Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mr. Empathy

One of my favorite things about Aiden is that he has a great sense of humor.  The kid is hilarious and never misses a chance to crack a joke.  We won't even talk about how sarcastic he can be sometimes.  I think his sense of humor has served him well in most instances, but sometimes it gets him into a little bit of trouble.  Today could have been one of those "getting in trouble" times, but I think he managed to get by with little or no beatings because he was in church at the time.

Apparently they were in Sharing Time at Primary and were talking about empathy and helping those who are suffering. The teacher was asking the kids to discuss things they could do to help others and gave the example of a friend who's parents have just gotten a divorce (or something like that).  The other children all called out answers like, "I can pray for them." or "I can listen and be their friend if they're sad".  My kid gets called on and says "I can get them a link to".  Very funny, Aiden. Way to show just how sweet and empathetic you can be.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Proud Mommy Moment

Aiden has had a rather eventful year what with the incident involving him being given in school suspension for saying something that even the administration acknowledges he didn't mean to say and wouldn't ever say again. He's had a new (and AMAZING teacher), enjoyed the benefits of his new school, gone to fifth grade camp, made new friends, learned some crazy new skills, hit on some fairly cute girls, and well...he's done pretty dang well. Even with his one "incident", I must say that I am thrilled with the school and delighted with how well this transition has gone for him.

I got to have my proud Mommy moment when I got a letter in the mail inviting me to his awards assembly because he earned an award. Hopefully the picture is clear enough that you can see what it is. In addition to the one in the picture, he also got perfect attendance. Yep. I'm proud. Way to go, Aiden. I always knew you had it in you!!!

Can you see it?  That's the Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, and it's even signed by our own Barack Obama.

WalMart + Five Kids+Saturday = NEVER. AGAIN.

Tomorrow is Father's Day and I thought I'd figured out just what I was going to do for Byron this year. I was going to prepare him his favorite meal and make a cheesecake using our friend, Tracey's, recipe that Byron just loves. It was going to be perfect! Then he came home from weighing in at Weight Watchers. The news wasn't good and he's recommitted himself to losing the weight. Wait!!! What?!!?!? What about my amazing plans? Suddenly I found myself with less than 24 hours to the big day that we all sit down and say wonderful things to our dad's and hubbies, and I had nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. I did what any good wife who loves her husband more than life itself would do. I packed up all five little monkeys and went to *gasp!* WalMart.

I don't know what it is about WalMart that brings out the crazies in people, but it seems to be heightened even more on Saturdays. I made sure the children were well-fed before we got there (Sonic counts as well-fed, right?), made sure they were all wearing shoes, reminded them that we were in civilization so acting like they were raised by wolves simply wouldn't do, and prayed that this trip would go smoothly. I guess I should have clarified for God what I meant by going smoothly because He seems to have thought that all five kids coming home alive would be good enough. I had slightly higher aspirations, but that's okay. Who's really counting?

The first thing on the WalMart agenda was picking up Drezden's glasses that had been repaired and replaced for the 1,745,323,129th time. That didn't take very long because we've been there so many times that they know all five kids' names, interests, birthdays, and blood types. We managed to get out of the vision center before anyone took more than 100 pairs of frames off the shelves to try on and created a complete disaster.

Then I went about the bigger business at hand; I needed a great gift for Byron. This should seem like a seemingly easy task, but I was doing it with all five kids in tow. Aiden was "totally bored" and only wanted to go play with his friends. CJ was climbing out of his own skin just dying to get to the toy department "just to take a look, not to touch anything. I promise." Rachel was just sure she needed new hair nobbies. Drezden was, as usual, walking as slow as humanly possible. I think he got run over by an old lady with a walker and a pet slug or something. Honestly, it's hard work to go that slow. Then there was Liam. He was busy taking his shoes off and throwing them at other shoppers as they walked by. Each time I apologized to whoever came by, I would turn to Liam and say "Little boy, that is a bad choice. Where is your mother??". I'm not sure the diversion really worked, though.

