Saturday, December 27, 2008

Vacation in Vegas

I'm on vacation at my parents' house in Vegas. This basically means that I'm neglecting my children while reading novels here not at home.

My brothers and sisters are neglecting their children whilst playing the Wii. It's all just another way that we impose on my parents.

Up today: a hike! This sounds exciting if you don't know that on the hike we went on a few days ago we got snowed on. In Vegas. It's pretty cold here.

Aside from that, I probably collected thirty-five dirty looks on the plane on the way here. Jakers was inconsolable from Albuquerque to Las Vegas (even M&Ms didn't work!) and so I just smiled beatifically at the people who were looking at me like I was the worst mother in the world. I always act like I don't care that much, because hey, I don't. Seriously, I haven't slept well for five years, and you want to give me a dirty look for interrupting your hour-long nap? Give me a break and buck up, campers. And if the crying is so bothersome? Here, help me out. Jakers would love a new friend.

I'm here for three weeks, so if my posting is even more sporadic than normal, forgive me. I'm probably just reading a teenage romance novel.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just to Make You Feel Better

You know, sometimes I feel like I'm a degenerate, lazy, all-around-sucky kind of mom. Mostly after I read blogs that read like this: "Today I woke up and decided to do something special for my kids. So I made pancakes, eggs, toast, cut grapefruit and sprinkled it with sugar and then decorated it all with frosting so that it would look like a silly face. My kids loved it! Then we went to the library for story time, and it was so funny, because my little two-year old was reading the words to the book before the librarian would say them. Those flashcards I bought when he was born are really paying off! After story time, I decided we should go play in the park, so I made a quick picnic . . . yadda, yadda, yadda"--you get the point.

If you're like me, you can feel pretty crappy about yourself when, by comparison, your kids ate Marshmallow Mateys (but only the marshmallows) for breakfast and spent the morning in time out, instead of at the library.

I'm not saying we don't have our good days around here, too, but here are a few things that are going on around here to make you feel better about pretty much anything:

I have dishes that are two days old in my sink. I have no immediate plans to clean them. Maybe if I label it "a test" for my husband, I can stall doing the dishes indefinitely.

My butt is getting bigger all the time. It will soon catch Rhode Island, sizewise.

I don't care that my butt is getting bigger.

I like to read teenage romance novels. I will ignore my children and give them raw hot dogs for dinner when I am reading something I really like.

Veevs doesn't know how to read. She is five. I don't care that she doesn't know how to read.

Rhett called me "Jerkface" the other day, and I just laughed. I know I should get indignant, but really? Jerkface? That's the best insult he can come up with? Hey, Rhett, fifth grade called and they want their insults back. . .

Instead of taking my recyclables out to the recyling bin in the garage, I just pile them on my counter. When they overflow on to my oven, I know it's time to make a trip to the garage.

My twenty-month old knows how to count to three because I count when my kids aren't listening. And then I send them to time out. Maybe I do this too frequently?

I have a batch of wash upstairs that I have had to run through the washer three times because I keep forgetting to move it over to the dryer. Awesome.

Feel better?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just Testing

Every so often, Rhett will say something like this, "Hey did you notice that the trash can in the bathroom has been overflowing for the last week?"

And I'll look up from the book that I'm reading and be like, "Uh, yeah. Don't worry about it." Because, quite frankly, emptying the trash can has historically been his job.

"No, no, no," he'll say, "I left it on purpose to test how long it would take before you would take it out yourself."

"Oh." I'll think for a minute. "You know that the pile could spill out of the bathroom door and I'd still be okay with that, right?"

He sighs. This is not what he wanted to hear. I'm not sure what exactly he wants to hear-- perhaps profuse apologies? Sometimes I get mad at him for his condescending "I'm testing you because I'm so much better than you are" approach to cleaning the house, but most of the time I'm just a little confused as to why he thinks this time I'll cave before the garbage spills out of the can. There's no historical precedence to suggest that will ever happen. But yet, he still tests me.

So the other day I took Jakers to the doctor's and put Rhett in charge of picking up the kindergarten carpool.

After the appointment, I pulled up to our house about five minutes before 11:00. Rhett's car was still in the driveway. Meaning, undoubtedly, that he had forgotten the kids.

So did I call his cell phone and say, "I'll just pick them up for you, honey."? Hell, no. (Did you know that I swear occasionally? My apologies if you are shocked, except I'm not one bit sorry because I get a lot of pleasure out of my occasional swear words.)

Instead, I turned around and went and picked up the kids myself. And when I went to drop off the little boy who lives just down the street from us and saw Rhett driving like a bat out of hell down the street, I half-heartedly tried to wave him down. Because, I was kind of laughing too hard to wave very vigorously.

My friend was like, "Oh, you're going to be in trouble!"

And I was like, "Oh, no, I'm not! I'm not the one who forgot our child today. I'm the responsible party here."

When Rhett walked through the door (thirty minutes later) all wild-eyed and crazy, I just laughed.

It was the best test ever.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Don't Want to Say I'm Paranoid, But I Might Be Paranoid

I don't think I'm paranoid, really. Except sometimes I wonder.

Like the other night I pulled into my subdivision and the car that was behind me on the main road pulled into my subdivision, too. Instead of thinking, "Hey, neighbor!" I immediately assumed it was a stalker.

Especially when it turned on to the road that leads to my road right after I did.

I was all like, "Quit following me, you freak!"

So of course, I passed my street so that freak wouldn't know where I lived. Or at least so they would think I lived in a different house from my real house, because I'm not above pulling into someone else's driveway and acting like I'm home. I might even check the mailbox, just to complete the facade.

Except that person wasn't really following me. They turned off at the next street.

So I sheepishly did a U-turn and drove back to my real house with my real children. I don't tell Rhett about these things. I think they might worry him.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

So, Yeah.

I hit the sales, and I hit them hard.

Christmas shopping--DONE.

And that's as much as anyone can expect from me.

Please don't ask me about the status of my Christmas cards.

And don't ask me about the status of the pie leftovers at my house.

Because they currently reside on my thighs.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dropping It On Thanksgiving

We spent our first Thanksgiving on our own, and in my new spirit of self-aggrandizement, man, we rocked it. We had awesome food, good company (our own and some friends), and more pies than people eating at the table. That makes for the best Thanksgiving ever.

Here are the name place cards that Rhett made with the kids (with absolutely no prompting from me, honest!).

Spe's awesome plate setting features rock star feathers.

Rhett's features an 80s like visor. I have no explanation for this, however, he made this himself, so that may be explanation enough.

Jaker's has a frog. Probably because with his recent sinus infection, he has been a little toad most of the time.

Veevs is sporting some kind of Picasso like turkey. I always knew that girl had genius buried deep inside.

For the piece de resistance, here's mine, which Rhett was kind enough to make for me (I was at the doctor's getting antibiotics for my sinus infection. I'm pretty sure I have also been a toad for a good portion of the time.). I think the sexy legs really capture the spirit of the season, don't you?

Basically, we spent the morning cooking, the afternoon eating, and the evening eating more pies. And then, the night ended with Rhett singing, "Drop it like it's hot!" while dancing around the kitchen slapping his own butt.

That's when I knew it was time to go to bed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Lazy Gene

I don't want to say that I got my laziness from my dad, but I know I didn't get it from my mom, who makes perpetual motion seem like a commonplace reality.

I had hoped it would bypass my children.

Today, Veevs said to me, "I just wish I were an emperor so that people would feed me my food so I wouldn't have to lift it myself."

Sounds like that one has my lazy gene, yes?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Served Up With a Side of Abandonment

Let me say this: No one likes vomit. But you know what's worse than cleaning up your own kids' vomit?

Cleaning up someone else's kid's vomit. I know. Sort of. I didn't actually clean it up, but I gave it the old college try, you know?

It all started when I picked up the little girl in our preschool carpool.

"She's complaining of a sore throat," her mother told me, "but she says she still wants to go to school." So we trundled her in the minivan and then, on the freeway, this sweet little girl loses her lunch. (Or breakfast, but please, is NOW the right time to be picky? With vomit all over?) In my minivan. Have I mentioned that I'm not her mother? And that I have no wipes in my car? And also, that I just kept driving until we got to the preschool?

