I blame Facebook

Because, you know, Facebook is the source of All That Is Evil.

Seriously, so much time has gone by since I last posted, I can only chalk it up to the fact that I seem to now post the little things in my life to Facebook instead of to my blog. However, today’s little Facebook update seemed to me to warrant an actual blog post, and so here I am. (As an aside, when I decided that I should blog about this, I was actually excited about the prospect, since I seem to do little actual writing these days.)

Ha! I wrote the above in November. I have no clue what I was going to blog about. I must have gotten distracted.

I actually came over to my blog to share the awesome video that one of my friend’s posted on my Facebook wall of today’s school assembly. I still haven’t gotten the exact details, but evidently, Logan was one of the kids chosen to drum. He’s the one in the orange sweatshirt, the one jumping around like a crazy person, the one who gets REALLY INTO IT.

Imagine this…I didn’t know a thing about this assembly or Logan’s 3-minutes-of-fame until my friend posted the video. But when I asked him about it, Logan declared today one of the best in his entire life. =)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3649715301470

 

I was asked by Better Homes and Gardens to represent South Dakota in their State Fragrance Contest, going on now through the end of the month on their Facebook page. 51 bloggers, one from each state + Washington D.C., were given gift cards to purchase a Better Homes and Gardens wax warmer and wax cubes to invent a scent that represents our individual states. The blogger who receives the most votes for his/her fragrance receives 10-$25 gift cards to give out to blog readers, plus a trip to the Better Homes and Gardens headquarters. I’m sure the trip to BH&G is great, but I agreed to enter the contest on behalf of South Dakota just because it sounded like so much fun to play with different scents! (I’m also hoping to be able to get enough votes to be able to give 10 of my readers one of those $25 gift cards…so go vote!)

First of all, it had never even occurred to me to mix different scents of wax cubes. What a cool idea!

Secondly, although I knew the general theme I wanted the fragrance to have, I also knew that another sniffer would be helpful. With that in mind, I enlisted my friend Jo to help. It actually didn’t take us long to come up with the scent we named “Prairie Breeze,” which is made up of 1/2 cube French Lilac Flowers, 1 cube of Country Sunflower, and 1 cube of Line Dried Linen. The result is an outdoorsy, fresh, crisp, flowery scent that I’ve had going every day in my warmer since we made it. I love it!

Light blue = Line Dried Linen, Purple = French Lilac Flowers, Orange = Country Sunflower

I wanted to create a scent that represents the wonderfully clean, fresh air and wide open space we have here in our mostly rural state. We used a full cube of the Lilac at first (see picture), but it overpowered the other two, so we decided half a cube would be better. At just $2 a pop for a package of 6 wax cubes, scent creations are inexpensive and easy!

There are a variety of fragrances and warmers to choose from,

but this is the one I chose:

So go ahead and vote for your favorite fragrance, even if it’s not mine. There are some really yummy ones posted, i.e., Oregon’s “Oregon Berry Pie,” that I’m anxious to try out. Voting also gives you a chance to win a wax warmer and a 6-pack of wax cubes. You only get one vote though, so spend it wisely! Official rules can be viewed here.

Be sure to pass this on to your family and friends and/or post the contest on Facebook, if you want to help.

Blog block

I sat here for a couple hours this morning trying to decide what to write about. I have so many topics swirling around in my head, I couldn’t decide which one to go with. Should I blog about the 5-week-old Yorkie puppy we have been dog-sitting for the past week and how sad I am that she’s supposed to go home today because I’ve always wanted a Yorkie puppy and we were supposed to get one of her siblings but they all died? Maybe I should write about how crazy this summer has been with extra kids around for much of it (Andie has been baby-sitting). Then there’s the whole “I-can’t-wait-for-school-to-start-again” aspect as my kids tire of each others’ constant company and bicker more every day. Or I could talk about how having bigger kids really does mean dealing with bigger problems and how often I have been scrabbling for good ways to deal with said problems lately. I might explain why I haven’t posted in so long — lack of focus, uncertainty about the direction in which I want to take my blog and how to get it there — or the facelift my house interior received in the last month, thanks to my friend’s college-age daughter and some paint.

The truth is that I can’t decide which topic to focus on, and I need to get another post up yet today.

