Tuesday, December 30, 2008
In high school, I had the bright idea of joining the girls' cross country team. During the first practice, the coach said that we would warm-up by running a mile.
By the time a fourth of a mile went by, the other girls were little specks ahead of me and I was breathing for my life. I thought I was gonna die. There was no way I was going to be able to finish running the warm-up let alone a three-mile race. I hadn't even gotten half-way.
It was a blow to my pride and I was also confused. The year before, our gym class had to run the mile as a requirement. I had failed miserably then as well. I was quite aware that I was part of a very few who could not run the entire time. I didn't get it. I was young and healthy, so why was this so hard for me?
Of course, I quit the cross country team never to be seen or heard from again. I thought that was the end of it. I mentally shrugged and thought that there was no way it was gonna happen. I comforted myself with being a band geek and went on with my life.
Until next year.
When I found out that the mile was a requirement for gym yet again, I determined then and there not to be left in the dust again.
At that time, my family's house was right next to the church that my dad pastored. So, I made use of that fact.
Every day for I don't know how long, I would go over to the church and run 10 laps around the sanctuary. It was small sanctuary and I knew that I had to increase the number of laps when I was ready.
I put in my favorite Christian music in the church's music system, turned up the volume, and began my training.
As time went by, I slowly boosted the number of laps to 15 then to 20 and eventually went for 30 laps. It was my habit to stretch before running and not after. This was a mistake that I would later learn to regret.
After running, I would go downstairs to the kitchen and gulp down a glass of water. My face would be beat red and I would be breathing as if I had run a marathon, but I patted myself on the back for being able to climb this mountain.
I was at 30 laps around the sanctuary when it came time for the requirement in gym class.
It must have been a lousy day outside because our gym teacher announced that we would be running in the halls. Any other year, I would have been extremely horrified by this knowing that other kids would know my downfall, but this year, I was ready.
I took up my position with the other kids and began. It was amazing. I remember passing a girl that I admired running so slowly as to be walking with her face covered in sweat. I turned to smile at her yelling encouragement. I was quite pleased with myself. I was actually the one this time encouraging the ones who were having a difficult time.
When I crossed the finish line, I raised my arms and yelled, "Yes!" My gym teacher was talking to another teacher and barely gave me a glance.
I watched her closely to make sure she wrote down on her clipboard that I had indeed finished the mile and in much less time than usual. I wasn't even breathing hard. I stood there for a second wondering why I wasn't being fawned over and congratulated.
My gym teacher continued to talk to the other teacher. To come all this way...... it was definitely an anticlimactic moment.
I was determined, though. I was not going to let this moment get away from me. I inwardly celebrated and I'm sure everyone saw the smile on my face. Everyone was going to know I had run the mile, darn it.
Pride goeth before a fall, they say.
A couple days later, I came down with the worst pain I ever felt in my calves. I couldn't even walk. My gym teacher told me I had shin splints.
Didn't I know that I'm supposed to stretch before and especially AFTER running? Uh, no. No one told me that little piece of information.
So, that was the end of my mile running days.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Our dog, Leigh, and our cat, Cleo, have become best friends since Cleo joined the family a year ago.
They have taken up the habit of cuddling together in the basement while Doc works in his office. Occasionally, Doc will turn around and see Cleo licking Leigh's face clean.
Leigh doesn't seem to mind. In fact, she's gotten so used to it that when Doc pets her on the face, she takes her paw and rubs her face as if he has dirtied it again.
Odd. Just odd.
Friday, December 19, 2008
It is always jarring for me when the next one comes to me with, "Mom! My tooth is loose!" My reaction is always, "Already?!"
In fact, he had two bottom teeth loose at the same time. I took his little face in my hands and said, "You are growing up, little one."
Last night, we were eating dinner when Sleepy announced that he had lost his tooth. He showed me the empty space as proof.
I smiled and asked, "So, where's your tooth?"
The kid was stumped. He had no idea where his tooth had gone.
This reminded me of the time when Bashful lost his first tooth. He came home from school one day with a new hole in his mouth and no tooth to be found. He had no idea what happened to it.
So, with his family's help, Sleepy began looking around for it. Bashful was the hero of the day when, on his knees, he squinted at a white speck on the floor and yelled, "I found it!"
He handed it to me and Sleepy came to have a look. Just as Doc came close enough to see it as well, Sleepy took the tooth out of my hand and it promptly fell on the floor.
The tooth had fallen underneath the table amidst the crumbs. Baby's favorite pasttime is swiping his arms across his tray and scattering his food onto the floor. Thus, the crumbs.
Every last person was either squinting at the floor or on their hands and knees looking for the tiny, little tooth.
At last, Doc found it and I promptly put it in a sandwich baggie. I warned Sleepy to put it under his pillow right away, or he would lose it.
The next morning, I woke at dawn. With a jolt, I remembered my duty as Tooth Fairy and grabbed a dollar off the bookshelf.
I creeped into Sleepy and Happy's room to find them curled up inside their tent. With careful maneuvering, I exchanged the money for the tooth without falling on top of the boys or waking them.
I was happy that it had turned out well with this one. In the past, the Tooth Fairy has been a real deadbeat. She had been lax in her duties and forgotten the nightly exchange before with Sleepy's brothers.
This morning, my outspoken, matter-of-fact, six-year-old said as he pulled out his dollar, "This is so cool!"
Monday, December 15, 2008
Believe me, I'm feeling guilt ridden as I write this.
I put three-year-old Happy in the tub to take a bath. I washed him up and since he insisted on staying in the tub to play, I left the bathroom to finish teaching Sleepy his Phonics and Language Arts.
As many of you homeschool moms must admit, time can get away from us while we are "having fun".
Well, time went by.
During his studies, Grumpy had to use the bathroom. He came out a little while later and exclaimed in a loud whisper, "Mom! Happy's sleeping in the bathtub!" He thought this was hilarious.
Now, one would think that I would instantly remember that I had left him last taking a bath.
This was not the case.
My forehead scrunched up in confusion. Poor baby, I thought. He must have been exhausted. I was wondering why the poor child climbed into the bathtub in the first place.
I went in to get him when I noticed the child was unclothed with his head perched on a toy ship snoring away.
I grabbed a towel, wrapped him in it, and carried him to my room, all the while apologizing profusely for forgetting all about him. He was quite forgiving and that twisted my guts even more.
Right now, I am going to my happy place.
The minute I tried it on in the fitting room, I loved it. It fit perfectly and made me look thinner which I always love.
After Mom purchased the suit, she hugged me and said, "Every pastor's wife needs a marryin' and buryin' suit." She would know since she had been one for 25 years.
I was quite touched by this and waited for the day when I would truly be a pastor's wife and wear my suit to the appropriate occasions.
Saturday was Doc's first funeral/memorial service. The evening before, I pulled out my suit from the back of the closet and tried it on.
I looked in the mirror and turned from side to side. I asked Doc, "Do you think I can get away with this?" I rely on his opinion which is totally unconventional among today's woman. I figure the man knows what looks good on me better than I do.
When I got the go-ahead from Doc, I was thrilled. I had packed on a few pounds after the last baby and was crossing my fingers. I really wanted to wear the suit my mom gave me especially for this.
The next morning, I put on the suit and decided to wear black hose with it. I pulled out the hose from the back of the drawer and pulled them on. One thing about me is, I hate to wear hose. I hardly ever wear them.
My boys kept looking at my feet and saying, "Mom, you have black feet." I have probably solidified in their minds that girls are weird. We do crazy things to ourselves, ladies. There was a hole in each foot, but I shrugged because I knew my shoes would cover that fact.
I tended to the boys' hair and while doing Sleepy's I noticed something peculiar about his pants, but couldn't quite figure out what was wrong.
After we were all slicked down and beautified, we got in the car for our two-hour trek to the church. The pastor of the church was there to greet us and I got out of the car to say hello. After I shook hands with the man, I turned to get the baby out of the car.
I realized at that moment, that my hose had rolled down to my thighs. Walking very carefully, I managed to get the kids inside the building without my hose falling down around my ankles. I made it to the bathroom in time to pull them back up, but throughout the day, I constantly had to make sure they were where they were supposed to be.
Every once in a while, I would get a look at Sleepy's pants and the wrongness would strike me, but I would just shake my head and shrug. I still couldn't figure out what was wrong about those pants.
When the reception was over and we were getting in the car, I turned to look at Sleepy again as he began to climb in. It struck me and I gasped. "Sleepy! Your pants are on backward!" The kid looked down at himself and said, "Oh."
I sighed with exasperation and told him to get in.
