Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The next great Hemingway?

While walking past their bedroom the other night, I overheard Chase tell McKay the following:

"Old fashioned things are so much better. They're not made of cheap junk, and they last a lot longer. I just can't waste my time on plastic anymore."

Amen, brother. Amen.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Our weekend, in photos

This weekend we did a lot of stuff.

Some of us played basketball, and did not go easy on our opponent just because they're ten and have shorter arms:

Some of us created science experiments out of sand and water:

One of us sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" with his fellow fifth graders during the seventh inning stretch of Saturday night's Cardinals game.

It is rumored that one child in particular may have sang, "Root, root, root for the Red Sox" instead of, "the Cardinals," though that child officially denies this rumor:
Some of us had foot races in the backyard, and did not want to let our little brother win:
(hmm...wonder where he gets that from?)

One of us pitched (at least according to him), "THE BEST GAME OF HIS LIFE!" And as you can see, this person takes baseball very seriously:

There will be no mercy on the mound when you're staring down this fellow. He means business.
Some of us thought it would be fun to stand on our brothers and see how long they could hold us up:

The answer? About four seconds. One brother will cave under the pressure and the pyramid will come toppling down.

The only damper on the weekend? One of us spent it (and the majority of last week) scratching her mad case of poison ivy:

Oh yes, and that is the improved version. Trust me when I tell you, it was much worse a few days ago, and covers a good portion of my entire body (I decided to spare you the rest of me, especially the nekkid parts. You're welcome).

Yeah, so remember the near-electrocution yard work day last week? Apparently, of those 1,934 weeds I pulled, a good portion of them were poison ivy.

And poison ivy? Not so much fun, as it turns out.

Still, though, a pretty good weekend for us.

At least, for those of us not scratching and smelling of Calamine lotion anyway.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The only way I'll carry that NRA card

What do you get when your boys discover their father's old BB gun at Opa's office?

Answer: You get two very excited boys, begging and pleading to have it. They will be absolutely sure that life, as they know it, cannot go on without the BB gun.

What do you get when Opa, reluctantly frighteningly proudly, decides to pass that gun onto the next generation and gives it to them?

Answer: Your own private backyard shooting range, that's what.

Oh, if only Mr. Crazy Scouting Man, Sir! could see us now with our dangerous weapon constitutionally-protected firearm. I'm pretty sure he'd have us signed up for the NRA.

I have decided we will only join if Charlton Heston will personally come to the house , stand on the kitchen table and say, "RAMSES, LET MY PEOPLE GO!"

I'm betting it's not likely to happen, what with him, you know, being slightly not alive and all.

But, still. Stranger things have happened, right?

And don't tell me you wouldn't want to see it. You know you love that line, too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy birthday, little blue-eyed boy

Dear Chase,

Today at exactly 8:23 this morning, you turned nine. You were very insistent that you were not nine until the clock hit those magic numbers, which signaled your entrance into the world all those years ago. No amount of convincing by your brother could entice you to admit that you were nine, even one minute too soon.

I didn't have the heart to tell you that you were born on west coast time. I let you be nine, two whole hours early.

I know, don't be mad.

We celebrated your birthday early this year, as Dad was going to be out of town today. You, ever the middle child, didn't mind one bit. You were thrilled to be getting presents early. Presents, which included a live pet from me.

Yes, I finally made good on that hasty-made promise of letting you one day own something that's alive. I hope you like your little hermit crab. And I fervently hope that it never gets lost in your room or dies, as other pets have done traumatically in the past.

Chase, you are filled with more creative energy than I have ever seen. Your mind is always working, always thinking. I like to watch you when you are drifting off to that place inside your head, where your dreams are made. You squint your eyes, and I can tell that worlds are being created by your imagination. There is no limit to what you will do, of this I am sure.

You constantly amuse me. We have been asking you for weeks what you want for your birthday, and the two things you have said are a pet and a typewriter. You got both, and it cracks me up to see you at the desk in your room, plunking away on that ancient piece of machinery, courtesy of Oma and e-Bay. You take your writing quite seriously, and it will not surprise me at all when you one day churn out that bestseller.

