Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I feel like I'm always doing laundry-I do several loads a week.  But, I always have a serious back log of excess laundry.  This past weekend, I was determined to get it ALL done.  Really.  I started on Friday afternoon, and washed, washed, washed.  When my husband got home from work on Saturday, I asked him to please get his laundry from the floor of the bedroom his "special" laundry hamper and sort it into piles by color with the rest of the laundry, because I wasn't sure what needed to be washed.  He replied that all of it needed to be washed, and promptly fell asleep on the couch.  Mmmmmkay.  Guess I'll do that for ya there, honey.  Anyhow, not one, but TWO loads of laundry came out of the washer with packs of gum in them.  We like our laundry with a clean, minty fresh scent.  I found most of it before it hit the dryer, but not all of it.  Thankfully, the clothes were somehow unscathed, but Saturday evening found me peeling tiny bits of gum out of the inside of the dryer, and I ended up with gum on the bottoms of my socks and on the knees of my jeans. I know you envy the endless glamour that is my life.  After lots of complaining, and many dramatic sighs, I announced to my groggy husband that he was in trouble for leaving gum in his pockets.  Again.  (Yes, this has happened before.)  His response? I should have checked his pockets first.  Really?! I just washed 100's of articles of clothing, and I'm supposed to make sure everyone's only his pockets are empty after I pick them up off the bedroom floor myself? REALLY?!  His next response was that he didn't ask me to do his laundry.  Well, guess who will be doing his own laundry from now on?
Disclaimer-He's a pretty good guy, so I feel sort of guilty for posting this, but really?! C'mom! Be a grownup and pull the gum out of your pockets before you throw your clothes on the floor before you put your clothes in the hamper!

I got the kids haircuts last Thursday after school, and then Friday afternoon, I got them all dressed up, curled my daughter's hair, and took loads and loads of festive potential Christmas card pictures in front of the Christmas trees.  This is pretty much an annual tradition, and one that I generally stress over-usually needlessly.  The kids looked cute, behaved well, and didn't give me any "weird" smiles, like they do sometimes.  Pleased with our efforts, I let them change their clothes and play, as I downloaded the pictures.  Every. Single. Picture.  turned out grainy and sort of blurry. Really?!  I couldn't use a single one.  We repeated the process on Sunday with a different camera, which worked better, but the kids were sort of over it, and the pictures didn't come out as cute as the others would have been.  Bah Humbug.

I've had lots of little "really?!" moments lately.  I'm trying not to get bogged down with the frustration of it all, but it's difficult to "rise above".  I've risen as far as I can go! (And now I see that I need to knock the cobwebs out of those high corners again...)  Sometimes it's good to vent.  Speaking of "vents"...I hope there isn't any gum stuck to the dryer vent...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ask Aunt Bethy

*blowing away the cobwebs* Hi! I'm back! I'm still slacking on the posting, I know.  Sorry about that.  I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath (phew! Sheesh! How about sucking on a Mentos, or something!) for me to post again, right? (Humor me, people.)  Well, as you've no doubt noticed, I'm out of writing ideas, and very much into lounging on my couch watching tv and reading other people's blogs instead.

With that said, I've decided to surf for blog material.  I went to one of those "ask a question" type sites, and after being at turns horrified, stunned, interested, and tickled (old fashioned word, I know, but what else is a good verb for "thought something was funny") by the questions, I've decided upon a few, real, word for word questions to answer here, Imperfect Mom style.

Ready? Here we go.

I found my wife passed out on the kitchen floor with an empty bottle of chocolate syrup lying beside her...?

And.....sooooo.....  You say this like it's an unusual thing.  Everyone needs a little "Me Time" right?

I'm in McDonalds, d'you think it'd be OK if I left my laptop on the table for 2 minuets?

Sure! Everyone will be too stunned by the sight of you dancing in 3/4 time around the condiment/drink station to even think about stealing your laptop.  (Unless you live in New York City-I hear they're pretty used to weird stuff there.)
Integrate the expression x^4/(e^x - 1)^2 in the limits 0 to infinity?
Ummm....well....errrrrrr..... Oh heck, we ALL know the answers to THAT, right? Heh, heh. Yeah. So...ummm...I'll just move on to another category, because this question is just too....obvious...yeah, that's it. *ahem*
What is the Parents Worst Nightmare?

You.  Next!
Need to have wisdom teeth removed ASAP, how will this effect breastfeeding?

Well honey, if your child has wisdom teeth, I'd say it's time to stop nursing anyhow.  (Ba-dum-bum! That's me making a rimshot noise!)

OMG !!! Why does the United States have to throw tantrums and overreact to evverrything?

OMG!!!!!!!! I don't KNOW!! It's sooo crazzzy, right? That country is, like,  such a baby, or something. 
Ok, I realize I'm just acting like a jerk now.
Does the proper way to do Christmas shopping involve a bottle of vodka and Amazon.com?
Sure, if the people on your gift giving list won't be upset to receive gifts like these:
Whore do some women get the idea that "men just want one thing"?

I think you just answered your own question there, Mr.Woods.
How to live and survive in such a cruel world?

I think I'll let "Sarge" answer this one.

There we go.  Help me out, here.  I just spent way too much time looking for questions.  Do you have a burning question that needs an answer? Ask away, and I'll answer some in a future post.  Just no math questions.  You know, because they're too....easy.  Yeah. Uh huh.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pink Bethany

Hello, hello hello.  Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me.  Is there anyone at home?
Sooooooo....I've read that when blog readers hear the words "sorry it's been so long since I've blogged" at the beginning of the post, they are turned off, and often don't read further. So, how about some slightly kooky Pink Floyd lyrics, instead? Hey, it got you to read this far, right? Right? Hello? Yoooooohoooooo, where'd you go?

You've likely noticed that I've been taking a long....um....vacation? hiatus? break? from blog posting.  Sorry about that.  We had a big family crisis occur, and I just didn't feel like my usual, goofy self for a while.  Don't worry, we're all healthy and together, and things are better.

So, what have I been doing with all my free time? (you know, when I'm not working, taking care of kids, doing laundry, or complaining about my dog and his hair/how he smells/how he's scratching up my wood floors/how I'm allergic to him/how he paces around and whines, etc? ) Well, I've apparently been watching too much TV Land, because I find myself calling my dog Lamont (because he's a big dummy) and saying "ah geez, would you stifle?!"  Oh boy, if you weren't alive for part of the 70's, today's post is probably making no sense... Well, it probably doesn't make sense to the rest of you either, actually....  Is it really bad that I'm kind of glad that my dog is probably a lot older than the 2 years that the animal shelter estimated? 

Why, yes I AM completely babbling in a nonsensical manner.  More so than usual, even! Thanks for noticing.  I'll try to pull my scattered thoughts together for a normal post in a day or two-I just wanted to let you all know that I am still here, and haven't totally abandoned the old blog.  I've just been (un)comfortably numb. Heh, see what I did there?

Picture is from www.relictees.com .  I think I need this one!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Confessions of an Imperfect Mom

Have those Super Mom freaks got you down? Do you feel like you can never be as "good" as they are? Do all of their "must dos" and rules have you overwhelmed? Well, forget about them, and all their supposed perfection.  Forget about that sanctimoniously shocked look that PTA mom might have given you when she saw your 2 year old happily cramming Chicken McNuggets down her gullet, while your 7 year old stole a big slug of your Starbucks.  Forget that judgy/pitying look that other Mom in the doctor's office gave you when you pulled out a bottle to feed your baby with. They're Pharisees.  Legalists.  And they're probably liars, too.  They (secretly) may not follow all the "rules" either.  They just don't have the confidence to admit it.

Have you broken some of the Perfect Mom Rules? I have.  Sure, most of those rules are actually based upon really good ideas-but some folks would have us believe that our children are doomed if we don't do every.single.thing. that the parenting books and magazines tell us to, all.the.time.  (Ever notice how that advice changes every few years, anyhow? Yet, the majority of humans somehow make it beyond childhood.  Imagine that....) 

