Friday, December 26, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas........

Twas just before Christmas -- eight-thirty at night
the kids were still up, their eyes were still bright.
We'd had our big dinner -- roast pork and cranberries --
The tableside chatter was lively and merry.

We baked cookies for Santa; A plate we were fixin'
for Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen.
And for Comet and Cupid and Donner, of course!
And for Blitzen and Rudolf (who eats like a horse!)

Then finally (Finally!) the kids were in bed
and visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
Mike went to the kitchen and made a night cap
and then stockings we stuffed and the presents we wrapped.

The wrapping took hours, and midnight drew near.
Our cutting and taping was into high gear!
And when we were done, I wandered to bed.
I fell on my face and I slept like the dead.

And then at some point in the still of the night
We awoke to a sound and a terrible fright!
From up on the stairs there arose such a clatter
Mike sprang from the bed to see what was the matter!

Up on the landing, with a wheeze and a whoop
our poor little Gibson was fighting the Croup*.
He coughed, and he barked, and he gasped and he choked
like for 99 years he'd breathed nothing but smoke.

"Dad!" Gibson yelped, staring Mike in the eye.
"Daddy! I think that I'm going to die!"
Mike scooped him up. He knew just what to do.
We'd had this before. Out the front door he flew.

He sat Gib outside. Let him breathe the cold air.
But our Christmas Eve temp was incredibly rare.
Sixty Degrees! Oh My Lord, it was balmy!
But when you need COLD, well.. it wasn't too calming.

So Gibson continued to gasp and to wheeze
while I was in bed, catching up on my Zzzz's.
Not Mike. He was on it -- so lively and quick!
He had up his sleeve another fine trick!

He altered his course, his movements, they flashed.
He ran through the house! To the bathroom he dashed!
He turned on the shower and sat Gibson down
he watched him breathe loudly and said with a frown

"You stay here little buddy, and try to recover.
I have to go downstairs and wake up your mother."
More rapid than eagles, his footsteps they came.
As he ran down the stairs, he was calling my name.

"Rachel!" he said, "Gibson's a mess!
He can't catch is breath, and I think that unless
he starts to get better, we might have to go!
Which hospital's closest? Tell me...Do you know?

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the second floor bathroom I flew,
with my stress-level rising, and my blood pressure too!

He sat on the toilet, a miserable elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
He was dressed in Pj's, his hair damp from the steam
which made the whole sequence seem like a bad dream.

His eyes, they were focused. His face was not merry.
His chubby white cheeks were as red as a cherry.
His poor little mouth was as round as an "O".
He breathed in. He breathed out. The air started to flow.

We watched him suck air in and out through his teeth
and the steam, it encircled his head like a wreath.
"He's better!" said Mike. "I think he's improving!
He's out of the woods! He can get his breath moving!"

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave us to know we had nothing to dread.
He gave us a nod, and then wiped off his nose,
and pushed himself up -- off the toilet he rose.

We gave him some meds, tucked him into our bed
and then I snuggled in to prop up his small head.
I lay there beside him, awake and afloat.
It was like a kazoo was lodged into his throat.

Somehow, after while, it calmed down to a whistle
and my sheets were as soft as the down of a thistle.
We all drifted off before dawn was in sight.
Merry Christmas to all! And to all a Good Night!

* Any condition of the larynx or trachea characterized by a loud bark-ish sounding cough and difficult breathing. (Doesn't that sound like FUN!!?)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Apparently, it's good news all around......

Guess what, Internet? I got a full-time job! No joking. After four blissful years of stay-at-home-parenting (read: working your ass into the ground 24/7 and not getting paid for it) I am returning to the world of full time work. Which certainly doesn't mean that I'll get a reprieve from working my ass into the ground... it just means that I'll actually see some revenue for it. Hooray!!!!!!

This is not to say that I haven't enjoyed my stint at a stay-at-home mommy. I have. It has truly been an experience like no other, and for the most part, it's been wonderful. Four years ago, when Landis was born and Mike and I made the decision to stay on this track, we knew that it would be a big financial sacrifice. And it has been. (Folks, there have been months that have been, ummmmm, welllllllll.......let's just say "tight" and leave it at that.) But we also knew that we were lucky to be able to make this decision, since so many families don't have a choice. So we scrimped and we pinched and we budgeted ourselves down to the very last penny. We made enormous sacrifices, but we were glad to do it because we knew that the boys would appreciate the trade off.

So when I learned that I was getting this job, I sat Gibson down to talk about the changes that could happen in our household. I explained that I was going to go back to work. I explained that this meant that I wouldn't be home for them all the time. And I explained that, depending on how it all worked out, they might need to start attending an afterschool program or that we might have to have a babysitter in the afternoons. I was a little worried that a monumental change like this might rock his world -- That he might be a little apprehensive because mommy wasn't going to be there for him every day when he got off the bus. I was prepared to ease his fears, calm him if he was distressed, and I braced myself so I could readily address his concerns.................

I shouldn't have bothered. Because after I spilled the news, his big blue eyes lit up like Christmas candles. He danced all around the kitchen in sheer delight and said: "That's AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can we have Garrie?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!"


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bathtime fun

Last night at bathtime, I left the boys alone to soap up and shampoo while I went upstairs to grab PJ's. It's no big deal, as they are really self-sufficient and can execute a body scrubbing and hair washing without any problem. (You'll note that I said "can". By that I mean they are perfectly able. And let's be clear here: I am by no means implying that they ever actually DO it on any sort of regular basis. However they are indeed perfectly able.)

Before bathtime, I'd looked both of them in the eye and stressed that we were in a bit of a hurry. I told them I'd need them to get down to business. No playing around, no toys. Just a quick scrub-down and shampooing. And believe it or not, they were actually doing it -- with no reminders from me. They got in, they scrubbed, and they didn't mess around at all! I was so proud of them for how well they were listening. The entire process of bathtime went so much faster than I thought it would -- and with considerably less water on the floor -- that I had to dash for the PJ's because I was the one who wasn't ready.

Wanna guess what they did while I was gone?

Go on........


No guesses? OK. I'll tell you.

Apparently, while I was gone, they were taking the opportunity to have a brotherly stand off. A water-fight of sorts. Folks, they were WHIZZING ON EACH OTHER!!!!!! That's right. You heard me. They were whizzing on each other in the bathtub. Mike walked in and found them standing face-to-face, with weapons drawn, in full assault.

The issue of actually peeing on each other aside, this leaves me with 3 questions:

1. How do they even have that much urine in their bodies when I made them both pee before they ever got in the tub?
2. Why are boys like this?
3. Why did they wait to do it until AFTER they were clean?

I will be eternally grateful to anyone who can give me answers to these questions. In fact, I will put you in my will of you can give me the answer to question number 2.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One Big Happy Family of Monkeys

So everyone keeps asking me how my Thanksgiving was. They all knew I was hosting twenty of my in-laws at our house over the extended weekend, and my standard reply has been "It was great! A little like unleashing wild monkeys in my house, but yeah.... it was Great." And after a while, I realized I'd made that reference so often that I thought I should look on-line to see if there was any information out there about what it's actually like to unleash wild monkeys in your house. Not only did the Internet turn up a plethora of info on this exact subject, but it turns out that it IS in fact similar to just what we experienced at Thanksgiving -- and well, if I'm honest, what we experience at any holiday in which we all get together under one roof.

