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.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Add it to the library list...

Do you ever have one of those moments when you just feel like you’ve failed as a parent?  Well, if not, then just shut up because I don’t think I want you as my friend.  Because I seriously have one of those ‘moments’ at least a couple of times a day.  

Like that time when I forgot to buy milk?  For 3 straight days?  Here kids, have another Flintstone vitamin.

Other times, it is that moment when your kid points directly at someone, and says, “Oh, look! Hoboes!” 

Now, I know what you’re thinking... how politically incorrect of my seven year old.  The term ‘homeless’ is acceptable.   Yes.  ‘Down on their luck’… um, okay.  But ‘hoboes’?? 

Strangely enough, though, she was pointing at a pair of teenage boys in Target, who, while having some seriously scruffy hair, didn’t have anything else about them that looked even slightly ‘hobo-ish’. 

But then I happened to notice that one of them had a picture of a cartoon tiger on his t-shirt.

You know… the one from that famous comic strip, ‘Calvin and Hoboes’?

Friday, June 8, 2012

'Shout' can't touch it...

My boy has been at Cub Scout camp all week, which has left me with the two girls, a relatively clean house, and some quiet afternoons. Because boys are messy and LOUD, yo.

I keep threatening to clean his room myself, but I just can’t bring myself to venture in there. I’m a little afraid, to be perfectly honest. This does not bode well for the teen years.

One thing you must know about Scout camp is that they are given a camp t-shirt to wear each day. And when I say that, what I mean to say is that they are given ONE shirt that they must wear for the entire week, which means that every afternoon, we run a quick load of laundry so that the shirt can be washed clean of sunscreen, nose-wipes, snack goo, and 10 year old boy STINK.

Along with the shirt, he has also received a ‘standard-issue’ kerchief for his particular den, which designates their den’s color, so they can be spotted at 20 paces. It also goes in the wash each afternoon, along with the swim trunks he wears each day, so that he can play water games and not be sopping around in wet khaki shorts. Chafe, much?

But yesterday morning, when I went to spray sunscreen on his legs before dropping him off at camp (at 7:45, no less), I spied his socks.

His brown socks.

No biggie, right?

Expect that they USED to be white. Like 4 days ago. When he first started wearing them to camp.

Me: “Davis, why are your socks so filthy?!”

Him: “Well, you said I would be wearing the same thing everyday to camp.”

He’s going to be a delightful teen.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting a weight off my chest...

Some of you may know that I am a leader for meetings for a particular company.  No names mentioned, but it’s one of the leaders in the weight loss industry.  I love it, I feel passionate about it, and I truly want to help other people get on-board and feeling good about themselves.  (and commercial ends ;)

So I was super-pumped to add a new meeting to my rotation, especially since it is practically in my backyard, and it would mean not having to leave so early to rush to get there.  Until I arrived and discovered that none of the members that attend this meeting knew that their regular leader had left.  I was stepping into a situation where no one was even aware that there was a gap. 

Awkward.  Because peeps be loyal to their leaders, yo. (Proving that I am *just* that whack.)

Anyway, the acceptable ‘company line’ for a situation such as this is: 

  “Frieda is no longer with the company.”

Turns out, though, when you are nervous, and unsure as to how you, personally, will be received upon delivery of this news… well, it can come out a lot like this:

Frieda is no longer with us.”

(Absorbing the look of shock on member’s face.)

“I know, I know.  It was unexpected.”

And when you notice the look of horror, it is perfectly acceptable to say, “Omigod!!  I mean, she’s ALIVE and everything!”  Nope, not weird at all.

It just becomes really awkward when you get a case of the nervous giggles while you are saying it.

I wish I could say this happened only once.

I’m FAIRLY certain that no one left thinking that their former leader had gone on to that big meeting in the sky.  But now that I think about it, I *did* tell a few people that while I would do my very best, and they would grow to LOVE me, that it was perfectly okay to be sad and miss Frieda.

