Thursday, January 29, 2009

He Makes Me So Proud!

While potty-training Younger Boy we made the mistake of allowing him to plop down on the floor to 1) Before going to take off his pants/underwear and 2) After going to put on his pants/underwear. I say mistake because 1)It was a pain when going out because he insisted on doing this and I always had to insist that he not. Come on, it's a public bathroom floor! Ewww. 2)It was a pain having to wait on him to take his clothes all off and put them all back on again when trying to go pick up the older boys from school, and 3)It got kind of gross (poop stamps and cat litter spewed across the floor is all I have to say).

So lately I have been trying to tail him there to remind him (teach him) how to pull his pants down around his ankles instead.

Me: Stand on the stool. Turn Around. And pull down your pants.
YB: And my underwear, and sit down!

This is the conversation we have daily … about five to nine times daily. Sometimes I omit the “Turn Around” because as he progresses he does it automatically.

Last night he goes running across the living room telling us he has to go potty. As he goes running by I call out:

Me: Stand on the stool!
YB: And pull my pants down. And my underwear.

Little did he know I was tailing him. Just to make sure. It has occurred before that he gets there and plops his butt down on the floor getting ready to pull everything off and I intercept the play and get him up on the stool.

I peeked around the corner and saw him place the stool in front of the toilet, get up on it and pull his pants down. Can I tell you how proud I was, I admit I teared up a bit. I turned around and went back to my fiancé and our intense game of Uno.

Me: *sarcastic fake sniff* He makes me so proud.
FH: Did he use the stool without you having to tell him to.
Me: Yes!

So proud. My bathroom floor is on its way to being safe and free of poop stamps … maybe.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Imagine A Video Game

Bless my dear Middle Boy. He has an imagination and could talk your ear off telling you about it – that is for sure. Did you know that you could create a make believe video game? Now I totally know that a child’s imagination can create all kinds of adventures. I sailed the seas on my very own ship (sitting on top of the monkey bars), performed amazing tricks soaring through the air as a trapeze artist in a circus (swinging from the rings and the bar on the swing set), and I even prowled through jungles is search of the rare and dangerous white Bengal tiger (sneaking through tall grass and weeds in search of our napping Samoyed).

But I still am quite baffled that you can play a video game, while not playing a video game. Middle Boy has created at least two now. After school when I pick him up he tells me all about it. He levels up, he gets points, and sadly enough his good guy died yesterday.

Maybe I’m just an unknowing individual in the land of video games and that is why it is so surprising to me. Growing up we really weren’t allowed to play video games. We grew up playing my dad’s Atari system and the computer games we were allowed to play were classics like Oregon Trail, Create-A-Story with the Muppets, Lemonade Stand and Mario Brothers Typing. No Nintendo, No Sega Genesis, No PlayStation. In fact, I get really bored with video games. (Or maybe that's just my 20 second attention span.) It probably doesn’t help that in college I had a boyfriend that was much more interested in sitting in front of a TV/computer screen playing games instead of paying attention to me. But that’s my history with video games. I still can’t get past the 2nd level of Super Mario Brothers without dying. I totally crash my car in Super Mario Cart. And, I really get bored bowling on the Wii.

When I moved in I realized that video games ruled all four of my boys. Books were pretty much not picked up as much and kids cried when they lost, or couldn’t play, or didn’t get to play. I sat my fiancé down and made some video game rules, that he too had a hard time trying to stick too at first. I am proud to say that they have all been rehabilitated. Now video games are hardly ever played, more books are being read by all of them, and not as many crying fits. It’s become more of a once-in-a-while privilege to play than a necessity.

Back to the topic, did you know you could imagine a make-believe video game? I’ve tried to grasp this. Then I realized that yes, I guess you can. When I think of video games I think of kids sitting on their butts and staring mindlessly at a glaring screen with their tongues sticking out of the corner of their mouths. Middle Boy has created Quest Kitty. Kittens of different colors (he’s Orange Kitty) fight bosses (I guess this is universal for some major bad guy?) and level up. I think you’re supposed to eventually rescue a princess kitty or something. Lately he’s been telling me about “Make Your Own Boss.” This game I still don’t quite understand. I guess you create the gnarliest, nastiest, meanest boss (still kind of lost but OK) and you fight him. As I mentioned, his good guy died yesterday against this boss. But since it’s a video game, I guess he gets to use up an extra life and try again?

