Monday, December 15, 2014

Sophie’s Letter to Santa

Ethan stopped believing in Santa last yearL But he plays along for Sophie, thank goodness. Sophie will probably believe until she’s 12. After all, she believes in leprechauns and fairies and imaginary friends, and that “Crispy” the elf on the shelf at her dad’s house just came to them, magically – Daddy & TT didn’t purchase him.

Here is the letter Sophie wrote to Santa this weekend:
Dear Santa,
Hi! My name is Sophie (4th grade, age 10).
And yes, I do believe I am on the nice list, correct?
Thank you for delivering all those gifts last year! I loved everything I got!:) I do suppose you are wondering what I would like for Christmas (well if you flip you can see my list). But Santa, you deliver so many toys for kids what do you get for Christmas? (besides cookies and milk). Thank you for sending Crispy (the elf) to our house. He is very good. I do hope he will come next year! Is it really true that Rudolph has a red nose? Also, were you always Santa? How did you become Santa? Oh, I do have so many questions to ask you but I know you must have millions of kids writing you letters so have a JOLLY HOLLY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

PS – Can you make it snow here? Please…

She even decorated it with multi-colored markers and stick-on jewelsJ

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It’s Starting – Too Early for Me!

While Sophie still thinks boys are smelly and gross (YAY!), Ethan has his first true crush on a girl in his class named Ashley. Apparently, she is the “hottie” of the 4th grade because “Dad, *all* the girls like Ashley. And…you should see her mom!” Yes, he actually said that. He’s a mini Jeffrey. We are in trouble – Jeffrey used to be a ‘player.’

Anyway, last night Jeffrey asked Ethan for a hug. Then:
Jeff: Wait, what is that? Are you wearing cologne??
Ethan [blushing]: Nooo!
Jeff: Are you wearing your mother’s perfume?
Ethan: What? No, I…I’m just using gel to make it spikey [which is how I love his hairJ]
Jeff: Gel scented with your mother’s perfume? Is it all for Ashley?
They continued the rest of that convo in private, but I bet you can guess the answer.

While Sophie is more mature than Ethan in a disciplined way (ie does her homework straight after school, that type of thing) and because she is a girl (doesn’t make 8,000 fart jokes per day), Ethan is a great deal more aware of the ways of the world than she is. But sometimes I wish he was aware a bit less. Example: this exchange also happened last week:
I was sitting at the kitchen table helping Ethan with his homework.
Me: Where’s a pencil? I need a pencil please.
Jeff [mumbling as he cleans up the kitchen]: I have a pencil for you.
Me [rolls eyes and ignores]
Ethan [after a few seconds]: Oh, I get it! I have a pencil too.
Jeff [eyes wide]: What?! How do YOU know what I’m talking about?
Ethan: I don’t know, I just do.
Me: NO MORE RIDING THE BUS! [thinking it’s the older kids on the bus; plus I just wanted something to blame!]
As you can see, my 10 year old and my 47 year old are both on the same maturity level!

Here’s another conversation that went down recently, between Ethan and Sophie:
Ethan: Sophie, are you popular?
Sophie: I don’t know, that depends. Do you mean popular like everybody knows your name or popular like everybody likes you?
Ethan: I don’t know. Both I guess.
Sophie [matter of factly, shrugging]: Well then, no.
Ethan: I am.

“Popular” wasn’t even in my vocabulary until…okay first I was going to say ‘middle school’ (6th grade) but it probably started in 5th grade. Is my interpretation of this being too soon because I’m old and kids are growing up too fast these days, or is it because that’s when it *should* start and not before? All I know is that Marcy (Ethan’s mom) is obsessed with being popular and therefore is obsessed with Ethan being popular and has projected that obsession onto Ethan which is why he HAD to have Jack, THE MOST POPULAR KID IN THE 4TH GRADE [What? Why? Who cares? Says who? (Answr: THE TEACHER! WTF?)] spend the night the other weekend.

Ugh. I’m just not ready for this. IMO It will start within the next two years anyway, WHY push it to begin a single moment sooner?

Wise parents who have kids older than mine, PLEASE feel free to chime in here!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Ruelle Family Secret Santa Program

Many of you came through for the Ruelles last year at Christmas time and I know that we are now short on time - only 16 days left!! I have set up a wish list for the Ruelle Family of items needed for the household and children, and also Jayden & Sapphire's picks for gifts. 
If you would like to help, all you have to do is go to this address: and you can click "Reserve Item" if you plan to purchase, or if you have purchased. 
Please ship items to Dan & Rosa Kisting (see Facebook for address) and THANK YOU for making this a Christmas to remember for this beautiful, loving family who has been through SO incredibly much in the past two years!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Is it Just Me?

