Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Word Up Wednesday: Grumpy Style.

I really hate to be one of those people that complains about the weather.

I really do.

But today, I just can't help myself.

As I stepped out my front door this afternoon, I was greeted by this.

Snow.

On March 30.

About two inches of snow.

On March 30.

Yuck.

I get it. Here in the Midwest, snow happens. Quite often, to be exact. But I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, so I plow through the long, harsh winters, all the while telling myself that it will soon be over. After all, as a reward for putting up with the Midwestern Winter, we are rewarded with beautiful Spring weather, splendid Summers, and glorious Autumns.

It's not that I don't love me some snow, because I do.

Just not on March 30.

A December snow? Picture perfect.

A January snow? Bring it, along with a snow day for the kids.

A February snow? Meh. I'll suffer through it.

A March snow? Oh no she dih-n't.

Over the past few weeks, Spring has teased us. She has played it coy by giving us more than a few sunny days with temperatures in the 60s and **gasp** even the 70s.

Much like Ke$ha, I greeted the gorgeous Spring weather by walking around with a pedicure on my toes, toes.

I said hello to my flip-flops and ballet flats like we were old friends who have been separated for years.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Today, however, my feet are firmly encased in thick, warm, cozy socks, with nary a flip or a flop in sight, and I am fervently trying to silence my inner grump.

It does me no good to wish the days away.

I remind myself of the terminal cancer patient who would love to see just one more snowfall.

I remind myself of the American soldiers sweating in the hot desert sun at this very moment, who would love nothing more than to sled down a frozen, snowy hill.

I remind myself that it's just weather, and weather, much like life, can change in the blink of an eye.

And with that, my inner grump shuts the crap up.

Because it's just snow.

Snow.

On March 30.

Yuck.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Word Up Wednesday: Pokemon Style

After an 18-month (ish) absence, Pokemon have once invaded the confines of my peaceful home.



Pokecrap.

As I said, about two years ago, Pokemon was all the rage here at Casa-de-We-Have-Too-Much-Stuff-Already-And-We-Do-Not-Need-Stacks-Of-Japanese-Trading-Cards.

My two oldest children traded and collected the cards with fervor. They threw around words like, "power", "sweeper","energy", and "Pikachu", and I indulged their Poke-obsession by letting them earn cards when they were of extra help around the house. After all, it kept them entertained, and seemed like a fun, educational game. Their stacks of cards grew and grew.

And grew.

My boys proudly held their thick stacks in hand, pressed together by rubber bands, and bragged of their latest Poke-get.

Until.

The stacks that were so lovingly held together, so lovingly collected, so lovingly prized, suddenly found themselves free of their rubber band. Their new home was the floor of my minivan.

And must I rehash the whole, "Clare's Minivan is Messy Enough Because of Four Busy Children" story?

You get it.

I asked the boys nicely to pick up their Pokemon cards. I waited. Days went by, and every time I turned a corner, hundreds of cards floated from one side of the car to the other.

And back again.

I could almost hear them mocking me in their native Japanese.

"Konichi-HA! Konichi-HA! WE HAVE TAKEN OVER YOUR MINIVAN AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT! WE ARE HERE TO STAY!"

I warned my boys, "If you don't clean up all those cards by tomorrow, I will throw them all away! In the garbage! Tomorrow! Watch me!"

I talked a big game.

That day came, and I warned again. After all, I did not want to make good on my threat. Throwing away all the cards? Only a horrible mother would do such a thing.

I pretended to forget my warning in hopes that they would pick up all the cards. A few more days passed, and I warned again, "Pick. Up. The. Pokemon. Cards. Or. Their. New. Home. Is. The. Garbage."

Crickets.

Finally fed up, I grabbed a crinkly Target bag, stomped over to the minivan parked in the garage and went to work collecting Pokemon cards. I grumbled to myself, "HA! That'll show 'em! Don't mess with me! When I say I'm throwing away Pokemon cards if they are not cleaned up, I MEAN IT! HA!" After the task was completed, I threw the bag to the bottom of the large garbage can in the garage with a resounding THUNK.

It felt good.

Be gone, Pocket Monsters.

Surprisingly, my boys never noticed.

Until.