Take for example the snippet that says "Monkeys are messy. They can't really be effectively toilet trained and sometimes engage in distasteful activities involving their feces and urine." For the record, my washer and dryer just simultaneously shouted "Ya THINK?!?!?!" And then I think I heard one of them give a disgusted snort. Though to be fair, they are still grumpy from being abused non-stop over the 4 day weekend. Don't get me wrong, they're used to getting a regular work-out, but it's nothing like the punishment we bestowed upon them over the holiday -- And distasteful disposal of urine and feces were just the start of it. Those poor appliances are still trying to catch their breath, but at least they aren't panting anymore.

Oh -- and how about this little addendum: "Aside from the toileting messes, monkeys can be extremely mischievous and destructive, especially if bored." Ummmmmm, yeah...... Mischievous. Did I mention how many kids were in and out of the house all day long? And how our front yard was littered with so many random objects that it looked like the Clampitt's had moved to town? Or how there were articles of clothing hanging from the trees? And the random climbing rope hanging between two trees that may or may not have been used as a home-made zip-line?

The article goes on to point out that monkeys are unpredictable and may turn aggressively on anyone, including the person to whom they are the closest. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA........!!!! Does anyone else think this is hilarious when applied to holiday get-togethers? Oh my... Oh my... Hang on.... I have to compose myself...........

"A wide range of diseases can be passed from monkeys to humans." Or, as we discovered, from children to children and/or children to adults! Hooray!

"Monkeys are expensive to house and feed, and some require specialized diets that can be time consuming to prepare." Not unlike preparing a Thanksgiving feast for twenty that includes a 20 pound turkey, various options for the vegetarians, and options for those with a gluten/wheat allergy.

"A significant commitment of time is needed just for routine care and cleaning up after a monkey" As proven by the solid week it took me to get my house back in order. Oh who am I kidding? It's still a wreck.........

"But more importantly a monkey needs a large amount of social interaction and attention from the owner." Amen, Brothers and Sisters. Isn't that what makes it all worth it in the end? Isn't that exactly why why we do it all in the first place?

So, it appears that my comparison was right. Our Thanksgiving was great. It was chaotic and lively and boisterous and lawless and EXACTLY like setting wild monkeys loose in our house. And I'm excited to do it all again in two weeks -- at my sister-in-law's.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Sunday Night Chronicles

  • 9:00pm -- I stretch, yawn and push myself up off the couch, announcing that I'm going to bed because I'm incredibly tired and would really like to get a good night's sleep.

  • 9:30pm -- I brush and floss, put on my PJ's and pad out to the family room to tell Mike goodnight.

  • 9:40pm -- I burrow under the covers and curl up with my book. I read two pages and start to doze........

  • 11:30pm -- I snap awake worried that I've overslept my alarm. I sit up and look at the clock. (Sigh....) I put my book on the nightstand, turn off the lamp and go back to sleep.

  • 12:15am -- Landis shows up bedside, announces that he's getting in and directs me to scoot over. I peel one eye open and tell him to go around. He argues, and insists that I scoot over. Being in no mood for a debate, I inform him in no uncertain terms that I am not moving. I give him two choices: Go around and get in on other side, or go up to his own bed. He cries and says he does not want to sleep next to Gibby. I peel other eye open and tell him that Gibby is not in this bed, that Gibby is, in fact, in his own bed, and that if he does not stop crying he can march his little bootie back up to HIS OWN BED too.

  • 12:17am -- Landis finally quits crying long enough to realize that he has the entire other side of bed to himself, quits arguing, goes around and climbs in.

  • 1:34am -- I snap awake, convinced I've overslept alarm. I look at the clock, (Sigh.....) and go back to sleep.

  • 2:36am -- Landis rolls over and decides that the most comfortable sleeping position for him would be DIRECTLY ON TOP OF ME. He sighs deeply in his sleep and says "Mom, you play the tuba." "OK" I reply, glancing at the clock and wondering exactly how many minutes of sleep I've managed to get thus far. "I'll play the clarinet........." he says. "OK." I reply. ".......AND the accordion." he sighs. "Whatever floats your boat..." I tell him, and I gingerly work my way out from under him, scoot him back over to the other side of the bed and go back to sleep.

  • 3:11am - I have a dream that it's 5:19am and that I've overslept my alarm by almost an hour and a half. I dream that I'm running, running, running..... Trying to call someone -- ANYONE -- to help me fix it. I bolt upright, lunge at the alarm clock and realize I'm dreaming. I roll over and wonder if waking up every hour to an accelerated heart rate actually qualifies as a decent night's sleep before dozing off again.

  • 4:00am -- The alarm goes off. I hit snooze.

  • 4:04am -- The snooze alarm goes off. I lay there contemplating how dangerous it would be for me to

  • 4:09am -- I jerk my eyeballs open, throw the covers back, and climb out of bed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Gibson ran a fever for a few days -- a mystery fever than came with no other symptoms. No chills, no sore throat, no upset tummy, no achiness. It was just a fever -- but it was high enough for us to decide to keep him out of school.

All day long, for 2 days straight, we had the same conversations:
"Can I play with Alex?"
"No. You have a fever. You need to rest."
"Can I go outside?"
"No you have a fever. Why don't you lay on the couch and rest?"
"Can I ride my bike? I feel OK."
"No. You have a fever. Why don't you watch cartoons and rest? Your body needs to rest."

Finally, nearing the end of the second day, I said "Gibson, why don't you go upstairs and clean up your toys? You've been playing like crazy and you've made a huge mess up there."

To which Gibson flopped down on the couch with his arm draped over his eyes Scarlett-O'Hara-Style and replied, "Mom! I can't! I have a fever and I need to lay down on this couch and rest."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Have kids? Get a life insurance policy.....

My son is trying to kill me. I'm convinced of it. There can be no other explanation for the recent events that have taken place in the wee-hours of the morning in our otherwise peaceful household. I'll present my case and you can draw your own conclusions.

Let's start with Wednesday morning. Some of you know that I open the Y a few days a week. That being the case, I roll out of bed at 4:00am. (Well, OK......I hit snooze at 4:00am. I roll out of bed at 4:10.... but it's all the same at that hour, isn't it?) I get myself dressed, take steps to address my bedhead, and brush my teeth before I tip-toe out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. The house is still and silent, and my movements are calculated in order to make sure I don't inadvertently wake anyone up. The refrigerator door is opened slowly and silently, my breakfast is put quietly into my bag, and I wrap my keys in my fist so that they don't jingle against one another on my way out the door. On Wednesday, I stopped at the hall-tree to grab my winter jacket, because it was literally freezing outside. Twenty-three degrees to be exact. I unhooked my coat and slid my arms into it, and then bent to pick up the bag I had silently placed on the floor. As I did, a sharp and punctuated sound came out of the dark stillness above my head. It came from the upstairs balcony and it rang out like a shot. It said "MOM??!!" and I am here to tell you, I almost had a heart attack and died right there on the door mat. So after I'd gotten up off the floor, regained my composure, stopped convulsing, and checked my pants, Gibson and I had a conversation about what I was doing, where I was going, and whether or not daddy was still here. (On a side note, the way that kid worries about us leaving him forever, I'm pretty sure he was abandoned in a past life......) Eventually he determined that all was OK, and went back to bed. But me? I was WIDE awake. Who needs coffee in the morning when you can have a near-death experience instead?

