Thursday, June 13, 2013

Camp Cuisine

Next week, all three of my kids are going to camp.  Not at some far away, exotic destination, or even one of those ‘park ‘em for a day, so momma can take a nap’ camps, but a rigorous Boot Camp a little closer to home. 


And by ‘closer to home’, I mean REALLY close to home.  Like, in my kitchen.  Or starting next week, THEIR kitchen.  Because I have just about decided, friends, that my cooking days are limited for these hot summer days (long on sunshine, but far too short in number). 

So starting next week, each child is responsible for one lunch, and one dinner during the week.  They choose the day, they select the menu, and tomorrow afternoon, they will actually be doing the shopping for their items.  I, of course, will still be the one whipping out the debit card to pay for said items.  Plus, HEB won’t let them buy wine, so I have to make an appearance anyway.

The kids are very excited to take the reins on this… at least for now.  Well, at least until I mentioned that they are responsible for kitchen clean-up, too. 
I didn’t give them many restrictions, other than that we needed to have at least one fruit or veggie with every meal, and that they needed to find at least one coupon to use for their meal planning.  (If you’ve never seen two siblings arguing over a 30 cent coupon for frozen Birds-eye veggies, it’s truly a sight to behold). 

Next week’s menu may not be the healthiest… we’ll work on that.  It may not be the most creative… hot dogs and chili mac, anyone?  But this ‘camp’ is designed to teach some necessary skills, and most importantly, save my summertime sanity.   And maybe, just maybe, my kids will be able to cook something beyond Ramen noodles and macaroni & cheese when they get their own apartments one day. 


Call it a lesson in independence.  Call it a lesson in maturity.   
Heck, let’s call it what it is…  the lesson that this momma is not your maid, or your short order cook.

And if that’s not a lesson for the future, I don’t know what is. ;)

Thursday, February 14, 2013


With a new job comes all sorts of new, strange, and oftentimes, head-ache inducing things. 
One of those new things that came with going back to teaching was having different insurance.  For the first time in many moons, I have my own health insurance, instead of being covered under my husband’s.  When we were crunching the numbers, it just made sense financially for our household that I use one of the ‘perks’ of my new gig.

So with brand spankin’ new insurance comes crazy paperwork, keeping fingers crossed that my current doctors will be in-network, and hiring a weekly housekeeper with all that money we’re saving!!  (okay, I made that last part up.  Seems like we are quite adept at finding other places to spend that newfound cash.   Namely, the orthodontist.  And Spec’s. ;)

Fortunately my primary care physician was in-network, as well as my OB-GYN (with emphasis on the GYN, as I am ‘all-done’ with the OB part of her title.  Fo sho.)  So this is fabulous news, since I am kind of attached to those two.  Not only because I am very loyal, but also because, well, um… change?  Not so much.

But it was a fairly seamless switcheroo, as far as insurance goes.  Until today, that is. 

Today?  I got a letter in the mail to let me know that a claim is ‘on-hold’.  Evidently the services were provided for a PRE-EXISTING CONDITION, and my health care coverage includes a PRE-EXISTING CONDITION WAITING PERIOD.  (By the way, are all those capital letters really necessary??  I don't think I like being CapsLock-yelled at by my insurance company.)

Anyway...   It did not list what the PRE-EXISTING CONDITION was,  but oddly enough, the claim was submitted by my OB-GYN’s office, and the service date was for the day that I had my regular, yearly check-up for all that regular, yearly ‘stuff’ we ladies are required to do on a regular, yearly basis. 

So, what I am getting from this is that my ‘pre-existing’ condition... is the fact that I am a WOMAN?  Yes, I guess that is definitely a pre-existing condition.  It has existed, for… well, for a pretty long time now.  

The good news is that my doctor can re-submit the claim if they can provide the information about when they first began treating me for this ‘condition’.   And if that doesn’t do the trick, then I am invited to appeal the decision.   I plan to make a couple of phone calls tomorrow to try to get this all straightened out.   I hope that it is just a glitch or technicality that is easily remedied, and that I don’t have to appeal to anyone’s common sense in terms of said ‘condition’. 

