Wednesday, December 29, 2010

All Kin'a Holiday Fun

So, as some of you may know, J has been trying to grow his hair out for some time. I blogged about it here and meant to post pictures but uh, yeah---I didn't.

Anyway, it hasn't really panned out. He just doesn't have the Fabio type hair, and it was taking FOOOOOOOREEEEEEEVER.

I started nagging him a couple of weeks ago to get it cut because I just didn't like it most of the time. It bugged him too.

So he finally threw in the towel and let me cut it last night. I've honed my clipper skills in the last several months, practicing on Bo and Danyo-- so I was more confident going into it than I have been in a long time.

AND

I gave him a rattail. It was awesome. And by awesome, I mean, 1985 cried at the beauty of it.

But that's not the best part. I didn't tell him I was doing it. I kept waiting for him to say he felt something on his neck still, or feel me pulling on it as I tried to trim around it. We were watching our friends' kids and I was dying for them to come back so they could see my work of art before he busted me. I finished before they came back, and he took a shower. I was sure he'd come down from his shower, laughing and call me out on it. He did not. All the while, I could not stop laughing and several times I had to play it off as something else making me laugh.

Finally our friends arrived and I had her check out J's haircut. She looked at it and was telling me I did a good job and suddenly saw the rattail and started laughing right out loud. That's when J got nervous. He said, "Why are there two women laughing about my hair!?"

I totally figured he'd think I was hilarious and awesome at the same time and I thought he'd at least humor me for two days and leave it on, since he didn't have to go to work and there are TONS of people here who could enjoy it for those two days. But he made me take it off right away. Party pooper.

Plus, he says he trusts me about 26% less now.
:(

However, for THIS----I have pictures.
You are welcome.
These were all taken before he knew, and with our flip camera, so they aren't the greatest quality pictures. But really, a rattail in and of itself is all the quality these photos need.



















Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things My Kids Say

We continued our copied tradition of elves leaving little gifts for the kids in their stockings, 12 days before Christmas. Combine a late night, Mom's er...Elves' forgetfulness, and a slightly messy house in which Mom decides it's okay for the kids to learn a little lesson, they did not get a treat left in their stocking one night. I'm always curious about how much Danyo takes in on things. He is very....weird when it comes to communicating some things. A very classic conversation with him, "Did you put that stool on your bed?"
"Yes"
"For what?"
"Because I did."
"I know you did, what did you use it for?"
"Because I can."

ad nauseum

So, I was surprised and delighted to hear him grumble to me, "Those stupid elves didn't leave anysing in my stocking."



This morning Avee was straightening up her room post-friend-over-tornado and I peeked my head in to check on it. She had done a spectacular job but there were little pieces of sequins and glitter all over her floor that hadn't been before.

"Avee! Why is that all over the floor!?"
"Oh, I put it there, it's glitter. I wanted my room to be sparkly clean."

And I'mmmmm out.


Bo has been enlightened about Christmas this year. I have to admit, I wasn't sure it would be this soon, and I thought I'd be sad about him not getting worked up about Santa and writing letters, but it's been fun in its own way to be open with him. He's very funny. Reminding me of things we can and cannot talk about. I think I need to document why exactly he knows at 7. He's definitely been suspicious for several months and I just always said, "What do you think?" And in every conversation, he wasn't quite ready to give it up yet.
Then about a month ago we were at our friends house and I caught Bo holding their five year old's arms behind his back, like he was arrested, and demanding, "Give me three good reasons why Santa is real!" I realized he was taking a page from J's book, (Give me three good reasons why I should let you watch this Pokemon show) and adding a little of Bully Bo to it. I snatched him up quickly and took him to another room and scolded him about strong arming a younger kid (the two of them wrestle all the time and either Liam always smiles, or he really doesn't mind) and said, "Santa isn't real, but it is NOT your job to tell other people and the second you tell another child who believes, is the second you stop getting presents."

"I knew it! I KNEW it!!" That was his response. I think later he felt some sadness at the loss of Santa, but told me, it was all good because the presents still come, and if you think about it, it's pretty obvious Santa is make-believe.

Later when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas he told me he'd like the costume for the "Hide yo kids, hide yo wives" guy. I told him he was never getting that and that Dad needed to stop watching stuff like that with him. He said, never. I figured as much.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Contusions and Tattling

We just got back from a lovely visit to Missouri. I've been working on a book for my mom for some time now, and finally got to give her the completed project. J had taken the week off from work, so we capitalized on his time off with a quick trip. The kids missed three days of school. I hope they don't flunk out now.

Bo fell last week playing in our first snow. He complained it hurt, but I looked at his leg, and he seemed okay the next day. 5 days later, while in Missouri, I noticed him limping pretty considerably. I looked at his leg and it was swollen. I of course, started feeling like the world's greatest mom, sure that it was fractured and I hadn't noticed for 5 days. I took him to the doctor Thursday morning and nothing was found in the x-ray. He still limps quite a bit. The good news is, even if it was fractured, they wouldn't cast it because it's the fibula, non-weight bearing bone. I hope that's true because it's given me peace of mind if they haven't caught a fracture in the x-ray. Avee had about 7 x-rays before a specialist caught her spiral fracture nearly 3 weeks after she fractured her leg.

If hurting your leg was a crime, Bo would be on world's dumbest criminals. Twice, TWICE I had to make him get off the treadmill, after getting the speed up to 9, trying to get to 10. See what I mean? There ain't no nice spin on that business. My brother actually video-taped one of them and wouldn't let me see it because it was "abuse". It was ridiculous. Pain is nothing in the face of a challenge. Nutty little boy.

He has also managed to give himself another fantastic chap-stache, several weeks ago. I have been harrassing him almost nonstop for the last 3 weeks. We've gone through a couple of tubes of chapstick and three different revolutionary medicinal lip balm. He just can't stop. So, anyone who's been around the two of us for more than 8 minutes, is well aware of this battle with his chap-stache.

Fast forward to last night as we were driving home from the bowling alley. I noticed that Bo had just not really tried to be careful on his leg, and that his limping had become dramatically worse throughout the day. So I mentioned to J that we should try to immobilize his leg somehow so that he'd be forced to take it easy. Bo was asking what immobilize meant and if we could get started on it right away.

Then Avee stepped in. She is going through a tattle phase. It's hilarious to me, at the same time that it's annoying. She tattles about EVERYTHING. And they are detailed and accurate and long-winded. I respond to all of them with, "Did you tell him how you felt about that?" or "Are you tattling right now?" She responds with, "I don't want to tell him how I feel, I want to tell you about it." or "I'm not tattling, I'm just telling you what happened."

As we are talking about Bo's leg immobilization, Avee says, "Moooom, last night I saw Bo going up the stairs, RUNNING, on his sore leg AND doing that thing with his lips that makes them chapped!"

J and I burst out laughing. She nailed that boy in one swift tattle. It's probably my favorite thing she's said in a week.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Probably Won't Make You Laugh MAG. :)

There have been times in my life when I felt like I couldn't go on for a second more. Like my heart couldn't bear anymore, the future seemed like dark oblivion I didn't want to be a part of, the sadness was overwhelming.

And then,

my heart kept beating. My breath kept coming. I would wake up in the morning, a survivor of whatever I had faced the day before. Probably to face more, but I had survived once already.

I'm not going through anything like that right now, but I've been thinking a lot about these times in my life. When it seems life went on, with or without my consent.

I look back on some of those moments and sometimes feel a little sheepish. Like the time when I was 16 and the boy I thought I loved, didn't love me back. Or when I was 24 and unmarried, living in a state where the average age of marriage was about 12.9 years old. It felt so big and so real at the time, but with time and perspective, I see how silly it all really was.

And then the times when I felt like I couldn't face another moment with the sorrow or the complete unknown, and the hand I had been dealt was simply more than I was equipped to bear. Those moments where the weight of it all made me crumple to my knees, and the anguish could only find voice in pleadings for relief.

Looking back in my life, I see the lights of those moments shining back at me. Today it struck me that I see, in my mind's eye, these moments as lights and not dark blots of history I'd like wiped from my past.

Because those periods of my life---changed me. From the inside out. Like a mental metamorphosis, I came out different. Better. I have days where I wonder what the heck I'm doing and why anybody takes me seriously at all. Days when I wish I never gotten married because marriage isn't a passive thing and takes work. Or days when I shouldn't be allowed to be a mom. Days when I wonder why anyone even bothers with me at all.

Those days end though. Just like the days where I feel like I can do anything and I'm the most awesome person anyone has ever had the pleasure of encountering. They all end.

