Sunday, February 22, 2009

Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

There's nothing that screams "I love you" more than preparing for a family outing and having one of your children look you in the eye and say, "Oh. You're coming, too?

Case in point: with Gregg's out-of-town trip to California this weekend, my parents (A)took pity on me, (B) wanted to see the grandchildren, (C) were really REALLY bored or (D) all of the above, when they invited us to register as guests at their "lodge" this weekend. So, I packed up the kiddos and all of their stuff, completely forgot to pack my own toothbrush in my rush to escape our own house and made a beeline for their house.

As I was loading the car, Thing 2 was clapping her hands and jumping up and down with glee. (I've made it a rule that for at least the next 10 years, I will NOT share any plans with them too far ahead of time, lest our plans fall through. What usually follows this type of misfortune is crying and gnashing of teeth. It's not pretty. And it's far too much for me to deal with while I'm outnumbered in the child:adult ratio. Hence, my silence up to this moment.) So as I loaded the car, she asked:

"So it is just ME that's going to Nanna and Papa Dean's?"

I quickly informed her that Cassidy was coming along, too. And me.

Those last words prompted her to actually make eye contact with me and say "oh" with about as much enthusiasm as a person getting ready to go have a root canal.

On the way over to my parents' house, she brightened and said "I'm going to have chocolate pudding for breakfast!" I quickly reminded her that Nanna might not be offering pudding. (Yeah, I know. Who am I kidding?) Mackenzie quickly disagreed and added "I'm also having donuts with sprinkles." And again, I suggested that donuts might not be happening the next morning. (Lest any of you potentially lose sleep in wondering how the whole scenario played out, yes . . . chocolate pudding AND donuts WERE on the breakfast menu. Let me also state that there were only TWO donuts. I was offered a bagel. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Really.

I should add, in fairness to my mom, that she fixed me my favorite meal of all time . . . pork chops and sauerkraut. Oh heaven!!!! Gregg despises pork chops and sauerkraut, hence our master plan to indulge while he was gone.

So it's ok that I didn't have a donut waiting for me this morning. Really. And that Mackenzie really didn't want me around this weekend. I'm fine with it. After all, I'm having leftover pork chops and sauerkraut for dinner . . . pudding, donuts and sprinkles NOT included because we checked out of the lodge this morning. Back home. Back to reality.

Poor children. Notes of sympathy can be addressed to "We'd Rather Live with Nanna and Papa Dean" in care of "Mom's a Drag."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Blonde Moment-Brought To You By Thing 2

Last night gave us a chance to reconnect with some good friends by phone. When I finished talking to Jody, Cassidy took a turn to talk to Rachel, and finally Mackenzie had her turn with Hannah. As I overheard the girls each have a few minutes with their buddies, I heard each of the girls express how much they missed them.

I also heard Mackenzie ask to speak to Aaron . . . Hannah's older brother. Evidently she willingly complied because here is what I heard next:

Mackenzie: "HI!!! How are you??"

Silence. I am assuming that Aaron was answering her question.

Mackenzie: "I really miss you!" (pause) "What's your name again?"

Ah yes, absence does really make the heart grow fonder. I'm just not sure that it does much good for the brain.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Holiday Blues and Seeing Red

Not everyone is "into" Valentine's Day. Or Presidents Day.

Take, for example, a select few people who unleashed a wrath of fury on me this past weekend. Remember that retail job I took on for some extra cash through the holidays? The Christmas season had NOTHING on the joy displayed by these folks this past weekend! Whew!

First there was the lady who screamed at me and accused me of participating in false advertising. Next, there was the grandfatherly gentleman who yelled at me when I asked to see the signature on the back of his credit card. Ironically, when he did finally give in and allow me to verify his signature, the area on the back of the card clearly said "Show ID" which prompted yet another request for his driver's license. And finally there was the woman who started shrieking at me when I began to take her items and scan them at the beginning of her transaction. Evidently she wanted to go s-l-o-w-l-y (never mind the 15 people in line behind her) and that we were going to do things her way. If I recall correctly, her words went something like this: "we are going to do things MY way and not YOUR way and I want to do this SLOWLY and you can just chill and let me take my own sweet time. Got it?"

