Friday, February 27, 2015

I Defy You, Zazzy Stars!

Just a quick Friday blog post to share one of Mikelle's laughter moments. She was having a bad evening last night. It was one of those teenager things where she was upset and didn't know why. After she was picked up from Creative Writing after school, she wasn't pleased that we camped out at the land/home site with our contractor and discussed soil and concrete for awhile (but cool picture below of X-man on the stairs!) 

She also didn't want to go to Diary Queen afterwards, but we dragged her there anyway. By the time we got home, the cranky and sadness had mutated profusely. Mom and Dad were starting to suffer from its effects.

But two things snapped her out of it. She was talking about reading  Romeo and Juliet in her English/Language Arts class and making fun of the odd 90s-modern portrayal of Romeo and Juliet. They didn't see that movie in class. Apparently, there are pictures from the movie in their book. And there is some audio from the movie their teacher has shared. I think the best part of her story was how she would share about how her teacher would be making fun of it. She was also very passionate in her feelings of how Mercutio was portrayed and she would go on about how Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't cute at all and he was one ugly crier with his painful lamenting. 
 
Plus, what is the deal with that shirt? I want it. I don't know why. It's just so odd and weird...I want it. Not necessarily to wear in public, but it's just intriguing to me enough to want to see it in my closet. Kind of like on Friends when Rachel wanted the weird shell lamp. 
And the other thing that brought the laughter out in her last night was this Big Bang Theory episode where Sheldon starts hoarding cats. This was a few years back, but the re-run is on our DVR. That episode is now locked (protected) and she kept rewinding this part and watching it over and over again. 

And as mentioned above, here is our X-man hanging out on the stairs that were framed this week. I cannot contain my excitement. Even a few things that have gone wrong don't bother me. They're nothing compared to the excitement of this project coming along.

For example, there is supposed to be a built in desk/shelf on the bottom/walk-out level, but the way the stairs were framed (long story and I'm not going to show a picture because it just looks like wood frames....and therefore....zzzzzzz), that desk cannot be built in the way the plans were made. But you know what? I don't care! Well, I care a little bit. But not enough to become all nutty about it. Yes, I want a built in and it'll be there. It just has to be done differently and maybe it'll stick out more. I don't know. I'm just so excited for this house.
Last detail: This was taken about an hour after Alexander got up on a table at McDonalds (it was a Teacher Fundraiser event going on there for Christian's school) and took off his pants. So yes, the crowded Wickenburg McDonalds. A tour bus full of elderly folks had just arrived too. Yeah, great timing with the school event, huh?

So there we were. Multiple teachers, parents I knew, and kids (peers of Christian) and Alexander took off his pants.  I usually wouldn't go to that crowded McDonalds (plus, it has no play area! What's that about?!), but in the 7 months we've been here, we haven't attended a fundraiser event, so I knew it was important.

Until next time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happily Framed...

This was written Monday 2/23/15...I neglected to officially post it...                    Enjoying nicer cooler temperatures today and rain. Love it love it love it. Only problem is constant nights of insomnia due to Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS is different than WUPS, but can occur concurrently).         
If I'm going to be called into substitute teaching assignment in the mornings, I can't have constant nights like this! I'm trying a different home remedy tonight and I picked up more Magnesium. Between that and a few other little adjustments, tonight will be better!  It has to be.  But this is a really bad bout of RLS. It's been bothering me all day too - which isn't very common. It usually waits for bedtime to come back. Even after running 2 miles on the treadmill my legs are still going crazy.

Excitement... 
Anyway, enough of that (in more ways than one!). This is so exciting. Pictured below is the progress of the house as of last Friday. The bottom level (basement/walk-out) is framed on the inside!  The pictures here are a little splotchy because we were losing light fast.  We didn't take any pictures inside because there really was no light at all.

Pictured - the backdoor/back porch.