So, enjoy this picture of the adorable puppy we’ve been watching, plus Logan’s latest Mommy creation, complete with horrific spelling errors:

Puppy at 4 weeks old.

Translation: “It’s a beautiful day, time to have fun. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is bright, the flowers bloom, the trees grow. It’s a nice day, the butterflies flutter, the air is good, but I care about Mom. I care about you, your my mom. I care for you, you’re my mom, the best mom ever. I love you!”

There. I do believe I’ve given you your sugar fix for the day.

I knew the time would come. I really did. Still, secretly I hoped that maybe, just maybe, I’d be one of the few lucky ones to pass through this era unscathed, admired and adored, like I always was.

You see, I have become inexplicably, ridiculously, embarrassingly stupid.

And annoying.

Just ask my nearly-14-year-old daughters.

Rachel & Andie, age 6, when they still thought I was pretty cool

I’ve never subscribed to the idea that teenagers will absolutely have a phase of being disrespectful, rebellious and generally awful; I think this is just one of the many myths of our society. The number of times I’ve heard, “Oh boy, just wait until those girls are teenagers. You’re going to have fun with TWO teenage girls!,” is countless, as if cohabitation with teenagers is expected to be a recipe for misery.

I agree that teenagers can be miserable to live with. I certainly was a lot of the time. But teenagers or not, I still expect my kids to be kind, respectful and responsible. Of course they’ll have their moments; they’re going through a lot — hormonal changes, establishing independence, mood swings, mountains of homework, friend drama.

To be fair, my girls are sweet, thoughtful, helpful, caring, considerate and usually just all around lovely. But when they’re not, they’re really not. The sighs of disgust, eye rolling and general snippy-ness have become more frequent, especially this summer, as they’re forced to spend inordinate amounts of time with me and their younger brothers, all of whom evidently cause them a general feeling of annoyance.

It’s difficult adjusting to this new phase of life, one in which what I say is no longer unquestionable fact; where what I do is no longer openly admired; where my faults are becoming glaringly obvious in the eyes of teenagers trying to establish independence. Yes, it’s all part of the stretching and learning and the discovering of who they are and who they want to be, but it’s still hard for me to go from SuperMom to StupidMom.

I have a couple letters from each of the girls hanging above my desk, remnants of my glorious Mom-past. A snippet from Rachel’s long missive detailing why I’m a good mom, written when she was probably 6, in cramped, tight handwriting: “Your a really good mom I think your the best mom in the world I wish I had another mom wich makes 2 I want another mom just like you. I Don’t want any other mom in the holl world I want you your the best mom anyone could have you are really specle to me Love Rachel.”

Andie’s sweet little poems, written on a huge, hand-drawn picture of the sun and flowers: “You are the best mom that I know; I know this because you love me so,” and “I wrote this poem today; Just to make your day.”

As I was just sitting here trying to decide how to wrap this post up, Logan came in with his hands behind his back and said, “Mom, I love you so much, I brought you a surprise,” and presented me with this:

My surprise from Logan

“I pulled it out by the roots so we can re-plant it and it will turn into beautiful blossoms,” he told me, giving me a hug.

Beautiful blossoms picked by my youngest child = a reminder that my glory days aren’t quite over.

Once upon a time (yesterday), Logan and his mom (me) were going to pick up his sister (Andie) from her friend’s house.

As they drove down the gravel road that led to Scatterwood Lake, Logan’s mom noticed something on the road.

“Look!” she said. “There are some geese down there!”

“Where?” asked Logan, sitting as far forward in his seat as he could.

“Right there!” his mom said, pointing and slowing down, as their van came up slowly behind the family of waddling geese.

“Oh, they’re so cute!” said Logan, watching as the mother goose (at least, one would presume it was the mother goose) flew into the opposite ditch, clearly screeching something at her oblivious offspring, who proceeded to take off running as fast as their fat little bodies could go.

The babies, there were perhaps 7 or 8 of them, kept running, staying on the side of the road, all in a row, while the mother goose flew alongside in the other ditch, riled up and scared.

All of a sudden, the gosling in the back of the line tripped and fell, feathers fluffing everywhere. It picked itself up and took off running again, only to fall down again. This time, it didn’t get up.

Logan and his mom coasted up beside it to see what the problem was. The baby goose didn’t move.

“We should help it,” said Logan.

