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Friday, February 29, 2008

Freedom's Pitter Patter

In honor of the upcoming primaries in my area, I thought I would tell you an inspiring patriotic story from my own life. Be prepared to shed tears of patriotic love. It's that good.

When I was in fourth grade, my piano teacher (who had thus far failed to teach me any note by sight except for middle C--my fault not hers!) suggested that perhaps music composition might be my cup of tea because certainly practicing the piano and learning notes and counting and stuff seemed to be beyond my grasp. She didn't actually say the last part, but it was an unspoken truth. In fact, she told me enthusiastically, she had just received notification of a state-wide competition for piano composition for elementary school students.

I have to admit, I was flattered. And truly, I already had a little composition because, let's be honest, I wasn't exactly spending my half-hour of practice time practicing anything that was assigned.

My composition, originally entitled "Waterfall" was unique in two important ways.

1) It was played entirely on the black keys. Somehow this made me feel like it had an Oriental flavor.

2) It had not one, not two, but THREE giant runs down the entire length of the keyboard (still entirely on the black keys, mind you). Because even back then, I was a SHAZAM kind of girl. I liked a little drama, if you know what I mean. Blame it on me being a middle child, if you must.

My mother, who had seven children at that point, and shouldn't have had time to even help me tie my shoe, helped me write the music on to the staff, although we did have to call and ask how we were supposed to indicate a run that ran the entire length of the piano. I needed her help desperately, because as I think I've mentioned, I knew only one note's position on the staff--middle C. And I had no clue whatsoever of how to show people in the key signature that they were only supposed to use the black keys. But we persevered, and eventually "Waterfall" was put on paper and recorded on a tape, ready to send in.

"Um," my teacher hedged when I showed her the results, "That's very unique, isn't it?"

"Yes," I agreed because I was still young enough to believe that unique was a compliment.

"Oh, I forgot. I looked at the rules again, and this is supposed to be a patriotic competition. We probably need to rename your composition."

I was devastated. My composition? You mean the Oriental-sounding composition that would forever remind me of a quiet bamboo forest (well, aside from the big finish runs at the end which quite frankly sounded like a giant panda bear was single-handedly rampaging through the bamboo forest and pulling down bamboo trees)? My beautiful black-keyed piece? There was nothing patriotic about that composition. I supposed that I had no choice but to respectfully withdraw from the competition. But . . . how could I rob (yes, ROB!) the world of such a beautiful piece of music (complete with three full piano runs)? How would the world survive without my well-crafted song?

"How about 'Freedom's Pitter-Patter'?" I suggested.

And so it was that "Freedom's Pitter-Patter" was sent to the statewide competition. And so it was that "Freedom's Pitter-Patter" won fourth place in the statewide competition. And so it was that I got a ribbon and certificate in the mail.

My brothers spitefully suggested that there were only four entrants. Ha. Shows how much they know about music.

See, aren't you feeling more patriotic now? Aren't you inspired? Don't you want to vote? (Maybe in China? Japan? Somewhere in the Orient?)


This girl is not me for several reasons: a) this girl is actually practicing the piano, b) this girl has somehow managed to sidestep the giant disaster of a haircut that plagued me throughout my first fifteen years (oh, fine, TWENTY-TWO YEARS!), and c) this girl has her hand placed somewhere other than middle C. And that's how you know.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Vomit #29

[Rhett asked me to transcribe a blog for him. He's still too poorly to do his own typing, apparently.]

Big sigh.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm married to Heidi. Heidi is really into this blog thing, so I figured that due to the untimely event in my life (sickness) I would lay down by her side and have her transcribe, word for word, the events that transpired this evening.

Tonight at approximately 10:37 CST, I vomited in the shower. I vomited between 6 and 10 times. One thing that Iceman learned during combat flight training was to never leave his wing man. Unfortunately, my wingman, Maverick (aka Heidi) was not there to witness this event because she has a "weak stomach".

Big sigh.

There have been times during this marriage when Maverick (aka Heidi) has vomited violently, and I have been there, holding her hair or patting her back. I have been there, risking my own personal well-being and health to facilitate her regurgitation. Let's just say that Vomit #29 (which took place in the shower) started out as a slight skirmish with an upset stomach; however, only minutes into the engagement I realized that I was in deep sugar, and I mean that literally, because I had just eaten 25 Wintogreen Lifesaver mints. Wintogreen is my favorite mint by far, but I digress.

