Saturday, March 31, 2012

Titanic and the Boob

Recently, A has been learning about the Titanic at school.  He's really interested in it.  During our vacation, we toured the Midway (an aircraft carrier) and stayed one night on the Queen Mary, which was built just 20 years after the Titanic.  So he's been getting even more fascinated by the big ships lately, and with the 3D version of Titanic coming out soon, we decided last night to watch it downstairs.

Oh, man.  It had been a while since I'd seen it.  And first of all, let me say it's still awesome.  I love that movie, and it was just as good as it is every time I watch it.  It was fun to watch it now with a little more perspective on what it feels like to be on a ship of that era.  And the kids were really into it.

And then there's the scene.  You know, where Rose decides to have Jack draw her.  In the nude.  "Wearing this.  Wearing only this."  Yep.  And we get some really slow, close up, lingering shots of Rose's perfect left breast.  Holy crap, I forgot about this part.

So here I am, trying to be all cool about it.  I have a theory in my parenting style, and I'm not sure how it's going to work out, but so far so good.  I don't want my kids to be afraid of language.  I don't want them to swear like sailors (do sailors really swear that much?), but I don't want them to be all freaked out when they hear a bad word, or if someone uses one towards them.  I don't want them to have all kinds of hang ups about sex or sexuality, and be ashamed of anything, like I was.  So I want to be as open as I can, as matter of fact as I can, about it.  Even though it's a struggle.  I just don't want it to ever be for them.

So then I jokingly say, "watch out kids, you're going to see her boobs!"  J instantly covers his eyes like he's horrified, but I can tell he's peeking.  A just watches, eyes wide open.  Boy, did James Cameron want to make sure we got a reeeeaaaalllly good look at that boob.

Right after that scene, if you remember, they're in the cabin, dressed, and Jack is putting the necklace back in the safe.  Then they run out of the cabin because that creepy man-servant is coming in, so they do the exciting run through the ship trying to get away from him.  And then they go get into that old car (I guess it was new to them).  And I remember what's about to happen.  So then I say, "oooh, kids, they're going to make out now!" and they act all silly about it.  And then I paused the movie.

At this point, I say, hey kids, why don't you quick take Freddy out--the ship's about to hit the ice berg and we'll start it right here when you get back in so we don't have to take him out during all the action.

As they're going up the stairs, I hear J say, "that was freaky--we saw that girl's you know what!"  And I hear A say, "I liked it."  Ha!  Then J says, "I'm going to tell mom you said that!"  Ah, boys.

Yup.  Then I watched the sexy scene and paused it again right after the hand slides down the steamy window.  A boob is enough.  Last night I didn't know if I was ready for the naked car sex conversation with my 9- and 10-year olds.

Hubby came down while we were watching the whole ice berg scene.  I told him what happened, and he thought it was pretty funny.  Then A said, "Dad, have you ever scene her boob?"  And he's pointing to me.  Yikes!  Hubby said, "yep.  I sure have."  Oh my God.  Then I just diverted by saying how they both did too, when they were babies, and that's how they were fed when they were born, and then they were grossed out enough to end the conversation.  PHEW!

So there it is.  They saw a boob.  Maybe not their first, and certainly not their last.  And they're just fine.  Let me tell you--if they're going to have to see one, Kate Winslet's is a fine first boob experience.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vacation, and Vacationing from the Vacation

I'm back.  This past Monday (late, late Monday night) we returned from eight days in Southern California.  A real live family vacation.  We hadn't been on one since October of 2008.  Well, not a big one like this.

Our last trip was to Florida.  We did the traditional Disney World and Cocoa Beach thing, and it was awesome.  The kids were easier than I thought they'd be, so I knew they'd be even easier now that they're older.  And they were!  They're great little travelers, even though they bicker too often.

