Sunday, May 30, 2010

Be My Friend. No Really, Be My Friend. Now.

A few days ago my hubby walked over to me and whispered in my ear, (which tickled a lot) "guess what Audge is looking up on Netflix right now?"

My mind swam with morbid possibilities "Pokemon?" I hoped.

"No. She looked up 'how to make a boy like you.'" He whispered again.

"Uh...wha?" I uttered, because I can think of great things to say when in shock.

"Well, not like a boyfriend or anything, she thinks one of her friends, who is a boy, doesn't really like her. You know who I mean."

After my spastic heart palpitations ceased and my blood pressure returned to normal I sighed, "oh yeah...ok...we can keep Netflix then."

See, most of her "boy" friends are now moving into the stage where girls are just plain icky/gross/yuck/life-threatening. Jacob has been generally traumatized for a while now, freaking out or freezing up in public when any girl other than his sister gets too close, like within 50 feet. The boy won't even read outloud for female characters in his chapter books. He would rather sit in time out on his bed. I know this from experience. He is totally 100% grossed out and repelled by anything girl. Except for Samus, the hero for Metroid. She's like Sarah Connor in space. Anyway...

Audge, however, adapts well to any situation and will not scream, puke, or ricochet off walls when near boys. This may be more common for girls, it was for me, but I am not really sure, generally speaking. She can be a pirate or a princess, or both, which makes for an interesting and complicated costume. She likes to play with guns and bugs and she would most definitely win a burping/tooting contest against any guy who has eaten his fill at a Tex-mex buffet.

So see, considering all of her awesome attributes, she just doesn't get why a certain "boy" friend doesn't want to be tethered to her the minute they are in the same room when he has other friends around. And of course when you have one or more boys together of that age, girls aren't only annoying, they are highly toxic alien life-forms who threaten to suck the fun out of their imaginary spy game by insisting everyone wear flowers on their wrists while searching for a lost kitten.

We tried to console her, and explain to her this short phase of life, and tried to give her advice. She wouldn't have any of it. So while driving in the car, going through our rigmarole on the topic, she had an epiphany.

"I am just gonna ask him if he likes me!" She declared.

"Noooooo honey that's never a good idea." I suggested.

"Why not? It's right to the point, and then she'll know. Case closed." Said my hubby.

"What? No way! *whispering* What if he says no?" I countered.

"Then she'll deal with it." He offered.

" is that supposed to work in social gatherings, especially since she is around him often? Talk about awkward! Besides look how upset she is just thinking about it!" I huffed.

"There's nothing wrong with being upfront and wanting to know the truth. No games." He said.

Psh. Men...

From there I gave her some pointers I thought would help when they were together, and explained that basically all boys at this age think girls are gross, even if they can play soccer really well and burp their ABC's, and to be happy with playing in group settings, and not expect the boy to just hang with her like a best friend.

She liked daddy's support of her decision better.

And I must say, kudos to the boy! She apparently squared off and point-blank asked him if he liked her (which really for him was a loaded question, because I found out later he has, or had, 10 girlfriends) and he told her that he did. He could have easily laughed or gagged or purposefully hurt her feelings, or he could have added her on as number 11, but, whatever the case, she is satisfied that they are friends and I guess that's the end of it.

Had she taken my advice this post might have been better. Or worse. That's what happens when kids don't come with manuals...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Life Just Gets Better with Age, Especially When it's Vintage...


Wine, men, cheese, classic movies, heirlooms and lumps of coal. What do all these things have in common? Well, they get better with age of course! (You're all, "lumps of coal?" Um yeeeeah?? Coal turns into diamonds? That's much better, right???)

These days we love words like refined, retro, classic, nostalgia and VINTAGE. There is nothing like setting up an eclectic display to jazz up your living room and having that one special conversation piece, that piece your friends zoom right in on and say, "wow! where did you get THAT?!"

Since I love you all so much, I am about to offer you that very opportunity by hosting a fantabulous giveaway!!

