Thursday, July 28, 2011


Today's topic for our Thursday blog project is what Disney Character are you most like.  The cartoon character I am most like is Lucy from Peanuts.  I asked if I could change the topic to include other characters.  I got a conditional approval.  I have to justify it my change.  Here goes the justification:  Is there another character that is like Lucy in the Disney stable?  See you can't think of one either.  So, there you are.

I look a bit like Lucy.  Especially when I was small.  I had a shoulder length bob and it curled under just like hers does.  So there was that.

I act a bit like Lucy.  I am not saying I am bossy.  I am also not saying I am not bossy.  Not willing to cop to that characteristic.  I am also the person people come to with their problems.  Be it questions about relationships or other interpersonal stuff, or just advice about how to handle the various problems of life, I seem to be the one people ask.  I am very good at recognizing patterns and asking the hard questions.  There is a group of people that value my direct approach.

I have a little brother who is annoying, just like Lucy.  I tend to be a yeller, just like Lucy.  I am a little out of touch with reality, just like Lucy as it relates to Schroeder.

My family would send me cards with Lucy on them for birthdays, Valentine's Day, and all other card giving occasions.  I was always upset I didn't get Snoopy, but now I understand why I got Lucy.

For my birthday last year, I bought myself a sock yarn kit inspired by Lucy.  I haven't made the socks yet, but when I do, they will always be special. 

This is Lucy VanPelt's doppelganger, asking you to check out what the other ladies have to say.   Momarock, Froggie and Merrylandgirl.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I wouldn't do that...

Very rarely do I comment on the news in this space.  But I have something to say about the tragic events in New York this week.  I have an 8 year old Jewish boy.  I guess I feel for the parents. 

I let my kids walk home from school by themselves.  I let them go to the drugstore to get candy by themselves.  I let them ride their bikes around the block alone.  My kids are outside, alone.  Even the 5 year old.  You might think I am a bad parent.  That is your choice.  I am trying to teach my kids to be smart and make good choices, to be confident in their abilities to navigate the world without me.  I hope and pray that they are alright when they do this.

The reality is that something could happen to them.  Someone could snatch my kids while they are playing in front of my house.  I think the odds of that happening are low, but it could happen.  If that does happen, is the entire world going to say to me:  "Well, I wouldn't let my 8 year old do that.  I would make the sacrifices necessary to keep him/her safe.  I would protect my child."  (not sure where the question mark goes here.. but it is a question.)

It pisses me off to no end to hear people say that they would keep their child safe.  Hello folks, not possible.  You can put your kid in a bubble, latch them to your body, and they are still not safe.  The world is not a safe place.  Period.  That is the way that it is.

It is not fair to the family to play Monday morning quarterback and tell them what they should have done.  My Dad was famous for telling people, don't you should on me.  Let's not should on strangers in their moment of horror.

I feel like I can say with 100% certainty that the parents in this situation would not have let him walk home if they believed that it was really unsafe.  He clearly felt confident and comfortable enough to ask for help.  To bad he picked a guy on a psychotic break.  But, what happened was just an unfortunate situation, it was not because his parents were negligent in anyway.  I am sure that they will be burdened with the guilt of "if only" for the rest of their lives.  We don't need to help with that.

I realize we say, I would not do that, to comfort ourselves.  To make us feel like this couldn't happen to us.  Reality check here, it could happen to you.  That could have been you.  This is not to say that we should lock our children in the house.  So, in the honor of that poor boy, lets remind our kids about strangers.  Take an extra second to make sure that they have the information that the need, and then send them out in the world.  Perhaps add an extra hug in there.  But still send them out in the world.  Chances are they will be OK and come back stronger, better and more able.

Interesting statistic, there are not more child abductions than there were when we were kids.  We just know more about them.  Don't let fear keep you from letting your kids live their lives.  Don't let this freak situation make you scared and by the transitive property, your children scared of the world.  Teach them how to navigate through the world.

Be careful out there.  Isn't that what they said at the end of CHiPs?  Or as the fire fighters say, be safe, be prepared and have a plan.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The next entry in our Thursday blog project will have us discussing the one thing we would like to eliminate from the world.  It poses an interesting question, because there are so many things to eliminate.  Mosquitoes come to mind.

