Vacation Shoes – Part Dos/ Deux

Have you missed me?

Well, I’ve been super busy working out and learning how to make bread from the wheat grain and adding carbonation to water and giving all of my attention and mommy love to kids who have been sick since last November.  Oh, and then Sheepdog and I went back to Mexico.  (To read about last year’s trip CLICK HERE )

Earmuffs, kids.  Consider yourselves warned.

Ahhhhh, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Say it with me with the accent… “MAY-He-Co.”

That magical land where all I do is sleep and sunbathe and drink and read books.  And that He ‘n and She ‘n thing with my sexy husband.  Maybe that’s how I lost five pounds on vacation.  It’s definitely how I got a nice suntan and lost the bags under my eyes and wiped the scowl off my face.

When we left Atlanta last week, Sheepdog had a full beard.  He hadn’t grown a beard since Kid A was a little bitty, so the mountain man thing was kind of a first for the kids… and most of them HATED it.  And I mean started every sentence with, “So you’re going to shave that nasty beard and…”  But I loved it, so it stayed (Sheepdog’s no dummy, folks).  But then it got itchy and too warm for a Baja vacation, so I told him he could lose it, but only if he would take it off in stages.  And…  It…  Was…  Awesome.

"Me gusta tu barba" - Kesha (when she's in Cabo)

“Me gusta tu barba” – Kesha (when she’s in Cabo)

I found it surprisingly/ disturbingly sexy even though I burst out laughing every time I looked at him (as did my sister and my mom).  My brother-in-law and most of the staff at the resort thought it was spectacular beyond words (the male staff was envious because a new corporate policy prohibited them from having any kind of facial hair… “Nos sentimos como señoras,” they lamented).  Then my dad said something on the golf course about not really liking it because he didn’t want his daughter having sex with a Mexican porn star.  So Sheepdog shaved the very next day (again, Sheepdog is no dummy, folks).

Adiós, bigote.

Now, you may be presuming that I am well versed in the Spanish language, but you would be wrong.  I am, in fact, a bit heavy-handed with the Google Translate today.  Having resolved to learn conversational Spanish after last year’s trip, Sheepdog set us up with a program called Pimsleur, which stresses active participation instead of rote memorization.  All I needed to do was take thirty minutes each day to listen and repeat, without interruption.

It didn’t happen.

I tried, but thirty minutes is an excruciatingly long time to be still and focused when you have a gazillion other distractions and things to do before the kids get home from school.  My lessons would go something like this…

Voices from my iPod: “This is Unit One of Pimsleur’s Spanish I.  Listen to this Spanish conversation:
Perdóne, señorita.  ¿Entiende Inglés?
No, señor. No entiendo.
Hablo español un poco.
¿Es usted un norteamericano?
Sí, señorita.
In the next few minutes, you will learn not only to understand this conversation, but to take part in it yourself.”
 
Me: (to no one in particular, especially since I am alone in my car) “Eh.  But I do want a margarita and some guacamole.  I wonder what shows recorded last night.  ‘Norteamericano’ is a funny word.  ‘Norteamericano.  Norteamericano.  Norteamericano.’  I wish I could take a nap right now.” (turns off iPod) 

Oh, how I wish I took Spanish when I was still in school.  Instead I learned Latin and French, which (fortunately?) stuck with me.  Now, every time I go to places where they speak a foreign language, even though I have toiled (see above) over my adult Spanish lessons so that I may converse on the most basic of levels, it is the language d’amour that sneaks out of my mouth when I’m not paying attention.

The maids in Cabo would come to the house every day.  I wanted to say hello and genuinely thank them for doing the menial tasks that I, too, am familiar with most days at home (also to relatively little applause), but I’m not touching said chores with a ten-foot pole during my glorious week of vacation.  I also wanted to grab my swimsuit and get poolside.

Me: “Hola, señorita. Gracias (internal dialogue: for washing my towels and changing the sheets on my sex bed).  Pardonnez-moi (more internal dialogue: while I lay out in the sunshine and drink a Pacifico with a lime.  Oops, did I just speak French?).  Adiós.”

I meant to say “excuse me” in Spanish (“perdón”).  Ironically, my French slip was a bit Freudian, as “pardonnez-moi” actually means “forgive me.”

Yes, please forgive me for being an idiot but also for having an awesome time in MAY-He-Co.  Especially whilst you have to do all of the crappy jobs.  Gracias, merci, and gracias again.

