Re-Creator—that’s me

I am 10 gallons of crazy in a 5 gallon bucket. Admittedly. And it’s never more evident than around Halloween. What started as a good mommy idea has turned into something else entirely.

For $9.99 you can have a Halloween costume. Kids can be anything they want…a princess, a cat, mickey mouse, that chick from Frozen, a witch or anything else imaginable. One trip to the store and VIOLA! The child is happy, the mom marks a ‘to-do’ item off the list and all is well. I KNOW THIS. She wants to be a Princess. I know this too. We could go to Party City and pick from any number of plastic, cheap Princess costumes. I know this.

Is that what I do? Oh no. Instead I take the bat&*^% crazy route and make costumes. I don’t know why I think this is necessary. I don’t know why I always think, “I can do that” when in reality, I can’t. Someday I must invest in therapy to figure out this absurd obsession with the HOMEMADE HALLOWEEN. But not right now…I am too busy making a list of items I need for THE HOMEMADE HALLOWEEN costume I’ve convinced myself I have to make.

I was so close…so very close…my little daughter will be with her Dad this Halloween. I am taking the BIGS to a football game—their school against my nephews school—out of town. Halloween wasn’t even on my radar. Halloween was going to be a non-event for me this year. No hot glue, no sequins, no plastic flowers and not a single piece of ribbon would be part of my Friday night. NADA. I pretended it was a relief. And it was. Until….

I freaking hate pintrest. I had accepted that Halloween wasn’t mine to stress over this year. I had. I had made peace with the fact that my little one would be in a costume that I didn’t make. I had. The peace lasted until late one sleepless night when I made the mistake of opening Pintrest. And there…there on the screen…was an adorable HANDMADE costume. I closed the app like a 13-year old boy caught sneaking a peek at a girlie magazine….but it was too late. The damage had been done. I had seen it. There was no taking it back. Denial is a strong emotion. Insanity is stronger. Visions of tulle and hot glue began dancing in my head.

Just like the dreaded 7th grade science project, the worst part of HOMEMADE HALLOWEEN is deciding what to do. Luckily there is pintrest. See, I don’t even come up with my own ideas. I see something I like and I re-create. I am a creative fraud. I am a re-creator and that isn’t the same thing. But I digress….I stalked, um….scoured…pintrest. It had to be something I could totally do on my own. In years past I’ve come up with ideas but needed help executing some part of it. I didn’t have that this year. It had to be stinking adorable…I have a rep to protect after all. The memory of the comment, “We can’t wait to see what she is from year to year” rang in my head as I scrolled and scrolled and scrolled through costume ideas. And, for the record, I am warped but there are some seriously obsessed people with wwwwaaaayyyyy tooooooooooo much time on their hands. Seeing some of the extravagant costumes I gave myself a list of rules.
• It has to be cute.
• It could NOT involve power tools.
• It had to be something her Dad could execute.
• It had to be manageable in case she got to wear it to school.
• It had to be cheap.
• It could not be elaborate.
• I had to be able to do it in a few hours here and there.

With those in mind I kept up the search. I’d have moments of clarity—mostly when I realized I had no clean underwear or towels—when I asked myself when exactly I planned to do this silly, silly task. Those moments were short lived. I am a re-creator…I can’t be bothered with logistics like time or necessity. Not me.

My sleepless nights quit being filled of ‘woe is me’ or sad thoughts and instead were filled with ideas of how exactly to make her into a box of cutie oranges while still allowing her to go to the bathroom.; or, how to get that yarn to stick to her tights when I made her look like spaghetti and meatballs. At 3am following my self-imposed list of rules didn’t happen. Luckily, in the light of day and after LOTS of coffee I remembered the ‘rules’ and went back to concocting ideas that were much saner—like the tulle penguin or the cupcake. Although with orange balloons and a large printer I could have pulled off the Orange Cutie costume.

And there it is…my admission that I have crossed back over into the dark side of HOMEMADE HALLOWEEN. I would write more but I am off to tackle the growing list of supplies needed to pull of this year’s debacle. Stay tuned.

Stay tuned. Here is last years re-creation of a Pinterest idea.20141022-172640-62800442.jpg

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Double Shot

My son and nephew are the best of pals…always have been. They are 6 weeks apart and have been friends their entire lives. They live an hour and half a way from one another. My son is a city boy and my nephew is a country fella but they make it work. C (my son) is talkative and hyper and excitable but charming and funny when he wants to be. D (my nephew is laid back and calm. His dry sense of humor and perfect sense of timing make me laugh. Together they are like a little comedy duo.

