Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Babysitter App

OK, OK I know its been since JANUARY since I last blogged...Let's just say life is a bit busy!!!  So since summer is right around the corner and we may need a babysitter every now and then.  Here is my babysitting application.  Feel free to steal it!

Babysitter Application

1. Name:
2. Age:

3. Age of your actual maturity level:

4. Number of years caring for children:

5. Number of years caring for children who drove you to drink wine:

6. Do you like to play outside? If so, are you willing to lie on the sidewalk while my daughter draws a chalk outline of your body, making you feel like a homicide victim?

7. Do you like to do craft projects? How good are you at getting Sharpie off things in my house?

8. How many Wiggles albums have you smashed or ‘accidentally’ thrown out the car window?

9. How many times have you threatened to vacuum up all the stray toys left on the floor?

10. Do you have a boyfriend? If so, is he castrated?

11. If a sex offender approached my children while they were in your care, you would:

a. Go all crazy tigress and rip him into small chunks

b. Run away screaming in terror and then later remember you left the kids on the playground

c. Be like "Hi Uncle Fred"

12. Do you smoke? (Bearing in mind that I have the olfactory prowess of a bloodhound and will know if you're lying.)

13. Would you be willing to take a drug test and submit to a background check? (Because you're a stranger and these are my kids and as much as they will MAKE you want to do drugs, you really shouldn't while also watching them because the small one is wily).

14. Do you have any enemies that may want to kill you or anything?

15. If I were to say, friend you on Facebook right now, would I see any pictures of you drinking Bud Light from a can while making out with someone and/or throwing gang signs and/or showing off your jugs?

Or would I find any posts or tweets like: I'm super late to work AGAIN #latenightwithmyboo#bonghitsareawesome #sohungover #stillalittledrunk

16. Do you have access to your own vehicle? If so, does it smell like old cheese and dirty diapers? If not, can I borrow it?

17. Do you have references? Note: No, your former college roommate pretending to be a former employer does not count as a reference.

18. Do you feel the overwhelming need to pick up after kids, fold laundry and/or leave spaces cleaner than how you found them? If yes, please disregard the 17 prior questions. You’re hired.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Wholesale Club

The Wholesale Club

About every two weeks I make a trip to Sam's Club, where I buy things like twenty-five pound bags of rice, jars of pickles as big as my toddler, and a kazillion loaves of bread. Maybe there's no Sam's where you live, maybe it's Costco or one of those other ginormous stores that houses vats of supplies for the end of the world. And whenever I go, I always take the whole crew, always have.. But my kids aren't the biggest issue when it comes to shopping at Sams. Here's the skinny...

The Check-In

After you've wrestled and loosened your buggy and your kids have all fought decided who is driving , you get stopped at the door by the gestapo wanting to see fifteen forms of ID- as if only celebrities are allowed in this special place and not just anyone who pays a thirty-five dollar fee! And they finally decide to let you pass, you enter the land of Oz, where you can see just about anything, so you aren't surprised when there's a show in the middle of the store between the chicken wings and the Colon Blow.

The Bumper Car Game

Once you do get to fill your buggy, you better not need anything or have a question or need to deal with anyone with a blue vest because they are all busy closing off aisles you can't shop in so they can fill them with more toilet paper and antifreeze and they could care less if you need to check out an ipod. And if you think you see one of them, it won't be for long, as they get all cloaked like Frodo in "Lord of the Rings" and you wonder if you're dreaming or actually having a nightmare-where you are stuck in Sams and can't get out. and you brought all your kids along with you.

So you grab all your loot and shush your kids and tell them "No, you can't have that!" about eighty hundred times and you spend much of your trip standing still because Berta and Sharon are having a high school reunion in the middle of the coffee aisle. And it all gets maddening until you get to the wine department and load up.

The Moochers

While shopping for groceries and shampoo and bug repellent, you also get to work through a maze of giveaways, especially on a Friday afternoon. Not only do they cram the place with mini stations of samples of all kinds of nonsense you probably would never have bought otherwise, but they even have whole meals set up for you to sample. And crazy people line up at these things like they are giving away money! So they wait twenty minutes to get a taste of a Mrs. Paul's fishstick or a granola snack or a sausage ball. Wha?? Because it's free? I cannot get past this folks. And of course all of my kids are screaming at these stations like it's freakin' Mardi Gras and they will miss out if they don't get that tiny sample cup of cheese crackers and tuna. But if I actually brought home and made the cheese crackers and tuna, they'd all say "bleh".