My dear friend, my beef, is an awesome blogger who has this shop on Etsy, and let me tell you,! She and her Donnafriend have an eye, or 4 eyes to be exact, for the unique, refined and classic vintage items we all wish we could eye on our own! They have scoured a rich corner of the US, for all of us, to offer a little "special something" to bring our decorative displays in our home to a whole new level. Check out some of these scrumptious finds!

And today you get to enter to win a fantastic item from their shop, Vintage Umbrella! Here it is!!

The giveaway item being offered to perk up your home and life is this beautiful milk glass compote, which was made by the EO Brody Company - Cleveland Ohio. So wonderful, right???

In perfect vintage condition, this piece is 5.5" tall, 6.5" wide, and 3" deep, and boasts a lovely dot, tulip and swirly leaf relief pattern, with scalloped edges on the boot and bowl rim. This pedestal bowl can be used as servingwear for fruit, desserts, candy or mints...oh can you imagine this sitting in your holiday display with colorful ribbon candy??? Winn says it's perfect for wine or hard liquor, but, she doesn't even drink. If you win you can determine that on your own.

OK because I truly believe all her items speak for themselves in their gorgeous shop, I will now move on to the entry rules...

PLEASE LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY! It makes it easier for my brain. Thanks!!!


-Visit Vintage Umbrella, come back here and comment on an item you think is so awesomely vintage and leave me a safe way to contact you! This counts as one entry.


-Tweet this giveaway! You are allowed one tweet, per day, through the length of the giveaway, which would equal 10 entries. Please include @insanitykim is offering a vintage giveaway with the link to this giveaway. Come back here each day to comment with the tweet link.

- Blog about this giveaway! Include a link to this giveaway, a link to Vintage Umbrella, and come back here, leaving a comment, with a link to your post. This is worth 5 entries.

- Go to Vintage Umbrella on Etsy and click on the heart to favorite their shop! Come back here and comment to let me know you did this. This counts as 2 entries.

- Click HERE to fan Vintage Umbrella on Facebook. Come back here and comment to let me know you did this. This counts as 2 entries.

This giveaway starts today, Wednesday, May 26, and ends Friday, June 4th, at 12AM EST. I will use the Random Number Generator (RNG) to choose the winner! The winner will have 3 days to contact me. If I do not hear from the winner within that time I will use the RGN to choose a new winner.

I am so excited to be hosting this giveaway for you all, so get busy and enter! I SO hope you win! And by you I mean, you...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mother and Daughter Moments Last a Lifetime

So lately, my sweet little first grader has been stuck to me like fake eyelashes on, well, any female celebrity you see, and our nature is similar in that the more time we spend together, the more we tease and razz and end up participating in WWF-type activities. She's dangerous. She wants to be a gladiator, and I think she could totally do it.

But anyway, my Little Shadow followed me around all week, asking questions, telling me jokes, demanding hugs, etc. etc. A few days ago I was in the kitchen cooking and during our initial banter, (which I can't remember now, I mean I can barely remember what I ate for lunch today) she gave me a sidewards glance while stating with waaaaaaaay too much confidence, "you're not the boss of me!"

Suddenly I had a flashback to Miley Cyrus, on Dancing With the Stars Tuesday night, screaming her whole, "I can't be tamed" mantra while emerging like an Emo Big Bird from her gilded cage...

"Oh I am SO absolutely 100% the boss of you little one!" I retorted. Ya know, just in case she wasn't joking...

She kind of stared, processed, and giggled a little, and I knew she was gonna take it further...

"Well," she began, "when I'm 18 you're not the boss of me?" She posed it as a question. Oh she's waaaaaay too coy...but she ain't no Emo Big Bird I'll tell you that right now!

"As long as you're in THIS house, or, whatever house we live in, I am the boss!" I sang back in my perfect parental voice, the same one I had heard from my own parents...

"Daddy is the boss!" Jacob chimed in from the living room. Since I didn't have the energy to address his statement I ignored him and moved on.

"So, Audrey, if you move out, then you can be your own boss and do what you want."

