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August 31, 2009

Dear Google.

Dear Google,

I want to say thank you.

Last week, during the first week of school, my sixteen year old son announced that he’d figured out all by himself what ‘natural numbers’ are. Well, I think it was natural numbers. Whatever it was, it sounded hard, and what he was looking up was for his new physics class, which meant I was not qualified to reply.

My husband and I stared at him blankly as if he had just asked us to buy him a 2010 Camaro. We didn’t say a word because, well, we had no idea if what he had ‘figured out’ could possible be.

I tried to hide my ignorance to the laws of Physics, other than the fact that I know the gravity in my house seems to be stronger than elsewhere, and seems to instantly pull every kid item, especially socks, straight to the floor, and they’re held there like an enormous magnet is pulling them down. That’s gravity, right?

I asked him how he had taught himself about this new topic, and that’s where you come in.

His first reply was, ‘Well, I YouTubed It.’

Funny, in addition to not knowing Physics, I don’t know English. I didn’t know ‘YouTube’ is a verb.

Before I could reply, he followed that up with, ‘and then I Googled it and found the answer. Between YouTube and Google, I got it.’

When I was in high school, if there wasn’t a cheat sheet, Cliff notes, or a smart friend, I was out of luck.

Imagine what my GPA might have been if Google had been around in 1985! I may have gotten into Harvard!

In the last week, not only have we Googled physics, we’ve also Googled fractions for seventh and eight grade math for two other soon to be brainiacs, thanks to you!

After all, what parent out there, short of engineers and doctors, can remember how to divide or subtract whole number mixed fractions?

Yep, I believe your company might just be the secret into my kids going Ivy League, I’m sure of it.

Of course as I type this, they are probably Googling things I don’t want to know about.

But that’s okay.

Moms know how to Google also and I’ve long since Googled ‘internet spy software.’

I didn’t fall off the SUV yesterday!

Now, if you could just tweak your search formula a little, you would have parents lined up outside your doors for sure.

No matter how hard I try, when I Google ‘how to get boys to pick up their socks’ I get nothing but information on how to get my husband to pick up HIS socks?

Ahhhh…nevermind, I see trend there. It can be our secret.

Signed,

A Grateful Parent

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August 29, 2009

That’s Him with His Daddy’s Eyes

These are all my babies
Lord knows how we survived
The first one was hard and last was unplanned
What a big surprise
That him with his daddy's eyes. (Sugarland, The Very Last Country Song)


Today is Jordan’s birthday.

I love that song by Sugarland just because of that one verse.

Jordan was certainly a surprise to us, but I would never say unplanned, because clearly he was planned by someone with much more creative ability than Robert and I could ever dream up.

My third son, but I so wanted a girl.

I prayed for a girl, just about offered up the first two boys if God would give me a girl.

But, I remember clearly to this day getting the call that his pre-natal tests had come back at high risk for Down’s Syndrome, the flurry of medical tests that followed, and, finally, the high level ultrasound that oh-so-clearly let us know we were in for lots of testosterone.

I remember being in the ultrasound room, me covered in that stupid cold jelly they smear all over you, half naked, Robert crouched down by the bed, and the doctor saying, “well, so far the baby looks okay, but the only way to know is with an amniocentesis, which has about a 15% risk of a miscarriage. And by the way, you’re having a boy.”

Robert and I looked at each other and there was not even the slightest hesitation that, as much as I prayed and begged for a girl, that we would not risk the life of our third son with any test.

If he came out with Down’s Syndrome, so be it.

We looked at the doctor, thanked them, and waited five long months to find out those test results we’d chosen to skip.

Okay course, he came out fine.

Since the moment he looked at us in the hospital, he has marched to his own drummer.

If he didn’t look so much like our families, I would swear he was baby swapped.

But he is just, so, well, Jordan.

As one of his classmates told him in fourth grade, much to his dismay, he has a ‘strange nature.’

He loves Journey (or any other 80’s rock group) more than Jay Z.

If he tells you he doesn’t like mashed potatoes, listen to him, or they will come right back up, as will any food he doesn’t like. Strong gag reflex doesn’t begin to describe it.

He is sarcastic, funny, witty, has amazing comic timing, but yet once started to bawl because I didn’t tell him “God Bless you” when he sneezed.

He will sit through a horror movie without blinking, but when the movie ‘Bobby’ came out when he was in fourth grade, he became so fascinated with Robert Kennedy and his life, that he listened to ‘The Sound of Silence’ off the soundtrack 59 times in a row, until I finally threatened to delete it out of I-tunes for good if I heard it one more time.

And, lastly, I  LOVE the fact that he is probably going to be the tallest and biggest person in our house. How cool is that when you’ve spent your life as the youngest of three brothers?

He is the surprise baby, that continues to surprise us every single day.

And we are so, so happy that twelve years ago today he landed in our lives.

But we’re still arguing over whose side of the family that mouth and those size 11.5 feet come from.

It ain’t mine!

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August 28, 2009

Hello, Weekend.

It’s Friday night, this is where my husband found me, as he played with his new I-phone: the bath tub, with my supplies nearby.

shannontired

It’s been a long, long week. Work trip. Reports. Truck stops. Beef Jerky. Beaver t-shirts. Hotel Food. Zero sleep. Yuck.

The first week of school has come and gone, we are already well into Algebra, Physics, Football and girls.

Work ran past 5 pm today and will likely spill right on over into the weekend.

I crawled into the bathtub at 9 pm or so and just tried to stay awake and not accidentally slip under, inhale a gallon of water, come up choking, and scar my children for life if someone had to do CPR on their choking mother, straight out of a bath tub.

I’m sure Tyler never intended on his life guard CPR training being used on his mom in the bath tub, tired from a long work week. As if. He’d give it a good 5 minutes before he rescued me from drowning in my bubble bath, and I’m sure my three kids would stand just outside the bathroom door and rock-paper-scissors their way into deciding who went in first. I’d be half dead.

Anyways, there I was, in my bubbles, Cheez Its on hand, Julie Child’s bio nearby. The only thing you can’t see is my glass of wine.

Oh, and I had sunglasses on to hold my hair back because I’ve learned a short hair lesson the hard way: It doesn’t matter if you are Posh Spice, Kate Gosselin, or Queen Victoria-if you go to bed with short hair that’s wet, when you wake up in the morning, it’s not Fashionable, it’s Frankensteinish.

Of course, if you are Kate Gosselin, the back of your head looks like that anyways.

I should stop making fun of her hair I guess, she has enough issues.

Kate, if you read this, ignore me, I’m tired, I’m sure you can relate.

Somehow, I’ve made it to the end of what seemed like a work week that would never end.

But I really like my Bucee Beaver Boxer shorts. I promise, they are much cuter when you are wearing them at home, than when you are in a hotel room and open the door for room service.

At least that’s what my husband tells me. ;)

Hello, weekend, I’m so glad to see you.

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August 27, 2009

You Look A little Uncomfortable

Today was my latest IST visit. So far, I’ve gone alone in order to get to know her and determine which of my many flaws we are going to address first.

Only this time, my wonderful husband agreed to join me.couple

By ‘agreed,’ I don’t mean I threatened him with bodily injury if he didn’t join me.

I just let him know it was today, said he was free to come along if he wanted, and to my surprise, he agreed.

We arrived early, sat in the waiting room, and chatted while we waited. No big deal.

But, when the IST came out, and we walked in, my husband went from Mister ‘sure, I’ll come along, no big deal’ to looking for the nearest exit like someone had just pulled the fire alarm. Trapped.

Even the IST noticed and said, “you look a little uncomfortable.”

He nervously replied, “well, maybe a little.” Ha. More than a little honey, come on.

I betcha her chart notes read: “Husband near panic attack. Wife clearly hog tied husband to get to therapist. Major problems.”

I won’t go into the details of what we discussed. Ya gotta draw the line somewhere and if I start blogging the details about therapist visits with my husband, I might not have a husband.

After a few minutes of him chatting (yes, to all of you who know me, I shut up and let him talk) and breathing into a brown paper bag (just kidding) he calmed down and was comfortable talking to her.

Well, as fine as a male can be discussing his marriage, with his wife sitting to his left and a stranger sitting straight ahead.

All things considered, he did great.

I will say this: I swear that woman has planted a spying device of some sort in our house.

The last time I was there, my second visit ever, she pegged me so quickly I was sure my mom had called her ahead of time and given her the Shannon Cliff Notes.

During the joint session of Congress therapy, she made a summary statement about where she thought some of our very few issues stem from (read: what’s wrong with me that carries over into the 4 males I live with) but her statement was eerily accurate.

All I could say when she finished was, “That’s creepy.” And then I turned to my husband and said, “I swear, I did not call ahead of time and tell her to say that.

After one session together, we made great progress.

He’s agreed to take on all the dishes, laundry, bill paying, car pool and dusting.

And, I’ve agreed not to be a mad, raging lunatic of a woman. On Mondays.

