Pop goes the story

Denise asked if I was going to go easier on the authorities  in the freaky Balloon Boy case, now that it just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Yes, yes I am. My apologies to the authorities after my last rant. But now, I have more to say.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Heene,

On the scale of frakked up parenting moments, this goes all the way up to 11. You don’t have the brains God gave the humble turnip. You thought this little scheme would work? Really? You apparently forgot the cardinal rule of parenting: kids can’t keep secrets. I haven’t been surprised by a birthday or Christmas gift in years, and you somehow thought a six year old boy would keep this under wraps? I’d ask what you were smoking, but I’m afraid you’d think I was serious and offer me some.

Dear Larimer County Sheriff,

I’ve been watching you on the news. Love the attitude. Love that you’re not taking any shit from the media. Go nuts. Investigate the hell outta this family. Move those kids to a more appropriate home; from the sound of things, the dad is a wee bit unstable. There have been previous investigations into domestic violence, and young boys don’t need that as an influence.

Dear media,

Talk to the sheriff. Ignore this wackadoo family. Please.

Love and kisses,


Up, up and away

genthumb.ashxSo…you might have caught a little news story about a six year old boy here in Colorado who took his family’s helium balloon for a joyride this afternoon. The handmade craft (and I mean craft as in craft project, as well as aircraft), believed to be carrying the child, soared over the Colorado landscape this afternoon and encroached so far into DIA’s airspace that planes in and out of the airport were diverted. All’s well that ends well, and the youngster was found at home, hiding in a box in the attic over the garage.

Lots is being said about the family, about their appearance on the show “Wife Swap,” about their beliefs, about how they’re raising their three sons. Storm chasing and such.

I am so relieved that this young boy is safe. Tom turned on the tv at lunch and we both about had a stroke. We have rabidly slightly curious sons and it wasn’t difficult at all to imagine what the parents were going through.

But here it comes. The parental backlash. You know it’s coming. Why were the boys home from school? Why were the parents inside, leaving the children unattended out in their own backyard? What kind of family builds a helium balloon in their backyard? Are the children safe in such an environment? Maybe we should remove them from the home while we investigate this uncommon parenting style.

I believe it was a school holiday. Because parents don’t need to be on top of their children at all times, especially when the kids are in the backyard. The kind of family that wants to expand their sons’ minds by teaching hands-on science. Damned right, they’re safe; more kids should have such an environment. Remove them? Why not just follow up with a full-on lobotomy, so the world is safe from thinking and experimenting and curiosity.

Yes, there was a massive search. Yes, this made international news quickly. Yes, it was a terrible accident, with the perfect ending. The young boy is safe. Isn’t that what’s most important? Go easy on the parents; they have a full weekend of hug/smack ahead of them.

Breathing now…

we can’t control the wave, but we can learn to surf

I think I wrote on that quote once before, but it’s particularly apt lately. I’ve long since given up trying to control the waves, there’s no point in that. I can’t. Waves have their own rhythm and nothing I do can change that. The best I can do is surf them.

So I’m learning to surf.

I thought once the boys were back in school the surfing would get a bit easier. I’d be able to finally get onto that slippery board, rise up, and enjoy the view while balancing on that wave. They wouldn’t be pulling me back down into the water, demanding that I tow them into shore while at the same time trying to swim the other way.

What has happened instead since that glorious day of August 19th is that now both boys have their own boogie boards, so they’re out in the water with me. The storm way out on the horizon has blown up bigger and deeper waves, and the undertow is strong. The boys are laughing and splashing, thinking this is fun!, while I’m terrified, trying to keep them on their boards while not losing my grip on mine.

To ride these intense waves and not go under, I’ve had to jettison a lot of cargo. This little piece of the internets has suffered deeply as I just haven’t been able to write as I’d like to. Date nights are now 2e parenting seminars. I haven’t read, much less commented on, any blogs in days. Right now my counter is glaring 408 at me. I’ll likely MAAR most of them and I hate doing that, as I started blogging to be part of a community.

My biggest and heaviest cargo was also the most difficult to jettison. I finally decided to drop the home-based business I’d had for over three years. Business, family, sanity: pick two. But it had to be done. With those waves, and the undertow, and the two boys beside me having the time of their lives while I try to keep them happy and healthy and safe…it had to go.

