Archives for January 2009

Things that made me laugh

They say that every time you laugh you burn, like, 100 calories or something like that. They also say that laughter produces endorphins, which, well I’m not exactly sure what those do, but it’s some pretty good stuff. So, today I pass on a little calorie burning, endorphin boosting good cheer to you all. Which, let’s face it, we could all use as we sit here and slowly freeze to death. But, despite the arctic temperatures, tomorrow is Friday and that’s something that makes me very happy.

– I was at the gym Monday morning, dragging myself through a half-arsed workout. While sitting on one of the cushy mats doing my abs, a middle aged man came strolling into the hallway and stopped just a few feet in front of me. He was putting on such a show of stretching and lunging that I couldn’t help but stare at him. He quickly stuffed his shirt into his pants and stood facing the wall, shaking his arms and rolling his head around like an Olympic sprinter getting ready to take his mark. Only this guy was not exactly built like an Olympian if you get my drift. The next thing I know, he throws his arms up and swings them forward and flips himself up into a handstand. Just as his feet hit the wall, his arms crumble beneath him and he lands on his head then slumps into a heap on the floor. For a split second, I was afraid he was hurt, but he quickly hopped back up and resumed his position of shaking and rolling and gave it another go, this time successfully making it into a handstand. The problem was that his hands were so far away from the wall that he was painfully arched backward trying to keep his balance. He grunted and groaned while I bit my lip very hard trying not to laugh out loud. Finally, he managed to get down without hurting himself and made a very hasty retreat. It was a very good time – for me, anyway.

– Sloan told me the other day that he can’t wait to grow up and be a daddy so that he can spank his sister. We had to have a little talk about that one.

– This morning, I took Tia and Landon to Shop ‘N Save while Sloan was at school. We weren’t just out of food – there were moths flitting out of my cabinets. It was bad. Which means I was in the store for a looong time. I didn’t make a list ahead of time, which was stupid, but it is what it is. So I had to keep shuffling through my coupons to see what I needed to get. It took so long that by the time I got to the check out, Landon was done and was letting me know by screaming his head off. I’m at Shop ‘N’ Save, remember? Which means I had to bag my own groceries. Oh, and did I mention it was only 3 degrees outside? So, Landon’s screaming and I’m throwing stuff in bags at warp speed when all of the sudden this little indian man who had been in line behind me walks up and starts dancing and singing. Landon stops and stares and I do too for a brief moment because when I say little, I mean little. He may have been a foot taller than Sloan and he was jirating and singing, trying to keep Landon calm. Once I was finished, he picked Landon up and handed him to me, then pushed my cart out and loaded my groceries into my car. So, I not only had a good chuckle, but also a warm fuzzy at his sincere kindness and generosity. Plus I saved thirty bucks with coupons.

The endorphins are flying, baby!

Boredom leads to strange things

Sloan and I were bored this afternoon and the Star Wars figures were sitting in the doll house. We had a good old time making up a very bizarre story.


The Epic Battle Gone Terribly Awry
Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, there was a young Jedi knight, Master Ben Kenobi. Trained in the order of the Jedi, Master Kenobi was a special soul with much to offer to the galaxy. As a young man, Master Kenobi came across a boy who showed great potential for good use as a Jedi and so Master Kenobi took this boy, nourished him and trained him and the boy did indeed grow into a bold and fearless Jedi.
But the boy, Anakin, was brash and impulsive. Those qualities were a great hindrance to his quest in the Jedi order. There was a darkness in him that Master Kenobi desperately tried to tame, but it was no use. Anakin Skywalker gave himself over to the dark side losing nearly all of his human form.
More robot than man, he took on the name Darth Vader and became a fierce and powerful enemy.  Master Kenobi was, understandably, disappointed and pained that his star pupil became the very epitome of evil and he took it upon himself to search down his wayward student and destroy him once and for all. Thus began an epic battle.
But Master Kenobi underestimated Vader’s strength and power and he was quickly defeated.Stealing Kenobi’s light saber, Darth Vader swiftly cut off his former master’s arm. In a most uncharacteristic moment of sympathy, Darth Vader left Kenobi to die alone rather than finishing him off.

