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Thursday, April 28, 2005

In a nutshell

Today I was behind a car in the drive through lane at Starbucks that to outsiders would sum up Colorado Springs.
On the rear windshield of a Ford Explorer there were four stickers.
Top middle: Bush Cheney '04
Bottom Middle: PBR (Professional Bull Riders)
Bottom Right: Calvin kneeling in front of a cross praying
Bottom Left: NRA

posted by Laura at 10:54 AM | 1 comments

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Randomness

Cradle robbing?
Just read that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are dating -- their publicists are even confirming this one! He's fortysomething, she's 26. I guess they're in Italy where he's receiving an award for his 25-year career. I wonder if Katie's parents took her to see his movies when she was just 1! (I wonder when I became such a square -- probably on June 29, 1998 when I gave birth to a daughter!)

To kitten or not to kitten?
Here, I'm looking for advice. (After my meltdown the other day, this is probably a dumb idea... ) But I think I want to get a kitten. We have a 13-year-old cat named Belle. She's not the perfect kid cat. She's a little fussy about where you pet her (for most people who are not me, it's head only or she gets a little freaky), she demands my attention, she is usually in my face demanding attention at the worst of times, when I'm ready to give some love, she's nowhere to be found.

My other cat Pete died on Dec. 31, 1999. At about 11, he came down with diabetes. I was about 5 months pregnant with Madison and when they told us they could not regulate it and we would have to test his urine (I was trying to figure out how to hold the little cup to collect it) and even then there were no guarantees. We made the tough decision to put him to sleep. Belle really liked Pete. That said, Belle does not deal well with change (every time we've moved it takes about 3 days before we find her again). I want to believe that she will enjoy the company. I KNOW the girls would love to have a kitten. And the litter box is one duty I gave up during my pregnant years and have never since taken back.

If I do this, I'll wait until my semester is over so I'll have a little extra time on my hands to ease any transitions.

What do you think? Should we go to the animal shelter and get a new family member?

Car troubles
Our Pathfinder was in the shop for some "recall" work on Monday. Tuesday when I started it, the idle was very, very low. I backed out of the garage and it was fine. The second time I went to put pressure on the brakes, they were hard in response. It felt like my power brakes were gone. I tried driving to the end of the block, figuring I would suck it up and get where I needed to go. That thought didn't last long. I was putting all my weight on the brakes and barely stopping.

A desperate call to the husband, a call to the dealer's service department and a call to the towing company and our 2-month old Pathfinder was loaded on the tow truck and back to the shop. They were kind enough to give us a loaner (the boxy Scion, it was so cute and funny I laughed every time I looked at it). Today we got it back and I'm still not sure what went wrong. They might have installed a new piece that was cracked (that's what they said). And I'm just not sure what worried me most.

My relationship with cars is odd. I either have 100 percent trust, or none. If a car is good to me, I will love it, fill it with premium gas, wash it and be good to it. But if a car gives me reason to doubt, the love affair ends quickly.

The good news is that Princess Crusher (the name of the Pathfinder) is back at home and hopefully I will be able to rebuild my trust in the princess again.

Long Island Girl
I'm a Kevin Smith fan. Following Sept. 11, the first time I really remember laughing out loud was when we went to see the Jay and Silent Bob movie in a theater. But right now "Jersey Girl" is on and I have to say the part that I've seen (the last hour or so) is pretty disappointing. I guess being a daddy has softened even Kevin Smith. The bright point? The soundtrack is very good.

posted by Laura at 9:19 PM | 1 comments

Sun up, sun down

Today started with smiles. Well, after the fog of waking up 40 minutes late lifted, there were smiles.

Before her fog lifted, Maxine was smiling. Today was a field trip (and a bus ride -- we live too close to school for the bus). Just the mention of the field trip had a grin on her sleepy face.

Fast forward 14 hours. The day ended with tears. Her hair, wind-blown from the field trip, was a mess of knots. I tried to get the brush through it just once and quit. I walked away and when I came back, the tears were flowing.

