Friday, October 30, 2009

Fairy Godmother Wanted

Happy Friday! It's been a long week, but now that we have made it, treat yourself to a healthy dose of Suburban Wow this morning at 10 edt/9 cdt/ 7 pacific. Here's the cheat link.

It's also Fatherhood Friday at Dad-Blogs, so click on over there (when you are finished here, of course) for some great postings on everything parenthood.

With the week that I've had around here, it's best that I offer you a post in the form of FatherHood Friday Fragments, because my brain has been sucked dry from well, parenthood. Go visit Mrs 4444 for some more awesome nuggets.

  • Last weekend Eldest Weasel's Cross Country team competed extremely well in their Regional Meet (so well that I had to celebrate 4444's style) and thus this Saturday, yes- on Halloween, are moving onto the Sectional Meet. Next stop, State!
  • Saturday is Halloween and as of yet I don't have any costumes ready or planned out for the Weasels nor am I properly stocked for trick or treat.
  • I will earn my Mother of the Year award on Saturday when I will cheer Eldest Weasel and her team mates on, get pumpkins carved, candy bought, costumes put together and adorned on Weasels, prepare for dinner and have everything go off smoothly and swimmingly. Now I just have to find my magic wand.
  • I am used to being asked "you lip too?" every time I get my eyebrows waxed, but now to have "you toes too?" added to the list hits below the belt.
  • Dog Weasel is almost finished with puppy class and doing very well. She's smart and catches on fast. I wonder if I could teach her to carve the pumpkins. Nah, poor thing doesn't have any thumbs.
  • May Snowball the hamster rest in peace. He passed away this past Wednesday and funeral services will be held in about 30 minutes, as soon as I hear the trash truck coming. I better get a fresh cup of coffee ready.
  • The other night Boy Weasel (13) sat down to talk to me. Mid conversation he had a eureka moment and stated "Mom, I always feel so much smarter when I am near you". Translate that one however you wish.
Well that's all for now, I have to go take the trash out prepare for our daybreak memorial service.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Safety First

*This is a re-posting from October of 2008. Those of you that enjoyed it, can do so again. To those of you that haven't seen it, well it's new to you!*
*editors note ~ the orb light above the kids I can't offer explanation for*

We all have heard about the dangers encircling kids while Trick or Treating. Authorities from Pediatricians to to law enforcement to cheapskates have urged us to forgo the ritual of trick or treat in favor of a neighborhood party for the children. All in the name of sucking the fun out of Halloween urban legend the supposed safety of our children. So as my contribution to public awareness of safety precaution procedures I will share with you how we in Weaselville protect our children from possible harm on All Hallow's Eve.

Step one ~ One parent goes trick or treating with the kids. Around here Mr. Weasel takes the Weasels and a travel mug of 'something to keep Daddy warm', and heads off through the neighborhood. By sticking to houses that we know, we keep the kids safe and he ensures his mug gets refilled along his trek.

Step two ~ One parent stays home to hand out candy. I dress up pseudo menacingly(a hooded cape, some really pale make-up, dark shading under the eyes), set up the fire-pit in the driveway handing out candy and smiles to the wee little ones, jello shots to their parents(they deserve to get treats too) and giving the older kids a perfect Halloween scare. It's great and they love it! All you have to do to freak the older kids out is........ nothing. Just stare and don't speak. Slowly walk toward them with candy in hand while keeping your stare. Even the teens get creeped out. Some just walk away and say no thanks. This keeps your house from getting egged from lack of candy and means leftover candy for you.

Step three ~ No candy is to be consumed by children until it has been thoroughly inspected by the parents. Mr. Weasel and I always sort through the candy immediately after the trick or treating is done. We set aside anything that looks delicious suspicious. Paying special attention to any candy combining both chocolate and peanut butter.