This trip was longer, busier, packed with way more activities.  And it took the wind out of me for sure.  Not that it wasn't great, it was.  But I am beat!  I'll fill in more specifics about the trip over the next week or so, but right now I'm just feeling the general impact of the thing.  And if you're planning a family trip, here's my personal list of pros and cons of family travel, coming from someone fresh from baggage claim.

Cons first:

Oh my God it's expensive.  I have gut rot from the amount of money we had to spend.  Yes, you have to give in and realize you're on vacation.  Yes, you know life isn't like this all the time.  Believe me, I kept that mantra in my head the whole week so I didn't feel like I was being crushed to death by the weight of it all.  And I know we could have done a few things differently to save more money, but again--this was our vacation.  Right?  But man does it pile up.  I felt like a sieve with money just pouring out all the little holes. There were four plane tickets to LAX.  And our checked luggage (one of which got an extra fine for being "heavy").  Seven hotel nights (in four different hotels, mind you).  Eight days worth of car rental (which hubby upgraded when we got there to a full size SUV).  And these are the expenses right off the top.  Then there's gas (CRAZY high out there), food, tips, souvenirs, tickets to Disneyland, tickets for tours, and on and on.  Gulp.

It's hard to relax.  When we are on vacation, and I don't know about the rest of you, we don't sit still.  Even if we fully intend to.  We are in a new place, and we feel a need to see as much as we can, pack it all in because we don't know if we'll ever get to these places again.  So we go go go.  All day every day.  Tons of walking.  Tons of driving.  It's madness, really.  Great at the time, but by the time you hit the bed at the end of the night, you feel like the Walking Dead.  Pretty.

Gift Shops.  Holy cow there's a lot of crap in the world to buy.  And I really wanted to get the kiddos (and us) some cool things to remember our trip.  I wanted t-shirts, hoodies, ball caps, whatever.  All the kids wanted to look at was ridiculous trinkets that you can buy in any crappy shop at home.  I tried and tried to explain to them the whole concept of a souvenir, something to remember your trip, but they were completely uninterested in a t-shirt, opting instead to focus in on things like tiny glass "Angry Bird" figurines or silly toys.  Ugh.  Not even the fake Oscar statues appealed to them.  So we came home without one shirt for any of us.  Completely my fault for me, though.  I really wanted a hoodie, and kept holding out for one in case a different place had a cooler one.  And in the end I wish I would have picked up one in Disneyland.  Sigh.

Squabbling children in the car.  We spend a lot of time in the car.  I ended up very grateful that hubby opted for the upgrade, because the car was lovely to spend time in.  Except for the bickering from the backseat, of course.  The five minute rule of trading off the iPad was the only way to shut them up.  No matter how many times you try to get 9 and 10-year old boys to look out the windows and notice what's around them--palm trees, mountains, amazing buildings, insane traffic, beautiful homes or cars, nutjobs wandering the streets, the wonder of it is mostly lost on them.  Oh well.

Finally, I never stopped feeling like a pack rat.  I always had my purse.  Whatever shopping we had done was in bags in my hands so it wouldn't get left anywhere.  If we were on the beach I was holding my shoes.  And usually the kids' shoes.  And probably some shells.  If I was lucky I had a cup of coffee. I had to keep track of stuff, you know.  And yes, hubby was there.  But he is our family's photographer, and his hands were always busy with the camera.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

We all missed our Freddy.

But now the pros.  And oh, do they outnumber the cons, not only in number but in importance:

Vacationing through the eyes of your kids is beautiful.  Even going through airport security is an adventure for them.  They chat it up with the employees.  They watch everything around them.  It's way cool to them.  Airports are amazing places when you're a kid.

Being on the plane was fun, and I don't love flying.  The kids love taking off, watching the ground disappear below them.  They get a kick out of being above the clouds and seeing them from the other side.  Even getting their little cup of soda is cool to them.

The shuttle to the car rental place from the airport is fun for them.  Getting the new car is fun (well, for me too).  And then, getting to the first hotel room is always great when you're a kid.  You can't wait to swim in the pool.  To be in the room in your jammies.  To lay on the bed with the remote.  To go to the crappy free breakfast.  I found a new appreciation for all these things through them.

