Thursday, January 29, 2015

Awkward Mom vs. The Potential Move

So, yeah, where have I been? Haven't been around here, that's for sure. Where have I been? Good question. Not really sure. Been busier than normal and normal is pretty busy. Super Preschooler had a birthday. We celebrated it on the road, visiting Awkward Grandma and Grandpa and going to the first of Awkward Dad's many upcoming job interviews. Oh yes, that's where I've been! Physically and mentally and in-the-middle-of-the-nightally.

Awkward Dad finishes his current fellowship in June and we may be on the move. We may be staying in Ann Arbor; her alliterative allure is hard to abstain from. We'll know by March, most likely, but of course, this potential uprooting is occupying pretty much all of my available brain space. The tiny room left over, after we account for the worries about college funds, the measles outbreak, stock piling enough sausage for Super Toddler AND Super Baby (who is taking after his sister in appetite), icy roads, that weird smell the basement is producing, my Oscar picks, potty training stuff, and wondering if the school moms really like me or if they just like Super 1st and tolerate me as a result. That last one is hands-down the latter; guess it can come off the worry list. Great! More room to worry about the potential move.

I'll keep you updated, Readers. Stay tuned; same awkward channel. Flexible on the time......

Here's some pictures of us being awkward:

We hosted Super 1st class "pet" last weekend.
We also forgot to take any pictures until Sunday night.
So, we staged this one and Super 1st wanted retakes
and I refused and it was a whole thing.......

I had a birthday.
I think 37 looks good on me.
Adorable babies are the best lighting.

We visited Awkward Grandma,
but more importantly, 
Awkward Grandma's horse.

Super Preschooler's birthday cat food fundraiser is going like gangbusters!
We are taking the food to the Humane Society next week,
mostly because I am starting to worry 
that the weight of all of it might break the floor.
But feel free to give us some until next week,
the floor could probably stand another ton or two. 

Thanks for you generous cat-lovers out there!
And the generous cat-toleraters and cat-dislikers,
who just really love Super Preschooler! 

Oh, and Super 1st's class won their school's door decorating contest:

Because, of course they did.
(Super 1st worked on the Service Olaf;
some of his best work, if you ask me.) 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Awkward Mom and Super Preschooler

My Dear Super Preschooler-

You have a new imaginary friend. Yesterday, we were cuddling on the couch, just hanging out, when your fingers tickle-walked up my arm and you said, "Porgee says hi." So, naturally, I asked you who Porgee is. Apparently, Porgee is a huge spider, but he is "very sweet and fuzzy and tired of people always trying to smash him." He likes hugs and ceiling fans and wants to drive a motorcycle one day. And that one day will "probably be tomorrow."

Porgee is less scary than some of your imaginary friends.

Your birthday is in a few days; 5 years. How is it 5 years? Weren't you born last week? Haven't you always been here? I am ashamed of this, but when you were born, I thought I had you all figured out. I mean, we already had Super 1st and his uniqueness knows no bounds. So, I figured that you would be like him. Or maybe the exact opposite. But the idea that you would bloom and grow into your own boundless uniqueness? Well, I am afraid that my imagination is not like yours, my Love. That; I simply couldn't conceive of.

Should have known better. 
Those eyes hold mega mysteries. 

You add so much to this house. And I mean that literally. You bring home sticks, rocks, pine cones, random scraps of paper, abandoned toys, insects. All with names and personalities and stories to tell. Your powers of observation are highly tuned, and they sense things only known to fairies. To see the world as you see the world is a gift given to the very few. You and Wes Anderson are the only two I know about so far.

Just your above-average flying ace. 

Your sense of adventure is total and you are comfortable to have it totally in your head if it's raining or there's nothing going on with your siblings. Your inner world is amazing and fantastical and probably rainbow flavored, and your self-contentment is so completely total. You need nothing and I am pretty sure that includes food. (What do you eat?! Because it is nothing I am currently making.) But the true source of your magic is your delightful confidence. You are so utterly and completely you. And you know it. You just drift about, being you, and people are drawn to you. You do little to encourage friends but they fall out of trees just to be near you. Because who wouldn't want to be friends with you? Anyone who doesn't is immune to magic and very few people are totally immune to magic.