But then again, we are talking about an insurance company…  I may have to come unhinged and yell at some poor customer service representative over the telephone.  In the end… proving that not only am I, in fact, a woman,  but that I have been a woman ( and a crazy one at that), for a good long time.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Lessons Learned in 2012

Oh yes, the Linson family has been on quite the learning curve this year. Here are just a few of the tips we’ve picked up in 2012, and we’re passing on our newfound knowledge to you… You’re welcome.

1. No longer are we encouraging the children that they can be ‘whatever they want’ when they grow up.
Nope. We are now requiring that all 3 of them become orthodontists. With one in braces, another on the schedule to get her braces within the month, & a third with a cross bite that will “need attention”, we have discovered that becoming an orthodontist is definitely the path to serious job security.
And nice cars. Lesson learned.

2. It *is* actually possible for someone to go back to teaching full-time (after being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years), and still effortlessly manage to keep up with the laundry, the housekeeping chores, bake & decorate magazine-worthy birthday cakes, and do it all without missing a beat!
Well, I’m sure it is possible SOMEWHERE... just not around here. Lesson learned.

3. There is no such thing as‘inexpensive’ when it comes to kids’ activities. We haven’t found a single one that doesn’t require

a.) a ton of equipment,

b.) long road trips for tournaments or competitions, or

c.) an entire wardrobe of sparkly costumes.**

** Okay, okay…Davis may beg to differ that his new love for all things Lacrosse does NOT require sparkly costumes, but baton twirling and Irish step dancing certainly do.

Lesson learned.

What ELSE have we learned this year?

4. …That I was ready to go back to teaching, even with the adjustment it has taken for the entire family. And I love teaching 4th grade at Great Oaks.
Phil’s job is going well, too…what a huge payoff for the uncertainty from last year’s job switcheroo. Change can be a GOOD thing. J Lesson learned.

5. …That our kids are growing up way too quickly (no big surprise there, though).

--Josie (12) is in middle school now, and is loving it! She continues to twirl, (she even earned another state title this summer), & is learning to play oboe in the 6thgrade band. Oh yeah, we’ve also learned that oboe reeds are very expensive, and that after the first few weeks, we didn’t need those ear plugs after all. ;)

--Davis (10) is in 5th grade, and is busy with sports, school, hunting, and Cub Scouts. We’re pretty proud of him, and that he will be crossing over to Boy Scouts in January, having completed all of his Webelos requirements.
Fortunately for him, Webelos does not require a ‘Clean Bedroom’ badge.

--Libby (8) is in the 2ndgrade, and is our little Irish dancer (picture‘Riverdance!’, as performed by 7 & 8 year olds… breathtaking ;). She started taking dance classes at the beginning of the school year, and really likes it. She is in Brownies, loves to ride her bike, and keeps us laughing with her silliness.
We are considering putting her in acting classes… you know, just in case that whole orthodontist thing doesn’t work out.

6. That we continue to be blessed beyond measure. It has been a year for some big changes, a year where we have had to focus more than ever on ‘picking our battles’,especially when it comes to choosing what on the long list of “To-Do’s” will actually get completed and put on the list of “Tah-Dah! DONE!”
And a year to remember what is truly important… our friends and our family. Lesson learned. J

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love, the Linson family

Thursday, December 13, 2012

This mommy is an evil genius.

Tips to a Bicker-Free Holiday

Step 1: Buy an extra gift for each of your children. It should not, under any circumstances, be something that you are actually planning to give them for Christmas. I highly recommend something that is crazy expensive.

Step 2: Save the receipt. For sure.

Step 3: Early in the season, wrap each one in brightly colored Christmas wrapping paper, complete with bows, tags, gift toppers… you name it.

Step 4: Place them under the tree, in a prominent location.

Step 5: At the first sign of bickering, griping, complaining, fighting, or refusal to complete chores, warn the children that live in your house that they have been duly warned, and that dire consequences will result if said bickering, et al. continues.

Step 6: Wait 3 minutes. Additional fighting will ensue (that is, if it even takes 3 minutes. At our house, it is more like 42 and a half seconds.)