So there I was, facing the enemy, feeling the sear of heat climb through my back and into my shoulders. I knew I was doomed. I look left. No wingman. I look left again, because the glass door is only on one side of the shower. Again, no wingman. And thus the call went down: Mayday! Mayday!

The deed was done. Several minutes later I looked up to see my wingman open the door to the shower. She politely asked, "Are you okay?" I grunted.

She then asked naively, "Did you throw up?" I didn't have the courage to look her in th.e eyes. Wasn't it obvious? The bits of Wintogreen mints circling in the pooled water around my feet? [This part has been censored by the typist/wingman/Heidi because it only gets more graphic from here folks. You'd thank me if you heard what he wanted me to type.]

I turned to her. Barely audible, I whisper, "Can you bring me the shower cleanser and the shower brush?"

Clara Barton would have cleaned it up for me. But Heidi's no Clara Barton.

[I wish I could refute this. But there's no way I would EVER clean up another adult's vomit. I'm NOT Clara Barton. Thank heavens!]

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Retraction

Okay, actually it's not a retraction at all. Because everything I said in my last post about Rhett being sick was absolutely true.

But Rhett was a teeny, tiny bit offended that I made him out to be such a wimp. I will say, he's not much trouble when he's sick. He sticks to his bed and doesn't complain. But he does sleep a lot. I offered to take the post down, but he has really caught on to this martyr thing and insisted that I keep it up.

Way to take one for the team, babe.

And he's still sick, if you're wondering.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Calling in Sick

Rhett was home sick today. When Rhett gets sick, he milks it for all that it's worth. He stays in bed until noon or later. He moans pathetically when I bring him little pills that are meant to help him separate his body from the mattress. When he finally does get up, he complains that I'm not very nice when he's sick.

I'm not sure what to make of that. ME? NOT NICE? I think I'm more surprised that he's surprised that I'm not nice, if that makes any sense at all, which I'm not sure that it does. I honestly try to have some compassion, but it's against my nature. I think the real problem is that I envy him his sick days. Because this is what Rhett's sick day is like:

Sleep.

Get up, go to the bathroom and call in sick to work.

Sleep.

Sleep.

Take pill that wife brings and glare at her when she sighs like a martyr because her husband is still in bed.

Sleep.

Sleep.

Grunt when the children come in to say that they are sorry their daddy is sick.

Sleep.

Sleep.

Sleep.

So easy, no? If that were what my sick days were like, I would fake sick every day. Kind of like I did in junior high.

Can I help it if I get a little annoyed that his sick days are like a freaking Disneyland vacation with a slight case of the sniffles? Should I feel bad that I think sleeping in until noon is plenty of sleep for anyone, even if they were to have a wicked case of diphtheria? And the martyr sighing? Honestly, I can't help it. I've tried, and the martyr sigh will be heard, whether I will it to or not.

Today I tried very hard to be nice, because Rhett's complaint about my bedside manner is longstanding, and quite frankly, true. I brought him his medicine at seven with a smile. I felt his feverish forehead with so much concern that freaking Clara Barton would have learned a thing or two about bedside manner. I brought him a cool drink. I brought him a bowl of chicken noodle soup and watched him sip it down SLOWLY (oh, so slowly). But I was patient. I brought him more medicine at noon. And when he emerged at 2:30 P!M!, I asked him how he was feeling. Nicely. I think.

"Fine," he said, rather like a martyr, now that I think of it.

"Really?"

"Well, it behooveth me to feel fine." And he looks at me all meaningfully, like if he had not gotten out of bed that very instant I would have whipped him with a cat-o'-nine and made him change all the dirty diapers for the rest of the day.

And then I got really mad. Because worse than someone who sleeps all day? Someone who doesn't appreciate my efforts. I'm almost positive I was nice all day long.

Almost.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lights Out

Last night I put the kids to bed. Early. Like at 7:00. I'm often a bad mom that way.

I started with Spe and Veevs, read them their books, sent them to bed with kisses and loves. Then I fed Wristy his bottle and popped him into bed too.

Then I settled down to watch Survivor and then PBS's Miss Marple mystery. After Survivor, I realized Wristy was still babbling in his room. He sounded happy, but really, he should have been asleep. If it comes to that, though, they all should have been asleep, but Spe was making dinosaur sounds from under the crack in his room and Veevs was trying to think of more reasons to come out and visit with mom. However, Wristy usually goes to sleep fairly quickly, so I headed in to his room to see if he needed a diaper change.