So, I thought I'd share some of my own Imperfect Mom Confessions.  Now, if you believe differently than me, that's ok.  Really.  We all just need to cut each other some slack.
  1. I didn't breastfeed my children   And I don't feel guilty about it.  Can you believe I just admitted that?! On a Mom blog?! For real?! I know.  But it's the truth.  I didn't breastfeed either of them, yet somehow, they are still capable of passing our state's standardized testing! Crazy, right? Despite what I was warned when they were infants, they are not dumb, sickly, allergic to everything, or fat.  By no means am I putting down breastfeeding-I promise you I'm not!! I've read the research, there are many great reasons to breastfeed.  So, if that is a mother's choice, then that's wonderful.  But if her choice is to formula feed, then that's great too, because her kids will be fine.  I promise.  (And if they aren't, then it won't be because they drank baby formula.) I've got two healthy, honor roll kids to prove it.  Hey, I was a formula baby, and not only did I make it to adulthood, but I obtained a college degree.  Plus, I'm really smart sane normal cute funny ok.
  2. My kids eat food from McDonald's at least once every other week.  Yes, I've seen Fast Food Nation.  Yes, I know that eating fast food all the time isn't healthy.  Yes, I've read the reports about how McDonald's food doesn't decompose like other foods do.  Actually, that sort of fascinates me-every time I find a 6 month old french fry under the seat in the minivan that still looks fresh from the fryer, from now on I'm going to wonder why McDonald's doesn't have their own line of anti-aging skin creams.  Seriously, I think I'm on to something with this....
  3. My kids were preschool age before they gave up their pacifiers.  Before I had kids, I would roll my eyes (at least inwardly) when I saw a toddler with a binky.  I insisted that no child of mine would have a pacifier past 6 months of age. Then, I had kids of my own. Yep.  I think I could end this one here, and you'd all understand, right?  My daughter gave up hers when she turned three, but my son didn't until he turned 4. Yikes-that does sound kind of bad in print.  We tried the Binky Fairy, the Let's Give All the Binkies to the Poor Babies Who Don't Have Any gimmick, we tried using logic (Ha! Have you met a preschooler?) , and we tried cold turkey.  That whole "Cold Turkey" thing led my brother in law, who was living with us at the time, to go to the store for a new pacifier for our three year old son in the midst of a very bad storm.  He literally got hailed on walking out of the store, and there were tornadoes in the area.  My son, who is terrified of storms still, had been crying inconsolably for hours.  No amount of love, hugs, rocking, or reassurance would stop the wailing.  But once he had his precious new "doot-doot", all was well with the world once again.  We'll be telling that story at his wedding someday, for sure! Anyhow, they both gave them up eventually, and are both quite well adjusted.  Plus, their dental problems have nothing to do with pacifiers-it's all genetic.  Unless that horrible Similac has something to do with it...
So, there you go.  I'm sure I'll have more confessions for you another time, but I think I've stirred up enough controversy already.  If I could tell my Younger Mom Self one thing, it would be to relax-everything will be ok.  I wonder what my Middle Aged Mom Self would say to the current me about raising teens? Scratch that, I'm afraid to find out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Road Rage Letters

Vehicle with its left directional signal activ...Image via Wikipedia

To the Very Rude and Angry Man Who Was Waiting to Turn,

I cannot even express how sure I am that it is not my fault that YOU did not realize that my turn signal was on, and had been on, for a very appropriate length of time.  I realize that you would have turned sooner if you had known that I was turning onto the road you were waiting on in your redneck mobile.  However, I also realize that I gave you two very important clues regarding my intention to turn: first, I turned on my turn signal in advance, and second, I slowed down as I approached my turn.  Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the purpose of turn signals.  Perhaps in your neighborhood, one must throw a crumpled beer can out the window in the direction one intends upon turning.  Or maybe you just yell out the window "Hey, ya'll! I'm fixin' to turn!"  But here in the 'burbs, we have these flashy light thingies, and these thingies blink on the side that we are going to be turning.  This eliminates the need for big neon arrows, and cuts down on car crashes. 

So, since I followed the rules, I feel quite insulted that you decided to blare your horn, yell disparaging and hurtful remarks about my personal character, and raise both arms out the window in that "what the heck?" motion.  I hope that the next time you do that, your arms freeze in place, shrivel and atrophy from lack of use, and then dry up and crumble away.  Likewise, I hope that your foot becomes like a lead magnet on the brake pedal.  Then, everyone behind you will honk and scream obscenities to you because you can't move, and you will have plenty of time to sit and think about what a sad, lonely, alienating jerk you are.

Hope This Helps,


Was that a little too harsh?
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Would You Stitch on a Pillow?

You know those decorative pillows that southern belles, debutantes, and beauty contestant types supposedly have on their big, fluffy, canopied beds? The ones with inspirational statements on them?  Well, I've decided that I ought to make some of my own! I could even sell them on etsy or in craft fairs! You know, if I had the attention span and talent to sew and embroider and cross stitch, that is.  Well, I may never have an adorable, trendy etsy shop with handmade in demand stuff, but I do have this blog, so I'll share some of my favorite inspirational, words to live by, quoted directly from Yours Truly. (Some directly swiped from my Twitter feed-Komedy Gold, I tell you!)

  • Fall is Overrated
  • If It's Too Cold For Flipflops, It's Too Cold
  • A Well Made Gravy Goes With Everything
  • If This is the Start of My Midlife Crisis, Then Where is My Sports Car?
  • Everything in Life Can Be Related to an Episode of Friends or Seinfeld
  • Cheese Makes Everything Better
  • The One Time You Have Family Over and Run Out of Toilet Paper, Grandma Will Complain and Harp on it For the Next Five Years (not that that actually happened, or anything....)
What would you stitch on a pillow?
(picture used is from SundayGift.com)

By the way-I'd appreciate it if a few of you could do me a favor.  I'm working on possibly getting a temporary teaching job, and have applied a few places.  I received an automated email back from one district asking me if I had a home page, because they like to see what potential employees can do with technology.  So, not knowing what else to do, I started an education related blog.  I have zero followers, so it'd probably look better if I had a few, ;-) If you wouldn't mind following me here, I'd appreciate it! It probably won't be terribly exciting, so don't feel compelled to read it if you want.  If you have suggestions-I'm open to hearing them, but please be kind! Thanks!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dieting Advice I Don't Want to Hear Anymore

Well, it's that time again.  I need to lose some weight.  I've gained 8 frickin' pounds (on top of the 30+ I already need to lose), and I'm down to 2 pairs of pants that fit comfortably.  Gee, I miss the days of eating what I wanted and not having to worry about it-that was wonderful!  Then, I turned 30, and my metabolism came to a screeching halt.  Really! At 29, it was still chugging away, maybe not running quite as smoothly as it did at say, 23, but it was still getting the job done.  Then, the day I turned 30, it just quit.  Not a cough, or a sputter, just...nothing.  The warranty must have run out.  Isn't that how it goes with everything else? When it's under warranty, it's great, but as soon as the warranty expires-BAM! A $567 repair bill.

Anyhow, I go through this often, and after I finally build up the motivation to start exercising and counting calories, I watch the pounds hang on like preschoolers who won't leave their mommies on the first day of school.  Finally, one or two will be ripped away screaming "Noooooo!!! You can't do this to me! I'll be back, and next time, I'll bring friends! Bwahahaha!"  Eventually, I get tired of counting calories, and even more sick of exercising, and I quit.  I have a short attention span-I just don't have the patience to stick with it.  So, here I go again.  In order to build up my motivation, I've been searching around on the internet, looking to see if there are any new, life-changing diet tips that will turn me into a motivated person who is addicted to exercise, and no longer dreams of all the foods I shouldn't eat much of.  No such luck-it's just the same old stuff-that I'm tired of hearing.  For example:

It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change.  This is supposed to help me feel better, how!  So in a nutshell, not only do I have to limit my portions and favorite foods while I'm trying to fit my boo-tay back in my jeans, but I have to do it forever?! If I can't even manage to do that for a few measly weeks before getting bored, how am I ever going to have the motivation to do that for the rest of my life?  Sure, I like some healthy foods, but I also love cheesey, saucy, yummy comfort foods.

You can still enjoy going out to eat, just look for grilled or broiled chicken or fish with no sauces, and eat a salad with dressing on the side.  Going out to dinner is something I really enjoy.  I like food! (except fish!) So after weeks of watching what I eat at home, I'm supposed to have the willpower and desire to go to a restaurant and actually choose to forgo the yummy stuff in favor of chocking down a piece of flavorless chicken and a dry salad while everyone else eats food with taste? Seriously? I'd rather stay home.  And possibly cry....

If you drink lots of water before meals, you won't eat as much.  Well, that's because I'll be sitting in the bathroom all day! Seriously, I've tried this, and I just get hungry again sooner.

