How great would it be do this with your kids??
A creative take on the Grimm Brother's tale, the Stone Soup kit comes with everything you need to make a delicious pot to share. Recycled, U.S.-made steel tin includes USDA-certified organic seeds, recipe cards for each seed, a stone in a burlap bag, six stakes, pencil and the stone soup recipe. Made in Idaho.
Do you know of something recycled and badass?
Shoot me an email, link's on the right!
As I always do when I get back from Toronto, I start telling the girls about the awesome food we had and then I either buy or attempt to recreate it.
The Naan bread I tried to recreate last time I went to Toronto didn't go so well.
Anyway, I found a not-to-hard recipe for the crispy orange beef and bought all of the stuff I needed yesterday and told the girls about it last night.
THis morning while I was making breakfast, I noticed the beef in the fridge and told Amanda, "oooohhh, we're having crispy orange beef for dinner!"
And Amanda rolled her eyes (as almost thirteen year old girls are prone to doing no less than 387,865 times a day).
Emilee, who is a lover of all things food, asked me what it was.
Amanda jumped in and said, "Oh just something Mom had in Toronto. Everything is better in Toronto." Then she looked at me and said, "Maybe we should just move there EH?"
Oh yeah baby! Fairies! And girly dress-up gear.
This is my Trin Trin this morning...
NOw let's zip back in time to when the Trinster was just a wee little new born lass... How much would we have LOVED this adorable (and recycled) Ramones Tutu outfit, (available in this store on etsy)? She'd have been rocker fantastic.
Now Trin is about to be getting her own room that she will share with the little girl we will be adopting this year and when we redo it to be all fairy, girly, WONDERFUL - we will definitely be making several strands of these lights to hang around her room...
Made from recycled egg cartons to give them that forest-y, natural appeal.. and I imagine you could paint them different flower colors and make them even prettier! Ooh, and do these pressed flowers and hang on the walls??
ANd of course, no proper fairy would be a fairy without her recycled fairy wings right?
Here is a link to youtube where there is video that shows you how to make your own fairy wings... and keep in mind, recycling folk, that you can hit up any thrift store and by one of those GOD AWFUL dresses from the eighties prom nights and turn those into a wicked rad fairy costume.
This is what my checks look like.
I support Defenders of Wildlife.
Because I love dolphins :)
I used to order dolphin checks all the time and never even thought about how my checks could be beneficial or eco-friendly. But they can be. And should be.
Also, they will cut you a great deal on your first order.
Do you know about something bad-ass and recycled? Email me, link's on the right.
Never, never, ever do I want to make that trip again. Not because of the delay in taking off, not because I was traveling with a small companion, not because I opted to carry my heavy ass bag on rather than pay the fees you have to pay now to have it stowed under the plane, not because two people can barely fit in an airplane loo...
None of those reasons.
In fact, the trip itself, delays and loos aside, wasn't that bad.
Taking your almost-seven-year-old daughter to spend four days in a foreign state with someone you don't particularly trust and who will be about six to seven hours distance from you is just about the worse feeling in the world. My baby. And not just that she is the youngest, but also that she is so different from other kids, from other people and he doesn't take that seriously.
In preparation for this trip and on account of how Trin is different than other kids, she and I made two lists. The first was a list that she dictated to me of things that she'd like to have available to eat. Now Trin is a very picky eater. And if you don't give her something that she will eat, she will just go without. Until she is sick. The thought of her not eating makes me sick. So the two of us sat down one day in the kitchen and I emailed her dad the list of foods she wanted him to have available to her.
The following is an edited email we sent him... [edited so you don't get bored and leave. We don't want that :)]
I am discussing packing with Triniti this morning and we wanted to make sure and send you a list of foods she will eat, she is VERY picky and if you don't have something she wants to eat, she will just not eat until she gets sick. So not only do you want to make sure she has food available to her that she likes, but you also need to make sure and ask her several times a day if she wants something to eat. If you don't ask, she won't remember to eat and she will get sick.
Make sure you have a LOT of apple juice and chocolate soy milk. Occasionally she likes a glass of regular milk but she should have at least one glass of the chocolate soy a day. The omega3 in it keeps her balanced out. She will also need to take her vitamins twice a day, the omega3 in those also keeps her balanced. Without the omega3 and enough sleep, she turns into a totally different person, one I'm hoping you won't see while she's visiting you.
Trin LOVES bagels and cream cheese and we have been giving MAD PROPS to New York for having THE BEST BAGELS IN THE WORLD so you can totally use that to your advantage.
Apple Juice (1-2 gallons, 100% juice)
Chocolate Soy Milk (one-two 1/2 gallons)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Bagels and cream cheese
grilled cheese (wheat bread)
Lay plain potato chips
honey comb cereal
spaghetti (she likes it with a little butter and melted shredded cheese on it)
seedless grapes (either green or purple)
She likes tortillas with melted cheese, I will try and remember to bring tortillas since they are probably easier to find here than there :) You can always try other foods with her but if she doesn't like something, PLEASE make sure she eats enough. Also when she goes to bed at night, she drinks a whole glass of juice or soy milk and if she hasn't eaten for a few hours, she will want something to eat.
If she asks for food, try and give it to her because she only asks for food when she is REALLY hungry.
Simple enough right?
I decided that since we'd covered that, I would also send him an email that outlined Asperger's and how it relates to Trin....
I know you and I have talked about this some but I wanted to cover a few things before she gets there.
The most noticeable thing about AS is that the children who have it are socially awkward. They don't understand socially accepted behavior and they often come across as being rude or weird because of it.