The Check-Out

Once you have your buggy of nonsense, you get to unload everything and reload it at the check out. The thing is, there's a football field length of check outs but only three of them are open and no one is interested in you getting in their line with your buggy and food samples dripping off your toddler. But you finally snag one and bust three of your vertebrae getting all your junk out of the buggy, but before you can check out, she wants to see your Sam's ID- again! Because you may have slipped past the first check point and may be trying to pull something over on Mr. Sam! It's just one more thing to do and it seems like I will never get out of this store. But I finally get checked out and we magically push our heavy buggy the length of a football field to the magic doors to get our arses out of there. Only to be stopped. Again.

Check Point #3

These folks are hard core about making sure you don't pull one over on them. They act like they have the golden cow and you are trying to steal it- piece by piece. So they stop you at the door, demanding to see a receipt, one that will cover your buggy and they look over your receipt, and look over your loot as if they're from the Department of Immigration and you might have some illegals in your vehicle and we're just not gonna have any of that at the Sam's Club!

And when you finally get you and your crew out of the store, you still ain't done with their nonsense, because I'll bet you some jackhole is parked right in front of the store because they're too special to walk to their dagum car-like you have to, so you have to maneuver your enormously heavy buggy, a pack of knuckleheads, and your sanity around their ginormous pick-up, careful not to let your crew bash into it as they round the corner

And just when I get in the driver's seat, start my car, put in some Journey or Elton John… I hear the same thing every time..."I'm hungry...can we get something to eat?".

And tomorrow, I'm due for a Sam's trip. And I'd pretty much rather have a root canal. Or a colonoscopy.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

44- I sure ADORE!

Happy Birthday!

He pushes them to take risks when I'm too afraid.

He tells them how to use a socket wrench, shake a hand, work a compass, and paddle a canoe.

He helps me be firm when I want to be too easy, and he helps me stay calm when I didn't know I could.

He tells our girl that she's pretty and valuable, and he puts on a suit and tie to take her to dinner.

He mysteriously shows up at the perfect moment with a screwdriver, or duct tape, or an ace bandage.

He handles all the dog poop, tile grout, and math.

He coaches and prays and quiets and scolds and laughs and pushes and pulls with a courage and will that is the bedrock to the rest of us.

Happy Birthday to the far better half of this team--the man who is, in every sense, a miracle.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Homeschool 101

What About Socialization?

This is probably the number one question homeschoolers hear either from those opposed to homeschooling or those considering it. To accurately answer this question, we must first determine the definition of socialization about which we're being asked. Following are a couple of dictionary definitions for the word
a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. (1)

1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society. (2)

To make fit for companionship

Most people, when asking about socialization are referring to number 2 in the second citation -- playing, talking, and making friends, basically. The truth is, most homeschooled children don't live in a bubble. They're out in the world playing with kids in their neighborhoods, going to scouts or church, playing sports. There are plenty of opportunities for homeschooled kids to make friends. Aside from the potential for friendships available in normal, everyday life, there are lots of opportunities for homeschooled kids to meet up with friends through local homeschool support group activities and classes.

My kids are involved in church activities, football, basketball, swimming, baseball, music and art classes and much more. Do I involve my kids in outside activities just to provide them with chances to meet other kids? No, I just let them get involved in the things that interest them.

One of the really great things about "homeschool friendships" is that they have the potential to be much deeper relationships because they're based on common interests and bonds. They aren't simply based on the fact that these kids are in the same classroom together for several hours a day because their birthdays fall within the same 12-month period. Think about it. With how many of your former school mates are you still friends? How many of those in your circle of friends are people born within twelve months of you? My friends range in age from 21 to 40-something. Why should kids be any different? My eight-year-old son's friends range in age from 6 to 11. There is no way, if he were in a public school setting, that he would be friends with a second grader...or that a ninth grader would be friends with him! There's entirely too much social stigma involved in being friends with kids so much younger than yourself.

I'm not sure what aspect of public school that I would need to make my kids "fit for companionship." The bullying? The drugs? The school violence? Maybe it's standing in line? No, I think I can manage perfectly well on my own in making my kids fit for companionship...but now I'm probably starting to wander off into the definition in the first citation...

Learning the norms of society

This is probably where the "you've got to prepare kids for the real world" argument often comes in. The real world argument is probably the least logical of all anti-homeschooling arguments that I've heard, with the possible exception of "if you sent your kids to school you'd have more time for housework"! Let's look at this. What real world things are kids learning in school?

Bullying -- this is often known, in the "real world," as workplace harassment, assault and battery, or slander. What happens as a result of these behaviors in school? Often nothing. Occasionally a short suspension. Rarely, expulsion or removal to "alternative schooling." What is the result in the real world? Termination of employment, counseling, anger management classes, lawsuit or jail time.