For all of their little lives my son and nephew have been hunting. They pack up in the fall and head to the ‘hunting club’ with my dad. He expanded his cabin and added bunk beds when they started going regularly. He’s taught them the ropes of the ‘club’ and of the woods. When the girls get to make their yearly visit the boys treat us to grilled chicken wings made from a hand-welded grill in the center of camp. They know their way around the camp which is neat to see. My dad has hunted pretty much with this same club all the years I’ve been aware of. It’s a serious camp and there are certain ways of doing things. To be part of this camp you adhere to the rules. My dad’s taught them well. I grew up knowing these men and getting to visit the camp in the off season. Now my son is growing up knowing them and their grandsons. It’s pretty cool.

Before anyone gets up in arms about hunting let me tell you that my dad and son don’t hunt for sport. They hunt for food. If they kill it, they eat it. That’s the deal. Fried squirrel 3 Thanksgiving’s ago is proof of that.

Back to this weekend. Just the 3 of them headed to the woods this weekend. Opening day is Saturday, October 18th but my nephew read that under 16 could hunt this weekend. Last year they hunted and when Dustin saw a deer he fired but didn’t have a bullet in the gun. Another time they were both asleep when a deer came by. They’ve taken gun safety courses together and even took a DNR class with my dad. They read the magazines and talk the talk but, to date, they haven’t walked the walk. They tend to be talkative and rambunctious when they are together so I never imagined that they had the patience or the ability to stay quiet long enough to actually hunt.

This weekend, like all the others, they took over the RHINO (my dad’s all-terrain vehicle). No telling how many miles they put on that poor vehicle. From what I understand they blazed trails that hadn’t been blazed before. They learned to seed a field which was a whole lot like dancing I thought as my son and nephew illustrated their moves. My dad told them to do it evenly and to get their own rhythm. My son’s rhthym involved a whole lotta hip action. I don’t forsee that field growing very evenly. Their adventures even toppled over their poor grandpa as they were exploring. I guess a white lawn chair and a bungee cord in the back of an all-terrain vehicle with a 15 year old driver isn’t too steady. “Momma-we told grandpa that wasn’t a good idea but he said it’d be alright. When he fell out of that chair D and I were afraid to even look back there. We just sat there a minute. D finally said, ‘you alright back there’ and grandpa said he was. D said ‘well your drink a’int’ ‘cause Momma-his drink went everywhere! We let him drive after that.”

Eventually they quit driving and started walking. According to them they were walking thru the woods shaking horns to attract deer. (How do shaking horns make sounds? I didn’t want to appear stupid so I didn’t ask.) Midway thru the woods my fella poked my nephew and pointed out a deer. He mimed how he slowly put down the antlers. The both raised their guns and fired. “Man I didn’t even feel the gun recoil,” they both said. C said he was ready to fire again but the buck went down. They tracked their prey as it ran a few feet away.

At this point I wish I could have been a witness. My son tells a hysterical version of them standing over looking at the young buck. “Before we got there I think we were both thinking the other one got it,” C admitted. “I was saying I did and he was saying he did.” D jumped in,”…but then we got up to it and I thought it was a doe so I said “nope man, that’s all yours’,” he was laughing. C jumped in, “…and I said NOPE-it’s all yours!” I asked why and they explained that there were rules to what you could hunt this time of year. When they thought their catch was something out of season and would come with a hefty fine they were content to let the other take the glory/fall. “But then it twitched,” and my nephew explained how he jumped away and babbled, “it’s moving, it’s moving, it’s moving”. C was laughing at him. He wasn’t taking any chances and made my son get the head end of the deer and together they carried it through the woods and back to the RHINO. I asked how they got it onto the bed of the rhino and they illustrated how they pushed and tossed until they got it up there. “It was heavy!” my nephew said. “And it was sorta weird ‘cause it’s head was facing the wrong way by the time we got it up there. That adrenaline is something,” picturing the 2 of them a) realizing that they had gotten him b) concocting a way to get it on the trailer and c) actually getting in there makes me laugh.

I asked about the reaction they got when they got back to camp. Since ‘both my dad’s boys were girls’ he’d never gotten to experience the pride of seeing his offspring carry on the hunting tradition. I figured he had to be over the moon at seeing his ‘boys’ carry on the sport. “You know Grandpa, he don’t show a lot of emotion,” drawled my nephew when I asked if my dad was excited. My son picked up the next sentence, “His voice never changed—it stayed even,” he slide his hand horizontal to the ground. “We pulled up and said ‘Want to help us skin a deer?’ and he said ‘good job boys’ but his voice was even. It didn’t even go up.”

