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.