Monday, February 25, 2013

Classroom stuff

Valentine's Day Craft

With the Valentine's Day holiday approaching, I needed to come up with a kid's craft for the classroom.  I saw something similar to this on Pinterest and thought it would be a quick, easy and sweet Valentine that the kids could give to someone as a gift for the holiday. 

First, I drew a large heart in pencil on plain copy paper.  Then, with a sharpie of course, I wrote the Valentine message on the outline of the pencil.  When I was finished, I erased the pencil line.  I made 21 copies of the heart on regular copy paper.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! 

The next day, I took one student at a time, because they are messy littles, and painted red or pink paint on their little hands.  We placed the hands in a way that filled the heart and voila!  We let the paint dry and I wrote each student's name on the bottom of the craft. 

I got a lot of feedback from parents and grandparents that they loved this project!  They did turn out sweet.  They were fairly easy to make, with very little prep work.  And bonus was that the kids loved painting their hands.  I highly recommend only doing one student at a time.  We did this during computer lab time so I only had to wrangle one kid at a time. 

Writer's Celebration Snack

Every month, we have a writer's celebration to celebrate the publishing of their newest piece.  And as any good celebration, we always have snacks!  Since we were about Valentine's Day'ed out by then, I went for a St. Patricks Day theme. 

I hopped on over to the faithful Pinterest (you should follow me)  to find some St. Pat's snack ideas and found this. She had the printable graphics for the toppers.  They were supposed to be labels but I didn't have that size.  Instead, I just printed the graphics on regular paper, cut them out and glued to pre-measured, pre-cut green construction paper.  I bought two boxes of Lucky Charms for 21 kids.  I had my five year old scoop about 1 cup of cereal into a Ziploc bag.  She had fun and it saved me time!  Then I stapled the topper on.  All together, the prep and construction of these was roughly 30 minutes.  And of course, we needed something to wash it down, so I pre-measured two packets of green KoolAid and sugar in a container. Added water at school, stir and serve. 

So while it looks like I go all out, it is really fast and cheap tricks that make me look like an over achiever.  I will share more classroom cheap tricks that make you appear to be highly vested in classroom preparation soon.  Stay tuned, friends!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sharts and farts

We've all been there or know someone who has.  The shart.  Oh, God, the dreaded shart.  With this flu season being a particular big bitch, I have dealt with the problem of sharts. Not myself, but the littles that have been afflicted with this most painfully embarrassing event. 

For those of you who aren't in the know of what a shart is, it's a fart that comes out with a little bit of poo, as well.  Gross.  I know what you're thinking, "Why is she talking about this?  Aren't these things better left unsaid? Why do we have to talk about it?" 

My answer to that is this: comedy.  Sure, it's not that funny when it is happening to you, but damn, it's hilarious when someone else just admits that they have shart their pants. 

True story: This is what happen to me a couple weeks ago and I haven't had the courage or stomach to tell you about it. Well, today I am feeling particularly brave, so here it is.

The flu season has brought a bunch of nastiness to my second grade classroom and tummy bugs can be different for everyone.  One day, during the grossness of flu season, a student approached me with a wiggle in his step.  "Mrs. T, when I went to the bathroom, I, uh, thought I was going to fart and, uh something came out." *Wiggles uncomfortably in his jeans.* 

Completely grossed out by what I knew was the possible situation, I answered with the best serious face I have, "Oh no.  Did a little poo come out?" 

"I don't know." *shifts weight repeatedly from one side to the next.*

"Well, do you need to go check?" I nervously responded.

"Uh, no.  It's okay." he replied as he shifted his weight one more time.

"Yeah, I think you should go check really quick." I whispered so other students couldn't hear.

He then ran/wiggled off to the bathroom to check out the situation.  I waited, patiently looking up this parental contact info in case we needed to get some back-up undies.  I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Finally, after about ten minutes he emerged with the same shuffle in his step.  He went back to his seat and nervously looked at me.  I walked over to his desk and whispered, "Was everything okay?"

"Uh, yea." he cautiously replied.

"Was there anything in there?" I carefully asked.

"Yeah, but it's fine." he confidently responded.

"But, if there was poo in there, shouldn't we call someone to bring you some clean clothes?" I whispered, so other student's wouldn't figure out what was going on.

