Thursday, April 29, 2010

ok, so maybe he is smarter than I thought...

I've been trying to get Ace to swim.
The main reason?
I heard it's the best way to tire him out.
And my furniture legs will thank me.
The first day we went out I forgot my camera.
So these are pictures from our second attempt.
I found out that Ace has an amazing memory.
The first day we went out,
I got him in the water by throwing a stick out a little farther into the water each time.
There was a little "drop off" a few feet out where it got deep real quick.
We were having a great time when I threw the stick a little too far.
Ace went out after it and sank.
He swallowed a bunch on water and came out coughing and sputtering.
He wouldn't go back in anymore after that.
So here we are on day two.
He was a little hesitant to go in but finally did.
He has the stick on the first throw.
He did well for a few more throws but then
I threw it a little too far.

He says "Nope! Not gonna get it"

Turning around

and leaving it.

and giving me a dirty look for loosing his stick.
But then he did something that surprised me.

He got out of the river and watched the stick.
He noticed that it was blowing back toward shore.

So he ran up the side of the river to the next open area.
To see if it was going to be close enough.

He quickly calculated currents, wind speeds, and angles...
and choose the opening two places down.
um... yeah.

and he waited there.

and sure enough, here it comes.

He looked at me like this when he got out.
This isn't a look of pride "look-at-me!" look.
This is a "don't-you-ever-do-that-again!" look.
How do I know?

He wouldn't give it back.

and then he snuck up behind me while I was enjoying the view
and did this.

but it was worth it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

teens that are too polite

Tony had some new friends over after school yesterday.
Two of them came home with him after track practice. One of them, let's call him "Eddie", I picked up from his home.

The reason I'm calling him Eddie is because he reminded me of Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver.

I didn't think of him like that immediately.

The first thing he said when getting in the car was "Thank you so much Mrs. Z (dang blog privacy thing again) for coming and picking me up." and I thought "what a polite young man."

I didn't even think that after he thanked me two more times before we got to our house.

I still wasn't thinking that when we got home and he thanked me profusely for the snacks and pop I had set out for all of them.

It was when we got in the car again to take them to our little village square so they could hang out with some other teens. "It's really nice of you to give us a ride Mrs. Z, thank you!" he says.

Tony, obviously annoyed, says "why do you keep kissing up to my mom?"

I'm a little shocked Tony has said this "Tony! He's just being polite! Maybe you should learn to be a little more polite"

And this is when he becomes "Eddie" to me...

he says (in a perfect Eddie Haskell voice) "Yes, Mrs. Z. Don't you find that teenagers can never be too polite?"

I said I didn't and we talked a little more on the subject. But the rest of the evening that conversation and his tone kept gnawing at me.

I decided two things
1. Teens can be a "little too polite" and
2. I don't trust that kid.

Monday, April 19, 2010

magpie 10 watch

Go HERE for more Magpie Tales
**sorry my spacing is messing up. I have no idea why I can't fix this**
Watch Me
Watch me Mommy!
Her brow scrunched in concentration
as she knots the bunny ears of her laces.
There's hope in her eyes when she turns to me
that I will be amazed by her talent
and I am.
Watch me Mom!
I hold my breath, forcing myself to not cover my eyes.
His bike wobbles for a moment
but his grin never does.
When he stops he waits for my cheers
and I do.
Watch me Mom!
She twirls in the pink leotard
she so carefully picked out.
The cartwheel she turns are followed by a
proud "ta-da"
Her eyes find mine in the crowd to see my pride
and I am.
Watch me Mom!
He jumps on the trampoline
double back flips.
My last child to ask for my attention and praise.
I realize I need to savor these moments
and I do.

new dog park

Ace and I were home alone this weekend so we set out exploring Saturday morning.
We discovered another leash-free dog park.

This is the fourth dog park that I've found.

Chicago burbs do an amazing job with their parks but when it comes to dog parks they don't advertise about them.

They are kind of hard to find.
I've searched on-line and only found two (a couple of the ones I already knew of).

The best way to find them is by just talking to people.

After I found this place, I was so excited that the next time I was at the dog park near my house, I started telling people about it.
No one knew of it's existence.

So I will keep talking to people and seeing what other places we can find.
It's kinda like a treasure hunt.
This park that I wanted to show you today is definitely a treasure!

It doesn't look like much when you first walk in.

lots of trails and open spaces.

I need to remember to bring Ace's ball next time.

Lots of little hidden trails leading to secret places.

Ace loves to run and explore them.

and then you come over the hill and get a peak at the river.

