Friday, April 29, 2011

God Save Me

It's been an enjoyable morning of royal wedding watching for me.  I did not get up to watch because, as we know, I'm a big sleeper, but I have caught up this morning.

I must say one of my favorite parts is watching the queen when they sing the national anthem.  One of these times I really want her to break out at the end, "GOD SAVE MEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!"  She doesn't.  She just stands there and looks noble.  I'd even like it if she looked around after and mouthed "Thank you."  She could make that namaste humble bowing hand pose so popular in Hollywood.  She doesn't do that either.

Her husband Prince Phillip sort of mumbles along which must be awkward for him too.  How many times do you think he's had to sing when they were having a really big fight?  "God save the queen," he'd sing and then under his breath add, "Ya stubborn old bag."

To which she'd smile her little queen smile and say under her breath, "We still have enough power to have you beheaded, little man."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Timothy Award

When Colin was in his first year of Awana, Chief Babysitter Andy got his Timothy Award.  It's one of the highest awards that organization gives out.  We were just learning about Colin and the autism spectrum and just starting to get used to the idea that our dreams for Colin might not be how things were going to go.  I think every parent goes through that to one degree or another, but it's hard when they're four.

Anyway, I remember watching Andy and crying.  I thought to myself, "This is what I want for Colin.  He doesn't have to be a big soccer star.  He doesn't have to be a big academic star.  He doesn't need to be captain of the debate team.  I just want him to love Jesus and memorize his word."

Well, Colin does and so much more.  More than he, Brent or I could ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It was going so well

Potty training was going so well.  We are celebrating the one week anniversary today and . . . well, there was a garbage bag and a bath involved this morning.  Parents, you know what I'm talking about.  People without children, you don't  really want to know.  It's ugly, but we are clean and dry and starting over again.

Potty training is a good metaphor for life.  You have an accident.  You clean up and start again.  Next time it will be better.

My goodness, that's deep.

I was in a discussion last week with a woman who does not have children who felt like women with children were picking on her.  She should have all sorts of time to volunteer and such, she was being told.  It was making her upset, and she made some generalizations about parents as a whole that didn't sit well with me.  As you know, I'm a big peacenik, and I don't approve of generalizations about populations segments.  Of course I also don't approve of saying stupid things to people like, "You should have time to do this because you don't have children."  Our time as parents is different because we are juggling our schedules as well as our children's, but that doesn't mean our time is more valuable.  If we do our jobs well, we will have grown up children who leave our homes and then we will go back to just juggling our own schedules.

I can't imagine it right now, but I have confidence that's the way it's going to turn out.

I'm wondering if that's another factor for Mommies in the Trenches like myself.  We are so busy with the immediate:  Do you need to go potty?  Is your homework done? Did you practice piano? Do you need a lunch?  What time does the bus leave?  Why are your hands covered in marker?  Do you need to go potty?  Don't you have a clean shirt?  Why didn't you tell me you didn't have a clean shirt?  Where is the dog?  Did you let the dog out?  Do you need to go potty?  Is that an Easter egg under the couch? Do you need to go potty? Are you sure you don't need to go potty?  Why don't you just try and go potty?

It can be very difficult to remember that the world is spinning right outside our homes.  Sometimes I have no idea what day it is much less who the current president is.  I am unfamiliar with current popular music.  I only know endless verses of "Five Little Ducks." This makes me feel old and out of touch.  The other day I told a woman without children at home that I was going to the movies.  "Oh,"  she said.  "Are you going to see [insert current adult-type movie that I had not heard of here]?"  I looked confused.  "Noooooo, we're going to that bird one."  She looked confused. "It's animated," I said.  She continued to look at me with a blank stare.

What was my point?!

Oh, yes.  Maybe we should just try to be nice to each other since we don't actually know the path another person is walking.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

What a great weekend!  With all of Big Daddy's children (and I am counting Rachel in that number as well whether she likes it or not) here, it was a full house.  People were sleeping everywhere.  Blankets and pillows and chaos.  How fun for us!  Now Preschooler D and I are just watching Sprout and eating up the left over Easter bread in the shape of a bunny (with a special shout out to faithful reader-friend Mary S.)

I don't think we had an Easter poem last week because I was in a mood of some sort.  We'd better have one now.  I'm choosing this one.  It was too cold and damp to look for eggs outside on Sunday.  Preschool D did a great job with the help of his adult siblings.  We thought we found all 60 of them, but as I grabbed a spoon to stir cookie dough yesterday, another plastic egg popped out of the spoon crock.  Are there more to be found yet?

