Sunday, November 29, 2009

If Only Radio Flyer Had an Auto Pilot...

Our 2009 Thanksgiving Vacation Road Trip

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(Just kidding. I only wish my minivan was that snazzy).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Bug

At 7:00 pm last night, I said to the kids "Hey, why don't you guys go play upstairs for a little while?"

And they all said, "Okay." And then they went.

This was a shocking development. My children normally have an unrelenting desire to be within a three-foot radius of myself at all times. Unless of course I am sitting down, in which case they must be sitting directly on top of me.

So I watched them go, quite befuddledly. I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. I looked at the dishes still sitting on the dinner table, and thought "Well, I could wash those, I guess." And then I picked up the remote and curled up on the couch instead.

Good Lord! Was I about to turn on the television to something other than Nick Jr. while the children were actually still awake? Would I finally be able to catch up on my tivo'd episodes of So You Think You Can Dance? Was no one actually sitting on me? I couldn't believe my good fortune.

So when Ashley called down from the top of the stairs and said:

"Mommy!!! There's a bug on your door!!!"

I pretended I didn't hear her. So she yelled it again:

"MOMMY! There's a bug on your door!!"

I realized I wouldn't be able to enjoy my moment of television solitude with her hollering at me the whole time, so I yelled back:

Me: Well, how big is it??

Ashley: TWO INCHES!!

Hmmm, well that's pretty big. But I don't think Sesame Street teaches inches (or centimeters, for you crazy metric system-users), so I made her come downstairs and show me with her fingers how big it was. Surprisingly, she held her fingers apart about two inches. Huh.

Me: Well, what kind of a bug is it?

Ashley: It's a...it's a...it's a BEETLE!!

Me: Ohhhhh....like a lady bug?

Ashley: No, mommy (as she rolls her eyes). It's a BIG BEETLE!

Well, there you go. A big beetle was on my door. I looked at the television. I looked at Ashley, who had now been joined by her two cronies (i.e., Aidan and Owen). I looked back at the tv.

Me: Well, what do you want me to do about it?

Ashley: Mommy (as she rolls her eyes some more), I want you to SQUISH it.

Me: I don't squish bugs, Ashley. Daddy squishes the bugs.

This is true. I am not a bug squisher. I am a bug corraler. Meaning that, if I happen to spot a bug in the house, and it is crawling on a flat surface, I will place a glass over it. Thus trapping it to be squished later by my husband, who luckily doesn't mind being married to a lady who would rather slowly suffocate a bug via glass enclosure then squish it quickly with a tissue.

But you can't put a glass over a bug that's crawling vertically on a door. So there was really nothing I could do for Miss Ashley and her two fellow entomologists. Nevertheless, she remained undeterred:

Ashley: Mommy, you need to call Daddy and tell him to come home and squish this bug.

I considered it. After all, he was just next door watching football with the neighbors. But the Nebraska game had just started, and I was feeling particularly generous at the moment.

Me: Ashley, Daddy is busy. Why don't you just squish it yourself?

Ashley: Me squish it?!

I was a little taken aback at myself. Was this a questionable parenting move? Was it appropriate to ask my barely 4 year old daughter to inflict death on another living being, big beetle notwithstanding? What is an appropriate age to kill your first bug? Or put a glass over your first bug, depending on your preference?

I didn't know the answer. But it was too late to turn back now, because Ashley was already marching towards the bathroom to gather up the instrument of death (i.e., toilet paper). I called out, "Grab a little extra!" because I didn't know if she knew that her typical square or two wouldn't be sufficient for a bug squishing expedition.

Aidan, the brave soldier out of the two, quickly followed Ashley up the stairs. Owen stayed behind, staring at me with a concerned look in his eyes. I then heard Ashley and Aidan quietly discussing in their toddler language the best route of attack.

And then it was quiet. For a moment.

All of a sudden, I heard the loudest and most terrified chorus of screams and cries that I've ever heard during my parenting career. I jumped off the couch, yelling "What happened??!!" and ran towards the stairs at full-speed, fearing the worst....was the "big beetle" really a black widow spider? Or a brown recluse? Or a tarantula?????

As I rounded the bend on our staircase, I saw it. A little black beetle...with wings, apparently...floating/flying down the stairwell, away from my two screaming children. By this point, Ashley had already taken cover inside a hamper, her arms over her head, waving and screaming as if she were Tippi Hedren herself. Aidan was pressed against the back wall of the hallway, his head turned and his eyes squeezed shut, yelling something in his toddler language that I roughly translated as "Oh, the humanity!!!!!"

I ran past the floaty beetle and tried to reassure my children that they were in fact, overreacting, only to hear the death cry of Owen, who I'd abandoned behind me on the stairs, as he realized the beetle was headed straight for him. Luckily, it made a last-minute detour and landed on the wall of the stairwell, where I then proceeded to squish it before he could pass out from fear, using scraps of toilet paper that Ashley had gingerly tossed over the side of the hamper.

