Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Tooth What?

Please notice the permanent tooth visible behind the line of baby teeth

Nate: Mom! Mom! I lost my very first tooth! But not if you count the one the dentist took out. . .

Mom: Right. You lost the loose one that didn't rot and have to be pulled because you refused to brush it. Awesome! Go put it under your pillow.

Nate: Well. . . I already did put it under your pillow.

Mom: Really? Because the tooth fairy will never find it there. She's going to look under your pillow and see nothing and not leave any money. (might I possibly just maybe get a night without his feet in my back?)

Nate: Well. . . I can put my pillow in your bed and then she can find me there.

Mom: Nope, no go dude. She's headed for your bed, so if you want the cash, you'd better be in your bed with the tooth.

7 hours later, still lobbying to sleep in my bed:

Nate: Mom, why do you think I believe the tooth fairy is real? I think she is a myth. Because fairies aren't real. So I guess she is a fairy tale.

Mom: Really?

Nate: Yes, I think it is just a parent that lives in the house with the kids and takes the tooth and sneaks it to the garbage and doesn't let any of the kids see them and then takes some money from their pocket and leaves it under a pillow. So they don't have to sleep in their bed. Because your bed is softer and they could sleep better there. And besides, do you remember that fairies don't exist? So could you just let me put it under your pillow and I can go to sleep?

Mom: Nope. Go to your bed.

Nate: But why not? Then you don't even have to get out of bed to be the tooth fairy. You can just wait until I fall asleep and put the tooth in the garbage and give me money. How much money do you think you will give me?

Mom: Hey Nate. Do I look like the tooth fairy? I don't know what the going rate is for overused baby teeth and I can't tell you the tooth fairy can find you in my bed. Go to your bed, pull the covers up and go to sleep, or the tooth fairy ain't coming and there's no money for you. Whatever you choose is fine. Except you must be in your room.

Nate: OHHH KAAAAY. But I bet Dad's the tooth fairy then.

I can't wait to tell Dave that Nate called him a fairy. . .

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friends of Scouting

So, let's talk about Scouts. Specifically, let's talk about Cub Scouts and their upcoming summer camp in our area.

Because I love the full disclosure bit, I should take this opportunity to remind everyone that I am Mormon, or LDS, or belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or any other respectful way you would like to refer to my religion. It comes into play here.

Next week, I have the pleasure of attending Cub Scout Day Camp for the 5th or 90th year in a row. It certainly feels like 90 years, but since we mostly wander after boys making sure they don't poke arrows into soft places or walk in front of a loaded BB gun, it's not the end of the world. Hot, tiring, a wee bit on the boring side, but hey. I can do anything once a year. Except for this particular camp, ever again. Because these guys are a little nuts.

Silly me, when a mandatory meeting for everyone attending CS camp as adult volunteers was announced, I figured I could handle it. Little did I know the other side of scouting. And for those of you who are lifelong avid scouters, congratulations. I do believe it takes a special someone to have this kind of passion. I do not posses it. And don't bother trying to talk me into it. Not gonna happen.

There were around 50 of us at the meeting, at least half of whom look like the typical soccer mom, doing her LDS duty of attending CS camp with her 2 age- appropriate sons once per year. The other half of the crowd had on uniforms. Complete with green calf socks with red bands around the tops. They mean business, dammit. And they most certainly prefer the "traditional scouters" over the "LDS scouters", as they referred to us in the packet. I call religious discrimination! But hey, I can't really blame them. By and large, the Mormons like scouting, but we just don't do so well at the rules and regulations. We don't wear the exact uniform. In fact, most of us can't find any pieces of the uniform when it comes time to deck the boys out. We just have too many kids to effectively process laundry between the monthly pack meetings, and scouts is more about the fun than it is the badges. Which is not to say we aren't avid badge grabbers. We do love the belt loops and beads and pins and plastic flappy things (I just made half the scouting population in the world cringe. The other half are Mormon and don't care what things are called if they can just freaking find them and tack them to the uniform before the kids has to be seen in public) as much as any other scout. We just don't get hung up on it, as we are also carting kids to church, piano lessons, sports, the pool, and all other childhood functions.

Well, I'm not, but I have a therapy fund. So I don't have to try and be the perfect mom.

