Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just Shoot Me!

Today was a total nightmare! Even as I say that, I know it could have been worse- it always can. But, as for this moment, I reflect on my day as being shitty. Can I say that on a blog rated G? Probably not.

I should have known from the moment that I got my Special K Berry flavored waffles out of the toaster and they were soggy that I should have just gone back to bed. If only I could have; I am sure I would have. But, that's not this mommy's life--nor will it be for many years to come or has it been now for many years. Sleeping in... I don't even remember how to do it.

But, truthfully, not sleeping in is not the real problem I have with today's events. It was the rest of the day that makes my stomach turn.

After our normal breakfast routine, I had a big plan for the day. I had several errands that needed to be accomplished. With our few stops ahead of us, we all headed out to the car, loaded up in our seats and were off--the three children and I. So I thought.

I turned the click click....(nothing).

Damn it. Dead battery. Well, since my freakin' new minivan with a whopping 6000 miles had a dead battery now for the second time since buying the thing, my patience was running thin. Luckily, we have one of those car jumper things that can jump your car. Since I had to do this same thing only a few months ago, I was getting pretty good at it. Flip on the car jumper, plug it in, attach the jumper cables. Easy.

Problem: silence. The battery was so dead that it was no longer chargeable with the jumper. I cussed, thought about how I would now have to inconvenience Rick to help his incapable wife on his birthday. Oh well. He married me. He knows.

So, I called, restated that we loved him, said Happy Birthday again, then broke the news. He came home, followed all of my previous steps, then decided to jump the van with his truck.

Great. But, frankly, now I didn't want to turn off the car or go anywhere that was too far. I didn't want to be stranded on the other side of Las Vegas with three young children and no ride. Or worse yet, get broken down on the side of the road- not in this town.

So, I ditched all of the errands and drove to the car dealership. They charged me $50--unfair, but not worth an additional fight. Because, by the time I was talking to the woman about the charges, I had had enough argument. Have you ever had to control three children (aged 4, 2 and almost 1) in a car dealership?

Maybe I could have walked them around the parking the 115 freakin' degree temperatures! Or maybe I could have allowed them to have all of the sodas, candy and chips that they were banging on the vending machine window for? Or, maybe I could have begged one of the several happy senior citizens also waiting for their cars to help? I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were jealous. I know they wanted to be me. With my messy hair pulled back in a glamour-do and my ratty falling apart flip flops from three years ago with my dried out skin and my chipped toenail polish. Maybe they just wanted to be me because I was so obviously enjoying myself as I tried to wrangle the children without publicly grabbing them forcefully by the arm and threatening their very existence while in front of others. Then again, I must have been the maternity-turned-post-child-no-longer-can-afford-to-give-a-shit wardrobe that adorned my fat ass and thighs. Pheew! For a while I was wondering if anyone would be jealous of me again.

Then, a glimpse of God...a ray of sunlight shone through the clouds (that I almost missed as Jacob was hitting and kicking me while screaming at the top of his lungs): my phone rang. It was Rick's step-mother who offered to come to the dealership and bring lunch for the children. Awesome! She brought their favorite: McDonald's. I could not have cared less what the hell she brought. As long as someone else was there-- someone that could rescue me even for a little shred of a second from my personal mommy hell.

Did I mention that the reason Jacob was screaming was because he was trying to squeeze Lyla's head like a grape while attempting to give her a smoosh-my-face-into-your-face-so-hard-you-can't-breathe kiss. Lyla responded appropriately with a terrified look on her face, followed by wailing. Great. Then, trying to control my anger, I told Jacob to sit in the chair beside me for a time out. He screamed too, then hit me, tried to claw me, flung himself to his favorite resting spot (the floor), rolled around for a while until he was yanked up and placed in the chair. He continued to kick, even smiled when he managed to actually hit me, or the stroller. RRRGGHH!

All of this drama continued for two hours. I did find some solace in a glass room that the dealership had blocked off. The room had a couple of very dirty children's books and a small rolling cart with a few dirty blocks. Ah hah! The kid's room! Great! Now my children will catch the Hiney virus (Also Known As H1N1) by playing with these filthy toys. Hey, at least they will not be attracting so many fans. I was sure the paparazzi would bust in any moment for some quick shots of us.

The one thing about this room was that although it had no door, it blocked much of the area that my children were able to freely run from my grasp. It also had two blown up balloons with attached strings that were resting at the ceiling. Great. Occupied. For...oh....15 minutes? That's great! I wasn't complaining.

Finally after ravaging our Happy Meals, the van was ready. I have never been so damn happy to get out of a place.

We went home, the children napped for about an hour and a half, then we had to race off to get Rick a birthday card. We no longer had time to get him a gift, make him a cake, do anything special. His gift was now that we were alive. That's it. We went to the store, had more of the average fun at the grocery store, and managed to make a five minute trip into a 30 minute drama session by simply being in Jacob's presence. As I was checking out, Rick calls wondering where we are. I bit his head off. I couldn't help it. I was sure that in the background he could hear why I was so happy.

Once again, Jacob was trying to hurt Lyla and kick Nick, Nick was fighting back, Lyla was screaming, then Jacob started screaming because Nick was hitting him back. Fun times. So, needless to say, Rick was totally pissed at me.

I tried to apologize, but that attitude was really short lived. He followed my apology with, "Why didn't you get milk and paper plates when you went to the store?" and "Why did you get me another cake? I had one at work." That was it. I was on a roll again. Now I was mad at Rick...and the kids....and myself for forgetting those things, and having three children that are lunatics, and leaving my happy life and career to do the impossible job of being a stay-at-home mother, and being chosen by God to be a parent....and being chosen by Rick to be his wife....etc etc. I could have gone on and on. I must have been on a roll.

