Thursday, October 30, 2008

Super Kari to the Rescue

So, I know none of you can stand the suspense on the great costume dilemma... but rest assured, it is resolved (I know, hopefully you will be able to sleep again now that the suspense is gone).

I guess I should start with the fact that I caved like Supermom sipping a Kryptonite martini, and finally just broke down and bought Anabelle the damn Supergirl costume. But then, the delimma only got worse as Grammy had to point out that Dawson's costume might look a little shabby next to Anabelle's sparkly metallic skirt with matching boots. His didn't even come with a cape.

So I became a mom on a mission for a cape to jazz up Dawson's little number... and had all but given up until I was fortunate enough to bump into an old friend and fellow mommy, the lovely Rachel (formerly Mackey), in the fabric department at Walmart. She talked me thru how to make a superhero cape using only the magic superpower of iron-on patches, and next thing I knew I was on my way with less than $5 in materials that matched the goodwill costume perfectly.

And thats about the time I went "what was I thinking!? Every great super hero has a side kick... awe, who am I kidding, I AM THE SIDEKICK! And in wayyyy over my head..." so I immediately picked up my top secret emergency paging device and called for backup ("KAAAAARRRRIIIII HEEEEELPPPPPPPP!").

And 'help' she did!: (Props to my super model, Carly, you are the best Auntie around!)

Oh, and by 'help,' I actually meant 'made the entire cape for me with a real live sewing machine and all under an hour.' And Im kiiiind of jealous of it. I think I deserve a cape too!

So, there you have it. Our kids have costumes, and its the night before Halloween, the pumpkins are carved (we had a blast doing it, I hope to post on that sometime soon), its raining tonight instead of tomorrow night (mind over matter! mind over matter!), and the best part of all is that our kids still have NO idea they have super rad costumes hanging patiently in their bedrooms until they are discovered in the morning. Im so excited that they are going to be so excited! Its going to be a blast.

Its funny, Dawson has never one time asked me to buy him a costume in all this fuss. He has seen all the neighbor kids running around, gabbing about what they are going to be, and which costume was purchased for the big night. Tonight, when we reminded him that Halloween is tomorrow, and we get to dress up and trick or treat... he was asked what he was going to dress up as, and without even missing a beat he replied "Spiderman." Because its the old costume he already has. I love that he never even thought to beg and tease for us to buy him something new and better, and he is perfectly humble enough to wear what is already in his closet.

I love that little Superman.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sticks and Stones

Dawson has had a kind of rocky year at preschool since he started back up in September. If we talk on a regular basis, you probably already know more than you asked to hear.

But recently, my mommy heart is breaking for the poor boy.

Tyson and I are discovering an interesting fact about Dawson: despite his wild nature, free spirit, active imagination and abounding creativity... in a social environment with peers his own age, he is a follower.

These last couple weeks, he has become extremely chatty about social scenarios at school. He comes home and chats on and on and on about how he got to pass his sharing around the circle so all the kids could see how cool it was, about what Kaeden gets to bring in his lunch box (his mom is a wayyyyy 'nicer' lunch packer by Dawson's standards apparently), and most of all... what the other boys on the playground are saying to him.

He talks about Johnny constantly.

Johnny happens to be our next door neighbor, and he also happens to be a kid who is going through a rough time at the moment and has become quite a handful. Unfortunately, none of this means anything to Dawson, who still thinks Johnny can turn water into juicy juice and raise a sparrow from the dead after he sling shots it out of the sky.

Several weeks ago, Dawson came home saying how Johnny calls him a baby and doesn't want Dawson to play with 'their friends.' Of course, my heart burst into a hundred pieces for him (you should have seen his devastated little tiny 3 year old face), and I just gave him a hug and said "Dawson, kids that say things that hurt your feelings are not the kids you want to be friends with. I want you to go to school, and find some friends who have kind hearts. You are special, and you need to find a friend who knows that about you."

