Friday, April 30, 2010

The Week in Kids, #9

This week...

We had some very warm weather, and dressed accordingly.

Also this week...

Samuel joined some sort of tribe.  You know, the kind that rubs charcoal briquette ash all over themselves to ward off evil spirits.

His sister joined too.

After she was kicked out of her MA (Mocha-holics Anonymous) meeting for being caffeinated.

Also this week...

I built Samuel and Jonah a track on their train table, which did not include a tunnel.  Samuel improvised.

Also this week...

Catherine knows twenty eight words.  I counted them.  And...

Jonah told me, "I've got Jesus in my heart.  And I prayed to God so that I don't have to be a teenager, because I don't want him to have to move out."  From your lips, to God's ears little man.

In other news...

I am going on a weekend get away, just me.  I will miss you my lovelies, but be back to read all of your adventures on Monday.

See you next week!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just a Tuesday, Part 2

Don't miss Part One.

After being liberated from the bathroom at Jonah's pre-school, I headed on over to Trader Joe's (my favorite market) to pick up some family staples.  Apples, bananas, yogurt -- you  know, things kids eat.

Up at the front of the store, there is a large barrel of salt-water taffy.  It has been there for the last few weeks.  Every time I pass it, I think, "Ooo.  Salt-water taffy."  Then I think, "I don't need any salt-water taffy."  But, last week someone on 30 Rock gave Jack Donaghy salt water taffy, and I am highly suggestible. So this day, as I passed it, I thought, "Ooo.  Salt-water taffy.  Why not?" and I bought it.

I ate one piece, and promptly dislodged half of a porcelain crown from my bottom left molar.  Ouch.

Now, I have a dentist.  He handles emergencies.  But he is in a town about an hour's drive from here.  Why so far?  Because my mother lives in the same town, and I coordinate my dental appointments with her, so that she can watch my kids while I am at the dentist.  This system was not set up in anticipation of any emergencies.  I remembered, as I was staring at a half-chewed piece of taffy with half of a porcelain crown stuck in it, that my mother is in the Amazon.  Yes, the one in Brazil.

My back-up plan is Hubband's dentist.  He is in a town about three-quarters of an hour's drive in the other direction, because that is where Hubband works.  So, Hubband called and flirted with the receptionist until he secured me an emergency (meaning they will squeeze me in around their real patients) appointment.  The plan was that I would drive over there with the kids, he would meet me, take the kids to lunch while I went to the dentist, and then I would return home with the kids and he would return to work. 

Three hours and $1000 out-of-pocket later, I, with a numb face, drove Hubband's car home, where I found three children who, sweetly, seemed to miss me very much.  My teeth were sore.  My pride was sore.  (Breaking your teeth on taffy at 9:30 in the morning is such a fat-chick injury.)  But, my temporary crown was smooth and comfortable.  And, did I mention that my children missed me.

Who knew that getting locked in the bathroom would not be the most memorable thing about my day?

 Don't miss Part One.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Just a Tuesday

“Hi. Miss Linda?...Hi, this is Tracey, Jonah’s mom…Fine, thank you, and you?...Um, yeah. I’m locked in your bathroom…Yeah, that’s right…Um, no, the door is unlocked, it just won’t open…Yeah, okay. I’ll wait right here.”

It started out like a normal day, except better. I woke up on time and not tired. I got a hot shower, I made a hot breakfast, and the kids and I were in the car, happy and ready to go at 7:30. Right on time.

Sam was dropped off without a screaming fit. Not entirely novel, but nice. Then, across town to drop off Jonah, with only a little surmountable drama because he forgot his school bag.

Next stop—the grocery store. But first, I thought I would use the school’s bathroom. It is huge and they keep their four person baby buggy in there which is a great place to strap Cate down. Much better than the bathroom at the grocery store. What am I supposed to do? Let her crawl around? Ick.

As I went to leave, the door handle made a loud cracking noise, and the door would not open. The handle would turn, but not open the door. I knocked, I waited, finally I called.

Miss Linda arrived and asked politely, “Is the door locked?”

No, the door is not locked.

“I’ll get the key,” she said.

But, the door was not locked. She got the key. She tried the key. The key did not help. She went to get her credit card. (?)

By now, other people were coming by, and each one asked the same question. “Is the door locked?”

NO!!!! The door is NOT locked.

