Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Well, That's A First

About twenty minutes ago Lily came up to me and said "Amelia is locked in the bathroom!"  Sure enough, the door to our downstairs bathroom was closed and locked, and by the amount of knocking and sobbing coming from the other side it was clear that Amelia was indeed locked in.  I felt a bit frantic, because I don't know how to open our locks from the other side. Also, she was in there in the dark.  She was not in any state to find the stool and turn on the light in the dark.   I can only imagine how horrified I would have been at the age of two to have that happen to me.  

Now, our locks are not the push button kind - they are the turning kind. I've heard it is possible to unlock them by sticking a little screwdriver in there and turning it, but I've never been successful with that.  I tried calling a couple of my neighbors with children that I'm pretty sure would have faced this situation before, but I guess no one was up for facing a call from me at 7:40 am.  That left me with my tried and true strategy for any crisis - I called my parents.  It was a last resort because it is an hour earlier in Utah, and I know 6:40 in the morning is not their preferred wake-up hour, but I was desperate. 

I was worried about removing the door knob because it seems like I'd heard some stories about how removing the doorknob is a bad thing to do and can make it impossible to open the door.  Anyway, with my dad's encouragement, I did remove the door knob on my side, and then used a screwdriver to twist the lock and then got the door open by  pulling the rod tight and turning it to set Amelia free.  I tried putting the removed part of the door knob back on, and I did, but I can't get the screws to tighten more than half an inch or so.  Oh well.  At least the door knob is functional, if a little loose.  I'll leave that last part of the project for Tyler so he can feel a part of the whole adventure.  (Especially since he didn't answer his phone either.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Breakfast Anyone?

I always say that having a cupcake for breakfast is no different than having a muffin.  A cookie works also, especially since mine most often contain oatmeal..  And since I think it's really unfair to tell your kids they can't have something they have just seen you eat, there has been more than one occasion when a cupcake or a cookie was featured on their breakfast menu.  Now that I'm a mom, I do draw the line somewhere though.  Ice Cream, candy - not breakfast items.  (This was not my rule when I was in graduate school.  In those two years I had Turkey Hill Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream or a handful of Peanut M&Ms for nearly every meal.  I do not kid.  I don't know why all of my hair didn't fall out due to lack of  nutrients.  I also don't know why I didn't weigh 400 pounds, but I guess you can do that kind of thing when you are 22.)  Another item most definitely not on the list of approved breakfast items - popsicles.  I added this one after coming downstairs the other morning to find all three kids already down here by themselves, happily watching PBS kids and sampling a variety of  flavors of popsicles that were all melting into a colorful array of very sticky puddles all over the kitchen table and dripping onto the floor.  Honestly, not my favorite way to start a day.  Although I do know from prior experience that it could be worse.  Oh, yes.  It could be worse.  The "We frosted our own brownies! " morning was definitely a more intense clean-up. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Keeping It Simple?

Lately I've been wondering about some of the new trends that appear to be cropping up in the mothering world. It seems to me that people are making it REALLY complicated.  I tend to think it's because it helps women feel validated that staying home is a hard job when it requires complex strategies and training sessions to do properly. I'm not opposed to sharing tips and tricks for running a household or raising children, but really, are things like this necessary?: 

This is a photo from a presentation at a motherhood retreat - which I just read about on-line and did not attend - of how to be organized as a mom or something.  Seriously?  Folders and filing systems and charts and makes it seem like to have any hope of having a basically happy family and a basically presentable home you have to attack it and strategize about it like it was the storming of Omaha Beach or something. 

I'm just not like that.  I'm just barely starting to consider the idea of investing in the Family Wall Calender for our kitchen.  I have no day-planner.  I don't keep a calendar on the computer or my phone or anywhere else.  I don't even have a small spiral bound "memo" notebook in my purse full of lists like my mom did.  As the kids get older and their schedules get busier I'm sure I'll find use for some of those things.  But I really don't ever envision a time when I feel I am most effective as a mother only if I have a color-coded filing system housed in designated filing cabinets to manage all of my conjured up responsibilities. 

Maybe I'll think differently in the next few years as we embark on the "school years" and I'll be frantically trying to enroll myself in a bunch of Motherhood Retreats to learn to prioritize science fairs and bake sales and home decorating projects.  It's possible.  I just can't picture it now. I guess I'm just not putting enough into this mothering thing. I mean, I can remember the things on today's to-do list without my color-coded flashcards:

1) Do Laundry
2) Change water in Goldfish Bowl
3) Buy Lily new sneakers and CT a new white dress shirt
4) Change Lily's sheets for the 5th time in the last week and a half due to an unexplainable new propensity for bed-wetting
5) Get a baby shower gift together for a shower tonight
6) Do Grocery store run for milk, which Amelia has suddenly decided she loves to drink (the only of my kids to ever drink plain milk once they passed the bottle stage!)

