Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Ball 2011

Well, it's over.  The build up to each years Fall Ball is a bit unnerving as each year I ponder...can we do better than last year?  Will more people come?  Will they like my food?  Will they have a good time?  Will they come back next year?  It really is enough to keep you up at night wondering.  Of course, that's only a fraction of the questions that clog my brain.  I wonder...will I get the costumes completed and will they work?  Will I get my house cleaned?  Did I over extend myself on the food?  And yes, occasionally I have the nightmare...will we run out of beer?

This year, in keeping with having a theme, I decided that costumes would be of cartoon characters.  In my mind, there were 70 years of characters from which to choose and figured that there was little chance of repeat costumes.  Then, of course, I worried...waiting to hear the words of the Master..."you chose WISELY Grasshopper"*  that someone would have my costume, AND do it better than I. 

With this being our 6th Fall Ball, our 5th costumed Fall Ball, I think I have finally figured out the timing.  I got 70% of my cooking done on Friday.  The Cuban Black Bean soup was made and refrigerated.  I made shrimp salsa and Texas Caviar.  I made a raw apple cake and tried a new recipe for Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Swirl Brownies.  I also put the finishing touches on our costumes.  Saturday I woke up early, knowing I had TONS to do I still laid in bed until 8am before getting up to complete preparations.  I put together a Chicken Tortilla soup using a stock I had made the previous day.  I toasted corn tortilla strips to put on the soup and chopped up some additional toppings for it (cilantro, avocado, red onion, tomato).  I made some guacamole and some cajun spiced pecans.  Right before everyone arrived, I made rice for the black bean soup and fluffy cornbread.

Then I cracked the whip and put the kids to work.  And we were DONE by 1pm.(if only it was always that easy)  Everything was ready.  So I did what most people would do:  I took my oldest daughter out mattress shopping (I don't think I can technically tell you how old her mattress is without fear that CPS will be called on us).  Yes.  I did.  No.  We didn't find what we were looking for.  When we got home, I took step one to my costume:  I dyed my hair red.  Yes.  I'll let you absorb that.  Technically it was called Light Auburn, but it still looked red to me.  I had a back up plan if it was HORRIBLE (that being, my natural hair color in "reserve") but surprisingly, it didn't turn out THAT red**.  Red enough to lend some authenticity to my costume:  the husband and I were Woody and Jessie from Toy Story.
The costumes I made or came from Good will.  Well, except the hats and his boots.  Cowboy boots are hard to find at Good Will.  Happy Anniversary Honey (that was yesterday).

The best part of these costumes is that Woody was "authentic".  Right down to his pull string.  Well, that's not completely accurate.  My husband's Woody's lines off color.  PG-13 with a possible R rating in some southern states.
Since I KNOW you're dying to order of appearance:
Charlie Brown and Betty Rubble
Followed by Charlie Brown and Snoopy.  
Then Cruella arrived.  Followed by:
Holy Zig-Zag Shirts that ANOTHER Charlie Brown with the Great Pumpkin?  Well, hang onto your jericurl, cause you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Daphne and Fred, who brought Scooby Snacks.

Superman (apparently impersonating Elvis with a bad haircut) with Wonderwoman.  I won't mention how long ago she had a baby except to say I hate her.  Not really.  OK...a little.

Is a party complete with out the Simpsons?  I think not.

Then Clark Kent and Rainbow Bright arrived with Inspect Her Gadget (no...I did NOT mistype).

And Fred and Wilma.

Marge and Homer the second.

Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.

And OMG...what do we have here...Charlie Brown and Lucy.  Did you lose count?  Let me help you out:

There...all better?
And finally:
Popeye and Olive Oyl.

