ME: Hey kids, let’s get our snow clothes on and go outside to play.
KIDS: Sounds like fun.
9:50 – 10:00 a.m.
LAUREN: Mom where are my gloves? Can you help me with my snow pants? I can’t get my boots zipped tight enough.
DREW:: Chris is wearing my boots. Make him take them off.
CHRIS: It’s the only pair of boots that fit.
ME: Didn’t you tell me in October that you had boots that fit.
DREW: He never tried them on. He was playing Pokemon and he didn’t want to save.
ME: Chris, give your brother back his boots.
CHRIS: (Insert lots of whiney complaining about how Mom just doesn’t understand how if you don’t save during a battle you’ll lose your Ompah Lumpas or some such Pokemon nonsense)….
10 a.m.-10:20 a.m.
ME: Give your brother back his boots now or else… (Insert lots of mom threats like – or else you’ll be scrubbing grout all day and you’ll have to scour the stove and clean out the cat’s litter box and scrub the entire earth.)
CHRIS: Here’s your stupid boots. (via air mail).
ME: Just get your snow clothes on so we can have a fun family moment sledding. (Teeth gritted)
DREW: Mom, Lauren’s wearing my snow pants.
LAUREN: No wonder they were so big. Mom, can you help me unzip the pants, take off the boots, remove my gloves and start the process all over again.
CHRIS: Mom, I don’t have any boots.
ME: Wear mine.
CHRIS: They’re girl boots.
ME: (glaring). Put on the boots.
ALL KIDS: Mom, can you get these gloves on? Tie my boots? Zip my snow suit?
ME: Lauren, put on a hat.
LAUREN: I don’t want a hat. They’re itchy.
ME: Your head will get cold.
LAUREN: No, it won’t. I’ll just put up my hood.
ME: (ten minutes of patient explaining as to why a hood isn’t warm enough followed by me giving up.) Okay, go out without a hat then.
Our feet finally hit snow after forty minutes of getting dressed.
(yep, one minute later)
LAUREN: Mom, my head’s cold.
ME: Get a hat.
LAUREN: But hats are itchy.
DREW: Can we go sled riding?
10:31 – 10:36 a.m.
Fun sled riding with children.
10:37 a.m. DREW: Mom, my face is cold.
CHRIS: Here. (throwing snow in brother’s face as if a face full of frozen water is just what he needs to get warm.)
LAUREN: My head’s cold.
CHRIS: Here (repeating the snow throwing process at his sister.)
ME: Okay, I’ll fix it. (Me throwing snow in Chris’s face.) There, now you're both even.
KIDS: We’re going in.
ME: Wasn’t that a fun morning of sled riding?
KIDS: (glaring and giving me the kind of look I didn’t think kids got until they were teenagers)
10:36 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
(inside removing all snow clothes).
(mopping up mud and melted snow )
We went out to dinner last night, forgetting it was Sweetest Day until we saw the line at the restaurant. Lauren kept looking at us funny each time we brought up Sweetest Day. Finally she asked, "What's so special about Swedish day anyway?" Apparently she was expecting Vikings.
I recently flew with a friend who’s a nervous flier. Not that I’m calm when I’m in an airplane. Actually, I’m the person whose fingernails make the indentations in the armrest if there’s any turbulence during the flight. I’m also the person who listens intently to the flight attendant as she goes through the safety instructions.
You never know. Maybe some emergency instructions have changed. Maybe the airline added a new emergency escape pod and I’ll be the only one who knows about it. Since I’m obviously the only one paying attention, I’ll be the first to escape the burning plane as it barrels toward earth with the gasoline igniting ready to blow the plane into tiny unrecognizable debris. You never know.
So my friend and I are on the plane. We’re strapped in. We’ve heard the pre-flight instructions. I’m pretty sure I can find the emergency escape pod. We’re mentally prepared to go. But we’re not moving.
