Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A houseful of drunks...

Yesterday morning's conversation with Lauren:

Lauren: Where's daddy?
Me: Where do you think daddy went?
Lauren: Daddy at him friend's house drinkin' a beer?
Me: (choke on mountain dew, giggle hysterically) No, Daddy's at work!
Lauren: Daddy at him work drinkin' a beer?
Me: (totally speechless from laughing so hard)

The weirdest thing about this is that while yes, we have beer in the house, I can't even remember the last time Jim went out with a friend, and I don't recall ever telling her that Daddy was drinkin' beer with his friends.

I wonder what she tells the babysitter.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I love snow. I hate driving in snow. I especially hate driving in snow so heavy I can't see the highway ten feet in front of the car.

It was a long drive home tonight.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Random pictures


Lest you think I forgot a child yesterday, here is the last of my kid updates.

Oliver is 9 1/2 months old.
- He has five teeth.
- He LOVES to have his armpits tickled.
- He's starting to cruise around the furniture, and he pushes his sister's princess toy around the house. When he crawls, he uses his left knee and his right foot, so that he's in position to sit/stand whenever he gets to where he's going - I'll have to videotape it for posterity.
- He eats everything he finds on the floor. I vacuum every day, because I HATE to have to dig for slobbery carpet fuzz/dried up food/small toys when he's gagging on them.
- He has an unhealthy obsession with the laptop power cord. It's the best toy in the house, apparently. Oh, how I wish for a new mac with the magnetic power connection, but alas, it is not to be.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Lauren turned two in September, and she's been driving me CRAZY ever since! :) She's beautiful and SO SMART, but man is that girl strong-willed!

- She loves to watch Dora the Explorer and Yo Gabba Gabba - these are "mine shows" in Lauren-speak. I bought her a hideous bright yellow Yo Gabba Gabba t-shirt at Walmart last week that she now loves.

- She talks. All the time. And if you don't answer her, she keeps repeating herself 'til you do. At her 2-year checkup, the doctor said that a "typical" two year old knows around 50 words; I'd put her at knowing at least several hundred. She can't say her "l"s, so her name sounds like "warren." :) Currently: where your sketti go? in the mic-wave? you gonna eat it now? my sketti spillin' on mine lap. I get it. I eat with my fingers. you usin' yours fork?

- She also loves to sing. I have a video of her singing "you are my sunshine" which I'll have to upload one of these days.

- She twists her hair around her fingers when she's tired, which has led to great big tangles, and a haircut last week. She looks very grown up now. :)

- her favorite new game is to "wessle" with her brother, who just finished a wrestling program at school and likes to practice his moves on her.

- potty training is not going so well. I thought over the summer that we'd have it done by the time she turned two, but she lost interest. She says "no wear pannees, I want a diaper!" *sigh*

- she's been hitting and pushing Oliver around, and then she says "I mean to Oliver. I sit in time-out now." And she runs to the time-out chair all by herself. Somehow I don't think this is how it's supposed to work.


Matthew is keeping busy with school and homework and his friends.
- He seems to have totally adjusted to wearing glasses, and he doesn't really complain about wearing them at all any more.
- He's doing better in school, but I think there's room for improvement. I'm not sure what to do about it, though - I'm usually gone (in class) when he's doing his homework in the afternoons, and we're not getting a lot of feedback from the school about his progress. I think I'm going to just relax about it and see how the rest of the year goes. I know he's a smart kid, and C's in 3rd grade really aren't going to follow him forever. He seems to understand the material, but he's having trouble staying focused more than anything. We're still having issues with him complaining about reading - not sure what's up with that. It worked GREAT when we committed to turning off the tv at 8 every night and everyone read from 8 to 9, but that only lasted...oh...a week? Maybe we'll try that again.
- I finally gave up and cleaned his room for him. I threw away two bags of trash, and put the junk in boxes. Next task, sorting the junk. He has way too much stuff.
-Nothing much else going on in his life. School, homework, and playing..that's about it.

Jen's parenting advice for today

When your small children are driving you crazy, just strap 'em in their high chairs and plop them in front of Yo Gabba Gabba. Tell yourself that it's so you can write the paper that is due today, but instead of writing your philosophy of education, write blog posts instead.