When we were almost home, I stopped to get gas. When I climbed back in the car, my skirt rode up my knee and that's when I noticed the giant, monstrous hole in my hose.
I could only console myself that my skirt was calf-length.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I looked across the pool to observe Bashful and Grumpy as they make the trek across the pool. Their swimming instructor was right by their sides. Chuckles started in the pit of my stomach, gathered in my throat, and erupted in giggles out my mouth.
Grumpy was doing his front stroke. The kid looked like he was drowning or trying to get away from a shark. Then, it was Bashful's turn. When he turned his face to the side in order to breathe in air, his face resembled that of a person silently screaming with his mouth as wide as he could get it.
Bashful's back stroke was much better, but Grumpy was less graceful.
When it was all over and we were in the car, I informed Grumpy that when he does his back stroke, he needs to straighten out his arms and move them a little slower.
He asked, "What if I accidentally hit my teacher?"
"Well, I'm sure he'll be smart enough to get out of the way."
Bashful said, "He did hit him one time."
One night, I told Sleepy to go up to his room and change his shirt. We were going to the swimming pool for lessons and I wasn't about to let him go out in public with peanut butter all over himself.
He complained that it was too dark upstairs.
Now, you might wonder why he didn't just turn on the light. Well, Mommy Dearest has yet to replace the lighbulbs in the ceiling light, but that would require too much effort.
I would have to go into the garage, find the ladder, find the lightbulbs, and trudge everything up the stairs and set to work. For something like that, I would need to do a breathing technique I learned during labor. That could take a whole day, people.
So, when he came downstairs refusing to step his pinky toe on the threshold of his room, he said, "It's too dark, Mom. It's on my list."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It's kind of nice, but a little unusual. It has also brought with it the cold weather.
I have always said to everyone within hearing distance that I love the snow, but I hate the cold. Too many nights I am shivering to death and my toes are like ice cubes.
After Christmas, winter always seems long, drawn-out, and dismal.
One good thing about the cold is that it just gives me an excuse to curl up with my favorite blanket and drink hot chocolate.
Last night, it was no different.
Freeze the spit in your throat cold.
I also had to take the boys to their swimming lessons, so I made sure they all had their coats handy.
When the lessons were over and we left the building, Grumpy was running ahead of me with his coat in his hand.
I complained, "Grumpy! It's cold! You need to put your coat on!"
Patiently, he replied, "I'll survive this, Mom."
That boy is going to be a Navy Seal someday.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Of course, I'm a "girl", but that doesn't count because I'm just "Mom".
Whenever a commercial comes on that is clearly geared toward girls, the boys are disgusted and insulted that they have to sit through something so gross.
They all cover their eyes with their hands or a pillow and exclaim, "Eeeuu!" Sleepy has even gone to the point of putting his hands all over the TV or standing in front of the horror flick to hide it until it is over.
Occasionally, I will also hear them say contemplatively, "I don't like girls."
Sleepy isn't as harsh about it as his older brother, Grumpy. He even asks if they will ever have a sister someday.
Grumpy nipped that one in the bud.
We were sitting at the dinner table when Sleepy asked his hypothetical question. Grumpy replied before I got the chance.
"We are never having a sister. Not ever, ever, ever."
Well, I guess that's it, then.
Monday, December 8, 2008
As is the case with memorization, we had to recite the verse over and over. During our recitation, I was hearing complaints from the boy like, "Why do I have to do this?" and "I'm only six!"
About the tenth time, I looked at Sleepy and asked, "Do you want to do it again?" He thought about it for a minute.
He had turned his eyes up to the ceiling and quirked up his little mouth. When he came to a decision, he looked at me and asked, "Why don't we just wait until I grow up?"
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I have also lowered myself to the point where I have bribed them both with a "special prize" if they put their whole heads under the water for every lesson.
In the locker room last night, Sleepy saw a young man either in his late teens or early twenties. He was considerably taller than him and yet Sleepy knew that he was still young. Craining his neck back in order to look way up, he asks, "What number are you?"
The man replied, "Um, I'm the swimming instructor."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
They are driving me crazy.
The cacophonous noise reverberating through the house is enough to wake the dead, although you wouldn't know it since Sneezy is sleeping throughout.
You would also think they wouldn't have any energy left to spare after all the holiday games they played at the party, but there it is. Something we adults wish we could bottle up and save for ourselves.
At one point during the celebration, Sleepy came up to me with his arms full of his presents, cookies, apple slices, and drink.
With a sublime smile on his face, he announced to me, "Mom, this is the best Christmas EVER!"
With a smirk, I was thinking, "Wait until you get a load of what your father bought you for Christmas."
To be continued....
He once told me that there were only about eight shower heads to fifty men. I don't know if that's an exaggeration, but it's probably not that much of one. So, there he was having to share a shower head with other guys at the same time.
Eeeuuu. So, that's one of the times when he had to keep his eyes up. Obviously. If a man didn't learn to study the walls and the ceiling, he'd get his face bashed in.
Thus, to my point of this post.
I signed my boys up to take swimming lessons. Last night, it was their first night and Doc and I were thinking about the logistics of getting the boys in and out of the locker room with minimal problems.
It was decided that Doc would go with the boys and I would stay with the baby. I did a jig, kissed them all, and shoved them out the door. I had the whole house to myself with a sleeping baby. It was too quiet.
Anyway, Doc had quite a story for me when they got back. All five of them had just entered the locker room, when they were greeted with an old man who was standing with his back to the room.
His backside was completely bare.
They came to a sudden and complete stop. There was a collective gasp emitted from the strangled throats of my men. Including Doc although he managed to be more discreet. Their faces were a comical study in horror and disgust. In fact, they were so disgusted by the sight before them that six-year-old Sleepy took the word right out of Doc's mouth.
This, of course, was uttered into the quiet of the room and since the man couldn't help but hear he turned to look at them. Bashful was so horrified that he put up his hand to block the side of his face and then proceeded to study the ceiling.
Sleepy's expression was one of confusion. He looked as if he wondered if he was in the right room and trailed after his brothers uncertainly. Happy was oblivious to it all. Those two proceeded to change into their clothes without any sense of modesty.
Bashful and Grumpy refused to change until a stall was available all the while studying the ceiling and walls. Grumpy's face was a study in horror.
When they returned home, Doc informed me of their evening together. I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I decided to read it because my oldest son will attempt to decipher its pages for Literature class in the near future. I know he will enjoy the many predicaments and pranks that Tom finds himself involved in.
One particular passage has caught my eye so far. In Chapter 2, Tom must white-wash the fence as punishment for one of the many misdeeds he has done recently and he is bitterly morose about the fact that he has to work especially on a Saturday.
Along comes a boy and inspiration strikes. He tricks the boy into wanting to paint the fence. One boy after another comes along and he tricks them in turn to paint the fence. This is a very short synopsis and doesn't really go into it that much, but I don't want to give away too much. This is a story that everyone needs to read and appreciate especially if you have boys.
I was reading this chapter with great admiration. I was thinking that I wish I had that much ingenuity when I was a girl. Then, another thought struck me. If I thought about the strategies and logistics of the ultimate trickery, maybe I could deceive my boys into WANTING to do a particular chore.
Like the bathrooms.
It's a thought. It will take some careful planning. I have a feeling, though, that I have five Tom Sawyers living with me. Then, they will be the ones into tricking ME into wanting to clean the bathrooms.
Which they have a time or two. It's better to have a bathroom that smells like lemons than one that smells like a mysterious substance.
Monday, December 1, 2008
In the meantime, Sleepy was putting black olives on his fingers and pretending to be a frog, Bashful was crawling underneath the table in order to tickle Grumpy, Grumpy was asking in an unusual baby voice if he could have pumpkin pie for dessert, and Happy was actually behaving himself for once.
I was trying to teach my sons good manners at the dinner table and wasn't sure if anything was computing. In a split second, the chair I was sitting on collapsed underneath me. Sneezy was quite upset. It probably felt like a carnival ride to such a little person. I handed him off to Doc to be comforted and laboriously rose to my feet.
I was quick to point out to Doc that maybe it was time for a new table and chairs.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I was sitting in the living room writing. I was quite distracted and really into my imaginary world. So, when Grumpy wanted lunch, I told him to go ahead and make himself something to eat. He decided to make Ramen noodles.
He filled a pot of water, turned on the stove, and went downstairs to continue his playacting and mouth noises. After a while, I came out of the world of my own making to hear crackling. I thought maybe there was a bit of dried food getting crusted over even more or maybe there was a bit of water that was reacting to the heat.