And the husband I feel too lazy to be married to comes home and says, "Talk to me, I want to connect with you" and a friend calls and says, "I've got 10 gallons of milk, do you want any?"
and I realize at some point in the evening that my kids are going to turn out okay and make mistakes whether I lecture them all day or not. And I'd rather not lecture all day.

Life goes on.

Today, I'm in charge of the direction it's going. I'm open, I'm available, I'm kind, I'm hard-working, I love, I matter, I need, I falter, I roll my eyes, I laugh out loud, I am shallow, I am profound, I am trying.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Conversations In The Car. With Avee

Avee: How on oth does Santa come down people's chimney without getting all dohty?!
Me: What makes you think he gets dirty?
Avee: I just figyo-ed. Chimneys are filthy. And why don't you know if he' dohty or not?
Me: I've never seen him come down a chimney. Maybe it's magic!
Avee: There is no such thing as magic.


Avee: Can we make chocolate chip cookies today?
Me: Yes! We'll have to do it right away because I work tonight.
Avee: No! Don't go to work! Stay home!
Me: I know, I'd like to stay home, but I have to go.
Avee: Okay, fine. Then go to work naked so you'll get fired.

Me: I sure love those freckles on your nose.
Avee: I sho love the fat on your body.
Me: Seriously Avee, why do you say that.
Avee: Because I do!!
Me: Why do you love it so much?
Avee: Because you look good.
Me: Yeah, that's right.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It Ain't Over

I just had a random memory pop into my head that made me laugh out loud. Now I feel compelled to record it.

When I was in my early twenties, I went to school in the northern part of Utah, and my older sister who had three little girls, lived an hour and a half away in Salt Lake City. My sister's home was always open to me. ALWAYS. And I traipsed through there with dozens of friends over the two years I went to school there. Always comfortable, always accommodating.

But even if it wasn't, I was madly in love with my three nieces and would regularly run away from my "real life" in college, to spend weekends with them. I'm still madly in love with them, but they's all growed up and I'm not the most awesome person they ever knew anymore. Oh yeah, and they live in England. Brats.

Anyway.

One weekend I was down there and saw in the paper an advertisement that a local school was performing Phantom of the Opera. I loved the show when I saw it in Oakland when I was 19 and I thought my 9 year old niece would enjoy it as well. I cleared it with my sister, made arrangements, and came back down the weekend of the performance. My friend T and I, all hyped up to see an $8 performance of Phantom, jumped in the car with Katherine and took off to the nearby high school.

We were immediately concerned when we walked into a makeshift theater, which doubled as a cafeteria and possibly a woodworking classroom. There were about 30 seats set out for the audience, and we were the first to fill them. I think probably 8-12 more people joined us before the show started.

It was nothing like the actual show. It wasn't even the same story-line that I could tell. We tried desperately to follow it, and rid our minds of our expectations and just enjoy the show. But it was impossible. The acting was much like my three year old trying to convince me he's not hiding anything behind his back. The acoustics were abominable. The storyline dreadful. AND it wasn't a musical either. No one was singing anything.

About 15 minutes in, it was painfully obvious that I had made a huge mistake. I don't remember when or where or why exactly, but T and I lost it. Probably more than once, we were laughing hysterically, trying to go unnoticed. Being two of 12 people in a cafeterwoodshopeater, it was difficult to be unnoticed. I remember Katherine laughing along with us, the ridiculous of my mistake, not lost on her. She was a relatively serious child, so this was particularly amusing to me.

We wanted to leave. We desperately wanted to salvage what was left of the night; but I just couldn't see us leaving without being horribly rude.

Katherine kept persisting, "When can we leave? How much longer do we have to stay? When will this be over?"

T, always with the quick wit, said, "I'm sorry, but this ain't over til the fat lady sings." We both thought that was so funny, because there was a very large actress on the stage, but there was absolutely no singing going on.

Then. The very very large girl started singing. It was totally out of nowhere and of all the characters who could suddenly turn the play into a musical, it was her!

It was then that my sweet, serious little 9 year old niece reached for her coat on the back of her chair and said, "So, we can go now?"

The only reason I know that T and I didn't die laughing that night, is because I'm typing this now.

I love my sweet little serious Katherine. She's still sweet, but now she's 6'2" and only serious when she has to be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Love You Too

Motherhood has brought me to an all new low.

Danyo is my little routine boy. In addition to that, he is also a little OCD. Do something once a certain way, and it becomes law for him.

One of those is his nap time routine. I "taco" him with his blanket, I say I love you, I pause at the door and he says "I love you too."

Wellllllllll....

Yesterday I missed my window of opportunity and he was just ridiculous from being tired. He was screaming, crying, yelling, slamming things, etc. So I carried him upstairs and tried to keep my cool in the midst of insanity.

He never stopped crying and screaming. And if Rational could have stepped in for a second and he had been silent, I am certain he would not be able to tell you why he was so mad. But he was mad.

I tucked him in, I said I love you, he screamed, "I LOVE YOU TOOOOOOO!" and I kind of giggled and closed his door. He kept screaming. I opened the door and said, "Why are you still yelling?" He screamed, "I SAID I LOVE YOU TOO MOM!!!!"

"I know Danyo, I heard you. Thank you."
"THANK YOU!!!!"
"Night night."
"I LOVE YOU TOOOOOOOOOO!"
"And I love you."
"THANK YOU!!!!"

I closed the door, still amused, more than annoyed.

He wouldn't stop screaming. "I SAID I LOVE YOU TOO! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!"

I stuck my head in and told him to be quiet or I was taking his blanket from him.

He couldn't hear my threats because he wouldn't stop screaming. "I SAID THANK YOU!!!!!!"

I wasn't amused anymore.

I closed the door and tried to ignore.

After a minute of screaming he came flying out of his room in a rage. "MOM I SAID I LOVE YOU TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

I came around the corner and he bolted back into his bed, all the while still screaming. "I SAID THANK YOU!!!!!!!!"

He could not be reasoned with. He would not stop crying and screaming. I couldn't even get a word in to calm him.

So I said the most logical, sensible words I have ever uttered:
"If you say, 'I love you too' or 'thank you' one more time, I will spank your little bottom!"

Pretty sure that was my finest hour.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some Footage

For Alicia:
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined...
I was upstairs and Bo came to the landing on the stairs, saying this. Of course I couldn't believe my ears and had to record it. He found this on "Best of Chris Farley". It's in his blood....
video

And this is about 6 weeks old, but begs to be shared.

video

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Say A Prayer At Eleven Eleven

Right now I'm on the internets talking to my darling niece. We are TALKING. With Google chat. It's awesome. She sounds more English than she ever has, it's pretty cute. I love that we can talk in real life, for free. Thank you Mr. Google. The best part is, she's kind of acting like my mom with the internet and I get to hear it. "Is my browser going to restart by itself?" I love it.

Life has been "normal" for about a week or so. It's nice to be back to normalcy, but I miss the "high" from my retreat. I told my cousin yesterday that I was old Nobody with just a memory of the reformed Nobody. *Sigh*

I put Bo in wrestling. He's wanted to wrestle since...well, basically since the womb. I have never been able to find something for little kids. He brought home a flyer and I signed him up for it. He LOVES it. I went dressed like a total bum and may have been overdressed. Avee went with us the first night, in hopes that it was coed wrestling. If she wasn't so insistent on fitting in and not standing out, I bet she'd join the boys and wrestle with the best of them. She was disappointed to be the only girl there. There were about 5 boys from her Kindergarten there, and I watched at least three of them strutting for her. One adorable one came up and said, "Wanna see me take someone down!?" It was really cute. Another one there is the little boy who called across the cafeteria to me, "Aw you Avee's Mom!?" When I said I was he happily volunteered, "Oh! Well, I'm ho gowfwiend!" Avee thought that was SO funny.

As it turns out my little, "I'm the boss, we do it my way, I will rearrange the entire Gregorian calendar to make myself a year older and not be lying, I can do it myself" princess, does NOT like to stand out. Her teacher noted that when she was being celebrated for knowing how to count to 100, she was very uncomfortable. And when I went to have lunch with her, she told me to stop coming. She just doesn't like extra attention. WHO'S CHILD IS THIS!!!! I HAVE A BLOG FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!


So anyway. We watched Bo get thrown to the mat repeatedly, and jump back up happy as he's ever been, looking for more. I love seeing him love something so much. The best part about that evening for me, was when Avee told Bo on the way there that she would give him a piece of candy for every kid he successfully beat up. Unclear on what wrestling meant, she still tapped into the deepest part of Bo's soul. Candy and winning. I have to say though, Bo really does handle not winning, quite well. Avee--not so much. We'll get there.

