The Ticket to Preschool.

As I mentioned a few months ago, Noah is attending Preschool this fall – three days a week, and his teacher is his precious Godmother, Miss Janey.

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…whom he calls “Miss Jamie”, because I make him eat lunch with Jamie of Jamie’s Rabbits way too often and once one has encountered Jamie and her Rabbits they’re hard to flush from one’s mind – even at the expense of mispronouncing one’s own Godmother’s name.

(Sorry, Miss Janey.)

At parent orientation, they told us that they would be having two parties for the moms on the first day: a “Coffee and Kleenex Party” on one side, and a “Coffee and Kick-Your-Heels-Up” Party on the other.

Which is when I realized that I am some sort of misfit alien – because I neither felt like crying or cheering.

On the one hand, I knew I wouldn’t have a “the first day of the rest of his life” moment because at this time, I plan on bringing him back home for school next year – I just needed a year to focus on second grade with Ali without his vast disapproval in the background of every subject, and I knew he’d love the chance to be in Miss Janey’s class.

On the other hand, I’m not kicking my heels up because I’m a bit nervous about the round-trip drive three times a week (it’s not exactly close to my house) and…I’ve still got to teach second grade.

Therefore, the sum of my feelings about my son going to preschool is…COMPLETELY NEUTRAL.

I told you. I am alien. I should be kicked out of the Mommy League.

So, on his first day, I was somewhat nervously timing the drive, realizing that I was going to routinely hit some morning traffic, carefully skirting around two fresh wrecks on the interstate, and in general feeling neutral.

I got off the interstate with only a few minutes to spare and began down a freshly created road on which I’d only traveled a couple of times. I was checking it out, and I even remember looking for a speed limit sign, which is when, instead, I saw a motorcycle cop.

Hello, first day of school.

Goodbye, Neutral Feelings.

He pulled me over and the kids began their flood of questions about what evil I had executed to be trapped by a POLICEMAN.

Ali was reassuring, telling Noah, “Don’t worry, Noah – he’s on a motorcycle, so he can’t take us all to jail.”

I frantically began rooting around in my glove compartment for my registration and had it in my lap when he walked up.

“Hello ma’am. I need to see your license and insurance card.”

But I went to all that trouble to find my registration and I actually *have* it thanks to my husband who takes care of these things…don’t you want to see it?

I nodded and modified my search parameters to my wallet, where my license never wants to come out and my insurance card is always at least two policy periods out of date.

“I’m sorry I promise my insurance is current but I have an old card. I can get on the app on my phone or call my State Farm agent…”

“Okay ma’am. You figure that out while I run your license.”

Fortunately I don’t find much need for my State Farm app, resulting in it unfortunately not being logged in and more unfortunately me having no idea what my user ID and password were.

I tried every likely combination with shaking hands, still watching the clock leading up to Preschool Delivery Time.

The children continued to discuss my criminal past, present, and future in the backseat.

I finally resorted to calling State Farm’s toll-free app support number, knowing that customer support never ends well. By the time I got a human on the line, the cop was back at my door with a ticket.

I tried to rush Ms. State Farm through the process but she would not be rushed.

In fact, she needed to verify my identity fourfold. Because someone besides me could have totally known three out of four of these questions.

1. What is your date of birth?

2. What make of car was registered to you when you lived at X address? [Three houses ago, from which we moved in 2002.]

3. How much did you pay for the house at Y address? [Our current address, which we bought 7 years ago.]

“I’m sorry but I have a policeman standing at my door can we hurry this along? I just need my insurance card.”

“No ma’am. I must completely verify your identity.”

4. What year was the house at Z address built? [Two residences ago, because I memorize what year every house I live in was built.]

Thankfully, the last three questions were multiple choice BUT STILL. THAT WAS NOT LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR. That was like the most suspicious nosiest most awful neighbor no one ever wanted. That neighbor is probably breaking into my back door right now just to see how clean I keep my bathroom.

(Not very.)

During the above questioning, the cop stood awkwardly at my door as I kept whispering apologies and explaining what the problem was. After question four, he said,

“Can you ask her to hold?”

I tried to get a word in edgewise but my Neighbor Nightmare was now giving me my username and a scripted list of instructions. As soon as she took a break, I said “thankyougoodbye” and hung up before she could ask me to take a survey on her exemplary interrogation skills.

I turned to the cop. “I’m so so so so sorry. I have my username now and should be able to reset my password and then get into the app and show you my current insurance card.”

“I tell you what, ma’am. Let’s forget about the insurance card. Here’s your ticket. Have a good day.”

Lesson Learned: Motorcycle Cops hate customer service as much as I do.

