Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Letter To A Teen

Dear Teenager,

I am mean. I admit it. It's not fair. I don't know the whole story. There's a good explanation. And I know it's not what I think.

However, I was once a careless, irresponsible, immortal teenager. I did far worse things than you. I have regrets. I sometimes cringe when I look back on some of my choices. I often wonder how I didn't get hurt...or worse.

I am sincerely trying to do what's best to keep you safe and teach you responsibility. If that means that you don't speak to me for days, and that you resent me, and wish I'd fall off the face of the earth, I'm willing to pay the price, as difficult as that is.

I wish I could always let you do what ever you want and that your life was nothing but one fantastic adventure after another, but that won't teach you about the real world. The real world is harsh. Bosses are harsh, reality is harsh, paying your own bills and buying your own groceries is harsh.

Being entirely responsible for your own well being is tough, and that's when making a good decision vs a poor decision is crucial. You need to learn that now, and not when there's no one around to help you.

You'll look back someday and know how good you had it, back before you were officially a grown up. I know that you long for your freedom and you will have it before you know it. Just remember that I'm being mean for a reason, that I'm being unfair for a reason, and that it will all make sense to you someday.

Love, Mom

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sacrament Bread

Why is it that the bread passed during Sacrament at Church tastes so good? My girls often wonder this. Tearing up Wonder Bread into small pieces at home and eating them just isn't the same. It just tastes like bland old white bread (they know, they've tried).

Today during Sacrament, Natalie whispers to me, "Why does the bread always taste so good?" I told her that I think it's because of the blessing they give it.

She then says, "So we're eating the blessing?"

Hmmm...maybe we are.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Button, Button, Who's Got The Button? Me, Apparently.

Remember earlier in the week when I crowned myself the idiot du jour over screwing up the button job? Well, today I got the news that guess what? The customer ordered the wrong button to be printed, so I had to do them all over again! All 300 of them. Whoopee...

The button machine is not at all state of the art or automated in any way. Let's just say it's very labor intensive and to make one button you need to pull on the handle twice.

Yeah, me and the button making machine are intimate friends now. The upside is that the muscle in my right arm is getting bigger.

Just say NO to buttons people, some over-worked print shop employee will thank you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Miss Moo Turns 9

My little girl celebrated her ninth birthday today. As is my tradition, I will dedicate a post to her.

One of her nicknames is Miss Moo. "Moo" was her nursing word, and it kind of just stuck. Poor kid.

This is the child I had for my sister (not on purpose, genetics are just a funny thing). Shelby is so like her aunt that sometimes it's a bit scary.

First the hair. They both have this deceptively thick, stick straight, dark blond hair (well, my sister's hair was dark blond as a child anyway--I haven't seen her natural color since she was in junior high school.)

Nat and Shel

Then they both have ice blue eyes. Shelby didn't get the dark blue eyes from her daddy's side of the family, she got my sister's eyes.

Aunt Tracy can be a bit of a neat freak, and more than once I've caught Shelby in her room organizing stuff, and once she came to me and said, "I'm bored, can I clean the bathroom mirrors?" (Yeah, like I had to think about that one!), but what kind of kid thinks it's fun to clean stuff?

Both Auntie and Shelby have incredibly poor eyesight and had to get glasses at an early age (although Shel will only wear them at school when she has to), and after Shelby almost flunked 3rd grade due to her poor math grades, my sister confessed that she just never really got math either and really struggled with it.

Besides being her auntie's mini-me, Shelby is a wonderful sister. She's a kind little girl that loves animals (just like aunt Tracy coincidentally). I think the most common adjective I've heard to describe her (especially from her teachers) is "sweet".

Shel can be a bit of a "blonde" at times, but she has no problem laughing at herself. She is tiny for her age, but dynamite comes in small packages, as they say.

She also would love to be a teenager NOW. She still likes to play little girl stuff, but if she had her way she would dress like a teen, have a cell phone, contact lenses and date boys.