And, tomorrow, I wake up and do it all over and grovel for Rick's forgiveness for ruining his birthday.

Do you see why us mothers often go completely insane? It's not's everyone else DRIVING us insane! Can you also see why sometimes motherhood (and stay-at-home motherhood) is so difficult? Just in case you don't know--just in case you are one of those old people who were so jealous of me at the car dealership.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Off to Preschool

Tomorrow I am off to put down a deposit for Nicholas to go to preschool starting in August. Initially, I was a little annoyed that it will be another year before he can start public Kindergarten. His birthday is Nov. 1st, so he missed the cutoff date. However, after I thought about it for a while, I think Nick can use the extra time and will one day enjoy being the oldest in class versus the youngest.

The preschool seems very nice, has a computer room with about ten computers, and teaches sign language and Spanish as part of their preschool program. I am excited for Nick to have the exposure to other children and the ability to make friends. He was in daycare until we moved here about two years ago. In his old school, the teachers would always tell me wonderful things about Nick. I hope he eases back into the old swing of things and really enjoys himself. We are only going to have him in school for three days a week. I figure that should be good enough for him to get the benefits of preschool with some reinforcement at home the other days.

I have attempted to teach Nick a few things at home, constantly going over number and letter recognition, practicing his writing in those Pre-K workbooks and we read quite a bit with the children. But, Nick just has better things to do than to spend the day concentrating on what letter makes what sound or what a Y looks like. I think Nick figures there are action figures to set up in a war-like scenario, baseballs to be hit and tossed, a little brother to torment and a perfectly good pool to swim in. Who the heck cares about the number 23? Let's go have some fun! Woohoo!

Now, Jacob is a different story. He loves numbers and letters. He has not quite mastered actually counting objects. He counts a few, then starts recounting the same objects again. But, Jacob knows his alphabet (recognition included), counts to twenty, can recognize most of the numbers to 10 and also knows the sounds produced by all but five letters. I am very proud of him; but, in reality, I have worked much less with Jacob than I have with Nicholas. Jacob just likes letters and numbers so he picks it up quickly and easily. I hope he continues to have his exuberance for learning for years and years to come.

One thing that has been in our favor is that Nick does not like that Jacob knows all of this stuff when he does not. Peer pressure- I love it. Whatever works.

Also, for a few days a week I will be able to concentrate more on my youngest two: Jacob and Lyla. Trust me, this will not be any kind of break. As previously stated, Jacob is a HUGE handful right now and Lyla is getting around and getting into trouble of her own. Heck, now that I think about it, it may be HARDER without Nick to help me. Oh no!

One Million Acts of Green

One Million Acts of Green

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Terrible TwoVille

Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?
Oh where, oh where can he be?
With his ears cut short and his tail cut long.
Oh where, oh where can he be?

This is how I feel about Jacob.

Oh where, oh where has my sweet boy gone?
Oh where, oh where can he beeeeeeee?
With his round little buns and his hair cut short.
Oh where, oh where can he be?

I am sure I know the answer. He is gone-- only to reappear for a flash here and there in between bouts of anger, throwing toys, crying, pouting, kicking, hitting, and imitations of a limp noodle in protest. My little sweet angel boy Jacob is now hidden, somewhere deep down behind those big beautiful hazel eyes that will capture your heart in a second.

Jacob is two. Does that explain it? Terrible TwoVille.

In his place though, I happily welcome back my other sweet boy Nicholas. He has been hiding out in Terrible TwoVille now for a couple of years. In the last few weeks, Nick has finally returned. He is four and a half and it has been a long road. Don't get me wrong: Nick is the quintessential drama king. I am quite positive that will never change. However, his kind, selfless, helpful, understanding, gentle, and sympathetic side is finally back. Ahhhhh. It is really a wonderful thing to have my oldest little boy back to his sweet self. I was wondering for a while if Nick would ever make it out of that phase. He seemed to be having a blast. Here's keeping my fingers crossed that we all survive Jacob's trip to this God forsaken place, Terrible TwoVille.

Thankfully, God knows me. He knows that I need to see at least a small glimpse of my sweet boys every-once-in-a-while to reassure me of their eventual return from their two year old maturation camp. Often, at night, when the wild little boys finally slow down and rest their screaming little legs (and mouths) for the evening, they look up at me, give me big hugs and kisses and tell me how much they love me. Then, as with every evening, we all say prayers together. They thank God for everyone who they have laid their eyes upon in a long, sometimes rambling list. Mommy is always first on their list. Thank you God for that,... and for my two wonderfully exhausting sweet boys.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Little Crystall Confessions

One of my favorite children's books, Where The Wild Things Are, begins:

The night Max wore his wolf suit and got into mischief of one kind, and another...

I was thinking earlier today about mischief. Specifically, little-Crystall mischief. When I think back, I think I was a pretty good child. I don't think I had much attitude. Little girls can be a little bratty--not me. I guess I was a little curious, isn't everyone? But for the most part, I don't remember getting into much trouble.

Now, fast forward thirty (yes, thirty) years and I now wonder what kind of mischief my boys (and Lyla) have in store for me. As far as I am concerned, I deserve to have the most angelic children (because I was such an angel-of course). But, Rick (my husband)...he was all-boy. He was a wild child, a rebel and a very big handful in his teenage years. So, if he is due payback, I guess I'll be getting it too. How is that fair?

