Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Of Music and Imagined Mayhem

Since my brain has been mush lately, I will entertain you by sharing a few incidents from the first half of this week.

Yesterday Princess ran through the kitchen singing "If you not like it you should not have put a ring on it."

Uh,uh,oh, oh oh oh oh--um...her parents never make up weird lyrics to songs.  *looking at the ceiling, whistling*  Nope. Oh well, maybe she'll become Feared Sal Candlewick.  Someone will eventually have to replace Weird Al.

Or she could become Dr. Norah Dressingshirt, radio show relationship counselor/book author.  So many options for girls these days.

Big breakthrough with Lion today.  Yesterday the weather was so gorgeous, yet he still didn't want to go outside since the bee-meets-bum incident of August 2009. Thanks to my mother for telling me that she found out that some people (and university extensions, even) recommend running in a zig-zag line away from bees since they prefer to fly in straight lines. (I'm guessing straight lines that are longer than zig-zag straight lines.  Do they prefer squares or rectangles to lightning representations?  Who knew?)  Anyway, he's now empowered.  He even asked to go outside after dinner.  Earlier he came in brandishing a stick, and said "A bee flew past me and I held still like this!" He held the stick up and froze in familiar Luke Skywalker lightsaber pose.

"That's great, honey!" I replied enthusiastically.  He ran back outside.

He'll face down Darth Vader, but bees?  They had him screaming and crying at every single little flying insect. So loudly, in fact, that I had to threaten him that if he didn't stop, someone would call the police.  Thanks to Grandma, now he won't end up looking ghostly like Vader from his face never seeing the sun, and I won't have to try to explain to the authorities why my child screams bloody murder if he sees a spider 20 feet away.

And little Bean.  Last night was a milestone.  He slept six hours in his crib, without interruption.  I thought I had gone to heaven, except I didn't sleep well because subconsciously I must have thought something was wrong.  But did I wake enough to check on him?  No.

Today, I took Bean outside.  I held my breath because both of his brothers, as babies, had issues with touching grass, wind in their faces, etc.  Bean loved the grass.  He sat in it and played while I hoed weeds.  He ignored his brothers who were freaking out, "Oh no, there's a bug by him!"  When Bean fell backward and was gazing up at the blue sky, all cute and peaceful-like, his brothers ran and stood behind him, blocking the sun shining from behind him, panicking, "Oh no, he's going to look at the sun and go blind!"  And again, when he put his bare, adorable foot in his mouth while laying there "Oh no, he's putting his foot in his mouth!" That one was from Lion, who couldn't imagine such an awful thing since Bean had been kicking the grass with that very foot.

Princess was helping me dig weeds out of the garden box so we could begin to prepare the soil for our garden, ignoring the craziness.  She always takes her brothers in stride.

That is pretty much how our week started.

Is it weird that I kept thinking in a cowboy drawl accent as I was writing this post?  I had a touch of Canadian accent in there too, for a moment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Love and Dating Escapades #1: First Crush

For those of you who know the content of this post already, my apologies.  I have to start at the beginning to do this right, my chronicling of my so-called love life.

It happened when I was living in Springfield, Missouri.  My first pinpricks of crushdom were for Neal Patrick Harris, aka Doogie Howser.  He was cute, smart as heck and he typed his journal into a computer.  What's not to love about that?

I was oh, about 11 years old at the time of my Doogie obsession.  I hated his girlfriend.  HATED HER!  I watched it religiously until the show started getting a little too....heavy for my parents' taste.  I missed Doogie, but not having to watch him with her was actually a relief.

Then, when I was about 12, I started noticing real boys.  The first one I ever felt those slight stirrings of attraction for were for Loren.  He was 12 and looked cute passing the sacrament.  He was blonde though, and it took me a little to realize that I preferred dark-haired, older men. ( I have to say that I did give blonde guys a chance in my later years!)  He also didn't have anything distinctive about his personality (that he showed a 12-year-old girl)  and even though he was nice, after a while that attraction waned.  Even then, I was attracted to guys with warm, self-assured, strongish personalities. (James, doesn't that sound familiar? *wink*)

Around the same time, I remember being attracted to my optometrist, Dr. Rice.  I was embarrassed because I was only 12 and he was way older than me--probably in his late 20s.  He was nice to me and I felt ridiculous for liking him, but I could have more easily changed the color of the sky than been able to stop feeling that way. How I wished I could! If I had only known what adventures and heartbreak were ahead, I wouldn't have been as concerned.  I was most worried about someone finding out. Those first sensations of having a crush can be pretty scary for a young girl!  It was as if I should have had a neon sign flashing on my head *NEWBIE TO TWITTERPATED LAND, WATCH YOUR STEP*.  I thought everyone could see everything on my face, I felt so exposed!