About a year later, the wailing and the moaning commenced from my second oldest son, "MOOOOOOMMM! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU THREW AWAY ALL OF MY POKEMON CARDS! I SAID I WAS GOING TO CLEAN THEM UP!!! WAAAAAHH!!!"

Waaahh indeed. Too little, too late, buddy.

I felt not one little smidgen of remorse or regret.

Until.

I was chatting on the phone with my best friend one day a couple of months ago, and she was telling me that her oldest son had outgrown his interest in his Pokemon cards and decided to sell his large stack on eBay, "Guess what!" she said excitedly, "We sold his stack of cards for $130.00!!!"

ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY BONES, YO.

For Pokemon cards.

Used Pokemon cards.

Used Pokemon cards that we once had, but that I so happily threw away.

Who was crying now?

WAAAAAHHHH.

Also? Who knew the crap littering my minivan floor was worth so much coin?

Fast forward to March, 2011.

Pokemon is back.

I'm not sure what reignited the Poke-passion, but it is here, and it is white-hot. This time, all but my oldest child have been bitten by the Poke-bug. In fact, my 4-year old daughter speaks of her coveted Jigglypuff card in the same happy voice that other girls her age utter the name, "Barbie."

My boys have become cards sharks, trying to con the younger children out of their valuable cards. When my daughter was talked out of her beloved Totodile card by a brother, big, fat tears slid down her cheeks. I became a Poke-broker, and negotiated a Poke-truce, which resulted in the return of her card.

She has no idea what the cards mean, and she only likes Jigglypuff because he is pink, and because she feels like a cool older kid.

Or is Jiggly-Puff a she?

I have no idea.

What I do know? This time, when they are done with their Poke-friends, Mama's making some fun money on eBay.

Poke-money for the Poke-mama.

Poke-llujah.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Turning down the noise.

I lead a very noisy life.

Literally and figuratively.

My four children are exuberantly loud.

Frequently and naturally.

Shouts of, "HE STOLE MY WII CONTROLLER!!!" or, "MOOOOOOMMM! I CAN'T FIND MY SHOES AND I WANNA GO OUTSIIIIIDE!!!" invade my peaceful thoughts.

My cell phone rings. The house phone rings. A text message alert chirps. The television plays back a recorded episode of a show that my 4-year old daughter has watched no less than 12 times over the last week. "Again! I wanna watch it again!" she pleads. My email inbox glares at me with its bold, highlighted blue print that begs for my attention with, "24 new messages".

The words in my head are jumbled like the word magnets that were popular in the 1990s and used to grace the refrigerator during my college years. A "there" over here.  "remember" over there." An "appointment" in the middle. A "call" in the bottom corner. A "school" in the top right corner. A "meeting" at the bottom, threatening to fall off and be sucked into the abyss of the underside of the refrigerator, never to be recovered.

Too many words. Too much noise. The words need to be slid together into nice little sentences that are coherent.

Yet somehow I can't put them all together. My brain is overloaded.

At some point, it is the plight of every mother. There is too much to remember. There are too many schedules to coordinate. There are too many lists to make. In fact, your brain is one very long list, with many boxes to check.

It is a beautiful life. It is a blessed life.

But it is a noisy life.

Something had to give.

I gave up blogging temporarily for the last two weeks. I have not read any blogs for the last two weeks. Blame it on an overloaded mommy brain that threatened to short circuit. (Do not worry, my wonderful, talented bloggy friends. I will catch up on all your brilliant words very soon.)

I gave up Facebook for Lent. (Except for Sundays, which don't "count" during Lent.)

Facebook is wonderfully noisy. But I am somewhat surprisingly relieved to not have to check my Facebook news feed, as I do so often on a daily basis. My brain is quieter.

I thought I would be tempted to click on the blue Facebook app on my phone.

But I am not.

This shocks me.

I had no idea that I got my up-to-the-minute news from Facebook.

Facebook.

This is either pathetic, or just a sign of the times.

The Super Moon? Totally missed it.

Yesterday was a busy day. I didn't watch the news. I didn't check the news on the internet. But once I logged into Facebook for my weekly Sunday viewing, I learned of the Super Moon. Some of my friends called it, "super lame".  Some friends were nonplussed. Some friends found it, "amazing". Some friends posted pictures of the Moon That Was Super.