Maybe that was a little bit of an advanced concept for a preschooler (not to mention a little presumptuous to call someone else's kid out on their cold/black heart), but I was reacting. I just wanted him to realize there is always going to be someone cooler than him, but that doesn't mean you can't still be a part of something as special as a friendship.

Monday, he came home from school with the same sad eyes and slumped shoulders, and when I went to tuck him in for his 'rest' (oh, yes, that's right. We have officially outgrown nap time, SAD day for Mom) he looks up at me hopefully and says "Johnny said today that I am not his friend. But I told him he needs to change and have a nicer heart, and he said that maybe tomorrow I will be his friend and his heart will be nice then."

Um... so ya. My kid went to school, called his idol out on the carpet for his blackened soul, and then... is offered false hope of possibly being 'good enough' next time. Ooooo, and you should have seen the hope.

Its really interesting to me to watch and see how kid's choose their friends, and why. I'm feeling a little (LOT) unprepared to take on school yard bullies in the name of my child's self esteem at just barely four years old, and yet... it seems to be time for that already. Or maybe its not my job at all, I'm not quite sure. There's that darn parental uncertainty again.

Its looking harder and harder these days to be the perfect parent I set out to be.

All I can think at the moment is... if sticks and stones really can break bones... let me at them! Oh, but not in front of my kid. Wouldn't want to go setting any bad examples now, would we?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hail, Mary

Tyson has an Auntie Mary who lives out of state (Washington) who is always SO thoughtful. She takes care of the kids in the McDermott family (and by extension, ME!) like we are her own children, and even goes out of her way to make herself known across the miles to our kids. Shes fun, and funny... and we don't see near enough of her.

She sent my kids a package last week. The package... was the mother ship. I guess someone forgot to tell her that Halloween is about GETTING TONS OF CANDY, because she sent a box with TONS OF CANDY... and toys, and decorations that bedazzled even Tyson and I.

Ok, how gross is THIS one:

Oh, little Hill-Belle Lee. Get it? I crack myself up.

Anyways, I am so touched by her thoughtfulness (again and again)... and particularly impressed by her ability to know what is age appropriate and interesting and even remembering to send two of everything (so as not to cause a riot) all for a couple of rotten toddlers like Dawsonbelle.

That's right, I just went there... and totally combined their names. Cuz we're SO Hollywood like that.

Thank you, Auntie Mary. We love you. The only way it could have been better is if you yourself had been inside (awe).

Come visit soon!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thursday Nights Rock My World

Because on Thursday nights, Tyson and I have a long standing date night... at home in front of the TV for The Office. Incidentally, Grey's Anatomy is also on at the same time, so we Tivo Grey's, and watch The Office (and also Kath and Kim now because we think its hilarious), then we bloop, bloop, bloop! (if you really have TiVo, you get the reference), right thru all the commercials in Grey's. Its seriously the highlight of my weekday evenings (sad, but true).

Sometimes... if were REALLLL lucky, Auntie Carly or other miscellaneous Thursday night drifters will grace us with their presence. I always try to make yummy food Thursdays, just in case, and last night I finally had all the ingredients to try these new pumpkin ravioli's I've been dying to make. Kari had inspired me a few weeks ago to take a stab at it, but I didn't get a chance to get her recipe so I just searched the web, and this is the one we used. It was suuuuper easy with the pre-made 'ravioli's' (aka: won ton wrappers. Genius!). I also added about 4 oz of Ricotta cheese to the filling mix, used fresh chopped sage (thanks, Mom), and for the sauce we thickened it up with a heaping scoop of sour cream and a tbsp of flour, and added dash of nutmeg and a spoonful of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter for a sweet effect. Wha-la.

It was AMAZING. I think Tyson even approved... this was WAYYY out of his comfort zone, and he didn't outright say it, but he was spotted having seconds...