No. No diaper change needed.

It's just I had left the light in his room on an hour earlier when I put him to bed. He was just sitting up, playing in the bright-as-noonday-sun light (not really, but I have a thing about exaggeration). What's wrong with me?

Do I need to take iron supplements or what?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Internet Veev

Veevs, my precocious four-year old, and her dad got online a few days ago, to google some of her interests.

They started with herpetology (which is the career path she's considering). She has informed me that she would like her own komodo dragon. We talked about that for a bit, and she said, "What do komodo dragons eat?" "I think goats," I replied (at least that's what they put out to lure them in on a special I watched a couple of years ago). She heaved a big sigh. "I guess I'll have to get some goats to feed to them, then." I guess so.

What they found: herpetology is a very competitive field, as there aren't that many universities that offer this degree. Most herpetologists actually have other degrees that OVERLAP into herpetology. For example, an evolutionary biologist may study the way that warning coloration evolved in coral snakes. Thus he studies both evolution and reptiles. It's the best of both worlds, really. However, most major zoos employ a herpetologist. Mostly to run the snake hut, I'm thinking.

From herpetology, they moved to fire safety. Veevs is all about fire safety. She has planned exit routes from all the rooms, and has tested all the upstairs smoke detectors (with her dad). She asked us, "When will our house catch on fire?" Rhett and I both answered, "Uh, hopefully never." She seemed a little disappointed.

What they found: the United States Fire Association (a branch of the Department of Homeland Security) has a whole website devoted to fire safety for kids. It starts out with the good news about being in a fire: it's loud, scary, and very dark. This is about the point where Veev's eyes became the size of silver dollars. It moves on to discuss how the good air is near the floor, so CRAWL, baby, CRAWL! If you can endure to the end of the presentation without hyperventilating, you can take the test to become a JUNIOR FIRE MARSHAL! We didn't quite make it. You can also download sweet crossword puzzles, matching games, and coloring pages.

After their jaunt at the USFA, they moved on to researching the Airbus A380, and watched about forty-five minutes worth of footage of takeoffs and landings. I fell asleep on the bed at about minute three of the fascinating video clips.

What they found: That is one HUGE airplane. It has two stories, four engines, and, if it is configured for pure economy class, will seat over 800 passengers. It is one of the cleanest, greenest, and quietest airplanes around. And then I fell asleep, so I can't give you any of the landing specs. So sorry.

Is anyone else thinking I'd better start planning fun family alternatives for her high school prom night?


Here she is at an AIR SHOW, proudly showing off her SNAKE face paint (which really ended up on her arm). Yes, she chose the snake herself. And just yesterday she said, "Dad, when are we going back to the air show?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wednesday Witch

I talked to my mom yesterday on the phone. It went something like this:

Mom: Hey, guess what I just read? (You must read this in your head in the perkiest, sweetest voice you can manage. Think Sally Field in "Gidget".)

Me: Um . . .

Mom: The Wednesday Witch! (In case you somehow missed this book, it was one that I read when I was about nine. It's about a girl who somehow gets mixed up with a witch who rides a vacuum cleaner and then the girl has to help the witch because the witch accidentally shrinks herself to the size of a bird. It somehow didn't even enter my head when my mom asked me to guess what she was reading. Shocker.)

Me: Oh! How did you like it?

Mom: What a cute book! Do you remember that I used to hide that book from you because I thought it made you weird?

Me: Uh, you hid a lot of books from me because you thought they made me weird.

Mom: I don't think The Wednesday Witch was the problem! It's such a cute story!

Me: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that wasn't the problem. I'm pretty sure I was just weird.

Mom: I think you're right!

I think Mare-Mares is finally recovering from my adolescence. I'm so relieved.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dream Job

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you could really just have a job just for fun? It wouldn't matter if it didn't pay very much or if the benefits were crappy. Because, you know, you'd just be working for fun. No pressure.

A few years ago, my brother-in-law, Trent (a radiologist by profession) tried to convince my sister Heather (an accountant by trade) that her dream job should be to be the beer girl that goes around a golf course and sells stuff off the back of her golf cart. Heather was not quite convinced. Trent was hoping that free golf for family would be one of the benefits, I'm sure.