Step four ~ Do not alert authorities unnecessarily. Before calling the authorities about any suspicious candy, you must first make sure that it is not a false alarm. The best way to do this is to test the candy yourself. If you eat each and every piece of delicious suspicious candy and don't die(other than from gluttony) there is no reason to alert law enforcement. You may have to throw yourself on top of that grenade, but the kids' safety is worth it.

Step five ~ give the candy a second inspection after the children go to bed. You can never be too careful.

I hope you found this helpful and informative.

****Wishing you all a Safe, Happy and Spooky Halloween!****

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Losing It

It may surprise some of you that live under rocks to know that as a stay at home mom, I am not always calm, cool and collected. Sure when everything is running like a Swiss watch, I make this life look good. Every other day or so once in a while though, things just don't come together smoothly. Usually because some of the Weasels have taken stupid pills and get stupid silly, unable to focus on anything other than making my blood pressure rise the Weasels don't have a copy of my priority list.

When this happens, I tend to get distracted and lose focus myself. I forget what I had been working to complete and I still have to play foreman to 5 other people, after forgetting what tasks I have them working on. On occasion I wind up saying things like "Dog, take the Boy out!". Of course this only throws fuel on the giggle and silliness fire and hence I get more distracted and further away from having the situation back under control.

Trying to get Weasels to complete homework or put away laundry while Boy Weasel is unloading the dishwasher with green beans stuck in his nose and Smallest Weasel putting on dress-up clothes and dancing in the kitchen when she had been tasked to put said costumes away and all of a sudden I forget that I was in the middle of making dinner.

Weasels, like most animals in the wild and insane asylum inmates can smell weakness and will pounce when they see opportunity. When they get in this mood the giggle ratio rises in correlation to my stroke risk. The more flustered I get, the more they enjoy themselves.

The other afternoon, as I was reaching critical mass, I attempted to regain control of the asylum situation by way of yelling my bloody fool head off asserting my authority with a stern voice to help them refocus. Laying out specific and simple instructions for each Weasel, while walking through the house in a manor that would make the Terminator proud, picking off each Weasel and chore, one at time.

"You! Get that laundry put away now!"
"Boy, ditch the green beans and finish emptying the dishwasher!"
"You there, get those glasses off your face and put away with the costumes! Put those books away and get your homework done!"

Then laughter breaks out once again and I feel the hyenas closing in on their prey. Middle Weasel pipes up in between chuckles, "Mom, these are my glasses and I am doing my homework. I can put the books away, but then I can't see or do my homework".

This is when I just wave my little white flag and figure that if I can't beat 'em, join 'em and we all share a good laugh. Turns out that is all we needed to do to put the house back in harmony.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Best Dog Ever

Matilda the Hun (Weasel Dog) is now 16 weeks old. She is approximately 36 lbs and growing nicely. The housebreaking is finally going beautifully, after only 6 weeks of being in Weaselville.

The pooch is doing incredibly well in puppy kindergarten and learning nicely. Matilda is uber friendly, but not a jumper or a yapper. She enjoys play time for a few minutes at a time before transforming into a piece of furniture and napping a chunk of the day away. Every morning she acts like it's Christmas as the Weasel household wakes up and one by one makes their way down the stairs. She loves to be with people and is always really happy to see everyone and wants to play first thing in the morning.

This is where my only issue with the dog comes in.

I am an early riser. Do not confuse this with me being a morning person. I wake around 4 am on most days and start my day in peace and quiet with my coffee, computer and morning news. I need this slow and easy start to my day. I need 2 cups of coffee before I can be civil to anyone or anything. Luckily, I usually spend this part of my day in solitude. Even the cats have an ingrained instinct of self preservation and have learned to steer clear of me in the morning.

Matilda needs immediate attention first thing in the morning. She needs someone to take her outside right away and she is excited to have company again and enjoys interaction after the overnight hours sleeping alone. The dog and I are not compatible in the mornings, even if we are the best of friends the rest of the day.