I love that you like old things. I think it's a rare child that can look past the glaring siren song of cheaply-made plastic crap from China and seek out things with substance. Things that still work, even after probably spending 30 dusty years in someone's basement.

You are my hero, and I love your individuality. I love you for not caring what anyone thinks of you. I love you for dreaming big. I love you for your passion, even when it leads you lecture me for my giant carbon footprint.

I love you, kid. And I owe the good Lord for sending such a tender soul to be in my care. I don't know what I ever did to deserve you. May I one day be worthy of such trust.



Sunday, September 21, 2008

A love letter

To my darling Husband, my most precious other half:

I have good news for you, my dear. News that will be music to your frugal soul.

Remember that slightly not-cheap paring knife that I lost a few days ago? Well, guess what. I found it! It is lost no more.

I know. I am extremely relieved, too.

Where was it, you say? You'll laugh yourself silly at this, darling, really you will. And you'll never guess where it was. It was in the pan of leftover quiche in the fridge. I must have used it to cut the quiche, and not noticed it there when I put the pan in the fridge that night after dinner.

I know, right? What a chuckle we'll have over this one.

My only regret, dearest one, is that we were not able to find the knife sooner.

Like, say, right about the time you were digging through the trash to look for it. Oh, what an adventure we could have saved you then, had we known.

But, all's well that ends well, or so they always say. And now you may rest well tonight, lovey, knowing the knife is back where she belongs.

Ever Yours,

Your darling wife, Christie

P.S. Please do not use it on me. I really thought it was in the trash. Honest, I did.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The genius of the lone trucker

About ten years ago, when McKay was a baby, we were living in Minneapolis while the Husband finished up grad school.

We grew to love Minnesota, in spite of the fact that there are only about eight days a year where you can go outside. And in spite of the fact that they willingly elected Jessie "the Body" for their governor (blame the Husband. I'm pretty sure he voted for him).

Slowly, over time, we even began to understand what the natives were saying when they asked us if we "wanted a baig for that" at the grocery store.

But one the funniest experiences of my life came while we were living there. I was running some errands downtown, and had baby McKay, buckled in his car seat, in the back of the car.

I pulled up to a stoplight, and movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. Next to me at the light, was a big 18-wheeler truck, driven by a man who looked a little something like this:

Only not quite so handsome.

He was frantically waving at me, so I smiled, nodded my head, and turned toward the light, hoping that the light would soon turn green.

In spite of my attempt to ignore him, he was practically jumping up and down in his seat. I looked over once again, praying that my life was not about to end at the hands of this apparently-crazy trucker.

He was motioning for me to roll down my window, which I did, in spite of the mental security that thin little piece of glass afforded me.

He smiled, revealing several missing teeth, and said: "Hey lady, you always know where you're going, and he always knows where you've been!"

I nodded politely, smiled, and sped off just as the light turned green, hoping to be spared from any more trucker wisdom which made absolutely no sense at all. Shaking my head and laughing, I started thinking about what he had said.

And by the next block, it hit me. He was referring to McKay in the rear-facing car seat, knowing where we've been. And me, facing forward, knowing where we're going.

Probably the most clever thing I've ever heard from a tattooed, toothless trucker in my life.

I only wish I could find him so I could tell him that I got it.

If you see him, be sure to tell him for me, good one, buddy. Good one.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Killing myself, one extension cord at a time