Summoning his last ounce of strength, Master Kenobi used the force to pull himself up off the ground and, cradling his limp stub of an arm in his good hand, he fled the galaxy and sped to a foreign and new place where he intended to leave his failures and shame behind him.

For many dark days, Master Kenobi wandered through the rugged, thick terrain, wasting from lack of food and losing his will to survive. But, though he no longer had the mystical power of the force to back him up, he did have physical strength that allowed him to push forward despite extreme weakness.

Then he came upon a most strange and beautiful sight. A large palace unlike any he had ever seen. Pulling his weak frame up, Master Kenobi stumbled to the bizarre structure.

Raising his hand, Master Kenobi rapped three times on the solid door. When it opened, he found himself staring into the bewildered eyes of a beautiful woman holding two screaming babies in her arms. Explaining his situation and his need for shelter and work, the woman nodded her head and told him she had just the job for him.

Master Kenobi, however, was not prepared for the task that was quickly thrust upon him.

Due to this family’s extreme lifestyle, it appeared that the parents were in desperate need of someone to watch their children while they both worked.

 Thus, Master Kenobi became Ben-Ben the Manny.
He discovered quickly that he was not well suited for this job. Within the first day, he lost one of the children, a small boy who was quick and sneaky. The girl was a little more manageable, but a handful nonetheless. Ben-Ben sang to her each night, a soft melody that, try as he might, he could not bring himself to stop humming. It was the same melody he had sung to his protege so many years earlier.

One of the more difficult details of his job required changing the constantly full diapers of his young charge. This was all the more difficult due to Ben-Ben’s abnormally small size in comparison to the child. Ben-Ben grew so tired of this cumbersome task that he decided to teach the child the art of using an adult facility.

Unfortunately, this did not go well and Ben-Ben found he had greater messes to clean up. He quickly put the child back in diapers and sent her on her way.

Ben-Ben sighed as he cleaned the bathroom, wondering how his life had taken such a drastic turn.

Looking intently in the mirror, Ben-Ben tried to conjure up the image of his former self. A man full of confidence and self-assurance. A man who was a truely gifted Jedi Master. But, try as he may, Ben-Ben could not summon the force. It’s power took no effect in these strange circumstances.

Every evening, as Ben-Ben slaved over dinner and baked endlessly, he tried to remember the skill that had once been so natural to him.

He sighed dramatically as he set the meals in front of his employers, both of whom took to ignoring him when he lost their son. They now only stared at him with half-smiles frozen on their plastic-like faces. It was unnerving…

The only solice Ben-Ben found were his daily moments of peace in the garden that he had cultivated. It gave him a sense of purpose and skill closely akin to the Jedi powers he had once taken such pride in. In those quiet moments, Ben-Ben felt like Master Kenobi once more.

At night, when the baby was asleep and the house was clean, Ben-Ben lounged on the couch, letting the sweet sounds of Johnny Coltrane and B.B. King wash through his soul. He wondered if perhaps these men were master’s of the force, their music so moved his aching soul.

And of course, every night before bed, Ben-Ben stood at his balcony and looked out at the glimmering, flickering stars that dotted the black sky. He thought of his galaxy, so very far away, and wished that he, once again, could be a great and mighty Jedi Knight.

So, my friends, will Ben Kenobi ever gain back his use of the force and return to his proper position as a leader of the Jedi Order? Only time will tell…

Lee the Barbarian

So far, we’ve caught two mice on the glue boards that are sitting out by the dog food. The first one was still alive and shimmied himself underneath the car. For a brief moment I was afraid we had teenage mutant ninja mice who had outsmarted us and stolen a glueboard. Had that been the case, we would have moved. No doubt – I would relinqiush my house without question.

I told you all before, I’m not a mouse kinda gal. I don’t like them, especially when they’ve been sneaking around my hosue in the dark. But I have to admit, the sight of this little guy spazzing pitifully on the glueboard made me feel a little sad. My sadness quickly turned to horror, however, when Lee pulled out a hammer and told me to go back inside. I turned into the girly girl and begged him not to bludgeon the poor creature. At this point, though, Sloan and Tia were coming outside so I had to quickly retreat. My last vision was of the door slowly closing as Lee leaned over the twitching mouse. It was like a bad movie. A few minutes later, Lee walked in all smug assuring me that he only tapped it hard enough to put it out of misery.

