Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nine

You turned nine years old yesterday. Nine. How is it even possible that we’ve already come to the last single digit year for you?

You know the thing about nine? It is halfway to eighteen. And I have a feeling these next nine years will go by much too quickly, not unlike the first nine. Before I am ready, you will be headed off to college or whatever other grand adventure God has in store for you as you begin your adult life.

Excuse me while I lock myself in the bathroom and cry for the next 20 minutes.

I know this is how it is supposed to be and I will have to be ok with that, but the thing is, you are almost at the end of your “little years.” The years when you still see magic and wonder in the little things and still believe in the forest fairies we hunted for a few years ago on our last family camping trip in the White Mountains.  You still talk about those forest and garden fairies with absolute certainty and belief. You’ve created entire little worlds that they reside in and point out the small telltale signs that they are indeed hiding there under that bush.  I will mourn the day when the teenage you forgets about them. But I won’t forget. And maybe when you have a daughter in her “little years” you will discover that magical world again.

Being a mother has taught me that time is fragile. You can’t catch it. You can’t hold onto it. You can’t make it go backwards. It slips right through your fingers and you’re left wondering what happened to the last year or five years or ten years. You remember the high points and the low points, but it’s the everyday moments that get lost in the shuffle. What I wouldn’t give for one more day with that little three-year-old who would only wear fancy dresses and sparkly shoes and loved anything and everything pink.

I do miss that little girl with the round face and pig-tails – it seems like you lose a little more of your little girl look each day. Each morning, I can see your cheekbones a little bit more and glimpses of the beautiful woman you’re going to become. But I know that this, too, is how it is supposed to be. God created you with a plan and a purpose, and I look at you and see a fearless girl who is wildly strong and independent and knows exactly what she wants.

You have become an amazing big sister. I will admit there is room for improvement in the little sister department (as will your older brother, I am sure). But I know being there in the middle is a tough spot to be. Regardless, you really do try and make the best of it and your love for your little sister is beyond compare. My heart melts when you worry about her safety or that she is becoming too independent. Which for those who know you, is completely and utterly ironic.

My sweet little firecracker, I can’t wait to see what the last of the single-digit years brings for you, but I am sure it will be as spontaneous and magical and unique as you are. Daddy and I are proud of the young lady you are becoming and count being your parents at the top of our list of blessings.

Happy 9th Birthday, Sweetie.

.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lucky Number Thirteen

This past weekend was NOT spent celebrating our thirteen (yes, thirteen!) years of wedded bliss with a candlelit dinner. Or a quiet evening in front of a cozy fireplace. Or going to see a movie rated something beyond PG. Or a last minute trip to Sedona for a romantic getaway.

It was a weekend of everyday family life – a cousin’s baby shower, pizza night at home watching Men In Black 3, the boys going hunting on Sunday – topped off with one very grumpy 8-month-old who kept us up much of the night for almost three days.

A baby who’s sweet daddy walked her and sat up with her much of the night so that her mama could sleep.  And I realized that this is one of the things that you don’t really know about someone before you marry them.

Actually, it’s probably one of the things you don’t really focus on because you’re busy thinking about how cute and funny he is. Or how much you just want to be around him. Or what you’ll be doing when he proposes. Or what color your bridesmaid’s dresses will be. Or where you’ll go on your honeymoon (hypothetically, of course). Or what restaurant he’ll take you to on your first anniversary. Or what your children will look like.

And so you don’t focus on questions like will he stay up at night and walk the baby so that I can get some much needed sleep?

Or will he be a good, loving daddy who adores his son and two little girls?

Will he be a good, loving provider and work hard without complaining?

Will he be patient with me even when I am completely emotional and irrational?

Will he hold my hand in the delivery room while I’m in labor and be my biggest champion for natural childbirth and breastfeeding?

Will he be accepting and forgiving of my faults?

Will he go to the park and throw the football with the kids even after a long day or week?

Will he make the kids pancakes and bacon on the weekends because he knows how much I dislike cooking breakfast food?

Will it drive me crazy when he leaves dishtowels scattered all over the kitchen counter?

Will there be times he’ll watch Road Warrior or Terminator 2 whenever they are on even though he has seen each of them no less than 348 times?

Will he change the lyrics of almost every song ever to make his own vulgar or politically incorrect version of the song?

Will he put dead deer heads on my walls?

As it turns out, the answer to all of these questions is yes.
And will he still make me laugh after thirteen years of marriage?

Yes. Yes he will.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eight

My oldest daughter is eight years old today. Eight. How is that even possible, considering she was born only last year.

In these beautiful and wild and crazy eight years, she has given me more joy and laughter and heartache than I ever could have imagined possible.  At just 9 months old, she started walking, and I have been trying to keep up with each new step of independence ever since.  But it’s not easy.

When she started Kindergarten, I had the privilege of walking her into her classroom every day. It was always a bright spot in my day.  And then she started 1st grade at “the big kid school.”  For the first two weeks, she had me walk her to class, just like we had always done.  And then one day, she just looked at me and said “Mama, you can just drop me off at parent drop off.”

“Are you sure? You don’t want me to walk you in?”

“Mama, it’s ok, I’m a big kid, in case you didn’t notice.”

And my heart wept.  I did notice. She had grown up so darn quick. Too fast. To me, she'll always be that sweet four-year-old who loved to dress up as Cinderella. And wear fancy dresses everywhere.

As I was driving away, I felt tears come to my eyes. You would have thought I was pulling away from her college dorm, knowing I wouldn’t hear from her until she was out of money or clean clothes. Or both. 

Quit being dramatic, I told myself.  But even as a mother to a wildly independent child, something about watching her walk into school for the first time by herself made me think of all the ways I’ll have to let her go over a lifetime. The truth is, I don’t really want to let her go, yet I’m so proud that she has the self-confidence to take those steps away from me.

 

And now, as a newly eight-year-old, I watch her take steps that are bigger and bigger. And she does them all with spunk and individuality. I think that God put more personality into that little body than should be allowed, and I cannot wait to see what both of them do with it.

I love this child more and more with each passing day; not a day goes by that she doesn’t surprise me with her unique perspective on life. She makes me laugh out loud. She makes me proud. She tests my patience. But this only serves to help us both grow and realize that she is an individual and doesn’t fit into any preconceived box.  She reminds me that these are the magical years. And to hold on loosely…for as long as she’ll let me.

As much as I look forward to watching her grow into a beautiful young woman, I am also a little sad that turning eight means the pure, little girl sweetness has just about run it’s course.  Of course, this child has already filled us up with her share of drama, but underneath it all, the innocent, free-spirited child is always there.  Each passing year just makes it a little bit harder to find.
But the greatest gift I could ever ask for is getting to see the world through her eyes. It is funny. And spontaneous. And magical. And chaotic. And intricately detailed. And absolutely beautiful.

happy 8th birthday, sweet girl.
 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nine

Stop.

Seriously? Nine? As in I now have a nine-year-old living in my house??

How did that happen? Especially considering you were born only two days ago. And I’ll blink and it will be time for your first deer hunt with Daddy. And then you’ll be driving around in one of those El Caminos you’ve been obsessed with for the past two years (“it’s so cool Mama…it’s a car and truck all in one!”). And then you’ll be packing up your El Camino and heading off for college. And then...

Oh, I know. I’m being dramatic.  But, my word, how time flies.

And now with nine years behind us, I feel like we’re embarking on new territory.

It seems like we’re at the official beginning of BIG KID-NESS. But I have enjoyed you, son, more and more each year and I know this will be no exception. They say these are the golden years of childhood and I can’t wait to watch as you continue to become the person God made you to be.

You are sweet. And kind. And bright. And inventive. And perceptive (although you do still have the occasional shirt-on-backwards day…but days like that remind me just how much I love the person you are). You amaze me more and more each and every day, and I am blessed to have been given such an extraordinary son.

It was nine years ago today that you entered our world and changed us totally and completely. I’d always known that I wanted to be a mother, but I never really knew what I was in for.  And I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing.

We are so proud of you, son, and so grateful that God blessed us with the special gift of you. Daddy and I could not love you more.  Happy Birthday, my sweet TJ…I have a feeling that you are going to be great at being nine!!

Love,
Mama

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Marriage Requires Commitment. Of Course, So Does Insanity.


Today is our 12th Anniversary. The most important lesson I have learned? Marriage requires commitment. Of course, so does insanity.  But I love my husband more now than I did then. He is the husband, father, and friend that I prayed for and my heart is filled with gratitude for all that he is and all that he does.

A lot of things have changed in the last 12 years, but the one thing that has remained an ever-present constant is that there is no one else I would rather spend my life with than my husband. It’s been fun. It’s been hard. But most of all, it’s been an adventure.