I finally procured wipes, spray cleaner, etc., only to discover that my totally and completely overactive gag reflex will not physically allow me to clean up another person's child's vomit. Seriously. I was all like, "Okay, Lexie, (retch) I need you to (retch) take this wipe (retch) and wipe off (retch) your hands (retch) because (retch) I can't do it (retch)." Finally, I admitted defeat and called her mom to come and clean it up.

Just for the record, I did manage to get her hands and face clean and her clothes off before her mom came. But it was Herculean, that's all I'm saying.

I took the car to get it shampooed, because the smell was making me (surprise!) gag some more.

When we got home, Jakers had a diaper issue (I would go into detail, but isn't this post already full of bodily fluids? Do you really want more?). Fortunately, the shampooer guy had found a small bag of wipes in some hidden crevice of my van, so I changed his bum right there on the van floor. Then I let him play in the van for a minute while I went and got the garbage cans from the street.

And then Jakers locked himself in my van with my keys inside. And then I begged him to come hit the unlock button, which he did, happily. Unfortunately, he only knows how to lock, the upward movement of the unlock was lost on him. And then I tried to get him to push the buttons on my keys. And then I called a friend to laugh about how awful my day was turning out to be, because you guys, I have priorities.

And then I called Rhett to come home from work and let our twenty-month old out of our van. He only works forty-five minutes away.

And then the water meter man tried to break into my car (he was suspiciously knowledgeable about it) and failed, and then Jakers started to cry because it wasn't fun after thirty minutes to sit in the car.

And then he discovered that he could make the garage door open and close, and he was happily engaged in garage door opening hijinks until his dad finally let him out.

And then I realized that my day was cursed.

The End

Sunday, November 16, 2008


You know, five-year-olds are pretty awesome.

My five-year-old, for example, has now mastered the use of air quotes for emphasis. She said to me just the other day, "Mom, I thought there was something in that box, and then I looked inside and there was 'nothing' inside!" And she used air quotes with her fingers.

She recently told her brother to say a prayer for forgiveness when he took a toy away from the baby. And he did. Because he's learned that you don't mess with that particular five-year-old and her rather rigid sense of Jesus' justice. I swear, I teach the mercy part. She just likes the justice part better.

She cries at every episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". She loves those families like they are her own. If she sees a commercial for it, she'll say, "Oh, look, another sick kid we need to help!" like she's a part of the design team.

She innocently passes on the gossip from school. She recently told me a story where a boy named Ethan told the teacher during floor time that he thought there was a red fish. The teacher said (with I can only imagine was a great deal of sarcasm), "Oh really? I think there's a "ZIP IT" fish." I can't imagine her teacher wanted that particular story told over dinner.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On Rain

It's rainy here today. It's not exactly hot chocolate weather, but I always want hot chocolate when it rains. Of course, I eat chocolate on a daily basis, so I guess hot, cold, or room temperature is just splitting hairs. I really just always want chocolate.

Something else rain inspires at our house? Weed pulling. Well, in me at least. No one else seems to care. But when the ground is all softened up like that I just can't walk by without pulling out two or three, which soon turns into twenty or thirty, and then I end up with a blister (because I never take the time to get my gloves, because I'm going to stop right after this next one, so it won't matter). Trust me, our lawn gives me ample opportunity to pull weeds. Because I can't ever really finish a job, though, I leave the weeds out for Rhett to throw in the garbage. Also, I think it's good for him to see how hard I worked. And I'm just lazy.

You know what? That's it. Post done. I've got some more weeds to pull.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pretty Much, I'm Awesome

I said to Rhett the other day, "Hey, I'm not going to pretend to be modest anymore. I'm awesome and I'm going to tell everyone."

Rhett's response: No more modesty? Whip off your shirt, babe! You ARE awesome.

Rhett's enthusiasm is in no way dampened by my post-three children body which looks more like a balloon that has been inflated and then deflated several times. Because, actually, it has.

Anyway. Please don't think I'm bragging (except I am) and please don't think I'm trying to make you feel inferior (you should embrace your OWN awesomeness) and please don't feel the need to compete (I know, I know, YOU WIN!).

But I threw a pretty sweet Halloween party for my kids and their friends.

This was the ceiling. Rhett was a trooper and inflated all the balloons (with our air mattress pump) and then strung them together. And no matter how many times they got tangled and he had to start over again, he still insisted it was easier to tape them up first and THEN spread them out. Way to take one for the team, I say.

Another awesome thing about the party? This bubbling cauldron of witches' brew. Seriously, dry ice was more fun than anything else at the party. Although I just want to mention, for no reason at all, that this party also featured Halloween golf, Ghost Darts, cookie decorating, and crafts. I'm just saying.

The dry ice was the most fun, except for maybe this installment of the Heidi Show (I swear, I can't get enough attention), wherein I read Monster Goose to the children. I only irreparably frightened two children, and I'm sure their parents are SO grateful that they have permanent nightmares involving piranhas, mummies, and cannibals.

Also, the children loved chasing our chickens. I'm sure the parents also appreciated the chicken . . . erm, stuff . . . that was on their shoes afterwards. I know I always love a little something like that.

But the highlight was, of course, the children. Here they are in all their glory:

And just for Rhett--this is the closest you'll get to the no modesty deal. (If you look closely, you can see down my shirt. Ew! Don't look, you perv!)

See how awesome? I mean, ignore the totally subpar usage of Blogger's picture function. I pretty much suck at that. But otherwise, awesome, right?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If I Listen Hard Enough, I Can Hear Myself Getting Fatter

Seriously, please, someone come and rip the Halloween candy out of my hands. Please.

It's a waste to throw it away. I don't want to give it to my kids, who are hyper enough without the sugar high. Rhett doesn't eat it. So I end up shoveling huge amounts of candy into my mouth several times a day.

I'm going to throw it away. I am. After this next piece.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A New Low (Who Knew We Could Go Lower?)

You know, I've never claimed to be a good cook. In fact, I'm really kind of proud of being a dismal cook. If you ever come to eat at my house, the meat will be undercooked, the vegetables overcooked and dessert? What, you think you're Queen Elizabeth or something? A meal isn't enough for you?

Okay, maybe I'm not quite that bad. But I don't really love to cook, and when you don't love something it just kind of follows that you're not ever going to reach the pinnacle of glory in that area. And you know me, I just love the pinnacle of glory.

But honestly, I think we hit a new low this morning when I came downstairs to discover that my husband's idea of a healthy breakfast for our kids is a banana and Doritos (stale). And whilst it's true that my breakfast was a sugar cookie (heavy on the frosting and candy corn decorations), I generally strive for something more substantive for my children.

"Really, Rhett?" I asked. "Doritos for breakfast?"

"Oh, come on, Heidi," he said with not even an ounce of shame, "it's the day after Halloween."

I almost didn't have the heart to tell him it was actually the day after the day after Halloween. Why kick a man who's clearly already at rock bottom, nutritionally speaking? So instead, I hucked a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup his way, courtesy of the kids' trick or treating bags.

It's almost like I served him breakfast in bed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sorry, I'm Lame

So, yeah. I'm pretty lame at blogging lately, no?

I would really love to give you a good reason, like I'm pregnant! Or like I've been in Hawaii for the last month! Or like I've been so busy volunteering at the homeless shelter that I just have been too exhausted to think about myself and my blog.

But you know me better than that. The truth is I'm not pregnant (DOCTOR'S ORDERS, remember?), I wouldn't know what a vacation was if it came and slapped me in the face, and I'm hopelessly selfish, so the homeless shelter thing? Not so much.

I've pretty much just been lazy. And tired. And maybe I'm having a few anxiety attacks.

It's normal, right? You pull up to the Wal-mart with your three kids in tow and you think, Okay, what will I do with my children if there is a serial gunman inside shooting everyone at random? My big plan so far? Go hide behind the big flat screen TV boxes. But I'm really worried about how to keep my kids quiet. How long can I keep them occupied with fruit snacks before the serial gunman discovers us and shoots us all and leaves my husband a childless widower consumed with grief and bitterness at all the beauty (me) that has been taken from him so cruelly?

