Tuesday, May 22, 2012


     Blondie and Dude earned their new belts at Tai Kwon Do.  Near the studio is a pizza joint that has lots of crane machines and toy dispenser machines to stick money in to win (or more often not win) cheap crap from them.  Because we rarely go there, we decided this could be a special treat to celebrate their belt promotions.

     I gave each of the kids quarters to spend in any machine they wanted.  Dude and Ball went straight to the "Candy Crane."  (Yes, they were allowed to eat candy from this machine the day after their dinner consisted of popsicles, cupcakes, and soda.  Chalk it up to poor planning, ok?)

Unlimited candy - until the quarters are gone
     See that sign at the bottom right?  It says "Play til you win."  That means the crane doesn't stop working until candy has been dumped down the chute.  My youngest two knew exactly what they were doing; they were like kids at a Candy Crane.  Both kids had small piles of candy in front of them at the table and were enjoying their spoils.  (No, they had not eaten dinner yet.  Stop judging me!)

     Blondie instead went to the crappy stuffed toy machine.

Will happily take all your excess money.
     In less than five minutes all her quarters were gone.  Blondie came up and asked for more quarters.  She told me they were all gone and it was no fair because she had nothing and Dude and Blondie had lots of candy.

     She might not have scored, but I had.  I rubbed her back and said "It really does seem unfair that all your money is gone.  Unfortunately, you won't always win something from those toy machines."  I was about to teach Blondie a lesson about being more responsible with her money AND that stupid crane machines (unless they state "play til you win") are a money pit.

     Blondie was upset and kept asking why she couldn't have any extra money.  I was not caving.  She was going to sit at the table watching Dude and Ball gobble up their loot.  Just then an older lady walked up to Blondie, handed her two quarters, told Blondie "these were in the machine", and then looked at me and winked! 

     With those two quarters Blondie ran to the "Candy Crane", scored herself two handfuls of candy, and happily sat down at our table.

     So to the older lady at the pizza parlour: I might have seemed rude last night when I never thanked you for your quarters.  You were being very kind to my daughter, but I was not happy when I couldn't figure out a polite way to decline your offer.  Consequently, even though you gave money to us, I felt robbed.  I was robbed of a teaching moment with my child.  For future reference, I prefer you keep your two quarters to yourself next time.  Thank you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Chosen One

     When we were little we watched He-Man Masters of the Universe every afternoon and played with the action figures all the time.  One day a brand new department store came to town.  For their grand opening they hosted a contest: create a new He-Man character.

     My brother, sister, and I were all over this.  With the contest sheets in hand we got to work.  I forget what my brother and sister created, but I remember them laughing at me.  I didn't care.  My character rocked and I knew it.

     Ready to win the contest, we marched into the store toting our caricatures on opening day.  Every kid in town, dreaming of the national grand prize, invented characters that littered the entry walls of the store.  The winner would receive: Castle Grayskull, every single Masters of the Universe action figure available, and the winner's character would be marketed and sold.  Second graders don't get that kind of power every day!

    Before you were eligible for such power, you first had to win at the local level.  Around noon, the announcer revealed "The winner of the new He-Man character contest is.... (imaginary drum roll please) Marian.  Please come to the front to collect your prize Marian."  My brother looked at me incredulous.  "No way!"  "How did she win?" my sister asked.  I just smiled all the way to the front desk.

     My smile got even bigger when they handed me my prize:

Suck it brother and sister.  This guy's all mine!
      We went home and immediately replaced our boring home phone with my new awesome He-Man phone.  I sat by that phone and sat and sat and sat answering every single call to our house that day.  I knew they would call me that night revealing I had won the national grand prize.  I would be the chosen one.  So strong was my confidence that I would be the big winner that I kept vigil by my phone for days.

     Unfortunately, I did not win the national grand prize.  Even more unfortunately, my drawing became the property of Meijer corp.  I wish I could share that awesomeness with you.  My character would have solved all He-Man's problems.  My character was the key to peace and harmony in Eternia.  My character was the missing piece of the Masters of the Universe line up.  My character was "Mrs. Skeletor."

A little loving could go a long way with this guy.

By the power of Grayskull, I had the power... for at least one afternoon.

I'm over at Finding the Funny #17.  Join me there to check out some other hilarious stories.

This story was inspired by Kristi over at There's No Time For Pants! who is super funny.  She nicknamed her littlest guy "Skeletor", which reminded me of this.  Check her out and tell her I sent you.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Collecting Hands

Family wall of shame - Hawaiian prints seemed like a good idea at the time.

     Do you see what's missing?  The empty space above Ball's picture is for another hand print.  At my kid's preschool, when the child turns 5 she gives Mom her handprint for Mother's Day.  The nail above Ball's picture has been waiting for two years for her addition.

     I was looking forward to Mother's Day so I could finally complete my set.  I love complete matching sets.  Then, for Mother's Day Molly presented me with this.