Here, little elephant. 
Let me love you. 

You are the definition of love. You are totally benign and clearly wish all you meet goodness and cheer and candy of some type. Especially those of the animal persuasion. Them; you love with a fierce and deep love that has zero limits, not even those of reality. This year, for your birthday, you eschewed all gifts in favor of a cat tree for the Super Cats and cat food for the local Human Society. That's not saying you don't want the entire catalog of Star Wars toys, vintage and modern, but those can show up whenever, through the year.

But it's really all about your eyes.

We have similar eyes, Super Preschooler. You, me, Grandpa, and Invisible Grandpa. (I am assuming that about Invisible Grandpa, having never seen him for reals.) And our eyes are pretty, I have to admit it. Blue/gray with facets all over the place. Facets that twinkle and catch the light like diamonds. But your facets, my Sweet. Yours I could look at for hours and hours and still not be bored. Yours look like letters; magical elvish letters that hold the secrets to the universe. And I don't think there is doubt in anyone's mind that you do indeed hold the secrets to the universe. (Well, you and Porgee.) Keep them, my beautiful, creative, utterly amazing son. God gave them to you to guard and decorate with your boundless imagination. If anyone is up to decorating the universe, it's you.

I love you,
Awkward Mom

Super Baby looks at you like we all look at you.
Like we never want to look away. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Awkward Mom vs. Production

It's easy to get down on myself, especially in the cold dark of January. I mean, my birthday's coming up and I am faced, yet again, with the knowledge that I haven't done anything particularly impressive with my life. I don't produce anything. I'm just a stay at home mom, dorking around after these children, trying to get them to adulthood with as few broken bones and damaged psyches as possible. Sure, it's a full-time job, but it's not exactly rocket science. It's not exactly commerce. It's not exactly other impressive sounding sector of society that I can't think of right now because I just stay at home with my children. Basically, it's not exactly anything that majorly benefits the earth or those who inhabit it. I don't produce anything; I just take from the world.

And, therefore, I get down on myself. Which doesn't feel good. So, I look for a way to distract myself from these not good feelings by focusing on the play that is going on in front of me. Well, behind me. Now, to the right. No wait, the left. They move really fast, these kids....... Anywho, this is what is going on, all around:

Super 1st: Alright, so we are gonna pretend to fly the Millennium Falcon, and since Super Preschooler is Han, I think he should drive first.

Super Preschooler: Thanks! But you can drive first, Super 1st. Luke can fly ships too.

Super 1st: Thanks!

Super Toddler: I fly first. You guys wait.

Super 1st: Alright, I suppose girls can go first.

Super Preschooler: Fine, but Super Baby has to be Chewbacca because he is the hairiest one of us.

Super 1st: Yeah, that's fair.

Super Toddler: Sure. But I fly.

Super Baby: *Blinding smile at just being included."

Apparently, the Millennium Falcon parks in the bedroom, so they all left and I lost the thread of play at that point. But I heard enough.

No, I don't study rockets or make tons of money or really any money at all, and no, I'm not exactly setting the world on fire with my genius or passion. No, I don't produce anything.

Except I did play a major role in producing the four children currently liberating the galaxy from the forces of evil. And I have a feeling that has to count for something in the long run.

Here at Awkward Manor we only produce one model; 
astonishingly brilliant, 
blindingly adorable, 
Star Wars loving 
badasses with hearts of gold. 

It's a limited edition. 

But their value is only going to increase. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Awkward Mom vs. the Cat Tree

My mom asked for a horse and a cat every birthday until her parents finally gave in and got her one. (A cat, that is. She would have to wait 40 some birthdays before she got that horse.) Her father named the cat Calendar because "his days were numbered." Not quite the feline fancier was my grandfather, but he did love his daughter. Parental love makes you do lots of crazy things, but you know this.