Triniti is a VERY good mimic and because of that a some people who don't spend a lot of time with her don't even notice. She knows how to blend in. She also asks a LOT of questions when she doesn't understand something, try and explain your answers to her in a neutral way so she can figure out how she feels about it on her own because she will adopt your thoughts as her own if you don't.
She may ask totally random things... like the other day she asked me what "in-law" meant. Before I could answer her, I asked her where she had heard it and in what context to make sure I was answering what she really wanted to know (she heard it in school from another kid who said her "dad's mother-in-law" or something like that). And I always ask her if she understands because sometimes she doesn't and she won't ask for further explanation.
Triniti's whole life just moves a little slower.
You have to slow down and take your time with her. This was a HUGE adjustment for me and for us as a family.
And also, try and make sure you give her notice before you are going to do anything. Say you are going to take her to get the world's best bagels the next day, make sure you tell her that night, Triniti, tomorrow we are going to [wherever] and we're going to meet up with [whomever] and get the worlds best bagels. Then make sure and ask her if she has ANY questions about that. Because she will probably have a LOT. She likes to understand everything about it, which helps her prepare. Not being prepared will give her a panic attack and you do not want to be in public with her while she has one and more importantly, you just don't want her to have one. It's very unpleasant for her. If she starts to freak out and say her stomach hurts, I usually ask her if I can hold her and I try and hug her firmly and ask her to take deep breaths with me. Some deep breathing usually helps, as does the firm hug. Kids with AS like to be held very close, it helps calm them.
And ask her often how she is. She will tell you she's good or fine if she is. I probably ask her how she about twenty times a day and sometimes on that 19th time, she will not be ok. Make sure you talk to her if she isn't.
If you know what you are going to be doing on all the days she is there, having a schedule you can give her will be SO HELPFUL. We keep a calendar here and she checks it daily to see what we are doing, even if it's nothing.
If you have plans and you put them on a schedule she can carry with her, it will help her a lot.
I know you may think I am being way overly cautious and I hope I am and that she has so much fun with ya'll that nothing happens, but you need to know about all of this and please talk to your parents and the boys about it too.
Oh and teasing, try to avoid any joking around, being sarcastic or teasing because she doesn't understand it and she will think you are being serious and she will get her feelings hurt or believe you. Like, if you tell her you saw godzilla on the way home, jokingly - she will believe you and tell everyone that you saw godzilla. About ten percent of the time she will look at you and say, "you're joking" and you need to admit it when she does because otherwise she will think she can't tell the difference.
If she is in a really good mood, she will joke on you. And she will laughingly tell you, "I'm just jokin/kiddin!"
PLEASE ask me any questions or call me at any time if you see any behavior that you think is a little off. I will be completely available to you and her through out this visit. And please don't think I am trying to tell you how to parent, I promise I am not questioning your fathering ability at all, it's just that Trin is different from any kid you've ever met before. She isn't in therapy right now because she is doing so well at home and we try and do our therapies here now but any big set back will send her back into it.
Here is a basic list of things about AS:
Find physical contact and intimate touching uncomfortable (always ask her if you can hug her)
Find social situations difficult in meeting new people (always prepare her)
Like to spend a lot of time alone (Make sure you give her some time every day where she can just play alone)
Find it difficult to understand other peoples emotions and feelings (Don't get mad at her if she comes across as rude or disrespectful because she isn't trying to)
Misunderstand speech and think that its criticism and become very defensive. (No teasing)
Find it hard to make decisions and always leave up to somebody else
Can't explain their feelings
Find it difficult to understand peoples facial expressions
Use big words but do not know what they mean (She asks me all the time what words mean and I think when she uses them, she uses them correctly)
Like routine and don't like changes
Can become very angry and aggressive when anxious
Find it hard to build a relationship (You'll find she comes across as removed from situations, it's just how she is)
Have extra sensory sensitivity (She doesn't like loud noises and some not loud but different sounding noises will also bother her. She HATES yelling)
May sound very rude or hurtful in things they say (Because she doesn't understand inflection and is most likely repeating something she's heard somewhere else)
Their voice does not change tone when describing things
Have special interests (She likes playing online and alone, she'll have toys with her when she gets there too)
Before we get there next week, try and do a little online reading and familiarize yourself with Asperger's.
And please let me know if you have any questions.
I called him that night to make sure he'd received all of the emails and he said he had and more or less said he didn't agree with it. And that he didn't "allow those foods" in his house. I told him that wasn't something I was willing to compromise on, he said he'd "humor" me. Which wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear right before I jumped on a plane with my kid to go and see him and leave my daughter in his care.
During the week leading up to this trip, Trin started freaking out about it. She said she didn't want to go, she was scared, she didn't want to be away from me. I asked her father to call her nightly to talk to her and help ease her fears.
He called twice.
I was becoming more and more discouraged about taking her and really wishing I could back out of the trip but at the same time trying to remain optimistic.
Any optimism I had quickly disappeared when he texted me right before I had to turn my phone off as our flight was about to take off from Atlanta to Buffalo.
Hey forgot to ask when I talked to you earlier but you don't mind paying for half of the gas/tolls/food do you? It would be $60.
I wanted to get off the plane and go home when I read that.
Instead I turned my phone off and clung to the little shred of hope I had that this all wasn't going to blow up in my face.
When we landed, he had sent several more texts asking where we were (as if I could answer him with my phone off while we are flying!?) and what gate we were landing at (he had all of the reservation info emailed to him). I ignored all of the texts and focused on Trin who had cried almost the entire flight because she was so scared. I was having a hard time trying to calm her down since I was also terrified.
