All posts in Ruining Childhoods

Bridge to LunchWithoutYa

With my oldest two kids, I spent a good chunk of time as a stay at home mom, and I really loved that gig. Things got done, or at least there was the appearance of things getting done. But now, alas, I work outside of my house full time, and while I love my job, DANG, nothing gets done and it’s really hard sometimes to be where I need to be for the kids. Especially for things during the day. Today was my last Lunch on the Lawn at my kids’ elementary, and I left work at 11 a.m. to grab some lunch and meet Youngest Daughter there. I had lunch and got on Interstate 74, and within a mile or two was stopped. Apparently there was a problem on the bridge going from Illinois to Iowa, and traffic was at a dead halt. I got on the Interstate at 11:20. I finally crossed the bridge at 1 p.m. A fifteen minute trip took almost two hours. I missed the lunch, my daughter didn’t eat, and she was one of the last kids to leave. *sigh*

Right at the end of the traffic jam, as I just got on the bridge, one guy in a truck decided that he wasn’t going to take any chances, so he decided to take both lanes just in case. He’s not moving in this picture. This is where he stopped his truck so I couldn’t get past him. Or the 5000 cars stopped behind me, also waiting for over an hour at least.



Oh. You drive a big truck. So clearly you have a large penis, and are going to block all lanes of traffic with it. You must be very proud of it. Where, pray tell, are the faux testicles that should be hanging from your hitch? That should be your first stop when you get out of this traffic jam. Go out and buy your balls. To match your big, long, high-performance “truck.”

So I picked up YD, took her home (it was an early out today), gave her a kiss and apologized, and then left to go back to work. Where I also had to stay late because of my long lunch in the traffic jam. Yay!

Tonight YD had her last viola concert of her elementary school career. It was lovely. We’re very ready for middle, but I will miss having my little fifth grader. All orchestra concerts end with ice cream, that’s our rule.

eva whitey


You earned it, Littlest Violist! Tomorrow night’s events? Basketball and National Honor Society induction – let the May Games continue!



The Wrong Kind of Bars

It’s May, and that’s when the lives of people with kids in school becomes “ALL SCHOOL ALL THE TIME.” I’m checking in with you so you don’t think I’ve been taken by a serial killer or gone on a crack binge. It’s not drugs or murder, it’s MAY.

Tonight we went from an after-school volleyball game to dance to a Moving to Middle session to basketball open gym, and then home to make bars for Teacher Appreciation week. And that’s just Monday. The next 14 days are pretty much the same. But let me show you how much I love our teachers:

bms bars

Buttery Crumbly Raspberry Bar Deliciousness, that’s how much!

And let me show you how pissed George is at the teachers, because he doesn’t get any bars:

bars geaorge

“Please, Dog God, let her drop something.”

Tonight was the Parent Meeting for children moving to middle school. Youngest Daughter is going to be a middle schooler, so I’m going to have to turn in my Young Mom punch card, I will officially be out of elementary. Honestly, I like the older kids. Elementary kids are adorable, for real, but the teenagers are the ones I really love. They are so funny and smart and clever, and they still believe anything is possible. So YD going to middle school is an exciting time.

Here is one way elementary is different than middle – in elementary, they talk about the kid drop off in terms like “We ask politely that you refrain from parking in non-designated parking spots so everyone can live in harmony.” At the middle school, they have bigger fish to fry than the dropoff, so put on your big girl panties. Here are the instructions:


The teacher explaining it even said “Do your hugs and kisses at home, but when you pull up in front of the school, open the door and kick that kid out of the car and keep moving, or you’ll be the one backing traffic up three blocks.” I’m sure some parents will be put off by his sentiments, but I’ve been dropping kids off at that middle school since 2008, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in my van saying out loud “Come on people, dump and run. Get that kid out of the car, and keep moving, I’ve got to get to work!”

I can’t wait. 2014-2015 is going to be a great school year.

