Monday, January 31, 2011

Love notes

Last week, I found baby girl furiously scribbling a note to one of her classmates. She was writing and re-writing, crumbling up little post-it notes, wanting to get the wording just right.


When I peeked over her shoulder, this was the note causing her so much grief:


Apparently, a boy in her class had demanded a note from her stating whether or not she would be willing to kiss him.

What do you think it would take to get that note copied and distributed to every boy within a 50-mile radius in, say, seven years or so?

I'm thinking the Husband would gladly spend thousands to make it happen.

P.S. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your sweet words on my little headshot project. You can see the new one over there on the right. You all rock. Way to make a sista feel good about herself.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Narcissism, sick days, and headshots

McKay is home sick today with "The Flu."

You know the one - it causes you deep stomach pain, nausea, and anxiety from nine o'clock at night until about one minute after school starts the next morning?

Poor baby.

I was ditching him to go meet friends for lunch at Bread Co. (because, clearly, I care so much) and he managed to summon all his remaining strength to lift his head off the pillow and, in a weak voice, ask me to bring him back a giant cinnamon roll.

Ah, the wonders of modern medicine. A cinnamon roll cures the flu.

Whatever. He works hard all the time and never misses school. I'll cut him some slack.

But as punishment (along with sharing a bite or two of said giant cinnamon roll) he was tasked with playing photographer for me today. Because my hair looked really cute. And I never have any pictures of me. And what if I died today and they all had nothing to remember me by? And what would my friend Beckie blow up to poster size and paste on the ceiling to haunt the Husband and his new 20-year-old wife with?

Okay. Maybe not that last one.

But I am really sick of looking at the same picture over there on the sidebar from, like, four or five years ago.

Girlfriend has got herself some new wrinkles! They must be seen!

Anyway, your job (along with sending me your most heartfelt compliments on my new pictures) is to tell me which one you like the best for my new headshot. If I was on top of things, and not so busy criticizing staring at myself, I would have numbered them for you. Oh well. Tell me anyway, will you?

Which me is the best me I can be?





Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crazy being the operative word here

Over the weekend, the Husband and I went to dinner and a movie. Because we are both trying to stay away from the siren song that is heroin sugar, we opted for Crazy Bowls and Wraps.

I know. We live big around here. What can I say?

We've been to other locations, but this particular franchise was a new visit for us. Seeing as how I am so boring diversified, I opted to get the same salad that I always get. When my salad was brought to our table, I noticed that the usual dressing on the side was missing.

I looked up at our server and asked if she could bring me some dressing. She looked at me like I had just asked for a large bucket of deep fried baby and said, "Um, we don't have any salad dressing."

I looked back at the Husband and then back to our server. "You don't have any dressing? Like at all?"

"No. We don't serve our salads with dressing."

Exsqueeze me? Are you on the same planet I'm on? Eating salad without dressing is like eating rocks or nails. For fun.

That is the whole point of eating a salad. So you can put some dressing on it.

When I told her that the last time I ordered this salad at another location, it came with a very tasty dressing, served on the side, she simply rolled her eyes and went back to the kitchen.

She returned and, with a smile stolen straight from Satan's lips, placed a dish of what I am sure was mayonnaise topped with pepper in front of me. "Here. Try this dressing. It's really good."

Fearing it was actually mayonnaise, pepper, and spit, I left it on the table. Along with most of my very dry, very boring, very unsatisfactory salad.

Tell me I'm not alone in this. Salad MUST have some sort of dressing, right? It doesn't have to swim in it, but a little bit of moisture? A little bit of sauce?

Don't worry, though. I totally made up for it at the movies with a large bucket of popcorn and some Reeses Pieces.

And, of course, a jumbo diet coke.

P.S. The movie was amazing. I would highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow day, baby


Sleeping late, cuddling under warm blankets.
Fire roaring, mugs of hot cocoa in hand.
Empty schedule.
Novels waiting to be read. Movies waiting to be watched.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Revenge is a dish best served covered in chocolate frosting

When Hannah was about two, she got into a little bit of trouble.

I found her one afternoon, standing at the open door of the fridge, eating fistfuls of cake.

From a seven-layer, made-from-scratch, five-hours-worth-of-my-life cake.

[Okay, maybe it was only a two-layer cake. I exaggerate.]

But it took a really long time to make, and was resting comfortably in the fridge for the Husband's birthday celebration that night.

That is, until baby girl got to it:


[Not the actual photo. I am sure I was too busy yelling and squawking to actually pull out the camera and document the crime. But you get the general idea - a happy, guilty, adorable chocolate face.]

So, last weekend, when my three children worked together to make a cake, I laughed really hard when we all discovered that someone had done this:


[No, it wasn't me. ]

It was someone who's name rhymes with Bosh. Also known as the Flusband.

