Didn’t ask for a dime. Two dollars.

I got the crafting bug and I got it bad!  It all started with those Hershey Kiss Roses.  I am so damn proud of them that I keep upping my ante.  Consequently, I have been spending a lot of time on crafting websites.  First off, there are a lot of really talented and creative people out there.  I am not one of them, but I can steal an idea like nobody’s business.  I don’t really steal it, though.  I’ll give credit where credit is due.  Another reason I’m not actually stealing ideas is because I could never replicate the original so I have to improvise in accordance with my skill level.
Here is the latest in my creations:

There isn’t anything difficult about this.  If you have Excel and know how to copy and paste, you can do it.  And actually, the whole issue of crafting has nothing to do with this post other than finding printable money on Tip Junkie today and it giving me the idea to do it.
Yesterday Ryan and I were discussing buying Kamryn a new bike.  I don’t like to just go out and buy toys for the kids.  I think every kid should have a bike, but I feel that it’s too big of an item to go out and buy on a whim so I’m making Kamryn buy it herself with the above chart.
I printed out the money and made up some things that I would like Kamryn to work on.  Those are listed in the “Rewards” column.  The “Consequences” column contains all the things that annoy me on a daily basis. 
I sat her down and we reviewed both columns and how much she could earn or lose if she did them.  Before I was even half way through the Rewards column, I could see the gears starting to turn.  Kamryn, my darling daughter, has been a manipulator since she was about 18 months.  She would stand at the top of the stairs and yell “Me, hug!”  She used to call me, “Me” as in Mommy.  Anyway, that meant she wanted me to go back up to the top of the stairs and give her a hug so she could latch on to my neck like a spider monkey and I would inevitably carry her down the steps so she wouldn’t have to walk.  Of course I wasn’t going to deny my only child a hug and she knew that. 
Kamryn thought that cleaning her room was going to be “really hard”, that “being sassy was in her brain” and she “really was tired a lot”.  I told her that is why we were doing the chart so we could work on them together.  She more or less agreed to my plan and actually earned $2.00 by picking up her puzzle.  Within the hour, she not only lost her $2.00, but now owes me an additional $2.00 for excessive whining about the turkey burgers I made for dinner.
The challenge is on to see who will break first.  Will it be Kamryn who gets so far in the red that she doesn’t see the point of even trying to dig herself out?  Or will it be me who gets sick of trying to keep track of what she actually owes me?  The actual cost of the bike is about $70, but I was going to make her earn $100 to make it a little more challenging.  I thought if she worked for something for a month, it would give her enough appreciation.  However, at this rate, she’ll be asking for a car instead of a bike.
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Do Want to Step Outside Little Girl?

There is something that happens when you have children, at least for me.  You want to protect every little fiber of their being from absolutely everything and anything that could harm or hurt them.  I swore I would not be one of those helicopter moms that wouldn’t let their child out of arm’s reach and I think I have held true to that – at least since my kids have gotten older.  Kamryn does pretty well when it comes to other kids acting out or playing rough.  If she really doesn’t like a situation, she just walks away and does something else.  However, if another kid hurts her feelings, she loses it.  And not just a little, but really loses it; hysterical crying with continuing sobs that last far longer than the actual incident.

Today we went to the park and Kamryn took one of her stuffed dogs that she named Snow White.  This little dog isn’t particularly special and she doesn’t really play with it all that much, but today, Snow White was going to the park.  Once we got there, Kamryn and Rory took turns throwing Snow White down the slide and off the side of the play structure.  All was good.  I was quietly watching How To Mod Podge videos on my phone because I am now a crazy-ass crafter.  About half way through the instruction of how to avoid bubbles on your Mod Podge projects, I hear a little girl, not my own, scream, “THAT’S NOT HIS NAME!”

I immediately hit pause and walked towards the ruckus.  Then I saw Kamryn standing next to the slide with a glare on her face that gave even me a slight chill.  A split second later that glare gave way to a quivering lower lip and tears welling up in her eyes.  Trying to maintain my mantra of “Thou shall not overbear”, I stood and let her come to me.  By the time she got to me she was in full blown freak out mode.  I knew she hadn’t been hurt, at least physically, because then Kamryn would have been the one screaming “WE DON’T HIT!”  She doesn’t put up with that shit, but she was clearly very upset.

I asked her what happened and she wailed “That girl said my puppy isn’t named Snow White!”  I know that it wasn’t what the little girl said to Kamryn that got her so upset, it was how she said it.  I now understood what the previous yelling was all about and I was pissed.  First of all, the little girl’s mom was sitting right next to the play structure.  She had to have heard her little demon seed yelling because I heard it and I was a good 50 feet further away and engrossed in Mod Podge videos!  But yet, she did nothing to find out why her daughter was yelling at the top of her lungs at another little girl.  Second, when Kamryn walked over to me in hysterics, she walked right past the mother of Tiny Terror and that still didn’t get Mom to get off her ass and see what was up.

