Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Differences in Black and White (Er, Pink and Purple)

I bet you can't guess which twin created which picture:

This is why I laugh at people who insist that preferences for certain toys or colors are the result of socialization.  Honestly, Leah is so girly that I imagine she envisions the first commandment as being the brainchild of a sparkly princess draped in a pink and purple gown who solemnly intones, "Thou shalt have no other colors before me."

As for Matthew, he appears to be taking after his father and brother in organizational and spatial skills.  He can put together a 100 piece puzzle all by himself and gets very bothered if something is in the wrong place.  (And yet, five days worth of clothing all over the floor does not seem to bother him.  Go figure).

But, being as smart as he is, he's figured out the best way to handle his chores:

"Matthew, is your room clean?"

"Um, yep!"

"Is it clean enough for me to check?"

"Um, nope!"

"Is your bed made?"

"Leah is doing it for me!"


Like I said, he's a smart one.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Why I Haven't Been Blogging (Plus, a Schedule!)

Michael is on year-round school, which means we only had four weeks in which to pack all of our summer fun.  This also means that time was short for the average summer dose of pinching, hitting, whining, screaming, poking each other's eyeballs, and slamming our little sister's fingers in the door, so we had to make sure we spent plenty of time each day acting like boogerheads .  And by "we" I mean "Michael."  Also Matthew.


Let's just say that I wasn't one of those mothers who sauntered to the bus stop yesterday singing "Sunrise, Sunset."  I did take some pictures, though.  Right after I said, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!"  (What?  I said it with a smile!)

Isn't he a cute little first grader?

And speaking of cute, in just over a month these little whirlwinds...

...will be spending four hours a week in preschool.  Four hours!  Do you know much stuff I could get done in four uninterrupted hours??  That is so much time for couch sitting!

No, seriously.  I lost my ability to focus on significant projects after I served in the children's organization at church for four years and developed a problem getting anything done without stopping periodically to sing "Once There Was a Snowman"  Add six-and-a-half years of stay-at-home mothering to the mix and it's a wonder I have enough brain power to get to the bathroom without calling someone just to say, "I like cookies!"

Which is a good reason to call people, don't get me wrong.  But mostly I reserve making phone calls for when I need my kids to come find me, because the sound of dialing is like a siren song -- I hit "Talk" and all of them come running.  It's okay, though, I can do anything while talking on the phone.  Recently I even blew up a pool while I was chatting with my sister.  "Sorry for the loud breathing," I said, "I'm blowing up a pool."

"You shouldn't say that," she said with exaggerated paranoia in her voice.  "The NSA is probably listening to this phone call and now they're going to show up at your door with handcuffs."

"Hey NSA, if you're tapping this phone call, we're about to start talking about our periods," I said.

That'll show 'em.

As for this blog, it deserves a little more attention.  My things-to-write-about queue is bursting at the seams, and with the demise of Google Reader (Why?!!!!) I feel like this blog deserves a schedule so that my  Favorite Aunt Rebecca can know when to expect new content and won't demote me to Least Favorite Niece at the next family reunion.  So look for new posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Yes, I realize it's Friday today, but hey, I started this post on a Thursday and once there was a snowman, tall, tall, tall...

Ahem, where was I?

Oh yes, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  This is not to say I won't ever post on other days, but you can definitely look for new content at least twice a week.  And if you find an article or some other item you'd like me to write about, let me know -- I take suggestions and questions.  If you send me something that really intrigues me I might even bump it to the top of my queue.  Or get off the couch.

Stranger things have happened...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ten Commandments for the Bride-to-Be

What would wedding season be without a little dose of Bridezilla?

Writing to the Huffington Post, a reader tells of attending a wedding of a "not close" friend and giving a $100 cash gift only to be berated by the bride for being so "cheap":

"Just for the cocktail and reception alone the cost per plate is $200" the bride whined.  "Mike and I both have already paid for everything else including decor, photography, attire etc and didn't expect we had to cover that huge amount for reception as well."

Oh, you poor thing!  I just hate it when I'm expected to pay for my own party instead of lining up my guests and soaking them for cash.

P.S.  If you're reading this blog post, you owe me $29.95.

