Thursday, July 22, 2010

What A Turd!

I think I've blogged a time or two about our (cursed, wretched, loathed, despised, good for nothing) family cat, Minerva, and how she loves nothing more than to leave us 'prizes' all over the place.

She likes to dig up the decorative bark right by the front door and use it as her personal litter box, despite the fact that she HAS a perfectly functional personal litter box in the garage... not to mention that the entire field next door to us, and the rest of the neighborhood as we know it is her personal port-a-potty.

She likes to leave us dead creatures as presents ALL.THE.TIME. I know you're thinking this is typical feline behavior, but she does it in such a way that I've come to believe she is intentionally assaulting me personally. Its like she strategically positions these treasures. I've stepped in them... barefoot... more times than I can count. And I will NEVER, EVER forget that time Anabelle had just learned to crawl and was putting everything under the sun in her chunky little mouth when she had the beautiful (mis)fortune of encountering one of Minerva's rotting delicacies under the picnic table in the back yard (gasp, gag, dry heave... moving right along).

She likes to lurk outside the front door and find juuuuuust the right moment where I am most vulnerable (I'm actually vulnerable a lot each day, I know, you're shocked)... when I have a kid with a potty emergency, or an arm load of groceries and the phone is ringing, or the kids are fighting and I am talking (yelling) over them and trying not to throw a mom tantrum in front of the happy neighbors... and she ZOOOOOOOMs underneath my feet and then... POOF! vanishes somewhere in the house until I am forced to give up searching for her and she can finally take her well deserved (HA!) 23 hour nap.

Sometimes she gets locked in the house when we leave by mistake. Once left inside, I suppose she may argue that a cats gotta do what she's gotta do, and hey. If we aren't home to let her out WHEN she wants out... things get ugly. Which brings us to her new favorite trick: LICKING herself clean inside the house... and then, leaving nasty gray surprises of slimy shed cat hair souffle in inconspicuous places for us to find at the end of another exhaustively endless day in paradise. Like inside Tyson's nice pair of dress shoes. Or on a pile of freshly washed blankets. Or in the middle of our daughter's room... which Anabelle, naturally, steps in immediately following her evening bath.

I bet you think this blog is going to be all about our cat.


She's SO not worth her own blog.

This is about my hilarious, wicked, brilliant, warped evil comedic genius of a son, who evidently watches and listens to his mother at ALL the moments I am ranting about the cruel injustices of pet ownership and devises himself a plan to join in the torment, inspired by carnal feline-evil (he really does love that beastly cat).


Im in my happy place, watering the garden at the end of a long hot summer day, letting the cool hose water wash over my tired feet like an old friend and just enjoying the soothing sounds of a summer evening, when all of sudden... what? What's this I see? Just yonder... on the SLIDE!?! Where my DAYCARE KIDS play, and put their little hands and faces all day long!?!?!:


I dont remember exactly WHAT I spouted off, but Im pretty sure its not family friendly enough to repeat on my sweet little blog. Naturally, I turned to my husband who ADORES when I come to him with animal related mishaps... and he chuckles and stops my rant cold.

He goes... "You like that?"

Um. I most certainly did not.

"Dawson made that for you."

"say WHAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!"

...and sure enough, the little rat fessed up. Or something like that.

He spent the afternoon the day before meticulously concocting this scientific little mud mixture so it would perfectly resemble... cat crap.

Just for little old me.

I feel so loved.

And so grossed the frick out.

And, not gonna lie... slightly amused (and even proud?) that my son likes to laugh so much, and shares our (slightly warped) family humor (alright, maybe it just MY humor).

So there you have it. Sh*t happens. The best you can hope for is that it was left behind in love by someone you cherish as a twisted joke.

Speaking of cherishing, and all things warm, fuzzy, and twisted (pun intended)....

Even when they're in trouble, I just don't get how they can manage to be this stinking adorable all the time.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Almighty Dollar

We are on DAY2 of a new reward system we have implemented in the McDermott household.

I know its early, but its been A-MAZING.

I attended a pampered chef party last week and the mother of one of the girls in Dawson's kindergarten class was the consultant. After the show ended, we were chatting about summer, and I asked how she was keeping her girls busy. She responded that 'she keeps them on a pretty tight schedule.'

I think my kids are 'on a schedule' too, in the sense that we do the same things around the same time each day, the rules don't change, and we don't spend the days in front of the TV in our PJ's as a general rule. So I asked what her definition of a 'tight schedule was,' and she grinned and began telling me about how her older daughter is very 'financially motivated.'

Well, obviously I am thinking of how I'm not going to pay my kids for doing things they are required to do as functioning family members. But then she begins to explain her system... which is brilliant.