Oh well, I guess as long as he’s outside physically playing video games instead of sitting in front of a TV for hours upon hours a day playing video games, I really can’t complain. Maybe instead of getting angry and bottling it up I can go out and make up a make believe video game and fight off the evil, nasty Jane and save the world from her evil idiotic destruction. That’s got to be stress relieving, right? I wouldn’t look too crazy doing round-house kicks Chuck Norris style out in the middle of the park if I have work-out clothes on, right? Especially if I drop down into a Yoga stretch afterward.

Hrm … Yoga stretch. I think I’d rather go do that right about now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

That Is Your Penis

OK, I have been bursting to share this story with you ladies. And I slightly teased it in the last entry with the usage of the word “urinating” so I had to come back and tell it to you. It’s a little overdue, as it occurred on Christmas Day, but better late then never.

Background Info
On my mom’s side of the family there are seven granddaughters. We are essentially the seven princesses. I am the first granddaughter and bear the title of Princess #1. I kid you not, my Grandma still writes that on all of my birthday cards. My grandparents pretty much raised me while I was young and growing up, and as a young child I, Princess #1, could do no wrong.

Well, as an adult Princess now I generally can still do no wrong, but I can be misinformed which could cause slight mistakes that my Grandma either shakes her head at or lectures me on the proper way to do things. (The best is when she has my mother call me to inform me of my misinformed actions.)

Fast Forward – Two Weeks Before Christmas
Now I’ve heard little boys call their parts so many different things. There’s my weenie, my pee-pee, my privates, my stick, and my personal favorite my pee stick. Well, as an instant mom I wasn’t sure exactly what the standard name had been set as for this. As a gutter-minded dirty foul-mouthed chick that generally hangs out with all guys, you can imagine the words I’ve used for it.

So there I was, monitoring Younger Boy as he sat on the toilet. I had my sister Wendy on the phone as we discussed plans for the Christmas holiday when I noticed Younger Boy pulling and tugging at his package. In fact, I almost called it that to his face.

Me: Stop pulling on your pac…your coc…..your, your … stop playing with your junk.
YB: OK. *immediately lets go*
Wendy: *on the phone* You realize he’s going to be the only kid at preschool who calls it his junk.
Me: Yeah, I know. Not the best choice of words. But it was the best I could come up with.

Fast Forward – Christmas Day
So there we all were … at my parent’s house …Wendy, my parents, my Grandma, my cousins, and my family. We were sipping red wine and munching on nuts. My sister, my Grandma, my mom and I were standing in the kitchen talking when she did it. Wendy, my dear younger sister, took the opportunity to rat me out to my Grandma.

Oh yeah, she told her exactly what I told Younger Boy, and the follow up comment she made to me. My Grandma shook her head in that way that only she can. The head shake that I have obviously chosen an action based on misinformation. I took a swig of pinot noir because I knew it was coming.

It was a great lecture. She bestowed her Grandmother wisdom on the topic of how I ought to be using the correct terms for these things. “Penis,” “Testicles” and “Urinating” were the correct words that I ought to be using because any other words I allowed him to use would not only disservice him, but could lead to other kids teasing him down the line when he referred to his penis as his pee-pee.

Wendy did not quite plan on this lecture, but it satisfied me that she was included in it. Whenever she has kids, there will be no excuse for any male offspring to mislabel their penis in the early years. Ha! Karma is a bitch.

Fast Forward – Three Days After Christmas
With this new information in mind, I was on the ready for the moment that I needed to spring into action. And oh yes, my moment of glory came just three days after Christmas. I was in the boys room pulling out clean pajamas for Younger Boy. Older Boy and Middle Boy were already in their beds laughing and talking with me. Younger Boy comes bouncing in, butt naked pulling on his penis.

