Tonight was the Mandatory Parents’ Meeting, an annual joy for the parents of kids at Ethan-7yr’s school. We all sit in a large church sanctuary and are reminded not to go more than 5 mph in the parking lot. And really, many of us could be required to hear that on a monthly basis, not just an annual one. (No, not me.) Then we adjourned to our kids’ classrooms for more announcements from the teachers.
I have to confess, when I realized who Ethan-7yr’s teacher was this year, I was HORRIFIED. Ethan-7yr had assured me that he’d heard she was nice. I couldn’t put a name with a face, and had no reason to doubt him. But then.. . Then we had the appointment where, a week before school starts, we’re supposed to go to the classroom and drop of school supplies, chat with the teacher and let the teacher and the student get a little acquainted over the tasks of organizing school supplies. An excellent tradition. But when we walked in, and I saw who the teacher was, I felt a little sick.
She’s lovely. She is also a virtual clone to another woman who works at that school who I used to know fairly well, and over the years has become an acquaintance. So for the last few years, on occasion, I have almost thrown my arms around Ethan-7yr’s teacher in an odd hug that would have been inappropriate and hard to explain. I’ve come close, and then had to retreat quickly and pretend it did not happen. It has happened repeatedly over the years. And I’ve also said "HI!" with great enthusiasm, only to realize I"ve never actually met her and she is NOT the person I thought she was. It’s also led me to completely snub the acquaintance who I actually DO kinda know. I just don’t trust myself to recognize that it is truly her, and not the stranger who is now the lovely woman teaching Ethan-7yr – and so I ignore her. If we speak, it always, always, always her who has to say hello first. Isn’t that nice?
The ‘Let’s Talk and Bond Over Sorting Glue Sticks’ appointment went well. Then I just couldn’t help myself any longer, and confessed that I was the crazy lady who had almost hugged her repeatedly and started conversations only to walk off abruptly, and I was SO VERY SORRY but I thought she was this other lady…"
Mike was embarrassed FOR me, he later said.
And do you know what she said? "Oh yeah. Happens all the time, we could be sisters. People are always doing that"
I choose to believe her. Nope, I do NOT think she was just being polite to make me feel less moronic, I choose to believe every word of it.
She’s so nice.
I was just over at my sister’s place, and thought some of you might wanna go, too.
I’m so impressed with all of you! Way to go! And for the winner…
(i know – i didn’t specifically SAY there would be a winner, but that was because I was tired, and y’all. there’s always a winner.)
It’s MELODY! Yea!!!
But honorable mention to Shalee for helping me out, and to my mom (j-mom) who shared much about her own breast health issues. Yea, J-Mom! (thank you for doing that here and now, and if it had been ten years ago in front of my Real Life Friends I just woulda died. So glad I can appreciate it now, though)
What i CANNOT appreciate:
Earlier today walking into Ethan-7yr’s bathroom and finding Ethan-7yr and Caden-3yr standing there, holding small plastic bottles. The brothers were perhaps experimenting with the idea of launching the Two Brothers Bottling Company. You know, anyone coulda bottled tap water. Or toilet water. Or soapy bathwater. But only these two would attempt to bottle pee, water, AND a little soap for that extra frothy bit on top that really makes it super-special.
I cannot appreciate this at all.
I am suddenly more interested in the upcoming start of school. When they’ve run out of summertime activities, and are beginning to bottle their bodily fluids… well, that’s a good time for school to start.
But in other news. I’ve been benched. This makes no sense, because I haven’t told y’all this before… because it’s kinda weird. But I’ve really, REALLY gotten into weightlifting. I know. If I’d said ‘crack’ you’d be less surprised. But I didn’t get into crack. I got into weights. Too much. I was working out with my trainer, Workout Barbie, 3 times a week, and then on top of that doing 3 one hour weightlifting classes each week. She told me it was too much, but I just couldnt’ stop. It was too fun! And then yesterday, something happened and I somehow tore my right bicep.
Oops. I’m not supposed to do any upper body exercising for at least two weeks. I already miss it. Glad I got lots of waterskiing and wakeboarding in last weekend, since that won’t be happening for awhile.
(insert your own imaginary, seamless seque)
You know, I’ve needed a good Author Picture for awhile now. And when HolyCOusin came to town, I knew I should ask her to take it. She’s a photographer. She had her camera. I got all strange and wouldn’t ask her, though. So I thought about asking a certain friend. I even talked to this friend about it. But we decided that I have a tendency to laugh hysterically and burp/spit/cry/drool and make a complete laughing moron of myself around her, and that would not translate well into this particular photo. It might translate VERY well into "I’m into crack!"
So I asked Mike. He agreed. He made me go into the FRONT yard, where i was SO embarrassed, and he took 9000 photos of me.
I haven’t figured out which one we’ll use yet, but here is one I think we can exclude:
No. I have no idea what I was doing.
The Super Short, it’s 1:30 in the morning when i’m writing this on the 13th, I’M SO TIRED version of Club 17.
(I’m really away right now, off with friends and family conquering the wake.
Or trying to learn to wakeboard. Doesn’t sound as impressive that way, does it?