My dream job? Cashier. I don't know, there's just something so fulfilling in hearing that little beeep as you scan something. I love to push buttons on cash registers. I love counting out change. I'm not kidding here. If I could seriously do something a couple of times a week, just to get out of the house, I'd be a cashier at a supermarket.

I worked retail once. I was in the Ladies' Apparel section of a department store. I loved Super Saturdays, because it was constant scanning, button-pushing, and change-counting. A dream come true! Then they moved me to the office side, which was supposed to be a promotion (complete with a fifty cent raise!), but I would look longingly out at the cash registers, sad to be parted from their friendly beeeeeps.

Maybe one of these days, you'll see me, living my dream, cashiering at the local Target. And don't try to get away without paying for those paper towels on the bottom of the cart. Because I'm a good cashier. I'll notice. And I'll prosecute.

What's your dream job?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New Painting

Hey, there's a new painting up at my childhood best friend's website, and IT IS FABULOUS! If I had the money, I would buy every painting he produces.

Go check it out here.

When we were in the first grade together, I once wrote him a note and told him to write me back. When he wrote back, I turned him in to the teacher (I was a table captain, folks! I had responsibilities!), and he got in trouble. Hopefully this will make it even?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

By the Way

I just want to clarify to anyone who might be reading, that I am not potty-training my two-and-a-half-year-old BOY (yes, I know boys are harder to potty-train) out of a desire to compete in "My Kids Were Potty-Trained Before Yours" marathons, nor out of an ambitious drive towards perfection (all you have to do is see my kitchen sink to realize I dropped out of that long, long, LONG ago). If I were Rhett, I would be potty-training to save money on diapers, but I'm not Rhett.

It's just I'm so tired of my son saying hopefully, "Mom, I go potty in big boy toilet?"

I have heretofore responded by saying, "Son, you have a diaper on. Go in your diaper. That's why you wear them." In public, people who overhear this exchange usually laugh. In private, Rhett always says, "Hey, maybe he's ready to potty-train." And then I give him the look of death which, in my past life as an English teacher, would have singlehandedly sent half the football team into hysteria because it's THAT nasty. And then Rhett gets very quiet, and I merrily put diapers on the grocery list.

But lately, multiple times each day, I keep coming across him, diaper already off, hunched over the toilet, business completed. On his own. With no encouragement from his mother, who is all kinds of crazy, but not crazy enough to try potty-training a two-and-a-half-year-old BOY.

Then he comes to me and says, "I did it, Mama!" And he's so proud of himself, how can I not run out to the store and buy boxer briefs for little boys in bulk?

By the way, I love boxer briefs on little boys. I also love that Veevs asked Spe, "So, Spe, how're those boxer briefs treating you?" That girl is a parrot. Her father taught her that one. Before he left me at home with my two-and-a-half-year-old potty-training BOY. Thanks, Dad.

Thanks for all your support, everyone. I can do this, right?

This Boy . . .

This boy melts my heart in so many ways. I love so many things about him.
I love that wicked look of mischief in his eyes.
I love the way he smiles at me when I tell him I love him.
I love the way he wants to play Sequence for Kids twenty-four hours a day.
I love the way that he says, "Get that JUNK out of here!" when he gets a dragon card and removes one of my chips in Sequence for Kids.


I love the way he eats sweets like he can never have enough.
I love the way he grinds his teeth when he wants to hit someone but he knows he shouldn't.
I love the way he can read books in his room for an hour with perfect equanimity.
I love the way he says, "I was just born this way, right?" when I ask him how he got to be so cute.


The bad news?
It's time to start potty training. I hope my love can endure.

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Blogger for All Seasons

You know, when I first started blogging I visited someone's blog and they had this wonderful little zippy application that rated your blog on reading level. Super! I thought. Just what I need to feel good about myself! I bet my blog is on a graduate level. Because I'm optimistic and egotistical like that. Well, I was wrong.

Mine was on a high school reading level. I was mortified. How could that be?

But, like I said, you can't keep me from feeling pretty good about myself for very long. So, I kept on blogging, throwing in words like joie de vivre, talisman, and soporific (I don't know if I actually used soporific, but the point is I could have because I know what it means!). All the while, I'm secretly thinking, The next time we meet again, little website reading level rater, I'll be waiting. And this time, I'll be ready.

