Go, E, Go!

This weekend Big E joined a few fellow Brownies, classmates, old soccer teammates (and missed a couple friends too) and participated in her very first triathlon. CCC and I had chatted about what fun we thought our kids would have doing something like that and she turned up the Ironkids triathlon right in our backyard. The girls were totally "bring it on!", so we signed 'em up and started training. Except training didn't really happen as planned (does it ever?) and while she did get to practice a couple of times a month or so ago, she basically went into the thing with no training. And her original partners couldn't make it because CCC has been down with avian flu or ebola or something equally as miserable. But Big E still knew a few kids and was excited for the whole morning to be All Big E, All The Time, which is her goal for EACH and EVERY DAY.

I didn't really get to be a part of the night before because I was in bed with a raging fever, convinced I was the first victim in the next pandemic (WHAT the hell is going around???). So, if she was nervous or scared, I was blissfully unaware, because I'm pretty sure that writhing in bed with a burning fever is preferable to coping with Big E when she's all wound up.

The next morning she seemed excited, nervous and anxious. We got to the transition to get her all set up only to realize we didn't have her bike helmet. Seriously? The only thing as important as the helmet is the bike itself. I thought you were getting it...No, I thought YOU were getting it...that whole scene. Luckily, as I said before, we were practically in our own backyard so Bubble Boy shuffled home to get it. Not like some of the kids who traveled from Wyoming, Missouri, Mexico, or even Houston.

Then, no coffee. What kind of planning is that? Then, the WORST breakfast taco in the whole wide world. I am NOT exaggerating one teensy bit. It tasted like it had been cooked in a coal worker's shoe, then basted in salsa that had been put together in the same blender as a tasty anti-freeze/motor oil salad dressing. A friend's husband took blessed mercy on us and fetched some Starbuck's for us, then the poor soul's own coffee spilled. Sorry, dude. I've been sick..you don't want to share mine.

Back to the triathlon....she set off. The swim went great....

Then she went off on her bike for a 5K bike ride...

And bringing it on home in the 1K run finish...
Let me just say that I am so happy that she had a good time, because I had a GREAT time! I had to fight back the tears as she set off on her swim...What a big girl!? How is that MY daughter? Pushing herself, trying so hard, doing so well. I'm getting all verklempt again...

As we went from point to point, cheering on Big E and all the other kids, I remarked several times how much fun I was having until Bubble Boy thought the fever was coming back. You can take my word for it that it is much more fun to watch your kid participate in a triathlon than to participate yourself.

To make it all EVEN better (I didn't know it could get better!), much to the surprise of all of us, Big E came in 3rd place in her age category. Woohoo! Way to go Big E! I'm so proud of you.


Heavy Metal

In her ever-ongoing quest to GROW UP, Big E has joined Bubble Boy and myself among the ranks of the Barely Seeing. It's been like deja vu as everywhere she goes she comments on all the details she can now see. Like words. And leaves on trees. I remember that exact phenomenon when I was in third grade and got my first pair of glasses. Oh they were purty. Big, plastic marbelized frames. And no cheap plastic lenses for me, no Siree! I got REAL glass, nice and thick. And wasn't I so glamorous...so Laverne...to have my initials in scripty gold stickers on the bottom left lens corner. But besides the details of how beeeeutifull they were, was The Whole New World! I mean, did you know there were stars in the sky? How about actual words on signs? And the highways have these yellow and white lines that guide you where you're supposed to drive. OH! And clocks have these things called HANDS that point at what time it is.

It's been fun watching Big E rediscover all the details of her life that had obviously faded away from her recently. Plus, she loves them. She has embraced them with the same bursting-at-the-seams enthusiasm she does everything else. In a period of two weeks she's gone from our little 8 year old girl, to this big 9 year old, braces-and-glasses wearing, iPod toting, Webkinz working, 4'7" tween. As long as this is the most metal we have in the face area for a while, I'll be happy. If she starts asking for an eyebrow or lip piercing....well, let's just say that WON'T be happening. We're not getting THAT heavy metal.


Just a thought

"Exposure to a microwave popcorn additive linked to a deadly lung disease would be swiftly regulated under a bill passed on Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives, defying a White House veto threat.

