Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Kind of Holiday: Maybe it's time to take down the Halloween decor come hell or high ladder?



We are officially in the fast lane to Christmas, yet, in my home, if you look up at the ceiling in my bathroom, you will see a giant, orange, mylar pumpkin balloon. It refuses to give up the ghost, as they say.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday High Action Hoopla

The stress wind is stirring.  We flopped our distended bellies off the couch of Thanksgiving smack into December.  The e-mails about Christmas wish lists and holiday gatherings are piling up unanswered in my in box.   Before I can take a deep breath, I am in a debate about green Christmas cards and writing check for everyone under the sun.

All I know is that I've given up on sleeping full nights from now until January.  I awaken from holiday nightmares around 3 or 4 and then I toss and turn myself into a panic attack until daylight.  

Weary and raccoon-eyed, I slog through the day and fall further behind the holiday stampede.  I didn't even get any shopping done this weekend--a no show for Black Friday?!?

All around me the holidays approach others with grace.  They sip festive martinis and look sleek in their finery due to a full six week cleanse.  They watch movies, attend the Nutcracker and carol with joy.  I am like the last runner in the race--huffing and puffing just trying to stay on the track--feeling like I alone am pulling Santa's sleigh.

My house is a wreck.  I am exhausted.  I feel more like Ebeneezer Scrooge than a holly, jolly elf. Quick, I need an infusion of the Christmas Spirit and Molly Maids.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Corner Hardware Store

Today I was reminded about why the corner store is so valuable in America.  

Weeks ago, I took Ruth's bike in for a tune up.  Weeks earlier I had done the same for John and had a carrier rack installed and bought matching saddle bags. When the man totaled my order--I was punched in the stomach with a $400.00 total.

Thinking that I'm smarter than the average bear, this time, I took my daughter's bike to REI. They rigged a carrier and threw in a free tune up because we had bought the bike there.  The snaffu was that her carrier couldn't accommodate the saddle bags, because she didn't have an adult sized bike. 

Well, blah, blah, blah, later I had the brilliant idea of bolting a basket to her new carrier frame. I bought the basket, and just needed to find some bolts and screws.  It only took me a month to make it to the hardware store.

Our local hardware store is like going to your dad's house.  They greet you when you walk in the door, and if you need it, they will walk you through the entire process of whatever project you might imagine.

The gentleman that helped me today was like my dad.  He went with me out to my car, looked at the bike in the back,  and helped me think through the project.  Then we went inside to look all around to find the right parts.

He put every screw with its bolts and double washers together for me, so that I would know how to do it at home.  Then we both walked back out to my car and he showed me how to put one on and he made sure that it all fit and worked well.

I never go to the Home Depot anymore.  I value the personal service and patience that the little stores offer.  

Needless to say my daughter sped off with her new cargo rig on her bike.  She flipped the whole thing and herself over two thirds of the way home.  She was fine, but I will be back to visit that hardware store for a bungee cord!  I will tie her and her bag to that bike for safety.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Life with Birk: The Beginning

Every kid is different.  This is one of the rules of life that lured me into teaching.  I loved that you could never predict what a kid was going to do or say.  There was never a magic formula that worked for all had to feel your way along.  It was almost like being in the dark, and your hands had to trace a path to the light.  

I loved teaching, but when I had a little baby of my own, I had the gift of being able to choose to be a stay at home mom.  I honestly have to say I have never looked back.  I love being a mom and three kids later--the same reasons I loved teaching are some of the same reasons that I still find this job challenging, interesting and amazing.

Sure, sometimes my kids drive me crazy.  Truthfully, sometimes I drive them crazy, too.  I don't really know if I am still sane, but I'm working on it every day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Tooth Fairy

IMG_0029.JPGThat darn tooth fairy. It seems like she, or he, is falling down on the job. When my 11 year old son first started losing teeth, the tooth fairy arrived like clock work. However, as more teeth came out and his sister started losing teeth as well, it seemed like the fairy had changed her flight pattern.

By the time our third child started to loose her teeth, the quality of the tooth fairy's work had slipped beyond recognition. She became fickle, sometimes taking three or four nights to take the tooth and put the quarters under the pillow.