Today, I...
  • Played tennis for two hours (even though I really suck at it)
  • Did six loads of laundry
  • Cleaned four bathrooms
  • Vacuumed two floors
  • Pulled 1,934 weeds from my backyard
  • Cursed weeds with eight different swear words (oh yes, I know that many)
  • Screamed when I discovered a large spider on my bosom
  • Killed large spider after knocking it off my bosom
  • Looked down my cleavage and examined my bosom for any other lingering spiders
  • Smiled sheepishly when the old lady next door caught me doing it
  • Happily discovered I have strawberry plants growing in my backyard
  • Moved three evergreen bushes to a different flower bed because I felt like it
  • Trimmed all the hedges in my yard
  • Accidentally severed the Husband's extension cord while trimming the hedges
  • Buried extension cord in the trash so that the Husband will never see it
  • Wondered aloud if you can die of electrocution when severing live wires
  • Starting searching for landscapers to prevent future death by electrocution
  • Read and commented on a few blogs
  • Wrote my own (albeit pathetic) blog post, and
  • Decided to be content with re-heating Thai food leftovers for dinner

Today, I did not:
  • Shower (yet, but I will)
  • Read novels
  • See movies
  • Cook dinner, or
  • Eat 14 cookies (unlike yesterday)

I am thinking it has been a productive day thus far. Especially considering that it's a Monday.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thanks, special new friend. I owe you one.

Dear Anonymous Stranger,

Thank you for the extra special treat you left by my car yesterday.

Imagine my delight, if you will, at discovering your thoughtful little present just moments after loading my groceries into the back of the car, as I was sitting down contentedly in the driver's seat.

It is unfortunate that I did not discover it before I actually put my foot on the brake. For had I found your ball of already-chewed delight sooner, it would have enabled me to enjoy it only on the bottom of my shoe. Instead, it was added special fun to scrape the pink sticky mess off the brake pedal AND my shoe.

You know, this piece of sanitary deliciousness THAT CAME FROM YOUR MOUTH. WHERE YOUR SPIT LIVES.

I can appreciate that it was especially tiring for you that day, what with having to use all three of your brain cells to walk and chew at the same time. And I know the extra energy that it would have taken to walk ten feet and toss your treasure in a garbage can was really more than society could have asked of you.

What with you being, you know, a selfish pig and all.

So, please. From the bottom of my heart, accept my honest and sincere thanks.

It's been a long time since I've cleaned up anything quite so sticky, seeing as how my kids are in school all day now. And honestly, it was a thrill to get some more practice at it.



P.S. In spite of the apparent sarcasm, I am ever mindful of the horrific events that took place seven years ago today. You can read my experience with that day again here. God bless America.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Mawage is what bwings us togevah, today."

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today, and was very excited to hear that Nicole is getting married. She was asking her readers for marriage advice, and it got me thinking.

What would I say to this goofy-looking girl, knowing what I know now, after almost 15 years of marriage?

I'd say a lot, that's what. Least of which would be to stop perming her hair already. Oh, and grow those bangs out a little while she's at it. I'm pretty sure there should never be a one-inch space between your eyebrows and your bangs. Oy.

So I thought it would be fun to write a letter to myself with a few of the tidbits that have helped me along the way:

Dear Me,

You are about to get married to a tall, skinny boy from the other side of town. He loves you all right, but he has no idea yet just how much he needs you, and you him.

You may think you want babies right away, but don't rush yourself. Enjoy this time when it's just the two of you. THE BABIES WILL COME. And once they do, they will never leave. And they will smell sometimes. And pee on you (and yet you will still love them). Stop wishing this time away, because in a blink, it will be gone, and you will find yourself a mother of three, with a road map of stretch marks to prove it.

In spite of what everyone will tell you, it is okay to go to bed mad at each other. Sometimes it's better, as hurtful words are not said, and cooler heads always prevail in the morning.

You are not really that great of a cook. I'm sorry to break that to you. You can bake like nobody's business, but cooking meat is not really your thing. And when you're making gravy one night in your first apartment? Don't add the paprika. Trust me on this one. The gravy will turn pink, and will be thoroughly disgusting. Your sweet husband will eat it anyway, but you will have just given him something to tease you about. Forever.

Do not be critical of your spouse, and expect the same in return from him. Never badmouth him to your friends. Instead, brag about all his good qualities. It will help you to constantly see the good in him, of which there is a lot.