Yesterday we had one of my favorite little 11 year old girls in the world over, she was raking leaves with the kids to make a jumping pile. As the pile got bigger, Avee started listing the rules. The way they just flowed from her, made me think perhaps J had outlined some rules on Saturday when they raked. Then as the rules progressed I realized it was all her.
What I can remember:
1.Do not jump in head first, butt first only.
2. Do not jump in when someone is already in, wait your turn
3. Do not jump if you didn't help rake

Reasonable, right?
And then...

4. Follow all the rules
5. I am the only one who makes the rules
6. If you break any of the rules I will hit you with the rake.

I love that girl.

When I picked up the kids from school today they were pretty excited about the Veteran's Day celebrations they enjoyed. Avee was disappointed that J had never been a soldier, and thusly would not get a free meal at Applebee's. Neither of us like Applebee's but that girl LOVES the place. It's really just the name, or the apple, but she's liked it for some time now.

Then Bo mentioned that he'd like to be in the military when he grew up, probably Marines because they "get in, get it done and get out." Uhhh... okay. Avee's response to that was, "That's great Bo. If you do though, you'll have to deliver people's mail and pump their gas." I would LOVE to know where she got that idea. I laughed right out loud. I said, "Avee, 1952 called..." They didn't think I was funny though.

At this retreat I went to, one of the things I learned about and really wanted to implement into my life, is really letting myself, and my kids just feel. We try to talk ourselves out of "wasting time" on emotions or being weak, or in the case of my children, to not annoy the hell out of us with their crying and whining. Danyo is particularly guilty of this. He will get on one of his tyrades and there is no stopping him. So, I start counting and he starts yelling, "I'm done I'm done!" Part of me feels guilty for forcing him to stop crying like that, but the bigger part of me knows I will lose my mind if he gets to cry as much as he wants to.

Fresh from the retreat, feeling like a superstar, I decided to explore another method with Danyo. And he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. He had a fit about something, I believe this particular fit was because I didn't let him have the wii controller to abuse and lose. He started with the weeping and the wailing, and not so much gnashing of teeth, as much as screaming at me through clenched teeth. I took him into my arms and said things like, "I know, I know you are so sad right now, I'm sorry you feel so sad, tell mama about it..." He just sort of melted into my arms and sobbed and sobbed. He's an opportunist. He probably knew he wouldn't get a chance like this again. I held him. For several minutes. He got his fill of loving, compassionate mom, and pulled back. I took his face in my hands and said, "Do you feel better now?" He nodded but his face crumpled into tears again and he shoved his little stuffed dog in my face and said, "You made my doggy cry too Mom.

Yes, I let the damn stuffed dog explore his emotions as well. This is why I won't give 'em an inch. I just end up looking stupid.

So, I have to go now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The One Where I Acknowledge October

Holy moly. October just went down in a blaze of glory. One of the single most chaotic months of my life, and one of the most memorable, amazing ones as well.

Here's what happened this month:

October 1st at 9 am, J and I closed on a house. In the town we already live in. Yes, this may come as a surprise to some of you who are aware of my deep and abiding love for Iowa. But, I am not one to argue with fate. We have had some great years here, our kids are happy and in a good school, we have great friends, J's job puts the junior bacon cheeseburgers on the table, and I was just weary from living like tomorrow everything would change.

Everything went so incredibly smoothly and we're loving the house. I would just like to note that on October 1st at 8:33 AM I was in line at the bank waiting to get a printout of checks to pay our down payment. See, our lender said about 27 times to me, "all you need is your ID and your checkbook!" And I pretty much harassed her on the matter, "Are you sure that's all we'll need?" She kindly and sweetly reassured me. At 11:27 the night before I bolted upright in bed and exclaimed, "I DON'T KNOW WHERE OUR CHECKBOOK IS!" J and I had a good chuckle over that. It's so...me.

I'd also like to note that at 8:59AM I was charging up some steps to the law office where we were closing. Only, right in the middle of those steps, my feet stopped charging and my body didn't. I fell flat so suddenly. I really hurt my knee and shoulder and hand, but my pride was absolutely brutalized.

On October 4th at 11:00 AM I had an interview "screening" for graduate school. I sat in a room with 3 professors and one grad student and answered questions about myself for 45 minutes. I'm good at talking, so that part was easy. But knowing that I was being assessed for suitability and an appropriate level of sanity, was a little difficult. I felt like it went well, but of course after the fact I was constantly saying, "Why on earth did I think that was okay to say!?!?!" Specifically I mean, referring to Ben and Jerry as my therapists who help me cope with stress.

Ahhh well, I yam what I yam. Right?

On October 5th at 10:20 AM my phone rang. It was my best good cousin calling. Only, she's a teacher and is in class teaching at 10:00 AM my time every day. For the first time in over 20 years when she called, I didn't want to hear her voice. I answered, "I really, don't like you calling me at this time of day, it just can't be good." She said, "It isn't good, he's gone." I cried. So much life, so much love, just gone. It's really hard to come to terms with someone like him being gone. It's hard to wrap your brain around. And it's like the ending of the longest chapter of my life. He has been an active part of our lives, long before I was born, and regularly after.

On October 8th, the day before I was flying out to California for the funeral, my cousin called me several times while I was gone. She had just gotten notification from a retreat we had signed up for (the waiting list, the retreat was already full in April when we signed up) that if she'd be willing to drive an RV and stay in it, she could attend the retreat at the end of the month. She wanted to know if I was in. The timing wasn't the best, I had barely, and I mean BARELY made the house livable in order to go to the funeral. But it was a now or never kind of opportunity. I asked my mom if she'd come up and stay with my kids while I went. She said yes. I asked Jay if he'd be okay with me going. He said if I got my mom to come up and take care of the kids during the day, he didn't care where I went and for how long. So, I was in.

October 9-16th I spent a week in California, Danyo went with me. He turned out to be the world's best little travel companion. He adjusted to the ups and downs and unpredictability of traveling like no other 3 year old I've known. And he charmed the socks off of everyone. That boy is adorable through and through.

I can hardly remember the week between my return from the funeral trip and my flight back to California for the retreat. I worked like mad to finish the unpacking, I yelled at my kids and lost my temper with them WAY too many times, I kind of hated who I was, but couldn't seem to control it anyway. They are forgiving little sweethearts, so we're all good now. :)

On October 20th I do remember, I got a letter of acceptance to the graduate program. I had a moment of dread before I opened it, hoping it was a rejection. What kind of weirdo does that? I scrambled like mad in August to get my transcripts sent, study for and take the GRE, write an essay, get letters of Rec all in by September 1st, and there I sat, hoping for a rejection. I wanted the difficulty of the path to be completely removed as an option. I wanted a reason to not have to do it. Of course, a rejection would be difficult in and of itself, but the relief would outweigh it.

Alas, it was not a rejection. My self esteem enjoyed the hearty claps on its back, but all-in-all the whole idea is just a little too overwhelming for me to process right now.

On October 25th my mom flew into town and I write notes, and drew maps, and left phone numbers and warned her of each of the children's MO for sneakiness. Okay, really just Avee's. The other two couldn't sneak if their lives depended on it.

At 8:06 Am on October 26th I flew to California.

I got picked up from the curb in an RV. It was AWESOME.

I spent an incredible week in the mountains. It was rejuvenating, enlightening, hard, sweet, possibly life changing (I'll let you know), frustrating, and more than I ever hoped it could be. I am so grateful for the chance I had to go. For a cousin who got me there. A husband who helped make it happen. A mother that made it easier. I have good people in my life.

Take home messages from my retreat. At least ones that I'm willing to share:
I am madly in love with J. He is the greatest part about being me.
I want to be present in my children's lives and love them fully, as they are, and worry less about how they make me look or what they are doing "wrong".
I am whole, even with my weaknesses and past failures and heartbreaks. They aren't things I need to ignore or try to get away from---they are a part of me, and I am awesome. Awesome doesn't really even cover my awesomeness. I'm beyond awesome. I'm...I'm...BE-YAWESOME!!!
Thank you Rhino.

On October 31st I flew home from California at 10:00 pm at night. I haven't taken a red eye in about 20 years. I was better suited for it 20 years ago.

I am so happy to be home. I love the sound of Danyo's bare feet hitting the kitchen tile as he runs between Bo's bag of halloween candy in the kitchen and Caillou on the tv in the living room. I loved hearing Bo's musings this morning as he neglected his bowl of cereal and on our way to school. I loved seeing Avee's skeewampus hair which she plucked a headband on top of anyway. And trying to kindly convince her that capris in 50 degree weather wasn't the best choice.