Easter Eggs
Winifred C Marshall

Sing a song of Easter eggs -- 
Betty counted eight,
Hidden in a grassy nook,
By the garden gate;

Two beneath the lilac bush,
Near the pansy bed;
Bob gave her a purple one;
She gave Bob a red;

Four beneath a wild rosebush,
Growing in the yard.
Let's help Betty count her eggs;
It will no be hard.

Well, now that I am reading this again, I'm wondering if it's sort of a slap in Betty's face.  "Not hard to count your few eggs, Betty!  Maybe you shouldn't have given that red one to Bob!"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Writer's Block Friday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

* Well, who, I would like to know, went all the way to Shelby's school two hours away and back with no accidents?!  Yes, Preschooler D.  I do believe he's actually going to get to go to preschool this fall after all.  Believe me, I was starting to wonder.  It's an Easter miracle.

* And hooray, we have Shelby here now!  She has a small, constant, underwear wearing shadow.  I've just heard him declare he's going to sleep in her room with her.  Lucky girl.

* I got the living room painted yesterday.  Thank you again for all helpful suggestions on marker removal.  I must say the new paint makes the room look great.  Did some long-needed dusting behind the piano, as well.

* I hope by now you know I am a Christian.  Today is kind of a cool day for us.  In a bargain I will never fully understand, one man took the heat for all the crap I've pulled.  Mine might be worse than yours -- it might be less, but he did it for you too.  For whatever reason, we get a second chance . . . and a third . . . and a fourth if we need it.  All we have to do is agree that somehow the deal was struck, and he took our place.  That's it.  No magic incantations.  No endless steps we have to follow.  No more to do.  No more to say.  We just have to agree to it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In the Trenches

For whatever reason, today is the day I have chosen to get serious about potty training.  The stars fell into alignment today.

How's it going, you ask?

Well . . . Preschooler D is being pretty cooperative.  He is wearing the underwear.  He's being good about taking breaks to try.

How many pairs of underwear are in the wash from today?

Five.  He hasn't made it yet.

I want to quit, but I realized something this afternoon.  I'm forever complaining that my boys want to do everything perfectly as soon as they try.  It frustrates me that if they don't think they can succeed right away, they don't want to try.

If I let D quit, won't I be doing the same thing?

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

Thank you, friends and loved ones, for the good advice on marker removal.  Yes, I tried Mr. Clean and his magic eraser.  Yes, I tried hairspray.  Yes, I tried rubbing alcohol.  I had degrees of success.  Some of it came out.  Some of it came out because the paint came clean off.  There's just no getting around it; there's going to be home improvement painting projects this spring.  Please pray for marital harmony.  Even the simple act of painting a wall can leave us tired and helpless.

Snow showers in the forecast today.

April Fool
Inez George Gridley

A snowfall came on April first,
After the buds were out.
The pussy willows shook their heads.
It made the crocus pout.

The bluebirds hopped from branch to branch,
But never stopped their song;
They knew the snow was just a joke,
And couldn't stay there long!

Monday, April 18, 2011

His Jackson Pollock Phase*

When I left the boys, Colin was drawing on the marker board upstairs and Preschooler D was asking for a turn.  I came downstairs to look at a book on Amazon.  One book.  I just looked at it.  I didn't even take time to put it in my cart.  I didn't have time.  We were going to the movies.

Next thing I knew D was at my side saying, "I'm done!"  He handed me three white board markers worn down to a hub.

"What . . . oh, dear . . . what are you done with, love?"

"Drawing,"  he said.

And so he was.  My grown up 4-year-old had scrubbed those three permanent markers across:

  • Walls in his room
  • Walls in my room
  • Bathroom floor
  • Bathroom sink
  • Toilet seat
  • Hall walls
  • Colin's comforter
  • Humidifier
  • Living room walls
  • Hardwood TV floor

I want so badly to tell you I took in stride.  That I said to myself, "This is a teachable moment."

I can't do that.

I yelled.  I yelled at D.

Then I yelled at Colin who had watched him part of the time.

Then I yelled at my husband who called to make sure we took some extra cash to the movies.  I yelled, "I'm not taking them to the movies." To which my smart husband said, "Then you're going to have to sit at home with them this afternoon."

We went to the movies.

In silence all the way there.

