Wednesday, September 26, 2007

mission accomplished - sort of

So here is the revised list of what I actually accomplished yesterday. Be impressed. Be VERY impressed:
  1. Grocery shopping? Done. Cupboards full of chips, cookies, M&Ms, and baby cokes for Oma. Because nothing says Welcome to my Home! like a whole lot of carbs, sugar, and fat.
  2. Guest bathroom? Painted, towels hung. Dum dum still being cursed.
  3. House? As clean as it's gonna get.
  4. Dehumidifier and fan? No longer using up eleventy billion kilowatts of electricity in my house.
  5. Husband's Playboys? Hidden. [STILL KIDDING!]
  6. Rock hard Cub Scout patches? Sewn on. Skin on fingers no longer intact though.
  7. Pack meeting? Attended.
  8. 15 pounds? Still with me, give or take. Crap.
  9. Federal Disaster Areas? Spotless (and outside garbage can at least three bags fuller).
  10. Toothpaste? Removed from ceiling. Lecture about proper brushing techniques given.
  11. Haircut for me? Negative. Still looking very scarecrow-ish. Made the right choice and refused Super Cuts' fine offer to help with my scarecrow status. Tempting, yes. But will wait for proper salon, thank you very much.
  12. Axl Rose to Brad Pitt makeover for the boys at Super Cuts? Check.
  13. Laundry? Folded and put away.
  14. Nap? Not taken. Sleep last night? VERY, VERY little. (Hence the long list of accomlishments.)
  15. Pedicure? Negative. Sigh.
  16. Blog reading? A little. Because it's all about priorities, you know, Daniel.
  17. Phone gossipping and scrapbooking? It'll have to wait until next week.

Thanks for all your kind wishes, Internets. Now all we have to do is have fun with the grandparents and find something great to show them here in St. Louis.

It may have been easier to finish my to-do list. We're not in San Diego anymore, Toto.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

To do or not to do, that is the question

My parents are flying in tomorrow, followed by The Husband's parents on Thursday. Here is a list of things that I need to do right now:
  1. Go to the grocery store so my mother does not see the sorry state of my cupboards and think we are starving.
  2. Prime the downstairs guest bathroom wall (for which I am still cursing Dum-Dum).
  3. Paint the downstairs guest bathroom.
  4. Hang adorable towel hooks on the wall in the downstairs guest bathroom.
  5. Clean the entire house top to bottom so my mother will not think that I am a slob.
  6. Call Service Master to come get massive dehumidifier and fan that are here as a result of this. Which turned out to be a minimal leak, caught early, and not worth committing suicide over (as I had momentarily considered).
  7. Hide The Husband's enormous stack of Playboys. [KIDDING, people, KIDDING.]
  8. Sew rock-hard Cub Scout patches onto Chase's shirt for pack meeting tonight.
  9. Run to Sam's Club and buy a long list of paper goods I am assigned to bring for pack meeting tonight.
  10. Actually take a shower and get out of ugly sweat pants less I embarrass the poor princess at the bus stop yet again.
  11. Lose those 15 pounds I've been meaning to get rid of. You know, by tomorrow.
  12. Find something fabulous to cook for everyone. Ideas??
  13. Clean and organize the Federal Disaster Areas in our home, otherwise known as the children's closets.
  14. Wipe toothpaste off of every surface in the kids' bathroom. (How do they get it on the ceiling? What are they doing in there?)
  15. Get a haircut so that I look less like a scarecrow and more like Angelina Jolie.
  16. Take the boys for haircuts so they look less like Axl Rose and more like Brad Pitt.
  17. Finish washing 19 loads of laundry.
  18. Actually fold and put away said laundry.

What I really want to do:

  1. Take a nap.
  2. Get a pedicure.
  3. Read blogs until I go blind.
  4. Read US Weekly cover-to-cover (might have to find a braille copy if I succeed with number three).
  5. Order take-out.
  6. Fake sick and force The Husband to take the kids to pack meeting.
  7. Pay someone to clean the house and do all the laundry.
  8. Drink diet coke and eat cookie dough.
  9. Do number eight and still find a way to lose those 15 pounds by tomorrow.
  10. Go to the mall and buy myself lots of stuff.
  11. Chat on the phone for hours and gossip about Brangelina.
  12. Lock myself in my studio and scrapbook.
  13. Go to the store and buy myself lots of scrapbook stuff.

