Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Just a little something

I dedicate this to all of my friends with children who are traveling over the holidays. Merry Christmas to all!

'Tis the night before Christmas, and almost midnight
Matt and I are still up, it just isn't right.
The stockings still empty, the toys scattered 'bout
It'd be great if Santa'd show up and help out.

Then what does my tired old brain recall?
We leave town soon and I haven't packed at all!
I rush to the closet to pull down the cases
Start making a mental list to cover my bases.

Grab clothes! Grab pajamas! Grab toys and toothpaste!
Grab sippee cups and pull ups--there's no time to waste!
The clothes are all dirty, the suitcase too small
And we apparently own no toothpaste at all.

We'll have a wonderful Christmas, happy and blessed,
And I'll eventually get to sit down and rest.
But as the suitcases are lugged out by my husband I hear
Us both say together, "We're staying HOME next year."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Customer disservice

To say that we have had problems with Ethan's bedtime is like saying Israel has had problems with Palestine. For almost 10 months we have struggled nightly, sometimes for hours, to get him to fall asleep. The problem seems to center around his ability to turn on his light and play. He will do it 20 seconds after we close the door, and he'll do it 100 times. We tried duct taping the light off, but he learned to peel it off.

After last night's marathon session, I told Matt that we HAD to fix this. I decided to go buy one of those clear plastic holders that hand on walls that are meant to hold file folders or papers. If we mounted that around his light switch, we could reach in from above to turn on the light, but he couldn't reach it. So this evening I headed off to Office Depot, where I proceeded to have a very unproductive conversation with a (male) employee that went as follows:

Him: Can I help you?

Me: Well, this is kind of strange, but I'm actually looking for one of those wall-mounted file holders to put over my son's light switch. We can't get him to stay in bed at night, but it's really dark in his room so if he can't turn on the light I think he'll stay in bed.

Him: Oh, I know what you need then.

Me: What?? (Thinking that maybe there is an even smarter solution)

Him: A timer.

Me: Huh?

Him: You can get them at Wal Mart for like three bucks, and you can set the light to go on and off at set points all day. I use them on my Christmas tree.

Me: But we never know when we'll want the light on during the day--only that we want it to stay off and out of his reach at night.

Him: Well, you can adjust the timers if you wanted to turn it on when it wasn't scheduled.

Me: Are the controls on a remote?

Him: No.

Me: Then couldn't he just use the controls to make his light go on?

Him: I don't know.

Me: (Backing away quickly) Okay then, thanks!

Him: You know, my son was the exact same way, and I finally found a great solution--a plug in night-light that was motion sensored!

Me: Um.

Yeah. Brilliance at work, right there. I managed to find what I was looking for, and Matt has installed it. Ethan was none too pleased when he discovered it. I could almost see his little mind working, trying to figure out how to overcome this annoying obstacle. Just like me in Office Depot.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Heads down, thumbs up!

It didn't kill me, so I guess I'm stronger :) Actually, my first foray into subbing was remarkably uneventful. The kids were (for the most part) pleasant and amusing. Most of them accepted me without reservation, though one little boy marched straight up to me as soon as he put his things down, stared me down with a steely gaze, and demanded that I tell him "the day of our country's independence." When I got over being startled, I said, "Ahh, July 4, 1776." I thought maybe he needed to know for homework. But as soon as I answered, he nodded approval and walked off. "Hey! Was that a test to see if I'm smart enough to be your teacher?" I asked. He nodded. Love it! Later I saw their teacher and she said that one sub didn't know the year, just the date--he was horrible to her all day. Glad I passed!

The school where I subbed is one of the newer ones in the district, and Abby attends one of the older schools. The difference in architecture is astounding. Abby's halls are smaller, the rooms are smaller and have less windows (some don't have any at all!) and the furniture is much older. Somehow, though, hers just feels more like school to me, probably because it's more like where I went to school. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's lovely to have custom mosaic floors and skylights and cherry furniture, but linoleum and flourescent lighting are true hallmarks of a learning institution, right?