Don't you think about stuff like that too? Don't get me started on my plans for if our car gets submerged underwater with three kids in car seats.

So anyway. Sorry I'm so lame. That's all I have to say about that.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Things Which Should Bear the Title Awesome

I'm not very good at making silly/funny/amusing lists. Now, stick me in my filthy house with an index card and a pen, and I will make an eternally long list of things that need to get done. And then after I've made the list, I'll go take a rest on the couch. Because the first step is identifying the problem. I see no need to rush on to any other steps.

But anyway. I'm feeling listy tonight, so here are the things that I think are awesome:

1) Our pet chickens. They have succeeded in getting a completely free ride from us. We feed them, we water them, we let them roam free in our backyard, and then they apparently go and lay eggs somewhere that cannot be found by any human being on earth. Either that, or we have a snake that eats the eggs. Either that, or they haven't started laying eggs yet. Either that, or my kids are throwing them over the fence before I go out to look for them. Anyway, my point is, you've got to admire that kind of gumption. Seriously.

2) North and South. One of my friends just gave me this movie based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel (NOT THE SKANKY MINI-SERIES OF THE SAME NAME! Remember that one with Patrick Swayze? I had a friend who let me watch it at her house because my mother had some pretty unyielding morality standards, which did not include miniseries made about a whole family's sex life. Not to reflect badly on my friend's mother, of course!), and it (the Elizabeth Gaskell adaptation) is pretty awesome. As a general rule, I refuse to watch movies of novels that I like but I made an exception and I'm glad. It's four hours long, and even Rhett liked it. But then, Rhett watches Pride and Prejudice with me (the six hour version) just because he likes when Bingley says, "My horse! Quick, man!" He'll rewind that over and over and over. Simple pleasures, I say.

3) Mashed potatoes and gravy. Seriously, couldn't you eat that all day long?

4) Spe. I was putting him to bed tonight when I had the strongest desire to look into the future and see what kind of person he will grow up to be (hey, fingers crossed for a Chippendales dancer! If the amount of exposure he's been flashing my way is any indication, he's got it made!). I said, "Hey, are you going to be a good man when you grow up?" Because obviously, good man equals Chippendales dancer in my book. He looked at me all funny and said, "No, I gonna be SpiderMAN." Well, maybe he can work it into his routine.

5) Orange Sprinkles. I'm not kidding, I can pretty much get my kids to eat anything as long as I sprinkle orange sprinkles on it and call it "Halloween _____ (fill in the blank)". Tonight we had Halloween Pasta. The orange sprinkles made the mushrooms look like candy. If that hadn't worked, I would have called it Witches' Nails Pasta, because don't mushrooms look a little bit like nails with a bad case of fungus? And if that didn't work? Hunger is the greatest motivator of all.

What makes your awesome list?

Some Vast Eternal Plan

Do you remember that part in Fiddler on the Roof where Tevye wonders why he can't be rich. He asks, "Would it spoil some vast eternal plan if I were a wealthy man?"

I don't worry about being wealthy, but seriously, would it hurt some vast eternal plan if Spe slept in past 7:00 a.m.? Just once?

Apparently the vast eternal plan I'm talking about is the one where I'm supposed to remain tired and grumpy for the rest of my life. Meh.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Su-cray!

Years ago, I lived with (as in the roommate "lived with" not the other "lived with") a French girl. She had a charming French accent, an outgoing personality, and three secrets that she really didn't want anyone to know.

I don't know why she told me them. I'm never good at keeping secrets, and because my life is an open book, I tend to think no one else should be ashamed of anything either. Hey, want to know my menstruation cycle? Want to hear all the ins and outs of my last buttocks massage? Want to hear all the gory details of my last ob/gyn appointment?

No? Well, I would have told you.

So, anyway. Frenchie. (Is that derogatory? Sometimes when you try to protect the innocent, you diminish them by giving them a derogatory nickname. And despite having lived in England long enough to pick up a prejudice for nearly ever other European country, I actually don't hate the French. Much.) Anyway, Frenchie. So, Frenchie tells me her secrets. The secrets that she would rather DIE than have anyone find out.

They are:

1) She has an open sore on her head because she can't stop picking at it. It has been there for four years. It's a nervous habit.

2) She has gained a little weight recently, and now wears two bras to try to keep it all up there, if you know what I mean. Oh, do I know what you mean, Frenchie.

3) She wears a girdle. See #2 above for the reason.

Seriously? These are Frenchie's worst secrets? I think I giggled after she told them to me. But then, pretty much for the rest of the time I knew her, I could get her to do whatever I wanted. Whenever we were with other people, I would take my hand and make a fast line from the top of my head to my thighs, indicating head, boobs, girdle. Immediately, Frenchie would say pitifully, "My sucrays!" and suddenly, she'd see things my way.

Because another reason you shouldn't share your secrets with me?

I've got no shame about blackmail.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Yesterday, Rhett got me a massage, which I always love.

When I walked in, to my surprise I was booked with a man masseuse. But I'm no prude, so I didn't really care that much. He was asking me about my chronic headaches and all that stuff, like I was ready to embark on a weekly regime of massage to cure my headaches. Me? Totally ready. My pocketbook? Not so much.

Then he says, "So would you like your buttocks massaged?"

I look surprised. Of course I want my buttocks massaged. (Is this too much information? I sometimes have a problem distinguishing. Oh, dear, it probably is.) But seriously, how can it be a full-body massage without buttocks-massaging?

I say, "Yes, I do. Why do you ask? Are there people who don't?"

He says, "Well, some people just really freak out when you touch their buttocks."

I laugh a little and say, "Hey, I have a male OB/GYN. I think there are more invasive problems to worry about, don't you?"

And then I went on to have a very lovely buttocks massage.

Did I say buttocks too many times in this post? There's just something endearing about that word, don't you think?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Safety Patrol

Before we had kids, I really thought Rhett and I had almost everything in common. I mean, sure there were the small, irritating differences (like my propensity to leave used tissue around the house), but I was pretty sure that on the big things, we were compatible.

And then we had kids. And whoa, we are different. Really different.

For example, I tend to have a more laissez-faire attitude towards my children and their safety. I see them doing something like climbing a stone wall, and I think, Well, they haven't hurt themselves yet, so they're probably fine. And then I sit and watch them climb all over and don't say a word to them. Plus, I think it's good for the gross motor skills to climb like crazy.

I get this attitude from my mom, who once let my three-year-old nephew play with a box of pushpins. When he stepped on one and then screamed in pain, she shrugged philosophically and said, "Well, he was having the best time playing with them until he stepped on one."

I'm not saying I'm leaving out poison over here just to teach our kids a lesson, but I don't worry too much about bumps and bruises, either.

Rhett, on the other hand, sees the same kids joyfully climbing on a stone wall, and the fact that they haven't fallen yet only means that they are that many seconds closer to inevitable disaster, which disaster will probably take the form of a broken neck or death. Kids jumping on the bed? A serious breach of safety protocol. Me, allowing our kids to climb on the back of the sofa? The foolish, foolish choices of a future grieving mother.

He can't understand why I let Veevs ride the bus to school, why I let the kids paint with watercolor paints without aprons, or why I don't really care if they jump from chair to chair in the kitchen. I let them sit on the counter when I'm baking, and why haven't I considered that they could fall and crack their heads open while I turn my back to get some eggs out of the fridge? I don't know why. I just haven't.

And if they do, at least I have an awesome pediatrician.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sicker, sicker, sicker, sicker, sicker

Well, hey there! You might have thought I got all my sick talk out in one post, but if so, you don't know me that well.

Because 105 degree temperature? Harbinger of Pneumonia! And a little boy who has just turned three? Doesn't like an IV that much, even if it will make him feel better in a few days.

Just thought you might want to know.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick

We've all been sick this week. I started off with a bad head cold and Spe and Veevs followed up with some fevers. Jakers jumped into the fray with a little teething misery, and Rhett couldn't be left out, so he mustered up some autumn allergies.

