Friday, August 27, 2010

Where is my Joseph when I need him?

A few days ago I had a really bad dream.

You know, one of THOSE dreams where you wake up angry and resentful of your spouse for their behavior in your dream? And for the first hour or so of the day, you can hardly talk to them because the rage feels so real and so part of you?

Yeah. Needless to say, the Husband was thrilled.

He loves when I'm mad at him for no reason.

ANYhoo, I dreamed that the Husband had an affair. AND that he started smoking.

In the dream, I was really, really furious. I hated that he would cheat on me, but felt that I could work through it and forgive him.

What I could not forgive, however, was the smoking.

Oh wise internet, what does that say about me? That I'm highly tolerant or intolerant?


Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am what I am, and that's all that I am


The other night, I was attempting to make dinner but something kept getting in my way.

That something was Chase's head.

Every time I went to add something to the pan or stir the food, his head was peering over the stove examining the bubbling concoction.

I had to pause, and was caught up in the memory of something I had completely forgotten about. I laughed as I saw this exact scene roughly 10 years before. It was during our early days in Seattle. Chase was about 10 months old and completely insatiable. His curiosity was so consuming that sometimes it drove me crazy.

EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. when I was making dinner, he had to be propped up on my hip, watching everything I did. He would lean out, one hand tucked safely behind my arm, and peer intently into the pan. Time after time, I would pull his head back out of the way so I could see what I was doing.

There was no activity interesting enough to keep him busy during this time. He would crawl over to the stove, pull himself to standing at my legs, and cry and fuss until I picked him up. There was no way around it. I eventually just learned to multi-task, as all mothers do. I was able to cook, chop, rinse, and stir with one hand and a 20-pound kid on my hip.

But what's funny is that he is EXACTLY THE SAME at age 10 as he was at age 10 months.

It got me thinking about the other two, as well.


McKay has always been a rule follower. Even as a toddler, he felt compelled to obey the rules. So much so, that often his free-spirited brother caused him a great deal of stress. He'd watch anxiously as Chase ran behind the counter in a restaurant or tried to jump up and operate the cash register in the grocery store.

Which was probably not at all annoying to the store employee actually operating the cash register.

Looking to me for help, McKay would wring his hands in worry and say, "Chase! We not s'posed to do dat!" Chase, meanwhile, was completely oblivious to it all and could have cared less about getting in trouble. By the time I could catch him for a scolding, he was already off exploring something else.

Today, Mack is concerned as ever with doing what he's supposed to. The very idea of stepping out of line causes him near panic attacks and ulcers. In fact, last year the Husband offered him twenty bucks if he'd get a pink slip at school just once. Pink slips are handed out for being late, missing assignments, goofing off, etc., and they entitle one to a lunch detention with the teacher. From what we hear, they are used on quite a frequent basis at the middle school. At the start of sixth grade, McKay was consumed with worry that he'd get a pink slip, and stressed constantly about it.

Even with the Husband's offer, he has yet to earn that twenty bucks.


This little chica is also exactly the same as her baby self.

She is, and always has been, everybody's mother. I often hear her correcting the boys' grammar, as well as their behavior.

Her teaching moments and lectures are usually met with eye rolling and a lot of sarcastic comments, which enrages her even more.

[Ah, the wonders she could have done with baby Chase.]

She is also extremely articulate (and was as a toddler, too). I have to constantly explain and negotiate things with her. It's not a simple matter of being told no. She wants to know what, why, when, and how. The ever popular phrase, "because I said so" is just not in her vocabulary.

I don't know why it's so surprising to me that they are the same people they've always been. I think I've known it, but not really connected the pieces of this puzzle together.

Do you think that means I was a stupid baby?

Never mind. Don't answer that.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sharing my fascinating medical history, one rash at a time

Yesterday I went to see a dermatologist. Though I've had the bloody appointment for a good month now, it was the soonest they could get me in. Good thing I'm not dying of skin cancer or leprosy. Sheesh.

