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May 2006

Brat Bully Beware - This Playground’s Made For Walking!

Our school system allows our kids to participate in recess - weather permitting - ideally, where a child can go outside and run, play, kick a soccer ball and shoot some hoops for twenty minutes, or so.

My kids?

I'd rather they climb into a pit filled with mud, or any form of muck for that matter, than have to face another playground bully and waste half my afternoon having to explain why chump-change felt the need to punch one of them in the gut or cut him/her down to the size of an insignificant fleck.

Yes, I understand that recess is an important part of the school day - it's the constant whacking I can do without - but, for goodness sake, can I just tell you how sick and tired I am of all the bullying!

Maybe it's just me.

But, I've been reading up ways to handle "playground bullies" and...well...it's not like when I was going to school.

They were pretty easy to pick out -- speaking as one they would typically pick on -- and you either learned to "walk away" or simply waited for a teacher to pull the Son-of-a-Brooklyn-Bridge off your back and learned pretty quick...how to take a brow beating.

Now?

It ain't that simple.

The Brits call 'em "Brat bullies" - little rays of sunshine who fly low under the classroom radar, do very well academically and then blow their little gaskets when teacher isn't looking.

Kiddie-experts in the U.K. explain them in this way:

Children who are used to being spoiled at home may resort to bullying if they do not receive the same attention at school.

My son (he's seven and finishing up the first grade) has a friend who is being bullied, mercilessly, by a boy and I believe that perhaps he may be one of these, "brat bullies," the Brits speak of.

Without going into much detail - the situation has been...how shall I say this...swept under the wood chips, if you will.

Pretend...this...never...happened...'kay, then...bye-bye.

Why?

Because his family situation is...um...unique...and I believe that is why his behaving badly is tolerated as much as it is...I'm guessing that the school just doesn't know how to handle him, without coming off...well...anti-anything.

UGH.

Long story short.

Brat Bully's object of dis-satisfaction no longer hangs out after school and he's got Little Man in his cross hairs. 

And, like I told a crying Little Man -- when Brat Bully came running toward the playground at the end of the day and punched Little Man dead in the gut...just because, "He was in my way!" -- we don't have to stay, either.  But, it would have to be Little Man's decision, because if it were up to me, we'd stay, get in Brat Bully's face and show him that he's not the boss of us!

Yes, I said US!

Because, quite honestly, I'm also feeling a bit unnerved, myself.  Bullied into being the type of parent that tells his/her kid, "Don't just stand there, do something...and knock his block off, while you're at it...m'kay!
Because if it's not here, it'll be another Brat Bully on some other playground, somewhere else.

Besides, fast forward a couple of years and playground bullies grow up to be...workplace bullies, yes?

Sigh.

And the girls?

Sadly, I already know what kiddie-experts have been saying in the U.K. - that girls tend to use "non-verbal communication" to bully each other.

And I would venture to guess that those with daughters know what I speak of...best.

Girls run in packs -- hell, we can't even go to bathroom by ourselves -- and it's easier when you got a couple of "your bitches" behind you...when pouncing on your prey

Unless, you're one of mine...and your name happens to be...Mini-Me.

And as the parents gathered around the center of the playground to see which kid was screaming at who, I herded along and was just as surprised as everyone, to see that it was...yep...Mini-Me.

Takin' on Brat Bully!

**hands and hips and nose to nose**

"WOOK - MY BWOVER PWAYS HERE, AND MY SISSIES PWAY HERE, AND I GOT A WOT OF FWENDS DAT PWAY HERE!  YOU MESS WIF MY FWENDS...YOU MESS WIF ME - YA GET ME? - AND YOU DON'T WANNA MESS WIF ME, KID!"

Can I just tell you...how scared I was of four-years-old...waving her neck and with her finger in Brat Bully's face.
"Who's kid is that?" 

And this...my friends...would be one of those times...when I just have to learn to...walk away.
[blushing]

Pretend this never happened and...just...walk...away...okay?

Okay.

[whistles through teeth, grabs bookbags, turns back on playground and starts walkin']

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

She May Be Short…She May Be Cute…And She May Be My Kid…But, She Did It In The Name Of Love…And That’s What Makes Her Pretty!

I'll tell you, I am one of the proudest momma's in the whole blogosphere...right about now...I'm feeling this warm, fuzzy sort of feeling that I just had to share.

Look it what my kid did!

 


 

This was Thing Two before school, this morning. 

 


 

This is Thing Two -- after she (and about a dozen other school mates) donated ten inches of hair for the Locks of Love! 

What is Locks of Love? 

Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children 18 years and younger suffering from long-term medical hair loss.  We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics.  Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure.  The prostheses we provide help to restore self-esteem & confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

Quite honestly -- even though she and the other student council members came up with the idea for the charity event -- she was a bit nervous and nearly fell out of the chair when the hairdresser asked her four-year-old sister:
"Would you like to cut off your sister's hair?"