I loved reading the week's lunch menu to the kids and letting them choose which day they wanted hot lunch. Avee chose "Nachos" and I heard "not choose" which is such an Avee response, but not in fact what she said. I am betting right now that tomorrow morning she will say something like, "I didn't want the nachos, I want the chicken sandwich." That's how she rolls. And how do I know? Because she is the apple and I am the tree.

I love feeling J's arms around me. I love the chill in the air, not quite cold, no more signs of warm days. I am happy.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Uncle Dick

My first memory in life is of you. I was wearing a yellow dress, eagerly anticipating your arrival. I stood on our porch. You pulled me down off the porch and swung me around in a big hug. I don't remember anything else about that visit.

You taught me how to tie my shoes. You let me read to you from the Bible when I was 4 years old and had just learned to read. You made me feel so proud to know how to read such big words.

You brought us a bunch of hats one year. It was random and looking back, kind of hilarious---but we loved it.

You brought me my best friend, until you didn't have to bring her and she did the trip without you.

You always insisted on a hug, a great big giant bear hug. I can see you standing in a dozen different places with your head tilted to the side, your arms open wide, your big, telling smiling, just waiting for your hug.

I baled hay on the ranch with you and my cousins. It was hard and satisfying. I love being able to say I've baled hay.

You encouraged me to get good grades in college.

You used to ask me to tell you faith-promoting stories. I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes every time.

You taught me the West Coast Swing and I was a hard, hard, pupil to teach. You made me go to a dance hall and dance with other people. It was terrifying and I tried to get out of it a dozen times or more. I don't believe you understand the words "No" and "I can't."

You didn't sugar coat. And if you did, it was usually an obscure quote I didn't understand.

You knew I didn't know as much as I thought I did, but you didn't make me feel stupid.

You danced with Betty in the kitchen. Even if she was in the middle of seasoning a salmon.

You took me on horseback rides. I think every member of our extended family can say that. I had one ride in college that was particularly soul satisfying. We rode late into the night, past midnight. I was so sore the next day, but that evening with you, on a horse, was just what I needed. I'm sure I never told you that. You probably knew.

You quoted poetry. A lot. Most of the time I didn't understand any of it. Last time you visited me in Iowa you introduced me to Pablo Neruda. Not like most people introduce others to poetry. There was a slight lull in our conversation, we were talking about Josie. It was 4 years later and her absence in our lives was still fresh, raw, sometimes consuming. You suddenly began...

When I die, I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me once more:
I want to feel the softness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep.
I want your ears still to hear the wind, I want you
to sniff the sea’s aroma that we loved together,
to continue to walk on the sand we walk on.

I want what I love to continue to live,
and you whom I love and sang above everything else
to continue to flourish, full-flowered:
so that you can reach everything my love directs you to,
so that my shadow can travel along in your hair,
so that everything can learn the reason for my song.



So fitting for you, from Josie. So fitting for us, from you.

When J and I were desperately poor students our car broke down. You rigged it to get us home after Josie's Memorial ride, and then later sent us a check that covered the exact amount of the repair.

You made me think "Uncle" was a way of life. I didn't know not everyone had an uncle like you. I didn't realize for a long time how much time and effort it took for you to be who you were to all of us.

We just bought a house, four days before you died. I spend a lot of time in this quiet house, unpacking boxes. I sit in this big house full of boxes, trying to imagine a house without boxes, and a world without you. I can't believe you won't be in California, standing in the foyer, with your head tilted to the side, your arms open wide.

You have left a void so big, so many lives you've touched, so many people who love you and were loved by you. I'm so glad you are my uncle. So glad you made that word mean so much to me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Funny Old Men

I was sitting at the front desk at work and an older man came up with a rattty old ziplock filled with old people candy. Butterscotches, Werthers, and those cinnamon hard candies. I think they must have a senior citizen store to buy those because I never see them at the store. Of course, I usually have whirly-helicopter-suckers-on-steriods shoved in my face to "watch watch WATCH!" so maybe that's why I don't see the senior citizen candies.


This little old man handed me the bag and said, "You're still here? Have some candy!" My instinct was to decline. Candy from a stranger. Ratty ol' bag, etc. But then I realized he'd never have to know that I wasn't going to eat it AND I was sitting behind bullet-proof glass, so I'd probably be okay taking candy from a stranger. This one time.

He goes, "You can have a sucker, they have my name on them!" I thought that was interesting that he had personalized suckers. I pulled one out. It was a DUM DUM. I laughed, but he laughed harder. I grabbed a butterscotch candy. He said, "those candies are the darndest things, sometimes they pop out of the wrapper---but it's okay, I just lick them and put them back in and they stay better." I totally guffawed. I love funny old men. Actually, I like funny anything.


J fixed my computer. Yay J!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

All We Need Is Just A Little Patience

Still no computer. The donation idea flopped, so maybe you all can start sending my husband some hate mail. All two of you reading this. Hi Mom!

Today Avee stumbled a bit with the wii remote trying to start a game. Bo laughed at her, and apparently so did Danyo. Avee slugged Bo and Bo, still laughing said, "If you are going to hit me for laughing at you, then you have to be fair and hit Danyo too because he was also laughing at you." I kind of chuckled at Bo's logic and complete shamelessness at throwing his three year old brother under the bus. Danyo giggled. Avee's face was crumpling. She does NOT like to be laughed at. I quickly said, "The difference was, Danyo wasn't laughing at her, he was just laughing." Danyo began nodding emphatically and said, "No, I was laughing at her." We all burst out laughing. I tried to save him and he wouldn't let me.

Today I was perusing Bo's homework. He had read a paragraph about Jen and her "Special Talent". It talked about how she tried the guitar like her two older brothers, but she just wasn't good and it frustrated her a lot. She tried the drums, and BAM, she was amazing. She had found her special talent.

There were three questions following this story. What would be a good title for this story? Bo answered, "Jen's Special Talent". Excellent answer. Then they asked another question about the guitar or something. Then it said, "Write one sentence from the story that is not about the main idea." Bo wrote, "Jen likes ice cream." I laughed when I saw it and then immediately thought that I had lacked in the reading comprehension and missed the part about the ice cream. I reread it. Bo had indeed made up Jen liking ice cream. It really struck my funny bone. I could picture him trying to think of a sentence that wasn't the main idea, that could probably be universally accepted. Well, everyone likes ice cream, right? Really, it's hard to go wrong with that. As per usual, he was watching me like a hawk as I reviewed his school work. He asked me what was so funny and I told him. I said, "the story doesn't say anything about ice cream and you just randomly put that in there!" He countered, "It said a sentence that wasn't the main idea, ice cream was never mentioned, so it wasn't the main idea!"

On Sunday on the way to church Bo was asking me what the word random meant. I typically have a hard time with definitions. I usually do examples, sometimes manage similes, but rarely swing a bonafide definition. This was no exception. I gave him an example of how you could be talking about the weather with someone and they suddenly say, "I like carrots!" He thought that was hilarious.

Later, I got to teach his little class. The lesson was on the Sabbath Day. I told them the story of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath and the Pharisees trying to trip Jesus up and trick him into saying that was wrong. After telling about Jesus healing the man, I said, "Do you know what day Jesus healed this man's hand?" A little girl in the class said, "Oh please say it was a Wednesday!" I burst out laughing and turned to Bo---"That's random." He was thrilled to be able to witness random firsthand. Although, Avee is about as consistently random as she is consistently anything else.

I have put a couple of notes in Avee's lunch for school. She notices stuff like that. I did it once or twice for Bo and both times he thought I'd included a napkin made of copy paper cut in the shape of a heart. Not surprising. So, I was delighted when I was going through Avee's lunch box, to find a little note she had written. She drew a picture of herself, labeled it, and put it in her lunchbox for me to find. Pretty much the cutest thing she's done all week. I love when she imitates me. Most of the time.

Neither of my kids will talk to me about school. I know it's me, but I sure wish out of two school-aged children, I had at least ONE chatterbox. I mean, Bo will talk nonstop about a freaking tv episode he watched 8 months ago. And Avee will spend 20 minutes prefacing a request for some ice cream ("remember the time we were in the van and there was snow on the ground and Bo said he was mad about Dad taking his nunchucks away I asked you if we could have ice cream and den Danyo started kicking the back of yo' chair and you didn't answer me and den I said, 'Mooooom' and you said 'oh yeah' and...)----but when it comes to knowing about the 6 and a half hours they are away from me----I get nothing. Any ideas? Any suggestions. Every once in a while I'll get a little something. But she doesn't talk about classmates or daily activities, and anything I do manage to get is brief.