So she stood there for a moment, I can only imagine she was freaking out in her mind, thinking she only knew how to make toast and chocolate cake from a box, and she still needed help setting up the Wii...not to mention how she was gonna feed all 246 dogs she would soon adopt?

"Well, what if I get lonely?" She questioned.

"You can visit any time you'd like." I assured her. But this didn't assure her. She's still my baby girl!

"Maybe I'll still live with you!" She proclaimed in victory.

"Fine. BUT. I am the boss." I said, only to have Jacob chime in again, "DADDY is the boss!"

Daddy may be the head, but I am the neck. And the neck turns the head, so...

Then she went in a different direction.

"When I have kids you're gonna babysit them!" She laughed.

"Oh really? I'll just stick them in the closet." I teased.

"Moooooooooooom! No! You have to treat them like normal kids! Ya know, play with them."

"What if I don't want to play with them? What if I am old and tired?" I pushed.

"Well, you can make them take naps." She offered.

"Oh yeah, and I know how well kids sleep! I am sticking them in the closet."

Then she giggled and gave me a hug. Then she said the sweetest thing to me ever.

"Mom, you've been doing all that working out and now your jelly belly is gone! I don't like that! Where is my squishy mommy?"

Life is good.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Yeah, that's not how it goes, but I don't follow the rules...unless I am picking a winner for my awesome giveaways using the Random Number Generator...

And Sue Sweeps you won! Wooooohooooo! You put in the work girlfriend! You entered, blogged, tweeted, prayed to the giveaway gods...mainly you had the most entries. Good for you!

You won a free month trial of Dreambox Learning! Your child, or children, will become geniuses and famous and buy you a retirement home when they are 22. Well, ok, I can't guarantee that, BUT, I can guarantee they will fall in love with the program, and so will you!

Thanks to all who entered. You should be sad you didn't win. BUT! Don't fret! I have a totally awesome giveaway coming up in the next week! Come back soon! (Maybe I will have written something by then as well.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Band Teacher Taught my 8th Grade Econ Class...I am Still Suffering for It...

We are trying to teach our kids the value of a dollar, and the importance of slaving away working hard to earn those dollars to get the things you want. I'll rip my eyeballs out if my kids ever want to become reality stars. Um...

So I mean, they're kids, yeah, and they get a cool 5 bucks from the grandparents every time a tooth falls out of their head, and they are allowed to spend their birthday money but, the little consumer in them wants more and more and MORE...too bad their parents are flat broke!

No no...even if we were the Trumps, with pink ties, comb-overs and all, our kids would still learn to work hard and earn their money. Have you seen Trump's kids? What? You DON'T watch Celebrity Apprentice? What is WRONG with you? Wait, what was I talking about???

So lately, they have been asking for quite a bit of stuff, and so I got totally annoyed a great idea to make a chore chart in order for them to earn stars that would represent money: 100 stars equals $10. So far Audrey has flown through her first chart and is now halfway through her second. Jacob, who is older, likes the idea, but is less motivated to work towards his goal, with the same fervor, for some reason. Hopefully this isn't total foreshadowing of their future work ethic but, either way, once those charts are filled, they get their hard-earned cash.

And recently, something amazing has caught their collective eye; the new Nintendo DSi XL came out, and this thing is basically a computer/camera/game boy/space shuttle/rice cooker/animatronic pet all in one. And it's a pretty penny. And yeah, they want it bad, and we're not buying it.

BUT, we told them that if they saved up half of the cost, we would match it for them. I made another chart, basically a fund-raising thermometer, with a line showing where they need to be to have us match the amount and therefore let them buy the DSi. The process has been going very slowly, mainly because birthdays are over, and they are not allowed to use pliers to pull out any more teeth. They are not sure they want to put their star chart earnings towards this item either. Again, hopefully not foreshadowing...

So with the process going so slowly, Audrey got bit with the entrepreneurial bug, and she became a rash of ideas.

This is where I am pretty sure I have failed her in the area of economics, even at the first grade level. Here's what happened.