I told Grumpy that maybe he should go into the kitchen and make sure the stove wasn't on fire. He ran up the stairs and stopped dead in his tracks. "The stove is on fire!" he yells. For a second, I didn't believe him and my mouth was already forming a smirk when he turns to look at me. There was no indication that he was pulling my leg. The kid was serious.
I jumped up out of my favorite comfy chair and ran into the kitchen. There was my Pampered Chef stone cracked into pieces and a plastic bowl that had been sitting on top of it was in flames. I ripped open the fridge and looked around wildly for the baking soda. There it was sitting on the top shelf. I grabbed it and noticed that it had been unopened.
Right about this time, the smoke detectors went off. The piercing noise was enough to wake the dead or the neighbors at least. I'm still trying to rip open the box of baking soda when everyone else come running upstairs to see what is going on. During my wrestling match with the box, I looked around to see mouths open and shocked eyes. Finally, in defeat I grabbed a steak knife and gritting my teeth cut open the box. All this time, the fire was still going strong. I promptly poured baking soda onto my pour defeated Pampered Chef stone.
Waving aside smoke billowing around me, I turned to Grumpy. "That's what you do when there's a fire," I began. I finished my lecture with, "And don't ever use the stove again." I could have begun hyperventilating and looked around for a paper bag, but frankly, since the danger has passed, I'm too busy mourning over my stone.
Monday, November 17, 2008
After repeating the same verse over and over, I asked, "Do you want to do it again?" to which he scrunched up his face, thought about it, and replied, "Why don't we wait until I grow up?"
(I am also proud to say that I ended up with nothing revolting-looking smeared all over my face. My husband did keep a close eye on that for his accident-prone wife. At one point during the day, though, he brought me one of the earrings that I had been wearing. It was found on the floor and someone had picked it up and asked him about it. Of course, he knew who's earring it was and patiently brought it to me. So, for a little while there, I was wearing only one earring.)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In my "dream", we were getting ready to leave when we noticed the smell of dog poop. When we investigated, we found a horse pile of dog poop up against the wall under the heater. Doc took one look at it and announced that he wasn't cleaning it up. He was going to leave it for the motel cleaning ladies to deal with it.
I was in agreement. I wasn't going near it. I just shrugged and said, "She's your dog." So, as we finished packing up, we all had to deal with the horrendous stench filling the small room. Crinkling up my nose, I took a bag and began filling it with the toys that had been strewn all over the room.
I picked up toy after toy. There were toys in the corners, under the beds, and under the blankets and pillows. In fact, they were everywhere. Just when I thought I had picked them all up, there would be more somewhere else.
I was still picking up toys when I woke up. The room was dark and I noticed that it was still very early in the morning. I realized that my dream wasn't just a dream. It was my life. I still have to clean up the occasional horse pile of crap left behind by Leigh and her picky stomach. I still have to constantly step aside toys that are carried upstairs by disobedient children.
The one thing that stood out, though, in my nightmare was Doc's uncharacteristic reaction to the dog poop. I thought it was kind of funny considering he would pronounce that action as a totally white trash thing to do.
Methinks, I need to dream better dreams......or "accidentally" lose the dog and put fire to all the toys.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Yesterday, some very nice people asked me to take some flowers home with me. Due to the lack of space in our seven passenger car, the flowers were relegated to sitting on my lap. Since they were blocking my view and taking up quite a bit of space, we opted to hand them over to a nice couple that Doc was going to spend a few minutes with at their house.
After Doc safely handed the flowers to me in the car, he went around and got in the driver's seat. I turned to look at him as he said something and as he saw my face, the man actually recoiled from me in horror.
"What is that all over your chin?!" he exclaimed wildly. My forehead scrunched in confusion and I whipped open the mirror above me. I started in horror as well when I saw smears of something that looked like ketchup all over my chin. "Oh! It must be pollen from the flowers!" Doc was quite relieved that I hadn't been walking around in church with ketchup smeared all over my chin.
He gave a big sigh of relief and laughed while I giggled at the assumption. I wiped the pollen off as best I could and we took off to dispose of the flowers.
When we got to the couples' house, Doc took the flowers from me and the boys and I settled in to wait for a few minutes. After a while, Doc came back with the gentleman so that he could have a few words with me. He provided eggs for us as usual and some candy for the boys and I thanked him profusely for his generosity.
While we were talking, the poor man had a hard time looking at me and I thought that maybe that was just his mannerism or he was shy. I didn't think about it much and we said goodbye. I turned my head to the front and as I turned I saw my face in the side view mirror of the car.
I pursed my lips and with a shrug turned to face my husband. "Well, I've gone and done it this time," I think to myself. Erupting with laughter, I turned my face for my husband's perusal. "Doc, I just had a conversation with the man with pollen all over my face." Indeed, it looked like I had wrestled with a ketchup packet and the ketchup won. Streaks of pollen were all over the right side of my face.
Again, Doc recoiled in horror, covered his face with his hands, and groaned. I laughed even harder at this reaction. Eventually, his shoulders began to shake. The man was given over to laughter as well and we laughed all the way down the long, bumpy drive.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
He is utterly perfect and he is irresistible to me and many others as well.
He is so beautiful that it hurts to look at him. My insides melt and turn to mush every time I see his face.
His skin is translucent. The veins in his temples and even his cheeks are visible through the skin. The skin is pale, but a healthy color, and softer than any material that comes to mind. His cheeks are forever pink giving his face a permanent cheery look.
His hair is softer than silk and the color of dark gold. It lays flat across the top of his perfectly round head to gather in curls at the nape of his neck. I run my fingers through it just for the delight of the feel.
The features of his face and body are perfectly proportioned. Nothing seems out of place. His nose could be described as a button nose and his mouth is a dark pink rose and oftimes is full of his thumb.
His eyes are startlingly blue. They are like gems lit from within. When he looks at me with those eyes, they radiate happiness. They are outlined with impossibly long lashes that brush his rosy cheeks when he blinks.
He is a little guy. He is not as solid as his brothers Happy and Grumpy. His size is more like his brother, Sleepy, and maybe a little like Bashful. It doesn't seem like he is almost a year old because he is so little.
He is strong, though, and ready to follow his brothers in every way. His sweet little voice has its own language and I love to watch him as he talks. I live for it and crave more of that sweet language of his. His voice often bubbles into a laugh when he is delighted with something or someone. My heart twists within me at the sound.
I often wonder what he is thinking, but he has no trouble telling me what he wants. Most of the time, he wants me to hold him so that he can lay his head on my chest. I am more than willing to comply with this.
His thumb automatically goes in his mouth as he lays contentedly. I run my fingers through his hair, I study his features, and I realize how irresistible he is.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Doc was talking with the boys, but I wasn't paying attention since I was focusing on not getting baby food all over Sneezy along with myself and the walls.
Therefore, I was quite surprised when Doc grabbed my head, pulled it back, and gave me a long smooch right on the mouth.
When I was let up for air, I giggled and looked across the table at Sleepy and Grumpy. Sleepy was grossed out and said, "Eeeuuu! Gross!" I turned to look at Grumpy. His face was a study in shock.
At first, he couldn't speak. He wasn't looking at the culprit. He was looking straight at me as if I had done something horrific. He yelled, "Don't EVER do that again!" He then covered his face as if he had seen something that had traumatized him forever. He's gotten over it since then. I think he has repressed the memory in order to survive.
Doc and I had a good laugh over that. Oh, how things will change.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
We were going to see Sarah Palin.
I have been keeping track of her on TV even watching the VP debate, so I was very excited to see her in person. So, we all woke up in the dark, wrestled the boys into their warm clothes, and were out the door with a few snacks in the bag for any grumpy stomachs.
As we were on our hour-long drive, Doc said, "You know, there's probably only going to be old people and women there." I agreed and we waited impatiently for the trip to end.
We arrived at the stadium where the political rally was being held and were stunned by the extremely long line. We made it to the end and began our agonizing wait. When we thought we had reached the point of entry, we were wrong. The line still curved around and around and we realized we had to wait longer than we had anticipated.
At one point, I thought of leaving, but Doc said, "We've waited this long," so I shrugged and hefted Sneezy higher onto my hip and set in for yet another wait. The boys were doing fantastic. I was amazed by their patience considering they don't really know who Sarah Palin is and how she could affect their lives.
After an hour and a half of twiddling our thumbs, we were almost at the check-in point when everyone was ordered to start running. The security had closed the gates and were letting the rest of us in through the back.....where you can't see a thing and you are not actually inside the stadium. They basically led us to a dead end.
I could feel the tick in my eye begin to twitch.
Doc and I looked at each other and turned back toward our car. It was no use. We couldn't see a thing let alone our little ones.
