Monday, March 25, 2013

Breaking Down the Holiday Build Up

Last week I saw this article in the Huffington Post.  I did not take offense to it, because I agree with her.  However, I am also guilty of making St.  Patrick's Day more than it should be.  In my defense, I didn't mean for it to get that way.  I started out just wanting to make it a little bit of fun with -"oh look leprechauns came last night!"  My girls, however, took it up another notch.

When we were kids, St. Patrick's Day was nothing more than a day we wore something green and had corned beef and cabbage (not my favorite at that time) for dinner.  That  was it.  About 2 years ago, the day before St. Patrick's Day, my first grade teacher mom was talking about how the leprechauns were going to mess up her classroom that night.  When I asked her what she was talking about, she told me how every year she would turn over chairs in her class and turn the  toilet water green with food coloring.  She would just generally make a mess to make it appear leprechauns had been there to wreak havoc in her classroom.

"Don't you do anything at home for the girls?"  She asked.

Uh-no.  Didn't we just get done with doing things for them at Christmas?  Then I talked to my sister Beth, who apparently did similar things in her house for her kids to find the next morning.  They loved it.  Okay, fine.  It sounded like fun and pretty easy, so why not?

That year I went about the house turning pictures and booster seats upside down.  I turned our milk green, and gave the toilet tanks a few drops of food coloring.  Nothing big.  The next morning you would have thought it was Christmas all over again.  The girls went nuts.

"Look at our booster seats!!"

"That picture is upside down!!"


Then I poured their cereal for breakfast and when I went to pour the milk, feigned surprise at the minty green color that spilled out.  They just about came undone.  It was all they talked about for a week.  The next year, when they realized St. Patrick's Day was coming up, they talked about the leprechauns and what they did the year before and wondered what they would do that year.  I kept it pretty much the same.  They were just as thrilled.  Then January of this year rolled around.  Coming down off the Christmas high, the girls were looking ahead to what holidays were approaching to get excited for.  Valentines Day-which I agree with the woman in the article has become second Halloween, was right around the corner.  There were also birthdays and Easter, but WAIT A MINUTE!!  ST. PATRICK'S DAY WAS COMING!!!  I kid you not, they talked about St. Patrick's Day and the leprechauns very similarly to Christmas and Santa.  I started to feel the pressure.

What was I going to do?  How was I going to make this better than last year?

I started to go down that road.  Then I stopped.  It was fucking St. Patrick's Day.  A day set aside in the Catholic church to honor a Saint, that then turned into a crazy drinking holiday because he was Irish.  I (along with others) was now turning it into a major kid holiday.  For what?  The few things I had done in the past two years had been enough and the girls had loved it.  Why do more?  So I didn't.

I did just what I had before.  Upside down pictures, green toilets, green milk, the end.  It was easy, the girls loved it just as much and they talked about it for days.

Funny side note-Georgia comes into our room just about every night and gets into bed with us around 2am.  I usually put her back in her bed at 2:05.  She is so damn fidgety.  The night before St.  Patrick's Day, she said to me,

"I can't come into your bed tonight."  She looked very distraught about this.

"Why?" I asked.  I had no idea what would stop her.

"Because of the leprechauns.  I'm afraid to see them."

So yes, along with creating an extra holiday I have created more fictional beings that my kids will find out aren't real in a couple years.  Except these ones they are afraid of.  Hmmm...Maybe I need to use these leprechauns to my advantage while I still can.

Anyway, I realized this year that  we create our own craziness by one upping ourselves with too many gifts at Christmas, and giving away to much at Valentine's Day or Halloween.  So while, yes, I did turn St. Patrick's Day into more than it was when I was a kid, I only tried to turn into a fun memory for the girls.   I never wanted an all out, go overboard and spend a shit ton of money kind of day.  Plus perhaps I've created an ally for myself with the leprechaun.  You know a little-"you better do what I say or the leprechauns might come"- might be useful for a couple years.  With the little girls at least.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Now She is Six

Today is little Miss Lana's sixth birthday.  Yup-six.  I can't believe it.  She can't really either.  In fact, she didn't even realize she was turning six.

