Monday, June 23, 2008

Blame it on Nana.

This conversation took place in the car yesterday with me and CJ.

CJ: "Mom, where did you learn 'shit'?"
Me: "Where did I learn 'shit'?"
CJ: "Yes."
Me: "From Nana."
CJ: "Oh."

It is the truth, after all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Little Red Dress

I know most women have or have had a little black dress that they love. Well, I have the cutest little red dress EVER! I think next year I will purchase a swimsuit that has more of a tank top, instead of a halter v-neck, to prevent those crazy tan lines. I will be working on those tan lines, though, as we have a wedding in August and I plan to wear this dress to that.

Motorcycle Guy and I have neighbors who moved in after us. As it turned out, the husband is a friend of Motorcycle Guy's that he met shortly after graduating from college. Howard is my age, however, and last night he and his wife had his 40th b-day party. They had a casino game company come in. I played black jack while Motorcycle Guy spent the entire evening playing craps. The food was great and we met a lot of new people, many who we will not ever see again, but it was still fun.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Two game balls

Two Saturdays in a row, Big E has received the winning game ball from his team coach. Last Saturday, for the last game of the season, the game went into double overtime. He pitched both of those OT innings. In the second OT inning, they were finally up by one run and just needed to prevent the other team from scoring to tie or to win the game. This is very straining on us parents because it can so easily go either way and the pressure on your child on the pitcher's mound is overwhelming. They know how much rides on them. He struck out the first batter, got the second batter out by ground catching the ball and throwing to the first baseman for an out and then he struck out the third batter. His coach and team nearly tackled him to the ground with joy. It was such a delight to see that and I really didn't expect to see it again any time soon. Big E received the game ball and has had all of the players sign it.

Today began the league tournament. If you lose one game you go to the loser's bracket. Big E's team was playing a team they lost to earlier in the season. It was a close game the entire time and the top of the final inning, Big E's team, the Rebels, was up by one point. All they had to do was prevent the other team from scoring and the game would end with the Rebels as winners! Big E was playing third base today in this final inning. One out in the game, with a player on first and the batter hits a fly ball to Big E. He catches it for an out and then threw the ball to first, getting out the first base runner who was trying to tag up from his lead off due to the fly catch. The result was a double play and once again, Big E's name was screamed out by the coaches and the hugs and jumping nearly knocked him and the first basemen, who caught Big E's throw, to the ground. Big E received the game ball again today for the double play. Often, no game ball is given since many times a win is truly a team effort and there's not one specific player that a win can be attributed to. Big E's the only player on the team to receive two game balls. It's been a good week.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I should have known it would come out!

As of yesterday, Sous Chef's baseball team was tied for 2nd place with three other teams. They had to win to knock out the other team which would allow Sous Chef's team to advance to 1st place. From there, we would have to wait to see how the other teams did to determine if we would be in 1st place alone or in a tie. Prior to the game, his coach sent an e-mail saying it would be a tough game because the opposing team was a good one and we were down several players due to vacations. She asked that the kids get a lot of rest, no swimming or other strenuous activities and if they couldn't avoid this, to please take a nap before the game.

Well, Sous Chef is in swimming lessons in the morning and then we were invited to a friend's house to swim for the afternoon. I totally forgot about the coach's request but even if I had remembered, I don't think it would have stopped me. I don't typically hold my entire family back from fun activities because there is a sporting event that evening, at least not for a sport for EIGHT YEAR OLDS! Anyway, we swam until about 4:00, came home and got ready for the game. I did not mention to Sous Chef anything that his coach requested because I didn't want him to be worried about not following the rules or disappointing her and the other coaches. I also didn't want him to blurt out "my mom said you didn't want us to swim today, but I did anyway" type comment. I think you can see what is coming.

On the way to the game, he fell asleep in the car. This NEVER happens and I just chuckled to myself and thought "well, at least he got his nap." He started walking to the field, looking a little sleepy eyed. His coach made the comment "Sous Chef, you look tired." Of course, that was all it took. His response? "My mom made me swim for FOUR HOURS STRAIGHT!" WHAT? I did not MAKE him do anything and we did NOT swim for FOUR hours, it was only THREE! She mentioned to me he looked tired and that Sous Chef told her this. I told her we did swim, I did not force him and it was NOT four hours. I also told her he did take a nap and that was the cause of the sleepy eyed look. She laughed and went back to coaching.

The season is officially over and Sous Chef's team is now in FIRST PLACE! Alone, no ties. The other teams involved in the tie all lost their games. Now we start tournaments - for Sous Chef and Big E. Big E's team ranked 4th, which is pretty good considering this is the first year his team has played together as a team and the other teams have been together from the day they signed up for baseball way back when (probably kindergarten or 1st grade).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm voting Republican (NOT)!