Bo is discovering his inner clown. I see it, I adore it, I recognize it as the Smith in him that it is, but I also worry. Can I teach him early enough the rules of truly making people laugh? Funny the first time, stupid the second time, and the third time you get slapped. That rule was better known in my house growing up than which side of the plate the fork goes on. I still don't know that rule. I also hope he isn't in his last year of college before he learns that jokes at the expense of others, aren't worth telling. So far he doesn't have that problem. He came downstairs tonight wearing snowpants that are too small for Danyo, a bathrobe, and some other bizarre accessory, while we had company and said, "I'm on a mission to save the world!" He looked ridiculous. I love that he's coming into himself and not so caught up in what others think. I so want confident children.

My efforts to have confident children have mostly consisted of calling them bad names all the time, so that when other people do, they don't feel so bad.

I think it's working.

J's walking around the house right now holding his pinky out like the delicate flower that it is. He's looking for a band-aid, but he ain't gonna find one. About 27% of our house is packed in boxes right now, and I happen to know for a fact one of those boxes has our supply of band-aids. Oh, never mind, it's all good---he just put some packing tape on his finger. True story.

Everyday I think, "I need to record that" but now I sit here and nothing else is coming up. I think I need to record some of the things that Danyo says a lot. He's pretty dang ornery. And funny.

"Yo MEAN Dad!"
"Yo MEAN Mom!"
"I'm crying cuz Bo was mean to me!"
"Avee said no, that's why I'm so sad! She's MEAN!"

Repeat 12 times a day.

He says, "I HATE this." I secretly love it because he says it anytime he is mad or frustrated, but he says it like a fit throwing 16 year old girl.

"I said I love you TOO!" This comes after an I love you, and sometimes just alone. But it is always said quite angrily. I am not sure of what his expectation of the conversation is, but once he says this, it's clear I haven't met it.

"What's your name?" He chats with everyone.

I was at the thrift store yesterday when a very lovely looking lady who may or may not have been intoxicated and definitely had a speech impediment not unsimilar to Avee's, struck up conversation with my "good luckin' boy". Danyo answered her questions, but he wasn't sure if he wanted to engage in a full-on conversation with her. She finally moved on and Danyo said, "That was nice. But she couldn't talk."

Already the kid has about 2000% more tact than his sister. The one who pointed and loudly exclaimed "That lady is SO SHORT like a kid and she's a GROWN-UP!" when we were at Sams Club on Saturday.

Let's see, more Danyo phrases. Oh yeah, "Mom, I want sumping." It means he's got the munchies. Caillou gives him the munchies. Not even lying.

I guess that's all for now.

I hope to be back before my kids are in junior high.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stolen Computer Time

So, it's not entirely my fault I'm not blogging. Our computer is crap and it won't stay on. That's the issue with it THIS week. Stoopit computer.

I'm at my friend's house, using her computer. It's a funny story. Kind of. She's hosting the monthly potluck and I, in true form, forgot about it. But another friend called and said I had to come because her little guy was walking around the house saying Danyo's name over and over. I quickly finished my phone conversation, brushed my teeth, turned Danyo's shirt and shorts around, ran to the convenient store and got a bag of Doritos and zipped over. Only, I was 25 minutes early. I'm NEVER early. Ever. So, I get to blog at her house.

I have stories I need to record.

Like this morning when Danyo was dressing himself (truly adorable) he holds up his undies and peeks down into them and declares, "Der aw clean, no poop on dese!" I have no idea why he does that. He put his shirt on and while it was stuck briefly on the top of his head he called out. "Where is me? Where are I?" Ohhhhhh how I love the pronoun exploration of little kids.

Danyo and I are enjoying our mornings of toodling around, running errands, visiting friends, or watching mindless tv and afternoons napping. I could really get used to this.

Avee loves Kindergarten. She has the same teacher for PE and Art. So everyday when I ask her what her favorite part of the day was, she tells me it was "gym". I thought it so odd that she was having gym so frequently. The yesterday she said, "Gym! We made stuff with clay!!" Then I remembered Kindergartners have the same teacher for art and PE. Bo and I got a good laugh out of that.

I've had some interesting conversations with her lately. Two days ago she was trying to convince me to make mashed potatoes for dinner. Since I was almost done with the very time consuming chicken and rice dish, I denied her. She harumphed, "I wish I was mashed potatoes so I could just eat myself and then turn back into a human and enjoy what I just ate."

If you tell me there is another girl out there with a brain that works like that, I might not believe you.

Two other things she's done that are related, and naughty. Just so she knows in 20 years what she did to me. A week or so ago at dinner I was getting after her for griping about the food, or playing with it, or something. She has always been extremely sensitive to scolding or being "wrong". She didn't like what I was doing. So she got a very....I can't describe it exactly, a look of warning, as though to say, "You're about to really get it, and there's nothing I can do about what you'll get..." She slowly held up her fist, and slowly concentrated on raising her middle finger. Bo had taught her a week or so prior that it was something bad. How bad, she had no idea. How inappropriate to use it as a counter-scold----she had no idea. I said very sternly, "I wouldn't do that if I were you, that is very naughty and you'll get in a lot of trouble." And then I bolted upstairs and fell on my bed laughing until I cried. There's no way I could recapture her expression or what she thought she was doing, but I have to record it for my own memory.

Then two nights ago she accidentally splashed a big cup of water out of the tub. It really was an accident, I saw the whole thing. The thing is, the last time they splashed water out of the tub, by the gallons full (no exaggeration), J could be heard yelling when I pulled up in the car. They don'[t dump water out of the tub anymore.

So when Avee did, she immediately jumped up and said in her perfect imitation stressed and annoyed me, "Dammit. That was really an accident Mom." I ducked down quickly with the towel to wipe it up. She canNOT see me laugh.

I rarely say that word. And I only say it when I'm at my wits end. She said it exactly like that.

I love that girl.

Bo makes me laugh everyday, but I have a harder time remembering his lines. He thinks he is HILARIOUS. Perhaps that detracts from his actual hilarity. For example, one of our friends just had her appendix removed. Bo accidentally referred to it as her kidney. When he realized his mistake, he thought it was so funny and about every three hours made reference to her kidney being removed. Quickly followed up with, "I know it's her....what is that word... oh yeah, appendix, I'm just joking!"

See? Hilarious.

I know y'all want pictures of J with long hair. Here's the thing, I may have been somewhat misleading. He doesn't have long hair. He's barely long enough that people are noticing he isn't cutting it. I'll post a picture as soon as he buys me a nice computer I can use. Deal? Okay.

I'll attach a donation link to expedite the process.

Well, people are here and I'm being anti-social, blogging at a potluck. I'm sort of a rebel that way though.

See you next time I'm early somewhere, or get a new computer!

Friday, August 20, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

Today I took Avee to Kindergarten. Tiny, sweet, Avee. I started blogging on her first birthday. Granted, it was about Bo--but he was this hilarious little two-year-old at the time.

As I walked away from her classroom, she was sitting on an alphabet carpet with her little princess lunchbox in her lap, and the tears started to flow. I was entirely unprepared for that. ENTIRELY. I have felt some nostalgia and some pangs of sadness at this chapter in our lives ending, as a new one begins, but I did not expect tears.

My letter to Avee on her first day of Kindergarten.

Dear Avee,
You have been apprehensive, skeptical, and outright uninterested in going to school. This attitude about school is somewhat foreign to me. You are a perfectionist in some ways---some really strange ways, so I guess it makes sense. You like to be sure of yourself, you like to have the answers, you don't like feeling shy or facing the unknown. But you also don't believe us when we tell you that very quickly you will see just how many answers you have, how many friends you will have, and how you will love going to school every day. You absolutely think we are lying to you.

Today when I woke you up for school (do you know how much it kills me to have to wake a child up?!) you threw the pillow back over your head like a hung over college student. It totally cracked me up.

You had a new pretty outfit to wear and that got you going a little bit, but once the cute outfit was on and the shiny new shoes were on, the thrill was over.

We were in a rush, I wish I could have pulled you on my lap and snuggled you just a little longer. I wish I could have whispered just a few more times in your ear what a great kindergartner you will be. I really wish I never had to let you go.

Here's a little secret Avee. I want you to stay home with me just as much as you want to. I want you to "be my baby for 80 years" just as much as you want to be. I want to hold you, snuggle you, rock you, never let you go. But one of the difficult parts of growing up is doing things you may not want to but are the best for you. You are growing up!

You don't know that tears streamed down my face as I walked away from your classroom this morning. I know if you had seen that, it would have been all the evidence you'd need to never go to school again. I knew you were okay. I knew you were in good hands. I know that your teacher will love you and protect you and teach you. I know without a doubt that you will love Kindergarten.