Impatient much?

ANYway, I went to the doctor because I've got terrible eczema on my hands. I've had it sporadically my whole life on various parts of my body. It's a vicious cycle that is the bane of my existence. I get it. I ignore it. I try and self-treat it, knowing it will take forever to get in to see a doctor. I get so miserable that I finally go in. I get a steroid cream. It goes away.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

This particular round, it is on my two pinkie fingers and my two ring fingers. And just this week, patches started appearing on my two middle fingers. It's like I'm this freakishly ugly, red, scaly mirror image of myself.

I mentioned this oddity to the doctor, and she very nonchalantly said that skin rashes tend to be symmetrical, even on different limbs.

I brought this bit of information home to the Husband last night. He laughed and said, "See! Even your diseases are OCD!"

I find a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing that my diseases are as crazy as I am.

After all, I am nothing if not consistent.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We better have the cleanest teeth known to man or so help me...

Now that school is in full swing, I have been trying to get my routine put together. I forget with the chaos of summer how much I love a rigid schedule.

Like, laundry on Mondays and Thursdays. Bathrooms on Tuesdays and Fridays. Random closet organizing on Wednesdays.

It's pure OCD bliss, I tell you.

[And yes. I realize I'm totally weird. And, no, I do not care.]

This morning I decided to tackle the top level of our house. I started in my own closet, worked my way to the Husband's, and ended with both bathrooms.

There was dust, 409, and magic erasers flying everywhere.

So when I got to the kids' bathroom, I was prepared for the usual globs of toothpaste dribbled down the cupboard. I expected to find at least eight empty shampoo bottles lining their bathtub. [Which, naturally, I did.]

But what I was not prepared for?

The secret stash of old toothbrushes that someone has been collecting in the bottom drawer of the kids' bathroom.

It was like the serial killer trophy case for toothbrushes.

Remember that scene in the movie The Ghost and the Darkness when they find the lions' den and there are just piles and piles of bones?

It was like that. Only with toothbrushes.

I counted them (whilst wearing rubber gloves and tossing them into the trash) and there were 23.


I am pretty sure that is like every toothbrush they've ever owned in their lives.

The question I have is why. Why?

I sort of get the rock/stuffed animal/coins/paper airplane collections. But old toothbrushes?

They have to get this from their father.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Faking it, for history's sake

The first day of school came and went. I had planned to stand on the driveway, camera in hand, and dutifully capture every detail of their departure.

After making breakfast and lunches, cajoling, nagging, and cleaning, I went to grab my camera. Tragically, the batteries were dead.

What is it they say about the shoe cobbler's kids never having shoes? A photographer's children never having photographs?

Yeah. Something like that.

So we staged some first-day-of-school-photos on the second day of school. Honestly, in 20 years, no one will be the wiser.

Plus, they'll be too busy mocking their hair and outfits (and blaming me for both) to really care, I am sure.


This boy came bursting home on the first day, eager, happy, and thrilled with his new grade. Second day? Eh. Not so much. Turns out that teachers like to give homework; plus, tests and studying will be requirements this year.

Unlike his hopes and dreams otherwise.

Good news is he will survive. Really, what choice does he have?


This kid wore his new clothes the first day (which, mind you, I forced him to purchase) then happily threw on his oldies for the second day. Don't know why I bother spending ANY money at all on him. He would prefer to dig through the trash and find old things to wear, use, and undoubtedly, eat.

He is excited to be playing violin this year, and when we went to rent his instrument, they offered a wide price range of options. When the sales lady assured us that they all play the same, but vary in looks only, he requested the oldest, most scratched up violin possible. She laughed, looked at me like, "Is he serious?" and I just shrugged my shoulders.

I am pretty sure he is the first kid in the history of the world to request the old, ugly violin. Most are probably begging and pleading for the newer, unscratched models.

Not Chase. Gotta love that kid. He's saving me thousands of dollars against my will.