Shelby is an absolute baby lover. She's very competent when it comes to holding, changing and cuddling little ones (Ha! Aunt Tracy, one thing that differs between you two!) Shelby was a little over 2 1/2 when Nat came along and I remember how she would go stick her pinky knuckle into Nat's mouth to soothe her when she fussed, and she could change Nat's diapers by herself by the time she was 3. (Hey, Nat was #4, so I was pretty lax by then and didn't mind dirty fingers in the baby's mouth, or a toddler changing the diaper. I knew she'd live through it.)

So yes, I'm blessed to be her mom, though I'm still convinced she's more genetically related to my sister. I'm excited to see her grow into a young woman and see where her life leads her.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sale-ing Along

I've been trying to organize and do a yard sale all summer, and finally got it together this weekend. I'm no stranger to doing yard sales. It seems I've never had much money, so anytime I wanted to go on a trip, or one of the kid's birthdays was coming up, or if I just wanted some extra money for a splurge, I've had a yard sale.

I remember doing one to finance a trip to L.A. to attend a La Leche League Conference.  Cam was only 2 and I saved and scrimped and sold anything that wasn't nailed down so that we could ride Amtrak to Anaheim and attend the conference with my best friend and her little girl. We had a wonderful time. It was money well spent.

Now that we're contemplating moving, I am really in the clean out and get rid of mode. I had a lot of extraneous day care toys to unload, as well as kitchen stuff that's piled up. Mike even went through the garage and I was pretty proud that he was actually getting rid of stuff. I know it wasn't easy for him because he's such an "I might need this someday" person!

I always find it funny that the things I expect people to go crazy over generally don't sell and the things I think no one could possibly want go first. It's just weird.

I once had a bunch of stuff donated to me for a yard sale and there was some ugly (to me) pottery pieces among the stuff. I marked it 50 cents each, and the day of the sale I had a couple ladies almost killing each other over it. Turns out it was very collectible McCoy pottery. One man's trash is another's treasure indeed!

This time I had a bunch of holiday decorations to sell that used to be my mom's. She would decorate her house for each holiday with adorable items. I wish I had the motivation to do that, but I don't, so I decided to sell it.

My favorite customers of the day were a young pregnant woman, her little 3ish year-old son, and her mother. They touched me because seventeen or so years ago it could've been me and my mom and my little Cam. The grandma bought one of my son's old toys for her grandson, and was thrilled to buy my mom's Thanksgiving turkey creamer and sugar bowl as well as a Thanksgiving table cloth and hot pads. It just really brought back fond memories of how my mom enjoyed buying stuff for me and the kids and how much fun we used to have on our outings together.

I also had another young woman with a toddler buy a couple of mom's Halloween decorations. She was very nice, and I found out that she's a blogger! So now I have a new blogging friend that I've actually met in the flesh. Fun!

It was a lot of work, but we had a successful sale. It's gratifying to me to see someone excited to take something home and it makes me feel good to know it's going to get used and appreciated rather than sit in a box for years on end. And the money is nice too!

Idiot Du Jour

Well, all that bragging about being productive at work kind of backfired on me today. I'm no stranger to the printing business, and I know that mistakes ALWAYS happen, no matter how long you've been in the business, it's just unavoidable. Envelopes get printed upside down, things get cut wrong, a typo gets through unnoticed... and I've already had a couple minor screw ups in my two weeks at my new job.

Today I was the idiot of the day though. I got a cursory lesson in how to make buttons and was turned loose to do 300 buttons that need to ship out tomorrow. I got into a rhythm and was cooking right along when one of the other employees came by and picked up a button and looked at it. "I guess this one goes in the trash", he said. I wasn't quite sure what he meant, as it looked ok to me. Then he clarified by pointing out that the pin back was on crooked. Uh oh... well, no one told me to check that the pin back was in the right spot... oops!

I broke the news to the boss, that I had screwed up nearly half the order, and he took it in stride thankfully, and the two other employees sympathized with me, and admitted that a lot of times one is only given half the instructions and pretty much left on their own to figure out the rest, but I've been in the printing business long enough to know that you always check the first one and make sure it's perfect. Paying attention to detail is crucial, and I didn't and could have kicked myself.