Logan’s mom saw the other babies at the intersection nearby, where their mother was herding them into the water in the ditch.

“I think we better wait to help it. We don’t want the mama goose to not help it because we touched it,” she said. “We’ll be right back here in a few minutes and we’ll see if the baby goose is still here. If it is, we’ll help it.”

“OK,” agreed Logan, and then he began to talk about all the things he would do with his new pet gosling.

A short time later, Logan, his sister and his mom came back to the place where the baby goose had fallen down.

It was nowhere to be seen.

Logan’s eyes filled with tears.

“It’s good that we can’t find it,” his mom told him. “That means that it’s with its family, right where it should be.”

Logan didn’t agree that the gosling should be with its family. He thought it should be going home with him. He got out of the van to walk down the road and double check that they hadn’t overlooked the would-be pet.

It still wasn’t there.

By this time, Logan had reconciled himself to the fact that the baby goose was, in fact, gone for good. He sighed as he climbed back in the van.

“I’ll just have to look for a cricket today so I can have that as a pet instead,” he told his mom. Privately, his mom thought there was quite a big difference between having a baby goose and having a cricket, but she simply nodded.

Unfortunately, no crickets seemed to be in the vicinity and/or available that day.

The next morning, when Logan went outside, he caught a toad. He promptly named it “Toady,” put it in a tall, white bucket, and fed it a moth that he found in the bathroom and 2 ticks that he found on the family dog, whose tick collar had evidently ceased to do its job.

THE END

Logan's new pet

My new table

I’ve had the same old cast-off, ugly table, complete with mismatching chairs, for about 13 years now. I’ve lamented its existence many times and wished for a new table and chairs, but it was just never in the budget.

I was finishing up some work this evening when Andie called up, “Dad’s here!” My jaw dropped as I came down the stairs and spotted this in my dining room:

My new table and chairs

I’m so ridiculously excited. Glen found this set at a rummage sale today and, knowing I have wanted this for years, he picked it up and had it all set up for me. It’s in excellent shape and sooooo much nicer than what I had before, which was bordering on embarrassing. Glen does so many thoughtful and generous things for me, despite the fact that we are divorced. Thank you, Glen, for making my day/week/month/year!

Potpourri

Potpourri — any mixture, especially of unrelated objects, subjects, etc. (Definition courtesy of Dictionary.com)

The girls’ friend, John, came over for the afternoon and evening today. He wanted to start the Star Wars trilogy (Episodes 1-3) with them, since they haven’t seen it, but Andie remained completely unimpressed by the middle of Episode I, so they turned it off, much to Rachel’s chagrin. It’s so much fun to have teenagers hanging out at my house; despite the fact that the rest of us are herded upstairs where we can’t be annoying/embarrassing. (John says he doesn’t mind me hanging out with them because I’m “cool,” but I don’t think my daughters share that sentiment.)

Highlight of John’s visit this time: The short time he spent playing our piano and singing, including regaling us with his latest composition, which, though currently untitled and without a back story, is on its way to major awesomeness.  I’m always happy to have John over because he is one of the kindest, most thoughtful, open, honest and creative people that I know. He’s an old soul in a 15-year-old body.

Andie, John and Rachel

This shot is typical, though it hasn’t been seen in our house for awhile*:

Logan's choice of pajamas

Freshly showered and ready for ice cream, Logan came downstairs tonight in his Spidey costume and struck a pose. We certainly get our money’s worth out of our Halloween costumes!

*Please excuse the blurry pictures. I am told that rather than my phone’s camera being the problem, it is the operator who has the problem. This may be true, but I still like to blame the camera.

Idol chatter

The kids and I have two guilty pleasures — watching American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. We have been thrilled with this season of AI. I mean, seriously. These kids have some incredible talent. I’m not usually too emotional about live music, but I have gotten goosebumps and/or cried several times this season, almost always during one of Joshua Ledet’s songs.

I don’t know what it is, because normally I prefer gravelly, deep, male voices, but Josh’s raw talent gives me chills, even though I haven’t particularly liked any of the actual songs he has performed. I think it’s the way every song he sings seems to touch him deeply in some way. That really comes out in his performances, more than anyone else.