There also seemed to be a new policy that she didn't visit when daddy was out of town--because, of course, he would want to see the tooth before she took it away.

Her inconsistancies raged on with some teeth being worth 2 dollars, some 5 and, on one occasion, my son woke up to find a 20 dollar bill under his pillow.

The final straw came last night when the tooth fairy left a gift certificate. It was small and written in pink letters on notebook paper that said child #3 was entitled to 2 plastic figures from our local toy store.

That morning we promptly presented our certificate, with little fanfare, to the toy store clerk. He didn't seemed phased as I paid for the other items and he popped the 2 plastic figures into the bag with the rest of the lot. Obviously it wasn't the first time the tooth fairy had left i.o.u.s to children in our small town.

Discussion in Car on the Way Home:

Kid#3: Why does the tooth fairy steal from little kids?

Mom: She doesn't steal from kids.

Kid#3: But she takes your tooth!

Mom: She leaves something in return.

Kid#2: Then it's like you're selling your tooth?

Kid#1: Remember that time I got 20 bucks from the tooth fairy?

Kid#2: That must of been because we were in Canada. That was the Canadian tooth fairy. I hope I lose a tooth in Canada.

Kid#3: How can the tooth fairy get a gift certificate? Where does she get her money?

Kid#2: And how does the man at the store get paid back for the plastic figures?

Mom: I think there must of been a bar code on the certificate.

K2: I didn't see one on there.

Mom: Maybe it's organized with the government.

K2: The tooth fairy is part of the government?

K3: We should go back in there and try to use the certificate again. Maybe we'd get more plastic figures.

K2: How would the tooth fairy be part of the government???

Mom: Who's ready to stop and get some lunch?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Teen Tidbit

Photo 4.jpg

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority;

they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise;

they no longer rise when elders enter the room;

they contradict their parents, chatter before company;

gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.


--Socrates, Fifth Century B.C.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Always 21

A little girl goes to the barber shop with her father. She stands next to the barber chair, while her dad gets his hair cut, eating a snack cake. The barber says to her, "Sweetheart, you're gonna get hair on your Twinkie." She says, "Yes, I know, and I'm gonna get boobs, too."

The most shocking things in life always happen when you are doing something, like standing in the kitchen cutting strawberries. So, there I am, and 1st Daughter casually asks me when she should have sex. Keep in mind #1 daughter is 9 YEARS OLD!!! I am prepared for many technical questions about womanhood, but I had not given much thought as to when I would advise(?) my 9 year old daughter to have sex. I flummoxed my way through some kind of answer that clearly told her to wait a long, long, long time.

I was talking with some other moms about this last night over dinner. The mom of a 15 year old, who clearly had been asked all the questions, gave this advice, “Be it sex or drugs or whatever, the right answer is always 21 years old. 21 is always the right answer.” I was amazed that she could so quickly solve this dilemma and chalk everything up to being ready for action at 21.

I’ve been thinking about 21–and I like this answer a lot. I could absolutely tell my daughter about the first time I had an alcoholic drink (don’t laugh here, 21) or the first time I tried some kind of non-prescription, possibly illegal drug (don’t laugh harder, 37) or the first time I smoked (really, really don’t laugh, never), but sex? That happened much younger and maybe I should have waited for 21 to do that–I think I would of made smarter decisions about who, where, when and perhaps enjoyed it more.

I am terrible at lying. Years ago, I was a great lier. I could make up anything and have anyone believing it in a second–I had a great imagination and came up with some doozies. Now, I sincerely suck at it. If my daughter looks me in the eye, I’m afraid I am going to spill the beans. But sex is scarier now, considering AIDs and all the STDs out there. It’s so much riskier and it’s not so much about pregnancy, it’s about taking your health in you hands.

My biggest fears growing up about sex were pregnancy and a broken heart. Now it’s those issues plus the most important–life.

My BIG favorite South Park answer??? “There’s a time and place for everything–and it’s called college. ” Check out the episode Ike’s Wee Wee and you will get a better education on why drugs are bad AND circumcision.

Maybe I can say, “There is a time and place for everything.It’s called when you’re in college and 21.”