Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jets v. Sharks

Baby D and I got into a knife fight yesterday.

It's not as bad as it sounds. Someone -- and I guess that would be me -- left the silver out where he could reach and he opened the little drawer and got himself out a knife. He then proceeded to RUN around the house where the first adult type figure he ran into was me. He decided he not going to give up this knife without a fight, and I'm pretty sure I lost as I now have a small gash across my palm.

I'd never been in a knife fight before. I don't care to again real soon either.

Not that I use this skill so much these days, but I had a male friend (fine, he was my boyfriend) who taught me to be on the lookout for bar fights. When you see the looks being exchanged, the words being uttered, or someone looking like they're going to throw up or pass out, time to leave or, at least, move yourself to the other side of the room. It's sort of silly when I write it out, but during my party girl phase it was really a handy little skill.

Apparently I haven't quite mastered translating this old skill into something useful in my present life. When you're the Mom you can't dive across the room and hide, you have to wrestle away the knife. That's all there is to it.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I feel like I've been on the go since very early yesterday morning. Our Thanksgiving meal is in the evening, so we have all day to finish cleaning and cooking. I shouldn't really say cooking. We make the turkeys and the stuffing and everyone brings something. It's not a terribly difficult meal to host that way, but we do sometimes tire out before the evening even begins. I'd definitely say that happened last night. I found myself yawning through quite a bit of the evening.

As far as I know, a good time was had by all. As Brent said, "No one left in tears." That's an A+ right there.

So today Mom, Cyberspace, Shelby and Jeremy's girlfriend Cute-as-a-button (CAAB -- I think I will keep her identity safe for now, in case she ever has to deny knowing us.) baked cookies and really had more fun than should be allowed for such an activity . . . but I continue being tired. CAAB was a more than delightful addition to our little group and certainly held her own with us. Brave girl.

I wish there were more of a rest between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I really like Thanksgiving. It barely gets its own day and -- ZOOM -- we're off to Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Little Secrets

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

But I don't clean

(The title's just a little play on words for my sister, Cyberspace Sarah.)

Brent and I started hosting Thanksgiving at our house -- well, I think shortly after we moved into this house. I'm thinking seven years. I wasn't working at the time and Colin was pretty well behaved, so I had everything set up royally in advance. I had place cards. I had hot hors d'oeuvres. I had a "sherry table." It hasn't even been quite that good since, but people still come, so I imagine it's doable.

This year we will be hosting 23 guests. I have two turkeys thawing right now. We like to brine, so I'd better get going on that. I love the cooking part. I make a truly tasty chestnut stuffing -- which sadly gets turned down by most guests in favor of Stove Top. Go figure. I make it anyway. I love all that.

I HATE cleaning. How can I put this so you'll understand. What is the point of housecleaning? Please take a look at the photo of my great-grandmother in the upper right hand corner and understand I come by this very honestly. That is a woman at the turn of the century who lived on a farm and had farmhands and children to feed and clean up after . . . and yet she has found time to sit on a couch she has made for herself in the woods and read that newspaper or whatever it is.

I think most of my friends and loved ones understand this about me. We don't live in a dirty home or a home where you'd need to fear for your hygiene, but it's really not particularly tidy. This is the one time a year I chase the spiders out of their homes in the corners and go after the goo around the faucets with a toothbrush. Yuck. So boooooring.

But by tomorrow night it will be over and I'll be eating a big plate of chestnut stuffing. Hooray!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In the end

I learned nothing from my phone call to the vet.

When we decided this weekend to put Zoe to sleep, Brent suggested we get the job done at our local vet. I. Was. Aghast. Zoe has gone to the same vet clinic for nearly 15 years. How could he think of sending her to a strange place with strangers to do the deed?!

Well, I rethought that as we got ready to go and Brent said, "I've got Daniel" as he dashed out the door, leaving me to find and carry and ride with Zoe on my lap the 20 MILES to the vet clinic. Well, fine. She rode with me when we brought her home. She could ride with me on the Last Car Ride.

We were all fine and jovial on the ride there. Tra-la-la. Nothing unusual about this trip. Then we got there and -- completely forgetting about the morning's phone call -- I determined I would be the one to walk her in. "It will be less embarrassing if I burst into tears than you," I said to Brent, fully intending to walk in there calm as could be so Zoe would think she was just going to the kennel.