I am just hoping that tomorrow starts again with smiles.

posted by Laura at 9:02 PM | 0 comments

Monday, April 25, 2005

Getting better

After yesterday's mini-meltdown, I'm doing better today. When I looked at the calendar and realized it was April 24, I was pretty proud I made it that far before I stumbled. I knew April was going to be a LONG month. Looking at the month in Outlook, there were just two or three nonbolded days, which means every other day had something going on.

I was warned in the spring semester of my first year of teaching of the dangers of April. Coming off spring break and the time change, April ends up being a terribly long month. I wish my co-worker had never mentioned that because now it feels like self-fulfilling prophecy (wow, I sound like a communication instructor!). April will be holding on to the bitter end this time as I have to attend a research conference on the 30th, but come May 1 I'll be dancing in the streets (and finally scrubbing the bathtubs).

And today I have bigger fish to fry. Unfolded laundry isn't nearly as important as dealing with some plagiarism issues in my classes. Talk about a reality check (and bad way to start a week).

But let's get back to my favorite subject(s): My girls. Little friendly, sweet Maxine said something so out of character I just had to laugh (and tell everyone I know!) During her soccer game on Saturday, she was having a great game, she made a shot on goal (only her second in her two seasons) and her team was winning their first game in four tries. When I dropped by the bench to say hi, she said, "Mommy, I'm going to try to push those girls down when the ref isn't looking." This from the girl who during a "be more aggressive" pep talk said, "So I have to pretend like they're not my best friends?"

Don't get me wrong, I don't want her turning into a bully. But a little more competitiveness would go a long way with this kid. Her younger sister is a natural competitor who HATES to lose. And proving that I'm really not a psycho soccer mom, I'm happy to report that Madi's team has lost a couple games. Just like Max needs to learn to compete, Madi needs to learn that it can still be fun even when you lose!

Proving that I might be a psycho soccer mom is the fact that I'm really looking forward to seeing that Will Ferrell movie when it comes out!

posted by Laura at 8:01 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I'm tired

Today, I am very tired.

I am tired of waking up on Sundays feeling stressed when I wonder how I will make it through the piles of laundry, the stacks of grading, and everything else that's required of me every Sunday. (I'm also tired of that stress creeping into Saturday nights.)

I am tired of feeling like it's my fault if the homework's not done, if there are dishes in the sink, if we go over budget this month, if we have to go out because I didn't have dinner on the table.

I am tired of feeling angry when I pick up shoes in the kitchen, clothes in the living room, beer bottles, cups or any other dishes anywhere in the house.

I am tired of feeling so resentful while I am cleaning or working while everyone else is playing.

I am tired of feeling underappreciated for the things that I do well.

I am tired of the responsibility that if I don't do it, it probably won't get done.

I am tired of feeling like it's my fault that I'm the one who has to get everything done.

I am tired of not having time for myself to exercise, to play, to just do nothing. I'm tired of feeling guilty when I do take time for myself.

I am tired of being the one to make the appointments, keep the appointments, pay for the appointments.

Today, I am very tired.

posted by Laura at 11:49 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Strike a pose

We've had the D70 for two weeks now and we've already taken more photos than we EVER did in the 15 months or more that we owned our Sony Cybershot. This is true love!

posted by Laura at 10:23 PM | 2 comments

Monday, April 18, 2005

Randomize

Parents these days
Yesterday at the supermarket there was a couple with what must have been their 4-year-old son. They were mismatched by appearances: he with a graying, mulleted ponytail. She with black hair and funky grandma glasses that matched her black hair. Son? Perfectly normal looking.

I caught up with them in the breaded area. They were arguing (with voices raised) about muffins. There was a sign about Weight Watchers muffins close to the overpriced containers of the market-made muffins. I was too uncomfortable to eavesdrop too much (that's SO unlike me, so you know it must have been awkward).

Later, I realized it was this family again when I heard a boy yelling, "YOU WILL BUY ME A TOY!" And a parent saying (yelling), "NO!"

I caught a glimpse of a warm moment at the checkout. Mom was holding the boy up and he was smiling and talking to the checker. I felt better. Until ...

I was loading groceries in the car. The mismatch family was behind me. Mom and Dad were loading their groceries and the boy was in the car (a hatchback). My jaw dropped as I heard Dad say (yell), "Would you just shut up?!" And Mom chimed (screeched) in, "WE'RE TRYING TO TALK HERE."

