Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Picture Day!

It was picture day at the elementary school today and I find myself up on my When-I-Was-Your-Age Soapbox once again.  School yearbook photos are a right of passage...a passage to humility.  For example, I know there are at least two Southwood Elementary yearbooks that show yours truly rocking a mullet.  Yep, business in the front, party in the back, woop woop! 

In preparation, I spent nearly an hour purchasing two photo 'packages' online and printing off the receipts (write a check...that's so 2009).  Why does the 'easy' way take so long? Well, let me share that with you.

Step One, select your package from the list of 18 options.  Eighteen...really?  Step Two, select from 12 different background "Looks" for each individual photo.  For example, you might want the whispy cloud background for your 8'x10', the shooting stars for your wallets, the bronze stardust background with full body shot for the 5'x7's that go to Grandma and Grandpa but puce with falling leaves for Aunts and Uncles.  In total, if you order the Family Package, which I did, you have up to 7 different backgrounds you must apply, even if it's boring old blue. 

Step Three: Add-Ons.  These are things like adding the name and year to your photo and, my personal favorite, retouching.  Now, being a hard-core believer that I won't forget the names of my children, I opt out of this.  Then as I click the "No Thanks" button for retouching, the photo of the beautiful 15-year-old in the example photo reloads and now shows this same, beautiful 15-year-old with about 30 enhanced blemishes lining her chin and cheek!  Seriously?  If this 15YO didn't have a complex, she would after being put through that nationwide!

Finally, proceed to checkout, enter credit card info, print off the receipt and click, you're half way there!  Please proceed back to Step One to begin the process for Child #2!

Look, I don't wish bad photos for my kids.  I want them to look nice and we took time to carefully preselect clothes that were grease-stain and action figure free (really just a shirt cause no one sees what pants they wear unless you choose the full-body shot option). I brushed everyone's hair before they left but they have hours before their moment in front of the camera and call me a pessimist, but I'm pretty sure it won't last.

But, school pics are different today and I get that.  I know the yearbook companies are photographing children who have had a personal paparazzi since emerging from the birth canal (insert snarky birthing picture comment here).  I'm guilty too.  If I set my iPhoto book to slideshow, it 's like watching a 1950's cartoon of an infant morphing into a kid (x's 3).   What I don't have many of are really terrible photos.  It's too easy to hit delete when it's not the perfect shot.  That's what I'm counting on with these yearbook photos.  Someday, I want the opportunity to embarrass my children as payback for all those times they played with the damn locks on the stall doors and everyone in the Target ladies room got to see me on the toilet.

I also want my kids to look back and realize that pimples, and mullets, happen to everyone!

PS-Someone help me out and post my mullet pics!  My scanner doesn't work...seriously, it doesn't.:-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

They Grow Up So Quickly

I was playing around on this website earlier this morning and DQ came up and asked, "Who's that man in that picture, Mom?"  So, I reminded her about Sam Kinison, set the computer down and walked into the next room to help Meatball with some urgent matter.  When I came back, DQ was reading the blog!  She said, "Mom, listen to this...EAT IT! EAT IT! EEAATTT IIITT!!"  Then she began giggling hysterically.

It's given me a little time to reflect further on one of the reason's I haven't been blogging much these last few months.  It's not because the hilarity hasn't continued.  Because, let's be honest, these children will be giving me some awesome material for years!  However, as they get older, and, (very slowly) creep toward socially acceptable behavior, I realize that the situations I personally find hysterical could be rather embarrassing to elementary students.  Unfortunately, you may have to settle for more Meatball cuteness, in-law mayhem and clumsy-Rachel stories and less about Sharkbait's negotiations with charitable organizations (um, did he just ask for that quarter back?!) and DQ's latest venture into make-up application (um, why does the lipstick go from your nose to your cheeks?).

Don't worry, I've been putting this stuff in my journal because you better believe a day will come when I can tell the world about how...well, you'll just have to wait.  Who knows, maybe someday, when they are grown, I'll publish a book of short stories titled, "Water Through The Nose: One mother's daily struggle not to laugh."

Picture of the Day
So, what sort of treatment is this, Doc?  Happy
Birthday to two of the craziest guys I know!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Not-So-Wise Decision

So, I probably owe the neighborhood parents an apology...again.  However, before I tell you why, I have to give you a little background.  I'm a stickler for family dinner.  At our house, everyone has their specific place at the table, dinner is at roughly the same time each night, there is a representative from each of the four food groups on the plate (yes, I realize there are technically five now, but we've never had a problem with Oil-Sweets representation) and I get annoyed when schedule changes are not discussed at least 24 hours in advance.  It's how I grew up, and it's important to me, so I work really hard to make it happen.  Don't be deceived though, it's more military mess hall than Norman Rockwell.

