Thursday, May 31, 2007
To show the vast differences between my two boys - let's note their different Crazy Day attire. McKay was semi-excited about it. He wanted to participate, but didn't want to go too crazy. He got all excited about spiking his hair up with elastics, but changed his mind as we were on our way out the door. He wet it down and wore it partially spiked up. He did wear his t-shirt backwards (not that anyone would ever have been able to tell), but the bandana did not make it past this picture. The whole ride to school he was nervously scanning for other kids - just to make sure that he wasn't the only one looking crazy. Clearly, what other people think is very important to him.
Chase, on the other hand, could not be contained. He was whipping through the costume box, ready to throw on any and all items. He wanted a beard painted on his face. He wore his favorite hat. He dug out his old paleontologist goggles and added them to the mix. He wore one of Josh's ties. He would have put on more bling, but I suggested maybe too much gear would hamper his play at recess. He couldn't have cared less if anyone else was dressed up. (And in fact, he was only one of two kids in his class that actually wore crazy clothes - while almost all of McKay's class dressed up).
It's so funny to me how different they are in so many ways; yet, they get along perfectly and are the best of friends.
Not to be outdone, the Princess added her own crazy outfit to the mix:
Oh wait. Those are not crazy day clothes. Them be her EVERYDAY clothes. Don't you just wish you could go to the grocery store with THAT?
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
- Taking a vacation to the city in which you already live is a great way to cut back on using our environmental resources (thank you, Chase, for that brilliant Al Gore-like observation).
- When you give your husband the camera and you are at the pool, do not be surprised that he takes about 4,000 shots of your cleavage.
- And only three of the children swimming.
- Going back to the dentist because you are still having pain six weeks after she re-did every filling in your mouth will really make you ANGRY.
- Having her smugly ask why you waited so long will make you want to kick her really hard in the leg as you scream, "BECAUSE I HATE THE DENTIST, YOU...DENTIST!"
- Practicing self-control and not actually doing that is a really good idea.
- Hearing that your sister-in-law just had healthy twin girls will make you oh, so happy for her (and make you oh, so glad to be you).
- The worst words ever uttered at two o'clock in the morning are, "Mom...I just threw up on the floor and I don't feel berry good." (One guess as to who said it?)
- When it is nearing Father's Day and your husband's birthday (both within a few days of each other), he will begin campaigning for a cake every weekend in honor of his awesome self.
- The children will heartily jump on that bandwagon and begin begging for CAKE! MOM! CAKE!
- You will probably be forced to give in and make a few cakes in spite of YOUR awesome self.
- Favorite thing this week: Husband's thoughtfulness at the airport when he snagged you some dishy magazines for your weekend reading pleasure (which is most certainly why he will get his precious cakes).
Monday, May 28, 2007
So she is prancing around the hotel room and says to Josh, "Dad, my new teefe. Have you seen my new teefe? LOOK AT MY NEW TEEFE! They're beautiful. It means I'm growing up. I'm getting all growned up now. Can you believe I'm ALMOST ALL GROWNED UP?"
Josh says, "Yeah, Hannah, you're really becoming a woman."
McKay groans and says, "Oh great. Does that mean she's pregnant?"
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
In celebration of such a great year, they held a banquet after the game at a local Mexican restaurant. Picture this: A small, dingy banquet room filled with at least 50 people. All 14 boys from the baseball team running literal circles around the table, high-fiving each other and screaming - bits of tortilla chips spewing from their mouths and being ground into the carpet. Parents are sitting at one table, players at another. The margarita pitchers have been flowing around the parents' table for a while now and everyone is starting to get puhRETTy cozy, if you know what I mean (that and oblivious to the fact that we were nearly destroying this restaurant, what with the shouting and smashing of tortilla chips). As the only non-drinking adult in the room, I had plenty of wits about me to notice these little things. And no benefit of alcohol in my brain to drown out the nails-on-a-chalkboard feel to the room.