Audrey decided to open a store, which was mainly a makeshift tent around her dollhouse. She then took things from around the house, like my good flashlight for example, to "sell". I thought this idea was cute and short lived, until I realized she was sitting upstairs all alone, in the dark, in her store, waiting for me and Jacob to come "buy" some stuff. She came down stairs, looking completely defeated, and declared, "NO ONE is buying anything from my shop! No one is coming in!"

I was thinking two things, first of which was, "whew, I really don't want strangers in my house anyway" and second, "this little girl's heart is gonna break unless I buy something fast".

So I assured her that someone was gonna come and buy things from her shop, scooting her back upstairs in order for Jacob and me to scour the house for loose change. Once we found some, we went upstairs and her face lit up like Trump Plaza (seriously have you seen that place?).

I'm sure you'll all be happy to know I bought back my own flashlight for myself, as well as a McDonald's toy, a rubber band, a bouncy ball, a yo-yo, a bracelet, a couple of gems and a paper airplane. She let me decide my own prices, and she made 75 cents, because that's all I had (<----not Trump). Interestingly enough, Jacob was ultra excited to buy many of his own toys. When he started to get low on money though, Audrey compensated by opening up a bank and a pawn shop, as well as drastically inflating the value of the currency. He sold items back for more than he purchased them for, and was told that his pennies were worth 10 cents, and nickles were worth 25 cents. Not really sure what happened with the quarter though...even so he was so excited to have purchased his own sling shot!

Audrey THEN opened up a fourth shop, a weapons shop. With all of Jacob's weapons for sale. He came downstairs grinning ear to ear, going on and on about how he was able to buy his bow for 10 cents and his soccer cones (which apparently are weapons) for 6 cents. Not ONCE did he think "wait a minute, this is MY stuff! Why am I buying it?"

Josh came home and sort of confused the process by offering a quarter for a paper airplane and a juggling ball, and asking for change back. Audrey just stared at him and offered his quarter back. I think he left with nothing.

And even now as I write this, I am hearing her gripe that she is too busy and tired to work all four shops on her own, and she wants to hire someone. Jacob said he would work for her and she hired him right on the spot. Then he told her he would only work weekends, which irritated her so she fired him, in true Trump fashion, with that quick finger-pointing gesture and her hair whisped to the side, "yuh'fyad!" (if you watched the show you would get that). I think she didn't lose any money on training him, thank goodness. So now she's back to running the stores on her own, and she just opened a pet shop, but not before she offered to sell Jacob the weapons shop. For 10 cents I think. Which she wants him to spend at the pet shop. And he probably will.

I have never seen $1.50 buy and sustain so much.

So of course she is ecstatic about "earning" money, and she even went as far as drawing in the equivalent of $30 onto her money thermometer for the Nintendo DSi XL. With a crayon. Foreign markets have no chance with our new exchange rates.

Man. Her shops are holding all sorts of crazy hours and sales, and Jacob is asking for money like a true toy junkie, rummaging through our junk drawer with trembling hands and demanding to know why I don't have a dollar in my purse. I am losing household items right and left and somehow in three hours she has earned 56 bucks and is half-way over her goal for the coveted DSi. I'm starting to get really confused, and I am thinking I might have to call in a financial adviser, or Ivanka Trump...or my band teacher...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CLOSED-Win a Free Month of a Fantastic Math Program, Dreambox Learning!


Whether you home school or not, summers are a much needed break, am I right or am I right?

Yet the spring always comes much quicker than we expect, and those last few months of getting through curriculum and learning/reviewing skills can take its toll. Then suddenly it's all over, and we sigh with relief, as we look forward to sunshine, vacations and even possibly sleeping in. MMMMMM in-sleeping. Niceness.

But, I am sure many parents, like me, aren't 100% comfy with dropping academics entirely over the summer, especially when we know that many skills and concepts can get ultra fuzzy, if not forgotten, over those three care-free months.

Well I have a little somethin' somethin' for ya! Go ahead, read on!

