Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Goblins

Tomorrow is October first, and that means it officially becomes socially acceptable and high time to send my children out to play sporting their festive shirts without being mocked mercilessly by certain friends/neighbors who shall remain nameless....

Alright, I confess. I kind of like to be mocked, and ANYWAY, I've been dressing them up in their 'spooky' shirts here and there for the last couple weeks anyways... What is there to say really, I CANT HELP MYSELF! I love Fall so much it hurts... and besides that... can I help it if I happen to have the most adorable kids EVER that look even sweeter than a bucket of slobbery Halloween candy?

I think NOT.

So October is official 'load-of-laundry-a-day' month, so we can make sure the kids get every penny of their "$7-t-shirt-you-can-only-wear-one-month-out-of-the-year."

SOOOO worth it. Ha.


Monday, September 29, 2008

That One Boy I Used to Date In High School.

I guess being from such a small community, it isn't surprising that everyone not only recognizes you now, but remembers who you were "back then."

I am no exception, and for the most part, it doesn't bother me. I like the familiarity despite the fact that it can be smothering at times.
But theres almost this underlying sense that you are not allowed to change, or that changing would be a bad thing. I am forever chained to my bible thumping, cow-napping, Sonshine singing, self-righteous, self-centered, goodie-stinking-two-shoes image for all eternity in this forsaken mud hole for the rest of time as we know it!

And every acquaintance of lore in the line ahead of me at the grocery store reminds me of that when I see that look of familiarity in their eyes that says they think they know me.

But like I said, I don't mind it. In fact, usually I like it. Community and familiarity feels like home to me (theres that old me again).


On days like today, where I find myself reflecting on who I am, what I've become, who I will be and what lies ahead, such a stifling stereotype feels completely inhibiting and downright inaccurate.

Maybe I'm just being over dramatic because today is our 7 year anniversary.
Yep, that's right. 7 years ago today... I was a child bride.
In some ways it doesn't seem that long ago, but when I think about the people that stood there with stars in their eyes and their hearts on their sleeves, it feels like an entire galaxy has passed thru time since.

This year has been tough.
Tyson is dealing with an uncertain future in a job he adores.
I am dealing with 6 screaming children and only the 2 loudest are my own.
The kids are growing.
I am shrinking.
Sanity is fraying.
Hair is greying.
Friends are marrying.
Friends are separating.
The economy is crumbling.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... this year has been rough. Probably the hardest we've faced together in the history of our entire relationship. Neither of us is 'that person' we used to date in high school. We both miss the days... but are painfully aware of the fact that they are increasingly long ago in a far away kingdom.

So, now... in our 'reality-tale' present, can I just say... that after 7 years of marriage, I am thankful to be married to someone who can handle change.
I am thankful to have married a boy... who's actually done his job and grown into a man.
I am thankful to be married to someone who does not falter in the face of change and uncertainty, whether its financial, economical, emotional, physical, or spiritual.
I am thankful to be married to someone who isn't afraid to roll the dice, and then let go.
I am thankful to be married to someone who is humble enough to admit that they don't have all the answers but can still manage to remain optimistic for our future as a family.

And I am SO thankful that I am no longer married to that one boy I used to date in high school, even if that's how most people will always remember me.
Because today... I can tell you undoubtedly, a much better man stands in his place.

And every once in awhile... that one boy from high school makes a rare cameo appearance. This week, he even brought his bandanna with him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Pukiest Princess on Earth

Its so fun to have our kids be at an age (finally!) where we are learning more about them in terms of who they are vs. what they need all the time... as in feed me burp me hold me wipe my nose, etc.

Our family vacation revealed some new little tidbits about each of our kids and their personalities and their quirks.

For example, we learned that Dawson likes to be frightened. By frightened, I mean genuinely scared stupid. My three year old son is OBSESSED with the Abominable Snow Man, and even more so the big, fast, scary ROLLER COASTER RIDE that he lives on. He wants to know what the snow man eats, what his favorite color is, does he have a mom, and what is his last name. He can not, WILL NOT rest until he has been on the ride, gone thru the mountain, and seen him face to face no matter how terrifying it may be. And then, after he sits there on my lap so scared he can't move or breath practically the entire duration of the ride, he tells me its NOT scary, its NICE, and he wants to do it AGAIN.

Anabelle, on the other hand... well, lets just say that the fast and the furious is slightly less appealing to her, despite her intense desire to do everything her brother is currently living and breathing.