Little Crystall Mischief

1. When I was about six, I threw every sandwich my mom made me for school into my closet. Over months they piled high and stinky. I did not like sandwiches.

This is described in more detail in a previous post: Snot Rags

2. When I was five, I folded a blanket and placed it over a light bulb for a homemade night light. It caught on fire. I stomped it out, buried it in (guess where?) the closet. My mother came in my room saying that she smelled something burning. I lied. She found it when we moved.

3. Around the same time, I ironed (yes, IRONed) a paper towel on the carpet in our living room. I got a bright idea that I would attempt to iron-out the little quilts on a paper towel. I turned on the iron (full blast-super super hot), placed the paper towel on our brand new carpet in the middle of the living room, then proceeded to iron it. The carpet fibers melted onto the paper towel "gluing" it to the floor- a perfect square. It was unable to be removed. There was a paper towel on our floor until we moved.

4. I was once called over by a man in his car on my walk home from school. I approached his passenger side cautiously. He had his pants down and was playing with himself. I was five. He asked me some directions to get out of the neighborhood. I quickly tried to tell him, then left-walking briskly. He followed me. I went around a corner, hid behind a bush and ran the other way. As I was running, I heard his car behind me. I dashed into an alley behind some houses and started banging on people's doors. I turned back and saw the man down the alley looking at me as he sat in his car. I continued to knock; I was sure he was getting out of his car to get me. Finally, someone answered and called my mom to come get me. I did not tell my mom that the man had his pants down until just a few years ago. Why? I have no idea. I guess I was embarrassed.

5. When I had my period when I was twelve, I didn't tell my mom about it for quite a while. Once again, I was very embarrassed. No reason to be- but I was. I used washcloths as feminine pads. I cannot believe I did this. I know most of you would never confess about this if you did it. Well...I don't mind too much. It's OK to be imperfect and do things that you would now do differently (or not at all). It's also funny to think of these things now.

6. I found a joint that was apparently "misplaced" in a bag of my hair curlers that I accidentally left in our dining room. I decided to let my friend smoke it. I was not interested. I was in my early teens.

7. I was secretly happy when one of my mom's boyfriends (I was five) kicked the refrigerator and had to get stitches. He had previously hung me from my underwear on a closet door knob (great guy) as I was screaming in pain; and, he also pretended to be dying by letting Ketchup run out of his mouth and falling onto the floor to scare me. What a jerk!

8. I left my room a constant disaster. I stepped on my little records and broke them. I left the plastic "cake pusher" stuck in my Easy Bake Oven (when it was on) and it melted.

9. When I was about three, I remember getting a towel and pooping on the towel in my room. Why? Don't know. What happened to it? Don't know. Does my mom know I did this? Hmm....don't know. I also got out a little mirror and looked at my tweeny. I have no idea what I was doing.

10. I found pictures of my mom's boyfriend naked. This was the same mean boyfriend listed above. I showed my friends. Oops. Sorry Mom. I know you did NOT know this until now. He wasn't very nice. He deserved this.

11. My aunt, Teresa (she is very close to my age) and I made a whole pot of coffee one day when we were home alone on a school holiday. I think we were ten or twelve. We drank the entire pot as we played "office". I got crazy paranoid and was a spazz for the rest of the day, worried my parents would be mad at me.

12. When I was about four, the little boy that lived in the apartment below ours tried to get me to touch his wiener. He was the same age as I was. I was not interested and thought it looked strange.

That's all I can think of for now. And really, I think that's all of the memories I ( and my mom) can probably handle. Sorry again, Mom.

By the way, I would be very upset if it were my children doing these things. Now that I have all of this listed out, "Little Crystall" doesn't sound very well-behaved. Maybe I do deserve some payback. God, help me please!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Pretty Girl

Is it totally uncouth to say that I think I have the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen in my entire life? I know....I am a bit biased. And, really, I mean no disrespect; so, I don't want any crazy comments about how she looks like a troll or how looks don't mean anything-she's probably dumb as dirt, etc etc. Just HUSH all you haters and just be happy for someone else for a change. How about... give me the credit I deserve as being the biggest fan of my three children and my husband--as it should be. Shouldn't ALL mothers feel this way about their children?Sheesh! And, by saying my child is beautiful, I am NOT saying yours is not- or that YOU were not a beautiful baby. <----Please notice...about half way this paragraph the paranoia sets in.

Oh my gosh! This post has turned into a slow dwindling away of my own sanity...right there laid out in words. Now, I am paranoid too! Little blog-reader voices are shouting in my head.

Where's the frickin' crazy pills?

Oh's my beautiful girl.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's Tough Being Two!

As if I had nothing better to do with my time.....I decided a few days ago that it was time to start the duty- or, the dooty: Potty training Jacob. Can I just say what a wonderful experience it has been thus far? (Actually, he is quite sweet and getting the hang of it.) Here is an example of what I deal with...many many out. The fun never ends.

Here is another photo, just in case one was not enough to actually get some darn sympathy here! Or empathy. What ever it is! Poor Jacob!

Poor Me!

