Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Running Days

Even as a young teenager, I was horribly out of shape.

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

Best Friends

We have the oddest pets.

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

Tooth Time

Sleepy has a new hole in his mouth.

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.

"Oh, no!"

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

As Time Goes By

This post is guaranteed to make everyone of you feel sorry for my kids.....or say what a horrible mother I am.

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.

Cue hyperventilation.

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.


A few years ago, my mother gifted me with a beautiful, black suit.

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

Back Stroke

I finally got a good look at Bashful and Grumpy doing their swimming lessons last night. The previous two nights, I was too involved making sure Sleepy and Happy behaved themselves and didn't get chlorinated water into their teacher's eyes by splashing too much.

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."


"It's On My List"

In the Veggie Tales movie, Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, Larry the Cucumber's character is afraid of everything. He even has a list of things he will have nothing to do with because they scare him too much. If he came across something he was afraid of, Larry would say, "It's on my list." The boys watched this movie to death before we returned it.

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

Surviving the Cold

For the past three days, we've had snow on the ground.

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


One time, Doc came home from work after being gone all day.

Sleepy greeted him downstairs.

"Dad! You just woke up?! It's dark outside!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sisters Not Allowed

Girls are a mystery in this house.

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

"I'm Only Six!"

During Sunday School, I was helping six-year-old Sleepy in memorizing a particular verse.

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

What Number Are You?

Sleepy and Happy are in Stage 1 swimming lessons while Bashful and Grumpy are in stage 3. We have told Sleepy and Happy that if they don't put their heads under the water, they will not be able to go on to stage 2.

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

Best Christmas Ever, Part 1

The boys are currently on a sugar high and completely blissful after a rockin' Christmas party with some of their friends.

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....

Locker Room Incident

When my husband joined the Air Force and was sent to basic training, there were a lot of things he had to learn one of which to keep his eyes up...especially in the shower room.

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 have picked up a new read, or classic as it may be, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. To my great delight, I have picked up a winner. I have only started it and yet I'm laughing at the wonderful wit and language of Mark Twain's genious.

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

Carnival Ride

Last night, I took Sneezy out of his high chair and sat him upon my lap. He had been throwing his food onto the floor and I had about as much as I could take of that.

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.