Monday, April 30, 2012

Puck Mondays

A little background on my title.  In high school, I participated in a Shakespeare festival for a few seasons, our favorite play being A Mid Summers Nights Dream.  I was a fairy, Peaseblossom, to be precise.  I even once made headlines, but not in a way that is good......  But I digress.  It was an ongoing joke to replace a particular explicative, with "Puck".  Had you known him personally, this only made sense.  So for a few years of my life, I donned a teal leotard with felt flowers and attempted not to repeat the headlines of our maiden voyage into all things Billy Shakespeare.

OK, now back to Monday. 

It involved washing sheets.  I try to wash the sheets weekly, but given that I am OCD deficient, that is not necessarily a routine quite yet.  But, I got them done today, and even back on the bed, even if I had to rush to get them back on, before The Hubs went to sleep.

There was Jiu Jitsu too, where Moops was required to continue doing push ups until he figured out that he had to actually use his arms to push up.  This resulted in very wet puppy dog eyes and sore wrists.  The jury is still out on whether he needs to go get a rockin' cast like Alex.  I foresee a mistrial.

On the way to jiu jitsu, Ike "forgot" to get his shoes on.  Fortunately for him, I don't clean the swagger wagon as often as I should, and we found his 3rd generation lightning McQueen crocs under the passengers side seat.  These shoes seriously need to be thrown away.

At one point in time, I screamed at the kids, swerved and probably caused a pile up on I-575 South.  In my defense, there was a wiffle ball bat involved that should have also been removed from the car, but was "forgotten".  Moops however, will never ever forget again....

There was also our study session over the North East United States and their capitals.  Apparently, I need to repeat the fifth grade a few more times.  Good thing I have 2 more kids to get through.....  I'm screwed when high school happens.... 

And finally.

I was out done by a 90 year old man with a cane, at the gym.  In fact we all were.  He pumped iron like "Ahnold" and hit the treadmill like a marathon runner, and then hobbled out of the gym, like it was a nothing sort of day.  I however, melted into a puddle of muscle atrophy after 30 minutes on the elliptical, and then slithered to my car where I chugged a quart of water before heading home.  My butt better end up gorgeous, I'm just sayin'.

On a good note, I'm gonna sleep well tonight.  And then rinse and repeat for tomorrow.....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Grocery Day

OK, in truth, everyday is grocery day for us.  There are six of us, and I am horribly disorganized, and the rest of my family assumes I am psychic and know that they need more of xy and z. 

There is only one thing I dislike more than ironing, and that would be grocery day with all 4 kids in tow.  Fortunately, it was only Ike in tow.  And Ike is pretty cool, but that is because I bribe him.

Today it was with a Sprite.

We also menu plan, which irritates me to no end.  Not because I have to make a list, but because I have to remember the list when I go grocery shopping.  Forget coupons, I have 10 years of coupons cut up and all organized into pretty little piles in my expandable wallet sized organizer.........  Which was left in my Expedition when we traded it in for the Swagger Wagon.  Two years ago.

There are four types of grocery day for us.

First is our marathon trip, where I plan out my menu, head out only to remember I forgot the damn menu and have to turn around to get it.  And then I bribe Ike, so he doesn't go Tasmanian devil on me.

Second would be the filler trips.  Those are the ones where I need up to replenish our eggs, milk, wine and bread trips.

Third would be those trips where my day sucked and I am out of wine.  Ice cream is usually purchased as well.

And finally, there is holiday grocery shopping.  Which is like the Shopping Olympics, and since most significant holidays fall on school breaks, that also includes 4 kids.   Insert explicatives here.

At least it is done, the big one that is.  And my pantry and fridge are organized, for now.  And I even remembered to buy The Hubs his mouth wash. 

Now, it is time for wine, tv, and my yoga pants!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Ants Go Marching One By One....

Alex is not enjoying his cast as much as we are.  It is itchy, confining and now he has an ant in it.  He also refuses to let us spray it with glitter paint and decorate it with a feather boa.  He said no to metallic markers and cool vinyl decals as well.  And when someone asks him what happens, he sighs heavily and tells them he refuses to talk about it.

You can tell it bugs him, because he has this look on his face that would be similar to if he were to walk into the girls bathroom thinking it was the boys.  It's awkward.

He says he can feel the ant move around and it tickles and is itchy.  We tried to flush it out (it's a waterproof cast).  But the ant still remains.  And I spent 30 minutes blow drying his arm until it stopped dripping.

It's kind of like that one time I inhaled a gnat up my nostril. 