And here's some pictures we took today. Despite the off and on rain, there was plenty of work at the house site going on. Awesome! If anything the rain made moving that dirt easier and keeping dust from being a problem.
Framing of the interior, bottom basement walk-out level. This is facing the wall of the staircase..
Christian is standing in a room that will be unfinished storage...I want to put a "secret passage" door there!
Loving those rain clouds...see the rain the distance? Beautiful perfection...
Art Updates...
On the art front, first, here is our new M Monster, out of the kiln last weekend. He turned out pretty good, but the purple of his iris wasn't as divided as I'd like and there are some spots that I wish could have received another coat. But it's okay. He looks good!

I've received a lot of good suggestions for M names. I just haven't really sat down to think about it. I think whatever it is, it has to sound good paired with "...and Melvin" or "Melvin and...". 

Suggested M names include Morris, Muggles, Murgatroid, Morty, Mortis (first name, Rigor), Marti, MOM (monster of madness), Mobie, Morocco, Moticuco, Maynard, Marvin and Mortimer

I'll decide soon. 



Also, last Fall, a custom order with the Orlando LDS Temple was commissioned and I completed this work (smaller one, shown here).
Custom work for Cheryl ... Completed October 2014

In tandem to this custom work, I decided to create a general Orlando Temple work so that particular temple would be available to anyone for prints. But with the demands of the season and other orders, the second Orlando temple was set aside before it was complete. 

Then after the demands of Christmas eased up, I forgot about it!  Well, I finally realized that I never finished it, and I did just that last weekend.  (shown below)

It'll be listed in my Etsy shop later this week. Even the original of this work is available. More details will be available in their listings. 

Do you have a temple you would like to see me put to art? Request it and I'll only charge you for a 12x12 print (If you do not need any personal customizations on the artwork)!*

**However, as all artwork (LDS or not), all artwork commissioned by a customer with customizations of course receive the original artwork, so custom requests have the different charge for the service. For example, the Orlando Temple art above was a Custom Commission. The one pictured below is a general Orlando Temple artwork that is available to everyone for prints.

This temple request deal of course enables that temple to be put to the style of my artwork, but the requester doesn't have to pay for the labor. And their request (your request?) enables that new temple art to be part of the collection and available for prints. 

I doubt I'll ever get to the 144 total operating temples, but it would be really cool to add to the variety!

One Last Thing...
And just when you thought I was done mentioning our potty train arduous journey with Alexander, here comes this little diddy. This sounds like annoying TMI, but really, it's not. It's just one of those anecdotes that has to be shared. You can't make this kind of stuff up.

Okay, so after a good dry run last week and I thought our potty adventures were more smooth sailing, the kids and I hit a Burger Drive-In last Friday afternoon (Screamers, for you locals) and sit outside. Because it was overcast! cloudy! The only time to be outside, if I haven't that abundantly clear before. 

Upon arrival, we notice that X-man pee'd his pants. YAYness! Good thing we could sit outside.

So after Mikelle brings him out of the bathroom and we're sitting down outside (and I ordered the food), Alexander goes on and on loudly proclaiming that he pee'd his pants. A biker gang was sitting at the nearby table. Okay, the "gang" was a group of 5 or 6 retirees who ride and they were eating and had maps out planning their route. I subsequently helped them with their route since their maps weren't updated with useful information to help them get back to Yuma that night via Lake Pleasant that bypassed city rush hour traffic.  Mikelle said I was sitting with the silver bikers more than I was sitting with them! lol Hey, they had maps (I am a geography weirdo...) and they needed me.

ANYWAY....so Alexander wouldn't stop going on about the fact that he pee'd his pants along with doing an active rendition of LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" over and over. 

One of the older biker gentlemen comes over to Alexander and says, "It's okay that you pee'd your pants. I pee my pants all the time and it's no big deal."



Like I said, you can't make this stuff up.


And now onto about twelve different things that have to be done! 




Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wound Up Parent Syndrome (WUPS)


It goes without saying that it's tough being a parent - especially when our kids are driving us crazy. We know parents are driven crazy by their kids, but it's tough not to feel alone when it's happening to us.I have to give a shout-out to this article on Scary Mommy written by Sarah Cottrell. But my little additions are in red. Because, well, I have things to say in addition to my new best friend, Sarah:

WOUND UP PARENT SYNDROME (WUPS): A state in which a parent is flustered by her/his children to the point of wanting to scream, run away, speak in tongues, send the offending child to Abu Dabi to live with Nermil, or drink. (Or in my case...consume an entire Turtle Cheesecake from Costco in one sitting in front of a Netflix binge...)