Then we all hugged. And I realized that I had learned a valuable parenting lesson: Never send three children under the age of four to squish a bug by themselves...unless you've ascertained whether or not it has wings first.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Fakesgiving Celebration

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Ah, Thanksgiving. When I was growing up, it was the most momentous of family holidays because it was the one major holiday that was entirely, solely, unabashedly, and unapologetically devoted to eating.

Sure, there's that whole thing about being "thankful." But historically speaking, on that first Thanksgiving, those pilgrims were really just thankful they had some food on the table. They were starving, people! They didn't waste time going around the table telling sappy stories about how thankful they were for their families and what not! If anything, they just thanked each other for passing the boiled vegetables real quick like!

(And that is another history lesson brought to you by Megan's memory of elementary school classes, supplemented a minute ago by Wikipedia).

So if you really want to honor the true meaning of Thanksgiving, it's perfectly fine to be like my family and just focus on the turkey and pumpkin pie. It's called a "historically accurate" Thanksgiving, if you want to get technical. Which can come in handy if you need to explain why you interruped your great-grandma's soliloquy about the importance of being thankful to say "Pass the turkey, stat!"

Anyhoo, my family devotes months of planning to our Thanksgiving menu. Not that anything is ever different...every year it's the same. Turkey, secret family recipe for stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls, etc. etc. etc. But the reason that nothing needs to be changed is that my family's Thanksgiving menu has reached Thanksgiving nirvana. It is perfect. And due to such perfection, we like to endlessly discuss it beginning in mid to late September of each year. It drives my husband crazy. He is an outsider, though, so he just doesn't understand (he once told me he doesn't even like the secret stuffing. The horror! The horror!)

But the past couple of years, a wrench has been thrown into everyone's plans.

It's called...having children. And having two sets of grandparents who both want to see said grandchildren on various major holidays. So this Thanksgiving, I will be forgoing my side of the family's Thanksgiving festivities and traveling to my in-laws instead. Granted, there will be turkey and fixings galore, which I'm sure will be delicious. We might even get two turkeys, since Scott's parents are divorced and we're splitting our holiday time between them. (I never thought of that as a positive factor about divorce...two turkeys on Thanksgiving! I wonder if they put that in the self-help books.)

But it's just not the same.

So tonight, my family all gathered for an early "Fakesgiving" celebration. We all pitched in...Scott and I supplied the homemade pumpkin pie and wine, my brother and sister-in-law brought apple pie and a sweet potato dish, my grandma and uncle brought cookies and salad, my dad made the secret stuffing, and my mom baked and roasted and mashed and carmelized everything else for a Fakesgiving feast that was beyond compare.

Everything was delish. And maybe, just maybe, this year I'm thankful not only for the food, but for a family who would go to all this trouble just to get to celebrate Thanksgiving with me and my husband and our kids. *Sniff*

Although on second thought, they are still planning to have real Thanksgiving in a couple weeks. Which means they'll get a turkey feast twice in the same month. Which means that...wait a minute...Fakesgiving wasn't about me at all! They just did it for the extra turkey!!!

Pure genius.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What's in a Name?

Because I am exhausted and can't think of anything funny to blog about...

And because it's cute....

And because I don't want to forget it...

And because I was juuuuuuuuuuuust talking about names on my last post...

I'm going to share another little "Ashley-ism" from this weekend with you all.

Me: Ashley, do you know what daddy's real name is?

Ashley: Scott.

Me: And do you know what my real name is?

Ashley: Meggie.

How cute is that? Not just that my daughter thinks my real name is Meggie, but that she thinks that because it's what Scott calls me in front of her.

(Thank goodness she didn't think my name was Sweet Cheeks. Now that would've been embarrassing.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I will love him and squeeze him and hug him...

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As I went about my business cleaning up this morning, one of my children (Owen) began to play one of his favorite games...I call it "Turn the tv on, turn the tv off." It's kind of self-explanatory.

In the 10 second intervals that the tv remained on, Ashley somehow became engrossed in Akeelah and the Bee, which was the movie of the day playing on the Disney channel. I've never seen this movie, but I've heard it's about kids and spelling bees and issues related to such. Now how's that for a helpful synopsis?

Anyway, as I watched Akeelah spell the word "pastiche", I realized that I had on my hands what is called a "teachable moment." Also, I realized that Owen was driving me crazy with the tv.

So I turned off the tv for good, and attempted to teach Ashley how to spell a few words. First we spelled her name. Then we spelled "cat". Then we went to my mom's for lunch. (Hey, we were hungry and she was serving pizza rolls. You would've gone too).

Later tonight, we got back to spelling.

Me: Ashley, do you want to learn how to spell Aidan and Owen's names?

Ashley: Okay, mommy.

Me: Their names are easy to remember...Owen's name begins with the letter "O". See? O-wen. And Aidan's name begins with the letter "A". A-idan. Isn't that neat?

Ashley: And my name begins with the letter "A"!

Me: Yup, that's right. But your name makes the "ah" sound. Like Ah-shley.