You need only go back and reread my last five posts or so to realize that the waves are doing their damnedest to drown me, and I refuse to allow that to happen. A does indeed have Central Auditory Processing Disorder; I believe the term used was significant. So he now has an ear filter that helps eliminate some of the distracting background noise. He has started vision therapy again, and if I could remember to actually do the exercises with him, I’m sure it’d help a lot. All his GI tests came back entirely normal, and we have yet another appointment this afternoon to determine the next course of action. God bless the school’s GT teacher, who is really fighting for me regarding the whole 2e diagnosis; the district’s requirements…sigh…let’s just say I adore her and want to buy her a puppy for working so hard on A’s behalf. In addition to all this, A has been off any ADHD meds since the end of July, which has been wonderful for appetite and growth, both of which are bigger. It has sucked for attention. Hyperactivity is no more than any other 8 year old, but inattention is so bad Tom and I are at our wits’ end, and it’s no wonder the school doesn’t believe he could possibly be gifted. However, it appears that the Holy Grail Of ADHD Meds is coming to pharmacies in November, and A’s doc will have samples in (pleaseGodohpleaseGod) the next couple of weeks. By Thanksgiving we might have a kid who could actually focus for longer than (not really kidding here) 10 seconds.

The other son? I’m trying so hard to not lose J in all this.

In the grand scheme of things I know this all isn’t life or death. I look around and see others hurting far more than I and the guilt hits hard. There was a terrible bus crash in Idaho this weekend, with a high school marching band on board. Every director’s nightmare. Tom knows the band, knows the director, had dinner last winter with the teacher who was killed. My issues are so insignificant in comparison.

The waves keep coming, stronger and deeper, at all of us. But with every slip off the board I get stronger and wiser, and eventually I’ll be able to stand on that board, on top of the meanest wave, and ride that sucker to shore with a smile on my face.

Still digging out

I can’t believe it’s already afternoon. I’ve spent the morning digging out from under everything smothering me for the last several weeks, and I’m not even close to the bottom of the pile. Barely skimmed the surface, actually.

BUT! I have a new post up at Hopeful Parents. Woot! A day late, but it’s there!

Finally, before I go grab lunch and continue to excavate the office, a question I’ve been curious about.

What is your Walter Mitty fantasy? If you don’t know who Walter Mitty is, I weep for the education system. Go here and read the short story, then come back and share your fantasy. I’m curious to see what people say. Such a great short story.

If I don’t resurface soon, send search dogs with brandy.

36 spins

Today I’ve completed 36 spins around that glowing orb in the sky. Well, I think there’s a glowing orb in the sky, it’s been raining for the last few days and it’s simply dumb luck that we’re not getting 1-3 inches of snow today. On my birthday. Unless your birthday is in January, it should be a crime to snow on your birthday. Especially when you need jeans and don’t own a functioning umbrella thankyoumydearsonsforbreakingtheonlyoneweowned.

Thirty-six. I’m actually comfortable with that. I don’t feel older, for a change, and feel I’ve earned every one of those years…especially the last eight. That I don’t have a head of gray hair is amazing, and for that I am grateful. That said, I am totally in favor of hair color, have done it in the past and will most certainly do it again in the future.

No plans for the day, other than going to yoga. Then I will come home and…clear my desk, empty the inbox, process the actions list to as close to zero as humanly possible, make beef broth (so I can make beef stew tomorrow), make roasted tomato sauce, figure out which boy needs pants/shoes/coats/etc., and basically just have your typical Wednesday.


In honor of my birthday, I have said FRAK THIS! to the Detox From Hell two days early. I’m done. I went as far as I could and really have no desire to go any frakking further. I had an egg sandwich for breakfast this morning, with 2 (!) cups of coffee. I nearly wept with joy it tasted so good. And tonight? I.Am.Having.A.Glass.Of.Wine. It’ll probably knock my on my aging ass, but it will taste oh-so-good.

So as I celebrate my 36 spins today, I have one request for the world. I figure if I put it out there, it’s out there, and maybe will make a difference. Just remember that we’re all on this spinning rock together, and ain’t none of us getting off alive. We have to work together, on everything. Every little interaction with another person creates ripples in both lives. We can use those ripples working together in one direction to create a tsunami of change, or those ripples can bang around and simply soak everyone in reach, pissing everyone off.