Now, let's cut to last night. Gibson kind of had a rough one. I think he sometimes has nightmares -- and he sleeps like a rock, so it's hard to get him to snap out of it. I'd gone up to his room a couple of times to try to soothe him, as he was half crying and kicking around in bed. It took a few tries, but I'd finally managed to get him settled down and had gone back to bed for the 3rd time that night -- completely exhausted and just hoping I could get some uninterrupted sleep until morning reared it's ugly head. But at some point in the wee hours of the night, Gibson had woken up and wandered downstairs to our bedroom. Mike heard him coming -- which is a freakin' miracle in itself -- and was in the process of getting out of bed to see what he needed. This means that when Gibson tottered into our room, instead of quietly walking over to the bed and waking us up like he usually does, he came face-to-face with a six-foot-nine-inch figure looming over him in the dark. So he did what any normal six year old would do........ He screamed. And I don't know how you react when you go from a dead-sleep to a blood-curdling scream in your face at 3:00am, but I can tell you what I did. I shot straight up out of bed, and clung to the ceiling with my nails while I convulsed and had a mini-stroke. Oh yeah -- and I screamed too. Which, if I remember correctly, made Gibson scream again. And poor Mike, huffy because of the reaction his "help" had garnered, was all "Jesus Christ!! Would you two just SETTLE DOWN!?!" And then he steered Gibson out of the room.

So I think it's pretty clear that the kid has it out for me. He's discovered my weakness and is determined to exploit it by showing up at random moments in the dark of night and literally scaring me to death. And I don't know what he hopes to gain by knocking me off, because he's going to be sorely disappointed in the life-insurance policy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Doing Homework; A Lesson in Responsible Parenting

Look who hasn't been doing her "homework" lately! But, hey, I warned you that might happen, right? I explained that I wasn't very good at that whole "turning assignments in on time" thing, didn't I? I would like to point out that I did, however, excel at posting for eight days straight. That might be a new world record for me -- both for posting AND for turning in homework assignments.

And when it comes to homework, do you know what else I'm not very good at? Remembering to make Gibson do his. Yes, yes.... He's only in Kindergarten, but they do have homework every night. It's easy stuff -- and really not very time consuming -- but the general idea is just to get the youngsters used to actually doing it. And please don't tell anybody, but I think it's safe to admit to you that I'm falling down in that department. Apparently, even as a grown up and mother, I still have issues with completing it in a timely manner.

Here's how it usually works: Gibson gets off the bus and I tell him that the very first thing he needs to do is his homework. But then he's hungry and needs a snack. And then after he's eaten he gets distracted -- usually in the form of Landis, and sometimes in the form of the neighbor kids. And then I get distracted -- usually in the form of laundry and/or dinner prep. I mean, let's face it.........two people who may or may not have ADD issues are not very good at keeping one another on task.

So after about 4 days of me forgetting to actually see to it that he even starts his assignments -- let alone complete them -- I catch a glimpse of the homework calender taped to the fridge. (Especially eye-catching is the signature line at the bottom -- where you, as the capable and dutiful parent, put pen to paper and sign it when you pack all of it into your son's backpack to be turned in at the end of the month.) It's at that precise moment, when I realize that the scam I've been running (you know, the one about me being a responsible parent) is about to be exposed.
GAAAAAAAAACK!!! Gibson!! You have homework to do! FOUR DAYS WORTH!!!!!! Get your notebook!! Sit down! Here! Take this pencil!! Write your numbers 1-20! Write the alphabet in uppercase letters! Practice your phone number!!! Draw four pigs! Count their ears!!!!!
And Gibson, who is only supposed to have about 10 minutes of homework a night, flounders around in about 30 minutes worth. To his credit though he gets it all done, and with little complaining.

Apparently, the lesson I am teaching my son is this: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. And then freak out when the dead-line is approaching. Which is certainly an improvement from my own school days where my motto was: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. Dead-line, Schmead-line.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

And then he kissed me......

Today Gibson and Landis were playing the "Kissing Game" in the backseat of the car. Yep. That's right. The Kissing Game. And I have to admit that when Gibson proposed that they play it, I was more than a little taken aback. (Gibson = Hey Landis...Wanna play the Kissing Game? Landis = Sure! Me = Wha.....?!?!)

I adjusted the rearview mirror so I could see them. "Just exactly how does this Kissing Game go?" I asked. "Like this!" replied Gibson. Then he proceeded to lean across the backseat as he puckered up his lips, made smooching sounds, and smacked Landis in the back of the head. Landis responded in kind.

I'm not entirely sure why they think that's kissing, but I swear they didn't learn that from Mike and me.

So all I can say is this: Those two are either going to have to really work on that kissing technique of theirs, or they're going to have to find themselves some really freaky girlfriends. Let's all pray for the former.......

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Bee-ing" Good.

Gibson brings home a "Bee-havior" report every day from kindergarten. It's a good system, really. Here's how it works: Each of the kids has a bee. If a student is "good", meaning he lives up to the classroom expectations, his bee stays in the hive with all the rest. However, if a student breaks a rule, his bee gets ousted from the protection of the hive. At that time, in order to bring home a smiley face in the Bee-havior report, the rowdy-rule-breaking student must try to win back his place in the hive by proving that he is, indeed, a hard worker and knows the classroom expectations. (I like to imagine that the little worker bee has to grovel to the Queen. He flies into the hive, escorted by the royal-guard-bees and pleads his case..... "Your majesty. I'm sorry for not doing my share of the pollinating and honey-producing..... I can do better, my Queen, if you'll just see fit to give me another chance........... I'll work hard. I promise. Please do not banish me to the net. Perhaps her majesty would like a few extra buckets of honey....?")

If the wayward bee can win back his favor with the Queen, then his previous mis-behavior is expunged from his record, and the little bee brings home a smiley-face in his "Bee-havior Report". However, if he is unable to win back his rightful place in the hive -- let's say, for instance, that he just can't quit talking to his neighboring bees -- then instead of a smiley-face, the number of the classroom rule our little bee has broken is written down in it's place. (Just for the record, Gibson brings home a lot of #2's. That means that he is not "bee-ing a hard worker" because the only thing he's actually working on is wagging his tongue. And, by the way, that roar of laughter you may have just heard is the collective cackling of each and every one of the teachers I ever had in my education career. I imagine that they are all in hysterics over the fact that I am already SO GETTING WHAT I DESERVE. Yes, I can hear you -- even all the way down here in Charlotte.......)

What, you may ask, happens to the little bee who not only can't win back the favor of the hive, but also continues to mis-behave? Well, those poor little bees end up in the "net". It's a sad and lonely place, that net. And if you find yourself wondering if our little bee has been to the net before, I'll tell you that yes, in fact, he has. But that's a story for another time. What I want to tell you about today are all the smiley-faces our little bee has been bringing home. His goal was 2 in a row. And we've gotten there. We've gotten there a couple of times. But last week...........whew-doggies!...........we had a good run on smiley faces. Our little bee had come home with his SEVENTH smiley-face IN A ROW!

"Gibson!" I said to my son, "You are doing amazingly well, and I am so proud of you! I'll tell you what...... If you are able to bring home 10 smiley-faces in a row, I'll take you to Chuck-E-Cheese." Well, if you've known a 6-year-old-boy in your lifetime, you'll know that I'd just promised him the Garden of Eden. So the next morning he left for school determined to get smiley-face number 8. And when he got off the bus in the afternoon, he ran to the house shouting "Mom! Mom!! I got ANOTHER smiley-face!! And you're going to laugh, because my teacher drew a funny smiley-face in pencil! Wait until you see it!" I was thrilled for him, because this, my friends, this was a huge accomplishment.