Classic case and point highlighted in the following for-instance:

In preparation for our upcoming car ride, I went down to the dollar store last week and picked up some snacks for the drive and a few other things to keep the kids busy with something other than super nanny (ie: portable DVD player). I grabbed a couple new boxes of crayons and some cute Disney themed coloring books, along with some giant pretzels, banana chips, trail mix, beef jerky, juice boxes... all semi-crappy snacks the kids don't usually get to eat.

When Anabelle started whining about an hour into the drive, I started pulling out the snacks. When the snacks got old around Solvang, I resorted to the coloring books since I knew they would be useless once the sun went down.

The books served their purpose faithfully for about 20 minutes or so, and then the whining started back up. We were literally 15 miles from our first scheduled stop for dinner at Tyson's Aunt's house in Santa Barbara.

At this point, I was a smidge annoyed, because C'MON. I had already danced like a good little monkey mom thru the hoops of fiery constant entertainment, and I needed them to sit tight for FIFTEEN MORE MINUTES.

I was just about to open the car door and shove her out when..... BLEEEEECH! Puke. Oh, goodie, there it is again.... my favorite thing. Remember all those tasty little dollar store snacks? Lets just say, I don't think anyone in our family will be eating trail mix or beef jerkey again for a loooooong time.

And so, it was determined that Miss Anabelle Lee... gets car sick/motion sick apparently. I figured she got the car sickness from me, since I seem to recall a few similar experiences in my youth, but come to find out Tyson's mom actually gets motion sick pretty badly too. Lucky little lady.

You would think I would have had the motion sickness thing figured out after the car incident, but no. I am a LOT thicker than that, apparently. And so, Mommy and Dawson, the fast ride lovers, decided it would be FUNNNNNN to go on the swinging ferris wheel ride in California Adventure rather than choosing the carriages that do NOT toss you around like a rag doll in a tornado.

In conclusion, I leave you with the rest of the story told in photo documentation from the begging to the end of the ride:

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Tiniest Jedi

The McDermotts went to Disneyland this weekend (it was Ty's birthday wish, he turned 27 on Saturday!).

I love that he loves the magic kingdom as much as I do. Tyson and I started dating in July of '99, and in August, he asked me to go with his mom and his sister and himself to Disneyland. The entire trip is one of my most treasured memories, EVER... it was so fun to be young and in love and getting to know his wonderful family for the first time. I had butterflies in my tummy the whole trip!

After we got married, we went again on our 'honeymoon,' and had just as much of a blast.

We went a third time with my family just after Dawson was born, and we (again) had a great time with our new little guy taking advantage of every possible photo op, and pretending he actually knew what was going on.

But this time. Ooooooo, yes my friends. We have 2 adorable, completely coherant kids who felt the magic of Disney every ounce as much as we have through all the different seasons at the kingdom in our relationship.

So, this time... was my favorite time EVER.

I don't intend to photo-blog the entire trip, I couldn't possibly fit it all in... and honestly its nice to have some family memories be just our family's to share.


The world must know... that WE have a young Jedi master in our midst.

Dawson is currently going thru an ongoing superhero/villain fetish (as I'm sure most 3,4,5,-35ish year old boys do). Just recently Dawson's good friend Kaeden had a Star Wars (or 'Star Works' as Dawson insists it is called) themed birthday party. Dawson now lives, breathes, sleeps, eats, PEES Star Wars.

So, of course Star Tours was the first ride Dawson wanted to visit at the Magic Kingdom. We rushed straight there the moment we entered the park, hoping to beat the lines, and low and behold, there was only a 5 minute wait. Dawson made the 40in height requirement no problem... but Anabelle... was one big hair-do under the line. Like, we are talking a fraction of a centimeter. The Nazi college kid attending the ride would not budge, he cruelly banished her from the ride.

I almost cried tears. It crossed my mind to tell him she had cancer or something... but I was afraid if karma really exists she would actually end up getting cancer as my punishment for lying to a Disney worker... So I just discretely flipped him off when he wasn't looking and we made a plan to meet at the exit (which conveniently dumps into the Star Wars themed money pit gift shop).

At said gift store, Dawson immediately fixated on purchasing a light saber. He's been coveting them for awhile now, and for the mere cost of a human kidney, our little Jedi actually got to build his own light saber, hand selecting the handle, coloring, sound effect, etc. off the assembly line in the shop.

When we rang up our purchases, the gift shop worker suggested we go to the "Jedi Training Academy" show, and get there early as Dawson could possibly be picked out of the audience to participate.

I NEVER expected it to happen, but we thought he might enjoy the show anyways.

Oh, it happened all right.

And it was AMAZING. He was one of the first kids hand picked from the crowd.