Hope your May is survivable!


Damn You, Wesson!


It has been a wackadoodle couple of weeks – I can’t even do a Day in the Wife, I’m going to have to go to Two Weeks In the Wife, which sounds like someone needs a bath. But I digress.

Both Youngest Daughter and Oldest Daughter were in the high school production of The Music Man, which I hadn’t seen before – and I LIVE IN IOWA. I think if the authorities in Iowa find out you haven’t seen The Music Man, they take you to the Missouri border and drop you off.

music man


I give you Ethel Toffelmier and Amaryllis. 

What did I learn? That OD can do the splits, and that YD can sing a little bit. It was fun and I’m always eagerly anticipating when it’s over after two months of hardcore rehearsals, and then sad when it finally ends. Everyone in the production was just so good, we are loaded to the gills with talent at this school. I love the drama kids.

The Son had three track meets in the last week, and got personal bests in three events – he can high jump at 5’2 now, he runs a 2:31 800-meter, and a 5:25 mile, which is not as fast as I can eat a half dozen donuts, but he’s getting there.

YD’s birthday was during the musical weekend, which means it was all but forgotten. One of her classmates has the same birthday, and his mom texted me and said “Is it okay if we do Friday this year for treats?” and I was like “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YES.” because I hadn’t even thought about treats yet. We’ll take Monday!

But, oops. We forgot on Sunday. Crap.

Then on Monday, while apologizing for not having birthday treats for the day, she said, “Mom, I really want brownies. I don’t want cupcakes or cookies or anything. Just brownies.” and of course I said “Okay, that’s great, brownies tomorrow!” because at that point I probably would have offered to bring puppies for everyone in the class if she had asked.

photo (48)

Are YOU going to tell this baby she can’t have brownies?
My kingdom for a quick 10 minute snuggle with this one.

I bought two boxes of brownie mix, a big foil sheet pan, and eggs, and when I got home from an appointment at 10 p.m. I started making brownies. The mix was in the bowl, the oven preheated and….


I’m out of vegetable oil. Seriously. And it’s now 10:30 and I need 36 brownies by sunrise. Damn you, Wesson! Damn you to hell!

The Son sees my distress and immediately goes to the Internet. “Mom! You can substitute apple sauce for vegetable oil!” I do have applesauce. How bad could it be?

Well, it’s not that bad. But not the same. So my family is eating the applesauce brownies, and I made another pan of chocolate lard bars to send to the school today.

Because sending the birthday treats four days after the birthday isn’t that bad, right?



There Will Be Books in Prison

Conversation at our table tonight:

Youngest Daughter: “Mom, I have this homework sheet for school, I need to start doing the things in these boxes.”

ME: “Great. I love homework that involves extra activities. What are we doing?”

YD: “Not much. It says you can read to me while I’m taking a bath, but since I don’t take a bath and won’t let you in when I’m showering, that’s out.”

ME: “Relief. What else?”

YD: “Here’s Plant a flower and watch it grow.”

ME: “But since it is still below zero, I don’t think we can dig a hole in the tundra. Next.”

YD: “Find some facts about Daylight Savings Time.”

ME: “What class is this for?”

YD: “Reading.”

BOTH OF US: ?????

YD: “This one sounds creepy. Take your child to the park and count the children.”


ME: “See how many kids fit in your van. Tell them there is candy.”

YD: “Or puppies and free One Direction CD’s.”

OLDEST DAUGHTER, WITHOUT LOOKING UP FROM HER PHONE: “See how many you can fit in your van and then drive away as fast as you can to the next state and then you get to the airport and you fly to Mexico where another unmarked van will be waiting for you. Put the children in the second van and drive to the capitol building and talk to no one. Sell them all. Tomorrow, go bowling.”

ME: “Yikes.”

OD: “You started it. This is your DNA talking now, sister.”

And that’s how we do homework at our house. I’m feeling confident that it will be a long time before either of my girls get married.