I think it's one of those full-circle moments that make parenting worthwhile, don't you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

My new favorite thing: Book flowers

While browsing one of my favorite furniture stores this weekend, I stumbled upon something so lovely and adorable that I instantly tried to purchase one or twelve. Tragically, they were not for sale, and I was told they were merely decorations.

(Why? Why put something on the showroom floor that you have no intention of selling? Mental.)

Behold the lovely, adorable, and not-for-sale book flowers:


No, I didn't steal them (though I was sorely tempted). I studied one for so long that the sales woman finally took pity on me and told me how to make one of my very own.

And because I love you, I am going to show you, too -- in nine easy steps (or five if you're less indecisive and crazy than me).


[Had I been in less of a hurry, I would have gone to the thrift store and bought a really old, yellowed book. I think it would look even better antiqued. And how cool to be made from a book that I love, like something Austin perhaps? But alas, impatience is my middle name.]




[Also, make sure and roll them all in the same direction.]






Pretty cool, eh? Took me all of 15 minutes to do one book. Do not be surprised if my entire house is filled with them by, oh, tomorrow.

Happy crafting. Send me any links or snapshots of your own book flowers. It'll be like a decorating party!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Inquiring minds want to know

Totally random, but there are some questions that have been rattling around this empty head of mine all week, and I am looking to the wise internet for answers.

You know, instead of putting my soft-core p@rn dreams out there for you to interpret. (Really, internet? Hugh Jackman? Really? I just don't get it. But then again all I can picture him as is the wolf man from Xmen. Never saw Australia. Maybe that would help?)

ANYhoo, onto the pressing questions of the day.

Why is it, no matter how hard I try, can I never divide my bread dough evenly? Is there a special tool out there that would ensure my loaves are the same size? I realize the discrepancy is small, but for this OCD brain, it hurts just a little every time I look at it. I have to stop myself from slicing the bottom of the smaller loaf off when it comes out of the oven.

Yes, I am diseased. No, I do not care.

Anyone have any answers for this one? A scale? A dough measurer thingie? I need something.

And then I can work on peace in the middle east.


Second, WHY can I put shirts like this in the washer with bleach and the colored writing on them comes out fine?


And shirts like this in the washer with bleach come out with all the letters bleach-ified? Why does bleach NOT affect some things and totally destroy others?

Inquiring minds want to know.

(These letters used to be dark blue. Now they are a manly shade of pink. Which totally makes my self-conscious middle school boy happy, I'm sure. And yet the rest of the lettering remains unharmed. What the eff?)


And last, but not least, why are there not seat belts on school buses? Do not tell me it is because the 60 children on the bus are actually safer without them. I've seen those buses barrel down the streets, and those kids are standing, kneeling, jumping, twisted around, and sitting every which way but forward. I am literally sick at the what ifs should the unthinkable happen.

Something tells me it has a lot to do with the thing they call money, and that bothers me a whole lot. After all, look at the precious cargo being hauled around every day:


That angel face is at least worth the cost of a seat belt. Don't you think?

Give me your best answers so I can sleep at night and dream about Ben Affleck the Husband in peace, will you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tonight, the role of the leading man will be performed by...

We left the restaurant laughing, and decided to take a stroll together. He reached for my hand, and I smiled shyly. My black heels clicked on the cobblestones, mimicking my racing heart. I saw him watching me out of the corner of my eye, and I wondered yet again how I ever got this lucky.

The conversation was easy, natural. It surprised me how much we actually had in common. Though his career and lifestyle were much more demanding than mine, he seemed so interested in the little, insignificant details of my life.

We approached a narrow alley, and he quickly threw his arms around my waist, turning me around until my back was against the brick wall. He leaned in, one muscular arm on the wall, and kissed me gently. Whispering softly, he nuzzled my ear and kissed my neck.

"What about her?" the awful words came out involuntarily before I could stop them.

"She is nothing compared to you. How can I ever be the same, now that I know you? You have changed me. You have made me a better man."

He cupped my face in his hands, leaned in close, his lips brushing mine...

And then the bloody alarm clock went off.

Yes, last night I had one of those rare (for me) dreams in which I am the object of desire. Typically, even in my own subconscious, I am rejected and humiliated. It's been that way for as long as I can remember. I know! I reject myself! Who does that? Doesn't get any more crazy than that.

I am sure it is my insecurities revealing themselves as I sleep, but it stinks to not even be the star of your own dreams. What a field day Freud would have with me and my crazy head. Books could be written about the things that go on in there.

The better question though is who was the leading man last night?

