Friday, August 31, 2012

The Miracle of the Gogurt

It has just been one of those weeks.  Things never really got better and yesterday was no exception.  After a busy morning I was looking forward to cleaning and working on costumes, but was interrupted by a knock at the door.  It was our insurance agent who had been desperately trying to get a hold of us, but had an old phone number.  Turns out they were canceling our home owners insurance because of all the hail storms we've had lately.  We had 4 days to find a new policy and of course it will be double what we paid 2 years ago.  I had a hectic morning of trying not to panic about how much our stupid mortgage is going to increase, running all sorts of errands, and dealing with a toddler that was refusing to eat.

I finally got Livi in the car, brought lunch with us, and headed off to Eric's work.  Livi had claimed she would eat her lunch if she was with her dad.  I was feeling pretty low, and telling Eric all about our insurance woes didn't help.  He walked us back out to the car, put Livi in for me, and Livi and I headed off to sign papers at the insurance office.

When we got there turned around and noticed that Livi no longer had her gogurt (portable yogurt in a tube that she makes me squeeze out into a bowl, thus making it less portable) on her lap.  I asked her were is was and she pointed to the roof of the car.  Eric had placed it on top of the car as he buckled her in, and forgotten to take it off.

I was at that breaking point where broken bowls and lost lunches were going to send me into crying fits, but upon getting out of the car Livi and I found that the bowl, gogurt, and even the spoon had made the trip totally intact!  Livi looked at it and said "It's AMAZING!"

Not the miracle I could have used, but to my 3 year old it was the most amazing thing she could think of.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 3 of Crazy Watch, or My Nonsensical, Incessant Ramblings

I'm kind of like a neurotic lap dog, in that I really shouldn't be left alone for too long or I start doing naughty things.  In my case I don't rip up cushions or pee on the floor, but I do eat a lot of chocolate and start thinking too much.

My sister recently posted about her "fantasies," such as being chosen by "the Doctor" to go be his traveling companion.  It got me thinking about the different fantasies I've had, and how they have changed, and how they are being thwarted by my own incompetence.

I remember when I was 16, and in an unhealthy relationship, going to my boyfriend's volleyball games and admiring one of the guys on his team.  #2 was gorgeous, intensely focused, very talented, and just fun to watch.  He was one of the team captains, an All American player, and had an air of competence and determination that I found irresistible.  My boyfriend's sister and I would drool over him and cheer for him since her brother/my boyfriend almost never played.  In my head I had fantasies that he would look my way and be so captivated that he would walk over with that determined stride and ask me out immediately (or be so taken with my charms that he would kiss me on the spot).  We didn't know who he was at first so we just called him #2.  Now I call him my #1.
For those of you that didn't get it, Eric was #2 on that Volleyball team.
Another fantasy that I had was being "discovered."  I didn't ever want to be famous, but I wanted to have someone see me, and see potential.  Totally vain, but I think the insecurities of being a teenager make you want outside recognition.  When I was 19 I had that fantasy fulfilled when a TV producer from the sleazy show "Change of Heart" came up to me on the beach and asked me to be on the show.  Basically I would go on a date with a guy to help him decide if he wanted to stay with his girlfriend or try something new.  Totally sleazy show, but legitimate.  He made me an appointment, but I thought maybe it was just a scam for a middle aged guy to hit on young women.  Later when I called the TV studio they actually had my name down and tried to talk me out of canceling.  Weird, but no longer a fantasy.

My latest fantasy has been one of leaving a legacy.  I was watching Dr Who (of course) and there is an episode where they try to help Vincent Van Gogh (my favorite painter, probably because we are both mad, now that I think about it).  They take him to the future and help him see that people will appreciate him, that he has a lasting effect on people and art.  I've watched the episode twice now (it's the one my sister lured me in with) and I bawled both times.  I don't want millions of people to appreciate me, but I do want people, especially my family, to think of me when I am gone and say "she helped me with this..." or "she did this and it influenced me..."  I will never be a saint.  I won't be remembered as an all around good person who influenced the world for the better, but I do want to have aspects of my life remembered positively.

Yesterday it felt like I was farther from that fantasy than ever before.  Eric has been out of town for a few days, which always wears me down a bit.  When I picked the kids up from school they complained the whole way home because I hadn't brought a snack for the car.  The complained about me making them do their homework.  Their friends came over and commented on my lack of housekeeping skills.  I tried to take the kids out for a treat of McDonalds (which in and of itself shows I'm not winning parenting awards anytime soon), just to have the girls tell me they don't want it, and why would pick that.  I was at about my wits end with my kids when there was a knock at the door.  Standing at my door was a policeman.