Your thought for the day.

And, finally, a comment from yesterday’s post on dead mothers in animated movies totally made my day today. From Chelle:

Is there something wrong in my head when, while I totally agree with the point of your post, the ONE thing I am fixated on is the thought : OMG! Jen would make an AWESOME animated character! ?



But you totally would and, I can’t see you getting killed off. Killing something, perhaps, getting killed off, not so much.

Made.My.Day. Thanks, Chelle!

Cloudy with a chance of dead mother

Spoilers ahead! Go away if you don’t want to know about the movie. Come back later.


We took the boys to see Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs on Sunday. That’s always been one of my favorite kid books, so I was really looking forward to see it. Despite the fact that the movie and the book are quite different, I loved the movie.


In the book, a grandpa tells his grandkids this fanciful tall-tale story, after a pancake breakfast. The kids are there, grandpa is there, mom is there. No dad. I never questioned it, just the dad wasn’t there.


In the movie, the mom is in the first scene, when Flint was a precocious child, desperate to be an inventor. She truly believed in him and gave him his first lab coat, so he could be a real inventor. I sobbed through this entire scene; it was so true to the life I’m living with A right now. Her words have come out of my mouth. And yes, he’s getting a lab coat for Christmas.

And then, once Flint was on his way to becoming an inventor, with the full confidence of his mother, the only person who truly believed in him…they killed her off. Oh no, you don’t actually see it, she’s just gone and referred to later.

Really? It was necessary to kill off the mother yet again? Let’s list:

  • Bambi: mother shot and killed
  • Dumbo: mother chained for protecting her child
  • Finding Nemo: mother eaten in the first 90 seconds of the movie
  • Beauty and the Beast: dead mother
  • The Lion King: mother cowed into subservience to Scar
  • The Little Mermaid: dead mother
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: dead mother, evil stepmother
  • Sleeping Beauty: dead mother
  • Cinderella: dead mother, evil stepmother

Are we seeing a pattern here? The Incredibles is the noticeable exception, and not surprisingly is my favorite animated movie. Bambi and Dumbo will never enter my house.

I am so sick of the dead mother cliche in animated movies. Sick of it. According to Animated Movie Law, I’m going to get A on track to his dreams and die off. Because that’s what happens in animated movies. It’s the Noble/Tragic Mother Figure. Why not…mom is now in a padded room because of her dedication to seeing her son thrive? Or mom ran off to the Riviera with the pool boy, only to send a birthday card and Christmas gift? Or…how about something truly different? How about mom survives and gets to see the fruits of her labors??? Is that really so much to ask?

Movie people, stop. Killing off a mother figure has to stop. It’s insulting to the ones raising the kids who want to see your movies. The Incredibles is my favorite animated movie not only because of a fun story line, but because there is a strong mother figure. One who puts her family first, insists on everyone working together, and sees it all through to the end. Make more movies like that, and I’m there.

But from here on out, if there is a dead or missing mom, I’m not going and I’m not taking my kids. Enough.

Enough is enough

Mid-week one of my dearest friends posted on Facebook that she needed one of these signs:

Keep calm and carry onShe is one of the calmest, most centered people I know and had a soul-snapping week. Anyone mind sharing just what the holy hell has been going on the last two weeks? Everyone, everyone I know has had a frakked fortnight.

Since this is my little piece of internets real estate, I’m going to see if I can remember just what hit me. Then maybe, when I think I’m having a bad day, I can check back here and bitch-slap myself back to reality.