Me? I was neither nonplussed or amazed by the Super Moon.

I had no opinion, because I missed it. I was on a much-needed date night with Bill, and when we were driving home from the restaurant, the last thing I thought to do was to look at the moon in the sky. I had no idea that the moon, which I have seen many times over my 36 years on this planet was supposed to be, "Super".

Because my Facebook friends weren't able to tell me about it.

Perhaps in 2029, I will be lucky enough to get the chance to view La Luna Super. 

But for now, my brain is much quieter, and I am enjoying it.

I think.

Then again, quiet isn't all that it's cracked up to be. 

Life is meant to be full and wonderfully, joyfully loud.

Enjoy the noise.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Big things are happening 'round here.

It's a big week for me.

Big.

Huge.

I am chairing the auction for the Catholic school that my children attend, and the event is this Saturday. It has been buckets of work, but in the most rewarding way possible. We have a wonderful theme, fabulous food and drink, and best of all? We have a great crowd of people attending. I am excited to see the hard work of so many great people come to fruition.

If you're one of my local peeps, it's still not to late to RSVP.

Yeah, I'm looking at you. Call me.

Needless to say, I am quite swamped, but like I said, in a really fun way. Lest I neglect my children or duties for one more second, I just wanted to let you know that my blog will be silent for the next week or so. I shouldn't even be writing this because I have a florist to call, a guest list to update, and a program to proofread.

However, I couldn't resist a chance to share my big news with all of you.

I am suddenly $1,303,360 richer.

Get a load of me making such a huge amount of coin overnight!

One million bones, y'all.

Just picture me all Dr. Evil with my pinky at the corner of my mouth going, "ONE MILLLLLLION DOLLARS."

See?

It's totally legit.


I won the UK Awards of 2011!

sytan78@singnet.com.sg told me so, and sytan78 and I apparently go way back, because he has exclusive address to my private email address. He would never lie to me.

Would you sytan78? Don't play mama for no fool.

The British Financial Department verifies it!

Whatever that is.

I'm sure the British Financial Department has something to do with the House of Lords or Parliament.

You know, totally legit British-like stuff.

Don't scoff. The British Financial Department is NOT in some guy's basement, and this is NOT a scam.

They just need my name. And my address. And my nationality.

My nationality?

Why sytan78? Why do you care that I'm half Polish, and a smidge of German and a dash of Scottish and a pinch of Irish?

Why sytan78?

Don't tell me these things matter to you.

Come to think of it, I bet the winner of the UK Award of 2011 gets a front row seat to the Royal Wedding of William and Catherine!

Yep. That's it.

Now, I will have to go hat shopping, and Bill will need a morning suit with tails.

I'm not allowed to shake the Queen's hand, right?

When I'm at the reception, I probably shouldn't request that the band play Usher's song, "More", right?

There are so many things to know, now that I'm a celebrity in the UK.

Y'all, we've just hit the big time.

BIG. TIME.

In fact, I'm not sure I'll resume blogging once the school auction is over, what with me with 800,000GPB richer, and an award winner in the UK.

They might even make a statue in my honor, and Wills and Kate and I will start chumming around. In fact, I'm sure they'll even let me call them, "Wills and Kate".

I can totally see it now.

You guys, this is huge.

Friday, March 4, 2011

You know you wanted to know all this about me.

Friends, awards season is among us.

I know, I know, the Grammys are over. As are the Golden Globes. The SAGs and the Oscars? Done and done.

Wait! Don't forget about the Stylish Blogger Awards! Coming to a blog near you!

More specifically, this blog.
I won something, y'all!

Thanks to Sue, also known as Desperate Housemommy, I am an award-winning blogger!

I'm so flattered.

And I don't even have to give a boring acceptance speech!

However, in order to accept this award, there are a few things I must do. First, I have thank the giver of the award, (mwah, mwah! Air kisses on both cheeks to Sue!) then I have to share 7 facts about myself on this blog post. Finally, I have to pass the award on to 15 or less bloggers.

Simple enough. Here goes.