"No, it's fine." he quickly responded.  (All throughout the conversation, I noticed that he hadn't sat down and I couldn't let him continue the day with poo, no matter how much, in his pants.  It was only 10:30am and it was also P.E. day.)

"Well, I think we should call someone.  Here's a note, go see the health clerk and tell her what happen."  I coached as I handed him the note.  He bounced off to the office and returned about twenty minutes later with a refreshed smile on his face.

Along with the sharts, the nasty flu bug that has been circulating has also brought about bad farts.  Now, I am no stranger to the unmuffled, stinky farts, I do teach second grade, but these farts were enough to clear a room.  I have had to stock up on room spray and use it liberally during the fart/flu season.  I don't know what it is but this year, I have a particularly stinky class.  The farts are like a plague that spread and multiply in fierce competition.  One day, I actually came home and thought I could still smell the farts that had plagued my room that day.  It had been burnt into my nose! 

Please, someone, tell me that I am not crazy and gross.  This has happened to you, right?  I really love a story that I once heard about a friend that had farted on another friend's couch and a couple days later, the other friend went to lay on his couch and jumped up realizing the smell was still embedded in the couch fabric! 

How can the sharts and farts be this bad?  If I had a solution to either of these problems, I would certainly be a millionaire.  Maybe I'll work on that.  Or not.  I'm sure there would be too much "field research" that would need to be done on neutralizing stinky farts.  For now, I will continue stocking up on room spray and Febreeze. 

As I have said before, I try my best to find the humor in everyday situations.  And damned if sharts and farts aren't a part of my everyday duties as a mother and teacher.  I realize that this is a touchy subject and some may say, "What is she thinking, writing about sharts? She is totally disgusting." To you, I say lighten up. You know you giggle at fart jokes and potty humor. If we can't laugh at potty humor, what can we laugh at?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Life after five

Since Luci Moon has turned five, life has changed in subtle ways.  When she was a baby and Ivan was only three, life was very hectic, chaotic and challenging.

Having a child, let alone more than one, is NOT for the faint at heart.  It's similar to taking care of two (or more) severely drunk friends at the same time, all while you haven't slept in days.

1.  If one's not puking, the other is really close to falling down a flight of stairs. 

2. An emergency room visit is just one unattended-during-my-shower moment away.

3.  When you think you've finally cleaned everything, everybody up, one of them decides to pour their own glass of juice and spills it all over the floor and themselves. 

4.  While you are cleaning up the spilled juice and helping them change clothes, the other drunk decides to change their clothes, too, and gets tangled in their own pair of pants.

5.  Then you think that you got everyone settled in bed for the night and they decide that they really NEED to sleep with you and take up half of your bed. While snoring.  And stealing all your covers.

6.  While one needs help going to the bathroom, the other needs help changing out of pants that they just peed in. 

7.  They have no internal filter yet.  They will say whatever comes to their minds at exactly the wrong moment, "Hey, look at that lady!  She's fat/in a wheelchair/hairy/ugly!" 

8.  You really try to understand what they are trying to say in their slurred, incomprehensible language. And they get furious when you ask them five times what they just said.

I will be the first to admit that I didn't really enjoy the baby stage of either children.  At one point, I remember holding Ivan who was just a few months old, crying and irrational from sleep deprivation, pleading with my mom "Please tell me this gets easier!" 

She confirmed that it does, in fact, get easier and in fact by the time Ivan was about 9 months old, I wanted another baby because I was convinced that I would totally rock the second time around. 

But what she failed to mention that the obstacles change as they get bigger.  Instead of having the spit ups, they replace that with a refusal to eat anything besides chicken nuggets.  They replace crying at all hours with constant whining and bickering.  And in place of the gentle, fumblings of figuring out how to walk, they learn what a "daredevil" is and climb and leap from any structure they can get their hands on.

While I was the first of my friends to have a baby, I was also the first to figure out that motherhood is not as easy as I thought it would be.  I didn't enjoy the loosing sleep, being puked on and trying to figure out how to breastfeed.  I was a smug idiot thinking that motherhood would be beautiful and effortless. 

Well, now the tables have turned and I am thoroughly enjoying my role as mom.  I am here to tell all my friends that are now in the throes of the infant stages, it does get easier.  I am here to say that life after five is WAY easier than any other age.  Now that we have surpassed the baby and toddler phases, I am embracing the little kid/big kid phases of talking back, sassy attitudes and fighting.  (Hell, I'll take those over sleeplessness, changing diapers and nonstop crying any day!) 