So this week, I found it again. And this time, I was supremely confident. After all, I'd used soporific.

This was my result.


blog readability test

Movie Reviews


WHAAAA? (Hmmm. Maybe it's things like Whaaa? that cause a junior high reading level? Note to self: Use standard spellings. Don't try to be funny with non-standard crap anymore.)

So, I've stewed about this for almost a week. WHY, OH WHY, would it say that my blog is on a JUNIOR HIGH READING LEVEL? Is it all the posts about diaper changing?

But today, I've finally found a way to turn this into a compliment. This is my primary coping strategy when I'm faced with insults like the above. I think about it and think about it and think about it until I finally can figure out some way that I can turn the insult into a backhanded compliment. See? Lots of self-esteem.

I think that I'm just SO accessible. It's such a compliment that I'm really a blogger for all humans (I don't know, are junior high students still considered human? I have my doubts, but work with me on this one.). I'm so happy that I'm a Blogger for All Seasons. It's such a compliment. Really, I'm totally at peace with this now. I'll let it go and stop using words like soporific in a manic attempt to up my readability. It's kind of like golf: low is the new high. I wouldn't want to limit my wisdom and insights to just the Mensa crowd.

Take your genius rating and shove it, crappy readability rater! (Also note to self: stop using the word crap. It just sounds like a junior high school student.)

If I Were You . . .

Yesterday Veevs and I were doing her homework. Yes, she is four. Yes, they send home homework. Yes, I have to do it with her.

I kept saying, "Veevs, if I were you, I would glue it here, but you can put it wherever you want." (Just so you know, she rarely takes my advice.)

At the end of our project o' love, Veevs turned to me and said, "Well, if I were you I would yell and yell and yell."

Hot on the heels of my last post about yelling, I said, "Oh, do you think that's all I do? Do you think your mom just yells all the time?"

"No." she said, "It's just if I WERE YOU, I would. Like, when your husband's not nice, I would yell. And like when your kids are mean, I would yell."

Now I have permission.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wal-Mart Parenting

I'm pretty sure I'm still in the running for Mother of the Year. How do I know? Because Wal-Mart is closer to my house than Target, and so I get a weekly dose of what we refer to as "Wal-Mart Parenting". While I feel awful for the poor children whose lives consist of Wal-Mart Parenting, I have to admit I always feel a little bit better about myself as a mother (and then I look at my children and say, "You're so lucky to have me, so you'd better shape up you little snot-nosed brats before I . . ." and then I realize that I'm Wal-Mart Parenting myself, so I stop.).

It seems that every time I visit Wal-Mart, I find another example of Wal-Mart Parenting. Even when I go at 11:00 at night, when my children are in bed, other parents have their little ones out and about, and I am privy to their threats and nastiness. Really? Are you surprised that at 11:00 at night your little one is too tired to be pleasant? Do you really expect your two-year old to not have a melt-down when she should be home asleep?

Anyway. The other day I was talking with my sister, Ginnie, whom I absolutely adore. Even though she used to make me check out her teen romance books like she was running a real library when we were teenagers, and she would tell me that they were due back at midnight when I checked them out at 10:00 p.m. I learned to read very quickly in this way, so I shouldn't complain. However, since then we have both matured and grown and now she's one of my favorite people to talk to, even though our phone conversations go something like this:

Ginnie: So, what's new with you guys? CIERA! You cannot do that to your brother!

Me: Oh, not much. SPE! Get down from there, you will hurt yourself very badly! How are you guys doing?

Ginnie: We're fine. CAEL! Go find me a diaper so we can change you.

Me: Oh, good. I'm so glad. How are the kids? VEEVS! Can you please stop cutting that paper so close to your hair? You don't want to have short hair again, do you?

Ginnie: They're fine. They keep me busy. CHASE! Can you go see why the baby is crying?

Me: Tell me about it. SPE! You can't carry Wristy around! You're just not big enough, bud.

And so it goes, for a full hour. I love it. Anyhow, the other day we were talking about how motherhood is sometimes (almost always) extremely hard and you really have to work at being patient, kind, and nurturing.

I said, "Yeah, sometimes I'm like, 'Kids! Go get in the car. We're going to Wal-mart so that we'll be in public so that I won't go against all my principles and start spanking you!'"

Ginnie paused for a minute. "Maybe you should go to Target instead."

