Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Torturing her brothers, one ABBA song at a time

What happens when your obsessive tendency towards all things musical combines with your daughter's obsessive tendency towards all things musical?

I'll tell you what happens.

It began last weekend when a perfect storm presented itself in the form of, "The boys are going to Batman, what should we do tonight?"

In a moment of weakness, I took her to see my new obsession.

And now it has become her new obsession. She spends hours and hours every day, rocking out to the soundtrack from Mamma Mia. The boys come begging and pleading, fingers in their ears, offering to sell their souls if I can only MAKE IT STOP, ALREADY.

But I can't make it stop. (And secretly, I don't want to.)

For she IS the dancing queen.

Young and sweet, [thinks she's] only seventeen...

She can dance, she can jive...

Having the time of her life...

See that girl, watch that scene, digging the dancing queen...

I think it's the perfect payback for their little soldier firing squad. Don't you?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

She's one of a kind

If everyone had an Annie, the world would be a much better place.

When you went to the local pool, instead of finding it packed as usual, you would have the place all to yourself. You would sit in amazement, scratching your head, wondering where all the people are.

But only for a moment, because you'd soon be too busy to worry about that anymore. Instead, you would share in the joy of your kids as they dive repeatedly without having to wait in line once.

Poolside chairs in the shade would be empty, and fun would had by all. People and OK Magazine would be on hand to provide Hollywood relationship speculation, fashion critiquing, and comparisons between yourself and the Jolies, Witherspoons, and Albas of the world.

But with Annie by your side, she would be quick to remind you of all the qualities that none of those girls have, that only you possess.

You would instantly feel much better about being you.


If everyone had an Annie, sightseeing trips to the Arch would result in children that magically pose for the camera, with smiles on their faces:

And you would only have a few shots that looked like this (but it would be because you laughed and let them do it, not because it was the best they could give):


If everyone had an Annie, movies like this would be on the big screen, just waiting with all their magical campiness for you to arrive with your popcorn and diet coke in hand.

With Annie by your side, you would squirm just a little when Bond, James Bond, takes his turn to sing. But you would also be rewarded with the surprising sweetness of Mr. Darcy's voice and the awesome girl power that is the Dancing Queen.


If everyone had an Annie, even when rain blows in and stays for three days, fun would still be found indoors. A new sport would be invented called Boxing Glove Baseball. It would revolutionize life as you know it for 10-year-old boys, 8-year-old boys, and 6-year-old little sisters:


And if everyone had an Annie, chick flicks would smoothly transition into late-night discussions which would solve the world's troubles, all while you are doubled over with laughter.

Ordinary Moms would become philosophers, and clarity would be found on critical issues such as child raising and husband management. Kettle corn and diet coke would be the food of choice for such occasions, and would never show up on thighs the next morning.

And that bittersweet moment when you have to drop off your perfect guests at the airport? It will turn into shock and surprise when you come home to receive the flowers she has ordered. For you. To thank YOU, of all things.

What's that, you say? You don't have an Annie?

Oh, I'm so sorry. But I really just don't want to share her. She's all mine.

And she's absolutely the best.

Thanks for a great week, friend!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Must. Stop. Cleaning

About 12 hours from right now, I will be picking her up from the airport.

I really cannot wait.

I have been in pre-visitor house cleaning mode all day, and I think it is time I staged my own intervention. I need to step away from the mop, duster, vacuum, and Febreeze. Annie knows me, Annie loves me, Annie has seen my real life.

And, truth be told, I think she might like me a little more if she were to walk in and actually find my house a mess.

I wish I could do it, but I just can't.

With her on this visit comes Sam, the long-missing third musketeer to my two boys.

They are beyond excited.

The only one unhappy about this current situation is Hannah, who is pouting because Annie's two girls are not coming along, as they stayed behind for girl's camp. The concept that Annie's daughter's have lives of their own is totally lost on Hannah. I mean, Hannah, who spends a good deal of every day acting as though she were 15, cannot comprehend why real 15-year-old girls have better things to do than play dress up and listen to High School Musical.

I know, right?

Anyway, we are so excited for these friends to visit. And there is nothing like having a few house guests to force your husband to finally do what you've been nagging him to do for months motivate you to finish all those house projects.