Watching them seeing new things, being patient with our constantly changing days, eating new foods, asking questions, seeing different people, was like magic.

Hanging out with all of us together for that amount of time really is a treat.  Watching the hubby see some of the things that most interest him was great too.  We went to an aircraft carrier and did the whole tour.  We would not have been able to do that with the kids four years ago, but they were fine with it now.  Staying on the Queen Mary.  Going to where his favorite tv show is filmed.  So vacationing through his eyes was just as special for me.  When we're at home, we don't pay as much attention to one another.  He's doing his thing, I'm doing laundry or whatever, there's homework, there's just home stuff.  Out there there's nothing but each other, and it's a great reminder of how lucky we are to be together.

We got to see my Uncle, which is always fun.  The kids love him, and hubby and I have been fortunate to have a fun relationship with him over the years.  We went out to LA for the first time together 18 years ago, when we hadn't even been dating for a year yet.  He was our tour guide then, and he's just as good at it now.  We missed out on seeing my aunt (she had the flu), but it was good to be with Uncle.

We spent time with a good friend of ours who moved out there five years ago.  I wish she'd move back here, but what can you do?  It's good to see her when we can.  She has this cool ability to lift the mood of a room and keep everyone laughing.  Her laugh comes so easily and often.

We had no worries.  No rooms to clean.  No bills to think about (yet).  No jobs to go to, no school.  It's like fantasyland.

And finally, we got to come home.  And being on a vacation that long is a great way to fall back in love with your home and your hometown.  I can't even tell you how great it felt to drive on Minnesota roads again, no LA traffic.  To open our back door and greet our dog, and to go to bed in our own beds.  I'm still riding a high about how much I love my home and how happy I am to be here.  Until a few months from now, when I start wondering when we should plan our next getaway.

Yikes.  I better start saving up now.

More details to come about our trip.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nothing Important.

Do you just love it when you go get your hair done and leave feeling all refreshed and then you get home and take a good look at your new hair and realize the girl cut your bangs too short?  Yep.  I do.  It's super awesome.  sigh.  That along with the puffy red brow I have from getting the brows waxed.  I thought you were supposed to feel pretty after a trip to the salon.  Why do I have to actually endure a recovery period before I feel like it's an improvement?  It's not like I just had plastic surgery...

So my short bangs and I haven't been here for awhile.  Sorry.  I'm back, and my brain thanks me for coming to sit down to dump some excess out while I have my coffee this morning.

I don't mean to sound cliche, but how about this weather????  Can you believe it?  I feel so springy!  We've got a busy week ahead of us, and I have a ton to do, so this weather is such a gift.  It's so energizing!  Well, that along with the coffee I've had and the Monster drink I'm about to have is energizing.  Ha!  When I'm done writing for the morning, I'm turning up the tunes and starting the spring cleaning!  Yahoo!  With the windows open!  Ahhhhh.

Today is the last day of school for my kiddos before the spring break.  To me, that's a signal that the school year is winding down, and summer is almost upon us.  I'm really excited for summer this year.  We've been doing so many improvements to the house and yard, and this summer our landscaping projects should be paying off.  I'm looking forward to a LOT of time spent on my porch this year.  Hopefully we can train Freddy to not take off and he'll be able to lounge around on the porch and in the yard with us, and we will be able to trust him.  We'll see.  He's just like Doug from the movie "Up".  Squirrel!  He even looks sort of like him:

See?  I love it.

Yesterday the hubby was feeling pretty sick.  I think he's better today, since he went to work.  But we took the dog out without his leash for a while.  It was just so nice out!  He's getting better all the time at hanging around, but eventually he did take off after something, and ran way down into the valley behind our place.  Hubby trudged down after him, and he got Freddy to come bounding back up, but it was irritating.  And it could be so dangerous if he takes off and runs out into the road!  I can't even bear to think about it.