As I was walking a ways behind Doc and the boys, a reporter asked if we were leaving. I said yes in a bummed out sort of way. She asked if she could interview me and lo and behold, I made it on the news.
I'm famous now. Sort of.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I decided to take the boys to a pumpkin farm and meet other homeschool families. Whenever I go on a field trip with five boys, my mind is usually on two things: making sure they behave in public and not to lose them forever. These jobs are really big and take up a lot of room in my brain.
In our family, everyone is in his own world including me. Sleepy wasn't looking where he was going at one point during our field trip and ran right into a friend of his who was sitting on the ground. Sleepy went flying forward into the dirt. I made sure apologies were made and brushed the dirt off his jeans.
We finally got in line for the hayride and made it to the pumpkin patch in one piece. The boys were having fun picking the perfect pumpkin. My youngest ones were finished in record time, but my two oldest were being picky. I decided to give them time and went over to the pavilion nearby to get out of the hot sun.
Here is where the day sunk to an all-time low for me. I had three pumpkins in the back part of my trusty double stroller with Sneezy in the front. There was a big step I had to get over, but this was established with relative ease. As I was inching forward, a sweet, little girl stopped right in front of me not really noticing that she was blocking my path. I mentally shrugged and smiled.
Instead of mowing the poor child over, I decided to inch my stroller to the left in order to get out of the way. I believe my actions may have been interpreted differently by her mother. As I was inching over trying not to run over the little girl, her mother rushed up and said, "I'm sorry."
Typically, a woman like me would interpret this as "I'm sorry my kid is in the way. I mean, she just stopped right there in front of you. Thanks for stopping and not running her over. Let me get her out of the way." My kids have done this so many times since they are always in their own world and I always grab them by the arm and say, "Get out of the way, honey," or "Pay attention."
So, being the woman that I am, I said, "Oh! That's okay!" as if to say, "Really, don't worry about it. She can stay there as long as she wants. I'm in no hurry. No harm done." A woman like me would know that is the universal meaning for "That's okay" when someone's kid is in the way.
This particular woman does not interpret "That's okay" the same way I do. In fact, she was downright irate. She said, "No. I'm sorry.....she was WALKING!"
Well, okay then.
I do not remember the last time I have come across such rudeness in a stranger. It twisted my guts and I felt sick. I was mortified that I had offended someone over something so trivial and not intended in the least.
She took her daughter by the hand and went over to sit down on a bench. As nonchalantly as possible, I pushed my monstrosity of a stroller out of the pavilion to stand nearer to the pumpkin patch. I didn't relax until the woman and her daughter waiting under the pavilion left the area in the next hayride.
Even now, I have nothing to say to that woman. I have no snappy comebacks. I do not wish to tell her off in my mind only explain the situation from my point of view. I would inform the woman that I did realize her daughter was there and even though she thought I was trying to mow her down, the truth is, I was the one trying to get out of the way.
If I could go back, I would still have left the pavilion instead of explaining myself. It is my theory the woman was PMSing if I could exhibit just a touch of cattiness. If I had gone over to her to resolve the issue in a friendly manner, I think I would have gotten scratched for my efforts.
Any thoughts I could end this with would be for the next unsuspecting mother. I wish her well. She's going to need it.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I take a piece and wrap it around my finger over and over again. It's a habit that I've never cared to break.
When I was in college, Doc would bring me over to visit his grandparents. After a while, I was quite comfortable in that environment and eventually they learned this about me.
I was laying on the couch twirling away when Doc's grandpa said, "You twirl your hair!" This seemed to surprise him and he smiled.
I smiled uncertainly wondering why this seemed to please him and answered, "Why yes, I do." With a shy smile he announced, "I do it, too. Ever since I can remember."
I looked at the receding hairline with a few curls left over and thought how darling it was that we have found something like that in common.
Fifteen years have gone by and that sweet man has passed on, but I still think of him whenever I catch myself twirling my hair while deep in thought.
This morning, I was doing exactly that when Sleepy noticed it. His comment was, "Your hair looks like a long, long hairy spider."
I guess it would.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Lately, I scanned my baby pictures looking for some facial resemblance to my sons and didn't find much.
Occasionally, I glimpsed a certain expression and would exclaim, "There! They look like me!", but then I would turn to another picture of myself and think that no, I must be mistaken.
I put my baby pictures away with a sad, little sigh. I didn't want to believe that the ones I had carried inside me for nine months and labored through excruciating pain didn't have one iota of resemblance to me.
Today, I was enjoying a conversation with Doc upstairs when I heard, "Grumpy!"
I must explain that it wasn't a short, sharp yell. It was long and drawn out. It had the feeling of utter exasperation permeating throughout the word. It sounded as if the lungs were expiring as much carbon dioxide out of them as possible. It spoke of anger and frustration.
It was spoken by his older brother, Bashful.
And he sounded just like me.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Joy of joys.
I'm not really complaining. Really. It's just a little disconcerting. It takes coffee and a hot shower to wake up and after a little while, I begin to wake the boys.
The experience of waking in the dark has them bewildered, but they are my little troopers. No one cries or complains at the indecent hour.
The quietness of the early morning is instantly shattered by the happy chatter. Constant questions repeated over and over are asked in order to jar my sleep-deprived brain into answering.
After rushing them through a breakfast of cereal, I hustle them upstairs to wrestle them into their clothes and put some semblance of order to their hair. Brushing of the teeth is a must.
By 7:30am, I slam the front door shut with a prayer that I haven't forgotten anything. Most days, I have forgotten something and must unlock the door in order to retrieve said forgotten object.
Occasionally muttering under my breath and most Sundays growling, "Argh!", I peal out of the driveway to begin what has become a routine weekly trip to the mountains.
Every Sunday, we drive two hours to our church.
After these months that have flown by, the trip doesn't seem so long anymore. This past Sunday, it was even a little fun.
I looked in my rearview mirror to see a blond, curly head bobbing up and down in time to Alvin and the Chipmunks sing a song about a bad day.
When I see that, it's just about worth it to get up in the dark.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
You probably know by now my love for classic literature and my addictive need for chocolate, but you may not realize my utter fascination with the white stuff that comes from the sky.
I eagerly await the season that brings this particular precipitation. When my husband and I first came to southern Colorado, we were utterly dumbfounded when it started snowing near the end of September. We had never seen the like. Snow in September? Crazy, but I was still entranced.
I hate the cold, but I realize that without it, there would not be the heavenly frozen flakes falling quietly and gently to the ground.
When the snow falls so much that I can't see the ground anymore, I love to go outside and just stand there and listen. It's amazing how quiet it is.
There are no birds singing. The amount of cars going by has slowed down and only occasionally do I hear one slashing down the road. The wind has died down and all is still.
All but remains is the gently falling snow and the mountain of the wet, fluffy stuff growing up to my knees.
The time has come to fall backward and make snow angels, build snowmen, and sled down the hill. The quiet is broken by the screams of laughter coming from my children as they throw snowballs at each other and their "outraged" mother.
After some time, we begin to tire. It is time to go inside to the warmth of the house and hot chocolate. Time for a good book and an afghan thrown across my shoulders. Time to look out the window from my nice, cozy chair and smile at the white beauty.
Yes. I love the snow and I look forward to it.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I thought the boy ate everything....I was wrong.
A couple days ago, I thought I'd celebrate the beginning of fall and make a batch of pumpkin cupcakes.
They turned out pretty good, all moist and pumpkiny. All the boys loved them. Except Happy.
The first cupcake ended up nibbled on and placed strategically where the baby could dig his chubby fingers into it and leave crumbs all over the family room floor.
The second cupcake was also nibbled on and then hidden in the couch.
I told Happy that he wasn't allowed to have anymore cupcakes since it was obvious to me that he didn't like them.
He protested. Of course, he liked them.
I realized the boy didn't want to not like them. It seemed a sacrilege not to like something that had sugar in it.
I assured him it was okay not to like the cupcakes. Even his father spit out the one bite he had into the trash.
There was no way he was going to accept this, though. He was going to like these cupcakes even if he had to choke them down.
They had sugar in them after all.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
When Grumpy was just a little guy, we went on vacation to visit Grandma and Grandpa.
One night, my mom gave some hard candy to Grumpy to give the rambunctious child something to do. He sucked on it for a little while and then proceeded to choke on the dang thing.
This was a life-threatening kind of choke. The kid couldn't breathe. I just sat there in shock, but my mother immediately grabbed him, bent him over her lap, and slapped him on the back. The piece of candy promptly fell out. She told me she had just finished a CPR class and that's how she knew what to do.
To this day, I joke with her that she almost killed him and then saved his life.