This is where it get really fun. Ace can go into the water (he's still a little timid about that)Ace loves this fence and all the "dog smells"

It's a big loop with lots of trails going off in all different directions.
This is the view as you head back to the entrance.

But my favorite part is all the flowers and trees all along the paths.
The rest is just pictures I took along the trails for you to enjoy.

Have a happy spring day!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I love dog parks

Ace and I have been spending lots of time at the dog park.

He loves going.

I love him not destroying my house.

I thought I'd bring my camera yesterday and take some pictures of all the different dogs.

I'm always amazed at the variety of breeds.
And it's always kind of fun trying to guess what breed a dog is before you talk to it's owner.

But yesterday was a beautiful day and there weren't many dogs there.
Everyone was probably home doing yard work (which is what I should have been doing).

Aces favorite thing to do at the dog park is find another "puppy" that likes to wrestle.

This Shar-pei, named Zeus, was the same age as Ace and he decided to give it a try.

Zeus didn't have the stamina that Ace has so he quickly came up with a game plan.
When he needed a break he would go hide under the picnic table...
then after he was rested up
he would run as fast as he could and throw all his weight at Ace

and he would go for the jugular.

But Ace quickly found Zeus' weak areas too.

All those extra rolls of skin were definitely Zeus' downfall.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the best smell in the world.

I've blogged before about one of my favorite blogs, Forgotten Bookmarks.
I wasn't exaggerating when I said how much I love this blog, but now I love it even more.

First of all, what could be better than old and rare books?
But then add in the things he finds in these old books and it's like a little treasure hunt.
And then! He started holding give aways!
I try and enter them all and last week I finally won!

My books arrived yesterday. I was just heading out to a dentist appointment and there they were, right on my door step. I couldn't stand the thought of not opening them immediately but I didn't have the time so I took the box with me.

I drove a little faster than normal to my appointment so I would have an extra minute to peak at them. So, in the parking lot of my dentist I opened the box and sat for a moment and enjoyed the smell of my prize.
Yes, I said "smell".
Old books, not only are they beautiful to look at but they have the best smell in the world.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I will die! if you don't....

"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

I first saw this quote when my Nae was a toddler. A friend had it framed and hanging in her kitchen. This friend is one of those mom's who seems to have it all together, all the time. She took me under her wing when I was a young single mom who didn't have a clue about anything, let alone being a good mom. She taught me a lot not only by word but by example. I would watch her with a kind of awe.

There's nothing that I ever wanted more than to be a good mom. It's obviously a hard thing to measure and one of my many weaknesses is being extremely hard on myself. Believe me, there's no one more critical of what I think, say or do than the little voice in my head.

It's also extremely dangerous to ask your teenage kids what they think of your parenting skills. I can't tell you how many broken hearted mom's I've heard recalling what their child said when they asked this question. Of course most teens will have a list of ways you can improve. They spend all kinds of time thinking about how unfair their parents are and how their life "sucks". It's a teen thing. In reality they are immature, have little life experience, and have no idea of the emotions, situations, or choices you as an parent have to face. You are only setting yourself up if you ask them that question.

That being said, if I were to die today, I feel I've done a pretty okay job. Yes, I've made lots of mistakes and I have lots of weaknesses (especially in the discipline area, for example) but that's the beauty of having a second half. Where I am weak, The Hubby is strong. And vice versa, of course.

All this serious talk aside (yes, I'm rambling) I think that if my "Wonder Mom" friend were to see me now, she would see that I have failed miserably when it comes to her quote. I hang my head in shame, as I admit, I am one of those parents who are constantly running things to their kids that they forget. Lunches, field trip money, gym get the picture.

Yes, I've read all about the damage I am doing by allowing this. You don't need to tell me.

Each of my kids are forgetful (or unorganized) to a certain degree. Nae~only when she was overwhelmed, Bud~very rarely, Tony~once every couple of weeks maybe, and then there's Mac~oh! Mac!

The quote above seems to be written just for kids like Mac. You know, kids who are on the "dramatic" side. Most of the phone calls I get from Mac regarding this subject are frantic. Here's how one went that I got yesterday....

"Mom! I forgot _______! I will DIE if I don't turn it in today! I'm serious I will DIE! Will you please bring it?!!"

Mac has been working in the counseling office at school this semester. She was working when I went in there yesterday on this "emergency forgotten item" call. All the office ladies had obviously already heard of Mac's crisis.

"'re Mac's mom." the lady at the front desk said (I get this tone and look of sympathy a lot when first meeting Mac's teachers or coaches or friend's parents). All the ladies sitting at their desks behind her look up at me and nod their heads in some kind of understanding or something. (In Mac's defense, they all told me how much they love her and how much she makes them laugh.)

