Friday, August 27, 2010

Quit Pimping Out My Kid!

I have a pet peeve. Okay, the truth is I have a lot of pet peeves. Today we're discussing one of my biggies, though. (Yes, they're all big, but just humor me okay?) Today's rant of the week? School fund raisers. Yep. We're talking about the dreaded cheap toy prizes, the way overpriced wrapping paper, the useless kitchen "decor", the ugly jewelry (that wouldn't be so bad if it were even moderately priced), the door to door money begging, the not so yummy but horribly price gauged chocolate, and the pain in my butt that comes through the door every single freaking school year.
Let's really think this thing through, shall we? To start with, the school get a VERY small percentage of what is earned. If kids are going to go all over creation begging people we hope will still be our friends when all is said and done for sales on items that no one wants, at least the school should have something to show for it.
Then there's the fact that no one wants the stuff being sold. Yes, we all need gift wrap, but not at eight bucks for enough to wrap a matchbox car. For that price, it should at least be made of pure gold or something. Wouldn't it make more sense to at least offer something people want??
My next rant about school fund raisers is the "prizes" the kids get to earn. Do we really have to have a huge assembly where we psyche them all up to win rubber duckies and $2 pieces of plastic molded into rocket ships guaranteed to self-destruct before the kid makes it off the bus with it? Do we really have to tell them that if their mommies and daddies don't allow them to do the fund raisers they'll never have a chance to win these fine pieces of junk? Nothing says love more than learning that you're "the meanest mom in the whole world" because you've crushed all their hopes and dreams of winning a rubber ducky and entering their name in a contest to win a prize that ten million other children also have their names on?
This year they've stooped to a new low. They're sending home "samples" of the products. Really?!!? You gave my first grader a $30 Entertainment book (which is actually a moderately good product, but NOT in the hands of a first grader!!!!!) and told him to just return it when he's done or bring back the money to own it. By the time the book got off the book, he'd already removed all the "free" gift cards and bonded to the book to the extent that he was completely sure it was his own. Nice.
There are so many other much more affective ways to earn money for a kid's school. How about a silent auction with donations collected by the kids from local businesses or their parents' work places? How about a carnival where students buy little tickets for the fun little activities? What about a dinner night where everyone pays to get in? The possibilities are endless, and they don't include pimping out my kids by sending them door to door try to pawn off a bunch of junk.
Please, this is a request from a tired mother of FIVE who doesn't want to spend the rest of her life dreading the start of the school year just because of the horrors of fall fundraisers. Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, quit pimping out my kid!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just a Mom?

Enrolling the kids in a new school and finding new doctors and whatever other new stuff there could be has meant filling out tons of paperwork. I don't mind the paper work, but I have one beef. The forms always ask what each parent does. They list off all these things like they're so amazing:
*rocket scientist
*evil scheming mad man
*personal chef to the stars
*dog trainer

The list goes on and on of all the possibitlities. Then, down at the very bottom, it mentions (almost as a second thought) housewife or unemployed. Those are usually my only two choices, and neither one sounds very glamorous. It's like it's saying, "You're just a mom who stays home in your robe and fuzzy slippers and watches Oprah while eating bon bons all day. Your job isn't all that important so we just stuck it down here at the bottom of the list to make you happy. Really, though, we don't have any good use for you if that's all you do".

Allow me to clarify a few things that I do on an almost daily basis that only other people who are also "just moms" can understand. First, I clean poop. I mean a LOT of poop. Most of the time I find it nicely contained in a diaper attached to my child's rear ends. There are the occasional times, though, that I instead find it under a child's nails, in his hair, on his walls, or even between his teeth. I'll give you a moment to digest that thought (pun intended) and regain your stomach before I go on. Ready? Okay, I'll keep going now.

Then there's the laundry. Picture Mount Everest. Now picture it a few feet taller than you know it to be. That's how much laundry I do in one day. I wash, dry, fold, hang, and put it all away. I'm pretty sure my children clone themselves throughout the day so that they can wear ten times as many outfits to be sure I have plenty to do.

Playing. There is an art to playing in such a way that your kids actually learn something without knowing they're learning. Sometimes it's just putting on crazy clothes and running around like a bunch of freaks and other times it's stacking wooden blocks to make a creation that rivals the Eiffel Tower. Occasionally, it's plotting with them to take over the world. Who knew poop could also be used to conquor the world? According to my kids, it can.

