Saturday, March 31, 2012

Letter to Troops in Afghanistan (by my son)

Dear Amercian soldier,

Me and my 5th grade friends are all hoping that everyone is safe and I thank you and your allies for fighting for our country.

I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and the weather here is fine. Just became spring here. School is doing fine besides being caught talking with my friends or getting late assignments, but I truly have been working on those types of things.

I enjoy playing outside with my brothers, and I play video games sometimes.

It's pretty hard to handle all five of my siblings (two brothers and three sisters). Not to mention raising my parents (I'm kidding on that one. haha!).

Well, I hope for all of you, and your allies, safety. I wish all my blessings to the American soldiers' health.


Elias B.

[While Elias certainly doesn't make it easy for me, I guess I will allow him to live one more day.]

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hardcore Badass Cyclist

Yesterday I was at the gym in the morning. I went to cycling class. I call it ‘cycling,’ not ‘spinning’ because cycling sounds way more badass. Spinning sounds lame and girly. Anyway, all was good there and I had a great work out. I was feeling all pumped up and I went over to the weight section of the gym to stretch as is my usual custom. While I was stretching, I noticed my cute chiropractor lifting weights so I thought I would head over to say, ‘hi,’ and make a witty comment.

A little background on my cute chiropractor. My oldest daughter was his receptionist for awhile and I take my kids to him for adjustments. He has seen me and my children in all our glory; fighting, being obnoxious, tracking mud into his office, crying, yada yada. I referred a friend to him and when she called and mentioned my name, he just laughed. He personally calls me when I fail to remember an appointment and he waits patiently for me to finally arrive. He is a great guy. I need to remember to ask him if his adjustments can help with ADD.

Anyway, I walked over to where he was lifting, said ‘hi,’ and then gave him a little crap for wearing a Cornhusker t-shirt. He told me more people talk to him when he wears that shirt than any other time. We shared a little chuckle and then I turned to walk away and tripped over a weight bench. EMBARRASSING! Thank goodness I didn’t fall. He laughed. Then he said, “Nobody saw it,” with a little smirk. Of course, that was bullshit and we both knew it. That isn’t the first time I have tripped at the gym. I’ve even fallen before. I know…shocking.

My next foible came later in the afternoon. I bought myself a road bike on Friday. I am extremely fired up about it. It is a beautiful thing. So beautiful, I want to make love to it. I saw a commercial for the television show ‘My Strange Addiction” where this guy loves his car so much, he has sex with it. How does that work?! Personally, I think it would be a lot easier for me to have sex with my bike than for him to have sex with his car, but whatever. I thought I would take the bike for a spin down to Coffeesmiths and relax with a cup of joe and then head home. The ride was fabulous, smooth and easy. The problem was I couldn’t get one of my cycling shoes to clip into the pedal.

Of course I have cycling shoes and of course I had pedals with clips installed. I cannot be seen riding around on my badass bike in regular tennis shoes on regular pedals. My bike has the ten-speed type handle bars, not the straight across kind. As soon as the guy at the bike store called the bikes with the straight handle bars “sporty mom” bikes, I walked away. I was having none of that.

So picture me out riding with my black biking shorts, my neon yellow racer back tank and my neon green bike helmet. I was totally feeling it. Except for that one shoe that wouldn’t quite clip in right. I could still pedal just fine, but it wasn’t right.

When I got home from my ride, I decided to get my allen wrench out and make some adjustments on my pedal clips. The left one was a smidge too tight and the right one wouldn’t clip at all. I was a professional biker with the allen wrench and the adjusting of my pedal clips. I made a couple of turns with the wrench and rode down the sidewalk. Still not quite right. But here is the problem, no one told me that the pedal clips are very sensitive and only need a small turn to make a big difference in tightness. I gave them another turn with the wrench.

My 8-year-old daughter came outside and was all excited to ride her bike with me. I told her I would ride down the street with her to her friend’s house. To my delight, my shoes clipped perfectly into the pedals. I knew I could do it! Pretty soon I would be helping other bikers make adjustments when I’m out on the road.

We reached her friend’s house and I pedaled up the driveway and never have I felt such panic when I realized, yes, you guessed it, I couldn’t get my feet off the pedals! The clips were way too tight! I was paralyzed. I didn’t think to just keep pedaling. I just stopped and let out a little screech when I fell over in slow motion sideways onto the concrete. I cannot believe I didn’t utter a curse word because let me tell you, I was thinking it. I broke my fall with my hand and banged up my knee pretty good. I managed to fumble one shoe out of the clip when a teenager from next door ran over to see if I was okay. The only way to get my other foot off the pedal was to take it out of my shoe. Remember I’m laying sideways with my bicycle in a heap on the driveway. Not so badass.

All I could think about was my precious brand new bike. When I got my feet out, I limped it over to the grass with one of my shoes still attached to the pedal. I yanked the shoe off the pedal and checked the bike over for signs of damage. I did guff up the handle bar a little, but it wasn’t too bad. Luckily I had my tool with me and I could make some more adjustments to the clips in order to ride myself home without any mishaps. You can sure as hell bet I had my feet yanked out of those pedals before I came to a stop again.

I hobbled into the house with one bloodied knee and a bruised palm. I don’t feel so embarrassed anymore because that’s kind of badass, isn’t it? Coming home all bloody from a bike ride? When I do something, I go all out hardcore.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I forgot what this is about

Hey, hey, hey! It’s me again. After only two short years off, I’m back to blogging. Not sure why, just feeling inspired…or wordy. So much has happened. And so little, really. I have been thinking lately about my tendency to jump topics or get sidetracked in the blink of an eye. I realize now where my children get their ADD. People often joke about having ADD, but we are truly a household full of attention deficit disordered individuals. Out of eight family members, five are diagnosed, one is undiagnosed but clearly afflicted and two are untouched by the disorder, except when having to suffer the repercussions of living with six people who cannot get from the kitchen to the bathroom without stopping to play with a piece of lint on the carpet.

In case you are wondering, I am the undiagnosed one. This really hit home during my kids’ parent-teacher conferences this week. It’s funny how kids can be so different, but yet so alike. My three elementary students all had basically the same conference. I could have scheduled one conference and gotten the gist of how all three are doing in school. All three teachers told me my kids LOVE to write. They will write and write and write. That’s great! I love that. However, one teacher handed me a stack of incomplete math assignments, either not started or never turned in. The other two teachers told me the kids need to work on homework completion and turning it in when it is completed. Another issue is getting their reading logs signed each day.

I often hear myself telling my kids, “You have the same things to do every single day. How can you forget to do them?” Well, how come I can’t seem to remember to sign their reading logs every day? How come I can’t remember to ask to see their homework? It’s not like it’s a new thing. When teachers (or doctors) suggest having a regular quiet time set aside every night for homework, I hang my head in shame. It makes so much sense, but I FORGET! How does this happen?! I have no explanation. I get home from work and there are just so many interesting, and not so interesting, things happening that grab my attention. OR, better yet, the kids are occupied and QUIET. So rare at my house, I cannot bear to stir things up. Homework and reading logs be damned! Then, by the time the action picks up again, guess what?! I have totally forgotten about the homework.

I’m sure for the next couple of weeks I will be very diligent. I will make sure their work is done and I have signed their reading logs. I will be feeling so on top of the situation. Then, that piece of lint will catch my attention and we will be back to square one.