You must eat breakfast! It's the most important meal of the day! The sky will fall if you don't eat breakfast every, single, solitary fricken day!  I hate this one.  The only time of day that I'm usually not thinking too much about food, is when I first get up.  Just give me my Coke Zero, and everything will be good.  The truth is, my stomach is always growling for lunch within 2-3 hours-regardless of whether I've eaten breakfast, or not! Sometimes, eating breakfast makes me even more hungry! Oh sure, if I've eaten a big breakfast of carb and fat laden foods, then I'm fine, but that sort of defeats the purpose.  I'd rather save those calories for later.  So, get off my back you breakfast militants!

Search for an activity you like! There's something for everyone, and soon, you'll enjoy it so much that you'll look forward to doing it!  This is great advice for a lot of people-particularly those with athletic ability, and plenty of money and time.  Not so much for me.  I've tried lots of things over the years.  Some I can tolerate, so I do those until I get so sick of them I quit.  I suppose it would help if I ever experience those "feel good endorphins" that the fitness police swear everyone gets after some good, sweaty, breathless, jiggly cardio.

Ok, I realize this is a pretty negative post, but dangit! I'm hungry!!  You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry... Plus, pretending to be positive when I'm really not feeling it, makes me giddy with sarcasm, and we wouldn't want that to happen! What is your least favorite diet advice?

Friday, September 24, 2010

If I Wrote a Parenting Magazine-Issue 2

I used to be a frequent parenting magazine reader. You know, back when I was still sort of new to the whole parenting thing. I'm by no means a parenting expert, but I've found the advice given in most of these mags to be pretty predictable.  While some of the articles are helpful, and filled with reasonable suggestions, many of the tips given are either too idealistic, too time intensive for busy people, or are annoyingly "trendy." Just because something is cool or popular, doesn't necessarily make it a good idea.

Also, now that my kids are older, these magazines have little to no relevant info for me.  How about a magazine that would give advice on how I can get my 10 year old to wear her pre-orthodontic-mouth-stretching-appliance-dealy that we are paying a bazillion dollars for? Or how to convince her to wear something other than t-shirts and shorts? Or something that would help me teach my organizational impaired 7 year old how to put things away in the right place? (and one for husbands, too) I've tried the brightly colored and labeled bins, and my daughter and I are the only ones who can actually grasp the complexities of how these devices function.  (Perhaps its because we have uteruses...)  Hey, how about a handy article on how I can convince Tot that cereal is tasty, and not a substance to be feared and avoided? We've had this issue for about 7 years.  (Just us?)  Every kid should have a love of Crunchberries, no?

Anywho, all of this curmudgenery (nice word, huh?) led me to create my first If I Wrote a Parenting Magazine, and now I think it's time for another!  The gimmick is that I take actual headlines from a parenting magazine website, and give them the Imperfect Mom spin.  Here we go.

The Right Way to Space Siblings (for you)
Well, when my kids are fighting, I send them to separate rooms.  If we are out somewhere, say at a church without Sunday School, I will pick up the smallest one, with that "don't you dare embarrass me!" Mom look, and put them on my other side, away from the other offender (who is going to get an earful on the ride home, by the way).  Oh wait, I guess they mean "space" in terms of when to give birth to them.  Never mind.

How Can I Tell if My Baby is Teething if I Don't See Any Teeth
Is your baby drooling like a Biggest Loser contestant judging an episode of Cupcake Wars?  Are you in danger of running out of your preschooler's Junior Tylenol because you've been taking it yourself ever since finishing the adult stuff in a futile effort to make the headache from all of the screaming and crying go away? Do you have dark circles under your eyes from staying up to the wee hours of the morning doing websearches for teething remedies?  Have you ever sucked on a frozen washcloth just to see what it felt like and gotten it stuck to your tongue?  Does your baby gnaw furiously on everything it finds-including the dog's misplaced Milk Bone? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your baby may be teething.  Or, it could just be, oh, you know, a normal baby.  Break out the Infant Motrin.  Orajel doesn't work-trust me.

Do You Know When You are Fertile?
If your ankles are swollen, you have a whole new view of your belly button, but can't see your feet, crave bacon with sour cream and sweet tea, and people in scrubs are urging you to "push" or to "breathe", then there is a strong possibility that you are fertile.  Don't be shocked like Peggy Oleson in Mad Men if a baby is squeezing it's way out of your nether regions.

The Real Difference Between Boys and Girls
Girls come equipped with ROFS, "Random Object Finding Sonar" , while the male arrives with the uncanny ability to screen out any stimuli within eye view or ear shot when sleeping, watching football, or viewing A Few Good Men for the 876th time.  Girls can actually pick up their dirty socks off the floor and put them in the hamper when asked, whereas a boy will spin around in a slow circle, saying "what sock?" until he becomes distracted by Sponge Bob on the television, or a Lego guy on the coffee table.  Girls acquire the ability to roll their eyes sarcastically while still in the womb, and boys instinctually know that kissing Mommy's hand and saying "You're so pretty, Mama!" results in cookies and getting to stay up late.  If you still don't understand the difference, then you may want to grab your significant other, a flashlight and a hand mirror...

Why Kids Lie
So they don't get in trouble.  Next!

How to Handle Preschool Bullies
Smack them on the nose with a newspaper, give a Cesar-like "shhhht", and send them to their crate.

On that note, I think I've dispensed enough advice for one issue.  If you'd like to play along, feel free! Just mention this post in your blog posting, and comment here with your URL.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Anonymous Shaving

Hi, remember me? I blog here from time to time.  I guess it's sort of been a while, huh? Sorry about that.  Not much going on around here.  At least not much with entertainment value, anyhow.

My kids are growing so fast.  So fast, in fact, that my son will probably be shaving before I know it.  Oh, wait-he already is.  (Yes, he's still only 7.) Let me explain.  Tot came down the stairs the other day after his bedtime shower.  I knew something was up, when he started stuttering.

"Uh, uh, M-mom? I, uh, uh, s-saw Dad's razor in the shower, and I, uh, d-decided to shave. I, uh, ummmm....cut myself here, and got this," he said, pointing at the small, bloody cut on his chin, with his big blue eyes staring at the floor.

I noticed another cut on his forehead (I posted about this on Facebook, and one of my friends said "What does he think he is, Wolf Man?), and mustered up a serious expression all as I tried not to giggle.

"Hmmm.  It probably wasn't a good idea to do that was it? I thought you were old enough now not to play with razors," I said in a calm, quiet voice.

"I know.  I'm sorry."

"You can shave when you are much older, but don't try it again until you're almost grown up and have something to shave," I said as I led him to the bathroom to clean him up and apply ointment to the cuts.

Later that night, as I tucked him in, I let him in on the fact that men actually don't need to shave their foreheads.


I love that kid.

Switching gears, Amy and Mary Bailey both asked me why my family doesn't know that I blog.  I figured I'd address it here, since I guess it is kind of strange that almost no one in my "real life" knows that I blog.  My husband, sweet guy that he is, is a very private person.  He doesn't feel the need to tell people (other than me, of course) things, and he wouldn't understand why I want to tell random things to people I don't really know.  I guess when I spell it out like that, it does sound sort of strange, come to think of it... Also, I think he would constantly be asking "why did you write about that?" .  Not that he would try to stop me, really, but I'd just rather keep it to myself than constantly be trying to explain, which would make me feel like I had to be on the defense all the time.  Also, I like the anonymity that it provides.  If I feel the need to write a story or vent about, say my mother or my grandmother, then I don't have to worry about hurting someone's feelings, or getting a writing critique (hello, Grandma!).  Plus, I'd have to have the whole "What is a blog" conversation, which could prove exasperating, considering that my Mom can't even figure out how to open up an email attachment.  You should have heard the MANY phone conversations where I tried to teach her how to use a mouse! You move the cursor thingie where you want it and click.  Mom, you push the button on the mouse. No, don't hold it down, just push it and let go.  No, the other button.  I don't know what that button is for.  Don't worry about it, you aren't going to blow up the computer by pressing the wrong button.  No, really. Ok, now scroll down-spin the wheel thingie.  No, the wheel on top of the mouse, spin it, slowly!

So anyhow, there ya go.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Trailer Park Gourmet

We tend to like food in our family that is...ummm...less than classy.  Basically, if it has cream of something soup, and/or Rotel, and/or chips of some kind, the recipe will be in my cookbook.  Don't get me wrong-I enjoy lots of food, but our family favorites tend to be of the Trailer Park Gourmet variety.  Comfort foods to the extreme!  So, I'm going to start a new feature here at Imperfect Mom, where I share recipes (yeah, real ones unlike this one!) that we enjoy around here.