So true.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hairy Details

I went to my hair appointment today. I used to color my hair, but quite frankly, I just can't work up the money and the motivation to keep from having one inch roots all the time.

A few things I love about going to get my hair done:

1) Someone who has to listen to me for a full hour. Aside from Rhett, who has to listen to me for HOURS and HOURS and HOURS. And Kitty (my hairdresser) has to pretend to be interested, which Rhett doesn't bother with.

2) The names of my stylists always crack me up. Is it like an immutable law that you have to have the most girly, immature name possible if you want to become a stylist? My two most recent have been Kitty and Tish. I just like to say their names because it feels like I'm in a sorority. (As a side note, I've also never had a hairstylist who didn't get married whilst pregnant. Is there some kind of secret code against birth control amongst beauticians?)

3) Not having to do my hair for two days. I always milk the hairdo that they give me. I wake up the next morning and think, "Hey, it still looks better than it would if I washed it and did it myself." So I leave it. If I could get away with a third day, I would. But even I have standards.

4) Time alone. Seriously, this is probably my most favorite thing about getting my hair done. Because I drive ALONE to the salon, and I drive ALONE home. I even took out the Sesame Street sing-along from my CD player and reveled in the feeling of silence. Silence is a feeling, by the way. And it feels GLORIOUS.

That's it. I have to stay up until strange hours of the night now, planning how to teach church songs to four-year olds. At least I don't have to do my hair tomorrow, though. I can literally sleep in for ten minutes longer than normal. Hooray!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

You know, I've got to admit that when I started a blog, I seriously had read ONE blog (one of my former students' blog and it was about Boolean operators. Seriously.). So it was with complete AMAZEMENT that I realized this is like a whole community. I just had no clue at all. I didn't know that there were like blog superstars and I didn't know that there were random people who leave nasty comments or, even better, advertisements embedded in a comment. I didn't know about lurkers, blogjacking, trolls, or blog awards.

But I've loved my blog experience. Today I received my FIRST EVER blog award. And it was from someone I've never met but still consider a friend, in that weird way that only blogging allows you to do. So, thank you, Randi! I appreciate it so much!


And it got me thinking about all the kindness that I've received since I started my blog. Seriously, it makes my day just thinking about it.

So I'm going to pass the award along to some of those people who have accepted me sight unseen as a blogging-friend. I mean, of course, that I'm giving one to Jen, who was one of the first strangers to regularly read (and comment!) on my blog. I feel like we could happily be neighbors and best friends if only we didn't live four states away from each other.

I'm giving one to Charlie, whose post about my blog still makes me blush. Except of course, that I have no shame and I revel in attention from other people. But if I were a normal person, I'd blush.

Also, a couple of people who I already know, but still shamelessly lap up their praise: I'm giving one to Adrienne, my cousin, who gave me a "shout-out" and singlehandedly doubled my traffic. A, I'm serious, I think you have more friends than American Samoa has citizens.

And my friend Katie, whose blog is private, but who still sends people my way. I appreciate so much the feeling of connection that blogging gives me with people with whom I would otherwise have lost touch (because let me be quite honest, I SUCK at keeping in touch with people!).

Seriously, guys. You honestly make my days better!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Repentance

Veevs and I were sitting around singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" because that girl is just as quirky as I am and neither of us see any problem whatsoever with singing Christmas songs in February. Spe even joined in for a few "He's coming to towns!" Wristy, who is teething (again), just looked at us all as though we were lucky he can't really control his hand movements yet, or he would strangle each and every one of us. He's such a good-tempered baby.

Well, we got to the, "He sees you when you're good or bad so be good for goodness sake!" part, and Veevs suddenly broke off, leaving me to bring it on home. After I fake vibratoed (that's not a real word) the ending, the following conversation ensued.

Veevs: Mom, how come I got presents even though I'm naughty sometimes?

Mom: Um, good question, honey. It's probably because you repented. (Along with singing Christmas songs in February, I also have no problem with mixing the fiction of Santa with the reality of Jesus. I'm really easy-going like that.)

Veevs: Repented? How did I do that?

Mom: Well, when we repent, we say we're sorry and we try hard not to be naughty again. (My goodness, I think I deserve Christian-mother-of-the-year-award, don't you?)

Veevs: So, like, when you yell at us and then you say you're sorry and that you will try harder to be nice, that's repenting?

