Saturday, May 28, 2011

Teddy Graham Hula Dancers

Last week was Jack's birthday! He's SEVEN now. That blows my mind. He's RiceCake #3 and in so many ways, I think of #3 and #4 as still being VERY little. Perhaps because for so many years, I had them corraled up in a double stroller (long after they could walk!) when we went out because I was playing Zone Coverage instead of Man-To-Man Defense because I was WAY outnumbered!

He's not little any more. He's really getting very big. The kid does Sudoku puzzles and builds Legos sets with THOUSANDS of pieces into airports all by himself for cryin' out loud!

In our family, we have a few birthday traditions.

#1 is you get a candle in your cereal at breakfast.
#2 is Mom hangs a "Happy Birthday" banner on the wall behind the kitchen table and take a crazy number of photos of you opening presents and blowing out candles. It's been the same banner for everyone's birthday since 2005.
#3 is Mom will make you WHATEVER kind of cake you want for your special day. That's my gift to the kids every year.

I've got TONS of cookbooks and cake magazines and the kids literally plot out what kind of cake they want for their birthday months in advance. I've made some that are totally CakeWreck worthy... and some that have been kinda cool.

Last year, Jack wanted a cake with a baseball field full of Teddy Graham baseball players on it.

YES. I did pinstripe Teddy Grahams uniforms.

This year, he wanted a jungle cake full of Teddy Graham natives and lions... so....

I turned 'Nilla wafers into lions!

I gave Teddy Grahams hula skirts

And I built Jack the best Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting jungle island I possibly could... with toasted coconut marshmallow huts... it took 2 hours to assemble it after baking the cake part.

This is what a happy 7 yr old looks like... and you see the banner in the background right?! ;)

I won't win any World's Best Mom awards for day-to-day Mom-ual Labor stuff. But my kids aren't going to wonder if I love them. They'll at least leave my house and know that their birthdays were special to me... and I cared enough to frost miniature cookies! ha ha!

Let's BEE Friends

Friday, May 13, 2011

Let's BEE friends with Bruna

Let's BEE Friends

I'm linking up with Bruna at Bees With Honey for today's Let's BEE Friends bloghop. She's a super sweet Italian/Canadian elementary school teacher who blogs about her life and I totally love reading pieces from her blog. She runs the entire spectrum of writing styles... from heartfelt and moving to laugh out loud funny. I met her via Twitter and if you aren't already following @beeswithhoney... you're missing out on the sweetness.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How NOT to Turn Down a Prom Date

I was recently stuck in a conversation that I didn't want to be in and couldn't find my way out.

Remember when I blogged about having "kind eyes?"

OK, while the UP side to having kind eyes is that people trust you with their tough stuff and you have the opportunity to extend grace in moments when other people could really use some. Cutting slack to people who need a break is a good thing. The DOWN side to it is that people with social boundary issues make you crazy.

Let me reiterate, I'm not talking about people having a moment to share something hard with me when the really need someone to listen.

I am talking about the people who can cause an entire room full of people to simultaneously roll their eyes. The people we'll avoid talking to by pretending we're on our cell phone and have somewhere VERY important to go. Around our house, we call them E.G.R.'s (Extra Grace Required)... probably because we're used to so many darn military acronyms.

Recently, I've found myself to be very, VERY short on the ability to be gracious. At some point, I'm sure the stories of the last 2 years will come out in this space. Let's just say that my D.B.R. (Daily Bullshit Requirement) has been met for a lifetime and I'm just over stupid, whiny people complaining about things they can change.

The person who has bills to pay in the next month that they've known about for would come due 2 years ago?
Don't tell me about it. You avoided employment because it wouldn't fit in with your school schedule! Perhaps you should have realized that running out of money before your school year was over was inevitable and attempted to obtain employment before right now. You didn't lose your job; you never had one in the first place. You have no right to complain.

