Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The boys in my house were entirely uninterested in decorating the tree. They didn't want to help do the lights either. So I decided to decorate it in my own way, and boy was it fun!

Each Barbie is dressed in her fanciest dress and it makes for a very colorful tree. It is really quite beautiful.

I just can't seem to get the boys to pose by the tree for a photo this year. I don't understand it.


White lights and more than 35 Barbies
adorn my tree this year.

A Christmas dress!

This one was nominated "Most like a Los Gatos mom" of the Barbies on my tree.

Sparkly tights with a miniskirt.

The sneer on this Barbie's face just kills me.


One of several dreamy pink dresses.

Red catsuit with a red coat and fur collar.

Her hair is crazy complicated.

The tree topper is a Christmas Barbie.

My tree had just one Ken and he is wearing a gold lame mesh shirt.

Yes her dress really does match her hair.

I wish a special Merry Christmas to all of those moms of boys out there.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Text that Almost Made My Heart Stop, and Not In A Good Way

One of the parental responsibilities I don't particularly enjoy is monitoring my sons' cell phone use. I'm not super turbo about it but I do check in once in a while. This mostly involves looking over text conversations and Facebook activities and a little bit of email. To encourage responsible use I have one of my sons "park" his phone in my room at night where it charges and gets the rest it needs. Just the other day, I was a little surprised when I saw a late-night text come in, lighting up my bathroom with a blue glow. Mildly curious, I got up to see what it was. It was from a girl I don't know. And it contained the phrase "blow job."


After a complete freak-out which involved my husband and I throwing the phone to each other and yelling in whispers, we determined an immediate conference with the owner of the phone was in order. And I mean NOW. After a frank conversation (oh wow no pun intended) with our son, in which I was forced to utter the words "blow job" to him more than once, the situation came into focus. We determined that my son's cell phone had gotten in the wrong hands. Hands that sent wildly inappropriate texts to some of his contacts. And, it turns out, some of his contacts aren't all that appropriate in their responses either.

It's quite obvious that the thirteen year old girl that responded to texts from my son's phone doesn't have a parent paying any kind of attention to her phone. And thank god. I would have gotten one irate phone call and rightfully so. But that parent would also have seen the provocative response she sent to my son. Which I deleted. And the photo that followed the next day. Which I also deleted. 

I'm pretty sure this is the expression I had while reading the texts on my son's phone.
Teenage cell phones are a contradiction of private and public conversations. They often confuse what is, or should be private, and what is public. Despite the fact that I was able to verify that my son did not send the texts in question, I feel he is still responsible for what is sent from his phone. He needs to protect his phone and not let others use his phone or learn his password. Since he almost always has his phone with him, my son's friends sometimes "borrow" it from his baseball bag or locker, and then have access to his text messaging and contact list. He claims he can't control what other people do on his phone but I don't understand how other kids think his phone and the information on it is to be shared. As an adult, I would never grab a friend's cell phone from her purse and start looking through it and texting her friends. Yet some kids, both boys and girls, seem to think it's perfectly reasonable, or funny to do this. I view this as a real lack of respect and good judgement. Which, now that I think about it, is exactly how I would describe some teenage behavior.

At the same time, teens feel like their email, texts and Facebook posts are fairly private, limited to a recipient or group of friends. Here they are wrong again, because lots of people have access to that information, including parents, friends of friends of friends (which could be anyone really), and institutions. Figuring out limits and boundaries is something they are learning. In fact, it is something we are all learning, which is why the constantly changing privacy settings on Facebook are so maddening.
This is the funky phone I used as a teenager. It was the only one in the house and located on the kitchen wall. My sisters and I had to take turns. Yes it was rotary dial and no we didn't have to put money in it.

When I was a teenager, the only privacy issues I had involved the security of the lock on my diary and trying to whisper into the family phone in the kitchen so my little sister wouldn't overhear me. These were not so complex as the issues raised today with smart phones. They are wonderful and useful devices that seem to make the job of parenting a lot more complicated. Removing a phone from use is such a nice thing to do once in a while, it's like giving yourself a break. And I definitely need a break from reading text messages to my son from a young girl mentioning blow jobs and proclaiming I'm single! Call me!

I learned years later that my sister could easily pick the lock.
Have you looked at your teenager's phone lately?

It might give you a heart attack but you should check it out once in a while.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Epic Fail in the Kitchen Department

I don't want to brag, but I rarely have failures of more than a minor nature in the kitchen. That is why my recent attempt at making cherpumple, the turducken of desserts, for my son's 15th birthday was a notable occasion.

He thought the idea of the apple, cherry, and pumpkin pies baked inside of cakes and then stacked together to make one colossal cake sounded "awesome," so I watched the YouTube video, bought all the ingredients at a store where I wouldn't see anyone I knew, and started baking.

There was no preventing the collapse once it started.
Family and a few friends were coming over shortly. All the layers were baked and my middle son helped me frost them. When the last layer went on top, it sunk in the middle, a crater formed across it, and it collapsed into a gooey horrible mess. I shrieked, I laughed, I cried. I called my mom. She answered my call in the grocery store where she couldn't understand my incoherent babbling and entertained the shoppers around her by shouting into the phone, "I can't understand you! Are you OK? Slow down. Are you laughing or crying? It what? Send me a picture." Then I called my husband, who called our favorite bakery, ordered two huge cakes and then went and picked them up. His quick use of cell phone and credit card saved the day.

The birthday boy looked at the epic fail and decided to pick up a fork and take a bite. He reasoned that it should still taste good. I was not going near it, it looked like a regurgitated dessert buffet.

It almost distracted me from the fact that in one year I will have a licensed driver.

Hold on, this could still taste good! Um, no.

OK these birthday cakes look and taste much better.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Beginning to Smell A Lot Like . . .

I'm not sure what to say about this deodorant packaging.

What is the deal with boys being so smelly? Beyond the obvious such as hygiene, and the dogmatic such as "eating meat causes body odor," what is it? Hormones? And if it's hormones, is it theirs or mine that are causing the problem? The pits, the feet, the sports equipment, the shoes, the breath . . . it all smells pretty horrid.

I got so fed up today I went shopping for any and all odor-mitigating products I could find.

Huh, what do you know? I must not be the only one in this situation. There is an entire isle at my local Target devoted to Odor Elimination.

Oh yeah. Exactly what I am looking for.

Label that says now eliminates up to 2X as many odors and extra strength eliminates odors at the source? Bingo! In the cart.

Destroys odor on contact, absorbs sweat?
Oh yeah.

Penetrates deep to eliminate sports odors from shoes, apparel, and unwashable equipment?
I'll take two.

Odor neutralizing gel beads?
WTF I'll try them.

Contains odor-fighting "atomic robots" that "shoot lasers" at your "stench monsters" and replaces them with fresh, clean, masculine "scent elves."
OK WHAT? Seriously? I am not making this up, that is what it actually says on the back of the deodorant packaging, including the quotation marks.

Eliminates odors and freshens with the scent of New Zealand springs?
Why not, I love New Zealand. It does in fact smell good there.

Products I have added to my son's bathroom

I hope some of this stuff works or I'm going to have to resort to a good old fashioned clothespin.

Truly stupid packaging