Disclaimer-I do not live in a trailer park, but I have nothing personal against them, or people who live in them.  My Grandma lived in a trailer park for part of my childhood, and many happy days were spent hanging out with friends, exploring empty lots for treasures, and playing in the drainage ditch creek.

I don't have pictures, because my family doesn't know I blog, and it would be really hard to explain why I was taking pictures of soup cans and casseroles.  Besides, sometimes the best food isn't always the prettiest.

This is what we had tonight-it's my husband's favorite.  Seriously, I've made him his very own casserole dish of it before.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole (the name sounds much classier than it actually is, but it is really yummy!)

2 cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 package of precooked chicken strips
sliced mushrooms (I use about half a small can)
shredded cheddar
tortilla chips
(with these ingredients, how can this NOT be good?)

Preheat your oven to 325.  If your oven needs to be cleaned as badly as mine does, open a window.  Spray a big, old casserole dish with cooking spray.  In a mixing bowl (if you can find one that the kids haven't carried off to the sandbox yet, or your husband hasn't fed the dog in), mix together the soup, the Rotel, the sour cream (I always add a little extra), the mushrooms (if you use fresh sliced mushrooms, saute them in some butter first), and the chicken.  This works with either the frozen precooked chicken, or the refrigerated kind.  I prefer the refrigerated kind, though, because I like to chop it into smaller pieces.  I suppose you could cook your own chicken to use, but I can't understand why you would want to, because that kind of defeats the purpose of this being a quick, easy meal, but suit yourself.

Crush some tortilla chips onto the bottom of the dish to make a thin "crust".  This might be good with Fritos, but wouldn't be nearly as chic. Layer the soup mixture, shredded cheese, and chips.  I usually try to get 3 layers out of it, ending with a thin layer of chips.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the chips on top have browned.  Let it sit for a few minutes, then spoon out portions for yourself and the kids, and then hand your husband the casserole dish and the serving spoon.  What? That's how it works around here!

Pairs well with cherry or grape Kool Aid, or Coke Zero served in the can.  (Not served in the bathroom or in jail, unless that's how you roll, but in the actually aluminum can)

Nutritional Facts:
Servings: For us, 4.  For sane people, probably 6-8.
Calories: 8,999,001 per serving
Fat Grams: 678,345
Sodium: 334, 563, 567, 001 grams
Vitamin C: eh...

The Imperfect Mom is not responsible for ruined diets, casserole induced high blood pressure, or tongues cut because you thought it would be a good idea to lick the lid of the mushroom soup can.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Those Aren't Bidets

Several years ago, I don't even remember how long ago, I was shopping at JcPenney.  Now, that in itself isn't remarkable-I've been there several times since then, but I always avoid the restrooms there.  My husband and I were shopping, we may have had our daughter with us, I don't recall, but I needed to take a quick trip to the ladies room. 

I quickly walked into the restroom, which was very quiet and peaceful.  I went into the stall, and..well.. you know, took care of business.  While I was there, I noticed how quiet it was-there were no little children asking their Moms if they needed to "go potty too", and no friends chatting about the bargains they had acquired.  I could tell that I wasn't alone in the room, yet there were no sounds of "shopping busy-ness" like one usually hears in the ladies room of a department store.

Having taken care of business, I left the stall and went to the sinks to wash.  This place was so clean, and white! I washed my hands with that institutional, pink soap with the distinct, "I just washed with institutional hand soap" smell, and reached into my purse for my lipstick.

This lipstick was awesome, by the way-I really need to look for some more.  It was green "mood" lipstick that turned to the perfect shade of pinkish red on my lips.  I know, it doesn't sound very classy, but this stuff was great!

Anyhow, as I puckered up and began to apply, I happened to catch a glimpse of something to my left in the reflection of the mirror. "Oh, crap! What are those things? Those aren't urinals, are they? Oh, no.  But I looked at the sign on the door..."  Cold, horror crept up my spine, up to my cheeks, where it burned like fire.  My head began to buzz with that "This is wrong! Error! Error! Does not compute! Error!"  warning sound.  Deciding to play it cool, (maybe they were just bidets.  Sure, bidets at Penney's, why not? Clean, rich people like sales, too!) I finished applying my lipstick, which turned to an unusually vibrant red.

Glancing in the mirror, I looked at the stalls behind me.  I saw a pair of white tennis shoes under one door-those looked fairly unisex, a little dowdy for a woman, but you never know.  I relaxed a tiny bit as I turned to leave.  As I got halfway to the door, I heard a flush, and came face to face with a very surprised........middle aged.....man! I scurried out the door as fast as I could, feeling the man's eyes burning into my back as I left.

Horrified, shaking and blushing like a teenager at the Ob/Gyn for the first time, I hurried out to my husband and explained that we needed to leave.  Now.  Before I get thrown out and banned from Jc Penney's for life.
Since I'm never ready to leave a store before he is, I had to explain why I needed to leave.  Of course he thought it was hilarious, and I still get teased about it to this day.

I now double and triple check the signs on restroom doors before entering, sometimes even going back out and looking again.  I do still shop at Penney's, but my pace picks up considerably when I pass the restrooms, even though we now shop at another location.  I still blush when I think about this, even years later (judging by the mood lipstick, it must've been in the nineties.) 

But ladies, if you want to....relieve yourself...in a peaceful environment, choose the men's room.  Just don't try to use the bidets.

This post has been part of Mama Kat's weekly Writer's Workshop.  I couldn't get the button to work, so please click on this link to visit her blog and play along.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'll Bring the Awkward or The Imperfect Mom Gets a Pedicure

Pink nail polish.Image via Wikipedia

I've come to the realization that I can turn any possible situation awkward in a manner of seconds. Even something as normal and supposedly relaxing and enjoyable as a pedicure.  Most women love pedicures as much as I love sleeping in on the weekends, but I'm not one of them.  I also don't enjoy getting my hair done-I hate sitting still doing nothing, and I really hate the forced socialization.  My beautician is very sweet, but I have a hard time making on going small talk with a 23 year old whom I have nothing in common with.

Anyhow-back to the subject at hand.  (or should I say "foot"? Har, har!)  I usually do my own pedicures-being a lover of all things flip flop, it's a necessary evil.  Before today, I've had one other actual pedicure, in a salon, that is.  I have what may be the world's most ticklish and sensitive feet, so I just remember alternatively cringing in pain, and trying not to laugh. Combine that with the fact that the manicurist didn't speak English, so we had to communicate with each other by smiling and pointing shyly.

Today I found myself all alone.  All alone with some raggedy looking feet that I just couldn't bring myself to deal with.  (Seriously, I think hooves may have been starting to form on the soles of my feet) So, I put on my big girl panties flip flops and headed to the nail shop.

I grabbed a Vogue magazine from the table, because it was the thickest magazine there, although I think Vogue is kind of snooty and boring (a combo which sends my inner snarky thoughts into overdrive).  This was part of my strategy-I'd be entertained, and I'd also look engrossed in my magazine, so I wouldn't have to attempt to make small talk. Rude, I know, but I need all of the Awkward Management Tools I can get.

The awkwardness began when a kindly older gentleman showed me to my chair, and I couldn't quite figure out how to climb into it, or what I should do with my big, old purse in the process.  The man, who apparently did more nodding, gesturing and smiling than speaking English, just stood by with a patient grin.  Finally, I flung my purse up on the tall, throne-like beast, and climbed aboard clumsily, much like a little kid scrambling up on Santa's lap. (Have I ever mentioned that I'm short and unweildy?)

So, the nice fellow starts up the water bath below (ahhhhh!!!!) and.....and....THEN....my big, beastly chair starts punching me in the back with vicious force,  and.....and.... squeezing my butt!! Wha??!! I don't remember this happening before! I'm actually not offended by the butt squeezes, surprisingly enough, but the jarring back massagers felt like I was being repeatedly poked by the steel end of a tire iron.  I couldn't put my head back against the headrest, because every time I tried, the tire iron massagers would change position, and technique, pushing me off the seat back.  Alarmed, I looked around at the other women nearby.  They all seemed quite relaxed, heads back, reading books, chatting, or texting.  None of them were squirming, or jerking around in their seats as the violent massage pulsated against their backs, as I was.  I fiddled with the remote control, which only seemed to make it worse, as the technician came over.