The little princess has been THRILLED with her first few days of school. Her BFF Jilian is finally in her class this year, and they have been two peas in a pod. Every day is a new adventure in chatting with her besties. School work, reading, tests? Not on the priority list for this social butterfly. School = friends.

She dresses herself daily and (to my dismay) always looks way cuter than I do. I am thinking those critical comments she makes about my wardrobe might have some substance to them after all. Crap.

And me?

Well, I'm holding my own and trying not to have too much fun during the day. In three days, I have already treated myself to lunch, a movie, a shopping spree, and a nap. It's glorious. I think I love school more than anyone else in the world.

Except for one thing: Its constant interruption of my sleep.


(As modeled by Hannah for you here)

The six a.m. alarm clock is killing me. It will soon be dark at that hour, and cold, and I don't know how I will survive another nine months of this. I'm a frightful beast early in the morning and look something like this:


Yikes, right?

How many days until Christmas vacation?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Maybe, just maybe

My kids go back to school tomorrow. All week I have watched them with melancholy in my heart, loathe to part with them.

The past few days, I even mentally composed a touching, heart-felt post describing my feelings in great detail. One that would make all of you weep right alongside me.

And then...

Then they spent today fighting and tormenting each other.

And they whined to go to the pool. Then whined to go home once we got to the pool.

And left me a present of muddy shoes in the laundry room sink.

And accidentally dumped an entire plate of rice on the floor. Then attempted to sweep it up with a broom, leaving a sticky trail of wet rice behind.

And spilled -- not one -- but TWO glasses of milk at dinner.

And on my hands and knees, mopping it all up, I decided I actually might be ready for them to go back to school.

But then...

Then I walked past the boys' room and smiled at them -- heads together, bent over a Calvin & Hobbs book, their laughter filling the air.

And I hugged my baby girl goodnight, and for the millionth time kissed the tiny freckles dotted across her button nose. Her hair, smelling sweetly of shampoo, brushed my cheeks as we parted and I had to reach back down and hug her tight again.

And I talked a nervous middle schooler through his schedule yet again, loving the way he shrugged at the end of it saying, "Thanks, Mom," as though I accomplished a huge feat.

And I laughed out loud when my funny, quirky middle son set out his first-day-of-school-clothes, planning to wow his classmates with his retro Jaws tee shirt and his current favorite read. Noting with a smile, the man-eating theme with which he's chosen to start the fifth grade.

And at the end of the day I decided that maybe, just maybe, I might miss these little people after all.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sleep, mountings, and a diet coke keg

I did not get to bed last night until four-in-the-freaking-a.m.

Yeah, I was partying like I am a twenty-something starlet with my peeps.

(Only we were all moms, and I believe most of us were wearing underwear. Except maybe Lori. She's kind of wild like that).

So, actually, I was partying like a thirty-something mom who has not seen her best girls for far too long.

And then the phone rings at the unholy hour of 8:28-in-the-freaking-a.m. It was the Husband, checking in and (really) calling to ensure that no one sleeps in around here.

Lord help me, I love that man, but he has no respect for the sleep in.

I have loads to do today, most of which involve sitting myself down at the pool with a book, though I doubt I will manage to keep my eyes open for even that. Thank heavens for lifeguards.

But before my head hits the desk in a sudden fit of sleep, I do need to address your burning questions about the photo mounting.

And, really, you flatter me. There are a lot of things I am capable of doing, but successfully mounting my own prints is not one of them. I would have no desire to even try.

[Is it just me or does that last paragraph sound kind of dirty? No? Nevermind.]

My secret weapon is my fabulous pro printhouse. I use them for everything. Their work is truly amazing. You will need to have a basic knowledge of Photoshop to order your prints, as you need to upload them in a specific PS format, but their quality is superb. If you are ever in need of any large-sized prints (or small sized, really) these folks are the way to go. They offer print mounting on a variety of substances for a very reasonable price. I've tried every type and have yet to find one that I do not love. They are awesome.

