Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Farm

On Tuesday this week, my mom and I took Dylan to Round Hill Farm.  I love that place!  There are few places that make me so nostalgic.  I always think of the times my parents took me there as a kid, so being there with my mom and Dylan was magical.  It was a perfect fall day in October, the temperature in the upper 60's, the sun shining, the sky blue.

The ducks were hungry!

And aggressive!  Wait, this one will give you a better idea...

"Whoa!  GET BACK!  Hey!"  QUACK!!!

Of course, Dylan walked along the beam, just like I loved to do as a kid.

Of course, he ran along the wall (racing "Mi-Mi"),

and jumped off the wall.

(Psst...this is from LAST year!)

There was a very talkative turkey.  "Gobble... Gobble... Hey, kid!  Can you help me out?  They put me next to that rooster, and I cannot get a wink of sleep around here!... Oh, and can we talk about how delicious ham is?  You know... for Thanksgiving?"

I've noticed that I take very few pictures of the actual animals at the farm!  For me, it's more about the awesome scenery, and the photo ops.

(Psst... this is from LAST year...)

I tell you, every time I do this, I have to double check the date a few times, saying "This has to be from 2 years ago!"  Time flies, and I have the pictures to prove it.

Yep, so that was Tuesday.  This was Saturday...

Mother Nature, you have one sick sense of humor!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Owl Craft Truth

One day this week, Dylan and I made this craft...

I should say... Dylan made the craft... I supervised.
Sweet, right?  Right now you're probably envisioning a loving moment between a mother and her child, while she helps him complete a darling craft to hang on the refrigerator.

So now I'm going to let you in on a secret I think you should know.  All, or most, of the stuff you see in blogs or on websites, is NOT as you imagine.  Here's how this craft REALLY went...

Me:  "Dylan, come on.  We're going to do a Halloween craft!" (said with enthusiasm)

Dylan:  "I'm just doing this right now".

Me:  "Dylan, you can finish that later!  Don't you want to make a fun craft with me?" (trying to sound enticing)

Dylan:  "What are we gonna make?" (not at all sure that it will be "fun")

Me:  "We're going to make a handprint ghost!  Like the one in that book we got from the library, remember?" (still trying to make it sound exciting)

Dylan:  "Oh!  Yea!  Okay!" (finally won over)

Me:  (Getting out the paint supplies, putting a smock on him, looking for black construction paper)  "Umm... hmmm... DYLAN!  Don't open the paint yet!  We aren't even using that color!  We're using white!... Where is the white... Oh CRAP!  We don't have white?!"

Dylan:  "Crap?!  What's crap?!  No white paint?!  Are you sure?"

Me:  "Nothing... no... we don't have white paint... "

Dylan:  "Well, hooooowwww are we gonna maaaakkkkeee it?" (whining)

Me:  "Okay, let me get the computer.  I saw another craft online we could make!"

Dylan:  "On.. what?"

Me:  "On the computer!  Just a minute... " (going into the other room, while mumbling to myself)

Me:  "We'll make this owl, okay?!" (trying to make the owl sound just as exciting as the ghost)

Dylan:  "I can't make thhhhaaaattt!  That looks haaarrrddd!"(whining)

Me:  "It's not hard.  I'll help you.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!  Do NOT POINT THE SCISSORS AT MY FACE!  Give me those scissors!... NO!  Don't start drawing on that paper yet!  Can you just sit there for ONE MINUTE until I explain what we're gonna do here?"

Dylan:  "Well, you're not telling me anything!"

Me:  "IT'S BEEN LIKE, TWO SECONDS!... (taking deep, cleansing breaths...) Okay, first trace this circle on the brown paper..."

Dylan:  "I can't traaacccceee!  It's too hard for me!" (whining)

Me:  "Look, I'll show you an easy way to do it... Start at the top and come down this way... That's it!.. Now cut that out".

Dylan: "I need you to make a start line!"

Me:  "A what?!... Oh, a start line!  Do they do that at school?... Okay, here".

(More of the same while making the other shapes for the owl...)


Dylan:  "No.  I don't have anything to cut!"

Me:  "I'm getting it ready!  Give me a second!" (Muttering to self...) "I don't even want to make this stupid craft anymore" (a little too loud apparently)

Dylan:  "I don't either!"

Me:  "Dylan, we started this craft.  We are going to finish this craft!" (more deep, cleansing breaths)

Dylan:  "Is this right?" (showing me the owl)

Me:  "Um... well... you put that part on backwards".

Dylan:  "Oooohhhh Nooooo!  It's not riiiiggghhhtt!  I messed it up!" (freaking out)

Me:  "It's no big deal!  Here... I got it off.  You can put it on the other way!"