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Along with the facial hair props that heavily influenced our husband and wife activities in Mexico, I brought some awesome shoes to the party.  Sheepdog liked them very much.

Zapatos de las vacaciones, perro pastor aprobado.

Zapatos de las vacaciones, Perro pastor aprobado.  Note the rainy Atlanta backdrop.  Trust me… they looked even better in the Mexican sunshine.

Good thing too because, all too quickly, our week was up and our vacation over and we were on a plane back to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the rain, rain, rain that has turned Atlanta into Seattle-East.  We thanked Grandma and Grandpa with genuine passion for playing Headbandz and minding the store for a whole week and we hugged the kids with genuine passion too because we truly missed them.

Then Kid D threw up in the dugout during baseball practice, less than twenty-four hours after our return.  And Kid C was sick with chest/ sinus congestion and we were dealing with snot and kid puke and diarrhea.

Welcome home.  Welcome back to life with five kids.  Bienvenido a casa and bienvenue à la vie avec cinq enfants.

Sheepdog, we’ll always have Cabo.

As my friend, Fat Bastard, says… only fifty-and-one-half weeks and 1,695 miles to go…

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

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I decided to be nice and add a translation for today’s bilingual (trilingual?) post.  You’re welcome…

Dos/ Deux = Two in Spanish/ French
Me gusta tu barba = I like your beard
Nos sentimos como señoras = We feel like women
Adiós, bigote = Goodbye, mustache
Zapatos de las vacaciones, Perro pastor aprobado = Vacation shoes, Sheepdog approved

Over the River and Through the Woods

The holidays can mean different things to different people.

To the young child it may mean that their parents will dress them up and drag them all around town, and if they have been a good little boy or girl this year they might have a Hot Wheels wall track or a pink LeapPad Explorer waiting for them under the tree on Christmas morning, Santa willing.

Hey Santa! This is number one on my wish list... an inflatable remote control flying shark. Awesome, right?

To the young couple it means spending lots of time with each other’s relatives, usually with excess stress and excess food and excess alcohol, all the while making whispered promises to each other that their lives will never, ever resemble those with whom they share those inextricable genetic links.

To the parents of teenagers it may mean being able to enjoy the Christmas Eve church service without (as much) fear that it might be their child who drops the taper candle during the congregation’s rendition of “Silent Night,” thus setting a pew or a hymnal or an old lady’s wig on fire.

To the grandparents it may mean a renewed spirit, and seemingly new eyes through which they get to watch the next generation experience the innocence and unguarded joy of believing in flying animals and toy workshops and true, untainted Christmas magic.

I have been running around for the past month like a crazed (yes, even more than usual) lunatic, slowly but surely crossing things off my To-Do lists, which were constantly being extended and amended and created anew.  I have been planning and shopping and wrapping and baking and decorating.  Sheepdog has been traveling for work all month, right up until he flew home from California on the 22nd.  The kids have all participated in their classroom parties and team celebrations and gift exchanges.  Then yesterday the seven of us piled into the car and drove well over five hundred miles to be with Grandma and Grandpa in West Virginia.  We are all still swirling around, caught up in the glorious enchantment that reaches its pinnacle tomorrow morning.

This afternoon we will finally slow down as we come together to spend time with even more family.  Tonight we will watch a reenactment of the birth of Jesus at a family friendly church service in town.  Finally, when the kids are just about to burst with anticipation, Sheepdog will read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and everyone will eventually fall into bed.

In theory, Christmas is supposed to be about simplicity.  It is about Jesus being born in a stable.  You don’t get much more unelaborate than that.

In reality, Christmas is complicated and stressful and expensive and anxiety-ridden, especially in the weeks and days leading up to it.  But, if you are really lucky, you will also get to experience those moments of calm and peace and love and true magic that make Christmas such a wonderful time of the year.

Here’s to you and yours.  May your weekend be filled with the people and things that make you happy, even amidst the crazy.  Make sure that you take the time to stop and smell the Christmas cookies.  Joy to the World!

“OK Day”

Summer may seem endless, especially to a stay-at-home parent who is suddenly one day in May or June each year invaded by kids being all up in your house space.  The survival of all eighty-odd days without incident can seem impossible, especially early on in the process.  I just hang in there, taking it one day at a time (or more appropriately referred to as one Happy Hour at a time) until about day thirty-five, when I then realize that the summer is a few days shy of being half over and whereinthehelldidthetimegoandhowarewegoingtodo allthethingswewantedtodothissummerwithwhatlittletimewehaveleft?

