Friday, November 20, 2015


Sometimes I think my kids have secret meetings where they plot how to mess with me, and prevent me from getting anything done. It's like they're the writers for MTV's Jackass, and it's their job to come up with bizarre stunts that might end in laughter or injury. I can imagine them saying things like "You pull all the knives out of the dishwasher and chase the dog, and when mom gets the knives from you, I'll run as fast as I can into the kitchen and crash/fling myself pelvis-first into the table. That will hurt, so I will cry. When she bends down to check on me, you shriek and babble and fall on top of all of us."

When we're out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, it's "You order a side of rice and a tortilla, beg and beg for your food to hurry up, and then gag when they bring it out and say that you don't like rice or tortillas anymore. I'll throw all my food on the floor, eat dad's food, and when mom takes me to the bathroom to change my diaper I'll secretly bring a serving spoon with me. Then later we can both splash in the trendy water feature. Don't forget to smile and wave at the other diners!"


They execute their plans, too. The other night when I was trying to cook dinner it was "I'll play that game where I see how close I can get between mom and the stove. When she moves, I'll go between her legs and laugh. You dance and chant P-I-Z-Z-A, even though that's not what we're having. Also, score us some pickles while we wait."

Let's just hope they can make a living at this one day. Johnny Knoxville's worth $75 million.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Art of The Play Date

This week we had a play date at our friend Sarah's house. It's not Say-rah, like my grandmama would say, or Serah, like I would say. It's Sahrah, all airy. She's Brittish and she married a Merican friend of a friend, and they just moved back here from London. Her son and The Boy are a few weeks apart, and she has a daughter a little older than BeYoYo. What could go wrong, right?

admiring a caterpillar 

I realized when we got there BeYoYo only had one shoe. The Boy and The Boy Brit haven't seen each other in over a year. (Last year The Boy told me that The Boy Brit "talks like Harry Potter!") When we pulled up they greeted each other, and then stared at each other kind of like the way dogs smell each other's butts to investigate. After they okayed each other, we all went inside where they explored the myriad of toys that kids have. The Boy thoroughly enjoyed his friend's toys. And also his friend. For awhile The Boy played inside and The Boy Brit played outside. Because they are four and this is how playdates sometimes work. The babies tottled around, generally getting into things and looking precious. The Baby Brit held a toy car and said "cah", and it was the cutest thing in the history of "eva".

It was a long string of herding BeYoYo back in one room or out of another,  putting my hand up to block him from hitting someone with a toy, and making him get down from standing on a table. We'd let the older kids work out their differences, then intervene when it was getting too heated or help to fix a Batman. In the midst of all of this Sahrah and I tried to catch up with each other. "He took a new job....... no, stay in a project manager......oh, look at this.......and he's liking it, as far as I can me understand what you need.....yes, that is a cah...... Have you been out lately?.....I really like the way you're sharing....." This is a social dance that only parents appreciate.

When the boys starting getting a little irritated with each other Sahrah intervened and said "would you all like a snack? We have some fig bahs if you'd like" and they nearly peed themselves with excitement. The Boy had no idea what a fig bar was, but he couldn't wait. Then when Sahrah produced them The Boy took one, looked at it, and then said to her "these are called fig newtons." I reminded him that The Boy Brit and his family were from London and that we say some things differently. Sahrah told us that The Boy Brit had picked up the term "super awesome" since they'd moved back. I didn't even know that was an American term. It reminded me of one New Year's Eve years ago when I was over served and kept telling Sahrah "say some more words!" Then she'd say loo or lift, and I would bask in her Brittishness.

BeYoYo went to the edge of the play room and made poop face, and soon we could smell the results. So I excused us and changed the foulness. We returned and resumed the social dance of kid, baby, adult talk.

After we'd been there awhile there was some altercation about a train and ALL of the hell broke loose. The Boy lost it. I'm talking screaming, running to another room, thrashing about like a banshee. The Boy Brit just looked at him. The babies continued their babying. I excused myself and went to The Boy and talked to him in THE CALM FIRM VOICE, which was useless. He was so lost in the flood of emotion about the injustice of not getting a train at the exact moment he wanted it that he could not even hear my words. The Boy Brit kindly and calmly tried to offer him a train, but of course that was all wrong, because how dare he offer The Boy exactly what he'd asked for, because four year olds are crazy. I told The Boy that if he did not stop with his fit we would have to leave. And he did not stop with his fit, so we had to leave.

I scooped him up and carried him right out to the car. Over my shoulder I told Sahrah I'd be right back for BeYoYo. I put The Boy in the car, and he was now even madder about our abrupt exit. He screamed "Noooooo! I don't wike you! You're not my mommy anymore!" I told him calmly it was not my job to make him like me.

I went back in and got BeYoYo and his one shoe, and feigned cleaning up a few toys. I apologized to Sahrah about The Boy's behavior and our leaving. Because she is lovely, she said "Oh, don't be sill-aye. This was us just last week." (Really I'm only interested in being friends with people like this, and if you are right now reading this in shock and/or disgust, please do not invite us over for a play date. Because even if my kids are angels chances are you and I may not hit it off). The Boy Brit came outside with us to tell The Boy goodbye, but who can be bothered with the frivolity of salutations when all the injustices of the world have been heaped upon you?