So where did I end up in this little fray? Smack dab in the middle of the younger siblings (logical, given that I have two and they needed attending to) and the Angry Divorced Dads. A group of seemingly nice guys - good fathers supporting their kids - but bitterly angry at all women. I couldn't decide which conversation to be a part of - the one focused on cookies, Cinderella, and Sponge Bob Square Pants, or the one focused on how women of a "certain age" are undesirable because they come with baggage. [This said by the men who have KIDS and are DIVORCED. Um, baggage?]
Needless to say, I chose cookies and Cinderella. It was all very awkward - I am sure they knew I could hear them, but that did not slow their tirade any. The next hour spent waiting for our food felt like four. Chase was melting into a puddle of starvation and Hannah was near tears. At one point, Chase reached out and grabbed a bus boy by the arm and asked "HOW MUCH LONGER, por favor?" Can't say that I blame them - it was after eight o'clock, they had not eaten dinner, and they were wiped out.
When the food finally came, we shoved it in quickly and prepared to make our exit. Just in time for the Angry Divorced Dads to notice that, Oh! there was an adult sitting next to them. They turned on the politeness to inquire all about me, my camera, my darling children (one of whom was so charmingly upside down in his chair at that very moment). I made nice for as long as is socially acceptable (like three whole seconds), excused myself, and grabbed McKay, his trophy, Her Royal Tiredness, and Mr. Upside-Down-Square-Pants. We bolted for the door, paid our check, and ran like mad for the car.
Truly makes you appreciate those long, lonely nights where you have a quiet dinner at home, read stories together, give the children their baths, and put them straight to bed - with only yourself and the t.v. for company because your husband is already working at his new job in St. Louis.
I soooo will not be complaining about gloriously boring days like that after today.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Today is my Dad's 60th birthday. In honor of this, here are 60 things you should know about my Dad:
- He was born on a Thursday.
- His mother's name was Maureen.
- His father's name was Ted.
- His given name is William.
- He goes by Bill.
- We just call him Dad.
- He was the oldest of four children.
- His parents lived in the same house their entire lives - never moving once.
- He has always been a tease.
- He met my mother while he was at his girlfriend's house (although she will tell you he doesn't remember this).
- When he proposed to my mother he was so nervous, he accidentally said the wrong name. She said yes anyway.
- He was in the coast guard.
- He was the reason his parents got reactivated in the church.
- He taught himself computer programming long before anyone knew what that was.
- He has only had two jobs in the time I have known him (33+ years).
- He gets red cheeks when he is mad.
- He wears glasses.
- He is practically blind without his glasses. I get that from him.
- He loves to build things with his hands and is very good at it.
- He has loved to fish his entire life.
- He has a big, beautiful smile.
- He used to take me to Daddy/Daughter dances, and would always ring the doorbell like a proper date.
- He always got me a corsage, too.
- He even once learned how to square dance with me.
- He used to tease me as a child that I had "poo" on my nightgown. (It was Winnie the Pooh) and it always made me crazy.
- He is extremely tall (6'4").
- He has the thickest head of hair I've ever seen (besides my own).
- I get my curly hair from him, too.
- His biggest pet peeve is telephone solicitors.
- Once as a teenager, I fell and broke my arm while ice skating. When they called to have him come pick me up, he thought they were selling him something and hung up on them before they could tell him what had happened.
- They eventually called back and got through that they were DEFINITELY not selling something. He picked me up and felt really bad.
- He used to pull April Fool's jokes on us kids all the time.
- Like nailing my shoes to the floor.
- Or setting the alarm to go off at 11 o'clock at night and frantically telling me I'd slept in and was late for school.
- He makes a mean chipped beef on toast.
- He calls pancakes "hotcakes," (which sends my kids into fits of giggles every time).
- He graduated from college when he was 40 years old.
- When I was in high school, he crossed against a light and got hit by a truck. He was in the hospital for a while, and recovering for months.
- He is a true gentleman. He still opens the car door for my mother after all these years.
- When you ask him what he wants for his birthday, he always says, "socks and garments."
- I make it a point to never buy him either one.
- He has 11 grandchildren.
- And one on the way (no, not me).
- He ADORES his grandchildren.
- He spends hours pushing them on the swings or digging with them in the sandbox.
- Yes, on his knees. In the dirt. Every time.