Then the real thing hit.  Whoever thinks "puppy love" isn't real has never really been in it.  I developed not only a crush on Seth, but I truly did love him.  He was a good friend.  How I agonized over that boy!  He was 14 when I turned 13, and I pined for him during our "Heart and Soul" duets after Mutual night at church was over.  We used to play around on the piano on the stage in the gymnasium.  ("Play around"= on the piano keys.  With our hands.  Songs.  Now you feel guilty for thinking that, don't you?)

I lived for those nights; his adorable braces and curly brown hair paled in the light of his warm, brown eyes.  We were friends. He was kind, respectful, smart and thoughtful. We had something special. I began to hope that he liked me in spite of  my stringy long hair, round figure, and pink plastic glasses. (I was so happy when I got contacts.  I hoped that would help.)

Then my friend Janae happened to drop the bombshell at her house one Saturday morning. "Did you hear that Seth is going out with Tanya?"

The world stopped spinning.  I felt sick, but didn't want Janae to know.  Her voice faded away as my air castles crumbled dustily around me.

I hated Tanya.  Well, not maybe actually her, because that wouldn't have been fair.  She had no idea I was in love.  I hated what she had.   Curse her for being new in church, curse all her 14 years of shiny, curly, long, black hair and fashionable clothes.

I was so happy when they broke up.

Not too long after that, we moved to Utah.

He never thought of me as anything more than a friend, but he was my first love. I've always wondered what happened to Seth.

It's funny now, but I look back to that time and even then my choice in the type of males I knew I could fall deeply for were pretty well established.  I think I knew, to a point, what I was looking for even at that tender age.

So thank you Seth.  You started me off on my journey to finding James, and you gave me a great springboard to leap off of when I began looking for the love of my life.  I hope you're having a good life with your true love as well.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Blog is Back, All Right!

Only those of you who were into '90s music will possibly get that poorly-metered, lame reference to the Backstreet Boys' big hit.  Sorry guys.

I am starting a year-long pilgrimage to take back what is mine: my house.

Since my high-risk pregnancy turned into a "lay around most of the time and get 40 lbs fatter while wallowing in depression and the kids mostly took care of themselves when we weren't having school on my bed" pregnancy, and I gave birth to my sweet velcro baby, my house has gone to the land where all letters 'h', 'e', and used hockey sticks reside.  It looks like a brontosaurus ate an entire dump full of toys, clothes, papers and junk, then methodically threw up in each room of my house.

No. More.  I am DONE.

I have a plan.  It's a good, sane, accomplishable plan.

Go here to read about it and do it with me, if you like!

Whoops, I Did it Again

We have this weather alert function on our TV.  Even when it's off, if there's a weather watch or warning the thing turns on this siren that would wake Rip Van Winkle! 

Here in Missouri, we are approaching Tornado Season.  This is the time of year where we sharpen our running-to-the-basement skills and scan the skies for signs of low-hanging clouds.  It is also the time of year my kids freak out most.  Well...except in the middle of summer when all the bees are out.  (Thank you to the church activity last August where Professor and Lion got stung by angry bees.  Lion, my stung-on-the-bum former nature boy, never wants to play anywhere near a flying bug again.)

A few days ago our ear-splitting TV siren went off.  I turned on the tube, and there was a tornado warning scrolling on the bottom of the screen.  The kids started going nuts.  I began telling them that there was no need to worry unless we heard a siren from outside.  Professor looked at me strangely while I was talking, and as I stopped talking, I heard it--the outside siren.  Thankfully, I have always been levelheaded in emergencies.

"Ok, everyone!  Take Romeo (our dog) downstairs.  I'll be down with Bean in a minute."  The kids wasted no time in hurrying to the basement. 

The siren stopped shortly before I called James at work to let him know to take cover. 

His co-worker hopped online to check it all out. Turns out, it was only a test.  Our TV alarm was wrong about the tornado, but we were under a flood warning.  The test is usually not performed in the middle of the month, usually only in the first week. A flood warning isn't the best time to check the alert system, I think!  I wasn't worried since we live on higher ground, away from any large bodies of water.

