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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Easily Offended

Do you ever notice there are people who just WANT to be offended? Like they're waiting for someone to say anything (even the most benign comment) so that they can go off on them? I guess this is nothing new. It's why we have the phrase "a chip on your shoulder." 

I knew a girl like this in elementary school. In fact, she made us all so nervous that we were going to say something wrong that I don't even know how to write the story without possibly offending her. So I'll just put it like this: we couldn't even say the color of a shirt if it was the same color as her skin without her saying, "You talking about me? You got a problem with ME?" 

I feel like that girl represents all the people who are offended by the VW Superbowl ad. Take a look if you haven't seen it yet: 

So this "ad expert" was on The Today Show and she said the spot was "so racist." I just don't see that at all. I think it's a stretch to say that anyone could be offended. The expert also said the guy in the ad was "talking black" which sounds more potentially offensive to me than the ad itself.

Here's why I don't think it's offensive: The happy guy is talking in a Jamaican accent. He's happy. He's got the island mentality. So VW is saying people who live in Jamaica are happy. They're positive. They look on the bright side of things. And Jamaican people should be offended?

Let's say they had the guy doing a German accent (which might actually make more sense). And he was still happy but he was drinking beer and polka dancing. Then is it racist?
How about Italians? They're happy, living the dolce vita, right? So what if the happy guy had an Italian accent and drank wine and ate pasta? Is VW still offending people?

So those of you who are offended, ask yourself two questions:
1. If I apply this to other groups, is it still offensive?
2. Am I REALLY offended? Or do I just think I'm supposed to be offended?

Okay, that's three questions. And if you're still offended then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. If you choose to get vocal about your angst towards the ad, though, you know who will thank you? The folks at VW who just sold a bunch more cars.

Sit Gus Bottom

Here it is, Gus' first sentence: "Sit Gus Bottom." It means he wants you to help him sit in a chair or the couch or lately, a bar stool. I took this video a week ago and since then he says it more clearly (although I still don't think anyone would know what he was saying without a translator). 

In fact, now he says "I sit Gus Bottom" so it makes a little more sense. He'll say it over and over again until you help him into the chair. It's pretty cute. 

And speaking of pretty cute, here is a variation on his sentence: "Shake Gus Bottom." Enjoy! 

Friday, January 25, 2013


I've always envied people who have jobs that require them to wear scrubs. They look so comfortable. Elastic pants, roomy shirt, no worries about "is this okay for work?" or "did I wear this on Monday?" as you're getting dressed. And if you spill something on your scrubs, you just pull another pair out of the dispenser. (They come in a big tissue-like box, right?)

Doctors and nurses definitely need to wear scrubs. They have to be comfortable. And I suppose scrubs provide some level of sanitation? Actually, I'm not really sure why they have to wear scrubs but I accept it.

Have you noticed, though, that the number of jobs where it's appropriate to wear scrubs has increased? It's like if you have any tie at all to the medical field, you're sporting scrubs. Like the receptionist at a doctor's office. She sits at the front desk all day, doesn't even go into the exam rooms. Does she really need to wear scrubs? Wouldn't it make more sense for her to wear a twin set?

Leo's occupational therapist wears scrubs. I get that. OTs do a lot of physical work. It would be hard to do all that they do in a button down shirt and slacks. But at the same place, the speech pathologists wear scrubs. Come on. I call that cheating.

Because if speech pathologists, who sit in a room with one kid at at time, need to wear scrubs then teachers should certainly get to wear 'em. Those folks really need to be comfortable, dealing with 30 kids at a time.

And what about construction workers? I bet they'd prefer to be wearing the loose ensemble while they hammer away in all sorts of weather. Actually, they probably need to be more covered. Bad idea.

You know who needs scrubs the most? Stay at home moms! Boy, would I love it if scrubs were our uniform. I'd get a pair with my name and title on it! And I'd definitely get some with silly critters all over them. Scrubs would be perfect for taking the kids to preschool, going to work out, cleaning the house, chasing escape artists, changing diapers, cooking, picking up thrown food, wiping up spills, doing laundry, blogging!

I have heard, though, that scrubs can cause you to gain weight. That's because you don't notice you're packing on the pounds due to the loose fitting waist band. It expands as you expand!

So maybe I won't push for it among the stay at home mom crowd. Did ya hear that, doctor's office receptionists?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pretty Funny

Over the weekend David, Laura, Ellie and Charlie came to visit: 

Leo says to Ellie, "Isn't my mommy pretty?" 

Ellie says, "Yes she is...but I'm prettier." 

Hey, she just calls it like she sees it! Here is Ellie, the fairest of them all. 

And here are all the pretty cousins (Charlie, Leo, Gus and Ellie), riding a horse at La Hacienda Ranch. 