Yes, life gets easier after they can feed themselves, dress themselves and go potty by themselves.  Basically, what I am saying is this.  Teach them to be independent and life will be grand! 

The first taste of that independence was when they could feed themselves.  I could put mashed up veggies and fruit on the tray and enjoy my own dinner, warm.  Heaven!  Then it shifted to dressing themselves.  I could lay out clothes for them and they learned how to do it themselves, at first with some help and eventually totally by themselves.  The next glorious step was learning to go potty on the toilet.  This made running errands and going places so much more enjoyable!  And the final step, is one that Luci has been working on recently:  wiping their own butt.  Gone are the days of "MOM!!!  I'M DONE!"

So if you are feeling overwhelmed with snot, puke, poop, crying, sleepless nights and breastfeeding, hang in there buttercup!  It does get better.  I guarantee it. Trust me, when I say, life after five is so wonderful and once you have a taste of the good life, you won't want to go down that baby path again.  So, if you know that you want more than one or two kids, you better have them before the youngest hits five.  Because live after five is just the bomb diggity!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Smug Marrieds

Let me start in saying that I belong to the smug marrieds club, as Bridget Jones would say.  While we have been married for 12 years, I will be the first to admit that it hasn't always been rainbows and butterflies.  There have definitely been ups and downs in our relationship.  But I love my husband very, very much.  I thoroughly enjoy being by his side to laugh and talk.  (Usually laughing and talking about other people, but hey, it works!) 

Through it all, we have figured out what works for us.  I'm not here to say that I have all the answers or you should be like me and do what I do.  What I am saying is that to be happy in your relationship or marriage, you have to find what works for you.

Jake and I discovered a while ago, that every once in a while, we need to disconnect, hit the road and be alone.  It has worked for us during times of good and not-so-good.  The simple act of shutting out the entire world seems to bring us closer and provides the comfort of each other that we need from time to time.

We usually try to take a weekend getaway every six months or so.  This weekend, we made plans to disconnect for two whole days.  We set out with the intention that we would simply find a place with good food, shopping and lots of things to do and we would go there.  Since we have done this so many times, we have really run out of places that are close to home.  I really like Galena, IL but since I waited until the last minute to find a room, Galena was pretty booked up.  So I found a place in Dubuque, IA that we could stay and engage in the disconnecting.  As a friend asked, "What's in Dubuque, IA?"  Jake responded, "No kids."  I love that guy!

To be quite honest, it didn't really matter where we would have ended up, because the result would have been the same.  These weekend trips have the same formula for success that goes like this:

1.  As we drive to said destination, we first sit in silence for the first hour or so.  We listen to music, laugh at funny road signs and enjoy the scenery.  We enjoy the quiet ride with no yelling kids, 20 questions and fights in the backseat.

2.  After the first hour or so, we start discussing what we plan to accomplish on the trip.  Sometimes we have a particular idea in mind, maybe a local restaurant we want to try, a shopping area to hit or sightseeing location to explore. Sometimes, like this trip, we have no particular agenda in mind.

3.  When we arrive at the said location, we usually check out the hotel lobby looking for brochures of local things to do.  This time around, since we were in Dubuque, there weren't any brochures worth taking.

4.  Then we go to our room and jump on the bed.  And when I say this, it's not code for something else.  We, literally, run and jump on the bed.  And then we laugh at each other jumping on the bed.

5.  We find local restaurants to eat at.  We have a strict rule that we will not eat at a place that we have back at home.  Sorry chain restaurants, not this time.

6.  We eat too much food, talk during our uninterrupted dinner and people watch.  People watching is our favorite.  We laugh at people and make up our own conversations about what they are talking about and what is really going on.

7.  We sleep in.  We lay around in bed until we are damn well ready to get up and face the world.  This is the best part.  Sometimes, we get up, eat breakfast and then go back to bed. 

8.  We find fun places to explore.  Sometimes it's shopping, historic places or home tours.  We really LOVE the historic home tours.  We're kind of nuts about it actually.

9.  We laugh.  A lot. 

10.  We don't stress about what the kids are doing, what's going on at work for the upcoming week, and what needs to be done at home.  We revel in the moment and breathe in the freedom that the weekend brings.