When I read the question my first thought was war.  I would want to eliminate war.  But as the week progressed, I began to consider other options.  There is hunger/famine, child abuse, environmental destruction, violence, terrorism and of course mosquitoes.  There are just so many things that are negative.  How could I pick just one?

I thought, fine, I will just stick with my first mind and go with war.  No more war.  But as I thought about it more, a lot of issues in our world are caused by scarcity.  The bulk of the wars fought are over scarce resources.  The whole situation in the middle east is about oil.  The American Revolution was fought over control over the resources and money.  Let's face Mother England wanted to cash in on the resources here in the New World.  Taking the concept a step further, the ability to control scarce resources leads to power.

Hunger and famine, scarcity causes those two things to exist.  Not enough food, means some folks go hungry.

Gang violence is all about controlling scarce resources.  Gang bangers want their piece of the pie, their territory.  They are trying to keep other people from having what is theirs.

If we eliminated scarcity, so that there was enough fuel, food, power, etc. to go around, my theory is that would eliminate war, violence and hunger/famine.  So, if we eliminate scarcity (my one thing to eliminate) we would get the end result of getting rid of a lot of other nasty things.  I like that.  It is like tricking the system.

A world where everyone has enough is somewhat inconceivable.  It is actually the underlying premise of Marxism and Communism.  Everyone has enough and everyone is equal.  You can see how well that has worked out in practice. 

What is enough?  My kids have more toys, gadgets and things than I ever did.  They have attention, love, plenty to eat and a good education.  Still, it isn't enough.  They still fight over the one airplane with Bugs Bunny in it, or the Little People school bus, which we have two of.  There is enough for everyone, but they still want more. 

It is impossible for everyone to have enough.  Hence it is impossible for everyone to get along.  It is part of the human condition to want more.

Want to see what everyone else has to say on the topic?  Check out Froggie, Momarock and Merrylandgirl.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Camp photos

There is all this ruff on Facebook about posting new pictures from camp.  The more experienced parents are telling those of us less experienced parents to stop complaining about how long it has been since pictures have been posted.  Some of them in a not so nice way.

There seems to be some belief that if you see your kid smiling in a picture you know that they are ok.  Alright, but I would like to point out that the best picture I have of Mac is one taken when he was an itty bitty baby and he had spent the entire photo session crying.  I finally handed him his blanket and the rubbed it on his face.  The photo was snapped the minute he pulled it down from his face, smiled and then proceeded to cry again.  We got the smile.  Just because Mac is smiling in a photo does not mean he isn't tantruming in the next second or that he wasn't five minutes before.

I trust that they will call me and tell me if there is a problem.  I know that this is true, because they have already called me.  He had an axiety attack in the first 24 hours.  I am so proud.  But at least we got that out of the way.  It had to happen.  I told the unit head to call if he needed anything, but that I hoped he didn't need to call.  I spend my days hoping for no communication.  No news is good news in my world.  Hoping for no communication is a comfortable place for me.  I do send the kid to school regularly, and I regularly hope that there is no communication from the teachers.

If he isn't having fun in kid paradise, well then, who's problem is that?  Sure as heck not mine.  If you can not have fun some place where there is nothing to do but have fun, then you aren't trying hard enough.  Really, this place looks so awesome that I want to go.  The camp I went to and loved looks like an outhouse in comparison.  They get to go sailing, water skiing, rock climbing, hiking, they get to video tape the skits the create, the can play tennis, soccer, go swimming, sing songs... I am stopping only because the list is so long.  This a snowflake on the iceburg of their activities.

I am not worried that my kid isn't having fun.  I don't care if he is homesick.  Those are all things that are in the realm that HE controls, not me.  I have done everything I can to make sure that he has a good time.  Now, I get to sit back and see what happens.

I was totally honest with the camp about what to expect.  I didn't candy coat things.  If they are surprised by him, they they weren't listening to me.  Again, not my problem.  Things only become my problem if I have to get him early.  But think that unlikely.