We got inside and behind the counter was not my high school friend Mary, but a STRANGER. I burst into tears. I could not see to sign the paper that said yes, you may kill my dog; no, I do not want the body; no, I do not want the ashes.

Out from the back popped Mary and she came cruising from behind the counter hugged me and said, "This is hard, but it's time." More crying, but I am completely relieved.

"Do you want the collar?" says new girl. "Won't (wheeze, sob) she (sniffle, snort) be worried (sob, sob, sob) if you take it off?" Like my standing there convulsively crying wouldn't tip Zoe off. "No, no," said Mary. "She knows us. She knows it here."

If I had to name the 10 best days of my life, this would not be one of them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Calling the vet

In my mind the call to the vet's office was going to go like this:

Yes, hello, Mary, and a happy Thanksgiving holiday as well. Say, Brent and I have decided that it is time to put Zoe to sleep. She is having a difficult time with the colder weather and we feel it would be more merciful to let her go . . . yes, thank you and have a pleasant day.

Here's what really happened:

Mary . . . WHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
Did Zoe pass away?
No, but it's WHAAAAAAA time . . . WHAAAAA
Okay, let me know when you're ready to bring her up.
WHAAAAAAA! (heave, snort) today.
Do you want to sit with her?
I don't think I canWHAAAAAA!!
Okay. Do you want the body?
No. Yuck. Do people want the body?
Okay, we'll cremate her. Do you want the ashes?
No. Yuck. What would I do with those?
Okay. We'll expect her this morning.

So far, so good.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


We have decided that it is time for our dog Zoe to be put to sleep. I can write it, but I can't say it aloud without crying yet. She is 15 and we have known for several years that the time was drawing near. Several weeks ago when the weather got colder she started to refuse to go outside and that's not good.

I think I have told you before that she was our honeymoon gift to ourselves. She was from a show dog family but was born with a hernia which made her unshowable. She has papers and everything which was a first for any dog I had known. She was so tiny we could hold her in one hand. She was my companion many evenings when Brent was out playing music. I never figured she would attack an intruder or anything, but I figured a burglar might trip over her and that would give me time to call the police.

We are constantly scolded at the vet because she is overweight. She is supposed to be on heart medication but the medication made her incontinent to the point of furniture replacement. She has a collapsing esophagus which makes her wheeze.

Oh, but she has been our friend and our little mascot. We named her Zoe because it means life. We dressed her up when she was young. We amused friends and loved ones with her antics. She kept us company. If I could say thank you to her, I would say thanks for getting me through those first tough years of marriage. Thanks for always being my friend. Thanks for listening to me even when what I was saying didn't make sense. Thanks for protecting me from the mailman, the neighbor children . . . a leaf blowing in the wind.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I think I have finally fixed it so you can comment on my blog without being a blog writer youself, but I won't swear to it. I thought I had done it before . . . another craft project poorly finished.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sewing 101: Defeat

Are you very disappointed in me? It was on clearance. It has no turkey on it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We started Colin on an anti-anxiety drug last week. I don't think any parent says, "Hooray! Drugs for my tween!" It has never been something we wanted to get into with Colin. For one thing, there aren't any drugs for autism spectrum no matter what Jenny McCarthy tells you will "cure" them. For another, Colin is so high on the spectrum, I suppose in our first born heart of hearts we hoped we could just handle it.

And really we did. Colin has done very well up until now. The early childhood special educator told us at the time we found out that there was nothing more to be done for Colin that we had not already done. Of course once he got to school there was more, and I am thrilled to say we have been very pleased with our rural special education program. Colin really flourished with their help.

But now. He's just gotten crankier and crankier and many of the tantrums I remember him having as a three-year-old we have relived again in the past few months . . . only now he's bigger . . . and stronger.

So Friday we began a half dose of this medication. On Sunday he ate an entire waffle. Colin has not eaten an entire thing -- ever. Monday and Tuesday homework went so well I put sunshiny happy faces next to where I am supposed to sign my name in his assignment notebook. Me. Smiley face. Today he was a little grumpier, so he took ten minutes in his room and came down rested and ready to go. This was huge. Two weeks ago, he would have gone up there and worked himself up into a lather. Kicking. Stomping. Not today.

And last night. Last night. Colin hugged me and said, "I love you, Mom." I can't recall a time when he has ever done that without prompting from Brent.

Friends and loved ones, here comes my son.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Everywhere I go

I am still laughing.