So! In my absence, please remember to do your BSE, and come back and say you did. Any questions? Just click that link a couple sentences back, and if you still have a question, you might ask Shalee. She has a crown on her Club 17er, so she’s in charge and taking names until I get back. (Hey Shalee, psst. You’re in charge.)
I think the potty trainedness is back on track. At J-Mom’s suggestion, i sent Ethan-7yr off to have a brother to brother chat with Caden-3yr about all things Big Boy. I have no idea how it went. When I asked Ethan-7 yr later, he said, "It went good. You weren’t there." O-kay.
Later, just for good measure, I told Caden-3yr that he is on the Road to Manhood. There are no u-turns allowed on this road, and once you speed by the diapers and pull ups stages, change is ahead. The required attire for the rest of the Road is underwear. He was trying so hard not to crack a smile, so I laid it on extra thick. Then Ethan-7yr piped up and yelled, "YEP! I’m on the Road to Manhood, myself!" And Caden-3yr dissolved into little boy giggles, which is all I wanted anyway. (Well, that, and dry underwear.)
Let me introduce you to my new friend, Karla! Our husbands have worked together for years, but we’ve never met since we live in different Texas cities and it’s a big state and all. Mike always said I’d like them. I doubted him, and always told him so. Not that he said anything specific that would make me think i’d dislike them – it’s just that Mike likes everyone and I definitely… don’t. It’s a fantastic quality of his. He sees the best in people, always. So, it’s great if Mike likes someone. It’s a little more rare for me to like someone. But these people I LIKE. Really, really like.
They came over to the NM house, and right before they got there I was SO nervous. I get that way before meeting just about anyone. Mike got in my face and told me to BREATHE, KELSEY. So I did. Then they got there, and I forgot to breathe.
So, Karla’s husband does what Mike does. They have one daughter, followed by three little boys. About the same age difference between the kids as all of ours. (but our 4 are a little older, as a group.) She’s funny, she blogs, and I fell in love with their kids.
Is this where y’all start to get suspicious? Did we really meet another couple who sound EXACTLY like us, and DUH, no wonder you finally found someone you like, Kels?
No! We are WAY different! She homeschools! She COOKS. She does the whole FlyLady thing, which i’m pretty darn sure means she actually CLEANS, too! She grinds her own coffee beans in the morning (something I found to be more intimidating than the whole FlyLady thing, but I played it cool.) And? When she asked how I take the kids all shopping, she didn’t even laugh when I assumed she meant shoe or clothing shopping. Only later did I realize she probably meant groceries. Oh, right! Those. Yes. I think I managed to say something like, "Oh, I go, or we all go together, or um… really we eat out a lot… don’t buy many of them anyway…" It was a fantastic testament to my domestic prowess, y’all.
The best part? Karla is so darn cool that even though it appears she IS the Martha Stewart of Texas (without the criminal past) and I’m more like, well, NOT – it was FINE. She was just as fine with her ability to actually create meals her family eats (whaa?), as she seemed with my total inability or disinterest in accomplishing the same. I LOVE THAT! Total acceptance and mutual like. Any perceived gap between the Can Cook and the Can’t Cooks – yo. That gap’s been bridged, y’all. Just so you know. It’s done. Karla and I handled that for all of us.
Karla and family (i’m hesitating using the rest of their names, but I haven’t forgotten them. promise.) were there the day after the Night of the Bear. We’re inside talking, and Mike and Karla’s husband send the kids off to investigate the dying animal noise I"d heard the night before. A few minutes later Mike comes in and says, "Well, do you want to be right, or not right?"
"Right" would mean that the kids unearthed evidence of a bear eating a big animal. Hmm. Tough one. So I said, "If being right means the kids are playing with a SKULL, then no. I do not want to be right."
No skulls, just bear footprints. A good time with new friends. And breathing.
(go say hi! especially if you’re a homeschooler, b/c she’s new to the whole blogging thing and I was all "EVERYONE who blogs is a homeschooler." But then I couldn’t remember exactly who.)
Okay, I posted too soon.
Yes, Caden-3yr is PERFECTLY capable of potty trainedness. However.
His motivation for potty trainedness (i don’t care if it isn’t a real phrase, i like it) was for me to sign him up in an art class or something similar. Which is why every single time he’d potty, he’d ask if I was going to sign him up yet. Right. THe answer was ‘no, not until the underwear stays dry all day every day.’
And we got there! Yea! Then when Caden-3yr asks if I signed him up, say YES!! I DID! YOU EARNED IT! I’ll write a post about it!
Then, the next day. Total regression to accident after accident after accident.
Calmly ask kid WHY.
Kid calmly explains, "You already signed me up!"
I do not have a lyrically incorrect theme song today. I AM NOT SINGING. I am breathing deeply, and soon I will go away and have several hours of retail therapy all on my own.
There might be ice cream. There might be shoes. My cell phone will be turned off, and the radio will be cranked up high. Okay. There might be singing.
75% of my children are potty trained. Are you hearing that old Meatloaf song?