“I’m going to call the fire department.”

What!? Oh, please no. Not the fire department. What are they going to do? Use an ax? (While rolling their eyes in disbelief at the stupid women who called them.) Oh, no, No, NO! Not for nothing was I single for 35 years. I know things. I am handy. I knew I could figure a way out of that bathroom.  And, I could imagine no greater humiliation than being rescued mocked by hot men in fire proof pants. Okay, maybe I'm overstating it a bit, but there was no way I was going to let her call the fire department. No way!

The door handle needed to be removed, but the screws were on my side of the door. I took out the only tool I had in my purse--a bottle opener/cork screw/knife only-big-enough-to-cut-cocktail-garnish combination Hubband makes me carry “in case of emergency.” No portion of it worked to unscrew the door handle.

“Do you have a very small screwdriver, like for eye glasses, or a letter opened that might fit under the door?” I ask.

No luck.

I went through the storage cabinets in the bathroom looking for anything that might help me get the door handle off. Again, no luck.

Then, finally, someone with some sense arrived on the scene and started trying to get the bolts out of the hinges.

I was freed not long after. The whole ordeal was only about thirty minutes and, luckily, Cate was mellow throughout. What’s a little excitement before 9AM?

Who knew that getting locked in the bathroom at my son’s preschool (and barely avoiding a fire department rescue) would not be the most memorable thing about my day.

To be continued…

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Proposal Story

The other morning, very early, I was coming out of the bathroom, and I was surprised to see Samuel sitting right in front of the door. It reminded me of the night that Hubband proposed.

I have heard several proposal stories over the years, but I like ours best. (Yes, I know, I am biased.)  So, that night, as Hubband and I lay in bed, reading, I asked him. “Honey, do you mind if I write and post our proposal story?”


“‘Yes’ you mind, or ‘yes’ I can post it?” He was reading, so I thought maybe he misunderstood (failed to listen to) the question.

“Yes, I mind.”

“How can you mind?”

He gave me a look.

“But our proposal story is great!” I said.

He kept reading.

“What if I write the story, but don’t say that it is about you?”

He gave me another look. Even while reading he followed this illogic.

I pouted for a bit and then said, “You don’t read my blog anyway. I could just post it and you would never know.”

Another look, this one ominous.

“Fine,” I said. “I won’t write our proposal story.”

So, I won’t write our proposal story. But, I can write about other people’s stories, and maybe you will get some idea what ours was like.

I met a young and adorable (in a good way) couple on a cruise ship who got engaged at the end of a family and friend scavenger hunt. The last item on the list brought her to the steps of the church where they would later be wed. He was waiting there, wearing a suit, carrying a bouquet of flowers and, in front of pretty much everyone who mattered to her, got down on one knee and proposed. They were very sweet as they told it.

Our proposal story, which I am not telling, was far less orchestrated and populated than this one.

I heard of another hopeful groom who rented horses for a ride on the beach and then read a poem he had written before proposing. At first, I thought this was kind of silly, but I was told that it meant something to the couple and she was really happy. Good for them.

Our proposal story, which I am not telling, involved no sand, no pack animals, no words that rhymed.

But, my favorite proposal story of all time (mostly because it is so easy to mock) is one I saw on reality television. Bear with me. It was one of those wedding shows. The couple had been living together for years.  They owned a house together. She helped him pick out the ring, and knew that he was going to propose on Christmas Eve.

His set up: rose petals all over their bed and the floor of their bedroom, candles on every flat surface, and my favorite, a reindeer, fashioned out of twinkly lights, like you see in (tacky) people’s yards at Christmas, balanced dead center in the middle of the bed.

He videotaped the whole thing, (just in case they were ever on one of those wedding reality shows) and boy am I glad he did. But, I got the feeling that the camera, pointed directly at the bed, did not need to be set up especially for this event.

Anyway…on Christmas Eve, the appointed day, at the appointed hour, she walked into her room and looked around, stunned (like a girl caught is reindeer lights). He got down on one knee and pulled out the ring she had picked. She started to scream. Screaming, like I have never heard before. He couldn’t even say his prepared speech (I am assuming he had one). She just kept screaming, and jumping up and down on the bed, rose petals and lighted reindeer flying every which way. Then she started crying and nodding her head, and of course she put the ring on, which she modeled for the camera.

Our proposal story, which I am not telling, was not rehearsed or ridiculous, and only a little bit tacky.