For part of the summer the kids and I travel, mainly visiting both my parents and Sheepdog’s parents.  For another part of the summer we just lounge at our neighborhood pool.  We usually do not participate in any summer sports or activities, although this summer Kid B was planning to do a short soccer camp at a local high school (I just realized that the camp started yesterday and we have already missed two of the three total days…oops! no soccer camp this summer either).  We all seem to enjoy not having schedules and just doing our own thing and lounging around, watching movies, playing with friends and each other, reading books and magazines, and perfecting our tans and Triple Lindys.

I am really up for most suggestions of things to do from the kids, as long as they don’t inconvenience me too much (e.g. interrupt my intense summer schedule of playing Zuma on my laptop, or of watching HGTV or MTV shows from my extensive DVR queue) or cost an arm and a leg.  So when somebody suggested each kid having a day during which they call the shots, I was certainly up for it (within reasonable limits, of course).  Everybody tossed around some ideas about fun stuff to do on their days, but most of them are playing it pretty close to the vest and not sharing details until they reach the limit of the required 48-hours notice so I can plan meals, supplies, travel and details.

Part of Kid D's plan was for his siblings to create and play a reality TV game show with him. He, of course, got to win.

“Mom, can I have cake for breakfast?

“OK.”

“Mom, can I play Wii all day long and go first every time and pick the teams and pick the games and win every time too?”

“OK.”

“Mom, can we go bowling after we go to the pool?”

(bowling – really?  ugh, but…) “OK.”

“Mom, can I have cake for lunch…and dinner?”

(you are so gonna vomit, but…) “OK.”

“Mom, can we set up an elaborate reality game show in the house, complete with video instructions, painted poster and challenges?”

(speechless) “OK.”

“Mom, can I take a shower with my clothes on?”

(weird, but…) “OK.”

See, that’s all innocent enough.  We are only on our first Special Day (the honor went to Kid D based on recent good behavior), which has now been re-named “OK Day” (obvious explanation above).  I love hearing their ideas and plans and what they choose to do when they have very few limits.  So far I have not had to say no even once.  But Kid B hasn’t gone yet, so give it time.  As the kids get older, their ideas will no doubt become more ridiculous and I will be wishing for the end of summer and start of a new school year, schedules and all.  But for now, we’re all doing OK.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

4th Annual Mother’s Day – Run Away

"I'm leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again." - John Denver, "Leaving on a Jet Plane," 1966. Also, - Me, today.

Sometimes I need a break.  If you are a mom and you don’t need a break once in a while then my hat is off to you, you big, fat liar.  If I can get away – just for a few days now and again – from the crazy and the schedule and the whining and the chaos, then I can better handle it all with patience and understanding and without child protective services ever needing to get involved.  Plus, it helps me to shield Sheepdog from the insanity (I try to have most of it under control by the time he comes home from work).  Fortunately for me, Sheepdog recognizes and appreciates all of this and he sends me away often.

Last year I went to the Dominican Republic for eight whole days, while he stayed here to care for the kids and work from home at the same time.  Then (with only 36 hours notice!) he sent me to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for another eight days in February.  Last weekend I attended my cousin’s wedding in Atlantic City, and I was out of town for three days.  So when my annual solo escape for Mother’s Day fell on the very next weekend I didn’t even consider going.  But Sheepdog is awesome, so he is making me go anyway.

Mother’s Day, Run Away is my weekend to do nothing.  I will not wipe one butt, nose, nor dirt-smeared face (unless we’re talking about my own).  I will not intervene in one sibling argument, nor will I help drive anyone to or from an activity.  I will not give anyone a bath, nor will I put anyone to bed (thirty-seven times in one night).  I am going to sleep for twelve uninterrupted hours, listen to good music, read books and trashy magazines, then take a nap on the deck.  I will probably be bored after one day, but I will force myself to enjoy it.

If you see Sheepdog at soccer or tee ball or meandering the aisles at Kroger, please stop and tell him how awesome he is.  Maybe even flirt and tell him how sexy it is that he sends me off for some alone time.  He will totally dig that and thus be encouraged to send me away again.  And next year you can feel free to join me.

Unless you need someone to wipe your butt.  Then you are on your own.