But, she did great -- once the hairdresser assured her that she would be "right there" after Thing Two screamed:
"NOOOOOO...DON'T...GIVE...HER...THE...SCISSORS...SHE'S...EVIL!" 

Obviously remembering the time that Mini-Me decided that she needed a haircut and -- because I was "too busy" in bed with the flu -- when Daddy wasn't watching...ahem...took matters into her own hands and gave herself a mullet!

 


 

Eh...no biggie...it's like Thing Two said to her classmates - especially those girls who thought she was "crazy" or who wouldn't be "caught dead" wearing a style "like that":

"It's only hair...it'll grow back...DUH!"

Okay, minus the "DUH!" part -- she really felt too good about what she did, to care if anyone liked her hair, or not -- actually, I might of, sort of let...you know...the "DUH!"...slip out.

Because it was obvious -- not just to me -- even the lunch aides smiled as they watched Thing Two skip to her table, perhaps feeling as if she were walking on air, and I bet you (all the hair products lying around our house) that her head felt a little more...I dunno...like her inner-soul, perhaps.

As light as a feather!  

And who wouldn't want a piece of that? 

You may not have 10 inches of hair to donate -- and that's okay! -- there are plenty of other ways you can help.


You can send a pledge, or perhaps would like to show you care by posting this banner on your website (right click and save to hard drive) and link it to http://www.locksoflove.org.

Isn't it pretty?

Thank you Locks of Love for making us (along with a whole lot of people) fell...well...it's like Thing Two told her student council advisory teacher:

"My hair feels short, but my heart feels really, really pretty!"

Did I mention how pretty you look, today?!? 

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Don’t Cha Wish Your Mom Was A Freak, Like Me — Don’t Cha, Baby!?!

No, it wasn't romantic - nor, was it anywhere near as magical as one might imagine a weekend getaway to be - but, I couldn't have planned a more rejuvenating two days, if I'd tried.

So, I didn't.

My husband was scheduled to work on Saturday, then helped his sister move rather large pieces of furniture that would take at least four trips and most of the weekend to complete and then...who knows...perhaps we could wave to one another, as we exchanged glances at each other...from the driveway.

I was a bit frazzled, wickedly whipped from the week and (quite frankly) feeling more than a little sorry for myself.

So, after Little Man's baseball game, I packed up the kids, made everyone make a quick potty stop, threw a couple of juice boxes in the minivan and headed to one of my favorite places -- where rest and relaxation are synomous with kindness and simple courtesies such as asking me questions like:


  • Can I get you something to drink?

  • What would you like to eat?

  • How can we make it better, for you?


A quiet haven filled with good smells, not nearly as much street noise, more than a dozen types of flavored teas and plenty of toilet paper.

And I didn't even need a reservation...just a little rejuvenation...and called ahead to say:

"Break out the Aerobeds...we're a'comin!"

And as I pulled in with three out of four of my kids...asleep...I thought to myself:
"I'm home...let the magic, begin!"

And as I carried Mini-Me with one arm, and dragged Little Man with the other (clenched firmly under his left pit), my father greeted us at the screen door.
"Holy sh*t, Hon...it's an invasion...quick, lock the doors...SORRY, NOBODY'S HOME!"

Very freakin' funny.
"Oh, stop it...let my beautiful babies in, already...don't listen to him...come on in, Sweetie...and hey, look...you were kind enough to bring some sunshine with you!"

And I swear -- as she pointed over my left shoulder while the sun was breaking through the clouds in heavenly ribbons of soft muted light -- my Mother could calm the most troubled of nervous conditions.

Even Mini-Me was feeling...a bit out of sorts.

And I...my friends...was a basket case.

It took all of five minutes - and a whiff of my Mother's freshly-baked Babka - for me to spill my guts like a cheap horror flick!

What a freakin' mess - one thing lead to another, and somewhere in between ranting about not being able to sleep at night and tired of having to deal with school bullies:

"Who wants to take a walk to the lake?"

Huh?
"I heard there've been a couple of turtle sightings!"

Sniff-rubbing eyes-sniff.
"Um...okay."

I followed behind -- because the kids all wanted to drive with Mama and Papa, and...well, could you blame 'em? -- parked next to the handicapped spaces and just in front of the shuffle board...um...boards...just as the sun started to warm my cheeks and the wind began to blow the hair from my eyesand lines on my forehead, smooth.

Little Man had his knuckle-head going on...as usual. 

We walked down to the water, fed the fish, marveled at the size of the jurasic-like-turtles and took a long, lazy hike around the lake, where met by bunnies, frogs and even a baby turtle.