The one thing these stories have in common, is that they suit the people in them. As did ours.

There was no speech, no poetry, no flowers. Just a boy, a girl, a question, an answer, a ring, a flushing toilet.

Very simple, very funny (the way I tell it).

It is a great story. Really. 

I wish you could read it.

Photo found here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Week in Kids, #8.1

Also this week...

This just in...while I was posting The Week in Kids, #8 this afternoon, Jonah was at a very clever Mario Brother's themed birthday party.

The birthday boy, Jonah's friend Asa, dressed in full Mario gear including penciled on mustache, while dear Jonah eats pizza beside him.

A Mario pinata.

And, the whole gang.  A bunch of Marios and Luigis, and one Princess Peach.  One of the party games was to stomp on balloons with gold (chocolate) coins inside.  If you don't have a child who loves Mario Kart you can not know how cool this is, but trust me.  Asa's mom is COOOOL.

If you missed it, don't forget to check out The Week in Kids, #8 just below, or follow the link.

See you next week!

The Week in Kids, #8

This Week...

Catherine dressed for church.

The dining room table is still the best place to get her picture.

Also this week...

Nana and I took the kids to Fairy Tale Town...

...where the boys had fun sliding down the rabbit hole...

...while Catherine climbed through the cheese, which stood alone.

Also this week...

Jonah is getting so tall, we had to get him some new clothes.  "They fit grandly," he said.  Grandly?  Seriously?  I don't know where this kid gets this stuff.

Catherine got some new clothes, too.  Her first pair of girl jeans.  Even though she is seventeen months old, she is still wearing hand-me-down, nine-month jeans from her brother.  (All the boy jeans bigger than nine-months were worn out by the two boys.)  Well, she now wears a twelve-month size (Finally! The little pip-squeak), but I think we may need to go back to boy jeans.  The girl jeans are weird.  They are cut like women's low-rise jeans, and I am sorry, but until they invent a low-rise diaper, that is just not going to work.

Also this week...

Samuel had some opinions.

I posted a video last week of my kids (mostly Jonah) singing, which they love to do, but Samuel is particular about when, where, and what I may sing.  I was singing some kid's song the other day and he wailed at me, "Enough!  Stop singing that stuff.  Too, much noise.  That is not okay."

Oh, for the days when he was a boy of few words.

Well, that is about all for this week.  Have a nice weekend and we will...

See you next week!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh, Brother. It's Earth Day, Again.

Today is Earth Day.  I know this, because this morning, while I was simultaneously making coffee, making breakfast, dressing one child, diapering another, and 'gently reminding' a third to get himself dressed, Hubband was sitting at the dining room table reading the paper, and he said, "Oh, brother.  It's Earth Day, again."

Let me explain.  Hubband and I are conservative.  Fiscally, socially, and (for Hubband) politically.  As a conservative, it is often assumed that I do not care about the planet.  That I would strip mine Yosemite for quick cash.  Or have 15 kids who eat an all beef diet and each drive their own SUV.  That could not be further from the truth.  God gave us stewardship over this planet.  We are to care for it, and in return, we can use it and its resources for our needs.  We are not to destroy it like spoiled children on Christmas morning.  Ultimately, the earth is still His and should be respected.

It is true that I am suspicious of the modern green movement, which I view as commercial and highly politicized, the result being mass marketed 'green' ideas with unintended consequences.  (Where are all of those hybrid car batteries going to go?  And all of those florescent light bulbs with mercury in them?)  And someone, somewhere (who probably doesn't give a flying fig-newton about the environment), is getting very, very, very rich.

On the flip-side, I heard on the radio this morning that you could fit every person on the planet into the state of Texas, and each man, woman, and child would have one thousand square feet of space.  This was used as a counter-argument to those concerned about over-population.  Well, that's just stupid.  True, as to the population/square footage ratio.  But stupid as an argument.  The over-population argument is not that there is not enough room for the people, but not enough resources.  Oh, how stupid pisses me off.

So, on this Earth Day, I send out a call, to you, my readers.  Buy less, use less, throw away less.  And, at all cost, let's avoid stupid.  (And if you get hungry, check out these adorable Earth Day Treats from my friends the Dickinsons over at G'day, eh!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Highlight of My Week

Tuesday is taco night.  So,  I went to the store and bought taco shells.  Twelve taco shells.