Just kidding. On both accounts.

I didn’t say we drugged him.

And, I could never promise to be that normal.

I mean, just imagine how BORING our lives would be if I agreed to such a thing? ;)

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August 26, 2009

And English is Terribly Boring

I arrived home today from my work trip to Dallas, still feeling some of the mom guilt that crept up on me for missing the first few days of school.

I’m sure the fatigue I was feeling had nothing to do with the 4 hours of beauty rest I got in the hotel, or the truck-stop-diet I started on the inbound trip (bad idea.)

The business meetings wrapped up early and I hightailed it out as quickly as possible for the four hour drive home, feeling tired, and skipping every truck stop (no beef jerky this time, I learned my lesson.)

Ah, what 48 hours can do in terms of how you look at your kids.

I swear they’d grown an inch.

Okay, not really. But I was thrilled to see their smiling, sweaty faces.

They were anxious to tell me about the new school year, and I was ready to hear it.

I heard all about the teachers…..one teacher is supposedly 71 years old, one has less hair than me (hard to believe) and several are (right now) very ‘cool.’

As they crouched at the edge of the bed and tag teamed me with back to school stories, it was like a verbal ping pong match. I just sat and listened, my head bobbing back and forth.

Jordan: “Mom, I have lunch with all my good friends.’kids

Chase: “Yeah and we actually have the same lunch but we don’t sit together, so don’t ask.”

Jordan: “And I’ve already learned 5 Spanish words” (I’m praying they are not swear words.)

Ping pong, back and forth. Teachers, friends, classes, and of course, ‘I need money.’

Then Jordan said, “But English is terribly boring.”

I almost replied, “and would you like some tea and crumpets for dinner?”

My almost-twelve-year-old has a tendency to sound like  Robin Williams uncensored on HBO, but can, in the next breath, sound just like Prince Charles. He has always done this, and you never know if you are going to get the king or the comedian.

It’s just like him, all smelly and boy like, to say “English is terribly boring” instead of something more tween-ish like “English class sucks.”

Hearing him say that, listening to them voluntarily chat up a storm with me, when I am lucky to get a text messages that say anything more than “IDK”, erased most of the guilt I felt about being gone.

I’m home.

We’ll see what happens though in three weeks when progress reports come out.

It will either be, “that stupid teacher gave me a bad grade” or “I’m terribly happy with my progress this year.”

Or, he’ll be cursing us all out in Spanish.

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August 25, 2009

Like Sands Through The Hourglass

If you live anywhere near me and happened to look outside yesteday and see someone doing cartwheels down the street in their pajamas, that was probably yours truly.

The school year is off to a start, and if the State of Texas started school on a weekend, I would have been toasting myself yesterday with Mimosas, Bloody Marys, or both. Well, maybe not both. I cannot do tomato juice that early. Mimosas, for sure.

The kids headed off yesterday, scrubbed, immunized, shaved (I have a 7th grader that shaves, and 8th grader that doesn't, imagine what that does for sibling rivalry), and newly clothed compliments of Hollister and no thank you to the slow mall walkers.

I love the first day of school.

There are no pleads from me for them to get out of bed, no requests for lunch money, book money, picture money, or homecoming dance money. No last minute requests to sign report cards, book reports, or 'oh, by the way, I need black pants, socks and shoes for the band concert tonight,' from a child who has grown 6 inches since the last band concert.

My kids actually look forward to the first day, reconnecting with their friends, and comparing notes over which teachers they will collectively torture, which girls they will try to attract.

Several years ago, my two youngest kids were in first grade and kindergarten, respectively. Jordan was 4 years old, starting kindergarten with the teacher Chase had just finished the previous year with, we loved her.

Apparently, Jordan was having a rough first day, so the teacher, knowing Chase already, pulled Jordan out of class and took him down to find Chase in his first grade class, hoping he could give Jordan some 'words of encouragement.'

The teachers pulled Chase out in the hall, all three foot ten of him, and asked him to provide a little big brother psychotherapy, and talk Jordan into going back to class, ya know, help him out and all the things all good siblings should do.

Chase leaned over, whispered something in Jordan's ear, and Jordan turned around and went straight back to class, issue over.

I didn't hear about this incident until parent-teacher night, several weeks later.

I was beaming. All proud of my little first grader for stepping up to the plate and having Jordan's back when he needed it.

I was a little surprised though, that Chase had played big brother when it came down to it, there's no love lost between those two. Something didn't seem right.

I turned to Chase and asked, 'what did you say to him to make him go back to class like that?'

Chase looked at me and with his little 5 year old voice, and the same non-chalant, by-the-books, matter of fact personality has to this day and said:

"I told him to go back to class or he would end up stupid."

My how the time flies, from Jordan's kindergarten rescue, to yesterday when I jokingly said to him on the way out the door, 'try not to kill the girls with your cuteness' and he replied, dead serious, 'mom, that's kinda hard, okay.'

I am sad to have missed the first few days of school due to being out of town for work.

But, there is a silver lining in every cloud, right?

For the first time ever, it's my husband who gets to fill out three sets of the same forms we fill out every year, the paperwork that rivals in volumne the quantity of forms I filled out when I bought my house.

Have fun with that honey, it helps to switch pens to avoid writers cramp.

And please, don't forget to sign and date them properly, or the teachers might think we're stupid.


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I'm Just Saying....

If you're like me, and a working mom, here are a few tips if you happen to be out of town on the first day of school:

1.) Don't stop at a truck stop on your trip and buy beef jerky, praline rolls, AND Diet Cokes to eat on your trip, if you are overcome with guilt about not being there to greet your teenagers when they get off the bus, and you suddenly have a binge junk food spree.

2.) If you do decide to buy any of the above, be sure you buy lots of Pepto because by the time you reach your said work destination, you ain't gonna be in any shape to work. Unless you eat that stuff on a daily basis anyhow, and even then, I'm just saying, it's not fun.

3.) If you get to your hotel, and, out of sheer guilt that you are not home on a day you kids are certain to never remember, but your tired brain tells you the opposite, and you for some stupid reason follow up the truck stop beef jerky with room service, don't order anything with french fries to chase down the truck stop food. If you do, refer to tip #2, and double the amount you purchase.

4.) If the truck stop you were dumb enough stop at happens to sell really cute themed boxers and t-shirts, and you decide to have a shopping spree to go with your beef jerky, praline roll, and sodas, don't put your new digs on until AFTER the room service arrives. Bus boys give you really strange looks if they show up with dinner and you are all alone dressed in Bucee Beaver themed clothes from head to toe, regardless of how cute Bucee is.

5.) Last tip, most important. Once you get to the hotel, under no circumstances should you listen to your Ipod if it has any Harry Chapin on it, especially that awful, terrible working mom song: Cat's in the Cradle. Once you hear the verse about 'the new jobs a hassle and the kids have the flu, it's been sure nice talking to you dad,' you should hope your room is on the first floor so you aren't tempted to end the working mom guilt with a leap.

One extra: if you manage to get photos of your kids on the first day of school, before you leave for your work trip, and are dumb enough do all of the above, by all means, share them.

They are, after all, probably the reason you are working to begin with.

I don't know anything about all that stuff.

I'm just sayin....



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August 23, 2009

Your Mom Got Arrested for What?

I waited until the absolute worst possible day to take the kids to the mall for back to school IMG00363-20090822-1313[1] shopping: the Saturday before every child attending public school in Texas starts. Yeah, brilliant, I know.

I didn’t even try to park, headed straight for the valet. I would have paid $50 to not hitchhike from the edge of the mall parking lot. It was easily 100 degrees, and I had, after all, taken the time to put on makeup, just in case I ran into any of my clients out shopping. The last thing I needed was my makeup melting off in the 30 seconds between my car and the mall entrance.

I sent the kids on their way shopping, instructions to not spend one cent over their $100 each budget or everything would be returned, and to call me in an hour.

Since I had time to pass, I decided to walk around the mall.

Walk? Anywhere? Who was I kidding with more people shopping than attending a rock concert. Not a chance.

What is it with people at the mall who walk in groups five across and refuse to let you pass? And then, they STOP, unexpectedly, and you end up nearly doing the Butt Boogie with a stranger. I totally turned into a mall tailgater. MOVE OVER PEOPLE, PLEASE, THIS IS NOT A SUNDAY STROLL!

Thirty minutes later, I heard from the kids. One of the models at Hollister wouldn’t let them use my credit card because Tyler’s ID didn’t match. Guess he doesn’t look Posh enough to be a Shannon R.

I headed off to pay so we could GET OUT THERE before I ended up arrested by the mall police for assaulting some slow walker.

I met Jordan, headed into Hollister, and ran smack into a line of parents waiting to pay. When I say line, I mean LINE, people. This line tangled all the way through that dark, loud store and stopped just short of the entrance to the mall.

