Thursday, August 21, 2008

Swept Away

I had the opportunity to attend my sister-in-law's wedding in New Jersey over a week ago. It was a beautiful wedding on the beach with perfect weather.

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

How Not to Pay Attention

I have the attention span of a gnat.

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


There are occasions when it is not my children that provide the blog fodder. Case in point-

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

School Stinks

My two oldest sons have announced to me that they don't care if they grow up stupid.

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

My Knight in Shining Armor

Growing up, I had my head in the clouds most of the time. As a little girl, I would love to dress up as a princess and dream of the day my prince would come.

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

Who's the Cry-Baby?

Some time ago, Grumpy came to me with this story. He told me that he and Bashful have a new game that they like to play in the basement. My heart melted and I had a vision of them playing a delightful game of chess together getting along splendidly.

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

Darth Vader Bees

When I was a kid, one day I was laying on my stomach on the front porch reading. I had my chin propped in my hands and I was lifting my right leg up and laying it back down over and over again.

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

How We Met

I've been meaning to write about how my husband and I met since without him there wouldn't be a blog in the first place. Our story is just too darn cute. I was 18 and he was 19. Yeah. Babies. We didn't think so at the time, though.

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

Murder in a Small Bush

A few years ago, before my youngest son was born, we had a little family of birds nesting in a bush in our front yard. It was summer and the bushes and flowers were blooming. The sun shone and the birds sang.

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

Mailbox Pancakes

My husband has had to put up with a lot over the years.

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

Grocery Store Phobia

Have you ever had one of those days where you wish the floor would open up and swallow you whole?

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

Blogging Break

School starts on August 18th this year. That's just plain crazy. It's still summer! I think we've all agreed at one point or another that school is starting earlier and earlier each year. Before we know it, it'll be year-round.

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!