7th grade dance

Maria mentioned going shopping for a dress for her seventh grade dance about a month and a half before the dance. Our weekends have been replete with Mario’s basketball games and Maria’s soccer games. We finally found a Sunday to shop. We decided to hit IKEA first to buy a couch we’d been wanting for six months, and then head over to the mall. But Ikea drained the entire family and none of us wanted to go to the mall, including Maria. She was willing to find a dress on the Internet rather than brave a shopping center (our type of girl). She perused the Internet off and on and reported nothing back to me. At some point, I realized we only had another week or so before her dance.

“I’m not spending $45 on shipping fees, Maria. So you need to find a dress in order for it to get here on time.” Sigh.

She found two black dresses off two different websites that I had never heard of before. She sent the sites to me and at 10 PM one evening, I got on the sites. They were ones that infiltrated you with 20 different advertisements while you were trying to check out of the site. They also wanted me to add my email address and personal information several times over. I was getting a bit concerned with the validity of the sites. But, I did not want my girl to stress out about a dress so I continued plugging away. After I completed the sales on both sites, I received email confirmations. The confirmation for the dress that Maria really wanted informed me that although they shipped within two days they may not have the dress for another couple of weeks. Are you kidding?! They did not tell me that information as I checked out, of course. The other confirmation email confirmed that it would arrive “soon.” Seriously? I spent the next hour trying to cancel my orders but had no luck. Frustrated, I searched for the dresses on Amazon. Why did I not look at that before I made the order? Amazon had the exact same dresses and I could get them in two days. I ordered them at midnight. What we do for these kids of ours.

Amazon came through, and we received the dresses two days after I ordered them. Maria loved one of them. She made a video for me trying both of them on and sent it to me while I was at work. It made my day. The dress she liked was classy. Black, off the shoulders, knee-length. Thank goodness. Jon and I are relieved not to have to worry about short, tight skirts and dresses at this period of time.

Two days before the dance, Maria, Mario, and I drove to Target to try to find black shoes. No luck. We tried two other places with no luck. We ended up back at Target. Maria pleaded for some stilettos but compromised with me on a pair of chunky heels. I bought her a little silver chain with a silver ball in the middle; I told her the ball represented the ball of energy she carried everywhere she went.

The day of the dance, Ri got her hair done at a salon. I had said no way to the request but Jon caved. He knew my horrible hair styling skills and felt bad for Maria. After her styling session, three of her girlfriends came over to eat pizza and get ready.

Maria allowed me to do her nail polish. Wrong move. I couldn’t even get that right. We had to have a girlfriend of mine reapply. She did cave in after the nail polish debacle and allow me to try her make-up. I succeeded on that front because she only wanted minimal application. I could handle that.

Next thing we knew, the girls went from Saturday morning chill wear to glamour red-carpet wear! Were these our baby girls?!

They we’re so excited to go to the dance. However, they wanted to keep their cool so they asked me to drive them around so that they would be dropped off at 6:38 instead of 6:30 when it started. Hilarious. Sure enough, there was a group of boys sitting at the picnic table when we drove by doing one of our loops. They were thinking the same thing.

I got a call at the end of the dance informing me that the girls would walk home. When they arrived, much to Maria’s dismay, her girlfriends told me that she danced with a boy. The boy being the boy that she has been friends with since she was in third grade. His nickname is Cookie and he is the sweetest boy in her class. They had video of the two of them dancing to the last song of the night. Again, hilarious. I liked that they were arms distance apart….

The night did not end for them, however. I had agreed that I would take them to a 10 PM movie. I dropped them off in their PJs. They said the movie was awful but they had a blast drinking their Icees and eating their cookie dough treats.

Mario time

Last weekend, Maria and Alana went to Grandma Patty’s house, which left Jon and I alone with our boy. We had such a fabulous weekend hanging out with him. It’s nice to  only have one of your children for a day or two because it allows you to give your full concentration to that child and not be pulled in different directions. When the both of them are together you don’t get that intimate conversation that you do with just one. Not as though Mario was too intimate with Jon and I about his every day activities but we were able to get some information out of him. For example, I learned that he really likes a girl in his class because she’s “super cool and funny and always nice to him.” I also learned that he always talks in front of classes during his leadership session because his co-leader is too nervous to do so. That’s my boy.