Jacob: NOOO! I scared! I not yike the potty! (pitiful)

Drama follows. Jacob tosses his body on the floor in a two-year-old limp noodle kind of way. Snot is flying; tears are flowing. It's an all out bucket of laughs. Then, he stops crying and goes potty. Well, sometimes. But when he is successful, it's a party. Even before the tears are dried and the snot is wiped we are all passing out "high fives", hugs, and kisses. Then we run at super hero speed to the marble jar where Jacob gets one blue marble for sitting on the potty and two more for actually going potty (on the potty). He knows that when his marble jar is full and he has been a "good boy" behaving and going potty, he gets something special of HIS choice. (Within reason- of course)

Please everyone, keep your fingers crossed for Jacob. Lyla is not giving him much time to get the hang of this potty-thing. Now that she is almost walking, she is trying to crawl all over Jacob (and his potty).

Oh, and another brilliant idea on my part: In an attempt to increase my family's fiber intake, everyone is gobbling up at least one prune with breakfast everyday.

Lyla loves prunes. (Check)

Nick...well...they're OK. (Check--kinda)

Jacob....YUM! Pass him the whole container. I have to actually limit his prune consumption because I fear his stomach will get upset.

I will spare you any gruesome details; but, let's just say that eating between five and seven prunes a day when you are potty training must be Hell! (on everyone)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shoe Envy Fantasies

My husband, Rick and I had an awesome time on our outing Friday night. (Please refer to the picture of me above-taken before rushing out the door) As I previously mentioned, we never go out. So, it was quite a treat when we both got all dolled up for the big occasion. We arrived about 15 minutes early to our "Flash-Backs-To-The-Good-Ole-Days Extravaganza"- otherwise known as a promotion ceremony. Really, it was a big party for all of the Air Force personnel being inducted into the top three enlisted ranks. My husband was one of the inductees. Obviously, I was/am extremely proud. My husband has been awaiting this moment (not thinking it would ever happen) for the last twenty-two years. I was glad I could be there to share this with him. Also, it was nice to get a short-escape from the day-to-day stuff with the children and just be Crystall (and Rick's wife).

I had wine. It was cheap wine, but I didn't care. Probably pumped straight from a box behind the bar. It was pink, smooth and well....delicious! White Zinfandel, I think. About half-way through the glass, I was feeling the power! I knew I was a light-weight when it came to drinking- I rarely drink. But, I knew I better slow down and/or eat something or Rick may soon have to peel my sleeping body off of the floor. Not good.

Just then, I was snapped out of my wine-induced fairyland when I noticed a long line of female admirers approaching. I attempted to stand up straight, not giving away my tipsiness. They were all smiling, starry-eyed. It was shoe envy. Although these three ladies actually approached me at different parts of the evening, my own surprise and astonishment (that I could actually have something worth another woman's shoe envy) and my fine-wine-fog spawned a fantasy of one jealous shoe-junkie after another aligned at my feet throughout the evening. Had I known my shoes were this awesome, I would be wearing them everywhere: the grocery store, the park, and the mailbox (all the fashionable places that I frequent).

Below you will see a picture of these fab shoes. For those of you who actually buy shoes that are more than twenty dollars- well, you may not think they are that great. But, for the other moms out there who have not had the extra money for designer anything since the coming of the children (or maybe never)'ll probably love them as I do. AND.....they were bought for $17 at White House Black Market (great sale)! Who says beauty has to be expensive? I have to say that even if I could afford those designer shoes, I would probably still like these.

Also, for you other ladies (like me) who only frequent your home, the drug store, mailbox, park and grocery store, I wish for you to be, for once, the woman on the other end of shoe envy. In Nick's words, "That was SO COOL!!!"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Want To Go To Heaven, Just Not Today

I am going to take tomorrow evening off of blogging. My husband and I have a ceremony to attend for his job. Rick and I have not been out, dressed up for a semi-formal thing in like.....forever. Well, at least 5 years. That feels like forever. We actually did go out on a couple of date nights in the last 5 years, but very very few. So, this will be fun. I hope.

As for tonight, my husband is feeling ill. He is resting now, so I get the comfort of the desktop. Yipppeee!

The children have been bonkers today. Mommy, this. Mommy, that. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy....
Help! Calgon take me awaaaayyyyy!

Who is this "mommy" character that everyone supposedly cannot live without?

Today I almost fell over a large toy Recycling truck that was on my kitchen floor. I was holding two plates of lunch items meticulously prepared for two special boys. After bearly saving myself from a catastrophic event, I angrily told the boys to pick up all the toys on the floor or they were not eating lunch. I know, it was not a great moment for me. A few seconds later, I apologized for yelling and offered to help them pick up all the toys. We did and every one returned happily to the table for lunch. Luckily, both of the boys were very kind and receptive to my apology.

After my fit of rage, I told the boys that I could have really hurt myself on their truck, that we really needed to try to do a better job picking up, etc etc. Both Nick and Jacob agreed. Nick then asked while tears are forming in his eyes who would take care of them if I were not around. He was obviously getting himself more upset even contemplating my absence.

I know one day, I will leave Nick, Jacob and Lyla. No one lives forever. Nor do they want to. Nor does anyone else want them to. I will say what I always say to Nick when he tries to impale himself doing some kind of crazy stunt: Nick, I want you to go to Heaven, just not today. So, I would also like to go to Heaven, just not today, or tomorrow, or anytime soon. :)

But surely, when I am in Heaven, I will wonder why I was trying to hang out here for so long.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

At bedtime tonight, Nick ran up to me after looking out our bathroom window.
Completely elated, he exclaimed, "I saw the first star that was out tonight!"
"You did?! How cool! Did you make a wish?"
He placed his index finger aside of his mouth and thought quietly for a moment.
"Yes", he said smiling. "I wished for a lot of Star Wars men".
"Star Wars men? I thought you already had a lot of those."
"I do."
"OK. Well maybe tomorrow we can wish for something that you don't have already. That's the fun in wishing, right?"
Nick agreed.
"I changed my mind Mommy. I need to go make another wish."
"OK, Nick. Go ahead, Honey. But, make it quick will ya? It's late."
He smiled and ran off.
Off in the not-so-distant bathroom, I heard Nick making his new wish.
"I wish for.....a lot of swords and a few guns."
OH GREAT! What the hell did I open up my big mouth for? Now, I feel like a complete jacka__. What was I thinking?!