In the past 2 weeks, Matilda and I have worked out an unspoken agreement mostly because that early in the morning neither of us are able to speak. When I come down the stairs she sits up in her kennel and waits quietly and patiently while I feel my way through the kitchen to the coffee pot and pour my first cup. I grab the leash, open the kennel, and take the Matilda out for morning relief in silence. Coffee in one hand, lead in the other. She quickly takes care of her business and then we reenter the house, still without any form of morning greeting. I then bring my coffee to the couch, flip on the news and open my laptop as the dog plops on the floor near my feet.

In 10-15 minutes time we repeat this process, still in robotic movement.

Within a few more minutes, an amazing transformation happens as I head back into the kitchen to pour my 3rd cup of coffee. Then and only then Matilda follows at my feet and after I sip we finally greet each other good morning and begin enjoying our day together.

And this is how I know I have the smartest and most awesome dog in the world. A dog who knows her place in my life second priority after coffee and loves me anyway.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When Weasels Make You Proud

Reading this post from Simple Father, brought back a wonderful memory and good reason why parents need not give up on the idea of taking the family out to eat.

From the time Eldest Weasel was very short, we have on occasion taken the Weasels out to eat at real sit down restaurants. We never brought along any toys or snacks or entertainment. If the restaurant offered crayons, great. If not, no problem. We were there to eat, not play.

The Weasels knew that there was only one rule and it would be enforced. That one rule was any misbehaving and we will leave immediately. Crying, whining, fighting, tantrums, crawling around the floor or bad behavior of any kind and Mr. Weasel would take the gang to the car while I had our food boxed up and paid the bill.

The Weasels enjoyed going out to eat so much, that we only had to enforce this rule once or twice, way back before Eldest made it to her 3rd birthday. As a result, we were able to take the Weasels to nicer and nicer venues on special occasions without fear of disrupting other diners.

They learned to grow incredibly fond of Japanese Teppanyaki. It is one venue that we can guarantee every last morsel of food would get devoured by multiple picky eaters. Soup, entrees, rice, et.al., would be loved and appreciated. That always makes the cost much more palatable.

On one family night out at a cook top, share the table with strangers Japanese venue we were seated, leaving only 2 open places at our table. After we placed our drink orders the hostess brought a very well dressed and debonair black couple in their 50's and seated them with us. It was obvious that they had been looking forward to a nice meal free of french fries being tossed around and matchbox cars being driven over plates. Immediately they asked the hostess if they could be seated elsewhere.

I couldn't really blame them. Seeing, at the time 4 children (the oldest being only 8 and the youngest 2) when you are looking to enjoy a nice and not inexpensive meal, sitting at your table can be a huge turn-off. I was mildly offended having been prejudged, but understood where it had come from. Things really turned uncomfortable though when the hostess told them that no other seats were available and that this would be their table.

They said an awkward and polite hello as they took their seats. We all knew they were not thrilled with their seating assignment, yet we all handled it with class and did not let the awkwardness get the best of us. Polite conversation ensued and they began to engage the Weasels in dinner conversation. We all had a very enjoyable dinner with good company, despite it's rocky beginning.

By the end of the meal, this couple had grown incredibly fond of the Weasels. Before saying goodnight, they complimented the Mr. and I on what a wonderful family we have and how impeccably well behaved the children were, before apologizing for initially wanting to be seated elsewhere. Noting that it would have been their own loss had they sat at another table. The gentleman asked for Mr. Weasels business card and permission to send a 'little package' for the kids as a thank you for such wonderful company and an eye opening experience.

A few weeks later a huge box was delivered. It was filled with baseball caps for each child and big, collectible, metal, old fashioned 18 wheeler trucks with the logo of a shipping company that does not say "Downs". The kind they only make in plastic anymore. A note was included from the gentleman reiterating what a pleasure it was to have met our family and how impressed he and his wife had been with our children. He also included a business card that stated he held a high position at the not 'Downs' shipping company.

We have often received compliments about our children, but this by far meant most. For we had knowledge that the Weasels had changed people's hearts.