For forty minutes we stood there in that cave of a store, unable to hear anything due the blaring music, continuously bumped by their modeliscious workers working. I counted to ten. Took deep breaths. Did I mention I hate, really hate, crowds?

The whole time, I was thinking, ‘this is not concert tickets to see Cold Play. This is 3 shirts and a pair of shorts. And Cold Play tickets would be cheaper. And if one more teeny bopper bumps into me, there’s gonna be a throw down.’

Jordan kept glancing at me like he was saying a silent prayer: ‘please God, get us up there before she really embarrasses me and tackles another parent or a Hollister employee.’

We finally paid, and headed out of the store back into the mall. I couldn’t see anything except stars, and not the Brad Pitt kind, unfortunately. The stars you see when you walk out of a long movie, straight into the bright sun, having just plunked down

All I could think of was, ‘next year, we’re so shopping online, come August. And thank goodness Nana’s a lawyer. Just in case.’


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August 22, 2009

Saturday Morning Confessions


I’ve decided that on Saturday mornings, I’m going to do a sort of theme: too-tired-from-working-not-getting-my-butt-out-of-bed-till-noon-confessions.

Why would you do such a thing, might you ask? Well, because usually on Saturday mornings I am in bed doing nothing particularly important other than trying to recuperate from the work week. And, I like to write early on Saturdays.

So, there you have it. Saturday Morning Confessions it is until I change my mind, which as we all know, could be by next Saturday.

I’m sure by now if my parents are reading this, they are wondering what sort of family skeleton I’m about to drag out of the closet. Keep your drawers on mom and dad, you’re safe. For now.

My first confession is completely harmless:

I am totally, utterly, hopelessly addicted. To Cheeze Its.

There, I said it out loud. Wow, I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my back, I’ve come clean with the Cheeze It addiction.

I don’t know when this started, my addiction for those artificially colored orange crackers. But, I cannot get enough of them.

You know how the TV announcer used to say on their commercials, “Get your own box” in that booming voice?

Ha. You haven’t seen anything at my house until you’ve seen someone eat the last of the Cheeze Its.

You’ve never seen people duck and run so quick as when I open the pantry and, in a voice that WAY out does that man on TV, I say, WHERE ARE THE CHEEZE ITS?

Lord help the poor stray child that shows up to visit, gets hungry, doesn’t know the rules, and accidentally eats the last of a box.

We usually never see them again. They end up Cheeze It traumatized for life.

It’s crazy, I know, I cannot explain it, don’t ask.

I’m sure everyone has a strange addiction of some kind. Right? Someone?

I could eat these things for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact, sometimes, I think I do just that. There is almost always a box by my bed. And in my car. And in my desk at work.

I was thinking that if there is ever a Cheeze It Bake off on TV, I’m sure I could win. Except I cannot cook a darn thing.

But, if there is ever a Cheeze It eating contest, like the hot dog contests on July 4th, there ya go. I’m in.

I saw the movie Julie and Julia with Meryl Streep this week, and I thought, hey, I bet I could cook one recipe a year with Cheeze Its and blog about it?

Scrambled Eggs with Cheeze Its?

Cheeze It over baked chicken?

Do you see a trend here? I think it’s totally do-able!

I’m not sure I have much to confess every Saturday. And trust me, if it’s something major like I’m having a secret love affair affair with Brad Pitt, or I’m really known as the Lucky Jeans Bank Robber from Channel 2 News, you ain’t reading it about it here.

I’m crazy but I’m not stupid.

But Brad, if you’re reading this, I’ll share my Cheeze Its with you.

I’m sure Angie won’t mind a bit.

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August 21, 2009

It’s A Smaller World After all

As a teenager, I remember having several pen pals.

I cannot recall how we originally connected with each other. The back of 16 Magazine or Tiger Beat, maybe?

There was certainly no Internet, Facebook or MySpace.

But, somehow I managed to reach out and touch a few other teenagers my own age, who lived in far off places like the France and Beirut.

Weeks, months, would pass before I would receive a response to my American-teenage-girl, drama filled letters.

I would instantly recognize the replies in the mail: the tattered, striped international mail envelopes, the very-slanted-to-the-right non-American handwriting.

It felt like Christmas, opening those pen pal letters, other girls describing their own teenage lives, cultures, in broken English. I treasured every page, and held on to many of the them, with their small crinkled photographs, for years.

Flash forward to this past May, when Michael, one of the tweenies who spent a chunk of his summer at my house, announced he and his family were relocating to Azerbaijan. (I had to look that up three times to spell it, by the way.)Azerbaijan map

If you’re like most Americans, if someone announces they are moving to Azerbaijan, you might look at them like they’ve just said ‘I have eight toes on each foot.’

I had no idea where that is located, except that it sounded a long way off, and nowhere in Texas.

Turns out, it’s near Turkey (the country, not the food), thank you Google.

Michael and my boys hung out all summer and eventually, he and his family packed up and moved, with promises to return to visit next year.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the living room Monday, only to hear my kids talking to Michael through X-box Live. There was his crackly little pre-teen voice coming through the our surround sound speakers.

As uber-connected as we are (I sleep with my head closer to the Blackberry than  the pillow on some nights, a terrible example, I know,) it never occurred to me that they would be chatting away with Michael from the other side of the world.

I just assumed he had moved to a place that sounded closer to Saturn than a TV and X-Box, and that we wouldn’t actually hear from him, Facebook updates aside, until next June.

In disbelief, I said, ‘Is that Michael? Coming through the TV speakers?"’

The kids barely looked up, ‘yeah mom, he’s 11 hours ahead of us, we’re good, we’re winning.’

I was amazed! I said, ‘wow, how cool is that, we’re able to stay in touch with Michael through the TV, from Azer-whatever (I can never pronounce it correctly)! Maybe we can all look up Michael’s new crib on a map, a GLOBE?’

Then they all looked at me liked I had eight toes.

Whatever. I tried.

I’m thinking this weekend I’m going to show my kids how to fill out the front of an envelope and affix a stamp.

Just in case they ever need to, you know, actually hand write a letter.

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August 20, 2009

Marriage Help

I may need some help with my marriage.      5860_1174568611290_1440314850_482672_5794348_n

This is not something even the IST could tackle.

I thought for sure my online mom friends could relate and provide some suggestions on how to cope with the crisis I am dealing with.

Okay, here it is: my husband has gas.

Now, I know that most husbands have gas. But we have a larger, more pressing problem. It seems as if no matter what room he is in at the moment, when the time comes, he ALWAYS happens to be near me when the mustard gas canister explodes.

And we’re not talking about little farts. We’re talking about rip roaring, make-me-lose-my-lunch, Febreeze-won’t-touch-it with-a ten-foot-poll type farts.

I’m sure the few men who run across this blog are cheering him on and would be doing the male chest bump if they were here in person. Go ahead boys, you wouldn’t be chest bumping, you’d be dry heaving if you smell these.

I cannot decide if this is intentional, accidental or a little of both.

You know, like giving your spouse a love pat, only he likes to give me a love fart?

I’m trying not to take it personal. If he is trying to prove his love for me, surely he knows, after 18 years together, that his gas can easily, quickly, turn me greener the pea soup.

And our house is 3,000 square feet! Why, why, why does he feel the need to come and locate my little 3 square feet I might be occupying at the moment, and let them rip? There are 2997 other square feet in our house that he could go to!

But noooooo, just like magic, he finds me and POOT, BAM there it goes! Kinda like the late Billy Mays, KABOOM!, or Emeril, BAM!

Does anyone else deal with this? Surely, I am not alone. Should I just add Beano to all the food in our house?

Can I join a support group for Wives of Severe Farters? Anyone wanna join me?

And honey, I promise, flowers are much more effective than farts if this is a way to prove your love for me. Please. At least aim towards the boys when it gets bad. This seems to be a male issue, they are already apprentice farters as it is, and can learn from your technique.

(Printed with permission from my husband, who farted while reading this, when he started to laugh. For real.)

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August 19, 2009

Smelly Shoes

IMG_3256[1]


As I was leaving for work yesterday, I tripped over one of my twelve year old son’s shoes.

This can be dangerous. At 5’6, he wears size 11.5 shoes. I know this for a fact, because we had his feet measured last weekend when we bought our only school shopping item to date-shoes.

I cannot comprehend being 5’6 and having feet that are size 11.5. That would equate to what I looked like on vacation in Hawaii: giant mask, snorkel and flippers, waddling down to the beach.

I’m not sure how he walks without tripping.

Nevertheless, the large pile of boys shoes by my front door made me stop and think about the shoes, and the feet that go in them.

Some of the shoes in the pile don’t belong to my kids, they belong to the other tweens who have invaded my house all summer.

As much as they have farted, burped, eaten and slept their way through my home since May, the shoes that don’t belong to my children reminded me that for some reason, children have chosen our house to re-locate to when possible.

I bet it’s my never ending supply of my Cheeze-Its that they gobble down, regardless of my threats.