Learn to pick your battles. I can promise you that after almost 15 years, he will still sling his suit over the back of a chair at the end of a long day. YOU WILL NOT FIX THIS. Stop trying. Just get over it, and be glad he is willing to work so hard for you and your family. Focus instead on ways you can make it easier for him to do his demanding job.

You must also accept that you will be ignored on Saturday afternoons from late August through November, as he will ALWAYS want to watch his favorite team play football. It is nothing personal. It is just a strange part of this man that you will never understand. Instead, get a hobby or a good book and enjoy your alone time.

Lastly, remember this: Men are like puppies; a little praise and a treat goes a long way in training them to do what you want.

With love,

You, age 34.

What's your best marital advice, internets? Do share.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Perfect, ordinary simplicity

Today I wake up to the happy chatter of my kids, already at the breakfast table. The alarm has failed to go off, but the Husband is in town this morning, and has cheerfully gotten them started.

I come downstairs, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I kiss each baby on top of their head, smelling the strawberry shampoo. I cannot help but notice Hannah's 'creative' outfit combination. I decide to save that battle for another day. I briefly wonder if her teacher will think I picked it. I decide to not care if she does.

I shuffle over in my slippers and give the Husband a sheepish hug. He smiles, dimples creasing and blue eyes sparkling, and for the millionth time in my life, I fall in love with him all over again.

I take the morning poll of who is buying lunch and who is bringing. I laugh when two of the three get excited for chicken patty on a bun, which sounds thoroughly disgusting to me.

At once, they realize today is Friday, and squeal with glee because this means they get to have music with "Eddie," a man who is probably way too cool to be an elementary school teacher. I wonder if he knows just how much the entire studentbody worships him.

I remind them to pack snacks, and laugh at Chase who always wants to bring candy. I clean up the breakfast dishes and do Hannah's hair. She chatters away, filling me in for the umpteenth time on everyone and everything that happens in the first grade. I say a prayer of hope she talks to me like this forever.

I stand at the door and wave when the bus goes by. It still makes me smile that they want me to wave, but do not want me at the bus stop. Stretching their independence, but still wanting to know I'm there. I close the door and go start sorting the laundry. I think about the fresh peaches in the fridge and decide to surprise them all with a pie this afternoon.

I hop on the treadmill and run to a couple old episodes of "The Office," and laugh hysterically because they are all new to me.

I sit and sweat, drinking the cold, crisp water from the fridge. I feel strong. I feel content.

I find that my heart is full and tears threaten to spill over, as I think of the perfect, ordinary simplicity that is my happy life. I know that this is the place I am meant to be.

I feel blessed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Because I need to know I'm bringing at least one of them up right

[Hannah, in the left front corner. First day photo courtesy of her fabulous teacher]

Today, the Princess came home from school and said the words that set my heart all a flutter:

"I don't know why, but I love to keep my school supplies neat and organized. It really helps me to feel so happy inside."

I am now 100 percent convinced we got the right baby at the hospital.

She had me worried for a few years there, what with her unbridled love of all things pink and High School Musical, but now I am sure.

She is so mine it's scary.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day, Christie style

This year, I decided to celebrate Labor Day by rewarding myself for having given birth three times. Yes, I realize it was a long time ago. No, that doesn't make it any less painful.

That's what we celebrate Labor Day for, right?

I mean honestly, do you think Mother's Day makes up for the fact that I voluntarily split my heinie in half? And did it three times, one of those without an epidural? No, it doesn't. Which is why, this past Labor day, I was found in Branson doing this:

With them:
Instead of them:

I'm pretty sure the mother of the year plaque won't bear my name this year. Oh well. It was totally worth it.

This weekend, there was a lot of:

You Tube searching
Flashing grill wearing
Journey worshipping
Tennis playing

There was not a lot of:

Cleaning (unless your name is Butch and you are the maid. Then there was definitely a lot of cleaning that took place).

A most excellent way to spend a holiday. Thanks, girls. It was a great weekend. Let's do it again soon.

Like tomorrow. Anyone?

Oh, and Katie? This one's for you: "They never take them off!"