I only add the details here in hopes that that wonderful and kind couple someday may find this post and know how much there sentiments meant to us.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

A World of Weasels PSA

That's right folks. Today I offer you a Public Service Announcement to bring awareness to an problem of epidemic proportions. An affliction that many of us suffer from or that touches the life of someone very close to us. An abuse that is whispered about in dark corners, but too ugly to acknowledge publicly.

Well it's about time we take this suffering out of the shadows and into full view of society. For only then can we conquer the demon of Mommy Abuse.

Yes, we have all seen the Mommy with dark circles under her eyes, Broom Hilda hair and always looking like she has a migraine to match her eye twitch. We all know how she attained these afflictions, but we don't offer comfort or support more than a few words of platitude and a silent chuckle at her expense.

There are definite causes to these symptoms that need to be addressed:

  • Children who take their clean and folded laundry, only to throw it is a dark corner of their bedroom rather that put it neatly in their dresser.
  • Kids who argue about who's turn it is to take the dog out so long that the puppy has an accident on the recently shampooed carpets.
  • Announcing, "Mom, make me my lunch, I don't have time" as a teen is straightening her hair 3 minutes before it's time to leave the house.
  • Kids who scatter like roaches the second the word chores is uttered.
  • The words "sign this" spoken by a child on any given Monday morning.
  • "Birthday Party"
  • Having a five year old crawl in your bed to whine and cry when you are sick with a flu like bug because Daddy is napping on the couch.
  • Hearing Daddy growl and roar at children, while you are sick and running a fever in bed, because he was woken up from his nap in less than 5 hours.
  • Waking the next morning and asking hubby "How bad is the damage downstairs?", being told, "not too bad", heading downstairs only to find yourself resisting the urge to call 911 and report your home having been ransacked.
  • Sinks clogged with toilet paper (don't ask).
  • Being reminded on Monday morning that you still need to take the car in for fluid replacements today (yeah, it's that bad) while you still have a fever, congestion and cough. It couldn't happen yesterday because it would have taken away from nap time yesterday was so busy with Mom sick in bed.
  • "Mom, there are no clean towels!" spoken from a child who was just sitting on the couch atop 26 of them that only magic fairies know how to fold and put away. they do not exist until folded and put away.
  • I fogot to bring home my _______ (fill in the blank).
All of these are signs of chronic Mommy Abuse and we need to stop the suffering! We need to help me mothers everywhere to eradicate dark circles and eye twitches.

What can you do to stop the madness? How can you join the cause? Well my friends, the answer is simple. Send an unlimited supply of Coors Light to my home. Start a fund to send me on an all inclusive Hawaiian vacation. Kiss the Mommy in your life and tell her thanks and how much you love her. Only with an army of husbands and children, can we stop the eye twitch. The hair is a lost cause.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

You Never Stop Being A Father

or being a mother, for that matter.

*Welcome back to Fatherhood Friday. Be sure to visit Dad-Blogs to read some great postings about everything fatherhood.*
Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

I never knew my paternal Grandfather, for he passed away before I was ever born. I heard my father tell enough stories of him, that I knew I had missed out on something good. A carpenter, husband and father of 8, he was not part of the diaper changing revolution. After all, in his generation, no men changed diapers - that waswomen's work. What he did do, was set an example of hard work and responsibility. He would not be caught dead 'babysitting', but he always provided for his family and treated his wife and children well. He set an example for his sons of what it meant to be a man.

When I was young, early grade school, my father worked shift work from 3pm-11pm at a meat packing plant. That shift was mostly a skeleton crew of machine maintenance after the day shift had gone home. He could go about his work mostly in solitude, without anyone looking over his shoulder constantly, that he knew of anyway.

When I was a young adult, my father shared with me a special memory he had of those days.