Top of that completed list? The Husband finally replaced the baseboards that were missing after we removed some hideous built-ins. You know, when we moved in OVER A YEAR AGO (not that I've nagged him about it or anything).

And after about 186 trips to Home Depot, we also finished our basement wainscoting project (which I'll post photos of soon).

What I will spare you from, however, are the photos of my boys walking around Home Depot with toilet seats on their heads while laughing maniacally.

Because some things are just too disturbing.

See you soon, Annie and Sam!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Taking his turn as a poet

During the school year, McKay's teacher had the class do their own version of Judith Viorst's poem, "If I were in charge of the world." Her poem has always been a favorite of mine, and I like his version even better. It gives you insight into his personality, which is oftentimes so agreeable that his dislikes tend to be kept to himself (I know, great kid, huh?)

But it's interesting to me the things he would eliminate and the things he would keep, if he were in charge of the world. I think it would be an excellent psychological assessment tool to see what we'd all write. Maybe I'll do one of my own soon.

If I were in charge of the world
By McKay

If I were in charge of the world
I'd cancel wars,
Mean people, and also
slow computers

If I were in charge of the world
there'd be mansions everywhere,
servants, and
no homework.

If I were in charge of the world
You wouldn't have germs.
You wouldn't have laundry
You wouldn't have disgusting foods
Or "clean the yard"
You wouldn't even have to clean.

If I were in charge of the world
Foods with sugar would be healthy.
Everything would cost 1 penny.
There would be no work
And a person who sometimes has bad grades
And sometimes has bad days
Would still be able to be
in charge of the world

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Uh-oh, Spaghettios

Here's an interesting tidbit I bet you didn't know: Some of the greatest contributions to mankind have been accidents of science.

Yes, that's right.

Important accidents, like Penicillin and x-rays, that changed life as we knew it forever.

And there were also some less-important things like Silly Putty, potato chips, and Viagra - all brought to us by accident.

Today, another accidental discovery was made, right here in my house.

It will never cure cancer. It will never redefine medical science. It will definitely never bring life back to any men suffering from E.D.

It will, however, cause me to develop a brain aneurysm.

Our scientist? She, the one I so glowingly sang the praises of a few days ago.

Her experiment?

How far spaghettios will travel when accidentally dropped from the kitchen table:

The answer, in case you were wondering?

About 12 feet in all directions.

And if that weren't enough, the spaghettios somehow defied gravity, and climbed UP THE BACK OF THE CHAIR, as though trying to return to the table from whence they came.

How many seconds before my head exploded, you ask?

About eight seconds. (I was a little shell shocked and had a delayed reaction.)

As a result of our accidental discovery, we now know that all it takes to turn me into a manic, mumbling fool is to cover half of my kitchen with tiny, little O's and sticky tomato sauce.

Please, internets, we're professionals here.

Do not try this at home.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Holding her tiny hand, I look down to see her clutching the doll tightly to her chest. Her skin is soft, and her fingers, entwined in mine, give a slight squeeze. I smile inside when the tiny bunnies painted on her nails catch my eye.

I say a silent prayer of thanks for someone up above who knew that I needed to girl up my life by having her in it.

Before she came, nobody wore pink. I was the only one who ever listened to Broadway show tunes. And the tears that fall inevitably during movies like Charlotte's Web? Until she came, they were mine alone.

Now, it is her cheeks that I wipe tenderly at the movie theater. It is our shared conspiracy when we pick musicals for family movie nights, knowing those boys of ours won't like it one bit. It is her eye that catches mine and smiles when we see them squirm. We're a team now, she and I.

It is she, this tough little chica, who still likes to climb in for a snuggle with her mama at three in the morning. She, who mocks me for eating the same thing every day for lunch, but yet turns and does it herself.

And sometimes, when looking at her, I feel as though I am looking into a mirror. But then at in a flash, she is off, and it makes me sigh in wonder at this unique person that is all her own.

She is baby and princess, teenage-wannabe and wise sage, all rolled into one. She is delicate and tender, but still not afraid to climb trees with the boys. She knows what she wants, and is impatiently waiting for life to deliver it. She's my very own spice girl.

And I wouldn't trade her for the world.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mars versus Venus

A simple illustration of one of the fundamental differences between boys and girls.

