Friday, March 31, 2006

Singing The Friday Song

Another week is behind us, and the thought of a weekend has me singing The Friday Song at the top of my lungs. What is The Friday Song, you ask. It's an ever-changing, always-crazy ditty sung to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad". It became a weekly tradition sometime earlier this school year when my kindergartener awoke one Friday morning in a sour frame of mind. She got up on the wrong side of the bed, my mother would have said.

After numerous failed attempts to lift her spirits, I began singing,

"I'm so happy that it's Friday,
I just want to sigh.
I'm so happy that it's Friday,
I think I'm gonna cry.

Can't you hear the weekend calling,
Sleeping in so late on Saturday morning?
I'm so happy that it's Friday,
Come along with me!

Dontcha wake me up,
Dontcha wake me up,
Dontcha wake me up in the morning!
Dontcha wake me up,
Dontcha wake me up,
Dontcha wake me up or you'll ____ (fill in the blank with some threat like "cry")

Within a few minutes, the tune caught on and both daughters were singing loudly with me and laughing every time I changed the lyrics slightly. We now race each other on Friday mornings to see who can start the song first and when a week has been particularly long and hard and we're exceptionally thrilled by the promise of two days off from work and school, we'll sing "our" song on the five-minute walk to school. We're not embarrassed to be joyful!

Here's to an awesome weekend for us all!

Monday, March 27, 2006

A great weekend

The trip to Branson was absolutely wonderful. We awakened to snow on Thursday morning (yes, snow!) and three girls screaming in my bedroom, "ARE WE STILL GOING??? ARE WE STILL GOING??? It stayed cold and miserable that day but warmed up to a tolerable temp by the time we hit Silver Dollar City on Friday. The food was good (if you're into McDonald's and other kid fare) and best of all everyone played pretty. No peanut butter sandwiches at all! The only thing I can find to complain about was a serious lack of sleep, since all five of us slept in one room and one of us (who shall remain nameless) has a SERIOUS snoring problem.

Big Cedar as always was amazing. When Chief Potter and I retire and our kids are grown, we plan to move there and find part-time jobs. I certainly wouldn't mind being a Cookie Lady (one of the charming and very gracious women who take gingersnaps to the guests each night and turn down their sheets), and I'm certain that my sweet hubby would make an amazing gardener or shuttle driver :-)

Okay, there is one other complaint and that is that I did an absolutely TERRIBLE job of packing for this trip. If I listed all the things that were forgotten, it would take the entire afternoon. Suffice it to say that we stopped at the OshKosh outlet and bought windbreakers for my girls and at Wal-Mart to purchase several other necessities, and I thought I had all the bases covered. Until that evening when they were ready to hit the pool and we realized that the two big girls were without swimsuits. There was great sorrow and many tears until I promised them that they could swim as long as they wanted the next night.

Alas, the next evening came, we had suits for everyone, and at the close of SDC at 6 p.m. we decided to drive a few miles north to Lambert's in Ozark, MO, the legendary home of Throwed Rolls. To our great disappointment, we found a 60-minute waiting list with the wait being outdoors in the cold wind. No thanks. We turned around to head back to Branson and ended up going through a Mickey D's drive thru at 7:15 p.m. Needless to say, by the time we returned to Big Cedar, finished our McNuggets, got everyone suited up and to the pool, our swimming time was limited.

Back to my hasty packing, though ... In my rush, I did NOT forget to take along a stash of movies. We watched Cheaper By the Dozen on Thursday night. I had heard that it was a great family movie and, indeed, there were a number of laughs as the movie chronicled the lives of Tom and Kate Baker and their 12 children. However, had I read Plugged In Online in advance like I usually try to do, I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't have rented it for a trio of girls under 7. The message that big families are wonderful came through loud and clear, but there were several objectionable words (d--m and sucks, to be specific). Also bothersome to me was the fact that Nora, the oldest Baker daughter, had moved out of the house and in with her narcissistic and very condescending boyfriend. I kept waiting for my oldest to comment on the fact that they weren't married and ask why they were living together, but thankfully, that fact must have gone right over her head.