There. That is all. Off to tap a diet coke keg in hopes of making it until lunch time.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oh, I'm totally keeping him

The Husband is not often around.

When something in the house breaks, I am usually the one to deal with it. I have successfully navigated broken toilets, fixed doors, and even saved us what a plumber would cost by unclogging my own disgusting sink.

Yes, I am awesome.

But the Husband makes up for his absence in our day-to-day lives in many other ways.

Like this, for instance:


I saw a similar idea at our local Ethan Allen store and wanted one of my own. I didn't like theirs quite as well, and described to the Husband exactly what I was wanting. He then happily spent his day off doing my bidding and I now have this fantastic shelf above the sofa in our basement.

I wanted prints of all different sizes, textures, and mountings to adorn the shelf. I didn't want frames - felt the naked, raw look of the prints would make the images pop.

Plus, the basement has been declared a breakable-free zone. We want the kids to be able to go down there in the winter and play or toss a ball around without fear of glass shattering on their heads. So frames were definitely an impracticality.


Some are mounted on mat board, some on canvas, some on foam core. They are all pictures of our favorite places and our favorite people. I just love it.


The photos here just can't do justice to the scale of the prints. The larger pictures are like 24x30 and the smallest ones are 8x10.

The display is HUGE.

You know, like my ego.


But I am so happy with how it turned out and am perfectly willing to keep unclogging drains in exchange for the Husband's free time being spent on pursuits that are far more beneficial to me.

It's a win-win for both of us.

[I am also shopping for throw pillows to go on that sofa. Any suggestions or favorite sites? Your help would be much appreciated.]

Monday, August 9, 2010

She's trying her darndest to save my soul

There is a new master in my life:


Thanks to the Hannah, I have been made to be accountable for my sins:


Apparently, girlfriend doesn't like it when the mama swears.

I would not think of myself as a foul-mouthed fiend. I don't swear in casual conversation with friends. I do not ever swear at my children in a fit of temper. And I have yet to fling any expletives at the Husband during marital, ahem, disagreements.

But occasionally, a mild swear slips through my fingers on the keyboard and ends up here as a joke. Or I drop something heavy on my foot and grumble a less-than-choice word in frustration.

Like the hell word.

Or the damn word.

Very rarely, maybe a version of the son-of-a-beyotch word.

Most certainly never the F word. [Unless that word is the frick word. Guilty of that one a lot.]

But on our recent trip to Utah, my lack of appropriate language when joking with my brothers brought Miss Hannah to tears. Her little heart overflowed with worry for my soul. With pleading green eyes, she looked up at me and softly asked why I keep breaking the commandments.

I had no answer.

Clearly, saying to my brother on the phone, who was leaving work to meet us all for dinner, "Hurry up, dammit!" does not a joke make in the mind of Prudence McPrude Hannah.

And so I have acquiesced. After all, were those same words to escape my children's lips, there would most certainly be hell heck to pay.

So consider this my formal resignation from the use of bad language on this blog.

No more hell. Or damn. Or even frick.

[Shoot. I just totaled up the number of quarters alone this post is going to cost me, and I think somebody will be a few dollars richer by the end of the day.]

Crap. [&#@!!#]

Friday, August 6, 2010

And no, I won't share her. She's all mine.

It was obvious to me when I first met my in-laws that I would be marrying into a fantastic family.

That fact has been confirmed to me many times over the 16 years of my marriage, but none more so than at the tea party Oma threw for the little girl cousins while we were in Utah. (Which, mind you, she throws monthly for the in-staters).

I have heard the tales of the famous tea parties, but scarcely could have imagined the complete and utter genius that is the Oma.

First on the agenda at the tea party, is decorating a large banner. Crayons, markers, and colored pencils await the creative minds and hands of little girls. There are no lines that need to be stayed in. There are no rules. The more colorful and garish, the better. Little scribbles are at home next to neat, detailed words.