Last night, Spe woke up at 2:30 with a fever of 105 degrees. I was laying there with him, after his tepid bath and medicine, waiting for him to feel better. I put my arm over him to comfort him.

"Mom," he said, "You can't touch me. It's not allowed."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because I hate it." Well, there's a little boy who prefers to suffer alone.

This morning when I told Veevs that Spe was so sick she said flippantly, "I just hope he doesn't die."

Yeah, me too.

So there you go. I miss a week of blogging, and all you get are crappy stories of how sick we all were. To add to your enjoyment of this blog, you could come and help me clean up the mountain of used tissue by the side of my bed.


I thought I might be on my own with that one, but I left it for a day or two to see if Rhett would be so disgusted with it, he would just do it himself. The answer was no.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Saved by the Bell

Hey, take a walk down memory lane with me, and review Jesse Spano's mental breakdown, brought on by caffeine pills. Serious addictions are hard to overcome, guys.

Seriously, I love this video. And thanks to my brother, Josh, for bringing it to my attention.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wigging Out

Today Veevs was flipping through a magazine, when she came across a picture advertising Richard Simmon's line of workout tapes.

"Hey!" she said, "Why does this guy have the same wig as Nacho Libre?"

The girl has a point.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

If We WERE Going to Talk About Politics . . .

If we WERE going to talk about politics, which WE'RE NOT, because, hello, how crazy do I look to you?

But, hypothetically, if we were, here would be some things you should probably know:

1) We probably won't agree. My party affiliation is pretty much the opposite of the majority of people in my state (Texas!), my religion (Mormon!) and my family (Smiths!).

2) It will annoy me when you assume that I will agree with you because I live in Texas, because I'm a Mormon, or because I'm a Smith girl. I'm feisty like that.

3) I like to talk about the issues, not gut feelings. If you want to talk to me about politics, you should really know where your candidate stands on energy, education, Iran, and fiscal policies. I don't want to talk about their family, who they dated in high school, or how you just can't put your finger on it, but for some reason you just don't feel like they are that trustworthy (Because just ask George Bush--those gut feelings can be wrong. When he met Putin for the first time he looked into his eyes, "saw his soul" and just knew that he was a good, trustworthy man. Oops!).

4) Not admitted as evidence or acceptable proof of your claims of your candidate's superiority? Anything that has made its way to you via an email forward. This includes amazing stories of your candidate's (or my candidate's, for that matter) compassion for the underprivileged as well as senseless ramblings attacking my candidate's (or your candidate's, for that matter) commitment to their religion, their country, or their wife. I'm just saying, that stuff is called PROPAGANDA, not proof.

5) I get that you can have a different point of view from mine and still have a valid point of view. You should get that, too. (You guys, politics makes me super bossy. Can you tell?)

6) I will get CRAZY. I always think I can totally have a reasonable, logical, fabulously calm discussion with someone, wherein we will both leave thinking, Wow, that was intellectually stimulating. I now see the issues in new and exciting ways, and I have so much respect for my dear friend who sees things differently than I do. The sad truth is that the last time I had a political discussion with someone Rhett said later, "Uh, Heids, I'm not saying you weren't right, but it kind of seemed like maybe you were sort of trying to like verbally take that guy's head and smash it against the concrete curb over and over and over."

And that's the real reason why we won't discuss politics. You don't want your head smashed into a curb, do you?

Let's just be friends instead.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Soccer Mom

Hey, soccer started this week, and there are very few things that give me more joy than watching my eldest daughter shrink away from a soccer ball.

Unless it's watching my middle son hurtle towards the same soccer ball like a freight train.

Last year, Veevs took to laying out in front of her team's goal in seductive poses that I have no idea from whence she learned them. But think Solid Gold Dancing (remember that? We weren't allowed to watch it, but my best friend was and I played at her house a lot!). She would hop up when the ball came too close and run out of the way, because wow, that girl does not want to get hit by a ball.

Spe is a natural, kicking and running simultaneously, pausing only to do a somersault in the middle of the field.

We've got some serious competitors. Bring it, Barbie Girls. Bring it, Arctic Freeze.

The Wildcats are READY.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Big News!

No, actually, I have no big news. But I'm not afraid of crying wolf. Being the fourth of eight children taught me that you have to use whatever tools are in your toolbelt to get attention. Some other techniques that I found useful growing up?

Keeping a book in the bathroom. My mother had a strict "Everyone cleans up dinner until dinner's all cleaned up" policy which is part of why I had a strict "I need to go the bathroom suddenly, and it might take me up to twenty minutes" policy. Have I mentioned before that one of my basic character traits is laziness? Also, I don't mind rereading books, so as long as there was a book in there, I was golden.

The closet shove. My mother also had a strict "You can't leave this house until your room is clean" policy which inspired my own "Clean only means out of sight" policy and a reputation for being the fastest cleaner in the family. Funny how that never translated over into dinner cleanup.

The closet hide. This sounds like the same thing, but trust me, it's not. See, I developed socially slower than oh, say 95% of the population, and so I was playing Barbies with my younger brothers and sisters until I was about 15. Which was kind of embarrassing when people would stop by, as you might imagine. So I got really, really good at hiding in the toy room closet whenever anyone came over. I could stay in there for upwards of twenty minutes. But I wasn't alone. My thirteen year old brother was in there with me too. Because we also had a strict "Everyone plays" policy at our house.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

When Life Sucketh

You know, sometimes life just sucks. Usually you can pinpoint the reason, like, oh, maybe you've been thrown up on sixteen times by your baby in the last four hours. Or maybe your laundry room has suddenly exploded out into the hallway and no one has any clean underwear. Or maybe your husband left on a business trip for a week and left you home with all the children and it's that certain time, if you know what I mean. Or maybe a combination of all of those factors.

But sometimes, life sucks and you can't even pinpoint why.

That's how I feel right now. Sure, I could blame it on my baby's violent diarrhea and yeast infection in the nether regions, or I could blame it on having to get up so early now that school has started, or on the massive ant infestation I just found in my kitchen, but to be honest, I think it's more that all the mundane details above are the biggest worries on my mind.

I just think maybe the human spirit was made to tackle bigger problems than explosive diarrhea. The fact that I'm going to spend a good half a day of my life killing tiny ants just makes me feel small. And the fact that school days has now added two more hours to my already eternally long days just makes me miserable.

Hey, wasn't this post hilarious? I KNOW! I can't stop laughing either. Or maybe it's crying. Whatever.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

At the Weight Watchers

You guys, I go to Weight Watchers. I join between each of my babies, and always miss my goal by a few pounds when I get pregnant again and get kicked out. It's one of the drawbacks of rabbit-style procreation.

Anyway, my friend Claire (who rocks her acerbic Scottish humor something fierce) wrote a post about her meetings (because apparently Weight Watchers is the one thing that can bridge the Atlantic Ocean), and whoa, her meetings are different than mine.

Hers are all like, "I ate this, and I ate this, and I ate this and I gained three pounds and loved every pound!" My people are all like, "I'm the BEST WEIGHT WATCHER EVER! I starved myself for five of the seven days this week and I lost twelve pounds!"

I always try to keep it real, but I get a lot of negative vibes for it. For example, my leader will be all, "You know, you can eat just one Oreo."

And I'll raise my hand (because I know how a classroom setting works) and say, "Uh, you know actually I can't. I can eat THE WHOLE BAG in one sitting. But just one? Not so much."

The other people around me always act horrified/shocked/disturbed by my ability to binge. For the record, I don't purge. That's what got me to WW in the first place.

But seriously? I look around and these same horrified/shocked/disturbed people are like 40 pounds heavier than I am. What, they got fat the "healthy" way? Their overweight condition was caused by an extreme love for apples and oranges? Please.

Let's all admit it. We can eat a whole package of Oreos in one sitting. Other things we can eat in one sitting? A dozen donuts. A whole tray of homemade chocolate chip cookies. A half bag of Doritos. And any size bag of any candy (except Mounds or Almond Joy--EW!).

Seriously, if you're at Weight Watchers, I just want some honesty. You binge. I binge. Let's not pretend we've got the self-control of Vicky Beckham. We're not eating edamame, right?