The bill would order quick action by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to limit exposure to diacetyl, which is linked to bronchiolitis obliterans, or "popcorn lung," a disorder found in popcorn plant workers.

The House bill was approved by a 260-154 vote. No companion bill has been under consideration in the Senate, but Sen. Edward Kennedy praised the House and called for action.

"Too many workers exposed to diacetyl have become ill or even died. The Senate should pass the bill as soon as possible," said the Massachusetts Democrat.

The Bush administration said on Tuesday it would be "premature" to regulate diacetyl -- which gives microwave popcorn a buttery flavor -- as proposed in the bill, a view shared by some House Republicans."

You can read the full article here:

Here's what OSHA has to say about diacetyl:
Potential symptoms: Eye, mucous membrane, respiratory system, skin irritation; persistent cough, phlegm production, wheezing, dyspnea (shortness of breath); unusual fatigue; episodes of mild fever or generalized aches; severe skin rashes.

Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat, Skin (HE15); Suspected cumulative lung damage---bronchiolitis obliterans (HE10)

Affected organs: Eyes, respiratory system, skin

Mmmm. How I love to pop me up some warm, buttery-flavored, diacetyl-laced popcorn and enjoy a good movie.

I have an idea. It's a crazy one, I know. And I'm sure there's just a thousand reasons why it would never work, but how about this...how about using REAL, ACTUAL BUTTER to give popcorn a buttery flavor?

Just a thought.


We did it!

After two years and two months of sleeping Poor College Kid style, we have bought bedroom furniture! It's purchased! Ordered! Should be delivered and set up within 4-6 weeks!

A Bed. A Dresser. A Chest. Lordy! Nightstands! I'm thoroughly giddy at the thought of my very own nightstand! Dare I hope for a lamp too? Even a Mirror. It all matches. For those of you who like the mix & match style, goody for you. I have neither the eye nor time to devote to piecing together a bedroom ensemble...it took me two years to get THIS far! And did I mention A Real-Life Bed? The mattress will be elevated OFF THE FLOOR! Bubble Boy and I BOTH like it! At least he is convincingly pretending to like it, for which I am extremely grateful.

This is where I come clean and say that if it weren't for Bubble Boy, we'd be living in a tchotchke-laden, over-stuffed house (even more so), with row after row of Beanie Babies and thousands of Precious Moments figurines (not that there's anything WRONG with Beanie Babies and Precious Moments!). He's the half with the flair for knowing what we'll be happy with and what will ultimately look nice. Don't get too excited, BB, I'm still not ready to pare the living room down to a concrete bench, white fur rug, and giant red vase with a single twig poking out. And thank you to Bubble boy and all my dear friends and family out there who've listened to my woeful tale of bedroom shopping, purchasing, delivery failure, sleeping on a mat, giving up and trying again many, many times.

Aren't you all glad this seemingly neverending saga is coming to a close too?? I think we'll have a party once it's delivered. With hors d'oeuvres set up on the nightstands.


Houston, We have a problem...

Read no further if the topic of bodily functions offends you.

To sit or not to sit, THAT is the question now that there is a little boy in the household who has a tendency to run full speed in an all out panic to the potty at the very last possible second every time Nature calls. I'm guessing it doesn't take much imagination on your part to guess what the end result is and frankly, I'm tired of cleaning the floor, the porcelain god, the wall behind the porcelain god, the vanity, the baseboards, the rugs, etc...If I have to remove another shower curtain for washing and rehanging I just might curl up in the fetal position and rock uncontrollably for hours until someone notices I'm not doing dishes, laundry, vacuuming or cooking, or at least until Little A has to go to the bathroom again and his askew stream rips me out of my Happy Place and back to our urine-streaked reality.

SO! What to do? Instruct him on the finer points of sitting or hope his aim gets better? Throw down the Big Sponge and make him clean it up? Feel free to chime in on my little poll I'm trying out on the right margin.


Weekend in October

Little A received the ultimate honor of being Child of the Week at his little preschool, which translates into him being the Special Kid who gets to ring the 5 minutes bell (5 minutes to lunch, 5 minutes 'til playtime, 5 minutes 'til playtime is over, 5 minutes 'til hike time, and so on...which translates into a lot of bell ringing in my opinion), and also the caretaker of Squirt the Bear. First off, he hated that name, so a change of moniker was required. 'Cookie' seemed much more palatable and made the boy happy, so in his little section of the scrapbook Squirt is aka Cookie. I hope that doesn't throw off the other kids.

