Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bug's first broken heart :(

Today my sweet Bug had his first real heart break and my own heart broke just a little to see him so sad.  His first girlfriend (or whatever qualifies as a girlfriend when you are in 6th grade) broke up with him today.  Their romance lasted just about one month and mostly consisted of nearly constant texting back and forth, but he was pretty upset when he arrived home from school today.

He didn't want to talk much and after he went to karate tonight he seemed to be in better spirits, but there was still a little part of me that wanted to call this girl up and tell her what a fool she is for letting such an awesome kid as my Bug go.

And then I realized I just might turn into that mother. You know the one. You probably dated a guy who had that mother. The mother who thinks that no girl is good enough for her golden son. That just might be me.

See, this time it's just a little thing. Bug's going to be sad when he sees this girl at school on Monday and there might be some weirdness between them for a little while that will be forgotten by Valentines Day when he'll more than likely be eyeing some other little girl who will be glad to have his attention.

But there will come a day when it's not a little thing. When he really loves someone and they're careless with his heart. And I really, really don't want that day to come.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

7 Things I Want My Children To Know

Life is hard. But it’s worth it. Keep focusing on those silver linings. 

Life is filled with happiness and sadness, good and bad, like and dislike.  There are times of incredible hardship, when just the simple act of waking up in the morning and putting both feet on the floor is almost impossible. But even in those times there is light. Even when you feel you’ve lost everything or you have nothing or you can’t imagine taking one more step, there is something to be gained. 

There is always something positive to see, if you take the time to look. And there is always hope for a better day and a reason to keep on going. If you can just take that next step, just keep going, you’ll see that even in the darkest and longest tunnel, there is a light at the end.

Make mistakes and don’t be afraid to admit you did.

Nothing will ever be gained if you don’t take a chance. I’ve spent a good portion of my life being afraid to fail and ultimately failing miserably at so many things because I never took the chance to succeed. When things got hard for me, I quit them rather than fail.  The thought of trying and not succeeding at something was just too much for me to handle. I had to be in control.  

It wasn’t until I had children, something I couldn’t give up on, that I realized it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s NORMAL to make mistakes. I’ve made a mountain of mistakes raising the three of you and I’m sure I’ll make a couple mountains more. But you all are STILL amazing. I’m still in absolute awe of you and your little minds and your big ideas… and I realize that all the mistakes I’ve made have made you into these wonderful people. 

Don’t be afraid to tell other people about the mistakes you made.  Help other people learn from your mistakes and you’ll ultimately be making the world a better place. There’s no shame in screwing up if you can pick yourself up and move on. Just don’t give up just because something gets hard or looks scary. If it doesn’t work out, you learned a lesson. 

Don’t ever be afraid to be yourself.

The world is full of people trying to be something they’re not. But you have the opportunity to be real and true by being who you really are inside. What you think and believe makes you who you are. Don’t allow someone else to do your thinking for you. You’re smart and quick witted and kind and the thoughts and feelings that come from within you are more important than any thoughts that someone else tries to put in your head. 

In your life you’ll be bombarded constantly with propaganda. Messages trying to convince you to think a certain way or feel a certain way. But you know what is right for YOU. Be true to yourself, always, even when it’s difficult.  This life is a gift, don’t waste it living for anyone other than yourself.

Don’t be afraid of change.

The best things have come about by change so don’t cling fast to old ideas and comfortable surroundings for fear of change. The world will never stop changing. Get used to it. One day you’ll look back at your life and wonder what happened to one thing or another place. Hold on to your memories of those things you’ve loved in the past, but look forward to the wonderful things you will love in the future. 

It’s not an easy thing, to accept change. You’ll have to watch your parents get older, you’ll see people and animals that you love die and you’ll have to go on without them. You’ll move, you’ll start a new job, you’ll have a baby. And every time something changes it’s a little scary.  But with every change there is an opportunity for things to be even better, even more amazing, and for you to live an even happier life. 

And there’s always the opportunity to change again if things aren’t what you want them to be.

Be honest.

