Overheard at Our House

“Moooooooooommmmmm!” I hear Jeff hollering from the bathroom, somewhere deep inside the house.

Outside, I have my hand wedged up in the back porch light, where it really neither belongs nor fits. Holding the light-bulb with the tippy-tips of my fingers while I hang on the edge of the house, I try and screw the bulb in, and am given a lesson in why opposable thumbs make us such a big deal. (try and screw a light-bulb in without them, I dare you)

“MooooommmMMMMM! He bellows again. Gritting my teeth, I drop the bulb again and wipe my hair from my forehead.

Beanie is zooming around my feet on his Big Wheel, and Abby is gleefully chasing him, her bright pink cheeks bouncing as she runs.

I know what he wants, but apparently the Ignoring Him rule isn’t getting through. We’re working on independence around here, and this is one of his jobs now. Opening the back door, as calmly as I can, “Jeff, I’m changing a light-bulb. Wipe your own bum!”

Sliding the door closed, I jam my hand back up in the brass light fixture and promptly drop the bulb. Again. Ding! Bright Idea!

“Hey Bean, come here a sec, Mama has a job for you! Can you be my big helper and reach your hand in there and turn this light-bulb?” He is joyful at helping, and his hand fits easily in the brass lighthole.

Holding him on my shoulder and balancing on the edge of the step, Beanie slowly turns the bulb while Abby pulls on my pant leg with a chorus of Mamamama.

I am in this position when my darling oldest, jeans about his ankles, wobbles in the kitchen, “Mom, I’ll pay you a dollar if you wipe my bum…”

Speechless.

Family Night

It’s getting better. Really. Well, OK, it’s still mostly a circus, but tonight, Beanie actually managed to stay in his chair (albeit on is head most of the evening) and Jeff sang two songs with two verses. Abs danced to the songs, and they even kinda sorta listened while I read about making promises and being honest.

We did a puzzle for activity, and devolved into a big fight, but hey, we’re doing about a million times better than we were a year or two ago.

I can really see why this is important. Even though we spend just about every night together, the kids really love family night– I don’t make special treats very often, and we just hang out together in the living room- but there’s something about it they key in on, and the really like it. Definitely a good thing.

AquaDots Recall

This is just too much. The kids have been begging for these- and I came thisclose to buying them last week. 

If you have the toy AquaDots anywhere in your house, or know anyone who does, go READ THIS right now. It seems the dots, if ingested, can convert to gamma hydroxy butyrate also known as the Date-Rape Drug.

Not joking here.

The CPSC recalled all AquaDots sets in North America and in Australia. Five children have been hospitalized after eating the beads. The chemical from the toy (which, once again, originated in China) can cause unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.

Of Words and Rice

Improve your vocabulary and earn rice for developing nations all at once! I have to warn you though, it can be real time sucker! Click Here.

So far I’ve earned 1800 grains of rice, and hover around level 40. The site says there are 50 levels in all- so I’m not feeling too pompous about that. Let me know how you do, OK?

The Envelope, Please

Without further ado (don’t you love that word? I do!), The Pay-It Forward Contest winners are:

bek

mhuff

Ahna– who doesn’t appear to have a blog, which is just fine…

In order the keep it totally fair and make sure my own friends weren’t the ones getting the prizes (cause I’m such a slave to whimsy!) I used the generator Random.Org to pick the numbers. Your number was assigned based on the order you commented, so these picks really are random.

Thanks so much for playing everyone! And even if you didn’t get picked here, don’t let that stop you from doing this on your own blog or in your own life!

Those chosen, please e-mail me at dandelionDOTmamaATgmailDOTcom.

Selective Memory

Some days. I swear.

Sometimes I wonder what my kids will take from their childhoods- Will it be that I loved them unconditionally and did the very best I could on most days? Or will they recall, in graphic detail, the days I failed? The days I yell, blow my stack, and generally lose it are far outnumbered by the days I think I’m a good mom- but I wonder; What’s making the stronger impression?