Poor kid. I was telling the girls about this today (a subliminal message: when you girls think you've got it bad, you better think again babies!). Maxine said, "Mommy, you should have called the police." I almost agree with her.

Keeping a schedule
I was browsing through previous posts today and I saw a real trend: I tend to post on Mondays (before my two marathon teaching days) and Thursdays (as I recover from teaching 4.5 classes in just over 27 hours). I hate being predictable. But the semester is almost over, so I'll be far more spontaneous in my writing I hope!

The purchase
We did it. We bought the Nikon D70 and it's true love. In two weeks we've taken hundreds of photos. The funny thing is that my husband seems to love it even more than I do. He took it to work with him the first Monday after we got it. He takes pictures of absolutely everything. And with a 1GB memory card, you can take pictures of anything you want.

Thanks to those who provided feedback. Thanks to those I bugged with emails and inquiries.

Bad start
I'm meeting with students for individual meetings today. So far my first two have been no-shows. Sigh.

posted by Laura at 9:19 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bad, bad sports

Max and I were on the sidelines of Madi's soccer game Saturday. For some reason they have the tiny field about five feet from the big kids field (as in teenagers). So sitting on the sideline of the 4-5 year olds' game, you run the risk of getting kicked in the head by the big girls.

Maxine spent most of the time watching the big girls play. She would not take her eyes off that game. I was hoping she might pick up some skills that she's not getting during practice. That remains to be seen.

What she did get was an early lesson in being a good sport. During the game one of the girls on the yellow team fell and broke her arm. Maxine (who just two nights before would not go to sleep because "ER" sucked her in) watched even more intently as they worked on the girl on the field. About 20 minutes later (an eternity for the poor girl's parents, I'm sure), she got up and was walked off the field. All the time she was down on the grass, the team in white (that's the other team) was gathered, talking strategy. Apparently not giving a shit about the injured player. When she walked off to her dad's minivan that was waiting on the field to whisk her off to the hospital, the parents on the sideline clapped. The LadyBug parents clapped. Her team members cheered. But those girls in white did not put hands together to celebrate that she might be OK.

I was pissed. I wanted to go talk to their coach, I wanted to yell at them and explain how much they suck for not clapping. How could they make it to a competitive teenage level of soccer and not understand some general compassion?

The worst part? The team in white won the game.

posted by Laura at 1:47 PM | 0 comments

Proud parenting moment 7,542

Last night while I was working, Brent and Maxine decided to go out for dinner. (Madi was spending the night with her grandmother.) Faced with a couple fast-food Mexican options, Max opted for sushi! My daugther chose a locally owned sushi restaurant over Taco Bell.

posted by Laura at 7:13 AM | 0 comments

Monday, April 11, 2005

BFF

I was digging through paperwork looking for Madi's birth certificate (had to register her for kindergarten on Friday!). In the place where I keep all of our important paperwork I found our marriage certificate. Written on the back in a rather yearbook-like fashion is: B/L: Best wishes on your special day. May you love each other 'always'. Rudi (Yes, Rev. Rudi put single quotes around always.)

We got hitched almost 10 years ago at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Yes, that's one place in Vegas where you can find Elvis. But the folks who run the chapel take the institution of marriage seriously enough that they do not allow Elvis to perform the ceremony. (At least that's the way it was back then.) For an extra $150, the old Elvis will perform AT the ceremony however. We chose not to take advantage of that (would have doubled the price of our package). Outside the chapel was a sign highlighting some of the "celebrities" who got married there. Jon Bon Jovi and Lorenzo (four times and counting) Lamas were proudly displayed.

Even with their best attempts, parts of our ceremony were oh-so Vegas. Like our vows. There was no "til death do us part" ... nope. Rev. Rudi said, "For as long as your love shall last." Takes a lot of pressure off the young couple.

His parting words before the groom could kiss his bride? "May you love each other for many years."

Ten years later, I sometimes like to remind Brent that I have lived up to my end of the agreement with Rev. Rudi.

posted by Laura at 12:35 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, April 07, 2005

A revolutionary new way to lose weight!