There are reasons people don't like bugs.  If they just minded their own business, we wouldn't even notice them.  Instead, they move in on your turf, eat your basil plant and then fly up your nose.

The good news is, we have discovered that Alex's right arm is not as useless as we had previously expected.  He can actually write legibly.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Education Armageddon

Prologue:  Ha!  I have material for a prologue! 

I had intended to post this rant of sorts, earlier in the week.  Alas, life interfered, and I found myself busy with appointments.  Between vaccines, school registration and a broken arm; there was little time left.  I then found myself deciding between two equally important factoids, to blog or to drink wine.  And well, the wine won. 

On a positive note, Ike is now checked over and ready for Kindergarten.  I think that means I should set up a countdown of sorts.  Yes!  A ticker counting down the next chapter of my life.....

Three of our four kids are now registered for their new school, perhaps one day Moops will be able to join his siblings on their new educational adventure. 

And unfortunately, Alex broke his arm.  I could tell you a story of how he was goofing off with his friends after Jiu Jitsu, he got knocked over and didn't utilize his jiu jitsu skills, in particular the break fall.  But I will be honest with you all and tell you the truth.  It was ninjas, a whole herd of them.  They attacked him in his sleep, he had all of his weapons locked in his secret weapon lair and had to fight them off with only a paper clip and empty matchbox.  He was successful, and we all can rest easy again here in Stepford.  He will have to deal with a cast for at least 4 weeks though.

And with that said, we begin, with tonight's intended rambling.

One week a year, schools across the nation participate in what has become an Education Armageddon.

For our state, we have the CRCT, which is Georgia's Standardized assessment of whether or not our kids are comprehending and retaining what it is they are supposed to be learning.  If you like, you can replace CRCT with your state's standardized test, while reading the remainder of this blog post.

In theory, I can understand the philosophy behind administering a state wide assessment to measure the level of comprehension and achievement academically. 

In reality, the test is one huge nightmare.

CRCT is discussed year round, and there is an ever present reminder that CRCT is inevitable.  Schools have assemblies and pep rallies in preparation for CRCT.  Year round, the curriculum is taught with CRCT in mind.  And for weeks preceding the test, all work at school is CRCT Prep.  Practice tests, homework sheets, letters home, automated phone calls, the stock piling of water and "healthy snacks".  And this year, for $20, you can attend the middle schools CRCT Survivor Party, the final day of the week long test. 

Students, teachers and faculty develop ulcers over this test.  In fact there are even investigations into whether or not schools have committed crimes, in relation to the CRCT.  Teachers have been fired over this test, students risk repeating the grade they are in.  Schools risk losing ever so important funding over this test.

Mind you, this past November my kids also took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  Which also assesses where each student is academically on a National level.  There was no above average preparation for the Iowa test, which also consumes several hours over the course of several days to complete.  There were no pep rallies or survivor parties.  There was no stock piling of water and "healthy snacks".  And instead of constant reminders of what you can do at home to "optimize" your child's test taking abilities, we got an email and a note sent home.  And it is my understanding, school funding is not associated with student scores of the Iowa Test Of Basic Skills.  At least not in Georgia.

***On a side note, I remember taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  In second grade I answered questions on the wrong page of the scantron booklet included with the test.  I'm pretty sure I set a new standard of underachievement that year.  You can thank me now, if you like.

There is also Benchmark testing, which is done through out the year to monitor student progress.  Again, a thorn in my kids' side, but no where near the albatross that the CRCT hooks around a student's neck.

Chapter 2:

Now that I have explained what I am talking about.  It is time for my rant. 

I hate the CRCT.  Not because I suck at test taking, or because my kids complain about it like they do the nights I make something "healthy" for Dinner. 

No, I dislike the test for other reasons. 

1.  What should be an annual assessment of academic retention and comprehension is more a soap opera of sorts, involving panic attacks, controversy, and my kids' school calling me 3 times (once for each student) to inform me that it is important to feed my kids healthy food for breakfast, put them to bed at a reasonable hour, and maintain a consistent schedule for optimal test taking abilities. 


I thought I was supposed to do that all year long.  But that totally explains the schedule the schools maintain, in addition to the assemblies, pep rallies and various other distractions associated with the typical school day.

Schools are horrendous hypocrites when it comes to practicing what they preach.

Between assemblies, pep rallies, fundraisers (a particular frustration of mine), awareness type things (IE jump rope for heart, visiting dentists, help save the molecule that creates methane gas); a students regular classroom schedule is interrupted on a fairly frequent basis.

