Thursday, February 21, 2013

Winter weather worries

We are expecting a lot of snow in St. Louis today. And by a lot, I mean a lot by St. Louis standards—a few inches with some ice to boot. I am equal parts excited and terrified by this prospect.

I love snow. Love to look at it, love to deal with it, love to play in it. (Or at least watch Chip and the kids play in it.) What terrifies me is the possibility of telling  Mary Clare that because of said snow, she cannot road trip it to Kansas City to see her beloved Brennan this weekend. Kansas City is getting dumped with snow right now, including the awesome-sounding thunder snow. (Which totally makes me want to say it AC/DC "Thunderstruck" style every time. Go on. Try it. Thun-DERRR! snow. Fun, yes?)

So we'll see what the day brings snow-wise. And tantrum wise. Because either way, those are inevitable these days. (I'm looking at you, Charlie.)

Godspeed to all of you unexpectedly at home with kids today. Double godspeed to those who still have to do their office jobs with the kids at home.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Give the people what they want

And by people, I mean my sister and Kaly.

And by what they want, I am referring to updated pictures on the side bar and the ability to leave a comment without having to enter the gibberish that stops comments from getting spammed. (Which has happened three times so far. It is hell being read by 10 people. Pure hell.)

Anyway, you're welcome ladies. Anything to keep you happy.

The other eight of you, don't get any ideas and start making demands. These were easy fixes. Writing daily posts about my niece and nephew are not (I'm looking at you, Steve Jones).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bad rap

I'm not going to mince words here: Charlie can be a real punk sometimes.

About two months ago, Chip and I started realizing that during school pick-up, Charlie would push down any kid who got near us. When we would scold him and tell him to apologize, he would give the (usually crying) child a look that said, "And I will straight up cut you if try that again." Charlie would then saunter over, press his cheek against their cheek and receive their hug, as if to say, "Apology accepted, friend. I know you didn't mean to walk up to my mom. And I know this will never happen again."

When we asked his teachers about it, they came up with a myriad of excuses ranging from, "I think earlier in the day that friend took a toy from Charlie." to "Well, Charlie is a little smaller than some of the other kids. He has to stand up with himself." And every excuse ended with, "But I can't discipline him! He's just too cute!"

It's those dimples. Those blasted dimples.

Of course, we've been brokering deals between Mary Clare and Charlie for close to a year now. Sometimes Mary Clare will take something from him, either through a shady trade or a straight-up steal, but most of the time Charlie will take toys from her or pitch such a holy fit that she will just hand over the item, with a quiet, "Here (sigh), Chawlie." Anything for some peace. The only time Mary Clare doesn't cave is when it comes to food. I have witnessed more waffle tug-of-wars than I care to admit.

We thought his bullying behavior was limited to school and home, but it seems his cousin Brennan sees right past Charlie's dimples and has no problem for calling a scoundrel a scoundrel. After Thanksgiving, Brennan said to Sherri, "Mom. That Charlie is a stealer. He puts toys in his pockets and then leaves the room." This was not a false accusation. Nor was it anything Brennan soon forgot, because he has brought it up every time he knows he's going to see Charlie. And sometimes just for the hell of it.

This weekend, Mary Clare is going to Kansas City to with my parents so she can have some quality time with her beloved Brennan. A few days ago, Brennan asked Sherri if Charlie was coming along. When she said no, Brennan let loose with one of his classic heavy sighs and said, "Good. I don't want him messing with my stuff in my room."

I can't promise that Mary Clare won't make any messes—girlfriend is currently obsessed with pulling out all of her drawer contents and arranging them on the floor—but at least she won't steal things. Or push. Or scream. Much.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fry daddy

Chip had to go out of town for work again this past week. Technically it was only one night away, but if we are judging by meals, bedtimes and mornings handled solo, it was technically two nights. Not that I'm keeping keeping score. (Seriously, I'm not, it's just that those are the hardest parts to handle on work days, so that's instantly where my mind goes when Chip says he has to go out of town.)

Anyway, it was a little more hectic since Tuesday and Wednesday ended up being in-office days for me, versus work-from-home days. And we had an activity on Tuesday evening. So here's how Tuesday went:

  • Work at home until noon
  • Get dressed for office
  • Go to office
  • Meeting prep, meeting, post-meeting work
  • Rush out at 4:30
  • Pick up kids at school, pleading the entire time for them to hurry the hell up because we have a make-up swimming lesson tonight
  • Turn around and head back west for said swimming lesson, only to be thwarted by the I-40 west construction (my secret little Vandeventer entrance ramp is closed ... curses!)
  • Take Manchester all the way from Vandeventer to Hanley (non-St. Louis readers, trust me when I say that while scenic, you never make good time on Manchester)
  • Realize the gas tank is on empty
  • Push on
  • Hit Steak 'n Shake for dinner
  • Accidentally order three kids meals (yes, it really was an accident ... an accident I was only too happy to eat)
  • Watch gas tank go from "20 miles to empty" to "--- miles to empty" while we wait for our food
  • Pray to the gas tank gods to get me by one more time
  • Rush into Little Fishes with three drive-through bags clutched in my hand, avoid what could be judging eyes
  • Find that kid table and chairs are occupied by a wholesome book seller
  • Set up shop on one of the park-style benches while trying not to pass out from the heat (my word, the heat in that place)
  • Get the kids settled with their grilled cheese sandwiches, applesauce and apple juice boxes, keeping the French fries hidden as these are my ace in the hole should bribes be required
  • Sit down and feel pleased that the kids are taking this out-of-routine evening in stride
  • Look around and spy at least four parents or children eating apples or yogurt, and drinking that damn Horizon organic milk (all sensibly brought from home, natch)
  • Instantly feel judged for being the mom feeding her kids drive-through food
  • Look down in shame, only to notice that Charlie is wearing a bib that says, I ♥ Take Out, complete with a picture of a Chinese food box
It was at that point I said to hell with it, and handed both kids a fistful of fries. And wished that the healthy food vending machine served wine. It is made from grapes, after all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine hugs

Nothing like trotting out a JPG of a printed card after a weeks-long absence from the old blog. Ah, but that's life right now. Squeaking by but still hanging in there and having a good time.  

But, hey, updates can wait. It's Valentine's day and the kids are pumped! Charlie handed out his Valentines to his teachers this morning (but no hugs), and Mary Clare, clad in her  Valentine's day shirt, denim skirt and heart-printed tights was excited enough for all three of us. She bounced up to every single teacher, thrust a card in their faces and then danced around while they opened it. When we got to Mr. Tim's class (his room connects to Mary Clare's classroom), Mary Clare did what I would most closely associate with an uncoordinated, yet extremely exuberant, version of the running man. Mary Clare hearts Mr. Tim. After seeing this display, Mary Clare's teacher Miss Edna and I decided that while Mary Clare would no doubt love to be in Mr. Tim's class, it is for the best as she would never be disciplined. And Mr. Tim agreed. The love is mutual, it seems. Only Mr. Tim plays it way more cool than Mary Clare. Thankfully. 

As far as TB celebrations go, we are keeping it low key, as we will most likely have to deal with the fallout of party and sugar highs. I have no doubt that my carefully planned dinner menu will be served up with a side of tears and a meltdown or two. Nothing that a bottle of wine (or two) can't handle. 

Have a great Valentine's day!