Monthly Archives: January 2012

RTT: I am so on top of things this week.


Random Tuesday!

  • As I wrote yesterday, I took my older girls on individual dates this weekend. We had a great time. One of the things I forgot to mention was when I got all risky and asked Ella if she had any questions for me. {braced myself} “Yes. Who was your best friend when you were in elementary school?” Which totally brought me back. So many fun memories. So much more fun to talk about with Ella than sex or something.
  • I don’t want a dog. That’s not true. I just don’t want to take care of a dog, or have it chew our things, poop in our yard, eat the garbage, or leave fur on everything. Meanwhile, I tend to check out all the time. And there’s a dog that meets my breed/gender/size/color requirements right here in town. Named Phoebe. A Friends name? Is it a sign??? No. It’s not. Right?
  • You know what’s awesome? Getting real mail. You know what’s more awesome? When a college friend who reads the blog mails me coupons for my favorite tea. So fun. Thanks, Rachel!
  • I cannot keep up with all the homework. Right now Ella gets two pages of math on Tuesdays and Fridays. There are spelling words to study for Friday tests. She’s supposed to study multiplication tables for 10 minutes a day. And she’s supposed to be reading a minimum of 100 pages a month. And her learning log needs to be signed by a parent every day. Natalie has one page of math every day. One book to read every day. There are spelling words to study for Friday tests, and half of her words are challenge words like “boisterous.” She gets a monthly challenge math packet. And a monthly random homework page, to do 3 items per week. And she’s supposed to read at least 15 books a month. Only she reads chapter books so I’m not sure how to count those. IT’S TOO MUCH FOR ME. Reason #212345789 I will probably never homeschool.
  • My Target is remodeling. I’m not sure I’m going to survive it. We had an old, forgotten Target. I have possibly mentioned how it doesn’t even have the conveyor belt checkouts. Well during the remodel, a large chunk of the store is always missing. And everything is somewhere else. And where you found it today is not where you will find it tomorrow. And if you ask where something is, the Target employee might have to radio to ask. I think it’s going to be nice when it’s done. But the process is going to kill me.

That’s all I’ve got for this week. More random over at Stacy’s, as usual!


Lunch dates


This weekend I took each of the older girls out for a lunch date, on their own. Followed by 3 hours of shopping. Each. I am exhausted. It’s something I’d been wanting to do for a while, and on Friday night when Ella asked if we could play Life, just us, on Saturday, it seemed like a good time.

Ella chose Perkins because she has a thing for the rainbow pancakes. But when I reminded her that she’s usually still hungry when she’s done, she opted for chicken fingers. She was carefully planning her meal around a possible milkshake at the mall later. I told her now was a good time to talk about things she didn’t want to talk about around Natalie or Daddy. She seemed very interested in that. I’m constantly expecting her to hit that time in school when the girls all get mean, so I fished a little. “If you could change one thing about school, what would it be?” Friends? Mean boys? A class she didn’t like? “I’d want a hot tub.” Well, sure. Let’s get one at home while we’re at it. She also made her usual request for her own room. After lunch, we wandered around the mall for a bit, and then hit the DQ/Orange Julius for a pick me up. She picked out a new clearance rack outift at Crazy 8. She drooled over all the stuff at Justice and Claire’s. We had a lovely time.

Natalie chose TGI Friday’s because of the side options. She liked that she could get a fruit cup. And she wanted the Strawberry Lemonade Slushy, because “I can’t have that at home.” She was pretty chatty, even saying, “This is nice, because when Ella’s around I don’t usually get to talk.” She was really excited about all the things around us, and did a lot of “what if” talking. After lunch we went to the mall, and she was much more interested in clothes shopping than her sister. She found a few things she liked. We agonized over earring sets to replace her starters. It ended in a stalemate. The ones I wanted to get were too boring. The ones she wanted were too big. I suggested maybe we should go to the Starbucks in Barnes and Noble for a hot chocolate, but she said no, she could have hot chocolate at home. She wanted to try a milkshake. It was her date, so I didn’t argue about how much better Starbucks hot chocolate is than what I make at home. So it was back to DQ, two days in a row. On our way out through Barnes and Noble, she saw all kinds of books she wanted to get, and she mentioned she’d like to read a book together again.

Those girls are so different one on one. I’m thinking I’d really like to make this a habit. It was especially nice to spend some time with them without having to stop them mid-sentance to say, “I have to change Zoey’s diaper.” It was nice not to be in a hurry to get home. It was fun to see their different interests. The things they wanted to shop for. The things they wanted to talk about. They are so different. And I could really see their ages. Ella seems so old. And Natalie is losing that little kid look.