Add into the equation holidays, furloughs and breaks and we are looking at not only a frustration for working parents that need to make accommodations for their kids, but also an inconsistent attendance practice. 

In addition to chronic interruptions and frequent days off, we also have the ever perplexing liberal use of candy.  I want to break this one down so that we can all kind of get a better understanding of my gripe.

1.  Candy is made of sugar.

2.  Sugar is known to affect insulin levels and also is considered a toxin which the likes of our liver does not like. 

3.  Sugar is a known substance that negatively affects behavior, not only in children diagnosed with behavioral disorders known as ADHD, but also kids who would otherwise not have behavior struggles.

4.  There is a drastic rise of ADHD diagnosis' in the United States over the course of the last few decades.  I can't account for other countries, because to be honest I haven't made an effort to do so yet.

5.  ADHD is monitored in schools using RTI programs and establishing IEPs, so that the kid can still participate in the M&M Math Lesson and then be rewarded with another sweet treat.

6.  Kids then come home from school and crash like a train derails.  It's horrific, painful, and in many instances. 

Now, that we have established my frustration regarding an inconsistent classroom schedule, chronic days off and a candy habit that needs to be abolished.  I will finish up with my final bit of frustration, the ever evolving curriculum. 

I am well aware that things change and that is a necessary part of our culture.  I know when I came home with Algebra in 8th Grade for my Dad to help me with.  His antiquated practices would be something to question.  And I kind of figured the same scenario would repeat itself when I had my own kids.  BUT, when the curriculum changes, while your kids are still in school, it does make for some challenges. 

A good example is Moops now being in Kindergarten.  I really studied up while Izzy and Alex were in Kindergarten.  I found the value in early childhood development, and really got myself in check.  I even prepared myself, complete with pulling out Izzy and Alex's old sight words cards, so that Moops and I could get a head start. 

Only thing is, the curriculum is completely different for Moops.  And we are looking at only a 5 year time span from when Alex did Kindergarten, in the same school!

Now, with all the variables out on the table.  I look at what is going on in today's schools, to include the growing number of families that opt for Homeschooling their children to downward spiral we seem to be experiencing in regards to parent involvement.

And with this week being CRCT week, and all that has been a result of this test.  I have to wonder, is this one test worth all the strife that it causes?

Friday, April 13, 2012

School Of Mom

In light of the fact that my Sister is now expecting, there of course is chattering.  And lots of window shopping, eye balling all that we can spoil the little one with.  I myself have 6 over flowing bins of little boys clothes ready to be worn again.  I think I have a bag full of little girls things as well.  It's been a while.  No worries, if there is a girl to be born.  There is Target.  Giggle..... snort.  Bwah ha ha ha.....

There is a lot of reminiscing going on, a lot of previous experience conjured up, a lot of opinion festering and waiting to be released in tsunami form towards my ever so unprepared sister. 

And of course that got me thinking about being a new Mom.

I will be honest.  I went into parenthood completely oblivious.  Maybe it was Mommy Brain that took over, and perhaps that is why there is not one universal publication in regards to child rearing.  Maybe as a Mother, we rely too heavily on instinct until it is too late.  And then we realize, "shit, we should have listened when the school had the puberty assembly.".

I do know we all have our differing opinions in regards to how a child should be raised.  So, I figured, in a vain attempt to get my point across, I would share mine here.

1.   Guaranteed, we are all clueless.  I'm convinced that even those that pretend to know what they are doing, are faking it.

2.  It is OK to get mad at your kid.  In fact, I think it is a necessary experience.  Not only for the kid, but also for the parent.  It is OK to get pissed off.  It is OK to pace about  and come up with ways to get them to comprehend their actions (even if it is duct tape and jalapenos that pop into your head).  And it is necessary to understand that the only way a kid will learn right from wrong is to see when they have pissed their parent off enough to override every atom of unconditional love in their parents body, that they then feel the need to put their child in check.  There is nothing more scary than a really mad mom, not even Darth Vader.

3.  Potty training is the easy part.  It may seem like the most horrible experience on the planet. but that is because you haven't experienced puberty yet.

I think my neighbors wife is now nekkid.  Or at least on the verge of her own girls gone wild video.  In defense of the neighbors who do follow me on facebook, I'm pretty sure it is not you.  Unless of course you are drunk and reliving your sorority days in Jim's back yard on April's Friday 13th, 2012. 

OK.  Fireworks and cheering.  I'm missing out....

Oh wait, being that I am terrible with names.  Are any of you named Jim?

