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.


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."


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."
"Night night."
"And I love 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....

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

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

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.