"Cewl, check out how cute this little guy, is!"

And as I gently lifted the baby turtle, rubbed the belly of his shell and went to release him closer to the muddy bank, my kids gaped:
"Ew...don't touch it...you don't know where it's been...it's got germs, you know...and it could get you really, really sick!"

**raises right eyebrow and grins**
"Come here and give me a kiss, baby!"

And as I wagged my tongue and pretended to kiss...the turtle...I bet you dollars to donuts that you've never seen four kids run so fast, or scream so loud:
"EWWWWW...THAT'S TOTALLY GROSS, MOM!"

You think that's freaky -- I believe I've developed an affinity to shuffle board -- you should have seen me kick their collective little asses...figuratively speaking, of course!

Thing One doesn't like to lose and sulked...for all of five minutes...'cause we were at Mama's and Papa's house, after all...DUH!

 

Thing Two "borrowed" my cell phone to "practice taking pictures" and just happened to save and label this particular one, "Kiss me, I'm a freak!" 

 

And then she wanted to take a picture of me...getting my freak on...with Little Man!

Thanks, Mama and Papa -- the magic worked -- I'm feeling a whole lot better!  

Yeah, maybe I am a little bit of a freak -- but, at least I was finally (for the first time in a long time) a happy little freak -- and it takes one to know one.

**raises right eyebrow and wags tongue**

Let the fun...begin!

 

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Illustration Friday

Though I've always wanted to - this is my first time contributing to Penny's Illustration Friday.

Have you heard of it?

Illustration Friday is a weekly creative outlet/participatory
art exhibit for illustrators of all skill levels. It was designed to challenge participants creatively. I believe that every person has a little creative bone in their body. Illustration Friday just gives a no-pressure, fun excuse to use it. No clients looking for a particular thing. No one judging the outcome of the work. It's a chance to experiment and explore and play with visual art. So welcome, novices and pros alike.

I can't think of a better day, than Friday, to play - so, here it goes.

This week's topic suggested by Melissa:

Sorry


 

Hey, Honey...about how I've been feeling, lately...and all those nasty things that I've said...when I do speak to you, that is...it's not you...it's not the kids...it's me.

I'll be okay, though.

Because I know that you're there...still loving me...bumpy ride and all...and hope that you know that...I love you more than the stars and the moon...now, that everyone else does!

I guess what I'm saying is, I apologize and - TGIF! - perhaps you should spank my "sorry-ass!"

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Don’t Wake Me Up Unless Publishers Clearing House Calls…Then, Put Them Right Through!

Throughout history, people have searched for "the meaning" of dreams.  Experts say that almost all of us dream and -- even though perhaps you're one of those people who rarely remembers your dreams -- if you were to be awakened during the deepest of sleeps (R.E.M. - rapid eye movement) then, chances are pretty good that you will at least know that...you were dreaming.

I, on the other hand, have no problem remembering my dreams.  In fact, not only do I dream in vivid colors, I often times wake up and can still sense tastes, smells, etc...  Sometimes, I know that I am dreaming and wake myself up when I don't like how...you know...how the dream is playing out...and can even go back to sleep and "finish a dream."

This is where my husband would take to calling me, "Abby Normal."  

In my dreams, I visit people, places and do things that perhaps would be out of the ordinary or, at the very least, uncharacteristic -- this is normal.

Some dreams I have often and these are called "reoccurring dreams."  Interestingly enough, it's these so-called reoccurring dreams that tend to be a little freaky...even for me.

There's one in particular from my childhood that comes to mind and haunts me still.  One that wakes me in the middle of the night, shaking and shivering in a cold sweat, and makes me feel as if I were going to vomit all over my poor, unsuspecting, snoring husband.

And I thought I was bad -- you should hear what my children dream about -- my children have fought evil trolls, bug-eyed lunatics and typically end their dreams by being ingested by an insect of some sort...hiding inside our toilet bowl?

Whenever my children wake from a nightmare, I try to get them to tell me (with as much detail as possible) about the dream and insist that, "Once you talk about a bad dream, it loses its power and can't come back!"

It's a rule.

Well, in my house, anyway...and it usually works...until this passed Monday, when Thing Two screamed my husband and I out of our sleep and off of the couch in a matter of...well...I don't remember knocking over the chair, or the lamp, getting to the girls' room.

Nightmare?

Yep, it was a doosie.

Then, last night, Little Man hollered for his Dad and ended up in our bed after a run-in with a nasty old git of a goblin and, as he fought the dog and two cats for a corner of our comforter, I decided to give up my spot (read: kicked out of bed) and headed downstairs to cozy up with one of my girls.

Mini-Me moves too much, there's not enough room in Thing One's bed, so I tossed about a dozen stuffed beasts to the floor and curled myself around Thing Two.