YB: It’s my pee-pee!
Me: No, that is your penis. Pee-nis.
OB: Why do you call it that? *Genuine confusion sets in on his face*
Me: Because that’s what it’s actually called. *flustered at first, but the answer rolls out like I knew it all along*
OB: Oh *satisfied with my answer the confusion clears*
YB: My Pee-nis *laughing as he tugs on it some more*

Oh boy … I can see it now. We’ll be standing in line somewhere, surrounded by a lot of people … possibly little old ladies and other loud-mouthed children just looking for a new word to mimic. Younger Boy will find just the right moment to announce to all those within hearing distance that he has a penis. I mean, come on, isn’t that one of the ultimate rights of passage as a parent? When your kid embarrasses you by giving an anatomy lesson?

I totally look forward to it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Potpourri – Toilet Chatter, Kung Fu Panda and Parenting Plans

I disliked the word “potpourri” back when I was in high school yearbook class. I thought it was so lame. And yet here I am, using it because I can’t think of a more appropriate title for all the stories I’m about to throw your way. I’ve tried a total of four times to sit down and bust out a blog entry. And each time was interrupted by something great. Cooking dinners was a main offender, as was pointless meetings at work, Kindergartner homework questions, quarreling children and wedding planning. But here I am because I have so much to share and if I don’t share it I fear that I may just burst, because I have no one to tell this to (that would truly understand and appreciate it) outside of you fine, wonderful ladies. Where to begin …

Toilet Chatter
Younger Boy is starting to get to the point where he’s comfortable enough and able to talk to you while he’s urinating. (Speaking of urinating I have a much delayed story for you about that. Next Entry!) And oh man, has he turned into quite the chatter box. I’m not sure if it’s because he likes to hear himself talk or if it’s because he feels that he needs to say something. As the story goes, we were at Petco the other day getting the cats some food when the feeling struck. “I have to go potty!” he wailed as we stood in line paying for the food. I tried to hurry along the process as the lady at the cash register tried to sell me a cheap cat toy and donate a can of food. “Sorry, not today. He has to go to the bathroom.” I gesture at Younger Boy who is indeed furling his little fist at his groin area, twisting his sweat pants around and pulling and tugging in the inevitable and world-wide recognizable “Potty Dance.” She points to the back of the store, “You’re more than welcome to use the restroom in the left back corner,” she says. I’m momentarily shocked at this moment – did you know that Petco has restrooms? With a nod and thank you I grabbed his hand, my purchase and we made the dash to the back.

YB: I have to go potttyyy! Oooh, Birds! Cats! Dogs!
*He dawdles and points to a photo of the different animals as we rush to the back of the store*

I plop him down just in time as he starts to let the urine flow. That’s when he looks up at me and smiles.

YB: I’m going potty!
Me: Yes, I know.
YB: I’m peeing on a stone wall!!
Me: Ugh *Pauses and tries to listen to music playing to see if they’re singing about a stone wall*
YB: I like Apple Jacks!!! *Note that the enthusiasm in his voice inflection goes up with each phrase*
Me: Oh yeah? *Baffled*

Don’t ask me, I have no idea. But I remember singing songs while I urinated in public restrooms. I specifically recall when I was with my dad at a baseball game and I got to go in the men’s restroom. I serenaded all the men to “I’m a Little Tea Pot.” Maybe this is karma coming back around with her lovely purse of paybacks.

Are You F’ing Kidding Me?
Older Boy and Younger Boy got to go to Jane’s this past weekend. Middle Boy got to have a fun weekend with us at the aquarium. But the point of this tidbit comes to after my fiancé has picked them up. Apparently they did nothing but watch Kung Fu Panda all weekend long, because the baby likes it. Apparently the sound of Jack Black’s voice is one of the few things that makes the baby happy and smile. Thus, because the baby likes it, they watched it over, and over, and over … all weekend long. I turned to look at my future hubby, absolutely speechless. My jaw about dropped open and all I could do was shake my head. I’ll tell you what, we haven’t watched Kung Fu Panda at all since they came home.