We’ve laughed a lot. And cried a little (admittedly,one of us much, much more than the other).  But together, we’ve learned what it really means to love someone for better or for worse. It’s been more than I could have hoped for or imagined. And I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

He’s still the one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies remind me of my grandmother. Not just any oatmeal cookies, but her oatmeal cookies. And the smell of her oatmeal cookies reminds me of the way she would get dressed in a skirt or slacks with a pretty sweater or smart button down shirt every single day. Even if she wasn’t going to leave the house. Her hair and makeup was done by 7 am, and each piece of jewelry perfectly in place. And she always wore a pair of stockings with heels or flats. In fact, I don’t ever recall seeing my grandmother’s bare feet. Although, I'm pretty sure when I was 10, I may have caught the tiniest glimpse during one of her lightning-fast quick-changes into socks when she took us bowling. But I’m not sure. She was that fast. Stockings were truly her second skin. My feet, however, loathe stockings. My feet are bare pretty much all the time. In the winter I may put on some socks simply to keep warm at night. And every now and then, I will wear flats or running shoes. Heels are quite rare. Flip flops are pretty much standard. Even in the winter. I justify this by saying I live in southern Arizona. But I’m pretty sure my grandmother (and people from places like North Dakota) would never understand the reasoning behind this.

So, without fail, my grandmother would get “dressed up” every day. And never wore flip flops. For me, most days consist of jeans and a t-shirt if I’m going out somewhere. At home – I would be lying if I said anything other than “pajama-like” wear. I often wonder what it would be like to have the energy and gumption to actually get dressed, looking totally put together every day of the week. It sounds like so much work. But my grandmother did it. She was a classy lady. Me, not so much. I think I must’ve missed out on that gene.

And so the the smell of freshly baked oatmeal cookies is like looking at a picture of my grandma. This is the reason why I pull out my her recipe every now and then. Sometimes it’s just to remind myself that I could put forth a little effort and dress up my wardrobe somewhat by wearing skirts and heels every now and then. And then I laugh, because that is just ridiculous, crazy-talk right there. So I really pull it out mostly for memory’s sake. Like this week. While I can’t necessarily say that oatmeal cookies are at the top of my list of favorite sweets this time of year – can anyone honestly put oatmeal out there as a contender when it comes to pumpkin flavored concoctions, and chocolate drenched treats, and (my personal weakness) cheesecake? No? No one? That’s what I thought. But against these odds, I tend to make a few batches each year around the holidays. My grandmother was wonderful in the kitchen, and it’s my way of sharing my memories of her with my children. But I mostly make them for my dad. And my grandfather. Because I know if the smell and taste of her oatmeal cookies does for them even a small part of what it does for me, those cookies are a crunchy, crumbly, sweet river of memories. The legacy of love can show its face in many forms. And sometimes it’s in the form of a cherished oatmeal cookie recipe.


"When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are gone, after the things are broken and scattered, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"

Friday, December 4, 2009

3,650 days

I have always known that what I wanted most out of life was to be a wife and a mother. I aspired to be the perfect wife and mother, but have long since realized that such a woman does not exist. I think all one can really strive for is finding what works. And compromise.
Today, my husband and I have been married for ten years. 3,650 days. And really, it doesn’t seem like it’s been a day over 9 years and 233 days, unless you’re counting the Saturday mornings I am forced to watch shows about deer and bow hunting. Or the Saturday nights where I must walk away from “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” for the 63rd time. It is then that it seems as if we’ve been together forever. As if somehow one of my worst fears has come true – that I am stuck in a vortex of time that may never end. Kind of like the movie “Groundhog Day.”

What I have learned over the last 10 years is that marriage requires compromise. Like learning to incorporate not one, but two, whitetail deer mounts into my living room décor. And watching South Park instead of HGTV. And resisting the urge to put that spoon into the dishwasher, because he insists that there should be an ‘only-one-spoon-per-day’ rule in our house. Meaning that the spoon he used to stir his coffee is also the spoon that he will leave sitting on the counter to eat his soup with, rinse, and then leave sitting there on the counter to eat his ice cream with while watching South Park. And this spoon that is sitting on the counter throughout the day does not bother me at all. That spoon sitting right there on the counter next to the sink. Nope, not one little bit.

Many unexpected twists and turns have come our way over the past several years. Some we’ve handled with grace. Others, not so much. And although things have not turned out the way I had envisioned, we are still here. We are still committed. And I love him now more than ever. I have learned that along with finding the middle ground, love and loyalty are the foundation of a strong marriage. That, and accepting the fact that I will become a widow for one week each and every fall during deer season. Compromise.


I suppose that what I really want to say is that I have been blessed . God has blessed me with a man who may at times drive me crazy with his love of hunting shows and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (oh, and leaving that spoon sitting on the counter), but who also loves and supports me, and gives me strength when I need it most. He is accepting and forgiving of my faults and he never makes me feel guilty in my moments of weakness. His heart is my shelter and his arms, my home.

I only hope that I am half the gift to him that he is to me.

“…I give you my promise that from this day forward, you shall not walk alone. May my heart be your shelter and my arms your home. With this ring, I bring to you all that I am and all that I have; I give you my heart, for I have no greater gift to give. I promise I will always love you, and strive to perfect that love. I thank God for the love we have found, and I thank you.” - December 4, 1999

Friday, July 24, 2009

There Were Two Clothed Children in My Backyard a Minute Ago

Now there is just one.

In the time it took me to put (yet another) load of laundry in, a child of mine had removed all clothing and underpants, and was leaping and twirling through the yard. Any guesses as to which child this might be?

Dear God, please, please, please can we bypass the teenage years with this one - I don't know if my heart, or patience, or sanity can take it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Poor, Neglected Blog

I just realized it’s been 89 days, 2 hours, and 2 minutes since I posted anything on my poor, neglected blog. I sure wish I had something interesting to post now. But… I don’t.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The One In Which I Make Excuses

Although my social calendar has been absolutely filled with a whole lot of nothing, the whole paving-the-way-for-a-better-future-and-more-meaningufl-life-thing (aka: nursing school) has kind of overtaken our household and kind of gets in the way of my blog.

That, and Facebook. And Twitter. I've succumbed to the ease of one-liners.

I promise it's only temporary. And by temporary, I mean at least another 6 1/2 weeks. But, I can assure you that on, or before, May 11th, I shall receive short-term parole from the jailhouse that is nursing school and will grace all ya all with my bloggy presence.

All 2 of you.

Or probably just myself. At least I enjoy my own company.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zoinks! Scooby-Doo & Aerosmith

My kids love, love, LOVE Scooby-Doo. In fact, they’re watching it right now. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Nowhere near as awesome as the retro Scooby that I loved as a kid. But truth be told, I think they like the old stuff better, too. And what's not to love about the shenanigans of the Scooby-Doo gang? Freddie is cool. Velma is smart. Daphne is quite the fashionista. Scooby is lovable. And Shaggy is...well, he's Shaggy. Like, Wow!

Put them all together with a groovy van, some spooky ghosts, and a mystery to solve, and you have something quite priceless.

And timeless. Seriously, the Scoob is older than I am. Zoinks! This got me thinking...what makes something “timeless”? Did you catch that nice transition - Scooby-Doo to timeless. Sometimes I amaze even myself with the all the randomness floating around in my head. That I can jump from one random thought to another without skipping a beat. And I digress. Yet again. Man, oh, man.

So when I think of things that are timeless, I think of Louis Vutton bags. Embroidered Polo shirts. Marilyn Monroe. Heinz ketchup. Scissors. Dick Clark. Coca-Cola. Barbie. Egg cartons. Tiffany's. Zippers. Legos.

I'm going to go ahead and add two more things to the list: Scooby-Doo and Aerosmith. That's right. I said it. Scooby-Doo. And Aerosmith. It's simple, really. They both grooved through the 70’s. Rocked through the 80’s. Jammed through the 90’s. And they’re still around today. Old. Yet relevant. Aged. Yet contemporary.

They adapt and modernize just enough to keep up with the times. Yet at the core of it all, they’re still the same. It’s still Scooby and Steven Tyler. Shaggy and Joe Perry. The Mystery Machine and Sweet Emotion. Scooby snacks and Crazy. Scrappy and Run DMC. In 2009, we’ve got CAD animation and Guitar Hero thrown into the mix. But still, Scooby Doo and Aerosmith are truly timeless. Just like Grace Kelly. And Audrey Hepburn. Minus the beauty. And exquisiteness. And sophistication.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

He Apparently Does Not Know Quality Television When He Sees It.

