Thursday, August 27, 2009

Neil is a helper

So I'm working at the school book fair after school. The boys -- mine and their friend Travis -- are working on homework in a corner.

Within five minutes, Travis comes over and tells me he has finished all his homework. Now, Travis had a lot of work. The week's homework plus the work he missed in class yesterday when he was out. I'm pretty sure he hasn't finished his homework.

"Let me see it," I say and walk over to where they were working.

Neil sees me coming and proudly jumps up and shows me the pages he finished for Travis, "I did the squirrel pages!"


Today's life lesson is about cheating.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The kids caught us trying to cheat at Design Star. Damn those public schools, actually teaching basic addition...

Jack started totaling up the two lampshades ($9 each), the curtain rod and curtains (more than $9) and we were over budget. He made me put back the new quilt and pillow shams for the bed...

Dean and I then tried to use some decals I bought ages ago on clearance. They are very retro circles and make a cool design. I'd show you a photo, but they all peeled off the wall and left funny marks on the paint...

The kids won by default. They made a "man-cave" out of their playroom with a $19 table and $1 cushions for their kid chairs.

They believe they are living in the lap of luxury -- something soft under their butts and somewhere to put their feet up.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Let the competition begin

We've been enjoying Design Star as a family. I like that it's not football, baseball or collegiate lacrosse. The male members of the family like the competition part. It's a win-win for family viewing.

It gets ugly too. The boys are quite vocal with that heartless criticism that children have. Neil likes the outrageous, glitzy stuff. Jack wants everything unbreakable so scooters and footballs are allowed in the room... He has quite gotten over Mom banning scooters, bikes and all sports equipment from the house when we redid the floors.

Jack will do almost anything if it is a competition. Neil will do anything that Jack is doing.

So in a desperate attempt to get them to clean up their playroom, we challenged the kids to a Design Star competition. They get the playroom. We get our bedroom (which I should admit is worse than their playroom but I won't).

Each team has $25 at Ikea and they can use anything else from around the house (within reason). Dean and I are already planning on cheating. It's our wallet.

Any questions?

Neil had one: "How much is a mini fridge?"

Sunday, August 02, 2009

August has been rough on the kids

I shouldn't be allowed to talk to the kids...

Jack noticed that a friend of his was starting to grow facial hair. Just the tiniest bit, but it is there. This friend is a year or so older and you can hear his voice starting to change. Here comes adolescence young man!

"That's what happens as you get older. Your body starts to change," I was jumping all over this "teachable moment."

"Your body changes because you are getting ready to become an adult," I'm smiling to myself thinking how wise I am to casually talk to my son, let him know I can answer his questions, etc.

"As you get older there's lots of changes, but your voice will get deeper, you'll need to wear deodorant because your body produces odor and hair begins to grow on your body."

"You mean I'll get armpit hair?" Jack seemed excited about the idea.

"Yes, and other places too," I answered.


"On your face like your friend, some guys get chest hair, and ..."

That's when Jack's eyes grew wide and he fled from the room.

Teachable moment over.

What subject will I bring up to torture the kids tomorrow?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Dawning of a new month

So it is August 1 and I've had a long enough vacation... though I don't feel very rested. I am in full planning, working, crazy mode for my first year as PTA president. I still hesitate to type that. Am I in denial? I'm glad to work hard for the school my kids attend. I love that PTA raises funds for P.E., music, computer lab, and this next year for an art teacher. I love that we plan fun activities that my kids will remember when they grow up ("My school used to ..."). Hopefully we make them happier, more well-rounded people.

But my old self -- you know the one before marriage and kids and the house in the suburbs -- well, that self would be mortified. PTA president is about as suburb as you get -- as far as stereotypes go.

Bring on the identity crisis.

And I've spread the joy this morning.

I woke up with the realization that today was August 1. New month, new beginnings, loads of work ahead. Gonna threaten the kids with no video games and TV during the school week (Dad gasped). Gonna make everyone read a book before school starts. Gonna make the kids cry.

I pointed out that today was Aug. 1 and school starts on Aug. 13...

Neil responded with "Are you serious?!" He's going into first grade this year and clearly, he can count how many days of freedom he has left.

Jack, who is going into fifth grade, just moaned. He's pre-teen ready. He wants to grow up to be a couch potato.

So now the kids are upset, Mom doesn't know who she is, and Dad is hiding upstairs painting the bathroom.

Hello August!