This meeting begins, basic rules are spoken of, we are told all of the kids will be expected to wear the same thing. I knew I was in trouble when we were handed a 6 page packet and the first paragraph states that there will be around 300 boys, 150 adult volunteers, 20 staff members, and 20 boy scout helpers. In case you don't add so fast, that's 300 boys and 190 "helpers". Which seems like overkill. Even better is the paragraph regarding attire.

"In the event that a person is seen in the camp area without a camp shirt or nametag, they will be assumed to be an intruder. . .This includes anyone who is dressed in part or fully in an official BSA scout uniform. . .Contact should not be made with the person by anyone other than the Camp Security Director unless he/she becomes a clear and immediate danger to campers, staff, or guests." Listen people. Boy scouts get kidnapped and/or dismembered at cub camp ALL OF THE TIME. By perfect strangers dressed in scouting gear. But do not approach these random dangerous strangers while they are rational . By all means, wait until they open fire on the crowd, and then take one for the team. Get in there and disarm him before Cub lives are lost! We're the Navy Seals and we expect. . . wait. Sorry, a little flashback there.

Then the "Camp Security Director" stands up. And he had all of the charm of a prison guard trying to give up cigarettes.

After going on for a moment about not getting in the middle of boys fighting, because that undermines their den leader, he draws attention to the person we should go and get if a fight breaks out. Of course. We all know that 6-10 year olds are a rough crowd and must be handled professionally. Apparently by someone who was once a boy scout in a fight. A fight that wasn't broken up until a parent could haul butt across a city block, find the only person in a light blue shirt and haul butt back before death occurred. It must not have ended well for him since his front tooth or three was missing. Because if 2 boys are trying to kill each other it is always a great idea to leave them alone and wander among 490 people to find the solitary person "allowed" to break up the fight. Right. Not so much my style. Plus, I really don't need my kid to lose any permanent teeth. His baby teeth are in bad enough shape.

But, all of that said, things happen when you have 300 boys in the same place. Especially when you add another 190 adults trying to steer clear of violent strangers and dangerous cub scout fights. So it's reasonable that, "All accidents will be brought to the attention of the Health Officer on-site and the Camp Director" But, just to be sure, let it also be said that they are serious about their accident policy. Because:

"Any accident resulting in major injury or death must be reported to the Camp Director immediately."

What?!?!? No fair! I was planning on bringing my shovel so that if one of those fights ended badly, I could just bury the poor kid and continue on with my camp experience. I mean honestly, reporting a death would just be such a downer for the other scouters, why bother? But sadly, my back hoe is not allowed. I cannot say such things to my son as, "You'd better knock it off with the fighting or you're gonna regret it. I'll just bury you with the backhoe if you keep it up. . ." because that is against the rules. The packet says. (Also against the rules is "physical closeness, flirting, pinching, kissing, suggestive letters, lewd motions, obscene language, etc." Which totally sucks because I was also intent on reciting the Margaret Cho skits I have memorized, complete with hand motions and a dry-erase board. In addition, there is "no physical contact suggesting enamored feelings between staff/leaders." Which ruins my plans for hooking up with the gap-toothed wonder. It's just crap. A raw deal. Nor will they allow me to gamble, be under the influence of a controlled substance, intimidate others, fight, drive drunk, shoplift, use a weapon, or sell the kids drugs. What the hell good is Cub Scout camp?)

It is at this point, that we get the lecture on "missing persons". And here is an excerpt from the packet:
"Upon determining that a group has a lost, missing, or runaway boy, the leader shall conduct an immediate search of camp," (presumably looking for the back hoe or a freshly dug grave) And, "the leader will give a description of the boy, including what he is wearing." Umm. . . come again? Didn't you just tell us they're all going to be dressed alike? I'm pretty sure there's a flaw in that plan. Which I'm loving. I see the shovel idea right back on. When one of those crazy dangerous aggressive 6 year olds comes up missing, I just grab the nearest kid and say, "Here's one that matches the description. Same approximate age, close in height, same hat, and look. . . his t-shirt matches the description exactly! That's uncanny how well his leader remembered what he was wearing!"

It's all coming together now. Except that "in the event of a flood, leaders shall prepare the campers to evacuate immediately." They aren't going to turn a flood into a swimming lesson? What kind of crappy permanent Boy Scouts are they anyway? A stupid little flood might ruin camp entirely? Maybe I should just cancel now. Frankly, I'm a little worried about how Tyler will fair against the prison inmates he will be mingling with. Yes, those 6-10 year olds can be a rough crowd.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Chat Session

There seems to be this weird phenomenon where people think that because they are communicating via a somewhat anonymous source, it is OK to force their opinions upon me. Not that their opinions are wrong, but always with the attitude that I need them to help me out- almost as if I asked for their opinion. . .