I dug around in his backpack and pulled out his "Bee-havior Book". And there it was. His pencil-smiley-face. And he was did make me laugh...........

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In need of some distraction

Sunday was one of the most beautiful fall days I've seen here in Charlotte, so we took a drive out to Crowder's Mountain to do some hiking. And not only was it a perfect day for a hike, it was also a chance to see the leaves at their most colorful. So off we went. The hike is a couple of miles long and mostly uphill, but the boys were amazing, so we made it up the mountain in just shy of an hour. Crowder's Mountain is almost like a huge rock fin jutting up out of the ground, so when you get to the top, you can alternately hike and rock scramble to get from one side to the other. It's fairly wide in spots, but the edges are steep -- and in some places sheer cliffs hundreds of feet high. I'm pretty relaxed about what my kids do when we are outdoors, but in this one instance I thought I might have a stroke from my stress level. Luckily, Gibson made a suggestion that helped distract me and kept me out of panic mode. If you look closely in the reflection of my sunglasses, you can see what had me totally and completely on edge..........

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Amazing. Incredible. Astonishing. Awesome. Marvelous. Unbelievable. Wonderful. Astounding. Fantastic.

Way to go America! I couldn't be more proud of you.

But California? Shame on you. Shame. On. You.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

41 weeks pregnant

November 4th. Election day, 2008. And I feel like I felt when I was past my due date.

Have you ever been pregnant? Did you deliver on your due date? Or even early? If so, you can disregard this entire blog post because you'll have no earthly idea what I'm talking about. But if you've ever been pregnant AND continued to be so way past your due date, you'll know exactly what I'm getting at.

I was a full week "late" delivering each of my children. It would be an enormous understatement to say that it was exasperating. Especially with my first, because at that time I was naive enough to think the doctors knew what they were talking about when they assigned me that completely arbitrary date. So you can imagine that once my due date had come and gone with nary a movement in that stubborn uterus of mine, I spent every waking moment going "Now? Now? Now? How 'bout now? No? Maybe......NOW! Nope. Now? Now? Now? Now? Now? Now? Now? Now? Ooooooooo! Ooooooooooo! Maybe Now! Hmmmmmm.... No. Now?"

And even though it was insane -- and I was fully aware that it was -- my anticipation was so great that it was impossible for me to wait patiently and let the process work. And let me tell you, that sort of anxious and antsy behavior makes for some LONG and torturous days. Not to mention a slightly annoyed husband.

Having weathered that emotionally and mentally painful week, not once but twice, you'd think I'd have learned my lesson. That perhaps I would be better about embracing the process. That I would be calm, composed, even easy-going as we await the results. But...ummmmm.......not so much.

So......... Do you think we'll know soon? Now? Maybe now? How 'bout now? No? Now? Now? Now? Now? Maybe now......

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Daily Blog

So my friend, Janice, whom I believe I've mentioned here before, has recently informed me that November is "National Blog Month". And perhaps this news is only exciting to those of us with our noses pressed up against our brightly lit screens, typing out the intimate details of our lives to share with our friends, our families, and any poor sap who happens to pass by. Or maybe it's not true at all, and it's all a big joke on me, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Now, to my understanding, in order to participate in National Blog Month, one most post something every day. I think this sounds like fun, but seeing that I'm already 3 days behind, I'd like to propose an informal "rule bending" of sorts. Let's say that I'll participate, but that I'll do so in my usual half-assed way. It will be a bit like the way I used to do my daily homework: Partially-done assignments turned in 4 days late......if ever. Turned in frequently enough and complete enough to ensure that I wouldn't fail, but certainly not frequently enough or complete enough to ensure me the "A" that I was capable of. (Which, as a quick aside, makes me think I should say it's truly a wonder that my educator/mother still has her hair. Really.) So, does this arrangement work for you? It does? That's fantastic, because I have to tell you, I'm great at half-assed.

So since I need to go ahead and post something to get credit for today, do you wanna' hear how long Landis sat on the toilet today crying about how nobody would wipe his butt? No? Not today? Are you sure? Because it was a REALLY long time....... Well, that's OK. I can save it. And besides, I'll see you here tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


At 4:03pm yesterday afternoon:
  • I put Landis in the shower because he stunk. He stunk because apparently he had to fart and, SURPRISE!, he shit his pants.
  • My sister-in-law called to see what I was up to.
  • My dog was barking incessantly because I wouldn't let him in the house. I wouldn't let him in the house because he'd run away to go swimming in the pond down the street and was soaking wet. And because he was soaking wet, he stunk like smelly-wet-dog. And he was on his leash so he wouldn't run away again. And he was pissed about it and wanted me, and everyone else in the neighborhood to know it.
  • Landis was calling me from the shower every two seconds so I could come and look to see if his butt was clean yet. It wasn't.
  • Five random neighbor kids were running around in my front yard playing some sort of game that involved baseball bats.
  • One neighbor girl was inside my house crying in an incredibly high pitched, ear-splitting voice about how scared she was. She was scared because she'd climbed the tree in the front yard, decided that she was up too high, and then was worried about getting down. Apparently she did get down, but then decided to come in the house and share the story of her terrifying ordeal.
I'm sure my sister-in-law thoroughly enjoyed our conversation -- at least the snippets of it that took place as I alternately checked Landis's butt for the 18th time, glanced out the front window and wondered if I should put a halt to the baseball-bat game, wondered how soon it would take the baseball-bat game to result in an injury, wondered if that injury would require stitches or an ER run, weighed the odds of the possible injury against the relief of having occupied kids, tried to reassure screeching, crying neighbor girl, and yelled out the back door to my smelly wet dog while I prayed that he would just shut up for two seconds so my neighbors without kids and/or dogs didn't feel compelled to call the police.

If I took a snapshot of your day yesterday afternoon, what would it look like?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


You know what I like to do? Cut my hair. Or color it. Or grow it. And then maybe highlight it. And then......well........hmmmmmmmm...... Maybe cut it again. So you know I can't leave my blog alone either. What do you think? Do you like my new look? Maybe I'll change it again next week.................

** Edited to add: "Hey look! I changed it again! I can't decide if I like it with a darker background or a lighter background........ One of these days I'll make up my mind. In the meantime, bear with me and feel free to give your input."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Apparently we've been discussing this a lot.....

Yesterday Gibson was taking turns wearing each of our various Halloween masks around the house. He spent some time as a mummy, as a skeleton, as a scary old man, and then as George Bush. (No, the scary old man mask and the George Bush mask are not one and the same, though I'll admit that I consider the latter to be much more frightening than the former.......)

He wandered into the kitchen and over to where I was standing. "Mom," he asked, "Is this Barrack Obama?"
"No" I snorted, stifling the desire to be a smart-ass to my 6 year-old. He was asking a sincere question, and he deserved a sincere answer without any editorializing on my part. So I did the best I could. "That is definitely not Obama."
"Oh." He replied, peeling the mask off his face. He studied it for a minute, contemplating his options. "I guess it must be John McCain........"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I hear the secrets that you keep, when you're talkin' in your sleep.