Ashley: Mommy, I wish Aidan and Owen had new names.

Me: You don't like their names?

Ashley: No.

Me: Well, what would you name them if you could give them different names?

Ashley: Um, I'd name Aidan "Cute Little Aidan."

Me: Aw, that's sweet! And what would you name Owen?

Ashley: George.

Me: Huh.

And thus ended our spelling lesson for the night.

Friday, November 6, 2009

And the winner is...

I'm kicking it old school on this giveaway drawing...papercuts be damned!

And the winner of the JJ Cole - Tactic Changing Purse in Cocoa Tree is...


Heather!!

Send me an e-mail with your address Heather, and I'll forward it on to the nice folks at csnbaby.com so they can send you your bag. Congrats!!! And thanks to everyone else who entered!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Recap Fun

Ooh, Halloween was b.u.s.y.

First we decorated the house all scary-like......oooooooooh!

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Then we carved pumpkins with the scariest faces we could think of...

Clowns.

*shudder*

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Somewhere in there we also baked and frosted Halloween-themed sugar cookies. I would show you pictures of the baking process, but I think they might just be too frightening for this family-friendly blog. Let's just say that one clumsy mama + 3 children who want to "help" + 2.5 cups of flour equals one freakishly messy kitchen. And 3 freakishly messy children.

Have you ever had to literally shake flour off your toddler before putting him down for his nap? Or had to come up with instantaneous witty responses to your husband's relentless questions of "How did you possibly get flour all the way [up][down][back][over] here?" If not, make sure you give me a call if the situation ever presents itself - I can help you out with both.

Finally, after all the decorating and carving and baking was over, it was time to get down to the nitty-gritty of Halloween - dressing up like wackadoodles and heading out to beg for candy!

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We had a last minute costume change when Owen refused to try on his Yoda hat. Fortunately, Aidan simultaneously fell in love with it so the switch was easy. That is, until Yoda saw that the Ewok got to have a brown nose and flipped out that he didn't.

But not to worry...the force is strong with this mama. I simply whipped out my eyeliner pencil with the cap still on and pretended to draw an identical nose on Aidan. Luckily he fell for my Jedi-mind trick. Although I did feel kind of guilty later when he went around proudly pointing out his non-brown nose to anyone who would look.

The trick-or-treating went fabulously as well. The boys were quite brave. Apparently the Star Wars costumes gave them the little oomph in self-esteem that they needed to accept candy from strangers. Ashley was her typical outgoing self - although she was the first of the bunch to lose steam. One of my favorite quotes from the night: "Daddy, Super Girl wants to be carried."

My other favorite moment from the night was when Aidan picked out a pencil instead of candy from someone's Halloween bucket. Look at my little Einstein wanting a pencil instead of sugar! Bless his heart. Although pencils don't feed a mama's need for a sugar rush in the middle of the night.

Yes, I steal my kids' Halloween candy. Never underestimate the power of the dark side....or dark chocolate.

***

Don't forget to enter my giveaway by leaving a comment on my previous post!! The winner will be announced on Friday!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Give it away, Give it away, Give it away now!

***This giveaway is now closed***

If you are the kind of person who loves things that are (i) free, (ii) cute, and (iii) did I already mention free? - then you have come to the right place because I am hosting my first ever blog giveaway!

What is a blog giveaway, you ask? What a great question - I couldn't have timed it better myself.

A blog giveaway is an event where I give something cute and free to one of my lucky readers chosen at random. Today's giveaway is sponsored by csnbaby.com, which is an awesome website for all things baby-related. Sheesh, I wish I'd known about this website back when my kids were all teensy tiny. They have a super cute collection of crib bedding available...it almost makes me want to have another baby.

(Don't worry. I'm not that crazy.)

Anyhoo, I chose the JJ Cole - Tactic Changing Purse in Cocoa Tree as my first giveaway item. Isn't it cute?

I looooooove diaper bags. Especially compact diaper bags. And the only thing I like better than a compact diaper bag is a compact diaper bag that doesn't look like a compact diaper bag.
You still with me?
And this compact diaper bag isn't even called a diaper bag! It's a "changing purse"! And if you don't think that's super fancy, then I don't know what to tell you. Anyway, I thought it was dang cute and wanted to give it away to one of my loyal readers. (If any guys read this blog, sorry. To keep things even, I'll try and give away a "man bag" for my next giveaway. You can thank me later).

To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment on this post. That's not so hard, right? Just one little comment and you're on your way to being even more fashionable than you already are. And if your husband sees you sashaying around with it and says "Did you buy another diaper bag?" you can say "Step off, honey, cuz I didn't buy it! It was freeeeeeeee!" And it's always fun to get to say step off, isn't it?

For an extra entry, you can also become a "follower" of my blog. Just click that little "Follow" button up there in the left-hand corner, and leave me a separate comment letting me know (or if you already follow me, just let me know). Make sure to leave separate comments so I catch all of your entries!

Yippee! I'm so excited. I'll pick the winner at random by Friday of this week. Let the giving away commence!