When a girl wants to look nice, it goes a little something like this:

A boy cannot comprehend any reason to look nice. It simply doesn't compute. Let's be honest, even hygiene can be a bit tricky for the average young male to grasp, let alone style.

But dressing up? This is their version:
Any questions?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Never Poke a Sleeping Bear

You know the phrase, "So-and-so is a mean drunk," right?

Well, have you ever heard the phrase, "The Husband So-and-so is a mean sleep?"

Someone I know is a mean sleep. This someone is kind, attentive, thoughtful, and loving.

As long as he is awake.

But when he is deep in the throws of REM, there is a whole other side of his personality that comes out. The first time it happened was near the end of my first pregnancy. It was smack dab in the middle of a bitter Minnesota winter. I was sicker than a dog, and unable to take any medication (due to the pregnancy, and our desire to not have our child born with a third nipple or horns on his head. Because that's what they tell you will happen if you take anything resembling medication while pregnant, you know).

So, one night at about three in the morning, I started coughing.

And coughing.

And coughing. (I don't deny it was annoying.) But this certain someone sits up, shoves me to the very edge of our bed and yells, "KNOCK IT OFF!"

I, of course, immediately curled up in the fetal position and spent the next several hours crying, imagining my impending divorce, and wondering how I would raise my newborn baby all by myself.

And when the sun came up? Mr. I-Have-Rage-When-I-Sleep had no memory of his bad behavior. He was oblivious to the hurt feelings and wounded heart that I had nursed all night. He simply didn't remember. And he felt horrible when he found out.

Over the years, I've been unable to break him of this annoyingly bad habit. Most times, it's merely mumbling and cursing under his breath if something wakes him up unexpectedly. But the latest installment happened a few nights ago. The Husband had fallen asleep in the basement while watching TV. I gently shook his shoulder and asked him (in my sweetest voice, mind you) if he wouldn't like to come upstairs and sleep in his own bed.

He looks at me in a daze, starts grumbling, and says, "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?"


If I were new to the whole angry sleep thing, I might have been offended. And sad. And ready to call Sleeping Rage-A-Holics Anonymous. But you know what I did? I smiled, laughed, and left him to sleep - alone on the couch, all night.

Because that crook he'll feel in his neck the next morning?

Totally serves him right.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A sign they're returning to life

Look what I found on the kitchen table this morning:

It leads me to wonder just what the poor little thing could have done to make the soldiers so angry? Probably had the audacity to exist, that's what. You know how princesses are always flagrantly committing that crime.

Luckily, I dismantled the firing squad before Hannah was aware of the harm being done to her beloved Princess Polly Pocket.

I am considering showing her the picture and then helping her dress all their toy soldiers up in Barbie clothes.

Think it's too much for a Monday morning?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

"Been I'm back!"

(Is it scary that I can relate to this a little bit after last week?)

Okay, okay. I promise to stop whining about the sick kids. I believe I have finally left the trail of apologies and vomit behind me. Regular, boring, everyday life posts will now commence.

Now I've got you wishing for the vacation again, haven't I?

Wait. Don't answer that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If I had a crystal ball

If I had a crystal ball (which, at this point, I might consider selling my soul to Satan for one), I would have been able to save myself quite a bit of anxiety and frustration on this little vacation of ours (which, by the way, is still going strong tripping along pathetically).

There are so many things that I wish I could have known. So much might have been different.

If I had a crystal ball, I would have been able to see that two days after arriving in Utah, Hannah would come down with strep throat. I would have seen that Utah is a one-horse town when it comes to health plans, and even though my insurance is perfectly willing to pay them, the urgent care clinic will refuse to bill on my behalf. I would have saved myself the headache and just paid the $250 they wanted in cash, rather than spending three hours in search of a doctor that WOULD bill our insurance.

I would also have been a little more insistent in not letting her play with her cousins, and making her get some rest. Even if she said she felt fine.

If I had done that, then maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't have GOTTEN STREP AGAIN.

Yes, I know.

And maybe if we'd known, she wouldn't have thrown up all over my mother-in-law's floor in the middle of the night, a mere 12 hours after the Husband and I left for San Diego (or at least Oma would have had that bowl ready). And then maybe she wouldn't have laid around feverish and pukey at my mother's house for the next two days - contagious, and spreading her germs like wildfire.