Cookie helped Little A make brownies, helped escort Big E to school via scooter, played games and really got into Webkinz. Maybe he recognized some long lost loves?? Little A was sad to have to return Cookie to his class today but relieved in the knowledge that he will again be Child of the Week in 7 short weeks.

This weekend marked Big E's 9th birthday. Nine years old! I'm not sure how it has happened that I am a parent of a nine year old who has braces and an iPod nicer than mine. It makes me happy that she still wants me to walk her to class, even if she does start walking 5 steps ahead of me once we get to within 20 feet.

This itty bitty, store-bought cake was the result of me feeling puny for the last 6 days. Isn't it a law that when the helpful dad leaves town then something has to fall apart? Last time Bubble Boy left town it was on Little A's 4th birthday and his car was broken into. He flew on his merry way to Seattle while the kids and I wrangled a friend (a VERY GOOD friend) into driving a car with no window or dash and broken glass all over the seat and floor, home in the November cold. This trip I came down with a funky cold thing the day he left and have been fighting it ever since. Therefore, no energy to make a cake and we ended up with this beauty from Whole Foods. You can see that I didn't even manage to put it on a nice plate. Martha Stewart is cringing and excommunicating me from The Club.

Big E handled the first year of no birthday party with grace and style. Since Little A is turning 5 and has yet to have a birthday party that included more than close family and I can handle only one party a season, the nod had to go to The Boy. Big E has since focused all party-planning energy on HIS party and I have a feeling I'll actually have to do very little other than show up. Sometimes it's really great to have a Type A kid.

We also spent the weekend shuttling the kids to their respective sports. Little A had a helluva soccer game. He was ON FIRE. I got some video, so if I get ambitious I'll try to put up a minute or so. The other team was the first team this season to actually give them a challenge and you could tell during the first quarter that they all were like "Huh?? Are those GOALS they're scoring? On us? Nuh, uh...don't think so!". So they turned on the magic and though the other team rallied a couple of times, The Dragons put those Pterodactyls DOWN. Which only makes sense, according to Little A, because Dragons can Fly and have FIRE...Pterodactyls can only fly. They really should've thought of that when they were choosing their team name.

Big E went to swim practice to break in her new swimsuit before we had a lovely, humongous lunch at Curra's, then bike shopping. This was our third time out looking for a new bike for Big E who outgrew her current bike about 18 months ago. We went a few places and I was starting to slide downhill rapidly when we walked into Buck's Bikes, I blurted out what we needed, he pulled it out and we paid for it. Easiest sale he's had in years, I'm sure. But we did end up with a lovely bike. She agonized over the color...metallic turquoise? Berry? Purple?? God! How to choose??? Honestly, this was like trying to choose between double fudge chocolate chip cookies and triple chocolate brownies.

Sunday we caught up on relaxing, reading, a little yard work, and even our two TV shows, The Office and The Daily Show. If you haven't seen the Jon Stewart interview with Lynne Cheney, take a few minutes. It illustrates how history can be and is skewed to meet political ends. Like we didn't already know that.


Bling me

Twelve weeks of an RPE, one week of Empty Mouth Bliss, Five primary teeth extracted culminated into Four braces for the next six to twelve months. Big E's first response was "They look awesome! I look just like a teenager!". She was tickled pink and giddily ran (really a super fast skip) all the way back to school when I dropped her off for her afterschool math club. And the best part is every month when she gets them adjusted she can choose new bands which come in dozens of color choices. Sweet! This go 'round she chose purple and black because they match her Halloween costume. These are going to make perfect accessories!

That was yesterday. Come morning the giddiness had worn off and the soreness had set in. Awesome? Not so much. Teenager? Who cares!? I wanna be a kid! I HATE braces!
Through the pain, she gallantly refused the Motrin I reluctantly offered. This made me so proud I had to hug her. Suffer through! Plod along and practice being the martyr your children will eventually accuse you of being. My attitude has changed over recent years about popping what I previously considered harmless pain relievers like Tylenol and ibuprofen. Limbs must be partially severed or at least bone protruding through skin before doling out the little chewable tablets. Big E has never been one to shoulder the pain with spirited valor, so this was a monumental morning indeed.