Maybe it’s the fact that while many of their dads are at work during the day, my husband is plopped right there in the middle of them, game controller in hand.

I realized how big the shoes looked, and how little those feet had once all been.

With my first born, I remember my brother, no job, expensive tastes still in place, bringing Tyler a pair of mesh Air Jordans to the hospital.

In 1993, Air Jordans for a newborn cost $60.

My brother was unemployed, but this was his first nephew; money was not an issue.

With my middle son, I remember bringing him home from the hospital, barely tipping the scales at 5 lbs. He was tiny. I had to buy him socks from the baby doll department at Toys ‘R Us.

With Jordan, I remember the very first thing my husband said when he was born was not, ‘wow, he looks like me.’ It was ‘oh my goodness, look at those feet.’

Even as a newborn, his tiny feet eclipsed his little body. Little did we know.

I thought of all the times those 3 sets of once tiny feet once ran to the door to tell me goodbye as I left on random work trips, Jordan saying, ‘but mama, I will MISS YOU.’

I realized how much they’ve grown, those feet, my boys.

Now they drive cars, and those same feet storm up stairs to slam doors when they are mad at me, or carry them out back to clean off the patio for surprise parties.

Lastly, I thought of where those shoes, those stinky smelly, awful teenage boy shoes, and the feet that go in them will go; the fact that one day they will stand at the end of an aisle, (I pray in a church and not a courtroom,) or how many, MANY years from now, they will wait in a hospital room for their own new pair of tiny feet to arrive.

Somehow that stack of shoes reminded me of the half way point that we are at with these boys, closer now to men each day. Well, on most days.

I was, momentarily, thankful that the big pile of shoes, with my kids smelly sneakers, was at my house, and not at another house.

And I really want to track down the inventor of Febreeze and thank him.

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August 18, 2009

Back To School Cash Crunch

 

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Here it is, less than a week now before school starts, and I am almost in panic mode.

Yes, of course, I am Team Captain of the Cheerleading Squad for moms ready to send their kids back to school.

Two-Four-Six-Eight, who do we appreciate? TEACHERS!

(I would insert a back handspring here, but I might hurt myself.)

Although we are a dual income family, at the rate we are going, I might need my younger two kids to lie about their age and get a job at a local burger joint to cover back to school costs.

I wonder how much trouble I could get into for that?

So far, we’ve spent $300+ on shots, $150 on two pairs of shoes, and $100 on pre-packaged school supplies for two kids.

That’s $550 dollars plunked down, and I haven’t purchased one article of clothing yet, not so much as a stitch of Fruit of the Loom underwear for one of my three boys, unless you count the gym uniform the school required me to purchase.

Somehow I don’t think the kids are going to agree when they ask me, AGAIN, about back to school shopping, and I say, What are you talking about? We’re done shopping? I bought your gym clothes?’

On top of that, they have been hounding us, all three of them, for new cell phones.

Funny, I didn’t see that on the school supply list?

Not yet. I won’t be surprised in a few years if I open the school supply list and see ‘Razr or Sidekick’ on top. I just know it’s coming.

It’s gotten so bad with the new cell phone requests that one day I finally told them to all go and look out the window into the backyard.

They looked at me like I was crazy, but oddly enough, they complied. Such a Kodak moment, where was my camera when I needed it? All three of them stood there for a good thirty seconds before someone finally turned to me and said, ‘what are we looking for?’

‘A money tree,’ I replied. ‘Let me know where you see one growing because I need to go do some pruning.’

They were not at all amused. I thought it was kinda funny actually.

Forget all the hoopla over Health Care Reform.

I think we all need to band together and start writing our congressmen for Back-To-School-Supply-Reform. I’m ready to start a caucus or whatever they’re called.

Political Action Committee, that’s it.

Seriously. I hear my bank account draining by the second.

And until then, does anyone know what the going interest rate is for a back to school loan? And are Fruit of the Loom covered?

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August 17, 2009

Rambling Self Portrait at 40

Shannon40

My big day finally arrived, came and is almost over.

It was a great day, in all aspects.

I didn’t notice a single extra wrinkle or gray hair.

No more 30’s, no more subscription cards or church groups that are for people ‘Under 40.’ I’ve officially graduated to groups that start with the ‘4.’

For all the joking I’ve done over the past few months about this day arriving, I couldn’t be happier.

Yes, I actually woke up this morning, looked in the mirror, and I realized how happy I am to be here, at this point in my life.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Well, I might skip the butcher haircut from last week.

And I might have tried to trade my little brother in.

But, his kids ended up too darn cute and they’re sort of a package deal.

But I wouldn’t change anything else. Life is good. I’ve been blessed.

I went shopping yesterday, a birthday gift from my mom, and a momentary distraction from my once again tween boy overloaded house.

Once I heard how outnumbered I was at home, I told them I was going shopping, and said if they got hungry to eat the Cocoa Puffs.

In the midst of trying on the Lucky Jeans I’ve waited a year to purchase (and fit into), I paused, had a brief return to my twenties, and struck the above pose in the Macy’s dressing room.

I decided it was finally time to come out with the hair cut, and my 40th birthday seemed like the perfect moment.

I’m great. Forty doesn’t need to be thirty.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m not over the hill.

I’m sitting on top of it.

And honey, don’t even think about trying to trade me in for a younger model.

I realized, after my dressing-room-photo-session that I AM the younger model.

After all, where else will you find a 40-something wife to three teenagers that looks more like Posh Spice. Who needs that Kate.

40 is fun. Life is good. And size 6 Luckys that fit without needing to lie down on a bed to zip up are fabulous.

(Note: My buddy Jason at Dog Makes Five.com made me post this tonight as a follow up to the morning post. He swears people want to read about more than just turning 40 on Facebook. So there ya go. Forty years old and I’m still submitting to peer pressure. Sheesh.)

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Turning 40 on Facebook

So it’s no secret, today is my 40th birthday.

I’ve been blogging, gabbing, texting and writing about this day for weeks now, it’s certainly not something I’ve made any effort to hide.

This is the my first birthday since I joined Facebook last fall.

The big day has finally arrived. I was wise enough to take off work today so I could celebrate in style and sleep late.

I eventually drug myself out of bed, made it to my beloved coffee and booted up the laptop.

Now, keep in mind, for the past 39 years or so, birthday wishes have been limited to random Hallmark cards in the mail, a few e-mails, and the required phone calls from my mom singing me Happy Birthday like she does every year, and my dad sounding all sentimental about me being another year older.

As the kids have grown up, I’ve been lucky enough to get a few birthday text messages also, which I am sure I paid out the wazoo for, seeing as how unlimited texting is relatively new and they were most certainly over the limit when they sent those.

Enter Facebook and 200 of my closest friends, family, neighbors and people I’ve never even met, that are collectively called my ‘friends.’

God, I love technology. What did we do before Facebook?

Instead of going to the mailbox and hoping to see a card or two from distant relatives and hearing my own voice echo back from an empty mailbox, I woke up this morning to hoards of birthday wishes, cupcakes, flowers, plants, cards, James Avery Jewelry and Farm Animals wishing me Happy Birthday.

All before 9 am.

Which was absolutely excellent seeing as how I didn’t have to walk to the mailbox and bare my Kate up-do to the neighbors before I’d had a chance to cement it in place.

The first birthday wish arrived from the super neighbor next door at about 12:02 am or so.

My poor brother somehow thought that he would get up at the crack of dawn and be the first to wish me Happy Birthday online, only to find out that he’d been beaten by a dozen other people.

I have a feeling I might never see an actual Hallmark Card in the mail again, which is just fine with me.

Well, I take that back.

Dad, if you’re reading this, please continue to send me your Hallmark card.

It’s the only one that still comes with a check in it.

As for the rest of my 'friends,’ from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Online cupcakes have never made a middle aged, working mom so happy.

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August 16, 2009

The Final Countdown

Well, D-day is nearly here.

Tomorrow is the big day, the big 4-0.

I think today I might run to the grocery store and yank out a bunch of random magazine subscription cards just so I can check off all the demographic boxes that say ‘Under 40’ on them, before it’s too late and I have to lie.

Or, I could go try to buy some liquor and see if I get carded so I can point out to the cashier that I’m 39?

Just in case my husband and kids are reading this, remember, I took off work tomorrow to celebrate the start of my new decade.

I am expecting breakfast in bed, flowers, and lots of fancy gifts.

Just kidding. Don’t panic.

The living room full of people who surprised me last weekend while I was still in my Snoopy pajamas, without makeup, will hold me over for a few years in terms of birthday gifts.

And, a note to my parents: I hope you are not too terribly stressed about having to tell people you have a child that is 40.

(Wow, just typing that sounds bad, let me know the first time either of you make that statement to someone else, aloud. You might want to practice alone first.)

I was informed by a Generation Y co-worker last week that 30 is the new 20. So that means that 40 must be the new 30. Right?