I felt silly crying, but everyone around me knows how it feels. Someone told me "College is worse!" and another said, "You still cry even when you are a Grandma" And one of mom's friends called out to me and it was nice to have a friend who knew I wasn't a big baby and knew what it was like to let a little girl go to Kindergarten by herself. Then another friend gave me a hug and reminded me that you would be just fine. Even though I know this, and I tell you all the time, I still need to be reminded.

From the moment you were born you have brought me new life experiences. You were a tiny, perfect little bundle of sweetness. You scored a perfect 10 on the Apgar. We only kind of knew what that meant, but the doctor and nurses said with some incredulity, "She scored a perfect 10, that hardly ever happens!"

We knew you were a perfect 10. We weren't surprised at all.

As a newborn you insisted on being near me, even when you were asleep. If I left the house while you were sleeping, I could almost count the seconds before I'd get a phone call, "Avee's awake and inconsolable."

You have always known what you wanted and have always managed to get it, one way or another. When we implemented a "eat your dinner or go get ready for bed" rule, you made getting ready for bed at 5:30 pm the new hot, cool thing to do. When you broke your leg, you made other kids wish they had a cast. You made cast walking a new art form and could slide a good two feet down the hallway of the YMCA. You are sweet and kind-hearted and strong-willed and hot-tempered. You don't get mad easily but when you do, you really blow. It's really quite cute. But I usually don't tell you that.

You didn't want to turn three because you wanted to wear diapers forever. You insisted you were four "pour" because you wanted to be able to use markers at the YMCA childcare center. You potty-trained in a day without any help from me because you wanted a bike. You still ask to sit in high chairs at restaurants. You love and nurture and care for Danyo like he's your own child, but you whacked him good yesterday when he kicked you in the face. You adore Daddy, but not when he tells you what to do. You are obedient, opinionated, smart, hard-working, funny, and quirky.

Every day is like a little surprise with you. I think I have a handle on you, and I never really do. You keep the rules to the letter on some things, and you make rules up on other things. Like, how many days in a week is arbitrary, and whether or not I should go to work really should be your decision. But you brush your teeth like a champ without being asked, always put on pajamas the first time you are asked, know how to clean the living room like no other 5 year old, and get annoyed when we leave lights on at night so you won't be scared.

Not getting to be with you all day every day is sad for me. I love to be with you. I love your hugs, your kisses, your rule making ("If I brush my hair, then you have to buy me some chocolate today at the store") your insistence that you haven't had breakfast so you can't have lunch yet, your tenderness with Danyo, your tv addiction...

I know there are so many good years of wonderful in store with you as my daughter. I am sad that the "baby" years are officially over today. You will always be my baby, but now I have to share you.

You've been in school for an hour and a half. I got an email and a phone call telling me that you have a big smile and look like you are just fine. This is what I knew would happen, but I'm so happy to have confirmation.

Happy First Day of Kindergarten my little love!
Love, Mom
p.s. I really got a kick out of you saying over and over that today was Bo's 2nd day of 2nd grade.
p.p.s You probably won't remember this, but Bo was SO excited for you to start Kindergarten today, it was really tender. He knows you will love school and he's so happy to have his sister at his school.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leopards and Haircuts

I was just coming out of the bathroom this morning after my shower. Danyo rushed past me stating his urgency in washing his hands. "I need to wash my haaaaaans. I need to wash my hans right nooooow."

A 3 year old boy that willingly washes his hands is a little bit of a red flag. I was curious to find what he'd gotten on his hands. I watched as he rushed back out of the bathroom and into Avee who was sitting on my bed holding a little beanie baby leopard. "I washt my haaans Avwee!" She promptly handed him her baby leopard.

I laughed out loud. Only Avee could get a little boy to wash his hands to hold a beanie baby. It's been a long time since we've been around a "wash your hands first" baby, but I guess the principal has stuck.

This is where a segway would go.

J is growing out his hair. I say this with a slight eye-roll for a couple of reasons. When we first got married, J was constantly asking me to cut his hair. I don't know how to cut hair. I didn't even know how to handle clippers. It was a bad idea all around. He would assure me "You can't really mess it up" and "I'm not going to care how it looks." I pushed that easy-going attitude in him to the limit. And then some.

After one particularly um, unsuccessful attempt---my friend called me as I was driving to work. At the time J was working a temp job and caught the bus just down the street from our apartment.

She said, "I just drove past your husband, a skinny white-boy looking like a skinhead. Maybe you should take a bus and he can have the car; because quite frankly anything that could happen to you standing at a bus stop can't be as bad as what could happen to him in your neighborhood looking like that."

Periodically over the years I've suggested that J let his hair grow a little, just to see what happens. He could never get past like 1/2 an inch in length before it was driving him crazy or he felt frumpy looking.

Suddenly he decided to grow it long.

He's been "growing" it for probably six months now. I think people just started noticing last month. He's got miles to go before he's got the hippie-do he's hoping for.

And he still doesn't really like hair touching his forehead, but he's hoping that will change.

Yesterday, he got his hair "cut". He "consulted" a "stylist". He's cleaned up and has an action plan for this long hair growing endeavor.

AND.

He bought product.

He walked in the door and announced that he'd gotten his hair cut. Which, he had to do, because I was sooooo the male in that conversation---I did not notice.

He held up a big silver can of...something.

"I got this too."

I burst out laughing. "Really J? You just can't say no?"

He cast his eyes down. I'm sure he was thinking of the bottle of unused product in the bathroom. The one that was going to revolutionize the way his hair looked and totally worth the $27 an ounce he'd paid.

"How much did it cost?" I ask him.

"I'm ashamed to say," he admits.

I look at the bottle. It's skinny and it can't be much in volume (but oh! the volume it will give his hair!). I guess that it was $10.

More.

More.

More....

Yeah, I was laughing, and pointing and ridiculing without mercy.

He stood there and took the abuse too.

This man can is so tight he can get a booger out of Lincoln's nose. But apparently talking to him with his chopped hair on the floor is his kryptonite.

Heeeeeeey, maybe I should start cutting his hair for him again and THEN ask him for things when I'm done, before we've cleaned up.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Working For The Weekend 'Round Here

Several months ago I was on the phone with my sister that lives in England and I was relating a current funny from my kids. She encouraged me to "record it all". She doesn't really read my blog, so I thought that was funny. I did however start a blog specifically for kid quotes. That was in November last year. I have exactly one story for Avee and one for Bo.

Avee has been a laugh a minute for me today and I started thinking about this blog I never kept. The story on there needs to be shared.

But first, today's recordables:

We went to a drive-in movie last night. Everyone knows the best part of the drive in is all the crap food you bring. We overloaded. This morning, Avee who has been recently conscientious about what is good for you, announced as she walked toward the bathroom, "I gotta go poop all this gawbage outta me!"

Right now she is on the phone with her friend and they both had something "the same" and her friend said, "we're twins!" and Avee said, "Yeah, in God's way!" I do not even know what that means.

"Mom, we aren't allowed to say 'What da heck' because it says 'duh'. Right? See, whaaat duuuuuuuuh heck!"

For some reason bratty kids saying "duh" to each other is way more disrespectful and rude than the phrase "what the heck" is. So "duh" isn't allowed at our house. In fact, I downright love it when Danyo says "what da heck!?" You probably would too.

Okay, so, for last November. Most people who know me have heard the Avee one. It's probably my favorite Avee story of all time.
(she was 4 and a half at the time)
Avery has decided she doesn't like her freckles. It might have to do with now being in preschool and having a friend that she compares appearances with. So in an effort to convince her they are wonderful, I told her that her freckles were angel kisses. And that when she left heaven to come be in our family, the angels were so sad to see her go because they were going to miss her, they kissed her over and over and over, all over her face. She really loved that story. Her face lit up and she got a cute little smile she gets when she feels favored. I really thought that story did the trick.

About a week later I heard her muttering about her darn freckles. I assumed it was a habit and I reminded her where those freckles came from. Then I hear her grumpily complain, "I hate all these freckles, I wish Jesus just kept his hands to himself!"


Bo got caught eating a second chocolate from a box of chocolates I received as a gift. I started griping at him because he would have eaten the whole box without batting an eye. I said, 'This is why I hide stuff and don't let you have my things, because you would have just kept eating all of my candy if I hadn't stopped you just now."

I prepared for his objections, I mean, honestly---who wants to be accused so blatantly of such gluttony?

He responded kind of slowly, "Well.........yeah..........that's true."

So very Avee, so very Bo.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Of Course It Had To Be Gibby

Avee just told me she prayed last night that her and her friends wouldn't die. I bet that was a terribly cute little prayer she said. I asked her why she thought she would die. This conversation ensued:
Avee: When I get old. We're all going to die someday you know.
Me: Yes, I do know. But you don't have to be afraid of dying, when you die you go to heaven and live with God--you don't stay dead.
Avee: Yeah, yeah, I know. But...will I be able to come back here to Iowa after I die?