Last year, when my son was in 2nd grade, I reviewed a math site called Dreambox Learning. My trial was over the summer and I tell you what, I loved it, as did Jacob! This year I was ecstatic to find out they extended the program, which was K-2, to include 3rd grade, and I was even MORE ecstatic when they asked me (and my kids) to review it!

This program is based on national standards and actually tailors the lessons to your child's individual learning using their GuideRight™ technology, adapting as your child moves through fun and engaging lessons with story lines that include dinosaurs, pirates, fairies and cute little woodland creatures!

Your kids stay motivated with endearing characters and by receiving tokens to use to play at the arcade and other games at the Carnival. The Carnival is a place where kids essentially play games, which are fun math exercises, that continue to reinforce math concepts and aid in developing critical thinking. My kids and I love the petting zoo, not only because it's fun (they are learning basic spacial concepts and multiplication) but because the animals are so dang cute and make the cutest noises. I am not kidding. The characters are precious. I could listen to the cow moo all day. I could.

In fact, both my kids could play on this site all day. The site allows up to four students under the parent's account. Your kids get to choose their avatar and a picture password to get into their own curriculum. Audrey is in 1st and Jacob is in the new 3rd grade program.

Their journey starts out by determining their math level, skipping areas they are proficient in, reviewing areas where they may have taken a while to answer or needed extra hints, and then designing their lessons based on their individual learning style. What I love is that I am actually able to step away from the teaching process and allow them to work on their own, because the program will guide them through the entire process, explaining to them what they got right and wrong, helping them to look at a math problem in different ways, and even suggesting alternate ways to go about achieving the right answer. This program looks different than any math program I have seen on-line thus far. Take a look!

And as you saw, the parent dashboard is clear and helpful in seeing exactly where your child stands based on academic standards. As the kids complete lessons, I am sent emails on their progress, which I LOVE! Here are two examples I received today, this one is for Jacob:

Congratulations are in order for Jacob! He has successfully completed a DreamBox module on early multiplication, in particular automatizing the basic multiplication facts.

In this module, Jacob has been exploring the use of doubling and halving. Unlike many other programs, DreamBox builds the foundation for later algebra in an integrated way as the basic multiplication facts are learned, rather than isolating all of the facts as if they are separate. DreamBox makes use, right from the start, of the relationships between the facts. For example, 5 x 8 can be derived by using another equivalent fact that may be known, such as 10 x 4. Doubling 1 factor and halving the other produces an equivalent expression: 5 x 8 = 10 x 4.

Special DreamBox tools called virtual manipulatives (such as the virtual open number line) helped Jacob visualize the relationships as jumps on a track—for example, where 5 jumps of 8 is simultaneously shown as 10 jumps of 4. Two smaller jumps (half the size) for every larger jump mean that twice as many jumps are needed.

The associative property underlies doubling and halving: 2 x (2 x 8) = (2 x 2) x 8. Not only is Jacob learning the basic facts, he is working on early algebra!

Here's an activity you can do with Jacob that will give you a chance to explore and celebrate what he has been learning in DreamBox! Remember: you can always check Jacob's academic progress on the Parent Dashboard.

On-the-Run: Equivalent Expressions
Ask Jacob to provide a multiplication problem. You provide an equivalent expression by doubling 1 factor and halving the other. For example if Jacob M says 4 x 6, you could say 8 x 3, or 2 x 12. Take turns thinking of a basic fact like this!

And you even receive emails that update you on the progress in the Carnival, such as this one for Audrey:

Congratulations are in order for Audrey! She has successfully solved level three of the Frog Race.

In this puzzle, Audrey successfully determined how far away the nearest multiple of ten was from the numbers supplied by the DreamBox number generator. For example, when presented with a number such as 84 and then shown 80 and 90, Audrey picked 80 as the nearest multiple and 4 as the distance away.

At first, demarcations of the steps were shown on the riverbed, like on a number line, to allow for counting. But in her most recent level in the puzzle, Audrey was able to determine the distance without the lines!

The On-the-Run activity below is a good opportunity to explore what Audrey is learning when you have a little time together. Let her show you what she has learned, so you can celebrate her accomplishment!