I think this covers it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sous Chef and music

I have never been one to play kids music for my kids, with the exception of a few Bible song tunes and some lullabies. I have never, not once, listened to Radio Disney, nor have I ever, not once played kids music in the car. Not that I have anything against them listening to it, just that I, ME, has something against listening to it. I could not bring myself to listen to the shrill singing of preschoolers and adolescents singing about stinky feet or whatever else kids songs are about. The result? My kids are alternative rockers. Sous Chef is especially a music lover. He (and Big E) are huge fans of the Killlers and will always say "hey, the Killers are on, turn up the radio!" Sous Chef always has a favorite song. In the past it has been WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS by Green Day, anything by the Killers, especially Mr. Bright Side, which we heard today and I was instantly told "Mr. Bright Side, TURN IT UP!" He also likes Death Cab for Cutie. His current favorite is Handlebars by the Flobots.

Sous Chef loves music so much, I have been watching for any concerts coming to town that I could take him to. I'll definitely post if/when I take him to his first show!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Aaaaaahhh, summer.

In the past, it has taken a few weeks to get the kids on the "summer sleeping schedule." It starts with "you can't get out of bed until 8:00" and then, on their own, they start sleeping a little later as they get used to the new "schedule." This year, I think in big part to an exhausting, but fun, trip to St. Louis, we went immediately into "sleep in" mode. Sous Chef tends to rise first, but he is very self sufficient and entertains himself until the rest of us get up. The rest of us haven't been getting up until 9:00ish (Big E) to 10:30 (CJ). I tend to wake up somewhere in between there. Today was a little different. Sous Chef and CJ started swimming lessons every day for two weeks. We have to be at the community pool by 9:30, so I was up at 8:00 (early for ME!) getting breakfast, swimsuits, etc. and out of the house. Big E was pretty much still asleep on the couch when we left. We made it to the pool with several minutes to spare! We'll see how it goes when Sous Chef has a week of camp later in the summer and he has to be there, with all of his belongings and a packed lunch, by 9:00. That's A.M.!

We had a fun Poultry Days weekend. It was quite a bit smaller than in the past as the organizers felt it was getting too out of control with over 75 teams in attendance. This year there were 48 and it seemed like a nice size. We got to use our new tent (at least new to me as I haven't been in it since we bought it last year) that I affectionately referred to as the "holidome." It sleeps eight people and has two entrances. Even Motorcycle Guy can stand up straight in it and our queen sized super thick air mattress fit with lots of extra room left over! It's amazing to me that it folds up and fits in a bag about the size of a sleeping bag.

Some of the funnier moments of the weekend were me trying to ride a bicycle. I can't remember the last time I rode one, but it has been a few years. Add to it that I have TERRIBLE balance thanks to neurological birth defects and brain surgeries. (I would be in such BIG trouble if I ever had to take a DUI test with my arms out and head back with eyes closed. I would NOT pass it and I've often thought about asking for a note from my neurosurgeons to help me explain this to an officer if ever needed!) Big E took his bike so he could ride around town with some friends. It was a quick way for me to get to the bathroom with the running water. The first time I rode it, I can blame my poor driving on the LARGE Pink Panties drink I had made myself. After that, though, I can only blame it on being out of practice. I had a really hard time balancing and steering around people and I really wanted a sign on the bike and/or on my back that said "STUDENT DRIVER" so people would know to get out of the way. Instead I just apologized in advance of driving by people in case the worst happened. I only dumped the bike once, and thankfully, I wasn't even on it yet! I was able to fix what broke off the bike and Motorcycle Guy will be making a run to the bike store to buy a new cable to repair the other parts.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Poultry Days

This weekend, we (Motorcycle Guy, Big E and I) will be attending Poultry Days in Versailles to play Ultimate Frisbee. Motorcycle Guy has been going to this tournament since the beginning. A friend of his helped start this tournament. He passed away many years ago from leukemia, but the tournament goes on in his name. Since 1993, I have attended this tournament, with the exception of last year. That was the first year Motorcycle Guy missed it and the first time I missed it since knowing him. Big E went with us as when he was about 1 yr. old. We had to hunker down that year in the high school due to a tornado warning. He will be going with us again this weekend, while Sous Chef and CJ have opted to stay with my parents. Not even the lure of carnival rides and games, showering in public showers and camping in the tent, which they love, could pull them from a weekend at the grandparents house! The best way I describe Poultry Days is a Grateful Dead concert without the band. Lots of free spirits hanging out together, catching up with each other since seeing one another the year before (or the last tournament, maybe), lots of alcohol among other festivities. Throw in a town festival and you've got Poultry Days. It's fun to get in your tent on Friday night with only a few hundred people around and wake up the next morning with hundreds of tents and a 1,000 people milling about the public park the city lets us camp out in.