While all these things work for us to rejuvenate and refresh our relationship, it certainly doesn't work for everyone.  As people asked what my plans for the weekend were, I responded that we were going away and doing nothing, I got mixed reviews about our choice.  One friend stated that she, in fact, had never left her baby with a grandparent for the night and wasn't sure how she could do that.  Another friend said, "Wow, that would be great.  I don't remember the last time me and my husband went away for a night without the kids."

So, of course, this got me thinking. (Mommy worry/guilt shows it's ugly face again!)  Am I being selfish for wanting two uninterrupted days alone with my husband?  Am I being heartless leaving my kids behind while Jake and I enjoy the freedom of a weekend without kids?  After a lot of thought about the topic, my answer was no and no. 

Indeed, leaving the kids behind is hard to do, but I believe what we do on our weekends apart makes us stronger as a family.  Mainly, our marriage gains the strength and the spark it needs to carry on with everyday life.  Without our love and connection as husband and wife, our family would soon wither and crumble.

I think that when husbands and wives can step back and be alone to enjoy one another's company, it gives us the refresher that we need.  In our everyday lives of work, dinners, kids, and responsibility we loose touch of why we fell in love in the first place.  My thought is that if you remove all those outside factors, you strip the relationship down to the basics.  Two people that love each other and enjoy being together.

If you can manage it, I highly recommend the weekend getaway.  It always leaves me feeling more appreciative for my husband and kids.  I get a chance to remember why I fell in love with him in the first place and continue to love him more every day.  And being away from the kids a couple of days, gives me the chance to miss them and appreciate all their quirks. 

So if you haven't gotten the time to talk to your spouse, laugh at life and enjoy silence together, I highly recommend the weekend getaway.  And if you do, try jumping on the bed when you get there.  It really is fun and it kicks off the weekend in all the right ways!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras Y'all!

Since today is Mardi Gras, I thought I would entertain you with some memories, or lack thereof from Mardi Gras' past.  I don't mean that lame St. Louis, Chicago or other wannabe town that throws a "Mardi Gras" celebration.  I'm talking about a REAL, shut yo mouth, New Orleans Mardi Gras. 

I know, I know.  "You went to REAL Mardi Gras?"  You bet your sweet ass I did!  Grab a chair and maybe a, ahem, drink because the stories I could tell might last for days!

Let me start in saying that this post comes with a fair amount abundance of editing due to the fact that I value my pristine, *cough cough * reputation.

Our story takes place several years ago.  Okay, many years ago, when I was but the tender age of 18.  My bestie and I, we'll call her "ShaNaeNae", had the opportunity to go to New Orleans the weekend before actual Mardi Gras.  I believe that the trip was planned mainly on the fly, as many of our excursions had been.  ShaNaeNae's grandma had a lifelong friend that lived in the French Quarter and grandma went to visit during Mardi Gras every couple years.  This particular year, grandma asked if we would like to tag along.  Both being VERY single, young and without much responsibility to speak of, of course we accepted the challenge. 

We left on Friday morning from IL, drove straight through and arrived in the French Quarter late in the evening hours.  The first sights of the French Quarter were amazing, filled with thoughts of awe, wonderment and mischievous delight.  The streets were crowded with people and driving a car down the streets of The Quarter were nearly impossible.  I recall grandma trying to park the car on the street in front of the apartment building and a drunk woman slightly bumping our car with hers.  There was a small altercation and the drunken woman scurried off quickly without incident. So began our Mardi Gras.  Little did I know at the time, but this was just the beginning to a miraculous journey into the abyss of debauchery.

That first night was pretty uneventful and I remember being a little scared of the craziness going on around us.  We settled into our room and I was very impressed with grandma's friend's apartment.  It was very small and tight but very, very cool.  It had a small courtyard on the inside of the building that people had decorated with plants, statues and paintings.  The inside of the apartment was even more impressive with a tight spiral staircase the led up to the bedrooms upstairs.  I, in fact, wondered how they even got the bedroom furniture up the stairs, the spiral was so tight.  SheNaeNae and I shared a spare bedroom and quickly unpacked our things. 