"What?!?!? American Idol, again?!?!?"

"What's wrong with American Idol?"

"All they do is sing and talk and sing and talk and blah, blah, blah. Borrr-ing."

"You're 6. You think Spongebob Squarepants is worthy of an Oscar and that the dialogue in Star Wars the Clone Wars is riveting, Mr. Primetime-TV-Critic. Besides, I have the remote, so there."

American Idol is not worthy of the under 8 crowd, anyways. This is television programming that is much too distinguished for those who find potty humor and boogers to be acceptable components of a conversation. And it's definitely way too inspiring for those who can sit for hours on end watching history and nature documentaries. I guess that successfully eliminates both males in my household.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

25 Random Things About Me: Extended Version

  1. I am a little bit obsessive about the way my dishwasher is loaded. All the spoons go in one slot. Forks in another. Knives in another. Plastic cups on the upper right. Glasses on the upper left. Plates lined up largest to smallest. Ummm…I’m kind of making myself sound a little craaa-zy, so let’s move on to number 2.
  2. I wanted to have 6 kids. I have 2. I would be overjoyed to be blessed with 4.
  3. Although my husband has been a Pilot for more than 10 years, I have never flown with him. I don’t really know why. Oh, wait, I think that it might be the whole motion-sickness thing. The older I get, the worse it gets.
  4. I sometimes have to leave in the middle of a movie at the theater because of the whole motion-sickness thing. It’s quite sad, really.
  5. I love, love, LOVE Crate & Barrel. My heart skips a beat when I receive a white cardboard box with big, bold, black lettering on it. Probably much the same way as those girls who get the little robin’s egg blue box with a white ribbon. Please don’t get me wrong, I would love one of those, too. But I would probably be just as happy with a shiny new kitchen utensil from C & B.
  6. Three of my most favorite movies are The Princess Bride, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Pulp Fiction.
  7. I am devoted to keeping my eyes open for “thin places”…those places, points in time, people that subtly yet vividly reveal the presence and glory of God.
  8. I want to raise my children in a small(ish) town. But not too small. It has to have a Starbucks. And a Target. Or there at least needs to be one within a 25 mile radius.
  9. My daughter was born at home. Unintentionally. It was the single most empowering experience of my life.
  10. Soup. Not canned. Mushroom soup. Split-pea soup. Potato soup. Wild Rice & Chicken soup. Posole. French onion soup. Soup, in general. I like it. A lot.
  11. It is almost impossible for me to tell someone “no” even when I know that I should. I’m a Pisces. It’s in my nature. Now that you are aware of this fact, please don’t use it against me. Because if you seriously ask me to do your laundry and pull your weeds, I probably will.
  12. I’m an Arizona native. And I’ve never lived anywhere but Arizona. I think I’m ok with that. Although I harbor this secret desire to move to Idaho. It just looks so welcoming. And yes, I know that people only move from Idaho and not to Idaho. And I’ve heard about the white supremacists and the meth – I just like to think that maybe they’ll be eradicated by the time I get around to moving there.
  13. My dream car is a ’69 Camaro SS. Red with white racing stripes. One day. If they’re not first banned by the government because they are not “environmentally friendly.”
  14. My hair is naturally curly. It’s a love-hate relationship.
  15. I am infatuated with black & white photography. If I could wake up tomorrow and have any career, it would be that of a photographer.
  16. I love the smell of a baby’s head. It’s probably the most innocent smell in the world.
  17. My favorite food: tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a chunk of ciabbatta bread.
  18. Orchids have recently become my favorite flower. If only I could learn how to help them survive in my house. It is a goal of mine for 2009. First, maybe I should buy a new one to replace the one that died last summer. Then I can concentrate on keeping it alive.
  19. Pinot Grigio. Zinfandel. Red. Not Pink. Pink is for the middle of your steak or a diamond. Or breast cancer awareness (save the tatas!). There are just some things in this world that should not be pink. Like wine. And cars. And socks.
  20. Enameled cast iron cookware, stand mixers, food processors, stainless steel, a Viking stove, a SubZero fridge…the stuff that dreams are made of.
  21. Willie Nelson. Coldplay. Allison Krausse. Pearl Jam. Cowboy Junkies. U2. Eric Clapton. Snow Patrol. Eagles. Grace Potter. Johnny Cash.
  22. I never, ever thought that mounted deer heads would be a part of my home décor. The deer remind me that compromise and tolerance are essential to a happy marriage and home.
  23. I only eat red gummi bears and red jelly beans. It kind of drives my husband crazy. He now refuses to let me anywhere near his candy stash. I remind him that I have not only one, but two, deer heads in my house. He doesn’t care.
  24. I feel that my purpose in life is to live one filled with grace. To teach my children to do the right thing. And to “have faith and pursue the unknown end…”

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Am Not What They Are Looking For

I have some terribly excting news for you!

And by "terribly exciting" of course I mean "so-boring-it-might-make-your-eyeballs-roll-back-to-your-tonsils."

Go to Google and type in the following: "where can i buy bellmama stretch mark cream".

I'll wait while you open up a second browser window.

Look. Do you see it? My blog is the second entry on the results page! Really! REALLY?

Really, does it have to be? I have goals, people, but this, I am sad to say is not one of them. Seriously, being found on Google under strech mark creams? Thanks Mr. Google-Search Engine-Guru-Man for keeping me at the top of the list on this one. It is truly a highlight in my bloggy-career.

All I have to say is that I am probably not what that person was searching for.

(edit after posting)

So it seems that by virtue of the tagline alone (where can i buy bellmama stretch mark cream), my blog has now been promoted to slot numero uno on the google search engine. Here was the original search result:

THIRTY SUMMERS
But, I didn’t buy it 6 months ago. Or 3 months ago. Or even 5 weeks ago. ... My Peaches n' Cream Barbie from 1985 only cost $8.05...and she was ..... And he must be there before the first bell. Mama don't make me miss the first bell. .... that don't leave a colorful, permanent mark on the furniture, walls, or body? ...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Speaking Of Piñatas

...I thought the life size Little Mermaid piñata was just a myth.

However, for Brynn's 4th birthday, my sister-in-law, Lori, informed me that she was going to bring a piñata over for the birthday girl. If it fit in her car. She drives a full-size SUV.

And that is how we became the proud owners of one of the largest piñatas I have ever seen. In fact, instead of making that dreaded trek to the mall for the kids to sit on Santa’s lap this year, I just set the piñata up at home next to the Christmas tree. The kids dictated their wish list to Ariel the Little Merry-maid while sitting on her paper mache’ and tissue paper adorned lap. I even put a santa hat on her mane of fiery red locks for posterity.

Now, she just kind of hangs out around our house. Mostly in Brynn's room, but every now and then she gets adventurous. For some reason, she likes to visit my bathroom. When I’m not looking. And wait behind the shower curtain. Patiently. Then, at the end of a long day, I go to take a nice, hot shower, and……



...she never fails to startle me. Every time. Each and every of the half a dozen times or so that she has played this little game. Oh, Ariel, you sneaky, sneaky girl.

She also likes to wait here in the middle of the night...



Disconcerting. To say the least. After the initial startle response (again), comes amusement. If one can be amused at 3:00 am when there is a life size piñata sitting on her toilet. At least I have a husband who likes to make me laugh. One who keeps me from taking myself too seriously in life. One who has an odd sense of humor. Seriously. Do you see Ariel sitting on my toilet? In the middle of the night? Someone had to purposely wake up after I had gone to sleep just to put her there. And that, my friends, is what I find truly disconcerting.

That, and the fact that if we are ever going to use this piñata for her true purpose, I’m afraid we might have to take out a small personal loan to fill it up with candy. Or maybe I’ll just pray that the kids will pass out from the sheer exhaustion of beating the heck out of a gargantuan piñata.

And then they will fail to realize they only got a few Starburst and a Tootsie Pop for all that effort.

Monday, January 5, 2009

If You Could Have Any One Quality, What Would It Be

I'd like to be more generous with my time.
I'd like to be more generous with my money.
I'd like to be more generous with my patience.
I'd like to be able to sing.
I'd like to teach the world to sing. In perfect harmony.
I'd like to have Supernanny Jo's childrearing skills.
I'd like to be tan.
I'd like to have more energy.
I'd like to be better at managing my time.
I'd like to exercise more often. Or, at all.
I'd like to continue being the "best-mama-ever". Even when my children are teenagers.
I'd like to be able to subsist on three hours of sleep.
I'd like to be less scatterbrained.
I'd like...

Oh, wait. That was any one quality, wasn't it? Sorry. There are a lot of things I wish I was.

