Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Not All Bragging

Bryon and I were innocently eating dinner while Collin was mumbling something to himself about writing his name with his car track. We were ignoring him until his whining about not being able to make an "N" was getting incessant and then we looked over at what he was doing and realized that "holy crap! look what he did!" 
Yeah, without any help. We were, no kidding, eating while he did this. He had finished his dinner (all two bites of it, and was playing by himself (right next to the table no less) and did this all alone. He made the letters all by himself and even arranged them. Damn I'm impressed. Please ignore my near-flashing of boob. It's the only picture we have of my son's genius. Can't help it. Maybe I should have gotten dressed for the occasion. You'll pardon me for not bothering to dress right now, between the stress level and homework level, I'm lucky to brush my teeth.
In other news: My dog is, as always rising to new heights of bravery. He has allergies and fleas and he is greeting both items of news with the expected cowering. In addition, every time we leave the house, he thinks we leave the house, or he thinks we are asleep, he sneaks into the laundry room for tasty treats (aka cat poop). He's becoming quite the thorn in our side lately. Fleas and now cat poop. Eddie, we love you but you suck. It's a good thing that Collin has deemed a new purpose for you: dress-up-doll and that in your ever-patient, good-natured doggie attitude, you seem to actually like whatever attention he bestows on you, otherwise we may begin to dislike you for your antics. Although Eddie, I don't know what I'd do without your snuggles right now. Your ears feel like velvet and I'm glad that no matter how much I rub them, they don't ever rub off and you just seem to like it more and more. The other night, when I called you to me at two a.m. and you snuggled into my side and let me rub your ears for two straight hours, you earned your keep, cat poop breath and all. Good dog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meeting Jack!

You would think with all the times we've been to The Haunted Mansion, that we'd have checked "meeting Jack" off of our Disneyland list. Nope. 

Collin was so awestruck, that when he met him, he just kept sucking breath and whispering. Collin kept pointing at his own shirt and then back at Jack and finally said, "I was Jack for Halloween! I was Jack!" It was so cute. 

When we walked away, he said, "I forgot to tell him that he's the wrong Jack. His head is all squished on the sides and not round enough." I'm sure that the Disney costume designers would like to know that the nearly four-year-old boy has a critique for them. I do, however, agree with him. And everyone in line to meet this particular Jack agreed as well. It did look weird. 

He got over it though. We had another weird day there this weekend. Mommy left Daddy and Collin at lunchtime and went home to study. Boo :( They spent all afternoon at the park by themselves having Daddy and Collin fun time. I don't begrudge them their fun since Daddy and Collin won't get much time together soon; but, I missed them, especially when I see pictures of my boy looking so darn cute while I was away.
I met up with them after dinner for Collin's first Disney experience of fireworks. We've held off for a long time because he always poops out by the evening and I don't mean a little. I mean major poop out. He turns into the great pumpkin and it isn't worth the effort. We just figure eh, let's try again another day.  Since they have the snow in the street at the end of the show for the holidays we really gave it a try this time.

This is Collin's opinion of snow after the initial five seconds of being impressed by it. I don't think he even wanted Daddy to have it on his head. He was pretty convinced it was uncomfortable. And he was confused as to why it would disappear. Ah, the joy of raising a child in California where snow is a novelty because it comes out of a machine attached to a street post.

And this, my friends, is Collin, no kidding, three minutes after the fireworks were over. He slept until almost ten the next morning. I think that is the latest he's slept, ever. He didn't even know we'd bought him that flashing light saber that he begged for until after he woke up. Kind of a lucky guy, if you ask me. Maybe spoiled is the word. Nah, it can't be true. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Why I Will Hire Tutors

I went to "observe" Collin at school earlier this week. I braced myself for them to tell me that he's hyper. I know he's hyper. I've met him.

Guess what? He's hyper. 

We're working on it. We have some "strategies" and some plans and some other stuff to work on and all that.

What I wasn't prepared for was the fact that my kid is way smarter than I thought he was. See, I do workbooks at home with him because I ask him all kinds of questions all the time to sort of "test" his knowledge and see what he's picking up, because it's impossible to gauge his knowledge. He will persistently exhibit absolutely no knowledge of anything whatsoever, and then suddenly whip out random comprehension of something akin to say, the pythagorean theorem, indicating previous dishonesty of said incomprehension. So, I sort of try to do workbooks of letters, numbers, and all sorts of stuff with him to see what he's getting. 

