Monday, March 21, 2011

There's No Place Like Home Depot

When Ryan was three, he used to get in his little red motorized Jeep and say "I'm going to Home Depot." Awwwww. His sweet imaginary trip to the store was so unbelievably, perfectly, wonderfully adorable. So cute in fact that it even deserves another "awwwww."

Yesterday, we took three real live kids to Home Depot. Which pretty much changes that "awwwww" to a bit of an "ewwwww" in my opinion, or at least an "uggggg."

One must understand that in order for us to do this, it has to be for something that really requires the input of BOTH adults in the family. This time was to pick out exterior paint colors, something we knew all three children would simply love...

At the house, I said to my smokin' hot husband who didn't look fit to be seen in public, "OK, I'm ready when you are."

"I AM ready," he said.

"Geez, don't you think that for once you can put on your gross yard clothes after we get home? How embarassing. What if we see someone we know?"

Oh yeah, ladies! Back off, this hunk of man or something is all mine. I know you like those work shorts and fishing shirt with holes and dirt stains. And those boots and socks. Yeah baby!

I grabbed Justin as we were passing the Jeep on the left. "Was Daaaat Mommy?"

"That's a Jeep, a yellow Jeep."

"I lak a da Jeep." I bet you do kid. I bet you do.

Before we even got in the door Ryan had to touch something. Some big yellow phallic looking thing that he grabbed and tried to pick up.

"Look at me. I'm strong." But he didn't say it like he really thinks he's strong, he said it with his best Vera De Milo voice (Google it, it's worth it) .

"Ryan! Don't climb on that!"

Still, the very nice management allowed us to enter the store where we found ourselves in the paint section looking for a color to match our unfortunate green shingle roof.

Immediately, my Disney-obsessed child ran over to the Disney paint section and protested wholeheartedly that we were looking at the Behr instead of the Disney paint. So like we've done on several occasions, we made like we were actually interested in the Disney paint so we could give our kids some of those Mickey Mouse-shaped paint chips so fellow shoppers wouldn't disapprove. However, the names of the paint colors all had Disney characters in them so Ryan was thrilled and occupied!

Sharpay Evans (her nickname for today) was looking at a booklet containing a room decorated with a High School Musical theme which she showed me 17 times as I was analyzing several shades of light green that looked exactly the same to my hot husband and the Home Depot paint guy. "Look Mommy, High School Musical! High School Musical! High School Musical, High School Musical..!"

Wait, what is it? Oh yes, High School Musical.

Meanwhile, Justin had confiscated his father's empty coffee cup and began writing his own original song entitled "Daddy's Coffee Cup." Let's just say there are only three words in this song, but it lasts well over two minutes. He polished it with a little dance and Joe Cocker face.

Unfortunately, the extended version of "Daddy's Coffee Cup" was cut short when he sneezed and shot Chernobyl  Green snot (at least that would be what I'd call it if I was in charge of naming paint colors) onto the jars of sample paint as well his face.

Panicked, I asked the paint guy for a paper towel and he handed me a cloth rag which I didn't realize was cloth until I was mid snot-wipe. I asked him if he wanted it back. He declined...

Here I am getting some lovin'. I kept wondering what CJ the paint guy must have thought about me taking all these pictures. He must have assumed I was some weirdo who thought their kids were abnormally great and I was going to show them to their grandparents or something. Little does he know...

Paint samples were purchased and now we were heading to the garden section where my smokin' hot husband pointed out the Veggie Tales branded seeds. Of course, Ryan wanted them. So much he was willing to make a little video:

Outside, Hottie McHotterson handed me a list of landscaping necessieites scrawled onto an envelope and told me to find a plant for "next to the foxtail palm."

"What the heck is a foxtail palm?"

"The one in the corner near the garden."

Blank stare from me.

"It's just a palm tree. Find something for next to the palm tree!!!"

More blank stare...and he grabbed the envelope and pushed the cart in the other direction all disgusted like. Imagine that! Me not knowing every species of palm tree in my own yard. I'm such a disappointment.

Not to be outdone by a guy with a hole in the armpit of his shirt, I grabbed Ryan's hand and yanked him in the other direction. "Mom, you don't want to be here, do you?"

I was thinking, "In the garden section, no. Holding your hand anywhere, YES." That kid totally gets me.

By now Sharpay Evans was whining that she wanted to get out of the sun and her little brother had kicked off his Crocs thus occupying himself by squeezing his piggies through the grates in the cart.