The next morning, we ventured out with grandma and her friend.  They took us to Jackson Square and Cafe du Monde for  beignets.  It was a ubber cool open air restaurant with authentic New Orleans cuisine, but we went straight for the sweet pastries.  We did some shopping, sticking with grandma and her friend.  As magical and amazing The Quarter was, I will be the first to admit that it was also very intimidating.  With it's beautiful architecture, balconies decorated with ironwork and stunning courtyards, The Quarter was also filled with many, many drunken ne'er-do-wells. We felt we should play it safe and just stick with the veteran Mardi Gras grandmas.  They took us to a parade and several shopping areas and that's when we felt it safe enough to split apart from the grammies, in small increments of time, of course.

Look how cute we are.  This is one of the few
photos that was safe to publish.
After meeting up for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, we were feeling a little more brave and decided to hit some shops on our own.  Grandma's friend gave us our own key to get back into the apartment building later, so we felt a little better knowing we could come and go as we pleased.  Getting later in the afternoon, we shopped for a while and then ventured down to the waterfront to people watch.  It had become very apparent that as the day wore on, we would encounter more and more strange people and occurrences. 

As we sat along the river in a gazebo, sipping our proudly acquired alcoholic beverages*, we laughed at the people we saw.  As we watched and admired cute boys walking by, SheNaeNae noticed a particularly drunken fool stumbling towards us. 

"Oh, shit.  Watch this.  This mother (expletive) is about to fall. Watch."  she giggled.

And sure enough, as he stumbled at a too fast pace with his jester hat bouncing in the breeze, his beads upon his neck swinging back and forth, he missed a step to the gazebo and fell flat on his face.  His jester hat flew off his head and his beads were now tangled around his neck.  And instead of offering a helping hand or a kind word of "Are you okay?" his friends pointed, laughed and taunted the poor drunken fool.  SheNaeNae and I couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous this poor fellow was and we fell over laughing too.  And in the midst of all the confusion, (ahem, cocktails) I somehow managed to set my feather boa on fire.  Trying to put out a fire on a boa while you're wearing it is NOT the easiest thing to do, I tell you.

As we ventured on to discover the rest of the French Quarter, we left the waterfront and continued to the downtown streets of The Quarter.  As we walked, er, stumbled, I noticed a striking young man up ahead.  (Now, if you know me, you know that I have a major crush, admiration or affinity for Jim Morrison.)  As he swaggered closer to us, we were crossing the street going in opposite directions of this beautiful creature, who just happened to look EXACTLY like Jim Morrison.  He was wearing the same black leather pants, belt, white peasant shirt and curly, fly away hair as Jim.  My heart sank and fluttered as he got close enough to see that he was looking right at me.  Walking all by himself, I wondered why, why was this gorgeous man alone!  As we crossed the street and literally right in front us, he looked at me, smiled and muttered, "Well, hello beautiful." 

DIED.  I about DIED!  As I gasped and swooned, I had to catch my breath.  As I looked back, he was watching us walk away and all I could do was giggle and hang on my friend, like young 18 year old girls do.  As we walked on, I kept looking back at him and before I knew it, he had disappeared into the crowd.  Now, that's something that will never, ever again in my life happen.  What a memory!

We perused in and out of clothing shops, jewelry stores and voodoo magic shops.  Amazing is the culture of New Orleans.  We soon grew tired of walking, and all the while, the topic of Bourbon Street was looming in our minds.  We retired to the apartment in the late afternoon and ate dinner with the grandmas.

After some time to reflect on the crazy day and rest our tired feet, we decided on going for a walk to see what the nightlife was all about.  On a Saturday Night.  In the French Quarter.  During Mardi Gras.

You can probably guess what we, tender young ladies of Central IL, found.  As we bounced from street to street we made quite the array of drunken friends.  There were the obvious frat boys and sorority girls in town for a fun time.  But there were also groups of nontraditionals, like 30 somethings with their significant other, businessmen, and housewives.  Hell, everyone and their grandma was at Mardi Gras that year! (pun intended)

Acquiring adult beverages was easier that we thought it would be.  At the time, you could easily purchase hurricanes, our beverage of choice, at any one of the hundreds of walk-up bars.  They were literally a walk-up window, think ice cream shack, along the street that didn't ask for ID.  In our "altered state" we had still decided that we would not be going to Bourbon Street.  It was too crowded.  Too many opportunities for disaster.  Too much drunken, craziness.  We simply could NOT venture to Bourbon Street.  Ever. Agreed. Good.

Two hours later....."Woooohooooo!  Bourbon Street!  We're going to Bourbon Street!  Common everybody, we're going to Bourbon Street!" we shouted gleefully.

