Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Birthday

I looooooooooove my birthday. I love it like I'm 7 years old and think the world is mine on that day. I think it should be a national holiday, where everyone pays tribute to me for....existing. I love the sound of "July 21st", I love seeing 7-21. I LOVE my birthday.

However, as I have grown and matured, I have realized that perhaps that is a juvenile view and that not everyone feels like I do. I turned 27 three weeks after I got married. I worked up my first "married birthday" that nothing short of a visit from the Queen of England would top. Poor J didn't have a chance with the expectations I had worked up in my mind.

It was a Sunday, which in and of itself was lame. :) J got up early and made me a cake as well as breakfast. He made dinner, and he doted on me. I simpered in bed that night about how he didn't get me anything. J's eyes bulged and his hands swept around the room, motioning to the mountains of wedding presents lining the walls in our apartment---"our house is FULL of presents, what more could you possibly want!?"

He was so, so right. I was so, so a brat. Being able to let me put that kind of ridiculousness behind me is one of the many reasons I love J. He didn't attribute that to who I was. I remembered my mom's advice when I was turning 22 on my mission (I mean, really---how much fun could you have one a mission!?). She said, "Don't have expectations and you won't be disappointed." This is great advice. I keep it in the back of my head for a lot of situations. I took it to heart. In fact, I took it so much to heart, that when I opened a cupboard in our kitchen the day before my birthday and saw a huge stash of cupcakes, my roommate was SURE I had found her out, but I just thought she was cheating on our diet. To this day, she's convinced I knew, and to this day, I maintain that I was oblivious.

The morning of my 22nd birthday we had a song practice and so 150 of us met at 7 in the morning in the tabernacle, sitting in the seats where the tabernacle choir performed. I showed up at probably 6:59 and 59 seconds, because almost everyone was there, and because I'm always late. As I walked up the steps, the entire group started singing Happy Birthday. THAT was awesome. Then my friends threw me a surprise party at like 8:15 am. Cupcakes for breakfast. It was an awesome day. It was made most memorable by the silky green nightie my mom sent me. Her explanation for sending me that, as my mother, while on my mission was: It was Victoria Secret AND it was my color. Of course you send your 22 year old daughter a nightie then.

Anyway, I turned...old yesterday. The number appalls me. I don't know why, it just does. J and I have been ridiculously busy, basically tag-teaming it with children, studying, and bare minimum for household chores. We just have to get through this month, and that's what we've been doing. I have barely thought of my birthday.

J staged an intervention. He wrote to my friends that he always thought it was sad in the TV show "Intervention" that all the loved ones sat around reading heartfelt letters, telling the person how they felt AFTER they'd become an addict. Why not express those things as a celebration? So, many of my friends did. It is the single most wonderful gift I can imagine. Friends telling me how much they love me. And in creative ways to boot! I don't think I've laughed and smiled this much in YEEEAAAAAARRRRRRS.

My friend Michelle came over after all the festivities had died down and I had read all the great posts on my FB wall. She wrote me a backwards letter. I had to hold it up to the light to read it. She's crazy and clever like that. Her daughter wrote me a letter and was equally as crazy in her presentation. I can't think of clever stuff like that, so I always appreciate it.

I don't mean to play favorites, but her husband wrote me a book. It is a brilliant masterpiece, complete with illustrations, which he produced in under 10 minutes. I want to record it here, but it needs a little background. No matter how stupid I have to look....

A couple of years ago James and I took our kids to the children's museum. I was wandering around looking at some of the displays and watching the kids. There was a chicken display talking about how many eggs a chicken lays, that the hair on the chicken's head determine the color of the eggs, etc, etc. It was interesting to me, but something stumped me. I couldn't figure out why these chickens would lay eggs, if there was no rooster. I was in my early to mid thirties and didn't know about chickens and eggs. I have moments like this. They are probably "blonde moments" but, you know, I'm not blonde.