Hmmm.  Could get really, really awkward next week.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Three for Thursday

1. I guess I should have posted yesterday’s blog sooner.

I’d written it a couple of days ago, after our less than delightful drive back from the coast, and just gotten around to posting it yesterday. At which point they called from the dealership to tell me my MINI-VAN was READY! So, yay.

I didn’t have the chance to clean the loaner car up much, but as I was taking the booster seats out of the back, I did let the tech know, “Um, you may want to just run a quick vacuum back there. Or give it a complete detailing and overhaul. Whatevs.”

2. Thanks to everyone that had my back with the ‘meat-rinsing’ issue.

I *knew* I wasn’t the only person that found that crazy, and slightly disgusting. To my husband’s credit, though, he DID get a chuckle out of reading all the comments on Facebook.

And I now know that I should defer to my FB friends for any and all marriage counseling, and those times when I’d like to feel self-righteously vindicated. Y’all don’t let me down, mmmkay?

3. I remember now that daily writing is much like exercise.

When I actually make the time for it, I feel really great and remember how much I love it… but it’s easy to let it become low on the priority list when life gets busy.

And just like I need an exercise buddy to drag me along sometimes, your little notes & comments help pull me up and remind me that this is an important part of my mental health :)

So, thanks. Oh, and if anybody would like to chime in on putting oil versus salt in boiling water to cook pasta, that would be a huge help. ;)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It's not ALL about that 'new car smell'...

If you’ve happened to see me over the last couple of weeks, toodling around town, you may have noticed that I’m in a NEW CAR!

And I HATE it.

I want my van back… yesterday, if not sooner.

Fortunately, I can return the Camry, which is not actually mine, but is on loan from the dealership. My mini-van, which officially became MINE at the beginning of February with one last check sent to Toyota Financing, started flashing the ‘airbag’ light about 10 minutes after the check was signed and mailed.

And so I became concerned.

Not so much that my airbag might NOT deploy when needed, but more that it would deploy when I needed it least… like driving down the interstate, rocking out to Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, while my kids yelled in the back, “WHAT are we LISTENING to??!” That would be bad. (The airbag, not my children’s lack of taste in music.)

Turns out that it is the undercarriage of the seats with the weight sensors that is faulty. And turns out that they’ve had this problem before. Turns out, even, that there is another van owner that has been waiting since OCTOBER for the necessary part to fix it.

For this reason, my husband went all ‘angry/quiet/calm’ at the dealership, and they opted to loan us the brand-new Camry to get us through until our van could be fixed. And did I mention that it is BRAND-NEW?? It even had that new car smell. And I use the past tense… ‘had’… because after almost a month, it’s ‘Lost that Lovin’ Feeling’.

The five of us in a Camry? Bad news. This car is too small for a family of five. Five river otters, maybe, but not the five of us.

The kids are too dang close to one another, and unfortunately they can look at and touch each other. Know how I know? Because they like to scream from the backseat, “MOOOOM! HE'S LOOKING AT ME!!!" or... "QUIT TOUCHING ME!!”

And we’ve been spending a lot of time in the car together recently, making trips to Salado to see family, and then this last weekend, we went to Corpus Christi for a twirling competition. Even the kids are ‘over’ the novelty of the new vehicle, and are bemoaning the lack of a drop-down DVD player and their very own cup-holders. (Dear Drop-down DVD player with headphones, I think I miss YOU most of all.)

But the good news? The part has arrived!

Bad news? Our local Toyota technicians are not trained on how to replace this part.

But the good news… They are sending technicians from the manufacturing plant to train the local technicians!

Bad news… Not sure when exactly that will happen.

Good news… They will be replacing the part in our van, as part of the training module!

Bad news… On the off chance that they make a training video of this technique, everyone affiliated with Toyota service will get to see the hot mess that is my van.

Potential good news??… Is it too much to hope that Toyota will clean my van for me so that it can have its moment in the spotlight before it is returned to its humble abode (our garage)?

Because Lord knows, I’ve got some work to do on that loaner car before I take it back.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

This could only happen to me.

Last week I bought some new perfume.