Thank goodness Lola was there.
I don't think I would have made it if she hadn't swooped in and taken control of the situation. My brain wasn't doing a very good job of making things run smoothly. In fact, it was looking for an escape route.
Fifteen minutes later, after I declined to give him any money, he was walking away with my daughter and as soon as she couldn't see me, I lost it.
It was just about the worst I've ever felt as a mother.
This cracks me up a little.
Something about knowing my basket was made from reused chopsticks gets me to grinnin'.
Do you know about something recycled and bad-ass?
Shoot me an email, link's on the right!
As if it is even possible for you, or anyone else for that matter, to have escaped the mad wave of Twilight hysteria. (I've linked to the author's webpage which has the fascinating story of how she wrote and published Twilight as her first book rather than some fansite on account of how you all pretty much know about Twilight but may not know just how cool the author is.)
I was late on the Twilight train. I didn't know a thing about it until the premiere of the movie. Suddenly everyone was talking about this Pattinson guy and teenaged girls were fainting in front of posters and suddenly there was THIS CRAZE and Wal-Mart had a Twilight isle and I didn't know what the heck was going on.
It was like Harry Potter part two.
Except I had been in on the Harry Potter craze and now I suddenly felt a little in the dark.
The creepy, sexy, vampire dark.
Only one person in my circle knew what the hell was going on and that was Jiffinner. But Jiffinner reads a million books a month on her Kindle and so I decided to wait and see the flick when it hit dvd rather than run behind the Twilight train yelling, "wait for me! I want to ride too!"
With the train well out of sight, I rented the movie and watched it with the girls who were OH-MY-GOD, SO-EXCITED!!! and Fairy and you know what?
It was really good.
I watched twice more before returning it.
So last week, Emilee asked for the book for her birthday and I picked it up for her. And then I found myself wanting to read it so right before I left for Toronto, I asked Em if she'd started it yet... she said she hadn't so I asked if I could borrow it.
The vision of my alternate reading plan, You: On a Diet. was floating about in my head making me cringe.
She said sure and that was that.
Except, on the plane, I found I was hesitant to pull it out to read... a little embarrassed that I, a grown woman, was going to have my nose stuck in a book about teenagers and vampires.
Luckily, I wasn't sitting next to anyone on my Matthew McConaughey Scale of Adorableness, so I gave it a whirl.
There were four plane rides total and I have like a hundred pages left.
It is really good.
In fact, it runs so close to the movie that I don't feel like anything is really missing like the hardcore Twilight fans are bitching about on the net. It's just better than the movie because it's slower and a little more descriptive.
So, even though I'm not done, my conclusion to you is: Go forth and buy it and read it. It's so worth it.
So if you can't handle the little wormies, then you can just do the regular composting route. Whatever keeps your scraps from the dump.
From their site: Being a weekend gardener and a houseplant lover, as well as someone who ends up with plenty of fruit and vegetable scraps in the kitchen, it pains me not to have room for a compost bin in my yard. Anyone with compost experience knows how valuable that ''black gold'' is for providing nutrients to your garden. And it's basically free — but only if you have a composter.
Enter the Happy Farmer™ Kitchen Composter and the microbial ''Bokashi''™ that enable you to have all the benefits of a composter without the space commitment or the sometimes backbreaking work.
You can keep this bin under your sink or on the counter. It holds and composts a whole lot of scraps, from fruit and vegetables to meat, bones, cheese, coffee grounds, etc. The Bokashi™ microbes are the secret to fast and thorough decomposition. Each time you add scraps, you add a handful of Bokashi (instructions included) and stir only what you've just added. Within several days, you will have compost tea (there is a spigot on the bin) and be able to water your plants/garden with nutrient-rich liquid (1 Tbsp/1 gal. water). When the bin is full, you let it sit undisturbed for 2 weeks (to decompose everything) before then burying the contents in a spot in your garden, where it further decomposes for another 2 weeks, after which it is ready to use.
That is all.
Oh, except that if you know about something recycled and awesome, shoot me an email, link's on the right.
I wanted to blog.
I wanted to post pics.
I wanted to hang out with the girlies.
However, I was bushed.
I bathed my darling, darling daughter that I worried about so tremendously. I sent my other two darling daughters to take showers immediately thereafter.
"Geez Mom, do you think we are all contaminated?"
And then, clean and in pajamas, I had everyone in bed at ten after eight where I immediately passed out and slept through the thunderstorm that had the rest of the state awake for half the night.
But let's focus on the fact that Woman atop her Soapbox sent it.
Yay for WAHS!
I have a confession to make.
And I'm just going to come right out and say it.
I always make too much food.
My mother constantly bitches at me about it. That whole "there are starving kids in..." speech? If I had a dollar for every time my mother has given me that speech, I could feed all the kids that are starving in other countries.
[I'm not making light of starving kids Internet, go donate to them.]
Anyway, spaghetti is one of those things I tend to make too much of. I'm just afraid I won't have enough for everyone.
And then my mother bitches at me, it's a viscious circle.
So, now, thanks to Woman atop her Soapbox, I can be all, "hey Mom, check it out - it won't be going to waste now!"
And then I can laugh maniacally as she eats her words about me being wasteful and always making too much food.