Today the boys’ carpool got here early, so we were rushing out the door, half dressed and half-baked- never a good start. This morning I had an appointment with a new doctor, too. Once the boys got off to school, I got Abby dressed, myself cleaned up and headed out the door. Abby on my hip, keys in hand, the phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it- but I did.

It was Beanie’s school- he was supposed to bring snack today, and 18 pre-schoolers were waiting for something yummy. Yes, yes, yes, I will be right there- thank heavens for food storage, eh? I start cramming fruit snacks and juice boxes into the large plastic swan that is supposed to remind me to send snack- and the phone rings again. Hello? It’s the teacher again- she’ll meet me at the curb so I don’t have to get Abby out- fantastic! Back to food storage, and Abby has cheerily began to pull EVERYTHING from the lower shelves. The pantry is a disaster. Snack is late, my doctor appointment is rapidly getting sooner, and I’m sweating now.

I pack Abby out to the car and strap her in- at least she can’t do anything there- and go back to grab the Swan of Snacks, now with snacks jammed out it’s butt, my purse, keys and diaper bag.

Oh yeah, and it’s raining.

The phone rings again, and my foot slips on the wet tile in the back hallway as I turn to answer it. Jamming my hip into the doorknob, I think #*%$ it, and ignore the phone. Into the car I go. Swan? Check. Purse? Check. Diaper bag? check. Baby? Check. Paperwork for doctor? Nope. Back in the house.

Back in the car. List of things to talk to the doc about? Nope. Sitting on the counter. Back in the house again. Now I’m really sweating, running late, my hair, so carefully done ten minutes before, is now stuck to my neck and cheeks, and I can feel my eye make-up running. Fabulous.

In the car, now my cell phone is ringing. From the ring, I know it’s DH, so I ignore it. VrrooOOOOOM. Off I tear down the street, thinking I might still be able to deliver the Swan of Goodness and make my doctor’s appointment too.

And I did. But it wasn’t pretty.

Cut to this afternoon. I check my email. Oh CRAP! My quilters guild is meeting tonight- AT MY HOUSE! I feed the boys their snack, pop Abby in bed for a pseudo-nap and run to the bathroom. I’m gone long enough to do my business- but when I come back downstairs- Hell awaits me.

Beanie has, why I will never know, dumped out an entire new bag of Cheetos on the dining room floor, and is doing his happy dance on them. Jeffrey has opened a carton of Whoppers and they’re like marbles all over the floor, mixing in with the Cheetos of Happiness. I lost it. Bonafide, lost it.

They are up in their rooms, with explicit orders to never move again. I called their dad already, because today they are not mine, and told him what to expect when he gets home. I have 18 ladies coming over in two hours. My vacuum is clogged with Cheetos and Whoppers, but thankfully it’s a Dyson so it can handle it.

I have no hors d’oeuvres, I have a house that is a disaster, I have horrible, wild children who think food is for dancing, and I want to run and scream and hide. Some days I hate being a mama.

This is one those days I hope my children forget. I’m off to cry.

Pay It Forward Contest

Hairyshoefairy at Organized Chaos had a contest where she has offered to to do something nice for three people, the three people then have to then do something nice for three more people. You get the idea-

But in this area, “Doing something nice” means MAKING them something. And I was one of the winners on her site! You know what that means? Besides getting something uber cool made by the follically blessed Fairy of Shoes, I get to have my own contest!

That’s right mama’s- It’s the Dandelion Mama Pay It Forward Contest. Woo-hoo!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this thread, and I will randomly select three winners to receive a home-made gift. Made by me. With my hands. Comments will be open until, eh, let’s see… how ’bout midnight on Thursday? Sounds good.

So, leave a comment, get something cool. I promise- it will be cool. I’m even taking requests from my three winners- how bout that?

But remember, the catch is, you then have to do something awesome for three more people. Have fun! Comment! Tell your friends (or don’t and increase your odds!)