"3 out of 4 ain’t bad…"
A sincere thank you to Caden-3yr for recent focus, attention to detail, follow- through, hard work, determination, and his strong desire to achieve this very important milestone. Congratulations! Who’s a big kid now?!
(i have not forgotten about the post i mentioned that should be here instead. i just haven’t written it yet, because i’ve been so busy doing all those glorious things – like laundry – that you get to do when you’ve changed your last ‘poo pull-up.’ yea!!!!)
so it’s an hour later and i’m trying to drift off to sleep. Meatloaf is singing to me, and you know what? he is refusing to sing the ’3 out of 4′ line. nope. instead it’s ’2 out of 3′. Which is FINE, of course, and has been for decades i think, but it in no way reflects the mathematical equation of the toileting practices of my family members described above. And so at the very least, it cannot lull me off to sleep since as soon as i realized my mistake (or Meatloaf’s, your choice) of course i had to wake completely up and revise this post.
Guess what? you know the woman who sings in Sugarland? I think her name is Jennifer Nettles. Turns out she speaks just as Weird Twang-y as she sings. I had no idea. And really, of course a country singer is going to twang. But not like this. This Weird Twang outtwangs all others by far.
There’s a line in one of their songs where she sings "Fell in love out of college…" but she sings it with the oddest, most unnecessary twangy emphasis on the word college. It comes out "CAAAHLedge" . Have y’all noticed?
Anyway. That’s not really why I’m here, but CMT is on in the background and I thought I’d share. In case you can’t tell, I actually do like her – i’m just fascinated with her sound.
Just got back from visiting Kim-13 yr in New Mexico. Whirlwind trip, with Mike there already and the 3 boys and I going out there on our own. Before we’d even left town, Seth-1yr figured out how to take off his seatbelt (only the top part), unlock his car door, and then OPEN the car door. Then he would double over in his seat and laugh his little baby head off as all the interior lights came on and the Voice of the Car starts saying "RIGHT REAR DOOR AJAR!! RIGHT REAR DOOR AJAR!!" It was dark and rainy, so the lights coming on made a notable difference. As did my calm and cool freaking outed-ness as I pulled over to the shoulder and reseatbelted, locked, and shut his door. And lectured – all while standing on the shoulder of the road, getting rained on, almost getting run over by the helpful guy who thought he should pull over and make sure I was okay. (YES. Thank you. Don’t come so close that I think you’re going to MOW ME DOWN next time please, Mr. Good Samaritan in white chevy pickup.)
So. Get back in car. Regret stopping at Target and buying the children educational toys, because Seth-1yr had been studiously working at the various locks on said toy, and clearly he learned too much. Realize that the car door actually has a child lock feature, and wish that I had enabled it. Wonder if Seth-1yr could outsmart that as well, but figure it’s worth a shot.
I get another chance, because then the lights are on, and the Voice of the Car is again saying "RIGHT REAR DOOR AJAR!! RIGHT REAR DOOR AJAR!!" At least I assume that is what she’s saying – yes the Voice of the Car is female – because I can’t hear it clearly over the raucous laughter coming from my tiniest, and currently most mischievous passenger.
So this time when i pull over, I remember to enable the child lock feature. It’s raining harder. I’m annoyed, soaked, and still a little amused but determined not to show it. I reseatbelt, lecture, lock door, kiss laughing baby, shut door, and OH YES, another chivalrous guy is pulling over to check on me. Silver dodge pickup. Fortunately, not so close as the last guy. I’m FINE, thankyousoverymuch, and when did chivalry go all crazy like this anyway? I remember getting stuck in the mud this last spring and watching a guy in a red pickup get close, then throw it into reverse so he wouldn’t HAVE to come near me and possibly help. The chivalry thing has clearly taken a summertime spike. (It’s hereby scientifically decided.)
We get there. It takes hours longer than usual, what with the antics of Seth-1yr, and the pouring rain slowing our speed to a crawl. A few hours after we arrive, the kids are in bed going to sleep. They settled down easily, and we were fortunate enough to get the secluded house in the mountains we usually rent.
Through the darkness comes a PIERCING, dying animal cry. (Later MIke said he told someone, "My wife thought she heard something…" at which I laughed. He wasn’t home then, and that is the biggest understatement ever.) I was frozen to the core at the deafening sound of a wild animal fighting for its life and losing. It was big. Like a fox, or dog, or coyote, and it was RIGHT outside the window. It took five full minutes to realize that it was a big animal, dying, and that meant something BIGGER was out there too. Bear. I know some of y’all think nothing of these things. You are Wild Wilderness Women, and are laughing at me. Go ahead. There are not big scary bears where I live and it wholly freaked me out.
At this time I had three brilliant thoughts 1) calling someone. Anyone. Because, really now. That should help. 2) waking up the kids. (only slightly more brilliant than #1), and 3) bugging my eyes out and heavy breathing until it stopped.
I went with #3. The next day Mike sent the kids to ‘investigate’ and they found two sets of tracks, including dog/fox sort and bear.
Score one for the Food Chain. It works. Yo. We were there. No T Shirt Necessary.
The next installment of the We Went to NM post will be… "Met Some Great People and Freaked Out First." Stay tuned!