I'll tell you. It was him:

YUM, right? He looked even better in my dream, I can assure you. And he wanted ME. ME! Thought I was absolutely irresistible and worth changing his life for.


Are you getting what I'm telling you? He was willing to give up this:


For this:



If such a man exists, I think one would seriously question his judgment and sanity.

Still, it was a lovely dream and I have no complaints.

What about you? Who is your dreamland leading man?

Do tell.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow day

The call comes in early this morning, the one we were waiting for. I listen to the recording with a smile on my face, and hear two sets of feet immediately climb out of their beds and pad softly down the hall to my door.

Even in the darkness, I can see their anxious looks. A nod of my head, cheers from their lips, and a stern shhhh, lest they wake up their sister. I pull the warm blankets up and feel the pull of sleep. I give into it with a grin on my face.

A couple of hours later, I stretch and yawn, relishing in my laziness. I ignore the scale, for surely today it shouldn't count, and slide my feet into the worn, fuzzy slippers. I shuffle downstairs, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, and pull my hair into a ponytail.

I bypass the sugar cereal with a sigh, and reach instead for the heart-healthy fiber one. I sit and read a few blogs, relishing the unhurried feel of the day. Downstairs, the sounds of Bear Grylls float up from the tv, and I smile, thinking that they likely will reenact later whatever insanity shown them. I laugh thinking that maybe even they'll film it.

Next on the schedule is a very clumsy, short-winded run on the treadmill. I think of this newly returned pleasure in my life with a deep sense of gratitude, for the healing that has taken place in my body. I have desperately missed the one thing in my day that makes me feel like me. I am not whole unless I can sweat and strain, working this gloriously imperfect body, pushing it to the limits.

What also tells me that I am, and forever will be, me is the mental note I make WHILE on the treadmill to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

I finish the run, and look in on my babies. They are snuggled up under a warm blanket, laughing together over a Calvin and Hobbs. The phone rings, and it is the Husband, calling to be a part of it all. I regale him with the exciting stories from our short morning. He chuckles and sighs, wishing he were in town to share it with us.

I take a deep breath, as the tears threaten to spill over, and I thank God for the blessing of this beautiful, imperfect, amazing life he saw fit to trust me with.

I have everything I ever wanted.

And I never want to take it for granted again.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This one will be family lore for generations


Last weekend, we had gloriously warm temperatures. Every day for a few days in a row, the mercury rose higher and higher, until it was resting comfortably spring-like in the middle of the 60s. I was down in my office, busy cleaning and organizing. I had packed Hannah off to a friend's house for the morning, and found my boys underfoot and full of the cabin fever.

When they approached and asked to play the bloody Xbox yet again, I told them in no uncertain terms that they were to go outside. I demanded that they get out there and enjoy the warmth while it lasted.

Their shoulders fell, as all technology-deprived children's do, and they started to head upstairs and outside. Just then, the tornado sirens went off. Having been out earlier in blue skies and sunshine, I told them it was probably just a drill and to GET. OUTSIDE. NOW. before I put them to work.

Or killed them.

Or both.

After about a minute, Chase came back in and asked if they could set their tent up in the backyard. Yes, fine, whatever. JUST GO PLAY.

About 20 minutes later, the tornado sirens went off again. I looked out the window and noticed the sky was now an eerie green color. Fearing it was NOT actually a drill, I went in search of the boys.

Their poor tent was being ravaged by the wind, and the rain pounded them from above. Were they not holding it down inside with their weight, I am confident some family in Indiana would now be the proud owners of a red two-man tent.

I immediately called them inside, and gave myself a few lashes with the belt made entirely out of guilt. You know that belt. We mothers all have one.

Come to find out, there was indeed a tornado. And it touched down only two miles from our home. And killed, oh, six people or so. Why, yes, child protective services, I made my children go play in it. Was that bad?

I'm thinking this story will be an excellent anecdote in my Mother of the Year speech. Don't you?

image via

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Here's to a new year and a new me

Oh, internet. Words cannot begin to express my gratitude at your heartfelt empathy, sympathy, and love on my behalf. You are just plain good. When I think that the majoirty of you have never even met me in real life, your sweet words are that much more touching.

Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was not easy to put that post out there. It is hard for me to put my weaknesses on display - be they real or perceived. I have a hard time letting my guard down. But this blog has become such an important record of my life that I felt I could not let such a soul changing, monumental experience go unwritten about. And yet you embraced me anyway. And made me wish we could all sit around in my living room, large slices of coconut cake on our laps, and laugh and cry over it all in person. Please tell me there is a way to make that happen? Someday?

Anyway, when I saw this video on my real-life friend Katie's blog - I knew I had to share it here and make it my new motto for the year. I love it. Made me laugh and made me cry. My two favorite emotions rolled into one.

