Thursday, January 28, 2010

Get a real job

If you, or someone you know is looking to make a living out of something that doesn't sound like it should be a real job - maybe you should head on over to Miami. In the space of about a week, I ran across a bunch of ridiculous jobs here. First was while walking down Ocean drive in South Beach. There are a lot of people who dance for entertainment at restaurants. Mostly on tables. Some in costumes, some in not so much of anything. Some do particular styles of dancing, some just dance like you would at a club or something. So I started thinking - what a weird job. To just dance all night and have everyone stare at you. And I wondered if when they were little girls they said, "I want to be a dancer when I grow up!" And I wonder if that's what they had in mind? Dancing on tables every night hoping for lots of tips, people walking down the street stopping to stare. I kind of doubt it.

But it doesn't stop there. Then there were also guys dancing on tables. (It was a bit refreshing I must say after all the female flesh that hangs out on all the women dancers.) But it doesn't stop there either. Then there are guys dressed as women dancing. Yeah, we stopped and watched a pretty theatrical drag queen dancing and lip syncing to some Lady Gaga song or something. That one definitely draws a crowd to stop and stare. And while it was hard to take my eyes off him/her, I did manage long enough to scan the bar he/she was dancing at and realized, oh it's that kind of bar - a bunch of guys all paired off at the tables. Which I thought was even weirder cause why didn't he just dance as a guy rather than a girl if it's a bunch of dudes that like other dudes? Ugh. Then I realized I didn't really want to be thinking about it that hard. I highly doubt that's what he had in mind of what he wanted to be when he grew up.

Then we heard of a guy at a really popular restaurant in South Beach who makes a couple hundred thousand dollars a year just getting slipped some cash to get seated at the restaurant faster. Seriously. Why are we spending all this time in school when you could just land a gig like that and make that much money?! And for that matter, Ryan has way better legs than I do and I have to admit he'd look pretty hot in a dress. :) If that whole medicine thing doesn't work out....

Anyhow, a few days after that I was walking around Target when a girl near me saw some guy she knew in the store. They started talking and she was telling him about some bachelor party that was coming in town that weekend. She was getting paid $350 a day just to be a girl at the party - hang out at the pool, go dancing, that kind of thing. Seriously? Apparently it is possible to make a living just being a party girl.

Sorry Miami, but you really have a hard time scoring normal points in my book. But hey, at least the huge mural by our house in the design district of a naked couple - well, last time I drove buy, guess what - they had a baby! Isn't that, um, nice?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Key West

We had a last minute trip down to Key West this weekend for health fair they needed Ryan to work. So the whole family got to go. (This is the one we almost got to go to last year until we all got pink eye and were banned. This year Ryan was supposed to be on call and couldn't go but they really needed him last minute when some docs canceled and some went to Haiti, so he got to go.) We debated trying to find a sitter so we could go without the kids. At 2:30 in the morning the first night when the kids were still screaming and climbing out of their little hotel cribs it was seeming like that would have been a better option. The next afternoon after three hours of the same while trying to get them to take a nap it was really seeming like a better option. It was a bit of a low point for me after a really rough week with the kids. I had a lot of thoughts cross my mind - like maybe I should go back to work and have someone else take care of my kids since it seems like I'm obviously not good at this. It even crossed my mind that maybe I should take up a drug habit to help me get through this time in my life. :) Then I realized we wouldn't have any money for my drug habit anyway. Mostly I felt really bad wondering why I even had kids when it seems like half the time I don't even like them and it feels like I'm always mad at them. Please tell me I'm not the only one that feels that way.

Luckily by Saturday night things looked up a bit and we had a fun time hanging out on Duval Street. Or entertaining Duval Street walking around with our spectacle. I did manage to get a "You're the hottest mom on this street by far!" from a really drunk man. Thank you. Out of all five of us that actually have kids out here. (And for the record I did not look hot - the lovely sleek, curled hair that left the hotel turned into a fuzzy afro after sitting on the pier to eat in all that humidity. I seriously looked like Diana Ross.)
