That day became an immediate and profound impression on me. It was something that gave me the knowledge to deal with a very scary situation years later.
My fourth child, Happy, was around a year old when he picked up a penny off the floor and popped it in his mouth. We forever have stray pennies that I am constantly picking up. Whenever I spot one, I sound like a grouchy pirate yelling, "Aargh!" as I bend down to pick it up and dispense with it.
Of course, the child started choking which brought my attention to him. I then did something that you should never do- I stuck my finger in his mouth in order to get the penny out. The penny only slid back further.
I began to panic when the past flashed before my eyes. I grabbed Happy, bent him over my lap, and slapped his back. The penny fell out and he stopped choking.
The relief. Oh, the relief.
My WFMW tip is to take a CPR class. If not, remember this tip. It could save your baby's life.
For more WFMW tips, go to Rocks In My Dryer.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
You might say, "You shouldn't say that. He's not gone. He's still there with you." I can't help it, though.
I was grabbing papers that had been stashed away in our old van. We needed to clear it out in order to trade it in for the new car. One of the things that had been forgotten was an old picture.
The picture was about five years old. In it, Bashful, Grumpy, and Sleepy are all smiling at the camera sitting on the grass in front of our townhouse in New Jersey. Bashful still has that same sweet face. Grumpy looks younger, but I could still see the resemblance.
It was Sleepy who made my breath stop in my lungs and I gasped for air. I could not recognize that sweet, baby face. I fought tears as I realized that the baby soft blond hair was gone. The chubby pink cheeks were in the past.
These days, I am teaching my six-year-old Sleepy to read and write. The baby fat has melted away and he has become long and lean although he is still kinda short. His hair is brown and there are freckles on his nose now where there weren't any before. He is even learning how to ride Grumpy's old bike.
There is very little resemblance to that cherub in the photograph. I study that picture often now scanning it for something that I can hold onto, but the past has slipped through my fingers.
They say, "Cherish these moments because they will be gone before you know it," and "they" are right.
I was in the kitchen with my friend and we were also having a good time talking about everything under the sun. My friend was making herself at home in my kitchen. We had already done the dishes together, but at one point, she got down on her knees and began organizing my drawer full of plastic bowls and lids.
I was sitting on a stool at the kitchen counter and watched her with fascination. My eyes were glued to her every move when I said, "You know, you don't have to do that." She informed me that this was her way of feeling comfortable. I could tell how much she was enjoying herself, so I just sat and watched.
When I first met her, I thought she was friendliness itself. The more I got to know her, though, the more I realized her other qualities. I attached myself to her because I admired the joy she took in keeping a clean house and organizing her bills. I wanted to learn from her and I did.
I learned how much happier I am when my house is clean. Not just the carpet vaccuumed and the floor mopped, but the walls cleaned, my refrigerator scoured, and the baseboards washed. I took joy in breathing in deep of the Murphy's Oil Soap scenting the whole house. I began to notice my closets and began organizing them. I realized how much more content I am when I am organized and everything has a place.
Her submission to her husband and care of her children was a thing of beauty for me. Because of her example, I began to realize other needs for my husband and children that I didn't notice before.
The thing that stood out the most in this woman, though, was her thirst for knowledge of God. She took joy in learning the Scriptures and talking about it. I remember going over a particular passage with her and realizing the truth of it.
Her inner beauty was something that I wanted for myself. I learned many things from her, but most of all, she taught me what it means to be a friend.
She often mentioned that she wants to be a Titus 2 woman. You are, sweet friend, and that is my wish as well. I thought of her as I was driving home after church one Sunday. Since that night in my kitchen, she has moved away with her husband and children, and I miss her dearly. Even though we are apart, my life will forever be changed for the better. She was an example to me in so many ways. May we all endeavour to be a Titus 2 woman.Titus 2:3-5- "the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The other day, I saw the dark clouds hanging over the mountains in the distance. I was in the family room with Sleepy at the time and I decided to ask him a science question even though we have not discussed this particular subject in school yet.
"Look, Sleepy! It's going to rain!" I said with excitement. "Uh, huh," he answers. As we look out the window together, I asked him, "How do you know it's going to rain?"
"Because we need rain," he replies. "But, how do you know it's going to rain?" I insisted. "Because God loves me," he answered frankly.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I don't know why I felt bad whenever I asked them to make their beds or clean their rooms. It was a relief to tell them to clear off the table and empty the dishwasher, but this nagging feeling of guilt wouldn't leave me alone.
Those days of guilt are gone forever. I am guilt-free!
Why this change all of a sudden, do you ask?
I've always known my sons were not perfect. Whenever they get together, they tend to goof off and turn into total idiots. When they get bored, though, that's when they get stupid and all logical reasoning flies out of their heads.
I must first set you up for the reason of my guilt-free days.
We got a new car. Yep. You can guess where this is going. We like our new car. It seats seven, anti-lock brakes, AWD, you name it. It has the works. We even like the new car smell it has inside. I no longer daydream about falling off the mountainside during the wintertime. The thought of snow in the mountains doesn't bring the shakes anymore.
We believed that our nice, new car would be safe in our driveway. That ended up not being the case.
Yesterday, I was informed by my oldest son that Grumpy threw a rock and it broke the windshield of our nice, new car. Eventually, I got the entire story out of Grumpy.
Bashful was bored. This is never a good thing. So, trying to think of something to do for fun, he thought of the clever pasttime of throwing rocks over the roof of our house. He included Grumpy in his little hobby. Bashful positioned himself in the front of the garage and Grumpy positioned himself behind the garage. Then they let 'er rip throwing rocks over the roof.
I can just imagine their little he-he's as they laugh about their fun.
They are not laughing anymore. I have informed them they are grounded forever and there is one more thing.
The payment for a new windshield is coming out of their behinds. These boys are no longer the carefree little boogers they used to be. They are going to be very busy from now on and they are going to be my little workers.
Nope. There is no more guilt.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I must first set the scene, so bear with me.
A few days ago, I put a load of laundry in the washing machine. Almost all of the clothes were the boys' except for one of my shirts.
I washed the clothes and then put them in the dryer. Later, as I pulled out some clothes to fold them, I noticed that they all had mysteriously changed. What had once been solid colors on shirts and pants, there were now polka-dots- black ones.....everywhere.
I found the dad-blasted black pen sitting amongst the rest of the clothes in the dryer. The entire load of clothes had been ruined. Every last piece of clothing had big, black dots all over them.
What to do? What to do?
I tried washing them again...two times. No can do. I'm wondering if I have the time and patience to sit down with each piece of clothing and spray stain remover on each spot.
Has this happened to anyone? Are the clothes salvagable? Can they be saved or should I just toss them?
Those things are wanna-be roses, people. It's like a knight who wants to be a king, like a lady-in-waiting who wants to be a queen, like a creek that wants to be a river, like jello that wants to be creme brulee, like a cat that wants to be a lion, like a...well, you get the point.
Right off the bat, my husband has given me roses from the time that we started dating. It's a good thing because if he had brought me carnations, my estimation of him would have dwindled...just a little.
Recently, he found out my aversion to carnations when I loudly protested to his declaration that "carnations are pretty".
Don't make me puke.
School has started for us with a vengeance. Teaching three boys, keeping an eye on the impish three-year-old, and passifying a demanding infant is beginning to take its toll.
The other day, I was reading something when Grumpy came to me with a question. After he finished his question, I looked up at him. I wasn't really looking at him. It was more like looking through him.
When I realized he was standing there waiting for my answer, I quickly blinked and had to think for about five seconds to answer him.
Most of the time, I will give the boys something to do on their own. One of them will come to me and say, "I'm done, Mom!" and I will have to wrack my brain and think what it was I told him to do.
I can't even remember what people say to me five seconds after they've said it.
I do believe I am entering the period known as "dementia".
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I packed my sons' clothes with excitement. I had decided that they wear matching oxford shirts and ties and we had gotten matching khaki pants to go with them.
They looked so handsome in their get-up and I was very pleased with myself.
Considering that I have five boys, you would think that I would have remembered the fact about boys and good clothes- the two don't mix.
Since I had conveniently forgotten this, I happily made plans to take lots of pictures of the boys sitting on the sand, perfectly posed with hair and clothes speck free.
We made our trek across the sand in order to set up for the wedding. We found the perfect spot and I stopped to bask in the ocean waves crashing onto the beach and the feel of the cool wind coming from the north.
The boys had decided to get a closer look at the ocean.
Just as I turned away from my basking, I looked up right at the moment when Happy slipped and fell right as the waves came onto the beach. I watched this unfold with an incredulous expression.
The child was soaked.