Fabulous.  It turns out Ethan and his friend were throwing rocks at a squirrel in the back yard (there is some debate as to whether Ethan threw rocks or not, but he didn't stop his friend so he is still a culprit).  If trying to hurt an animal wasn't enough to mortify me, my backyard neighbor called the cops because the rocks were flying into her yard and she was mad because they could ruin her riding lawn mower.  Not something I would think warrant a call to the cops, but I guess she didn't want to cause a conflict (because calling the cops is so much less confrontational).  My neighbors already think I am the white trash mom who doesn't keep her yard up to scratch, but now I am having police called to my house.  I wanted to die of embarrassment.

Basically the whole day showed me what a massive failure I am.  I can't handle 3 days without my spouse.  I can't feed my kids properly.  I can't keep my house presentable.  I can't help my kids see how great school is.  I can't raise kids who think for themselves.  No one is going to look back at me and think fondly of what I did for them.  I'll be lucky if my kids look back and don't enumerate the ways I screwed them up.

On the bright side, I get to make sugar cookies to take to my neighbor to apologize which means I get to eat sugar cookie dough.  On the bright side I finished putting in information on another bankruptcy so I bought my self a TARDIS cookie jar to put my sugar cookies in.  On the bright side, Eric comes home tonight.  On the bright side, as soon as the Zoloft I forgot to take yesterday kicks in, this will all be put back into perspective.  Until then, though, I think I'm going to need to go get a handful of that cookie dough...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Carhenge - Yep, that's how we roll in Western Nebraska

Before I start: Cara - It was the 10th Doctor that we got particularly attached too.  The girls weren't interested until he came along (the 9th just wasn't as cute, I think).  Also, I cry almost every other episode, so you are still more stable than I am, Julia.  I have bawled several times (but part of that might be because I was sick, at least that's what I tell myself).


A few days before school started Eric announced that he was going to Alliance the next morning for a hearing.  Because I was a little sick of being left alone with the kids and I felt like the kids hadn't had enough fun this summer (with Disneyland, Legoland, the beach, Aspen Grove and Canada), I thought it would be good to get out of the house and drive with Eric.  I had never been to Alliance, and their claim to fame: CARHENGE.

What is Carhenge you may ask?  Well, some really red-necked (in the nicest sense of the word) individuals thought it would be cool to recreate Stonehenge out guessed it...CARS.  It IS listed in a bunch of "Weird America" type books and on a travel special, so I thought living only an hour away it was a shame we had never seen it.
Well... now we can say we saw it.

They really are old cars, sunk into the ground.  Old, rusty, tetanus inducing cars.

Besides the actual "Carhenge" there were also other sculptures made out of cars, like this scary fish that Livi didn't want to turn her back on.

Ethan shaking hands with a giant T-Rex (he loved the forced perspective of the photo).

It is hard for them to keep people from spray painting and writing their names on it.  I must say, it doesn't detract from the "art" at all.

The girls started digging this car up until I noticed the "sign" on the front that indicated this was a time capsule from the local school to be dug up in 2040.  Kind of a cool way to do a time capsule!
Now we can say we saw it, but I don't think we will need to go back in the foreseeable future.  If you come visit us and really want to see it I may be persuaded to give you directions...maybe.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Nerding It Up

A few weeks ago I hurt my neck again.  I don't know what I did, but every 6 months since the meningitis I have tweaked my neck to the point where it feels like it is coming back.  I probably just strained it or slept on it weird but whatever I did, it was not good.  I luckily still had some muscle relaxants but even those weren't enough to keep the pain away.  I was reduced to laying on the couch, not moving, with only the TV to watch. 

The kids were really nice about me not being able to do much since it meant they could spend most of the day with me watching TV but after a while I got a little sick of trying to find shows we could all watch.  If I have to hear the "Veggie Tale" theme song again I will probably puke out of reflex.  I remembered how much I had enjoyed watching "Doctor Who" with my sister in California, and a new obsession began. 

We had a bedroll set up on the floor so I could move from the couch to the floor if I needed to change position.  The kids, especially the girls, quickly took to laying on it and watching "Doctor Who" with me.  They were good about closing their eyes if it got to intense, but mostly they just loved watching and asking question after question after question.  There is nothing more fun to inquisitive minds than sci-fi shows that don't always make sense.  They haven't been able to watch all the episodes with me since school started, but when they realized the Doctor had changed (new actor) both girls were upset.  Livi kept saying "I want the real doctor!"  We all have become very attached to the show.

In the evenings Eric and I were also running out of shows to watch so we started "Battlestar Galactica."  It has been a really fun show to get into!  Between the two shows I feel like my nerd street cred has gone through the roof!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Promises, Promises

Our Scottsbluff County Fair is never going to be like Frontier Days in Cheyenne, but this year they promised us it would be bigger and better than any other fair in the entire history of our tiny county on the forgotten western side of one of the most often forgotten states!  Wowzers!  They even claimed that the carnival they had gotten was used in a real Hollywood movie.  Now I wasn't expecting Disneyland or anything, but I have to admit that they really shouldn't have hyped it quite as much as they did.  On the "bright side"...
We did get to eat $5 snow-cones while listening to a band that prefaced their performance by saying that the lead singer had a cold...
The kids did get to spend 5 seconds in the aptly named "Hall of Mirrors"...