However, when I asked my dad about the events he seemed tickled. He explained that the entrance wounds were inches apart and that they shared an exit wound. The boys had to shoot at exactly the same time for that to happen. How fitting; the very best of pals sharing this rite of passage. I think it’s so awesome that they did it together, they had to figure out how to get it back to the camp and then they got to learn how to…well…finish the job. He explained that the boys were excited and that my nephew was so thrilled that he was trembling. Being boys they were much more graphic about that experience than I would have liked. My son is 15 and my nephew is almost 15 so they tried to be real cool as they talked about it but they couldn’t quite mask the excitement as they took me moment-by-moment thru the experience.
It was the perfect way for this story to end..or to begin…and one that they will always remember.

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Ladies and gentleman start your engines

I made my first ride with my 15-year-old son today. I didn’t cry and I didn’t make him cry. We’ll just slide this experience into the win-win column.

I have a question. Where do boys learn to the I am so cool I can drive with my wrist move? Seriously. First legal drive ever (yep-there is a story there. Picture my aunt looking at me and saying incredulously -was that Colton that just drove by????) but I digress. It’s his first drive and he already had one hand casually thrown over the wheel like a college frat boy crusin the PCB strip during spring break. Uh 10 and 2 stud.

And that sideways, semi-propped slouch? Where does that come from? Too much The Fast and the Furious? Warning little Vin Diesel wanna be….you go fast and I’ll be furious. Sit up straight homeslice.

So there sat my boy-hat backwards, semi-slouched with his arm flung casually in a cranked car trying as hard as he could to not smile and give away how excited he was. He feels grown and I feel like he should still be laying on the ground making vroom, vroom noises as he races his matchbox cars round and round and round the den.

He was calm and cool and collected on the outside. I saw peeks of the little boy inside of him jumping up and down like a little boy on his first trip to Disney. He’s feeling the freedom of the road for oh, at least a quarter mile when a sleek, black, intimidating vehicle pulls out behind him. “He’s following too close! He’s following too close!” As cool as he wants to be his voice cracks a little and I have to laugh. I instruct him to pull into a neighborhood. The forbidding car streaks past. He starts breathing again and we take back to the road. In 500 feet another policeman can be seen. “Moooooommmm! Did you do this?!? Did you call them!” He asked in total
Seriousness as I was laughing. I assured him I didn’t. It was priceless. The PERFECT first drive story.

It won’t be long until we’ve got skrillex tunes (I don’t even know that was a genre-my 11 year old had to spell it for me) blaring and base thumping. I’ll yell “turn it down” and he will glance over from his semi-slouch with his wrist at 12 o’clock and cock that semi-grin at me while head dancing to music I can’t even understand. It’s coming-oh it’s coming.

For now though-10 and 2 and sit up like your momma taught you!

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A different tactic

It’s your birthday. I have been trying all day to write my usual letter to you but it just hasn’t worked.

I am taking a different tactic. Stay with me to the end.

You aren’t very responsible.
You are on the phone way too much.
You can be pretty lazy.
You play the x-box too much.
You can be goofy.
You talk too much.
You aren’t very patient with Kinsley.
You are a slob.
You never make your bed.
You dress slouchy.
You are a super picky eater.
You don’t try new things often.
You don’t say things you need to say.
You don’t have great study habits.
You won’t be my little fella forever.

The usually mushy birthday stuff just didn’t fit today so I starting this with 15 things that aren’t great about you.

Believe it or not I so have a point here.

You are 15. You aren’t a little fella anymore. You are a young man. As a young man feeling your way in this world you are going to do things I don’t like. You are going to make decisions differently than I want you to. I am not going to always like you and, as hard as it is to believe, you aren’t always going to like me. I’ll hold you too tight and will have more rules than you like. You’ll try everything you can to tear away and you’ll test every rule I make. And teenagers just by nature aren’t always great. Neither are stressed out moms.

Your half-smile melts my heart.
You make me laugh.
You are so sweet and attentive to your baby sister.
You have all the character you’ll need to succeed.
You walk with swagger.
Your quick wit and infectious laugh makes people happy.
You are good with people.
You are a beast on the water and that is about so much more than you winning.
Your protective nature let’s me know that you will be a great father.
You are stinking adorable when you wear your hat backwards.
You are the best part of me.
You are a gentleman.
You are kind.
You are brave.
You are you and you are incredible.