Or, so I thought.  Let's count them shall we.

So, I called the store, and if I bring my receipt the next time I come in, I get a whole new box of taco shells.  Or, at least 10 or 11 taco shells.  For free.

Yeah, me!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Is this food worth fighting over?

 Some students in New Jersey used their cell-phones to co-ordinate a food fight in the cafeteria at Atlantic City High School.

The school's response:  Only the minimum required meals were provided for the next two days.  Cold cheese sandwiches.  The principal says this has been effective in the past.

One irate parent's response:  "Cheese sandwiches?  That's prison food!"

My response:  If that is the kind of parent you are going to be, your kids should get used to it.  Prison food that is.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

If I had my whole life to live over again...

...there is only one thing I would do differently.

Honestly, only one thing.  And that, is this:  Back in high school, when I had the opportunity, I would have studied Latin.

That's it.  Latin.  The only thing I would change.  That is not to say that I have lived a life without mistake or misstep.  Only, that I don't believe changing those mistakes or missteps would have resulted in a substantially different outcome.

I learned something from every broken heart, every melodrama, every missed opportunity.  The only thing I learned from not taking Latin, was French, and that has not been useful.

Had I taken Latin, I know for certain that I would be smarter.  I would have gotten higher SAT scores, I would be better at the NY Times Crossword Puzzle, and I might, someday, if she were very tired, beat my mother at Scrabble.

So, is there anything you would change?

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Week in Kids, #7

This week...

 Daddy dressed the baby.  "The shirt has dots.  The pants have dots.  What doesn't match?"

Also this week...

We drove five hours, round trip, to have lunch in the park.  But not just any park.  This was Bidwell State Park in Chico, California.  Its claim to fame is that Errol Flynn filmed Robin Hood there back in the 1930s.  And Hubband wanted to see it.

So we drove and drove.  It was cold and threatening to rain.  The kids whined the whole way, and the grown up weren't much better.

Once we got there and got out of the car to run around, things were better.  But only a little.  The place is actually several hundred acres, so we used the main entrance.  The park was, sadly, just a park.  Grass, picnic tables, a humongous birthday party for a very small child.  We ate, we ran around, we threw rocks in the creek.  Then, cold and grumpy, we got back in the car, and decided to see what was at the other end of the park, at the not-main entrance. 

Late in the afternoon, we found a small dirt parking lot with a few off road vehicles in it.  We walked about fifty feet down a path to find the most beautiful field of wild flowers.  A couple hundred feet more, and there were breathtaking views of a verdant canyon I didn't even know existed.  The sun even came out for awhile.  For this part, I forgot my camera in the car.  You will just have to take me at my word.  It was worth every mile, and every minute, of the longest day trip of my life.  (I could write an entire novel about this day, but Hubband would kill me.)

Also this week...

Samuel is giving the potty a try.  We are rather laissez faire about the whole toilet training thing.  But, Samuel has started asking to use the potty, so we are following his lead.  This week, as I was changing a very wet diaper, he asked to use the potty.  I doubted that he had it left in him, but I obliged.  As he was sitting there, not going, I asked him, "Do you still need to go potty?"  He looked down and said, "Oh, no.  Not working.  Needs batteries."

Also this week... 

Cate is saying 'cup', and 'yes' .  She is a very smart girl, our Cate.  She does not have as many words as Jonah did at this age, but she uses the right word for things, where Jonah spoke a language that only we understood.

See you next week!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I haven't blogged in a few days and I feel like I should have something to say.

Um. I don't. I got nothin'.

Nothing smart.  Nothing funny.  Nothing cute.


I have this "fun house mirror" picture I took of myself in the front window of my mother's house.

Ponder which set of feet are really mine, while I retreat to my boring life, and try to remember how to be clever.  Or, at least have an original thought. 

Do you suppose this is because I subscribe to People Magazine and can't stop watching 19 Kids and Counting?

You've found me out.  I am pedestrian.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sing, Sing a Song

Okay, so I read that magazine with Justin Bieber on the cover, and it turns out that he was "discovered" when his mother put video of him singing up on youtube. He is now rich, and famous (if you are an 11 year-old girl or her mother).

That got me to thinking. Maybe I should try this with my kids. They're always singing something. And, they have a certain charisma, if not actual talent. I'm not greedy. They don't need to be gazillionaires. But maybe they could pay their way through college, or help with the groceries.