- He was the Bishop when I got baptized and interviewed me for my baptism, which I thought was pretty darn cool.
- My kids call him Tickle Monster.
- He never comes without a present in-hand for the kids.
- He is the strong, quiet type.
- He loves the Lord and has served in the church faithfully his entire life.
- He totally grilled my husband when Josh asked permission to marry me.
- I never expected him to do that, but felt loved and protected because of it.
- He is very OCD and likes order and symmetry (yet another trait I can attribute to him).
- He has helped us move more times than I'd like to admit.
- And he did it cheerfully every time.
- He can do anything. I truly believe that.
- He is a good man.
- He is my Dad.
- I'll love him forever.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Hannah and I happily stood on the sidelines and took pictures.
Friday, May 18, 2007
"Phew, it's a good 'fing you and Daddy aren't in prison. We would have to do A LOT of chores if you were."
Um, yeah. It is a good thing we're not in prison. I'd hate to see you actually doing some chores. Tell me why Daddy and I would go to prison?
"Because you both drive WAY TOO CRAZY."
No intervention necessary (not like the Band-Aid thing, ahem). Children are being fed, I have been showering regularly, and the house is moderately clean.
It just makes me happy. So happy.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
As I sat there thinking about this, I started to get annoyed. There are a lot of people here in So Cal that seem to have the attitude that they are busier and more important than everyone else. You know who I'm talking about - the ones that honk at you for not going 90 on the freeway or roll their eyes and take deep breaths when you're in front of them with your children at the checkout line in the grocery store. I judged this woman to be just that type. I mean, who did she think she was? We're all out here waiting in line for our kids- taking our turn. It just seemed so rude to me. The more I thought about it, the more bugged I got. I even half considered calling the school and letting them know that someone was blocking the handicapped space illegally.
I didn't do that.
And thank goodness.
For a few minutes later, she came back out of the school, and in her hand she held her son's backpack - the stylish handbag no longer her only accessory. And her son was walking right next to her - cheerfully giving an account of his day. He had a mop of dark hair and freckles splashed across his nose.
He could have been just like my kids.
Only there was no missing it. His knees were bent the wrong way on tiny, crippled legs. His arms were supported by two canes that he used to hold himself up and maneuver slowly to that front-row handicapped parking spot.
And here I sat, self-righteously judging a situation that I knew nothing about. How many times do I do this in my life? How many times do I see only what I want to see and miss the bigger picture? How many times do I fail to give the benefit of the doubt to strangers I meet on the street? Is this who I have become?
This whole experience has made me want to change that. The bottom line is that YOU NEVER KNOW. Never judge anyone unless you've walked a mile in their shoes, so the saying goes.
I'm so humbled. I'll be working on this one.
Monday, May 14, 2007
What is it, you say? This big piece of nerd finery is the Epson Stylus Photo 1400. It will enable me to print directly onto my 12x12 scrapbook pages - clearly a critical function of life, I know. I am a scrapbook snob (meaning I don't do digital - I like getting my hands on all those beautiful brads, papers, ribbons, and chipboard letters), but I will now have the freedom to print my journaling or titles directly onto my pages (or should I choose, I can even print out high quality photos up to 13x16 right from my own desk - which is slightly secondary to the scrapbook function, of course). I am ecstatic.
Thanks, baby. Thanks for paying attention to the not-so-subtle hint in my blog. Thanks for looking at the printout I cleverly left for you from Epson's website. Oh, and thanks for listening to each kid individually remind you on Saturday that you needed to buy mom her printer ("...because IT'S MUVVER'S DAY! WE HAVE TO GET HER A PRINTER! That's what she WANTS!"). You really are the best (and you only needed a little help to get the job done).
The only challenge remains in leaving it long enough to do minor things like, I don't know, feed the children, shower, and use the bathroom. I'll do my best, but I'm not promising anything...
Thursday, May 10, 2007
If I wasn't a mother...
I'd never know the feeling of tiny growing feet kicking my ribcage, kidneys, bladder, and other internal organs. Or how it felt to stare in wonder and awe at my own belly, watching an elbow or a foot sliding by.