Oh yeah, I got it. So did all of the people in line behind her.

I often wonder what prompts the rudeness. Did they wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Just get into a fight with their spouse? A child? A significant other? Did they just get bad news? Maybe they attempted to fill their car with gas for under $50 and failed miserably. Or maybe they hate the idea of the ecomomic stimulus package. Honestly, there are times that I just wish people would approach me and say "I'm having the worst day ever. I'm still bummed out about the election, my tax refund isn't going to be what I'd hoped for, I have a sore throat and all the good Valentine candy at Target has been picked over. Let me buy this stuff and get outta here, ok?"

I'd be fine with that. Really. Because it would be honest. And we can relate, right? It's not all roses. We all have bad days now and again.

So, from me to all of you customers that took an instant dislike to me over the past few days, I wish you peace. And good health. And I'm glad that you had some extra money available to splurge on those little luxury items this past weekend 'cause I'm guessing that meant that you are employed right now. Not everyone is as fortunate.

And last, but not least, I wish you better choices in Valentine candy. And hey, it's all on clearance now, right?

After all, that is something to smile about!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

If any of you recall my dilemma from a few weeks ago, Target did NOT have anything in the way of Valentine cards. They even went so far as to tell me how early it was to even be looking for Valentines. (Let me refresh your memory . . . I was there searching at the end of January . . . same place that had Christmas trees for sale long before the Halloween costumes had even made their appearance.)

Anyway, lest you lose any more sleep over my dilemma, let me assure that I DID eventually find those Valentine cards. All is well and the school parties were successful-minus the unpopularity of those cheese hearts for the preschool party. Let's all say it together: "NEVER AGAIN!!"

I'm sure many of you had boxes of these little cards in your house this past week. Nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day" like a little love from the folks at Disney.

I'm also happy to report that M-a-c-k-e-n-z-i-e got a lot of practice in on writing her name out this past week. Of course, she has the patience of a flea and had to take a break after signing each card. It only took us about 2 weeks to finish this project.

Ah yes . . . so happy to have found those boxed Valentine cards at long last! My girls were thrilled with their choices. Then I discovered this card in Mackenzie's bag of Valentines from her class:

Isn't that so cute? And so personal . . . that's a great mom . . . getting crafty with her kids and doing this for 18 other children.

And then I got this in the mail today from my very crafty friend, Carrie. (By the way-that would be crafty as in the artistic way-just so you don't get the wrong idea of the word usage here.)

Hand made creations are definitely the winners here! I'm thinking that this is the way to go next year. If I start now, Mackenzie will only need to complete one every other week for the next twelve months. And we all know that I'll have more time to help her out 'cause I won't be turning slices of cheese into cute little heart shapes next year.

Let the record show that I did pour my creative, crafty efforts into the food prep area of Valentine's Day. I have learned my lesson, however. (Did I mention that I'm NOT doing heart-shaped cheese slices next year?)

Here's hoping you all have a doily, glitter-filled, non-cheese heart day celebration in your own homes!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Week. In My Words. Cooties and Dead Mice Not Included.

The week started out innocently enough. In fact, if you don't take into consideration the odor of "dead mouse" in my car, mixed with the pleasant aroma of "Pineapple Orchid" purchased to cover up the dead mouse smell, things got off to a good start on Sunday.

Monday arrived normally and Gregg and I geared up for our parent/teacher conference time at Thing 2's preschool. Thankfully, we heard good things (though I did remind the teacher of what Mackenzie looked like . . . just in case she was confusing her with another little girl). She showed us examples of her work from throughout the year, complete with weekly evaluations . . . knowledge of phone number (good), address (needs some work), colors (perfect), shapes (still hung up on that stupid rectangle issue), dad's name (perfect), mom's name (none) . . .