Dylan:  "Now it won't stick!! " (still freaking)



Me:  "Watch it, kid.  You're gonna end up in time out if you talk to me like that!"

Dylan:  "Like this?" (instantly calmer)

Me:  "Yea... that looks good... Now you just have to put the eyes on".

Dylan:  "What about the black part?... Mom!  Something went BEEP!"

Me:  "OH MY... (catching self)... I forgot the food was in the oven!"

Dylan:  "Mom!  Look!  I finished it!  How does it look?... MOM!"

Me:  "Dylan, I can't look right now!  I have to get the food out of the oven!"

Dylan:  "But I finished it!  LOOK!"

Me:  "Yes, it looks great!  We'll have to show it to Daddy (who won't have a clue about the drama involved until he reads this post).  Let's put it on the refrigerator!"

Dylan:  "Is dinner ready now?!  I'm hungry!  But there's a big mess on the table!  How are we gonna eat?"

Me: "Sigh.  Now I remember why I don't do crafts more often".

Dylan:  "Why, Mommy?!... WHY?"

Me:  "Never mind, honey.  Never mind".

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is There Anything Better Than A Farm On A Fall Day?

Today, I was supposed to take Dylan on a school field trip to the farm.  He's had a cold and an ear infection, and I've had a sore throat since Saturday, so I decided to skip it.  I hate missing out on that stuff, but we did make it to the farm earlier this month, so I guess I shouldn't feel too bad.  The day we went, I am pretty sure that every family with children under the age of 8 decided to do the exact same thing, because it was packed with people!  We didn't eat lunch before going, so I waited in line to get food for ONE HOUR, while Jim and Dylan played.  I managed to avoid going completely nuts and losing my patience, and we eventually ate, before enjoying a long list of activities.

You might have noticed that I have this thing that I love to do.  I like to recreate shots.  So, here's the one from last year, 

and here's the one from this year...

Aaarrggghh!  Why do I do this to myself!  Look how much he's grown! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Day At The Zoo

I have so much to do this month.  Between planning Dylan's birthday party, getting information for schools for next year, and planning a Disney trip (for March!), blogging has taken a back seat.

This weekend, we haven't done much.  We had a birthday party that we ended up missing, due to the fact that Dylan woke up complaining of ear pain.  We ended up at MedExpress and found out he has an ear infection.  I have a sore throat, which I'm hoping doesn't develop into anything more.

So, I'll just play catch up.  My mom and I took Dylan to the zoo, back on October 6th.  It was a perfect fall day - not too hot, not too cold.  Dylan met a little girl, who was a little older, and her and her grandma spent a good portion of time walking around with us.  It's always interesting to watch the different dynamics.  Dylan was much calmer with this little girl than with some of the boys he plays with.  It was a fun, relaxing fall day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

There's No Crying In...?

In just the past 6 months or so, Dylan has become a sports enthusiast.  Scratch that.  He has become a sports FANATIC!  He wants to try every sport out there, and he wants to excel at every sport out there.  He is ultra competitive.  He does not like losing.  Losing, or even less than great performance, results in whining, tears, and rolling around on the ground.  He is really hard on himself!  If he doesn't play well, bats are thrown, racquets are scraped along the ground, etc.  (Right now, Jim's mom is laughing and saying "Uh huh!  He's Jim's kid all right!)  Being a perfectionist is apparently hereditary?!

We were playing baseball out in the backyard, with him facing the house, from the back of the yard.  Bad idea.  Much to my surprise, he hit the ball so hard, it almost broke our neighbors window!  Then, he hit the ball so hard, this happened...

WHY didn't I sign him up for T-ball?! (kicking self)

Last Sunday, we took him to the park to ride his bike.  While we were there, he saw some people playing tennis.  He announced that he wanted to learn to play.  "We don't have any racquets, Dylan!"  "Well, let's go home and get them, and then come back!"  "Uh... no".  I figured he would forget about it by the next day.  Nope.  It was the first thing out of his mouth Monday morning.  He kept at it until I finally succumbed Monday afternoon.  We played for an hour, until I finally had to make him stop!  I was exhausted.  Not Dylan, though.  He could have kept playing for another hour.

Guess what we did for another hour on Tuesday?!

If he ever gets over the losing tantrums he'll be a coaches dream!  He plays with passion!  He ran after the ball at top speed, dove for the ball, and then screamed, "I'M OKAY!", before popping back up to run around some more.  Meanwhile, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to lift my arm the next morning to comb my hair.  I'm gonna need to get in better shape to keep up with this kid.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Drawings I'll Keep

Dylan is an only child.  Most of the time, I am his playmate.  My 4 1/2 year old does NOT like to play by himself.  At all.  There are times that this fact makes me completely crazy.  Mostly, when I'm attempting to get something done, and he's wrapped around my leg, whining that he "CAN'T" play by himself!

