...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In His Own Time

At Sorens 15 month check up he had a total of 3 words: Bob (yes, my youngest's first word was for a tv cartoon character),book, and bear. I was told by 18 months he should have a total of 6 words, not including mama, dada, or uh oh.

Wellwe're at his 18 month point and we got mama and DA down pat. That's it.  However, having a child with a true speech delay (Ashe) I feel I can safely say this is not for lack of ability. Soren probably COULD say more if he wanted to: key phrase here is "wanted to".  But I'm getting a clear impression that he has no use for words. He can communicate just fine thankyouverymuch without those silly combinations of vowels and consanants.

Yes, the boys know not to talk for him. Yes, I tell him the name of each object he points to and grunts at. Yes, I read to him. The kids not stupid. And my reasoning for thinking its a lack of wanting to talk versus being unable to is this:

1. He can use the few words he says in the appropriate context... when he wants to. If J walks upstairs for a coffee break Soren immediately grins and yells "DAAAAA", racing over to him for a hug. Or, if he wants Bob on the tv he will grab the remote, bring it to me, run to the tv, point and state "BOB!".

2. But try to get him to say something you know he can say on command and he gives you a smile and clams up. If I ask him to say mama, he growls at me like a dinosaur and laughs.Or just looks at you like you're an idiot to think he's like a dog who will do tricks on command.

3. When he wants to say something he will do it on his own time. And Sorens time is his own thing. If J asks him who made the mess of candy canes on the floor, he'll answer "mama" then laugh his little head off.


Brat.

The kid can communicate sans words though, better than anyone I have seen. He doesn't need words per se to get his point across. Trust me when I say that he will let you know when he is hungry/thirsty/tired/needs a diaper change. It's crystal clear to anyone around the vicinity.

We had his check up the other day and he is healthy and happy and right on par. The DR said not to get any gray hairs about his lack of speech. After passing on my observations she's in agreement with me that the kids no dummy. and really, do I want him to start talking right now anyways, knowing that once they start they don't stop?

She's got a good point, I think, as I listen to the 2 older boys chattering nonstop about literally nothing....nonstop......

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Change of Ways

The other day I went into a store to grab the red hair dye I use for my red streak and noticed a new color that caught my attention: teal. I decided it was time for a change.

I've had crazy hair for eons. It's one of the few ways to show the world Im not your every day mom. I have to have some sort of way to get my creativity out and what better way than to play with your hair? You can change it whenever you please (or I could when I worked as a stylist for 10+ years before I "retired" to become a full time mom).
 Over the years I've had purple highlights,  red highlights, red and black hair of various styles and hues. I've had the black hair with a red stripe now for over 3 years with little to no change. It suited me very well. But I've always wanted to try some sort of blueish teal color.  Despite the fact I would probably get more stares than usual going blue, it would be something new and fun. And if I didnt like it, well I could change it back. But really, change was long overdue.

So I grabbed the color and bleach, and after 3 bleach runs (kids, don't try this at home.... you could fry your hair off if you don't know what you're doing... literally.... go to a professional salon please!!!) and a douse of teal, I achieved a new do:


I like it!  A lot, actually. It reminds me of an avatar I've been using for years on one of my favorite gaming forums. Although Im missing the knee high boots and thigh high striped socks that go with the hair... but I dont think I could get away with THAT outfit in public. But the teal works and I love it!


I did notice a side effect I forgot about when changing your hair in a crazy way, even when you have self confidence. I realized I was subconsciously gauging other peoples reactions to my new hair color when I went out with the kids in public. I kept waiting for strangers to make a rude facial expression or even have the cojones enough to make a comment under their breath but loud enough for me to hear. I caught myself doing this in a local food store as I perused the aisles looking for yummy holiday food to bring to my moms house for a family celebration. I kept waiting for the comments or looks of disdain I used to get as a new mom with an infant Xavier snug in his carrier when people thought I was an unwed teen mom ( I looked very young for my age when he was born). Fortunately it seemed that either people have gotten more tolerant with crazy hair color, or I looked like what I am: a suburban rebel mom you don't want to start spouting judgmental comments at in front of her kiddos. Either way I was pleased with the lack of reaction =)

So what do you folks think? 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Kid Vid 2010

Some of you know that each December, I go through all of  the photos of the kids I took that year, and make a virtual photo album set to music. It takes a few of my favorite hobbies (photography and making music videos) and melds them into something memorable. I also suck at making physical photo albums. Besides, they never survive the kids. Plus, making a virtual one, I can share it with everyone I wish to without paying enormous quantities of cash for multiple photos and albums. Easy, fun to do, cheap, and more enjoyable to view anytime you want =)

So without further ado, here is Kid Vid 2010. Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Family Vacation Days 4 & 5

I know I know I'm late in this! Im sorry but after Soren got sick things got a little hectic, and since we've been home Ive been nonstop catching up and scurrying to make our annual virtual photo album of the year (keep an eye out for it I'll post it in the next blog!)

So last I left off we had found our Soren had a double ear infection. After some discussion, J & I decided one of us would stay at the hotel with Soren and Ashe the next day while the other took Xavier to Islands of Adventure. J was kind enough to let me go since this is my ULTIMATE FAVORITE THEME PARK EVER!!! Seriously folks, if you have not been to this theme park, you are missing out big time. Skip Disney, go to IoA. Especially if you like roller coasters (which I do).

Zavi and I headed out with him having no clue where we were off to. I only said with the 2 younger boys staying at the hotel we were going to be able to do more at the next park. It was actually good Soren and Ashe stayed behind because they were too little to really do much there anyways.

Islands of Adventure is set up into a bunch of different theme worlds: Marvel Comics, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Lost Continent, & Seuss Land. Each is literally its own world, and Universal did a phenomenal job is making you feel like you enter a completely different area when you step from one to the other.

While Xavier was still too short to do a lot of the big rides, we had a blast nonetheless. My child is warped because even when it was a mere 60 degrees, he insisted we do all of the water rides and get soaking wet. I argued that if we were going to do that we would do it first so that we could dry off by the time we got home. And the whole time we did the water rides I kept mumbling the mantra "The things I do for love" over and over. Yes people, it was cold!!!!!!

Jurassic Park was Xaviers favorite theme. He insists the Triceratops we saw was real, LOVED the boat ride, and would have stayed for the rest of the day scanning dino eggs if I allowed him to. He was good humored enough to pose for one of my ultimate favorite photos seen below:

I chuckle every time I see this photo

One of the employees was kind enough to take our picture together next to the Jurassic Park Discovery Center



I realized as we stood in line for the Pteranodon ride (one I have waited 10 years to go on since you can only go on with kids bammit) that my nose ring was missing. I dont know where or how I lost it but it was gone. I've had that sucker for 6 years!!! And despite a lot of searching back at the hotel I never did find it =(  

We also got to see the new Harry Potter area. As soon as we stepped into Hogsmeade we went right for the Butterbeer, and let me tell you it was good. real good. Think a combo of Cream Soda and Root Beer with a vanilla creamy foam on top. 

We ate at the 3 Broomsticks, where Xavier snarfed an entire plate of ribs and corn (hey, riding the rides makes a kid hungry). Then did some more rides. The Hogwarts ride was very cool, probably one of my new favorites, although I did almost lose a shoe (note to self: wear sneakers next time).