My apologies to my loyal readers -- the few of you living out there in the blogosphere, checking in on the regular antics of the Kafsky family. I've been slack with the posting lately. Not for lack of material, mind you. It's just that I've been gone for a couple of weeks with wedding shin-digs and traveling, and the like. Did you miss me? Did you miss our regular chats about bodily functions and potty humour? Good, because today we're going to talk about butt-cracks. Specifically stinky-butt-cracks, and my four-year-old's compulsive love for talking about them ALL THE TIME.

You know, I thought I knew what I was in for when I had boys. I had a brother. I knew what he was like -- always asking my mom to make him penis-butter and jelly sandwiches. Or calling people "peacocks" because he thought it was heeelarious. He could also burp the alphabet and make great fart noises under his armpit. (A skill my 6 year old has honed to perfection and delights in showing off to his peers. I know this because we got a note home about it. It said something to the effect of "Gibson had to move his bee out of the hive today for making fart noises under his armpit during class." [Sigh.....] I'm beaming with pride. Can you feel it?)

But I digress.... I believe we were discussing butt-cracks. It's Landis's favorite thing to talk about. And he's discovered that he can use this phrase in a multitude of situations. Is humour called for? Stinky-butt-crack! Is the mood more serious? Stinky-butt-crack! Perhaps sad? Stinky-butt-crack! Maybe he's angry. Stinky-butt-crack! He's even been known to call me a stinky-butt-crack under his breath when he's in trouble. It's an insult I pretend not to hear since he does go out of his way to say it quietly, but also so as not to have to string him up by his toes from his bedroom ceiling. (How's that for a time out, you little stinky-butt-crack?) And just to illustrate my point about how often we have to hear this phrase, I'll share this story with you. Last night, around 10:30, Mike went up to make sure both boys were all tucked in before we went to bed. He adjusted Landis's covers, turned out his night light, and tousled his hair a little -- because really, he's so cute it's hard to resist. And how did our sweet little angle respond to this display of tenderness? He rolled over in his sleep, sighed a sleepy sigh, and right on cue, he muttered those 5 little words we never thought we'd have occasion to hear while he slept: "It's a stinky-butt-crack!"

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The compliments of random strangers have led to this....

If you are looking for me on Saturday mornings, you can find me at the grocery store. I love to be there before 9:00 a.m. It's my idea of a perfect day. Sad but true, I enjoy it. And one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is because most Saturdays I don't have to bring the kids along. But today was an exception. Mike had to work, and he had to work early, which meant spending the morning dragging kids along behind a shopping cart. But life can't be all bliss all the time, so I didn't really mind. They've been fairly good recently, and I had high hopes for our trip today. And for the most part, they were good. Except when I forgot to get the oatmeal out of the cereal isle. We were all the way down by the cheese when I realized it. "Stay here." I instructed. Landis was pushing the cart, and it just seemed so much easier to make a quick run by myself. (He's not very proficient with the maneuvering thing....) So I ran quickly to the cereal isle. But they didn't listen (seriously now, why in the world did I think they would?) and they both showed up in the isle, having deserted our cart back with the cheese. "Dudes!" I hissed. "Get back there!"
"I was scared!" yelled Gibson -- whose new thing is to imagine that I'm abandoning him forever anytime I take two steps away from him. "Heaven help me..." I muttered as we made our way back to the cart.

And I don't know how it goes in your house, but in mine, God forbid that one child have any sort of advantage over the other -- even a 2 step advantage toward an abandoned grocery cart. So they picked up the pace, and then threw elbows, and then had an argument over who was the first one to the cart. An argument that had them squarely in the way of an innocent bystander trying to get her hands on some dairy products. When I caught up to the little hooligans, I told them to apologize to the woman for being so rowdy and getting in her way. Gibson, embarrassed, refused. Landis just looked confused. "Apologize." I insisted. "Now."
"It's OK", she said. "They're fine. Really. They're just being kids. It's fine. I promise."
I thanked her for being so understanding. Not everybody in Super-Walmart is so forgiving of their antics at 9:00am.
I turned back to the cart.
And then Gibson chimed in.......
"Yeah, Don't worry mom. We're so cute, no one minds........."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Super Freak, Super Freak, I'm Super-Freakaaaayyyyy

Halloween is in full-swing in our house. And I mean FULL-SWING, people. I was fortunate enough -- depending on your perspective -- to marry a man whose love for this particular holiday is so deep, it's almost demented. And though he's been banned from transforming our home into a Halloween factory until after my birthday (September 22, just so you know) that doesn't stop him from standing out in the garage for weeks prior, licking his lips and dreaming of the day when he'll get to unpack ALL THOSE BOXES.

And so, promptly on September 23rd, he went to the garage, and returned with box after box after box after box, to begin the weeks-long ordeal we refer to simply as "decorating". Having been raised in this environment, you know the boys are just as nuts about Halloween as their father. And as the boxes streamed in from the garage, the clapping, dancing, shouting and jumping in circles was in high gear. Their anticipation was palatable, and trying to contain them until everything was in the house was a little like standing at the base of a waterfall and trying to hold it back with your hand. Impossible. Eventually, we gave in and let them start unpacking. The cardboard was ripped open, packing materials were flying, bats and ghosts were everywhere. Rubber masks came out, chains, dancing skeletons, witches cauldrons, the works......... The frenzy..... Oh, the frenzy.

And then, the last box. Gibson was the one who got to it. He tore open the top and peered in. Squealing with delight, he paused to take in the glory of what he'd discovered. "It's her!" he shouted. "My girl! My little cutie! MY HALLOWEEN GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!!" He reached gingerly into the box and carefully extracted his treasure. And suddenly, there she was in all her well-worn, much-beloved splendor: The Dancing Bride of Frankenstein.

We had gotten her as a gift, back when Gibson was 2, and to be frank, she really wasn't Mike's type. He considered getting rid of her. She was just a little too campy for his taste. But he was busy decorating, so he'd put her on the fireplace hearth to get her out of the way. Which is where Gibson found her. And then spent the entire rest of the month alternately staring at her, dancing to her pre-recorded "superfreak" song, and looking up her dress. (A pattern that hasn't changed in the last 4 years.) He'd carry her around the house, sleep with her at bedtime, and still, she persevered. It was, and still is, true love. And in the name of good Halloween spirit, I'd like to share her with you. So here she is. Considerably worn, and worse for the wear, she's like a Halloween version of the velveteen rabbit - minus the scarlet fever. God help us if she ever comes to life.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I think her effect on men is universal.

Landis was half-heartedly looking over my shoulder when I signed onto the computer this afternoon, and as it was coming to life, a picture of Angelia Jolie popped up in the lower left-hand corner. "Whoa!" he said, his picture-coloring coming to a complete and total halt. "Who's THAT!?" So I told him her name. He leaned in for a closer look. "Well, I think I love her." he told me. He studied her picture a little longer and then he looked at me. "I think I want her to be my mommy."

Wait. Does my four year old wish I looked like Angelina Jolie? (Which, by the way, would make two of us.) Or does he actually want her to be his mommy, effectively cutting me out of the picture completely? I mean, with all the kids she and Brad have, I'm sure they wouldn't notice one more.... It could work. And though he's blond-haired and blue-eyed, he could get away with saying they'd adopted him from Finland or something. But seriously now.... He's FOUR-YEARS-OLD. And he was totally and completely enamoured of Angelina Jolie with one glance. Head over heels in love, and ready to give up his own mother for a chance to belong to her.