Much better was the following night's entertainment, Pride and Prejudice, a retelling of Jane Austen's classic work. Keira Knightly was absolutely wonderful as Elizabeth Bennet, and I was so delighted by the movie's end that I backed it up halfway and watched it all over again. Somehow I managed to make it through high school, college, grad school and three years of teaching English without reading this great work, so I'm heading to Barnes and Noble tonight to pick up a copy. To my surprise, I discovered this morning that the entire novel can also be read online with a great many annotations.

I will save the rest of the weekend's activities (and a few more pictures) for tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Brilliant Idea

On days like today, I just want to give a standing ovation to the individual(s) who conceived and gave birth to the idea we now know as The McDonald Playland. We had the most gorgeous start to spring break last Friday. The walk home from school which normally lasts about 5 minutes lengthened by a few moments at the corner as we stopped and visited with some neighbors, then grew even longer as my Rachel and a girl she walks home with raced scooters on the sidewalk. More neighbors arrived home from school, and before I knew it, there were nearly a dozen kids running back and forth between yards throwing Frisbees, riding scooters, and enjoying life like there was no tomorrow.

And indeed, there has been no day like it since. Saturday brought cooler temperatures, and Sunday brought cold, miserable rain. Monday, the official beginning of spring, saw more cold nasty drizzle, and by today ... well, we all had a good case of cabin fever.

We spent an hour or so running errands this morning. Fortunately, they were "The Good Kind" as the kids call them, errands in which I can keep my eye continuously on the vehicle and thus do not make them leave the warmth and comfort of their seats (or, more importantly in their minds, the movie they talked me into popping in the DVD player for them today, a special treat normally reserved for road trips).

After the necessary items were checked off my to-do list and I had managed to get them through it all with a minimal amount of bickering and complaining, I turned toward my three angels in the back seat and announced, "Okay! The rest of the morning is yours! What should we do??" The question was met with quiet, as they contemplated their options, which I might add were pitifully few given the lack of cooperation from the weather.

Several ideas were tossed about including going to Fun City (an indoor playground that serves cardboard pizza), playing at the mall playland, or going to Mickey D's. The latter finally won out, and we were on our way to visit The Golden Arches. Along with almost every other NW Arkansas family with young children as we were to discover. The place was WILD with cooped-up kids set free for the morning with caffeine coursing through their veins and a warm, dry place to burn off the pent-up energy from the weekend.

My angels finished their McNuggets and apple slices and tore off toward the slides together. I settled into our booth with my needlework for some solitude (if you can call it that) and "Mommy Time". I let the troops romp wildly for close to an hour before sending up the call to head home for naps. It was an hour of divine peace as the madness went on all around me. I was even hit in the head once by an angry toddler's tiny purse, but for that hour no one wanted anything from me. No one called my name. No one called me on the phone. It was heavenly.

All of this for the price of three Happy Meals and a cheeseburger with extra pickles and mustard. Ahhhhh.....

Friday, March 17, 2006

This should be a great trip ...

Big Sis and I were talking this morning about the upcoming Girls' Only Trip we're taking next week to Big Cedar. Her grandmother (my mom) and cousin (my brother's nearly 7-year-old daughter) are coming up on Wednesday, and we will spend Thursday through Saturday in Branson. She asked me if I had plans to fill Brooke in on all "The Rules" that we live (and travel) by. I told her that yes, I was planning to talk to all three girls on Wednesday night and outline the following behavioral requirements:

  1. There will be no fighting or bickering.
  2. There will be no tattling.
  3. There will be no whining.
  4. There will be no loud, obnoxious behavior.
  5. There will be no talking just to enjoy the sound of one's own voice.
  6. When an adult asks you to do something, you will obey happily the first time.

She asked what the consequence would be if any of the above listed rules were broken, and after a moment's thought, I told her that I would be taking along some bread and peanut butter and if anyone just couldn't seem to comply with "Sheryl's Rules of the Road" that at the next meal while everyone else enjoyed mouth-watering restaurant cuisine, the rule breaker(s) would enjoy half a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of water.

She turned to me without missing a beat and said, "Sheryl, you better take the whole loaf!"

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What I REALLY need ...