2 cups leftover spaghetti sauce
Two cans diced tomatoes
Two cans kidney beans
One stalk celery (optional)
Dry spaghetti noodles (I use enough to make spaghetti for one person)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning (optional)
Dump sauce, tomatoes, kidney beans, and water into pot. Peel and chop carrots and dice celery, add to pot. Add seasoning if desired. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmering until vegetables are tender. Add spaghetti noodles, which have been broken into one inch segments. Continue cooking until pasta is tender.
Photo courtesy of SouthernPlate
Ps. I would think if you have left over already cooked noodles as I frequently do that you could probably throw those in last minute instead of using new noodles. Just my two cents.
Be like Woman atop her Soapbox, and email me something bad-ass and recycled. You know you want to. Link's on the right yo.
This cool little pouch is made from a rubber tire. Whenever I see these things that used to be tires, I always think that they really must be so much more durable than whatever their latest Chinese made counterpart is. I mean, a tire? As long as the stitching doesn't suck, it is bound to last awhile right?
I saw some purses made from tires too, when I find them, I'll post :)
Send me anything cool you've seen, link's on the right.
It never stops.
There is hustle and bustle and chatter and movement all the time.
It's just different. The vibe is different, the people are different. And whenever I'm here, I find I like it.
I like the sandwiched together houses and the tidy little gardens. I like that quite literally anything you could want or need is within walking distance. I like the different kind of quiet you hear in the city compared to what I hear in the country. I like the vast variety of colors and plants and smells.
Toronto is this place that isn't really a place as much as it is this thing... this living breathing thing that practically pulsates with all that is going on in it. It feels less like a place and more like someone you're coming home to.
It's quite fortunate for me really that they have these god awful things here called "blizzards" and "snow" and "winter" because if they didn't, I would seriously be considering relocating.
Labels: Toronto trip
Labels: Toronto trip
And then, I find something like this and my faith is renewed... or restored... or RECYCLED.
Yes! This what I am talking about.
I love stuff like this. I so totally want to send my letters on the back of recycled map sheets. I love that. It's so very cool.
Come on people, find me something like that and shoot it to me, link's on the right yo.
Labels: Toronto trip
I like rules.
I like organization.
I like procedure.
And I like good things and good people.
So when the outcome of my compaint against the coach backfired, it was pretty hard for me to handle. Hard in a way I hadn't felt in a long time. Hard in an unfair way.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I emailed my complaint into the person who handles complaints for softball and he immediately responded that he had received it and would review it with the grievance commitee and get back with me.
Thursday night, I got the following email:
We had our meeting last night and we didn’t finish till about 11:30. The committee agreed that [Coach] is to call a team meeting and apologize to the players and parents. He is to give 3 days notice of the meeting and notify myself or [the VP of softball] so either one of us can attend the team meeting....If you have any other questions please let me know.
I called and spoke to Camille's mom about this and she asked me what I was going to do. I told her I had every intention of accepting his apology and moving on. I don't want him removed, I just want him to change the way he is treating the girls.
The thing is, I had considered talking to him about this directly but we have these systems in place for a reason. If I feel like he's out of line, the board needs to know if for no other reason than that it's recorded. This way, if it continues to happen, everyone will know it wasn't the first time and appropriate actions can take place.
I was following the rules.
I called the two assistant coaches to let them know I had filed the complaint and that it had been my recommendation that they take over the team should he be removed. I made it very clear to them that I wasn't trying to hand out pitchforks or recruit people, I just wanted them to be aware of the situation.
The assistant coach who had actually seen everything let me know that he more or less agreed with me and had confronted the coach before. The other coach was very short with me, making it clear that she wasn't on my side.
The next morning the coach called and left a voicemail telling me that there would be a team meeting that evening at 6:00pm and that parents and players needed to be there. This was on my birthday and Amanda was on a field trip until 7:00pm but I still took Emilee.
It was immediately clear that the coach had called and recruited the parents I was not friends with. No one spoke to me, stood near me or sat on the same row of the bleachers as me. All I could think about was how I didn't want Emilee there.
Isn't it funny how you don't care what is about to happen to you, but man oh man, you don't want your kids there.
I knew the shit was about to hit the fan and I just wanted Emilee to magically be back at home. And do you know what she did Internet? She reached over and grabbed my hand. When I looked at her, I expected her to look scared. She wasn't. She was holding my hand because she thought I looked scared.
I really have these amazing kids.
The coach began by covering the schedule for our games, a few had been switched around and he wanted to make sure we were all aware of it.
Then he jumped into his "apology"... He started by telling us that he had had every intention of apologizing for his behavior before the game we had coming up that Saturday, but due to the circumstances (he looked right at me when he said that), he was being made to apologize sooner.
Great, this is going to suck.
He went on to say that was fine since he wanted the air cleared before Saturday's game anyway. He then went on and on about how he was more or less sorry that "some of you" felt he was being too rough on the girls and that his temper had gotten a bit out of control and that he would work on it but really that is just how he is.
He opened the floor up to the parents and the one who he is very good friends with immediately jumped in about how he didn't think the coach had done anything wrong at all and that he felt this whole complaint was BS. He talked for about five minutes and he looked directly at me the whole time.
Emilee squeezed my hand.
Let me jump in here for a second and tell ya'll that there were only two adults anywhere near the dugout when this all went down. Me and the assistant coach I mentioned earlier. None of these other people heard anything.
After he was done, the assistant coach who was on the field jumped in and said that she thought the complaint was bogus as well, that she felt he had handled the situation just fine.
Then her husband asked the coach if he felt he had treated the girls any differently than they would be treated in highschool or college.
Camille's mom jumped in there and said, quite clearly, "we aren't playing highschool or college softball." to which the coach responded that she was right and that, yes, the girls probably would be treated the same once they were older but he was going to work on not treating them that way right now.