  • Tom was out of town most of the last two weeks.
  • A had a GI specialist appointment.
  • A had an xray.
  • A had an ultrasound.
  • A had a barium enema/xray.
  • I got the pleasure of collecting stool samples.
  • 3rd grade curriculum night taught me that A’s first book report will be on a picture book (!), and that my science-fanatic son will see his beloved science alternating with social studies, on roughly a four-week swap.
  • A had a vision exam
  • A got glasses to prevent his eyes from tiring out so much.
  • A needs more vision therapy.
  • A gets to go get his hearing checked this Tuesday, missing yet another day of school, to see if he has Central Auditory Processing Disorder, something I have suspected for four years. If they tell me they could have tested him four years ago, expect to see a mushroom cloud as my head explodes.
  • I got to hold A down while he got a flu shot…then J sat totally still.
  • I handed over a kidney to the nice folks at Costco.
  • I went to a presentation by Dr. Linda Silverman, who has pioneered the study of Visual-Spatial Learners, of which A is the poster child. I can’t thank Tiffani enough for offering up her daughter to watch the boys, and at their house. They had a great time there.
  • Raging PMS from hell. I think I could have ripped the heads off bunnies while drop-kicking puppies into the path of an oncoming truck, then gone out for ice cream.
  • I’m doing a 2 week detox. This means no caffeine (though my acupuncturist gave me a pass on this one after I had a five day headache that ibuprofin couldn’t touch), no red meat or common allergens, no alcohol. Right now I’m living off rice, quinoa, and air. It also means I drink vanilla-flavored sand 1-3 times a day. On the bright side, I’m rarely hungry anymore (I’m almost done with this nightmare), and I can tell I’ve lost a few pounds. On the seriously dark side, I damned near grabbed the chalice out of the pastor’s hand this morning for seconds.
  • While I have been able to stay on top of emails for the most part, my feed reader is mocking me at 308, and chances are I’ll MAAR those in the morning…just like I’ve been MAARing them nearly every other day.
  • I’m having an existential crisis: what am I supposed to do with my life? I turn 36 on Wednesday and I’m sure this is a common question. I also thought I’d have it figured out by the time the boys started school. I was wrong. I do not like being wrong.
  • The mental stress of all of this and the home-based business I have is taking a toll. Chances are extremely good that I will drop this business so I can focus on my family’s needs. A is going to need more help and I suspect he’s picking up on my anxiety and frustration. I need to be able to focus and learn more so I can help and advocate for him.
  • I’ve been on the verge of tears for nearly the entire two weeks.

So. Nutshell. I hope the worst is behind me, I’m not sure I can take a whole lot more. A and I go back to the GI specialist on Thursday and hopefully we’ll have some answers. And answers on the hearing. And and and.

I just want a glass of wine and some chocolate.

Instead I get vanilla-flavored sand and air.


Oh. And to whoever came here on the search terms “barium poo won’t flush” and “should I bring a picture of my son’s poo”…thank you. Hope you found your answers and are sticking here for the laughs.

Excuse me…I must go hose down the fighting dogs separate the boys from killing each other.

Better late than never?

Oh, I had such high hopes for yesterday. I had a snarky, yet charming, Dear So and So/Friday Fragments post all planned out in my head. And then I lost my brain and everything in it. If you see my brain, do let me know. It’s a gray, squishy thing, goes by the name of Harv. I don’t know why, just answers to that. Weirded me out too.

Did you see the story yesterday? The one that had cardiologists around the country picking out their boats? Yes kids, it’s Deep Fried Butter! Butter. Battered. Deep fried. Makes mozzarella sticks look like diet food. For the record, I have had a deep fried Twinkie (ohhhh, it was heavenly), and have nothing against deep fried anything. But butter?

Hey! It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Sing with me now! “It’s the end of the world as we know it…” Yup, the President is addressing the nation’s kids this week and the shit is not only hitting the fan, it’s going through the air ducts, and into the water supply. Seriously? People are getting their knickers in a knot because the President of the United States, and a parent of two young kids, wants to address other kids about the importance of working hard and staying in school??? What the HELL is everyone smoking? This is a President who recognizes that children have intelligence and is addressing that intelligence…the intelligence that a lot of parents seem to be lacking. This is a President who recognizes that almost every.single.decision he makes will affect these kids; if not immediately, then as they grow into adulthood. (I’m pretty sure his decision of what to eat for breakfast won’t affect their lives, but pretty much every other one will). The last four Presidents, of both parties, ignored children. Ignored. And, for the record, No Child Left Behind ignores children. Ignores their aforementioned intelligence, ignores their well-being, and ignores how they learn. Period. The last four Presidents, of both parties, had their chances to address the nation’s children and didn’t. As a parent, I wouldn’t care if a Republican President addressed my kids. IT GIVES ME A CHANCE TO DISCUSS WITH MY CHILD WHAT HE SAID AND HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. Gasp! Talk to kids about politics? Bet your sweet ass. How else do kids learn? As a student under Reagan and Bush I, do you know how cool it would have been to have class halt for 30 minutes to have the President recognize and address us? And then get to discuss it afterwards? We as a society are making our kids stupid by pulling out these kinds of learning opportunities because we’re afraid it’s going to be politicized. Afraid of our kids’ questions. (Dude, I am so past that fear). There’s a serious cranial-rectal inversion going on these days. I don’t know if my sons will get to see the Presidential address live. Our district has left it up to each individual teacher, aka COP OUT. Regardless of what their teachers decide, I will sit down with the boys and watch the address and talk about it. I will NOT have their education held back by the school system.

