Thursday, July 21, 2016

Georgia's Turn

Hello everyone!  I am indeed still among the living.  I just have a crazy schedule that does not allow much time for writing these days, but I feel like I need to.  At least I have to tell the story of Georgia in the Jungle Book play at school.  I wrote about Sonya and Lana's experiences, so it would be unfair of me to not talk about little GG.  Plus then, when she gets older, I'll never hear the end of it about how she, as the youngest child, always got the shit end of the stick.  Less writing in the baby book, less pictures of her, blah, blah.  It's a song my little sister Megan likes to sing sometimes.  Well, I'm here to make sure that doesn't happen to G!  At least in talking about her part in the 2nd grade play.  

For those of you who have been with me a while, you might remember reading about Sonya's experience with this and then Lana, who ended up with the same part Sonya had when she was in 2nd grade.  This is one of the things I love about my girls all growing up in the same place.  I moved around so much when I was a kid and my sisters never had the chance to have the favorite teacher I did or get the same part in the play.  We didn't have similar experiences to compare.  Which is fine, I swear I'm not harboring a grudge-well maybe a tiny one- however I like that my girls can share and compare their similar childhood experiences.  

Now unlike Sonya, who was petrified to get on stage, Georgia is my ham.  She is the one who longs to be in the spotlight and have everyone looking at her-as long as they are supposed to be looking at her.  When they started discussing the Jungle Book at school in January, Georgia was dying to play the part of King Louie.  I honestly have no idea why she wanted to be him, but that was who she had her heart set on.  Then she came home in tears one day because she wasn't going to get the chance to try out for King Louie.  They were organizing it a bit differently this year and each 2nd grade class had a group of animals they could try out for.  Her class was not the monkeys.  Her class was Kaa the snake and she had no desire to be one of 10 kids as Kaa the snake.  She could, however, try out for one of the four main parts-Mowgli, Shere Kahn, Bagheera, or Baloo the bear.  Once she heard about this option, all her cards were on the table to go for Baloo.  I thought this was a perfect choice for her since Baloo is more of the comedic relief of the play, and Georgia is the comedic relief in our family.  

Sidestory-We were talking at dinner one night about how the girls wanted to see the new Ghostbusters movie.  I told them they could, but that they had to watch the original one first.  Sonya and Lana decided they would be too scared.  Georgia said that was fine, she wanted to watch it.  Then she said,

"But I might end up in your bed in the middle of the night....Consequences!"

Consequences indeed.  Damn that kid makes me laugh.  Anyway-Baloo.

They auditioned in their class for the teacher.  Then their teacher picked two kids to move on to audition with the other Baloo, and main part hopefuls in the other classes.  (You're going to Hollywood!)  Her teacher kept telling me how great she was for the part, but they had to see the other kids first before they could decide.  Of course none were as good as Georgia, not to brag, but yet to brag, and she got the part.    Little GG was going to play the part of Big Bear Baloo!

Over the next month and a half, they rehearsed the play at school.  I kept hearing from all the 2nd grade teachers how great she was doing and how cute she was.  We worked on her lines at home and I could see how into this she was.  Her only problem was running the lines too quickly.  

She was so  nervous the night before and the morning of the performance.  We could barely talk to her without her getting mad or bursting into tears.  She was jumpy!  I was just praying she wasn't going to get a migraine.  Don't worry-she didn't.  This isn't one of those stories, but I was sweating it.  She hadn't had one since December and she was due.  Thankfully it happened two weeks AFTER this.  

The school held two performances and we went to both.  I even took Sonya out of school for a bit one day, so she could come watch her sister.  I was nervous for her, but she remembered every line and played the part adorably well.  People I didn't know came up to me afterward to tell me how cute she was.  She really was.  She is easily one of the smallest kids in her class-as all of my girls are, they come by it naturally-and here she was playing the part of what was supposed to be a big bear.  I was so proud of the great job she did and of course cried at the beginning of both performances.  I am such a sap!  The best part is she loved every minute of it.  She loved the acting and getting the laughs and she loved the spotlight.  I guess something else she comes by naturally.  

