discovered some key differences between the different types of blogs out there, namely content and who is commenting. Here is a list of helpful information when navigating the wonderful world of blogs. We like lists, they spare us the humiliation of grammatical errors.

Angry Venting blogs- for some odd reason usually go hand in hand with politics, although some are used to publicly humiliate lazy friends or by religious fanatics all equally linked to Satan and possibly Wal Mart(according to our sources in Arkansas).The folks who comment on these blogs are usually full of testosterone and ready for a battle. In the old days these same types of people could be found in angry mobs wielding torches.

Mommy Blogs- used mostly by those who wish to keep in contact with friends and loved ones far away but also used by some who need constant reassurance that their children are good looking, talented, and academically above average. The lovely people commenting on these blogs I like to call the support team, they are quick to respond to new pictures with oohs and ahhs and an encouraging comment such as " wow Johnny sure is a genius" !

Funny Blogs - So far we have found that they are elusive not unlike Big Foot and we have only found a couple worthy of our time. Some are crude and some are side splitting depending on what ones flavor of humor is. The comments found on these are usually done in the spirit of adding to the joke. Strangers commenting to each other on a funny post always seem to lead to more laughs which according to recent studies leads to a longer life and almost instantaneous weight loss. ( Okay that last part was a lie) but I swear it makes me feel better about being fat.

Any Comments?

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The Most Valued Flab in the World

One of my daughters has always been a little obsessed with boobs. When she was a toddler she was always poking at them (mine) and as soon as she learned to talk would walk around chanting "Boob! Boob! Boob!" as she was learning to write we would frequently find the word "boob" written in the dirt on the car. The same daughter later vowed she would name her first child boob in honor of those two friends who had always brought her comfort and once food.

I am no fan of boobs. They're in the way (for some of us) and move around when they shouldn't. I often wonder why some women want them so badly. Do they understand that these are just adding their overall body fat? Do they know what will happen to them in 20 years? In 40? Before a woman decides to have hers inflated, I would suggest going for a run and feel the beauty of nothing jumping and just remember bouncing later turns to flapping.

I have a dear friend who always wanted more than she was naturally given. So in desperation she finally turned to the “water bra” a safer alternative to surgical breast enhancement. She swears this is the way to go for that added size. I say why add the weight? Extra weight in that general area only adds additional stress on the back.

Tsk tsk all for the sake of vanity.
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Monday, August 11, 2008

Safe Delusion

Lesson 2 in Parenting 101 (see also Lesson 1) is that you must spend thousands of dollars on equipment to keep your child safe. If you don't people will glare at you and seriously consider calling Child Protective Services because your children are obviously "at risk". So get out your credit cards or take out a hefty loan because keeping your little one safe will require at the minimum:

a carseat (actually a couple of carseats, one to face backward under 20 lbs, one to face backward over 20 lbs, one to face forward up to 60 lbs, and a booster seat for up to either age 8, 80 lbs, or 4 foot 8 in. Got that?), a gate for the stairs, locks for the cabinets and drawers, helmets in several styles and sizes, plugs for all the outlets, a life vest or better yet a swim suit with floatation devices built in, a temperature regulator for the bath and a soft faucet guard, a net to go around the trampoline and a fence to go around the pool, a lock for the fridge, a rail for the bed, and well, you may as well bubble wrap the whole house because there's bound to be something potentially pokey, aka dangerous, in there.

Safety is great, right? Think safety first. Nothing more important than safety. The problem? Children aren't learning how to be safe because they are prevented from encountering anything remotely dangerous.

No, I'm not saying chuck all the stuff on the "neurotic saftey parent" list. Carseats are required by law, but the age and size of child that needs one keeps going up. As the laws are right now, my husband would have been driving himself to school in a booster seat. Gone are the days of my mother who used to drive and nurse a baby at the same time.

But a lot of the equipment actually hinders a child's ability to detect, gauge, and avoid danger. Like my sister who very responsibly kept gates at the top and bottom of her stairs whose children could not navigate them until almost age 2. I've never used stair gates and my babies learn to descend feet first on their tummies before they can walk.

I thought we were being so safety conscious by choosing a house on a traffic free cul-de-sac, until my son bolted down my friend's driveway on his bike into a street full of cars without looking. We also have a net around our trampoline and our children safely bounce into it with nary a broken bone or spinal cord injury - until they happen upon a trampoline without a net and they have no concept of staying on the darn thing.

Even less humorous is the mom who always put a life vest on her 3-year-old when she was in the pool. I mean always. The child hardly touched the water without it on and most doctors and childcare experts would applaud her devotion to safety. But her daughter had to go to the bathroom mid-swim and forgot to put the vest back on and the result was tragic. Because of the life vest, she had no fear or sense of caution around the water. The life vest also gave the mom a false sense of security making her attentiveness lax. So in the end, did it really keep her safe?