Gettin' Our Business Done

Mornings were getting too hectic around here. I mean, if it's hard to get out the door for 9am preschool, how will we ever get out the door for before the rooster when it comes time for elementary school? 

We needed a system. 

(Now you're gonna want to get your Pinterest buttons ready because this is PRETTY clever.) 

We call the things Leo has to do in the morning "his business." He has to "get his business done before he can have fun." There's even a little song to it. He has to go potty, put on his shoes and socks and brush his teeth. Once he completes those tasks he can watch the iPad until it's time to go to school. How fast he gets his business done determines how much iPad time he has. 

One day I asked him to do a couple extra things--put his sticker on his sticker chart, do a worksheet from school plus his three items of business. I needed to blow dry my hair so I couldn't remind him before every step. Instead, I drew it in a cute little to do list: 

I'm no artist but Leo got the picture. He LOVED it because he got to mark an "X" each time he finished a task. (He prefers X's to check marks because of the pirate connection, obviously.) So lately Leo's been getting his business done in record time! 

Gus is really happy about that, as you can see. Or really, he's just excited to be at Marble Slab. 

I do have something to say about Gus with regards to getting his business done. He is OBSESSED with brushing his teeth. He wants to do it about six times a day. He reaches towards his toothbrush (a new spin brush!) and says, "Ah Buh Tee" which means "I Brush Teeth" (not that anyone but his mommy would understand that). He cries when we take it away.
You might think this means Gus has awesome oral hygiene. It does not. I refer you to the sentence above that says "He is OBSESSED with brushing his teeth." I didn't say he was obsessed with having ME brush his teeth. He basically just sucks on the toothbrush. If it weren't for the spinning action, I don't think one of his teeth would get cleaned. But I like to think, that after six times a day, for five minutes each time, at least four are getting brushed. Right?

I don't have time to fight with him about it. I have crafty to-do lists to draw!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Leo and Gus' New Year's Resolutions

Dress up as a cowboy at least once a week. Now that we're in Texas, we want to fit in. 

Play basketball while wearing footed pajamas; it helps me to slide on the court.

Decorate this house finally, starting with mommy and daddy's closet.

Wear my new clothes and try to act surprised when hoards of people compliment me on how good I look.

Also, try to get daddy to dress like us as much as possible.

Climb onto the barstool by myself--check. Work on not falling off. 

Bake. Sample. Repeat.

Cuddle and/or wrestle with each other.

Get more sleep.

Happy 2013!
Leo and Gus

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

I wanna hold your hand...or maybe I don't

I've been Catholic for almost eleven years. They call people like me "converts." It kinda sounds like "convicts" (which I guess is what they think you could end up as if you don't convert). I didn't make that drastic of a change, really. I was Episcopalian and because of that, I still maintain I should have been fast-tracked through the nine-month course.

That's because in lots of ways the two religions are the same--we say basically the same things at mass; we do the sign of the cross (except Episcopalians go back to the middle at the end of it) and we're all cool with drinking wine. I really appreciate that in a religion.

But here's something the Catholics do that I've never seen at an Episcopal church: they hold hands during The Lord's Prayer.

I have never liked this. And it's not because I loathe holding a stranger's hand (although it's not my favorite). It's because I'm never sure if the person next to me is going to do it or not. See, most people hold hands but some people don't. You never know who you've got next to you!

If that didn't sound awkward enough, it gets worse. When it comes time to say "Our Father..." everyone lifts their hands up like this:

Okay, not as high as the lady in the third row but you get the point. This makes it even more confusing! Is the person next to you lifting up their hands in praise or are they hand-holders? You don't know. You have to decide if you're going to make a move or just have your raised hands hover there next to each other. I just wish the church would tell us one way or the other and make it mandatory. They seem to do that with everything else.

Last Sunday Frank and I sat in the sanctuary while the kids went to the nursery. We are usually out in the narthex with them so I wasn't privy to what goes on at "big church." During the Our Father the dude next to me raised his hands and we were sitting so close that I thought I HAD to hold his hand. So I put my hand on his and he barely clasped it. Then I look around and notice that most people ARE NOT holding hands. Yikes! It's not a hand-holding church! How was I to know? I don't even think this guy was holding hands with his family member sitting next to him.

Oh, and another thing different in the Catholic church: when you get to the part about "deliver us from evil" you pause. The priest then says this whole thing about "deliver us from every evil and grant us peace in our day..." and it feels like it goes on for seven minutes. There I am, holding hands with some stranger who may or may not want to hold my hand and I just cannot wait until we get to "the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours." What a relief when that is over! Then you get to "The Peace" which has its own set of sociological flaws. (Do I peace the people behind me first? In front? Next to me? What if I put my hand out but they're shaking someone else's hand? Do I move on? Wait? Ahhh!)