I tried to look casual, flipping through my magazine, pretending to look really interested in fushia eyeshadows and spiked, 5 inch heeled open toed booties.  (Booties!! A term I hate almost as much as "jeggings"! And open toed, booties?! Dumb, dumb, dumb.)  The back beating moved from my lower back to my upper back, which actually felt tolerable, as the Korean tech greeted me, and gestured at my feet (with what looked like a smirk on her face), and said "You cut nails yourself?" I looked down at my toenails, which really, I didn't think looked too bad myself, and nodded.

As she began cutting my nails and trimming my cuticles, which thankfully didn't hurt (a feather touch, this lady had!), I wondered what could possibly be wrong with how I trimmed my nails.  I mean, I think I do a pretty good job doing it, although it was obviously time for a trim.  I was jarred out of my thoughtfulness, as the massaging, iron fists, now on my middle back, switched to "agitate mode".  My body was jiggling like jello, and if I'd had on a pair of pasties with tassels.....well, let's just say I could have earned some tips of my own.  You, know, if there had been any men there (besides the smiling older dude), and if I were thinner and younger, and all that.  It would have been a good day to wear that heavy duty, underwire Cross My Heart Playtex number.  As the agitation continued, my wet foot slipped out of the tech's hand, and she looked at me with a surprised glare, as the metal cuticle stick stabbed her palm.  Oops. 

"Sorry!", I whispered, contritely.  Apparently satisfied with my apology, she went back to work, and the chair went back to the "Punch and Squeeze" mode.  Working on my cuticles, I think I heard her say my toes were "nasty".  But I'm not sure, since I could barley understand her-so I tried not to get too offended. Nasty? Yes, my feet were badly in need of a pedicure, but they were clean!  Should I have done a pre-pedi treatment before coming? Nahhh....my feet couldn't be that bad, she must have said something else.  Right?

Finally, she turned off the brutal beast, which stilled the water.  Ahhhh, that's better.  "I'm handling this pretty well so far", I thought to myself, "it hasn't hurt, or tickled hardly at all".

Then she started scrubbing my heels and soles with a scrubby pad.  I really tried to play it cool by flipping through my Vogue again, past pictures of too-thin models with haughty expressions, wearing skin tight leggings and red-soled stilettos, as I tried to ignore the tickly feeling.  I nearly peed my pants trying to suppress the urge to yank my foot out of her hand.  Finally, my relexes took over, and my foot jerked forward, causing the tech to scrape her hand hard with the scrubby thingie.  She looked at me again with the same, but slightly more annoyed, surprised glare. Oops.

"Sorry, I have very ticklish feet", I said with an apologetic half smile.  By way forgiveness, she smiled, and tried to start up some small talk.  The conversation quickly came to an awkward end, as I was having a heck of a time understanding her quiet accent.  I always feel guilty when I can't understand someone, I don't know why, but I do.  I feel bad. 

She asked me something about nail polish, and  I pointed to the bottle I had picked out.  She asked me a few more questions after that, but I had no idea what she was asking, so I just nodded and said "yes" or "no" whenever I though it might be appropriate.  I was really afraid that she was only going to paint my big toes for a while (Oh no! Is that what she was asking me? Is that a style?), but then she moved on to the others.  (Oh, good.  She's going to paint them all.  Breathe.) I then started to worry that I was going to end up with some wacky nail art or something, but everything turned out well.

After she finished, I had to figure out how to climb out of the chair-mountain with my toes still in those squishy, spready thingies.  I hobbled over to the dryer, and she started it up and took my payment.  The dryer causes more awkwardness for me-I had my fingernails done once in this salon, and really, you get no direction once you get to the dryers.  After watching other people, it seems like you stay as long as you want, and then get up and leave.  Long bored with my magazine, after about five minutes, I was getting really antsy, so I bent over and gently peeled off the squishy things. 

Appearing out of nowhere, the nail tech reappeared, flapping her arms and gently scolding, "No! No! You not dry! Do you need to go now? Stay for while, you not dry yet!"

Chagrined, I sat back down and put my feet back under the drying table.  I waited another 5 minutes, then looked around, and........ snuck out.  (Remember, I paid already!) Whew.

That wasn't so bad.  On the Awkward But Sort of Necessary Scale, it ranked above getting my hair done and getting my teeth cleaned, but ranked slightly below going to the ob/gyn.  I could do this again, you know, now that I know what to expect, and all.  (I'll wear a super thick sweater to dull the punches)  But, I think it's pretty safe to say that I won't be getting a Brazilian anytime soon, if I can barely handle the intimacy of a pedicure.

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Friday, August 27, 2010


I love that rolled up jeans are back in style.  I've been waiting anxiously for this since 1994.  Short women of the world, rejoice!

I hate that "jeggings" has become a word.  It completely irritates me, and I spend far too much time thinking about it.  Yes! I really do think about these things. If you are unfamiliar with jeggings, they are the "sporks" of the pant world-leggings that look like jeans.  Apparently, cheap looking polyester/lycra blends are chic again. I also hate that jeggings are being marketed to the kids who shop at the tweenie bopper store my daughter loves, AS WELL AS to women in their 30's, like me.  I could have worn jeggings when I was 20, but 15-16 years, 2 children and 30 pounds later? Well, I suppose I COULD wear them if I had some waist to ankle Spanx, but really? I think they are tacky, and not even my spell check likes "Jeggings".

I love the smell of my husband's clean T-shirts.

I hate the smell of the dirty ones.

I love that our new dog walks so nicely by my side on a leash.

I hate when my children act like buffoons on the walk-tripping each other, trying to carry each other, laughingly trying to shove each other of the sidewalk, etc.  Basically doing everything they can to annoy me and make the dog nervous.

I love that I found a pair of Justice sweatpants for my daughter at TJ Maxx today for $12.99! These are usually at least $30 in the stores.

I hate paying full price for cheaply made trendy junk at Justice.

I love that when the guy at Chick Fil A asked me if I needed a condiment today, I almost said, "No thank you.  I'm Catholic."  Even though I'm actually not Catholic, and he would have not gotten the joke anyway and would have thought I was crazy-kind of like you are doing right about now. It made sense inside my head...

I hate how cheery the people at Chick Fil A are in the mornings.  Maybe it's just the ones around here, but honestly, they are just so over the top happy and friendly, and want to chat and smile at me and stuff.  I can't deal with that kind of treatment until at least 11 am.  Just say thank you, maybe wish me a nice day, and hand over the breakfast burrito and Large Coke Zero (no ice, please).  It's kind of like when the dog is all happy to see me when I wake up, and he follows me back and forth throughout the house hopefully wagging his tail all morning.  Really, it's sweet and all, but just go lay down somewhere and be happy from afar!  I can't even muster up the civility to say "good morning" to anyone until I've been up for at least 30 minutes-it's not pretty.

I love that my daughter cares so much about animals, and has such a big heart for them.

I hate that she and the neighbor kids decided all on their own to walk down the street soliciting money from neighbors for the ASPCA without telling anyone.  The made it through several houses before my husband found them.  We made them return the money.  It was hard to explain that even though your heart is in the right place, you can't just go soliciting money from people in the name of a charity-especially without telling your parents.  They really did have every intention of giving the money to the ASPCA, but still...  It reminds me of when she and a friend decided to ask the neighbors if they wanted their nails painted (for a nominal fee, of course)-I wrote about that here .

I love that my son is already pouring over a catalog of Halloween costumes.  He can't decide whether to be a special forces guy, a Star Wars guy, Indiana Jones, or Mario.  I always loved dressing up for Halloween, and I'm glad that my kids enjoy it, too.

I hate that Halloween decorations are already in the stores, however.

I love that it's Friday, even though my kids came home today with those dreaded fundraiser packets. 

I hate trying to hawk those stupid $30 coupon books that nearly every other school child in the state is selling at the same time.  I hate that I feel guilty for not wanting to spend $60 so each of my kids will have made at least one sale.  I hate the thought of asking my cash strapped friends and relatives to buy these expenvie things no one really wants.  I hate that they get the kids all hyped up with the "Fantastic!" prizes (listed on the info sheet in BIG letters, and eye catching fonts) they'll earn for conning people into buying selling these.  Then they come home all excited, and I have to dash their hopes.  $60 for coupons that I can never remember to use? Not a good deal.  Why can't my kids sell Yankee Candles like the parochial school kids? I'd be ALL over that one!  I've always thought about just writing a yearly check to the PTO and calling it good.  Honestly, I pay my taxes, I volunteer in the classroom, I donate extra supplies for the classroom, I pay our book rental fees-so why can't I pass up this one dumb fundraiser without feeling like a deadbeat?

Yikes! My laptop battery is about drained, so even though I don't love to do it, I'm going to have to wrap this one up fast!