The fact that this comes from a 14 year old boy* makes this one even funnier. And let's just pretend all of his spelling mistakes are typos, shall we?

*Names have been changed to protect the annoying boy who knows nothing about home schooling

10:10 pm Boy
what are you ding up so late on the computer

10:11pm Melissa
I don't have school tomorrow. What's your excuse?

10:12pm Boy
checking things

10:12pm Melissa:
are you ready for summer to be here already?

10:13pm Boy

10:14pm Melissa
what day is school officially out?

10:16pm Boy
School's officially out next friday but my friend E graduated from middle school today and is done he keeps rubbing my face in it too and he's really making me mad

10:17pm Melissa
yeah, my kids were done last Thursday. are you in 9th?

10:17pm Boy
yeah and do you have to rub it in?

10:18pm Melissa
lol. sure. just another benefit of home school

10:18pm Boy
yeah well they don't get the social interaction of normal school though

10:21pm Melissa
nice try. They probably get more social time with all of the groups and activities they go to. The only thing they don't get is loads of busy work

10:22pm Boy
shut up

10:22pm Melissa
not if you're going to make false statements. . .

10:23pm Boy
They won't get to go to many high school activities which many people consider to be of vital importance to the development of the growing child

10:24pm Melissa
again, I laugh. What are we developing? the ability to consume large amounts of alcohol? Swearing? giving in to peer pressure? bumping and grinding at the school dances?

They have plenty of activities through their home school group which give them the experience they need while allowing them to do course work appropriate to their learning styles and levels. Last week, they went bowling with a group on Wednesday and to Disneyland with a different group on Friday. I think they're getting plenty of social development. But thanks for being concerned.

10:25 Boy
there's lots of other stuff. they can't be homeschooled through collage and they will lack the neccessary abilities needed to function in a classroom not of thier own choosing and through a method not tier own

10:27pm Melissa
Rebi is starting college in the fall, so I'm not too worried

And believe it or not, if you choose, you can indeed get a degree by doing entirely correspondence (from home) college courses. I could have done it when I was in college.

10:29pm Boy
she's 13 for goodness sake she doesn't belong in that kind of enviroment, she's growing up without a normal childhood. I know I had to make this choice myself I was going going to be tested like this but i said no because I wanted to be able to have a childhood

10:30pm Melissa
you should probably do more research before making those statements. She has a perfectly fine childhood and she's making the choices for herself. She's happy with her decision. And there's nothing wrong with a college environment. Why would you assume it's a bad idea?

10:31pm Boy
just you wait and see, there's plenty of examples of this if you look for it

10:31pm Melissa
my point is not that our way is right for you, but that you shouldn't assert that your way is the only way.

There are plenty of examples of kids who go through 4 years of high school and end up total losers who can't hold down jobs. Or they get addicted to drugs or go to prison.

10:32pm Boy
i'm not asseerting that myway is the only way but that my way seems like the more logical of the ways from the way i'm looking at it.

10:33pm Melissa
Because that's the only way you've ever known

10:33pm Boy
and albert einstien's teacher said he was going to be a janitor when he grew up but now he's the most renowned scientist in the world
(note from Melissa: I need someone to explain how that supports his assertion that school is best for all kids.)

10:33pm Melissa
but if you assert that failure is obvious for home schoolers in our situation, then it is also true that failure is obvious in traditional schoolers, if you look for it.

right. what did his teacher know? That he didn't focus on the stuff she thought he should?

10:35pm Boy
my mommy says I have to go to bed

And I'm still giggling, not at his assumption that school is the only logical choice for him, but that he is so very sure that Rebi is ruined forever going to community college. I'm willing to bet our school choices have been discussed around their dinner table!

Thank goodness we still get to choose. . . I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spoiled Youngest Kid

He got to decorate his own cake, eschewing the sprinkles and opting for his motto, "I'm cool" instead.
He quite enjoyed opening his presents in the restaurant where all tables could see him.

And was clearly thrilled with them. All of them received excited gasps, including the towel and the shirt.

The employees then placed a coffee filter on his head and a toilet seat cover around his neck and sang to him. Of course for him, it was all about the ice cream sundae.