The person who suffers from anxiety so bad that it requires them to take more than what doctors consider to be a "reasonable" amount to Xanax to deal with it? (To the extent where their doc WON'T prescribe them anymore because they went through it too fast?)
Perhaps you should go see a doctor for more than just a prescription and get a better handle on what your triggers are and how you can deal with them effectively. Perhaps reconsidering that the highly stressful job you agreed to do for a large paycheck has cost you far more than its monetary value has benefitted you OR your family is in order. You are CHOOSING this every day. If you're not getting help OR getting out of bed... you don't get to tell us all "how very hard" your life is.

The person who constantly posts on facebook and Twitter about "really needing to lose weight" and while simultaneously broadcasting their check-in's to fast food restaurants and sending the world photos of their Super Mega Uber Sized Banana Pudding milkshakes? This person's usually complaining about being out of cash too.
You should know that YOU are the only one not getting the joke. Betcha you'd lose 30 pounds in the next year without joining a gym simply by NOT eating lunch "out". Knock it off. You're just stupid.

The person who complained that life is so hard for their obnoxious brat of a kid. The one that we all see coming and say, "Oh crap it's _______'s kid. Freakin' great."They've opted to not discipline their kid and left the rest of us to deal with them. They expect us to put up with all the "quirks" and "unique personality" of their Little Angel.
Newsflash: The world can't stand your kid... at 9 years old; this is very much YOUR doing. You don't get to garner sympathy about life being rough as a parent when you totally DON'T do any parenting beyond buying your kid stuff... everything they've ever said they wanted. When your kid's a brat, I want to kick YOU in the shins. Do your freaking JOB. You're a parent, NOT your kid's friend. It's called "Boundaries"... not having them is bad.

I hate getting into conversations with these people.


I hate it because somehow these social misfits always manage to catch me when I'm attempting to pick up or drop off The RiceCakes somewhere en masse. (IE baseball practice, a friend's birthday party, Sunday school, etc.) If I'm dropping my kids off somewhere, all together, that means that I am about to have one of two things:

1) Time alone with my husband when we DON'T have to pay for a babysitter for FOUR KIDS!

2) Time alone with myself where it is very, VERY quiet. (You don't know how BEAUTIFUL "silence" can be until you have four children!)

My problem is that I'm "too nice". I'll tell these people that I'm in a hurry, that I have somewhere to be, and that I really need to go. But these people NEVER LISTEN! They keep talking and talking... and TALKING. I'll be holding the hand of one of my kids, walking towards the door, and STILL they're yapping! If it requires me to do any Kid Wrangling (IE. whistling and trying to get the kids to all move in the same direction all at once) when inevitably, I end up looking like I'm trying to herd cats!

Side note: YES, my children respond to a whistle. No, they're not dogs but, they DO play in the woods a LOT. It lets me get their attention, when I can't see them, and NOT have to yell all their names. Don't be jealous because you didn't think of it first.

I'm TRYING to walk away. I'm TRYING to not interrupt because that's just rude.

BUT taking up my time after I've clearly stated that "Now's not a good time" is MORE RUDE!

(DO NOT cut into Mama and Daddy RiceCake ALONE TIME with a stupid story of your own stupidity!)

There's only one time, in my WHOLE LIFE, that I've managed to get out of an uncomfortable conversation like that and it left me feeling horrible.

My senior year in high school, a boy tried to ask me to prom one morning before school. This was the A.V. boy (Audio-Visual kid who always had a camera and learned to run a soundboard when he was like 9). I had NOTHING against A.V. Boy. I was a first class NERD and had no place to judge anyone else's geekdom. The issue was, I had not ever... even ONCE... EVER had a conversation with this kid until that moment. The other problem was that I had a boyfriend... but A.V. Boy obviously, didn't know that. I felt really bad for him. He looked so nervous... sweaty palms, shaky voice... it was bad. Nervous Teenage Boy BAD. The idea that this kid had been admiring me "from afar" was laughable to me. Equally laughable? The idea that I was intimidating. (I spent 99% of high just wishing I could disappear... I was the least scary person I knew.)

I didn't know how I could tell him that I wouldn't go to Prom with him without being mean. I mean... he looked like he needed a shot of tequila just to ask me. How was I going to be NICE? The idea of hurting his feelings... especially starting his day off with a big fat "NOPE"... made me feel terrible.