There were about 20 kids chosen to role play in this theatrical production done up in all its magical Disney splendor, where the "Jedi Master" instructs the little Jedis that are pulled from the audience on how to 'use the force' in an attack against the 'dark side.' They teach the kids basic light saber choreography (they provide the cloaks and the light sabers for each lil Jedi on stage...),

and then... DUH,DUH,DUH, DUH-DUH-DUH! DUH-DUH-DUHHHHH!," smoke starts hissing, the stage comes rising out of the ground, and none other than Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and a fleet of storm troopers come crashing into the academy out of nowhere (SHOCKING, I know!).

It was breath taking. Even for grown-ups.

Perhaps I was vicariously living my own childhood fantasy, but I actually choked up.

Dawson stood there barely able to move or breathe the entire time as he watched all his 'peers' battling the various bad guys... and then, it was his turn. He had been chosen to fight VADER himself. When the instructor yelped "NOW DUCK!" at Dawson, he just stood there blankly with stars in his eyes, and the instructor teased "Oh, That's right! You don't even NEED to duck!"

Dawson was able to come around to the moment just in time to take a mighty swipe at "Darth Vader's head... VICTORIOUS!"

At the end of the show, Vader and Mal realize that none of these young masters will join the dark side and since the force is too strong for them to handle alone, they run for their lives.

Then, each Jedi is awarded an honorary training diploma as they have withstood evil and graduated on to be great and powerful Jedi Masters.

Little do the marketing masterminds at Disney realize, they just might have been training the next little Anikan Skywalker... most of the signs are already there. HA!

So, needless to say, this was the brightest of the many highlights of our great trip. We had SO much fun, I can't believe we were only there a day. It felt like time just magically stood still and allowed us to fit everything in.

This Star Wars experience just gets more and more real to Dawson as time goes by and he lets it all sink in. He loves to remind me several times a day "Mom, you don't need to be afraid of Vader, I will protect you from him." "Mom, STORM TROOPERS are AFRAID of ME! They RAN AWAY from me." He has gotten suuuuuuper cocky in the cutest way... who knew such blatant arrogance could be so freaking adorable?

OH, and back to the part where Anabelle didn't make the height requirement on Star Tours.

Welp, since Dawson (predictably) insisted on riding again after his little 'experience,' we waited till the shift change, and then I miiiiight have taken Anabelle aside and stuffed her shoes with a stack of napkins.

She loved the ride almost as much as her brother.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Break the Rod, Spare the Child?

I'm just going to come right out and say it...

We wooden spoon our children.

I know, I know... scandal, controversy, hitting teaches hitting, blah blah blah blah BLAH... trust me when I say we would DEFINITELY prefer not to. We went back and forth on the whole 'spanking' conviction for a long time, but in the end it seems to be what works best (by 'best' I mean 'at all') for disciplining our children (particularly our eldest.)

Now, I don't mean to say we wander thru the neighborhood with a wooden spoon sticking out of our back pockets waiting for them to sneeze without covering their mouths or anything. The spoon is reserved for only the most severe and blatant offenses, or repeated bad behavior in a particular area. It is always in private, and there is always a warning in advance.

Case and point: bedtime.

Tyson and I have always prided ourselves on our bedtime routine. From infancy, the drill has been the same, bath, bottle, bed... and now baths, bedtime stories, we say our prayers, and bed by 7:30-8 (average). Generally speaking up to this point, it all goes pretty smoothly and the kids drift off seamlessly. But recently... oh, my. Its turned ugly.

The kids get in bed... and immediately start their demands of more ice water, I have to go potty, I can't hear my music, Bach scares me!, and then when that gets old DING, round 2 starts, consisting of jeers at each other thru their bedroom walls, insult hurling ("Psssst! Anabelle! YOU'RE A BABY!" "NOOOO, Im NOOOOOT a baby!, WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! DAWSON! YOU'RE a BAD GUY!" "NO!, im NOOOOT!, and so on), and final round generally involves sneaking out of bed to taunt and prod each other in the flesh until the giggles turn to tears and they're both caught red handed and sent back to exile in their respective padded cells.

Enter: wooden spoon doctrine. First, they get a warning. Then, they get the hall light turned off. Last, they get the spoon. Pretty generous system, you might think... and yet, lately we've had to put quiiiite a few miles on good old Woody.

The other night, I came home from having dinner with my Mom, and Ty was sitting in the living room working on his laptop... with the wooden spoon laying split in half in the middle of the living room floor.