Even without the younger 2 there, we didn't have enough time to complete the entire park. We had to race through Seuss Land to get back to the hotel in time for another special surprise: Magic Kingdom at night!


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J & I bought tickets for Disneys Very Merry Christmas at Magic Kingdom, where they open up the park from 7PM-12AM, offer free hot cocoa and cookies, and have a parade with fireworks.

I actually learned a lot about Ashe this adventure. I realized this kid is not a ride lover. He would rather wander around looking at things, enjoying the scene than actually be a part of it. Despite the fact he was big enough to go on almost any ride at magic Kingdom he had no enthusiasm for any of them. His favorite part of Magic Kingdom? When some employees blew bubbles at him to chase around the park. That was his highlight. And he was perfectly happy the whole time. There was a lot to see and take in and he did... just not on any rides. And thats cool.


Soren was doing better by the evening so we bundled him up nice and snug and the 5 of us had a blast. Soren passed out around 10:30 in the stroller while J& Xavier did the Haunted House and Space Mountain. I amused myself by taking photos of the ever changing Castle:


This was the coolest shot, with the Castle covered in ice


Fireworks were tough, as Ashe HATES with a passion fireworks. I had to sit on the ground, help him cover his ears, and try to distract him with silly questions while they went on. And on. And on and on and on..... But he survived and was very proud of himself FOR surviving!

But by 12AM we were all utterly exhausted and ready to call it quits. The next day was our last day and we had one more adventure in store...... Sea World!


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Our final day, after going crazy making sure we left nothing behind (besides my missing nose ring) we packed everything up, said goodbye to the hotel, and took off to our final destination before heading home. 

Sea World is big, I mean BIG, in our household. Xavier is completely enthralled with anything regarding the ocean and its creatures. And whatever Xavier is into Ashe is into. Fortunately our last day actually warmed up to a balmy 76 degrees so we got to wear *gasp* teeshirts! And not worry about freezing our buns off if we got wet!

I cant even begin to explain to you how big the boys eyes got as we approached our destination. When Xavier realized Sea World was where we were headed he started cheering like mad. And the boys lived it up.

First stop was the famous restaurant "Sharks Underwater Grill" where we got to eat right on front of the aquarium. This proved to be both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because the boys were soooo thrilled to sit there eating lunch while a coelacanth and sharks swam by. Curse because it was nigh impossible to get the boys to actually EAT something.



We were not able to get a Shamu show in, but we saw the dolphin show and the Sea Lion show. We fed Sea Lions, petted Sting Rays, and just saw everything we could. The boys were in awe the whole time, soaking it up.

But alas it was time to go. By 4:30 we were back in the car, and headed home. And somehow we decided it was a good idea, after a full day out, to drive the entire 9/10 hours home. We did it. We were crazy, but we did it. Fortunately Sea World had made the boys tired so they passed out around 9PM or so. We arrived home by 2:30AM, gave the boys a quick snack, then we all passed out until late the next morning.

And that, my friends, was our secret Christmas vacation.


In a nutshell this was probably the coolest thing we have been able to do as a family, and I have to say that despite the fact we're broke for the next 5 years, it was well worth every penny spent. The boys have already begged us to consider doing another secret vacation for next Christmas instead of toys. We'll see how they act on Christmas Day when they realize we really werent kidding about very few gifts under the tree. But if they do well and we can start planning now, Id love to look into one of the kids cruises for next year. 

My goal as a parent has always been to try and give my kids memories that they can cherish and remember for the rest of their lives. I would rather them look back at their childhood and not think of the toys they got, but the experiences they were given. This vacation, while a gift to the kids, was also a gift to me. Its something I have wanted to do for my kids even before I had kids. And the fact J & I were able to actually keep it a secret the whole time added to my personal pleasure, as I got to watch their faces light up in pure childish excitement when each morning we arrived at our next adventure. I will remember the looks of delight for the rest of my life. And those precious memories are not something you can wrap up in a box with a bow.

Happy Holidays everyone!




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Family Vacation day 2 & 3: Disney Studios/ Illness/ GatorLand

It’s now the end of day 3 of our vacation and it’s been crazy busy but not entirely in a good way.

With cold temps greeting us again on Tuesday (seriously folks, what is up with this? I thought FL was the land of the sun) we bundled up and surprised the kids with a trip to Disney studios. We thought this would be a great hit with the boys since it has all of their favorite characters: Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Little Einsteins. As we entered the park we saw that an Indiana Jones show was starting in 20 minutes, so we meandered our way over there, the boys nearly jumping out their skin in excitement.

Ashe was jumping out of his skin in terror 5 minutes into the show with all of the loud bangs and explosions. So was Soren, so J took the two younger kids out to wander while Xavier and I watched the entertainment. Zavi walked out with stars in his eyes and pleading for an Inadiana Jones hat so he could be “just like Indie”. Of course, that dream lasted about 15 minutes until he saw a Star Wars lego set in the next area.

J and I started noticing the 2 younger boys were having a harder time this day. It may have been the cold, it may have been the walking, it may have just been too much stimulation. But Soren was whiny and Ashe started his tude about everything, even things we knew he really really liked. Watching the boys cues we decided to keep the next day light for us to recoup (which ultimately was a REALLY good decision as you’ll see soon).

Finding a spot for lunch took a lot of work since everywhere needed reservations except for the most expensive place. Fortunately the food was divine, to was indoors so we warmed up, and the kids were well behaved.

J took Zavi to the Tower of Terror and I took an exhausted Ashe and Soren to wander the park while we waited. Ashe refused to check out the playhouse Disney show, the one thing I knew he would really enjoy. That is when I knew we had to start seriously thinking about calling it a day. I was able to get him interested in the “Honey I shrunk the kids” playground. He fell in love with the giant ant you could ride, and lamented that he wanted an ant for a pet. Soren, was just clingy and done. Once J & Zavi met up with us, Xavier having had  THE TIME OF HIS LIFE on the tower, we  gave the boys 10 more minutes to play then headed to grab a souvenir and then home.



Late that night, Soren woke up crying. When I picked him up he was scalding hot. We had no thermometer though, and had turned the heat on for the first time so I wasn’t sure if it was a full on fever or if his crib was close to a heating vent. I gave him Tylenol and hung out with him in the living room until he got happy again, and he passed out with us in bed.

The next morning he was still hot, and a little fussy but nothing major. He seemed ok enough to go to breakfast but J & I decided to grab a thermometer and Motrin after, just in case.

Character breakfast was both funny and eye opening. When we took zavi here when he was 4 he was NOT happy about the characters. This time around, even knowing Dora would be there (and Zavi makes it crystal clear he thinks Dora is stupid) HE was the one who had a ball with all of the characters and Ashe just did not appreciate life size versions of his favorite toons coming to give him a  high 5. Poor Jimmy Neutron had his feelings hurt when Ashe wouldn’t even give him the time of day. But Soren… ahh Soren. Despite him not feeling too well, he had the best time of all. His eyes nearly popped out of his head with excitement when he saw a lifesize Spongebob and Dora, and was giggling at Squidword and Boots. He showed Boots his prize possession, his blankie.