I think it was Mark Twain who once said “When in doubt, tell the truth.”  Honesty is almost always the very best policy.  There are few people in your life that you will be able to trust without question, but those people will mean more to you than everyone else. Because there is nothing that can compare to trust. 

Be that person that other people can trust. And not just with other people. Be that person with yourself, too. People lie to themselves even more than they lie to other people, and those little lies you tell yourself are the worst kinds of lies. 

If you know you’re always being truthful, you’ll create a sense of peace and tranquility within your life that can never be equaled by any amount of wealth or fame or friendships. Always be honest. 

If it feels like it might be the wrong thing to do, it probably is.

You have a voice inside yourself that will let you know when something is wrong. When your friends are about to do something you don’t feel comfortable with and are urging you to go along, listen to that voice. When someone offers you an opportunity that seems like it might be shady or dishonest or might hurt other people, listen to that voice. When you drive your car into a parking lot and hesitate to go inside whatever building is there because something just doesn’t feel right, listen to that voice.  You might never know what you avoided, but there’s a reason that voice is within you. Use it. 

You’ve been blessed to have wonderful people in your life that have given you guidance. That guidance has given you a conscious and a moral fiber that will help you for the rest of your life. Don’t waste that little voice inside of you, it’s there to keep you safe.

I will always love you.
No matter what you do, who you love, or path you follow, I will never stop loving you. Even on my most frustrating days, the days when I am disappointed and can't imagine how you could have made whatever decision you made, I will always, ALWAYS love you. You will always be my child and I will always be your mother and I will never give up on you.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Where Goober proves he's not afraid of anything! (Except for loud birds and the opening to HBO's Crashbox...)

Last weekend was my youngest niece's 7th birthday celebration at the fair.  When I was a little kid we went to the fair almost every year for B2's birthday as it always fell around the same time of the year.  So it was sort of nostalgic to go for her daughter's birthday this year.

It was probably the coldest day we've had so far this year in South Florida and it was slightly overcast which probably was what kept the crowds at bay so our kids could freely jump with practically no wait from one ride to another.

But before we even really got started, Goober, my youngest child at only eight years old decided he wanted to ride the Drop of Fear.

Let me just let you linger on that name for a minute. Drop of FEAR.

I had to do a little research just to figure out how big the Drop of Fear is and what I found was that the Drop of Fear is 131 feet high. And my eight year old wanted to ride it.

At first I thought that I would be saved by ride height limitations, but lucky for us, Goober has evidently just reached the 48 inch limit and was cleared for safety. Because my child plummeting 131 feet to the ground is safe.

Goober and The Man climbed aboard the ride and were strapped in safely and sat in anticipation while the rest of the riders buckled in.  Once everyone was strapped in, the ride began it's ascent.

And with every foot they rose, I felt that little panic ride in my throat. The one that causes me to do stupid things like start screaming obscenities at the ride operator in order to convince him to bring the ride down slowly and allow my baby to get off.  This is the same panic that caused "The Great Dragon Boat Freak Out of 1989" when B1 convinced me to get on that stupid dragon boat ride and I had a full on panic attack resulting in me screaming obscenities I didn't even know I knew to a poor unsuspecting ride operator as we flew back and forth through the air. I was absolutely SURE I was going to die.

Evidently I'm very foul mouthed when I think I'm going to die.

I felt my heart beating faster and I started to sweat a little in the 55 degree weather as I stared at the well worn soles of my little boy's sneakers as they dangled 131 feet above me. The wait for them to come back down was agonizing. 

But I kept it together as I watched Goober and The Man rise to the height of 131 feet and I only slightly dug my fingernails into B2's arm as they dropped.

I'm fairly certain they dropped even faster than the speed of 9.8 meters per second that natural gravity allows. I'm fairly certain I had a little mini heart attack as I watched.

I didn't get video of it because I was busy keeping myself in check, so I present you with a video someone else took of their own loved one aboard a similar ride.


When Goober got off the ride he was a little dizzy and slightly freaked out. He was actually so freaked out that he was a bit hesitant to go on any other rides for a little while until he realized that after the Drop of Fear they were all yawnsville.

I'm glad he's not proving to be an adrenaline junkie or anything.