I would safely say that probably three or four things will probably get done on each list.

Which things and which list? Can't say just yet. We'll find out tomorrow.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My luck; my life

Say your oldest son is upstairs taking a shower. You JUST HAPPEN to glance over and see water dripping out of the light fixture in your living room. You just then notice the big four-foot long water mark on the ceiling.

Your in-laws AND parents are due to arrive in three days.

Yeah. This is my life.

Heaven help me this week, internets. I'm gonna need it.

Dear Chase

Dear Chase,

Today you are eight years old. How is that possible? I feel like time seems to be slipping away from me. What has happened to my little boy? I can still picture you the first moment I saw you.

You were born on a cool, crisp September day in Seattle. The only one of my babies born remotely on-time. You came with one dimple and a set of blue eyes that are still deep and dreamy. To say that you were a happy baby would be true, but you also spent a good deal of your first year crying. Some call it colic. I've always felt it was simply a personality too big to be confined to such a small body. You have certainly grown into that personality (lately, right before our eyes). You are much more content with life than you were in those early months.

Right now you are in second grade and just seem to be thriving in school. Your obsessive personality is currently focused on all things war. You beg and plead every weekend for a "war" movie - savoring such classics as "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Sands of Iwo Jima." Each time, your Dad and I wonder if they will go over your head, but you soak up every detail like a sponge and reiterate the plots to us for days afterward. You pour over your World War II books and fill our lives with random factoids that we've never heard before. You get positively giddy over old books just like your Opa, and cannot get enough of anything related to history. I think you'd be just as at-home in an antique store as you are on a playground.

You are so passionate about conservation. If someone "accidentally" throws a can in the garbage (usually me), you will rescue it for the recycling bin, then give us all a lecture on protecting the environment. You get upset and have come to tears when talking about the destruction of animal habitats. You worry so much about this little planet of ours. You care about all god's creatures, and have a tender spot reserved just for reptiles and amphibians.

You are so close to your brother. The two of you have become one entity; you have become simply "the boys." You are inseparable. You have interests as different as night and day, yet you are the best of friends. Your brother is, however, trying to come to terms with the fact that you are already as tall as him, and may shortly pass him up. I have no doubt that you will. I also have to laugh every time your father tries to take credit for it.

You are such a kind, sensitive little boy; yet there is a fierce independence inside that does not care what anyone thinks of you. You are confident in yourself and your decisions. You never second guess yourself. Times where I would melt with insecurity, you walk boldly in with your head held high.

You are so willing to give me hugs in public and light up when I come to help in your classroom at school. Occasionally, you even still reach for my hand in a parking lot. I treasure these times because I have no doubt they will fade, as has the rest of your former baby self.

You are my little artist. A few years ago, you would be so hard on yourself and get absolutely frustrated when a project didn't turn out the way you wanted it. Now you take such pride in your creations. You can turn a discarded pile of scraps into a masterpiece. You have the creative vision to see what things COULD be. An empty cardboard box is not trash; it is a blank canvas, full of possibilities.

You are a beautiful person, both inside and out. I love you, little guy. May this be your best year yet.



Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Last Lecture

Have any of you seen or heard about this? The Husband forwarded this great article to me from the Wall Street Journal. A lot of universities are now having professors give lectures and speeches - as though it would be their last. Many have been waxing philosophical and poetic with one last look at their life and what they would have the world know after they have gone.

This article really got me thinking. What would I say to my children if I knew I was dying? What lessons would they need to know? I began thinking so much about this that I decided to write my own Last Lecture. Kind of like the talk I'd give if I were to attend my own funeral. But since I am who I am, my Last Lecture must be in the form of a list. So here are some of the things I've learned in my short life that I would want my children to know:
  • Boys who are mean and tease you actually really like you.