I was a Colton Dixon fan from the beginning, just because he was so original and made each song his own, and I liked him even more when he sang Lifehouse’s “Everything.” When he was voted off (BOO!), he got down on his knees for his final performance and sang “Everything” again, tears streaming down his face. I haven’t been that moved in a very long time.

We’re now down to Phillip Phillips, Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez. Up until tonight, I had been getting rather tired of Phillip. I liked him a lot in the beginning, but all of his songs started to sound exactly alike and I was bored. Jessica, on the other hand, is a female Joshua. Her vocal prowess is truly incredible, and she’s only 16! Until the last song of tonight’s show, I was all for a Jessica/Joshua showdown next week.

However. Phillip’s rendition of “We’ve Got Tonight,” the last performance of the night, was sooooo good. He was clearly uncomfortable because it’s not his typical style (plus he didn’t have his guitar), but it was tender, quiet, and heartfelt, and completely won me over.

So now, I don’t know. They’re all so darn good, I’ll be happy with whomever wins.

Who’s your favorite for the win?

Today, Day 2 of the kids’ summer vacation, was, overall, a heckuva lot better than yesterday. For reasons known only to themselves, my sons decided to be extra-wild and crazy yesterday, resulting in a banishment to the outdoors for a couple hours.

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:

1. I can tell 99 out of 100 times who is at my office door by the footsteps and/or the knocking pattern and volume.

2. My productivity ratio goes down about 15% per kid when they’re are home all day, every day. Some ground rules on office hours are most likely going to have to be established. That said, I’m really enjoying spending more time with them.

3. I’m SO grateful that Andie enjoys cooking because she has been making at least one meal a day so far and she is turning into an amazing cook. I’ve always said I’d much rather have a cook than a housekeeper!

4. If left to their own devices, my sons would split their time between the TV, the computer and their Leapsters, and subsist on Cheerios, PB&J, toast, and the occasional box of mac and cheese. They would never see the light of day, nor would they ever rely on their good, old-fashioned imaginations for entertainment. Fortunately, they have me, a mom who values imagination and creativity above most everything else, and so, alas, their penchant for unlimited screen time is in check.

5. Summer vacation is full of magic. Just look at yesterday’s finding:

Baby cottontail

Isn’t it adorable? Our dog, Remy, was chasing it and Rachel rescued it. She wanted to keep it SO badly, as did all the kids, but after some quick internet research, I discovered that the best bet for this sweet little thing was to let it go. The chances of it surviving captivity are slim. After attempting to feed it some milk with no results, Rachel agreed that putting it back in its natural habitat was best. Still, moments like this, when the kids have time and opportunity to find and fawn over a sweet little bunny, are so precious.

Logan found a caterpillar on his walk with Andie yesterday too. He named it “Georgie,” and was so excited to “give it exercise in the grass” and maybe even see a butterfly hatch eventually. However, in his Lenny-esque attempt to care for it, he accidentally drowned the poor thing in its jar by giving it WAY too much water. Ah well, lesson learned. I’m quite sure there will be more caterpillars in the near future.

6. I love summer vacation. Long days, warm nights, sitting outside by the fire and roasting marshmallows, getting out the camper so the kids can sleep outside, walks, gardening, family get-togethers.

How about you? What are your favorite summer memories? What do you like best about summer vacation?

Yesterday afternoon, things at our house suddenly got very quiet. The kids were obviously upstairs, but the camaraderie I heard coming from the boys’ room as I went up the stairs was unusual.

I arrived at the boys’ door to find a notice, which had previously served as a warning for the mess inside, updated to say this:

6 hours! I thought, listening to the noises going on inside. I bet they’re cleaning it up.

Sure enough, one by one they came trickling out; first Cody, followed by Rachel, and some time later, Logan. As usual, the only one left, doing all the work herself, was Andie.

After awhile, Andie told me it was ready. I was greeted with a floor that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, newly made beds, an organized toy box and dressers,  and this:

Just like the sign on the door, this warm welcome was scrawled by my youngest, and was, by Andie’s account, the extent of his involvement in the cleaning of the room, despite the duration of his presence there.

As it turns out, I should have taken a picture of the room itself as a commemoration of its brief stint as a decent, clean bedroom, because, wouldn’t you know it, today, the boys have completely dismantled it again. Of course, I didn’t discover this until I was putting Logan to bed.

Guess I know what’s on Cody and Logan’s agenda for tomorrow.

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