Apparently I fall short.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not Everyone Lives In A Castle

Brynn's Christmas morning was laden with Baby Dolls. And Disney Princesses. And Barbie Mariposa. And Tinkerbell. And pink. And my dreams of creating the “Best Christmas Ever” in spite of the whole economy thing.

Everything was all “Oh, just what I wanted…a new baby doll…and Tinkerbell, she’s so cute…and My Little Pony panties…oooh.” And then, within seconds of the last present being unwrapped, and I bet faster than ol’ Santa Claus could lay his finger aside of his nose, the inevitable interrogation begins.

“But what about the My Little Pony house? And the Barbie Diamond Castle Doll & Carriage? Why didn’t Santa bring me those? I really, really wanted them.”

Huh? What? Were those on the list?

Of course they were. With about 63 other random toys. How do you even begin to decide between the My Little Pony Ponyville Pinkie Pie’s Balloon House and the Littlest Pet Shop Get Better Center playset with its kinda creepy little dogs and cats that have enormous heads. And unreasonably large eyes. And disproportionately small bodies.

And then there’s Barbie and the Diamond Castle. Did you know that Barbie is the star of her own hour long movies? Barbie as Rapunzel. Barbie in the Nutcracker. Barbie of Swan Lake. Barbie Fairytopia. Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses. Barbie as the Island Princess. Barbie Mariposa. Barbie and the Diamond Castle. Ummm…at what point in my life did I let Barbie make it to my list of “Movies I’ve Seen”? And why can I recite the movies that she stars in from memory? Oh, Barbie, why do you haunt me so?

Anyhow, on the never ending list of desired presents were the "Barbie and the Diamond Castle Doll with Horse & Carriage" marketing castoffs from the movie. Because, hey, if you’re Barbie, you can’t be the star of your own Drama-toon without having some hard, plastic toys with lots of sparkle and dazzle to back you up.

I knew in advance that disappointment was sure to prevail if Santa made a visit without leaving Barbie and the Diamond Castle Doll & Carriage. But Target was sold out. As was Toys R’ Us. And even (dare I say I even looked), the Walmart. This is ironic, considering the fact that for the entire 6 months preceding Christmas, Princess B has spied this toy sitting graciously on the shelves, begging for it with each visit to Target. And we do a lot of Target visiting. A lot. So this toy must have been requested at least 403 times over the past 6 months.

But, I didn’t buy it 6 months ago. Or 3 months ago. Or even 5 weeks ago. Because it cost $47.99. Really? $50 for a Barbie? My Peaches n' Cream Barbie from 1985 only cost $8.05...and she was pretty fancy-schmancy for her time. Excessive price tag aside, the real reason I didn't buy Barbie and her Diamond Castle Carriage is that I didn’t know where in the world I would hide it, because, guess what, Barbie, not everyone lives in a castle.

So, I waited. Oh, I now see the error of my ways. For 3 days now I have been badgered about Barbie and the Diamond Castle and the My Little Pony house. Persistency reigns at my house. And employing the You-Should-Be-Thankful-For-The-Toys-You-Did-Get or the How-About-We-Just-Give-All-Of-Your-Pretty-New-Toys-To-Some-Little-Girl-Who-Didn’t-Get-Anything-For-Christmas techniques fall unheard upon material girl’s little princess ears.

It's times like this when I envy those single, 20-something girls out there who don’t have to spend all of their hard-earned money on things like My Little Ponies and a $50 Barbie. They can buy useful things. Like clothes. And shoes. Things that won’t be forgotten about and shoved under the bed by week’s end, never to be played with again…

Friday, December 26, 2008

575 Pieces Later

It's an obsession, really. The Y-ego Master has spent the last 9 hours 16 minutes and 39 seconds working diligently on the Star Wars Jedi Starfighter with Hyperdrive Booster Ring. He has only stopped for the basics. Food. Water. A trek to Aunt Shannie's house in which he was itching to get back home to return to his project. Watching Indiana Jones & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Mama insisting he go to bed. (However, I did catch him sneaking a peek at his work-in-progress long after he was supposed to have been asleep). He has hardly even glanced at his other toys although he got some really cool stuff. Mini Remote Control Helicopters. Nerf Dart Guns. Light Sabers. And really cool stuff like clothes. And shoes. And toothbrushes. And underwear.

I think his love for Legos is only outweighed by a compulsive need to consume mass quantities of sugar. Cookies. Candy canes. Jelly beans. It gives him that nice burst of energy to see it through to the end.

If only I could afford a $54.95 box of Legos every week - it would offer a little bit of quiet time for Mama, but more than anything, it would bring me such joy to feed my little boy's passion for building things. Albeit just a little bit obsessive-compulsive. My little Y-ego Master...gotta love him.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Confused I Am

Have you ever wondered what language Master Yoda speaks? I think it's the same one as my husband. Strange he is. Strange is he indeed. And he has passed the gene on to my son. Strange, too, the boy is. Fascinated with Star Wars legos my son is. Yessss.

The bulk of his Christmas Wish List consists of pretty much every single Star Wars Lego set out there: the MagnaGuard Starfighter, the Hailfire Droid, the Hoth Rebel Base, and last, but not least, the coveted Starfighter with Hyperdrive Booster Ring (I snagged the last one off the shelf at ToysRUs today just as I heard the elderly couple behind me saying "...and Aidan wants a Starfighter Lego Ring..." - oh, that poor lady, she doesn't know Starwars-ese, either).

All I know is that trying to remember the names of all that Star Wars stuff is confusing. Why can't they just call it the "White Airplane with the Big Circle Thingy on the Back"? Or the "Bad Guy Plane"? Or the "Really Mean Robot"?

Why does it have to be so complicated? Why is it like learning a foreign language?

Wise, Master Yoda is. With Mama the force is not. Lo siento, mijo, no comprendo el Star Wars.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Conversations with a Preschooler

Me: "Why are you taking your shoes off? We'll be to Trader Joe's in like 30 seconds."

Her: "Because there's sand in my feet."

Me: "Well, don't take your shoes off and dump sand in our new car, just wait until we get there."

Her: "Noooo! Anyways, there's no sand in my shoes. Or in my socks."

Me: "Well, I don't really want any sand in my car, so please leave your shoes on."

Her: "There isn't any sand in my shoes or socks, Mama."

Me: "Okay, then why are you taking them off?"

Her: "Because there's something between my toes."

Me: "Really...like what?"

Her: "Sand."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

When Your Favorite Pen Is Gone For Good

I've officially called the search off. I've searched high. And low. And under. And in. I've even searched the chair. But that beautiful, beloved Pilot Dr. Grip Ltd. Gel Pen in Platinum has eluded me now for weeks. The trail has gone cold and I don't think it is ever coming back.

There's this secret little place inside of me that mourns for the loss. Is that strange? Yes. Yes, it is. I admit that it is a little bit odd. But it was such a good pen. And it cost $7. That's alot of money for a writing utensil. I could have bought 96 Crayola Crayons (with built in sharpener) for that price. That's a lot of color. With fascinating choices like "Atomic Tangerine." And "Unmellow Yellow." And "Razzmatazz." And my favorite, "Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown."

96 Crayons. 96 colors of Crayons. A much better choice than some silly, smooth-writing gel pen that made my penmanship *shine* with precise, flourishing strokes. Some silly, little pen that just took off, and is gone for good. But I'm not bitter. Nope, not at all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote of the Day, Revisited

"No."
-Anonymous

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bringing Up Brynn, Part I: Birth

So, rather than a novella-length post about my extraordinary little girl, I'm going to dole out my "Ode to Brynn" in segments. For your reading pleasure, of course.

Um, actually, let's be honest here...it's because I no longer have time to just let the thoughts flow freely. My life is now lived in segments. School here. Work there. Kids now. Laundry, housework, dinner...soon. Sleep....none. But it is now something like 45 days past Brynn's 4th birthday, and I haven't lived up to my promise. So here is her story. In segments.

Anyone who has been graced with spending any length of time with my daughter knows that Brynn is an individual. She does not fit into any shape, size,or color of box. Unless it's a pink box. Maybe then. For like 5 seconds. After that, she's outta there. Even if it is pink. She is her own person. And always has been. Right from the day she was born.

If you ask Brynn where she was born, she will assuredly reply, "at Aunt Lori's house." And she's right. She was born at home. Our "home" at the time being Aunt Lori's guest house. I did not plan on having a baby at home. Or in a guest house. Or with out a medically trained individual present. She decided. After hanging out in her baby cocoon a week-or-so past her due date. And giving me fairly gentle contractions for hours. And hours.