Nothing. For a half an hour we sit until the pilot announces there’s a mechanical problem with the plane. Could we have the pilot who lies and tells us we’re just waiting for clearance from the tower? No. We have to have clueless, honest guy who goes into gory details.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a problem with the thrust on the plane. We have two so it shouldn’t be a problem. We’re probably not gonna die, but you should familiarize yourself with the escape pods just in case.”
My friend and I put a few fingernail marks in the armrest as we wait for about thirty minutes for the next announcement. The thrust problem is fixed and the plane moves two feet back from the gate. For a minute. Then the pilot pulls the plane back in and gives us another detailed, brutally honest assessment of the condition of his death machine, er plane.
“Folks, when we were doing diagnostics on the thrust unit, we discovered our navigational system is out. We probably won’t die, but we might end up in Kansas, which is worse than dying if you think about it.”
So for another hour, we sit on the plane wondering if we’d have been better renting a car and taking our chances with the nuts on the highway. But finally the plane takes off and my friend and I spend two hours getting a whole lot closer to God.
We don’t die. Nor do we have to use the escape pods. And we don’t end up in Kansas. So I guess it’s all good.
I went to a beach wedding over the weekend. (Congrats Jeff and Lynette!). At the reception, all the guests were given a bag filled with beach-themed favors. In the midst of the wedding excitement, I didn’t pay much attention to what was in my bag. But as soon as I got home on Sunday, the kids anxiously watched while I poured the contents onto the living room floor.
“Cute luggage tags.” Lauren held up a flip flop shaped favor.
Chris grabbed the M&Ms and made short work of those.
Drew was fascinated by the flip flop key chain.
And then came this.
“Is that a bookmark, Mom?” Drew asked.
I looked at the package for help, but there were no identifiers. “I don’t think so, honey. It’s too thick for a bookmark.”
“It’s a pen, right Dad?” Chris took it over to his mechanical engineering father who works with complicated machinery all day long.
“Well, it does unscrew.” Bob removed the top and peered inside. “But I don’t see any ink.”
Drew piped up. “I know! It’s one of those old fashioned pens you use with the bottled ink. You probably have to dip the end in ink to get it to work.”
“I don’t think so.” I examined the item closely and tried unscrewing the bottom. No clues there either.
We put the item on a table in the living room and all afternoon as we passed it by, we'd come up with another possible use. Table decoration? Hole punch? Sand digger?
When we couldn't stand it any longer, I called my friend, Sandy who’d also been at the wedding. Immediately she replied, “it’s a wine stopper. You know, for storing a bottle of wine after it’s been opened.”
To her credit, Sandy didn't laugh. Much. And she saved the name calling for when she got off the phone and told her family how naive we are.
I shared this information with Bob who gave me a strange look because obviously we don't drink much wine and on the rare ocassion when we do, it's nothing fancy.
"Why in the world wouldn’t you just screw the top back on your bottle of wine if you don’t finish it?” Bob asked.
Then he paused and added, “Better yet, why would you even open a bottle of wine if you’re not going to drink the whole thing?”
In making his point on how prevalent adultery is, our minister told us of the day he turned on the radio to hear people confess to cheating on their spouses. One woman called in and explained that she’d been so mad at her husband for not getting her a good enough Mother’s Day present that she’d called up her best friend’s husband and slept with him in retribution.
Hearing this, my phone-phobic husband turned to me and whispered, “See honey. That’s why I never answer the phone when your friends call.”
I took the kids to my nephew's eighth grade graduation tonight which ended up being a full Catholic Mass. As communion started, she leaned over to me and whispered very loudly. "I like the Baptist church better because we don't all have to share the same cup."
The next one was from Drew:
Lately the kids have been pushing the limits and I've had to remind them who the parent is in this relationship. Tonight we were having a discussion about how our family is not a democracy.
"Don't I get a vote at all?" Drew asked.
"Sure you do. Mine just counts a whole lot more," I said and my dad who was sitting nearby added, "A kid's vote counts for one and a parent's vote counts for a hundred."
Drew's response? "Well then, you just need to have a lot more kids."
A final one courtesy of Chris.
Our school ends really late this year (June 10) because of all the snow days. Another local school got out yesterday much to my kids' dismay.