7 Things You Probably Don't Need to Know About Me, But I'm Telling You Anyway.

1.) I love music. Always have, always will. Ever since I received my first "jam box" at the age of 12, I have been smitten. It was bubblegum pink, had a long antenna, and most importantly, a cassette player in the front. I would save my babysitting money, buy a two-pack of Maxell or Memorex cassette tapes, and pop one of those bad boys in the holster. Then, when one of my favorite tunes would come on the radio, I would excitedly run over to my jam box, shriek, "Oh! It's La Bamba!" and hit record. Sometimes I would only manage to tape half the song, but it was no matter. I needed my Los Lobos fix, and I got it.

This was before mp-3s, kids.

My iPod is an eclectic mix of songs, and I'm sure if science were to figure out a way to profile people based on the songs on their iPods, they would be stumped at mine. I have gangsta rap, mixed with Josh Groban, mixed with rock, mixed with Black Eyed Peas, mixed with classical, mixed with Kenny G, mixed with country, mixed with Usher, mixed with oldies, mixed with Michael Buble, mixed with hip-hop, mixed with Kenny Loggins, mixed with disco, mixed with Regina Spektor, mixed with Kenny Rogers.

Apparently, I like recording artists named Kenny. Take that, science.

Also, in no way, shape or form, would I say that I have "Bieber Fever," but I enjoy the song, "Baby" and recently paid good money to download the song from iTunes so I can get my "Baby" fix whenever I want. I am embarrassed to admit this fact.

But not embarrassed enough to admit it on my blog.
Yo! Even the moms like my jam! I'm so versatile!
'Cause he's like Baby, Baby, Baby.

Ohhhhh.

Like Baby, Baby, Baby.

Nooooooo.

He thought that you would always be his.

Even though you're both only 14 and his voice hasn't changed yet.

Young love is hot.

2.) Fresh on the heels of my music obsession is my obsession with dancing.

I am not classically trained. I just love poppin' and lockin' and shaking my lanky, somewhat coordinated self all over my kitchen or whatever dance floor I can find.

I look back nostalgically at the good old college days when my friends and I would head over to the dive bar, complete with sticky floors, and shake it to a little bit of LL Cool J or Coolio until closing time.

Now? An 8:00 p.m. kitchen dance party is in order at least a few nights a week, and my kids are my favorite dancing partners.

3.) I love Rice Krispies cereal.

However, Rice Krispies might not be the best cereal for my marriage.

Bill cannot stand the way I eat Rice Krispies.

In order to properly enjoy a bowl of Rice Krispies cereal, I pour about 1/4 cup cereal into the bottom of one of my favorite porcelain bowls. Then, in order to maintain maximum crispiness, I pour only enough milk to cover the cereal at the bottom of the bowl. Therefore, it takes me at least 20 minutes to eat a bowl of Krispies. On and on it goes: cereal, then milk, then eating, cereal, then milk, then eating, all the while my Krispies remaining...well...crisp.

For years, Bill has noticed this particular quirk of mine, but I had no idea that it bothered him, as he never said anything about it. Finally, one Saturday morning he snapped. "Clare, what is UP with you having to eat your Rice Krispies like that?!?!"

"Like what?" I asked innocently. Surely everyone on the planet must eat their Rice Krispies the same brilliant way that I eat them.

"Like that!" he said, exasperated. "Why do you only pour the smallest amount at a time?!? Just pour a big bowl and be done with it!"

I shuddered. "Pour a big bowl?!? Why would I do that?!? If I did, then by the time I got to the Krispies at the bottom, they would be all soggy! Who wants soggy Rice Krispies? Kind of goes against the name, doesn't it?"

In all my smug rightness, my dear husband had no answer. He gave up.

Clare, for the win.

I know he has visions of the two of us rattling around the house in our old age, and me smacking my dentures to the tune of Rice Krispies crispiness.

In good times and bad, Bill. Good times and Rice Krispies eating.

Snap, crackle, and shut up, Clare.
4.) I notice poor grammar, and it irks me to no end. For example, I would actually find myself wincing if I were to read, "Wow! Your so awesome! I saw there new dog, and I thought its awesome to!"

Ouch. My eyeballs hurt.

I would wince especially if you are old enough and smart enough to know better. That said, I am not above using sentence fragments in my blog. Like all the time.

See what I did there?

The word, "literally" fits into my grammar rant, because you are not literally going to die if you don't meet Justin Bieber, girl. Or, you are not literally going to kill someone if you don't get a new iPad 2. At least I hope not.