I told the other two guys that I should make a button that says, "Idiot of the Day" and wear it today, and then whoever screws up can wear it each day. They laughed and said that we'd definitely need more than one button! Yeah, some days are like that. Sigh...

Monday, September 15, 2008

All Work And No Play

Well, since the correctional officer job has been put on "budgetary hold" by our county, and my snack bar job at the lodge ended after Labor Day, I went job hunting and found a job at a print shop I used to work at some 9 years ago (before I got pregnant and focused on raising my second batch of babies).

My former employers were thrilled to have me back and gave me the hours I wanted, working 8-2 while the girls are in school. I'm still also working at the lodge waitressing/bussing/hostessing on Friday and Saturday nights, plus 2 Wednesday nights a month. Then I teach Sunday school at church, teach a belly dance class on Thursday nights, have belly dance rehearsals on Monday nights and I decided I just wasn't quite busy enough, so I'm cleaning out the garage and organizing a yard sale for this weekend. I'm must be out of my mind.

I'm liking my job. I'm very productive. I mean, there's actually a product at the end of my day (well several really). It's very rewarding to look at a pile of signs, or business cards or a banner and say, "I did that, Ta-dah!" (I usually leave the Ta-dah! out though).

It got me thinking, and I began comparing and contrasting my printing job with how I've spent the last three years doing daycare. It's very fulfilling to me to raise my own kids, but at the end of a day of daycare I certainly never felt like, "Look what I did. Ta-dah!" I just felt drained and overwhelmed.

There is certainly not any job more important than caring for children, but you just don't have anything to show for your toils at the end of the day (well for me I had a house that was trashed, but other than that...). No one looks and says, "Wow, that kid is wonderfully well fed, and emotionally satisfied." But they do notice if the child has fallen and gotten a scrape or is in a foul mood.

I'm sure other people feel quite fulfilled caring for other people's children. I just didn't. It wasn't my passion and I think towards the end I was getting kind of depressed being cooped up all day refereeing quarrels, nagging about homework and cleaning up spills. I hope that doesn't make me a horrible person, I just don't think caring for others' children is my life's calling.

At any rate, because of my very hectic schedule, my blogging has kind of been put on the back burner. Even getting 2 brains cells together to produce a coherent post is a challenge. Hence this rambling and rather inarticulate offering. Oh, well, I'll try to do better next time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

House Hunting

We've been looking for a place to rent and have looked at a lot of houses recently. It amazes me how even $100 more in rent can make a huge difference in the quality of house. We've seriously seen some real dives, and then for $125 more, seen a really nice house.

Our stumbling block at this point is finding a place that will take pets, dogs in particular, so the search continues...

Today on a local website I came across this dandy of an ad for a house to rent and it made me chuckle. It sounds more like a desperate plea for permanent tenants:

"Private, clean house on 3/4 acre. Big deck with trees all around. This would be a great place for a couple with one or two children or just the two of you who would love this place and live here for a long time and make it your home."

I guess listing the important details like how many bedrooms and bathrooms didn't occur to them!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sour Face

I bought Shelby some Altoids sour candies the other day, and on our drive home she says, "My mouth can already taste these and I haven't opened them yet!"

Isn't it funny how just thinking about sour can get our mouth all watery? I like how she put it though.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Just Want to Eat You Up!

Why is it when something is just adorable we want to eat it up? That's so weird, isn't it? Babies toes do it to me. I seriously want to eat them up. Others want to eat the whole baby, not me, just the toes please.

It's not that you really want to eat eat them. It's that you somehow want to absorb or envelope the cuteness and keep that squooshy feeling forever. Well, that's my theory anyway.

In the car yesterday Mike and Nat were looking at all the photos that the girls have taken on my cell phone. Ninety percent of the photos were of our dog Suey.

When asked by Daddy why there were so many pictures of the dog, Nat replied, "She's just SO CUTE! I want to take her picture, then print it out and eat it!"

That made me chuckle. I'm glad she draws the line at eating a dog, but she wouldn't mind consuming a photo!