On-the-Run: Nearest Ten

Pick a number between 10-100 that's not a multiple of 10. Ask Audrey to supply the landmark number (multiple of ten) that is closest and to determine the distance between the number you chose and the landmark number. For example if you pick 37, Audrey would say 40 is closer than 30, and it's 3 away from 37. Then let Audrey give you a problem to solve!

Remember: you can always check Audrey's academic progress on the Parent Dashboard.

I tell you, this is the way to go, whether you are supplementing your home school curriculum through the year, or looking to keep math skills up, and developing, during the summer months!

And so for you, dear readers, Dreambox is graciously offering a free one-month trial to the winner of this giveaway! Here's how to enter!

Mandatory entry:

1. Go to the Dreambox website, and tell me something that impresses you about their program. Leave me your email address. These two actions are mandatory to enter.

These are separate, bonus entries worth 1 entry each:

2. Become a fan on Dreambox learning on FB, come back here commenting with your first name so I know you did it! :)

3. Tweet about this giveaway, saying, win a Dreambox Learning free month trial hosted by @insanitykim with the link to this giveaway post. Come back here with your tweet link.

This is worth 5 entries:

4. Blog about this giveaway with a link to this post and to Dreambox. Come back here and comment with the link to your post.

This giveaway will run from May 12 to May 19th, ending at 12pm EST. I will choose a winner using the Random Number Generator (RNG). The winner will have 3 days to contact me. In the event that the winner does not contact me, I will have the RNG pick a new winner.

And there it is! I must say thank you again to Dreambox for the opportunity to review this great product and for being gracious to offer this as well to my readers!

I SO hope you win! And by you I mean, of course, you.

Happy Day!

I provide reviews and giveaways as a packaged deal, I do not provide review only or giveaway only posts. This blog requires compensation, and all shipping costs paid, for review/giveaway packages in the form of receiving the review product for me and/or my family, not to be returned.

I am not monetarily compensated to provide my opinion on products I review and/or giveaway. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. If I claim or appear to be well-informed and versed on a certain topic or product or service area, I will do so only endorsing products or services that I believe, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

I will always be honest and forthcoming with my readers and the businesses I work with, providing the best review/giveaway posts that I can.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sometimes I Jump onto Soap Boxes...


You know how I am not crafty, in that I am not very good at CRAFTS. However, if there were no swimming, bug eating, or bikini wearing I would SO win Survivor due to my insane craftiness. Anyway...

My kids got to participate in their first pinewood derby races last weekend. Ya know, with those little wooden blocks you shape and paint and turn into a little car you race down a track, right? We were so excited! We bought two cars for each kid (since we knew we needed to consider a large margin of error) a whole month and some days early. Talk about being totally prepared!

Do you know how fast a month can go by though? Yeah, I thought about 3 days had gone by since we had purchased the cars, when in fact THIRTY days had gone by! Those zeros are important man, and sneaky...

Now, we fully understood that aside from handling the band saw, the kids were responsible for all the work. This was in the rules, and hey, what's the point if we do everything for them? Ya followin' me here?

I must admit, this was the first time my kids actually executed a project that came out looking much better than some random globs of brown-ish paint slapped on to an obscure surface. Because of this I cannot wait to see how the ornaments turn out this year!

First they had to pick out a design and draw it out on the car. Just a simple line. That's all. But, once I saw that their lines looked like they were drawn by a drunkard taking a strange sobriety test, which NO band saw operator could ever follow, I knew I would need to draw the lines myself. Psh. It's just a line. And they did try...

So then our good friend cut the shapes out and we kept all our fingers. Awesome.

Next it was time to get sand paper, primer and pick out paint colors. With themes in mind, they picked out their colors, we got our supplies and headed home to begin the weekend of derby car building madness.

With a little guidance and a few "how to" examples our kids busted out some pretty cool cars. And no, these pix aren't set up; I didn't jump up from painting, forcing my kids into position saying, "pick up the brush and pretend you're painting! Now!" No, NO...I did not.

This is Jacob's Blue Aqua Tank:

This is his Fire Car, or as I call it, the FYAHHHHHH CAHHHHH!