See, we’re all good. Just tell everyone you have a 30 year old child. No one needs to know the truth.

And just think, you could have been hanging out at Woodstock.

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Driving Mrs. Crazy

It's been two months now since Tyler got his drivers license.

Ahh, the memories. It seems so long ago, those days of me toting him around.

I was so sad at seeing him drive off that first morning.

My first born son, taking the lives of his brothers in his hand as he drove them off to swim practice, three blocks away.

I stood on the front porch watching, ready to throw my body down to stop him.

My, how a few months can change everything.

I still worry each time he leaves. There is still a teeny pang in my heart and the prompt to drive safe and text me when he arrives.

My neighbor tried to tell me how happy I would be once Tyler could drive.
At the time we were drinking martinis. I thought she was delusional.

All I could envision was someone running over my baby. I still do worry about that. I'm sure I always will.

But the rest of me is high-fiving myself, secretly woo-hooing, every day!

In the past two months, he has driven himself to work, made trips to pick up dinner, dropped off and picked up my dry cleaning, dropped off one kid at the orthodontist, picked up another at a friend’s house.

What did I do before I had my own personal errand runner?

Every parent needs one of these, it's the best thing since unlimited texting.

All those times I could barely get him out of his room, off the couch, or to speak in anything beyond a mumble are a thing of the past.

Car keys hold such enormous power, I had no idea!

All I do now is request an errand, and POOF! He instantly appears.

The jingle of car keys is like waving a magic wand.

He’s Happy. Cheerful. Speaking in full sentences. Right before my eyes, like a little lap dog, ready to perform whatever trick I need.

I'm trying to take full advantage of this before he catches on.

At some point me 'allowing' him to run up to Target is going to turn into me 'begging' him to run to Target.

I know that day is coming.

For now, it's cool to drive mom's car, which has a great air conditioner and even better radio.

I learned about the radio the hard way.

Monday morning, as I rushed out the door for work, hands full of a too many work items, 2 Diet cokes, cell phone, laptop, purse, never enough caffeine by that point, and I barely made it to the car without dropping something.

I turned on the engine first to get the air conditioner going, since it was 110 degrees by 8 am and my face was starting to melt.

Remember the old Bill Cosby routine about a parent getting in a car after a teen?

The man was famous for a reason.

The radio nearly blew out my ear drums and car speakers simultaneously.

No more need for the Diet Cokes or caffeine.

I managed to peel myself up off the driveway, crawl over to the radio and hit mute.

If you have a up and coming teen driver, be prepared to worry. It has, easily, been the scariest thing I have done as a parent. Hands down.

But it's also been the most fun.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

But you might want to turn down the radio first.

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August 15, 2009

Weekend Hair Woes


What’s the only thing worse than having hair that’s too short?

Having hair that’s too short first thing in the morning. On a Saturday morning.

I went to brush my teeth this morning and whoa buddy, I took one look at my new do in the bathroom mirror, and realized I’d stepped into Chapter Two of the chopped hair crisis.

I normally drag myself straight to the shower, non-stop. So far, the crew cut hasn’t been an issue in the 72 hours since my bad hair moment turned into bad hair Ground Hog Day.

That all changed this morning.

I was fully intent on wearing my normal non-working-weekend attire of a ball cap, no make up and hoop earrings (at the most.)

My hair chopper off-er Lily failed to warn me that when you have more hair under your arms than on your head, and it’s been caked in hair products the day before, the result the next morning is a finger in the light socket look.

And, when your hair is this short, ball caps (of any style) are not a great idea.I tried out my weekend cap, and quickly realized I’d better wear hoop earrings as big as dinner plates to make sure no one thought I was, um, of the other gender.

Luckily, I didn’t have any errands to run until this afternoon, crisis temporarily averted.

The Target run became unavoidable, I left off the cap, tried to style my crew cut as much as possible, put on my fat sunglasses and started to leave.

I opened the door, yelled behind me, ‘I’ll be right back,’ heard Jordan said ‘okay'.’

Pause.

And then in a voice that was just barely loud enough for me and his tween cohorts to hear, he followed it with ‘Kate.’

I stopped dead in my tracks and turned around.

‘What did you just say?’

He replied, in a voice that was a cross between an answer and a question, a plead to laugh with him and not go all UFC on him in front of his friends, ‘Kate?’

The tweenies all howled with laughter.

Chase didn’t get it at first, ‘why are you calling her Kate?’

Jordan filled him in, ‘the hair, you know, mom looks like that lady off TV with all the kids.’

Chase looked from me to Jordan and back.

‘Wow.’ Light bulb moment. He, too, started to howl.

One of them tried to smooth it over, ‘it’s okay mom, you really only look like her before she had all those kids.’ As if.

That’s okay.

I guess they didn’t read the blog about the cat food in the Cocoa Puffs.

We’ll see who gets the last laugh.

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August 14, 2009

ISTology


I had my weekly IST visit this week.

Not the pedicurIST or the acupuncturIST, although I clearly saw a hair stylIST if you’ve seen my head.

If you’re new to my blog, I’m referring to the therapIST (I hate to use that word, since I’m so private and all, so I refer to her as the IST) I recently started visiting, as a way to get a third party opinion on how to find my life again, without using drugs, too much alcohol, or a straight jacket.

After this week’s visit, I believe she might have just dropped some sort of listening device into my purse last week when I wasn’t looking.

Get this: the woman has me pegged after speaking to me, well, you know, more like letting me speak mostly, for less than two hours total, half of which was spent with her contorting her chart to accommodate my lengthy lineage.

But, somehow, she’s very quickly figured me out. It’s a little creepy. I’m thinking someone I know surely found her contact information and e-mailed her the Wiki report on Shannon.

I’m actually kinda surprised she didn’t see my cuckoo haircut and immediately write me some sort of anti-anxiety prescription.

Now that I think about it though, that hair cut probably went right along with the personality she had sitting in front of her gabbing away: ‘where did she get that hair, never mind, it makes total sense’ is I am sure what she was writing in my chart.

Crazy hair or not, she already has me thinking about things in a different light.

Working mom, at home mom, single mom, 39.9999999999 year old mom-I’m not sure the titles matter that much, at least not to me.

If she can help me find the recipe for some work life balance, throw in a dash of higher cause type fulfillment, sprinkle in a way to have a healthier lifestyle while working 80 hours a week and raising teenagers, and ensure I don’t go broke or get divorced in the process (that’s a joke, honey, if you’re reading this), I will go in there with my head shaved.

Well, maybe not.

Oh, who knows, my head is half way there already.

And no, I’m not posting a photo.

The IST might not think that’s good for me.

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August 13, 2009

Me and Kate, Minus Eight

No, I’m not posting a picture.

I decided to get a haircut Tuesday night, about 3 weeks ahead of my scheduled appointment.

I do this occasionally, cheat on my normal hair stylist, who I love dearly.

She’s well aware of my tendency to be a little non-faithful once or twice a year.

I just like a change every now and then.

I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with D-Day this Monday. Not a thing.

Usually when this mood strikes me, it occurs on a whim, perhaps a over worked mom hormonal whim although I’ve never tracked it and don’t intend to. I just waffle right on over to the mall where my back up (and more expensive) hair stylist is waiting in the wings.

My back up stylist is extremely thorough (hence the higher price.)

When you see Lily for a haircut, you really aren’t leaving that chair until every hair is in place.

Which is why it’s all the more surprising that I walked in asking for a ‘little less hair’ and somehow walked out looking like Kate Gosselin, minus the 8 children and philandering husband, thank goodness.

Maybe I wasn’t specific enough? I thought I did a good job of explaining that I wanted it a little shorter, there was too much over my ears, a little more than the normal trim? How 'take a little off the back' turned me into a mirror image of a tabloid queen is beyond me.

I did not mention anything about Kate and her rooster-like do? Did I?

Fortunately, Lily had enough presence of mind, at 9 pm on a Tuesday night, not to fluff my hair up on top of my head like Kate’s. She started to fluff the bottom though and I quickly stopped her, thinking, knowing, that if she fluffed or cut much else, I might need the number to Kate’s divorce attorney.

I’m pretty good about hair cuts and dealing with it.

It grows back.

Surprisingly, I’m not terribly freaked out. As long as I stay away from mirrors. And keep the boxed Merlot on hand.

I understand though, why someone with sextuplets and twins would want that hair cut. It’s certainly quicker to style in the morning than what I had before.

I would estimate that my hair prep time now falls somewhere in between Kojak and Howie Mandel.

As long as 8 mini children suddenly don’t show up at my door, I should be fine.

And no, I’m not posting any photos.

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August 12, 2009

A Happy Tune

Today didn’t start off much better than yesterday.IMG00345-20090812-1827

I managed to get the coffee and breakfast in, but from the second the alarm went off, I could feel the stress.

I had three training sessions to do before lunch and anytime I have trainings, I’m stressed.