This generalized condition of parental disbelief is often characterized by boiling blood, pulsing veins in the forehead, premature gray hair (thank goodness for hair coloring), a complete loss for words, exhaustion, and an acute and comprehensive existential crisis.

Causes may include but are not limited to the following parental experiences and situations:

 
1) Children asking the question, Why? Continuously for more than 30 minutes. Mikelle, I'm looking in your direction. You are not owed an explanation. Mmmmm.....K? 

2) Child claiming to have claws after watching Wild Kratts (man, I hate that show) and makes 173 attempts to use them on people, furniture, the car, food, the table, laundry piles, and Mom or Dad’s butt as she/he walks out of a room. Oh, and if you as the parents decide to play along with the Claw Game, the said child informs you they do not want to play that anymore. I am still sad that Alexander doesn't want Momasaurus to chase the Xandersaurus around the house with goofy T-rex miniscule arms...
3) Children demanding snacks because they are hungry even though they refused to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner citing a feeling of fullness and which occurred less than 10 minutes ago. Yes! OMG....Yes!
 

 4) Sibling bickering. I told Mikelle she gets time off her grounding sentence anytime she can go a day without pissing off, arguing with, provoking or otherwise promoting further contention with Christian. And Christian's accountability isn't left out either. He wants things a certain way and has a hard time adjusting to situations that are not the way he has it planned out in his mind.



  5) Sibling jealousy. Yeah, if you don't see a certain kid for a couple hours, and you're sharing a treat with the kid or kids that you are with, it's pathetic that you have to say, "Throw away that wrapper. And say nothing about this. I don't want to hear complaining about it from (insert name of the absent kid) later." It's sad that it has to be handled that way. In fact, while Thing 1 and Thing 2 are at school, Alexander is sometimes rewarded with playing at McDonalds if he plays at the Kid area at the gym without getting into any trouble (so mom can work out and deal with her stress in a healthy way!) If the two older ones figure out that we went to McDonalds (due to a Happy Meal box or toy left in the car to give away the horrible crime), they complain that they weren't there for it. And then there's the whining of when can I take them to McDonalds since Alexander got to go? Um....he's 4. You're not. You're at school. He's with me while you're at school. Chill out. You had plenty of your McDs outings with Mom before your school days. Get a freaking grip!

6) Sibling rivalry.

7) Siblings. Period. (Holy Shit.) That was in the original article. I was going to omit it for this re-post, but then decided not to because of its accuracy to the emotions felt.

8) Intentionally making weird or gross sounds with their mouths that include licking, clucking, smacking, sucking, or repetitive popping. That part I can handle UNTIL another sibling decides they don't like it, and hence, the real problems begin (see #4-7) I'd call out that child again, but I've already done it a few times. Not fair to do it to her again. Oops.  

9) A child who is running – generally stark naked – while simultaneously making loud siren sounds and does not stop even after the ominous 1, 2, 3 warning.  Yeah, thanks Alexander. I really don't like the White Trash look. But you keep things real. But I don't do the 1, 2, 3 warning. I count down from 5. It's better than 1, 2, 3. Counting down from 5 means there is an end and they don't want to see what happens when I'm out of numbers.

10) Sass talk.
 
11) Sass talk during timeout. 

12) Sneaking out of timeout. 

13) Telling Mom or Dad that timeout is stupid. Really? Mom loves being in a timeout.   

14) The sudden inability to follow directions during bedtime. Or anytime, really...

15) Using Mom’s lipstick as a marker in Mom’s brand new book that just arrived from Amazon two hours ago. The best is when they mess with mascara.

16) Using a Sharpie to draw tiger stripes on his own face right before Mom needed to get him to the dentist. Part of this is my fault. I have a lot of Sharpies, and let's just say sometimes I leave them a little too accessible. But it may be because I'm in the closet eating a chocolate bar and I don't want to get caught.