But, when the clock struck midnight - just like Cinderella - she decided she was going to make a run for it. Quickly. And as I was telling Tommy it was time to load things up and make our way to the hospital, that little bugger initiated a change in plans. Quickly. A *911 call was made to request an ambulance. Quickly. By the time the paramedics finally found their way to the house, Brynn had already blessed us with her presence. Quickly. Caught by Aunt "Ro-Ro." Quickly. Now laying in my arms with a pair of gym shorts hanging off the umbilical cord running between her and I.

Yes. Gym shorts. We were told by the lovely *911 operator-lady to find something to tie off the cord. The shorts were there. Tommy was there. They had a string. Seemed logical to him. Whatever.

I, being a practical woman and all, probably would have spent the extra half-second or so to find something "prettier." Like a hair tie. Or cutting off a strip of the sheet. Or the pretty little bow tied around the teddy bear's neck. But definitely not dirty, sweaty, gym shorts. I will never, ever, EVER understand how efficiency can possibly ever outweigh the benefits of aesthetics. Even in the immediate seconds following birthing a 7 pound baby. Naturally. In a guest house. In the middle of the night. I still would have passed on the gym shorts.

Gym shorts aside, it gets worse. Never mind the unplanned nature of the home birth. Or the associated hodgepodge of messy that comes with it. I also had the opportunity to have three - or four - or twenty-five of Tucson Fire's finest Paramedics grace me with their presence. In the glory of less-than-three-minutes-after-giving-birth. Fantastic. Words simply cannot describe the amount of discomposure I felt at that moment. Oh, and when I say Tucson Fire's "finest," I'm pretty sure I mean just that. Not as in "skilled" or "well-prepared" because that they assuredly were not - at least in the whole labor-delivery thing. But if you're rating them on looks, they fit the good-looking Firefighter stereotype. To a "t." A nice tight, navy blue tee. All of them in a 12 x 12 room. With postpartum me in the bed. With newborn and her former home all hanging out for the world to see. Awesome. Awesome. AWESOME. All. Kinds. Of. AWESOME. (read with as much sarcasm as you can muster, please. For my sake.)

Gym shorts. Hot paramedics. Home delivery. Not only was this not going as planned, it quickly became apparent that, other than (maybe) a five-minute condensed, crash course in L&D that came somewhere between learning to operate the jaws-of-life and getting to do some training on the really-cool-ladder-truck-thingy in firefighter school, the only time these young men had been anywhere near a birth was their own.

But they had a "newborn kit". Great. At least we have a kit. With a laminated instruction list (complete with pictures, I'm sure). But somebody must have used the kit before. No scissors to cut the cord. Isn't this probably one of the more important components of said "newborn kit"? No problem, let's grab Tommy's mustache trimming scissors. Again, practicality reigns. Umbilical cord clip. Check. Blanket. What, no blanket in the kit? No worries - there's one on the changing table. Cool. Cap. What? We need to put a cap on the baby (rummage, rummage, rummage). What? It says we need to put the cap on the baby. *sigh* There's one in the right side of the top dresser drawer. Cool. Oh, dear Lord, please let this be a really bad dream. What about me? Can I please have a blanket? Can I have cap? Or a big, brown paper bag to put over my head? Can you please take me to the hospital now? Thanks.

To their credit, I am sure that these young men could have flawlessly rescued me from a burning house. Or extracted me from the wreckage of a car. Or resuscitated me if I had accidentally drowned in the toilet. But labor and delivery, or postpartum care? Not so much.

So this is Brynn's birth story, and my new little baby girl arrived healthy and with spunk. She came into the world on her own terms. With chaos. And confusion. And me just wondering what the heck is going on. And she continues to live life as such every day. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. But I do like a vaction from it every now and then. It helps preserve my sanity.

Me? I got over the whole 25-hot-young-paramedics-in-the-guesthouse-turned-birthing-center-thing. I am just forever grateful that not a single one of them was someone I knew or went to high school with (there most certainly is a God).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

One

I've always heard that "love" is a universal language. Or, if you're a left-brained science geek like my husband, you might be a proponent of the "math is the universal language" debate.

I learned today that grief can be added to that short list of what unites us as one. Words of sorrow and pain and suffering can take a fast track to your heart - even if you have no idea what words are actually being spoken. Sorrow trancends all language barriers.

Korean is not my first language. Or my second. Or my third. Oh, wait...I don't actually know any Korean. But I do know this - that my heart goes out to the brother who lost his sister, the father who lost his daughter, and the mother who lost her child. I am not able to translate their words, but I understand the grief that came through a language foreign to me. It is not always the words we say, but the meaning that is behind them.

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
Sisters, brothers
One life
But we're not the same
We get to carry each other
One life
One
-U2, One

Life is fragile. It is a gift we are given each and every day. I lost one of my fellow nursing students to a tragic car accident this week, and am reminded of this.

I sometimes get so caught up in work and school and activities and errands that I forget about what matters most. If I don't get the laundry done, what's the worse that can happen? If the dishes don't make it to the dishwasher after every meal, are the kitchen police going to arrest me? If I let my kids (or colorblind husband) pick out clothes for the day and they aren't really what I would have chosen, is anyone going to judge me? If so, so what? If I can't be supermom and make it to the PTO meetings and volunteer at every school event, will those women come after me and make me feel horrible? (well, maybe there's a little bit of truth to that one!) I have to constantly remind myself that most of it doesn't matter when all is said and done.

What matters is living in grace. And doing the right thing. And hugging your children at least 10 times a day. And telling your husband that you love him and appreciate him each and every day.

Dawool - I pray that your family finds peace and that you rejoice in your eternal life. I'm pretty sure I saw that huge smile of yours shining down with the stars last night!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Secret To Creativity Is Knowing How To Hide Your Sources

Oh, Albert Einstein...you're amazing! Speaking of creativity, I have hit one major blogging block. So, please excuse my temporary absence, oh blog of mine.

I'm filling my mind with syllabi. And due dates. And reading maybe a 1,002 or a 1,003 chapters a day. Learning all about nursing skills and fundamentals. And medical terminology. And pathophysiology. And diseases. And proper handwashing technique. And...what? You're bored already? Yea, I understand. But, me...I'm overwhelmed. But optimistic. And overwhelmed.

All this technical material has killed my writing mojo. It's sucked the life right outta me.

And it was Brynn's 4th birthday this past week. Along with pizza night at Peter Piper Pizza, I wanted to celebrate it in style. And by style, I don't mean a ride on the kiddy merry-go-round between eating some low-grade pizza and racking up tickets playing skee-ball. I kinda meant in writing. But, alas, it's a no go. At least not right now. My special little girl deserves a birthday post with all the creative flair I can muster. And I'm just not feeling it.

So, when my left brain stops being all dominant and demanding, I will be back. Oh, yes...I'll be back. And I know that you, my loyal blog, will be waiting. Thank you for that. I'll most certainly need to exercise my right brain very soon, and you'll be the first one to hear all about it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Such Is My Reality

My life the past two weeks...First day of kindergarten. Search entire city of Tucson for a "KinderMat." First day of preschool. First day of preschool meltdown. Pink lunchbox. Blue lunchbox. Don't put the blue ice pack in pink lunchbox. Don't put the purple ice pack in the blue lunchbox. Wake up. Get the-not-a-morning-person-till-she-gets-her-morning-"milky"-little-girl her morning milk fix. Shower. Scramble eggs. Get kids dressed. Turn off Clifford. Brush kids teeth. Comb kids hair. Leave 2 minutes and 32 seconds to get myself dressed, put on makeup, brush my teeth, make sure my hair is doing whatever it does without being too crazy. Leave the house. No later than 7:41 am. Otherwise the kindergartner does not get there before the first bell. And he must be there before the first bell. Mama don't make me miss the first bell. Wade through morning traffic to the sweet little preschool. Drop off mostly grumpy little girl. Go to UA bookstore. Lug 100 pounds of textbooks over a mile to my car. Pre-employment drug screen. Pre-employment physical. Pre-employment paperwork. Show needy real estate client her 48th house. Pay my bills. Pay some more bills. What? Didn't we just pay the water bill? Trader Joe's. Target. Costco. Target, again. Nursing school orientation. Write needy client's third contract this month. Wait in a mile long line to pick up kindergartner. Take chihuahua to Auntie's house for a sleepover with cousin Mia. Pack for weekend camping trip to Mt. Lemmon. Notified by child that I have forgotten chocolate for s'mores. Trip to Walgreen's for Hershey bars. Came out with chocolate bars, bug catching nets, bubbles, facial cleansing cloths, apple juice, some velcro tennis ball and mitt game thingy. Waiting for Granny and Grampa to pick us up for camping. Try to squeeze in 10 more emails before I am sans technology for the weekend. Put tent up in the dark. Without husband. He's still in Tucson waiting for his paycheck. Paying more bills. Didn't grab the sleeping bags. It's kind of cold at night when you're at 8,000 feet - even in Arizona in the middle of summer. Thank goodness the well-prepared grandmother had a comforter. Little boy with tummy ache. Little girl who kept rolling off the air mattress. Mom in a tent in the mountains not getting sleep. But nice to get away before it all starts again. Full day of hospital orientation for new part-time job. Still need to get three more 20 pound textbooks. And a PDA. And some other stuff that I can't even remember at the moment. Realize little girl's 4th birthday is only 2 days away. Presents. Yeah...need those, too. Pink frosted cookies from Safeway bakery to share with little friends at preschool on birthday. Store-bought because parents are no longer able to take fresh-baked goods to school. Or cut fruit. Or fruit that requires slicing prior to serving. Or anything that is not commercially processed. With each and every ingredient labeled clearly on the package. So store-bought it is. At least it saved me from staying up until 1 am frosting little pink cupcakes. Now I have time to try and find a little bit of free space in my brain to even begin processing the thought of planning a birthday party. Worry that someone will make me feel guilty for not being on top of things. Oh, yeah, that person is me. First day of nursing school tomorrow. And my brain already hurts. Such is my reality.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh, Haiku - I Love You