Not true.  I yelled some more in the car on the way.

At some point during the movie I knew I had to be done.  I wasn't ready, but I figured one of us was going to have to be the parent and, dang nabbit . . . it's me.

When the movie ended, my autism spectrum son -- the one who isn't supposed to understand feelings -- came up and looked me in the eye and said, "I am so sorry about the walls, Mom."



"It's okay, Col.  Let's go get some groceries and see if we can't find something to clean the walls."

Nope.  Couldn't.  That's some permanent marker.  It's okay.  It came off the bathroom sink and toilet seat and hardwood floor which would have been the worst.  I was planning to repaint the living room anyway this spring, so here I go.  And maybe if I get the bedroom painted I can convince Big Daddy it's time for that orange carpet to go.

That would be a really, really good thing.

*My thanks to TWCD (who is not a TW) for putting it in an artsy context for me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Writer's Block Friday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

* I finished my virtual 5K today AND I actually ran the last mile continuously.  I have to admit, I did not think I could do it, so I was pretty excited this morning.  Will I continue running? Well . . . I have to think about that.  I would not say I enjoyed it, but it was really neat to see I could do something I didn't think I could.

* Is D potty trained?  No, thank you for asking, but I am buying the last size of pull ups, so at some point very soon, it's just going to have to end.  I am still waiting for D to make the choice.  He is not interested.  His answer to the question "When are you going to use the potty?"  is "I'm not doing that any more."  Great.

* I got a groovy piece of tinsel in my hair yesterday at the salon, but I wasn't able to style it all cute today by myself.  I fear I look like a middle age mommy who's trying too hard with a wild piece of tinsel flying out of my head.  And yet, I like it there.

* Ew.  Is that snow I see out my window? Great.  Is that kid with the Turkish Taffy riding around again?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Story Telling

24 hours later and I have received no bag and no job offer from Tastefully Simple.  It's all right.  I'm starting to think it was not meant to be.  I suppose the honest way to have gotten one of those bags was to be a Tastefully Simple consultant.  As there are quite a few of those here in my neck of the woods (See photo from my cupboard below) . . . well, it's all right.  Life moves on.  There will be other totes.

Story telling is a tricky thing.  I had told the Southern Mommy story several times upon returning home and was met with blank stares.  I thought it was hilarious.  On Tuesday at ECFE I told the mommy-friends the Southern Mommy story, and they just howled.  I didn't even get beyond, "I'm fixin'" and they were laughing.  They knew.  They had been at that mothering point.  It's all in your perspective.

Later, at lunch, I tried to tell my bag story to my little friend Amber.  Now Amber is a born salesperson, and she just didn't get how I managed to walk away from that situation without a bag.  "I thought there was going to be a bag at the end of this story," she said.  "No," I replied.  "It's a sad story."

I also saw my friend Mary that day.  Mary of this entry and this entry.  She had sort of a smirk on her face when I picked up the dog from the kennel the day before.  Sort of a look in her eye when she asked me how "Central Florida" was.  When I saw her the next day I was going to tell some sort of boring detail of my life and she starting laughing and said, "Oh, I know!  I read your blog!"  Well, that made me laugh.

I mean a story is never as good the second time around, is it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Bag

Okay, one more small tale of the vacation, and I swear I will be done with the stories, I think.

So the corporate headquarters for Tastefully Simple is in the next town over.  Do you know Tastefully Simple?  It's a home party business like Pampered Chef or Tupperware, but it's food.  I used to make their ads way way way back in the day when it was two ladies selling gift baskets out of the back of a car.  Honestly, I think I only made two or three before they got too big for my limited graphic arts skills.  Today they have 28,000 consultants and 350 employees at their headquarters.  My sister-in-law works there.  She has the very cool job of obtaining the incentive rewards the consultants earn through sales and recruitment.

So, anywho, Brent and I got off the plane and got in line for the resort shuttle and we stood behind a lady and her family all labeled up with Tastefully Simple.  I said, "Oh, we live in that town!" which wasn't quite true, but close enough for casual line conversation.  It turned out that Tastefully Simple incentive travel winners were at the same resort we were at for the week.

Well, it's a small world, isn't it?!