After I hung up the phone, I realized that the kids were still downstairs.  Since we usually come upstairs when the siren is gone, I figured I'd leave them down there and give myself some quiet time.  After all, most of their toys are kept in the basement family room. I heard them playing, banging really loudly after a while, but there was nothing they could be damaging enough to make me want to go down there.  I had the slightest inkling I should check, but if it was anything really bad I knew I could depend on one of them to tattle.  My kids haven't learned the art of banding together to get into trouble--they'd all rather tell on each other.

After at least an hour, maybe two, I saw Professor's head pop up in the garage window. (You have to go through the garage to get to the basement.  It's weird.)  He popped down again really quickly.  A minute or two later, my troops piled into the living room.

Lion and Princess burst out "We thought you and Bean were sucked away by the tornado, and we were crying!"  Professor, in his pragmatic way, declared "I decided I would miss you most because you take care of us!"

I was puzzled. "What was all that banging, then?"

"We figured if we made enough noise you would come down and check on us.  When you didn't, we thought you were gone!"  Professor said. 

Awww.   I comforted my poor, abandoned children the best I could.

Obviously, I felt really bad and like a terrible mom for enjoying the quiet for so long. I didn't regret it completely though, because I desperately needed some silence!  I admit to thoroughly enjoying that quiet time.  I love my kids and they're fun to be with, but I do need a break now and then.  However, when I think of my babies being sad that Mommy and their baby brother were sucked up "Wizard of Oz" style it does leave a pang in my soul.  I'm not that heartless.

So there you have it--another soul-scarring event. Maybe I should start keeping record of all of them.  Then, when the kids are grown, I can email them a full history to take to their therapists.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Sludgy pulse beats so quickly, too quickly.
Slushy thoughts run so slowly, too slowly.
Does he?
Does he love me?
Oh, sweet daisy.  Forgive me.
Petals have I tossed aside
Nimbly shredding leaves in heartbeat rhythm.
So close, too close.
Green-smelling fingers end stem?
What then?
Gently pluck so softly, too softly.
Another daisy dies.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Not to Say to Your Children Unless You Want to Scar Them for Life

Before I had children, I had a list of things I would never, ever do to traumatize them.  Yes, I see you laughing and nodding your head if you have children.  If you don't--just wait.

The first thing on the list was to prevent happenings of the following sort:

My very first memory ever, was when I was still in diapers.  I must have been really, really small--probably  two or younger.  Mom was changing my diaper, and at the same time finishing up a brownie.

I thought she was eating my poo.

I started crying, and of course it was hilarious to her.  I still remember the shock, my world turned upside-down and shaken. I was completely, utterly, horrified. My mother was eating my poop.

She teased me with it for a moment before telling me what it was.  Sadly, as an adult, this is something I would also have done to my own kids.  Actually, I think I may have done it to one or two of them. My mother is very whimsically inclined and a lot of fun was had by her imagination.  I remember being ten  when she shaped either brownies or Tootsie Rolls into the shape of our little dog's poop and put it on a washcloth next to the wood stove.  Shocked was an understatement when my siblings saw her pick it up and eat it.  At that time, I was thankful for my previous experience; I knew what was going on.  Lest you think my mother always played jokes like that, let me reassure you that she didn't.  However, those incidents stick out most in my memory.

My mother is awesome.  I always hoped I'd take after her somewhat.  Well, I don't have to worry anymore.

Fast forward twenty-nine years...

Yesterday I was making a spread out of nuts and such in my food processor.  Yummy.  Then Bean started acting up and I sat down on the couch and nursed him to sleep.

After I put him down for his nap, nature called.  So I was in the bathroom, tending to my business, when the door opened a crack.  (I hate it when I forget to lock the door.  It's like I'm playing roulette--will they open it before I finish?  Most likely.)

Princess' face appeared.  "Mommy, can I have some frozen fruit?" (That's her snack of choice.)

"Hold on," I replied, referring to the nut spread, "I'm making something yummy."


It slowly dawned on me how that sounded, and I began cackling like a hyena.  She shut the door to give me back my privacy.

*Sigh*  It's a good thing it wasn't Lion.  He probably would have freaked out.  He doesn't take things in stride like Princess does.  She's the most matter-of-fact one in the bunch.

I hope my children grow up to be brilliant with fantastic jobs and great health insurance.  They're going to need a lot of therapy.

Failing While Succeeding

Suppose someone walked up to you and gave you an all-expense-paid two week vacation to someplace wonderful....like historic Jamestown, Virginia.  Or a cabin in the Appalachians, or....Disney World!   (This is my fantasy, substitute your own!) Anyway, suppose the only catch is that you have to drive there.  No planes.  (Yes, no planes.  Just go with it.)