So I, an intelligent, articulate, confident, woman, walked up to James and say loudly in front of his 11 year old daughter, "Where do chickens eggs come from, if there's no rooster?" I was completely confident this was a reasonable question for a smart, mother of three to be asking. James' eyebrows shot up and his head sort of tilted to the side, almost as if he was trying to determine my angle---if this was a joke, a well played one. After about 30 seconds of me standing there expectantly, obviously not joking, he looked around and then kind of turned his body to shield his 11 year old from either my stupidity or the content of the conversation that would ensue. Or both.

He slowly and deliberately said, "Well, you know, you have eggs that don't get fertilized that get released every month, right?"

I suddenly realized what I had done and my face flushed red and I backed away and then burst out laughing, and then we laughed for probably a solid 10 minutes. He texted his wife (who worked at the same place as J) and told her what I'd done. She found J and let him know what a discreet genius he was married to. We have laughed about it several times since.

Last night, he wrote me a book/card covering the basics. I won't be able to share the amazing illustrations, but the writing will suffice for your enjoyment.

The Chicken -OR- the Egg? Written and illustrated by: Dr. James _______

Dear Angela,
Now that you are 29 I think it's a good time to tell you a few things. I'm sure you know about bird and the bees - and how they do what they please, but what about chickens?

(A lovely diagram of a chicken, complete with phonetic pronunciation of "hen")
Some chickens are girls and they have special parts that do special things. To tell you the truth not much is known about the female species.

(Another lovely diagram of the rooster)
Notice the male of the species. Head strong, cock sure - he walks around with a comb on his head, bops his head whenever he walks and if he wore pants the would be sagging--no doubt.

(Then the hen and rooster interact)
"Hey baby, I can see you're not wearing anything under that frock. Would you like to come back to my nest?" (the rooster is smiling)

Then they kiss and make baby chickens called chicken nuggets. So if anyone asks you how you like your eggs in the morning--you say unfertilized!!!! Happy Birthday

Educational AND entertaining. Just how I like to learn. :)

My husband is awesome. I doubt he could top this birthday gift. :) He doesn't have to.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

This Post Is Listed In The DSM-IV Under "ADD"

I just laid down with AJ to snuggle her to sleep. I've sleep trained, just can't do it with this one. She's my last and just too deliciously cute to put down.

I realized I turn into Super Woman, the moment I lay down. This is how it works. I start thinking about how Avee wants cooking classes and I can't find any in the area for kids. So I decide that I can teach her. I'll start with rice, tonight I'll teach her how to cook rice. Then my mind takes off. I will look up how to teach a 7 year old to cook, and a dozen appropriate recipes. And I'll sew us each matching aprons and teach her each week. By 8, she'll be a professional.

There's a pile of laundry on the floor within my line of view. My mind takes off again. I'm going to take care of that laundry, take that other pile of stuff up to attic finally. The sheets need changing too, I'll change ours and the kids'! As soon as AJ is asleep and I can get up. I'll vacuum the whole upstairs too. Oh yeah, and that pile of clothes to go to Goodwill, I'll finally get that into a bag and in the car. Then I'll start downstairs, the bathrooms, the dishes....

I do this with working out too. I'm going to get up and go for a walk, then I'll come back and do the treadmill. Then I'll make a big healthy salad for dinner. And when I'm laying down, my kids LOVE salad for dinner. They thank me for it.

It's ridiculous how amazing I can make myself be in my head. Then I stand up and it's ALL GONE. I can't recall even a portion of it. I bend down and pick up a binkie and sigh at the effort of this task, and at how overwhelming everything that needs to be done is. I go downstairs, walk past my textbooks that need reading and turn on Netflix. I tell the kids to leave me alone for just 15 minutes. For the 15th time that day.

Also, when the heck did my greatest fantasy become a clean house and a good workout? That's ridiculous. I realized my life was lame and my future bleak when a few months ago I stared into the mirror, dreaming about a defined jawline. No that there is excitin'!