And that is where the story will end.  I have many more memories of that night, but those I will keep quietly to myself.  The following morning, after returning to the apartment around 4am, we left for home at 6am.  Still in "altered state" may I add.  As we pulled away from the curb and pushed our way through the crowed streets of the French Quarter, I was a changed woman.  The things I saw, people I met, and experiences I had, changed my life.  Yes, indeed, those short 48 hours in New Orleans changed how I view humanity.  How giving, friendly and awesome total strangers can be.  We made friends everywhere we went and had many great laughs with complete strangers. 

The ride home was a rough one, but I wouldn't have changed a minute of it.  Except, I always wonder what ever happen to "Jim Morrison."

* Don't judge me.  Acquiring alcohol at Mardi Gras when you're 18 is not that hard.  Their culture is based from Europe and Europeans start their youngsters drinking at like 12, right?  So, I'll stick with that.  We were just embracing the European culture.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Milkshakes Will Kill You

Someone is trying to kill me.

No, I don't mean that my kids are driving me crazy or spouse is acting irrational.  I mean it. Someone is trying to kill me. Like, really.  There was an attempt made last night and, well, I could have died.  I think.  Let me know if I could have died from this...

I have been suffering from a head cold for the last week or so and I have had all the regular symptoms, sore throat, headaches, congestion.  You get it.  Well, since I've had this sore throat all week, all I could think about yesterday was how I would REALLY love to have a milkshake.  Dalai Dad was at a work related function last night, so the kids and I were on our own for dinner.  I figured we could go to a place (with the word Shake in the name) and get cheeseburgers and milkshakes.  Awesome.  So we did.  Big mistake!

We all ordered our shakes and meals and while we waited we colored, giggled and talked.  Little did the children and I know that somewhere in the kitchen,  a ninja was spiking my milkshake with something lethal.  The reason is still unknown.  I like to think that I have lived a pretty honest, loving, and regret free life.  I don't have any enemies to speak of.  Maybe the government has caught on to my supreme intelligence and felt I was a threat to national security. (I doubt it.) 

Mmmmmmm, doesn't that look good?
Beware, milkshakes will kill you!
Back to the story... The waitress politely brings our drinks and meal, smiles and asks if there is anything else we need.  Everything looks in order, no strange objects floating about in the drinks, silverware is spot free.  "We're good."  I replied and proceeded to enjoy my long awaited milkshake. 

The kids happily ate their dinner and giggled in between bites about a funny song we heard on the radio on the way to the restaurant (I won't reveal the real name, but it has Shake in the name).

About half way through my shake and dinner, I took a sip of the shake and felt something hard, "Maybe a piece of ice," I first thought, so I crunched down on it.  It crunched too hard and loud to be ice, so I politely used to my napkin to remove the broken pieces from my mouth.  That's when I realized that something wasn't right.  The pieces looked like tiny shards of glass.  I rinsed the pieces, which totaled three, in my glass of water.  All pieced together, the three pieces were probably about the size of my pinkie fingernail.  After being rinsed off, I could tell that this was surely glass that I had bit into!  Mother F*(%$#$!  Son of a B$&^(!  HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN!!!  AND TO ME!!!

Quite a bit shaken, I flagged down the manager and told him that I found something in my shake.  I pointed to the tiny pieces of glass sitting on the table.  He quickly scooped them up and apologized profusely.  He quickly stuttered "Would you like something else? Can I get something for you?  Are you Okay?"

This, not being my first rodeo with shit found in my food, I replied that "Yes, I'll take another shake. Without glass, please."

He, not certain of my response, made a nervous smirk and quickly shuffled to kitchen to fetch me another milkshake.  Moments later, he appeared again and explained that upon examining the objects pulled from my shake, it did, in fact, appear to be broken glass.  He reported that another lady had found something similar in her shake.  He then proceeded to explain that no glasses had been broken that day, but they were pulling all their glasses to check and re-wash.  He also explained that the shake area was being inspected along with the shake machine itself. 

Having worked in the service industry for many years, I understand that shit happens.  While I worried that I may have accidentally swallowed some of the glass, I was thankful that I caught the piece that I did.  What a catastrophe that could have been!  I'm not exactly sure what happens when you swallow glass shards, but I'm pretty sure it would involve some internal cuts, bleeding or at the least, a painful "outcome" if you know what I mean.  Then, I thought about freak show acts that involve eating glass and those people don't die, right?  Right?

