Friday, February 25, 2011

Adventures in Parenting

On Tuesday the girl came home with this yellow car:

It's not unusual for the girl to come home with the occasional odd trinket. There's a treasure box in the classroom and the kids are rewarded for good behaviour by getting to choose from it. But that's usually reserved for Friday and the prizes are more along the lines of pencils, stickers, etc. So I said, "Hey, cool car, where did you get it?" To which the girl says, "Oh, so and so gave it to me."

Now, I know the so and so she's referring to and I don't see her as the type to be handing out her toys to her classmates, so I become suspicious. I ask my daughter flat out if she took the car from the classroom. She insists she didn't so I drop the conversation and we continue walking home.

As the week goes on, I keep seeing that little yellow car around the apartment and I just don't like it. It makes me feel bad and guilty like I'm evading the IRS or harboring a fugitive. But I try to not think about it. There's no way my little angel is a thief!

Friday comes around. I pick the girl up from school. She has this in her hands:


As we're walking home I ask her where she got it and she replies, " A different so and so gave it to me." I flip over the car to see the brand is Viking Toys, and that it was made in Sweden. So then I ask, "Oh yeah, where did he get it?"

That little liar looks me right in the eye and says, "Mcdonalds."

ALL THE WAY home I ask her over and over if she might have taken it from the classroom. She swears up and down that the car was given to her. We get home, I place the car on the shelf, right next to the other half of the girl's ill gotten booty, and I call Jay. At this point, even though I have my proof, I'm still clutching to the idea that my daughter isn't a law breaker. Never one to mince words though, Jay says, "Yeah, she's a thief. Those cars need to be returned."

I figured I'd give her one last chance. I place both cars in front of her and I get down to her level and I very seriously say, "On Monday I'm going to go into your class and ask your teacher if these cars are hers. If they are, you are going to be in BIG TROUBLE. But, if you confess now, I won't punish you this time."

She immediately blurts out, "They belong in the classroom. I accidentally took them."

Accidentally? That's an interesting word choice.

So now we're spending the rest of the afternoon discussing stealing. And how even though you may really, really want that rockin' pink jeep, you can't just wrap your sticky fingers around it and take it home.

Giveaway Winner

I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your comments on yesterday's post. We really are excited to have officially closed the Florida chapter of our lives. Now we can really start getting our financial house in order again, and that's a good feeling.

Anyway, I popped over to this morning and it chose #6, which was Dawn. Dawn, Kashoan will be contacting you shortly with the specifics of your win.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day Randomness

This morning, the Portland area woke up to this:Our first winter here in Oregon has been quite mild, but we had been hearing about the impending 'snowstorm' for about a week now. The big flakes started around 8 last night and the kids got jumpy and excited, hoping for a snow day. Then it stopped and we all went to bed. I woke up at 3:30 and looked out the window. Nothing. But sometime between 3:30 and 6:30, snow fell, and was still falling while we drank our morning coffee.The snow day wish was granted. Although a lot of long time Oregonians grumble about the way this area sort of shuts down when a little bit of snow falls, I like it. I enjoy the laziness of a snow day. It's as if the universe is giving you a free pass to do nothing. The girl is watching TV and the boy is off making snow day mischief with his buddies. I like knowing they're close by. Of course, the sun is shining bright and the snow is steadily melting, so things will be back to normal tomorrow I'm sure.

In other news:

*Jay and I officially no longer own a home in Florida. The closing date was this morning. Even though things ended badly and we made no money, I really do have to consider myself lucky. When we took our paperwork into the bank here to get everything notarized, our bank guy said, "Wow! You sold a house in Florida?!? That's amazing." Plus, Jay pulled the records of recently sold homes in our old neighborhood and some of them are selling for ridiculously low amounts, like $88,000. I shouldn't be surprised about this because there are homes down in south Florida that are selling for $30,000. It's just insanity. But we're done, and I consider that something to smile about.

*I have about six craft projects in the works and no desire to really complete any of them at the moment. I hate it when that happens.