The fair was wonderful, though. My favorite part was the baby cows in the Mooternity tent. We watched the wobbly little babies attempt to stand for the first time and it truly made my heart melt. I could watch them all day.

And we ate. And ate. And ate some more. I even ate an Italian sausage and felt terrible about it. I haven't fallen off the vegetarian wagon very often since I started, but it has happened a few times. The fair and all the yummy smells and delicious flavors pushed me over the edge. I did manage to stay away from the Krispy Kreme burger and the fried Oreos. But the sausage got me.

So back on the wagon... and the ground.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No posts today - just links

Information on SOPA/PIPA:

Sign the petition:

Most importantly, find & contact your representative:

Friday, January 13, 2012

I had a lot of fun with the babelfish translator when I wrote this post.

Forever ago (in the beginning of December), I was contacted by Vanessa, a representative for GoGo squeeZ, an applesauce in a pouch snack marketed for kids.  Vanessa asked if the monsters and I would be willing to try her product and maybe write what we thought about it here on the blog. I'll admit that I sort of ignored Vanessa at first.  Because as much as I like getting free stuff (I mean, really, who doesn't?), I don't really do a lot of product promotion here on the blog and I don't really want to start.

Vanessa was persistent, though, and offered to send out some GoGo squeeZ to me whether I wrote about it or not.

Enter my girl scout co-leader, Miss F. Miss F is all about healthy snacks at girl scout meetings. I mean, who isn't about healthy snacks for kids? - but Miss F takes it to a new level. Our girls have eaten so many bananas and grapes they've been known to literally pout at the sight of a grape. Oh, how they long for processed carbs and sugar. But Miss F will have none of it. She is vigilant.

And in her defense, the one time we allowed the girls to plan their own food at an end-of-the-year party, there was so much crappy food we actually watched as they spun themselves into chocolate induced frenzies and then dropped like flies from sugar crashes. It's all about moderation, y'all.

Anyhow, the thing about GoGo squeeZ is that there is no added sugar. The ingredients in the Apple Apple flavor are simple. Apple, apple juice concentrate. That's it. And the Apple Banana flavor? There's some banana mixed in. Crazy, right? It's all natural and healthy. And the apples are French. So they're fancy apples that pronounce things funny. Oui, oui. Mes pommes sont délicieuses.

Anyhow, I knew Miss F would approve. And guess who was signed up for snack at the first meeting of the new year? The Spaz. You can see where I'm going with this.

We've actually bought GoGo squeeZ a few times before. The monsters are pretty fond of it, actually. Munchkin especially likes the Apple Cinnamon flavor. I like it because it's not messy and the little pouches come with screw on tops that you can screw back on. So the kids can eat half a package and save the rest for later. Try that with one of those little tubs of applesauce with the foil lids. It's not pretty.

So I told Vanessa that I'd be happy to let the girls try GoGo squeeZ out at our next meeting and she put a package in the mail to me.

When the package arrived I have to admit, I was a little giddy. Not only did Vanessa include enough GoGo squeeZ for all the girls and leaders to try, but she included some fun toys for the girls to play with, too. Little airplanes for them to put together, pick-up sticks, a jumprope, and some squeezie stress apples for the leaders to squeeze when the girls drive us crazy girls to play with.

And she packed it all up in a Publix reusable grocery bag. Which made me love her, instantly. I love you, Vanessa!

When I unveiled the GoGo squeeZ to the girls they were happy to give it a try. Because it wasn't grapes or bananas and it came in a package which made them think it might just be junk food. Ha! Take that, Jessica Seinfeld!

The girls sucked down their GoGo squeeZ like little crazed lunatics and asked for more.  Even the leaders gave them a try, including myself.  I actually expected not to like it, but honestly, it was darned delicious. And only 60 calories in a package? My ass thanks you, GoGo squeeZ.

The girls also found new uses for the empty pouches. They're such recyclers. They discovered that GoGo squeeZ pouches stick to your face if you create a vacuum (they didn't learn that from Miss G, not at all). They also discovered that you can fill a GoGo squeeZ pouch with air and then blow it at each other like a weapon. Hilarity ensued.