Taking Charge of the Parenting Plan
As you may know, I’ve been very proactive about trying to arrange time for Jane to see the boys that works with all our schedule. New facts for you: Remember when Jane fell and got hurt? Well, now she’s having seizures of some sort. My fiancé has tried to get details, but I guess she’s not offering up a whole lot of info. The Department of Motor Vehicles revoked her driver’s license due to these seizures, which honestly, sparked worry and concern on our part about the boys being with her over the weekend.

Her boyfriend is the only one bringing in an income. (Quick tangent – Jane thinks that her boyfriend’s Wal-Mart income is going to support all three of them. Are you serious? I’m still trying to figure that one out.) Back to our concern: What if he’s off at work and it’s just her, the baby and the two younger boys and she has a seizure? What happens then? If she’s not willing to give up details on the severity of this, but we know that the DMV doesn’t trust her behind the wheel of a car, I sure as hell don’t trust her with the boys. So we’ve changed her visiting situation. (Which she seems much happier about btw because apparently she doesn't get any sleep when they spend the weekend with her because they keep her up all night. If she's not willing to set a bedtime I have no sympathy for her.) She now will spend time with the boys one day of the week (pending on when her boyfriend can drive her down and/or her mother can spend time with them also). I assigned the fiancé to find out what times would work with all involved. He got the run around. Well, I blew my lid. I was pretty harsh with my fiancé after he tried to get hours that worked for everyone. I pretty much told him that he wasn’t being aggressive enough, and that I was indeed tired of this crap. He told me that it’s hard to work with three people’s schedules (technically four.) I shot back with the fact that I manage to schedule meetings working with five or more schedules all the time at work. I then proceeded to grab the car keys and storm out of house to the nearest store to do some calming down (shopping).

I came back, apologized for being a bitch, but then confirmed that I was not happy. So I took action. I printed out a weekly calendar with times and filled in when we were available. I had my fiancé communicate with Jane’s mother who provided us with details of when she wasn’t available. I then came up with two options for Jane to choose from. She's not allowed to have open options anymore. But she will not receive options that I (have obviously) have defined. We’re now waiting until next week because her boyfriend has to wait on the night shift manager to create his new schedule. But the point is that there will be a set Parenting Plan that I’m having them both sign and date, for January thru June of this year.

Updated: I just wanted to add in that my fiance will continue to be the face of all this. As frustrated as I get, I know that it would probably be in the best interest to keep my face and name out of it. That and I seriously can manage my anger and frustration a whole lot better the further I stay away from her. The only reason her boyfriend is even considered is because he's the one that has to drive her around now.

The Things Kids Say
I thought I’d end this with some more great wonderful things the kids have said lately. For your enjoyment, one of the latest kid quote conversation snippets from my home to yours.

MB: Crys, what are mammals? Are cows mammals?
Me: Yes, cows are mammals.
OB: We’re mammals.
MB: I’m not a COW!

So precious ...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Toddler Fixations

From experience I knew that children could do some really nutty things. I mean, come on, I found out pretty early on while babysitting this lovely little princess that THERE IS a WRONG WAY to CUT a PB&J sandwich. So coming into my current living situation with my future hubby and the boys I thought I was pretty prepared.

Well, Younger Boy has shown me that you can never be too prepared for anything. The latest? Oh you’ll love this, I guarantee you’ll love this. Younger Boy has entered what the wonderful Sigmund Freud has labeled the Oral Stage. I came across this discovery a couple of weeks ago while we were waiting for Middle Boy to get out of Kindergarten.

We were standing outside his class with the other parents, leaning up against some metal pole bars/ledges. I look down to find Younger Boy licking the pole. I’m not talking like a cat licking its paw here – I’m talking like a dog licking its behind. That boy was going to town. He swished it this way, and that way – he slathered that thing up good by the time I looked down and registered what he was doing.

I cupped his chin and looked at him, trying hard not to show the disgust in my expression.