"Mom, if we went to Lawrenceburg we'd be on summer break," Chris pointed out tonight.
My nephew Joe just turned 14. For his birthday, I gave him a spade and a bottle of water along with this note.
MAKE YOUR OWN FISHING POND!!
Congratulations! Someone very intelligent and generous has purchased this one-of-a-kind gift for you.
Have you longed for years for your very own fish pond? Do you watch your neighbors in envy as the pull fish after fish from their ponds? Have the thousands of dollars in excavating fees kept you from having your own dream pond?
Well, dream no more. With this “do-it-yourself pond” kit, you too can realize your dream. Just follow these easy instructions and soon you’ll be eating the fresh fish you’re sure to catch.
Use spade to dig a very, very, big hole. Approximate digging time = 63 months. Digging time will vary depending on whether you dig without complaint or whether you’re one of those whiney sissy babies who starts complaining when your fingers fall off after 23 straight days of digging.
Pour water into hole. Water supplied is not enough for a typical sized pond. To purchase additional bottles of water, log on to www.you’re-a-big-sucker.com Bottles are a mere $2.95 each. (Suggested purchase for a normal size pond would be approximately 3 million bottles.)
**Additional kits can be purchased for the low price of $19.95 plus shipping of $53.00. Tell your friends. Tell your family. No one should have to live a life without their very own dream pond.
I haven't seen my nephew digging yet. Maybe he's waiting for me to help so I don't miss all the fun.
The kids and I recently made a mistake of epic proportion. We sent Bob to the grocery store with coupons.
Bob cannot resist buying something if he can save money with a coupon. (Love ya, honey and I do realize we’ll need that denture cream some day so thanks for stocking up). He returned from the grocery store with a carload of bargains which happened to include a can of cooked greens.
I don’t know where you find greens in nature, but I suspect it has something to do with the kind of green slime you find near really stinky ponds. The slimy consistency and noxious flavor of greens is increased ten-fold by canning them and letting them sit on a grocery shelf for months until some unsuspecting shopper with a coupon happens along.
I tried to keep my opinion to myself because my kids had never tried cooked greens and I didn’t think “disgusting pond slime” was the way to sell it. No sooner had we sat down to eat when the complaints started.
“Mom, this is really gross. Do you hate us?”
“If eating vegetables like this is what it takes to grow into a healthy adult, I’ll just die now, thank you very much.”
“Did Dad have a coupon for these?”
After tasting them himself, Bob swore he’d never buy them again even if lured to do so by a coupon.
He also had a coupon for children’s vitamins. Buy one, get one free. Good deal, huh? After the kids tasted them, they swore we were trying to poison them.
“But, Dad bought two bottles,” I said, ignoring their complaints. “Just eat them.”
Realizing, we weren’t going to budge, the kids hatched their own scheme.
So far, no vitamin burglar. But the kids did convince me to try one. Let's just say these vitamins make canned greens sound like heaven.
We had our bridging ceremony where the girls left behind their days of being Brownie Scouts (or Baby Scouts as they liked to say because as third graders, they're much too mature to be toward the bottom level of scouting.)
They're now full-fledged scouts and I have about a hundred pictures to prove it. Bob gave Chris the camera during the ceremony and because he's never been allowed to use the camera before, it was like letting a kid loose in a candy shop. I'm surprised he didn't fill the memory card.
Below you can see Lauren in front of the giant cake my Mom decorated for the troop. Apparently artistic skill skips a generation 'cause if I would have done the cake, it would have been covered with sprinkles. Sprinkles and that's it!
Here we are getting ready to light the candles. We practiced this about a dozen times because I didn't want to go down in Girl Scout history as the scout leader whose troop lit their hair on fire during the candle ceremony.
Here's Lauren anxiously waiting to take off the Brownie vest.
Happy 11th Birthday, Chris.....A month late. I’ve finally taken the time to sit down and write your birthday tribute. Life has been going at warp speed lately for me. Warp speed is your favorite speed setting, so I’m betting you understand.
