Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm Over It

I'm entrenched in birthday party preparations. We have two parties coming up, for which we spent a ridiculous amount of time shopping for gifts. I can never remember what I got for the same children last year. And I try hard not to buy toys, since I don't know any children who just don't have enough toys. That leaves me with books and puzzles, with a game or video as additional possibilities. I'd much rather give those as gifts anyway. Of course, much of the store time was dedicated to my children pointing out items they wanted for their own birthdays--including a puzzle that The Baby Boy already owns. The prep for their joint party is also a significant amount of work. They've been saying what they want for months, and we've been replaying, "Maybe for your birthday!" Now that those things securely on the list, and we are searching for places to buy them, they've decided to ask for totally different stuff. What the what?! And do I really have to give goody bags? I'm over them, too.

This, plus all of the school prep is crouching over me, too. Even if I wanted to ignore it, every store from here to tarnation is shouting it from the rooftops and demanding that you buy it today. I have two weeks people! Leave me alone!

Summer is seriously coming to an end, and it's all about to break loose, isn't it?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Taking a Poll

My large extended family is vacationing. That means that we have great-grandparents in their 70s (shhhhh--not sure that's for public record), middle-aged parents, grandchildren from age 10 to 35, and great-grands up to age 4. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 people in total. We have a great time, aside from never--ever--following the schedule somebody sets. What we're thinking would work better next time, though, is finding a place where everything is in one place. If we could walk to attractions and restaurants, we could avoid the waiting for one to return from the bathroom, and one to change clothes, and one who wants to go somewhere else all together. The long line of vehicles we have to construct on the highways in order to go anywhere impedes the process and takes up time. But we want interesting things to do that everyone will enjoy.

I'm wondering if there are suggestions for a vacation spot that would work nicely for us next year. Without spending billions of dollars. In, or near, the southeast.

I'm asking anyone and everyone to share locations where you've had a good experience (or heard of one) that speaks to my family's scenario. What would you suggest for us?

Monday, July 19, 2010

You Can Get With This, Or You Can Get With That

So, I keep seeing these teasers for Eat, Pray, Love and they are making me a little sad. I've mentioned before how it deflates me that I'm too old to be on "The Real World" and that I don't have a skill set that matches a reality competition show like "Project Runway" or "The Next Food Network Star." I'm feeling like there are so many things that are beyond my reach. And I hate being left out! Aside from these much less probable opportunities, there are grants and institutes and workshops that I know don't fit into my life. It's not feasible to leave my family for a month or an entire summer. Jaunting off to Paris seems unlikely any time soon. And I still don't understand how anyone manages to write an entire monograph when they have children. Furthermore, shouldn't I be the thirty-something host on "The View" (anybody tired of hearing that one yet?)?

So, here's the thing: The whole Eat, Pray, Love scenario just reminds me that taking a year off from my life may never happen. I remember thinking, around age 22, that I wanted to have a cool, silver convertible sports car. Instead of that, I thought, I'm scrounging for crumbs in graduate school--for what seems like forever. And it kind of was forever. I spent my entire twenties buried under books and living on pennies and then getting married. I didn't have enough money to do anything exciting. When I turned 30, I finally graduated and I was pregnant and adding a whole other layer of responsibility. Being carefree and careless, making totally random choices, eating, praying, loving. When can I do that? Can I ever do that?

I have to acknowledge that this view is the perspective from here. I'm in my thirties. My career feels stalled. My children are at very needy ages. We have lots of bills. I'm tired--a lot. I'm not saying that the trade-off isn't worth it. I'm happy with my choices, but every now and then my world seems very, very small.

I'm starting to wonder if there is ever really going to be a time in my life when I can do something crazy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Deep Thoughts by Small People

The heavier issues of life are coming up more and more around our house. There's the "but how does the baby get in the mommy's tummy?" question, for instance.

The other day we were cutting up tomatoes and cucumbers for a salad. Both children were very excited. They had named the cucumber Larry and the tomato Bob, for the characters on VeggieTales. It was cute until I started to get nervous that they would be traumatized by the idea of slicing and dicing their friends. Instead, they were happy to chew them all up, still calling them by name all the while. Glad I didn't have to fully address the issue of murdering vegetables.