This is when I turn my bitch dial to 10.  All it would have taken is for the mother to ask if Kamryn was OK to which I would have replied, “Yes, she’s fine.” and given a nice smile for the consideration.  She didn’t even look my way.  So now I have to be the bad one.  I told Kamryn that it didn’t matter what that little girl said and that she was probably only 3 so she didn’t know anything.  Kamryn was undeterred in her fit and screamed “She hurt my feelings!”  And my heart broke.  I knew her feelings were hurt before, but when she said it, I wanted to go over and punch that little girl in the face!  Not really – I mean, I would never actually punch a kid, but I’m trying to make a point.  I stooped one more level and said, loud enough to ensure I was in Oblivious Mommy’s earshot, “I know she hurt your feelings, but she isn’t your friend and she’ll never be your friend because you only have nice, caring, cute friends.”  Ugh…what is wrong with me????

What made this a little bit worse was that I thought I would get a little smile out of Kamryn when I said it.  Instead, she just sniffed and nodded her head in agreement.  FAIL!  I am really trying to work on this, but truth be known, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sit idly by when I see one of my children so visibly upset.  This is where I wish Kamryn was more like me.  For those that know me well, you know I really don’t care what other people think of me.  I don’t aim to be disliked, but if you don’t like me, c’est la vie.  I took Spanish in high school and I’m pretty sure c’est la vie means “F*ck You!”

Snow White

Who Needs Sleep?

Apparently not Rory.  We are on day 2 of “I need less sleep than anyone else in the family.”  I used to only be able to listen to other parents sigh warily when they talked about their children and their nighttime struggles.  This was a club I wanted nothing to do with and was happy to be excluded.  
Now, it seems, my darling little boy thinks I need to be more socially involved because he has unwillingly signed me up for the dreaded club.  For roughly the last 4 months Rory has been getting up in the middle of the night.  It was hit or miss for awhile, but now it’s gotten to be not only a nightly event, but also happening multiple times a night.  The most frustrating thing about these late night wake up calls is that Rory doesn’t need anything.  He’s 2 ½ years old so the late night feedings have been over for nearly 2 years.  In fact, all I have to do is walk him back to his room and put him back in bed.  I don’t talk to him, cuddle him or do anything special to get him back to sleep.  He does that on his own sometime after I leave.
Last night Rory’s first wake up was at 12:30am.  The second, 1:40am.  The third through about 100 was during the 3:00 hour.  I finally put up a gate so he couldn’t get out of his room, which he knocked down, waking up Kamryn.  Can you imagine my delight when I heard her yell “Mommy!”  Luckily, she loves to sleep and all it took was me telling her that Rory was being naughty and she went right back to bed.
Just when I thought all was well and Rory would sleep until 9:00am, I heard him yelling “Mommy, OUT!” at 5:45am.  I still had the gate up so I told him he needed to go back to bed and sleep for a little while.  Amazingly, he said, “Okay.” And went back to his bed and laid down.  I went back to bed too and 5 minutes later, I hear him crying.  I told him he couldn’t get out of bed, so he didn’t.  Instead, he just laid there and wailed. 
I always prided myself on my sleeping kids.  We were never interested in co-sleeping.  I have yet to hear of a successful co-sleeping story in which the child was transitioned into their own bed at a reasonable age without incident.  I did use the cry-it-out method with Kamryn, which some think is cruel.  And it sucked…for me.  I paced back and forth for 45 minutes while she screamed from her crib.  But, just like they said in all the literature, the next night was 20 min, and then 5 and then a peaceful sleeping baby.  And if you ask Kamryn how traumatized she is from that, she’ll ask you what “traumatized” means.  Rory somehow learned how to sleep through the night on his own and now, seems to have forgotten.
I’m not looking forward to sleep training a 2 year old, but rest assured, (pun intended) the boy will sleep.  One thing I do not waiver on is sleep.  My bed is not your bed and neither of our wake up times should be before 7:00am.
Or course I’m posting a picture of him in his sister’s pink sweatshirt.  That’s payback for waking me up