So seeing pictures about what he is doing, is not really important to me in terms of my anxiety.  I am not anxious about what is happening at camp.  Curious? Yeah.  I think that is normal.  It is important to his brother and sister.  It is important to me because they are now excited to go to camp.  Sam, who firmly said he would not go to Jew Camp, now is considering it as a possibility because of the pictures.  I want them to be excited about it on the off chance that Mac hates it and does not want to do it again.  I don't want Mac's negativity to turn them off.  I think the opposite is likely, but I like to hedge my bets.

If they didn't have pictures, we would be ok.  But, because we have them, then I want to see them.  I am excited, the other kids are excited.  Don't get angry at us because we want to be part of the party.  You are the ones that invited us in the first place.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Folly of Youth

Aah vacation... I love summer, when the schedule is less demanding.  One thing that is on the schedule is the Thursday blog post.  Be sure and check out what everyone else has to say, you never know you might find something you like.

Today's topic is to talk about your worst vacation.  It was my idea.  I had just gotten home from vacation and the gods of travel were angry with us.  We were met with a lot of travel difficulties.  We were really due, as generally we never have problems.  I travel across the country with three little kids, there is a lot of room for issue with that.  We have never been stranded overnight any place.  (That is not entirely true, but being stuck in Santa Barbara doesn't really count in my book, it just means more time on vacation.)

This trip, not the worst by any stretch did have us spending 6 hours in the airport delayed due to weather.  We landed in Los Angeles and were ready to drive to San Diego in the middle of rush hour.  You know in the end, it really worked out just fine.  But, after spending 6 hours in the crowded airport, with three little kids, well, it made me appreciate that I only have one bad trip experience.

Sure we have had periods of badness, like when Sam screamed in the car for 12 hours on the way to Cleveland, and then 12 hours on the way back home.  But, Sam was in his screaming period and that was sort of normal.  Yes, there have been delays, fewer than one might think given how much we travel, but there have been delays.  Kids have gotten grumpy and complained. Kids have been loud on the plane.  Seat backs have been kicked.  Kids have puked on the plane.  I have changed diapers, breastfed, and generally dealt with most everything you can imagine in the confined space of a coach airline seat.

We have annoyed people on planes so much that they have made rude comments to me.  One man had ridden in the row ahead of us on the way out to the west coast and on our way back happened to also be in front of us again.  He demanded to have his seat switched.  A young businessman who had small kids himself volunteered to make the switch.  My kids were exhausted, and they both (this was pre-Hannah) passed out as soon as the plane took off and slept the entire way.  The man who switched seats because we were so horrible ended up sitting behind a kid that screamed the whole way.  Karma is a bitch, and the young businessman very loudly told me that my kids were great and then thanked the other passenger for switching.

My worst vacation was when I decided that since my kids were not in school, I did not have a job other than taking care of them, that it would be a good idea to spend three weeks in California in the middle of winter.  Our December trip to California is not usually as relaxing as the summer trip.  I thought if I stayed on past Christmas I would be able to capture that zen of summer.  Also the weather in Connecticut in December/January is not that great.  It seemed like a really good idea at the time.

The first week was great.  We had a lot of fun.  But, the kids were small and they were on EST not PST.  So, this meant that they were getting up between 3:00 and 4:00 AM.  This would have been fine if any of us had been going to sleep at a correspondingly early time, which we weren't.  Going into week two everyone was tired.

Here is the other problem with taking little kids out of the home field.  You loose the knowledge of what to do with small kids that need to get their gross motor yayas out.  I was there with a 1 year old and a 4 year old.  They both needed to move their bodies EVERY DAY.  Yes in the beginning we went to the park, the beach, the zoo, etc.  but in Connecticut I knew what to do with the kids when the weather didn't allow for such outside activities.

This is when the badness happened.  After the first week of passableness, it started to rain.  It rained EVERY day for the next two weeks.  (Something that has never happened before and hasn't happened since.  It was Armageddon.)  It was so dreary and depressing that I looked into switching my tickets and going home.  We were stuck in Santa Barbara because the roads were closed in all directions due to mud slides. 

