Archives for September 2010

A Note to Samuel Clemens

Dear Sam,

I decided to read your book to my children last week.  You know, the classic novel you wrote that captured 19th century boyhood with charm, wit and mischeif.  I wanted my kids to have an adventure with Tom and Huck.  I wanted them to know about what life was like back when days were not dictated by Miley Cyrus and iCarly.  “The good ole days.”  That’s what they were.  I thought it would be a good idea to introduce my children to the children of your alter ego – Mark Twain.

I read yourbooks myself as a kid.  I loved them.  I remember adoring the love/hate between Tom and Becky, the thrill of the chase between Tom, Huck and the robbers and the awe at their receipt of $6,000 for capturing the bad guys.  6 thousand smackers!  That was the largest sum of money I could fathom.  And I wanted my children to experience the thrill of a great story…a piece of Americana.

However, my dear Mr. Twain…er, Clemens – can I call you Sam or perhaps, Mark?  Sam?  Okay.  However, Sam,  it appears that I had forgotten the nature of your writing.  Your words, so eloquent in your time, were a bit more than my children could decipher.  For instance, this sentence spoken by dear Aunt Polly had my poor children so puzzled I fear they will never allow me to pick out a book to read them again:

“He ‘pears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up, and he knows if he can make me out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh, it’s all down again and I can’t hit him a lick.”

My goodness, Sam, even I had to stop and think about that one for a minute.  We made it one chapter into your lovely novel before I realized that the kids eyes had glazed over and they were no longer listening to a word I said.  They didn’t even get the fact that Tom had just whooped the big stranger on the path back to his house.  You know, the boy he “‘lowed” to ‘”lay” for.  That one.  Yeah, they missed that.  Crazy, huh?

There’s also the tiny issue of political correctness – a term that I am certain you would despise were you alive today.  I simply cannot, in good conscience, Sam, read the slave Jim’s true character name as you wrote it so many years ago.  It was an acceptable term then (acceptable to some, of course)…now, however, it just isn’t a word that needs to be used.  Someday, when they’re older and can comprehend the beauty of your novels and they can understand the context in which they were written, I’m sure it will be fine for them to hear (or read for themselves) about Jim and his great escape from slavery by Huck’s side.  But now, when they are too young to understand and too indescreet not to use certain words in public, I simply wouldn’t be able to read your novel in it’s purest form.  And that seems unfair to you.  And to them.  And, honestly, to Huck and Jim.

So forgive me, dear Mr. Clemens, if I put this book back on the shelf of a few more years.  Forgive me if I show them the movies made of your iconic tales instead.  I want to inspire their imaginations, Sam, I really do.  But they can’t be inspired under such educational duress.  I did find, today, this book, which has been edited and abridged specifically for children.  It only tells a piece of the story, but it does introduce them to the scrappy Tom, a character I so loved growing up.  I think I will give it a try…you know, when they’ve had time to forget how utterly and completely bored and confused they were the first time I introduced Tom and Huck.

Don’t take it personally, Sam.  I still love your books and I still plan to expose my children to your iconic tales.  But I’m sure you understand that it’s better to give them a love for literature, not an absolute dread.  Thanks for your books.  Thanks for your imagination.  Sorry it didn’t work out this time around.


A literature nerd who forgot that sometimes classics are not neccesarily proper for young children

Today I plan to melt your hearts

Yesterday was Tia’s first day of preschool so it was only natural that I pull out my trusty magic camera and take 697 pictures before she left.

The results were glorious.  She was cute, naturally.  She can’t help but be cute.  And Sloan was ever the charmer.

“Mom, you can take two pictures of me and that’s it.  I don’t want any more.”

Right.  I took a couple more than two.  Don’t tell…

It is the shots of Landon, however, that will leave you with a toothache.  This is due in part to the fact that his hair was so spectcular when he woke up that I had to wet it down and slick it to the side.  Chubby cheeked cherub with slicked back hair?


Combine that with a pair of pants that I found at a little shop in Orlando this summer – pants with suspenders – and you have a recipe for pure love.  It also makes for some great pictures.   So I present you my children.  You’re welcome.











And, of course, the first day of school wouldn’t be the first day of school without a good old fashioned tree climb.  In a dress…






And one more of Landon, because sweet mercy!  That face is amazing.  Don’t you just want to eat him up?


Fluctuating Between UberExcited and Totally Freaking Out

We leave for Italy in ten days.  Let me write that again in case you didn’t catch it the first time.