Apparently, it had been 'one of those nights' with the bedtime drill. Also, I should mention... our wooden spoons are the super light weight long handled kind you find at upscale cooking stores, such as Dollar General. We've had them over a year, and they go thru the dishwasher a lot. Its not like he actually broke a spoon beating our children, but they symbolism was slightly humorous in the moment.

Fast forward to this beautiful Fall day, when we are enjoying a gorgeous morning outside... the birds are chirping, the sun is shining... the babies are screaming, the voices are taunting, I am covered in baby spit and peanut butter as usual... and over the chaos, I head Dawson shouting to the neighbor kid (for the SECOND time) that he is 'going to stab' him (they were acting with these little army guys. Well, the David and Goliath army guys, to be exact).

In Dawson's defense... he had NO idea what it meant, we talked about it later. The neighbor kid had actually said it to him first ( I heard it with my own ears), and I'm positive it was the first time he had ever heard the phrase and he was just trying it out because it sounded cool. He just thought it was something you should say to someone in the sense of 'fighting and action heroes...' which he is very in to at the moment, but STILL. Not acceptable, ever, and especially after a warning.

I leaped from my chair and grabbed his hand, herded him into the house preaching my canned sermon about how he had been warned and I didn't have a choice, I had to use the spoon... when he stopped dead in his tracks, shook his arm free, stared up and me and shot back,

"You can't spoon me, MOM!, Dad already BROKE it on me!"

And from the way he said it... I could tell he had been waiting for a long time to be able to remind me that he had vanquished the wooden beast once and for all, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Nothing except get its evil clone out of the kitchen drawer, that is.

Still, nice try, don't you think?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dawson for President

Since today is the 7th anniversary of such a dark day in our nation's history, I thought this would be a hopeful post. Oh, also, I love to brag about my kids (shocking, I know).

My Dawson is so smart. SO smart.

He has a mind like a steel trap. He remembers everything (this morning he asked me where my slipper socks with the cupcakes were... the ones I wore last Christmas)...

So, awhile ago, I saw this adorable lil whiz kid on Ellen who knew all the states. I thought... 'ptchaw, my kid is way cuter than that and just as smart (probably even more smart, because he is brilliant of course), and he could totally do that.' So I went to Kmart (classy, classy), and bought him a place mat similar to the one below, but without the pictures in each of the states:I also got one with all the planets in our solar system, and one with all the presidents of the United States.

Dawson loves to study all 3 of them, but has particularly fixated on the map.

The kid probably knows at least 20 states by sight... and can match their state flag (all the flags are featured on the back side of the map).

He is particularly fascinated with Washington D.C., the home of the American flag that stands for all the people and all the places together, and the location of the white house, where President George Bush lives (ask him, he'll tell you!).

He would also be sure to let you know that you won't be able to find Mr. Bush there for much longer, because soon he has to move out, and all the people will decide who our next leader will be.

..."Maybe it will be OOOOOOoooooo BAma, Mom! Maybe it will be John Mc Cain! We don't know yet, but soon, around my birthday, we will find out!"

..."Anabelle! Anabelle? Can you say "Ooooooo BAma? Try it! OOOOOOoo bama!"

Vote McDermott, 2058.

He is destined for greatness, you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This Week's "Ty"lights

Oh, Tyson, how I love thee. Let me count the ways you've improved the quality of my life the last 48 hours:

1. The way you immediately JUMPED to (not stood at) attention and RAN (not walked) directly to Walgreen's at bedtime the other night when I was on the brink of hyperventilating over the 'poison oak under my eyes' scare after then discovering all our hydro cortisone cream was long expired.

*Bonus points for remembering milk while you were at it so I didn't have to get up extra early to make it thru the next day with the kids.

2. For surprising me with a new one of these THE DAY AFTER my last post:

*Bonus points for saving oodles of cash by finding it for CHEAP on Craigslist, and also for the presentation (leaving it to charge next to my laptop with a bow on it).

3. For spontaneously suggesting that we altar our Disneyland trip plans with the family this November by moving it up to NEXT WEEKEND, and for again taking the initiative to find CHEAP TICKETS on Craigslist.

*Bonus points for the hundreds of dollars this will save us when factoring in less missed work, less on total family admission cost, and fewer nights in a hotel... oh, and plus... NOW WE GET TO GO TO DISNEYLAND NEXT WEEKEND!!!!!!!!

4. For being the most thoughtful Dad on the planet by (once again) using your amazing bargain-shopping skills ($5 ea!) to grace our children's feet with their brand new surprise "Cozy Crocs!" (as Anabelle affectionately calls them) as you walked in the door from a hard day at work yesterday...
*Bonus points for the colors you picked out, and the way you shared the credit and reminded the kids to thank me as well, even tho I had NO idea you had done this for them...