After breakfast j headed out to grab meds and then Soren fell to pieces. He was so hot by then I decided to give him a bath. J walked in as the bath was filling up so I took Sorens temperature….. and it was 104.9 WITH Tylenol in his system. I went into crisis mode. I had J call our family pediatricians office to tell them all details and ask what to do. I poured Motrin in Sorens mouth then plopped into the bath with him to cool him down a bit. After 20 minutes we got his temp down a mere one degree.

The nurse called back and said to get him to urgent care. She thought it might be either an ear infection or UTI. So we googled pediatric urgent cares nearby (thank goodness for bringing our laptop and WiFi). J raced him to urgent care while I stayed with the boys. Unfortunately the one we found the DR wasn’t in until 2pm so we had to go back. Once seen, we found out Soren had a double ear infection, most likely due to him teething 2 incisros the week before and fluid getting caught and getting infected in his ear canals. Poor kid =(

By that time though the meds were kicking in and he seemed happier. While we waited for his prescription to fill we headed over to Gatorland 10 minutes down the road. From the road, Gatorland looks really silly. You might even pass by it laughing. But inside it was actually a very cool place, and the kids had a lot of fun, even Soren. We wandered around looking at Gators, birds, goats, snakes. We walked through a beautiful swampland where I went crazy with my new camera capturing gorgeous shots of nature at sunset. We watched a gator wrestling show where the guys had a great sense of humor and we learned some cool facts about alligators. We watched them being fed with chicken on a string. 

In the souvenir shop, the boys were enthralled by all of the cool things to touch. Ashe picked something up and yelled out across the entire shop “MOMMY HERE IS SOME WINE FOR YOU!” I thought simultaneously how sweet of him and now I wonder if people here think I’m an alcoholic. Sigh.

And now the boys are sleeping. Soren was so tired tonight I found him trying in vain to put his blankie in his crib by himself so he could conk out. J is resting on the couch reading, and Im going to join him in a few.  We’re debating about plans for tomorrow. We’re supposed to hit my ultimate favorite theme park, Islands of Adventure” but I think that after watching the boys today, I may take Zavi only and let Ashe and Soren rest at the hotel. Ashe will enjoy that because he has been dying to play his DS and resents having to leave it when we go to an adventure. Soren needs his rest. A lot of things at Islands the younger boys wont be able to do so I think logically it will be for the best of all. Im kind of sad about that though. I want to share Islands with all of them, and feel awful that J will miss out. But he insists he’s ok hanging at the hotel. And he has a lot of valid points in that if it were just Zavi and I, we’ll be able to do a lot more than f we had everyone together, and can stay longer. Plus, w e’re going to go to Disneys magic Kingdom at night for the parade and the rides so it will be a long day tomorrow. By having the little ones stay home tomorrow during the day they should be happier at night.

I already have permission to have one margarita at Margaritaville tomorrow if I go, so that’s a perk.

Wish us luck that the family gets better soon and our vacation continues with no more bumps in the road!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Family Vacation Day 1: Kennedy Space Center

I am sitting here on a tiny table in the Nickelodeon hotel, the kids all settled in and chilling, after our first real day of our surprise vacation. 

I have to say, I cant tell if I am impressed or disturbed by how well we were able to pull this whole thing off. sunday afternoon, after surreptitiously packing the van without notice, we told the boys to grab a few essential things for the car to keep them busy because we had a lot of errands to run and we'd be in the car for a long time. No questions were asked (except for occasional pondering out loud on why mom was insisting on bringing the DS chargers). We popped in the car, J & I trying not to giggle too often, kids oblivious, and off we went.

sometimes a DS is a parents BFF


2 hours into the trip we stopped at our first rest stop on the border of SC. Kids still oblivious aside from curious looks from Xavier. While the kids were in the restroom with J I popped out our secret weapon: goody bags filled with fun stuff to keep the boys occupied for hours. I placed them on their seats and joined the fam as we got back in the car. The boys were excited for new things to play with and inside xaviers bag was a card that asked him to read it out loud. The card said instead of toys this year we were going on a christmas adventure and to sit back and enjoy the ride. amazingly enough, after a few questions on our destination, the boys graciously took our answer of  "It's an adventure, just enjoy it!" And they did.

We took stops every 2 hours to stretch, once for dinner (Applebees and the waitress sucked), and by 10 we were in Jacksonville, FL, where we found a hotel for the night. We never told Xavier where we were and made him guess by using his eyes to look for clues. he really got confused when he realized we were in jacksonville. My mom lives in jacksonville NC and he couldnt wrap his head we weren't there.

After a fantastic nights rest ( we were all so exhausted we passed out cold until 8 AM in one room) we jumped in the car again, the boys clueless to our destination. and we headed for.....


The Kennedy Space Center



Our adventure began the moment we started crossing the ocean to the centers island. As we waited for a boat to pass through the drawbridge, I noticed dolphins swimming in the water below us. Lots of them! It was so cool!!!! and then as we crossed over there was a museum with a giant rocket ship out front. the moment xavier laid eyes on it he started singing Hallelujah. At that point, I knew that our decision to stop here was a good choice.

The boys were enraptured the entire time. Xavier was in love with the Hubble telescope, they both adored racing around Rocket garden despite the frigid (yes frigid) temps and insane wind. Ashe went to his first IMAX 3D show. Soren and I had to cut out early with my cough and his whining, but Ashe was in looooove with the 3D aspect, and kept trying to catch the stars in his hands.

Xavier & Ashe looking at images from the Hubble














We checked out the robot scouts that go to different planets, got to walk in a space shuttle, and saw people dressed up as astronauts wandering around. the boys were thrilled, and despite the frigid temps (yes frigid) we had a ball.

After spending the entire day there, we popped back into the car and headed for our hotel, still a secret to the boys. we booked a 5 day stay at the Nickelodean Hotel. we have a kids room with bunk beds, a living room/kitchenette and king size bedroom for us grownups. Our room faces the pool (photo below) and we're right next door to the mall area, filled with food and fun.

Photo courtesy of nickhotel.com

When we pulled up to the hotel Xaviers face just started beaming and Soren went into a frenzy of excitement spotting Spongebob Squarepants and Dora everywhere. we already have a character breakfast reserved for Wed morning. 

And that is the basics of Day 1 of our vacation. The boys still have no clue what else is on the itinerary for the week. they're pretty ok with knowing it's an adventure and roll with that. It's supposed to be cold again tomorrow so J & I are debating on hitting Disney Studios or holding off one day and hitting Downtown Disney instead. we'll see how the morning plays out. and now, I think I'll finish my cup of coffee before it gets cold, throw my feet up, and pass out with a smile on my face. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Surprise

When this is posted, we will already have taken off on a big adventure. We're going on a surprise trip. And as of yet (11:35AM on Sunday) the kids have no clue. Lets start taking bets on how long we can keep this a secret.

You see years ago, J and I wanted to take our kids on awesome trips. But the timing has never been decent. We did one trip to Disney for Xavier when I was 8 months pregnant with Ashe, but thats really been it for fun adventures. But this year, the timing is good, the kids are all at an age where they can really enjoy things together, and J & and have planned this for months.

Instead of the normal Christmas gifts that get trashed within weeks, J and I decided for their big present we would take them on a secret adventure. We're leaving today to Florida where we will spend 1 week enjoying ourselves. We're staying at the Nickelodean hotel, and hitting the space center, Sea World, Disney Studios, Islands of Adventure, and a gator park. We'll rub elbows with Spongebob, Patrick, Dora, Darth Vador, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter.