Now that's off my chest. And I'm off to eat some chocolate chips with peanut butter. Straight out of the peanut butter jar.

Friday, August 29, 2008

And This Is What We're Dealing With . . .

Spe: Momma, I don't really like your boobs.

Me: Really? Why not? (Because I'm thinking he probably hasn't noticed that gravity has not been a friend to me, as he is only three.)

Spe: (Sadly) Because I can't touch them.

Me: (Firmly) That's right. You can't.

I'm guessing when he grows up, he'll really love women with . . . long legs (people, people!). Or just women who let him touch their boobs. Either way . . .

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hey, how about that one lady . . .

Spe's Teacher: Hey, who should we have for room mother?

Assistant Teacher: Uhm, good question.

Teacher: I was thinking about that one lady, who has that really cute girl. You know, Olivia's mom.

Assistant: Yeah, she'd be great!

Teacher: Well, unfortunately she turned me down because apparently Olivia is prepping for the Miss Cinderella pageant and she's got a whole dance routine to learn.

Assistant: Bummer. Well, what about Cole's mom?

Teacher: Yeah, she turned me down too. Apparently she's working on her doctorate degree in early childhood education, and so she's really dedicating herself to her family and her education.

Assistant: So who's left?

Teacher: Uh, I think I'm going to have to ask Spe's mom.

Assistant Teacher: Oh, I don't remember her. What field trips did she go on last year?

Teacher: Uh, she didn't really ever volunteer to go on a field trip.

Assistant: Wait, is she the one that's always late to drop off and pick up?

Teacher: Yeah, she's the one in her pajamas.

Assistant: I don't know. She actually seems to be hanging on to sanity by a thread. Are you sure that you want her to be in charge of parties and stuff?

Teacher: What other choice do we have?

Assistant Teacher: Right. Spe's mom it is, then. I don't even think that kid is potty trained. Heaven help us all.

And that is how room mothers are chosen at the preschool where Spe attends.

Heaven help us all, indeed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Minivan and You

The Minivan. Gosh, is that the iconic symbol of stay-at-home-mommying or what? Every mom who's any mom has one. They make life easier and some of them even have self-opening doors! Wow! And built in DVD players, because American kids are totally not watching enough TV! Some of them have like twenty cup holders, and some of them have swivelly seats so that your kids can play card games while you drive them around town (and I'm not going to confess that I jealously lusted after those when I first saw them, because hello! SO LAME to lust after anything on a minivan.)!

I guess I have a lot of free time on my hands, because I've made up a personality test that gauges your relationship with your minivan. Because let's be honest, there is a relationship there. Whether it's love, hate, convenience, or pragmatism that's keeping the two of you together, you are together for a reason. Even if it's just for the sake of the children.

1) Did you purchase your minivan after your:
a) first child
b) second child
c) third child
d) none of the above because a minivan is SO LAME!

2) Would you say:
a) I can't get enough of my minivan! You guys, it totally rocks having one! It's made life so much easier! I LOVE changing diapers in it! I LOVE how I can keep like seventeen sippy cups in there! Awesome!
b) You guys, I didn't want a minivan at first, but then I saw that everyone at my church had one, and I started realizing that maybe I could still be popular whilst driving a minivan.
c) I always hated minivans, but then when I popped out three kids in four years (no bitterness, though! Love the little tykes EVERY DAY!) it kind of made my likes and dislikes a moot point. Also a moot point? My love for sleeping in.
d) This is possibly the lamest post Heidi has ever done because, seriously, minivans?

3) Your minivan is:
a) Always clean! Because really, I love it THAT much!
b) Lived in. It's not filthy, because ew, gross! but you might find a French fry under the seat if you're really hungry. Seriously, just eat it, because French fries have like ten-year long preservatives. It will still be good in 2018.
c) Gross. Because why take care of crap?
d) Do we have to talk about minivans?

4) When you see someone you know while you are driving your minivan, you:
a) Smile and wave! And then you point to your DVD player to point out that your baby is watching Baby Mozart while you drive and isn't he going to be smarter than their kids?! And shouldn't they know?
b) Wave. You're not even thinking about the minivan. You're thinking about how you are five minutes late to pick up your kid from preschool.
c) Duck or pretend like you don't see them. The shame and the horror of driving the mini is a little too much for you. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It's like Ozymandias all over.
d) Do whatever I feel like, because I'm not driving a minivan. I'm driving a Honda Accord with a sunroof.

5) When you go to put your kids in the minivan, it takes you:
a) All of one minute! I just hit the remote door opener, and my kids hop in and buckle themselves in. Because that's our routine, and the minivan is so awesome my kids are happy to get in!
b) A serious round of negotiation, wherein you resort to bribery (candy/gum) and the promise that if they'll just buckle themselves in you'll take them swimming (which you were planning on doing anyway).
c) A serious wrestling match. Because why do these kids always want to play with all the knobs on the minivan? And why is it so easy for them to get up front? There's a reason for a barrier of seats between the front and the back, people.
d) Seriously. Let's be done. I'm losing my desire to procreate by reading this stupid post.

Hey! That was fun! Wasn't it? Okay, tally it up!

Give yourself ONE point for every A you answered.

Give yourself TWO points for every B you answered.

Give yourself THREE points for every C you answered.

And give yourself FOUR points for every D you answered. (And seriously, how about an attitude adjustment, okay, Grumpy Pants?)

5-8 POINTS: Hey, how about you take mothering a little less seriously, okay? Because seriously, you are headed for a life of room mothering and competitive pageants for infants.

But don't be mad if you scored in this range, because we have a lot in common (except for a grasp on reality)! See, I'm the room mother for my preschooler and WOW! I'm SO LUCKY! THANKS FOR ASKING ME!

9-13 POINTS: You're grounded as a mom. You realize that you're not perfect and you're not going to pretend you are. However, you try to do your best by your kids, even if that means driving a sweet minivan.

14-17 POINTS: Are you sure you should have children? I'm just saying. Not as a harsh judgment, just like a friend who's judging you. Probably behind your back, too. But you're obviously over caring.

18-20 POINTS: Right, I get it. I suck. Minivans suck. The whole world sucks. And now, since you're so much fun to be around, maybe you should put in an application at DisneyWorld? Because you'd add a lot to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Pessimist In Me

I've always thought of myself as neither a pessimist or an optimist, instead I go with the trite but accurate, "I'm actually just a realist." Because some people really don't see the glass as half full or half empty, we just drink it until it's gone. If I had to peg myself though, I probably would lean to defining myself as an optimist. You know, because being a pessimist is just such a downer.

But lately, I've started to think maybe I'm really a pessimist in denial.

For example, the Olympics. I know they are like the greatest celebration of sport, athleticism, world peace, and good feelings, but I got to admit: every time someone gets a gold medal I can't help but mentally indict them for doping. That's just the way I feel, so don't bother arguing with me. Maybe it's just the pessimist in me, but I just can't have good faith in clean sporting. Don't get me started on the Chinese gymnasts being babies.

Also, men buying flowers for women at the grocery store. What do you think when you see that? Because I'm not going to lie, I always think they're trying to say sorry for beating their wife the night before. Is that pessimistic? Or just realistic? So hard to say, but that's what I think every time I see a man in the checkout line with flowers in hand.

The English teacher in me is clamoring for a third example, but the mother in me is being called away by a three-year old who should be in bed but is instead marauding through the house shooting an imaginary laser beam from his wrist.

But I also told Rhett years ago that I thought Russia was going bad again. That turned out to just be realism, but I think he thought I was just being pessimistic.

And you? How do you know you are a pessimist? Or how do you know you are an optimist?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Wow, can you just not get enough of my kids? Yeah, me either.

Well, except I can get enough and so thank heavens bedtime is 8:00 sharp here, even when the sun is shining like a lighthouse beacon through the window. Which it is, of course, and of course the kids stay up babbling to themselves, but I don't care because hey! they're not babbling at me! Hallelujah!

Anyway, my point here is Wristy. Just as an FYI, I'm not going to call him that anymore, because he's kind of stopped doing the whole wristy thing (you know, now that he's almost one a half, and doing much more sophisticated tricks like singing "We will, we will ROCK YOU!" And no, I'm not calling him Queen, either). So I'm just calling him Jakers now, so don't get all confused.