I would have missed out on the indescribable exhilaration I felt hearing my babies cry for the very first time.
I would not have known just how sweet each baby would smell first thing in the morning.
I would not have spent hours peeking over the edge of a crib to make sure they were still breathing. (I still do this one sometimes).
I would have missed all those sleepless nights.
I would have missed all those perfect mornings.
I probably would not have known the unmistakable sensation of vomit, urine, and feces simultaneously being spewed upon my shirt.
I would never have found out that I didn't mind it - because it came from them.
I wouldn't have seen the sheer joy on their faces when they each took that first step.
I would have missed my own sweet tears of joy, watching helplessly on the sidelines; proud, and yet knowing that this monumental step was the beginning of the journey that will ultimately make them independent of me.
I would never have thanked the Lord for Teletubbies, Elmo, Bob the Builder, or the Wiggles.
I would have been spared the heart-wrenching anxiety of putting that big five-year-old boy on the school bus for the first time.
I would then miss the extreme, guilt-free pleasure of putting another boy on that very same school bus a few years later.
And I wouldn't be looking forward with glee to the moment when the little girl person in this house boards the school bus this fall.
I would have missed reading all the stories - and their soft, contented breathing right before bedtime.
I most certainly would not have known McDonalds' entire menu by heart.
I would not know the intense pride I'd feel when I watched them learn new things.
I would not know just how much it would hurt to hold back my own fears and let them try things for themselves, even if I knew it meant disappointment for them.
I would have missed seeing the Mama Tiger in me come out when I felt other kids had trampled over them on the playground.
I would not know the worry and heartache of being helpless when they're sick.
I would not know just how good granola bars and frosting are together.
I would not have found my own inner strength during times when all I wanted to do was fall into a heap and cry, but could not because they were watching.
I would have missed enjoying them reach a maturity level where they can talk about real-people type of things; a place where we can have actual conversations.
I would not have grown in more ways than I can count.
I would not be the me I am today. And I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.
So whether you're a mother or simply have one, take time this weekend to tell her you love her. That's all she really wants anyway (...that AND a new scrapbooking printer - hint, hint!). Happy Mother's Day!
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Here are the rules. You start with seven random facts about yourself. Tag seven people and list their names. The people who are tagged need to write on their own blog about the seven things and the rules. (Don't forget to leave them a comment that they have been tagged and to read your blog.)
1. I simply cannot drink Diet Coke without a straw. I also cannot drink Diet Coke without ice. I think the straw thing started when my friend Jackie told me that caffeinated drinks turn your teeth nasty colors (I believe anything Jackie says) and I have been a straw girl ever since.
2. I cannot have a shower until I have brushed my teeth. Day or night, noon or whenever - I can't step foot in the tub unless I've got that just-brushed, minty feel in my mouth. Just something about a non-clean mouth getting into the shower is wrong for me. (I have OCD, too, can you tell?)
3. I hate making phone calls (Laura, Oma, Mom, Gabi, and a few others are the exception). E-mail is my preferred method of communication. I don't really know why - I do enjoy talking on the phone, but I hate making cold calls. I'll do it if I have to, but I generally don't like it. It drives my husband absolutely crazy, but that's just me.
4. I can type 117 words per minute. I have been doing at-home transcribing for years, and the speed is still there. I love how fast I can type - and I'm pretty accurate, too.
5. I have to fall asleep with the t.v. on. Every night I set the timer, turn the volume almost completely off, and fall asleep to the light from the t.v. I like to think of it as my own grown-up version of the night-light.
6. I drink at least 80 ounces of water every day. If I don't get that much in, by the end of the day I feel dehydrated. I think my body just depends on water overload.
7. I feel panicked if I am more than six months behind on my scrapbooking. I work on it constantly to try and stay as caught up as I can (which is no small feat considering how many pictures I take). I think it would overwhelm me if I had more than a few months to do - and I'd probably just stop doing it altogether.
Okay, so there you have it. I tag Bridget, Gabi, Anna H., Annie W., Kristi, Kelly, and Andrew (and anyone else who wants to play along).
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
4:00 a.m.: Wake up to awful, THUNDERING, wall-shaking snoring, and find Hannah in my bed. Wonder how something so small could make such a big noise.
