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January 2012

I feel very strongly about the fact that I don't feel strongly about anything

Downsized_0126121558I'm wishy-washy.  I always have been.  Now that I have kids, I'm standing strong in my wishy-washiness unless you can convince me otherwise...which you probably will.  There are debates all around me about very important things, but I will calmly walk past them like I would a store front at Christmastime drinking my travel mug of tea.  I like to watch them from afar so as not to be confused with being sympathetic to one side or the other.  Unless the debate involves Hellman's Mayo vs. Miracle Whip, I don't prefer to take sides. 

No, I don't know which is better:  To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?  Let the kids ride the bus or don't?  Red meat or veganism?  Organized religion or individual spirituality?  Paid preschool or public preschool?  Santa or no Santa?  Stay at home or go back to work?  Democrat or Republican?  Regular or decaf?  Paper or plastic?  Credit or debit?  Sugar or sugar substitute?

How the heck would I know?  All I do know is how I feel at the end of the day.  Usually tired and usually sitting on a pile of unfolded laundry.  But content all the same.  Happy with the choices I made for the day.

Those choices come up more than once, might I add.  Every time they come up, I seem to have a different outlook.  One day it's OK for the kids to have a snack at 3PM.  Other days, it might spoil their dinner.  One day we eat all organic.  The next it's three straight meals of McDonalds.  One day the house is spotless.  Then next it's total tornado aftermath.

It works for me.  Or maybe it doesn't, but I'm pretty sure it does.  If life weren't at least a little bit wacky, how fun would it be?  I used to hold onto these ideas that I felt were so important: Don't like mainstream music.  It's not cool.  Don't let the kids have sugar because too much is bad.  Don't talk to that person because so-and-so said she's not nice.  Boycott that product because they did this or that to the environment. Blah blah blah...

Now I just take it day by day.  It's easier and makes me more happy.  It slows me down to better take it all in.  Today, I'm making a craft for my daughter's class.  I didn't check to see if the materials were organic.  I'm doing it while drinking tea with sugar and listening to LMFAO on the radio.  I might go for a run later, but I also might order a pizza.

Have fun.  That is all.



Striving to be Charlie Bucket

102_6504We watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a lot over here.  That's the new one - not the Gene Wilder one from our childhood.  It's the Tim Burton one with Johnny Depp looking a bit like a deranged serial killer (but still hot, in my book) and all the other characters looking like clay caricatures of themselves.  While the Gene Wilder one is awesomely awesome in its own way, this one is more like Roald Dahl's original book and holds a different meaning in our family.

Tim Burton has always been my favorite.  His movies always place people in very odd settings with peculiar backdrops and much-different-than-normally-seen characters.  They show that not only is beauty in the eye of the beholder, but can be found in the darkest of places.

After watching this one particular Tim Burton film with my kids every day for the past month, you'd think I'd be sick of it.  I'm not in the least.  My kids have related to the characters more than I ever thought they would.  We have even adjusted our vocabulary to replace words like "brat" and "greedy" with Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop.  Instead of saying, "Don't act like a brat", we now say, "Stop acting like Veruca Salt!"

The best days are when no one is a disrepectful Mike Teavee or a super competative Violet Beauregarde trying to win all the time.  The best days are when the kids are Charlie Buckets - sweet, thoughtful, caring Charlie Buckets. When they put others first and have empathy.  When they don't take the extra cupcake for themselves and instead break it apart for the whole family to share.  When they choose us over the entire chocolate factory.

Kids don't need things.  They need to know they are loved.  Sometimes it's hard to keep up, because they are demanding little buggers, I know.  But when it gets hard to remember, I think of Charlie Bucket and his family.  And the fact that he was SO happy to have only 3 chocolate bars in a year's time- one of which he broke apart for each of his 6 other family members to enjoy with him.

That's how I want my kids to be: Charlie Bucket-like.  I want them to have it all, but I have to remember that "all" is more than material objects.  It's who they ARE.  In striving to be Charlie Bucket, my kids will need to learn that as well.  So we'll learn it together. 


Relax. Don't do it.

137244994_786bfc60ba_mI don't know how to relax.  Seriously.  I have read about relaxing and what I'm supposed to do to achieve relaxation, but none of it works.  Unless I'm forced into it, I can't sit still for more than 2.2 minutes without getting back up to do the dishes or research a possible story or something similar. 