On Saturday morning, I went on my run. I promised Mario I’d be back within two hours so he and I could take Rocco to the woods. He left with Jon and they did their car ride together where they get Starbucks and breakfast. Mario was ready to go when I got home. We bundled up and got Rocco ready. We ran to the woods, and Mario decided to look for Pokémon. He spotted one but it was through the trees across the tracks and over a busy road. We decided to go for it. I kept Rocco on the leash and we traveled through the trees, across the tracks, through more trees, and over to the main strip. It was exhilarating! Mario thought it was super cool to go the Illegal” way (yes, a bit disturbing). By the time we reached the strip, the Pokémon disappeared. We both just laughed about it because the thrill was in in the journey. As we headed back to the woods, we saw a train – yet another cool moment for Mario. Rack two up for mom.

When we got home, Jon was ready to take Mario to the archery/fishing store on the south side of Columbus. I was ready to clean the house and relax a bit. But Mario wanted all of us to go to the store together. After a bit of cajoling, I agreed to head down with the boys. I am so glad I did. What an experience to watch Mario in his element. He was so excited to show me how he shot his bow. The guys at the shop were mighty impressed with his archery skills. We went back-and-forth three times to adjust the tension level on his bow – I think he just wanted to adjust it each time so that it would give him another time to practice his shot in the store. I would typically be antsy but I loved to see him having such a great time. I would’ve stayed in the store all day with him just to see the joy on that face of his as he pointed out different things. He absolutely had a blast.

When we got home, we made sandwiches and hung out until I decided to get a 15 minute neck massage at Yi’s . Mario agreed I could leave for that time. But he made me promise when I got home we’d see the new Kong movie. 

Holy crap movie prices have skyrocketed! Granted, the boys only wanted to see Kong in IMAX 3-D, so the ticket prices were a bit higher because of that. It cost nearly $50 for the three of us to go see a movie and then another $25 just for a large popcorn and drinks. Insanity! I’m just going to ask for a movie gift cards for Christmas next year. But being together and watching that movie was worth it. Mario was so excited to have us by his side. At every scary scene, he would tell me that I could hold his hand and squeeze it if I got scared. Precious. And after the movie, we went home and chilled out together: watching a few YouTube videos, drawing a little, and watching some TV before bed. All things that make Mario very happy.

Leave it to the boys in my life to get me to relax a bit and enjoy the simple pleasures of life – ya know, like shooting a bow, looking at fishing gear, watching a Kong movie, and eating buttery popcorn. Loved this day with all my heart.

Girls and Boys

The boys and girls split up early yesterday morning. Ri and I left at 8 am for her indoor soccer game and Mario and Jon left at 8:45 am for Mario’s basketball game. Ri took me up on my advice to get more aggressive, at least somewhat. She went for the ball a few more times than last week. Slowly but surely….
After soccer, we stopped at Starbucks and got my coffee. Ri wanted to try something new so we got her a chai latte. She loved it.

We saw the boys off to go hunting (Mario was so excited) and got to work cleaning the house. All the salt and snow had been tracked in and it was driving me nuts. Ri agreed to do the toilets and I did the floors. As we began, she looked at me with a rag in her hand and mused “Susan B. Anthony would be shaking her head at us doing the cleaning in the house after everything she fought for on behalf of women.” Touché. I explained to her that we are doing it of our own choosing and the boys would definitely be folding laundry when they got home.
After finishing the household chores, we settled down for a mani/pedi in the kitchen. Ri wasn’t too concerned about this activity when I said “why should girls feel they have to get their nails done and not boys?!” Her response: “boys should get them, too.” I had told Ri that we could go to CK Nails but she responded ” why don’t we save money and just do them for each other?” That’s my girl. And so she arranged the kitchen as a nail salon with two trays and chairs and polish, clippers, files, moisturizer, towels, and bowls of water. She gave me my mani/pedi first. I have to act like I’m in her salon and she tells me about all the famous people she treats at her salon. She informed me that I had large veins in my hands which was a sign of stress. I needed to take it easy (her way of getting me to sit with her all afternoon). She finished my hands and moved onto my feet. Yowzer! She had her hands full with my feet. They are definitely runners’ feet. She kept her game face on though as she worked on them since she didn’t want to offend her customer.

