Tuesday, November 22, 2016

New Blog

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting here much lately. OK, not once all year.
That's because I've moved over to www.LaraLillibridge.com which is much more professional sounding and has the bonus of being harder to spell and remember. 

I'm keeping this blog alive because it makes me happy, and I just may come back and post here again, once I get over the embarrassment of abandoning it for so long. 

Moving, Only-Mama style

Monday, December 7, 2015

Travel Brochure by Tiny Pants

Image: masoncounty.lib.wv.us

Tiny Pants had to make a travel brochure for school this weekend. It was supposed to be about his home town, but it did allow for “any other place” or something. Tiny chose West Virginia. 

I felt this was a bit of an odd choice, since we live in Ohio, and he travels frequently to both Florida and Illinois.  Yes, I go to school in West Virginia, but Tiny has only been there once. 

Mama:  Why West Virginia? 
Tiny Pants:  It’s the only state I can draw.

Well, that clears up one mystery. 

His brochure proclaims: Wet, Wet, Wet, West Virginia. 

Mama: West Virginia is wet?
Tiny Pants: Yes.
Mama:  Are you sure?
Tiny Pants: Yes. 
Mama: You aren’t thinking, Wild, Wonderful West Virginia?
Tiny Pants: It’s wet, Mama.  Wet like a hurricane.
Mama:  Hurricane?
Tiny Pants: Yes. 
Mama:  Are you sure?
Tiny Pants: Yes. 

I kind of think this homework was for Social Studies, not Art and Imagination. But, you know, maybe he knows something I don’t. I’m not in the mood to argue. For all my friends in WV, to be on the safe side, I recommend you buy an umbrella. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Oh, Santa, I'm Sorry.

I took Big Pants and Tiny Pants downtown to see Santa, as I do every year. We take the train (which is quite possibly slower than driving, but more fun) but I messed with tradition just a little to take use a different station. The new one was closer, however it did smell like pee on the first floor and patchouli on the second floor. Big Pants voiced that in the decision of weird odor versus shorter drive I chose poorly, and I believe he made a valid point. 

I watched the children closely, because I have a feeling that this is the last year my kids will both still "believe." Tiny Pants wanted to know if the Santa we saw was an elf from the North Pole (my excuse for how Santa is in every mall across the country on the same day) or just a grown up in a costume. I asked him what he thought because I am the queen of avoiding difficult questions.  Big Pants was quick to interject a theory about oversized elves that seemed well thought-out and plausible. Big Pants, who is old enough to hate being called Big Pants, still finds Santa completely rational. As I type this, he is working on a science fair project involving the laminar flow of air and other principles of physics I really only halfway follow, yet he blindly accepts Santa. 

I’m starting to worry just a little that I’ve let it go on too long. At what point do I say something? Or, is it possible that he knows full well about Santa and is just trying not to disappoint me? 

Nope. Big Pants was a little awed by Santa. He was a bit intimidated to say what he really wanted for Christmas, but I gave him a nudge and he told Santa that he really wanted for Christmas - a DNA test. 

I’m not sure Santa understood that Big Pants wanted to learn whether his relatives really came from Germany as they claim, or if they are, as he suspects, Secret Lithuanians. Santa looked at me like perhaps I wasn’t a very choosy mom. 

Luckily, when Tiny Pants was reading his list to Santa, he substituted “real-looking rabbit stuffed animal” for “taxidermy rabbit” as he had written down. I’m not sure he could have handled DNA tests and dead animals in the same photo session. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tiny Pants Makes an Unexpected Request For Christmas

I haven’t been posting here that much lately, mainly because I am not all that funny, and as the kids get older, they stubbornly refuse to provide me with free material. But every now and then, they still give me something worth sharing. 

Tiny Pants is making his Christmas list, because all he wants to do is shop and he’s making me crazy, so I told him to write Santa and stop bothering me. (I’m good at parenting like that.) 

So on his list there are a bunch of regular toy-type items that one would expect. But then we came to the One Thing He Wants Most of All. 

Tiny Pants:  Mama, can we get a live rabbit?
Mama: No. 
Tiny Pants: What do you call an animal that died and they stuff them?
Mama: Taxidermy?
Tiny Pants: Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I want most of all. A taxidermied rabbit. Can I google them?
Mama: Uh, yeah.
 (I was sitting next to him to make sure he didn't get anything to gruesome, for the record.)

Tiny then copied and pasted an image into his Christmas list, but he isn't exactly a pro at resizing, so the image is now stretched and flattened in a most unappealing way. 

I’ll have to let you know what Santa says when we visit him on Saturday. 

Footnote: At his age I did have a taxidermied squirrel I slept with every night, until I unwisely left it in my church school classroom and the janitor threw it away. I have to admit he comes by his weirdness honestly. 