Happy Monday! :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Can I take a nap instead?"

Another example of my stellar parenting skills:

Matthew is in third grade. His reading goal for the 9 weeks is 20 Reading Counts points, achieved by taking tests over approved books at his level. He's been reading the same book since the first week of school. Yes, it's a long book, and yes, it's a bit advanced for him, but he chose it, and I wasn't about to let him give up halfway through because it was "too hard." (It's not too hard, by the way.)

So we've been working really hard at reading every night, but I don't get home from class till after 8 most nights, so it's been slow going. He has TWO chapters left. Probably 30 minutes of reading if he focuses. I told him an hour ago, after he played all day, that he needed to finish his book.

He brings his book into the kitchen, where I'm feeding Oliver some disgusting pureed ham and apples, and starts to play with Oliver.

Mom: Matthew, go read someplace where you won't be distracted.

Kid: But I thought I'd read out here with you.

Mom: Please go read someplace where you won't be distracted.

But I'll be kind of lonely out there (Note: "out there" means seven feet away in the livingroom.)

Mom: Go read now or you'll have to read in your room.

Can I go to the bathroom first?

Mom: Yes, you may go to the bathroom, but then you need to start reading.

Five minutes later, I hear the sound of someone slithering across the floor behind the couch. Lauren is in her high chair eating raisins, and Oliver is sitting by my feet.

Mom: Matthew?

What? (Sticks head out from behind couch, where he's apparently been hiding)

Mom: What are you doing?


Mom: Why aren't you reading?

I don't know.

Mom: Please get your book.

(Gets book, opens to right chapter, starts reading aloud verrrrrry slowly in annoying high-pitched voice. I ignore.)

Mom, I have....(flips pages)...only twelve pages left!

Mom: Quit counting and READ THEM!

(Flops over on the couch. A moment later, slides to an upside-down position and tries to read his book upside-down hanging over the edge of the couch.)

Mom: Okay, apparently you can't focus on your book out here. Please go to your room.

(acts shocked) But....I was going to read!

Mom: Please go read in your room. You can come out when you finish the book.


Mom: You may not come out until your book is finished.

Can I take a nap instead?

Mom: I don't care, but I don't want to see you out here again until your book is finished. So if you start to get hungry or thirsty, you'd better read faster.

Can I have a drink now?

Mom: Yes, you may have a drink now. You have ten seconds. One, two, three.... (he sits and looks at me until about seven, then runs to the kitchen)

Mom: Now take your book and go. (He stomps to his room and slams the door)

30 minutes later, door opens, kid emerges.


Mom: Is your book done?

No, but...

Mom: Then go back in your room.

But I fell asleep!

Mom: Go back in your room.

(slams door again)

Five minutes later, door opens again.

Mom, what can I have to eat?


(meekly returns to room)

Two minutes later:


Mom: You'd better be bleeding.

My ear thingy came off my glasses.

(I fix the ear thingy, which he apparently pulled off, and sent him back to his room again.)

Another five minutes passes.

Mom, I only have two short chapters left. Can I please read out there? (Note: he only had two short chapters left when he was sent to his room. Progress in the last hour or so: 0 pages)

Mom: GET IN YOUR ROOM NOW! I don't want to see or hear you again till your book is finished!

(Seriously....I really don't get why he doesn't like to read. I read at least two or three books a week on top of my college class reading. His reading ability is considerably above grade level. We have TONS of books in the house, we often read together, and we've been reading to him since he was a baby. So I'm not sure where this is coming from. Probably the same place where the D's on math tests are coming from.)

Eight questions for the Powers That Be...

1. How is it possible that my not-quite-crawling baby can spot ONE TINY SPECK OF DIRT halfway across the house, and manage to scoot all the way there and have it in his mouth in 3.2 seconds?

2. Why is it so much more fun for two-year-olds to take pots and pans out of cupboards than it is to put them back in?

3. Why am I the worst mom ever because my eight-year-old can't watch television until his room is clean? (He's had the ability to earn tv rights for FOUR WEEKS, and yet he resists. Eventually the bedroom will be condemned by the health department, or maybe I'll find a family of raccoons nesting in the closet clutter.)