I came home and called Kari, who had already created a system in her own home. She thought it was brilliant also. So then she introduced the money aspect into what she was already doing, and shared it with me.

On Sunday, I spent a half hour throwing to all together. Heres what it looks like on paper....

Basically, the tablet in the left pocket of their charts is just an excel spreadsheet of the things they are required to do each day. Get dressed, make bed, brush teeth, feed dogs, pick up living room, comb hair. They get a sticker for each task completed, and $1 for each sticker (the stickers are fun and cute, and they help keep track of the dollars in case I don't have time to pay out right then). So they earn about $6 just for getting up and starting their day.

Then. We made a list of other chores that sometimes need to get done. They aren't all things that have to be done every day- but things that will give them something to do and ways to earn extra $ when they are 'bored,' such as setting/clearing the table for the next meal, putting away my laundry/matching socks, cleaning dog poop and changing dog water, reading quietly for 30 minutes (which they like doing anyways), picking up backyard before sprinklers go off, etc. Each of these are worth a dollar amount, depending how big the task is.

There is also a list of 'rewards' they can spend their hard earned dollars on. They are things they have been getting for free up until now (doh! what was I thinking!??!), such as $2 for 30 minutes of TV time, $1 for a sugar snack was added recently (like a popsicle, or hot cocoa in the morning), family walks to the park, or a bike ride after dinner. There are bigger rewards they can save up for, such as $50 for an ice cream date, $100 for the drive in movie theatre with snacks, $50 to choose a movie at Red Box, $50 for a trip to the dollar store, $25 for the 'prize box' which is a stash of cheap toys I got in the clearance bin at Michael's, most of which are marked below a dollar each.

The last part is where it gets good. They LOOSE money for bad behavior. There is a list of fineable offenses, with a written dollar penalty. Bad table manners? Bummer. You owe me a buck. Not listening the first time I asked you to stop? $2, please. Hitting??! Whoops, looks like you just lost $5. Throwing a fit?, tattling?, yelling?, running in the house? All more money for mom and less money for fun.
I have never seen my kids more motivated to do good without being asked! I have never seen them more proud of their rewards for their dollars well spent. They feel empowered! They are making their own choices, and living on their own terms in a way. Dawson earned AND lost several dollars yesterday, but at the end of the day ended up with about $8. He spent $3 for a family walk to the park after dinner, and saved the rest to save toward a big reward. THEY ARE LEARNING TO BUDGET! And count money! I am less frustrated with their behavior, and feeling less guilty about being too busy to keep them busy. There is always something to do. 'Go read a book in your room for 30 minutes, and earn some money!'

Anyways. Like I said, I just had to share. My kids are a short season older than most of the other kids we hang out with, so I feel like since I have to make the first mistakes with the things I am doing wrong for all of you to see, I should probably also share the successes that come here and there in between as well.

Here's to the almighty dollar, and hoping it doesn't deflate to less than its worth before the summer is over.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reporting For Duty

So, my husband is officially official.

He is all sworn in to his new life...

...he graduated on Friday!


His brother made it up from San Diego, where he is stationed in the Coast Guard. And Ty is excited to be working along side one of his best and oldest friends, John. These boys have been friends since boyhood. How adorable are they?!

It was such a privilege to be there... and hear about all the 'fun' things they've been up to the last few months. The kids have been really curious as to what the new job is all about, I know it made them feel special to finally be invited to be a small part of it (plus, you KNOW my daughter loves her an excuse to 'be fancy!').

(Almost) Tyson's whole family was there (move home already, CARLY!). My family was out of town, but they were supportive in spirit!

We had a little 'after party' at the parent's house when the ceremony ended.

The family and I all chipped in to buy a fancy flashlight for our officer's cool new belt. John ended up having to work at the last minute (part of the call of duty, as I know we will learn first hand,) but his sweet wife (and my good friend!) Rachel still walked over with their kids and hung out while we all relaxed and ate.

I know I may be the slightest bit biased, but I think we've got a handful of the sweetest, cutest kids around in our lives.
We are beyond blessed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Its A Good Thing Olive My Kids...

OK, sorry. I couldn't resist the stupid pun. Call it comic relief.

I am having 'one of those days.'

Actually, a couple of them.

In a row.

With my own children.


Despite my efforts to paper doll, craft, lego, swimming pool, bake, sing, and even televise them to their little hearts content... they are STILL near impossible to keep entertained and out of trouble.

And they eat whenever they are not occupied. Eating is expensive. And it fuels them with more and more raw energy. You can see the storm brewing in the direction of where this logic is headed.

(Side note: Dawson has grown more than 2 inches in 6 months. Yipes!):

Today, I decided to make an early lunch in an effort to take the edge off. I'm down a daycare kid, so I thought I'd take advantage of the 'quieter' scene, and make a big plate of nachos for my kids to share.