Mac rushes over from her desk and takes what she needs from me. Her friend Emily, is sharing her desk. She also thanks me for bringing it (so she wouldn't have to hear Mac lamenting all day about dying!!!).

That was yesterday, and wouldn't you know it, I get another call today. This one was more like "I will FAIL....blah, blah, blah"

I got the call right after she got to school this am. I thought to myself "I'll just jump in the shower and then run it over" but then on second thought.....

I went into the office this morning in my PJ's just hoping it would be the time when classes are changing. The ladies in the office seem so sweet and understanding (they DO work with teens all day).
I said "yes, I got another emergency call this morning. I don't want her to die!"
"Oh, well yes" she says in her sweet understanding voice "well, when does she need this?"
"Not until last hour" I said. "I could have showered first but I was hoping you guys could help me out. Could you just tell her how lovely I looked in my PJ's? Make it sound like I looked really embarrassing (I did). Maybe throw out the name of one of the cute boys in the school and say that I had a lovely conversation with him in the hall."

Who knows, maybe this will be the last call I get.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Magpie #8

The Painted Eggs

Anushka Petrov adjusts the shawl around her stooped shoulders. Her feet shuffle to ease the pain in her lower back as she escorts her young visitor to the door. They walk silently through her antique filled house. She knows there is no need to continue the conversation. She has seen the "look" before. He is hooked.

She shouldn't have waited this long she thinks as she closes the front door. The pain has never been this severe. But as usual she struggles to justify what she is about to do. Back in Russia the woman who had passed on the eggs had started when she was young and so the eggs helped her to stay that way. Anushka had held on to them for over 50 years before finally giving in and finding her first victim.

She had been taught by her predecessor how to lure them in. Back then they couldn't just wait and hope someone would come by. Since she had moved to America 75 years ago it was much easier pickings. Since the invention of the Internet it was almost too easy.

She knew enough to keep her advertisements varied, to draw her victims from different areas, and to choose from diverse groups of people. That had been the down fall of her predecessor, who was burned at the stake. Not that they were witches. They didn't cast spells or have any so-called powers. She was just the possessor of the eggs. She didn't have to do anything but invite them to come and then it only took one look.

She heads into the dinning room where she keeps her collection. All four walls are lined with shelving, floor to ceiling. And on those shelves are thousands of painted eggs. Each egg has a person painted on it and in the background is that person's home. She has eggs with people from all different areas of the world with all different kinds of scenery. A man next to his small stone cottage surrounded by beautiful gardens. A woman in a long flowing gown in her ballroom. A woman in her apartment with the city showing through the windows behind her. A man in front of his minka style home in Japan. She doesn't really like to look at them. She doesn't like that she has taken them away from their lives and homes. She doesn't like to think about the hurt their loved ones must feel.

But her pain always speaks loudest. Shouting at her to focus on what needs to be done.

She walks over to the one window in the dining room, slides the lock over and opens it a little. She has learned it's best to make it easy for them. After the victim has looked at one of the eggs (and it's not always the same egg, the choices seem to be random) they are overwhelmed by the need to possess the egg. It becomes an obsession that takes over. Some will ask to buy the egg on the spot, some will come back later to make an offer. Unfortunately, the only way it works is if they are stealing the egg.

She visualizes the man who just left. He will be coming through the window later tonight. She sees him going over to the egg he has chosen. It is the one with the man hunting a bird in front of his log house. She knows as soon as his fingertips touch it he will disappear and a new egg will be next to the one he coveted. And her pain will disappear at that moment too.

As she switches the lights off and goes to her room, she thinks about picking up the phone and calling him. Telling him that she will sell him the egg after all. She has no idea what would happen then. Is she willing to take the chance that her pain will get worse? Or worse yet...death someday?

No she will let him come. She will let her collection grow at least one more time.

click HERE to read more Magpie Tales

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the lost art of map reading

Newly licensed Mac, was telling The Hubby and I about some of her driving experiences last night.

She doesn't have Tony's gift of direction and got pretty lost the other night.

"Maybe you should just take my GPS" I suggested.

"Maybe you should just keep a map in your car." The Hubby said.

"A map!?" Mac laughed "Nobody uses a map anymore! Reading a map is a lost art form."

The Hubby and I looked at each other with the "is this kid serious?" look on our faces.

"Besides," she continues "I don't even know which direction to point one of those things!"

I'm pretty sure I know where she got her sense of direction...

have a great day!