The kids did get to spend $1 each to ride a slide once...

Livi and I did get to spend about 10 minutes going around and around and around on a train I thought would never stop as we went by a mural that I'm sure was not a copyright infringement of the Jungle Book...
A true bright side for the 2 older kids was the dragon ride.  I'm not sure you can tell but they would fly off the seat by about 6 inches every time the boat came down.  Not a real fun thing to watch as a mother, but super fun if you are a kid!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Procrastinating Like A Pro, or It's Time For Halloween!

After running out of time 2 years ago when I did our Alice in Wonderland Extravaganza I decided that this year I would start a month earlier...and it is a good thing I did!  The girls and I had a slight disagreement (yelling match) about what our theme would be this year. I let the girls pick out their clothes, I let them have major input on their rooms, but I CARE about Halloween costumes.

We were thinking about Star Wars, which would be awesome, but there are only 2 recognizable female Star Wars characters, and as much as I love Mara Jade, I just didn't want to be asked over and over again who I was, and to have to give 5 minute presentations just so people got it.

I was thinking about doing something different (for us), like "the 20's", or even Avengers, but the girls were resistant to every idea I came up with.  They wanted to be what they want to be every year...princesses.  Well we came up with a compromise.  Any guesses as to what our theme is? (no fair Mom and Jes, who know).  Here is a little hint in the form of pictures of my latest project:

For Livi's hat

The back of the one for Livi's pocket

For Ella's hat.  Yes, he IS sporting an awesome eye patch!

A collection of my mini masterpieces.   I wish they looked a little more mechanical, but for clay I think they turned out ok.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Oh, Canada" version 9.0

I am finally (mostly) caught up from my trip and I am just going to rush through pictures because anyone who cares was there but I want to jot a few things down to remember for when I make my photo album.

Funny story: We learned that you take Livi away from home for longer than 2 weeks and she turns into the Terminator.  She destroys your things, your sanity, and your eardrums. Her tantrums were LEGENDARY.  Livi fell in the bathtub and scrapped up her back on the drain.  I was holding her, trying to talk to Eric (he was at home), and she was screaming bloody murder.  I was trying to calm her down but she was having none of that.  Eric was amazed at her volume:
Eric: "Where did she get hurt?"
Me: "Right above her crack."
Livi: Stops crying immediately, horrible silence for a split second, then she wails "I HAVE A CRACK?"

     It's hard to be 3 and think your body is crumbling around you.  It's hard to be the mom of that 3 year old too!
How can something this cute be so loud?

Bailey got a little scared by the thunder.

Golfing on the most beautiful course in the world!  Doesn't improve our game, though.

Trying to get a group picture.  I had to physically restrain Olivia, hence my tense posture.

Throwing rocks.

All tuckered out after swimming in the stream.

The group at a picnic before taking on Red Rock.
James and Jes: A Picture Portrait

One of three pictures taken of me the whole trip.

James' hair had gotten long and he has to cut it soon for school so we tried braiding it just for fun.

Ella and Ethan were so excited to get to ride horses again.  Can't you tell how excited Ethan is?

McKay showed off his mad tight rope walking skills.  We are turning out almost as fun to watch as the Steeds.  Except they put on an honest to goodness musical this year.  It is hard to compete with 50 kids dancing a choreographed dance!  Next year we are going to teach the little ones to walk on McKay's rope while balancing plates on sticks.  Ha, take that Steeds!

Livi always wanted to be with her "Mama Sharon."  She had a break down today, weeks later, because she wants her "Mama Sharon Right Now!"

Thank goodness for Lucy (my second cousin).  She distracted Livi long enough to give us a little bit of quiet time.
My two girls.  So different.

Aspen Grove In A Flash (as in quickly...not in the bad way)

Livi and Ebby were inseparable (although he preferred Ella)

I thought I was in better shape.  I thought "sure, I'll try and climb the climbing wall."  I made it...barely.

James, Jes, Dad, and I threw pots.  Well, they made pots.  I just wanted to throw my lump in the river.

The littler members of our family.

The train.  Always a favorite...

so much so that Livi climbed on with everyone she could find.  She went 5 times!

Dad was a good sport at the dunking booth.  Ethan, Ella and I tried to hit the bucket.  Ella succeeded!

Ghosts playing Monopoly.  We know they were ghosts, because no one would be rude enough to leave their game set up at one of two tables in a common area.

Julia and I made pens! Yay for girls and power tools!
Oh, and I dyed a chunk of my hair blue before I left to try and cheer myself up.  It helped a little. :)