Or do get all confused, but let it be for a valid reason like where you put your car keys or why honey causes botulism in infants but not toddlers.

And to bring it home, here's Jakers (for Grandma Sue!):

Monday, August 18, 2008

Can We Agree?

So--let's agree from now on, when I go on vacation, everyone stops writing in their blog.

Because I just barely, finally, eventually finished reading through the 400 blog reader entries that were waiting for me when I got home.

And granted, I still have two bags that are not yet fully unpacked, but give me another week, okay? Rhett always unpacks the very night we get home from anywhere, even if it's 2:00 in the morning, but I always take my time. Ease out of living out of a suitcase, as it were.

But seriously, why did your lives continue on without me? Why is your life not linked inextricably to mine? Why do I feel like the world revolves around me only to discover that no one else but me thinks so?

Don't bother apologizing. Rhett made the same mistake (assuming that the world can go on without me) when we first got married, but he gets it now, and I'm sure you'll come along as well.

And now, some gratuitous pictures of my kids for those who care (Grandma Sue, HI!):

Rhett took Spe and Veevs to a Dallas Rangers baseball game. Spe's now claimed the team for his own, which means he'll probably spend the rest of his life disappointed. Whatever.

She's faking. She's not really smelling the flower.

Sorry, it's Blogger that hates Wristy, not me. It refuses to upload his picture.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Off the Deep End

When I was in Vegas, we (me and the kids) went swimming in my parents' pool. My dad looked on with an expression of beneficence from his lounge chair, poolside. If you know me, you know that I don't really do deep ends of pools, for a myriad of reasons. Okay, actually just one reason and it's called my alligator/crocodile phobia, which is both completely unreasonable and absolutely terrifying.

But with my dad looking on, I kind of felt obliged to prove that, you know, I'm like a normal mom, like a mom who doesn't freak out over imaginary crocodiles, and one of those moms who pushes the kids around on floaties all over the pool, not just in the first four feet of water, and a mom who isn't going to pass on her freakish phobias to her kids.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered I can't even pretend to be that mom, not even for ten seconds:

"Hey, Veevs!" I say, striving for a nonchalant tone, "Do you want to go over to the diving board and I'll catch you when you jump off?"

She looks at me uncertainly. This is not her forte. Her forte involves underwater somersaults and mother-daughter synchronized swimming set to the tune of "I Will Survive"--NOT catapulting off the diving board.

"Uh. Okay." She gamely steps out of the water, and walks slowly to the deep end. I swim down there, doing my best to look unconcerned, while also keeping an eye on the drain for a rogue crocodile, which could explode out of the drain at any moment and grab me with its crazy-sharp teeth and start a death roll, snapping my spinal cord in two in mere seconds. My only hope is to poke its eye, so I try to keep my arms free. I smile reassuringly at Veevs, because you know, nothing's wrong! I'm just treading water over here!

I get to my position in front of the board. The drain is directly beneath me, and I. swear. I. am. having. a. panic. attack. Breathe. Breathe. Stifle a whimper. All I'm aware of is how my legs are dangling there, flailing around, practically begging for a crocodile to eat them. I last about 2.4 seconds.

I shriek. I book it back to the shallow end, and then say sheepishly, "Uh. Sorry, Veevs. I couldn't do it. Crocodiles, you know."

Veevs looks at me compassionately, "It's okay, mom. I was scared about jumping off the diving board, too." Because if there's one thing that girl knows for sure now, it is that I hate crocodiles MORE than I love her. I'm so glad I've just proven it to her.

My dad laughs at me and shakes his head. He knew I wasn't that kind of mom, anyway. And then, just to make me feel better, he proceeds to give me a play-by-play of a crocodile horror film that he watched--different from the one that scarred me for life, but one involving a crocodile launching itself into a helicopter to get revenge. And don't worry, that didn't cement my belief in the crocodile as a supernatural force of evil or anything.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Problem with Drama

You know, most of the time, I really like being a "dramatic" person. Sure, I get a little bit of flak for it, but it's pretty sweet that I can use jazz hands (ironically! Not for real!) in conversation and no one thinks twice about it. I mean, sure, they laugh at me, but then they just move on because everyone knows I'm a "little dramatic". It's just part of who I am.

But as with every personality trait, there's a downside. And no, the downside isn't that I think my life is one big giant stage for the Heidi Variety Show. That's one of the perks. The downside is that when you are known for being a "little dramatic" you can't get any real respect.

I was listening the other day to KNPR and they (I say "they" because I can't remember the interviewer's name. But it wasn't Carl Castle, I know that. Nor was it MeShelle Norris.) were interviewing a journalist who got fired because of his crack cocaine addiction and then pulled his life together and is now out stumping his book about his crack cocaine addiction and recovery. You might think this story doesn't have a point, but just you wait. I didn't invoke the journalistic integrity of NPR lightly. Anyway.

The journalist was saying that when he left rehab he went back to all of his old employers and basically begged for his job back. It was tough, because he said there was no new rhetoric to express that he was really dedicated to recovery. He'd said it all before when he actually wasn't on the road to recovery. He would tell them that he was attending meetings and doing really well, but they had heard that before from him, with really bad results. He would tell them that he was getting his life together, that things would be different, that he was really serious this time, but he'd already used all those lines, and it was hard for them to respect him.

And not that I'm a crack cocaine addict, but man, did I feel his pain.

You guys, no one takes me seriously, either. If I tell Rhett that I'm feeling depressed, I get no sympathy (and no Prozac, either) because he's already heard me express the same emotion about the end of the Bachelor season (seriously, you guys, I love it! It's like a tragicomedy!) and the inability of my dishwasher to clean dishes that haven't been pre-scrubbed (Isn't that why I have a dishwasher?).

If I say I'm really excited at something, I'm pretty sure people assume that I'm only slightly above catatonic about it, because I've already expressed serious, major enthusiasm about peppermint ice cream (Couldn't you eat like seven gallons in one sitting? I think I could!), Kenny Rogers' latest facelift (oh, I'm joking, of course, because really, I don't even think Kenny could be excited about that) and kitschy teen romance novels circa 1980.

I'm like the boy who cried "Wolf!", except at least I did it with jazz hands to emphasize my point.

Seriously, I'm a little depressed about it.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wherein I Realize It's Genetic . . .

So, twenty hours in a car with my kids. That was awesome. Fortunately, on the return trip I had corralled my husband into flying into Vegas and then driving home with me, because really, what else was he going to do with his weekend? I mean, it's not like he mows the lawn. (I can now tell you this little detail: we pay a neighbor boy to come and mow our lawn because Rhett is "busy" with school. I have previously been prevented from sharing this mundane detail of our lives only because Rhett was afraid his father would disown him forever when he found out. But I outed Rhett during this vacation anyway, and so now you know! What other secrets am I keeping from you? You'll never know! At least, not until I'm authorized to share them.)

Anyway, this trip opened my eyes to a few things. I realized that Rhett is the worst backseat driver ever. He was always like, "Hey, Heids, don't accelerate so fast on the on-ramp. You're killing our gas mileage," and all, "Hey, watch out for that semi!" because semis are apparently hard to miss.

My children do not appreciate Dairy Queen. The people who frequent Dairy Queen do not appreciate my children. Enough said.

Spencer is all of a sudden a little boy instead of a toddler. How do I know? Potty talk, that's how. We're cruising along watching the Backyardigans and the Backyardigans sing, "Now it's time to have a snack!" while Spencer gleefully sings, "Now it's time to pee in the toilet!" He then proceeds to laugh at his own little joke.

Rhett and I exchange mystified (but still amused) looks, like, "Where did this come from?"

A short time later, the Backyardigans sing, "The corniest station in the nation!" while Rhett sings "The horniest station in the nation!" He then proceeds to laugh at his own little joke.

I don't exchange mystified looks with anyone this time. I'm suddenly very clear on where this came from.

Thanks, Rhett.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

I am home.

I am exhausted.

I am planning on writing a REAL post shortly.

Any questions?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Another Stab?