After we left The Boy began to calm down, and when we got home The Husband was cooking dinner. The Boy had to go straight to time out, and seemed generally disappointed in the events of the afternoon. When he came out of time out he asked for me to cut him some cantaloupe. "I'd love to" I said, "but I can't, because I'm not your mommy anymore." This was also my response when he asked for milk and asked for me to put him to bed. PS- Though it may remind him not to say that again, it does nothing to de-escalate a situation. The Husband took over for the night and I went to take a bath. There I texted Sahrah and said "I'm exhausted. He was asleep before 7pm. How do you feel about being in a blog?"

We should get together for a playdate again sometime soon. Except next time let's leave the kids at home. It'll be super awesome.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Our Week In Videos

I take a lot of videos and pictures of my kids. Most of them are bad and get deleted, but some are not, and those might make it to instagram. This week seemed like I took more than usual, so you're having getting a look in the video vault that was our week.

Sunday we did the Jimmy Kimmel prank of telling The Boy we ate all his Halloween candy.



Monday they played in puddles.


Here are each of their reactions to being muddy for a little while:

Tuesday BeYoYo got tubes put in. He's fine. This was him at pre-op.

and then this was later that afternoon when we needed to get out of the house, and went to Target. 


Wednesday I didn't get any video (I KNOW, what kind of parent AM I?), so you'll have to settle for this action shot of BeYoYo trying to put all the toilet paper in the toilet.

This was their bath in the morning, when The Boy asked to make a silly movie. This was BEFORE The Boy went to Wild Intelligence and got gross, and BeYoYo fell in the mud when we went to pick him up.

And here's after. I didn't get a shot of BeYoYo, because he was muddy and crying and signing all done and buckling him in is like trying to get an octopus in a car seat. 

In the spirit of blogging transparency, I have to tell you that this video is not actually from today. It's from last week, and I haven't gotten any pics or videos from today. But the day is still young. Here's BeYoYo dancing. Every time he goes up on his tip toes he thinks he's jumping.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween '15

We kind of love Halloween. My boys are all about dressing up in general, and I love anything where I get to be creative. And The Husband loves anything where he gets to be outside. Plus, candy. What's not to love? The other day we were at Hobby Lobby, and The Boy saw a Halloween display and screamed out "Mom! This is going to be SO great!"

About the first of September The Boy declared he wanted to be a dragon this year, after reading a Berenstein Bears Halloween book 3 dozen times. Sold. BeYoYo is too young to have an opinion, so obviously we decided he should be a knight. We found The Boy's dragon costume at a thrift store, and he was specific about wanting a dragon mask, so I set out to make one. I confirmed that he wanted to move forward with this commitment, and he said he did.

The last time I did paper maché was in Señor Shuler's Spanish class in high school, when I made a piñata for FLEW week and it collapsed into itself the night before it was due and my mom let me go to school late so I could try to fix it but it was beyond repair and I had to get up in front of the class and present a sad, dented in piñata bear and I got a C. Not that I'm still carrying that trauma around or anything. But I set out to redeem myself. We layered, we let dry, we layered, we let dry, we layered, we let dry. We painted and decorated. The Boy was all about it, and we worked toward getting it just the way he wanted. 


Ta da! Dragon mask complete. And awesome, if I do say so myself. And he was proud of it, which of course, is also most important. 

And then we went back to the thrift store, and he found the mask that ACTUALLY goes with his dragon costume, and he said "THAT! I want to wear THAT instead!" Sure, buddy. Okay. Fine. I could hear paper maché laughing and taunting me in my head. 

Also I made his wings, and I made Beyoyo's knight costume even thought I can't sew even a little. The dragon wings are made using this tutorial, except where she sewed it I just said a little prayer. And also I didn't use a pattern, because that seemed kind of complicated and exact, and clearly I am not into those types of things. For Beyoyo's costume I bought sequin fabric and laid one of his shirts on top. I cut all around the shirt, then I folded it onto the shirt and used fabric tape to hold it all together. The tunic is made from fleece, and the knight's emblem is cut from something my mama found at goodwill, and also held on with fabric tape. Obviously. And maybe one arm is a little longer than the other. And the pants didn't make it to Halloween night. 

I figured if his tunic didn't make it he could go as a disco star. 

On Halloween night, The Husband cooked his famous BBQ for our cul-de-sac crowd, and rigged up a trailer hayride complete with candy corn lights to pull behind his truck. The Boy was beside himself, and ran with the neighbors and their friends in circles. BeYoYo tried to keep up, but some neighbors returned him to me, saying "he keeps trying to be goalie!" 


He lasted 47 seconds with his strawberry friend before signing "all done"

The Boy's pumpkin was half filled before we even left, because he raided our neighbor's stash.