One night, during an especially stressed filled time in his life, while working alone in the packing plant, he was having a particularly hard time with a piece of machinery. Two interlocking pieces simply would not lock back together. He knew that they had to be just right in order to fit and the harder he tried, the more frustrated he grew. He could feel his blood pressure rising as he grew angrier that even such a simple task wouldn't go his way. Sitting alone and swearing to himself, equally frustrated about his life's current woes and the machine parts that refused to cooperate.

Suddenly and calmly he felt a firm and supporting hand on his shoulder and his father's voice, "Relax Jim. Be patient and relax and it will all be okay". Dad said that this soothed him enough to take a deep breath and continue working, now in a peaceful manner. Within a minute or so the pieces slipped together and locked with ease. He went about the rest of his shift with new found calmness as all of his frustration left him.

I'm not sure why Dad had shared this story with me, for he had never told this to anyone else, including my mother, a fact that I did not know until well after his own passing 11 years ago. This story had always stuck with me and for me has gained me the knowledge that fatherhood is a job that never ends.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't Think I'm Nuts, Just Desperate.

These past few days I have been in an awful funk. What should have been a relaxing long weekend at home, turned into a daily struggle just to hold it together doing bare minimum requirements.

As many of you already know, Our daughter Claire died a little over 7 years ago. That was a dark, horrible time in our lives and a struggle to just keep moving as time continued to pass by. Much healing has happened since then and much joy has also been felt in our home, but there is not a day that passes that she is not the first thought in my head as I wake and the last thought I have before closing my eyes at night. This is all very common and to be expected until kingdom come.

Every once in while though, you hit a bump in the road and a small trigger rips opens old wounds and fresh grief washes over you. Catching you off guard, like a sucker punch that knocks the wind out you. Unknown is how long it will take to catch your breath again.

Days (and days) of this also take you by surprise, because you have convinced yourself that you are far removed from grief this raw in nature. You try to take comfort in knowledge from past experience, that this level of pain and darkness will pass in a matter of days, but that is like telling a non-runner "only 26 miles to go". That is where I have been since Thursday.

When I find myself in this place, I tend to beg ask Claire for something, anything. Any form of closeness or contact to show me that she is close and safe. I know in my heart that she is fine, it's me that's not always close and safe, but as a mother you long for your children. You long to hold them and to hug them and I can't tell you how hard it is to have that luxury taken away. To know that you will never hold them again in this life brings physical pain and arms that truly ache with that grief.

About 4 years ago I found myself in deep grief and longing. I had been asking for Claire to throw Mom a bone, so to speak, for quite a while. Early one morning while Mr. Weasel was in the kitchen and I sat drinking coffee and watching early morning news, one of the Weasel girls, wearing yellow, fleecy, footie PJ's (Weasel's love footies) left the bedroom of Middle Weasel and Monkey Weasel and made a bee line for Smallest Weasels bedroom. Smallest Weasel was still a baby and sleeping in her crib. I whisper - hollered (all of you parent types know what I mean) "Get out of there! You better not wake that baby!". Mr Weasel asked who was up and I told him, that I wasn't sure. One of the girls and they better not wake the baby.

I didn't see or hear anything else, so I let it go. They must have snuck back to bed. Again, about 10 minutes later, a little girl with light brown curls and yellow footie pajamas left the girls room and headed into Smallest Weasels nursery. Again I whisper hollered "get out of there and don't wake the baby!". Within seconds, Smallest Weasel was up and crying for me to come get her out of the crib. I headed upstairs to her room, ready to strangle reprimand whoever had woken her. Only no one was in her room. I picked up Smallest and went into the girls room to see who the culprit was, only to find the girls (and all other Weasels) sound asleep in their beds and not wearing yellow, fleece or footies. It then dawned on me that none of the Weasels own any yellow PJ's of any kind.

I knew immediately who had woken the baby and as I relayed this information to Mr. Weasel (who overheard all of the exchanges, but wasn't in the room to see anything) I laughed with joy and observed "Well, she doesn't listen. She's one of them (a weasel) Why should expect any different?". This little incident brought me much joy and comfort. It was just the sign I had been begging hoping for.