At this point, the coach's wife jumped in and gave a lengthy speech about how she couldn't believe anyone would slander her family's charachter and how five years ago when they were planning to move out here, they would drive by these softball fields and they had a dream that one day they could be involved. That he husband's dream was to coach here and he was living his dream now and she can't believe that anyone would accuse him of being inappropriate or abusive. And that he would never hurt the girls.
At this point, the assistant coach who was there jumped in. He put his hand on the coach's wife's shoulder and said, "I don't think anyone is trying to slander your family's charachter, we just..." She cut him off by violently jerking away from him and glared at me and said, "Well you didn't read the complaint."
I said nothing.
It ran through my mind that I could have stood up at that point and given my own speech. That I could have brought copies of the complaint with me to pass out to everyone to read. That I could email it out later when I got home.
Many things ran through my mind, but the fact was that I wasn't about to make a scene in front of the kids and that any attempt to defend myself at that point would have just escalated all of this into a huge arguement where no one would win.
Our coach reached down and grabbed her shoulder and told her "enough" because he knew damn well that she wasn't even at the game and that we weren't supposed to be talking about the complaint any way.
That was the thing, no one should have even known there was a complaint or that the coach was being forced to apologize (even if he said he was going to anyway), it should have been on the down low. Those parents should have thought this was a routine meeting and nothing more.
The coach looked back over at the assistant coach who his wife had just cut off and asked him to continue. He looked scared.
He stuttered his way through the next few minutes with the most inarticulate defense you've ever heard, bless his heart. He told the coach that he didn't think anyone was slandering him but that we just didn't agree with his technique, we felt he was being too hard and rough on the girls.
The coach said, "well I had hoped to end this on a good note" and went on to apologize to the girls by telling them that he felt he was bringing out their best but if they felt he was being too hard on them, he was sorry and he would try to not be so hard on them anymore.
He then looked over at the VP of Softball who was monitoring the meeting and told him that we were done unless he had anything to add.
He said that he didn't but then went on to talk about how he is military and a coach and that he often yells at his boys but maybe it is different coaching boys than girls.
Great, way to have his back Authority Figure Who Wasn't Even There.
The coach "adjourned" our meeting.
Camille's mom got up and immediately left. I could tell she was mad.
Another mom who I am friends with asked me about something school related and then I left. Camille's mom was in the parking lot and told me to call her when I could talk.
I could barely think I was so mad.
I drove to the meeting spot where Amanda would be dropped off on her way home from her field trip and gave Em a dollar to go get an icecream and called her.
She said, "Kate, that was nothing more than a witch hunt."
She was mad. She went on about how the complaint shouldn't even have been mentioned, even known about and that our coach, as a board member (she is also a board member) knows that and how she intended to talk to him and the board about it.
I told her what I had decided on the drive there, that I was pulling the girls off the team. The kids at that meeting snubbed Em and were clearly pissed at me since their parents were pissed at me and going to mean to my kids on account of it.
I can deal with all the parents hating me, I'm a big girl, but they aren't going to be mean to my kids because of it.
She said she didn't blame me.
I told both of the girls that night.
Amanda is all her fight until the end glory said she still wanted to play because she was going to show them and they weren't going to win this. I love that fight in her. Emilee still wanted to play because, like me, she doesn't stay mad and forgives easily and quickly and she wants to play with her friends.
I pulled The Mom Card and told them we were done.
I called the coach to tell him, he let me go to voicemail.
The next day I spoke to the player agent for softball and let him know. He asked me why I had decided to pull the girls and I told him about how the coach had handled everything in a way that I didn't agree with and in a way that I think is shocking since he is a board member and that this man was not going to be a role model to my daughters. He doesn't believe he's done anything wrong. I told him that I had intended to accept his apology that evening and move on but that he had recruited parents and turned this into a big ugly thing. I will not have my girls hate softball because of him. We will play next season with a different coach.
He told me that he agreed with me but that he couldn't control what our coach had done and that there wasn't really a good system in place for handling these things. He asked if there was any way I would reconsider, I told him my girls wouldn't play under that coach this season or ever again - period.
This guy really believes that tearing these girls down is ok. Sometimes I gotta stand between people like him and my kids. This is one of those times.
God I was so mad.
It was so unfair that my girls had to stop playing softball because of this. That we "lost" this fight because he cheated and didn't play by the rules, the rules I believe in. I followed procedure and did what I was suppsosed to do and he should have too and he didn't and he still gets to play.
I had a little mini break down on Saturday when Fairy came over.
I was just so mad.
The coach called me Monday to ask me to reconsider. I felt like I was going to boil over during that conversation but I never even raised my voice. I told him that I had had every intention of accepting his apology that day. However, since he'd chosen to talk shit about me to all the parents who were now mad at me and whose kids were now mad at my kids, he'd left me no choice but to withdraw the girls.
I made it clear that I wasn't going to let the way he had treated my kids this season or the way that the kids would now treat my kids ruin the way my girls felt about softball.
We love softball and I want them to want to keep playing and if they do choose to stop it won't be because their coach is making them cry or because their teammates are snubbing them because of their mom.
I told him exactly how I felt about how he had handled things and I called him out for lying about cussing in the dugout. I told him that my girls have very few male role models and it WAS NOT OK for him to be one and treat them that way and I take that VERY seriously.
I think after having heard everything I had to say, he understood. And, dare I say, actually felt bad.