My husband scares me sometimes. Remember this story? Well, it turns out I had the details wrong. He actually killed that animal with a crowbar, not a shovel, which is even more horrifying. Thank God the second mouse we caught was already dead. I was relieved but I think Lee was a little disappointed.

And now I’m off to begin a wildly busy day. I have more to do than there are hours of the day so we’ll see what happens. Happy Monday!

Basement Dwellers

We are not alone in this house…bam, bam, baaaammmm

Yes, it appears that some furry little friends have decided to make their winter home in my basement. This is not cool with me. I don’t do small things that scurry about well. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you probably know that already. I’ve already chronicled my obvious bravado here. To be honest, I’m slightly less freaked out by mice than by those freakish cave crickets, but let’s be realistic here: if one of those critters comes scurrying out at me there is every possibility I will break a bone trying to get away. Let’s make this clear – I don’t do mice, I don’t do crickets, I don’t do spiders if they are larger than my pinky fingernail. There, all settled.

Poor Tia – we’ve been blaming the handfuls of dog food we found scattered in various places in the basement on her. I mean, it’s not that far fetched that she would bring handfuls of dog food downstairs, but I was starting to have my suspisions when I found it hiding in Lee’s golf bag and in the clean laundry piled up on a table. As I was cleaning up the playroom I found the tell tale evidence on the kid’s car table. And it appears that there may be more than one. Perfect, just what I need, a mouse family. Why does this stuff always happen when daddy’s out of town? Now, I have to muster up the courage to go downstairs and get my laundry and pray to God Almighty that a dying mouse doesn’t squeak at me from the six glue traps I scattered about. Deep breath…

The humble abode where our furry friends seem to have made their home. I mean, it is a fun place to be, but this arrangment is just not going to work.

The dog food is kept upstairs and out that door which leads to the garage. How are the sneaky little buggers getting it into the basement?

This fell out of my clean laundry. I’m not a cussing kinda girl, but there’s a good chance a couple of choice words slipped out when I realized what was going on.

A fair amount of dog food was found in the front pocket of Lee’s golf bag. Poor Tia took the blame for that one.

There is dog food rattling around inside this car, which has a tiny hole on the bottom where they are sneaking it in.

There is also a good deal of dog food rattling around inside this little chair.The evidence that finally tipped me off. Lots of scattered little pieces of trash, insulation, dog food and some droppings. The least they could do is clean up after themselves…

A Lapse in Judgment

When daddy is out of town, I try to do things that are a little different – partly to take the kids’ minds off the fact that he is gone and mostly to keep myself from going completely wacky. Tonight, since it is the only real down night that we have, I decided to do something to get us out of the house.

First was a semi-needed trip to Target. Really, I just needed a little “fix.” I needed the glare of the bright lights off the pristene white tiles and the smell of good deals mingled with awesomeness to surround me. It didn’t take long. I was flying high almost as soon as I walked into the door. The fact that Tia had to go to the bathroom before we even made it past the threshhold didn’t even damper my spirits (usually she waits until we’re all the way in the back of the store with a cart full of goodies before declaring that she has to go potty).

I was feeling so elated by the time we left, with two new pairs of shoes for Landon and a folder for Tia, that I told the kids we would be going out to dinner. Because I am trying to be more health conscious, I opted out of the ease that is McDonald’s and decided, instead, to head to Bread Co.

Yes. My Target high led me to completely overestimate my mommy superpowers.

Luck was on my side in the fact that Bread Co. was relatively uninhabited. I bribed the kids with the promise of a muffie if they obeyed and did not completely humiliate me, then ordered our food and settled us down at a table as far away from the other patrons as possible. This is where things got a little hairy. It wasn’t totally the kids. They actually did quite well, all things considered, but, well there are three of them and only one of me. That’s just not fair…

When they called my name, I raced to the counter as fast as I could to pick up our food before Sloan and Tia got got their own high off of a lack of supervision. When I returned, both of them had their shoes off and Sloan was trying to remove his shirt. I wasn’t gone that long.