So last night, after 3 days of feeling like I have been drowning in an abyss of grief, Mr. Weasel informed me that today when exiting the shower a young child passed through his peripheral vision running out of our bedroom (Weasels aren't allowed in our bedroom/bathroom without permission. Especially when we are taking showers.) He poked his head around the corner to see who it was, but there was no one. The door to our bedroom was still closed and all the Weasels were downstairs and otherwise engaged. It only took him a second to make the connection, but let it go as he was already running late to get out of the house to church.

He waited until dinner to mention it to me. He's not sure that he believes, but he also wants to bring me any form of comfort he can. I was comforted. And a little jealous. I long for connection and a visual, no matter how brief. I told Mr. Weasel if anything like this ever happens again, he is to tell her "Go see your mother!".

I don't look as this as a ghost story or these sightings to be ghost like. I believe that it's much more of a "Mom needs me and some comfort" and thus she gives us a brief visit from Heaven. It's not much, but it sure does help me to feel better.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's All About You!

This past Wednesday I rode Melisa (with 1 S's) coattails I attended a media event preview of the new exhibit YOU! The Experience at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry thanks to Melisa lobbying to get me access too. Described by the museums website as "A new permanent exhibit celebrating the connection between the human mind, body and spirit. "

As is the case with any field trip that Melisa and I have, we had a blast and here is one of my favorite pics of all time to prove it! Doesn't it look like we are having a great time?
I know that many of you are not local to the Chicago area, but you may want to take a roadtrip with the family this fall because on weekdays through October the museum of Science & Industry admission is FREE! It's a really cool, hands-on and all around interesting museum for all ages to enjoy and no one will ever complain of being bored. There is so much to do, not just see and the Chicago Museums do a great job of disguising education with entertainment.

This particular exhibit was no exception. There is so much interactive play to be had and science being introduced in an engaging and fun format, covering development in utero, to relaxation, bionics, medical miracles and human interaction.

There is a 2 player game that measures your brain waves via sensors to determine your level of relaxation. A ball moves back and forth tug-of-war style based on who is sending more relaxed brain waves! Tres muy cool.
video

I surmise that I was way more stimulated than Melisa.

There was also something that neither of us was brave enough to try a console that would take your picture and then age it according your lifestyle and habits. Also a massive 3-D beating human heart that you can sink up to your own heartbeat by touching sensors. (sorry the video is sideways)
video

There was much to do and see, like the interactive bionic arm,
and the sensor light that showed all of the veins in your hand,


One of my favorite interactives was the human sized hamster wheel! Now with more sideways video!

video

Melisa is such a sport!This is all only the tip of the iceberg, I haven't even mentioned the video shown of Tanner, the High School junior that had to have the Entire Right Side of His BRAIN removed when he was 8, due to extremely frequent Grand Mal Seizures. Tanner and his Mom were both on site and available to chat. Let me just say that not only is he a medical miracle who is articulate, bright, and rocks his tennis team, but he is also a cutie and a half who must be beating the ladies away with a stick. Both he and his mother were wonderful to talk to and spoke with grace and gratefulness. Tanner's was a very experimental surgery. Doctors nor his parents knew what to expect on the other side of the surgery, but through faith in God, they had a peace all through this ordeal and tanner is amazing! You would never believe that 1/2 of his brain was removed if you met him on the street. He can beat you in tennis and attract the ladies with 1/2 his brain completely missing! What have you done today?

The exhibit itself is advertised 'for all ages'. However, I would be very careful about directing the younger of my children around. Some of the exhibit is various cuts of of the human body (very interesting, but enough to gross Melisa out a bit) and a human specimen, in all of his naked glory to be viewed in the name of education.
Let's just say, he maintained no bragging rights.