I've since heard from a couple of parents whose kids have concurred what I said and who wanted to hear the whole story. I encouraged them to listen to their kids because last season, I blew off a lot of what my kids told me. I didn't take it seriously and this season, as I was more involved, I realized they were right.
Just a couple of the ones we are going to try and go to tomorrow are...
Anshei Minsk Synagogue
This is located near Kensington Market which is where I also hope to check out the Kiever Synagogue, Canada Life, and The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (which is the last operating "double-decker" theatre in the world, built in 1913 for vaudeville and silent films).
Also, if we can squeeze it in, Fort York, Exhibition Place: Scadding Cabin (which is the one Lola said "oooohhhh" on when I mentioned it :-D), The Distillery Historic District(another of Lola's favs... we went there last time I was here too) as well as a Farmer's Market that Lola says it phenominal and a couple of cutting edge "green" buildings and a green roof and living wall.
There will be pictures.
Lots and lots of pictures.
I don't like being angry.
Or stressed out.
Now it is quite easy to avoid anger and stress if you stay in a nice little bubble and don't allow other things into your bubble. That's something that is quite easy for me.
This is a VERY high tech rendering of what my bubble might look like.
You'll notice that my mother and my job are the only two things that are both in and out of my bubble.
If I could just marry a VERY rich, semi attractive, kind man who wanted to buy my mom a house and give her an allowance and wanted me to quit working and pursue my dream of being an author, all would be right in the world.
Sadly, that is not to be.
Anyway, this edition of People and/or Things I am Pissed Off At isn't about my job or my mother.
It's about softball.
Now this isn't the first time I've been pissed off about softball and it probably won't be the last...
Let's start at the beginning.
Yeah.. go get a drink.
No, I'll wait.
A couple weeks ago, Amanda ditched softball practice to go to the carnival with Katy-Kate. She asked me if she could go and I was more than happy to let her since her and Emo have been fighting a LOT lately and I was looking forward to the break in the chaos. Plus, we live in the middle of nowhere and the girls don't often get invited to go do something fun so I wanted her to have a good time.
When Emilee went to practice that night, the coach apparently was pretty pissed that she had ditched practice and he talked about her lack of commitment to her teammates. If you have daughters or you are a chic, you know that gossip spreads like crazy when you are a preteen/teen so by the time Amanda was in school on Monday, all the drama about how she had ditched practice had circulated around and Amanda was afraid to go to practice that day because she thought she was in trouble.
When we got to practice that day, Amanda sucked it up and took her medicine. I blogged about how brave she was in talking to her coach and even though she felt it wasn't fair, I backed the coach when he made her sit out the first two innings of the game as punishment. I thought at the time that if it was his intention to have girls sit out for missing practice that he really should have made that clear at the beginning of the season but I didn't argue the choice.
But then it was like he was pissed at her for standing up to him. He kept on throwing jabs at her for having attitude. He regarded her disagreeing with him and having the guts to say so as attitude. And I get that some people raise their kids that way, I know that not all families are ran the same way mine is. I respect my kids and their opinions and I want them to stand up for themselves. I don't have the whole I'm the mom and I call the shots rule. Sometimes I have to pull The Mom Card and it trumps The Kid Card when it needs to, but I like for us to make decisions as a team, I like for the girls to feel in control of their lives and take responsibility for their choices. So the girls are allowed to stand up for themselves, respectfully and that was exactly what she had done. I was damn proud of her. And I was getting pretty sick of him giving her a hard time about it. And while I like for my kids to stand up for themselves, when bullying grownups are pushing the line of what I consider to be ok, I get to pull out my Mamma Bear and get them to back down.
Fast forward to Drama Night, Monday May 11th...
We had a game in a neighboring town and I got there at the same time as the caravan of vehicles bringing the kids from the various schools. Amanda, Camille, Emilee and a couple of other girls immediately hit the field and started warming up. The coach's daughter and two other girls hit the bench and said they weren't practicing until the coach got there. The girls on the field didn't care. Amanda was in a great mood and I know because I was taking pics and she was smiling and laughing and having a good time.
The coach got there and I went back to the bleachers. A few minutes later, Amanda called me over and said the coach was "being a butt". I asked her what had happened and she said he had walked over to her and said, "Amanda, you're going to play center for the first two innings and then move to first." She said, "ok." And then he went on this whole tirade about how he was tired of her bad attitude and he didn't know what her problem was with him but he was a nice guy so she had better knock it off.
All from an "ok"?
I told her we'd deal with it after the game.
A few minutes later, the girls started buzzing about how they were getting to play some new positions. I was glad to hear it since I'd mentioned at the game before that the coach, who had promised at the beginning of the season that all girls would be playing all positions, hadn't really moved the girls around very much and that it looked like the same four girls were rotating the bench.
Sure enough, about mid-way through he started shuffling the girls around. I was taking pictures while Camille's mom was keeping score so I was preoccupied with that and not paying as much attention to who was winning or what was going on in the game. Amanda and Emilee both waved me over towards the end of the third inning but I put them off since I wanted to finish taking pics. They were both clearly unhappy about something.
At the beginning of the fifth inning, I put my camera up and went to sit down with Camille's mom. At this point in the game we were ahead. Since we were visitors, we were up to bat first. I watched our team bat and everything seemed copasetic. Then it was time for our team to hit the field and the opposing team to bat. This was really the first chance I'd had to watch the game from a Mom standpoint and not just looking for great shots. I saw that the coach had moved the girls around and Emilee was playing second base.
If you don't have kids in sports, you probably have no idea how fun it is to watching your kids play a sport. Especially when it's a high traffic spot, like a base is in softball. It's very exciting.