It is named, of all things, ‘Sensuous Nude’. That is some perfume with high expectations, I must say.

At first, I sprayed on ‘Sensuous’, and really liked it, so I bought it. It is one of Estee Lauder’s new fragrances, and I have always been a big fan of Estee Lauder’s scents. My favorites were always ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Pleasures’…wearing perfume with names like those, anything’s possible, right?

So there are two derivations of ‘Sensuous’‘Sensuous Exotic’ and ‘Sensuous Nude’, which I also tried out (on different parts of my arm).

After being ‘Sensuous’ for awhile, however… (like about a half an hour of walking around the mall with my purchase), I felt like it smelled a little too powdery.

And I know this because I stopped to smell all the samples on my skin on an every 3 minute rotation, as I walked through the mall. I must have looked like I had a nasty cold, and was wiping my nose every chance I got.

Anyway, ‘Sensuous’ smelled a little less sensuous and little more ‘deodorant-y’, and I opted to go back to exchange it.

The salesgirl (who had been an absolute delight while helping me through this arduous decision), still seemed surprised to see me back, sniffing and/or wiping my nose on my sleeve.

Her: “You’re back!”

Me: (without even a second thought): “Yeah…. I wore it for awhile, but…well, I really think I’d rather get ‘Nude’.”

And THAT, my friends, is how you can hear a pin drop in a busy department store, full of men buying perfume for their girlfriends.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let's settle this once and for all...

I know that many things in a marriage should remain in the sanctity of the home, but there are certain things that are driving me crazy.

In the kitchen.

Yes, the kitchen. Get your minds out of the gutter, friends, and help me settle a debate that is going on around my house as of late.

For the last sixteen or so years, my wonderful husband has been a delightful help in the kitchen. I do most of the cooking, but he is a whiz on the grill, and is fully in charge of birthday dinners, usually. In addition, he is ‘Ah-may-zing’ at clean-up, and I totally appreciate how hard (and cheerfully) he works to undo the damage I inflict on our kitchen in a bout of baking or cooking for the week.

But still… there are just a COUPLE of things that make me just the slightest bit nuts, especially when he acts like he’s the male equivalent of ‘The Pioneer Woman’ in our little homestead.

I’ll never forget the first time he told me I should add oregano to my tuna salad. OREGANO?? Ew, ick. I told him there was no way in hell there would be oregano in my tuna salad. He proceeded to tell me that was the way his mother ALWAYS made it. That sealed the deal. Never has oregano made its way into my tuna salad. And spare me your delightful recipes that feature a delicious pairing of the two. Not happening. It’s a matter of principal now.

But this evening, he stooped to an all-time culinary low when he rinsed my cooked ground beef with water.

Didn’t just DRAIN it of the oil, but actually rinsed it in the colander. He’s done it before, and then argues with me when I get snippy about the fact that it completely strips the meat of any flavor…so I’m putting it out to the masses (meaning the 3 of you that still come back to read the blog occasionally)…

Am I right? I’m right, right??!?

And don’t even start with me about how I might be wrong. Because I’m wielding a knife, y’all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

49 Nifty States?

My kid has been singing a new song she learned in Music class… “Fifty Nifty United States”. It’s pretty cool, and it lists the states in alphabetical order, all set to music.

That would be just about the only way I’d be able to remember all of them.

She sang the whole thing for us at dinner, having to stop every now and then to figure out which one came next.

Some states were sung with a little more panache (Ne-vah-daaaaa, O-hi-oooo, and Utaaaaah get the star treatment and some ‘jazz hands’ for good measure.)

J: “…Tennessee, Texas, Utaaaaah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wy-o-miiiiing!'

...And that's the end!”

Me: “That’s great! But, um…does poor West Virginia just get left out?”

J: “That’s just a city, anyway.

Me: “Noooo. It’s a state.”

J: “REALLY? I guess maybe it wasn’t a state back when the song was written. I think it was written in like 1993.”

Holy crap.

In that case… welcome aboard, West Virginia. ;)