Hairy chest with your coffee?

For the second time in less than a week I witnessed a father delivering his children to school bare-chested this morning. I wasn't quite sure what to make of it the first time. A bit taken aback, surprised, feeling the embarrassment I would've felt when I was 9 years old if my dad had escorted me to school sans clothing. But maybe this is just the male equivalent of moms dropping kids off in their PJs. I've been known to jump in the car on those 'Sweet Baby Jesus! School starts in 2 minutes!' mornings with my giant t-shirt and boxer shorts and barefoot as I can be. Maybe it was THAT morning for this guy and I just happened to see him. But then I see it again today. Not the same guy. Could be a crazy morning for him too, or could be maybe this is acceptable? Maybe today's guy saw last week's guy and said YES! Green Light on the Topless School Drop-off! They are still in their cars...just doing the drop off thing. Not strolling into the school or showing up at PTA meetings half-naked which I wouldn't even have to wonder about the appropriateness of THAT.

But really? Is it SO difficult to throw a t-shirt on? Yes, it's still way too stinkin' hot here, but at 7:30 am it's still a pleasant 70 degrees. I don't think they've been out mowing or digging trenches. Now if it just so happens that one of these men is the husband of one of my friends, I will be mortified. I'm SURE this is just my own uptightness and prudish sense of what's acceptable (I really DO wear turtlenecks ALL THE TIME as soon as the temps drop below 80) and lack of anything better to ruminate over. Plus I had me a great big dose of Judgmental Sanctimony after dinner and it's oozing out of me.

Conversation overheard while waiting at Big E's swim practice:

"I MEAN! it's practically a car payment!"

"I know JUST what you mean, it's absolutely RIDICULOUS! Cuts, highlights, straightening, more highlights, touch-ups, and the occasional style. I mean, REE-uhlly! It's just crazy!

"I just hate spending that much money on my OWN hair, let alone my 14 year old daughter's. But just what am I supposed to do? That's JUST how much it costs!"

"I know, I know. My daughter's last appointment was over $250 and she has to go back every 4-6 weeks! It just never ends!"

"Oh? Where does she go??"

I quietly scooched myself away at this point. I was obviously sitting in the wrong section. Big E's last haircut cost $8 and I generously (or so I thought) added on a $7 tip to round out an even $15. And Yes, there really WERE that many "justs" in that exchange.


Wurrd Gurrl

Little A: Hey Mom! Do you know what an IMBECILE is?
Me: Uh....what?
Little A: It's an idiot. Big E is an IMBECILE sometimes.


Little A: I know what FUTILE means.
Me: Oh? What?
Little A: Attacks don't wurrk.

The exchanges go on. We've had a vocabulary explosion here in the Bubble house, thanks to Word Girl. Timid. Vegetarian. Hullaballoo. Flabbergasted. What I like best about these words are his literal acceptance of the definitions. Hullaballoo=Noisy Excitement. Flabbergasted=Can't think or talk because of surprise. And how he works them into conversation. Like as I was sitting down to eat dinner tonight, apparently on the quiet side since I wasn't screeching Hurry up and eat or Stop tipping your chair back or Take that noodle out of your nose, and he asked if I was feeling Flabbergasted. Is that caring or what?

Some things still don't quite click though. A few days after a viewing of Spiderman he asked me if I knew what a bike messenger was. I, of course, said in my sweet mommy voice that I Did Not, Would He Please Enlighten Me, at which time he explained that bike messengers are the little throwing blades that the Green Goblin throws. Hmmm, I think. Where did this information come from? Then! I remembered the scene where Peter Parker joins Aunt May, MJ, Harry and Mr. Osbourne for Thanksgiving dinner. He's just come from an altercation between himself (as Spiderman) and The Goblin where his forearm is cut by a throwing blade thingy. When he sits down for dinner someone asks Peter why his arm is bleeding and Peter replies "Bike Messenger". Mr. Osbourne makes the connection and then The Goblin attacks Aunt May to get at Peter/Spiderman proving that no one or nothing Peter ever loves will be safe from his enemies....but I guess I'm getting off topic here. The point is that Little A is learning vocabulary all the time and it's really cool that he's such a sponge, but a little scary too. He still doesn't believe me when I explained what a bike messenger really is. I can just imagine him going into some shop where they sell those kind of things (there must be ninja stores somewhere, right?) and he'll ask the scary store clerk guy for a set of bike messengers and just get a very confused, condescending look back and I will know that I have failed. I wonder if Word Girl takes requests.