Just about every night when I put the girls to bed, Lana will ask me to lie in her bed with her for a bit.  I'm usually in the middle of finishing making dinner for Andy and I, cleaning up dinner, folding clothes, washing dishes, or just about any other number of chores I have yet to finish.  Some nights, I'm just to crazed or sometimes frankly just done with being mommy.  On those days I tell her I will be back in a bit, knowing she will fall asleep within five minutes.  Lately though, I take a beat and think to myself-"she will not asking me to do this for much longer".  Then I climb the stairs to the top bunk and lay next to her for just a couple minutes.  I try to commit her adoring little girl face to my memory to draw from when she's 16 and hating me.  Sure it sets back my chores, but for what, five minutes?  It's so worth it to be able to remember those times with her and have her remember that I took the time out for her.

Last week one night, as I was kissing her goodnight, she asked me to come lay down with her.  I threw my dish towel over my shoulder and walked up the stairs.

"Okay, but only for a couple minutes," I told her.

"Okay," she agreed.

Then we started to talk about how her birthday was just a week away.  Kids get so damn excited about their birthday and talk about it for months before it comes.  So much so that they give themselves half and three quarter marks during the year, showing that they are that much closer to their big day and another year older.  This is something that immediately stops once you hit 21.  With her birthday only a week away, she was beside herself and did nothing but constantly talk about it.

"I know you're excited for you're birthday, huh?"  I asked.

"Yes!" she admitted.

"Lana, I can't believe you're going to be 6!" I told her.

Then she looked at me a little confused and  said, "I thought I was going to be five and a half?"

I giggled at her for a moment thinking she was joking, except she wasn't laughing with me.

"Wait," I said.  "You really thought you were turning five and a half on your birthday?" I asked her.

She nodded her head yes.

"Haha!  Oh Lana!"  I couldn't help but be amused.   "No, girlie.  You're going to be six.  Last year when you had your birthday you turned five and it's been a whole year since that birthday.  So five plus one equals what?"  I asked.

"Six," she answered correctly.

 "Right! So do you understand," I asked.

"Yeah," she said.  "Okay."

I'm still not sure if she really got it, but at least when people ask her how old she is turning today she will tell them six and not five and a half.  It will keep the weird looks toward me down to a minimum.  For today anyway.

Happy SIXTH birthday Lana Drew!  We love you lots and more every day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Moms on the Loose!

Last week at this time, I was being driven around the Northern California countryside tasting different wines, from small local wineries and becoming VERY tipsy.  Today, I have three kids home from school for spring break and I'm PMSing.   I've been searching for Doc Brown's flux capacitor all day to send me back in time, but it hasn't been a fruitful search.  Yes, last weekend I took a much needed break and flew up to San Fransisco to meet my sister, Beth, and one of my best friends, Trista, for a mom's weekend.  Or as Trista dubbed it -MOMS ON THE LOOSE!

A few months ago, Trista told me she really needed to get away.  She has an almost two year old, a husband who travels constantly and a full time job.  She asked me if I could arrange a mom's weekend away, because I'm good like that and  I, of course, was up for one myself.   It's been a year since I went to Vegas and my mom batteries were slowly being drained.  I asked a couple other mom friends and both my sisters, but it ended up just being the three of us, which was perfect.  (Even though it would have been made better had Megan, Melissa and BethAnnDoddKoehn been there too. Next time!) We briefly talked about going to Vegas, but decided we didn't want to come back more exhausted than when we started, which is what Vegas does to you.  It sucks the life force out of you more than any kid can.  Even a two month old baby.  Instead, we thought a relaxing vacation with wine tasting and massages was a better choice.