Me: Don’t lick that. It’s dirty and it has dirty germs that can make you sick. OK?
YB: OK *in a forlorn sad voice*

I glance to my left to find one of the mothers just looking at us. She had a blank “WTF” look on her face. I almost snapped, “What, haven’t you ever seen a kid licking a pole before?” But my humor got the best of me, so I said, “Well, at least it wasn’t frozen.” This warranted a chuckle after a few minutes. (I guess she hadn’t watched “A Christmas Story” all day long on TBS this year.)

We’ll that little booger struck again. We were all at Trader Joes in the frozen foods aisle checking out the fish in stock. Once again, I peer down and find Younger Boys running his tongue across the edge of the freezer ledge. I’m talking some crisp left and right, left and right formation here. This time I took his chin in my hand and maneuvered his head so that he was looking at me. His tongue was still stuck out mid-lick as I looked into his eyes.

Me: Don’t lick things outside *pause as I realize I’ve just set myself up with a prepositional tone of voice and need to think of something on the fly* and that aren’t lollipops. OK?
YB: *Tongue still sticking out* Oh-tay

I glance behind me at my fiancé to see what he thought of my smooth play of words there. He shook his head in approval with a “Good Save” nod. I can only imagine what that boy has explored with his oral fixation in our house.

Which brings me to the other fixation he has been actively participating in, I like to call it the Feline Fixation. And by that I mean the boy believes he’s a cat. I feel kind of sorry for the cats. Fat Cat (is a tuxedo female) and Nasty Cat (he’s pictured in my profile) are both really gentle and good when it comes to the boys. But lately, specifically Nasty Cat, has looked at Younger Boy with a “What is he going to do to me now” glance. And it’s not necessarily that he’s doing anything to them, but more trying to be one of them and the cats just aren’t buying it.

Feline Fixation Occurrence 1
This has actually happened more than once, but it still leaves me laughing in disbelief and shuddering at the nastiness. Younger Boy was following Nasty Cat around – crawling on all fours like a cat and saying “meow” here and there in between laughing and beckoning to Nasty Cat. Nasty Cat was doing his best to pretend there was not a three year old behind him.

Set up – my cats are spoiled. They have a fountain, and not just a fountain it’s the dome. The dome that pumps the water through a filter and up and out over the dome, it happens to the best of us cat owners I think. Anyway, I heard the silence, which following a bought of meowing can never be that good. I turn the corner to find Nasty Cat and Younger Boy at the cat fountain. Younger Boy was on all fours, head down, tongue out and lapping up the water coming out over the dome. Nasty Cat was staring at him like ‘WTF man? That is mine!”

Feline Fixation Occurrence 2
Younger Boy was once again, crawling and meowing like a cat. This time he was following Fat Cat around. We have one of those little cat trees with a tunnel in it, and it happened to be sitting by me. Well, Fat Cat planned her escape by running through the tunnel. She totally thought she had outsmarted him, and of course I almost took in a breath of relief. That was until I noticed that Younger Boy wasn’t going to stop. He had just started to push his giant 3-year-old head into the tunnel when I jumped into action. I pushed my hand through the other side of the tunnel and pushed his head out. I was really afraid that his head was going to get stuck. He looked at me with this pissed off look as if I had just taken a big fat chocolate cookie out of his hand.

Me: Younger Boy, you are not a cat. You can pretend to be a cat and you can play cats. But, you are not a cat. You can not play with the cat’s toys, you play with your boy toys. You do not drink out of the cat fountain; you drink out of a cup. And you do not eat the cat food *oh yes, that’s a whole other occurrence* you eat people food. OK?
YB: Meow!

Oh boy… what next?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Latest Adventure In Potty Training

Some Of My Favorite Things
Let me start off by saying that ever since I’ve become a stepmother I have made quite a few (a lot) of realizations (changes) about the most randomness things – particularly products and their effectiveness.

Here are some of my new found favorite things, and why.

OxyClean: I enjoyed your oxygen cleaning power before for doing laundry, but I had no idea how wonderful you really were for removing potential stain makers from my carpet. I mean, just look at my strong and brave beige carpet. I bet you wouldn’t be able to tell that it had previous encounters with cherry and grape popsicle juice, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos vomit, or chocolate frosting.

Distilled White Vinegar: Your are a fairly recent discovery and latest love of my life. You kill and removes mold oh so well! For details read this.

