Monday, April 27, 2009

Waking up

Lucas woke me up at about 6:45 yesterday morning. He handed me a note that he must have worked on while the rest of the household slept:

"I luve you mom and you are The best mom you are grateist mom in the world."

What an amazing way to wake up. Most of the time I find it hard to believe I'm worthy of such love -- but getting a note like this reminds me to keep trying really hard to do my best.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No TV and Homework Can Suck It

When I picked Luc up from school on Monday he was a bit bummed. Apparently his teacher told the class that they could not watch t.v. or play video games for a week. I asked him why and he said he didn't know. There was no note sent home, so I didn't know what to think, but he didn't watch t.v. We don't watch much anyway.. they get about 45 minutes or so while I make dinner in the evening. He only plays video games occasionally with Phil on the weekends, so no big deal. Except, I was a bit annoyed that someone else was telling my kid that he couldn't do these things.
On Tuesday morning I asked the teacher what the deal was and she said it is national turn off the t.v. week -- so all the kids signed a pledge not to watch t.v. or play video games. That did bother me a bit. I think some of the kids might watch quite a bit of television and some go to a babysitter after school, and the t.v. is on all the time. I don't know, but I was bothered by the idea of my child signing a pledge I had not approved of. I know, it sounds like something stupid to be upset about, but it's the idea behind it. I think I should have had a note about it in advance.
Anyway, the t.v. has been off while the kids are awake since Monday. They don't seem to miss it.

I guess since the kids aren't supposed to be watching the t.v., the kindergarten teachers think that it is a good time to send home a ridiculous amount of homework -- and I mean ridiculous.
Monday wasn't so bad. We just had to create a cover for a book the kids were to write this week. Didn't take more than about 15 minutes, including the artwork time.
15 minutes is about what I would expect a Kindergartener should have for homework.
Tuesday night was t-ball practice so we had to do the homework before that. Assignment was to write the first part of the story (about one page) and then make a picture to go along with that.
These are kindergarteners, and for some (like my boy) writing is a very slow process. First Luc had to dictate the story to me. I wrote it out and then he copied what I wrote. I have to sit with him because he is only six and still needs to be reminded to put spaces between words and periods at the end of sentences.
Luc wasn't in the mood to do any of this because, for goodness sake, he had just gotten home from 5 hours of school. Wednesday the assignment was the same (for the 2nd part of book) and again, we had to do the work right away because of a school fundraiser at a restaurant for dinner and then a program at the high school Phil wanted to take the kids to.
Today, Luc had a friend over, so the homework waited until after our late dinner.
Here is my gripe... the assignment for Tues, Wed, and Thurs took at least 45 minutes each. 45 minutes for a 6 year old! I don't even think a 5th grader should have that much homework.

I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR yesterday and people were calling in with ideas for things that should be done away with. One woman called and said homework. I say amen. She is a single mom, who works and her kids are involved in sports, plus, duh, they like to read for recreation or just play. But there is no time for that with the loads of homework they have. After a long day of school for the kids and a long day of work for mom, instead of having quality family time, they have to struggle through hours of homework each night. I dread that because I know it is coming.

Perhaps we parents should boycott homework for the younger set.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


As I type this, I'm sitting outside and it feels at least 78 degrees at 8 p.m. Yes, it was quite warm today, but now it is just perfect. And it's the perfect end to my birthday weekend. Yes, I turned 35 today and the one thing I asked for I received -- my kids got along for the entire day today.

Yesterday the grandparents Crouse headed up for a visit. We packed a picnic and headed out to the park for a couple of hours. After we came home, we sat on the back porch while the kids played in a couple of tubs of water I had filled up. Then we moved out to the front porch and set up some wine and snacks and we talked for a couple more hours while the kids played out front. They showed off their skills on their scooters and we held up signs with scores. They loved it.
Dinner was simple and we enjoyed a bit more wine.
This morning, Ray and Jeme cooked a big breakfast and we all stayed in our pjs until 10 a.m. Then we headed off to the toy store (after getting dressed) because the kids had a bit of pocket money from the grandparents. Amanda picked something out, but Lucas wisely decided to save his money for something special. Then it was off to meet my mom for lunch -- the kids were so freakin awesome in the restaurant. After we saw off G and G Crouse, Phil took the kids out for a bit and I got some writing done -- book had been on hold for a few weeks and it was nice to get into it again. Phil and the kids came home and we made some frozen pizza and watched a movie. Kids had a bath, we finished reading George's Marvelous Medicine and now Phil is tucking the kids into bed.
What an awesome weekend. The only thing on our list that we didn't do was hike up Tarantula hill, but it was so darn hot today that I'm not too broken up about it.
If this is a sign of what 35 has to offer, I'll take some more, please!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


For reasons I won't go into, I was having a very bad day today. I went over to my mom's to help her make some name tags for a reunion she is having soon -- she's on the planning commission and it sounds like it is going to be an awesome gathering.
So, the thing took me a bit longer than expected, but I was working while she entertained the kids. I then got a phone call with some unexpected bad news. I completely lost it. She got the kids set up with a movie and came in to talk to me about things. I was sobbing in front of the computer and she did the mom thing -- the thing I do for my 4 and 6 year olds. I'm 35 and she can still do it. It's amazing. The problem is still there, but Mom made me feel a bit better and helped me catch my breath so I can try and see what has to be done next.
My mom is awesome and I just hope that she knows how amazing she is.
The crazy thing that occurred to me just now, is that her mom is no longer here -- hasn't been for almost 30 years. Who does the mom thing for her? Must think on that....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lucas Is Rad

