Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Week...Plain & Simple

As I hopped in my car this morning, I got a notification David had written on my facebook wall.  He's been known to write some super sweet posts, so I eagerly opened it up to see what precious words awaited. It simply said, "I need a laugh today...hasn't something funny happened to you since Jan 12th?".

He's in Denver this week, so I had to stop and think about what he's been missing out on here.

So, dear, I started just to comment on your post but it was getting rather lengthy, so here it is...a summary of our week thus far.

Let's see...it's pretty much just been a crazy whirlwind running your offspring to and fro, hither and yon, or recruiting other parents to carpool with. Or, heck, sometimes just saying, "If my meeting isn't over in time, just hitch a ride home with so-and-so's Mom.  She has kind eyes.  I don't think she'll try to steal you."

And I think the school district secretly has your travel schedule or something, and decide to cram as many evening meetings into those weeks as possible, just to test me.  Three meetings this week alone.  You'll be proud to know, I didn't shed one tear during the info meeting about 7th grade enrollment.  I did, however, almost toss the mailer in the trash thinking they sent it to me by mistake.  7th grade?  I won't have a 7th grader until...gulp...next year.

At least I was able to come home that night and relax next to a nice fire. Yep, I started a fire all by myself, in the actual fireplace this time, not in the toaster oven.  I even remembered to open the flue so the kids and I didn't have to crawl around on the floor the next morning evading the lingering smoke.

My van was so dirty the kids were having a hard time recognizing it when it was my turn for the carpool, so I broke down and went through the car wash.  I've gotten smart and carry a cup with me now to catch the stream of water that comes in from the leaky roof.  Today I discovered it leaks from three different areas.  So I'll have to invest in one of those plastic window planter boxes to catch the water all the way across next time. 

I helped Reese with her math homework.  Really.  I wracked my brain and came up with a working equation. And then I was done. I'd reached my math reasoning limit after that one problem.  That's when she called you for the rest.  After moaning for 10 minutes, "Ugh!  No random person is ever going to come up to me and say 'If my hot air balloon ascends 10 feet per minute and yours descends 5 feet per minute, when will they meet?'!" And I had no words of wisdom to come back with.  So I blurted out, "Just...I don't know...learn it anyway."

I got to spend some 1:1 time with Tate this morning.  My rule of the weather having to be under 20 degrees for them to get a ride to school has worked well this week.  Yesterday and today it's been 21.  So off they go.  Tate was running late so I sent Drue ahead and walked with him.  I was going to write a sweet status about spending quality time with my baby boy, until he abruptly stopped at the edge of the tennis court and wouldn't let me go any farther with him. I'll file that status away for never. 

So that's it.  I'm going to close for now so I can run to the store for chocolate and Pez.  I have been craving both all week and,after reading through this, have decided I've earned them. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

All is Calm, All is Bright

Some lessons can be rather costly to learn.

My most recent one was only $3.27.

Tate accompanied me on a trip to Walmart last week for the sole purpose of spending some of his precious coins in the quarter machines. With just a few items on my list, I figured we'd breeze through our errand fairly quickly.

The excitement elicited by his 25 cent treasures was beginning to wane. The bottle of downy he was carrying was starting to weigh him down. He suggested we get a cart.  Perfect timing. Steering around displays and avoiding running into customers would distract him from the fact he was growing weary of shopping.  

I told him I was on the hunt for a "Christmasy" candle. We turned down the candle aisle and I hastily began scanning the shelves for different shades of red and green. 

After a minute or two, he announced he'd found one and grabbed a blue candle off the shelf called "Peaceful Waters". I bent down to take a whiff, only to discover it basically smelled the opposite of cranberries, pine, peppermint, or any other festive scent whatsoever.

Assuming he'd just grabbed the first candle he saw to speed up the process, I asked distractedly, "Why does that make you think of Christmas?", as I turned around to continue my search.

He looked down at his little candle and said thoughtfully, "I bet it was peaceful when Jesus was born.  Peaceful makes me think of Christmas."

Then, without even waiting for me to respond, he reached down into our cart and placed his meaningful selection carefully at the bottom.

I'm pretty sure there were no cranberries, pine trees, or peppermints in the stable the night God's Son came to Earth as a precious baby boy. 

