Friday, March 20, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes..

After dropping Hayley off at the movies with her friends, the boys and I walked inside the mall to grab some eats from Panda Express. While standing in line, Austin points to something written in Chinese on the menu and says "Hey mom, I know what that language is, it's taekwondo!" Trying not to laugh too hard,  I explained to him that taekwondo is a sport, not a language, and that it would be like saying that something was written in football. He didn't get it. He insisted that it was written in taekwondo, and he knows this because when he got his yellow belt in taekwondo, something on his certificate looked "just like that language". He was so certain, and I was just too tired to argue, so I gave up. The asian lady standing in front of us did NOT look as amused as I was!

So today was the last day of school, and the kids are officially on spring break! I think we could all use a little respite from school. They got their report cards today, and the news is good! Hayley made honor roll with all A's and one B, in P.E of all things!  Matt's was a huge improvement from last semester with improvements in all subjects! We're pretty proud of Matt because school has always been such a struggle for him, and he's been trying so hard to stay on task and put more effort into his classwork. His hard work has paid off and it's nice to show him "proof" that he's smart and capable of doing a good job! Austin also had a good report with all +'s, and high marks in reading. This go-round is definitely going to cost us a little money (for Hayley) and a trip to Build-a-Bear (for the boys)!

In other news, the new carpet was installed upstairs this week and I love it! The company we went with (Fern's Flooring in Murrieta - their customer service is awesome!) upgraded our pad for FREE, which was way cool! It's soft and squishy, and the house no longer smells like dog butt. Chris is thrilled because I won't harp about it anymore! I lectured the kids about not wearing shoes upstairs, and so far so good. They even called me out for wearing my flip-flops on it today, which got me thinking. Which is dirtier, really? Flip flops, or sweaty, dirty feet? My bet is on the feet....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thoughts on friendships and second chances...

I came across this post while reading my friend Tracy's blog.  I met Tracy while briefly serving on the PTA at our kids school. I call Tracy a friend because although we don't know each other well,  I seem to relate to so much to the things she writes about. She has a way of articulating exactly the things I'm thinking, and she cracks me up with her sense of humor! I recommend visiting her blog sometime, she's one funny and insightful chick!  

I read the following post by Tracy on a day when nothing was going right, I thought everyone was upset with me, my kids were out of control, I was in super-negative mode and all I wanted to do was just shut myself inside the house, avoid the phone and waddle in my own self-pity. Her post struck a chord with me, and to know that I wasn't alone in how I felt put things into perspective and made me feel better.  Everyone who knows me also knows that I suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome. (Chris has said that he thinks I was born without a filter between my mouth and my brain). Though I totally don't mean to, sometimes I accidently hurt someone's feelings because stupid things just fly out of my mouth. I can barely stand it when I think someone is mad at me, especially if it's because of something I unintentionally did or said! 

Other times, I feel like I just don't fit in. Sometimes I feel like I'm not smart enough, hip enough, social enough, or cultured enough, and I always say the wrong things. I often feel like the most awkward person in the room. Sometimes I feel like I don't even know who I am exactly, probably due to the fact that so many times over the years I've based my own likes and dislikes on other people's opinions. How dumb is that?

What I should do is seek out and surround myself with friends that love me for who I am. That can see past my insecurities, mistakes, and the occasional dumb things that accidently get past my "filter". Friends that can listen to me vent without judgement, and actually value some of my opinions. Friends who don't mind coming over and hanging out knowing that the house may be a little loud or messy,  and don't mind an excited dog that might greet them by jumping up and sitting on their feet (she's always over it in about 2 minutes). Friends that make time to call and catch up every now and then. Friends that will let me apologize when I've done something stupid but not hold it against me later, or gossip about all my faults to other people. Most importantly, I need to work harder on being that kind of friend to others.

Anyway, here's a good read, compliments of Tracy!

So I thought I would post about second chances. It seems that there have been a lot of happenings in my life lately that have involved mistakes and opinions and judgments and hurt feelings.

I think it's very easy to be afraid to let people see that we're less than perfect. And it's very easy to be critical of others when they don't completely agree with us. I think I've been on both sides of that coin and I wish I couldn't say that. But it's true. I often feel judged and I judge other people. And I wish I didn't. Because we're all just hanging out - going through pretty much the same trials, just different specifics. I think we have WAY more in common than we think. And I think our commonalities can be found more in our imperfections than anything else. 

I remember, growing up, that I just loved to be ME, with no pretending. When I was young, I didn't care what others thought of me. I loved life and ENJOYED it. And somewhere along the line, I became more concerned about fitting into a mold and trying to be something I'm not. I think, in the process, I've lost some of myself. Why do we do that --- get caught up in what others think we should be instead of who we ARE???

I wish we could all just accept ourselves and others just as we are - with all our failings and idiosyncrasies. That we could just enjoy life and get over the mistakes that we and others make. That we could focus more on the second chances, instead of the mistakes themselves.

Wouldn't that make life way more fun??

I've been trying to be more true to myself. It's not easy. But I'm going to keep on trying. The true me is very forgiving. And fun. I don't dress up my words with frills to make them pretty - I just say what I think. And it's often the WRONG thing. (That's one of my most annoying weaknesses.) I struggle with being a good mom. I struggle with being a good wife. I REALLY struggle with being a good daughter. I get frustrated when things don't go my way. I have great ideas. I'm horrible at keeping house. And some people think I'm organized, but I'm really not. My life isn't perfect. And I need a never ending supply of second chances. 

And I guess that's all that I wanted to say. Don't we all need second chances like that???

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shock collars and other random things...

Maggie, our very naughty golden retriever, likes to eat anything she can find on the counters or pantry. She even fishes dirty dishes out of the sink in search of any remnants of food, and licks them clean. She's recently added sponges to her diet. We have tried everything to break her of this bad habit, but nothing has worked. Frustrated, we decided to get her a shock collar with a programmable range that would keep her out of the kitchen. It worked for two days. After that, our stubborn dog decided that the small "shock" it delivered was worth any prize she could score. In fact, we think she has actually grown fond of it. Crazy animal.

Anyway, the kids wanted to have some fun with the collar before we put it on ebay. They were curious as to what it felt like, so Hayley, Austin and Becca (Hayley's bff and my second daughter) decided to take turns shocking themselves silly. Matthew was the smart one and chose to watch, laugh and encourage the others. Where was I, you ask? Taking the pictures of course! 

I have weird kids, what can I say? Here are some random pictures from the past couple of weeks. There's Hayley and Matthew just before we left for school. These were taken on my D50 that has since been replaced with a D90! Woot woot! 

The following picture is of Austin's homework. Never mind the backwards 3 and bad math. It's his answer to the word problem that's pretty funny, especially when you read it - "Three girls were riding bicycles....". Notice anything funny in his picture of the bikes?

This next picture is from this morning's St. Patrick's Day assembly at the kids school. Chris drove all the way from work to play a few tunes on his pipes, then he changed and drove back to work to teach a CPR class. After that he's coming back home to finish up all the baseboard and painting that needs to be done before our new carpet gets installed on Thursday. He's such an awesome dad!