I always fail. Why? He refuses, flat out refuses, to learn from me. It's literally like as soon as he can tell I'm trying to teach him, he can tell that something "educational" is coming out of my mouth and his brain shuts off. I've tried tricking him, by approaching the same information in "toy" format with play-doh, chalk, you name it. He figures it out at warp speed. The kid is a diabolical. 

Anyway, I assumed that all the writing work he was bringing home all year, was stuff he was tracing. I have often asked him to write for me at home. Of course, he tells me, "no." He tells me, "I don't know how." I figured the tracing was at least good for motor skills and it was good for him to see the letters and numbers and he was building a knowledge base, but heck he's almost four, he should be getting this stuff, right? 

The jig is up, child. I saw you. With my own eyes. Turns out, he WAS getting it. 
So of course, I made him do it again. 

 And pose for a picture. For posterity. Because it's nothing, if not documented.
Despite the fact that he's been doing this all stinking school year without my knowledge. 

So, thank you, child for reaffirming my failure as a parent. 

Apparently, I am incapable of teaching you anything. 

Oh, except lying. 

A Happy Veteran's Day

You might think that, in this picture, Collin is contemplating taking off his jacket. It is, after all, hot. Yes folks, November means nothing to California. Okay, it wasn't "hot" but it was certainly warm enough to wear short sleeves, and perhaps shorts, especially on a hike where you were physically exerting yourself.  Collin, however, decided that a coat was not only necessary but an all required. Had we owned mittens, he might have requested them. 

Regardless, we had a wonderful Veteran's Day, and a wonderful morning as a family. What a wonderful day to remember that our family, and the way that we live our life is so special and unique. It strikes me that so much of our family is a part of the military and that it is ingrained in us so deeply that we sometimes forget what it means anymore. It has become so much a part of us that it's second nature. Our military friends are our family, literally, and we not only salute you on Veteran's Day, we love you, truly and as people thank us, we thank you, just as deeply.

I'm sure Collin will grow up to appreciate everything that Veteran's Day means, other than an extra day with Daddy. He had a blast running through White Point, despite whining the whole way back up the hill, where he was convinced that his legs would fall off.

To break up the whining, he engaged Daddy in a "stick fight," which was was really a palm frond whacking. Daddy somehow thought that it was not unfair to choose a bigger stick than his son. I disagree.
Collin ended up with a monster splinter from his palm frond. Did you know that you could get a splinter from a palm frond? Learn something new everyday. I didn't realize that they were really "wood."

Apparently, I'm an idiot.

This Makes Me Smile...Every Time

I haven't taken an American Lit class since undergrad. Why, you might ask? Because I have an irrational fear that Walt Whitman may show up in the syllabus. 

And that, my friends, is how I feel about Walt Whitman.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The News

So, I should probably fill the world in; "world" being a relative term, right? I'm sure there are thousands of you gripping the edge of your seats right now waiting for some big announcement, right? Wait for it....wait...waaaaiiiiit....

Anyway, most of you already know that, the Air Force likes to shake things up in a big way sometimes. Bryon got promoted just a few short weeks ago and we were barely over being proud of him for that when big Daddy Air Force called and said, guess what? You know how you thought you got to stay in California for the "normal" amount of time? Put "normal" right out of your head.

Bryon has been offered a very big job at the Pentagon. We use the word "offer" very loosely here. Let's just put some things in perspective. In the last three years, Bryon has been plucked out of his job at Edwards to go to AFIT where he was at the top of his class, then got the last slot at Squadron Officer's School where, oops, darn it if he wasn't Distinguished Graduate. Oh, then boy holly if he didn't somehow make it onto the radar of the General to become his executive officer. So, when he got promoted to Major, we must've been crazy to think he'd lay low and just coast through his assignment.

Alas, you don't say no to a joint job at the Pentagon that is secret. Do I know what it is? No. Does he? No. Will I ever? No. Are we proud of him? Yes. Does it screw up our lives? Yes. Are we happy about it. Ummmm.....


It's been a few weeks and we are still figuring it all out. When we made the decision for me to go back to school, it was with the math that I'd have enough time to finish the degree, as grad credits don't traditionally transfer very well. As in, not at all. So, it was a pretty big decision.

Alas, I'm half done as of this semester. Thus, in traditional Air Force logic, when the big cheese at the Pentagon calls and says, Bryon can we have you in May, oh, just kidding, in February, oh just kidding, in January, it doesn't make the idea of dropping all my credits to move all that appealing. So, what to do?