Then again, maybe not.

(The video is only 36 seconds, but I suggest you turn your volume down low before you hit 'play'.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

You know you are old...

 ...when your new People magazine arrives in the mail and you have never even heard of the vaguely effeminate, sexually non-threatening young super-star on the cover.

Justin Bieber, anyone?

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Week in Kids, #6

This week...

There was a little joy in the backyard.

A little mischief in the nursery.  (Yes, that is a flying leap off the table.  I swear I was not in the room when this picture was taken.*)

A little mayhem amongst the plush toys.

A little climbing on rocks.

A little playing in the dirt.

A little meatball sub in the park.

A little meatball sub sauce on my camera lens.

And, a little boy who really wanted his mommy to take his picture, but she couldn't.  (See previous)

*This is legal-eez for, "I was totally there for the whole thing, but I took the picture from just outside the door way, thereby providing plausible deniability."

See you next week!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Word on Marriage

I have only been married five years, ten months, three weeks and two days.  I am no expert.  But I have been married long enough to know this:  Whatever you think your life will be, it won't.

I am not saying there is no such thing as "happily ever after."  Nothing nearly that cynical.  I'm talking (as usual) about the mundane.  How ever you think you will raise your children, you won't.  How ever you think you will decorate your home, you won't.  What ever you think you will name your dog, what ever temperature you think you will keep your bedroom at night, how ever you think you will open Christmas presents, you won't.

Because marriage is about compromise.  And even if you and your intended agree on every single thing as you stand there at that altar taking your vows, things will change.  You will change.  Your intended will change.  You haven't even met the children yet, and I promise you, they will be different than you expect.  Compromises will, and must be made.

As a point of illustration, I offer this:  Hubband and I both agreed that we did not want to live in one of those houses where the television was the center of the room.  Aesthetically and culturally tacky.  We agreed.  Yet, somehow, our whole living space is now arrange in a very awkward configuration, for the sole purpose of giving us better access to the television.

Don't be fooled but the optical illusion of this picture.  
I can sit on the couch and put my feet up on the fence.

The television is not only the focal point of the room, it looks as though the room is in fact a shrine.  The television in question sits in its own alcove, a grotto of sorts, enclosed by a low fence to keep the stickier and more curious worshipers at a safe distance.  For your viewing and sitting pleasure, the couch is less than four feet away, in the middle of the room.  And by "middle," I mean the geographic center of the room.  Front to back, side to side, in the middle of the room.

I have no energy left to fight this.  All the compromising has worn me down.  And, if I were being completely honest, I would admit that it is kinda nice to be able to see the TV.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Week in Kids, #5

This week...

Also this week...

It was Spring Break around here.We ordered one of those bouncing contraptions.

 From the outside, it looked like this.

From the inside, it looked like this.

From flat on my broken back, hanging out the door, it looked like this.

It was sort of for Jonah's birthday, which is in January, when a bouncing contraption is impractical.  And we were hoping to cut down on too much of this.

Also this week...

A Few Surprises

Grandma and Grandpa came to visit from Washington.  Jonah wanted to take Grandma out for ice cream, but he wanted it to be a surprise.  Under no circumstances, were we to tell her where we were going.  Jonah, however, felt it was okay if he gave hints.  "You can eat it.  It is frozen and it comes in a cone."  Grandma, though a sharp woman, could not crack this code, and was appropriately surprised.

Also surprising...  Jonah was very tired.  Wander-off-to-his-bed-in-the-middle-of-the-day tired.  Maybe because he was getting sick?  Maybe because he must share his room at night with a three year old whose sole nocturnal occupation is the production of snot, and who every two hours must get out of his bed and come tell me?  Maybe a little of both.  Or, it could be, that he is getting ready to grow, very fast.  When I told him this, he said, "I am growing.  But, I wanted to surprise you."  I felt bad ruining it for him.

Also this week...

A Prize Fighter with No Prizes

Catherine has been walking around with a shiner and a fat lip.  Poor girl.  She got them the same day, but in two separate incidents.  (Neither of which involved the above bouncing contraption.) And we were right there both times.

Hubband told me not to take or post any pictures of her because "it is important for girls to feel pretty."  Hm.  But, here she is at her own wailing wall, making it perfectly clear that things are not going here way.

See you next week...