*In the past two days I've eaten an entire jar of salsa. I made Amy Karol's Magic Sauce and I've been putting it on just about everything. I'll admit it looks sort of like barf, but the taste is amazing. Even Jay likes it, and I was scared to share the recipe with him. There's something you all should know about our household: I do the everyday, keep-us-alive, food prep but if we want the tasty stuff, Jay does the cooking. Jay likes to cook and he's good at it. He's so good at it that when he works a lot and I feed the kids more than a few days in a row, they start to seriously grumble to me about the lack of 'real food.' (Since when is a grilled cheese sandwich and an applesauce cup not real food?) Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that I don't always like to talk to Jay about new recipes because he looks at me condescendingly as if to say, Whatever, you silly girl. Go back to your books and your Alec Baldwin dvd's and leave me to make the real food. But even he loves the Magic Sauce, so it must be good.

*Don't forget to enter the giveaway. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Krafty Kash:: Interview and Giveaway

I first met Kashoan through the blog. We instantly hit it off but I would say we've grown closer in the last year or so. Kashoan has two important qualities that I require in a friend: 1.) She has endless patience for hearing me grumble about my kids/husband/life and 2.) She is not above advocating a mid afternoon glass of wine as a temporary cure to the days problems.

Aside from those very positive attributes, she's quite crafty and has a growing Etsy shop. When she contacted me about doing a giveaway, I was honored to help out. But before we get to that, I thought I'd interview Kashoan a bit and give you all a glimpse of the gal behind the shop.

How long have you been crafting, what made you start, and what type of craft did you start with?
I can remember doing small crafts as a kid and loving it. I have a ceramic puppy that I made in kindergarten. I painted him brown and carefully did his little tongue red. This is still at my Mom's house, it was a gift to her. I'm thinking I should take this back. :)

How has your crafting changed over the years?
My crafting has improved dramatically. In fact, I might be able to start a craft fail blog with old pictures. Some "lovely" projects include: modge podging a teddy bear puzzle, framing it, and hanging it; placing a kitchen towel in an embroidery hoop, gluing ribbon on the outside of the hoop, and adding a bow at the top. Those are just a couple of the great ones. No autographs please.

Who or what is your biggest creative influence?
Growing up, my Grandma Houghtelling loved to craft. She always made the best stuff for everyone at Christmas. She is great with a sewing machine. I always admired this as a kid. One summer, she taught me how to do a hook rug. I've been doing some sort of crafting since.

What is your favorite form of craft and why?
I'm known for trying new crafts all the time. I get bored doing the same thing over and over. Right now, I'm really into knitting, It helps me calm the urge to snack or beat my children, and I get a cute scarf when I'm done.

What's next on your list of things to try?
I'm getting ready to try a project from a book called Eco Craft. I'm a big fan of recycling, I try to reuse what I can, and this book has some cool projects.

Thanks Kashoan, for letting me snoop through your crafty past a bit. And I must say, I kinda want to see a picture of the dish towel in the embroidery hoop.

Now for the giveaway.

The Krafty Kash Etsy shop is heavily focused on accessories right now because as Kashoan puts it, "I like to wear very simple clothes like jeans and a black tee shirt and then spice it up with something fun like jewelry, a scarf, or a funky barrette."

Kashoan wants to pass her style on to one lucky reader by generously offering a button ring and a rosette hair clip from her Khloe collection. Just pop on over to the shop then come back here and leave a comment telling us what you like, and you'll be entered to win. A winner will be announced on Friday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

And There You Have It

So, it's raining here. And has been for about four days. The ground is so wet that if you stand in one spot for too long, your feet sink in as if you're standing in quicksand. Fine, whatever. I truly like the rain and I've gotten used to the mud.

This afternoon I look at the clock and realize that I need to take the dogs out. So I hook the leash on Liz and grab my keys, figuring I'd check the mail while I'm over that way. After Liz did her business and after checking the mail, we're heading home when the girl suggests we take the "short cut" home. The short cut is basically just the well maintained field in the middle of the apartment complex. We walk through the short cut all the time when the weather is clear but I try to avoid it when it's rainy because there tends to be a lot of standing water and mud.

For some stupid reason I said "Sure, let's take the shortcut." What could possibly happen, right? We're walking along when something startled my (very wimpy) dog. I'm not sure what it was. Maybe she heard a train or a truck in the distance or maybe someone somewhere was just ripping off a sheet of tin foil because that has the same effect on her as a train coming down the tracks. Whatever the case, she got spooked, took off running and pulled me down into the mud.

I yelled for the dog to stop and then I stood up, wet and covered in mud from head to toe. I gathered up my mail, which had flown all over the common area. I walked back home, near tears.