  • Seventh, eighth, and ninth grades are not kind to anyone. Not even that pretty girl who never gets pimples and wears the cool jeans.

  • Don't take things personally.

  • Don't over-analyze every conversation and be critical of yourself for hours afterward.

  • Don't feel insecure when you walk into a room and don't know anybody.

  • Don't ever feel like you're not good enough. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. And then some.

  • Never lie. Unless it's to get out of a bad date. Then come up with a DOOZIE.

  • Never be afraid to talk to that cute boy. He just might be your soul mate.

  • Look at the glass as half full. Even if it's not.

  • Find a creative outlet.

  • Then create something every day.

  • Learn to bake a really good cheesecake and your spouse will always forgive you for accidentally making pink gravy.

  • Organize your life. Clutter can actually cause your brain to explode.

  • Be okay with laughing at yourself.

  • Always remember that you're never too old to make new friends.

  • Don't be afraid to try something new. Even if you're really bad at it. ESPECIALLY if you're really bad at it.

  • Be physically active. Exercise will make life seem more manageable.

  • Always make sure to taste the cookie dough. Can't stress this one enough.

  • And the cookies, too.

  • Don't waste your energy on things that don't matter.

  • Marry someone that makes you laugh.

  • Don't panic because your first baby never cries. Your second one will. A LOT.

  • Savor every moment with your babies. Even the ones when you're so annoyed you want to scream. Your babies will grow up entirely too fast.

  • Take pictures of everything in your life.

  • Wear sunscreen.

  • Learn to measure a person by their character and their soul; not their looks or situation.

  • NEVER, and I mean EVER, take two toddler boys to Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts. Just trust me on this one.

  • Accept that your life is a poster for Murphy's Law. And be okay with that.

  • Learn to love all your faults. Even your freckles. And the jiggly bits on your thighs.

  • Laugh at something every day.

  • Read good books. Over and over again.

  • Never stop learning.

  • Love those around you.

  • Be forgiving.

  • Never judge anyone. You just don't know everything.

  • Love yourself.
What would you have your loved ones know?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Having THAT conversation yet again

I have been working like a mad woman to get some painting done in the house before my parents and in-laws come visit next week. As we were headed out to catch the bus, Hannah turns to me (as I am fully ensconced in my paint garb) and says:

"Um, Mom...aren't you going to be embarrassed going out like that?"

"No, why would I be embarrassed?"

"Because nobody pretty much wears clothes like that outside. Shouldn't you change?"

This from the girl who thinks this is appropriate for outside wear:

Fashion advice noted. And ignored.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dum-dum does it again

In the guest bathroom in the basement, we have a little problem.

The previous owners thought it was just an awesome idea to screw a towel rack onto a piece of wood, and then screw that piece of wood into the sheetrock. Doesn't that just scream klassy decor? Don't you just want one for your own house? Well, in their decorating haste, they didn't use any drywall anchors and it fell off the wall every time anyone so much as touched the towel that hung from it. It was annoying, but on my seemingly endless list of rehab projects. I've already even bought the most adorable hooks to replace it.

(Shut up, Daniel. I know what you're thinking. And you're wrong. Hooks CAN be adorable).

Well, I went to prep that bathroom this week for painting. To my shock and horror, I was unable to pry that towel rack off the wall. I took all the screws out and it just would not budge. I yanked harder. I tried jimmying something behind it to pop it off. Nothing.

Well, it finally did come off. And this is what I found:

That big brown patch, my friends, is the sheetrock paper from the wall.

I immediately questioned The Husband as to WHY? WHY? WHY? he would glue that towel rack when he knew I'd be replacing it.

He didn't do it.

Well, then who did?

Our only thought is that our BRILLIANT contractor took it upon himself to glue the towel rack to the wall. He, who couldn't lift his hammer into the air without first increasing his already-padded invoice DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING ON HIS OWN. For free. I'm sure he sat in the basement and patted himself on his shirtless, sweaty back for doing such charitable service. Probably made him feel less guilty for over charging us on everything else he did.