4. You will be puked, pissed and pooped on.  Guaranteed, like taxes and death, not like satisfaction.

5.  Everyone is an expert. Even those that don't have kids.

6.  Grandparents like being grandparents for 3 reasons.  First, they can give the kid what they wanted to give to you, but refrained with fear of what it would do to you.  Second, Revenge; see adolescence.  Third, Unconditional love without the repercussions.....  It's worse than crack.

Wow!  My neighbors are really going at it....

7. No one warns you, because they are afraid.  Seriously.  Either they're right, and you are evil for not intervening.  Or they are 7,000 leagues under oblivion and refuse to accept the fact that it is indeed their kid that is stalking the neighborhood wearing a motorcycle helmet and wielding an air soft gun.

8.  Organic Free Range Vegan Fed Breast Is Best, but who can refuse a Big Mac....

9.  The minute sperm hits egg, it's all down hill.  Or uphill, depending on how you were like previously.  It really all depends on the lottery.  In many ways more than just money.

10.  Well, I like top ten lists.  And I got to Nine.  So, I figured....

Good Night Y'all, I have to work in the morning.  Wish me luck.......  It's been one heck of a Frieday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hump Day

I have a mosquito bite on my lip, and I am not sure what bothers me more.  The fact that my lip is now itchy and sensitive, and a little bit puffy.  Or the fact that a bug was on my mouth. 

The only thing to trump my itchy lip would be witnessing Moops sneeze and then slurp up his snot, all in one swift action.  It was gross and it was a 6 year old doing the next best thing, after his Mom snaps at him not to smear the snot across his arm, and he is not anywhere near a tissue. 

Izzy's description of what a kid did in class would rank up there too, when you can clear a room with a silent deadly odor, without even trying.  I'm not sure if I hated middle school more, back when I was there, or now that I am a Mom to a middle school student. 

The good news is, Izzy is not going to date in middle school.  She has decided she doesn't need the added drama of boy troubles.  She is drama enough on her own.   Her words, I was relieved. WHEW! 

In Jiu Jitsu, Alex was grappling with another kid, and proceeded to rip the kids toe nail off. 

Ike didn't do anything remotely gross today.  He did chug an entire bottle of water, after Izzy fed him a flaming hot cheeto.  He was pretty upset, he doesn't do spicy and Izzy knows that.  She found it hilarious. 

And so it is.....  Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Things I Wish My Kids Would Comprehend....

My bed is not a trampoline.  Sure, it's big and bouncy and squishy soft.  But a trampoline it is not. 

Drop kicking me in the spleen really does hurt.  I don't scream and leap off the trampoline, I mean my bed, just to startle you.  And yes, you will get the same exact reaction every time.  So please don't give me big ol' sad puppy dog eyes and say you didn't know it would hurt.  It hurt yesterday when you did it, it will hurt today too. 

Hanging from my curtains will indeed cause them to fall.  And then you will encounter Angry Mommy.  Ike, that means you!

My purse is not a trash can.  And throwing your used banana peel into my bag will only get you a cranky Mom faster than fighting with your siblings over who is being the most well behaved and quiet after a very long day trip that causes us to spend way too much time together in way too confined of a space.  This is especially pertinent information for when you only eat half the banana and the remaining half ends up smeared all over my phone and I only realize this when the phone rings and I am in a mad rush to answer it, and in turn end up with mashed moist ripe banana in my ear.

No, buying a DVD player for the car will not reduce the fighting.  It will just change what you all fight about.

You are not a cat, nor a mountain goat.  Stop walking along the back side of my couch. 

Fever, Puke and/or ectoplasm oozing from your nose will enable you to stay home from school.  A hang nail will not.

"Be Alert Be Alive" is intended to get your attention, so you don't walk into an oncoming car or shopping cart, Moops.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Not So Close Encounters Of The Yuppie Kind

Wanderlust struck us this week.  So that means ROAD TRIP!

Destination:  The Great Smoky Mountain National Park

First stop was a gas station somewhere in North Carolina for a quick potty break.  But, we will start our picture gallery at a tourist trap on Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina. 

Then Lunch at Dairy Queen. This is Ike's Dilly Bar before he puked it up along with his fries and ketchup.  There would have been chicken involved, but he refused to eat it.  So, I'm a bit relieved.

Joe Oliver's Cabin, in Cade's Cove.  It was kind of cute.  There were a few other houses and some churches as well.  And much to The Hubs' frustration, NO black bears to be had. 

About 5 minutes before this picture, Ike tripped.  As he tripped he tooted a little bit.  When he stood back up, he looked up at us all and stated "I farted", nothing about falling on his face.