My story is actually about passions. (Sorta lovey, so it follows. Sorta. Just roll with it.) I hold with the theory that some passions are so strong that they simply cross the uterine wall or become absorbed into the blood stream somehow via kisses. I don't know the particulars; science isn't really my bag, but it happens. My mother's cat-love passed right on to me and has been there as long as I can remember. Her horse-love merrily skipped a generation:

Horse-love needs a strong host. 

I have always had cats, so the children have grown up with cats. They simply view them as members of our family that speak a different language and are super cuddly, and our cats tolerate the children on a rather scary level. 

Basically, if there is a fire, 
the cats are saving the kids first, 
themselves second,
 and they assume Awkward Dad and I can figure things out.

Point is.....OK, kinda lost track after that video. It's super cute and a little mesmerizing. I think my point is that we love animals. All kinds. Awkward Dad likes dogs, Super Toddler likes horses, Super 1st wants a dragon, and I am pretty sure Super Baby still thinks all of us are strange fascinating animals that he wants to pet, furred and non-furred alike. But Super Preschooler. Super Preschooler got the full force of my cat-love somehow (again, science), and he may have it stronger than the rest of us combined. 

He's not terribly picky on breed.
Or ability to breathe. 

Super Preschooler's birthday is in a few weeks. When asked what he would like, he said "a cat tree." I, naturally, said, "Whatever do you want with a cat tree?" And he replied, "the cats would love it and I love the cats." Fair enough. Super Preschooler is also not asking for gifts this year, but asking all his friends to donated cat food so that he can feed our cats. When I pointed out that our cats have plenty of food, and perhaps too much if Super Cats' vet is to be believed, he said, "OK, well, there are lots of cats in the world, we'll give the food to them." 

Super Preschooler's middle name is Francis and I, for one, totally see the resemblance: 

OK, no, you're right. 
Super Preschooler has more hair. 

All of this leads to today's outing. Super 1st is at school. Super Toddler has morning preschool. Super Baby is napping next to Awkward Dad, who is working from home. So, it's a Mom and Super Preschooler's field trip to Petsmart. Super Preschooler is more excited than he was a Disney World. (I am totally not kidding either; Super Preschooler hates heights, rides, and crowds. He is way happier at Petsmart.) It's a difficult battle, but Super Preschooler is mighty and not too indecisive. In the end, cat-love wins the day. 

But let's look at too many pictures anyway, because Super Preschooler is adorable and it's actually warm here by the computer. 

We thought we had an early win here,
but there was still so much cat tree action to see. 

Getting distracted by a beautiful orange tabby.

Could this be the one?

Yes, this is definitely the one.

Hold on......

 I think.....perhaps.....yes!

The one on the right came home with us.
On sale.
Not that anyone can put a price on cat-love.
Or that priceless Super Preschooler smile. 

We are still looking for the perfect placement for the cat tree in the house, when Awkward Dad walks in and.....

Awkward Dad: Oh, you actually bought it.

Me: Yeah. That was kinda the point. 

Awkward Dad: I know. It's just rather tame for Super Preschooler, given his usual interests. I guess I always figured that Super Preschooler was really talking about a magical tree that grew cats. 

Me: Shush!!

Super Preschooler: Daddy! 

Me: Too late.

Awkward Dad: Oops.

Super Preschooler: That's a great idea! Mommy, we have to go back to Petsmart. I didn't see any. But they might sell seeds. We could put it in the back yard. Finder-stick would guard it and Invisible Grandpa would water it. No, he's not good at stuff like that. Bebe could water it. Wonder what color they'll be.....

Yeah, so I have to go convince Super Preschooler to hold off planting until spring or we actually own a place of our own. That, and that magic cat-trees produce invisible cats. Or something. I don't know; magic isn't really my bag.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Awkward Mom vs. Special

Dear Children-

You are special.