Don't hate us.  Okay you can if you want.  I would hate someone talking about doing this too, but it was awesome. It was better than awesome.  It  was super fucking awesome.  My sister and I met at the San Fran airport and it was only 11am when we got in, so we decided why not spend the day at Fisherman's Wharf?  We had no other plans for the day, other than driving to our hotel in Sonoma.  That was only an hour away, so we decided to hang out in the city for the afternoon.  It was a gorgeous  day with temperatures in the high 60s, blue skies, and an ocean breeze.  Better than perfect.  I've been to San Fransisco about a half a dozen times and it is one of my favorite places on the planet, so I was more than willing to stay and play. 

Beth and me in San Francisco!

We had lunch on the Wharf, complete with midday martinis, because why not?  Then we walked around for a couple hours buying souvenirs for our kids, sharing a hot fudge sundae at Ghirardelli and taking pictures of the beautiful views.  It just doesn't get any better.  Perhaps it helped that we only had ourselves to worry about too.

Trista wasn't coming in until the next day, so Beth and I drove the hour to our hotel in Sonoma.  I had never been there before, but it is a cute little place with fantastic restaurants to dine in and wine tasting rooms in the center of town.  We stayed at the Renaissance in town.  They are owned by Marriott, but are a bit fancier than your average Marriott. There was everything at the hotel, including a spa on the grounds and a fireplace in our room.  I am so thankful to my Dad who works for Marriott and can get us a discount, because the place was gorgeous, but expensive.  Without my special rate we would have been staying at the Motel 6.  

Trista, Beth, and me at the first winery-Kachina.
 Another gorgeous day!
Sunday morning, Trista met us for breakfast and then we were off for our spa treatments, followed by a fabulous steak dinner at another fantastic restaurant.  Then it was nothing but hanging out in our hotel room, chatting, laughing and enjoying more wine.  Turns out there's not much of a night life in Sonoma  past 9pm.  That was okay though because being moms, we aren't used to being out much past 9 these days anyway.  

Beth, Trista and Me at the 2nd winery-MoniClaire
Monday was our wine tasting tour.  We booked it through a company recommended by my youngest sister, Megan.  Jerry, from Wine Country Tours LLC, picked us up at 9:45 and he took us to four awesome wineries.  Not your typical big wineries, but smaller ones, that had some of the tastiest wines I've ever had.  If you are ever in that area for wine tasting call Jerry.  He knows these wineries well and we pretty much had private tastings at each one.  The people who owned the wineries were so kind and knowledgeable, and VERY generous with their tastings.  It was like wine tasting at your uncle's house. Of course, after the 2nd winery, wine tasting at Boone's Farm would have been fine with me, but no, we still had some really good ones.  I had quite a bit of tastes at that 2nd winery.  Aaaannd this might have happened at the last winery...

Didn't I tell you I was an awesome hula hooper?  Even drunk!  Oh and I might have passed out for a bit on our drive back to the hotel, but who knows for sure.

The only bad part of the weekend, was waking up at 4am on Tuesday morning to get to the airport for my sister's 7am flight.  We managed though.  Three moms...yeah we are used to getting up when we have to.  Even after drinking the entire day before.  Turns out I did come home a wee bit drained.  Still not as bad as after Vegas.

It was one of the best weekends I've ever had.  Before I left I had talked to my girls about the trip and made sure they knew they were to behave for Daddy and help him out.  He was going to have to do the morning school routine for two days.  Something he had never done before.  He did a better job than I could have expected.  The house wasn't even a complete disaster upon my return!  Sure there was a ton of laundry, but he is a guy so I can't expect everything.  Seriously though, I have to give all my thanks to my fantastic, awesome, willing to let me go away for 3 days husband.  I am so lucky to be married to someone who is not only okay with me going away, but encourages it.  PLUS he enjoys taking care of the girls alone for a couple of days.  Not to mention he never has a problem with me spending the money to pamper myself.  Yup, I am pretty damn lucky.  Thanks baby!

For those moms out there who are cursing me right now, because you would kill for a weekend like this, but don't think you can do it, you can and  you SHOULD!  We all deserve a break every once in a while and as moms, whether you stay at home or work, we never get one.  We are ALWAYS working.  Cooking, cleaning, laundry, kids.  It's a never ending cycle.  It not that the dads don't have their own crosses to bear, but they seem to be able to let go and relax easier than we do.  We always see something that needs to be done and we must do it NOW! Guys have no problem waiting until later.   That is why going away helps, at least for me. You can't clean out that closet if you're not home, so no guilt for ignoring it.  