And 45 minutes later we were headed to the checkout counter without a single melt-down (other than the foxtail incident that was now forgotten)! Success!!!

Oh wait. Justin wants to open the lids on the paint samples and darn CJ the paint guy (who must have been psychic) screwed them on too tight for Justin to open. Foiled again!

So at minute 46, the tantrum ensued just as my camera battery died. And really, it was one of our better Home Depot visits. Nobody asked to sit on a riding mower!

Go "Like" our Facebook page so I can feel special. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green - Happy St. Paddy's Day

I love St. Patrick's Day.

It might be the fact that it's an excuse to kinda get dressed in a costume, but it's not as much of an effort as Halloween. And unlike Halloween, it's totally optional.

We started a family tradition a few years ago that the kids get to spray their hair green. We do this twice since we go to the parade AND we let them go to school like that. For the record, not only have gas prices gone up, so has the cost of green hairspray.

This year, we did the first spraying-of-the-hair indoors instead of outdoors like in the past. Pure laziness really. While we scarfed down some lunch before dashing out the door, the little Curlyheaded Leprechaun (her nickname for today) got all grossed out and told me "Mommy, you have green boogers."

Sure enough, breathing the fumes from the green spray made my nose hair bright green. Sorry to disappoint - no photo. Nothing a baby wipe couldn't rectify. Lesson learned...

We headed out to the parade with our friend Judy in tow. Good thing too. I forgot my camera and we had to rely on her...that's why the shots are actually good and I'm in them this time.

As we staked claim to 5 feet of curb space which we had to be very territorial to save, Jeff ran Ryan up to the beginning of the parade route...

Ryan's life is so much more exciting than mine was at his age (and even now honestly). His dad got him the hookup with his co-worker Kim and he got to ride in the parade in a 1940's fire truck. He was the official bell ringer! I've never heard any bell rung so well. He's a bell-ringing prodigy in my opinion. He saw a few friends from school and most importantly Grandpa Joe and Grandma Mary - who didn't know their great grandson was going to be a star.

This was also the debut of my little "getting crafty" creations. I don't know when or why my obsession with the craft store came about (or my obsession with drag queens for that matter, never mind), but I've been eager to make something that takes little or no skill for a few months now. I can use scissors and I can iron stuff on. Bingo! 

Yes, the custom shirts, the Curlyheaded Leprechaun's tutu and her headband are all Mommy Couture. I even made her a bracelet out of green buttons.

By the end of the day, the shirts were covered with Coke, red Gatorade, green hairspray and brown marker.

It's unlikely I'll ever get crafty-adventurous again.

Justin's whining got really irritating halfway through the parade and just as I was about to lose my grip on both the back of his shirt and the string to the green balloon around his wrist, some parade person came by and gave the kids some mints. This well-timed diversion prevented him from running into the street and getting hit by a police motorcycle which would have been really embarrassing. It also gave him sticky drool which ended up all over his chin, hands and my shirt. But on the bright side they gave his kisses a little zing.

Speaking of MY shirt. It was a Target purchase last year from the kid's section. I found it totally embarrassing when little kids walked by me and stared at me because I was the weirdo grown-up wearing a kids' shirt.

However, I felt better when I saw another larger grown-up wearing the same tutu as the Curlyheaded Leprechaun and that was WAY inappropriate. Especially with the knee socks as she was hunched over to push a stroller. Still working on erasing that visual from my brain.

Also making a guest appearance at the parade with us were my sister, her husband John (who stood with Jeff in the back because curb space was at a premium) and my nephew Alex who was a delight as always. He might be my favorite kid (and he's not even Irish).

Soon, Jeff fetched Ryan at the end of the parade route and they returned with a box of Munchkins that he didn't want to share since his sister had a slushee that was ONLY hers that she didn't have to share 4 hours earlier... We forced him to of course because what would a family outing be without making the oldest kid briefly miserable?

In all there were about 20 too many firetrucks for any normal person to stay interested in. I was tired and bored by the end. And so were these guys. 

Looking forward to next year when I'll return to spraying hair on the patio.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If You Call Me A Soccer Mom I'll Cut You

Here's an exhilarating story about a mom who had no choice but to bring three kids to soccer practice.

I'll save you the suspense: It was me.