Here is Audrey's Tiger Car, which, by the way, got the second fastest time of the night in one of its races:

And her sparkly Lightening Car:

We were so proud!

Now I must add that hubs and I did try to polish the axles and add weights and junk like that, as it was recommended. But truth be told, we really had none of the proper equipment, and we had no idea what we were doing, since we collectively read about 3 sentences from several websites. And therefore we probably spent too much money on stuff we barely used. I mean, there is a side of us that wanted their cars to be awesome and fast...sometimes spending money makes you feel like you accomplished that.

So when we got there, we saw many great cars, obviously done by kiddos who worked hard, cars that were not taken over by parents suffering from OCD and chronic competitiveness. But, then there was this...table...

A table with a sweet grandpa sitting there, kids all around, working frantically on cars. He had NINE grandchildren participating in this derby and, get this, he did all the work.

Picking out your paint color and slapping on a sticker or two does not qualify as child participation. Especially when some of the kids are 12 and 13. Just sayin'.

Every year he does this for his grand kids. He picks out a fancy shape, does some fancy stuff to them (like adds weights, totally legal) and cuts them out, sands, paints, etc. The kids merely tell him what color they want and they slap on those stickers. Every.Year.

Now, yes, it took all that was in us to not take over the work on our own kids' cars and make them as awesome and as fast as we possibly could, with the abilities we had, but, where's the lesson in that? Where's the sense of pride and ownership for the kids? Where's the ability to create and think and work on completing a task, beginning to end? I mean, our kids are disappointed because they didn't get trophies for winning, or for design, but they LOVE their cars and they are so proud of their work!

So really, I don't care that two of the three trophy winners were his grand kids' cars, really I don't. In fact, he replaced an axle on Audrey's car after it jumped a track and it bent, which we thanked him for profusely, because it made Audrey's car do even better. I mean, it was obvious which cars were done by parents (there were quite a few) and which were by kids so, I can't fault him for his efforts to stay competitive for the sake of his grand kids. But, what DOES make me so perturbed is thinking about his grand kids' attitudes.

I got SO sick and tired of watching his grand kids run up to him, race after race, and whine in his face something like, "you didn't oil this car enough!" or, "You picked a lame shape!" or, "You didn't make it fast enough!" Not a hint of thankfulness, not a bit of understanding of how much work he put into those cars for them. No hugs, nothing.


Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I opened my big, fat, meddling mouth.

Me: "Wow, so, you did all the work on the cars, huh?"

G'pa: "Yep. I did."

Me: "Really? All the sanding, panting, everything, for all 9 of them?"

G'pa: "Yep. Every year!"

Me: "Man, you would think they would be a little more appreciative, don't you? I mean, maybe they should do that work themselves!"

G'pa *blinks* "Yeah, you're right they probably should!"

Me: "I know! I think you should cut them off and make them make derby cars every week, all by themselves, up until the next derby! They sure don't seem thankful for all the work you have done for them!"

G'pa: *nervous chuckle* "Yeah..."

I stopped myself there. I knew my toes were just fitting past my teeth and I was teetering on stumbling over "the line" but C'MON MAN!!! That G'pa worked hard because he loves those kids, and, just as many of the young people these days have this horrible sense of entitlement, his grand kids overlooked ALL of that. Too many kids these days barely have to work for anything. The skill of working with one's hands has been diminished to a Wii controller or texting on iphones. The idea of honoring and respecting an elder is as far from their minds as it can be. There are too precious few who get this. It's tragic.

I didn't get to see my grandparents a lot when I was young. And I still cherish being taught how to play cribbage by my mom's dad, a game I play every Sunday over coffee with my hubby, and my dad's dad, who got me my first bible and read me the book of Genesis. Both of my G'pas have passed on now. Those are some of my fondest memories with them. I just hope those kids, when they grow up, are thankful for what he did, OR they do all the blasted work themselves next year, and learn a few new skills such as working on your own projects and how to lose gracefully. *Stepping off soap box*

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