And as an added bonus, I now know the speed limit on that new road.

(35, if you must know.)

(And I was doing 54.)

(Because it looked like an interstate and there’s nothing on either side.)

(It wasn’t unreasonable.)

(But don’t ask my kids if they concur because they’re now convinced I deserve to go to jail.)

Thankfully I had taken happy First Day of School pictures of Noah before we left the house,

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Because his level of distrust for me after The Incident rendered his walking-in pictures as decisively suspicious, disillusioned, and humiliated.

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I deserved it.

He immediately found the water fountain to wash away the bad taste my parenting had given him,

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then started down the long hallway to freedom from me,

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and from his ever-present always-directing older sister.

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Happy first day of school, kid. And by the way, your Mommy’s a criminal.

….And might need that Coffee and Kleenex party after all.

On Stalking Vegetables {And a Giveaway}

I have been a fan of VeggieTales since I was thirteen years old and a babysitter-in-training. The kids I babysat for introduced me to it and I was all like “Whaaaaaat? Vegetables on cartoons?? That can’t be good.”

Until I watched one.

I *might* have bought my own VHS copies as a teenager.

I also *might* have bought myself a stuffed Bob and Larry.

And my kids *might* own over half of the movies released in the past 21 years.

So, although I don’t usually participate in the Blogger Media Circuit, when I got an invitation to come to VeggieTales, it was clearly the occasion for rule-bending.

Bob and Larry Director's Chair

I knew I must go. Whether, whether, whether, whether, whether you like it or not. Weather, weather, weather, weather, the weather was cold, warm or hot.

I packed my bags and arrived via Cebu in Nashville only to discover that in my haste I had accidentally brought the most Nashvillian outfit that I own.

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I looked like a freaking waitress. At at Honky Tonk.

Shocked and Slightly Embarrassed, I could visualize Tim Gunn putting his fingers on his chin, creasing his brow, and saying, “Are you sure that’s not too…costumey? Maybe something a little less…LITERAL.”

But I assumed it was A Lesson in Enduring Embarrassment and showed up anyway. Just like Junior Asparagus would do.

After which I promptly ate Junior, and his best friend Laura Carrot.

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They’re delicious.

The fine people at Big Idea shared all sorts of exciting VeggieTales news with us, including letting us be the very first non-veggies to lay eyes on the newly imagined stars of “VeggieTales in the House”, the upcoming Netflix Series.

THEY GREW EYEBROWS, Y’all.

VeggieTales In the House

I think they’re perfectly adorable. And they’re even better in action – but you’ll have to wait to see that for yourselves.

The current plan is to release the first ten episodes Thanksgiving Weekend, so the kids and I are already planning on binge-Vegging rather than Black Friday Shopping.

I also received a drawing lesson from one of the a storyboard artists,

Drawing Lessons

which Ali was totally jealous of since her favorite bonus features are the “How to Draw Bob and Larry” segments. But then when she saw how a sub-par my learning curve was, she forgave me out of pity.

Bob and Bob

I’m sure I would have done better if he’d taught with a flannel graph. (Oooooh! Flannel graph!)

We had a Q&A session with Mike Nawrocki, the co-founder of VeggieTales and voice of Larry.

Mike Nawrocki

I was doubly blessed when he sat next to me at lunch and even serenaded me with a few lines of Barbara Manatee – no greater a love song has ever been written.

(By a cucumber.)

After lunch, we got to chat with Kellie Pickler, star of the upcoming Beauty and the Beet. She makes for a precious vegetable and human being.

Kellie Pickler at Veggie Tales

Aaaaaand….we were escorted individually into a sound booth to record a bit of Beauty in the Beet alongside her voice, which happens to nearly render my southern accent null and void in comparison.

Recording Beauty and the Beet

(I’m the blond, she’s the reddish-brunette. A bit backwards I know.)

When I arrived back home, I tried to make it up to the kids by bringing them the just-released Celery Night Fever, which is a show about forgiveness, therefore attempting to subconsciously help them forgive their mother for hanging out with their favorite celebrities without them.

It totally worked.

Laura the Carrot’s character further reinforced to Ali the beauty in being Type-A, and she has carried around a checklist ever since, begging me for items that she could add to it.

Laura the Carrot and Ali With Checklists

(Though she wasn’t a fan when I suggested adding bedtime.)

I brought Noah home his own Larry the Cucumber, since my teenage version of Larry is packed somewhere in a box of high school keepsakes. And since we haven’t had baths between my return home and the writing of this post, I can say with certainty that Larry has not left Noah’s presence in at least 72 hours.

Noah and Larry the Cucumber

Between the two of them, they invented a game called “Larry Draws”, and apparently Larry does know how to draw because quite suddenly, Noah began coloring in the lines.