And what could possibly be better than hanging your masterpiece with tape onto the mantle?

After all, a tea party must be properly decorated.


Next, the girls are divided into teams of two, with big girls happily partnering with little girls. Every pair is handed their very own scotch tape and several rolls of crepe paper. Decorating of furniture is highly encouraged.


Next, the girls are whisked off to the beauty station. Each girl competes for space at the full-length mirror where hair do's are coiffed and created using the ribbons, bows, and curlers from Oma's stash. Pink foam curlers provide the ultimate in ladies hair fashion and magically are "ready" in about eight seconds.


After the proper time has been spent in the beauty salon, it is time for the fitting of the gowns. Stylish traveling trunks have been brought for the occasion and somehow eight girls manage to find just the right outfit without any fighting or tears. There are shoes, accessories, hats, and gowns enough for all.

This Oma knows what she's doing.


Once all the divas are properly attired, it is time for the fashion show, complete with runway walk and color commentary by our hostess.

Twirling is highly encouraged.
No tea party would be complete without an excited interruption by the big brother, just returning from his antique store shopping with the Opa. World War II weapons and artillery are the souvenir du jour in the 10-year-old boy crowd.

Sadly, I am not sure any of the girls even noticed.


The brief interruption over, and it is time for tea. Every girl receives her own pitcher of cream, a tea cup, and saucer. Tiny treats and bite-sized fruit delight even the pickiest of palates.

And one must always remember to raise her pinkie when drinking at a ladies tea.


Tea-time entertainment is provided in story form by the seemingly tireless Oma. Quite fitting, naturally, that all the stories are tea party related.


Once the food and drink have been devoured, it is time for the clean up. Eight little heads bob happily into the kitchen for dish washing. That task is completed, and they return with disposable wipes for the tables.

Cleaning has never seemed so fun.


The grand finale is a game of artistic freeze dance, after which everyone is declared a winner and receives a bracelet and some lipstick.


Is it wrong that we're considering moving here, JUST for the tea parties?

These are the memories that generations are made of.

Bless you, Oma.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The one in which she keeps posting about her travels...

So, the fry sauce was a dead giveaway, was it?

You crazy Utahns. How you came up with the genius that is fry sauce, I will never know. But in all our travels, we have never found its equal.

Though the Husband will not touch the stuff with a ten-foot pole, I, however, could bathe in it. It is the only way to eat deep fried potatoes and I will forever be grateful for its discovery.

But while we were in Utah, we did a lot of fun things.

We took time to smell the roses:


We rode up our beloved mountains on ski lifts and marveled at the view.


Once at the top, we exhaled, sighed, and wondered if there was any place on earth quite as lovely.


That spectacular view was somewhat diminished during our hour-long wait to ride the Alpine Slide. Apparently, the track is quite deadly after a rain and it took several runs for the employees to get it dry enough to let us go down.

I was quite content to wait, even though some in my party were less than patient [cough*the Husband*cough].


One of us jumped from rock to rock. Again and again. And again. And again.

Honestly. All I need is a pair of rocks and this kid could entertain himself all day.

[Note to self: See how exciting the rocks seem when he opens them Christmas morning.]


We (some of us more than others, of course) had really good hair days. Ah, that dry desert air. Does wonders on the humidity-drenched locks that adorn my head.

Please give a moment of silence for my perfect bangs. They will never look so tame again.


And, lord help me, did we eat.

And eat.

And eat some more.


I am ashamed to tell you the number of pounds gained in just ten days' time [cough*five*cough] but it was worth every fat-filled calorie.

Tragically, it will take me about 10 weeks to get it off again, I am sure.

Anyway, thanks for playing along. Courtesy of random-dot-org, the winner is:
Julianna said...

I'm going with the majority and saying Utah... I may just need to visit, that fry sauce looks yummy!

July 26, 2010 6:44:00 PM CDT

Send me an email with your address and a little something is headed your way, chica.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a tea party that will make you weep with jealousy...