But? I might literally scream my head off if I hear you misuse this word.

No I wouldn't. That would just be messy. And loud.

5.) Cheese is one of the most beautiful, perfect foods known to man. I could never live without it. However, I would never, ever eat a piece of raw cheese. Cheese on a cracker? A cube of cheese? Yuck. I gag at the thought. Melted cheese? Cheese cooked into an appetizer? Yum. I salivate at the thought.

6.) I think Colin Firth is dreamy. So is Simon Baker. So is Michael Buble. My husband is perfectly okay with these celebrities that I drool over crush on, and will indulge me in watching any of their performances. Fortunately, I think my husband is dreamier than any of these three men. It's close, but he wins every time.

Check that. It's not even close. Bill, for the win.

7.) I think the three best inventions of the last decade are (in no particular order): the iPod, the DVR, and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. My life has been changed for the better because of all three of these things.

8.) Sometimes I can't shut up, which is why I added #8. And? It is also why I blog.

Without further ado, I present to you the bloggers that I think are most deserving of the Stylish Blogger Award:

Janet, from Muffintopmommy
Kelley, from Kelley's Breakroom
Nichole, from in these small moments
Rachel, from Mommy Needs a Vacation
The Empress, from Good Day, Regular People
Katie, from Sluiter Nation
Natalie, from Mommy of a Monster
Sherri, from Old Tweener

Enjoy, ladies, and pass it on!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rudey McRuderson in the house.

It has been brought to my attention recently that sometimes, I can be rude.

Rude!

Me!

I know. It's shocking.

I will not reveal to you who told me that I have a penchant for rudeness at times.

Because that would be rude.

But I am married to He Who Shall Not Be Named, and his name rhymes with Schmill. Or Pill. Or Hill.

He is my beloved.

Chew on that for a minute.

Anyway. Back to my purported rudeness.

The rudeness at which I scoff.

The "rudeness" that belongs in quotes.

All because of this.

Isn't she purty?

Yes, yes, I realize that most of you have been on the smartphone bandwagon for years now, but I am a late bloomer. I have tried using my husband's beloved Crackberry, but it just wasn't my thing. Being the loyal Verizon customer that I am, the iPhone was out of my reach. Unavailable for years. I held out. I waited. I pined. I coveted. Until Verizon announced the iPhone was coming.

Then, I pre-ordered.

And I waited.

I bought a pretty, pink, rubbery "skin" to protect her sensitive, newborn skin.

And I waited.

And waited.

Then, it arrived.

***cue chorus of heavenly angels***

I charged her up, installed all her software and set her up to my specifications.

My iPhone is all that and a bag of chips.

Not that I'm bragging.

That would be rude.

I'm just saying.

But now? I can access my email anywhere and everywhere.

And danged if I don't take advantage of it. Even last night, while we were at a restaurant with the kids. As we waited for our food to arrive, I pulled my phone out of my purse, pushed the button, slid the "unlock" bar with my finger, and ran my index finger down the smooth glass front as I checked my email.

Not that that's rude or anything.

Even though it is.

He Who Shall Not Be Named (HWSNBN) was all, "Um, Clare? Don't you think that's a little rude?"

"What?!? Rude?!?" I scoffed, "I'm just checking my email! I need to check my email! It's not like I'm checking Facebook or anything!"

HWSNBN put a tortilla chip in his mouth, crunched on it, and was all, "Yeah. Like I said. That's rude."

Rude.

Schmude.

Me?

Isn't it rude to call get all up in your wife's grill about checking her super-duper, very, ultra, mega, uber important emails? That she must check all the time? Now that they are at her fingertips?

Who's the rude one?

What's that? Am I saving lives?

Um, no.

Running a country?

Nope.

But my email. It must be checked.

Not sure why, it just does.

Lest I miss something important.

Important, y'all.

I can avoid Facebook and Twitter for long periods of time.

But the email.

I must check it.

Methinks I have a problem.

My daughter knows I have a problem.

I took the battery out of my old phone, and gave it to her to use as a toy. Yesterday, she said to me, "Look Mommy! I'm you!" as she slid her chubby little finger up and down the glass screen of her new toy phone.

Nice example, Mother of the Year.

Perhaps my behavior is rude.

I'll take it under consideration.