So now we get the pleasure of re-mudding and patching a GIANT HOLE in the wall that should not be there. Would not be there. Were it not for the contractor I call Dum-Dum.

What's that you say? Call him up! Make him fix his mess! I would love to. But doing so would require that he step foot in my home (most likely hairy and shirtless) and I just can't bear the sight of that. EVER. AGAIN.

So pardon my cussing (still pining away for that R-rating). I'm so f#@% mad I could scream. But I can't. What with all the plaster dust I'm inhaling.

And I wouldn't recommend simultaneous cursing and inhaling. Makes for a very bad day, indeed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Things I learned this week

  • Before weeding the flower beds in your front yard, it is helpful to know which are flowers and which are weeds.
  • Knowing this in advance will prevent the elderly woman next door from having a heart attack as she watches you cheerfully pluck flowers instead of weeds.
  • When planning your son's 8th birthday, do not be naive enough to think you can simply take a few eight-year-old boys to the movies and call it a party.
  • Before the week is through, you will somehow have morphed that brilliant idea into a full-fledged Army-themed party.
  • At your house.
  • And 13 boys will be coming.
  • After spending a year in Sunny So Cal, do not be surprised when your children have no warm-weather gear that fits.
  • Sending your son to the bus stop in YOUR jacket will make you feel just a little bit embarrassed because he doesn't have one himself.
  • He, however, will be perfectly thrilled with the new jacket arrangement.
  • Promptly running out to buy a new jacket for said son will guarantee 85-degree weather for at least the next three weeks.
  • Getting that letter in the mail from GWB will be the highlight of a little boy's week.
  • Watching this defeat happen in person will be the lowlight of The Husband's week.
  • Your favorite thing this week: NOT having to watch that defeat and getting some girl time with the Hannah.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Darn, I was hoping for worse

I might have to break out some potty or swear words. That rating seems WAY too tame for a girl like me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Life in Hannah's World

Hannah spends a good deal of time living in a fantasy land (as all children rightfully should). I find her regularly planted in front of her dollhouse, calling the shots for her dream life. Thought I'd give you a little tour.

First, when Aunt Lavender comes to visit, it is a big deal. A big enough deal to plant her on a chair in the kitchen with her wild hair and leave her there. For three days.

Sisters get to wear ballgowns and tu-tus. And take naps anytime they want. (Now this is starting to sound like my kind of life...)

Babysitters come to the house dressed like hoochie-mamas (definitely NOT acceptable in any sort of life):

Babies potty-train themselves (now WHY, WHY, WHY didn't I think of that?)

Brothers get time-outs for all sorts of terrible behavior. Like breaking sister's toys. Or for simply existing.

But what makes this dream life most appealing is that this is actually happening:

While the Mom does this:
Heaven help the man that marries my girl.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Finally, a response

A few months ago, Chase came downstairs with a letter he had written to the President. It was pure sweetness - from his heart, thanking GWB for sending our troops to Iraq. Since that time, he has checked the mailbox EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, hoping for a response. Each day his face fell as no letter came. He would dig through the pile of mail, then moan, "Why hasn't George written back?" (He's only the President, after all. Surely he has nothing better to do.) It was crushing me, so much so that I was on the verge of forging a letter, just to save Chase the heartache. Unfortunately, he's a little smarter than the average kid. He knows all about postmarks, stamps, and official seals. My forgery would have had to be pretty good to pass muster. My mother-in-law even recommended a friend of a friend of the family who lives in D.C. and could mail something for me, just to get the D.C. postmark. Good in theory, but I was a little worried about posting something with the White House as a return address. What with heightened security, mail fraud, and all such nonsense.

Fortunately for Chase (and to save me from that inevitable mail fraud indictment), a REAL letter arrived yesterday, courtesy of our new friend Dubya.

When the school bus dropped them off, I stood by the counter, camera poised, ready for the moment. Right as rain, Chase headed straight for the pile of mail on the counter. Just like he has EVERY DAY for the past two months. "IT CAME!! IT CAME!!"

Yep, it came. Complete with a nice glossy 8x10 of Dubya and the Missus. Real letter pressed seal on the paper, too (which he pointed out for all of us to notice).