Someone actually asked me a couple of weeks ago if I felt guilty spending the money on such a “lavish” trip when the economy is bad, so many are in need and on and on.  Um…no.  I don’t “feel guilty.”  I am proud and grateful, actually.  Proud of my marriage of ten years.  Grateful to a husband who loves me so much that he wants to do nice things for me and have an adventure with me.  Grateful that God has blessed us with the funds to be able to take this trip (and the wisdom to be wise with our money and budget accordingly so we could save what we needed over the course of this past year).

We are not wealthy people.  Not even close.  But we are blessed.  And we work really hard to be good stewards of those blessings.  We don’t always do a great job at being good stewards.  Sometimes we (ahem…I) make frivolous, unnecessary purchases.  Sometimes we forget to tithe at church.  Not because we don’t want to, but because we just…forget.  We are working on these things (and many other things!).  But we are careful with our money and we do try to use good judgement in how we spend it.

There is nothing I love more than being with my husband.  I think he’s hilarious, fun, sweet, caring and easy on the eyes.  Why would I not want to see the world with this man?!  I can’t wait to spend ten days alone with him, exploring and making memories to last a lifetime.  Memories that we will look back on in fifty years (God willing) and laugh with fondness of the days when we were able to travel the world without a box of depends and a walker…

We won’t regreat doing this in fifty years.  We won’t regret it ten days from now when we step on that plane.  And I have a couple of photos to prove why.

One of the first places we will drive through is Lake Como, Italy:


From there we’ll be driving through southern Switzerland into Austria.  We’re planning on heading to Salzberg, although we have since found this gem of a town and are now contemplating skipping Salzberg, or at least just spending less time there, so we can have more time here:


Hallstatt, Austria.  Did your heart just skip a beat?  Because mine does every time I look at this photo.  I want this very shot on my own camera.  The hair on my arms is literally standing up right now.  Isn’t God’s creation magnificent?!

From Austria, we plan to scoot down to Italy where we will spend four days in Tuscany at a gorgeous resort like this (we’re waiting on confirmation that we will be able to stay here):


We plan on tooling around Tuscany visiting Florence, Sienna, Montepulciano and wherever else the apartment owners tell us to go.  Just me and my man.  Why would I feel guilty about that? 

I will tell you what I do feel…a little nervous.  If I think about us being gone for ten days, driving through foreign countries, too long, I start to panic a little.  What if something happens to us?  What if something happens to one of the kids and we’re so far away.  What if, what if, what if???

So I try not to think about it.  Because the fact of the matter is, something could happen to one of us at the end of the street.  I can’t live my life in fear of the what if’s.  I can think about them and I can even panic momentarily, but then I need to move on and trust that the God of the Universe is in total control.  Our children will be in the loving hands of all four of their grandparents.  They will probably be spoiled mercilessly.  They will likely be watched closer than they are when I’m home.  You know…because I encourage them to play in the street and juggle knives.

I’m kidding.  I never encourage them to play in the street.

And I am praying with full trust and belief that my God will answer my prayer, that Lee and I will be kept safe and we will be reunited with our children as a stronger, more united front in our marriage and parenting.  I think this trip will make us better parents and better partners.  So no, I don’t feel guilty about leaving for ten days to celebrate my marriage. 

I do feel fleeting moments where I’m quite certain I could dissovle into a massive freak out.

But mostly I’m just so excited it’s kind of hard to sleep.

Not that hard, though. 


Post edit #1: I wrote this last night when I was wiped out from a fun but busy weekend.  However, when Lee and I went to bed we started talking about the trip and got so excited we couldn’t fall asleep.  So Lee got up and searched the internet for more places to go and things to see while I tossed and turned, imagining all the fun we’re going to have.  So it turns out we really are so excited we can’t sleep.

Post edit #2: I had the wrong date in my head when I wrote this.  We’re actually leaving in eleven days.  Whic isn’t quite as thrilling as leaving in TEN days.  Re-read this tomorrow and I won’t be a liar…

Happy Labor Day

Sloan with Flag 2

A one year old Sloan being ever so patriotic.

We are laboring today.  We’re laboring about whether or not to get out of our jammies or simply stay in them all morning.

We’re laboring over whether to make breakfast here at home or go out.

We’re laboring over whether to be productive or sit on our duffs watching football and eating snacks all day.

We’re laboring over whether to make beds or simply let them sit in their sleeped in states all day.

We’re laboring today over maps of Italy and Austria as we plan our anniversary trip, which we leave for in ELEVEN DAYS!

Yes…we are laboring today.  It’s the greatest labor of all.

Happy Labor Day!


Yesterday I took out my frustrations and stress in an hour and forty five minutes of intense exercise. I started with cardio kickboxing.  I punched, jabbed, upper cut and hooked with all of the anger I could muster.  I imagined I was hitting a certain entity that is causing a bit of stress right now.  Half way through the class I realized that I was clenching my teeth and swinging with such force that my arm nearly popped out of socket.