Look at that!  I made a list!  I'm so organized. Although, I'm sure I'd be able to accomplish my tasks so much more effectively and be more loving as a mother if only I had an expandable file with tabs for everyday of the week and doubled the number of to-do list items...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireworks on the Fourth

We took it easy on the 4th of July this year.  Since it was a Sunday we didn't have any kind of a big party.  Tyler loves to light a few fireworks though, so he bought some last week to light with the kids last night.  Lighting fireworks is illegal in the city limits of Fort Worth.  In years past we have lit off a few in the street in front of our house anyway.  This year Tyler thought he should set a better example for the kids since they know what "illegal" means (thanks to Tyler's propensity to draw the attention of police officers monitoring motorists speed, but that's another story).  He called our local fire department to find out where it was legal to light them and they gave him directions to some land northwest of our house.  We drove out there at about 8:45 last night and were met with a sight we were not expecting and had never experienced before - the "Park and Pop" fireworks field.  It was a big open field rimmed with cars. In the center fifty people or more were all lighting fireworks at once - fountains that stayed on the ground, Roman candles that went shooting up, and big, bursting fireworks high up in the sky.  It was CRAZY.  The air hung heavy with gunpowder smoke, pieces of ash were falling out of the sky, and the fireworks display was insanely massive.  Frenetic. 

I've never seen fireworks from that vantage point before - meaning I've never had a huge aerial firework explode exactly over my head and rain ash on me before.  It was something.  It truly felt like we were in a war zone.  Things were whistling through the air on your right and left and exploding all around you.  Tyler kept saying "This is crazy!  I LOVE Texas!"  It was all too much to take in really.  I was quite impressed with how well the kids did with all the noise and smoke.  

We stayed for about 30-40 minutes.  People just kept on arriving.  They would unload their cars with cooler and camping chairs and several large cardboard boxes of fireworks and make their way to the edge of the launch area.  Who knows how long this went on after we left.  By the volume of explosives these people were showing up with it could have gone on all night.  There we were with the kids in their pajamas, me in a dress, and Tyler in his white shirt and suit pants in the midst of these people.   We felt a little out of place with our measly paper bag of sparklers, smoke bombs, and tiny fountains.  We obviously were new to the scene.

I think for me it was one of those only-need-to-see-it-once kind of experiences.  I'll  take my fireworks displays in a less "interactive" setting next year, thank you very much.  Maybe we'll just park across the street from the "Park and Pop" and enjoy the madness from a distance (while listening to the requisite Neil Diamond and Lee Greenwood fireworks accompaniment on the radio, of course).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

That's Entertainment?

I just read this book:

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. 

I've read quite a few children's classics as an adult, and many of them I have loved, like Peter Pan.  This one though, was not what I expected. 

I've seen the Disney movie many times, of course.  It kind of has special meaning to me because Tyler and I watched it the night we got engaged - he picked it because I told him once that some of my friends from home liked to compare me to Mary Poppins. He sweetly said that it was an excellent comparison because we were both "practically perfect in every way".  (DOn't ask him if he still thinks so). 

Now, no matter what you may think of the present incarnation of the Disney Corporation, I hope none of you will dispute the fact that Walt Disney was a genius and did quality work with great creativity.  The movie Mary Poppins is almost immeasurably better than this book, in my opinion.  I don't know who wrote the movie, but they deserve an Oscar.  They took the very basic essence of the character and made her a thousand times better. In the book Mary Poppins is frankly not very likable and not very kind.  I am just amazed that the Disney people were able to turn this book into the quality entertainment that is the Mary Poppins film.  It isn't very long - read it and see if you agree with me. 

While I'm in a critiquing frame of mind - let's talk about this Will Smith movie: Seven Pounds.

Tyler and I watched it last weekend not knowing a thing about it.  After watching it it was clear why we hadn't heard much about this movie.  I know some of you out there (Katie) are devoted to Will Smith, but I think this is one movie in his repertoire that is better ignored.  First of all, it barely looked like Will Smith in much of this movie.  Sometimes I wondered if they were using a double for whole scenes.  Strange.  Second, the story was so poorly told.  The whole idea had potential, but it just wasn't very interesting.  They tried to keep you in suspense, but really the lack of information about the back story just made it confusing rather than intriguing. 

I guess it just wasn't my week for entertainment - a disappointing movie and book.  But, thanks to Netflix and my local library I have a good chance of improving my luck.