Not because I have to talk in front of groups of people for 4 hours straight. No issues for me with talking in front of people or even to brick walls. I can talk, that’s not a problem. No one even needs to be listening.

Training stresses me out because regardless of how much my Type AAA personality prepares the night before: projector, training materials, books, supplies…I always feel like I am going to forget something, be late, leave the power cord to the projector at home.

I made it to the car with all the supplies, plugged in the I-Pod to give my morning ritual one more chance.

No Amy Winehouse this morning telling me to go to Rehab.

No Britney reminding me that life is a Circus. I know that already.

What do I hear but Alan Jackson’s amazing voice singing ‘How Great Thou Art,’ a song I added to my I-Pod for my grandmothers funeral earlier this year.

I listened to the song not once but three times.

I instantly felt relief and made it to the training, power cord and all.

Short mom blog today, as tonight I am working with my co-workers (and taking my 16 year old son) cooking dinner for the residents at the Houston Ronald McDonald House.

Sure, I’m tired, and it’s been a long week.

But I’m thankful to have the opportunity to show Tyler how fortunate he is, how fortunate we are.

As long as they don’t ask me to cook, we’re good.

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August 11, 2009

Change the Station, Please.


I’m tired.

I accept full responsibility, but I’m tired.

I’ve broken the #1 rule you should never break when you are a working mom:

Do not over booketh thyself.

Between back to back parties (apparently we are quite the jet setters now, two parties in a row and all,) immunization sticker shock, and back to school hoopla, I also have a harrowing work schedule this week.

Today’s working mom load involved a 2 hour each way drive to College Station.

I purposely set my alarm 15 minutes late, just to get some extra sleep.

Big mistake.

I am compulsively on time to a fault (thanks, dad!) and when I walked out the door, it was without coffee, which we all know is not good, and without breakfast, which is even worse-I never skip breakfast.


I was slightly frazzled, it’s fair to say, trying to get out on time.

When I finally left, I could have easily had an entire roll of toilet paper hanging out the back of my pants and would have never known.

I was carrying my work bag, Cheeze Its for breakfast in one hand (sorry, mom, I know, not the breakfast of champions,) a Diet Coke in the other hand, a spare diet coke in my bag, and a change of clothes.

I have a morning ritual when I get in my car. The first song on my I-pod sort of sets my mood for the day. (Don’t laugh, I know some of you reading this are far more superstitious than me, and won’t stop a gas pump if it doesn’t end on an even number, you know you’re out there.)

Since 90% of my I-pod music is contemporary Christian, 9% is country, and 1% is what I allow the kids to add in case they are trapped in the car with me, I’m usually fine.


Not today.

What’s the first thing I hear? Amy Winehouse barking out ‘they tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no.’

BLARING, of course, at a level 27 on my car, since Junior was the last one to drive it.

Uh, no. There’s no way I can listen to Amy Winehouse at 8 am, decaffeinated.

Next? Britney Spears singing ‘Circus’ (which was kinda funny and a lot more fitting for my life than Rehab. I hope.)

At that point though, I thought both my I-pod, and my day been hijacked, and I should just get out of the car, call in sick, and go back to bed.

Of course being the type AAAA person I am, I did no such thing and headed to College Station.

Who needs those stupid rituals anyhow.

Rehab. PUHLLEASE!

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August 10, 2009

The Countdown

The clock is ticking.

Not just until my birthday, but obviously we are in the final count down until D-day, the day all my teacher friends hate, and all my mom friends wait 3 months for: the first day of school.

I’ve been pretty excited myself, no surprise, until today. You know, OPEN, OPEN, OPEN.

Grandpa, Nana, are you reading? Have I told each of you how much we love you lately?

Our school shopping preparedness so far has been limited to 2 haircuts, $25 each, and ordering two pairs of shoes from Foot Locker, I got off cheap at $150 total.

Cha-ching, I can just hear my bank account vanishing by the day.

What has been my biggest expense so far?

The $300 in school shots we plunked down today due to a new Texas law for entering 7th graders.

We haven’t even made it to clothes shopping yet, not so much as a pair of socks or underwear, and all we have to show is a receipt for shoes that are on the way in the mail, and Jordan’s right arm and left butt cheek for the shots.

I did feel sorry for Jordan, getting three shots in one an all. Ouch.

That was until he came home from the clinic, me worried, him knowing to milk the moment.

I said, all nice mom and such, ‘Jordan, how do you feel, are you sore?’

His reply, typically Jordan sarcastic, ‘Yeah mom, it hurt terribly, I had to get a shot in my left testicle.’

I should have expected something like that.

(And the fact that he’s been using that word a lot lately has me worried. I think a room inspection is due any day now. Or not. I’m not sure I want to see what I would find.)

Tick tock. 14 days left until I hand my mouthy still 11 year old seventh grader over to a new set of teachers. Maybe I should send pre-apology letters now?

OPEN, OPEN, OPEN.

I wonder if we could camp out a day ahead, with our pool chairs and tents, and be the first ones inside the school, like when you wait for concert tickets or I-phones and other exciting items?

While the clock ticks, if anyone wants to start a back to school co-op, you know where to find me.

Cha-ching.

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August 9, 2009

They Got Me

As most people know, I only get to check off the ‘under 40’ box on sweepstakes entries for about 7 days and 2 more hours, give or take a few. But who’s counting.

In the typical chaos that is my life, my husband decided to throw me an early surprise birthday party.

The fact that he managed to successfully pull this off with half of Houston knowing about it, and me not knowing, is in and of itself Ripley’s material.

Yep, they got me.

I was still in my snoopy boxers and pink Beatles t-shirt, no bra, thank you very much, when my mom and step-dad arrived. At 2 pm. It’s Sunday, okay, a lot of people are still in jammies at 2 pm.

Then my own mom totally threw me under the bus. I drug her into my bedroom to give her some jewelry, and told her I was changing clothes since I wasn’t expecting guests.

Actually I was thinking, dang, let me at least get a bra on.

The woman who gave birth to me then said, ‘Oh, it’s just us, YOU’RE FINE.’ KNOWING that as we stood there in my bedroom, my living room was filling with people!

I, of course, ignored her, got dressed, still without combed hair or makeup on though, and THEN I walked into a living room full of people tooting horns.

I don’t know what surprised me more. The people blowing horns or the fact that I suddenly had a house full of people, the maid isn’t due for a week, and I couldn’t remember if I had brushed my teeth.

I learned that as I had sat all morning around in my Snoopy boxers, my husband had two grills going out back and the porch filled with food.

The fact that he did this and I never noticed worries me. I’m not sure what the IST will say about that. I’m sure it means something not so good.

And, my middle child evidently is CIA material. Apparently, he’s known about this event for 3 weeks and kept it a secret. That was really smart of my husband. If he had told Jordan, Katie Couric would have been here.

At one point, my step dad accidentally pinched my super neighbor on the rear end, thinking it was my mom. OOPS! AWKWARD!

My father and my step dad (yes, my mom’s current husband, and her ex-husband) left the party early and toured every small bar in our area and introduced themselves as ‘my mom’s husbands.’ They now call themselves ‘husband in-laws.’

What do I say? It was an amazing afternoon with the people who mean the most to me; even Aunt Jennifer The Fairy Godmother drove fours here from Dallas, stayed at the party, and drove fours right back home for work tomorrow. And that’s why we call her the Fairy Godmother.

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So, yep, they got me. I was officially very, very surprised.

But the next time I turn 39, could one of you PLEASE send me a hint to get out of the Snoopy boxers and put on some make up? PLEASE? 

And thank you to everyone who was here today. I love all of you.

But watch out, you know what they say about paybacks. ;)

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August 8, 2009

John Hughes and Facial Cream

Given the impact filmmaker John Hughes’s movies had on my high school years, I thought it was touching that I had my own John Hughes movie moment yesterday.

Last night I was very tired-even more tired than my normal Friday night delirium.

At 10 pm, the kids requested tacos, and for some reason I obliged, which is odd-I’m not usually making tacos at 10 pm.

Whatever, I agreed, put the meat on, and went to get ready for bed.

I started cleaning my face and lathering on the anti-wrinkle potions, half awake.

As I removed my make up, and my face was fully covered with facial cream, I realized something didn’t smell right.

My face cleanser is holistic and smells like chamomile and herby stuff.

This stuff on my face smelled good, but not right.

I looked down to see what I had just smeared all over my face, praying it was not Ben Gay or Preparation-H.

Instead of holistic make up remover, I had just covered my entire face in Japanese Flower Blossom Body Lotion.

Enter Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone.

The only difference between the two of us was that he had on after shave, I had on hand lotion. But, we both screamed.

There are a couple of screams I possess. If you know me, you know instinctively which is which.

I have the high pitched ‘honey, come quick, there is a Texas sized bug’ scream.

I also have the lower pitched combination of scream mixed in with some mommy words, like when I forgot to put the coffee pot on the machine and returned to find my morning caffeine on the kitchen floor.