I finally decided that I was going to get Byron a big rubber bucket thing and fill it to the brim with yummy treats that are Weight Watchers friendly. I got him some Sprite Zero, 100 calorie snack treats, and then headed to the candy aisle for the Weight Watchers brand candy they had there. Note to self: All hell will break loose if the children are ever given an opportunity to walk through the candy aisle in WalMart. Swedish fish were flying into the shopping cart as fast as I could pull them out, M&M's of every flavor and color were desperately begged for, Snickers were whined for,and there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. After what felt like an eternity (but was really only about five minutes), I finally managed to get out of that dreaded aisle. Everything I needed for Byron was in the basket, but I wanted one more thing.

Byron has mentioned that he really wanted to play croquet with the kids, so off I headed to the toy department to get not one but two croquet sets. I needed two because our family is too big for just one set to be enough. What is important in that statement is not that I was hunting for a croquet set. It's the fact that I ventured anywhere near the toy department. Surprisingly, that part went smoothly. Just past the toy department, though, is the restrooms that are in the back of the store. My children must have some kind of bladder dysfunction because they simply can not pass a public restroom without needing to use it right away. I let Aiden take Drez to the bathroom while I waited with the other three kids out in the electronics department right by the Wii games. CJ quickly realized all the games that were there and decided he might have died and gone to Heaven. He began rambling on and on faster than the speed of light about each and every game he saw and even felt the need to give a discourse on the beauties of each game to some poor unsuspecting dad that was there with his son. That poor man shielded his child's sensitive eyes and made a hasty run for it.

Once Drezden was finally done and I managed to drag all of them from that section, I headed to the grocery area for a few items to allow my little brood to eat in the next couple of days. I figured the grocery section would be safe because it's relatively boring and there are minimal distractions to lead the small humans astray. I couldn't have been more wrong. WalMart on Saturday in any section of the story is a nightmare for any parent venturing there with five children by herself. I got to the bread aisle and there was an adult-size bunny bread brand bunny handing out coupons. Before I could say one single word, the kids ran at him. "Stop! Do NOT run over the giant brown rabbit in the bread aisle!". I didn't really want to yell and draw attention, but I also didn't want the guy in the costume to get clobbered. I think CJ may have accidentally goosed him, but the bunny was at least still standing upright when we walked away. I decided that I was more than done there and headed to the check-out line. The next thing I knew there was a life-sized Tony the Tiger walking through the store. What the heck?!?!? Since when are giant fuzzy characters part of the WalMart experience? After I managed to pry the kids from Tony's fuzzy orange and black leg,I bee-lined it to the check-out line. I was afraid the entire Disney family would be there if I stuck around much longer. Or maybe the jolly green giant or something.

I finally got all of my groceries on the check-out thing and figured out that I was (as usual) stuck in the line with the people who wanted to pay for each item separately and had to argue over the cost of each item. Then, Rachel and Drezden noticed the restrooms by the cashier station and suddenly had bladder and bowel failure so they needed to run immediately in there. I couldn't do a dang thing about it because I was still trying to pay for our items. Aiden couldn't help because they went into the ladies' room, and CJ was still trying to find something to buy with the $1 coin he'd found earlier in the week with Byron.

After all the groceries were packed into the cart, I went into the bathroom and pulled Rachel and Drezden out. As I was trying to get them to unlock their stall and then haul them out, my purse dropped with a thud and Drezden started to cry. I'm sure it sounded like I was beating my kids in there. I wasn't, though. Really.

I finally hauled Drezden out with no shoes on (he had stripped almost totally naked!) and screaming, dragged all the other kids behind me, and headed to the van where I got them all packed in and buckled, put the groceries away and determined that I would NEVER again go to WalMart alone on a Saturday. Never!