You know, I'm kind of feeling lazy. So please, please, please, enjoy this reprinted patriotic post in honor of our newest presidential inauguration. I don't want to brag, but I'm pretty sure people have cried from the beauty of my patriotic past. I'm just saying.

It's come to my attention that my last post on patriotism (sort of) caused no feelings of inspiration whatsoever. I can't imagine why. What could be more patriotic than "Freedom's Pitter-Patter"? (And yes, I'll work on getting a clip of it for you. It will change your life.)

To right this travesty against patriotic people everywhere, I'll pull another inspiring story from my own life that is related to Our Country's Great Heritage. What could be more representative of Our Great Heritage than the monument that spans an entire mountain? You know, the one that singlehandedly brings more people to South Dakota each year than the number of people who actually live in South Dakota.

Yes, I'm talking about Mt. Rushmore. I have always loved this monument for several reasons:

1) It's so American to have a monument that is made out of a mountain. I love the hubris of the whole deal.

2) Who doesn't love a monument that is dedicated to George Washington (the father of our nation), Thomas Jefferson (the primary author of the Declaration of Independence), Abraham Lincoln (who freed the slaves and kept the Union together), and Teddy Roosevelt (who is primarily famous for taking a staid name like Theodore and making it cute by shortening it to 'Teddy'. Oh, and the teddy bear is named after him. Why is he on the monument, anyway?)? What's not to love?

3) Until I was in the EIGHTH GRADE, I believed the sculptor of this monument was GOD.

I really believed God loved these presidents (and yes, even then I was confused as to why he loved Teddy, but whatever. Some things you just have to take on faith.), and made the wind sculpt their faces on to the mountains.

Imagine my deep disappointment when I took US History in the eighth grade and stumbled across a picture like the following in my textbook:

The sculpting of Mt. Rushmore involved blasting dynamite, followed by the process of honeycombing.
(Yeah, I don't know what that means, either.)

WHA? That certainly wasn't how I pictured God. Did this mean God didn't love those Presidents? Did this mean God didn't care how the teddy bear got its name? Did this mean he loved the people in Holland as much as he loved the people in America? How could that be? Did this mean God didn't love me enough to let the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear (before I made a fool of myself in JUNIOR HIGH) that maybe, just maybe, there had been some other force (like dynamite, for example) at work here beside divine providence?

Shattered that day: Faith. Patriotism. Self-esteem. (Because, really, only an idiot wouldn't have figured that out on their own.)

But don't worry. I rebounded quickly.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Sweetest Summer EVER!!!

I told Heidi that I would take over her blog writing duties whilst she was away with the children. She was worried that as her husband, I would drive her blog traffic into the ground. I told her that the only thing that would drive her blog traffic down was her being gone for 3 months…….wait, I mean 3 weeks (it just feels like 3 months).

At first I was excited to be sans wife and children because this meant that I’d be enjoying the following:

1. Partaking of energy drinks whenever I want to
2. Taking naps after work or whenever I want to
3. Watching reruns of The Fresh Price of Bel-air until 1 am or whenever I want to
4. Growing the sweetest red facial hair that anyone on the face of the earth has ever seen

I didn’t care that Heidi was headed to the “land of milk and honey” and to “Sin City” all in one go round. I didn’t care that she bought a sweet new dual-screen DVD player so that the little ones could enjoy epic Disney films and whimsical Frontyardigan hijinx all whilst relaxing in the air-conditioned comfort of a sweet Dodge Grand Caravan—yes, it even has alloy wheels. And I don’t care that while I’m flogging my guts out at work that she and the kids are splashing poolside and drinking bottled Kirkland water…… least I’m not bitter.

I’ve come to realize that like clockwork, every summer Heidi gets an itch that requires her to head home for rest, relaxation, and regeneration. It doesn’t matter that girl’s retreat was 2 months ago (or at least this is the standard answer that I get when I beg Heidi not to leave me high & dry). I believe that this sort of behavior stems from and is closely linked to Heidi’s genesis as a school teacher. Having the summer off of work must be pretty nice! Having the summer off of work AND spending it in vacation hotspots must be even nicer.

During these long unaccompanied, lonely and isolated summers, it’s nice to have others who feel my pain………thanks 1980s; thanks $1.48/gal gasoline; thanks chick overalls; thanks penny loafers; thanks bad bleach job; thanks Mack truck driver; thanks Bananarama; etc., etc., etc… below:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

State by State

Well, here I am on the other side of my personal hell, and let me tell you, it didn't get as hot as I thought it would, although I wasn't lifted into heaven, either.

Some things I noticed:

Texas should rename itself The Slow State. This is because of all the states I drove through Texas only has a speed limit of 70. Talk about slowing down my journey. Also, Texas, I think, has the corner on Dairy Queens. Those little towns all have one, and since I love DQs, I'm not complaining. But throw me a bone, Texas, on the speed limit.

New Mexico should rename itself The Safety State. Wow, did I ever feel safe. There were all kinds of "safety corridors" (which as far as I can tell, means that if you get caught speeding there, you pay a double fine) and I happened to visit during the 100 Days of Safety extravaganza. There were signs everywhere touting the fact that their highway patrol was out in force, day and night, policing the streets to keep them safe. Just as a side note, and in no way to make fun of the New Mexico HP, I only saw one cruiser during my drive across New Mexico. But that one trooper did look vigilant.

Also, I think New Mexico should get some kind of award for advertising. Because, I kid not, I would see signs every twenty feet for like twenty miles touting an awesome place to stop. And I would get all excited, because the billboards made it seem like if I stopped my kids could practically join a Navajo Indian tribe. "Tour an authentic Navajo Lodge!" the signs would scream, "Indian Village, eight miles ahead!" "Worth the wait! Largest jackrabbit sculpture in the world!"

I would get caught up and almost think about pulling off. As we passed, I would notice that the Indian Village was actually just a 7-11 gas station. I have no idea where they were hiding the authentic Navajo lodge.

I saw a lot of beautiful country, while my kids mostly saw Dora, the Backyardigans, and Mulan. But it was quiet and peaceful and that counts for something.

Friday, July 18, 2008

And We're Off . . .

Tomorrow morning I'm shoving (probably literally, there's no way of knowing) my kids in my minivan and driving for twenty hours to go to Vegas. It will be so fun--the driving part, of course.

Once we get to the family part, it really will be fun, and look ma! no sarcasm!

But oh, please remember me tomorrow when your kids act a little annoying (or even a lot annoying). Remember that someone else is enduring a personal hell, made bearable only by in-car DVDs, string cheese, M&Ms and lacing cards. And then remember me again the next day, because yep, we'll still be driving.

And I've mentioned that my husband isn't able to come? Yes?

And I've also mentioned that I've contacted the Vatican to see if I can qualify for sainthood based on this trip, alone, cross-country? Even though I'm Mormon and haven't been martyred or anything? (Because I think I'm doing a pretty good martyr act over here, don't you?)

I think I should qualify if only because of the holy toenail. I'm just saying.

So if you don't hear from me for the next few days, know that I'm just driving, driving, driving. Either that, or God has taken pity on me and lifted my minivan into the heavens. It will be just like that scene in The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston. Except, probably with a lot more screaming (my kids!).

I can't ever watch any movie with Charlton Heston unless it's a religious movie. Can you? In high school we watched him in "Leningen Vs. the Ants" (which was nothing like the short story) and I just kept expecting him to part the sea of ants and lead his people to safety.

And now I will stop rambling. Goodbye!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In the Same Vein

Wow, all this talk about teaching high school has really made me miss it. Except for the grading part, of course, which only fools would miss.

I used to know a teacher who would grade every piece of paper that hit her grading box the same day she received it. Except of course, she made exceptions for the big essays. Those took her a whole weekend. And I was lucky just to get everything graded by the end of the term. Whatever. I think one time she asked if she could help me and I gave her some papers to grade, which is, of course, totally lame, but she was like "Grading Girl", the superhero (and yes, now I have reached a new low in ultra-geekiness, but again, whatever.)

My point here, buried somewhere beneath the random musings on how much I hated grading papers, was to tell you one of my favorite stories from high school teaching.