I'm staying.

For a year.

If I keep repeating that it's only a year, one minute it sounds terrible and the next minute it sounds like it's only a year. I keep telling myself that plenty of my military sisters have done this through deployments without the luxury of visitation rights. We can do this. And heck, we are choosing it!

It's been a rough decision. It's already been more headaches, more stress, more meetings with professors, more phone calls, more e-mails, more arrangements, more decisions, more lists, just MORE than I could have ever imagined. And, he hasn't even left yet.

His report date is 14 January and if all goes according to plan, I have a really heavy semester coming in the spring, and I should be able to join him by next spring, finishing my thesis in correspondence. Collin will be starting school full time in January, which should keep both him and I busy and the time will fly (fingers crossed).

We'll miss Daddy every day and we won't know how we'll make it without him. But, we are counting on a lot of help from friends and family already and if we can survive this year, we'll survive anything.

Boys Just Want to Have Fun (Without Mommy)

Sunday was a beautiful day for Disneyland. It's pretty rare to find a beautiful day around here, right? I shut the books and went with the family to see Jack. For two hours. I know, I know. I had to go to the library and meet with a group about a presentation, so I had to be a stick in the mud and leave them. It was heartbreaking. I'm pretty sure they were all broken up about my leaving.
Collin was especially devasted about my leaving. He was especially sad because we were eating lunch at  the Star Wars Show pavillion. It's not like he was distracted or anything. It isn't like a Storm Trooper came up to him or anything like that. No. Not like one addressed him personally. Nope. He wasn't so star struck that he froze up or anything. 
In all, I'm pretty sure my leaving him alone with Daddy made him so sad that his whole day was ruined and we should start looking for therapy. He was miserable. I can tell. 
Just look at the pictures. He looks awful. Doesn't he? DOESN'T HE!? 
Shut up. 

Everyone Should Vote. Even if you are Three.

After Election Day, everyone needs to tip one back in celebration, right? 
 Aaah, Nerds. That's the stuff. 
My favorite part is that the child dressed himself on election morning, so he looks like a candidate for himself.

When we left the polling place, I wanted to see if he remembered anything about my explanation about what voting meant, what civic responsibility is, blah, blah, blah.

His summary of voting: "we just chose who is in the ruler of the whole world." Okay, good enough.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Procrastination - Thy Name is Rachel

I have a midterm today.

I have a "prospectus" due today.

Did you know that if you ad "us" to the end of a word it not only sounds fancy, it is apparently "Latin" and thus academic, smart sounding and pompous. It is also no less due than it was five minutes ago.

My prospectus is supposed to be what I want to write my seminar paper about. I don't know what to write my seminar paper about because I hate my seminar. Can I write 15-20 pages about how much I've learned that I hate Romantic Literature? Is that allowed? I'm pretty sure that it's allowed but not encouraged since my professor pretty much lives and breathes it.

My midterm however is decidedly more interesting (at least to me and the other six people who like medieval literature). Well, except for the few questions that are going to be about pronoun declension. If I even started to explain it at all, you would literally die of boredom. I did not know you could/should or would want to decline pronouns. Apparently it's an antiquated system that we have done away with. For that, I say no thank you, I decline the idea of declining pronouns. Ha, get it? What? A joke about grammar isn't funny? I thought it was. Am I the only one who gets it?

Am I studying too much? Perhaps.

Am I putting off the last few minutes of studying at this very moment. Absolutely.

Is it too stinking hot to do anything related to thinking. Absolutely.

And why, why, why is it so blazing hot in the first week of November? It is literally a thousand degrees. And why, when it it is a thousand degrees does my child insist on sleeping with the comforter on? Kids are weird.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gluttony: McClain Style

I'm ashamed to say I taught my son a terrible lesson last night. He wanted to help pass out the candy when we got back last night. Before I let him begin, I sorted through the bowl and pulled out all the Nerds. He looked at me with a look of astonishment and said, "but that's for the children!" as I set the tiny boxes on the counter.

I replied "but this is the good candy. We'll keep it for us."

The look on his face was sheer and total panic, followed by a lightbulb, as if the idea of hoarding had never occurred to him.

I spent the next thirty minutes trying to rationalize with him that we should always share and how sometimes it's okay to keep something for ourselves but it all came out like crap, because let's be honest, it was.

And that my friends is good parenting.