It was all fun in games until one of the girls almost lost their eye by a nose diving GoGo squeeZ airplane. That's when we had to shut it down.

In short, we liked the squeeZ. The kids liked the taste (and we've got some picky girls to contend with) and I liked the easy clean-up. Miss F liked the lack of preservatives, gluten, nuts, dairy, processed sugar, ninjas, and barbiturates. Really y'all, stop giving your children barbiturates.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Waking up is hard to do

The monsters went back to school today and if I weren't so tired I'd feel like dancing right now. After having them home for over 2 weeks straight I practically pushed them out of the minivan this morning in the drop off circle.

I think that I take the adjustment to getting back on schedule much harder than the kids do. After allowing myself to wake up whenever I wanted to for the past couple of weeks, I had an awfully difficult time getting back to normal today.  It all started last night when trying to fall asleep.

See, if I didn't have kids I'd be on a pretty standard 4 am to 12 pm sleep schedule. That's natural for me. Unfortunately I haven't been able to convince the school board that kids should start school at 1 pm. So whenever there is a break from school I start to naturally fall back into that schedule. And then the night before school starts I try to fall asleep at midnight.

Last night I laid down a little after midnight and stared at the time projected on the ceiling for a while. Then I spent about an hour trying to beat my previous "Bop It" score of 98. Then I went into the bathroom and examined my face for a while, following that up with a tweeze and squeeze session. Then I laid down again. I think I finally fell into a fitful sleep around 2:30 am. But it was one of those sleeps where you look at the clock every 1/2 hour and tell yourself to STOP WAKING UP and GO TO SLEEP.

When the alarm clock started blaring at me at 6:30 this morning I wasn't quite sure if I had fallen asleep at all. If I get through today without crashing at some point it will be a miracle. Why do I continue to do this to myself?

Monday, January 2, 2012

If how a person spends the first day of the year is any indication of how the rest of the year will go, then I'm pretty happy about 2012

We slept in on the first day of the year, after spending a decadent evening at home with the kids watching the ball drop. The weather was perfect and Goober had mentioned that he wanted to see Lake Okeechobee since we'd never driven out there with him before. Just the other day B2 mentioned that she had driven out there with my mom and dad and they had really had a nice time.

It seemed like a perfect way to spend the very first day of the year, as a family on a little adventure, so we packed up some sandwiches and some leftovers from our New Years Even feast and jumped in the car to see the big lake. We even let Sudo come along for the adventure.

On the way out, the kids were thrilled to see a controlled sugar cane field burn up close. I've driven out to the Glades probably a hundred or more times in my life and I've never had the opportunity to see a burn as close as this one was.

The kids were wide eyed at the flames and the smoke and all the hub bub.

After the excitement of the burning field had died down, our little monsters were sort of bored at all the miles and miles of sugar cane and farm equipment and agriculture.

They were all "Blah Blah Blah... why are you guys talking about sugar cane so much?" and "Are we there yet? I can't see Lake Okeechobee from here." and "Is this forever?"

Until we spotted one of Florida's most famous reptiles sunning himself on the bank of a canal. Excitement was renewed in the vehicle.

He was really just a little guy, but the kids were pretty excited to see him.

Once we arrived at the lake, Goober oohed and aahed at how big it was and I snapped one picture of the kids and Sudo standing in front of the lake.

We all decided we were hungry so we went in search of a picnic spot and thought we might snag a Geocache while we were out. The Man navigated us to the closest Geocache that mentioned "picnic spot" in the comments and we found ourselves at a cute little park near the lake.

After eating our lunch, we searched out the cache but were completely unsuccessful at it. We searched and searched but whoever hid that thing knew what they were doing. No big deal, though. We had a nice lunch and Goober got some tree-climbing practice while we were out there.

We thought we might have time for one more geocache before the sun set on us, so we packed up our stuff, jumped back into the car and headed north to a cache a little ways away.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I missed our turn. Instead of turning around, we decided to scout out a spot to watch the sun set over the lake. In Port Mayaca, just before we would turn off of 441 and on to Kanner Highway to head back to civilization we found a spot.

And what a spot we found....