The night before I left I had a conversation with Sonya about me going away.  She kept making comments that I wanted to get away from them.  Okay, while this was somewhat true I had to explain it to her so she understood the real reasons why, and didn't feel like it was because they drive me crazy.  Even if that is sometimes the case.  

"You know how you like going to school most of the time?" I asked her.

"Yeah," she agreed.

"But you know how you get excited for the weekend because you like having a break?"

She nodded yes.

"Well it's sorta the same thing," I told her.  "I love being your mommy and taking care of you girls and daddy and everything you need, but there are times I just need a break from it.  I need to not cook, clean and do everything for everyone else.  Sometimes I need to do something for myself, and that will help me to be happier and be a better mommy."

"Oh. Ok," she said.  She seemed to get it.  And yes, I did miss them all, dammit.  I always do.  And they missed me and were so excited to see me.  That's always a nice feeling too and something I don't ever get because we are always together.

We all need a break from whatever our day to day is, sometimes. It's harder for us moms to get that, but we need it more than anyone.  Well, I think so anyway.  So, any of you moms out there reading this, jealous of my fabulous weekend, go plan one yourselves.  It doesn't have to be as fancy or elaborate.  Just go to a hotel for a night by yourself.  Your husband can handle it for ONE night.  (Kristine-I'm looking at you!) If you don't have a husband as understanding as mine let him read this post to make him understand a little bit better.  If that doesn't work, just promise him sex for a week straight when you come back.  I promise you'll be packing your bags before you know it.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Georgia Hams It Up, Lana Breaks Down

Here are a couple more videos with a peak into the girls and to me "momming" them.  You might remember about a month ago I wrote about Lana having the break down about wanting a BLT, but I had frozen bacon.  Well, unbeknownst to me, Georgia inadvertently caught most of the argument on video.   She ignores us and hams it up for the camera, but you can't ignore my annoying voice or Lana starting to lose it.  Does that sound like the voice of a mom who might need a vacation?  It does and I got a mini one over the weekend.  More to come on that later.  For now, enjoy these!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lana's Missing Tooth

Any of you who have a Mac computer most likely have Photo Booth.  For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, you can take pictures and videos of yourself while sitting in front of your computer camera.  It then saves it in the Photo Booth.  The fun part is, you can do all kinds of different effects that make you look silly.  Andy has been taking pictures with the girls in the Photo Booth using different effect for a while now.  They will take funny pictures and laugh about them. It's a fun rainy Saturday afternoon time waster. 

Then one day, about six months ago, one of the girls discovered that she could take video of herself.  It was on.  Anytime I allow them to turn on the computer, they will take little videos of themselves.  Last week, I actually watched some of these videos and most of them are hysterical.  I love watching them try so hard to act so silly.  I thought perhaps you would like to see a few of them too.  So every few posts I will give you a new video-produced, written, directed and starring one of the Dadekian girls.  It will be a surprise who it is.  

For this first one, I thought I'd give you a video Lana made the day after she lost her first tooth.  She was obsessed with losing it, as made evident by this video.  Yes, it looks there are two teeth missing, but it is only one.  HOWEVER, two days ago she did lose her second tooth, which is why I thought showing this video now would be relevant.  Sidenote: it's always interesting to hear what's going on in the background of these videos.  She made this one on the day that Georgia had her last migraine.  You may hear Sonya ask Georgia if she needs to throw up.  There are also a couple of other funny things that happen, but why don't I just let you see for yourself.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sorry Isn't Always The Hardest Word

I found this when I was cleaning up the girls' room the other day:

This right here, this is the reason I had kids and the reason I had more than one.  It also makes me feel like I'm doing something right.  For those of you who can't read Lana's kid spelling it says, "I am sore (sorry) for putting the cuvrsz(covers) on yor (your) yonucorn(unicorn)"  

Now I don't remember this happening, the covers on the unicorn incident, but it must have been a thing, and they must have had quite a fight.  The girls fight every day, multiple times a day.  That gives those with only children a good case to keep to just the one.  Some days the fighting drives me to want to drink a bottle of Tequila.  I manage to refrain to just the one shot though.  However, no matter how mad the girls get at each other, or how much they might hurt each other, they always make up.  Sometimes even by drawing each other cute pictures and sorry notes like this.  This is a life skill only children don't learn as easily because they don't have the opportunity to.  