Tonight The Babydoll came in to tell us that she was scared. That happens frequently. We usually tell her 1) that her brother is with her and that God is with her, so she should think of that when she feels afraid; and 2) that she can sing the VeggieTales song "God is Bigger Than the Boogie Man." This time, though, she responds, "But I don't know what God looks like. I've never seen God before. Does God have a mustache?" I let The Hubby handle it since he lead her down this road. He told her that God looks like whatever we want Him to (I decided to just let that gender thing go). That answer seemed to work.

There have also been a number of questions about Jesus' infancy. What did His nose look like? Could He walk?

I often wonder just what's going on in her head that makes these questions materialize. What's she thinking as lies in bed, waiting on sleep? It's fascinating to me. And I wish I had better answers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Complicated

I'm sitting here reading blogs and watching television. In a quite nice moment of total synergy, I was watching the "The Story of Jimmy Rebel" episode of Aaron McGruder's "The Boondocks" while reading the Jack and Jill Politics post on Tim Wise. It references Uncle Ruckus, from the show. It's a lot to take in. I don't even know what to say about it, except that race and politics and human relations are seriously complex business.

This is probably part of the reason why I had to stop researching candidates for the primary elections today . . . .

Monday, July 12, 2010


Again, an essay that I thought was really solid and smart was declined for publication (read: rejected). I was really proud of this one and liked the project a lot. I thought it was perfect for me. I'm sad. :(

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Random Bits

The children have been asking for binoculars and we saw a pair of cute ones by Melissa & Doug yesterday. Now they are skulking around behind sofas and around corners, spying us out like wildlife.

Hot in Cleveland is so freaking funny! I thought it was going to be lame and watered down, since it's on TV Land. But since I like all the actresses so much, I thought I'd give it a try. Hilarious!

We finally had one--exactly one--ripe tomato pop up on our tomato plant. We ate it yesterday. It was sweet and tasty with a little salt. I'm glad that we completed an entire summer project. But it would have been nice to have more than one tomato grow--goodness gracious!

I know that elections are important. But seriously, the political ads are getting on my nerves. Do you really need to say that you aren't even trying to pretend that you care about my vote? Why don't you just call me an idiot because I don't agree with you? Of course, how do you know that I don't agree with anything you propose? Since you say, "Screw you!" to me and my vote, I say, "Screw you!" to you!

Finally finished Wuthering Heights. I hardly had time to read and it took forever. I liked it. Liked Jane Eyre much more. I have to say that I don't get why anyone is love with Heathcliff and Catherine. I found him to be creepy and sad. It was a weird, crazy, needy connection, not a great romance. But maybe it's just me.

What kind of crack-ish sugar cravings am I having? I couldn't stop making s'mores every day, and now I'm pulling out recipes left and right. I want a lemon meringue pie like you can't believe!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

S'more and Some More To Do

I think the combination of pressure to develop my own syllabi for the fall, trying to finish essays that I'm supposed to be working on, beginning the process of enrolling The Babydoll (who will be in private 5K because she just barely misses the public school cutoff) and The Baby Boy (who will likely have to enroll in 2K because of this potty business, even though he technically could/should be in 3K) for the fall, and the 4th of July holiday has set off a S'mores-making spree that I can't shake. The children love it, but Hubby just talked me into joining his gym, so the timing is a little iffy. Mere weeks to go. I'm not ready. I'm not ready. I'm not ready . . . .

*We've been going back and forth about this school thing for at least a year. Hubby thinks it's probably fine for The Baby Boy to stay on the manufactured "start late because I have a late birthday" track and for The Babydoll to get a little manufactured push ahead. He says that she's much more mature and ready for school and that he would benefit from being the oldest in his class. Maybe she should wait--that's what the state says anyway. Maybe we should let him be the youngest--if he ever potty-trains and the school moves him up to his "rightful" class. Is anyone confused yet? I just don't know what's best.