There's just so many things. You think you cool dudes who have job titles with a really awesome name attached do something more important than me because I'm "just a mom"? Well, let's compare job descriptions a little. You tell me what you need to be able to do daily, and I'll tell you what I do. Ready? Okay, here's my list:
*Housekeeper (and since they're going to be famous someday, I claim to be a Celebrity housekeeper)
*Personal chef
*Doctor and nurse
*Judge and jury
*Personal assistant
*Spiritual guide
*Dance partner
*Worst enemy
*Best friend
*Pooper Scooper
*Vomit cleaner
*Owie kisser
*Memory keeper

It makes me a little sad when I sit and talk with others who are "just moms" and they feel like failures because the world says their job is worthless. Ha! Those people are going to eat their words when your kid grows up to be the political leaders who decide their fates. They'll eat their words when, at the end of the day, they have tons of money but no purpose in life. I'll take my poop-filled, sticky kiss infested days over the "glamorous" life anyday. If there was a list miles long of occupations I could choose, I'd still go to the bottom of the list and proudly circle "just a mom".

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aiden's Project Runway

Aiden decided to help Rachel put together an eye-catching ensemble. What you see here is what he came up with. Really, I have no words. I'm just hoping he has a back-up plan because I'm not sure he's going to win Project Runway anytime soon.

School Has Started!

CJ ready and rearing to go on his first day of First Grade. I can't believe he's so old already.
Aiden trying to look "all cool and stuff" on his first day of Fifth Grade. He's such a little man.
All the kids at our bus stop. Well, almost. Rachel and Drezden don't ride the bus...though sometimes I'd like to send them.

School has started. Aiden and CJ are in a really amazing school, and seem to be loving it. Granted, they've only had three days of school so far, but neither of them has been arrested, so that's a very good sign.
CJ has Mrs. Lackey. She's young and pretty and enthusiastic and eager to learn how to teach him. I'm not sure I'd have chosen her to begin with because I have it in my head that only a really experienced teacher can handle him. I think I'm wrong about that. This teacher is more than likely a perfect match for him. She's patient and so open minded. It also helps that our new school district is really prepared for Deaf children. I loved the way our old school loved CJ. He was genuinely adored and cared for. While he still needs all that, right now he needs someone to take the bull by the horn and really help him. I think that's just what he'll get. I blogged more details about it here.
Aiden has Mr. Schultz. What an amazing teacher for Aiden!!! This guy is cut from the same cloth and hails from the same planet as Aiden. He's so outside the box and Aiden simply can't wait to learn from him. He's silly, has a goofy class website, and shows the children that he loves what he's doing. When a teacher loves what he's doing, children love learning from him.
I think this promises to be a good year. I'm excited to see what's in store for us. And, let's be honest, I'm also excited that they're in school giving me a break now and then.

So, We Took All Five Monkeys to the Zoo

At the entrance to the primate world, there was this huge gorilla. We couldn't miss a photo opportunity, so we took the time for everyone to say cheese.
Aiden with a mouthful of very expensive zoo food. Oddly, it didn't taste expensive.
Really cool flower on the swamp path.
A stained glass window you could look through to see the swamp. How amazing would it be to wake up to that every single day?
Toucan! I love his colors.
The Children's Zoo had a goat farm where kids could brush the goats. My kids loved it! Their favorite part? Watching the goats' rear ends open to poop. Classy.
Drezden and Rachel really are best of friends.
Liam had so much fun in the sand box. He even tried to digest a little bit of it.
More goat farm fun!
Drezden also enjoyed dining on overpriced food.
This monkey really enjoyed interacting with the kids through the glass. I think they speak the same language. I know for sure they have some of the same habits.
This bird was on the swamp walk. If you got too close to him, he'd turn and honk at you like "Hey! You're on my bridge. Move it!". He was totally the boss of that place.
CJ was so proud to bring me some flowers he'd found. With a sweet smile like that, I hated telling him picking flowers was against the rules.
At the entrance to the bug house. It was quite possibly the most fascinating part of the whole trip. For the record, hissing cockroaches are GROSS.
Drezden with his monkey friend.

We took the kids to the zoo yesterday. Our realtor got us season passes, and we intend to make full use of them. The kids were so excited when they realized where we were taking them. The weather was mighty fine, the kids were well behaved, the animals were frisky, and the memories were there for the making.
I have to say that Rachel probably won the prize for the quote of the day. She was looking very intently into an alligator display when I came up behind her. I asked her if she like the alligator, and she replied by pouting, scrunching up her nose, and saying "I can't see the alligator. That giant lizard is in the way." After that she stormed off. Yep. I'm pretty sure we have a loooooooong way to go with her.