Several years ago, after the post-dinner bedtime struggle had been fought and our children were in bed, I mentioned to my husband that, at dinner time, he often reminded me of Sam Kinison.  He started laughing (because we are capable of laughter after the children are in bed) and pointed out that he wasn't the only one.
And, so the next few years passed, much the same, with many a dinnertime mantras, including, 'this-is-what-I've-made-so-this-is-what-you'll-eat' and 'how-do-you-know-you-don't-like-it-if-you-haven't-taken-a-bite?' and, (my personal favorite), 'there-will-be-nothing-else-tonight-so-you-better-eat-it.'  With each passing minute at the table, the volume on these mantras slowly increases until I have visions of myself, (or my husband, if it's 'his night') with a little rastafarian cap and frazzled hair, screaming, "EAT IT!!!! EAT IT!!! EEEEEAAATTT IIIIIITTT!!!!!!!AHHHHHH!!!!!!!" in a way that would make even the dearly departed, drug-abusing, Pentacostal preacher/comedian shovel whatever is on his plate down the hatch.

Anyway, the reason I owe my neighbors an apology is that last week, I decided to let my children know why I sniggered so often at dinner as the whining increased and the tension mounted.  They caught me with that look in my eye as I was imagining myself as Kinison's Professor Turguson in "Back To School."  So, I told them I was laughing because I reminded myself of Sam Kinison.  Which, naturally led to the question, "Who is Sam Kinison?"  Well, I gave a PG explanation but it required quite a lot of screaming, which my children thought was freaking hysterical.  And, as in all things they find even remotely funny, it was repeated...and repeated....and repeated.  And now, after re-reading this entry, I'm pretty certain that this must be done, "I'm sorry, parents."

Monday, February 13, 2012

And, we're off!

We're going to be embarking on a family vacation soon and I'm super excited. Now, let's be honest, this vacation is to New Jersey for a family wedding. (And, not just any wedding, an Italian wedding!) However, this post is not about the wedding (although the next one might be), it's about the art of vacationing with one's spouse. We haven't actually vacationed much since we've had children. This year is the big kickoff for this particular parenting right-of-passage. As we've brainstormed for potential vacation spots, we've been calling upon our own childhood experiences in this realm and once again, we've run into an area of great disagreement.

Me and the Beher fam at a Florida bird
and wildlife preserve.
Before I married Joe I had never really spent longer than one day per vacation on a beach. Our family vacations, like many, fell into two categories: Weekend getaways and Full-Out Vacation. Weekend getaways were spent at various Holiday Inns, swimming in the pool, dinners at restaurants with a wait-staff and watching movies in a hotel room while washing down an obscene amount of Easy Cheeze with Cherry Coke. There was the obligatory visit to whatever local tourist attraction was available (ie, Elkhart County Motor Home Museum, Abe Lincoln's birthplace, Annie Oakley's birthplace, George Rogers Clark's birthplace - all as boring to a child as they sound). As the daughter of a farmer, we went on getaways only if it rained.  That is not a typo. If the weather was nice, we stayed home and waited until we had a nice rainstorm, or better yet, a tornado warning so that we wouldn't waste any time that could be spent farming in some form.

Full-Out vacations were similar accept that this time, we usually got our very own bag of goodies to entertain us in the car (Mad Libs, activity books, new crayons, gum and lollipops for sticking in each other's hair, etc.) which did nothing to curb the number of fights between me and my brothers.  My family of five had a Renault Alliance.  Remember those...probably not.  They were only sold in the US for a year or two.  (My favorite argument was who got to lay out on the back seat, who slept in the back window and who had to curl up on the floor with that big hump right in the middle.)  We saw more museums, stopped at every 'Scenic Overlook' and of course, walked through many, many more birthplaces of well-known and unknown historical figures.

So, as you can tell, my family vacations were not relaxing. They were educational, they were memorable, but they were not relaxing. 

Vacations for my husband were different. They actually were what you would imagine when you thought of vacation. An entire week, on a beach (usually Fort Meyers) playing frisbee tag and beach volleyball with strangers, laying in the sun, body surfing and enjoying all forms of seafood. Now, these vacations were also reached by automobile. However, his family traveled in a pimped out conversion van complete with a tv for video games and movies as well as an occassional dose of dramamine so that "your tummy doesn't hurt" (i.e. maybe you'll actually fall asleep). My father-in-law, a road salesman with a heavy foot, is proud that he could complete the 15 hour drive in approximately 12 hours because you got to pee or get something to eat only when the gas tank was on empty.

Me and Fam on a Rizzuto beach vacation...
complete with loud Italian father-in-law.
Once the beach destination was reached, sleep became a luxury. At 5am, my husband was awakened by a loud Italian man shouting, "GET UP! I BROUGHT YOU TO THE BEACH! IF YOU WANT TO SLEEP, YOU CAN SLEEP ON THE BEACH! IF THE SUN IS UP THEN YOU ARE TOO! GET OUT!" And, if you didn't react quickly enough, you were met with a cup full of water to the face. Rizzuto vacations quite often involved blood, food poisoning and shenanigans that are still legend in Fort Meyers emergency rooms (i.e. "Sir, is that a catfish stuck to your palm?!)

So, as you can see, my husband and I innately have VERY different interpretations of what constitutes a 'vacation.' However, regardless of these differences, they all evoke fond memories for the participant and 'reality-TV/trainwreck-like' fascination for the other. And, in retrospect, I believe the fun is in the madness.  If you read the above paragraphs, the memories were not made at the museums OR the beaches. They memories come from the chaos.  So, my hope for our future vacations is that we can provide enough mayhem to be memorable but with minimal out-of-network hospital visits.

(PS-To my knowledge no Rizzuto ever actually wet themselves or was malnourished on a car trip.)