And the kids have no clue.




We packed the car up last night, and we're just finishing up any final touches before we tell the kids to pop in the car, we need to go run a few errands. And then, the waiting game begins. how long will it take for them to know something is up? How long can we take the heat before we crack? My fantasy is to not say a word on specifics but to let them know once the whining reaches a degree I cant bear, that we're going on an adventure. J thinks we'll last 90 minutes.

So stay tuned. I'll try and update as I can. Laptop is packed =)


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Happy Birthday Ashe

Today is ashes birthday. 4 years ago he came into the world fast and furious, not wanting to wait. Seriously, he was almost born in the car on our 5 minute journey to the hospital. I went from "Meh I think we should go to the hospital" to "OMG he is here NOW!!!!" in less than 5 minutes. Yup, fast and furious. 4 hours total from the moment I thought something was up until the moment I gazed upon his perfect face.

I've watched him grow from a snuggly baby, content in someones arms, to the big kid he is today. Man, I cant get over how much has changed in a short 4 years. And I also cant think of life without him anymore.



Happy Birthday Ashe. I love you with all of my heart and soul. Thank you for everything you do, and all of the wonderful blog fodder you give to me.




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Monday, December 6, 2010

Comedic Comments From The Peanut Gallery

I love the minds of children. They can take things so literally, which can cause endless humor. Seriously folks, some of the things that come out of my kids mouths you just cant come up with on your own.

For instance, the other day we had Chinese food. Ashe opened his fortune cookie and happily exclaimed " Oh look! I have email!"

And now with Christmas on the horizon, the comments from the peanut gallery continue.
the other day I asked Ashe if he wanted to write a letter to Santa. He thought about it for a few minutes, and then said yes, he would like to send Santa the letter "A".

Today, Ashe told me he was going to write a note to Santa. He got out his candy cane pen, a piece of paper, and sat down at the table, concentrating fiercely on his project.

When he was done, he proudly handed it to me. He had drawn a bunch of music notes. Note to Santa... hahahaha.


Of course, not everything that comes out of his mouth is proper. It still is, nonetheless, funny as hell. There have a been a few times I am caught between outrageous shock and outrage, and the need to run to my bedroom and laugh hysterically into my pillow. Cause if I laughed in his auditory vicinity he may think its ok to continue.

A few weeks ago, J related to me a story about Ashe It was early in the morning and I was still sleeping. J popped downstairs to get a few emails out, and Ashe and Xavier were playing on the kids computer. J tells me that Ashe ran downstairs yelling "Daddy! Zavi is "effing" with the computer!!!" J, thinking he heard entirely incorrectly, that the coffee hadn't yet kicked in, asked Ashe to repeat himself. Ashe did. Fluently. Yes, J heard correctly.

It seems that Ashe had found a foul mouthed Spongebob Squarepants youtube video, and yes, Xavier WAS effing around on the computer because Xavier knows that language is not ok and was trying to get rid of it. And Ashe did not like that.

Consequences were no computer for a week and no youtube without mom or dad RIGHT behind them!!!! Oh, and  a loooong talk about what words are grown up words and what are not. Im so glad I was not the recipient of this little conversation. I honestly don't know what my reaction would be. Hearing it secondhand, I couldnt help but be both amused and shocked.


I cant wait until my kids are grown up and facing their own 3 yr old children. I can't wait for them to read this stuff. *insert evil grin*


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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Holidays

This year I have decided to rebel on card making. I'm sorry, I hate it. I keep in contact with everyone I care to contact throughout the year through various media outlets. And I know for a fact that all cards I send out are tossed in the trash within (at max) a week. Instead of wasting all that cash, all that time, and all that paper, I thought I would save the environment (and my cramped hand) and do my cards digitally.

So without further ado, if you're reading this, here is your holiday card from mine to yours =)






-Rhaven

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sometimes All It Takes Is A Song

I hate Monday mornings. It's almost inevitable that I will wake up with a groan, and do my best to not tantrum because the weekend is over... again. The coffee is almost never enough to get me out of my funk on Mondays, and I start my day off by constantly reminding Zavi to get his behind upstairs to get dressed before we're late for school.

This morning I not only had my normal Monday morning, but I also noticed, as I stepped on the deck to get a moment to clear my head, that I had a voicemail from my brother. We havent spoken in a year when he last told me I was a craptastic sister because I put my kids before him. Like it's some sort of contest with him. Well, actually, it is with him, but that's another issue.

This voicemail was basically telling me to answer the damn phone bitch (he called last night and I was downstairs gaming so I never heard the phone ring) and that we needed to clear the air before christmas time and we had World War 3.

Just what I want to wake up to on a Monday morning.

Wrangling the kids in the car, coffee in hand, and a headache already brewing, I started up the car. And a song came on that put a smile on my face. It was The Black Pearl, from Pirates of the Carribean. I love that song.It makes me think of the ocean, pirate bandannas, a sword strapped to my waist, the wind in my hair.


I turned up the volume, bopped along in the car, swinging my travel mug to and fro, while the kids beamed. A happy mom is a happy family. They know that well enough.

And then the song ended. I glanced in the rearview mirror to my kids, grins on their faces, and hit replay. And we listened to our pirate song all the way to school.

It's funny how such a small thing can make a difference in attitude. I may have to put that song on my phone so that I can listen to it whenever I feel a Monday morning funk coming on.


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Saturday, November 6, 2010

May I Never "Grow Up"


I love costumes. Always have. In fact, I loved them so much, dressing up in different clothing and "becoming" someone else for a short period of time, that as I grew up I was heavily into theater. And I seriously considered it as an actual profession as an adult. I didn't pursue it only because by that time, J and I were seriously contemplating our future and what we most wanted. We decided we most wanted a family. And having traveled to L.A. to meet a casting agent who could help me launch a career in acting, I walked away with the knowledge that when we started a family I did not want to raise my future kids there. So I set aside that dream for another one, and one I don't regret.

But I still like costumes. And I love Halloween! I mean, how can you not like a day where it's ok to dress as ANYTHING you want to be AND get candy for doing it??? Talk about the perfect combo!

But J hates dressing up, and there is a part of me that feels a touch... self conscious maybe? when I am the only adult wearing a pirate outfit or bar wench costume. And over the years I allowed myself to tuck that fun aspect away too, although never forgotten.

But this year, I had an incident happen that made me realize I was being an idiot for holding back on something small and silly, but enjoyable that I loved, for the sake of self consciousness. And this one incident made me realize I need to stop "growing up" and allow myself to be a kid and enjoy costumes again no matter what people may think.

As Halloween approached, the boys started debating on what they wished to be this year.  Xavier wanted to be some random Pokemon I had never heard of (although I admit when Pokemon crops up in conversations I autotune out, nod my head, let my eyes glaze over and say "uh huh... of course dear.. great!... I'm glad you like them..."). Of course despite my efforts at looking for this particular Pokemon as a costume I had no luck, and put my foot down when Zavi implied that I was going to "have to" get crafty and sew him one. Actually I laughed my ass off at that remark. Because I can't sew to save my life. But finally he settled on a Zombie.