5. For your amazing artistic handy work behind my back during my weekend away (I assume? displayed in this adorable shot of the little wickeds that mysteriously replaced an older picture on the piano last night...
*Bonus points for surprising me, and also for clean, matching, color co-ordinated outfits with combed and yes, even styled hair on both children. And (not to mention!) the way you never not even one time said anything to me about being gone for 4 days and leaving you alone with the kids that would make me feel guilty for a badly needed break.

Where can I even begin to say how thankful I am for you?


I love you.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Tragic Demise of Miss Patty

I was getting ready to head out the door for a run Saturday morning and when I grabbed Miss Patty, and I couldn't seem to turn her on. I didn't panic at first, I figured every girl needs a break here and there, maybe she just needed a good charging. But I couldn't even turn her on when she was plugged in. I immediately called for tech support ("Tyyyyyyssssoooonnnnnn!!!"), but feared the worst as he fidgeted with her and sadly shook his head...

That's when I realized she had left me for good. No explanation, no note. She just plain crapped out on me, that bitch.

I feel dumped, abandoned, alone. I feel the urge to binge eat at the loss, and never, EVER exercise again because I simply can NOT go on without her. I fear I may become the size of a whale by the end of the week if I don't replace her (straight away!). But after a companionship like we had, it feels so wrong to find someone new, just like that.

Would that make me an unfaithful monster just like she turned out to be?

Miss Patty taught me so much about life, and loving myself, and the open road. She gave me hope and pushed me forward, and offered solace and quiet from the voices that scream inside my head during the majority of the day in her absence.

Though it is early on in this painful process of grief, I know that she was my first true love and no matter how hurt or angry or lonely I may feel in dark journey ahead without her, the music she put into my heart will always be with me.

I will try to be strong without her, I know its what she would want. Its like she so often said to me... "That that that that that which don't kill me/ Will only make me stronger/ I've been waitin' all night, girl/ That's how long I've been on ya..."

So, I guess this is it. What more can I say, life is hard and loss occurs when you least expect it. I guess its just another reminder to keep a song in your heart and never take the ones you love for granted.

Goodnight, Miss Patty. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

"Miss Patty"
Faithful companion, worthy friend
Spring, 2005- September 6, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

These Little Piggies

So yesterday when the kids woke up from their naps, I had their afternoon snack ready and waiting on the table. It was a bowl of applesauce, and a half of a cereal bar. Big snack, right? I thought so... way bigger than we usually have, anyways.

Immediately after they devoured it, Dawson and Anabelle ran straight for the snack cupboard squealing "I'm still hungry! More snack!"

Duh, I said no.

And IMMEDIATELY they both BURST into shrill, GOD AWFUL screeching just below that pitch that is so ear splitting only dogs can hear it...

As much as I wanted to bang their heads together and curl into the fetal position, I couldn't help but laugh at the sight of them and grab the camera, because... c'mon... LOOK at them!

Aren't I the meanest Mom, EVER?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Im As Giddy As My School Boy...

... that TODAY is BACK TO (pre)SCHOOL!

Oh, that's right. Im sayin it. IVE BEEN COUNTING THE DAYS until Dawson spends a few short mornings a week in someone else's care doing someone else's carefully planned activities.
I didn't realize how much Dawson I both appreciate his mornings away from home until last June when magically... HE WAS ALWAYS AROUND.

Dawson is a BUSY kid, who is EXTREMELY socially curious (that's a nice way of saying... um, he likes to measure 'cause and effect...'). I just don't have enough hands at times to busy his amazingly brilliant yet always wandering mind, and put his overabundance of energy to good use. And at times, it has been frustrating for BOTH of us.

But all of that changed again this morning, bright and early, when Dawson woke up after a night that cost him hours of sleep for all the excitement... to his surprise brand new BATMAN lunch box.

Tyson made him ketchup (with a little bit of eggs and cheese) for breakfast (grooooossssss!)... and I supplemented the man feast with a side of cottage cheese and some nectarines. He hardly ate ANY of it, because he was, again, SO EXCITED.

He dressed himself and was ready AN HOUR before he needed to leave, looking almost as handsome as his Daddy...

... and the next think I knew, me and half the children in town were heading out the door to give Dawson a send-off parade and meet Kaeden!

Then, he kissed his leading lady (for now, anyways...)

And she body-slammed him back...

And the angels started to sing as I loaded him into the carpool wagon and he headed down the street toward school.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Fall?

Well, I'm pretty sure Back to School brings our relationship to a whole new level...