Then there was the issue of getting everyone situated with his and her specific meal. Landon was approaching meltdown from extreme hunger so he needed immediate attention. I needed water because I unwisely ordered a soup that has a bit of a kick to it. The water was on the other side of the restaurant. I took a deep breath, reminded them of the muffie that awaited them later and scurried over to get water. As I’m over there, I hear a wail emanating from my very own 5-year-old’s mouth. Apparently Landon snatched the bread off his sandwich when he wasn’t looking. This was a tragedy.

When we were half-way through dinner, I broke open the last packet of yogurt I had and began squeezing it into Landon’s mouth. It was at precisely this moment that Tia declared she had to go poo-poo. The child has amazing timing. Landon began crying and reaching for the yogurt, which he was enjoying imensely and I had a moment of panic. What the heck do I do now? I made a split second decision, which I almost immediately regretted. I agreed to let Sloan take her to the bathroom…which was also across the restaurant. I issued a threat on their lives if I heard any screaming or playing around and told them that they absolutely better be back quickly if they wanted their muffie. I watched them walk all the way to the bathroom door, then sat down and wondered what on earth possessed me to think this was a good solution. What if someone called Child Protective Services on me for neglect or just plaing dopiness? It was also at that moment that I remembered that neither one of them were wearing shoes. Yes, I became that mom and I think that I have hereby lost all my mommy superpowers for the time being.

They did very well, though, and were back within minutes, assuring me that they did not crawl on the floors or lick any toilets or anything like that. Finally we were able to wrap up dinner and I got in line to buy the much deserved muffie. As we were waiting, a policeman walked in. Sloan walked up to him and introduced himself and shook the man’s hand then proceeded to pepper him with 20 questions about what it’s like to be a policeman, even asking the poor guy if he could hold his gun! The officer did take out his handcuffs and let the kids touch them before I quickly ushered them back to the table and begged them to eat as quickly as possible. We left shortly after, at the same time the officer left. As he got into his car, Sloan called after him – “Hey, go chase the bad guys and put them in jail so they don’t kill us.”

My face generated enough heat in that moment to melt the remaining ice on the sidewalk and off we slinked to our car. T-Minus 3 days till daddy returns.

New Year, New Goals

Okay, it’s time to set some goals for the coming year. I fell into a nasty trap the last half of 2008 where I was lazy and completely unproductive. It’s amazing how the start of a new year can give you so much energy and adrenaline. So what exactly are my new year’s resolutions? I’ve been thinking about this the last couple of days. I want to be careful to set realistic goals so that I don’t totally set myself up for failure – something I’ve been known to do. I think I’ve set the bar at just the right height so I’m challenged but not buggerd. So here they are, my 2009 goals:

– Try to remember birthdays and at least give a phone call. I give myself bonus points if I get a card in the mail.
– Work harder on my russian.
– Finish my novel. This book is the thorn in my flesh because I’m so intimidated by the subject I’ve chosen to write about, yet I feel compelled to tell the story.
– Save money at the grocery store. I’ve tried to get in the habit of clipping coupons and taking them with me, but I still don’t give it the effort I should because it intimidates me.
– Get in shape. I’ve lost all my baby weight, but I’m rather soft and that annoys me.
– Read more, but do so reasonably. I’m reading the Twilight series (more on that soon) and I’m almost finished with book 2. My problem with reading, however, is that I have no reasonable sense of time when I do so. Therefore, if you see me, you’ll understand why I have circles under my eyes.
– Watch less TV. I have fallen into the habit of immediately turning the tube on in the evenings and if I broke this, I would have more time for my reading and still, hopefully be able to get to bed at a reasonable hour (riiiiight…).
– Get a few paid writing gigs. I took a hiatus when Landon was born, but it’s time to work again.
– Learn to take better photos.
– Spend as much time in Florida as I possibly can – I need to talk through this one with Lee.
– Eat as many scones as possible without gaining a single pound.

There are a few more goals that I’d like to accomplish, personal goals that I don’t want to share here. We’ll see how it goes. That last one may be kind of rough, but I’m always up for a challenge. Most of these things I’ve already started working on anyway but it’s nice to lay them out. Happy resolving to you all!