"Happy! You get over here and sit down right now!" I yelled. His little seat squished as he sat in one of the chairs set up for the wedding. He didn't seem bothered at all that he was wet from the chest down.
All my plans for a glorious picture of my sons wearing speck-free clothes were swept away with the tide.
But oh, what a memory.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Having five boys does not help this problem. When things get chaotic, I usually end up staring into space and going for the chocolate.
Last Sunday, there was no chocolate in sight.
I was speaking with a young woman who had just started coming to our church. We were chatting and getting to know each other. I believe she found out in a real hurry what kind of person I am.
She had just gotten finished telling me about her bachelor brother. I looked down at Sneezy in my arms and then asked, "Soooo, do you have any brothers or sisters?"
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I do my best to be a good wife to my husband. I am fairly new to being a pastor's wife, however, and I'm sure there are going to be a few disasters along the way.
The day before church, my husband asked me to bring a glass jar with a stopper in order for him to put the last bit of wine in it from communion. You see, he was going to take it with him to the hospital after church to visit a lady in the hospital. He had to leave the usual wine vial at the church because we were leaving for vacation the next day and were not going to be back for church the next Sunday to return the glass vial. Whew.
Well, dag nabbit, I forgot the glass jar. Which is no shocker.
My husband comes up to me after church while I'm gabbing away, as usual, to ask me if I remembered the glass jar. My shocked expression gave me away before I profusely apologized for my absentmindedness.
Since he was wondering what he could transfer the wine into, I suggested a styrofoam coffee cup. I know. Before you say, "oh how cheap", we were desperate. So, he did as I suggested.....
A little while later, I was helping out in the kitchen area cleaning off the table and counter. I noticed two coffee cups sitting off to the side. I grabbed them both and looked into them. One had coffee and the other had this red stuff in it.
I shrugged and poured them both down the sink.
As I dropped the cups into the trash, I cocked my head and froze. Staring down at the carpet, I gasped. I stood frozen and rooted to the floor.
"Oh, no! Oh, NO!" I whispered.
I looked up and found my husband standing amidst a group of men. I slowly dragged myself over to the group and the minute Doc saw my face, he knew.
You see, I had shown him time and time again what he was getting into BEFORE he married me. He knew exactly what I had done.
Thankfully for me, I married a long-suffering man and he didn't kill me on the spot.
To all you very nice Catholics out there, I apologize for having offended you profusely. To all others, no harm, no foul.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
They hate school and don't ever want to do it again. They have stated before they don't like school and I would ask them if they want to grow up stupid. That was their response.
I asked them if they wanted to be those kids that finally get home at 4pm only to have homework to do. They said no which I knew they would. They aren't that stupid.
I realized that I will probably hear this same complaint for the next 50 years considering I have three younger sons who will probably be just like their older brothers.
In a motherly, irate voice, I replied to this foolish announcement of theirs with, "You ungrateful sons of mine! One day, you'll thank me for teaching you and making sure you don't grow up dumb as a rock!"
Previously published on September 17, 2007.
Update: School starts in four days. Yippee.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
During my dingbat status in the family, I needed a lot of rescuing and my father had to be ready at a moment's notice. During one occasion, I had decided to follow a cute boy up to a cliff and watch him do some fishing.
One minute, I'm daydreaming and the next I'm falling headlong into the waters of the Erie Canal. As I'm doggy-paddling in the water trying not to drown, I look up and up and up to see my father diving from the cliff to rescue me.
Even though falling in the river had not been intentional, my crush on the boy immediately crumbled in the face of my father's bravery. Of course, I was deeply humiliated by the experience, but I learned a valued lesson about men.
I realized that the kind of man that I want would act immediately even in the face of fear. I married such a man and a few years later, he gave me sons who would do the same.
All my boys are brave, but I came face to face with Grumpy's bravery during a friendly argument with my brother. To this day, my brother loves to torment me by tickling my feet. Nothing makes me scream louder.
When Grumpy was about three years old, he witnessed one of our tickling episodes and then got very upset when my brother picked me up and put me over his shoulder. The boy put up his dukes, looked up at the man who towered over him, gave him the "be prepared to die" look, and said, "You put my mommy down!" in his meanest voice.
I went all gooey inside and as I bent down to pull my son into my arms and comfort him, I realized something. My wish has come true. My prince has come and he has rescued me from the "bad guy".
Previously published on March 2, 2007.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
He told me that they hit each other over and over again and the first person who cries or complains is a cry-baby. My stomach turned and I was immediately appalled. I think my face turned pale and my eyes widened in horror.
Grumpy's triumphant look turned into an unsure one as my quavery voice told him that I didn't like that game very much. Later that day, I huffily told their father what they have been up to lately.
He immediately guffawed loudly and crowed, "That's awesome!" My mouth dropped and I looked at him like he was insane. Apparently, this new game of theirs is a good sign that they are not turning into little sissies. I'm coming to understand men more in general having five sons, but it's taking some time.
Previously published on November 26, 2007.
Monday, August 11, 2008
It was a lazy summer day and I was minding my own business. So, it was a huge shock to feel a bee stinging the back of my knee. I'm sure I gave my mother a heart attack when all of a sudden I open the screen door screaming my head off. Through the caterwauling, she was able to figure out what happened to me and went for the baking soda.
My husband also had his share of bee stings. When he was a boy, he was always outside and he had to deal with all sorts of insects attacking him.
The weird thing is none of our boys have ever been stung by a bee. I think if we lived in a normal place with grass and trees we would have screaming boys coming in the house all the time.
Grumpy is deathly afraid of bees. He saw a stray bee outside near the dog chain and now refuses to chain Leigh up for me afraid the bees will attack him.
One time, I asked him to go get the garbage can from the curb and put it in the garage. He went out the door and I looked out the window while doing dishes waiting to see him walk down the driveway. Minutes went by and no Grumpy.
Finally, Bashful goes to see what is taking him so long. He comes back in and said, "Grumpy is afraid there might be bees."
During our trip to Michigan, though, our record was broken. We were all outside enjoying the weather and the cool breeze in our hair, when Sleepy came over to me crying and limping.
I took him to the bathroom and looked at his foot. Since his grandma had seen bee stings before, she was able to tell me the two areas I was looking at were bona fide. I went for the baking soda just like my mom did.
There he was, my poor little five-year-old sitting on the sink with his foot on a towel. He was pretty good about it. He cried for a little bit, but after a while he was perfectly fine.
Of course, he insisted on bandaids for his war wounds. As he was talking to his daddy about it, he said that he had been attacked by "Darth Vader bees".
Previously published on July 26, 2007.
Friday, August 8, 2008
I ended up going to college in luscious Florida. It was either there or Oregon. You're probably thinking, well duh. I kept thinking about palm trees and beaches that I couldn't help but pick the place that seemed more relaxing.
Before I left for freedom, I promised my father that I would not get married until I graduated. Thinking what kind of head-in-the-clouds kind of girl I was, I may have made a raspberry noise with my mouth and said, "Oh, yeah, sure. No marriage."
I really didn't have any plans to go man-hunting. As my parents were driving home back to Ohio, I was meeting my future husband.
Four days after I arrived in sunny Florida, there was a scheduled ice cream social. I know, I know. Cute, right? It was a good way to get to know people, though.
I came with my roommate who brought a friend of hers. I wandered off to say hi to a couple girls I had met earlier. I said goodbye and turned to walk back to my roommate who was now talking to a couple guys.
As I moved toward the group, two more guys moved over to the group at the same time. Doc was one of the them and ended up standing right in front of me.
I looked into those big, green eyes with lashes to die for and dimples in his cheeks and didn't look at anyone else for the rest of the evening. The whole time I kept thinking how nice he was. He seemed so kind and gentlemanly.
His friend who was with him was a total goofball and made me laugh, but I had eyes only for this man standing in front of me. We talked for hours until everyone was gone but the three of us.
Then comes the part that is so typical of me. The friend looked down at his watch and I thought he said they needed to get going. I was disappointed, but I said, "Yeah, I need to be going, too."
I turned and walked away. What I didn't know at the time was his friend did not say that and they didn't hear me respond since they were talking. They thought I had just decided to turn and walk away without saying goodbye.
I left them staring after me wondering what went wrong. So, I am walking all the way back to my dorm and since their dorm was located right next to mine, they followed me all the way back.
I was so flustered that I kept dropping my keys. When I finally got back to my dorm room, I looked at my roommate and said, "I just met the man I'm going to marry." I was so starry-eyed.