I taught English 10 Honors, and oh, did I love it. Those kids wanted As, and they would work to get them. And man, did they want those As. It's one of the few times when students would come up to me and be all, "Hey, um, I have a A-, it's a 92%, and I'm just wondering if I can do some extra credit to boost my grade to over 100%?"

And I would say no, because that's what I do. I say no. It kept me drug-free and came in real handy during the teaching years. It's not working so badly during the parenting years either.

Anyway, one day we had finished writing personal narratives and some of the students were reading them out loud to the class.

Mike, a loud, funny class clown kind of kid, had volunteered, because hello? Spotlight? Sign him up! (Don't worry, Mike, I'm the same way.) Mike wasn't the typical Honors student, in that he was pulling a B- and feeling fine about it. We all listened attentively (because it was Honors! people! We were respectful like that!) until I heard this:

"Then my brother turned his snowmobile and headed for the jump. When he got to the top of the jump, he totally did a promiscuous jump."

A little surprised, I said, "Hey, Mike, back it up. What did you just say?"

He repeats, "He totally did a promiscuous jump." He's nonchalant.

"So, what does 'promiscuous' mean?" I ask, choking back laughter. Seriously choking.

"Oh, I don't know. I just put it in there because it was a big word." Mike shrugs his shoulders, like I'm so lame for asking such a weird question.

And then I lost it and started laughing hysterically for a good three minutes--shoulders shaking, tears streaming, belly heaving.

"Oh, Mike," I finally say between chortles, "I'm not laughing at you," and then I stop and laugh some more and just decide to be honest with the poor thing. "No actually, I am laughing at you. Did you know that 'promiscuous' means sexually loose or immoral?"

Mike was embarrassed, but we all laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed the entire rest of the year. Almost every time Mike made a comment, another person in the class would say, "So would you say that was 'promiscuous', Mike?" and poor Mike would blush all over again. He was such a great sport.

Just to make him feel better, I told him this story about me. It's nice to know you're not alone in dropping sexual innuendo in the classroom, after all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Every So Often

Every so often, at church, or in random conversation, I hear a variation of this: "Teenagers these days are awful. They are rude, they don't know how to work, and they don't care about anyone but themselves."

And sometimes, when I go out where teenagers are (the mall, the movie theater) I sort of agree. They are self-absorbed and sometimes loud and obnoxious. I do have to fight the urge to throw down some serious English-teacher-dirty-looks that were honed years ago. Trust me, they work.

However, having said that, most of the time, I can't help thinking that those kind of teenagers did not define my high school teaching experience. Instead, my high school teaching experience was defined by thoughtful, smart, funny young people, who had goals, dreams, and ambitions that they were proud of. And okay, yeah, they were probably obnoxious in movie theaters, but in person, they were amazing.

I always counter the variations of "Teenagers suck!" that I hear with the following anecdote, taken directly from Room 233 (the one with the orange carpet), my first year of teaching.

There was a kid in my class, and I quite honestly can't remember his name, although I wish I could. He was possibly one of the most annoying students I've ever had. For the sake of this blog, let's call him Justin. He blurted things out that were completely random and often rude or crass, he talked about himself constantly, he pretended he was a gangster (it was in Pleasant Grove, Utah, people--we had no gangsters), and there was something in his demeanor that suggested repressed violence. Later in the year, Justin would be removed from the school for writing journals explaining exactly who he would kill in the school and how much he hated everyone. He was a walking time bomb.

Of course, every time we had partner work or group work, Justin was usually hard pressed to find a partner, and I usually ended up assigning him to a group, or quietly negotiating with someone who didn't already have a partner to go ask him to be their partner.

I wish I could say that I saw Justin's potential, nurtured his spirit, and helped him to deal with his anger. But quite frankly, I found him annoying, too. I'm sure I tried harder than his peers to mask my annoyance, but I'm sure he still felt it.

One day I assigned a partner-work assignment, and allowed my students to choose their own partner. I was fully prepared to assign Justin, whom I knew wouldn't be asked to join a group, to another partnership.

I watched the usual melee of partnering, when to my suprise, Lisa Lopez (not the TLC singer, although I did call her Left-Eye all year long, which I'm sure she'd never heard before and thought it was hilarious), a darling, non-obnoxious, perfectly sweet girl approached Justin. She had friends in the class, and I could see that some of them were ready to be her partner.

"Hey," she said, "Do you want to be my partner?" Just like that. She just did it. She didn't make a big deal out of it, she didn't act condescending, she just reached out to a student who was so much easier to ignore. She didn't look around to make sure that I or anyone saw her kindness. She just did it to be kind.

So when I hear about how selfish this next generation is, I always think of Lisa Lopez. I'm glad to be reminded that teenagers can still be gentle with each other.

Every so often.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The One Day Sale

Macy's had their one day sale on Saturday, and man, did we have to be there.

Whilst there, I had to use a makeshift changing room with no mirror because all of the changing rooms were being renovated. This meant that I had to come out and model all of my outfits for Rhett and the kids (who all wanted to come into the tiny dressing room with me) in the middle of the madness, and then take a quick look in the pillar/column mirror. And then as often as not, I would flee back in to the little makeshift changing room because seriously why does my butt look so big in those pants?

Rhett promised the kids that if they were good they could have a treat, which actually did very little to improve their behavior, but we still got treats. Because we're teaching accountability over here.

Also, we broke the "NO STROLLER" rule on the escalators, as Wristy is some kind of crazy scared of little rooms that go up and down between levels. Rhett and I are secretly anarchists, ignoring all kinds of rules and regulations. We're bringing down the institution one little rule at a time. Next up: jaywalking.

Rhett manned the two-kid stroller on the escalator and I had Veevs in the umbrella stroller. As we went up to the top level to look at children's clothing, a ten-year old boy fell in behind our parade. As we exited he said with some amount of annoyance, "You know, you should just use the elevator. It would be a lot easier." And Rhett and I laughed because in twenty years, that ten-year old boy will be wishing he would have kept his mouth shut. There will be retribution in the form of his own children, and I hope he has quadruplets and then fourteen months later, a set of claustrophobic triplets so that he can truly experience the joy of shopping at the one-day sale with children.

But on the bright side, I really did get some deals. Like a new dress (regularly priced at $100.00!) for $20.00, and new pants (regularly priced at $60.00!) for $7.00, and a shirt for only $4.50. Even the mouthy ten-year old boy couldn't put a damper on the high I experience when I get a really good deal.

Plus, he'll get his own back one of these days.

A Few Ways in Which Pamela Anderson Lee and I are Soulmates

You know, at first glance, you wouldn't think I have anything in common with Pamela Anderson Lee. (Actually, she dropped the Lee and is now going by Pamela Anderson again. So confusing!) Like I don't have breast implants, and I'll bet the world she's never made bread. (Yes, I make bread, but I'm kind of crap at it, so it's a tender subject.) But if you read up on Pammy, it's like finding my soul sister. Sort of.

First, Pammy and I both share Scandinavian ancestry! She's Finnish! I'm Danish! I bet we'd have a lot to talk about.

Second, Pammy and I both are naturally brunettes. For some reason, Pammy hasn't embraced her inner dark side, but I think there's still a bond there.

Third, Pammy teaches at her sons' Sunday school (HONEST! I'm thinking maybe she has a loose interpretation of "teaching" like maybe dropping them off counts as teaching, I don't know!), and I teach the singing for the kids in my church. We know what it's like to bring religion to the masses.

Fourth, Pammy has had an up and down relationship with her breasts, choosing to get breast implants, then getting them removed, then getting bigger ones, and so on and so forth. I kind of think nursing has been like a breast reduction for me. At the very least, it's given me an up and down relationship with my breasts, emphasis on down, directionally speaking.

Fifth, Pammy contracted Hepatitis C by sharing a tattoo needle with her then-husband, Tommy Lee. Um . . . yeah. I'm not going to lie. I don't have a tattoo. And I don't have Hepatitis C. And I've never been married to Tommy Lee. And I've never posed for Playboy, and I've never starred in Baywatch. And maybe Pammy and I aren't really soul sisters.

And maybe I should stop calling her Pammy.