Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blast Off!

Houston is the fourth largest city in America. Did you know that? I don't know what the actual population is, but I know it's a lot more than my previous hometown of 3,000 some. Houston. It is crowded.

For this I learned very early that if I wanted to go to ANYTHING, it had to be on a weekday as soon as the sun came up. I am not a morning person, but since I get up at dawn with the kids anyway, might as well take advantage of it.

A couple of weeks ago I thought it'd be a good idea to take the little kids to Space Center Houston. We went last summer with Jacob and Adam's been asking to go ever since, so I logged onto their website, discovered the earliest time I could set foot in that place, and we were off.

It's really not that far from us, so I should've turned around the minute I pulled into the parking lot and saw THREE school buses. But I thought to myself, Eh, three buses, can't be THAT bad, and in we went.

Oh, it was fun at first. My little Star Wars fans were delighted to see their favorite droids:



But we couldn't see the rest of the cool exhibit because it wasn't there. Wasn't due to open until the next day. Adam wanted so badly to see the rest of it and when one of the employees heard me telling him that we'd return in June to see it all, he came over to inform me that they were "having trouble" putting up the other stuff and "just to be safe" to come back in JULY if we wanted to see the ultra cool tribute to George Lucas complete with Star Wars! Indiana Jones! and Howard the Duck? Okay. Whatever. Never mind that they keep advertising on television that it opened LAST WEEK.

So in the Space Center there is this huge ball pit/play area/like McDonalds only bigger playground that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with space but appeals to my little ones because there are BALLS! and SLIDES! and that musty closed in plastic sweaty stink that is oh-so-enticing. So where do we head next? You guessed it. Because my kids are FOUR and TWO. What the hell do they know or care about space?

I'm thinking they may have had a lot of fun in it if they could've actually gone inside.

See, there were more than three school buses that day. There were HUNDREDS of school buses that day. The friendly guy who took our picture told me, aside from the exhibit not being unpacked, there would also be 3,000 school kids in that tiny place and, well, maybe we might want to rush through everything in the next hour and get the hell out before it was too late.

And by the time I turned around, it was too late.

Can you say, stampede?

OH. MY. GAWD. He was not exaggerating.

You could not MOVE in that place. It was packed wall to wall with children of all ages, adult "chaperones", and clueless teachers who had no idea where most of their students ended up.

If they could've gotten into the play pit, that's where they'd have found them.

Now, there's a height requirement to the playground. Basically, if you're tall enough to ride the roller coaster at the fair, you SHOULDN'T go in the tiny kiddie play zone. All the field trip kids apparently missed school on measurement lesson day. As did their parents. And teachers. And the two "guards" positioned out front.

It was rough, but I took my kids in. Just barely. We were lucky to make it out alive.




Can you see Elizabeth back there under that girl's feet? Oh, don't mind us. We're just playing here.

We stayed just that long because I was afraid Elizabeth would lose a kidney and Adam declared that to be the stinkiest place EVER and wondered loudly if those kids had ever had a bath because they smelled. Oh, man, did they smell!

So for sixty some bucks my kids got to play in the photo op and the tiny rip-off photo machine.....






And OUTSIDE with sticks. Just like they could've done at home for FREE.



And then we left. But not before filling out a complaint form and being belittled by the manager about how I was pretty much an idiot for EVER thinking FRIDAY would be a good day to frequent their shitty establishment. Because, DUH, that's when they schedule their field trips. And you know, on Monday too. That's not a good day. Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. And forget about Saturday because, Oh boy, is it crowded on Saturday. I really should've went on Sunday. Yeah, Sunday. From 10-11 because that. Is the best time. And if I look closely on their website and use my mind-reading tactics, I would know that if they open at 9, it's going to be a crowded day, but if they open at 10 it should be hunky dorey, and oh, yes, I do see where it says we are open at 10 on the web, but it shouldn't say that. Because this is a crowded day.

And at the entrance I paid the extra five bucks to get season passes.