My son stopped by with some of his friends whose parents (3 separate couples) were at our party.  OH...he acted all embarrassed but I know secretly, he was digging it. (yes...I said digging it).***

As you may know from previous years, a Fall Ball isn't a Fall Ball unless my  husband ends up with someone else's wig on his head. This year was no different:
Lucy brought us shot glasses that were actually ice cubes.  Rainbow Bright shows us how it's done:
So, I'm sure you are all wondering...prizes right?  There were prizes.  Best Male Costume went to:

Inspect Her Gadget.  First...the name play.  AWESOME!  Second, the headgear...totally original.  Kudos!
Best Female Costume goes to:
Because see Maggie...she MADE Maggie!  I especially liked how Maggie's eyes went in different directions.  But I'm weird that way.

Best Character Line went to Woody.  Yes, I know, bad form having a host win a prize, but he didn't just have one line.  He used about 8 different lines.  Every time you pulled his string.

Now, here's the part of the night that I loved, Loved, LOVED.  After the voting (from those who remained) was over, the discussion became, what will "we" do for next year's theme.  THIS party was not even over and they're already talking next year.

They like me...they REALLY like me. ( parties...but I'm good with that).

*how lame am I that I reached back to Kung-Fu?
**I also knew from past experience trying to put red hilites in my hair, that it would probably wash out quickly.  2 days post dye and most people don't even notice.
***how do I know he was "digging it"?  Because he came home today with some OTHER friends, all of whom wanted to know what they had to do to get on next years invitation list.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Walk in My Shoes

I have had an internal debate on whether or not I should writing about this, and I finally decided to because I find that writing my thoughts  can be something of a catharsis.  I've spent almost a week thinking about this and feel I can be somewhat objective.  This weekend, it was brought to my attention that people have quit reading my blog because I am perpetually talking about "offloading" my kids.  This took me by surprise.

So, I stayed up one night and read this blog from beginning to end and I.AM.PUZZLED.  I'm hoping I get some responses simply because I'm missing it.  And maybe that's because I am too close and just not seeing it. Now, I will readily admit that I was anxious for the kids to be back in school (as I am every year, for the same reason) because THEY.WERE/ARE.BORED.  And when they're bored, they fight.  Incessantly. Had I not provided a summer of activity for them, I'd take responsibility for that.  But I did.  So I won't.  I don't think it's fair to include my desire to see the kids back in school and engaged in something other than fighting with their siblings as "offloading" so I chose not to include those posts as I perused this blog. 

I found one instance where I commented in a negative way about having my child around and the reality is,  they wouldn't understand it unless they had been there.  All we wanted was to sit and relax and my youngest expected us to entertain her.  On a 19 ft boat.  At 9pm at night.  She was unhappy that we were unwilling and she made sure we knew it.  But by in large,  I believe I am fairly complementary about my kids, however I do not write this blog to be a shrine to them.  For the  most part, they're great kids.  But sometimes they're little shits.  Yeah...I said it.  And I'm not going to apologize because EVERYONE, at some point in their parenting years, will think of their kids in this manner.  If you don't, then you're drugged and you just don't care.

Here is the thing:  I am with my kids 24/7.  If I am not with them, then I am at their beck and call.  I don't do things for me because, for the most part, it is too difficult to arrange seeing THEIR needs are met seamlessly. (I was trying to think of the last time I had time away from them that was for no other reason than *I* wanted/needed it; it was about 5 years ago, when my husband and I went to Mexico) Then, it would follow that when they have the opportunity to go someplace, whether it be a friend sleepover, or a church event, I am enthusiastic.  I keep track of Sleepover Syndrome and will not allow sleepovers if I see attitude problems arise (which, means *I* double suffer: one their syndrome, and two their anger at being prevented another sleepover) .  So, this isn't all about me and my needs.  Just having one less child on any given night changes the dynamic of our interactions. For example, one of my girls talks non-stop.  If she's not there then we get a chance to hear the other kids.  This past week was Fall Retreat with church and my older two girls went.  We got to see a dynamic of JUST my son and his little sister and how they interact without interruption of his other sisters butting in (and let's be clear, they DO butt in).