But, there are days when I'm battling the never ending piles of papers strewn all over the house, that I see things that remind me... In the future, I'm going to long for these days.  I need to cherish and appreciate how much he loves and needs me at this point in his life.  I should probably frame these as a reminder...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Before 40 - The Explanation

The Explanation

Everyone has certain routines they follow.  It's not a bad thing.  Routines allow us to feel safe and in control.  Once we find a good way to do things, why alter it?  Routines make life easier.

I like my routines, but I have to admit, without a little variety to my days I start to get a bit... twitchy.  I remember one time in particular that this became obvious.

It was Saturday morning, and Doug and I were in the car, going to lunch.  He pulled into a certain restaurant's parking lot, when I suddenly freaked.

Me:  "What are you doing?" (I asked, in my pitch-an-octave-too-high voice).
Doug:  "What are you talking about?  I'm parking!"
Me:  "You just assumed I wanted to go here?!"
Doug:  "We always go here for lunch on Saturdays!"
Me:  "EXACTLY!  Why do we do that?!  It's ridiculous!  We do the SAME exact thing every time!  You park in the SAME spot.  We sit in the SAME booth.  We get the SAME waitress.  We order the SAME thing.  AARRGGHH!  I can't stand it!"
Doug:  (Who was now quite exasperated and angry at this supposed insinuation that he was boring)... "FINE!  WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?"
Me:  "It doesn't matter.  I'm just trying to make a point.  Where do you want to go?"
Doug:  "Well I DID drive here, didn't I?"
Me:  "Then we'll eat here!  What...EVER!"

(At that point, he turned the car back on and put it in reverse, before angrily backing up and driving across the parking lot to the other side.  Then, he parked sideways across about three spots, before jumping out of the car).

Doug:  "I usually hold your hand, but I wouldn't want to be predictable!  Oh, and I usually hold the door or you too", he yelled over his shoulder, as the door shut in my face.

(By this point, I was pretty amused, and wanted to see how far he'd take this.  As the hostess led us to our usual booth, Doug exclaimed "We'll take a table!  Over there, if that's okay?"  He made a point to order a different drink and entree than usual, and when she asked what dressing he wanted for his salad, I sat there looking at him.  Doug always asked for the same two dressings... on the side.  So when he asked for two completely different dressings... on the side, I lost it.  I started laughing at our ridiculous fight, and he started laughing, and our waitress walked away shaking her head.  After that, he tried to put more variety in our weekends together, and I just tried not to be so... twitchy.

Yes, I enjoy new experiences.  I like to try new things and go new places.  I've done improv, rode a jet ski, went parasailing, rode a horse on a beach, shot a gun, dressed like Mrs. Edward Scissorhands on a stage in front of tons of people, danced until morning with Italian guys who only spoke a few words of English, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, learned to juggle by a guy named Thor, met a famous person, went to a party of strangers and kissed a guy, and got married in a gazebo overlooking the ocean in Jamaica.  Not too shabby.  But there are SO many things I haven't crossed off my list.  So many things I still want to experience before turning 40.  "Before 40" is the result.  What WILL I do next?...

Before 40 - August

It all started with my son's birthday card.  Here it is...

"I drew all 39 candles, Mommy!", he happily announced.  Out loud, I said, "Wow!  That's great, buddy!"  In my head, I said, "Damn!  That's a lot of candles!"

For weeks beforehand, I had been saying "I'm going to be thirty nine.  Thhhhiiiirrrrttttyyy nnnniiiiinnnneeee" (as if saying it slowly would make it sink in).  How the heck did I get to be 39?!  I mean, I did turn 38 last year, but 39?  It just blew my mind for some reason.  Why?  Because that meant that next year I was going to turn 40.  Fffffoooorrrrttttyyy.  It makes sense that 40 starts with F, because it brought to mind a few other F words.

I'm not even saying that 40 is old (so don't hurt me, you people already older than that).  It's just that there are so many things I thought I would have done by then.  Made my first million, for example.

So, when I saw the cake with so many candles that it appears to be falling from the weight, I formulated a plan.  I was/am going to make a list and cross off at least one thing each month before turning 40.

August was the first month.  August flew by, but I did cross one very important thing off my list.  Ever since Dylan was born, I've been wanting to take him to the ocean.  He needed to search for seashells, feel sand between his toes (and apparently in every last crevice of his body), eat ice cream on the boardwalk, and run through the salty waves.  He needed to experience those things and I needed to experience him experiencing it.  Done.  Check.

Before 40 - September

I have a confession.  First, a little background.  For as long as I can remember, I've been tall.  I was taller than all the other girls AND boys in grade school.  My grandma told me that boys mature slower than girls, and that they would catch up to me.  Well, a few did, but most didn't.  Throughout my school years, I was always one of the tallest.