For days after that, I couldn't find him until one day I found him sitting in chapel before the service started. I made it clear that I was interested when I asked to sit next to him. Quite bold of me, I know. It was even nicer when the guest speaker was praying and asked that everyone take each other's hand. (*insert big sigh here*)
From then on, we were inseparable......and we still are.
Previously published on September 14, 2007.
Update: My sister-in-law is getting married today and I wanted to celebrate this special day by remembering the day I met Doc.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
The bush was very close to the window in our living room, so we could observe them very easily and whenever we wished.
The baby birds were very young and always had their mouths open waiting for food. The mother had the job of finding them food, but the problem with that was she had to leave them unprotected while doing so.
Whenever she left, I would have a feeling of anxiety for those little birds. We would all stand at the window and watch them to make sure they were alright until the mother came back. I often wondered if she took so long because she was pigging out first.
Well, it was bound to happen that we would be too busy to watch the babies one day. We were all going about our business when out of the corner of my eye I saw the wings of a humongous black bird flapping crazily around the bush.
My eyes grew huge in my head and I screamed, "No, no, no! Get away from them, you cannibal!" I ran to the window flailing my arms over my head and as I got there the bird flew away.
With a sick feeling of dread, I looked down into the bush and saw an empty nest. "Dead beat mom," I muttered to the absentee mother bird.
Previously published on October 17, 2007.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
The woman he married is usually in her own world and he usually has to make sure he makes eye contact when making a request. Otherwise, no can do.
When we moved into our brand, spanking new house we didn't have a mailbox. So, Doc had to put one in himself. Our son, Bashful, decided to help out with this manly pursuit. So, father and son troop outside with mailbox and wood and proceeded to dig a hole on the left side of the driveway and pound the thing into the ground.
Occasionally, I would sneak a peek out the window watching them pound and pound away at the rock hard earth. Finally, they were done and Doc came in sweaty and tired and swearing off mailboxes forever.
Or so he thought.
I'm sure he had the presence of mind to tell his absent-minded wife not to run over the mailbox, but since I had no deliberate intention of doing so, I didn't have the usual talk with myself about not destroying my husband's hard work.
A couple mornings later, everyone piled in the van so that I could drive Bashful to school. I backed out of the driveway like I always do totally forgetting that we had a new mailbox.
I flattened that thing like a pancake.
My poor husband walks through the door later that night with the usual incredulous expression on his face that I've seen occasionally over the course of our married life.
My usual expression was plastered to mine as I sheepishly smiled and said, "Sorry."
To prevent his wife's disastrous clutziness from doing the same thing again, he had the presence of mind to put the new mailbox on the other side of the driveway.
A couple years go by and the mailbox is still standing. The other day, I look out the window and saw a dent in our van that I had never noticed before. I said, "Oh, my gosh! Someone hit our van and then ran off!" Doc said, "No, honey, that was when you hit the mailbox." I said, "Oh. Um, hee. Sorry."
Previously published on April 24, 2007.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
That's how I feel every time I go grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping. It is an ordeal for me that I would rather forego indefinitely, but well, we have to eat.
I am one of those people that doesn't like to go to every store in the area looking for the best deals. I guess I'm lazy, but considering my aborrhence of it in the first place, I also don't feel I have the time or patience for it.
Therefore, I am thankful for the one place that has everything. Wal-Mart. The one stop shop. I had procrastinated about grocery shopping until I had run out of everything but yesterday, I felt the need to visit the store in order to feed my hungry, little ones.
I decided a long time ago that to save the most money and stay away from the store as long as possible, I would shop every two weeks and get everything I could in order to survive during those two weeks.
I also decided NOT to bring my boys. When I do bring them, they usually make a spectacle of all of us, so I tend to prefer going shopping alone. As our family kept growing, over the years our cart began to fill till now it is overflowing.
When my oldest son decides to help his poor mother, we have two carts. We have gotten comments like, "Wow, it's like a train!" and I would just smile and give my customary, kind laugh all the while feeling my face heat and wanting to revert to my childish days and say, "Oh, shut up!"
Well, yesterday I was alone since I had forgotten to wrangle my son into helping me. So, I ended up with an overflowing cart before I had even finished shopping. During my agonizing trip through the store enduring stares from strange people, I realize that one of my gallons of milk is leaking.
I decide to ignore it and hope that no one else notices. Of course, being the most noticeable person in the store, two women noticed and brought it to my attention. I look down as if I hadn't seen it before, say thank you, and move it to a more appropriate spot in my cart.
By this time, I feel like I'm being suffocated by my coat and I start to chant to myself, "I'm almost done" while pushing the now very heavy cart around the last of the aisles.
I realize that I had forgotten some important items on my list, so I had to push my monstrosity all the way back to find them before I could finally get to the cash register. When I got there, the woman asks in a very loud voice, "Did you leave any food in the store for everyone else?"
I give a smile and a little laugh, but before I could comment, she says, "No. Really. Are you sure you left anything?" That's when I wanted to flip her off. She then asks a friend of hers that she was chatting with to go get another cart. Great. Now I have two carts to get to the van.
When I finally get everything onto the conveyor belt, she asks, "How many people do you have to feed anyway?" I tell her I have four boys. She says, "Wow! That explains the amount of milk you just bought!"
After that, she rings up my bill and when she sees how much I owe, she says, "Wow!" again. As I'm paying her, she asks if I need any help getting out to the car and I mentally say, "Yes!" I also think that I don't want a pimply, teenage boy observing my backside while following me to my car, so I graciously say, "No, thanks."
As I'm moving my two carts out of the store, I'm chanting to myself, "Get me out of here!" I finally make it to the doors without anything falling off the cart (which has happened over and over) and the freezing tundra that I usually despise came as a welcome relief.
I shove all the groceries into the van as fast as I could, sped home, and made my boys put the groceries away. I'm so bad.
Previously published on January 23, 2007.
Monday, August 4, 2008
I thought I would give myself a break from blogging to have a fun time with my boys before the busy-ness of the school year is upon us. So, I am going to set up some of my favorite posts for you to enjoy again.
I will be back at my keyboard in no time at all. I am sure I will have more blog fodder for you as well. Take care and see y'all soon!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I thought that since I have my own blog, I would write a lengthy, boring post about it. So, sit back, kick your feet up, and pop some popcorn. This one is a doozy.
When I was in college, I needed a job. At that time, Doc was my boyfriend and he was working at a restaurant as a waiter. He decided to put in a good word for me and I got a job as a waitress there.
I was 19 years old and, people, 19-year-olds do not make good waitresses. It takes life experience and learning to multi-task before you make a half-way decent one.
Since I had little life experience and my idea of multi-tasking was eating and watching TV at the same time, it took some work to turn me into a respectable waitress.
Not long into my job, I was in the kitchen ordering extra white gravy. When it was ready, I turned with it in my hand and ran right into the pole that was behind me. I hit it so hard that I bounced off of it and landed on my knees. Gravy flew everywhere.
It was all over my hair, clothes, the floor.....and right smack in my eye. I'm not kidding. There was white gravy in my eye. The problem with this scenario is that I wear contacts. By that time, I had only been wearing those horrible inventions a few years and was not as self-confident about them as I am now. Not that I'm not grateful. If it weren't for contacts, I'd be pushing up my glasses with my pointer finger to keep them from falling down my nose. But, pul..lease! If an eyelash gets in my eye, it feels like a razor is scraping across my eyelid, for Pete's sake! Uh..I digress.
I yelled to the entire kitchen, "I need saline solution RIGHT NOW!" Of course, no one had saline solution. I was on my knees in the middle of the room, covered with white gravy, and surrounded by sympathetic waitresses. I believe Doc got a good idea of what he was getting into when he walked into the kitchen at that moment.
Near the end of my only stint as a waitress, one of the customers I was serving stopped me and informed me that the busboy stole part of the tip left behind for me at one of the tables he was bussing.
I went to the manager with this information. You could hear the man yelling at the busboy a mile down the street. He was immediately sacked followed by an apology to me and the money he had taken. For some reason, I remember the money being wet with dishwater and wanting to puke either with the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach or from the knowledge that my money was touched with so many germs.
Needless to say, that was a life experience for me.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
It took me forever to find a gift. I wasn't sure what to get, but finally, I found it. It looked like a jewelry box, but instead it was for makeup. I thought I would look inside and see how big it was inside the box. As I opened it, three shelves lined with lip gloss, nail polish, and little rings popped out. So did my eyes.
I literally gasped. It was like I was a little girl again. I was immediately drawn into the past remembering my love of dress-up and play acting. I grabbed it and went for the check-out.
At the party, I had ants in my pants. I wanted to see this precious little girl's reaction to the gift my boys had supposedly gotten for her. I admit I am living vicariously through her. Her reaction was just what I had hoped for.