It's been so crazy to watch each of my girls do this play and each in a different way.  Even though Sonya and Lana had the same part they certainly didn't play it the same way.  Then having Georgia play a main part brought it to a different level.  I'm so glad they go to a school that will do things like this for the kids.   There was talk of it not happening this year, and I would have been heartbroken if it didn't.  I feel like things came full circle while watching Georgia up there, after having seen it two times before with the other two.  Not to mention that this really sparked something in her.  I would guess she is going to look for more opportunities like this to shine.  She enjoyed herself so much from beginning to end.  I think the craziest part of all this for me though is to realize that they have now all been through 2nd grade.  This is it.  We are on to the END of elementary school.  I just can't even think about it half the time.  I will miss all the littleness and cuteness of all this...


On the plus side-I am anxious to see what they will choose to focus on in their lives and if something like this play really will spark something in Georgia.  I love watching their lives unfold and seeing what kind of people they will become.   I will NOT love the attitudes that are about to explode in my house over the next eight years though.  Especially if this acting bug kicks in.  The drama that will follow!  Oh Lawdy!  Pray for me people! 

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Superbowl Challenge

There are times as a mom when you realize that you can do superhuman things.  Like lifting a car off your child trapped underneath, or grabbing them before they get hit by a truck in the street, or changing a full set of sheets under a sleeping child.  Yup.  I did that last one.  Just call me Supermom!

A few weeks ago we had that big game that some refer to as the Superbowl.  Perhaps you've seen it?  Well some years we've had parties, some years we've gone to parties.  This year we didn't really care so much about who was playing, but it's still nice to have a couple people over and eat unhealthy, but yummy food, while having an excuse to start drinking at 2pm.  Also why I love Thanksgiving.   We weren't going to have anyone over, but decided last minute that eating unhealthy food and drinking alone (mostly me) would be sad.  So we invited a couple of our friends who had been around for the Patriots playoff games with us the weeks before.  Yes, we are Patriots fans and I love Tom Brady.  Do not judge or start making cheating jokes because I'm very over it.  Anyway-our friends brought over a ton of food and I made a few things, as I always do, because I come from an Italian family.  There is never such a thing as too much food.  

We had too much food.  I mean it was ridiculous how much food we had.  We could have had half the Patriots at our house and still have enough to inflate all the balls with food. (See- I can make fun of us too).  

In regular every day life, we do a good job with balancing out what the girls eat.  I make sure they have fruits and/or a veggie with every meal, lean protein, some good carbs.  Yes, we have desserts sometimes, and maybe baked chips or pirates booty, but when I look around at what other people feed their kids on a regular basis, I am so proud of the job I do with them.  I know we are teaching them the right way to stay healthy and, hopefully, not become overweight in their future.  HOWEVER-I will let them eat whatever they want on special occasions, such as the Superbowl.

On days like that they will go all out, but for the most part they will only eat until they are full.  They will still select some carrot sticks amongst their mounds of tortilla chips and mini hot dogs, so at least something good is getting in there.  I ignore the fact that said carrots are covered in ranch.  At least there is a veggie there somewhere.  I will cut them off after two desserts.  Although Sonya will try for that third cookie or cupcake.  So, yes, it's not the best day of eating but it's one day.  They will usually complain about stomach aches afterward too, so it's kinda a good lesson as well.  Well maybe not, because after 42 years, I end up complaining of the same thing at the end of the night. I also love eating a lot of unhealthy food at once.  I guess when you eat well all the time it's fun to be bad for a minute.

Sonya and Lana do know when to stop eating.  Georgia, on the other hand, is a different story.  That girl loves her some chips.  If there is a bowl of chips somewhere, she will find it and eat the entire bowl if I let her.  In fact-funny side story-Last weekend we went to Big Bear to go skiing. The place we rented had a big game room complete with pool table, bar, poker table, etc.  I was behind the bar and said, "Oh they even have poker chips." Georgia's ears perked up upon hearing this and said, "Where at the chips?" I didn't even think about it, and pointed her in the direction when Andy knowing what she was looking for said, "Everything isn't always about eating Georgia."  When I saw the look of disappointment on her face as she saw the poker chips, I realized that she thought I had been talking about some kind of potato chip.  Oh Georgia!  