Sexual harassment or indecent exposure -- in the real world, these issues are often dealt with through termination of employment, counseling, lawsuit or jail time. In the public school it's often ignored or dealt with lightly, as in the case of an Alabama boy who sexually molested a first grade girl and returned to school after a week's suspension. Or the case of the twelve-year-old boy (from PA, I think) who was moved from school to school for sexual harassment and ultimately raped three first grade boys after being left unattended outside a boys' restroom. Then, there were the fifth graders who decided to have sex in front of their classmates when they were left unattended in a classroom.

Add to these things school violence, kids bringing guns and knives to school, "candy meth" and other drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity in the hallways, rape, and other things unimaginable when I was in school and it's simply mindboggling. These things don't go on, under normal circumstances, in most people's "real worlds."

Deviant behavior aside, let’s looks at what's going on in the classrooms. Which is more preparation for the real world, talking about economics or going to the store and seeing first hand how prices are affected by things like supply and demand, rising gas prices, advertising, shop lifting, etc.? Or talking about agriculture vs. spending the day with a farmer? Talking about glass-blowing in ancient civilizations or going to meet a glass-blower? What is better preparation for the real world than living in it daily?

What is the best way to prepare a child to interact socially? Would that be to put the child in a room of 20 or more kids his same age for six hours a day, five days a week, nine months out of the year with one or two adults? Or, would it make more sense to have a one-on-one relationship with a loving adult who is there to correct misbehavior and encourage good behavior as its happening?

Do we really want our kids learning the norms, values, behavior and social skills of their peers or do we want those lessons to be based on our family's norms and values and our family's interpretation of socially acceptable behavior?

To place under government or group ownership or control

I really hope that this definition really doesn't need too much discussion. Why would we want to place our kids under government control? Do you know that the current public school movement was begun by Horace Mann and was set up to mirror the school system in Prussia -- modern-day Germany? The word kindergarten itself is German. If you're a Christian parent who is homeschooling or considering homeschooling. I recommend that you take stock of the things that the government has slowly, but systematically removed from public schools -- the Bible, prayer, the Ten Commandments.

Regardless of whether or not you're a Christian parent, you'll want to look at the things that are missing from today's public school system. There is little or no room in today's public school classroom for individuality and creativity. There is little room in today's public school system for kids whose minds are active or those who learn differently than the "average" students. These kids are often quickly labeled ADHD or learning disabled and are overlooked.

For the record, I don't blame these shortcomings on individual teachers. Most of them are wonderful, caring people and they're doing the best that they can for their kids, within the system. However, the system demands a lot. The system demands high test scores, so teachers are forced to "teach to the test." Innumerable hours are wasted teaching kids how to fill in bubbles, how to achieve desired performance on standardized tests and taking said tests. I find it interesting that homeschooled students consistently outscore their public schooled counterparts on standardized testing and we're not teaching to the test! Homeschooling moms have no idea what's going to be on these tests.

What does today's school system desire to produce, if not creative, innovative free thinkers? Once again, government-funded public schools really came into being during the industrial age when the U.S. needed lots of worker bees to operate its many industries. So, it was important that the workers know how to follow instruction, do things in groups or assembly line fashion and basic skills like reading and math were definitely a plus, though not totally necessary. I really enjoyed this speech by creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson. It's really great food for thought on what's going on in today's educational system and what we consider the "basics" of a good education. If nothing else, he's a funny and very entertaining speaker, so your time will not be wasted in listening to him.

There is so much more that could be said about the "socialization" question, but to me this is really a non-issue. With recesses down to about twenty minutes a day (if a child doesn't have to sit out due to misbehavior) and lunch rooms becoming a "quiet zone" the socialization available in public schools is not the rosy picture some parents paint in their minds.

I'll leave you with a funny little look at socialization from a homeschooler's point of view.

"When my wife and I mention we are strongly considering homeschooling our children, we are without fail asked, 'But what about socialization?' Fortunately, we found a way our kids can receive the same socialization that government schools provide. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will personally corner my son in the bathroom, give him a wedgie and take his lunch money. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my wife will make sure to tease our children for not being in the 'in' crowd, taking special care to poke fun at any physical abnormalities. Fridays will be 'Fad and Peer Pressure Day.' We will all compete to see who has the coolest toys, the most expensive clothes, and the loudest, fastest, and most dangerous car. Every day, my wife and I will adhere to a routine of cursing and swearing in the hall and mentioning our weekend exploits with alcohol and immorality.... And we have asked them to report us to the authorities in the event we mention faith, religion, or try to bring up morals and values."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Little Piggies

This little piggy is going into the 3rd grade..and will be a herpetologist he tried to sneak this gator home.
This little piggy is going into Kindergarten and yes, he still thinks he is Indiana Jones.
This little piggy is going into Pre-K
She has plans of eating as much junk food as possible before school starts...