It felt good.

I sweat out a lot of stress in that first hour.  I situated myself in the back corner of the room so I hope no one noticed the ferocity with which I worked out.  I may or may  not have looked like I was going to kill someone.

I followed the kickboxing class up with a forty five minute core strength class.  It was at that point that I myself nearly met my Maker.  I continued to sweat out frustrations and ended with fifteen minutes of stretching that allowed me to relax just a little bit.  I left invigorated, tired, sweaty and feeling much less angsty.

I can’t walk today. 

I’m sore from my eyeballs to my ankles.  Thankfully my forehead and toes were spared.  Coughing, sneezing and laughing are dangerous activities and sitting down is torture.  I kind of have to just fall back.  And reaching for something that’s up over my head?  Out of the question.

So for one hour and forty minutes yesterday I was in charge.  Today I realized that kickboxing got the best of me.  Add to that Landon being up between the hours of 2:30 and 5:00 and you’ve got a sleepy, sore monster of a mommy.  On the plus side, it’s a gorgeous day today, Tia has a play date scheduled which means the opportunity for me taking a nap is high and I’m hoping to sweet talk my husband into coming with us to the Zoo tonight to kick off this lovely, long weekend.

So now I just have to figure out how exactly I’m going to brush my teeth given the fact that I can’t move.  This could be interesting…

Does anybody have an exciting plans for the weekend?  Our exciting plans?  Nothing.  I can’t think of anything that sounds more fantastic.

My second Katrina post is up at 5 Minutes for Mom.  This is the one I was most excited to share so I hope you enjoy reading it!

Why I won’t be blogging today


and that’s just the first basket…

the one where I wax poetic

Just kidding.  I’m not going to wax poetic about anything.   I actually am going to partake in a little verbal vomit.  See?  Vomit.  It’s not a very poetic word.  I should change the title of this post, but I don’t want to.  Maybe I’ll be inspired as I write and maybe I will begin to wax poetic about life and it’s deeper meanings.

But probably not.

I really don’t have much to say these days.  Probably because I’m old and my high falutent weekend in New Orleans has made me feel a bit like I got beat with a rubber mallet then tossed to the side like a rag doll.  This mama isn’t used to seeing 2:00 am unless it’s to administer medicine to fevery babies or fill hungry tummies. 

I’m tired.

Speaking of last weekend, I must say that there were moments when I looked around and thought What in the world am I doing here?  I felt very…how shall I put this…midwest.  I was surrounded by all of these interesting, funny, stylish, green, city folk and here I was, the minivan mom from the suburbs.  I tell ya, I had to fight from saying things like, Well Golly Gee, or Aw shucks.  I think I may have had an I declare or two in me, but I held back.  And upon my return I had a strong urge to sell my car and start using public transit and to keep all the lights in the house turned off and check my carbon imprint (or is it my carbon print…or footprint?).  But, well, shucks guys, that would make this suburban mama a little less comfortable so I think I’ll keep trucking along as I’m going in life.

‘Cause it’s swell.

Speaking of swell…um, I really don’t have anything else swell to say.  I was looking for a transition.  That was a poor effort.  Did I mention I’m exhausted?  Sloan told me yesterday that he no longer wants to be a policeman when he grows up, but he would like to be a shark trainer instead.  When I informed him that he would have to be very brave because that’s a dangerous job he gave me the look that only a 7 year old going on14 can give.  You know the one, right?  It’s that look that says, Duh, Mom.  What are you, like, some sort of midwest hick?

“I’ll start working with the sharks who are already trained.  Then I will move on to their friends that need to be trained.”

Right.  What was I thinking? 

“Hey mom,” he went on.  “You remember that time when I was a baby and I met that shark?”

“Um, no.”

“Yeah, remember?  I was a little baby.  It was my first time to Florida and I met a shark.”

“Sorry, bud.  I don’t remember that at all.”

“Oh.  Well…I might have made that up.”

Gee willikers, my kid is super neato.

I should get up and get moving.  The dog is laying at the foot of my bed and I can hear her stomach growling quite fiercely.  I had all these lofty goals to get up early and get a lot of work done (because I have a lot of work to do) but I had the migraine of the century last night and didn’t sleep much.  Thank God for modern medicine, eh?  I may have overdosed slightly but I knocked out the headache so I win.  I offer my deepest apologies to my liver which is now working over time to rid my body of toxins.

So on that note, I offer you this:

May your day today be filled with joy, headache free and super duper swell.

The end.

p.s. I’m categorizing this post as random.  That sounds about right, wouldn’t you say?