The website explains it as:
What is Poultry Days? Well, if you have not been to the tournament before, it is hard to describe. For most people it is the feeling they have while there - which draws them back like a yearly migration. As for the Tournament Directors, we think if we don't have the tournament, fifty teams would still show up and play! Picture this if you can: A small town in Middle America having it' s small town festival for an industry which is not that big anymore for the area. They have their usual small town festival stuff. Booths selling food and drinks, a flea market, rides for the kiddies, bingo for the seniors, and a parade with a queen. Now picture 1000 Ultimate players crashing their party. The Twilight Zone thing about it is, the Ultimate players are accepted and they blend in as if they belong there. The Ultimate players are welcomed and they have made friends with the townspeople who they talk to each year. We like to think it is the tournament you will have the most fun at during the entire year, or your entire career! By the way, the competition is very competitive as well.

Motorcycle Guy went up this evening and due to season end baseball games, Big E and I will be going up tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Two years

Today is the two year anniversary of the death of our 10 year old friend, Mary-Kate. We will be joining her family this evening to celebrate the life she lived and the joy she brought to those around her. It is a sad day for so many people and it reminds me to be thankful for the people my family has loved over the years, even if we only got spend a short time with them.

Today I took my three boys "creeking" with some friends from my moms group. I am not an outdoorsy person as I don't particularly enjoy the woods, the bugs, the slimy water. But there I was, in the middle of it, shooing away the cicadas and wading in water up to my knees. One of the moms even commented that "for someone who doesn't enjoy creeking, you are doing great!" It seems a fitting way to spend the afternoon since Mary-Kate was such a lover of the outdoors and nature.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Swingtown and The Bachelorette

These shows have a main theme in common - dating/partnering with a variety of people. One is fiction and one is reality TV. I am watching both.

Swingtown premiered last week. It's based in the mid-70's and involves a couple "moving up" from one neighborhood to another just a few blocks away. The old neighborhood was all families, bike rides and picnics. The new neighborhood? They have another form of entertainment which you can probably figure out by the title of the show - swinging, open marriages and drugs. Throw in issues with teenagers and raising families and it could prove to be interesting, if for no other reason than to laugh at the clothes, the dancing and the music. Though I was young, I do remember the clothes, the dancing and the music. Though I don't have any direct experience with swinging, when I lived in OP, there were several stories of neighborhoods, people and establishments where swinging was rumored, if not downright true. I even had a friend, and her husband, who were invited to a home for dinner and then offered more than dinner. I think my friends may have left before dessert was served. Ok, they stayed for dessert, the chocolate cake kind, and then they left.

The Bachelorette (and The Bachelor) is a show that's like a train wreck you can't look away from. I watch every "season" and am often embarrassed for the candidates as they often make total fools of themselves, especially when they have a big crying fit about being sent home after one or two dates because "there was a connection there. I was falling in love." But like I said, it's a train wreck I can't look away from and I am hooked. All in all, they are the same except in The Bachelorette it's one person who gets to partake in the many flavors of the others, while the others have to sit back and wait their turn or get sent home vs. Swingtown which is partners sharing partners. Oh yeah, and Swingtown is supposedly fiction.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

St. Louis

School was out for Big E and Sous Chef on Tuesday. Wednesday morning we left for St. Louis to catch up with five mom friends from OP and nine kids. All together, our trip consisted of six moms and 12 kids. We were a daunting group and the restaurants were always in a panic when we asked for a table for 18! With the exception of a very bad storm while driving out on Wednesday, the drive was fairly easy.

We went to the St. Louis Zoo on Thursday, which is very nice. I am still in awe at how big elephant poop is! I am sure I have seen it before, but maybe not this close up or something, because that vision is really sticking with me. It was the size of my head or BIGGER! CJ's favorite part, of course, was riding the train. He probably would have stayed on it the entire day. We also saw a sea lion show that was really cute.

On Friday was the best part of the trip. We went to the City Museum in downtown St. Louis. This is definitely the single coolest place I have ever been - with or without kids. It doesn't outdo some of the cities or beaches I have been to, but when I think of just one individual place, this is at the top! I knew within five minutes I was going to love this place. The decor, the music (every single Coldplay song was played while we were there!), the fact they had a bar. What more can you ask for when trying to find a place to entertain your kids? But this place is not just for kids. They do corporate team building events, private parties and wedding receptions! It's a blast.

Outside they have an area called Monstro City. It's lots of metal structures and wire tunnels weaving and twisting up to about five stories above ground. Inside is just too much to go into. You will have to look at the website. We only made it to the Mezzanine, Enchanted Caves and we saw the Circus. CJ and some of the smaller kids rode the little train. I am afraid of heights, so the Monstro City was fun to watch, but it made my hands and feet sweat just watching my kids climb in slinky like tunnels four to five stories above ground! They loved it, though, and I did go up on some of the more solid structures, but it made me dizzy, wobbly and sweaty. I also managed to climb a five story structure, which was inside in a really industrial looking area with lots of rods and grates to climb on and go down the five story slide. It was fun, but I did only do it once!