After we devoured the ravioli, we paused our regular programming to make popcorn balls. OMG, yum. I ate too much, tho... it almost wasn't worth it. Almost.

Anyway. It was a fun night, I kept thinking "I wish I had more time to enjoy my kitchen like this every night."

Ahhhh. Sweet, sweet someday.

PS- We are LOVING the special edition political satire SNL skits that air on Thursday nights until election day. You need to check them out if you don't watch the news or NBC Thursdays. Actually, if you dont already watch the news, you probably won't get half the jokes... but maybe it will make you feel like you SHOULD be watching the news. Sorry, couldnt resist.

A Few of the SEVERAL Reasons I Love Having A Girl

Every time we play in the front yard (street) or go for a walk, I can NOT keep my daughter from picking every flower/shrub/berry/miscelaneous foliage she comes across along the way. Its like a sickness! And every time, I tell her, "Anabelle, you cant pick the neighbor's roses. They don't belong to us, you didn't ask permission, and if all the kids pick the flowers, there won't be any left for the people to enjoy." And then she looks up at me with these little baby doe eyes and innocently sings, "But MOMMY, I picked them for YOU! Put them in your hair, and BE BEAUTIFUL!" Grrr. How do you argue with that (HIGHLY advanced manipulation strategy)?

I still insist that although I do appreciate the thoughtfulness, she needs to ask before she picks unless its from the park or our yard. So, she has started HOARDING the shrubbery at the park which does NOT include roses and daisy's but rather reeds and berry shrubs (and maidens do NOT wear shrubs in their hair, every princess knows that).

SO, now when we walk to the park and she gathers her shrubs for the day, she rushes home and goes straight for the cup cabinet to fill a glass of water... for our kitchen table centerpiece:

Yesterday, when she woke up from her nap, she INSISTED on stripping down to the my little pony chones and dressing up like a "beautiful ballerina" (or a roaring 20's flapper, which is basically the exact same thing, right? Maybe we'll save that lesson for another day).

After I took this picture of her, she found a hula skirt for the bottom half of her, and we set off to get the mail down the street. EVERY neighbor stopped to compliment her on her "beautiful outfit." And she TOTALLY knew it was hot. When the little granny that lives a block over told her how gorgeous she looked Anabelle just cocked her head to the side and said "Yeah!" like, duh, she already knew that.

Granny didn't think I was half as cute when I muttered "I wish I could wear this to the mail box every day without half the neighborhood bidding on me..."

What does she know, anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I got a call from the SLO New Times yesterday afternoon to congratulate Tyson for his WIN in their annual photo contest.

He entered this photo taken of Dawson over the summer on a whim on the day of the deadline:

"Back Yard Vacation"
I asked what place/category/prize he had received, and they said it will be announced at the award reception on November 5th held for all the winners followed by an outdoor slide show of all the entry's on the side of the New Times building. It will appear in the November 6th edition of their publication.

I am so very proud of my 'amateur' husband, who is good at just about everything. Oh, and also, I'm sure having a kid that adorable didn't hurt any either.

What a proud mom.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wicked Mom

Whoopsey daisey, I think I royally screwed up this time.

Remember how I posted awhile back on how Dawson likes to be scared?

Well, its still completely true. He LOVES spooky, dark, downright evil things... that is, until bedtime rolls around and all the mental images of the Abominable Snowman, the spooky houses that light up in the Halloween display at Target, and the Incredible Hulk all come to visit when the lights go out (along with a "buzzing sound in my head" he SWEARS he hears every night... wtf?).

So, when we went to Disneyland we hit a McDonalds drive thru on the way home, and the happy meal prize (which is always a TRUE treasure to our kids who don't get them very often) were these FREAKY Madame Alexander dolls themed Wizard of Oz (they look a lot nicer here then they actually are in the hands of an innocent child, OH, and side note, dont you LOVE how to be 'p.c.' they made the munchkin the same size as the rest of the gang, ha).