I hate that the power cord never gets put in the same place twice...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Don't Wanna Do It!

Have you ever felt change in the air? I don't mean how the (beautiful and hot) long summer days slowly get shorter and cooler, and you start to feel the "crispness" in the air as the days turn shorter and autumn sneaks up on you. (bleck!! pa-tooie!! Fall means the death of everything green and lovely!)  I'm talking about life changes (not to be confused with "change of life", I'm only 35, kids!).  I'm generally not a very "deep" person, at least I pretend not to be, so I usually don't get these "feelings", but I think that God has been trying to prepare my change resistant mind for something.  I'm generally pretty dense and literal when it comes to "signs from God" and all that, so I usually have to be practically hit over the head with it before I notice what's going on.  But I've felt it for a few weeks now....at first just hints, with a little restlessness inside, but now it's built up to a fever pitch in my head.  My comfortable, familiar, secure little routine is going to change in some way, and I don't like it.  At all.

Have I ever mentioned how resistant to change I am? While the undiagnosed mildly ADD part of me gets bored with routine, the shy, nervous, insecure part of me clings to familiarity like Linus clings to his security blanket.  I remember crying for 2 hours as a 10 year old kid just because I found out that I was getting a new bus driver.  Same school, same bus stop, same kids, just a different bus and driver.  I'm obviously better than that now, but it still stresses me out.

What's changing? Well, I'm not sure entirely, but there have been some little changes around here.  The kids have gone back to school, so that routine is different, and they are attending a different school this year due to redistricting.  We are lucky to live in an area with great schools, so it has been a nearly seamless transition.  The kids are happy and comfortable there. Their new teachers seem wonderful, and the school itself is very much like their old school, which we loved, so that's all good.  Also, I'm actually enjoying the peace during the day while the kids are gone, so the whole "back to school" change has gone well for all of us.

Another change occurred on the first day of school-we adopted a dog.  If you read my recent Doggone Guilt post, then you know how badly I did not want a dog, but how badly my daughter did.  Well, I gave in to the Mommy Guilt, and we are now the owners of a big, furry, sweet mutt.  He's a good dog, with none of the issues that our old dog had-he doesn't chew, doesn't pee in the house, he's perfectly happy laying around the house all day, and he doesn't even bark.  Basically, he's a big cat.  He's been taught some basic commands at some point, so he's well behaved, and walks on a leash like a dream.  But, he's still one more thing to take care of, and it seems that the kids and I are a little allergic to him.  Most frustrating for me, is that the cats, particularly my favorite cat (my baby!), is afraid of him, so he's been spending most of his time outside.  This particular cat is a very social animal, and loves to be where ever we are, so it makes me sad.  I feel guilty in a weird way, like we replaced him, or something. Ugh.  Anyhow, we aren't giving away another animal, so we are stuck.  (Don't get me wrong, the rest of the family is thrilled with him.)

Ok, I know, those are sort of  "weenie changes", not a big deal at all, right? True, that.  But there's more coming, I just know it.  First of all, my hours at work have been cut even more.  For those of you who don't know, I work part time as the Assistant Director of Education at a tutoring company franchise.  Basically, I have a fancy title and my own office, but crappy pay with no benefits or anything.  I like my job a lot, and I love the people I work with though, and I've been there for 7 years.  This is our slow time of year, plus the business has been hit hard by the economy, so in order to make payroll, everyone who is not salary is getting hours cut dramatically.  I'm down to 14 pathetic hours a week, which combined with my sad little wage, is not good.  Things will pick up eventually, but this is no time to ask for a raise.

My husband talked me into applying for a teaching assistant position in our district.  The pay and hours would be much better than what I have now, but I don't want to do it! I don't want to leave my current job, but I really would like to make more money, and it kind of "feels" like this might be the right thing for me right now.  I have my teaching degree, but my certification is expired, and I'm just not ready to have my own classroom again.  I want/need a job that I can leave at work at the end of the day, and teaching just isn't that way.  I don't have the energy or desire to take on that kind of commitment at this point, so a teaching
assistant position might be my best option. 

I don't know.  My heart is screaming "No! Don't do it! Stay! Who cares if you make an insulting wage! You like what you do, you like having an office, business cards, and the ability to apply your college degree! You like working with friends! You like being able to get lunch from Chipotle and Panera like a grownup instead of having to ask permission to leave the building or eat in the cafeteria!" 

But the bills are screaming "Pay me!" and the pretty fall clothes are calling "Hey you! Wouldn't you like to buy me?"  And the tuition fees at the amazing, private Christian high school we'd like to be able to send our kids to someday are saying "Yeah, right! Do you think you'll ever be able to afford this?"  So, it looks like some type of job change may be in order.  Bah.  I'm much too old to run to my Mom's house, and lay on the couch crying and screaming and kicking my feet like I did when I was ten, but that's kind of what I feel like doing...  I know, I know...I'm a wimp.  My issues are really no big deal in the grand scheme of life, but...but...but....I'm scared.

Anyhow, I'm sorry for the long winded, boring post, but I haven't posted in a while, and wanted to let you all know what's going on in my world.  I'll be back tomorrow with something more fun!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

7 and 10

When you are a 10 year old girl, you can be running around outside in a fuzzy cheetah vest and a lion mask meant for 3 year olds one moment, and lamenting that you are too mature to wear the pretty ruffled dress to church the next.

When you are a 7 year old boy, you can actually "forget" to use toothpaste when you brush your teeth, even though you were just reminded to do so

When you are 10 or 7, you can get up from the supper table and dance around or wrestle with your sibling.  Then, when being told you are behaving like a 2 year old, you can just giggle happily (after sitting down in order to avoid the Wrath of Mom, of course).

When you are 7 or 10, you believe that any parental question should be answered with a "meow", until a human answer is demanded.

When you are 7, you think that having a stomach ache entitles you to be able to lay on the back of the couch-cat style.

When you are a 10 year old girl, you can say that Tyler Lautner is your celebrity boyfriend in front of your parents without being too embarrassed.

When you are 7, it will ruin your entire evening if you can't find your Nintendo DS to take along on a trip to the store.

When you are 7 (or even 10) you tune your parents out when they tell you for the umpteenth time that when they were kids there weren't any Nintendo DS's, and they survived car trips just fine, by looking out the window.  Then you think about how boring life must have been way back then.

When you are 10, you can sing off tune at the top of your lungs in front of a crowd, and believe that you sound amazing.

When you are 10 or 7, you are able to become invisible when sneaking huge spoonfuls of Nutella or peanut butter unknown times each day.  The only evidence you were ever there is the gooey spoon stuck to the sink, and the empty jar (recently purchased), Mom finds in the pantry the next time she tries to make you a sandwich.

When you are 7, you can happily entertain yourself for hours with your Legos, action figures, or just about anything, if only your sister would quit trying to make you play school or act in her imaginary plays all the time.

When you are a 10 year old girl, if it's bright, has glitter, some type of animal print, and has colors that clash with each other-you think it's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.

When you are 7 and 10, you are caught somewhere between "big" and "little".  Sometimes you want to act grown up and sophisticated, other times, you just want to crawl around and pretend to be a dog.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back To School Shopping

Shopping at Save-Co -- 1968Image by arbyreed via Flickr
My kidlets return to school next week.  I'll have a second grader, and a fourth grader.  We all have mixed feelings about the start of school-I think they are a bit excited about returning to school and seeing some of their friends, but our neighborhood got redistricted (again), so they are going to a different school this year, so I think they are a little nervous, as well.  (This will be the third elementary school my daughter has attended, thanks to our rapidly growing town!) I'm not looking forward to the school and fall activity routines to start up again, but it will be nice to have some time alone sometimes.

We finished our school supply shopping on Tuesday, with apparently, thousands of other people.  Walmart was out of pencils.  Pencils! Who runs out of pencils? I'm not sure, but I think you can probably even buy pencils at the Quick Stop.  We had to run to Target to get our pencils and pink erasers, which Walmart also ran out of.

Yesterday was school clothes shopping day.  They don't really need much right now, so they only got a few things a piece  School clothes shopping was much more fun for me when my daughter took no interest in what she wore, and I got to dress her however I liked.  At some point last year, however, she suddenly became picky about her wardrobe, and let's just say that the two of us have vastly different taste and ideas of how a 10 year old should dress.  After looking at several stores, I'm left wondering why retailers think my daughter should be dressing like Who's That Girl era Madonna? Seriously, what's with all the black lace, raggedy looking plaid tunics, short skirts, and cone shaped bras? Ok, scratch that last part.