Back to my original story!  As I was cleaning up after everyone left, I saw Georgia at the counter shoveling more tortilla chips into her mouth.  I told her that was enough and shooed her away to go get ready for bed.  I knew she had had plenty to eat that night, and there was no way she could still be hungry, but she couldn't resist.  

(WAIT!  Before I go any further with this story, I'm giving fair warning to all you stomach squeamish people who might be eating.  Either don't read this now, or don't eat right now.  Trust me.)

The girls got ready and went to bed, and I was just about to go tuck them in when Sonya ran into the kitchen in a panic.  "Georgia is throwing up!!"  

Wait what?  She was perfectly fine 10 minutes ago, downing what might have been her 10th helping of chips....Oooohhh.  Yeah.  Maybe too MANY chips.  Huh.  

I calmly asked Sonya to go get me the throw up bucket from the garage and went to the little girls room where Georgia was throwing up into a puddle on her bed.  Yeah, I know.  It gets more gross, so just wait.  Sonya came running in with the bucket just in time for Georgia to spit the very last of her puke in it.  So that did no good.  Then I noticed it.  Did I mention Georgia was on the top bunk?  Sure there was a nice neat puddle of puke on her sheets in front of her, but before she decided to throw up there she decided to first go over the side of the bunk bed.  Which hit Lana's bottom bunk below her, and the trundle bed under Lana's below that, and the floor.  It was spectacular.  I also noticed Lana was completely passed out.  It was 9:30, but she had only been in bed about three minutes which I thought was odd.  However, it makes sense looking back now, because the next afternoon she came down with Influenza A.  It must have been brewing.  Never a dull moment. 

The point is there was a lot of puke in many different places to clean up, and I needed to figure out where to start.  So I called in reinforcements.  

"Andy!  Get in here!"

He came running into the room and knew what the situation was from the smell that hit him in the face.  I told you there was more gross coming.  Oh the smell.   It's not bad enough that vomit has to look gross, but the smell is just not something you can get away from right way.   

"I need you to help me clean this up, " I told him.  Needless to say, he was thrilled.  Normally, I would have just taken care of a situation like this, but this time I needed help.  So I put him in charge of taking the soiled sheets off Georgia's bed, while I went to work on the side of the bed puke.  Andy wasn't sure how to take the sheets off because there was so much of it in one pile.  So he came up with the brilliant idea of shoveling it all into a garbage bag first.  I'm impressed he got through it without adding to the pile himself.  So. Very. Gross.  After he took care of that, I had him take care of getting Georgia cleaned up, who as it turned out wasn't so bad.  She had managed not to get any on her person, so score one for her in that category.  Still, l she needed a face wash and a toothbrush.  

There wasn't a lot of throw up over the side of the bed, but enough to make it so I had to change Lana's sheets.  Oh and there was the fact that the bunk beds just have a mattress laying on top of wooden slates.  So whatever didn't make it on the mattress, fell in between those slates.  On both the top AND bottom bunk.  Have I ever mentioned how much a pain in the ass bunk beds are for SO many reasons?  Sure they save space, but that's the end of their good side.  Making them sucks.  Changing the sheets takes days and will break every nail you have, but unfortunately they are very necessary in our small house.  So after I cleaned under Georgia's mattress and the wooden slates, I had to figure out what to do about a sleeping Lana and her dirty sheets.  Do I wake her, move her, or try and just change the sheets around her?  I decided to do that last one, since it sounded the most challenging.  Because I mean changing sheets on a bunk bed is difficult enough.  But doing it with a sleeping child on top-near impossible.  Challenge accepted!

The taking off the sheets wasn't too difficult.  That was just a lot of pulling from underneath her.  No biggie.  It was getting the new ones on that proved to be more of a challenge.  Let's keep in mind that I had to replace the mattress cover as well,  So not one but TWO bottoms sheets. Oh, and I had to lift up the side of her mattress first to clean down  those wooden slates, where the puke was stuck.  After I did that I got the two bottom sheets out and  I started at the top on one corner, then managed to roll her on top of the sheet and do the other corner.  Once I got the top part of the bed done it was easier to pull the sheet down to do the bottom.  Especially because Lana is a peanut and only takes up half the bed.  The top sheet was a piece of cake since it was just covering her up and tucking under the mattress.  When I was done, Lana was still completely asleep and in a new set of sheets.  The next morning I asked her about it, and she had no recollection of the entire incident.  She wasn't even aware that Georgia had gotten sick.  