Now I'm home. I've showered and changed. I've scraped the mud off of the cover of Jay's Esquire magazine. (It's a good cover too! I'm sorry Liam Neeson.) I've had a therapeutic cry. The kind of cry that comes after the horrifically perfect ending to an exhausting week. I've cleaned the mud off of everything I was wearing, including, inexplicably my bra. (Not sure how that happened. Did my boob fall out of my shirt when I tried to catch myself from falling?? Do I need to add insult to injury and just assume that all my neighbors saw my sensible beige granny bra?)

I'm calling it quits for the week. I went to the grocery store today. I have enough food and wine to get me through the weekend. I'm going to hole up in my apartment, read my book and watch my Netflix dvd. After I clean the mud off of it.

If everything goes as planned, I'll be back on Monday with a giveaway. Have the loveliest of weekends.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Random Thoughts

My life is odd in that most of the time it's very monotonous and routine. But then every six weeks or so, I have a week where every day is just filled with appointments, volunteer things, and important errands that need to be done and it always completely throws me because I'm so used to my day in-day out life. That's where I'm at this week so it's definitely time for some randomness up in here.

*I hope everyone had a lovely Valentines Day. Jay and I kept it very low-key by just going to Applebee's, the highlight for me being the $4 Long Island Iced Teas. I know Applebee's is kinda lame but it's close and we just wanted to get away from the kids for a while.

My Valentines gift to the family was a few bars each of Komforte Chockolates. The french toast was the favorite flavor amongst the kids while I think Jay preferred the tortilla lime and salt. Anyway, whatever flavor you prefer, I highly recommend them. The taste is unique and the chocolate itself is good chocolate, not the cheap stuff.

*Jay and I watched Inception last night and I can't stop thinking about it. It's rare that I break down and actually buy a movie but I might have to purchase this one because I want to watch it again. Plus, I think I may be developing a crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt, although he's five years younger than me, so just a wee boy.

*Tuesday we made a few trips to the DMV to get our car tags and Oregon driver's licenses. The first time we were sent away because we didn't have the title to the car. ( I know, I should have known I'd need that.) After digging through the file cabinet for over and hour, I finally found it. I have a very elaborate and organized filing system that I have no problem maintaining other than the fact that I always forget what I file things under. For instance if I want to file some medical paperwork of mine, it could very easily be under D for doctor, H for health, I for insurance, or T for Tammie. If the doctor's visit was gynecologically related, I might file it under G for gyno, V for vagina, or if I'm feeling creative, L for lady parts. The title to the car was under B. I have no idea why.

Anyway, we ended up being able to get our tags but not our licenses because we both needed to bring in state issued birth certificates. Jay can't find his and mine is hospital issued. So we both had to come back home and order copies of our birth certificates from our original birth states. Jay was born in New York and the website from which he ordered his certificate was very professional and the fee was $50. I, of course was born in Florida and the website seemed somewhat hokey and was possibly run by farm animals. And the cost was $9. Do you ever come across something so cheap that you question the validity of it. That's the feeling I had yesterday as I was writing out my check. Yep, I had to print out the form and send a check because the Florida website doesn't process credit cards. I have very little faith that I'll ever see my birth certificate. (So yeah, word of advice, if the only birth certificate you have has your little baby footprints on it, it's hospital issued and you might want to go ahead and order a real one now because you'll need it eventually.)

*Last week I was sort of lectured by another mother when I did something parenting related that clearly she disagreed with. Has this ever happened to any of you? On the one hand, my first thought when this happened was, "Mind your own business and fuck off, fuck face." But I haven't yet reached that level of development as a human where I can so quickly and openly tell people off so I just smiled and nodded. And the thing is, even though we don't see eye to eye when it comes to parenting, I basically like this other mother and don't want to lose her as a friend, so calling her a fuck face would probably be out of the question anyway. It was a weird situation and things were kinda tense between us for a while but it's mostly blown over since then, but I'd still love to know if any of you have ever had similar experiences.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Destination Walking

Today as I was trying to figure out what to prepare for dinner I came to the realization that no matter what I decided on, a trip to the store would have to be made. But we're a one car household here (and have been for almost 15 years!) and Jay was at work and wouldn't be back until close to nightfall. Usually when this happens, I text him a message asking that he stop at the store on the way home. As I was typing out the text it occurred to me that there really was no reason I couldn't go to the grocery store myself, you know, by way of my feet.