This little piggy will be at home on his pillow, because its still 125 degrees outside.  He has no plans of getting off or outside anytime soon.  I just vacuum around.
This little piggy cried, " waaahhh, waaahhh" because her babies are not babies anymore and she found a grey hair and that might be crow's feet. And school is starting next week.   She might be over it tomorrow...
but I doubt it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Two nights ago Katie rolled off the bed and busted her lip. Once the blood and tears stopped I held her in my lap and just snuggled. The 8-year-old and 6-year-old wandered in, carrying instruments.

"Could we play her a lullaby?" they asked quietly. I nodded, and they sat down and hummed "Jesus Loves Me" while their little sister held tightly to my hand.

Then the 6-year-old started, playing his drum, because we all know that "Jesus Loves Me" is much more effective as a lullaby with a loud and driving drum beat.

Then the 8-year-old started playing along on his harmonica. This would've been significantly more impressive if he actually knew how to play a harmonica. His playing messed up the 6-year-old, who stopped right at the "little ones to Him belong part" to whack his brother. The three-year-old was so excited by this exchange that she jumped to her feet and began to sing/shriek along while jumping up and down on her bed. The two boys stopped their fighting, suddenly distracted by the fact that "Jesus" sounds a lot like "Cheez-Its".

The three-year-old continued to jump. The 8-year-old continued to wail on the harmonica. The middle one continued to shriek his hymn to the little orange crackers.

I laughed, and I wondered exactly where I lost my sweet moment.

I laughed harder, and I realized I didn't lose it at all.

Enjoy all the unexpected little moments in your life....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A week's worth of knowledge!

I know some of you have wondered if I was abducted by aliens since I haven't posted in a few weeks. Or maybe that I'd finally lost it altogether and was now living in the Witness Protection Program. Just know that the quicksand was pretty deep around here and I was wishing I could crawl through some wormhole and  maybe wake up and find myself living in one of my Highlander novels. Now I know that ain't gonna happen, so be patient with me and I'll try to give you the low-down, the 411, the "skinny" on some of my nonsense.

They say you should "learn something new every day". I am not sure who THEY are and I am not sure the items I have learned on any random day of late are of merit.  BUT here it goes.

*It is about 9000 degrees here in Central Texas. It feels like it hasn't rained since Noah took off.

*You can not get a pedicure at 9am. Apparently this is a 10am -- or later -- activity. Who knew?

*The correct sentence is not - "Don't spill the juice on the laptop." It is "You may not drink the juice at the computer table." You would think I was a rookie, rather than a parenting veteran.

*Three’s are worse than two hands down and here is WHY…

a. Little girls get a wee bit emotional at three. Not a lot, just enough to turn your house into a soap opera.

b. All of a sudden – they get picky, picky, picky. After eating macaroni and cheese every other day their whole life, you hear: "Momma. I not gonna eat dese noodles. Dey haf cheese all over dem and dat's GROSS."

c. They're independent and doing more things for themselves, which means that doing anything now takes approximately forever.

d. They're smart. They’re self-aware enough to weigh the consequences and take what’s coming to them. Flooding the bathroom floor is totally worth the time out

*Are you ready to leave your house? Well, your children aren’t. Are you ready to walk down the street? Your children aren’t. Is it time for you to leave the playground? Well, your children really, really aren’t. And that's why we call it herding turtles

*Boys will act as if destruction and mayhem is their job. More than their job - their duty

*Basset Hounds can and will explode if they drink gallons of water…only mama’s have the ability to clean up the mess. At 12 am
Why didn’t mama hear the basset whine to go outside?
That’s easy, Mama took a tylenol pm and was in a coma…And the only reason she arouse at 12 am from her coma is because she too had to pee.

*Almond butter can remove gum out of hair as effectively as peanut butter.

*Triple A, is worth it.  Kids get a cool ride in a tow truck.

*Kids who do not wear shoes outside will find a cactus to step in. Duct tape will help.

*All household cleaners (no matter the brand) will have an effect on your children. Examples;
a) clean the toilet= ICBM (in coming BM)
b) clean the floor=gravity will pull juice from your kids hands within seconds
c) clean the window=fingerprints will appear instantly
*It takes about 10 Lego's to stop a vacuum

So what have I learned from all this... There's no perfect set up. If you're a mom, work is just plain work, and there's no easy fix, no escape hatch, no perfect lifestyle. And as your babies just keep growing and evolving, their needs change, your needs change, and there are just gonna be days that involve adult beverages.

And ibuprofen. Lots and lots of ibuprofen!

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