I do his laundry daily. I read him his favorite books every night. I cook his dinner, make him breakfast and pack his lunch. I kiss his boo-boos, dry his tears, and snuggle him when he's feeling sad. I laugh at his jokes. I take him camping. I let him climb under the covers with me at 4:00 in the morning, and I don't even complain when I end up with his butt in my face. But apparently none of that matters. My son is ready to trade me in because I don't look like Angelina Jolie.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dear Washington,

Let me get straight to the point. I have had it up to my eyeballs with you and your atrocious behavior, so sit your asses down and listen up. You are adults. Did you know that? Did you know that you are adults? Because you behave like children. Spoiled brats, to be precise. And every time you show up on TV whining and crying and bickering and pointing fingers, I think I might have to gouge my eardrums out with a fork. Seriously people, if I have to hear one more instance of you whining about how you didn't like how you were spoken to, and how nothing is your fault, or how it's always someone else's problem that you can't seem to get your work done, I'm going to go get the wooden spoon.

Here's a news-flash for you: YOU ARE GROWN UPS! START ACTING LIKE IT!!!!! But since you insist on behaving like children, I'm going to address you in a way that you can understand. You clearly need Momma to lay down the law. Now get your asses back in that room, and don't even think about coming out until you've worked it out. All of it. And I mean it. DO YOUR FREAKING JOB. Don't even consider showing your faces outside that door until you think you can behave in a civilized manner, because I can't take it anymore. Your asinine partisan antics are about to push me past my limits. And if I have to come up there.......... so help me,'re going to wish you'd found a way to solve this yourselves. I wouldn't tolerate this kind of immature bickering and bullshit behavior from my 4 year-old, and I'm sure as hell not going to tolerate it from you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yeah I'm free........ Freefallin'

Last night I dreamt that I steered a pirate ship off a huge water fall. A massive waterfall. Hundreds of feet tall. And did I mention that my entire family was on board at the time? They were. But I'd noticed that we were drifting aimlessly down the river, with no one at the helm, which meant that we kept running into the shore. And I was worried about what that would do to the ship. So I took the wheel and I pointed that sucker away from shore -- straight downstream. Directly, as it turns out, over an enormous waterfall.

The free-fall was long and terrifying, and the entire time I was falling I couldn't take my eyes off the behemoth rocks littered around the base. They were everywhere and I didn't know how to avoid them, seeing that I had no control over where I might land. And then it occurred to me that even if I landed safely, the boat might smash to smithereens with my husband and kids on board. All I could do was hope. So I squeezed my eyes shut. And I hung on to hope. And I braced myself for impact. And somehow, I missed those rocks. I missed them all. Instead, I plunged deep into the water. So deep, in fact that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to come up for air. But somehow I managed. And when I broke the surface of the water, gasping for air and rejoicing that I'd made it unscathed, I noticed that, against all odds, the ship had landed safely too. It sat, herculean and majestic, rocking gently back and forth in a quiet pool. I threw my head back and laughed out loud, unable to contain the wild grin that split my face.

You think this means it's all going to be OK in the end?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Take me out to the ball game.

Ugh....... Ugh. Ugh. Ugh! Gibson wants to play baseball, and he's apparently quite serious about it. And as much as I want to, I fear that I'm not going to be able to put him off any longer. When he made this announcement over the summer, I promptly dismissed it by saying "OK, honey. If you want to play baseball, I'll sign you up in the fall..." knowing full-well that this was another of his imaginative, yet short-lived whims, i.e becoming a zombie, getting a gig on Dancing with the Stars or playing soccer. But this baseball thing.... it seems to be hanging around. A few weeks ago he brought it up again. Last week when he asked me if I was checking into it, I lied. Then yesterday at dinner, he asked me if it was fall yet. And later he said "I can't wait for baseball to start!" Geeeesh.... I'm starting to feel bad about leading the kid on. So I guess we're destined for little-league.

Not that I have anything against youth sports. I don't. I have a background in outdoor education and adventure recreation. I'm all about playing. But for the time-being, I do have something against leaping out of bed and running ass all over town to practices and games and practices and games and practices and games and practices and games. Look's the nitty-gritty. I'm selfish. I'm going to go ahead an admit it. I love our leisurely Saturdays, with nothing on the agenda but an early morning trip to the grocery store. And even that chore is not really required. (We've got some flour, some cheese and some extra-brown bananas. I'm sure I can whip up something..... ) I just happen to enjoy that time-frame. Early. Alone. And I also enjoy coming back in the door to my kids still in their PJ's, and Mike drinking a cup of coffee on the couch. No deadlines, no places to be, nothing to do. It's Saturday morning bliss.

Maybe I enjoy these Saturday mornings so much because I know they won't last. The inevitability of extra-curricular activities will seep into our lives, just as it does to everyone else. I can clearly remember my own mom bringing me dinner at school because as soon as the bell rang I had gone straight to basketball practice and then to practice for the High School Musical. (Yeah, that's right. I was high-school-musical before high-school-musical was cool.) But at least I was a teenager and not a six-year old.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Picture Day!

Look who's lookin' cute as a button for kindergarten picture day!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Say what, now?

Here's a little something you should know about me. Just like any number of people I meet in Charlotte, I was born and raised in Ohio. It was a small town just north of Cincinnati, called Lebanon. My husband is from Ohio, too. Though he's actually from Cleveland, which is about as opposite from Cincinnati as you can get. Cincinnati is conservative, Cleveland is more liberal. Cincinnati - more white collar, Cleveland - more blue collar. Cincinnati has a big Appalachian influence, Cleveland seems to have more of an Eastern European influence.

The dialects in both cities are vastly different too. Because of that Appalachian influence, I grew up carrying "UM-brellas", purchasing "IN-surance", and walking on the "CE-ment". And in some areas, you could even catch "feesh" in the "crick". My husband, on the other hand, grew up visiting his "GrrrreammAAAhhhhh" and all the women in his family wore "brAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhs". (Wow. Those are hard to write out phonetically. Just say the words "Grandma" and "Bra" as nasally and drawn out as humanly possible and you'll be close.) In Cleveland they also do a lot of "Oy-Vey!"-ing, which is a phrase I never heard in any of my formative years. So you'd think that the dialect of our offspring would be somewhere in the middle, right? Well.... actually....... No. They were both born right here in North Carolina and have the sweet southern charm to prove it. Especially Landis, who at the ripe old age of four, has somehow adopted the thickest Good-'ole-boy accent I have ever heard. And because it entertains me, I've compiled a list of all the words he's said recently in a handy little poem -- Spelled phonetically, of course, for your enjoyment. It pretty well sums up a day in our life.............

Mom! I think the dog needs hay-elp!
I'm pretty sure I heard him yay-elp!

I think I landed on his hay-ed
when I jumped down from the bay-ed!

How 'bout some butter spread with jay-a-lee
to go inside my hungry bay-a-lee?

And by the way, I've spilled my may-elk
onto those sheets. Hope they weren't say-elk!

I have no socks, I'm missin' tway-elve
because I threw them off the shay-elves.

No, I don't know what's making that smay-elle!
MOM! It's not nice to say "WHAT THE HAY-ELLE?!"!

I'm gonna run straight up that hee-el.
And then I'm gonna stand real stee-el.