Since then, Dawson has been obsessed with asking me about the story, and I have tossed him bits and pieces of the toned down storyline that I can remember for weeks now trying to satisfy his curiosity without encouraging his wild little imagination to invite a new demon to lurk in his bedroom at night.

But no. No, no, no, this will absolutely NOT do, he wants to know EVERYTHING about the wicked witch. "Why is she mean? Why is she green? Why is she chasing Dorothy and her friends? Why does she want the shoes!?!?" (Oh, its ok, honey, she only wants them because after the devistating tornado that took Dorothy far away from her family and made her lost without hope aside from the path that leads nowhere, her house landed on the evil witche's sister and KILLED her... off to bed, now...).

Part of me doesnt really want to spend my kid's entire childhood sheltering them from their surroundings (and culture too, I might add). In my humble opinion, there is by far much more of a redeeming quality to the Wizard of Oz than there is to Batman video games, and I appreciate his curiosity and don't want to quench it. But the other part of me realizes that there is a time and a place, and as his Mom it is my job to direct his curiosity carefully so that he doesnt learn more than he needs to before his time (and cause him in turn to throw rotting apples and sick his fleet of flying monkeys at the other kids on the play ground).

Ahh. Whats a wicked mother to do.

In saying that, I don't remember my exact age (but I do believe it was before kindergarden) I, too had a fascination with The Wizard of Oz. And the wicked witch scared me stupid. The apple trees... well, lets just say I dont eat apple pie to this very day. And dont even get me started on those damn monkeys. But... I still loved it, and recall begging and pleading for a rewind at the end of the vhs every time it was over.

So, like I said... little by little, I've been telling him the story line.

And then... having recently discovered the wonder of Google images, today he asks to see her picture. When he sees her, and Dorothy holding Toto, he begs me to cackle "Ill get you my pretty.... and your little dog, too!!" (Its his favorite part, and I have to admit, I kiiiind of like saying it).

Then, I get this brilliant idea... YOUTUBE!! I'll bet youtube has a movie clip of just that one little part in the movie... without the flying monkeys and hostile apple orchird... and he would LOVE it.

Welp... thats where it all hit the fan.

I had a hard time finding the clip of just the piece I was looking for ("I'lllllll getchyou my prettyyyyy!!...").

BUT, I did find this clip titled "The Wizard of Oz uncut trailer," and figured it might play back a vague story line of the movie that would be at Dawson's level.

It starts innocently enough... and Im reading along with the words out loud as they pop up on the screen... Oh, geeze. You'll just have to watch this one for yourself, and tell me if you think were screwed out of a month's worth of decent sleep. Pretend your 3 years old when youre watching it.

Goodnight Mom

This little gem was in the back of this month's Parenting Magazine... I thought it was so great (and completely real!) that I had to re post it. Enjoy!

Goodnight Mom by Sarah Jio

(with apologies to Margaret Wise Brown)

In the messy green

family room

There was a telemarketer

ringing the telephone

And a crying toddler

because his brother just popped his

red balloon

And a picture of-

The cow jumping over the moon

(which someone colored on

with permanent marker)

And there was a missing

teddy bear, and a girl with

gum in her hair

And one to be scolded

And laundry to be folded

And a very hungry spouse

And something stinky in the house

(that no one else seemed to smell)

And a comb and a brush and a colicky

baby who just won't shush

And a frazzled mommy screaming #*%#@!

Goodnight messy room

Goodnight scribbled-on moon

Goodnight cow getting out while she can

Goodnight telemarketers and the

popped balloon

Goodnight long-gone teddy bear

Goodnight cereal bar smeared all

over the dining room chair

Goodnight spitup

And goodnight leaky sippy cup

Goodnight much-too-little house and

goodnight grumpy spouse

Goodnight comb and goodnight brush

And goodnight to a certain 4-year-old

who just needs to hush right now and I mean it

Goodnight Elmo

Goodnight toys we'll pick up tomorrow,

or the next day

Hello chardonnay and TiVo-

"me" time finally

I think I like the new version better (and thats saying something, since the old version is one of my all time favorite).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Happiest Campers

The McDermott Family went on a camp out this weekend!