After showing my daughter several things, and her looking at me with a combination of pity and horror, I realized that I would need to change my strategy.  I started looking for trendy items (her style-type of choice, apparently), that I could actually tolerate, even if I didn't love them.  She'd point out something hideously ugly not quite right for her, and I'd quickly find a similar but less hideous item to distract her compromise with.  Things got even better once I realized that every time I said something was "cute",  that look of pity and horror came back again.  But if I said something was "cool", she'd at least look interested in whatever garment I was holding up for her to see. Semantics are a big deal when you are a tween, I suppose.  Honestly, I remember going through the same thing with my Mom.  But Mom, I don't want to look "cute", I want to look "good"!  I didn't understand her exasperation at the time, but I sure do now!

My son got a few things too, but honestly, shopping for boys isn't as much fun.  There are only so many variables-t-shirts, polos, shorts and jeans can only be done in so many manly combinations.  He really doesn't care much about new clothes, anyhow.  He even said, "I've already got enough clothes.  I don't need anymore." A statement I've never in my life uttered, despite the contents of my closet.

As the King of Random Conversation, Tot's purpose on the shopping trip was to keep us "entertained" with his constant chatter on the way to the mall.  His chosen topics flowed (as usual) rather confusingly from Pokemon characters, to Lego guys, to iCarly, and on to motorcylces and Camaros-all punctuated with excited stuttering. 

Honestly, I tuned out for a while, until I heard him say in all seriousness, "N-n-n-no offence to you Dad, and Mr. Fullen (our 89 year old neighbor,) and other old men, b-b-but..."  I didn't hear the rest of what he said since we were all laughing so hard by that point. 

Confused by our laughter, Tot turned his hands palm up and said, "W-w-what?! I said 'no offence'!" 

He quickly moved on to talking about the Jonas Brothers.  "M-m-my friend says they drive one of those cars, I think one of those Italian cars.  Y-y-y-you know, a Linguine!" (cue more laughter) 

"Do you mean a  Limousine?", I asked.  "No, it's a Linguine-it's Italian or French, or something like that."

"I think he means a 'Lamborghini'", my daughter piped up. 

"That's what I said! A Lamborghini!", Tot replied with a giggle before moving on to Mario Brothers as a topic for conversation.

All in all, it was a pretty good afternoon.  My daughter won't be going to school looking like an 80's MTV Vee-jay (not completely, anyhow), and my son has a couple of new shirts to spill ketchup on at lunch.  Next time, though, we're shopping for me.
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Blogaversary to Me!

GoofyImage via Wikipedia
One year ago today, I was bored.  I had taken my kids school clothes shopping, and did something at the mall that only a goofy Mom could do.  I felt the need to tell someone about it, so I started this blog to share my silly little stories of random things that happen around here, and to give myself something to do.  Talking to myself wasn't very satisfying, so I didn't really do too much more blogging until January, when I really started to get down to business.

How does one celebrate a Blogaversary? With birthdays, you have cakes with candles (and chocolate cake ground into your carpet), presents, and if it's a kid's birthday, you may have to suffer through a trip to hell Chuck E Cheese.  (Please don't make me go there-I'd rather clean the bathrooms!) With marriage anniversaries, there's a card, a bouquet of roses from Kroger, and a discussion about how nice it would be to go on a date together, if only you had a babysitter.  (What? Just us?) With the anniversary of a job, you may get more vacation benefits, or even a raise.  (At least that's what I hear-it certainly doesn't happen to me, though!)  The 4th of July could be considered the anniversary of the US, and for that we have cookouts, fireworks, and parades.  But this?

Mary Bailey suggested that I celebrate by giving all of my loyal readers Amazon giftcards, and I think that's a fabulous idea! You will be donating them, right Mary? ;-) If not, I could send you all a little token of appreciation-that is, if you would like a used dryer sheet, a sock missing it's mate, or whatever random Lego pieces or pocket change turn up in the wash.  Ummm...maybe I'll just do a "best of" recap post instead.

The post that started it all occurred in August of 2009, along with a few others.  In September, I blogged about having nothing to blog about.  (Fun, right?) We'll just leave that one in the old archives.....  October, November and December saw a complete lack of posting.  I really got off to a booming start, didn't I?  Things got fired up in January, finally, when I started posting more regularly.  My favorite January post  is probably this one , a sweet little story about my cute little guy. My first Disturbing Pictures My Son Draws post took place then, too. (The link can be found in the sidebar) 

In February, something exciting happened! I wrote Confessions of a Library Loser , and people actually started visiting and commenting on my blog! (and some of them even came back after finding out what a terrible civic-citizen I am) In March, I wrote my first Is it Just Me, Or... post, and was very relieved to find out that, at least for a lot of things, it wasn't just me!

I actually have a lot of favorite posts from April, but probably that one that gives you a hint of the true chaos that is me, is this post where I dump my purse out and describe the contents.  Sounds pretty lame, I admit, but I think it came out pretty entertaining.  In May, I did   Pictureless Wednesday, or Signs That a Little Boy Lives at Your House.

In June, I did If I Wrote a Parenting Magazine , which was so fun to write (and easy, because I'm good at spewing fake advice), that I'm planning on making it a series, or a meme.  Last month, I wrote about my alter ego, or nemesis, depending on how you look at it, in Stories of a Perfect Mom .  This one was fun to write as well, the pent up sarcasm and snark flowed through my fingertips with so much ease that I'm totally going to be writing more of these!

So, there you have it-a year (more or less) with the Imperfect Mom.  Stick around for another year, as I continue to find my groove, in my own imperfect way.  Thanks to all of my regular readers who keep me from talking to myself, and if you are new here, stick around! (That is, if you don't mind some sentimental posts, and lots of sarcasm and general goofiness!) 

Now what am I going to do when I hit 100 posts?

PS-By the way, you've probably noticed that I have a new blog header and blog button.  Keep in mind that this is my first attempt at customizing anything blog-wise, and I'm making it up as I go along.  I don't really like the way the header doesn't blend with the template, so this will be a work in progress.  If you'd like my button, you are welcome to use it!
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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Doggone Guilt

I like dogs.  I'm a dog liker. (not to be confused with a dog licker, LOL).  Other people's dogs, that is.  At least the ones who don't run off from home, the ones who don't jump on me and scratch me, and the ones who don't yap constantly.  Oh, and only the smart dogs-I've known way too many stupid dogs in my time, and I have no patience for them.  (Basset/beagle mixes, I'm talking to you!) I much prefer a laid back, friendly, cuddly, purring lap cat to a dog, most of the time. Cats are not dumb, either-they are moody, calculating and manipulative, and not easily distracted; these qualities prove their intelligence to me.

Anyhow, my children, particularly my daughter, love dogs, and want one badly.  We tried owning a dog a couple of years ago, and it didn't go well for us.  Scout was (and actually still is) a Border Collie mix, although we were told he was a Sheltie mix (yeah, I don't think so) when we adopted him from the shelter as a puppy.  We kept Scout crated at night, and while we were gone, but when we were home, we kept him in the kitchen.  He had a hard time realizing that carpet and grass were not the same thing, so it was...more sanitary...to keep him on the linoleum.  Scout grew from a tiny little baby pup to a big, goofy puppy dog in a matter of weeks.  Oddly enough, I was usually the only person who would hear his whimpers to go out at one in the morning, and also, strangely, I was usually the only one who noticed when he was out of dog food.  Despite my studious watching of The Dog Whisperer, I could not get Scout to walk at my heel (he actually pulled me down and dragged me a few feet once-good times.), or stop chewing on things.  We spent lots of money on Kong toys and rawhide, but he was still a chewer.  He quickly destroyed two dining room chairs, multiple shoes, blankets and towels, three dog beds, several stuffed dog toys, and gnawed the molding around our kitchen door, and the underside of the kitchen cabinets.  There were many other issues that kept Scout from being a good match for our family, so a year from the date we brought him home, we gave him away to a friend of mine.  Scout is now the star pupil of his dog obedience class, and has two doggie brothers.

Apparently, giving the dog away to a friend traumatized my daughter.  She seems to have forgotten that no one but me paid much attention to the dog when we had him, and still, two and half years later, cries over missing him late at night. (Yes, in fact I do feel like crap every time she cries over him, even though Scout is happy in his new home).  This Mommy guilt has not caused me to consider getting another dog, however, despite the pleas of both of my children, and even my husband (the traitor).  I've said many times that I'd rather have another baby than have a puppy, because if I'm going to put that much time, effort and work into something, then at least a child will grow up some day and be able to take care of me when I'm old.  Not to mention the whole learning to use the toilet thing....