While we were there, downtown St. Louis had a tornado warning. So our group and hundreds of others were herded into the first floor area to weather the storm. It passed and everyone went back to playing. The scary part was when they first announced the tornado warning, our kids were scattered everywhere. We would only see them every 30-60 minutes and we immediately got our shit together. One mom stayed put to hold on to the ones we found and me and another went out scouting. We managed to find everyone - the youngest boy, who's almost three, was found huddled under a desk with a security guard!

On Friday night, the kids were all swimming and they were splashing around and playing with some other kids at the hotel. I could tell it was getting out of control and I could tell by the look on Big E's face, he was no longer having much fun with these kids, but they kept following our kids whenever they went to another part of the pool. At one point, Big E was at the edge of the pool talking to me and one of those boys came out of the water and elbowed him in the ribs. I was out of my chair so fast! I splashed the kid right in the face and told him to get over to the side where I was. He came over and I told him, "you stay away from him (pointing to Big E). Don't touch him again. Don't even be in the part of the pool he is in. If I see you anywhere near him, I will have your ass out of that pool so fast, you won't know what happened. And if that doesn't work, I will get the manager in here to see to it that you do not get back into this pool." He looked scared to death and only said "yes, ma'am." He then went back to his group and said something because they all turned to look at me. I assume it was something along the lines of "that bitch told me to stay away from her precious one." Really, it doesn't matter what he said because they left our kids alone after that. Brandi, one of my friends, said she had never seen me move so fast. I told her "I know how to be a mama bear!"

On Saturday, we went to Grant's Farm, which was also fun and since it's owned by Anheiser-Busch, there were free alcoholic beverages. Once that announcement came over the tram, our crazy group of moms started cheering. We quickly realized we were the only tram car that thought this was the best part of the farm as the other riders did not respond at all regarding free beer and alca-pops. Our tram employee was so proud he got onto the microphone to announce "that cheering came FROM MY CAR!"

Here are some pictures from our fun week! Unfortunately, I don't really have any of the inside of the museum, which is so cool, that my pictures would not have conveyed how awesome this place is. You'll have to check out the website or wait until next year! We are already talking about going back to St. Louis with this group and going to this museum again. It was that fun and they have a few additions going on.

The twelve kiddos.

Monstro City at City Museum where you can climb through wire tunnels that are about five stories in the air! You can't see the airplane in this one, but you will see it coming up.

This is Lyman on top, then Big E and then Sophie.

I'm not sure which of our kids are in this picture!

This is CJ coming from high above the ground in one of the tunnels.

This is Sous Chef on top and Big E crawling in the small space below Sous Chef. Thank goodness for zoom lenses!

I don't know that child closest to the camera, but the boy in the tunnel above him is CJ!

This is the indoor slide that comes down from the third floor.

I just thought this picture was too cute not to post it!

And this one!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Outsmarting the smart ass

I love a challenge. I love being right. I love outwitting someone who thinks they have outwitted me.

Our local grocery store has a rewards program that benefits my moms group. It's fairly easy. You get a reloadable gift card and whenever the dollars that have been added to gift cards designated to our organization equals $5,000, they send us a $200 check. Our local grocery store has a special going on when you buy a gift card for certain amounts, they will give you additional cash onto the card. Yesterday, I asked to add $300 to my reloadable gift card and to get the $30 they were currently offering. The cashier, a teenager, said the reloadable cards were not eligible for the 10% cash addition. She wasn't really sure why so she called over a manager. The manager said: "That would be double dipping. You get $30 and your organization gets money, too. THAT'S double dipping."Her snippiness really irked me, so I said: "Hhhhmmm...It doesn't say that on your sign," and I pointed to the sign by the register. Of course, as I left the store, I noticed it did say "with the purchase of a NEW gift card" on the sign at the main entrance. Had the manager had the knowledge to tell me THAT, I would have had a lot more respect for her ability to do her job. INSTEAD, she said: "Well, that's what came down from corporate and we can't do it," and she stomped away.

So I reloaded my current card with $300, figuring the money towards M&M was well needed. I also needed two $15 gift cards for bus driver gifts and I needed to go to the customer service counter for that. On my way over, I had a BRILLIANT idea, and this is where I outwitted that not so friendly manager. I USED MY RELOADED GIFT CARD TO PAY FOR THE NEW $300 GIFT CARD! Ohhhh, I was so happy I could hardly contain myself! So, my moms organization got a $300 credit towards the $5,000 and then I got my new $330 gift card for $300! Then I used that free $30 to purchase two $15 gift cards. As I walked out of the store, or should I say SKIPPED, I passed that manager. I had a big smile on my face and very happily said "goodbye" to her!