Something that I found very intriguing while observing, was a greatly darkened room with a wall of back-lit human development chronicling from early gestation in the womb to full term baby. As I looked as this part of the exhibit, I was amazed at how detailed and lifelike these models of human life encased in clear rectangles were. That's about the time that Melisa read the wall information that these were not plastic models we were looking at. We both found that quite disturbing and felt the need to move away from that part of the exhibit. I have some of the video we took but will tell you to use discretion in watching it. The quality is not great due to lighting and this only covers some of this part of the exhibit. video
When we first arrived there were school children of the 4th to 6th grade variety. They jumped from one interactive to another and were clearly enjoying their field trip. Soon after they they exited a school trip of teens entered. The teens were very intrigued and engaged in all the aspects of the exhibit. I personally would recommend this exhibit for ages 13-adult. That is the group that will gain the most from the exhibit. I encourage you to visit, especially while you can do so for free!

There is so much more to this exhibit that is not being covered here. I encourage you to visit the museum and to visit Suburban Scrawl to read Melisa's companion post chronicling her experiences of the exhibit.

*Funny coincidence that we both titled our posts "It's All About You" . You know what they say about great minds.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Boy Weasel Has finally Done it!

OK, blog readers I, Boy Weasel, (for my 13th birthday) have gotten the privilege to write a blog post. So for my one post, Weaselmomma is making me write about my birthday:'(

So where to begin,...... Seriously where should I begin? I'll just tell you about what's happening in my life. Let's start with video games, I loves 'em! I can basically beat anyone at any video games. My best game is probably Pokemon XD Gale of darkness. One of my favorites is on the computer, Though art dead.

Next, I found out I amz athletic and smarticle around my 10th birthday. So I has been runnin' track(the only one on the team who really cared about it) ever since and now I am pulling my grades up so I can continue. Me and my friend, Monkey Man, were about the only male runners(Monkey man and Piemaster are just about my best friends but not all of them, I couldn't think of snappy nicknames for them.)
Piemaster stood us up there, but we're still friends. You should probably know that they are brothers. Also that Monkey Man looks like monkey and Piemaster likes pie. He always says he loves it more than me but not today! So anyways, hence their names.
So this is my first day of being a teenager.... Any suggestions? Please leave comments on that. I guess this is the end of my post, NOT!;) OK yeah, I guess it is because I got to get ready for school. This post was actually written boy Boy Weasel, now 13!:)

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Depends

The Weasels are all growing up in the same house. They all eat from the same pantry. They have to live by the same rules and have the same parents. All of their environmental and genetic factors are the same. Yet, they all are extremely unique and individual personalities. This isn't really surprising, but I find it to be amazing.

Monkey Weasel is gentle soul. She is sweet, funny and very generous of spirit. Monkey has built in maternal instincts and is openly affectionate with her family, no matter who the audience is. I suspect that Monkey will be the teen who is thrilled to see Mom and Dad when we come for a surprise visit to her college dorm room. That is not the reaction I would expect from the other Weasels, no matter how much they love us.

Last evening, Monkey Weasel stated that she is going to ask Santa to bring her a cell phone when she's old enough. I went on a faux rant about how Santa gets under my skin when he does things like that. He may be providing the phone, but he then sticks the Mom and Dad with paying the monthly bill, otherwise the phone is useless.

Monkey then assured me that it would be okay and work out in the long term because even though I would have to pay the bill, she is going to take care of me in my old age. "Really?, you are going to take me? Can I get that in writing? You know, so that you can't change your mind when I am an old Lady."

"Mom, do you know why I am going to take care of you in your old age?"

"Because you love me?"

"No, because I love you the most!"

"Are you going to change my diapers?"

"I'll even change your diapers."

"What about Dad? Are you going to take care of him too?"

"Yeah, I'm going to take care of Dad too."

"And are you going to change dad's diapers too?"

Yeah, but I am going to have to hire some help. You know, for if you and Dad have an accident at the same time."