Do you see a problem?
     Maybe this will better illustrate my "problem":

One of these things is not like the other things.  One of these things does not belong.

     In one day I passed through the 5 stages of grief with regards to my wall decor.  Before you walk away and start hunting for Hello Kitty items on the innerwebs, allow me to ellaborate.

Step 1 Denial and Isolation: In my head I closed my eyes, plugged my ears, and started singing "la la la la la la la".  Why yes, there is an indignant little 3 year old inside me.  How else do you relate to your children?
Outwardly I continously gushed over how much I love my gift.  This might not sound sincere to a 35 year old, but I'm working with a less sophisticated audience.  (See? I can pretend to be a good mom.)

Step 2 Anger: Why God Why!?!  This school has been making the same handprints for at least the last 5 years. Why did things change this year?  I was so close to having my complete matching set!  *Shakes angry fist at the sky*

Step 3 Bargaining:  I can find a store who does handprints like the other two and take Ball there.  Who am I kidding?  That's as likely as me actually paying our bills on time instead of blogging.  Maybe I can spray paint the handprint white and then it won't stand out quite so much.

Step 4 Depression: I'll never do that - any of it.  I suck and this blows.  When I finally get over myself I should at least lower the nail so the oddball handprint can sit level with the other two.

Step 5 Acceptance: This is symbolism that visually demonstrates how unique and special little Ball is.  Her hand is so small and precious.  I know this is something I should will treasure forever.

And that folks is how I made it through my totally first world, very insignificant, almost not worth mentioning except that it makes great blog fodder Mother's Day crisis.

What kind of minor crisis have you been through that upset you more than it should?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To a Mother of Twins

     Supposedly my Dad fainted. 

     The doctors were seriously worried about the size of my Mom's baby; it was nearly 10 pounds.  That is when they decided to send my mother for an x-ray to figure out what they were "dealing with." (That's technical doctor speak for "how in the hell are we supposed to get this giant beast out of you?")

     Later that day a nurse called my mother and asked "Has the doctor called to tell you how many babies you are having?"  My mom: "no".  "Well, he'll be calling you soon."

     When my mother got the news she called my father at work.  She said "we're having twins" and heard a thud.  She promptly called my dad's office mate and asked him to please go check on her husband.  He had fainted.

     Twelve hours later my mom went into labor with my sister and me.  

     I really do have to give my mom props.  She had a 2 year old son when my sister and I rocked her world.  You try preparing for twins with only 12 hours notice that you're bringing home multiple bundles of joy.  She rose to the challenge and really let Maggie and me be individuals.

     Love you Mom!  Happy Mother's Day and thanks for taking on two handfuls!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Ruiners

     I have this little quirk that I'll blame on growing up as a twin in a small house.  My sister and I shared everything: bed, clothes, toys, room.  Because of this, I developed a Gollum-like sense of possession where anything that I didn't have to share with my twin (and even some things I did) became my precious.  This quirk is one of the more difficult things I deal with as a parent.  My kids have seemingly no sense of boundaries and they care very little about "stuff."  The rule appears to be: if they can reach it, they can have it.

     I often find myself perusing a site called Sh*t My Kids Ruined.  I love this place because it reassures me.
1. Things could be worse.
2. I am not the only one raising crazy destructive monsters. 
My kids' "I can take what I want" attitude coupled with the fact that they don't care if something gets ruined drives me crazy!  I live with three little ruiners and I am fighting a battle just to get my kids to take care of stuff.  Here is a list of all the things I personally have posted on the Sh*t My Kids Ruined Facebook Page.  Any one item on my list doesn't seem so bad, but as a collective...

You've heard the expression "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" right?  Ball gets especially destructive when bored.  One morning I put Ball in time out.  I went upstairs to change the laundry (less than 5 minutes), came downstairs, and saw this: 
Body art - the least bothersome art.
And this:
Not such a bright idea

She's not so great at "time outs."  Ball had gotten up from the step she was sitting on, went to the kitchen counter, found a pen, and decided to spice things up a little.

Dude was playing with Legos and the container that holds his Legos was laying on the floor.  Such an invitation was irrisistable to Ball.  She turned it upside down, stepped up on it, and commenced jumping.  Isn't that what you would do?

Boredom - making people do stupid things since 1600.

One morning while preparing breakfast Ball found two things sitting on the counter that she felt needed to get together; a  McDonald's Happy Meal toy and our camping ipod speaker.  That toy was exactly the right size to fit in the hole and not come out.  Doh!

Who needs a shape sorter?

This is a small but representative sample of our kitchen table.  All three kids have taken pot shots at it giving it that shabby chic look.  Ok, it just looks shabby.  Our table is the reason none of the grandkids are allowed to sit at either grandparents' tables.
Forks are for eating?  I thought they were for carving.