Now, I'm 5'11".  I'm used to looking down at people.  I'm used to it, but that doesn't mean I like it.  Being tall and clumsy isn't exactly a recipe for a graceful creature who glides effortlessly across the room in stiletto heels.  Which brings me to the confession.  Brace yourselves.  Come closer and I'll whisper it in your ear.  I've never worn heels.  I KNOW!  It's crazy, right?!  When I told my hairdresser recently, she almost cut off a chunk of my hair, before screaming, "ARE YOU SERIOUS?!"  Uh... yea... I am.

I'm 5'11" and clumsy, and my husband is 6 foot.  Why would I wear heels?  It just seemed like a ridiculous concept, but in true "Before 40" fashion, I bought these...

Go big or go home, I always say.  Okay, I don't say that, but I should.  I might have mentioned (complained profusely about) the fact that I wear size 11 Narrow shoes.  When you wear size 11 Narrow shoes there are only 3 shoe stores to shop at.  One, a very lovely establishment with very expensive shoes.  Two, a reasonably priced establishment with unreasonably ugly, old lady shoes.  Three, a cheap shoe store with okay looking shoes that come in Size 11, but not in Narrow.  I chose option 3, due to the plain and simple fact that I suspected this was not going to be a raging success.  I.was.correct.

I wore them as far as the car.  Seriously, HOW do you crazy people do it?  Do your feet eventually go numb and stop feeling the intense PAIN?!  Do your toes ever get used to being jammed into that small of a space?  How do you avoid looking like a tight rope walking giraffe?

My hairdresser claims the problem was that I bought heels that didn't fit perfectly.  I'm just not buying it. Oh well, I'll just wear them at home... in a certain room...ahem.   Unless someone needs a pair of size 11 Narrow black heels?  Didn't think so.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You Never Know What The Dollar Aisle Will Bring

Today is PROMPTuesday over at San Diego Momma's.  This time it was... Write in the style of an unreliable narrator. Take an unremarkable incident or phase in your life and turn it into something BIG, something over the top, somethingEXTRAORDINARY.

Once upon a time, (just yesterday), I came upon some small white baskets in the dollar section of Target.
I bought two, and figured they might come in handy.

Later that evening, I went in the master bathroom, and looked in the cupboard for something.  I couldn't find it, because the cupboard was a hot mess.  I decided to organize the items in the closet with the dollar baskets I purchased.

When my husband came home from work, he was so impressed with my remarkable organizational skills that he decided he must take some pictures.  He took the pictures into work, at the advertising agency where he works, the next day.  While showing everyone, and bragging about his amazing wife, Gwyneth Paltrow walked by the office.  She was there to film a commercial about how difficult it is to be a mom for some product designed to make a mother's life easier.  When she saw the pictures, she decided that she had to have me organize the closet in Apples bedroom.  She asked if 30,000 would be a fair price.  I told her I thought I could swing it.

After I organized Apple's closet, Gwyneth loved it so much, that she contacted her good buddy Oprah to tell her about it.  Oprah was so impressed that she decided to do a feature on it in her magazine.  She also asked me to organize her shoe room.  I did that for 100,000 and she was so thrilled with it she tried to kiss me full on the mouth, before her bodyguard had the audacity to tackle ME to the ground, breaking my arm.

I sued Oprah and the whole Oprah posse for many millions, but waited until AFTER my feature ran in the magazine.  I am now the "Organizer to the Stars", and because I have tried so diligently not to become a snobby rich person, you can still occasionally see me gracing the dollar aisle at Target, where it all started.

(In truth, when I showed my husband the closet, he said, "So THIS is the answer to all our problems, huh?!", in a totally sarcastic, snarky way.  But, inside I know his heart was palpitating with excitement and in awe of my skills.  I could just tell).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Stuff

Rants & Raves has a new look, designed by my talented, and VERY patient husband, Jim.  I might be a tad opinionated, and difficult to work with?  Maybe.  Anyway, let's see which of you is most observant.

Computers and I?  We aren't really close friends.  We mostly just tolerate each other.  For me, starting a blog years ago was about the desire to write.  I didn't know the first thing about a blog, or buttons, or headers, or html.  Lately, though, I was feeling it was time for me to learn a few things.

So, now you will see a place in the sidebar where you can subscribe to my posts and subscribe to get my new posts sent to your email address.  I will probably add some more things once I get over the trauma of figuring out how to make a BUTTON.

That's right, little old me, created a button, (after way too much time and a little beating of my head against a wall while saying "buh, buh, buh, buh").  Click on the button and it will take you to an explanation of "Before 40".  Yep, I'm 39, and I'm proof that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks... it just takes longer... a LOT longer.