Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dude, I am Totally Stroking Out

So, less than 12 hours from now, I will be putting my two littlies on the bus together for the first time for school. I am a wreck. Which is quite amusing, considering that both of them have been to school before. Of course, they were going to *different* schools, and I didn't have to put them *both* on the same bus...but still. I can't quote put my finger on it, but I feel like I am going to LOSE IT.

The boy has recently been striken with a rash of violent behavior toward his sister. 3 times this summer, I have had to speak to him about punching her...which is *so* not like him. I keep trying to delve into his 7.5 year old psyche, to figure out what is troubling him, with no luck. I *think* that he is just not real happy about her starting to go to HIS school. Last year he had his school, she had hers, and never the twain should meet. This year it will be different for him (and her). The thing is, she is delighted. She tends to pretty well think that her brother hung the moon, so she derives no small amount of delight from the fact that she will be able to see him in the hallways. Add to that the fact that she has his teacher from last year, and she seems to pretty well think that she won the lottery. He on the otherhand appears to be rather distraught about having her invade his realm.

Trying to look at it objectively, I suppose I can understand where he is coming from. The boy has a very sweet, very submissive personality. He would rather not be the center of attention, unless it is to make people - and very few people at that - laugh. He is fine with being praised and lauded for his athletic prowess, but he really never seeks out the limelight. *She* of course spends her life dashing from spotlight to spotlight. A born performer, this child LOVES to have all eyes - and ears - on her. She is a pretty little thing (if I do say so myself), and knows how to work a room. Anytime that the two of them have a shared territory, the boy sort of lives in her shadow. He spends countless hours being embarrassed by her attention getting antics. ANd he is constantly having people coo all over his little sister and then make comments to him about how cute/sweet/smart/talented/whatever his sister is. That has *got* to get old for him.

My maternal instinct wants to shield him from this. But how can I protect him from the horror that is his adorable, outgoing sister without squelching her personality? As far as I can see it, I can't. All that I guess I can really do is hug and love him, and give him whatever spotlight he wants here, at home.

Here's to the back to school bruhaha. I hope that this year brings academic success to all of the students, teachers and administrators, and some well deserved pece and quiet to the parents. May their bus rides be safe, they lunchrooms be clean, and their homework be turned in on time. Have a good school year! We'll talk again soon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Face Time

When I was in high school I was extremely blessed. My skin got through 4 years without so much as a single blemish of note. College was much the same story. I often looked with a mixture of pity and morbid curiosity at those who suffered from acne. As I entered my early twenties though, there was a shift in the weather, and I started to experience breakouts. Which I was entirely unprepared to deal with. I had always washed my face with a facial cleanser and toned and moisturized. Nothing in my routine had changed, but still, I found myself with red bumpiness appearing hither, tither and yon.

This led to years of frantic searching for the *right* combination of skincare products. Things that would render me blemish free and dewy, able to face the world without makeup. Like most people, I only had minimal success. Neutrogena, Almay, didn't seem to matter, none of them quite did the trick. I spent about 2 years relying on a combination of Neutrogena "Pore Refining" products that kept things, *mostly* under control. Even then though, it was only mostly. On my best day, I still required some sort of make-up to hide some discoloration.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding were very good to me in this aspect. My skin had not looked so good since high school. And I loved it. And I think on some level, it was why I was so happy to have my babies back to back...I was able to go for a solid 3 year period without having to suffer problem skin too badly. Alas, this too had to come to an end, and I went back to my routine.

It was around this time that I got hit with a terrible and fateful bit of insomnia. I laid in bed, listening to my husband snore, and the baby grunt and couldn't find the remote. The TV programming switched to an infomercial, and I sat there helpless to look away, as some lady extolled the virtues of some make-up line that seemed to hinge on a product called "Mineral Veil" and apparently only worked if you "swirled, tapped and buffed". In my late night delirium it seemed interesting. And more expensive than I would be indulging in any time soon. And it was an infomercial, so I divined that it must be a buncha whooey.