By the time I finished Ri’s nails, we were starving. Ri agreed to walk to Stauf’s but only if she could scooter. Deal. I miss heading up to Stauf’s on the weekends. When the kids were little, I’d stroll or bike or carry them up to Stauf’s for a muffin or bagel at least once a weekend if not two or three times. We lived two blocks away. All those memories flooded back as I sat across from Ri and she worked on a crossword puzzle and we ate our bagels. How has she grown into such an amazing girl in what feels like three seconds?
We played tether ball on the way home and I’ve never felt so uncoordinated in my life. Ri got a kick out of seeing me so unable to play an activity. She also got a kick out of me getting slammed in the stomach by the ball. Yea, it was ugly. Not a fan.
On the way home, we decided to go see a movie at the dollar theatre. We decided on Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good Day. Before we saw that though, we had to try on Ri’s new Susan B. Anthony outfit that we ordered for her play next week. She looked like she had been blasted out of the 1800’s. She loves it.

As we drove to the movie, I remembered that Ri could not eat popcorn with her palette expander. Dang. I didn’t want to make her jealous so I had to be relegated to Milk Duds and nachos. Ri got a one quarter pound angus hot dog, God love her. The movie was bearable, which was a gift since so few are at her age.
We drove home and ended our night with a call from Jon informing us that Mario and him got a rabbit. Mario climbed through the thorn bushes to retrieve the rabbit for him.
Ri and I laid in her bed while Rocco ran back and forth from her bed to the hall chasing a ball. We laughed so hard at his crazy antics until he finally had enough and laid his head at the end of the bed. We rested our heads on her purple pillows and fell fast to sleep.

Weekend Round up

I was a single parent this weekend with Jon heading out to the Bucks game with his best friend Paul on Saturday and heading out to hunt on Sunday. So what did I decide to do? How about have over five other kids all day long to play with M&M? That wouldn’t lead to a massive headache or a few outbursts, would it?
But it’s all about the kiddies and they wanted to see their cousins badly. The three next door neighbor kids happened to decide they wanted to play, too after seeing Ri and Mario running around with Alana and Gio. At first, it was all good fun. The boys played zombie killers and ran around the house with their bows and guns and swords. After a while, I started to get claustrophobic with all the running and screaming so I bundled them up and we headed to the woods with Rocco. The boys were hilarious finding zombie trails and troll hideouts and dens. They acted like Rocco was sniffing out zombies. It is always quite an adventure heading out with 6 year old boys.

Meanwhile, the girls were back at the house chillin’ with a game of Sequence. They had played enough of the regular game so they made up their own with Monopoly pieces.

After we came home, the chaos slowly rose. Rocco had rolled in raccoon poop (I’m assuming it was raccoon poop but how do I know?!) when we were in the woods. Mario had pointed out some dirt on his side when we were leaving but I just blew him off with an “ugh-huh” because I was freezing and wanted to get home. Luckily I smelled it on him before he rubbed himself everywhere. But the bath was quite a chore between Rocco jumping out three times, the shampoo spilling everywhere and the kids running all around the house with a sopping wet dog following them.
Then the boys got even more wild and crazy running around the house. And yelling. And hurting each other. I started to get the crazed look in my eyes and Ri spotted it.
“My mom’s about to unleash the monster!” Maria whispered loudly to Alana and Sophie. She knows me way too well.
I tried not to scream too loud but I did have a few words with those boys. After a while, I had to send the neighbor kids home in order to cut the kid to mom ratio to 4 to 1. I felt better then and helped Alana and Ri with Alana’s new Barbie house and helped Gio and Mario with their Legos. We stayed up until 11 but then I called it a night. I couldn’t hang any longer. The kids obligingly went in their rooms and I do believe I was asleep before any of them.
On Sunday, we hit the new turkey movie, Free Birds. Lame. Even Ri thought it was pretty bad. Mario liked a few parts (when the male turkeys would fight) but was not too impressed either. But hey, it didn’t ruin our Thanksgiving spirit and we got a ton of popcorn and candy (we scored free refills on popcorn which I usually never take advantage of but it felt good to get a refill on a $8 bag of popcorn!).
Now, to a short work week and lots of gratitude!