Soren really really really wanted to be Sponge Bob Square Pants. I'm not sure how to take that my 16 month old has 4 words, and one of them is "Bob". However, there were no costumes that were small enough for him. Then he wanted to be Mario. He saw the costume at a store and flipped out with excitement. Again though, no costumes his size. But he kept trucking along and finally found one that was not only cute, but his size, and it made him happy. Soren chose a Sock Monkey.

That left Ashe. And there was doubt in his mind what he wanted to be. He had talked about it since Summer and never once wavered in his choice. This year, Ashe would be Batman. But what's a Batman without a Robin? And in a 3 yr olds mind, who better to be his trusty sidekick than... Mom?

For a week, Ashe pleaded with me to be his Robin. And it dawned on me, that this time in our life, when the kids WANT the parents to dress up in costume, will not last long. Very soon, if I even dare contemplate a costume, it will make the boys shrink away in embarrassment. Of course I already warned them that when that time comes I will  embarrass them on purpose. If they're going to think I'm lame, I might as well give them a valid reason to think so! But right now, the thought of Mom or Dad joining in the fun of dressing up is a childs dream come true. And while if I had my choice on costumes, Robin would not be my first pick, I also thought that it was totally worth sacrificing my dignity knowing it would be a memory Ashe would hopefully cherish his entire life. Totally worth it.

So I went out and browsed the adult costumes with Ashe and Soren in tow. And I found a female Robin costume. I went into the dressing room with the 2 boys to try it on (all sales final) and came out to check myself out in the mirror. The first thing I noticed though, was the gigantic grin that covered Ashes entire face. It was a moment I'll remember forever. But then I turned to the mirror to get a look, and was fairly surprised.
 Hey.... this costume doesn't look half bad. In fact, I kinda liked it.

I had 2 chances to wear my costume with Ashe. One was at a TriangleMommies Trunk or Treat. I had to work at that event but being a Promotions Manager, I was definitely easy to spot! And the happiness on Ashes face when the two of us walked around together, Batman and Robin.... it was as it was meant to be. I also wore my costume with Ashe on Halloween itself. And while he was too busy running from door to door, I enjoyed wandering around the neighborhood in my costume.

I actually felt a little sad when, after the holiday was over, I put away all of our costumes. I didnt want to put my costume away. I wanted more chances to wear it. I liked how I felt in the costume, and I loved the smiles I got from the boys when I dawned my cape and mask. But while Robin is now in storage, she gave me a very important reminder. Life is a series of moments you never forget, and life is too short to put away all of your childish entertainments. Enjoy them, enjoy them with your kids, and it's ok to not grow all the way up.


Me, declaring contest winners at TMs ToT



Xavier and Ashe, enjoying ice cream


Batman, J, & Sock Monkey Soren


Finding my inner child as Robin =)






Photobucket

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Scare At The Bookstore

One thing I work hard on with my kids is what to do if they get lost in public places, or if strangers try to touch them. I hammered this into Xavier's head when he was 2, and had him recite it back to me at random, like pop quizzes. He was always able to pipe up in his tiny voice and tell me word for word our rules:

When Lost:
*STAY where you are!!! Don't run off in panic!
*Yell for Mommy or Daddy
*Yell again if you dont hear us
*Find an adult, in uniform if possible, and tell them your Mommy is missing. Tell them our names, and tell them Mommy has a red stripe in her hair if you are with me.

If A Stranger tries to touch/grab you:
*Scream as loud as you can "THIS IS NOT MY DADDY/MOMMY!! HELP!"
*Kick, bite, scratch, anything you can to get away


Yet, for some reason, no matter how many times I go  over this (or any direction, really) with Ashe, when I ask him what I said his default response is "I dunno". If pressed hard, he'll repeat my directions, so I know he hears, but getting him to repeat it back is like trying to make cooked noodles stand up straight.


A few weeks ago, my fear about him not getting it came true.

Ashe, Soren, and I stopped at B&N one morning, to grab a book for Xavier. While there ashe wanted to play with the train table set up in the kids section. I agreed, motioned to a book rack 5 feet away, and said I would be right there with Soren. He nodded his head and went to play.

I sat down on the floor and for a few minutes watched Ashe happily play with other kids. Then Soren saw some Dora books on the rack, and I turned my head away to try and stop him from decimating them.

60 seconds.

It took 60 seconds of my attention turned from one child to another, for Ashe to look up, not see me, and race to the front of the bookstore looking for me. He didn't utter a sound. He just panicked. Everything I had tried to teach him went

*POOF*

The next thing I know I am hearing my son sobbing, NOT from the train table, but from further away, coming closer. An employee of the store comes around the corner, my 3 yr old in tow. He looks around and yells "WHOSE KID IS THIS?" I raced over to Ashe, gather his sobbing frame into my arms,  and thanked the man. He glared at me severely, muttering he was at the front door. Maybe it was Mommy guilt, maybe not, but I got the distinct impression he had judged me as a bad mom. Maybe I am. I don't know. I just know that I have really struggled to get Ashe to understand what to do in that situation, which he didn't. He panicked. And it was 60 seconds.

I calmed ashe down, then Soren who decided to cry sympathy tears with his older brother, and with Ashe clinging tightly to my hand, we left.

Suffice to say the whole way home, and all that day, and the next, AND the next, I did nothing but sit there and teach him again and again and again what to do if it happens again. After 3 days I can now get him to recite to me what to do.

But that might not help if he panics. And that panics me. I think maybe we'll forgo public places until he's 16.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Wasn't Supposed To Worry About THIS Talk!!!

Conversations in our household tend to have a way of twisting and turning from one topic to another, so that by the end of the discussion, you are nowhere NEAR where you started. I don't know if it's the way kids minds work, or just my own, but somehow I often find myself in deep discussions with the kids over topics I never in my wildest imagination could have envisioned being broached by them. Anywhere from wanting a Sea Lamprey for a pet (how many kids know what a Sea Lamprey even is???) to discussions on why Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear, and everything in between. We don't seem to HAVE normal conversations at the dinner table. Not in this house.

But one topic of conversation came up recently, that I thought I was saved from ever having to muddle through. Because I have 3 sons and no daughters. And how it came about started off innocently enough.

Last week, J was on a business trip back north. I had 3 days of the boys to myself. I promised them a pizza party on the last night if they did really well and helped me out while Dad was gone. They did a phenomenal job, and as promised, we bought pizza and celebrated our survival.

A common phrase from our boys is "I love (insert family member name here)". To which that person replies "I love you too." Unless it is Soren, who only screeches with delight and throws food at you in acknowledgement and to show that the feeling was reciprocated. And then they go off on a tangent on how we have the BESTEST family EVER!! (  I swear this is true. And I don't pay them to say it either. Really!!!) This night, Xavier said "I love Soren. I'm so happy he is a part of our family." Soren screeched, threw pizza at his eldest brother, and I smiled and said "Soren loves you too" as I picked up the half chewed crust and handed it back to my youngest.

And from this one, normal comment from Xavier, began a conversation that is too long to write here, as it lasted a good 30 minutes, but somehow went down twisty paths, hitting topics that parents have nightmares over when confronted with the possibility of being where I was put this night.