The whole incident made me think back to a time that I found a button in a cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant.  That was totally gross.  It wasn't just a button, it was a Motherhood Maternity button. Some poor mama out there got so big that she popped the button right off her pants and into my cheeseburger.  Yuck!  Why do these things always happen to me? 

Back to the shake story.  The manager was very apologetic and offered the moon to me.  He adjusted the bill and gave me another glass-free milkshake to take with me.  So, everything came out alright in the end.  I'm still alive and well.  I treated the whole situation with humor and grace.  I could have easily been a huge bitch about it, but I chose to be calm and understanding.  I've been in that manager's position before.  (I've never put glass in someone's drink, but I have been known to completely ruin a funeral in my day.  Florist friends can understand and empathize with that one.)

I know what it feels like to have to take the blame for something that you, obviously, didn't do on purpose.  I could see the anxiety and stress in his voice and demeanor about the situation and I felt sorry for him.  It wasn't his fault that there was glass in my shake and I wasn't going to take it out on him.  I'm glad he handled it the way he did and I enjoyed my second shake, without glass. 

*Bonus-  I fed my family, didn't die, had a good laugh and the bill was only $13 for dinner! 

Have you ever found something odd in your food/drink?  How did you handle it? 

Have you ever been on the manager's side of the story?  How did you handle it? 

Monday, February 4, 2013

How many days have I loved you?

This evening's conversational piece that was blog worthy started with Ivan.

"Mom, do you know that if I put a check mark on a board for every day I was alive, I would have a lot of check marks?"

"Indeed, but if you did it for your whole life, you would probably need a bigger board!" was my reply. 

Then, it really got me curious just how many days he has been alive. He was obviously curious too because as I was thinking "Oh, we should actually figure this out!" he was already looking for the calculator.

So, with some of my help, he figured out that he has been alive for 3,113 days.

Wow, is that all?

I was really surprised how low the number actually was, considering it feels like he's just always been here! We then proceeded to figure out that Luci has been alive for 1,850 days and Grandma Cindy has been here for 19,784 days!  We continued this math lesson by figuring out that Daddy Jake has been alive for 13,426 days and I have been here a mere 12,467 days.  Phew.  If that doesn't make you take a step back, I don't know what does!

It was so weird to put it in simple terms of how many days we have all been alive!  Considering the amount of life experience Ivan has gone through in those 3,113 days, I was amazed!  Especially since most of this toughest days happened in the first 455 days! 

I can hardly believe that only 3,114 days ago I had no idea what true, unconditional love meant.  I never in a thousand years would have imagined that I could love, care for and worry about another human being like I do with my children. 

In those 3,113 days, I have learned not to sweat the small stuff, how to multi-task like nobody's business, and comfort another human being into the wee hours of the morning.  I have learned that giggles and smiles can turn the worst day in the world into something magical.  I have found out what it means to feel your heart beating on the outside of your body.  I have experienced the most wonderful 3,113 days full of wonder, love, despair, questions, fear, acceptance and admiration.

So, when someone says to live each day as if it's your last, they aren't kidding.  We really don't get that many days, so I guess we better make them all wonderful!  Leave it to a 3,113 day old kid to slap you with some philosophy and reflection on a Monday night!

My question here is: how many days old are you?  How many of them have been wonderful?  If your wonderful days aren't many, what are you going to do about it? Right now.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lazy weekend shenanigans

Every Friday afternoon, I celebrate the fact that the weekend has arrived.  And every Friday evening, I envision the romantic ideas of what the weekend holds; lounging with the kids, watching cartoons, making a leisurely trip to Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx or Target, some light reading wearing my new glasses, listening to some killer, rockin' music and maybe a little crafting or sharpie doodling. 

Then the reality of Saturday morning comes and slaps me right in the face, cursing at me, yelling at me, saying how unrealistic I am.  Well, this particular weekend started with a leaky pipe.  In the bathroom.  Behind the wall. Great.

Jake suggested, at first, that we could easily disguise
 the hole with
 a skinny, long picture.
Jake's version of "There. I fixed it."