My only challenge now is convincing Chase that we don't need to frame it all and put it up in the kitchen. So far he's not buying it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you six years ago today?

I had just dropped my oldest son off at pre-school and thought I'd hit the mall to shop for a few hours. I had my two-year-old with me, and had just found out I was pregnant with my third baby. What seemed like such an ordinary day would become the most extraordinary of days.

I was in a store, and they had pulled out a television. Everyone in the store was huddled around the small t.v. We really didn't know much in those first few minutes. We all thought a plane had simply crashed.

Until the second plane hit the towers.

More information started coming out. It was not a crash; but terrorism. How many more planes did they have? We didn't know. One thing was certain - two of the planes HAD flown out of Boston's Logan Airport. As had my husband that morning.

I immediately tried calling him. No answer. I tried calling his office to see if anyone had heard from him. His secretary said that, no, Josh hadn't called in yet. She told me that the car service the firm uses had taken someone to the airport that was on one of the planes.

"Debbie," I said, my heart pounding, "JOSH TOOK THE CAR SERVICE THIS MORNING."

I remember sitting in the car, in the mall parking lot, looking at the pristine, blue sky. I have never felt so small. The tears starting flowing. I started praying. Praying that my husband was not on one of those planes. Praying for the husbands that were. Praying for all of us.

It was a good six hours before I heard from Josh. He did fly on American Airlines that morning, on a flight about 20 minutes ahead of the hijacked planes. Same flight path. Same terminal even. He probably walked right past the terrorists and all the people on those flights. I've often wondered since then how many times we cross paths with sheer terror and never even know it.

The whole world changed on that crisp September morning. Nothing has been the same since. I will forever be grateful that my husband got on the plane that he did, instead of the ones that left a few minutes later. And my heart will always go out to those whose husbands were not so lucky.

God bless America.

I was inspired by Gabi's post today. Where were you?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Dear Diary

The other night the kids and I were looking for something in the storage room, and came across a box of my old journals. I pulled out the first journal I ever wrote in and started reading. It was just too hilarious not to share. And so, for lack of anything monumental to discuss, I bring you highlights from my 2nd grade journal. Note: All spellings have been left in their original form (and McKay was quick to point out all the grammar errors to me. Thanks, kid). It also is much more priceless in my scratchy handwriting, but I don't have a scanner at home. You get the general idea.

November 17, 1981

Today is my 8th Birthday. It's ben real fun. I got a night gown, A shirt, under wear, flower Brett's, raido, hair dryer, Cindrella tape, crayns, Book. I got a Snow white Birthday cake. I got A pen. And pizza for dinner. At school my class sang to me. we saw Mickey and the Beanstock And half of DumBo. And I got A card from the Insurance Company. Tomorrow is Craig's Birthday. Its Been such a nice day today I'm glad Its my Birthday today.

[Oooohhh, a card from the INSURANCE COMPANY. I was special. That proves it.]


November 24, 1981

Today at scool the Teachers Dubble Jumped Rope. Mr. higley fell. We All laughed at him. We saw a Dafey Duck Speceal. My cousens came over and me and Craig got 3 dollers. Its been so much fun. I have a cold that won't go Away. Mom said I was groanded tell my Room was clean. I have had so much fun today. It's been fun.


January 21, 1982

Today Mr. Higley said He could read MiNds. But I don't think he is telling the truth.

[That Mr. Higley...reading minds. Ppfffiishh. He was no match for my keen intellect. Couldn't fool me!]


May 5, 1982

Today is matt's 3rd birthday. he is very happy. he got cars, underwear, briches or pants. he got a ball, swiming suit, shorts, tank top. We had a barbcue. I ate: 1 hot dog, 1 ham burger and a peice of cake. Craig, Jhon, and Robert rode my Bike. I played with Rachel, and LeANN, and Kara. The next birthday will be dad's. I'm sure it will be fun. Today Dan went to the holgo zoo for a feild trip. I can hardly wait til summer because we get to go swimming. Matt scartched up my face today also.