Hey mom, is this a kay-mic-cul?
Hey look at me! I found a nickle!

And look what else I found! A shay-elle!
It looks just like the letter ay-el!

Gibson hit me in the gut!
I'm gonna' whup him on his butt!

Did you get all that? It's true. All of it. The ironic thing is that Gibson's accent isn't nearly as thick as Landis's, and he's two years older. So where does the Lan-Man get it? Who knows. But as we listen to him talk, day after day, Mike just shakes his head in dis-belief with a bemused smile on his face. "Kid," he says. "No one, and I mean no one, would believe that your great-grandparents were straight off the boat from Poland."


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All the things you've ever wanted to know about me.

So I've had this survey sitting in my in-box for a really, really long time with every intention of filling it out and emailing it back to the friend that sent it to me. I know there are plenty of people who receive them, groan loudly and hit the delete button, but I actually think they're kind of fun. At a minimum they make you examine yourself a little bit..... And since I can't get my act together to just fill out and return the email, I thought I'd take a cue from my other friend, Janice, and just post the answers right here on my blog. So here goes......

  • Do you like blue cheese? Love it. Love it. Love it.
  • Have you ever smoked? Doesn't everyone at least try it at some point during the college years? Though these days there's almost nothing I find more disgusting. Really people.... It's gross.
  • Do you own a gun? Only if you count plastic Nerf-like ones that shoot foam balls.
  • What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic? I've only been to Sonic once -- and then it was for ice cream.
  • Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No.
  • What do you think of hot dogs? I forget how much I like them until I have one.
  • Favorite Christmas Movie? Dr. Seuss's animated "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" always warms my heart. But my other choice would be the one with the Red Rider BB gun. A Christmas Story? Is that what it's called? Hilarious! I watched it last year for the first time in a LONG time, and it's even funnier watching it as a parent.
  • What do you prefer to drink in the morning? I don't like coffee at all, but I'll drink anything else with caffeine. Unsweetened Tea, Crystal Light, and yes -- Diet Dr. Pepper.
  • Can you do push ups? Yes. Slowly and in good form. And back when I was a raft-guide I could do them one-armed. I was ripped.

  • What's your favorite piece of jewelry? I have a couple of necklaces that I really love, but I think I'm going to go with my wedding ring.
  • What's your favorite song that starts with a C? Can't let go, by Lucinda Williams
  • Here's the scenario: Your basketball team is up by 3 with 10 seconds to go in the championship game. The other team has the ball. They are a good shooting team but haven't been in this game. You know they will want to try to tie the game with a three. Do you foul or take your chances and let them shoot? I wouldn't foul. I'd play phenomenal Defense and let them take their chances.
  • Who would play you in the movie of your life? Jennifer Gray, pre-nose job.
  • Do you have A.D.D.? Totally. And I find that it serves me well as a mother.
  • What's one trait you hate about yourself? Let's not say "hate". Hate is such a strong word, isn't it? Especially in reference to oneself.... Let's say "find frustrating". There, now. Isn't that better? The thing I probably find most frustrating about myself is that I have a hard time keeping my cool in escalating situations. My husband, Mike, can look completely unfazed on the outside and continue to speak in a logical way with a level, non-shaking voice, even if he is raging on the inside. Even if the other person is being either such a complete ass, or an unbelievable moron that all he really wants to do is reach across the span of airspace between them and choke the life out of him or her. He can stay calm. Collected. Not me. Oh, I can control it for a few minutes. In the beginning, I can keep shoving it back down, even as it tries to bubble up and spill over -- but not for long. First my face will give me away because it will start to get red, and my features will start to get tight. After a while, when I try to speak in a normal voice it comes out all strained. And then, if I try really hard to stay under control, my eyes water a little, which really pisses me off because then it looks like I'm trying not to cry, when really I'm just furious. Ooooooooooooo! I HATE that.
  • Middle name? Before I got married it was Lynne. After marriage I changed it to Haynes, as I didn't want my maiden name to get lost in the shuffle.

  • Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. this exact moment? Three thoughts? I wonder what I should write?
  • Name 3 things you bought yesterday? You want me to stop at 3? I did our weekly grocery shopping yesterday, so how about I tell you all the things I bought in three's instead? Like 3 gallons of milk, 3 loaves of bread, 3 blocks of cheese, 3 bags of apples, etc...etc....etc....
  • Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Water, Iced Tea, Diet Dr. Pepper (though not nearly as much as I used to.)
  • Current worry? Heaven's sakes! Where should I begin? How about the state of our country for starters? It gives me an ulcer. Or how about the fact that so many Americans seem willing to get behind a VP candidate who, aside from a dynamic personality, has little to offer. A person whose Foreign Policy experience can be wrapped up in the sentence "Well, you know George, Russia is really close to Alaska." GAAAAAAAAAACKKKKKK!!!!!!!!! It's so baffling! Hello?!?! Do you know that we're at war? For cryin' out loud, I have more "Executive Experience" than she does. If knowing how to juggle work and a family qualifies you, then SIGN ME UP! I, too, can sit at my kitchen table and work out a budget. Hey McCain, want me to be your running mate? I'm clearly more than qualified. And on the same note, should it also be a worry that the VP candidate garners more attention and support than the ACTUAL PRESIDENTIAL candidate does? Doesn' t that speak to something? So perhaps I should also worry about why so many Americans have their heads up their asses? (Pant, pant, pant, pant...... see answer to "Trait" question above. God -- I think I need a valuim.)
  • Current hate right now? Our crack-like addiction to oil.
  • Favorite place to be? In the outdoors playing with my kids.

  • How did you ring in the New Year? Ummmm......... I can't exactly recall, so it was either fairly calm, or it involved way too much booze. I'm going to go with the former. I think we had a slumber-party in the family room to watch the ball drop, and if I remember correctly, we missed it because we were all asleep on the floor by 10:30.
  • Where would you like to go? Who's paying?
  • Name three people who will complete this. I'm not sending it out, but if you read it, feel free to post comments.
  • Do you own slippers? Yes -- big huge green down booties.
  • What shirt are you wearing? A staff shirt.
  • Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I've never done it, but I can't help thinking that I would turn over at night and slip out of bed.
  • Can you whistle? Yes, but only by sucking air in, not by blowing out. Weird, I know.
  • Favorite color? I always say blue, but we have a lot of green in our house.
  • Would you be a pirate? Would I get to wear and eye-patch and drink beer?
  • What songs do you sing in the shower? Anything in my range, and usually the last thing I heard on the radio. (And Erin, you should know that I also have conversations with imaginary people in the shower. I think it's how I brainstorm ideas and/or work out issues. I'm not sure but I think it's because the shower is the only place I have a minute of peace....)
  • Favorite girl's name? I've always liked Olivia, but of course have never gotten the chance to use it!
  • Favorite boy's name? We settled on Gibson and Landis, and since then I haven't given it a lot of thought.
  • What's in your pocket right now? I don't have any pockets.
  • What's something that made you laugh recently? Are you kidding me? What doesn't make me laugh?
  • Best bed sheets as a child? I don't remember any specific bed sheets, but I had a sleeping bag that was exactly like a roll of lifesavers -- foil on the ends and everything. It was great.