This is season 3 of soccer for Ryan (we even skipped a few in between). He likes it, never complains and he's excited for the games...practices, not so much. But as long as he gets that cheap trophy at the end, he's good to go!

And to get it out of the way now: He pretty much stinks because he refuses to practice at home. But as long as he likes it, we'll let him play.

Tonight I found myself having to drag the little kids to practice with me because the other half of the parental unit is away on business. I'm the one regularly assigned to practice anyway because his dad can't bear to watch. Admittedly, it is painful. One time, in the middle of a scrimmage he asked his coach if squirrels were nocturnal...

I literally worried about this excursion all day as I sat at the office strategizing about what I'd bring to keep the other two occupied and possible escape plans for when all hell broke loose.

First plan: Cheese balls. Never fails. They are the nectar of the gods to Justin. But like a rookie I brought one big bag for two kids. FAIL. There is no way to describe the amount of whine that went with those cheese...balls. At one point Justin had 4 shoved in his mouth at once like a chipmunk to ensure that he got more than Posh Spice (there's a soccer tie-in to her nickname for today).

And while the cheese ball storm was brewing, I was attempting to still look like a supportive mother to the kid on the field who wouldn't stop wiggling his loose tooth with his tongue like Lizard Boy.

But, perhaps the highlight thus far of this season is that the kid whose mother we fondly refer to as "Braless Butt Shorts" is back on the team. Here's a photo.

Take a moment.

There was also a big hole in her jean shorts on her left butt cheek. Seriously, doesn't she have a mirror? Yes, that's a white tank top.

OK, you can stop looking at the boobage now.

And here's a shot of the kids during the 32 seconds they thought coloring would be fun. The only 32 seconds of the entire time that I looked like I actually had my act together.

Last season, Ryan and I worked out a few hand gestures so that I could keep him on track and focused from the sidelines because evidently I'm both a soccer and a sign-language expert.
Yes, he's that kid: the grass-picker, bottle-cap-finder, boy who stood in the goal and declared himself to be "THE CAVE MASTER."

Maybe we should have had a little refresher during the car ride over because the two-finger-point towards his coach coupled with the Mom Look of Death wasn't getting the point across. So Ryan stood there contently wiggling his tooth...until he grabbed his crotch and gave me the I-gotta-pee look. I told him to wait because I wasn't going to make a family outing of the hike back up to the bathroom only to deal with Justin getting completely naked like he does in every other public restroom.

And Ryan's fantastic suggestion of going in the bushes 20 feet away wasn't going to fly - I'm not that kind of mother. But then he added a little dance to the crotch-grab and his coach sent him ALONE to the bathroom. The coach is a man...a mom wouldn't have done that.

Then I let Justin pee in the bushes because I evolved into that kind of mother very quickly around 6:45 this evening. Or maybe I just like him better.

Midway through practice, the kids made a friend and invented the game "Throw Mulch in the Bushes."

Did you scroll up to look at the boobs again?

Anyway, their new friend had on Crocs which isn't conducive to playing in mulch and he shook out his shoes 5 times. Poor kid.

And although I've claimed it to my kids, I do not in fact have eyes in the back of my head. So I told them that there were snakes in the bushes that would bite them if they didn't get away and to play in front of Mommy so I can watch them and Ryan at the same time. Nothing like a little snake fear.

And here is Justin when he decided to do his best Fresh Prince impersonation. "Yo homes smell ya later."

Then as quickly as it started, practice was over. The coach threw in a hint that they needed a team mom (he doesn't know who he's dealing with). 

While he was making his parent announcement he gently gestured at Ryan and made eye contact with me and and said "If this is your kid's first season maybe you should come to the game early and watch some of the other teams."

WHAT THE??? Was it my Sucky Soccer Mom performance or Ryan's playing ability that caused him to make that ridiculous suggestion?

Only I'm allowed to say my kid stinks (and evidently that little punk Jack last season).

So I chimed in: "This isn't Ryan's first season, you just can't tell from his soccer skills." Not sure that helped. Probably not.

Perhaps I should be concerned that my kid is being coached by a guy who smokes enough crack to think that I am going to show up with these three any earlier to ANYTHING than I possibly have to.

Maybe he didn't see the neon orange cheese ball remnants all over our shirts or the mulch in our hair because if he did, he'd have certainly given us a pass for coming to the game early.