I'm gonna go ahead and call it that Key West just isn't quite the happening scene Miami is though:

video

I mean, I get it that there are lots of old people there, but, hmm. Wow. (In case you can't see it too well, it's some large drunk woman who is probably sixty years old and was seriously shaking it - the footage I got hardly does it justice. Someone stop me if I'm ever 60 and doing that out in public. Please.)

We had lots of fun running around this pier and watching the waves crashing over.


















































































video

Although I have to laugh at how un-observant men are. Ryan went last year and still said not to bring swimsuits, didn't think about bringing bikes, and when we were going out Saturday night I asked him if it was the kind of thing all the girls wore dresses to. He said no - jeans and a cute top (at least he tries to get it I guess.) Oh, so guess who shows up wearing jeans with boots and a jacket - and not only is everyone at the dinner wearing a dress, every girl in all of Key West is wearing a dress. I guess that's good if he wasn't looking at the women last year, but hey, if you ever go to Key West, don't wear jeans and boots. (Somehow he relayed the weather report totally wrong to me too, which is why I brought those in the first place.) So not only did I look like Diana Ross, I looked like Diana Ross ready for a snow storm and some hot chocolate. In Key West. Ugh. I hate it when I only see people from Ryan's work once in a while and that while happens to be a really ugly moment. Especially since they are all super trendy and fashionable. And have lots of spare money to spend on themselves. Am I totally insecure going on about this?! Sorry. I'm being such a girl. (Luckily you'll see I did decide to throw in a dress at the last minute so that by Sunday I figured it out. But of course we didn't see anyone that day.)

Moving on. Here's the "southernmost point in the U.S." marker. 90 miles to Cuba (closer than our house!)




















Anyhow, the drive was amazing on a narrow bridge most of the way just surrounded by this:











































Although I'd turn around and realize, yeah, I guess this is a pretty long car ride, huh?



















Luckily the trip had a happy ending at least. Or, my children at least came back home with us if that's any sign of success.




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We try to blend in

After getting everyone in the stroller and then running back and forth around the house to fulfill all the requests of what everyone "had" to have before we left, I realized I better snap a picture. Here's how we looked when we went out for a walk today:



















Cause we don't draw enough attention to ourselves as it is.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A labor of love

Let me summarize my week for you:




























































Constantly under foot:



















And finally:




That dang gallon took well over two hours of work! And we're only down to 3 full brown bags now instead of 5.


I'm telling you, if you don't love freshly squeezed orange juice I'm not sure you could take the effort. But I had no idea how satisfying it could be - I swear I've maybe even eaten less chocolate because there seems to be some craving it satisfies because it's sweet and cold and so refreshing.










I will say it was pretty sweet when I was juicing today and Ashton was at my feet begging for a half an orange to have. So I let him have one. Then he kept begging for another. I kept telling him he only needed one but he persisted and persisted. After a few minutes I finally gave him another one, grumbling about no wonder he's so fat. He walked out to the living room and went right over and handed the second one to his twin brother. Awwwww.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book

A few months ago a friend blogged about a book she had read. Seeing how it seemed to have an impact on her and respecting her as a seriously amazing mom, I decided to pick it up. She was right. It was one of those books that I would try to relay to Ryan after every chapter I read. (And he even listened, which is sort of, um, rare.) It's called "Hold on to Your Kids; why parents need to matter more than peers," and is written by Gordon Neufeld. It's obviously a little older than the stage my kids are at, but I'm glad I read it before I get to that point where your kids are annoyed when you're around and just want to be with their friends, because it also seems like something you should just make your lifestyle. Practice makes perfect, and it would be nice to get it figured out before you really need it, you know? Besides the fact that it's not like it happens overnight, and I was amazed to see how early on the seeds of peer orientation are sewn.