Here's a fun, mindless Google game for you. I saw this today on a fellow blogger's site and loved it! Here's how it works: Go to Google, type in "[your name] needs", and see what comes up. Here were my top 10 results:

  1. "Sheryl needs Helen's help" (I sure hope Helen is a great housekeeper, cook and nanny!)
  2. "Sheryl needs a bone marrow transplant" (oh, may it never be!)
  3. "Sheryl needs booze in her dressing room" (only after a REALLY hard day, haha!)
  4. "Sheryl needs to try decaf" (oh no, it's caffeine that keeps me going most days)
  5. "Sheryl needs a bass player" (no, I REALLY don't want any more mouths to feed)
  6. "Sheryl needs a swing DJ and a few dancers" (see previous comment)
  7. "Sheryl needs to eat a sandwich ... or two" (sorry, bread isn't on my diet)
  8. "Sheryl needs some hugs and a teddy graham" (I'll take all the hugs I can get)
  9. "Sheryl needs another chemo treatment" (see comment on #2)
  10. "Sheryl needs to come over after school" (will there be free back rubs and lattes?)

OK, it's your turn now! Have fun!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Doctor's Office - Part 1

I feel like we've been spending WAY too much time visiting doctors lately. Know the feeling? If your winter has been anything like mine, you met your deductible for the year before January was behind you.

I know exactly what happened. I opened my big mouth in a conversation a few months back with a friend and shared with her the surprising (but true) fact that in 6-1/2 years of mothering three kiddos, I could count the number of sick visits to the pediatrician on one hand. You would think that I would have learned something from the incident not too many weeks prior in which I offhandedly commented to hubby that our 2-1/2 year old son had never experienced vomiting or diarrhea. Two days later he came down with the Norwalk virus, a nasty bug which can hang on for DAYS (10 to be precise).

So, I made this comment to a friend which she could scarcely believe, being the mother of three little girls who have had countless ear infections, tonsillitis, etc. And no sooner were the words out of my mouth than a chain of events was set into motion that sent my world (and bank account!) into a tailspin and created a well-worn path from my driveway to the Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Clinic.

Here is how it began:

My day was already off schedule. Work had been interrupted several times by phone calls, etc., and then Sara showed up at my desk with a request that I look at her ear. Saturday marked the 6-week anniversary since both girls had their ears pierced and for the most part things had gone well. Both girls had already had their earrings removed several times prior to the six-week point for replacement of a new pair (Rachel) and removal of several corkscrewed hairs (Sara) and general cleaning. While Rachel has left her earrings alone and been content to let me douse her ears with antiseptic a few times a week, Sara has OBSSESSED over her ears night and day and actually dumped an entire bottle of antiseptic on her bed while trying to clean her ears. I’m certain that it’s been her constant cleaning/turning/fiddling with her earrings that has led to several hairs getting wrapped around her posts and twisted through her lobes.

So … all of that to make the point that when she asked me to “look at” her ears, I really didn’t get too excited about it. After all, I’ve been “looking at” them 47 times a day for the last six weeks … what could possibly have changed in the last 24 hours??

It took a second look for reality to register … Her earlobe was massively swollen and the pink stud was completely enveloped within the pus-filled appendage. As calmly as possible, I called to Chief. “Honey … uh, I think you need to come here.” “Can it wait for just a second?” he replied. “I’m working in the kitchen.” The calm was running out as I realized there was no possible way I was going to be able to extract the jewelry from her ear. “NO!” I shouted. “We’ve got a PROBLEM!” He came to the door of the bedroom where I sat on the bed with Sara's head on my lap. Using vague terms and trying not to distress Sara, I managed to tell him that we had an earring lodged in a REALLY infected earlobe which Hercules with a pair of pliers wouldn’t be able to pry free …

It was 4:45 p.m., but he was able to get her an appointment with our pediatrician, Dr. Robinson, for an hour later. As I stood beside her, blonde curls spilling over the edge of the examining table, I mentally kicked myself for ever allowing the piercing in the first place. What in the world made me think she was responsible enough to take care of pierced ears? Dr. Robinson gloved up and took her little ear between his fingers. As he prodded and twisted, I started to feel anxious and a little dizzy. “Umm, excuse me, but shouldn’t we NUMB that first??” He looked at me like I had just asked him to put her completely under. “She’s doing fine,” he said. “Look at her!” There my baby girl lay, so calm and peaceful, completely unfazed by the whole thing. “Okay, maybe I need something,” I admitted. “Maybe you could numb me up??” He laughed. Within a minute or so, the offending piece of gold and amethyst had been pushed completely through the back of her ear, and she never even flinched. I, on the other hand, stood dumbstruck as pus oozed freely from the crimson lobe.