4:01 a.m.: Take Hannah back to bed. Stumble, and step on large Darth Vader head and hear "Psh hsh...Luke...I am your father." Go back to bed swearing under my breath.
5:30 a.m.: Have the entire house woken up by Chase's loud, persistent, and annoying cough.
6:30 a.m.: Be told by Hannah that I am "berry, berry mean" because I got mad at her last night when she wouldn't stay in her bed.
7:00 a.m.: Be reminded by McKay that he has STAR testing this week and needs a "BIG" breakfast (i.e., something other than Eggo waffles, our standby).
7:45 a.m.: Finish cleaning up BIG breakfast and begin sorting laundry.
7:47 a.m.: Argue with Hannah for 20 minutes for refusing to let her wear a turtleneck and long pants (after all, it was 95 degrees today).
8:07 a.m.: Take McKay to school (as Chase's loud, persistent, and annoying cough is going to keep him home "sick," which is really just code for "don't want to go to school today and am going to use this little cough to get out of it").
8:10 a.m.: Have a vigorous run on the treadmill to try and burn some steam.
10:00 a.m.: Drop Hannah off at preschool.
10:01 a.m.: Drag "sick" Chase with me on errands. Be looked at crossly in every store because of his loud, persistent, and annoying cough.
11:45 a.m.: Pick up Hannah.
12:00 p.m.: Lunch and "Nap rest time" (a.k.a., LEAVE MOM ALONE TIME)
2:00 p.m.: Find Hannah standing on counters poised to pour cupcake sprinkles into her hand. Tell her to please put them back.
2:01 p.m.: Have Hannah give the evil eye, turn, and watch helplessly as she dumps entire contents of cupcake sprinkles into her hands (and thus onto the floor).
2:02 p.m.: Put Hannah in time out (where she reminds me again just how "berry, berry mean I am.") Be impervious to her criticism. Hold the swear words in this time.
2:03 p.m.: Sweep and mop entire kitchen floor. Worry that sprinkles have found their way under the fridge and are currently drawing armies of ants. Spray 409 under fridge in an attempt to make any sprinkles less appetizing to potential ant armies.
2:38 p.m.: Pick McKay up from school. Have Chase roll down his window and announce to all the children and parents passing by just how "sick" he was today.
2:40 p.m.: Try not to poke eyeballs out with car keys.
5:00 p.m.: Suffer through until dinner, baths, and story time.
5:45 p.m.: Put the children in bed (I know, I know, but tough. I'm all alone and I've had it. The boys read until 7:30 or so, and Hannah immediately falls asleep.)
5:47 p.m.: Validate yourself for putting Hannah down early, as clearly she was wiped.
6:00 p.m.: Remember the 20 loads of laundry waiting to be folded.
6:01 p.m.: Ignore laundry and take a bubble bath.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
- Having the grandparents show the kids an R-rated movie (even a World War II historical masterpiece) will produce a lot of "discussions" on S-E-X (as McKay calls it). Even though the S-E-X parts were skipped over and not actually viewed by my children.
- These "discussions" will be so entertaining for me that I will have to leave the room to keep from laughing in front of McKay.
- When visiting my husband, I should always remember to bring my contact lens case.
- Putting my contacts in a cup - and informing my husband of that fact - will not stop him from accidentally drinking my contacts in the morning.
- Hannah will notice immediately if one shred of my outfit is new. Whining and complaining about the lack of her own new outfit will soon follow.
- It is possible to gain five pounds in four days.
- It will take twice as many days to take those five pounds off.
- When going to the grocery store solely for milk, I will buy everything else for sale and get home before I realize that I forgot to actually buy the milk.
- In Touch Magazine is purely a smut-filled trash rag that brings me great pleasure to read all alone on a plane.
- Having a few days away does wonder for a mother's soul.
Friday, May 4, 2007
This sweet person is kept up at night - yearning for the one thing she does not need. She will sneak, con, and manipulate in order to get her fix. She is "using" way more than she should be. It is starting to get out of hand.