So after some hill-billy engineering, he fixed the leaky pipe and, get this, glued the drywall back to the wall. He'll be doing some further spackling and fixing up and I plan on re-painting the bathroom. Probably this summer. So, in the mean time, if you come over, take a gander at that there handy work on the wall. Whilst all the cussing, sawing, and patching, I was on the Pinterest looking for easy fixes for the skinny, picture problem.  Here's what I came up with.  I LOVE to sharpie doodle, so I thought I could easily do this to cover the spot.  And bonus: Our bathroom theme is trees!

I'm thinking just one skinny panel will do.
After all the bathroom issues were resolved, I figured I could get back to my fantasy Saturday as described above. Instead, it was a lot of me laying around in yoga pants and tee shirt pinning shit on Pinterest, reading blogs, watching TV with the kids and falling asleep on the couch. Shoot. I did create a Facebook page for Dalai Mama though.  And if you are interested, you can join here.

You can substitute the Tumblr part with
blogger or Pinterest. Thank you.
Saturday evening was supposed to bring friends, drinks and dinner.  I finally peeled myself from the couch around 4:00 to shower in anticipation of friends coming over but as soon as I was getting dressed, Jake informed me that the soiree that we had planned was a bust.  Damn illnesses, school and work has put a wedge between me and friends again!  So back to the yoga pants I went.  The rest of the evening was spent eating Chinese food, watching TV (my boyfriend Adam Levine was on Saturday Night Live performing ahhhhh) and more Pinterest.  I stayed up too late doing absolutely nothing and regretted it this morning. 

The AM came too quickly and I spent the morning meal planning, grocery list making and laying around again.  God, this vicious cycle has to stop!  I did put my shoes on long enough to go the pharmacy to get Ivan's meds and went to the grocery store for doughnuts and milk.  Party over here!

Other than that, I was lazy all day, checking my Facebook, blogging and snuggling with my favorite people.  I always go through this on Sunday afternoon, where I finally get motivated at about 3:00 to start laundry, cleaning and do dishes.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment, even if I spent the other 44 hours of my weekend being a complete slug. 

So I wasn't able to scratch a bunch of stuff off my fantasy weekend plans, but hey, I am perfectly happy with the weekend that I did have.  I think time spent doing what you love is time well spent.  Even if it involves laying around in yoga pants, spending time with littles and spending too much time looking at a screen of some kind. 

How was your weekend?  Did you happen to catch my boyfriend on SNL? 

Where I'm from

This was an assignment for one of my classes. I enjoyed it so much I thought I would share and those of you that are poetic enough may want to try it and share yours as well. Mine is below and then I listed the template for how to create the poem below that. ENJOY!

“Where I’m From”
by Dalai Mama

I am from roses and daffodils
from Herbal Essence and weeping willows.
I am from the quaint bungalow tucked in between the woods.
(Breezy, cool, shaded and quiet.)
I am from the peony bush.
The lilac tree with its sweet scent that reminds me of my wedding day.
I’m from Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house and tall, strong, independent women.
From Joe and Eileen.
I’m from the stubborn Irish and proud Native Americans,
From the land of the “hide-behinds” and “you look just like your father.”
I’m from converted Catholics and proud Agnostics and those who only worship Mother Nature herself.
I’m from Peoria and Irish descent with a great-grandfather that came here with nothing, from meatloaf and spaghetti.
From the many times he asked her to marry him and she still said no, battling the Korean war, three open heart surgeries before he was 1½ years old, and from starting over again and again.
In the old cedar chest that has been through hunger, poverty and strife but held together and passed on from one house to another. From photos of good times and bad, happiness and anguish, laughter and tears to documents of where we have been and where we headed. Exceptionally, well traveled.

“Where I’m From”
Copy-Change Template
I am from __(specific ordinary item)____
from __(product name) and (?)
I am from the __(home description)___.
(adjective, adjective; sensory detail.)
I am from the __(plant, flower, natural item)___,
the __(plant, flower, natural item)___
(description of the natural item).
I’m from ___(family tradition)___ and ___(family trait)___,
from ___(name of family member)___ and ___(another
I’m from the ___(description of family tendency)__ and __(another
From ___(something you were told as a child) and __(another)__.
I’m from __(representation of religion -
or lack of it)
(further description)
I’m from ___(place of birth and family ancestry),
___(two food items representing your family)___.
From the ____(specific family story about a specific person
and a detail)
the ___(another detail of another family member)___.
___(Location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several
more lines indicating
their worth)