As for Georgia,  she was not ill in any way.  I thought perhaps she was at first, since the stomach bug had been circulating at school and gave her the benefit of the doubt, but she was immediately better after she threw up and fine the next day.  Andy had said so, but I didn't believe it until the next day, she had simply eaten to much.  Or maybe just too many chips.  Which you think would stop her, but not at all.  That story about the poker chips was just last week.  

So I will continue to do what I can to help reinforce the good eating habits with a fun eating day here and there for them, however, perhaps the next time I do need to monitor how much they are eating a bit more.  But hey!  At least I discovered what a badass I am at changing sheets with a sleeping kid in them.  Okay fine that hardly makes me a badass, but I'm a stay at home mom.  Let me have this one.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Being Good At Family

Hey there!  Yes it's me.  I know I totally fell into the pit of being overwhelmed and overburdened with a thousand things to do with school and the holidays, which left me no time to write.  I wrote a bunch of blogs in my head, but none of them made it to the computer.  Looking forward to the day where I can think something and Suri will write it down for me.   I even got a little bah humbuggy at one point because of how crazy everything was.  Even though I still have much going on-like helping to produce the Variety Show at the girls' school-I decided to put everything else I should be doing right now on hold (changing sheets, cleaning, getting cat litter) to do the one thing I like to do for me.  Writing.  So with that here's a little story about a New Year's Eve Day trip we took last week.  (Was it really only LAST week.)

Over the holidays we didn't have any family in town which was (sorry parents) kinda nice.  I mean don't get me wrong, I love when my parents or Andy's parents come and spend Christmas with us.  The kids love them being there and it's nice to have a big family together for the holidays.  However, every three years it's also kinda nice to not entertain parents for a week or more.  This year was that year.  So there was more hanging out and just doing nothing, which is good for us since we are always doing something every damn minute of every damn day.  The only bad part about doing nothing for a family who is very active, is that after a while we start to go a little stir crazy.  So we decided that on New Year's Eve, during the day, we would drive to the mountains to a sledding park. 

One of the advantages of living here in Southern California is that we are so close to the mountains to go sledding anytime in the winter if we want.  Even though we hadn't had any rain yet last week, the sledding parks all make their own snow.  The other great thing was that it was actually cold here this Christmas.  In fact while we were in the 50's here on Christmas day my in laws were sweating it out in the 70s in Rhode Island.  Crazy!  Since it was so cool here it was even colder in the mountains which was perfect for the snow making and sledding.  

I found a place on line that is only about an hour from our house, called Mt. Baldy.  When we got there we were to purchase tickets to take a "scenic lift" to the top of the mountain where we could do the snow tubing.  They also have skiing and snowboarding but we weren't going that crazy for one day.  After we bundled up and purchased our tickets we walked up a little hill to the lift.  That's when we realized the lift chairs were only for 2 people.  Last time I counted there were 5 of us, and three of us are kids.  Huh.  How was this going to work?  I wasn't crazy about the idea of Sonya going by herself, and sending her with one of the girls could prove disastrous.  I didn't need a fight to break out on the lift and someone pushed off onto the side of the mountain.  No worries though.  She wasn't allowed to go alone or with one of the girls unless she was 14.  That would have been nice to know BEFORE we bought our tickets. They did let us know she could ride with another adult who was alone and wanted to go up the mountain.  Oh yes-let me put my 11 year old on a ski lift with some stranger for 20 minutes who could be a Jared from Subway for all I know!  I don't think so.   Oh and by the way-it was seven degrees at the top of the mountain.  SEVEN!!  Now I know there are a lot of your out there who that freezing temperature might not bother so much and probably think we are big pussies.  However to those of us who just went through a 55 degree Christmas and were complaining of how cold we were, making fires in our fireplace every night,  seven degrees would have killed us.  

Andy and I made the decision to see what we could do about getting our money back, then figuring out what we could do to salvage the day from there.  It was of course greeted with a barrage of questions from the girls who were so looking forward to sledding.  