Silence.

Mom: One more time! "He's making a list, he's checking it twice! Gonna find out who's naughty or nice!" Spe, bring it home, little man!

Veevs: Right. We repent!

Seriously, can I just keep the award for one minute? Maybe take a few pictures with it, plan a Christian-mother-of-the-year-acceptance speech and then give it back?

I totally understand how Milli Vanilli felt.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Charmed Life

I have so many fabulous qualities, it's hard to believe that there's anything Rhett doesn't love about me. I mean, really. Who doesn't love to come home to a woman who didn't shower that day? Who doesn't love to eat the cooking of a woman whose cooking accomplishments include boxed macaroni and cheese and top ramen? What's not to love?

So I'm always a little put out when Rhett expresses a desire for me to watch a scary movie with him. Because, I don't do scary movies. Ever. I think most of you might be surprised about what I classify as scary, too. Pretty much anything that has even one ounce of suspense is considered scary. Harry Potter? Too scary for me, thanks. Lord of the Rings? Gave me nightmares. The Sixth Sense? It's STILL giving me nightmares, thank you very much, and I even made Rhett tell me when there were going to be ghosts so I could turn my head.

Rhett shouldn't have been surprised when he came home late from school a couple of years ago and found me asleep on my bed with every light in the house on except for my bedroom light. Bathroom? Lighted. Closet? Lighted. Hallway? Lighted. As an extra precaution, I had even pulled Veevs in from her room to sleep with me.

"Heids, what's going on?" his gesture clearly included the turned on lights and the baby sleeping peacefully in my convulsively grasping arms.

"Um." I said sheepishly. "I saw something scary on TV and I got scared."

Rhett laughed, because that's what he does, people. He laughs at my pain. "Oh. What did you watch?"

"Mmpshskt."

"I'm sorry? You seem to be mumbling."

"Oh, fine. I watched Charmed, okay?"

Rhett laughed again, and the baby stirred in my arms. "Like Charmed, that really cheesy show with the three sisters who are witches and have to destroy demons? Like Charmed, with possibly the worst special effects ever? THAT Charmed?"

I shot him a withering look. Some people just don't understand what a burden it is to be so sensitive. And just for the record? It was that Charmed. I still can't watch it.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Northanger Abbey

I shouldn't have been surprised, I guess. I mean, I am possibly the most dramatic person you've ever met.


On my mission, I was famous in one congregation for throwing myself on the ground whenever I was upset or shocked or you know, just bored.

And I do kind of think life should be like a Gothic Romance. So why then was I still surprised when I ended up with these results from the Jane Austen heroine quiz?

I am Catherine Morland!


Take the Quiz here!

I haven't even seen anyone else with this one. Everyone else gets the sensible, nice characters like Elinor Dashwood or Elizabeth Bennett. Me? I get Catherine Morland.

Do you remember Catherine? No? This silly girl reads too many Gothic romances and suddenly she's seeing Gothic mysteries every where she looks, and supposing that there are wives hidden in everyone's attic. She's shallow and ridiculous. She has an overactive imagination and a desire for drama.

I love her.

I'll cherish my results forever!

The Quirk Edition

Sue (Oh-my-blogging-genius-Sue! Can I even tell you how flattered I am that she even knows my name?) tagged me for six quirky things about me. Only SIX?

And while Sue's husband tactfully said that he couldn't think of any specifics when she asked for his input, Rhett was only too happy to elaborate on my quirkiness. I think he's getting his revenge for the post I wrote about how weird he is.

1) I believe that my destiny in life is to be quadriplegic. I think it started because when I was in high school I read a book about a skier who became paralyzed and then triumphantly, nobly, courageously rebuilt her life. I'm pretty certain that I would be just as triumphant and that everyone would want me to come and speak to their youth groups about positive attitudes. I'm so certain of it that sometimes when Rhett gets home from work, I'll be laying in my bed playing "Quaddie" (I know, I'm horribly insensitive. My apologies.). I lay perfectly still and order Rhett around. He'll take off my makeup for me, he'll scratch my nose, and he'll even feed me. When he protests, I guilt him into playing along by saying, "Are you going to say no when I'm really a quadriplegic?" By the way, it's really hard to lay still for very long.