Anybody want em?

Space Center Houston. It's over-rated. And pretty crappy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog....

Alas, my poor little blog goes neglected another week.

Sometimes, I wonder, if my blog is like a sitcom. Have I run out of good material and need to bring it to a kind end? Was the birth of that baby my "jump-the-shark" moment? Maybe it was the move? Whatever it is, I'm in a slump. I fluctuate between wanting to come up with good material to keep the five readers I still have to throwing in the towel, printing it all out for the baby books and shutting it down.

I've been blogging almost four years now. Adam was 9 months old when I started. Jacob was in preschool. The thought of a third baby, much less a girl baby, would've sent me howling in hysterics. I lived in a crappy neighborhood surrounded by "neighbors" who just weren't. We stayed inside a lot, you know, to keep the neighbor kids from beating my littles up. I didn't know many people, I didn't care for Texas, and I was just plain lonely holed up in my house with a baby and a preschooler day in and day out.

I started my blog on a whim one evening after clicking over to other mommy blogs from an old pregnancy board I had been on. I thought, WOW, those moms are INSANE to just write every old thing about their lives for the entire internet to read! Aren't they afraid of someone finding them and killing them for no apparent reason? But it didn't stop me from reading them and it didn't stop me from starting my own complete with real names! Seriously, I don't think I thought I'd be here four years later. Or that I'd even follow through with it.

But here I am.

I just recently finished up being part of a product development community board. A certain company ran a message board in part of development for a new product for the past six weeks. They'd ask questions and you'd post what you thought of things. It was fine at first, but after a couple of weeks it got really tedious and a tad boring, but I didn't give up because I wanted my fifty bucks. Having that to deal with, along with my hourly daily jog through Facebook, took up most of my computer time. It was during this time that I was really thinking about throwing in the towel.

The last few days of Productgate, many of the women were making arrangements to join other groups together and starting threads about so many different subjects I just couldn't keep up, I mean, I HAD to beat Hope in Bejeweled keep my daughter out of everything she shouldn't be into, I just didn't have time for giving my input about my fave American Idol or what kind of diapers my kid was wearing.

Until one caught my eye.

The one that said, "Do you read blogs? Do you have one?"

Hmmm. Gotta take a look at that one.

So apparently the board chairman wanted examples of any blogs you happen to read, why you read them, and why you blogged if you did and I was kinda getting the feel that she was wanting some of us to review her product, which BTW, I have products I need to review, someone remind me before people get mad. Anyway, I was a few days late catching that one, so I got to read a lot of posts before I got to the blank section at the bottom.

Apparently they are NOT blog lovers.

If the site were still up I'd cut and paste, but then we'd be here all day, so I'll just summarize.

Not one of the forty-some people who replied had a blog. Some didn't know what they were, but the ones who did had very strong opinions about bloggers, especially Mommy bloggers. One post in particular really struck a nerve with me. This woman went on and on about how bloggers were just out for attention, they made up crap, they bitched and moaned about everything, they just wanted everyone else to follow their own agenda, that only weirdos would throw their life out there for anyone to read, that people who blogged or read blogs were obviously losers with no life and too much time on their hands. To which a few others wrote after her their agreeing sentiments.

And then I got to that blank box at the bottom.

I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but I pretty much directed it to the woman asking the question (although I really want to call out the anti-blogger chick). I told her I had a blog. That I read blogs. That blogging was a part of my life and I enjoyed it. I told her about my blog friends that I've never met in real life (well, except for one) who mailed my newborn gifts and checked up on me after my mom got sick. About the same friends who'll email me if I'm MIA too long. The same ones who cheer for my kids when they do something great and commiserate with me when they don't. How one sent us a goody package just because I was feeling low and another shared her awesome coupons with me just because she knew I'd want them. How all my bloggy friends help me see the humor in a bathroom smeared with sunscreen and indirectly encourage me to snap a picture instead of snapping at them. Then I clicked post and left it.