Part of the basic idea is that the natural order is for things to be passed on from older generations to the younger ones - knowledge, ideas, values, how to act, talk, dress, etc. It's that way in all of nature - animals and humans. Or it used to be. In the last few generations there has been a huge shift in that kids now look more to their peers for this information rather than adults. So much so, that I didn't even realize it wasn't normal when I was first reading this book! But as the author says, anyone reading the book probably grew up that way and so we don't even realize it's a problem. So now we have generations of immature children - being raised by other immature children. Even language and vocabulary has dropped as a result because they're getting their language (or lack thereof) from each other. His idea is that this has resulted in a whole lot of the issues that we see in society now - children who want nothing to do with adults, can't socialize with adults, children who are more aggressive, more calloused, don't feel emotion, don't engage in meaningful relationships, have their curiosity stamped out because it's not "cool," are more sexually promiscuous with less feeling about it, families falling apart, parents who have lost the power to parent their children, and kids who will follow their skewed instincts to stay close to their peers at all costs. His theory is that we all have a basic instinct or need for attachment, and when that is not met or strong enough with parents, kids will shift that need to peers to fill it, with the costly loss of parental attachment, which causes parents to lose the power to parent their children because the children are no longer looking to them for cues about anything.

I'd love to tell you all the great ideas from the whole book, but I wouldn't do it justice and really you should just read it. It really has made me think a lot about my own life, my own parenting, and did make me notice a lot of the things that did go right. Like my mom always having lots of big family dinners. We always had extended family around and always intermingled with the generations, playing games and talking. I also think of how much the church is inspired in this way - from it's strong emphasis on families and family time, to always ensuring that there were caring adults who played a big part in your life (leaders and Sunday school teachers and such) and helped your own parents get to know people you were associating with better, along with their families. It also made me resolve to be a better friend to other kids - to get to know my friend's kids better or other kids at church who could benefit from another caring adult in their life. I'll admit - this is hard for me. I've never been a real kid person, so having my own children I've had to be totally focused inward just to take care of my own little family, especially once the twins came along. I have a hard enough time paying attention to my own kids, let alone someone else's, but I always love it when friends have a genuine interest in my kids. And that's part of his suggestions is to have a big network of caring adults, family members, and friends to be a part of your children's lives. To help them attach to other positive adults rather than to a bunch of peers you know nothing about and that they want to leave your company to spend every waking minute with. He says, "The greater the number of caring adults in a child's life, the more immune he or she will be to peer orientation."

It did, however, make me more anxious about sending my kids to school here, especially given their personalities, and made me realize where you live and what kind of neighborhood and school area you're in could possibly have a huge impact on how your kids grow up - for better or worse. I was also interested to see how much applied to teachers and teaching and how much attachment plays a part in learning.

I even thought some of the advice was applicable to my marriage - like remembering the relationship is more important than the behavior. That's a good one. And that filling someone's need for attention when they're begging for it really doesn't fill the need; it's only when it's spontaneously given that it really satisfies. (Um, ok, that one wasn't actually for me. HINT.)

Anyway, the author is not saying friends are bad, just that there should be adults around, and ideally you would be involved with your children and their friends and their families. He even goes into better ways to discipline to help preserve your relationship with your kids rather than hurt it. That's going to take some creativity on my part and I'll have to see what works for us.

Even with how much I liked the book though, I'll have to say it did take me about 3 or 4 months to read it. I just have trouble when they're not gripping page-turners! Alright, enough already, but I highly recommend it!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back

We made it home. I thought I had made it through the season avoiding the nasty colds the boys got over Christmas, but lucky me, it hit right before we had to fly home. So now I'm here, a little overwhelmed at remembering how to take care of my kids and my life all by myself again in a house that is in post-trip disaster mode and feeling terrible. And remembering that my husband shut the tv off months ago when all I want to do is sit and watch cartoons all day with the kids.