I fought hard to stifle laughter and only partially succeeded. I came close to needing an adult diaper on the spot. This kid cracks me up and her ability to think through these kind of future details always takes me by surprise. What brings the biggest smile to my face and joy to my heart though, is that through all of the humor what shines through is genuine sincerity.

Monkey Weasel is definitely a one of kind original.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

We'll Retire Someplace Warm

*tune in this morning at 10 am eastern/9am central for a very special edition of the LiveStream talk show Suburban Wow -with a special guest* (cheater link here)

Happy Fatherhood Friday to all! When your done here, don't forget to visit Dad-Blogs for some wonderful links to awesome bloggers posting everything parenthood/fatherhood related.

It's October and we now have a solid month of school under our belts with only 8 more to go. Fall weather has moved in pushing away the summer sun which was a cakewalk of a job because we actually saw very little sun and warm this summer, here in Chicago.

As much as I love the bursts of amazing color that the fall brings, sleeping with the windows open, bundled under warm blankets on brisk autumn nights, pulling my favorite cozy grandpa sweaters and 'happy' socks out the closet to wear once again, and all the fun that surrounds one of my favorite holidays, this time of year always manages to depress me.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy as pie literally when we take the kids apple picking and into corn mazes or on field trips to pumpkin farms, and I always make pies. Weasels love pie. It's that our time is limited and rushed. With school back in session we have much less time to enjoy as a family. Even on the weekends, sporting events, social commitments and homework schedules make even getting out the door to church become a chore. Not to mention rolling the dice of what the weather will be like and feeling the weather clock ticking away at the opportunities for enjoyable outdoor activities. Many days are simply cold and wet. Corn mazes are not nearly as fun when you are cold and wet and have to clean 2" of caked on mud off of 7 pairs of shoes.

Probably the most depressing part though is knowing what is coming right around the next corner. By mid-November old man winter will be screaming 'get off my lawn', and we will for the most part be barricaded into our homes for the next 7 months. Mind you, I don't mean Texas heat style, "It's not pleasant to be outside for more the 2 minutes". I mean bundling up in a parka, gloves, scarf, hat and uber thick wool socks only to still be in physical pain waiting for the car to warm up in the garage.

I'm talking about pushing a shopping cart though mucky, yucky slush to get your groceries into your car. A wind that blows so hard and cold it tears straight through to your bones. Stabbing frostbite style kind of cold. It's not just "I don't really want to go outside", it's "I am being stabbed with 1000 needles simultaneously" and no, I am not exaggerating.

Last winter was particularly brutal. There were 2 or 3 days that school was canceled, not for snow, but for cold. Without a flake on the ground, school was canceled because it was too cold to be outdoors. Dangerously cold. Like Alaskans were saying "holy $%*#, it's cold!". -25 f, -30f and -35f, if memory serves me well. No, that doesn't include the windchill factor. School buses parked outside do not turn over and start in those temperatures. Neither do cars parked in driveways for that matter. Mr. Weasels won't start when it reaches -10 and that's with a new battery.

So for about 6 months we stay indoors as much as possible. Cabin fever overcomes us and things start to get reminiscent of The Shining. It's still dark at 7am and gets dark again by 4:30pm. Everything is gray and brown.

If I am painting a morbid picture, that's because it is. I know people here who love the winter and can't take the heat of summer that never happened this year. I am not one of them, but this is where my life is. This is where my children grow and thrive. This is where there is work to put food on our table and a roof over our heads. This is where children and adults (myself included) frolic in the snow (when it's above 0 F).

So I will do my best to enjoy all that fall has to offer. I will bake pies and other goodies that aren't summer fare. Will we go apple picking and let the Weasels get us lost in a corn maze. We will pull out our coziest, most favorite sweaters and socks and cuddle with each other under blankets. We will take the precious little family time we have in our schedule and use it wisely. We will enjoy the bountiful colors of our landscape and suck it all in, before it all disappears and old man winter yells for us to 'keep it down'.

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