I'm thankful God used another little boy this season as a gentle reminder to step back from the commercialized version of Christmas and remember that silent, peaceful night. 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." ~ Luke 2:13-14


Monday, October 20, 2014

We're Baaaaaack!

If you're clicking here for a fun vacation recap, complete with cheery pictures attached, you came to the wrong place.

Most vacations end abruptly as soon as you walk in the door and begin unpacking smelly suitcases filled with dirty laundry.  I thought I might be able to ease my way back into reality this time since the kids have a day off school today.

Unfortunately, our vacation ended abruptly as soon as the plane coasted up to our gate at KCI yesterday evening.  We dashed to baggage claim, stuffed ourselves into a shuttle bus bursting at the seams, sped away to economy parking, and dashed straight to Reese's last volleyball game of the Fall season.  Just as I got as comfy as one can get on the bleachers, the coach came around pleading for a score keeper.

Awesome.  Just what I wanted to do. Watch every move of the entire game intently, nervous that I would miss a point and everyone in the stands would start hollering and waving their arms wildly at me. 

We finally made it home after 9pm to a bare refrigerator and cupboard.  Ok, not completely bare.  There was a pound of grey ground beef in the fridge I had forgotten to throw out before we left.

It felt so good to be in my own bed, I didn't want to leave it this morning.  But Drue woke up around 7:30am and chose to announce to me that she was getting in the shower.  Whenever our kids voluntarily take a shower, something is awry.  Either there's been some sort of bodily fluid accident or they decided to tattoo themselves with permanent marker and are hoping to scrub it off before I see.

"Is everything ok?" I garbled.

"Yes.  There's just something crusty in my hair."

And why she felt the need to alert me she was getting in the shower escapes me.  Yes, when they were 5, I liked for them to tell us when they were getting in the shower so I could know to listen out for unexplained crashing sounds.  But I've pretty much learned to ignore a lot of those now anyway, so I probably need to give them a refresher course about acceptable reasons to wake me up from a deep slumber.  Fire? Yes. Broken bone? Yes.  Getting in the shower? N-O.

As you will see when I do post our vacation pictures, apparently I haven't taken a good look at Tate for the last month.  Because his hair had gotten crazy long. Bushy actually.  Wispy waves stuck out all over the place and you could no longer see his ears.  So just look past that and focus on his completely adorable grin, which didn't leave his face much of the trip.  Except when he was punching his sisters in line.

So that was my first order of business this morning.  Get that boy to Great Clips.  We pulled into the parking lot and my van wouldn't shift into park.  At all.  I tried a few times and then just turned the van off.  But, of course, the key wouldn't come out and it wouldn't turn back on.  A panicked call to David was quickly placed.  He calmly directed me to put it into neutral and start it.  Of course, it revved right up.  And now that I knew I would probably be able to make it home, I put it back in neutral, pulled the emergency brake, and headed into Great Clips. 

Tate was quite concerned that the keys were still in the car.  And that someone might steal it.   

"First of all," I explained, "Nobody wants that van.  Second of all, it's broken so they wouldn't get far with it."

"Well, they could push it. And then they'd just push it away."

"I would probably just let them," I sighed.

I was still a little frazzled when we walked in and the lady behind the counter asked how old Tate was.

"He's 9," I replied.

"Mom, I'm 8," he corrected.

"What? No, you're 9," I continued, thinking it was funny he forgot he'd had a birthday in May.

But he was adamant, "I'm 8!"

We went back and forth for a few seconds before the lady finally said, "Well, it doesn't matter, as long as he's under 10 he gets a child's haircut."

As he settled into the chair, it dawned on me he was right.  He was 8. Just when I thought I must be losing my mind, I whispered to him, "Oh, that was crazy of me...I was thinking of Drue."

He whispered back, "Mom, Drue's ten."

We picked up the dogs on our way home.  I parked away from other cars and pulled the emergency brake as hard as I could, lest we come out of the vet to find my van had rolled into the thrift store next door.

The last time I took my van to the shop, David was out of town and I just walked home.  It doesn't seem so far when you drive it.  But I was a tired mess when I got home, huffing and puffing.  David offered to come meet me today and just work from home, but I had the bright idea to toss my bike in the back. 

"Tossing" turned into "lumbering".  And I breathlessly called up the stairs to the kids, "I'm leaving now."

"What? We thought you left a long time ago," they hollered back.