I believe I've heard it all.

Shortly after that cute little conversation she added, "You're gonna die fohst because your the oldest!"

I spanked her and sent her to her room.

This morning Danyo flooded my bathroom. Full on flooded, 2-3 inches of water streaming out. I've always been afraid of that happening and today it happened and I hardly batted an eye. Okay, that's a lie, I wigged out for about 2 seconds. Literally. I realized he put an entire roll of toilet paper down there so I could remedy the situation fairly quickly. That was a waste of about 75 cents and 5 clean towels though.

Pretty much that's the most exciting thing that's happened all day.

Avee who wore a sundress all last winter keeps coming downstairs in the morning wearing jeans and long sleeved shirts. I laugh every time. It reminds me of how when people have newborns they say, "They have day and night confused" which, in and of itself, makes me laugh. Poor newborn, can't quite figure out when in their 24 hours of sleeping, pooping and crying, they are supposed to do one more than the other. Avee can't quite get her seasons figured out. I think that might mean we are supposed to live in California.

Although, today is the second day in a row she has been "Gibby". Of all the characters on all the tv shows and movies in all the world, this is who she wants to imitate? In case you don't know Gibby, he's a character on ICarly. Gibby's trademark is not liking to wear shirts.
I promised Bo the computer and I'm pretty sure I can hear Avee upstairs hammering nails into the wall. I wish I was joking.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Today So Far

Today has been one of those delicious lazy days. No one is bugging me to take them somewhere, no one is bored, I have no immediate demands, and we're all kind of happy to hang out and veg. J's probably not so happy that he doesn't get to do that, and Danyo was kind of bugged that he bothered to go to work today, but that will all work itself out in the end.

Earlier today Danyo found a Potty Time dvd I had purchased for him a while ago. We lost it before he ever even got to watch it, he has since been potty trained (I know, right--NO DIAPERS HERE!!!). He found the dvd today and watched it three times in a row. Toilet paper was singing, there was a distressed king who's princess wouldn't pee in the toilet, there were songs about flushing and lot's of rejoicing about poop and pee going in the right place. He couldn't take his eyes off of it. I imagine it's a lot like the time I watched "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". I was riveted. I was like, "this is my life, I can't believe it, it's like they are in my head!" I think he was experiencing this.

Bo sat on the couch at one point and chuckled or full on guffawed at about every other sentence he heard. That was equally as entertaining for me.

Bo finally convinced him to let him play the wii. And by "convinced" I mean, unplugged the dvd player and sang "bye bye" to the potty drama.

Yesterday Bo decided to lie about getting into some cookies. He's a little bit like J in this regard. I think Avee and I know that we should save the big stuff (lying) for the big stuff (not dinky cookies). J lies about things like, whether or not he peeked in at the sleeping baby when I'm neurotic and think our newborn is going to jump out of his own crib. And whatnot. So, Bo and I had a showdown. Had he gotten into the cookies, he would have been lightly scolded. Reminded that those kinds of foods are not healthy, etc. But he chose to lie. And he persisted in the lie. I knew he wasn't being honest and I couldn't believe he was choosing this thing to lie about. He's trying it on for size, he gets caught every time, so I'm hoping he decides it isn't worth his time.

I called J and told him I wanted to beat him, skin him, throw his DS, the Wii, and all his clothes in the trash AND ground him from treats for a week.

J said I should probably just ground him from treats for a week. Whatever. He's soooooooo boring when it comes to making this authority business interesting.

Bo confessed about 30 seconds after walking away from our conversation. He's such a sell-out to his sneaky side. Avee has way more stamina than that. Fortunately for us, she's reigned that in a bit. Fortunately for her Kindergarten teacher, I should say.

Speaking of Kindergarten, Avee doesn't want anything to do with it. She confessed today that she's scared of being wrong. Aw, sweet little thing. She could be the most wrong little redhead on the planet and I'm certain her teacher will adore her. She will be the cutest little wrong thing ever.

Last night I was tucking her in and tears welled up in her eyes and she threw her arms around my neck. "I don't ever want to grow up and live without you and daddy! I want to stay with you forever!" I assured her she could stay with us as long as she wanted (T-10 years and she will be saying the very exact opposite of this, I am certain). I was curious though, I asked her, "Why don't you want to grow up and have your own house and your own family?" She answered emphatically, "I do not want to cook for other people!"

I hear that sister, I hear that. I told her she should marry someone nice like Daddy then.

I also successfully taught Avee and Danyo how to swallow pills. That sounds bad, doesn't it? I have had the hardest time finding Omega-3's that my kids will take. I've tried several brands, several types, but they all gag. I finally found an "orange-chocolate" liquid one that Bo will take, he actually asks for it every day. So, that was one down. I was having no luck, so I finally decided to teach them to swallow the little tiny gel-caps I sold the farm to buy a while ago. Danyo downed his without any water. He was determined to be the tough guy. He gagged a little too. I finally convinced him to use water and he was begging for more.

Avee, it took much longer. But it was finally a success and I feel happy now that I don't have to be as conscientious about what I feed them, because I can mask all my short-comings with some supplements. Yay me!

Bo is harrassing me for the computer. It's a toss-up between having them in diapers, having to feed them, and having to answer questions and share the computer. I'm not sure which I prefer.

Just kidding. Sharing wins over diapers ANY day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yo Mama's So Fat

I've been watching my friend's kids this week. My kids have loved having built in playmates and reality is going to be hard for them when this gig is over. It has been entertaining to say the least, listening to some of the dialogue.

Yesterday at the zoo while biting into a white powdered donut her almost 6 year old closed her eyes and emphatically said, "This donut is amaaaaazing." Those things are far from amazing, but it made me laugh.

Today we were driving home from swimming and I stopped to get the kids a frosty. From the back Bo was bugging Christian, her 11 year old to tell his "Your Mama's So Fat" jokes. Christian declined. Bo persisted. I realized that Christian was probably declining because at 11 he didn't think it was appropriate to tell Fat Mom jokes next to a fat mom. So, I told him a couple of my favorite Your Mama's So Fat jokes and that was all the encouragement he needed.

They were LUH-AME. They sounded like a bunch of 5th graders made them up. At one point, I looked over at him talking, and the punch line was taking a lot of his concentration to share. He was using hand motions, trying to remember it all, and spent about 45 seconds telling it. I think a short punchline joke shouldn't take 2 minutes to tell. Anyway, the kids were laughing and enjoying getting away with saying fat over and over when her 8 year in all the excitement threw out her best made up joke. "Your mom's so fat she bought us all a frosty!" She had no idea what she had done and I burst out laughing. It registered with Christian about two seconds after it did me and his eyes about bugged out of his head. He wanted to reprimand her, but the damage was done and he knew that bell couldn't be unrung. She still doesn't know she called me fat and I still think it's hilarious.

Something's Right Around The Corner---I'd Say.

About 3 weeks ago J and I came home from a date night. We had a 17 year old girl and her 10 year old brother babysitting. Bo loves the 10 year old and the 10 year old is just about the sweetest kid I've ever seen in my life when it comes to caring for Danyo. So obviously, Danyo adores him. When we walked in the door, Danyo was playing with bubbles or chewing gum, I can't remember which. I made the comment, "That's all Danyo needs to be happy." The reason I can't remember which is because those are the two things Danyo needs to be happy. That's ALL he needs.

Mikey interjected, "and wrestling, he loooooves wrestling." Yes he does. Bo excitedly added, quite loudly, "We wrestled too, I totally HUMPED him!" Mikey's eyes got big, and J and I laughed out loud. I said, "Yeah, that's probably not what you did." I guess Bo asked Mikey what it meant, and Mikey told him it's not really a good thing. That was the end.

Today as I'm driving to pick up my friend's son, with a van full of my kids and hers, Bo says, "Mom, what does hump mean?" I knew where it was coming from, and having had bad experiences with half-answers, I took it on. Sort of.

"Have you ever seen a dog jump on another dog and sort of move up and down, or sometimes Jonathan's dog will do it to people's legs sometimes."
"Yeah."
"That's what humping is."
"Oh. Well, do only dogs do that?"

I knew. I knew he meant, "do people do it too?" but I was NOT going to answer that. Dammit.

"Well, let's see, I don't think I have ever seen a cat do it---horses might do it but really I've just seen dogs do it."

"I mean do only animals do it?"

"Um. Yes."

At which point, Bo says in his sort of conclusive, muttering voice (which implies, "I got this figured out, thank you very much), "Well, people are animals."