But other than that, I came home to 5 large paper bags full of oranges from our friend whose parents have an orange grove! I love freshly squeezed orange juice - it's the highlight of winter for me, so it was a nice surprise - especially since he even got us a juicer! But this morning I realized 5 bags may be a bit too much (since there's no room for them but on the kitchen table) when I heard an excited, "Ball!" thud, thud. "Ball!" thud, thud, repeated over and over and came out to find oranges rolled into every nook and cranny. I already have enough problems finding rotten bottles months later without adding moldy oranges to the mix. :)

And I have to thank my friend James who did a fantastic job taking Ashton on the flight! Even with a four hour layover. Did I mention I wasn't on the same flight? Yeah, I guess even Ryan didn't realize that. When I asked James if he'd bring a baby home for me, I meant he was rolling solo. Not even the same airline, same layover, nothing. He had a friend leaving on a flight near the same time he did so she was sitting at the gate with him. When he started boarding and she went the other way, a man in line behind him said "Oh, I see how it is - wife sticks you with the baby while she takes off somewhere else, huh?!" To which James said, "Oh, she's not my wife." And after another thought, "And this isn't my baby." After some confused/concerned looks, he just said, "Yeah, we don't have time to get into it." Then people on the plane would ask, "Were you that blond as a baby?" And he would say, "Well, yes, I was." Then later when they would ask if this was his only child it was a bit confusing when he'd say, "Oh, this isn't mine." I guess taking someone else's baby on the plane for them isn't that common a request, huh? Better watch out if you're a friend of mine. :)

It was funny to hear his first comment off the plane though - "Yeah, note to self, when you have kids don't take a lot of carry-ons." He even endured a few tantrums. He said, "You know that kind where they go really stiff and are super hard to carry?" Oh yes, all too well. Unfortunately he had to make it down to his gate trying to carry Ashton like that while he was screaming the whole way, dragging the stroller and all his luggage at the same time. He said, "I know it's the dead of winter, but you'd think I just stepped out of a sauna." But other than the few moments I think it went pretty well!

At least I gave him the baby that will wear shoes so he also didn't have to deal with all the "Where are that baby's shoes!?!" comments. I'll admit, it grosses me out too to see Phoenix running barefoot all over the airport, but what can I do when he just screams and throws a tantrum until he gets them off again? And then there was Cash, who happened to be coughing as we were boarding the plane and a few passengers start loudly saying, "Oh GREAT. Why don't you just cough all over the whole plane and infect all of us on your way back?" Seriously, why can't people just keep their thoughts to themselves?

One issue I have now is that my kids have developed a serious affinity for being naked over Christmas for some reason. I don't know how that came about while we were staying in below-freezing temperatures, but all they want to do is run around naked. (And pee on the couches. Um, sorry, mom.) So if I thought getting three boys out the door in the morning was hard before, it's disastrous now. They just scream and throw fits and do their worst to not let me get them dressed, ripping everything off as I'm putting it on and screaming for 10 minutes after. UGH.

And while I'm just trailing on with random thoughts I could mention that I attempted to do something to my hair and turned my roots orange the night before I left. Then a bluish/purple. Why, oh why do I think things like this are a good idea the night before I leave on a trip when I should be packing? It just looks like my hair is growing out bruised now. Ok, it's not so terrible and I'll probably fix it before anyone notices.

And in the way of firsts - we actually turned on the heat in our apartment last night! And set off the smoke alarms. :) But I can't believe it! We've never turned on the heat in a year and a half. I was just miffed that a cold spell in Miami dared start without me here! I hate to miss it! Weird though since it was 80s and still sweaty when I left. I guess it's been down in the 40s and 50s. Love it. Although I guess it will be almost back up to the 80s by the end of next week.

And yet I still managed to wake up with serious bedhead this morning. What is it about Utah that I just wake up with perfect hair every morning? (Not really perfect, just meaning it looks like it did when I went to sleep.) I'll miss you nice hair. And family. And not having cooked a meal for the last three weeks. Or cleaning. Or doing laundry. Wow, this is not helping to realize all that!