When we were leaving mass on Sunday I said to Frank, "I don't think this is a hand-holding church. I kind of had to force the guy next to me to hold my hand." Frank said, "I know what you mean. I had to force the lady next to me. I saw that you were doing it so I thought I should too."

Great. Now Frank and I have some sort of reputation. We need to go back to the narthex with the kids. Or better yet, to confession.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Things I wish I liked: Wearing PJs all day

So we're fresh off the holidays and that means the clock is ticking on getting those decorations down. Well, my personal clock starts on January 1st (although I'm over it all by 12/27) and thankfully my volunteers (husband, dad and 4-year-old), took it all down by my deadline. I give everyone else until after Epiphany. Then I start to judge.

Anyway, this isn't about my Christmas decorations stance. It's one of my "famous" things I wish I liked. And since it was the holidays I heard a lot of people say things like, "Oh, it was so nice. Today we just stayed in our jammies all day!" And you know what? That DOES sound nice! Especially, if it's a cold and/or rainy/snowy day (any precipitation counts), wearing pajamas is awesome. With their elastic waistbands, flannel material and oversized tops, they've got to be the second most comfortable thing next to scrubs. (The entire healthcare industry is really a step ahead of the rest of us when it comes to their work uniforms but that's another blog.) Plus, you completely eliminate a step in the getting-ready-for-the-day process.  You don't have to figure out what to wear; you don't have to put it on. And not bothering with a bra is so freeing. Am I right, ladies?

But I can't do it. Except for Christmas (when I did get dressed by about 3:00), I don't think I've ever spent the day or even the majority of the day in my pajamas. I don't even let my kids eat breakfast in their pajamas. (Cruel mom alert!) Leo's clothes are laid out for him and he puts them on before he comes downstairs. The first thing I do when Gus gets up is put some clothes on the kid. To be honest, his PJs are usually a little damp anyway. Who would want to sit around in those? I'd have to put on new PJs and that's just silly.

If I were to wear my PJs all day I just don't think I could be productive. I would just feel icky. Like the way I feel when I turn on the TV during the day and Days of Our Lives is on. Makes me feel dirty, guilty, sloth-like.

It's not like I have to be dressed up or anything. I mean, a velour track suit is just fine. But if I wore said velour track suit to bed then I would have to change upon waking. Showering is optional.

You folks who can do jammy days are inspiring. I'm not saying you're TOTALLY lazy. It's just that you seem to be able to embrace that laziness and I admire that. I wish I could be that comfortable being comfortable.

Wearing PJs all day: I wish I liked you, but I don't.

(Oh, and if I come over and you're having a PJ day, don't feel like you need to change. But I would prefer it if you would put on a bra...and take down your Christmas tree. )

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Pirate Passion

Many years from now when I look back at all the phases the boys went through--balls, trains, cars, dinosaurs, soccer, video games, skate boards, guitars, girls--I think the weirdest one will be pirates. Currently Leo is all pirates all the time. And coincidentally enough, the McDonald's by our house is pirate-themed. In the picture above Leo is posing with pirate Ronald; he played there today while wearing his new pirate sweater. He'd be wearing his pirate hat as well but I left it in the car.

It started with Jake and the Neverland Pirates, an innocent Disney show. So at first he was just into Jake and Jake happened to be a pirate. He didn't even say all the phrases right: "Ahoy, Maybe!" But somewhere along the way it morphed into an obsession with all things pirate-related. He watched a pirate movie, went to a pirate museum, has a toy pirate ship, constantly does a pirate puzzle, plays with all his toy pirates (including the cast of Jake and Pirates of the Caribbean), puts pirate stickers on everything, wears his pirate hat and uses pirate lingo in regular conversation. (Betcha didn't know that "Frosty" is an insult as in "You Frosty Mommy!")

Today he held "Pirate School" in which we had to listen to a lecture on different kinds of skulls and crossbones.  Apparently some are scary and some are not. At the end Leo said, "Any questions?" And Frank asked, "How do I know the difference between crossbones and an X?" They then had a spirited debate about this.

Three more funny pirate notes:

  • He likes to go to Petsmart to look at the fish because some of them have pirate-themed tanks. 
  • When we do the pirate puzzle, we have to talk like pirates: "Arggh, that piece goes over there" and "Shiver me timbers, if I put that piece under that one I'm gonna have to walk the plank!" 
  • He calls his Jack Sparrow pirate Johnny Depp. (No idea who taught him that!) 
While I think this is an odd phase, I hope it sticks at least until he turns five. Target has super cute pirate-themed birthday stuff and that McDonald's has a very affordable party package. Ahoy, Maybe!