When we lived in GA, we had a hard time trying to avoid the introduction of the word "gun" into Nick's vocabulary. Many people hunt in the south, I guess. Every time I would turn around, there was another child in Nick's daycare class pretending to play guns. Nick picked it up quickly and has not forgotten it since. Now, he has passed on his game to Jacob and now they both run around acting like hoodlums on a daily basis.

I am not trying to sound over-protective; but, guns are not something that I think should necessarily be involved in play. Is it too much to just want my boys to be angels-to not always be interested in the blood and guts of things?

After thinking on this subject, I tried to reign in my own over-dramatic side (if possible) and ask myself: haven't children been playing "Guns" or "Cowboys and Indians" since the dawn of man? Are all boys (and girls) who play these games destined to become gun-wielding drug dealers, psychopaths and murders? No.

<Right now, I am fighting my inherent urge to point out to myself that indeed some of those children do grow up to be those horrible-type people. I have to quickly snap myself out of that line of thought; because, I will worry myself to the point of complete insanity.>

All of this boy talk makes me think of the movie, "Parenthood" starring Steve Martin. His character dressed up like "Cowboy Dan" for his son's birthday party because the real "Cowboy Dan" couldn't come. When Martin's character acts like the rootin' tootin' cowboy, the children at the party are only mildly interested and entertained. But, when Martin's version of "Cowboy Dan" starts talking about shooting guns, blood and guts all hanging out, the children went wild. He even continued his story, getting the children more excited by describing "slipping and sliding on the guts". It was actually very funny. But, in reality, part of all that is boys. It seems to be in their blood (and guts)-part of their DNA makeup.

I have spoken previously about not being able to take the little boy out of my little boys; and, really, on some level I don't want to. My boys are excitement, exuberance, wide-eyed wonder, and ferociousness all rolled into two little bodies on short, fast and unstoppable legs. Their enthusiasm and sense of adventure are something that I do want to hamper. They are both always astir with emotion. They are full of drama, love and dreams. They are my two little balls of energy. The hooligans (as Rick calls them) are just plain wonderful--even if they want to play guns, and pretend to chop off each other's leg with a stick, and karate chop one another, and "blow up" each other's forts, and... the list goes on and on.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Celebrity Mom

I just sat down on my bed, my head propped up on two pillows leaning against my headboard. The hubs is busy yelling at my right. He is taking some online classes and is tackling a class that is difficult for him. So, yelling at the computer is his pastime (at least for the next sixteen weeks). I did as I always do when I finally get to my "me" time for the last couple hours of each night. I opened the laptop, got comfortable, and started my late evening rendezvous with the latest celebrity gossip:

Tony Romo breaks up with Jessica Simpson. (Aww man. It seemed that Jessica was quite happy. Who knows about Tony? Well, I guess now we do. Not so happy.)

Latoya Jackson says Michael was murdered... (Hm...OK?? Let's hear some of the evidence for this one. Not that it is not it me or does the Jackson family seem very.... strange? Is this some attempt on their part to cover up Michael's drug habit? Perhaps their way of bettering his name in the public eye?)

Farrah Fawcett's friend will publish a diary that she kept as the actress battled cancer, then died... (I will NOT be reading this-entirely too sad.)

McNair's girlfriend was upset over love and money... (Oh really, no kidding. Let's evaluate this: She was 20, he was like, 36, I think? This girl was in love. He was married; yet, apparently told her that he was in the late stages of a divorce from his wife. He "bought" her a Cadillac Escalade that she made payments on, her roommate moved out because the girl thought she was moving in with McNair. Then, she got very sad, felt like she was poor (because she was paying double rent and paying for the Escalade and another car), and even suspected McNair of cheating on her. What a shame that she did not see the truth before it ended so tragically.)

Jon Gosselin steps out with new girlfriend, Haylie Glassman (Daughter of the physician that performed Kate Gosselin's tummy tuck.) Also, she has a checkered past, having been arrested for smoking pot outside her dorm room in 2005. Maybe she has grown up a little by now? I would hope so, Jon. She is quite pretty though.

So, why am I so interested in all of this mumbo-jumbo? Why do I care? Do I really? Hmmm...
As I sit here and think about it, I have no idea why I am interested. It is obvious that the lives of these celebs do not impact mine. Rarely, celebrities lives affect world news, so there is no trickle down effect to my life in any way, shape or form. So, what is it about celebrities that captures my interest so?

In throwing this question around, I have decided that celebrity gossip is entertaining. It's brainless for me. I like to read about how complicated and twisted money and fame can make people--maybe because I have neither. I surely don't relish in their heart aches; but, I do find their lives so fantasy-like. Sometimes I laugh out loud over how crazy some of it is. Celebrities often put themselves on such a pedestal that "real life" things are difficult for them to handle.

Celebrity 1: "What? I am staying at a Holiday Inn?"

They sometimes forget that they are living in a bubble. People around them fawn over them, pamper them, and tend to their every need. If they mess up, someone is always there to pick up the pieces. Money seems to open so many doors. According to Tori Spelling, it closes a few also. Her "door-closing life episodes" would still rank in fantasy land for me.