Scotch Brite Scrubbing Pads: How I love that I can cut you up into tiny, little pieces to scrub away the awfulness of mold, chewed bubble gum, sticky and wet lollypops and vomit. And I don’t feel guilty about throwing you away after one use. Gone are the days of watching my hard earn cash go into the trash when I had to use a dish washing sponge.

Clorox Anywhere Hard Surfaces: You are by far one of my favorites that I hold dear to my heart! In fact, I don’t know what I would do if you were not in my life (the thought is blasphemy against life itself!!!) You clean and sanitize Anything and Everything (well except Sharpe marker, but I can forgive you for that) off of my floors, counter tops, tables and chairs. Especially all the fresh and the somewhat dried foods and sauces that Younger Boy insists on decorating furniture with!

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes: You! Wonderful, Fabulous You! A tie with your hardworking sibling Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface as one that I hold dear to my heart! You have yet to let me down! (Except probably now that I have used the last of you and longingly stare at your empty carton wishing I could will more of you to form inside.)

And Clorox Disinfecting Wipes brings me to my latest instant mom experience and inspiration for this post my dear friends.

Past Occurrences
As you are all aware, I’ve been diligently potty-training Younger Boy. In fact, we’re working on wiping and leaving our pants on around our ankles instead of stripping down butt naked when needing to use the bathroom. In fact, I’m fairly convinced that Younger Boy is working rather intensely toward trying to make me lose my mind. (What he doesn’t know is that I already lost it a long ago and only pretend that I have one.) I say this because he really likes to wait for us to be alone to pull out whatever challenge he’s going to bust out for the day.

Past Occurrences include this, this, this, and oh yes, this.

Others include the infamous Cantaloupe Stand-Off. (If I’ve already told this story I apologize. You may skip down to The Latest Occurrence.) You see, Younger Boy very much enjoys stuffing his cheeks with food. I think he’s part squirrel or something and he’s saving up to snack on this hidden food later. Anyway, one day he shoved four small pieces of cantaloupe in his cheeks. He chewed that stuff for a good 15 to 20 minutes. Within those 15 to 20 minutes he proceeded to tell me reasons why he couldn’t possibly swallow it.

1.It was too hot.
2.It was too cold.
3.It hurt him.
4.It was too slimy/mushy
5.It’s just not fair *followed by a head down on the table and an exasperated sigh of frustration.*

I did, however, win that stand off. I offered a fresh (non-floating particle filled) glass of water in exchange for him swallowing it. He swallowed it.

The Latest Occurrence
I again, was listening in to my weekly meeting when I hear Younger Boy go running by me with his hands holding his butt wailing “I haaave to go pooooo pooooo.”

I responded with my usual, “Then go pooooo pooooo” and resumed listening in to my meeting. About 7 minutes had passed when I thought, “Hrm, I should go check on him. He hasn’t asked for help to wipe yet.” I round the corner to the bathroom, which had a closed door by the way. My heart began to race. I open it up, peer around and was lucky that the phone was on mute.

There he was, stamping my bathroom floor with beautiful, brown poop stamps. He’d already smeared it across the bathroom seat getting on and off (which leads me to believe it had started to poke out during his insistence of removing his pants and socks before climbing up on the toilet. And for some reason had plopped his poop covered little butt down on the floor, twice. Do I even dare mention that about 1/4 of the toilet paper roll was in the toilet?

I once again, my talented self, attended my meeting while I helped him clean up. At this point he’s actually a pro at taking showers and using soapy hands to wipe himself clean in the shower. All the while, with the assistance of my two favorite cleaning items from Clorox, I scrubbed and wiped and sanitized my bathroom.

Do I even dare mention that while I was assisting Younger Boy to get his hands all nice and soapy I turned around to find the cat examining one of the poop stamps? Oh yes, the cat was sniffing and was just about to examine it with his paw with I performed *now imagine this in slow motion* a swooping down motion with my hand to bat him away while saying “Nooo, Dooon’t touch thaaat you naaasty caaat.” All of this while holding the phone to my ear.