I have a point here too. No matter which of the 15 not so great things you do there are 15million great things that you willdo. And you know what? I’ll be there. I’ll yell some, I’ll get angry some, I’ll be disappointed in some of your actions but I’ll be there. That’s just reality.

I’ll also be there to help you pick out a tuxedo for your prom. I’ll make you breakfast before the SAT. I’ll be at every swim meet cheering loudly-probably wearing an embarrassing tshirt. Someday I’ll cry with you when you suffer a loss. I’ll wash your clothes and meet your girlfriends. I’ll tell you to read more and to text less. One day (far, far away) you’ll walk me down the aisle at your wedding. (Crap-I am tearing up). One day you’ll hand me a baby and tell me it’s a boy or a girl and you’ll let me make your wife mad when you let me come stay a week to help you take care of my grandchild.

We have a lot to do, you and I. There are a lot of things we will do together. There are more things ahead that you’ll do on your own. You’ll do some of them right and you’ll do some of them wrong. And it’s okay.

You’ll always be my fella. You’ll always have my heart. I’ll love you when you aren’t perfect. I’ll love you when you don’t do what I think you should. I’ll love you for the man you’ll be-not the man I expect or hope you to be.

I am going to put a picture here. A casual picture to most people but to me–to me—it sums up who I see when I see you. I see a stud rocking sweat pants. I see my little fella with his hat on backwards. I see you with eyes only on your sister which shows me so much of your heart. I see you holding a book and a Gatorade. That’s both sides of you. I see this and know you are on your way to learn to so another water sport. I see this and I see a good, strong man.

Happy day to you my fella.
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A face only a mother could love

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This is a face only a mother could love. I am her mother and I love her but boy howdy I don’t like her too much right now.

See the hair all around her face? There are braids there somewhere. Turns out when you are fitch pitching and throwing your head from side to side it makes your hair come undone. Hmmmmm.

For the second game in a row the hellion refused to bat. For the 2nd game in a row I busted patootie to get out of work on time and hauled myself to the other side is town only to NOT see her play. You would think someone so shy and timid would be meek and gentle. Nope. She’s abnormally shy and abnormally stubborn and has a temper to boot. Not an attractive combination.

The refusing to bat was bad enough. It was embarrassing but not humiliating. Then came the parking lot. 50 chunky pounds of meanness decided still go limp on the concrete while screaming. I physically can’t lift her. I tug and pull and grapple and wrestle but she ain’t coming up. Her dad hauls her up but can’t do anything with her because the coach and her children are getting into the car on Sadie’s side. I don’t make eye contact. Hellion is still screaming and kicking and flailing away. We have to settle for tossing her into the back seat and shutting the door. For a moment there is blessed silence and she sticks her thumb in her mouth.

We tell her to get in her seat and the meltdown starts anew. She’s
Kicking and screaming and crying. Neighbors and teammates are all over the parking lot. It’s mortifying to be standing next to a car that’s shaking because a 4 year old doesn’t want to ride in your car-she wants her daddy’s car. The coach is opening 3 Capri suns and 3 cheeze-it bags so there is no attacking from that side. Do you know now long it takes to open 3 Capri suns????? An eternity.

At this point I murmur,”for gods sake” and crawl into the back to attempt to haul her into her booster seat. She goes limp. There is moving this hoss. We are in the back seat of a ford focus and she’s limp. Not a lot of room to maneuver. I manage a swat to her flank. It has little effect. There are now 2 adults manhandling this banshee into a toddle seat. And we are losing.

I move to avoid cleats kicking in my direction. “Stop this, stop this, stop this,” I am saying. Shockingly she doesn’t mind me. “You mean and I no like you,” she screams. “Guess what? I don’t like you too much right now either,” I want to say. I don’t. I am embarrassed enough without being seen engaging on verbal volleys with a 4 year old.

By grabbing one leg and angling just the right way I able to use geometric force to propel her in her seat. Despite being pinched so bad it hurt I got her clicked in.

There is no cute ending. No mommy moment to save the day. No lesson to learn from. I got nothing.

I love her but I really don’t like her an awful lot right now!

Take that Sunday

I didn’t have high hopes for today. In fact my main goal-get thru it. Nothing more, nothing less.

An impromptu cool kid rendezvous perked me up a bit. Being outside chatting while the little ones ran around squealing and having fun was refreshing. These are the ladies I trust most in the world. They let me be sad or happy or anywhere in between.