We did chalk in the garage, we jumped up and down the stairs.  We went to the museum to run around.  (Yes we got busted for doing it, but after awhile that isn't a deterrent.)  There were no indoor playlands, no bounce house places.  The closest Chuckie Cheese was in Ventura, and we couldn't get there because the roads were closed.

It got to the point that the kids had watched so much television and gone to the one book store with a train table that they just went outside to play in the river in front of my mother's house. (This area is generally called the street.)  We finally decided to just go to the park in the rain and mud. 

There is a saying about guests and fish, they all start to stink after three days.  Well after three weeks we were pretty stinky.  My mom and I got into arguments because both of us were ready to do something without the other one.  I was tired of not having my routine, being in my house and seeing my friends.  The kids just wanted to go home.  It was horrible.  I would sit in my chair at the kitchen table and look at my mother and think, this is the worst thing I have ever done in my life.  Why did I think that this was a good idea?

I learned a valuable lesson in travel, it is best to leave when you still want to stay.  It is better to not do everything, because then there is something to look forward to next time.  Even if there isn't a next time there is something about not doing it all that makes what you did do seem that much better.  We never go for more than 14 days now.  NEVER.

If you want to see what the other ladies have to say, you can check them out here:  Froggie, Merrylandgirl and Momarock.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Birthday Interview

Today is not really Sam's birthday, but because we were traveling on Sam's birthday I was unable to do this post.  I could not do it yesterday because it would interfer with making up my Thursday blog group post.  Ok, so with out further adieu, here is Sam's belated birthday interview.
So Mr. Lang, how was your 7th year?  Horrible.

It was, what was wrong with it?  I had to go to school.

You know know you have a lot of school ahead of you right?  No

So you are unaware of the fact that you have to go to school until you are like 25?  I am not ready to go to more school.

I am not talking about more school, just the minimum here.  You realize that right? I am not planning to do that, I am going to skip 5 years.

So what are your plans for the future?  To go to Spain.

How are you going to make that a reality if you aren't going to go to school and get a good job?  I am not even going to get a job.

You have not future plans for employment?  I do... I want to be a pilot.

Ok, but to do that you have to go to school.  No I don't.  Hmm. well, let's change the subject.  But, final word, you do have to to go to school.

So, what was the best thing that happened this year?  I had my birthday.  That is the best thing?  yes.

Did you do anything fun while you were 7?  We went to Legoland.

That sounds good, is there anything you really want to do when you are 8?  Go to Chinatown.  What do you know about Chinatown?  It is in China.

Why do you want to go to China?  So I can see pandas.  That sounds reasonable.

Anything else you want to tell our readers?  That is the rest of me.  What does that mean?  I am not talking anymore.  Especially to you.

I guess this interview is over.  I can't make this stuff up!  I am a little nervous about the whole school thing, but I think it will work out.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

4th of July

I realize that it is not Thursday, but this is my post for the Thursday bloggers group.  I was on vacation, and could not get my post up on time.  I apologize if you were wondering where it was.

Ok, this week's topic is to talk about our favorite Fourth of July memory.  Not being good with decisions, and having two favorite Fourths, I thought I would talk about both.

Sam was born on July 1st, so I was still in the hospital on the 4th.  It was my last night in the hospital and Bob and I watched the fireworks from my window.  Sam probably just tried to get something to eat the whole time.  It is hard to compare the miracle of new life with some fireworks, but it was still a pretty awesome experience.  Words really can not properly discribe the experience.

My other favorite memory was last year when I took the kids to see the fireworks, live and in person.  They thought that it was the coolest thing ever.  To listen to them chatter on about the different designs and things that they saw was a lot of fun.  I remember thinking firework displays were great when I was a kid, and seeing it through their eyes brought back all the excitement of my youth.

They were excited and talking about it all the way home.  It didn't matter that we were stuck in traffic.  They were just so happy to have been able to experience the display.

Of course everyone had fun playing prior to the fireworks.  We had no electronics, only a few snacks and they survived.  We were definately under prepared for the wait.  But, it still was a good time.

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful 4th.  If you would like to see what the other ladies have to say, check them out at Froggie, Merrylandgirl, and Momarock.

See you next week, on time! :)