[There is no way I could eat a hot dog, hamburger, and a piece of cake in one sitting today. At least not without a diet coke to wash it all down. And if Matt ever wants to know what he got for his third's all there for posterity to treasure. And see, I was making lists even back then! Yes, I have always been crazy. And I am sure that Matt only got away with scratching my face because it was his birthday. I totally would have tattled on him. I was THAT kid, oh yes I was.]


October 24, 1982

Today Mom is not feeling very good because she is going to have another baby. When she has babies she does not feel very good. Daddy went Dere hunting and got a Dere. It was a buck. Tomorrow he is going to go get it because he left it at the cabin.

[I think if I were Mom, I'd probably not be feeling good knowing that I was going to have deer meat in my freezer for the next six months.]


September 12, 1983

Sunny day at home. At school cloudy day..

To begin with to those who come after me I would like to apologize for not writing in my journal for so long. I don't want anyone else to know that Stephanie and Erin and I can't sit by each other because Miss Pectol said we can't cause we talk too much. I think she is mean!! She is always so grouchy. I also hate school because the teachers get paid to make us miserable. They make us waste our P.E. time practicing going from class to
class and I hate it. Well at least the day is Over. It was O.K. today.


So there you have it - a peek into my second-grade soul. It's funny to see just how many quirks I still have today. I especially enjoyed reading the list of foods I ate and apologizing to those who come after me for not writing so often. I'm sure Jane Austin did EXACTLY the same thing. Do any of you have childhood journals you'd like to share?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Hi, my name is Stie and I'm a Paint-a-holic

Before hanging off the window ledge with a bucket of paint:
After hanging off the window ledge with a bucket of paint:

Much better, dontcha think?

[I also promise to stop taking before and after pictures of my house and posting them on the internet.

Eventually. I'm on a 12-step program. Rehab takes time, you know.]

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A letter

Dear Animal Living in the Tree in my Front Yard:

I understand the inability you wild animals have of toileting like us humans. I respect our differences, but must you litter my mailbox in this manner? And must it be EVERY DAMN DAY? I am really getting tired of using my bills to scrape your dried-up feces off the mailbox. I mean, those bills probably ought to be used in the manner in which god intended them (such as coasters for my glass of diet coke).

So if you could find it in your heart to scoot your little bum over about eight inches to either side of the mailbox, I would be most grateful. Grateful enough to, say, not throw rocks at you while I'm waiting for the kindergarten bus.

Much love,


Monday, September 3, 2007

Nice? Who, me?

Adorable Amanda has bestowed upon me a Nice Blogger award. (Clearly, she doesn't know me very well!) Thanks, Amanda! If you haven't been to her blog, go check it out. She is my moving comrade and has just recently uprooted with her husband and kids to Oregon.

And as is bloggy tradition, I get to bestow the award on three others. The first award goes to my friend Emily. They don't get much nicer than Em (in life, blogging, and everything else). Go get a dose of life with three boys at Emily's blog. She makes it look easy.

Second award goes to Here is a cute mom who is not only expecting baby number three, but also has time to sew adorable items for her new boutique. Life is never dull with a few princesses underfoot, and she always makes me laugh with the funny things her kids say.

And the third award goes to my cousin, Kimberly. She is a multi-talented beauty who has three gorgeous kids and is living my dream in San Diego. I have always loved Kimberly and her family. Nice doesn't even scratch the surface there.

So feel free to pass on the bloggy love. Nominate three nice bloggers of your very own and keep the nice ball rolling. [Although I fully expect to one day get the mean blogger award. It is much more fitting]

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A contest for the creative

Hey internets,

As many of you know, my nine-year-old son, McKay, has his own blog (yes, we are all about the blogging in our family). He is having a little contest over at his blog. Pop on over there and give it your best shot. The winner will receive an autographed baseball card of none other than McKay himself. These are rare cards, my friends, and are sure to be worth millions one day. All you have to do is use your creative noggin to come up with a name for a photo he's posted. Let's see what you've got!

He came up with this idea on his own after listening to me tell Josh about this contest. Go give it a whirl. All the comments will just totally make his day.