Even though I knew it takes less than 5 minutes to get to the grocery store in the car, I Google mapped it anyway just to find out the exact distance. Right about one mile. Once I saw that it was only one mile, I almost felt guilty debating whether or not to walk it. Seriously, when did one mile become such a big deal? Plus, it wasn't as if I would be buying something heavy like a gallon of milk or a 25 pound bag of dog food, I needed taco fixings. Carrying home taco fixings wouldn't even give me an upper body workout. So I grabbed my shopping bag and the girl and headed out the door.

A mere twenty minutes later, we were at the store. Only twenty minutes. Again, why was I ever even debating whether or not to do this? And that's walking at the pace of a six year old. I'm a pretty fast walker and had I been by myself I probably could have done it much quicker. We wandered around the store a while, got the things we needed, and left. The entire trip took about an hour and a half.

Now granted, I couldn't do this all the time. Some days I just don't have the time to devote to a shopping trip that would take only 10-15 minutes in the car. But I could do it some days. And I was thinking about it, and there are a few other places I frequent that I could walk to. The library: 1.2 miles. Starbucks: 1 mile. The farmers market (come late spring): 1.2 miles. The post office: 0.9 miles. There really is no reason I couldn't work at least one walking trip a week into my schedule.

Back in Florida, everything was spread out in such a way that I really couldn't walk anywhere other than my neighborhood or the elementary school. Even if I had hours to devote to a walk to the store, I would have to cross busy roads filled with lanes and lanes of drivers that just weren't used to seeing people walking. Here, walking is a bit more common and drivers are courteous and aware of walkers and bikers.

I'll admit that at first walking made me feel vulnerable and exposed. But that's silly really. My car never really made me safer. Although I have no facts to support it, I imagine I'd be more likely to die in a car accident than I would be to die on the well maintained sidewalks of a virtually crime free suburb. And as for that exposed feeling, well, my car has never made me invisible either. It's just easy to fool myself into thinking it does so that I don't feel like a dork when I drive through town scratching my boobs and singing Rocket Man at the top of my lungs.

So now I'm curious, do any of you ever walk with a fixed destination in mind? If so, where do you walk to and what do you consider a reasonable walking distance? If you don't walk, why? And do you wish you could?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Return to Oxbow Park

I know so many of you have been experiencing some horrendous weather lately and I'm sorry for that. But here in the Portland area it's been rather pleasant. Not too cold, not too rainy, and with the occasional snippet of sunshine hanging around just long enough to warm the bones. This past Sunday we decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and head back to Oxbow Park.

We first visited Oxbow back in October and I'm determined to experience it at least once every season, just to take note of the changes. This time, everything was even more lush and green than before. The rainy season does wonders for this place.The last time we were here we saw dozens of deer. This time, there were hardly any. In fact, we only saw two on the way into the park. (Do deer go somewhere else in the winter? Is that a stupid question that I should know the answer to?) There were though, a lot of moss covered trees.Time spent out in the woods refreshes us and recharges our family battery. I see this most with my son who is such a nature child although he probably isn't self aware enough yet to realize or admit it. He's often complaining to me about how so much of popularity at school is based on how well you do at organized sports. In his words, "Even the dumb and ugly kids are popular if they're on a team." And as hard as he tries, that just isn't him. But out in the woods he doesn't have to worry about that. He puts away his Ipod and turns off his phone. He's able to do his own thing, test his own limits, and there are no popularity contests.I talk a lot about how being outside positively effects my kids, but I've been learning so much about myself too. I've never been what anyone would describe as 'outdoorsy' but I'm really starting to love spending chunks of time lost in nature with my family. I don't have to think or worry, there are no distractions and we can all just be.
I love the saying of Peggy's husband, "Nature is my church and my soul couldn't live without it."*In this last photo we were trying to get a shot similar to the one that was my previous header, but sadly the path we were on when Jay had taken that shot has been washed away, which you can see in the lower right hand corner. Oh well, it was a good lesson about erosion.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Haircut

Saturday morning, at the spur of the moment, I decided to take the girl to get her hair cut. She'd been after me about getting a haircut for awhile and I don't really know why I put it off as long as I did. She hated having her long hair brushed and fixed and I hated brushing and fixing it, so the new style makes for happiness all around.This was her first real haircut ever and I was a bit worried about how it would go. But once she hopped into the chair she was super still and silent as a mouse. So much so, that I'm considering getting a barbers chair for home.The girl originally wanted short hair like mine and while I have no problem with that in theory, it's all I can do to maintain proper upkeep of my hair, so we decided to go for something a bit more low maintenance. Maybe next time we'll go crazy and ask for bangs.