Whoa . . . I grabbed at the paper. "She doesn't know my name?" I asked.

Her teacher laughed. "Oh, that's typical. That's why we've written 'momma' in the blank. She says that's your name. We asked her what other people call you and she said nothing-that you don't have another name."

Maybe it was the distressed look on my face, because she continued on and leaned in close.

"Hey . . . you'd be amazed at some of the stuff that we hear . . . dads who are mad at moms and call them stuff . . . this is GOOD!"

With the conference over and behind us, I consulted my planner. The rest of the day seemed ordinary enough. Of course, there was the issue of my forgetting to go and pick up my order from the Market Day fundraiser later in the evening. To make matters worse, I went to the wrong place to pick it up. Then I went to ANOTHER wrong place to pick it up. To make matters worse, I was also picking up my mom's order. Hence, my phone call to her to ask "where am I going?" (when I was the one who placed both orders to begin with) is now great fodder for both of my parents. Market Day is now referred to as "Market Night" and I don't think I will live this down anytime soon.

If you'd have paid me a surprise visit on Tuesday, you might have found me cutting out little heart shapes from American cheese slices in preparation for Mackenzie's preschool Valentine's party. Can I just say how much I agonized over the whole "snack mom" thing? To sugar, or not to sugar? To red dye or not to red dye? Peanut allergies? Lactose intolerance? Sheesh. Thankfully I got the go ahead and blessing to do anything . . . not a food allergy in sight. I decided on the aforementioned "cheese hearts" and crackers. In anticipation of hungry little children, I cut out about 120 teeny little hearts. At the party, I watched approximately 118 teeny little hearts go into the trash can. Even my second born tossed hers into the trash. "I don't like this kind of cheese," she said-tossing hers in with the rest. Moving on.

I paid a visit to Thing 1's school on Wednesday to watch PE class turned "Dancing With The 4th Graders." Nanna and Papa Dean have been sharing their ballroom skills with elementary schools in the area (Cassidy's included) and teaching the kids some hustle and jitterbug.

I had a good laugh to myself when they called for the kids to assume dance position and with arms folded, a nearly unanimous chorus of "NO!" rang throughout the gymnasium. Cooties are a definite problem at this age. Praise the Lord! All in all, however, I was really impressed at how well many of the kids danced and loved watching my mom lead Cassidy through some new steps. I'm thankful that they dance so well together 'cause between the current cooties issue and our soon-to-follow no dating policy, Nanna and Papa Dean may be the only partners allowed for quite some time.

CG's Valentine party was today. I played it safe with the food thing-pizza for everyone. Cooties not included. The kids were dismissed for the second half of the day and I was looking forward to collapsing at home. As we walked in the house after school, the Things started in.

"What are going to do now???" they asked gleefully. It didn't look like a nap was anywhere in my near future.

So many choices . . . the possibilites were endless . . .

"How 'bout a new game?" I ventured. They excitedly agreed. "Ok then. It's called 'let's find the dead mouse in mommy's car.'" They scattered.

Ahhhh yes . . . now, what was I saying about that nap?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chocolate Pudding Meets Horseradish

I'm happy to say that we have dug out of the snow, are experiencing balmy-like temperatures right now and are experiencing the great Thaw '09. Providing that the big chunks of ice that gave birth to huge dagger-like icicles over these past few weeks don't come crashing down on my head and knock me unconscious, life is good. To make matters even better, Gregg's office didn't go up in flames yesterday (did I mention that 14 fire departments responded to a fire there yesterday afternoon?) and to complete the blessings of our weekend so far, I have survived Cassidy's first ever slumber party. Never mind that we only had two girls over . . . let's keep in mind that I had to also sit through "Mall Cop" (don't waste your money) and dinner out with three pre-teens without another adult in tow. Whew.