You go through life with the kind of energy people my age admire and envy. Actually many of your fellow fifth graders can’t even keep up with you. You’re the fastest kid in both the fifth and sixth grade. Your need for speed has served you well this year as you started competing in 5-ks. You didn’t always win, but by the time Mom or Dad crawled to the end you were at the finish line polishing off your third or fourth juice box, ready to go again.
I can’t believe another year has flown by as you rocket your way from being my little boy to being the man I can already see you becoming. I know that this man will be honest with a clear sense of justice. Already, your favorite words are “it’s the only fair way.”
Every year you watch the NCAA tournaments with great excitement. You insist we all fill out brackets for a friendly competition to see who will win. There are no great stakes (winner picks ice cream), but it’s the competition that draws you in.
This year, you looked over my shoulder as I flew through the brackets with no idea of what I was doing.
“How are you picking your teams so fast, Mom?”
“Alphabetical order,” I answered honestly only to receive one of your customary “that’s not a fair way.” I’d have picked based on toughness of mascots had I known any of that information. Though in hindsight, Butler’s Bulldog totally could have kicked butt against the Duke’s Blue Devil and Butler lost so maybe that wasn’t a good way of picking either..
Ironically alphabetical order carried the day after the first round of tournaments.
“Maybe that wasn’t such a bad way to pick after all,” you were able to concede because you’re always willing to try something new when your way doesn’t work.
You’ve been learning a lot of new things this year. Earlier this month, you cooked an entire dinner by yourself. I stood nearby, giving hints like “you probably shouldn’t put hot pepper sauce on grilled salmon” and “don’t reach inside a hot oven without a mitt.” Not only did you make the whole dinner without major injury, but it was delicious and you were rightfully proud of your efforts.
I’m not sure where this next year will take us. But wherever that is, I’m sure you’ll finish first. Be sure to save Mom a juice box because by the time I finally make it to the finish line they’re usually all gone.
Here you are with your first place win.
This boy loves his Grandma!
It's never too cold for you to play basketball!
You lost a bet on the Superbowl (stupid Manning)!
Your battery is finally wearing down after a day at Epcot.
Just got back from a week-long trip to Florida with the kids. We survived the alligators, the heat, the out-of-control drivers and we made it 32 hours in the car without any of the kids killing each other. (There was that one close call when a war broke out over a stuffed animal midway through South Carolina, but there wasn't any blood, so it doesn't count.) The fact that all of us are still intact can mean only one thing - we're GOOD parents!
Here are some pictures of our adventure.
Here we are at Animal Kingdom on a safari tour minutes before an antelope parked its butt on the roadway causing the whole thing to shut down until the animal decided to move. Don't all the safari animals know they work for Disney, not the other way around?
Here the boys are "sharing" Mickey's Sorcerer hat at Disney Hollywood. This is five minutes before the fight broke out about who got to take the hat home. Just kidding!
Here we are waiting 45 minutes for a two-minute ride.
If we squeeze together tightly enough, maybe we won't be cold.
Grandma and Grandpa even joined in on the fun for one day. That was all the "magic" they could take.
The boys tried on hats from every country in Epcot.
It’s been a great year watching you grow and mature, each day taking a step closer to becoming the man you will one day be.
This year I got to take you (and just you) with me to Maine to visit my friend, Nancy. It was so much fun watching you tubing, swimming and building castles on the beach. When Nancy mentioned a lobster bake with burgers for the kids who didn’t like lobster, you almost rioted until you learned you could eat the lobster too if you wanted to.
“Why would anyone pick a hamburger over lobster on the beach?” You asked me, clearly puzzled by such bizarre behavior.
During our wait at the airport, I enjoyed your detailed explanation of a book you’d recently read called the Lightening Thief. You encouraged me to read it too and when I did, you were all too eager to include me in your imaginary world.
Your ability to create pretend worlds and live within them overwhelms me sometimes. Dad just bought you the Dungeons and Dragons game and all I hear now are commands about the Dreck Elf fighting the Kobold Slinger with his arc power. Okay, I know I got that all wrong, but I just cannot keep up with all the details you so easily keep separated in your brain.