4. Why do I hate cleaning my kitchen, when I love having a clean kitchen?

5. What's wrong with wrinkly laundry?

6. Why am I writing blog posts when I should be studying?

7. Who the heck came up with the idea for Yo Gabba Gabba?

8. Why didn't I take a nap when I had a chance today?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kid update

Oliver will be 6 months old next week! I can't believe how quickly this past year has gone. He's starting to sit on his own, and he can roll over (if he wants to - he's usually content to stay where I put him). We started feeding him cereal, but he's not too interested in it yet. He's babbling and cooing all the time, and he's such a happy baby. :)

is well into the "terrible twos" even though her birthday isn't until September. We're working on potty-training, which has been interesting. She wants to empty the potty all by herself. She wears the potty on her head and calls it a hat. She likes to run around naked yelling "no diaper!" It seems like it's just one battle after another with this one. But she's so sweet...yesterday I was a little bit overwhelmed with everything, and she kept coming up and saying "Mommy sad? Hug? Tiss? Mommy all better!"

Matthew has been spending the summer watching tv, playing with Lauren and Oliver, swimming at the pool, riding his bike, and playing video games. What a life, eh? He's excited about starting third grade in the fall.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Com 410 Unit 5

Unit 5 was about gender issues in the classroom and the workplace. We talked about the different ways male and female students and employees are treated differently - I thought it was really interesting to find out that many teachers give male students longer to answer questions! We also looked at gender bias in textbooks - this isn't something I've ever really noticed, but it's something I'll pay attention to in the future.

The other thing I really focused on in this unit is the differences between men and women when balancing school/work and families. It seems that even though more and more men are taking responsibility for child rearing, it's still the woman's job to do most of the parenting. And when women are also students or members of the workforce, our plates get really full! We discussed in the forum a lot about how women seem to be much better at multitasking - I'm still wondering whether this is partly biological or if it's completely a cultural phenomenon.

Com 410 Unit 4

Unit 4 focused on gender issues related to friendship and romantic relationships, as well as power issues.

One of the things I found most interesting was the issue of power versus empowerment. This was listed by the text as one of the common tensions within romantic relationships. I find that this is the issue that most frequently causes tension in my own relationship - we usually both want to be the one with the power and in control. I don't think either one of us is good at making sure the other is empowered. I really think that working on this issue would help a lot in our relationship.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


(Alternate title: how to cram 15 hours of video lectures into four or five hours)

In one of the Harry Potter books, Hermione uses a time-turner so that she can take twice the number of classes as anyone else. Sounds crazy, right?

Yeah. I need one.

Fifteen 50-minute lectures for my history class that I haven't watched yet. Exam to be finished by 11:59 pm. I'm at work till 3. Kids and supper and baths etc also will need done.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Com 410 Unit 3

One thing I thought was really interesting is how our society uses language to reflect how we see gender. I have an ongoing interest in linguistics, and this is one of the things about language that fascinates me: Language simultaneously reflects and shapes culture. Another interesting thought: the words we choose to use say something about who we are, both as individuals and as a member of a particular culture.

According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, language and thought are interconnected. Therefore, using nonsexist language is the first step towards nonsexist thought - and when our thoughts are not gender-biased, neither will our society be.

There are several examples of sexist language - some of them are obvious, some of them are more subtle, and some of them I'd never even thought of before!

Man-linked terminology involves terms like "manned space flight" or "a man of few words," as well as words like mankind, watchman, foreman, etc. The text suggests using alternative words and phrases to avoid these types of sexist language.

Another example is the problem with pronouns. I was taught that the masculine pronouns were acceptable as a general pronoun for all humans. On the other hand, we often make assumptions about the sex of a person based on other information, such as occupation. It seems obvious that this tendency is outdated, but it's still common for college students today to identify lawyers, judges, and engineers with a masculine pronoun, and babysitters, teachers and nurses with a feminine pronoun.

I also thought the concept of "marking" was very interesting. This involves using a sex-identifying adjective in front of a noun in order to designate it as unusual - the lady officer, the male teacher, the female soldier, etc. This marking tends to have an isolating affect on people singled out as "abnormal."

Com 410 Unit 2

Unit 2 was primarily about gender roles in our society, especially regarding media portrayals of gender.