And it would all end nicely there if I had not fallen in love with the tote bag those ladies received upon arrival.  It was a cross shoulder messenger bag with two side pockets -- one for your umbrella, one for your water.  Loved that bag!!  Loved that bag so much I started stalking the hospitality table looking for people from the corporate office I knew.  Didn't see anyone.  Loved that bag, I started sending email messages about the bag to my sister-in-law.  She's all by the book and everything and felt that only people who earned the trip should receive one. Oh, fine! Loved that bag, I started hanging around the hospitality table hinting and dropping my sister-in-law's name.  Nothing.  Loved that bag, I tried to trade my tasty daiquiri to a TS lady for her bag.  Did not work.  She just went and bought her own daiquiri.

So in the end I am bagless and wondering if I went to work at TS if I could get one of those bags.  Is it wrong to start a new career just for one canvas tote bag?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

As I was going through our book Poems Children Enjoy, I spotted this one which I think accurately reflects the post-vacation mood here.

The Lost Smiles
Frances Gorman Risser

A flock of smiles was lost one day
And couldn't find a place
To rest, because such ugly frowns
Sat on each passing face!

The smiles dropped down upon a tree.
At once the blossoms gay
Began to open on each branch,
In such a happy way

That sight of so much loveliness
Chased frowns from sullen faces;
Then homeless smiles flew down at once,
And quickly took their places!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Of course he does.

Did Big Daddy and I have fun in "Central Florida?"  Does a bear poop in the woods?  We are having a miserable time adjusting to life here at home.

You know a few days at "the happiest place on earth" is really a study in parenting at its best and worst -- especially around 5 pm when everybody is hot, tired and had about enough.  Brent and I were walking along at Epcot one day when we heard a man running.  This man looked like he was going for Olympic gold.  His arms were pumping and his legs looked like a machine.

"He's lost a kid," Brent remarked.  And, sure enough, we looked about 50 yards ahead to see a lone stroller in the middle of the path abandoned next to where some drums had been playing.  Dad came past us going the other way pushing the still sleeping baby along.  They were probably in a group.  Everybody thought the other one had the baby.

We can laugh because -- thankfully -- it wasn't us this time, right?

My next favorite parenting moment was from a Southern Mommy ahead of us in line at Maelstrom which is a boat ride at Epcot in the country of Norway.  You have to understand what a treat it is for a far north mommy like me to see one of these Southern ladies at work.  It was a thing of beauty.  First of all, she was gorgeous.  She had on capri yoga pants and a tank top with her hair piled on her head, and she looked great.  I had carefully orchestrated a little outfit with shorts, t-shirt, and coordinating shoes and jewelry.  I looked hot, tired and bedraggled.

She had a little girl of about five and a little boy of about three with her.  The little girl made it very clear she did not want to go on the ride.  There was protesting and dramatic gestures.  Finally Southern Mommy bent over and looked her in the eye and said, "I am fixin' to get angry with you. Do you think your brother wanted to sit there and eat lunch with those princesses? He. Did. Not. But he did it for you and now he wants to go on this boat ride and you are going to ride on this boat and you are going to smile while you do it."

That little girl looked right back at her and said . . ."I have to poop."

Oh my gosh, I bust a gut.  The grandma with them had to turn because she started laughing too, and then Grandma and little girl left.  Sadly after about 10 more minutes of waiting the ride broke down and brother didn't get to ride it either.

I'm not positive he really cared.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

By the time you read this, Big Daddy Brent and I will be -- hopefully -- on our way to Florida.  Do not come to steal the old non HD TV because Grandma and Grandpa are coming to stay with the boys at our house.  Have a great week.  I know I'm going to! . . . of course I "knew" last weekend was going to be busy and productive until I was throwing up and flat on my back. Nevertheless!  How bad could it be?

The Airplane
Frances Arnold Greenwood

When I am big I will ride in the sky
And see the clouds go flying by.
I will look below where the tall trees grow,
And over the meadows where rivers flow.

I will fly over mountains and ocean's shore,
Over fields and houses, and many things more.
Like a big, big bird I will soar in the sky,
And folks will say, "There's a plane going by!"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday, Monday

What a long and tiresome weekend.  After going out to dinner Friday I woke up in the middle of the night to find I had food poisoning or some sort of fast acting stomach virus. Yuck.

No, really -- yuck.

After my stomach was through (um) emptying itself it took me another 48 hours to recover.  Just yuck.

Anyway I didn't share my April Fool's Day Facebook picture with you on Friday because I worried we didn't know each other well enough and maybe you wouldn't find it as funny as I did.

But I think we probably do, don't you? Happy belated April Fool's Day!