Drezden's New Glasses

Drezden is a funny kind of guy. He likes things to be a certain way when it comes to his glasses. In general, he prefers them to be under the couch or in the van or in the dishwasher or...well, just about anywhere but on his face.
I prefer the way he looked in his adorable wire glasses, but he has a funny habit with wire glasses. He pulls the nosepads off and then complains that they're cutting into his nose. Apparently he hasn't caught on to the cause and affect idea yet. Anyway, I decided to try something new. I wanted to find him some glasses without nose pads, which meant I'd have to get him some plastic frames.
I must say he does look incredibly handsome in his fancy new specs, don't you agree? I thought about going to some place fancy, but then discovered that WalMart has glasses for $9 that come with a 12 month warranty for damage. So, I spent a total of $58 dollars (had to account for the cost of the lenses) and got him these fancy frames. He has scratch resistant, low glare lenses in them so that I can take pictures of his beautiful brown eyes rather than a reflection of myself. Yay for that!
I also got him a pair of wire frames for the same price. I must say I was rather proud of my purchase. And the best part? For some crazy reason, he LIKES them! They haven't been tossed in the toilet or under seats in the car or buried in the dog food bowl or shoved in the toy box. They've been on his face right where they belong. Well, mostly. There was that one time this week that I find them in the book bin.

The New House

I've mentioned a bit here and there about the amazing new house we bought. I finally have some pictures to put up for you to enjoy it as much as we do. There are a few things about it that I love most. Here's my top ten list: (Yes, I have a top ten list for everything. Just be glad it isn't a top 100 list or something).

10. We are in a really safe, beautiful neighborhood.
9. When I walk on the floor in the entry, it creaks just like the hard wood in the house I grew up in.
8. The cabinets and closets are AMAZING. I have more storage than I have stuff. That hasn't happened ever before.
7. Stairs. I love having stairs.
6. We have tons of picture windows on teh main floor. I love looking out and seeing so many trees and green. It's going to be amazing in the fall.
5. A fully finished basement. Aiden has a bedroom down there, Byron has a "man cave" storage room, and there is a huge play area, too.
4. Built in bookshelves surrounding the fire place. They look so pretty, though they're a little naked right now. I haven't a thing to put on them.
3. 3 1/2 bathrooms. No more competing to use the restroom or having all the kids take baths in my bathroom!!
2. Four seasons. I know the house doesn't control the seasons, but it's in a place where we'll experience four full seasons.
1. All this space for the kids to run!!! It's so amazing to be able to send them somewhere else to play. Yay!
I took about 40 pictures total, and I realize this is just five of them. I couldn't decide what to post, and let's be honest. Ya'll don't really care to see every detail of my house. Well, maybe you do because you're some crazy person who is casing the joint hoping I'll go out for a while so you can rob me blind. Let me save you a little trouble by sharing two important facts. 1. We just got a security system and it works. 2. We haven't got one single thing in this house worth stealing. You'd be wasting your time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

We've Added Another Family Member

We had to let go of our other dogs before moving here. Miztur Biggz, our chihuahua, was adopted by a lady who had six other female chihuahuas. They all sleep in her bed. We told her that he is used to being outside and slept in his cage at night. She said that he would instead be sleeping in bed with her and the other dogs. So, he was a happy dog to say the least. Talk about luck! He just moved in with six little concubines.

Tino must have just gotten really old because he suddenly started snapping at and biting the kiddos. As much as we loved him, we just couldn't have that. I took him to the shelter in hopes that he'd be adopted by someone who could love him. I honestly don't think that's what happened to him, but it makes me feel better to hope it did. He was such a great dog until he got old and senile.

Anyway, we all wanted another dog. I told the kids we'd work on it after we got into our house. Now that we're here, I wanted it as much as they did. We went to the shelter a couple of times and didn't find just the right one. Then we met Molly. She's nothing like what I thought we were looking for, and she's just perfect!!

Molly is seven years old, and has lived with the same family her whole life. It seems her family lost their home and couldn't take her with them to their new apartment. She just looked so sad and lonely in that cage. We fell in love. She's housebroken (very important since even some of my children are not yet housebroken!), doesn't bark, won't jump on furniture, and loves to be loved.

I think she's still missing her old family, but hopefully she'll warm up to us. The kids adore her. Rachel likes to introduce her to any and every single person we meet. She is very proud of her dog. Drezden likes to hug her, and wait for her to kiss him. Liam likes to dump her food out. Luckily, Molly really doesn't mind having her food dumped. CJ just talks to her. Finally, someone who isn't annoyed by his constant talking!!!! Aiden is pretty sure he needs to take her everywhere he goes. I generally say no. Until I'm sure she knows how to get back home, she won't be going far without me.

So, there you go. We have a new family member that didn't have to grow inside me for nine months. I love that idea!!!

We've moved...And There is a LOT to Say

We are finally moved into our absolutely amazing new home in a gorgeous new state. There are lots of updates that I need to post about. Over the next several days, I'll be posting at least once a day. I'm hoping that'll start a trend and I'll be more loyal to my blogging. Did I mention that I want to write a book based on all the craziness that happens in our home? Until I manage to get all the updates ready, here are a few important things to note:

*We have added another family member. Don't worry. She has four legs, a wet nose, and a waggly tail.
*School has started.
*Drezden has gotten new glasses.
*I got the house put together.
*The kids are making great new friends.
*LOTS of silly things have happened.

Okay, here goes nothing. Expect a flood of posts.