Steph and Jerad were crazy/kind enough to extend an invitation again this year since we all had such a blast year camping Yosemite over Jerad's birthday weekend. Due to our hectic work/social event calendars, the group voted to keep it closer to home this year and we ended up camping the exotic wilderness in the lazy back country of good old Santa Margarita.

Dawson's trip highlights:

Fishin with his dear old (and undoubtedly world's greatest) Dad,

Real live WORMS!

Having the perfect opportunity to show off his new mad bike riding skill,

Miss Dom (who is his AND mr. taylor's 'special friend...')

This here band of hillbillies and their cool taste in music,

Mr. Jerad offering an uninhibited lift in his cool death trap truck:

Being one with nature, and expressing himself in his art,

Staying up late watchin movies with the gang:

Sleeping with the worms and not another care in the world,

Choppin wood like Mr. Taylor,

Anabelle's trip highlights:

Being included in the blessed fishing event,

Freeing the wormies (into the lake),

Boys with guitars (uh-oh...),

Miss Stephanie and Mr. Jerad's new child (particularly his mouth),

Bonding with her greatest hero of all time,


Sitting at the cool kid table,

Being 'one of the girls,'

And the privilege of wearing Mr. Jerad's sacred cowboy hat,

Mom's trip highlights:

The great outdoors with the wilderness man,

And enjoying how fun he is to look at,

My lesbian soul mate,

Cozy good morning snuggles,

Old friends,

New friends,

Teaching Anabelle the simple joy of a ball and glove,

Being silly,
And having a silly little girl,

Being around other fun couples,

And fellow maternal/family bonding.

Dad's trip highlights:

His hot wife,

His beautiful little girl,
Taking his little boy fishing with the bigger boys (and relishing every photo op),

And, sharing all his cool and completely useful camping equiptment with his son.

This morning is Dawson's sharing day at pre-school, and he wanted to share a camping picture with his class, so his amazing Daddy got up before the sun to sketch this out for him to color in and share with the class:

Dawson was (naturally) BEYOND excited to color his Dad's amazing handi work, but kindly requested Ty add Mr. Jerad to the masterpiece, playing his "Dawsie Bug" song on the guitar.

After he left for work, Dawson also noticed the lacking presence of the tarantula he was lucky enough to spot on Saturday afternoon... so he drew that in himself, in a path leading AWAY from Mr. Jerad (and toward his sister...) Coincidence? I think not.

Needless to say, the kids had a BLAST (as did we). I might get brave and plan a huge multi-family trip for this Spring/Summer since we now know our kids are capeable of braving the extremities, and we've found such a fun group to enjoy the great outdoors with.

I tried a couple times to upload the video of Dawson worshiping at the feet of Mr. Jerad and the hilbilly boys as they serenaded him with the "Dawsie Bug" song and he sat in wonder at the campfire with stars in his eyes... but it kept taking FOREVER. Maybe in another post. Seriously, tho, the look on his face... I've only seen once before, in his battle against Darth Vader at the Happiest Place on Earth. So, in essence, that makes Jerad better than Disneyland to my lil cowboy... which is completely priceless to a mom of a wild (and somewhat hard to impress) toddler man.

Thank you, Mr. Jerad, Mr. Taylor, and Mr. Noah... and to the rest of the gang as well. I keep thinking of how good it is for my kids to be fortunate enough to have a circle of adults in their lives who care enough to look up from their scandel mags and put down their adult beverage of choice to make room on their laps for the cause of my children. Their self esteems and self confidence have been permenantly influenced for the better by each of you, and it means the world to me. You guys are heros to our whole family legacy!

Happy trails till next time.