As I was biking the couple miles back from the car shop, my phone rang.  It was Reese.

"Mom?  Hi. Nothing's wrong," she started.

If all she was about to tell me was that she was getting in the shower, I was going to toss my phone into the creek bed running alongside the bike trail.

"Well, we know what that crusty stuff was in Drue's hair.  She threw up in the night.  But she thought it was a dream, so she didn't get up or anything.  It's all in our bed.  And it smells, so...I'm gonna jump in the shower."

If my legs weren't getting so tired, I would have just kept biking.  Biking to a place where there were no vomit-covered sheets, broken down vans, or smelly suitcases.  But I went ahead and pulled into the driveway.

I'm going to take a deep breath now, and go through our vacation pictures.  Tate is star of the week at school and wants to show some to his class.  At least they'll know it's him making the presentation, now that they can see his face again.   

Friday, October 03, 2014

When the Chips are Down

When will I learn to stop making off the cuff ridiculous consequences?

Yesterday the kids thought it was Christmas when I returned home from the store with these:
We're talking eyes bugging out of their heads and jaws dropping to the floor. 

"Woah!!"

"Are those for us?!" they squealed as they barreled over to see exactly which kinds there were, knocking over anything that was in their way.  Which almost included me.

As their little hands were poised over the box to rip it open, I quickly grabbed it, put it on top of the fridge, and declared, "Supper first!" Three little groans followed.

It was then that I had a vision of what my living room and kitchen would look like in a few days' time.  Littered with empty bags and crumbs.

And that's when it happened.  I was tired.  We were nearing the end of the day. And my vision had already upset me.  So I declared right then and there the following:

"If I find ONE empty bag laying around that doesn't make it to the trash, NONE of you will partake of another bag of chips from this box."

Another collective gasp.  This time, one of horror.

Almost immediately, I regretted it.  I'm not usually a fan of punishing the group for one person's wrongdoing.  Then again, sometimes that tactic helps foster accountability amongst them and they may even begin looking out for one another, helping each other to remember where the trash is and whatnot.  I just feel so darn bad for the one that ends up messing it up for the others.  Cast out during playtime.  The little lone child no one wants to sit by on the couch.  Breaks my heart.  And I feel like buying them a pony. 

But it was already out there.  Mother had spoken. 

Judging by their excitement level when they saw me first walk in with the box, I figured it would at least be a few days before someone slipped up.  And by then the box would be half gone. 

As we settled in to watch TV, they suddenly remembered the treasure box that awaited them at the top of the fridge.  Their excitement was renewed.  They had each carefully planned out which flavor they would choose and began crunching away.  

Fast forward a few hours.  As I headed to bed and began the seemingly endless journey through the house turning off lights, I saw it.  There, in the glow of the tiny lamp in the living room.  A little dorito bag by the loveseat.  My heart fell.  Tatey was the offending party.  He was going to be heartbroken.  And the girls weren't going to let him off easy.

I sighed as I turned around to go upstairs.  Then something on our other couch caught my eye.  Another dorito bag.  This one was Drue's.  Frustration began building up inside me, followed by a smidge of relief. Tate at least now had a partner in crime.  Reese's wrath would have to be split between the both of them.

Reese.  Our little thinker and planner.  I knew as soon as I told her, she'd start listing all the reasons why she should be rewarded and allowed to continue consuming chips from the box. That's when I heard our little dog, Gizzie, crinkling a wrapper.  I went to retrieve it and discovered Reese's bag of Sun Chips.

All three of them had broken the cardinal rule of trash disposal laid forth by me earlier that evening. I didn't want to end the night on a sad note.  But I didn't want to crush their dreams of packing a bag of chips in their lunch in the morning either.  I chose to tell them right then.  They hung their heads in defeat.  And with David not returning home for another day, they had no secret ally to slip them contraband bags of chips. 

I'm not sure which I feel more bad about:  The upsetting truth that my children have yet to master the art of throwing away their trash, or that fact that I now have 29 bags of chips to eat. 



Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Driving Miss Reesie

In just two short years *gasp* Reese will be behind the wheel of a car. Because of that, and the fact that she now occupies the front seat rather than the back, she has been paying more attention to the rules of the road and asking a myriad of questions.

"You can turn right on red, so why can't you turn left?" she asked at an intersection the other day.