I turned my head to my window and laughed until I couldn't breathe. Then promptly called J. He needs to get his birds and bees talk sorted out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Late Night Treat

I cannot stop laughing right now. I'm not even exaggerating a little bit. Ax my husband, he'll tell you. In fact, I think it's so funny, I don't know why he's not still laughing, to the point of tears, like I am.

For Father's Day, Bo made a "card" for J at school that was like the front page of a magazine. Very cute. It is hanging on the fridge and I see it every time I walk by and smile at the cute, "He's asome" and "He likes to go camping" even though J hasn't been camping one single time since we've been married.

It has been on the refridgerator well over a month. I have looked at it dozens of times.

Today as I walked by, something caught my eye and I immediately thought my brain had played a trick on me. So I backed up and saw---it was no trick.I wonder.... do you see it? Take a minute. See if you can.

I saw this ten minutes ago and I'm STILL laughing.

If you look closely at the real picture (it won't show up on this scanned version) you can see Bo's hastily scrawled name at the top has been erased and Avee has claimed this as her own.

I bet she's the one who put it on the fridge. I cannot wait to ask her about this tomorrow.

With this one, I don't think what you see is what you get. I pity the fool.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I bet you thought I went back to my old slothful ways of non-blogging. But I didn't. Our computer was broken for several days (there appears to be a pattern of our computer breaking in July---it's weird) and then the kids and I were out of town for nearly two weeks.

I'm home, recuperated from traveling with three young children, and I gots my blog on.
Sort of.

Today while I was upstairs "napping" but secretly watching a show on Lifetime that I don't care about, don't know the actors, and don't know the title of, but simply CANNOT TURN OFF, J gave the kids an assignment. He told them they needed to write a story that included a person, an animal, and an airplane.

Avee came upstairs and complained to me about J's instructions. I told her the upstairs was for naps, so she could stay with me and take a nap, or go downstairs and do what Dad wanted. She promptly left me.
While Avee was upstairs complaining, Bo took matters into his own hands and got the job over with.
Avee and I sort of hold the corner on the market of sassy and smart-alecky in this house, so this really made me laugh. Of course being true to himself, he wrote an actual story. He asked me to please share that one, but it's 5 pages, front and back with one little drawing and two word sentences on each page. I'm gonna pass on that.

Avee's was a picture. She told me the story was "too long" to tell me, but later changed her mind. I don't know if blogger will let me upload the video. It's 3 minutes long and not that exciting, but it is so very Avee.

video


In other news, my sweet niece came to visit from England. She really is sweet. She's 17 now, so being sweet is kind of a big deal. I remembered that I used to be as nice and unassuming as she was. Now I'm crotchety and bossy, and intolerant. I'm trying to go back to being nice and unassuming. That's my goal right now. I hope it's not as impossible as getting back into my skinny jeans has been...

I realized yesterday that the kids start school in 3 weeks. I can't believe it! In an effort to avoid some disciplinary problems for Bo, I'm going to start a "study time" with the kids to get them in the groove. Bo had a relatively rough start last year, but I think it was mostly because we ran around like wild animals the entire summer, and sitting still and listening was not anything his brain cells could recall.

Avee's not too keen on starting kindergarten. When she realizes there is no couch and no remote control she is REALLY going to be ticked.

I am simultaneously quite sad about letting her go, and looking forward to my solo time with Danyo. I really hope he takes the opportunity to stop being so demanding and screechy. He seems to really need my time and attention (or is considerably more annoying about getting it) than the other two.

Last night J and I went and saw Inception. I enjoyed it. I've become disenchanted with most movies in the theater because it's now $20 to go, plus childcare and most movies don't seem worth it. This one was. And it's 2 and a half hours long, and didn't feel like it, so that's always a good sign. J has a mancrush on Leonardo---so he liked it. Obvi.

We had a new library open here 2 weeks ago. I was pretty excited because it's like a mile away from my house and the other ones are quite a haul. I already have 7 things overdue. I like to support my local libraries.

I have to go return my stuff now before it becomes more "support" than is socially acceptable.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th Around Here

We're having computer trouble. I think we have computer trouble every July. Dumb computers.

J and Bo got home yesterday. Yeehaw! Avee spent the whole week trying to bribe me into finding a playdate for her. She did not want to make that 3 hour round trip trek again. Poor thing. Friends are hard to find on Saturdays. We made do with portable dvd players though.

As a mother, I pride myself on catching my kids doing potentially nerdy things, (aka, social suicide). Bo had a habit a minute the first five years of his lives. Some long time readers may recall the intermittent clicking between words, or the periodic "refreshing of slobber" when he was 3, etc. I won't have that stuff. It's annoying and unnecessary. Bo has a little neighborhood pal who does silent Broadway shows with his lips every 30 seconds or so. He'll just be standing there and all of a sudden his lips are twitching, stretching, pursing, trying to walk off his face and sometimes his tongue will chase after. My mom says I have to leave him alone because he's not my child and I don't know what goes on his home. In theory, I agree. But when I'm watching this, it's hard to stay quiet. But I do.

Anyway, Bo is a twitcher by nature. He was gone from me for ONE WEEK. He was in good, capable hands and I didn't have one ounce of worry or concern the entire week. That's really saying something coming from an over the top mama bear like myself.

When I pulled up to the airport there sat J and Bo. Bo looked like he had enjoyed a nice chocolate ice cream cone when I saw him sitting on the bench with J. But as he got closer, I saw that I was mistaken.

I shudder to think how many licks it took to make that pretty little face accessory. In his defense, he was in Utah where it's really, really dry. I've laughed every single time I've seen it. It's just such a good reminder to me that I'm not really the boss. It's particularly entertaining when he tries to laugh.

It's Sunday morning. We kind of got to bed late last night and J had to be at church early for a meeting. I told him I would go as soon as the kids were awake. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sleep nazi. I think sleep is one of the most important things we can give our kids and I'm totally judgmental of people who deprive their children of that essential need. Yeah, I said it, I'm judging people. There are always days, times, when that isn't possible, but as a general rule, sleep should come before most things.

Bo and J got up at 3 am to catch their flight. Although Bo slept during some of their travel time, it obviously didn't compensate for a 3 am wake up time.

When Avee and Danyo got up, I got up with them and we started to get ready. I dressed them, fed them, dressed myself, put on my makeup, all the while watching the clock, noting that Bo has never slept this long. Then it went from, getting to church in the nick of time, to---we'll be a little late.

Then out of nowhere, I sat down on the couch to help Danyo with his shoes, and I started coughing. (If you haven't been within 500 miles of my whining self or aren't on my speed dial, it is probably news to you that I have been sick for 2 weeks, most of which were, "it hurts to function at all" kind of sick.) I could not stop coughing. I was trying to tell Danyo if he wet his pants today, there would be no sparklers tonight (I'm mean, right?) and I couldn't stop coughing. I coughed and coughed and coughed for probably 4 solid minutes. That is an intense workout, y'all. Danyo went from patiently waiting, to irritated, to panicked as he stood in front of me. All my hard work on my face was for naught. Mascara streaks, smeared lipstick, splotchy concealer...ridiculous.

I looked at the clock, we were at that point, 20 minutes late (not even counting the first hour!) and Bo still wasn't up.

So I threw in the towel. Much to Avee's delight. She was begging to put on makeup and I usually let her put on lipstick or "lush" but I recently decided it was time to start drawing the line about public makeup wearing, and time she stop looking like a tiara wearing toddler whenever she wanted. I told her she could put some on after church, when we'd just be staying home. She was thrilled that the after ended up being "after thinking about church for half an hour".

It is 11:05 am. Bo just woke up. The bad news is, we're all going to hell if we die tomorrow. The good news is, we'll be well-rested and in good moods! Except Danyo. I just can't make any guarantees with him and his moods.

And because I need to record this stuff: The last night before J came back, Avee slept with me, and just before we fell asleep, this conversation happened:
Me: (singing) I like the way your eyes dance when you laugh...
Avee: (cute giggle)
Me: (thinking:why, she's never responded positively to my singing)....and how you enjoy your colorful bath...
Avee: Are you talking in your sleep?
Me: No
Avee: Then stop. I don't like hearing singing.
Me: You like hearing the Veggie Tales sing.
Avee: Yeah, but they're VEGETABLES!
Me: What about They Might Be Giants, you like them...
Avee: Okay, fine! I don't like to hear HUMANS, like YOU sing. So just stop.
Me: Okay. But really, I do like the way your eyes dance when you laugh.
Avee: (big sigh) I know Mom, I know.

I love that kid.
Oh yeah, and Happy Fourth of July!