And not that lameo we-are-all-special-so-no-one-is- really-special special because that is just the stupid phrase of the lazy and unimaginative.

And not Elsa-angry-singing-on-a-mountain-because-no-one-understands special because you only get to be that angry and self-involved for a short period around your 15th birthday.

And not sarcastic "special" because that is just rude.

And not-tossed-off-because-I-can't-think-of-another-adjective special because we all know that I know my way around an apt adjective.

No. You are each totally and completely special. Distinguished. Distinctive. Important in your own way. Important to me and just plain old important.

We are starting a new year today. Make it as special as you are.

I love you-
Awkward Mom

P.S. This whole letter goes for you too, Readers. Each and every special one of you.

Special like your special requires more than one picture. 
It really requires more than one universe, 
but I do what I can. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Good Enough

Every Advent, I reach a point when I just accept that I am going to have yet another good enough Christmas. It is usually into the 20s of the month. I am alternatively staring at everyone else's perfectly poised Christmas cards that I have hanging all over the place and the giant pile of ours that has yet to be stamped, signed, and addressed. I glance into the living room to see the aftermath of a massive toy explosion or, if I am lucky, the actual explosion, in process, complete with projectiles that give Super Toddler yet another bruise. I turn to look in the kitchen and am met with a sink overflowing with dirty dishes, no clean counter space, and cookie bits strewn all over the floor, sprinkle-side down. I look up to be confronted with cobwebs or I look down to be confronted with crumbs and smears of unknown origin. Then I run out of directions to look, so I look inward but it's scary and messy in there too. The Chipmunks Christmas album is playing for the 14 time that day and it's already dark at only 4 in the afternoon. It is at this point that I declare Game Over, accept that it's gonna be another good enough Christmas, and drink a large glass of wine. The years I am pregnant during the good enough declaration, I eat an entire box of store bought cookies because someone dropped all the homemade ones on the floor.

The good enough Christmas is fine. It works. Someone's present isn't quite right. The Christmas cards arrive on January 2nd. The tree leans. Some of the cookies are burnt. We never did make it to the Nutcracker that year. There is too much glitter and not enough egg nog and someone needs a diaper during the dance floor becoming a pool scene and I miss my favorite part of It's a Wonderful Life, yet again. But, the children are happy. The presents are wrapped. Some contingent of us makes it to church. We eat a lot of delicious things, feel warm fuzzies off and on, and generally make it through the season intact and still loving each other.

But I really wanted a good Christmas this year. Not good enough, GOOD. Now, I am not fool enough to ever think that my Christmas is going to be perfect. Or even orbiting perfect, but I hope, year after year, for that magical, mythical Christmas that they write songs about. Warm and festive. Stress-less and easy. Calm and complete. It has yet to happen in my world, but I seek it, year after year. Much like the pictures I take, year after year, that fail to be those perfectly poised ones that arrive at my house from all our far flung friends.

Our pictures do not turn out perfectly poised. Our pictures are messy. Our pictures are fuzzy. Our pictures are downright crazy. Our pictures are awkward. And year after year, I take them. And year after year, I sigh. And year after year, I use them to send out funny and hilarious Christmas cards that people tell me they love. They might be lying, but they say it, nonetheless.

But this year, well, this year, I can't even do that. There is no pile of unaddressed Christmas cards. There is no card. Not one. I just didn't get it done. The good enough Christmas got declared and that was the thing to go. I don't know if this is good or bad, but I suspect it just is. This is just me this year. Late and sorry and disorganized and feeling like George Bailey when he comes home after finding out that Uncle Billy has lost all the money and Tommy just sits on him and piles tinsel on his head. I am gonna just sit here and cry and let someone pile tinsel on my head, and that's alright.

Because here's the thing. After the tinsel piling, everyone comes over and gives George all their money and Clarence gets wings and bells and singing and Harry is home and it's great. OK, yeah, well, I may be glossing over the whole George-not-existing-Mary-being-an-old-maid-Pottersville-part, but I don't have all day here, People.