Bo has a friend over right now. When we went to pick him up, his unbelievably adorable 5 year old sister trailed behind him with an absolutely pathetic expression. She had to come over too. She's a chubby little thing and I just want to put her in my pocket and keep her. So, just now she got on the elliptical. I was going to kick her off, like I do all other kids, but I just didn't. She got off about 30 seconds later. She went into the other room, got our Ipod, came back and plugged it into the ellipitical, which I have never done and didn't know was possible, selected music on the Ipod and started exercising to "Killin' Time" by Clint Black. "Eye of the Tiger" came on after and she yelled, "ROCKYYYYYYYY!" and started singing along. All while still working out on the elliptical. Bo tried to "help" her and stubbed his toe and unplugged the ipod within 8 seconds. I picked up the ipod and she grabbed it and said, "I tan dit it." Seriously, a chubby, techno-savvy, exercising 5 year old with a speech impediment, singing Eye of the Tiger. Does it get any cuter?

Today at lunch there were, as per usual, 4 different conversations going on at once. I heard Bo over most of it say, "I put my hot dog in the freezer to cool down, and it was barking when I took it out." He had to explain it to Avee, she thought it was great. I thought it was brilliant. He really does have a good sense of humor. Most of the time he expresses it he's being naughty and I try not to laugh. Not very successfully though.

Mostly I want my kids to understand that if someone else has to be the butt of your joke, it isn't funny. Those were the kind of jokes I told forEVER and people always laughed. I was a senior in college and teasing someone relentlessly, everyone thought it was funny, except the butt of my jokes. My roommate and good friend said, "She's not really mean..." It stopped me COLD in my tracks. It was a good lesson. In my defense, I can take it, just as much as I dished. But that wasn't fair of me to assume everyone could or should.

Don't get me wrong. I make fun of my friends relentlessly. Like my friend who needs symmetry if you touch one side of her body. She has to touch the other side. That just begs for teasing. I can entertain myself for hours with that one. Or my my friends that are OCD about their clean homes, and are friends with me, who takes slovenly to a whole new level...
Until someone convinces me that's mean-spirited too, Imma keep doing it.

I'm halfway through our month of hell. J is at school Monday and Wednesday all day, I am in school Tuesday and Thursday all day. We have to get a babysitter on T/Th because Jay has class every day from 9:30-2:30, then again M and W. Then he goes to sleep late Friday afternoon, to start his weekend of graveyard shift at the hospital. He handles it like a stud. I know if I was doing what he's doing, there would be MUCH more complaining. He never complains. Except when I don't make the kids do their chores. He complains about that.

Studying time is rare and hard to manage. That's why I'm writing on my blog when I should be studying.

Last night after J went to work something fell over in the attic. I had a coronary. I HATE being alone in the house, then knock something over in the attic and I'm done fer. I called J at work, which I've never done before. His 25 year old co-worker managed to call me "Sweetie" 8 times in less than 3 minutes. Impressive, no? By the time J called back I had rigged a shovel up against the attic door, and put Avee in my bed. (The attic door is in her room). I was totally cool by then. Mmm-hmmm.

Being a mom has made me neurotic. If someone breaks into our house when J's gone, I know who to grab first and which closet to hide in. The upstairs phone is always charged. If the house catches on fire, I know who to grab first and three escape routes depending on where the fire is. I've worried a lot and finally determined that I will have to slap Bo if there is a middle of the night emergency. I can't wake that boy up for ANYTHING. I also know how to get us all unbuckled and to safety if we're on a bridge that collapses. AJ has kind of messed with my plan and my reaction time, but we'll get there. In the meantime, we will not cross the bridge as a family. :) I had no idea that it was having kids that made people neurotic. My mom wasn't like this though. In fact, my mom was a total disservice to me with pretty much anything child related. Pregnancy, recovery, child-rearing, disciplining, teaching...she made it all seem very easy.

Hey, wanna know why this post is so long and random? I'm supposed to be studying. Plus, I'm pretty sure I have a diagnosable case of ADD. Diagnosable is apparently not a word.