Soren was a surprise addition to our family. In other words, we weren't planning on having more children. But when we found out, and broke the news to Xavier (the only one old enough to really understand the significance of the situation)  all of us were excited. Xavier especially, because if he had his way, we would provide him with 30 brothers and sisters.

Coming back to the other nights conversation, Xavier asked how babies can be made when you don't "PLAN" them. If you have followed my blogs, you know that when I was pregnant with Soren, we had THE TALK as I was cooking porkchops and eggs. So he knows HOW babies are made. But at that age, the thought of S-E-X was GROSS. The thought of sex on its own was beyond his comprehension, and rightfully so.

Caught off guard, I asked if he remembered how babies were made. Then I said that when he grows WAY up and finds his life partner, sex is also something that is considered, umm.... fun. He looked at me askance, trying to judge if I was trying to pull his leg. Deciding I was telling him the truth, he asked if there was a way to protect yourself from making babies.


Seriously folks? At this point in time my mind is racing, mentally asking myself why am I always the one to get stuck with these conversations???? Why can't the boys ask J these??? 


Why me!!!!!


But I answered as simply as possible. Yes, there are. And when the time comes, I'll explain it all. But it won't be something he needs to worry about right now. He hasn't even hit puberty yet.

Which leads to questions about puberty. What happens? Why does it happen? Do girls go through the same things? No? You mean their voices don't change and go crazy? Well what happens to them then????!!!

And so my friends, I found myself, with explicit questions from the peanut gallery guiding me, explaining female menstruation to an 8 yr old boy. Trying my damnedest not to blush or laugh out loud at the utter absurdity of the situation.


J called from the airport, interrupting my explanation of ovaries and eggs to a wide eyed audience, listening with rapt attention. The spell was broken, excitement of talking to Dad and telling him about our pizza party took over, and I was saved. But the moment I got the phone back, I grumbled to him "Why do I always get THOSE convos?  Why can't they go to you with these topics? You'll never believe what you just interrupted...."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Plight of the Playground

I've recently come to the realization that I cannot handle 2+ kids on my own when I go out to playgrounds. It's physically improbable. At least when 1 kid has just recently learned to walk, has had 2 older brothers to idolize, and is off and running to independence and parking lot doom.


Soren, 15 months now, is not only walking, but running. I don't think he ever walked, period. He just stood up one day, waddled, and then booked it.


So it's a fairly new experience for me to have a 3 yr old to watch over and chase after a "toddler" ( I use that term in the lightest sense as there is no toddling for Soren) while at a park. When Ashe was born, Xavier was old enough to play on the play ground fairly on his own, knowing to just check in with me when I called his name. Ashe on the other hand, is still prone to accidents, or losing me (note to self: must blog about the adventure we had at B&N the other day). So it's not as easy to keep track of him and a toddler hell bent on running to the parking lot as fast as his ten little toes can get him there.


I tried taking them to a TM park play date yesterday. I literally was able to listen to half a conversation before excusing myself and sprinting 20 yards to grab Soren, who had left the sand box and was making a beeline for the woods.(Note to self: blog about Sorens new favorite cuisine "Sand a la Sand") At the same time I hear Ashe screaming, always desperate for the spotlight... yay 3 yr old mentality, "MOMMY WATCH ME MOMMY WATCH MEEEE!" and he stands there jumping over and over.


To you moms from TM, thank you for your patience and good natured understanding, as I chased my children around the entire time. I promise, I WAS listening to you. One of the cool things about being a mom with multiple children is the fact I picked up this nifty talent to holding multiple conversations at once. 


But seriously people, I'm flipping exhausted! I realized the other day I'm finally really ok with my weight and I think I finally got there recently due to all the sprinting, adrenaline rushes, and panic when I look up 15 seconds later after telling Ashe no it's NOT ok to slide down a slide head first, only to see Soren trotting off on some new adventure, preferably as close to the play ground parking lot as possible. Or the woods. Or underneath the swings. And when he hears me running behind him, he turns to give me this impish grin, cackles maniacally, then books it with a burst of speed that would make Super Man jealous.


I was recently at a park with all 3 boys and noted that going to the park with multiple children is like watching an intense ping pong game, mixed with 50 yard dashes thrown in every 30 seconds. I think I may consider signing up for the next summer Olympics. Florence Griffith Joyner, you've got nothing on me. I'll meet you on the playground, anytime.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Halloween Memories

Yay!!! It's October, my favorite month of the year! The air gets cooler and crisp, and that smokey crunchy leave smell starts to waft through the breeze. But most importantly October means Halloween, my favorite holiday of the year!

 Halloween is awesome. I mean seriously, what other time of the year do you get to dress up anyway you want and get away with it? And let's not forget candy. How amazing is it that one night a year you get to dress up in crazy fun clothes and then get paid to do it with candy???? Yeah yeah, candy is for the kids. But in our house, we have whats called a candy tax. If I take the time to take my kids out at night I feel that it is only fair that I get a little treat too. The candy tax is determined by hold old the child is and how much work I have to do for them. If Im holding their bags or light sabers or masks from house to house, I get more candy. It's simple, fair, and my kids have never known anything different. It's pure genius (I think so at least). Everyone is happy!

One thing I noticed about myself though, is that over the past few years I've held back on dressing up. A part of that is due to having more kids to wrangle into their costumes and its just easier to throw something together that's not exactly what I would really want. Another reason is that J is not the dress up type and I feel odd being the only adult in full regalia. But this year I got to thinking about how much I love dressing in costumes, and my kids are still young enough to not be embarrassed by me. In fact, Ashe pleaded with me to be Robin this year as he has a Batman costume. And I realize that wont be the case for much longer. But the memeories of childhood Halloween last forever.

My favorite memory as a kid, was probably the reason why I love Halloween as much as I do now. When I was growing up we lived in a small town on a farm and our closest neighbors were at least a half mile away. It made for poor trick or treating. However one year my mom got this great idea to make it easier for us kids. She decided that we would use my pony as transportation. I wanted to be a Princess for halloween, and my mom and I decided to transform my pony into a unicorn. We made a horn and got nontoxic wash out pink hair dye spray which we sprayed on my ponys mane and tail. She was beautiful and fit for a princess.

Riding my "Unicorn" down the dark streets with my mom nearby, stopping to get candy was just awesome. And after Halloween, we tried washing out the hair dye on my pony but it wouldnt come out. So my poor pony had hot pink hair for about a month until it faded. The cars driving by our corral would stop often and people would stare. I still giggle when I think of that. It eventually faded with no ill effect.

And now as an adult I think about that memory and kind of wish my kids had a pony to have a memory like that. But since we don't (and won't) I think it's time to grow up a bit and do what I can to make my kids have an awesome Halloween. I want them to love it as much as I do so that when they have kids of their own they'll say to their wives "Man, my favorite holiday is halloween. I remember this one time, my mom was cool enough to dress up as Robin when I was Batman. It was so awesome!" If I can pass on that love of fun, and the knowledge that Halloween is for all, not just kids, I'll feel like I passed on an important lesson. Life can be fun/ you just have to take advantage of it. And have a candy tax!