"Well, dear, see all those cars zooming across the street?  They will smash into you. That's why."

"Oh, yeah. I see."

And last night, as we found ourselves at another red light waiting to go straight, she observed, "There's nobody coming.  Why can't you just go?"

"Ummm, because that would still be against the law."

"They should change that law," she shrugged.

She's also curious about the different lanes on the highway being labeled as slow, passing, etc.  "I thought this was the slow lane?  Why are you driving in it?"

"Because my exit is coming up and I don't want to cut across three other lanes of traffic when I get there."

I'm afraid she may be picking up a few bad habits from me as well.  When the light changes to yellow she'll say, "Hurry, Mom, you can make it!"

I've started saying, "That's dangerous! You better not do that when you get your license," about various scenarios we encounter on the road.  "That person cut me off when there is a huge space behind me he could have waited for...don't do that to people."

Reese likes to be super punctual everywhere we go.  Literally.  Everywhere.  "We're going to Target?  What time are we leaving?"

"I don't have a specific time in mind.  Whenever I get ready."

"Well, what time will you be ready?"

She hates being late places.  And by golly, if you're one minute late picking her up, we've probably heard about it. Multiple times.

During one of our talks about traffic safety recently, her attribute of punctuality crossed my mind.  So I took advantage of that moment to explain, "Let's say you're out with your friends and your curfew is 10:00.  If it looks like you're going to be a few minutes past 10 pulling into our driveway, do not speed or drive carelessly just to try and make it back exactly at 10!"

I thought she was letting this cautionary advice sink in until she replied excitedly, "I'm going to get to stay out 'til 10:00?!"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Word Play gone Awry

My kids have outgrown the term "play date". 

So we brainstormed alternative phrases to use that basically mean the same thing--getting together with a friend. 

We threw out general terms such as play, hang, hang out, etc. 

Then Drue proudly suggested hangover. 

I proceeded to fall out of my chair.

She was pleased with her selection and went on to explain the rationale behind her clever choice. "Because we want to have a friend come hang out over at our house."

Needless to say, I vetoed that idea. And all discussion on the matter abruptly came to an end.

We're just going to say, "Can so and so come over?" going forward. 

And I apologize now if any of your children have ever received an invitation to have a hangover at the Hollaways. 



Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Creative Consequence

Ahhhh...the coveted charging cube.

Of which we somehow never have enough of in this house.

Same goes for charging cords.  Almost all of them identical, yet everyone seems to know exactly which charging cord is theirs. And they will defend them 'til the end. 

The phrase, "That's MY charger!" is hollered out about once or twice a week here.  And is usually followed by some sort of wrestling match between the user of the cord and the self-proclaimed owner. Ending with the "owner" trying to pry it out of the user's hands.  (One of these days I will reign triumphant...as soon as I discover David's weak spot.)

Some of us are a little more gracious than others about sharing. And some won't let their charger budge from their device.  It doesn't matter if an iPod belonging to a sibling is completely dead, and theirs is at 92%.  By golly, they're getting in that extra 8% before even entertaining the idea of pulling the plug.
 

It doesn't happen often, but once in awhile, when the kids have exhausted all other possibilities of where a charging cube could be, they will resort to taking mine.

Mine. The one that rarely moves from it's trusty little spot by my bed.   

Mine.  Which allows me to tuck my little phone into it's power source each night as I crawl under the covers.

Last night was one such night.  After I gently transferred the 84 neatly stacked piles of clean laundry from my bed to the ironing board (don't ask, that's another post entirely) I reached down to grab the cord for my phone.  There it was, lifeless on the floor.  No cube in sight. 

I knew the offender immediately.  She was just across the hall.  All I had to do was march over there and yank it out of the wall behind her bed. I was pretty sure I could take her should she resist. 

But wait.  Why should I be the one to venture out?  She should bring it to me.  Much better plan.  The attic fan was on and she probably wouldn't have heard me beckon her to my chambers.  So I utilized the next best mode of communication.  I texted her.

We went back and forth for a minute and I was no closer to getting the desired cube.  So I broke out the big guns.  I got creative with the consequence.  And I got results.  

About 3.7 seconds later she appeared.  Charging cube in hand.  I plugged in my phone and drifted off to the sweet sounds of Pandora. 

Until next time, my cube-stealing cutie...
 

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