No more looking back. Only moving forward.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The story

Last July, I started having some pain.

Like any rational, normal mother of three, I ignored it.

Six weeks came and went, and it became obvious that ignoring it was not going to be prudent. I could now palpate a large mass, probably four-by-three inches. It was extremely painful and worrisome.

Unsure of what it was or even what type of doctor to see for it, I took a wild guess and ended up at the office of a gastroenterologist (Dr. Google and my best guess said it was a hernia). The GI doctor took one look at it and immediately sent me downstairs to see a surgeon. He said it was an abscessed cyst and needed to be taken care of right away.

The surgeon lanced it in his office while a nurse held me down, and I laid on his table and just sobbed. It was the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life. Natural childbirth? Broken bones? NOTHING compared to this. Nothing. It was surreal. I was immediately put on two different types of antibiotics, and given strict instructions for cleaning and packing the wound with gauze.

Weeks passed. I was in and out of that surgeon's office, sometimes daily. I was on round after round of antibiotics. The beastly thing was just not healing. Physically, I was a mess.

And mentally? I was falling apart. Tasks that had once been routine and mindless were daunting and impossible. It was a challenge just to get out of bed every day. I found myself frequently collapsing in tears. I was unable to function, and completely miserable. I lay there, night after night, sobbing into my pillow and wondering if I was strong enough to survive this.

And fearing deep down inside that I wasn't.

The Husband was a trooper. He held my shaking, sobbing body again and again, and told me it was going to be all right. He took over laundry and cleaning when he could. He prayed quietly with our children that I would heal quickly and get better soon. They hugged me anxiously, worried looks on their faces, and asked me every day if I was better yet. Hannah's tears frequently mirrored my own, and I watched helplessly at the toll this was taking on my family.

Through it all, we went through this hell completely alone. I did not tell a soul for several months. I just kept thinking it would get better and it never did. I retreated inside myself and thought I was doing a great job of hiding it from everyone. I patted myself on the back for my bravery and stoicism out in the world, all while weeping over my misery at home.

When a good friend came up to me and quietly asked if she had done something to offend me, the tears just spilled over and the story came out. I was failing at putting on a good face, and hurting others in the process. My mother and mother-in-law were called, and a few close friends told. Simply unburdening myself with the news was such a relief. It helped to have someone to call and vent to when the news was not good. It was nice (for the Husband, definitely) that I had other shoulders to cry on. Meals, hot rolls, diet cokes, and books were brought to my door. I cried at my stupidity in not telling my people sooner.

None of that changed the fact that the abscess refused to heal. It was early November, and after yet another useless visit to the surgeon, I wept in the elevator, unable to hold in the tears before reaching the car. I choked on the sobs, as I told the Husband over the phone what the doctor had said. I was defeated. I was so afraid that my life would never return to normal. I did not know how I could face it any more. I was spent.

In a whisp of inspiration, the Husband remembered a surgeon in Florida he had spoken with at a conference the week before. Laughing that he hadn't thought of it sooner, he said he was going to call and get his opinion. Bless his heart, that surgeon said I should have been operated on MONTHS ago and should immediately seek a second opinion.

The second opinion was sought, and I was in the operating room the next week. It was really bad. He said he had never seen a cavity so badly infected before. He placed a drain and said it would likely require a second surgery once some healing had taken place.

Six weeks passed, and the pain was no better. I was beginning to feel numb to my life and resigned to unhappiness. I went through the motions of Christmas preparations. I could barely summon the strength to do much of anything. The usual joy of present shopping was undertaken online and in a hurry. I felt like I was standing still, while everything else was spinning wildly around me. I felt run down and exhausted. I hated this unhappy person I had become. I wondered what it felt like to smile and laugh.

The second surgery took place a week ago today. The doctor said the wound was starting to collapse in on itself and he was able to cauterize it.

He said it was starting to heal.

And for the first time in six months, I am virtually pain-free. For the first time in a long time, I have hope that I just might be myself again. That I'll laugh with my kids and be active. That I'll take care of my family instead of them taking care of me. That I'll be happy.

For the first time in what feels like forever, I have hope again.

I have HOPE.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stepping back onto the grid

Hi, all.

Christmas and New Years were pretty freaking fantastic around here. So great, in fact, that most days I [purposely] forgot to charge my cell phone or check my emails. The Husband was home for two weeks, and we were all together, wrapped up in that lovely cocoon of togetherness that this time of year sends our way.

I am ready to come back to it all, however. I've got words to say about 2010 and I need to sit down and breathe, think, and process as I get them out. These words are for me alone, and I need to do them justice so that years from now when I remember the debacle that was this year, it will be in the right way.

So hang in there just a little longer. I will be back soon.