For the last week or so there's a new commercial on the 5 a.m. news. It's for a weight-loss surgery called the Lap Band. The commercial comes on just as my coffee is brewing and without that first cup, the senses aren't so sharp. So instead of Lap Band, I hear all these people raving about the Lap Dance: "Nothing worked for me until I tried the Lap Dance!" "The Lap Dance is right for people 75 pounds overweight." "I lost 105 pounds with the Lap Dance!!"


P.S. Apparently I'm not the only one who needs a good shot of coffee to clear the ears in the a.m. My conversation with Madi just went like this, "Do I have to go to Nanny's today." "Yes. But tomorrow is Mommy-Madi-Max day." "Today?" "No, tomorrow." "Mommy-Madi-Max day is today?" "TO. MOR. OH."

Of course, this is the child who just the other day took a sip of my coffee and said, "Can I have some of my own?" I said, "Just drink mine." And she said, "No, I want my own coffee in a sippy cup."

posted by Laura at 6:20 AM | 3 comments

Monday, April 04, 2005

Bits and pieces

Bad advice from a commercial: I'm not sure if this place is regional or local, but there's an ad that runs for Massa Auto Pawn that drives me crazy. The bad actresses alone could push me over the edge, but it's more than that. It's the whole premise. Picture a split screen with two women on the phone. The one of the right is inviting the other to join the girls in Mexico this weekend. The one on the left complains that she can't afford it right now (in the background, outside the fake window is a rainstorm). The one on the right says, "Just take your car to Massa Auto Pawn, they'll give you the money." Left says (with suddenly sunny scene in the fake window background), "Great idea!" Cut to two bimbos with sunglasses on the "beach" with champagne and margarita in hand. Left one says, "I paid my bills and came on this fabulous trip." In unison, "Thanks Massa Auto Pawn!!!"

That's right, when times are tough, just pawn your car to ease your troubles. I'm sure that will make everything better.

Don't mess with Mother Nature: Tuesdays are tricky in our house for the next couple months. I teach on Tuesday evenings and of the seven days in the whole week, it just so happens both girls have soccer practice on that very night. So Brent is in charge of being in two places at one time. Last week I made all the arrangements for one daughter to ride with the coach/neighbor to practice, I put out all the necessary soccer clothes and accessories, I did everything in my power to make up for not being there. And, in turn, I did everything in my power to make it a cold and snowy day on which both practices were cancelled!

Tomorrow I plan on doing the exact same exercise. And tomorrow the weatherguys are calling for rain/snow. Yes, I once again am putting an end to the long-lasting drought in the area!

Postscript: Sure 'nuf. It's Thursday now and the soccer piles are still there untouched because we had extreme weather on Tuesday. Rain and wind for us, but just 15 minutes north they got a foot of snow! Soccer season runs through the end of May, I wonder if I can control the weather for that many more weeks!

"Non-competitive" soccer: In our soccer league the 4-5 year olds are not supposed to keep track of the score, etc. This is developmental, not competitive. That's what they say, but that's not the reality. Ask Madi her favorite part of her first soccer game and she'll tell you, "We won!" She's also reminding Maxine that her team lost their first game. This could be an ugly season with 7 weeks of games to go.

Madi plays on a team called the Ladybugs. Her coach showed up in a red t-shirt with black spots on the back. On the front it read, "LadyBug Coach." Cute for the coach. But to the mother who said, "Oh we all need "LadyBug Mom" shirts," I say, "Oh HELL no!" I'll stand on the sidelines and yell and scream and be supportive. I'll do my best to not yell mean things at mean kids. But I will not wear a shirt that makes me look like a ladybug.

On Maxine's team there are four new players who appear to have never played soccer before. Just 6 short months ago Maxine was in the same position. On her first game she was in front of the goal and the ball rolled in front of her and she was so excited that she reached down and pushed it with her hands! But during Saturday's game there was a very Amelia Bedelia (yup, I'm the victim of first grade chapter books!) moment when the coach told two of the news girls to "Watch the girls in purple." And they did just that -- they looked at them. And watched them run right by them with the ball. Oops.

I was looking over other team names and my favorite of the bunch was the Thundering Ladybugs! I guess Ladybugs just aren't tough enough.

posted by Laura at 1:36 PM | 0 comments
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