Later at home I had 2 choices-wallowing in my red chair with my ratty comfort quilt pulled up to my chin while episode after episode of Grey’s Anatomy played or being productive.

I’d like to pretend that I immediately did the latter but that would be a bold face lie. I came in, got the crayons out and sank right into my wallering chair. (The crayons weren’t for me.) Would I have stayed there until bed time? I’ll take the fifth on ghat question. I didn’t have a choice because darn if these little people inhabiting my house don’t want to eat at regular intervals. I drug myself up and shuffled into the kitchen.

By some Miracle I had my wits about me enough this morning to crock pot some chicken. I had a mound ready to shred. It’s doing to be the logistical-week-from-hell and these little people and that darn eating regularly thing were going to complicate things. I had vowed to be ready.

Now I am a champion wallow-er. We are talking word class. I am also a get-it-done girl when I have to be. So I hiked up my big girl panties and dug right in.

And BAY-YUM-I got it done. Chicken Alfredo for dinner (thank you ragu) and a chicken casserole all mixed up and ready to be popped into the oven tomorrow. Thanks to my exuberant “I dee kicchhen helper”little one we ate at a set (4-year old set) table. We had a round of best part of your day
Initiated by the she-child. I even got my wits about me and touched a pork loin (gag). 1/2 that bad boy I chopped into pork steals and have marinating for later in the week. The second half if in the freezer.

That felt pretty good so I want ahead and whipped up some cupcakes and cranked out some confectioner sugar icing. None is this was involved or particularly hard-the hardest part had been pulling myself out of the chair.

Mid mixing I heard something. Some foreign sound from a mystical land. I heard laughter. Glancing outside I saw all 3 of my dimpled-darlings playing. Together. Wowza.

We got in a bath with a hair washing
For the littlest and stinkiest of the trio. I heard it again-louder and clearer-there was more of that sound—that laughing. Belly laughing. 2 of them. And then I saw why. 14 year old man child had donned his 4 year old sisters duds and was cracking up sassy pants. Being her she had to do exactly what he did so the 2 of them were dancing around the den amongst the laundry they were supposed to be folding and they were doing so wearing clothes 1/2 their size. But they were doing it together. And they were having fun.

The 3 of them danced around the living room for a few more minutes while I watched and chuckled. It didn’t last long but it lasted long enough for us all to get out if our own heads for a few moments.

For most folks this would just be a normal Sunday night. It used to be a normal Sunday night for me too. But then our normal shifted. It’s been a while since such a night just organically came together. There is something sweet and satisfying about simple.

Take that Sunday!

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Clarity Sucks

So I haven’t written this week. I’ve tried but in the end I just deleted. Might has well have simply typed “see last week” or “see week before that”
and so on and so on and so on. So I just didn’t write anything.

Truth is that this week isn’t like last week or the week before. This week brought an ounce more clarity. Clarity sucks. It’s necessary but it sucks. If my child were to say this I would demand “use your words” but there just isn’t any other word to use. Back when it felt like every phone call brought some horrible new piece is clarity I had a friend tell me that it wasn’t okay but that it would be okay. Someday.

Someday is not today.

I spent last weekend embarrassing myself by falling apart over a garage sale. Selling stuff taken right off the walls of my daughters room because she no longer had her own room was just more then I had left. I watched my life being sold off a quarter at a time. And I just couldn’t do it. I don’t often admit that I can’t do stuff. Over a damn garage sale I admitted it over and over and over but to no avail. It was like no one heard. And that was as bad as doing it-admitting a weakness-a fault and having that admission just be erased. In the end the sale happened and I had to do it. I didn’t do it well. I took more than one crying break. In the end I had $67, puffy eyes and a re-broken heart but I also got the ability to park my car.

This week also brought the official end of my home. I signed on the dotted line to agree to let someone else try to sell it for a bargain. Something I worked so hard for just is going away. PFFFFT. Gone. And it’s going away in a humiliating fashion. It’s a legal version if yelling “MY BAD” when asking someone to fix a problem you caused. I don’t tend to do that too well either.

And because I tend to go big or go home this week also brought some clarity as to the ending of this. Clarity. And at this point I could write: see post from any week prior to this because at this point every emotion that I’ve has since April 17th reappeared. Practice does not make perfect because I’ve practiced over and over and over again and am still not good at handling them.

So here I am-back where I started. Sort of. Now I am back where I started only with LOTS more clarity. Despite getting lots and lots and lots of clarity I am not any better at saying this is other way-clarity sucks.

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