Do I need to throw in another hint about being a Facebook liker? Because I'm needy. VERY needy. OK, it's the box on the left that actually LOOKS like Facebook dad...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Big Day for a Tiny Dancer

It comes as a shock to anyone who has ever heard me talk about my daughter's antics to learn that she's actually painfully shy.

Yes, inside the bling-wearing, f-bomb-dropping, makeup-stealing piece of work is a little kid who is timid in front of other people. It's true.

Last fall, we signed her up for her first ballet class. I bought her a little black leotard, pink tights and shoes that we had to go to a special store for because her feet are so tiny.

All decked out with her hair pulled back into a proper bun, we approached the classroom door on the first day. She walked in ahead of me and her dance teacher turned me away. "Sorry, parents wait outside."

What??? I wish I'd have known that before I signed her up. But the veteran moms assured's OK.

An hour later she came out. I asked her what she'd learned. She said "I don't know."

Weeks went by...I didn't see a single dance move. One time, in an effort to get her to show me anything at all I pointed my toe and said "this is a toe point." Clearly, I never took dance.

"NO," she said, kind of disgusted with me. "That is tondu."

Well then... I YouTubed it. She was right. It was tondu. I stood corrected.

Then the last class of the session came. It was "parents class" when the moms and dads are allowed to watch. We were so excited because we'd finally get to see what our $150 got us. There we sat, I with the camera, her daddy with the camcorder and a huge smile on his face.

The class started their warm up. She turned around, saw our gear and started to cry. Full-on bawling that only stopped when she sat with more dancing. Here we are that day before she realized what she was getting in to.

Fast forward to the next session's parents class. My husband and I agreed that only I'd go (he's good like that sometimes), she'd never dance with him there. This time I bribed her with some dolls that we bought the night before. We gave them names and she could only have them if she danced.

She didn't even make it through the warm up, she cried harder this time. And I was MAD. So mad I didn't even let her sit with me. She didn't have to dance, but I made her stand three feet in front of me. I'm sure the other moms thought I was a monster. And the dolls were packed away until Christmas.

We missed the next parents class (which we knew was a blessing).

So today. Parents class #4. I said to her "If you let me watch you in class on Saturday we can do something special. What do you want to do?"

"Nail polish."  Then nail polish it is!

She picked out her hot pink outfit and I let her wear lip gloss.

I gave her a tiny little pep talk before we walked in and I took a seat. She made it through the warm up. And then there were tears.

Oh yeah, they were mine (but I made them stop within a couple of seconds and didn't make a fool of myself). She did it and I was so unbelievably proud of her. And I'm a big dork.

So I sat there, with my camera on video mode on my lap like I was shooting undercover for Dateline. I didn't get a single good shot because I was trying to be stealth. I only took pictures of the back of her because I surely wasn't going to ask her to smile and risk screwing up this breakthrough.

On several occasions, I looked away so she didn't think I was watching her. There were a lot of thumbs-ups, I mouthed the word "awesome" 10 times and every time I smiled at her, I got all weepy and had to take deep a dork.

So she's not a natural showman yet, but she easily scored a grape slushee on the ride home and she's totally getting a mani AND a pedi.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Unhappiest Place on Earth and My Tips for Survival

Since I've found myself giving both solicited and completely imposed advice about taking kids to Disney World in the last few weeks (like eavesdropping in the pediatrician's office), I might as well blog about it.

I have decided that I am a legitimate expert on this topic and it will probably be my only useful blog post ever. The rest will be total drivel.

My qualifications:
1) I have taken my kids to Disney about 16 times in 7 years
2) I live in Florida and I have a season pass - that makes me an expert

Here's My List of Tips:

#1: Get it OUT of your mind that this is the Happiest Place on Earth. Because it is not. It might be if there were literally zero other people there and you've had a heart-to-heart with God about giving you perfect weather and cooperative kids.

Most people smell bad and everyone else except for you is stupid and they walk too slowly.

#2: Work on your "The Last Kid That Touched That Railing Had Poop On His Hands" talk track. Feel free to use mine. It's the only thing that I've found effective for keeping them from touching or licking everything in sight. "Poop fear " works brilliantly.

#3: Rules go out the window. Don't even try. I don't know why people want to keep their kids' schedules "normal" at in real life there is a giant Mouse and a Castle too. Your kids' heads are not going to explode if they get their nap at 2:01 in a stroller or (gasp) not at all!