Honestly, I'm not sure how God withstands the urge to throw a lightning bolt at this greedy little snot.  So help me, if any of my children ever act like this I'm going to ship them to the slums in India and not let them come back until the only thing that comes out of their mouths is "Thank you" and "What can I do to help?"

How on earth did weddings go from being a simple celebration of a marriage to a $28,000 (the average cost of a wedding these days) bride-led circus complete with fireworks and trained bridesmaids?  People, you can buy a car for $28,000.  Or make a down payment on a home.  Or get an education or fill a savings account or do any number of more prudent things.  And you want to spend it all on ONE party and ONE day?

*hyperventilates into a brown paper bag*

Not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with having a party.  If you can afford it and want to do it, then go ahead.  But, if you cannot afford to have a big party, you should hold off on the ice sculptures and the live music.  And the last thing you should do is have a $200/plate dinner and demand that your guests cover the cost.

But since this bit of common sense seems to have flown out of the atmosphere in search of more intelligent life, I present to you Ten Commandments for the Bride-to-be:

1.  Thou shalt not be a snot.

If you are not mature enough to be gracious to your friends and family, you are not mature enough to get married.  You must behave kindly to everyone, including your mother-in-law, your husband, and your bridesmaids.  And, if you have one, your caterer, your photographer, and the nice ladies who will clean up after you.

2.  Thou shalt not spend more than you can afford.

If you cannot afford the "dream" wedding you want, do not act like you can.  If you think a marriage cannot begin without an extravagant party, you need to re-examine your priorities.

3.  Thou shalt not demand that guests or members of the wedding party spend more than they can (or want to) afford.

Unless you want to pay for each and every one of your guests to attend your wedding off the coast of Bora Bora, do not have a destination wedding that requires guests to use their precious vacation time and limited budget to travel somewhere they do not want to go to see you do something that you could have done at the local courthouse.  Do not demand specific gifts ("cash only" or "donations" for the honeymoon) or any gifts at all, for that matter.  Do not demand that the bridesmaid who is working the night shift at McDonald's shell out for a Vera Wang gown and Jimmy Choo shoes.  Do not demand that guests reimburse you for the cost of your selfish extravagance.

4.  Thou shalt not go into debt for any part of the wedding (including the ring).

Reasonable debts:  House, car, education.  Unreasonable debts:  Huge parties, designer dresses, gigantic diamonds.  A note to future husbands:  If your fiancee expects a huge ring she knows you cannot afford and demands that you go into debt or work for three years straight just to pay for it, run away fast.  This is not the kind of woman you want to be married to.  

5.  Thou shalt remember that bridesmaids are friends, not servants.

If you are treating your Maid of Honor like she deserves to be shackled to your to-do list and will only be let go on good behavior, knock it off.  She is doing you a favor.  Be grateful.

6.  Thou shalt focus on things that matter.

It doesn't matter if someone wears tennis shoes to your wedding.  It doesn't matter if the florist used the wrong flower.  It doesn't matter if someone stepped on your dress.  What matters is that you are getting married.  All the other stuff is just fluff.

7.  Thou shalt remember that it is not "your" day.

Remember that guy... the one you are vowing to love forever?  He's kind of important.  Treat him that way.  Respect his opinion and value his input.  You are in this together -- don't forget to act like it.

8.  Thou shalt remember that the marriage is more important than the wedding.

The point of this whole thing is to get married, NOT to throw oneself an I'm-the-center-of-the-universe-worship-me party.  I have read countless stories of brides who felt their marriage (and in some cases, their life) was ruined because one little day did not go perfectly as planned.  It is only ONE day.  As far as marriage goes, the wedding day means nothing.  The marriage means everything.      

9.  Thou shalt have an attitude of gratitude.

If someone gives you three pennies and a used postage stamp, your job is not only to write a gracious thank you note (promptly!), but to be grateful.  The gift doesn't matter.  Your attitude does.

10.  Thou shalt treat your husband the way he deserves to be treated.

Marriage vows mean something.  The way you treat your husband means something.  Don't treat him like a child.  Don't make fun of him.  Don't kick him around like he's some kind of pet whose ears you only scratch when you want something.  Honor and cherish and respect him.  Show him you love him more than anyone in the world.  He is the most important person in your life.

Never forget it.