No one posted after me.

I'm thinking they were all sitting back slack-jawed at my candor. That or they were praying I wasn't being killed by some internet blog stalker.

And then I realized I can't give up my blog. Not only does it serve as a record for the many things my kids do that don't make it into the baby books buried deep in the recesses of my closet hole, but it's a link to my friends. Why would I give that up?

I want to blog more. But I can't promise that I will. The weather's getting hotter so we may be stuck indoors more, so it's a possibility, but I've decided not to sweat it if I don't. So I've lost some readers. Eh. When I started this blog, I started it for me. ME. And my kids. And I know my friends are still reading. And if they aren't. Well, oh well. I'm sure they'll catch me on Facebook. And if you want to see me whip Hope on Bejeweled*, you're welcome to follow me there too.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, I'm trying to comment on everyone's blogs at least once a week, but just know that if you have a lot of sidebar content, especially videos and such, my computer won't load your blog AT ALL for me. I'm apparently low on memory and it just boots me off and shuts my computer down. I'm not telling you to fix your blog for me, just know that I'm reading you in Goo$le Reader until I can get this fixed.

But I don't have these problems with Facebook, well except for Mafia Wars, but I never liked that one anyone.

And just to see how far we've come....one of my first posts.

See!? I was trying to get a decent picture even then.



*Actually Hope is whipping the crap out of me on this game and I seriously think she has some ungodly fast internet connection or she's cheating somehow because there is just NO way. NO WAY to get a score that high.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grrrr....

Eleven more days of school....eleven more days of school....only eleven. more. days.

The worst part about having a school age kid, for me, isn't getting the school kid out the door. I have a 6:45 riser, he's always ready before me. It isn't even waking the other two kids who would happily sleep until nine if they could. It isn't even listening to their pitiful, tired screams there and back. The worst part is actually taking that kid to school.

THREE years we've been driving back and forth to that school twice a day. I'm actually surprised we've survived. THREE years and NO accidents. It's amazing, really.

I am lucky, of course, that instead of the forty-five minute trip I was taking the last two years, I have a five minute trip. Depending on the stop lights. And the other drivers. Just like last year, the closer you get to the school, the worse it becomes. Only now, since I'm that much closer to the school, it's ALL BAD.

At the beginning of the year, the head mucky-mucks send home a detailed map showing which direction you pull into the driveways/lots, where to drop off your kid, how to get out of the driveways/lot, and where you can and, more importantly, cannot park. They even have a nifty system with two, count them, TWO driveways. One for the students coming from the west side of town and one for the students coming from the east side of town. As explained by the principal in a half hour mandatory presentation, it is to keep things friendly and eliminate confusion for people trying to pull out and into traffic. Last year we came from the west side. We turned left into the first driveway. To leave, we turned right. Simple. Oh, sometimes it backed up and every now and then you'd have some yahoo brush your front end when he defied the rules and turned left OUT of the driveway cutting all of us waiting in the huge line, but it wasn't too bad. This year, we're on the east side. We turn right INTO the driveway. Easy peasy. But that means, we turn LEFT out of the driveway. Have I ever told you how much I HATE, HATE, HATE turning left into traffic? Well, I hate it. And as if that alone weren't bad enough, seems all the west side parents can't read or follow simple directions. Instead of lining up on their side, they now line up on MY side preventing me, or anyone else for that matter, from getting out onto the highway.

Do you get what I'm saying? Because I could draw a map. But then I wouldn't be able to get into the locked study to use the scanner, so what good would it do then? Just imagine poor little Andria and her band of merry children meeting their brush with death every. single. day.

I bought a school sticker and slapped it on my back glass at the beginning of the year. After being basically abused traffically last year by people heading the same place as me, I thought if others saw that sticker they might be a little nicer knowing that, HEY, I know where your finger's going. But, really, it might have been the worst three dollars I've ever spent. Seems like once they know I'm going where they are going, they have to see who will win. Or they think that since we both have stickers that I'm suddenly okay with letting them cut me off so they can get to the door first.