2) Rhett wants me to make sure that you know that the piles of clothes, books, and used tissues (I have a cold!) by my bed are completely mine. He doesn't have piles, primarily because he is a robot. No, actually it's because he picks up after himself. I toss things into one big pile and then about once every week or two I straighten everything up. Rhett also wants me to make sure that you know that I only clean up the piles after he reminds me about four times. I told him that I didn't think this was quirky, but rather normal for a mom with three kids four and under. Am I wrong?

3) Have you ever heard of Couples? If you missed out on this piece of 1980s serialized teenage romantic fiction, which featured titles such as Alone Together, Fire and Ice, and Made for Each Other, well, you really missed out. I'm obsessed (so are my sisters, which makes it totally acceptable). My sister found the whole series on eBay (shocker that someone was willing to part with them, I know), and we still read them to this day. Voraciously. And maybe we discuss the people in the books as if they were real and personal friends instead of flat, fictional characters. Just for the record, I'm Emily (the fun, flirtatious problem-solver) and Rhett is Scott (the ambitious sweetheart hunk who Emily falls for). And no, that's not wishful thinking. That's just reality.

4) I'm a Democrat. I'm also a Mormon. I realize this isn't that quirky, since there are literally millions of Democrats out there, and like ten Mormon Democrats, but not many people know this about me. I'm kind of a closet Democrat, if you will. Not because I'm ashamed of my politics, but because I'm a peaceful person at heart and everyone always tries to pick fights with me about politics. And yes, I'm voting for Barrack in '08. (My mother probably just choked on her own saliva when she read "peaceful" and "me" in the same sentence. Quick, Mom! Run to Dad and do the international sign for choking!)

5) When I sing the graduation song (Duh duh duh dun duuuh dunnnnh) it somehow turns into Whitney Houston's "Give Me One Moment in Time". It seems to happen after the second round of duhs, but I can't be certain. Really, I think it's kind of an improvement on an old favorite. It kind of spices things up a little bit.

6) Rhett wants you to know that I suck at driving. Which is, quite frankly, unfair, as he is the one who once received a reckless driving ticket for going 103 mph, not me. But he insists that I tell you that I maybe sort of have driven over the parking island in a shopping center and scraped the bottom of the car up. Not just once, but twice.
I still say reckless driving is worse.

Now that I've finished this up, Rhett's come up with several more options. Like my "feeding fight or flight instinct" (his words not mine), my love affair with Kenny Rogers, or my propensity to never actually take my cell phone anywhere with me.

But those will have to wait for another day. I tag Lindsey, Katie, and Katie.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Jesus STOLE my pants!

I love kids. I love my kids even more than I love everyone else's kids, but I gotta say, there's something refreshing in watching someone else's child besides your own being sassy or making serious social gaffes. Because with your own child you feel obligated to correct them and make them apologize and stuff, but with other people's kids you can just shake your head and laugh at how absurd they are.

This is one of my favorite nieces (this is not that hard as I only have TWO nieces, and twelve nephews):


Although her mother will probably kill me for publishing this photo (it was the only one I had, Ginnie, sorry!), she is the most DARLING girl ever. Did I mention she is sassy, too?

When Ciera was about three years old she came downstairs sans pants. Totally pantless.

"Ciera. Go and get your pants back on, please." My sister Ginnie is an excellent mother. See how she said please first?

"Mom. I can't." Ciera said matter-of-factly. "Jesus came and stole my pants."

"What?"

"Jesus came and stole my pants," Ciera said, looking Ginnie directly in the eyes, totally straight-faced.

"Ciera, do you remember how we talked about how we have to tell the truth and we need to be honest?"

"Mom, I am being honest. Jesus came down into my room and took my pants."

"CIERA." Ginnie was fairly certain that there has been no miraculous depantsing in Ciera's room. "GO TO YOUR ROOM AND DON'T COME BACK UNTIL YOU PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON!"

Ciera looked at her mom with exasperation for a moment. "Oh, fine!" she finally responded and stomped up the stairs, very put out. She came back down later with her pants on.

I love that little girl. If it were Veevs I'd feel obligated to talk to her about what it means to tell the truth and how Jesus doesn't steal things and how we have to listen to what Mommy says and all sorts of crap like that. But since it's my niece and I'm not going to be held accountable if she ends up in prison or anything (she won't, of course), I can just laugh and enjoy her quirky personality.

I think I might start using that line. "Jesus stole my pants." You just can't find a better reason to go without pants than that, can you?