Really I can answer this question because I’m most confident that it is in fact just me, but lots of times I don’t feel like an actual grown-up, except when I’m doing very grown-up things like laundry, paying the mortgage, and choosing health coverage. You know, the super fun stuff that grown-ups get to do.

I’m much too serious but I love to laugh, and I love when people make me laugh.

I am trying to “lighten up” a bit, which is harder at certain times of the month than others.

Lots of times I feel like I’m a kid playing grown-up pretend. Like, I’m not *really* a working, functional adult, I just play one on TV.

Does that make sense? No, I knew it wouldn’t; it’s just me, but that’s how I feel.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Beyond Exhausted

Last week I was in San Diego for a work conference, our biggest event of the year that I helped plan. My family couldn’t wait until it was over because I was such an overworked cranky bitch in the months leading up to it. I honestly thought work stress was going to cause me to have a stroke, like my mom, and I am actually still worried about that. Despite sleeping long hours since I’ve returned home, I feel I can barely keep my eyes open and am worried I might have mono.

I’m also going through a mid-life crisis of sort, trying to figure out what I want from my job, my company; whether or not they would be willing to give it to me; what to propose to them, and how to say it, and basically trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

I’m depleted. Emotionally, mentally and physically.

The Person I Most Admire

Sophie had an assignment at school last week, which was to write about the person she most admires. Here’s what she wrote, and it went like a knife right through my heart:
This person is my step-mom. I call her “TT.” Our relationship is worth more than gold to me!:)
What are the traits you most admire in this person?
The traits are:
1 – Awesome! 2 – Smart 3 – Pretty 4 – She knows what I am going to say before I say it! 5 – Nice but not too nice.
How are you like this relative? I am like her because she is a good baker. I could help her with some chores.

Sure, yes I’m happy they have a good relationship.

But it still hurt, and yes I’m jealous.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

My Husband Doesn’t Understand Why I’m So Cranky & Tired All the Time

My Husband, God bless him. Things he says to me:
“Why are you so tired?”
“Why don’t you just relax?”
“Why do you get up so early?”
“Why are you so cranky?”

Now don’t get me wrong. Having a partner is infinitely easier than doing it on your own but whether you work in or out of the home, kids take up a lot of time and energy. And Jeffrey will do pretty much anything I ask him to – he will go to the grocery store willingly; he will pick up Sophie if I’m in a bind, etc. And he does plenty that I don’t ask him to – all of the yard work, laundry, cleaning the kitchen…yes, I have it pretty good.

But still. We only have Ethan max two week nights and Jeff stays up late and likes to sleep in. So I’m up early, doing my thing, then Sophie is up, then I have two lunches to pack, myself to get ready, emails to go through…thankfully Sophie pretty much gets herself ready but I’m also dealing with the puppy, taking her out; Sophie is trying to entertain Kylie while she’s getting ready…and Jeff is still sleeping. He wakes up, jumps in the shower, throws clothes on and is out the door.

I haven’t worked out in a month and that’s because I’ve been swamped at work, preparing for our biggest event of the year, which is two weeks away. If I want to work out, I have to get up by 5:30 and lots of times I Just. Can’t. Do. It. Now my problem is I have gotten out of the habit. It’s literally the only time I have to work out, more or less, since I have to take Sophie to activities in the evenings which give me some free time but not enough time, now that it’s dark so early, to get to the gym and back. Before daylight savings time, it was great – Kylie and I would take Soph to musical theater, drop her off, go walk around the lake for an hour, and pick her back up. I can’t work out at night because I’m pretty much toast by 9pm. Frankly, there are nights when I feel like I could go to bed right after dinner.

Sometimes I’m jealous of the freedom Jeff has – he can go to meet his friends for a drink after work, or go to Trivia night – he doesn’t always choose these options, but he has the ability to.

Sophie and I walk to school every day, and I pick her up every day with the dog. And I see dads – either stay at home dads or dads who work from home – picking up their kids. And I see mothers – stay at home mothers with littler ones in tow, or mothers like me who are lucky enough to have a flexible job that they can pick up their kids directly from school (Sophie doesn’t get out until 4pm anyway). But what I’ve noticed, day after day, is the difference between the mothers and fathers. The fathers stroll up to school, relaxed and slow. The mothers rush in, frantic, pulling their toddler along. The fathers give big hugs and “how was your day” and stroll away. The mothers give a hug, “Hi, did you have a good day?” and zoom, they are off, on to the next errand.

I feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at work because I’m doing so many jobs I can’t do any of them well. Overwhelmed at home because I can’t keep the house clean, organized, pay my bills, work and supervise children. My cousin is in town and we were having dinner together last night and oh what a relief it was to know I am not the only one! She recommended this book to me, “Overwhelmed” which I immediately added to my Amazon wish list and will start as soon as I finish the one I’m reading now.

I recently finished, “Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me& Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager.” I’m prepping myself. I have two 10 year olds; it won’t be long now. I LOVED this book. I have no experience yet raising a teenager, and the prospect terrifies me. I fear that instead of researching boarding schools to send them away, I will be the one to run away (kidding. Kind of). But I do remember what it was like to BE a teenager. And because of that, most of this book rang true. Basically, the author discusses the main difference in general between boy teens and girl teens: boy teens will distance themselves, shut themselves off in their room, listening to music and/or playing video games. They communicate mostly in grunts. Girl teens engage in battle. They scream, they yell, they slam doors, they cry. Last night my Uncle Mike validated this, even before I told him about the book, and he should know – he’s raised both teen girls and teen boys. Now if only I can remain calm enough and patient enough to get through the hellish years, it will be a “breeze.” HAHAHA!!!!

Actually, I told Marcy (Ethan’s mom) about this book and would like to share it with her.
Sophie’s BFF Taylor is in 5th grade. And she was talking about that ridiculous video they make them watch on puberty. The way Taylor described it, it didn’t sound like it was any better or any more up to date than the one I remember watching in 6th grade.

I was doing Sophie’s hair the other day and was asking her if she had questions about puberty. And she blushed and I said, am I making you uncomfortable? And she said, “Well when the time comes, don’t just hand me a book, okay?”

Swistle recently jotted down some teenage books that I’m noting here so I can bookmark them and not forget. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A 14-Year Old in a 47-Year Old’s Body

So Marcy called Jeff the other day to tell him that she bought Ethan a bunch of Under Armor clothes because “all the kids are wearing them and I really want him to fit in.”

First of all, Jeff was like, “Why are you telling me this?” Second of all, Ethan is a 10-year old boy. Do you know how he gets dressed in the morning? He pops out of bed, pulls out a pair of pants and a shirt and puts them on. IN THE DARK. Before he’s even awake, before he’s even come out of his room, before he’s even had breakfast. He doesn’t give a shit what he wears. There may come a time when he wants to impress a girl and wants to look cool for her, so why don’t you just wait until we get to that point? ETHAN didn’t ASK his mom to buy Under Armor clothes because “all the kids are wearing that stuff.” No. Marcy saw the trend and jumped on it because she is a 14-year old in a 47-year old body and is obsessed with being popular, still, and is therefore obsessed with Ethan being popular, which is why she completely over-socializes him and he never has time alone, just to be an only child, just to chill – well not at her house anyway.

Also, here’s what else bugs me about her: You know how kids get into fads right? We have all been there, in our childhood or with our own kids, or if we’re around kids (say a teacher or something), we’ve seen it. When I was a kid it was the jelly bracelets. And it was how many could you collect and wear at one time. And then there were the jelly shoes. And we used to put beads on paper clips and tie them on our shoelaces. And 1,000 other things that my mom could probably remember better than me. But that’s the point: they are fads, they don’t last long, it’s a kid thing; everyone goes through them. Oh! High top sneakers. Converse. Grunge dressing. The fads may have differed for you, depending on your age and where in the country you grew up. Well kids are kids and they still have fads. Last fall it was the Rainbow Loom. Ethan got into it at first because his neighbor friends were into it so of course Marcy didn’t want him to be left out and ran out to IMMEDIATELY purchase everything and anything that had to do with the rainbow loom. The loom, an organization container, and 8,000 packs of rubber bands in all colors, including neon and glow in the dark. So then Ethan had ALL of it and the fad lasted pretty long for fads – a couple of months – and then it was over.

When Ethan expressed an interest in collecting baseball cards, Marcy went out and IMMEDIATELY purchased every baseball card pack they sold at Target or Walmart so that Ethan could have the whole collection RIGHT NOW. I haven’t heard him speak of baseball cards since. You know why? Because she’s taking all the fun out of it. The JOY of getting into something, well, part of it is the wait. Wait for birthday money, wait for the new card to come out, the new version, so you can get it. She’s teaching him immediate gratification and because he gets everything immediately, the joy of actually building up a collection is something he never gets to experience. She did the same when he was into Pokémon cards.

And so we are left over here to counter-act all of this. SIGH. The good news is, Ethan hasn’t asked his dad for a new toy in MONTHS and MONTHS.