P.S. Bonus points go to anyone who can explain why taxidermied is not a real word. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Grieving the Loss of a Pet

As some of you know, my ex-husband’s dog died recently.  The boys are emotional messes.  I found this workbook online, which has been surprisingly helpful: I Miss My Pet.

I’m a pretty emotional person myself, and consider myself pretty good at this sort of thing, so I wasn’t sure I “needed” a workbook to help talk to my kids. We talk about this stuff fairly often. 

My youngest son, who has the better emotional vocabulary of the two, has been pretty reserved about the dog dying, compared to his brother, who cries several times a day about it. The workbook has really helped him open up about the mess of feeling he has. 

Last night we were working on the workbook, and at one point he got up and ran to the corner of the room to hide his tears. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “I am afraid the dog is mad at me.” 
(This was in the section about blaming yourself.)

I couldn’t imagine why the dog would be mad, but he said, “I told him I’d see him next week and then I didn’t get to see him again.”

Sigh. This is the sort of thing I wasn’t even thinking of that this workbook has allowed to come out. 

This morning he wanted to work on the workbook before school, but thankfully the workbook talks about finding a good time to talk so I was able to gently remind him that I am here for him but we have to go to school now. 

I am so grateful that someone made this available for free online, so I wanted to share it here. 

If you have children who are grieving a pet, download this workbook. It really has helped. 
Here is the link again. I Miss My Pet.

Rest in Peace, Zulu. You were loved.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tiny, Perfect, Beautiful Princesses or Hummingbirds are Assholes

Every summer I work on the cabin porch, six feet away from a hummingbird feeder.  We hung it up so we could see those amazing, tiny, beautiful creatures up close.  But spending a summer in close physical proximity to hummingbirds has taught me something:

Hummingbirds are assholes. 

Their entire lives consist of drinking nectar and trying to beat the shit out of each other. When they chase each other they don’t mind flying six inches above my head, because they are so intent on their harassment of other hummingbirds that they don’t even notice that I am a human and should be viewed as a possible threat. They know they are small and that doesn’t stop them for even a millisecond.   

We have two hummingbird feeders, one has four sippy places and the other has only one sippy place. The hummingbirds like to stake out the four-sip feeder. I mean they hover next to it, not drinking from it, just waiting for another hummingbird to come along so they can try to impale it with their razor beak, which is nearly half the length of their bodies. Did I mention that the feeder in question has four sippy places? Two hummingbirds could share the feeder and not even have to be next to each other. But noooooo that can’t happen because, I repeat, hummingbirds are assholes. 

If a hummingbird was the size of a sea gull, we would recognize their sinister nature and consider them a threat against all humanity.  But they are tiny and delicate and so we write poetry about their rapid heartbeats and their little speedy wings and the iridescence of their feathers. In other words, forget pretty is as pretty does, hummingbirds can pretty much get away with being the biggest assholes of the bird community and no one minds because tiny. Because beautiful.  

I could write here about not being a tiny, perfect, beautiful princess.  I could write about primadonnas and stuck up women who think pretty is a gift they bestow on mankind.  I could write about how small Cinderella’s feet were compared to mine.  I think we all know ways we are the anti-hummingbird—the times we were not tiny enough,not beautiful enough to have as much value as people who were not deserving of the adoration they received.  I’ll let you finish this story on your own.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Clean Your House in 30 Minutes or Less (for slackers only)

All adults have mastered the ability to pull off the bare-minimum get-ready-for-work-because-I-overslept-and-have-to-leave-in-ten-minutes hair and outfit combo.  You know—the days when you are chanting in your head, “I just have to look professional, not fashionable.”  But few of us can do the same with our houses.  While I might not be the queen of the slackers, I definitely have a tendency to let my house get away from me on occasion. As a matter of necessity, I decided I needed to have a go-to plan for the quickly arriving visitor. 

Let’s say you have 30 minutes and your house is a disaster.  

Start chanting the following:

Messy is better than filthy. 
Smells clean, it is clean. 

1. Lock the children in the closet. Leave them there until the 18th birthday of your youngest child. 

2. Mop your kitchen with strong smelling cleaner. Throw dishes in sink to hide dirty sink. 
Alternate: spray cleaner in the air to give false appearance that you cleaned. Both provide the excuse that the smell gave you an allergy attack so you must only allow guest in to the backyard due to said allergies. 

3. Vacuum your living room before you pick up all the toys. Vacuum around them and under them as needed.  Then you can say, “Look what my children did when I was in the shower!” (This works best if you have remembered to let children out of closet first.)

4. Wet hair to make shower excuse plausible. 

5. Take a laundry basket and using a one-armed sweep, clear your table into the laundry basket. Hide basket in the basement. 

6.  Close any door possible, pull shower curtain shut. 

7. Scatter important looking books around the house to create excuse for the mess.

8. When guest arrives, talk a lot and make expansive hand gestures to distract them. 

Alternatively, ignore entire mess and bake cookies. They may think you are a slob, but they will forgive you anything if you greet them with hot, delicious cookies.