What would you do to get ready?  Well, if it were me, I'd plan what I was going to wear.  I'd bring along a swimsuit, a sweater, shorts and pants, plan for sun or rain. I'd run down the checklist of what everyone in the family needs. The car would be taken for a tuneup before weighing it down with snacks, directions would be stuffed in the glove box.  I'd reserve a hotel room. We'd make sure to have some cash on hand for emergencies, and our cell phones charged.

Then we'd leave.

Two hours into the trip, we might have a flat tire. We'd change it and continue on.

Four hours in, I could develop a splitting headache.  I'd take some medicine, rest for a bit, and move forward.

Seven hours in, the hotel we'd plan to stay at may somehow lose our reservation, and could have no vacancy.  We could drive another hour before finding a hotel with a room.  It might be old, the beds creaky.  We may not get restful sleep.

The next morning, we go on.  And in spite of whatever happens, (I'd rent a car if I had to!) we'd get there eventually.  The destination is everything we've dreamed, and the journey's difficulties fade, because being there is so worth it.  Tensions melt away as we relax in the crisp, mountain air;  human sponges soaking up the bliss of freedom from daily cares.  Or perhaps instead, screaming our frustrations away on Space Mountain. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of "starting over".  When we hit a hiccup on a weight-loss routine, we start over.  When we miss a day of controlling our temper, we start over.  Maybe when a new week starts, we recommit to having the dishes done every night before bed.  Recommitting is good.  Starting over is necessary for growth and change; having goals keeps life fresh.  After all, who doesn't need a new start now and then?

But... my pondering keeps coming back to the need for acceptance of my own situation, the importance of my mindset. Instead of mentally addressing the feeling as starting over, I'm replacing it with continuing on.

Take my weight loss and getting healthy from diabetes, for example.  I've committed to doing this for myself.  I've gotten everything ready I can think of; I'm doing my best to enjoy the journey.  I'm very much looking forward to the destination.  Yet, I get flat tires.  I've had headaches. The hotel is full; my night not restful. Previously I would let those things make me feel like a failure, I would start over and over again.  Doing that has been mentally and emotionally exhausting.

With this new mindset, I can't start over because I've already begun.  It actually feels really good, and I'm traveling by stops and starts--but by golly, I'm traveling. All I can do is to learn from the bad or just accept it for what it is, and move forward.  Flat tires happen. How would beating myself up for running over that nail help?  Once I backed over a small tree branch I knew was in my driveway.  It punctured a tire.  Berating myself constantly wouldn't have fixed it.  Stupid decision to run over the blasted thing? Yes. We replaced the tire and moved on. You can bet I haven't driven over any branches since.  Curbs?  We won't talk about that right now.

I've decided to accept my failures for what they are--bumps in the road. Invitations to pause, reflect, learn, forgive myself, then continue on.  Not "begin again", but to keep on driving down the road towards Jamestown.  For that's what this life is, a continual adventure.  We begin it at birth, and the views on our journey constantly change; the direction of our path will take us to twists, detours, and entirely new roads.  But unlike at the end of a vacation, we don't turn around to go home; we move forward to a new and better place as wiser and stronger people.  We continue the journey, and give encouragement to those who are traveling where we have been.  We give support and love to those sharing our current highway.

At times I will find myself by the side of the road more than other times. I have to accept that life will never be without challenges, especially for the things I want most. However, if I prepare the best I can, with the Lord's help I will be given the strength to continue on. 

I'll send you a postcard from Orlando.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Difference Between Boys and Girls

We're going to visit Grandma and Grandpa today.  The kids just stepped outside to head for the van.  As the door shut behind them, I heard this:


Professor: "That's how it should be.  A cat chasing a squirrel!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's Like That

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you have some important event, I mean a really important event, and things keep happening to prevent you from going?  The kind of dream that by the time you get to that special dance, that party you were so excited to go to, it's just ending?  That is, if you get there at all?  You keep remembering the crackers you need to bring, the gift you still have to wrap, the underwear you forgot to put on?  By the time you've done that you realize you forgot dinner for your family! Then you get soup on your dress and need to change, and it takes another twenty minutes to find something else to wear?  You find yourself running back and forth simultaneously forgetting and remembering everything you need to do or bring while the clock ticks later....and later...panic sets in...then finally, acceptance of a situation you can't change.

Much of the time that's what it feels like getting ready to go anywhere with a baby.

Though I must add, I look at his sweet, squishy face and have no desire to wake up.