Finally Vindicated

All of those evenings of watching “Evening” and crying like a baby have made me a happier person!  Rock on!  I have known it all along ever since I started watching Terms of Endearment in sixth grade and Legends of the Fall in high school.  And now I have been vindicated with the study in Can Watching Sad Movies Make you Happier

I love this study!  Jon can no longer complain when I come up to bed at midnight with bloodshot eyes and ruddy nose and dried up tears.  It is only making me happier. So, ladies, get out those DVDs of Out of Africa, the Notebook, and Dead Man Walking, and shed those tears in order to bust out that smile later.

127 Hours

Maria and Mario post-mulching (Mario was proud of his dirty face and hands!

I had both kids in bed by 9:50 on Thursday night.  Amazing, and quite early for Mr. Mario who typically refuses to go to bed unless I lay down with him (especially when Jon is out of town).  I had to shower in the evening due to fingernails filled with dirt and mulch in my hair.  The kids and I hit up the flower store earlier and bought 10 bags of mulch – we got through 4 of them before the kids were ready to move on to better things, namely, dinner for Maria and basketball for Mario.  While I was soaking in the shower, Mario fell asleep in my bed (and Maria hit the hay as soon as her head fell on her pillow).  What a gift of time! 

Maria biking and Mario running

I think the mulching and the run up the street to the pizza store helped wear the boy out. Lately, Maria has been all about her bike and Mario has been all about walking/running.  He can make it a mile without stopping to take a breath or rest.  He has got his mom’s lungs.  Maria keeps us truckin’ because she zooms on her bike – the same bike she has had since she was three with training wheels wobbling, rust growing and princess stickers falling off.  I think a new bike may be in order for her 6th b-day.

Back to my evening.  I got downstairs at 10:15, cleaned up the living room and kitchen, and flipped through the movies on pay-per-view.  One of my favorite past times is hitting up the movie theatre with popcorn and pop in tow (and usually a box of whoopers or goobers).  Since I could not leave the children alone (oh, how tempting!), I had to be content with the tv, chips and dip, and a diet 7Up.  I flipped through the new releases and it came down to Black Swan and 127 Hours.   My brother gave 127 Hours rave reviews and it was only one and a half hours long.  It won. 

I’d give it a 5 out of 10.  It kept my interest for the most part but there were times in it that I grew impatient watching James Franco make videos of himself.  I know the director wanted the audience to get as accurate and real a picture of this climber being stuck in this crevice – his arm wedged into the rock by another rock – but I thought it dragged out a little too long.  However, Franco did an excellent job recreating the absolute horror and intensity of cutting off his arm.  The detail of that scene itself sticks to my bones.  The ending failed to meet my expectations, too.  I didn’t feel an ultimate connection with Franco at the end, which is something I look forward to in watching a movie (Annette Benning wowed me in The Kids Are Alright).  

There was one scene right before Franco cut off his arm where Franco was beginning to give up and he had a vision of himself with his future son.  That part struck me because I remembered back when I had a minor health scare.  There were about two weeks where I waited to hear back from my doctor.  Maria and Mario were both born, and the only thing that kept me up at night was the thought of leaving them at such a young age and not being able to watch them grow.  When I was pregnant with Maria, I still remember thinking that I could never love her as much as I loved our pup, Cy.  Sad but true (and it did take about 3 months to love her as much because she was such a fussy baby)!  But now I cannot imagine not being a part of their lives and the amount of love that I have for them feels limitless.

Maria and Mario in a loving state before school!

The next morning I paid for my “crazy movie night” when Maria and Mario woke me up at 6:45 am.  I felt like I had slept 2 hours.  It reaffirmed the fact that I need to go to bed by 10:30.  The kids knew I was tired and took care of me by getting dressed in a reasonable amount of time and walking the entire way to school.  When we arrived, Maria began to pout and complain that she did not want to be in school.  She did not want me to leave.  She has been getting like this lately, especially on the weeks that Jon is gone.  I hugged her and told her that she would have a great day, and without prompting, Mario also hugged and her and said “Don’t worry, Ri, school will be fun and I will play with you this afternoon.”  She planted a long, hard smooch on his cheek, and we walked home. 

I told Mario I was proud of him for helping out his sister, and he looked at me and replied “I love my sissy.”  Watching their relationship continue to grow is a gift for Jon and I.  Jon returned that night, and the kids were ecstatic to see him walk through the door. Echos of “DADDY” still ring through my head.  Later that evening, Jon and I relaxed in our normal fashion – Jon with some tv and me with my computer, and I was fast asleep by 10:30.