My brain was racing.

Suddenly, fate intervened and I never actually had to say anything... but I still felt horrible.

I inhaled a bug!

A gnat randomly flew into my mouth and stuck to the back of my throat.

I started gagging uncontrollably. Seriously, that little sucker was not going to budge. It was totally sick. I ran to the nearest trashcan, completely convinced that I was going to toss my breakfast when I heard a voice behind me saying,

"Well THAT was unnecessary! All you had to say was 'No'!"

OMG. A.V. Boy thought that I was pretending to puke at the thought of going to Prom with him?! NO! But I couldn't TELL him this because I was choking on a freakin' BUG! I was mortified. No one standing around me knew what the heck happened. I just looked like a Big Jerk.*

Eventually, I got over hurting his feelings. But I've realized... THAT is the ONLY way I've ever been able to get out of an uncomfortable conversation.

So NOW, when I'm stuck in a conversation that I want desperately to get out of, I find myself fantasizing about inhaling gnats.

*A.V. Boy... if you're out in the interwebs somewhere and happen to come across this story... I'm sorry you thought I was gagging at the thought of a date with you because I inhaled a bug at the exact moment you were asking me to Prom! I wasn't trying to be mean... I. ATE. A. BUG!

Friday, May 6, 2011

That's Not a Gun, It's Your Finger!

In celebration of all things baseball, this week's family movie was Field of Dreams. I don't even have words for how much I love that movie.

Yes, it gets cheesy.

Yes, it's impossible.

And yeah, I pretty much hated every movie Kevin Costner made after it...

But I freaking LOVE Field of Dreams.

I don't think there was a movie that made me love baseball more... or made me collect baseball cards more. Nothing made me read more books about baseball or appreciate the history of the game more.

My kids are all at a really fun age. Last year, all four played Little League ball. Matthew and Abi were on a coach pitch team together. Jack and Joshua played T-ball on separate teams. We lived at the ballpark and totally loved it.

Mobile, Al has a minor league team and last season we went to games all the time. Before games on Sunday, they let the kids play catch on the field... that grass is amazing. Seriously... AMAZING. After games on Sunday, they let the kids run the bases.
Last Spring Break, we stayed for a 17 inning game... there were only a handful of fans left in the park. The announcer came out of the booth in the 14th inning, gave all the kids free ballcaps, and announced the rest of the game standing right next to us. He answered EVERY question the kids asked... with a SMILE. When it was over, we went down to get autographs from the players leaving the field. They all stayed and signed stuff and thanked us for staying through to the end. The entire staff had great manners... and act like they KNOW my kids are looking up to them. They still remember what it was like to be a little kid at the ballpark.
Jack and Matthew both had their birthday parties at the ballpark last summer. It was a really fun package. They even got to throw out the opening pitch. At the end of the game on Jack's birthday party, we went down to get our foul balls autographed... the catcher (Konrad Schmidt) heard it was Jack's birthday and gave him the bat he broke during the game. Jack was over the moon! That broken bat is one of his most prized possessions... even if it is covered in Stickum! The kids got loads of autographs.... even the announcer (totally only famous in the eyes of the RiceCakes!) signed Jack's hat. The kids LOVE of baseball comes from that totally sweet and honest place and it's so fun to watch them love it!

Field of Dreams was going to be epic in their little minds. They were hooked from beginning to end. Even Joshua, who's only 5, sat totally still and was quiet the ENTIRE TIME. They loved it. They had a million questions about who Shoeless Joe Jackson was... did Archie "Moonlight" Graham really exist? It was so fun.

Since then, they've been running around playing their own version of Field of Dreams. Are they whispering "If you build it, he will come..." or "Ease his pain..."?


They're all trying to kidnap James Earl Jones with their finger stuck in the pocket of their hoodies.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Below The Surface

"Perfectionism is merely self abuse."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Funday once again!

I'm linking up with my buddy Carri at Adventures in Mommyhood for her Sunday blog hop!
She's finished her move over to WP and her blog's lookin' GOOD!
Go check her stuff out and check out the other people linking up with her.
 It's a really fun way to find some new blogs to love!