Last night’s scream was a combination: high pitched mixed with mommy words.

This is not my first offense, I know, hard to believe.

In high school, I was out with friends one night, ran back into the house to use some hair spray and cement my 80’s hairstyle, only to realize that I’d sprayed my entire head with the Glade Air Freshener my grandmother kept by the sink.

Last night, I screamed and Chase, my knightly middle child, came running as if beckoned by 911.

He saw me standing in face cream and, dead serious, kept saying ‘mom, WHAT’S WRONG?’

Finally, I looked at him, covered in lotion, and said, ‘never try to take off make up with body lotion, it doesn’t work.’

He started laughing so hard he almost fell over, and returned to the tween invaders in my living room and said, ‘you’re never gonna believe what my mom just did.’

I hope John Hughes is watching from heaven.

This would have made a great movie moment.

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August 7, 2009

User Error.

I don’t know how this happened.

With all my talk of summer ending and sending the kids back to school, I somehow didn’t realize back to school is SO SOON.

Yeah, yeah, I know as much as I’ve talked about this ad nauseam, people probably have visions of me getting up every morning and marking a big X off the calendar every day like a kid waiting for Christmas.

But last night, Tyler poked his head in my room and said, ‘are we going to go school clothes shopping before school starts?’

I looked at him like he spent a few too many hours in the sun at his life guarding job and said, ‘Hello? Tyler, have you ever, in your 16 years of life, started school without new school clothes?’

He looked right back at me like I had been working too many hours as well and said ‘well, I know, but school starts in two weeks?’

SCREEEEECCHHHH.

Two weeks? How did that happen?

I mean, I know I was just discussing the sounds of summer ending and back packs and back to school. But two weeks?

Wasn’t August 1st just the other day?

Didn’t a nice mom e-mail me and let me know when the first day of school starts and it was something like August 24th?

I suppose somewhere in between the summer home invasion of the mini-male-tweens, flying to California next to a nice lady trying not to throw up on me, being stung by a bee as I dined with the rich and famous on the beach in Malibu, fumigating my home and car after summer camp, and my brother taking my uber-cute nieces and nephew and moving out of state, somehow I didn’t realize that SCHOOL STARTS IN TWO WEEKS?

I’m a wee bit panicked. How could this be?

With three teenagers, everything here revolves around payday.

And there is only one more pay day in between now and D-Day!

I’ve changed my chant from  OPEN, OPEN, OPEN’ to ‘HELP, HELP, HELP.’

I hope some of the grandparents are reading this.

I promise, when I was talking about our national forest of a family tree, I was referring to your ex-spouses.

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August 6, 2009

Mom Knows Best

They should have listened.

My 12 year old youngest son was recently diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis and had a follow up visit with the Rheumatologist on Monday.

Middle school football camp also started Monday.

I’ve been worried about this for months.

Jordan has always marched to his own beat. And it’s never been anywhere near the beat of a marching band at a football game half time.

He spent hours drawing, writing stories, and teaching himself the piano when he was younger. Outdoor sports? Hardly.

We tried soccer once, and my pale white creative writer nearly passed out in the Texas heat.

Other than swim team, which involves trees and water, let’s just say a Heisman Trophy is probably not in his future.

But, he’s determined to follow in the footsteps of his Jonas Brother like siblings and play football just like they did.

I tried to talk to my husband about this. But, I’m completely outnumbered by four males in my house when it comes to sports.

I pleaded in vain, ‘He doesn’t even really like football, he’s going to get clobbered!’

His oh-so-male response? ‘He’ll be fine. I played center and I’m not that big.’

Right. But, you are built like a bulldog. A cute bulldog, but short and stocky and things landing on you would not be an issue.

Jordan is built like a string bean plant that someone sprinkled too much plant food on. Tall, skinny, adolescent feet and hands way ahead of his frame.

I've envisioned a 250 pound Texas seventh grader landing squarely on my skinny kid’s face.

Yesterday, my neighbor picked up Jordan from football camp, and sent me a text message at work saying he was limping when she dropped him off. She was worried.

I called home immediately.

Jordan answered and sounded like a croaking bullfrog stuck under the front tire of an SUV.

Red flags went up. He sounded terrible.

I played nurse, asked about his joints, where the pain was located.

Finally, he managed to ribbit:

“Mom, have you heard of SQUATS?”

Red flags lowered.

I tried not to laugh.

‘Yes, I’ve heard of squats.’

I recalled the countless exercise videos I’ve done, and the millions of squats I’ve endured.

Should I tell him if he hurts this bad now that tomorrow his legs will feel like day old Jell-o?

Nahhhhhhhhhh.

‘This is not caused by arthritis. It’s caused by the couch.’

Pause. Croak: ‘The couch?’

‘Yes. When you spend your summer holding down the couch playing video games, with the activity level of a half-dead slug, squats hurt. I’ll bring you some muscle cream.’

Maybe I can bribe the coach into a thousand push ups tomorrow?

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August 5, 2009

Temporary Insanity. Or not.

I may have lost my mind. I’ll let everyone know in a few weeks, give or take.

I just signed up to be a sales advisor for Lia Sophia Jewelry.

Now, if you know me well enough, and even if you don’t know me but you’ve read more than 1 blog from this website, this should make about as much sense as, oh, let’s say Rosie O’Donnell and Bill O’Reilly announcing they’ve been having a secret affair.

I won’t even start on the my cup, plate and salad dish over-floweth already with way too much to do. I fully expect to hear that from the IST next week as the root cause of all of my problems, in addition to my national forest family tree.

No, the reason this is so unlikely is because, well, with all the many, many things I’ve ventured into in my 39.9999999999999 years, I’ve never, ever done anything like this.

I have an MBA.

Got a 4.0 GPA in grad school.

Was #1 in my class in grad school.

Owned a business for 7 years.

Was interviewed by the Oprah show to be a guest (didn’t make the cut darn it, they wanted ‘million dollar’ moms. Ha. Not quite.)

Actually, now that I think about it, forget Bill O’Reilly, this is about as likely for me to do, as Rosie having an affair with Anne Coulter.

I found out about Lia Sophia from a friend at work who lives in Chicago and has been very successful, even with many other people in that area selling.

Texas is, I guess, slow on the fashion scene. There are now like 3 of us in the whole Lone Star State I think selling.

Opportunity knocking maybe?

When I mentioned it to another friend who lives here in town, she quickly rattled off that she had been considering it also, and dropped all kinds of strange words like ‘party’ and ‘booking’ and free this and free that said it would be a piece of cake and I would make lots of extra money.

Huh?

The only parties I attend are either the kinds next door with mixed drinks, or the kinds with 16 boxes of Pizza and lots of kids running around, both of which end up giving me a headache one way or the other, and neither of which gives me extra money or free stuff.

Booking? I won’t even go there. Let’s hope that’s a word I never hear except in relation to my new jewelry adventure.

And, on top of all of that…you have to know me…I am about as far from a fashionista as you could get.

For the first 10 years of my life, I told my mom I was getting married in blue jeans! And I wasn’t joking!

I didn’t even wear mascara until I was like 19!

Me? Sell JEWELRY? I dunnoo……if it involves people coming to my house, it might not be a good idea….

Well, I talked to my husband about it, mentioned the extra income, he said give it a shot (as he was engrossed in Mafia Wars on Facebook.)

So, I’ve just started, it’s official, I’m now moonlighting.

I’m now a working mom with two jobs.

And I have no idea what in the world I am doing.

BUT, when I signed up, I got this huge box full of jewelry. I mean there must have been like 30 things in there. It was like the jewelry jackpot.

I called my mom, she came over and quickly scooped up a few things she liked and we oohed and ahhed over it all.

When my husband got home and saw all that jewelry laid out on the bed and a hundred little jewelry boxes scattered all over the floor, I think he thought for a second he’d been taken and this was no business, it was more like a ploy for me to jack up my jewelry collection.

Like I would do that? ;)

Well, it’s now official. I have an actual website (if you click that link, try not to laugh at my photo. It’s from the fall. Notice the lack of jewelry? See, I’ve surely lost my mind…I’ll get a new photo) and all and I am trying to do bookings that don’t involve my teenagers going to jail, and have parties that don’t involve screaming children and sugar overload.

I hope to get rich, retire early, and do it all very fashionably and preferably before I lose my mind trying to get there.

So, stay tuned. If I suddenly stop blogging, you’ll know that either I got rich very quickly and no longer have time to amuse the world with my life stories, or the IST has committed me. (Which is just fine, cause at least if she did, I would be committed in very fashionable accessories!)

In the meantime. Anyone wanna book a host?

I mean host a party?

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August 4, 2009

The IST List

Jordan had his follow up visit yesterday at Texas Children's Hospital with our new favorite pediatric Rheumatologist.

The good news: He is gene-negative for the form of arthritis that we think he has, great news! And, his MRI looked very good.