I don't know if you noticed, but I wrote my recent post Blink as a series of haiku. Haiku are fun. Haiku are great. I might just start conversing in haiku prose from now on. That would be fun.

Here are a few for your reading pleasure. You can join in if you want - it's kind of addicting. What? What's that you say? What is a haiku?

haiku are easy
but sometimes they don't make sense
refrigerator

**this one is not my own - I found it while I was Googling haiku

tucson city street
potholes strewn like Mia's pearls
tires scream in pain
**this one is my own, and just for the record, Tucson streets leave a lot to be desired.

At least now you will understand what is going on when you see one of these little gems in the future instead of saying, "Hey...Candace has kinda lost it, dontcha know."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Barbara Bush Called - She Would Like Her Pearls Back


This is my niece-dog Mia.

She's pretty darn cute.

But she wears more jewlery than I do.

And she owns a cashmere sweater.

And I don't.



This is Josie.

She's pretty darn cute, too.

She lives somewhere amongst the 10 pillows on my bed.

She does not wear any jewels. Or clothes.




This is my nephew-dog Killian.

When he was a few months old.

Back when he weighed more than Brynn does now at the age of 4.

He does not need jewels. Or clothes. He is a MAN dog.




This is Killian all grown up.

He is big and handsome. He can be ridden by small children.

He is 6'2'' when he stands on his hind legs. His feet are like bear paws.

And he would LOVE to hang out with Josie and Mia.

He could wear them as accessories.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Like "Blades of Glory," Only Better

Men's Springboard Synchronized Diving.

Really? Are we sure this isn't a contrived competition that serves the sole purpose of promoting Will Ferrell's next movie? Something along the lines of Talledega Nights meet Semi-Pro meets Blades of Glory? Oh, Olympic Committee, what will you think of next?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blink

gray december skies
platinum crown of silken hair
my heart grew tenfold

blink.

a sweet sleepless spring
tiny hands and clear blue eyes
you relied on me

blink.

ready to explore
held my breath and let you go
my heart walks around

blink.

little man, size 2
a wisdom upon your brow
you bring me purpose

blink.

independent boy
exact, precise, curious
my heart follows you

blink.

compassionate soul
butterfly kisses we share
you make my heart sing

blink.

across the schoolyard
that hair just gives you away
my heart skips a beat

blink.

a grand adventure
on your own - kindergarten
I blink and your gone

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Let My Love Grow A Child That I Want To Hug & Kiss One Mintue And Then Flush Down The Toilet The Next

It is with much regret that I announce the quick departure of the congenial creature formerly known as Brynn. It was a lovely, soul-soothing 19 hours, 34 minutes, and 12 seconds. But as with all good things, they must come to an end. A turbulent and bitter strife.

If the transition were played out on the big screen, we might have the Beatles' "Helter-Skelter" accompanying the pandemonium that is Brynn going from my "sweet little bean" to the writhing creature that has arrived straight from the depths of the fiery pit that is borderline-toddler-personality-disorder. Oh, I kid. I think.

Yes, I kid. Brynn just likes to exercise her control. And independence. And obstinance. And tenacity. And control - did I already mention that? She throroughly enjoys testing her parents coping skills. And patience. She likes to enforce the strict rule of keeping us on our toes at all times by delivering inconsistency 24 hours a day - that's our Brynn. And we love her. To no end.

While the child may cause me to have severe panic attacks and raise my anxiety levels to disproportionate levels, I know that one day she will be a strong, independent young woman. That is if I don't flush her down the toilet first.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Let My Love Grow A Spark

don't you ever ask them why
if they told you would die
so just look at them and sigh
and know they love you
-Crosby, Stills, and Nash; "Teach Your Children Well"
The boys have gone fishing, and I've had the pleasure of spending a day in the life of Brynn -without her big brother. There have been no meltdowns, no screaming, no aggression. It has been a beautiful day. Her love really does shine through like white light when given the opportunity.

But daddy and T.J. can't stay away forever. I'll just have to wrap these few days up in a little corner of my mind, keeping them tucked away for when the road gets rough. Just to have them there for safekeeping. To pull out and remember I need to have a little faith in the girl. I know the love is there and I know she loves me - even though her actions and words often say quite the opposite.

Sweetie, I will hold you up, forever and always. I love you my little "bean."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Greatest Inventions Ever

  1. The Refrigerator - what would our lives be like without it?
  2. Indoor Plumbing - need I say more?
  3. The Television - only like the greatest babysitter ever! oh...I'm kidding ;) (I think)
  4. The Washing Machine and Dryer - does anyone else have a child that changes clothes five times a day? What? No, you say? Well, can I send her to live at your house for a while so that I can have a break until my long-awaited Laundry Fairy shows up? Do any of you internets have her cell phone number?
  5. Crayola Color Wonder Markers - seriously...invisible writing utensils that don't leave a colorful, permanent mark on the furniture, walls, or body? And keeps the kids busy for more than 2 minutes? Amen to that!
  6. The Internet - could care less about how it works as long as I got me some high-speed!
  7. Trader Joe's - hey, this is my list. If I want to call a commercial enterprise that supplies at least half of my household's groceries at a reasonable cost an invention, then I will!
  8. Air Conditioning - in the home: fabulous; in the car: a precious commodity; absolutely necessary when it is 108 degrees outside; absolutely a tragic loss if it stops working at the end of July when it is a 108 degrees outside. I don't roll so well with all four windows down in the middle of summer - honestly, how did they do it pre-1960's? Oh, yeah. They didn't live in Arizona.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The One In Which He Attempts To Capture His Prey With A Rope, A Slingshot, A Booby-Trapped Ladder, and A Pile of Rocks

"Mama, did you know that Roadrunners catch and eat Rattlesnakes?"

They do? (No, really, I did not know that).

"Yea, they're so fast that they just run around in circles and the Rattlesnake keeps trying to strike at the Roadrunner and then the snake gets tired and then the Roadrunner pecks him with his sharp beak until he's dead."

Really? I would have guessed that Roadrunners just eat a pile of "free" birdseed that just happens to be sitting in the middle of a deserted highway somewhere in the barren American southwest desert. The delicious pile of seed would be conveniently located at the base of a ginormous cliff while a 1 ton anvil hangs precariously above him. The Roadrunners will devour the seed, oblivious to the peril above, and then just dart away at the last second, while the Coyote is foiled yet again.

Isn't that how all Roadrunners survive? That's what I learned growing up (and I live in the American southwest desert). Either that, or I just assumed all Roadrunners just get together and order a bunch of crap from the Acme supply company to capture their prey. Just like Wile E. Coyote. Who knew there was an actual biologically sound method of Roadrunners securing their food source.

I do find it amusing when my five-year-old knows more than I do about certain subjects. Kudos to Ms. Pam - that teacher is a gift straight from heaven. In just one year of preschool, he learned about the forest, ocean, and desert - the flora, the fauna, the ins and outs, and everything in between. They learned about the human body - how nerve cells talk to each other, how the blood flows, how our bones move. They learned about our solar system and took a flight through the solar system in a rocket ship manufactured from a refrigerator box, complete with space suits and ground control.