When we were studying Unit 2, I had a hard time thinking about media depictions of gender roles, because it wasn't something I ever paid much attention to. Since then, I've been more mindful of the stereotypes portrayed by the media, especially in sitcoms.

I've noticed several things: Most notably, men are almost always portrayed as stupid. They don't know how to take care of their kids. They make fun of their wives, and get in trouble. They lie and hide things, and get caught. Women are almost always portrayed as more intelligent. However, women are shown to be more emotional and less rational, somewhat vindictive and angry, and they're always bad cooks! Whether or not a woman has a job outside the house, her primary role shown in sitcoms is that of a homemaker.

I need to spend some more time paying attention to's very interesting.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Com 410 Unit 1

(This post is the first in a series of observations and thoughts about what I'm learning in my Com 410 - Gender Communications class.)

In Unit 1, we looked at our preconceived notions of gender communication, talked about the basic definitions and terms involved in the idea of gender communication, and we looked at the "personal effectiveness" approach to gender communication.

I was also really interested in the six values the text talked about that are valuable in long-term effectiveness in gender communications. The values I thought were most important:

Value 1: Equality of Power. I think equality of power in gender communication is one of the most important in my life, especially in my communication with my husband. In our relationship, much of the conflict stems from issues of power and control. My husband was an only child in a household which gave him an unhealthy amount of power over the family dynamics. Sometimes he seems to think the entire world revolves around him, and he expects to be in control of many situations that should involve our shared influence. Therefore, working towards an even distribution of power is important for us to be able to communicate effectively. I like how the text defines empowerment as the shared approach to power that capitalizes on each partner’s strengths in the relationship.

Value 2: Talking About it Makes it Better. Again, relating to my personal life, I think this is another critical aspect of effective gender communication. My husband is one of the stereotypical “keep it bottled up inside until you explode” types, which leads to a great deal of conflict and struggle within our relationship. A mutual understanding of the benefits of talking things over would help us have more successful communication in our relationship. On the other hand, the common opinion is that men don’t agree with this value, and they’d much rather ignore problems or pretend they don’t exist rather than risk a “relationship conversation.”

Value 5: Being Open-Minded and Willing to Change. The text states that “open-mindedness and the ability to change are positive values for all relationships.” I think this is a very important part of effective communication in any form. The willingness to listen to the other person and to change one’s mind when necessary is crucial to a good interpersonal dynamic – why should I talk to you if I know I’ll never succeed in getting through to you? One recent example of this: My husband and I have been trying to sell our expensive SUV and get a cheaper vehicle, but with three kids, our options are fairly limited. I was dead set against a minivan (I was hoping for a roomy wagon or crossover), but he convinced me that the extra space in a minivan would be worth the humiliation of driving it.

Value 6: Treating Another Person as an Individual. Finally, treating everyone as an individual goes a long way towards effective communications. Besides the obvious avoidance of characterizing my husband as just another insensitive jerk who forgot my birthday (which is inaccurate and not helpful in any way, even if he did forget my birthday), noticing individuality helps us to make the most of interactions with others by not having preconceived notions of how the other person will behave.

The kids

Keeping Up

I'm trying to commit to posting every day. I can manage to spend a bit of time each day reading blogs, so I oughta be able to write each day too, right?

I have a moment of relative quiet right now....Oliver is asleep; Matthew's watching YouTube videos on his computer, and Lauren is in her high chair eating breakfast and watching Franklin.

I think I figured out how to add my flickr photos as a widget. If you read this, let me know if it works, okay?

Friday, March 28, 2008

running commentary of a conversation with a seven year old.

(punctuated by occasional uh-huhs from me....)

I'll be 17 when Lauren's....11....I'll be 19 when she's 12, I'll be 20 when she's 8.

I'm going to have to wait till I'm 18 to get my driver's license, won't I? Because I was born in the summer, I'm gonna get my driver's license late? Like I'm prob'ly gonna have to wait till summer?

Please tell me not to fall asleep? Because I wanna stay awake because I have all my legos up here. But, I'm kinda sleepy.

Is it raining? Because the screen is really fuzzy.

Okay. this guy has a broken arm and a broken hand.