She snores, but I'm used to that.

SCREAM!

Now what?

No, it wasn't Thing Two (she was still fast asleep next to me) or Mini-Me (she turned and was apparently still a bit gassy from dinner) but, Thing One who sat up like a shot and stared at me as if I...well...it was a doosie.

Phew.

After a hectic week and an even busier weekend of work, baseball games, sleepovers, helping my SIL pack and the four kids waking us up in the middle of the night...I believe the hubs and I have had...um...like, maybe twelve hours of sleep...since Monday.

Man, are we tired and looking a wee bit ragged, I must say.   

But, as most parents know, that's normal. 

I tucked Thing One back into bed, covered Mini-Me and had just slid back into bed with Thing Two, when she started to mumble in her sleep.

"Mmm...kay...off...shhhh...su...kay."

I swept some of her bangs from her eyes and gently stroked her arm.
"Shhh, baby...it's okay...Mama's here."

We cuddled and I put my ear closer to her lips and tried to decypher Thing Two's dream.
"Mom...shhh...sh*tty...supper...sucked...tasted like fart...tomorrow...Kentucky...Fried...Chicken...'kay!?!"

Why you little...
"Gotcha!"

[eyes go wide]

She scared the buh-jeeze-us out of me!

And could you blame me for hollering, after having banged my head on the wall, before startling the cat and digging his claws deep into my left thigh, making the dog bark and Thing Two cry, who frightened Thing One and screamed, and that's what made Mini-Me fall out of bed and hit her head...in a house...where Abby Normal lives.

Got any room at your place, tonight?

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Wake Up And Smell The Dirty Laundry!

Okay, so this is the guy...and he looks very, very happy.

Dammit!

I didn't really expect to win the HGTV 2006 Dream Home -- hoping's more like it -- but, I don't believe I was even half as disappointed as my kids were!

We entered (along with 53 million other people) the contest,toured the house about a hundred times, and even had our bedrooms picked out as we truly thought, "this house was made for us!"

And as we gathered together to watch the HGTV Giveaway Saturday night, the kids huddled close together on the couch -- along with the two cats and the dog -- and my husband and I watched as they crossed...well...everything they possibly could...and listened to the names of the winners read throughout the show.

"C'mon...say our name...say our name...winning $10,000 would be so cewl!"

Nothing.
"C'mon...$20,000 would be so much better!"

Nope.
"C'mon...$30,000...we gotta win this time!"

Nada.
"Okay...we get one more shot...and winning $100,000 would be DA-BOMB!"

Was a dud.

And I swear I thought I heard their faces hit the floor...at the same time...and truth be told, my heart actually skipped a beat.  Because, in my mind's eye, I was already doing the happy dance in anticipation of screaming along with the kids:

"WE'RE FINALLY GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!"

Needless to say, we're staying put this summer -- but, I printed Mellie's post anyway, because the happiest place in the world's going to have to wait for us...a little while longer -- and I shrugged my shoulders as I smiled at my husband and asked the kids:
"So, who do you want to win the house?" 

They really couldn't decide and it didn't help that the three finalists were so...well...let's just say it would have been easier for us to shout:
"THAT'S OUR DREAM HOUSE, YOU BIG JERK!"

If the HGTV 2006 Dream Home Grand Prize Winner didn't seem so gosh-darned deserving, not to mention likeable!

[jumping on couch and fighting for clicker]

"Phew...thank goodness that's over...now mom and dad can get back to fixing this place up...seeing as we don't have to move...or sell the house, right away...see if Sponge Bob's still on!?!"

[eyes go wide]

"You're selling our house!?!"

"But, I don't wanna move!"

"Yah...I wike my woom...I wike my swings...and I don't wanna move...ever-never!"


Thank goodness for that (and Sponge Bob) because I've seen enough of what my friends have gone through (not to mention moving my parents out their house last October) to ever want to have to pack our large crew up, let alone out!

[doing the math that sends shivers up and down my spine]

Good luck with my your dream house -- because I've just finished sending my first entry into The HGTV Big Back Yard Splash Sweepstakes (May 1 - May 31, 2006) to win a trip for two to Hawaii (I hear it's nice this time of year) and that $100,000 prize -- you know, to create my very own backyard paradise -- is soooo mine!!!!

I can almost taste it, I swear!

Ah, well -- all sour grapes aside -- the way the hubs and I see it, there's nothing wrong with dreaming of something better, as long as we remember to wake up and smell...the dirty laundry!

Because -- in this full house of grubby little hands, grass-stained knees and schmutz-filled faces -- happiness is...a bunch of empty hampers and a laundry line filled with freshly washed jeans.

Besides, there's always next time -- and I hear Colorado is lovely around this time of year! 

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.