So there you go – my latest experience with Potty-Training Younger Boy, and a list of my favorite things that in my opinion anyone with kids (or pets) should most likely have in their home. I even took a photo for you so that you'll know exactly what products to look for.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Year Of The Coffee Bean

Until today I hadn’t quite figured out what my resolution will be for this year. I actually stopped making resolutions a couple of years ago and decided to create a yearly sort of mantra to follow.

2006 – The Year To Take Risks
2007 – The Year To Take Smart Risks
2008 – The Year To Be Optimistic and Think Positively
2009 ???

I’ve thought about this a couple of times now. I want it to be something realistic and yet challenging. I want to gain something from it, and I want to be able to share what I gain with others.

I was reading through my old LiveJournal today. I often find that I’ve learned a lot and have come a long way by reflecting on my challenges of the past. It’s like looking outside the box at the girl back then. The girl back then has helped shape me to be the woman I am now, and the girl back then continues to help shape me when I reflect back upon what she’s learned.

This was a past entry I found:

January 6, 2008

An excerpt from: “Bad Childhood, Good Life” by Laura Schlessinger:
"A young woman went to her mother and complained about her hard life. She was tired of the struggle, felt like giving up, but was willing to hear advice from her mother.

Her mother took her into the kitchen, filled three pots with water, and added carrots to one pot, an egg to another pot, and coffee beans to the third. She turned the heat under them up to HIGH and let them boil.

At the end of about half an hour, she removed the carrots, egg, and coffee beans from the pots and put them on plates. She asked her daughter what she saw and learned. The daughter had no clue. So the mother explained that each of those three foodstuffs had been exposed to the same challenge: boiling water. The carrots went in strong and sturdy and then turned to mush. The egg went in fragile and ultimately turned hard. And the coffee beans changed the hot water around them -- producing a wonderful aroma and a delight to the taste buds.

'So, my darling daughter, when the hour is the darkest and the trials are the greatest, how do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot that loses its strength? Are you the egg that becomes tough and hardened? Are you the coffee bean that influences the universe in a positive, hopeful way?' "

I hope all of you think about this and understand the message.

Despite the struggles that I have encountered, I have always aimed at being the coffee bean that influenced the universe in a positive and hopeful way.

Re-reading that entry made me think that with my current situation it might be most beneficial to myself and those around me if I focused this year on making sure that I take my 2008 Positive and Optimistic view and influence it upon those around me. Not that I want to wear rose-colored glasses and loose touch with reality, but thinking positively and looking for the positive things has made a world of difference in my life.

Right now I am often faced with a lot of negativity and pessimism. I don’t expect to change anyone, but I’d like to make sure that I’m being the example of positive and optimistic influence … if that makes sense.

I’ve decided that 2009 will be The Year Of The Coffee Bean … a.k.a The Year Of Being A Positive Influence.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Have Officially Merged

I had a fantastic weekend. I had to travel to So Cal for my company’s annual banquet, and then I discovered that I can still take shots like a champion, dance like a pro and wake up the next morning and function pretty decently. Although I’m pretty sure I killed some brain cells with my multiple Red Bull and Peach Stoli drinks. I’m sure the purple hooter, red headed slut, and Jaeger bomb didn’t help much either. I woke up, walked around a bit with my best friend Summer and said “Today I feel stupider for some reason.”

Anyway, I had a fantastic weekend full of booze and dancing, and I’ve stumbled upon a grand discovery. Its official folks … I’ve transitioned into a mom. Let me share.

Occurrence One
After the banquet I went to the traditional hangout bar with some of my co-workers. I was sitting with some of them, whom I consider good friends, when I opened up my purse to look for lip gloss. I’m digging, digging, digging around when I fish out a Hot Wheels car. (Do note that all the co-workers at my table are male.) So there I was, holding up a green, shiny Hot Wheels car. My friend Ben didn’t even try to keep from commenting. The look on his face said plenty.

Crys: Shut up *In no particular direction, but mainly to anyone that was plotting something smart to say*
Ben: That’s awesome.
Crys: Don’t say it.
Ben: You’ve become a mom.
Will: Look, she has two cars!