But the snorkel set was such a HUGE hit, we decided to go night swimming so he could try out his new present. And when I say we, please know I mean they.

I triple love this photo. It is officially my new favorite of him.

Evan had to drag him from the pool because the rest of us were ready for cake.

Six attempts later, the candles were out and cake was consumed. And then everyone went quickly and quietly to bed. Right.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Attention! Attention!

We interrupt this birthday celebration to bring you a very important message:

A friend of mine visits an orphanage in Tijuana on a regular basis. At least once a month, she and some friends take food down, prepare a meal, leave food for the kids to eat until they make it back again, and spend the day playing with the kids. We are hoping to join them once a month from now on.

Currently, the orphanage has a need for electrical appliances. They need things like crock pots, large capacity griddles and electric skillets, and possibly even a big rice cooker. Something is wrong with the oven and they can't have it repaired, so they have been using 2 small electric burners to prepare food for all of the kids.

If any of you have electric items like these that are in good shape but you don't use, please let me know. I will happily arrange to pick them up (unless you live overseas. I will happily arrange to pick those up too, but then I will need additional help with the airfare. . .). If you would like to help financially, please leave me a comment or email me at astlefamily at gmail dot com.

And, Yay! Our trip to Africa next year might be off the table, if we can make a difference here and how were we going to come up with that kind of money anyway?

Happy Birthday Nate!

Again?? Already? It was only a year ago that I posted this and this and this. And as the youngest, time really does just fly by. But not to worry, he has so many funny things he says, I promise to keep adding them to the blog. I'm looking forward to when he starts dating and I can point his girlfriends to all of these posts. Way better than the naked baby bum photos parents love to share. Poor kid.

Happy Birthday Nate!

Festivity photos to follow, just as soon as I wrap the presents and bake the cake.

Edit: Both sets of Grandparents sent Nate the exact same birthday card. I guess it's pretty obvious who loves yellow lions. . .

Monday, June 2, 2008


We checked in all of our books and turned in the last of our school work today. Surprisingly, I didn't owe any money for lost materials. Which makes the new wing I'm financing at the library a little easier to swallow.

It's summer! No more begging the kids to sit and produce work, no more asking if their school work is done, no more sitting on top of Nate to get him to write. Anything.

At least not until September, when we insanely start all over again. And next year we're adding geography and foreign languages. . .

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Me, a Procrastinator?

So, it's 11:30 Sunday night and I am realizing just how very much I have to get done before 8:15 am tomorrow morning. As in less than 9 hours from now. Why? Because I fully live by the motto, "Why get done today what you can put off until tomorrow?" And now that I am literally in the 11th hour, I realize just how much my motto sucks. Seriously. I need a new one.

Not helping me one little bit is this fatigue that makes me feel like I am pregnant again. And you women know what I mean. It's the kind of fatigue that makes you fall sharply into sleep without even realizing you have closed your eyes. Typically for me, that is in the middle of an intense conversation or over a stack of amazingly dull paper work.

The paperwork is losing. But I have to fill out 4 enrollment packets for kids for their charter school, finish tracking their learning on 3 separate sheets of paper, print out a P.E. log- and since it should accurately reflect the time they have spent exercising all month, I ought to add some information to it- and finish collecting all of their text books to turn in. Sadly, some of the text books have been living in my house since 2006. I kid you not. 2 years and 5 months of being lost in the de-cluttered clutter. As if I will ever find those. . . I won't even tell you that our last batch of library books were all returned over two weeks late and there is indeed one missing again. (Anyone seen an owl book? No?)

Someday, I am going to learn my lesson about procrastinating. At least I finally learned my lesson about pregnancy.

And most amusingly, I am going to sit down at some point tomorrow and think to myself, "Hmm. . . I wonder why I'm so tired." Because I have given all of my brain cells to my kids and cannot remember things that have happened in the last 24 hours.

Rain, and the first magician attempt

It poured rain here last week. In the 5+ years we've lived here, I'm not sure I'm ever seen it rain this hard.

Ellie, Tyler and Nate had a great time playing through the neighborhood. Naturally, they avoided the drainage holes. Or as we like to call them, the Lost and Gone Forever Holes.

The streets were totally flooded. And I'm not sure how that umbrella is helping her.

Tyler made rain clothes out of trash bags. He was still soaked, but he felt good about his invention.

And this is the first try at the magic show. I love this video as it really shows his personality. Especially the point where he starts smacking himself. Priceless.