Speaking of which, looks like I’ll be supplementing A’s science education this year. I don’t know how, don’t know where I’m going to find the time, but it must be done. Why, do you ask? Because I learned at curriculum night this week that science and social studies will alternate unit by unit. So…roughly four weeks of science, then four weeks of social studies, repeat. Anyone else see the abject stupidity here? The charter school I’m helping to start up for next year? Yeah, has a math and science focus. Daily math and science through 12th grade. Hmmm…which school to keep the boys in???

Tom and I are going through dollar bills like a lonely man at a strip club. A has lost two teeth this week, and a third one is loose. Tom is freaking out that A isn’t getting enough calcium, or maybe we should call the dentist, or should we be worried? And I’m all…dude, the kid hasn’t lost any teeth in ages, he’s just catching up. If permanent teeth start dropping I’ll make a call. In the meantime, pony up the singles, I wasn’t able to pole dance this week.

I work pretty darned hard to ensure my family gets healthy food, clean water, a reasonably sanitary house without chemicals. We have 1/4 cow being delivered to the processing plant this week, and in a couple weeks we’ll have a freezer full of hormone-free, grass-fed beef, locally-raised beef. I do the same with 1/2 hog in the winter. I try to get locally grown veggies when I can, too. So when all hell broke loose last summer about BPA in water bottles, I tossed our plastics and bought SIGG bottles (no, no link. I’m not giving them anything at this point). SIGG sold a crapton of water bottles last summer because they claimed to have safe  bottles. Turned out they were lying by omission. Hypocrites. They bottles from last summer, the ones we have, have BPA in the liner, though the company claims they do not leach. Uh-huh. I’m supposed to believe and trust you now? I hadn’t decided whether I was going to go after a replacement from them or not, until I started reading the pissy emails the company was sending to those requesting replacements. Done. My bottles are history, I won’t be sending any kind of business their way, and I’m getting different bottles. I don’t have much power in this world, but if you want any of my money, don’t piss me off. Customer service means too much to me.

I have a new domain and web design coming. Someday. It’s become a comedy of errors. I’m hoping to have it up by my birthday in 2 1/2 weeks.

My dear friend (and confessing it here first!) and life coach, Lisa, has started a new blog with a colleague of hers. Brilliant Chaos. I am very curious to see what they do with this new venture. Intrigued even.

And if you made it this far on this lovely September Saturday, it must be raining where you are.

It’s gotten quiet upstairs. Too quiet. My MomSenses are tingling…

Not eating the frog, though it hops all over the room, like my train of thought

It’s the title of a book I’m reading: “Eat That Frog,” about procrastination. The idea is to do your biggest, baddest thing first thing in the day because it’s likely nothing else will be that big or bad and you’ll feel pretty good the rest of the day. Because you got the icky thing done first. I’m not eating the frog today, mainly because I feel that not stringing up my sons this morning was a pretty good excuse.

Late start day, the first one of the year. Start school 2 1/2 hours late, at 11:35. Do you have any idea how long 2 1/2 hours is when the kids are running around screaming and you can’t really go anywhere and you have work to do and a headache coming on? I’d rather they get out 2 1/2 hours late, at 1:00. So now I have four hours of blessed silence before they head back. At least A has all his homework done for the week and I don’t have to battle that tonight.

The fires in California are making themselves known here in Colorado. Yesterday was so smoky and hazy that I had to close up the house and crank on the a/c for the first time in a week. Sunrise yesterday was orange, and we had gray skies all day. I really feel for the folks out there; we had some bad fires here several years ago, but nothing like this.

Oh. Hey. Full moon on Friday. That explains this morning’s craziness.