So, we've closed the chapter on Cassidy's birthday. As I reported last year, Mackenzie had thanked Jesus in her bedtime prayers that Cassidy's birthday was FINALLY over (she'd had three different birthday celebrations when it was all said and done) and her thankfulness was just as evident this year with the "plethora" of birthday fun showered on her sister again. I knew we were in trouble when Mackenzie said to me early this week, "we're doing sissy's birthday AGAIN?" Thankfully my parents came to rescue and took Thing 2 out of the mix for the past 24 hours. When my mom invited my youngest offspring for a sleepover and made the promise of chocolate pudding for breakfast, I excitedly announced I'd be joining Mackenzie.

That was met with a resounding no. From both Thing 2 AND my mom. (Let's keep in mind that this is the same woman who gave birth to me.) I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not invited. Fine. I was going to see "Mall Cop." Take that, Nanna!

Mackenzie did however, tell Gregg that HE could come to Nanna's house for chocolate pudding. I put on my best sad face and told her how hurt my feelings were-that daddy was invited, but not me. In true Mackenzie fashion, she shrugged and said "Well Mommy, Nanna broke your feelings, too!" She then turned her back on me and asked Gregg for help with blowing her nose-that she was having "issues."

My grandfather often used the expression "strong as horseradish" to describe individuals with strong personalities. Not to my surprise, my mom uses the expression herself from time to time and more than once she has used it when describing Mackenzie. Half the time I don't know whether to stare at my youngest daughter in amazement or crack up. I do know one thing. I need to spend more time in prayer for her future husband out there . . . whomever and wherever he might be . . . I hope he grows up to be a strong individual. Strong like horseradish. God bless him!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

There's No Business Like Snow Business

24 hours and 24 inches later, we have dug out. Blizzard '09 put on a fantastic show and I've got the pictures to prove it.

The girls both had a snow day yesterday, as did I, so we bundled up and went outside for some fun in the white stuff . . . of which there was PLENTY!!!!!

And did I mention that after poking fun at all the people who rush to the grocery store before a blizzard, I ran out of a very essential item needed to make a PB&J.



Thankfully, my parents came to the rescue. They were out taking a look at the snow in town and saved the day, bringing bread for the munchkins. They brought me M&M's. I do love those people like crazy. God bless them both!

I went out with Sadie this morning, came back inside to Mackenzie who was looking out the windows.

"Mommy!" she said excitedly. "I see the sun! It's summer now!!!"

Stupid groundhog.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Awards for the 2009 Super Bowl Ads

Drum roll please.

Because I'm not particularly loyal to any NFL teams, (when you have the Huskers in your life, why bother?) I generally keep a closer watch on the ads shown during the Super Bowl. Here, in no particular order, are the ads I feel are worth a special nod from "Thing 1 and Thing 2" this year.

Ad That Most Disgusted Me: Castrol Oil. One word . . . EWWWWWW! I'd rank this one up there with that debacle over the candy bar fiasco of last year's Super Bowl. Please . . . NO one wants to see a man and a chimpanzee smooch.

Ad That Most Helped Me Relate to Mrs. Potato Head: Bridgestone. Hilarious.

Ad With the Perkiest Character of All: Doritos . . . the first one to appear this evening. To refresh your memory, it was the "crystal ball" ad in which the employee predicts that the entire office will get Doritos for the day. His co-worker tries it out himself in hopes of predicting a raise in his future.

Ad That Reminded Me of "Groundhog Day" But Made Me Laugh Like "What About Bob?": Career . . . Oh my gosh, I was cracking up harder each time I saw the woman behind the wheel start screaming.

Ad That Made My Sides and the Back of My Head Hurt From Laughing So Hard: Pepsi Max. Oh my gosh, I was crying. "My bad . . . No, I'm good . . . " I'm still laughing.

If you didn't watch the ads tonight, I apologize. This post meant absolutely nothing to you. If you DID watch, were you prepared with your 3D glasses? I never did find those anywhere . . . better luck next year.