While I was out

Bubble Boy instructed the Bubble Kids in Stop-Motion filmmaking this weekend while I was kicking back with the girls. I don't know how he got Little A to stick with it long enough to get this little video, but more power to him. I would also like to mention that the house was immaculate (as predicted by moi) and the kids were both intact and relatively clean when I returned. Proving once again that my presence is permitted here only as a charitable effort to humor the poor lady.


Ribbons and Ponies

This weekend marked the 3rd annual Rebel Bunco Get Away From It All Weekend (the 3rd in four years...we had a dry spell there for a while). The story of why we're the "Rebel Bunco" is a long one and not relevant to the post, but I'll give the short Bubble Girl version anyway. See, we're the "cool Bunco kids" and we'd had it up to Here with the snooty, uptight Other Bunco kids who were trying to make us actually play Bunco (pshaw!), complaining that Bunco was getting too big and that certain "undesirables" were contaminating their Bunco pool....so we said "C-ya! Wouldn’t wanna B ya!" and went our own way, never looking back. There is little basis in reality in that recollection and TRACEY JACKSON may want to interject here what REALLY happened, but we all remember how bad my memory is, right? so I'm going to go with that version and call it good.

We rented a house in Lago Vista (what happens in Lago Vista, stays in Lago Vista), loaded up our assigned meals (have I mentioned TRACEY was a meeting/event coordinator in a former life?), cajoled our weary husbands into coming home early on Friday so we could make our escape, picked up friends who'd rudely abandoned us for their family in sunny California (but who we’ve now reluctantly forgiven), and made our way through Friday afternoon traffic to the peace and tranquility of a 4,000 sq ft lakehouse.

I was feeling a bit run-down from 2 weeks of ragweed poisoning, but around 11:30 pm I somehow found a
econd wind and managed to hang in there watching the ping-pong, pool and foosball, swiping spoons, playing LRC, and being simultaneously disgusted and thrilled by the conversation with the latest group 'til 3 am. Seeing how I wasn't on my best game, I didn't partake of the spirits except as a formality, but that didn't stop everyone else. Unwilling to violate The Rebel Bunco Code I shall not divulge the actual numbers, but can say that the alcohol which had been intended to last the entire weekend was gone by 1 am, thanks to PE’s generous pouring technique, “Say when, Say when, Say when”, which is to say she poured until you’d said “when” approximately 28 times.

Saturday involved much relaxing, unwinding, hair-brushing and ribboning, toe nail polishing, truth-or-daring, and pony-naming. All the things we girls do when we’re together. There was an education of sorts that my sense of decorum and the fact that family members read this blog will not allow me to go into, but I now know things that I wish I didn’t. Things that will haunt me whenever I hear certain words or phrases. Things that make me wish I could do that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind thing and erase them forever (except when I keep hearing them and then I'm constantly reminded because it's fate and that kind of thing will just never work). But I can’t and now I must live with them. The only comfort I take is knowing that these friends must also live day to day knowing them too.

Saturday night was more subdued for most of the group, who were still buzzing from Friday night, but after a 3 hour nap and the purchase of vodka some of us enjoyed our Fizzy Izze’s ‘til 3 am, playing our games and talking our smack.

Sunday came too quickly and friends fell off one or two at a time to rejoin their normal lives. Beds were stripped, fridge’s emptied, friends delivered to the airport. I drove those last few miles homeward thinking how lucky I am to have so many wonderful friends, who have such wonderful families to let them go and submit themselves to a weekend of excess. And as I drove toward home, with the plan to get there while Bubble Boy had Big E and Little A at the park, so I could unload and decompress for a while before they came home, I turned off and went to the park instead…happy to be back in my normal life.