I opened a can of olives, sliced a few on top... turned around, and saw my son licking his fingers.

The can was empty.

We're talking a whole can. Of BIG, BLACK, RICH olives.


I was scolding Dawson for 'making himself sick' with his tasty little appetizer, when I heard Anabelle mutter "Uh-oh..."

I twirl around, and. Welp. Here she is!:

Covered head to toe in gooey nacho glory. The picture does it no justice, it was everywhere. Down her arms, back, shirt... in her hair... all over the floor, up the fridge...

This is DEFINITELY a better definition of Livin la Vida Loca. Aye Car rumba.

(PS- As I type this, they are BOTH sitting in timeout. Its 1:15pm... and it hasn't been the first one today. Or the second one... S.O.S........S.O.S.......S.O.S......!!!!).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Little Wild Thing.

My son just wrote his first song.

It goes like this:

Stop to pick a peach, and you'll have a peachy day (x3... to a tune I don't recognize, so I guess its an original...)

If you eat a peach, its the only thing you'll ever eat.


I just have to say, my kids are cracking me up this summer. Don't get me wrong, they're driving me insane too. But when they're at school all year, I miss out on all the hilarious things they say and curious questions they come up with that just make the whole world look shiny and beautiful and safe.

For instance: Dawson was searching for a 'beauty mark' on my face the other day, and after searching high and low he pipes up "I can't find it, Mom. All I see are lines everywhere!"

And he is completely mesmerized with the wonder of a Venus flytrap. And what makes a hot air balloon float. And how they make plastic. And why on earth a cat would want to eat a poor little gopher.

How does a mom even begin to answer any of these mysteries!?!? Thank the LORD for YouTube.

Don't even get me started on booby traps. But let me just say... if anyone tries to hop the fence around or near his 'fort' in the dark... they might be in for a surprise. Don't say I didn't warn you in case you were considering a (bad idea of a) practical joke anytime soon.

I am so thankful for my little wild thing and all his mischief and spunk and germs and snakes and snails. And I'm also thankful that school now starts in August, as opposed to the Tuesday after Labor Day like it did when I was a kid... CAN I GET AN AAAAA-MEN?!?!!?

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th

A lot of people I know say 4th of July is their favorite holiday.

I'm starting to understand why!

Its just SO casual. Its lazy, there is ALWAYS something fun to do... and I happen to like the colors. Sorry Christmas... I think Old Glory may be stealing some of your edge!

Started off the day doing a 5k out in the sticks with some of my favorite people.

It was a fun little event, only a couple hundred people in a teensey little town (can you even call it a town?). I haven't been running too much since the marathon, and actually realized I miss it a little. A LITTLE.

The fam wasn't there to cheer old mom on this time around... Ty ended up working most of the day. He was out at the gun range exercising his 'right to bear arms'... on the clock... so although I missed having him around I didn't feel THAT bad for him knowing he was enjoying life.

After the 5k I rushed home, showered, and met the kids at church. Then we farmed out to good old Grammie's for a splendid front yard bbq!

She's always great at making a holiday festive. Cream soda floats and all. Thanks, Grammie! xo

My daughter was a mess around the middle of the day. It was my fault, I said something in my facebook status about 'my kids not melting down anymore from not sleeping enough' or something. Evidently it wasn't real wood I knocked on. Turns out, she needed a party break, and she put herself to bed between events. Lucky for ALL of us.

...but she sure is cute.

We rounded out the day with a brief appearance at the neighborhood block party, followed by a potluck of sorts at our friends vineyard that happens to back up to a bigger vineyard that puts on one heck of a firework show every year.

Its absolutely breathtaking, and always good food, good friends, good wine, and a GREAT time.

Doesn't really get more American than that if you ask me!

Dawson was SO proud of his glow stick hat that he won for memorizing a bajillion (I'm pretty sure thats a real number...?) Bible verses at Sunday school. He had asked me to buy it for him the day before at the dollar store. I wanted to say yes, but something told me not to. I was already buying some less exciting sticks for all the kids, and the hat would have been just for him and a little excessive I thought. The pride he felt when he 'earned' it with his hard work the very next day made me realize (again) that saying yes isn't always doing my kids a favor, and nothing feels better than hard work paying off and finally getting something you want out of it. Even at age 5.

The night ended with minimal traffic on the way home, and Dawson fell asleep in the car (which NEVER happens!).

This morning, there was a nasty black ring around the inside of the bathtub. Yep. The true mark of good time the night before!

I am thankful for a nearly perfect 4th of July... my freedom, my faith, my family, our health... cream soda floats, Kari's caramel apple salad, running water... God Bless America!

We are beyond blessed.