My Proudest Moments

Every once and awhile I do something that I am really proud of.  It’s not everyday or even every month.  Right now I’m averaging about every 2 ½ years.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of myself more than every 2 ½ years, but it’s for things that I should be doing anyway.  Like having well behaved kids in a restaurant.  It’s similar to that Chris Rock joke:
N-word always want credit for some shit they supposed to do. A n-word will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A n-word will say some shit like, “I take care of my kids.” You’re supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that? “I ain’t never been to jail!” What do you want, a cookie?! You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker! 
Ok, maybe not that extreme, but you get the gist. 
Anyway, if you have made it past the gratuitous swearing, what has sent my pride levels from modest to boastful are Kamryn’s gifts for her preschool teachers.  As of two days ago, I wasn’t even planning on getting them anything, but I found myself at Michael’s this morning loading up a cart with all sorts of supplies.  I was bound and determined to make the best teacher gift ever!  This gift was going to show how appreciative I was to Mrs. K and Mrs. O that they took Kamryn under their wing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon.  They taught her letters, numbers, songs, crafts, manners, etc.  Not to say I didn’t have a hand in any of the above, but they did it consistently. 
It is without further ado, I present to you, Teacher Appreciation Gifts 2011!!
I was looking online for ideas and came across the Hershey Kiss Roses.  I thought they were pretty cute and looked easy enough, but I knew Kamryn wouldn’t be able to make them on her own, although she did help me.  There were a lot of comments from teachers regarding gifts and they did say that they really did like the homemade ones.  And really, what else are they going to say?  “I hope to hell I don’t get another hand drawn picture from a kid.  Bring on the Panera gift cards!”  So while I got started on the roses, Kamryn decorated these ginormous mugs to give them a personal touch.
In case you were wondering about what I was so proud of 2 ½ years ago, it was this:
Kamryn’s 3rd Halloween outfit.  My little Statue of Liberty.  I can’t remember where I got the idea for this (big shock), but I do remember that this was made entirely out of a twin sheet set that I got in the clearance aisle at Target for $3.23.  I had the tissue paper and the rest was made from cut up FedEx envelopes with pieces of the sheet glued to it.  The best part was that no one asked what she was, which to me, indicates a damn good costume. 
Ok, so there is one more Halloween costume that I’m pretty proud of. 
Here’s Rory at his first Halloween all wrapped up in left over medical supplies to create probably the cutest mummy ever.  Unfortunately, not everyone knew what he was supposed to be.  I had to offer the information because I could tell there was some hesitation from the candy givers.  They didn’t know if this was a costume or something that had gone horribly wrong.
I’m going to start shooting for one awesome thing a year!  Starting….NOW!

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I’m forgetting things a lot lately.  Not huge things – like a kid or anything like that, but things that I really shouldn’t.  For the last month, I couldn’t seem to figure out exactly when my daughter’s preschool graduation was.  My husband kept saying he was going to golf or go somewhere and I would shout in my most exacerbated, are-you-kidding-me voice “You can’t!  It’s Kamryn’s graduation!”  To which he would reply, “That’s on the 3rd.”  Now that her graduation is only 2 days away, I’m afraid that I’m going to forget to go, much less the cheese and crackers that I signed up to bring.
Last weekend we were in Phoenix to visit friends.  I had this trip booked and organized over a month ago.  The flight, hotel and car were all reserved and paid for…or so I thought.  Once we touched down, I was scanning my emails looking for what rental car company I reserved the car with.  I couldn’t find it anywhere!  I kept telling Ryan, “I know I reserved it!  Don’t you remember when I was booking our trip to Iowa?  I was going to reserve a car for Arizona and then remembered I already did?”  I just got that look and it was pretty clear I had imagined this whole thing.  Thank God for smartphones; we had a car in a few minutes.  Apparently, my phone is more capable of getting things done than its operator.
On that same trip, I forgot to bring diapers for Rory when we went to my friend’s house for a barbeque.  That’s acceptable, right?  I mean, I have only had at least 1 kid in diapers for the last 4 ½ years.  I promised my friend, Kelley, who just had an adorable little boy, I would send her 2 nursing bras that I had, but never really wore, only to get home and have this vague recollection of taking them to Goodwill when I was cleaning out my closet.  And to top it off, after we got home and unpacked all of our things, I realized I forgot my “cuddle pillow” at the hotel.  I have been hugging this pillow for the last 10 years when I sleep and travel with it all the time.  What’s that saying about losing your head if it weren’t attached?   
I used to remember everything.  Phone numbers, birthdays, anniversaries and names were stored away in my brain like a secure lockbox of organized data that I could easily draw from at any given time.  Now it’s all a slurry of numbers and letters that I can sometimes piece together to get some information.
Today was the last straw.  The kids wanted grilled cheese for lunch.  I buttered up the bread, threw some cheese in between both slices and had it on the stove heating away.  About 5 minutes later, Kamryn said “I think it’s melted.”  I gave her a look that said “What are you talking about?!” and then saw her glance towards the stove.  SHIT! 
Writing this has just made me realize all the other times I have forgotten things and instead of laughing about my forgetfulness, I’m actually a little concerned.  How many calories can I burn with brain exercises?