I missed ECFE last week, so imagine my surprise to discover that this week was "Make and Take Craft Week." What?! Seriously?! We're crafting?! I am going through a sewing trauma and it's "Make and Take Craft Week?" Oh. My. Stars. I just started laughing.

Serious craft people don't think anything about it. ECFE Coordinator Cathy zipped through the instructions ("Make sure you round the corners!") before I even realized she expected me to be listening and following directions.

In the end I was supposed to have brought pictures for my craft but I wasn't the only one who hadn't. We made little laminated books for our children. I slapped a few stickers on and -- presto! -- I'd finished a craft.

Could I laminate a turkey and pin it to my chest for an apron?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sewing 101 . . .

It's . . . sigh . . . time . . . I guess . . .

I have nine days to finish my apron. I have -- sort of -- "marked the pattern," although I must say my Sewing for Dummies pattern was not very helpful. Sigh. I . . . don't want to. I . . . am afraid of failure. I DO think it would be fun to have a nifty Thanksgiving apron AND I have come this far. The thing is . . . this is always where I quit on my craft projects . . . right when I can see the end in sight. Did I write a blog entry on my graveyard of craft projects? I' m sure I did. They're all like this. So near. So far.

Scary . . . sewing . . . machine . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

White Rose

Our church displays a white rose every time someone prays to receive Christ. Today there was one for Colin who prayed with his Sunday School teacher.

Julie, the Christian Education leader, called last week to ask if Colin had told us. No, I explained to her. Reporting things at home is not a strength of Colin's . . . besides, I patiently explained, Colin sometimes says what he thinks you want to hear. I'm not really sure . . .

So I asked Colin, "Did you ask Jesus to come into your heart?"


"Do you understand what that means?"


"Oh. Wow. Well . . . Dad and I are really excited and proud for you, honey! That's really neat!"


Julie told me she was sort of worried about her teen aged son having not prayed this prayer and confronted him.

"Oh, Mom, I did that years ago at camp."

Well. I guess Mother is always the last to know. I want to say so much that I am just proud and happy and not in the least a little sad and jealous that I wasn't there when he prayed, but I feel a little bit like my baby took his first steps and I wasn't there.
BUT, I did see his first steps and I have been there for so many things and I am the one who drove him to Sunday School that day and picked him up . . . and I am here now. Colin is now, and has always been, in better hands than mine.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Well, I am back from a great chick trip with Roberta to Disney World. It was a little strange to be there without the boys, but I managed. Birdie and I went on all the scary rides. We even did one twice because we had freaked ourselves out so badly the first time, we missed the actual ride.

It's very easy to be a brilliant parent when you don't have your kids with, but I was really surprised again to see how quickly a trip to the "Happiest Place on Earth" can go so terribly wrong. We saw so many parents at their worst. So many couples at their worst. I can't help but wonder if everyone's expectations on a trip like that can get a little unrealistic. I know0 this is true. You go down to Florida, spend a lot of money and everyone is supposed to have the best time of their lives, DARN IT!! And meanwhile kids (and adults) get hot, tired, cranky, hungry and disappointed just like at home.

If you ask my boys their favorite part of a trip to Florida, they will say the pool every time. I'm pretty sure they aren't the only ones and I'm also pretty sure that's not what most parents want to hear. I don't care. Trips to Florida are about me, me, me getting some sunshine during an otherwise dreary fall and/or winter. Let's just call that spade a spade.

The highlight of my trip this time was our spur of the moment decision to ride in first class. You would not believe how lovely it is up there: beverages, hot food, cookies . . . exclusive bathroom for the "mommy bladder." I may never go back. Economy? What economy?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

And away I go . . .

Well, tomorrow's the big day I start off for my Chick Trip. I have never felt this much excitement and guilt all at the same time. (Well . . . that's not strictly true, but the past has passed.) I made a last ditch attempt to get Cyberspace to come with yesterday. What after all is a Sisterchick trip without your actual sister? Alas, no luck. I even offered her my unused Disney Visa points.

Yes, I do have a Disney Visa. I have the classic red with just the ears on it -- not Sleeping Beauty or anything that screams, "SCARY DISNEY ADDICT!!" It may be a little bit true that I am a SDA, but I am not ready to admit it as, I believe, we have discussed before. I don't have a Tinker Bell tattoo or anything . . yet. I do go to other places besides Orlando . . . occasionally. It may be there are hidden Mickeys in my kitchen tile, but that was Big Daddy's idea . . . sort of.