I’ve been paranoid about having teenage girls since before I ever got pregnant. And now I’ll go through it THREE TIMES. I just want to do everything I can so that they’ll feel like they can talk to me through all the emotional drama the teen years can be. I feel like this is a good start.

Captain America wants to know when Zoey’s date is. I reminded him that she sleeps through lunch. Dinner then? Yeah. Maybe in 3 years. Maybe when she can go through Target without torturing everyone with her blood curdling scream.

Spin Cycle: Dream Job(s)


This week Gretchen was asking about the Perfect Job. That has definitely changed over the years for me. I have a few answers.

What I want to say: I want to say that my dream job would be as a writer. I would love to be a Real Writer. But I’ll bet there’s a lot of pressure, which isn’t something I can get really excited about. So I think mostly I’d like to be able to tell other people I was a writer, and have a large number of people read what I write. I’m not sure if this would be books or even blogs.

My dream job that I’m almost a little ashamed of: Personal shopper. I really love to shop. Especially with other people’s money. I love to find a deal, I love to find an elusive item. I like the hunt. I like the browsing. I think it’d be fun to spend my days looking for things that someone else would like. I’m sure this job has it’s downside. Like cranky people who don’t like any of the things you found. Or who get mad because you spent too much money on something.

I don’t know what this job is: This might be my actual, true dream job. But I don’t know what it would be. I would like to do something that involves finding things out on the internet. When there’s a conversation, and somebody says, “What else was [name of actor] in?” I am instantly on my phone looking for the answer. Much to the irritation of Captain America, who thinks I should put the stinking phone down. Otherwise, I’m on the computer the moment I’m home, looking up the answers to all questions that happened to come up. Verifying information. You know when you post that Facebook forward thing? I’m checking snopes. It’s false, by the way. Pretty much no matter what it was. Facebook will soon start charging. That girl who is missing. It’s false. So I don’t know the job title, but that’s what I’d be doing.

Dreamy dream job: So let’s pretend that it doesn’t have to be a job I could actually get. And that I wouldn’t have to worry about all the parts like being away from my family. I’d be a singer. I really love to sing. But I feel like this requires all kinds of things like playing an instrument and writing songs, which I don’t do. And I’m sure I’d have to be an awful lot better than I am – good grief I’ve been watching the American Idol auditions. I couldn’t hold a candle to the vast majority of girls that get through. But if we’re just pretending…

Person whose job I would most like to have: Ellen. Every show she tapes, she has an audience full of people who are crazy excited to be there. She has a staff of writers. She gets to be funny, and laid back. She interviews fascinating people. And some people who are probably hard to talk to seriously (Jersey Shore cast *ahem*). Those people you love watching on youtube? She flies them in to do her show. When things don’t go quite right, she just laughs. But here’s my favorite part: she gives away all kinds of things. Can you imagine how wonderful that feels? There’s somebody who can’t pay their rent and is going to get kicked out of their home – she gives them $10,000. Somebody who lost everything in a fire – she gives them every gift from the 12 Days of Giveaways. Somebody with a new baby whose car is falling apart – they get a new car. Heck, a whole school full of kids who don’t have their basic needs met – hundreds of thousands of dollars, AND because of the attention from the show they get donations from people all over the country, all the time. You could even take away the show part, I would just love to be making all of those people happy. It would be so amazing to go to bed at night, knowing I’d helped people who really needed it in a way other people didn’t have available to them. Now THAT. THAT would be a dream…

RTT: Are there more Tuesdays during the week than I remember?


Because it seems like it’s always time for Random Tuesday Thoughts. These may be the most random yet.