#4: How do you define "meal?" Disney is not the place to force-feed your kids their chicken nuggets. Remember, there are cameras everywhere and security might kick you out and there goes $400 in admission tickets down the drain. Plus, there is a jail under Disney World and I wouldn't want to have to go there for child abuse. Here they are taking a meal pit stop.

My advice: pack Uncrustables. Seriously, they keep for a day or two in the cooler and the kids are happier eating those anyway. Pack healthy stuff like cheese sticks, trail mix, baby carrots and grapes - done! These are all healthy things, your kids don't have to commit to a meal and you don't have to spend an hour eating at a counter service place. There - I've just saved you $100 and a trip to Disney jail. No need to thank me.

#5: Snagging a few pickle slices isn't really "stealing." Yes, this tip is cheesy both literally and figuratively. If you do sit for a quick meal, the best place to get the most bang for your buck is Pecos Bill's. After paying $35 to feed a bunch of people who'd rather be standing in line with the smelly Brits for Peter Pan (true story) you can at least get a bunch of sliced pickles, some shredded cheese and cheese sauce for your fries at the toppings bar for the kids who only eat junk. I do this every time. I just walk right up and act like I have 22 pregnant women back at my table all sitting with the burgers they paid for and they ALL want lots of pickles.

#6: Find your child's kryptonite. You'd be amazed at how well a contraband Pixie Stick can get a tired kid to stand in line for one more ride or keep them awake long enough to get them back into the hotel room before konking out. Bring candy from home. Lollipops work well. The Disney candy will blow your entire budget.

#7: Free COKE! The Coke place in Epcot has free samples of soda from around the world. Just be prepared for your shoes to stick to the floor. And pay no attention to which soda the other people tell you is good. Ryan and I have told people to try Japan's soda because it's really good and then PSYCH - it's nasty and then we laugh at them.

#8: The dollar store is your friend. Do yourself a favor and make a stop while you're still at home for two things: ponchos and glow sticks. Ponchos are also good stroller covers and would have been nice to have when that big nasty Neanderthal with redneck kids shoved our stroller out into the rain during the parade. "What LADY??? You want me and my kids to get wet?" (Um, yeah, they look like they need a shower anyway). Disney ponchos are mucho dinero and dollar store ones are disposable.

As for the glow sticks - the kids just want something that lights up. It can be a dollar store glow stick or a $15 light-up necklace that you have to buy three of and return to the vendor twice because it broke before Spectromagic even started. Or worse, one of those spinny things. One time Ryan fell asleep in the stroller and we told him that Pooh left the glow stick for him while he was sleeping. He totally believed it.

#9: Be nice to the Disney cast members. Flattery is everything. My kid rode on Dumbo with Minnie Mouse. Of course it was midnight and he was the only kid left in the park...He's a party animal.

#10: Stay on property if you can. Adds to the "Magic" and you get to ride a Disney bus. Consider that your kids will probably only get to go on 5 real rides in the park because the lines are so long.  When they complain about that, you can remind them that they also got to ride the bus. However, parking and riding the tram + monorail might qualify as 2 additional rides...

#11: Pin Collecting - skip it if you're kids are stupid enough to go for it. Go for pressed pennies instead. Major collecting possibilities and they only cost $.51 apiece. They have books to hold them and everything, plus collecting them is more like a scavenger hunt than a major investment. There are websites dedicated to this. Very cool. I love these.

#12: This is very important! Parents of little kids hate the parents of big kids with autograph books. My kid wants to see Mickey, he thinks Mickey is REAL. We don't want to wait for your pierced teenager to stop texting their boyfriend to waste my time getting Mickey to sign their freakin' book. (Or so I've heard).

#13: Finally a tip about Mom. Wear something cute and you'll thank me for it. You are going to be immortalized in vacation photos for all of eternity. You're going to look like a sweaty, nasty mess anyway, but wouldn't a sweaty, nasty mess with a cute necklace be much better? Keep lip gloss in your pocket.

And have fun!

Feel free to share this post with your friends - I'd hate to see all of these fine nuggets go to waste! 

Anybody want me to do a list of our favorite stuff to do and places to go? Just tell me in the comments section. 

Still haven't liked us on Facebook? Go over to the left and "like" us now! OK, enough promoting!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Charlie Sheen Made Me Neglect My Children - I'm Winning

What do you get when mix a 4-year-old menace, hand soap, a squirt bottle, a closed bathroom door and a mother who is obsessed with reading Charlie Sheen coverage?

You get a very clean 5-pound diaper.