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

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?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cooking From Scratch

I am a disgrace to the art of cooking. I probably make the majority of moms who cook wholesome meals each and every day shake their heads in disgust with my repeated attempts and failures to try and cook things from scratch. To put it bluntly, I suck.

That doesnt mean I don't try though. I was never taught how to cook as I grew up. Our meals consisted of McDonalds drive thru, overcooked steak that could crack teeth, and once in awhile, a to die for meatloaf ( my moms specialty). But even then I was never introduced to the kitchen aside from our faithful microwave to heat up hot pockets.

When j and I got together he couldnt cook either. Hell, he didn't even know how to do laundry and his mom would drop by his apartment once a week to do it for him. Laundry is another thing I have never been properly taught, and to this day I still accidentally shrink clothes, or can't get out stains perfectly. But even still, I grabbed J  and his dirty laundry one day, marched us down to the laundry room in his building, shoved the clothes in, added soap, turned it on, and exclaimed "There! Now you know how to do laundry!" When we moved in together one thing we watched religiously was the Food network. J picked up some great tricks and soon was a wonderful cook. BC he would deliver upon the table for our culinary pleasure, meals that were both exquisite in taste and sight. But I missed  the boat I guess, because even watching the same shows he did, it was all over my head. The ONLY thing I can make to absolute perfection each and every time is a Turkey.

I didn't realize until the other day my lack of cooking skills has permeated into my childrens definition of what cooking entails until I was approached by Xavier with a culinary request.

We were driving home from school when Xavier asked me if we could make cookies soon. But he wanted to make them from scratch. I'm sure the blood drained out of my face as I envisioned a scene of all three of my kids and I in our kitchen, surrounded by flour and sugar, eggs and milk, having no idea how in the world to even begin, while my children clamored for me to begin. I stayed silent for a moment, focusing on the road before me as I gathered my thoughts and wondered how to carefully destroy my sons fantasy without scarring him for life. Fishing for time I asked "From scratch, huh?"
He eagerly  responded back "Yeah! You know, the kind from a box, where we add eggs to the mixture? From scratch!"

Relief washed over me and I laughed and agreed that yes, we could definitely make cookies from "scratch" soon.

I still chuckle thinking of this. I wonder if years from now, when Xavier is an adult and has a family of his own, will he marry a woman who knows what "from scratch" really means and what she would think of my abhorrent lack of cooking prowess, or if he will marry a woman who is thankful his idea of home cooking comes from a box.

Hail To The Chief

Foreshadowing doesn't happen only in stories.

When I was pregnant with Soren and J and I were on the hunt for the perfect name for our last child, J tried very hard to get me to agree to a middle name I would have no part of. He insisted that this child needed a strong, MANLY middle name, something that would speak of authority, respect, and strike fear into the hearts of his school mates. Something like "THE BEAR FIGHTER".

Oh hell no.

Fast forward to present day.

Soren is now 13 months old. He is his own little person. He's almost always so happy, mischevous in a delightful way, and very curious.He knows how to walk now, but would rather crawl to his destination if he loses his balance instead of trying again. He's impatient, vocal, and lets you know what he wants when he wants it, even with the limited vocabulary of "Book"  "Hello" (pronounced huoo?), and "Mama" when he is distressed. He loooves to bug his brothers (on purpose) just for their reaction, but he will ferociously put up a fight if his brothers do the same to him. He has even been known to come to me and "tattle" on his brothers if they take a toy away that he was playing with first.

But on top of this, he is under the impression that he is utterly in charge of the household, and we are just his little minions to do his every bidding. If he wants something he will look you in the eye, point his hand in the direction and grunt "UNH"! then wait for you to get his desire. If he feels lazy and wants to go from point A to point B and you are conveniently nearby, he will hold out his arms to be picked up grunting "UNH!" and then once in your arms he will point the direction he wishes to go and grunt again. "This way minion."

I admit, it amuses me, for now. If only because I know how very short of a time period each child feels that they ARE the center of the world, and it won't be long before he has that rude awakening that he can't do anything he likes. Already he is learning that there are limits to things he can get away with, which he keeps pushing to see if I forget. For instance, I put my foot down if he tries to play in the toilet. He knows if I catch him in the bathroom after one of the older boys forgot to shut the door, Mommy is going to be ticked off. He's already learning to scuffle out of there ASAP if he hears me coming. He knows I refuse to let him play with his favorite toy, the electric sockets. All are safety plugged, but still I will tell him firmly "No" if I see his hand stretch to one. He's none too happy when I refuse his majestys pleasure, but some things even his Majesty cannot do.

Even with these restrictions, his motions and communication has been that of a little lord directing his small folk to do his bidding. So much so that I jokingly nicknamed him "Chief". When I told J my new nickname for him he agreed it was very fitting.

Adding to this nickname, Soren loves food. And he loves to mimic his older family and eat like they do. One thing Ashe, our 3 yr old, loves to do is to toast with our cups. So each night we raise our glasses and sippy cups, yell "CHEERS!" and drink up. Soren has taken this to a whole new level. Anytime he takes a drink he raises his cup and waits for us all to do the same, before he drinks after gurgling with laughter.

The other night we sat down to a chicken dinner. Soren loves chicken, and most especially loves drum sticks when he is allowed them. As we enjoyed our meal, toasting every 2 minutes, Soren picked up his drum stick and held it up high. In that moment, he was the exact representation of our little Chief. Of course we all laughed, which made him do it again and again, with little grunts of pleasure when he raised his meat high.

At the end of the night he had his blankie thrown around his shoulders like a cloak. Combined with the image of him raising his drum stick in the air, and a blankie cloak, J turned to me and said "You know, you should have given in and named him "THE BEAR FIGHTER". Because it totally fits him."