The Y-ego Master continues to inform me at least once a week that the sun is something like 93 million miles away from earth and names all the planets (including the planet formerly known as Pluto) in order. (yea, I can do it now, but couldn't a year ago without Googling it). Thanks, son. And thank you, Ms. Pam. Not only are you teaching the beautiful spongy minds of four- and five-year olds, but their parents, too.

And isn't it funny how a short lesson on Roadrunner trickery from my son makes me realize how much I now remember forgetting over the years.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sister Scuba

Through my daughter's eyes, I am reminded that it is not what you look at, but what you see (Thoreau). Do any of us still have that wonder that is a child's imagination?


Being able to turn a pair of smashing, funky, diva sunglasses and a pastel pink kitchen spatula into a scuba mask and snorkel, and then proceed to execute a frontward roll entry off the side of the couch into the depths of the laminate wood ocean to rescue "Lil' Brown Puppy" from her awful demise is a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Things We Lost In The Chair

Important discovery last night: nothing irritates a slumbering husband more than being nudged awake at 12:52 am to perform emergency surgery on a large piece of furniture that may have... kind of...accidently...and inadvertantly swallowed the wife's cell phone.

Not that I didn't try to rescue it on my own. For like an hour. Because there is nothing I hate more than committing an obviously careless act and then having to enlist the man of the house to help. And then on top of it, having to endure a mini-lecture at 1:00 in the morning on the proper way to take care of a cell phone. Detailing why men are more responsible with important things. Like keys. And rings. And cell phones. They always have them physically on them or in an exact location on the kitchen counter that never changes. Blah, blah, blah.

Even when a sometimes random, slightly neurotic wife goes on one of her cleaning sprees - keys and cell phone stay where they are. Because "we must have order!" Order, I tell you.

I'm not so good with order. I like to change things up every now and then. Just for fun. Actually, it's because I have this thing with repetition and routine. Case in point - the movie Groundhog Day. It drives me crazy. Especially the beginning of each scene that keeps repeating the day with the alarm clock turning to 6:00 am and Sonny & Cher's "I've Got You Babe" playing...ughhh it's driving me crazy just thinking about it! And there I go digressing, again.

So, back to the cell phone being eaten by the chair. I tried all the basic cell phone rescuing techniques taught by the American Red Cross. Shoving my hand into the dark, scary crevice of the living room chair that is filled with crumbs and hair and dirt and a juice box plastic straw wrapper and goldfish crackers. That lasted about 1/2 a second as I just could not stand the thought of all that nasty touching me and getting underneath my fingernails. I then moved onto the turning-the-chair-upside-down technique. I realized later that this is probably what caused my little black cell phone to end up wedged in what can only be described as the Bermuda Triangle of the La-Z-Boy.

So, if the turning it upside down technique didn't work, then the next rational technique would be rotating the chair through various positions - on the side, on its back, on its side again. That would surely do the trick, right? Not so much. After about an hour of such effort, a little bit of cell phone clunking sounds, and at least 30 calls to myself to try and pinpoint the exact location of the phone in the chair, I realized it was time to call in the big guns.

The big guns that were sawing logs like a bear in hibernation. The big guns that would not really understand the importance of getting a cell phone out of a chair in the middle of the night. The big guns that would rescue a damsel in distress. I hate being the damsel in distress, but my phone is a part of me. Like my arm. Or my legs. Or my sight. Or my hearing. Absolutely necessary. Even at midnight.

Long story short, after 20 minutes of intricate surgerical procedures, Dr. Laz E. Boy (and he sometimes is) extracted my beloved cell phone from that mean, hungry chair. Really. We needed a scalpel and suction. Okay, okay...really just kitchen scissors and a vacuum, but let's just say that I performed some extaordinary surgical nurse techniques. Like making sure the chair didn't fall on top of the doc. And sterilizing the O.R. by sweeping up all the debris. And continuing to repeatedly call the cell phone so we could tell if it had moved. Primitive techniques, people. No x-ray or ultrasound machines needed here.

And there's a bonus (or two, or three) to this random, middle-of-the-night event - we are now $0.41 richer, found the fluorescent orange Polly Pocket shoe that has been missing for like months, and since I didn't make it to the grocery store the past few days, now have some goldfish crackers for snacktime!

Score! Now I have some "Mommy Points" to offset the "Dumb Blonde Points" that I sometimes accrue through little things like leaving my cell phone sitting next to me while I watch TV and then having it accidently be eaten by the chair. Or something like that.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Snow Shovel and a 50 Gallon Bucket are Absolutely Necessary

Me: "What was your favorite part of the Circus last night?"
Him: "The mertercyles in the cage."
Me: "That was pretty cool, wasn't it? What was the funniest part?
Him: "The elephant poop."
Me: "I'm glad you enjoyed the poo - that's why we came."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Have Always Believed that My Children are Destined for Greatness


Honestly, what in tarnations is going on here? Any of you who know me (or my husband) can't possibly believe that these children are truly in possession of our genes.




I would rather take two tired, hungry, and ill-behaved children to Costco on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of summer than pose for such pictures. Oh, wait - that Costco thing? I already torture myself with that on a regular basis. So, I guess I would rather lie on a bed of nails or something, than pose for such pictures. Really. Even as a kid. Wouldn't do it.

Odds of my husband committing such an act: 1 in 6,230,000,000,000,000.

Peace out!




PS - do you notice the translucent quality of my children's skin...weird, huh? We actually don't need nightlights in our house. We all glow in the dark. No, really. If we were all standing out in the middle of the woods without flashlights or lanterns, moths would start flying around us all confused and like "hey, these guys aren't porchlights or lanterns, what's going on here?" And I would be like "hey, sorry Mr. Moth, but the Celtic genes hit us full force. Now, go away because I really hate flying insects actually touching me, let alone talking to me. Seriously. Shoo."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quote(s) of the Day

"No."
"Nope."
"I said no."
"Please don't ask me again."
"No."
"NO."
"NO."
"The answer is still no."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And They Ate Wheat Thins & Pink Bubble Gum for Breakfast

There are those rare mornings that I just need to sleep in past 6:13 am for mental stability and rejuvination. So, I will choose to lay in bed for an extra hour. The purpose of "rejuvination" and mental rest are quickly overcome when, at 7:13 am, I am finally ripped out of my slumber with an earpiercing shriek and a dramatic cry of "Brrryyyyyyyynnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!" Alarm clocks are just not really needed in our house. Unless you are attempting to wake up before the children, of course.

Here are just a few of the things my children can accomplish during my hour of sleeping in:
  1. Scatter a herd of My Little Ponies from one end of the house to the other (I guess we practice pastural grazing in our house).
  2. Make a sweet blanket fort between the two living room chairs, complete with a Disney Princess roof and an every-pillow-in-the-house-except-the-two-that-I-am-sleeping-on protective wall.
  3. Place small stacks of books in random locations throughout the house. Why? Mail deliveries, of course!
  4. Unroll half the roll of toilet paper. And then try to roll it back up so that Mama won't notice.
  5. Post an entire stack of Post-It Notes on the bedroom doors and living room coffee table.
  6. Review our collection of DVD's (for the 456th time) and leave the movies precariously stacked 23-inches-high in front of the TV.
  7. Leave scribblings and love notes on the the stack of bills Mama left by the computer at 11:45 pm last night.
  8. Break out the box of Wheat Thins and eat twice their weight in crackers.
  9. Follow the breakfast of champions up with a shot of pink Bubble Gum.

All before 7:13 am. Amazing. Truly. Sleeping in for an hour may not be the wisest parenting decision I made this week. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time. Now, in light of the aftermath, not so much.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Places I Would Rather NOT Be

Death Valley, California - average high temperature of 134 degrees Farenheit
Kebili, Tunisia: 131 degrees
Tombouctou, Mali: 130.1 degrees (that .10 is a killer and definitely the tipping point)
Tirat Tavi, Israel: 129 degrees
Ahwaz, Iran: 128.3 degrees

All I can say is that I am infinitely grateful not to be in any of those crazy-hot places!

Note: Today's high in Tucson: 110 degrees, highest record temp: 117 degrees in 1990...still way to flippin' HOT for me to function at a normal level. 74 degrees is more my speed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It Keeps Me In a Continual State of Inelegance...

The trouble with the heat is that it's hot. 108+ degrees hot. And it's only mid-June.

Which means that over the next 60 days, my intolerance to heat will continue to build to an astronomical level until one day my husband will come home to find me sitting in a bathtub full of ice cubes. And frozen vegetables. And those little ice packs shaped like smiley faces that are supposed to help make scraped knees and boo-boos feel better.