The boys have made it slightly easier to go today by being as rotten as they possibly can. Colin was nearly dragged to piano performance in his pajamas. Baby D poured an entire Happy Meal pop on the poor beleaguered den carpet on top of a puzzle which I put directly into the garbage. So, although I admit, Roberta will not be dragging me to the airport Monday morning, I really feel for Big Daddy. I have a suspicion this isn't going to be easy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

In hiding

I am hiding from Baby D. We will see how long I have up here in the computer room before he finds me. Is this bad parenting? He's watching TV. Did that statement just make my bad parenting concerns worse?

My sister, Cyberspace Sarah, is 9 years younger than I. All those parenting gurus will tell you that in birth order status we are like two only children. This is true. We very much need our own space and our own things. But we do also have that first born-second born thing going.

For example, yesterday we were on the phone while I was packing my suitcase for my Chick Trip next week. I was worrying about something very irrelevant about appearances whilst I did this and I was also muttering to myself, "Hmmmm, I think I'll put my tennis shoes in their practice spot in my suitcase."

This is not an exact quote but Cyberspace said something to the effect, "If I was going on a trip next week I'd be packing Saturday night and then I'd get there and discover I had only brought one pair of pants."

I was amused by this and thought myself very smart for organizing so early . . . until I couldn't find my shoes this morning. They were still in their "practice spot."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Half Birthday

It was my half birthday last week and I think I am starting to have a 40 meltdown. I didn't think I would. I am a busy at-home mom. I don't really have time for a crisis and yet . . . This morning while watching an old West Wing I start crying. Where is my high profile West Wing job? Where is my Emmy nominated performance? Where is my Latino President-elect husband? I mean no offense to Big Daddy Brent. He is all the high powered white boy CEO I'll ever need and the very suggester of the topic of this blog, but this is my point: The rational part of my brain which sees full well that my life is as it should be seems to be shutting down a little bit. This makes me nervous. What do women do when they have a mid-life crisis? Have another baby? Not for me. Shiny sports car? No room for the kids. Run off next week to Disney World on a Chick Trip? Well . . . hee hee. Maybe that one.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And then . . .

Then you read this:

And then this:

And then I don't want to hear any more of this. Honestly.

Post Election Exhaustion

Look, kids, Cyberspace Sarah has gone into electronic hiding until after the election buzz has died down and THAT is serious business her older sister cannot take lightly. She was told on Facebook today that the sins of our country will be paid for by -- oh, I can't remember the exact wording -- something to the effect of a president who won't need to veto anything.

Honestly. Just honestly. Friends and loved ones, from reading my blog, do you understand how seriously I take my God? Will you then believe me when I say I firmly believe my God is bigger than the United States of America?

A few years ago during the Bush/Gore debacle I was asked to join a prayer group who would "stand against Satan's minions in Florida." Honestly. As though the King of the Universe couldn't handle a few hanging chads. As if the the One who saved Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could not raise up a leader or bring him down. You better read the entire book of Daniel and then you better get your flag out because I am just getting warmed up.

Do you not see that democracy works in the United States? As a people we vote and every one gets one vote and every vote counts. (Let's not talk about how I feel about the Electoral College, though) In January, the outgoing president will meet the incoming president in our nation's capitol and shake his hand and that's it. Our country will transfer it's power from one party to the other, no mess, no fuss, no coup, no blood. Am I the only one who thinks that's a little bit cool?

If you don't like what happened yesterday, then you'd best get down on your knees and pray for our new president and the unity of our country because, frankly, you're not making it any better by whining.

Oh, my goodness, I have worked up a sweat. Do not upset my sister and expect me not to get loud.

Monday, November 3, 2008

In between trouble

I have posted so many photos of Baby D getting in trouble, I thought maybe I should show one of him just being cute.

And this is Colin in as much scarecrow costume as he would consent to. I'm a little biased, but he's pretty cute too.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is it Tuesday?

Who, besides me, is ready to vote? Who, besides me, is tired of the automated phone calls? Who, besides me, has had it with the fliers in the mail? Who, besides me, has given up TV all together until the negative campaign ads are done?

Last night I was watching 48 hours on CBS and during commercial break it was one negative campaign ad after another after another (People, I am not even listening any more!) when all of a sudden our Minneapolis affiliate ran 30 seconds of a baby eating spaghetti with the caption "political ad break." I loved it!! So fun.

It's time. It's time to vote. It's time to choose. It's time to trust in our process. It's time to be done. It's time to heal.