Noah Coloring Celery Night Fever with Larry the Cucumber

Cucumbers are INSPIRATIONAL. And probably steal abandoned Pop Tarts when kids aren’t looking.

Ali was also inspired, and showed up my previously exposed drawing skills with this portrait of Noah and his new best friend.

Ali's Drawing of Noah and Larry the Cucumber

The trip was fantastic, and I left with a newly revived vigor for all things veggie. To celebrate, I went out and bought my six favorite VeggieTales movies to share with you guys!

Veggie Tales Giveaway

I love all of these for different reasons: The Wonderful Wizard of Ha’s and Lord of the Beans have unbelievably brilliant nods to the classics that inspired them, A Snoodles Tale makes me sniffle with joy every time I see it, Little Joe and King George are adorable and have great lessons that we all need reminded of, and Celery Night Fever, the newest release, is an always-needed reminder not to hold grudges – and has some dang catchy music.

So. I will pick six winners and send you all one of the above DVDs (I’ll contact you to see which would be your preferences after I choose the winners.) To enter, just comment below and tell me your favorite VeggieTales movie. If you’ve never seen one, you can just tell me that, too.

The contest is open until Monday, August 25, and I’ll announce the winners on my Giveaway Winners Page.

Best of luck!

Disclaimer: I personally bought the prizes for this giveaway because I adore VeggieTales. My trip to Nashville was paid for by Dreamworks Entertainment but did not require a blog post or any other media services by me. All opinions are my own. And Junior Asparagus is my favorite, although now that I’ve actually met Larry, Junior does have competition.

Why I Homeschool.

Reasons I Homeschool

 

18. If my kid is going to pass notes in class, they’re going to have to be to me. And I DO love getting a good note – especially if it’s creatively folded and contains at least twenty hearts.

17. I like being able to answer the question “When are your kids starting back to school?” With “I have no idea – whenever we get around to it.”

16. Because I never want to get a Lice Letter. The paper it was written on would make me itch.

15. Because I don’t believe in alarm clocks. Or brushing a seven-year-old’s hair first thing in the morning.

14. If I don’t like how my kid is progressing, the entire school changes curriculum.

13. Back-To-School shopping means new pajamas for everyone! Because school uniforms should always have stretchy waistbands.

12. A trip to the mall can count as math – “Find Mommy the best deals, students!”

11. No one is getting duct-taped naked to a flagpole around here (because that happens at every school and not just in Veronica Mars, right?)

10. It’s super easy to pick out who gets to be the Teacher’s Pet.

9. Because evenings are for eating, playing with Daddy, and going to bed promptly so the teacher can clock out – not for homework.

8. Because I never find out about a class project the night before it is due. Or have to take home the Class Tarantula for the weekend. Or feel guilty because I have absolutely no desire to be a Class Mom.

7. The Teacher/Student Ratio is an efficiency bomb: we spend approximately 75% less time doing school.

6. Because I find sleeping with the principal to be fun.

5. Because I can go to a coffee shop by myself anytime I want and call it a PTA meeting. And “Meet The Teacher” consists of me treating myself to a Mint Chocolate Chip Sorbet.

4. I never have to wonder what kind of junk my kids are buying in the Cafeteria. All their junk comes STRAIGHT FROM ME. Nor do they have to wonder about the ominous lunch lady or the equally dubious mystery meat.

3. Because packing lunches is, on a misery scale of razor burn to abscessed tooth, a solid C-Section without an epidural.

2. If the classroom feels claustrophobic, I can decide that it’s time for a Science Day and we can take a Nature Walk. Also known as a walk.

1. If I get really fed up, I can declare it PE and tell my kid to clean her room – with vigor.


Nine Reasons Why I Sometimes Wish I Didn’t Homeschool.

9. QUIET. There could be quiet. Like real, live, honest-to-goodness SILENCE.

8. I’d have a totally legitimate reason to put my kids to bed even earlier.

7. Someone else could take a turn at answering my daughter’s 500+ questions a day.

6. I could get my hair cut and colored. Without having to find a babysitter.

5. Long division.

4. Laundry could be a task that could be focused on and completed, rather than shoved into every empty second of the school day.

3. I’d get a break from the Mommy Guilt of “Am I doing it right? Am I doing enough? Am I making my kid stupid?” …. just kidding, then I’d just have Mommy Guilt of “Is this school the right choice? Am I spending enough time with my kid when they get home? Is someone else making my kid stupid?”

2. My kid could make all of those cutesy crafts and I wouldn’t have to be the one with glitter up my nose.

1. Did I mention that there could be quiet? Without even hiding in my closet.