I will definitely sub again*, and I would even go back to that class. At the end of the day they told me I was the best sub ever. Probably because I let them play Heads Up Seven Up** when they were done with their work, but whatever. Best Sub Ever is a title I will proudly hold.

* Cori, if you ever need a sub, you know who to call!
**If you don't know what Heads Up Seven Up is, you need to head back to elementary school. Pronto.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What have I done??

With everything else we have going on right now, we managed to squeeze in a mini-trip to Branson this weekend. We left Saturday around noon, checked into our hotel, and went straight to Silver Dollar City. We were there with our friends Kevin and Robin and their sons, who are 3 and 1. That's right, that means we were at an amusement park with 4 adults and 4 children aged 5,4,3, and 1. It was just us and 500,000 other people. The crowd was insane. We had to park 14 miles away. It was overwhelming. This morning we got up and went to the indoor water park at our hotel, which was sweet. We flew down the huge tube slides, floated along the lazy river, and tried to ignore the fact that we had to come home.

A few months ago, I went through the training to be a sub in the Springdale school district. Apparently it was legit, because I am SUBBING tomorrow. For a FOURTH GRADE class. I have NO IDEA what I am doing. And fourth graders can smell cluelessness. The only saving grace is that Marla also got a gig subbing at the same school, so we'll get broken in together. If I make it out alive, I'll let you know how it went.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Do you have these in a 9?

Last night was Bingo Night at Abby's school. I LOVE me some bingo. When Matt and I were first married, back when life was carefree and time was ours to burn, we went to Siloam Springs to play bingo a lot. We usually went with friends, and had a ball using the colored dobbers, ordering greasy food from the snack bar, and earning glares and "SHH"s from the hard core players who had their lucky charms set out around them in a circle.

Bingo at an elementary school is not that much different. Except that the prizes were toys and not cash or cars (bummer). We had a great time, and I even won a round. I let Abby go and pick a prize, and she came back with a horseshoe game. I was a little puzzled over her choice, but I don't pretend to understand what motivates that child, so I just shrugged and kept playing. On our way home, I told her that her daddy would love that she got horseshoes, because he likes to play that game. She gave me a blank look. "Game?" she said. "I thought I was getting a new pair of shoes!"

Turns out I understand her motivations pretty well.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I love it when other people mess up!

If, and ONLY if, you are in a place where it would not be inappropriate to laugh out loud, check out these two sites:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

WHY do the Japanese use different screws than everybody else?

Well, our good ole Altima may have gotten a reprieve. Thanks to my good friend and faithful blog reader Michelle, we were put in touch with a mechanic who is apparently willing to work for less than $200 an hour, and he should be able to fix Matt's car for less than half of what the Nissan place quoted us. That will buy us enough time to shop around for a good deal on its replacement.

However, I'm half hoping that someone will still be interested in trading the kids for something. Abby was really bad at school yesterday, but then lied to us about it, but THEN told her teacher that she lied to us, so her teacher sent me a note. Whenever Abby gets into trouble, she uses the defense mechanism of hysteria. She immediately starts sobbing so hard that I'm sure all of our neighbors can hear the wails. It is the very definition of theatrical. It makes for an extremely long night, because we have to go through the process of punishing her, but every time we even bring it up there's 20 minutes of deafening shrieks. My ears are still ringing.

Ethan takes a more simple approach, like breaking Christmas ornaments and stuffing a tiny piece of paper in our Wii. Not a big deal, except that you have to take the cover of the Wii off to get it out. Not a big deal, except that the stupid thing is held together with these three-pronged Japanese screws that require a special screwdriver to loosen, which we had to order online and it still isn't here yet. So even though my sweet husband bought us Guitar Hero Aerosmith so that we can perfect our mad skillz on Walk This Way, a two year old has single handedly thwarted our efforts. So, anyone want a couple of kids?*

*Note: I do NOT really want to trade my kids, or give them away, or even sell them for money. That is illegal, plus I love my kids. I just said all that to be funny. Please don't call 60 Minutes or the police.