I started leaving fifteen minutes earlier and for a while I avoided a lot of it, but either my clocks are off or the crazy drivers decided to do the same thing because it's gotten worse. There used to be signs, lots of very colorful signs, with arrows and gentle reminders that you "might" be going the wrong way. Jesus loves you, you know. We're praying for all of you. I hope you make it out alive. Better you, than me. Bwhahahaha. Something like that anyway. The signs are gone now. Been gone at least a month. Did some traffic crazy Hummer driver steal them or did the powers that be just give up? Does this mean we don't have to sit through the presentation next year?

I want the signs back. At least then, some people followed them. Now, it's a free for all.

Today I attempted to take a right into the driveway and was completely cut off, almost hit by, a white Ford Explorer who turning left. As I drove into the building area, I almost hit five teenage girls who just walked right out in front of me. Tapped my hood even. Then they stopped and had a conversation with a boy in the middle of road while I waited. And waited. I would say WTF? but this happens daily. Never mind that they don't have to be at school for another hour. Who forgot to teach their kids not to walk into traffic? Ford Explorer lady? When I finally got around the flirtatious quintet, a powder blue Mercedes came from the other direction, realized, I guess, that he was going in the wrong direction, and did a u-turn RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. I'm wondering at this point if my car camouflages to it's environment, but surely he heard my brakes squeal stopping for him. WTF? So I think I can, I think I can, I think I can make it the few hundred feet to the orange cones where I am, by decree of his holiness upstairs in his office, to stop and let my kid off when a rusty white Miata blew past me, yes passed me, and screeched to a halt about ten feet from where I ended up. All that hurry and my kid still got to the door first. WTF?

The kid. Got to school. Alive. In tact. Another miracle.

You'd think it'd be over by then, mission accomplished, but no. I am instructed to circle through the small parking lot across from the doors and turn right to head back to the driveway. I would do that too if there weren't so many cars parallel parked along the one-car-size piece of curb blocking that entrance into the parking lot. So I do my own u-turn. I have to. I am forbidden to go out the other driveway. That. Would be wrong. And discourteous to all those west end drivers. But, of course, that makes a man in a black Hummer very angry. Angry enough to shoot me the bird. In the Christian school parking lot. But I made it to the east side driveway. We're almost home kids! Well, when maroon mini-van moves out of the turning lane so we can actually GET to the highway.

But wait. What's this? Is maroon mini-van backing up in the turning lane? Did she even see that blue mini-van behind her? Wait, there's a spot, this dude is turning right and there's nothing on the other side, I'm going for it!

I would've made it too, if I didn't have to back up myself to avoid the cell-phone gabbing teenager tearing through the 35 MPH school zone at 60. WTF?

But I did make it into traffic and had an uneventful two minute drive home.

Made it just in time for the Dora to cease the squalling.

But, oh, how I wish the school had a bus.

Friday, May 08, 2009

My Mother's Day Post

With Mother's Day upon us, I should write a sappy post about the joys of motherhood, the undying love, the thrill upon hearing your baby laugh for the first time, seeing your child sing a solo in front of hundreds of people (we'll just pretend).

Maybe next year. Yes. I say that every year.

I'm too tired. I might have swine flu. You know, if I had a fever and couldn't get up and clean up after these little boogers and prepare their every meal and such.

My throat, though. It really hurts.

And that's about it. But it really, really hurts.

Adam is taking care of me, feeling my forehead and declaring me devoid of swine flu every half hour or when each Noggin show ends, whichever comes first.

And singing poop songs like they're going out of style. And yes, I think they're going out of style. I'm sure this isn't what his speech teacher had in mind when she told me to encourage singing.

Anyway, not one to keep my germs to myself, I figured I'd throw together a casserole for our dinner and asked Jacob to keep an eye on Elizabeth while I did so.