"We're not going?"

"Not here."

"But why?"

"Because Sonya can't ride the lift by herself and it's colder up there than it is down here even."  They were already freezing in the 32 degree temp.  

"So we aren't going to go sledding at ALL??"

"I don't know yet.  We will figure it out."


"We will see!"

Neither one of us was optimistic about it being easy to get our money back, but turns out it was!  They were very nice about it after we explained that we had no idea about the age for the chairlift.  So we were happy we didn't lose any money on it, but now what the hell do we do?  We had decided to go to this mountain because it was closer than the one in Big Bear.  Were we even in the right direction of heading to the other one?  Unfortunately, it took us a bit to find out since there was no service on the mountain.  Once we got to the bottom I found that the other place I had looked at was less than an hour from where we were.  Since we had left the house so early it was only 11am at that point, so we decided to go for it.  

We arrived at the tubing park about an hour later.  No traffic at all thank goodness!  This place was right off the side of the road, no lift, and cheaper than the other place.  So win win!  We went and got our tickets.  Georgia and I made a trip to the disgusting outhouses.  

Side note here-Why, in the year 2016, have we not figured out a better way to keep an outhouse clean?  Those things are the most disgusting places on earth.  I am always so grossed out when I go in one.  I have been in nicer ones that are brought in for outdoor weddings or other such things, but then they are usually newer and not used at all yet.  The ones on the mountains though are just so incredibly gross. I just tell the girls the whole time we are in there, "whatever you do, don't look down."  I gag now just thinking about it.  Back to the main story...

After we paid and grabbed our tubes, we headed to one of the smaller hills because the girls were a little nervous and wanted to start there.  To be honest I was fine starting there too.  Sonya and Georgia went down almost immediately raving about how much fun it was and climbed the stairs to go again. Lana though.  Well Lana and I spent 10 minutes on that first little hill together.  She was nervous to go down, I sat there trying to convince her everyone else was still alive after sledding, and she would be too.  I think it was that fact that she had to go on her belly head first that freaked her out.  She would start to lay down  and then say  "No, no, no, I don't want to."  Andy claimed I was babying her, but I know how Lana is.  She has always been this way.  It takes her a minute to try anything new, food, swimming, jumping off the diving board, skiing, sledding, bike riding, roller blading, whatever.  She is convinced something bad is going to happen to her.  I knew as soon as she did it though she would love it.  

I'm not sure exactly what it was that made her finally go.  At one point I gave up trying to convince her  and went down without her to show her it was fine.  Not to long after that, she went with me and that was that.  There was no stopping her.  She loved it as I knew she would.  

When we first got there all three of the girls agreed they weren't going near the big hill.  Even after Lana had been going down the smaller one, she pointed to the big hill and said, 

"There is no way I'm going down that one!"

I reminded her that she didn't want to go down the little one at first and look how much fun she was having.  So she said,

"Okay maybe I will at some point but NOT today."

"That's fine," I told her.  

At the end of our hour we were all riding down that big hill.  And we were all loving it.  It is only an hour you pay for at a time.  You can go more, but then you pay more.  At first I thought-an hour that's it?  But trust me, after walking up those stairs a bunch of times you are exhausted and done after your hour.  At one point we all went down together which was comedic.  I laughed so hard when, at one point, Andy was trying to push us all down the hill together, and Sonya and Georgia accidentally broke free leaving Andy holding on to Georgia's mitten at the top of the hill. 

Andy and the girls going down the hill together.
It was one of the best family days we've had as a family and a great way to end the year.  The girls keep talking about how they want to go back.  It was fairly easy too, minus the detour we made to the other mountain an hour away.  I was proud of us that we found a way to salvage the day even though we ran into a problem and our original plan didn't work out.  It was a good lesson for all of us.  Especially for me, because when my plans get thrown off I tend to get anxious.  It was one of those days where I thought to myself, "We are good at family!" 

*(credit to that line goes to the show The Goldbergs, which if you aren't watching you should be!)
Me and Lana

Georgia, Sonya and Andy

Happy 2016 everyone!  Hope to write more for you in this year and here's to everyone finding a day where they feel they are good at family too.  I know all to well how some days that is so hard to do.  

Sonya and Georgia