17) “Accidentally” “Spilling” “Only a little bit” of chocolate milk on the couch because “the dog really likes it!” Yeah, it's like the word "Accidentally" excuses everything
18) Screeching, begging, shouting, yelling, crying, fighting, whining, loud talking, or leg pulling that is apparently triggered only by the ringing of a telephone. I already hate talking on the phone. It's even worse by the aforementioned verbs that occur during an attempted phone conversation.

  Allow me to add one of my own:


19) Four year old child going crazy when they see your iPad. It's like catnip! "Can I use your iPad?" "Can I use your iPad?" "Can I use your iPad?""Can I use your iPad?" It's gotten to the point where I have to hide it when I use it. I might as well sneak candy too because I have to hide with that too if I want to eat it alone. I shouldn't have to hide when I need to read a lesson and watch some corresponding videos on Arizona English Language Learner Proficiency Standards. This is the same child, who often gives the early morning greeting of, "Can I play on your iPad?" This is usually after he snuck into our bed in the middle of the night and while it is morning, it's still dark outside. Hearing, "Can I play on your iPad?" isn't a very welcoming wake-up message. 
 
Immediate treatment (of WUPS) through a traditional parental holistic approach is recommended. Commonly cited therapies include the following:

1) Date Night. This can be just being alone together roaming through Target...all the way to seeing a movie, getting pedicures together (see what I did there?) or glazing pottery.

2) Eating large amounts of ice cream, popcorn, chips, or chocolate while in solitude. Yeah, I covered this already.

3) Drinking wine in the bathtub after the kids have gone to bed. Include the use of bubbles, magazines, Candy Crush, and candlelight for full effect. Music. Let's not forget music.

4) Venting on a parenting blog site. Or your own blog. Or both.
 
5) Excessive swearing out of earshot of the children. I think it's out of earshot. Most of the time.

6) Blaming the spouse, society, or the grandparents for creating such monsters.

7) Repeating the mantra this is just a phase.
 
While the phenomenon of Wound Up Parent Syndrome is widely reported, cases vary greatly based on individual experience. It is the view of this researcher that parents approach their children with humor, benefit of doubt, and a healthy respect for guilt-free hoarding of all the chocolate while hiding in the laundry room or pantry.

Advanced stages of WUPS are often expressed as early symptoms of Empty Nest Syndome. It is not uncommon for the complication of Mid-Life Crisis to be diagnosed within the later stages of this complex and often misunderstood diagnosis. For more information please refer to Appendix A, which outlines the various ways in which parents express their rage through poor hygiene and clothing choices.

And this was good for the Sibling Fighting part, but it wouldn't work with the format. So I stuck it down here:
Hey, if anyone thinks this is all just a bunch of complaints about being a Mom and having kids, it's not. It's reality and if you can't have humor in the messiness of life, then what's the point of getting up in the morning?

Until Next time. 