  • I have always had longer nails. I can tell it’s time for me to cut them again, because there’s a lot of extra clicking going on on the keyboard today. When I was little and took piano lessons, my teacher used to get disgusted that I couldn’t have the proper hand form because of my nails. And she didn’t like the clicking on the keys. So much so, that a couple of years ago I ran into her, and the first thing she did was grab my hand and look at my nails. “Yep. Still long.” I usually keep them around 3/16″, which means the very tips of my fingers hardly ever touch anything. And that’s what I blame my failure to learn guitar on. It hurt something awful to push those strings down with super sensitive fingertips.
  • Yes, I just measured my nails with a ruler. There have been a lot of measuring sections of math going on here lately, and it seemed so reasonable. At first I put 3/8″. And then I remembered that would be more than 1/4″, and that wasn’t right.
  • I didn’t love piano lessons, but I didn’t hate them. I think I quit and then went back at one point. And then my teacher said she’d be taking a sabbatical, so she wouldn’t be able to teach me. Only she kept teaching another girl from my class. I quit for good. I wish I wouldn’t have.
  • It’s time for my annual “Why didn’t I plan a warm vacation?!” trauma. I have it every year around this time. I thought this year might be different, since winter waited so long to show up. But it’s amazing how windchills below zero and piles of snow and ice can erase your memory. It’s as if I can’t remember a time where there wasn’t snow, ever. Even though it was just weeks ago.
  • How cold is it? We’ve had quite a few cabin feverish days here lately. There’s been a lot of snipping and snapping. Captain America keeps suggesting I go hang out at Barnes and Noble or somewhere to get out of the house. But it’s so cold I don’t want to go. Well, and also he suggests it for after the kids are in bed. I’d rather go at 5, and come HOME when they’ve gone to bed. Somedays dinner and a bedtime routine is just too much. TOO MUCH.
  • Remember last week how excited I was that I had so far to go into the Downton Abbey series? No more. I am completely caught up. Right through last Sunday’s episode. I sent my sister a lot of emails like this: “O’BRIEN!!!!” And I’d get a reply like this: “Just wait…”
  • Zoey’s newest word is “doh.” I haven’t figured out what it means yet.
  • Remember way back when I made the laundry detergent? I still like it. And I’m still working off the same batch. Even though we are a family of five, and my children seem to throw things in the dirty laundry if they even TRY THEM ON. My ice cream bucket of detergenty goodness is only half gone.

That’s enough random for today. Not that there isn’t more, but maybe if I don’t put it on my random list I’ll actually write a real post. Stacy’s got more at her place if you haven’t had enough.

Spin Cycle: Taking a Stand


Gretchen’s spinning assignment for the week is “taking a stand,” in light of the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Taking a stand is something I rarely do on my blog. I generally like to stay sort of controversy-free. I get enough of that on Facebook. But when this was announced as the spin o’ the week, I couldn’t narrow myself to a topic. I have opinions. Lots of them. So instead, I’m giving you my Take a Stand background.

Taking a Stand and I have a history. My parents owned a weekly newspaper when I was growing up – so the best way to be heard around our house was to write an editorial/opinion piece and have it printed. I’m sure I’m exaggerating. Mostly. While it might sound like an odd way of family communication to you, it honestly did a lot for my ability to form a reasonable argument. Sitting down at a computer to write out your feelings takes time and thought. There’s editing. I’ve never been a big editor of my work – I mostly have it in my head and write it down. But seeing your thoughts in writing makes you think. “Is that what I REALLY want to say? Am I taking this too far? Can I back that up?”

I remember in one of his columns, my dad made some remarks about teen clothing. When I was a teen. And I did what every teen would do, I wrote a rebuttle column. Is that not normal? I waged the best “expression of individuality” argument I could muster. I’m sure it was full of teenage angst, and feeling “misunderstood.” But I suppose to his credit, he printed it.

Growing up, I had all kinds of romantic notions of what senior year of high school was supposed to look like. I’m sure it came from movies. Plus, from the outside looking in, it seemed like the classes before mine were pretty close. I went to a rather small school, so we all knew each other pretty well. So when senior year finally came, I was shocked that it kind of seemed like all the other years. I don’t know why I thought we’d all magically be the best of friends just because we were in 12th grade. Again, probably movies. In any case, I wrote an editorial in my dad’s newspaper about it. I don’t even remember what I said. But I remember the Monday that it went to print I was TERRIFIED. Like, stare at the clock and wonder if I could call to have it taken out terrified. I’m sure it wasn’t that big of a deal in real life. My own teenage dramatics certainly played a part. But I do know that another friend of mine and I went on a sort of crusade to “cast all our differences aside” that involved us singing this song in the lobby as people came to school one morning. Also if I recall, I was a part of an attempted walk out in fifth grade. I was pretty sure I was born in the wrong decade.

In some ways, I feel like taking a stand is in my blood. I can’t tell you how many newspaper people there have been in our family. It seems like it’s passed down as a trade like some families pass down farming. Or blacksmithing. Do people still do that? Journalism is a really unique job field. No one starts out in it thinking it seems like a good path to make money. Or because they don’t know what else to do. Or because they think working 8-5, M-F sounds kind of boring. You have to love it. You have to be passionate about it. If you’re not, you’re headed for the world’s fastest career burnout. One thing I really appreciate from that heritage, is the feeling that there’s room for everyone’s opinions. And the idea that I need to either back mine up, or keep them quiet. And there are times where opinions are not appropriate, facts are.