And if I had that crystal ball, I might not have had to leave my gorgeous five-star resort in San Diego to come home a day early. It certainly would have predicted that I'd be spending the night on my mother's couch, next to Chase and Hannah, waking up groggily to the sound of their coughs, feverish chills, and sprints to the bathroom.

The crystal ball would have told me that THEY BOTH HAD STREP, and advised me to take the third child to the clinic at the same time as the other two, even though he seemingly had no symptoms. It would have also told me that at the EXACT MINUTE I get home from the two-hour wait at the urgent care with Chase and Hannah, poor McKay would be moaning, groaning, and complaining of the same symptoms as the others.

And that second trip BACK to the urgent care? It would have been nice to know that once we waited for another two hours, his strep test was going to still come back negative.

And then, two days later, after McKay has rebounded, he would wake up at four in the morning, puking his guts out. Yes, in hindsight, it would have been nice to foresee that.

You know, at the very least, for my brother Craig, who was generously chaperoning the cousin sleepover in the backyard tent.

I'll bet he would have liked the warning to move his sleeping bag out of the way.

I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

So yesterday, as I was hauling McKay into a doctor's office for what would be our FIFTH clinic visit during this supposed vacation, I find myself pining and wishing for that crystal ball.

Because, armed with the knowledge of what this trip would turn into, I just might have jumped on the nearest train.

And never even looked back. it still to late to do that?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Giving Answers

Remember that true/false quiz I did like a million days ago? Well, I finally have found a winner.

And I must say that you interpeeps know me a little better than I had thought. I cannot believe how close the results were. It took forever to find out who won because, as Andrea predicted, I sat here like a teacher grading papers for hours.

I'm such an idiot. Whatever.

But we do have a winner...CJ the Purple Diva got the most correct - 14 out of 15 right. Pretty impressive considering she's never even met me in real life.

Ready for the answers?

1. True - I was writing from my bed while chowing down on some delicious room service pancakes. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

2. True - I have read six books so far. Comes with the territory of 9,305 hours in the car, I guess. The books are: Austinland, The Last Lecture, The Birth of Venus, The Wednesday Letters, Everyone Worth Knowing, and The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch. If I was worth my salt, I'd link to all those for you, but I'm just not up to it today.

3. True - I have hardly exercised at all. And do I care? HELL TO THE NO.

4. False - I did NOT do the zip line, alpine coaster, or alpine slide. I am a big fraidy cat, and my children were sure to mention this. Out loud. Multiple times. For everyone within a 60-mile radius to hear.

5. True - I did sit by a blind man at the airport and watched in amazement as he pulled out his laptop and proceeded to work. It was very cool - he had a microphone and headset that enabled him to navigate through his whole system. The only thing he was missing was a privacy shield so people like me didn't sit there and stare at what he was typing.

6. False - I was not hit on, by either handicapped or otherwise. Thanks for the flattery though, friends.

7. False - Me, not buy something new? Are you kidding me? Hello! I practically asked the ladies at the Coach outlet store to marry me, I was that much in love with the wares they were peddling. Yes, shopping has taken place. Way too much shopping.

8. True - We are calling this the vacation of the sick kids. More on that later, when I stop rocking in the fetal position long enough to share the stories with you.

9. True - I did go white water rafting, and I did not fall in. It was actually quite fun.

10. True - The seat belt. Yes. This is an incident we are trying not to speak of. Ever again. Let's just say that Hannah had entangled herself beyond my ability to get her out, I panicked, and I cut her out.

11. False - The Husband was NOT PLEASED in the least that this had happened. He may or may not have wished it was my neck choking once he saw the damage done to the car. Let's just say he was not a happy camper.

12. True or False - I gave you all credit for this one. I did order a virgin pina colada, it came as I intended, and I drank it. Disappointing, I know.

13. True or False - I also gave you credit for this one, as well. I did force the Husband (against his will) to get a pedicure. He did not like it. I think he must not have one lick of good sense. Who doesn't like a pedicure? People who think cars need seat belts, that's who.

14. False - I have religiously applied sunscreen. These freckles do not need any more of an opportunity to multiply. They're doing that just fine on their own.

15. True - I had not done any blog reading up until that point. Haven't done much since, but that's a story for later.

Thanks for playing! CJ, send me your address and a good mail package will be coming your way.