Celebrity life is not real life. It is a dream. It must be nice to live in such a world. I am very jealous. I guess in a way, I shouldn't be. I have quite a bit to be happy about (even minus the fame and money). And, most importantly, God doesn't care who you are or if you are famous and adored by millions. Sheeew! That's a good thing.

I guess on some level, I like to think of myself as one of them- a celebrity. I am famous in my own life. My husband and children cheer loudly as I come in the door after an outing. Granted, that is the only people who cheer when I enter a room. But, that's OK. At least someone is cheering.

Hey, can I call myself a celebrity mom now that I have come to this realization?

"Crystall-- Celebrity Mom"

That has a ring to it. I like it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Going Green-- In A PO'd Kind Of Way

We have been "going green" for a while now. As each new light bulb fizzles, we buy a low-energy one to replace it. We diligently collect our plastic, glass, newpaper/paper products and cardboard-making sure all of the glass and plastic is free from "food particles". Rick and I occasionally take showers together to conserve water. Ha ha! No, not really. That's a dream of his...and mine- reserved for one night when I am not trying to prevent our children from drowning, or crying, or running ramped through the house naked (and screaming), diving head-first off of our bed and getting brain damage, etc. I wish I were kidding.

Back to the green stuff: we have really been putting in some effort here. My children know which recycling bin is which and help me carry them to the curb every-other week. I feel like we are really doing well.

Well, then comes the trash man- the regular trash man, not the recycling guy. Our trash day is the same as the recycling day; so, all of our stuff was out at the curb. We have the highest-piled recycling bins in the neighborhood. We even stack extra plastic bags full of plastic bottles and cans inside the bins. We are recycling maniacs. Recycling gurus. We are the bomb of recycling. You get the idea.

OK, back to the trash man....(geesh, I am off on tangents easily this evening). So, my trash men drive up Monday, grab and dump our trash can (only half-full) into their trash truck. I was so proud that we had more recycling than trash. I gazed happily out the window, seeing the fruits of our effort piled high for all to see. I know the other families in the neighborhood had to be jealous. I am sure they are thinking, What an awesome family of recyclers. We want to be as cool as them.

I continued to watch out the window, expecting the trash truck to pull away off to the neighbors house. Just then, to my extreme horror.... I see the khaki-brown jumpsuit-wearing garbage dumper grab our large pile of cardboard boxes (neatly stacked in a pile beside the recycling bin-just as requested in the recycling manual!!!) AAUUGGH! Does he know how many hours Rick and I...(well, Rick mainly) spends breaking down these stinking boxes to put them in the recycling? If we wanted to throw them out, we (he) wouldn't have taken the time to break them down. The boxes would have been casually tossed into the garbage can effortlessly.

As my nose was pressed firmly against our bathroom window and my mouth was hanging open in extreme pissed-offness while I watched the brown-suited man, I further witnessed him grabbing the large plastic bag (full of plastic bottles and cans) and tossing them into the trash truck also. I was instantly angry. Our recycling- to be whisked off to the nearest landfill to sit for years and years and years....for nothing! RRRGH! We are so particular about what we use, what we buy, what we throw away and how we wash stuff before we place it into the recycling containers....effort-BIG effort and time....wasted....gone....capoot... Lovely. Just what I have growing on trees- time.

Right now, you may insert your own favorite hate word describing that trash man. I am a mom, I can't talk like that anymore. But, I can sure think it!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rules For Sleeping In Mommy's Bed

My husband is on a short trip and I now have two hooligans begging to sleep in my bed (with me) tonight. I said no. They continued to beg. They have never requested this before. So, reluctantly, I have agreed, with conditions-of course.

1. go to sleep
2. no kicking
3. stay on your side of the bed
4. no talking, giggling, or horseplay
5. no fighting

I tried this one other time, with just Nick and it was a complete nightmare and I got no sleep. He was all over the bed, tossing, turning, sweating on me, laying on me, kicking me. He and I were at my mother's. I will now reiterate that at that time I was attempting this feat with one little boy. Now there are two.

Since I know that these rules are completely impossible for my two rambunctious, lunatic boys to follow, I am sure they know the answer is still, "No".

They are whimpering; they are throwing themselves on the floor. I am a sap. Don't I know how to have fun? Having a "campout" without Daddy would be a blast!

Geesh! I am a sucker. I am caving. We'll see how it goes. I will give updates in the morning- if I survive.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fatherly Influences

I have been sitting on this for some time-dealing with it, thinking of it, sorting it all out in my head, trying to decide if I would blog about it. And, now after months of tossing it back and forth, I have decided that I will, indeed write about it.

This "it" that I am referring to is my step-father, for blogging purposes I will refer to him as C. I guess C is really a "who" not an "it".

I believe my step-father walked into my life when I was around five or six. He was a kind guy. He met my mother while she was out on the town one evening. He was in his late twenties (a couple of years older than my mom), had no children, and was single and attractive. He came from a nice christian family who seemed to be a wonderful group of people, stable, nurturing, successful by all rights.

My mother, though she probably would tell this story differently than I, was not quite sure about C for the long term. But, he was kind and liked her. She did like him and desperately wanted help parenting me and had been a single mother since my father and she had severed ties when I was still an infant. She was only sixteen when I was born. Really, it must have been quite hard on my mother. She put herself through school, rented a small mobile home for her and I, and worked nights at a local fish house. She finished school at a local technical school and started a career in computers. She wanted a good life for me- for us.