Step 7: Proceed to the tree, unwrap the chosen gift for each child, show them what they ‘would have gotten’, and then tell them that it will be returned to the store at the first opportunity (here is where having saved the receipt is critical).

Step 8: At any and all future bickering opportunities, casually walk next to the Christmas tree and pretend to peer at each present in turn. It can be especially helpful to pick up one or two at this point and give them a little shake.

Step 9: Enjoy your peaceful (and paranoid) holiday.

** Oh, and one more note… after December 25th, you’re on your own. ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012

An open letter to the Husbands of the world:

Dear Husbands,

If your wife suggests going for a walk after dinner for some ‘together time’, and to get in some exercise, and you agree… well, that is considered super-supportive, and she will appreciate you for taking the time.  I can certainly recommend that.

If your wife proceeds to walk at breakneck speed in order to avoid crazy-scary, West Nile mosquitoes, and you manage to keep up with her short little legs, she should be verbally commended for keeping your heartrate up, while protecting you from a dread disease.  That is considered encouraging, and I can completely get behind that.

If she does not want to carry the water bottle, but still wants to drink from it, you should definitely just smile and hand it over at every 5 minute interval, when she is parched from the insane power-walking session.  That  is considered helpful, and she will be forever grateful that you are concerned about her level of hydration.  I would call that a ‘go-to plan’.

And if after mentioning that even though she knows INTELLECTUALY that the bats swooping around under the streetlights are HELPFUL to the environment, that she is still secretly creeped out just a little? 

Well, I do NOT recommend immediately flapping your hand in the hair on the back of her head.  That is considered infantile, and she will probably scream loudly and you will end up having to jog after her as she runs home in the dark.

I just thought you should know.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Conversation Killers

1.        A conversation that I was not prepared to have:

My son mentioned at dinner tonight that he was so hopeful that I would have another baby.  I, in turn, let him know that that was not going to happen. 

Trust me, we’ve had this conversation before (in terms of:  ‘our family is finished’, etc., etc.), but  tonight he said that even though we’ve told him that, he has always really hoped and prayed that God would surprise us with another baby.  At this point, in order to save him from further disappointment, I finally just had to tell him that the doctors had ‘fixed it’ so that Mommy & Daddy wouldn’t have babies anymore.  And then I held my breath, ready for the QUESTIONS. 

He seemed pretty bummed, but recovered quickly. 

“So can we get a dog??” 

2.       A conversation my oldest child was not prepared to have: 

When a kid asked her in front of God and everybody...

 “So, do you have periods?” 

Um… wow. 

My poor kid looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights, and then back to the younger girl, and then back to me, completely tongue-tied.

  At which point, the little girl said... “You know, now that you’re in middle school, do you have,  like, Math for first period?” 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Top 5 Reasons I'm BACK! (jazz hands here...)

I thought that it might be time to get back to the old blog when I realized a few things:

1.  It has officially been more than two months since I have visited Planet Linson.  I used to love this place, but the dust is about an inch thick around here. 
Which makes Planet Linson (the virtual location) almost EXACTLY like Planet Linson, the actual location.

2.  I forgot my password.  And the answer to my security question.  So help me, I could not remember my first pet's maiden name or the street on which he lived.

3.  I have a daily conversation with my fourth-graders about the importance of writing, and how vital it is, and how it is not just a 7:45 to 2:45 skill, and why at least a few times a week, I expect them to do a 'Night Write'. 

And I totally got sick of feeling like a hypocrite. 

4.  That I just updated my weekly TeacherWeb, and it was longer than any normal human parent will actually read.  I should put something at the end that is a test, like... "If you have read this far, you have just won a fabulous prize!" 

Only then, I'd have to actually think of and provide some sort of semi-fabulous prize, and these days,  I'm all like, "Did I forget to bring a lunch?  Why, yes, I did.  Again."

5.  I've missed having this creative outlet.  As busy as my 'new normal' is, I still love to hear friends comment on how much they like reading my blog (and how they've missed it.  Thanks for not giving up on me ;)

---- Oh, and if you've read this far, you win a prize.

To claim it, meet me at my classroom tomorrow.  And please bring me my lunch.