Oddly enough, the next day when I went into work, I stumbled upon one of my employees applying her make-up. Even from a distance, I could clearly see her swirl, tap and buffing herself. As I got closer, I couldn't help but to ask, "Is that that Mineral Veil stuff?". It was. And she loved it. And continued on to gush about the wonders of Bare Minerals. What an odd coincidence.

A few weeks later, I was again trolling for sleep with no success when the infomercial came back on. This time I thought to myself "Excellent! It was only midly intersting the first go round, so this is *bound* to knock me out." The next day, we left for a trip to Disney, where we met up with my step-son and my husband's ex-wife. She and I got to talking, as we were wont to do, and somehow, the subject of make-up and skincare came up. Turns out, she had been using Bare Minerals for a few years and loved it. It was at that point that I decided that the universe was trying to send me a sign. When we got home from vacation, I ordered a starter kit, loved it and have never looked back. I have since turned at least 3 friends on to the stuff, because it is wonderful. I find that my skin always looks better if I sleep in one or two nights a week.

It was around that time that I also stumbled upon the philosophy line of skin care. Their Purity Made Simple and Hope In A... lines made my skin look better than ever before. I happily trotted up to Sephora every chance I got, and stocked up.

Then we moved. And the only way for me to stay stocked was to order my make-up and skin care stuff online. Which I hate. I finally found somewhere within driving distance to buy the make-up (which honestly I only need to replenish every year or so), but no dice on the philosophy products.

I recently ran out, and have been trying to find a suitable, less costly replacement that I can buy in a local store. I figure if I can find one, great! If I cannot, then I will feel less guilty about the indulgence.

I have re-tried Neutrogena, and find that I don't like it.
I am now trialing the Burt's Bees Radiance Line. The jury is still out. Anyone else use this, or have any insight?
Do any of you have any good recommendations? By the way, in case you were wondering, no one paid me to do this. Though if they would like to... ;-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Because It Wasn't Enough to Dress Her Like a Showgirl...

Back to school shopping season is in full swing once again and I am now fretting and genuinely missing the school uniform experience from last year. You don't realize how relieving it is to not have to make wardrobe decisions for a 5/6 year old girl until you are confronted with the meager offerings that are out there. And by meager, I don't mean a lack of selection. I mean a lack of substance.

Apparently dressing your grammar school girl like a hooker is all the rage. And I didn't get the memo. And it really makes me angry. Not the part about not getting the memo, the part about the tiny hookers. Seems like, unless I am willing to take out the necessary 2nd mortgage required to afford a Gymboree wardrobe I am supposed to dress my daughter for a day at the brothel. To go to school. Sequins, snotty sayings, super tight jeans, super short skirts, rips, slashes and see through places in spots that aren't even worth looking at on a 5 (almost 6) year old yet. Apparently I am either hopelessly UNhip or there is some big practical joke that I am the butt of.

I blame the Disney channel. Which you have to believe, pains me to no end. I love me some Disney. Love.IT. the home of Hannah Montana they have to shoulder some of the blame here. Hannah Montana dresses like a rock star. Which makes sense, being a singing sensation and all. She is flashy. And a little skimpy. But hey, she is a tween/teenager, so that is OK. Unfortch, it seems that the old marketing geniuses at Disney decided that the tween crowd wasn't enough, so they market her show/clothes/cult following to kids as small as a size 4. Now. Don't get me wrong...I think Miley Cyrus is a lovely role model for tweenagers. She is appropriately angsty and innocent...boy crazy and mild. She has completely age appropriate trials and tribulations, and I could hope for nothing more than for my daughter to take after her...when she herself is a tween. But she is not. She is 5 (almost 6). She has NO BUSINESS watching that show. And so she doesn't get to. I know however, in a few short weeks, she will skip off to public elementary school where Miley Cyrus is all the rage. And I know enough to realize that I can't prevent her from learning about and hearing about Hannah Montana from her friends. Her friends who will all be sporting flashy/trashy Hannah Montana hooker gear...

I suppose the upshot is, that if I did dress her like a hooker she could bring in the cash to fund a Gymboree wardrobe? Not that I would pimp out my kid. But seriously.