Lucas did one of the raddest things on Friday morning. We were just chillin because it was the first day of spring break. I got Lucas some breakfast and then I headed into the shower. We didn't wake Amanda up because she is a bear in the morning and we try to let her sleep as long as possible -- I guess she woke up while I was in the shower. I went to check on Lucas and he was preparing a bowl of cereal for his baby sister. It was about the sweetest thing ever. Then they sat down and chatted all throughout breakfast.
These moments are few and far between here at the Crouse Haus -- those two fight like cats and dogs, which is why I am writing this now. They were fighting like mad all day today and I need to remember something good.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Is My New Christmas

So, the Crouses are doing Easter this year. We didn't plan on it, but it just worked out that way. So, tomorrow we'll have about 18 adults and 11 kids at our place.
My mom took the kids overnight last night and all of today so I could start cooking and try to spiffy up the place. Thanks Mom!
I am loving Easter this year. I've made some good (I hope) food and some festive decorations. The kids baskets are all ready to go and the fridge is stocked with plenty of wine, beer and juice.
Everyone else will bring something to the table, I've filled tons of easter eggs for the hunt and printed out some coloring pages to keep the little ones busy.
That's it. Holiday done!
No worrying about what to buy everyone, no pine needles on the floor and no month-long Christmas songs on the radio.
It will just be a nice gathering of family for a warm So. Cal afternoon.
I wish this is how Christmas was. Something you throw together in the week before the holiday. Everyone brings a little something and no one gets stressed out or maxes out their credit card.

Happy Easter or Passover to all!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Easter Bunny is for chumps

So, I'm walking through the market with the kids today and Amanda is going on about what sort of candy the Easter Bunny might bring her. Lucas is quiet. A moment later he says, "Mommy, I know who the Easter Bunny is," I say, really? "Yes," he says. "The Easter Bunny is Y-O-U!".
I tried to keep a straight face and said something like, no, Luc, that's not true. My heart wasn't into making the lie even bigger and thankfully my son was distracted by some Lucky Charms in one of the aisles, so the conversation ended.
Well, it ended for him, but for me, the conversation has been replaying in my mind. As I thought about it, I was like, well, shit, what do you expect when you try to convince a kid that some magical bunny comes and brings a basket full of candy? There's no back story to support it, like there is for Santa. Santa lives somewhere, he is married and has employees. He gets around with flying reindeer. He spreads a message to be good.
What does the Easter Bunny have? Man, I don't know and I never thought about it. I can't believe I was such a dumb child that I believed this junk until I was like 7 or 8. Luc is 6 and he's got it all figured out -- and I'd bet he figured it out on his own because if one of his mates told him, he would be saying, "so and so said there is no Easter Bunny, is this true?"
Part of it may be that we live in a much more diverse culture than I did. And I don't just mean color. I went to a Catholic school, so of course, all of the kids that went to school with me believed in the Easter Bunny. But we talk a lot around here about how we are Catholic but there are lots of people who believe different things and that is okay.
Anyway, I think I might stock Luc's basket extra full this year just because he has figured it all out.

I guess this will be an all Luc post. The kid has turned into a speller instead of a talker. Normally, the kid can talk your ear off. He approaches strangers to say hello and ask lots of questions. Yes, he's going to be the guy behind you in the supermarket who just starts talking to you or asks why you have a pregnancy test in your grocery cart.
Anyway, lately his talking has slowed and it has turned into spelling. Everything is spelled out now. I'll call his name and I'll get W-H-A-T? I'll ask him if he wants green beans or corn and he'll say, C-O-R-N. Luc, do you have to go potty... Y-E-S.
You get the picture. Gone are the days when Phil and I could get away with spelling out what we didn't want the kids to hear.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Middle age is upon me

I'm staring down middle age right now. I'll hit the big 3-5 in a couple of weeks and it's freakin me out a bit.
The weirdest thing is that people that used to seem sooooo old to me are no longer so old.
A few crushes of mine from my jr. high school days... they seemed so old and wise at the time. Now, looking at their ages, they were just wee babes when I was admiring them.

John Mellencamp -- 58
Prince -- 51
Jon Bon Jovi -- 47
James Hetfield from Metallica -- 45
Johnny Depp -- 45
Bono -- 48
Bret Michael - 46

Holy shit, Bono is only 13 years older than me!!! WTF?
Prince! I remember listening to "When Doves Cry" when I was like 9 or 10 and thinking he was awesome and some way older dude. He's only like 16 years older than me.
Bret Michael... Man, I had this guys face plastered all over my pre-teen (ok, early teen) room.
Now, when you are 10, someone who is 26 seems ages older than you. But when you are almost 35, it doesn't seem like such a big difference. After you hit your mid-twenties, time seems to speed up and you can actually picture yourself as a 40 year old.

I'm getting old folks, and I don't know if I like it. I want my teen crushes to remain a lifetime older than I.