What Think Ye: Locker Rooms

So Jeffrey’s school is going on field trip to day to a local swim center- and each Tuesday for the next six weeks- to spend time learning to swim.

Aside from the fact he does NOT know how to swim and sending him with strangers makes me nervous, after talking to the school staff I did sign his permission slip and packed him off with a towel and some swim trunks today.

Then about an hour ago, I got a call from another first-grade mom, whose son is in another classroom- they went yesterday. Evidently, her son came home with some interesting stories about naked grown up men in the locker room, and even about someone (adult) shaving themselves in the shower. WHAT?!

So now I’m panicking, and thinking I had better get down there and supervise him myself, and wondering if this is even a good idea. In this day and age of predators and creepy freaks who like little boys, is sending a group of 6 and 7 year-olds into a locker room such a hot idea??

I can’t go in the men’s locker room, obviously, but I don’t really want my little boy alone in a locker room with grown men, either. Am I over-reacting? I have a tendency to do that…

What do you think? And more importantly, what would you DO?

Some Things I Adore

wooden-figures-ostheimer-forest-ark.jpgOstheimer Toys. I actually set up this shoot for a client.

munich-main.jpg Germany. Munich specifically. Feels instantly like home.

ha2965.jpgHaba Toys. Wouldn’t you just have LOVED this as a kid?

elsa_beskow_16319_l.jpgElsa Beskow children’s books. Enchanting.

emo_moebel_08.jpg European children’s designs. MMMmmmmmm. So good.

coconut-ice-cream.jpg Haagen Das Coconut Ginger Sesame Brittle. *slobber*

autumn_leaves1.jpg Autumn. Frost on the falling leaves. Chill in the air…

399425christmas-fair-at-night-nurnberg-germany-posters.jpg Nuremburg at Christmas. It’s like a fairy tale.

7768-508331-d.jpg Spectator pumps! And Maryjanes, too- Heaven.

What This Mama Knows

The counsel is, if you clean up after yourselves, there will be less to do in the long-run.  I though I would give it a try. Being the slave to whimsy that I am, my normal routine is to let things slide until we can no longer function with ease, then bust out the Napalm and clean like crazy. Repeat cycle as needed.

Well, I tried it. All week, I committed to keeping up on things. I spent all day Monday cleaning, and I really really mean cleaning- the boys room, top to bottom, including under the beds- the bathrooms, kitchen, all laundry, floors, fingerprints, the whole kit and caboodle. By Monday night, I was pooped, and still hadn’t gotten to the basement, my sewing room or folded the piles of clean laundry.

No biggie, right? I spent Tuesday finishing up all the stuff I didn’t get to on Monday. I also tried, since the house was pretty dang spotless, to just keep up on the clutter. If my home is already clean and orderly (and by Tuesday night, it was), keeping it so shouldn’t be such a big deal, that’s the theory, right?

Well, let me tell you what the reality is: A house with little kids is a constant rain of clutter. I spent the next three days reminding my kids to pick up after themselves, wiping down the counters, sweeping the floor with the idea to avoid having to mop again, still folding laundry, picking up after Abby to keep the toy clutter under control, and continually exercising the idea that if I just did a little bit each day, the weekly tasks would be quicker and easier. Wrong!

By Saturday, I was so freakin’ tired, I just threw my hands up and said Forget It!- and withing three hours, my house looked like it usually does: Cluttered, but full of love and creativity. I spent the week trying to save myself energy and effort in the long run, but I traded my happiness and easy way for a future promise. It didn’t work.

What happened was, instead of picking up the chess board from the floor once, I picked it up twelve times; instead of doing ten loads of laundry one day, I did two loads of laundry every day; instead of waiting until the sink was full and busting out the dishes, I did dishes all day long. It sucked.

And, it sucked the creativity right out of my home.

So, I’m reverting back to my old ways. Starting immediately. It works for me, it works for my family.  I will never be the best homemaker out there, but I will be a happy mama, wife, artist and woman.

So what if my floors only get mopped once a month. Bite me.