After we came home, the boy was really sweet to her the rest of the day. When I asked why his response was, "When someone really annoying gets a haircut, it's easy to be nice to them because you momentarily forget it's that annoying person."
Do you think I can convince all the annoying people in my life to get haircuts?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vanity Fair Questionnaire

Yesterday on her blog Peggy took a Vanity Fair questionnaire and then challenged her readers to do the same. I love the idea and thought the questions were fun so I decided to play along. Here we go.

Quickly name a unique item you have in your house.
Handmade items. Some made by me, some made by friends. Paintings, a dream catcher, and various other craftiness. I love being surrounded by things made by the folks I love.

What are your two favorite names?
Lucinda and Montgomery, my children.

What do you consider a necessary luxury?
Fancy beauty products, perfume, and makeup. It doesn't matter if no one but me knows that I'm wearing Chanel nail polish. I know and it makes me feel pretty. There isn't a ton of money in the budget for these types of splurges, but I still try to treat myself a few times a year.

What type of car would you like to drive?
A Toyota Prius. (Yeah, I know. I'm one of those people.) Really though, I don't care that much what car I'm driving as long as it's equipped with satellite radio. So yeah, maybe satellite radio is a necessary luxury also. I'm starting to feel spoiled.

What is your favorite color and has it changed over the years?
Blue. It's always been blue.

What quality do you most admire in a man?
Sense of humor. Also, the ability to discuss the occasional book with me.

In a woman?
Hmmm....interesting. Lately I'm drawn to women who are somewhat independent and can think for themselves.

What is something you long for?
I desperately want both of my children to find careers that they enjoy and that can finance a decent, fairly stress free life. On a more immediate note, I wouldn't mind finding a good lotion to get rid of the dry skin around my bra line. Seriously, it is such a good thing I'm already happily married because the constant boob scratching I do would get me no action.

If money were no object what would you buy yourself?
An apartment right in the city. And a really good boob lotion.

What charity would you donate a million dollars to?
I'm stealing Peggy's answer-anything to do with women/children. Especially children. The playing field needs to be a bit more level. I hate that certain kids have it so hard while others (mine included) have it so easy just by being born into a better family situation.

What book have you just finished reading?
I'm really not sure what the last book I read was. I've been reading Last Child in the Woods for over a week now, which is a long time for me. It's a really good book and I'm savoring it.

Name one book that made an impact and why?
This one was really hard for me because there are so many books that I've read that have made an impact. Sometimes even the shitty ones have a way of making an impact. But right now I'd have to say, I'm Perfect, You're Doomed by Kyria Abrahams, it's the true story of a gal raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. It was the first book I had read that I truly could relate to. I still highly recommend it.

Name one liquid always in your fridge?
Organic milk. My kids drink a lot of milk and it's the one thing I insist on being organic. (Shit! Maybe that's a necessary luxury too!)

Name one food item always in your fridge?
Ketchup. My daughter puts it on everything.

What could you eat everyday?

Everyday I drink...
Coffee. Lots of coffee.

TV Guilty Pleasure:
Adult animation like The Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and most of Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.

TV Show I Don't Miss:
Ha! I couldn't narrow it down to just one. 30 Rock, Portlandia, The Ricky Gervais Show.

Name a favorite fictional character from a book.
Adrian Mole (No one ever knows who I'm talking about when I mention Adrian Mole, so here's the Wikipedia page with more info.)

From a movie:
Annie Hall

What phrase or motto do you over use?
I'm constantly telling my kids to "Take it down a notch."

I own a lot of:
I don't know if I own a lot of anything anymore. I'm not as much into 'stuff' as I used to be. I'd rather have 'experiences'.

I collect:
See previous.

I try to avoid:
Embarrassing myself.

One thing I know:
As shitty as things can be sometimes, I am very, very lucky.

Everyday I:
Set aside time to read a book. It keeps me sane.

The last time I wrote a letter and mailed it was:
About a week and a half ago. My dad sent me a letter confronting me about celebrating holidays and no longer being one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I immediately wrote him back, telling him my honest feelings. I haven't heard from him since. No surprise really.

Dog or cat?
Probably cat, but I love all animals.

Might I now suggest that you folks take the quiz?