Anyway, we'll get it figured out.  And I just love Freddy so much!  My nickname for him is Frederico Consuelo Poochito.  I know.  Leave it to me to think of nicknames that are substantially longer than the real name.

I got to get out this week with SIL3 for lunch and a movie.  It was great to hang out with her for a few hours without the kiddos.  She's so fun to chat with, and we don't get together nearly often enough.  I know I say that about everyone, but that's because it's true.  Maybe I should just see if everyone would just do me the favor of moving out here by me so I could see them whenever I want...  But we had a great lunch at Chipotle and then went to see our chick flick.  We try to do that occasionally, and keep hoping to do it more regularly.  Hopefully that will get easier as time goes on.  We saw The Vow.  Nice movie.  There's a tough car crash scene in it though.  I can't stand car crash scenes.  I've been in a few, and one was particularly rough, and that sound and visual just floods everything back again.  No matter how hard I try to forget about it.  But the movie was sweet.  We thought the ending wasn't that satisfying, but it was based on a true story.  I suppose there's not much they could do about that.  As for a review, my official review is that it's worth renting, not worth full movie theater price.  But it was great to hang out with my girl.

I have to get busy.  Lots to do, and precious little alone time before people start getting home again.  Folks, if you're in Minnesota, I appreciate you reading my little blog, but shut it off now and GO OUTSIDE!  I'll post again this weekend.  Oh lordy.  I just remembered I have to go to the dentist Monday morning.  AUGH!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Revelation

We had spring parent/teacher conferences last night.

These conferences always make me nervous.  It's the same thing, usually.  First we sit with J's teacher, and they tell us how he is exceeding every expectation, he gets top scores in all the testing, his behavior and attitude are excellent, that he is a joy to have in their class.  It's short but sweet, and we're sent on our way.

Then we go to A's conference.  We always end up wishing we had scheduled double the amount of time they allot to us, as there is always more to talk about.  Without fail, every teacher loves him.  He is sweet, funny, eager to please.  But they just can't put a finger on the issues he has.  His testing scores leave something to be desired, his academics are unpredictable, and he seems to occasionally shut down.  His behavior is great, and he is also a joy to have in their class, but nobody seems to know how to help him be more successful.  Not for lack of trying, mind you, his school has been tireless about trying to help the kid out.

But last night we may have had a breakthrough.  After his regular teacher conference, we went down to meet with his reading specialist.  After our fall conference, when my hubby pointed out to her that his eyes seem to "bounce around the page" when he reads, she did some checking around and some careful observation of him, and believes she may know part of what's going on with him.

He has a stutter.

I had no idea there were different kinds of stuttering.  There isn't just the kind of stutter that the king had in the King's Speech.  There is a reading stutter.  Where for some reason, when he is reading, his mind stutters on the information.  This could absolutely affect the way he sees words, numbers, or any information on a page or a computer screen.  It can cause him to bounce around when he's trying to read aloud, or when he's trying to do math problems, or whatever.

Halleluja!  People, this is the first time that someone has suggested something to me that completely made sense!  I could dance around the room.  I have something to work with.  I think we need to take him to an eye doctor and see if there are exercises to help train his eyes, but I think we can work with this and actually find some tools to help him.  Oh, I feel encouraged.

So we left the conferences feeling light, encouraged, proud.  It was awesome.

My kids are the best.  I love them so much, and I am so proud of them, and I can't believe what miracles little people can be.  Somehow they are turning into such fine young people, and I honestly feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, and by the Grace of God, it is working out well.  I am blessed to have my amazing hubby, who is so connected with his kids, and so creative, that he can put his finger on things in a way that I just cannot.  He really sees them, and he identifies with them, because in so many ways he was like them. He has a remarkable memory for what it was like to be a young boy, and that helps him understand and guide our little men.