Hannah is addicted to Band-Aids. She will go through about ten Band-Aids in the course of four minutes. She combs her body, like a monkey searching for nits, hoping for any sign of a scratch that she can smother with Barbie's smiling face. It doesn't matter if it's a microscopic, healed wound - she must cover it up.
I cannot afford her expensive habits. It is time to cut her off.
The madness stops. Now.
If she can't quit cold-turkey, I'll have to get some Power Rangers Band-Aids. Surely, the thought of something boyish will help to quell the monster inside her.
The time has come for an intervention. Heaven help me when I take away the pink Barbie Band-Aids from the Princess.
Heaven help us all.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
First of all, let me commend you for your genuine interest in your son's baseball team. It is great to see any parent putting their time and energy into - not only their kids - but other people's kids as well.
And whilst I am congratulating you on your fantastic example for the rest of us, let me remind you that this is in fact LITTLE LEAGUE, and not the frickin' World Series. It is okay if your players strike out. It is okay if they miss the ball now and then. These minor mishaps will not send them on a downward spiral that ends in homelessness and alcoholism. It is just a game, and they are children, after all. I am sure that screaming at them will not bring good results (unless the results you want are tears and stressed out nine-year-olds).
In regards to your bitterness towards our coach - he was randomly assigned the Cubs team name by the league (which you wanted). He decided to keep the Cubs name, in spite of your temper-tantrum. Please, in the name of all holy baseball saints, stop throwing fits when you play our team. We are not cheaters; we do not strive to con umpires into narrow strike zones. We do not illegally seek to end games early because we are winning (unlike someone YOU might know). We are simply trying to teach our kids about being good sports, playing a fair game, and having a good time.
If you can do these few things for me, I promise to stop being so happy inside when our team KNOCKS THE SOCKS OFF YOURS.
Thanks, and much love,
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Now to report on my successful weekend: We picked mahogany for the wood floors, and it will be just stunning. We went with a very slight grain, so the floors will have a sleek, smooth look. The entire first floor will be hardwood, except the laundry room and powder room (which will be tile). And we decided to do a carpet inlay in the dining room and family room. I can't even stand it, I'm so excited.
For the counter tops, we chose a granite that is called "Caraway Gold," but has small flecks of varying shades of black, chocolate brown and light tan. It's absolutely beautiful. We didn't quite get to the paint colors, but I'll do that from here. Oh, and we found some unbelievable deals on furniture and bought a sectional for the basement; plus, a leather couch, chair, and love seat for the family room on the main floor. We will need a ton more furniture, but will wait to get the rest once we've moved in. This at least gives Josh someplace comfortable to sit as he watches me unpack the 9,678 boxes (just kidding, he wishes).
We went to church and got to meet a lot of the people in our congregation. Everyone was extremely friendly, and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. There are tons of kids in the primary, so I feel good knowing my kids will be able to have friends right away.
Everything about this move REALLY is falling into place. I feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity. These next two months are going to fly by. We will be together before we know it. I can't wait.
[And I'll try to avoid the schizophrenic/manic reactions in the future (or at least not blog about them for all the world to see). I really AM normal, I promise. Just ask all these voices I hear in my head, they'll tell you.]
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
But with the end of the glorious weekend comes the let-down of leaving him, and the weight of the next two months looming over my shoulders. I don't know why, but today all of this has hit me. The move, the separation, the travel back and forth, the new start, the new house, the new friends, the lonely week where you have no friends, all the work, and all the things that need to be done. And I can't help but wish it was over. I just want to fast forward through the next two months and be done already. I want our family to be together. I want us to be HOME. I have a new found respect for my friend, Jackie, who sent her husband off to Iraq for over a year. I don't know HOW she did it. (And I recognize that I have very little room to complain.)
But, like I always do, I will pick myself up by the bootstraps and move forward. I will try my best to be patient with my kids when I have no one to take them off my hands and give me a break. I will not think about how lonely it is every night. I will not cry about things I cannot change. I will not grumble when I am sitting at baseball games all alone. I will not waste our last few months in this perfect paradise. I will be positive. I will work efficiently and get us organized to move. I will make it easy for my husband to be alone as well. I will.
Just maybe not today.