Even though I loathe the fighting,  I love that they know how to make up with each other.  Something I will give myself and Andy credit for teaching them.  It helped that we both grew up fighting and making up with our own siblings.  This picture gives us a point in the good parenting column.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Target Demographic

I recently became aware about the fact that my kids are not influenced by commercials the way I once was when I was a kid.  With the way we watch TV these days, recording shows and fast forwarding through the commercials, or On Demand which has no commercials, how would they know.  Not to mention most of what I allow them to watch is on PBS, which has no commercials anyway.  I remember watching TV on Saturday mornings when I was little and finding all kinds of toys that I wanted for my birthday or Christmas during the break from "Scooby Doo".   My girls have no idea what toys are out there unless someone they know has it.  It's kind of nice not having them influenced by advertising.  HOWEVER-you know how when you take something completely away from them, like sugar or TV, when they do get those things, they go a little nuts for it.  This is what happened last week when my girls did discover a few commercials.

Even though they don't usually watch shows in real time on TV, last week I allowed it.  Lana had a fever (for a freaking week!) and all she wanted to do was sit on the couch.  She didn't want to play games, look at books or play Barbies.  All she could do was lay, watch and sleep.  After a while she got bored with the same shows I had recorded on PBS, and all she really wanted to watch was "My Little Ponies" on Nickelodeon.  It's not a great show, but since she was so sick, I was letting her do whatever she wanted.  The problem with allowing her to watch whatever she wanted was that it meant the other two also got in on the action.  Nothing I could really do about that.  At least Sonya was in school most of the day.  So Lana and Georgia sat and went to pony land.  Turns out that Nickelodeon does have commercials.  The funny thing is most of them are very infomercial like.  There are a few regular ones, but for the most part they are commercials for new things you might not see in stores yet.  What kind of things? You might ask.  Well Georgia told me.

I was showering one morning and she came back into the bathroom and said to me, "Mommy!  Can we get the icthe cream thing where you put in the sthtuff and you shake, shake, shake and you open da lid and you have icthe cream!"

"What are you talking about?" I asked while soaping up my hair.  

"It makesth icthe cream!  In three minutesth!"  She informs me.

"Ummmm...okay," I said trying to figure out what the hell she was talking about.

"Den you can add your own toppingsth!"  She added.

That's when it hit me.  I remembered hearing this at one point when they were watching "My Little Pony."

Well, it certainly looks awesome.  I mean what kid doesn't want to "shake it to make it" and get ice cream in just THREE minutes!  I'm sure it works.  Plus look how cute the ice cream cone cups are.  

I tried to explain to Georgia that I doubted it worked very well, and we would not be buying Ice Cream Magic today.  She was understandably disappointed and now asks me on a daily basis if we can get it.

"BUT MOM!  You justht shake it to get icthe cream!"

That's called advertising kid.  They make it LOOK like that's all you have to do.  And who knows maybe you do.  However, their three minute mark might be slightly off.  I'm guessing after shaking for about 20 minutes, if it even resembles ice cream at THAT point, she might be over even having the ice cream.  Plus who do you think will end up having to shake it after a while?  That's all I need to add to my daily routine. 

After that, I tried to go back to just letting them watch PBS, but a couple other Pony shows got in there and that's where I learned about the pillow pet that lights up.  Because we don't have enough of that crap in our house.  Lana finally got better and went back to school on Wednesday and I banned the TV.  That is until Georgia came down with the fever yesterday.  I'm making her watch Sesame Street.