Little Bit has gotten much more sophisticated in her frequent dog pleas-she is now drawing up Dog Care Proposals, and writing Dog Owning Contracts.  This is the latest, that she presented my husband with this morning.  I hope you can read it...

If you can't read it, the title is Things I Will Do if I Can Have a Dog, and she has written a checklist of dog chores that she will take care of.  My favorite part is towards the end, where she says, "buy it supplies (if I can afford it)" and "anything else that needs to be done for it (except I can't take it to the vet because I can't drive and can't afford it so you guys might have to do that)" Notice she uses lots of parenthesis in her writing like someone else we know? In order to make her case particularly airtight, she has included another document, nearly blank, where we are supposed to write in our own dog care demands for her to agree to.

Oh, boy.  I so do not want another chewing, shedding, barking, pooping beast in my home, but it's hard being the lone standout when this is what I'm up against!  Anyone know of a bread that is smart, laid back, smart, doesn't bark much, smart, doesn't chew things up, keep itself clean, doesn't need to be walked, and is smart? Oh wait, that would be a cat.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

That's Sweet!

Ok, ok, so I said that I'd post on Saturday, but I didn't.  I can be such a loser like that. Anyhow, Saturday was busy, what with the whole Saturday-nowhere-to-be-sleeping-in thing, and then shopping and cleaning house for my daughter's tenth birthday party.  Sunday afternoon was the actual party-just for family, no "friend parties" this year.  I still can't believe that I have a 10 year old-that just seems so old to me! I'm sure in a few years, I'll be singing a different tune, looking back on when she was "little" and only 10.  She had a nice party, and thanks to the generosity of our relatives, she now has more cash to spend than I do.  The money is burning a hole in her pocket, but I am dreading taking her shopping to spend it.  When it comes to her own money, the girl is seriously picky about what she buys.  It will take her at least an hour of looking at the same 3 aisles of toys or video games before she decides that she needs to look at another store.  Three stores later, she will be begging to go back to the original store, where it will be another hour before she buys the first thing she looked at.  It's exhausting.

I really could use some retail therapy of my own lately-I've just had a lot of not fun to blog about here type thoughts rolling around in my head, and I don't know what to do with them all. Nothing bad, or earth shattering, just not entertaining, is all.  I've thought about starting a separate blog for the more serious stuff, but it'd just be a lot of whining-I tend to get pretty melodramatic from time to time, and then I get embarrassed about it later.

August 8th, it will be my 1st blogiversary, although I really didn't get down to business until January or February.  I'll try to come up with a fun post for that day-not sure what I'll do yet.... Any ideas?

Oh, and hey! A couple of weeks ago, Alisha, from Musings of a Manic Mama gave me the Sweet Blogger Award! I'm not sure if that's "Sweet" as in "Suuuhhhh-weeeett!!", or "Sweet" as in "Awwwww!", but either way, I'm excited to win another blog award! Where ese can I put forth minimal effort and be rewarded for it? That IS suuuhhh-weeettt, my friends!
Anyhow, thank you Alisha! Be sure and check out her blog-she's the lone source of estrogen in a houseful of boys, so you know she's got some stories to tell!

I'm going to pass this award on to a few blogs I've recently started reading.  These ladies are my favorite kinds of Moms-moms who aren't afraid of keepin' it real, and that's sweet! (As in suh-weet, of course.)
Second Chance Moon
The Adventures of JAMC
Figments of a Mom

Since I'm being linky and all, check out this site if you haven't already-it makes me laugh a little every day. Catalog Living

Friday, July 30, 2010

WWCHD? (What would Claire Huxtable do?)

The door from the garage opened abruptly, and slammed with a thud, as two pairs of kid-feet stomped into the house.

"I'm SO mad!" my daughter yelled, tears falling from her eyes, and she shook her fists in the air.

"Yeah, me too! They were being mean to us!", said Tot.

"What happened?" I asked as my husband, the ever-protective Daddy, stood up and looked out the front window.

"Calvin and his friends are outside, and they were spitting on our chalk drawings, and erasing them with their feet!", Little Bit replied in a loud, furious voice.  Tears were still falling, and her skinny little body was shaking with anger.

"They said my horse drawing looked like a cow with a unicorn horn! They were laughing at us!"

"Yeah! They were making fun of us and wouldn't go away!", Tot chimed in.

My husband opened the door, and stalked outside to confront the group of 12 year old boys, still standing in the middle of the cul de sac laughing.  Despite being skinny kids from the suburbs in their Little League jerseys, I'm sure to my husband they looked like a group of gangsters or a pack of wild, snarling dogs.

Calvin is a neighbor boy, who is usually very nice to Little Bit and Tot. I think my daughter has always had a small crush on this normally good natured  and sensitive kid, and Tot looks up to him. 

As their father was outside talking to the boys, I comforted my daughter as best I could, and then she and her brother went upstairs to watch tv, Little Bit still sobbing.

"I'd better come back inside before I say or do something I'll regret to those little punks!", my husband stormed angrily as he came back in the house.

"What did you do to them?!", I asked, worried now.

"Nothing.  I just told them that they shouldn't be teasing kids younger than them, and that they'd better leave them alone."

"Well, that sounds ok.  What did they say?"

"Nothing.  They just ran off laughing as soon as I turned around.  Those little punks.  I'm going to get myself arrested if I go back out there!"

"Boys that age are like that, especially in groups.  They have to try to be 'cool' with their friends around.  I'm sure they'll leave them alone now."  I tried to reassure my husband that Calvin, normally a very respectful kid around adults, probably took the scolding very seriously, despite his reaction with his friends.

"You know, every time I start to think he's a pretty good kid, something like this happens.  I don't trust that boy." My husband's motto tends to be "Trust no one" where our children are concerned.

Let me stop here to clarify that the last time "something like this" happened with Calvin, he was in 1st grade, and my daughter was in Pre-K.  They had been playmates for months, when Calvin saw us outside, getting in our car.  He was in his driveway with a friend, and enthusiastically called "Hi, Little Bit!" (ok, he used her actual name in real life, but you know...), and waved.

His friend loudly remarked, "Oh, Calvin, is that your giiiirrrlll-friend?", in the sing-songy tone that generations of kids have instinctively adopted in times like these.

Mortified, Calvin no longer would wave across the street, and rarely played with Little Bit after that.  Needless to say, her Daddy was incensed by his behavior.  But you know? The kid was only 6 for Pete's sake. Who holds a grudge against a 6 year old boy?

Daddies of little girls do, apparently.

So, as my husband was cooling off, I heard my daughter tell her brother, "I'm still SO mad at those boys! I'd like to spit in their faces and stomp on them, just like they did with our pictures!"

"Don't do that!", Tot replied, clearly horrified.  "You'll have to go to 'juvey'!"
How does my 7 year old son know about 'juvey'?

An hour or so later, after the kids had gone to bed, Little Bit came downstairs, still distraught and crying, but now more sad than angry.

"I can't stop thinking about what happened earlier.  They hurt my feelings and made me so mad."

I felt helpless-times like these are when I wish I could channel a little Claire Huxtable or June Cleaver and say something helpful that will make it all better, but I must have skipped that part of the parenting handbook.
Clearly, my husband was feeling the same way.  He looked at our 10 year old daughter with a mixture of helplessness and compassion, yet there was still a spark of anger in his eyes.

"Come here, honey", he said, and Little Bit curled up on the couch next to him with her Daddy's protective, loving arms around her.  Her sobs slowly quieted, and her fists finally unclenched, as she relaxed.

Two days later, as I think back on that moment, I realize that some day, she's going to have her heart broken by a boy.  She'll have disappointments, and people will do and say things that hurt her tender heart.  We won't always be able to shield her from the hurt, and I won't have any half-hour sitcom type magic words that make the pain go away before the next commercial break.  The mother in me wishes she could stay little and innocent, tucked away at home, sheltered from the hurts of the world, while the rational part of me knows that this is just all part of the growing process, and she will be fine.

My husband on the other hand (who is still stewing over the whole incident), is going to need some Xanax to make it through the growing years ahead. 

By the way, last night I realized that I had forgotten to accept a blog award that I recently received! I don't know how I forgot-maybe it was the heat (our AC is humming along nicely now), or this little situation with the kids-but I am grateful for the award, and will post about it tomorrow!
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