The reality of my situation is that it is NOT their situation.  It never will be.  I have 4 individual little souls for whom I am responsible for seeing to their welfare.  And if you DO read this blog you will see that they are for the most part as different as night and day and normally I celebrate those differences.  But, when you put them all together they don't typically act on their similarities, but rather their differences which puts me in referee mode.  Constantly.  So go ahead and judge me for wanting to remove the stripes for an evening or two.

I asked my oldest daughter, who keeps pretty close tabs on this blog, if there was anything that I had written that she felt was inappropriate or showed her and/or her siblings in a bad light and she responded no.  She said that I typically write about our life.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  That set my mind at ease.

I think, really, it comes down to perspective.  They don't walk in my shoes.  And don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  I happen to love my shoes.  They fit me well.  But if they're going to make judgements on my shoes, then perhaps they should walk a mile in them.  Then get back to me.

And funny enough, this blog is NOT required reading.  Anywhere. I do this for ME.  I write because I hope to someday print off my blog for my kids to read when THEY have kids and hopefully they will see that, yeah this parenting gig isn't always easy.  Sometimes it's tough.  Sometimes it's funny.  Sometimes I try to make tough situations funny.  I want my kids to know that if I can do it (and survive) they can too.  I have chosen not to do ANY advertising (except for the blogs that I like reading) so I don't get paid for people coming to read my blog.  This is nothing more that a little voyeurism into our family life written from my perspective.  But if they can't understand my perspective, don't hesitate to make use of the little "x" in the upper right corner.  I promise, I won't be offended.

Friday, October 14, 2011


YIKES...I didn't realize it was that long since Homecoming and I never updated the outcome.  So, here it is.

When we last left our overly emotional highly strung mother who has a tendency towards acting first and thinking second (although, in her defense, I will say that she had her husband and son and daughter proof read the email that went to the administration before sending), she was awaiting word from the administration as to how they were planning on handling this situation.  And when the word came from the principal it was "this email left me befuddled.  I would be happy to have a face to face or telephone conversation with you."

UM...anyone getting the feeling that there are some serious wires crossed?

Me too.

So, I called, and set up a phone appointment where the principal would call me at a given time.  When the call came through,  the principal was in her car, on her way from a local t-shirt place, attempting to find some resolution/fix to the SOPHOMORE t-shirtsThe ones that said "Bust the Trojans".  According to my daughter (who spoke with the designer) the logo was fully approved by the administration. (and I'm going to call BS on that...the administration is NOT going to approve a condom referenced slogan).  Then they supposedly back peddled.  The final resolution for the Sophomore shirts was that "Bust" had to be taped over if the shirt was to be worn in school.   

The Senior shirt issue was more complicated, I think because there were more "fingers in the pot" to speak.  The principal stated, flat out to me (and to the Seniors) that she wasn't a fan of the second shirt ("Sit Down!") and it is her wish that they not wear them in school.  She said she didn't say that they COULDN'T, but that she would hoped they wouldn't simply because she had asked them not to.  My question on how did they get approved was never really answered to my satisfaction.  I suspect this is where the "fingers" of the assistant administration came into play and in an attempt to back her administration while playing the "inclusive" game, she made the decision she did.

We did talk a little about the "animosity" that she perceives as being present between the classes.  Things like, during pep fests, when the Juniors do their class chant the other classes boo.  And she sees this as disrespectful.  I see this as normal class rivalry and forcing "niceness" is going to backfire.  In fact, my son said that they didn't boo the other classes during the pep fest, instead they all pulled out newspapers and feigned indifference.  So, which is worse? A reaction or none?

End game was the boy wore his "Seniors are taking over the world" shirt to school and his "sit down" shirt to the game.  Which I guess is a fair resolution.  But the burning question is how did this get to this point?  Was there not a procedure in place where the administration approved the shirts and signed off on them making this whole situation moot? 
It's over. Things are back to normal, whatever normal is.  The last home football game is today.  Our team has an undefeated season, which I should say is a LONG.TIME.COMING.  And my son wore his "Sit Down!" shirt to school today.  We'll see how that goes over.