It was a good night.  And today they don't have school so right now A is parked in front of the television watching Bugs Bunny and J is making himself a ham omelet.  It's going to be a good day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring Fever

Spring is in the air.  It's supposed to be pretty nice out today.  Relatively speaking, of course.  It's supposed to hit the lower 50's today.  Back to some cooler temperatures for the next couple days, but today is sure to give many of us Minnesotans who have been cooped up for the winter a massive dose of spring fever.

Early Spring has that smell--a combination of melting snow, wet earth, and dry leaves.  The birds start chirping again.  The sun actually starts to feel warm.  Stores start putting out the lawn and garden stuff again.  It's that promise of things coming to life again, the hope that we're almost able to pack away the coats and hats again, that gives me the giddies.  My hubby is even worse than me--he starts getting the itch to go to the garden centers before the snow is completely gone or the ground is even thawed.  I just feel like opening the windows and cleaning.  Maybe that's what I'll do today...

There's so much to be cheerful about this month.  My sister's birthday is in March.  Two of my nephews have birthdays in March.  St. Patrick's Day is in March, and I can't help but wonder why on that day, beer tastes better green?  The kids have spring conferences, which means the end of the year is within sight.  They get their spring pictures taken.  Amazing how much they change in only 6 months.  The Hunger Games movie comes out this month.  And best of all, this year my little family is going on a trip!  Yahoo!  I cannot wait.

So off to the treadmill I go.  I'm still going strong, and now I have the extra motivation of cropped pants and short sleeves in my near future.  And soon I'm going to be in the land of sun and palm trees, so I guess I need to paint my toenails too!

Get outside today, people.  Breathe the fresh air, let the sun shine on your face.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Sorry I've been away so long, my dear computer.  I've been so busy.  Quick recap:

We had a snow day.  Science Fair got postponed.  Science Fair got rescheduled.  Sister was in town.  Sister went home.  Sister's back in town.  Preparing for a big family thing at the house this weekend.  Had to clean.  Had to shop.  Still doing the treadmill!  Had to clean.  J earned a spot in the regional Science Fair!  Had to clean.  Had to clean.  Still need to clean.

But I've been missing you, my little blog.  My mojo's just not right when we're not connecting.  

People, I'm still a little in my funk.  I'm getting better, but the cloud is still there.  When I go a long time without posting, it means I've sat down many times, started writing, and deleted many beginnings because I don't feel worthy or interesting.  That shouldn't matter, right?  That's not what this is about.  I suppose if I'm feeling that way then that's what I should write about.

Right now I'm feeling pretty good.  I'm excited to see my family today.  I'm excited for lots of good food, good company, and big laughs.  I love the way my house feels when it's picked up.  I love the way it smells when I'm making Chex Mix.  Yummy!  All is well.  I'm also feeling like I REALLY need to take a good long shower today.  Like the shaving kind.  That takes a super long time.  Not that I'm super hairy, it's just that--ugh I need to stop writing about this right now.  Gross. 

I really need to make myself more of a priority every day.  I think it's like when you're on a plane, and the flight attendants are giving you that speech that nobody pays attention to anymore.  You know, how in the case of a disaster you're supposed to make sure your own oxygen mask is on properly before you help anyone else with theirs?  Even your children (gulp)?  Well, that should apply to life in general.  I should get myself up, showered, dressed and mascara'd before I worry about anyone else.  I should make sure that when I fix a meal I get to sit down and eat with everyone at the same time, and they can serve themselves.  My kids aren't babies anymore.  I should make sure I'm exercising and eating right before I worry about what they're doing.  And if I start to feel a sore throat I should treat it just as urgently as I would my kids.  


As I write this, I'm in the same PJ's that I was wearing last evening, my hair is piled up into what my hubby affectionately refers to as "the hairball", and I'm sure I have raccoon eyes.  Again, he's a very lucky man.

So sorry about the short post, but I have to go get some junk done.  Thanks for hanging out with me.