Her eyes widened and she gasped. It was perfect.
Later in the week, my boys were wrestling and horsing around in the family room. They were punching the air and occasionally each other along with monster noises and snarling. I was talking to Doc and at one point, I looked down into the room and said, "There's too much testosterone in this house."
I am clearly outnumbered.
Monday, July 28, 2008
My husband had just left when I go looking for Happy in his room. He was relegated to prison for some reason, but it became quiet and since that is always not a good sign, I thought I'd investigate.
He wasn't in his room. I glanced briefly under the bed and when I couldn't find him anywhere else in the house, I took a deep breath and went outside. I searched everywhere and even went to the top of the bluffs calling his name. When Happy didn't answer his mother's calls, I included Grumpy and Sleepy in my search. Grumpy even went to the neighbor's house asking if they've seen him.
For five minutes, we looked for that little imp to no avail. I ended up calling Doc totally in a panic. He asked if I had checked certain places and ended up saying, "Well, he's got to be somewhere." Visions of my child being kidnapped dancing in my head, I decided to go back to his bedroom to look again.
Instead of just glancing underneath the bed, I decided to take a more thorough look. I got down on my knees and there he was. He was smooshed between the wall and the bed....sound asleep.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Before church started, Sleepy took off his shoe to scratch his foot. I said, "You have an itch, honey?" He replied, "Yep. My shoe was tickling me so I would be happy."
After Grumpy's near death experience, we drove into our driveway when he asked me a question. "Mom?" he asked. "Yes, dear?" I replied. "When we lose blood, do we shrink?" He had probably been pondering this question anxiously.
Monday, July 21, 2008
That makes me shudder.
Grumpy joined his brother Bashful and the elite group of youngsters who have learned how to ride a bike. His riding skills just need a little tweeking.....like how to ride down a steep hill.
Yesterday, we were visiting friends and I was chatting away happily as usual when I was told that Grumpy had hurt himself. I was a little confused because, well, my boys are kind of tough and it's no big deal if they get hurt.
I go outside and there's Grumpy on the bottom of the stairs crying and milking it for all it's worth for the benefit of the kids surrounding him. Through various children and disjointed storytelling, I was able to vaguely discern what had happened.
Grumpy had borrowed a bike and went riding down the steep hill next to the house. He was going so fast that he couldn't peddle anymore. He slammed right into our van, went flying through the air, and once he landed in the dirt, his body continued to move forward skidding for a couple more feet.
The part that I heard the most from all the kids was, "He was flying through the air!" It was said with awe as if he had sprouted wings.
My eight-year-old was covered with dirt and scrapes. Doc said later that when I took Grumpy to the bathroom, Doc couldn't hear himself talk with all the wailing going on.
My Grumpy. Always the drama king.
Friday, July 18, 2008
I hate to exercise. The thing is, I can't live without food and my metabolism has gone south for the win.....forever. So, I figure if I don't want to turn into a walking blob, I better get myself moving.
Years ago, I watched the infomercial for TaeBo and bought the tapes. I remember watching the advanced tape with my mouth to the floor. I was exhausted just watching it. So, whenever I was pregnant, I was happy to let the tapes collect dust.
After baby #5, I realized how much I hate diets. Diets are for depressed people. I'm not depressed. I want to enjoy my life. If that means eating chocolate once in a while, then by golly, I'm going to eat chocolate.
There's a price to pay for that. You got it. Jumbo thighs. So, I had an epiphany. If I exercise enough and don't eat chocolate EVERY day, maybe I won't turn into a hippopotamus after all. Thus began Taebo Girl. Granted, it's only been a few weeks, but, get this, I've been using the advanced tape and lost a couple inches around my waist. Hoo-aah!
No one has ever seen so much sweat dripping down a body. I'VE never seen so much sweat on a person. TaeBo is hard, people. Just when I'm done jumping up and down, it's time for the floor exercises.
Can I just say that it's not easy doing leg lifts with an eight-month-old baby crawling all around you? He also likes to crawl underneath and look up at me. By that time, sweat is literally dripping onto the floor from my face and my legs are on fire. Just when I think I'm going to scream in agony, the little rugrat crawls up to me and with big, blue eyes and chubby cheeks, he gives me a toothless smile.
And, lo and behold, I smile back.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I found out quite by accident that Sleepy needed to learn his sounds before his letters. This concept quite boggled my mind. I had no idea that some children are better at learning their sounds first. After I was bonked on the head with this new knowledge, things became a lot smoother for both of us.
Grumpy and I butted heads often this past year. His Peter Pan concept battled with his need for an education. If he could live on an island and never learn a thing, he would be happy. The problem is, his brain wouldn't let him. When Grumpy finally learned who was boss, he gave in but sometimes only half-heartedly. I learned that I have to be consistent with him, or he will definitely see a weak spot and go for the throat.
I have been pleased with Bashful's progress this past year. I believe his reading comprehension has improved and I will always remember our times together during math. Bashful learned math best by squeezing himself next to me in my favorite chair and doing problems together. It took a little while for me to learn how to teach him, but I understand now and we are thriving together. Whenever I get excited that he has answered a question correctly and start squeeling, he begins to smile, but, of course, he he tries to hide it. He must never let his mother know that he is enjoying himself.
It was a challenge to teach three children, keep an eye out for the three-year-old, and be pregnant and eventually have a baby during this school year. I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I think the person who learned the most was me. This way, I am able to get into my kids' brains and see how they think and learn. We are learning together. By figuring out how they tick, I am able to meet their needs. It was hard at first, but we've managed.
I look forward to this coming year. Bashful will be in 6th grade, Grumpy will be in 3rd and 4th grade, and my little Sleepy will be a first grader. I know it will not be a piece of cake. There will be challenges, but I believe I am ready. For us, there is no better way than homeschool.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I said, "Mom, no one is going to eat that except for us adults." "Well," she responded, "it won't hurt to try it." Lo, and behold, Happy devoured what salad was left in the bowl. I was astounded. I had no idea that any of my children would look twice at the rabbit food let alone eat it.
I learned a lesson that day and from then on, I've tried to "sneak" food onto the table without the kids noticing that it is good for them. Lately, I've switched the whole family onto wheat bread. (insert evil snicker) They have no idea. That's the funny part. The bread tastes so good that they've managed to overlook the slight brown color to it. For some reason, none of them have looked at the package and read "100% whole wheat" on it.
A couple nights ago, I was making turkey burgers for dinner. I had a package of fresh spinach and was wondering how I could get that down their gullets without them knowing. I was thinking, "How would Rachael Ray do this?" Then inspiration struck. I threw the spinach in my trusty food processor and plopped mayonnaise in it with some salt and pepper. What transformed from that was my special "herbed mayonnaise".
When I saw the finished product, I laughed evilly and said, "I am so awesome. They'll never know they are eating spinach! Ha!"
I put it in a pretty bowl and spooned some on everyone's burger. Grumpy and Happy ate theirs, but I had a problem with Bashful and Sleepy. Bashful took a few bites and turned up his nose at it. I guess it tasted funny to him and he announced that he didn't like it. Sleepy took a few minutes to ponder this while staring at his burger and then said, "You know what, Bashful? You're right. I don't like this either."
You win some and you lose some, I guess. I am just wondering why they haven't noticed that the pasta they are eating no longer tastes the same either.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Yep. That's right. Two of them. I had gotten pregnant when Grumpy was around a year old. I didn't feel the usual symptoms of puking up my guts day after day, so I went to a doctor who happened to be adept at the ultrasound machine.
That's when we saw two of them and two of them had already died. To have come so close to having two babies at the same time and losing them before I even knew about them left me shaken.
My whole body shook as I stared at the ultrasound picture of my babies. I couldn't take my eyes off of it as Doc and I walked to our car. I stared at it all the way home. I kept saying, "Two of them. We had two of them." We were both in shock at just the knowledge of what could have been.
Some may say, "Well, it may have been just as well. Then, you would have had to get two of everything!" Those people can go suck an egg.
I spent the rest of the day in bed. I had wanted those babies. I wanted two cribs, two high chairs, two swings, two everything.
I often wonder what life would be like having twins. Every time I got pregnant after that, I secretly hoped for two. While others would sweat bullets at the thought, I would find a dreamy smile on my face. I'm no dummy. I know how hard it would be, but I can't help seeing myself holding those two babies that I had lost and wanting to take care of them.
We have three babies in Heaven now. I had lost a baby before my firstborn, Bashful. Right now, God has given me five, healthy sons to love and hold. Someday, I will be able to hold ALL of my babies. Someday.