Speaking of in my blood – I’m so proud of this next fact, you’d think I’d somehow MADE it happen. Alas, I had nothing to do with it. But if you dig through my family tree, you will find a woman by the name of Lucy Stone. I’d link you to some truly fascinating information on Wikipedia, but unfortunately I’m writing on the black out day. But please, go read about her later when the black out is over, unless SOPA makes that no longer a choice. In any case, she was a contemporary of Susan B. Anthony. I have even read in places, that part of the reason Susan B. Anthony got involved in women’s rights was because of arguments made by Lucy Stone. She was a women’s libber long before it was cool. Lucy was one of the first women to graduate from college in Massachusetts. She was the first known woman to keep her maiden name after marriage. She also lectured against slavery. I mean, how cool is that?? She organized the first women’s rights conference, for crying out loud. She and her husband published the Women’s Journal. See? There’s that newspaper stuff again. And did she do it because Daddy let her do whatever she wanted? Nope. He didn’t think women should be educated. She disagreed. So she made her way through college on her own. In 1847. Oh my goodness, I get so excited about her that every time I look her up or find new information, it’s like I’ve had about five energy drinks. I get giddy. Before long, I will be the nation’s expert on all things Lucy Stone. Which will be fascinating, since NO ONE HAS HEARD OF HER.

And there you have it. Maybe someday I’ll Share Some Opinions here on the blog. You know, once we get to know each other better and you know where I’m coming from. Meanwhile, head over to read some more spins – I’ll bet there’s plenty of people who actually Shared Some Opinions. Just remember, everybody gets to have their own say on their own blog. If you don’t agree, you can write about it on your blog.

RTT: It’s still Tuesday


I’m a little down to the wire here, but I’ve been busy. I finally caved and started watching Downton Abbey. Good gracious it’s good. On to some random thoughts:

  • Snow makes me feel colder. Even though the temp isn’t lower. I’m living in flannel pajamas and drinking hot tea like it’s water. Which it is. Only I like it better than water. Can you believe that today I’m even random within the random?
  • Yesterday Natalie wore a Bizu bracelet to school. And when I picked her up she was in tears and we had to go back into the school to search high and low for it. Her teacher and I encouraged her that it could always show up today, all the while exchanging knowing looks that it was history. Ella piped up immediately, offering to buy her a new one to replace it. With money she actually has. Which left us in kind of a bind. Do we let her replace it? Is that fair? Should Natalie let Ella fix all her problems? It wouldn’t be the first time – any time at all that the girls go shopping with their money, if Natalie doesn’t have enough Ella will give her money. Not lend her money. Give it. We didn’t want to squash Ella’s generous spirit, but we also wanted Natalie to learn that sometimes things get lost and that’s the end of them. Oh Parenting, you are not so simple.
  • The bracelet DID show up today. Someone had put it in another girl’s desk, thinking it was hers. Crisis averted. For now.
  • Downton Abbey is so good. Are you watching it? MY WORD. It is writing brilliance, because I was completely hooked within 10 minutes. And now I feel smart in a snooty way, because I like something on Masterpiece on PBS. I haven’t watched a PBS series with this much excitement since Armistad Maupin’s Tales of the City in high school. Ok, actually, those are probably the only PBS series I’ve watched. I mean, it all starts with Titanic. HOOKED. And I’m kind of excited to be behind (I’m on the first season), because I have a while til I get stuck without episodes.
  • Some days I feel like all I do is load and unload the dishwasher, change diapers, and nag my children. I don’t mean there are days where that’s all I do. I mean there are days where I feel like that’s my entire life. Dishes. Diapers. Are you dressed for school yet? Get dressed. I already told you to get dressed. Dishes. Brush your hair. You should have been eating 10 minutes ago. Diaper. Brush your hair. Did you brush your hair? Because it doesn’t look like you brushed your hair. Why is there marker/paint/chocolate on your hands? Didn’t you just wash them? Dishes. Wash them again. Diaper.

I’m going to call it quits on this week’s random, before I launch into a cold, cranky diatribe about being cold. Check out all the random over at Stacy’s.


Nerd alert!


Last week Ella came home with a new Scholastic book order. We all get a little excited about those in this house. We’re book junkies. So I started paging through it, to see what we should get. Ella didn’t seem very interested. Weird. Ah, yes. It was history themed. I started looking at the books. Ooo…that looks good… Gosh…I’d like to read that one…  Oh, it’d be cool if she learned about that… A whole section on the Holocaust…huh…well, I might like to read those, but I don’t think my Ella is quite ready (It took her a very long time to get over reading The Hatchet this year. So very much anxiety after that book.)

So I said, “Ella, what do you think? What looks good?”

“I don’t know. It’s a bunch of boring NON-FICTION. Except for the world record book!”

Break my heart why don’t you? Maybe someday. Maybe a different child.

* * * * *

Today? Today I am super sucked into a two hour Titanic documentary on the History Channel. I won’t watch any documentary, but I WILL watch any documentary on Titanic, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to be able to finish it so I’m going to record it. So there you have it. Nerd alert. It’s me!