Besides being imaginative, you’re also inquisitive. We’ve taken you to church since you were little and you’ve always been the one to most challenge the minister with your deep thoughts. If God made the world, who made God? What kind of material would one use to build an arc big enough to house animals from the entire world? If God’s so nice, why did he flood the world and kill almost all the people?
Recently your questions became deeper and showed a more mature understanding of our faith and the power of God. I was so proud when you were baptized in January, but I’ve been even prouder of you since. You’ve made a real effort to incorporate your faith and moral behavior into everyday life. You’re kind to the kid at school who endures teasing from almost everyone else in the class. You let your brother play with your Star Wars lego plane even though you spent two days building it and there was a real possibility Chris would break it. And you pray every day for your brother and sister to understand Christ’s salvation and want to be baptized too.
I am so blessed to be your mother. I don’t always speak your language. I may never know what a Kobold Slinger is. I might not know what tree grows in the forest of Zandera. But even though I’m sometimes a foreigner in the World of Drew, I love that you invite me in and try to show me that trees can turn into elves if you’re smart enough to see the pattern in the bark.
Hanging out in Maine.
You found this sign in Tampa and
instantly took ownership.
Baptism Day - before and after.
Ready to "annihilate" your pumpkin.
Trying to drown out the noise of our terrible singing at your birthday party.
The boys turned eleven yesterday and I will be posting their birthday tributes soon. Right now I'm getting ready for company so I only have time to share this with you. Someone sent it to me last week because I teach aerobics. Enjoy!
A WOMAN'S WEEK AT THE GYM
For my birthday this year, my husband purchased for me a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Started my day at 6:00 am. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god-- with blond hair, dancing eyes,
and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!
Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines.. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!
Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around.
This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile.. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.
Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.
My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would
help me get in shape and enjoy life.. He said some other shit too.
Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late-- it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny bitch to find me. Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine-- which I sank.
I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anaemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.
Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich..
The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun-- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!
It’s hard to believe you’re now nine years old. We’ve had a wonderful year and it’s been amazing watching you grow into the lady I know you’ll one day become.
In the last year, you’ve gone from a hesitant second grader to a confident third grader who’s no longer afraid to answer questions in class. Your newfound confidence allowed you to join the church choir and make beautiful music. Beauty is a word that comes to mind in so much of what you do. You were the first in the family to realize that all snowflakes are different. You spent an hour during a recent snowfall catching snowflakes on your gloves and running over to us to make sure we didn’t miss one single perfect design.
You see beauty in imperfect people too. You’re quick to forgive your friends when they’ve said something to hurt your feelings. You’re the first to forgive a bad attitude on “a bad day.” You always see the best in everyone else even if you can’t always see it in yourself.
You’ve recently started scrapbooking. You want to take pictures of all your friends and family and display them in a beautiful way. In this case, beauty is defined by lots of glitter and stickers. You hate to scrapbook alone and always ask me to join you. At first I thought I was just to be the designated glitter holder. But my role is much greater. I sit and listen to you talk in a caring way about all your loved ones including your cat. I get to hear details like how so and so got in trouble in the classroom and how a boy thinks he’s your boyfriend but how you don’t want a boyfriend. I feel privileged that you’re letting me into this most private part of your life and hope that you’ll continue to trust me as you grow older.
Happy Birthday, Lauren. I can’t wait to see how you’ll grow in the coming year.
We sing really off key in our family. We say we do it on purpose, but given our lack of talent, that might just be an excuse. Lauren wasn't taking any chances when the singing started.
Lauren wanted an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. There isn't a DQ open in February anywhere within 50 miles of here. So thanks to someone who posted the recipe on the internet, we were able to make our own. Lauren decorated one cake --
I saw this sign in the window of a local video store. What I didn’t see were customers lining up outside eager to take them up on their offer. Had they asked me (or any other parent for that matter), we could have told them the plan to give away kids was doomed. Doomed, I say. We’ve all tried it. No one will take them.