The bad news: As my still-11-but-looks-14 year old son was stretched out on the way too short of an examining table, without warning, the doctor took off Jordan’s shoes to look at his feet joints. Did I say with no warning? Not smart.

This was 48 hours post camp return. We haven’t finished fumigating the house yet, I certainly haven’t made it to feet. 2898_1132532760420_1440314850_344614_3252180_n

She did a great job of not turning really green, maybe she sees lots of funky things on size 11 feet of 11 year old boys. Now that I think about it, she slightly resembled the lady next to me on the plane to California last week? Hmmm…..

I bet she made some case notes like: ‘note to self, next time, wear surgical mask before removing this child’s shoes. Better yet, get a medical student to do it.’

On top of that, I had my own IST visit today.

You can do the math.

I’ll just say it wasn’t the acupuncturist. If you’re not sure who I'm talking about, read here.

Let me just say, you know that there might be an issue with your parents having married one too many times, each, when the IST is doing your family tree and starts to turn the page sideways to write, finally flips the page over, continues on the back, and at the end says:

WHEW!

(As if saying: ‘WOW I’VE JUST DRAWN THE FAMILY TREE OF ALL FAMILY TREES! And you didn’t even ask about my former step-siblings! I wanted to say, ‘Hey! We’re not done, I’ve had to put up with all those various step-people over the years, some of whom I cannot remember, write down every last one of them down, I’ll skip dinner if we need to’!)

No go. The IST was done after two and half pages of circles, squares, crooked, straight, and dashed lines across two and a half pages of paper. And we didn’t even talk about my husband’s family.

Hah. Just wait. She’ll need a whole notebook.

I guess if I left anyone off, they’ll have to take the honorable mention when I start to blame family members for my insane behavior.

But now she has me worried. I just assumed everyone has family trees that require numerous pages and former step-siblings you cannot recall?

I am now starting to wonder if perhaps I don’t have any long lost siblings that I don’t know about? Mom…Dad….Hello?

At the end, the IST said:

‘well, is that everyone?’

Long pause from me.

‘Yeah, I think so?’

I’ll get back to you on that at our visit next week.

I need to make a few calls.

I’m afraid I’m going to end up needing the acupuncturist to help me work out the stress caused by the therapist.

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August 3, 2009

The Sounds of Summer. Sort of.

Be very still and listen for a moment.

Do you hear that? I mean really hear it?

If you are within a 3 block radius of my house, you probably cannot hear much because the smell of week old camp clothes might have overpowered your senses.

The smell was so bad, within about 30 minutes of arriving at home and dragging that moldy mess of suitcases inside, I made them turn right around and drag it all onto the front porch.

I still haven’t fumigated my car from the ride home.

But that is not what I'm referring to.

No, what I'm referring to is the sounds of August and BACK TO SCHOOL.

When my alarm went off this morning, I awoke to the DJs discussing a BACKPACK DRIVE.

YES!

That put me in a better Monday morning mood than 3 cups of coffee with no Lucky Charms.

I just love the word BACKPACK, when I hear it in August (except when I am buying 3 news ones and my school supply bill is a few grand.) Oh well, I’ll take it.

And a few minutes after the DJs made my day, kids #2 and #3 headed to out to FOOTBALL CAMP, another sure sign that my never ending days of a house filled with overflowing pubescent testosterone are almost over.

Next week, Tyler gets his books and a parking pass.

Weehaw!

I can almost hear the silence in my house on the first day of school when they all head out. I can almost hear that front door slamming shut and the bus driving off.

Sure, until then, the smell of boys returning from football camp can momentarily overpowers the sound of back to school.

My super neighbor from next door was kind enough to stop by Saturday evening and look at the pile of post-summer-camp gear and tell me my front porch was 'percolating.'

IMG_0847

(The camp pile. What you cannot know is that the black suitcase to the left sat there closed for a good 6 hours before my neighbor came over and mentioned that something was brewing on my porch. We decided to open it and everything was wet. Be glad there is no smell-o-web here.)

That's fine, I can take it.

Right now, I'm like the lady in the old Mervyn's commercials with my face pressed on the glass of the front door to the junior high:

‘OPEN, OPEN, OPEN.’

PS. Can someone please email me and let me know when the first day of school is?

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August 2, 2009

Brotherly Love

I’m not sure I can do this but I will try.

In a few days, my younger (and only) brother and his wife and their three small children will be moving from Houston, back to his wife’s hometown in rural Indiana.

We’ve all known this was coming. It has not been a secret.

They have to do what is best for their family, and trying to raise small children in the rat race of Houston is hard and not good for small children.

In 1994, when my husband and I had one child, we did the exact same thing-packed up and moved with our 14 month old to a small town we had visited exactly one time.

As a new mom, I felt like the crime and city life was not where I wanted my kids to be raised.

Four years and two babies later, we moved right back so I could be near my mom.

When we moved back, our kids were the exact same age as my brother’s kids are now.

I understand the need to be near family and have help, and it’s been hard for our family to help them much due to our own crazy work schedules.

But, in my whole life, I have never, ever been far from my brother. We’ve lived within 2 hours of each other for almost twenty years now.

We weren’t exactly best friends growing up. That’s putting it mildly.

He was absolutely incorrigible as a younger brother.

Imagine Dennis the Menace on steroids. And then some.

SEan5

 

 

 

 

 

He had some great gifts:

  • He was very curious. He loved to take things apart. The problem was, everything he took apart was mine. And he had NO skill for putting things back together.
  • He was skilled at vanishing, instantly. I cannot remember how many times we would be at the mall, long before the days of cell phones, and quite literally, you would blink your eyes and he would be gone. And he would stay gone. After the malls were nearly closed, and my mom had travelled the property at least three times with mall security and mumbled every four letter word under her breath, he would instantly appear at the car, looking at us all like ‘what, where’s everyone been?’

    I remember one summer day, he was grounded for something, who knows what.

    He got in the shower, which should have been a big clue that something was up, but I wasn’t a mom then and didn’t know 11 year old boys rarely take showers in the summer. About an hour later, I realized that shower had been going way too long.

    He had pulled my dads dresser drawer out, which blocked the window and must have weight 150 pounds, and my 11 year old brother had climbed OUT THE WINDOW and gone out to play. My charge had escaped

There were times when he would infuriate me, I would chase him around so I could just beat his a** for something he had done to me, but he was younger and faster and usually made it away from me.

He was awful, just awful-everything you would expect from a younger brother, multiplied by a thousand!

As the big sister though, I always got my revenge.

He loved Ramen Noodles, it was his favorite food (go figure). But he hated the noodles broken into pieces, they HAD to be whole. ;)

Think you can run faster than me? That’s fine. I can sure get the Ramen noodles out, all of them, and crunch them into a zillion pieces.

This brought the running to an instant halt, along with instant wails on injustice.

Loved it. Can you tell I still take pride in my creative revengefulness?

Shannon4

We were home alone during the summer a lot, and it was my job to make sure he got into as little trouble as possible (a nearly impossible feat.) A few times he would try to call my dad at work to report my few, I’m sure minor, infractions.

I would pick up the other phone line and sit.

You cannot call out when someone has the other phone off the hook. Heh, heh.

Think you can report on me mister? Good luck with that. I would just hold the other phone off the hook while he screamed about it not being fair that he couldn’t call out.

Saying he was sneaky, more like the devil, is an understatement.

One day last week, my eye caught one of those large photo frames we have in our house that holds several different sized photos. There is a photo of him holding my middle son as a newborn and kissing Tyler, who was about two years old.

I remembered that he brought Tyler a pair of new born Air Jordans to the hospital when he was born, when he had no job, and no business buying a newborn $60 shoes.

I realized when I saw that photo, how lucky I had been to have my children grow up around him their whole lives. They’ve had more head locks, wedgies, farts in their faces, and baseball games than anyone can imagine. He has been an integral part of their lives, and I am lucky that they have formed a life long bond with him that I know will last regardless of where he lives.

New Image

I was in the hospital room, helping (because he’s still such a chicken) when all three of his kids were born.

I understand the need to do what is right for your family. But, the air around us will be a little different, and it will take my entire extended family awhile to adjust to them being gone.

I hope he knows how much I love him and how proud I am of him-he is an amazing, wonderful, father-and how much we will miss them, how much my boys will miss the headlocks, the Christmas dinners, the Confetti Easter Eggs, the wedgies.

Now that I think about it, I bet he’s moving now because my kids are finally big enough to collectively take him down and return the wedgies and headlocks.

Chicken.

MDAY2003a%20032[1]

I guess I better Google the directions to Indiana.

And good luck with those Yankees, Sean.

Maybe you should ask one of them if you can take their car apart to fix it? ;)

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The Good Stuff


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Ipod Song of The Day

August 20, 2009: Armageddon It, Def Leppard
August 21, 2009: Remember When, Alan Jackson
August 27, 2009: Stop Playing Games with My Heart, Backstreet Boys

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