I’ve decided to give up multi-tasking. It wasn’t working for me. I’ve tried for years, and I mean for years, to multi-task, in the hopes of getting more done in an increasingly shrinking day. Instead all I managed to do was increase my stress level, which has negatively impacted my health, and made me a raging shrew. So I’m now doing a 180 and working on being present in whatever I’m doing. I’ll have exceptions for listening to music while I work (big kisses, Pandora!), running the laundry or dishwasher while doing something else, or the like. If I don’t get it all done in a day, I either have too much going on, I need to find/hire someone to help me, or my family (read: the boys) have to step up and do more. We’ll see how it goes.

How do you decide when it’s time to give something up? Something you do, you enjoy, but…eh, I don’t want to say the excitement isn’t there anymore…but maybe you can’t see yourself doing it much longer. Something that would impact others if you gave it up. I know the world keeps spinning and the sun continues to rise and set, but…how and when do you make that decision?

A is starting to make noises about starting karate again. After last year’s back and forth about quitting, I’m really not all that thrilled about this turn of events. I’d rather he take up underwater basket weaving or multi-national hypersonic Nurf ping-pong lacrosse. BUT. Karate is about the best thing an ADHD kid can do, especially if that particular kid isn’t on meds. Crap.

I’m not feelin’ the love with the school this year. I’m not getting real good vibes (like my real good English) from A’s teacher, getting great vibes from J’s kindergarten teacher (she’s fantastically awesome). A’s teacher…hm…I don’t know. There was the thing with him being kept in from recess on the second day of school to finish some work, I’m hearing grumblings from other parents that the whole class is either not getting or is getting a shortened recess, homework assignments aren’t clear… But the thing that’s sticking me…sigh… At the beginning of the year A’s teacher sent home a “Parental Feedback” form for us to fill out and send back, telling her about our kid and learning styles and stuff. I didn’t fill it out right away, and finally sent it in on Monday. I had to type it up instead of handwriting it simply because my handwriting is illegible on a good day and I had so much she needed to know about him. Emailed it to her on Monday and? Not.ONE.Word.Back. Not a “thanks for sending this,” not a “yeah, you’re right, we should meet soon,” just total and complete radio silence. Did I freak her out (or put a target on his back) by admitting that he’s ADHD and not on meds? Did I get an eye-roll because I mentioned his gifted testing and hinted at accommodations? Am I looking too much into this? I suppose I should email and set up a meeting or something. Sigh…just when I had the second grade teachers up to speed. How do I balance advocating for my child with NOT being a helicopter parent? Bleh.

Maybe if I keep typing my office will clean itself, and my big ugly frog of the day will eat itself. Not likely. Suppose I should have some lunch, that might make the frog easier to slide down my gullet.

Persistence pays off

A is about the most persistent child I have ever known…on his own terms. He is the living, breathing definition of “intrinsic motivation.” Outside motivation will get him moving for a little while, but not for long. Internal motivation and persistence…holy crap, hold on. Once he decides to do something, nothing will hold him back. It will serve him well in life.

He decided last week that he was going to request a song on XM Kids’ morning show, Kenny Curtis and the Animal Farm. Note that this is a national radio show on XM and a hundred gazillion kids (plus or minus a few gazillion) listen and/or call in every day. He was determined to call in and request Crazy Frog.

Every day last week he was up at 6 am and calling in, either listening to the beepbeepbeep of a busy signal, or walking around the house with the handset on speaker, listening to the “on hold” music. Before I had coffee. There was no WAY he was getting through, and in the meantime he’s not getting ready for school or eating breakfast and just generally screwing up my morning schedule. I mean, the chances of him getting on the air are slim to none, and for God’s sake hang up the phone and eat!

Mom, you’re a dumbass.


Guess who got through this morning? Guess who requested Crazy Frog, only to learn it had been played before he called in? Guess who requested his backup, Hamster Dance? Guess who had a full-on conversation with Kenny Curtis?

So if you happened to be listening to XM Kids this morning around 7 am mountain time, you heard a very happy little boy request a song for himself and his brother. But what you didn’t see was the look of immense pride on his face as he learned that persistence really does pay off. Only his dad and I were privy to that. And it was a lesson we’re so glad he learned.