The thing about Southern Arizona summers is not necessarily the fact that walking barefoot on the sidewalk at night is out of the question. Or needing to slather 6 layers of SPF50 sunscreen all over yourself and your translucent children before stepping outside. Or being required to complete all outdoor activities before 7:03 am. It's the overall feeling of irritation. And a constant disagreeable disposition. And every so often, a little bit of heat-induced rage. But that's just me.

In my book, summer is highly over-rated. Probably because, as a Tucson native, scorching heat is all I have ever known. Next summer, I'm going to Idaho. Or Montana. Or Greenland.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Marketing Geniuses

I don't know if any of you are aware, but two great marketing geniuses have formed an alliance that is making mom's around the world jump and shout with joy. The kind of joy that inside is really a mixture of dismay and a handful of repulsion, and just a little bit of awe and admiration.

That's right, Campbell's SpaghettiO's meets Disney Princessess. Really, who are the ad wizard's who come up with this stuff? Little, slimy, gooey noodle-heads in the shape of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle - swimming in an red-orange sea of high-sodium synthetic tomato sauce. Yum.

I don't know which is the bigger marvel - that SpaghettiO's can actually be made into the shape of a Princess head and/or crown, or that the Disney empire has actually aspired to infiltrate the canned goods market.

All I know, is that every few weeks, I now receive special requests for "Princess Pssketio's, please..."

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Time Traveling Bunnies

Quote of the Week:
John Locke: "Was he talking about what I think he was talking about?"
Benjamin Linus: "If you mean time traveling bunnies, then yes."

Gotta love good dialogue - thank goodness the writer's strike is over!

Have you ever been so into a TV show that season finales just drive you CRAZY?!?!?! I want to know what is going to happen to my friends on the island! I can't wait until next season! I need to know now!

My biggest concern, however: Who is feeding Claire's baby, Aaron? And why is a "five-week" old baby so freakin' big?

Anyway, I am all about instant gratification. If Lost were a novel, I would have stayed up all day and night reading it until I was done. And if there were a series of Lost books - oh, would I be in trouble. Actually, it would be my family that suffers. The real victims of Oceanic Flight 815. There would be no clean socks. Or underwear. Or dishes. Or dinner on the table. Or anyone to break up squabbaling children. It would be a little bit like living on the island without any kind-hearted survivors. Just savages.

Really. Savages. And if you have never placed a meticulous, overly scrupulous five-year-old in the same room as a free-spirited, rather intense three-and-a-half-year-old, and left them loosely supervised, and just let the rivers flow where they may, you would agree. Savages.

It is really an experiment of sorts. One that every now and then I subject myself to. Just to see what will happen. It's not pretty. Not at all. It involves a lot of shrieking (making dogs cower at such high decibels). And a lot of wailing. And whining. Some physical aggression. And lots and lots of incomprehensible language. And a mom who just wants to shut her eyes and cover her ears. And count to 623. Good times. Stop by and I'll show you this marvel sometime.

So, all that being said, I guess I should be very thankful that Lost is just a television show that doles out the plot one week at a time, two seasons per year so that my family does not self destruct. Or disappear. Like the island in the finale.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

But Who's Really Counting?

Only 31 hours, 19 minutes, and 55 seconds till the season finale of Lost...but who's really counting?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Minute Maid 100% Apple White Grape Juice Box Trivia Questions

  • Question: If you were a 3-year-old, how many times would you ask for a juice box before you finally gave up?
  • Answer: 623

  • Question: And if you were a mom of a 3-year-old who would ask you 623 times for a juice box before giving up, how many times would the 3-year-old have to ask you before you would finally give in, just begging for her to please leave you alone already?
  • Answer: 9

  • Question: And what if you were the mom of a 3-year-old who starts asking for cupcakes at 9:45 am, using the same juice-box inquisition tactic she achieved success with 7 minutes earlier?
  • Answer: Lock yourself in the bathroom and curl up in a ball on the floor with your hands over your ears and your eyes shut tight. Counting slowly. To 623.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Did I Really Just Say That

If you had asked me 5 years ago, these are 10 things that I thought would NEVER come out of my mouth:

  1. Stop using the Ranch dressing as fingerpaint right this instant!
  2. Eat two more carrots and then you can have a chocolate chip cookie.
  3. Do not sit on your sister's head.
  4. Please do not put your shoe in your mouth.
  5. Who left a piece of cheese on the bathroom counter?
  6. Why is there a trail of pink nail polish in my bathroom at 6:30 in the morning?
  7. Is there a reason an entire roll of toilet paper is lying in a pile next to the bathtub?
  8. We do not lick people....it's not polite.
  9. Do I really have to make you a bologna sandwich with ketchup on it?
  10. Why are there are rocks under my pillow?

Monday, May 12, 2008

It All Started With a Chihuahua

Have you ever started one project that turns into about three or four or seventeen others? Yeah...that happens to me all the time. And then my usually dormant OCD kicks in and I just can't stop. Even as I am typing this, all I can think about is cleaning grout.

This time, it all started with a Chihuahua. A peculiar little thing named Josie. She has a penchant for keeping her nose warm by tucking it directly under the attached end of her tail (gross) and leaving "Josie trails" on fiberous surfaces (read: peeing on every single carpet and/or rug in the house). So, I asked my wonderfully kind and patient husband (six months ago) to please remove the carpet in our bedroom before I set fire to it the very next day. Six months came and went, and I just could never bring myself to light the match. I am sure that if I had, I would not have been happy with the results.

So, finally, a few weeks ago, the joyous day came when the husband just woke up one day with only one thing on his agenda (well, two if you count being a lecherous dork): to pull that carpet outta' there.

(Shhhh...don't tell him, but really I stayed awake all night whispering a hypnotizing chant in his ear: "I will pull the carpet out of the bedroom tomorrow because my wife is sweet and caring and she deserves it. I will pull the carpet out of the bedroom tomorrow because my wife is sweet and caring and she deserves it. I will pull the carpet out..." You should try it sometime. Sure, you're tired the next day, but when you've got your husband doing all the chores and taking care of the kids for the day, you can sneak off and take a nice little nap!)

Now that the carpet had been exterminated and laid to rest, I could proceed to the next task - paint. It started with the ceiling in that ever-daring hue of Roadster White. Which is really just a very light cream color, but Ralph Lauren wants you to think it is fun and exciting by throwing in the "speediness" of Roadster. RL is very cutting edge like that. I'm sure he is always thinking about the salability of a can of paint. His niche in the paint market is probably the bulk of his retirement plan. That, or the dozens of other home lines he endorses. Or that genre of clothing called fashion design. That area of culture that I know nothing about or have any interest in. I was born without the fashion OCD gene. Sorry, RL, but I tend to prefer jeans and cotton t-shirts. And your color palette in the paint section at Home Depot.

So, back to my paint. Everyone knows that when you paint the ceiling, you are going to have to paint the walls. And when you paint the walls in your master bedroom, you are going to have to paint the master bathroom. And when you paint the master bathroom, you are going to have to paint its ceiling, too. And when you live in a house whose previous owner loved high-gloss paint in the bathroom, you are going to have to put a minimum of two coats on. And while the two coats of paint are drying, you notice that, boy, the grout in your floor tile is really gross. So you go to Home Depot. And you buy some heavy-duty, burns the skin on your hands and knees grout cleaner. And everyone knows that after you have spent an hour scrubbing grout lines with heavy-duty grout cleaner and a toothbrush that it MUST be sealed to prevent such grossness from ever occuring again. And just for safe measure, two coats of sealant with a minimum of 1 hour dry time between each application must be used. Just for safe measure. And when you get to the doorway of the bathroom, you realize that it looks great, but makes the rest of the tile look even worse. So...if you just keep going, things will be just fine.

Except that it is 10:30 pm on a weeknight. And you have finals to study for. And final projects to work on. And the rest of the house is a disaster. And that unreliable laundry fairy didn't even feel the need to stop by to help out while I battled my compulsive behavior. Obsessive compulsive behavior. And it all started with a Chihuahua.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

And What About a Pink Roller Coaster?

What about a pink roller coaster???

Random.

Even more random as an interjection to the conversation about the fishing trip with Daddy this weekend.

And completely irrelevant to fishing. Unless maybe it's a three-year-old's attempt at an elaborate metaphor for fishing. Yeah, that's it. You know, "pink" to represent the breed of fish known as the "Pink Salmon". And "roller coaster" to represent said "Pink Salmon" swimming upstream?

Pink Roller Coaster = Pink Salmon Swimming Upstream

I know, I know, it's definitely a stretch and I'm attempting to make my daughter sound like some sort of child genius. That, and the fact that they are going nowhere near a river that has Pink Salmon. Rainbow Trout, maybe. Catfish, possibly. Pink Salmon, definitely not.

So, I guess we should just call it what it is: random.