We had Dinner at another Tourist Trap, Gatlinburg.  Here the boys ordered pizzas that were served with those pie spatulas.  It was a duel to the death!  Until Mommy screamed and made Dad take the spatulas away.

Look! Elk!  We think.  Maybe I should google to make sure......  Yup, Elk.

We were about 15 feet from them, and on a ledge.  In total there were about 8 of them, staring at us while we all ogled them and took their pictures.  We even caused a traffic jam!  And eventually we had a whole herd of humans congregated ogling in unison.  All but Ike would get out of the car.  Ike refused to get out of the car, he stood on his seat and looked out the window.  Moops on the other hand was so excited, we had to hold on to him, so he would stop running into the road.  Le Sigh.

It was a nice day, with the exception of the fighting, puke, and the lack of bears. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm Really Lucky

I married a man who is actually interested in me.  It could be fear, I admit, I have my bitchy moments.  Or he could actually really care enough to try.  Or both.  I'm not gonna push it, I'm going to appreciate it.

So, here I am with my purple toes.  Now that it is Spring, there are no socks on my feet.  AND my toes are purple, AND he noticed.

Now mind you, I have painted my toes purple every Spring since I was like 9.  BUT he did notice, and I know he did so because he cares. 

So, I am feeling all warm and gushy inside.  And he is probably panicking.  Poor dude, it probably doesn't help that he has a suspected cracked rib from Jiu Jitsu and he has hiccups.  And that combination is apparently uncomfortable.

And since The Hubs actually reads my blog.  I will just say, I love you.  And it makes me feel really good that you actually noticed that I painted my toes.  Because it never occurred to me that you would. 

Oh, and I do totally know how good I have it, being married to you.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's About Damn Time!

Eleven and a half years ago, a new generation was born for our family.

And for eleven and a half years, both sides of Grandparents only had my children to spoil and corrupt.

Well, that is now no longer the case.  My Sister is going to be a Mommy!  And even more important, I am going to be an Auntie!

I thought I would take this moment and share with my Sister some very pertinent information regarding what being a Mommy means.  And I'll throw in some Daddy info too, for her Hubby.

1.  Learn to say NO now!  Not only will every other word you utter to your child, from toddler until they are moved out, will be NO.  But you will also have the rest of the population of this planet, and some questionable life forms from somewhere else, telling you HOW to be a parent.  If Britax has it there way, your child will be rear facing in a five point harness until he/she has children of their own.  The age of sixteen, it is safe to turn them forward facing.  But, then you will also have to teach them to drive.

2.  You will receive more advice than you can process.  Which is probably why there is NO universal manual as to how to raise your child.  Although, Ill be honest, I'm pretty darn convinced that Alicia Silverstone went a little too far with chewing up her son's food for him and then feeding him parakeet style. 

3.  Sleep now and forever pray for peace.

4.  Just an FYI.  If there was ever something Mom was meant to do, she was meant to be a Grandma.  And from this point on, you will have to worry about what she finds that she can give to her grandchild.  And she will feed them absolutely everything you don't want them to have.  And their ain't a damn thing you can do about it. 

5.  You do realize that I am totally going to love on this little baby until it poops or pukes, then I'm handing it back to you. 

6.  You will encounter total whackadoo strangers who will notice your wee one is fussy and attempt to deblouse you so you can nurse in public.  And there will be someone who is stalking the whackadoo, so they can scream at you for over exposing.  And then when your kid is older they will focus on other things, like when your kid picks their nose and then eats it.  Or when you take your child to dinner wearing a cape and cowboy boots, because you were just too damn tired to argue with Captain Obvious about social etiquette and when it is appropriate to cross dress imaginary friends.  And opting for formula will not deter the whackadoo.  Study up on People of Walmart, lots of whackadoos there.

7.  The hardest part of parenting is not your child, but other people and their kids.  This is where I admit that the Duggars probably have it right.  They live in the middle of nowhere, home school their kids and vacation in rural isolated third world locations.  They don't have to contend with the next door neighbors kindergartner toting the newest of apple products.  Nor total strangers that smell funny informing you that there is a conspiracy involving ketchup. 

8.  Pureed corn will do things to your child that equate to them pooping an atomic bomb.  The smell and consistency of corn fed baby poop is right up there with what you puked up at your bachelorette party.  Possibly worse.

9.  Your other sister and I have been conspiring behind your back and intend to give your child some crazy funky nickname. 

10.  Guaranteed Nickelodeon will have some show that irritates you to oblivion and totally enthrall your children all at once. 

Ok.  Ill let you absorb and come to terms.  Many Congratulations!