Mom was eagerly welcomed into C's family. C didn't bring home girls very often and his parents were very excited and liked my mom. So, there you have it- the perfect recipe for a new family, a fresh start for all of us, and especially a better life for my mother and I. We hadn't had much money; living was usually paycheck to paycheck. With C, we had the promise of a better future. I had the opportunity to live in a better neighborhood, go to a nicer school, have nicer stuff. We all did. But, in the darkness, behind closed doors, hidden was the reason that my mother was unsure about him.

He was a recreational drug user. I believe that his family knew, perhaps turned their heads; maybe, they dismissed it as a passing fad of young, single guyhood. Either way, it was a habit that was a problem. My mom joined in and together they kept this secret. It was more than experimental, it was C and my mom doing it, it was more than a passing fad, it was more than pot.

They got married when I was ten. The illusion continued- the happy family, no issues, no problems. I was very well-behaved. I got good grades in school and mainly only had an issue with C (at times). C was not exactly parent material, at first. He and I struggled to see eye to eye. He was crabby to me and I was very sensitive, especially when he was mad at me. He said he always felt like it was me and my mom against him when there was a family disagreement. He harped on my mother about my weight that had gone from 91 pounds in jr. high school to about 135 as I hit puberty and the active lifestyle I once had faded to studying for school and hanging out with friends. By the way, during this time I only grew about 3 inches taller. I think C was really disappointed in me, but I was really not what I would call fat. Just a bit chunky, I guess. My mom always yelled back asking C what she was supposed to do about it (my weight). Yes, they did have actually yelling fights over my weight. You would have thought that I was much more overweight than I really was.

Then, one day, C found out that he had a child (a girl) that he had not known about who was by then thirteen. Everything between C and I changed. I think that when he met her, he realized that it is not always the blood that makes a child yours. From that day on, C was nicer to me. We mended our disagreements and became quite close. Years came and went and C became a wonderful father figure in my life (with the exception of the weight issue and the secret).

I remember as a young child my parents told their friends that it was OK to smoke pot in front of me. "Oh, she's fine". I was. I was fine, but I was not stupid or blind. For big parties several people would disappear into my parent's bedroom for hours. My mother and C did that same thing just about every Friday and Saturday night. It became old hat. Some of my friends discovered that my parents smoked pot. I never corrected them and never told them that I knew it was much more. I grew tired of hiding it.

In high school I guess quite a few friends of mine knew. A lot of them thought it was cool and happily told me that their parents also did. Yeah for us! I guess. The whole thing was just not me. It wasn't my style and had nothing to do with who I wanted to be. I think the thing that bothered me most was not worrying that they would end up dead, although I did. But most of all, I didn't like the dishonesty. It was a mask they would wear- a big show they would put on. Too bad my parents weren't as concerned about solving their secret issues as they were about my chunky bum.

Life went on, I got married, moved away, went to college about an hour and a half away, got divorced, etc. One day, C had planned a big surprise birthday party for my mom and I drove back home to attend. Mom was turning forty. I could tell something was up with her. But, I wasn't sure what. Within a couple of months I knew. She was totally losing it. I guess maybe she didn't "lose it" exactly. She says she just reassessed her life, thought back through the years, and realized that she was not living the life that she wanted. She didn't like the secret. She no longer enjoyed putting on the show and felt like a fake- especially when she went to church. She wanted a better relationship with God and wanted to be a better person, shedding the secret and leaving the sins of her past behind. Within the year, she left C after seventeen years of marriage and quit her job of twenty plus years.

Around the same time, I wondered why my mom left C. He was so supportive, so caring and loving with her. He complimented her and understood my mother and her own personal quirks- the kind of quirks that everyone has that are unique about them. Everyone has them. But C got my mom. Why would she leave that when you can't find real love around every corner?

It wasn't for me to judge; I just tried to be supportive to them both. C's family totally bailed on my mom (and me for that matter). Although they knew C's secret issues, they thought that my mother shouldn't have married him if she didn't approve. And, furthermore, they believed that she should have tried to work it out more than they felt she did. They did not know the whole story, and did not know that C refused to give up his habit time and time again. He showed my mother where his priorities were- and if it were to come to a choice between her and his habit, well, habits die harder than marriages.

C's family still to this day detests my mom. They basically kicked me out of the family; although, still, they deny that they treat me any differently than any of the other grandchildren. Ha! What a joke. I have had no contact with them that was not elicited by myself in ten years. I put myself through college, I got remarried, I have had three children. No cards, no calls, no nothing unless it has been on my dime (so to speak).

Now, I look back years and years later and still have not talked to C about the secret. Not much anyway. It has been now ten years since my mom and he split. C knows that I know his secret and that I knew many many years ago; but, he tells me that it is not currently how he lives. I really do hope that he has changed. I like to believe that he has. I do though, have a hard time believing him. He likes holding that secret.

We talk about once a month or so. Not as frequently as I would like. My plate is full here. He could always call me- but rarely does. I still consider him to be my father and am sad that I live on the other side of the country. He has not met two of my children and only knows Rick from one or two short visits. That makes me sad.

One thing though: I love this man (C) despite his faults. He was kind and loving to my mother and I. He provided a stable home with everything nice a middle-income family could have. We had a nice home, a boat, nice cars, and an overall good life. C was after all, more a father to me than my biological father (who has infrequently popped in and out of my life on his terms). C was my dad when my real dad was not. He wanted me when no one else did. And, he loved my mom and accepted me because he loved her. I am so very thankful for him.