Along with Emilee being on a new base, several other girls were also moved around to new bases. Now, while exciting, it is not the time to be pulling of risky moves when you have kids out there who haven't played those positions before. Unfortunately some errors were made where risky plays took place and didn't work out causing the opposing team to run several players in.
Our coach went NUTS.
He was yelling at the girls from the dugout. And I don't mean in a way that was productive, I mean in a WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!? kind of way. And not just once, but over and over again.
And you know what?
If that happens to you while you're on the field, it's embarrassing. It sure as hell won't help your playing improve because he's basically just humiliated you in front of your team and the spectators.
When our girls went back to the dugout, Camille's mom asked the assistant coach as she walked by what the coach's deal was. She said, "I don't know, guess he's PMSing." Camille's mom said something about how he was being pretty rough on the girls, including the assistant coach's daughter. She said her daughter could handle it and then started walking across the field to take her position.
It was then that I heard Amanda yell at me and looked over to see her hugging Emilee, who was sobbing. Two other girls that are Em's friends and Camille were standing there patting her on the back, telling her it was ok. When I got over there, Amanda was livid. She proceeded to tell me that when they came of the field, the coach pretty much reamed them and when he started reaming them individually, he turned on Em. When Emilee started crying, Amanda jumped in and told him to more or less back off, he kept going and then Camille jumped in as well to defend Emilee before he finally backed off.
A quick glance into the dugout showed that Emilee wasn't the only girl crying.
It is at this point as a mother that you take stock.
-Someone has made my daughter cry... should I rip them apart with my bare hands? Or am I overreacting?
I stood there holding Emilee while Amanda went on and on about how we needed to leave, forget the coach, he isn't treating her sister that way! And then the coach looked over at me and saw that there was a commotion. He walked off the field and come over to where I was standing behind the dugout, walked up to me and said, "What's the deal Kate?" I told him, "the deal is that half of your team is crying Coach." His response was to look at Amanda and say, "Well bad attitudes spread like wild fire" and then looked at Emilee, "and if Emilee can't handle second base she shouldn't have asked to play it." And then he went back out onto the field.
It was like he said something but all I heard was, "Kate, I'm an asshole who is being mean to your kids, you should beat my ass. And if you need something to do it with, there is a whole dugout full of baseball bats. Go ahead, grab one."
And I so wanted to beat his ass. I wanted to punch him in the face for being shitty to Amanda and I wanted to kick him in the nuts for making Em cry.
I of course did neither of those things because I always have to take the stupid high road.
But I did tell the girls we would leave if they wanted but to remember that if they left, they would be leaving their team, not just the coach. They decided to stay since we were in the sixth inning and since the field didn't have lights the game would most likely be called soon anyway.
Sure enough ten minutes later, the Ump called the game.
I told the girls to get their stuff so we could go. Unfortunately, the girl who was carpooling with us was in charge of snacks so she had to get those and get them passed out. While she was doing that, the Ump called our coach over to talk to him. During this conversation, the coach got loud and mad and when he stomped off of the field, the Ump asked him for his last name and our coach yelled back, "None-Ya!"
And then as he stomped through the dugout, he said, and I quote, "Fuck him, he isn't going to tell me how to coach my fucking team." His "fucking" team was sitting right there in the dugout as he said it to.
The little person who lives in my head was repeatedly pressing the ABORT button because my temper was almost unmanageable. I just kept repeating in my head over and over and over, "Take a deep breath, we're about to leave, take a deep breath, we're about to leave..."
The girls were done handing out snacks and were getting their gear together when the coach came back into the dugout to give his End Of The Game Speech.
"Take a deep breath, we're about to leave, take a deep breath, we're about to leave..."
He went into this whole spiel about how he HAD to take the girls to their breaking point to bring out the best of them.
If I were a cartoon character, this would have been the part where the steam started shooting from my ears and my head exploded.
You have to berate and yell at my daughter until she cried in order for her to be a better player? I. Don't. Fucking. Think. So.
As soon as I got the girls in the car, I quickly and vehemently explained that that whole line of thinking was bullshit. That no one has to tear you down to build you up. Immediately forget what you've just heard.
I was so mad.
When I got home, I did a lot of thinking about what I was going to do about all of it. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't ok and I needed to report him to our board. I talked to Camille's mom about it and then once I'd written up my compliant, I emailed it to her. She read it and called me and reassured me that I wasn't being all crazy-female and I sent it to the board.
The conclusion to this whole hot mess next, stay tuned.
Truthfully, if you don't have the link to my flickr account, chances are you won't ever know what my kids look like.
Getting frames for them?
Too. Much. Work.
So, when I get stuff like this...
I kind of have no choice but to put a few photos in it.
And I know I need all the help I can get :)
Do you know of something bad-ass and recycled?
Tell me, tell me, tell me!
Link's on the right!
It is my understanding that our league, especially on a minors level, is a learning league. It's meant to be preparation for future sports involvement and this is why I have my daughters enrolled here. I want them to be able to learn the skills needed to continue to play softball through high school and college, if they choose to. It would seem to me that the two things necessary for this to be accomplished would be
(1) that the child be taught the skills of the game and
(2) that they receive positive reinforcement to help build their confidence.
The OPPOSITE of both of those things are currently happening right now. Coach, who told us at the beginning of the year that all of the girls would get to play all positions, has repeatedly stuck the same girls in the outfield and on the bench. On May 11th, it was the first time we had really seen any effort made by him to play girls in new positions. During that game, if the girls missed a ball or made an incorrect play, he yelled at them across the field negatively. There was no positive reinforcement, no redirections - just berating.