Lastly, while helping my then 5 yo with her homework, her 3 yo brother took a marker off the table and "drew me a map". 

This took less than 2 minutes.

This took even less time.
I know this looks way worse than the table above, but every bit of marker came off thanks to Crayola's detailed instructions for how to remove the stain.  Today the chairs look great.  Whew!

     Often I wonder if my kids are just naturally destructive.  Other times I wonder if this is just part of having three kids.  After all, I'm not capable of watching all of them all the time.  Whatever the reason, have no fear.  I won't be bringing my kids over to you house anytime soon; at least not until they are "civilized".

What have your kids ruined?  I know I'm not totally alone here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How Ball Wins at Poker

     I sent all the kids upstairs to clean up their bedrooms. They of course were pissed thrilled to have this opportunity!  During this time, I also do chores and as I'm cleaning, I look into each kids' room.  If that child is working, I will dive in and help out because I'm cool like that.

     Unexpectedly, 4 year old Ball is usually the best.  She loves having a clean floor and takes pride in her work.  She often hits me up for multiple compliments on a job well done.  However, on this particular day, she was not going for it.  She told me that she refused to clean her room unless I helped her.  Let me translate this for you: she would willingly lay on the floor doing nothing while I picked up everything.

     Neither of us was subscribing to the other's plan.  I threw down the gauntlet.  I told her I was leaving and she needed to get to work or the next time she saw me, I would have a garbage bag and the stuff on the floor would go in it.  (I know, I'm a hard ass.)  Five minutes later Ball was downstairs whining that she really needed my help.  I warned her again to go upstairs and get to work.

     Once the dishes were in the dishwasher, I walked upstairs with my garbage bag.  Ball was laying on the floor and not one thing had been picked up.  She saw my garbage bag and didn't care.  I picked up every item and placed it in my bag letting her know it was gone.  (Gone means in my closet for a really long time because I can't handle throwing anything away.)  There was not even a whimper from her.  When my bag was full and her floor was clean she looked at me and said "Thanks for cleaning my room Momma."

What do you do when you have a parenting fail?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rapunzel Pencils and Test Day

     My newest life adventure involves me returning to school for a master's degree in teaching.  In order to student teach this year I am required to pass the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) proving that I know enough English to actually teach people.  For English there are four tests that have to be taken and all four are pass/fail.  These are the tests I have been preparing for these last two weeks.

     Saturday morning I woke up at 6:00 to get ready and get to the test in plenty of time.  I had everything I would need for the test including 5 pencils, my trusty white eraser (the only kind I use since taking art classes), directions to my location, and my study notes for last minute cramming.  I got to the sight early, locked my purse and cell phone in the trunk and took the necessary items to check in.

My test taking location.

     These testing rooms are seriously like Fort Knox.  All your personal possessions are taken away from you (save your pencils), you are fingerprinted, and your ID has to sit on your desk through the entire test.  For a room full of test takers getting everyone set up takes at least 30 minutes.

     As I am patiently sitting at my desk waiting to be fingerprinted, I notice everyone around me has yellow pencils that actually say #2 on them.  Oh crap!  I just pulled random pencils from my kids' box at home.  Mine have Rapunzel.  I'm not sure Rapunzel is a #2 pencil.  What if I take the entire test in a pencil that is not #2? 

My "vitally important professional test taking" tool of choice.
     At this point I begin having a complete break down convinced that even if I ace all the tests no one will know and I will have to sit through this hell again.  This is when I start thinking that maybe I can barter with the smart guy next to me who brought 5 beautiful yellow #2 pencils.  Maybe he can spare just one for me.  I would even be willing to offer him Rapunzel in exchange if he wanted.  Who am I to say what he might like? 

     Trying to be calm and quiet, I lean over and politely start "I know this is going to sound really silly..."  To which the young man replies in a loud (probably not that loud, it just seems loud because the room is so quiet) monotone voice that "I'm sorry, but I'm deaf."  Now everyone is staring at the woman who tried to start up a conversation during quiet time (me) and I'm still stuck with my 5 Rapunzel "going to make me fail because the machine won't read the dots right" pencils.

     I resigned myself to my private hell.  No, I never got an official yellow #2 pencil.  Yes, I finished all four tests with 2 minutes to spare (whew!).  And hopefully I pass the tests, but if I don't, I am so blaming Rapunzel!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Impatient Husband

     The other night Hubs and I were hanging out when this mostly one sided conversation happened.

Him: "I wish I could go back in time and tell my 19 year old self to be patient because he would meet a really great girl some day."

Me: "Awww. That's really sweet!"

Him: "Yea, but my 19 year old self would be impatient and want to meet you right now. Then I would have to tell my 19 year old self 'Dude, she's 12 right now. You really do have to wait.'"

And that is why he gets away with not buying me Valentine's Day presents.

What's something really funny your significant other has said to you?