WOUND UP PARENT SYNDROME (WUPS): A state in which a parent is flustered by her/his children to the point of wanting to scream, run away, speak in tongues, send the offending child to Abu Dabi to live with Nermil, or drink. This generalized condition of parental disbelief is often characterized by boiling blood, pulsing veins in the forehead, premature gray hair, a complete loss for words, exhaustion, and an acute and comprehensive existential crisis.
Causes may include but are not limited to the following parental experiences and situations:
1) Children asking the question, Why? Continuously for more than 30 minutes.
2) Child claiming to have claws after watching Wild Kratts and makes 173 attempts to use them on people, furniture, the car, food, the table, laundry piles, and Mom or Dad’s butt as she/he walks out of a room.
- See more at: http://www.scarymommy.com/wound-parent-syndrome-wups/#sthash.NKwXz2TW.dpuf
WOUND UP PARENT SYNDROME (WUPS): A state in which a parent is flustered by her/his children to the point of wanting to scream, run away, speak in tongues, send the offending child to Abu Dabi to live with Nermil, or drink. This generalized condition of parental disbelief is often characterized by boiling blood, pulsing veins in the forehead, premature gray hair, a complete loss for words, exhaustion, and an acute and comprehensive existential crisis.
Causes may include but are not limited to the following parental experiences and situations:
1) Children asking the question, Why? Continuously for more than 30 minutes.
2) Child claiming to have claws after watching Wild Kratts and makes 173 attempts to use them on people, furniture, the car, food, the table, laundry piles, and Mom or Dad’s butt as she/he walks out of a room.
- See more at: http://www.scarymommy.com/wound-parent-syndrome-wups/#sthash.NKwXz2TW.dpuf
WOUND UP PARENT SYNDROME (WUPS): A state in which a parent is flustered by her/his children to the point of wanting to scream, run away, speak in tongues, send the offending child to Abu Dabi to live with Nermil, or drink. This generalized condition of parental disbelief is often characterized by boiling blood, pulsing veins in the forehead, premature gray hair, a complete loss for words, exhaustion, and an acute and comprehensive existential crisis.
Causes may include but are not limited to the following parental experiences and situations:
1) Children asking the question, Why? Continuously for more than 30 minutes.
2) Child claiming to have claws after watching Wild Kratts and makes 173 attempts to use them on people, furniture, the car, food, the table, laundry piles, and Mom or Dad’s butt as she/he walks out of a room.
- See more at: http://www.scarymommy.com/wound-parent-syndrome-wups/#sthash.NKwXz2TW.dpuf
WOUND UP PARENT SYNDROME (WUPS): A state in which a parent is flustered by her/his children to the point of wanting to scream, run away, speak in tongues, send the offending child to Abu Dabi to live with Nermil, or drink. This generalized condition of parental disbelief is often characterized by boiling blood, pulsing veins in the forehead, premature gray hair, a complete loss for words, exhaustion, and an acute and comprehensive existential crisis.
Causes may include but are not limited to the following parental experiences and situations:
1) Children asking the question, Why? Continuously for more than 30 minutes.
2) Child claiming to have claws after watching Wild Kratts and makes 173 attempts to use them on people, furniture, the car, food, the table, laundry piles, and Mom or Dad’s butt as she/he walks out of a room.
- See more at: http://www.scarymommy.com/wound-parent-syndrome-wups/#sthash.NKwXz2TW.dpuf

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Progress and Polka-dots

I miss Melvin! He's in storage...
Okay, I'm trying to re-group from the craziness of last week. Yes, the ridiculous heat is still around making our already diminutive winter even shorter. I'm trying not to pay attention to it too much. I just become upset when I do.


Interesting Irony: Storm Trooper socks under the boots at the temple...
For Valentines Day, Chris and I went to the temple and then afterwards we realized we needed to add a Monster to our collection. My Melvin is in storage and I've missed him so much. 

This is a smaller friend for him. He still needs to be fired in the kiln and then I can bring him home in a couple of days. We don't have a name for him yet. Then in July (crossing my fingers that July is the latest!), when the house is done, these two can hang out in the kitchen together. 
Our new lil' Monster....oooh, who is that hottie in the background?

Speaking of the house, some additional photos were taken last week and then yesterday. 

Last Wednesday:
 In the pictures from yesterday (2/16), outlines for windows and doors could be seen:

 Also for yesterday, a long overdue pedicure was in order. Sure, the dark blue toenails with the polka-dots are nice, but what I really needed? The nice foot and leg massage that came with it. I could have sat there another hour or two for that. With how heat sensitive I am, one may think I wouldn't like the use of the hot stones to accompany the massage. But I do. 

Maybe with the fact that I'm a substitute teacher now, I can budget for more frequent leg massages - I mean, pedicures.

Euuuuw! lol

Now I have to talk Chris into having a pedicure with me. I have seen so many men in there. There was a regular at the salon in Queen Creek who looked like he drove a truck for a living. He was always getting a pedicure with his wife. You hear that, Chris? On an upcoming date, let's go get some pedicures. I know I'll never get you to jog with me. I can accept that. So how about pedicures? 



And it makes tackling hard things more manageable! haha