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Downhill to Domesticity

I have been struggling with an aspect of myself that I'm not sure I'm ready to face. I mean, I know I am, but that doesn't mean I have to admit it. Do I?  When I think of myself, I use the terms Sarcastic, Coffee Lover, Gamer Chick, and Mom. But a recent event struck me full in the face of something I never wanted to own up to. I still don't, but I'd be an utter lier if I didn't face the fact that I have to officially use the term (once in a blue moon)

  Domestic.

UGH! I even hate typing the word, let alone adding it on to the adjectives that can be used to describe me! And yet there it is. I looked myself full in the face through my bathroom mirror the other morning, and after a few minutes of rebelling against the truth, I mentally admitted to my inner self that yes, I am domesticated. how did this realization come about? It has to do with a vacuum cleaner...


I have never had decent luck with vacuums, but I have also never bothered to purchase a decent one. Vacuums are an annoyance, a have to, something I didn't want to waste precious finances on if I could spend it instead on other fun things when we had a couple extra bucks to spare. Our last house was mainly hardwood floor so it became even less of an issue for years. When we moved to NC, I purchased a little electric floor sweeper that did the job alright enough for me. It did ok enough on the few carpeted areas we had that I never really cared about having a real vacuum. We did get one once, and it died after 5 months, probably from consuming too many Lego pieces left behind. Im sure it choked to death.

But then we moved to our new home and this place is covered in carpets. WHITE carpets! (Ok maybe not white anymore, but they were white when we moved in...) And seriously any little crumb on the floor was visible from the other side of the room. What sucks even more is that for some reason, some idiot thought it would be a REALLY GOOD IDEA if the dining room floor was white carpet. Obviously these morons are not parents. But I digress.

For a few months I made do with my little electric sweeper. It took 4-5 sweeps to get all of the crumbs off the carpet, but I made do as best I could. Until it got to be too much. I found myself bouncing between trying to vacuum everyday (not fun) or going a week without vacuuming, because let's face it.... the crumbs would be back in 5 minutes with 2 little boys in the house, and I didn't have the energy to spend 15 minutes a day cleaning one damn carpet. I recognized something needed to change. And that change meant I needed a real honest to goodness vacuum. One that I could pull out and clean the carpets in 5 minutes instead of 15-20. One that got deep down and pulled up any dust meshed into the fabric. One that survived Legos.

So I did what any Mom in my situation would do. I asked my friends. I popped on TM and asked all the moms to tell me about their vacuums. Which did they like? which survived for long periods of time? How much did they cost? Was it worth it? within a day I had 2 pages of women all over the triangle telling me about their vacuums. and the one that won the most raves hands down was a Dyson.

It was eye opening, in a funny way, reading the posts, to realize that I had no clue what the hell a Dyson was. People who had them LOVED them! People who didnt, knew they were good. Me? I had to google what a Dyson even was. Now I knew they were going to be expensive but my eyes nearly popped out of my socket when I saw the myriad of price tags. Holy hell!!! Vacuums are flipping expensive!!!!! But everyone said that it was totally worth the investment. and when you have that many women all agree on one thing, you have to take note.

So I took my information and laid it out before J. I needed a new vacuum for my happiness. My happiness equaled his happiness. He would also be happy because I could actually make our floor clean(er). And if we were going to get a real vacuum I wanted one that would last longer than 5 months.I told him I asked around for reviews and had a bunch who said Dyson was the way to go. I warned him they were expensive, but it was a good investment. You know, for clean floors and our mutual happiness, etc.