Thirty minutes later, we were back at home with a 10-day supply of Keflex in hand and a story Sara has delighted in telling ever since. I guess if there’s anything at all to be glad about , it’s that this ordeal didn’t involve Rachel … I can only imagine how many nurses and leather straps it would have taken to hold her on that table. It wouldn’t have been pretty, I’m sure of that.

Friday, March 10, 2006

It begins.

I've been hearing about this for years from my friends with older daughters. And dreading it, I might add. The Clothing Wars.

The first shots were fired last night in the mall, and I'm already wondering how to best arm myself for the battles ahead.

It started so innocently. Rachel and I were out for some Girl Time. We'd had dinner with a friend at Panera and then after the friend and her son went their own way, Rachel wanted to go to the mall "just to look around". With it being a school night and already past eight o'clock, I told her we had time for just one store, and she chose wisely (or so I thought). We ventured in a store which until this point has always been a reliable source for great kids' basics. A place where I could stock up on t-shirts, jeans, khakis, underwear, and socks all in one place and be confident of receiving great quality for a great price.

She ventured confidently over to the little girls' department with me tagging along behind, and she'd stop every few minutes or so and touch a fabric. Scrunching her brow, she'd say, "I like this. Do you?" Common sense told me that even if I hated her selections, I should keep my opinions to myself. And so I did, painfully grimacing a time or two when she had her back turned to me.

From where I stood, watching her gleeful foray into the world of shopping for herself, I had a shocking peek into the junior department where several pencil-thin mannequins were arrayed in this season's prom offerings. Plunging necklines and slit skirts appeared to meet in the middle with entire dresses held on by mere threads, it seemed. My father wouldn't have let me out of the house attired in a single one of the four dresses which had been selected for display. Of this I am certain.

But back to the drama in the girls' department. As Sis fingered one blouse after another, I realized she's really an odd size right now. What fits her in the length is falling off her tiny little hips. That's not a problem I have EVER had, so I find it hard to identify with her frustration. However, I must admit I did hurt for her a few weeks back when she came home crying because a couple of rude little boys in her class made fun of her "plumber look" during story time when the back of her jeans had crept down a little low.

So last night as we perused one rack after another of really tacky "prostitot" clothing, I bit my lip and let her express her developing sense of style. "Look, Mom!" I heard her exclaim a few feet behind me. "This is BEAUTIFUL!" I tried very hard not to laugh. She was down ON the floor spreading out a turquoise blue gypsy skirt made of the most wrinkled gauze you've ever seen and a turquoise tank top with the word "Hottie" screenprinted across the front.

"Don't you just love this color, Mom?" she gushed, eagerly peering at me, waiting for the expected response. I opened my mouth to speak, but no words would come. I was still trying to digest the fact that my precious and very innocent six-year-old daughter was enamored with a t-shirt that was screaming "HOTTIE" at me. What in the world was I supposed to say if she asked what it meant?

Thankfully, she did not ask, and I was able to divert her attention to another outfit fairly quickly. But the whole adventure got me thinking about clothing and the responsibility we as Christian moms have to guide our daughters in their choice of apparel. It was all so simple when it was me choosing all her outfits for her. But now she's getting older and wants to make some decisions for herself, which is as it should be. The problem lies in SELECTION. How does a mother encourage her young ladies to dress modestly, yet still be somewhat stylish and cute, when the majority of stuff on the racks these days is anything but modest?

In Matthew 6:25, Jesus gives these instructions to His followers: "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"

That being said, it's hard NOT to worry about clothes when summer is just around the corner and there's a whole lot of shopping to be done. Perhaps it's time to hone my sewing skills and be very grateful that it's not prom dresses we're shopping for.