When the girls came in from the 5th inning he huddled with them and continued to tell them what a horrible job they were doing which led to several of the girls crying. You would think that upon causing these girls to start crying that Coach would back off, maybe take a break and compose himself, he instead said he didn't care and stomped back onto the field leaving the girls to comfort each other.
I was standing behind the dugout where my daughter, Emilee was literally sobbing and APOLOGIZING for having messed up playing second base for the very first time. Coach left the field and walked up to me and said, "What's the deal [Kate]?" I told him, "the deal is that half of your team is crying Coach." His reponse was, "Well bad attitudes spread like wild fire and if Emilee can't handle second base she shouldn't have asked to play it." And then he went back out onto the field.
I can pretty much assure you that my daughter will never again ask to play any base or be given any kind of chance to learn a new position now that her singular attempt was shot down as being terrible.
Is THAT what we are trying to teach these kids?
The game ended a few minutes later and the umpire approached Coach about his behavior. Coach was argumentative and confrontational. As he walked away from the umpire, the umpire requested his last name so he could contact our board and Coach turned around and said, "None-Ya!" and then proceeded to walk through the dugout (where his team was) saying things like "F--- him" and "I don't give a s---!" and "Don't tell me how to coach my f---ng team!"
This behavior is appalling on its own and he is behaving this way in front of our children.
As the girls were gathering up their belongings, he came back to the dugout where he told the girls that he has to be that rough on them and has to push them to their breaking point in order for them to play better.
I realize that sports can be rough at times and that kids are going to get their feelings hurt. This is our fourth year playing softball and I can promise you this isn't the first time my kids have cried during in a game. However, to be verbally abusive to little girls and then tell them that it is ok because it makes them play better is unacceptable. I will not teach my children that the way to push a person to be their best is to tear them down.
If it weren't for the fact that my girls love playing softball and love their team, we would have left that game and we would not be returning. But they do love softball and they do want to continue playing and I don't think that they should be punished for their coach's behavior.
If Coach doesn't apologize to his team and his parents and make a serious effort to reform his coaching and behavior, I would request that he be removed as the coach and that our two assistant coaches take over for the remainder of the year.
Where't the big voice guy?
Make-believe cooking has never been so green! Made in the USA entirely from curbside-collected recycled plastic milk jugs, this set includes everything young cooks need to serve up an imaginary feast: stock pot with lid, skillet, 4 place settings, and 4 each of plates, bowls and cups.
I especially want to hear about bad-ass and recycled stuff for the kiddos. Shoot me an email, link's on the right :)
Twenty-nine is a lot of candles.
I kept trying to turn the nine over but my sister kept turning it back.
Triniti is getting so big.
It freaks me out.
Emilee in the sun.
I love the sun.
Amanda and Camille at the end of the year band concert.
Amanda wore a dress resulting in me taking about a million pictures of her.
She never wears dresses.
And that's ok.
She is beautiful anyway.
But it is nice to see her looking girly sometimes.
Amanda and Camille are in the sixth grade band.
The both play flutes.
Which makes them flutists.
And makes me cry in auditoriums full of parents.
Emilee turned eleven this week.
Emilee LOVES her birthday.
So does Trin.
Emilee is Noah's favorite niece.
He may not admit it, but we all know.
Emilee asked for books.
LOTS of books.
So of course, Noah got her video games.
Sometimes, if you are a very good mommy, your daughters will pretend to like each other long enough for you to take their picture.
Where: San Antonio, Texas Yeah, so I am all that you see here. I am friendly and kind, crazy and bitchy, playful and flirty... sometimes I am funny but mostly I just write the first thing that comes to mind and then stop when it ends. I love life and I am lucky to be living the one that I am. Want to know more?
12/14/84 - 1/26/05
"The most wasted day is one in which we have not laughed"
"Life moves pretty fast, if you donâ€™t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it."
"Guys are like stars, there's a million of them out there but only one of them can make your dreams come true."
"Reach for the moon, even if you miss you will still land among the stars"
The Adorable DB
Malcolm (he'll be back)
They'll All Fall
we grabbed the lion
Red Hot Sexy Papa
Madi (my stalker)
Did I miss you?
Do you feel left out and sad?
Click that link up there
and email me your blog!
A few years later...
The Red Princess Detective
Song of the day - Cover Me
Enchiladas and Spanish rice for my sister
Kale, leeks and pesto over pumpkin ginger rice noo...
bedding and barstools and dinnerware, OH MY!
The Story of AZ
The Time In Between
The Beginning Of NY
The man from my dreams
The End Of NY
Growing and Changing
Learning to Cope
These are a work in progress. They are in the right order, but more will fill in the blank spaces in time as I write them.
"I just got done reading the history lessons on your blog (yes, I've been lurking on your blog). All the respect I had for you...has increased, like, tenfold. I don't think I could have done it. To go through what you have and not only still be able to discuss it with such wit and poise, but also to raise those three gorgeous girls. You are truly an inspiration. You are honestly one of the strongest people I have ever known, either online or IRL. Thank you so much." -Stef
Bowling For Soup
Our Lady Peace
Kate went to Dallas?
You asked Kate questions?
Kate was stung by a Scorpion?
Kate met Mr. I?
Kate got pissed?
There was a mouse?
Kate turned 25?
Kate shared some more?
"There are some of us out here who are living vicariously through you, okay?! So for god's sake, let us have some fun and excitement!" -Educated Liberal