Really, when it comes down to it, it is C that has to live with his secret more than anyone else. He has to look himself in the mirror. Maybe one day he will look and be ashamed and change. Maybe one day he will see all that he has sacrificed for the secret. Hell, maybe not. Either way, he was a very good dad when he didn't have to be.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Not Flighty, Just Off Balance (Hormonally)

I am about to fall asleep reading about hormonal imbalances. Sounds exciting doesn't it? I know. But, sometimes you just have to do some research. I heard about a book by Suzanne Somers that had a lot of information about hormones. Problem: most of the information is about women in menopause-i.e. not me. I am really getting used to getting older, but I am not quite ready for menopause.

I decided to research this hormonal issue a little bit because I am hoping that I can take some vitamins or supplements to help. I am all about trying to go about things the natural way.
But tell me, when one of the primary symptoms of a hormonal imbalance is exhaustion and fatigue, how do these people who write these oh-so-exciting articles expect you to stay awake to read them? There were many symptoms listed- is it bad to have every one of them? Is there hope for me yet? Am I not actually going insane? Maybe I just need my hormone fix.

By the way, and off subject, my birthday is right around the corner. What a drag. Another year older. I have to do a few moments of mental calculation to even remember my age. Sometimes I am so out there-- way out there. Hey, maybe that has something to do with my hormonal imbalance. Short-term memory loss is another symptom. Ooh...Can I now use this as an excuse for just being a bit flighty?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Independence Day, America!

I have a feeling that most bloggers are saying something like, "I hope everyone had a great holiday" or " Hope people had a good weekend", etc. So, I will jump on that bandwagon. I hope everyone had a great weekend and a good holiday. I have no issues being a follower. :) Happy Birthday America!

Our family had a nice weekend. Friday was pretty low-key. There was not much action around the house. I went to the commissary to stack up on some much needed groceries with Lyla, and Rick took the boys to the park and the baseball field. They had a really great time. Rick rarely gets the opportunity to take the boys places for a "boys day"; so, it was very special for all of them. They came home chugging big bottles of lemonade and talking non-stop about their fun day out.

As for me, I was having as much fun as possible grocery shopping a day after payday. Lyla was attracting attention quacking up and down the aisles. She has really gotten the hang of making all sorts of sounds and has begun saying a few simple words. Momma, Dadda, Baba (I think that's her version of "brother"). The other evening we watched part of a Wiggles video. They sing a bunch of child-friendly songs-one of which has a lot of quacking. Well, it was a real hit with Lyla. "Quack quack quack", kind of cute- for the first two hours, then not-so-much.

Saturday was a day full of adventure and excitement. The morning started with a couple hours of swimming at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Rick did a bit of yard work before the temperatures reached over 100 degrees while I swam with Grandma, Rick's sisters, the boys and Lyla.
Nick is getting very good at swimming. He is now swimming underwater without his water wings. Jacob wears water wings and for the first time swam around the pool on his own (not holding on to anything). Previously, he was too frightened to trust that his water wings would hold him up. He was so very proud of himself. By the end of the swim visit, Jacob was even jumping in the pool from the edge like his big brother. Wow! Lyla was splish-splashing around happy as a clam. She loves the water also. Too bad we live right smack in the middle of a desert!

After pool time, we all headed back home for naps. After naps, we returned to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a great dinner and small fireworks in the street. Surprisingly, Jacob stated that he was scared of the fireworks and wanted to cry. Rick promptly took him inside where he happily played with his plastic boats from the pool for the remainder of the evening. Nick and Lyla were my two brave children who didn't mind the loud screams of the fireworks. Strange...Jacob runs around all of the time squealing and screaming at an octave only dogs can hear and he is the one who is most nervous about the loud noise.

Anyway, we returned home late, the children crashed without any arguments or peeps from them. Wheew.

The fourth of July is so very fun and exciting. I wonder what it has in store for us next year.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Little Boys

"What are little boys made of?

Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails

That's what little boys are made of !"

When Nicholas was very little, Rick and I had this idyllic plan of how our children were to be raised (or reared- for those who want to be grammatically correct). Very little TV, no cussing, no name-calling, perfectly healthy foods, low sugar, etc. Basically, our children were to be little angel children with never-fading halos above their heads. But, we soon found that the road to Hell is paved with the best intentions.

I have found that no matter what the perfect plan, you can't take the little boy out of the little boy. No matter what manners you have instilled in your son(s), little boys crack up laughing when they expel gas from some body orifice, run around screaming about chopping off each other's body parts, and inevitably search out ways to injure themselves. Then, when corrected, they promptly get angry, yelling, "Mommy, You NEVER let us have any fun!" Nice. As if fun would be described as becoming a pile of blood and guts. So, I am the rain on my boys' parades. I am the thorn in their sides and the bain of their existence. By the way, I AM their mother!

#1 They would not even exist without me.

#2 Isn't that what mothers are for?

I know it is only the tip of the iceberg. I can only imagine what the upcoming years hold. I also know the future is only a blink away; and, I will (one day) be wishing for the return of my rambunctious boys. For now, I will enjoy the little boy in them both- or at least I will try. And, of course, I will continue attempting to keep a tight grasp on what little sanity I still have, while at the same time I keep them safe.

My favorite little boy moment occurs every evening at bedtime, when all is settling down in our home.

Nick: Mommy, I love you soooooo much.

Me: I love you too, sweetheart.

Jacob: I wuv you, Mommy.

Me: Oh, I love you too Honey. Sweet Dreams, Boys. Remember, no talking- just sleeping.