Snippets – With Multimedia

We’ve had such a wonderful two weeks. I am a little sad that it’s all over now and life must go on as usual. Lee leaves tomorrow morning for Phoenix for the week and the kids and I are back in the daily grind. This weekend was our last Harrah and we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Here are a few snippets from the weekend…

One of our favorite gifts from Lee’s parents was the fire pit that we enjoyed a lot the last few days due to the unseasonably warm temperatures. Lee has channeled his inner pyromaniac and has burned everything from tiny sticks hanging out in the yard to the remains of our Christmas tree. And you should all know that a half-dead pine tree smells like a corpse when burned. I bet the neighbors loved us. We’ve enjoyed S’Mores (not over the pine tree fire, thank goodness) and a good deal of family time huddled close to the warm flames. Saturday was wet and drizzly, but warm, and I’m pretty sure Sloan and Tia were outside for 4-5 hours. They had a ball playing and I was not about to stop them from soaking in as much fresh air as possible. At one point I heard them yelling for us to come outside, so I ran out and this is what I found. Using my go-go gadget arm, I whipped out a camera and snapped a photo. While bathing Landon last night, I decided that it’s probably about time to cut his hair. Why is it always so hard to cut little boy’s hair for the first time? It’s just such a sad thing. But, seriously, the poor boy is starting to sport a pretty pronounced mullet, and when it dries it looks like a reddish blonde football helmet.

For Christmas, Tia’s gift to Sloan was a new driver and an iron. And since Christmas day he’s been begging Lee to take him to the driving range to try them out. Here is a short video of our little Tigerinthemaking. He was having a hard time because these clubs were significantly longer than his old clubs, but he still managed to smack the ball 50-75 yards pretty consistently. I’m not so secretly scheming on how this could be his college ticket.

Lee got new clothes for Christmas – a much needed boost to his wardrobe. Yesterday, while going through his closet, packing for his trip, Lee exclaimed excitedly, “Man, my clothes are cool now! I’m gonna look awesome.” For those of you who know us well, you understand why I am so proud of him right now.

Tonight, the kids and I were in the car and Selah’s song, Be Thou My Vision, came on. When Nicol started singing, Sloan asked if that was me on the radio. I grinned, very flattered of course and said no, did it sound like me?
“Yeah,” Sloan piped. “Sometimes you sing in a frog voice just like this girl.”
I think he meant that it sounded like she had a frog in her throat, because she does have a husky voice. Or, he could just think we sing like frogs. Kids – you gotta love ’em right?

Happy New Year

Lee and I rang in the New Year in style last night. Every year, we have the same group of friends over to our house and enjoy some good fellowship and food. This year, however, for some reason it just fell through. People got sick, they couldn’t find sitters, etc… So Lee and I found ourselves with a babysitter and nothing to do. I posted our dilemma on twitter, an online social media tool that I am falling in love with, and within a few minutes I had a couple of suggestions and invites to different happenings around town. Lee and I decided to go to Cicero’s in The Loop to hear Fundamental Elements play. This is something very different for us as we are generally a couple of old fogies who don’t partake of the hip St. Louis scene.

It was really fun! We got dressed up and we didn’t leave the house until almost 8:00. There were three different bands playing, but we really only wanted to see FE because we go to church with Joe and Kelli. They were awesome! If you ever get a chance to go see one of their shows, do it. Every one of those guys is wildly talented, but I was especially impressed with the bass player who’s fingers were moving so fast that I’m pretty sure I saw smoke.

Right after midnight, the DJ put on the song, “Livin’ on a Prayer.” The girl standing next to Lee, who we learned earlier was only 27, didn’t. know. the. song. Lee came home feeling very old. Once she heard the chorus she did realize that she’d heard it before, but that didn’t comfort him much. It was hilarious to watch the entire bar singing Bon Jovi at the top of their lungs. What a way to start 2009.

2008 was a blessed year for us and I have no regrets as I close it out. It was a trying year with the transition to three kids, but we have so many things to be thankful for. It is a year for me to build an alter of remembrance for so I can look back and remember how God walked us through the challenges and reigned blessings down upon us. I look forward to 2009 and what it may bring. Hope you all had a wonderful New Year.

As we got ready to leave the house, I wanted a picture so Sloan took one of Lee and I, then he wanted a picture with me because he said I looked beautiful. Sweet, sweet boy.