  • Worst injury you've ever had? I broke my leg once from walking out in front of a car, but actually, the time I sledded down a dam spill-way and landed face-first in a concrete run-off trough might take the cake. Knocked me out cold for a minute, and left me looking like I'd gone 10 rounds with Muhammad Ali. Or that perhaps I was the victim of some serious domestic abuse. No joke. When I went out in public, people would stare with their mouths hanging open when they thought I wasn't looking.
  • Do you love where you live? Completely
  • How many TVs do you have in your house? One. And it's not a wide-screen-flat-screen-plasma-do-ma-jiggy. It's a regular TV. And we don't have cable (gasp) or Direct TV (GASP!). I know.........., I know........
  • Who is your loudest friend? I don't think I have any friends who are louder than me.
  • How many dogs do you have? One. One-big-giant-total-pain-in-my-ass-but-somehow-still-totally-lovable-enough-that-I-don't-kill-him-even-though-he's-cut-it-close-a-few-times-yellow-lab.
  • What is your favorite book(s)? That is an impossible question. My list would be a mile long.
  • Favorite Sport Team? I'll go with the Carolina Panthers
  • What song do you want played at your funeral? I've always said it should be Don't worry, be happy. I suppose I'll stick with that unless something better comes along.
  • What were you doing 12 AM last night? I was dead-asleep.
  • What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? it 4:00am already?!

So there you go. Answers to all the burning questions you had about me. What do you think? Do we have anything in common?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Yesterday, I escorted Landis out of the car and into his preschool with a large pack of paper-towels tucked neatly under my arm. What? You don't carry paper-towels around with you everywhere you go? What if something spills? Or what if his face gets dirty? Or his hands? What if he needs something to put his snack on? Wait.....Did I even bring him a snack? Probably not. I can barely remember to bring my head with me, let alone pack a proper snack for my children. But I wasn't schlepping those paper-towels for any of those reasons. Heck, I don't even care about any of those things..... (Spills and dirty faces? Pah-shah.......) I was bringing them because they were on the supply list. And in case you are as clueless as I was in regard to the way preschool works, I'll explain. Each child in Landis's classroom - or more appropriately, each child's parents - are supposed to supply, among other things, one roll of paper-towels per month. Considering the fact that I am such a slack-ass that it took me two weeks to remember to actually BRING the paper-towels to school, I thought it would be best for everyone if I just bought a big pack. A big huge pack. And then I could get away with bringing them on a whim. I mean, remembering to bring them in monthly? I forgot the poor kid's lunch yesterday for cryin' out loud. Oh, I packed it the night before. It was ready to go. I just left in in the refrigerator when we hustled out the door. Yep. I made 6 trips back and forth from preschool yesterday. FUN!

Anyway.... We were making our way through the parking lot, and I handed Landis the paper-towel pack saying, "Here buddy. I'm carrying a lot of things. Why don't you carry this."
He must have been feeling extra generous that morning, because he did so without complaint. He was quiet as we walked together, and I could tell he was lost in thought. Finally, he spoke.
  • L: "Mom............ I don't have to go to the bathroom."
  • Me: "You don't? OK."
  • L: "I mean, I don't think I'll have to go to potty today. You know? I don't think I'll have to go poopy.
  • Me: "Ummmmm......OK.........."

He held out the large pack of paper-towels.

  • L: "So I guess I won't be needing these........"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Road Trip!!

Our August was busy. Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. It's like we ambled along, drifting slowly through the first 2 months of summer, and then sat bolt-upright and said "Whoa! If we're going to go anywhere this summer, we need to get in the car and take off right now!!" And then we spent the remaining four weeks driving around the Southeast non-stop. Over to the mountains? Check. Up to Ohio? Check. Out to the beach? Check.
Yes, indeed. We covered it all.

That being said, we obviously spent a lot of time in the car in August. Have you spent an outlandish amount of time in the car with 2 small boys lately? No? That's unfortunate for you. You're really missing out on some good quality fun. What? You don't believe me? You should. Here, let me give you a few examples..............

One of my favorite back-seat activities is one I like to refer to as the "Window Wrangle". You may have played it when you were a child. It goes like this:
He's looking out my window! Don't let him look out my window!
I can look out any window I want to!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
Look out YOUR OWN window!!
MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!! (crying) He's looking out MY window!!!!"
(Repeat for 10 minutes.)

I mean, seriously..... Doesn't that sound like a blast?! It makes me feel all happy inside just thinking about it. It's a hoot. A laugh a minute. Truly, it is.

Another of my favorite road-trip activities involves both boys trying to "rest" in order to make the time go a little faster. I like to refer to it as the "Hindering your Head" game. That particular little back-seat exercise typically goes like this:
I'm laying my head there!
No you're not! This is where I lay MY head!!
Nuh-unh!! It's where MY head goes!
(Smack, slap, scuffle, scuffle, shove, smack, cry, tattle......) MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM!!! He hit me! Did you hear that? He hit me!!
Well he hit me!!
Well he's laying his head in MY spot!!
No I'm not!!
Yes he is!!
No I'm not!!
Yes he is!!
No I'm not!
Yes he is!
(Repeat endlessly.)

It's music to my ears. Who needs a relaxing afternoon reading a book, or getting a massage, when you can go on a road trip with these two instead? I find these little back-seat antics to be thoroughly refreshing in every way. So refreshing, in fact, that I never once even think about swiveling around in my seat with my enraged eyeballs practically popping out of my head to hiss at the boys between my clenched teeth that they'd better find a way to FIGURE IT OUT because if I have to come back there and fix it for them I can promise that MY solution is going to be terribly unpleasant for both of them.


I never have to do anything like that.

Or, perhaps you've experienced my personal favorite: The Surprise Smackdown. You know........ It's the one where one child lays in wait, pretending not to be bothered by the other one at all. Not in the slightest. In fact, he pretends to be completely preoccupied by something else. And then, without warning and when you least expect it, he strikes. He lunges across the span of the back seat:

This one is Mike's personal favorite too. And if you don't know Mike, then you don't know that his patience-level is about one millisecond long. Which is, I guess, the driving factor in why he married me. I can put up with a lot of obnoxious shit for an exorbitant amount of time without completely blowing my stack in a "wow-that-poor-person-is-way-too-intense-and-needs-to-be-medicated" sort of way. And as much as I love him, I can't really say the same for my dear husband...... Which makes us a good balance I suppose.

So on our latest 3-hour tour, after we'd been through the Window Wrangle, and the Hinder-your-head game, I figured that I'd done enough threatening through my teeth to thwart any attempt at the Surprise Smackdown. But who was I kidding? In a quiet moment, one of them lunged. The smackdown had started, and I watched Mike getting wound tighter and tighter and tighter until I thought he was going to explode. And when it got to the point that he'd absolutely, in no uncertain terms, had enough, he peeled both eyes off the road and swerved around between the yellow lines so he could explode at the boys: "If you two do not straighten up this minute, I'M going to come back there and start smackin' you around!" (Because really -- let's be honest here....... what parent hasn't stooped to threatening their children with physical violence 3 hours into a road trip? Seriously. Show me a parent who hasn't had to go there and I'll show you a parent who's kids aren't verbal yet.)

Anyway...... You know you've raised some well-mannered southern boys when, upon this outburst by their father, they stop what they're doing, sit straight up and respond: "Ummm, Dad? Don't you mean to say 'I'm going to come back there and put a whuppin' on boaf y'all!'? before they collapse on top of each other, hiccupping for breath in between their gales of laughter.
Yeah.... Hardy, hardy, har, har........
Don't laugh. We might be coming to your house next.