Finally Accomplished Something on My Bucket List

It's entirely possible that I live under a rock. It's not even necessarily a huge rock, but I think I live under it anyway. There are things that I think the average American person has done in their lives that I've never even dreamed of doing or somehow just missed out on. Senior Prom, for example. (That may have been partly my fault for not being a good girlfriend to a great guy, which resulted in us breaking up shortly before prom, and him taking some other skeevy chick instead of me, but that's a whole other blog entry anyway, right?). It's those things that we've always sort of wanted to do but haven't ever been able to do that are on our bucket lists. Last night I finally got to check one off. I went to my first real concert. Well, I guess I have been to one other concert when I took the kids to see Imagination Movers, but does that really count??

Yes, it's true. I am 33 years old and had never been to a concert before last night. I remember when I was in high school begging my parents to let me go see Tiffany with New Kids on the Block at Lake Compounce. Alas, it never came to pass and I think I was the only kid in the entire school who wasn't hangin' tough and had the t-shirt to prove it. That's right, people. Up until last night, I was a concert virgin. I was untouched by the adrenaline rush that comes from being in a huge crowd while some amazing artist is covered in sweat as he performs his finest music. Well, I'm a concert virgin no more...and I think I'm addicted!

A friend of mine at church was given season passes to a series of country music concerts from her husband for Christmas. They were planning to go together, but he was going to be out of town for last night's concert. She read on facebook that I hadn't ever been to a concert, so she invited me. ME!!! For once I was cool enough to be invited to a concert. I was so excited about the big event that I even splurged and brought brand new lip gloss!!!

I got babysitters lined up, purchased a good rain poncho (it was raining and we had lawn seats), applied my fancy lip gloss, put on my cute denim capris and a fancy little top, pulled my hair back, and was ready to go. I could. not. wait.

My friend picked me up and off we went. I was so giddy inside that I just rambled on and on about whatever and probably talked her ear off. Finally we got there, and I was excited just to be in the parking lot. I wondered if I'd find myself under a cloud of someone else's second hand pot smoke or something like I'd heard about from others. Or maybe I'd witness someone making babies out in the grass somewhere. Or maybe I'd see girls taking off their bras and panties and throwing them at the performers. Oooh! Or for a real thrill, maybe I'd witness a riot and see people being hauled off to serve hard time by the police. For the record, I didn't see any of those things and I STILL had an awesome time. I did see some girls in outfits that barely qualified as clothing, lots of beer, and even a couple of mullets. Yep. Country music. It was AWESOME.

When we got there, some vendors were selling seat upgrades for $10, so I sprang for it and got us both upgrades. Oh my gosh! It was so worth it! We were in the center of the ampitheater with the stage dead ahead of us. We got to sit on real chairs that even had cup holders. Cup holders!!! Whoa!

Finally, as the sun went down the first act came on. He was okay and I recognized some of his songs that I could even sing along with. Then it happened. BLAKE SHELTON CAME OUT! He had a five o'clock shadow, wore a denim shirt with a cool design on the back, played the guitar like no one's business, and he was sweating. How do I know he was sweating? BECAUSE I WAS THERE!!! I'm pretty sure he was singing just to me. Well, maybe to a couple of other people too, but mostly just to me. He was amazing, and I think I might have been swooning a little bit. It made me wish Byron was there to share it with me.

Then, BRAD PAISLEY CAME OUT!!! What a performance he gave. He came right out to the audience and played up in the "cheap seats" where we were. He was maybe ten rows in front of me and I was kicking myself for not having my camera with me. There were lights, guitars, an amazing fiddler, people everywhere, and a lot of sweat. What is it about music that makes people sweat?? Who cares? It was so much fun!!!! At one point, Brad invited people to make out to the one song he was singing. I wished again that Byron was there with me because...well, I really liked the friend I was with, but she's not so much my type. I'm really more into dudes that I'm married to. So, instead of making out we sat back and sipped our lemonade while the drunks around us made out.

So, there you have it. One thing is knocked off my bucket list and I couldn't possibly be more thrilled about it. I can't wait to go again!!