Oh yes folks, a nice shiny orange Hot Wheels car managed its way into view. I then took the opportunity to see what else I had. Last year if you looked into my purse you would have found: pens, old receipts, my wallet, tampons and condoms. Well, Friday I found that my purse now contains: pens, old receipts, my wallet, tampons, two Hot Wheels cars, eight crayons, four mini-lollipops, three disfigured Rolos and two Kung Fu Panda stickers. Oh yeah, the males at the table really got a hoot out of that.

Occurrence Two
Saturday night my friends, my sister Wendy and I were heading out to a night club to get to some good boozing and dancing. I’m in the front seat with my friend Ben. Wendy and Summer are in the backseat. The conversation goes:

Wendy: Ben, will you take me to the bank near the club?
Crys: *turns around* How do you ask?
Wendy: Ben, will you please take me to the bank near the club? *Don’t forget to emphasize the please.*
Ben: You’re such a mom. You didn’t even have to think about it before you said it.
Crys: Shut up.

Those have been the most significant occurrences that I’ve actually noticed. Others include the fact that I have a photo of the boys in my wallet and was readily willing to pull it out upon request this weekend. It was rather, interesting … funny … weird and strange to realize that my lives have so successfully merged into becoming “the mom” that I have become.

OK, I’m laughing. I admit it’s far too amusing not to.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Need New Friends

I have been extremely busy, and it’s exhausting. We had three birthdays to celebrate this past week. Middle Boy’s, my fiance’s and mine all fell in a nice little row. The boys went to Jane’s for the weekend, so my fiancé and I decided that we were going to have a party. More I decided and he thought it would be fun. So one of our friends came over and made carne asada, I made some tasty finger foods and a birthday rum cake for the two of us, and whipped up a bowl of my champagne punch.

Well, in addition to our one friend that was already there, only one other friend came over. His best man at least left a Facebook message that he wouldn’t’ be able to come, and our other reliable friend did note that he “Might not be able to make it” on the Evite I sent out. Can I just express my disappointment in the friends we have up here?

I have never, and I mean NEVER has such flaky friends before in my life. In So Cal I threw parties quite often, and my friends always showed up. It might have been the same 4 to 6 people all the time, but they came when they said they would. And, if they couldn’t make it they would let me know.

Is it because we have kids? Have a developed a stigma now that I have kids I’ve been written off the fun list? I don’t think it’s quite this, although we did mention it was a “kid-free” party. Only a couple of our friends have kids, but I still sent them an invite so they’d feel the love. Maybe the people of Nor Cal just don’t party the way that we did in So Cal? Although I totally remember my parents throwing parties when I was a kid and the house was always packed. Maybe it was because it was the '80s.

I’ve decided that I need to make new friends. All the friends I have up here are from Elementary school and high school. Some have gone their own ways but, have kept in touch and some of them we are better friends with now then we were back then. But all in all, I’ve decided that I need new friends.

I’m a social butterfly. I crazy, need, want, yearn for socializing with others. Working at home has killed a good majority of the opportunity to socialize. The other part of it is taken up by taking care of a family now. And the other opportunity to socialize is with family (whom I love, but really would love to socialize with others that aren’t family) and these friends I already have.

I’ve decided to look into some evening classes or workshops. I’ve entertained finding a good cake decorating class since I’ve become, as some of my better friends have dubbed me, Ms. Ace of Cakes. I hand-crafted a pokemon cake for Middle Boy’s Birthday cake and I did a Thomas & Friends cake for Younger Boy’s birthday. All with buttercream frosting and cake decorating paintbrushes (Except for the Thomas on Younger Boy’s cake. Thank goodness Thomas is still cool enough to have cake decorations out. Pokemon – not so much.)

Back to my vent, I’m going to do something about this instead of just sit around whining, crying and missing having friends – reliable friends. I refuse to believe that I cannot have a life because I have kids. I refuse to change and skew my comfort level that much. This is a big part of who I am. I feel like a firefly in a jar right now.

Do any of you do anything on the side to make new friends or do you take time to go out with friends?