A couple days ago, I heard Anderson Cooper had some ladies on his show debating Stay-at-home Moms vs. Working Moms.  First off, why this is a debate in the first place is beyond me.  Everyone makes choices for themselves based on THEMSELVES.  Whether you decide to work, stay at home, or go to Jupiter with your kids is up to you and your family.  No one should tell you you're wrong.  OK, I might question your choice of going to Jupiter.  It doesn't really have a sustainable atmosphere and as far as I know they don't have internet access.

So back to Anderson Cooper and my inability to relax.  After curiosity got the better of me, I checked out the debate online.  And then I got really mad.  One lady on the panel said choosing to be a stay-at-home mom is just an excuse to be lazy.  Another said going back to work is the only way to stay in shape and that you won't lose your "baby weight" if you stay at home. 

What?!  Now you see why I can't relax?  Stuff like this is always out there to get me going.  No, it shouldn't bother me, but I can't help it.  It does.  I could take it all in and just leave it there, but I feel the need to defend myself for some reason.  I want to call those women up and tell them how UNlazy I am.  But I don't really have the time.

I am a stay-at-home mom.  I'm proud of the choice my husband and I made when we got married and had kids.  It works for us.  It might not work for the nay-saying women on the panel, and that's fine, too.  To each their own.  I'm not sure why people feel the need to bash other people's choices when those choices seem to be working just fine.  Wouldn't it be better if we just didn't do it?

Maybe now that I got that off my chest, I can figure out how to relax a bit.  Maybe.

Because Hot Pockets don't have enough publicity

4062593076_febf27f707After a week of chasing the crazy cold bug around our house and catching it several times, the kids and I finally felt well enough yesterday to go grocery shopping.  We decided eating all the leftover cheese and crackers from Christmas was no longer "festive" and became much more detestable as the days passed.  So off to the supermarket we went to buy fresh fruit and veg, organic meats, whole grains and fat-free dairy products.

We came home with Hot Pockets.

Yes, we got all the other stuff, too.  But the kids were eyeing the pocketed goodness so contently and sweetly I figured, eh, what's another Christmas present?  So I got them two boxes: Four Cheese Pizza and Philly Steak & Cheese.  Since we don't really eat conventional meals (popcorn for breakfast, eggs for dinner, etc.)  I figured they might make a good quick breakfast on the days when the kids are WAY more awake than I am.  Today being one of those days, I popped in a couple of those Steak & Cheese babies, watched them swirl around the microwave and then waited the necessary 2 minutes for the molten lava innards to cool down to a respectable level.

The kids were as psyched as Jim Gaffigan when I plopped the HP's in front of them and they realized they would be eating their breakfasts out of little silver sleeves.  They even made Oooo and Ahhh sounds.  They turned their plates around to examine the treats.  They picked them up and marveled at the perfect little satchel of "meat" and cheese.  They cringed at the smell they gave off.

They both reluctantly took their first bites.  My daughter, being the bright cheery optimist she is, told me they were delicious! - except for the crust part and the inside part.  My son is a realist and flat out said, "No, I don't like this and I'm not going to eat it."

Both sat there in complete conflict with themselves.  They knew these little food-like pouches were bought for them as a special treat and they looked fun, but they tasted terrible and weren't at all what they thought they would be.  I think they thought their first bite would release rainbows and sprinkles into their mouths or something.

Admittedly, I was in conflict with myself, too.  I always tell them to eat what I put in front of them and yet this thing I put in front of them was barely even food!  We have such a hard time getting them to eat their meals lately, I felt I had to be adamant about them finishing this one.  So there I was, sternly telling my kids to finish their Hot Pockets. 

My daughter made it through about 1/3 of the thing. My son stuck to his guns and left the entire pocket untouched except for the tiniest mouse nibble on the corner.  Time ran out for breakfast and I ended up taking their plates away.  Thankfully they had eaten a bowl of blackberries each and I knew they wouldn't starve until lunchtime.

So now I'm sitting here arguing with my son about why he can't have a snack...wondering why I'm not letting him...thinking about what I could possibly use the other box of Hot Pockets for...

Maybe they work like Magic Erasers at getting out stubborn stains..?