I figured it would be pretty easy for him since we now keep all bathrooms, all bedrooms except hers, and the pantry locked to prevent her from getting into something in any of them. Because, let's see, she's eaten cayenne pepper, emptied entire Sam's size bottles of baby soap into the toilet, hidden my engagement ring, ripped pages out of beloved books, and colored every wall, door, and floor with some sort of marker/crayon/pen/pencil. And that's just the past week.

It apparently wasn't that easy.

Me: So Jacob, where's Elizabeth?
Jacob: I don't know.
Me: Weren't you watching her?
Jacob: Yes.
Me: So where is she?
Jacob: (Eyes never leaving the riveting episode of Little Bear that he was SOOOO totally not watching) I don't know.

Yes. That's what I get for expecting an EIGHT year old to watch a TWO year old. But my throat hurts and I'm not thinking clearly, so sue me.

But, YAY! I found her:






Elizabeth: "So pitty"
Me: "OMG"
Elizabeth: "kiss" (because she so knows how to work it, I'm thinking it's a girl thing)
Me: "OMG"
Elizabeth: "I pitty"
Me: "JACOB!!!! Bring me my camera right now! Ow, my throat hurts"

Guess who forgot to lock her bedroom door?

My throat hurts. I forget things.

I would say something funny about how the terrible twos are upon us, but her vandalism and thieving has been going on since she could pull up so I think it's just an Elizabeth thing. I'd say she's the worst of the bunch, but I vaguely remember another little monkey doing almost the same thing at almost the same age.

For Mother's Day I'd like some Goo Gone to clean my tub. Some more sunscreen. Some kind of sore throat spray. And maybe a Valium.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Gold Star



Ninety-six verses. Nine scriptures. Fifteen minutes standing in front of the class reciting from memory. Completed eight days ahead of schedule.

Yay Jacob!

And what a relief for Mommy to have it over and done with. Whew.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Monkey See....

When Adam saw that Jacob was singing on the blog, he wanted to do it too....
video
He's a character, that's for sure.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

So Sweet It Made My Eyes Water

We're busy cramming for Gold Star this week, but until I can sit down and give you the lowdown.....
video

This was the rehearsal. Imagine him dressed as a cowboy. Didn't get any video of the real thing because it was apparently too hard to wrestle the little kids and tape at the same time. Hmmmm, go figure.

Friday, May 01, 2009

May 1

May 1, 2009.

Remember this day.

It will be the day my son recalls to his future therapists.

Tonight my son will sing his solos in front of the entire first and second grade, their parents and family, the teachers and staff, his grandparents, his dad, and his siblings.

But not his mom.

Because his mom will be rocking out with The Dave Matthews Band at the exact same time of the first/second grade musical.

I guess this takes me out of the running for Mother of the Year.

The teacher was very sympathetic when I told her I wouldn't be there and arranged for DMB fan friends and me to attend the big rehearsal this afternoon when we really should be on the road to beat the traffic so we can tailgate and get our drink on, but you should've seen her face when I truthfully told her where I'd be instead of front row center on musical night. It's a Christian school. How could I lie?

So in the end, I get to see both.

And I'm guaranteed a front row seat this way.

But I still feel guilty.

I mean, what mom would CHOOSE to miss her kid's independent musical debut?

I do. What does that say about me? Do I not care about my kid? What is wrong with me?

Seeing May 1 on the calendar for the past three months has haunted me. That little square filled to capacity with too many activities. I've wanted to forget about it. It was too far away. Gotta do Easter first. Then vacation. But here it is. It's May 1 today. And I need it to hurry up and be over. Quit mocking me, May 1. So I'm not Mother of the Year. Maybe my kid WILL end up in therapy. Maybe he will be sad I'm not there. Maybe most likely the snooty mamas will have something to talk about next week at their coffee counter. Maybe I will spend the rest of my Christmas money on Star Wars Legos to make myself feel better, but it's done. It's planned. My friend's are coming. And they're bringing beer.

Shove off May 1.