There is a reason Christmas is celebrated for a whole season. No one can sustain a magical, perfect, jolly time for a whole month or even 12 days or, let's face it, even a solid day. Like anything else, it ebbs and flows, and I happen to be in an ebb. A tinsel-head ebb. But I will shake it off and flow again soon, maybe even later tonight. Who knows; weirder things have happened. And that's good enough. Maybe good enough is good. After all, happiness wouldn't be happiness if that was all you felt, right? You would just kinda plateau-out and be content all the time. I guess that sounds okay. No. That doesn't sounds okay. That sounds incredibly boring.

And I don't want boring. I want messy, fuzzy, downright crazy, and awkward. 
I guess what I want is the good enough Christmas. 

We wish you all good enough Christmases 
with a few tinsel-headed ebbs 
and way more Zuzu-petal flows! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. No Jeans

So, last night is Super 1st Christmas concert and the email notices where very clear that this is a dressy occasion and there were to be no jeans. It took me 3 emails and Awkward Dad asking "you're wearing that?" to realize that meant me as well. Oh crap.

I live in jeans. They are really all I wear. They're comfortable, durable, and dry spit-up comes right off them with a little water. They hide all manners of sins, even hips that have lived through 4 children. Jeans hold stuff in, and I have stuff to hold in. Jeans are great! You can dress 'em up with a cute top and some heels. You can dress 'em down with Awkward Dad's college sweatshirt and where the hell are my shoes anyway..... You mostly dress 'em down. But you don't dress them at all for the school Christmas program. You wear a dress and hold a baby in front of you at all times in case anyone happens to look at you too closely. Dresses don't hold stuff in. Spanx holds stuff in and I forgot to buy any because I thought I could wear jeans to the Christmas concert.

Anyway, the point is, I am wearing this dress and feeling all self-conscious and ugly and fat and whatever else, so my goal is to hide in this pew, behind Super Baby, occasionally peeking at Super 1st around this pillar and then escape at the intermission. Awkward Dad decides to foil my plan by taking the baby and saying "Can you take Super 1st to meet his class? I want to talk to the Wandering Glutton." (Blog is amazing! Check it, I'll wait.)

So, I am walking down the school hallway with Super 1st, trying to look invisible and not make eye contact with all the beautiful moms, catwalking about like they wear dresses for a living. Two middle school band members slip into the hallway behind me and this happens:

Middle School Girl: Everyone looks amazing! I wish I could wear a beautiful dress and heels.

Middle School Boy: Heels are dumb. You look fine.

Middle School Girl: But they are so pretty and they would make me super tall.

Middle School Boy: Heels are oppressive and make women walk funny because they are all pointed forward and off-balance.

Middle School Girl: You don't understand.

Middle School Boy: I understand fine. You don't need heels.

Middle School Girl: I guess. But still....

Middle School Boy: Stop it. You are pretty the way you are.

I sidestep to let them walk past me, but before I turn completely away, I manage to catch the Middle School Girl's eye. Her bandmate is right; she is totally pretty the way she is. She smiles at me and mouths "Your shoes are so amazing," while Band Guy isn't looking. I touch her arm, point at his retreating back, and whisper "Well, you should listen to your friend." Her eyes sparkle at me and her smile slips into a lopsided grin that makes her even more beautiful, before she winks at me and chases after him down the hallway.

I watch them for a minute, lost in some crystal-ball and navel gazing that makes me happy like I haven't been all night. Super 1st tugs me back to reality and we race over to his classroom, where I drop him off amid squeals and hugs and gushes about everyone's finery. I compliment several outfits myself and manage not to compliment-ninja away ones that I receive. It's all warm and festive and charming, and by the time I am walking back to the church to join my family, I stop pretending to be invisible and catwalk a little myself. Until I trip on the stairs.

Band Guy is right; heels are dumb. But Band Girl is right too; mine look amazing. As do I.

Well, they didn't specifically say "no overalls,"
now did they?