He listened to my case, said he would do his own research, and we would talk that night at dinner. Come dinner time, a pale faced J walked upstairs, sat down for dinner, and said that he had done his own research.
 "And" I ask?
"Holy hell those are expensive."
"Yeah."
"But all the reviews I read also said it was worth the investment. You sure you want this?"
"Want? No. Need? We need it."
"OK then."

~~~~~~~

And so my dilemma began. I actually got excited to purchase a vacuum. Like it was some trip to a day spa or something instead of some $300 tool that sucks up crumbs and scares babies with its loud noise. I was impatient as I waited for our new vacuum to arrive. I couldn't wait to try it out!!! I was gonna suck up all that dust and dirt and crumbs in no time flat! But as I thought this, there was a small inner voice inside my head mocking me. Seriously?, it would say. You're THAT excited over a vacuum? What the hell happened to you? You're as excited as you would be if you were off to see your favorite metal band play. Wow, B, you have really fallen low. You're like, domestic or something. How adult of you. How sad...

No matter what I did that voice was always there. And it hasn't shut up. I think I have to come to terms with the fact that yes, I am domestic before it goes away. I'm a Stay at home mom with 3 boys, a kick ass loving and supportive husband, and I volunteer at a mother support site. I am a gamer chick, and can virtually kick your butt with a dagger, crossbow, and sword, while wearing leather corsets and knee high boots. I listen to heavy metal in foreign languages, have my red stripe in my black hair, my 2 tattoos and nose ring. My van has skulls on it. AND I love my Dyson vacuum.


So yeah, I'm domesticated. But that doesn't mean I have to succumb to boring. Right?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You Can Call Me A Grown Up But I Refuse To Admit It!

Ooooh a post NOT about my kids! How... different...


I have proof, that while I may "technically" be what most would call an adult, I definitely have not grown up in maturity level! I thought I would share some of my evidence to dispel any rumors you may have heard of me, but really because I still giggle at my cheesiness.

When I first created this blog long ago, I mentioned that as well as a mom I am also a gamer chick. J and I have been gaming for years together. The past 6 years we've spent mainly with a group of awesome folks in a guild named Bane. Bane had its roots in an MMO EverQuest, and when EQ2 came out, they moved there to become an amazing team that balanced both game achievements and real life without drama. I hate drama and I have a real life so this was a good fit. We were one of the top 5 guilds on our server as far as raid progression, yet we were the only ones in the top 5 who could actually call themselves "casual". It was a perfect blend.

After 6 years in the game, with little breaks here and there, Bane recently decided that we had achieved as much as we could in the game, people were tired of the same stuff, and we needed something new. And within a week, the majority of us moved to a different MMO World of Warcraft (WoW). You see, we learned that for the most part, it's not the game that really matters, but the people you play a game with. So even most of those who were leery of switching gears were willing to give it a chance.


And that's where my immaturity kicked into high gear!

While I am a normally sarcastic and cheesy person, in our previous game I often stayed quiet in chat. For one reason I wasn't sure how my sarcasm would come across as text is a lot harder to read than tone. I didnt feel like pissing off my Guild Leader, heh. Another reason was that when I logged on it was to raid, and I had so much going on in my screen, it's hard to keep up text banter while mashing buttons, listening to people shout directions through my headset, pay attention to details I needed to shout out in my microphone.... and when we wiped (died agonizing virtual deaths) I tended to alt out and catch up on my other nonpaying volunteer job as Promotions manager for my mothers support group.

But with a change in games and play style,there is  a more relaxed feeling as we all level up together and have no raids to worry about for awhile. We guildies, including our Guild Leader, are reclaiming the excitement of a new game together. Every sentence in guild chat ends in an exclamation point (seriously... I've actually started mocking people who do it by responding back in kind. I'm waiting for them to figure that out lol). But finally I am letting my virtual hair down. And I'm having a ball! Also, I cant seem to stop the cheesy sarcastic comments I normally joked under my breath.

So the proof comes from a request from our Guild Leader, to provide him with interesting screenshots of the game and our new characters, so that he can update our forum. I asked him to define "interesting". He said have fun with it. So I did. I went around the virtual world with my character, and posed her in silly positions. And I chortled the entire time. So much so that J thought I was beginning to lose my mind. Maybe I was. But I had fun doing it and that's all that matters.

I won't inundate this blog with the 30 or so images I got, but I did want to put up a few to prove that I am definitely as immature as my 8 yr old, and maybe even more so. I'll start with a regular photo.


This is a portrait photo of my character, Meiune, and her faithful owl, who tends to save her ass more often than I care to count. I had to take 1 normal photo for our forum update. But then I went to town.




It all started with this photo. Earlier in the evening Ryki, our Leader, asked for interesting photos. I saw this wood carving off a path and just started laughing. All I could imagine was the painting "The Scream" by Edvard Munch. I ran over and started playing with my emotes until I found one close enough to mimic the carving. This image is now my computer wallpaper.




The caption for our update that ran through my mind as I posed this was "We're so hardcore we dance on cannons in our skivvies in the dead of winter.... or was that crazy?" It was a pain in the ass to get my character up on the cannon, and I'm sure I got more than a few odd looks as I ran around in bra and panties. But it was worth any new rumors that may abound on our server about my sanity.




There is a museum in one of the cities, and I started off behaving. I really did well too! for about 3 minutes. And then I couldn't help myself....




The Museum guards started frowning and muttering to each other when I started dancing with a giant Ram skeleton. Fortunately, they didn't catch me trying to scale the bones so I could get a photo of me riding it like a horse. (I even brought my cowboy hat with me just in case too)




This is was taken right before I was firmly escorted out of Iron Forges museum.By 15 armed Dwarves. And informed me that I was not welcome anymore unless under direct supervision of a mature grown up.  Totally worth it. It's a good thing they never saw me doing the chicken dance with the nest of fossilized Dragon eggs on display.....


So there. Physical proof I never grew up. Now excuse me while I go photoshop an image of virtual me ina bikini  into a polaroid with the caption "Wish you were here..." 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Boris The Spider

We are a pet free house. We used to have 2 cats, who joined us BC. When we moved to NC though, we found them good homes. They were old, they didnt like our kids, and frankly finding ginormous hairballs on my pillow each night was becoming annoying.
    We had a Pug, who was fantastic with the boys! Until one day out of the blue, he lunged for baby Ashe and bit him on the face. No skin was broken, but Ashe did not provoke it. Our dog was sick before so it could have been that, but still, not cool at all! When I was younger my brother had his cheek bit off by a dog and since then my rule is no dogs get a second chance in my house. My kids safety come first. Our pug is currently living at my mothers so with supervision my boys can still see him. Hes been a doll ever since that one episode, but even so, I'm always on red alert.
   We once had fish when Xavier was 3. One day I found him feeding them tootsie rolls because he thought they may want a snack. it took me 3 hours to clean that tank out and save the poor 5 cent guppies. I also broke our garbage disposal and paid $150 to have a plumber come clear out the tiny pebbles out of there. A week later I found the fish belly up with a Crayola crayon floating in the tank. Xavier thought the fish looked bored and gave them a crayon thinking they may want to color.


Over time, the kids whine that they want a pet. Each time I tell them they have brothers and brothers are more fun. Xavier wants a scorpion, or more recently, a Sea Lamprey (just.... don't ask). Ashe wants whatever comes to mind  and it changes daily. But J and I are done with pets. Our catch phrase response to the kids are "You can have any pet your heart desires the moment you turn 18 and live on your own." So Xavier fantasizes about that time in his life, and asks me if I would be willing to purchase him a tank for his pet scorpion when he moves out. I say of course, it will be his house warming present.


I'm going to switch subjects now. Bear with me, I promise it all melds together in the end.

I hate spiders. LOATHE them! FEAR them!!!! Before moving to NC if I saw a spider I am not ashamed to admit that I would run screaming like a girly girl if I saw one, especially in the sanctity of my home. Some friends will even remember the time I spied an orb weaver (not common in MA btw and I had never in my life seen a spider so large) and tried to battle it with a giant log, only to have it race up the log towards me, where I dropped the log and ran screaming. I even called J at work and told him there was a spider he had to kill when he got home and it was big enough he would need to use the sword we had displayed above the fireplace. He laughed at me... until he saw the spider himself.

Since moving to NC, I have worked very hard to overcome this fear. You have to. Spiders here are part and parcel of everyday life. And they are HUUUGE compared to the spiders I grew up with. And some are even venomous. I grew up in a place where you could walk through the forest and only have to worry about bears or coyotes. Here, you have to worry about Black Widows and Copperheads. Now you may think bears and coyotes are scarier, but truthfully, they make a lot more noise and are easier to spot. And I never saw a bear in the 28 years I grew up in New England. Where once I used to bushwhack through the woods fearless, now I stay on paved walkways and keep my kids from traipsing through the woods. But still, I have learned to live with spiders so long as they are outside my house. I'm ok with them and I can appreciate their beauty.


Melding the two together....

About a month ago we noticed a spider in the corner of our hallway near the front door. He was out of the way, buts till in my house. I kept thinking I needed to get rid of him. But life is busy and I keep forgetting. As the weeks wore on we noticed this spider had been doing a fantastic job in catching any roaming bugs that entered our house. The dead bodies of insects started to pile up beneath his web. And anytime I mentioned getting rid of him to J, he said he was fine where he is, and he was a great guard spider. Friends commented on his web when they came over, and it became a joke that we "adopted" him.

One day I jokingly said to the kids that the spider cold be their pet, since they always wanted one. So long as they didnt touch his web or bug him, he could stay. The kids were ecstatic. Having remembered a song my father used to sing to me when I was a child, I named him Boris the Spider. 

Every time we come in from carpool, the kids all wave and say hi to Boris. My friends rag on me about keeping him, but they think its funny and respect his web. But then the other day a friend of mine asked me if I knew what kind of spider he was. I said "I may be ok with letting him live as he earns his keep but Im not fond enough to get THAT close!" So she took a look and mentioned she wasnt sure, but I may want to look up brown widows, because Boris kind of looked like one.

WHAT is a Brown Widow???? I know what a Black Widow is! They are the ones you run away screaming from!!!! There are BROWN Widows I have to worry about too???? And after my kids have come to love Boris, do I have to kill him to keep them safe?

So I started researching like crazy. And I went closer to the web than I felt comfortable with. I couldnt see well enough, so I couldnt be sure. I begged J to kill it! I warned the kids Boris may not be allowed to stay. They were upset, begging for his life, pleading with me to let him stay as he never hurt anyone (yet, I think to myself). And I worried about Soren getting too close and getting bit. 

After 24 hours of Mom craziness, J took over and researched himself. and inspected boris closer than I dared to. And after his inspection, declared Boris to be Brown Widow free. We still dont know what he is, but he is not venomous. And thus, he can stay. The kids cheered and rushed down the stairs to congratulate Boris on not being dangerous.

As we left the house this morning for school, the boys waved to Boris and said goodbye. I hefted Soren into my arms, grabbed my car keys and coffee mug, and without thinking, said "See ya later, Boris." Even I am becoming used to having a pet spider in the house. 


Whoda thunk it?