We trick or treated.  A dozen kids were on the trailer, and a half dozen parents walked behind. They ran from house to house, and we shouted after them to say thank you. At one house, they handed The Boy a sucker and he handed it back, saying "I don't wike that." Maybe we're still working on the halloween etiquette. I sat with BeYoYo on the hay ride, and he would sign all done, so I would get off and let him walk. Then the kids would run to a house, and he would try to follow. Crunch crunch crunch in the leaves. By the time he got to the sidewalk, all the kids would be back on the hayride, and I would take him back too. He'd climb back on to be with them, and we'd start off. Then he'd sign all done. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. He walked about a hundred miles before we were done.

Between every house The Boy would ask me to open some of his candy for him. I asked him if he ever ate dinner, and he replied that he had had candy for dinner. Happy Halloween, indeed.  The mask we made didn't make it, the pants I made didn't make it, but both kids were happy and laughed with delight. 

And if you're wondering, the paper maché mask was not a total loss:
                                                          Take that, FLEW week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

At the corner of Really? and Are you kidding me?

Our insurance changed this summer and we have far fewer choices for prescription coverage. We used to go to Farmer's, our neighborhood independent drug store, where I worked in high school and college, and they were great. They are kind, they are close, they are knowledgeable, but most importantly they FILL my PRESCRIPTIONS when they say they will.  Walgreens is the worst. Everyone has an off day, and that is not what I mean. I'm so tired of our consistently bad experience that I was going to write them about it. People at the top may want to know what it's like for the rest of us, right? So I figured it couldn't hurt to send in my experience. Except guess what? When I went to their page and filled out the Contact Us form IT DIDN'T WORK. Evil geniuses: they're so terrible that you can't even tell them how terrible they are. Luckily, I have this blog. If I can't share with them, I'll share with you.


I recently began using the Hawthorne Avenue, Athens, Walgreens when our insurance changed, and we were offered Walgreens as one of a very few options for prescriptions. Our experience has consistently been bad enough that I'm taking the time out of my day to write about it, something that I don't normally do. I called at 9:30am to see how long the wait would be to pick up my son's antibiotic. I was told "uh, I don't really know. That's not something I could say off the top of my head." When I asked again if I could have a guess of when I might be able to pick it up, the response was "uh, there are 30 prescriptions ahead of you. This is flu season. I'd guess an hour." I called back at 11:30 (two hours later) to see if it was ready, and they told me they had not yet begun working on it. At 4pm I got a voicemail that it was ready. That's 5.5 hours AFTER the projected pickup estimate. 

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. We have to wait longer than we're told every single time we refill a prescription. This month when I refilled one of my prescriptions, it took two weeks for me to get it filled. This, despite me being told twice that it would be ordered and ready within two days, and despite receiving a text that said it was ready, and leaving work to go and pick it up. It still was not ready, and I was told it had not even been ordered yet. Thankfully this was a maintenance medication and not something I needed to survive. Once when I called to check on it, I was placed on hold for 13 minutes for a 1 minute conversation. I dread getting this monthly medication refilled if this will be my experience every month. 

I do not mind waiting for prescriptions. I used to work in a pharmacy, and understand that waiting is necessary. I understand insurance and ordering, and drugs being out of stock or needing prior authorization. What's worse than waiting is the lack of communication and the poor customer service I receive every time I go to this Walgreen's. I am generally kind and patient and compassionate with people in retail. I would like to think I am not a hateful or high maintenance customer. But the staff is consistently unapologetic and indifferent toward my waiting, or my taking off work and showing up when a prescription that was supposed to be ready is not. When I told the staff that I had received a text saying my prescription was ready, and that I'd come from work, their response was "I don't know what to tell you, it hasn't been ordered." No apologies, no compassion, no here's what we'll do to make it better. They're under the impression that I'm lucky to have them, not the other way around. Not only are they not fighting to keep me, I have not once felt like anyone at that store cares if I continue to be a customer there or not. Walgreens, Chick-fil-A is doing better at customer service, and they're only in charge of my chicken. I'm trusting you with my medication, and I take that seriously. I hope you do too. 

I'm an optimist. I can only assume, Walgreens, that the staff at your store on Hawthorne Ave are wonderful and kind people, but that they are overworked and understaffed. I can only assume that their consistent indifference to my experience as a customer is more about their level of stress as an employee than it is about their insensitivity as humans. Surely they want to do better and be kinder. My only thought, then, is that you haven't provided them with a way to do that.  I don't know if the answer is more staff or a better system, but I imagine the folks on Hawthorne Ave would have ideas. So, Walgreens, consider this a Dear John letter. As soon as I can find the short list of other approved pharmacies, I'm breaking up with you. I hope I'll be moving on to another pharmacy that treats me better. Based on my experience with your Hawthorne Avenue store, you won't miss me anyway. 

The irony, friends, is that the bag containing my prescription says this: 
I wonder if they meant that the 5.5 hours after the anticipated pickup time is technically fast-er than the 2 weeks after intended pickup time? And to their credit, they do not claim to be friendly. Please, dear readers, feel free to share this. Share this a million times over until someone with enough influence to be on Undercover Boss sees it and hires some help for the tired Hawthorne Avenue staff. 

Dear Farmers, 
I miss you. I'm sorry I left you. I didn't know how good I had it, but baby, I see the error in my ways. Let's get back together? Call me.